1 Monday, 16 October 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, Madam Registrar. Could you kindly
6 call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case
8 IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, madam.
10 I just want to make sure that all the accused are receiving
12 I see Mr. Sarapa is not here. More or less the rest of the teams
13 are okay, except Mr. Ostojic is also not here.
14 MR. MEEK: Yes, Your Honour. May it please the Trial Chamber.
15 Mr. Ostojic is on business in Belgrade and should be back Wednesday
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you.
18 And from the Prosecution there's Mr. McCloskey, okay.
19 So Mr. Thayer, will you be leading the next witness?
20 MR. THAYER: Yes I will, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Are there any preliminaries you would
22 like to raise? I thank you. I hear none.
23 As we intimated to you earlier on two weeks ago before -- when we
24 had the last sitting, the very first thing we will proceed with today is a
25 short proces verbal dealing or illustrating the site visit that the Trial
1 Chamber conducted between the 2nd and the 7th of October.
2 The decision to hold a site visit was originated from the Trial
3 Chamber and was supported by both parties. Preparations were undertaken
4 months ago in order to make it possible, and during the various 65 ter
5 meetings that took place a list of rules of conduct to be observed during
6 the site visit was agreed to by the parties.
7 Basically, the rules of conduct which were agreed to by the
8 parties and which were observed in the course of the entire site visit
9 were the following: First, the parties, particularly since the accused
10 were not going to be present for the site visit, the parties would not
11 seek the admission of evidence through the entire duration of the site
12 visit. I can confirm that none of the parties sought the admission of
14 It was also agreed that the guide, who was Mr. Philip Berikoff,
15 would only indicate to the Judges and the parties geographic locations
16 without giving any running commentary regarding events which are alleged
17 to have occurred there. However, it was also agreed that this would not
18 exclude specific references to paragraphs of the indictment which refer to
19 these locations. Again, I'd like to thank Mr. Berikoff for having
20 observed this rule of conduct throughout the entire site visit.
21 And as far as the parties themselves were concerned, the terms of
22 reference or the rules of conduct agreed upon were the following: During
23 the site visit, the parties would not give any views or offer advice or
24 express an opinion or make any other comment in relation to the locations
25 visited unless requested to do so by the Judges. The parties could,
1 however, agree amongst themselves to address observations to the Judges
2 when they were relevant to a better understanding of the locations visit.
3 Also, more or less this rule of conduct was observed by all parties.
4 Now, the -- all the Judges of this Trial Chamber, the four of us,
5 took part in this site visit and at all times we were accompanied by two
6 members of the Chamber legal staff, one representative of the Registry.
7 On the Prosecution's side, there was Mr. Peter McCloskey, who was the
8 chief trial attorney in this case, and he was assisted by Kweku Vanderpuye
9 and investigator Tomasz Blasczyk. And the various Defence teams were each
10 represented by one counsel; namely, Mr. Zivanovic for Popovic, Christopher
11 Meek for Beara, Jelena Nikolic for Mr. Nikolic, Miodrag Stojanovic for
12 Borovcanin, Natacha Faveau Ivanovic for Militic, Dragan Krgovic for
13 Mr. Gvero and Georgia Sarapa for accused Pandurevic. As I intimated
14 earlier on, the guide who was agreed upon by both parties was Mr. Phil
16 The purpose of the site visit was of course to view some of the
17 sites which are relevant to the case before us. Some of the sites were
18 selected by the Trial Chamber, others were indicated by the parties.
19 Unfortunately because of time constraints and also weather conditions and
20 terrain conditions there were some proposed sites that we could not visit.
21 These were mainly or almost exclusively exhumation -- exhumation sites,
22 but this -- these sites were not visited upon agreement by all parties.
23 The -- we started the -- visiting places on the 2nd of October.
24 On the 3rd of October, driving from Sarajevo to Gorazde, passing through
25 Trnovo, Foca and Ustikolina and Gorazde, we saw the UNPROFOR -- previous
1 UNPROFOR check-point. And then we passed through Borik, seeing the Borik
2 school and the forward command post of the VRS Rogatica brigade, moved on
3 to Zepa, where we saw the site of the former location of the Ukrainian
4 contingent of UNPROFOR. Crna Rijeka where we saw the former installation
5 of the Crna Rijeka military installation of Crna Rijeka. And that first
6 day ended with a visit to the Han Pijesak where we saw both the Drina
7 Corps Main Staff headquarters, in other words, where they were, and the
8 restaurant where allegedly party to General Zivanovic was held.
9 On the second day, that's on the 4th of October, we went to Milici
10 where we saw the medical centre, to Zeleni Jadar and to secondary burial
11 sites, moved on to Javor where we saw where the 1st Tactical Group 1
12 position allegedly was. Then to Pribicevac, where we saw the observation
13 post of the Drina Corps or of the former Drina Corps forward command post.
14 And we moved to Srebrenica where we walked through the town itself. Saw
15 the location of the municipal courthouse, the PTT building, the Bravo
16 compound location, the gas station which we have seen in one of the
17 videos, and former location of the destroyed mosque, amongst other things.
18 Moved on to Potocari where we saw the location the Zinc Factory Energo
19 building and the "White House," the UN Canadian DutchBat Compound, and
20 observation post Papa, and also the Yellow Bridge at Zuti Most together
21 with a view of Kokarda hill. We moved on to Bratunac where we saw the
22 locations of the brick factory, the hotel Fontana which we saw from the
23 inside, the SDS building, the police station, the old Vuk Karadzic school,
24 the old school also known as the technical school, the soccer field, and
25 the Bratunac Brigade headquarters, military police building locations.
1 We drove on to the Glogova sites where we saw the Glogova primary
2 grave sites that are referred to by the Prosecution. In Kravica, we saw
3 the market, the site of the market, the school. We didn't stop there.
4 And also Kravica warehouse where we stopped and also went in. We stopped
5 at Sandici meadow and saw the school and the gas station at Konjevic Polje
6 and the soccer field and the school in Nova -- Nova Kasaba.
7 On the 5th of October, we went to Pilica where we saw the cultural
8 centre and the Kula school, together with the restaurant that is in front
9 of the cultural centre. Branjevo where we saw the site where the Branjevo
10 Military Farm was situated. Rocevic is alleged to have been situated,
11 Rocevic where we saw the school, Kozluk. We were shown by the Prosecution
12 a site where an alleged execution is -- is -- was mentioned. This alleged
13 execution site is by the Drina River. We saw the site of the Vitinka
14 bottling company factory and the -- also the Drina Corps headquarters. In
15 Petkovic -- Petkovci we saw the school and also the old school said to be
16 the former Zvornik brigade 6th Battalion headquarters. We also went to
17 the Petkovci dam.
18 We moved on to Zvornik where we saw the Zvornik Brigade
19 headquarters, to Orahovac where we saw the Grbavci, Orahovac school and
20 also the alleged Orahovac Rensen execution sites.
21 We moved on to did Delici and to Baljkovica. In Delici we saw the
22 command post of the 4th Battalion of the Zvornik Brigade and the forward
23 command post of the Zvornik Brigade. And in Baljkovica we visited an area
24 which was indicated to us by the Defence for Pandurevic.
25 On the 6th of October, which was the last day of the site visit,
1 we went to the Jadar River where we saw a site indicated to us by the
2 Prosecution. Cerska village, we saw an alleged execution and grave site.
3 Nova Kasaba we went there again to see a primary mass grave site indicated
4 to us by the Prosecution. And the last place visited by the Trial Chamber
5 and the rest of the party was at Tiska where we saw the location of the
6 Luka school.
7 Site visit concluded on Friday, 6th December [sic], and the Trial
8 Chamber returned to The Hague on Sunday.
9 Before closing, I -- Trial Chamber, and I'm speaking for the
10 entire Trial Chamber, would like to thank the President of this Tribunal
11 for having authorised this site visit, the Registrar for having made it
12 possible, Mr. Phil Berikoff, acting chief of security, for having
13 organised the entire site visit and for having accepted to serve as guide,
14 the precious ICTY security services members that accompanied the entire
15 delegation. They were -- they did an excellent job. The civilian
16 authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and especially the security
17 services operating in the areas visited both in Republika Srpska and in
18 the federation -- federation. We will -- the Trial Chamber will be
19 forwarding -- will be sending formal letters of thanks to all the
20 authorities on land there as well as to the representatives of this
21 Tribunal in Sarajevo on in Banja Luka who assisted Mr. Berikoff in
22 preparing the site visit.
23 I have got nothing else to say, just instruct that what I have
24 stated on behalf of the Trial Chamber is entered into the records as a
25 proces verbal.
1 However, before we start with the rest of our business today, I'd
2 like to know if any of the parties, Prosecution and any of the Defence
3 teams, would like to make any comments on the site visit. Same applies to
4 the accused in case you would like any information or you'd like to put
5 any questions.
6 I'll start with you, Mr. McCloskey.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you. Good morning, Mr. President and Your
9 Just two very brief slight corrections to your list. In
10 Han Pijesak is the headquarters of the Main Staff, not the -- not the
11 Drina Corps headquarters. I think that was just a typo in Mr. Berikoff's
12 material. The headquarters of the Drina Corps is actually in Vlasenica.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Mm-hmm.
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: And the -- also the headquarters building next to
15 the Vitinka factory in Kozluk is the headquarters of the Drina Wolves, and
16 otherwise that was just right, and that's all I would have to say.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you so much for those corrections,
18 which I'm sure everyone will agree with.
19 Any remarks, comments from the Defence teams? I see none.
20 Would any of the accused like to put any questions or seek any
21 information? I see none.
22 So I think we can pass on to the rest of our agenda. We know that
23 there are various motions that have been filed. We will be dealing with
24 them one by one, not necessarily in the way they have been filed because
25 some are more urgent than others, and we will let you know exactly what
1 our projected time schedule is later on today or tomorrow.
2 Can we bring the witness in, Mr. Colonel Franken. Is he still in
3 the Dutch army or not?
4 MR. THAYER: No, Mr. President. He is retired.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 WITNESS: ROBERT ALEXANDER FRANKEN
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, to you, Colonel.
8 THE WITNESS: Good morning, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: And welcome to this Tribunal once more. You know
10 what the procedure is, so I will not be explaining to you.
11 Madam Usher, who is standing to your left, will be handing to you
12 the text of a solemn declaration that our rules require you to make before
13 you start giving evidence. It's legally and morally binding, the same way
14 as an oath is. Please proceed with making the declaration, and that will
15 be your solemn undertaking with us that you will be testifying the truth,
16 the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
18 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, sir. Make yourself comfortable,
21 Colonel, I know that you have retired from the Dutch -- Royal
22 Dutch Army. How would you like me to address you here, like us to address
23 you, as Colonel.
24 THE WITNESS: No, sir, I am a civilian now.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: You are a civilian now. All right. So,
1 Mr. Franken, Mr. Thayer will be examining you in chief, at least today and
2 possibly --
3 Do you think you will finish today? You'll try.
4 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, I will do my best. I honestly believe
5 we'll go just a little bit into the first session tomorrow morning.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. And in the meantime during either
7 the first or the second break, whoever is coordinating will give us an
8 updated idea on how much time you think the Defence teams will require for
9 cross-examination. All right?
10 Yes, Mr. Thayer.
11 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Examination by Mr. Thayer:
13 Q. Good morning, sir.
14 A. Good morning.
15 Q. We will be speaking the same language. However, what we say is
16 going to be translated into a couple of languages, so I would just ask
17 that you speak a little bit more slowly than normal, as I will try as
18 well, and I would also ask you to just pause slightly before your answer
19 whether it's me asking the question or my learned colleagues or Their
20 Honours. All right?
21 A. I'll do my best.
22 Q. Thank you. Will you please state and spell your name.
23 A. My name is Robert Franken, and that is
24 Foxtrot-Romeo-Alpha-November-Kilo-Echo-November. Franken.
25 Q. And how old you, sir?
1 A. I am 56 now.
2 Q. And if I may, I would just like to review briefly your military
3 service history with you.
4 You are a former infantry officer of the Royal Netherlands Army,
5 retiring after 33 years of service with the rank of colonel; is that
7 A. That's correct.
8 Q. And among your positions during that time you commanded a combat
9 support company, commanded a mechanised infantry company?
10 A. That's correct, sir.
11 Q. Served as an operations officer in an armoured brigade with
12 responsibility for planning and executing air support?
13 A. That's correct, sir.
14 Q. You served as a tactics instructor at the infantry school --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could you please slow down.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer, Mr. Franken, it's both of you, actually,
17 if you could kindly slow down a little bit. Just allow a short pause
18 between question and answer. That's all you need to do.
19 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Your Honour. Will do.
20 Q. You served as a logistics and intelligence officer at battalion
21 and brigade level?
22 A. That is correct.
23 Q. And you served as Chief of Staff of northern command in Holland as
25 A. That's correct as well, sir.
1 Q. Have I left anything out, sir?
2 A. Not of any importance.
3 Q. Now, when you entered on duty in Bosnia, what was your rank and
4 what was your position at that time?
5 A. I was a major. My -- my position was DCO and S4; that is, the
6 officer responsible for logistics of the battalion.
7 Q. And I'll ask you some questions about that in a moment. When did
8 you actually arrive in Bosnia, sir?
9 A. As far as I recollect, it was the 15th of January in 1995.
10 Q. And where were you physically based?
11 A. At Potocari, headquarters of DutchBat.
12 Q. Just briefly, sir. What did you understand the mission of
13 DutchBat III to be?
14 A. Our mission was to deter any hostile action by being present,
15 showing our presence, showing the flag, as we will called it. We had to
16 facilitate and to assist in -- in humanitarian aid. The mission was as
17 well to demilitarise the -- the enclave, so that's about it.
18 Q. Now, you referred to your position as being the DCO of DutchBat.
19 What does DCO stand for, sir?
20 A. Sorry. It's deputy commanding officer. So popularly said, the
21 second in command.
22 Q. And who was your immediate commander?
23 A. Lieutenant-Colonel Karremans.
24 Q. You mentioned a moment ago that you were the S4 in charge of
25 logistics. Could you just briefly describe what that entailed?
1 A. That means you're responsible for all the supplies and spare parts
2 a battalion needs for -- for being operational in an area like that. So
3 it includes food, fuel, MO, spare parts, et cetera.
4 Q. And in your position as DCO, would you actually stand in for the
5 commander if he were absent for some reason?
6 A. That is correct.
7 Q. In general, sir, would -- would you describe the division of
8 responsibilities between yourself and Colonel Karremans.
9 A. Yeah, in fact, the colonel was doing all the external contacts, so
10 contacts with higher echelons, and I was doing, yeah, more or less the
11 daily commanding of the battalion, so the normal routine things. I was
12 coordinating the staff and giving the company commanders orders within the
13 guidelines, of course, of Lieutenant-Colonel Karremans.
14 Q. And was there some central entity which assisted you in terms of
15 keeping informed about what was going on throughout the battalion, given
16 your many duties during the day?
17 A. There was an operations room. You could call that the nerve
18 centre of the battalion where all the information came in and the crew of
19 that operations room had all the, what you say, disciplines in it, in the
20 crew. So they analysed the information and gave me their results or their
22 Q. And generally would there be a particular officer in the
23 operations room who would be transmitting you the information?
24 A. Yeah. Was the chief operations room duty officer was always a
25 captain, and he is the one that contacted me, and if there was anything
1 of -- of interest that I should know.
2 Q. Now, were there particular VRS and army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
3 officers with whom you had contact in connection with your duties?
4 A. Yes. There was the formal liaison of the Bosnian Serb army was a
5 Colonel Vukovic. I saw him very little. But in fact there was a Major
6 Nikolic of the Bratunac Brigade who actually was our liaison to the
7 Bosnian Serb army.
8 Q. And in terms of the army of the Bosnia-Herzegovina, were there any
9 particular officers with whom you had more frequent contact?
10 A. Yeah, well, the contacts to the Bosnian army was through the Chief
11 of Staff of the 28th Division, Ramiz, the man I know as Ramiz. And
12 eventually in the beginning we contact of course with Oric, the local
14 Q. And do you know what this commander Oric's first name was, sir?
15 A. I was, but I can't recollect it right now.
16 Q. Very well. Now, was there within DutchBat a -- an S5 or liaison
17 officer who served as the primary liaison with these individuals?
18 A. There was a team of liaison officers. In fact, there were three
19 in the beginning at least, and they did the contact as well to the Serbs
20 as to the Bosnian authorities.
21 Q. Given that you had those officers available, sir, under what
22 circumstances, generally speaking, would you become involved with these
23 officers of the VRS or army of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
24 A. Well, when the S5 couldn't cope with the problem or didn't come
25 any further in the results then I would come in and do the talking and the
1 negotiations with them. And when I did fail, the last trick we had was
2 that the colonel himself came in.
3 Q. Sir, during your service with DutchBat III, did you have an
4 opportunity to observe soldiers of both of the opposing armies in terms of
5 uniforms, equipment, and so forth?
6 A. Yes, I did.
7 Q. And would you start with the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
8 please, and just describe in general terms how they were equipped.
9 A. Well, they -- they didn't wear their weapons because that was
10 forbidden, but we -- from intelligence and information from our
11 predecessors we knew that they had about 4, 4.500 small arms and some
12 mortars, and what you could see of it that they were mostly -- most of the
13 time walking around in, yeah, parts of uniforms, never dressed up
14 completely. That changed somewhere in May. Then we saw suddenly that
15 there were new combat suits worn by the BiH.
16 Q. And did you have an opportunity to observe how that army operated
17 in terms of cohesion and discipline and centralised command?
18 A. Yeah. Well, there was a divisional structure. There was a
19 division command with brigades who had all their own area within the
20 enclave. So it looked like an army, but it proved pretty soon that --
21 that there was no discipline. The brigade commanders had their own
22 policies. They -- they did not obey to what the division commander said
23 or wanted. An example is the brigade commander in the Bandera Triangle
24 who had his own army. And, well, especially in the end phase we had to
25 cope with local commanders with their own policies who did not follow the
1 orders of the Bosnian divisional command. So to say it was more or less a
2 bunch of armed militia partly doing and functioning as a whole but mostly
3 on their own there.
4 Q. I'd like to turn your attention to the VRS. Could you describe
5 your experiences and observations in terms of that army in the same manner
6 you just described the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, please.
7 A. We had to deal with a couple of brigades. With the Skelani
8 brigade and Bratunac Brigade, we had contact in the Milici area never.
9 That looked like an army. Orders were given. It was clearly that
10 officers gave orders and they were done as you usually see in an army.
11 The troops around the enclave were more or less, with exception of the
12 Milici Brigade, militia-like, combinations of uniforms, et cetera, but
13 they had heavy weapons.
14 In the end phase, we were confronted twice with military units
15 looking and acting like absolute military units as we knew them.
16 Q. Now, although you were the DCO and responsible for logistics for
17 DutchBat, would you also participate yourself in patrols?
18 A. Yes. I did about 23 or -- patrols myself.
19 Q. And were patrols around the enclave part of DutchBat's regular
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. And were you able to observe positions of both Serb and Muslim
23 forces personally during the course --
24 A. Mm-hmm.
25 Q. -- of your patrols?
1 A. Yes, I did.
2 Q. And did your observations include trenches?
3 A. Yes. On the Bosnian -- yeah, on both sides there were trenches.
4 On the Serb side there were bunker-like buildings. Trenches on Bosnian
5 side were -- were pretty shallow, not deep, and the positions on the Serb
6 side were, as far as we could see, pretty well dug out and firm.
7 Q. How about fixed artillery positions, sir?
8 A. Yes, we had identified about - in the beginning, at least - 16
9 artillery and mortar positions, especially in the area of the Milici
10 Brigade that is on the west side of the enclave. There were a couple of
11 positions of self-propelled mechanised guns, artillery that is.
12 Q. And to which army did those positions belong, sir?
13 A. Bosnian Serb army.
14 Q. I want to turn your attention to another topic for a few moments,
16 In the months prior to the VRS attack on the enclave in July of
17 1995, was there shelling and shooting into the enclave?
18 A. Yes, there was.
19 Q. Was there also firing at DutchBat patrols or positions?
20 A. Yes. There was an increasing amount of what we call close firing
21 on patrols and on our operation -- sorry, observation points.
22 Q. And we'll get to that in a moment, sir. But while we're on the
23 topic, do you recall approximately when that increase in firing incidents
24 began to happen?
25 A. That was as of April. April, May it started to increase. Well,
1 it increased until the end.
2 Q. And what was the source of those firing incidents, in terms of
3 which army?
4 A. Reported was mostly it was done by the Serb -- out of the Serb
5 positions. There are a couple of reports where the source of the firing
6 was not destined, was not known, but it was majorly from the Bosnian Serb
8 Q. And did you personally come under fire during any of your patrols
9 by fire from the Serb positions?
10 A. Yes, a couple of times.
11 Q. How else would you learn about shelling and shooting incidents?
12 A. Reports by patrols or by the observation posts.
13 Q. And did you ever observe or receive reports about the results of
14 the shelling or shooting incidents on -- on the civilian population?
15 A. Yes, several times they were wounded, the civil population. We
16 used our means, our armoured ambulances, so to say, to bring the people to
17 the hospital in Srebrenica.
18 Q. Sir, did you have freedom of movement in the Serb territory?
19 A. Within the Serb territory, absolutely not.
20 Q. And how about free movement by the Muslim forces within the
22 A. Yeah, with exception of what we call the Bandera Triangle, an area
23 in the west side of the enclave, we were supposed to have freedom of
24 movement. I say supposed to, because in the end we had lots of trouble
25 moving our APCs to better positions.
1 Q. And so you have some personal experience in terms of restriction
2 on freedom of movement in the Bandera Triangle; is that correct?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Would you just briefly share with the Court that experience?
5 A. Yeah. There was already non-freedom of movement when we arrived,
6 when we took over from DutchBat II, and we got in January, yes, orders to
7 restore that freedom of movement in that area. And I let the first patrol
8 into the Bandera Triangle, and that -- well, we got some skirmishing
9 and -- and problems with the BiH. I was stopped by about 45 armed men to
10 enter the area. Other patrols were stopped as well, and it ended in a
11 blockade, more or less, during a couple of days where we had to stay in
12 the area. We couldn't return to camp.
13 Q. And I want to turn your attention now to another area, sir,
14 involving your role as the chief logistics officer for the battalion.
15 You've testified that part of your responsibilities was to be
16 aware of the battalion's resupply needs. What were the most important
17 items requiring resupply for DutchBat?
18 A. In fact, ammo and fuel, because we had to raise our energy, any
19 energy, all by ourselves, and the only way to do that was with generators
20 and they ran on diesel.
21 Q. And I take it, sir, that the battalion's logistical needs were
22 passed up the UNPROFOR chain of command?
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. And how was that done?
25 A. By fax. We made lists and requested supplies, of course food,
1 et cetera, as well, but requested the -- the supplies and it was sent
2 to -- to Sarajevo and then over to Zagreb where there was a major log
3 base, and they were preparing that. There was a log base at Busovaca,
4 there was a Dutch unit as well, and they loaded this stuff we wanted on
5 trucks, at least that was the general idea, and then bring it to us by
7 Q. When you say "log base," are you referring to a logistics base?
8 A. Sorry. A logistics base, yes.
9 Q. Now, did the VRS become involved in this process of resupply
11 A. Yes. For every convoy, there had to be admission by the VRS.
12 They had to consent that. Not only the fact that vehicles were driving
13 down to us, but they wanted to know exactly what was in the vehicles and
14 did approve or not approve the contents of the trucks and the amount of
16 Q. And to your knowledge did the VRS become involved in the actual
17 approval of the lists that were sent over?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. -- from the UNPROFOR logistics personnel?
20 A. Yes. They had to approve every little item on the list, whether
21 that it was allowed to bring it in or not.
22 Q. Were there items which the VRS categorically denied?
23 A. Yeah. Ammunition anyway. Anything that had to do with weapons
24 systems, spare parts or testing devices. Spare parts for vehicles,
25 et cetera, were denied anyway as well. Coms, communication radios I mean,
1 sorry, that was always denied to bring that in.
2 Q. Now, you've alluded to this already, and this may be an obvious
3 question, but once the list was approved by the VRS, by what means of
4 transport would the supplies eventually be taken to the DutchBat base?
5 A. By trucks, Dutch trucks, through a route to -- towards the
6 enclave. And it came from the area of Tuzla or the area of Sarajevo.
7 That's where they started from anyway.
8 Q. And how would you become aware that a convoy had actually been
9 approved and was scheduled?
10 A. Again by fax from my logistic base. They informed me that. And
11 then a convoy would apply with the exact contents of that convoy.
12 Q. Would you describe for the Trial Chamber, sir, the process by
13 which the convoys physically reached the battalion?
14 A. Yeah. Well, they drove down the road but were -- well, I don't
15 know exactly how many times but checked by Bosnian Serb check-points.
16 They had to step out, identify themselves, and the load of the trucks was
17 checked, and then exactly according to the lists they had to carry. And
18 then after all these check-points they ultimately came into the enclave.
19 The last check was on the very edge, on the confrontation line near our
20 observation post Papa, what we called Yellow Bridge. That was the last
21 Bosnian Serb check-point.
22 Q. And, sir, would you see a final document of some sort which listed
23 what the VRS ultimately permitted on the convoy?
24 A. Yes. That was in fact the list that was sent to me when the
25 convoy was planned, and they informed me that they would come down, and
1 mostly I got a corrected list when the convoy came in ultimately, because
2 quite a lot of things disappeared on the way down to the enclave.
3 Q. And who supplied you with that corrected list, sir?
4 A. Convoy commander.
5 Q. And were you able to compare what --
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. -- UNPROFOR had asked for and what the VRS had approved and
9 A. And what actually arrived, yes.
10 Q. And, sir, was this procedure and these restrictions you've just
11 described in place when you arrived in Bosnia?
12 A. Yes. That was the procedure as I found it when I arrived.
13 Q. And at some point did the restrictions on the resupply convoys by
14 the VRS intensify?
15 A. Yes, that's correct. For instance, when my last fuel convoy came
16 in in February.
17 Q. Now, sir, part of your mission, as you testified, was to
18 facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid within the enclave. What
19 was the entity which had primary responsibility for the humanitarian aid
21 A. There was in fact two NGOs; UNHCR taking care of food and things
22 like that, and MSF, Medecins sans Frontieres, taking care of the medical
23 support of the population.
24 Q. And to your knowledge was the humanitarian aid coming into the
25 enclave subject to the same process as the DutchBat resupply?
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 Q. And I'm sorry to do this but if you would again try to pause
3 after -- after my question. I know it's difficult.
4 And what was DutchBat's actual role with respect to the
5 humanitarian aid convoys?
6 A. In fact, secure the transport as of the confrontation line. So
7 when they came in or appeared at OP Papa, what the entrance was to the
8 enclave, we sent down a platoon-like unit that escorted them to the
9 warehouse in the city of Srebrenica. Their food or whatever was brought
10 into the warehouse by people of the opstina, the local civil -- civil
12 When it was in the warehouse, we would withdraw and that was in
13 fact our job. Distribution and things like that were done by the UNHCR
14 representative in coordination with the opstina people.
15 Q. Now, without divulging any of the NGO staff members' individual
16 identities, did anyone from UNHCR inform you as to whether or not its
17 convoys were being subject to the same types of restrictions that you
18 described earlier?
19 A. In general, we hardly got any information about these UNHCR
20 convoys. Mostly we discovered them appearing at Papa and then had to take
21 action. I know of a convoy that was sent back by UNHCR because they had
22 to give the Bosnian Serb check-point diesel fuel or something, and they
23 refused that and returned. So they had more or less the same problems we
25 Q. I want to ask you some questions about the effects that the VRS
1 restrictions had on DutchBat's ability to carry out its mission, and let's
2 focus first, sir, please, on the effects of the fuel shortage. How did
3 that affect DutchBat's operability?
4 A. The battalion needed, in fact, 8 to 9.000 litres fuel a day to do
5 its job. As the supplies diminished we ended, with a daily ration of 250
6 litres, which meant that we were not able to do our full patrolling. We
7 had to do it by foot, which meant, the fuel lack, that we were not able to
8 heat. We had to chop wood. We were not able to have our medical dressing
9 station as it's called, it's some kind of a hospital, to keep that
10 operational. We were not able to purify water because we had to do that
11 with something that needed fuel as well, a device. We didn't have any
12 electricity, and in the end we were hardly able to, as far as food was
13 present, to prepare that because we couldn't cook it.
14 Q. Now, I'd like to turn your attention to the effects of the VRS
15 restriction on resupply on your weapons and weapons systems, sir. You've
16 already testified that in new weapons or ammunition, spare parts,
17 weapons-related testing equipment, for example, were permitted into the
18 enclave. But what was the effect on the systems themselves that you had
20 A. For instance, my -- sorry. My anti-tank systems, TOW, well, I
21 won't explain that but that's the name of the machine, needed a periodical
22 test, otherwise you can't use it. That needed test equipment. We
23 couldn't get it.
24 The rockets for my anti-tack systems, TOW and Dragon, et cetera,
25 were ready to use in the OPs, which meant that they were -- they ran back
1 in quality as far as that they were not usable anymore by -- by moist --
2 by, yeah, moisture, et cetera.
3 Q. And --
4 A. The ammunition for my mortars, without getting technical, but a
5 mortar need for a certain distance extra loads. That's some kind of a
6 pocket you do around it. Again, that powder was all moistured. So they
7 couldn't be used anymore.
8 Q. And do you have an estimate of what percentage of the ammunition
9 that you had with respect to the mortars, for example, was usable?
10 A. Yeah. I had about 15 per cent anyway of the mortar ammunition I
11 should have, and of that 15 per cent up to three-quarters was not usable
13 Q. You mentioned the TOW system. Is that a missile system of some
15 A. Yeah. It's a thread-guided missile system for anti-tank purposes.
16 Reaches about 4 Ks.
17 Q. And did those missiles have a longevity themselves?
18 A. Sorry, longevity?
19 Q. Did they have an expiration date?
20 A. Yeah.
21 Q. How long did they last typically under normal circumstances?
22 A. Under normal circumstances not being, well, yeah, keeping ready
23 for use, we swap them normally every four weeks. Under these
24 circumstances, it proved that they didn't last longer than about six weeks
25 on an OP, so we had to swap them for storage which we did not have. So
1 the operational readiness of these systems was zero.
2 Q. Now, in terms of, for example, small -- small arm ammunition, do
3 you recall what percentage of required ammunition you had by, say, July of
5 A. Yeah, well, the -- the average supplies ammo was 16 per cent, and
6 I remember that for small arms ammunition we were up to 30 per cent of the
7 supply of the amount we needed.
8 Q. And do you recall exactly how old some of your ammunition was,
10 A. Well, yeah, that was brought in 1994 with the first battalion and
11 never changed later on. And then again, just for your understanding, in
12 normal circumstances when we are operational, ready, we swap even the
13 small calibre ammunition every ten days because it goes back in quality
14 being in -- in the rifles, et cetera.
15 Q. Now, how about with respect to the DutchBat troop rotations, sir?
16 Were there restrictions placed on DutchBat's ability to rotate its
17 soldiers in and out?
18 A. Yeah, well, we could say till the end of March or April that
19 was -- there were problems with those convoys, personnel convoys, but that
20 was more teasing than operational danger, in fact, but as of April it was
21 finished and we had had quite a lot of guys out who couldn't come in
23 Q. When you arrived in January of 1995, what was the fighting
24 strength, to use I guess that term, of your combat-trained soldiers?
25 A. About 300. To be exact, I believe 318.
1 Q. And after the VRS restrictions kicked in, sir, you mentioned that
2 you had a lot of soldiers who couldn't come in anymore. What were you
3 down to?
4 A. In the end we had 147.
5 Q. And during this -- this time when you were experiencing these
6 restrictions, did you have a term that you used within the battalion for
7 what was going on?
8 A. Yes. We called that convoy terror.
9 Q. I want to turn your attention now, sir, to a new area. You
10 testified a few moments ago about an increase in firing incidents from
11 Serb forces on DutchBat patrols and -- and positions. Did that in
12 combination with other things prompt some discussions with the army of
13 Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding a -- an idea of how to defend the
15 A. Yes. We had a -- I personally had that discussion with the Chief
16 of Staff of the 28th Division. Problem was, of course, as we were UN
17 troops and as being UN impartial, but it was absolutely impossible to --
18 to give any substance to the deterrence we had to do when only my
19 observation posts should -- in case that there was a Serb attack should
20 try to defend things or to prevent the Serbs coming in. So we had a
21 strange discussion about how that would look like, which went like, well,
22 question of the Chief of Staff 28th was: What will UNPROFOR do as soon as
23 the -- the Serbs will attack the enclave? And under the -- my orders I
24 was only able and authorised to defend my own observation posts.
25 So we came to a -- an understanding that when I defended my
1 observation posts and the Bosnian army, so the Muslims, would defend the
2 area in between, without integrating the observation posts I would be
3 still that UN impartial force, and they would cover the areas between the
4 observation post, and we had some coordinated defence.
5 Q. Was an element of these discussions or was one of your
6 considerations during these discussions the actual security of your own
7 forces in those observation posts should there be an attack, specifically
8 with respect to knowing what the Muslim forces would be up to?
9 A. Sorry. The point is that -- that security of my own troops is not
10 a big issue. The point was that we -- it is impossible when there is an
11 attack and there are two parties and even three parties operating in an
12 area that two parties do not exactly cooperate but have more or less the
13 same aim, which is prevent the other party to come into the enclave. You
14 can't do that without any coordination on the spot. For instance, when
15 there were Muslim forces next to an observation post and they would leave
16 without telling us, I had a major problem because my observation post
17 would be out in the Bosnian Serb area alone and surrounded.
18 I think that answers your question?
19 Q. Was there -- and I think you just alluded to this, but was there
20 something about the very nature of the OPs themselves which required this
21 type of discussion, sir?
22 A. The problem was that giving -- following the order to deter by
23 presence the locations of the observation posts were military seen
24 absolutely ridiculous 6. We're on top of hills. We even had to put
25 lights on them by night to show that we were still there. They were
1 painted white, so we were absolute sitting ducks if anything went wrong.
2 And if you -- to that comes a non-coordinated operations of a third party,
3 being the Bosnian Muslim army, then it's ridiculous to start defending
5 Q. I want to turn your attention, sir, to the VRS attack on OP Echo.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Do you recall the date that that attack occurred?
8 A. Beginning of June, 3rd of June.
9 Q. Okay.
10 A. Yeah.
11 Q. Would you please just briefly describe for the Trial Chamber what
13 A. We got report through Bravo Company, the company was responsible
14 for that area that there was some movement in front of OP Echo. The
15 movement proved to be Serb infantry. Then the Serb infantry yelled --
16 used a loudspeaker to tell the OP that they had to go, they had to
17 withdraw because the Serbs wanted to come in. B Company asked me
18 permission to do that. I denied that. And then they came under attack
19 and in the end the Serbs took Echo over, and the crew withdrew in the very
20 last moment with my authorisation.
21 Q. And when you mentioned an attack, what did the attack on the OP
22 consist of, sir?
23 A. There was about 40 infantry supported by a tank at Tango five
24 fighters, the main battle tank, and a gun on the edge, ridge at Zeleni
1 Q. And were there actually shots fired during the attack, sir?
2 A. Yes, absolutely, yes, yes.
3 Q. And what -- was there damage to the OP?
4 A. Well, the tower was hit. The observation tower was hit by
5 firing -- the firing main battle tank and the area was fired at by the
6 gun; it was an anti-aircraft gun standing up there. But was used to
7 support the Serb attack.
8 Q. Following the attack, did you take any steps to replace in some
9 form OP Echo?
10 A. Yes. I ordered B Company to send two armoured -- two APCs each
11 to -- to block the -- the approach to the city of Srebrenica, which meant
12 in northern direction, and to block the approach in the Swedish Shelter
13 Project. South of the enclave there was a new built village of barracks
14 and there were about 3.000 fugitives in there, and having the area to Echo
15 the access to both areas was open for the Serbs.
16 Q. You just referred to 300 fugitives.
17 A. Sorry. Sorry, it must be 3.000 fugitives.
18 Q. And when you say "fugitives," what are you referring to, sir?
19 A. Well, people that probably in 1993 or something came to that area
20 but were not real locals, so Muslim fugitives from the area around the
21 enclave who came to that area and were -- were housed there.
22 MR. THAYER: I think this would be a good time, Madam Usher, if we
23 could show map 6, or somebody with e-court knowledge. It's number 2111.
24 And if we could shift the image up a little bit, please. Just a little
25 bit more. That's great. Thank you.
1 Q. Sir, do you have an image in front of you?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 Q. And can you just describe just generally what this depicts?
4 A. In fact, you see the surroundings of the -- of the enclave, and
5 the dots with letters to it are our observation posts. Referring to what
6 I said blocking the Serb approach, after the possible Serb approach, after
7 Echo was taken that resulted in the establishment of the observation posts
8 Uniform and Sierra. And Sierra is on the approach to what I call the
9 Swedish Shelter Project. And Uniform was on the higher ground just on the
10 approach in the direction of to the city of Srebrenica.
11 Q. And those OPs, as you've described them, are located to the south,
12 south-east of the enclave as depicted on this map; is that correct, sir?
13 A. That is correct, yes.
14 Q. And they are marked with an E, U and an S moving from right to
15 left, sir?
16 A. Yeah, that is correct. Still the old trait that I call it Sierra
17 and Uniform, sorry.
18 Q. That's right. Now, you've alluded to this somewhat, sir, but why
19 was this a militarily significant location?
20 A. Well, OP Echo was exactly on the road that went east-west. You
21 can see that on the map. The road that goes along what is called here
22 Zeleni Jadar. It's an important connection east-west, and there was just
23 the small edge you see on the map, the small corner. It was within the
24 Bosnian enclave, so they couldn't use that road.
25 There was a significant mining area, but again their connections
1 from east to west was quite impossible there not having that road, and we
2 thought that purpose of the attack was to get control over that road and
3 the possibility to use it to the Serbs.
4 Q. And what, if any, were the concerns that you referred to earlier
5 with respect to that Swedish Shelter Project?
6 A. Well, there were 3.000 civilians over there, refugees, and we
7 saw -- we thought that they could be jeopardised, or there was a
8 substantial danger for them when the Bosnian Serb army could move in that
9 area without any problem, not stopped. That's why I ordered them to go to
10 S and U, as you say it, and block these approaches.
11 Q. Now, did the increase in close firing by the VRS, the attack on
12 OP Echo and your perceived vulnerability of the Swedish Shelter Project,
13 did that prompt a specific communication by Colonel Karremans to higher
14 command that you recall, sir?
15 A. I know that Colonel Karremans then made a -- quite a large
16 commander assessment of the situation and indicating -- well, not
17 indicating, but making very clear that it was a very critical situation.
18 Not only the fact that a part of the enclave was taken by the Serbs but
19 the situation of the battalion and the civilian population as well.
20 Q. And again you've testified to some degree to this and I'm not
21 asking for a lot of detail, but did the elimination of OP Echo prompt
22 internal discussions in DutchBat about what that action might have meant
23 in terms of the VRS's larger intentions with respect to the enclave?
24 A. Well, in the beginning I thought that it was the beginning of a
25 major attack on the enclave, but when they didn't proceed in northern
1 direction and my own troops were able to get that far south as S and U
2 indicate, I -- in the beginning we did not understand what was going on
3 because it's -- obviously it was not major attack, because normally when
4 you do an attack you have success, you keep up the momentum, you keep on
5 rolling, because that keeps your opponent out of equilibrity. Then we
6 concluded that it was a more a less a test case, and the main effort was
7 done just to get control of that road I described before.
8 Q. Now, the Trial Chamber has already heard testimony concerning the
9 VRS attack on the enclave so I won't go through an hour by hour account of
10 what happened, but I would like to take you essentially through a
11 chronological review of some main events and recollections that you have
12 of -- of the events that occurred following the attack.
13 Where were you when the VRS assault on the enclave began on
14 July 6th?
15 A. In the operations room.
16 Q. And can you describe the reports that you were getting with
17 respect to where the main effort of the attack was concentrated?
18 A. Yeah, well, in fact it started around the 6th of July with heavy
19 firing in the area of the observation post Foxtrot, F, if you want. That
20 increased, was direct firing on the observation post, but there was more
21 shelling in the other area as well, but the main effort was obviously in
22 the area of OP Foxtrot, F.
23 Q. And we no longer have map 6 on the screen and I won't ask that it
24 be brought back up at the -- oh, is it still there? Oh, okay, great.
25 Would you just point out, please, where OP Foxtrot is?
1 A. It's the area that I described before, that is at the eastern --
2 south-eastern border of the -- of the enclave. You see the dot with the
3 letter F.
4 In combination with U and S, we had the Serb penetration at least
5 under observation, and the massive or the main effort of the Serb actions
6 were in the -- directly in the area of F, observation post Foxtrot on the
7 south-eastern part of the enclave.
8 Q. And Foxtrot is due north of Echo?
9 A. That's correct.
10 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Madam Usher. We won't need it now.
11 Q. Did you receive reports that the town of Srebrenica was being
13 A. Yes. B Company reported random shelling of the city, and there
14 was some shelling of -- of the position at the southern edge of the city
16 Q. And how about the Charlie Company or the main compound in
18 A. Yes. Well, there was firing at the UN base at Potocari and the
19 direct surroundings. But again, it was obvious it was an absolutely
20 massive firing in the area of Foxtrot.
21 Q. Did you begin to receive reports of civilian casualties in
22 Srebrenica town and elsewhere?
23 A. Reports of B Company who saw that civilians were brought into the
24 civil hospital in Srebrenica, yes.
25 Q. And did DutchBat assist in bringing in those wounded?
1 A. Yes. We had our armoured ambulances, I should say, or missed the
2 word, but you know what I mean. When we were around, we brought the
3 people to the hospital.
4 Q. And can you describe what types of fire OP Foxtrot received in?
5 A. All kinds, small calibre machine-gun, tank fire and mortar.
6 Q. Was there a standing order covering what DutchBat soldiers manning
7 the OPs were to do if directly attacked?
8 A. Yeah. The order to the OPs was defend the OP. And the order to
9 the company commanders were that the -- was in fact that they didn't have
10 to ask for withdrawal before the BiH withdrew.
11 Q. Sir, I'm just looking at the transcript and the answer that the
12 transcript indicates is that the order was to defend the OP and the order
13 to the company commanders was the fact they didn't have to ask for
14 withdrawal before the BiH withdrew.
15 Can you just amplify what that means a little bit, sir, please?
16 A. Yes. Well, you can't say an OP commander -- a commander of an
17 observation post that he can destine himself when he is to withdraw from
18 an OP. But seeing the positions -- I must be careful that I won't give
19 here some tactical detail story, but seeing the locations of the
20 observation posts and the easy way that the opponent can get quite close
21 to the observation post, it means that the reaction time to withdraw is
22 very shortly, if you want to. You can't give that to the judgement of the
23 local sergeant, NCO. The company commander must decide it. And there was
24 a guideline that, well, you can ask for it what you want, but as long as
25 the BiH is in position you will not get consent in withdrawing any OP.
1 Q. Okay. So is another way of looking at that that consent would not
2 be granted to withdraw as long as the Muslim forces were there as well?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Okay. Now, your previous answer raises a related question I
5 wanted to ask you. The -- it's fair to say that once the attack began in
6 earnest on July 6th that events started moving very rapidly in terms of
7 decisions that DutchBat had to make. Is that fair to say?
8 A. That's correct, yes.
9 Q. Now, can you describe just generally how the command
10 decision-making changed, if at all, during the course of the subsequent
12 A. To make it clear I'll have to enlighten something, you already --
13 we already discussed the fact that quite a lot of our personnel was still
14 in Zagreb, couldn't return to the enclave. Normally a battalion staff has
15 an S3. That's the operations officer. He in fact is doing the tactical
16 part of commanding the battalion when under fire. But luckily the S3 was
17 in Zagreb as well. In fact, I was the only staff officer rested. So
18 coordination within the battalion staff was easy, which meant that the --
19 the colonel was called to the phone any time by a general from anywhere,
20 and the fact that -- and I was in the operations room so that tactical
21 decisions within the guidelines of the colonel, I did that because you
22 have to be quick. It's all split-second work.
23 Q. I want to take you now to the 8th of July. This is the day that
24 Private Van Renssen was killed. Do you recall OP Foxtrot finally falling
25 that day, sir?
1 A. Yeah, well, already told that there was increased firing at
2 the OP. It was hit several times. The defence wall was blown away by the
3 tank fire, so they asked permission to withdraw. I gave that because the
4 BiH was not inside anymore. They didn't inform us they were gone but they
5 were gone. Then they waited for a pause in firing to withdraw but it was
6 too late. They were run over by Serb forces, but were allowed to withdraw
7 to Srebrenica.
8 About 700 metres away from -- from -- on that route to Srebrenica
9 they were stopped by a Bosnian -- a BiH position, a position of the
10 28th Division. The commander -- they wouldn't let them through, so the
11 commander checked with his company commander, went under armour, as we
12 call it, or had to, and tried to cross that -- that -- that -- what would
13 you call it, that blockade, in fact. They had some stuff on the road.
14 During that, one of the BiH soldiers fired at the APC and hit the gunner
15 who was not under armour yet.
16 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, we may be a couple minutes early, but
17 I think this probably would be a good time to take a break.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll have a 25-minute break starting from now.
19 Thank you.
20 --- Recess taken at 10.27 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Everything seems to be in place and everyone also.
23 Mr. Thayer.
24 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Q. Before we get going again, sir, I've been implored to continue to
1 speak slowly and to create as much of a pause between my questions and the
2 answers as possible. So we'll keep trying.
3 A. I'll keep on doing my best.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: It's difficult. I acknowledge that. We fall in the
5 same trap ourselves. But your cooperation, of course, is solicited.
6 MR. THAYER:
7 Q. Sir, we left off with the fall of OP Foxtrot on 8 July. I'd like
8 to take you now to 9 July. Do you recall receiving reports about what was
9 going on with the remaining OPs? And let's focus on OP Mike and then OPs
10 Sierra and Uniform, taking Mike first, please.
11 A. OP Mike is on the northern border of the enclave, and there were
12 reports that Mike was under fire as well, mortar fire and direct firing.
13 Through the commander of C Company, he asked me permission to withdraw a
14 couple of hundred metres to avoid that firing. It was granted, and as far
15 as I recollect he took a position on the edge of the village of Jaglici.
16 Then Sierra, Uniform, well, the Serbs started then what we called
17 Pacmanning the OPs. Pacman, that little game snatching things away. I
18 don't know whether Sierra and Uniform fell on the 9th exactly which one
19 did on what day. Sorry.
20 What was reported in the beginning of the -- out of that area was
21 that there was on the 9th a continuing battle in that area between
22 probably Bosnian BiH forces and the Serb forces, and Uniform was under
23 fire as well.
24 Q. Did you receive information, in fact, that the Swedish shelter
25 refugees had indeed begun to move?
1 A. As I said, I don't recollect whether that was the 9th or 10th, but
2 Sierra fell, was taken over by the VRS, and then I ordered B Company to
3 send in another APC who again tried to block the approach in the direction
4 of the Swedish Shelter Project. That APC had to go through a western
5 approach, and then in the woods he encountered pretty -- many people,
6 civilians, sheltering there, and they concluded that that was the
7 population of Swedish Shelter Project. Part of those civilians was in the
8 direction of the city of Srebrenica, but I don't know whether they all
9 arrived in Srebrenica.
10 Q. Now, on 9 July, do you recall receiving any instructions, orders,
11 or guidelines from UNPROFOR higher command?
12 A. Yes. We were ordered to defend the city of Srebrenica by -- with
13 all our military means.
14 Q. And did you translate that order into a subsequent order to your
16 A. Yes. I wrote an operational order to B Company ordering him to
17 take blocking positions generally on the south edge of the -- of the city
18 of Srebrenica. We reinforced him with a couple of APC, what we call the
19 QRF, Quick Reaction Forces of the other company. So we tried to give him
20 the means to do that.
21 Q. And what was the purpose of those blocking positions, sir?
22 A. Purpose of these positions were literally to defend Srebrenica,
23 which means to prevent the Serbs to enter the city of Srebrenica.
24 Q. Sir, I want to show you with the assistance of Madam Usher a
25 document that we only came across recently. The Defence has been provided
1 a copy with a translation. It doesn't have a 65 ter number or a court
2 number as yet, so I'll just place it on the ELMO if we could. I have
3 copies of this document as well as the English translation for the Court
4 should the Court desire to have a hard copy to look at as Colonel Franken
5 is reading the Dutch original and translating simultaneously.
6 Sir, do you --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Thayer. Let me see if we get
8 agreement on this.
9 What we see on the ELMO is the -- this document in Dutch, which
10 with the exception of the witness himself very few of us would understand.
11 I think what is more important is that we now can follow in -- in English.
12 So if there is a translated copy of it, I suggest we substitute what we
13 have on the ELMO with the English version. The accused will be able to
14 follow when refers -- specific reference is made to parts of this
15 document. In the meantime, the witness may retain the copy in whichever
16 language he prefers. Certainly he should have the Dutch original of the
17 document. Thank you.
18 MR. THAYER: Thank you for that guidance, Your Honour.
19 Q. Sir, do you have the Dutch in front of you?
20 A. I do.
21 Q. And -- and I see that we have the first page of the English
22 translation on the screen. The English translation version, sir, where
23 can you -- can you say who this memo is from and whom it is to?
24 JUDGE AGIUS: How many of these, do you have just one copy? One
25 copy. So what I suggest is -- one moment, Mr. Thayer. I apologise to you
1 for interrupting you.
2 But I what I suggest, Madam Usher, is that you hand this to
3 Mr. Popovic, and he will -- you will go through it very quickly before we
4 proceed with the questions so that you will know what kind of a document
5 we're talking about.
6 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, I've handed one to General Gvero. No
7 doubt he can share with Mr. Pandurevic.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. And do any of the Defence team
9 need a copy of the document in B/C/S apart from English? Or do you have
10 both already? Yeah, they have both already.
11 Let's proceed, Mr. Thayer.
12 MR. THAYER: Yes, Mr. President.
13 Q. Sir, you have a copy of a Dutch document in front of you. Do you
14 recognise what that is?
15 A. Yes. That is the order I gave to the commander of B Company,
16 Captain Groen, concerning the defence of the city of Srebrenica.
17 Q. Moving the document up a little bit. Thank you. The first
18 paragraph that is headed "Task," can you just summarise what that -- the
19 bulk of that paragraph is meant to communicate?
20 A. Yeah. In fact, what he has to do where, in what position. It
21 says that he has to prepare and here -- it says here "further organise,"
22 but the Dutch text is in fact "establish a defence in the southern border
23 of Srebrenica." And I'm giving his left and -- or his west and his
24 eastern border which means that within that area you should do your job.
25 And the note is: "This is a seriously meant green order." That
1 means -- in fact, we had a difference between blue operations, meaning
2 operations within the context of the UN, and blue is referring to the
3 colour of our equipment, blue helmets, et cetera. And the green order was
4 specifically given to tell him that he could use immediately all his means
5 without the restrictions of the UN to execute his order. In fact, it
6 meant you have to proceed now as a normal army, not a UN army. That's
7 what I meant and to make very clear to him.
8 Q. Now, moving down one item under "Movements."
9 A. Mm-hmm.
10 Q. Can you describe what you were communicating here?
11 A. In fact, we -- you can then say by means we reinforce him with
12 means with some APCs personnel and anti-tank weapons, and the order to
13 these means was that they had to leave the camp Potocari and such a time
14 that they arrive in Srebrenica was at 0330 hours in the morning.
15 Q. Now, I'd like to direct your attention to the second page of the
16 English translation, and I just note for the record that the Dutch
17 original version is a single-page document, but turning your attention to
18 the second page of the English translation. Can you explain, please, the
19 meaning of the various items under "Coordinating provisions," just
20 briefly, sir, if you would.
21 A. Yes. I hand-picked the commander of the positions, because
22 commander B Company had still the responsibility for all this area, and it
23 was a specific Captain Hageman pointed out by me to be commander of those
24 blocking positions. It says at what time, 0500 hours, all the units have
25 to be in position. And then some remarks about the quality of -- when
1 possible dig yourselves in, et cetera. It's some -- some guidelines,
2 general guidelines but not -- not very important. Unless he had to count
3 on in the English translation the word "Hrm" which means be prepared to.
4 It's a Dutch abbreviation that they took over. He had to be prepared to
5 be supported by close-air support.
6 Q. Okay. I think that will do it with that document.
7 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Madam Usher.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Bourgon. One moment, because -- okay. I
9 think it's clear enough in the transcript. I just wanted to make sure
10 that this "Hrm" is carefully reproduced. Close-air support would be the
11 full version of the CAS that appears on that.
12 Yes, Mr. Bourgon.
13 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President. I would just like to
14 raise the Trial Chamber's attention to the fact that the document
15 presently being used -- that was just used by the Prosecution of course is
16 a new document. This document never appeared on the Prosecution's
17 intended list of exhibits. It does not have a Rule 65 ter number.
18 Normally we would object and basically say that the Prosecution
19 before using such a document must make an application to say why this
20 document was not presented on its list of exhibits according to
21 Rule 65 ter. That being, Mr. President, that this document, even though
22 it was obtained recently by the Prosecution as was mentioned, what we see
23 here is that it appears that this document indeed already has an ERN
24 number, that it was a document in the possession of the Prosecution, but
25 at some point it was decided or simply they missed a document and did not
1 include it on their list.
2 We simply say, Mr. President, that the Prosecution should, when
3 they come across a document like this, first make an application, explain
4 why the document is not on their list, where the document comes from, so
5 that at least we have some time to prepare. In this case, we were given
6 this document yesterday.
7 We decided not to object in order to allow for the testimony of
8 Mr. Franken to continue today, but we want -- we have to raise this to the
9 Trial Chamber's attention.
10 There is a second issue, Mr. President, with respect to this
11 document, and this will again come on a few documents. There are comments
12 put between slashes on these documents, and this appears to have been
13 added, and it appears on many documents, appears to be added by the
14 translation services. For example, we have on this document, we have
15 "QRF" as being Quick Reaction Force. And then we have some of these
16 expansions, it's written expansions unknown.
17 There's a difference between a translation and a guessing work as
18 to what an abbreviation really means. The person who can tell us what the
19 abbreviation means, sorry, is the witness or at least somebody who was
20 aware of the document, but there should not be a guessing game in terms of
21 trying to identify what these expansions or these abbreviations mean.
22 Thank you, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I think answering your last issue I think it
24 requires very little -- very few remarks. I think that if you have doubts
25 as to the words between backslash, then you can -- that can be raised in
1 cross-examination with -- with the witness. That's the first one.
2 The second -- the first point that you raised, I understood
3 Mr. Thayer to say that the Prosecution had come into possession of this
4 document only recently. Are you contesting that?
5 MR. BOURGON: Well, the fact of the matter, Mr. President, is we
6 received some notes from the Prosecution and I'm not sure exactly when
7 they came across this document, because according to some information that
8 we have this -- what is referred to in a memo that we've received from my
9 colleague is called a green order with an ERN number.
10 Now, in terms of this document, it talks about a Rule 70 waiver,
11 meaning that the Prosecution already had this document but for some reason
12 appears to have elected or chosen not to use it. Now they want to use it
13 and they changed their mind. Now, that's a big difference between you
14 have a document, you choose not to use it, and then suddenly with another
15 witness comes and you say, "Oh, well, yes, I'm going to use it today." I
16 think that's a difference.
17 Maybe that's not the case. Maybe my colleague can explain, but
18 that's the purpose of my intervention. If the Prosecution wants to use a
19 new document, they should make an application and say, "We have a new
20 document. Here's what it is. Here's where it comes from. Here is why we
21 want to use it." And then we can argue and basically the Chamber can
22 decide whether it should be allowed to do so or not.
23 Thank you, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Bourgon.
25 Mr. Thayer, had these issues not been brought up, obviously your
1 explanation that this document had just come to you recently would have
2 provided the explanation why it was not included on the 65 ter list.
3 However, the issue has been raised, and I think I have to call upon you to
4 tender any explanation you may have.
5 MR. THAYER: Certainly, Your Honour. And my learned colleague has
6 a fair point with respect to these two documents, actually, that we will
7 be dealing with in the course of Colonel Franken's testimony.
8 I misspoke with respect to this particular document. This
9 document we have had. It has not been identified before, as far as I
10 know, by anybody as existing. It was attached to the statement of another
11 DutchBat officer. No one, as far as I know, has seen it ever, and that
12 is -- it came into my possession very recently, and I tried to get a hold
13 of Colonel Franken as soon as I could to see if he would waive his Rule 70
14 privilege with respect to it and communicate that as soon as I could.
15 So we have had this in a collection. I don't believe anybody's
16 actually seen this particular document, Your Honour. I came across it
17 through a massive Rule 68 search that we are conducting as a regular part
18 of our ongoing duties and compliance with the rules of the Trial Chamber.
19 With respect to the second document --
20 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Stop there for the time being.
21 That is the explanation that Mr. Thayer has for the Defence. Do
22 you -- can we proceed, or do you wish to comment on it?
23 MR. BOURGON: Indeed, Mr. President. For today with this document
24 we can proceed. But this is a situation that needs to be brought to your
25 attention for future documents so that we have an ongoing procedure. But
1 I don't want to interrupt the testimony of this witness.
2 Thank you, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
4 Next point with the other document.
5 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, with respect to this second document,
6 this document indeed we only came into possession of on Thursday last.
7 These are documents which we undertook efforts to recover at the request
8 of counsel for accused Miletic, documents which were mentioned in the NIOD
9 report which we have placed the Defence on notice of. It's been in
10 existence for some time, but we received a specific request to search or
11 contact NIOD for documents relating to our anticipated live trial
12 witnesses. We have done so. We expect to receive some of those documents
13 shortly. They will be translated as soon as possible and furnished to
14 Defence counsel.
15 One of those documents was translated last week and furnished to
16 Defence counsel today. The document was received Thursday, translated
17 Friday and Saturday, and then disclosed today. This document that I'm
18 referring to that I will use with Colonel Franken actually has not even
19 been translated yet. It is a document I only had an opportunity to
20 discuss with Mr. McCloskey over the weekend. We made the decision that it
21 had some -- some probative and relevant value, and we have undertaken to
22 have it translated in fact as we speak.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you so much, Mr. Thayer.
24 And I take it from you, Mr. Bourgon, speaking on behalf of all of
25 the Defence teams, that we can proceed?
1 MR. BOURGON: I have not discussed this with my colleagues, but I
2 believe that is the case, but I was not speaking on behalf of everybody
3 because I did not check with them first.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I apologise to you for having misunderstood that.
5 Does any Defence team wish to disassociate itself with the
6 position taken by Mr. Bourgon, both in relation to the first and the
7 second document? In other words, okay, we can proceed.
8 Yes, Mr. Thayer. And I thank the -- you for the explanations and
9 the Defence teams for their cooperation.
10 Mr. Thayer.
11 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Q. Just one final question, sir, with respect to these blocking
13 positions, and forgive me if you've answered this previously but I just
14 wanted to clarify it. How many blocking positions were there and what
15 names were they assigned?
16 A. There were originally planned four blocking positions. They were
17 called Bravo 1 up to Bravo 4, and there was one planned position for my
18 forward air controllers, which means that is a team that is able to lead
19 planes on -- attacking planes on a target.
20 Q. Now, do you recall approximately when your blocking positions
21 actually were established?
22 A. Because they had problems by taking their positions. It was
23 prevented by a Serb fire. It was at about 0630 that morning.
24 Q. And this would be the morning of 10 July --
25 A. That's correct, yes.
1 Q. Now, let's just take up where you -- where you left off there.
2 What reports did you receive concerning fire received by DutchBat
3 positions and personnel, and let's begin with those blocking positions.
4 A. Well, the commander, Captain Hageman, who had a central position,
5 I recollect it as being Bravo 2, was not able to reach that because he
6 came under fire of a Serb T 55 main battle tank, was shot off the road
7 with his APC, had to withdraw. That position was adjusted. The position
8 on the west side, Bravo 1, had to change his position because he was under
9 fire of Serb tanks and Serb artillery. Bravo 4 in the east had no
10 problems originally, and Bravo 3 had to change because he was under fire
11 by machine -- machine-guns but took reserve positions, which mean it's a
12 position where he can do the same job just on another spot.
13 Q. You mentioned the position of Captain Hageman taking fire and
14 being driven off the road. Did you have to take any steps to try to
15 recover that --
16 A. Yeah, we tried to -- the recovery vehicles were positioned at
17 Potocari and so I sent down one of them who came in the fire right out of
18 the gate of Potocari by the anti-tank gun that was positioned in the area
19 of OP P, Papa. But again when he tried to go to the vehicle of Captain
20 Hageman he came under fire of that came Tango 55 main battle tank and had
21 to withdraw, so we didn't succeed in recovering that vehicle.
22 Q. Did you receive any reports of injuries suffered by DutchBat
23 soldiers or crew members?
24 A. Yes. There were a couple of shrapnel wounds, light injuries, but
25 they could stay in position and could keep on working or doing their job.
1 Q. And were those injuries sustained by blocking position crew
2 members, sir?
3 A. Bravo 1 and the western position, they had three or four wounded
4 by shrapnels, and some of the crew of -- the gunner of Captain Hageman had
5 some injuries.
6 Q. Now I'd like to focus your attention for a moment to Bravo Company
7 and that area.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What reports were you receiving on 10 July concerning the attack
10 on -- on that area, sir?
11 A. Well, as I told you, my blocking positions were under fire, and
12 there was a massive shelling of the city of Srebrenica, including our
13 compound. There were reports of wounded, but we didn't count them because
14 they were taken to the civil hospital and we had our hands full in doing
15 other things.
16 Q. And did you at some point request a count of the number of
17 detonations or -- or artillery explosions on that day, sir?
18 A. Standard procedure was that when there was shelling that -- that
19 the patrol or the observer reported the amount and the -- if known, the
20 weapon system that was firing. B Company did that on the 10th as well,
21 but I ordered them to stop when they came up to 160 or 200 or something
22 like that. It was no use anymore to report that, just filling paper.
23 Q. And by this time, sir, were you able to identify and count the VRS
24 artillery or firing positions?
25 A. Yes. We already knew of -- of about 16 positions, but then we
1 came to a count of about 32 artillery or mortar positions active. We got
2 reports of about six different main battle tanks operational.
3 Q. Now, at some point on 10 July, do you recall DutchBat receiving an
4 ultimatum from the VRS?
5 A. On the 10th, you say?
6 Q. Yes, on or about the 10th.
7 A. Well, as far as I recollect, UN sent an ultimatum to -- to the --
8 the Serbs, the Bosnian Serbs, and they reacted with an ultimatum to
9 DutchBat, in fact, saying, okay, stop your hostile activity and with an
10 arrangement that we could leave through Papa, the -- in an order with the
11 civil population, leave the enclave, and they demanded that we left our
12 equipment and weapons, et cetera, as far as I recollect it.
13 Q. Okay. I'd like to show you a document.
14 And for the record, this is the second document that I described
15 previously that has just come into our possession. And with the
16 assistance of Madam Usher, I'd just like to place it on the ELMO.
17 Sir, you have a document in Dutch in front of you. I'd just ask
18 you to take a moment and read it. And again, we are in the process of
19 getting this document translated, so for the time being, with the Trial
20 Chamber's permission, I'd just ask you to translate into English directly
21 from this document. And when you do so, sir, it's even more important to
22 pause to do so, because it's particularly important for the accused to be
23 able to understand what you're saying.
24 Now, having seen in document, can you describe what it is?
25 A. In fact, it is a written version of the -- of the radio message we
1 got from the BSA and I tried to describe the details but I see the details
2 here, and it concerns the information of commander B Company, because the
3 other commanders were in the area of the HQ because I -- so I could do
4 that verbally, but Captain Groen was in Srebrenica, so I sent this down to
5 him, and it concerned that ultimatum of what we call the Bosnian Serb
6 army. Text was: "The UN is not disarming the Muslims so we will do that,
7 and as 11th of July, 0600 hours till 48 hours later, civilians, soldiers
8 of the BiH, DutchBat can give -- hand in their weapons and leave the
9 enclave through Yellow Bridge."
10 Yellow Bridge is the Bosnian Serb check-point at the north part of
11 the enclave.
12 Q. Okay.
13 A. "UN" --
14 Q. Let me just stop you right there.
15 A. I'm going too fast.
16 Q. No, no, no, you're fine. I just want to clarify something.
17 This particular paragraph, there's a word that precedes the colon
18 on the line that has the BSA on it. It's "betreft." What is that word?
19 A. B-e-t -- sorry.
20 Q. It's -- right next to where it says "ultimatum BSA."
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. There is a word directly to the left of that.
23 A. Oh, "betreft." That's a Dutch word, means concerned. This
24 concerns the ultimatum of the BSA. That's literally translated what
25 the ...
1 Q. Now I'm sorry, I interrupted you.
2 A. No, no.
3 Q. You were about to talk about the last line of that section.
4 A. Yes. "NGOs, UNHCR, et cetera, can leave immediately through
5 Yellow Bridge."
6 Again, Yellow Bridge being the Serb check-point in the north.
7 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I just raise an issue. We have just
8 received the English translation of the document. I can place this on the
9 ELMO and work from here on, or at the Court's pleasure we can continue
10 with the Dutch translation via Colonel Franken.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: So replace that with the English version. More or
12 less it will also give us an opportunity to control what we've just heard.
13 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, we do have extra copies of the English
14 translation which I can distribute.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, please.
16 MR. THAYER: To -- oh, thank you, Madam Usher.
17 May I proceed, Your Honour?
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly.
19 MR. THAYER:
20 Q. Now, sir, feel free to rely on the Dutch version you have in front
21 of you or the English translation. The bottom portion of that memorandum,
22 would you please explain that to the Trial Chamber.
23 A. Yes, but if you allow me, I have a remark about the translation of
24 the first part.
25 Q. All right.
1 A. It says "DutchBat can hand in weapons," as if there was a
2 possibility not to do so. That was absolutely not the case. We had to
3 hand in our weapons when we should have done that.
4 Then the second part, "UN reaction," was that the Bosnian Serb
5 army should withdraw to lines of Morillon, as was the UN border of the
6 enclave because there were three borders. In fact, there was a BiH
7 border, BSA border and the UN border, and that differed significantly.
8 Every "AV," which is the Dutch abbreviation for attack. Every
9 attack should be left behind. Or they should stop their attack it was
10 meant. And the order was to withdraw to those Morillon lines as of 0600
11 on the, what is it, the 11th. That was the reaction of the UN, and this
12 message was to inform commander B Company what was going on on that level.
13 Q. Okay. I think that takes care of that document.
14 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Madam Usher.
15 JUDGE KWON: What does processing mean? Top line.
16 THE WITNESS: Top line, sir.
17 JUDGE KWON: Processed 13th July.
18 THE WITNESS: That is later on a -- a -- they say they filed it or
19 processed it on the 13th, but that is not done by me or something. It is
20 somebody who made this copy or whatever.
21 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Judge Kwon.
23 Mr. Bourgon.
24 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President. I would just like to
25 clarify something the witness just said about, he made a comment on the
1 translation. I would just like to know if that was a substantive comment
2 or whether the original says something other than "can hand in weapons."
3 JUDGE AGIUS: So I understood it.
4 But Colonel -- Mr. Franken has heard your remark, and I think he
5 can easily answer that.
6 THE WITNESS: It is significant, because in fact it's a mistake in
7 the translation. The original message says, "You have to hand in your
8 weapons," and the translation says, "You can," giving the possibility --
9 the possibility not to do so, but it's not relevant.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
11 You may proceed.
12 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Your Honour. And thank you, Madam Usher.
13 Q. Sir, that brings us now to the 11th of July. By that time were
14 you also receiving reports concerning the fate of the remaining OPs that
15 you had described earlier? I think the term you used for it was a Pacman
16 video game. And what do you mean by that and was that continuing until
17 the 11th?
18 A. What I meant is that the OPs were one by one taken over by the
19 Serbs. After the Foxtrot incident with which I mean the killing of one of
20 my soldiers, we ordered the OPs only to withdraw when they got permission
21 to withdraw, when there was some kind of an agreement with the local
22 Muslim commander, because we were very keen to prevent more soldiers shot
23 by -- by the Muslim army.
24 So what I meant by Pacman, that one by one the Muslims left their
25 positions without telling us and my OPs found themselves absolutely
1 surrounded by the Bosnian Serb army. And during that day, and I don't
2 know exactly which OP when fell, but it ended in that the OP Charlie and
3 OP Alpha were still in position, and Delta was in another position a bit
4 more north and more or less the rest of them were taken over or withdrawn,
5 with the exception of Papa, because Papa we kept that. In the northern
6 entrance, we kept that operation.
7 Q. And what happened to the DutchBat soldiers who had been manning
8 those OPs as they were being overrun, captured or attacked by the VRS
10 A. In most cases they have to hand in their small calibre weapons and
11 were taken with their APC to -- whether Bratunac. Some of them stayed
12 some period in that mining area, that is the area directly south of the
13 enclave, were brought to Milici, but in the end they all ended in
15 Q. And based on the reports that you were receiving, were those
16 soldiers free to leave their positions or free to leave that location in
17 Bratunac or --
18 A. No, no. They were -- they were POWs. They were taken prisoner.
19 Q. At some point on the 11th of July did you decide to issue any
20 orders regarding continuing to defend the town of Srebrenica?
21 A. That's correct. The situation was that we had an attack on
22 the 10th. The evening of the attack we fired upon the Serb army. They
23 withdrew. Then we found out in the morning of the 11th that the 28th
24 Muslim Division had disappear. Nobody was there anymore.
25 And the population, the civilians, were moving into -- massively
1 in the city itself over in our compound of the B Company, and then we
2 tried to lead them in the direction of Potocari. Commander B Company had
3 soldiers on the road who started to walk in the direction of Potocari, and
4 they followed, which meant that defending Srebrenica, the city, an empty
5 city, was of no use, and I gave B Company orders to withdraw at the tail
6 of that column of refugees a northern position, in northern direction.
7 His mission was stay between the Serbs and the civilians and bring them --
8 bring them north. If you come to Potocari, take position in the south on
9 the edge of Potocari, front south, and again start blocking any Serb
11 Another reason for ordering him withdraw Srebrenica was that by
12 that time being the 28th Muslim Division away, I had Serb infantry on the
13 high edges already past my left and right flanks. So we were in the air
14 and in fact, well, moved out of position.
15 Q. You described the movement of the Muslim refugees together with
16 some of your men northwards. Did you receive reports about their
17 experience as they moved in that northerly direction?
18 A. Commander B Company, of course, informed me in detail where his
19 positions were and how far the proceedings or the ongoing of that column
20 was. I got reports of shelling of the column. Wounded we picked up and
21 loaded them on the APCs and brought them to Potocari on that way. That
22 was in fact in general the reports I got, because every detailed report is
23 not relevant now.
24 Q. And do you know what kind of fire the column of refugees was
1 A. Yes, mostly mortar and artillery.
2 Q. Did you make any logistical preparations for the arrival of these
3 refugees given the information you were receiving, sir?
4 A. Yes. I ordered base commander Major Otter to recce a route into
5 the camp.
6 Q. Let me stop you right there. What does the term "recce" mean?
7 A. To -- what do you call that in normal English? To find out a
8 road, a safe road, route, I should say, into the camp because the road in
9 front of our base was in the direct site of Serb artillery and Serb tanks,
10 and I didn't want those civilian columns moving up that road because I had
11 reason to believe that it was -- they would be fired upon.
12 That's what he did, and then we had a line of guides to guide the
13 people into our camp in Potocari, and I gave my logistics people and my
14 medics orders to prepare the receiving of the people. So make a first aid
15 post, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
16 Q. You described the -- wanting to keep the column of refugees out of
17 the direct sight of the Serb artillery. Can you describe with a little
18 bit more detail where you had identified those pieces being located and
19 what they were, if you know?
20 A. In -- in the area of the OP Papa there was a small ridge and a
21 saddle what we call it, a lower part, and in that position was an
22 anti-tank gun who had been firing all the time at the -- our base.
23 Directly east of it there was a position of a T55, a main battle tank, and
24 further north there were positions of MRS -- what is it? Multiple launch
25 rocket systems.
1 Q. At this time if we could have P01516 displayed on e-court, please.
2 And this is the one we need upside down, please. Actually, if we could
3 zoom out just a bit, please. Just a little bit more. Zoom out. I'm
4 sorry. Perfect. Okay.
5 Sir, do you have an image on your screen?
6 A. I do.
7 Q. I'll just ask you to take a moment and orient yourself and ask you
8 if you can recognise what this is?
9 A. In fact, that's an aerial photograph of -- of the location of our
10 HQ in Potocari and the -- a part of the village of Potocari itself. The
11 way -- the road you see north-south going is the road between Bratunac and
13 Q. Okay. And I'll ask you some more specific questions about some of
14 the landmarks and features. But basically are you able to make out
15 various landmarks and structures on this document based on your experience
16 there, sir?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Okay. I'm going to ask you to -- with the assistance of Madam
19 Usher to take a stylus and show you how to do it. It's a lesson in time
21 Okay. I'd ask you if you could just write "UN base" to the right
22 of the actual compound if you can identify it there on the -- and just
23 draw an arrow pointing to it, please.
24 A. [Marks].
25 Q. And do you see an area that you knew as the Ekspres bus compound
1 or the bus company?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 Q. And would you please write "bus compound" to the right of it and
4 an arrow, please.
5 A. [Marks].
6 Q. And do you see the general area of the abandoned factories that
7 have been referred to, and if you do, could you just please
8 write "factories" to the left of it and an arrow pointing to that area,
10 A. [Marks].
11 Q. Do you -- can you make out a feature that you knew as the
12 "White House" on this overview, sir, and if you --
13 A. Yes, I can.
14 Q. If you can, would you please just write "White House" to the left
15 and an arrow point to go it.
16 A. [Marks].
17 Q. And just for the record, the northern -- northern direction is
18 going up on the page and south down; is that correct?
19 A. [Marks].
20 Q. Thank you, sir. Would you mark as best as you can recall the
21 route that Major Otter had established for the reception of the refugees.
22 A. Yes. And I'm not sure whether that was in between these buildings
23 or the western part of these buildings I'm not sure as well. But in
24 general, we came from the south side and we made a hole in the fence
25 indicated there as a sign where they came in.
1 Q. And where in the UN base were they physically sheltered, sir?
2 A. In a big factory building in the centre.
3 Q. And if you'd just place an X on top of that, please.
4 A. [Marks].
5 Q. And if you could write your initials and date the document,
7 A. [Marks].
8 Q. Thank you, sir. I think we're ready to --
9 A. You're welcome.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: And you will tender that at a later stage. Yes,
11 Mr. Thayer.
12 MR. THAYER: I think we are done for the moment with this
13 document. If it's saved, we can cross our fingers and let it go.
14 Thank you, Madam Usher.
15 Q. How did you determine, sir, when the compound was -- was too full
16 for your purposes?
17 A. Having experienced the situation in Srebrenica with our freedom of
18 movement with military means when all these people were around, which was
19 not, I had to guarantee that on the compound, being the last UN area in
20 the enclave, I still was able to move with my military means, my APCs, if
21 necessary. And secondly, I didn't want the refugees to be exposed to the
22 views of the Bosnian Serb army, especially not directly in the line of
23 fire of the artillery and tanks I described to you before. So that's why
24 I decided to use that building. In fact, it's the only one that gave that
25 cover anyway. And when it was full to closed down, yeah.
1 Q. And where were the refugees directed after that, sir?
2 A. Well, they stayed more or less in the area of the bus station, the
3 factories in the area, and on the other side, on the western side of the
5 Q. Which you have marked on your --
6 A. Before, yes.
7 Q. -- previous document. Okay.
8 I want to turn your attention, sir, briefly to another event on
9 the afternoon of 11 July. At some point was close-air support finally
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. And did you receive any response from the VRS to that close-air
14 A. Yes. Must have been around 1400 hours when the close-air support
15 was a fact. I got through the communication means of one of the -- let's
16 say of my APCs standing in Bratunac, the APCs that came with the OP crews
17 to that POW site, I got an English message read by one of my NCOs, my
18 NCOs, which said that close-air support had to stop immediately or BSA
19 would shell to the ultimate the area of our base, including the locations
20 where the refugees were, and they would kill my soldiers, being POW.
21 Q. Now, let's take the latter portion of that message first, sir.
22 How seriously did you take the threat to your personnel?
23 A. Yeah. Not that serious. The only thing what in my opinion could
24 be done is that they would use them as a shelter or as a cover for --
25 for -- on important locations, a sort of human shield which they did
1 before in other parts of Bosnia. I didn't -- I didn't believe that they
2 would really execute them.
3 Q. How seriously did you take the threat to shell the HQ and the
4 compound with the refugees in it, sir?
5 A. Very serious, because they did that before. And with that I mean
6 firing at the refugees with all means they had.
7 Q. And at some point shortly after receiving this threat was there
8 actually fire received by the base?
9 A. Yes. Probably they -- they would make sure that we believed them,
10 because very shortly after that there was a mortar shelling of the area of
11 the bus station, and later -- shortly after that there was a full round of
12 the MRS, the multiple rocket system in the area of Potocari.
13 Q. And did that fire cause any casualties among the refugees, sir?
14 A. Yeah, there were wounded, but I can't tell you how many because it
15 was a tremendous crowd in panic, of course.
16 Q. I want to turn your attention for a couple of moments to an area
17 which the Trial Chamber has received substantial evidence already so we
18 went go through it in much detail, and I'm referring to the series of
19 Hotel Fontana meetings between the evening of the 11th and the next
20 morning the 12th of July.
21 Just briefly, sir, did Colonel Karremans brief you following the
22 first meeting?
23 A. Yeah, following the first meeting he did, yes.
24 Q. And as result of that first meeting you had to locate a
25 representative from the Muslim population for the second meeting? Is that
1 correct, sir?
2 A. That is correct, yes.
3 Q. And do you remember that person's name?
4 A. Yeah. Mr. Mandic was the first one that took part of that
5 committee, yes.
6 Q. And did you see Mr. Mandic --
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. -- when he returned from that second meeting? And again, I'm
9 sorry, but if you could please leave a pause between --
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. -- between our questions.
12 A. Mr. Mandic came to the meeting, yes.
13 Q. And what was his demeanour when you saw him after that second
15 A. Yeah, he was very, very nervous and -- and almost panicking
16 because, well, he felt the responsibility he was confronted with. We
17 talked and he had the wish to speak to his government. We tried that on
18 the evening but we couldn't reach anybody. There was a responsible
19 minister obviously in that -- in the BiH government, but he couldn't be
20 disturbed because he was dining. So Mr. Mandic had his problem. I tried
21 to support him.
22 Q. Now, did Colonel Karremans brief you after the second meeting that
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. So it's fair to say that by the evening of the 11th the refugees
1 had already pretty much filled the compound and were crowded into the
2 factory area and the bus area to the south --
3 A. Yes, the mass was already present then in the night of the 11th.
4 On the 12th, there were smaller groups still coming in, but the mass was
5 there, yes.
6 Q. And at that point what measures did you take with respect to their
7 safety and welfare?
8 A. Their safety, we had -- I appointed a commander as a guard
9 commander, and we had a ring of outposts around that area. Order was to
10 prevent Serb forces or any forces to enter that -- that area. And for the
11 welfare we had a first aid -- no, two first aid posts with medics and
12 doctors in the area. We distributed water and some food of which we
13 didn't have ourself very much, but that's what we did.
14 Q. I take it you spent fair amount of time in the operations room
15 during this period; is that correct?
16 A. That is correct, yes.
17 Q. Did you nonetheless make it a point to get out and about?
18 A. Yes. Well, I thought it was important that I got out so that not
19 only hearing the reports but seeing with my own eyes, and I -- at least
20 twice a day I made my round outside.
21 Q. Did you have an opportunity to observe the conditions --
22 A. Yes, I did. Yes.
23 Q. -- of the refugees?
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. And would you just briefly describe how they appeared to you at
1 that time?
2 A. Totally exhausted, bad condition. In fact, lethargic. Lethargic?
3 Yeah, that is a word. They didn't react on anything, just turned into
4 themselves. Not prepared to help each other or whatever. We were there,
5 and more or less they looked as if the world stopped for them.
6 Q. Were you able to estimate approximately how many Muslim men were
7 inside the compound and among the gathering refugees south of the
9 A. Inside the compound we were pretty sure we counted them. We
10 probably come to that; it's the well known list. And the estimations
11 outside were around 600 up until 800 or something like that.
12 Q. And as you said, we'll get to the list later. But for the time
13 being, did you have a general idea of how many Muslim men were inside the
15 A. Yes, we estimated on 300 about.
16 Q. Sir, I'd like you to turn your attention now to the next day,
17 the 12th of July.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. There was an infantry attack that commenced at some point that
20 morning. Could you just briefly describe what you observed with respect
21 to that?
22 A. Yeah. That advance was a demonstration of a basically trained
23 unit, men in line supported by a main battle tank and coming alongside the
24 road from northern direction in the direction of Potocari. So from the
25 area of OP Papa general Bratunac. Well dressed, I mean in proper
1 uniforms. All the same uniforms. There was obviously a communication
2 between the tank crew and the infantry outside. So more or less a demo, a
3 demonstration of a normal army.
4 Q. Where was Colonel Karremans at this time, sir?
5 A. He was on his way or already present at the third meeting with
6 Mladic, and that was in Bratunac in that hotel.
7 Q. So the attack that you witnessed occurred sometime in the early
8 morning of -- of the 12th?
9 A. Quarter past 10.00, half past 10.00, something like that, yes.
10 Q. Not early for a military man?
11 A. No, not.
12 Q. Did you a bit later that morning have direct contact with some of
13 those VRS forces after they entered Potocari?
14 A. Personally, you mean?
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. Yeah, well, later on when Colonel Karremans returned from his
17 meeting with Mladic, and he was trying to debrief me. Later on I had
18 contact to a Colonel Acamovic, who was a G4 officer, he said, from Pale
19 and who was in charge of what we called -- or what one called then the
20 evacuation of the civil population.
21 Q. Okay. Let me just interrupt you right there, sir. I want to go
22 back a little bit before we talk about --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Before we go back, if he could repeat the name
24 because it doesn't show up in the transcript. I think it's important.
25 Colonel who?
1 THE WITNESS: As far as I recollect, Acamovic, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Thayer.
3 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. Before we discuss the higher level Serb officers whom you
5 encountered, did you encounter a group of other VRS soldiers somewhere in
6 the vicinity of the compound, sir?
7 A. Yes. I got a report that a couple of Serb soldiers wanted to
8 enter the compound not through the main gate but an unused gate they
9 wanted to go in. Major Rutten reported that to me. As for orders, I went
10 over there myself and forbid that. The only thing I -- to prevent a
11 fighting over there quite close to the refugees. I permitted them to come
12 in with two guys and to check whether or not, as they declared, parts of
13 the 28th Division were in our compound. So I escorted them with four or
14 five soldiers -- of my soldiers and they were in the compound for about
15 four minutes and then out again.
16 Q. And do you recall the appearance of these soldiers, sir?
17 A. Yes. Generally they were -- they were wearing all kinds of
18 uniforms. There were a couple of them in dark uniforms, soldiers with
19 dogs, and on my request somebody stepped forward. There was one soldier
20 who spoke English stepped forward and declared himself the commander.
21 Q. Did these soldiers all appear to be from the same unit?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Or did they appear to you to be from different units at that --
24 A. From different units. Yeah, well, at least they didn't wear all
25 the same uniform.
1 Q. Now, let's pick up where you began to answer previously.
2 Did Colonel Karremans return at some point from that meeting in
4 A. Yes, that is correct. If you want a time it would be somewhere
5 shortly after 12.00, I suppose.
6 Q. And did he brief you about what happened at the meeting?
7 A. Yeah. Well, he started briefing, I should say, because he
8 couldn't finish that because him briefing me, I got the report that there
9 were hell of a lot of buses and trucks appearing from the -- from the
10 north. So he stopped his briefing and I started arranging things, at
11 least tried.
12 Q. And was it at that point that you had contact with this VRS
13 officer Acamovic?
14 A. That was later on. It was later on. I suppose it's about 2.00
15 or 3.00 in the afternoon.
16 Q. Why don't we discuss for a moment your encounter with this Colonel
17 Acamovic, sir.
18 A. Mm-hmm.
19 Q. Did just describe who he told you he was, what he did, and what he
20 was doing there?
21 A. It was a very short meeting, I should say. He came forward to me
22 and said he was a colonel in the Bosnian Serb army and he was a G4 officer
23 and responsible for the evacuation of the civilians and asked for support
24 and specifically transport and diesel.
25 Q. And what was your --
1 A. Fuel.
2 Q. And what was your response to that?
3 A. I could hardly stop my laughing because they were very well aware
4 of the fact that I did not have diesel and I refused that support.
5 Q. Did you meet any other higher-level Serb officers that day who
6 appeared to be involved to some degree in this whole process?
7 A. It must be the same day that I met a Colonel Jankovic, and he said
8 to be a colonel from Pale as well, and his mission was to prepare and --
9 and to coordinate the withdrawal of DutchBat out of the enclave.
10 Q. Now, sir, given that --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Thayer. Previously on -- he was
12 asked and he answered the question relating to what kind of uniforms,
13 whether they were wearing the same uniform. I'm referring to the small
14 group that were allowed to enter.
15 Did he notice any insignia?
16 THE WITNESS: No, I did not, sir. There were some badges on these
17 parts of uniforms, but -- but I don't really recollect them. Yeah, they
18 looked like militia. One had camouflage trousers on, the other a jacket,
19 et cetera. It was a complete mix of civil and military parts on their
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
22 MR. THAYER:
23 Q. Now, given that as you testified, sir, the buses had already
24 arrived, what did you decide to do?
25 A. Well, it was obvious that we want to have some control over the
1 operation, so I -- the first buses already tried or started to leave, and
2 I sent down, I picked out two officers in my neighbourhood, put them in
3 the jeep and gave them the word to stay with that convoy whatever happens,
4 and then I gave order to one of my officers, Captain Melchers, to organise
5 a convoy escort which meant one jeep with an NCO or officer and a driver
6 in front of that convoy and one at the tail of the convoy. And he started
7 arranging that.
8 Q. Just going back a moment, sir. The first two officers whom you
9 mentioned, do you recall their names?
10 A. Yes. Major Boering, my S5, and Captain Voerman. He was normally
11 my personnel officer. But they happened to be at hand so I ordered them
12 to do that.
13 Q. Did you attempt to stay abreast of the progress of those first
14 convoys, sir?
15 A. Yes, we did. I could not get any communications with my escort
16 team, but I heard afterwards what happened to that convoy that went well I
17 got reports from the Pakistani battalion being in the area of Kladanj,
18 being a UN unit. On my question whether there were people coming in,
19 specifically men and women, they confirmed that. And later on I got
20 reports from my escort teams as long as they were operational.
21 Q. Now, along those lines, sir, did you start receiving reports
22 concerning the DutchBat escorts of subsequent convoys?
23 A. It was the first -- I mean, I believe the second convoy all went
24 well but then there came a massive harassment of my escort teams. They
25 were stopped, sometimes with the argument that the Serb troops that
1 responsible for their security and it was too dangerous to drive on. So
2 they were stopped and not allowed to drive on but the buses went on. And
3 that varied until stopping under the threat of weapons robbed and some of
4 my patrols came back in their underwear walking out of Serb area and every
5 variation in between that happened, which meant I didn't get any reports,
6 so -- so to say. My ears and my eyes were cut off.
7 Q. You described the escorts being robbed. What were they robbed of,
9 A. Well, anything. Their vehicles, their weapons, their flak
10 jackets, ammo, equipment in the jeep, of course. There were variations.
11 There were escort teams who were allowed to stay in place, kept their
12 weapons, nothing wrong, but it went down to two of my patrols coming back
13 literally in their underpants and the rest was stolen.
14 Q. Now, when you learned that the weapons were being stolen, what did
15 you do in response to that, sir?
16 A. I ordered the escort teams to go without weapons.
17 Q. Do you recall approximately how many vehicles were seized during
18 the course of these events?
19 A. Yeah, about 16.
20 Q. Now, you testified about the variation in -- in the treatment
21 received by the DutchBat soldiers from the Serb forces. Based on the
22 reports you were receiving, was there anything consistent or constant
23 about what you were learning was going on with respect to your efforts to
24 escort those convoys?
25 A. Yeah. Well, in fact it started more or less on one moment, so my
1 conclusion was that it was organised. It was ordered, and the reason for
2 that for me was they -- they don't want us to be around these convoys.
3 They don't want us to be witness of whatever happens. They want us out of
4 the way.
5 Q. Let me diverge just for a moment. Other than the DutchBat escort
6 vehicles which you just described, during the course of this attack and
7 the eventual fall, what other vehicles were -- were lost to the VRS?
8 A. Well, quite some APCs, of course, APCs who were positioned on the
9 OPs, and then two or three were damaged by -- by fire and were taken by
10 the Serbs after we withdrew. Two or three jeeps again and quite a lot of
11 small calibre weapons. But including all my POW systems, because they
12 were positioned on the OPs, and some heavy machine-guns.
13 Q. Did you register a complaint with any of the VRS officers whom you
14 encountered, sir?
15 A. Yes, I did. I complained to Colonel Jankovic, and he would -- he
16 said he would take care of that.
17 Q. And to your knowledge, did he take any action?
18 A. No. I don't know whether he took any action, but I couldn't see
19 any result.
20 Q. Did you begin receiving reports at some point that the men were
21 being separated from the refugees?
22 A. Separation of men was from the very beginning, of course. Mladic
23 announced that as well. So from the very start of the evacuation men were
24 more or less separated. The first convoy went away with men, but then
25 probably on the Serb side it was better organised and men were taken out
1 directly after they left the perimeter we secured.
2 Q. And did you become aware of where some of these men were taken,
4 A. They were brought to the "White House" building, about 150 metres
5 out in front of our main gate, and were interrogated there.
6 Q. And is that the "White House" you identified on the document you
7 previously marked, sir?
8 A. That is correct.
9 Q. And did you personally observe men at the "White House" at
10 about --
11 A. I've seen that they were brought there, yes.
12 Q. And did you observe anything outside that "White House"?
13 A. Yes. But that was not directly in the beginning. The men had to
14 leave their probably personal belongings that were piled, let's say, about
15 30, 40 metres from the "White House" alongside the road.
16 Q. Later on during this process, sir, did you learn about men who had
17 been permitted to pass through but had been later separated?
18 A. Yeah. Well, I never had an actual report of my own men. This is
19 what I heard when I was back in Holland.
20 Q. When you received information about the men at the "White House"
21 did you take any action with respect --
22 A. Yes. We had an UNMO team, military observers of the UN, a
23 [indiscernible] team. They were on the compound, and I sent them down
24 there to monitor what was happening there, and the reports I got in the
25 beginning, well, that they're -- that many men going in, exact same number
1 men coming out, and the report that they were brought by a specific bus, a
2 light blue bus. They were transported in the direction of the Bratunac in
3 the beginning, at the end of every convoy and later on apart. I mean, the
4 bus drove along, not in the convoy.
5 Q. Let's stay on this issue of the -- of the blue buses or the blue
6 bus. Did you personally observe the -- any of the men being placed and
7 transported in the blue bus?
8 A. Yes, I did. Yes.
9 Q. And was this occurring throughout the day on the 12th --
10 A. Yes --
11 Q. -- to your knowledge?
12 A. -- and on the 13th, et cetera.
13 Q. And can you describe in a little bit more detail what measures you
14 took to monitor that blue bus and the success that the monitoring met
16 A. Yeah. We gave order to -- one of the convoy jeeps, the escort
17 jeeps to -- to escort specifically that bus, and the measure of success
18 was nil because the escort was whether stopped at Papa and if he tried to
19 drive on he was blocked by a tank or by men, so in always they tried to
20 separate that escort jeep from that blue bus. And if he was held up in
21 the area of Bratunac and he later on came to the tail of the convoy, the
22 blue bus was vanished.
23 Q. Now, let's go back to the men in the "White House" for a little
24 bit, sir.
25 Did you at some point receive reports that they were not being
1 properly treated?
2 A. Yes. The -- in the course of the 12th I got reports that they
3 were badly treated. I sent down patrols of my own men over there in
4 course of the afternoon. They were blocked by -- by far outnumbering Serb
5 forces which did not allow them to go to the "White House."
6 Q. And again did you speak or register a complaint with any of the
7 VRS officers about these --
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. -- reports?
10 A. I again said that to Colonel Jankovic, who said that they were
11 POWs, and if there was a -- too rude action he would take action to
12 prevent that.
13 Q. To your knowledge, did he take any action?
14 A. Again, I don't know whether he took action, but I didn't see a
15 result. And he confirmed in fact that he had nothing to do with that
16 because he was only there for the withdrawal of DutchBat. That was in
17 fact the answer I got always from Colonel Jankovic.
18 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, believe we have -- is it five more
19 minutes until the break?
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Six.
21 MR. THAYER: Six. I think this would probably be a logical time
22 in terms of the examination in time to take a break, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: We will take a 30-minute break. We need to discuss
24 a few things [Microphone not activated].
25 --- Recess taken at 12.24 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 1.02 p.m.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Mr. Thayer, go ahead.
3 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Q. Sir, as you've been testifying, you were monitoring the progress
5 of the convoys, the status of the men who were being kept at the "White
6 House" and transported. Did you begin to have concerns about the male
8 A. Yes, because the reports made clear to me that the treatment of
9 the men was decreasing, was getting worse. There were all kind of
10 rumours, and somewhere around there there was a report of yelling and
11 things like that from the "White House," et cetera. So I tried to figure
12 out a way to protect these men a bit more than we did at the very moment.
13 Q. And you testified you'd already tried to send your own soldiers
14 down there and that met with no --
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. So what did you decide to do when other measures had failed?
17 A. Well, in fact I tried to imitate a trick what was done before,
18 getting the unknown people, giving them a face and a name. So I
19 registered -- I tried to register all the men within our UN area.
20 Q. And what was your ultimate intention with this registration?
21 A. Yes. Send them to higher echelons, including Holland here, the
22 General Staff here in Holland, and request them to make it public, to
23 mobilise the public by telling them exactly who it was, the names,
24 et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and hoping that it would work better than
25 there was some unknown mass of men nobody had a name with or any identity
2 Q. And could you just describe for the Trial Chamber briefly how this
3 registration took place?
4 A. Yes. I spoke about that with the committee I mentioned before,
5 Mr. Mandic, et cetera, and asked them whether they would take care of the
6 registration and explain the purpose I had with that registration, and
7 they started registering the men.
8 Q. Now you've referred a couple of times to a committee.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Was -- was this some kind of formal group or how did this
11 so-called committee come into being?
12 A. Yes. One of the first, and I recollect the first meeting Colonel
13 Karremans had with Mladic he demanded that the leaders of the enclave,
14 military and civilian leaders, would be present at the next meeting.
15 Problem was that the 28th Division, including their commanders and leaders
16 and the opstina, were vanished, were disappeared, so we asked one of our
17 interpreters whether there were in the crowd of refugees some people who
18 could function as the representative of the refugees, and so we claimed
19 two men and a woman who were willing to act as representative of the
20 refugees. And that's what I call the committee. Sorry.
21 Q. Okay. I think you've already testified that one was Mr. Mandic.
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. Do you remember the names of the other two?
24 A. Mr. Nuhanovic, Ibrahim Nuhanovic, and a lady which name I do not
1 Q. Now, the list that you created were you told about whether that
2 included all of the men inside the compound?
3 A. Now, there were about 60 or 70 men who refused to be registered,
4 and the 251 it appears later on, but 239 I thought then were willing to be
6 Q. And did you try to register the men outside the compound?
7 A. Yes, we did that as well. But then the committee, because we were
8 not able to do it ourself, was massively intimidated by the Serb forces to
9 an extent that the lady had a complete nervous breakdown and had to be
10 brought to the hospital. So they didn't have the guts anymore to go out.
11 MR. THAYER: At this time I'd ask that 65 ter number 2057 be
12 displayed on e-court, please. And if we could, please, just -- perfect.
13 Q. Sir, do you have an image on your screen?
14 A. I do have.
15 Q. And I would ask if we could just slowly scroll through the
16 consecutive pages of the document until we reach page 10, which I believe
17 is the last page. And if we could move the document up, please, to the
18 bottom. Perfect. Thank you.
19 Now, sir, having reviewed these pages do you recognise what this
20 document is?
21 A. Yes. That's the list I mentioned, registration of the men within
22 the compound, and I signed it on the right side. Miscounted it but signed
24 Q. You've written 239. I believe you just testified it was --
25 A. 251, yes.
1 Q. And this you did at the time, sir; is that correct?
2 A. Yes, I did.
3 Q. Now, you mentioned that you had passed this information up your
4 chain of command to make it public. Did you tell anyone in the VRS about
5 this list?
6 A. Yes. I told Colonel Jankovic that I registered the men and that
7 the names were known not only within the UN but to the Dutch government as
9 Q. And did you show him or any other VRS officer the list?
10 A. No, I did not.
11 Q. Why not, sir?
12 A. Was no use of it, and then I didn't want in any way the
13 information on this list to go directly to the Bosnian Serbs.
14 Q. And what, if anything, did you do to ensure that the list would
15 not fall into the VRS's hands?
16 A. Well, I transmitted it on secure communications to Tuzla,
17 Sarajevo, both the UN headquarters, and to The Hague here, Crisis Staff it
18 was called in that days. And the original list I brought on my body when
19 the battalion came out of the enclave and went to Zagreb.
20 Q. You mentioned a moment ago Ibrahim Nuhanovic.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Other than being a member of this informal committee, as you
23 described it, do you know whether he had any relationship to anybody in
24 the -- in the UN compound?
25 A. Yes. It appeared to be he was the father of one of the
1 interpreters of the UNMOs. UNMOs, being the UN military observers.
2 Q. And do you recall having a conversation with him in the evening of
3 12 July?
4 A. Yes, I did.
5 Q. Would you please describe that conversation.
6 A. Yes. Mr. Nuhanovic came to me that he wanted to speak to me about
7 the evacuation, so I let him in and we spoke. He wanted me to stop the
8 evacuation, because he, as I did, feared for the fate of the men. And we
9 had a discussion. I explained him why I could not do that.
10 Q. And what explanation did you give him?
11 A. Yeah. In fact, I told him with detailed arguments that I had to
12 make the choice between as far as I knew about 800 up until a thousand men
13 and 25 up to 30.000 women and children concerning their survival. I told
14 him that I chose for the 25.000, 30.000 women and children.
15 Q. That brings us up to the 13th of July. Did the -- did the
16 transportations resume that day?
17 A. Yes, it did.
18 Q. And were they completed that day as well?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Did you receive any reports, either on the 12th or the 13th, that
21 Serb soldiers had been among the refugees outside the compound during the
22 night of 12 July?
23 A. Yes. No. I think that were not reported to me.
24 Q. Now, based on the number of soldiers you had available to guard
25 those mass of refugees, would that have been possible?
1 A. Yes, it would have been possible.
2 Q. During this same period of time, during the 12th to 13th of July,
3 did you also receive reports of executions?
4 A. Yes. In two cases.
5 Q. Can you describe those reports for the Trial Chamber?
6 A. Yes. First was a report of nine dead bodies in the area of
7 the "White House" found by one of my officers. Obviously they were in a
8 row and all shot in the back, so we concluded that there has been an
10 MS. CONDON: Well, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Ms. Condon.
12 MS. CONDON: I object to this witness giving evidence of a
13 forensic -- he's not in a position to give evidence as to the cause of
14 death of those victims.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: What's your response to that?
16 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, I'm not attempting to elicit expert
17 information, simply what this officer related to him, what he observed,
18 and any conclusions he drew based on those observations.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I have absolutely no problem in allowing the
21 question to proceed or the witness to proceed with answering the question.
22 Of course, you will have every opportunity to cross-examine the witness on
23 any issue that you have referred to, if at all necessary.
24 Yes. So I suggest you repeat your question. I can read it,
25 actually. "Can you describe those reports for the Trial Chamber?"
1 And, Mr. Franken, you had said, "Yes. First was a report of nine
2 dead bodies in the area of the 'White House' found by one of my officers.
3 Obviously they were in a row and all shot in the back, so we concluded
4 that there had been an execution."
5 THE WITNESS: That's correct, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Any further matters that you would like to
7 state in answering this question?
8 THE WITNESS: Yeah. Well, I would like to describe the second
9 report I got about execution, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, go ahead.
11 THE WITNESS: Sorry. And I heard through the colonel who reported
12 that one of the soldiers of C Company, being a member of one of the
13 outposts, saw an execution in any distance of one Muslim man was shot by
14 two soldiers, Serb soldiers.
15 MR. THAYER:
16 Q. And did you receive information concerning the general location of
17 where that second execution occurred?
18 A. Yes. That was directly east of the bus station area, in that
20 Q. Now, I want to go back a moment to the first report of executions.
21 You referred to an officer who gave the report. Who was that officer,
23 A. First Lieutenant Koster, sir.
24 MR. THAYER: At this time could we have P01516 placed on e-court,
25 please. And if we could zoom in just a touch, please. Perfect. Thank
2 Q. Sir, did Lieutenant Koster describe for you the approximate
3 location where these nine bodies were found?
4 A. Yes, he did. He described it as a piece of a meadow near the
5 water, brook, like situation.
6 Q. And was it close to any particular feature or landmark that you
8 A. Yes. Let's say about 100 metres or 80 metres south, south-west of
9 the "White House."
10 Q. Now, with Madam Usher's assistance, if I could ask you to just
11 take the stylus and just draw a circle around that general area and if you
12 would write "Nine bodies" and initial and date the document, please?
13 A. Okay. As I recollect it, it should have been in this area.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Judge Kwon is suggesting, and I would quite agree,
15 that instead of creating a new document, perhaps he could use the same one
16 he used before on which he put various markings, and that would make
17 things much more practical.
18 MR. THAYER: If there's room, absolutely, Your Honour. We can
19 give that a try.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Bourgon.
21 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President. I'm just wondering why my
22 colleague from the Prosecution is getting into hearsay at this time
23 without having established any basis for the need to do so. The person
24 he's referring to is a witness in this case. We will hear first-hand
25 evidence from that witness. What is the need of this point in time to go
1 through a different witness what a real witness is going to come and say?
2 Thank you, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer.
4 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, Colonel Franken is here. It's relevant
5 evidence. It's corroborative of the testimony that we expect.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Objection rejected. This is normal procedure.
8 Mr. Thayer, please go ahead.
9 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Bourgon.
11 MR. BOURGON: Mr. President, I'd like to, if I -- with all due
12 respect to the Trial Chamber, ask what is the rationale for the Trial
13 Chamber's decision, because this is hearsay. Hearsay is admissible, but
14 we have to establish some kind of a basis for it and I don't understand
15 why we should hear hearsay evidence when we will here the first-hand
17 JUDGE AGIUS: This is not hearsay. This is an internal
18 conversation that took place between this witness and another person and
19 it becomes imperative to have first-hand information or relation from this
20 witness which later on will put us in a position where we can make an
21 assessment when we hear the future -- future evidence of the other
23 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: So we are actually, as Judge Kwon rightly points out
25 and we are in agreement here, this is not exactly what one would -- would
1 consider hearsay. This is -- he is repeating the conversation that went
2 on between him and this other person. The other person may or may not
3 confirm it at a later stage, that's true, but this is basically what --
4 what -- information that he is telling us based on the conversation he had
5 with this other witness. So it's hearsay in -- only in a very limited --
6 let's proceed.
7 MR. THAYER: If we could have the document on its head, please.
8 Q. And if you could draw a circle or -- yes, please draw a circle in
9 the approximate area where Lieutenant Koster reported to you that the
10 bodies had been located.
11 A. [Marks]
12 Q. And if you would just write "Nine bodies" and an arrow, please.
13 A. [Marks]
14 Q. Thank you. I think we can save the document.
15 Now, sir, again, during this period of time from 12 to 13 July, do
16 you recall receiving any reports from DutchBat soldiers about large
17 numbers of Muslim prisoners being taken outside the enclave?
18 A. That's as far as I recollect later than the 13th when my -- the
19 crew of OP Alpha was in this period still in position, was brought back
20 over a road north of the enclave, and they reported that they saw a big
21 group of men kneeling on a soccer field or something like that alongside
22 the road.
23 Q. And do you recall receiving any specific information about how
24 they were around?
25 A. Yeah. They were in rows and sitting on their knees, hands on
1 their neck.
2 Q. Now, again, through the day on the 12th and on the 13th --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Mr. Meek.
4 MR. MEEK: Thank you, Mr. President. Just for the record, the
5 witness just answered the crew of OP Alpha. Perhaps my colleague from the
6 Prosecution could be more specific on who those members of that crew were
7 that reported this to this witness.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer.
9 MR. THAYER:
10 Q. Sir, did you understand the question that was posed by my learned
12 A. Yes. Yes, I'll try to answer it. One of the OPs that was not
13 overtaken or overridden by Serb soldiers in the end phase was the
14 Observation Post A, Alpha. It's on the ultimate west side of the enclave.
15 We were not able to withdraw him with their own means, through -- I mean I
16 remember Jankovic, a Serb officer contacted me, asked for a lorry to bring
17 the -- to pick up the crew of that observation post and bring them back to
18 the location Potocari. Is that an answer?
19 MR. MEEK: No, Your Honour. My question would be the specific
20 names of the individuals from DutchBat Jones, Smith, Brown. I want to
21 know if the witness can give us a name or names of the people who gave him
22 this hearsay information.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Can you, Mr. Franken?
24 THE WITNESS: No, I cannot, no.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Is there a source of information that we could refer
1 to which would have a record of the names of the various officers or
2 members of DutchBat.
3 THE WITNESS: Yes. I think the NIOD report gives these details.
4 But I don't recollect these names after 11 years, sorry.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: It's quite understandable.
6 All right. Mr. Thayer.
7 MR. THAYER:
8 Q. Now, again during this period of time, the 12th and the 13th, did
9 you observe the living conditions of the refugees changing at all?
10 A. Yeah. Problem is that we did not have -- it was very hot weather.
11 We were not able to -- to purify water because the lack of fuel. We
12 didn't have any food, and the hygienic situation was, well, disastrous.
13 People didn't have the nerve to go out of their location, as far as I
14 speak now, to the compound itself, out of that factory hall, and -- well,
15 used that hall as a toilet, as a sleeping room, et cetera. Even ladies
16 gave birth in that mess.
17 Q. How rapidly, sir, was that humanitarian situation deteriorating?
18 A. Very rapidly because we already had death by dehydration, and I
19 coordinated with my doctors, and they said, "Well, two or three days and
20 the problem will solve itself if we can't get -- at least get to water and
21 improve the hygienic situation significantly."
22 Q. Did you receive any reports of suicides or suicide attempts, sir?
23 A. Yes, I did. I recollect two of them. One of them refugees tried
24 to kill themselves by hitting him with a stone on the head. He was
25 stopped by one of my soldiers. One of my officers reported that somebody
1 hanged himself in one of the factory buildings.
2 Q. Now, I want to it take you from the time period of approximately
3 14 July through the 16th of July.
4 A. Mm-hmm.
5 Q. You had described previously seeing a pile of personal belongings
6 at a certain distance from the "White House." Did you see what became of
7 those belongings, sir?
8 A. Yes. As it was reported to me one of my guards that the pile was
9 on fire. I went down there and looked at it myself, and it was actually
10 burnt, all those possessions.
11 MR. THAYER: I'd ask that 65 ter number 1897 be displayed on
12 e-court, please.
13 Q. Now, you have an image on your screen, sir?
14 A. I do.
15 Q. And is it in fact sort of a split -- a split image with two
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 Q. And I'd ask you when you look at the two photographs whether you
19 recognise what's in one or both of these photographs.
20 A. Yes. They were taken from the area of our main gate. Right in
21 the centre of the building that is the so-called "White House" --
22 Q. And let me just interrupt you for a moment, sir. Which of these
23 images are you referring to?
24 A. The first one, the upper one.
25 Q. Okay.
1 A. And on the left side is the pile of -- of personal belongings
2 burning we spoke about.
3 Q. And can you actually make out the "White House" --
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. -- in this photograph?
6 A. The "White House" in the upper photograph is what you see in the
7 centre of the photograph. There's a tree in front of it. After that you
8 see a flat white-like building, and that's called the "White House."
9 Q. Now, the photograph below it, are you able to recognise anything
10 in that photograph?
11 A. That's the same area, but -- yeah. I conclude that I see
12 the "White House" and that same pile is burning. It's probably done from
13 one of our steady OPs in the base, but as the -- no, it's not as detailed
14 and clear as the northern one. When you see in front must be the "White
15 House," and what you see on the left burning is that pile. I can conclude
16 that out of the surroundings, but ...
17 Q. And is it fair to say that the top photograph corresponds more
18 accurately to what you actually saw --
19 A. That is correct, yes.
20 Q. -- that day? Now, did you receive any instructions about what to
21 do with the DutchBat archives, the computers and sensitive information and
22 so forth?
23 A. Yes. We were ordered by the UN to destroy everything, including
24 our computers.
25 Q. And were you able to do that, sir?
1 A. We did not complete that task.
2 Q. So can you describe for the Trial Chamber who was left on the base
3 after the transportations were completed?
4 A. Mm-hmm. We had people of Medecins sans Frontieres, MSF, with
5 patients and wounded; still one of the representatives of the committee;
6 representative of UNHCR; interpreters; and DutchBat, the rest of DutchBat.
7 Q. And how about the UNMOs? Were they still around, sir?
8 A. Oh, sorry, yes, of course. The UNMOs and their interpreters as
10 Q. How about the DutchBat soldiers who you said had been taken
11 prisoner when the OPs fell and had been kept at Bratunac and elsewhere?
12 A. They were still in Bratunac, never came back to the battalion, and
13 were sent home directly from their location in Bratunac.
14 Q. You just mentioned some wounded who remained --
15 A. Mm-hmm.
16 Q. -- in the compound. Were there also wounded located by at that
18 A. Yes. There were wounded which we tried to bring out during the
19 evacuation but that transport was stopped and sent back in -- out of the
20 area of Kladanj, and there were wounded of that transport in the hospital
21 of Bratunac.
22 Q. I'm going to turn your attention now to the 17th of July.
23 A. Mm-hmm.
24 Q. In connection with these wounded you just mentioned, did a
25 delegation of VRS and Serb civilian officials arrive at the Potocari
2 A. That is correct.
3 Q. And would you please describe how that came about?
4 A. Yes. I tried to evacuate the wounded in a normal way, but the
5 military means, a Norwegian medevac company being stationed in the area of
6 Tuzla did not succeed in reaching us to pick up the wounded and bring them
7 out. Then I tried through the MSF to contact the ICRC to do the job,
8 because the Bosnian Serbs told me that I could hand over the wounded
9 absolutely to them. They had hospitals as well. But I didn't think that
10 was a pretty good idea. And so I succeeded in ICRC coming down to pick up
11 the wounded. And that meeting was to coordinate details with the Bosnian
12 Serbs and ICRC, details about the evacuation of the wounded out of
13 Potocari and Bratunac.
14 Q. And whom did this delegation consist of?
15 A. The head of delegation was Colonel Jankovic. Present was Major
16 Nikolic with body-guard, Major Nikolic, staff officer of the Bratunac
17 Brigade; a lieutenant-colonel whose name I forgot but said that he was a
18 lawyer, a civilian who appeared to be later on the new mayor or something
19 of Srebrenica; and somebody I only can describe as what I call the Mladic
20 look alike. He didn't say anything. He was just there, so ...
21 Q. Okay. Who took the lead?
22 A. Colonel Jankovic.
23 Q. Was there anyone there from the Muslim community?
24 A. Not in that stage, because it was concerning the wounded.
25 Q. And at some point did one of the Muslim refugees appear, sir?
1 A. Yes, when the arrangement -- I handed over the wounded formally to
2 the ICRC and the mentioned Major Nikolic insisted to inspect the people
3 whether they were still soldiers or -- or what he said criminals between
4 them, so ICRC went down to the hospital together with that Major Nikolic
5 and security squad of DutchBat to do that inspection, and then Colonel
6 Jankovic asked for one of the representatives, Mr. Mandic, to appear
7 because he had a declaration and he would like Mr. Mandic to sign that.
8 Q. Now, you just referred to a declaration. Had you seen this
10 A. Yes. He just waved with it. I didn't see it -- I couldn't read
11 it when I saw that it was in the Croatian language.
12 Q. So can you describe for the Trial Chamber what you did next.
13 A. Yes. I had my own interpreters translate it into English, because
14 Jankovic asked me to sign as a witness that Mr. Mandic was not forced to
15 sign it, et cetera, et cetera. So I checked the text and made an
17 Q. Okay. And we'll get to that in a moment. The -- do you generally
18 recall the gist of -- of this declaration?
19 A. In fact, the Serbs wanted -- stated that the evacuation had been
20 performed in a proper, say, a humanitarian way according to all the
21 international law, et cetera, et cetera.
22 MR. THAYER: And if we could, may we have 65 ter 453 displayed on
23 e-court and, in particular, page 3, please. And could we raise it up and
24 zoom in just a bit, please. And lower it a bit, please. Okay. Actually,
25 can we start at the top a little bit. Thank you.
1 Q. Sir, would you take a moment and just look at the document, orient
2 yourself, and when you're ready, we'll also look at the bottom of the
4 A. I'm ready.
5 Q. Okay. Do you recognise this as being the field translation that
6 your people did?
7 A. Yes, that is correct, yes. The translation I had made by my
9 Q. Now, there are a series of dashes in the centre of the document,
10 one which begins "The civilian population can remain ..."
11 Do you see that there, sir?
12 A. Yes, I do.
13 Q. And would you just read that that portion out loud?
14 A. "Given population can remain in the enclave or evacuate, dependent
15 upon the wish of each individual."
16 Q. Now --
17 A. Sorry.
18 Q. Based on your experience and from what you observed and had
19 reported to you at the time, is this a true statement?
20 A. No. It's nonsense, because they didn't have an opportunity to
21 stay, not a realistic opportunity to stay.
22 Q. Now, moving down --
23 A. Or -- or move in any direction. It was ordered that they should
24 go to the Kladanj area.
25 Q. And who ordered that, sir?
1 A. Mladic.
2 Q. Now moving down one bullet or one dash.
3 A. Mm-hmm.
4 Q. If you would just read that portion, please?
5 A. "In the event that we wish to evacuate, it is possible for us to
6 choose the direction of our movement and have decided that the entire
7 population is to evacuate to the territory of the county of Kladanj."
8 Q. And now you've just answered that to an extent, I think, but is
9 this a true statement?
10 A. No. It was not a decision of the committee; it was an order of
11 Mladic to go to the area of Kladanj.
12 Q. And now the third bullet, sir, if you would read that?
13 A. "It has been agreed that the evacuation is to be carried out by
14 the Army and Police of the Republic of Srpska, supervised and escorted by
16 Q. And the next section?
17 A. "After agreement had been reached, I assert that the evacuation
18 was carried out by the Serb side correctly and the clauses of the
19 agreement had been adhered to."
20 Q. Now, are those portions you've just read true statements, sir?
21 A. Well, the agreement that it had to be carried out by the army and
22 police of Republic of Srpska is correct, supervising and escorting in
23 theory, but I already told you what actually happened with my escorts so
24 that is not true.
25 And the last sentence: "Evacuation was carried out by the Serb
1 side correctly and the clause of the agreement had been adhered to," is
2 partially true.
3 Q. And then the final sentence beginning "during," if you would read
4 that, please?
5 A. Yeah. "During the evacuation there were no incidents on either of
6 the sides, and the Serb side has adhered to all the regulations of the
7 Geneva Conventions and the international war law," and I added "as far as
8 convoys actually escorted by UN forces are concerned."
9 Q. Now, why did you add that language there, sir?
10 A. Because I -- as of the first or the second convoy, I didn't have
11 any control about what happened. Reports of the Pakistan battalion gave
12 that only women, children were coming in later on. So the men were
13 actually taken apart. We had that report about that killing, nine bodies
14 found. So I wanted to in fact neutralise the whole statement by this
16 Q. And what was the reaction of the Serb members of the delegation?
17 A. Two reactions. Colonel Jankovic smiled a bit and the colonel
18 being a lawyer went almost bananas. He went very angry.
19 Q. And in the end, did Colonel Jankovic permit the document to go
20 ahead and be signed with your notation?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And do you in fact see your signature on the document?
23 A. That is correct. Left lower side.
24 Q. Were you present when the two other signatories signed the
1 A. Yes, I was there at the same time.
2 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, I see that we are right up against the
3 deadline and I estimate that I have maybe 15 minutes of questioning for
4 tomorrow and we will break for today, if we may.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Thayer.
6 So we adjourn today. Tomorrow I think we are meeting in the
8 Mr. McCloskey, do you wish to address? I forgot. Yes.
9 MR. McCLOSKEY: Perhaps we can do that tomorrow. In fact it's
10 probably a better idea. I think both sides were looking for just a little
11 guidance on 92 ter, 89(F) witnesses. We've had some but I think that
12 would be a good issue to address outside the presence of any witness.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, certainly. So we'll deal with that tomorrow
14 morning first thing, first thing before Mr. Franken continues with his
15 testimony. I thank you, and good afternoon.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 17th day
18 of October, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.