Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 10032

 1                          Monday, 16 April 2007

 2                          [Open session]

 3                          [The accused entered court]

 4                          [The witness entered court]

 5                          --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.

 6            JUDGE AGIUS:  Good morning, everybody, and welcome back after the

 7    short recess.  Mr. Registrar, could you call the case, please.

 8            THE REGISTRAR:  Thank you.  Good morning, Your Honours.  This is

 9    case number IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.

10            JUDGE AGIUS:  Thank you.  All the accused are here.  From the

11    Defence teams I notice the absence of Mr. Lazarevic, and then the absence

12    of Mr. Sarapa, unless he is hidden behind the column.  Prosecution is

13    Mr. McCloskey and Mr. Vanderpuye.  Yes.  The witness is already in the

14    courtroom, so I will address him straight away.

15                          WITNESS:  LAZAR RISTIC

16                          [Witness answered through interpreter]

17            JUDGE AGIUS:  Good morning to you, sir.

18            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.

19            JUDGE AGIUS:  On behalf of the Trial Chamber, my colleagues, and

20    also on behalf of the Tribunal I want to welcome you.  You're about to

21    start giving evidence.  Before you do so, you're required to make a solemn

22    declaration that you will be testifying the truth.  The text is going to

23    be handed to you.  It's equivalent to a note.  It's an undertaking.

24    Please read it out aloud and that will be your undertaking with us.

25            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

Page 10033

 1    the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

 2            JUDGE AGIUS:  I thank you, sir.  Please make yourself comfortable.

 3            You're going to be asked questions first by Mr. Vanderpuye, I

 4    understand, who I'm sure you have already met, and he will then be

 5    followed by the various Defence teams on cross-examination.

 6            Mr. Vanderpuye.

 7            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Good morning,

 8    Your Honours.  Good morning, Counsel.

 9                          Examination by Mr. Vanderpuye:

10       Q.   Good morning, Mr. Ristic.  I'm just going to ask you first to

11    state your name for the record, spell your last name if you could.

12       A.   Lazar Ristic.

13       Q.   Okay.  Now, before I start examining you, I'm just going to point

14    out a couple of things.  One is to try and keep your voice up so that the

15    interpreters can hear you, and also to allow a short pause between the

16    question and answer so that there is time for the translations to occur so

17    that we can all understand and follow what you say.

18            First I want to ask you, have you had an opportunity to review

19    certain statements that you've made concerning the events of July 1995?

20       A.   Yes.

21       Q.   Okay.  Now, with respect to those statements, did you review a

22    statement that's dated 8th April 2004?

23       A.   Yes.

24       Q.   And did you review a statement that's dated 23rd of August, 2003?

25       A.   Yes.

Page 10034

 1       Q.   And did you review a transcript of an interview that was conducted

 2    with the Office of the Prosecutor in October of 2005?

 3       A.   Yes.

 4       Q.   Okay.  And aside from certain facts that you may wish to explain

 5    or further elaborate upon in your testimony, are you satisfied that with

 6    regard to what you actually said that those statements are -- are

 7    accurate?

 8       A.   Everything is correct.

 9       Q.   Now, I'm just going to ask you a few questions by way of

10    background preliminarily.  Can you tell us what your current employment is

11    and how long you've been engaged in that occupation?

12       A.   I work on maintaining electrical equipment in a factory in Birac.

13    I've been working there for 28 years.

14       Q.   Now, can you tell us when it was -- well, first of all, can you

15    tell us when it was that you were first mobilised to the army of Republika

16    Srpska, the VRS?

17       A.   First we organised ourselves on our own with the assistance of the

18    Crisis Staff from Zvornik.  We organised village guards in various

19    villages starting in April -- and then starting in April 1992, I got

20    involved in the war activities.

21       Q.   And can you tell us when it was that you were demobilised?

22       A.   June of 1996.

23       Q.   And at the time that you were demobilised, can you tell us what

24    your rank was?

25       A.   At the time when I was demobilised I was second lieutenant, and I

Page 10035

 1    was promoted to that rank in January of 1996.

 2       Q.   Okay.  I just want to go briefly through the various positions

 3    that you had while you were active in the VRS, and I wondered if you can

 4    tell us what responsibilities and positions you held during your tenure.

 5       A.   From the 1st of June, 1992, I started as a platoon commander in my

 6    town, and then in 1993, in March, I transferred to the battalion command

 7    as assistant commander for security.  I remained in that post for two

 8    years, following which I became assistant commander of the battalion for

 9    the 4th Infantry Battalion within the Zvornik Brigade.

10       Q.   In your capacity as the assistant commander for security, did you

11    have the opportunity to work with Milorad Trbic?

12       A.   Yes.

13       Q.   And can you tell us in what -- in what way that occurred?  What

14    was your relationship professionally with Mr. Trbic?

15       A.   Security organ of the battalion had certain tasks in relation to

16    the security service of the brigade.  We followed enemy forces which were

17    facing the front part of our defence.  In addition to that, we also dealt

18    with the discipline within the unit, took into custody soldiers who

19    deserted or created trouble.  So Trbic would occasionally come to the

20    brigade, or he would substitute for the commander, but we didn't come

21    across each other frequently.  It was rather rare that we cooperated.  We

22    cooperated more with the security chief.  We mostly cooperated with him,

23    and if he was absent then with his deputy.

24       Q.   Okay.  And with respect to Mr. Trbic, can you tell us what his

25    position was at the time, at this time that we're talking about now?

Page 10036

 1       A.   At the time when he was in the brigade he was deputy or assistant

 2    chief for security in the Zvornik Brigade.  Either deputy or assistant,

 3    something like that.

 4       Q.   Okay.  Now, did you have an opportunity to work with or have

 5    contact with Drago Nikolic?

 6       A.   Yes.

 7       Q.   And this is still in your capacity as an assistant commander for

 8    security in the 4th Battalion.  Could you tell us what capacity -- in what

 9    capacity you had contact with Mr. Nikolic and what your professional

10    relationship was?

11       A.   Whenever there was a problem related to that type of work we asked

12    for assistance in the brigade.  We turned to the chief of security

13    himself.  There were meetings scheduled by him where we discussed problems

14    in various battalions, which is to say that security officers from all

15    battalions would attend those meetings.

16       Q.   And the position that was occupied by Mr. Nikolic at that time was

17    what, just so we're clear for the record.

18       A.   Chief of security of the Zvornik Brigade.

19       Q.   Now, you -- did you have a -- a personal relationship, I would

20    say, with either Mr. Trbic or Mr. Nikolic during that period of time while

21    you were the assistant commander for security?

22       A.   It was nothing special, not a special relationship or anything of

23    that sort.  We cooperated fairly, and there was no particular

24    relationship.  It's just that I worked more with Mr. Nikolic than with

25    Mr. Trbic.  I knew Trbic very little because for a long time he was deputy

Page 10037

 1    commander in an another battalion and I don't know when exactly he came to

 2    the brigade, but he stayed there only shortly while I was with the

 3    security organ.

 4       Q.   Well, I guess what I mean by the question is whether or not you

 5    had any opportunity to see them socially, that is, outside of a

 6    professional capacity.

 7       A.   We had no time for socialising.  I had a very good relationship

 8    with all officers within the brigade, so I treated them all equally.

 9       Q.   Okay.  Now, I think you indicated that at some point you were

10    appointed deputy commander of the 4th Infantry Battalion; is that correct?

11       A.   Yes.

12       Q.   Okay.  And -- and when was that?

13       A.   I can't remember the exact date, but I think it was in March or

14    early April of 1995.  At around that time.

15       Q.   All right.  Now, was that the position that you held in July 1995?

16       A.   Yes.  Until the 1st of July, 1995.  And then on the 1st of July,

17    battalion commander went for training in Banja Luka, where he remained

18    until the 18th of July, at which time he returned in the afternoon on the

19    18th of July.  While he was absent, I acted as battalion commander and

20    deputy commander simultaneously, which is to say that nobody was appointed

21    to his position.

22       Q.   Now, just so that you can orient us to the scope of your command,

23    the purview of your command, could you tell us how the 4th Infantry

24    Battalion is organised, how it was organised in July of 1995?

25       A.   Our area of responsibility of the front end went from Parlog to

Page 10038

 1    Pandurica.  The battalion command or headquarters was stationed in Rebici,

 2    in Baljkovica near the front end of the defence lines.  This is also the

 3    place where our logistics company was stationed as well as Intervention

 4    Platoon, which is to say that everything was in Baljkovica.  The task of

 5    the battalion was to hold the lines of the front end of defence and to

 6    maintain control together with neighbouring battalions, and to cooperate

 7    with the brigade which was in Karakaj.  That was it.

 8       Q.   Okay, and can you tell us approximately how many men comprised

 9    this battalion?

10       A.   I don't have the exact figures, but I think that there were about

11    450 or maybe more soldiers in the battalion.

12       Q.   And did the battalion consist of several infantry companies within

13    it?

14       A.   Yes.  It had three infantry companies at the defence line.  It had

15    an anti-armoured platoon which was known under that name but was similar

16    to an infantry unit.  It had 25 people in it.

17            In addition to this, we also had a logistics company, a mortar

18    platoon, an intervention platoon, and the battalion command or

19    headquarters.

20       Q.   And as a deputy commander of this battalion, can you tell us what

21    you were specifically in charge of?

22       A.   While the battalion commander was there.

23       Q.   While the battalion commander was there, yes.

24       A.   Deputy commander of the battalion, when the commander is present,

25    had certain tasks when touring the lines, which was performed on a daily

Page 10039

 1    basis.  Deputy commander also substituted for the commander when the

 2    commander was absent, when the commander was on leave or attended some

 3    meetings.

 4       Q.   When the commander was absent was it the responsibility of the

 5    deputy commander to assume all of his responsibilities?

 6       A.   Yes.

 7       Q.   And can you tell us what the responsibilities, therefore, as a

 8    commander of a battalion are or would have been at that time?

 9       A.   Everything that concerns the area of responsibility, the work of

10    the battalion, was something that the battalion commander was responsible

11    for in a way.  The entire organisation went through the battalion

12    commander, who was assisted by other members of the battalion.

13       Q.   Now, as an acting deputy commander, can you tell us who you were

14    reportable to?  Who did you report to?

15            JUDGE AGIUS:  Mr. Bourgon.

16            MR. BOURGON:  Thank you, Mr. President.  I don't think he ever

17    said acting deputy commander, just for the sake of clarification.

18            MR. VANDERPUYE:  He's correct, I misspoke.  I'll withdraw it and

19    rephrase it.

20            JUDGE AGIUS:  I thank you, Mr. Bourgon, and you too,

21    Mr. Vanderpuye.

22            MR. VANDERPUYE:

23       Q.   As an acting commander -- all right.  Let me rephrase the question

24    again.

25            As a deputy commander when you are assuming the responsibilities

Page 10040

 1    of the commander, can you tell us who you were reported -- reportable to?

 2    Who do you report to in that capacity?

 3       A.   To the brigade command.  When the battalion commander is absent,

 4    the deputy commander takes over his responsibilities, is responsible and

 5    receives orders from the brigade command.

 6       Q.   And during the period that you were responsible for the command of

 7    the battalion between the 1st of July, 1995, and the 18th of July, 1995,

 8    did you report to the brigade command and receive orders from the brigade

 9    command?

10       A.   Yes.

11       Q.   And to whom in particular were you responsible?

12       A.   To the brigade commander, who also stood in for the brigade

13    commander who was absent in Srebrenica.

14       Q.   Okay.  And who was that person?

15       A.   Major Obrenovic.

16       Q.   Is he the individual that stood in for the brigade commander?

17       A.   Yes.

18       Q.   And the brigade commander was whom?  The absent brigade commander

19    was whom?

20       A.   Lieutenant Colonel Pandurevic.

21       Q.   Now, in July when you were standing in for the commander of the

22    battalion, did you receive certain information regarding an operation in

23    Srebrenica?

24       A.   Yes.

25       Q.   Okay.  Can you tell us what information you received and from whom

Page 10041

 1    you received it?

 2       A.   There was a meeting held at the brigade headquarters.  I think it

 3    was on the 1st of July.  The brigade commander explained at the meeting

 4    the work that was to take place in the coming period.  He said that he was

 5    going to Srebrenica with a certain number of troops and that we were to

 6    remain and that Major Obrenovic would be in charge and that we needed to

 7    take care of battalions and everything else related to that in normal

 8    activities as it was until that time.

 9       Q.   And in relation to that endeavour, did you assign any men to

10    participate in that operation?

11       A.   I did not assign anyone.  It's the commander who said that my

12    intervention platoon would be going with them to that area, to Srebrenica,

13    and that they needed to be ready on the 4th of July, and their assembly

14    point would be Konjevic Polje.  So they should be ready on the 4th of

15    July, and ready at the assembly point in Konjevic Polje to be ready to go

16    to Srebrenica.  And that's what I did.  I sent them first home for a

17    couple of days to get ready, and then they went off on that assignment.

18       Q.   And were you apprised of what the purpose of that intervention

19    unit was to be, what they were going to be used for specifically?

20       A.   I didn't know how that would be done.  All I knew was that they

21    were going with him, and I needed no further explanation because they were

22    going to accompany the brigade commander.

23            JUDGE KWON:  Mr. Vanderpuye, can I be clear.  The brigade

24    commander who presided the meeting of 1st of July, was it Mr. Pandurevic?

25            MR. VANDERPUYE:  I think I'll put that to the witness.

Page 10042

 1            JUDGE KWON:  Thank you.

 2            MR. VANDERPUYE:

 3       Q.   I think you've heard the Judge's question.  Perhaps you could --

 4    okay.  I think you've answered it, but I don't see a translation on the

 5    record.

 6            JUDGE AGIUS:  In other words, you have to repeat your answer.

 7            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that 1st July meeting at the

 8    brigade it was Mr. Pandurevic who chaired, the brigade commander.

 9            JUDGE KWON:  Thank you.

10            MR. VANDERPUYE:

11       Q.   Did you receive any further information at a later point with

12    respect to the men that had been assigned -- well, not assigned, I should

13    say that went with the brigade commander?

14       A.   We received information through a cable by our signalsman, through

15    radio signals, that on the 6th of July the attack on Srebrenica had begun.

16    We also received a telegram saying that Srebrenica was taken on the 17th

17    of July, and that's all the information we received at the battalion from

18    the area of operations.

19       Q.   I see in the record here that you received a telegram saying that

20    Srebrenica was taken on the 17th of July.  Is that your recollection or is

21    that a mistranslation?

22       A.   I think it was a misinterpretation; I said the 11th of July.

23       Q.   All right.  If I could just refer you to the 12th of July, 1995.

24    Now, on that day did you have the opportunity to assign an intervention

25    squad to the area of Tisova Kova [sic]?

Page 10043

 1       A.   On the 12th of July I received a telegram from the brigade

 2    instructing me to form a platoon out of companies that were deployed on

 3    the front end of the defence line and send them in the evening to

 4    Tisova Kosa, and that's what I did.  I communicated to company commanders

 5    to send me six, seven soldiers each depending on how many they could

 6    afford and that these men should report to the brigade command.  I

 7    explained it was an order from the brigade command geared at preventing a

 8    rear attack on our defence line because the assumption was that certain

 9    forces from Srebrenica could get through and jeopardise our line of

10    defence.  When these people arrived, around 20 of them, there were

11    ordinary people from companies.  For the sake of security I sent our man

12    from the command, one signalsman, to be with them.  That man was slightly

13    more capable than the rest of them, and he was named leader to keep a line

14    of communication during that assignment.

15       Q.   And could you just tell us approximately how many men you sent

16    into that area?

17       A.   Around 20, plus that man from the battalion command and the

18    signalsman.  And the signalsman had a RUP 12 device.

19       Q.   And it was your understanding at the time you sent these men into

20    that area that they were sent there because the area was in fact

21    vulnerable?

22       A.   Yes.

23       Q.   Did you receive any information from the brigade command later on

24    that evening, that is, the evening of the 12th of July, regarding the

25    movement of the Muslims coming out of Srebrenica?

Page 10044

 1       A.   Sometime after 2100 hours the operations officer on duty called us

 2    to tell us the large number of members of the Muslim army from Srebrenica,

 3    along with civilians, had set out towards Crni Vrh.  They could not

 4    intercept them, and they could not divert them.  I mean, members of the

 5    brigade led by Major Obrenovic.  We received a dispatch from the brigade

 6    that they would be moving through -- through fields towards Nezuk.

 7       Q.   Okay.  And what was the position of the brigade in response to

 8    this advance by the Muslim members of the army and civilians from

 9    Srebrenica?

10       A.   Nobody told us much about that except for that telegram that

11    arrived from the brigade telling us about the route of their movement.

12    Nobody gave us any other information.

13       Q.   Did you have a planned response to that information within your

14    battalion?

15       A.   Since in that period we did not have a brigade commander and the

16    chief of staff was busy with that interception, we up at the battalion did

17    not have occasion to discuss these events.  Instead, we had to organise

18    our defence ourselves, as well as the work of the battalion as best we saw

19    fit.

20       Q.   Okay.  Now, in the translation here I see that you have a

21    reference to the chief of staff and also that he was busy with an

22    interception.  I just wondered if we could just clarify that so that it's

23    clear on the record.

24            When you say the chief of staff, whom are you referring to?

25       A.   Major Obrenovic.

Page 10045

 1       Q.   And when you say that he was busy with that interception, can you

 2    just describe what it is you mean by that?

 3       A.   I think I called the duty operations officer, because in the

 4    presence of the commander and the chief of staff the battalions first

 5    talked to the duty operations officer, and if we needed to speak to the

 6    chief of staff or the commander of the brigade, we first requested all

 7    information from the duty operations officer, and therefore on that

 8    occasion since I assumed that could be dangerous for my battalion as well,

 9    I asked to speak to the chief of staff and I was told that he was in the

10    area of Snagovo and that he was not available.  So after that I didn't

11    even ask to communicate with him any more.

12       Q.   And, sir, when you say "interception" do you mean that that was

13    some kind of military operation with respect to confronting the -- the

14    Muslims coming out of Srebrenica, the column?

15       A.   I don't know how he was going about it, but I know that he was not

16    successful.

17       Q.   All right.  Let me draw your attention to the 13th of July if I

18    could.  Now, you've indicated previously that the 4th Battalion had a

19    mortar platoon.  Is that right?

20       A.   A mortar platoon.

21       Q.   Yes, a platoon.

22       A.   Yes.

23       Q.   Okay.  And did you receive any information with regard to that

24    platoon from the brigade command on the 13th of July?

25       A.   On the 13th of July, I was informed from the brigade that a

Page 10046

 1    platoon was coming to my aid, a platoon from the 3rd infantry battalion to

 2    the Motovo intersection and Grujici location.  They were supposed to help

 3    out with the security support provided to the mortar platoon.  When the

 4    commander of the mortar platoon notified me they had arrived, I told them

 5    to come to see me personally.  I gave them code-names for communications.

 6    And together with the commander of the mortar platoon I deployed them at

 7    the location above Krizevacke Nijve, divided into three groups, and they

 8    had received their assignment, namely to prepare for defence by means of

 9    making fortifications and shelters in case there should be combat.

10       Q.   Now, can you tell us approximately how many men were assigned --

11    well, were sent to that area?

12       A.   I didn't count them, but I think there were no more than 25.

13    Twenty to 25.

14       Q.   And were they sent to you because the battalion was unable or

15    incapable at that time of protecting the mortar platoon through its own

16    devices, its own men?

17       A.   It's not I who requested them.  It was an assessment of the people

18    from the brigade that I could use them.  Maybe I could have a protected my

19    mortar platoon with my own platoon, the one that had been busy making

20    ambushes at Tisova Kosa.  But instead I was just informed that men had

21    arrived to assist us.

22       Q.   And when those men arrived, I think you indicated they were from

23    the 3rd Infantry Battalion; is that right?

24       A.   Yes.

25       Q.   And when they arrived did they then fall under your command as the

Page 10047

 1    persons standing in for the commander of the 4th Battalion?

 2       A.   Yes.  As soon as they came to see me, when I gave them code-names

 3    so that they should be part of our radio network system, they were under

 4    my direct command from that point on.  And on that day I deployed them.

 5    And if they had stayed, they would be within my jurisdiction and under my

 6    command because they were within my zone of responsibility, manning

 7    mortars that belonged to my platoon.

 8       Q.   Now, let me draw your attention to the 14th of July, if I could.

 9    Do you remember the events of that day?

10       A.   Yes.

11       Q.   And on that day did you have the occasion to send an intervention

12    battalion to the Snagovo area?

13       A.   That morning, following orders from Major Obrenovic, I sent a

14    platoon from the 3rd Infantry Battalion to the area of Snagovo to report

15    to Major Obrenovic.

16       Q.   Do you recall how you received that order from Major Obrenovic?

17       A.   I can't remember after all this time through what kind of

18    communications and how, but I know for sure that the order came from

19    Major Obrenovic.

20       Q.   Is it possible that you could have had a conversation with the

21    major the morning of the 14th?

22       A.   I can't recall that kind of detail, because we had dedicated

23    signalsmen who were on duty at the battalion, and we just received

24    telegrams from them, or calls, and I can't remember whether it was through

25    the RUP 12 device or otherwise, because it's the signalsmen who were in

Page 10048

 1    charge of that.

 2       Q.   Can I ask you generally did you have occasion to speak to or

 3    communicate, I should say, with Major Obrenovic at any other time on the

 4    14th of July?

 5       A.   I did not.  Not that I remember.  In fact, I don't think that we

 6    had any contact at all until the afternoon of the 15th when he came to the

 7    battalion command personally.  If there had been any talks, that could

 8    have been only in the form of orders being passed through signalsmen.

 9       Q.   Now, with respect to your recollection of this order to assign

10    these men to the Snagovo area, was there anything else, according to your

11    recollection, that was discussed or information that was exchanged?

12       A.   With Major Obrenovic?

13       Q.   Yes, with Major Obrenovic.

14       A.   I don't remember we talked that day.

15       Q.   Are you aware whether or not Major Obrenovic had any communication

16    or his signalsman had any communication with a signalsman who was assigned

17    to you or was with you?

18       A.   I read his statement, and I think he was trying to defend himself

19    by shifting the buck to someone else.  I don't remember that he talked to

20    me, although I do remember all conversations.  Maybe not in all details.

21    But if he had talked to my signalsman while I was away in Orahovac, I

22    believe that upon my return, my signalsman would have told me if

23    Major Obrenovic had called.  But since that didn't happen, I don't believe

24    that he had in fact called.  So I don't think that he actually talked to

25    me on that day the way he put it.

Page 10049

 1       Q.   Okay.  Now, do you recall actually having inquired with your

 2    signalsman about any communications that may have occurred in your

 3    absence?

 4       A.   There was no need for me to inquire, because whatever they

 5    received, whatever information they received, they would pass it on to the

 6    commander or whoever was in charge in the commander's absence.  So there

 7    must have been nothing to report to me, because I don't believe he would

 8    have forgotten or omitted to let me know.  And in fact, if I had talked to

 9    Major Obrenovic on the 14th, I would have had quite a few questions for

10    him.  But I don't remember we talked, especially since Major Obrenovic

11    claimed that he didn't know anything about those events, although he later

12    admitted that he did.  And why would he have inquired with me, who knew

13    nothing about all that?

14       Q.   Well, having read his statement, were you aware that he made a

15    reference to the term "Zoljani"?

16            JUDGE AGIUS:  Mr. Bourgon.

17            MR. BOURGON:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Mr. President, I believe

18    that we're going way beyond the scope of what is supposed to be obtained

19    as evidence in chief from this witness.  This witness, we have a summary,

20    he is supposed to testify about Orahovac.  Now, in my cross-examination I

21    do plan on getting into those areas, but I don't think it's the time now

22    to ask questions about a statement that the witness might have read.  The

23    witness is here to testify as to what he knows, what he saw, and what he

24    heard at that time, and not to testify as to what he heard, although I

25    will in my cross-examination get into those areas.  Thank you,

Page 10050

 1    Mr. President.

 2            JUDGE AGIUS:  I thank you, Mr. Bourgon.  On the other hand, we

 3    still don't know what the question is going to be.  So let's hear what --

 4    hear the question first and then we'll -- we'll decide whether you have a

 5    point or not.

 6            Yes, could you repeat or finalise your question, Mr. Vanderpuye.

 7            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Okay.

 8            JUDGE AGIUS:  So far you've just referred the witness to the

 9    Obrenovic statement which according to you he makes reference to the

10    term "Zoljani."

11            MR. VANDERPUYE:  That's my question in total.

12       Q.   Are you aware of that, is my question?

13       A.   The term "Zoljani" is familiar.

14       Q.   Just so that the record is clear, could you tell the Court what

15    that term refers to?

16       A.   Maybe it would be a good idea if you could read out to me that

17    statement of his so that I could clarify.  There are other ones except

18    Zoljani.

19            JUDGE AGIUS:  Definitely we would stand in the way.  Just restrict

20    yourself, as you have already done, to putting to the witness the meaning

21    of the term "Zoljani."  And either you know what it means or you don't

22    know what it means.  You don't need to refer to anybody's statement in

23    order to explain what Zoljani means.  If you don't know what it means tell

24    us you don't know.  Say so.

25            MR. VANDERPUYE:

Page 10051

 1       Q.   All right.  Are you in a position to answer the President's

 2    question?  Do you know what the term means?

 3       A.   Zoljani was an intervention platoon of our 4th Battalion.

 4       Q.   And can you tell us where the intervention platoon was based?

 5       A.   While we were at Baljkovica that platoon was based in a house near

 6    the command.  When we were in Kitovnice they were again close to the

 7    command.  When the command was at the beginning in Orahovac, they were

 8    once again close to the command.

 9       Q.   Now, are you aware of whether or not Major Obrenovic made any

10    statement relating to information that you had about Orahovac on the 14th

11    of July?

12            JUDGE AGIUS:  Mr. Bourgon.

13            MR. BOURGON:  Mr. President, the witness is here to testify about

14    what he heard, what he saw when he was on the ground in July 1995.  Not a

15    to what he knows whether there was a statement made or not.  That's not

16    what he's here for.

17            JUDGE AGIUS:  Just one moment.  I'll consult with my colleagues,

18    please.

19                          [Trial Chamber confers]

20            JUDGE AGIUS:  Yes.  Objection sustained, Mr. Bourgon.

21            MR. VANDERPUYE:

22       Q.   Well, let me ask you this:  You indicated that you had read

23    Major Obrenovic's statement; is that right?

24       A.   Yes.

25       Q.   And you indicated that your assessment of it was that maybe he was

Page 10052

 1    trying to shift the blame; is that fair?

 2            JUDGE AGIUS:  Mr. Bourgon.

 3            MR. BOURGON:  Same objection, Mr. President.  That's not why the

 4    witness is here.  The witness is here to testify about what he saw, what

 5    he heard in Orahovac, and I ask that my colleague be stopped from asking

 6    those questions.

 7            JUDGE AGIUS:  One moment.  I need to -- do you wish to respond to

 8    that, Mr. Vanderpuye?

 9            MR. VANDERPUYE:  I do wish to respond to it, yes.

10            JUDGE AGIUS:  It's a little bit different from the previous

11    question, but still there is a point that has been made by Mr. Bourgon

12    that needs to be decided.

13            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Okay.  If I may respond.

14            JUDGE AGIUS:  Yes, please.

15            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Well, there are two issues that are at play.

16    First of all, it has to do with the witness's -- could I have the witness

17    remove his headphones, because I think it would be inappropriate to make

18    this argument in front of him.

19            JUDGE AGIUS:  But -- one moment.  Ask him to put the --

20            THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, Your Honour, please.

21            JUDGE AGIUS:  Thank you.  Sorry about that.  Ask him to put the

22    headphones on again.

23            Mr. Ristic, do you understand English?

24            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.

25            JUDGE AGIUS:  All right.  You can now remove your headphones.

Page 10053

 1            Yes, Mr. Vanderpuye.

 2            MR. VANDERPUYE:  There are two points that I wish to raise.  One

 3    is that we anticipate fully that the Defence intends to explore certain

 4    differences in the information that will be or has been related by

 5    Major Obrenovic as concerns the knowledge of this witness concerning the

 6    events of Orahovac on the 14th.  I think Mr. Bourgon has alluded to that

 7    in his prior objection.  Therefore, I think it is a relevant point to

 8    explore with the witness.

 9            The second reason that it's important is that to the extent that

10    the witness perceives that statement as having been an attempt by a

11    witness to be called by the Prosecution to shift the blame from himself or

12    from someone else to this witness, it influences this witness's testimony

13    and to that extent it is directly relevant to his credibility and the way

14    to which his testimony or -- or the weight attributed to his testimony by

15    the finder of fact.  So I think on both grounds the -- the question is

16    appropriately put, and the answer is both probative and material to this

17    witness's testimony.

18            JUDGE AGIUS:  Thank you.  Yes, Mr. Bourgon.

19            MR. BOURGON:  Mr. President, in reply to my colleague's arguments,

20    the fact that some issue is likely to be raised during cross-examination

21    doesn't make an issue relevant for examination-in-chief.  The fact that

22    the witness -- my colleague says that this might have an impact on the

23    credibility of the witness, credibility during examination-in-chief is

24    something for the Trial Chamber to examine and to assess, and credibility

25    is something for the Defence, if the Defence wishes, to take or at least

Page 10054

 1    to challenge the credibility of the witness, then we can raise some

 2    issues.  It's not for the Prosecution at this stage to raise issue, to

 3    challenge the credibility of his witness.

 4            Once again I recall that this witness was called to testify on

 5    precise issues.  Those issues will arise soon.  We have been given a

 6    summary, a Rule 65 ter summary.  So far, we have not complained even

 7    though everything that has been said so far, none of it, is in the Rule 65

 8    ter summary.  Normally we would have objected to that because he's not

 9    supposed to go beyond the Rule 65 ter summary but we didn't complain

10    because this witness is here and he's talking about things that he saw on

11    the ground, that he perceived on the ground, that he heard on the ground.

12    Now, for my colleague to get into his feeling concerning a statement of

13    somebody else, that's not proper during examination-in-chief.

14            So for all these reasons I simply ask that my colleague be stopped

15    from asking these questions and we limit ourselves to the knowledge of the

16    witness, what he had heard and what he saw in July of 1995, and whatever

17    his relationship was with Major Obrenovic or with anybody else at that

18    time, then that is correct, but for the rest he should be stopped.  Thank

19    you, Mr. President.

20            JUDGE AGIUS:  I notice that you seem to indicate that in your

21    opinion the -- to indicate that according to you the Prosecution at this

22    stage is trying to challenge -- this is how it appears in the

23    transcript:  "It is not for the Prosecution at this stage to raise issue

24    to challenge the credibility of his witness."  I understood Mr. Vanderpuye

25    to be doing exactly the opposite.  I understood him to be making reference

Page 10055

 1    to statements by Obrenovic, putting them to the witness, particularly in

 2    the areas where Obrenovic supposedly tries to shift the responsibility

 3    from him onto the witness so that, through this series of questions and

 4    answers, the Prosecution will seek, rather, to uphold the credibility of

 5    the witness, rather, not challenge it.  This is how I understand it.  I

 6    mean --

 7            MR. BOURGON:  Mr. President, my reply was directed at what my

 8    colleague said at page 22, at lines 15 to 18, and may I cite from my

 9    colleague:  "The second reason that it's important is that to the extent

10    that the witness perceives the statement as having been an attempt by a

11    witness to be called by the Prosecution to shift the blame from himself or

12    from someone else to this witness, it influences this witness's testimony

13    and to that extent it is directly relevant to his credibility."

14            That's not what we're trying to get during examination-in-chief.

15    During examination-in-chief, we're trying to get what the witness knows

16    and what he has -- what he has heard and what he has seen when he was in

17    July of 1995 with -- in his capacity as commander of the 4th Battalion.

18            JUDGE AGIUS:  Okay.  Final -- thank you, Mr. Bourgon.  Final

19    remarks from you very briefly, Mr. Vanderpuye, please.

20            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Very briefly, I think

21    my colleague's arguments while maybe well-intended is not well-guided.  I

22    think it is entirely up to the trier of fact to have the opportunity to

23    put in context the testimony of a witness who is before it, whose

24    credibility and the weight to which it will attach certain things is

25    critical.  And I don't think that the Prosecution should be put in a

Page 10056

 1    position of putting an automaton on the stand and pressing a button and

 2    playback, rather to present to the Trial Chamber a complete picture of the

 3    witness so that the Trial Chamber can make a well-founded assessment as to

 4    the weight to attach to this witness's testimony, and indeed in this case

 5    to the extent that involves a future Prosecution witness the weight to

 6    attach that witness's testimony as well.  So it's entirely relevant to the

 7    proceedings, it is entirely relevant to the matter at issue which is the

 8    subject matter of the 65 ter summary.

 9            JUDGE AGIUS:  Right.  The whole point as I see it now I will

10    confer with my colleagues.

11            Yes, Mr. Meek.

12            MR. MEEK:  Yes, Mr. President, Your Honours.  First off, we would

13    join Mr. Bourgon's argument, but secondly I'm a little confused.  Is the

14   (redacted)

15   (redacted)

16   (redacted)

17   (redacted)

18   (redacted)

19   (redacted)   One of them is got to be not speaking the

20    truth from what I hear coming from the Prosecution.

21            JUDGE AGIUS:  Okay, thank you.  Let me confer --

22            MR. HAYNES:  Mr. Meek has just posed the question that I think is

23    essential to this debate.  I think Mr. Vanderpuye needs to address the

24    question:  Is he attacking the credibility of his own witness now or is he

25    seeking to bolster it?

Page 10057

 1            JUDGE AGIUS:  Okay.  Thank you.  Usually we allow -- when there

 2    are more than one counsel -- is there any objection on the Defence side to

 3    give the floor to Mr. McCloskey?

 4            MR. HAYNES:  Yes.

 5            JUDGE AGIUS:  Yes.  You have to remain silent, Mr. McCloskey.

 6    Perhaps while -- while we are conferring you may confer with

 7    Mr. Vanderpuye.

 8                          [Trial Chamber confers]

 9            JUDGE AGIUS:  So we've come to -- one moment, because I was

10    marking something here, and I forgot what it was now.

11            We have decided as follows:  We uphold the objection by

12    Mr. Bourgon -- or from Mr. Bourgon, and we direct you as follows:  That

13    you put to the witness questions which will elicit his version of events,

14    events that others may be testifying upon but reference only to the events

15    and not to possible evidence by other people.  That's number one.  And

16    secondly, of course, your rights to put further questions on redirect, if

17    that's the case, are being saved.  So that's the position.

18            He needs -- he understood me.  Okay.  Thank you for being patient

19    with us, Witness.  Thank you.

20            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Thank you, Mr. President.  What I had wanted to

21    say just before you decided this issue, and I don't think it's an issue

22    that concerns -- is that the Prosecution's position is that we feel that

23    it would be appropriate for the Court just to be aware that there are at

24    times differences in the testimony of witnesses and that's the reason why

25    it was raised.

Page 10058

 1            JUDGE AGIUS:  But I mean, we are familiar to the same kind -- we

 2    are familiar to the same kind of procedure.  I know -- practically all of

 3    us.

 4            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Very well.

 5            JUDGE AGIUS:  If the credibility of this witness is attacked on

 6    cross-examination, you have every opportunity to put further questions on

 7    redirect to counter -- counteract that.

 8            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Okay.  That's no problem there.  All right.

 9    Okay.  Thank you for bearing with me.

10       Q.   Thank you, Witness.  You remember the events of the 14th of July,

11    1995, you'd indicated previously; is that right?

12       A.   Yes.

13       Q.   And did you at some point during that day become aware of certain

14    things going on in Orahovac?

15       A.   On the 14th of July, the afternoon, a soldier from the 2nd Company

16    of my battalion came looking for me.  He was originally from Orahovac.  He

17    asked me what was going on in Orahovac, that I didn't want to talk to them

18    about what was going on.  They had heard from a soldier who went to

19    Orahovac via Potocari [as interpreted].  He went to the upper portion of

20    Orahovac, and he saw there a large number of people assembled by the

21    school in Orahovac.

22            The soldier who came looking for me, the one who was from the

23    2nd Company, told me, "We want to abandon our positions and go and defend

24    our wives and children."  I told him that I would verify what was going

25    on, that I was unaware of anything, and that I would get back to them, and

Page 10059

 1    that's what I did.

 2       Q.   Do you recall the --

 3            JUDGE AGIUS:  One moment.  Mr. Bourgon.

 4            MR. BOURGON:  Mr. President, I'm sorry to interrupt but this time

 5    I wait until the witness finished his answer.  I believe he said Potocani

 6    and not Potocari.  It makes a difference, Potocani is close to the area of

 7    Baljkovica, and I think we can clarify with the witness he said Potocani

 8    and not Potocari.  Thank you, Mr. President.

 9            JUDGE AGIUS:  Yes.  Mr. Ristic, you have heard what Mr. Bourgon

10    has just stated, that you had mentioned Potocani and not Potocari?

11            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There is a village near Baljkovica,

12    a Muslim village, that was destroyed, and it's called either Potocari or

13    Potocani.  You can see it on the map.  I'm not sure if it's an R or an N.

14            JUDGE AGIUS:  So but -- but let's make this clear.  Previously in

15    answering Mr. Vanderpuye's question you said, "On the 14th of July, the

16    afternoon, a soldier from the 2nd Company of my battalion came looking for

17    me.  He was originally from Orahovac.  He asked me what was going on in

18    Orahovac, that I didn't want to talk to them about what was going on.

19    They had heard from a soldier who went to Orahovac via," or via Potocari

20    or Potocani.  This is the small -- whatever the name is, this is the small

21    Muslim village that had been destroyed.  Is this what you're referring to?

22    Or were you referring to Potocari, the town that you referred to earlier

23    on in your --

24            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was referring to the village near

25    Baljkovica, a small village that was destroyed, and it's called Potocani

Page 10060

 1    if the other place is called Potocari.

 2            JUDGE AGIUS:  Yes.  Go ahead, Mr. Vanderpuye.  I think it's clear

 3    enough now.

 4            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Thank you, Mr. President.

 5       Q.   I think I was about to ask you what the name of the soldier was

 6    who sought you on the 14th.  Do you recall his name?

 7       A.   Yes.

 8       Q.   Okay.  Can you tell us what it is, please?

 9       A.   He called me on the phone from the positions.  He didn't come

10    looking for me personally.  He called me on the phone from his trench

11    where his company was.

12       Q.   Okay.  And do you recall his name?

13       A.   Yes.  Jovo Vidovic.

14       Q.   And you indicated that you would look into this matter; is that

15    right?

16       A.   Yes.

17       Q.   And can you just tell us what you did in order to look into this

18    matter?

19       A.   The first thing I did was to call the duty service in the brigade.

20    I asked them what was going on in Orahovac.  They told me, "Just do your

21    work.  This is no business of yours."

22       Q.   Do you recall who he spoke to at the duty service, as you've

23    indicated?

24       A.   I didn't recognise the voice.  I asked for Major Obrenovic, and he

25    told me that he was in Snagovo sector.  I didn't recognise the voice, and

Page 10061

 1    I don't think that I spoke to that person any longer.

 2       Q.   And when you say "duty service," and perhaps it's a translation

 3    issue, are you referring to it a duty officer or duty operations officer?

 4       A.   The duty service within the brigade had a duty operations officer

 5    and an assistant.  They were located near all of the offices of the

 6    operations service and near the commander.  So it is possible that one of

 7    those people answered the phone and that the duty officer had gone out, or

 8    perhaps that was the deputy of the duty officer.  I didn't really care who

 9    answered the phone, because I called the brigade command.  And it couldn't

10    have been just anybody from the street sitting in the office of the duty

11    service.  It could have been only one of the officers working there.

12       Q.   Do you know who was assigned as the duty operations officer at

13    that time or the duty officer that day?

14       A.   I know that that evening Major Jokic, who was the duty officer,

15    called me.  He inquired about the situation in the battalion and told me

16    that large columns of Muslims from Srebrenica were on their way towards

17    Baljkovica, that we should take care.  I know that Jokic called me that

18    evening.  I knew his voice.  But on that day it wasn't him, definitely not

19    him.  I knew him because he's from the same town as I am, and he

20    frequently called to inquire about the situation precisely because of

21    that.

22       Q.   Okay.  So you -- okay.  Now, I think you indicated that you asked

23    for Major Obrenovic.  Is that right?

24       A.   Yes.

25       Q.   Were you able to find out where he was?

Page 10062

 1       A.   The duty officer conveyed to me that he was in the Snagovo sector

 2    and that he was busy intercepting those columns.  I understood that he

 3    wasn't available, and I stopped asking to speak to him.  And the reason I

 4    called in was to inquire about what was going on.  Then I told my people

 5    that I would check what was going on, that they should not leave their

 6    positions.  And I called a civilian from Orahovac who worked in a shop to

 7    inquire with her whether she knew what was going on by the school in

 8    Orahovac.  She told me that prisoners had been brought to the school and

 9    that one of our soldiers from our battalion who was from Orahovac, that

10    the prisoners grabbed a rifle from him and that the security men managed

11    to get the situation under control and avoid any incidents.

12            Following that, Major -- or, rather, Captain Trbic called me

13    saying that -- asking, rather, to send him a dozen people to assist with

14    the -- with providing security at the school because the prisoners were

15    about to break out from the school.  I did as he asked.  I called the

16    people on the positions, telling them that some prisoners had arrived

17    there and that I had sent a dozen people or so to assist with the security

18    around the school so as to avoid the prisoners from breaking out and

19    dispersing throughout the village.

20            MR. VANDERPUYE:  I think this is a good point to stop.

21            JUDGE AGIUS:  So we will have a 25-minute break starting from now.

22    Thank you.

23                           --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.

24                           --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.

25            JUDGE AGIUS:  Mr. Vanderpuye, you may proceed.

Page 10063

 1            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Thank you, Mr. President.

 2       Q.   Good afternoon again, Mr. Ristic.  You'd indicated that you'd made

 3    a phone call to an individual who told you about prisoners being brought

 4    to the school.  Just so the record is clear, could you tell us who that

 5    person is?

 6       A.   Mara Matic.

 7       Q.   You also indicated that she mentioned something about one of the

 8    prisoners or prisoners having grabbed a rifle from a soldier from your

 9    battalion.  Can you tell us who that soldier was, if you know?

10       A.   Gojko Simic.

11       Q.   Now, can you tell us what Mr. Simic's position was in your

12    battalion?

13       A.   Mr. Simic had been the commander of the Orahovac Company for a

14    long time before he was replaced at his own request due to some personal

15    problems he had, and from that time on he was a regular soldier in the 2nd

16    Company of the 4th Battalion.

17       Q.   Now, were you aware that Mr. Simic was in the vicinity of the

18    school on the 14th of July?  Were you aware that he was there prior to

19    that?

20       A.   No, I was not.  The first time I heard about it was from that

21    woman.  She told me that he was there, but he had been absent from the 1st

22    to the 15th of July because he needed to see his son off to the army.  And

23    along with him another eight members of the 4th Battalion were absent for

24    the same reason.

25       Q.   Now, the other eight members of the 4th Battalion, do you know

Page 10064

 1    whether or not any of those members were in and around the area of the

 2    school in Orahovac on the 14th of July?

 3       A.   I don't know that any of them were there.

 4       Q.   Do you know if someone by the name of Risto Trifkovic, first, was

 5    in your battalion, and, second, if he was in the area of Orahovac on the

 6    14th of July?

 7       A.   I don't know where he was, but I think he was supposed to be with

 8    the battalion.  It all depends on what his deployment was.  I don't know

 9    where Trifkovic was.

10            JUDGE AGIUS:  Yes, Mr. Bourgon.

11            MR. BOURGON:  Thank you, Mr. President.  Mr. President, I just

12    note that the Prosecution is asking questions according to a name, Risto

13    Trifkovic; first time we hear this name.  Whether in all the statements

14    that were provided by this witness or the Rule 65 ter summaries or

15    anything in the indictment or anything in the pre-trial brief, first time

16    we hear this name.  If the Prosecution has information concerning this

17    individual it would be nice if it could be disclosed to the Defence

18    counsel before a question is asked of a witness.  Thank you,

19    Mr. President.

20            JUDGE AGIUS:  Your comments, Mr. Vanderpuye.

21            MR. VANDERPUYE:  I would like to defer to my colleague,

22    Mr. McCloskey, to answer this question with the Court's permission.

23            JUDGE AGIUS:  This is different.

24            Mr. McCloskey.

25            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Thank you.

Page 10065

 1            MR. McCLOSKEY:  And out of an abundance of caution, it's probably

 2    best that the witness take his headphones off.

 3            JUDGE AGIUS:  Okay.

 4            Witness.  Mr. Ristic.  Mr. Ristic.

 5            Yes, Mr. McCloskey.

 6            MR. McCLOSKEY:  We -- we have -- you may recall the testimony of

 7    an Orahovac survivor who spoke of recognising the voice of Gojko Simic.

 8    It's a long time ago, but -- and you may recall the evidence where that

 9    survivor had heard the -- Gojko Simic referring to someone as Risto and

10    someone as Vojo.  So all we're doing here is bringing out that there are

11    people with that first name in his battalion, and I will endeavour to see

12    if there -- we do have some statements from these folks, at least one of

13    them, that we should have provided the Defence.  We will make sure that we

14    have or, if we haven't, we will do it at the break.  And -- but this is

15    just merely to determine that the identity of -- to remind us that there

16    were these two first names that were mentioned to show that there were

17    people with those first names in that battalion.  That's all that this is

18    for, but we will provide statements because they do -- I don't think

19    they -- they may not agree with the survivor of being there.  I don't

20    recall exactly, but we'll check and make sure we give that to the Defence.

21            JUDGE AGIUS:  But if I understood Mr. Bourgon well, it's the

22    combination of the name and surname that he's referring to, not just the

23    existence of a Risto, but also this Risto being Risto Trifkovic.

24            MR. McCLOSKEY:  Yes, but we, of course, didn't want to just ask

25    the witness if -- there was this person by the name of a first -- just the

Page 10066

 1    first name, so we gave the full name just so it was -- made more sense,

 2    and so the statement that the Defence has makes more sense.

 3            JUDGE AGIUS:  But I don't think this question arises off-the-cuff.

 4    Was the name of Risto Trifkovic put to the witness when he was being

 5    proofed already, or -- no.  I see Mr. Vanderpuye denying that.  Yes.

 6            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Indeed I was shaking my head.  No, the name

 7    wasn't put to the witness previously.

 8            JUDGE AGIUS:  Okay.  Mr. Bourgon, do you wish to add anything?  At

 9    this stage I don't think it's case but --

10            MR. BOURGON:  I just think they should tell us in advance if

11    they're going to try to do something with the witness.  This we're taken

12    by surprise once again, and we don't feel it's appropriate.

13            JUDGE AGIUS:  But I assume even the witness is being taken by

14    surprise.

15            MR. McCLOSKEY:  Your Honour, we can't choreograph every detail and

16    this -- these, Risto and Vojo, have been part of the history of this case

17    for many years, as has the Orahovac Company roster.  So this is not a

18    mystery and this is -- there's nothing new here.

19            JUDGE AGIUS:  The understanding is, if you have dug up fresh

20    information that points to a certain Risto Trifkovic, then you will pass

21    on the information to the Defence teams.

22            MR. McCLOSKEY:  Yes, and we should have done that if we haven't,

23    and I agree with Mr. Bourgon on that and I will double-check.

24            JUDGE AGIUS:  Thank you, Mr. McCloskey.

25            And Mr. Vanderpuye, do you -- yeah, but anyway, the question has

Page 10067

 1    been put and he has answered it already, so I don't know what -- whether

 2    you -- if it's the case of proceeding with another question on this or

 3    whether to proceed with some other question.

 4            MR. VANDERPUYE:  As you can imagine, I have a question relating to

 5    the Vojo part of the Risto --

 6            JUDGE AGIUS:  Okay.

 7            MR. VANDERPUYE: -- so I would ask if the witness could put his

 8    headphones back on.  Okay.  All right.  Thank you.

 9       Q.   Do you have somebody by the name of Vojo Matic in your battalion?

10       A.   I think he was there.

11       Q.   You think he was there.  Where?

12       A.   In the battalion.

13       Q.   Okay.  And do you know if he was in the area in and around

14    Orahovac on the 14th of July?

15       A.   I had no knowledge about the whereabouts of that man.

16       Q.   Now, with respect to Gojko Simic, did you ever have an opportunity

17    to discuss with him his whereabouts on the 14th at a later time?

18       A.   Gojko Simic got killed near the battalion command on the 15th or

19    the 16th.  At any rate, he'd got killed.  So I had no occasion to talk to

20    him.  I would have probably discussed those matters with him, but as I

21    said, he was killed.

22       Q.   All right.  Now, I think you had, before the break, indicated that

23    you had received a call from Milorad Trbic.  Is that right?

24       A.   Yes.

25       Q.   And could you just tell us the circumstances surrounding that call

Page 10068

 1    and what was discussed?

 2       A.   He only requested assistance in the form of ten men, and he said

 3    the prisoners were about to break out from the schoolhouse.  I didn't ask

 4    him anything else, and he didn't tell me anything else.  My understanding

 5    was that there were prisoners in the schoolhouse and that the place needed

 6    security, and without knowing exactly how many there were or what the

 7    problem was, I sent some men there, some men that had been busy in

 8    ambushes during the night and were at the command during the day.

 9            The order had come from the command, and I must have been the

10    first, the closest person around, so he requested that assistance from me.

11       Q.   And did he convey to you that the order had come from the command

12    during that -- during that telephone conversation?

13       A.   He didn't tell me anything except what I've just described, and I

14    didn't ask him anything else.

15       Q.   Okay.  So as far as you're concerned, was this a direct order from

16    Mr. Trbic?

17       A.   It didn't sound like an order.  It was a request for assistance.

18    He didn't issue me an order.  He told me to send him 10 men to help out

19    with the prisoners who were about to break out from the school.

20            I sent my men and called up those people there, telling them that

21    I would keep in touch and tell them what's going on, and that I had sent

22    10 men for assistance.

23            JUDGE AGIUS:  Mr. Vanderpuye.

24            After you received this communication or after you received this

25    request from Mr. Trbic, were you free to say no to him and not make

Page 10069

 1    available any of your men?  Could you do that?

 2            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't know what was going to be

 3    done, and I didn't ask.  I only assumed that some prisoners had been

 4    brought and that security was needed.  Maybe I could have done otherwise,

 5    but I sent those men in order to secure that front end of the line which

 6    was much more important to me.

 7            If he had told me that my men were needed for executions, I would

 8    probably have done differently.  But in actual fact, he told me that they

 9    were needed to provide security, because those men were taken out from

10    trenches where they were defending the defence line to help out with

11    another activity related to ambushes, and they were also able to help with

12    security, to secure those people.

13            MR. VANDERPUYE:

14       Q.   Could you just tell us of the 10 men that you sent there, where

15    were they taken from, because you've indicated that they were in some

16    trenches and also -- or engaged in activity related to ambushes.  What

17    area were they drawn from?

18       A.   They were taken from companies that were deployed on the front end

19    of the defence line.  They were taken out from trenches.

20       Q.   I see in relation to the Judge's question about whether or not you

21    had a choice, just so that we're clear on this, was the answer to that yes

22    or no?  And that's with respect to the men that you were asked to send.

23       A.   It's not that I had a choice, but in practice we helped each other

24    out in all kinds of situations.  If somebody was under attack and was

25    short of men and we had enough to lend some, we would do so.  But that

Page 10070

 1    particular situation was happening for the first time.  I didn't actually

 2    know what was going on.  He told me he needed men for security service,

 3    and I sent some men to report to Captain Trbic.  I wasn't thinking at that

 4    moment about -- there was just that call.  I wasn't thinking about any

 5    choices.  Everything would have been different if he had told me that some

 6    executions were involved, but he just told me they were needed for

 7    security duty.

 8       Q.   Now, with respect to the men that you withdrew from the line to

 9    send to Captain Trbic, did you have a plan in place to replace these men

10    or were there other men available from other locations to fill those

11    vacated positions?

12       A.   Through communications I sent a message to company commanders that

13    an order had arrived saying that a platoon should be formed because there

14    was no intervention platoon.  We had some surplus of personnel.  In some

15    trenches there were four or five men, and if on some other end people were

16    sick or absent, they would be shifted.  If we needed to raise the level of

17    readiness or alertness, we would put in a new trench where needed.  And as

18    we sent assistance to others, others would send personnel to us when we

19    needed it, when our own men were on sick leave or absent for other

20    reasons.  And those people could always return to the defence line anyway

21    because they were close to the command.

22       Q.   In fact, at the time that you sent these 10 men to Captain Trbic,

23    was that after the men from the 3rd Infantry had been dispatched to the

24    area of Snagovo?  These were the men that were securing your mortar

25    platoon.  Isn't that right?

Page 10071

 1       A.   Yes.

 2       Q.   Okay.  So is it -- is it the case that you'd assign these 10 men

 3    to Captain Trbic without anybody to secure your mortar platoon in the

 4    afternoon of the 14th?

 5       A.   Activities unfolded in such a way that our mortar platoon was not

 6    in danger on the 14th.  If they had been in jeopardy, probably they would

 7    have been given some assistance, but the way it was, not knowing how

 8    things were developing at various locations, I did what I did.  And later

 9    on in the evening of the 14th, I was making a new plan, feeling that there

10    might be some danger, because I had already received information that they

11    had crossed Crni Vrh.  So I was going to boost the security of our defence

12    line against members of the army coming from Srebrenica and other BH army

13    troops.

14       Q.   All right.  Did you at any point share this concern with

15    Captain Trbic when he made the request for these 10 men, or you didn't

16    share that with him at all?

17       A.   I didn't talk to him at all.  I probably would have talked to him

18    if I had found him in Orahovac when I was there, but I saw that he was

19    leaving that place, going off somewhere on a truck.  I had nobody else

20    there to ask any questions, but I could see what was going on.  My men

21    were gathered on the pitch outside that gym, and they were so scared that

22    all they could ask was whether I would let them go home, because before

23    that I had suggested they return to the battalion, and they wanted instead

24    to go home and report back at the battalion at 8.00 a.m. the next morning.

25    I realised that could create a wave of panic at the battalion, so I let

Page 10072

 1    them go home and told them they needed to return to the battalion to get

 2    involved again in our activities to boost security of the defence line we

 3    were keeping.

 4       Q.   Let me just ask you this since you've indicated that you actually

 5    went to Orahovac and -- could you just share with the Court how it is that

 6    you came to be there and why it is that you went?  But first let me ask

 7    you, why is it you went to Orahovac?

 8       A.   I got a telephone call from one of those 10 soldiers.  I can't

 9    remember which one, but I think I assigned one of them to be the leader of

10    that group because that was the common practice when a group of men were

11    absenting themselves.  They had to keep in touch.  He told me they were

12    asking us to execute some people.  What shall we do?  I said, "Don't do

13    anything.  I'm coming."

14            I came to Orahovac with a driver, and they all gathered around me.

15    That's how the conversation went as far as that issue is concerned.

16       Q.   Can you just tell us about how long after you had sent these men

17    down to Orahovac that you received this call?

18       A.   It's difficult for me to remember after all this time.  Certainly

19    some time had elapsed, but I can't tell you exactly.  A certain time

20    elapsed from when they called me.  I really can't be precise.

21       Q.   That's all right.  Can you -- can you tell us about what time of

22    day it was that you got this call around -- and how long after, say, you

23    sent the men down after you received the call?

24       A.   All that was going on in the afternoon of the 14th.  I can guess

25    now, but I really can't give you a precise answer, because I didn't keep

Page 10073

 1    my eye on the clock.  All that was going on on the 14th in the afternoon.

 2       Q.   In response to the call that you got, I think you said that you

 3    told them that -- "Don't do anything.  I'm coming."  Did you inquire as to

 4    who was ordering them to participate in these executions?

 5       A.   I did not inquire about anything.  If Captain Trbic had been there

 6    I would have probably inquired of him and talked to him, but since he

 7    wasn't there, I couldn't find any of the other officers that I would like

 8    to speak to.  And I was both irritated and angry over Trbic's absence,

 9    because he had asked assistance from me and then took off himself.  So as

10    things were, I tried to return to my own base in Baljkovica where my

11    battalion was deployed and get it over with.

12       Q.   Well, just before we get there, let me ask you, did you -- perhaps

13    my question wasn't clear, but during the course of the conversation that

14    you had with your men about being ordered to participate in the

15    executions, did you ask them anything at all about the circumstances of

16    that order?

17       A.   I didn't ask them anything really.  They were regular soldiers.  I

18    wasn't aware that they knew any of those officers anyway, and I made no

19    inquiries.  I just did what I told you I did.

20       Q.   Is there any particular reason why you didn't ask anything?

21       A.   Most likely the events themselves, because if somebody wants you

22    to give them people for one task and when you went there and you see that

23    it actually involves another task, something quite different, then upon

24    realising this I wanted to pull out my people so that they wouldn't

25    participate in it, because we had our regular task to hold the defence

Page 10074

 1    lines and not to deal with those issues.  This is why I did not even

 2    inquire about those events, because that wasn't part of my job.

 3       Q.   Okay.  Now, could you describe for us -- well, you've indicated

 4    first that you went to Orahovac with a driver.  Could you just tell us

 5    who -- what his name is, please?

 6       A.   The driver within the Medical Corps, Lazar Matic.

 7       Q.   And can you tell us what vehicle you took in order to reach

 8    Orahovac from your location?

 9       A.   It was a car that belonged to the battalion Medical Corps, a Lada

10    vehicle.

11       Q.   And how long did it take you from the time you left until the time

12    you -- left the battalion until the time you arrived in Orahovac?

13       A.   Ten to 15 minutes.  About 15 minutes, maybe even more.  It depends

14    on how you drive.

15       Q.   Did you leave word with anybody at the time that you left as to

16    where you would be and how you could be reached?

17       A.   Most likely I spoke only to signalsman, and if somebody was

18    present in the headquarters I might have said to one of the members of the

19    command that I was on my way to Orahovac and would stay there only

20    briefly.

21       Q.   If I could just refer you to the time that you arrived at

22    Orahovac.  Could you just tell us as particularly as you can what you

23    first observed when you entered that area?

24       A.   When I came near the school building I saw a lot of people there.

25    There were security men there, people with rifles, and then there were

Page 10075

 1    also civilians just watching it.  Then there were cars parked between the

 2    road leading to Kitovnice and Zvornik.  So between the main road and the

 3    playground there were a lot of cars parked.  There were soldiers,

 4    civilians, a mix and match type of gathering without any sense or

 5    organisation.  It was mostly people simply observing what was going on

 6    rather than doing anything.

 7       Q.   And did you at some point arrive at the school itself?

 8       A.   Yes.

 9       Q.   And you indicated earlier that you saw Captain Trbic in a truck or

10    getting into a truck.  Could you just describe for us where that -- where

11    you saw him first?

12       A.   When I reached the edge of the playground along the road leading

13    to Zvornik and some hundred metres later on that road I saw Trbic and two

14    military policemen getting on a truck, which was a cross between a truck

15    and Tamic, but it was a civilian vehicle.  And I saw the vehicle depart in

16    that direction towards Zvornik.

17       Q.   Now, the two military policemen that you say you saw, do you

18    happen to know who they are?

19       A.   I think that they were lawyers in the military police.

20    Goran Bogdanovic and Cedo Jovic.

21       Q.   What happened after -- let me ask you this first, I'm sorry:  When

22    you made this observation were you in your vehicle or outside of your

23    vehicle?

24       A.   We stopped there.  Now, whether I was still in the vehicle or had

25    gone out earlier, I don't know.  I was out of the vehicle and the driver

Page 10076

 1    had gone to park the car.  I know that I saw it.  Now, whether I saw it

 2    while I was still in the car or once I got out of the car, I don't know.

 3       Q.   After you made this observation, what's the next thing that you

 4    did?

 5       A.   I started towards the playground.  When those people saw me, they

 6    approached the area around the gym, or I don't know whether they had been

 7    there already earlier.  But at any rate, they were there.  They assembled.

 8    I told them to line up.  They lined up in a line, and we started a

 9    conversation.  They wanted to go home.  They looked scared, and I let them

10    go.

11       Q.   Just so that the record is clear, can you tell us who these people

12    are that you're talking about just now that looked scared, that came

13    towards you in the area of the playground?

14       A.   It's very hard to remember who those people were because the

15    battalion numbered 450 men.  They were gone for two days only, and on the

16    third day they came back to their trenches.  It's very hard to remember

17    the names, especially given the passage of time.  I can't remember the

18    names of those people.

19       Q.   Okay.  But these are the men that you sent you're talking about;

20    right?

21       A.   Yes.

22       Q.   And did you inquire of these men who was in charge or who was in

23    command in this area at the time that you were there?

24       A.   I talked to them.  However, since I saw that there was the

25    military police commander there, then Trbic, and that there were other

Page 10077

 1    people from the military police there, too, I most likely looked for

 2    Drago Nikolic there.  However, since he wasn't there or I didn't find him,

 3    there was no need for me to look for anybody else or to remain there

 4    longer.  Since I had let those people go, I returned to the battalion.

 5            JUDGE AGIUS:  Mr. Vanderpuye, I don't recall if he specified the

 6    approximate time when he arrived to the school.

 7            MR. VANDERPUYE:  I think that's a reasonable concern.  I'll put it

 8    to him.

 9            JUDGE AGIUS:  Okay.  Thank you.

10            MR. VANDERPUYE:

11       Q.   Could you tell us, if you can recall, approximately what -- around

12    what time you arrived at the -- at the school?

13       A.   I can't remember the exact time, but it was most likely late in

14    the afternoon.  I could give you an approximate time, but I don't know if

15    it's accurate because I didn't look at my watch to see what time it was.

16    I can't be fully precise, but I can give you an approximate time.  It

17    could have been 4.00 p.m., 5.00 p.m., maybe 3.00 p.m.  I can't remember

18    because I didn't look at my watch.

19       Q.   Okay.  Now, you indicated that you most likely looked for

20    Drago Nikolic there.  I think that's what you said.  And when you say

21    you -- you most likely looked for him, what do you recall having done in

22    order to find him, if anything at all?

23       A.   I didn't do anything, nor was I supposed to do anything.  I needed

24    somebody to complain to them, because they had asked for people to help

25    with the security.  Maybe they even invented the story themselves because

Page 10078

 1    they simply wanted to go home.  Though things happened, you know.  People

 2    fabricated stories because they wanted to leave their positions and go

 3    home.  However, I failed to find him and I didn't find anybody else.  I

 4    don't know what else to tell you.  I didn't find anyone else.  I didn't

 5    look for anybody else, I didn't need anyone else because I wasn't in

 6    charge, nor was I doing what I was supposed to be doing.

 7       Q.   Do you recall if anybody had mentioned to you whether or not

 8    Mr. Nikolic was there or had been there?

 9       A.   I can't remember that accurately because there was a lot of noise,

10    a lot of commotion there.  It was a long time ago.

11            There are only two possibilities.  Based on the fact that I saw

12    people from the brigade security there, it means I was either looking for

13    him, or perhaps one of them told me that, but I can't say whether they did

14    and, if they did, whether it was accurate.

15       Q.   All right.  If I read back to your -- read back your prior

16    statement to you, do you think that would help you -- help you recall

17    whether or not somebody had mentioned to you that Mr. Nikolic had been

18    there?  Would that help you in any way?

19       A.   I know what I stated last time in my statement, and I don't think

20    it would be of assistance to me.  I've been thinking about it for a long

21    period of time, and I really can't remember the circumstances under which

22    I was looking for him.  I simply can't remember that at all.

23       Q.   Well, since you remember what you stated, would you share that

24    with the Court?

25       A.   I said that it was possible that one of those people said --

Page 10079

 1            JUDGE AGIUS:  One moment.  One moment.  Yes, Mr. Bourgon.

 2            MR. BOURGON:  Thank you, Mr. President.  My colleague is making

 3    reference to a statement.  At the beginning he started and he said that

 4    the witness had three opportunities to meet people.  I'd like to know

 5    which statement my colleague is referring to, because the witness has to

 6    know what statement.  Is it the first one that he gave, the second one, or

 7    is it the interview with the Prosecution when he was worked upon to say

 8    something else?  Thank you, Mr. President.

 9            JUDGE AGIUS:  Fair enough, because I think the witness himself

10    knows exactly which statement is being referred to, but the Defence have a

11    right to know exactly which one.

12            MR. VANDERPUYE:  I do agree with the Court's analysis.  However, I

13    think that -- I'm not actually referring the witness to a statement.  The

14    witness has indicated that he remembers independently of any reference

15    that I've made to a statement that he made, and I'm simply asking him to

16    share with us what that statement is.

17            JUDGE AGIUS:  Which statement are you referring to?

18            MR. VANDERPUYE:  I couldn't know until he answers the question.

19            JUDGE AGIUS:  Okay.  So, Witness -- yes, Mr. Bourgon.

20            MR. BOURGON:  Mr. President, my colleague is not saying exactly.

21    He said, and I look at page 47, lines 22 to 23rd, and he said:  "Well,

22    since you remember what you stated, would you share that with the Court?"

23            I'm saying, stated when and how, so that the witness knows what my

24    colleague is talking about.  Thank you, Mr. President.

25            JUDGE AGIUS:  There is also a point in what Mr. Vanderpuye said,

Page 10080

 1    that maybe there has been more than one instance when the witness referred

 2    to what he was just about starting to relate to us.  So let's hear what he

 3    has to say first, and then I think we can specify to -- specify which

 4    statement or one or more he's referring -- he himself is referring to.

 5            So, Witness, let me read out to you six lines from the transcript.

 6    You had said:  "I know what I stated last time in my statement, and I

 7    don't think it would be of assistance to me.  I've been thinking about it

 8    for a long period of time, and I really can't remember the circumstances

 9    under which I was looking for him.  I simply can't remember that at all."

10            And then Mr. Vanderpuye suggested that since you remember what you

11    stated, perhaps you could share that with us.  And before you were

12    interrupted, you just started telling us, and according to the transcript

13    you said:  "I said that it was possible that one of those people said ..."

14            Will you continue from there, please?

15            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This information would be complete

16    had I seen Mr. Nikolic there.  However, since I didn't see him, and I

17    don't know why I was looking for him - that's how it happened - after all

18    this time has passed I couldn't say whether it was because the members of

19    the brigade military police were there or whether one of those people

20    present said that Drago was there.  I can't say which way it was.  If I

21    knew the man who told me that I would have been able to prove this.  But

22    the essence of what I'm saying, if you allow me to give an explanation is

23    this:  When I gave that first statement to the Zvornik MUP about the

24    events, I was told this was a statement for a commission established by

25    the government of the Republika Srpska because Major Obrenovic had

Page 10081

 1    mentioned me in his statement.  So I gave that first statement.

 2            My second statement was given to the security organs from

 3    Bijeljina, and in it I said that I would clarify to the commission of the

 4    government of Republika Srpska, which had been established to investigate

 5    the events in Srebrenica, that I was going to clarify to them some details

 6    from my Zvornik statement, and this is why that statement is not perhaps

 7    fully precise for the purposes of this court.

 8            This statement given in Banja Luka, I don't know where it was, was

 9    suppose to be expanded in order to clarify all these details.

10            As for the events in Orahovac, whatever I said was true, and I

11    can't deviate from what I said.

12            MR. VANDERPUYE:

13       Q.   Okay.  Thank you for that.  You indicated that there were some

14    people from the military police that you saw.  Can you tell us who it is

15    that you saw?

16       A.   I saw commander of the military police company walking on the

17    road.  I saw a member of the military police, Nada Stevanovic [as

18    interpreted].  I knew her.  She was carrying water in a bucket.  And then

19    there was some other policemen there.  I didn't try to remember them. I

20    saw that they acted as security there.

21       Q.   Now, did you see any other officers from where -- well, from where

22    you were?

23       A.   As I stood in the middle of the playground with my people, I saw

24    by the road a car, a civilian car.  I think it was a Lada.  I also saw a

25    young man with one or two stripes, either second lieutenant or lieutenant,

Page 10082

 1    with two soldiers opening a trunk and taking out an 84-millimetre

 2    machine-gun.  That's what I saw as I stood there.

 3            Later on, I didn't really pay attention.  I didn't look to see

 4    where they went and what they did.  I simply saw this by chance as I stood

 5    there and observed what was going on around the playground, nothing else.

 6            JUDGE KWON:  Mr. Vanderpuye, can I have the last name of that

 7    lady, Nada?  The transcript says Stevanovic, but it may be different.

 8            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Yes.  I believe it is Stevanovic.

 9            JUDGE KWON:  Ask --

10            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Stojanovic.

11            JUDGE KWON:  Yes.  Mr. Ristic, could you tell me the last name of

12    Nada?

13            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think it's Stojanovic.

14            JUDGE KWON:  The transcript said Stevanovic.  Thank you.

15            MR. VANDERPUYE:  Okay.  Thank you, Judge.  Thank you.

16       Q.   Okay.  Can I just ask you if you could tell us what the name of

17    the military police commander that you saw around, what his name was?

18       A.   Military police company commander Miomir Jasikovac.

19       Q.   And at the time what you observed Commander Jasikovac, can you

20    tell us what he was doing?

21       A.   Walking on the road.

22       Q.   And where was he?

23       A.   At the end of the playground next to the road going from Zvornik

24    to Kitovnice, by the school.

25       Q.   Did you at any time during the period of time that you were at the

Page 10083

 1    school converse with Mr. Jasikovac?

 2       A.   No.

 3       Q.   And the individual you saw you indicated had two stripes.  Did you

 4    recognise that individual as a member of your brigade?

 5       A.   I think that he was on the side -- or, rather, I think that he was

 6    from outside.  I knew people from the brigade.  He definitely was not from

 7    the Zvornik Brigade.  He was from elsewhere, but I don't know anything

 8    else about him.

 9       Q.   Is he the same individual that you saw handling this machine-gun?

10       A.   He didn't have it.  He simply stood by the car while the two

11    soldiers were getting it out.  Why they were getting it out, I have no

12    idea.

13       Q.   Did you see any vehicles in and around the -- the school?

14       A.   In that area between the Zvornik-Kitovnice road and the playground

15    there were about a dozen cars parked, among them a van.  I think that

16    mostly those were civilian cars.  I didn't pay particular attention to

17    them, but I think they were mostly civilian.

18       Q.   Did you see any military vehicles in the vicinity of the school,

19    that is, close to the school itself?

20       A.   No.

21       Q.   Did you see any trucks as aside from cars, for example?

22       A.   I saw a green Tamic, two tonne or so.  It was parked behind my

23    back, in the middle of the gym going into reverse, and it had a tarpaulin

24    cover on it.

25       Q.   Were you able to determine whether there was anybody inside, other

Page 10084

 1    than I guess the driver, but anybody in the back part of the truck at the

 2    time that you observed it?

 3       A.   I didn't pay attention.  I saw it arrive, and I saw it go into

 4    reverse and park while I was standing there.

 5       Q.   And were you able to see where it had come from, what -- from

 6    which direction or location?

 7       A.   I think it arrived from the direction of Kitovnice, on that road,

 8    but that's questionable, even though most likely that's how it was because

 9    I was able to see as I stood there.  I was facing the road.  I think it

10    arrived empty from that direction.  It parked there.  And I didn't ask

11    about anything, why or where.

12       Q.   Did you -- did you gain any information as to where it was that

13    these prisoners were being held, or did you see them out and about at the

14    time that you arrived at the school?

15       A.   I didn't see them move about, but when I finished with my men I

16    went to look for my driver and the car to go back to the battalion.  I

17    started following Nada to see to whom she was carrying the water, and I

18    saw her carrying the water towards the school.  There was another door

19    between the school and the gym, and I saw that there were prisoners

20    inside.  I simply looked inside and went back.

21       Q.   Do you have any information as to whether or not the truck was

22    used for the purposes of loading these prisoners?

23       A.   Probably.  I didn't put any questions, but probably so.  I could

24    have supposed what was being done, because when I approached -- when one

25    approached, one could see what was going on.  So I didn't inquire.  I

Page 10085

 1    didn't investigate anything.  I simply saw this and went back.

 2       Q.   Well, when you say one could see what was going on, could you just

 3    describe it maybe briefly what it is that you saw?

 4       A.   On my way back to the battalion I saw at that fork off near the

 5    fountain that there were some people parked there, some security people.

 6    And outside the school itself it was very noisy.  Clamour outside, clamour

 7    inside.  That's all I could see, but I didn't look for anything in

 8    particular.  I wasn't interested.  I didn't see any details.  That's what

 9    I could see on my way.

10       Q.   On your way were you able to see if there were any soldiers away

11    from the school in or around the main road?

12       A.   I can't recall all the details, but there were some walking on the

13    road.  Some were standing.  I can't tell you precisely who was where.

14       Q.   Did you see any soldiers off the main road and away from the

15    school?

16       A.   As far as I was able to see, there were some soldiers standing off

17    the road near that fountain as we were passing through on our way to

18    Baljkovica.

19       Q.   And can you tell us from what you observed of these soldiers what,

20    if anything, they were doing?

21       A.   I suppose they were there as security detail, or maybe they came

22    to watch.  I think they were security, but I wasn't really there in order

23    to know who was in charge of what.

24       Q.   At the time that you -- you've indicated that you at some point

25    sent your men home; is that right?

Page 10086

 1       A.   Yes.

 2       Q.   Now, having done that, did you notify the battalion that you had

 3    taken that action?

 4       A.   When I came to the battalion I convened all the members of the

 5    command and told them that there was a danger looming over our battalion.

 6    I told them what was going on down there.  I told them that I let some men

 7    go home, that they would be coming back the next day, and I agreed with

 8    the other members of my command that that evening we should transport the

 9    vehicles, ammunition, et cetera, to the area of Parlici [phon].  We agreed

10    that a group of our guards would go to an elevation called Remic hill

11    overlooking the command, and from that vantage point they would observe

12    and look out for that group if it comes into view moving towards the

13    command.  If it should be a smaller group, we would engage them in combat,

14    and if they should be a larger group, we would retreat to the front end of

15    our defence line and open the way for them simply to save the lives of our

16    battalion if we are unable to fight them.  And that's what the plan was

17    until the next day, the 15th, when Major Obrenovic came to the battalion.

18       Q.   Now, at the time that you withdrew your men from the school, did

19    you notify anybody at the school that you were withdrawing them from the

20    security detail?

21       A.   I did not tell anyone anything, because I didn't see any of the

22    officers.  I did what I did.  Why, I really don't know.

23            If Trbic had been there, it would have been different.  I would

24    have talked to him.  But as it was, I knew there was no brigade commander,

25    no chief of staff, no one else I could complain to, and I thought I was

Page 10087

 1    acting in the best interests of my men.

 2       Q.   Did you at any time -- while you were still at the school, did you

 3    at any time seek to contact the brigade as distinguished from the

 4    battalion?

 5       A.   No.  I told you already what I did.  I didn't look for anyone, and

 6    I didn't find anyone.  I simply didn't want to get involved, and that's

 7    why I acted the way I did, because my job was in the battalion, not there.

 8       Q.   You indicated earlier in your testimony that you were somewhat

 9    upset with Captain Trbic.  Could you tell us why that was the case?  And

10    that is on the 14th when you went down to the school.

11       A.   I think I answered that question, too, when I told you that that

12    man had asked me for assistance while going off himself.  And I felt

13    cheated.  I was angry because of that, because asking someone else for

14    assistance while running away yourself is something that I think was

15    really wrong.

16       Q.   Following these events did you have an opportunity to speak to

17    Captain Trbic about this particular circumstance that you were upset

18    about?

19       A.   I had no opportunity to talk to him because after those events,

20    after the 14th, there were two days of fighting in which we had great

21    losses.  We had lost a lot of men.  The command base was set on fire.  We

22    needed to rebuild the command, and I simply had no occasion to talk to

23    him.  But apart from that, I don't think anyone was very eager to discuss

24    it anyway.

25            I continued with my own activities because it was not my job to

Page 10088

 1    investigate or inquire.  My job was in the battalion.

 2       Q.   Did you have an opportunity to speak to your commander when he

 3    returned about the -- about the events of the 14th?

 4       A.   Yes.  I told him everything that had happened in his absence.  And

 5    when he returned, we continued our activities related to the establishment

 6    of the command of the 4th Battalion.  First they were under tents, and

 7    later on we placed our command into a prefab building and continued our

 8    activities within the battalion.

 9       Q.   Okay.  Did you have an opportunity to discuss this with the

10    brigade commander, Lieutenant Colonel Pandurevic at the time?

11       A.   I talked to the brigade commander on the 15th of July, in the

12    afternoon, late afternoon, when he called me up.  I was having some

13    problems with my mortar platoon when Commander Pandurevic called me up and

14    told me not to worry, he was there.  He was just trying to encourage me

15    because he knew that I had no combat experience, that my commander was

16    absent, that I was practically on my own.  And I felt better to hear that

17    he was back, and when he told me that he had sent one platoon from the 7th

18    Battalion to reinforce our line of defence.

19       Q.   Did you discuss with Lieutenant Colonel Pandurevic the

20    circumstances of the 14th involving what occurred at Orahovac at any time

21    following the 14th or on the 14th?

22       A.   No.

23       Q.   Okay.  Did you discuss the circumstances surrounding the events of

24    the 14th with Drago Nikolic at any time following the 14th or on the 14th?

25       A.   Not on the 14th and not later.  But after a while, although I

Page 10089

 1    can't tell you precisely when, on one occasion I asked him why those

 2    detainees had been brought to Orahovac, to the school building, because it

 3    was dangerous, dangerous for the defence line and dangerous for the

 4    village and our entire battalion up there, because it was obvious in that

 5    column broke through there would go through Krizevacke Njive and

 6    Baljkovica.  And he said he had been told just to place them in the

 7    schoolhouse pending an exchange in Batkovici.  I didn't ask him anything

 8    about other circumstances, and he didn't volunteer any information

 9    himself.

10       Q.   Well, did he explain to you how it is that these prisoners came to

11    be in that school building?

12       A.   I did not inquire about the details, and he didn't volunteer any

13    details.  In fact, I wasn't really interested.  I just told him and

14    Obrenovic the same thing:  Why on earth were they brought to Orahovac?

15    It's dangerous.

16       Q.   Now, with respect to your conversation with Obrenovic, did you

17    receive a response to that question?

18       A.   His response was that he didn't know anything about those events,

19    and I believed him when he said that it was all done along some security

20    chain of command, not through the Main Staff.  Later on, though, he

21    admitted he had some knowledge about that, those activities, but at that

22    time he said he didn't.

23            MR. VANDERPUYE:  I'm sorry, just bear with me for one second.

24                          [Prosecution counsel confer]

25            MR. VANDERPUYE:

Page 10090

 1       Q.   Now, you indicated I think it was on the 15th that you spoke with

 2    Lieutenant Colonel Pandurevic.  First of all, is that right?

 3       A.   Yes.

 4       Q.   And at the time that you spoke to the Lieutenant Colonel, do you

 5    know where Major Obrenovic was?

 6       A.   He was with me at the command.

 7       Q.   And do you recall when it is that he returned from the field to

 8    the command?

 9       A.   Major Obrenovic, you mean?

10       Q.   Yes.

11       A.   He came to the command of the 4th Battalion between 1300 and 1400

12    hours on the 15th of July.

13       Q.   Okay.  And did you have occasion to have a conversation with him

14    regarding the events concerning the 14th at that time?

15       A.   I couldn't talk to him, because before his arrival we were engaged

16    in combat.  There was an attack on the front end on our defence line that

17    lasted that whole day.  The attack start at 4.30 a.m.  We had great

18    losses, a lot of men killed and wounded.  And when he came to the

19    battalion, he didn't ask he me what the situation was like.  He just asked

20    me to provide him with one man.  He was taking with him the intervention

21    platoon of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, and they needed one man from me to

22    take them to a point of about 2 to 300 metres above Potocani.  And then

23    another two platoons came from the Bratunac Brigade, he told me, and he

24    wanted another man from me to take them to that area overlooking the

25    command.  And I understood that he was there to help with the defence of

Page 10091

 1    the battalion.  In the meantime, the Praga arrived.  The commander of the

 2    Drina Wolves detachment came with Major Obrenovic, and all the later

 3    developments concentrate on the defence of the command post all the way

 4    until the 16th at noon.  So we really had our hands full and a lot of

 5    problems, and I don't remember discussing those events.  I don't think we

 6    even had time to discuss those events.

 7       Q.   Did you at any point between the 14th and, say, the 16th discuss

 8    with Major Obrenovic the assignment of the individuals he'd requested of

 9    you on the -- I believe it was on the 14th.

10       A.   We didn't discuss that at all.  Everything was focussed on the

11    defence of the command, and there was no talk and no need to talk about

12    anything else, because we were really in grave danger.

13       Q.   Okay.  Well, thank you very much, Mr. Ristic.  I don't have any

14    further questions.

15            JUDGE AGIUS:  One moment.  He hasn't told us how long he was at

16    the school.  In other words, how much time elapsed between his arrival and

17    his departure from the school area.

18            MR. VANDERPUYE:  I will put that to him.  Thank you,

19    Mr. President.

20       Q.   Mr. Ristic, can you tell it us about how long it was that you were

21    in the school from the time you arrived until the time that you departed?

22       A.   My visit at that part of Orahovac lasted all of about 10 minutes.

23       Q.   Just so that we're clear, could you tell us how long you were

24    actually away from the command about, from the time that you left until

25    the time that you returned?

Page 10092

 1       A.   It's very difficult to say that precisely.  Maybe it took 15

 2    minutes by car.  I stayed there for about 10 minutes.  Then the time it

 3    took me to get back.  All in all less than an hour.

 4       Q.   Thank you.  I don't have any further questions at this time.

 5            JUDGE AGIUS:  Thank you.  I have you, Mr. Bourgon and you,

 6    Mr. Haynes both requesting two and a half hours for cross-examination.

 7    Have you come to an agreement amongst yourselves as to who is going first?

 8            MR. BOURGON:  Your Honour, I think it would be the right moment to

 9    take the break at this stage in order to have a full session and also to

10    reorganise because we had been informed that the examination-in-chief

11    would be no more than one hour and now we need to reorganise in terms of

12    who will go first and how we're going to work with this witness.  Thank

13    you, Mr. President.

14            JUDGE AGIUS:  You will find the cooperation of the Trial Chamber

15    there.  And again, I mean it was anticipated to -- the

16    examination-in-chief was anticipated to last an hour and a half.  It has

17    almost lasted three hours.  So I'm not chastising you, Mr. Vanderpuye, but

18    almost.

19            So we'll have a 25-minute break now, and then Mr. Bourgon or

20    Mr. Haynes will commence the first cross-examination.  Thank you.

21                          --- Recess taken at 12.22 p.m.

22                          --- On resuming at 12.53 p.m.

23            JUDGE AGIUS:  I see it's Mr. Bourgon.  Mr. Bourgon, please go

24    ahead.

25            MR. BOURGON:  Thank you, Mr. President.

Page 10093

 1            JUDGE AGIUS:  I think we better tell the witness who you are.

 2            Mr. Bourgon is appearing for Nikolic here, Drago Nikolic.

 3                          Cross-examination by Mr. Bourgon:

 4       Q.   Good morning, Mr. Ristic.  Following the examination-in-chief

 5    which was conducted by my colleague, I have less questions than

 6    anticipated to ask you, so I'll move straight to my first topic, and that

 7    first topic refers to the actions which you took upon receiving the orders

 8    from Major Obrenovic on the 12th of July to put together an intervention

 9    platoon to go to Tisova Kosa.  Do you recall testifying to that effect?

10       A.   Yes.

11       Q.   This platoon was put together, from my understanding of your

12    testimony, was put together from soldiers that were picked from your three

13    infantry companies that belonged to the 4th Battalion; is that correct?

14       A.   Yes.

15       Q.   And as you mention, you detached someone from your command who had

16    more experience to accompany this platoon to Tisova Kosa?

17       A.   Yes.

18       Q.   Now, we move to the 14th of July in the morning, and you said that

19    on that day you received information that the intervention platoon from

20    the 3rd Battalion had arrived to provide security for your mortar platoon;

21    is that correct?

22       A.   Yes.

23       Q.   And this platoon which had arrived, do you know who gave the

24    orders or how were you informed that this platoon had arrived?

25       A.   They informed me from the brigade command that the platoon of the

Page 10094

 1    3rd Infantry Battalion was coming to assist the mortar platoon and that

 2    they were it at the Motovo juncture.  And then I went straight there and

 3    got into contact with the commander of that platoon.  We distributed code

 4    signals to be part of the same radio network.  I told him to deploy above

 5    Krizevacke Njive in the direction of Grujici where our mortars were

 6    deployed.

 7       Q.   And if I recall from your testimony, you said that on the morning

 8    of the 14th of July, you received orders from Major Obrenovic to send this

 9    same platoon to the area of Snagovo; is that correct?

10       A.   Yes.

11       Q.   And would I be right in saying that you did not get those

12    instructions personally on the radio, but those were communicated to you

13    by your signalman?

14       A.   The practice was that something like a telegram would be sent

15    towards us.  The signalsman from the brigade would pass it on to our

16    signalsman who would enter it into a logbook, whether it was an order or

17    just an information, and that was the practice we followed.

18       Q.   Thank you, Mr. Ristic.  Now, just for clarification, when you say

19    you received a telegram, can you confirm for the benefit of the Chamber

20    you don't actually receive a piece of paper but actually the signalman

21    receives verbal instructions that he writes down and then passes those to

22    you, and this is what we mean by receiving a telegram.  Is that correct?

23       A.   Yes.  It was communicated by radio, not by courier, or it would be

24    passed on in direct conversation between somebody from the brigade command

25    and somebody from the battalion command.  Orders and information could be

Page 10095

 1    passed that way, too, if it concerned our battalion, of course.

 2       Q.   And again for the sake of clarification, when we say "battalion

 3    command," just so that everybody understands, because I know it's a term

 4    that can be confusing, because sometimes other armies use the

 5    term "headquarters."  So when you say "command," you're actually talking

 6    about the headquarters of your battalion; is that correct?

 7       A.   Yes.

 8       Q.   And within the command of the 4th Battalion there was no machine

 9    which would allow you to receive something in writing from the brigade

10    command; is that correct?

11       A.   There was no machine.  Only a courier could bring some written

12    order from the brigade to our battalion.

13       Q.   Now, I move to when you received that order from Major Obrenovic

14    on the 14th in the morning, my understanding is that at that point you

15    have no knowledge whatsoever of anything happening in Orahovac; is that

16    correct?

17       A.   Yes.

18       Q.   Now I move to the time where you get this phone call from Trbic

19    asking you to send some men, and my first question is:  When, first of

20    all, the men that you sent to Orahovac, they were taken from that

21    intervention platoon that you had sent earlier to Tisova Kosa; is that

22    correct?

23       A.   It was not an intervention platoon.  It was a regular platoon made

24    up of men from companies, because the intervention platoon was introduced

25    in the schematic of the brigade.  It was the Zolja platoon.  This one was

Page 10096

 1    sort of improvised from, made up of men from various companies to perform

 2    that function.

 3       Q.   Now, I ask you this question, Mr. Ristic, just to clarify,

 4    because -- and I make reference here to page 39 of the transcript, lines

 5    10 to 13, and also lines 14 to 17, just to confirm that those men that you

 6    sent to Orahovac, they were first taken away from the trenches to form

 7    that temporary platoon, and then they were taken, so they were already

 8    away from the trenches, and you took them to send them to Orahovac and

 9    that's why they were available.  Is that correct?

10            Can you answer, because I don't ...

11       A.   It's common knowledge that they did that during the night, and

12    during the day they were near the battalion command, available.  They made

13    ambushes only during the night.  And that went on for only two nights.

14    Later on the order came from the brigade command to pull them out from the

15    Tisova Kosa area because there was a shortage of men.  A large column of

16    people was coming.

17       Q.   Now, the man that -- one of your soldier called you to inform you

18    or to ask you what was going on in Orahovac, and according to your

19    testimony he said that they were ready to leave the trenches to go and

20    defend their families in Orahovac.

21            Now, would I be correct in saying that because you did not want

22    them to leave the trenches because it was important to you that they would

23    stay on the line, that that is why you sent those men to Orahovac at the

24    request of Trbic?

25       A.   When those people -- if those people left the line and went to

Page 10097

 1    Orahovac great problems would have been caused, and the situation would

 2    have been much worse, for the battalion included, because six trenches on

 3    the defence line mean a lot.  The troops of the 2nd Corps were waiting for

 4    their opportunity when the line would be broken so that these people could

 5    go through, and if they had done that, they would have been putting the

 6    battalion at great risk.  That's why I decided to send those men over

 7    there so that the men from the trenches wouldn't leave.  I knew that the

 8    person I was talking to was volatile, and he was perfectly prepared to do

 9    what he was threatening to do.

10       Q.   Now, I'm not going to ask you any questions about what you saw in

11    Orahovac.  I'm going to move straight to the fact that when you returned

12    to your command that night, and would I be right in saying that from that

13    point on, now we're talking the 14th in the evening until the 15th, that

14    your focus was on preparing your battalion because the column was coming

15    your way?  Is that correct?

16       A.   Yes.

17       Q.   And would I be right in saying that on the night of the 15th you

18    were actually attacked at 4.30 in the a.m.?  That was the first time you

19    were attacked by the column; is that correct?

20       A.   It's not the column that had attacked us.  We were attacked by

21    units of the 2nd Corps of the BH army at the point where our battalion

22    linked with the 6th Battalion at around 4.30 of the morning of the 15th.

23    I went straight there.  I saw the attack with my own eyes and stayed there

24    until it was all over.

25       Q.   Now, I just have one question.  I said I would not ask any

Page 10098

 1    questions about -- about Orahovac school, but I do have one question and

 2    that relates to Gojko Simic.  Could you say -- would I be right in saying

 3    that Gojko Simic, he was at that time not on service from the

 4    4th Battalion, because as you said you had been sent because his son was

 5    going -- was sent -- was being sent off for military duty.  Now, I just

 6    ask you to confirm that this is the case, but that he was not the only one

 7    in that position; is that correct?

 8       A.   That's correct.  Nine men from the battalion were absent because

 9    they were seeing their sons off to the army.  Their sons were recruits

10    doing their military duty for the first time, and such leave is normally

11    agreed with the command of the brigade, and they were absent.  Around

12    10.00 or 11.00 in the morning of the 14th recruits gathered in front of

13    the barracks at Karakaj, and then they are bussed to their various places

14    where they are to serve their military service, and they are usually seen

15    off by their family.  So during those days Gojko Simic was busy doing

16    that, and he was not present at the battalion those 15 days.

17       Q.   Now, two quick questions concerning this practice.  Can you

18    confirm that this was a regular practice to send the people on leave for

19    the sake of attending their son's send-off to the army?

20       A.   Yes, that was the practice, and nobody was ever denied leave for

21    that reason.

22       Q.   And in this case when those nine men, including Gojko Simic, were

23    sent for that purpose, that was done with the knowledge of your commander

24    who left on 1 July from the command of the 4th Battalion; is that correct?

25       A.   Yes.

Page 10099

 1       Q.   I move now to the 15th in the afternoon.  You mentioned that

 2    Major Obrenovic arrived at your location, and I'd like you to confirm that

 3    this was sometime in the early afternoon of the 15th of July.

 4       A.   Yes.

 5       Q.   Now, I take it that between the order you receive on the morning

 6    of the 14th of July and the time that Major Obrenovic arrives at the

 7    4th Battalion command on the 15th in the afternoon, that you did not get

 8    any information from him during that period; is that correct?

 9       A.   Yes.

10       Q.   And as you testified along with my colleague, during the time that

11    he spent with you -- well, first let's start by the period that he was

12    with you.  That is from the 15th in the afternoon to the 16th in the

13    afternoon when you withdraw from the battalion command.  Is that the

14    period that he was with you?

15       A.   Yes.

16       Q.   As you mentioned to my colleague, during this period you did not

17    discuss with him the events that you had witnessed in Orahovac; is that

18    correct?

19       A.   I don't remember.  I don't think so.  I don't think we had time.

20       Q.   I now move to a few questions I have concerning Major Obrenovic.

21    Now, Major Obrenovic, of course, as you mention he was the man that was

22    leading the operations or leading the combat activities in those days that

23    is at least from the 12th until at least the 15th of July; is that

24    correct?

25       A.   Yes.

Page 10100

 1       Q.   Now, you are aware that Major Obrenovic was charged before this

 2    Tribunal in relation to the events which took place in Zvornik area after

 3    the fall of Srebrenica?

 4       A.   Yes.

 5       Q.   And you're also aware that he pleaded guilty and that he's now

 6    serving a prison sentence in relation to these events; is that correct?

 7       A.   Yes.

 8       Q.   You mention in your testimony that you read his statement.  Would

 9    I be correct that this is the statement of fact that you saw on the

10    internet following his guilty plea?

11       A.   Yes.

12       Q.   And would I be correct in saying that you were very surprised to

13    read in that statement that he was involved in the Orahovac events,

14    because he told you when he met with you that he knew nothing about it?

15    Is that correct?

16       A.   Yes.

17       Q.   Now, that conversation when Major Obrenovic told you that he knew

18    nothing about Orahovac, you answered that question from my colleague, but

19    would I be correct that this happened somewhere in the year 2000 during

20    the period before his arrest?

21       A.   I don't know exactly which year it was, but this was before he

22    went to any questionings about the events.

23       Q.   And would I be right in saying that at that moment Major Obrenovic

24    was preparing his defence and he asked you to come to his office to

25    discuss these events; is that correct?

Page 10101

 1       A.   He called me and told me -- I heard from him that some of those

 2    who survived recognised Gojko Simic, and he asked me, too, where

 3    Gojko Simic was.  So we talked a bit about Gojko Simic.  I told him that

 4    Gojko Simic was absent because he was seeing his son to the army.

 5       Q.   Now, in his statement of facts, the one that you read on the

 6    internet, and that is dated on the 20th of May, 2003, Obrenovic stated

 7    that he contacted you on 14 July and that you informed him on the radio,

 8    using coded language, that there were problems with the people who had

 9    been brought to Orahovac.  My question is:  Do you recall speaking to

10    Obrenovic about the events in Orahovac on the 14th of July?

11       A.   I don't remember that conversation.  I think we didn't talk,

12    because had we talked I probably would have remembered.  We definitely

13    didn't talk.  As to how he stated that and why, I don't know.

14       Q.   For the sake of the transcript, I was quoting from page 3 of the

15    statement of facts of -- provided by Dragan Obrenovic on the 20th of May,

16    2003.

17            My next question, Mr. Ristic, is during your first interview at

18    the public security station in Zvornik, now, this one took place on the

19    26th of August, 2003, and you -- there was a question posed to you by my

20    colleague, you stated the following, and I quote -- that is on page 6 of

21    this statement:  "As regards Dragan Obrenovic claim that he talked to me

22    on the radio using code about the events in Orahovac, I can say that

23    this --" sorry "-- I can say that is not true.  That is, we had no contact

24    whatsoever."

25            Do you stand by this statement which you provided to the security

Page 10102

 1    station in Zvornik on the 26th of August, 2003?

 2       A.   Yes.

 3       Q.   Now, in his statement of facts, Obrenovic further stated, and I

 4    quote from pages 5 and 6, he stated first that he discussed with you --

 5    now, I'm not quoting.  He -- now, I quote from the statement, page 5 and

 6    6.  Obrenovic said:  "I discussed military matters with Ristic and about

 7    an hour to an hour and a half later I reminded him about the conversation

 8    that we had on the 14th of July about the prisoners from Srebrenica."

 9            Am I right in saying that this conversation never took place?  The

10    one on the 14th of July.

11       A.   I don't remember any conversation with Mr. Obrenovic about the

12    events in Orahovac.  I think that he gave a statement initially, maybe

13    that is the case here, when he wanted to defend himself, on which occasion

14    he said that he knew nothing with about it, and he said that he allegedly

15    talked to me and that he heard from me.  However, later on he admitted

16    that he had known about the events, and this has nothing to do with me

17    because I really don't remember anything about that.

18       Q.   I will now read you, Mr. Ristic, portions of the judgement which

19    was rendered by the Trial Chamber in the Blagojevic and Jokic case on 17

20    January 2005 and ask you some questions arising from what was mentioned in

21    the judgement then.

22            JUDGE AGIUS:  One moment, Mr. Bourgon.

23            Yes, Mr. Vanderpuye.

24            MR. VANDERPUYE:  I object to this line of questioning.  I just --

25    I don't see what the relevance of it.  If my learned friend wants to put a

Page 10103

 1    question to the witness with respect to a fact that might be contained in

 2    the judgement, that is a separate thing than reading the judgement to the

 3    witness and asking him to comment on it.

 4            JUDGE AGIUS:  Mr. Bourgon.

 5            MR. BOURGON:  Yes, Your Honour.  There is a statement of facts the

 6    Trial Chamber took from the evidence it heard and draw conclusions about

 7    this witness who was not heard in that trial.  So I want to ask him

 8    whether what is mentioned in the judgement he did or he did not do.

 9            JUDGE AGIUS:  One moment.  Yes.  I see you still standing.

10            MR. VANDERPUYE:  I am, Mr. President.  The simple -- the simple

11    matter is that if there is particular conduct of which the witness has

12    been -- which has been attributed to the witness, then my learned friend

13    can simply ask the question.  It doesn't need to be predicated on the

14    finding of a court or the judgement of a Trial Chamber.

15            JUDGE AGIUS:  Thank you.

16                          [Trial Chamber confers]

17            JUDGE AGIUS:  Our decision, Mr. Bourgon, is please avoid to make

18    specific reference to any of the judgements that you had in mind and put

19    to the witness the facts that you would like him to give us information

20    upon.

21            MR. BOURGON:  Thank you, Mr. President.

22       Q.   Witness, I will withdraw that question and move on to a next

23    question.  I come back to your first interview of the public security

24    station in Zvornik on 26 August 2003, where you stated the following -- I

25    quote from page 6 of your statement where you said:  "When he came to the

Page 10104

 1    battalion on the 15th of July, that is Major Obrenovic, we did not talk

 2    about Orahovac, that is about the prisoners from Srebrenica."  Do you

 3    stick by this statement today?

 4       A.   Yes.

 5       Q.   I refer now to the statement of facts provided by Obrenovic, on

 6    page 6.  Obrenovic stated the following:  During this alleged conversation

 7    on the 15th of July at the command of the 4th Battalion, Obrenovic said

 8    you told him that when you lined up your men at the school in Orahovac

 9    Drago Nikolic requested your men to stay and if they did they would all be

10    issued with new uniforms by Milosevic.

11            Did you ever say this to Obrenovic?

12       A.   No.  I did not see Drago Nikolic when I came there, and I could

13    not have stated what he said I did.

14       Q.   During your first interview at the public security station in

15    Zvornik, the one on 26 August 2003, you stated the following:  "It is not

16    true that I was stopped by Drago Nikolic when I was lining up my men in

17    order to take them away since Drago Nikolic was not there at all while I

18    lined up the men."

19            Do you stick with this statement today?

20       A.   Yes.

21       Q.   Now, in the statement of facts provided by Obrenovic, Obrenovic

22    stated, and I quote -- this is from page 6 of the statement of facts by

23    Obrenovic:  "I learned later from Ristic that a certain Gojko Simic from

24    the 4th Battalion had been on leave at that time, but because he was from

25    Orahovac he went there voluntarily and joined the guards at the gymnasium

Page 10105

 1    before the arrival of the 4th Battalion reinforcements.  Ristic said that

 2    Drago Nikolic had been asking for volunteers, and Gojko had volunteered to

 3    take part in the execution of prisoners."

 4            Did you ever mention this to Obrenovic?

 5       A.   I didn't.  I don't know how it was.  All I know is that

 6    Gojko Simic was absent.  Now, as to he joined the guards, how he joined

 7    them, I don't know about that because I didn't see it.  I think that

 8    Mr. Obrenovic, as he was making the preparations, talked to a lot of

 9    people about the events, and then he put the picture together in a way.  I

10    could not have talked about Drago since he wasn't there.  I could not have

11    talked about the participation of Gojko Simic because I didn't see that.

12    I'm only talking about things that I saw.

13            Now, assumptions, yes, everybody can make assumptions this way or

14    that way, and it was probably his judgement to volunteer this.  If he came

15    there, he may have been irritated because his rival had been snatched with

16    him and he was the company commander.  Now, as to where he was and what he

17    saw, I don't know.  I didn't look into this.  If this man were alive today

18    then one could ask him, but since he got killed, I never inquired about

19    these details afterwards.

20       Q.   So you never -- that is speculation, and you never mentioned that

21    to Obrenovic; is that correct?

22       A.   Correct.  There was some talk about Gojko Simic, but I didn't put

23    it in those terms.  Perhaps he heard this from somebody else.  I didn't

24    tell him that.

25       Q.   And am I correct in saying that you never told Major Obrenovic

Page 10106

 1    that Drago Nikolic had been asking for volunteers for the executions?

 2       A.   I didn't say that.  How would I know that when I didn't

 3    participate in it and I wasn't there?  Who did it and how they did it is

 4    something that I can't talk about because I didn't see it.  What I saw is

 5    what I told you.

 6       Q.   Now, I'd like to come back on the fact that Obrenovic did call you

 7    to come and see him in his office, and he also called you on the phone to

 8    discuss these events; is that correct?

 9       A.   Yes.

10       Q.   And that on that moment he told you that he knew nothing about the

11    events in Orahovac and you believed him.

12       A.   He told me before.  I think so.  It's difficult for me to know all

13    the details now.  But when I came to talk to him about Gojko Simic, I was

14    still convinced and I thought that he knew nothing about it because that's

15    what he told me.

16       Q.   Now, in the -- regarding the -- Dragan Obrenovic, he testified in

17    the trial of Blagojevic and Jokic, and when he testified before that Trial

18    Chamber under oath, he said the following:  "I learned from Lazar Ristic,

19    that Gojko Simic a member of the 4th Battalion of the Zvornik Brigade had

20    joined the first group of who were guarding the school and had later

21    volunteered to participate in the killings."

22            My understanding is that you never said this to Dragan Obrenovic;

23    is that correct?

24       A.   I didn't say this.  I didn't know what Gojko Simic did.  I don't

25    know who was the source of information.  I don't know anything about this.

Page 10107

 1    All I know is what I saw when I came and during the brief period of time

 2    that I was there.

 3       Q.   Now, when he testified before the Trial Chamber under oath, Dragan

 4    Obrenovic said that he was told by you, Lazar Ristic, that Drago Nikolic

 5    participated in the killings in Orahovac.  Did you ever see this to

 6    Dragan Obrenovic?

 7       A.   No.

 8       Q.   Did anyone ever inform you or did you obtain any information from

 9    any source that Drago Nikolic participated in the killings in Orahovac?

10       A.   I did not hear any stories nor did I look into what Drago Nikolic

11    did, or other individuals.  I'm stating only facts here, what I saw and

12    events in which I participated.  As for the stories about who was where, I

13    know nothing about that.

14       Q.   My last question concerning Dragan Obrenovic is the following:  We

15    have information which was provided to us by the Prosecution concerning an

16    individual called Milan Maric, who said that before Dragan Obrenovic was

17    arrested and transferred to The Hague he was actively preparing his

18    defence, and he contacted a number of persons, members of the Zvornik

19    Brigade, including, amongst other, Ostoja Stanisic and you.  Can you

20    confirm this information?

21       A.   Yes.  I talked to him and the conversation concerned only

22    Gojko Simic.

23       Q.   My next question refers to your knowledge, your personal knowledge

24    of Drago Nikolic.  In response to a question which was asked of you by the

25    Prosecution, you stated that you were the assistant commander for security

Page 10108

 1    of the 4th Battalion for a period of approximately two years.  So I take

 2    it that you had the opportunity to work with Drago Nikolic, who was the

 3    chief of security.  What can you say about the qualities and the

 4    competencies of Drago Nikolic as an officer and as the chief of security

 5    of the Zvornik Brigade?

 6       A.   I met Drago Nikolic for the first time in March of 1993.  At that

 7    time, at the proposal of the commander of the 4th Battalion, I was

 8    nominated to the post of assistant commander for security, as a result of

 9    which I went to the headquarters, at which time I had a brief meeting with

10    Drago Nikolic who was chief of security within the Zvornik Brigade.  The

11    conversation centred around the fact that I was not familiar with security

12    issues, that I never attended even any training or anything of the sort

13    about the work conducted by officers, and I told him that he would need to

14    instruct me and that I would follow his instructions.

15            Later on when we worked together and when we had meetings, his

16    assistance to me strictly concerned the work of security organs in the

17    battalions.  His instructions were very specific, and I never had any

18    problems with him.  I think that my attitude, my decent attitude towards

19    work and the post that I held was such that I abided by the rules and I

20    was among the best in the battalion.  Many people in the brigade and in

21    the battalion were aware of this.

22            Now, about his instructions and advice to me, what he told me was

23    that we needed to monitor enemy positions, that we needed to have contact

24    with our people on defence lines, that we had to tour our lines, that we

25    had to identify individuals who deserted the positions and had destructive

Page 10109

 1    behaviour.  So this is what we dealt with with the people who abandoned

 2    positions and deserted, and we wanted to deal with them so that others

 3    wouldn't suffer.  And that's the kind of advice that he gave me.  It was

 4    about the security issues in the battalion and the brigade.

 5       Q.   Now, it's my understanding, Mr. Ristic, that you now know what

 6    happened in Orahovac about the killings of prisoners.  My question is:

 7    Could you tell the Trial Chamber whether in your opinion Drago Nikolic is

 8    the kind of person who could be involved and/or organise such atrocious

 9    killings?

10            JUDGE AGIUS:  Yes, Mr. Vanderpuye.

11            MR. VANDERPUYE:  I object on the grounds of relevance, and

12    secondly, I don't think that my learned friend has laid a sufficient

13    foundation for the question to be based.  He hasn't established the nature

14    and the extent of the relationship between the witness and the accused.

15            JUDGE AGIUS:  I think the witness needs to remove his headphones

16    for a short while.

17            Mr. Bourgon.

18            MR. BOURGON:  Mr. President, this is straightforward character

19    evidence question.  I'm trying to get character evidence from the witness.

20    He's worked with him for two years.  He knows him.  He can say what he

21    believes and the Trial Chamber can draw the conclusion from his answers.

22            JUDGE AGIUS:  All right.

23                          [Trial Chamber confers]

24            JUDGE AGIUS:  Yes.  We are going to allow the question,

25    Mr. Bourgon, with the understanding that I'm sure you appreciate that out

Page 10110

 1    of every hundred persons that commit homicide, murder, if you were to put

 2    the question would you have expected this person to commit -- there would

 3    be very, very few who would be classified as persons who are prone to

 4    commit murder.  "Yes, I would have expected him to commit murder."  So do

 5    consider the probative value attached to your question, and you're free to

 6    rephrase it if you wish to.

 7            One moment, because we have to tell the witness to put on his

 8    headphone again.

 9            It's up to you.  I mean ...

10            Do you want me to repeat --

11            MR. BOURGON:  I will rephrase the question, Mr. President.

12            JUDGE AGIUS:  I think it's better.

13            MR. BOURGON:

14       Q.   Mr. Ristic, can you assist the Trial Chamber regarding

15    Drago Nikolic and tell us according to what you saw from him what his

16    attitude was towards Muslims?

17       A.   You mean during the entire war?

18       Q.   Yes.

19       A.   I did not have occasion to talk to him about that issue.  Simply,

20    our conversations were of a military nature.  I never talked to him about

21    Muslims or some other issues, so I can't really give you a specific answer

22    about his attitude.  I never heard from him or from anybody down there at

23    the headquarters that there was any hate, that they talked about any hate,

24    hatred.  We simply spoke about military issues, military regulations, and

25    that's what we discussed.

Page 10111

 1       Q.   I just have one more question and then I will have some --

 2    something to say to the Trial Chamber, but do you -- would I be right in

 3    saying that -- I come back now because I forgot one question.  On the

 4    night of the 13th of July when you were in your battalion command, it is

 5    my understanding that you received a phone call from Drago Nikolic who was

 6    then at the IKM.  Can you confirm and explain what this conversation was

 7    about?

 8       A.   On the 13th I noticed in the battalion headquarters, in the sector

 9    of Srpski Nezuk where the houses were destroyed, and above those houses

10    there was a hill on which I noticed a large white flag.  I saw it, but I

11    didn't know what it was.  Towards the evening, as it was getting dark

12    Drago Nikolic called me from the IKM, from the forward command post.  I

13    didn't know who was on duty that night.  He called me from the IKM and

14    asked me whether I saw fire by the mosque in the Muslim Nezuk.  I told

15    him -- or, rather, I went out to see this fire, and our conversation

16    centred around the fact that, yes, I did see it, but I didn't know what it

17    was it.  It was only later that I found out that this had to do with the

18    columns moving towards Srebrenica.

19            JUDGE AGIUS:  Okay.  We have to stop with the witness's testimony

20    here today.

21            Witness, we will continue tomorrow.  Between now and until you

22    finish your testimony, you are not to contact anyone or allow anyone to

23    contact you to discuss the subject matter of your testimony.  Is that

24    clear?

25            THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

Page 10112

 1            JUDGE AGIUS:  Yes, Mr. Bourgon.

 2            He can be escorted.

 3            Very briefly because --

 4            MR. BOURGON:  I have to miss the beginning of tomorrow's session,

 5    and I asked my colleagues of the Prosecution whether I could interrupt my

 6    cross-examination and resume him.  Maybe it will not be necessary

 7    depending on what the others ask, but the Prosecution has agreed.  So my

 8    colleague would do his cross-examination.  I would come back after for a

 9    short while.

10            JUDGE AGIUS:  No problem with that.

11            MR. BOURGON:  Thank you, Mr. President.

12            JUDGE AGIUS:  No problem.  All right.  We stand adjourned until

13    tomorrow morning at 9.00.  Thank you.

14                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.

15                          to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 17th day

16                          of April, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.