1 Monday, 26 November 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, Madam Registrar. Could you call the
6 case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is the case
8 number IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you, ma'am. For the record, all the
10 accused are here. From the Defence teams, I only notice the absence of
11 Mr. Haynes.
12 From the Prosecution side, I see Mr. McCloskey, Mr. Nicholls,
13 Mr. Thayer, Mr. Elderkin.
14 I think we are all here.
15 What's the latest news about the witness? Is he in a better state
16 of health?
17 MR. NICHOLLS: Good morning, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, he is. My understanding is that the witness
20 is fine. He is here. He is ready to start his testimony. And we should
21 be able to proceed today.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: I would like to -- I have one preliminary I'd like
24 to go into in private session but that can be at any time before he
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Lets go into private session now.
2 [Private session]
18 [Open session]
19 JUDGE AGIUS: We are back in open session. Madam Usher, if you
20 could escort the witness into the courtroom, please.
21 [The witness entered court]
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, Mr. Ivanovic.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning. Thank you very much.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: We are all very glad to see that you are feeling
25 well and we are sorry if you had to stay --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: We are sorry if you had to stay over the weekend
3 because of your cold.
4 You're about to start giving evidence, and before you do so, our
5 rules require that you make a solemn declaration that in the course of
6 your testimony you will be speaking the truth. The text of the solemn
7 declaration is going to be handed to you --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: The text --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: The text is going to be handed to you now. Please
12 read it out aloud and that will be your solemn undertaking with us.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Shall I give my name and then?
14 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, no. Just read it out.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well. I solemnly declare that
16 I will speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
17 WITNESS: VELJKO IVANOVIC
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Please make yourself comfortable. Take
20 a seat.
21 There are a couple of things that I need to go through with you
22 before you start your testimony or more than two things.
23 The first one is the following: If at any time you're not feeling
24 well, or you need a break, you only have to ask. We are here to
25 accommodate --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That -- I will do that.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: We are here to accommodate you, so you don't need to
3 worry that you will be unduly tasked while you are testifying.
4 That's the first thing.
5 The second thing, and I want a confirmation from you of this to
6 make sure that we are on the right track, is that you asked and you agree
7 to give your testimony in open session so that outside --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: -- outsiders can follow what you're saying without
10 having in place some of the usual protective measures like pseudonym, the
11 use of a pseudonym, or facial or voice distortion. Am I right?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're right.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. The third thing is the following. It is
14 perhaps the most important of the three. You are here to answer questions
15 that will be put to you, both by the Prosecution and the various Defence
16 teams. It's not to be excluded that, in the course of these questions,
17 you may be asked to give information which, if you give truthfully, could
18 possibly expose you to criminal proceedings, not here but elsewhere. I'm
19 not saying that this is going to happen, but since I don't know what
20 questions are going to be asked of you, I am bound by law to alert you to
21 the -- to your rights.
22 In case you are asked such incriminatory questions, then you have
23 a right, before you proceed to answer that question, to ask us, the Judges
24 here, to exempt you from answering such questions on the basis that they
25 could incriminate you. Now, this right of yours is not absolute. In
1 other words, we have two options. We can either agree with you and grant
2 you an exemption, or completely disagree with you and compel you, order
3 you, to answer the question notwithstanding that it may appear to be
4 incriminatory. If we exempt --
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: If we exempt you from answering such questions, all
7 well and good. If we compel you to answer such questions, then you have a
8 further right. And this further right is or translates into the
9 impossibility of anyone of making use of your testimony here when
10 answering those questions against you in any proceedings. In other words,
11 anything you state here, because you have been ordered by the Trial
12 Chamber to state it, cannot be made use of against you in any future
13 proceedings that may be instituted.
14 I just want to know from you whether I have been clear enough in
15 explaining this to you and whether you have understood it or whether you
16 would like to ask questions.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have
18 understood you fully and I'm quite content.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. As we go along we will be using our
20 discretions, the discretion to go into private session sometimes if it's
21 in the best interests of justice. That's the last thing that I wanted you
22 to alert, in spite of the fact that would you like to testify completely
23 in open session.
24 Mr. Nicholls will go first and then he will be followed by the
25 various Defence teams. Mr. Nicholls.
1 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honours.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 Examination by Mr. Nicholls:
4 Q. Good morning, Mr. Ivanovic. I take it you can hear me okay.
5 A. Good morning.
6 Q. If at any time the headphones stop working just let me know right
7 away because sometimes the volume goes up and down.
8 Okay. Now, the first thing I want to do is ask you some questions
9 about yourself and a little bit of background so that the Judges know who
10 you are. First of all, could you tell the Judges your full name, please?
11 A. My name is Veljko Ivanovic. My father Pero, mother Petra, from
12 Donji Sepak, Zvornik municipality, Republika Srpska or the BH, whatever
13 you prefer.
14 Q. Thank you. And when were you born, sir?
15 A. The 8th of October 1940.
16 Q. And --
17 A. In Donji Sepak.
18 Q. And what kind of work have you done mostly in your life? What's
19 you're occupation been in Donji Sepak?
20 A. I was a professional driver, driving foreign goods for 32 years
21 and two months.
22 Q. Okay. And are you married?
23 A. Yes, I'm married with two daughters. I have three grandsons and
24 one granddaughter, two sons in law, of course, me and my wife.
25 Q. Okay. Now, what I want to do is start asking you some questions
1 now about things that happened in 1995, and if you remember I met with you
2 in June of this year and you gave a statement to the OTP and I just want
3 to go over some of those same things again and have you explain them to
4 the Court, okay? The same as we did in Kozluk. Now --
5 A. Fine.
6 Q. Now, at some time in 1995 were you mobilised into the VRS? Can
7 you tell us about that?
8 A. Yes, I was, on the 23rd of January 1995, and I have the total
9 period of service of ten months and 21-odd days. I was unfit for military
10 service, but it was actually thanks to the intervention from my neighbours
11 that I ended up in the army because they were envious of me working.
12 Q. Now, when you were mobilised in January 1995, who was the
13 commander of the battalion that you were mobilised into?
14 A. I was mobilised at the time when this was the 4th Battalion and
15 then it became the 6th Battalion, it was Sreco Acimovic, the village of
17 Q. Okay. And Malesic is where the headquarters of the battalion is,
18 Sreco's battalion?
19 A. Yes, yes. Sreco's command headed by Sreco.
20 Q. And do you know whether the 6th Battalion was ever called the 2nd
22 A. Yes. It used to be the 4th.
23 Q. Okay. And what kind of -- when you were mobilised, what kind of
24 duties did you perform for Commander Acimovic? What was your job in the
1 A. When I took up my duties, it was a Tuesday, I believe it was the
2 24th of January. I was charged -- issued with the T 170 Mercedes of
3 German make and with a small TAM truck manufactured in Maribor and I was
4 told this literally. Whenever both vehicles are in use I should drive the
5 Mercedes, whereas some Vlado Acimovic, aka Munja would be driving the TAM.
6 When the Mercedes is not in use, I should be driving the TAM and nothing
8 Q. I see. And can you briefly describe that Mercedes truck to us?
9 What kind of truck it was, how big it was, that kind of thing?
10 A. It had a small cab. You would actually have to make the bed
11 across the seats. It was normally used for the transportation of food,
12 ammunition and intervention platoons wherever reinforcements were needed
13 out of Malesic, up to 30 men. I would go to the Standard Command and
14 there I would unload goods together with Mitar Lazarevic and after that I
15 would go back to Malesic, and if there was any food or ammunition that I
16 had to take there, that was my duty to do, and then I had to wait for
17 another assignment.
18 Q. Okay. And the Standard Command, that's at Karakaj; is that right?
19 A. Yes, yes, yes.
20 Q. Now let me ask you some questions about the month of July 1995 and
21 about the work that you were -- or your duties that you were told to do
22 around 11 July during the Srebrenica campaign. Can you tell us what kind
23 of driving you were told to do, where you were -- where you were going
24 during that period with your Mercedes truck?
25 A. Normally, I would get up at around 6.30 in the morning, and then I
1 would check the water and gas gauges in the truck and I'd be there. On
2 one occasion, a message arrived and Mitar Lazarevic came in and said to
3 me, I think it was on the 9th or on the 8th, at any rate three days ahead
4 of Srebrenica, and said to me to go down to the Standard Command in
5 Karakaj. We were supposed to hand over the soldiers in the compound --
6 no, no, no.
7 I loaded the soldiers and took them to Zlatne Vode since we
8 weren't able to go any further up because there was fighting there and it
9 was uphill, the truck couldn't make it, the soldiers collected their
10 personal belongings, food and ammunition, and went away. I went back on
11 the orders that I should be on duty for as long as necessary until the
12 action is over.
13 Q. All right. And at some point, while you were on duty and working
14 out of Karakaj during this period, do you remember whether you were --
15 whether you went to Rocevic with your truck?
16 A. On the third day, at around 10.00 or between 10.00 and 11.00, the
17 small Josic came and asked that I should take some food and ammunition
18 over to them. Panto told me that I should go and park outside the
19 warehouse so that they could load the food and ammunition, the little
20 Josic was with me in the cab, and I went to Zlatne Vode again where I
21 unloaded the food and ammunition and other goods that happened to be
22 there. I stayed there a while and on the way back, it may have been at
23 11.00 or 11.15, I arrived in the Standard or rather at the gate outside
24 the Standard, and the staircase is some 60 to 70 metres away from the
1 I saw Panto - and I apologise I'll have to show this with my
2 hand - he waved to me, calling me to come to him. I came to him and he
3 said, "Well, why did you linger there?" I said, "I didn't feel the need
4 to hurry." He then told me, "Sreco called and ordered strictly that you
5 should all load three crates of ammunition and that you should go to
6 Rocevic where you would load some other stuff. From there, you will
7 proceed to Malesic. There is no further need for you to be here." Since
8 I knew that those were refrigerators with food, I didn't know what was
9 going on. I set out toward Rocevic. I arrived pretty soon. The distance
10 is some 20 to 21 kilometres.
11 As I arrived in front of the school, the yard was maybe some 40 to
12 50 metres long, I saw a great deal of soldiers there, I also saw Sreco
13 next to the door leading into the school building. He waved to me this
14 way, and commanded that I should drive the truck in the reverse. As I
15 approached and neared the door of the building, he said, "Stop." As I
16 came out of the truck, the back doors were opened, the ammunition was
17 unloaded, the three crates, and they started loading two or rather they
18 placed two planks, two boards, this way, since the Mercedes was quite tall
19 and the stairs were quite low, they placed it as a sort of ramp and they
20 started loading people.
21 I said, "Sreco, what is going on? I can't do this. I refuse."
22 He shrugged his shoulders and said this has to be done. He told me that
23 we should drive to Sib [phoen], to the gravel pit called Donji Sepak, and
24 that's my place, the place I come from. Since the road forks off, there
25 was no way of -- for me to go to turn into the field, and turn around. I
1 had to go into the village to make a U-turn, together with these
2 prisoners, and I refused. He then ordered Dragan Jovic to do that, and he
3 agreed to go below Vitinka, beyond Vitinka. We loaded them one after the
4 other, two or three more of those arrived later on, they refused but I
5 can't do anything. We drove, we -- the -- there was a -- there were piles
6 of ammunition already out, outside, next to a car. There was some food
7 and drinks, Sreco must have obtained that and authorised this.
8 And Sreco said, literally the following: "You have to do this.
9 You have to see this through. And I can't watch this." He disappeared in
10 20 minutes' time and he was no longer there for the remainder of the day.
11 Where he was, I really can't tell you. He says he was in Malesic.
12 Q. Okay. Now, let me just ask a couple backup questions. You said
13 there was a man named Panto at Standard. Do you know his full name?
14 A. His last name is Pantic. I don't know -- I haven't seen him for
15 the past 15 -- 12 years. I haven't seen him but I would have liked to
16 have seen him. He was a very good man. He was the head of the transport
17 pool in Standard, I think. He didn't have anything to do with me, only
18 when I would join him if there was something or if I was assigned there to
19 help out. That's how I knew him.
20 Q. Okay. Thank you. And you described how three crates of
21 ammunition were loaded on the truck at Standard and as ordered you brought
22 them to the Rocevic school. How many -- how many bullets or rounds were
23 in each crate, if you could tell us, if you know?
24 A. From what I can remember, I think it said 1.000 pieces. They are
25 metal, closed. You cannot open them. You would either need scissors or
1 some good, proper tool. I -- approximately -- actually not approximately,
2 exactly 3.000. Maybe there were more but I don't believe so. It was a
3 standard package.
4 Q. Okay.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Does he know the calibre by any chance?
6 MR. NICHOLLS:
7 Q. Do you happen to know what calibre those were or from what type of
8 weapons they were?
9 A. Usually for automatic rifles, but I don't know the calibre. I was
10 not issued with a rifle. So I didn't serve in the army.
11 Q. And that day, you didn't have a rifle, you mean, of any kind?
12 A. No, no.
13 Q. Now, you've described these trips when were you transporting the
14 prisoners. How long did this all last? When did you finish working that
15 day, with these duties?
16 A. Time went on. From what I can remember, and I think my memory
17 still serves me well, this was completed between 2.30 to 3.00. It was all
19 Q. Okay. And where did you go when you'd finished with this
21 A. I went straight to Malesic. When I got to Malesic, it was already
22 getting dark, just getting dark. You could see that it was no longer day.
23 The moralist Vujo Lazarevic was with me in the cab. And Vukasin Peric, he
24 was the chief of logistics. And I can't remember if I had already -- if I
25 had also picked up from the place where these people were unloaded or from
1 the centre of Kozluk, if I picked them up from those places. I'm not sure
2 about that.
3 Q. Okay. And again, Vujo Lazarevic, what was his position in the
4 battalion? If you remember.
5 A. The moralist, the one to keep up the army morale.
6 Q. Okay. And how far is the command at Malesic from Rocevic? How
7 far away is it?
8 A. It was maybe six and ten -- about 16 kilometres, from 15 to 16.
9 Malesic-Kozluk is six; then Kozluk -- no, no. Four and six, maybe 12 or
10 13 kilometres.
11 Q. All right. Thank you.
12 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honours I've got a few submissions and words I
13 have to say to Your Honours in private session, if we could either take a
14 break now and come back in private session, a short break I know it's
15 early or go directly into private, whichever Your Honours prefer.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Witness, Mr. Ivanovic, do you think you need a break
17 now or can we continue? Are you all right? Can we continue? Or do you
18 need a break?
19 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: We are not receiving interpretation.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am not nervous. I am all right.
22 I can sit for three, four hours. I can sit until the session is over I'm
23 fine. But it's up to you.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Then let's continue in private session
25 for a short while, to hear what you have to say, Mr. Nicholls.
1 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honours.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Then we will have the break scheduled at 10.30
3 unless it's the case of having the break earlier.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
5 [Private session]
11 Pages 18182-18195 redacted. Private session
5 [Open session]
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ivanovic, we are going to give you a short break
7 of 25 minutes and then we are going to continue afterwards.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Fine by me.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
10 --- Recess taken at 10.20 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 10.49 a.m.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. We are in open session. Please decide
13 whether you wish to continue in open session or in private session,
14 Mr. Nicholls.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: Private, please, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: So let's go into private session.
17 [Private session]
11 Pages 18197-18211 redacted. Private session
22 [Open session]
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Bourgon? Or Ms. Nikolic?
24 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President. I do have some questions
25 for the witness but I'll be much shorter than the time expected. I
1 imagine some 30 minutes at the most. Thank you, Mr. President.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Lazarevic or Mr. Krgovic --
3 Stojanovic, sorry. You had none.
4 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] That's correct, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Madam Fauveau?
6 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] No questions, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. And Gvero team, the same, no questions?
8 MR. JOSSE: None.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Sarapa?
10 MR. SARAPA: [Interpretation] Not longer than ten minutes.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So let's move. Who wishes to go first?
12 Mr. Zivanovic?
13 Now we are back to open session. However, if you are going to
14 deal with certain issues, we will go back into private session.
15 MR. ZIVANOVIC: May we move into private session, Your Honour?
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Let's go into private session.
17 [Private session]
11 Pages 18214-18233 redacted. Private session
25 [Open session]
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ivanovic, I am pleased to inform you or confirm
2 to that you we have come to the end of your testimony. I do wish to tell
3 you that we quite understand your frustration at not having been able to
4 testify completely in open session all the time, but we have our own
5 exigencies here and so we had to impose private session in some instances
6 in order to protect better the interests of justice.
7 On behalf of the Tribunal, I wish to thank you for having come
8 over to give testimony, and I also wish you a safe journey back home.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would just like to say something
10 more. I ask you once again, the Presiding Judge and the entire Trial
11 Chamber, to go ahead and place the open session on the internet, and as
12 for the rest, the way we agreed, I hope that there won't be any mistakes
13 here because of my grandchildren. I'm old so I'm just asking you, please,
14 if this is possible.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: The open session will be on the internet. But what
16 was stated in private session, in private session, will not. That cannot
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All right. That's how it is. I
19 cannot change anything. Thank you very much. It was a pleasure. I don't
20 know, my generals, especially Vinko, how satisfied he is. I was talking
21 about what I knew. I don't know if he had any questions or not. Drago as
23 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I thank you, Mr. Ivanovic. I think you
24 will now be escorted out of the courtroom, and we wish you a safe journey
25 back home.
1 Mr. Nicholls, I take it there are no documents that you wish to
3 MR. NICHOLLS: None, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I suppose there are none also from the Defence side.
5 Okay, okay, Mr. Ivanovic.
6 [The witness withdrew]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Bourgon, I take it you don't have any documents
8 to tender?
9 MR. BOURGON: No, no documents Mr. President but a request before
10 the break which would take two minutes, please.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. And neither do you,
12 Mr. Zivanovic? No, all right.
13 MR. ZIVANOVIC: No, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: So that concludes this witness. Yes, Mr. Bourgon?
15 MR. BOURGON: Mr. President, I take it opportunity, Friday, the
16 23rd of November, was the deadline for seeking permission or leave to
17 reply to the Prosecution response to our motion to strike the testimony of
18 Witness PW-168. We weren't able to file the request for reply on Friday
19 night because we needed to do some further consultations amongst the
20 Defence, and we filed at that time a motion seeking a delay until no later
21 than Wednesday of this week.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I was going to bring these up now.
23 MR. BOURGON: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: There are two motions basically. Mr. McCloskey, do
25 you take a position on these two motions? One is the motion that was
1 filed on the 26th of November -- of November, that's today. And it's a
2 joint defence motion seeking leave to reply to Prosecution response
3 pursuant to Rule 126 bis and variation of time limits pursuant to Rule
4 127, in which the relief sought is grant the joint defence an extension of
5 five days to file their joint Defence reply.
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: We object, Mr. President.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: You object. And then there is the other one -- one
8 moment. And the other one is --
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. We have heard what you had to say. And
11 we'll come back with our decision soon after the break.
12 Do you have the next witness present here so that we can start
13 immediately with him?
14 Yes, Mr. Josse?
15 MR. JOSSE: I've got to reply to the 65 ter application in
16 relation to the next two witnesses. I do take a position and oppose some
17 of the documents in that motion. I had until noon. It's now afternoon,
18 and I'm ready to do that after the break. I don't think that will take
19 more than ten minutes, and I understand the witness is then in the
20 building and can start.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. So we'll have a 25-minute break
22 starting from now. Thank you.
23 --- Recess taken at 12.27 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 12.56 p.m.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Nikolic?
1 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. Thank
2 you. I only want to say something as a follow-up on what Mr. Bourgon
3 said. We find one day is enough for the response to the motion by the
4 Prosecution in respect of the witness PW-168, and we will submit it today.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Then you have the go ahead. You have the go
6 ahead, Ms. Nikolic.
7 MS. NIKOLIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Mr. Josse, you wish to address the
10 MR. JOSSE: I can be very short in relation to this. We oppose
11 four documents that are in the motion of the 22nd of November. They are
12 items number 4, number 7, 11 and 12. Taking them in turn --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, one moment. Numbers?
14 MR. JOSSE: 4, 7, 11 and 12.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
16 MR. JOSSE: Item number 4 was on the submission of the 16th of
17 October, as Mr. Thayer told the Chamber last week. The Prosecution have
18 decided not to call Mr. Karremans. They have removed him from their
19 witness list, and we are unclear, bearing that in mind, what the purpose
20 is of adducing this document. If it is simply to indicate what General
21 Nicolai's state of knowledge was at the time, then that is one thing. But
22 if in any way, it serves as some sort of alternative to Colonel Karremans
23 actually giving evidence, then we object.
24 So far as item number 7 is concerned, that was not in the
25 submission of the 16th of October, although I accept it had been disclosed
1 earlier. In other words, on the 16th of October, the Prosecution were not
2 intending as such to use it. Again, we are unclear as to what purpose the
3 Prosecution seek in trying to adduce this particular protest letter.
4 Whether either of the two witnesses, Colonel Fortin or General Nicolai
5 have any knowledge of it, and I think realistically it's General Nicolai
6 because I don't think the Prosecution are seeking to tender it through
7 Colonel Fortin, but whether General Nicolai has any knowledge of it and
8 that the people who have asked about it were General Smith or more
9 particularly General Janvier, who the Prosecution have chosen not to call.
10 So far as items 11 and 12 are concerned, they also were not on the
11 submission of the 16th of October. We are unclear again as to the basis
12 for admission. We have been assisted to this extent: In a proofing note
13 that Mr. Thayer helpfully provided over the weekend just past, he
14 describes Lieutenant-Colonel Fortin reviewing these two documents, "He
15 regularly received David Harland's weekly situation reports and found them
16 useful and reliable. He does not recall learning the specific information
17 regarding Zepa contained in these reports but has no reason to doubt its
18 accuracy." That in our submission is not a basis for admission.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Josse. Mr. Thayer?
20 MR. THAYER: Good afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours. Good
21 afternoon, everyone.
22 The -- let me just respond generally at the outset that I think we
23 are permitted to show witnesses all types of documents, whether or not
24 they are the author or the direct recipient of the document, as long as we
25 can show that there is some relevance to the questions or to the answers
1 that may come from the witness to the case at issue.
2 With respect specifically to number 4, the Karremans memorandum to
3 commander BiH, well, General Nicolai was the Chief of Staff and I intend
4 to ask him questions concerning this memorandum and when it reached the
5 command and what his state of knowledge was, what if anything they did.
6 Those are the types of questions that I would ask him. So I think that's
7 entirely fair and appropriate.
8 Whether or not Colonel Karremans was on a witness list or off a
9 witness list is irrelevant. Whether Janvier needs to be called or wasn't
10 called is irrelevant. What's relevant is the basis of knowledge, the
11 answers that the witness is going to give about what a particular document
12 may have meant to him, what he may have done in response to a particular
13 document, whether a particular document accurately reflects the conditions
14 that obtained at the time. Those are all, I think, fair questions to be
15 asked and provide a relevant basis for using these documents.
16 Again, I think I stated in some detail during my last submission,
17 the relevance for the other three documents, which I had obviously
18 conceded were not on that 16 October list but had been disclosed a long
19 time before, and I don't think I need to repeat in detail why the
20 Prosecution believes these other three documents, protest letter, the
21 protest letters became the subject of extensive cross-examination of
22 General Smith. The Zepa reports or the reports of activity in Zepa that
23 David Harland speaks about, those were documents that I had initially
24 intended to ask General Nicolai about as Zepa comes under the direct
25 command, that is the Ukrainian Battalion came under the direct command of
1 Sector Sarajevo, I thought it would be a good idea to ask Colonel Fortin
2 about those documents as well in his proofing session, seeing how as
3 Colonel Fortin was the military assistant to the sector commander himself,
4 General Gobillard.
5 I think it's relevant that Colonel Fortin doesn't recall all the
6 information or doesn't recall the specific information concerning the
7 events in Zepa that are captured in there. He does recall bits and
8 pieces, and I think it's relevant for the Court to have an understanding
9 of how he relied upon reports of David Harland. We've heard a lot about
10 David Harland and the Court has seen numerous examples of David Harland's
11 reports, and I think it's helpful for the Court to understand in practice
12 on the ground, how these reports were used by the people to whom they were
13 regularly distributed and who relied upon those reports.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Thayer. Do you wish to respond?
15 MR. JOSSE: Only to this extent. There are plenty of other
16 reports of Mr. Harland that are in evidence and that were given 65 ter
17 numbers that could be used for this purpose. Mr. Thayer uses the word "He
18 does recall bits and pieces," that wasn't exactly what the proofing note
19 that I read out says in relation to the two documents to which we object..
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Josse.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE AGIUS: In reply to your objection, Mr. Josse, having heard
23 both of you, we are satisfied with the explanation given by the
24 Prosecution. We are only dealing for the time being with the inclusion of
25 these documents in the 65 ter list, which ought to be kept separate and
1 distinct from the question of admissibility that may arise later, and
2 which in that case we would decide. So let's proceed. So the decision is
3 the entire list is included in -- for the purpose of the 65 ter rule. And
4 they will form part of the 65 ter list of the Prosecution. Whether you
5 make use of them or whether they will be ultimately admitted or not is
6 another matter.
7 Okay. Are there any other further submissions before we start
8 with this next witness? Okay. Let's bring the witness in.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you.
11 THE WITNESS: Good morning, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: And welcome to this trial.
13 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: You're about to start giving evidence. You're
15 required to make a solemn declaration before you start your evidence that
16 you will be testifying the truth. Please go ahead.
17 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
18 whole truth and nothing but the truth.
19 WITNESS: LOUIS FORTIN.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, sir. Please make yourself comfortable.
21 Mr. Thayer for the Prosecution will go first. He'll then be followed by
22 the various Defence teams on cross-examination. Mr. Thayer?
23 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Examination by Mr. Thayer:
25 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
1 A. Good afternoon.
2 Q. We'll both be speaking the same language, so I just ask that you
3 leave a pause to allow the translator an opportunity to catch up and I'll
4 try to do the same.
5 A. All right.
6 Q. Would you please state your name for the record?
7 A. Louis Fortin, Lieutenant-Colonel.
8 Q. And how old are you, sir?
9 A. 48.
10 Q. Where were you born and raised?
11 A. Born and raised in 3 Rivers, Quebec, which is a small town along
12 the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada.
13 Q. If I may I'd just like to briefly summarise your military service
14 history. Your active service with over 31 years of service in the
15 Canadian forces; is that correct?
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. You've served in various staff, instructor and command positions
18 during that time, is that also correct, sir?
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. And what is your current assignment?
21 A. I'm currently the -- what we call the J9 at one of the regional
22 headquarters in Canada, and I'm responsible for interagency relations with
23 police and emergency services in case of a domestic operations.
24 Q. And in May of 1995, you began a year-long tour of duty in Bosnia;
25 is that correct?
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. What was your position?
3 A. I was the military assistant to the sector commander of Sector
5 Q. And who was that, sir?
6 A. At the time, I have served three French generals, the first one
7 when I arrived in May 1995, was General Gobillard.
8 Q. And approximately how long did General Gobillard remain as Sector
9 Sarajevo commander?
10 A. He remained until mid-August, which was the end of his year-long
11 tour for him.
12 Q. And by whom was he replaced, sir?
13 A. He was replaced by another French General named Bachelet.
14 Q. And how long did General Bachelet serve, approximately?
15 A. He served until mid-November, if I remember correctly.
16 Q. Now, physically, where were you headquartered?
17 A. At the PTT building in Sarajevo itself.
18 Q. Would you please describe, sir, what your duties and
19 responsibilities were as military assistant or MA to General Gobillard?
20 A. Well, he had an office staff that looked after his correspondence,
21 and I was the one who accompanied him everywhere, whenever he met with
22 politicians or military personnel of the various factions or with other UN
23 personnel, I was always present with him, took notes, shared advice, and
24 discussed the situation with him on a regular basis. And I also made the
25 link with the headquarters staff, which was running operations on a daily
1 basis, so whenever we were away at meetings, I would touch back with them
2 on return, exchange information that I had gathered and obtain various
3 situation reports from them to pass on to the general.
4 Q. And sir, do you speak French?
5 A. Yes, I do.
6 Q. And did your ability to do so assist you in any way during your
7 service? And did that end up playing a role in terms of what you did as
8 MA to General Gobillard?
9 A. It made life easy for relating with the general himself, his
10 personal staff, and a large portion of the headquarters staff which was
11 also from the French army, and the fact that I could also speak English,
12 the high headquarters, headquarters UNPROFOR, was staffed mostly by
13 British and Dutch personnel who -- and they operated in English most of
14 the time, so I could make the link between the two staffs and the two
15 individuals in the case of the commanders.
16 Q. Now, during your service in Bosnia, did you come to learn the
17 names of any VRS -- and I understand at the time you may have used the
18 term BSA -- Main Staff officers?
19 A. I kept a list which I tried to update whenever I had the chance,
20 and I gathered information on who was what in the various factions,
21 including politicians and senior military personnel, and of course I knew
22 some of the names, some of the people I met regularly. Others that we
23 knew for sure who was doing what job, so...
24 Q. And sir, did you start this list yourself?
25 A. I think it was started by my predecessor. Of course, it changed
1 regularly, and this is not something that I kept up-to-date on a regular
2 basis, whenever I had the chance or I found some new information, I would
3 update it.
4 Q. Now, keeping focus on the VRS high command, what names do you
5 recall knowing during your tour of duty in Bosnia, and then I'll ask you
6 some follow-up questions about some specific people that you might have
7 recalled by name?
8 A. Well, the two or three that come to mind quickest are General
9 Mladic, of course, General Tolimir, General Milosevic, whom we met
10 regularly because he was the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps commander, and others
11 that I added eventually, General Miletic and General Gvero. Also General
12 Krstic, that I remember from that list.
13 Q. Okay. Well, let's take them in turn that you've described them.
14 Do you recall with any degree of certainty when you first heard of General
15 Tolimir, for example?
16 A. I believe it was late June or early July, when the activities in
17 the eastern enclaves started happening.
18 Q. Okay. And did you ever meet General Tolimir face-to-face?
19 A. Yes, sir, I did. I was sent to Zepa towards the end of July, and
20 I saw him there.
21 Q. Okay. And we'll talk about that later on in your examination.
22 Did you have any understanding as to what General Tolimir's
23 position was or his role was in the VRS Main Staff?
24 A. Actually, until that time, and even now I guess, we knew that he
25 was at the army level, but what job specifically, I was never sure of,
1 either the deputy to Mladic or the chief of intelligence. Those are two
2 of the options that I had.
3 Q. Now, you mentioned General Milosevic. I presume you're referring
4 to General Dragomir Milosevic; is that correct?
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. And you've already described that he was a Sarajevo-Romanija Corps
7 commander. You also referred to General Miletic. Do you recall
8 approximately when General Miletic became more known to you than less
9 known to you, if at all, during your service?
10 A. Well, he's on that list, as I mention, and in his case also, I was
11 not sure what job to -- what job to attribute to him on my said list. And
12 I was looking at basically the same jobs I described for Tolimir, either
13 the deputy to Mladic or the chief of intelligence or perhaps chief of
14 security. But he came in the picture, if I can put it that way, at about
15 the same time, in July, I think.
16 Q. Okay. Do you recall ever meeting General Miletic face-to-face?
17 A. I know -- I reviewed my notes, of course, recently, and I know
18 that I've attended a meeting where he was there, but I don't recall the
19 particulars of that meeting or the individual himself.
20 Q. And do you have any recollection as to approximately when that
21 meeting was?
22 A. Can't think of it now.
23 Q. Okay. And how about General Gvero? What was your understanding
24 of what his position was, if you had any understanding?
25 A. Again, he's one of the -- he was part of the senior army staff,
1 above any of the corps, where we normally dealt at sector level. I was
2 not sure of his exact job, no.
3 Q. Okay. And do you recall ever meeting him face-to-face?
4 A. No. Talked to him on the phone, but I don't recall ever meeting
6 Q. Now, you just mentioned something, that he was above the corps
7 where we would normally dealt -- or where we normally dealt at sector
8 level. Can you just clarify what you mean by that, sir?
9 A. Well, each level of command in the UNPROFOR structure was
10 basically assigned its level to operate with, with the VRS or the BiH
11 army, and in the case of sector, we dealt mostly with corps level. In the
12 case of Sarajevo, it was General Dragomir Milosevic.
13 Q. Okay.
14 A. So the senior officers of the VRS you were asking me about were
15 above our level normally.
16 Q. Now, I want to focus your attention, sir, to the VRS attack on the
17 Srebrenica enclave for a number of questions. During the height of the
18 attack, shall we say, between the 8th and 12th or 11th of July, during
19 those three or four days, where did you spend your time?
20 A. We spent, General Gobillard and I, most of our time at BH command,
21 as we called -- used to call headquarters UNPROFOR at that time, because
22 General Gobillard was the acting UNPROFOR commander in the absence of
23 General Smith.
24 Q. So, in other words, you were not in your own PTT headquarters, you
25 were over in BH command headquarters; is that correct?
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. And who was most frequently nearby to you and General Gobillard
3 during this time? Can you describe for the Trial Chamber who you were
4 working with or who you were seeing most during this period of high
6 A. The Chief of Staff of BH command was present throughout, General
7 Nicolai, who was a Dutch general officer. I remember the G3 of BH
8 command, the man in charge of operations, was a Canadian
9 Lieutenant-Colonel, Rick Hatton. The military assistant to General Smith
10 was also present, Colonel Jim Baxter. Those I guess were the main persons
11 we dealt with during those few days at BH command.
12 Q. And what did you spend your time doing during that period of time?
13 What kinds of things were you tasked to do or --
14 A. We were mostly trying to figure out exactly what was happening on
15 the ground. And it was not a simple matter. The enclave being some
16 distance away, we had communications coming in -- or information coming
17 over various channels. I can describe them, if you want.
18 Q. Sure, if you would, please describe some of the sources of
19 information and the channels through which they arrived to BH command?
20 A. Okay. There was -- in Srebrenica there was a Dutch company which
21 was manning the observation post, the UN observation post there. That
22 company was in touch with its battalion headquarters, which was located
23 elsewhere in Bosnia and that headquarters had phone conversation with BH
24 command where we were located and usually the Dutch Battalion commanding
25 officer would call General Nicolai and relay the information he had got
1 from his company commander in Srebrenica.
2 Another means was -- we had TACPs as we called them, tactical air
3 command posts, deployed in Srebrenica and they were manned by British
4 personnel, these people had direct communication with BH command and they
5 were relaying information. In addition, the Bosnian government had
6 communication in -- with their people in Srebrenica and they were calling
7 us, asking all sorts of things and providing the information as they saw
9 Q. And how about from the Serb side? Were you also having contacts,
10 information coming in, from either the VRS or any Serb public officials
11 that you recall?
12 A. Yes. We had phone conversations. General Nicolai, I know, had
13 many phone conversation with General Tolimir, for one, that I remember.
14 And General Gobillard had phone conversation with General Gvero which I
15 was involved in translating part of it. Those are the main two, I
17 Q. Now, without discussing for the moment any particular conversation
18 between UNPROFOR officers and VRS officers, can you describe the general
19 tone and gist of the conversations that you either heard or participated
20 in personally or heard reported to you by participants in these
22 A. Well, the information we got from the Dutch and from the British
23 manning the TACPs was basically telling us to do something because they
24 were attacked by the VRS. The conversation we with the Serb
25 representatives were telling us that they were not attacking, that the
1 Bosnians were, and they were not attacking UNPROFOR, they were not
2 attacking civilians, they were not attacking. And then that they would
3 confirm what was happening on the ground and then get back to us 30
4 minutes later. That happened a number of times in the three or four days
5 where we would be told, "We are not attacking. Let me check, I'll get
6 back to you in 30 minutes."
7 Q. And during this period of time, when you had these conversations
8 and then call backs and then more conversations, did you have to take any
9 steps in your command to verify these allegations or these statements that
10 the VRS officers were making to you about denying that they were firing,
11 for example?
12 A. Of course we went back to the British military and the TACPs. We
13 went back through the Dutch Battalion to the Dutch company on the ground
14 asking for a clearer picture because the only mean that we have to
15 intervene was close air support, and it's a very difficult weapon to use
16 when our troops are in close proximity to the attacker. So we needed a
17 clear picture to make our own decisions about using close air support to
18 satisfy the force commander that the criteria were respected for the use
19 of close air support, to satisfy NATO that provided the aircraft that
20 would launch or provide the close air support, that the criteria were met,
21 et cetera, et cetera.
22 Q. And what effect, if any, did this series of phone calls and having
23 to wait and wait for confirmation from the VRS, and then having to verify
24 with your own people the state of affairs given the VRS's claims to you,
25 what if any effect did this have on UNPROFOR's response to the VRS attack?
1 A. Well, it just added to the overall confusion, and the force
2 commander, of course, got most of his information from us, and they
3 perhaps -- they were at a political level more concerned with different
4 criteria for the use of close air support. But the delaying tactics that
5 the Serbs employed for those three or four days just added to the
6 confusion. We were never sure of the exact situation on the ground and
7 how pertinent it was to use close air support, so the decision was
8 delayed, it became night-time, which is not appropriate to use the type of
9 aircraft we had at the time or the weather turned bad and they could not
10 fly any more, and while we were not acting, they kept advancing and
11 attacking and getting closer, making the use of close air support even
12 more difficult.
13 Q. Now, sir, you already mentioned a conversation you recall between
14 General Gobillard and General Gvero. Do you recall playing some role in
15 that conversation and, if so, what was it?
16 A. In fact, General Gvero spoke his own language. There was a
17 British interpreter who translated from Serbian to English. I translated
18 to General Gobillard from English to French. He would reply, I would then
19 translate his reply from French to English, the interpreter would
20 translate to Serbian, and that's how the conversation happened.
21 Q. I didn't think things could get more cumbersome than they are in
22 here but it sounds like they did.
23 Who were the actual participants in the conversation? Who were
24 the main speakers in this conversation, that you recall?
25 A. General Gvero, on the Serb side, and General Gobillard, on our
2 Q. And do you recall the date that this conversation took place?
3 A. 10 or 11 July, I'm not sure.
4 Q. Okay. We can look at some documents shortly to see if that jogs
5 your recollection. But you've described the process. Were you able to
6 hear this conversation or was this something that was done on a closed
7 phone, sir?
8 A. It was on a speaker phone. The quality was not great, enough so
9 the interpreter could understand and translate.
10 Q. Okay. Now, during -- during this conversation, were you doing
11 anything other than translating?
12 A. I took a few notes. I did a lot of that during my time in Bosnia.
13 Not a whole lot because I had to keep concentrated on what was going on,
14 because of the importance of what was happening. We had people under fire
15 in Srebrenica. The Dutch already had one killed. And plus the confusion
16 I was describing. So it was important to stay alert.
17 Q. And despite the difficulty that you just described with the
18 speaker phone, based on your recollection, were you able to have an a
19 coherent conversation, or was General Gobillard and General Gvero able to
20 have a conversation back and forth, based on your recollection?
21 A. As far as I remember, as I recall, yes.
22 Q. Okay. And after the conversation, what if anything did you do
23 with those notes that you were taking?
24 A. All the notes I took, I typed them up, usually the same day
25 because we had more meetings and more note taking the following day, so I
1 didn't want to fall behind. Sometimes I'd have to type them up separately
2 in a hurry because the information was needed at other headquarters. In
3 this case, I think we sent a copy to the force commander.
4 MR. THAYER: If we may have 65 ter 2968, please, on e-court? I
5 think we have enough time to work with this document before the -- before
6 the end of the day.
7 Q. Colonel, we are doing a split screen. If you -- it would be
8 easier for you to look at a hard copy, I do have a hard copy that you can
10 A. That should be all right.
11 Q. If you would, just take a moment, take a look at the document
12 that's in front of you, I note that it's dated 11 July. And if we may
13 scroll down, thank you.
14 Do you recognise this document?
15 A. I do.
16 Q. And what is it?
17 A. This is the -- my notes or my take of the conversation between
18 General Gvero and General Gobillard.
19 Q. Now, if we may just go quickly to page 2 of the English, and it's
20 also page 2 of the B/C/S, just ask you, is that your signature at the
21 bottom of the page?
22 A. It is.
23 Q. Now, you just mentioned that this document was -- I think you used
24 the word "my take" on the conversation. When you take the notes and write
25 up such a report, are you expressing your opinion of anything or are you
1 doing something else? What is -- what is the objective of creating such a
2 report from your perspective?
3 A. Well, report the facts. If the commander wants opinion he will
4 ask me, but I try to stick to the facts so that whoever this information
5 is shared with has the basically the same basis to start with before
6 adding opinion, options, things like that.
7 Q. If we may go back to page 1 of both versions, please, I just want
8 to ask you a couple of questions. Just to be clear, Colonel, this
9 indicates that this conversation is between Generals Gobillard and Gvero,
10 11 July at 1810 hours. Is this the conversation you were speaking about
11 just a few moments ago?
12 A. It's the one.
13 Q. Now, the first paragraph looks like it captures General
14 Gobillard's first comments to General Gvero, and then the second paragraph
15 looks like it is General Gvero's first response. Is that fair to say? Is
16 that accurate?
17 A. Yeah, correct.
18 Q. Now, turning your attention to that second full paragraph, where
19 it states, and this is General Gvero, "If UNPROFOR troops were really
20 targeted then it was the BiH who fired on to them, according to their old
21 scenario. Our army never attacked UNPROFOR. The BSA had never thought of
22 UNPROFOR to be a belligerent party."
23 Was this on the 11th of July, sir, was this the first time that
24 you had heard, either personally or reported to you by somebody else,
25 heard this type of denial or statement by the VRS during the course of
1 this attack?
2 A. No. General Nicolai was told the same thing by the prior contact
3 he was having with the VRS.
4 Q. And same question with respect to the next statement: "The BSA
5 were not attacking civilians either." Was this the first time you'd heard
6 this type of denial from the VRS?
7 A. No.
8 Q. And if we may turn to page 2 of the document in both versions,
9 please? Perfect. Thank you.
10 Looking at the second paragraph, sir, again, General Gvero's
11 response, "He claimed that a great number of UN vehicles stolen by the BiH
12 and still painted white were used against the BSA. He said he had no
13 absolute knowledge of who the troops in the vehicles belonged to but drew
14 the general's attention to the BSA, reliable information that those were
15 the BiH."
16 This information about -- or this statement about the Muslims
17 using stolen or white UN vehicles, had you heard that allegation or
18 statement in the days before this phone call?
19 A. Yes. I believe it was used again by those contacts General
20 Nicolai had.
21 Q. And do you recall receiving any information at any time during
22 this period that the Muslims had in fact been using UN APCs during the
23 attack on Srebrenica?
24 A. No. And we knew -- we knew they were the Dutch company vehicles,
25 and the Dutch soldiers were in those vehicles, and they were located at
1 the position to block the advancing Serbs, but the BiH had not taken any
2 of those vehicles.
3 Q. Colonel, I thank you. I think we are at the close of the day.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: You're correct, Mr. Thayer. We have to stop here
5 for today. We'll continue tomorrow morning at 9.00. Thank you.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.43 p.m.,
7 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 27th day of
8 November, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.