1 Friday, 30 November 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, Madam Registrar. Could you call the
7 case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is the case
9 number IT-05-88-T, the Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic et al.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
11 All the accused are here.
12 Prosecution is Mr. McCloskey and Mr. Thayer.
13 From the Defence teams I notice the absence of Mr. Haynes and
14 Mr. Bourgon.
15 Good morning to you, General.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: We are going to continue with Mr. Josse's
18 cross-examination. And then we see whether there is a re-examination.
19 WITNESS: CORNELIS HENDRIK NICOLAI [Resumed]
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
22 MR. JOSSE: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Cross-examination by Mr. Josse: [Continued]
24 Q. This morning, General, I'm going to begin with some questions of a
25 general nature, and I would like to ask you a little bit about the
1 relationship between some of the top military figures in UNPROFOR. First
2 of all, how much exposure and/or dealings did you have with General
3 Janvier in Zagreb?
4 A. As Chief of Staff, I did not ordinarily deal directly with General
5 Janvier. General Smith, my commander, was responsible for those dealings,
6 but obviously, I met him on various occasions and spoke with him. But as
7 far as doing any business with him was concerned, in 99 per cent of the
8 cases, General Smith was responsible for that.
9 Q. When you spoke to Janvier what language did you use?
10 A. English.
11 Q. And did he require an interpreter to understand you?
12 A. I don't know whether he could understand me or not, but he always
13 spoke via an interpreter.
14 Q. Was the same true of General Gobillard, namely he always spoke to
15 you through an interpreter?
16 A. Absolutely. My impression was that General Gobillard was even
17 more dependent on interpreter than General Janvier was.
18 Q. And you presumably had more to do with Gobillard than you did with
19 Janvier, bearing in mind that Gobillard was posted actually in Sarajevo,
20 albeit in a different building to you?
21 A. Yes. That's correct. The second factor was that if General Smith
22 was absent, he was ordinarily replaced by General Gobillard and then that
23 was of course his Chief of Staff.
24 Q. I didn't understand the end of the answer. You've just said, "He
25 was ordinarily replaced by General Gobillard and then that was of course
1 his Chief of Staff." Explain that, please.
2 A. No. What I said was if General Smith was replaced by General
3 Gobillard, then obviously I acted as his Chief of Staff.
4 Q. Yes. I think it's a very minor translation issue and that's why I
5 wanted to clarify it.
6 Well, talking of translation issues, did you have a Dutch-English
7 interpreter at your disposal?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Your English was of a high enough standard to communicate at all
10 material times with UNPROFOR personnel using English rather than Dutch; is
11 that correct?
12 A. I believe so. I never heard any complaints. I admit, though,
13 that the first two or three weeks I had a bit of difficulty getting used
14 to it, but after that, no more problems occurred.
15 Q. And the question I'm about to ask, I want to emphasise is not a
16 criticism at all but is a genuine inquiry. You have chosen to give
17 evidence before this Tribunal using your own native tongue rather than
18 English. Explain why, please.
19 A. Certainly. First, I believe that court hearings are extremely
20 important and I do not want to run the risk that due to any possible
21 misuse of terminology, misunderstandings might arise. Second, it's much
22 easier for me to express myself in my native language than in English.
23 Q. Did you ever hear Gobillard speak English at all?
24 A. No.
25 Q. When you attended meetings which involved Gobillard and Smith, how
1 did they communicate?
2 A. General Gobillard's MA acted as interpreter.
3 Q. Do you remember his name?
4 A. No. Unfortunately not off the top of my head. Perhaps I could
5 find that somewhere.
6 Q. I'm afraid this is a bit of a trick question because I am here
7 testing your memory because in fact this Tribunal, this Chamber, heard
8 from this gentleman Monday and Tuesday of this week. I'll tell you his
9 name in a moment but before I do that, perhaps you could tell us whether
10 you recall which country he came from?
11 A. I believe it was Canadian. I believe he was Canadian.
12 Q. All right. Yes. And his name was Lieutenant -- I think he was a
13 major at the time, his name was Major Fortin, for your information. Does
14 that ring a bell?
15 A. Yes. Now I remember. Absolutely.
16 Q. Did you have the equivalent to a military assistant?
17 A. Absolutely. Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew De Ruiter.
18 Q. Do you recall any UNPROFOR general in the time you were in Bosnia
19 giving a gift or memento to any of the generals of the warring parties?
20 A. No.
21 Q. And why was that? Was that because it wasn't the done thing or
22 because none of them deserved it? Can you help at all?
23 A. I can't simply make up a reason why somebody would give a gift to
24 a general of one of the warring parties. I don't think it's explicitly
25 prohibited, but I think you should be very, very cautious to avoid giving
1 the impression that you are biased in favour of one of the parties.
2 Q. And I take it you certainly wouldn't want to give a gift or a
3 memento to someone you felt had behaved in a reprehensible manner?
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. The next topic I'd like to ask you about, please, is
6 interpreters. You mentioned yesterday that you had an interpreter called
7 Svetlana and you told us that you did not recall her surname. Are you
8 able to help us as to her ethnicity, please?
9 A. She was Croatian.
10 Q. And she was on the UN payroll; is that correct?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. She was interpreting for you during your two conversations with
13 Gvero, correct?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. And she was by your side during both of those conversations?
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. Have you any idea as to whether General Gvero had any sort of
18 interpretive support?
19 A. He didn't require one because all he needed to do was communicate
20 with Svetlana and that was in his native language.
21 Q. Could we have a look, please, at P2751? We have it up now in
22 English. And this is a conversation that you gave evidence about
23 yesterday relating to your talking to General Tolomir on the 9th of July
24 at 1750. From recollection, you're saying that Svetlana was an
25 interpreter during this conversation as well?
1 A. Very probably, yes.
2 Q. Now, let's read to yourself, by all means, the first paragraph of
3 this conversation, where you begin by expressing your deep concern about
4 the developing situation in Srebrenica.
5 A. Yes, I've read it.
6 Q. And the words in the middle of that paragraph that I'm going to
7 read out that I would draw your attention to are the following: "This was
8 considered to be an attack on the safe area which would force UNPROFOR to
9 defend the safe area with all means they had." That's obviously what you
10 were telling Tolimir, isn't it?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. Was that a threat?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. In the third paragraph of this conversation, you say, in the
15 middle of that paragraph, "Moreover, since the BiH troops have been
16 prevented to take their heavy weapons from the WCP, UNPROFOR was now
17 forced to defend this safe area."
18 I appreciate it was a long time ago, but tell us, as best you can,
19 what that assertion on your part was based on?
20 A. The heavy weapons of the BiH troops in the enclave were -- had
21 been taken from them to the extent possible and stored at the weapon
22 collection point. This means that where the troops in the enclave were
23 shot at by heavy weapons of the VRS, they were not able to fight back in
24 the same manner. That meant that everybody staying in the enclave
25 received protection from the United Nations.
1 Q. How did you know that the BiH troops had been prevented from
2 taking their heavy weapons from the weapon collection points?
3 A. Because the weapon collection point was in Srebrenica at the
4 compounds of one of the DutchBat companies. So without permission from
5 DutchBat, heavy weapons could not be removed from there.
6 Q. And this is really what I'm driving at: Had you received any
7 information -- and I'm deliberately asking you about your recollection
8 now -- had you received any information specifically on that point for
9 you to make that assertion to Tolimir?
10 A. No. I had no special cause for that.
11 Q. Did you at that time physically know where the weapon collection
12 point in Srebrenica was located?
13 A. Yes. I repeat that was in the town of Srebrenica, at the DutchBat
14 Bravo Company compound.
15 Q. Did you give any specific order or instruction, don't want to be
16 too militaristic about it, to Karremans or one of his subordinates as to
17 what they should do with these heavy weapons at that point in time?
18 A. Not yet on 9 July. On 10 July, we decided that if the BiH
19 desired, the heavy weapons would be made available from the collection
21 Q. And what happened in that regard, please?
22 A. No use was made of that opportunity, as you probably know.
23 Otherwise, I can tell you that during the night of 10 to 11 July, the
24 Muslim soldiers started their exfiltration to leave the enclave.
25 Q. P2973, please. This is the next conversation between you and
1 General Tolimir on the 9th of July at 1930 hours. And on that first page,
2 we see in the middle of the page, a long paragraph and we'll need to
3 scroll up a bit, please. Thank you.
4 And perhaps you could read that to yourself.
5 A. Yes. I will do that. Yes. I've read it.
6 Q. Would you agree with me that in that paragraph, you are
7 threatening Tolimir on at least three occasions?
8 A. Well, I didn't exactly count the number of times but I did
9 threaten him that there could be a heavy reaction from the side of
11 Q. The word here that we see in the middle of the paragraph
12 is "disproportional." That's right, isn't it?
13 A. Yes. That is correct. And I can explain that. That word was
14 used deliberately, where the VRS were using artillery and mortars, and BiH
15 didn't have the -- or the UNPROFOR didn't have the same kind of weapons,
16 and the only possible reply to that was the use of air support, so in that
17 sense, we would normally consider that disproportionate.
18 MR. JOSSE: Could I have a moment, please?
19 [Defence counsel confer]
20 MR. JOSSE:
21 Q. Bearing in mind what you've just said, and bearing in mind what we
22 read in that paragraph, did you regard yourself as involved in a game of
23 brinkmanship with General Tolimir?
24 A. I don't think that the word power-play or brinkmanship is the
25 right thing to say here. My only intention was to put an end to this
1 extremely precarious situation.
2 Q. It involved careful and considered negotiation on your part,
3 didn't it?
4 A. I think, if you see what contacts there had been starting from
5 Saturday, 8 July, until the fall of the enclave on the 11th of July, from
6 the side of the UN, and particularly from myself, several attempts were
7 made to move the VRS to withdraw their troops and to leave the enclave
8 before in actual fact our air attacks were started. I think that from all
9 the documentation which is available to the Court, this is amply clear.
10 Q. At that point in time, your job required careful, well-considered
11 and indeed clever negotiating skills, didn't it?
12 A. Naturally.
13 Q. Had you had any training, either from your own government or army
14 or from the United Nations, in the job that you were at that point in time
15 being asked to perform?
16 A. Yes. Prior to my posting, I received a training in negotiation.
17 Q. In this country, the Netherlands?
18 A. Yes, that is correct.
19 Q. A course run by the Netherlands rather than by the United Nations;
20 is that right?
21 A. Yes. This is a training course delivered at the Clingendael
22 Institute here in The Hague.
23 Q. You'd agree, wouldn't you, that this was a difficult negotiation
24 where you, along with the other participants, were under a lot of pressure
25 and were very much in the world spotlight? Would you agree with that?
1 A. Well, I never really experienced that sort of pressure. I think
2 it was difficult for the outside world to follow how these negotiations
3 went, so in this respect, I fully had to rely on myself.
4 Q. Well, of course the outside world didn't know that were you
5 speaking to Tolimir at such and such a time or Gvero, Mladic or anyone
6 else, but there was a great deal of pressure on you, wasn't there?
7 A. Well, not in my experience. The only real pressure there was, how
8 can we get out of this conflict without having to resort to the highest
9 level of violence?
10 Q. Are you really telling the Trial Chamber that you were not under
11 pressure, General?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Bearing in mind -- let me start again. Would you accept that the
14 negotiations were delicate?
15 A. Yes. Naturally. Especially for the people in the enclave, there
16 was a lot at stake.
17 Q. Did you think that you were labouring under some sort of handicap,
18 bearing in mind you were unable to use your native tongue and you were
19 forced to use English in these negotiations?
20 A. No. At the time, I had been at my post at -- for about six
21 months. No, that didn't -- that was no impediment.
22 Q. And of course that's why I asked you a few minutes ago why you've
23 chosen to give your evidence in Dutch in this courtroom. It's an
24 interesting contrast, don't you think?
25 A. I don't think so. During my work there for months on end I would
1 speak English from the morning until evening, and that is not what I'm
2 doing now, so I'm not excluding that I couldn't do this, but it's a lot
3 simpler to communicate in one's own language.
4 Q. If we scroll down to the bottom of this first page, we see it says
5 there, it's Tolimir speaking, and he says, "It is the BiH offensive
6 actions taken from the DMZ that constituted the violation of all signed
7 agreements." Did you accept that proposition of General Tolimir?
8 A. I cannot deny that from time to time BiH soldiers from the enclave
9 would take actions outside the borders of the enclave. DutchBat personnel
10 knew this but they were unable to stop this, point 1, because the number
11 of troops was too limited, and because of their lack of fuel they couldn't
12 perform any motorised patrols, so they were not in a sufficiently strong
13 position to counter this.
14 Q. It's a subject I'm going to return to a little later so I'm not
15 going to spend too long on it now, but I would suggest you haven't
16 answered my question. My question was really quite simple: Did you
17 accept what Tolimir had said in that last sentence of page 1 of P2973?
18 A. No. I don't think that the reason for the attacks in the enclave
19 was the fact that every now and then actions were undertaken. One could
20 take different kinds of measures against that. Surely at that specific
21 point in time, there was no increase in BiH activities as compared to
22 other points in time.
23 Q. As I say, I'll ask you something about that a little later, if I
25 I'd like to ask you a few questions about some of your evidence of
1 yesterday, and at page 32 of yesterday's proceedings, you talked about the
2 entire enclave being surrounded by VRS positions and you described various
3 artillery positions and launching systems for multiple rocket launchers.
4 At that time, were you aware whether the VRS were actually using multiple
5 rocket launchers in this campaign?
6 A. I am not able to answer that last question. I do not know whether
7 these multiple rocket systems at that point in time had already been used.
8 Q. Then why did you mention it yesterday in response to questions
9 from Mr. Thayer?
10 A. Because Colonel Karremans had reported that these weapons systems
11 were posted there.
12 Q. So you'd had a report from Colonel Karremans that, as you say,
13 they were situated there but you had no reports as to the -- whether or
14 not they were used? Is that what you're saying?
15 A. Yes, you've understood that correctly.
16 Q. Move on to another document that you reviewed yesterday. That's
17 P2975, please. Now, this is a two-page document. The first is the cover
18 sheet showing that it's from the office of the commander HQ UNPROFOR, and
19 the second is the warning to the Bosnian Serbs, attacks against the
20 Srebrenica safe area. And we'll look at the second page, the text of this
21 document, in a moment.
22 But we see on the first page that it says "Message, attached is
23 the final version of the warning to Bosnian Serbs. We have sent it as a
24 CapSat to General Mladic and we will issue it as a press statement."
25 Why was the office of the commander of UNPROFOR issuing this
1 warning to Mladic as a press statement?
2 A. I presume that they wanted to note to the outside world how
3 serious the situation was and that they also wanted to let the
4 international community know that the UN were at the point perhaps of
5 starting to use air support.
6 Q. The United Nations were part of the propaganda war that the
7 warring parties were engaged in, weren't they?
8 A. I wouldn't want to express myself that way.
9 Q. Well, is that -- I think it may be a translation issue here. Are
10 you not agreeing with what I'm saying or are you saying you'd rather not
11 answer my question?
12 A. No. I have no difficulty answering your questions. And I am
13 aware that the parties were constantly trying to involve the UN in their
14 own propaganda. But the UN, from its side, has always done its utmost to
15 counter that.
16 Q. Come on, now, General. This press release is aimed at trying to
17 win over public opinion in favour of the United Nations. That is
18 propaganda, isn't it?
19 A. The UN has absolutely no need to make a favourable impression on
20 the international community. The UN, however, does have a duty to
21 properly inform the international community.
22 Q. And the international community needed to be informed, did they,
23 that UNPROFOR was now saying it's going to stand up to these bully boys in
24 the VRS and we are actually going to drop some bombs on them? That's
25 information rather than propaganda? Is that what you're saying?
1 A. I understand that you are trying to provoke me, but I think it is
2 a duty to inform the international community that there is a very serious
3 situation at hand which may lead to the UN being forced to deploy its
4 heaviest means in order to solve problems.
5 Q. Turning to the second page of the document, and the warning
6 itself, the first sentence was read out yesterday. Perhaps you and the
7 Trial Chamber could read it to yourselves. And having read it out,
8 Mr. Thayer, at page 35, asked you, "Do you recall receiving information
9 during this period of time that civilians had been killed by the VRS
10 shelling or firing?" And your answer was, "Yes, that's correct. That was
11 reported on repeated occasions."
12 12 years later, can you tell us who those reports came from?
13 A. From DutchBat.
14 Q. And do you know how many civilians they said were killed by this
15 type of direct targeting of UN facilities?
16 A. I would have to correct this question to the extent that it
17 wasn't -- it happened not only during firing at UN facilities but also
18 during random shootings at the enclave. I can't tell you the exact number
19 of casualties. You would need to refer to the UN reports for that.
20 Q. You were also asked a couple of pages later, at page 37, about
21 Colonel Karremans' fear in the event that close air support was used by
22 UNPROFOR, and you used the words that he feared, "This would lead to
23 massive retaliation." That's right, isn't it?
24 A. That's correct. That's how I said it.
25 Q. And you said that you understood his point.
1 A. That's also correct.
2 Q. Do you think -- let me ask you this: That retaliation was going
3 to be aimed, in Karremans' mind, what, at his troops or at the civilians
4 or at both? Didn't he know? Can you help us?
5 A. In any case, I think at his troops but I wouldn't exclude
6 retaliation to the civilian population either.
7 Q. Do you think that this fear on his part was acceptable in the case
8 of a colonel in your army?
9 A. Yes. Where a commander is also responsible for his troops, he has
10 a duty to note the potential consequences of certain acts.
11 Q. And we saw yesterday, and if need be we could bring it up in
12 e-court but I think probably not at the moment, that in his letter, P2974
13 at paragraph 10, he used the words "using CAS in all possible ways is in
14 my opinion not feasible yet." And that letter was dated the 9th of July.
15 You'll remember that as well, I'm sure.
16 A. Yes, I remember that.
17 Q. Now, could we have in e-court, please, 6D153, which is your
18 statement to the Office of the Prosecutor of November of 1996.
19 And at page 9, very bottom of the page, in this paragraph you
20 describe events around the 6th of July, heavy fighting, describe heavy
21 artillery, say the shelling was mostly directed at military targets and
22 not directly against the civilian population at that point at least. And
23 then you go on and say that the DutchBat observation posts in the south of
24 the enclave felt threatened by the presence of VRS troops so close to
25 their OPs. "Colonel Karremans wanted air presence to show the VRS that he
1 had the capability to use these aircraft. I did not give permission for
2 the use of air presence. I explained to him that if you use the presence
3 of your aircraft too often without really attacking, it loses its
4 effectiveness. This conversation was made by telephone."
5 Now, General, I appreciate that there is a difference between air
6 presence and actually dropping bombs from an airplane, but beyond that,
7 this seems quite a volte face between the 7th of July -- the 6th of July,
8 I beg your pardon, and the 9th of July on the part of Karremans, doesn't
10 A. Yes. The situation had changed. On 6 July, there was a single
11 observation post that was being threatened. In the post-air-strike
12 guidance issued at the end of May, it is indicated explicitly that if
13 troops are threatened that are still in a position to withdraw that that
14 is preferable to using air weapons. On 9 July, the situation had changed
15 considerably. It was no longer about threatening a single observation
16 post. In this case, the entire enclave was attacked and the civilian
17 population in the enclave was threatened in this case. The situation that
18 had materialised made use of air weapons opportune beyond any doubt.
19 Q. So in reality, you are saying that in Karremans' mind, there was a
20 big difference between air presence and air support?
21 A. No. That's not what this is about. What matters is that while we
22 didn't consider use of air weapons opportune on 6 July, this had become
23 opportune on 9 July. The use of air presence has little to do with that.
24 Air presence was sometimes used to show, yes, we have the means, beware,
25 we can use them. But as I said in the phone conversation with Colonel
1 Karremans, if you do this too frequently, so flying around without
2 actually using air support, then in our view that would diminish its
4 Q. So the date was all important? In other words, the situation had
5 changed so radically that Karremans' view had changed radically? Do I
6 understand you properly?
7 A. What Colonel Karremans thought about that is not relevant. What's
8 relevant is what the UN leadership in Sarajevo and Zagreb thought. They
9 are the ones who decide whether to use air support. And what mattered was
10 that Colonel Karremans had to know the opinions at those headquarters,
11 namely that the situation on 9 July was different from the situation on 6
13 Q. Well, let me tell you the reason I'm asking you about Colonel
14 Karremans is twofold. One, the Prosecution have at a very late stage
15 decided to exhibit this particular letter, the one that I've just referred
16 to, and secondly, the Prosecution aren't going to be call Colonel
17 Karremans. Therefore I need to ask you about the juxtaposition of the
18 letter and these dates. Do you understand?
19 A. Well, perhaps I could understand if I saw the letter that you're
20 referring to.
21 Q. Let's have it up. 2974.
22 A. Yes. I'm familiar with that report.
23 Q. So my fault, I should have put it into e-court in the first place
24 and so you knew exactly what I was talking about, but I'm quite -- do you
25 want to read through it again?
1 A. No. I think I'm sufficiently informed.
2 Q. Could we go back to your statement, which is 6D153, please? And
3 I've got two questions related to what I've just been asking you about, so
4 far as dates are concerned. If we could go back to page -- if we could go
5 to page 10 now, which is 10 in the B/C/S as well, I understand, yes, near
6 the top of the page, that's fine, we see in the second paragraph you
7 describing events on the 8th of July and you describe first DutchBat
8 observation posts were surrounded and attacked, troops had to withdraw to
9 the compound. You then briefly describe what happened to the gunner of
10 the Dutch APC, and then in the middle of the paragraph, due to the
11 threatening situation in the southern part of the enclave, "Colonel
12 Karremans once again asked for air support and it was decided to carry out
13 air presence."
14 So if this is right, on the 8th of July, he still wanted air
15 presence. Yet on the 9th of July, you say he was so worried about massive
16 retaliation that he completely changed his mind.
17 Explain that.
18 A. Well, if you're going to be hearing Colonel Karremans anyway, you
19 can ask him yourself why on 6 and 8 July he requested air support and then
20 became fearful. I don't know why he changed his opinion about that. What
21 I do know is why we changed our opinion at the headquarters in Sarajevo,
22 and that was because, whereas at the beginning, only a single observation
23 post was being threatened, and we were able to withdraw the crew from that
24 observation post. From 8 July, a situation had materialised in which the
25 entire enclave was under threat and using -- the air weapon was certainly
1 being considered as a possible option.
2 Q. One other unrelated issue to do with dates. If we look at the
3 first paragraph on the page in front of us, which is one sentence long, it
4 says, "On Friday, the 7th July was rather a quiet day probably because of
5 the bad weather conditions." I draw that to your attention because in the
6 press release and the warning to Mladic, P2975, I don't think we need to
7 get up at the moment, you -- it said, "the Bosnian Serb army resumed
8 attacks against the Srebrenica enclave on Friday, 7th July, 1995." Can
9 you explain that discrepancy?
10 A. If it says that the attacks were taking place by 7 July, then
11 that's not entirely correct. In any case, compared with the other days, 6
12 July and 8 July and 9 July, that was a relatively quiet day.
13 Q. Now, I want to move on to some of the issues you've just been
14 referring to, and that is the decision to drop bombs. Would you agree
15 that there was a lot of indecision within UNPROFOR or perhaps I should say
16 the UNF because of course Zagreb came into the situation?
17 A. I can't deny that there was some problem with taking decisions.
18 On the one hand, this was caused by the post-air-strike guidance dated the
19 end of May, which prescribed a highly restrictive policy about using air
20 support. On the other hand, there was some lack of decision making in
21 Zagreb on the evening of 10 July when despite the fact that a situation
22 had materialised that had basically been anticipated, it took a very long
23 time to take a decision about whether or not to provide air support, as a
24 result of which it was not granted on 10 July.
25 Q. As far as you were aware, did General Janvier and Mr. Akashi have
1 differing views from each other?
2 A. I don't know that. Later on, I learned from my colleagues who
3 worked at the headquarters in Zagreb, because you understand that I wasn't
4 present there, I learned that within the staff in Zagreb, extensive
5 discussions took place and during these discussions, General Janvier left
6 the meeting room several times, apparently to consult somebody else by
8 Q. Did your source tell you who he or she thought Janvier was
9 speaking to?
10 A. Well, they didn't know. At best they could speculate about that.
11 Q. Now, of course, General Smith was absent at this time, wasn't he?
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. Did that add to indecision within Sarajevo?
14 A. No, because there was no indecision in Sarajevo. The request for
15 air support on 10 July was supported within a few minutes and submitted to
16 Zagreb with a favourable recommendation.
17 Q. Why didn't you request Smith's return to Sarajevo when he was in
18 Geneva on the 8th of July?
19 A. It's not up to a Chief of Staff to request that his commander
20 return. If General Gobillard had believed that he couldn't handle it on
21 his own, then that was up to him. He was supposed to do that.
22 Q. Did you discuss it with General Gobillard?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Why not?
25 A. That might have been regarded as a motion of distrust with respect
1 to General Gobillard's performance.
2 Q. We've heard one witness in this trial say that he thought that
3 during this period, General Gobillard was spending too much time in the
4 PTT building and not enough time with you in the Residency. Would you
5 agree with that?
6 A. If I had been in General Gobillard's position, then I would have
7 transferred my position as sector commander to my deputy and I would have
8 been at the UNPROFOR headquarters full-time.
9 Q. And if you can't answer this, say so. Why do you think General
10 Gobillard did not do that?
11 A. I don't know. I presume that he preferred being in his French
13 Q. Do you think the fact that not a single UN soldier in Srebrenica
14 had been harmed by the VRS, killed or injured, influenced the indecision
15 on the part of Zagreb?
16 A. I have no idea.
17 Q. You told the Trial Chamber yesterday, at page 45, about the
18 practical difficulties with the close air support when it actually
19 happened, for example, the difficult terrain, the fact that the tanks were
20 not all in one place, and therefore I think what you're saying is it
21 wasn't a terribly effective tool in any event. Is that correct?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. Do you think that the fact it wasn't a very effective tool was at
24 the very least not aided by the fact that the Dutch Battalion gave up and
25 didn't actually do any fighting themselves? In other words, there were no
1 ground troops to support the close air support.
2 A. No. I don't believe that that affected anything. I would presume
3 more that the fact that the arms of DutchBat was considerably inferior to
4 the arms of the VRS were the reason to be reluctant to use weapons.
5 Q. And it's undoubtedly true, isn't it, that the Dutch troops
6 negotiated with the VRS, who offered the Dutch troops to withdraw through
7 the VRS lines without doing any harm to them, the Dutch troops? That's
8 right, isn't it?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. And in short, the Dutch Battalion, or certain members of that
11 battalion, handed over their OPs to the VRS in exchange for a safe passage
12 from the area. That's what happened, isn't it?
13 A. In some cases, they surrendered because they thought it would be
14 too risky to withdraw across BiH lines, but during the days that followed,
15 posts were abandoned because they were threatened by VRS troops.
16 Q. Yes. You're seeking to explain their action but what I put to you
17 is correct, isn't it? Dutch troops actually handed over their OPs to the
18 VRS in exchange for a safe passage from the area?
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer?
20 MR. THAYER: Asked and answered, Mr. President.
21 MR. JOSSE: If the Court thinks the witness --
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's correct.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: That's correct what? Are you answering -- are you
24 commenting on Mr. Thayer's objection or are you answering Mr. Josse's
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was answering Mr. Josse's
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. Anyway, he's answered and
4 basically proves your objection wrong because in his previous answers he
5 had not touched upon that aspect.
6 Go ahead, Mr. Josse.
7 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
8 Q. Going to move on now to the conversation that you had on the 11th
9 of July, at about 6.00 p.m., with -- I beg your pardon, the conversation
10 that General Gvero had on the 11th of July at about 6.00 p.m. With General
11 Gobillard. So this is about two hours after your first conversation with
12 Gvero. That's right, isn't it?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. At that point in time, had you told Gobillard of your conversation
15 with Gvero two hours earlier?
16 A. Yes, of course.
17 Q. What had you told General Gobillard?
18 A. Exactly what appears in the report of the phone conversation, that
19 there was a particularly threatening situation to the local population in
20 the enclave, and subsequently we discussed what else remained to be done,
21 and after ample discussion, we decided to discontinue the air support.
22 Q. Had Lieutenant-Colonel De Ruiter made his note of your
23 conversation with Gvero by the point in time you talked to Gobillard?
24 A. No. He wasn't that fast.
25 Q. And so your account of the conversation was a purely oral one; is
1 that right?
2 A. Correct. Because that happened immediately after terminating the
3 telephone conversation.
4 Q. And presumably, it was interpreted to Gobillard by the Canadian
5 major, Major Fortin; is that right?
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 Q. You have a clear recollection of that, do you, General?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. Who else was present, please?
10 A. Well, basically the most important members of the UNPROFOR staff.
11 In any case, the head of the operations section and as far as I know, also
12 the head of the intelligence section.
13 Q. Could we have their names?
14 A. Well, I certainly have them in my notes but I believe that the
15 head of the operations section was Colonel MacDonald. That was a Canadian
16 officer. And the head of section 2 was an American officer. I believe
17 that his name was Paopao [phoen], but if we have a break later on I can
18 check that.
19 Q. That's why I was going to stop you. Absolutely. For my part,
20 this is not a memory test. Quite understandably you need to look at some
21 notes. I have absolutely no difficulty with that whatsoever. We will
22 have a break shortly. Perhaps you can have a look at your notes. I
23 suggest the originals. I'm not sure who's got them. And you come back
24 and give us an answer to what I've just asked you. But I have no
25 difficulty, and indeed at any time during the questions I ask you, I've
1 got, I repeat, no difficulty with you referring to contemporaneous notes,
2 that is notes that you made at the time. I contrast completely with a
3 witness statement made sometime after the event but we don't need to get
4 into that at the moment.
5 Did --
6 A. Okay.
7 Q. The meeting that you have just described between you, Gobillard,
8 Fortin and these other gentlemen, was that -- was a record kept of that
9 particular meeting?
10 A. No. As you can imagine, considering how serious the situation
11 was, General Gobillard was present at the UNPROFOR headquarters that day,
12 and there were constant consultations based on the situation as it
14 Q. Now, in fact, you've just made reference to your journal and
15 perhaps you may have read my mind because that was my very next question.
16 You made notes at the time, bullet-point-type notes in a diary, journal,
17 whatever, correct?
18 A. During the morning and evening briefings, I took notes about the
19 most important points of the staff meeting and especially the action
20 points that applied to me. Of course, I did not draft a report of the
21 ongoing consultation that took place on the 11th. That would have been
22 highly counter-productive.
23 Q. Now, I may be wrong about this and this is perhaps something else
24 you can check during the break, but I want to suggest to you that you did
25 not mention in your journal either of your conversations with Gvero. That
1 is the one on the 11th of July or the one on the 12th of July. You may
2 not have any recollection of that off-hand. If you do, help us.
3 A. There would have been no reason for me to record that in my book
4 of notes.
5 Q. Explain that, please, bearing in mind with hindsight these were
6 rather significant conversations, to Gvero if no one else.
7 A. I primarily recorded things that I had to do in my notebook, not
8 things that I had already done.
9 Q. Returning, if I may, to the conversation between Generals Gvero
10 and Gobillard, you've described being present during some of that
11 conversation. Do you recall how much of it?
12 A. I believe that I remember being present at the start of the
13 conversation, but that I had to leave the room fairly quickly because I
14 had to speak on the phone elsewhere.
15 Q. What was the setup in terms of interpreters for that
16 conversation? Who was interpreting for General Gobillard? Do you
18 A. Major Fortin acted as the interpreter for General Gobillard. And
19 oh, you mean in the conversation with General Gvero. I think that that
20 was the interpreter of General Smith.
21 Q. Do you remember his or her name?
22 A. Yes. I was asked about this previously in this interrogation. I
23 think it was something like Zdravko but I don't remember exactly.
24 Q. Zdravko?
25 A. Yes. I think that was it.
1 Q. And what was his ethnicity, please?
2 A. I believe he was British.
3 Q. Was he in the military? Or was he a civilian?
4 A. No. He was in the military.
5 Q. And what was his role in relation to General Smith?
6 A. His role was that of an interpreter.
7 Q. And what rank did Zdravko have in the British army at that time?
8 A. I don't know.
9 Q. Was he an officer? Had he been commissioned?
10 A. I believe he had.
11 Q. Don't want to be unfair about this, General Nicolai, but do you
12 have a clear recollection of Gobillard speaking in French, Fortin
13 translating into English, and Zdravko then speaking down the telephone in
14 B/C/S? Is that something that sticks in your mind?
15 A. Well, that must be how it went.
16 Q. Well, yes, but in your mind's eye, casting back 12 years, can you
17 picture it actually happening, that there is -- there is a reason, believe
18 it or not, as to why I'm asking you this in so much detail.
19 A. I really can't remember. I can't imagine it happening any other
20 way, but as I already told you, early on in the conversation, I was called
21 away and that would have been why that I don't have any clear memories of
23 Q. Do you have any memory of an interpreter that General Smith had
24 called Captain Emma Bliss?
25 A. Yes. I know there was a female interpreter, but I don't remember
1 her name.
2 Q. And do you have a recollection of another interpreter-cum-liaison
3 officer called Captain Tom Dibb?
4 A. [No interpretation].
5 Q. Could you stop? Would you stop? We are not getting any
7 JUDGE AGIUS: We are not receiving any interpretation.
8 THE INTERPRETER: The interpretation will work now.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's try again, please.
10 Q. My question was, do you have any recollection of another
11 interpreter-cum-liaison officer called Captain Tom Dibb?
12 A. At the time, there were several interpreters at headquarters, and
13 I really cannot recall their names.
14 The more so because, in most cases, I myself availed myself of the
15 interpretation services of Svetlana.
16 Q. That would be a convenient moment for me, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. We'll have a 25-minute break.
18 How much more do you have?
19 MR. JOSSE: It's going relatively slowly, I'm afraid, so I think
20 I've got at least another hour, perhaps enough to fill the session. I
21 won't go more than another session.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
23 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Josse?
1 MR. JOSSE: I see that Judge Stole is not present. You may want
2 to say --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, exactly. We were just going to point out that
4 we are sitting pursuant to Rule 15 bis. That is applicable as from 9.00
5 this morning. Thank you, Mr. Josse. It was the first thing I had in mind
6 of doing this morning and I was too anxious to hear your
8 MR. JOSSE: Too kind, Your Honour.
9 Q. Do you recall, General Nicolai, the press conference that Colonel
10 Karremans gave when he got to Zagreb soon after his departure from
12 A. Yes. I do remember it.
13 Q. And isn't it right that he said that the operation in Srebrenica
14 had been conducted properly?
15 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, General. Yes, Mr. Thayer?
16 MR. THAYER: If we could have some clarification, which operation,
17 military, the removal of the civil population?
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Josse.
19 MR. THAYER: Executions?
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Josse?
21 MR. JOSSE: That's a very, very cheap remark by my learned friend
22 and --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Come on. Let's move. Come on. General, are you
24 in a position to answer?
25 MR. JOSSE:
1 Q. I meant in relation to the VRS military operation.
2 A. I cannot exactly recall that.
3 Q. And he also said, didn't he, that the VRS had treated his men
5 A. The latter is the case, yes.
6 Q. Now, returning to your evidence of yesterday, at page 54, you were
7 asked about what impression you had gained of General Gvero after his role
8 during this period, and you said, "I believe that he was a general who was
9 entrusted with maintaining contact with the UN as long as General Mladic
10 was absent because he was present in the enclave."
11 Wasn't it Tolimir who, in fact, was your first and main point of
12 contact at that point in time?
13 A. To me, it was immaterial who was my contact point, as long as it
14 was somebody with whom I could do business, and on the 8th, that was
15 General Tolimir, and I believe also on the 9th, and the subsequent days,
16 all of a sudden it was General Gvero but I do not know for what reason.
17 And actually, to me, it didn't make any difference.
18 Q. And the first conversation on the 11th of July, it was you that
19 had running the VRS wanting to speak to a general. That's correct, isn't
21 A. I do not know whether I took the initiative for that call or
22 whether I was called. I can't remember that.
23 Q. I want to suggest that you made the call, and in effect what you
24 wanted was to speak to a general, any general would do, as far as you were
25 concerned. That's right, isn't it?
1 A. I repeat that I don't remember whether I myself took the
2 initiative for this call or whether I was called. I really don't know.
3 Q. What about my proposition that as far as you were concerned, any
4 general would do?
5 A. That is correct.
6 Q. And were you aware that the Republika Srpska had a committee that
7 was dedicated to dealing with the United Nations headed by Mr. Koljevic?
8 A. No. I didn't know that.
9 Q. And if we could look at 6D7, please? This is the Official Gazette
10 of the Republika Srpska of March of 1995, and it's page -- which is
11 headed, "Decision on forming a state committee for cooperation with United
12 Nations and international humanitarian organisations." And it deals
13 with -- this is being set up. We have it there in B/C/S. We now have it
14 in English. Could we go to page 3, please?
15 And we can see in the first paragraph that a man -- that Nikola
16 Koljevic had been appointed the president of it, Maksim Stanisic, deputy
17 president, and then particularly like to draw your attention in Article 2
18 to number 7, we see reference to a Colonel Djurdjic, coordinator for the
19 committee's relation with the Ministry of Defence and the Main Staff of
20 the army of Republika Srpska. Were you aware of that man and his role,
21 Colonel Djurdjic, that is?
22 A. The name of Professor Koljevic, I seem to remember that, but the
23 name of Colonel Djurdjic doesn't ring a bell.
24 Q. So I think you probably already agreed with this: You accept that
25 it's no more than an assumption on your part that when you spoke to Gvero
1 that he was a person entrusted with maintaining contact with the United
2 Nations in Mladic's absence? Do you agree with that? It's an assumption?
3 A. Yes, that is correct.
4 Q. Could we have P2907, please? This is your second conversation
5 with my client, the one on the 12th of July, and in your evidence
6 yesterday, at page 52, you were asked the following by Mr. Thayer: "Do
7 you recall contacting the VRS Main Staff again that day in connection with
8 issues surrounding evacuation of those refugees that you just referred to
9 from Srebrenica?" And you said, "Yes, I remember that." -- Sorry, go on,
11 A. Yes, that is correct.
12 Q. Well, at that point in time, after Mr. Thayer had asked what is
13 arguably a leading question, you had not been shown the document, but in
14 fact, that isn't what the document says, I would suggest to you. If we
15 could go to the second page of it, second paragraph down, it says
16 this: "General Nicolai suggested a meeting between him and BSA
17 authorities on the matter of conditions of evacuation of DutchBat only
18 after their support to the refugees in Srebrenica." So in fact, it was
19 the evacuation of DutchBat that you were discussing with General Gvero,
21 A. No. Absolutely not. The evacuation of DutchBat at that point in
22 time was not opportune. At that point, we were only discussing the
23 evacuation of the refugees.
24 Q. So --
25 MR. JOSSE: I'd rather the interruption came before the question.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, what's the problem, Mr. Thayer?
2 MR. THAYER: I mean, to save a little bit of time, if we want to
3 look at page 1, paragraph 1, I think that might clarify the issue and save
4 some potential redirect.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Josse?
6 MR. JOSSE:
7 Q. Yes, paragraph 1 deals with evacuation of the wounded specifically
8 rather than the refugees in general, would you agree with that?
9 A. I'm just busy reading the paragraph.
10 Q. Of course.
11 A. Yes. I remember again. I did want to talk about the evacuation
12 of wounded people.
13 Q. Was the conversation ostensibly about evacuation of wounded people
14 rather than refugees in general? That's really where we are at on this.
15 A. No. The negotiations about the evacuation of the entire group of
16 refugees were conducted by Colonel Karremans with General Mladic, and
17 Colonel Karremans would consult with me about that on a regular basis.
18 Q. Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. Your conversation on the 12th
19 of July at 1445 with Gvero was about the evacuation of the wounded
20 specifically, wasn't it? It wasn't about evacuation of refugees in a
21 general sense. Would you agree with that?
22 A. Yes. I agree with that.
23 Q. And if I may digress for a moment, the evacuation of the wounded,
24 bearing in mind everything else that had happened, was a sensible,
25 humanitarian course of action on your part and that of the VRS, agreed?
1 A. Well, for a number of wounded people, it was necessary to receive
2 medical treatment as soon as possible, and the quickest way of evacuating
3 them under such circumstances is through the air.
4 Q. And you and General Gvero had a disagreement about that, didn't
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. I'm sorry, I'm going to press you. You haven't actually answered
8 my question. Would you agree that the evacuation of the wounded was a
9 sensible humanitarian course of action?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, the disagreement about the air, we see in the document. In
12 the course of your evidence yesterday, about page 53, you explained how
13 you were not prepared to get into a helicopter and go to Srebrenica
14 yourself for fear that you might be shot and killed. That's what you
16 A. Yes. You should make a distinction between flights carried out
17 with or without permission. I would have had no difficulty getting into a
18 helicopter if the VRS authorities had said that I had permission to do so.
19 Q. Do you accept that the ABiH had an anti-aircraft division?
20 A. Well, I know they had anti-aircraft resources, yes.
21 Q. And so what I want to suggest to you is that General Gvero's
22 concerns about helicopters flying over the area may, in part, have been
23 motivated by strategic considerations but was also in part concern as to
24 what might happen to those helicopters. It was a perfectly reasonable
25 thing to say and do, wasn't it?
1 A. No. I must tell you, there were almost daily flights over Bosnian
2 territory, but always the authorities across whom these flights would take
3 place would be informed of that and the flights would only take place
4 after authority had been granted.
5 Q. There was still a possibility, was there not, that the VRS would
6 give permission but the helicopter be -- sorry, go on.
7 A. Yes. Had the VRS given permission and if the BiH would have had
8 no problems, then we would have been able to evacuate the wounded by means
9 of helicopters.
10 Q. So far as the evacuation of the refugees is concerned, you've
11 mentioned Colonel Karremans' action in that regard. Wasn't there a
12 high-level meeting on the 14th of July in Belgrade involving Mr. Bildt,
13 General Smith and General Mladic to address that issue?
14 A. No. There was such a meeting but the refugees had long been
15 evacuated by then.
16 Q. Now, asking you generally, if I may, about the two conversations
17 that you had with General Gvero, you had never spoken to him before, as
18 you've already told us?
19 A. That's correct.
20 Q. You never spoke to him again?
21 A. Not as far as I can remember.
22 Q. At the point of the first conversation, you had no real idea who
23 he was other than a general in the VRS Main Staff; do you agree with that?
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. You didn't know what his role was, if any, within the Main Staff
1 of the VRS?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. And that contrasts markedly with General Milovanovic whom you knew
4 quite well as your counterpart in the VRS; that's right, isn't it?
5 A. Well, it's true that he was my counterpart but as for knowing him
6 well, I met him in person once and I also had several conversations with
7 him via an interpreter, but that's the extent of my knowing him as a
9 Q. But you were able to conclude that he was General Mladic's
10 trouble-shooter and he was a man who was able to make decisions on his own
11 without always having to refer back to Mladic?
12 A. Yes. That was my experience.
13 Q. And you had no idea, as we've just agreed, where General Gvero
14 fitted into the scheme of things and in particular what his relationship
15 was with Mladic, correct?
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. To state the obvious, you didn't know what was in his mind. Like
18 any human being, you could infer from the conversation what you thought
19 was in his mind but, of course, you didn't know what was in his mind, did
21 A. No. Unfortunately not.
22 Q. Now, briefly want to ask you about an answer you gave yesterday at
23 page 60 towards the top of that page, in relation to why you saluted at
24 the point that Mladic was with his auxiliary personnel and he greeted the
25 troops leaving the enclave, and as I understand it, you're saying that was
1 to avoid embarrassment on the part of some of the members of DutchBat; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes, I said that.
4 Q. Then we saw on the video your having a drink with General Mladic.
5 Was that for the same reason?
6 A. Well, it wasn't that we were partying together. Apparently, in
7 former Yugoslavia, it's customary to conclude certain matters with a glass
8 of slivovitz, and certainly because I did not want to disrupt relations or
9 certainly not -- and to ensure the undisturbed departure of DutchBat, I
11 Q. In other words, needs must, your minister had told you that you
12 needed to get DutchBat out and if that took having a drink with Mladic,
13 that was something you were prepared to do; is that a fair summary?
14 A. No. The minister did not discuss that with me at all. The Chief
15 of Defence Staff, the highest military staff member of the minister,
16 explicitly instructed me that DutchBat had to leave the enclave safely.
17 However possible and how I would take care of that, they left that to my
19 Q. And I'm right, aren't I, as far as you were concerned, the drink
20 was, to use the English expression, needs must, and that justified your
21 sharing the drink with Mladic in your mind?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. I'm going to move on to a different topic, if I may. You've
24 described this one trip that you made to Srebrenica, the tail end of which
25 I've just asked you about, but beyond that, and it may be obvious but I
1 think it's important to spell out, you were not present in Srebrenica and
2 therefore everything you have said about the events there are hearsay,
3 aren't they?
4 A. You mean that I wasn't in Srebrenica at the moment the enclave was
6 Q. You went there on -- I've forgotten, was it the 20th of July? I
8 A. I was there on 21 July and I was there once before, in March 1995,
9 when our crown prince was visiting.
10 Q. You were not there between the 1st and the 20th of July, when the
11 enclave fell and the events that surround this case occurred, were you?
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. And therefore, everything you have told us about those events, as
14 to what actually occurred in and around the enclave, is hearsay, stands to
15 reason, doesn't it?
16 A. Yes, that would seem to be clear to me.
17 Q. You, in common with everyone, received confused and diverse
18 reports as to what was going on in that enclave over that two-week period?
19 A. Yes. Of course, I received the standard reports from DutchBat but
20 DutchBat had very limited information at that point as well because they
21 were no longer able to leave their compound, and otherwise there were all
22 kinds of rumours but many were never confirmed.
23 Q. So there were rumours, you received information from the BiH side
24 with whom UNPROFOR shared fairly cordial relations, would you agree with
1 A. There was no difference between our relationship with the BiH and
2 that with the VRS.
3 Q. My question, with its pejorative remark, deserved that answer, and
4 I apologise. That wasn't what I was driving at. Would you agree that you
5 received information from the Muslim side as to what was going on in
7 A. Well, I think that at that time the BiH didn't have information
8 about exactly what was happening in the enclave either because they didn't
9 have any people there at that moment. Their people had all left the
11 Q. Let me try and cut this short. Perhaps you won't agree with this,
12 but information was scant and confused in the two weeks that I'm asking
13 about. Would you agree with that?
14 A. Yes. I agree with you entirely.
15 Q. It is beyond dispute, isn't it, that Srebrenica had not been
16 demilitarised as of July 1995. In other words, before the VRS attack on
17 the enclave. It had not been demilitarised, had it?
18 A. Well, let me qualify that. It was not demilitarised to the extent
19 that we would have liked it to be.
20 Q. There were attacks, were there not, from within the enclave to the
21 outside on occasion? Go on.
22 A. Yes. There were.
23 Q. And some of these attacks resulted in Serb civilians being killed,
25 A. We were unable to verify that information because the Serbs did
1 not allow us, did not give us freedom of movement across Serbian territory
2 and then it's difficult to verify that information.
3 Q. Were you aware, for example, of an attack on a village called
4 Visnjica on the 26th of June of 1995, where the village was set on fire?
5 A. I don't remember this specific case, but the VRS did complain
6 repeatedly about attacks on Serb villages.
7 Q. Would you agree that UNPROFOR was not prepared to do anything
8 about this?
9 A. No. I definitely do not agree with you about that. We were
10 certainly willing to do something about that. But if the parties involved
11 don't give you freedom of movement and in addition they block the fuel
12 that you need to do this, then of course your means are extremely limited.
13 Q. So you're saying because the fuel wasn't getting into the enclave,
14 your Dutch Battalion were unable to carry out their tasks, which would
15 otherwise have meant they would have properly demilitarised the enclave?
16 Is that what you're saying?
17 A. No. That's not exactly what you're hearing me say. What you're
18 hearing me say is that due to lack of fuel and lack of freedom of movement
19 or limited freedom of movement, we were able to carry out only part of our
20 duties and certainly not to the extent we would have liked to. Whether we
21 could have fully demilitarised the enclave if we had had fuel, you didn't
22 hear me say that.
23 Q. The Serbs complained to UNPROFOR about the fact that it was not
24 demilitarised, didn't they?
25 A. Yes. They did that several times.
1 Q. And significantly, UNPROFOR knew that the Serbs were likely to do
2 something about it in due course.
3 A. Well, I can never say anything for sure, but, of course, that was
4 a possibility. I did tell the VRS repeatedly that the -- they were in
5 part responsible for the fact that we were not in a position to do our
6 duties properly.
7 Q. You knew that apart from the fact that the Serbs were asserting
8 that there were raids taking place from the enclave to the outside and
9 civilians were being killed, they also -- you, UNPROFOR, also knew that
10 the eastern enclaves and the fact that they were not demilitarised was a
11 serious drain on the VRS manpower and that manpower was required in a
12 different part of Bosnia; that's right, isn't it?
13 A. Yes. The intrinsic existence of the enclave is already very
14 troop-intensive for a party.
15 Q. And we know that it came as no surprise to General Smith, and
16 presumably no surprise to you, when the VRS started an attack on the
18 A. No. We did expect something like that.
19 Q. And, indeed, I want to look with you at a document that we began
20 to examine yesterday, which is 6D204. And this, you'll remember, is from
21 General Janvier to Mr. Annan among others dated the 10th of July, and it's
22 the daily sit-rep and it includes, as I mentioned yesterday, quite a
23 detailed military assessment of the situation in Srebrenica. And if we go
24 to page 5, I'd like to look at this in a little bit of detail with you, if
25 I may.
1 Perhaps before -- sorry, perhaps before that's done, it might help
2 if we went back to the first page, simply for completeness and I asked you
3 was this document sent to UNPROFOR?
4 A. I don't know.
5 Q. We see a list of groups it was sent to as information. I'm afraid
6 it's real UN-speak to me and I can't assist. Can you, as to whether it
7 went to Sarajevo?
8 A. UNPROFOR does not appear here, but I admit that I don't know who
9 is included under the word "list" which appears twice.
10 Q. Okay. To page 5, please. We have this military assessment here,
11 and it begins by saying, "By attacking the Srebrenica enclave, the BSA
12 probably wants to achieve the following aims." And then I'm not going to
13 read out the next five points but perhaps we could all read it to
15 A. Yes. I've read it.
16 Q. Then mentions the -- something to do with Gorazde, which is --
17 well, by all means, read it. It might be an idea if you read the next
18 paragraph and read on, because otherwise, I might be accused of taking
19 this out of context. In that long paragraph it says, "However, at present
20 there are no indications suggesting this." And then when you've got to
21 the bottom of the page, General, I'll invite us to go to the next page.
22 Then there is a paragraph where the prediction says, "the BSA is not
23 expected to seize the safe area."
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Then it says, I'm going to read it out: "The Bosnian Serbs could
1 halt their advance pending a number of conditions, the complete
2 demilitarisation of the enclave will probably be their highest priority.
3 This would also serve their primary goal of freeing troops from around the
5 So as far as the author of this report was concerned, and seems to
6 be General Janvier, at least it's gone out in his name, that's what he
7 perceived at that time as being what was in the minds of the VRS. Do you
8 read it like that?
9 A. Yes. This is the assessment by General Janvier's headquarters.
10 Q. Now, we know that the attack took place, and I would like to quote
11 back to you what you said yesterday at page 29 of the proceedings. And
12 you said, "These are blocking positions in Dutch as well, south of
13 Srebrenica, and first of all, their purpose was to block the approaching
14 Serbian troops and, 2, they were intended to create a situation so that if
15 they tried to continue approaching Srebrenica, they would be in a
16 situation where they had no choice but to attack the UN as well."
17 A. Yes. I said it that way.
18 Q. In other words, the Dutch Battalion were going to try and block
19 the VRS attack by forcing the VRS to attack the Dutch. Is that right? Is
20 that what you were saying?
21 A. Yes. You could express it that way.
22 Q. Your men placed themselves strategically between the VRS and the
23 Bosniak fighters. That's right, isn't it?
24 A. No. They placed themselves between the VRS and the town of
25 Srebrenica with the civilian population.
1 Q. All right. Let's have a look at the document on the screen. Next
2 paragraph, if we've got it there, "The BiH will continue to try to block
3 DutchBat in their OPs or in positions in front of the BiH. This will
4 involve the use of force. They cannot" -- I beg your pardon, start
5 again. "They can co-locate with UN positions to use them as human
6 shields. This might provoke a reaction from the BSA with a risk for UN
7 personnel to get caught in cross-fire between both factions. The BiH is
8 likely to attempt to capture weapons and vehicles from DutchBat to
9 compensate for their lack of armament."
10 Now, that is what happened, isn't it? The VRS wanted to get at
11 the Bosniak fighters. Your men stood in the middle, and the Bosniak
12 fighters wanted to get near your men in order to encourage the VRS to
13 attack them, UNPROFOR, rather than the Bosniak fighters. That's what
15 A. At that point, the role of the UN was to keep the warring parties
16 apart and that was done to the best of our ability, but I admit that we
17 were only partially successful because from our observation posts, we
18 could do very little about that.
19 Q. It's obvious, isn't it, that UNPROFOR, the UN, your Dutch
20 soldiers, were not the target of the VRS? That's right, isn't it,
22 A. No. I seriously contest that, because then otherwise I don't know
23 why the observation posts were shot at.
24 Q. Weren't there Bosniak trenches next to the DutchBat positions?
25 A. I was not in the enclave personally so I don't know the exact
1 location of Bosniak trenches. You would need to ask Colonel Karremans
2 about that.
3 Q. And I suppose you can't help as to whether there was any fire from
4 those trenches in the direction of the VRS.
5 A. I know that BiH soldiers also shot at VRS positions.
6 Q. Now, I'm suggesting to you that UNPROFOR was not the enemy of the
7 VRS. What do you say about that?
8 A. Well, perhaps that's officially the case, but nonetheless, the VRS
9 did attack UNPROFOR.
10 Q. And I suggest to you, as evidence of the fact that they didn't
11 actually attack UNPROFOR but were in fact attacking the Bosniak fighters,
12 not one of your men was killed, let alone injured, by the VRS in the
13 attack that you have told us about. Correct?
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer? One moment. Yes, Mr. Thayer?
15 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, that's not consistent with the
16 evidence that's been presented in this case. That is a misstatement of
17 the evidence.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: This has been also discussed before. So -- and the
19 question put and answered in a different form. So let him answer this
20 question now and proceed.
21 MR. JOSSE:
22 Q. Can you answer the question, please, General?
23 A. I don't object to answering. I merely attribute it to our good
24 luck that there were no casualties among the Dutch soldiers at that
25 moment, but it is a fact that both OPs and APCs of DutchBat were shot at
1 by the VRS, and I would call that a hostile act.
2 Q. And I'm really are not being flippant here but it is simply a
3 strange quirk of fate, is it, that the unfortunate Dutch soldier who was
4 killed happened to be killed by Bosniak fire?
5 A. Now, what is your question in this?
6 Q. Well, I'm asking you whether it's a coincidence, a strange quirk
7 of fate? As I say, it's not a flippant question.
8 A. Yes, that could certainly be called bizarre.
9 Q. I'd like to go back, if I may, to where I began, and that is
10 examining briefly P2906, Lieutenant-Colonel De Ruiter's note of your
11 conversation with my client, and to assist, because there were some
12 e-court problems yesterday, we now have hard copies of P2374 which was the
13 Muslim intercept.
14 Now, I asked you a fair amount about this yesterday and I'm not
15 going to go over it again but at page 76, in the course of my
16 cross-examination yesterday evening, I invited you to give examples in
17 this document of the nonsense and lies that you allege General Gvero was
18 uttering, and you said this: "All allegations that UN soldiers were not
19 being attacked or rather that it was not" and now here come the important
20 words, "They were not being attacked by the VRS but by Muslims, that's
21 nonsense and lies, truly."
22 Now, what is beyond doubt is that your men came under attack by
23 the Muslims. That was not a lie, was it?
24 A. We were attacked by the VRS, and in addition, what also happened
25 was that the BiH soldiers tried to impede the withdrawal of the UN
1 soldiers and in that course of events, there was also shooting at
2 DutchBat. That's what happened.
3 Q. Would you agree that Dutch Battalion were attacked by the Muslims?
4 A. No. I wouldn't see it that way. As long as DutchBats remained in
5 their OPs and performed their duties, they were not attacked by the Muslim
6 troops, only when they wanted to leave their positions were -- did they
7 encounter an impediment on the part of the BiH.
8 Q. Now, as far as you are concerned, the VRS treated UNPROFOR as an
9 enemy and attacked them. That's what you're saying?
10 A. Well, I need to establish a distinction there, to the extent that
11 they attacked the observation posts and shot at the compound, there was an
12 attack by the VRS. On the other hand, I have to say that the UN soldiers
13 that surrendered at their observation posts, they were treated well by the
15 Q. Could we have a look at P33, please? Now, this, General Nicolai,
16 is a document from Major General Tolimir to the president of the Republika
17 Srpska for information, the Drina Corps forward command post and to
18 Generals Gvero and Krstic personally. And could we scroll down to the
19 bottom? It's conduct of combat operations around Srebrenica. And it
20 says: "In accordance with the order of the president of the Republika
21 Srpska, you must issue an order to all combat units participating in
22 combat operations around Srebrenica to offer maximum protection and safety
23 to all UNPROFOR members and the civilian Muslim population. You must
24 order subordinate units to refrain from destroying civilian targets unless
25 forced to do so because of strong enemy resistance. Ban the torching of
1 residential buildings and treat the civilian population and war prisoners
2 in accordance with the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949." And it's
3 dated, this particular document, the 9th of July of 1995. Have you seen
4 this before?
5 A. No.
6 Q. You weren't aware, therefore, I assume, that Tolimir had sent out
7 this direction?
8 A. Definitely not. The actions of the VRS at that point definitely
9 did not correspond with what is being propagated here.
10 Q. You do agree, though, don't you, that the purpose of the VRS
11 attack was not directed against UNPROFOR? The purpose, the motive, behind
12 it had nothing to do with UNPROFOR, did it?
13 A. The presumed underlying reason for the attack was, as it was
14 expected, that the VRS wanted to diminish the size of the enclave and to
15 achieve this, the observation posts had to be attacked so any way you look
16 at it, the fact remains that the UN military was attacked by the VRS,
17 whatever the reason may have been.
18 Q. And you gained the distinct impression in your conversation of the
19 11th of July with Gvero that he was lying when he said that the VRS was
20 not attacking UNPROFOR positions?
21 A. Yes. Would you be surprised if you had been receiving reports
22 that the UN is being attacked for four consecutive days and they still
23 keep insisting that that's not the case, then of course, you can
24 understand that I was highly sceptical about that.
25 Q. That may be, but as we can see in the document from General
1 Janvier, certainly Zagreb had anticipated exactly this happening and your
2 battalion, being caught in the cross fire between the warring parties but
3 not actually being the target of the warring parties. You must have
4 realised that, didn't you?
5 A. But that won't change the fact that there is no justification for
6 attacking UN troops. Just because you expect it, that doesn't make it
8 Q. Now, we are clearly not going to agree on this, but I'd like to
9 show you -- I think you're acknowledging what I've just said. I'd like to
10 show you what General Gvero did immediately after this conversation.
11 Could we have 6D207 in e-court, please?
12 We'll remember as we look at this document that your conversation
13 with my client was at 1615 hours on the 11th of July and here we have a
14 document, we've got the original there, get the translation in a moment,
15 also dated the 11th of July 1995, and handwritten in the right-hand corner
16 is it was received, wherever this was recovered from, at 1735 on that day,
17 so under an hour and a half after your conversation. It's headed top
18 secret. It's a warning on treatment of UNPROFOR personnel in the enclave
19 of Srebrenica.
20 "In relation to the total situation in the enclave of Srebrenica,
21 the monitoring of reactions from UNPROFOR representatives and the world
22 public opinion indicates that the attitude of the army of the Republika
23 Srpska personnel towards UNPROFOR personnel and units in the area of
24 Srebrenica is in the focus of attention. To that end, Drina Corps
25 command, acting through its subordinate commands, will ensure utmost
1 decency in the attitude towards UNPROFOR personnel, our guests, and
2 prevent any actions and provocation directing against UNPROFOR units in
3 the enclave regardless of their behaviour. Such attitude towards UNPROFOR
4 units is at this moment of multifarious importance for the realisation of
5 the assignment at hand and of our set objectives." And it's signed
6 assistant commander Major-General Milan Gvero.
7 This document suggests and supports my proposition that Gvero was
8 not lying when he said that the VRS was not attacking UNPROFOR positions.
9 Do you agree with that?
10 A. No. I certainly don't agree with that. There was shooting at
11 UNPROFOR positions for four consecutive days in a row, so whatever is
12 stated on paper, the facts were clearly different.
13 Q. And this document is also suggestive, is it not -- rephrase that.
14 This document doesn't in any way suggest or support your proposition that
15 this man threatened you just an hour earlier. Here he is telling his men
16 to treat UNPROFOR with the utmost respect, isn't he?
17 A. I repeat that the facts were different, and if General Gvero in
18 his conversation with me tells me that I will be responsible for what
19 happens to the civilian population, then there must have been some threat
20 somewhere to the civilian population because why else would he say that?
21 Q. Well, we went over that yesterday and I'm not going to go over it
22 again now. But what's clear from this document is he's heeded what you
23 said and he's tried to do something about it, hasn't he?
24 A. Well, it's possible that he wrote this down and intended to do
25 something about it but up to that point, as UNPROFOR, we noticed nothing
1 of all that. So please excuse me if I had an entirely different
2 impression of the situation at that moment than is indicated by this
3 statement in writing.
4 Q. And your impression had been obtained, excuse me, your impression
5 of the situation had been obtained, hadn't it, from all the various
6 sources of confused information that you were receiving, and your general
7 view that anyone in the VRS must be bad and must be anti-UNPROFOR? That's
8 where you were coming from, General Nicolai.
9 A. Well, your remark comes across as being highly suggestive to me,
10 and I vehemently protest. My information at that time was not confused at
11 all. Previously, we spoke about confused information in the days after
12 the enclave had fallen, up to the point that the enclave fell the
13 information was not confused at all, and I continuously received accurate
14 reports from DutchBat and was particularly well informed about what was
15 happening. As for prejudices regarding any party at all, I take distance
16 from that because that was not the case at all.
17 Q. I'm not really concerned about whether you are or are not
18 prejudiced against the VRS. What I'm suggesting to you, sir, is that
19 you've tarred my client with the same brush that you tarred others who
20 perhaps deserve it and you simply are not being objective about the
21 matters to which you've attested.
22 A. I contest that as well. What I care about is not your client in
23 person. What I care about is that on 11 July a threat was expressed
24 regarding the civilian population that was in and around the compound, and
25 all I tried to do was to avert the possibility of a blood bath there.
1 Q. And that's exactly why you have tarred him with the same brush.
2 That threat may well have been uttered. You came can into this Court.
3 You attributed it to him. I've shown you documents and the result is
4 surely you concede you didn't come in here with a fair and open mind in
5 relation to General Gvero?
6 A. I can repeat what I said previously but there would be no added
7 value to that.
8 MR. JOSSE: Could Your Honour give us a few moments? I know that
9 General Gvero would like to speak to Mr. Krgovic in court initially and
10 perhaps I'll revert to Chamber if in a moment, if I may.
11 [Defence counsel and Accused confer]
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please speak a bit away from
13 the microphone? Thank you.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Too late in the day, I think.
15 MR. JOSSE: Yes.
16 Q. I've just been asked to ask you this, and I know we went over it
17 yesterday and if need be, I can show you the documentation again. Indeed
18 you've got the actual intercept in front of you there in hard copy. But
19 you did concede yesterday that on the face of the intercept there was
20 certainly no threat to shell the compound in Potocari. There is no
21 question about that, is there?
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I think this was asked and answered already.
23 MR. JOSSE: Well, that's right, Your Honour. I'm getting some
24 instructions in relation to this matter.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead.
1 MR. JOSSE:
2 Q. I don't want to revisit our battle of yesterday, General, but I've
3 been asked to ask you that question. Do you agree with what I've just
5 A. Well, I can go back to what was said yesterday. We observed from
6 the transcripts that General Gvero did not say literally in that phone
7 conversation that he would shoot at the compound and its surroundings. He
8 did refer to the danger to the civilian population or consequences for the
9 civilian population, and that combined with a threat that we had learned
10 of that the civilian population would be shot at if we did not discontinue
11 the air attacks led us to discontinue the air attacks. I admit, though,
12 from -- it's not clear that General Gvero said this in so many words from
13 the transcript.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. That's enough, I think. We've heard enough
15 on this now.
16 MR. JOSSE: Again, could I just have one moment?
17 The Chamber will be relieved to know that I've finished this
18 cross-examination, and I'm grateful to the witness.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Sarapa, you had --
20 THE WITNESS: You're welcome.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: -- not confirmed yesterday definitely that you have
22 no cross-examination. You don't have a cross-examination, I take it.
23 MR. SARAPA: [Interpretation] Only one question. I said that I
24 might have or might need ten minutes at the most, but I'll have just one
1 Cross-examination by Mr. Sarapa:
2 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. General. My name is Djordje Sarapa and I'm
3 here defending General Pandurevic. I will only have one question for you,
4 as you heard.
5 In your statement you gave to the Tribunal dated the 18th of
6 November, the following: [In English] I have informed the Dutch Minister
7 of Defence of the planned evacuation [Realtime transcript read in
8 error "vehicles"] and our intention to use UNPROFOR tracks and he had
9 agreed to this."
10 [Interpretation] Do you still stand by that statement of yours?
11 A. Only spoke with the minister about our intention to evacuate the
12 civilian population. I did not discuss with him how we would be doing
14 Q. I apologise. The transcript doesn't reflect the statement
15 clearly. This is 6D153, page 13. It wasn't recorded correctly.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: You read it in English, no?
17 MR. SARAPA: [Interpretation] It says here, the planned vehicles.
18 In the English text that I read, it says, I have informed the Dutch
19 Minister of Defence of the planned evacuation and our intention to use
20 UNPROFOR tracks, and he had agreed to this."
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The minister said he agreed with the
22 intention to evacuate the civilian population and that UNPROFOR would
23 assist with that. But at the point when I was speaking with the Minister
24 of Defence, even I didn't know what means we would use to that end.
25 MR. SARAPA: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no further
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Sarapa.
3 Mr. Thayer, do you have a re-examination?
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Borovcanin? Mr. Lazarevic?
5 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes. I don't wish to cross-examine the witness,
6 just to assist Mr. Sarapa. On two occasions he referred to the date 11th
7 of July, and it's not in the transcript.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I see. Okay. But does that change your answer,
9 General? When Mr. Sarapa put the question to you, he was obviously
10 referring to the 11th of July. That went missing in the transcript. What
11 I would like to know from you is whether you would have answered
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't think so. The conversation
14 with Defence took place at around 5.00 or half past 5.00 in the afternoon
15 of the 11th and all we discussed was the intention to evacuate and the
16 assistance of UNPROFOR with that evacuation because that's an important
17 decision. The minister agreed with that and I personally had no idea
18 about how we would take it from there. That's the answer that I have to
19 give to this question.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And thank you, Mr. Lazarevic.
21 Mr. Thayer, do you have a re-examination?
22 MR. THAYER: I do, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. How long is it going to last?
24 MR. THAYER: I don't think I can complete it before the -- if we
25 break at 12.30, I don't think I'll be able to complete it.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
2 MR. THAYER: I would say 20 minutes, maybe half an hour. I will
3 keep it as tight and quick as possible.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Go ahead.
5 Re-examination by Mr. Thayer:
6 Q. Good afternoon, General.
7 A. [No interpretation].
8 Q. You testified that you were in contact during the attack with
9 Colonel Franken among others, Colonel Karremans' deputy commander, do you
10 recall that?
11 A. Yes. It depended who answered the phone at that point, but I did
12 speak with Major Franken on several occasions.
13 Q. And do you recall receiving any information from Major Franken
14 that he had received information that DutchBat peacekeepers had been
15 injured during the course of the VRS attacks on the OPs?
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Josse?
17 MR. JOSSE: Leading question.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. You are right. Avoid leading questions
19 because obviously you're going to face objections. And you know what the
20 policy is.
21 MR. THAYER:
22 Q. Do you recall receiving any information from Major Franken
23 regarding any injuries to DutchBat peacekeepers during the operation?
24 A. [No interpretation].
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Josse. One moment, General.
1 MR. JOSSE: Again it's a leading question. The question should be
2 did you receive any information from Major Franken; if so, what was it.
3 Otherwise, it's leading.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: You're 100 per cent right.
5 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, it's a yes or no answer and he said
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, yeah, but it was a leading question because
8 you inserted the "injuries" aspect in it. The way it should have been put
9 is as suggested or as indicated by Mr. Josse. Anyway, for the record,
10 Mr. Josse, and Mr. Thayer, because the transcript must be faithful, must
11 faithfully reflect, I did hear the witness distinctly answer no to the
12 question and this is not reflected in the transcript.
13 MR. JOSSE: Well, I'm quite happy to have that in the transcript,
14 Your Honour.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: And you confirm that, don't you, General?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The only report I received about
17 DutchBat who were wounded was the death of Private Ari Van Renssen.
18 MR. THAYER:
19 Q. Now, I want to turn your attention, General, to the reports you
20 were receiving, particularly on the 6th and 7th of July. You were asked
21 some questions regarding the level of activity on those two days and with
22 respect to casualties that were taken in those two days. I want to show
23 you some UNMO reports which we'll have to put on the ELMO. These have all
24 been previously disclosed to Defence counsel. We will be applying for 65
25 ter numbers for all of the UNMO reports. These are in connection with
1 Colonel Kingori's upcoming testimony, witness, for whom the Trial Chamber
2 granted permission to add to our 65 ter list of witnesses.
3 For the record, I will be showing General Nicolai 00527524 to
4 7526. Do you have the document in front of you?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. And we can see the date of this is July 6th, covering the period
7 from one minute after midnight to 2000 hours on July 6; is that correct,
9 A. Correct.
10 Q. Actually I've been informed that we do have a 65 ter number for
11 this and it's 490.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you for that.
13 MR. THAYER:
14 Q. And we will be looking at the bottom of this page. Do you see the
15 section, general, where it says, "Team Srebrenica reported a BSA offensive
16 launched and ongoing within the enclave as reported under separate cover?
17 The BSA used tanks, artillery, mortars, rockets and heavy machine-gun and
18 have targeted the DutchBat headquarters, Bandera Triangle, DutchBat OPs U
19 and S," and then it looks like, is that south, that abbreviation there,
21 A. That's correct, south.
22 Q. "Of OP hotel. Potocari township, Srebrenica township, at least 250
23 artillery and mortar rounds have been recorded so far. The UNMO team have
24 confirmed two fatalities and six casualties so far being taken to
25 hospital. DutchBat reported 620-millimetre rockets landed close to their
1 compound with only two exploding at about 0330 hours on July 6. The
2 shelling of the surrounding area, however, continued until about 1600
3 hours on the 6th," and if we go to the next page, "with two civilian
4 casualties so far recorded. We move a little further, "at 1450 hours, the
5 OP came under direct shelling from company held by the BSA."
6 General, how does this information square with the information you
7 were receiving from, among others, the DutchBat command?
8 A. It corresponds perfectly with the reports that DutchBat issued.
9 Q. I want to show you another UNMO report. We are done with that,
10 thank you.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Josse?
12 MR. JOSSE: Well, I would submit that at the very minimum, the
13 witness should be asked whether he'd previously seen this document.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Any way --
15 MR. JOSSE: If the Court is not with me, I'm not pressing the
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's -- because this is something that is reserved
18 to the person doing the examination, in this case, the re-examination.
19 MR. THAYER: Mr. President --
20 JUDGE AGIUS: He may decide it's not a pertinent question and we
21 are not going to intervene, anyway, but if you think it's a pertinent
22 thing to find out, you put the question. If not, let's go ahead.
23 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I'm just going to move along and try
24 to conclude this as quickly as possible.
25 Q. I'm showing you what has been marked as 00527527 to 7532. That's
1 65 ter 491.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Wait, General. Yes, Mr. --
3 MR. JOSSE: I'm going to develop my argument and objection this
4 way. If my learned friend chooses to do it in this manner, then in my
5 submission, this is really another form of leading. I would have
6 personally no objection if he first asked the witness what recollection he
7 has based on the information he'd received and then showed him the
8 document. But realistically, this is leading in a veiled form otherwise.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer?
10 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, my friend put this witness's
11 recollection in question, challenged his recollection about when certain
12 things occurred, whether there were casualties, what day certain
13 activities occurred, indeed, whether on a certain day there was heightened
14 activity or any activity at all. I think it's perfectly appropriate to
15 show him these documents in this manner.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Then do introduce each document properly to the
17 witness and I suppose I go back on what I stated earlier, I think it would
18 be more appropriate if you asked the witness whether he's familiar with
19 this document and whether he was familiar with this document at the
20 relevant time and then you proceed from there.
21 MR. THAYER:
22 Q. Sir, do you have the document in front of you, again this is 65
23 ter 491. And I'd ask to you look at the first page. Can you tell the
24 Court what this is?
25 A. This is a daily situation report from the Sector North-East, from
2 Q. And in the course of your duties, would this type of information
3 pass through you or your staff?
4 A. Yes. The staff received reports such as these every day, and
5 based on that, the briefings were prepared for the commander and the other
6 staff members.
7 Q. And would the information contained in these reports be passed on
8 to you if your staff deemed it important enough?
9 A. Such a report could be cause to discuss a certain situation.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment.
11 MR. JOSSE: Leading question. That's the objection to that.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE AGIUS: It needs a lot of thinking, Mr. Josse. We are going
15 to have a break now. No, not really. I think we can proceed, actually,
16 but we'll have the break now.
17 MR. JOSSE: Well, I certainly could do with a cup of coffee, Your
19 --- Recess taken at 12.31 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 12.58 p.m.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
22 MR. THAYER:
23 Q. General, would you just describe please how information in this
24 type of sit-rep would reach your ears?
25 A. Yes. As part of the task of the Chief of Staff on the basis of
1 the reports from the various sectors, an overall assessment would be made
2 for the whole area of Bosnia-Herzegovina, since as the Chief of Staff I
3 was co-responsible for these reports, it was my task to check whether the
4 overall reports were in line with what was reported from the sectors. So
5 I would read these reports.
6 Q. Let's look at page 2 of this report, please. We will be looking
7 at paragraph 1. The section that reads, "Potocari compound was targeted
8 several times during the day, OP Foxtrot was hit by several tank rounds
9 which caused great damage to the watch tower. No UN casualties reported.
10 In Srebrenica enclave, an artillery impact killed a civilian and injured a
11 boy." Sir, do you recall receiving any information concerning OP Foxtrot
12 being hit by several tank rounds resulting in the damage described here?
13 Do you recall receiving any information specifically?
14 A. Yes. I received that.
15 Q. And do you recall with any specificity receiving any reports about
16 an artillery impact killing a civilian and injuring a boy? I know it's 12
17 years ago, but do you have any specific recollection of receiving that
19 A. Well, not the details of that information, but I read all those
20 sit-reps so I undoubtedly saw it at the time. Of course, I can't remember
21 the details of each and every daily sit-rep.
22 Q. Okay. I'd like to go to the next document, the ERN is 00527533 to
23 7535. So we are done with the previous report. And this is 65 ter number
24 492, please. And I do have hard copies if it's easier for you to read,
1 A. Yes. That would be convenient. Thank you.
2 Q. Do you recognise what type of document this is, sir?
3 A. One moment, please. I'd like to have a look at what this is.
4 Q. Please take your time, General.
5 A. Okay. I've seen it. This is a daily sit-rep of the UNMOs from
6 the Sector North-East headquarters.
7 Q. And would you just take a moment, please, and describe for the
8 Trial Chamber the UNMOs chain of command and how it fit into the UNPROFOR
9 chain of command, in terms of reporting, I think, would be the most
11 A. Yes. The UNMOs reported to every level within UNPROFOR. There
12 were -- no, there were UNMOs within every level of UNPROFOR. And the
13 UNPROFORs from the sectors reported to the UNMO chief in Sarajevo, and the
14 UNMO chief in Sarajevo in turn reported to the chief UNMO in Zagreb. And
15 that's how all information was gathered, and on that basis, the situation
16 was assessed.
17 Q. And how would UNMO information be reported to you, General?
18 A. That information, the UNMO reports, went to the operations
19 section, which used it as complementary information to the reports that
20 came from the unit commanders. So it complemented the reports from the
22 Q. Now, the document we are looking at is dated 7 July. Do you see
23 that, sir?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And what is the time range covered by this particular report, if
1 you could just share that with us?
2 A. Yes. It involves the day July the 7th, from midnight until 8.00
3 in the evening.
4 Q. You were asked some questions by my friend about what was or
5 wasn't going on on the 7th of July, in terms of the VRS attack. I want to
6 ask you some specific questions about this report which covers that period
7 of time. Do you see under paragraph 3, military information, "DutchBat
8 reported heavy shelling around their compound in Potocari and as a result
9 three men were injured and brought by MSF to the hospital." Do you see
10 that, General?
11 A. Yes, I see it.
12 Q. UNMOs confirm this. Reports of more shelling at 1500
13 hours. "Three shells landed in Srebrenica and injured two men. One was
14 picked up by our patrol and the other one by MSF but he died on arrival at
15 the hospital." Further on, "A lot of damage on buildings has been caused
16 in that area, despite the low casualty figure."
17 Sir, do you recall receiving this level of information on the 7th,
18 given -- well, I'll just leave it at that.
19 A. Yes. Yes. We received these reports on a daily basis.
20 Q. Okay. Well, I want to turn your attention to the second page and
21 just follow up with one last question about this day. Under paragraph C,
22 summary of meetings --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, one moment. Yes, Mr. Josse?
24 MR. JOSSE: Bearing in mind how Mr. Thayer has explained this line
25 of re-examination, at page 64, line 12 onwards, isn't he in effect
1 cross-examining his own witness? Because of course, I simply put the
2 witness's statement to him, and in effect he's trying to impeach his own
3 witness. If he's saying that this man lacks credibility in accordance
4 with the Trial Chamber's previous ruling, then of course he's allowed to
5 do that but he needs to declare that openly and then proceed.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you wish to comment on that, Mr. Thayer?
7 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, I don't think I need to make any comment
8 about this witness's credibility. I think this witness's recollection was
9 placed in direct issue and I'm entitled to follow up and see if this
10 affects his recollection one way or the other. That was going to be my
11 final question after reviewing this second page of this document.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
13 MR. JOSSE: Could I just say that's exactly the point? In
14 relation to this rather narrow issue, as to the 7th of July, this
15 particular line of re-examination must amount to a cross-examination as to
16 credit. My learned friend needs to make a decision. Either he declares
17 him -- declares that he's going to impeach him under the Trial Chamber's
18 guidelines or he's not permitted to do this. He can't have it both ways.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: It's a majority decision. Basically we don't think
21 that Mr. Thayer is in any way cross-examining the witness or trying to
22 impeach the -- his own witness. The opinion of the majority is that
23 Mr. Thayer is trying to jog the memory of the witness and see if he can
24 recollect further details that might explain better his previous
25 testimony. So go ahead.
1 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. If we may scroll all the
2 way down in the English, please, I just want to catch the --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, because I have to --
4 MR. THAYER: There we go. Thank you. And we'll have to turn the
5 next page on the B/C/S to capture that as well.
6 Q. Under the UNMO team comment heading, General, at the -- about --
7 with about a third of the paragraph left to go, you'll see it says UNMO
8 team comment. Do you see that portion? This is towards the bottom of
9 paragraph C 1.
10 A. Yes, yes. I see it.
11 Q. "The BSA offensive seems to be steadily intensifying, whatever
12 their aims are, they seem to be concentrating more on civilian targets in
13 Srebrenica town and Potocari. There are several civilian casualties and
14 unassessed damage to civilian property."
15 My question, General, is simple: You testified that to your
16 recollection, July 7th was I think a relatively calm day or peaceful day
17 or something to that effect and that to that extent the warning that
18 described shelling on the 7th was incorrect. I just want to find out
19 whether, having seen these portions, whether that changes your
20 recollection at all or whether it's the same.
21 A. I stick to the main outline of my statement. All is relative. No
22 day passed without incidents. But in comparison to what happened on the
23 6th, or the 8th, the 7th, by comparison, was a more quiet day.
24 Q. Okay. General. One last report to show you. This is ERN
25 00527573 to 7577 and that is 65 ter number 506. And we'll start by
1 looking at page 2 of this document. And I'm being informed by Ms. Stewart
2 that actually this document has been split so that second page is 507. My
3 apologies. And again I have hard copies if that's more convenient for
4 you, General.
5 A. [No interpretation].
6 Q. General, what's the date and time on this UNMO report?
7 A. July the 11th, 1415 hours.
8 Q. Okay. I think you need to flip the page. Do you see some
9 numbers? There you go. There is 00527574 should be the number at the top
10 of your page. This was the document that got split up so...
11 What is the date and time of this UNMO report, General?
12 A. July the 11th, 1620 hours.
13 Q. General, this report reads, "At this moment, the stream of
14 refugees and wounded is incountable any more. We figure that a total of
15 20.000 refugees came to the DutchBat compound of Potocari already and is
16 growing steadily. Since our last report the shelling of the town has been
17 going on despite of the air strikes. The town is in the hands of the BSA
18 by now and the latest ultimatum given by the BSA is that if the air
19 strikes continue, everything inside the enclave will be bombed. Also,
20 UNPROFOR and the other UN organisations."
21 Now, I think we can all agree that your first conversation with
22 General Gvero was on the 11th of July at either 1615 or 1610, depending on
23 whether we are looking at Colonel De Ruiter's notes or the actual Muslim
24 intercept. There is a difference of five minutes. My question is does
25 this help you at all in terms of recalling at what point you received
1 information about the stream of refugees arriving into the Potocari
3 A. Yes. This report in any case confirms information that I had
4 already received orally previously.
5 Q. And do you have any recollection of receiving this information
6 about the latest ultimatum as being tied to an UNMO report?
7 A. Well, I said yesterday that I didn't exactly recall how reports
8 reached me, but this report makes it highly likely that this was
9 communicated to our headquarters both in writing and orally.
10 Q. Okay, General. We are done with that document. Just a few more
11 questions. When you were interviewed by the investigator from the Office
12 of the Prosecutor in the fall of 1996, do you recall exactly what you told
13 him about your conversation with General Gvero at 1615 hours on 11 July?
14 A. Well, I would have to check my witness statement on that. I don't
15 recall whether we dwelled on that conversation at length.
16 Q. Well, let's do that, then. It's 6D153 and we are going to look at
17 page 13 of the English and that begins on page 12 of the B/C/S and
18 continues very quickly on to page 13 of the B/C/S. And it's at the very
19 top of the page in English, General.
20 "At 1615 hours on the 11 July I spoke with General Gvero at the
21 VRS HQ. During that call I explained why we were using air power.
22 General Gvero was denying that they were attacking UNPROFOR positions and
23 was demanding that we should stop the air attacks immediately. I answered
24 by saying that we would only stop the attacks when they stopped attacking
25 the enclave and had withdrawn. He said that he could and did not have to
1 stop anything, as neither UNPROFOR nor the civilian population was being
2 attacked. He threatened me by saying that I would be held responsible for
3 all further developments, the destiny of my men and the civilian
4 population in Srebrenica."
5 General, did you say that to the investigator in 1996?
6 A. Yes. Clearly, I did. I also signed this statement for my
8 Q. Do you stand by that statement, General?
9 A. Yes, yes, I do, and it is in line with what I've attested so far
11 Q. Now, I just want to show you -- or ask you one more series of
12 questions, General. Do you remember being debriefed by Dutch authorities
13 in Assen in September of 1995? Do you remember that?
14 A. Yes. I remember.
15 Q. And do you recall what, if anything, you told the authorities who
16 were interviewing you at that time about this conversation that you had
17 with General Gvero?
18 A. Yes. In that case, too, I would have to have a look at that
19 statement because I don't recall off the top of my head what I said at
20 various points in time in various statements.
21 Q. Now, I have it in both English and Dutch in hard copy. Would you
22 prefer to have it in English or in Dutch, General?
23 A. It is the same.
24 Q. Okay. Well, I don't think this is in e-court. I can put a hard
25 copy on the ELMO very quickly, and this will be my last couple of
2 MR. JOSSE: We think it probably is in e-court, if it assists.
3 MR. THAYER: That will be helpful, thank you.
4 MR. JOSSE: What date is this again, please?
5 MR. THAYER: This is the statement on the 18th of September 1995.
6 MR. JOSSE: We think it's 6D157.
7 MR. THAYER: And we will be looking at page 3 of the English.
8 MR. JOSSE: Yes, we think it is there.
9 MR. THAYER:
10 Q. Again, we are talking about page 3 of the English and it would be
11 page 4 of the Dutch. Do you see the portion, General, where it
12 begins, "Immediately after the aircraft's departure"? It's about halfway
13 through the document. You'll see there is a reference to a few times,
14 1100, 12, 15?
15 A. Yes, I see that.
16 Q. Do you see where it says, "In the meantime, the battle on the
17 ground continued as usual and B Company had to abandon its positions. The
18 stream of refugees triggered by this action combined with the threats made
19 by General Gvero in Pale to General Nicolai about bombing the stream of
20 refugees, the Potocari compound and the immediate vicinity made it an
21 urgent priority to stop any further deployment of the air force."
22 General, did you say this to the authorities in Assen?
23 A. Yes, undoubtedly.
24 Q. Do you stand by that statement, General?
25 JUDGE AGIUS: You are going now -- there comes a point when I
1 don't think we need your objection. I think you stop where you finished
2 your last question and when you had your answer but not beyond that.
3 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 General, thank you, I have no further questions.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
6 General Nicolai, we don't have any further questions for you,
7 which means that your testimony ends here. We thank you very much for
8 having been patient with us and for having come over to give testimony.
9 And if you have to travel --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: -- travel safely.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 [The witness withdrew]
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Documents? Mr. Thayer?
15 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I can recite the documents we would
16 tender. With the exception of a few on redirect, they all appear on our
17 original list of exhibits. They are 2750, 2751, 2753, 2906, 2907, 2909,
18 2972, 2973, 2974, 2975, 2976, 2978, P00490, P00491. Those are now the
19 UNMO reports that we showed the witness on redirect. P00492. P00507.
20 And that's it.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Any objections?
22 MR. JOSSE: Well, I'd like 30 seconds to digest those that were
23 used in chief.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: You can have one minute, Mr. Josse.
25 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: In the meantime, those who need no seconds to digest
2 this list, do you have any objections? None.
3 MR. THAYER: And, Mr. President, the Prosecution has no objections
4 to the exhibits on the lists tendered by our friends.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
6 MR. JOSSE: Those that were used in the examination-in-chief, we
7 have no objection to. So far as the two or was it four that were used in
8 the re-examination, we would ask the Trial Chamber to give us until next
9 week simply to reed those documents.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Fair enough.
11 MR. JOSSE: I appreciate they've all got 65 ter numbers but I
12 can't say we know all the documents off-hand.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. You'll come back to us on Monday on these
14 four documents, then, 490, 491, 492, 507.
15 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. You have a list of documents, 6D204, 6D207.
17 There is no objection from the Prosecution. Is there any objection from
18 the other Defence teams? None. They are admitted.
19 MR. JOSSE: Obliged.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: And there is 5D525 for the Miletic team. There is
21 no objection, I take it. It is so admitted. Yes, Mr. Thayer?
22 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, just to let the Court know, the one
23 Exhibit 6D207 which has been accepted by the Court, came to us from the
24 Defence team in the Krstic case, in case the Court has any questions about
25 its provenance. It's our understanding that they got it from the RS
1 government. We just wanted to let the Court know that's a subject of
2 discussion and agreement.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
4 MR. JOSSE: Yes. Mr. McCloskey was good enough to discuss that
5 with me during the last break and I'm grateful.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
7 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
8 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. That concludes the Nicolai chapter.
9 What's next? Are you in a position to bring forward Blaszczyk and do
10 something concrete or should we adjourn?
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: I would say at this point better off just to
12 adjourn trying to get him into the questions for the witness, I don't see
13 ten minutes is worth it, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay.
15 Yes, we will reconvene Monday morning and then we have an
16 afternoon week next week. So be prepared to get tired. Have a nice
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.33 p.m.,
19 to be reconvened on Monday, the 3rd day of December,
20 2007, at 2.15 p.m.