1 Monday, 24 November 2008
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 case
9 IT-05-88-T, The Prosecutor versus Vujadin Popovic, et al.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, ma'am. All the accused are here. The
11 Prosecution, it's Mr. McCloskey and Mr. Thayer.
12 From the Defence teams, I notice the absence of Mr. Ostojic.
13 Mr. Bourgon I don't see, and Mr. Haynes.
14 Good morning to you, General.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I told you to enjoy the weekend and the weather,
17 but there wasn't much to enjoy. So you're back. We'll try and do our
18 utmost to finish with your testimony as soon as possible. I appreciate
19 your patience having been here for over two weeks already. Yes.
20 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning to you and
21 Your Honours.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning.
23 MR. THAYER: Good morning, everyone.
24 WITNESS: NOVICA SIMIC [Resumed]
25 [Witness answered through interpretation]
1 Cross-examination by Mr. Thayer: [Continued]
2 Q. General, good morning.
3 A. Good morning.
4 Q. Last Wednesday now, my learned colleague, Madam Fauveau, showed
5 you a document authored by President Karadzic wherein he seemed to be
6 trying to assert some control over the VRS, and you characterized it as
7 an exclusively political document and said that you thought that those in
8 power at that time feared a military coup or something to that effect; do
9 you recall that, sir?
10 A. I remember that, Your Honours.
11 Q. Now, I want to show you a letter --
12 MR. THAYER: And this is 65 ter 3928.
13 Q. -- that you wrote to President Karadzic in May of 1995, and we'll
14 just wait for it to come up. And I want to give you an opportunity to
15 review it. There is a cover page transmitting it to the president from
16 General Mladic. I think basically he put a cover letter on your letter
17 and then transmitted the letter. Do you see that, sir? Sorry, we just
18 need an audible yes or no?
19 A. That's correct.
20 Q. Okay.
21 A. That's correct, Your Honours. I received the letter in person
22 that in accordance with the military rules, I forwarded to my superior.
23 Q. Okay. Well, let's move to the second page of this document so
24 you can see the letter that you wrote to President Karadzic. And just
25 take your time, and let us know when you've had a chance to read it and
1 refresh your recollection about it.
2 Are we ready to go down to the bottom of the page, General, if
3 there is some more?
4 A. It's a little smudged here, so there is one sentence that is
5 completely illegible.
6 Q. Okay.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have a cleaner copy.
8 MR. THAYER: Unfortunately we don't, Mr. President, this is as
9 good as we have.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Otherwise we're -- it's not clear, we could
11 zoom in there. And then --
12 MR. THAYER: Alternatively, I could read the English translation
13 and see if that helps the General.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as far as item 3 in
15 is concerned, well, the second part, the sense of the sentence seems to
16 get lost.
17 MR. THAYER:
18 Q. Okay, well, what I can do, General, is I can read you the English
19 translation. We seem to have a -- a translation that was legible.
20 Paragraph 3 states:
21 "In all the armies in the world, the appropriate means of
22 official communication of the Supreme Commander are decrees, written and
23 verbal orders, congratulatory notes, et cetera, but not letters. Because
24 of this, we do not know how to understand the evaluations and positions
25 presented in the letter -- or in a letter. Are they intended for
1 discussion rather than implementation, or are we to understand them as
2 duties and orders?"
3 A. I've understood now.
4 Q. Okay. Now, I see paragraph 4 is a little illegible, so I will
5 the just go ahead and read the first couple of sentences of that
6 paragraph for you:
7 "This war we are waging has entered a new and decisive stage.
8 Although the some total of your combat achievements is still very high,
9 there are some extremely negative developments and trends which
10 increasingly undermine our superiority in weapons. In a situation like
11 this, we must seek new solutions for the most important problems in the
12 further conduct of the war because the methods used so far can no longer
13 produce such good combat results."
14 And I'll just leave the document where it is, so you can scan the
15 rest of the letter and freshen your recollection. And just let us know
16 whenever you think you are ready to answer some questions about it, if
17 you think it's jogged your memory enough. If you need to read the whole
18 letter, please let us know and we'll give you as much time as you need,
20 A. I've read the second page, too.
21 Q. Thank you. We may have the last page, please.
22 A. I've read through the entire document.
23 Q. Okay. Do you recall writing this letter, General, and the
24 general events which prompted you to write the letter?
25 A. I do, Your Honours.
1 Q. To put it briefly, this letter, in response to
2 President Karadzic's letter, came on the heels of the Sanski Most
3 assembly meeting in April of 1995; is that correct?
4 A. That's correct, Your Honours.
5 Q. Now, apparently President Karadzic wrote his letter accusing the
6 army and the Main Staff of plotting a military coup or a putsch of some
7 kind, correct?
8 A. Your Honours, I'd like to explain this somewhat. The main reason
9 for Mr. Karadzic drafting his letter was that the generals weren't happy
10 about the decision of the president after the Assembly in Sanski Most,
11 the decision to replace General Mladic. And they wouldn't replace him
12 with anyone else. They would have some coordinator for the army of the
13 Serbian Krajina and the Republika Srpska army. The generals met in
14 Banja Luka two days later and adopted a conclusion, according to which,
15 at that point in time, when the vital interests of the Serbs were a
16 threat, this was an unproductive act, a senseless act, the result of
17 which would be to weaken the ranks of the army. And the consequences
18 could be serious, because to replace the commander at that point in time
19 when the end of the war was in sight, was not a good idea.
20 The decision that we signed and forwarded to him as the Supreme
21 Commander was taken by the president to mean that a military putsch was
22 being prepared, and he then sent a letter to all of us who had signed the
23 document. I was prepared to be replaced at that point in time, Your
24 Honours, because in life there are times when you have to be held
25 accountable for your position. So regardless of how serious the
1 consequences might be, I believe that I acted correctly.
2 Q. And at paragraph 5 of the letter, you say that - and this is
3 regarding President Karadzic's letter - quote:
4 "Your letter is also inspired by the mistrust of the officers of
5 the army of Republika Srpska nurtured by some representatives of the
6 civilian authorities since the very beginning of the war."
7 And is that the same mistrust that we spoke about the other day,
9 A. Your Honours, this is one way in which there was a lack of trust,
10 but this letter was written because of those events. As for that lack of
11 trust, well, all I can say, is that something that has to do with the
12 beginning of the war. I'll provide you with one example.
13 Sometime in September 1993 there was a revolt of a certain number
14 of soldiers in Banja Luka. They revolted because some population had
15 been placed under a burden because of corruption, looting, and so on.
16 This was positive, but later on they went to the other extreme. They
17 took over the Assembly building and they, in fact, tried to seize power.
18 In an interview on television one day later, Mr. Karadzic, President
19 Karadzic, told the journalists that the situation would calm down.
20 He said that these were justified demands made by the soldiers
21 and by some officers, and when asked whether this could happen in other
22 towns, such as Bijeljina, he categorically stated that was impossible in
23 Bijeljina. He said he had a good commander there, Ljubisa Savic Mauzer,
24 and he would not allow this to happen. Ljubisa Savic Mauzer was a
25 commander of a light brigade, 800 men strong. It was under my command.
1 I had 30.000 men under my command, but he believed that Ljubisa would
2 present this. Not the corps commander. We who weren't in the party,
3 obviously, weren't quite trusted by our president or by other government
5 Q. And we'll talk about Mauzer and his panthers in a little while,
6 General. I want to turn your attention to paragraph 6 of the letter, and
7 again I'll just quote it or you can look at it there. It should be in
8 front of you.
9 You say:
10 "Further to your order to prevent anything that is against the
11 constitution or the law, we assure you that this command shall continue
12 to operate in the spirit of law and thoroughly analyse the quality of
13 people employed in organs for morale, religious and legal affairs, and
14 organs for security and intelligence."
15 A. Your Honours, I have already said that in the course of the war,
16 these organs were under a lot of pressure for them to become politically
17 engaged; or, rather, they wanted to have people joining them who followed
18 the party line, people from the SDS
19 they were a thorn in the side of the local and central authorities
20 because they did not deal certain political problems at a local level by
21 having recourse to military means.
22 Q. And on Friday you referred to the efforts to replace
23 General Gvero and, if you recall, at the Sanski Most Assembly meeting
24 there were also calls to replace General Tolimir. I take it that that's
25 what that paragraph you just read refers to?
1 A. That's correct, Your Honours.
2 Q. And I've -- you told us on Friday that General Mladic refused to
3 dismiss General Gvero; and you, yourself, weren't sure whether part of
4 his reason for doing that was solidarity with General Gvero or
5 General Mladic's - in your words - intolerance and dislike of the Supreme
6 Commander; do you recall that?
7 A. I do. I'm not sure what took precedence, but it's quite obvious
8 that both these factors played a role.
9 Q. And the antipathy between President Karadzic and General Mladic
10 was mutual, was it not?
11 A. That was the case. It had its ups and downs in the course of the
12 war. Sometimes they were a little closer and sometimes not so close to
13 be quite frank.
14 Q. Now, I want to show you another exhibit --
15 MR. THAYER: -- and this is 3931.
16 Q. Take a moment and review the document if you would, General, it
17 was shown to you, I believe, during a 2007 interview with the OTP. Do
18 you recognise what this document is?
19 A. I do, Your Honours. I'll tell you what the purpose of the
20 document is. Before retiring, the superior officer has to have a
21 discussion and has to examine all the document that concern the person
22 who is retiring. I did not have the possibility -- well, let me say this
23 first: General Mladic at the time was placed at the disposal of the Main
24 Staff. He maintained a certain status quo, he didn't come to work, we
25 didn't see him, but his position in service hasn't been changed; and the
1 president of the Republika Srpska is responsible for his position, not
2 the chief of the Main Staff. When the president of the republic issued a
3 decision on retiring, General Mladic, a personnel staff member told me of
4 an error. He had an assessment at the highest level of one's official
5 assessment, and as a result of this assessment you have certain benefits.
6 If you have such a grade after one-year's service, you have one salary
7 level extra. So this means you have a higher salary. This wasn't done
8 in good time and in a certain manner, we tried to correct the error.
9 The assessment of General Mladic was made by President Karadzic
10 or the Ministry of Defence because they are responsible for it. I, as
11 the chief of the Main Staff wasn't responsible for this matter. So as a
12 result of this, his treatment was more favourable, at least as far as the
13 pension he was to receive is concerned. So this is a quite regular
14 procedure that is followed whenever a member of the military retires.
15 MR. THAYER: And if we could just scroll down on the original --
16 Q. Then we see your signature there, correct, General?
17 A. That's right, Your Honours.
18 Q. Now, you referred to an assessment, is that assessment another
19 way of saying job performance appraisal? Was it an evaluation of the
20 quality of General Mladic's work, is that what you were referring to,
21 General, that was conducted by President Karadzic?
22 A. Yes, Your Honours.
23 Q. And I take it that's because there was nobody higher other than
24 the Supreme Commander or the president during peacetime to do that,
25 yourself or had it been General Milovanovic wouldn't be in a position to
1 evaluate his commander, correct?
2 A. Yes, Your Honours.
3 Q. And there is a box:
4 "Conclusion of the latest performance appraisal and date of
6 It's the second box we see, and to the right of that it says:
7 "Excellent -- 4.88, 10 January 1995."
8 Can you explain what that means, sir?
9 A. It means that that was the last time his performance was
11 Q. And what does "4.88" mean? Is that a score out of a possibility
12 of some other score?
13 A. The score is between 1 and 5. This is almost 5.
14 Q. And when this application by General Mladic through his assistant
15 came in 2002, he had been under indictment by this Tribunal for several
16 years; is that correct?
17 A. Yes, Your Honours, but he was not relieved of his duties. He was
18 still a professional officer. He hadn't retired. He was at the disposal
19 of the authorities before a decision was taken what would happen to him.
20 Q. Okay.
21 MR. THAYER: Let's move on to 65 ter 3938, please.
22 Q. It's another assessment I'll be showing you, General.
23 MR. THAYER: And, Mr. President, if we could not have this
24 particular document broadcast, please.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Madam Registrar.
1 MR. THAYER: My understanding for the record is that pursuant to
2 the agreement entered into between the party that furnished the document,
3 it is to remain in private session under seal.
4 Q. Sir, do you see what's on your screen before you?
5 A. I do, I see it.
6 Q. And what is this document?
7 A. This is an evaluation for Major General Gvero, Milan, from 1992.
8 Q. And would you take your time and please read this document, and
9 continue through it as a -- as you need.
10 A. I see this document for the first time, and could I be shown the
11 other pages as well, please.
12 Q. Certainly, General. If you are ready to move, we will turn the
14 A. I've reviewed the first page, can I have the second, please. I
15 can't see the descriptive part. The bottom part of the page, please.
16 That's fine, thank you.
17 I've read the document through, Your Honours.
18 Q. Now, General, you correctly noted that the first page of the
19 document indicates that this the assessment was dated 1992. Having read
20 the text of the document which refers to events subsequent to 1992 and,
21 if you look at the dates of the signatures being October 1995, October
22 30th of 1995, when General Mladic signed off on the assessment; and
23 November 5th, 1995 for when General Gvero put his signature on the
24 assessment, can we agree that this particular text here, this final
25 conclusion was done in 1995 for this period indicated?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, before you answer the question, wait, please,
3 Mr. Krgovic.
4 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I object to the method
5 of examination regarding the date, because the Prosecutor omitted to
6 mention the period to which the assessment applies, and that is the 31st
7 of August 1988, until the 31st of August 1992, which I think is of the
8 greatest importance and that is stated on the 1st page of this document.
9 So the assessment applies to this period. This is a period that is not
10 covered by the indictment, though the actual assessment was given in
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I was just going to
13 draw your attention to this detail. Obviously, in the Main Staff they
14 were late in the regular assessment of their officers. Somebody failed
15 to do their duty, and, probably, because of their salaries and promotions
16 they were cautioned that they had to do these assessments because it is
17 normal to make assessments every two or three years. So probably in 1995
18 there were two assessments, for the period up to 1992 and another one for
19 the period up to 1995. So the person who wrote this assessment made
20 certain errors, because in the assessment for 1992 he could not have
21 mention the participation in Operation Lukavac in 1993.
22 I'm not saying it's incorrectly written, but there are errors.
23 He cannot be appraised for this particular activity when it came in the
24 following period. Now, whether the error was made in the actual writing
25 or in the typing out, but obviously this is an assessment for the period
1 up to 1992 even though it was signed in 1995. There probably was another
2 assessment, an official assessment, for the period up to 1995; and I
3 don't know whether the gentleman do have that document at their disposal.
4 I don't know what the official conclusion and assessment for the
5 following period is.
6 As for this first period, General Gvero was assessed with a 5.0,
7 that is the maximum score that can be given to an officer, exemplary in
8 every sense of the word. And this assessment implies certain things,
9 General Gvero could have a year later in 1993, have moved up on the
10 salary scale; and he could have already been promoted to the next rank,
11 lieutenant-colonel general. So I'm talking according to the rules of
12 service, to indicate that such a high assessment carries certain
13 privileges and benefits for the person involved.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Does that cover your question, or do you wish to
15 add something to it, Mr. Thayer.
16 MR. THAYER: I do have just one or two follow-up questions.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Before you proceed, General, as far as
18 you can tell us, there was only one Lukavac 1993. Was there any other
19 Lukavac, say, 1992, 1991, was there anything like that, or only 1993?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Only 1993, Your Honours. There
21 were no other similar operations earlier on. So that's why I'm saying
22 that the text is incorrect. It may have been copied from the next one,
23 but this is just a hypothesis. I don't know. I haven't seen the other
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Thayer.
1 MR. THAYER:
2 Q. And General, again, that's why I put the question the way I did
3 to you. Because clearly this assessment involves or is assessing
4 General Gvero's performance after August of 1992. As we all know the
5 series of battles for the Podrinje in the Drina river valley, the whole
6 Cerska campaign that ultimately led to the creation of the safe area of
7 Srebrenica, that all went into 1993, correct?
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Krgovic.
9 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I object to this line
10 of questioning. No mention of Cerska or campaign in the Drina river
11 valley mentioned, only the operation of Podrinje, which is a far broader
12 concept than the Drina river valley, and it could mean something else.
13 So when referring to the document, I think it is not correct to say
14 things that are not mentioned in the document.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: We don't agree with the kind of approach you are
16 taking to this document, Mr. Krgovic. Let the witness answer the
17 question, please.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Podrinje is the entire
19 territory along the Drina river valley, and operations were conducted
20 from Gorazde as far as Zvornik and including Zvornik. So, of course, it
21 is your right not to agree with Mr. Krgovic, but I personally think that
22 in this context he is right; but I did understand the Prosecutor. There
23 were certain operations in 1993, too, but this assessment is for 1992
24 inclusive and not 1993.
25 MR. THAYER:
1 Q. Now, let's talk about the paramilitaries a little bit more,
2 General. In your corps' area of responsibility, there was a paramilitary
3 leader with the nickname of Mando. His real name was Mitar Maksimovic.
4 Do you recall him, sir?
5 A. I do, Your Honours.
6 Q. And he was a self-styled captain, one of these fellows that gave
7 himself a rank, but he became formally part of the 1st Majevica Brigade
8 in Ugljevik eventually; is that correct?
9 A. Your Honours, there was an order of the Main Staff saying that
10 all paramilitary forces have to be part of the army of Republika Srpska
11 and put under its command or, alternatively, to be disarmed. When I was
12 arrived at the corps, there were several such forces, there was the
13 Lajnovic Brigade at Majevica, there was Crni Lugar in Samac, and around
14 Brcko as well, there were such elements who were not under the control of
15 the army.
16 With all our available forces and with the support of all
17 professional officers, we managed to disarm those who refused to be
18 placed under our command and to transform -- transport them across the
19 border and hand them over to the security forces of Serbia. And in most
20 cases these were criminals who had already problems with the law.
21 Mando's unit varied between 4 to 1 battalion, but compared with
22 the others, he did place himself under the command of the command of the
23 1st Majevica Brigade. I can't speak about his activities before he was
24 placed under our command, nor do I wish to have any responsibilities in
25 that regard, but after he placed himself under our command, he acted
1 fairly and professionally even though he was not a professional soldier.
2 And I must say, that all those paramilitary elements were in a certain
3 sense party-oriented.
4 I must say that at the beginning, I had problems with the
5 Bijeljina Panthers; and I had to add to them a number of professional
6 officers in order to be able to control them. But, at times, they would
7 learn about their deployment before I did. That was the case with
8 respect to a Bratunac and some other operations. And I saw that they
9 were preparing themselves, and I asked, What you are you doing? And they
10 would say, Well, you will get the order soon, and then subsequently I
11 would get an order from President Karadzic that they were to act outside
12 the corps zone, which was a surprise to me. Obviously, there were
13 certain lines that I did not belong to and I was the last to learn about
15 Q. Well, why don't we talk about the Panthers now for a couple of
16 moments. When you refer to the Bratunac operation. Correct me if I'm
17 wrong, I believe your referring to an operation in early 1993 when the
18 Panteri were sent to the area of Bratunac in response to some armija or
19 ABiH attacks in that area, specifically the attack on the village of
20 Kravica in January of 1993. Is that what you're referring to, sir?
21 A. That's right, Your Honour. I later learned that Bratunac itself
22 was in jeopardy because of the activities of these units from the
23 Srebrenica enclave, and that is why they sought the assistance of the
24 unit, and they did go there; and upon the completion of the task, they
25 returned to the corps.
1 Q. And Mauzer's real name was Ljubisa Savic, correct?
2 A. Correct, Your Honours. He was not the brigade commander
3 throughout the war. I think at the end of 1994 -- at the end of 1994, he
4 started to show certain political ambitions, and I told him, if he wished
5 to go into politics he had to hand over his military duties. And he
6 agreed, and Ljubisa Lazic was appointed to his position and who
7 successfully led the unit until the end of the war.
8 Q. Now, again, he was a self-styled major but in actuality had no
9 professional military qualifications that you're aware of; is that
10 correct, General?
11 A. That is correct, Your Honours. And General Mladic personally
12 ordered him to remove the rank at the meeting of the 2nd of September
13 1992 in Bijeljina. And he received his first officer's rank of 2nd
14 lieutenant, then he was lieutenant, and finally captain. So he never
15 reached the rank of major, maybe towards the end of the war; but I can't
16 remember now.
17 Q. And did you ever hear, General, that in 1992 he and his unit at
18 that time were thought to be involved in the murder of Muslims in the
19 Bijeljina area?
20 A. Your Honours, when I arrived in Bijeljina, I heard all kinds of
21 stories from various sources. But I didn't have the real information. I
22 learned about this in 2004 when I was interviewed by your colleagues from
23 the OTP; and they told me that there was a whole file of indictments,
24 accusations and charges against Mauzer for events that occurred before I
25 arrived in Bijeljina. At the time I didn't have that knowledge. Whether
1 this was concealed from me, maybe I wasn't the suitable person for this,
2 in any event I was not aware of those events.
3 Q. And Mauzer's Panthers were also referred sometimes as the special
4 brigade; is that correct?
5 A. That is correct, Your Honours, until they were reformed to form
6 the Bijeljina Light Infantry Brigade. That was the official name, but
7 they continued to call themselves the Panthers.
8 Q. So just before we move on to another topic, so both Mando and
9 Mauzer eventually became absorbed into your corps; is that correct?
10 A. Yes, Your Honours.
11 Q. And I understand what you've told us that with respect to
12 Mauzer's unit, your experience was that President Karadzic had his own
13 line of communication with them on occasion, but in other respects they
14 were treated as any other element of your corps; is that correct?
15 A. That is correct, Your Honours. I did not wish to receive direct
16 orders from anyone except from General Mladic, so that they came to see
17 me too; but they obviously had a more direct line of communication that I
18 was not part of.
19 Q. Now, on to another topic, General. You told us last Thursday
20 that you studied the Geneva Conventions together with the foot soldiers
21 as well as the officers; is that right?
22 A. Your Honours, at the very beginning of the war, from the Minister
23 of Defence, General Subotic, we received instructions and the integral
24 text of the Geneva Conventions, and a special section on treatment of
25 prisoners. We copied this and we handed it out to each soldier, and we
1 took some other measures; for instance, we didn't have those plates for
2 identity markings, but we ordered a card to be filled in with basic
3 information that every soldier must carry in the left-top pocket, just as
4 he had to carry the first-aid bandage in his lower pocket.
5 Q. Now, in your 2004 interview with the OTP, you specifically stated
6 that in 1989, when you were serving in the 329 Armoured Brigade, that you
7 recall receiving the 1998 JNA Regulations on the Application of
8 International Laws of War in the Armed Forces of the SFRY. Can you
9 confirm that, sir, that you recall receiving that document?
10 A. That is correct, Your Honours. Those documents in the training
11 process of soldiers and officers were all regularly studied.
12 Q. And I think you told us that you actually planned the
13 brigade-wide training in accordance those regulations; is that correct,
14 sir? Did you do that?
15 A. That is correct, Your Honours.
16 Q. And they were transmitted down to the battalion level; is that
18 A. Your Honours, training was done at the level of the company and
19 platoons, so it was passed on to the level of every individual soldier.
20 Q. You told us about the Batkovic prison camp and that when you
21 arrived to assume your duties as corps commander, you didn't like what
22 you saw and heard about it, so you commissioned a report to be done; do
23 you recall that?
24 A. Your Honours, when I took over my duties I ordered and formed a
25 commission to establish the real state of affairs in the Batkovic camp
1 because I heard some contradictory reports upon my arrival. I personally
2 never entered the camp. The commission was composed of
3 Lieutenant-Colonel Mitrovic, who is a Professor, who is still working at
4 the fault in Bijeljina; a sociology professor; a physician; somebody from
5 the security organ; and I think one person from the logistics department,
6 to make an assessment of the logistics support there. And the report I
7 received from them the next day was alarming and unbelievable for me,
8 because there were persons in the camp who could not be under any
9 circumstances be considered prisoners of war.
10 There were 80 persons, civilians, among them a few were under
11 age. They were simply picked up from their homes in Zvornik and Kozluk
12 and brought there. Apart from that, the commission found that the
13 security was inadequate and composed of reservists from the surrounding
14 villages who were abusing the closeness of their homes and acting in a
15 non-military fashion; so that I ordered that the command of the camp be
16 arrested, that the guards be suspended and sent to the front lines, and
17 that military policemen be deployed who have the necessary training for
18 that purpose to guard the camp.
19 Unfortunately I found that a those policemen too, later on,
20 informed the commander what was in store for him and he fled to Serbia.
21 And then I had to dismiss the entire battalion and form a completely new
22 one because I could not trust them to perform properly their military
23 police role. So, as you see, I had to do some really big spring cleaning
24 when I arrived.
25 Q. Now, you were asked during your 2004 OTP interview, General,
1 whether you sent that report up to the Main Staff, and you answered that
2 you did report to them, and I'll just quote what you said:
3 "It was incorporated into the morale report, and it was sent to
4 General Gvero, while the security chief reported to Tolimir."
5 And I just want to clarify, if we could --
6 MR. JOSSE: Page please, page.
7 MR. THAYER: Page 188.
8 Q. I just want to clarify that answer, if we could, because on
9 Friday, I believe you testified that all reports went out under your
10 name, under your signature, to your commander. So when you said in your
11 interview that the report was sent to General Gvero, I take it you mean
12 that it was forwarded to him by Mladic or somebody at the Main Staff
13 since it's obviously relevant to General Gvero's professional expertise,
14 is that what -- is that what happened, sir?
15 A. Your Honours, I need to clarify something here for better
16 understanding. I cannot directly respond. The report was sent to the
17 Main Staff. General Mladic received it when the mail was sorted. We
18 would send -- forward those documents we felt needed to be sent there.
19 The report was sent to General Gvero, because I felt that it would cause
20 a certain political problem because those people ended up in the camp
21 because of the politics. Had there been good will to release them, they
22 had three months time to do it. They didn't have to wait for me. And I
23 knew that once I released them, I would be exposed to major pressure from
24 the local and probably also the central political authorities, this is
25 why I forwarded it.
1 In the report I said that I had established a permanent
2 commission including personnel from the morale section. There was one
3 man from there who was responsible for monitoring, and I felt that he
4 would be the best person to do that. This was from the morale section.
5 I didn't know how the Main Staff would make up such a commission, but I
6 felt that these people were professional, and they would do the job
8 That man was in charge of humanitarian cooperation at my section,
9 so was communicating with the UNHCR and UNPROFOR. He also attended some
10 meetings of the civilian authorities where these relations were
11 discussed. So for this reason, I sent it to General Gvero, by the nature
12 of their work, the security organs monitor the security aspects of the
13 camp via the military police; and that is why I wanted them to inform the
14 Main Staff along their line of reporting that we had relieved the old one
15 and were going to form a new police battalion. This is a pretty drastic
16 measure, and it creates a kind of vacuum which can be dangerous if it
17 remains unresolved.
18 The military police also provide security for me, for the
19 command, and also carries out military security police in the field and
20 provides services for the military prosecuting organs, which are not
21 under my command.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Josse.
23 MR. JOSSE: I didn't want to interrupt, could we just be clear
24 that this is 1992. That's clear from the context of the page 188.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, do you agree to that, Mr. Thayer.
1 MR. THAYER: Certainly. It's been clear, I think, from his
2 testimony, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's proceed.
4 MR. THAYER:
5 Q. And, sir, just to follow-up on the last thing you mentioned,
6 General, and with respect to Batkovic, it was your MPs, your corps MPs,
7 up through 1995 who were responsible for securing that facility guarding
8 whatever prisoners were there from 1992 to 1995, correct?
9 A. Yes, Your Honour.
10 Q. Now, you were asked in your 2004 interview about reporting on
11 morale to your superior command. And I just want to read to you some
12 portions of the interview. We don't have a B/C/S -- we don't have a
13 transcript in your language, General. And I want to make sure that I'm
14 capturing this portion correctly so you understand the full context of
15 this part of the interview.
16 You're asked by the investigator, a man named Paul Grady, he says
17 and this is at page 172:
18 "We have a lot of reports from Gvero. So does Gvero write a
19 morale report, send it to the corps, you give it to Jelacic and say,
20 'Give this out to my brigade commanders.'"
21 And you responded:
22 "Let's not confuse command levels. I report to the Main Staff.
23 The Main Staff does not report to me. They issue orders to me, just like
24 brigade commanders report to me, but I order them. When Jelacic received
25 all the reports from the brigades with both positive and negative
1 influences, examples of morale influences, which both had to be included
2 in the report, Gvero would receive that report just like the reports he
3 would receive from other units. They would then assess morale on the
4 whole, in the army, based on these reports."
5 You were asked a follow-up question, let me -- the investigator
6 wants to give you a couple of examples, and then he shows you an example.
7 You look at it, and you say the following:
8 "They would be sent on a monthly basis, and only there would be
9 extraordinary exceptional reports only if there were really, really
10 serious problems. First there would be the first elements, area to be
11 reported on was positive influences on morale. So first you had to look
12 at this from a positive angle. The second item was the positive example
13 of individuals and units. Then the next one was negative influences on
14 morale, then exceptionally negative events that happened, and then there
15 was the assessment. So you weigh out both the good and the bad and then
16 measures to be taken by our command in order to improve the situation."
17 Let me just stop right there. I've spoken for a while. And this
18 is still in the middle of your answer, so I want to let you process now
19 and then I will ask you about the rest of your answer. In your
20 experience as the corps commander, General, is that how these monthly
21 reports were written in your corps and then transmitted up to the Main
22 Staff? Is that essentially how it worked, or is there anything you would
23 like to add or subtract from what I've just read to you from your
25 A. Your Honours, just like all the other combat readiness elements,
1 I am responsible for morale as commander. My professional organs writes,
2 makes the assessments and so on, and comes out at the meeting with their
3 assessment, and then if we agree with it then the document is drafted.
4 The document is written, goes to the Main Staff with my signature
5 at the bottom, and then is forwarded on to General Mladic, General Gvero,
6 and they also look at those items that are of interest to them. So based
7 on all the compiled reports, they meet, assess morale, in the whole of
8 the army and propose measures. We need to separate certain things here,
9 or differentiate between certain things. There are proposals, what can
10 be done at any level or at all levels, to improve morale. There are
11 things that can be done at the brigade level. The brigade can do it on
12 its own, but they need to be directed to do that. Where this is not
13 possible, we send somebody from my staff to help them in this or somebody
14 from the professional organ, or some of my other assistants. There are
15 also things that can be done at the level of the corps.
16 And in our assessment there are also things that the main -- the
17 Supreme Command should do which would be essential to be dealt with and
18 which have an adverse influence on overall morale on the army. This is
19 just the usual way to gather data on the morale in the units on assessing
20 it and proposals to the command organs what needs to be done to improve
21 it; but the ultimate decision rests with the commander. The professional
22 organ can propose something, but the commander would need to decide what
23 to do. Sometimes the commander personally needs to go to a unit where
24 there are problems. We had a case where both the commander and the
25 deputy commander were killed, so the unit was left without leadership. I
1 personally had to go to deal with the situation, appoint new commanders,
2 stabilize the situation, and so on and so forth. This is very
3 complicated. It's a very subtle operation that has to be executed in a
4 very professional manner in the shortest period of time as possible.
5 Q. Now, General, in the answer you just gave us, you talked about
6 what can be done at the brigade level, sometimes they need your help,
7 from your corps level professional organ, then you said:
8 "There are things that can done at the level of the corps ..."
9 And then you said: "In our assessment there are also things that
10 the main..." and then you said: "The Supreme Command should do" which
11 are essential to be dealt with. I just want to talk about the other
12 level that's in there between the corps and the Supreme Command and
13 that's the Main Staff. So can you give us some idea of what the Main
14 Staff morale organ would be doing in this process?
15 A. Your Honours, an assessment would also be made on the basis of
16 these elements, look at the positive and negative aspects and propose to
17 the commander certain measures from their professional domain that they
18 felt would need to be done in order to improve the situation in places
19 where the situation was not so good. So they would have the same
20 responsibility that we have at the corps level, except they are
21 responsible for the entire army. Their procedure or method of work is
22 similar, but the concept of their security guards is a little bit
23 different than in my case. I had a smaller group of people, but they had
24 more reports.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the last
2 JUDGE AGIUS: General, the interpreters didn't catch your last
3 sentence, if you could repeat it, please. What we have is:
4 "Their procedural method of work is similar, but the concept of
5 their security guards is a little bit different than in my case. I had a
6 smaller group of peoples, but they had more reports."
7 Then you said something else which the interpreters didn't catch.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, but I thought that I
9 had -- I improved but again I am making same mistake, Your Honours. I
11 The method of assessment is the same as in the corps, but the
12 morale organ at the Main Staff is not conceived in the same way as the
13 morale organ in the corps. The corps, other than the morale duties, my
14 men there, like I said, also were overseeing the situation in Batkovic.
15 They had information activities, they had a press centre that was
16 publishing a paper called, "Cooperation with international organisations
17 and exchange of prisoners of war," which was not the case in other corps
18 or at the Main Staff. It was not something that they will dealt with,
19 the morale organ, so I would like this to be taken into account there. A
20 higher command at the strategic level, so they are organised in a
21 different way.
22 I can speak on the basis of my own experience. Your Honours, I
23 did not attend any analysis that were carried out at the level of the
24 Main Staff.
25 MR. THAYER:
1 Q. Now, General, carrying on with your answer to Mr. Grady's
2 question, when you were talking about the monthly morale reports that
3 your corps sent to the Main Staff. You said:
4 "And then the last is our request for our superior bodies. So
5 the Main Staff and the state leadership to do -- to carry out. So when
6 Gvero receives these reports from the visual corps, he then compiles them
7 into a document and then he would compile a report about the situation of
8 combat morale of the army which is then first sent to Mladic and then the
9 Supreme Command, Karadzic. And based on the problems seen in the reports
10 and the requests submitted in the last item, we would usually receive a
11 document from the Main Staff regulating our request, regulating the issue
12 which would usually say ..."
13 And now you're quoting in your answer. In your report, this
14 number, you indicated that you had these problems:
15 "We hereby inform you that since this problem is not in our
16 jurisdiction, we have introduced, we have made the Supreme Command aware
17 of it and expect to receive whatever you were requesting, additional men
18 or something, expect to be to receive them within ten days or something
19 like that."
20 So, in your experience, General, is that how it worked, the
21 request from the corps would go to the Main Staff up to
22 President Karadzic and then back down to you in terms of trying to solve
23 whatever the morale problems or issues that you were bringing to the
24 attention was your superior command?
25 A. Correct, Your Honours, but we still need to differentiate one
1 thing. There were things that the Main Staff could deal with and to
2 assist us with, and they would immediately respond; but what was not in
3 their jurisdiction then he would they would send that as a request
4 upwards. They would not refer to the Supreme Command if they could deal
5 with something themselves, I am speaking about these matters in
6 principle. And I did note certain problems there, especially in respect
7 of the cadre -- the morale cadre when I had to replace my assistant and
8 so on.
9 Q. And you told the OTP during your 2004 interview that
10 General Gvero often called you, and I know it's going back a ways; but
11 can you give the Trial Chamber an example, say, any time in 1995 of what
12 you're talking about when you're dealing with General Gvero regarding
13 morale problem or issue in your corps?
14 A. Your Honours, General Gvero was one of our most senior generals
15 and he was very much respected. He was extremely professional, and he
16 never called my morale organs and bypassed me. If he had my requests for
17 them, he would first call me and then say, Commander, Jelacic did not
18 send such-and-such report to me. We asked for this. We still have not
19 received it. Could you please see what is going on there with that.
20 Most often he would call when some deadline was looming that had to do
21 with some sort of consultation. Often they would call me to attend
22 consultations where the municipal -- or the Mayor's would assemble and
23 where the Supreme Command members were present or the prime minister and
24 these matters or meetings had to do with conducting the war and he would
25 say it would be good for you also as the commander to attend or the
1 commander ordered for you to report there at such and such a time and can
2 you send me a report about what happened there. These were these
4 Otherwise, when he was passing through my area of responsibility
5 he would always stop at my command post, even if it was for ten minutes.
6 He was a very professional officer, and I would always learn something
7 from talking with him. He would never issue orders, though. I would
8 just like to say once more, Your Honours, the nature of his duties and
9 considering the kind of person he was, he was not a man who tended to
10 issue orders. I think in the army only his first posting was a command
11 post, all the other posts he held were morale posts.
12 Q. Now, General, I want to show you a document in the ten minutes we
13 have left.
14 MR. THAYER: It's 5D974.
15 Q. We looked at this last Thursday. It's your attack order from the
16 Spreca operation, and I just want to ask you a couple of questions about
18 MR. THAYER: If we could go to page 5 of the English, and this
19 will also be page -- excuse me, 5 of the B/C/S, please. And I think it's
20 pretty much towards the top of the document.
21 Q. Do you see where it says:
22 "Military police units shall focus on providing security to
23 persons in the command post ..."
24 A. I don't see that. Could we scroll --
25 MR. THAYER: We need to scroll up --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- up please.
2 MR. THAYER: -- please. Other way. We need to go to the top of
3 the document, please. Thank you.
4 Q. Do you see the reference to the military police at the very top
5 of the document, General?
6 A. Yes, I see it, Your Honours.
7 Q. And it -- it states that the military police will be responsible
8 for security of the prisoners of war, and then the next paragraph we see
9 it says:
10 "After brief interviews, the prisoners of war are to be escorted
11 to the Batkovic collection centre for further treatment and processing.
12 Prevent any abuse of the prisoners of war with a view to their possible
13 exchange for our captured soldiers."
14 With respect to these types of operations in your corps, was this
15 standard procedure, General, that the military police would be
16 responsible for POWs and that after a brief interview the POWs would be
17 escorted to a location here, the Batkovic collection centre?
18 A. Your Honours, a prisoner of war is first brought in by the
19 brigade police to a certain location where the intelligence officers try
20 to find out interesting information from them in order to understand the
21 situation among the enemy, the number of troops, equipment, which is
22 regular procedure; and then they inform the corps command that they have
23 captured a prisoner of war. The security organ of the corps immediately
24 sends a military police patrol, with a vehicle, and takes the prisoner of
25 war after the interview and takes him directly to the Batkovic collection
1 centre. And the camp commander immediately informs the International
2 Committee of the Red Cross who also come then to take his particulars.
3 When they are taking the person's particulars, this is usually
4 done in the presence of a representative of the ICRC. And once he
5 provides his particulars, he's protected, he has certain rights to
6 contact his family and so on and so forth. In all the unfortunate
7 circumstances that he finds himself in, he is allowed some certain
8 measures that would make his life easier. We had extremely good
9 cooperation with the 2nd corps of the B and H army; and we would quickly
10 exchange these people for our fighters who are captured on the other side
11 or for our men who happened to be in prison; for example, in Tuzla, who
12 were detained for some political reasons. That was how it was done.
13 Q. And in your 2004 OTP interview, General, you stated pretty
14 concisely, and let me just quote you:
15 "Once somebody surrenders, they are no longer a threat. All you
16 can do with them is feed them, dress their wounds if they are wounded,
17 and send them to a collection centre."
18 Do you remember saying that in 2004?
19 A. That is correct. Once they surrender, they no longer pose a
20 danger to anyone.
21 Q. And when somebody is unarmed and in your custody, General,
22 doesn't it kind of just come down to that, down to what you just said and
23 what you said in 2004, that that's how POWs should be treated?
24 A. Your Honours, once he finds himself to be in such a situation, to
25 be captured, this unfortunate man is frustrated, frightened, afraid for
1 his life. He's sorry -- a person in a sorry state, and the only thing
2 that needs to be done for that person is to provide protection. You have
3 to take them out of the combat action area. You don't want them to be
4 exposed to fire, and that is how one should treat that person. I told
5 all my commanders that a prisoner of war is also a Serb taken out of the
6 POW camp from another side. So keeping an enemy soldier alive means also
7 keeping our own soldier alive, and throughout the war, we were very
8 careful to act in that way.
9 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I see we are about a minute away from
10 the break. This might be a good time.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. 25 minutes.
12 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
13 --- On resuming at 10.59 a.m.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Thayer. How much longer do you think you
16 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I reduced the -- my outline by
17 several sections over the break. I think I will still need the rest of
18 my estimated time, though. So I think I am at about two and a quarter
19 right now.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Go ahead.
21 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Q. Good morning again to you, General. We were looking at your
23 Spreca 95 combat order.
24 MR. THAYER: It's 5D974.
25 Q. And I see that it's still on your screen where it should be. If
1 we look at item 7.6. Can we see that? Did we scroll down a little bit.
2 Thank you. Do you see under the heading of "moral and psychological
3 preparations" you order that:
4 "Immediately before the commencement of the operations, inform
5 all members of participating commands and units about the objective,
6 importance, and tasks of the operation with particular focus on the
7 following ..."
8 And you have five bullet points of a military political nature
9 listed there. Where would you obtain this information and analysis that
10 you have contained here in your combat report -- combat order?
11 A. Your Honours, in my previous answers I emphasize the fact that
12 this operation started earlier than planned because it was supposed to be
13 planned if the truce was violated; and our opponents violated the truce a
14 lot earlier than we had expected, in fact. And this, in fact, was caused
15 by the problems that we had on Majevica where the enemy tried to take the
16 dominant elevations which included the Stolice relay. This position
17 would have given the opponent very favourable conditions. Those are the
18 highest elevations. After those elevations, the terrain is a lot lower,
19 so the opponent would have had far more favourable conditions to continue
20 with his combat operations. If those features in Semberija fell into
21 enemy hands, then the territory of Republika Srpska would have been
22 divided into two parts, and that would have meant that this territory
23 couldn't be integral. There would be problems when it comes to logistic,
24 et cetera, and command.
25 As for the measures that have to be taken with regard to moral
1 and psychological preparations, well, these are measures that are the
2 result of experience and they are based on the assessment of morale for
3 the previous year. And it also concerns measures that have to be taken,
4 usual measures that have to be taken when you engage in combat
5 operations. This was all decided on -- on the basis of consultations
6 with my associates, the Chief of Staff and other assistants.
7 Q. Now, first bullet point refers to the international situation and
8 refers to current activities of the contact group members and specifies
9 Russia, where you would you, General, obtain, this type of information?
10 I take with all your other duties you didn't have time to read all of the
11 international political journals and so forth. How were you kept abreast
12 of these types of political international developments?
13 A. First part was information we'd get from the Main Staff, usually.
14 Q. And who at the Main Staff would give you that information?
15 A. The information would arrive by post. The documents drafted by
16 the body that dealt with such subjects, such issues, and General Gvero
17 was responsible for this body.
18 Q. And in your experience, General, why is it important to include
19 this type was information in a combat order?
20 A. Your Honours, we were involved in a particular kind of war. In
21 territory where our enemy used to be our friend, apart from defensive
22 purposes, the war also had the characteristics of a civil war and to a
23 certain extent the characteristics of a religious war, but it was a local
24 war for sure. The enemy spoke the same language, they used the same
25 weapons, they had finished the same military academies, which rendered
1 the entire situation more complicated when it came to preparing for
2 combat operations and when it came to organising ourselves.
3 The first item is a result of the of the fact that we didn't have
4 time to follow the situation on the political scene. It was so that the
5 soldiers could understand the circumstances within which we were acting.
6 Preparations had already been -- were already underway to finish the war.
7 It was necessary to preserve the territory as it was at the time. It was
8 necessary to create favourable conditions for our negotiators so that
9 they could put an end to the war without encountering any significant
10 problems or without having to make any significant concessions which
11 would be to the detriment to the people. They had to take disciplinary
12 measures to contribute to such an outcome.
13 Q. And, General, picking up on what you told us on Friday with the
14 level of morale being in -- in your own words second in importance only
15 to the training, is it fair to say that when you say that people -- the
16 fighters had to understand what it was that they were fighting for, that
17 that is an essential element of combat readiness. That is that your
18 soldier in the trench understands what it is that he is putting his life
19 on the line for and that he agrees with the goals of the struggle?
20 A. That's correct, Your Honours. However, I have to correct
21 something here. The first factor has to do with the control and command.
22 That's first item. First you have the commander, then you have morale,
23 then you have training, and readiness.
24 Your Honours, I have to quote. The Chinese military theoretician
25 who said that a line in front of a horde of donkeys is more important
1 than vice versa.
2 So the commander's role is of key importance. Readiness for
3 combat is also necessary, that is correct, but if you are willing to
4 fight -- but if you don't -- if on is really prepared to sacrifice one's
5 self for the war's objectives, then other problems will not be that
6 important. The task will be carried out regardless of extremely
7 difficult circumstances, but I won't address the matter of other factors.
8 But yes, this is very important. It's also important that -- to say that
9 the organ for morale doesn't act in this manner. Morale is affected by
10 the Supreme Command, by the local community, by how one's family has been
11 taken care of. Well, the kind of food one receives also affects one's
12 morale. Unfortunately, we are only human and all these factors have an
13 influence on morale.
14 Q. And, General, is it not the purpose of the morale organ from the
15 lowest level all the way to the Main Staff constantly to assess those
16 various factors that can affect morale to make sure that that fighting
17 spirit is kept at the maximum level?
18 A. That's correct, Your Honours, and this is a suggestion made to
19 the commander. The commander should take into consideration everything
20 that is positive. He should support such positive factors and issue
21 orders to that effect. In that spirit, if a commander doesn't adopt such
22 factors, well, he's risking the possibility of having results that aren't
23 that good or aren't as good as he expected. Then it can't be an error
24 made by the organ of morale. If certain measures weren't accepted,
25 measures that were put forward, well, then, one has to accept the
2 Q. Now, General, let's look at another document.
3 MR. THAYER: 5D982, please.
4 Q. General, we have a -- another document relevant to the Spreca 95
5 operation. It's an analysis after about a month of the operation being
6 underway that was conducted. Take a moment and familiarise yourself with
7 this document, General. I don't know if you've seen it recently.
8 A. Can I see the other part of the document, too.
9 MR. THAYER: If we may scroll down please, thank you.
10 Q. And, General, I might be able to save us little bit of time, but
11 do you remember -- and I don't want to go into all the details I think
12 we've spoken about some of them generally already in answer to some
13 questions, I think, from some of my learned friends. But, is it fair to
14 say that for various reasons the Main Staff took other command of this
15 operation, and as a result of the analysis that's set forth in this
16 document certain conclusions were made in order, successfully, to
17 complete the operation?
18 A. That's correct, Your Honours. I wasn't present. A
19 representative of mine was. But yes, that would be the essence of it.
20 Q. And just so the record is clear, the abbreviation that we have in
21 the original copy of this is NONO. It's been translated one way, but can
22 you just tell us who that is, NONO; what that position is? It's
23 identified as Colonel Gengo. And again, in 1995, what was his position?
24 A. It's Colonel Gengo, you might find his name a little difficult to
25 pronounce. He was the deputy of Chief of Staff of operative and
1 training; and here the abbreviation used was from the operations and
2 training organ. So he is a professional involved in documents on combat
4 Q. Okay.
5 MR. THAYER: Now if we could look at item 3, and this is on page
6 4 of the English and page 3 of the B/C/S, but it's item number 3. Again,
7 page 4 of the English page 3 of the B/C/S.
8 Q. It says that one of the general tasks to improve the operation is
9 in addition to the officers from the VRS Main Staff, include one
10 operations officer from each corps in the Main Staff IKM as well as an
11 assistant commander for morale guidance and psychological propaganda. Do
12 you see that, General? Number 3.
13 A. Yes, I can see it, Your Honours.
14 Q. So my question to you is, General, do you recall why it was
15 important to have that assistant commander for morale actually located in
16 the Main Staff IKM?
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Krgovic.
18 MR. KRGOVIC: Your Honour, there is some misleading question on
19 my learned friend, because this is assistant commander, the corps
20 assistant commander, not the -- for morale. Not "Main Staff." It says,
21 "Assistant commander for the Main Staff."
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have a comment, Mr. Thayer.
23 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I identify any organ or any level of
24 command in my question, so I think my friend is again making speaking
25 objections. I simply asked why was it important to have an assistant
1 commander for morale guidance and psychological propaganda in the Main
2 Staff IKM.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it's a perfectly legitimate question which
4 the witness can answer, I am sure.
5 General, could you answer the question, please.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't know why the
7 Chief of Staff from the Main Staff decided to adopt this conclusion,
8 whether there was a problem when it came to information or motivating
9 these units or something else. I don't know. I cannot claim for
11 MR. THAYER: Well, let's look at page 6 of the English and page 5
12 of the B/C/S. We're looking at item 8.
13 Q. It says:
14 "By means of extra effort on the part of all subjects, especially
15 the command and control and organs in charge of morale, we have to
16 explain to the soldiers the goals, current results, and final
17 consequences of a successful completion of this operation thereby
18 reestablishing the level of morale from the beginning of the operation
19 and creating conditions for an even greater pace in conducting tasks from
20 Operation Spreca 95."
21 General, does that jog your memory at all as to why it was
22 important for General Milovanovic to place a morale assistant commander
23 in the Main Staff IKM for the remainder of this operation?
24 A. First of all, I can't see what you have just read out. Could you
25 show it to me, please.
1 Q. It's on -- it's number 8, General. And we can blow that up if
2 that helps?
3 A. Yes, I found it now, Your Honours. Your Honours, I will have to
4 explain the situation to you again, the situation that prevailed. When
5 the Spreca Operation commenced, we regained lost territory on Majevica;
6 however, the imminent end of war, and we were all aware of this imminent
7 end - that included the soldiers - and publically expressed idea that the
8 Republika Srpska would accept the ratio of 51:49 and the fact that the
9 weather was very bad, there was snow, a lot of snow; all these factors
10 had a negative influence on soldiers' morale and their desire to continue
11 with combat. Soldiers would say, Well, if you want to have this hill, we
12 have more than about 30 per cent of territory than what we are supposed
13 to have according to the peace agreement. If you want this hill,
14 exchange it for some other hill or for two other hills.
15 So, in a certain sense, we tried to motivate them, but we weren't
16 successful in doing this. I was aware of the fact, especially, because
17 in accordance with an order from the Main Staff I had to send some of the
18 forces to other corps; and I didn't have sufficient men to engage in
19 maneuvers in that operation in tasks and to have reserve forces for the
20 corridor, which is where I was expecting a large-scale attack to be
21 launch, and I wanted to prevent this from happening. So I personally was
22 not convinced that this operation would be successfully brought to an
23 end. All the attempts we made, the attempts to raise morale and so on
24 and so forth, bore no fruit. You know when soldiers adopt a certain
25 position, which was in fact correct, you know, we can chew over the fat
1 here now, but the facts are such. They weren't prepared to sacrifice
2 themselves towards the end of the war. They weren't prepared to
3 sacrifice themselves for -- to engage in attacks, but they were prepared
4 to defend the positions that we were already located at.
5 Q. Well, tell us what some of those attempts were, General, to raise
6 the morale in line with this analysis here in this document.
7 A. Your Honours, going to low level commands, speaking to the
8 troops, trying to persuade them, unfortunately a state of war hadn't been
9 declared. Legal elements more present. The possibility of sanctions
10 wasn't a possibility; such a possibility has a good effect when it comes
11 to carrying out one task -- one's task. When there are no military laws
12 or war laws, all one could do was try to persuade soldiers, explain
13 things to them. This does not always bear fruit.
14 Q. Now, if you look at the next paragraph, paragraph number 9,
15 General, it states:
16 "We believe that once the VRS Main Staff takes over the command
17 of the operation, the faith of all participants that this operation is of
18 great importance and that the further course of VRS operations this year,
19 or even in this war, depends on it."
20 Do you see that, General?
21 A. Yes, I can see that, Your Honours.
22 Q. Now, given the importance of these military developments and your
23 response to it, the importance of the Spreca 95 operation, given the
24 difficulties that you just told us about, raising combat morale of the
25 troops in connection with this important operation, with so much at
1 stake, General Gvero was certainly kept informed of these developments,
2 wouldn't you say?
3 A. Well, in the course of the operation everyone was informed, that
4 included corps that weren't involved in the operation. They were
5 informed through reports from the Main Staff. We sent out part of the
6 report to the Main Staff, but there was a lack of knowledge; so there was
7 a central report that informed us of what was happening at other fronts.
8 So in addition to information on morale, well, General Gvero and everyone
9 else in the Main Staff were in a position to follow the course of the
11 Q. General, I'm not speaking about General Gvero being privy to
12 information as somebody that's simply being sent a copy of the report.
13 My question to you is given the import of this operation, the problems
14 that you had raising morale, isn't it the fact -- isn't it the case that
15 General Gvero was informed about these problems that you were having
16 raising combat morale naturally through either his professional line or
17 through somebody in the command structure at the corps level, such as
19 A. I didn't understand your question. Naturally he was informed of
20 this, and he was the one who would follow and assess morale in the ranks
21 of the entire army. So naturally he was informed of this.
22 Q. Okay, General, I'd like to move to another topic. There --
23 A. This is the fifth topic.
24 Q. And we have a few more to go, General, so have a drink of water
25 and I'll have one with you.
1 A. Thank you. Cheers.
2 Q. Now, in Bijeljina there was an investigation prison. I believe
3 its name was Zitopromet; is that correct?
4 A. Your Honours, do you have a military or civilian prison in mind?
5 Q. Well, when I use the term "investigation prison," does that mean
6 anything in particular to you? Does that term connote anything to you as
7 opposed to the Batkovic prison, for example?
8 A. Batkovic was a camp for POWs. It wasn't a prison. I'm sorry.
9 There is a barracks prison, and there are prisons where you serve your
10 sentence for having committed a crime. Such a prison, criminal prison
11 was in Zitopromet, near the train station; but it was the responsibility
12 of the Ministry of the Interior. It was not the responsibility of the
14 Q. Well, let me ask you this, do you recall the Red Cross inquiring
15 about the fate of a Muslim man from Zepa sometime about the fall of
17 A. Your Honours, well, first of all, I received a request from
18 Ms. Renn [phoen], who was an associate of the general secretary of the UN
19 for human rights or humanitarian affairs. I can't remember the exact
20 name of the body. She asked me to help her clear up the case of Mr. Avdo
21 Palic, a Colonel. He was the commander for the defence of Zepa, as far
22 as I understood. According to what Mr. Palic's wife said the last time
23 he was seen was in a prisoner called Vanikov Mlin in Bijeljina barracks.
24 That's where. There was a barracks prison and there was a part of the
25 prison where those suspected of having committed crimes were interrogated
1 regardless of their ethnic origin or of the army they belonged to.
2 I immediately took certain measures. I was provided with an
3 original document in which one could see that the gentleman left the
4 prison alive and good health, and he was handed over to Captain Pecanac
5 from the Main Staff. He came in a Golf vehicle, a red Gold. I can't
6 remember the number plate, and he set off in the direction of the Main
7 Staff. I told the lady that I had no other information on what happened
8 to him afterwards. I told the same thing to your colleagues when I had
9 an interview with the Prosecution with regard to this case. I didn't
10 know you would ask me about this. Had I known, I could have brought
11 those documents that demonstrate that we acted in accordance with the law
12 and that he left these premises alive and in good health, but as to what
13 happened to him later on, I really do not know.
14 Q. Do you recall approximately when Colonel Palic left that prison.
15 And again, I'm sorry, General, could you say the name of the prison
16 slowly for the record, because I don't think we got it, this prison where
17 he was being detained.
18 A. Your Honours, the prison was called Vanikov Mlin or Vanex [phoen]
19 Mill, and I really don't remember the date because I didn't prepare for
20 all these questions. The Prosecutor is guiding me through the whole war
21 and I'm an elderly man, and I can't remember everything.
22 Q. Can you give us a year General, please.
23 A. I do know the year. It's 1995. 1995.
24 Q. Now, it was Eastern Bosnia Corps military policemen who guarded
25 that facility where Mr. Palic was detained; is that correct?
1 A. Yes, that's correct, Your Honours. But, monitoring this the
2 facility was within the responsibility of the Main Staff. The garrison's
3 prison was within the responsibility of my chief of security.
4 Q. And who at the Main Staff had responsibility over that prison,
6 A. The security organ. And who specifically, I don't know, Your
8 Q. And you mentioned a -- Mr. Pecanac, had you ever dealt with that
9 individual before in your role as corps commander?
10 A. Your Honour, I didn't have any contact with him when he took away
11 Palic either. He did so with our professional persons. He is a younger
12 officer. I don't exactly know even what position he held in the Main
13 Staff, so I didn't have any contact with him.
14 Q. New topic, General. Last Friday you were asked by my learned
15 friend from the Gvero Defence some questions about why General Gvero was
16 at the Drina Corps IKM at Pribicevac on 9 July 1995. You remember those
17 questions, right?
18 A. I do remember, Your Honour. I don't know why he was there. I
19 learned later -- I heard that he was there in passing. The road was
20 blocked, and he stopped by at the command post. My statement to your
21 colleagues in this connection can be reduced to a hypothesis because I
22 didn't know whether the Main Staff post was formed nor whether
23 General Gvero was part of it nor why he was there. Now, if the command
24 ordered him to be there at the forward command post and to carry out
25 certain tasks relative to information and morale, he would be there. I
1 really don't know whether he was there, know for how long he was there,
2 so what I don't know, I can't tell you.
3 Q. Well, what I do want to ask you, General, is again you repeated
4 today that you learned later -- and on Friday you said that you learned
5 some years later, that General Gvero had just chanced to pass by
6 Pribicevac. When did you actually learn this and how did you learn this,
7 from whom did you hear this account?
8 A. Your Honours, throughout the war I was the commander of the
9 Eastern Bosnia Corps; and I followed the trial of my colleague,
10 General Krstic, with attention and from various answers and statements
11 there I could gain a picture as to who moved through the command of the
12 Drina Corps and who was where at what time. So that is what I base my
13 knowledge on. I have no other.
14 Q. Can and did you ever tell my friends from the Gvero Defence team
15 that it was just your supposition based on just follow the Krstic trial
16 that that's how you came to the conclusion that General Gvero just
17 chanced to pass through? Did you tell them that?
18 A. Your Honours, I can confirm what I know, what I personally
19 witnessed, and things I can check out from several sources. My
20 statements here are simply hypothetical suppositions. I can't say for
21 how long, at what time, where people were at what time; so please I would
22 appeal to you not to ask me questions that I cannot answer. I am under
23 oath, and I have to tell the truth here.
24 Q. So, my last question then, General, is when you were answering
25 the question to my friend from the Gvero team about what General Gvero
1 was doing at Pribicevac, that was just a hypothetical supposition when
2 you answered his question, right?
3 A. That is right, Your Honours, because I really do not have
4 knowledge as to what specifically General Gvero was doing there.
5 Q. Now, you testified last Thursday that you only learned about the
6 Srebrenica operation by hearing the intensive artillery fire and then
7 watching television.
8 A. Your Honours, I have to repeat what I have already said. I was
9 surprised, and to tell you quite frankly, to a certain extent insulted
10 because this was in my neighbourhood; and I wasn't informed of what was
11 going on. I got the impression that I was not suitable and acceptable as
12 someone who should know that this operation was being conducted. Earlier
13 on we would always be informed, and I could assist by certain measures,
14 actions, and so on. But in this case, I was bypassed.
15 Q. Now, as I understand it, General, to your best recollection as to
16 the date of this trip to Pilica by your MPs is sometime after the fall of
17 Srebrenica; is that correct?
18 A. Your Honours, in view of the passage of time I can say that it
19 was about the middle of the month of July; but I cannot tell you the
20 exact date, perhaps if I were to see the document about the surrender of
21 those prisoners, that would jog my memory. But speaking off the bat, it
22 took time, logically, for them to get there, because the combat
23 operations were not conducted there.
24 Q. Okay. Well, General, I'll be able to help you out with that
25 document, and we'll get to it, and then we'll be done today. Okay.
1 My learned friend from the Pandurevic team showed you an entry in
2 the Zvornik Brigade duty operations officer's notebook, which indicated
3 that 35 soldiers from the East Bosnian Corps were sent to the IKM. And
4 you don't need to repeat your testimony from last Friday on that, but you
5 also testified that the POWs that Captain Vulin picked up were taken to
6 Batkovic and exchanged a few days later for your men at Lisaca. Is
7 that -- do I have that right?
8 A. Your Honours, the questions of Defence counsel was probably a
9 confusion between the police and the military police, because even when
10 the civilian police were there, they would say they were coming from
11 Bijeljina, from my zone, from the East Bosnian Corps, because I didn't
12 send a platoon there. I sent a company there headed by the commander of
13 the company, and to make it serious, I also sent the battalion commander
14 with a group of officers, Major Vulin, with that assignment.
15 Secondly, they carried out that assignment within a period of
16 four to five hours and returned back. So I don't even know where the
17 forward command post was, but obviously it wasn't in Pilica judging by
19 And my final answer to your question is that they were exchanged
20 for soldiers captured at Lisaca, and not Vlasic. It was one of the peaks
21 at Majevica where they were surrounded, and they couldn't break out; and
22 through the mediation of the Red Cross, they surrendered and they were
23 exchanged. I needed a certain number of prisoners of war because I
24 didn't have a sufficient number for the exchange.
25 Q. And, General, your recollection is that that exchange occurred
1 very soon after those prisoners were taken to Batkovic, a matter of days;
2 is that correct?
3 A. I can't tell you with precision, but I think it was soon. We
4 needed the men and that is why we intervened. I know that Major Vulin
5 went there once again, and I think that he brought back wounded prisoners
6 of war from the hospital in Bratunac who were also brought to the
7 prisoner of war camp in Batkovic and who were also exchanged, I think
8 there were about 30 of them, one bus load of them.
9 Q. Now, other than Major Vulin, from whom did you receive any
10 reports or have any discussions for that matter about this trip with the
11 trucks to pick up the approximately 100 prisoners in the middle of July?
12 A. Your Honours, I spoke also to my chief of security, because he
13 had professional monitoring over the military police battalion.
14 Q. Now, you testified that the prisoners were being held in an
15 elementary school in Pilica. Did Major Vulin tell you how they got
16 there, how they knew where it was located, how they found this location?
17 A. Your Honours, in Pilica there was a police checkpoint which
18 stopped the column; and when he said who he was and why he was there, he
19 said that the school was in the immediate vicinity, and the prisoners of
20 war were there. I was informed by him that he emptied out the gym in
21 that school and that all the people who were held in that gym, were put
22 on the vehicles and driven away.
23 Q. And, General, as you sit here, you're certain that it was the
24 school in Pilica and not the cultural centre, the Dom?
25 A. Your Honours, I really can't say with certain, but from a
1 facility that was in the immediate vicinity of the road, I gathered it
2 was the school but it may I have been the cultural centre also. This may
3 be important for the Prosecution, for me as the commander it wasn't so
5 Q. Well, in your 2007 interview with the OTP, General, you related
6 to the investigators something you were told. And I just want to quote
7 your answer, this is at page 90. You said:
8 "I heard from one of my commanders that they actually collected
9 people from one school, and these guards were getting ready to kill them
10 all. He told me that when he issued an order for them to enter the
11 trucks, that they were not using the steps. They were jumping in. They
12 were so happy to be imprisoned."
13 Do you recall telling the investigators that in 2007, General?
14 A. Your Honours, I don't remember that I said that they were getting
15 ready to kill them, because I didn't know that; but it is true that
16 Major Vulin told me that they were running and jumping into the vehicles,
17 they even got stuck at the gates of the building. They were hurrying to
18 leave because they were told they were going to be exchanged, and they
19 were happy to leave.
20 Q. So, General, as you sit here today you deny telling the
21 prosecution and the investigators in 2007 that one of your commanders
22 told you that when they got to the school, that the guards there were
23 ready to -- or getting ready to kill them all, you deny saying that?
24 A. Your Honours, in view of the passage of time, I can't be sure
25 whether I said that or not. It is not my intention to mislead anyone,
1 but most often I don't say what -- things I don't really know. Maybe I
2 did say that. I'm not sure. I still have the tapes from that interview,
3 and I'll listen to them again to check; but I don't remember saying that.
4 Q. Well, General, that's a pretty significant thing to be told and
5 to not be sure about whether you then told us about that. I mean, you
6 were get a report from one of your subordinates that they interrupted a
7 mass execution. How can you not be sure that you received that
8 information? It sounds ...
9 A. Your Honours, for executions and the things that happened, people
10 heard about this much, much later because it was covered with a kind of
11 veil of secrecy. And during my service, I heard all kinds of things, but
12 I also checked out all kinds of things; and I'm telling you quite frankly
13 and sincerely that in view of the time I cannot claim with certainty
14 whether I actual said that or not. I don't have the transcript in the
15 Serbian language of my statement, but I do have all the tapes, and I
16 really will listen to them all again when I get home.
17 I certainly have no intention of pre-empting anything. I am
18 glad, if we did prevent an execution, which we probably did, because the
19 investigators told me that these were among the few that were exchanged.
20 But I do not wish to enter into polemics with you on this issue. I agree
21 that it has its weight. I am a serious person, and I have no intention
22 of denying something I said. If I had said that, it would have probably
23 stuck in my memory. Everything is possible though, Your Honours, I mean
24 one mustn't forget the time factor. These things should have been
25 discussed three or four years ago or three or four years after the event.
1 Q. Let me show a photograph, General, and I'm going to move on to a
2 new area.
3 MR. THAYER: It's 65 ter page -- sorry, 1936, and we'll be
4 looking at page 36 of that.
5 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
6 MR. THAYER:
7 Q. General, do you have a paragraph buffer on your screen?
8 A. I do, Your Honour.
9 Q. The soldier on the right with the number 2 marking him, do you
10 recognise that individual?
11 A. No, Your Honours.
12 Q. His name is Radenko Tomic, and he was at the time a member of the
13 Panteri unit subordinated to your corps. His nickname is Gargijia; and
14 this photograph was taken of him in Potocari on the 12th of July. It's
15 actually part of a video showing him and other soldiers entering
17 General, as commander of the Eastern Bosnia Corps, did you ever
18 become aware that the Panteri unit was present in Potocari on 12 July?
19 A. Your Honours, there were cases of large changes in the Panther's
20 unit, there was a constant fluctuation of personnel there of soldiers
21 coming and going. The name of this soldier doesn't mean anything to me,
22 and I don't know whether he was a member of the brigade or had left the
23 brigade and joined one of the other units. There were cases of soldiers
24 leaving a unit and going to another part of the front where combat
25 operations were ongoing. There were people who wanted to be constantly
1 on the go, to be active.
2 The Bijeljina Light Infantry Brigade did not participate, but
3 whether certain individuals may have participated without the knowledge
4 of their superiors, I really cannot say.
5 Q. Well, I can tell you, General, that Mr. Tomic identified himself
6 in that photograph and has told us that he was an active member of the
7 Panteri unit at that time. Does that change your recollection at all?
8 A. Can you hear me?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, please go ahead.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sorry. I can't -- I don't have the
11 tone. It's possible that he was. It's possible that he was a deserter,
12 but that he was under the command of the brigade. When he was in
13 Potocari, he was not.
14 MR. THAYER: Okay. Let me show you 65 ter 330, please.
15 Q. And if you would, General, just have a look at this. I don't
16 know if you've ever seen it before, probably not, so take your time. And
17 I want to particularly direct your attention to paragraph 2 of this
18 interim combat report by Commander Pandurevic on 16 July 1995.
19 A. Your Honours, I see this document for the first time, and this is
20 the first time that somebody from the military police of the Eastern
21 Bosnian Corps took part in the combat activities.
22 Q. So, General, my question to you is you've been very clear in your
23 testimony thus far that no elements from the Eastern Bosnia Corps
24 participate in the Srebrenica operation. Having seen this interim combat
25 report are you changing your testimony about that, or do you dispute what
1 this interim combat report clearly states; that is, that a part of your
2 military police platoon was involved in the cleansing operation, sealing
3 off, and searching the terrain?
4 A. Your Honours, I state that according to what I know, no unit or
5 part of the unit participated in this operation. This is news to me. I
6 really don't know if it's true or not true, but this is the first time
7 that I'm seeing a document like this. As far as I know, no one went
8 there or took part.
9 Q. Okay, General, this Trial Chamber has heard the testimony of
10 Drazen Erdemovic, a member of the 10th Sabotage Detachment who belonged
11 to the Bijeljina platoon of the detachment. And he has testified that on
12 10 July he was in the Bijeljina barracks and was ordered to Srebrenica,
13 which he entered with his unit on the 11th was July. And you testified
14 that you followed the Krstic trial, surely you know about Mr. Erdemovic's
15 guilty plea and his testimony; right, General?
16 A. Your Honours, Erdemovic was a member of the 10th Sabotage
17 Detachment which was under the command of the Main Staff. It was not
18 under the command of the East Bosnian Corps. He could have happened to
19 be in the barracks after the activities in Majevica when they came as
20 reinforcements but that does not mean that he was under my command or
21 that he had gone there under my orders.
22 Q. And, General, there is no suggestion from me that that was the
23 case. My question to you is you must be familiar with his testimony that
24 on the 16th of July, the same date that Commander Pandurevic's interim
25 combat report indicates that your military police platoon is in his area
1 of responsibility, that members of that 10th Sabotage Detachment
2 participated in a mass execution at the Branjevo farm, and that later
3 that day went over to the Pilica cultural centre and participated in
4 another mass execution there before returning to his barracks in
6 Were you aware of that, General?
7 A. I didn't know, Your Honour.
8 Q. Now, there is also testimony from two survivors who testified
9 from the 14th to the 16th of July, 1995, they were detained at the Pilica
10 school where prisoners were also shot. Did you ever hear that
11 information, General, following the Krstic trial or any time since July
12 of 1995 when these events occurred?
13 A. Yes, but I didn't hear it in 1995. I heard about it when the
14 trial was going on, actually, much later.
15 Q. And when you heard about these executions occurring in the Pilica
16 area, particularly in the school, where you've told us your military
17 policemen, in your words, probably saved people from a mass execution,
18 did you ever put that testimony and your recollection of those events
19 together in that members of your unit were present when this mass
20 execution occurred on the 16th of July?
21 A. Your Honours, according to information I received from the
22 battalion commander, they didn't stay longer. They returned immediately.
23 And I had no information that they were present then or took part in the
24 event. Judging by how quickly they came back, I assumed that they
25 returned immediately, as soon as they took the people, they came back.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Incidentally, General, since we are touching this
2 area, here, and a few days have passed since you started your testimony
3 here, I would like to remind you of the advisory I gave you in the
4 beginning of your testimony in relation to your rights under our rules,
5 rights against self-incrimination. Thank you.
6 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Thayer, General Simic's answer, which appears in
7 line 9 on page 55, is not clear to me.
8 The General answered that he didn't know, but what he didn't
9 know, is what? Whether the massacre at Pilica Dom in Branjevo took
10 place, or whether his platoon went there or not? So if you could clear
11 that up, please.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: A very valid point. Could you -- thank you, Judge
13 Kwon --
14 MR. THAYER: Thank you --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Could you take this up with the witness, please.
16 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Judge Kwon.
17 Q. General, did you understand His Honour's question. You testified
18 that you didn't find out in 1995. You found out sometime later,
19 following the Krstic trial, so the question is what did you find out
20 later, that there were executions in Pilica, that your MPs were there
21 during that period of time, or what exactly did you find out later? Can
22 you clarify that, please for the Trial Chamber, whether --
23 A. Your Honours, I thought that I was clear. I found out about the
24 execution much later when I found out the trial of General Krstic was
25 underway. I had never heard yet that my unit or any part of it had
1 participated in the operation itself or in the executions. What I know
2 is that we had picked up the prisoners and that I was told that there was
3 still some left at the facility in Pilica, that they had just emptied the
4 sports hall at the school. Only later did I find out that there were
5 some executions also at Pilica.
6 MR. THAYER: Your Honour, I don't know if --
7 JUDGE KWON: I'll leave it to you whether --
8 MR. THAYER: Okay.
9 JUDGE KWON: Are you leaving this topic?
10 MR. THAYER: I have a few more questions on --
11 JUDGE KWON: Yes, please.
12 MR. THAYER: -- this topic, Your Honour.
13 Q. General, did you ever talk to General Miletic again after all
14 this information that you learned from the Krstic trial? Did you ever
15 talk to General Miletic given this conversation that you had with him
16 sometime in mid-July that you've been telling us about when he said -- or
17 when he was listening in on the conversation and General Krstic said
18 there were no prisoners?
19 A. Your Honours, I live in Banja Luka in Republika Srpska, and
20 General Miletic lives in Belgrade. After the war, we never met, and we
21 were not able to speak about this.
22 Q. General, did you ever make any effort to determine where those
23 executions occurred, either before the Krstic trial or certainly after
24 the Krstic trial, seeing as how it involved your neighbour and that your
25 forces, very likely, given your own recollection of the time-frame, were
1 present during these executions in Pilica?
2 A. Your Honours, I didn't know that any -- or I don't know that any
3 of my forces were present during the executions. To this day, I doubt if
4 any of my units participated in that operation. I state with full
5 authority that this did not happen, that I was aware of or that the corps
6 commander was aware of. So I do not want to have words put in my mouth.
7 I heard about it during the trial of General Krstic. I did have the
8 opportunity to talk with him about it at some training, but this was not
9 something that I had heard about. I had found out about it from the
10 media, I asked him, Is this really what happened? And he told me that
11 this is enemy or hostile propaganda.
12 Your Honour, my position is that no -- that a single prisoner
13 that is killed that constitutes a terrible crime, and I cannot justify
14 any of that.
15 Q. Well, again, General, my question is much simpler than that.
16 You've told this Trial Chamber about a conversation you had with
17 General Miletic in mid-July of 1995 that led to your forces picking up
18 prisoners in Pilica. You subsequently received information about
19 executions in Pilica. My question is: Did you ever make any effort to
20 determine whether or not your troops had any involvement in those
21 executions? That's the question.
22 A. Your Honours, when I learned about it, I was no longer working.
23 I had been retired for quite some time. I did meet with the MP battalion
24 commander, the then-Major Vulin, who is now a colonel; and I asked him
25 again if our units had any part in that, because he was also put on some
1 list as being one of the participants in the Srebrenica operation.
2 Your Honours, he assured me and swore to me that they had nothing
3 to do with the executions at Pilica. Your Honours, I have my area of
4 responsibility that is under my care, and it's not up to me to
5 investigate what others did. This is always something that is part of
6 the duties of my superior or the prosecuting organs.
7 Q. Now, when you met with Major Vulin again and asked him if your
8 units had taken any part in those executions, is that when he told you,
9 General, that when they arrived there the guards were about to kill those
10 prisoners before they took them away? Is that when he told you that?
11 A. He didn't say that at that time. Please, again I am saying that
12 I do not recall saying that in my statement, but the security -- and
13 there was a lot of the security staff and a lot of soldiers around the
14 school. He told me that and they ran willingly out of that gym, and they
15 willingly entered the transport vehicles.
16 Q. General, I want to show you --
17 MR. THAYER: P334, 00334. It's an interim combat report again by
18 Commander Pandurevic. This one dated the 18th of July.
19 Q. It will be up on your screen shortly. If you look at paragraph
20 2, General, there is a reference, again, to two platoons of the Bijeljina
21 military police. Do you see that?
22 A. I see that, Your Honours. Suddenly we have one platoon and then
23 suddenly we have two platoons. I don't know if we are going to get up to
24 a battalion. I don't know. This is completely new, as far as I am
1 MR. THAYER: If we may I have P151, please. If we can look at
2 paragraph 2 in both versions. This is a Drina Corps daily combat report
3 to the Main Staff, same day on the 18th of July.
4 Q. Just in case there was any ambiguity about the reference to the
5 Bijeljina military police, this report specifically refers does it not,
6 General, paragraph 2, to two Eastern Bosnia Corps military police
7 platoons successfully repelling all enemy attacks from the front and
8 carrying out the blockading and combing of the terrain in the Zvornik
9 Brigade AOR
10 And General, let me, before I put my question to you, and I am
11 going to save some time. There is another couple of documents I was
12 going to show you, but the fighting during this period of time was
13 particularly fierce and costly to Commander Pandurevic's units. It was
14 some of the most deadly fighting of the war, and your units were there in
15 that area of responsibility.
16 Is it your testimony that as Eastern Bosnia Corps commander, you
17 never became aware that military police platoons under your command were
18 involved in this fierce fighting, these scouring of the terrain
19 activities in mid-July 1995?
20 A. Your Honours, this is a report of the Drina Corps, and this
21 paragraph is totally copied from the report of the Zvornik Brigade. As
22 far as I am concerned this is a completely new document, and I didn't
23 have the opportunity, as yet, to see this document. And for the 15th
24 time I am saying, Your Honours, according to my information, no unit of
25 the military police from the Eastern Bosnia Corps participated in the
1 combat actions. I don't know of it. Once again, I say I have my own
2 troubles. And I was in the corridor, and I don't know that this unit
3 participated. Had I known that I would have probably had said that in my
4 earlier interviews that I had.
5 JUDGE PROST: Mr. Thayer, could I just interrupt you for a
7 General, assuming the reports are correct, do you have any
8 explanation of how the two military police platoons could have been
9 present from your command without your knowledge? Do you have any
10 explanation for that?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in that period I had
12 my units in several sections of the front to assist. I have a battalion,
13 a Bijeljina brigade in the Sarajevo Romanija AOR. I had problems at
14 Majevica, also in the corridor and so on and so forth. According to what
15 I know, I did not order them to go there, and I don't know about this.
16 Had I known of it -- I mean, I have no reason to hide anything, I would
17 have stated that in my interviews previously with the OTP. I do not have
18 information if any of my associates ordered and implemented that. I
19 mean, I am saying now I will just have to make inquires about it. But,
20 at this point, I truly say that I don't know that that unit participated
21 in that. I was surprised when earlier at General Pandurevic's, he asked
22 me that.
23 JUDGE PROST: Thank you.
24 JUDGE KWON: How will you investigate if necessary? Who will you
25 ask about this?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I am going to ask my
2 deputy, General Gavric first, because he was at Majevica, and I was in
3 Posavina. So he was in Bijeljina more often than I was, and this prompts
4 me to go to the archives where the documents of my corps are archived.
5 This is in the Bijeljina barracks, and I would like to go through all of
6 these reports to see if I, perhaps, am mistaken. This is totally new, as
7 far as I am concerned, because as a commander, I am ashamed in a way to
8 be given certain information that I really was not aware of.
9 MR. THAYER:
10 Q. General, you testified that your conversation with
11 General Miletic, trying to locate some prisoners to exchange, whatever
12 that actual day was, you testified that General Miletic didn't seem to
13 have any knowledge of what was going on regarding the Srebrenica
14 operation much less knowledge about prisoners of war. Although, he
15 agreed to coordinate your MPs into that adjoining corps; is that correct?
16 And let me just ask that again. I'm sorry, that was a terrible question.
17 It's actually two questions.
18 When you spoke with General Miletic on that occasion, he didn't
19 seem to have any knowledge about what was going on with respect to the
20 Srebrenica operation much less information about prisoners?
21 A. That is correct, Your Honours. That was the impression I got.
22 Had he known that there were prisoners of war somewhere, he would have
23 probably told me to go and pick them up and not to go and capture them
25 MR. THAYER: May we have 65 ter 192, please.
1 Q. General, take a moment and look at this document if you would.
2 Have you seen this before? And don't answer until you've had a chance to
3 look at it. I want to give you are an opportunity.
4 A. Your Honours, I haven't seen this document before.
5 Q. Okay. Well, this communication from Colonel Savcic to
6 General Mladic and General Gvero, refers to General Tolimir proposing
7 several measures; do you see that?
8 A. I see it, but I cannot see the date here. All I can see is 14
9 hundred hours, but I can't see the date.
10 Q. We can help you there, General.
11 MR. THAYER: If you scroll down a little bit in the original, and
12 scroll over to the left just a little bit. There we are. You see July
13 13th at 1510 hours.
14 A. Yes, I see it, this is probably the operator noting down when
15 this was submitted.
16 Q. And if we scroll up to the top, General, it says:
17 "That there are over a thousand members of the former 28th
18 Division of the so-called BiH army captured in the area of Dusanovo
19 (Kasaba)," do you see that, "Under the control of the military police
20 Battalion of the 65th.
21 A. I see it, yes.
22 Q. And if we scroll down, or if you look at number 4, it states
24 "Once the commander of the military police battalion receives
25 this order, he shall contact General Miletic and receive from him
1 additional orders and verify if the proposal has been approved by the
2 commander of the Main Staff."
3 Now, General, this document shows does it not that
4 General Miletic, by the 13th, certainly knew about at least a thousand
5 prisoners that the VRS had under its control, does it not?
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, one moment, before you answer the question,
7 Ms. Fauveau.
8 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Objection, Mr. President, this
10 he received this information. One doesn't know ever received this
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
13 MR. THAYER:
14 Q. General --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no.
16 MR. THAYER: I'm going to rephase -- I'm going to add more.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's hear the rephrasing of the
19 MR. THAYER:
20 Q. General, given your experience, your extensive command
21 operational experience, knowing how the communications worked throughout
22 the VRS, this document bears no indication that there would have been any
23 reason for the normal course of communications to have been interrupted
24 for any reason, is there? You've got a set stamp, you've got all the
1 A. Your Honours, first of all I don't see the stamp. All I can see
2 is that this was sent off or dispatched by telegram or however. From
3 this document -- I mean you say that I am experienced, so we can see from
4 this document that General Miletic is only mediating between that person
5 and the commander, and that the commander will receive the document and
6 will say to Miletic, When they call you tell them I approve it. He
7 doesn't even have to know what it was. Whatever Savcic was requesting
8 was approved. This is how I understand this. I cannot say here that he
9 knew about it or that he received the whole integral document.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: It's 12.30, Mr. Thayer, shall we have the --
11 MR. THAYER: Certainly, Mr. President, and I am very close to the
13 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. So we'll have a -- very close by
14 how much?
15 MR. THAYER: By about 15 minutes, I would say.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. And there will be a redistrict, I am sure,
17 Ms. Fauveau.
18 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President, but I'll do my
19 best to conclude by the end of the day. This will be possible, I think,
20 if the Prosecution really doesn't take up more than 15 minutes.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. We'll try to shorten it to 10 minutes.
22 Thank you. We'll have a 25-minute break.
23 --- Recess taken at 12.31 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 12.59 p.m.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Thayer, if you could conclude in ten
1 minutes it will be better.
2 MR. THAYER: I will do my best, Mr. President.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, thank you.
4 MR. THAYER:
5 Q. General, good afternoon again.
6 MR. THAYER: May we see P02082, please.
7 Q. General, I am going to show you a document, and it's related, I
8 believe, to something you mentioned earlier today in your testimony, and
9 that is a second trip that your MPs took to the Zvornik Brigade AOR. I
10 beg your pardon, the Drina Corps AOR
11 wounded who had been evacuated from the Bratunac hospital. I think you
12 told us a little bit about that, General.
13 MR. THAYER: I see we have the wrong document up on the screen.
14 Bear with me one moment. Forgive me, I called up 2080, it's 2082.
15 Q. So you can disregard the document that's currently on your
16 screen, General.
17 General, we can see that this is a list of persons to be
18 transferred under guard, and it indicates that it is your 3rd Battalion
19 of your military police who are doing that. And this is on the 18th of
20 July. I don't think my friends will disagree that these 22 individuals
21 were wounded persons who were being treated at the Bratunac hospital and
22 were evacuated on the 17th.
23 And do you recall, General, your military policemen escorting
24 these individuals to Batkovic on the 18th of July?
25 A. Your Honours, I do remember this because it was the Main Staff
1 that issued an order to this effect.
2 Q. And do you recall who at the Main Staff issued that order? Who
3 or which organ?
4 A. Your Honours, I can't remember that.
5 MR. THAYER: If we may have Exhibit 7D712.
6 Q. General, I am going to show you a document that my friend from
7 the Pandurevic Defence showed you on Friday. It's a document we've used
8 before in this Court both by the Prosecution and the Defence. And this,
9 as you'll see if we could go to the second page, is the list of prisoners
10 who had been police in the Batkovic camp. And if we look at the second
11 and third right-most -- forgive me, the -- if we go all the way to the
12 right, there are two columns, one that says "dolazak" and one that says
13 "odlazak." Do you see those columns?
14 A. I do, Your Honours.
15 Q. And the one on the left -- dolazak, basically means when they
16 came in; and the second column, odlazak, basically means when they left
17 the camp; is that correct, General?
18 A. That's what it says.
19 Q. Now, you can take my word for and if my friends disagree, I am
20 sure they will correct me, but on that list that we just saw of the 22
21 wounded who were escorted by your MPs to Batkovic, we can find each one
22 of their names on this list entering Batkovic on the 18th. And they are
23 the first prisoners to arrive, according to this list, in July of 1995
24 and then we see prisoners, if you look at the dates, arriving on the
25 24th, 26th, and so forth of July.
1 And that coincides with your recollection, General, does it not,
2 that prisoners didn't start trickling into Batkovic until two or three
3 weeks after the Srebrenica operation ended.
4 A. Your Honours, I wasn't commander of the Batkovic camp. I also
5 tried to get rid of that, but the Main Staff told me it should be in my
6 area of responsibility. I wasn't happy with it being there. As to how
7 they came and how they left, well, my commission followed that matter,
8 but to be quite truthful I never entered the Batkovic camp. But if you
9 allege that this is correct, it probably is correct.
10 Q. But, my question, actually, General, was more simple than that.
11 Do you recall - throwing your memory back to this time-period - do you
12 recall that prisoners didn't begin arriving at the Batkovic camp until
13 some period of time after the Srebrenica operation had concluded; that
14 is, they didn't start arriving until towards the end of July 1995? And
15 if it -- if you can't remember, then you can't remember, that's fine and
16 I'll move on. But that was the question I was asking.
17 A. Your Honours, I can't remember. This was not really a matter of
18 interest to me.
19 Q. Okay. Well, if we look at this list, there are no exchanges in
20 July, and there are no exchanges in August; and if we look at this last
21 column, the word "razmena" means "exchanged"; is that correct?
22 A. Your Honours, the people who were brought in to the camp were
23 exchanged with the command of the 2nd Corps, and I think that the
24 Prosecution has the relevant list. Major Vulin handed them over, but
25 this is just a list. I don't know where those who are brought in from
1 Pilica are listed, but they were certainly exchanged in a short period of
2 time, that was intended. I don't know which list they are on, but I know
3 there is a list according to which they were all handed over for an
4 exchange. I was provided with that list and I have also noticed the
5 Prosecution has the list. I was asked whether I knew these individuals,
6 I don't know them, I cannot confirm their names, but I can confirm that
7 my commander of the military police handed them over.
8 Q. What I wanted to press your memory, just a little bit about,
9 General, is whether this exchange actually occurred very soon after these
10 prisoners were brought to Batkovic or whether it was sometime after they
11 were brought up. And just bear with me for a moment, if you would. Let
12 me just explain a couple of things that you can take my word for, if you
14 As I said, this list indicates that there are no exchanges in
15 July, this are no exchanges in August, but there is an exchange in
16 September; that is, September 12th. If you look just on this page right
17 here, you will see a few entries for 12th September 1995 and then the
18 word "razmena," exchanged. And I counted up all those exchanged names,
19 and it totals 102 prisoners, which is pretty much what you told us was
20 the number that your MPs picked up.
21 Now, let me show you one final document, General, and I'll put my
22 last question on this issue to you and tie this up a little bit.
23 MR. THAYER: If we could see P3940. And if we could scroll up
24 just a teeny bit so we can catch the -- a little bit higher. Perfect.
25 Thank you.
1 Q. General, just take a look at this document, if you would. And
2 unfortunately we do not have an English translation, so I will have to
3 ask you some questions to make some sense of it. And whenever you are
4 ready, General, if you could just tell the Trial Chamber what this letter
5 is about.
6 A. Your Honours, this is a document that I drafted in which I
7 informed General Mladic that we have problems with the families of these
8 captured soldiers. It's obvious that the exchange was late. Everything
9 had been agreed, but the Main Staff objected to the exchange for reasons
10 that are unknown to me. This has really refreshed my memory that the
11 exchange wasn't carried out. I personally had problems, on a couple of
12 occasions I received these families. We had people for an exchange but
13 there was a problem when it came to communications between the commission
14 for exchange and the Main Staff. I don't know why, but we had problems
15 as a result. I don't know why, because everything had been prepared for
16 this exchange.
17 Q. Okay, General, so just to be clear, so having looked at this
18 document is it your belief now that those hundred-or-so prisoners that
19 your MP company went down to pick up, weren't exchanged until after this
20 letter, certainly, as suggested by the list that we just looked at that
21 showed 102 prisoners being exchange on September 12th.
22 A. That's correct, Your Honour. That's what these documents show.
23 We were really willing to solve this issue, but the Main Staff objected
24 to this exchange; and we couldn't carry it out without their agreement.
25 The situation was complex, there was shelling, there were problems at the
1 western front and so on. I really can't remember everything now, Your
2 Honours. I'm quite tired, so I can't be precise, but I know that I
3 personally had problems with these parents. On a number of occasions I
4 had to calm them down, et cetera, in order to carry out the exchange as
5 soon as possible.
6 Q. Okay, General, just one last set of questions for you. My friend
7 from the Pandurevic Defence asked you on Friday what the date was of this
8 conversation you say you had with General Miletic, and as you affirmed
9 today when I followed up on that, you testified, and let me quote:
10 "I thought it was before the fall of Srebrenica, but following
11 the trial of General Krstic, I thought that these prisoners would not be
12 able to arrive in the primary school in Pilica before the fall of
13 Srebrenica. So this was after the fall of Srebrenica."
14 Do you remember testifying to that on Friday, General?
15 A. I remember that, Your Honours.
16 Q. And so is it your testimony that following the Krstic trial was
17 the key for you to figuring out the date of this conversation?
18 A. That's correct, Your Honours, because I really didn't know that
19 they had prisoners. I had prepared my unit to go and capture troops, and
20 luckily, for me and for them, they were already down there; and that's
21 how this was solved, otherwise they would have participated in combat.
22 Q. And your memory of the date of this conversation was triggered
23 while you were following the trial as it progressed. I don't know if you
24 were following it on television or on the internet, but it was triggered
25 at the time the trial was go on; is that right?
1 A. That's correct, Your Honours. I'm not very good at memorizing
2 dates, given the time that has passed, I can provide you with approximate
3 dates; but if I can consult certain documents, I can refresh my memory.
4 Q. Well, the Krstic trial ended in 2001, so my question for you is
5 why did you say during both your 2004 and 2007 interviews two and five
6 years after the Krstic trial ended, that the conversation with
7 General Miletic occurred before the VRS had entered Srebrenica?
8 A. Your Honours, to be frank, I didn't think that was important,
9 because the discussion had to do with me and General Miletic was referred
10 to. I really didn't pay any attention to -- to that. When preparing to
11 come here, I went through my personal notes and the documents I had at my
12 disposal. But there is no other secret reason for which I said this to
13 the general. I didn't think that it was of any importance for me. I
14 wasn't aware that this would be used in connection to General Miletic,
15 but now I am a Defence witness, and I thought it was necessary for me to
16 go into the matter in greater detail.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Will you please try to conclude,
18 Mr. Thayer.
19 MR. THAYER:
20 Q. General, I thank you for your testimony. I have no further
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Ms. Fauveau.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
25 Re-examination by Ms. Fauveau:
1 Q. [Interpretation] General, I will really do my best to conclude
2 today. With regard to the last question put to you by the Prosecution,
3 do you remember what the position of Mr. Krstic was when you spoke to him
4 when General Miletic put you in touch with General Krstic?
5 A. Your Honours, I first spoke to General Mladic, and he gave me the
6 cold shoulder very rapidly. When the commander says, That's it, that's
7 it. It's the end -- end of the discussion. I asked General Miletic to
8 put me in touch with General Krstic. I didn't know that they were next
9 to each other, standing next to each other. General Krstic was probably
10 listening to my conversation with General Mladic because he practically
11 repeated the very same words, and he also told me that they didn't have
12 any prisoners.
13 Q. Do you know what position he held at the time that you spoke to
15 A. Who do you have in mind?
16 Q. General Krstic, in the Drina Corps.
17 A. General Krstic was the commander of the Drina Corps.
18 Q. And now, I would like to ask you something about the proofing
19 session that we had just prior to your testimony. Do you remember me
20 putting your question as to whether your corps units were in the area of
21 responsibility of the Drina Corps in July 1995?
22 A. Yes, I remember that.
23 Q. And could you tell me what your reply was to that question?
24 A. I said that they did not participate in the action.
25 Q. You had two interviews with the Prosecution in 2004 and 2007.
1 Did OTP representatives ever suggest to you that your units participated
2 in the combat in question?
3 A. No, they didn't, Your Honours. I was persuaded of the fact that
4 they didn't, and I'm still persuaded of that fact to this very day.
5 Q. With regard to the prisoners that your corps officer, the officer
6 for your military police, Dragisa Vulin, took -- or rather, escorted, do
7 you remember what the OTP representative said about this in 2007? It's
8 page 90 of the corrected version of the transcript was provided to us
9 recently by the Prosecution --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Of the interview, interpreter's correction.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think they said unfortunately
12 these were the only prisoners who were exchanged.
13 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation]
14 Q. General, I'll read out what we were provided with, and it appears
15 that the OTP representative told you the following: [In English] "You
16 saved all those people's lives."
17 [Interpretation] Are those the words that you can, in fact,
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think it was put
20 differently. Unfortunately, they are the only members of the army of
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina who were captured in this operation and were
22 exchanged. That's what I remember.
23 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to move on to an
24 entirely different subject. I would like to show the witness 6D311,
25 document 6D311.
1 Q. This is the response that you sent to General Subotic. My
2 colleague suggested that it was a presentation that you had made when
3 analysing the combat in January 1995. Can you tell us, very briefly,
4 what elements constituted your presentation when you made this analysis?
5 A. Your Honours, first of all, I have to say that these themes
6 weren't part of Directive Number 7. These thesis, in fact, were supposed
7 to be part of a special directive from the Supreme Command and this was
8 to have to do with the problems that it appeared in the territory of all
9 units; that included my corps. It had to do with the problems relating
10 to continuing with combat activities. If you are asking me about this --
11 I don't know, are you asking me about the directive? I haven't fully
12 understood your question. I do apologise.
13 Q. I don't think I was very clear. Does this have anything to do
14 with analysis of combat at the end of January, the analysis by the Main
15 Staff of Republika Srpska?
16 A. Your Honours, this arrived when the analysis had been made, when
17 we received the document in the units. This was an entirely new document
18 that has nothing to do with the analysis of combat readiness. This is
19 the analysis of the situation in the territory.
20 Q. You said that afterwards you didn't receive any directives, but
21 do you remember receiving an order from the president ordering you to
22 take certain measures?
23 A. Yes, Your Honours, we did receive an order.
24 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Could we have a look at document
25 5D1397. This hasn't been translated, but we have an unofficial
2 Q. You see the date on this document? It is the 6th [as
3 interpreted] of March, 1995, two days after you sent the response to
4 General Subotic.
5 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] And could we show the text of this
6 order, and look at it, and tell us --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, in the meantime for the record on line 25,
8 page 75, it's not "6th of March," it should be "26th of March."
9 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Q. Could you tell us whether this order has anything to do with the
11 suggestion that you sent to General Subotic?
12 A. Very little, very little.
13 Q. When you say that there is very little connection, you already
14 told you us that the president did not accept your suggestions, but
15 doesn't this order deal with the same subjects as your proposals?
16 A. Your Honours, we proposed concrete measures, and what was sent to
17 us was in such general terms it was all in forces up to then, too; but it
18 wasn't implemented. So I can say, in general terms, it was accepted but
19 in concrete terms no order was given to carry it out, so I personally
20 believe that my proposals were not adopted. Because I had proposed
21 concrete measures, and this is a political document in which everything
22 is described in very general terms.
23 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I would now like to show you
24 document 5D1322, page 33 in B/C/S and page 32 of the English version.
25 Q. Before we get this document, it is the journal of the secretary
1 of President Karadzic, but before you look at it, you remember that
2 Directive Number 7 was dated the 8th of March 1995. And we've also seen
3 that it was sent on the 17th of March 1995. If you look at the top of
4 the page, you can see the date of the 15th March 1995. And then, we see
5 the date 16th of May, but I think everyone agrees that, in fact, it
6 should be the 16th of March 1995. One can verify this very easily.
7 If you look at this date, the 16th of March 1995, and the entry
8 for 1100 hours, you see, General Miletic [as interpreted], Tolimir, and
10 A. Yes, I see it, Your Honour.
11 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I wish to correct the transcript.
12 On page 77, line 5, it's "General Milovanovic."
13 Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. These persons, these generals, Milovanovic, Tolimir, and Subotic,
15 were they qualified to have a discussion with the president regarding the
17 A. Your Honours, I don't know where they were there at all, please
18 don't make me speculate. There is a Simic here, but that's not me, he's
19 Drago Simic. You can see him mentioned here from 1605.
20 Q. Yes, we know that it's General Milovanovic. There is the
21 abbreviation before his name.
22 A. That is true, we can see that it's generals Milovanovic, Tolimir,
23 and Subotic. They are all generals. But it doesn't say here what they
24 were doing.
25 Q. And this meeting lasted from 1100 hours, 1105, until 1505 hours,
1 that is what it says here -- 16. I'm sorry, I know that my next question
2 is hypothetical, but you have answered a lot of hypothetical questions
3 regarding the directive. According to your own experience, as a military
4 man, as a general, do you have any idea what these generals may have
5 discussed with General Karadzic on the eve of descending of Directive
6 Number 7?
7 A. Your Honours, probably about the conduct of the armed struggle.
8 If a state of war had been normally declared, they would have become
9 their advisors. I don't know whether he treated them now as his advisor.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Basically, Ms. Fauveau, we are in the sphere of
11 pure speculation, so let's move to something more concretely, please.
12 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation]
13 Q. You spoke of the assistant commanders of the Main Staff who moved
14 two units. What were the best means of commander General Mladic
15 [Realtime transcript read in error, "Milovanovic"] to know what the state
16 of those units were?
17 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] General Mladic, page 78, line 11.
18 A. You'll have to repeat the question now, because I got lost with
19 the transcript.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's try and speed it up, because it is obvious
21 that the witness is very tired.
22 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] I'm going to finish very soon, I
23 assure you, Mr. President.
24 Q. What were the best means for General Mladic to get acquainted
25 with the situation in his subordinate units?
1 A. Your Honours, the best way is personal insight, to go on site and
2 then no one can lie to you or mislead you or belittle the seriousness of
3 the situation or anything else. So the best way is to go there
4 personally and to see what's happening, and he did that very often.
5 Q. Could he, himself, personally go and visit all the units, always?
6 A. Your Honours, he even exaggerated. He went personally to
7 investigate the enemies. He had absolutely no fears in that respect. He
8 over-did things. I was responsible for his security while he was in my
9 zone of responsibility, but it was a great problem to secure his safety.
10 Q. Did he occasionally send his collaborators, his assistant?
11 A. Yes, he did, Your Honours, he would send his associates.
12 Q. Thank you very much, General. I have no further questions.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam Fauveau. Judge Kwon, do you
14 have any questions?
15 Questioned by the Court:
16 JUDGE KWON: General Simic, one of the answers you gave to
17 Mr. Thayer in the course of cross-examination drew my attention.
18 In answering the events that happened in Srebrenica in the
19 summer, you answered this way. It's page 51, line 11 to 14. You said, I
21 "Your Honours, for executions and the things that happened,
22 people heard about this much, much later, because it was covered with a
23 kind of veil of secrecy."
24 And then you said:
25 "And during my service, I heard all kinds of things, but I also
1 checked out all kinds of things."
2 What did you mean by that, that you checked out all kinds of
4 A. Your Honour, I can link my answer to the question by
5 Madam Fauveau. I get reports from the units, but I go and check them
6 out, too. That is what I had in mind. As for these events, my
7 possibilities were limited to check out those things.
8 JUDGE KWON: I understand that your testimony is that you didn't
9 know, you were not aware of the operation that happened in Srebrenica.
10 And you heard about those killings much, much later, but given your
11 position and rank, would it be correct for me to assume that you may have
12 some information with hindsight? Who did the killing and who did those
13 reburial? Are you in the position to answer that question?
14 A. Your Honour, I saw most of the information and reports about
15 these things in the foreign media. It appears to have been a taboo topic
16 amongst us in Republika Srpska. At the level of the Main Staff, an
17 analysis of the Srebrenica operation was never carried out so that we,
18 from the other bodies, did not know at all how the operation was carried
20 JUDGE KWON: What was your basis on your part when you
21 recommended withdrawal to General Mladic when you learned that indictment
22 had been issued?
23 A. Your Honour, when the indictment was issued, the president of the
24 republic, who was also indicted, and General Mladic, were required to
25 leave their positions because they had been indicted. In a military
1 career, regardless of the kind of application, whether it's criminal or
2 judicial proceeding, the person has to withdraw from his position until
3 the proceedings are completed.
4 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. All right. That, General, brings us to
6 the end of your testimony. You've been here quite a few days with us,
7 and you've been very patient with us as well. On behalf of the Trial
8 Chamber, I wish to thank you for having accepted to come over and give
9 evidence in this trial as a Defence witness for General Miletic. And on
10 behalf of everyone present here, I wish you a safe journey back home.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, it was an
12 honour for me.
13 [The witness withdrew]
14 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't suppose we can finalise the documents in
15 the remaining two or three minutes. Shall we leave them? Let's try,
17 Mr. Haynes.
18 MR. HAYNES: I suspect my list is the shortest. To my surprise,
19 I discover that P702 and P703 had not yet been admitted into evidence, so
20 I will do so through this witness unless anybody's got any objection.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Would there be an objection,
22 Ms. Fauveau?
23 MS. FAUVEAU: [Interpretation] No, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Josse.
25 MR. JOSSE: Could I invite, with no objection to that
1 application, could I invite the rest of these applications be put over to
2 tomorrow. We would like to see and review --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: All right --
4 MR. JOSSE: -- the lists of both the --
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Fair enough, fair enough. We accept the previous
7 Yes, Mr. Thayer.
8 MR. THAYER: We have no objection, Mr. President.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So those two can be admitted, because I
10 understand you, Mr. Josse, your reservation did not refer to those?
11 MR. JOSSE: Correct.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Correct. So those two documents, Mr. Haynes, are
13 being admitted. The rest we will deal with tomorrow when we reconvene in
14 the afternoon at 2.15. By the way, in case you are not aware, we will be
15 sitting in the afternoon tomorrow and Wednesday, but Thursday the sitting
16 is in the morning and not in the afternoon. All right? Thank you. We
17 stand adjourned until tomorrow morning -- afternoon at 2.15.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
19 1.45 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
20 the 25th day of November, 2008, at 2.15. p.m.