1 Thursday, 24 June 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning to everybody in the courtroom and
7 Could the witness be brought in, please.
8 [The witness takes the stand]
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning, sir. May I remind you that the
10 affirmation to tell the truth you made yesterday still applies.
11 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think Mr. Tolimir has some more questions for
14 Yes, Mr. Tolimir.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. May God
16 help this house and have peace in it and may God bless all of us who are
17 in this courtroom and those who are following these proceedings and may
18 these proceedings end as God wishes, not as I wish.
19 And I would like to say hello to the witness and wish him a
20 pleasant stay in The Hague.
21 I would like to show D50 in the e-court, please, thank you. We
22 will be looking at page 12 in the B/C/S and page 13 in the English,
23 paragraph 2, line 2.
24 Thank you.
25 WITNESS: LOUIS FORTIN [Resumed]
1 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir: [Continued]
2 Q. [Interpretation] We're looking at paragraph 2, line 2 where you
4 "On the 11th of June 1995 the two men were still at the Bare
5 post. We were thinking of abandoning our post at Krupac. Krupac was on
6 a road which led up to Igman to the former Olympic facilities. It was a
7 much shorter route to climb up Igman than the -- the Igman road. Smith
8 said that because our post was at the bottom of Krupac road, the Bosnians
9 would never allowed us to abandon that observation post."
10 I will put my question to you now, thank you. Sir, can you
11 please tell us why Smith said that they would never let you leave the OP
12 near Krupac. Thank you.
13 A. I believe because it suited their purpose. We provided the
14 security at the bottom of that road by being present. That's all I can
15 think of.
16 Q. Thank you. My question is: Were the Muslims concerned that if
17 the UNPROFOR left the Serbs would re-take the protected zone and take it
18 back under their control? Thank you.
19 A. That sounds fair.
20 Q. Thank you. Can you now look at page 12, please, line --
21 paragraph 2, paragraph 8. You say in paragraph 8 --
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter's note, we don't see the
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. The exception where the strategically located OPs which, if they
1 fell into the wrong hands, could turn against us. Krupac one of those
2 strategic OPs. Thank you.
3 Did I correctly read what you said in your statement?
4 A. I don't see it now.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, it would be helpful if you could
6 give the page and line number also in the English version for the sake of
7 the interpreters and for the witness and for the Chamber, to know where
8 you are reading from.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Can you please look at page 13 in the English. This is halfway
12 through the first paragraph. In the Serbian it is page 12, paragraph 2,
13 line 8. I repeat again:
14 "The exception were to be those OPs which were strategically
15 located and which, if they fell into the wrong hands, could be used
16 against us. Krupac was one of those strategically located OPs."
17 My question is: Have you found this in your statement and did
18 you say that?
19 A. Yes, I see it and this is what I said.
20 Q. Thank you. My question is: Why do you think that if it fell in
21 the hands of the Serbs it would fall into the wrong hands? Thank you.
22 A. Because as we were talking yesterday, at that time the best route
23 for us to resupply ourselves and for UNHCR to resupply the city were in
24 the hands of the Serbs, that was the sierra route, and we were prevented
25 from using it. Now we were caught in using a very low-capacity route
1 over Igman and sharing it with the Bosniaks. The Krupac OP was at the
2 bottom of a second access road to the top of Igman as opposed to the --
3 what I qualified yesterday the mule road going up the hill, the Krupac
4 road was paved and provided much better access. So if we lost that OP
5 which was protecting the bottom of the Krupac road to the Serbs, they
6 could prevent us from going up Igman that way, as they were preventing us
7 from using the other routes in and out of Sarajevo.
8 Q. Thank you. And can you now please look at paragraph 4 on page
9 12, line 3 or line 1. And in the English this would be the second
10 paragraph on page 13 where you say:
11 "On June 15, in a meeting with General Smith, Smith gave the
12 orders that the units which were to withdraw from the OPs were to shoot
13 if they were blocked during withdrawal. But then during this meeting,
14 Zagreb called and said that no force was to be used during the withdrawal
15 and to wait for the hostages to come back before we did anything."
16 My question is: Did the UNPROFOR command have a different
17 position than the UNPROFOR command in Sarajevo and the different stand
18 from the command in Zagreb on the use of force? Thank you.
19 A. Well, as you can see in the paragraph you just read, there was a
20 disagreement which was solved because the higher headquarters in Zagreb
21 gave an order. So that's it.
22 Q. Thank you. Please, can you now look at page 16 in the Serbian
23 and in the English it's probably page 17, paragraph number 2 on that
24 page, line number 1. In line number 1 you can see that -- this is page
25 17 in the English. Paragraph refers to the 8th of July, and you say that
1 the Serbs attacked the Dutch OP in Srebrenica. It was directly attacked
2 by the Serbs on July 8th.
3 "This was raised during a meeting between Gobillard and Nicolai
4 that day. The Dutch soldiers' withdrawal was hampered by a Bosnian
5 check-point. The Bosnians fired and a Dutch soldier was wounded in the
6 head and later died. They also damaged a Dutch vehicle by firing at it
7 and attracted fire on our TACP ..."
8 And then you continue in the penultimate sentence of this
10 "Gobillard insisted that the Bosnians be told that the act of
11 their soldiers was tantamount to a murder. The BH command was supposed
12 to prepare a letter to Delic with a copy to Salajdzic, for the signature
13 of General Gobillard."
14 I close my quote. Then we're going to move to paragraph 3, where
15 you say:
16 "General Nicolai called Pale to protest the Serb attack and
17 demanded they retreat. Tolimir said in reply that the Bosnians used UN
18 equipment and UN positions and that was why they attacked."
19 On the basis of what I read, is this -- were you able to see all
20 of that and did you state all of that?
21 A. Yes, I did state all of that in my statement, but no I was not
22 able to see it for myself because I was sitting at headquarters UNPROFOR
23 or BH command as we called it in Sarajevo, getting the -- this
24 information from various sources.
25 Q. Thank you. So on the basis of information from your sources you
1 wrote this, and you can see that it says in the statement that the
2 Muslims killed a Dutch soldier. Did the Serbs kill any soldiers in that
3 action? That is my question. Thank you.
4 A. No, not up to that point anyway.
5 Q. Thank you. And did the Muslims at that time attack the armoured
6 vehicles of UNPROFOR or was it the Serbs who did that? Thank you.
7 A. No, as it is stated in my statement, the Muslims, the Bosniaks,
8 did attack the Dutch armoured vehicle.
9 Q. Thank you. And does that correspond to what I told
10 General Gobillard, that Muslims used the weapons and that they attacked
11 the UNPROFOR check-point? Thank you.
12 A. I see what you mean -- your reply at that -- the Bosnians were
13 using UN equipment and UN positions. I don't believe that they had
14 access to Dutch equipment at that time, but they were closing in on Dutch
15 positions. So yes, you could say that they were close to or at UN
17 Q. Thank you. Can you please look at page 16 in the Serbian and
18 page 17 in the English. Can you look at paragraph 4, which begins with
19 the words "on the 9th of July ..." we're going to read the last two
20 sentences in that paragraph, last two sentences of that paragraph. I
22 "He said that he would speak to Akashi about the situation and
23 told us not to do anything other than to speak to Tolimir as soon as
24 possible. General Nicolai had talked to Tolimir earlier that day, in
25 order to secure Serb co-operation for the evacuation of the Dutch soldier
1 killed by the Bosnians."
2 Thank you. Did the Serb army provide that co-operation that you
3 talked about and was it possible to evacuate the Dutch soldier killed by
4 the Bosnians? Thank you.
5 A. I'm sorry, I don't recall events after what I wrote in the
7 Q. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Well, in any case you did
8 write that and that is that. I would now like to ask you to look at page
9 19 in the Serbian and page 20 in the English of your statement. The last
10 paragraph -- actually, it's page 21 in the English. The last paragraph
11 that begins with the words: "On July 19th ..."
12 Can you see that?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. I quote:
15 "On July 19th, Gobillard received a report from the Ukrainian
16 deputy sector commander that there had been a meeting that afternoon at
17 CP2 between Mladic and Tolimir and three members of the Bosnian local
18 civilian authority. The Serbs demanded total evacuation from the enclave
19 in the following order: Wounded; women and children; the elderly; men
20 between the ages of 18 and 55. They were to surrender their arms under
21 the control of the UN and their names would be registered. These were to
22 be held by the Serbs as prisoners of war until an all-for-all exchange
23 within some five to 15 days. Mladic apparently gave a 100 per cent
24 guarantee of their safety."
25 Do you see that? Thank you.
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 Q. We're going to move to the next paragraph and the third sentence
3 of that paragraph which said:
4 "Mladic apparently showed a document signed by him and
5 General Smith corroborating this accord."
6 Thank you. Now we're going to move to the seventh paragraph on
7 this page where it said:
8 "On the next day -- the sector liaison team had arrived on site
9 by the next day," this is 22 in English.
10 "It consisted of Viktor Bezruchenko and Ed Joseph who were the UN
11 civil affairs representatives and the detachment from the BH command and
12 the sector. Their convoy was detained at Rogatica for some time. On
13 July 22nd David Harland informed General Gobillard that Ed Joseph had met
14 Tolimir at Rogatica and spoke with him about the demilitariation of Zepa
15 under UNPROFOR's supervision and that Tolimir seemed interest. Gobillard
16 was interested in any opportunity to stabilise the situation, including
17 this option which was put forward by Harland."
18 Thank you. Did you understand all that I read and can you give
19 us any kind of explanation whether there were any obstructions on the
20 side of the Serbs in terms of this particular matter? Thank you.
21 A. Yes, I can see the text. Before I have to go back to the last
22 two paragraphs on the previous page that you read. For example, you say
23 that Mladic showed an agreement that had been signed by -- an agreement
24 between himself and Smith. Well, the following sentence says that there
25 was no such agreement. The only agreement that Smith had signed in the
1 recent past concerned a totally different issue.
2 Now, if we come back to the last paragraph you read. Okay.
3 On that issue I can't say that the -- based on that text that the
4 Serbs were obstructing, but if we look at the bigger picture not long
5 before the other enclave in Srebrenica had been evacuated with no UN
6 supervision. And we know that many thousands of men disappeared, never
7 to be seen again. So that's the situation UNPROFOR was at the time. We
8 could not trust that leaving men aged 18 to 55 in the hands of the Serbs,
9 that nothing would happen to them regardless of what Mladic was
11 Q. Thank you. That is your opinion about things. I would like to
12 ask you this -- actually, I'm going to read the following and then put a
13 couple of questions to you:
14 "On the 25th of July," and it goes on on the same page --
15 actually, it's page 22 in the English continuing on to where we were
16 reading from earlier.
17 "On July 25th, David Harland briefed us on an agreement signed at
18 Zepa between Rajko Kusic, commanding officer of the Rogatica Brigade and
19 Hamdija Torlak representing the civil authority in Zepa. The agreement
20 was vetted by Mladic and mediated by a Ukrainian lieutenant-colonel at
21 CP2. The agreement included an immediate cease-fire, immediate retreat
22 of Bosnian forces to the interior of the enclave, gathering of civilians
23 at the UNPROFOR base, the hand-over of arms in the presence of UNPROFOR,
24 hand-over of minefield maps, choice of where to live, choice of where to
25 live (for the civilians other than men between ages 18 and 55), and the
1 registration by the ICRC of men between the ages of 18 and 55 as
2 prisoners of war. General Gobillard later spoke with Muratovic, who
3 confirmed that the Bosnian government did not agree with the Serbs as
4 regards Zepa and that no evacuation could take place until the Bosnian
5 government had signed an agreement. This was communicated to
6 General Smith who was in Zepa at the time and who would attempt to meet
7 with the Bosnian authorities there."
8 My question is first: Can you please confirm whether it is
9 correct what is written in your statement; and second, according to this
10 agreement did the UNPROFOR have its place in the evacuation and was it
11 possible that the choice of where to live was given to the people
12 involved except for men between the ages of 18 and 55 who were possibly
13 members of the army? Thank you.
14 A. Well, what you read is part of my statement, so yes I said that.
15 And I reported that the events that were reported to us at the
16 headquarters Sarajevo. However, as you can see, the party in that
17 agreement, that local agreement at check-point 2, not all parties are
18 represented. So the agreement cannot be valid or cannot be enforced
19 unless all parties that will have a role in its enforcement agree to it.
20 And it later says that the Bosnian government does not agree. And if you
21 remember yesterday, a little later, I think it's the next day when
22 General Smith shows up, he tries to discourage the local Bosnian
23 representative to agree to anything because that agreement gives task to
24 UNPROFOR to offer certain guarantees. And General Smith clearly states
25 that UNPROFOR cannot offer those guarantees. So the agreement should not
1 be signed by the Bosnian representative based on UNPROFOR guarantees that
2 will never materialise.
3 Q. Thank you. Now kindly look at 1B170 [as interpreted] in e-court.
4 That is the agreement we discussed. And in the meantime the witness can
5 tell me: Did General Smith after consultations --
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Would you please repeat the number. I think it's
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] 1D170. Thank you.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. While we're waiting to see this agreement, can you tell me
12 whether General Smith, after receiving information from Sarajevo that
13 Muratovic did not agree with the agreement, conveyed to the Muslims what
14 Muratovic had said and that stopped the implementation of the agreement
15 by Muratovic and Smith, who practically refused their approval. And that
16 local Muslims and Rajko Kusic did sign the agreement with Mladic?
17 A. Yes, I understand. We discussed that yesterday. And the local
18 representative did sign the agreement with Mladic, even though
19 General Smith had discouraged him from signing that agreement. But again
20 we have to look at the larger picture. I said that all parties that had
21 a role in enforcing the agreement had to agree. So the Bosnian
22 government had to agree on where those thousands of people were going to
23 be sent. They can't just decide to go wherever they want if the
24 government is not able to provide them with shelter and food. So to have
25 the government, Bosnian government, who will be hosting those people,
1 those thousands of people, have to prepare to receive them. So they have
2 to be -- they have to be a party to that agreement and they were not.
3 Second thing, I say again, General Smith repeated that the
4 guarantees that were supposed to be provided by UNPROFOR in that
5 agreement, UNPROFOR could not provide those guarantees. We just didn't
6 have the resources to be able to ensure that everything that was promised
7 was in fact occurring as promised.
8 Q. Thank you. In the next paragraph you say:
9 "The evacuation of Zepa began that night. 21 Serb buses were
10 reported on route to Kladanj with Ukrainian escorts."
11 That means that the Muslims in Zepa had accepted the provisions
12 of the agreement, yes or no? Thank you.
13 A. Yes, they had. And again, like I said yesterday, I attended --
14 that came the next day, a meeting between Mladic and the representatives,
15 and they were afraid for their lives. So yes, they signed the agreement.
16 Q. Thank you. Can you now look at paragraph 7 of this agreement.
17 It says:
18 "In accordance with the Geneva Conventions ..."
19 Can you see that?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. "... Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the Additional Protocols
22 of 1977, the civilian population of Zepa shall be given the freedom to
23 choose their place of residence while hostilities continue."
24 Now, while you were in Zepa, did you have occasion to see a
25 single Muslim who made the request to stay in Zepa or to evacuate into a
1 third country?
2 A. No, I was not able to see it -- to see that or to talk to the
3 Bosnians in Zepa.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I kindly ask you to
6 admit this document into evidence.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be admitted.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] 1D170.
9 THE REGISTRAR: 1D170 will be Exhibit D51.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Now, Witness, could you please tell me if UNPROFOR soldiers
13 escorted the convoy and every bus in the convoy that evacuated Muslims to
14 Kladanj, as they had requested. Did they also escort columns of
15 pedestrians through the separation zone between Kladanj and the territory
16 controlled by Muslims on the one hand and the territory controlled by
18 A. Yes, the buses -- Serbian-provided buses that evacuated the
19 population from Zepa to Kladanj had UNPROFOR soldier on board. There was
20 one notable exception that I saw. I was delayed at the Serb road
21 check-point at Rogatica for 14 or 18 hours on the 26th, and we saw a
22 truck -- a dump truck with a tarp on top full of people. There was a
23 driver in the cab and no UNPROFOR soldier. So we -- the colonel --
24 French colonel who was with me, Colonel Chinouihl and I, we just stopped
25 the truck, opened the tarp, allowed the people to breathe a little bit,
1 and I remember there was an old lady who had been sitting with legs
2 crossed, she looked in very poor shape, had difficulty breathing, so we
3 had to help her out because she had difficulty uncrossing her legs. I'm
4 not sure how long she had been sitting in the back of that truck. It was
5 probably 50 degrees in there. So we just stopped the truck, allowed
6 these people to breathe, and one returning bus, a bus returning from
7 Kladanj with a number of Ukrainian soldiers on board, drove by. We
8 grabbed one soldier, put him on the truck, and then sent the truck again
9 on its way to Kladanj.
10 As for the escorting through the confrontation line, I don't know
11 about that part.
12 Q. Thank you. So these people you saw on the truck were on their
13 way to Kladanj, yes or no?
14 A. Yes, they were.
15 Q. Did they actually go to Kladanj?
16 A. Well, I did not accompany that truck, but I believe they did.
17 Q. Thank you. Have you read the report drafted by this gentleman I
18 just mentioned, this Bezruchenko and other civilian affairs officials
19 concerning their involvement in the escorting of the convoy and the
20 column, and are you familiar with the information provided by Bezruchenko
21 to Gobillard and the sector command?
22 A. I probably have read that report, but I cannot recall at the
23 moment what the -- what it said exactly.
24 Q. Thank you. Did they inform you that all the buses had UNPROFOR
25 escort and that all the citizens of Zepa who wanted to go to Muslim
1 territory had been listed?
2 A. Well, they may well have, but I don't recall exactly what that
3 report contained.
4 Q. Thank you. In the statement you go on to say that General
5 Smith - and that's page 27 in Serbian --
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please give us the reference, and we don't have
7 the statement on the screen at the moment. We need the reference.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we show again D50. I had
9 forgotten it was taken off the monitor. In Serbian it's page 27.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And in English?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Paragraph 5 in Serbian on page 27,
12 and in English it's 29, paragraph 5.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. I will just read to you the first two sentences.
15 "Generals Smith and Bachelet met with General Tolimir at Lukavica
16 on October 14, for an exchange of views and an explanation of the
17 position in which the Bosnian Serbs now found themselves, as
18 General Smith saw it. Tolimir accused us of partiality to the Bosnians
19 and complained that we wanted them to allow men of military age to travel
20 between Gorazde and Sarajevo, while the Muslim and Croat armies were
21 capturing their towns."
22 And then we move to page 26 in Serbian of this document, the last
23 paragraph; and that is the first paragraph on page 29 in English.
24 "In September, my assessment was that the Bosnian Serbs had
25 understood they had their backs to the wall. They had, in those recent
1 days after my return, been very disciplined. They were facing some
2 problems in command and communications following the air-strikes, but the
3 greater number of their heavy weapons had been removed from the Sarajevo
4 area. It seemed that the Bosnian authorities, on the other hand, were
5 taking advantage of the support received from the international community
6 and trying repeatedly to provoke reactions on the part of UNPROFOR or the
7 Bosnian Serbs."
8 Did I quote this correctly and did you really say that the
9 Bosnians were really acting in that way, as I myself described when I was
10 talking about that meeting with General Smith and the Muslim
12 A. Yes, this is what I said. However, what you were saying in a
13 previous meeting I have to read again.
14 Q. Thank you. If you need time to look at that passage again,
15 please go ahead. I quoted your own assessment as described in this
17 A. Well, not only my own assessment, but my reporting of what you
18 were saying. For example, you were saying, "Tolimir accused us of
19 partiality to the Bosnians and complained that we wanted them to allow
20 men of military age to travel between Gorazde and Sarajevo while the
21 Muslim armies were capturing their towns." This is not exactly what I'm
22 saying in the following paragraph that you read. However, I am saying
23 that now that you have removed your heavy weapons and you seem to realise
24 that there's not much more you can do to reduce those pockets, the two
25 remaining, Gorazde and Sarajevo, that the Bosniaks are taking advantage
1 and causing problems. And yes, they were every time they had a chance.
2 They did not make it easy for UNPROFOR to carry on its task.
3 Q. Thank you. Was it perhaps the air-strikes that were the basis of
4 that situation and the positions of the Army of Republika Srpska?
5 A. Yes, I would agree.
6 Q. Thank you. Now, could we move from the statement to another set
7 of questions. On page 128 -- on the basis of what you stated on page
8 182146 in the Popovic transcript, lines 22 through 25; and page 18247
9 lines 1 and 2, you say -- I quote to remind you and then I'll ask my
10 question. To the question of the Prosecutor, did you have -- what was
11 the position of General Tolimir in the VRS Main Staff? You answered:
12 "By that time and even today we know that he was in that level in
13 the army, but what his duties were I don't know, whether he was Mladic's
14 deputy or chief of intelligence. These are the two options that I have
15 in my mind."
16 Does the OTP know now which were Tolimir's responsibilities
17 during the war and do you know that?
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
19 MR. THAYER: That's wasting time, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: But we have --
21 MR. THAYER: Asking what the OTP's state of knowledge is. It's
22 quite clear from the indictment and every filing we've made in this case,
23 it's wasting time.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could we have that passage of P587 on the screen,
1 The page number is wrong I was told, Mr. Tolimir.
2 But, Mr. Tolimir, I think you should put questions to the witness
3 and not about the knowledge of the OTP. The witness is not the right
4 person to give evidence about that question. Please carry on.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
6 This trial is conducted on the basis of what the witness
7 testifies about the people who are on trial. We can see that on the
8 basis of General Gvero. He was tried for what he said, and now the
9 witness here says that Tolimir was either Mladic's deputy or chief of
10 intelligence. So I'm asking the witness if he knows what Tolimir
11 actually was, and he's supposed to state that before the Trial Chamber.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Just to clarify the situation, this is a quite
13 different question you are putting now to the witness. Could you
14 indicate where the reference should be found on the Popovic transcript.
15 The page number was wrong.
16 MR. THAYER: Mr. President.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer --
18 MR. THAYER: It's transcript page 18247, twice, lines 1 and 2;
19 and then again at lines 12 to 13 of 18247.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Now we have it on the screen. Thank you very
22 Please carry on.
23 No, sorry, Witness, could you answer the question.
24 THE WITNESS: Yes. I remember saying that at the time, and as
25 the Prosecutor just pointed out, I had basically the same two functions
1 as possibilities for General Miletic. But I have since reviewed my note.
2 I had a little table which -- where I kept and updated every now and then
3 the information. And there's a question mark between those two, but I
4 had General Tolimir as the chief of intelligence on the main VRS army
5 staff. But I was not sure at the time.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
7 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I thank Mr. Thayer for his
9 assistance in giving us a reference.
10 And I thank the witness.
11 Could we first show P581, page 18252.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. You talk about the talks between Gobillard and Gvero, and you
14 made a note of that exchange between them, and this note is P581. Could
15 you look at page now -- 18252, lines 16 to 20. I quote:
16 "General Gvero spoke in his own language. There was a British
17 interpreter translating from Serbian to English. I translated from
18 English to French to Gobillard. He would say something and then I would
19 translate his answer from French into English and then the other
20 interpreter would translate into Serbian. That's how the conversation
22 Now, my question is: Is it possible that through all these
23 interpretations from one language into two others there may be a
24 distortion or a misinterpretation of what people actually said?
25 A. Actually, during that trial an intercept made by the Bosniaks of
1 that same conversation where only General Gvero's words could be heard
2 and not the other party, which was us, the interpreter and Gobillard and
3 myself. I was able to compare. Now, normally when I attended meetings
4 the interpreter was involved in translating directly in French, so I was
5 only -- I was taking notes as the meeting occurred. In that case,
6 however, the translation from Serbian -- was from Serbian to English,
7 then I had to translate in French to General Gobillard, so I was not able
8 to take notes as the things unfolded. So I made a summary, the document
9 we just showed was a summary, that I did immediately after. And when I
10 compared it to the intercept done by the Bosniaks, of course there were
11 differences because the intercept was word-to-word; but honestly, I did
12 not find any major discrepancies in the meaning. So my summary was not
13 bad; that's my judgement.
14 Q. Thank you. Since you just mentioned a conversation allegedly
15 intercepted by the Muslims, and this Trial Chamber and the OTP also had
16 occasion to see that intercept, is it the case that General Gvero said
17 then that there should be no shelling in Srebrenica and that there should
18 be no new crisis like the one involving hostages and that killing brings
19 nothing good to either of the warring parties or the UNPROFOR and that
20 that -- all that should be avoided?
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
22 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, it might be helpful to show either of
23 the two documents to which General Tolimir's referring if he's going to
24 be making claims about what General Gvero said in the conversation to see
25 what the basis of the claim is. It would be helpful, I think, to show
1 the document to help the witness.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. This is a good proposal.
3 Could you give the reference and we can have it up on the screen.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] P581 is the document which contains
5 the report of this witness about the talk between General Gvero and
6 General Gobillard, and the witness made this report after interpreting
7 for them at that meeting. I wanted to ask him if he remembered what
8 Gvero said, if he remembered. But if he doesn't remember, we can look at
9 the document. He saw this document, I suppose, in his proofing five days
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Thank you. Witness, can you remember anything from that
13 conversation between Gvero and Gobillard about the bombing in Srebrenica
14 and any views and standpoints that were expressed?
15 A. I can read the document now. This is July 11, 1995, during the
16 Srebrenica crisis when General Gobillard is acting commander UNPROFOR in
17 the absence of General Smith, and I read, for example, that General Gvero
18 says our army never attacked UNPROFOR. Well, when I got to Sarajevo
19 in -- on May 15th, 1995, the French already had suffered 21 dead, many to
20 Serb sniping in Sarajevo. So you can say all you want, the reality was
21 different. At that time we were trying to bring food into the city for
22 the population, of course -- but even for ourselves. And we were --
23 UNPROFOR soldiers were driving trucks down Mount Igman and getting
24 shelled by Serb weapons and getting injured and killed. And a big issue
25 or an issue that came back repeatedly at that trial concerning Srebrenica
1 was that whenever we talk to a senior Serb officer, it was clear that he
2 was stalling, stalling, buying time, saying all sorts of things to make
3 sure that while we were fumbling, UNPROFOR was fumbling trying to figure
4 out what exactly was going on, the various information coming in the heat
5 of the action from the Dutch, from the Bosnian government, from the Serb
6 generals we were talking to, while we were fumbling with that information
7 we were not doing anything and the Serbs were pressing on, pressing on to
8 reduce the Srebrenica enclave. That was an issue that came out clearly
9 during that trial.
10 Q. Thank you. I asked you about Srebrenica. I didn't interrupt
11 you. You stated your view on Sarajevo. Are you sure that those French
12 soldiers that you referred to who were victims died from sniper bullets
13 by the Serbs and was it investigated? Was it ever discovered who killed
14 those soldiers? Was there any investigation into how those French
15 soldiers were dying? Who was killing them? Is there a statement by
16 General Gobillard or something saying that those soldiers were killed by
17 Muslims? And then we're going to move to this question about Srebrenica
18 when you respond to this part of the question. Thank you.
19 A. Well, sir, we did talk about Srebrenica earlier, when I answered
20 that, yes, the Bosniaks had killed a Dutch soldiers while he was
21 initially injured and died of his wounds; and yes, they had attacked an
22 armoured vehicle. And no, at that point the Serbs had not attacked. But
23 I'm saying that it's the same country, the same theatre of operations for
24 UNPROFOR, the same war for all those involved. So when a Serb general
25 says: We do not attack UNPROFOR. I say, well, the French already had
1 many dead, many to Serb sniping. How many, I don't know. I can tell you
2 they had accidental death. One French soldier backed his truck into his
3 own mines in one case, so he died, that was an accident. But I know of
4 many who were killed by Serb sniping; how many, I don't. But that was my
6 Q. Thank you. You were fair and you were defending the UNPROFOR
7 position which any soldier would do. But in your statement you said --
8 you used the term each of your collocutors was buying time. Are you
9 aware that it's -- those very words are part of the judgement in the case
10 against General Gvero in which he's charged with buying time in
11 conversations that he had with UNPROFOR representatives during the
12 activities in Srebrenica. So this was considered a war crime, the words
13 he said, what he was thinking. I understand that you would be able to
14 defend your position legally, but are you aware that your words were part
15 of the judgement in the case against General Gvero which was issued a few
16 days [as interpreted] ago. Thank you?
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
18 MR. THAYER: I think the time has come to show more relevance to
19 the General's questions. We spent a lot of time on Mount Igman
20 yesterday, close to an hour; and now we are talking about a judgement in
21 another case, concerning other accused, which again is wasting time,
22 Mr. President.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, it is up to the accused to put
24 questions to the witness.
25 The problem of the last question is that it was in fact no
1 question but part of a debate, and we are not here in the parliament or
2 at another place for a political debate, but we are in the courtroom.
3 And every party should put questions to a witness. This is the main task
4 of everybody here in the courtroom.
5 Please focus on this witness and his knowledge and ask questions.
6 Please carry on.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I have
8 the best intention to put questions on the basis of what the witness
9 said. Perhaps I was wrong, but earlier he did say they were buying time,
10 all of those who were talking. This is why I was putting these questions
11 to him. Yesterday I was putting questions on Igman --
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please, no discussion. Please, no discussion
13 with the Chamber about these questions. I gave you some guidance and
14 please continue your questioning with the witness.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Witness, sir, what I asked you yesterday about Igman and the
18 demilitarised zone on Igman, does that demilitarised zone on Igman have
19 the same status as any other demilitarised zone that was established in
20 the area where you were as a member of the United Nations? Thank you.
21 A. I'm not sure exactly what you mean "the same status as any other
22 demilitarised zone that was established in the area where you were as a
23 member of the United Nations."
24 Do you mean other missions that I may have attended or other safe
1 Q. Thank you. Thank you. We will clarify. In your area where the
2 sector command was in Sarajevo, there was a demilitarised zone. It was
3 supposed to be Sarajevo. It got the status of a protected zone, and the
4 Serbs returned to UNPROFOR control the demilitarised zone in Igman,
5 through which you travelled on the road that you mentioned yesterday, as
6 you explained yesterday. Is that correct or not? Thank you.
7 A. Yes, it's correct.
8 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us, if you know, when you
9 arrived did you read anything about how that demilitarised zone came
10 about? Thank you.
11 A. Probably, but I cannot recall the specifics.
12 Q. Thank you. Do you perhaps remember that the Muslims misused in
13 October 1994 that protected area in Igman, and from that protected areas
14 they attacked the Serbian village of Cakre [phoen], which is on the
15 outskirts of that zone, and in that village they killed eight persons?
16 Were you able to find reports about this among the papers when you came
17 to your post? Thank you.
18 A. No, I'm not aware of those events. They were seven, eight months
19 before I arrived, and I did not have time to go back and read older files
20 because as soon as I arrived the offensive -- Bosniak offensive was on,
21 then the hostage crisis, et cetera, et cetera. So I'm not aware of
22 events prior to my arrival.
23 Q. Thank you. I won't put any more questions about that then, but
24 yesterday we saw that the demilitarised zone was misused and that the
25 Muslims used it for military transcripts. Thank you.
1 Can we now please look at P585, page 43 in the English and 49 in
2 the Serbian. Thank you.
3 MR. THAYER: Mr. President.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes.
5 MR. THAYER: Pursuant to the Rule 70 conditions placed upon this
6 document, any discussion of the diary needs to be in private session and
7 the document needs to be not broadcast, please.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It is a document under seal?
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. We're going to move to
10 private session when I put the question.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Can you just please tell the Chamber who General Bildt is and
13 who --
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I have to stop you. First we have to go into
15 private session.
17 [Private session]
11 Pages 3163-3164 redacted. Private session.
18 [Open session]
19 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 Can we look at Exhibit 1D179. This is an order of the Chief of
22 Staff of the 2nd Corps Sulejman Budakovic of the 17th of June,
23 2006 [sic], issued to the command of the 28th Division, and the title of
24 the document is: "Order for the Preparation for Offensive Combat
25 Operations." Thank you.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. We can see this on our screen, you can see it in the English, and
3 it says:
4 "Pursuant to a verbal order issued by the commander of the
5 General Staff of the B and H Army, army General Rasim Delic, and on the
6 occasion of the great success achieved by units of B and H Army in the
7 wide area around Sarajevo and Gorazde (of which we notified you" in such
8 and such a document on the basis of such and such document) "as well as
9 on the basis of intelligence of the aggressor forces, command of the
10 'Protection Regiment' in Han Pijesak, is holding part of its units in
11 reserve to intervene in the event of an attack by our [indiscernible]
12 from Zepa. I hereby issue the following order:
13 "1. Execute all preparations in the command of the 28th land/army
14 division to execute offensive combat operations with a view to liberating
15 the territory of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina overextending
16 the" --
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please slow down while reading.
18 It's impossible to catch it for the interpreters. Please carry on.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I thought they were also using the
20 document and that's why I speeded up, but now I'm going to slow down.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. "... with a view to liberating the territory of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina, overextending the A/S and inflicting losses, co-ordinating
24 action with the B and H Army forces, carrying out operations in the
25 broader Sarajevo area.
1 "2. Plan realistic tasks which will assure certain success on the
2 basis of an accurate assessment and the potential of our forces in
3 Srebrenica and Zepa.
4 "3. The General Staff of the B and H Army will regulate by an
5 order the commencement of offensive combat activities in the zone of
6 responsibility of the 28th Division."
7 Thank you. My question to you would be: Based on what we have
8 just read and what you have heard interpreted, did the UNPROFOR command
9 have intelligence information about the activities of the B and H Army
10 from the Srebrenica and Zepa areas? Thank you.
11 A. I don't think we did in the -- of course I've never seen that
12 document before.
13 Q. Thank you. This order by the Main Staff of the B and H Army on
14 offensive actions from protected areas with forces in protected areas
15 refer to what General Gobillard talked about to Mr. Bildt when he
16 informed him about ongoing attempts by Muslims to carry out attacks over
17 the 20-day period that he referred to. Thank you.
18 [Defence counsel confer]
19 THE WITNESS: If I may, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes.
21 THE WITNESS: In the text we saw before General Gobillard was
22 talking about what he was seeing every morning and not about what the
23 Bosniak army was planning, and what he was seeing with the attacks from
24 the Bosniaks trying to break out of Sarajevo.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Thank you. I'm going to quote to you again the sentence that I
2 read out first in private session --
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, it's not necessary always to read
4 the documents. We have them on the screen. The witness can look at it.
5 I think sometimes it's a waste of time to read and read and read whole
6 passages of transcripts or documents. Just put a question to the
8 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you. But the report
11 that is given by Mr. Gobillard to Mr. Bildt -- I mean, this was in
12 private session. Can I put a question in open session.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. He said:
15 "It is my personal opinion that they are deliberately attacking
16 many --"
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Stop.
18 I think in that case we should go back into private session.
20 [Private session]
11 Page 3169 redacted. Private session.
10 [Open session]
11 THE REGISTRAR: We're now in open session.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please answer the question now, sir.
13 THE WITNESS: That would be pure speculation on my part, to
14 assess exactly what was going on at the political level, particularly the
15 Bosniak political level. I was not privy to discussions at that level.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Thank you. Can you explain to us what the words mean, "avoid
18 capturing terrain too quickly while maintaining the tactical initiative
19 and the status of victim." Thank you.
20 A. Again, I was writing up the report that General Gobillard was
21 making to Mr. Bildt, so those were his words. It would be speculation to
22 try to interpret exactly what he had in mind, but I may speculate a
23 little bit. If the Bosniaks were too successful too quickly, perhaps the
24 international community would not be as inclined to provide more help.
25 Q. Thank you. Did the UNPROFOR on its part ever contribute to
1 achieving a peaceful solution between the two warring parties directly
2 without interfering into internal affairs, either in the Republic of the
3 B&H, the Republika Srpska, or the third entity controlled by the Croats?
4 A. Well, from my point of view as a major in a multi-national
5 military force, a peacekeeping force, I certainly think that UNPROFOR
6 with little means was doing its best to try to contribute to the peace
7 between the warring parties.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, is this perhaps a convenient time
9 for the first break?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
12 Sir, we must have the first break now and we will resume at
14 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
15 --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please continue.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Could we show again the same document that we were reading in
19 closed session, that's P858 [as interpreted], because the Prosecution
20 won't let us read it in open session. Now we need page 44 in the
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think it is not the right number. It should be
23 P585 under seal. It should not be broadcast. And if you are putting
24 questions on the content, you should indicate that and we can go into
25 private session.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. It's actually 585 and
2 if the Prosecution wants it to be in private session, then let us move
3 into private session.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private.
5 [Private session]
11 Page 3173 redacted. Private session.
9 [Open session]
10 THE REGISTRAR: We're now in open session.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we show 1D182. The title is
12 "Report About Combat Results of the Units and Commands of the 2nd Corps
13 of the BH Army." It was issued by Sead Delic, and it speaks of the
14 combat activities of the 28th Division from Srebrenica and Zepa, namely,
15 that many -- or rather, a number of sabotage actions had been carried out
16 and describes their purpose. Thank you.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. We can see it on the screens now. I will read the first part of
19 the paragraph of this order issued by the corps commander Sead Delic. It
20 says, and I quote:
21 "The soldiers of the 28th Ground Forces Division located in
22 Srebrenica and Zepa, although completely encircled and facing major
23 problems related to survival and the obligation to protect the free
24 territory, decided to contribute as much as possible to the fight against
25 the aggressor and stepped up their activities behind the lines in the
1 temporarily occupied territory," meaning the territory of Republika
3 And I will quote the last sentence of this paragraph.
4 "With this aim, a series of successful sabotage actions were
5 carried out deep in the temporarily occupied territory where the
6 following results were achieved:
7 "60 Chetniks were liquidated, and according to unconfirmed
8 reports the aggressor suffered even greater losses and had many men
10 "16 automatic rifles, three M-72 light machine-guns, one M-53
11 light machine-gun, one carbine, two radio stations, three pistols, 5.000
12 bullets, and dozens of heads of cattle and small livestock were seized,
13 and one van was destroyed."
14 Now I'm reading from another passage.
15 "After these actions of our forces, the aggressor increased the
16 concentration of its own forces around Srebrenica and Zepa and stopped
17 sending fresh troops from these areas to the Sarajevo front, so the aim
18 of our actions has been achieved."
19 I won't quote any more from this, but the signature below is
20 Commander Brigadier Sead Delic.
21 My question is: Can it be seen from this document that the corps
22 had ordered units in Srebrenica and Zepa to carry out offensive actions
23 against the territory of Republika Srpska, which the enemy considers
24 temporarily occupied territory and does it mean that they want to capture
25 this territory, make it no longer temporarily occupied?
1 A. Well, the document does say that the Bosniak soldiers had orders
2 to conduct raids in Serb-occupied areas, but it doesn't say that they
3 wanted to make it no longer temporarily occupied. It doesn't specify
4 that. It specifies, however, that by keeping Serb VRS forces occupied
5 around those enclaves, that reinforcements could not be sent to Sarajevo,
6 which makes sense from their point of view.
7 Q. Thank you. Would you now look at the last sentence of the first
8 paragraph where it says in those terms, temporarily occupied territory,
9 the acronym is PZT, and tell me as a soldier what does "temporarily
10 occupied territory" mean? Does it mean that it is only a provisional
11 status that would change later?
12 A. Well, it would seem that they believe so, that it was temporarily
13 occupied, that it should not have been and that it would eventually
14 revert to its former status.
15 Q. Thank you. But its former status was part of the
16 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia before Bosnia separated from it. They
17 wanted to revert it not to the federal Yugoslavia, but under the command
18 of the BH Army which seceded from Yugoslavia. Is that so?
19 A. I guess so.
20 Q. Thank you. From the representatives of the VRS and from
21 General Mladic, did the UNPROFOR command and your sector receive any
22 information that Muslims are mounting attacks, capturing villages,
23 seizing livestock, that they have killed people and soldiers? Did you
24 find out about that from them?
25 A. Yes, we did. I'm not sure when our headquarters, for example,
1 knew about those events. I personally became aware at the time that the
2 VRS were attacking Srebrenica to reduce that enclave, that the Bosniaks
3 had been conducting raids in nearby Serb villages.
4 Q. Thank you. So you learned that when the VRS began to separate
5 these enclaves which were acting in accordance with this order, yes or
7 A. At about that time, yes.
8 Q. Thank you. In the transcript on page 18318 -- rather, let me
9 first tender this document that is on the screen now, which is 1D182.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D52.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And let me ask you, Mr. Tolimir, what about the
13 previous document, 1D179, are you tendering that?
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I tender it as well.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
16 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D53.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. On transcript page 18318, lines 16 through 19, you were answering
20 a question from one of the Defence counsel, I quote:
21 "Isn't it true that Zepa was supposed to be demilitarised in
22 1993?" That is the question of the Defence counsel.
23 And you answer:
24 "I don't know all that had gone on before May 1995, before I
25 arrived, and I cannot say with any certainty."
1 And when speaking about Sarajevo on page 18303 you gave your view
2 and you said the following. I quote:
3 "I referred to the fact that demilitarisation means that heavy
4 weaponry is under UN control in depots for weapons, but not all types of
5 weapons. It was impossible to do on both sides."
6 My question is: According to you, does demilitarisation only
7 mean placing the weaponry of both parties under UN control, or does it
8 have another meaning under the Geneva Conventions?
9 A. Well, it may well have another meaning, but as I said earlier
10 UNPROFOR did not have the means to effect complete demilitarisation
11 without the active participation of the parties who agreed to that
12 agreement. And the parties did not respect their agreements, always with
13 the accusation that the other party was not. But sometimes the Bosniaks
14 would start, sometimes the Serbs would start, but for UNPROFOR to be able
15 to go through, for example, in Sarajevo all the houses and make sure that
16 no weapons existed at all in Sarajevo, it was impossible. So we had to
17 rely on the goodwill of the parties.
18 Q. Thank you. Thank you very much. You are talking about absolute
19 capacities of the UNPROFOR.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now show Exhibit D21. It's
21 the agreement on demilitarisation signed by General Ratko Mladic and
22 Sefer Halilovic in the presence of General Morillon, who also co-signed
23 this agreement as a witness and who was then UNPROFOR commander. And
24 there are certain provisions of the agreement relating to the UNPROFOR.
25 Can we now have it in e-court, D21.
1 Can we see the next page in Serbian. This is just the cover
2 page. Thank you.
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Now you see the text of the agreement, in English as well. Can
5 you tell us in this text about demilitarisation, which is Article 1, does
6 it read:
7 "Demilitarise the areas of Srebrenica and Zepa ..."
8 And below:
9 "The demilitarised areas will include the area within the current
10 lines of conflict. The precise boundaries will be marked by the UNPROFOR
11 commander on the ground after consultations.
12 "At a later stage contracting parties can agree, verbally or in
13 writing, to enlarge the demilitarised zone."
14 Article 2:
15 "On the ground the demilitarised zone shall be marked by UNPROFOR
16 by means of boards on which it is stated in English, Serbian, and
17 Bosnian, written in Cyrillic and Latin as follows ..."
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And can we see the next page.
19 Thank you.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. There's no need to read all of the agreement, not to waste time.
22 My question is: Under this agreement was the zone supposed to be
23 demilitarised and marked as such by the UNPROFOR with boards and signs?
24 A. That's what it says. But I'd like to come back to the first
25 paragraph of that agreement on the first page. The first paragraph says
1 as a precondition to all those articles of the demilitarised agreement:
2 "Confirming their will to establish peace within the territory of
3 Bosnia and Herzegovina as stated in the agreement between contracting
4 parties concluded on 8 May 1993 ..."
5 Well, both parties as of May 1995 when I arrived, anyway, showed
6 regularly that they were not confirming any will to establish peace;
7 quite the contrary. I don't know what happened between 8 May 1993, the
8 date this document was signed, and when I arrived or what the UN did, but
9 certainly when I arrived neither party showed any will to go to peace.
10 So if the preconditions do not exist, UNPROFOR cannot execute articles
11 related to its actions.
12 Q. Thank you. I'm asking you whether Zepa and Srebrenica were
13 demilitarised and whether there were any attacks originating from these
14 areas against the territory of Republika Srpska which, as we just saw,
15 the BH Army called temporarily occupied zone?
16 A. Well, sir, I've already answered the question. Zepa and
17 Srebrenica were not fully demilitarised and the Bosniaks did attack into
18 Serb-held zone.
19 Q. Thank you. Do you know that Article 60 of the Geneva Conventions
20 states in item 7:
21 "If one side to the conflict materially violates the provisions 3
22 or 6, the other side will be released from its duties from the agreement
23 granting its side the status of a demilitarised zone."
24 My question is -- and then it goes on to say:
25 "In that case, the zone would be deprived or would lose its
2 In the attacks on the Army of Republika Srpska, did Srebrenica
3 materially violate the demilitarisation agreement and could it have lost
4 the status of a demilitarised zone given to it by the Army of Republika
5 Srpska by the signing of the agreement, and was the Serbian army still
6 duty-bound to respect the agreement in view of the fact that they were
7 subjected to attacks from Srebrenica?
8 A. Well, your first question is -- and no I was not aware of the
9 detail of that article of the Geneva Convention. But as I said a little
10 earlier, both parties accused each other of breaking the agreement to
11 justify their next action. What we don't see here in the -- what you're
12 showing me, sir, is what the Serbs were doing. In this case, the
13 enclaves were supposed to be resupplied regularly by UNHCR, and this was
14 not happening smoothly always due to Serb intervention. So people in
15 those enclaves which were holding about double the number of people that
16 they had before the war started were not fed regularly.
17 Q. Thank you. The Trial Chamber will hear about that through other
18 witnesses. I'm asking you whether you as a military assistant in charge
19 of the duties that you were carrying out in UNPROFOR are able to tell
20 this Trial Chamber what were the duties of the Muslim side in relation to
21 demilitarised areas and zones in Zepa and Srebrenica pursuant to this
22 Article 60 that I read of the Additional Protocols of the Geneva
23 Conventions. Thank you.
24 A. Well, the Bosniak side were to respect their side of the
25 agreement, provided that the Serb side respected their side of the
1 agreement; or as Article 60 points out, the agreement is no longer valid,
2 or words to that effect.
3 Q. Thank you. I asked you the question in relation to Article 60
4 that I read from the I Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions.
5 Whether Zepa committed a material violation when it attacked the
6 surrounding areas and the army that had given them the status of a
7 demilitarised zone, and does that then release the forces that
8 acknowledged this demilitarised zone from respecting the status of a
9 demilitarised zone? Thank you.
10 A. Well, sir, you want me to tell the Court that the Bosniaks in
11 Srebrenica and Zepa violated the agreement, thus according to Article 60
12 you, the VRS, were justified to do what you did. But I cannot do that
13 because I don't know who started first, and both parties were saying that
14 the other party broke the agreement first.
15 Q. Thank you. I read to you from this document 1D182, where you can
16 see that the 28th Division is being ordered by the corps command to
17 attack the Army of Republika Srpska in order to re-route their actions in
18 Sarajevo. Can you respond to this question: Could Zepa and Srebrenica
19 be in a position to attack the Army of Republika Srpska if they had been
20 attacked? They were not attacked at the time, and this is why they were
21 able to carry out their sabotage actions, yes or no? Thank you.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
23 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, first of all, that's about four
24 questions that I think really need to be broken down individually in
25 order to make any sense of where the General might be going with this
1 line of questions, and specifically because he's asking for a yes or no
2 answer. I think to be fair to the witness we need to take this one step
3 at a time.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed. This was a quite complicated question.
5 It is not possible to answer it "yes" or "no."
6 Are you able to answer the question in your way?
7 THE WITNESS: I can answer part of it and part I've already
8 answered I believe.
9 And, sir, I do not dispute what I'm reading, the order to the
10 28th Division. What I'm saying is if you are saying that because the
11 Bosniaks were conducting raids that justifies your attack on Srebrenica
12 after the fact because you did not attack first, what I was saying
13 earlier is perhaps not -- perhaps you did not attack first considering
14 those raids, those Bosniak raids into Serb-held territory. But you
15 prevented the amount of food agreed upon to come in. So the Bosniaks
16 were saying: Well, we had to feed ourselves and it's not coming in
17 because the Serbs are blocking it so we're going to help ourselves. So
18 each party is invoking the same act -- action -- first action by the
19 other party to justify its own actions.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Thank you. I didn't ask you for anything else than to reply to
22 the question whether this provision of Article 60 which I quoted, in case
23 one side committed material violations of the agreement, then that would
24 release the other side, et cetera, et cetera, was that article known to
25 the UNPROFOR commands and structures that were overseeing the
1 demilitarisation of Zepa and Srebrenica? Thank you.
2 A. Well, there certainly were advisors who were knowledgeable about
3 all of these issues within the UNPROFOR structure that knew about it,
5 Q. Thank you. And can you just answer this question of mine: You
6 in the command structures of UNPROFOR in Sarajevo that oversaw the
7 activities in Zepa and Srebrenica, did you and General Gobillard know
8 about information that attacks were being carried out from Zepa and
9 Srebrenica against the neighbouring area against the Army of Republika
10 Srpska? Thank you.
11 A. I've already answered that, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed.
13 You should proceed, Mr. Tolimir.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Since you've answered my question, can you respond to the
17 following question once we look at P592.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we show the witness P592,
19 please, page 10 in the Serbian and this would be page 6 in the English.
20 This is a document by General Janvier of the 10th of July, 1995, sent to
21 several addressees, including the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.
22 [Microphone not activated]
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. The Bosnian Serbs - I'm quoting General Janvier -
25 "The Bosnian Serbs could halt their advance pending a number of
1 conditions. The complete demilitarisation of the enclave will probably
2 be their highest priority. This would also serve their primary goal of
3 freeing troops from around the enclave.
4 "The BiH will continue to try to block DutchBat in their opes or
5 in positions in front of the BiH. This will involve the use of force.
6 They can collocate with the UN positions to use them as human shields.
7 This might provoke a reaction from the BSA, with a risk for UN personnel
8 to get caught in cross-fire between both factions. The BiH is likely to
9 attempt to capture weapons and vehicles from DutchBat to compensate for
10 their lack of armament."
11 My question to you is: What was this assessment based on, that
12 the Serbs could hold their advance in the event that the enclave is
13 demilitarised? Thank you.
14 A. Well, I don't know for sure. General Janvier was in Zagreb, so
15 it's based on information he was getting. And Srebrenica was under the
16 responsibility of Sector North -- Sector North-West. And
17 General Gobillard and I were only involved for two and a half days when
18 General Smith was away.
19 Q. Thank you. My second question is: Did the UNPROFOR and your
20 command that was not actually in charge of Zepa and Srebrenica, at any
21 point in time before this matter that General Janvier is talking about,
22 review the question of the demilitarisation of Zepa and Srebrenica as a
23 final solution of the issue of the Zepa and Srebrenica enclaves?
24 A. I really don't know. I really don't know if it was an issue that
25 was considered at a higher level.
1 Q. Thank you. My next question is: Did you personally as a
2 military assistant or did your superior, General Gobillard, have the
3 obligation to implement the demilitarisation of Zepa and Srebrenica and
4 to act in accordance with the provisions of the UN Resolution 824 of the
5 8th of May and from Resolution 836 of the 4th of July, 1993? Thank you
6 very much.
7 A. Again, it's not so simple. As I mentioned a few times, the UN --
8 UNPROFOR is a peacekeeping force. Its ability to operate with limited
9 resources depends on the goodwill of the two parties, and in the
10 particular case of Srebrenica, you yourself, sir, showed me documents
11 that show -- that demonstrate clearly that both parties have military
12 aims. The Bosniaks want to remain in those pockets to keep the Serbs
13 busy while they try to break out to Sarajevo. The Serbs want to get rid
14 of those pockets, preferably by the UN disarming them so that they can
15 concentrate more troops in other areas of the territory. So none of the
16 two parties are interested in making peace. They're mainly interested in
17 carrying out what started in the war initially. So UNPROFOR cannot act
18 in such a context and enforce agreements by itself. That is why in fact
19 that a much larger, better-equipped force came in December 1995 and the
20 peace arrived by force, because that new force, NATO, could enforce it.
21 UNPROFOR was not able to do what is listed in those agreements without
22 the participation and goodwill of the two parties, which did not exist.
23 Q. Thank you. Can you please reply to this question: Would it have
24 been easier for UNPROFOR had the zones been demilitarised and had it been
25 impossible to carry out attacks out from them? I'm not asking you what
1 would have been in the interest of the parties. What I'm asking you is
2 what would have been in the interest of UNPROFOR. Thank you.
3 A. What was in the interests of UNPROFOR was that the two parties
4 respected the agreements that they had between themselves so that
5 UNPROFOR could do its job and maintain peace while diplomacy did its job
6 to reach a more fully encompassing agreement. Now, if it had been easier
7 for UNPROFOR had the zones been demilitarised is pure speculation. What
8 would thus liberated Serb forces be engaged in and what would be then the
9 problem for UNPROFOR, I don't know. I can -- pure speculations.
10 Q. Thank you. Since this is what you say, I would now like to again
11 show Exhibit P592, page 10 in the Serbian, and this is page 6 in the
12 English. Actually, it's not that document. I made a mistake. It's the
13 following document, P585. Thank you. P585. We need to show this
14 document in private session at the request of the Prosecution, so kindly
15 can we show this document in private session. Thank you.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private.
17 [Private session]
11 Pages 3188-3192 redacted.
18 [Open session]
19 THE REGISTRAR: We're now in open session.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. If you can give me brief answers, I would appreciate it because
22 our time is limited. Was the UNPROFOR an armed formation?
23 A. Well, UNPROFOR, as you know, is a UN-mandated mission composed of
24 troops coming from various contributing countries and they're sending
25 military troops with their own personal weapons. So generally lightly
1 armed formation, yes.
2 Q. Thank you. During the war in the former Yugoslavia, was the
3 UNPROFOR duty-bound to abide by the Geneva Conventions and the
4 international rules of warfare?
5 A. Yes, like all parties, but UNPROFOR was not at war.
6 Q. Thank you. Did members of the UNPROFOR bear distinguishing
7 emblems that were visible from a distance?
8 A. Yes, blue berets, blue helmet, white vehicles with "UN" painted
9 on them, white observations posts or check-points with "UN" painted on
11 Q. Were members of the UNPROFOR engaged in areas of combat
12 activities whether or irrespective of whether these zones were defending
13 themselves or attacking?
14 A. Well, according to the UN mandate, UNPROFOR troops were
15 authorised to use force in some circumstances, proportional force.
16 Q. Thank you. Does that also apply to the Vrbanja bridge that you
17 had the right to use force as ordered by the general, and then when there
18 were casualties on both sides -- and then the Serbs took over the bridge
19 without any casualties? Wasn't that disproportional use of force?
20 A. Yes, it was. But you can isolate that incident and say the Serbs
21 did not make any casualties when they took it, but there were other
22 incidents all around where UNPROFOR was taking casualties from the Serbs
23 at about the same period, sniping, bombing of the convoys coming down
24 from Igman, bombing in the city. So we, UNPROFOR, was taking casualties
25 from the Serbs at the same period.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Witness, if you look at page 58, line 11 of the
2 transcript, it is recorded that you said "but you can isolate that
3 incident ..." did you say that?
4 THE WITNESS: Yes, I did, but perhaps it's not clear. What I
5 mean is if you isolate that accident to justify that the Serbs took the
6 bridge without any casualties on UNPROFOR side and then UNPROFOR took the
7 bridge with casualties on both sides, yes, but it's simplistic to isolate
8 that incident and not consider what was going around where UNPROFOR were
9 taking casualties from the Serbs.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you for that clarification.
11 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. In your evidence - and I hope we are in open session, we're not
15 going to quote from this document any more --
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We are in open session.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. In your evidence in the Popovic case as well as in your
19 statement, one event seems to occupy a particular place. On page 18253
20 when asked by the Prosecutor:
21 "During that conversation between Gobillard and Gvero, did you do
22 anything other than interpreting?"
23 You say in lines 12 through 14:
24 "I made a few notes. I made many notes during my stay in Bosnia
25 but not on that occasion because I had to concentrate on what was going
1 on. Our men were under fire in Srebrenica. There was already one killed
2 in the DutchBat, and I also worked in the role that I described already."
3 I hope you understood this. Since you are talking again about
4 the killing of a member of the DutchBat without clarifying who killed
5 him, can you explain for the record how this member of the DutchBat met
6 his death and was it --
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear the end.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could you please repeat the end of your question.
9 The interpreters didn't get it.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I'm asking the witness
11 to say for the record, to explain for the record, how the member of
12 DutchBat met his death and was it a man named Van Renssen.
13 THE WITNESS: At that time the VRS were pressing with tanks
14 and -- against the -- or pressing towards Srebrenica where the Dutch
15 positions were. The Dutch decided to retreat, and when they were
16 retreating they were engaged by the Bosniaks in their back; and that's
17 how the Dutch soldier was injured, eventually died of his wounds. But I
18 don't know about the Dutch soldier's name. It might have been
19 Van Renssen.
20 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Thank you for explaining for the record how this occurred. Tell
22 us, please, did you receive from the DutchBat in Srebrenica any
23 information about mutual conflicts among Muslims in the course of the
24 attack on Srebrenica?
25 A. No, I don't recall any such discussions and information.
1 Q. Thank you. Did you ever co-ordinate the activities of the
2 DutchBat in Srebrenica with the activities of the BH Army from
4 A. Well, we had no control over the BH Army, so I don't see how we
5 could co-ordinate their activities. The Dutch felt threatened. Some of
6 them were captured by the Serbs, and so they were retreating towards
7 their compound.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now show D20. That is a
10 debriefing report, paragraph -- in fact, page 38 in e-court.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. 358 we read:
13 "On Monday, 10 July, the commander of observation post M received
14 orders from the C-Company commander to co-ordinate with the BH Army.
15 That evening, fighting broke out among the BH soldiers resulting in dead
16 and wounded. At around noon on Tuesday, 11 July, a number of shells
17 struck the area near the armoured vehicle. The abandoned observation
18 post was also shelled. Chaos prevailed among the BH. Internal fighting
19 broke out once again. That evening the observation post crew were
20 permitted to leave because they were willing to take the wife and
21 children of a local BH leader with them. When the two BH soldiers with
22 the anti-tank weapons attempted to prevent their departure, they were
23 shot in the head by the BH leader. This led once again to fighting
24 between the BH soldiers. On the route to Potocari, they picked up many
25 refugees. They came under fire on two more occasions. At 01.30 hours on
1 Wednesday, 12 July, they arrived in Potocari where they joined the
2 B-Company positions to the south of the compound."
3 Did you receive reports about these incidents from the Dutch
4 Battalion in Srebrenica and about the fact that they were ordered to
5 co-ordinate with the BH Army?
6 A. Well, this information might very well have been passed from the
7 Dutch in Srebrenica to their battalion headquarters in Sector North-West,
8 but it did not -- certainly did not come to our attention,
9 General Gobillard who was acting commander of UNPROFOR or myself. So no,
10 I didn't know about that. And I suspect that if they were ordered -- if
11 the Dutch were ordered to co-ordinate was to prevent another Dutch
12 soldier getting shot by the Bosnians.
13 Q. Thank you. Is it the case that the Muslim side believed it
14 legitimate to attack the UNPROFOR? Did they consider that to be a
15 legitimate act?
16 A. I don't know. It may have been a desperate act under the
17 circumstances. I don't know.
18 Q. Thank you.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we see again Exhibit P585.
20 In Serbian we need pages 109 to 112 --
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think we have to go to private session again.
22 [Private session]
11 Pages 3199-3201 redacted.
4 [Open session]
5 --- On resuming at 1.02 p.m.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: First of all, we left before the break in private
7 session. Now we are in open session. And because of another commitment
8 Judge Nyambe is not with us this last part of the hearing of today. We
9 will sit with two Judges pursuant to Rule 15 bis.
10 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Witness, sir, can you please tell the Trial Chamber here whether
14 the conversations about the Rapid Reaction Force were conducted in the
15 presence of all three warring sides in Joint Commission meetings or only
16 with representatives or the top representatives of the parties to the
17 conflict? Thank you.
18 A. I'm not sure at the very high level exactly who was involved. At
19 the military forces level most of the talks, as we've seen on the last
20 document, were held with the Bosniak government because we were going to
21 occupy -- coming through the road over Igman and occupying areas that we
22 were sharing with the Bosniaks initially.
23 Q. Thank you. Did you ever speak with representatives of the Army
24 of Republika Srpska about the Rapid Reaction Force, their deployment, and
25 location? Thank you.
1 A. I don't recall any such discussions from the top of my head.
2 Perhaps going through my journal we could find some, but I don't know.
3 However, I know that they were very high-level talks. For example, when
4 the UNPROFOR hostages were freed, there were talks with the government in
5 Belgrade and other national governments of contributing nations --
6 troops' contributing nations were involved in those discussions. So I
7 don't know if there were any higher-level discussions.
8 Q. Thank you. Are you able to tell the Trial Chamber where the
9 rapid deployment -- reaction forces were located and assigned? Where did
10 they move and were the sides informed about their movement in a
11 transparent way? Thank you.
12 A. I'm not sure what information was communicated to the various
13 parties. From memory the Rapid Reaction Force had deployed via the Igman
14 route that UNPROFOR was already using for resupply. There was, for
15 example, French heavy mortar group, they were the first to arrive, parked
16 somewhere on Igman. I don't know the exact location. There was a
17 British 105-millimetre towed artillery, also parked on Igman, as well as
18 a French self-propelled 155-millimetre howitzers parked on Igman. Other
19 forces, mobile forces, British and French, were also based on Igman, but
20 the patrolling from those base -- but I don't recall any more from
21 memory. Oh yes, there was the headquarters in Kiseljak.
22 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us whether these Rapid Reaction
23 Forces were located anywhere in the territory under the control of the
24 Army of Republika Srpska and did they move along roads that could have
25 been under the control of the Army of Republika Srpska? Thank you.
1 A. I'm not sure from memory. I'm tempted to say no initially, but
2 eventually yes, they could move once some freedom of movement agreements
3 were reached further down the road in September/October, they were moving
4 in all territories.
5 Q. Thank you. Does that mean that at the time when you held this
6 meeting with the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina and their
7 government, which you talked about in private session, that it was held
8 on the 10th of July, that there was no agreement in force at the time and
9 that the warring sides had not signed any agreement? Thank you.
10 A. I don't recall that there was any specific agreement with the
11 various parties as regards the Rapid Reaction Force. That force was
12 created by the French and the British who basically had enough of having
13 their troops in harm's way and not being able to accomplish the mandate.
14 So they deployed heavier weaponry and more troops to help out in that
16 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber if any of the
17 sides expected help from the Rapid Reaction Force? Thank you.
18 A. Well, the Bosniaks certainly hoped that the Rapid Reaction Force
19 would help and they tried to create conditions to force it into such
20 situations, but that was not the aim of their deployment. The aim of
21 their deployment was to help UNPROFOR restore its freedom of movement so
22 that it could accomplish its mandate; and namely, in this case, resupply
23 itself and resupply the city of Sarajevo, which was having -- which was
24 starving, as I mentioned a number of times.
25 Q. Thank you. Are you able to tell us if these intervention forces
1 were deployed in the territory of the sides that you talked -- of the
2 side you mentioned before, before any kind of agreement had been signed
3 with that particular side? Thank you.
4 A. I don't recall if that happened or if there was any agreement
5 ever as regards the deployment of the Rapid Reaction Force.
6 Q. Thank you. Do you recall if there was any Security Council
7 Resolution on the use of the Rapid Reaction Forces in the territory where
8 you were executing your duties as military assistant of the UNPROFOR
9 sector commander? Thank you.
10 A. No, I don't recall such a resolution.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can you please show in e-court this
12 document again, this is document number P585. Can we do this in private
13 session, as is asked by the Prosecution.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private.
15 [Private session]
23 [Open session]
24 THE REGISTRAR: We're now in open session.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. We've seen in the contents - and we don't need to refer to
3 that - that it was not the members of the Army of Republika Srpska that
4 were attacking UNPROFOR, but that UNPROFOR had asked for air-strikes for
5 UNPROFOR's self-defence. Was the assistance of NATO air-strikes asked
6 for only for the purpose of the self-defence of UNPROFOR or did NATO take
7 part in the defence of the Srebrenica Muslims and the enclave itself?
8 A. Well, sir, first you're not reading the same thing I was. And I
9 see the nuance, you're saying that it's not the VRS attacking UNPROFOR
10 forces, it's the BiH Army. Yes, the BiH Army fired and killed a Dutch
11 soldier, as we discussed before. But the Dutch were withdrawing under
12 pressure from a VRS advance. Perhaps they were not firing directly at
13 the Dutch, but they were advancing in attack formation with tanks. The
14 few Dutch soldiers with lightly armoured personnel carriers and light
15 weapons were no match, so that's why they were withdrawing. So the Serbs
16 were in an attack formation forcing the Dutch to withdraw, and the
17 Bosniaks who were hoping that the Dutch would defend them fired on the
18 withdrawing Dutch.
19 As for air-strikes, there's a lot of misunderstanding about the
20 capabilities of that weapon. There are a number of expressions,
21 air-strikes is one, which means a certain number of things battlefield
22 air interdiction is another one which means something else, and CAS,
23 close air support, in this case it's called close air support because
24 it's being used in close proximity to our troops as a last resort to stop
25 an attack against UN troops. And when our troops are too close we cannot
1 use close air support. Those aircrafts are coming in at 500 knots,
2 that's about 900 kilometres an hour, dropping bombs and firing big
3 cannons, and it's not the most accurate of weapons in that it is easy to
4 confuse who they're exactly firing on at the ground at that speed. So
5 when you have troop separation you can use close air support.
6 The Bosniaks were hoping we would be using it, and that's why
7 they were pressuring the Dutch on the ground, but they were just
8 complicating matters in this case.
9 Q. Thank you. Was it necessary at all for UNPROFOR to use weapons
10 to counter the Army of Republika Srpska when the Army of Republika Srpska
11 was not attacking UNPROFOR? Thank you.
12 A. The Army of Republika Srpska was advancing in attack formation
13 towards UNPROFOR positions, so in any soldier's mind that's an attack,
14 whether the guns are blaring at the moment or not.
15 Q. Thank you. Were there instances when the UN posts were bypassed
16 by the armed Bosnian forces that were operating in that area without
17 anything happening to them? Thank you.
18 A. Well, we've already discussed that earlier. The Bosniaks were
19 conducting raids in Serb-held areas from within the enclave. The enclave
20 which had a circumference of over a hundred kilometres with a few, seven
21 or eight, observation -- UN observation around them. So you do the math.
22 120 divided by 8, there are huge gaps in between. So knowing that this
23 is happening but not knowing exactly when or where or how and doing
24 something about it is two different things.
25 Q. Thank you. I have to ask you again whether the members of the
1 UNPROFOR were deployed in the protected zone in order to protect the area
2 of some hundred kilometres or so with only one battalion, or did they
3 have the authority from both sides to oversee that zone and to monitor if
4 the agreement was being implemented in the zone? Thank you.
5 A. Yes, they had the mandate to monitor the agreement and patrol the
6 zone, but as I said they cannot cover everywhere all the time. And as I
7 said earlier, this type of agreement relies on the goodwill of the two
9 Q. Thank you. Can you explain to the Trial Chamber now what
10 tactical air control means in the enclave that you referred to. What
11 kind of control is that, who implements it, which UNPROFOR forces do it?
12 Thank you.
13 A. Okay. You're referring to the TACP, which is a tactical air
14 control post. It consists of a vehicle which has communications to be
15 able to talk directly to aircraft. The authority to use close air
16 support or aircraft fire in any case was very high up the chain, and we
17 had to go to HQ UNPF in Zagreb to get the authority. The aircraft did
18 not belong to the UN; they belonged to NATO. They were on bases in
19 Italy, I believe, or carriers in the Adriatic Sea and seconded for UN --
20 the UN's use.
21 Q. Thank you. On the vehicles of the tactical air control, were
22 there also NATO soldiers as opposed to UNPROFOR soldiers, and these NATO
23 soldiers maintained contact with NATO aircraft?
24 A. Well, in -- we're talking one and the same. They were blue
25 helmets, soldiers, working under a UN mandate, but there had been
1 agreements at higher level - much higher level, with UN New York and
2 NATO - to provide air capabilities. So those soldiers who were
3 British -- England is a part of NATO, their soldiers are trained in NATO
4 procedures. So yes, they could talk to NATO aircraft, but we're not
5 talking about separate entities that exist in separate voids. These
6 people know how to work together.
7 Q. Did the parties have access to the agreements that the UNPROFOR
8 signed with NATO on the use of air forces?
9 A. No idea. You would have to ask your own government because this
10 was done at -- as I said at UN New York level.
11 Q. Thank you. If forces are deployed in a certain territory, would
12 only the government have to be informed or also the army?
13 A. Well, if your government is informed, I would hope that it would
14 inform its army.
15 Q. Do you in the UNPROFOR command know whether each of the parties
16 to the conflict were informed of the activities and locations of
17 deployment of NATO forces?
18 A. No, I don't know and I said that already.
19 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us, did the UNPROFOR command in
20 Zepa let the Muslim forces in Zepa know that the positions of the VRS in
21 Srebrenica would be bombed?
22 A. I don't know and I don't see how I would know about that.
23 Q. Thank you. The OTP has shown a film here - I don't know if you
24 know about that - showing that the forces under your command had
25 announced the day before these air-strikes and even gave the Muslims the
1 positions and locations from which they should withdraw lest they be hit.
2 Do you know that?
3 A. No, sir, I don't.
4 Q. Do you know what the Muslim government and the Muslim forces were
5 expecting from the Rapid Reaction Force and the air-strikes?
6 A. Again, I can speculate some, but that -- those actions would
7 break the encirclement of the enclave, and the major one being Sarajevo.
8 Q. Thank you. Informing one party to the conflict that NATO would
9 get involved against the other party, does that represent interference
10 and does that give false hopes to one of the sides, encouraging them not
11 to accede to an agreement but to continue warfare?
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, are you suggesting that this was a
13 correct quotation of what the witness said before?
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I just asked: Do you believe that
15 one of the parties after being informed by the UNPROFOR that the other
16 party would be attacked was misled, that they should continue fighting
17 rather than looking for a peaceful solution? Does that constitute
18 support to one side's combat activities?
19 THE WITNESS: Well, that was not my conclusion, that statement,
20 and I had no knowledge specifically of in any way if only one or more
21 parties were informed. So I don't want to comment on that and just
22 speculate and fabulate about what could have been.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we now show
24 P50 [as interpreted], page 17 in Serbian and page 18 in English,
25 paragraph 3 in English.
1 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could you check perhaps if that is the correct
3 number. I was told that P50 is an image and not a document.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]
5 [Interpretation] It's a Defence exhibit, D50.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we now see page
8 17 in Serbian and page 18 in English.
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. To look at paragraph 3 in English. It refers to the events of 9
11 July 1995, the day before you had that meeting with the representatives
12 of the Muslim authorities and the Muslim army. I can see it in Serbian,
13 it's paragraph 2 from the top and in English it's the third from the top.
14 It begins with the words:
15 "General Gobillard signed the request for air support shortly
16 after 1900 hours, which was then to go to the force commander and Akashi.
17 Gobillard asked the planes to be on alert for the first light the next
18 day. We advised Smith and the force commander accordingly, and
19 General Smith called Izetbegovic to bring him up-to-date on our action.
20 Janvier told us he had spoken with Mladic on two occasions, ordering him
21 to withdraw his troops by 0800 hours."
22 Now, my question is: Why did the UNPROFOR ask the Serbs to
23 withdraw their troops when the UNPROFOR was not attacked and it was not a
24 case of self-defence and why are they asking for air support, considering
25 that the UNPROFOR was not under attack? And why do they also inform
1 Alija Izetbegovic?
2 A. Well, I would say why did Janvier call Mladic then? Same
3 question. And for your initial question, I've already answered that
4 UNPROFOR Dutch troops considered themselves under attack by a VRS
5 advancing with tanks in attack formation.
6 Q. Thank you. We have seen from your evidence and your diary that
7 the troops of Republika Srpska were not attacking the DutchBat. On the
8 contrary, they enabled the evacuation of a DutchBat who had been wounded
9 by the Muslims and later succumbed. I discussed that with
10 General Gobillard and you confirmed it in your statement. Let's not go
11 back to your statement again. Is that correct?
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think you got the answer several times,
13 Mr. Tolimir. But perhaps the witness can add something to his previous
15 THE WITNESS: I have nothing to add, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. I would kindly ask the witness to tell us how come that from
20 Sarajevo attacks against the VRS go on for 20 days and no ultimatum is
21 imposed and the Muslim forces are not asked to withdraw from the
22 protected area, but that request and that demand is made here in the
23 territory of Srebrenica?
24 A. Well, we were protesting the attacks that the Bosniaks were doing
25 and their attempt to break out of Sarajevo, but because they were -- they
1 are basically attacking from home and we were living there too. So all
2 of these people, the Bosniaks, UNPROFOR troops in Sarajevo, and the
3 population were in the same -- occupying the same ground. So we had no
4 means to threaten them with air-strikes because that would have meant
5 firing on the city. And also at that time, as I mentioned many times,
6 the city was starving. And I'll give you an example of what I mean.
7 There were many people living in Sarajevo, not necessarily all
8 Muslims but also Croats and Serbs who had been there before the war, who
9 were working for UNPROFOR. There was a number of young people. I
10 remember a young lady, she was 24. When the war started she was in
11 university. Now two and a half years later she was serving the general
12 his meal at his table. The young lady had a finished back because every
13 time she went back home she carried water 11 stairs to her family. She
14 was the only worker in her family. People did not go out because of
15 sniping and shelling at that time. So every time she was escorted back
16 in an armoured vehicle, she would grab water in the basement and lug it
17 up the stairs because there was no electricity for the elevator. So her
18 back was finished. Her teeth were full of holes because she had not had
19 fresh produce with the vitamins that they have to nourish her teeth. So
20 that was it -- and she was in good shape compared for the rest of the
21 population because she was working for the UN and making decent money
22 compared to the rest of the 420.000 people that were starving in that
24 Q. Thank you. Did you in the UNPROFOR tolerate the Muslim attacks
25 against Serbs from the protected area every morning for 20 days, but as
1 soon as the Serbs attack the area you imposed an ultimatum asking them to
2 pull back and stop their attacks?
3 A. Well, I just answered part of that now and we talked about other
4 parts yesterday. And as I said, UNPROFOR troops were imbricated with the
5 population and with Bosniak troops, so we protested their attacks, but we
6 could not effect an ultimatum. However, Serb forces around Sarajevo
7 which had taken right at the start of the war all of the -- most of the
8 heavy weapons from the former JNA, Yugoslav Army, were not in such a
9 imbricated position and we could fire at them. For example, we could
10 fire at the military base at Lukavica which was a legitimate military
11 target. There were no such things inside Sarajevo.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We have heard this answer several times because
13 you repeated your question in a different way very often. Please
14 continue and try to move to another topic.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Are you aware - because you're saying -- you've been saying
17 constantly that Serbs had heavy weapons, are you aware that the Muslims
18 used heavy weapons in the war in Croatia and served in units which had
19 heavy weapons because they had been mobilised in their residences and
20 they continued to use these weapons up until the time when they seceded
21 from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia? In any country in the world
22 where a part of the territory secedes, would the rest of the country
23 continue to arm the territory that seceded?
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
25 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, this last question took us to Croatia
1 and then was followed-up not by a question that has to do with anything
2 in particular, much less what this witness is here to talk about. We are
3 wasting time. This witness has come from a long way away.
4 General Tolimir needs to focus his questions on relevant issues pertinent
5 to the reasons why this witness has come here to testify. This is
6 becoming unfair to the witness. I think as the Trial Chamber has pointed
7 out, he's repeatedly answering questions as best as he can, and these
8 types of absolutely general questions which have, as far as I can see,
9 very little relevance to this witness's subject matter are not helpful to
10 the Trial Chamber either.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I think this is a fair comment of
12 the Prosecutor. You should focus on the knowledge of this witness, his
13 role he held during the relevant period relevant to the indictment, and
14 you should focus on that, not to waste time. Today we have only
15 three-quarters of an hour left. Please focus on the main topics.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I
17 thought I was entitled to ask questions depending on the relevance of the
18 answers. In his previous answer the witness himself provided grounds for
19 my question --
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, Mr. Tolimir, if you get guidance by
21 the Chamber, please don't start a discussion about that. Just put
22 questions to the witness and follow your line of questions but not repeat
23 questions of the same. Carry on, please.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Witness, please answer the questions as only the questions
2 without going further afield. We were reading paragraph 358 of the
3 previous document. Let me just remind you.
4 "On Monday 10 July commander of observation post M received
5 orders from Company-C commander to co-ordinate with the BH Army."
6 I'm telling you this because you have been talking here about the
7 fact that back on the 9th General Gobillard signed the request for air
8 support and after that he went to meet Izetbegovic. This co-ordination
9 that the UNPROFOR company was ordered to do, was it related to the
10 co-ordination between the UNPROFOR command and the civilian and military
11 authorities of the BH?
12 A. My answer is no different than the one I gave this morning. I
13 believe that locally the Dutch were told to co-ordinate to prevent the
14 Bosniaks firing and killing one of them, as had happened.
15 Q. Thank you. Thank you for this answer. Did the UNPROFOR in
16 Sarajevo know that General Mladic had requested a meeting with the BH
17 Army representatives from Srebrenica to resolve the situation that had
18 occurred before the enclave was taken over? Did you in your sector
19 receive such reports?
20 A. Well, the sector responsible for Srebrenica was
21 Sector North-West, so I wouldn't know at sector level. And in the three
22 days that I accompanied General Gobillard when he was acting commander of
23 UNPROFOR, which is one level above the sector, I was not made aware of
24 such a request -- not that I recall anyway.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please see again document
2 585 in private session. We need --
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] -- page 111 in Serbian and page 57
5 in English, paragraph 8.
6 [Private session]
12 [Open session]
13 THE REGISTRAR: We're now in open session.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Was the UNPROFOR's task to oppose the Serbian side or was it
17 something else?
18 A. UNPROFOR's task was to protect the enclaves, distribute food to
19 the people, and execute its mandate under the UN and not to oppose the
20 Serbian side but oppose - how should I put it? - react to a breach of the
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I think you dealt with this problem
23 for very a long time and it's really a repetition. If you don't have
24 anything else except repetitions, you should think about the end of
25 cross-examination or you move to another topic.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I wanted
2 to shed light on the situation that is discussed here and I'll move on
3 with my questions.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Did you ever - and I mean the UNPROFOR command in Sarajevo which
6 had command over the UNPROFOR command in Srebrenica - get requests to
7 support the BH Army? Did you get such requests from the BH Army itself?
8 A. I don't -- no, we didn't get any such requests, not that I know
9 of. UNPROFOR's duty was to secure the enclave and bring in food.
10 Q. Thank you. Did you receive requests from the superiors in Zagreb
11 or from other structures to support the B&H army? Thank you.
12 A. No.
13 Q. Thank you. Can we look at Exhibit 585 now. In the Serbian page
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This is of course a notebook,
17 notebook drafted on the 20th of July, 1995.
18 [Private session]
11 Pages 3221-3226 redacted.
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: We're now in open session.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]
22 [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. As we could see on the first page this is a document called "The
25 Submission of an Analytical Summary of Causes of the Fall of Srebrenica
1 and Zepa." I quote -- can we now move from page 1 to page 6, please.
2 Can we look at the third paragraph. I'm going to quote what I wish to
4 "At the moment of the Chetnik attack on Zepa on the 9th of July,
5 1995, there were around 6.500 inhabitants in this area who, just like the
6 members of the 285th Light Brigade, members were well supplied with
7 foodstuffs of all kinds. Other than that, the information gathered so
8 far indicates that the co-operation of the Zepa civilian and military
9 authorities with the Ukrainian Battalion which was deployed in the Zepa
10 sector was good until the beginning of the Chetnik offensive. After the
11 commander of this UNPROFOR battalion defected to the Chetnik forces
12 command, the new commander of the Ukrainian Battalion surrendered all the
13 available weapons to our combatants which were immediately used for the
14 defence of Zepa. According to statements of a number of those expelled
15 from Zepa, he even falsely informed the UNPROFOR command in Sarajevo that
16 members of the Ukrainian Battalion had been directly attacked and
17 requested NATO air-strikes against the Chetniks."
18 And now my question: Are you able to tell us whether you
19 received information at the command about the attacks of the Army of
20 Republika Srpska on the Zepa command?
21 A. Well, we knew that the VRS had been moving -- now that the
22 problem in Srebrenica was solved, they had been moving military equipment
23 towards Zepa. And we could probably find in my journal more specific
24 depending on the various days. But from memory, yes, we knew that they
25 were closing in on Zepa. No attack -- I'm not sure what date this is,
1 but I don't think there had been any attack at that point.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. This note says what it was like on the 9th of July, 1995, before
5 the attack on Zepa and my question was: What is your assessment of the
6 humanitarian situation in the Zepa enclave? Is it consistent with this
7 report provided by the Muslims themselves?
8 A. I don't know exactly what the situation was at that point, in
9 Zepa specifically. I know that in Sarajevo it was not great and in
10 Srebrenica it was not great. In Zepa now it's a bit different because
11 they know that the Srebrenica enclave was -- basically has been
12 disappeared and that they believed - "they," the Bosniaks living
13 there - that their turn has come.
14 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, did you have this information about
15 the conduct of the UNPROFOR, specifically the Ukrainian Battalion in Zepa
16 which this report made by the Muslim forces describes?
17 A. Well, as we saw a little earlier, Bosnian forces attacked the
18 Ukrainians in Zepa, so we knew about that because the Ukrainians were
19 reporting back directly to the operations centre at headquarters
20 Sector Sarajevo PTT building. So we had communications with the
21 Ukrainians in Zepa. And we also had report previous that the Ukrainians
22 were selling their fuel to the Serbs, the Ukrainians on top of --
23 remember I talk about the "cuvette" or the bowl where the village of Zepa
24 was at the bottom but the OPs were on top and the Ukrainians in those OPs
25 and the check-point were selling their fuel. Initially, there were only
1 suspicions, but they were going through fairly large quantities
2 considering the little movement that they were doing.
3 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us if you had any information about
4 the fact that UNPROFOR forces were giving false reports to the Sarajevo
5 command to the effect that they had been attacked and they were
6 requesting NATO aviation support. Can you remember that?
7 A. I don't know why you said they were giving false reports because
8 that's what the Bosnian report might say. But we were getting regular
9 reports from the Ukrainians, and in fact very early on when the -- things
10 started happening in Zepa, the Ukrainian deputy sector commander went to
11 Zepa to look after his troops and have a look at the situation, probably
12 after the date we're talking about now. So it was after 9 July. But it
13 was long before I, for instance, went to Zepa, which was on the 26th of
15 Q. Can you tell us if the UNPROFOR members in Zepa gave their
16 weapons to Muslim forces?
17 A. I know that the Muslims took some UNPROFOR weapons in Zepa. How
18 that happened, I don't know. Were the Ukrainians giving them freely to
19 save their lives? Perhaps. Were they taken by force because when they
20 retreated inside the compound they could not take everything with them?
21 Perhaps also. I'm not sure how it happened in reality.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now see in e-court 1D168.
24 This is a letter by Alija Izetbegovic sent to Mehmed Efendi
25 Alic [as interpreted], dated 19 July 1995. We see it on the screen.
1 I'll be reading from paragraph 2.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation].
3 Q. "An evacuation is possible only by land under the supervision of
4 UNPROFOR. I am in contact with General Smith every day. The Chetniks
5 are dragging out the talks on purpose. General Smith is guaranteeing the
6 security of women and children. You know that there is no full-proof
7 security. As their first condition, the Chetniks have asked that the men
8 lay down their weapons and their investigation and so on, which I refused
9 categorically for reasons I do not need to explain to you."
10 Were there indeed daily contacts between Alija Izetbegovic and
11 the commanders of Sector Sarajevo, to whom the UNPROFOR in Zepa was
13 A. No, not with the sector level. Perhaps at higher level.
14 Q. Does that mean that Gobillard would not be informed about the
15 meetings between Izetbegovic and Smith?
16 A. No, that does not mean that. I know that they ...
17 Q. Paragraph 3 says:
18 "My plan," meaning the plan of Alija Izetbegovic, "move out as
19 many civilians as possible, all of them if possible." So the president
20 of their state wants all their population to be moved out. "The troops
21 stay on and continue to resist. We will do all to help you ... by
22 supplying materiel and equipment, ... volunteers and ... offensive
23 action in your direction (I believe this is starting today). If we do
24 not succeed in this, you try to push on on those roads (you know which)
25 but now without the burden of women and children who would in the
1 meantime be taken out."
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
3 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, before Colonel Fortin answers this
4 question, I wonder if he would be given the opportunity to fully answer
5 the question that was asked before he was cut off by the General. I
6 wasn't sure if the General was going to give him the opportunity to fully
7 answer the question. And I'm referring specifically to page 95, line 3,
8 in our e-court. The answer was:
9 "No, that does not mean that. I know that they --" and then the
10 witness was cut off. And while we're here on the transcript, if we could
11 just have Colonel Fortin given the opportunity courtesy of answering his
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In fact, on the record it should be I know that
14 they ... because that was the middle of the sentence the witness was
16 Could you complete this answer.
17 THE WITNESS: Well, I know that they - UNPROFOR
18 headquarters - were getting information directly from Zepa as well,
19 because in addition to the Ukrainians who were reporting to sector
20 headquarters, a British communication team had been deployed, but I don't
21 know when they had been deployed. And further, if General Smith had
22 meetings regularly with President Izetbegovic, we would not necessarily
23 know about it as they occurred; but General Smith usually informed sector
24 afterwards. Remember yesterday I talked about regular visits to
25 headquarter UNPROFOR by myself every night, but also with my commander
1 during the day. For Smith and Gobillard had regular "tete-a-tete." And
2 "tete-a-tete" in their case meant that I was included as well for
3 translation purposes.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
5 There is no other question because there was only the quotation
6 on page 95, lines 5 to 13.
7 Mr. Tolimir, you get now the chance to put to this quotation your
8 last question for today.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Considering that in this paragraph 3 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic speaks
12 about a plan and says "let me know which plan to push" --
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You shouldn't repeat. Put the question to the
14 witness, please.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. This is the first plan by Alija Izetbegovic, move out all
17 civilians, if possible all of them. Was it actually implemented?
18 A. Well, I don't think it was implemented according to his plan
19 because the VRS executed the evacuation of the population out of Zepa.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, we are running out of time. We are
21 over time already.
22 Could you please indicate the time you need for the completion of
23 your cross-examination?
24 [Defence counsel confer]
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] If I have any time left over from
1 those ten hours, I will fit into that and not go beyond that allocation
2 if I can't go on asking questions now.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You can't because we have reached the end of
4 today's sitting, but you haven't filled the ten hours you indicated you
5 need. That's very clear. I -- my question was: What is your
6 estimation? How much time you need? I would like to know that for
7 planning purposes.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We need your microphone, otherwise we don't
10 receive translation.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I think
12 I could manage with two hours.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
14 Mr. Thayer, and especially, Witness, we are facing a problem. We
15 can't finish your evidence today. We have heard about the problems of
16 your travelling and your purposes, your duties in western Africa. My
17 proposal is that we continue your cross-examination at a convenient time,
18 either next Tuesday, the next day of our hearing, or at an appropriate
19 time the parties should agree on. But we can't continue any more today,
20 but on the other hand the accused indicated that he needs ten hours for
21 cross-examination and it was not manageable in these two days of
23 THE WITNESS: Understood, Mr. President. I was aware that this
24 was a possibility, and I would suggest that we carry on at the earliest
25 or the next sitting, which is Tuesday.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Tuesday in the morning at 9.00, this -- the
2 Chamber would appreciate that because then you must not travel again to
3 The Hague in this case.
4 THE WITNESS: I agree, sir.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much for your understanding, and
6 we have to adjourn now and resume next Tuesday at 9.00. We adjourn.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.35 p.m.,
8 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 29th day of
9 June, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.