1 Tuesday, 24 August 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon to everybody.
6 The next witness should be brought in, please.
7 [The witness entered court]
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon, sir. Please wait a moment so
9 that the screens could be opened.
10 Good afternoon, sir, again. Would you please read aloud the
11 affirmation on the card to tell the truth, which is shown to you now.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
13 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
14 WITNESS: PW-076
15 [The witness answered through interpreter]
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Please sit down.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You know that there are still protective measures
19 in place for you, and Ms. Chittenden has some questions for you.
20 Ms. Chittenden.
21 MS. CHITTENDEN: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Good afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours, everyone in the
24 Examination by Ms. Chittenden:
25 Q. Good afternoon, Witness. We met on Sunday. My name is
1 Caitlin Chittenden, and I'll be asking you some questions today on behalf
2 of the Office of the Prosecutor.
3 MS. CHITTENDEN: Please, could we have Exhibit P727 in e-court.
4 Q. Witness, you'll see something coming up on the screen in front of
5 you now. Please, could you read it to yourself and confirm that your
6 name is written next to "PW-076."
7 MS. CHITTENDEN: And it should not be broadcast, please.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 MS. CHITTENDEN: Your Honours, I would like to tender this as an
10 exhibit under seal.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received under seal.
12 MS. CHITTENDEN:
13 Q. Witness, do you recall providing a statement via the telephone to
14 the Office of the Prosecutor on 30 June 2010?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Have you had the opportunity to review that draft witness
17 statement before coming here today?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Was your statement truthful and accurate?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. If you were asked the same questions again in court today, would
22 you answer in the same way?
23 A. Yes.
24 MS. CHITTENDEN: Your Honours, at this time I would like to offer
25 into evidence the witness's draft statement to the Office of the
1 Prosecutor on 30 June 2010 as an exhibit under seal. It is Exhibit P725.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
3 MS. CHITTENDEN:
4 Q. Witness, did you finalise that draft witness statement when you
5 met with the Office of the Prosecutor in person on 22 August 2010?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did you have that statement read back to you in your own
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Is that witness statement truthful and accurate?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did you sign that statement?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. If you were asked the same questions again in court today, would
15 you answer in the same way?
16 A. Yes.
17 MS. CHITTENDEN: Please, could we have Exhibit P726 in e-court,
18 in English and B/C/S, and this should not be broadcast, please.
19 Q. Witness, if you take a look at the screen in front of you.
20 Please take a look at both the English and the B/C/S versions of the
21 document, which are on the screen. On the English version, on the right,
22 at the bottom of the page, can you let me know if that's your signature?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Witness, is this the statement that you finalised and signed at
25 the offices of the Prosecutor when we met on Sunday, 22 August 2010?
1 A. Yes.
2 MS. CHITTENDEN: Your Honours, at this time I would also like to
3 admit into evidence this signed version of the witness's statement, dated
4 22 August 2010. This is the signed version of the 30 June draft witness
5 statement which was provisionally admitted pursuant to your oral ruling
6 yesterday. For your information, the signed statement is the same as the
7 draft, except that it also includes the witness's review and confirmation
8 of the six intercepts and a few short comments he made in relation to
9 that and also in relation to his role as an intercept operator. The
10 statement, the signed version, has disclosed to the accused in English
11 and in B/C/S on Sunday afternoon. However -- sorry, and it was also
12 included on our proposed exhibit list. However, if Your Honours do not
13 wish for the signed statement to be admitted at this time, I can lead the
14 witness on the additional information.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In this case, because it appears to be -- to have
16 the same content as the previously admitted statement, we would like to
17 see the statement and if it contains a reference to the intercepts.
18 MS. CHITTENDEN: Of course, yes. I have -- we can look at the
19 version on the screen. If you like, I have a hard copy, but I've put
20 some highlight on it. But I might have a clean copy here. Thank you.
21 If I could ask for the Court Usher.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The statement is in e-court?
23 MS. CHITTENDEN: That's correct, yeah, and it's Exhibit P726.
24 The Court Usher has just handed you a draft and the final
25 version, just so you can have a look at both.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I'm a little bit -- I don't understand why we
2 receive now the hard copies of both the 22nd of August statement and the
3 30th of June statement.
4 MS. CHITTENDEN: That's correct, just in case you wanted to look
5 at both, but the one I'm proposing is the 22 August final statement --
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: If it's in e-court, then that's fine, and you
7 should deal with that.
8 MS. CHITTENDEN: Okay. Okay. Thank you, Your Honours.
9 Your Honours, I would now like to read a short summary of the
10 witness's draft and final statement, if I may.
11 Q. Witness, after I've read out the summary, I'll have a few further
12 questions for you.
13 MS. CHITTENDEN: Your Honours, if we may move into private
14 session for a moment, please.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private.
16 [Private session]
8 [Open session]
9 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session.
10 MS. CHITTENDEN: At the southern site, the witness's detachment
11 worked in shifts of six hours, followed by a break of twelve hours when
12 they were off duty. The witness performed the duties of an intercept
13 operator. He followed the established practice at the southern site for
14 intercepting, recording, and transcribing VRS communications into
15 note-books. If the participants in an intercepted conversation were
16 unknown, they would be marked as X and Y. If the witness was unable to
17 hear any part of a conversation clearly, he would consult his colleagues
18 and commander, and together they would listen to the conversation to try
19 to determine what was being said. If they were unable to determine what
20 was said, the witness would put several dots or write "Unintelligible."
21 Once the conversation was transcribed, it would be forwarded to the
22 typist, who would type, date, and transmit reports of conversations to
23 the command.
24 The witness did not type up or transmit any recorded
25 conversations, and it was not the witness's duty, as an intercept
1 operator, to date every intercept he recorded in the note-books.
2 Your Honours, that concludes my summary. I now have a few
3 questions to ask the witness, if I may.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please carry on.
5 MS. CHITTENDEN:
6 Q. Witness, I would like to show you a booklet of six intercepts
7 that we have compiled.
8 MS. CHITTENDEN: If I can just ask for the assistance of the
9 Court Usher to pass it to the witness. For the record, these are
10 Exhibits P728A and B, through 733A and B.
11 Q. Witness, can you take a moment to look through each of the six
12 tabs in this booklet, and let me know whether you recognise your
13 handwriting on the handwritten versions of the six intercepts.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Take your time and look through all six of them, just to make
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 Q. Witness, were you the operator who recorded and transcribed these
19 six intercepted conversations?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did you review these six intercepts before you testified today?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you also review the original note-books containing these six
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Do the copies of those six intercepts conform to the original
2 note-books that you reviewed?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did you also review the print-out versions of these intercepts?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And do the printed versions reflect the same conversations as the
7 handwritten versions of the intercepts?
8 A. Yes.
9 MS. CHITTENDEN: Your Honours, at this time I would like to admit
10 into evidence the handwritten and print-out versions of these six
11 intercepts. And for the record, these are P728 through P733.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: They will be received.
13 MS. CHITTENDEN: I just now have a few brief questions for the
15 Q. Witness, can you briefly describe for the Trial Chamber what your
16 duties were as an intercept operator at the southern site?
17 A. As I did my job honestly, with earphones on my head, I was
18 supposed to transcribe the conversations and hand them over. That was my
20 Q. Where did you transcribe these conversations?
21 A. I used the note-books.
22 Q. And you mentioned handing them over. Who did you hand them over
24 A. To whoever was in charge and to whoever was duty-bound to forward
25 those note-books to an operator.
1 Q. Witness, do you know -- you mentioned handing them over to
2 whoever was in charge or who was duty-bound to forward them. Do you know
3 what this person did with the information contained in the note-books
4 once you had passed it over to them?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Witness, who put the date on the intercepted conversations?
7 A. The operator who typed them up.
8 Q. Thank you. And is that the same operator you were just referring
9 to before?
10 A. Yes, yes, a person whose job that was.
11 MS. CHITTENDEN: And just to clarify for the transcript, he was
12 referring to operator on page 8, lines 25, and page 9, lines 1.
13 Q. Witness, what did you do if you couldn't hear any part of a
15 A. The commander would then listen to the tape again, together with
16 two other members of our team.
17 Q. What would happen if no one could determine what was being said
18 in the conversation?
19 A. It either remained unclear and noted as such or that portion of
20 the conversation was replaced by little dots.
21 MS. CHITTENDEN: Thank you, Witness.
22 Your Honours, I have no further questions.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: As I have indicated earlier, we would like to see
24 the second statement of August 2010 on the screen.
25 MS. CHITTENDEN: Okay. If we could have P726 in e-court, please.
1 And this should not be broadcast. It's -- would you like to turn through
2 the pages or what's the -- yes.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The content of the statement.
4 MS. CHITTENDEN: Pardon me? Sorry.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The content of the statement is of interest
6 because we saw only the previous one, and we have heard that you didn't
7 intend to tender this document into evidence. Therefore, I would like to
8 see the difference of --
9 MS. CHITTENDEN: Of course.
10 So let's go to page 2, please, in e-court. And I can
11 specifically tell you what's different.
12 In the English version, you can see paragraph 7, and the new
13 line -- sorry, there's two new sentences at the end:
14 "I did not analyse any conversations."
16 "My duty was only to listen to, record, and transcribe
17 intercepted conversations into note-books."
18 That's new.
19 Paragraph 9, after the typist would put a date. That is new, the
20 remainder of that paragraph. And if we can go to the third page, the
21 main change or the main update of this statement is, as I referred to,
22 the six intercepts that were shown to the witness, and that is from
23 paragraphs 12, 13, 14, 15, and for the rest of the statement. So you can
24 see the top, in paragraph 12, a list of the handwritten versions of the
25 intercepts, with the exhibit numbers on the left, and then paragraph 15,
1 the printed versions, with the exhibit numbers on the left. And for the
2 record, those are the same exhibits I showed the witness in the booklet.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I ask you, the witness, if you recall to have
4 signed this document.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, yes.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
7 This document will be received as P726, under seal.
8 [Trial Chamber and Legal Officer confer]
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I suppose this concludes your
10 examination-in-chief. Thank you very much.
11 Now, Mr. Tolimir, it's your turn. If you have cross-examination,
12 please do so.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
14 I would like to welcome everybody present. May God's peace reign
15 in this house, and may God's will be done in these proceedings and not
16 necessarily mine.
17 I would like to welcome the witness and I wish him a pleasant
18 stay in our midst.
19 Can the Court please produce the witness's statement, P726.
20 Thank you. Thank you.
21 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir:
22 Q. [Interpretation] Can the witness please tell us how come he did
23 not sign the statement in his own mother tongue? Is it possible that he
24 understands English so much better? Thank you.
25 A. It was never provided to me. I was not provided with a statement
1 in my own language.
2 Q. Thank you. And now can you please tell us how come your
3 statement was provided over the phone, and also who was it who approached
4 you to ask for your statement? Thank you.
5 A. Could you please repeat?
6 Q. Please tell us or tell the Trial Chamber how come you provided
7 the statement over the phone on the 10th [as interpreted] of June, 2010,
8 and who was it who approached you to ask you for your statement and who
9 prepared you for the statement?
10 A. People from the Tribunal. I don't have a clue, really. A lady
11 called Marija, I believe.
12 Q. Thank you. And can you tell the Trial Chamber whether before
13 that you had a discussion about that with somebody from the BiH Army, and
14 did you ask their permission to testify before the Court?
15 A. No.
16 Q. When you served in the JNA, was it in units for electronic
17 surveillance and anti-electronic intelligence, as you stated in your
19 A. Yes, one part of my service entailed that.
20 Q. And did you also work in the Electronic Interception Service?
21 A. Yes.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can the Court please produce the
23 second page of this statement, because my next few questions will concern
24 that part of his statement. Thank you.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Your microphone.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you,
3 Mr. President.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Witness, in paragraph 4, line 2, you say that you joined the
6 Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina and that you were a member of the
7 121st Mountain Brigade. Could you please tell us whether, as a member of
8 that unit, you also belonged to a communications unit?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 4, line 3, you say that before joining
11 the team on the southern site, you had come directly from that unit. Had
12 you undergone any training or education to work on radio intercept
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: For the record, it's paragraph 5 and not
16 paragraph 4, I think. But paragraph 4 has only two lines.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President, for the
18 correction. You are absolutely right, it was paragraph 5.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. In paragraph 6, you say about working in shifts -- you speak
21 about working in shifts. Could you please tell us whether you were able
22 to perform all of your duties during one shift if there were only two of
23 you in one shift? Could you perform all the duties and all your tasks?
24 A. If the workload was more substantial, we were helped by other
25 team members.
1 Q. Thank you, Witness. In paragraph 7, you described the procedure
2 that you were involved in. Could you please describe for the
3 Trial Chamber what jobs did you do as a radio intercept operator?
4 A. It was very simple. There was a frequency, there were
5 headphones, there was a UHER for recording, and later on we copied
6 everything, and that was all. That's the long and the short of my job.
7 And then before we gave our notes to somebody else.
8 Q. Thank you. I'm not clear. When you say "copy," can you explain
9 for the Trial Chamber what you copied and where from?
10 A. Everything was recorded on UHER, on cassettes, and from cassettes
11 we copied what we heard into note-books and forwarded them to somebody
13 Q. Did you use papers first and then copied those notes into
14 note-books or did you go directly from what you heard?
15 A. We went directly with what we heard. We noted it in the
16 note-books. And then if we didn't understand that, we had to do it all
17 over again, we had to listen to the tapes again.
18 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us whether you have ever seen,
19 while you were in the unit, in A4 format, whether you have ever seen a
20 typed-up transcript of these intercepts that were being recorded, such as
21 the ones that were shown to us by Ms. Chittenden? Thank you.
22 A. No.
23 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us, please, when was it that you saw
24 typed-up transcripts for the first time, typed on A4 sheets of paper?
25 A. Here in the courtroom. Or, actually, on Saturday during -- or
1 Sunday/Monday, during the proofing session.
2 Q. Thank you. Witness, in paragraph 8, you talk about how these
3 intercepts were made during the times when there was good -- when you
4 could hear them clearly or not. And then you say that then you would
5 decide to meet, a number of you, to discuss them. Now, could you please
6 tell us what it was -- or on the basis of what was it that you decided
7 what was being said if you were unable to hear it properly?
8 A. Well, we would usually leave that it's indiscernible or we would
9 put three dots.
10 Q. Thank you. Could you please take a look at paragraph 8, line 4.
11 You say:
12 "We would listen to the transcript together in order to determine
13 what was said."
14 So tell us, did you actually determine what was said or did you
15 just put "unintelligible"?
16 A. Well, in 80 per cent of the cases, we would just put
17 "unintelligible" or put three dots.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I remind both speakers to pause between
19 question and answer. It is very difficult for the interpreters and the
20 record to catch everything what was said. Please pause between question
21 and answer. Thank you very much.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Witness, because we speak in the same language, please, let's
25 make a brief pause after our questions or answers.
1 So you used the word "determine" what was being said. On the
2 basis of what, in those 20 per cent of the cases, did you determine what
3 was being said?
4 A. Well, if we could determine what was being said and if all three
5 of us would have the same opinion that it was that particular word, then
6 we would determine that that's what it was.
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Witness. Would you now tell us, please, whether
8 you entered or corrected errors in the logs, if later on you were able to
9 verify or correct them, or would you just leave it as it was? Thank you.
10 A. Well, we would add "unclear" to that portion.
11 Q. Thank you. For instance, if you were to write down a word, and
12 then you realised that that was not the word used during the
13 conversation, the intercepted conversation, would you cross it out or
14 would you just leave "unclear" or "unintelligible" in brackets? So if
15 later on you realised that it was not really unclear or unintelligible,
16 but that actually the intercept operator had made a mistake in hearing
17 it, what would you do?
18 A. Well, yes --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat? Could the
20 witness repeat the answer? He was not very clear.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the intercept operator and
22 two other members would later on look at the -- listen to the intercept
23 and look at the transcript. They would put the word "unclear" if
24 something was unclear.
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Thank you. But please listen carefully. Did it ever occur that
2 you would write one word down, in one sense of the word that is used, and
3 then later on it turns out that a speaker had said something else and
4 this was confirmed by the other two persons who were listening to the
5 intercept with you? What would you have done in such cases? Would you
6 correct that word and put in the new word or would you just add this
7 comment that it was not very intelligible and poor reception?
8 A. Poor reception and unintelligible.
9 Q. In these log-books that were shown to you by Ms. Caitlin, were
10 there any instances where you had written this down, where you had put
11 this note down, "unintelligible" or "unclear" or were there some
12 instances where some words were crossed out?
13 A. Well, the log-books contained the note or remark "unclear" or
14 three dots.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You are very much overlapping, and it's very
17 clear and the interpreter has to ask for repetitions. So please bear in
18 mind you need to pause, because you start answering or questioning.
19 Carry on, please, Mr. Tolimir.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Witness, the intercepts that you are testifying about here before
23 this Court, do they contain any corrections, or any crossed-out words, or
24 any words that would have the letter Y next to them? Because you told us
25 that you have been able to review all these transcripts that you received
1 on Sunday from Ms. Chittenden. Thank you.
2 A. Well, I do believe that there was one error.
3 Q. Thank you. You've said, and you say in paragraph 9, line 3, that
4 the typist would put the date on or above the intercepted conversation
5 that he would type over from the log-book. So did I understand this
6 correctly? Is this true, that the typist actually was the one who
7 established -- determined what the date was?
8 A. Well, no, he was not the one to determine it. He had to just
9 copy down what was written.
10 Q. Thank you. Could you please take a look at paragraph 9, line 3,
11 and read it out. Thank you.
12 Here we see it, it's on the first page. We have the end of the
13 sentence. It starts there, and then it goes on to the next page.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we see page 3, please.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. So this typist would put a date, those last three words we had on
17 the previous page, and then if you look at the first line on this page,
18 it says:
19 "The intercepted conversations before transmitting them to the
21 So my question is this: Why was the typist the one who had to
22 date these intercepts? Thank you.
23 A. Well, probably he was ordered to do so.
24 Q. Thank you. Did the typist also have access to the tapes that you
25 made - thank you - the recordings?
1 A. The platoon commander and the typist. To the platoon commander
2 and to the typist.
3 Q. Well, I apologise, but for the transcript, could you please
4 repeat your answer. Did the typist also receive the tapes that you made
5 during your intercepts?
6 A. Yes, to the typist and to the platoon commander. These were sent
7 to them.
8 Q. Thank you. Did the typist review or listen again to the
9 intercepts and then make any corrections that you had possibly made while
10 you transcribed them? Thank you.
11 A. The typist was in another room, and I can't really say what he
13 Q. Thank you. Please take a look at paragraph 10. It will refresh
14 your memory, hopefully, and I will just remind you. You said that you
15 recall one of these intercepted conversations between the president of
16 the republic, Radovan Karadzic, and a person that was on the other end of
17 the line.
18 And my question is this: Do you recall any conversations that I
19 had with another person that you were able to intercept and record?
20 Thank you.
21 A. Well, 15 years down the road, 15 years later, it's hard to
23 Q. Thank you. Now, you had occasion two days ago to review these
24 intercepts. Were you able to find among them any intercepted
25 conversations that I had with anyone else, and do you recall that?
1 A. Well, the ones with the markings "X/Y" and the one where it's
2 indicated that it's Zlatar and Palma, I don't recall.
3 Q. Well, thank you. But if you put X and Y for some speaker, is
4 that something that can be assigned to a person who is being tried by the
5 person transcribing, or do you at least know what radio network was used?
6 A. Well, that was not my job.
7 Q. Thank you. Please tell us whether on Sunday, three days ago, you
8 were shown by the Prosecutor any intercepts that you allegedly made of my
9 conversations with people that I had conversations with. Thank you.
10 A. I looked and reviewed these transcripts. I only looked at them
11 in the paper version.
12 Q. Thank you. After you have reviewed the transcripts, and based on
13 the paper trail, as you said, when you determined what the contents of
14 those transcripts were, were you able to locate any transcripts where
15 there were any conversations between me and some interlocutor? Thank
17 A. Well, I just told you a few moments ago that after 15 years, I
18 can't really recall.
19 Q. Thank you. Do you have the tapes of these intercepts that you
20 are testifying about before this Trial Chamber?
21 A. No, I don't have them.
22 Q. Thank you. Are these tapes kept within your unit or here in this
23 Tribunal so that we can determine what these intercepts were and who the
24 persons speaking were?
25 A. Well, I don't know anything about that.
1 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us -- looking at the files that were
2 provided to you by the Prosecutor, can you identify any words spoken by
3 me in those transcripts that you are presenting to this Court as being
4 the ones made by you?
5 A. Well, right now, no, I couldn't do it. Had I been asked to do
6 this in 1999 or 2000, maybe I would have been able to recall, but
7 15 years later --
8 Q. Thank you, Witness. But can you tell us, looking at the papers
9 that you have before you, can you identify a single word spoken by me?
10 Thank you. So I'm not asking you about 15 years ago. I'm asking you
11 about a few days ago, since Sunday, because Ms. Chittenden asked you a
12 few moments ago whether you were able to review the transcripts of the
13 intercepts that you are testifying about and you said that you were given
14 that opportunity.
15 A. Well, I reviewed these transcripts, but there are here also
16 speakers denoted as X, Y, Zlatar, and Palma.
17 Q. Thank you, Witness. Can you tell us, please, why, in
18 paragraphs 14 and 15 -- please take a look at them, they're before you.
19 Why is it noted there, where we have these six intercepts under
20 paragraph 15, that by error you typed the frequency number as one number
21 and that this was corrected here at the Tribunal? Thank you.
22 A. Well, no, this correction was made in the command, as far as I
23 could see from these papers, looking at the typewritten copies.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Ms. Chittenden.
1 MS. CHITTENDEN: Thank you. I would just like to clarify for the
2 record that that's paragraph 19 that we're talking about from the
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could we have that on the screen, please.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Ms. Chittenden.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. That is, indeed, in paragraph 19, where you mention that you
8 wrote down, mistakenly, "Frequency 987," whereas the correct frequency
9 was 897, as indicated and typed up in the intercept transcript.
10 My question is this: A moment ago, when we discussed these
11 matters, you said that you saw these typed-up versions for the first time
12 here at the Tribunal. And I asked you then who had made that correction
13 and on the basis of what, and you said that it was corrected at the corps
14 command. Now, what was the basis for the corps command to correct this
15 error? On the basis of what did they do this?
16 A. I wouldn't know.
17 Q. Thank you. Is it standard practice that the person to whom a
18 telegraph is sent should enter any corrections in that text and correct
19 the words noted by the intercept operator?
20 A. I don't know about that.
21 Q. Thank you. Maybe my question wasn't clear enough, so let me
22 rephrase it.
23 Should the original contain only what was noted in your log-book,
24 without the corrections being made, but rather with an additional remark
25 being added that this should be corrected to reflect so-and-so? So
1 wouldn't that be something to -- the right thing to do?
2 A. I have no idea.
3 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, during your training, were you told
4 what you were to do if you were to notice that there was an error
5 subsequently, in other words, after had you already transcribed the
6 intercept? Thank you.
7 A. I can't really recall as I sit here.
8 Q. Please tell me, what kind of training did you undergo, excluding
9 the period while you served in the JNA? So what all different types of
10 training and where did you undergo?
11 A. Well, in Tuzla.
12 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us, who was your instructor and what
13 were you taught there?
14 A. Communications officers.
15 Q. Thank you. If the Trial Chamber were to give you some time now
16 to leaf through the transcripts that you have before you, would you be
17 able to point out any words that were spoken by me? And if you were to
18 be given a tape, would you be able to recognise my voice? Thank you.
19 A. Well, 15 years is a long time, and I am not what I used to be.
20 Q. Thank you. But if my voice were to be recorded, taped, now,
21 would you recognise it? Thank you.
22 A. Well, the equipment is a bit different nowadays.
23 Q. Well, thank you. But would you agree with me that each person
24 has a very specific voice and that it's the -- the timbre of the voice is
25 recognisable as much as a finger-print?
1 A. Well, I -- I'm not -- I don't know anything about that.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have no
3 further questions for this witness.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Thank you, Witness, for your honest answers. Thank you for
6 coming here, and I wish you all the best in your future life. And I have
7 no further questions for you.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And I would like to thank everyone
9 who has helped me during this questioning, and I apologise to the
10 interpreters and to the court reporter for speaking too fast at times.
11 Your Honours, that's all I have to say. Thank you.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much, Mr. Tolimir.
13 Ms. Chittenden, do you have re-examination?
14 MS. CHITTENDEN: No, I don't, Mr. President. I just had one
15 clarification on page 12, line 7. I think it was an inadvertent
16 reference to the 10th of June instead of the 30th of June for the date of
17 the statement. But no re-examination.
18 Questioned by the Court:
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I'd like to ask the witness: Do you recall the
20 date when you had this telephone conversation with a member of the
21 Prosecution? Was it the 30th of June or the 10th of June ?
22 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the whole
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please repeat your whole answer, because your
25 voice was very -- was not to be heard.
1 A. When was the first interview with me, me personally?
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, on the phone.
3 A. I can't remember the date.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
5 MS. CHITTENDEN: Mr. President, sorry. My clarification was
6 actually in a question put to the witness, rather than the witness's
7 answer. That's what I -- sorry. It said "10th of June" in the question.
8 I apologise.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. That clarifies the situation.
10 Judge Mindua has a question for the witness.
11 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, I do have a question, a short
13 I think we could go into closed session, because I would like to
14 ask the witness about his view on the matter.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private.
16 [Private session]
22 [Open session]
23 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You will be pleased to know that you are now free
25 to leave the Tribunal to return to your normal activities. The Chamber
1 would like to thank you for your attendance here and for your patience to
2 wait for your testimony. Thank you, again, and all the best wishes for
3 your future.
4 The Court Officer will assist you while leaving the courtroom.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Ms. Chittenden and your colleagues, would that
7 be, perhaps today, a convenient time for the first break in order to
8 arrange everything for the next witness?
9 MS. CHITTENDEN: Yes, thank you, Mr. President.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Then we should do that.
11 We adjourn now, have our first break now, and resume 10 minutes
12 before 4.00.
13 [The witness withdrew]
14 --- Recess taken at 3.22 p.m.
15 [The witness takes the stand]
16 --- On resuming at 3.55 p.m.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good afternoon, sir.
18 May I remind you that the affirmation to tell the truth still
20 WITNESS: HAMDIJA TORLAK [Resumed]
21 [The witness answered through interpreter]
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I suppose that Mr. Thayer has some additional
23 questions for you.
24 MR. THAYER: I do, and thank you, Mr. President.
25 Good afternoon to you and to Your Honours. Good afternoon to the
1 Defence. Good afternoon, everyone.
2 Examination by Mr. Thayer: [Continued]
3 Q. Good afternoon, Witness.
4 A. Good afternoon.
5 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, before we continue, the Prosecution
6 would tender Exhibit 1D00247. It is the communication from the
7 ABiH General Staff, General Hadzihasanovic, of the 13 July [Realtime
8 transcript read in error "30th of July"] at 1050 hours. It's a Defence
9 exhibit in this case, as it was in the last case. We used it yesterday
10 with the witness, and there's an English translation available in
11 e-court. I'm not sure if its up-loaded yet. Some of the Defence
12 exhibits were up-loaded as of this afternoon, but not all of them.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I'm trying to find it in your exhibit list.
14 MR. THAYER: It was not on our exhibit list, as I stated
15 yesterday. It wasn't one of the documents I'd intended to use with the
16 witness, but it came up spontaneously, as it were, during the
17 examination. But as I said, it is a Defence exhibit in this case, so we
18 would tender it at this time.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The exhibit we have on the screen now?
20 MR. THAYER: Correct, Mr. President.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You said -- but then, in that case, there must be
22 a mistake on the transcript. Not the 30th of July, but the 13th of July.
23 MR. THAYER: Yes. I may have misspoken. It is the 13th of July,
24 not the 30th of July, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. It will be received.
1 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P734.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please go ahead, Mr. Thayer.
3 MR. THAYER:
4 Q. We left off yesterday, Witness, with the meeting at the Boksanica
5 check-point ending and you returning. Can you pick up from there,
7 A. After the meeting at the check-point number 2, manned by
8 UNPROFOR, Mujo Omanovic and I returned to Zepa. We travelled by
9 UNPROFOR -- by an UNPROFOR vehicle. As we arrived in Zepa, we briefed
10 other members of the War Presidency about the conditions or the ultimatum
11 given to us at the meeting with General Tolimir.
12 A meeting was held involving all War Presidency members. I
13 believe that the meeting was quite long. It lasted a couple of hours.
14 And at that meeting, we discussed the proposal we had heard, and the
15 general feeling or the general conclusion as a result of that meeting was
16 that we wouldn't accept the proposal and that we would not agree to all
17 of the population being evacuated from the Zepa enclave, including the
18 able-bodied men of Zepa.
19 According to the agreement we had reached at check-point 2 with
20 General Tolimir, we were supposed to convey our final decision to the
21 main commander of UNPROFOR in Zepa, Colonel Dudnjik, and that's what we
23 Let me briefly go back to the reasons why such decision had been
24 made. The main reason for such a decision was our fear for the lives of
25 able-bodied men or men between the ages of 18 and 55 or 60. That was the
1 main reason, that fear was the main reason. And the decision was that we
2 would not accept that proposal. After we informed General Dudnjik -- and
3 to be honest, I don't remember -- rather, I apologise, not
4 General Dudnjik, but Colonel Dudnjik, and I don't remember whether we
5 conveyed the information in a written form or just orally. Pursuant to
6 our previous agreement, Colonel Dudnjik was supposed to go back to
7 check-point 2 and to convey our decision, or, rather, the decision of the
8 War Presidency, to the Serb side.
9 Speaking from memory, I can tell you that when Colonel Dudnjik
10 left, and probably after he had conveyed our decision to the Serbian
11 side, shelling started soon thereafter, the shelling of Zepa, or, rather,
12 that was the beginning of a military operation against Zepa.
13 Should I continue?
14 Q. Just a couple of brief follow-ups, sir.
15 Before the shelling began, did you or any of the members of the
16 War Presidency have any contact with Colonel Dudnjik after he had
17 conveyed the decision or the position of the Muslim authorities to the
19 A. I believe that when it comes to our decision being conveyed to
20 Dudnjik, I believe that Colonel Palic was in charge of that, and if I
21 remember correctly, I believe that Colonel Palic told us that Dudnjik had
22 been quite apprehensive about our decision. During that period, I did
23 not have any contacts with Colonel Dudnjik after he returned to Zepa.
24 Q. And did Colonel Palic give you any sense of why Colonel Dudnjik
25 was so apprehensive about your decision, sir?
1 A. I can't remember much of the detail of that. Most probably,
2 Dudnjik believed, which later on proved to be correct, that Zepa didn't
3 stand a chance and that it could not defend itself. He was of the
4 opinion that we should have accepted the offer that had been made to us.
5 Q. Please tell the Trial Chamber what was struck by the shelling
6 that followed. What were the targets?
7 A. Again, I can't remember everything. I believe that the main
8 targets were the center of Zepa and the surrounding villages, but,
9 really, I can't provide you with any more details. I'm sure that the
10 center of Zepa was targeted. I'm positive of that.
11 Q. Were civilian homes or buildings targeted, sir?
12 A. I think so. As the situation developed and as attacks ensued,
13 civilian homes and buildings were often targeted.
14 Q. Was there armed resistance by the ABiH fighters in Zepa?
15 A. Yes. The War Presidency held a meeting. After that, Avdo went
16 to organise the resistance. I believe that on that same evening, a
17 defence line was set up on the southern side facing Boksanica.
18 Q. And just generally speaking, sir, can you give the Trial Chamber
19 an idea of what kind of a fight the ABiH forces in Zepa were able to put
20 up, and for how long, and with what means?
21 A. Well, as I said yesterday during my testimony, based on the
22 information that I had at the time, I would say that 600 men had weapons,
23 mostly light infantry weapons, mostly AK-47, the famous Kalashnikov
24 rifles. As far as I can remember, there was some anti-armour weaponry.
25 I believe that those were rocket-launchers known as Red Arrow, if my
1 memory serves me correctly. That's what had been air-dropped by
2 helicopters. There were not that many of those weapons. I believe that
3 Zepa had four pieces altogether. Again, speaking from memory, we didn't
4 have any mortars, we didn't have any mortar shells in any case. Again,
5 according to what I knew at the time, that was the armament that the
6 BiH Army had at its disposal at the time in Zepa.
7 The VRS attacks continued. As far as I can remember, in addition
8 to the axis along the southern side in the direction of Rogatica, serious
9 attacks came from the direction of the village of Godjenje. I would say
10 that's the south-western side of the enclave. Lines were set up, and
11 they were maintained. I don't know whether any of the lines were moved
12 at places near the village of Godjenje or the line on the south-western
13 side. It is possible that the VRS did make certain advances, but that
14 was still not the key development leading to the fall of Zepa.
15 I would like to go back and say that the ammunition for the light
16 infantry weapons existed in very limited quantities, of course, and that
17 was actually what was the main limitation, in view of the time of
19 The attacks continued. The lines -- the defence lines were not
20 moved, as far as I can remember, up to the 19th of July, 1995. On the
21 19th of July, VRS attacks stopped. There was a lull. What ensued was a
22 new invitation via UNPROFOR for a new round of talks at check-point 2 in
24 I would like to point out one more thing at this time. At that
25 time, we had very frequent contacts with our military and political
1 leaderships in Sarajevo. We never received a clear answer as to what
2 could be done in order to save Zepa. Thus, we realised that the matter
3 was in our hands and that we were left to our own means. There was no
4 other way, there was no other possibility. We couldn't expect help from
6 Q. Now, before we move into the events of the 19th of July, Witness,
7 and again recognising that you're not a military man, but you clearly
8 have a very good memory for these events, as you were there during the
9 time and were very much involved as a part of the civilian authority, can
10 you give the Trial Chamber an idea, please, of whether the terrain of
11 Zepa affected the ABiH's ability to resist the attack up until the 19th,
12 for example?
13 A. Well, yes, the terrain and the geographical location of Zepa were
14 two key factors which determined, in my view, the length of resistance
15 against the VRS. And the VRS was much better armed. They had at their
16 disposal all sorts of means and equipment. And that's what I already
17 said at the very outset. Zepa has very well-delineated natural borders
18 and a natural configuration which is conducive to an efficient defence,
19 even with very little means available. And I'm talking about defence
20 from military attacks. That means that all of the entrances into Zepa
21 are naturally defined entrances in two or three points, and those points
22 could be easily controlled. Tanks could not enter Zepa easily. Zepa is
23 not in a low-lying land which would have been conducive to an easy
24 advance of tanks, and that is the main reason, in my view, why Zepa was
25 able to defend itself for such a long time.
1 Q. And, sir, did you learn at some point during the attack that
2 Muslim fighters had over-run or, for lack of a better word, robbed
3 weapons and equipment, ammunition, from some of the Ukrainian
5 A. I believe that on the 13th -- or, rather, I can say no to your
6 question, because I didn't know that. I'm not claiming that things like
7 that didn't happen, but while those things were happening, I didn't know
8 anything about them. But I know that Avdo Palic had gotten in touch with
9 the Ukrainian Battalion, asking them to hand over the weapons that had
10 been surrendered during the process of demilitarisation. I really don't
11 know whether that happened, whether that materialised or not; if it did,
12 who was in charge. Whatever I told you at this point, I would only be
13 speculating, but I know that there was an idea of the kind. And as to
14 whether the Ukrainian soldiers were robbed of their own weapons, whether
15 any such thing happened, whether any of the check-points were over-run by
16 BiH soldiers, I don't know.
17 Q. Okay. You brought us up to the 19th of July. You said that you
18 received, through UNPROFOR, another, to use your word, invitation. Who
19 or what party, again, sir, originated or initiated this invitation to the
20 Zepa authorities?
21 A. As far as I can recall, I believe that Avdo received that
22 invitation, in other words, Colonel Palic from the Ukrainian Battalion,
23 and that the invitation was sent from check-point 2 by General Mladic.
24 Q. So from Mladic through Dudnjik or some Ukrainian to Palic,
25 ultimately to you; is that how it went?
1 A. Well, that's how it went, that's correct. But I forgot to
2 mention that on the 13th, after he left, Colonel Dudnjik did not return
3 to the mission command in down-town Zepa, the UNPROFOR command. He
4 remained at check-point 2. And as far as I can recall, and I can't
5 remember the name of the person, but the main commander in Zepa of the
6 Zepa mission was a younger officer, I believe a lieutenant, and it was
7 via him that that invitation arrived. I believe that Palic and I --
8 Colonel Palic and I went to the UNPROFOR headquarters in Zepa, where,
9 with the help of the radio, we talked with General Mladic, who was at
10 check-point 2 at the time. After that radio communication, and we had
11 already agreed earlier to go to check-point 3 one more time, and when
12 discussing the request of General Mladic, we agreed that our
13 representatives would go on that same day, in the afternoon, to
14 check-point 2 at Boksanica.
15 After some additional consultation at the War Presidency -- in
16 fact, we didn't even have a meeting. The decision had been made
17 immediately. It was decided, in other words, that I should go to
18 check-point 2, the UNPROFOR check-point 2 at Boksanica, to meet with
19 General Mladic, and that was for continuity purposes, because after
20 July 12th and the events of July 12th, I was actually put in charge of
21 contacts with the UNPROFOR and the Serb side, as well as
22 Mr. Benjamin Kulovac. This was in late afternoon, I believe, perhaps
23 around 3.00 p.m. or so. I can't really recall.
24 We set off in an UNPROFOR vehicle to check-point 2. When we
25 arrived at Boksanica, we were met by General Mladic. And if I'm not
1 mistaken, I believe General Tolimir was there too. On the Serb side, and
2 I'm not absolutely certain about this, but I think that
3 Colonel Rajko Kusic was there too, and Colonel Dudnjik was there as an
4 UNPROFOR representative. We sat around the table, which was outside, and
5 General Mladic insisted that the evacuation of the population should
6 start immediately. He dictated the demands, and as far as I can recall,
7 they were as follows: First, the wounded would be evacuated, followed by
8 women, children. And as for able-bodied men, they were to surrender
9 their weapons to UNPROFOR. And then I can't recall exactly the phrasing
10 of what followed, that they should be registered by the Red Cross or
11 something to that effect, and, if I'm not mistaken, that there should
12 then ensue an exchange on the principle of "all for all."
13 Mr. Benjamin Kulovac and I -- and I apologise, but I would like
14 to go back to the meeting and just say a few more things about the
15 meeting there.
16 The only person who spoke at the meeting was General Mladic. I
17 jotted down his words, the words that Mladic dictated. And
18 Benjamin Kulovac and I then went back to Zepa in the UNPROFOR vehicle.
19 If I'm not mistaken, General Mladic's demand was that on the very
20 next day, on the 20th, early in the morning, the evacuation should begin.
21 That evening, I think we got in touch with the political
22 leadership in Sarajevo again, and we conveyed the demands by the Serb
23 side, or, more specifically, General Mladic's demand. At that point in
24 time -- or, rather, at that time, as of the 13th and then onwards, the
25 major problem that we were facing was what to do about the able-bodied
1 men, men of military age, between 18 and 50 to 60 years of age. Our idea
2 was to have all able-bodied men exchanged with the Serb side along the
3 principle "all for all," provided that they were not surrendered or
4 handed over to anyone, because we feared for their lives. I think that
5 the reply we received from Sarajevo was something to the effect that
6 there would be negotiations at the airport and so on to that effect. And
7 the Serb side again interpreted this as our refusal, and the military
8 attacks renewed on the 20th of July, 1995.
9 Let me just note that at this time, in other words, after the
10 13th, some people began arriving from Srebrenica, people who had tried to
11 cross over, bringing with them the stories of all that they had been
12 through, which further instilled fear in the hearts of the Zepa people,
13 so that the situation at this time was very difficult. Fear was the
14 predominant emotion that the people there had.
15 Q. Let me interrupt you for a moment, sir. One quick question.
16 You mentioned a colonel, and I think it came out as "Pusic." Is
17 that the correct name or was -- is it a different name?
18 A. No, it should read "Kusic," K instead of P. And I said that as
19 far as I could recall, I believe that Colonel Kusic, Rajko Kusic, also
20 attended that meeting.
21 Q. And during this meeting on 19 July, sir, were you aware that it
22 was being video-recorded?
23 A. Yes, we were aware of that, because as soon as we arrived, there
24 was a reporter or a cameraman - I believe he was with the army of
25 Bosnian Serbs - and he was there throughout the conversations and
1 throughout the meeting there, and we were aware that this was being
3 Q. You told us a couple of moments ago that the reports that began
4 to arrive in Zepa from people who had survived or had knowledge of what
5 happened following the fall of Srebrenica, to use your words, and I
6 quote, "further instilled fear" in the population of Zepa. Now,
7 presumably shelling would instill fear in anyone, but can you tell the
8 Trial Chamber why the Zepa population was further instilled with fear?
9 What were they afraid of? Please share that with the Trial Chamber.
10 A. Well, when I said that people began coming from Srebrenica, if we
11 think of the dates, these could only have been those people who had tried
12 to cross over to the territory under the control of the BH Army and who
13 did not succeed in that, but they managed to pull out and come back to
14 the Zepa territory, going through some villages in the Srebrenica area
15 and so on. So these were stories and reports by those people who were in
16 the column; not the ones who went from Potocari, but others who tried to
17 cross over and who were unsuccessful, but who managed to come back. So
18 the stories came from those people.
19 As for the shelling, I will now be a bit, well -- I'll use some
20 grim humour or joke. But shelling was a daily occurrence at the time, so
21 that did not cause any fear anymore. And I'd like to repeat that as of
22 the 13th and onwards, the main fear was how all this was going to end.
23 It was clear that Zepa had to fall. We were perfectly clear on that, and
24 we were just looking for ways to save lives. All our activities and
25 efforts were directed toward that goal.
1 We wanted, and we tried as much as we could, to keep the
2 situation under control. What did that mean? Well, that meant that we
3 tried to always be in touch -- in contact with the UNPROFOR, to maintain
4 contact with the Serb side, and so on, because the center of Zepa was
5 where the UNPROFOR headquarters were. The brunt of the attack of the
6 Serb forces came from the south, and people from all the villages on the
7 southern side, south to south of the Zepa River, had already evacuated
8 and moved into the hills, so there was the fear that if everyone were to
9 withdraw and we lost contact with the UNPROFOR, that then the entire
10 population of Zepa would find itself in a very difficult situation.
11 Q. Now, from the period of 13 July up until these reports started
12 coming in about Srebrenica, you just told us that you were already afraid
13 for the fate of the military-aged men of Zepa even before the reports
14 started coming in. Please tell the Trial Chamber why you were so afraid
15 for the fate of the military-aged men of Zepa even before you began
16 getting reports about what happened after the fall of Srebrenica.
17 A. Well, look. At the time, and it was wartime, the fear for the
18 fate of military -- for the fate of people was widespread because, in
19 Zepa, we knew about a lot of what had happened, especially in view of the
20 reports from Eastern Bosnia, reports by the people who had survived, so
21 it was a general belief that if one were to fall into the hands of Serbs,
22 if they were to be taken prisoner, that they would not survive, that they
23 would be killed. So this was what the fear of the able-bodied men rested
24 on. This fear, of course, grew over the past three or four years, and it
25 was a general view held by all able-bodied men, or most of them.
1 Q. And, again, even before the reports about what happened following
2 the fall of Srebrenica came in to Zepa, referring now to the elderly, the
3 young, the children, the women of Zepa, based on your experience, and
4 tell us what -- your state of mind and the state of mind of those you
5 knew in Zepa at the time, what kind of life did you -- could you expect
6 for those people had they tried to stay in Zepa following the Serb
8 A. Could you please clarify which group of people you're referring
9 to, which group, what part of the population?
10 Q. Again, I'm referring to the Muslim women, children, elderly,
11 non-able-bodied men, sir. Focusing on that group of the population, the
12 question is: Even before these reports about what happened following the
13 fall of Srebrenica came in, what kind of life did you or could you expect
14 they faced had they remained in Zepa following the VRS take-over of Zepa
15 which you expected would be certain, would be inevitable?
16 A. Well, you see, that option, to remain in Zepa, was not even
17 entertained, probably because of the fear and the general sense of
18 insecurity and the fact that some 90 [as interpreted] per cent of the
19 population in Zepa were refugees, so this was not their home.
20 60 per cent, I said, not 90 per cent. So that this option, the option to
21 remain there, was not even entertained. There was fear. Zepa had to be
22 evacuated and territory exchanged, and whoever was there at the time
23 could very well understand the fear that prevailed at the time.
24 And I would like to stress one more time that to remain in Zepa
25 at that time, especially after the 20th, was not a realistic option, and
1 no one actually considered it. Everyone was aware of the fact that Zepa
2 had to be evacuated.
3 Q. So please pick up, sir, where you left off. I believe you had
4 returned to Zepa with Mr. Kulovac. And if you could just finish off with
5 the events of the 19th of July, and then we'll look at some video
7 A. Well, I believe that I said all there was to say about that
8 story, but I will try to go back.
9 So after this meeting at Boksanica, where General Mladic was in
10 attendance as well, where he dictated his demands regarding the
11 evacuation of the civilians and the surrender of able-bodied men or
12 soldiers, we returned to Zepa that afternoon. As far as I can remember,
13 we got in touch with the political leadership in Sarajevo that same
14 afternoon, asking them to try and agree with the Serb side on the
15 exchange of military-aged men from Zepa along the principle "all for
16 all," so that they should be exchanged for all Serb prisoners of war.
17 And I believe that the answer was something to the effect that there was
18 to be a meeting on the next day or the day after.
19 The Republika Srpska Army continued their attack on the next day,
20 the 20th of July, 1995.
21 Q. Now -- sorry, Witness. If you had something to add about the
22 events of the 19th, please do. What I'd like to do, if you're -- if you
23 have nothing further to add, is to show some video.
24 I see you shaking your head no. Okay.
25 Before we --
1 A. No, I have nothing to add.
2 MR. THAYER: Before we look at some video, Mr. President, if we
3 could just go into private session for one question that will, I think,
4 enable us to watch the entire video in open session.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private.
6 [Private session]
10 [Open session]
11 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session.
12 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, Ms. Stewart will play one portion of
13 the compilation tape that we've listed on our exhibit list, and this is
14 from 65 ter 6417. I believe it picks up at 2 minutes and I think it's
15 46 seconds of the compilation, just for the record, for the future, so we
16 know where to start. We do have English and B/C/S transcripts which have
17 been up-loaded into e-court.
18 [Video-clip played]
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't see a thing.
20 [Video-clip played]
21 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "If General Smith or anyone from
22 UNPROFOR comes by, I will tell them that it's me, and they will already
23 be there. A jeep is already waiting for me in Zepa, actually."
24 MR. THAYER:
25 Q. Sir, we've paused at 3 minutes and 29 seconds of the video. Do
1 you recognise the individual at the far right of this still here?
2 A. Yes, that's General Mladic on the very right.
3 Q. And do you recognise the individual in the blue helmet?
4 A. Yes. That's Colonel Dudnjik.
5 MR. THAYER: Okay. Please continue.
6 And, Mr. President, I --
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE:
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, please carry on.
10 MR. THAYER: Just having a technology discussion, Mr. President,
11 with the Court's indulgence.
12 Okay. Can we continue, please.
13 [Video-clip played]
14 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Black Sea. I will visit the
15 Black Sea."
16 "Good. Your wife and children ..."
17 "Finish the war here. Come on."
18 "I will visit you."
19 "Could we try the old --"
20 "I didn't understand."
21 "Come on."
22 MR. THAYER:
23 Q. Sir, we've paused at 4 minutes and 32.9 seconds. Do you
24 recognise the individual pictured here with the cigarette in his hand?
25 A. Colonel Dudnjik, Sejmon Dudnjik.
1 MR. THAYER: Thank you. Please continue.
2 [Video-clip played]
3 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "General Mladic, I'm listening.
4 "General Mladic speaking. General Mladic speaking. Let me talk
5 to Avdo Palic. General Mladic speaking, General Mladic speaking. Let me
6 talk to Avdo Palic."
7 "Dudnjik? Here's Dudnjik."
8 "Avdo, this is General Mladic speaking. Do you read me? Copy?
9 You can rest assured. Take your deputy or any UNPROFOR officer, take any
10 of your associates and one woman, and come here to the UNPROFOR
11 check-point so that we can agree on further rescue of the entire
12 population and safe evacuation. Do you understand me? Over."
13 "Mr. Palic, I decide about the venue and the people I will talk
14 to, not you. I can give you my word, as an officer and a general, that
15 you are completely safe. Come with one of your associates, the one you
16 choose, one woman that you choose, and an UNPROFOR officer of your
17 choice. Whether it's going to be Dudnjik's deputy or not, that's up to
18 you. I had talks and I saved civilian population, and everyone who
19 listened to me from Srebrenica, and I talked to Mr. Nesib Mandzic,
20 UNPROFOR commander, and a certain Mrs. Camilla. I give you my word as an
21 officer that the passage is free. Come here and we will agree on all the
22 details. Do you understand me? Over."
23 "Mr. Palic, I am not interested in Rasim Delic or
24 Alija Izetbegovic or Karadzic. I'm interested in the fate of the people
25 who have been misled, and I don't want the innocent to suffer. I want to
1 resolve this, and I want to give you a chance. There's no need for you
2 or the people to die. You have a chance. Come and take it. You will
3 not get it again. Make no mistake. Do you understand me? Over."
4 "Mr. Palic, I call the shots and I say who's coming. I am
5 General Mladic. You have half an hour, starting now. Call me if you
6 want to negotiate, and this is your last chance. We will not talk again.
7 In that case, you have signed a death sentence for everyone in the
8 territory controlled by you. Do you --"
9 MR. THAYER:
10 Q. Sir, just to set a little bit of the context here, from what
11 location is General Mladic speaking here, just to leave no doubt for the
13 A. I believe -- and not only do I believe, but I know that this is
14 check-point 2, manned by UNPROFOR, at Boksanica.
15 Q. And where was Mr. -- or Colonel Palic located during this
17 A. Colonel Palic, on the other side, was in Zepa, in the elementary
18 school in Zepa which housed the UNPROFOR base for Zepa.
19 Q. And how do you know he was there during this conversation?
20 A. I was with him during that conversation.
21 MR. THAYER: And for the record, we've paused at 10 minutes
22 12.7 seconds.
23 Please continue, Ms. Stewart. Thank you.
24 [Video-clip played]
25 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Do you understand? Over."
1 "Mr. Avdo, you report to whoever you want. I have another
2 obligation as a human being and as a general. Let me talk to someone
3 more sensible than yourself, because you are fighting for your life and
4 you are capable of sacrificing the people for your sake and the sake of
5 your own ass. Let me talk to that woman and the other guy who is with
6 you. I cannot talk to you. If you want, come and I will listen to you,
7 so that I can see what you want and if we can resolve the problem.
8 Whether I have the authority or you do, we should leave that for others
9 to judge. I am giving you a chance to settle this as men, because you
10 have shed enough blood here, you and your followers. And I'm telling you
11 you should put this lady on the phone so I can talk to her, as a woman,
12 because women are more sensible than you, who are misguided by ideology.
13 And I did not come here to argue with you. I came here to give you and
14 your people a chance. Do you understand me? Over."
15 "Avdo, I'm trying to understand you. There's no need for people
16 to suffer because of you and your skin. I guarantee you full freedom,
17 and I will go where -- you will go where you want me -- where you want to
18 go, but try and help stop the bloodshed. Did you get that? If you're
19 not capable of that and you can't do it, put one of your associates on,
20 let me talk to somebody else, so that I have clear conscience with regard
21 to what I intend to do if you continue being unreasonable. Over."
22 "I think I sent you one litre of brandy from Rogatica, and I
23 signed a box of cigarettes for you. To tell you the truth, it was a long
24 time ago, but I know that I sent all that. I believe that it was a box
25 of Drava cigarettes or something like that. Believe me, Avdo, I'm giving
1 you a chance, both to you and your people. I want to keep my humanity
2 when all this is over, and, trust me, you have to trust me. You will
3 return to your people, and let us cut this Gordian knot in a nice and
4 human way."
5 "Avdo, did you get that? Over."
6 "Listen, this is Hamdija Torlak, a representative of the Zepa
8 "Mr. Torlak, greetings to you, and I am inviting you and
9 Mr. Avdo Palic, and bring a woman with you or someone else if you need
10 them. Bring an UNPROFOR officer and come to this check-point at
11 Boksanica. I will receive you with my associates to resolve the issue,
12 so that the people in the territory do not suffer. I guarantee you full
13 freedom both on the way there and on the way back. Do you understand me?
15 "You are controlling -- I don't know. Well --"
16 "Mr. Torlak, if you want, take four APCs, UNPROFOR APCs, or one,
17 just let me know and I will give an order for the passage to be freed,
18 and you will arrive here completely safe. Do you understand? Over."
19 "I understand completely. If you could --"
20 "Do not delay so much. I don't have the time to wait for you for
21 hours. The night's falling. I'm giving you 30 minutes. You have until
22 1700 hours. That's enough. Discuss it and let me know. And then there
23 is also enough time for me to tell my men whether you are coming and how,
24 to order the road to be cleaned for your safe passage. Do you
25 understand? Over."
1 "I do. So we will talk again at 1700."
2 "Okay, I agree. I will order my men to be ready to let you
3 through from 1700 on. First of all, you will help your people greatly,
4 but me as well, because I don't wish to have anybody on my conscience.
5 I'm here to help you. I'm the only one who can help you at this moment.
6 You can be sure of this. And I can help you only with your help. There
7 is no need to turn this terrain into a venue of tragedy of both mine and
8 your people. Okay, thank you, and bring a woman with you, if possible."
9 "Well, I will check. You know how it is. I --"
10 "Okay, I will talk to you at 1700 hours. I will order my men to
11 ensure the passage from Zepa to Boksanica, to this check-point. You will
12 just tell me the names of the delegation members, you will tell me who
13 the UNPROFOR officers and soldiers are."
15 "We will see. If there are barricades, we will remove them."
16 "Okay, I'll talk to you at 1700, General."
17 "Good luck. We'll talk at 1700 hours."
18 MR. THAYER:
19 Q. Sir, when, in relation to your -- the meeting you described, when
20 you sat down with Generals Mladic and Tolimir, did the conversation we
21 just heard take place, approximately? We don't need a specific time, if
22 you can't recall. But approximately what time did that conversation
24 A. In the afternoon, in the second half of the day. The meeting
25 wasn't long. According to my estimate, it was not longer than 30 to
1 40 minutes. And the conversation took place at check-point 2 in
3 MR. THAYER: Okay. Before we go to the next portion of this
4 video, I note, again, we do have both English and B/C/S transcripts
5 available in e-court linked to this exhibit, if that helps the
6 interpreters at all. We also have hard copies of the B/C/S transcript,
7 if that will assist the interpreters. Again, the video is subtitled, but
8 we do have the transcripts available, electronically and hard copy, to
9 hopefully make the job a little easier for the interpreters.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: They should be given to the interpreters to be of
11 assistance for them, or was that already provided?
12 MR. THAYER: Just available in e-court, Mr. President. But we do
13 have hard copies, if they prefer hard copies, and we can hand that up
14 right now.
15 And for the record, we'll be starting at page 8 of the B/C/S
16 transcript. And we'll continue at 18 minutes 15.5 seconds.
17 [Video-clip played]
18 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "They told you already yesterday,
19 the day before yesterday, to surrender your weapons, surrender your
20 ammunition. You said, We will die. They were waiting the whole night to
21 attack us, and they will wait during the whole night for the Muslims to
23 [No interpretation]
24 "Srna, Srna, Srna, this is Panorama 01. Respond. Over. Give me
25 Srna, personally."
1 "Andric, I'm at Kusic's. I'll wait for you at the check-point.
2 I'm waiting for the Turks to come and negotiate."
3 MR. THAYER:
4 Q. Sir, we've paused at 21 minutes 29.8 seconds. Do you recognise
5 anybody in this still, starting from left -- I beg your pardon -- from
6 right to left?
7 A. Is that a question for me?
8 Q. Yes.
9 A. I apologise. On the far right we see General Tolimir. Centrally
10 is General Mladic. And on the far left, I believe this is Kosoric, an
11 officer of the Republika Srpska Army.
12 MR. THAYER: Thank you.
13 We can continue, please.
14 [Video-clip played]
15 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "General, it was here where we
16 brought -- and from here, it was a clearing, because like this you
17 cannot -- you cannot with Zolja."
18 "He comes to this curve in the road and cannot -- when we brought
19 in our forces from here --"
20 "We are here now, right now."
21 "How do you say 'boring' in Ukrainian?"
22 "Which gate? That's another gate."
23 "What kind of question is that?"
24 "So the dog won't bite them."
25 "No, he won't. He's quiet."
1 "Here it is. Now, we came to try to arrange one thing."
2 MR. THAYER:
3 Q. Sir, we've paused at 26 minutes 25.3 seconds. There is an
4 individual seated with his back to the camera, wearing a military cap.
5 Can you identify who that is for the record, please?
6 A. That's General Zdravko Tolimir.
7 MR. THAYER: Thank you.
8 Please continue.
9 [Video-clip played]
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We cannot hear the
11 speakers at all. That is why we are not reading the transcript.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We don't hear the speakers neither, but we see
13 the subtitles.
14 MR. THAYER: Yes. We experienced this problem --
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: How do you want to proceed?
16 MR. THAYER: We experience this problem from time to time,
17 Mr. President. For some reason, the audio just stays way down. I think
18 we had that problem the other day. I think we can continue. The video
19 is subtitled. It is based on, obviously, prior reviews where you
20 can listen to the -- or you do have the audio high enough. My proposal
21 would be simply to follow along with the subtitling as it is.
22 Again, for anybody that wants to follow along with the B/C/S
23 transcript, it is in e-court, and we have made the Word versions of those
24 transcripts available to the Defence for some time. We can certainly get
25 by just by watching the video with the subtitling, Mr. President.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The English text of the transcript should be
2 available, anyway. Perhaps you can up-load it into e-court as well, if
3 it is not done yet.
4 MR. THAYER: It is already up-loaded, Mr. President.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please carry on.
6 [Video-clip played]
7 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "I'm not going to use the term which
8 you --"
9 "Well, they should just inform them that we cannot establish
10 communications with them, only through the UNPROFOR communications."
11 "There are children and some women."
12 MR. THAYER: We've paused at 27 minutes 42.1 seconds.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you that you are pausing. At the moment,
14 we have to discuss the matter of the audio and the recognition of the
15 voice. Just a moment.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, you should continue, although the
18 voices are not to be heard in a proper way. But we have another problem.
19 We should have our break. On technical reasons, it's not possible to
20 extend it too much. What do you think? How much time will it take to
21 finish this video?
22 MR. THAYER: This clip, I think, has about eight minutes left,
23 Mr. President, so it's no problem to pause it here. We may even be able
24 to resolve the technical glitch in the meantime, and we'll liaise with
25 the booth about that as well. Thank you.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In fact, we have already interrupted this video
2 because of our technical discussion, so that I think it is appreciated
3 that we have now our second break. And we will resume at 6.00, and
4 hopefully it will be possible to resolve the technical problem with the
5 voices to be heard.
6 We adjourn and resume at 6.00.
7 --- Recess taken at 5.33 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 6.03 p.m.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
10 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I think we've solved the technical
11 problems that we had earlier. We will -- instead of playing this off the
12 Sanction system, we'll play it from a CD. And we've done some test runs,
13 and it seems like the audio is much better now.
14 What I propose to do is begin at the portion where we actually
15 see the events preceding and then during the meeting at Boksanica. The
16 portion where we saw General Mladic speaking with Colonel Palic, I think
17 was sufficiently audible for our purposes. The audibility of
18 Colonel Palic during that conversation is very poor, so I don't think
19 any -- there's much enhancement we can do to get that so that we can hear
20 it, for example. I think you can make it out if you're a B/C/S speaker
21 and you listen to it carefully. So I propose that we start with the
22 events at the UN check-point in Boksanica, when General Tolimir and
23 Colonel Kosoric arrive.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Very well. Very well. Please proceed.
25 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
1 Let's roll the video, please.
2 [Video-clip played]
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We don't have interpretation.
4 THE INTERPRETER: The video is in Russian. We do not interpret
5 from Russian.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Why don't we start with the beginning of the
8 MR. THAYER: We'll do that, Mr. President.
9 And in light of the proceedings thus far, because we have the
10 subtitles and because everything, I believe, will be sufficiently audible
11 for all the parties, I propose that we can suspend the
12 double-interpretation, as it were, and just listen to the events and
13 follow along for the English speakers on the subtitles, and for the B/C/S
14 speakers it will all be in the native language, anyway, and we can go
15 directly to the meeting.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was told, for the sake of the record, that
17 everything that was audible or readable was translated into B/C/S for the
18 accused. If that is the case, I think we can proceed in that way.
19 MR. THAYER: And for the record, we're at 23:46 of the CD video,
20 and we have a -- there's a seven-second difference between the time of
21 the video that we're showing from the CD and the time that is up-loaded
22 into e-court. So just for the future purposes, if we're going back to
23 look at the record, we just have to take that into account, in terms of
24 locating positions on the video.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We should have the video in evidence as well.
1 The CD, yes, I'm sorry.
2 MR. THAYER: We can do that, Mr. President.
3 Okay, let's roll the video, please.
4 [Video-clip played]
5 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, we're pausing at 27 minutes
6 36 seconds. I just wanted to ask the witness a question about this
7 passage right here.
8 Q. There's a reference, sir, to wounded, and some of them being
9 women and some children. How were they wounded, sir?
10 A. Well, the women and children must have been wounded in the
11 shelling. And as for the men, they might have been wounded either on the
12 front-line or also during the shelling.
13 MR. THAYER: Please continue with the video.
14 [Video-clip played]
15 MR. THAYER: We're pausing at 31 minutes 43 seconds of the video.
16 Just a couple of questions, sir.
17 Q. Most recently in the video, General Mladic referred to a Merdjan
18 or a Mrdjo. Do you know about whom he is speaking there?
19 A. I believe that was a Republika Srpska Army soldier who was
20 wounded or lightly wounded in an operation conducted by the BH Army to
21 the north-west of the enclave, somewhere on the Serb territory. That
22 soldier was in Zepa since that time, the time of that operation. Later
23 on, I learned that he had been taken to the check-point and handed over
24 to Republika Srpska Army. I did not take part in that exchange. I only
25 heard of it later. That's all.
1 Q. Do you recall approximately when, during these events, this
2 VRS soldier who had been captured by the ABiH was returned to the Serbs?
3 A. Well, what we saw here was the 19th of July, so I think that that
4 must have been on the 20th or the 21st at the latest. So it would have
5 been on the following two days, in my assessment.
6 Q. And to your knowledge, was anyone actually exchanged for this
7 VRS soldier or was he simply turned over to the Serbs?
8 A. No, he wasn't exchanged. He was just turned over to the Serbs.
9 Q. And, finally, there was -- there were a couple of references to a
10 location called Brezova Ravan. Can you tell the Trial Chamber what that
11 location is and what its significance was at the time?
12 A. Well, Brezova Ravan is a locality. It is not a settled -- it's
13 not a settlement. It's on the road between Zepa and Boksanica. It's in
14 a dominant position so that it commands the view of Zepa, and it's
15 possible to control Zepa -- the center of Zepa from there. The
16 Brezova Ravan was also the place where the first line of defence of Zepa
17 was. At this time on 19th of July, the BH Army soldiers were still on
18 Brezova Ravan, in that location.
19 Q. And during July of 1995, sir, if one wanted to drive from the
20 center of Zepa up to Boksanica, would one necessarily have to pass
21 through Brezova Ravan?
22 A. Yes. I don't know any other road that could take you to
23 Boksanica up there.
24 MR. THAYER: Okay. Let's continue playing the video, please.
25 [Video-clip played]
1 MR. THAYER: We're pausing at 34 minutes 46 seconds.
2 Q. Can you identify the man who's in the center of the frame here,
4 A. That's Colonel Sejmon Dudnjik.
5 MR. THAYER: Thank you.
6 Let's continue with the video, please.
7 [Video-clip played]
8 MR. THAYER: Sir, we're pausing at 35 minutes 10 seconds.
9 Q. Of the men in uniform, can you identify any of them, moving from
10 left to right on the screen?
11 A. From left to right, the first one is General Mladic. Then comes
12 General Tolimir, then an officer of Republika Srpska Army whom I recall.
13 I recall his face, but I don't know his name. I don't know the next
14 person either. And then I believe this is Colonel Kosoric, if I am not
15 mistaken, but I can't really say that with certainty.
16 Q. And just for the record, the man you believe is Colonel Kosoric,
17 is he clean-shaven?
18 A. He has a moustache.
19 MR. THAYER: Okay. Let's continue playing the video, please.
20 Thank you.
21 [Video-clip played]
22 MR. THAYER:
23 Q. When we left off before showing the video, you had brought us
24 basically to 20 July. Did the military or civilian authorities from Zepa
25 respond to the demands that you told us General Mladic made at this
1 meeting? And if not, can you describe, please, for the Trial Chamber
2 what happened then, starting with the 20th of July forward?
3 A. As far as I recall -- I would just like to briefly comment on
4 this video-clip that we've just seen. I believe that a portion was cut
5 out where we hear the conditions that General Mladic dictated, and it
6 relates to what it is -- what was to be done with the able-bodied men. I
7 believe that he said there that they should surrender their weapons, that
8 they should go to the UNPROFOR, be registered for an exchange "all for
9 all." As far as I can recall the meeting of the 19th, it should have
10 been there. That portion is missing.
11 And now I can return to your question as to what happened after
12 this meeting.
13 Q. And just to clarify, sir, have you ever seen video footage of
14 what you are telling us you recall General Mladic saying? Have you ever
15 actually seen that on video footage at all?
16 A. Do you mean in reference to what I've just said, according to my
17 recollection, what was missing on this video footage? Well, I can't
18 really confirm that. I can't say that I've seen the video footage
19 before, although it is possible to obtain it. And I think I did see it a
20 long time ago. But why did I say this? Well, in further developments,
21 we returned to Zepa, me and Benjamin Kulovac, where the evacuation of the
22 civilian population was no longer questionable. We were certain that it
23 would proceed as planned, that there wouldn't be any problems. However,
24 the problem remained of what was going to happen to the men, the
25 able-bodied men, men of military age, between ages of 18 and 55 to
1 60 years of age.
2 You could all see in this video-clip that General Mladic, or
3 maybe someone else, said that the dead-line was 10.00 on the
4 20th of July, when the first group or the wounded should be there to be
6 When we returned to Zepa, I think that the entire War Presidency
7 went to the Communications Centre on Zepa Mountain on the 19th, in the
8 evening, and this was the only link -- the only communication line open
9 with Sarajevo. And I believe that on that evening, we talked to
10 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, then the president of the Presidency of Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina, in which we asked that Minister Muratovic, and I believe he
12 was the minister who was to liaise with the UNPROFOR and international
13 organisations, so we asked that he urgently establish contact with the
14 Serb side in order to ensure that an exchange be implemented on the
15 principles of "all for all." In other words, all able-bodied men from
16 Zepa to be exchanged for all prisoners of war taken by the BH Army, Serb
17 prisoners of war.
18 I don't know exactly and I can't recall whether we received a
19 promise -- a firm promise to that effect, but on the next day, on the
20 20th of June, we did not proceed to evacuate the population because that
21 issue remained unsolved. We tried again. I believe that in the morning
22 already, we continued this communication, but I wasn't there. But I know
23 that people did not come there, they did not gather to be evacuated. And
24 I believe that on that day, the attacks by the Serb Army on Zepa
25 continued, and I believe that they were even fiercer than so far, than
1 earlier. Those attacks -- let me just briefly go back to something.
2 So on the 20th, as far as I can recall, I spent that whole day on
3 Zepa Mountain, and I believe that on that day this soldier - I believe
4 his name was Merdjan - was taken to the UNPROFOR check-point and handed
5 over to the Serb side. I did not participate in that, but I believe that
6 Benjamin Kulovac told me about it.
7 So the attacks resumed. The situation was getting more and more
8 unpredictable for us. And I believe that at this time, the civilian
9 population from the southern parts, the hills on the southern parts, had
10 already moved to Zepa Mountain. And then on the 24th, or maybe the 23rd,
11 the 23rd of July, the key elevation, key for the defence of Zepa from the
12 south, Brezova Ravan, had fallen. I'm sorry, I think this was on the
13 24th, in the morning, that -- in other words, on the 24th of June, 1995,
14 Brezova Ravan, as the key elevation, the key position for the defence of
15 Zepa, for the defence of the center of Zepa, fell.
16 Q. Sir, I just wanted to interrupt you quickly --
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, just a moment. Judge Mindua has a
18 question for the witness.
19 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] This is not a question, but I just
20 wanted to check something out.
21 On page 60, line 16 of the transcript, the 24th of June is
22 mentioned. Line 25, again, the 20th. We don't know if it's June or
23 July. And on page 61, line 9, the 23rd of July is mentioned. Further
24 down, line 11, the 24th of June. So what is this about? What month are
25 we talking about?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I would have to see the
2 context in order to determine the month, and I don't have any context
4 MR. THAYER: If I -- if I may, with the Trial Chamber's
5 permission. His Honour Judge Mindua anticipated my intervention,
6 actually. That was the same question I had.
7 Q. There were two references to June of 1995 in your prior answers.
8 One was, I believe, 24 June, and the other one was 20 June. During the
9 course of your testimony for the last 10 minutes, were you ever referring
10 to June of any year or were you referring to July?
11 A. All those things were happening in July, so there has to be
12 "July" everywhere. However, I believe that I used the right name of the
13 month. There must have been a mistake in the interpretation, I suppose.
14 Q. No biggie. Please continue.
15 A. On the 24th of July, the key elevation for the defence of Zepa,
16 the so-called Brezova Ravan elevation, fell, and the Army of
17 Republika Srpska established new lines and approached Zepa to some 500
18 and -- or 60 metres as the crow flies from the center of Zepa. That was
19 the closest distance that they reached and that's where they stopped.
20 What ensued was another invitation delivered by the same means, which
21 means that we received information from UNPROFOR. And I believe that the
22 invitation was issued by General Mladic, who was at check-point 2, and he
23 again requested to talk to us at another meeting.
24 The situation in Zepa was quite dramatic, bordering on chaotic.
25 People were scared, on the brink of panic.
1 To the best of my recollection, Benjamin Kulovac and I
2 communicated via radio and discussed our options. I believe that
3 Mr. Benjamin did not agree to go, to use that term. I told him, I'm
4 going, because we have a problem on our hands and we have to deal with
6 At the UNPROFOR check-point, I went there in an UNPROFOR vehicle,
7 escorted by two foot-soldiers, two privates. I believe that some captain
8 was supposed to be with us, but he had found a good reason not to go. We
9 went there in the afternoon, late afternoon, on the 24th of July. Even
10 before Brezova Ravan, we encountered a VRS check-point. To the best of
11 my recollection, I remember that the car we were travelling in, the
12 UNPROFOR car, had a problem. That's why we had to pull over at
13 Brezova Ravan. And the car remained behind, and that's why we proceeded
14 towards Boksanica, to check-point 2, in a VRS vehicle. And the two
15 UNPROFOR soldiers were also with me in the car.
16 And when we arrived at the same place where the meeting on the
17 19th of July had taken place, we found General Mladic there, and perhaps
18 even General Tolimir. But I'm speaking from memory, and I can't be sure
19 of that without any corroborative materials. And some other VRS soldiers
20 that I'd seen before. I believe that Dudnjik was there, representing
22 I arrived on my own. Mladic was very angry. At the very outset,
23 he handed me a paper to sign. To be honest, I had expected a
24 different forum, a different format of the agreement. However, that was
25 an agreement on the disarmament of the army, and in the text of the
1 agreement one of the points was also the evacuation of the civilian
2 population. I said to General Mladic that I was not authorised to cover
3 the military or deal with any military issue, but the answer was that for
4 the evacuation of the civilian population to start, the agreement had to
5 be signed and that I could then convey all of the messages to
6 Colonel Avdo Palic. And in that situation, I remember that I even
7 spotted a grammatical error that was subsequently corrected in that
8 document. I signed the document, and I returned to Zepa.
9 Let me just point out that us members of the inner War Presidency
10 had agreed before I departed that all of those things had to be accepted
11 and agreed to, because most of the civilian population had already
12 arrived in Zepa Mountain, north of Zepa, which means that the southern
13 part of the enclave had already fallen. And if everybody had withdrawn
14 to Mountain Zepa, then we would have lost contact with both -- with
15 UNPROFOR, and the complete population, primarily the women, children and
16 elderly, would have been put in a very difficult position.
17 As I returned to Zepa, I was awaited there, of course, by
18 Benjamin Kulovac, and I suppose that Avdo Palic was also there,
19 Colonel Palic. Mehmed Hajric, the president of the War Presidency as
20 well. And together, we went to Zepa Mountain again, because we wanted to
21 inform our political and military leaderships about what had been signed.
22 And when I say "our," I mean Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, who represented the
23 political leadership, and General Rasim Delic, who was the commander of
24 the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
25 I remember that we stayed on line for some hour or even
1 two hours, and as far as I remember, what was said was, Okay, let the
2 women and children go. And we kept on insisting that we should find a
3 solution for the able-bodied men. However, no concrete or clear signal,
4 response, or promise was given to us, as far as I can remember.
5 On the following morning, which was on the 25th of July, 1995 --
6 and before I continue this sentence, let me just briefly go back to my
7 last meeting which took place on the 24th July at Boksanica. Amongst
8 other things, what was agreed on that day was some details of the
9 evacuation. That implied that the International Red Cross teams would
10 arrive in Zepa, and some others, perhaps, and that they would be all
11 escorted by UNPROFOR, and so on and so forth. I don't remember whether
12 it was said clearly at that point that the evacuation from Zepa should be
13 led by General Tolimir.
14 And on the following day, I remember, sometime in the morning,
15 not very early, though, a team of the International Red Cross came.
16 General Tolimir came with his escorts. Colonel Palic was also there, I
17 was there, and some other members of the War Presidency.
18 Should I proceed?
19 Q. Sir, let me just interrupt you right there and dwell a little bit
20 longer on the events prior to 25 July, and follow up a little bit.
21 You described a little while ago that after the meeting on the
22 19th, when there was effectively no response from the Zepa authorities to
23 the VRS, you described that the attack became fiercer, more intense. Can
24 you describe for the Trial Chamber what you mean by that and what was
25 being targeted?
1 A. Well, the line of defence came under the most fierce attack, and
2 the shelling of Zepa also intensified. I remember that I could no longer
3 approach the building where I worked, and that was a building in the
4 center of Zepa. This is what I remember clearly. The defence lines,
5 especially the one facing Brezova Ravan, came under heavy shelling. And
6 I also heard that the attack had been launched from the south-western
7 side and that it was stepped up. Throughout all that time, the center of
8 Zepa was being shelled and targeted. As far as I can remember, I was at
9 the UNPROFOR base there, and I remember that even the UNPROFOR base came
10 under attack, that it became a target of shelling. That's what I meant
11 when I said that the attacks became fiercer.
12 Q. And were there any targets - let's focus on the center of
13 Zepa - that you would characterise as military targets?
14 A. In the center of Zepa, there are no military targets. We're
15 talking about five or six buildings altogether. There is nothing that,
16 in my view, could be proclaimed a military target. There are two
17 schools, elementary schools - one is old, one's new - a residential
18 building for the teachers, the building that we used as our headquarters,
19 the executive board and the police. I don't think that those can be
20 qualified as militaries targets. There was also a residential building
21 for the police officers, and there was a mosque. So those buildings
22 constituted the center of Zepa at the time.
23 Q. And how about elsewhere within the enclave during this
24 intensified period of shelling from the 19th through the 24th of July?
25 Were there strictly military targets that were being shelled or were
1 there other targets as well?
2 A. Well, I spent most of the time in the center of Zepa, and that's
3 what I could observe. But let me just say that we're talking about
4 villages with nothing but residential dwellings. There's no other type
5 of buildings at all. There are no military targets, as such, something
6 that could qualify as a legitimate military target. And I'm talking
7 about all of the villages around Zepa. That applies to all of them.
8 Q. Tell the Trial Chamber why Mr. Kulovac did not want to attend the
9 meeting on the 24th of July.
10 A. I believe that he feared for his personal safety, that he feared
11 that something bad would happen to him. His personal safety was at
12 stake, I believe, and that's why he was afraid.
13 Q. When you signed this agreement on the 24th of July, would you
14 describe for the Trial Chamber what choice you had? If you could explain
15 a little bit further why you signed that agreement and the choice that
16 you felt you had in signing that.
17 A. Well, first of all, let me tell you something about my own
18 feelings. I was a bit distracted. Let me not even mention that I was
19 afraid. But, actually, I was not even afraid any longer. Fear was
20 not -- no longer part of my emotions.
21 And as far as our choices went, well, we didn't have any. We
22 were forced to sign whatever text they served us. As long as it ensured
23 the beginning of the evacuation, whatever it may have been, I would have
24 signed it. That's how we decided before I left Zepa. There was no
1 Q. And a little while ago in your testimony, sir, you referred to
2 the women, children, and elderly who were fleeing to Zepa Mountain, and
3 you said that they would have been in a -- in the words you used,
4 "difficult position." Can you again please elaborate a little bit?
5 Explain, and you can be as undiplomatic with me as you like, sir, what
6 you mean by that, please.
7 A. Look, this is what I mean: Somebody who left their home could
8 carry only a limited quantity of food or anything else, clothes or I
9 don't know what. They left, and they found shelter in some make-shift
10 buildings, as I later heard. Furthermore, all of that could have gone on
11 for days. If somebody was sick, they could not be provided with any
12 medical assistance. And, finally, what next? Zepa Mountain is just a
13 plateau, an elevation, where the entire population of Zepa would have
14 moved, including the military. I'm sure that the VRS had already started
15 encircling the entire plateau, so there will be civilians which could not
16 live for longer than four or five days. The area is very narrow, there's
17 limited space. It would have been a catastrophe, and I'm sure that even
18 more fierce attacks on the part of the VRS would have ensued.
19 So when I said that the situation would have been difficult, I
20 meant that the situation was extremely dramatic. Well, picture this:
21 For example, somebody with a young child goes to a forest. Of course,
22 they cannot organise their life properly. And you have to know that
23 there was shelling going on, no conditions for a normal life in place.
24 That's what I meant when I used the term.
25 MR. THAYER: Thank you, sir.
1 I see we're out of time for the day.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
3 Sir, you have to realise we have to adjourn now, but we will
4 resume tomorrow in the afternoon again, and your examination-in-chief and
5 later on the cross-examination will continue. Let me remind you again
6 that you shall not talk to either party about the content of your
8 We adjourn and resume tomorrow in the afternoon.
9 [The witness stands down]
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.03 p.m.,
11 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 25th day of
12 August, 2010, at 2.15 p.m.