1 Wednesday, 1 September 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.22 a.m.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning to everybody.
7 First of all, we have a delayed start because of technical
8 problems. They are still not resolved, so that we just start -- how it
9 works, and we will find out the best way to deal with our problems this
11 First of all, I would like to go into a private session.
12 [Private session]
11 Pages 4713-4719 redacted. Private session.
16 [Open session]
17 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please continue your
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President, and I
22 apologise. I failed to turn the microphone on.
23 Could we please now pull up D60 in e-court. That's Exhibit D60,
24 and it is not -- it doesn't mention this witness, so we can show it in
1 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir: [Continued]
2 Q. [Interpretation] While we are waiting for it to come up, let me
3 just say that this is a letter that Alija Izetbegovic sent to
4 General Delic on the 18th of July, 1995.
5 We can now see it before us, and we can see that it reads as
7 "I have just been talking to General Smith."
8 That's in the first paragraph:
9 "I could have women, children, and the elderly evacuated from
10 Zepa by UNPROFOR, perhaps. Would you accept this?"
11 That's what he's asking Delic. Then under 2:
12 "Perhaps in this case we could insert a brigade (or battalion) of
13 soldiers to Zepa across the forest-path and thus continue the combat with
14 more success. These men from Zepa say that they could find between 500
15 and 1.000 volunteers (Muderis is from Zepa)."
16 Under 3:
17 "Groups should also be inserted into Gorazde (over land). This
18 would be of great encouragement. There are people interested."
19 And under 4:
20 "An evacuation plan has been made here for the population of Zepa
21 in case items 1 and 2 above fail. I'm sending it to you. I expect your
22 answers to the above."
23 This was sent by Alija Izetbegovic on the 18th of July, 1995.
24 Now, for a moment, let's keep this document on the screens. And,
25 Witness, I would like to ask you the following: We see here that
1 Alija Izetbegovic says that he had just talked to General Smith, and that
2 perhaps he could have women, children and elderly evacuated from Zepa,
3 and then he's asking Delic to tell him whether he would accept that. So
4 now my question for you: In view of the fact that you were frequently in
5 contact with high military officers, were you aware of the position of
6 Alija Izetbegovic and General Delic and the entire military and political
7 leadership, and even the UNPROFOR, as we can see here, on the evacuation
8 of the civilian population?
9 A. Well, not the way it is stated here, because here we see that
10 this is a communication between the president of the Presidency,
11 Alija Izetbegovic, and General Delic. The first time that I attended a
12 meeting where Mr. Alija Izetbegovic was present was on the 19th of July,
13 in the evening hours, which means the day after this, so that I really do
14 not remember that any of the members of the War Presidency told me
15 anything about these positions as stated here. Maybe Mr. Hajric or
16 Colonel Palic were aware of this, but I don't remember that anyone told
17 me about it at the time.
18 Q. Tell us, please -- we see that this letter arrived in Zepa on the
19 18th. Actually, we saw that yesterday. On the 18th, it was sent to
20 Delic, but it was also sent to Zepa, a letter of the same substance, the
21 one where it said "State Secret" and so on. Now, because the content of
22 this communication was something that the military leadership in Zepa
23 knew about, was this information also available to the persons who
24 actually took part in the negotiations two days later on the 20th?
25 A. Well, I really cannot say that with any certainty because, as
1 I've just said, I was not aware of this. But as far as I can remember,
2 the position that we took, that the civilian population should be
3 evacuated from Zepa -- or, rather, the population -- the entire
4 population should be evacuated from Zepa, was a position that we, members
5 of the Presidency of Zepa, actually formulated. Now, whether some of the
6 members of the War Presidency in Zepa were aware of this position, I
7 don't know. But even as I sit here all these years later, it is my
8 impression still that the key issues were, for the most part, decisions
9 taken by us because, as I've already said, it was about our lives and not
10 anybody else's. And we see in this document, and also in the documents
11 we saw yesterday, that some individuals who drew up these plans in
12 Sarajevo did not really have a full picture of what was really happening
13 in Zepa, so that whatever did come from outside and whatever was proposed
14 whenever we concluded that it was not realistic, in view of the situation
15 on the ground, we would not accept it.
16 Q. Thank you. We saw that the Zepa leadership had access to the
17 information that we saw yesterday. We also saw that the negotiating team
18 that came to meet with General Mladic at Boksanica both said -- both
19 members, two of them, said that they wanted the evacuation of Zepa. One
20 member said that he wanted the surrender of arms; correct?
21 A. Yes, we did see that yesterday.
22 Q. Now, in view of that, and bearing in mind that one of the members
23 of the negotiating team, whom we saw yesterday speaking in the video
24 insert, who said that there were some people who wanted to stay, my
25 question is this: Was there an instruction or order from Sarajevo that
1 as many civilians as possible be evacuated from Zepa or that everyone be
2 evacuated, as stated here, all women, children, and the elderly be
3 evacuated from Zepa? So to repeat my question: Was there an order from
4 Sarajevo that all civilians, in other words, those who are not of
5 military age, be evacuated from Zepa? Thank you.
6 A. I don't remember that, nor was that specific demand ever
7 available to me. I never heard of it.
8 Now, as for the letter that General Delic sent to the president
9 of the Presidency, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, especially the first item,
10 perhaps they were beginning to realise that this might be a form of
11 assistance to Zepa. But that there was any direct demand or request from
12 the political leadership in Sarajevo for the evacuation, I don't remember
13 that there was any such thing.
14 And, again, I have to repeat that we took all such decisions,
15 depending on the situation on the ground at the local level, because the
16 lives of those people were at stake, and in such a situation you don't
17 really mind too much what anybody outside would tell you who was not
18 really fully aware of the situation on the ground as it was.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 Could we please now pull up Exhibit D54.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. But let me just ask you, in the meantime: Who is this person
23 Muderis mentioned in parenthesis in item 2?
24 A. Yes. Muderis was a Zepa man. It is also a religious title that
25 would be used for a person who had graduated from that Cairo University
1 Islamic Studies. I believe his last name was Halilovic, but everyone
2 always addressed him with Muderis. And he was a person from Zepa, just
3 like Mr. Heljic, the person whom we mentioned yesterday.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 Now, we see this document before us. And before I forget, could
6 we please admit into evidence the Exhibit D60, unless it's already been
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It is already an exhibit. You see it from the
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
11 So it is already an exhibit, and I've just been reminded by my
12 adviser -- legal adviser.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Now, Witness, could you please take a look at this document, and
15 I will just read the first sentence -- the first line under number 2:
16 "Evacuation is possible only by land ..."
17 This is another letter sent by Mr. Izetbegovic -- or, rather,
18 Mr. Hajric, Mehmed, the president of Zepa -- or, rather, Mehmed Hajric
19 received this letter from Alija Izetbegovic, so let's see what it is that
20 he got on the 19th of July, 1995, on the day before the negotiations.
21 He says there:
22 "An evacuation is possible only by land under the supervision of
24 That's what Alija Izetbegovic said.
25 Now, let's look at the third sentence, where he says:
1 "The Chetniks are dragging out -- as their first condition, the
2 Chetniks have asked that the men lay down their weapons and their
3 investigation and so on ..."
4 And now the third sentence in the third paragraph:
5 "My plan, move out as many civilians as possible; all, if
7 And then in line 4, it says:
8 "If we do not succeed in this, you try to push on on those roads,
9 but now without the burden of women and children who would, in the
10 meantime, be taken out."
11 And then under item 4, it says:
12 "As for the international community, I think that all is not yet
13 lost. They are wavering. One thing in the morning, and then they say a
14 different thing in the evening. The process of persuading them
15 continues, but our plans have to be laid as if they were not there."
16 This was written on the 19th of July, 1995.
17 My question is this: Looking at this letter which
18 Alija Izetbegovic sent on the 19th of July, is it clear that his
19 intention was to try and pull out all the civilians, and especially those
20 who are not of military age, from Zepa?
21 A. Well, that's clear. There is nothing for me to add.
22 Q. Can we see from that that his plan did not entail the soldiers,
23 because in the previous document he mentioned the breakthrough of the
24 brigade without the women and children?
25 A. Yes, it does say so, although I must say that this is yet another
1 plan which I see for the first time.
2 Q. Well, it apparently was received by the War Presidency, which
3 accorded appropriate mandate to those negotiating?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. So did the negotiators have the mandate to negotiate the
6 evacuation of all civilians, especially because we see that it was
7 Alija Izetbegovic's position?
8 A. Well, I don't know whether Benjamin Kulovac had read this text.
9 I didn't, in any case. As for the negotiations on the 19th, we came
10 there with a clear plan. It was said there that all civilians should
11 leave, and that's it.
12 Q. Thank you. Between the 13th of July, when the first round of
13 talks took place, until the end, when you were arrested, did you ever
14 receive any material assistance, or assistance in terms of manpower, from
16 A. I don't recall whether there were any individual arrivals. I
17 cannot exclude that possibility, but it was nothing extensive. It
18 couldn't have changed the situation in any way. Perhaps a group here or
19 there brought a bit of ammunition, but I can't confirm that and I
20 certainly do not recall it.
21 Q. Thank you. Since we still have this document on the screen, and
22 we saw another document yesterday where the evacuation of civilians and
23 the breakthrough of soldiers is mentioned, was this plan by
24 Alija Izetbegovic implemented, to have all the women and children
25 evacuated and the army breaking out without surrendering? Is this what
1 the final result was?
2 A. Yes, it turned out that way in the end. The civilians left, the
3 army stayed. As for the rest, how things went with the army, it's not a
4 topic of our current discussion. In any case, the civilians were
5 evacuated. The army did not surrender, and later on some of them went to
6 Serbia, while others broke through the forests to eventually reach the
7 territory controlled by the Army of B and H.
8 Q. Thank you. In this document sent to Mr. Hajric, the
9 War Presidency president, it is stated as follows: Heljic and his team
10 have this plan. There seems to have been a plan by Dr. Heljic which
11 could include breaking out or, as it's put in here, a joint withdrawal
12 over the mountains, which General Delic found unrealistic. My question
13 is this: By giving up the agreement signed at Boksanica on the 19th,
14 does it mean that the War Presidency actually adopted the position of
15 Alija Izetbegovic, opting for less than a full implementation of the
16 agreement, in terms of some of its items; in other words, that the
17 civilians be evacuated, but that the army actually try to break out?
18 A. A correction. On the 19th, no document was officially signed.
19 There was a conversation, and notes were taken, in terms of the outcome
20 of that discussion. As I said a number of times, there was no authority
21 which could order the army to surrender; not in Zepa, in any case, or
22 even beyond. I don't know what the reaction coming, say, from the
23 General Staff of the army would have been. On the 19th, we were fully
24 aware of everything.
25 Now, why was there no evacuation as early as the 19th, when
1 civilians are in question? I believe we expected -- or whether there had
2 been an arrangement with Alija Izetbegovic reached after the meeting at
3 Boksanica in the evening of the 19th, that the next day our side was
4 expected to contact the Serb side, through UNPROFOR, to discuss the issue
5 of an exchange "all for all," and probably that is the reason why we did
6 not start evacuating the civilians as early as that.
7 Q. Thank you. We will get to that exchange. It's a separate topic.
8 In this set of questions, though, I would ask you to look at D58 in
9 e-court, and I will have a few questions of you.
10 This document was sent by the War Presidency president and
11 commander of the brigade to Alija Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic,
12 Rasim Delic, and Dr. Becir Heljic on the 19th. Heljic was the club --
13 was the president of the club of the people of Zepa in the Parliament, as
14 we mentioned already. It was sent on the 20th of July, at -- just after
15 midnight, it seems.
16 Perhaps we can zoom in.
17 A. Yes, zoom in, please. Zoom in on the text. I know who sent it
18 to whom.
19 Q. Yes, it does say "Zepa, the 19th of July."
20 A. Well, it is difficult to read, but I'll do my best.
21 Q. Read it to yourself first. This document was sent to
22 Izetbegovic, Silajdzic, Delic, and Heljic. Can you tell us why these
23 people were the addressees, why all four of them?
24 A. It was our top priority at the time, and we believed that all key
25 personnel had to be informed. At that time, it was the president of the
1 Presidency, the prime minister, the army commander, and we also included
2 Mr. Becir Heljic because he was obviously very involved in dealing with
3 the problem in his attempts to help us. How his name made it on the list
4 is something I truly don't know. Perhaps Colonel Palic suggested him.
5 Q. Thank you. This is a de facto report of the negotiators who
6 negotiated with the Serb side on the 19th. It is a report to the central
7 authorities in Sarajevo; is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The name of the witness appears in this document.
10 We can't see the full text in English. But in that case, it should not
11 be broadcast.
12 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I did
14 not mention the witness's name. I only mentioned the negotiators.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the name is in the document.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, everyone knows how it was,
17 but they don't know what is now. In any case, I will abide by your
18 instructions, because I mean no harm to this witness.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. In the document, it is stated that the Serb side put certain
21 condition in place, but there is no mention of you accepting any
22 agreement, as far as I can see; correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. We saw on the footage yesterday that both representatives
25 confirmed that they had the mandate to discuss any issue, including the
1 surrender of weapons; is that correct?
2 A. Yes. I cannot comment specifically on this report. I did not
3 write it. It was probably written by Colonel Palic and the
4 War Presidency president. I believe the two of them signed it.
5 I remember, that evening, that in addition to this official
6 report about the talks, we also had a lengthy conversation with
7 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic. This is what I remember. And I think the
8 conversation lasted until 2.00 or 3.00 a.m. during the night between the
9 19th and 20th of July.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Tolimir, please.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Before we move on to that conversation, tell us this, please:
13 Was this a realistic way of informing the central authorities in Sarajevo
14 about the results of the talks at the check-point when the agreement was
15 signed, or was something omitted, something of the essence, which is, for
16 example, that the weapons had to be handed over and that all civilians
17 would leave?
18 A. Well, it's in item 4.
19 Q. Was it mentioned that an agreement was reached?
20 A. That is not mentioned.
21 Q. Thank you. Was it intentional that this information was not
22 passed on to Alija Izetbegovic that the negotiators actually consented to
23 the arms being handed over and all civilians be evacuated? Was this
24 intentionally omitted from the report?
25 A. It's difficult to say. It is possible, though. The logic
1 dictates it. I have to fall back on my memory again, because I had never
2 seen this document before. The main issue for us was the military-aged
3 men. I believe it was our attempt, and only an attempt, to deal with the
4 military-aged men in a different way.
5 As you can see from the text and from further discussions, we
6 actually did not want them to surrender in Zepa, but to raise it to a
7 higher level and arrange an all in all -- "all for all" exchange, in
8 which case they would not be required to surrender to the VRS. That was
9 the gist of it. This was probably a manoeuvring move on our part to gain
10 some time and to try to get the political and military leadership in
11 Sarajevo seriously involved, so as to force them to deal with the issue,
12 in a way. That's the essence of the whole story.
13 Q. Thank you. In the last paragraph, it says:
14 "The fate of 7.000 people from Zepa, including 2.000 men fit for
15 military service, is at stake."
16 My question is this: This last sentence, does it correspond to
17 the situation in the field?
18 A. Yes, in general terms, although I believe there were somewhat
19 less than 7.000 people and less than 2.000 men fit for military service,
20 but perhaps there were 1800. But, in general, this is correct. I
21 apologise. I don't think anyone knew precisely how many people fell in
22 the category of those fit for military service, but I believe this was a
23 realistic assessment.
24 Q. Thank you. Please tell us, what was your discussion during the
25 night with Alija Izetbegovic, and what impact did that have on the
1 further activities of the War Presidency and the events which ensued?
2 A. As far as I recall, the key aspect of that conversation was to
3 have Alija Izetbegovic help us to arrange the exchange "all for all,"
4 including all men fit for military service. The evacuation of civilians,
5 in principle, had been arranged, and from that point on our key concern
6 was the fate of military-aged men.
7 Q. Thank you. Since we have been mentioning that exchange, tell us
8 this, please: In paragraph 5, it says -- the exchange is mentioned yet
9 again. It is on page 2 of the document. It is in item 5:
10 "According to Generals Mladic and Tolimir, our army is holding
11 some 400 Chetniks captive. If an all-for-all exchange agreement is
12 reached, the Serbian side is prepared to transport the men fit for
13 military service directly to our free territory without stopping at the
14 holding centres. They referred us to Amor Masovic, who deals with
15 exchanges on our side, and Muratovic, if our government was prepared to
16 turn over 400 of the aggressor's soldiers, whereby all the men from Zepa
17 fit for military service would be exchanged for the 400 of the
18 aggressor's soldiers."
19 My question is this: Was this an "all for all" exchange,
20 including those fit for military service in Zepa, in exchange for the
21 400, or did this cover the whole of Bosnia? Because a moment ago, you
22 said an exchange of all men fit for military service with the 400,
23 because here we see that something along those lines is mentioned. Did
24 this include the exchange of all Zepa Brigade soldiers and the 400 Serb
1 A. Yes, this is what it says.
2 Q. Thank you. As it says here, was this something also that you
3 discussed with -- you, as the negotiating team, with General Mladic, at
4 Boksanica, to the same effect?
5 A. Yes. Well, I do not recall every detail, but I know that
6 Benjamin asked -- put this question at the end to General Mladic, and
7 this probably reflects the conversation -- or, rather, the position of
8 the Serb side. I have some recollection of it, and I do remember that
9 this came up at the very end of the meeting on the 19th at Boksanica.
10 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us, then, whether -- in those
11 negotiations with your side, whether we, too, understood that all
12 able-bodied men who had weapons would be exchanged for those 400 if that
13 was accepted by the BH Army? Because that's what you say in the last
14 sentence here. Is that how it was or not?
15 A. Well, that's what it says there, and there's nothing that I could
16 really add to that. That's what was reported on that day, and that was
17 probably reflective of the agreement reached on that day, or the promise.
18 Q. Thank you. Did you receive a response to this report of
19 yours - practically, that's what it is - on the outcome of the
20 negotiations for the exchange of the soldiers that had been in captivity?
21 A. I don't recall that I saw anything on paper, but I think that I
22 was told that our minister, Mr. Muratovic, was supposed to or did talk to
23 the Serbian side, that there was no agreement reached. So there was
24 something along those lines, very general, but I don't recall seeing any
25 document that specifically stated that. But, generally, it was said that
1 negotiations were ongoing and that whether -- because of the Serb side or
2 some other reason, but something to the effect that there were ongoing
3 negotiations, but that the agreement could not be reached because of some
4 position of the Serb side, I think. I can't quite recall it, but that's
5 what I think.
6 Q. All right. So you were told this, but was there an agreement
7 between your delegation and ours that all able-bodied men who had weapons
8 in Zepa be exchanged for the 400 prisoners of war, and that there were no
9 other preconditions that we put forward?
10 A. Yes, that's what it says here. But your question related to a
11 later period, whether we received a reply or a response to our proposal
12 or report from that meeting. That's what I was referring to. But, of
13 course, this was something that we, at Zepa, could not really provide,
14 because these prisoners of war, the Serb prisoners of war, were not held
15 in Zepa. They had been taken prisoner somewhere else and they were held
16 outside of Zepa, and that is why this had to go through the General Staff
17 of the army, and the Presidency, and the political authorities.
18 So my answer to your question was that I don't remember seeing a
19 document that came in reply to the document that we see before us on the
21 Q. Thank you. Let me be more precise. Mladic and Tolimir asked
22 your negotiators that they ensure that the government in -- the Bosnian
23 government in Sarajevo provide 400 prisoners of war, and that in
24 exchange, all civilians could leave. Was that -- was there any other
25 condition that we put forward to you?
1 A. No, we did not hear -- there were no other conditions set for us.
2 But if those negotiations were held, and they were supposed to be held at
3 the Sarajevo Airport, where normally these kinds of meetings were held,
4 and I wasn't present, but what happened there, I don't know, because all
5 we learned later on was that no agreement was reached. And I believe
6 that the position of our side was that the Serbs were coming up with some
7 additional conditions, something to that effect.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 Could we now please see in e-court P494, Exhibit P494. Thank
11 Thank you. Now we have the document before us. That was the
12 document that I asked for.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. It says here "Agreement on the disarming of Zepa." I signed this
15 document as Major Zdravko Tolimir. And in the sixth paragraph - can you
16 see it - it starts with the words: "Our ..."
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: That's on the following
18 page in English.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. "Our commissions are duty-bound -- are obliged to submit lists of
21 prisoners of war that we're asking for and to tell the negotiators that
22 everything else has to be negotiated by the Main Staff of the
23 Republika Srpska Army and the Zepa representatives."
24 My question is this: Is it clear from this that we have no
25 additional requests or demands from you or from your side? All that we
1 wanted was to have a list of those 400 prisoners of war, and we were not
2 asking you to sign those lists; we were guaranteeing that we would
3 provide our war prisoners in exchange?
4 A. Well, I can't say anything in addition to what is stated here.
5 Everything else is within the competence of the Main Staff of the VRS
6 negotiators and representatives from Zepa, and I believe that that did
7 not quite reflect the reality. We were not competent, nor could we
8 provide this. Representatives from Zepa were not competent for this.
9 Instead, it should say "the authorities of the Republic of Bosnia and
11 Q. Thank you, but that's not what we said. You were supposed to
12 provide those 400 prisoners of war, and we did not have any other
13 demands. So if you look at this document, which is -- which was written
14 on the 25th of July, 1995, it clearly states what our delegation, our
15 negotiating team, was asking for. There were no other conditions.
16 Now, please take a look at this document. Read it carefully, and
17 you will see that there were no additional conditions set by our side,
18 and that is why I was asking you about this.
19 Was it 400 prisoners of war for all able-bodied men from Zepa; is
20 that correct?
21 A. Well, that's how it remained. That's what we dealt with as --
22 we, the negotiators from Zepa.
23 Q. Thank you. Well, that would mean that only some third party
24 could have intervened and said that there were some additional demands or
25 conditions. As for us, we did not set any new conditions. Thank you.
1 Now, can you please explain to this Trial Chamber what it would
2 have meant for you, the War Presidency, had the government agreed to this
3 proposal that these 400 prisoners of war be exchanged from all
4 able-bodied men from Zepa? Would that have resolved the matters and
5 would that have actually avoided all the problems that ensued afterwards?
6 A. Well, as I've already said, our main objective was to ensure, in
7 any manner possible, that all people be pulled out from Zepa, including
8 able-bodied men. And this was one of the options that had circulated for
9 a while, but that, in the end, it didn't come to pass. So that was a
10 goal that we had, and we kept making every effort to accomplish it, but
11 it didn't work.
12 Q. Thank you. So there was this objective, but for some reason it
13 didn't come to be. And if General Mladic was not the one who set any
14 additional conditions, I really don't know who, then, would have been the
15 party who had set such additional conditions, the exchange of all
16 able-bodied men for those 400 prisoners of war kept in Bosnia prisons.
17 A. Well, I can just briefly answer that that was our objective, and
18 this is how it was presented to us, because in the further negotiations
19 we had no say. We did not take part, we from Zepa. It was done in
20 Sarajevo, and I don't have any documents that would show what transpired
21 there. And whether Serbs really had some additional demands or not, I
22 don't know, I leave that open but I can only say what our objective was
23 and what the purposes of those negotiations, as far as we were concerned
25 Q. Well, what Serbs were you referring to if General Mladic said
1 that this could be done, that you could move over?
2 A. Well, maybe I was not precise enough. I was referring to the
3 Serb side, maybe, that was negotiating in Sarajevo, and maybe someone on
4 the Bosniak side. Maybe it was not General Mladic who negotiated in
5 Sarajevo. Maybe he had appointed someone else to do that. And whether
6 someone on behalf of the Serb side came up with these new demands, or
7 whether it was the Bosniak side who had additional demands, I can't
8 really say anything about that. But we were officially informed that the
9 Serb side was asking for additional demands, in addition to these 400
10 prisoners of war. As for us, we were prepared to go with the 400
11 prisoners of war in exchange for all the other able-bodied men, and
12 I think that was around 1600 to 1800 men. But I can't really comment any
14 Q. Thank you. Is it possible that you were told something by
15 someone who did not really want this exchange to happen; in other words,
16 this exchange of 400 prisoners of war for all able-bodied men from Zepa?
17 Because from this document, we can also clearly see that our negotiating
18 team said that -- our negotiating team actually authorised this
19 commission to negotiate, because it says here clearly:
20 "Our commission's duty is to submit the list of war prisoners, we
21 are demanding -- and to tell Muslim commission that everything else comes
22 within the competence of the VRS Main Staff, negotiators, and
23 representatives from Zepa."
24 So is it possible that someone was just misleading you and
25 telling you that there were some additional demands which were beyond --
1 went beyond what General Mladic said to your negotiating team at
3 A. Well, I can't really speculate. Again, I can just say what the
4 situation was, what we were told, and what our objective was, and I've
5 repeated this a number of times here. Anything is possible, but I don't
6 have any information to confirm either way. So, again, that was our
7 objective. The feedback that we received was this, but, generally
8 speaking, anything is possible.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I don't want to
10 disclose your name because -- I want to use a document which mentions
11 your name, but I won't ask for it to be shown. That's P439. The
12 Prosecution may take a look at it as well.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Despite the fact that we started later because of
14 technical problems, we need our first break now, and it's, I think, a
15 convenient time because you want now to deal with another document.
16 So that we have now our first break, and we resume five minutes
17 past 11.00.
18 --- Recess taken at 10.38 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 11.08 a.m.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Tolimir, now you may --
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Because of the protective measures in place, I would kindly ask
23 to go to private session.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private.
25 [Private session]
11 Pages 4741-4742 redacted. Private session.
1 [Open session]
2 THE REGISTRAR: We are now in open session.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 As we can see, the date was the 25th of July on this document.
5 It is clearly stated therein that at the airport, the Serb side did not
6 put forth any additional conditions to the agreement signed at Boksanica.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Was there a possibility that the Muslim side, conditionally
9 speaking, in the negotiations insisted that this agreement should not be
10 implemented because, as we can see here, they doubted the identity of
11 some people who participated in the negotiations? It all seems like a
12 tactical move to stall, for reasons unbeknown to me.
13 A. Well, I didn't take part in this, and, of course, I cannot have a
14 clear position on it. It is clear, though, from the document that I was
15 not an official negotiator designated by the Bosnian side, and
16 Mr. Bulajic was accordingly informed. I believe he was on the Serb side,
17 during the war, in charge of the exchanges.
18 As for the rest, there's nothing else for me to say. As I said
19 previously, anything is possible. In any case, I don't have sufficient
20 information to go either way.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 Could we next go to D55. And you wanted to ask that it not be
23 broadcast. We can remove this document now. Thank you.
24 D55 is a large document with several pages. We are interested in
25 page 25. D55 should be entitled "The Fall of Zepa." D55. Perhaps my
1 notes are incorrect. Yes, here it is. Page 25, please. In the English,
2 it is page 24, paragraph 94. We can see it now.
3 We'll have a look at the sentence in the third line:
4 "In an attempt to seize UNPROFOR's weapons, on the 20th of July,
5 the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina attacked the compound of the
6 Ukrainian Company with heavy machine-gun fire and hand-grenades. The
7 second floor of the Ukrainian Company building was hit with a heavy
8 weapon. As fighting for the enclave continued, UNPROFOR Sector Sarajevo
9 described the situation in Zepa as of the 21st of July as 'critical.'
10 The Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina made threats to kill the Ukrainian
11 soldiers, while VRS continued shelling of Army B and H positions. The
12 ABiH 285th Brigade Commander Palic emphasised that a delegation of BHC
13 Forward, Ukrainian Battalion, UNHCR, ICRC, and UNMO should get to Zepa by
14 all means. He made repeated threats to kill Ukrainian soldiers if a
15 helicopter with UNPROFOR representatives did not arrive in Zepa.
16 Meanwhile, a UN team on the way to Zepa was blocked in Rogatica by
17 VRS ...," et cetera.
18 I will stop my quotation here.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. My question regarding this is the following: This passage which
21 refers to the 20th, was any of it known in Zepa? Were you familiar with
22 any of these events of the 20th of July?
23 A. I didn't know about this. As far as I remember, on the 20th of
24 July I was on Mount Zepa. I had left in the evening of the 19th. As for
25 the compound of UNPROFOR being hit, that is something I'm completely
1 unaware of. Even after the war, I had never heard that from anyone in
2 Zepa who was there at the time.
3 Regarding the threats issued by Colonel Palic, I could only
4 comment on them as follows, if true. I don't know if they are, because
5 on the 20th the situation in Zepa was very difficult. It was probably a
6 means or a way to indicate the gravity of the situation, in an attempt at
7 receiving any type of aid. I don't know anything about the first part.
8 I can only confirm that I visited the UNPROFOR compound once, and on that
9 occasion the compound was targeted by the Serb forces. I could see that
10 myself. As for what happened this day, I don't know, because I was up in
11 the mountains.
12 If Avdo actually issued these threats, saying that he would kill
13 the UNPROFOR soldiers if an UNPROFOR helicopter did not arrive in Zepa, I
14 believe it was a manoeuvre, a move aimed at securing help to save the
15 people of Zepa. I'm certain -- I'm positive that he never had any
16 serious intentions of that sort. And the same goes for anyone in Zepa.
17 Q. Thank you. Since we are nearing the end, we should try to stay
18 brief. I just wanted to say that this was not written by the VRS. This
19 was written by an UNPROFOR member. He relied on some original documents,
20 and you can see them in the footnotes between 140 and 145, describing the
21 situation, as such. Based on that, I can only ask you whether you know
22 where the UNPROFOR base was. What building was it?
23 A. Yes, it was in the center of Zepa, in the elementary school
24 building, the old elementary school, because across the street there was
25 the new elementary school. It is in the very center of Zepa.
1 Just a correction. I didn't say this did not take place. I just
2 said I wasn't aware of it.
3 Q. Thank you. Since you are not aware of it, we'll leave it at
4 that. This document was created by an expert who worked for this
6 Could we next have 1D276. Thank you. I'm trying to rush things
7 a bit, and I would kindly ask you for concise answers. They already are,
8 but let's not repeat what has already been said.
9 We see here 1D276. It is a statement by the President of the
10 Security Council, dated 20th July 1995. I quote:
11 "At the 3556th meeting of the Security Council, held on 20 July
12 1995 --"
13 Well, I'll read parts of the first paragraph:
14 "The Security Council attaches the utmost importance to the
15 safety and well being of the civilian population in Zepa. It demands
16 that the Bosnian Serb forces refrain from any further action that
17 threatens the safety of that population, and that they respectfully the
18 rights of the civilian population and other persons protected under
19 International Humanitarian Law."
20 The second paragraph --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could we please scroll up.
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] "The Security Council underlines
23 the importance it attaches to the fullest co-operation with UNHCR and
24 other international humanitarian organisations, and demands that they be
25 given unhindered freedom of movement and access to that area. It further
1 demands that the Bosnian Serb authorities co-operate with all efforts,
2 including those of UNPROFOR, to ensure the safety of the civilian
3 population, and in particular its most vulnerable members, including
4 evacuation, as requested by the foreign minister of the Republic of
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina in his letter of 17 July 1995."
6 Q. This is my question: Did you know that as early as the 17th of
7 July, the Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina asked the Security Council to
8 assist in the evacuation of civilians from Zepa?
9 A. I don't remember that, and I wasn't aware of it.
10 Q. Thank you. Did you know that on the 19th of July -- or, rather,
11 on the 20th, an agreement was reached? So did you know that as early as
12 the 19th and 20th of July, before this statement of the Security Council
13 of the 20th of July, an agreement had been signed which was not being
14 implemented according to the requests put forth by the Security Council?
15 A. I'm afraid I didn't quite understand the question or the
17 Q. Did all these provisions of the Security Council document find
18 their way into the agreement that was reached on the ground?
19 A. If I understood the Security Council's statement well, they only
20 refer to the civilian population. In any case, that was part of the
21 agreement signed on the 19th.
22 Q. Thank you. The agreement signed on the 19th, did the Serb side,
23 according to the agreement, try to resolve the situation by peaceful
25 A. Well, up to that point, there were attacks. And from that point
1 on, there were attempts to stop fighting and to conclude the matter in a
2 different way. But I do have to say that, basically, the very next day,
3 the 20th, there were attacks again because there was no evacuation of the
4 population. I've already explained the reasons for that. We awaited an
5 answer, in terms of the exchange of able-bodied men.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
7 MR. THAYER: Again, just to make a correction, and I believe the
8 witness has, himself, made this correction on at least two occasions, and
9 I don't want to burden him with having to do it every time, so I'm going
10 to do it, again, I think the testimony's been clear there was no written
11 agreement on the 19th of July at Boksanica.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could that be part of your re-examination?
13 MR. THAYER: It could, Your Honour, but it just saves some time.
14 We've been through this three times, so I just again want to put that on
15 the record so the witness doesn't have to take his time to do it.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
17 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Q. Sir, would you please answer? Was the agreement, signed already
20 on the 24th, preceded by an oral agreement reached by the negotiating
21 parties on the 19th?
22 A. Put that way, yes, there was an oral agreement on the 19th. On
23 the 24th, the document that we had occasion to see here in my earlier
24 evidence was signed.
25 Q. Thank you. Tell us, please, do you remember, did all the
1 negotiations come urged or prompted by the Serb sides, including all
2 those phone conversations and the meetings?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Does that also show that the Serb side was not really anxious to
5 resolve this by military means, although it had the military resources at
6 its disposal?
7 A. Well, yes, my earlier answer was affirmative, but the attacks did
8 continue, and they continued whenever something that had been agreed was
9 not put in place. But I do have to make a reservation here. On the
10 13th, when there had been no agreement whatsoever, the attacks resumed.
11 But on the 19th, there was an oral agreement, and I've already explained
12 why the evacuation of civilians did not begin, because we were waiting to
13 resolve this in one package because we were waiting for the response from
14 Sarajevo. However, the Serb side did not have understanding for that.
15 They just continued their firing and shelling. And then on the 24th, the
16 agreement -- an agreement was signed.
17 Q. Thank you. So there was an agreement -- in addition to the oral
18 one, there was this agreement on the 24th that was signed; correct?
19 Now, could we see P585, and I'll just say that this is an excerpt
20 from the diary of Colonel Fortin. Could we see page 151 in B/C/S, and in
21 English that's 149. Page 149 in English, 151 in B/C/S, Exhibit P585.
22 I don't see it yet.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, are you tendering the last document?
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Yes.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
1 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter 1D276 will be Exhibit D107.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Now we have it before
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
5 MR. THAYER: And, Mr. President, pursuant to the request from the
6 provider of this document, it should not be broadcast, please.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes.
8 Mr. Tolimir.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I did
10 say that when I asked for this document to be pulled up. I said that we
11 should not public it -- we should not make it public. So the document
12 should not be made public, but we can discuss it in public.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Now, Witness, please take a look. Witness, in the first
15 paragraph, it clearly says that Mr. Harland is warning his collocutor, a
16 representative of the BH government, because there hasn't been an
17 approval by the Bosnian government on the developments in Zepa. Can you
18 see it?
19 A. Yes.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please see the English
21 translation of the original document, page 149. We don't have it before
22 us. Thank you.
23 Do we have it now? Thank you.
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. So we can see it in English here. Mr. Muratovic -- we can also
1 see what Harland said. But Mr. Muratovic says that they want evacuation
2 of the wounded and vulnerable from Zepa alone, and that this evacuation
3 could only be carried out by helicopter. And then we see the next
4 paragraph, where his counterpart, Coiffet, says that that's a large
5 number, hundreds of people, and that it is not realistic. Therefore,
6 Muratovic's response was that the civilians who negotiated with the
7 Serbs, that their negotiation did not carry any weight, and that they
8 were not authorised to negotiate, and that the Bosnian government was the
9 one that was authorised to negotiate.
10 Now, what would your comment of this be? Thank you.
11 A. Well, look, from the point of view of the Bosnian government,
12 de jure, I had no competence and no authority whatsoever. However,
13 de facto, the situation was quite different. The situation in Zepa
14 changed from hour to hour, not from -- not even from day to day, so that
15 there was no time to wait for anyone from Sarajevo to convene a meeting
16 for the next day, or the day after, and then to reply. It had to do with
17 our survival. Therefore, the position here stated that the negotiators
18 were not competent. Those same negotiators who are negotiating the fate
19 of their people is, to put it mildly, unfair. We were in a different
20 position. We were fighting for our survival. Therefore, de jure, this
21 is all right, but, in fact, it isn't.
22 Q. Thank you. I'm waiting for the transcript.
23 Now, if we consider that Mr. Muratovic was a civilian in the
24 Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the roles of the civilians who
25 negotiated -- the civilians of Zepa who negotiated with the Serb side,
1 could then it be legitimately pointed out by the Presidency that they
2 were civilians and, therefore, were not authorised to negotiate, and
3 thereby actually negating everything that they had already accomplished
4 in their negotiations with the other side? Thank you.
5 A. Well, look, in Zepa, itself, we were the legal representatives,
6 and all the agreements that we reached and signed, for us they were
7 legal. Now, if you put this in a broader context, perhaps -- as I can
8 see here the position of the Bosnian government, perhaps that was
9 illegitimate or illegal and did not carry any weight. But for us, this
10 was a legal situation, and I'm speaking of the community -- the small
11 community that this relates to.
12 Q. Thank you. But Muratovic here uses the phrase that the
13 negotiators from Zepa were civilians and their negotiations did not carry
14 any weight. Now, you tell me -- we saw the document sent from the
15 Presidency to the minister of foreign affairs and others, so, tell me,
16 who was authorised to negotiate? Tell us, in brief, what would the
17 Presidency have known about the situation?
18 A. Well, I would answer yes to that question, because I'm sure that
19 the president knew that we were negotiating this deal, and I think that
20 he also knew the context and contents of the negotiations.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. In view of this alleged
22 discrepancy in the positions of -- the official government's position and
23 the negotiators' positions from Zepa, could we now please pull up
24 document P585, page 143. Thank you. I'm referring to this same
25 document, P585, page 143 in B/C/S and 140 in English.
1 We again have the same document, the journal, and what we see
2 here is a note on the meeting on the 21st of July between
3 General Gobillard and Harland.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think we have the wrong page in B/C/S.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I will repeat. Page 143 in B/C/S.
6 Could we pull that up. Thank you.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It should have the same date, 21st of July, 1995.
8 There it is.
9 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 Q. Here, we see paragraph 3 from the top. It says:
12 "Silajdzic told the media and UNPROFOR that he wanted help in
13 protecting and evacuating the population from Zepa, but in reality he
14 wanted them to remain there so that the Serbs would have blood on their
15 hands by being obliged to take it over by force."
16 That is paragraph 3 where Silajdzic's name is mentioned; in the
17 English version as well.
18 Now, this is a report submitted by an assistant to
19 General Gobillard on his meeting with Muratovic. Now, was the brigade in
20 Zepa capable to defend Zepa from attacks by the VRS Army, whose intention
21 it was to disarm them? Thank you.
22 A. Well, look, I've said this several times. I pointed out that
23 Zepa, in view of the number of men that it had and the ammunition that it
24 had, was not able to defend itself.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Please tell us now whether the noncompliance with this agreement
3 by the central authorities, who instructed you not to surrender, to
4 continue fighting, that Serbs only wanted this or that - we've already
5 said that - that, in fact, the Bosnian government wanted the Serbs to
6 continue attacking the enclave, because in reality you never did get any
7 material or any other kind of assistance? So is this in line with the --
8 with our view that they wanted the Serbs to continue attacking the
9 enclave because they, themselves, were unable to defend themselves?
10 A. Well, if you allow me, I wouldn't really wish to comment on this.
11 Q. Thank you. Was this desire of the central authorities reflected
12 in Zepa? Did people in Zepa think along the same lines?
13 A. Well, I'm not sure whether I understand your question clearly.
14 Do you mean whether in Zepa, people, too, wanted to keep fighting to the
15 last man, to defend themselves and so on? And I've already said, no, it
16 was quite the opposite. We were fully aware of the reality of the
17 situation, and all we wanted is to get out of Zepa alive. And that was
18 the whole point of everything that I've said so far. We just wanted to
19 get out of Zepa alive.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 Could we now please see Exhibit D51 in e-court, the agreement on
22 disarming the able-bodied population of Zepa.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, just a small remark.
24 The last document, P585, was not on the list we received of the
25 exhibits to be used during the cross-examination. I tried to find it on
1 the list, and perhaps I'm mistaken, but we should be very careful.
2 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
4 MR. THAYER: I know how hard the job of the trial assistants is.
5 And I did receive an e-mail, and I'm not sure if it was also copied to
6 the Trial Chamber, but I did receive an e-mail from the case manager for
7 the Defence telling us that this exhibit would be used. So I just wanted
8 to make sure the Court understood that.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. We were not aware of that.
10 We did not receive this information. I think it was an e-mail of today.
11 This creates sometimes some problems.
12 Please carry on with the next document, Mr. Tolimir.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 Could we please pull up 1D248. That is the witness -- this
15 witness's statement, and I would like to see page 7, please.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It should not be broadcast.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 Could we please pull up page 7, the last paragraph of this
19 document, 1D248, and then we will return to the earlier document, the
20 agreement I mentioned earlier. Thank you.
21 Here, we see it before us.
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
23 Q. You say here:
24 "Before I left Zepa, it was agreed that we would accept the
25 evacuation of civilians from Zepa."
1 And then a few sentences on, you say, in the eighth section:
2 "There was a demand that all weapons of able-bodied men be handed
3 over. I didn't want to agree to that, but I was not in a position to
4 decline it."
5 You probably recall your words here. When you say "I was not in
6 a position to decline this," does that mean that you accepted this
8 A. Well, you see, I'll try to explain.
9 Q. No. Please answer my question, and then we'll see if we need
10 your explanation.
11 A. Yes, I did sign it, and there is no dispute about that.
12 Q. Well, if you need to -- if you want to explain it, please go on.
13 A. Well, I did explain it on a number of occasions already. But to
14 answer your question, yes, I did sign this document.
15 Q. Can you explain to us, did the document contain the conditions
16 because of that situation, the VRS was only 200 metres from Zepa and was
17 able to enter the town without any problems? Did those conditions
18 reflect the situation you were in, and do you believe that -- given the
19 entire background and this balance of forces, do you believe the
20 conditions were fair? Did the VRS guarantee both the civilians and
21 able-bodied men safe passage through the territory of the RS?
22 A. Well, we had that document a moment ago on the screen. I think
23 it mentions the disarmament and surrender of the soldiers in Zepa. And
24 as I said a number of times, I had no effective control over the army. I
25 clearly stated that when we signed the agreement to General Mladic. And
1 as far as I remember, the answer I received was that it should be passed
2 on to Avdo Palic. I did sign the document. My primary goal, as
3 negotiator, was to secure the start of the evacuation of civilians. You
4 know that full well. The document, itself, reflects the military
5 situation in Zepa as it was at that moment, especially the ratio of VRS
6 forces vis-a-vis ABiH forces.
8 different to the verbal agreement reached on the 19th at Boksanica
9 between Zepa representatives and the representatives of the VRS, and was
10 it imposed in any way, given the context, or was it a realistic
11 framework, because the VRS could have simply entered Zepa by using
12 military means, without ever having to resort to offering an agreement to
14 A. Well, this contains a number of questions. I'll start from the
15 last one.
16 The VRS could enter the center of Zepa, as I said a number of
17 times. They stopped some 500 metres away from the center, as the crow
18 flies. Up to the center of Zepa, there were no defensive lines of the
19 ABiH left. Generally speaking, this agreement, signed on the 24th of
20 July, is what was conveyed to us on the 19th already. Whether there is
21 small variations or not, I cannot say. I don't have any notes of the
22 19th specifying the surrender of the army. This is where discrepancies
23 could occur. Perhaps on the 19th, it was said that they should surrender
24 to UNPROFOR, and on the 24th, it was said that they should surrender to
25 the VRS. But generally speaking, this is it.
1 Q. Thank you. Before the signing, did you have occasion to get
2 acquainted in detail with the agreement, as you said during your
3 examination-in-chief, and that you noticed a grammatical mistake in the
4 draft, which was subsequently corrected? Can you tell us what mistake it
5 was? Because we are about to show you that document. You also said that
6 you asked for the document to be retyped. Can you please explain the
7 whole situation to us?
8 And can we please have D51 put up for the witness to answer.
9 A. I don't remember the grammatical error, but this is what I seem
10 to remember, although I don't know where the error was anymore.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I apologise. We should not
12 broadcast the bottom part of the document, where the signatures are. I
13 apologise to the witness for interrupting.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what the error was. I
15 read the document, and before signing it, I repeated to General Mladic,
16 and maybe you remember that as well, that I was not competent to discuss
17 any points relating to the military and its surrender. General Mladic
18 said, Well, acquaint Avdo with that, and I did sign the document.
19 Following that, we discussed the evacuation, itself. We were told that
20 you were to come into the town the next day. It was on the 24th of July.
21 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
22 Q. When you were reviewing the text of the agreement, once you
23 noticed the grammatical error, did you ask for any other changes in the
25 A. I don't remember asking for anything else, for any other
2 Q. Thank you. Did Colonel Dudnjik say anything about what you said
3 about you being not competent to discuss any military issues?
4 A. Well, I don't remember him doing anything.
5 Q. In your statement which we just saw, and I'd rather not go back
6 to it unless you really want to, you say on page 7:
7 "Upon my return --"
8 I already quoted this once:
9 "Upon my return to Zepa, we contacted Sarajevo and informed them
10 of the conditions of the agreement. During the night between the 25th
11 and the 26th, we informed the population of the agreement we signed."
12 Is my quote correct, since I didn't show you the exact page?
13 A. Yes, it is true, and I remember that.
14 Q. Although I made a mistake. It was the night between the 24th and
15 the 25th, actually. I thank my assistant for correcting me.
16 This is the question for you: In a situation -- or, rather, in
17 the only possible situation in which the enclave was besieged from all
18 sides by a strong military presence, and the population was in the middle
19 of that situation, how did you communicate with them? How did you inform
20 them about the agreement that was signed on the 24th and the 25th? How
21 did you contact all those people, because some of them were up in the
23 A. Well, some information reached the people later on. I don't
24 remember the details. It was mainly in direct contact with them.
25 Perhaps a soldier who was present went from one family to the next. It
1 was a very primitive way of forwarding information. We had no other
2 means. It was through direct contact only, and, of course, we didn't go
3 to each and every house.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Microphone not activated]
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
8 Q. On a number of occasions during your testimony, you said that the
9 goal was to have the population of Zepa evacuated. Was it also your goal
10 to sign an agreement asking for the disarmament of the Zepa Brigade,
11 without your wish to actually implement that, trying to secure the
12 evacuation of civilians?
13 A. Well, one can't look at the things that way. I would have been
14 happiest if I had been able to sign only the agreement on population
15 evacuation. Obviously, it wasn't possible. As I said a number of times,
16 the surrender of soldiers is what everyone feared, and basically in that
17 shape and form it was out of the question.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Could we please go back to the bottom of the page. Sorry.
20 Actually, we don't want to see the signature broadcast. Let's look at
21 item 7, in which it is stated that:
22 "In accordance with the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and
23 the Additional Protocols of 1977, the civilian population of Zepa shall
24 be given the freedom to choose their place of residence while hostilities
1 I guess we all understand what it means.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Yesterday, on the footage you saw Kulovac say that there were
4 around 10 families who wanted to stay; is that correct?
5 A. Yes. It was on the 19th.
6 Q. Correct. My question is this: Was it justified, then, to
7 include in the agreement the possibility of choice of place of residence
8 until hostilities cease? Was it a realistic option to have it inserted
9 in the agreement?
10 A. Well, when one drafts such agreements, it is logical to include
11 it. In all of your offers, this was included. However, the
12 implementation of it is a different thing.
13 Q. Well, I'm only asking you about the drafting of the agreement.
14 Is it not logical to include everything that was discussed? Because
15 Kulovac had asked for some 10 families to stay, Was it not logical to
16 have it in the agreement?
17 A. Yes, it was.
18 Q. Thank you. I'm asking you this because during your
19 examination-in-chief it was implied that this portion was only inserted
20 for the international public to see. However, the real situation
21 dictated that it be made part of the agreement; is that so?
22 A. Yes, it should have been one of the provisions. But I stress,
23 yet again, that the implementation of it, in the part referring to what
24 Kulovac said on the 25th, was not a realistic option, to put it
1 Q. Are you saying that it was not realistic for them to stay?
2 A. I don't think it was realistic for them to stay. No one dared
3 stay. They were afraid. This is what I'm trying to stress. It's all
4 fine to include this in the agreement. There's nothing in dispute there.
5 And as I've said already, but one must view it from the point of those
6 who are supposed to stay.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Given that an UNPROFOR representative also signed the agreement,
10 and given that the Serb side guaranteed evacuation, the evacuation of
11 both able-bodied men and civilians, because Kulovac had said that the
12 soldiers were ready to surrender their weapons, was the central
13 government in Sarajevo informed of the provisions of that agreement? Was
14 it forwarded to them?
15 A. Yes, the central government in Sarajevo was officially informed
16 during the conversation between the 24th and the 25th of July, 1995. As
17 far as I recall, President Alija Izetbegovic said something to the
18 extent, That's okay, just monitor that, and we'll see about the army.
19 But, in any case, they were informed of the evacuation of civilians.
20 They knew it was supposed to happen the next day, and they agreed with
22 Q. So the agreement is entitled "The Disarmament of Military-Aged
23 Men in Zepa," it was, of course, of interest to the military side because
24 it dictated the conditions of the agreement. You, as the side to whom
25 this agreement was offered by the VRS, guaranteeing to meet its
1 obligations, is there anything that you would have omitted from this
3 A. I think I said already is that the way this agreement suggests --
4 is written suggests that Avdo Palic should have signed it, because he was
5 the main commander of the forces in Zepa. Perhaps the title is
6 euphemistic because, let's face it, it's capitulation. We lost, in
7 military terms. The victor put forth its conditions.
8 I have to be fair and say that this agreement contains some quite
9 standard things. I'm trying to see it now as a citizen and not the then
10 member of the Presidency. And if I try to see it as, say, a soldier of
11 Avdo Palic's brigade -- please bear with me. I'm going through the text.
12 The disarmament, itself, is not disputed, but what was supposed to happen
13 with those people after that.
14 Q. Thank you. I will read it out. It is item 8:
15 "The able-bodied population of Zepa shall be registered and
16 accommodated in a holding centre, which is to be under the control of the
17 ICRC, until the release of all captive VRS members and other Serbs who
18 are in prisons in territory controlled by the Army under the command of
19 Rasim Delic."
20 A. Well, yes, this, too, is correct and there's nothing to add. The
21 only lingering issue that remains is the question of security, and where
22 this holding centre would be, and where those men would be. That was the
23 fear that people had. That was the fear that dominated the whole
25 Q. Thank you. But doesn't it clearly say in this agreement that it
1 wouldn't be under the control of the VRS, but under the control of the
3 A. Well, yes, in the agreement, that's clearly stated.
4 Q. Thank you. So does that mean that the Serbs actually complied
5 with and -- actually, they met all of their obligations, regardless of
6 what the other side -- how the other side reacted; yes or no?
7 A. Well, yes. In this statement, yes.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 Could we now please pull up 1D247. That's Alija Izetbegovic's
10 letter to the Security Council, the UN Security Council. Thank you.
11 THE REGISTRAR: For the record, this is Exhibit P734.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. The agreement that we saw just a moment ago, written on the 24th,
15 was it sent to the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina in its entirety?
16 Did you transmit it or send it via Paket communications? Not you,
17 personally, but the War Staff.
18 A. Well, I don't know. I don't know if it was just paraphrased for
19 the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina or whether it had been sent
20 verbatim. I really don't know.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I have to note -- [Overlapping speakers]
22 THE ACCUSED: [No interpretation]
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We don't have the letter of Mr. Izetbegovic to
24 the Security Council on the screen, as you indicated earlier. Check that
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Also, that's a different document.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 Your Honour, my assistant tells me it is document 1D247.
4 Actually, it should be 1D274.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I believe this clarifies the situation.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could we please enlarge it.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 Q. Now, can you tell us, did anyone in Sarajevo know, on the 24th,
9 that an agreement had been signed, and were they informed of the
10 conditions and demands forwarded by the Serbs?
11 A. Yes, but in the evening. On the 24th, in the evening.
12 Q. Thank you. Now, we see this letter, sent by Alija Izetbegovic,
13 is dated on the 25th of July; in other words, after the signing of the
14 agreement. He addresses the Security Council and says the following, as
15 you can read here:
16 "The protected zone of Zepa continues to be subject to a brutal
17 attack. Because of incessant shelling, the population is leaving the
18 town and has taken refuge in the surrounding woods. I demand that the
19 Security Council order the safe evacuation of women, children, and sick
20 and wounded persons from Zepa, and I demand that the evacuation be
21 conducted under full control -- under full protection of the UN troops,
22 and that General Smith be ordered to be permitted to use any means,
23 including force, if the convoy of civilians is attacked."
24 This is sufficient for my purposes.
25 Tell me, Witness, can you please comment on this? The
1 discrepancy between what the negotiators agreed in the agreement and the
2 words sent by President Izetbegovic to the Security Council on the very
3 next day, can you explain it?
4 A. Well, I'm not really in a position to comment on this. What we
5 agreed, among other things, was the evacuation of civilians. Now,
6 whether this letter was written prompted by the information that came
7 from Zepa on the 24th and the 25th, or by something else, I don't know.
8 But the way I see it, thinking of it now, is that perhaps this was a way
9 to additionally ensure and secure the guarantees by international
10 organisations for civilians during their evacuation and relocation from
11 Zepa. That is one of the thing that comes to -- one of the things that
12 comes to mind as I look at it.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, tell us this: Had the evacuation already begun
14 on the very same day, on the 25th, and was Tolimir in Zepa on that day,
15 and had the wounded already arrived there?
16 A. Well, in short, Tolimir was present on that day in Zepa. The
17 evacuation did start on that day, and on that evening the first convoy of
18 wounded arrived in Sarajevo.
19 Q. Thank you. During his stay in Zepa, both in the morning or in
20 the afternoon and generally, did Zdravko Tolimir put any kinds of
21 objections or did he react in any way when soldiers came to wish farewell
22 and say goodbye to their family members? Did he in any way interfere or
23 try to prevent that?
24 A. Well, no, as far as I know. You were present. You did see
25 soldiers coming to see their family members off. There was no reaction
1 and no contact with them. It was just as you describe it. You were
2 there, and you just observed what was happening, without any interference
3 or any kind of disruption on your part.
4 Q. Thank you. If you wish, we can show the video-clip, but we don't
5 have to, bearing in mind what was said at the beginning of today's
6 session. But I will quote from the video.
7 We saw here in the courtroom page of the transcript 34, lines 26
8 through 29, and it says:
9 "Well, there are quite a number of able-bodied men on the bus?"
10 And your answer is:
11 "Well, not too many."
12 Now, my question was: At this time when Mladic said this, did he
13 pull off the bus these able-bodied men or did he let them leave with the
15 A. No, all these convoys were allowed through. Now, I don't know
16 why I reacted the way I did, but I don't think that there was anyone on
17 the convoys on that day who did not actually fall within the category
18 that was mentioned; up until the age of 55, I believe.
19 Q. Well, thank you. We know what "able-bodied" means under the
20 legal description that is provide -- that was set forth in the
21 federation. But, in any case, General Mladic did not try to stop anyone,
22 any of those people, from getting off the bus and getting out?
23 A. Yes, that's correct. We've seen that.
24 Q. Did we see any people here in -- did you see me in civilian
25 clothes on that day? Do you recall that?
1 A. Well, I can't really recall exactly what was happening on that
2 day, on the 24th, I believe was when you were there. I can't recall
3 seeing you in civilian clothes. I can't even recall you being there at
4 all. I did see the video-clip where you were wearing civilian clothes,
5 but everything else is a blur from those days. I can just -- the only
6 thing that is clearly etched in my mind was General Mladic.
7 Q. Thank you. Now, we saw in this video-clip that Tolimir was
8 dressed in civilian clothes. Now, my question for you is this: Is a
9 subordinate -- is it common practice for a subordinate to be sitting
10 dressed in civilian clothes while his commander is in uniform? Is that
11 standard practice?
12 A. Well, I can tell you this: I can't really recall this, whether
13 this was a meeting you attended with some members of international
14 organisations or whatever, but I can't recall the details or what you had
16 Q. But can -- can what was being said in this video, can that help
17 refresh your memory, whether this was from the meeting in Boksanica or
18 some other place?
19 A. Well, I can't even remember that conversation, and I'm not even
20 sure that it was shown here as an exhibit.
21 Q. Thank you. It was shown here, and that was at 35:39:49, 35
22 hours, 39 minutes and 49 seconds, and we did not have the audio. That's
23 why I was putting this question to you. You said that you were shown
24 some additional video-clips while you were being prepped for this
1 Now, did you see any other video-clips where you could actually
2 hear what was being said? Thank you.
3 A. Well, I can't really remember any of that now.
4 Q. Thank you. Can you please try and recall and tell us - can you
5 make an effort - whether while you were proofed you could hear the audio
6 when shown the video-clip, because we did not hear any audio here in the
7 courtroom? But was that normal for me, as a subordinate, to be sitting
8 there dressed in civilian clothes, while my commander was in uniform?
9 A. Well, whether there was audio accompanying the video-clip during
10 my proofing, perhaps the Prosecutor can help us. I can't really recall.
11 I do recall that there were some problems, but I can't even recall if
12 shown the transcript. Maybe the Prosecutor can be of assistance here,
13 because he proofed me and he showed me the video-clip.
14 Q. Thank you. Well, the Prosecutor is free to assist you, if he so
15 chooses, later on.
16 But can you just explain to the Trial Chamber whether this would
17 be something that you could see in reality or whether this video-clip was
18 doctored? Now, do you remember -- and whether you remember whether there
19 was an audio with the video-clip?
20 A. Well, I can't recall that there was any audio or whether there
21 was a transcript that I saw, which I just saw this briefly. We did not
22 dwell on it, and I can't really recollect anything. It was very brief,
23 so I can't remember; not even from the proofing session.
24 Q. Thank you. While you're trying to refresh your memory, I would
25 like to show you 1D265.
1 Could we please pull up 1D265.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this is Exhibit D92.
3 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
4 Q. We've already seen this document, and I quoted some portions that
5 I wanted to refer you to.
6 Now, please take a look. This is a criminal report, and there's
7 a list of persons there who were identified. Let's just read the first
8 name. We don't have to read the rest.
9 A. "Mehmedalija Cavcic."
10 Q. And so on and so forth. There is information and personal
11 details for all the people on the list.
12 Now, please, can we see the end of this list, or, rather, can we
13 just scroll it so that the witness can read through it and whether he can
14 then confirm for us whether all these individuals were local people from
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When you say -- when we say "Zepa,"
17 we imply two municipalities, Han Pijesak and Rogatica. In the beginning,
18 they were separate, but only after the take-over of all of the villages,
19 for all practical purposes, in Han Pijesak municipality, and those people
20 then moved to Zepa, only then did it become one thing, Zepa. And those
21 are individuals from the Zepa enclave.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That's correct.
23 Now, can we move on to the next page, please, when the witness
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could we now move to the next page,
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Next page, please.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Next page, please.
4 Can we move on? Next page. Next page, please. Next page,
5 please, if there are any more pages.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I think this will
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. So who are these individuals? These individuals were included in
10 the criminal report against those individuals in the Zepa enclave who
11 were identified as perpetrators when 43 soldiers were killed and others
12 taken prisoner.
13 Could we now please see 1D267.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could the usher please give this
16 hard copy to the witness, because it is a handwritten document, so that
17 he can take a look at 1D267. And we will have it on our screens, but
18 it's hard to read from it. And then perhaps the witness can tell us
19 whether all these individuals were members of the Zepa Brigade or the
20 brigade of the Zepa enclave.
21 And I will tell you where this list comes from. This list was
22 received from the Yugoslav Army, and it shows members of the Zepa Brigade
23 who crossed over to the Yugoslav territory and then moved on to third
24 countries, in agreement with the International Red Cross, which provided
25 guarantees for their movement -- freedom of movement and settlement.
1 Now, could we please see pages 234 and 5 for the benefit of the
2 Trial Chamber, because the witness has the hard copy and he can easily
3 leaf through it. Thank you.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: For the record, the hard copy was shown to the
5 Chamber first, and now the witness has the opportunity to look at it.
6 And later on, it should be forwarded to the Prosecution as well.
7 Mr. Thayer.
8 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
9 I have a copy of -- a hard copy already. Thank you. But I do
10 want to raise an issue with respect to this document and with respect to
11 1D00274, which we saw earlier, the letter from Alija Izetbegovic to the
12 UN in New York. It's the same query I had with respect to the document
13 we saw yesterday that bore no ERN and we have no information about the
14 source of this document, its pedigree, so to speak, or where it emanates
15 from. All we've heard is that it's a list, allegedly, of brigade
16 members. We don't have a translation. I note that it -- my rudimentary
17 understanding of the language suggests that some of these people listed
18 here as civilians. So if we could have some proffer as to, again, where
19 this document comes from, how it was provided, because it bears no ERN,
20 no -- it certainly didn't come from us, as far as I know.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would suggest that you prepare some additional
22 information we would like to hear after the second break. It is now the
23 time for the second break, and you should consider this request by
24 Mr. Thayer during the break.
25 We adjourn, and resume at 1.00.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I just ask this: Perhaps the
2 witness can keep this hard copy so that he can leaf through it during the
3 break. Would that be all right? That's all I have to ask.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is no problem. It will save time.
5 We adjourn.
6 --- Recess taken at 12.33 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 1.06 p.m.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Our apologies for the delay.
9 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 I have a question for the witness. I provided him with a list of
12 the soldiers from Zepa who moved to Serbia under the auspices of the
13 ICRC. Before that, we saw the criminal report containing 149 names, so
14 that he would be able to see whether the people were from Zepa.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Based on the criminal report list of 149, can you tell us whether
17 you saw anyone there who was not from Zepa? And on the paper copy I gave
18 you containing that list there, were there any people there who were not
19 from Zepa and who crossed over into Serbia?
20 A. This is two questions, I believe.
21 The first list I saw on the screen contains the names of people
22 from Zepa. The other list I received in hard copy also includes the
23 names of people from the enclave of Zepa, although I saw that a few of
24 them were born in Srebrenica. I must say, though, that two villages
25 surrounding Srebrenica belonged to the municipality of Zepa. They
1 received humanitarian assistance from us. So I would say that these
2 people were from the enclave of Zepa.
3 Q. On the first list of 149, we saw that Benjamin Kulovac was also
4 included, and the report was submitted against him as well. Did you see
6 A. I did.
7 Q. Do you remember why the Prosecutor asked you why Benjamin Kulovac
8 was afraid to appear at another meeting, and could that be the reason why
9 he ended up on the list?
10 A. I don't know whether he knew at all at the time. Well, this
11 criminal report was submitted by Serb authorities, and what we had in our
12 hands there was a military conflict. It's a legal matter, and I don't
13 know whether that can fall under the -- under a criminal report. In any
14 case, Benjamin Kulovac was not aware of any criminal reports being
15 submitted against him at that time. He was afraid, though, but I don't
16 know why. Perhaps you should ask him.
17 Q. Thank you. Irrespective of everything that happened, did he join
18 those wounded on their way to Sarajevo? Was he let to pass through by
19 the Serbs?
20 A. Yes. He joined the first convoy with the wounded. He was let
21 through by the Serb side and reached Sarajevo.
22 Q. Let us go back to that part where you spoke about your arrest.
23 We can see that all these people were from the enclave of Zepa.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Let me ask you this: Could one of the reasons for the fear be
1 the issue of the 43 Serbs who were killed? Was that, perhaps, one of the
2 reasons for the fear of the soldiers, due to which they wouldn't
3 surrender or cross RS territory?
4 A. Well, it is possible. It could have been one of the reasons.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please have the witness's
6 statement, which is 1D248. Please, do not broadcast the cover page or
7 the witness's name. We can immediately go to page 8, paragraph 5, the
8 last three lines. Thank you. Please do not broadcast this page
9 publicly. Let us go to page 8, paragraph 5, the last three lines. Thank
10 you. We can see it in the Serbian. It is the next page in the English.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. I will start with the second line from the bottom:
13 "In the meantime, the Serb soldiers enter the center of Zepa.
14 Amir Imamovic, who was brought in together with Hajric, was another
15 Presidency member. They asked us to exercise much greater pressure so
16 that the able-bodied men would surrender. Hajric was ordered to go to
17 the mountains, where the headquarters of our army was, to ask them to
19 It is page 9, the first two lines of the second paragraph.
20 A. I still don't have it in front of me.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please have that. It
22 further reads:
23 "They asked us to exercise much greater pressure so that the
24 able-bodied men would surrender. Hajric was told to go to the mountains,
25 where our headquarters were, to ask them to surrender."
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. This was in your statement. Do you recall it?
3 A. I do.
4 Q. Since this concerns members of the War Presidency, and since we
5 discussed the agreement and its signing, the agreement on the disarmament
6 of the soldiers, which was a precondition for the implementation of all
7 the other provisions, was it not only logical that the War Presidency
8 members who signed the agreement, to sign also the decision invoked here
9 by the OTP of the 27th?
10 A. I do remember that decision, and I said that it was signed under
11 pressure. I repeat that even such a signed decision had no effective
12 power over any military decisions. This is what I continually stress.
13 All these members of the Presidency, all three of us, who signed under
14 pressure, I assert, could not exercise any control. It had no value. It
15 wasn't able to be implemented.
16 Q. Was it not normal for three men to decide on something that would
17 follow the items of the agreement, rather than sending the whole of the
18 VRS up Mount Zepa to kill off all the soldiers there? What would have
19 been better, that two members of the War Presidency go and visit the Army
20 of B and H soldiers or to continue fighting?
21 A. Well, the way you put your question begs me to say yes. But none
22 of these War Presidency members, and I don't know whether you knew that,
23 could have done anything about it. We could sign anything you wanted,
24 but we couldn't implement it, and that's the essence of it. The way you
25 put your question, whether it would have been better, yes, it would have,
1 but it was not viable. All three of us who were there had no effective
2 control over that issue. And in my view, no one else in Zepa did on the
3 27th of July.
4 Q. Thank you. Will you agree with me that the party included in
5 negotiations, drafting an agreement, cannot know what the scope of your
6 authority is over any soldiers? Are you honest when you say that? We
7 couldn't have known whether you had any influence or not.
8 A. Well, legally and formally speaking, that is so, but let me go
9 back to the agreement I signed. I said orally that as regards the army,
10 I do not have the legitimacy or authority necessary. I could guarantee
11 only the implementation pertaining to civilians. You, as the Serb side,
12 could have said, Well, thank you very much, we're not interested in that.
13 In that case, there probably would have not been any evacuation of
14 civilians. But it was logical of you to expect that on the other end of
15 the table you would have someone who could cover all of the issues.
16 Q. Was it not a more peaceful option to have the War Presidency
17 draft a decision of the 27th and show it to the soldiers in Zepa for
18 their acceptance? If they don't want to, they can go on fighting. Was
19 it not a peaceful option, or should have been for the armed option from
20 the outset?
21 A. Well, it's always best to avoid any conflict, but I know how
22 people reasoned. There was this fear, and that was what prevented the
23 implementation of that decision.
24 Q. But was it necessary to disarm the civil population, in
25 particular the able-bodied men, in the demilitarised zone, in keeping
1 with the agreement, and that's why the decision was made? We all know
2 what the fate of the soldiers was.
3 A. I don't know whether it was necessary to lay down arms, to have
4 it a weapon-free zone.
5 Q. In order to implement the agreement on the disarmament of the
6 soldiers, we needed a previous decision to have been made?
7 A. I'm sorry, I wasn't following.
8 Q. Can you recall the title of the agreement?
9 A. "Agreement on the Disarmament of Soldiers," I believe.
10 Q. No, "Able-Bodied Men." Was it not logical that the
11 War Presidency should issue a decision on disarmament in order to
12 implement the agreement?
13 A. Yes, it would be logical.
14 Q. Thank you. You, when you were arrested, were you arrested for
15 not implementing the agreement and for failing to implement your party's
16 obligations, including disarmament?
17 A. I don't know whether it was expressly stated, but it was my
18 assessment that I was arrested because we did not secure the disarmament
19 of able-bodied men in Zepa, and I was one of the signatories.
20 Q. Thank you. Let's go to page 9, paragraph 2. We will read out
21 the first four lines for your benefit, because we need to refresh your
23 "On the 27th of July, Imamovic and I, who were held in the same
24 room. An hour and a half after the last convoy was allowed to proceed,
25 Serb military police entered the UNPROFOR house with a Serb officer, and
1 they informed us that we were arrested for noncompliance of paragraph 8
2 of the agreement."
3 A. Yes. This statement was made rather early on, so I can confirm
5 Q. So you were told that you were arrested for noncompliance with
6 the agreement; yes or no?
7 A. Yes, if I go by my statement, it appears to be the case.
8 Q. Were any civilians held there who were on the last bus because of
9 this noncompliance with the agreement about the evacuation of civilians
10 and able-bodied men?
11 A. I know they were taken off the bus and held there, but I don't
12 know what the reason was. I hear it from you, what the reason may have
14 Q. Thank you. I asked you last time, and perhaps we needn't go back
15 to the document because you also said that in your statement -- you said
16 that General Mladic let all the buses pass, except the last one, when the
17 passengers were held there, and you were arrested?
18 A. That is correct.
19 Q. Were you registered the next day, on the 28th, by the ICRC?
20 A. Not on the 28th. I think it was either the 30th of July or the
21 1st of August, and it was in Rogatica.
22 Q. The next paragraph, line 4, you say:
23 "The next day, we were registered by the Red Cross."
24 And just above that, in the previous paragraph, you mention the
1 A. Yes, but before that I say I don't know whether on the 30th or
2 the 31st of July we were transferred to Rogatica. Upon my arrival there,
3 the next day we were registered. So it wasn't on the 28th. You should
4 read the paragraph preceding that one, its last sentence.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please switch on your microphone.
7 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 Q. "In Rogatica, they took us to a facility used as a prison. There
9 was some 40 people there who were taken off the bus in the last convoy."
10 And then you say that you were registered by the Red Cross. Did
11 they register these 40 people as well?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. In order to be fair, in a part of your statement you said that
14 Rajko Pusic was the prison commander. I don't think you meant that.
15 Perhaps this was a mistake, because the brigade commander could not have
16 been acting as prison warden. It was probably one of his subordinates.
17 A. I don't know how this made its way into the statement, but he was
18 not the prison warden. It was another gentleman, a Neskovic, I believe.
19 Q. It doesn't matter. In any case, they may have been his
20 subordinates from the brigade. Were they all from Rogatica or from some
21 other level?
22 A. No, it was the Rogatica Military Police that secured the prison.
23 Q. I will not now go to the supplemental statement, because it says
24 "Draft Version" across it. But just tell us, please, why was it
25 necessary for you to provide this supplemental draft version?
1 A. I can barely remember that. Do you mean the supplement to this
3 Q. Yes. It is appended to this statement. It contains nine
4 paragraphs, and it also includes photographs where you identified certain
5 individuals. Do you remember that?
6 A. Yes, I believe that was in the additional interview conducted by
7 the investigator, and I don't know how all of that transpired. But it
8 was about 10 years ago. That was when they brought all those photos for
9 me to identify the individuals depicted on them. That's where that other
10 statement comes from.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 Could -- I would like to move and tender 1D273 and 65 ter 06417
13 into evidence, although I did not want to show them here today, both in
14 order to save some time and also because of the measures that were here
15 in place for this witness.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I'm a little bit confused. I saw
17 that you used three documents, 1D248, and this is the OTP statement of
18 the witness, 1D274 and not 3, 1D267. Now you are referring to other
19 numbers. I have no idea what these are. Could you explain this, please?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 1D273 and 65 ter 06417, these are video-clips that I'm proposing
22 to move into evidence. And then, after that, we will discuss these other
23 documents. Thank you.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
25 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, let me take the second exhibit first,
1 65 ter 06417. That is a proposed Prosecution exhibit which is a
2 compilation video based on several other separate videos which contain
3 extended footage of these meetings, some of which the Trial Chamber has
4 already seen. Parts of those videos have yet to be played. What we did
5 was instead of having each individual video in its entirety played before
6 the Trial Chamber, we combined portions of those videos into what we have
7 called the Zepa compilation video, and that's why we gave it a separate
8 65 ter number. We showed some -- as the Court remembers, some portions
9 of 6417, but we haven't shown the entire thing. That's why we did not
10 tender 6417, since it includes portions which have yet to be played
11 before the Trial Chamber.
12 So I'm not sure which portion of 6417 General Tolimir is
13 intending to tender at this point because I, frankly, can't remember --
14 I think some portions may have been played, but I just don't know right
15 now. So --
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, can you help us?
17 [Defence counsel confer]
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Can we then see this video compilation that was shown here to all
20 of us so that we can use it with other witnesses as well, because it was
21 publicly shown and it's also in the transcript? So that's what we are
22 asking and seeking to tender, whatever was shown here, and what is in the
23 video, and what was recorded in the transcript.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It's now a little bit difficult just to play the
25 video again, to identify numbers and -- 65 ter numbers, and to decide
1 about the admission of this video.
2 I'm not sure, Mr. Thayer. Perhaps you can help us. Did you
3 tender this compilation of videos?
4 MR. THAYER: No, we did not, Mr. President, for the reasons I've
5 explained. Perhaps what we can do is maintain it MFI'd, and when the
6 Defence is able to identify the time codes, then we can note that for the
7 record, rather than introducing it twice or introducing a separate clip
8 of it, which just unnecessarily creates exhibits, when we've got the
9 whole thing in evidence already.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think this is a good proposal, Mr. Thayer.
11 65 ter 6417 will be marked for identification, and I would invite
12 both parties to discuss which parts of it should be, at the end of the
13 day, really admitted into evidence. Both parties should use it with
14 other witnesses as well.
15 MR. THAYER: And I'm confident that the entire compilation video
16 will be played to witnesses and ultimately will be tendered, so I think
17 it's, at the end of the day, a moot issue.
18 Now, with respect to the other --
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: One moment, please. We would like to have it
21 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: First we have to decide will it be -- will it
23 have a P number or a D number? It was produced by the Prosecution, who
24 we think will tender it one day. If you don't object to that, it should
25 get a P number. And it is necessary to give the DVD to the Registry so
1 that we have a clear record of that.
2 MR. THAYER: Yes, Mr. President. Not to be too possessive, but
3 it is our compilation. We worked hard on it, so that would be fine.
4 The Defence has been supplied with a copy of that DVD, with an
5 explanation of the underlying videos.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
7 Do you agree, Mr. Tolimir, with this procedure?
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Yes, we absolutely agree with your ruling, and I think it is in
10 both our interests.
11 I have a few more questions for the witness, if you allow me.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No, just a moment.
13 [Defence counsel confer]
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But I do have this request. 1D273
15 is our video that was shown here. If you recall, we provided the
16 transcript for it, and we would appreciate this video being marked for
17 identification or admitted into evidence. And I will just remind you
18 that this was from the negotiations, the words pronounced.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: 65 ter 6417 will be marked for identification
20 with a P number.
21 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter 6417 will be Exhibit P740, marked for
23 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, to avoid any misunderstandings and
25 confusion during the trial, I was told that 1D273 is part of the document
1 we just have marked as P740.
2 Mr. Gajic, you don't agree. Please explain it.
3 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the compilation video
4 does not contain the excerpt from the meeting of 19th of July, 1995. We
5 showed the portion to the witness that is not included in the compilation
6 video tendered by the Prosecution, and that is why we are seeking to
7 tender it as a separate exhibit.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This will be marked for identification as well
9 with a D number. Yes, we would like to receive the D number, and then we
10 can proceed.
11 THE REGISTRAR: 1D273 will be Exhibit D18, marked for
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
14 MR. THAYER: Two issues with respect to that exhibit,
15 Mr. President.
16 The first is: That footage that was shown actually is already in
17 evidence as P593 that also has a transcript for it. We saw the Defence
18 put together their own B/C/S transcript. I don't think it was translated
19 into English. But P593, which came in through, I believe,
20 Colonel Fortin, does have a transcript.
21 My second query is: With respect to 1D273, we don't have an
22 objection to it. It is superfluous, but we don't know where -- what the
23 source of that footage is. It looks the same, but I notice that there
24 were some inter-spliced images that don't appear anywhere else in the
25 footage that we've seen over the years. The Trial Chamber may recall we
1 see the scene of the meeting at the table, and all of a sudden there are
2 a bunch of soldiers sitting on a tank or something, and that raises, in
3 my mind, the question of, again, what's the provenance of the video.
4 No objection, but we want to know where it came from, because
5 that's footage that comes in with no explanation or context. It may be a
6 compilation of their own or taken from a news source, and so that may
7 explain it, but we've got no idea.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
9 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] In the surrogate sheet with that
10 video, Mr. President, it is clearly indicated what the provenance of this
11 video is. There is an ERN number. In other words, it is a Prosecution
12 video. And this video, too, was used by the Prosecution for their
13 compilation video.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I see there is disagreement, but it is not
15 necessary to discuss it further at this point in time.
16 I would like to ask the Defence: Are you tendering 1D248? This
17 is the OTP statement of the witness. You used it yesterday and today.
18 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President, we would like to
19 tender it.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 First, a correction for the record. 65 ter 1D273 is
23 Exhibit D108, marked for identification.
24 65 ter 1D248 will be Exhibit D109.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. And, Mr. Tolimir --
1 [Defence counsel confer]
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Perhaps you're all a little confused now. I
3 would like to deal with 1D274 and 1D267. I think these were the
4 documents Mr. Thayer asked for further clarification about the source,
5 and where it comes from, and so on. I would like to know if you are
6 tendering these two documents. If you will do that, we will only mark
7 them for identification, and we would like, like we did with another
8 document yesterday, to ask for a written submission with a clear
9 definition where these documents come from and what is the background of
11 Mr. Gajic.
12 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, as for 65 ter
13 documents 1D274 and 1D269, these, in fact, are in the book of
14 Sefer Halilovic's entitled "State Secret." This book was published in
15 2005, and it contains a wealth of documents. I contacted the Prosecutor
16 yesterday and was provided a batch of documents from the BH Army, and it
17 was explained to me that those documents were attached to this book. And
18 that is why across this document there is this marking which says "State
19 Secret." And as for Samir Halilovic, he was the son of
20 General Halilovic, Sefer Halilovic, who was the commander of the BH Army.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
22 MR. THAYER: I'm not sure which prosecutor we're talking about.
23 It's not an OTP Prosecutor. Maybe a prosecutor from Serbia. But we have
24 no knowledge about this, just to clarify.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And I would like to clarify. Are you talking
1 about 1D267 or 1D269?
2 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. I have to say that
3 there was an error in the transcript, or in the translation, actually. I
4 never mentioned the Prosecution. I mentioned the source; in other words,
5 the person who provided these documents to me.
6 We are referring to 1D274. This is a letter from
7 Alija Izetbegovic to the UN Security Council. And the second document is
8 D102, marked for identification, which relates to the general
9 mobilisation call-up in Zepa. And these documents were, in fact,
10 attachments in the book of Samir Halilovic entitled "State Secret."
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you for this information. I'm not sure if
12 this is sufficient, but we can't continue in this way. Yesterday, I
13 asked you for a written submission and explanation so that we can receive
14 comment by the OTP as well.
15 The second one was marked for identification. Now you are asking
16 for 1D -- again the number, please. 1D74 --
17 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] 1D274.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be marked for identification, and we
19 would like to receive a written explanation about the source.
20 And if I'm not mistaken, you used 1D267 just before the last
21 break. Are you tendering this?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, we're tendering that document.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. And I will just ask the witness, and I'm referring to the hard
25 copy that he has: Is any of those individuals that you say are from
1 Zepa -- was any of those persons killed in the Zepa fighting or in the
2 mountains around Zepa?
3 A. Do you mean the people from this list? Well, there were some
4 members of the BH Army who were killed during the military attacks on
5 Zepa. As far as I know, of all these people who crossed over to Serbia
6 from the list, only one young man - I think he tried to escape - he was
7 shot. And as for the rest, they all moved on to third countries, as far
8 as I know.
9 Q. Thank you. Now, were there any able-bodied men killed by the VRS
10 after they surrendered, with the exclusion of Avdo Palic, Amir Imamovic,
11 and --
12 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the third name.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. -- who were killed, and you can tell us when and how and whether
15 they, too, were killed in some war operations or after the war
17 A. Well, you asked me several questions, so I'll try to go one by
19 I don't know who was killed in military operations. Now, after
20 August 25th, from what I learned later on, most of these people from this
21 list here moved to Serbia or crossed over to Serbia, except for one man.
22 I heard that he panicked, tried to run, and he was shot. As for the
23 rest, some of them tried to cross over and then were either killed,
24 because they had to go through -- they had to cross the front-line. I
25 don't know how many people were killed. Most of them did cross over near
1 Kladanj. As for those who were taken prisoner, they were taken away and
2 later killed. They were Mehmed Hajric, Amir Imamovic, and later on I
3 heard also that the same was the case with Colonel Avdo Palic. And to
4 the best of my knowledge, there was another man. I don't know if he was
5 a member of the army, but he was an elderly man who was held in Rogatica,
6 in detention, and was taken away by someone. To this day, his remains
7 have not been recovered. And from what I could read in our press, I
8 assume that Lukic from Visegrad took him away and nothing more was known
9 about him.
10 Q. What's his name? Can you tell us?
11 A. If I'm not mistaken, his last name was Cocalic, but I can't say
12 with any certainty. I only heard about this. In any case, it is known
13 that his body was never found.
14 Q. Save for these four people you mentioned as having been killed
15 outside combat later on in August and September, were there any others
16 killed outside combat who actually had come from Zepa and who were men of
17 military age?
18 A. I don't know everything, because I spent six months in prison. I
19 don't know whether someone was caught and killed trying to cross over.
20 I can neither deny nor confirm that. This is the extent of information I
21 have. As for any others who may have been captured by the VRS and later
22 on killed, that is something I can say nothing about. I cannot say that
23 there were any or that there weren't.
24 Q. Thank you. While I was in Zepa, while we negotiated?
25 A. No. In that period, there weren't any.
1 Q. When did you hear of Avdo Palic being killed?
2 A. When I was released from prison. It was in January 1996. At
3 that time, he was considered a missing person. I presume a missing
4 person is anyone whose body has never been found. And I heard stories
5 about his capture. It lasted between 1996 and 2005.
6 Q. Do you have any knowledge when -- about when he was killed?
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Your answer, please, and then no further
8 question, please.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you repeat your question,
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Do you have information when Avdo Palic and the other two were
14 A. Much later, in Bosnia and Sarajevo, it was the main topic when
15 Colonel Palic's disappearance was discussed. According to the final
16 journalistic reports, it appears that Avdo Palic had been killed in early
17 September 1995. They based that conclusion on the examination of his
18 remains. The other two men, there is a witness statement regarding their
19 death. I confirm that they were taken around mid-July, and, according to
20 that witness's statement -- sorry, they were taken in mid-August, and the
21 witness states that in late August they were taken out of the room where
22 they were held captive together with him. It is presumed that they were
23 killed then.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
25 I just seek to tender D267 into evidence so as to reflect the
1 fact that there were no men of military age who were killed out of those
2 on the list.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We are six minutes over time. It's exactly the
4 same amount of time we were delayed when we started, so that you had the
5 full session.
6 Both exhibits will be marked for identification. That means
7 1D274, I pronounced that already. And 1D267, the list in hard copy shown
8 to the witness, marked for identification, but only admitted at a later
9 stage, after having received additional information about the source, as
10 requested by the OTP.
11 THE REGISTRAR: 1D274 will be Exhibit D110, marked for
12 identification. 1D267 will be Exhibit D111, marked for identification.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, have you any indication how much
14 time you need for finishing your cross-examination tomorrow?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, if the witness must
16 leave, I'm ready to thank him for his time already now. We discussed
17 most of the topics covered in examination-in-chief.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sorry, you misunderstand. I just want to know
19 how much time you need. You know the Prosecution used more time than
20 indicated in the examination-in-chief. Therefore, no time pressure on
21 you. I just want to know. And the witness can't leave today because the
22 OTP has some re-examination, I suppose.
23 What is your estimation of the time you still need for
24 cross-examination tomorrow?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
1 I will conclude my cross-examination during the first session
2 tomorrow. Therefore, I have five or six questions left.
3 I would like to thank the witness for his co-operation and the
4 answers he provided, as well as all those who assisted us in bringing
5 this testimony to a close. I'd like to thank you and the interpreters as
6 well on behalf of the Defence.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
8 Witness, you are in the bad position that you have to return to
9 court tomorrow again. We are sitting in the morning, if I'm not
10 mistaken, in this courtroom. And we thank you for your patience you have
11 with the parties and with the Chamber.
12 We adjourn and resume tomorrow.
13 [The witness stands down]
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.56 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 2nd day of
16 September, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.