1 Tuesday, 9 November 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning to everybody.
6 The witness should be brought in, please.
7 [The witness takes the stand]
8 WITNESS: VINCENTIUS EGBERS [Resumed]
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning, Mr. Egbers. Please sit down.
11 Welcome back to the courtroom. Thank you very much that you
12 could make it again.
13 And I should say to the interpreters, welcome to the Tribunal,
14 especially those who are interpreting into Dutch.
15 May I remind you that your affirmation to tell the truth still
16 applies. And if I'm not mistaken, we are still in cross-examination.
17 Good morning, Mr. Tolimir. Please continue your
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Peace in this house. I would like the day to end today just like
21 all days, in accordance with God's will and not as I will.
22 Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir: [Continued]
23 Q. [Interpretation] I would like to welcome Mr. Egbers, and I hope
24 today we will finish his cross-examination.
25 Mr. Egbers, last time we stopped when you were talking about how
1 you were disarming Muslims when you noticed that they had weapons, and I
2 quoted the statement by Mr. Franken where he said that you could not
3 enter their homes without the agreement of the police. Could you please
4 explain the difference in the statements between you and Mr. Franken, and
5 can you please tell the Trial Chamber what this difference actually was
6 all about? Thank you.
7 A. Yes, I can.
8 Part of the statement by Major Franken was read by you, in which
9 you said that he had a problem when our troops went after armed Muslims.
10 I said, after that, that in reality, in actual fact, our special forces
11 went after the people who at times fled into houses. I don't see such a
12 big problem between what may happen and what did happen. Have I answered
13 your question sufficiently?
14 Q. Thank you, you answered my question. If you can answer this
15 question too: Were you able to enter the homes without the consent of
16 their Muslim owners in Srebrenica? Thank you.
17 A. I, myself, did not go after armed Muslims, but I know that our
18 special forces did do that and also went into a house. I cannot say
19 whether formally it was done correctly, formally, but that it did happen
20 in the past. These are questions that you should have asked Mr. Franken.
21 Q. Thank you, that's correct. I would just like to ask you this:
22 Did you ever see soldiers of the Dutch Battalion of UNPROFOR enter a
23 house, and did they ever bring back to their base a rifle or a weapon
24 that they had seized in the home of a Muslim civilian? Thank you.
25 A. I did not see that. I only heard that in other units, not my own
1 platoon, that it happened there.
2 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us if, before you came to the
3 enclave, you were familiar with the historical events that had happened
4 in the enclave, the ones that preceded the demilitarisation, and what
5 happened in the process of demilitarisation? Thank you.
6 A. We were trained to think differently and, instead of acting as a
7 soldier, more as a peacekeeper. It was also said to us which conflicts
8 were in course in the Balkans. But what exactly was happening before we
9 came, in relation to demilitarisation, this was not known to me.
10 Q. Thank you for your sincere answer. Can you please tell me if you
11 knew what the provisions were of this demilitarisation agreement that
12 applied to the Srebrenica zone, what it implied, and what were the
13 obligations of UNPROFOR members in terms of that agreement? Thank you.
14 A. At the moment, as platoon commander, I was responsible for the
15 platoon of UNPROFOR soldiers. We were manning the Alpha Observation
16 Post. In walking in the area of OP -- there were patrols in the area of
17 OP Alpha. If we were to come across armed Muslims in the enclave, then
18 our order was to seize the weapons.
19 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us this: If the Muslims
20 prevented you from doing this, what did you do then? Thank you.
21 A. They could prevent me from disarming them by running away. What
22 we then did was go after them. But in general, it only happened rarely
23 that in the enclave, we saw Muslims openly carrying weapons. This only
24 happened during the attack on the enclave.
25 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us why, then, you were not
1 permitted to enter the Bandera Triangle? How were you supposed to
2 implement this demilitarisation if you were denied access? Thank you.
3 A. The whole question of the Bandera Triangle was, in January 1995,
4 as you know, it was a reaction to the reduction in size of the enclave,
5 which was happening continuously because of the BSA approaching. When
6 our -- when UNPROFOR's reaction, in the eyes of the Muslims, appeared not
7 to be sufficient, they barred us access to the Bandera Triangle.
8 Q. Thank you. Are you saying that on the basis of information about
9 your activities or on the basis of UNPROFOR information that Serbs were
10 attacking and reducing the size of the enclave in that area where you
11 were patrolling? Thank you.
12 A. This was the information that UNPROFOR command line, the chain of
13 command, received.
14 Q. Thank you. Did you check whether this was true or not? Were the
15 Serbs attacking this part of the Bandera Triangle or were they ever in
16 this Bandera Triangle?
17 A. I don't think that they were in the Bandera Triangle, but the
18 Serbians were shifting up towards the enclave, which made the life in
19 that part of the enclave more difficult because they could come under
20 direct fire from the Bosnian Serbs. I was a lieutenant, a platoon
21 commander, and I did not have the possibility to see whether the Bosnian
22 Serbs had shifted in the direction of the enclave. I have to base myself
23 on what the battalion leadership told me, what I heard from them.
24 Q. Thank you. This was something that the battalion commander told
25 you, but what I'm asking you is this: Was there any kind of conflict
1 waged between Serbs and Muslims in the Bandera Triangle and on the edges
2 of the triangle up until that point in time when you were no longer
3 permitted to patrol the Bandera area?
4 A. There were -- between Muslims inside the enclave and the Bosnian
5 Serbs outside the enclave, between them there was constant conflict in
6 the area of OP Alpha. Nearly daily there was shooting in that area, both
7 from inside the enclave and outside, so by Bosnian Serbs shooting at
8 Muslims and sometimes from inside the enclave back to the Bosnian Serbs.
9 It was a very restless part of the enclave.
10 Q. Thank you. Are you able to tell us if that was specifically the
11 reasons why the Serbs carried out the operation to separate the
12 Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves, because the Muslims considered that area
13 safe and used it as a corridor in order to get supplies and weapons into
14 the enclave? Thank you.
15 A. The enclave of Zepa is in the south of Srebrenica, and the
16 Bandera Triangle is to the west of the enclave. Therefore, if Muslims
17 from Srebrenica were to walk from Srebrenica to Zepa, it would be to the
18 south of the enclave, where UNPROFOR was.
19 Did I understand you correctly?
20 Q. Thank you. If that is so, then why would the Serbs fire into the
21 northern part of the enclave, which is called the Bandera Triangle, if
22 the Muslims were arming themselves from the south? Are you able to
23 explain that to the Trial Chamber, or do you have a certain confirmation,
24 or are you only saying this on the basis of your thinking and your own
25 conclusions? Thank you.
1 A. From the 6th of January, 1995, I was in the enclave, and it was
2 always restless in the west part of the enclave. It's not that there was
3 complete peace there. There was shooting, both shooting at UNPROFOR
4 soldiers or above our heads, their heads, our heads. Muslims reacted.
5 This always was a restless part of the enclave, and that was in the west.
6 This is what I can tell you.
7 Q. Thank you. Are you able to tell the Chamber, would the Muslims
8 have driven you out of an area in which they were attacking Serbs, so
9 that you wouldn't see that, and is it true that in the beginning --
10 later, they were driving you to go in front of them to wage battle
11 against the Serbs instead of them? Does this sound logical at all to
12 you? Thank you.
13 A. Very little activity was observed in the Bandera Triangle. Of
14 course, we were aware of shooting, and we reported on this. You must
15 certainly have information on this or be able to find it. But what
16 struck us is that OP Alpha, it was always restless around OP Alpha. The
17 Bandera Triangle, which was just to the south of it, was less restless.
18 The second part of your question, you say that the Serbians
19 pushed us ahead of them in order to attack Bosnian Serbians? Could you
20 please explain this more clearly? I can't quite follow the logic here.
21 Are you speaking about July 1995, the fall of the enclave?
22 Q. Thank you. I'm talking about a certain part of the enclave, and
23 I'm saying that the Muslims were placing you in front of them and making
24 you fight instead of them so that they could protect the enclave.
25 Perhaps you received the wrong interpretation. I'm asking you whether
1 the Muslims were driving you in certain areas in front of them to fight
2 instead of them and were not allowing you access to the Bandera Triangle,
3 where they actually were fighting the Serbs. Thank you.
4 A. I cannot agree with the words used, that we were driven ahead by
5 Bosnian Muslims in order to fight against the Serbs. I simply cannot
6 understand what you are trying -- where you are going with this. Could
7 you be more specific, please?
8 Q. Thank you. I'm going to be more specific. When you said that
9 you went four kilometres ahead of the Muslims and that one of your patrol
10 leaders was captured when he was seeking the Serbs, that you had to go
11 there because the Muslims were telling you to go ahead after you left the
12 check-point, do you recall that part of your statement? Thank you. I
13 don't want to be quoting your statement back to you now. Thank you.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
15 MR. THAYER: Good morning, Mr. President.
16 I think it would be helpful for at least the record to reflect
17 whether General Tolimir is talking about the witness's OTP statement or
18 whether he's talking about prior testimony. He refers here to a
19 statement, but I don't know whether he's, in fact, referring to some
20 other statement, whether it's an OTP statement or perhaps a debriefing
21 statement, and I think it would be helpful if whatever the source of this
22 question is is shown to the witness. We've had a number of fairly vague
23 questions, in terms of time-period and location. Colonel Egbers has
24 asked for some more specificity. I think it would be helpful for the
25 record if we just had an idea of really what we're talking about here.
1 And my recollection is, is that the portion -- whatever this is that
2 General Tolimir is quoting from is not being quoted accurately.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, which statement do you mean when you
4 were referring to a statement during your last - stop, please, I'm still
5 talking - when you were saying, "I don't want to be quoting your
6 statement back to you now"? What do you mean?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
8 I would like the Registry to show P1145, document P1145. That is
9 the statement of this witness, Mr. Egbers, that he gave on the
10 24th of October, 1995, to representatives of this Tribunal.
11 Can we now look at page 3 of that statement, paragraph 3,
12 lines 1, 2, 3 and 4 of paragraph 3. Thank you. In the Serbian, this is
13 probably one paragraph but last, on the same page in the English version.
14 Thank you.
15 I apologise that I have to go back to refresh the recollection of
16 what was already said and I'm wasting time, but it says here, in the
17 third paragraph, which is also the third paragraph in the English, it
18 says here:
19 "In Srebrenica, I saw many armed Muslims," "many armed Muslims,"
20 "many," "I recognised anti-tank weapons, RPG-7, and non-automatic
21 fire-arms as well as the AK-47. Some pointed their weapons at us and, by
22 arm movements, made it clear to us that we should continue in a southerly
23 direction. We drove to another four vehicles which belonged to us and
24 which were under the command of Captain Hageman."
25 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
1 Q. I would now like to remind Mr. Thayer and the witness -- or I
2 want to ask them whether you said this in your statement or not. Thank
4 A. Now that this is clear, I understand what you mean.
5 It is the case that at that market, on that day, many people were
6 present who were in total panic and were doing everything they could to
7 have the white UN vehicles stay at the market. They did, indeed, attempt
8 to keep me there at the market. Is this what you mean?
9 Q. That's correct, I mentioned the market. Thank you. I said
10 "market." I don't know how this was interpreted. Thank you.
11 A. Now I understand exactly what you mean. I can talk about that
12 situation, should you have any questions about it. Could you perhaps
13 repeat the question so that I know exactly what your question is?
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Egbers. I don't need you to speak again about the
15 situation that you already spoke about. All I want to do is ask you
16 whether the Muslims forced you towards the south, in the direction of
17 where the Army of Republika Srpska was, or did they tell you to go in the
18 other direction? Thank you.
19 A. The only thing they did at that point in time was, the south of
20 the market, that big square, the only thing they did was keep us there,
21 detain us there. So not leave them, to drive south. No, precisely to
22 stay with them on the market square, and that was at the southern part of
23 the market square.
24 Q. Thank you. I am forced, then, to read out that whole part of
25 your statement so that you can be reminded. I don't want to be playing
2 I quote:
3 "We drove to another four vehicles which belonged to us and which
4 were under the command of Captain Hageman. He told me over the radio
5 that he was under fire by the local Muslim fighters and, therefore, he
6 could not move his vehicles. The Muslim population was panicking.
7 People climbed into my vehicle. I was driving an APC at that moment. I
8 decided to follow on behind the other vehicles so that I could offer some
9 cover if there was an attack.
10 "We stayed there the whole night. The promised air-strike did
11 not take place."
12 And so on, end of quote.
13 Did you stay at the market all night or did you stay at the
14 positions all night? Can you please tell this to the Trial Chamber.
15 Thank you.
16 A. I stayed in the market of Srebrenica all night.
17 Q. So you were not looking for the Serbian Army, as you said the
18 last time, and you did not go to this place where a patrol was captured
19 which had been looking for the Serbs on the 9th and the 10th? Thank you.
20 A. I don't know exactly which patrol you're referring to. What
21 I can tell you is that I drove on to the market, and during the day-time
22 I saw thousands of people there who tried to keep me at the market. I
23 drove to the south of the market. People stayed there during the evening
24 and the night. Some people left. I stayed there the entire night on the
25 square. The next morning, I was ordered to drive to Bravo 1. And behind
1 the market, there were high hills towards the south. I was never there.
2 Q. Thank you. Evidently, I need to remind you of another part of
3 your statement from the time before, and it's quite a challenge to
4 conduct a cross-examination after a break because you don't recall what
5 happened the first time around.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let us now look at page 2 in the
7 e-court, paragraph 3.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
9 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I know that Colonel Egbers is a grown
10 man and an experienced officer, but I just want to sort of set down a
11 marker from our position, that these kinds of comments are not helpful,
12 and I'd like to see them stop now, suggestions that the witness needs his
13 recollection refreshed after the break when, frankly, there hasn't been
14 any suggestion of that. It's, frankly, the accused's misreading of these
15 statements that's causing this, and I think it should just stay there and
16 we don't need comments about the witness's memory.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, put your next question, please.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Q. Mr. Egbers, you said a moment ago that you were not driven toward
20 the south of the area, but, rather, to the south of the market. I'd like
21 to read out for you what you said on page 2.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have it called up in
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Paragraph 2 from the bottom:
1 "The next day, Sunday, 9 July 1995, two British SASs arrived.
2 They requested a Netherlands forward air control. Sergeant Bosch and his
3 crew drove to the southern part of the enclave to find out where the
4 Bosnian Serbs were."
5 My question is: Were the Serbs in the south, and was that an
6 area indicated to you by the Muslims as one where you should head to?
7 Thank you.
8 A. This paragraph is about an observation that I had when I was at
9 Blocking Position 1. Blocking Position 1, as I told you last time, a
10 group which was led by Sergeant Bosch was instructed to go to the Swedish
11 shelter project, which is also in the south of the enclave, and this is
12 quite different from what happened on the market square. Of course,
13 they're both in the south. But this sergeant, with his soldiers, went to
14 the Swedish shelter project, which is much towards the south-west of the
16 And your question was -- let me see. Let me read it out, whether
17 Muslims had told us whether there were Serbs. Well, from Blocking
18 Position 1, I had an excellent view of what was going on in the south.
19 And I told you earlier on about setting fire to houses and searching
20 houses in Pusmulici, and I saw tanks driving into the enclave and also
21 driving out of the enclave. But the view of what was going on in the
22 Swedish shelter, we did not have a view of what was going on in the
23 Swedish shelter, which is why Captain Groen sent the people to
24 Sergeant Bosch to go to the Swedish shelter, which is another situation
25 than the situation you just described.
1 Did I answer your question correctly or sufficiently?
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Egbers. I don't want to dwell on the issue
3 anymore. Let the Trial Chamber assess this point. Let's move on. We
4 lost some time there.
5 Did you know that there were no Serbs at all around the enclave
6 shortly before the attack on the enclave, and that they did not pose a
7 threat to the enclave at all, since they did not build up their forces
8 there, until, that is, the Muslims started attacking Serb-controlled
9 territory out of the enclave?
10 A. You raised a number of questions in one go.
11 The first part of your question concerns the presence of Serbian
12 troops around the enclave. I can tell you that they were always there
13 for as long as I was there.
14 The second part of your question, you say that they didn't pose a
15 threat to the enclave and that there was no build-up of troops. Well,
16 indeed, I had no information on the build-up of Bosnian Serb troops in
17 the south of the enclave. It was only afterwards, after the fall of the
18 enclave, that I talked to Major Zoran about this, and he told me that
19 with -- he had left Srebrenica with people from Sarajevo.
20 About the attack by Muslims on Serbian-controlled area outside
21 the enclave, the last part of your question, you will have to be a bit
22 more specific, because what do you mean, exactly?
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Egbers. It is not my intention to go into the
24 territory that we've already covered.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now call up 1D323 in
1 e-court. Thank you. Can we call up 1D323. The document does not have
2 an English translation, so I'll read it out for you.
3 It's a document which, as you can see in the heading, it was
4 drafted on the 28th of June by the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina and was
5 sent to the 2nd Corps Command. We will see that it was signed by the
6 chief of the staff, Brigadier-General Enver, who reported on the
7 information gathered by scouts around Srebrenica. The title is
8 "Intelligence." It says:
9 "Several members of the BH Army who had crossed over from the
10 Srebrenica territory moved along the Srebrenica-Zepa-Radava-Veliki Zep-
11 Mekote-Donja Medja-Visocnik-Pjenovac-Nevacka-Rjecice-Donja Brdo-Sokoline
12 route and across the Jezernica River to the tunnel in Kladanj. On their
13 way, they did not spot any Chetnik formations or fire positions.
14 According to their information, there are no elite units or large
15 military formations around Srebrenica. More than 50 per cent of trenches
16 stand empty and the lines are manned mostly by elderly men. On the Han
17 Pijesak-Sarajevo road, on the 21st and 22nd June 1995, they observed very
18 intensive -- or busy traffic in both ways.
19 "In the night between the 21st and the 22nd of June, 1995, they
20 spotted a column of 12 trailer trucks covered in tarpaulin who -- which
21 was escorted by the military and civilian police details, apparently
22 carrying a large cargo in the direction of Sarajevo."
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. This was sent for the information to the 28th Division. Since we
25 can see, based on this document, that there were no forces around
1 Srebrenica and that apparently the Serbs at the time were shipping their
2 forces towards Sarajevo, did UNPROFOR have information at the time about
3 the build-up of forces around Srebrenica. Thank you.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: For the sake of the record, I think after the
5 word -- no need for correction. Thank you very much. It was already
7 Mr. Thayer.
8 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I'm just relying on the LiveNote
9 translation, because we don't have an English translation of the
10 document, but I would ask that that question be corrected, because there
11 is, from the question -- or from the reading of the document, there is no
12 suggestion that there were no troops around the Srebrenica enclave, as
13 General Tolimir is trying to imply.
14 If we look at the route that's described here, and I don't think
15 there's going to be any dispute about this, we're talking about one
16 direction of travel by this group of scouts from the western part of the
17 enclave to the area of Zepa, and that is what this document is reporting.
18 Again, I don't have an English translation, but simply based on the
19 reading of the document, that would seem to be what it indicates, that a
20 group of scouts moved west along this route from Srebrenica to Zepa, not
21 all the way around the enclave, and this document should, therefore, be
22 quoted correctly and not in a misleading manner to suggest what
23 General Tolimir tried to suggest.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, this is your position, but the
25 question is quite simple. The question was:
1 "Did UNPROFOR have information at the time about the build-up of
2 forces around Srebrenica?"
3 And I would like to ask the witness to answer this question.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that point in time, as
5 lieutenant and platoon command, I didn't have any information whatsoever
6 regarding the build-up of troops around the enclave.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Egbers.
9 Can we now show document D53 in e-court. And can the earlier
10 document be admitted into evidence? Thank you.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The document will be marked for identification,
12 pending translation.
13 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D132, Your Honours, marked for
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 Can we now show Exhibit D53. Thank you.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. While we're waiting for it to appear: It's a document which was
19 sent to the 28th Division in Srebrenica by the chief of the staff of the
20 2nd Corps, Dudakovic, Sulejman, on the 17th of June, 1995. It is titled
21 "Preparations for Offensive Combat Activities: Order." And I quote:
22 "Pursuant to a verbal order issued by the commander of the
23 General Staff of the BH Army, Army General Rasim Delic, and on the
24 occasion of the great success achieved by units of the BH Army in the
25 wide area around Sarajevo and Gorazde, as well as on the basis of
1 intelligence that the Command of the Protection Regiment in Han Pijesak
2 is holding parts of its units in reserve to intervene in the event of an
3 attack by our forces from Zepa, I hereby issue the following order:
4 "1. Execute all preparations in the Command of the 28th Land
5 Army Division to execute offensive combat operations with a view to
6 liberating the territory of BH --"
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You have to slow down. It is impossible for the
8 all interpreters to translate into different languages if you read at
9 this speed. Please slow down, and carry on.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
11 So I'll re-read item 1 for the sake of the interpreters:
12 "1. Execute all preparations within the Command of the
13 28th Division of the ground forces to engage in offensive combat
14 operations with a view to liberating the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
15 with a view to over-extending the aggressor forces and inflicting losses
16 on them, engage in co-ordinated action with the BH Army forces carrying
17 out operations in the general Sarajevo area.
18 "2. Plan realistic tasks which will assure certain success, on
19 the basis of an accurate assessment and the potential of our forces in
20 Srebrenica and Zepa.
21 "3. The General Staff or the Main Staff of the BH Army will
22 regulate, by an order, the commencement of offensive combat activities in
23 the zone of responsibility of the 28th Army Division."
24 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
25 Q. This is my question: Does it follow from this document that the
1 army general, Rasim Delic, both verbally and in writing through his
2 subordinates, announced the commencement of offensive combat operations
3 from Srebrenica and Zepa; yes or no? Thank you.
4 A. This is the first time that I've seen this, and just like anyone
5 else here in the courtroom, the answer that I could give to -- yeah, as
6 you've read it, the only answer possible would be, yes, I've never seen
7 this before. I understand that you want to bring this in and want to
8 involve me in this, but I can have nothing more to say about it.
9 Q. Thank you. Do forces engage in the defence effort or carry out
10 offensive combat activities, or is it done by those that have free forces
11 at their disposal to engage in attacks? I'm asking you from the military
12 point of view, nothing else.
13 A. Of course, it's possible to perform offensive activities within a
14 defensive activity or task in order to bind the troops, but this is a
15 remark purely as a military person.
16 Q. Thank you. The document we've just read out, does Rasim Delic
17 refer to the activities taking place in Sarajevo and the assistance that
18 ought to be provided to the forces in Sarajevo? Thank you.
19 A. You're presenting a document to me that I've never seen before,
20 never studied, and you're asking me substantive questions about this
21 document. Am I the right person to be answering such questions or should
22 you speak to the person who wrote this document, this order?
23 Q. Thank you. Whenever you're unable to answer, just say so. I'm
24 not able to answer this because I didn't author the document, and I won't
1 Do you know that the Muslims around Sarajevo, at the time this
2 document was written, engaged in offensive combat activities; yes or no?
3 Thank you.
4 A. There's nothing I can say about this, because after 15 years,
5 it's not completely clear to me. I don't know. I would have to look it
6 up. I can imagine that it's the case.
7 Q. Thank you. No, there's no need for you to answer that if you
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have D52 shown up in
10 e-court, please.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] We don't have D52 on our screens
14 Now we have it.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. It's a memo from the BH Army, its 2nd Corps Command, dated the
17 8th of July, 1995. In other words, it was written after the order for
18 offensive combat activities. This document was signed by
19 Commander Sead Delic from Tuzla. He says:
20 "Information or report on combat results of the units and
21 commands of the 28th Division of the 2nd Corps of the BH Army."
22 He goes on to say, and I'm quoting:
23 "The soldiers of the 28th Division of the army, stationed in
24 Srebrenica and Zepa, although completely encircled and confronting huge
25 problems relating to survival and the obligation to protect the free
1 territory, committed to contributing, as far as possible, to the struggle
2 against the aggressor, stepped up their activities in the depth of the
3 temporarily occupied territory. An additional motivation for the
4 activities of the members of the 28th Division was the need to prevent
5 the enemy forces from sending in reinforcements from the area around
6 Srebrenica and Zepa to the Sarajevo battle-field by causing losses,
7 primarily those of troops, which will force the aggressor to tie up their
8 troops in the general area of Srebrenica and Zepa.
9 "With this aim, a series of successful sabotage actions were
10 carried out deep in the temporarily occupied territory, where the
11 following results were achieved:"
12 Now I'll just read the first bullet point:
13 "Sixty Chetniks were liquidated, and according to unconfirmed
14 reports, the aggressor suffered even greater losses and had many
16 The text goes on to talk about the items captured and so on.
17 Then the next paragraph says:
18 "In the village of Visnjica, large quantities of ammunition were
19 seized, but the soldiers were exhausted and could not pull those out, so
20 the ammunition was destroyed, as were all the facilities that the
21 aggressor might use for military purposes."
22 This is my question: Does the 2nd Corps commander, Sead Delic,
23 speak in this report of the successful actions conducted by the defence
24 forces of Srebrenica and Zepa in destroying the surrounding villages and
25 causing civilian losses, with a view to making sure that the troops
1 deployed in that area would not be redeployed to the Sarajevo front-line?
2 Thank you.
3 A. Yes, he is talking about Chetniks, uses the term. Bosnian Serbs
4 are meant by this, clearly. And --
5 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, the interpreter could not hear what
6 was just said.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Egbers, a part of your answer was not
9 interpreted into English. Could you perhaps repeat it? We've only
10 received a translation of:
11 "Yes, he is talking about Chetniks, he uses the term. Bosnian
12 Serbs are meant by this, clearly. And ..."
13 The rest was not translated.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What I said was that the -- my
15 answer to the rest of the question is, Yes.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
17 Mr. Tolimir.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 Q. Does the 2nd Corps commander of the BH Army speak of the
20 offensive carried out of the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa? Thank you.
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. These losses that were inflicted, were they huge? There are
23 other documents where they speak of the losses inflicted, in terms of 15,
24 20. Here, they refer to the number 60, and it's a document dated the
25 8th of July. And I chose this document deliberately because it
1 originates from the period when the relevant events in Srebrenica and
2 Zepa transpired, ones that you participated in. Thank you.
3 A. You're asking whether the results were enormous. Sixty people --
4 liquidating sixty people is an enormous result, if that is what you're
5 asking, so the answer can only be, Yes.
6 Q. Thank you. Does it not transpire, from the documents written by
7 the Muslims, that these were mostly civilians from the surrounding
8 villages and that one of these villages was burned to the ground? Thank
10 A. I would have to interpret that. What I see is that -- what is
11 written there is that there was ammunition destroyed, that
12 60 Chetniks -- I assume that these are Bosnian Serbs, that they are what
13 is meant. And whether they are military people or civilians, I cannot
15 Q. Thank you. I read in paragraph 3 that the document said that all
16 the facilities that the aggressor might use for military purposes were
17 destroyed in the village of Visnjica, but that doesn't matter. We're not
18 here to justify the actions by either the Muslims or Serbs.
19 Did UNPROFOR at the time, in the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa,
20 have information about the combat activities taking place around Sarajevo
21 and from demilitarised zones?
22 A. UNPROFOR had the information, and it was shared with the UNPROFOR
23 units in Srebrenica. We received an update about the situation in the
24 entire area around the enclave.
25 Q. Thank you. My question is: Had the zone been demilitarised
1 pursuant to the agreement, could the Muslims have been attacking from
2 within that zone which was demilitarised? Thank you.
3 A. No. Formally, all weapons had been handed over. But as I said
4 to you, at the end of the enclave, many Muslim fighters were seen by me
5 with weapons, so the zone was not totally demilitarised. There were
7 Q. Thank you. You said that all the weapons had been handed in.
8 That's why I'm forced to quote to you again what the commander of those
9 forces said, the forces that had handed over their weapons.
10 Mr. Naser Oric -- this is document D126.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please see this in e-court.
12 It says:
13 "It was important to us --"
14 I quote. Thank you. I apologise, and now we see it --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Tolimir is asked to repeat the reference.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, can you please repeat the reference,
17 because that was not translated and your microphone was off at that time.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
19 This is document -- well, this is a tell-all, an interview by
20 Naser Oric after the fall of the Srebrenica enclave, where he's talking,
21 in the last two paragraphs, about how he handed over the weapons to
22 UNPROFOR. And the witness now just said that all the weapons had been
23 handed over to UNPROFOR.
24 Can we look at page 3 in the English, please, and can we show the
25 last two paragraphs.
1 And now we see this third page in the English as well, where it
3 "'We did not want the Chetniks to see the weapons that we had not
4 handed over. That would be an argument for them to refuse to sign the
5 agreement or to do who knows what. We had some 2.000 barrels. I knew
6 that for sure. And I did not know everything. Weapons were being
7 hidden. We kept some 20 cannons, 20/1, with four barrels, which we
8 turned into single-barrel cannon, so in the end they were used as a kind
9 of anti-aircraft guns. Let me explain, actually. Each single barrel
10 that we managed to capture from the Chetniks, we would hide. And when we
11 would be going out for an action, we would take them out. Everybody hid
12 weapons from everyone else. Only the bold ones reported them, the real
13 soldiers. The others would hide them until they were needed. All of
14 this is understandable. We probably had some 4.000 barrels, thus, which
15 became evident during the breakthrough towards Tuzla. This is without
16 counting the brigade in Zepa .'"
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. On the basis of this text, my question to you is: Can it be seen
19 that all of the weapons were handed over to you or whether the Muslims
20 hid some of the weapons after the demilitarisation of the zone, according
21 to we have seen that Naser Oric has said? Thank you.
22 A. I would like to go back to what you have repeated twice, two
23 minutes past 10.00, line 12, as if I was saying that all weapons had been
24 handed over. I only said that there was a weapon collection point where
25 weapons were lying and that this -- apart from that, Bosnian Muslims had
1 weapons available. If we saw them, we tried to confiscate them. And at
2 the end of the enclave, I saw many Muslims walking with weapons. I
3 already stated this. I did not say that all weapons had been handed in,
4 and this is clear.
5 This is a remark I want to make. You were speaking as if I
6 assume that all weapons had been handed in, and we can see clearly
7 together that this is not the case. On the basis of the text, you are
8 asking whether weapons could have been hidden. I think that was the
10 Am I answering your question sufficiently with this?
11 Q. Thank you. Well, it's sufficient if you were to tell me whether
12 UNPROFOR, the Dutch Battalion, while it was in Srebrenica, knew that
13 there were some hidden weapons that Naser Oric mentioned in the text we
14 have just read. Thank you.
15 A. I knew and saw it only at the point in time in which the enclave
16 was attacked.
17 Q. Thank you. Since this is so, we're now going to read the last
18 paragraph of this statement that we see here both in English and the
20 "As soon as the UNPROFOR set up their check-points, we realised
21 immediately that we could not rely on them. So one whole team of my men,
22 they were not men with military training, but they were reliable and they
23 were part of the reserve units, decided that we would establish our own
24 lines and that we would organise our own observers. The system
25 functioned in the following way: When an UNPROFOR patrol would approach,
1 our guys on the lines would inform us so we could conceal the weapons.
2 If the UNPROFOR soldiers asked us how come these boys were there on those
3 lines, we would answer them that we did not trust them and that we were
4 afraid of Chetniks, and that we wanted to have our own guards. They
5 showed some understanding for that, which was not the case when we dug
6 trenches and fortifications."
7 My question, on the basis of this, is: While you were patrolling
8 in Srebrenica, you members of the DutchBat, did you ascertain that
9 Muslims were staying at positions without weapons when you came along?
10 This both applies to lines and trenches. Thank you.
11 A. At unpredictable times, we came along and we, of course, saw
12 Bosnian Muslims in the area of the boundary of the enclave. I know that
13 a half a year before we came, DutchBat 2, our soldiers, also at that time
14 went into trenches and these spaces there, and that one of our colleagues
15 crawled onto a mine there. So it did take place. If we found weapons,
16 we confiscated them. And as you just read out, those weapons were hidden
17 whenever we came.
18 Have I answered your question sufficiently, Mr. Tolimir?
19 Q. Thank you. And is that why you said -- during the
20 examination-in-chief by Mr. Thayer on the topic of these targets, you
21 said people wearing civilian clothing and armed with rifles belonged to
22 groups of Muslims within the enclave. You asked -- actually, you
23 answered this in response to a question by Judge Mindua, when you said
24 that these people in civilian clothing and carrying weapons were from
25 within the enclave. Is that who you meant, that they were from within
1 the Srebrenica enclave, soldiers? Thank you.
2 A. Only at the end of the enclave did I see soldiers walking in
3 uniform. Before that, I saw the Bosnian Muslims, the men, only in
4 civilian clothes, and the weapons I saw only at the end of the enclave,
5 when the enclave was attacked. This is what I can say about that.
6 Q. Thank you. Do you recall, on page 7152, lines 5 to 9, in
7 response to a question by Judge Mindua, you answered -- when he asked you
8 whether these were Bosnian recruits, you answered that these were people
9 wearing civilian clothing and armed with rifles. On the basis of that,
10 are you able to tell us, if you remember, whether the Muslims only showed
11 the weapons at the end of the conflict which they had been concealing up
12 'til then? Thank you.
13 A. At the end of the conflict, as you call it, we saw Muslims
14 wearing or carrying their weapons openly. From January to June, there
15 were no weapons carried openly in the enclave.
16 Q. Thank you. My question is: Had the zone been demilitarised
17 pursuant to the agreement, would the Muslims have been able to carry
18 their weapons around or would they have had to conceal them? Can you
19 please answer that question?
20 And in the meantime, can we look at D21 in e-court so that we can
21 see the provision of that particular agreement.
22 A. In your question, you want me to choose between carrying openly
23 and hiding, and I am choosing for a third option, and that is handing
24 weapons over to a weapon collection point. And that is what they should
25 have done.
1 Q. Thank you. Can you please look at this agreement now, which is
2 on the screen in front of you. You can see that this agreement on the
3 cease-fire in the territory was signed between General Ratko Mladic and
4 General Sefer Halilovic on the 8th of May, 1993, in the presence of
5 General Philippe Morillon.
6 Are you aware that at the time, Muslims were overtly attacking
7 from within the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves, the territory that was
8 surrounded by Republika Srpska, they did not want to recognise the
9 authorities of Republika Srpska, that they were attacking the villages
10 around the Zepa and Srebrenica enclaves, they had burned and attacked a
11 number of villages? And a number of documents were shown before the
12 Trial Chamber on these incidents. Are you aware or do you have any
13 knowledge about the attacks that are being referred to here? Thank you.
14 A. The attacks of 1993, I do not know. I know they took place, but
15 I can't say which parties -- which party attacked the other.
16 Q. Very well, thank you. Are you aware -- did you ever hear from
17 Nikolic or Vukotic, since you mentioned that they were liaison officers,
18 officers for contact with the UNPROFOR, that 2.800 to 3.200 civilians and
19 soldiers were killed around Srebrenica from the Muslim enclave of
20 Srebrenica, attacks from there, and this was before 19 -- before the
21 signing of this agreement in 1993, so in the course of 1992 and 1993?
22 A. I know that in that time, 1992-1993, there was a bloody conflict.
23 The two people that you refer to said nothing to me. I know this from
24 the general open sources.
25 Q. Thank you. Since you were aware of this from open sources, are
1 you aware that this conflict between Serbs and Muslims was halted with
2 the demilitarisation of that area on the 8th of May, 1993? Thank you.
3 Thank you. I correct myself: that the conflict was halted by
4 concluding the agreement on the demilitarisation of Zepa and Srebrenica.
5 Thank you.
6 A. I know that that was the case for Srebrenica.
7 Q. Thank you. Can you now please look at Article 1. That speaks
8 about the demilitarisation of the Srebrenica and Zepa area, and I am
10 "The demilitarised areas will include the area within the current
11 zones of conflict, lines of conflict. The precise boundaries will be
12 marked by the UNPROFOR commander on the ground after consultations."
13 Thank you.
14 My question from this is this: Was the demilitarisation supposed
15 to occur in the areas that were under the control of UNPROFOR, as is
16 stated in the agreement? Thank you.
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. Thank you. Can you now please look at Article 3.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we look at the next page of the
20 agreement in the English, please.
21 This is the provision on the demilitarisation. We can see
22 Article 3. It's shown here. It states -- the first sentence states:
23 "Every military or paramilitary unit will have either to withdraw
24 from the demilitarised zone or submit/hand over their weapons.
25 Ammunition, mines, explosives and combat supplies in the demilitarised
1 zones will be handed over/submitted to UNPROFOR."
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. My next question is: Had everything been implemented according
4 to this agreement, and had the Muslims handed over their weapons, would
5 then there have been a war waged from within the demilitarised zone with
6 the Serbian Army and population outside of those zones? Thank you.
7 A. You're asking me whether these articles were respected. The only
8 thing I can say is that I know that the Muslims, in the evenings or
9 nights, did leave the enclave. One Muslim fighter I spoke with showed me
10 proudly a weapon which he had taken from the Bosnian Serbs. This is what
11 I can say about this.
12 In 1993, I was not in the enclave. No Dutch unit was. Weapons
13 were handed in, and it turned out that these were not all the weapons.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I think this was not the first time
15 that the witness provided you with an answer about the demilitarisation
16 and the weapons not being handed over to the UNPROFOR. Do you think it
17 is necessary to dwell on this again?
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
19 I wasn't asking that. I was asking the witness whether the
20 UNPROFOR could have been able to carry out any activities, combat
21 activities, from within the enclave had they handed over all of their
22 weapons. So they can answer with a yes or a no. Thank you.
23 I'm sorry, I misspoke. I said "UNPROFOR," but my question was:
24 Had the Muslims handed over all of their weapons from Srebrenica, would
25 they have been able to carry out any kind of combat actions from within
1 Srebrenica and outside of Srebrenica? Thank you.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And you received your answer.
3 Please carry on.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 Q. Since they didn't hand everything over, as we heard, are you
6 familiar with Article 60, about demilitarised zones, from the
7 Geneva Conventions, Protocol 1? If you are not -- well, you said you
8 knew the Geneva Conventions. But if not, I'm going to read it. Thank
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The question was if you are familiar with
11 Article 60 of the Geneva Convention Protocol 1.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Article 60. Well, I wouldn't be
13 able to recite it, so I assume that General Tolimir will be reading it
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I'm going to be reading
16 Article 60. Article 1 of Article 60 of the demilitarised zone says, I
17 quote --
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters refer the listeners to the
19 original English of the Geneva Conventions.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, we don't have it on the screen. You
21 didn't give a reference with the document number.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 This is the Geneva Conventions. And we did not provide a
24 translation because there is a text that is present in the courtroom, and
25 the witness said last time that he knew the provisions of the
1 Geneva Conventions. We are going to provide a print-out of that
2 particular article to the witness, to the Prosecution, and also to the
3 Trial Chamber.
4 In Article 2 it --
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, that was not the question. We are
6 not asking for a print-out. Can you tell us the number of the document
7 in e-court so that it could be called up. And then you may put your
8 questions. It is much easier if the witness can look at it. What is the
9 number of this document?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President, but we
11 did not put the Geneva Conventions in the e-court because these are laws,
12 if I may put it that way, which can be used. Thank you.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think this is a complicated course of action.
14 I would suggest to have the first break three minutes earlier, and you
15 should contact your legal assistant to discuss how to proceed if you want
16 to put a question to -- a text to the witness.
17 We'll adjourn and resume at five minutes before 11.00.
18 --- Recess taken at 10.26 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 10.56 a.m.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: So let's continue.
21 I see we have a print-out on our desks, but we don't have it on
22 the screen.
23 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
24 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was told this is now seen also on the ELMO, so
1 that everybody can look at it on the screen and on the hard copy.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
3 I will not be reading out the entire Article 60, only item 7,
4 which reads, and I quote:
5 "If one of the parties to the conflict commits a material breach
6 of the provisions of paragraphs 3 or 6, the other party shall be released
7 from its obligations under the agreement, conferring upon the zone the
8 status of demilitarised zone. In such an eventuality, the zone loses its
9 status, but shall continue to enjoy the protection provided by the other
10 provisions of this protocol and the other rules of international law
11 applicable in armed conflict."
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. This is my question: If the Muslim side breached the provisions
14 of the demilitarised agreement, thus committing a material breach of the
15 agreement, the Serbian side, was it duty-bound to honour the status of
16 demilitarised zone, since offensive activities were taking part within
17 it, as we were able to see the surrounding Serb villages were the subject
18 of attacks? Thank you.
19 A. Do I understand that you are asking me whether an attack on the
20 enclave by the Bosnian Serbs was justified?
21 Q. Thank you. That is my question, in view of the fact that the
22 demilitarisation agreement was breached, through the very fact that
23 attacks were launched on civilians and the territory of the
24 Republika Srpska.
25 A. It would be difficult for me to discuss every article and
1 stipulation leading to a demilitarised zone being there. You are saying
2 that activities were taking place in the enclave towards the outside, but
3 an attack on the enclave could not be justified by that. You are really
4 going to have to speak to legal experts if you wish to know more about
6 I can say to you what I experienced, myself, on the ground during
7 the attack on the enclave. I was shot at. If you want to talk about
8 that, then I can answer your questions. If, on the basis of -- if you
9 were justified to do that, on the basis of articles, is a question to be
10 put to legal experts.
11 Q. Thank you. As a representative of UNPROFOR, were you aware of
12 the fact that the enclave would be attacked, if attacks are launched from
13 it, if a demilitarised zone is no longer in existence?
14 A. I assume that at a higher strategic level you discuss then about
15 the new situation and you discuss with the representatives of the
16 United Nations. I realised that in the enclave, we were not in a
17 position to stop an attack on the enclave. We did not have the weapons,
18 we did not have the personnel. The only thing that we could do was to
19 report the exchange of fire in the area of the enclave so that at another
20 level, decisions could be taken which could lead to a re-establishment of
21 a quiet in the area.
22 Q. Thank you. Did you know that the Muslims knew, because they were
23 told by UNPROFOR, that if they continue mounting attacks from the
24 demilitarised zone, this status of the zone would be lifted? Thank you.
25 A. I knew nothing about this.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 Can we call up D16 in e-court, and then we will be able to see
3 that even the Muslims, themselves, were fully aware of this. Thank you.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before you move on to another document,
5 Judge Mindua has a question for the witness.
6 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, Witness, Mr. Egbers. Before
7 the Defence counsel moves to another question, or the accused Tolimir, I
8 would like to get back to the demilitarisation of the Srebrenica enclave.
9 I will, of course, not look into the legal qualifications of the terms of
10 the agreement relating to Srebrenica. This is something which the
11 Trial Chamber will do. Nonetheless, I can put questions to you on your
12 actions and your mandate, the one you had been given when you were
13 operating there.
14 So this is my question: Since you were part of UNPROFOR, what
15 did you rely on as regards this demilitarisation? Did you rely on the
16 agreement between the warring parties, which we addressed earlier today?
17 Did you rely on this agreement between the warring parties or did you
18 rely on a decision taken by the Security Council? Who asked you to
19 demilitarise the enclave? This, in essence, is my question.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the enclave, we acted according
21 to the current rules of engagement. The rules of engagement were based
22 on the Security Council, on their resolutions. In the rules of
23 engagement, it was set out when we could act, and what was important
24 there, and I remember this clearly, is the order to only use weapons if
25 UNPROFOR troops were being shot at, themselves. We had no order to
1 defend the enclave. We didn't have the personnel nor the means for this.
2 And in my view, we had a warning function, so that others could support
3 us from the air. And we based ourselves, in the final instance, on the
4 resolution of the Security Council. This agreement, which was come to in
5 1993, I have never seen it as literally before, but the consequences for
6 the actions of my platoon on the ground is what I saw.
7 Have I answered your question sufficiently, Your Honour?
8 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, you have fully answered my
9 question. Thank you very much.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
12 In view of the question put by His Honour Mr. Mindua, can we
13 recall D21 in order for you to see that the agreement does not rule out
14 the relevant Security Council resolution. Quite the contrary, it is
15 quoted in the provisions of the agreement. Thank you.
16 Can we have D21 again, page 2. Thank you. This is the preamble
17 to the agreement. Can we keep the English and call up the Serbian
19 Thank you, though we need the page before in both English and
21 I will read out what the agreement says, and now we have the
22 right page in English.
23 Paragraph 2 reads:
24 "Reconfirming their will to establish peace within the territory
25 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as stated in the agreement between contracting
1 parties concluded on 8 May 1993.
2 "Reconfirming Resolution 824 of the Security Council, in which is
3 declared that the towns of Zepa and Srebrenica and their surroundings
4 should be treated as safe areas by all the parties concerned and should
5 be free from armed attacks and from any other hostile act."
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. This is my question: Does it clearly follow from this that
8 Resolution 824 of the Security Council is incorporated in the agreement,
9 or is it left out? Thank you.
10 A. Included in this agreement.
11 Q. Thank you. If you look at the next passage, it refers to the
12 Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and Protocol 1. They, too, are
13 included in the agreement; is that right? Thank you.
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. Thank you. Let us look at a document of the Republic of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina sent to the 2nd Corps Command, the Operational Group
17 Srebrenica Command. This is D16.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we call it up in e-court,
19 please. Thank you.
20 We have it in the Serbian language. I will be reading from the
21 second paragraph. Now we have it in English as well. I'm reading from
22 paragraph 2, and I quote -- this is a 17 February 1995 document of the
23 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and they were quite clear on the fact
24 that they could lose the status of demilitarised zone. So paragraph 2
1 "We estimate that the aggressor," that's to say, forces of
2 Republika Srpska, "will start offensive combat operations with the aim of
3 completely overpowering the Milici-Podravanje Road, and then attempt to
4 seize the territory of the demilitarised zones.
5 "On the 16th of February, 1995, the aggressor filed a request
6 with UNPROFOR to declare Zepa a non-demilitarised zone, with the
7 following rationale:"
8 Under bullet 1:
9 "Helicopter flights were registered whereby the BH Army was
10 supplying weapons and ammunition."
11 Bullet point 2:
12 "Movements of the BH Army have been registered in the Zepa
14 Bullet point 3:
15 "Accusing members of UNPROFOR for covering up the activities and
16 intentions of the BH Army, which is why they no longer guarantee safety.
17 "On the night between 15 and 16 February, our helicopters were
18 seen flying over and infantry fire was opened on them."
19 Now let's skip the next paragraph and read the first bullet point
20 of the paragraph further down:
21 "A helicopter reconnaissance operation of the protected Zepa zone
22 was scheduled for 17 February 1995, but the aggressor side refused to
23 allow it.
24 "A visit by the Ukrainian Colonel," et cetera, "deputy commander
25 of the UNPROFOR Sarajevo sector, was announced for 18 February 1995 ..."
1 Et cetera, et cetera.
3 Q. Does it not follow from this document that the Command of the
4 BH Army was quite clear on the fact that the Serbs were asking for the
5 zone to be proclaimed a non-demilitarised zone because of the activities
6 taking place therein? Thank you.
7 A. The document that you are showing me shows, indeed, that the
8 enclave of Zepa was discussed. The sentence you read out, you are now
9 asking me a question on that, and my answer is, Yes.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 Can we now look at D67, and you will see that it confirms the
12 veracity of the information concerning helicopter flights. I am not
13 interested in anything else. Thank you.
14 D67. In e-court, you have it before you on the screen. This is
15 a document sent on the 13th of July, 1995, to President Alija Izetbegovic
16 by the General Staff of the BH Army, and was sent through the
17 Intelligence Administration in Sarajevo. All of that you can read in the
19 I will be reading out the fourth bullet point only, which is on
20 the next page in English.
21 Can we have the next page in English shown.
22 Bullet point 4 reads:
23 "In preparations for a future operation to link up the enclaves,
24 we brought in and took back four brigade commanders, two brigade chiefs
25 of staff, and the 26th Division Chief of Staff," Naser Oric. It doesn't
1 say that; I added it, "The division commander, who was meant to go on the
2 next helicopter flight, did not return. After the final flight ended
3 tragically, Naser remained behind."
4 There is mention of 17 helicopter flights through which the
5 Muslims in Srebrenica and Zepa got weapons supplies.
6 Can we go back to page 1 in both versions in order to look at the
7 second bullet point. It reads:
8 "Seventeen helicopter flights were carried out, in each of which
9 a helicopter was hit."
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Based on what I've just read, was any of this known to you, to
12 UNPROFOR in Srebrenica, that the Muslims were getting weapons through
13 Zepa and through the air from Tuzla? Thank you.
14 A. What I know is that from Srebrenica, people were walking on foot
15 to Zepa. I, myself, did not see any helicopter flights, because this,
16 I think, is only about the Zepa enclave. Is that not so?
17 Q. Thank you. It's the commander of the BH Army writing this, who
18 reports to his president that 17 helicopter flights were conducted and
19 that Zepa and Srebrenica were given supplies by helicopter. He also
20 reports on the attempts to bring commanders into Tuzla -- into
21 Srebrenica, that is, by helicopter in order to engage in an operation to
22 link up Zepa and Srebrenica.
23 Can you tell me: If this something you had not seen, does it
24 necessarily mean that it did not happen?
25 A. I cannot say that it did not take place. What I see is that this
1 text is dated the 13th of July, 1993 [as interpreted], a few days after
2 the enclave fell.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think there was a mistake with the date. It
4 shows clearly that it is 13th of July, 1995, and not 1993, as the answer
5 was interpreted.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So two days after the enclave was
7 run over. You're saying that helicopter flights took place. I didn't
8 see them. Maybe they went to Zepa. Perhaps you were there at that time.
9 Maybe you can say something about this.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 Q. I have no right to testify, but I've shown you a document where
12 the chief of the BH Army, two days after the fall of Srebrenica, reports
13 to his president on the extent of activities taken up in order to
14 reinforce the combat levels in Srebrenica.
15 My question was: Did you, in UNPROFOR, know of any of these
16 activities taking part in the BH Army that were referred to by
17 Rasim Delic? Thank you.
18 A. I was not aware of this. I don't know if UNPROFOR knew about
20 Q. Thank you. Since you were not aware of this, can you answer the
21 following question: If the Serbs grant Srebrenica the status of a
22 demilitarised zone, a Srebrenica which was about to fall on 8 May 1993,
23 was it justified for UNPROFOR to tolerate the presence of weapons, not to
24 divulge this, not to prevent this, and thus allowing Muslim-Serb
25 conflicts to take place within the territory of the enclave because there
1 were weapons there? Thank you.
2 A. From 1995, I was in the enclave. I can only answer this question
3 from myself, what I experienced, what I saw. I can't speculate about
4 1993 to 1995. I don't think UNPROFOR contributed to the development of
5 the conflict between Muslims and Serbs.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 Go ahead, Mr. Vanderpuye [as interpreted].
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
9 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 I'm sorry for the intervention, but while we have it up on the
11 LiveNote, at page 40, line 19, I think it's worth putting on the record
12 the following: General Tolimir said:
13 "I have no right to testify."
14 He's made similar statements during the course of the proceedings
15 on other occasions. I just want to make it clear, from the Prosecution's
16 position, that we understand that he has an absolute right to testify as
17 a witness in his own defence, pursuant to Rule 85(C), if he so chooses,
18 and the Prosecution will not do anything to impair that right that he
19 holds as a fundamental right, to testify as a witness in his own case.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think that everybody is aware of this Rule. I
21 was concerned about your formulation as well, because you have the right
22 to testify, but you are not allowed to give evidence while putting
23 questions to a witness. I'm quite sure that I understood your remark in
24 that way, that you are not allowed to give evidence by putting questions.
25 Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
2 I thought that the Prosecutor took it that way as well. But if
3 not, I just want to explain that during questioning, I cannot testify,
4 and the witness knows that as well, since he asked if he may say
5 something. But, in any case, thank you for the explanation.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Sir, please, during the cross-examination you said, repeatedly,
8 that there were armed civilians who had opposed the organised armed
9 force of the Army of Republika Srpska, and questions were put to you also
10 by Mr. Mindua.
11 My question is: Do you remember that? Do you remember that part
12 of the examination, and do you remember the questions that Judge Mindua
13 put to you on that topic? Thank you.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Thank you. My question is: Should it have been allowed, in the
16 demilitarised zone, for the number of civilians to rise so much,
17 civilians that could have taken part in the armed resistance towards the
18 Army of Republika Srpska? Is that something that should have been
19 allowed to happen? Thank you.
20 A. I don't know. This was before my time. I do know that when we
21 came to the enclave, people who were in the enclave were not free to go
22 to Central Bosnia, their own Muslim area. Those who were there had to
24 Q. Thank you. I asked you whether the UNPROFOR should have
25 prevented any kind of armed attacks from within the demilitarised zone,
1 at the areas surrounding the zone, from an area that it had granted the
2 status of a demilitarised zone. Thank you.
3 A. The units which were there, the UNPROFOR units, could only man
4 observation posts. In my part of the enclave, 50 kilometres perimeter
5 had one observation post from which, together with 12 soldiers, I had to
6 keep an eye on the whole thing. We had no view of what was happening at
7 night or in the evening outside the enclave or within the enclave. We
8 didn't have the personnel.
9 Have I answered your question sufficiently?
10 Q. Thank you. Are you able to tell me whether the members of
11 UNPROFOR, or its command, or you officers, expected that the Muslims
12 would defend the enclave with arms in the event of an attack? Thank you.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Thank you. And what was this expectation based on; based on the
15 knowledge that they had sufficient weapons or based on something else?
16 Thank you.
17 A. I based the expectation on the weapons present at the weapon
18 collection point, and these were maintained faithfully.
19 Q. Thank you. Is this your personal opinion or is that the opinion
20 of UNPROFOR? I asked whether the UNPROFOR expected the Muslims to defend
21 the enclave with weapons, so I asked whether that was your personal
22 opinion on whether it was the UNPROFOR units that expected that the
23 Muslims would defend themselves with arms in the event the enclave was
24 attacked. Thank you.
25 A. This is my personal opinion.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 Can we look at P1148 now, please, page 10 of P1148. Page 10.
3 And then when we see that -- on the basis of that -- P1148, this
4 is an exhibit. Page 10 of that exhibit. This is your interview. We can
5 see page 10 now.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. You say:
8 "In the month of May --"
9 This is the text immediately below the first redacted part -- no,
10 actually, after the second redacted part in the English. This is what
11 you say:
12 "An incident occurred in May. The general perception was that
13 the Muslims would defend the enclave themselves and that the UN forces,
14 in that case, could withdraw to blocking positions, but the Muslim
15 defence never came. It was on the basis of this perception that the plan
16 to withdraw was based."
17 My question: In view of the fact that you're talking about the
18 general perception that the Muslims would defend the enclave themselves,
19 was that the general perception prevalent among the DutchBat, as a whole,
20 or was that just your general perception? Thank you.
21 A. I can only repeat what I said. It was my perception, because
22 there still were weapons at the weapon collection point. I believe,
23 also, that the battalion commander, Karremans or Franken, opened the
24 weapons collection points for the Muslims when the enclave was attacked,
25 and no weapons were picked up. So these weapons, which had been
1 confiscated and maintained, could have been used in defence. There was
2 no organised defence of the enclave.
3 Q. Thank you. Please, Commander Karremans and Franken, did they
4 open a check-point in May, like you say, or was this in July, and was it
5 the general perception -- that was the general perception of one man or
6 the general perception of all the people who were staying in that area,
7 meaning UNPROFOR representatives? Thank you.
8 A. The weapon collection point was opened in July for the first, but
9 earlier statements have been made about this. My perception was that the
10 Muslims would defend the enclave. I can't speak for others.
11 Q. Thank you. My question is: And is this why the UNPROFOR took up
12 blocking positions, in order to enable the Muslims to carry out their
13 defence? Thank you.
14 A. That is not the reason why blocking positions were taken. As a
15 military person, if an attack were to be -- had to be held back, an
16 attack at this scale, I would need anti-tank weapons with a long range,
17 tanks, and air support, artillery, mortars. This would have been a
18 large-scale military operation. This is not something that you can do
19 with just a rifle.
20 We were there in the blocking positions to show that there was a
21 new line had been drawn and that everything to the south of that blocking
22 position was in danger.
23 Q. Thank you. Last time, I read to you what Major Franken, as
24 deputy commander, said about the green order. Can you please tell me,
25 the open conflict between UNPROFOR and the Army of Republika Srpska, was
1 that precisely there in order to enable the Muslims to defend the enclave
2 or was this something that happened for a different reason? Thank you.
3 A. The shooting of -- at UNPROFOR soldiers by the Republika Srpska,
4 the BSA, cannot be seen apart from an attack on the total enclave. Only
5 once our soldiers were shot at by the Bosnian Serbians did they become a
6 party to the conflict. I cannot speak about any other defence of Bosnian
7 Muslims, apart from one thing --
8 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear the word.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- which only ever shot that one
10 time, artillery.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 Q. You now use the term "conflict between the Serbs and UNPROFOR."
13 Please, is an air-strike and three-day green order, was that -- that
14 occurred because you were attacked once by a single tank shell or were
15 you attacked every day? And in your testimony, you showed only such one
16 attack in which you guided an air-strike at a Serbian air tank -- at a
17 Serbian tank --
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the rest of what
19 Mr. Tolimir said. Thank you.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, the interpreter didn't catch the
21 last part of your question. You're only recorded having said:
22 "In your testimony, you showed only such one attack in which you
23 guided an air-strike at a Serbian tank ..."
24 And then the rest was not heard. Perhaps you can complete your
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
2 In the question, I further explained that an APC or a tank crew
3 guided an aeroplane to strike at tanks of the Serbian Army that were at a
4 distance of up to two kilometres, and I asked the witness whether it was
5 just that incident that was the basis for a three-day conflict between
6 the Army of Republika Srpska and UNPROFOR. Thank you.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What you are describing is close
8 air support on the 11th of June, the date on which the enclave fell.
9 We -- two F-16s assisted us there. I then went to Potocari with all the
10 refugees, and there I heard that the threats by the Bosnian Serbian Army
11 was such that we had to stop our military activity immediately. I'm
12 talking about one day in which there was close air support. And I was
13 shot at by a tank more than -- several times. I've given a statement
14 about this before.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 Q. Since you talked about this earlier, we will leave it up to the
17 Trial Chamber to judge.
18 Anyway, can you please tell us here --
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
20 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, there's some -- an unclear passage
21 that preceded Your Honour's intervention, and I was waiting for some of
22 the answers to be completed before getting up.
23 If we look at page 46, lines 14 through 16 -- actually, the
24 beginning of the answer starts on line 12. Colonel Egbers said:
25 "I cannot speak about any other defence of Bosnian Muslims, apart
1 from one thing ..."
2 And then the interpreter stated that the interpreter didn't hear
3 the word. And Colonel Egbers' answer is then recorded.
4 "... which only shot that one time, artillery."
5 So unfortunately we have an unintelligible answer. The
6 interpreter flagged it for us, and we had an intervention after that. So
7 I'm raising it now before too much water passes under the bridge.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. I think that is very helpful.
9 Mr. Egbers, perhaps you can provide us with an answer again.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The only thing I saw in the
11 blocking position was an artillery piece which never shot. That was the
12 only thing which could have had a -- or executed a defensive action.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In line 15 of page 46, you were recorded in the
14 following way.
15 "... which only ever shot that one time, artillery."
16 Was that a wrong interpretation and recording? Now you are
17 saying it was never used?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, you're right, it never shot.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
20 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Thank
22 you, Mr. Thayer. Thank you, Witness.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Can you please tell us -- can you answer my question, please?
25 Were you in an APC or were you in APCs that were guiding planes during
1 the destruction and neutralisation of Serbian targets in Srebrenica?
2 Thank you.
3 A. One of the soldiers, as a forward air controller, maintains
4 contact with the aeroplanes. I assume that you are referring to that
5 one-off deployment of F-16s. At that time, I was near Blocking
6 Position 1, and all I could do was follow what was being said, in terms
7 of communication with the F-16s. So I was outside of an APC, and there
8 were other people who were in contact with the aeroplane.
9 Q. Thank you. These others who maintained contact with the
10 aeroplanes, were they the eyes of that plane that was firing at targets
11 on the ground? In that case, were they -- was it a question of the
12 UNPROFOR members being in close connection with the aeroplanes that were
13 conducting the air-strikes, NATO aeroplanes? Thank you.
14 A. It is correct that the forward air controllers tried to guide the
15 F-16 pilots to the ground target.
16 Q. Thank you. Did they act in close co-ordination with NATO at the
17 time or not? Thank you.
18 A. I know nothing of the sort.
19 Q. Thank you. I understand that. Are you able to tell me this now:
20 On the 13th and 14th of July, for security reasons, were you held at a
21 school in Konjevic Polje, due to which you lodged a protest to
22 Republika Srpska? This is something that you talked about in the
23 previous part of your testimony. Yes or no? Thank you.
24 A. You are saying, in your question, that I was held for security
25 reasons. Was this my security or the security of others? Because I
1 wanted to drive on to Srebrenica along the football pitch, but I was
2 detained by one of the soldiers, holding a rifle, and forced to step
3 outside. This was told to me later on, that this was for my own
4 security, but what I saw was that somebody pointed a gun at me and told
5 me to stop.
6 Q. Later, during the night, when you saw those Muslims that were
7 captured in the school, when you felt the firing of the Muslim infantry
8 at the school, when you heard that the Muslim column had separated and
9 was going along the Konjevic Polje-Potocari road, did you know then that
10 this was for security reasons? Thank you.
11 A. During the night, in the surrounding of Nova Kasaba, there was a
12 lot of firing. I don't know why that happened. What I was told was that
13 there were fire-fights with Muslims, and this was also what I reported
14 on. Today, my position is different. Now I think it might have been
15 different. But you are trying to make me believe now that I was being
16 detained for my own security and that I should be grateful to the
17 Republika Srpska for doing so.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I didn't say that.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Egbers, may I ask you the following, you
21 "I wanted to drive on to Srebrenica along the football pitch, but
22 I was detained by one of the soldiers."
23 To which army did this soldier belong?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was a Bosnian Serb soldier.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
1 Mr. Tolimir.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 Q. Did you want to go -- pass by Konjevic Polje in order to do some
4 reconnaissance or for some other reason? Thank you.
5 A. I was on my way back from accompanying a column of refugees to
6 Kladanj, and on my way back, back to the enclave, I was stopped. I was
7 not the only person being stopped. There were other soldiers who were
8 sitting alongside the road and just waiting to see what happened next.
9 Q. Thank you. During the night that you spent in the school in
10 Konjevic Polje, could you feel the firing by artillery at the building?
11 Thank you.
12 A. No. I heard prolonged shots from a machine-gun.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 Could the e-court please show P1145, page 7, paragraph 4, lines 2
15 and 3 and 4. Thank you. Page 7, paragraph 4, lines 2, 3 and 4. Thank
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. You can see that now, that paragraph 4, which states, line 2, the
19 second sentence:
20 "The --" [No interpretation]
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, I have to interrupt you. We don't
22 receive a translation at the moment. Could you please repeat the
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. I am going to read
25 again the fourth paragraph of page 7. This is one paragraph but last in
1 the English, where it says -- actually, it's paragraph 2 on this page
2 that we are looking at in the English, and it states, I quote:
3 "Suddenly, the school building came under fire."
4 This is line 2 -- this is the third paragraph in English, which
5 begins with: "Later ..." And the second sentence in that paragraph in
6 the Serbian states, I quote:
7 "Suddenly, the school building came under fire of small-calibre
8 weapons from the direction of the woods. I did not notice which part of
9 the building was hit. The Bosnian Serbs responded by firing from their
10 double-barrel anti-aircraft gun, type M53-59, and a machine-gun on an
11 armoured BOV vehicle."
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. This is what you said in your statement, what I quoted back to
14 you. Is it evident from here that the building was attacked by someone
15 else and that the soldiers of the Army of Republika Srpska retaliated in
16 kind? Thank you.
17 A. That is, indeed, correct. Two shots were fired, two gun-shots,
18 aimed at the school or near the school, and then Major Zoran's response
19 is quite remarkable. He took two Muslim boys from a house and he used
20 them as a sort of a human shield, and he had them walk out in front. And
21 then 25 soldiers walked behind. Now, fortunately, the two boys then came
22 back alive on that occasion. And the shooter or shooters were not found,
23 but it is correct that there were shots fired at the school.
24 Q. Thank you. Did you leave Konjevic Polje, on the following day,
25 for Potocari on the vehicles of the Army of Republika Srpska? Thank you.
1 A. During my stay at the school, I saw many white UN vehicles, and
2 Bosnian Serb soldiers driving those vehicles also wearing UN helmets and
3 UN bulletproof jackets. There was no distinction that could be made
4 between UNPROFOR soldiers and Bosnian Serbs who had dressed up as
5 UNPROFOR soldiers, i.e., driving a white vehicle, with a white [as
6 interpreted] helmet. That vehicle could have been -- or that person
7 could have been a real UNPROFOR soldier or Bosnian Serb. This is the
8 reason why I requested to be taken back in an armoured vehicle to
9 Srebrenica. I requested that permission from my battalion commander. In
10 the first instance, this request was denied, and they wanted me to return
11 unprotected in a white vehicle. I have had to convince them to be
12 allowed to be taken back by the Bosnian Serbs in an armoured vehicle. I
13 was forced to leave behind the two remaining UN vehicles at the Bosnian
14 Serbs. Because there was -- it was not possible -- impossible to make a
15 distinction between UNPROFOR and Bosnian Serb soldiers, I preferred to
16 take an armoured vehicle back.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
19 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, at page 53, line 11, there's a
20 reference to "UNPROFOR soldiers, i.e., driving a white vehicle, with a
21 white helmet." We've been in trial for several months, and I'm not sure
22 anybody's heard a reference to white helmets. That may be what the
23 witness said. I'm not sure. I think it would be worth, just so we don't
24 have to waste any time on redirect, clarifying whether that is, in fact,
25 what he said or whether he said something else.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] White vehicle, blue helmet.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
4 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Egbers, you have described for us what the situation was like
6 before Mr. Thayer's interruption, and you said that the Serbs could have
7 taken the vehicles. But was it not possible for the Muslims to seize
8 your vehicles, and not the Serbs, on the night between the 13th and the
9 14th in order to travel along that particular road? Thank you.
10 A. Driving such a vehicle is not easy. And I could see the white
11 armoured APCs parked outside the school where I was staying, and there
12 were Serbian soldiers emerging from those vehicles, wearing a blue
13 helmet, walking towards the school, so I am positive that they were
14 Bosnian Serbs who I saw.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Since I haven't
16 received an answer to my question, let the Trial Chamber be the judge of
17 that. I can't spend time on this anymore.
18 Can we now call up P1143 in e-court, page 3. Thank you.
19 Thank you. Can we look at paragraph 11 of your statement, both
20 in Serbian and in English. Paragraph 16 in English and Serbian. Thank
21 you. That's page 2 in English and 3 in Serbian. Thank you.
22 Thank you. I'll be quoting the first line from paragraph 16:
23 "After the fall of the enclave, during evacuation or
24 deportation - we'll call it evacuation, let's keep it correct - of
25 course, men were separated from the women."
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Since you accompanied these convoys, you said here, did you not,
3 when speaking of it being an evacuation or deportation, that you would
4 refer to it as an evacuation, and you did state that you did not want to
5 depart from the truth? Thank you.
6 A. I would like to explain what I meant here.
7 The word "deportation" reminds me of the deportation of the Jews
8 in the Second World War. Naturally, people in this case were being
9 transported against their will. "Evacuation" is maybe a slightly easier
10 term without using an emotional term from the Second World War, which is
11 why I referred in this case to "evacuation," but the sentence shows that
12 we are actually talking about a deportation.
13 What is exactly your question about this first sentence of
14 paragraph 16?
15 Q. Since you've just said that people were transported against their
16 will - at least that's how it's been interpreted to me - did
17 Colonel Karremans seek from General Mladic, and General Nicolai too, that
18 people be taken out of Srebrenica against their will? Thank you.
19 A. Actually, people had no choice. There were thousands of them
20 together, temperatures of 35 degrees centigrade, without any prospect of
21 returning to the enclave, so obviously they prefer to take their families
22 and go away. So if you had asked people then, Do you want to leave here,
23 the answer would be, Yes. But they were forced in that situation, where
24 they were cramped together without food, without water, and they were
25 forced to stay there.
1 Q. Thank you. Can you tell me, was it not their army, too, which
2 fired upon the Army of Republika Srpska and the surrounding Serb
3 settlements from within the demilitarised zone, responsible for them
4 ending up in such a situation, ultimately? Thank you.
5 A. I don't agree with you, if that's the way you reason. I
6 understand that you think that way, but the blame for the attack on the
7 enclave cannot be placed on the Bosnian Muslims in that way. Those in
8 the enclave, I saw them as refugees packed together in a small enclave.
9 It is a too-big step to follow your reasoning, which would be that the
10 Muslims incited the attack on the enclave.
11 Q. Thank you. I understand why you reason this way. I showed you a
12 document clearly showing that 60 Serbs had been killed, et cetera,
13 et cetera, but let Their Honours draw their conclusions.
14 Tell me, did the Muslims not -- did they not leave the civilian
15 population in the hands of UNPROFOR, Serbian Army, and left the enclave
16 and the area to engage in a breakthrough under those circumstances?
17 Thank you.
18 A. This is clearly a question at a political level. You are asking
19 my opinion on this, but as a soldier, as a platoon commander, I was not
20 involved in this. In 1993, we created this situation, the Bosnian Serbs,
21 the Bosnian Muslims and the United Nations. There was an enclave, there
22 were agreements, and this is the situation I was in. I cannot now say
23 that I can follow your reasoning now at a political level. This is a
24 question you have to ask of the political leaders who at that time were
1 Q. Thank you. I'm asking you this simply because in a part of your
2 statement, you said that the civilians who had been transported from the
3 UNPROFOR base in Srebrenica to the UNPROFOR base in Potocari said that
4 the army had taken to the woods, so that was before Karremans asked for
5 the evacuation from Mladic. Do you know, didn't Karremans ask of
6 General Mladic for the Muslims to be evacuated from the Potocari area to
7 the area under the control of the Muslims? That would be my question.
8 A. I don't know. The situation was so extreme that I could imagine
9 that a solution had to be found for the people who were there.
10 Q. Thank you. Did you know that at the London Conference, when
11 Lord Carrington was removed, as was Owen, the parties signed an agreement
12 on free evacuation and free movement from one territory to another and
13 transportation of humanitarian aid; yes or no? I think this is something
14 that I've mentioned the last time as well.
15 A. No.
16 Q. Did you know that the agreement on Geneva Conventions -- or,
17 rather, the agreement on evacuation also includes evacuation from an
18 occupied or besieged area? Are you familiar with Article 17 of the
19 Geneva Conventions? It's just the case, as was with Article 60, you
20 don't have it in English.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But can the Trial Chamber allow me
22 to just read it out simply? Thank you.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Try it, and we will see how to manage it.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Article 17 --
25 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters note that we don't have the
1 exact reference and don't have the original text of the Geneva
3 THE ACCUSED: [No interpretation]
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We don't have interpretation because there is no
5 English text. This is a problem for the interpreters. Please start your
6 reading again very slowly. And if it's a long text, you should be aware
7 of the time you have already used in cross-examination. It is six hours
8 and forty-four minutes of the seven hours you have indicated that you
10 Carry on, please.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
12 To cut this short, I will only quote the following part:
13 "The warring parties shall see to it that local agreements are
14 concluded for evacuation from an occupied or encircled area."
15 This is Article 17 from the Geneva Conventions and their
16 additional protocols.
17 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
18 Q. My question is as follows: Based on this article, UNPROFOR and
19 Karremans as commander of the DutchBat, a representative of the Muslim
20 and Serb side, did all of these parties sign an agreement on evacuation,
21 and are you aware of there having been signed an evacuation agreement for
22 Srebrenica? Thank you.
23 A. I know there was consultation in Hotel Fontana between Mladic and
24 Lieutenant-Colonel Karremans. There are pictures of that. What I know
25 is at some moment, the transporting of people who were there began. At
1 that time, I was a lieutenant in charge of executing, and not at -- I was
2 not involved in consultation at a higher level.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
4 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I'm going to inquire whether the
5 Defence is suggesting that there was some kind of signed written
6 agreement prior to 12 July or on or about 12 July 1995 with respect to
7 the removal of the Muslim population of Srebrenica from Potocari. That
8 seems to be the gist of the question, and I'm inquiring what the basis is
9 of that question. Again, we've been in trial for many months, and this
10 is the first time I've ever heard of a written agreement of some kind
11 that was signed by the parties prior to the removal of the Muslim
12 population from Potocari.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, can you clarify this?
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 Q. Did you ever watch a movie where representatives of the Muslims
16 and General Mladic, in the presence of Colonel Karremans, discussed
17 evacuation? So did you ever watch such footage prior to your testimony
18 before this Tribunal? Thank you.
19 A. Yes, on television, and there are photos of this.
20 Q. Thank you. And did you ever see a statement on evacuation signed
21 by Mladic, an UNPROFOR representative, and a representative of the Army
22 of Republika Srpska in Srebrenica, where an added sentence was written by
23 hand in response to a request by Major Franken; yes or no?
24 A. I can remember something like this.
25 Q. Can you tell us what the purpose was of the meetings between
1 General Mladic, Karremans, and Mr. Mandzic? Thank you.
2 A. I don't know. This was before the deportation or evacuation, so
3 I don't know. You're going to have to ask them.
4 Q. Thank you. We will be asking this question of some of the
5 participants in the event, and the Trial Chamber is aware of this. What
6 I meant was the statement on evacuation which they signed and which you
7 may have had occasion to look at, and maybe not. It was signed on the
8 17th of July.
9 Let me ask you about a different document which was also produced
10 after the fall of the enclave of Srebrenica. It's P603, an agreement
11 between General Smith and General Mladic on the departure of UNPROFOR
12 from Srebrenica.
13 Were you familiar with this document at all?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Thank you. Did you leave Srebrenica, together with the DutchBat,
16 after the relevant events there? Thank you.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did there exist an agreement about your departure between
19 General Rupert Smith and General Mladic? Did you know of it? Thank you.
20 A. I did not know about this.
21 Q. Thank you. Did you travel via Bosnia or via Herzegovina to
22 Zagreb, or via Serbia? Thank you.
23 A. Through Serbia.
24 Q. Thank you. Was the journey through Serbia shorter, more
25 convenient and faster, because it's a motorway, or was the shorter route
1 through Bosnia?
2 A. I don't know. We entered Serbia at Zvornik. That's all I can
3 say to you. And why, I don't know.
4 Q. Thank you. Did General Smith choose the route to be taken to
5 reach Zagreb and onwards, to travel to the Netherlands, or was this
6 something that General Mladic had a say in? Thank you.
7 A. I can't give an answer to this. I don't know.
8 Q. Thank you. Was the road through Serbia safer or was it safer to
9 travel through a combat zone in Bosnia? Thank you.
10 A. I would have to interpret this. It's been translated as "combat
11 zone." Then a route through Serbia would be safer.
12 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us, were you deported through Serbia or
13 did you, yourselves, travel through Serbia, via Zagreb, on to Holland?
14 Thank you.
15 A. We could travel, ourselves, in a convoy. We could travel,
16 ourselves, in a convoy.
17 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, why parts of your statement were
18 redacted, the one we looked at a moment ago, where you spoke of the
19 general perception that the Muslims, et cetera? Can you tell us, why was
20 that portion of your statement redacted? That was page 10, if you
21 recall. We had it on our screens a moment ago, and I read out the
22 portion which was just below the redacted part. That was P1148, and we
23 can ask for it to be shown in e-court in the meantime if you can't
25 A. I don't know what's underneath that. But when issuing the
1 statement, the witness statement, I wanted to respect the circumstances
2 of my colleagues.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
4 MR. THAYER: May we go into private session for a brief moment,
5 Mr. President?
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We turn into private session.
7 [Private session]
25 [Open session]
1 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
3 The accused has concluded his cross-examination. I think this is
4 the appropriate time for the second break of today, and then the
5 Prosecution will conduct the examination-in-chief [sic].
6 We adjourn and resume at 1.00.
7 --- Recess taken at 12.29 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 1.01 p.m.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Thayer, your re-examination.
10 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President, and I will finish, one way
11 or the other, with my re-examination today.
12 May we have P1148, please.
13 Re-examination by Mr. Thayer:
14 Q. Sir, what we can see here is a copy of your statement in
15 connection with the Assen debriefing. Do you recall that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And I apologise, I don't mean to be rude, but good afternoon to
19 MR. THAYER: May we go to page 10, please. I want to pick up
20 pretty much where General Tolimir left off before the break. We can see
21 here the portion in the middle of the page where General Tolimir read
22 from, this redacted portion.
23 May we go into private session, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We turn into private session.
25 [Private session]
11 Page 7490 redacted. Private session.
13 [Open session]
14 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
15 MR. THAYER: And, Mr. President, what I propose to do, and we'll
16 need to work this out, I think, after Colonel Egbers' departure, is to
17 tender to the Trial Chamber the complete unredacted version just so the
18 Trial Chamber has available to it those portions that lie beneath the
19 redaction. It wasn't an issue that we had to deal with before, but
20 General Tolimir raised it at the very end of his cross-examination, so
21 I think it's only fair to make that available to Your Honours so you can
22 have the benefit of the full document. We, of course, don't have a
23 proposed P number, it's not up-loaded, but the Defence has had it for
24 weeks now, and I think it would be helpful for the Trial Chamber. So I
25 just wanted to alert you to that. We will be tendering this document in
1 its entirety. I don't think it needs to be under seal, given what
2 Colonel Egbers has said, and we certainly will not be making reference to
3 it for our purposes, but it will be, hopefully, available in e-court.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We're looking forward to that.
5 MR. THAYER:
6 Q. Now, Colonel, General Tolimir today asked you some questions
7 about what your expectation was of how the Muslims would defend
8 themselves, and you referred to the weapons that were in the weapons
9 collection point, and it was the perception that the Muslims would defend
10 themselves with those weapons.
11 May we have D84, and I'll put my related questions to you.
12 Again, that's D00084.
13 Okay. Colonel, just take a moment. It's a short document. It's
14 dated 9 June 1995. This was shown by the Defence to a prior witness, and
15 it's marked for identification, not yet admitted. It is from the Chief
16 of Staff of the 28th Division, Mr. Ramiz Becirovic, and we can see here
17 that he states:
18 "We have not yet taken the weapons surrendered to UNPROFOR during
19 demilitarisation or distributed them to the units. We have reached an
20 agreement with the UNPROFOR command that if the aggressor carries out an
21 infantry attack on the safe area, the depot in which UNPROFOR is guarding
22 our weapons will be promptly opened and the weapons placed at our
23 disposal. After this agreement, we sent our boys to the weapons depot.
24 They cleaned the weapons, separated out the guns in good working order
25 and reassembled the weapons that were not in working order but which
1 could be combined with other weapons. We have thus carried out
2 preparations to take over the weapons if it proves necessary to do so."
3 Sir, having seen this document, can you tell the Trial Chamber
4 how this comports or doesn't comport with your perception, your
5 understanding of the Muslims' intentions that General Tolimir asked you
6 about earlier?
7 A. What I can say about that is that in the weapon collection
8 points, there were weapons, not many. There was not enough, by any
9 means, to prevent any attack. The weapons that were there were
10 maintained, but we knew that it simply wasn't enough to fight back
11 against an attack or to wage war with.
12 Q. Okay. And when you say "maintained," Colonel, are you referring
13 to what's noted here, cleaning weapons, putting them in working order and
14 reassembling, or are you referring to some other kind of maintenance?
15 A. The first thing you said; cleaning, keeping them ready for use.
16 MR. THAYER: Okay.
17 Mr. President, the Prosecution would tender Defence Exhibit 84 at
18 this time.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In my understanding, this is an exhibit already.
20 MR. THAYER: It's only MFI'd at present, Mr. President. It was
21 used with a prior witness who I think the Trial Chamber thought didn't
22 have enough connection to the document or enough to say about it.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
24 Mr. Gajic.
25 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, just for the
1 transcript, this document was used with Witness Cornelis Nicolai.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
3 Carry on, Mr. Thayer, please.
4 MR. THAYER: And, Mr. President, as we've seen already, both
5 sides are making use of a common fund of documents as exhibits, as it
6 were. So you may see, as you've already seen, the Defence using
7 Prosecution exhibits, and vice versa.
8 Q. Now, sir, I want to turn your attention to the blocking position
9 which you took up. Again, that was code-named Bravo 1 or B1; is that
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. Do you know how many other blocking positions were deployed at
13 about the same time you were?
14 A. It's not quite clear to me. Certainly, at least four.
15 Q. And can you recall approximately where those other positions were
16 located in the enclave? We don't need elevations or anything like that,
17 but can you recall approximately where they were?
18 A. The positions were approximately at the same -- on the same
19 horizontal map line as Blocking 1.
20 Q. Okay. And General Tolimir asked you, during his
21 cross-examination, a lot of questions about the various positions which
22 you and the other peacekeepers took up. You suggested it would be
23 helpful to be shown a map on a number of occasions, so I'd like to do
24 that now, give you that opportunity.
25 MR. THAYER: May we see P1160, please.
1 Q. Sir, can you make out what's before you? If you need a moment to
2 orient yourself, please do. And when you're ready, let us know.
3 A. I'm ready.
4 Q. Okay. This is a cut-out of a map of the Srebrenica area which
5 you marked during your Popovic testimony, and we can see, pretty much
6 right smack in the middle, you've written "B1" and circled an area. What
7 does that area depict, sir?
8 A. In that sharp curve or bend on the way to Alpha, that's
9 Position 1, that's Blocking Position 1.
10 Q. Okay. You referred to OP Alpha. Do you see on this map any
11 location which is in the vicinity of OP Alpha? And if you do, I'm going
12 to ask you to mark this exhibit again with some additional notations.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Should it be blown up a bit so that it is better
15 MR. THAYER: We can try. We may lose some of the resolution.
16 Q. But can you read it okay or do you need it to be blown up,
17 Colonel Egbers?
18 A. Slatina, the village, was near the observation point. I can show
19 you that.
20 Q. Okay, sir. If you would, circle Slatina.
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. And if you would --
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It would be helpful to have another colour,
24 perhaps. In blue, it would be more distinct from the other marking.
25 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
1 MR. THAYER:
2 Q. And if you would just mark -- can you write "OP A" next to that
4 A. I can't show you the exact position, unfortunately. I'd need a
5 better map for that. But it was approximately there [marks].
6 Q. Okay. Now, in your testimony, you described your position at
7 Bravo 1 as being in the area of two 180-degree turns. Can you see those
8 two 180-degree turns or describe approximately where they are located?
9 And, again, I don't think we can blow it up at this point, since you've
10 marked it, but if you can see approximately where it is and perhaps just
11 draw an arrow indicating where those two 180-degree turns are located.
12 A. [Marks]
13 Q. Okay. And I just note, for the record, you've drawn a small
14 arrow right below your prior notation of "B1."
15 Now, here's where it's going to get a little tricky. Can you
16 mark the approximate location of the other blocking positions on this
18 A. I don't know it exactly, but they were to the east of me, so
19 approximately on this side [marks]. But I'd need to look it up.
20 Q. Okay. And you've drawn three small circles to the left of your
21 arrow underneath "B1."
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: To the right of --
23 MR. THAYER: That's right, I beg your pardon. Thank you,
24 Mr. President. To the right of your prior marking of "B1."
25 Q. Now, you referred on a number of occasions to a line which the UN
1 was drawing, which could not be crossed by the Bosnian Serb troops. And
2 where was that line to be found, if you can explain it using this or if
3 it helps to draw approximately where that line would be?
4 A. Of course, it's a virtual line. From Blocking Position 1
5 [marks], that was the imaginary line that you're talking about. Blocking
6 Position 1 was part of it.
7 MR. THAYER: Okay. Thank you, Colonel.
8 I think we're done with this exhibit, so if we could save it,
9 we'll move on.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Are you tendering it?
11 MR. THAYER: Yes, indeed, Mr. President. Thank you.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This marked map will be received as an exhibit.
13 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P1336, Your Honours.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Don't I have to sign it?
15 MR. THAYER: No, you don't, but thank you for the offer.
16 Q. Now, on the day you were directly targeted by the VRS, which
17 you've explained led to the deployment of close air support, were there
18 any Muslim fighters in your area?
19 A. Yes, very close, but not on the road that -- or the route that I
20 then took to get into safety.
21 Q. And, again, when you say "very close," can you give the
22 Trial Chamber some figure to indicate?
23 A. Approximately 50 or 60 metres. It's difficult to say now, but
24 not more than that.
25 Q. Now, General Tolimir asked you, and this was at transcript
1 page 7165, and I quote:
2 "How did you make the Serbs know that there was, indeed, a
3 hypothetical line there?"
4 And your answer was:
5 "That must have been agreed at your level between UNPROFOR and
6 the Bosnian Serb Army, not at my level on the ground as a lieutenant."
7 And you expanded on that again at transcript page 7167. You said
9 "I was told that the Bosnian Serb Army was informed that the
10 hypothetical line could not be crossed, and that if that happened,
11 aeroplanes would be used to neutralise the armoured vehicles of the
12 Bosnian Serbs."
13 Now, General Tolimir asked you a couple of questions related to
14 this issue as to whether or not the VRS had been informed about this
15 line, and the consequences thereof. I want to show you a couple of
16 exhibits in this regard.
17 The first one is P683, please.
18 Colonel, what we have here are -- or is a report of a telephone
19 conversation. This was drafted by General Nicolai's military assistant,
20 and it records a telephone conversation that General Nicolai had with
21 General Tolimir on the 9th of July at approximately 1930 hours. We only
22 have about 20 minutes left, so I'm just going to move to a couple of the
23 more salient points.
24 If we look at the large paragraph in the middle of the document,
25 we can see that:
1 "General Nicolai once again reiterated that the BSA had
2 penetrated into the DMZ to a distance of at least four kilometres, which
3 constituted an immediate threat to the safe area of Srebrenica."
4 Now, first of all, does this statement by General Nicolai
5 accurately reflect what you were observing on the ground at this time?
6 A. That's correct, it's true.
7 Q. Now, further on into this paragraph, we see that:
8 "General Nicolai insisted on immediate cease of this offensive
9 and the BSA withdrawal to a distance of at least four kilometres within a
10 few hours. The agreement witnessed by the then commander,
11 Lieutenant General Morillon, had to be respected. This strong warning,
12 supported by the force commander, General Janvier, and Mr. Akashi, would
13 be confirmed in writing."
14 Now, I'll skip the other portions I was going to go over, in the
15 interests of time. There's a reference here to a strong warning that was
16 to be issued, and I want to show you a related document and then put my
17 question to you.
18 MR. THAYER: If we could see P684, please.
19 What we have here is a fax -- I'm not sure if we're --
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think the interpreters are on the wrong channel
21 at the moment. Please repeat your question.
22 MR. THAYER:
23 Q. What we have here is a fax cover sheet from the office of
24 General Rupert Smith, the UNPROFOR commander in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
25 It's dated 9 July, as we can see in the upper left corner here of the
1 heading box, and the time is 2220 hours of 9 July. And the subject is:
2 "Warning to the Bosnian Serbs." And if we look down in the message line,
3 we can see that General Smith's office is indicating that:
4 "We have sent it as a CapSat to General Mladic, and we will issue
5 it as a press statement."
6 MR. THAYER: Now, if we can go to the next page --
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, it's a small point, but the time,
8 2220 hours -- oh, no, yes, I see it. Thank you for this indication.
9 MR. THAYER: And if we go to the next page in both versions, we
10 can, in fact, here see a written warning to the Bosnian Serbs' attacks
11 against the Srebrenica safe area. The first paragraph summarises some of
12 the events, the civilian deaths caused by the VRS attack, peacekeepers
13 being taken captive, but I want to focus your attention on the last
14 paragraph, the bottom paragraph, where it says:
15 "The Dutch Battalion has been ordered to establish a blocking
16 position to the south of the town. The Special Representative of the
17 Secretary-General and the force commander have decided that if this
18 blocking position is attacked by BSA forces, NATO close air support will
19 be employed. The BSA is reminded of the grave consequences of ignoring
20 this warning."
21 Q. My question to you, sir, is: Having seen these two documents,
22 how does that comport or not comport with your knowledge and your
23 understanding of these events at the time as to what was happening above
24 your level?
25 A. This is fully in line with what I have stated earlier. This
1 familiar to me or it appears -- seems familiar to me.
2 MR. THAYER: Now, may we have P293, please. And this should not
3 be broadcast, Mr. President, please.
4 Q. I just want to quickly show you this document, Colonel, and then
5 tie this in to the next exhibit and put my question to you.
6 What we have here is a report of an intercepted radio-telephone
7 conversation on the 9th of July at 2310 hours, less than an hour after
8 the written warning that we just saw a moment ago was issued, between the
9 force commander, the FC, General Janvier, and General Tolimir. We can
10 only -- or the intercept operators could only hear General Tolimir's
12 But if we go down to about the middle of the document, we can see
13 General Tolimir indicating:
14 "I got the message from the General's courier."
15 Do you see that, Colonel?
16 MR. THAYER: And if we could go to P685 now quickly, please.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The answer of the witness to your last question
18 was not recorded.
19 "Do you see that, Colonel?" And there's no answer.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 MR. THAYER: We have here --
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: One moment, Mr. Thayer.
23 Mr. Tolimir.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Your microphone is off.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
2 The witness answered by saying that he thought that he had seen
3 the document. Can he tell us when it was that he saw it and whether this
4 document contains a single word of what Mr. Janvier and Mr. Nicolai
5 stated? And can he also tell us if the Serb side agreed with what they
6 were told or did they suggest something else? Thank you.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, at the moment the Prosecution is
8 re-examining the witness, not you. We will see if Mr. Thayer will figure
9 out these parts of your question.
10 Mr. Thayer.
11 MR. THAYER: Well, Mr. President, I think General Tolimir is
12 confused. The witness did not say that he was familiar with this
13 intercept. I think he indicated that he was familiar, in some fashion,
14 with the content of the prior two documents. So I think all he was
15 saying was that he does see the intercept before him, which Your Honour
16 had his answer recorded on the record with a yes. So I think
17 General Tolimir is speaking at cross-purposes here.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
20 I am not confused or puzzled by anything. I think it would be
21 proper to ask the witness when he saw the document. Was it because
22 Mr. Thayer showed it to him, or was it out in the field, was it during
23 the operation? Because he said that he gave an answer that wasn't a
24 definite one as to whether he had seen the document or not. And then
25 they could continue their discussion.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We have the answer of the witness on the record,
2 as he gave it, and Mr. Thayer should continue asking questions.
3 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Q. What we have before us is another report of a telephone
5 conversation between General Nicolai and a representative at the
6 Main Staff of the VRS. And we can see that General Nicolai informed the
7 switchboard operator that he had called for close air support because of
8 the Serb attack on the town of Srebrenica:
9 "General Nicolai said he would phone if it was not too late."
10 And this is dated 10 July at 1920 hours.
11 Again, sir, my question is: How does this document and the prior
12 document, which suggests that General Tolimir received the written
13 warning, comport with your understanding, from your position on the
14 ground, as to what was going on at the higher levels?
15 A. It comports completely. And I can make the remark immediately
16 that I have not ever seen these documents before.
17 Q. Now, General Tolimir asked you, and this is at transcript
18 page 7170 last Tuesday, and I quote:
19 "If you had been issued a green order to open fire on the Army of
20 Republika Srpska, as Colonel Franken says, didn't that mean that in
21 self-defence, the Army of Republika Srpska would return fire, would also
22 open fire at you?"
23 Do you remember that question, sir?
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Mr. Thayer is asking the witness if he is aware if I received a
3 written document about what he said, that Nicolai sent this on the
4 10th of July at 1226, where it is said that air support will be approved
5 because the Serbs attacked Srebrenica. It doesn't say "because the Serbs
6 attacked UNPROFOR," because the assertion is made here that the Serbs
7 attacked UNPROFOR. So I would like a clear distinction to be made here,
8 whether I had any kind of written order, and whether UNPROFOR can issue
9 any orders to me, and whether I accepted that information. Thank you.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer.
11 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, if I may move on in the five minutes
12 I have left. I've already cut my re-examination to fit the time that we
13 have left.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Carry on, please.
15 MR. THAYER: Thank you.
16 Q. Now, in his hypothetical, as we just heard, General Tolimir
17 characterised the VRS firing at UNPROFOR as self-defence. And I don't
18 want to discuss the hypothetical. I want to discuss what you experienced
19 and observed in the reality of those days, what was unfolding in front of
20 you around you and what was being reported to you --
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, we have a problem with the transcript
22 in e-court at the moment. There must be a technical problem in the whole
23 courtroom, but we can follow in LiveNote. Sorry for interrupting you.
24 MR. THAYER: Not at all. Thank you.
25 Q. In the days of the VRS attack, prior to the green order being
1 issued on 9 July, had the UN peacekeepers fired on the VRS?
2 A. No.
3 Q. And on the flip side, what had the VRS been firing at, in those
4 days from 6 July, the beginning of the attack, until 9 July, when the
5 green order was issued?
6 A. The VRS was firing at the south of the enclave observation posts,
7 and the temporary observation post which was set up, and in the area of
8 our troops in the south of the enclave. So tanks were firing at
9 observation posts.
10 Q. And you've already testified about the VRS shelling of Srebrenica
11 town. Based on your experience and observation during this period, and
12 what was being reported, did the VRS appear to you to be acting in
13 self-defence in any fashion?
14 A. Absolutely not.
15 Q. You were ordered to go back up to Bravo 1, despite your position
16 having come under VRS fire previously, which caused injuries to your men
17 as well as some of the Muslim fighters who were 50 to 60 metres away.
18 General Tolimir suggested that it was a foolish thing for you to do, to
19 go back up to Bravo 1. Before going back up to that position, sir, did
20 the men under your command want to go up?
21 A. No. They had just been shot at. We only just got through this,
22 we were happy to be alive, and, nevertheless, we had to go.
23 Q. And, indeed, you've already testified that when you did resume
24 your position at Bravo 1, that you came under VRS fire again, and that
25 that fire pursued you and your vehicles as you fled the position for
1 safety; is that correct?
2 A. That's correct, that's correct.
3 Q. Sir, based on the pattern and accuracy of the firing that was
4 targeting you, what would have happened had you and your fellow
5 peacekeepers stayed at Bravo 1 on 11 July, the day that the close air
6 support was called in?
7 A. I think there would have been many deaths among the UNPROFOR
9 MR. THAYER: With the Court's indulgence, I just have a couple of
10 more questions. It won't exceed, I think, about three minutes. If I
11 could just put these to clarify a couple of issues.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Go ahead, please.
13 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Q. Sir, you described a cloth that you placed on top of your APC for
15 the close air support planes to observe. What colour was that cloth?
16 A. Fluorescent yellow and orange.
17 Q. Okay. So when General Tolimir refers to a white flag on your
18 APC, there was no such thing; is that correct?
19 A. That's correct. It is a cloth which the F-16 pilot can see
20 easily so they know where we are and where the hypothetical line,
21 therefore, is.
22 Q. At any time when you were on Bravo 1, did you or the peacekeepers
23 you were with fire at any VRS positions, sir?
24 A. No, no.
25 Q. And at any time while you were at Bravo 1, did any of the Muslim
1 fighters that were, as you said, positioned 50 to 60 metres from you fire
2 at any of the VRS positions?
3 A. No.
4 Q. My last question for you, sir, is: General Tolimir read a
5 portion of your NIOD interview transcript regarding when one of the buses
6 broke down during the first convoy, removing the Muslim population from
7 Srebrenica, and he quoted a portion of the interview regarding the
8 reaction of some of the Muslim and Serb people who had perhaps formerly
9 lived together and were still friendly. Do you remember that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And I'll just cite for the record, in case anybody wants to check
12 later on, and this is in P1143, for the record, at paragraph 60. You
13 state that:
14 "The reaction in Bratunac was rather hostile. Bosnian Serbs
15 stood by the side of the road and jeered, as it were, at all the people
16 who came along."
17 Is that an accurate statement, sir?
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. What else did those Bosnian Serb people do that was hostile?
20 A. It was like a scene from the film "Schindler's List," which we
21 had seen just before. The buses were going through a large street. All
22 people were there and were screaming and shouting at the buses. They
23 were very hostile and they were throwing things. And then as well as
24 that, they were having a party.
25 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Colonel.
1 That concludes my re-examination.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Am I permitted to ask or would you care to ask the witness one
5 question which was featured in the cross-examination, but there was no
6 direct answer? But the witness was asked this question. It was asked in
7 the context of the green order. Thank you.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, Mr. Thayer has finished his
9 cross-examination [sic]. There's no reason to put additional questions,
10 and the Chamber has no questions for the witness.
11 Therefore, Mr. Egbers, the Chamber would like to thank you for
12 your attendance here, that you were able to come to The Hague, to the
13 Tribunal, again and to provide us with your knowledge.
14 Thank you very much, again, and now you are free to return to
15 your ordinary activities. Thank you very much again.
16 [The witness withdrew]
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: At this point in time, I would like to thank the
18 Dutch interpreters for their attendance.
19 And we have to adjourn now. We resume tomorrow morning at 9.00
20 in this courtroom.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.50 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 10th day of
23 November, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.