1 Wednesday, 6 April 2011
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning to everybody in the courtroom.
6 Good morning to you, Ms. Lindsay, again. Welcome back to the
8 Yesterday I made a mistake. I said the Prosecution indicated
9 that they need ten hours, but in fact they indicated eight hours, as the
10 Defence did. And just to let you know, you have used six hours and 17
11 minutes for examination-in-chief. You should hurry up, Mr. Thayer.
12 Mr. Thayer.
13 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. I will.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The witness should be brought in, please.
15 [The witness takes the stand]
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning, sir. Welcome back to the
17 courtroom. Again, I have to remind you that the affirmation to tell the
18 truth you made at the beginning your testimony two days ago still
20 Mr. Thayer has more questions for you.
21 Mr. Thayer.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
23 WITNESS: MOMIR NIKOLIC [Resumed]
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 Examination by Mr. Thayer: [Continued]
1 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning again, to
2 you and Your Honours. Good morning to the Defence. Good morning,
4 Q. Good morning, Mr. Nikolic.
5 A. Good morning.
6 Q. May we have 65 ter 223, please.
7 When we left off yesterday we were looking at the report that was
8 issued on the 4th of July, 1995, and I'm speaking of the combat readiness
9 analysis report for the first half of 1995.
10 To save a little bit of time, I'm going to skip over a couple of
11 sections of this report. And I would just ask you, do you recall whether
12 there's an entry in the report that lists the sniper training that a
13 number of Bratunac Brigade soldiers underwent?
14 A. The combat report that I see in front of me, or its contents,
15 there is an portion that refers to sniper training, and I believe that
16 that is part of the report.
17 Q. Okay. And just for the record that's at page 7 of the English,
18 page 13 of the B/C/S, if anybody wants to look at that in the future.
19 If we could go to page 17 of the English. And that will be
20 page 31 of the B/C/S. Actually, make that page 16, the previous page,
21 and page 29 of the B/C/S.
22 We can see here a section that is entitled: Intelligence security
23 support. Can you tell the Trial Chamber what role you played, if any, in
24 putting together this portion of the combat readiness analysis report?
25 A. Yes. Yesterday, and I think the day before as well, when I spoke
1 about this document, the analysis of combat readiness, that was prepared
2 by the Bratunac Brigade command and, of course, signed by the commander
3 Blagojevic, each of the officers, or, rather, each assistant commander
4 and myself, as the chief of the organ, were obliged to provide
5 information - in my particular case that is security and intelligence -
6 hat is to say, to give our contribution to this report, and that is what
7 I did. I wrote my report, and after I had drafted my proposal and after
8 the commander and the other officers and I, myself, discussed this at a
9 meeting, these contributions were accepted by the commander, including my
10 contribution on security and intelligence, and all the tasks that I was
11 obliged to carry out within my remit. So everything that you see here is
12 something that I put on paper. It was accepted by the commander, and it
13 became an integral part of this analysis on combat readiness. And one of
14 the elements of combat readiness is intelligence and security support of
16 Q. If we could go to the next page in English. And we'll need to go
17 two pages in the B/C/S, to page 31 in the B/C/S, please.
18 This is the next page under the heading of intelligence security
19 support, sir. Do you see the portion that begins: "During 1995
20 international organisations and their representatives have passed through
21 and stayed temporarily in the brigade's area of responsibility"?
22 Do you see that paragraph, sir? I think it's the third
23 paragraph from the top.
24 A. Yes, I do. I -- I see this paragraph, and I can see what it
25 speaks about.
1 Q. You report that these international organisations and their
2 representatives, when they stayed, their activities were monitored and
3 every significant event was promptly reported to the Drina Corps and the
4 VRS Main Staff. And you refer here to superior organs. What are you
5 referring to?
6 A. In this particular instance, but in other instances of reporting
7 as well, I was referring to superior organs that I had communication line
8 with in the corps command or in the Main Staff. So if I say here that I
9 reported to superior officers, I was referring to the intelligence and
10 security department of the Drina Corps, and their counterpart at the
11 level of the Main Staff. It was both my duty and the right to report to
12 my superiors at the Drina Corps and in the Main Staff when it comes to
13 the professional line of reporting.
14 Q. And in the next paragraph you report that: "In the brigade's
15 area of responsibility, a check-point was established for the control of
16 all international organisations entering and leaving the enclave of
17 Srebrenica. This check-point functions in accordance with the orders of
18 the VRS ... Main Staff and instructions and orders of the brigade
20 Can you tell the Trial Chamber approximately when this
21 check-point was set up?
22 A. Well, I don't know. I really cannot give you an exact date. I
23 cannot recall at the moment, and I wouldn't like to speculate.
24 But it may have been that it took place immediately, or for a
25 certain period of time we had check-points elsewhere but we had problems,
1 and then we decided to set up a check-point on the Yellow Bridge. But I
2 really don't know.
3 However, this refers to what you read, and I can say that this
4 check-point was set up based on an order from the Main Staff and the
5 instructions issued later by the brigade command. However, when that
6 happened exactly, I really cannot tell you.
7 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, the Prosecution tenders 65 ter 223.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received as an exhibit.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 223 shall be
10 assigned Exhibit P2167. Thank you.
11 MR. THAYER:
12 Q. Sir, I'd like to turn your attention now to the Krivaja '95
13 operations and the events following the fall of the enclave. What I'd
14 like to do because our time is limited, is rather than take you through a
15 detailed day-by-day chronology, I would like to focus on certain events
16 that occurred during that time-period. Naturally, that will follow in a
17 chronological order but I do want to focus on a number of specific issues
18 and events during this period of time.
19 I don't think there will be any dispute that the enclave itself
20 fell on the 11th of July. My first question to you, sir, is: Did you see
21 any superior officers from the corps or the Main Staff in or around
22 Bratunac or your brigade command prior to the 11th of July?
23 A. Yes, I did. I saw quite a few officers at the brigade command.
24 Amongst them were members from the Drina Corps command and from the
25 Main Staff.
1 Q. Can you provide their names, if you recall who you saw?
2 A. From the Main Staff, I saw General Mladic, Colonel Jankovic. And
3 from the corps command, I saw General Krstic, General Zivanovic,
4 Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic, Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric, and I saw a lot
5 of other officers, but those were mainly the officers from the corps
6 command and from the Main Staff that I saw at the time, within the
7 headquarters of the brigade command.
8 Q. Let's focus on this Colonel Jankovic who you mentioned.
9 Please tell the Trial Chamber when you recall him arriving and
10 what he did, what was his activities upon his arrival? What did he tell
11 you he was there for, and so forth?
12 A. Yes, I can do that.
13 Colonel Jankovic, as far as I can remember, arrived sometime on
14 or around the 8th of July. He came to the Bratunac Brigade command
15 headquarters. I don't know whether he reported at the time to my
16 commander and whether they met. I can only assume, being a soldier, that
17 that would be in line with military rules, for him to report to the
18 commanding officer and then to proceed with the tasks that he was sent to
19 perform. He came to my office, and he introduced himself as a colonel
20 from the Main Staff and that he was from the intelligence department.
21 Now, this is all I can tell you at this point, because prior to
22 that moment, I had never seen Colonel Jankovic. Therefore I just
23 accepted his words at face value, and I never checked what he said. He
24 added that on orders from the Main Staff, he was sent down to help me,
25 because I was a reserve captain, and the operation in question was huge
1 and a complex one, and he said that, as of that day, when he arrived
2 onwards, the tasks that I was in charge of prior to that, that is to say,
3 liaison communication with international organisations including the
4 Dutch battalion, he would take over, as well as all other intelligence
5 operations relating to Srebrenica, and also, intelligence and security
6 support. And he also said that we would be sitting together in the same
8 So during that period, which started on the 8th, until, I don't
9 know exactly where -- when he left, but he was among the last people who
10 left the Bratunac Brigade, we selected a number of documents in those
11 last few days, and he took those documents away with him. So he worked
12 all the time with me in my office. He wrote his reports there and sent
13 his reports from that office, and I remember that his reports had the
14 heading of the Bratunac Brigade. Since I was sitting in the same office
15 with him, I knew what he wrote in those reports because I sometimes
16 personally went to the communications centre for those reports to be
17 dispatched to the higher levels.
18 So that's what I can tell you about Colonel Jankovic. We were
19 working together throughout the whole period.
20 Q. You described to us during the last couple of days of your
21 testimony the process by which intelligence information would come to
22 you; sometimes from the battalion, sometimes from other sources, and how
23 you would report that information, both to your commander and up your
24 intelligence and security line. Did you continue to engage in those
25 activities while Colonel Jankovic was filing his reports, sir?
1 A. I continued to do my regular work, and essentially nothing
2 changed. I did not stop being the chief of the organ. I did not stop
3 reporting to my commander. In other words, I continued to work as usual
4 to carry out the tasks that I was authorised to carry out, and there were
5 no problems in that respect.
6 Q. And during the course of your reporting, and during the course of
7 Colonel Jankovic's reporting, were you aware as to whether you and he
8 were sending reports to the same superior organs?
9 A. As far as I can remember, I cannot tell you accurately about each
10 and every document, whether it went both to the Drina Corps command and
11 the Main Staff, but, in principle, our reports were identical because we
12 worked from the same office, we harmonised our information, we exchanged
13 information. The information that I received from the ground, I don't
14 know how he obtained his information, though, but basically all the
15 intelligence and all the reports were identical. They dealt with the
16 same topics, they contained the same information, and the requests that
17 we may have had, depending on what we put in the report.
18 Q. And during the period of time of the actual attack on the enclave
19 from the 6th of July through the 11th of July, and let's focus now on the
20 time-period during which Colonel Jankovic was working from your office,
21 were there also, do you recall, requests coming down to the brigade from
22 your superior commands or professional organs for information?
23 A. I don't know if the translation is correct, but I believe I
24 understood your question.
25 Are you asking me whether there were any requests for information
1 coming down to us from the superior commands?
2 Q. Correct, sir.
3 A. Yes. My answer is affirmative. The corps command insisted and
4 demanded that they be informed on a regular basis and also to receive
5 extraordinary reports perhaps every half an hour, or every five minutes,
6 if necessary, if new, important information arose.
7 Q. Now, during the VRS attack on the enclave, did you come to learn
8 that the targets of the attack included, in addition to military targets,
9 such as elements of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the targets also
10 included civilians or civilian targets?
11 A. If you're asking me if I had ever seen a document or an order to
12 that effect, that is to say, that civilians were the targets, I can tell
13 you that I had never seen such a document, and I had never seen anything
14 in writing confirming that the civilians were the object of the attack.
15 If you're asking me that.
16 Q. Actually, sir, I wasn't asking you that question. But since
17 you've put your answer that way, let me just ask you: Would you ever
18 expect to see, in a VRS order or communication, an explicit order to
19 target civilians?
20 A. Well, I did not expect that, of course. And no one in his right
21 mind would write up any such thing, let alone a commander. In an order
22 at that.
23 Q. And did you see, in orders and documents, references to observing
24 the Geneva Conventions in your experience?
25 A. Now I understand the question, but the interpretation I'm
1 receiving is mirrored in the way I'm answering the questions. Now, if
2 you're asking me whether I understand this, whether I understand that
3 there is an particular section of the Geneva Conventions that refers to
4 the treatment of civilians, then that is a different question altogether.
5 In every order, there is regulation of the status of civilians and things
6 that have to do with prisoners and civilians. So that is absolutely
8 Q. My specific question was, sir, was do you recall, in orders that
9 you received, specific references to the Geneva Conventions and specific
10 orders not to harm civilians, based on the Geneva Conventions.
11 A. Yes, I remember such orders, and I think that one of the orders
12 that I remember right now, as for the preparation of the order or the
13 order itself of the Drina Corps for carrying out combat operations,
14 something like that. I think that's the name. In that order it says,
15 inter alia, that when carrying out combat operation, the principles
16 enshrined in the Geneva Conventions should be abided by, and that is what
17 it says, yes.
18 Q. We'll leave that there for the moment, sir.
19 Now, my original question was really getting at something else.
20 Did you ever have -- did you receive any reports or information that
21 civilian targets were attacked during the VRS operation against
23 A. Could you be more specific in terms of period that you are
24 referring to. I would appreciate that so that I would know exactly which
25 period have you in mind.
1 Q. The period I have in mind would be the actual, during the course
2 of the actual attack. Were civilian targets struck or aimed at; were
3 civilians the targets of any of the VRS forces; and when did you learn
4 this; and what was the source of the information? And I'm not referring
5 to a written report -- when I say, Did you receive any reports or
6 information, I'm not referring necessarily to an official written report,
7 but did you become aware that civilians were targeted during the attack.
8 A. I think that during my previous testimony I spoke about that. I
9 am not familiar with the plan of artillery fire and I don't know exactly
10 which targets were engaged. However, what I know for sure is that during
11 the attack on Srebrenica, inter alia, it was the town of Srebrenica
12 itself that was a target. I think I said that during my previous
13 testimony. For me that is a civilian target. The town itself, full of
14 inhabitants, people, as it was. That was that kind of target as far as
15 I'm concerned.
16 If you are asking me now, I mean, if the question pertains to the
17 period from the 11th, when the civilians were moving towards Potocari,
18 then, again, I testified about that in the Popovic case. I know with
19 full reliability, that is to say, that I received information to the
20 effect that the target of fire from the positions of the 2nd Infantry
21 Battalion from the B1 gun were civilians.
22 Let me conclude by saying that civilians were targeted, a column
23 of civilians, a huge column of civilians that was moving towards the
24 Potocari base, or, rather the UNPROFOR base in Potocari, and they were
25 moving from Srebrenica.
1 Q. And what kind of weapon is a B1 gun, sir?
2 A. A B1 gun is an artillery piece that was on the positions of my
3 2nd Infantry Battalion, roughly, that elevation, that peak, is called
4 Zvijezda or Kokarda in that area. The B1 gun is the weapon that could
5 target directly, that could involve direct fire. It was aimed at
6 Potocari, the position of Potocari directly. Of course, it could target
7 left and right as well. The road, also it could target everything within
8 its range and everything that one could see. But Potocari, that
9 position, was directly placed in such a way that it could be targeted
11 Q. Now, I want to turn your attention for a few moments to the three
12 meetings at the Hotel Fontana. The Trial Chamber has heard a lot of
13 evidence about those meetings on the night of the 11th and the morning of
14 the 12th, so I don't think we'll need to go through a detailed account of
15 those three meetings.
16 But let me just ask you a couple of questions about them. With
17 respect to the first meeting at the Hotel Fontana, do you recall how you
18 found out that there would be a meeting held there?
19 A. Yes, I recall that, that a meeting would be held at the Fontana
20 hotel. That's what I found out from Colonel Jankovic.
21 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber briefly what your role was during
22 this first meeting and where you were physically during it.
23 A. Yes, I can.
24 After Colonel Jankovic told me that this meeting would be held at
25 the Fontana hotel that evening around 2000 hours, he said to me that I
1 should make sure that a translator should be there. Of course, I called
2 the military police commander. I asked him to send a policeman to find a
3 translator called Petar Uscumlic. My task was to secure the Fontana
4 hotel, that was the hotel where the meeting was supposed to be held.
5 Namely, the hotel should be empty. It should be physically secure, and I
6 should bring a translator to translate at the meeting. I was told that
7 the -- that the meeting should be attended by the commander of the
8 Main Staff, General Mladic, and that the meeting would be attended by the
9 commander of the Dutch battalion, Colonel Karremans. Of course, after I
10 provided for the translator, I went to Fontana. I agreed with the
11 commander of the military police to involve the police and to be
12 presently personally at the venue of the meeting. So the commander of
13 the police, the police and I were the ones who provided security there at
14 the actual venue where the meeting was supposed to be held. Before the
15 meeting, well, I don't know exactly when Colonel Jankovic came to Fontana
16 but in the first hall or room, I can draw that, I can explain what this
17 Fontana looks like, so in this first room, we were waiting for their
18 arrival. Jankovic, Petar Uscumlic and I were waiting for General Mladic
19 to arrive with his team. General Mladic arrived just before 2000 hours
20 in Fontana. We greeted him. Colonel Jankovic reported to him as to what
21 was going on. We introduced Petar Uscumlic to him. Petar Uscumlic did
22 not say his name, he just said his last name, Uscumlic. And it seemed to
23 General Mladic that the interpreter was therefore a Muslim, and quite
24 simply, he started shouting and he threw him out. So Colonel Jankovic
25 and I remained in that room. The Dutch officers came, and in a small
1 room, this first meeting was held. So my role was to provide for all of
2 this, together with the commander of the military police. When the
3 meeting started -- well, it was a small room. And the door is a sliding
4 door that closes and opens. So it was open, and in that small room, the
5 first meeting was held. I was three, four, or five metres away, maximum,
6 to the left, in relation to the room where the meeting was being held, so
7 I was in a place where I saw what was happening, where I heard what was
8 being discussed, and basically, that would be it. That is what happened
9 before the meeting was held.
10 Q. Okay. And as I said, the Trial Chamber is -- has seen and heard
11 a lot about that first meeting, so let's move from there.
12 Did you return to your command following that first Fontana
14 A. Yes. After that first meeting, General Mladic asked that a
15 second meeting be held that evening, and, of course, that meeting was
16 over. The Dutch went back. And I went to the command of the Bratunac
18 Q. And when you returned to your command, do you recall receiving
19 any information concerning the Muslim population?
20 A. I had information beforehand as well. Information was coming in
21 intensively. It was already the evening, and there was quite a bit of
22 information from the command, from the battalion commands, rather, but
23 from the 2nd Infantry Battalion that was in immediate contact with
24 Potocari from the observation post, from the positions of the 2nd
25 Infantry Battalion there was constant reporting, to the effect that
1 thousands of people were moving from Srebrenica towards Potocari, the
2 UNPROFOR base there. That was the information that I received beforehand
3 and during the course of the evening too.
4 On the basis of everything I knew about the enclave beforehand
5 and what the organs at the command knew as well, of the battalion
6 commands, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, but basically now I'm speaking about the
7 information from the 2nd Battalion, we were making assessments to the
8 effect that there were a lot of able-bodied men, military age among these
9 persons. I have to explain something to the Trial Chamber. The fact
10 that somebody is military age, able bodied does not mean in my view, now
11 this is my assessment, my analysis, the fact that somebody is military
12 age and able bodied does not mean that he is mobilised, engaged in a
13 military way and is a member of a unit. So our assessment was that among
14 the persons who were moving there who were on the move, who were
15 civilians, there was between 1.500 to 2.000 military age, able-bodied
17 Q. And what did you do with this information that you had beforehand
18 and that was coming in and being gathered and that you were acquiring
19 yourself? What did you do with that information, sir?
20 A. All the information I received on that day, in the afternoon and
21 in the evening, just like on each and every previous day and following
22 day, I communicated in writing to the command of the Drina Corps, that is
23 to say, the department for intelligence and security affairs. As for
24 this very same information, this was the practice that I observed, I
25 provided that same information orally to the members of my brigade. That
1 is to say, those to whom this information pertained. As for all of this
2 information, I informed the commander about it later when we met up.
3 Q. And when you referred to the commander and later when we met up,
4 to whom are you referring specifically? And when you say "later," do you
5 mean that day or some other day?
6 A. I don't mean the 11th. I mean the following day, when we first
7 met up after the operation. So that was the afternoon of the 12th. It
8 is my commander, Blagojevic, whom I informed about all the information
9 that had arrived. In the period while he was absent, I could not provide
10 detailed information to him.
11 Q. Okay. You told us about the second meeting at the Fontana hotel
12 being scheduled. Again, we don't need to go through the details of that
13 meeting. Please tell the Trial Chamber where you were physically during
14 the second meeting at the Hotel Fontana?
15 A. Everything that I explained in relation to the first meeting
16 concerning my role, the role of the military police, and the commander of
17 the military police, as for all my obligations with regard to the first
18 meeting, they were the same with regard to the second meeting. The
19 position of the meeting was the same, and I was there right in front of
20 the meeting room where the meeting was held.
21 Q. And immediately or upon the end of the meeting, where did you go?
22 A. Upon the end of the meeting, General Mladic ordered that officers
23 of the Dutch battalion and the representatives of the Muslim side be
24 escorted to Potocari. After that, I carried out the order, got into the
25 car, saw off the officers and the representative of the Muslim side.
1 Q. And by this time, were you aware that there would be a third
2 meeting the following morning?
3 A. Yes, I was aware of that.
4 Q. Please tell the Trial Chamber what you did starting in the
5 morning of the 12th of July. And just take us, please, through the
6 events of that morning.
7 A. Well, first of all, I have to say that between the 12th and 13th
8 of July, I was the duty operations officer. My assistant was
9 Mirko Jankovic. And on that morning, as was the case with the previous
10 meetings as well, my role had not changed at all. I knew what my duty
11 was. I knew that the meeting was supposed to be held on the 12th at
12 10.00, and the military police, Mirko Jankovic as the commander, and I,
13 as the chief of the intelligence and security organ in the brigade, took
14 all measures for the hotel to be empty and secure and safe for the
15 participants in the meeting.
16 The meeting was scheduled for 10.00, and I knew exactly -- well,
17 I didn't know the names, but I knew who was supposed to attend the
18 meeting. On the basis of my information, the meeting was supposed to be
19 attended by the representatives of the military authorities headed by
20 General Mladic, the corps commander, and other officers who represented
21 the Serb side. Then the meeting was supposed to be attended by the
22 civilian authorities, or rather, the representatives of the civilian
23 authorities, then the representatives of UNPROFOR and the representatives
24 of the Muslim side. On the previous evening they were represented by
25 Mandzic. That meeting was attended precisely by all of these people that
1 I referred to, including the representatives of the Muslim side including
2 a lady whose name I don't know. Nesib Mandzic and Nuhanovic were there,
3 on their negotiating team.
4 Since I attended the previous two meetings, I knew roughly what
5 the content of this one would be. That is to say, that the overall
6 situation was supposed to be discussed. It seems to me, on the basis of
7 what I could infer, it was technical issues that were supposed to be
8 discussed, how all of that would actually take place, including the
9 forcible transfer of the Muslims from Potocari. So I did not attend that
10 meeting. It started around 10.00. The representatives that I mentioned
11 were there. They all arrived. What I wish to say what is important and
12 what actually happened is, that before that meeting started, on that day,
13 the 12th of July, in front of Fontana, I saw Mr. Popovic and Kosoric.
14 These are two officers from the command of the Drina Corps, the chief of
15 security and the chief of intelligence. We talked about the overall
16 situation. Inter alia, we talked about what would happen further on with
17 the people who had fled and who went to Potocari. Popovic told me that,
18 quite simply, these people would be evacuated, that they would be
19 transferred to Kladanj, that women and children would be transferred by
20 buses, that that is the agreement that was reached. That they would be
21 transferred to Muslim-controlled territory. And that military age men
22 would be singled out and temporarily detained in the territory of the
23 municipality of Bratunac.
24 I asked him, Mr. Popovic, what about these people? What's going
25 to happen to them? Why are we doing all of this? He said, sort of the
1 way he spoke, he said that all the Balijas should be killed. I did not
2 comment upon his statement. Quite simply, this conversation took five,
3 six, or seven minutes, no longer than that. After that, or rather,
4 during that conversation, we mentioned, or rather, I proposed, I said,
5 all right these people will be singled out. They shall be detained. The
6 most convenient facilities are those that are empty in Bratunac right
7 now, and that was the elementary school of Vuk Karadzic, and then also
8 the hangar, then the gym of that same school, Vuk Karadzic. And also
9 there were some other facilities of the old secondary school from
10 Bratunac. Djuro Pucar Stari was the name of that vocational secondary
11 school. All of these facilities were within an area that could be
12 secured with less troops. So, quite simply, they said yes, no problem
13 whatsoever. So those were the facilities involved.
14 Then in addition to that, my first impression or, rather, what I
15 thought was that probably we will carry out this military triage, which
16 is regular procedure. We'll get to Potocari, carry out that military
17 triage. It was my understanding that we would single out or that those
18 would be singled out who are reasonably suspected of having committed
19 crimes, taking part in the killing of civilians, et cetera. We, and we
20 information to that effect. However what happened was something that I
21 did not expect. When the evacuation started, all of those who were men
22 were singled out, regardless of their age, regardless of whether they
23 were military conscripts, regardless of anything else. So what I saw was
24 that all the men who were in Potocari were singled out.
25 Then there's another question. After that, when he said that all
1 the Balijas should be killed, then we discussed where it was that these
2 Balijas should be killed. Two locations were mentioned. The mine of
3 Sase, first of all, and the second one, the Ciglane, the brick-laying
4 facility. I am duty-bound to say that no one was ever taken to the
5 Sase Mine or was anybody ever executed at Sase or Ciglane.
6 After this brief conversation, they went to this meeting. After
7 the meeting, I met up, or, rather, Colonel Jankovic came out and said the
8 following to me, that I should help. I have to explain this in the
9 previous testimony, I used the word "coordination", literally not knowing
10 what it means in military terms. But in my statement, I'm not going to
11 say anything that is contrary to what I did. I'm just not going to use
12 the word "coordination" because I really believe that that is not the
13 appropriate term. Then Mr. Nikolic [sic] said to me, in the forthcoming
14 period, you should help, have this operation carried out as it should be.
15 He meant the operation of transferring civilians from Potocari to
17 Q. Let me just stop you there for a moment, sir.
18 I notice number one in the transcript that there's a reference to
19 Mr. Nikolic. This is at line -- page 20, line 7, what we have on the
20 transcript is: "Then Mr. Nikolic said to me, in the forthcoming period,
21 you should help, have this operation carried out."
22 Who did you mean? I don't think you meant Mr. Nikolic. Who was
23 telling you this? I think you had a slip of the tongue, sir.
24 A. Maybe it was my slip of the tongue. After the meeting, it was
25 Mr. Jankovic who came out. Colonel Jankovic.
1 Q. Okay. And just so we have it clear in the record, when you refer
2 to Colonel Jankovic, you're referring to the Main Staff colonel who
3 occupied your office, starting on the 8th of July - is that correct? - as
4 opposed to Mirko Jankovic who was the komandir of the military police
5 platoon. Because we have two Jankovics.
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 Q. Okay. Now I just want to go back for a second to this
8 conversation you had with Mr. Popovic prior to the third Fontana meeting.
9 You told us that two locations were mentioned; two possible
10 execution locations. Who proposed those two locations to Mr. Popovic?
11 A. Well, I don't know. I wouldn't even call it a proposal. To put
12 it simply, we were discussing this subject. Mr. Popovic and Mr. Kosoric
13 knew the Sase Mine, just as I did. I think that they first -- they were
14 the first to mention the Sase Mine. After that, I spoke about it as
15 well, and then we talked about those facilities together. I don't know
16 who it was who mentioned it first.
17 All three of us were discussing this particular location.
18 Q. And how about the Ciglane brick-works. Do you remember who
19 mentioned that location first?
20 A. I don't know. I really don't know who mentioned it first. I
21 know that we discussed those facilities. And one more thing. Later on,
22 I found out, I don't know what the source of this information, but I
23 received information that certain officers - I don't know which
24 officers - went to see the area of the brick-works and the Sase before
25 anything happened. I don't know who it was and when they went there. I
1 heard that from the manager of the brick-works, who was saying that they
2 used to come to the Ciglane brick-works. I think in this name is
3 Nedjo Nikolic.
4 Anyway, he was the manager of the brick-works at the time and he
5 said that some officers used to come there even before the fall of
6 Srebrenica. And he said that they discussed that.
7 So I don't claim anything. I never verified this information.
8 I'm not sure about it. But that's what I heard. Whether it is true or
9 not, I wouldn't know.
10 Q. And during the third Fontana meeting, sir, where were you
11 physically located? Were you in that same position just outside the
12 room, or were you somewhere else for that third meeting?
13 A. While this third meeting was going on, I wasn't in the room
14 itself. The reason for that is that it was pretty crowded. Many people
15 attended the meeting, and I simply thought that I, as the intelligence
16 organ, cannot hear anything new there. They were discussing technical
17 matters related to the number of the buses, the quantity of fuel, the
18 escort and similar things. So I wasn't inside Fontana. I sat at the
19 reception for a while, and that is a space that is separate from the
20 space where the meeting was held. After that, I was in front of the
21 hotel; I walked around. I was checking the police that was providing the
22 security, and I wasn't inside, and I don't know the details about this
24 Q. Okay.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I interrupt you for a moment. Just a
1 follow-up question to this: On page 17, line 25, we see in the
2 transcript that you said, and I would like to ask you to clarify that:
3 "Since I attended the previous two meetings, I knew" - and I think
4 there's a mistake - "... what the content of this one would be."
5 And this refers to the third meeting. Where have you been during
6 the first two meetings? Did you attend them, or were you present in the
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I want to be precise.
9 I attended the first two meetings in the Fontana hotel. And I was at a
10 place from which I could see what was going on. However, I wasn't one of
11 the participants in the meeting. I didn't represent anybody at the
12 meeting and I didn't take part in the meeting in that sense.
13 So, at the first meeting, the participants were General Mladic,
14 General Jankovic and later General Zivanovic.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Previous translation continues] ... That is not
16 my question. Sorry, this is not my question. I would like to know where
17 precisely you have been during these meetings, in the room or outside the
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I can remember, I wasn't
20 inside that room. It's a small space. It's a small room and I was
21 three, four, or five metres outside, in a bigger room, from which then
22 you can enter the small room.
23 Maybe I can draw a sketch. That would be the easiest way.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Previous translation continues] ... I just wanted
25 to know your position while the meeting was going on. Thank you very
2 Mr. Thayer, please continue.
3 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Q. I want to go back to when Colonel Jankovic came out of the third
5 Fontana meeting and gave you some instructions.
6 Now, if I understand you correctly, you don't want to describe,
7 in a military sense, some of your activities as coordination, to use that
8 technical term. And if I understand you correctly, that's because you
9 understand that word in a military sense to connote actual command
10 authority. Is that -- do I have that correct? Do I understand your
11 position correctly, sir?
12 A. I think that you understood me well, yes. Yes, you understood
13 me, yes.
14 Q. And, again, just so you know, the Prosecution's position is not
15 that you were, in fact, a commander in the sense that, for example,
16 Colonel Blagojevic was a commander. We understand that. What I want to
17 focus on are your acts, what you actually did, and what you observed.
18 Now, what did, if you can recall as precisely as possible, what
19 did Colonel Jankovic tell you to do and what to expect?
20 A. What I remember is that Colonel Jankovic told me that I should
21 help to carry out this operation in Srebrenica. And as I've already
22 stated, this operation also included the transfer of the women and
23 children by buses to the territory controlled by the Muslims in Kladanj,
24 while the able bodied, military aged Muslims should be temporarily
25 separated and detained.
1 There's a question that I posed to Colonel Jankovic. I asked who
2 was going to do all this and what was going to take place in Potocari.
3 He said the following: The activities relating to this operation had
4 already been agreed. It means that the commanders which were to be
5 engaged in Potocari had already received their assignments. He said that
6 they are already in Potocari.
7 Now, when it was, where they received those assignments, and from
8 whom, that I wouldn't know. I only know what I heard.
9 Q. And in this conversation with Colonel Jankovic, was the execution
10 of the Muslim men discussed?
11 A. No. Colonel Jankovic did not mention this subject.
12 Q. Did he give you the name of anyone, any officer in particular, to
13 connect with in Potocari?
14 A. Yes. He mentioned an officer, among other officers, called
15 Dusko Jevic. He was an officer from the Special Police Brigade of
16 Republika Srpska.
17 Q. And did Mr. Jevic have a nickname?
18 A. If I remember it correctly, his nickname was Stalin.
19 Q. Can you tell us what you did and what you saw in Potocari on the
20 12th of July.
21 A. On the 12th of July, as I already written in the statement, I
22 spent part of the time in the operations room and part of the time in
23 Potocari. In Potocari, I recognised, because I knew them, members of
24 some units that were engaged in Potocari, people who were present in
25 Potocari on the 12th. If it's necessary, I can list their names and the
1 units that were present in Potocari.
2 Now, as far as I know for sure, there were parts of the Bratunac
3 police there. Then, parts of the 2nd Infantry Battalion. A little bit
4 later, during the day, also the representatives of the
5 3rd Infantry Battalion arrived. Further on, there were members of the
6 public security station in Bratunac. So members of the civilian police.
7 Then, there were parts of the 10th Sabotage Detachment of the Main Staff.
8 Also present were the members of the police from the
9 65th Protection Regiment of the Main Staff, from Nova Kasaba, they were
10 headquartered in Nova Kasaba. Then, there were also parts of the
11 military police from the Drina Corps command. And the soldiers from the
12 detachment called the Drina Wolves, Vukovi Sa Drine. I'm not sure if I
13 maybe forgot to mention somebody now, but these are people that I knew.
14 A number of them had been engaged in Bratunac before. I mean here the
15 police forces from the corps and from the 65th Protection Regiment.
16 Later on I realized that what Colonel Jankovic had told me was
17 true. The forces in charge of the evacuation were already there. My
18 task was to help those people. By that I mean to help the officers and
19 the units because I was a local inhabitant and I knew the situation and
20 the area very well, and I also knew a large number of people who were
22 What I helped on the 12th was mainly the help to Dusko Jevic.
23 There was some problems, you know. First, there were problems with
24 water. I think that Major Kingori asked me to secure some water, so I
25 went to Bratunac and secured a cistern of water to be brought to
1 Srebrenica. And then there was a huge crowd around the buses when the
2 buses arrived and they had to turn. That's when I told Mr. Jevic that
3 all this should be moved 2 or 300 metres away, to an area that was a bit
4 wider. That's where the buses could have been parked and all this could
5 have been performed more easily on that spot. Then, further on, what I
6 was doing during all this was solving the problems that arose when the
7 transport began. But I have to mention one more thing, what I saw before
8 the transport itself began.
9 When the separation began, in Potocari, General Mladic was
10 present there and other people. I am not going to list them all. I
11 think that there are few officers from the Main Staff and from the
12 brigade commands who were not present in Potocari on the 12th. I can
13 tell that you everybody was there present, and everybody wanted to see
14 that. When the separation began, I know this for sure because I saw it,
15 that there was General Mladic and Ljubisa Borovcanin and the commander of
16 the specials, and Jevic, and other officers. And I saw something that
17 was terrible. I saw mistreatment of those who were separated. I saw
18 beating, cursing. I saw when they were separated. I saw that they were
19 taking away their personal belongings, their bags, their money,
20 everything that they had. And the people who were separated were then
21 temporarily detained in some abandoned Muslim houses. Later on, they
22 were transferred to Bratunac.
23 So cursing, mistreating, beating, taking away of their property,
24 throwing away of the personal belongings, that's what I saw when I was
25 present there on the spot. In my testimony, I expressed my regret, that
1 I did not react in this situation. I said then, and I'm saying this now,
2 that it was my obligation, regardless of the consequences, and that I had
3 to at least try to protect those people. In my testimony, I said that I
4 did not do that and that I regret it.
5 However, there is a fact that I would like to mention here, and
6 that's through -- I simply didn't have the strength, didn't have the
7 force, didn't have the units. I didn't have the authority as well, by
8 this, I mean command authority with which I could prevent it. I could
9 maybe go against it as a human being. I did a similar thing back in 1992
10 and I ended up in hospital. And to be quite honest, there was the
11 10th Sabotage Detachment there and the Drina Wolves and others and
12 because of them, I simply couldn't do anything to protect those people,
13 although I really disagreed with what was going on. I kept my silence.
14 I didn't react. I didn't help. But, on the other hand, I didn't touch
15 anybody and I didn't do anything. That's what I wanted to say.
16 The transport began between 1.00, half past 1.00 or 2.00. I
17 wouldn't know more precisely. As far as I know, and I testified about
18 it, the first convoys contained a certain number of men. Why? I think I
19 testified about it, and that no special comment is needed here. Those
20 men were there for propaganda purposes. It wasn't something done in good
21 faith. That's my personal opinion. It may be untrue, but that's my
22 personal opinion. Later convoys that went to Kladanj were mostly empty.
23 Excuse me, by that I meant to say that there were no men in them; only
24 women and children.
25 And I would just like to say one more thing. You asked me what
1 else I did on the 12th. When the convoys started to leave, there were
2 problems about the passage of the convoys through the town. Civilians
3 gathered there. Mostly, they were mothers of the combatants who had been
4 killed and their relatives. So the buses had to pass through the
5 Bratunac town and during their passage through town, maybe 7 or 800
6 metres, the buses were stoned. I endeavoured to resolve the situation,
7 to engage the civilian police, and to engage some people in the military
8 police in order to prevent all this. And then when I wasn't in Potocari,
9 I would return to the operations room. And then I would receive
10 everything that would come in, and I would report about everything that I
11 was requested to report on. While I was absent, I was replaced in the
12 operations room by junior officers from the operations sector from the
13 logistics, from the quartermaster service, and others. So when I
14 returned, I had all the information they received from the superior
16 So this in briefest possible terms how it went.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I make a note.
18 You said on page 28, lines 8 and 9, "I think I testified about
19 it, and that no special comment is needed here."
20 Just to remind you, but especially the Prosecution, this is a
21 viva voce witness. The previous testimonies are not in evidence in this
22 case. Just to clarify the situation.
23 And another thing. You said on page 27, and I quote, line 1
24 through 4: "I think that there are few officers from the Main Staff and
25 from the brigade commands who were not present at Potocari on the 12th.
1 I can tell you that you everybody was there present and everybody wanted
2 to see that."
3 What do you mean by "everybody was there"?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wanted to say that on the 12th,
5 the first day after the Srebrenica enclave officially fell and the Serb
6 military police forces entered Potocari, all the officers who were
7 present on that day in the zone of responsibility of the Bratunac Brigade
8 in Bratunac, also were in the enclave. By this, I mean to say that they
9 were in Potocari and they saw everything that I saw going on in Potocari.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Again, what do you mean by "all of them"? Who
11 were they?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Excuse me, I can list the names, if
13 you want. First, my brigade and the officers of my brigade.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I'm specifically interested in the Main Staff you
15 was -- you were referring to that and in the Drina Corps command. Were
16 all members of the Main Staff and all members of the Drina Corps command
17 present in Potocari on the 12th, where you saw them?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Maybe just one reservation: All
19 those who were in Bratunac at the time, not all the members of the
20 Drina Corps command. Those who were not there were not there, of course.
21 So from the corps command, it was General Krstic,
22 Lieutenant-Colonel Popovic, Lieutenant-Colonel Kosoric,
23 Colonel Acamovic -- the chief of transport service, Lieutenant-Colonel
24 Krsmanovic. Then General Mladic. Colonel Jankovic. The commanders of
25 the brigade that took over Srebrenica. The commander of combat groups
1 that took over Srebrenica. Then the officers from the police. I listed
2 those whom I could remember from the Main Staff, and those are the people
3 who were in Potocari at that time.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Judge Nyambe has a
6 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
7 I just need some clarifications, if you can give.
8 At today's transcript, page 27, in answer to the previous
9 question, you have said the following questions -- you have said the
10 following: "I did a similar thing back in 1992 and I ended up in
12 Can you please explain what you did and how you ended up in
13 hospital? Thank you.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course. In 1992, at the very
15 beginning of the war, sometime in May, conflict broke out in Bratunac.
16 At the time, or before the -- the conflict, I was the assistant commander
17 for intelligence affairs. When the conflict broke out, in the Bratunac
18 staff, the commander was a Muslim, deputy commander was a Muslim, the
19 logistics man a Muslim too. And just before the conflict broke out, they
20 left for Tuzla. They were afraid of everything that took place after
21 that in Bratunac.
22 I remained in the staff, and since there was nobody else in the
23 staff except me and one assistant for the call-up and one clerk for
24 operations and training, I received a temporary assignment to lead the
25 staff. It wasn't really a staff anymore. It had disintegrated. The
1 Muslims left, the commander, the assistant commander and the assistant
2 for the logistics, they left, and only three Serbs remained. And that's
3 when I was performing that duty. On that fateful day, when I was
4 attacked, they -- there were volunteers in Bratunac, as well as certain
5 people from Bratunac itself, the village of Kravica. The neighbours were
6 the Muslims in Sandici. And up to that point, the operations were going
7 on related to the combat in Bratunac and taking over of certain
9 A group of the volunteers, together with the chief of the MUP,
10 together with the group from the Kravica village, which is purely Serb
11 village, and Sandici is purely Muslim village, they went by cars, without
12 any approval, without any plan. They entered with their cars, passed
13 through the check-point, and entered the village of Sandici. People in
14 the village, Muslims, armed people opened fire and there were some people
15 who were killed on that occasion. Among them, it -- among those people
16 who were killed was the chief of the public security station, Milosevic,
17 and I was blamed for everything that happened.
18 So people from the village of Kravica blamed me, saying that I
19 was responsible for it, saying that I didn't give them the military, that
20 I didn't give them the reinforcements. When they asked me whether I
21 would allow them to go and evacuate them, I said that I'm not going to
22 ban anything but I'm certainly not going to order somebody to go and
23 evacuate the people who went there of their own free will. That's when I
24 was attacked and mistreated, and after that, I was sent to the hospital.
25 I was in hospital in Serbia, in Sabac, and after that I was transferred
1 to Belgrade for treatment. And then after that, I had to re-convalesce
2 for about four or five months.
3 Now how I looked like and what happened and what happened at the
4 hospital, I can provide a full set of documents. I don't have it here,
5 but I can provide it if the Trial Chamber is generally interested in
6 knowing what happened at the time. I truthfully said that I couldn't
7 stand to see children that I taught being killed in Bratunac. And all
8 these things actually related to these killings that were committed by
9 both the Serb and the Muslim side. As I said, all this is contained in
10 documents. After I recovered from the shock, I told the doctor that I
11 cannot any longer observe how the children from the school where I taught
12 were being killed in Bratunac.
13 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you. I have another question, if I may.
14 Just very briefly please, don't go into great detail. At page
15 28, lines 9 and 10, have you said -- maybe I should give it more context.
16 "I think I testified about it and that no special comment is
17 needed here. Those men were there for propaganda purposes."
18 Which men are you referring to here? Thank you.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very briefly. That referred to the
20 first convoy. Maybe I was not clear enough. So I was talking about the
21 first convoy that left Potocari towards Kladanj. And there were Muslim
22 refugees, women and children in that convoy. However, among them was a
23 number of Muslim men who were fit for military service.
24 So there were men, a number of men in this first convoy, and I
25 said, given the fact that I saw a lot of things and -- before that and
1 what I saw afterwards, when all the able-bodied men were separated, I
2 assert here that that was just done as a means of propaganda, that they
3 wanted to show to the international community that there were men among
4 the people in convoy and that we were doing nothing wrong. That was my
5 impression. However, later on, that turned out to be true, because there
6 were no men in subsequent convoys other than in the first one.
7 And if I may give you an additional confirmation of what I'm
8 telling you now. I have information that a number of these people, of
9 course, I cannot validate that because I have no proof - that a number of
10 men from this first convoy en route at the check-point in Kravica,
11 Konjevic Polje and Tisca, that is to say, just before they crossed over
12 to the Muslim-controlled territory, a number of these men were separated
13 at these check-points. This particularly refers to Tisca check-point, so
14 at the very crossing where they disembarked from the buses, they were
15 separated and detained. This is the information that I have. I don't
16 know if it is true but I would like to tell you this. I don't want to
17 keep quiet about that.
18 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think it's really time for the first break. We
20 must have the first break now and resume five minutes past 11.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.37 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 11.11 a.m.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Thayer.
24 Mr. Thayer, please go ahead.
25 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. And I -- I note that I'm
1 arriving at the unsatisfactory situation about 20 minutes left of my
2 eight-hour estimate. I can tell the Trial Chamber I've cut a number of
3 exhibits from my examination. I've tried to limit and focus the
4 examination but I will respectfully request some additional time to
5 complete this examination as I think it needs to be completed. I'm
6 trying to do not too much detail, but enough so that the important points
7 are brought out for the Trial Chamber. I will have a couple of more
8 documents when we're done with the narrative portion of Mr. Nikolic's
9 testimony but I will need to exceed my eight-hour estimate, and I ask for
10 the Court's indulgence and patience with that. I think we've hit a lot
11 of important issues --
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I need a specific request. How much additional
13 time do you need?
14 MR. THAYER: If I could have to the end of this session. I can
15 do that without having to rush unnecessarily, without having to elide
16 issues which the Trial Chamber may want to hear something about. So if I
17 could have to the end of the session, I think we'll be able to really do
18 the job.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And the same would be the case for the Defence
20 during cross-examination.
21 MR. THAYER: No question, Mr. President.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Go ahead, please.
23 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Q. Sir, I want to pick up with Potocari on the 12th and the 13th.
25 You described a number of units being present on the 12th. You
1 mentioned civilian police. And at one point, as it was translated, you
2 mentioned Bratunac police. My question simply is: Were there elements
3 of the Bratunac Brigade military police present in Potocari on the 12th
4 and 13th?
5 A. Yes. I answered this question. I think I did mention the
6 military police unit. Elements of the Bratunac Brigade were engaged in
7 Potocari on the 12th and 13th.
8 Q. And you also mentioned the 65th Protection Regiment, and you
9 indicated that their police unit was there. Again, is that a military
10 police unit that's attached to the 65th Protection Regiment, sir?
11 A. I wouldn't say that that was the police attached to the
12 65th Regiment. As far as I know, but, again, don't take my word for it,
13 because I'm not an expert in organisational structure of a regiment, but,
14 as far as I know, they do have police forces as their elements. In any
15 case, elements from the 65th Protection Regiment were engaged in
17 Q. And, again, just to clarify, this may be obvious to you, sir, but
18 we're talking about a military police. We're not talking about civilian
19 police when we're talking about the 65th Protection Regiment. Is that
21 A. Yes, that's correct. We are talking about military police.
22 Q. Now, you indicated before the break at one point that you
23 reported to your commander, Colonel Blagojevic, about certain events.
24 Can you tell the Trial Chamber what it was that you reported to him on
25 the 12th of July?
1 A. I said that I informed Colonel Blagojevic about all the events
2 that occurred on the 12th of July during the day and until the moment I
3 reported it to him in the evening. So I informed him about all the
4 issues that I already mentioned earlier, and I wouldn't like to repeat
6 Q. And without getting into details, did you report to him what your
7 activities were on the 12th?
8 A. Yes. I told him that on the 12th, although he did know that
9 anyway, that I was duty operations officer, first in Potocari, and that I
10 was also engaged in the preparations for the meeting. I told him what I
11 did and what the commander of the military police did with that respect.
12 I also informed him about the situation in Potocari. I reported
13 everything that I did and saw to him. But I think it is necessary for me
14 to tell you that my commander, regardless of the fact that it was my duty
15 to inform him about everything, my commander had that same information
16 and a commander should have more information than anyone in the brigade.
17 But, nevertheless, I informed him about the transportation issues, about
18 the problems that I noticed, about the separation, about the intentions,
19 and about everything that I knew.
20 Q. And going into the 13th, Mr. Nikolic, did Commander Blagojevic
21 adjust your tasks at all for the 13th of July? Did he tell you not to do
22 anything, or did he tell to you do anything more, or different? Did he
23 adjust them in any way?
24 A. There was no particular change, except that on the morning of the
25 13th, I finished my shift as a duty operations officer because the shifts
1 started at 7.00 p.m. and lasted until 7.00 a.m. on the next day.
2 As far as my tasks are concerned, with regard to the operation
3 that took place on the 12th, was to continue with the activities that I
4 was involved in on the previous day and that that was my main task, as
5 far as I was concerned at the time.
6 Q. And, sir, in your experience when a superior officer does not
7 interfere with the tasks or adjusts the tasks of a subordinate officer,
8 what message does that communicate to the subordinate officer about
9 whether or not to continue with the previous tasks?
10 A. Of course, if there is nothing new, there are no objections, and
11 there are no new orders, it is only logical for a person to continue what
12 they were doing before, and that implies that, to my understanding, the
13 commander agrees with what you are doing.
14 Q. And did you go to Potocari on the 13th?
15 A. Yes, I did. I spent sometime at the brigade, and after that, I
16 left for Potocari. And that was more or less my first task on the day.
17 Q. And did you encounter Dusko Jevic, aka Stalin, again on the 13th?
18 A. If I remember correctly, I saw him on the 13th, and I
19 communicated with Dusko Jevic. That was the only officer, as far as I
20 can tell, that I had direct contact with.
21 Q. And was there any information that you had acquired that you
22 shared with Mr. Jevic on the 13th?
23 A. Yes. On the morning of the 13th, I already had a lot of
24 information relating to the overall situation primarily to the movement
25 of the Muslims and the capture of Muslims in the Konjevic Polje sector.
1 When I saw Jevic on the 13th, I told him if he can get in touch with the
2 police elements that were on the Bratunac-Konjevic Polje road, to tell
3 them that the people captured there should be gathered in Konjevic Polje
4 and then transferred to Bratunac to the facilities that had already been
5 designated for detention.
6 Q. And, sir, what was your understanding of what would happen
7 ultimately to those men who were captured along that road and transferred
8 to the Bratunac area?
9 A. In view of all the circumstances and everything I saw and heard
10 beforehand, and in view of the overall situation that prevailed in this
11 area, because I have to emphasise this, that the area where Srebrenica --
12 of Srebrenica, Bratunac is the area where a terrible crime and bloodbath
13 took place in the previous period, and I knew everything that had
14 happened before, because I was a native of that area, my conclusion was,
15 and I was convinced that all those who were captured on that road would
16 be taken to Bratunac and that they would end in the same way as those who
17 were taken to Potocari. Because, in my opinion, there was no distinction
18 between the treatment of those who were captured on the road and those
19 who were separated on the 12th and detained in the Vuk Karadzic
20 elementary school.
21 Q. And when you say "end up in the same way," what do you mean?
22 A. I meant just like all the others that were detained beforehand
23 would be killed. Just as it happened with those who were taken to
24 Bratunac. They were all killed.
25 Q. And just to be clear on the record, I see at line 3 of page 39,
1 what's written here, sir, is: "They would end in the same way as those
2 who were taken to Potocari."
3 Is that what you meant to say, that they would end up in the same
4 way as the men taken to Potocari, or did you mean something else?
5 A. I said those who were taken from Potocari and detained in the
6 Vuk Karadzic elementary school in Bratunac.
7 Q. Okay. Now to move things along a little bit, on the 13th, it's
8 fair to say you went to Konjevic Polje twice; is that correct?
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. Tell us about the first time you went there.
11 A. The first time I went to Konjevic Polje was around 1230 hours, if
12 I remember correctly, and the reason was, the information that along this
13 road Bratunac-Konjevic Polje-Nova Kasaba, the commander of the Main Staff
14 was to pass along that road. I took all the necessary security measures
15 along the route of the corps commander or the commander of the
16 Main Staff, and my duty was to check the situation on the road. Along
17 with a member of the military police of the Bratunac Brigade, I travelled
18 in a Golf car and I inspected that section of the road. Perhaps half an
19 hour later, because the distance is about 20 kilometres, I arrived in
20 Konjevic Polje.
21 If you are interested in what I was doing in Konjevic Polje and
22 the rest of it, I can tell you about that, but basically that was my
23 first visit.
24 If you want to hear about my next visit, I stayed in
25 Konjevic Polje for a certain period of time, and then after
1 General Mladic passed through, I returned to Bratunac.
2 Q. And did you actually have personal contact with General Mladic in
3 Konjevic Polje on the 13th?
4 A. Yes, I did. As he was passing through, he stopped in
5 Konjevic Polje, and I reported to him in Konjevic Polje. I walked up to
6 him. I greeted him, and I said, Commander, sir, all is well, the road is
7 accessible, as one does report in the military.
8 Q. And did General Mladic say anything to any of the prisoners who
9 were present in that area?
10 A. Yes. There were prisoners there already. And General Mladic
11 actually addressed them, and said in the briefest possible terms that
12 everything would be all right, that they would be transferred, that they
13 should not worry, and that is what he said to them directly.
14 After that, he set out towards his vehicles and behind him was
15 his security detail, including the security detail from my Bratunac
16 Brigade that escorted him all day. Already on the 13th, there were quite
17 a few refugees and the situation was rather chaotic. I asked him,
18 General, sir, what is going to happen to these people? What do we do
19 with these people? And he did not say anything. He did not communicate
20 verbally with me, he just did this with his hand. It was just a gesture,
21 and it was clear to me what it was, this gesticulation of his. After
22 that, he got into the car and went towards Nova Kasaba.
23 Q. And just so we can have a description on the record, sir, the
24 motion you're describing General Mladic made with his hand was a flat
25 wave with his palm down across his chest level from left to right; is
1 that correct?
2 A. Well, basically the way I showed you. I can demonstrate it
3 again, that's what you saw.
4 Q. No, that's fine. Sir we just need something in the transcript,
5 something to memorialise it.
6 And at some point did you also encounter a man by the name of
7 Resid Sinanovic?
8 A. Yes, of course.
9 Q. And, please, briefly tell us what that was about.
10 A. After, or rather, before I returned to Bratunac, in
11 Konjevic Polje as far as the police was concerned - not the military, the
12 civilian police - I was told by them that they had an important prisoner
13 and they told me who it was. When they told me the name, it was
14 Sinanovic, Resid Sinanovic. He is a man I knew all my life in Bratunac.
15 He is a person who lived and worked in Bratunac all his life. In
16 addition to the other duties he had, he was chief of police, chief of
17 civilian police in Bratunac. Together with that policeman who went with
18 me we got into the car. We took Resid. He sat in the back seat, and we
19 brought him by car to the Bratunac Brigade. I personally and that
20 policeman handed over Resid Sinanovic to the military police and we
21 handed him over to directly to Zlatan Celanovic who worked there as a
22 legal officer and basically conducted interrogations in 95 per cent of
23 all cases. He interrogated prisoners of war and he did everything else
24 that was related to the collection of information, questioning of
25 prisoners of war, seeing whether there were elements of crime involved
1 and so on.
2 To the best of my knowledge Sinanovic was questioned by
3 Zlatan Celanovic. There is a paper which is a record that he kept.
4 While he was in Bratunac, he was visited by his friends, his Serb friends
5 who lived and worked with him, and after that questioning,
6 Zlatan Celanovic told me later that to the best of his knowledge and on
7 the basis of the questioning, he was no criminal, there were no elements
8 of crime involved at all, and that he decided to transfer him to the
9 Vuk Karadzic school where the other prisoners were.
10 As for my further knowledge, it is as follows. On the 14th,
11 together with the convoy that went to Zvornik, that is to say, together
12 with the other prisoners, Resid Sinanovic was transferred as well. You
13 know just like I do what happened in the Zvornik brigade. Mass killings
14 took place. Inter alia, according to the information gathered and the
15 knowledge of my own lawyers, Sinanovic was wounded in Zvornik. He swam
16 across the Drina. Zvornik is on the Drina river. He swam across the
17 Drina river, and he found himself in another state, in the Republic of
18 Serbia. He came to a tavern, the people who kept that tavern recognised
19 him and took him to Banja Koviljaca. My lawyers, after I decided to
20 admit my guilt and after my lawyers investigated all of that, as for the
21 complete documentation regarding Sinanovic's stay in the hospital, they
22 handed it over to the OTP.
23 After that, my lawyers also informed me that they had established
24 that Resid Sinanovic was taken over, that the police from Zvornik, I
25 don't know which one, took him over and that as for this information that
1 Resid Sinanovic was in the hospital, was provided by a lady doctor who
2 had worked in Bratunac before that, and who used to be a neighbour. She
3 and Resid Sinanovic lived on the same floor. She recognised him. She
4 called the police in Bratunac, and they probably called the police in
5 Zvornik, and according to the investigation of my lawyers, they came to
6 realise that Resid Sinanovic was taken over from the hospital and
7 liquidated, killed on the bridge between the Republic of Serbia and
9 Q. And when you refer to Mr. Sinanovic being treated in a hospital,
10 was that hospital in Serbia or in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
11 A. The hospital was in Serbia.
12 Q. And can you tell the Trial Chamber about your second trip to
13 Konjevic Polje?
14 A. Yes, I can.
15 My second trip to Konjevic Polje took place right after my
16 return, after I was there the first time with the Golf car. The second
17 time I went there was with the commander of the military police,
18 Mirko Jankovic and the deputy commander, Mirko -- no, not Mirko,
19 Milo Petrovic, sorry. We went in an APC. Mirko Jankovic, the commander
20 of the military police, knew how to drive an APC. We took an APC that
21 was at the headquarters of the Bratunac Brigade and belonged to the Dutch
22 battalion. It wasn't only one of them. Mirko Jankovic knew how to drive
23 it. We took the APC and got into the APC and went in that direction.
24 As we were moving in that direction, that was on the 13th,
25 sometime in the afternoon, as far as I could see from Sandici all the way
1 to Konjevic Polje, there were police forces of Republika Srpska, and
2 along that road there were prisoners that were moving along in groups.
3 In Sandici, there were some who had been taken prisoner there and then
4 all the way up to Konjevic Polje. When I arrived in Konjevic Polje,
5 there were already a great many prisoners there.
6 I don't know what else you're interested in, in relation to that
7 road or journey.
8 Q. Well, do you recall there being a loud-speaker on the APC?
9 A. Yes, of course.
10 Q. And did anybody use that loud-speaker for any purpose?
11 A. Yes. Mirko Jankovic, after we had passed Kravica, roughly after
12 Sandici, used that loud-speaker that was in the APC, in addition to all
13 the other equipment, Mile Petrovic was calling upon the Muslims to
14 surrender. He used that loud-speaker for that.
15 Q. And on this trip, did any Muslim men, in fact, surrender to you?
16 A. Yes. As we were moving towards Konjevic Polje, at some point
17 after Sandici, Pervani or I don't know exactly, but along that road, we
18 caught up with a group of six Muslim men who were walking. We stopped
19 the APC and we got the six Muslims into the APC and then we brought them
20 to Konjevic Polje. We stopped the APC in Konjevic Polje in an area that
21 was in front of the intersection and I said to Mirko, or rather, to
22 Mile Petrovic that the prisoners should be taken to where the others
24 After a while, Mile Petrovic returned. I was sitting right there
25 by the intersection. On the left-hand side, there is a house when you're
1 coming from Bratunac. It had been torched but there was a concrete
2 terrace down there, a sort of porch, and there was a fire and they were
3 preparing some food. I was sitting there. After a while, I heard a
4 burst of gun-fire. Mile Petrovic walked up to me, and he says literally,
5 Boss, I have just avenged my brother. And I said, You did what? And he
6 said, I killed them.
7 I asked him, What have you done? And he said there was a yellow
8 cooperative building right there and then there is this small river, and
9 he said that he took these people behind this yellow building and killed
10 them. I didn't go there to see whether he had actually killed them or
11 not. Quite simply, I was sick of everything. I didn't do anything about
12 it. As I've said a countless number of times so far, I didn't do
13 anything about it, and I should have done something about it. I should
14 have reported it to Celanovic. I said to Celanovic what happened, but I
15 didn't do anything official. I did not take any official measures and I
16 think I was supposed to have done so.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Mindua has a question.
18 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, my apology, Mr. Prosecutor.
19 Before we move on to another topic, I would like to go back to the
20 transcript, page 40, but also page 41.
21 Witness, on page 40, line 22 to line 24, you said that
22 General Mladic said to the prisoners that nothing untoward would happen
23 to them.
24 And then, on page 41, line 5 to 8, when you asked General Mladic
25 what would happen to the prisoners, he made a gesture that you also made
1 in the courtroom. What does this gesture mean exactly?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Since I know General Mladic, It is
3 easy for me to know what he meant, but, believe me, in that area of mine
4 where I live, in my country, that gesture and that reaction to my
5 question, General, sir, what's going to happen to these prisoners
6 actually? Well, what I can say to you is that I put that question with
7 good reason, because I saw what was happening. I saw what was happening
8 in Potocari. I saw the same promises in Potocari. And the distribution
9 of chocolates and everything else, and I knew what was behind all of
10 that. I knew what was in the making for these people. Also, when he did
11 that with his hand, when I asked him, General sir, what will actually
12 happen to these people because I did not believe, I personally did not
13 believe what he was saying. And I asked him what's going to happen to
14 these people and he did this with his hand. And, for me, that meant that
15 these people would be killed. I could not draw any different conclusion
16 from that reaction of General Mladic's. Indeed, afterwards, that is what
17 happened to these people. They were detained, they were transferred to
18 Bratunac and Zvornik and they were killed. Nothing else. Since I saw
19 everything in Potocari, I could not draw any other conclusion.
20 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Very well, sir. When
21 General Mladic did that with his hand, it was clear in your mind that
22 those people were going to be killed. So one could draw the following
23 conclusion. When General Mladic was talking to the prisoners, you were
24 fully aware that he was lying to them. He was lying to them, wasn't he,
25 about what would happen to them, right?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've already said that I was
2 absolutely suspicious as to the truthfulness of his promises and what he
3 was saying. That was my suspicion. I couldn't say anything to him but I
4 didn't trust him either. Or, rather, I did not believe those words,
5 those promises that he was making to them as he was speaking to their
6 faces. He was saying that they would be safely transported and they
7 would be fine. And in Potocari, he was singling out people who had
8 nothing to do with the military whatsoever. I swear on my life that most
9 of the people taken out in Potocari had nothing to do with the military,
10 never participated in the military, never carried a rifle, and they were
11 singled out, nevertheless. That, quite simply, led me to disbelieve him.
12 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, witness.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe has a question.
14 JUDGE NYAMBE: To follow up on Judge Mindua's question. Did you
15 disbelieve [Realtime transcript read in error "believe"] General Mladic
16 then or now only?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not believe General Mladic
18 what he was saying then. I did not believe the sincerity of his
19 intention even then. I did not believe that he would keep the promises
20 that he was making to the prisoners in Konjevic Polje when he addressed
22 JUDGE NYAMBE: I just -- I am sorry, are you still talking?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Let me say this too. As for
24 many decisions and many things if you're asking me personally, I did not
25 believe a great many things, and I disagreed with a great many things.
1 However, at the time, opposing General Mladic or saying something
2 contrary to their position was tantamount to suicide. I never tried to
3 oppose him or to publicly express my dissatisfaction or disagreement with
4 his decisions. Heaven forbid. Perhaps some had the courage to do so,
5 but not me.
6 JUDGE NYAMBE: I just wanted to correct the transcript my
7 question was, "Did you disbelieve", not "believe General Mladic". Just
8 for the record to be corrected. Thanks.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And we all heard that in that way. I think that
10 was very clear and I hope the witness understood it in the correct may.
11 Mr. Thayer, please continue.
12 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. Before we move to the next set of events, do you know two men
14 named Nenad Deronjic and Mirko Peric?
15 A. Nenad Deronjic. I think that you mispronounced the last name.
16 He and Mirko Peric are members of the public security station in
17 Bratunac, members of the police station.
18 Q. And do you recall seeing either of those men on either of the two
19 trips you took to Konjevic Polje on the 13th of July?
20 A. Yes. I saw both of them.
21 Q. And do you recall whether it was the first trip or the second
22 trip, or can you not recall? Or both trips.
23 A. I think I saw them on both occasions. Because I was there within
24 three or four hours. Well, I'm sure that I saw both of them. Let me not
25 guess now. But they were there when I came to Konjevic Polje.
1 Q. Okay. Sir, did you return to your command sometime on the 13th,
2 after these trips to Konjevic Polje?
3 A. Yes. After a while, in the afternoon, say, sometime between
4 5.00, 5.15, 5.30, I don't know exactly what time it was, it wasn't dark
5 yet but it was well into the afternoon.
6 Q. And can you tell the Trial Chamber, were you contacted at some
7 point that -- that evening to meet someone?
8 A. Yes. At one point, after I arrived in the command of the
9 Bratunac Brigade, I went to the kitchen. After that, to the operations
10 room. I don't remember exactly any longer. But I know that I was
11 informed from the communications centre, they told me that, on that
12 evening, I was supposed to report to Colonel Beara in the centre of the
13 town of Bratunac.
14 Q. Do you remember approximately when you were contacted by your
15 communications centre?
16 A. Well, I don't know exactly. The people from the communications
17 centre would know that best. As far as I can remember, sometime between
18 5.30 or, rather, 6.00, perhaps a bit later, perhaps a bit earlier, but I
19 really do not recall those details any longer. However, I know that they
20 informed me.
21 Q. And on the 13th of July, 1995, did you know who Colonel Beara
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 Q. Had you met him previously?
25 A. Yes, I had met him. I contacted Colonel Beara several times. I
1 sat with him, saw him personally.
2 Q. And what types of activities were those contacts in connection
4 A. Well, for the most part, these contacts related to this
5 professional area. Before the Srebrenica operation, I think that
6 General -- sorry, I misspoke, Colonel Beara, came to Bratunac regarding
7 the entire situation in Srebrenica. Actually, he wanted to contact
8 Naser Oric, so it was along those lines. Those were the questions
9 involved. It had to do with intelligence and security, basically.
10 Q. And did you, in fact, meet with Colonel Beara on the evening of
11 the 13th of July?
12 A. Yes. After they informed me, I went to meet Colonel Beara in the
13 town of Bratunac, in the centre of town.
14 Q. Tell us about that meeting, sir.
15 A. After this information, I came to town. I came to Bratunac. And
16 let me just say for Their Honours, let me explain something in relation
17 to the town of Bratunac.
18 When I say that we met in the centre, it's a town that has one
19 street, one hotel, one municipality building, and that's it basically.
20 Wherever you come from, you are practically in the centre of town. It's
21 a tiny town. I found Colonel Beara round there, in that square where the
22 centre of town is. And Colonel Beara ordered me to go to Zvornik and to
23 convey to Drago Nikolic, chief of security of the Bratunac Brigade, that
24 the prisoners who are in Bratunac should be transferred to the area of
25 responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade and that the duty of
1 Mr. Drago Nikolic was to prepare the facilities there and other things so
2 that these refugees from Bratunac could be put up in the facilities of
3 the Zvornik Brigade.
4 Q. Now, sir, first of all, I note in the transcript that -- it
5 indicates that you said that Drago Nikolic was the chief of the security
6 of the Bratunac Brigade. Is that correct, sir, or is he the chief of
7 security of some other unit?
8 A. I apologise, I must have made a mistake. Drago Nikolic is the
9 chief of security in the Zvornik Brigade. I apologise.
10 Q. And did Colonel Beara order you to inform Drago Nikolic about
11 anything else that would happen to the prisoners once they reached the
12 Zvornik Brigade area of responsibility?
13 A. Yes. Colonel Beara also spoke about the fact that all the
14 prisoners in Bratunac were to be transferred over there and that they
15 should be temporarily detained in those facilities.
16 He said that the prisoners who would be transferred down there
17 would also be killed after being detained in the Zvornik Brigade. I have
18 to say that, at the time, everything was quite clear to me. Even if
19 Colonel Beara had said nothing to me, at the time I was fully aware of
20 what was going to happen to them. I knew that these people were going to
21 be transferred and that they were going to be killed in Zvornik.
22 Q. Sir, did you follow Colonel Beara's order, to inform
23 Drago Nikolic?
24 A. Yes. I carried out that order. I went to the Zvornik Brigade
25 and I transmitted the orders. I told them what Colonel Beara told me to
2 Q. Tell us about your trip to the Zvornik Brigade.
3 A. Yes. After I received the order from Colonel Beara, I took the
4 car and went to the Zvornik Brigade. It's about 40 kilometres away from
5 Bratunac. I used the same road that I mentioned just a moment ago,
6 Bratunac-Konjevic Polje-Drinjaca-Zvornik, and after about one hour or one
7 hour and 15 minutes, or maybe even slightly longer, I arrived at the
8 command of the Zvornik Brigade. I parked the car in front of the
9 command. And at the entrance I reported to the booth at the entrance,
10 which is the usual place where all the visitors have to register. Before
11 I entered, I have to say that I did not have my ID and I didn't have an
12 official ID. However, I, and all other officers from the brigade had
13 some sort of ID card showing my picture, first and last name, and my
14 brigade. So I had a card saying Momir Nikolic, captain, chief of the
15 security organ. That's what I showed them.
16 There were some soldiers in front of the booth, and inside the
17 booth there were about two, three, or four other soldiers. I can't
18 remember precisely. I told the person working in the booth whom I was
19 looking for. He assigned a policeman to escort me inside the command of
20 the Zvornik Brigade.
21 After the booth, I went to the building where the command was. I
22 arrived in an office, and I was told that this was the office of the
23 operations duty officer. I said that I was looking for Drago Nikolic and
24 that I was supposed to transmit a personal order to him that I received
25 from Colonel Beara. I was told that Drago Nikolic was not in the
1 Zvornik Brigade, that he was currently performing duty officer's tasks at
2 the forward command post of the Zvornik Brigade. In the meantime, they
3 called a soldier, an officer, and that person who arrived in the office
4 asked me whether he could help me. I said no, I have to transmit this
5 order personally to Drago Nikolic. I cannot transmit this order to
6 anybody else.
7 That's when they gave three this policemen as an escort. I left
8 the command. I took the car again and we went together to the forward
9 command post of the Zvornik Brigade. As I've already testified, it
10 seemed to me that it took us about 30, 35, or 40 minutes by car. First,
11 we drove on a tarmac road, and after that, we turned onto a dirt road.
12 And that policeman held me to reach that forward command post. I turned
13 the car, I reversed into the courtyard. The policeman went in and called
14 Drago Nikolic. Drago Nikolic came out to the stairs in front of house.
15 That's when I transmitted the order I received from Colonel Beara to
16 Drago Nikolic.
17 I told him that I was ordered to tell him to expect that evening
18 and in the following period that all the prisoners in Bratunac would be
19 transferred. He was supposed to secure facilities and buildings. I said
20 to Drago Nikolic that I know that I'm convinced that this is my estimate,
21 that those people were going to be killed in the territory of Zvornik.
22 Drago did not comment that. After I transmitted him this order, he told
23 me, I am the duty officer here. I'm going to call my command, and then
24 I'm going to see what needs to be done.
25 So this was the sequence of the events. So the transmission of
1 this order, or that conversation, lasted for maybe five, six, seven, ten
2 minutes at most. I took the car again, returned to the Zvornik Brigade.
3 I left that police escort there. And then I returned back using the same
4 road to Bratunac.
5 Q. On the way back from Zvornik, did you observe anything noteworthy
6 that you recall on the road as you returned to Bratunac from Zvornik?
7 A. On that road, while I was going back from Zvornik to Bratunac, I
8 saw buses going towards Zvornik. Not many of them. Two, three, four
9 buses at the most. But that's the only thing that I saw on that road
10 while I was returning.
11 Q. Tell us what happened when you returned to your command that
13 A. After I returned that evening, I went to the Fontana hotel. It
14 means that I did not go straight to the command. I went to the Fontana
15 hotel. And since Colonel Beara was in that hotel, I went to report back
16 to him and to tell him that I had carried out his order.
17 I found him in the Fontana hotel, and I told him that I found
18 Drago Nikolic and transmitted the order.
19 Q. And what happened next, sir.
20 A. After that -- now I should tell you one thing that I consider
21 very important. When I returned to Bratunac, it was already the 13th,
22 around midnight. There was general chaos in Bratunac. Never in my life
23 have I seen a greater chaos and more problems in such a small area as the
24 centre of Bratunac. That's a place that I know very well.
25 So when I returned to Bratunac, Bratunac was full. Everywhere in
1 all the street, in the playground, at the entrance to the playground, at
2 the plateau, in all the parkings [as interpreted] in the town, buses were
3 parked with the people who had been captured at Konjevic Polje and
4 brought over there. Later on, I found that all the prisoners who were in
5 Kasaba and Konjevic Polje, that they were all transferred to Bratunac.
6 So this was a terrible situation. It was a chaos, an anarchy.
7 Colonel Beara asked me and told me that he was supposed to meet the
8 president of the SDS and the chief of the centre, and he asked me to take
9 him there because the meeting was supposed to take place at the premises
10 of the SDS in Bratunac. And, of course, I went there with Colonel Beara.
11 We walked. It's maybe 30, 40, metres. We walked to that building and I
12 took him into the office of the SDS president, Miroslav Deronjic.
13 Q. And what happened next, sir?
14 A. In Miroslav Deronjic's office, there was Miroslav Deronjic, then
15 Colonel Beara arrived with me and after a short time, Colonel Vasic
16 arrived as well.
17 Now, to be brief, at the very beginning, there were some terrible
18 misunderstandings. In other words, Deronjic and Colonel Beara started to
19 quarrel. They started to quarrel over the status of the prisoners. They
20 quarrelled about what was to be done. What I wanted to say here is that,
21 at that meeting, people who were present, Deronjic, Colonel Beara, and
22 Vasic, openly spoke about the killings, about the killings of the
23 prisoners. They spoke quite openly about the killings of the people who
24 had been captured and detained. They discussed their status and what was
25 to be done. Deronjic and Beara quarrelled about it. They both quoted
1 the instructions received from their respective bosses.
2 It went on like that for a while, and after that, they sat down
3 and then they started talking in a calm voice, also discussing what was
4 to be done. I have already testified on a number of occasions about the
5 fact that Miroslav Deronjic wanted -- and I heard that and I saw that.
6 Miroslav Deronjic wanted all the prisoners to be removed from the
7 Bratunac territory, no matter what cost. And that was a contradiction.
8 I want to tell you what was really going on. Colonel Beara sends me to
9 Zvornik so that Drago Nikolic could secure space and facilities. In the
10 meantime, those orders and those decisions were probably changed. Now I
11 was duty operations officer. I know exactly how these things are done.
12 Every half an hour you would receive an oral decision, an oral
13 order, an oral change of the position. And Colonel Beara insisted there,
14 while I was present there, that they should remain in Bratunac. In that
15 moment, I wasn't quite clear what it was all about. He told me to go to
16 Zvornik, and now he is insisting that they should remain in Bratunac.
17 And, of course, after this quarrel, after this conversation, I realized
18 that those orders, the orders received by Miroslav Deronjic via the
19 civilian line and Colonel Beara via the military line were not harmonised
20 and were contradictory and hence the misunderstanding and the quarrel.
21 Later on, they agreed that all the prisoners, all the soldiers, all the
22 people who had been imprisoned and who were coming from that direction
23 should be transported to the Zvornik Brigade the following day. And
24 that's what happened the following day, on the 14th, in the morning.
25 All the prisoners from all the facilities in Bratunac, from all
1 the buses parked in Bratunac, were escorted and transported in the
2 Zvornik municipality in the zone of responsibility of the
3 Zvornik Brigade.
4 Q. Let me --
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I? A very brief question to that.
6 Where were you at that point in time?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that point in time, I was at the
8 premises of SDS. And those premises consist of one office. There's a
9 table --
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Previous translation continues] ... this is
11 fine. That is what I wanted to know. Thank you.
12 Mr. Thayer.
13 MR. THAYER:
14 Q. So, sir, were you inside this room where this meeting was
15 occurring between Beara, Vasic and Deronjic?
16 A. No, I did not participate in the meeting. I did not sit at the
17 same table with them in that room.
18 Q. And how far away from the room were you?
19 A. One metre. If the room where I was sitting was here, which is
20 the register office that is where the secretary of the president normally
21 sits so there are three or four chairs, and immediately after 1 metre you
22 leave this space and you enter the office of the SDS president. The door
23 was open all the time, at least all the time while I was sitting there.
24 Many other people would come in and come out, so it was not more than 1
25 metre. That's where this other room was, and they were sitting at the
1 table in that other room.
2 Q. Now what exactly was Mr. Vasic's position at this time?
3 A. As far as I know, Mr. Vasic was the chief of the security centre
4 in Zvornik at the time.
5 Q. Now, you told us a few minutes ago that Colonel Beara and
6 Mr. Deronjic both spoke about intentions and their bosses. Who was
7 Mr. Deronjic's boss? When you referred to his boss, who was he referring
9 A. I know exactly whom he referred to. Mr. Deronjic would often
10 invoke the president -- President Karadzic. And I'm convinced that at
11 that moment, he also meant President Karadzic.
12 Q. And when Colonel Beara referred to his boss, who was he referring
14 A. I think, or, well, it's not that I think. I'm sure that there's
15 nothing -- that it's nothing unclear. All of us, including
16 Colonel Beara, would call General Mladic our boss. So when Colonel Beara
17 mentioned a boss, he meant General Mladic.
18 Q. Now, do you remember - I'm just going to quote to you from what
19 you said in the Blagojevic trial, and this is at transcript page 1752 -
20 do you remember giving the following answer, and I quote: "Also what I
21 heard was that Miroslav Deronjic said that he had already spoken to
22 President Karadzic and that he had his directives and orders to the
23 effect that all those prisoners should be transported towards Zvornik."
24 Do you remember giving that answer; and, if you do, do you stand
25 by that answer, sir?
1 A. Yes, I remember that. And I stand behind that. It is true that
2 Miroslav Deronjic said that.
3 Q. Now, you told us about what you described as a misunderstanding
4 between Colonel Beara and Mr. Deronjic at the beginning of the meeting.
5 And you described for us this inconsistent or this inconsistency that you
6 described of, on the one hand, being ordered by Colonel Beara to go to
7 Zvornik; and, on the other hand, you're overhearing Colonel Beara say
8 that the men had to remain in Bratunac. What was Colonel Beara saying
9 would happen to the men that he said needed to stay in Bratunac?
10 A. Well, at the time, and now we are talking about the 14th in the
11 morning, approximately half past midnight. It was absolutely known at
12 the time that all prisoners would be killed. Nobody had to say anything
13 more about it. It was known at the time.
14 The only question was whether those people were going to be
15 killed in Bratunac or whether they were going to be transferred to
16 Zvornik and killed there. Everything was clear at the time.
17 Q. Well, help clarify for us, sir, who -- you said that the
18 participants in this meetings were openly discussing the killing of
19 prisoners. Who was talking about killing the prisoners; and what did
20 they say, as best as you can remember?
21 A. Both Miroslav Deronjic and Colonel Beara and Colonel Vasic spoke
22 about it. I heard them saying, Colonel Beara on one hand, and
23 Miroslav Deronjic as well, I heard them discussing where the killings
24 were to take place, what was going to happen to the prisoners from
25 Bratunac. I heard them saying that they received instructions from their
1 respective bosses about what to do with those people. That's what I
2 heard in this conversation between Beara and Mr. Deronjic.
3 However, I would like to say one more thing. I don't know what
4 exactly they received as an instruction, and when, and how. That I don't
5 know. But I did hear and I did see what they were talking about. What
6 they were quarrelling in the beginning.
7 Q. And who was saying that the men had to be killed in Bratunac?
8 A. Then, at that meeting, everybody thought that they should be
9 killed in Bratunac. At the very beginning, Colonel Beara was the one who
10 insisted that they should remain in Bratunac, regardless of the fact that
11 I had already travelled to Zvornik to transmit his order. I don't know
12 exactly what happened, but I can assume that probably in the meantime in
13 all this confusion, there was a change of the order. The change of the
14 instruction that he had received beforehand. But I don't know that. I
15 cannot speak about that. I don't know from whom he received this order.
16 I said only what I know.
17 Q. And when you overheard Colonel Beara talking about men needing to
18 be killed in Bratunac, do you know from what you were overhearing whether
19 he was referring to all of the men who were in Bratunac; or some of the
20 men who were in Bratunac; or do you not know?
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to greet everybody and
23 may this trial end up in accordance with God's will.
24 I would like to greet Mr. Nikolic as well.
25 But, please, Mr. Nikolic did not say that Colonel Beara said they
1 should all be killed in Bratunac. He said that they should remain in
2 Bratunac. We all heard that very clearly. Could you please check the
3 transcript. I would like the witness to be asked direct questions
4 without imputing something that he didn't say.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, that's true that the witness said,
6 on page 60, line 15, "At the very beginning Colonel Beara was the one who
7 insisted that they should remain in Bratunac," but we heard from the
8 witness as well, that all participants of that meeting agreed that they
9 should be killed. This was my understanding.
10 Please carry on, Mr. Thayer.
11 MR. THAYER:
12 Q. Again, Mr. Nikolic, please tell the Trial Chamber exactly what
13 you can remember Colonel Beara said about what was going to happen to the
14 men who were being detained in Bratunac.
15 A. If you are referring to this meeting at the SDS headquarters, I
16 already told you everything I know about that.
17 So Colonel Beara, Miroslav Deronjic, Mr. Vasic, all of them,
18 after this initial disagreement, were taking the same position. And they
19 knew, and I vouch for that, they knew that those prisoners were going to
20 be killed. There was no discussion whatsoever about how they would be
21 killed, where, or when. There was no discussion on these matters.
22 What I already told you is that none of the three did not have
23 any doubt about the fate of those people, whether they would be killed or
24 not. So this issue was never discussed at all. The fate of those men
25 was already decided after the midnight of the 14th, and this is what I
1 saw -- and heard.
2 And, please, let me finish by saying this. During the
3 conversation, and they put forward this as the strongest of arguments,
4 that in the implementation of what they were proposing to be done, that
5 they were -- these proposals were endorsed by their respective bosses.
6 Mr. Deronjic made reference to President Karadzic, and I know that
7 Mr. Mladic was the only man in the Main Staff of the VRS who was always
8 referred to as The Boss. So this is what I heard during that meeting.
9 Q. Okay. Now, sir, I know you've talked about this on prior
10 occasions, but this is the first time that this Trial Chamber is hearing
11 your testimony, so let me just make sure that the record is clear about
12 what you are saying. And let me start from the end of the meeting,
13 because that's what you were just focussing on.
14 By the end of this meeting, based on what you were overhearing,
15 was there an agreement among these three men about, number one, where
16 these prisoners would be taken?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And where were they to be taken?
19 A. They agreed for those prisoners to be transferred to Zvornik.
20 Q. And, number two, at the end of this meeting, was there an
21 agreement among these three men as to what would happen to those
22 prisoners after they were taken to Zvornik?
23 A. Yes, that's what I said as well. I already answered that
24 question. Yes, there was agreement on that.
25 Q. And what was the agreement among those three men about what would
1 happen to those prisoners once they reached Zvornik?
2 A. I think I said that about a dozen times. The prisoners who were
3 to be transferred to Zvornik would be killed there as well. And I think
4 that in my previous answer, I gave you all these answers.
5 So the prisoners from Bratunac were to be killed in Zvornik.
6 Q. Now, let's go back to the beginning of the meeting. You've told
7 us that there was a misunderstanding at the beginning of this meeting.
8 A. Yes, that's what I said.
9 Q. Tell us precisely what it was that Colonel Beara and Mr. Deronjic
10 were disagreeing about at the beginning of the meeting.
11 A. I already answered that question as well. Miroslav Deronjic
12 insisted that all the prisoners be taken away from Bratunac; whereas,
13 Colonel Beara insisted on their staying there and not being moved
14 anywhere else.
15 Q. And why was there this disagreement between Mr. Deronjic and
16 Mr. Beara about these prisoners who, in the beginning of the meeting
17 Colonel Beara was saying had to stay in Bratunac? Why was there this
18 disagreement at the beginning of the meeting?
19 A. Based on what I know and what I can conclude, the main reason was
20 probably because the two of them had different orders or different
21 instructions from their respective bosses. I cannot think of any other
23 Q. Well, based on what you heard, why did Mr. Deronjic not want
24 those prisoners to stay in Bratunac?
25 A. Probably because he knew that the prisoners would be killed. He
1 probably didn't want those killings to be taking place in Bratunac.
2 Q. And what was Colonel Beara saying that you heard at the beginning
3 of this meeting about what would happen to those prisoners who were going
4 to stay in Bratunac?
5 A. I really don't know. Either we don't understand each other or
6 maybe I'm not understanding your question.
7 So if you are referring to what Beara was saying in terms that he
8 openly said that those men should be killed then and there, there had
9 already been an agreement on that. And I reiterate, once again, that I
10 did not hear any of them talking about this specific problem. There was
11 a general statement that those men would be killed. But I frankly don't
12 remember that the conversation took that course and that Beara explicitly
13 said that they had to stay in Bratunac because they would be killed
14 there. That was self-explanatory. Everybody knew that that was going to
15 happen. I really don't recall, although I'm a bit tired at the moment,
16 but I think that I did not hear such an explicit statement. No matter
17 how hard I try, I really cannot remember any specific detail outside of
18 what I already told you. I know that they discussed other issues as
19 well, but I don't remember this particular moment that you are asking me
20 about, whether he explicitly said they should stay here because we want
21 to kill them here and to that Deronjic said that they should be removed.
22 There was every indication that if they insisted on them staying
23 in Bratunac, I suppose that the decision was already made to have them
24 killed in Bratunac. But that's what -- what basically I heard, because I
25 didn't have any other information. On the other hand, I understand the
1 position of Mr. Deronjic, because that was a terrible problem for them to
2 have these people staying there only for two days, let alone to have them
3 killed there. And I only assumed that that was the reason why Deronjic
4 wanted to get rid of them.
5 This is what I can tell you.
6 MR. THAYER: Mr. President, I see we're at the end of the
7 session. I have one more topic to cover. It's a relatively short topic
8 and then a couple of documents and --
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, this is very unfortunate. We are ten
10 minutes over time because we started ten minutes later for the last
11 session. You indicated you needed this last session which is more than
12 you indicated earlier. Perhaps you spent too much time at the beginning
13 of the testimony of this witness but this is really unfortunate that
14 we -- you indicate now, again, that you need additional time.
15 We have to consider this.
16 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President. I --
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could you indicate what topic you want to raise
18 with the witness.
19 MR. THAYER: There is the topic of the reburial operation, which
20 is part of the indictment. Certainly a very important part of this case.
21 And the role of the Main Staff in that operation. That is the last topic
22 I need to question Mr. Nikolic about, and then have I some very important
23 documents to review with Mr. Nikolic which shouldn't take too long to get
24 through. But they are, again, key documents which he is uniquely
25 situated to tell you about.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Again, the Chamber is really concerned about the
2 wrong estimation of time. And this is not the first time. We discussed
3 it several times, and this is really very unsatisfactory. If you know
4 that you will deal with very specific and important documents and issues,
5 you should know that in advance.
6 MR. THAYER: I do know that, Mr. President, my estimates are
7 clearly problematic. I can tell you that we have arranged our schedule
8 so that it is flexible. This extra time that I need will not affect the
9 scheduling of the next witnesses. It will not interrupt the order of the
10 next witnesses. And again I thank the Trial Chamber for the additional
11 time I have been given, and I think I can finish these last topics and
12 documents in another half an hour.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: How can we rely on this information? Based on
14 past experience.
15 MR. THAYER: That's the best I can do, Mr. President. All I can
16 do is apologise again and ask for the time that I need to do the job.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We must have our second break now, and we will
18 resume ten minutes past 1.00.
19 --- Recess taken at 12.44 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 1.14 p.m.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, to repeat what has been said several
22 times, we have to rely on the estimation of both parties for their
23 respective examination. It is very unsatisfactory to be in a position to
24 have additional estimates several times, like today, we would -- we grant
25 now another extension of your time for examination-in-chief but only for
1 the last session of today. That means we have started five minutes late.
2 We have 35 minutes. You have to complete your examination-in-chief in
3 this time. Otherwise we can change the whole situation and don't rely at
4 all on your estimation, especially your estimation. And this is very
5 unsatisfactory. We made it clear very frequently and you should take
6 that, please, into account. There are two possibilities to achieve this.
7 One is to focus on the most important parts of the examination at an
8 earlier time during the estimated time. And the second is to avoid
9 repetitions. As the witness told us during the last session, he had
10 formed the impression that several questions were already answered and
11 please bear that in mind during the last session. Otherwise, we have to
12 discuss it at another time. We shouldn't waste time now. You please go
13 ahead with your examination.
14 MR. THAYER: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Nikolic.
16 A. Good afternoon.
17 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber what you know about an operation
18 to rebury the bodies of those Muslim men and boys executed after the fall
19 of Srebrenica.
20 A. I will try to explain in the shortest possible way what I know
21 about that case.
22 Sometime in September 1995, the Bratunac Brigade command was
23 visited by Mr. Vujadin Popovic who was the chief of the security of the
24 Drina Corps. According to the information I have, he first contacted
25 Colonel Blagojevic, and after that he came to see me. He told me that he
1 had received an order or that he has to convey an order to me from the
2 Main Staff to the effect that the bodies buried in the graves in Glogova
3 should be relocated to the territory of Srebrenica municipality because
4 Glogova and these other graves were in the territory of Bratunac
6 That task was supposed to be carried out and to involve more or
7 less all structures. In brief, what took place was the following. This
8 operation, and according to what I heard later, was requested by the
9 Bratunac civilian authorities and their representatives. Why and how it
10 was carried out, I don't know, and I don't know that to this date. I
11 didn't try to find out any details. However, the relocation of the
12 bodies from the graves in Glogova, the bodies of the killed Muslim men,
13 was carried out by the police of the Bratunac Brigade who provided
14 security and rerouted the traffic to Konjevic Polje-Drinjaca road and
15 also from the direction of Ljubovija, Bratunac towards Konjevic Polje,
16 the traffic was rerouted towards the Drina and Drinjaca and that road
18 In addition to the police of the Bratunac Brigade, there were
19 also civilian police officers from the Bratunac public security station.
20 Also involved in the operation were representatives of the civilian
21 authorities, i.e., the president of the municipality, and the chairman of
22 the executive committee, and other people, such as the chief of the
23 public security station of Bratunac. The role of the civilian
24 authorities in this whole operation was as follows. After the request
25 was made for exhumation and relocation from Glogova, a meeting was held
1 in the municipal building of Bratunac, which I attended, pursuant to an
2 order from Colonel Blagojevic. It was agreed on that occasion that the
3 civilian authorities would make all the necessary preparation in terms of
4 the logistical support for the planned operation. So the president of
5 the municipality and the chairman of the executive committee invested
6 their authority and ensured that the companies from Bratunac and
7 Srebrenica that had civil engineering machinery to place the machinery at
8 the disposal for reburials. So various companies were involved in this
9 operation, such as the utility company of Bratunac, the Ciglane
10 socially-owned enterprise and the machinery from the Sase Mine, from the
11 company called Radnik and other enterprises were included as well.
12 As far as military units are concerned, in addition to the
13 military police, the 5th Engineering Battalion was engaged. They had
14 their HQ in Konjevic Polje, and it belonged to the Drina Corps.
15 Q. And approximately how long did this operation take, sir?
16 A. This operation lasted for a long time. Of course, there were
17 some interruptions, but, to the best of my recollection, it lasted
18 roughly from September all the way through the entire month of October.
19 I really don't know exactly. There were interruptions. There were some
20 problems, but basically it lasted for a very long time.
21 Q. May we have P1219, please.
22 A. I'm sorry, if I may add something for the sake of clarification.
23 This operation was referred to in my brigade as asanacija.
24 Q. And that word, "asanacija", sir, does that in and of itself have
25 a military meaning?
1 A. Yes. Asanacija of terrain is one of the military measures or,
2 rather, one of the measures of the civilian protection which involves the
3 cleaning of the area, the removal of dead bodies of people or animals
4 that are found in the areas where combat operations had been conducted.
5 Q. Sir, please take a look at your computer. Do you see an image on
6 your screen? Tell us what that is, if you recognise it.
7 A. Yes, I do. This is a booklet, but I don't know exactly what
8 format is, but it refers to the meetings of the 1st Bratunac Light
9 Infantry Brigade.
10 MR. THAYER: May we have page 11 in English, and page 24 in the
11 B/C/S, please.
12 Q. Now, at the top of the page, we can see that this entry is
13 headed; working meeting of commander with Command Staff and battalion
14 commanders. The date is 16 October 1995. The time is 0800 hours.
15 Do you see that, sir?
16 A. Yes, I do.
17 Q. Let's scroll down to the bottom of the page, please, and if we
18 can, blow up the bottom quarter where there is a reference to Nikolic. I
19 don't think we can get much bigger. Can you read that, sir? There's an
20 entry at the bottom of the page.
21 A. Yes, of course, I can.
22 "Today we would lock the village of Slapovici ... in order to try
23 and catch the remaining Turks. According to the detainees' statements
24 and we have seven of them, there are several handguns and some foreign
25 currency received against receipts, therefore, I'm asking for a decision
1 to be made what to do with all this."
2 And the last sentence reads: "We are currently engaged in tasks
3 issued by the Army of Republika Srpska Main Staff (asanacija or hygiene
4 and sanitation measures)."
5 Q. Now, first of all, your name is written here. Are you writing
6 this, or is somebody else writing this?
7 A. No, I didn't take those notes. Somebody else -- some other
8 officer who was present at the brigade command took these notes.
9 Q. And who is Nikolic that's referred to here?
10 A. That's me.
11 Q. And if we look at the original, if we focus on the original
12 version, the very last word in this entry is "asanacija", and it's in
14 A. Yes, I can see that.
15 Q. And is that the word that you used at the time, to describe this
17 A. I used the word because this entire operation was conducted under
18 that name, "asanacija", in inverted commas, was a term that would be used
19 also in the context of exhumation and relocation of grave-sites.
20 Q. Now, sir, you know what the term "asanacija" means. In your
21 experience, was your use of this term "asanacija" a real one? Were you
22 really referring to this as asanacija, as you knew asanacija was
23 typically employed as a military practice?
24 A. Well, in practice, I can tell you that I used to teach the
25 subject, and I can tell that you in this context, the word "asanacija"
1 cannot be applied. It does include everything that I mentioned earlier,
2 the cleaning up of the area, the removal of dead human bodies and bodies
3 of animals, carcasses, but basically it does not involve reburials.
4 That's not part of asanacija. Because it involves burial of all the
5 bodies and carcasses that may cause the outbreak of some infections,
6 diseases and pose a hazard to health. But, in spite of that, that is why
7 we call this operation asanacija in my brigade, and my commander knew
8 very well that that included, among other tasks, reburials, or -- or
9 exhumations and reburials.
10 Q. Was this supposed to be a secret operation, sir? Or was this
11 supposed to be an open, public operation?
12 A. The original intention was for it to be a secret operation, and I
13 can say to you what practically happened.
14 The intention was to keep it secret. However, in view of the
15 number of participants and everything that happened within the context of
16 that operation, it was not a secret one in any one of its segments.
17 There was no secrecy, and everybody was involved. The civilian,
18 military, police authorities. That cannot be secret.
19 Q. And why was it supposed to be a secret, sir?
20 A. Well, probably I can just speculate now why it was supposed to be
21 a secret, because exhumations and relocations of bodies were supposed to
22 be carried out secretly. If somebody had the intention of keeping this
23 secret, then all the evidence was supposed to be removed. All traces
24 were supposed to be removed. That is what crosses my mind now. I was
25 not the one who was determining the secrecy of the operation involved.
1 Others asked for that. I tried to keep it secret to the extent to which
2 it was possible, but I claim now that it was simply not possible to carry
3 that operation out in secret.
4 Q. Okay. I want to show you two more documents, sir.
5 MR. THAYER: If we could have 65 ter 252, please.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Would you please check the number again. 252.
7 Now it is clear on the record. Thank you.
8 MR. THAYER: And if we could advance in the B/C/S two pages,
9 please. And if we could advance in the English three pages, please.
10 Q. Sir, have a moment and familiarize yourself with this document.
11 MR. THAYER: We need the ...
12 [Prosecution counsel confer]
13 MR. THAYER: In English, may we have the translation for
14 00663722, please.
15 Q. Now, sir, if we --
16 A. Yes. Excuse me. I know which document is involved. However, it
17 is very illegible, so I cannot read all of it. But I do know the
18 document concerned, because I saw it before testifying.
19 Q. Now, let's go to the next page in B/C/S. Stay where we are on
20 the English, please.
21 I just want you to see the next page in the B/C/S.
22 You see, this is a handwritten document with the initials RJ on
23 the bottom. Did you see that, sir?
24 A. Yes, I see that.
25 Q. Okay. And, now, if we can go to the first page. We can see here
1 that it -- and that's page 3. We can see the number 08-34/95 in the
2 handwritten version.
3 And if we could go to the first page in the B/C/S. And if we can
4 blow up the top part there that you've got. We can see it's, again,
5 08-34/95. But if we scroll down --
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In fact, we can't see it in this copy on the
7 screen. It is really nearly illegible. But in the -- in the English
8 translation we see that number.
9 MR. THAYER:
10 Q. And if we scroll down on the original sir, can we see whose name
11 is there. Can we see your name typewritten, Momir Nikolic?
12 A. Yes, I see that.
13 Q. Now so we saw a handwritten version of this with the initials RJ.
14 And then we see a typed version of the same document with your name on
15 the bottom. Can you tell the Trial Chamber what happened with this
16 particular report? And then I'll ask you some questions about it. Why
17 are there the initials RJ on the handwritten version and then your name
18 on the typewritten version.
19 A. This is precisely a confirmation of what I spoke about over the
20 past few days or perhaps even today during my testimony.
21 Colonel Jankovic, Radoslav Jankovic, sat in my office and from my office
22 he wrote reports. What happened in this case? What happened was that
23 Colonel Jankovic wrote in his own hand this handwritten report. I was
24 present there, I was there together with him and then after that, I took
25 the handwritten report and I took it to the communications centre, where
1 the centre was for sending these reports and dispatches.
2 So the operations man, whose name was Tomo, at the communications
3 centre, he took this, typed it up, and since he knows me personally, he
4 did not look at all at the initials that were at the bottom of the page.
5 He wrote my name and title. That is what actually happened. That was
6 the situation. With 100 percent certainty. Nothing else.
7 Q. Okay.
8 A. Sorry, just one more thing. 08 is my number in that period. I
9 know that for sure. Also, this is an indicator that that comes from my
10 organ, yes, from the security and intelligence affairs organ.
11 Q. And we see in the third paragraph, and I'll just read it into the
12 record. This is dated 18 July 1995. Colonel Jankovic writes: "The
13 Medecins Sans Frontieres convoy which arrived on 18 July 1995 at 1400 at
14 the Ljubovija crossing for transportation of their staff from the
15 UNPROFOR base in Potocari was sent back for procedural reasons
16 (apparently they should have entered via Zvornik).
17 "Will you please use your influence to see to it that all UN and
18 international organisation transports go via Ljubovija, otherwise we
19 shall have difficulties providing them with escort."
20 And then he writes: "Will you please tell me what stand to take
21 in terms of authorisation for evacuation of the international
22 organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres, in fact, how to deal with
23 so-called local staff. This also applies to the interpreters of military
24 monitors and UNPROFOR.
25 "State security department passed on to us an opinion, that
1 President Karadzic had allegedly abolished all local staff who used to
2 work for UNPROFOR. It is our opinion that they should not be held."
3 Can you tell the Trial Chamber what this question that
4 Colonel Jankovic had on the 18th of July about what to do with these
5 local staff people of these NGOs and UNPROFOR was all about? Why does he
6 have this question?
7 A. I remember this telegram because, with regard to this telegram,
8 it was Colonel Jankovic and I that took part in writing it up.
9 As for the persons and the question that we put, it has to do
10 with persons who were employed with the international organisations there
11 and the Dutch battalion, which is to say that some Srebrenica Muslims
12 worked for the ICRC, for Medecins Sans Frontieres, in the UNPROFOR base
13 as technical personnel, electricians, locksmiths and so on and so forth.
14 Our question from this text was what to do with them further on. As you
15 read out, you saw what the civilian structures thought. We presented our
16 view, namely, that we think that these people who worked for
17 international organisations, throughout their stay in Srebrenica and
18 Potocari, that it would be advisable for them to leave the territory
19 together with the organisations that they worked for. Now why did we
20 propose that? I think there is no need to comment on it any further. We
21 thought that they had no responsibility whatsoever, that they did not
22 carry rifles, that they did not fight against the Serb side, that they
23 hadn't done a thing, and that, quite simply, if they are separated and
24 detained, together with all the others, or if they are detained and sent
25 to other institutions, that it wouldn't be fair, it wouldn't be right,
1 and that they should leave the territory together with those for whom
2 they had worked.
3 Q. What did you and Colonel Jankovic think would happen to these
4 local Muslim staff members if they weren't permitted to evacuate with the
5 international MSF staff?
6 A. Well, if the path of all of those imprisoned were to followed, I
7 mean, those who had previously been taken prisoner and transferred to
8 Zvornik and all of those who ended up in Zvornik and we know how they
9 ended up, they were killed, then we were practically certain that these
10 people, if they are separated and if that path is followed, they would
11 not survive either. And that these people would be executed, killed,
12 there was no reason whatsoever for them to be treated any different from
13 what they actually were.
14 Q. I just have one more document for you sir.
15 MR. THAYER: And, Mr. President, I would like to tendered 65 ter
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
18 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter document 252 shall be assigned exhibit
19 number P2168. Thank you.
20 MR. THAYER: May we have P18, please.
21 Q. Sir, do you recognise the item that we have up on the screen? Do
22 you recognise what that is? And if you want the original, I have the
23 original here.
24 A. I recognise the document. This is the notebook of the duty
25 officer of the military police.
1 Q. I want to show you a couple of entries in this document.
2 MR. THAYER: If we could go to page 13 in the English, and 16 in
3 the original.
4 Q. We can see here this is an entry for the 12th and 13th of July,
5 1995. And there's an entry here that the police were engaged in securing
6 the UNHCR and the surrender of the Muslim people. And then there's a
7 further reference to night duty in Fontana and the UNHCR school --
8 "securing the UNHCR in the school."
9 Sir, is this reference to UNHCR correct?
10 A. No, no. I know what this is all about. The military police,
11 policemen, did not distinguish between the DutchBat or UNPROFOR and the
12 UNHCR. They knew of that concept, and that's what they wrote up. I can
13 claim here with full responsibility that this had nothing to do with the
14 UNHCR and they were not being secured there. Most probably, no. It's
15 not most probably. It is for sure that it -- what was meant was securing
16 DutchBat, who were in Bratunac at the time.
17 MR. THAYER: May we have page 14 in the English and this will be
18 page 17 in the B/C/S, please.
19 Q. We see here this is the entry for the 14th and 15th of July. The
20 notation is: "The police was engaged in the escort of Muslim refugees."
21 What is this a reference to, sir, on the 14th and 15th of July,
22 this reference?
23 A. Yes. I think I mentioned that while testifying today.
24 On the morning of the 14th of July, from Bratunac a convoy of
25 refugees left towards Zvornik and was escorted. Within the escort, the
1 military police of the Bratunac Brigade were involved as well, among
3 MR. THAYER: And may we have page 16 of the English and 19 of the
4 B/C/S, please.
5 Q. We can see an entry dated 17th of July, 1995. And there's a
6 reference to: "One police patrol remained in Pilica" --
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Thayer, sorry for interrupting you. I don't
8 think we have the right English translation on the screen. Now it's
10 Please continue.
11 MR. THAYER:
12 Q. "One police patrol remained in Pilica to secure and guard the
14 What's that about? Can you tell the Trial Chamber, sir.
15 A. Yes. After a while, I heard this information from
16 Commander Mirko Jankovic, who told me that, on the 17th, on that day, a
17 patrol that escorted the convoy was kept in Zvornik to help in providing
18 security for the prisoners in the territory of Zvornik. Now what they
19 did over there, where they provided this security, I can only comment
20 upon in this way: That it's the area of Pilica. But what actually
21 happened, what they were securing, well, anyway, this is the information
22 that I received from the police commander.
23 MR. THAYER: And if we could have page 19 in the English and page
24 22 in the B/C/S, please.
25 Q. While we're waiting for that, sir, can you tell us how many MPs
1 would typically comprise a patrol?
2 A. It depends. It depends on the purpose of the patrol. Generally
3 speaking, we would consider two policemen a patrol. But it really isn't
4 a rule. It would all depend on the task. Three or four of them could be
5 possible as well.
6 Q. We're looking at an entry for 20 July 1995 and there's an entry
7 here that states: "Two Muslims who were turned back from Serbia were
8 also brought in and put in custody."
9 What can you tell us about that, sir? "Two Muslims who were
10 turned back from Serbia were also brought in and put in custody?"
11 A. Yes, I can, of course. In that period and after that period,
12 which means for a longer period, because this doesn't apply only to that
13 period, after the fall of the Srebrenica enclave, members of the Muslim
14 army from the Srebrenica enclave would cross into Serbia, across the
15 Drina river. The police of Serbia, as a different state, would discover
16 them, arrest them, and hand them over to the border police in Bratunac.
17 It would happen at the border crossing between Bratunac and Ljubovija.
18 And then the border police would hand them over to the Bratunac Brigade.
19 We didn't have a jail in the Bratunac Brigade. We only had one
20 space for detention. So, depending on the decision where they had to be
21 transported, we would forward them to the facility in Vlasenica, the jail
22 in Vlasenica, or in Knezina, or in Batkovic.
23 Q. And the facility in Vlasenica, was that known as Susica?
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This should be your last question.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, there was only
1 one facility in Vlasenica, one jail. And I think that the name was
3 MR. THAYER:
4 Q. Thank you, Mr. Nikolic, that concludes my direct examination.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. We have spent more time, as
6 usual. We are over time now. We have to adjourn and resume tomorrow
8 Please be patient again. You have to return to the courtroom for
9 cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir.
10 Thank you very much. We adjourn.
11 [The witness stands down]
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.56 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 7th day of April,
14 2011, at 9.00 a.m.