Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 18889

 1                           Tuesday, 7 February 2012

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.

 5             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Good morning to everybody in and around the

 6     courtroom.

 7             I am sure that we will find a solution about the question we have

 8     discussed yesterday, but we should discuss that in the presence of the

 9     witness in private session.  And, therefore, the witness should be

10     brought in, please.

11             Mr. Tolimir.

12             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Lord's peace upon this house, and

13     let the outcome be determined by the providence.

14             My proposal is that the next session we begin with the video

15     footage about the events that the witness described, and then I will

16     proceed with my questions without mentioning any names.  Thank you.

17                           [The witness takes the stand]

18             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Thank you very much for that.

19             Good morning, sir.  Welcome back to the courtroom.  I have to

20     remind you that the affirmation to tell the truth you made at the

21     beginning of your testimony yesterday still applies.

22                           WITNESS: RATKO SKRBIC [Resumed]

23                           [Witness answered through interpreter]

24             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  We have to discuss a procedural matter and we

25     turn into private session.

Page 18890

 1                           [Private session]

 2   (redacted)

 3   (redacted)

 4   (redacted)

 5   (redacted)

 6   (redacted)

 7   (redacted)

 8   (redacted)

 9   (redacted)

10   (redacted)

11   (redacted)

12   (redacted)

13   (redacted)

14   (redacted)

15   (redacted)

16   (redacted)

17   (redacted)

18   (redacted)

19   (redacted)

20   (redacted)

21   (redacted)

22   (redacted)

23                           [Open session]

24             THE REGISTRAR:  We are back in open session, Your Honours.  Thank

25     you.

Page 18891

 1             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Thank you.

 2             Mr. Tolimir, please go ahead.

 3             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.  Once

 4     again, Lord's peace on this house.  And let the outcome of this trial be

 5     decided by providence, not by my wishes.

 6                           Examination by Mr. Tolimir: [Continued]

 7        Q.   [Interpretation] My greetings to Mr. Skrbic.  And I wish him a

 8     pleasant stay amongst us.

 9             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please now have in e-court

10     1D1063.  I'm -- apology.  1D1115.  It's an expert report.  Thank you.

11             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

12        Q.   You see here: "Ratko Skrbic's Expert Report on Srebrenica and

13     Zepa."  That's the title of the report.

14             My question is:  Are you the author of this report?  Thank you.

15        A.   Yes, I am.

16        Q.   Thank you.  My next question is:  Have you compiled this report

17     on your own?  Thank you.

18        A.   Yes, completely on my own.

19        Q.   Thank you.  My third question is:  Has anyone suggested to you to

20     include any conclusions that are contained in the report as it is?

21        A.   No.

22        Q.   Please, Mr. Skrbic, can you tell the Chamber which specific

23     sources you used when compiling this report.  Thank you.

24        A.   While drafting this report, I used combat documents of the

25     28th Division, of the 285th Brigade, the 2nd Corps of the ABH, and the

Page 18892

 1     General Staff of the ABH.  In addition to that, I relied on witness

 2     statements regardless of whether they were from amongst the Muslim ranks

 3     or from international forces that were deployed in Srebrenica at the

 4     time.

 5        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  We don't need to go through the entire

 6     report, because that would be a time-consuming exercise.  I am going only

 7     to deal with specific issues, and therefore can you please tell us how

 8     you understood the situation to be that preceded the attacks -- or,

 9     rather, the attack on the Srebrenica enclave?

10        A.   My understanding of the situation is contained in the fact that

11     in the Zepa and Srebrenica enclaves, throughout the whole conflict in

12     Bosnia-Herzegovina, there was conflict ongoing all the time between the

13     28th Division of the ABH and the Drina Corps of the VRS.  Based on such

14     an understanding of the situation, I drafted my report in such a manner

15     that would allow one to have an insight of the conflict between the two

16     armies.

17        Q.   Please, during that period, i.e., in 1995, do you know what was

18     the situation between the conflicting parties, and did those activities

19     have any impact on the events that took place?  Did you incorporate that

20     into your report?

21        A.   Yes.  I stated in my report the fact that that was a mutual

22     conflict, which by nature it is, and that the units of the 28th Division

23     were permanently involved in combat operations launched from within the

24     enclave against the Drina Corps units on the edges of the enclave and

25     sometimes targeting Serbian villages on the edges of the enclave where

Page 18893

 1     there were no VRS troops.  Therefore, I understood it to be that the VRS

 2     was no longer in a position to tolerate such attacks and such operations,

 3     and it was bound for the purpose of protecting both their men and the

 4     population to react.  It was its principal role.

 5        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Can you please tell the Chamber how many

 6     enclaves existed in the territory of Republika Srpska according to what

 7     you know.

 8        A.   According to what I know, there were the following enclaves:

 9     Srebrenica, Zepa, Gorazde, Bihac, and Tuzla.

10        Q.   Thank you.  Can you identify some problems that were kind of

11     common denominator for all the enclaves that you mentioned?  Thank you.

12        A.   The fact that the term "demilitarised zone" is being constantly

13     used, there is an understanding that this term did not reflect the actual

14     situation at the time.  It is not possible to send combat documents and

15     carry out combat operations from a demilitarised zone.  It is also

16     impossible to have units such as divisions, brigade, or even corps

17     deployed in demilitarised zone.  If there were such units involved in

18     combat operations, then one cannot qualify them as demilitarised zones.

19        Q.   Thank you.  Was your unit targeted by attacks from demilitarised

20     zone, and what can you tell us about it?

21        A.   Yes.  Only I have to add that that was on a smaller scale than in

22     other demilitarised zones, because my brigade was made up of the people

23     who had been expelled from Bihac and its surrounding, they had many

24     relatives who remained behind in Bihac and probably that was the reason

25     that they were unwilling to become involved in fierce fighting.  That was

Page 18894

 1     a specific feature of my unit, but we indeed were attacked several times

 2     from the demilitarised zone.  For example, in October 1994 they carried

 3     out a large-scale attack and they managed to push us back to a number of

 4     kilometres from Petrovac.

 5        Q.   Were there any such attacks launched from a Bihac demilitarised

 6     zone in 1995, where you were deployed as a defence force?  Thank you.

 7        A.   These operations were stepped-up in 1995, not only in time but

 8     also in strength, and they were consistent with an all-out operation

 9     carried out by the Croatian army who, at the time, was involved in

10     preparing significant plans that would solve the question of the

11     Serbian Krajina.

12        Q.   Could you tell us whether from that demilitarised zone your

13     territory that you defended was attacked, and to what extent were there

14     attacks launched from that demilitarised zone on areas in

15     Republika Srpska, and what was the distance between the demilitarised

16     zone and the places on which attacks were launched?

17        A.   I have to say, again, that as a professional soldier I have

18     problems with the term "demilitarised zone," given that such zones

19     contained corps, for example, which launched fierce attacks on the VRS in

20     the area, so I would be grateful if I didn't have to use the term

21     "demilitarised zone" in order to refer to areas where units were present.

22        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  I am asking about this so that we can see

23     what sort of areas received the status of a demilitarised zone.  So I'm

24     asking you to tell us the following:  Bihac had the status it had; were

25     any attacks launched from Bihac against your brigade, and how long did

Page 18895

 1     the breakthrough last, the breakthrough of forces from Bihac to the

 2     territory of Republika Srpska in 1995?  And what distance are we talking

 3     about?

 4        A.   Yes, units of the ABiH 5th Corps did launch an attack on my unit,

 5     amongst others.  It was between the 13th and 14th of January, 1995, that

 6     my unit was attacked, and that was the beginning of a large-scale

 7     offensive launched by the Muslim armed forces in the territory of

 8     Republika Srpska together with HVO units and Croatian army units.  In

 9     1995, this attack lasted until Sanski Most was taken, and that location

10     is about 80 kilometres away from Bihac.

11        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Yesterday you told us what the distance

12     was between Srebrenica and Nezuk.  Can you repeat that distance, please?

13     Thank you.

14        A.   The distance is about 60 kilometres.

15        Q.   Thank you.  If forces from Bihac were armed and could reach

16     Sanski Most, which is 80 kilometres into the territory of

17     Republika Srpska, then could forces from Srebrenica cover a distance of

18     60 kilometres by breaking through under arms?  Was this possible for

19     them?  Thank you.

20        A.   The forces of the 28th Division, when they decided to break

21     through in the direction of Tuzla, could in fact do so.  As far as I can

22     remember, I explained this yesterday, but I'll repeat what I said:  They

23     could do this because on the axis of the breakthrough the VRS didn't have

24     sufficient units to prevent that breakthrough and to neutralise the

25     28th Division, so the 28th Division was able to break through and did so.

Page 18896

 1        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Have you found in international law that

 2     a demilitarised zone managed to carry out such a breakthrough into a

 3     territory from which it obtained the status of a demilitarised zone?

 4     Have you ever come across such a thing in international law?  Thank you.

 5        A.   No, I never came across any such thing.  But I know that no units

 6     should really take action from demilitarised zones.  If a zone is

 7     demilitarised, then it's demilitarised.  That means that it doesn't have

 8     any military or paramilitary units on its territory, and there is no

 9     combat in such zones or there shouldn't be any such combat.

10        Q.   Was there a demilitarised zone in Bosnia in accordance with the

11     standards and regulations of International War Law?  Thank you.

12        A.   No, there wasn't a single demilitarised zone.

13        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.

14             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we see 1D1070, please.  Thank

15     you.

16             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

17        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  In front of us we have a document from

18     the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It's from the staff of the

19     Supreme Command of the OS of the Republic of BH, the date of the

20     15th of November, 1994.  The name of the document is "Regrouping and

21     Resubordination."  It's addressed to the 2nd Corps, the OG-8 Srebrenica,

22     the 1st Zepa Brigade, and the Eastern Bosnia Operations Group Gorazde.

23     Please, this document or order, does it refer to something that a

24     military expert would be interested in, would it draw your attention to

25     it?  What sort of a document is this, in other words?

Page 18897

 1        A.   This is an order in which the ABiH is, in fact, being organised

 2     in demilitarised or protected zones, the zones of Gorazde, Srebrenica,

 3     and Zepa.  It is important from the point of view of the fact that the

 4     army is being reorganised with the objective of strengthening the

 5     28th Division, first of all; secondly, to subordinate the 285th Brigade

 6     in Zepa to the division, because up until that point in time it was

 7     either part of the Gorazde's operation group, but it was also independent

 8     or received orders as an independent unit quite frequently; and finally,

 9     the final objective of the reorganising the army is to increase its

10     efficiency and to increase the efficiency of command and control.

11        Q.   Thank you.  Could you tell us why the subordination of the

12     Zepa Brigade was, in fact, defined in this manner?

13        A.   According to my understanding of the situation, this was done

14     because they wanted to establish links between the Zepa and Srebrenica

15     enclaves.  These two enclaves were to form a single enclave.

16        Q.   Thank you.  Mr. Skrbic, could you please tell us whether on the

17     basis of this document a system of command and control was established

18     from Srebrenica and Zepa, and in both zones, was this done by the

19     Main Staff of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina?

20        A.   If the Supreme Command Staff ordered the subordination of the

21     285th Brigade to the 28th Division, it means that as of that date, the

22     date on which this order on the subordination was -- resubordination was

23     issued, that unit became part of the 28th Division and received tasks and

24     orders from the command of the 28th Division.  In addition, the command

25     of the 28th Division would synchronise and co-ordinate actions together

Page 18898

 1     with that brigade and it would assign tasks to that brigade to that

 2     effect.

 3        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Please, you can see that the document's

 4     date is the 15th of November, 1994.  So could you please tell us whether

 5     this is a document that proves that the Zepa, Gorazde, and Srebrenica

 6     demilitarised zones were always armed and that the command of the

 7     Supreme Command Staff was involved in the reorganisation of the army and

 8     was involved in organising the army for attacks that were to be launched

 9     from those demilitarised zones?  Thank you.

10        A.   Yes, of course.  That's what it means, because those

11     demilitarised zones were never demilitarised.  The 28th Division was

12     never dismantled, the 28-- the 285th Brigade was never dismantled, the

13     operative group in Gorazde was never dismantled either, and so on and so

14     forth.  So they continued to be armed and they had their military units.

15             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  I have to remind both speakers to slow down.  It

16     was very fast again, and the interpreters and the court reporter have

17     some problems.  And please don't overlap.  And wait for the end of the

18     translation.

19             Please carry on, Mr. Tolimir.

20             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

21             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

22        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Mr. Skrbic, have you come across

23     documents that show that international forces deployed in the protected

24     zones had information according to which these demilitarised zones were

25     armed?  Thank you.

Page 18899

 1        A.   Yes, I had a number of such documents.  And I can now mention

 2     just one of the documents from General Ridderstad [phoen], from the

 3     UNPROFOR command for north-east in Tuzla.  He addressed the command of

 4     the 28th Division or perhaps the command of the 2nd Corps.  I think it

 5     was the command of the 2nd Corps.  And he said that he knew - that's what

 6     it says in the document - he knew that demilitarisation was never in fact

 7     carried out.

 8        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Since you were in the Bihac demilitarised

 9     zone or linked to that zone, could you provide us with any information

10     that shows that UN forces had knowledge about the combat units in the

11     military zone -- or in the demilitarise zone, Bihac, and had information

12     on their activities, the action taken against the territory in the

13     Republika Srpska as well as actions taken against your brigade and your

14     corps?

15        A.   Naturally I had such information.  I also had my own personal

16     experience.  In the 2nd Krajina Corps I had a so called hot-line with the

17     commander of the French Battalion in Bihac.  Whenever there was an attack

18     launched from the Bihac protected zone, an attack against our units, and

19     on my unit, I would always speak to the commander of the

20     French Battalion.  We would meet.  We in fact met on a number of

21     occasions, and I would ask him to prevent that if at all possible.

22     UNPROFOR knew that the ABiH was taking action from demilitarised zones

23     and was then returning to those zones that were under UNPROFOR protection

24     or the protection of the UN forces.

25             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please see 1D-- or could

Page 18900

 1     1D1070 please be admitted into evidence.  Thank you.

 2             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Yes, it will be received.

 3             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, this document shall be assigned

 4     Exhibit D352.  Thank you.

 5             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.  Could we now please

 6     show the witness the following document, 1D1073.  Thank you.  Thank you.

 7             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

 8        Q.   We can now see the document in front of us.  From the Republic of

 9     Bosnia and Herzegovina, Srebrenica municipality, municipal defence

10     secretariat, dated the 9th of March, 1994.  It's a report on recruitment

11     and replenishment of materiel supplies for the armed forces and other

12     recruitment beneficiaries.  It was addressed to the district defence

13     secretariat, Tuzla, and it was signed by the secretary, National Defence

14     Secretariat Professor Suljo Hasanovic.  Could you please tell us why this

15     document is important for the Defence?  Why did you examine it, and in

16     what manner did you in fact examine in it your expert report?  Thank you.

17        A.   This document is important, above all, because the date is after

18     the signing of the agreement on demilitarisation, and then in the

19     document itself we can see that units are still being brought up to

20     strength.  Bringing units up to strength is the responsibility of the

21     Ministry of Defence.  These are defence secretariats in Tuzla, in

22     Srebrenica municipality, and this report is being sent on bringing units

23     up to strength so that units of the 28th Division could be brought up to

24     strength as planned in subsequent events.  The secretariat in Tuzla also

25     had to take into account the need for bringing up to strength other

Page 18901

 1     bodies within the system of defence and replenishing supplies as well.

 2     Bringing units up to strength is done only when you are planning to use

 3     units, because otherwise there would be no sense in bringing units up to

 4     strength and in replenishing units with equipment.  There would be no

 5     objective if these units were not to carry out combat activities.

 6        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Please, if we look at the bullet points,

 7     we will see that under 1 it says that:

 8             "A total of 5.254 conscripts are deployed in the armed forces..."

 9             My question is this:  Are these the armed forces of Bosnia and

10     Herzegovina or perhaps of a region or perhaps of a unit?  Thank you.

11        A.   This document refers to the 28th Division and recruiting fighters

12     for the 28th Division in Srebrenica.

13        Q.   Thank you.  Under the other bullet points, the term "conscript"

14     is abbreviated to "V/O."  Can you please explain for the benefit of the

15     Trial Chamber the meaning of the abbreviation "V/O"? because we don't

16     have the adequate translation in the English language.  Thank you.

17             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  We have an English translation in front of us on

18     the screen.

19             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.

20             In every bullet point except the first one it says "V/O"; only in

21     the first bullet point it says "conscript."  Since from then on the

22     word -- the term "conscript" is abbreviated into "V/O," I wanted the

23     witness to explain the abbreviation "V/O" and tell us what that means.

24     Thank you.

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is an abbreviation that was

Page 18902

 1     inherited from the JNA.  It means conscript.

 2             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

 3        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Can you explain to the Trial Chamber what

 4     does it mean to be a military conscript?  Thank you.

 5        A.   That means that all able-bodied males are registered with the

 6     secretariat for defence.  They are subject to the obligation of being

 7     sent to the units when the units need to be brought up to strength.  They

 8     are also subject to the obligation to be sent to units of work

 9     obligation, units of civilian protection, and other units, not only of

10     army units.  A military conscript is any male of age up to the age of 64.

11     The secretariat makes sure that the fittest males are sent to army units

12     and the others are sent to the units of work obligation and civilian

13     protection.

14        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.

15             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I would like to

16     tender 1D1073 into evidence.  Thank you.

17             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  It will be received.

18             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, this document shall be assigned

19     Exhibit D353.  Thank you.

20             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.

21             And now I would like to call up 1D1097.  Thank you.

22             I would like to thank the e-court.

23             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

24        Q.   And now, Mr. Skrbic, this is a document issued by the Republic of

25     Bosnia and Herzegovina of the 2nd Corps command.  It was drafted in Tuzla

Page 18903

 1     on the 18th of January, 1995, and it was sent to Operations Group 1, 2,

 2     4, 5, 6, and 8.  Can you please tell us whether you saw this document

 3     before; and if you did, what kind of a document is it?  What is it about?

 4     Thank you.

 5        A.   This document is another proof that the 2nd Corps of the

 6     BiH army, pursuant to an order of the staff of the Supreme Command, was

 7     engaged in the reorganisation of the military.  The reorganisation of the

 8     units of the 2nd Corps meant only one thing, and that was an attempt to

 9     increase the efficiency of those units and the system of command and

10     control in those units.  We can see that the exercise to reorganise the

11     army was carried out after the agreement on demilitarisation was signed,

12     which is yet another proof that demilitarisation was never carried out

13     and that the agreement on demilitarisation was never complied with.

14             I apologise, may I be allowed to say something else?

15             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Mr. Tolimir, it is in your hands.

16             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

17        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.

18             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.

19             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

20        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  I interrupted you.  If you wish to do so,

21     you may continue and complete your answer.  Thank you.

22        A.   I just wanted to add that in this order we can see that this is

23     not only about reorganising the existing units but also about

24     establishing new ones.  As you can see under bullet point 1, several new

25     units were to be established according to a plan in an organised manner

Page 18904

 1     and with a purpose.

 2        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Can you please tell us:  When this

 3     document was drafted, did the warring parties have any obligation towards

 4     each other?

 5        A.   This is the time when there should have been a complete

 6     cease-fire pursuant to an agreement signed on the 31st December, 1994.

 7     This, in other words, means that this agreement on truce or cease-fire

 8     was not complied with fully.  Instead, it -- an opportunity was taken to

 9     improve the efficiency of the army and to reorganise it.

10        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  To cut a long story short, let me ask you

11     whether you included this document into your expert report on pages 19

12     and 17 and 18 in Serbian and English respectively?

13             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the e-court to

14     display the pages that I have just referred to.

15             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  We need the document number.

16             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] 1D115.  Thank you.  Actually, there

17     should be three numbers 1 and then 5, and all that following 1D; in other

18     words, 1D1115.  Thank you.

19             I would like to thank the e-court.

20             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

21        Q.   Mr. Skrbic, I apologise for not having displayed your expert

22     report prior to asking you about it.

23             I have another question:  Can you please explain the purpose of

24     the organisational changes that took place in so many units in so many

25     operative groups?

Page 18905

 1        A.   There were several reasons to do that:  The first one was

 2     mainstreaming; the second one was improving efficiency of the 2nd Corps,

 3     including the newly established 28th Division.

 4        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.

 5             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to call up page 2, and

 6     the document number is 1D1097.  Thank you.  I would also like to call up

 7     page 3 in the English version of the same document.

 8             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

 9        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Again, there are some abbreviations,

10     standing up for operative groups, and then we have numbers 1, 2, 4, 6, 7.

11     Can you please tell us which of the units made up the 2nd Corps which

12     reorganised its OGs, and what units were on the strength of the

13     28th Division?  Thank you.

14        A.   The units of the 2nd Corps, after the reorganisation, are listed

15     in the document.  I don't want to waste any time on them.  And the units

16     of the 28th Division were actually brigades that pre-existed the

17     reorganisation, and the only addition was the 285th Brigade from Zepa; in

18     other words, OGs were re-established into divisions.  They were

19     reorganised to become divisions to facilitate command, control, and

20     management of the units during combat.

21        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Does that mean that those divisions were

22     to be directly subordinated to the corps command from then onwards?

23     Thank you.

24        A.   Yes, yes.

25        Q.   Thank you.  Mr. Skrbic, can you please tell us something about

Page 18906

 1     the newly established war unit, the 28th Division, because you say the

 2     duration of mobilisation 12 hours, the -- in charge of the plan of

 3     mobilisation, the 28th Division.  What does that mean?  That's on the

 4     following page of the text in Serbian, paragraph 2.  Thank you.

 5             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can the e-court please display that

 6     paragraph after I have put my question to the witness.

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is customary in a military that

 8     when a superior command establishes a new unit it determines and defines

 9     its location, the duration of mobilisation.  And the duration of

10     mobilisation can be anything from several hours to 24 or even 48 hours,

11     and that usually depends on the role and the significance of that

12     particular unit on the strength of the higher ranking formation.  Here we

13     can see that in the 28th Division the duration of the mobilisation was to

14     be 20 hours.  That means that from the moment when an order was issued to

15     mobilise troops and to bring the unit up to strength, within 20 hours the

16     unit has to be complete and ready to be deployed in combat.  It is also

17     customary for the commander of the unit to be in charge of the

18     mobilisation plan, and that's how the order was drafted.

19        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Above the text that we have just read and

20     that you commented upon, there are the numbers of the brigades.  What

21     brigades are those, and does it mean that the 28th Division will be in

22     charge of their mobilisation plans?  Does this mean that these brigades

23     are the units of the 28th Division?  Is that confirmed by the document?

24        A.   Yes, these brigades are the units of the 28th Division, and the

25     same procedure is followed with regard to mobilisation.  So whatever the

Page 18907

 1     28th Division received from the 2nd Corps by way of an order, the same

 2     order was elaborated by the 28th Division and sent to its subordinated

 3     units, and this order was followed down to the lowest-ranking units,

 4     i.e., companies.

 5        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.

 6             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] With the president's leave, can I

 7     have this document 1D1097 be admitted into evidence.

 8             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  It will be received.

 9             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, this document shall be assigned

10     Exhibit D354.  Thank you.

11             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.

12             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

13        Q.   Mr. Skrbic, please, in your report you addressed the issue of

14     supplies provided to the ABH in Srebrenica and Zepa.  Can you explain

15     what kind of supplies were delivered to the army in Srebrenica and Zepa

16     and in what way?

17        A.   The units deployed in Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves was

18     predominantly carried out by helicopters but also by land routes.  They

19     were delivered from the helidrome or helipad to the subordinate units of

20     the 28th Division.

21        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Did you have in mind here only specific

22     supplies or did you refer to all materiel and equipment required by the

23     troops in Srebrenica and Zepa in general?

24        A.   When I speak about supplies provided to units, I mean by that

25     they are supplied with weapons, munition, and other lethal assets

Page 18908

 1     required for conducting combat operations.

 2        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Tell us, What kind of lines of supplies

 3     exists within the provisions of the military doctrine?

 4        A.   First of all, the supplies that come from own production,

 5     provided a state has its own military industry or complex; the second

 6     source is by importing these assets from other countries; and another

 7     sort is war booty.  So these are the most common ways of supplying an

 8     army with all the necessary assets, and, of course, included into this

 9     should be the communications devices.

10        Q.   Thank you.  Can you tell us something about how these supplies

11     were actually delivered?

12        A.   Delivery is the term that means that a superior command provides

13     the necessary supplies to its subordinate units in the manner available.

14     That is the substance of the term "delivery."  Delivery is carried out up

15     to the point which is safe for those who carry the supplies, and from

16     there it is distributed to subordinate units.

17        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.

18             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have in e-court document

19     1D445.  Thank you.  I will repeat the number: 1D445.  Thank you.

20     Obviously we have some problems.  The document perhaps hasn't been

21     uploaded or it cannot be found.

22                           [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]

23             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Mr. Tolimir, perhaps it was uploaded but not

24     released to the Registry and the Prosecution.  I see Mr. Gajic is

25     checking the situation with the document.

Page 18909

 1             Mr. Gajic.

 2             MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, in my e-court this

 3     document is available, and it had been uploaded a long time ago.

 4     Therefore, I propose that we move to the next question and then we will

 5     come back to this document.

 6             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  It is not necessary.  I am optimistic.  Now we

 7     have it on the screen.  It's there.

 8             Please continue.

 9             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.

10             My thanks to e-court.

11             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

12        Q.   Mr. Skrbic, what we see here is a report by the Zepa Brigade,

13     dated 31st December, 1994, sent to the staff of the Supreme Command of

14     the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Kakanj,

15     attention Brigadier-General Enver Hadzihasanovic, and signed by the

16     commander Colonel Avdo Palic.  I will briefly read this, and I quote:

17             [As read] "We have done everything pursuant to your order, and we

18     were quite successfully in that.  The cargo has been offloaded quickly,

19     it was relocated to a safe location, and all the traces were removed.

20     UNPROFOR saw our helicopter on the entry point to the zone and reported

21     to their commander in Zepa that in the vicinity of Zlovrh three

22     helicopters SS landed, and that was probably due because they were

23     observed circling before the landing.  I have undertaken all the measures

24     to prevent UNPROFOR from doing anything that would be unfavorable for us,

25     and I will inform you accordingly when the time comes for that."

Page 18910

 1             Mr. Skrbic, is this one of the document that you relied upon when

 2     you gave answers to my previous questions when you mentioned helicopter

 3     deliveries of supplies?  Thank you.

 4        A.   Yes.  It not only corroborates my claim that supplies were

 5     provided by helicopters but also my claim that that supplies were

 6     delivered, and you can see in the document that they received the assets

 7     very quickly and that they had already been distributed to subordinate

 8     units.  He also says that he was having problems with UNPROFOR because he

 9     anticipates that UNPROFOR might intervene in order to prevent helicopter

10     flights.  For that reason he made an effort to thwart UNPROFOR in any way

11     possible in their attempt to prevent and stop any deliveries and

12     supplies.

13        Q.   Thank you.  Now, please, in the second paragraph, line two, it

14     reads:

15             "Was Brigadier Oric, Naser, notified that he should be -- he

16     should send his men as soon as possible to Zepa pursuant to previous

17     orders?  And if not, inform him about everything."

18             THE INTERPRETER:  Could the accused please now repeat the

19     question.

20             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Mr. Tolimir, the interpreters ask you to repeat

21     your question.

22             We have on the record your quotation from the document, but the

23     question is missing.

24             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.

25             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

Page 18911

 1        Q.   My question was:  Mr. Skrbic, was this cargo, delivered by three

 2     helicopters, intended solely for Zepa?

 3        A.   No, not solely for the needs of the Zepa Brigade.  In this

 4     specific case, we have supplies delivered to the 28th Division.  But in

 5     order to secure the safety of helicopter flights, they have chosen a

 6     heliport in the Zepa area because for pilots that was the safest place

 7     where they could fly, land, and offload the cargo.  And that's why he's

 8     asking whether Brigadier Naser Oric had been notified, because he was

 9     supposed to come and collect the assets for other units of the

10     28th Division.  And what was intended to -- for the 285th Brigade, it had

11     already been taken by the commander.

12        Q.   Thank you.  Mr. Skrbic, in the last paragraph that I quoted, it

13     says that:

14             "He should send his men to Zepa pursuant to the previous

15     orders ..."

16             My question is:  Can you tell us whether the command of the

17     Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina had already been involved in co-ordinating

18     matters between various levels that were privy to the deliveries for Zepa

19     and Srebrenica?

20        A.   This can mean only one thing and that is that supplies were being

21     provided on a continual basis, even before this event, and some documents

22     indicate that they went on after.  So the units of the 28th Division were

23     being supplied with the necessary assets on a regular basis.

24        Q.   Thank you.

25                           [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]

Page 18912

 1             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.

 2             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.  I would

 3     like to tender document 1D445 into evidence.

 4             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  It will be marked for identification pending

 5     translation, but we have to wait for the return of the Court Officer.

 6     There is something he has to deal with and he will come back soon.

 7             Please carry on.

 8             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.  I would

 9     like to call up the next document, with your leave, and that is 1D451.

10     Thank you.

11             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

12        Q.   Mr. Skrbic, this is yet another document produced by the

13     1st Zepa Light Brigade on the 9th of January, 1995, and the document is

14     also addressed to the General Staff, attention

15     Brigadier-General Hadzihasanovic, and it was sent by the commander of the

16     Zepa Brigade Colonel Avdo Palic.  And here we can see the specification

17     of the assets required, and I quote:

18             "If it is possible for you to provide another delivery of

19     materiel and equipment by helicopters, please send us the following as

20     priorities:

21             "1.  Recoilless gun.

22             "2.  Grenades for recoilless gun.

23             "3.  RPG-7 launcher.

24             "4.  Rockets for RPG-7.

25             "5.  Zolja or grenades for hand-held launcher.

Page 18913

 1             "7. [as interpreted] Grenades for mortar, 60-millimetre.

 2             "7.  Ammunition, 7.62-millimetres --"

 3             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Please slow down.  If you look into the

 4     transcript, you will see that they are not able to catch everything.

 5     Please slow down.  And perhaps you start again after number 4.  You will

 6     see that it's not properly recorded.

 7             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.  I

 8     apologise to the interpreters.

 9             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

10        Q.   Number 4 is rocket for RPG-7, 15 pieces.  Number 5 is Zolja or

11     rocket for a hand-held launcher, at least 30 pieces.  Number 6 is a shell

12     for a mortar, 60-millimetre, at least 50 pieces.  Number 7: ammunition,

13     7.62-millimetres times 39, and 7.9 times 7.62 [as interpreted] for

14     sub-machine gun and M-84 machine-gun; and he also needs pistol ammunition

15     7.62- and 7.65-millimetres.  Number 8: rifle grenades, shape-charged and

16     contact-action ones, at least 50 pieces.  Number 9: hand-grenade, at

17     least 100 pieces.  Number 10: mine detector, at least three pieces.

18     Number 11: automatic rifles, at least 50 pieces.  Number 12: light

19     machine-gun, M-84, at least three pieces.  Number 3. [as interpreted]

20     amateur radio set, one.  Number 14: a small generator.  Number 15: a

21     powerful accumulator, two pieces ..." and so on and so forth.

22             Mr. Skrbic, could you comment on the amount of weapons and

23     ammunition that is requested here for the operation?  What would such an

24     amount of weapons and ammunition serve for?

25        A.   According to standard military procedure, apart from establishing

Page 18914

 1     priority tasks you also establish what sort of equipment should be given

 2     priority.  Here it is quite clearly seen that equipment for armed combat

 3     has been given priority.  Initially it might seem that the equipment

 4     requested is not a significant amount.  However, if we bear in mind the

 5     terrain where operations are taken in Zepa and in the 28th Division area,

 6     then this equipment is quite sufficient for the purpose of defending the

 7     enclave but also for the purpose of carrying out active combat outside

 8     the enclaves.  This is a period which is also after the signed

 9     cease-fire, and this shows that the cease-fire that was signed is being

10     used by the 28th Division to equip itself and train itself for

11     forthcoming action.  I cannot now remember exactly who said this, but I

12     do remember that it was said that it's stupid to have an army and not to

13     use it.  And this could mean in this case, too, that if you have units

14     which are being equipped with these supplies, one should expect this

15     equipment to be used in combat activity.

16        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.

17             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, could this document

18     1D451 please be admitted into evidence until we find a translation.

19     Thank you.

20             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  It will be marked for identification pending

21     translation.

22             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, 65 ter document 1D445 shall be

23     assigned Exhibit D355, marked for identification.  And the 65 ter

24     document 1D451 shall be assigned Exhibit D356, marked for identification

25     pending translation.  Thank you.

Page 18915

 1             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Both documents are pending translation.  Thank

 2     you.

 3             Mr. Tolimir, I assume that you will move to another document or

 4     topic now.  I was informed, in the meantime, that in the Detention Unit

 5     there was a problem with water, a leakage somewhere, and therefore during

 6     the break I hope we will receive a report if that relates to your cell in

 7     any way.  The Court Officer will inform the Chamber and especially you,

 8     Mr. Tolimir, and the other party which measures have to be taken.

 9             We should have our first break now, and during the break I hope

10     everything will be resolved.  Or, at least, we will receive reports how

11     to proceed further.

12             If there is no other information by the Chamber, we will assume

13     at 11.00.

14                           --- Recess taken at 10.27 a.m.

15                           --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.

16             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  The Chamber is informed that the problem in the

17     Detention Unit was resolved in the meantime.  I hope you have received

18     this message too, Mr. Tolimir.

19             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.

20                           [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]

21             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  It was my misunderstanding.  It is not related to

22     the Detention Unit, but to the holding cells here in the building of the

23     Tribunal.  In that case, we can proceed, and you may continue with your

24     examination-in-chief, Mr. Tolimir.

25             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.  Could we

Page 18916

 1     now see the following document: 1D1088.  Thank you.  Thank you.

 2             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

 3        Q.   Here we can see a document from the Republic of Bosnia and

 4     Herzegovina from the army General Staff, drafted on the

 5     18th of January, 1995, in Kakanj.  It says:  Order to the

 6     1st Zepa Mountain Brigade, to Colonel Avdo Palic, personally.

 7             Once you'd had a look at it, could you tell us whether this is an

 8     answer to Avdo Palic's request in which he requested a certain amount of

 9     weapons and materiel?  And you commented on that request.  Thank you.

10        A.   Yes, that's correct.  And customary military procedure was

11     thereby respected.  A superior responds to a request from a subordinate

12     for materiel and equipment and provides such materiel and equipment if

13     that is possible.

14        Q.   Thank you.  Mr. Skrbic, please, if you have a look at the

15     addressee, it says:  "To Colonel Avdo Palic, personally."  What does

16     "n/r" mean?

17        A.   Yes, that means "personally."  And only particularly important

18     documents are sent to someone in person.  The equipment is more important

19     than the document itself, but to prevent the document from ending up in

20     the wrong hands this mention was made:  To Avdo Palic, personally.

21        Q.   Thank you.  Since the document was sent on the 18th of January by

22     the General Staff and sent to Zepa, please tell me who was involved in

23     arming in Zepa and who was responsible for deliveries?  Thank you.

24        A.   This document is important because deliveries are made by the

25     army General Staff of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and that is

Page 18917

 1     not common practice.  The General Staff doesn't usually supply units that

 2     are two or even more levels below.  Usually the General Staff would

 3     provide the 2nd Corps or deliver the second -- deliver the equipment to

 4     the 2nd Corps, and then the 2nd Corps would act on the basis of priority

 5     tasks and on the basis of the needs of the units.  It would then

 6     determine how to distribute the equipment.

 7             It's also necessary to note that this document has a date

 8     subsequent to the signing of the cease-fire agreement, which also shows

 9     that the agreement was used in order to supply units.

10        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Could you please tell us whether at the

11     time the no-fly zone ban in Bosnia-Herzegovina was in force?  And did

12     that have any effect on the fact that the General Staff was directly

13     involved in deliveries to its own units via air or in other ways?  Thank

14     you.

15        A.   No, that resolution didn't have any effect, because supplies were

16     provided through secret channels, through the use of helicopters which

17     flew over the mountains and flew through canyons, so experienced pilots

18     were able to provide supplies in this manner.

19        Q.   Thank you.  Have a look at the date.  Was this done at the time

20     when this no-fly zone was in force in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

21        A.   Yes.

22        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Were there frequent flights to supply

23     Zepa and Srebrenica in spite of the no-fly zone that was supposed to be

24     enforced, and was this noticed by international organisations that

25     monitored the skies above Bosnia?  Thank you.

Page 18918

 1        A.   Naturally, if there were such flights, they had to be noticed

 2     because the international forces and the UN forces, together with NATO

 3     forces, had all the necessary surveillance equipment in order to be able

 4     to detect the flights of helicopters.  Helicopter flights were quite

 5     frequent right up until June 1995.

 6        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.

 7             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could 1D1008 please be admitted

 8     into evidence.

 9             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  I think this is the wrong number.  We are looking

10     at 1D1088, and this will be received into evidence.

11             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, this document shall be assigned

12     Exhibit D357.  Thank you.

13             THE ACCUSED: [No interpretation] [microphone not activated]

14             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, please.

15             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Your microphone.

16             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.  I have another

17     question, so could you leave the document on the screen, please.

18             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

19        Q.   Mr. Skrbic, does this document show whether the forces in Zepa

20     and Srebrenica had anti-armour weapons at their disposal?

21        A.   Well, of course.  RPG - rockets - are anti-armour weapons.

22        Q.   Thank you.  Is that under item 6 in this list?

23        A.   Item 6 is a rocket-launcher.  Item number 7 is the missile that

24     is used for the launcher in question.

25        Q.   Thank you.  Can hand-held launchers be used for anti-armour

Page 18919

 1     combat?

 2        A.   Yes, of course.  Rifle-launched grenades can also be used for

 3     such purposes.  Shape-charged rifle-launched grenades can be used for

 4     such purposes.

 5        Q.   Thank you.  We can also see that the delivery of such equipment

 6     has been requested here; is that the case or not?

 7        A.   Yes, yes.

 8        Q.   Thank you.

 9             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please now see 1D1089.

10     Thank you.  I would like to thank the e-court.

11             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

12        Q.   Mr. Skrbic, we see another document issued by the Army of the

13     Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It was issued by the

14     1st Zepa Light Brigade on the 19th of January, 1995.  It was sent to the

15     army General Staff, personally to Brigadier-General Hadzihasanovic.  In

16     this document, the brigadier-general was informed that the load that was

17     sent on the 18th of January was received and stored at a secure location.

18     A request is made for the army to be notified about the arrival of the

19     second load.  Does this document prove the point that we were just

20     discussing?

21        A.   Yes.  This is the answer to the previous document.  Subordinated

22     units are duty-bound to report to the superior command about the

23     implementation of any order issued by the superior command.

24        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.

25             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the

Page 18920

 1     Presiding Judge to admit into evidence the document that we see on the

 2     screen, which is 1D1089.

 3             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  It will be received.

 4             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, this document shall be assigned

 5     Exhibit D358.  Thank you.

 6             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.

 7             And now I would kindly ask the e-court to display 1D431.  Thank

 8     you.  Thank you.  We are still waiting for it.  I repeat the number:

 9     1D431.  1D431, thank you.

10                           [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]

11             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Mr. Tolimir, Mr. Gajic, I was told that the

12     Defence didn't release it yet.  Please check.

13             MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have it in e-court.

14     I don't understand what the problem is.

15                           [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]

16             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Mr. Gajic, perhaps you have it saved in your

17     private Defence folder, but it has to be released to the Registry and the

18     Prosecution.

19             MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President, we know that.

20     That document was released a long time ago.  I'm convinced, because it

21     was uploaded a long time ago, I'm convinced that it has been released.

22             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.  Since the document

23     cannot be found, we are going to look at another one, 1D1081.

24             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  During the next break you will be able to discuss

25     the matter with the Registry.

Page 18921

 1             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.

 2             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

 3        Q.   Mr. Skrbic, we can now see a document issued by the Army of the

 4     Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina of its OG-8 in Srebrenica.  It was

 5     sent on the 3rd November, 1994, to the

 6     Brigadier-General Enver Hadzihasanovic, personally.  This is an answer to

 7     his document 02-1/1347-1.  And it says here:

 8             "In connection with your memo number," so-and-so, "dated

 9     1 November 1994, we hereby inform you that we too are preparing

10     intensively for the forthcoming operation.  We have already sent you our

11     idea for carrying out the task.

12             "We have made contact with the commander of the Zepa Brigade and

13     agreed on carrying out the task of infiltrating materiel and technical

14     equipment via this channel."

15             Please, Mr. Skrbic, tell us, What is this document?  Thank you.

16     And what is the comment rate of the first document that is referred to in

17     this document as well as the document that we see on the screen?  Thank

18     you.

19        A.   Yes, this document is the continuation for the preparation of

20     units for combat.  Previously, we saw that a resupply was completed, as

21     well as the mainstreaming of the units, and now we can see that the units

22     are preparing for combat.  They are informing the superior command about

23     their capabilities.  It is to be assumed that the superior command knows

24     what the division's capabilities are; however, it is also obvious that

25     since the division commander sends a dedicated individual to the

Page 18922

 1     highest-ranking command to inform them about the unit's capabilities, it

 2     is obvious that the operation in the pipeline is very significant.  If it

 3     wasn't that significant, this envoy from the 28th Division would not be

 4     sent to the General Staff to inform the General Staff about the combat

 5     capabilities of the division.

 6        Q.   Thank you.  Since we're talking about preparations for combat and

 7     since Brigadier Naser Oric refers to that and since he sends his personal

 8     representative to the staff of the superior command - so the Supreme

 9     Command - would say that these are preparations for the activities of the

10     Srebrenica OG directed at units and areas around Srebrenica?  Thank you.

11        A.   As you can see in the document, the division commander says:  "We

12     are also preparing intensively for the forthcoming operation ..."  This

13     means that the operation is being prepared by the General Staff, by the

14     2nd Corps, and that the 28th Division is preparing to participate in the

15     operation from the enclave, because this is the only way they can act

16     from within the enclave against the other units.

17        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  This is obviously a co-ordinated activity

18     involving the General Staff and OG-8 under the command of

19     Brigadier Naser Oric.  Would you say that plans were made for some joint

20     activities that should have taken place at the same time from two

21     different axes?  Is the operative group in the protected area meant to be

22     used for launching attacks from within the protected area?

23        A.   First of all, I have to say that it is not customary, according

24     to the military procedure and pursuant to the standards of command and

25     control, for the Main Staff to issue orders and tasks to a unit two ranks

Page 18923

 1     or two steps below it.  However, it is obvious that the operation in

 2     question is of particular significance, which is why the Main Staff is

 3     the one co-ordinating that operation.  The Main Staff knows what the

 4     general plan is for the use of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and

 5     Herzegovina.  And then when the General Staff receives information about

 6     the combat capabilities of the 28th Division from the personal envoy of

 7     Naser Oric, in keeping with that the General Staff will give its task to

 8     that unit.  I repeat:  This is obviously a very significant task, and the

 9     division will certainly act from within the protected area, because

10     within that protected area it does not have anybody to fight.

11        Q.   Thank you.

12             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can this document be admitted,

13     please.

14             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  It will be received.

15             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, 65 ter document 1D1081 shall be

16     assigned Exhibit D359.  Thank you.

17             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.  I have just been

18     informed that document 1D431 is ready to be used.  Therefore, I would

19     kindly ask the e-court to display it, 1D431.  Thank you.

20             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

21        Q.   We can see this document issued by the Army of the Republic of

22     Bosnia and Herzegovina, by the command of the Srebrenica OG.  It was sent

23     on the 29th of July, 1994.  It was sent to the command of the 2nd Corps

24     in Tuzla to the intelligence organ.  We are interested in the second

25     paragraph in this document.  I am going to read it, and I quote:

Page 18924

 1             [As read] "In a conversation with the representatives of UNPROFOR

 2     in Srebrenica on the 29th July, 1994, we learnt that the UNPROFOR

 3     representatives have been informed about the preparations for a

 4     larger-scale combat from the axes of Kladanj, towards Han Pijesak and

 5     Vlasenica, and the combat operations will be carried out in the

 6     foreseeable future.  The representatives of the UN, in a conversation

 7     with one of the commanders of the BiH Army who is currently deployed in

 8     Kladanj, also learned that in the territory of Kladanj a brigade is being

 9     set up and that the population of Vlasenica and Han Pijesak have been

10     recruited into that that brigade.  The brigade will carry out combat

11     activities and attempt to liberate these towns.  UN representatives are

12     also aware of the information that the commander of the 2nd Corps has

13     been deployed in the municipality of Kladanj for a while now and that he

14     is personally involved in the preparation for combat.  There is also a

15     suspicion that the Serbian intelligence sources have been able to break

16     into the system of satellite connections of the United Nations and that

17     they have information about the preparation and the carrying out of

18     combat in these areas."

19             This was signed by the desk officer for intelligence,

20     Ekrem Salihovich.  He's the one who sent out this document.

21             On pages 27 and 28, you have dealt with this document.  That's in

22     Serbian, and in 25 -- on page 25 of this report, in English.

23             Could you please tell us something about the nature of the

24     information contained in the document that I've just quoted from?  Thank

25     you.

Page 18925

 1        A.   First of all, this is just a customary exchange of intelligence

 2     between subordinates and their superior commands.  This is the necessary

 3     prerequisites -- prerequisite for the successful preparation of combat

 4     activities.  Second of all, we can now be even more certain of what I

 5     have just told you and that is that the operation in question is a very

 6     significant one.  The mere presence of the commander of the 2nd Corps in

 7     Kladanj and his immediate involvement in the preparations for the

 8     operation together with the Main Staff indicate the significance of that

 9     operation.  Third of all, you can also see the fact that a new unit is

10     being established and that it will involve combatants from Vlasenica and

11     Han Pijesak, and it is really not difficult for us to tell what the axis

12     of the operation will be and what its focus will be.  The focus of the

13     operation will be these two towns.

14             Why is this brigade being established?  Because it is to be

15     assumed that people from these towns, future combatants from these towns,

16     are more highly motivated to fight because they will be liberating their

17     own home towns.  This is not the first time, and this is not something

18     that happened in the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  I have similar personal

19     experiences, because when we carried out a counter-offensive against five

20     corps units in 1994, my brigade was designated by the superior commands

21     to spearhead the combat operations because they believed they were better

22     motivated than the others coming from Bihac originally, and it was only

23     to be expected that they would be more motivated.  And morale and

24     motivation are sometimes more important than the equipment and weapons

25     used in conducting operations.

Page 18926

 1        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Can you please tell us where are the

 2     combatants from Vlasenica and Han Pijesak mentioned in this document, and

 3     where these towns are situated?  In whose territory?  Because probably

 4     the Trial Chamber is eager to learn all the facts.

 5        A.   Combatants that are to make up the brigade are in the 2nd Corps

 6     and in some of its units.  One can definitely say that they would be

 7     taken out of those units and used to form a new brigade.  Han Pijesak and

 8     Vlasenica municipality were in the territory of Republika Srpska at the

 9     time.

10        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Can you please tell us, Can one see from

11     this letter whether the commands and units of the UN deployed on the

12     ground had intelligence information about the planned operations from

13     Srebrenica and from other territories under ABH control?

14        A.   Yes.  It is completely indubitable that UNPROFOR units were aware

15     of the preparations that this unit was making and that they were able to

16     monitor the operation.

17        Q.   Thank you.  Does this intelligence report says [as interpreted]

18     precisely that they did know that or is it just your assumption?

19        A.   It says here that they were fully aware.

20        Q.   Thank you.

21             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please have document 1D431

22     admitted into evidence.  Thank you.

23             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  It will be marked for identification pending

24     translation.

25                           [B/C/S on English channel]

Page 18927

 1             THE REGISTRAR: [Previous translation continues] ... Your Honour,

 2     65 ter document 1D431 shall be assigned Exhibit D360, marked for

 3     identification pending translation.  Thank you.

 4             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  We have --

 5                           [B/C/S on English channel]

 6             JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Previous translation continues] ... received on

 7     the English channel the B/C/S version.

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  I will try again, Your Honours.  65 ter document

 9     1D431 shall be assigned Exhibit D360, marked for identification pending

10     translation.  Thank you.

11             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Thank you.

12             Mr. Tolimir.

13             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.  Can we

14     now have in e-court document P2369.  Thank you.

15             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

16        Q.   Now, can you tell us, for the record, if you dealt with this

17     document on pages 33 and 34 in the Serbian version and on page 5 of the

18     English version of your report.  Page 30 in English.  Do you recall?

19        A.   Yes, yes, I did.

20        Q.   Thank you.  Can you tell us, What does this document from

21     Bosnia-Herzegovina, dated 9th eleven -- 9th November, 1994, mean?

22        A.   In military terms, the basic idea is a visualisation of the

23     battle-ground.  In other words, it is a summary of what the commander

24     intends to achieve in the forthcoming operation.  After the basic idea is

25     set up, the staff is going to expound on the relevant decision.  And I'm

Page 18928

 1     not going to go into the whole decision-making process, I will only say

 2     that after such a decision has been taken, this part of the basic idea

 3     can be either modified to a certain extent or remain unchanged, and it

 4     becomes paragraph four of an order or a directive.

 5        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Now, please, can you tell us this:  Is it

 6     customary for the Main Staff of the Supreme Command of the ABiH to

 7     elaborate a basic idea for the level of the Srebrenica operations group

 8     which is lower than the corps which it is subordinated?

 9        A.   This is not a usual and standard military procedure.  However, it

10     is possible, provided the commander decides to do so.  Therefore, it is

11     not necessarily prohibited to pursue this course.  But this indicates

12     that we are talking here about a very significant operation that has a

13     very specific objective, given that it's being prepared by the

14     Main Staff.  This document was preceded by a document from the 8th OG in

15     which the 8 G commander -- OG commander proposed a participation of his

16     units in the operation and proposes his own basic idea.  For that reason,

17     after reviewing this proposal from the 8th OG, the Main Staff did what

18     they did and sent their basic idea to the 8th OG.

19             The normal procedure would be for this idea to be forwarded to

20     the corps first, and then the 2nd Corps command would prepare their own

21     concept of the operation and on that basis distribute tasks to its

22     subordinate units, including the 28th Division.

23        Q.   Thank you.  Now, can you please take a look at item 1, and it

24     speaks about this idea, and I'm going to quote.

25             [No interpretation]

Page 18929

 1             THE INTERPRETER:  Could Mr. Tolimir please tell us exactly the

 2     referenced paragraph.

 3             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

 4        Q.   "The plan is to liberate in active combat actions part of the

 5     temporarily seized territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina - the municipalities

 6     of Bratunac, Vlasenica, Sekovici, Zvornik, and Kalesija - and link the

 7     free territories of Zepa and Srebrenica with the free territories of

 8     Zvornik, Kalesija, and Zivinice in order to create a permanent free

 9     corridor for the supply of the population and logistics support to the

10     Army of RBH and the basis for the future liberation of north-eastern

11     Bosnia as a whole."

12             Does this reflect the basic idea of the Supreme Command and the

13     tasks and duties to be conferred upon units in order to implement this

14     idea in practice?

15        A.   Yes.  We can clearly see what the intention of the

16     Supreme Command is, and that is actually the purpose of the basic idea.

17     And now one can clearly recognise what the objectives of the operation

18     are.  It is not only to liberate the temporarily occupied territories

19     mentioned herein, but also the creation of favourable conditions and good

20     operational basis for the continuation of combat operations and eventual

21     liberation, as he put it, of the whole of north-eastern Bosnia.

22             The planned operation, according to this idea and the intention

23     highlighted by the commander, is of strategic importance for the

24     RBH army.

25        Q.   Thank you.  Now, underneath, they specifically and very precisely

Page 18930

 1     determine both the left and right boundaries of the corridor.  Can you

 2     tell us something about the corridor, and through whose territory would

 3     they run?

 4        A.   That's part of the territory under the VRS control or, rather,

 5     part of the territory of the Republika Srpska.  In this particular

 6     instance they call it a corridor, although this is not a typical

 7     corridor.  This is a wide stretch of territory, and I said a minute ago

 8     that it would serve as a good operational basis for the continuation of

 9     their activities.  This means that the Main Staff realised the importance

10     of this territory and realised the importance of the size of the corridor

11     or, if you want, of the operational basis for further operations.

12        Q.   Thank you.

13             [Microphone not activated]

14             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, please.

15             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Sorry.

16             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

17        Q.   If we look at the border-lines on the left side and then

18     underneath where it says "right border," and there are all the villages

19     there named that are supposed to be linked through operations, can you

20     tell us what is the width between the left and the right borders?  How

21     wide would this corridor would be?

22        A.   Since I never went to this area and I don't have a map in front

23     of me, it is very hard for me to give you an answer.

24        Q.   Thank you.  But one can see here that the left border is the one

25     controlled by the Zepa Brigade during combat operations, too; whereas the

Page 18931

 1     right border starts from Brestovik, trig point 1291.  Then you have the

 2     villages of Podzeplje and Brestovik.  Can you tell us how far these

 3     villages are from trig point 1291?

 4        A.   As far as I can remember, I believe that the distance is between

 5     15 and 20 kilometres.

 6        Q.   As a military expert, can you please tell us:  What is the width

 7     of defence covered by a division or by a brigade?  The width of its

 8     defence line.  And you can choose whichever you prefer.

 9        A.   A brigade defends 10 to 12 kilometres, and a division defends

10     even over 20 kilometres of a front line.

11        Q.   Now, according to this basic idea, is it envisaged that a brigade

12     and a division should occupy such territory that is normally envisaged to

13     be defended by a brigade or a division respectively?

14        A.   A unit is never tasked with an assignment that it cannot

15     accomplish.  And you never determine an area of operation that these

16     units cannot maintain after it occupies it.  That means that the brigade

17     and the division were tasked with opening the corridor that in the

18     forthcoming period they would be capable of defending.

19        Q.   Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Can you please now look at

20     item 2 of this document, and I'm going to read it.  We're going to see it

21     on our screens.  This is the next page.  Item 2, the second paragraph

22     from the top.  And it reads:

23             [As read] "How to execute the task:  Liberate the temporarily

24     seized sector of the corridor, inserting large forces into the depth of

25     the corridor sector and engaging in offensive operations from the free

Page 18932

 1     territories of OG-4, OG-6, the 2nd Corps, and OG-8 Srebrenica, and

 2     afterwards secure the north-eastern and south-western side of the

 3     corridor at the lines given in item 1.

 4             "Engage the already prepared logistics support immediately

 5     through the 2nd Corps."

 6             Please, this infiltration of forces that was planned from the

 7     territory under the control of the ABiH in Central Bosnia, together with

 8     the 2nd Corps --

 9             THE INTERPRETER:  The accused is kindly asked to repeat the

10     question, which was not clear.

11             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Mr. Tolimir, the interpreters asked you to repeat

12     the question; they didn't understand it.

13             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.  I'll repeat my

14     question.

15             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

16        Q.   Mr. Skrbic, I have quoted this.  Does this show the way in which

17     the task was carried out, according to which it was planned to infiltrate

18     forces from the central Bosnian territory under the control of the

19     2nd Corps of the ABiH and from territories of the liberated zones of

20     Srebrenica and Zepa?  So were sabotage and terrorist groups infiltrated

21     from those territories?

22             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreter's correction: "from the

23     demilitarised zones," not "from the liberated zones."

24             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No plans were in place for

25     infiltrating sabotage and terrorist units.  The plan was to have

Page 18933

 1     significant forces infiltrated from territory under the control of the

 2     ABiH army -- or, rather, from territory that was the area of

 3     responsibility of the 2nd Corps of the ABiH.  It was also planned to

 4     infiltrate forces from the 28th Division from the protected zone, and

 5     they were to infiltrate the depth of the territory of Republika Srpska.

 6             As we can see, operations were reliant on those units that were

 7     to be infiltrated into the depth of the territory, because these units

 8     were expected to take advantage of the element of surprise and to ensure

 9     that other units had favourable conditions that would allow them to carry

10     out their task.

11        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Please have a look at 3, item 3,

12     engagement of forces.  And let's see what the task is for the 285th and

13     the light brigade.  3.1.  I'll quote.  I'll read it out.

14             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could you please scroll up the

15     English version.

16             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

17        Q.   "The 284th East Bosnian Light Brigade used the entire

18     284th Eastern Bosnian Light Brigade for insertion into the depth of the

19     corridor into the original sectors, combat group by combat group

20     (battalion strength).  Reinforce combat groups as needed from other

21     brigades with the minimum number of soldiers for a realistic execution of

22     the set task and keep them in the field until they link up with the other

23     forces."

24             My question is as follows:  Did the Main Staff of the

25     ABiH Supreme Command plan to have the whole 284th Iblbr inserted into the

Page 18934

 1     corridor, in the territory that was under the control of the VRS, and did

 2     they plan to have that force remain there until other forces, remaining

 3     forces, from the ABiH arrived in the area?  Thank you.

 4        A.   That just confirms what I was previously saying.  It's not a

 5     matter of infiltrating sabotage and terrorist groups; it's a matter of

 6     infiltrating significant forces.  The 284th Brigade was probably the most

 7     capable unit from the 28th Division.  Given that, the Main Staff had

 8     planned to infiltrate this brigade, to have this brigade infiltrate

 9     territory that was under the control of the VRS.

10             It was planned to have the entire brigade infiltrate the

11     territory.  There were supposed to be units the strength of a battalion

12     that were to infiltrate the territory.  These are strong units,

13     especially when they infiltrate the enemy's rear.  They can thus inflict

14     very significant losses on the units in whose territory they are present.

15        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Please, have you come across any

16     documents which state that certain forces from Zepa and from Srebrenica

17     infiltrated the territory of Republika Srpska?  Thank you.

18        A.   Yes.  I came across a number of such documents, and that confirms

19     that there had previously been cases of infiltration but not to the

20     extent that was now being planned.  In these documents that I previously

21     found, these prior infiltrations concerned the infiltration of sabotage

22     and reconnaissance units, reconnaissance units the strength of a platoon.

23     Such units had between 20 and 30 soldiers.  These groups inflicted

24     significant losses on the Army of Republika Srpska.

25        Q.   Thank you.  If we have a look at the engagement of forces.  I

Page 18935

 1     won't read through the entire paragraph that relates to groups and

 2     subgroups, but is mentioned made of areas between Zepa and Srebrenica?

 3     Thank you.

 4        A.   Yes, those areas are also mentioned.

 5             But there is something else that I would like to add which I

 6     believe is very important, and this will enable us to have a better

 7     understanding of this operation and its purpose.

 8             If we see that the Main Staff issues tasks to a brigade and to

 9     units below the level of brigade, a brigade is three levels below the

10     Main Staff, but in this case it's issuing tasks to combat groups formed

11     by brigades, and even to combat subgroups.  So now we're going five

12     levels down, and this is extremely rare.  But once again let me say that

13     it is the commander's right to decide how to use certain units and also

14     to decide who will assign tasks to these units.  Since this operation is

15     a very serious one and the purpose of the operation is very serious, the

16     Main Staff assumed responsibility for assigning tasks to groups at such

17     low levels.

18             In contemporary armies, this could be tolerated more easily,

19     because given the contemporary systems of command and control and of

20     managing units and operations, commanders at the highest levels can have

21     communication links and can issue tasks to groups at the level of a

22     company.  This isn't always good in terms of military doctrine, but if

23     the commander so decides, if he decides that this is the manner in which

24     his objective will be reached, then he has the right to proceed in this

25     manner, because he is the commander, the authorised official, who decides

Page 18936

 1     who will command a unit and in what manner.

 2        Q.   Thank you.

 3             [Microphone not activated]

 4             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, please.

 5             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

 6        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Could we now please have a look at A, or

 7     could you have a look at item A, which relates to the first combat group,

 8     Combat Group 1.  Certain facilities are mentioned - Velja Glava, Snagovo,

 9     and Djafin Kamen.  Are these places referred to?

10        A.   Yes, yes.

11        Q.   Do these features mean anything to you?  Where are they, in fact,

12     located, Velja Glava and Snagovo, which areas?  In relation to the column

13     that was breaking through.

14        A.   These features are partially to be found on the axis of -- on the

15     breakthrough axis of the 28th Division.  They are in the territory of

16     Republika Srpska.

17        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Have a look at the second subgroup

18     referred to under A.  In the second line, is the village of

19     Camilja [phoen] Kula Grad mentioned?  And the Kula Grad fortress, is that

20     a place mentioned in the third line?

21        A.   Yes, these places are mentioned.

22        Q.   Thank you.  Could you please tell us where, as far as you can

23     remember, these places are located?  In the vicinity of which large

24     settlements or towns?  Thank you.

25        A.   I can't say for certain which large towns they are close to, but

Page 18937

 1     what I can say is that they are near the Drina river.  And part of the

 2     objective of the operation was that after an operations base had been

 3     established, the operation should continue and the forces should break

 4     through to the Drina river.  I can also point out that these places are

 5     located in the territory of Republika Srpska.

 6        Q.   Thank you.  We saw, under the heading "idea," we saw something

 7     about the left border, and the village of Pozege [phoen] was supposed to

 8     be the first location there.  Now you're mentioning the Drina river as a

 9     location that was fixed.  Where is the village of Pozeplje located, could

10     you please tell us then?  And what is the distance between Pozeplje and

11     the banks of the Drina river?  Thank you.

12        A.   Well, Pozeplje is in the vicinity of Zepa, but I couldn't really

13     tell you how far it is from the river Drina.

14        Q.   Thank you.  Is the village of Pozeplje in the vicinity of the

15     Main Staff in Han Pijesak?  Thank you.

16        A.   Yes.  It is in the vicinity of the Main Staff.

17        Q.   Thank you.  And could you perhaps estimate the distance between

18     the Main Staff and the banks of the river Drina in the area where OG-8

19     was active, or, rather, part of the forces from Srebrenica?  Thank you.

20        A.   Well, I think that was a distance of about 30 kilometres.

21        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Given the distances and the extent of the

22     territory that they wanted to liberate, could you tell us whether this

23     concerns linking up territory under the control of the ABiH?  Did it

24     concern linking up that territory in Central Bosnia with territory in

25     Eastern Bosnia, which is where these protected zones were located?  In

Page 18938

 1     the vicinity of the Drina Rijeka, the Drina river.  Thank you.

 2        A.   Yes, I can confirm that.  Because this is part of the main

 3     objective, the main idea, expressed by the Main Staff.  The purpose was

 4     to link up these territories, the territory under the control of the ABiH

 5     or, rather, the 2nd Corps.  This territory was to be linked up with the

 6     territory of the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves.

 7        Q.   Thank you.  Let's have a look at item 3.  It concerns the forces

 8     of the 2nd Corps of the ABiH.  Thank you.  3.4.

 9             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Aleksandar.  It's

10     page 10 in the English version.

11             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

12        Q.   At the bottom of this page in the Serbian language and at the

13     bottom of the page in the English version as well, we can see it says the

14     2nd Corps forces of the ABiH.  And it says:

15             "The main forces of Operations Group 6 and Operations Group 4 are

16     engaged on this task with reinforcement from other 2nd Corps

17     complements."

18             And then it mentions basic tasks.

19             My question is as follows:  In this complex operation planned by

20     the Main Staff on the 9th of November, 1994, was action planned by ABiH

21     units from Central Bosnia from the 2nd Corps in order to link up with

22     forces with Zepa and Srebrenica?  Thank you.

23        A.   This is more than obvious.  The rest of the 2nd Corps - and why

24     do I say the rest? because the 28th Division is also on the strength of

25     the 2nd Corps - was given a special task.  They were to launch an

Page 18939

 1     operation on the axis from Central Bosnia to eastern enclaves.

 2        Q.   Thank you.  We don't want to go on reading the entire document.

 3             Let's look at 4.8 in this document.  This is on the last page,

 4     and this was -- this will also give us an opportunity to see the

 5     opportunity [as interpreted].  In English it is page 13, the last page.

 6     Thank you.  This will give us an opportunity to see the signature.  4.8.

 7     And I quote:

 8             [As read] "We have realistic information that the Chetniks are

 9     preparing to attack you, but we don't know yet when or how.  Should this

10     be the case, a troublesome defence lies in store for you in the final

11     breakthrough from the encirclement, which is a very complex operation.

12     Because you will have the people on your back, you will lose free

13     territory, and you will have to move through the occupied territory.

14     Compared to that, this operation doesn't have such significant problems.

15     It is essential that we commence the operation before the Chetniks decide

16     to attack.  We can and indeed we will help you to break through the

17     encirclement, but certainly on a smaller scale and less effectively than

18     in the execution of the operation."

19             My question is this:  Did the Main Staff, or, rather, the

20     Supreme Command of the BiH Army, know what the risks were?  And despite

21     being aware of the risks, did they decide to launch a decisive operation

22     to pre-empt the Chetniks' attack?  Thank you.

23        A.   Not only were they aware of all that, they envisaged all that.

24     This document clearly shows that the Main Staff of the BiH Army warns the

25     command of the 28th Division about what they can expect about the

Page 18940

 1     situation that may be in store for them.

 2             This bullet point indicates that the Main Staff already had

 3     information that Srebrenica would come under attack, that it would be

 4     threatened.  Not only did they have that information, they also knew that

 5     it -- Srebrenica will not be defended, because the message of the

 6     commander of the 8th Group shows that their future breakthrough from the

 7     encirclement is not as significant as the operation that was planned.

 8             It is clearly shown by the document that the Main Staff warns the

 9     command that the breakthrough is a very complex operation and that it

10     will be even more complex for them.  It will be compounded by the fact

11     that they will have people on their backs, civilians, and that they will

12     have to break through an occupied territory under the control of the

13     Army of Republika Srpska - and I'm talking about the same distance of

14     60 kilometres that we have already mentioned.  Besides that, the

15     Main Staff warns the command of the 8th OG that the Army of

16     Republika Srpska might carry out the so-called pre-emptive action,

17     because the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska had intelligence

18     to the effect of such an operation being in the pipeline.

19             The 8th OG is warned that if their action is pre-empted by the

20     Army Republika Srpska, they will be on their own in the breakthrough.

21     And as you can see in the document, they say that they want to help,

22     however, to the extent possible and to the extent matching the

23     significance of the planned operation.  Since the objective of the

24     planned operation is much above and beyond the task of protecting and

25     preserving Srebrenica, he spelled it out quite clearly in this bullet

Page 18941

 1     point and he left it to OG-8 to independently solve any problems that

 2     might arise from their decision.

 3        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  And now let us look at bullet point 4.9,

 4     right underneath.  And I quote:

 5             [As read] "Keep this document to yourself ... any leaks from the

 6     document will be your personal responsibility.  From it, you can issue

 7     tasks in segments to those who are to carry them out.  The entire

 8     operation and its objective must not be given to anyone until the

 9     specified moment and without our approval.  After you study it, you may

10     destroy it at your discretion or keep it secure and destroy it when you

11     see fit."

12             My question is this:  Why all the secrecy measures with regard to

13     these operations?  Why do you think that all the information regarding

14     the operation has to be so secret and confidential?  What would be your

15     opinion on that?

16        A.   The objective calls for secrecy not only in this operation but by

17     and large in all operations.  This is a well-known military problem, and

18     that is when to convey tasks to subordinated units from the superior

19     units.  In all the militaries of the world, this is an unresolved issue.

20     Every time when a task is sent down the line to a lower unit, the danger

21     of information leak increases.  That is why commanders are very cautious

22     whenever they are in a position to send their decisions down to

23     subordinated units.

24             However, there is an inherent danger in that.  One may be overly

25     cautious and as a result a decision arrives too late and subordinated

Page 18942

 1     units do not have enough time to prepare for the task.  In this document

 2     this is very obvious.  In this very bullet point this is very obvious.

 3     The commander -- or, rather, the Main Staff, here, orders how the

 4     document/documents should be treated if they contain the highest possible

 5     secret regarding the operation.  That's why the commander ordered that

 6     tasks should be issued to the subordinated units in segments and that the

 7     sequence of the implementation as envisaged in the main idea should be

 8     followed.  In other words, another plan will be drafted for the

 9     operation, and all the ensuing orders have to be based on that plan.

10        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Please, you have testified that the

11     person who gave this order also knew that the civilian population would

12     be moving out of Srebrenica together with the troops.  How did you know

13     that?  Or whose decision was it to move out the civilian population from

14     Srebrenica?

15             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Mr. Vanderpuye.

16             MR. VANDERPUYE:  Thank you, Mr. President.  If we could have a

17     reference to that particular statement.  I didn't see it in the

18     transcript as he's been testifying so far today, at least.

19             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Mr. Tolimir, can you give us the reference for

20     that?

21             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.  The

22     reference for that is under bullet point 4.9 -- or, rather, 4.8.  I

23     apologise.

24             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Mr. Tolimir, you misunderstood the request of

25     Mr. Vanderpuye.  He was asking you for a reference to your statement.

Page 18943

 1     You said in the last question to the witness:

 2             "Mr. Skrbic, please, you have testified that the person who gave

 3     this order also knew that the civilian population would be moving out of

 4     Srebrenica together with the troops."

 5             Could you give us a reference where Mr. Skrbic testified to that

 6     effect?

 7             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.  This is

 8     not what I said.  I said:  Since you in your answers said that they will

 9     have a problem of the population on their back, did you study how the

10     decision was made to transfer the civilian population from Srebrenica?

11             That was my question.  And the reference about that, which was

12     repeated by the witness, is bullet point 4.8, line 4, where it says:

13             "You will have --"

14             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Mr. Tolimir, that is sufficient.  It was

15     obviously an interpretation matter.

16             Sir, the question of Mr. Tolimir is:  Did you study how the

17     decision was made to transfer the civilian population from Srebrenica?

18             Could you please answer.

19             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I researched that issue.  And

20     I have dealt with it in a chapter entitled: "Evacuation from Srebrenica."

21             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Mr. Tolimir, I think it's now the time for the

22     second break.  You may then proceed after the break.  We will resume at

23     1.00.

24                           --- Recess taken at 12.29 p.m.

25                           --- On resuming at 1.01 p.m.

Page 18944

 1             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  Yes, Mr. Tolimir.  Please continue.

 2             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.  I would

 3     like to call up P990.  Thank you.  The witness referred to that document

 4     in one of his answers.  Thank you.

 5             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

 6        Q.   We see a document issued by the Republic of Bosnia and

 7     Herzegovina.  It's a municipality of Srebrenica.  The presidency of that

 8     municipality has sent this document on the 9th of July, 1995, to the

 9     president of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic,

10     as well as to the commander of the RBH army, Army General Rasim Delic.

11             I quote from the report:

12             "This is a report from the session of the Srebrenica municipality

13     presidency held on the 9th of July, 1995, at 1900 hours.

14             [As read] "The aggressor army entered the town at 1800 hours from

15     the direction of Zeleni Jadar.  Our military command is dissolving, and

16     the members of the 28th Division of the ground forces are no longer able

17     to do anything to prevent aggressor forces from entering the town.  Chaos

18     and panic are rife, and the civilian authorities are left with the last

19     unpopular step to save the population.  And it is stressed that a meeting

20     at the level of the state and military organs of the RBH with the Serbian

21     aggressor side, which means that a noted meeting should be set up with

22     the Serbian aggressor side with the aim of finding a possibility to open

23     a corridor for the population to move to the nearest free territory of

24     the RBiH under the control of international factors.  We need an urgent

25     reply no later than 2400 hours.

Page 18945

 1             "President of the Presidency Osman Suljic," mining engineer.

 2     Thank you.

 3             Mr. Skrbic, could you please tell us what, Conclusions would you

 4     infer from this document?

 5        A.   First of all, I have to draw your attention to the date of the

 6     document and the time when the session of the presidency of the

 7     municipality of Zepa was held, at 1900 hours.  And before I share with

 8     you my final conclusions about this document, I would like to point to

 9     the fact that an urgent answer is sought no later than 24 hours.  Which

10     means that if the session started at 1900 hours, it must have lasted at

11     least for an hour; an hour later the telegram was sent, which means that

12     it was sent at 2000 hours; which means that only four hours remained to

13     the highest political leadership of the Republic of Bosnia and

14     Herzegovina to provide their answer to the request.

15             What does this mean?  This means that the Presidency of -- the

16     Presidency of Zepa municipality and his associate are under pressure and

17     in a lot of haste.  Second of all, on the 9th of July, 1995, the Army of

18     Republika Srpska did not enter the urban area, which points to the

19     following conclusion:  In this way, the president of the Presidency of

20     Zepa municipality -- I apologise, Srebrenica municipality, tries to make

21     the situation more dramatic than necessary in order to receive an urgent

22     answer from President Izetbegovic and commander of the Main Staff

23     Rasim Delic.

24             And now I will move on to the gist and the essence of the

25     document.  The gist of the document is this:  For the military, i.e., the

Page 18946

 1     command and the troops of the 28th Division, it is true that it is in a

 2     state of chaos.  If we were to strictly apply the principles of the

 3     military doctrine, one should expect that the enemy are in a state of

 4     chaos, because they will not be able to put up any meaningful resistance

 5     to our advances.

 6             Second of all, when we are talking about the civilian population,

 7     it is abundantly clear here that the civilian population and their local

 8     bosses intend to move out.  And they are pleading with

 9     President Alija Izetbegovic and Commander Rasim Delic to strike an urgent

10     deal with the Army of Republika Srpska to open the corridor for the

11     population to move out.  There is no doubt about the fact that the

12     population of Srebrenica already on the 9th and even before that - and I

13     will come back to that later - wanted and intended to leave the area, to

14     move out.

15             If we go even further back, to the year 1993, to the time when

16     the Drina Corps carried out a counter-offensive against the 28th Division

17     in order to return the territories that it had previously lost, until the

18     17th of April, 1994, already then the local civilian authorities of

19     Srebrenica called for a similar arrangement to be made.  They wanted to

20     move out under three conditions.  They were prepared to leave the area

21     under three conditions:  The first one being for the wounded to be

22     evacuated by helicopter - if I'm not mistaken; the second condition was

23     for the civilians to be evacuated by other means of transport; and the

24     third condition, when all that was done, was for a corridor to be opened

25     to allow the troops to leave in the direction of Tuzla on foot.  You can

Page 18947

 1     find this in a report by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.  I

 2     can't remember in which paragraph, but I'm sure that it exists in his

 3     report.

 4             Why did I go back?  I want to show to the Trial Chamber that the

 5     idea of abandoning Srebrenica existed among the Muslims even before the

 6     6th of July, 1995.  That idea had pre-existed that date.  It had

 7     pre-existed the attack on Srebrenica.  And this is what I wanted to say

 8     about this document.

 9        Q.   Thank you.  In the last three lines of the document that we have

10     in front of us, it says:

11             "... finding a possibility to open a corridor for the population

12     to move out to the nearest free territory of the Republic of Bosnia and

13     Herzegovina under the control of international elements."

14             My question is as follows:  Did the Srebrenica civilian

15     authorities request that a corridor be opened from Srebrenica to

16     territory under the control of the ABiH and the government?  Thank you.

17        A.   Naturally.  An explicit request was made to organise a meeting

18     with the VRS and to arrange for the opening of such a corridor without

19     fighting and in agreement with the VRS.  The request was to agree on

20     opening a corridor to the nearest stretch of territory under the control

21     of the ABiH, and that area was the Tuzla area.  As far as this stretch of

22     territory under international control is concerned, well, this relates to

23     moving the population out via territory under international control.

24        Q.   Thank you.  Does this mean that they had requested an evacuation

25     of the population from Srebrenica to territory under the control of the

Page 18948

 1     ABiH?

 2        A.   One could say so, but conditionally, because evacuation has a

 3     different meaning when compared to the term "moving out."  If you say

 4     "moving out," if they are requesting that the population be moved out,

 5     that means that they will move out voluntarily.  And with the assistance

 6     of international elements, the population will move out.  If you say

 7     "evacuation," it means that someone has to evacuate them.  Someone has to

 8     go to collect them and transport them to the nearest stretch of territory

 9     under the control of the ABiH.  And this should have concerned the

10     civilian authorities from Tuzla.  They would have had to go and evacuate

11     the population with the necessary means.

12             In this particular case, what we are dealing with is moving out

13     population.  And the term "to move out," as far as I understand that

14     expression, means that there is no intention to return.  However, in my

15     understanding, the term "evacuation" means that when the conditions are

16     favorable for a return, the population would return to the place they

17     left.  That is my understanding of these two different expressions.

18        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.

19             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please now see

20     Exhibit D174.  Thank you.  Thank you.

21             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

22        Q.   Mr. Skrbic, on the screen we have before us a document from

23     Mr. Akashi, from the UNPROFOR HQ in Zagreb, addressed to Kofi Annan, the

24     Secretary-General of the UN.  It's dated the 11th of July, 1995.  If we

25     now have a look at item 1, the first three lines of that item, this is

Page 18949

 1     what it says:

 2             "The purpose of this message is to inform you of plans I am

 3     making to deal with the situation in Srebrenica and to provide you with

 4     our preferred line for your approaches to the council."

 5             And then it says:

 6             "I have just concluded a meeting with my senior military and

 7     political advisors and with the UNHCR Special Envoy, at which a general

 8     consensus was reached on the policy that UNPF, UNPROFOR, and UNHCR will

 9     pursue with regard to Srebrenica in the coming one to seven days ..."

10             Could you comment on this introduction in which Mr. Akashi is

11     addressing Mr. Annan?  Thank you.

12        A.   This means that Mr. Akashi, as the Secretary-General's special

13     envoy, together with his civilian and political advisors drew up a plan

14     stating how the UN should act in co-operation with the UNHCR.  He sent

15     the plan to the Secretary-General and waited for the UN Security Council

16     to make its position known.  This means that UN forces had a plan for

17     dealing with the Srebrenica problem and, in particular, for dealing with

18     the problem of the civilian population there.

19        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.

20             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please see page 2 of the

21     document now.  Thank you.  Thank you.

22             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

23        Q.   Mr. Skrbic, I'll read out part of the first paragraph now.

24             "The UNHCR reports that 80 to 90 per cent of the population of

25     Srebrenica (the total population is 40.000) are displaced persons who

Page 18950

 1     fled fighting earlier in the war, thus they do not have long-standing

 2     ties to homes and property in the enclave and will probably be interested

 3     in leaving for Tuzla.  A UNHCR local staff member in Srebrenica --" I'll

 4     repeat what I said, "a UNHCR local staff member in Srebrenica reported

 5     today that virtually everyone in the enclave wishes to leave."

 6             Mr. Skrbic, in this document here, does it refer to information

 7     on the basis of which Mr. Akashi took the decision he took concerning

 8     international organisations in Srebrenica and in Bosnia?  Thank you.

 9        A.   Well, first of all, we can tie this up -- this position can be

10     tied up with the previous document that we had a look at, and this

11     position confirms what I previously said, and that is that the population

12     of Srebrenica had the intention of moving out.  Here this intention is

13     expressed as their wish, because it quite unambiguously states that in

14     the United Nations they believe that only some of the population wanted

15     to go to Tuzla, but later they realised that the entire population wanted

16     to leave the area.  First it says only displaced persons and then it says

17     everyone.  This is not the only document in which this wish is expressed.

18     There are other documents in which the wish is expressed.

19        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  You mentioned the previous document.  Are

20     you referring to the document of the 9th that the president of Srebrenica

21     municipality drafted after the meeting that had been held at 1800 hours?

22     Thank you.

23        A.   Yes, that's correct.

24        Q.   Thank you.  Did UNPROFOR command in Srebrenica have such

25     information, and UNPROFOR command in Tuzla, Sarajevo, and Zagreb as

Page 18951

 1     well - thank you - since a request had been made from Srebrenica for

 2     international forces to act as mediators in opening up a corridor that

 3     would allow the population to move out?  Thank you.

 4        A.   If the system of command and control in UNPROFOR was functioning

 5     correctly, then it wouldn't be realistic to expect that the UNPROFOR

 6     command in Srebrenica was unaware of these activities.  That would be

 7     quite unbelievable because that command was in Srebrenica with people and

 8     that body would be the body that would first be informed about such

 9     intentions, and one would expect that body to be the first body to commit

10     itself to finding a solution to that problem.

11        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Let's now have a look at the second

12     paragraph, which is the last one of this page, from page 1 in the Serbian

13     version.  And it's the second paragraph under B, the last five lines.

14     The second paragraph under B.  It says, and I quote:

15             [As read] "The Dutch will receive instructions to remain in the

16     Srebrenica enclave until an agreement is reached with the government of

17     the Bosnian Serbs and until authorisation is obtained for those people to

18     leave the enclaves.  Ideally, a significant number of armed troops from

19     UNPROFOR will remain in the enclave at least until all those who want to

20     leave the enclave actually leave it.  This option has to be harmonised

21     with the wish of the Dutch government to evacuate its forces as soon as

22     possible from Srebrenica.  UNPROFOR will also try to reach an agreement

23     with the Bosnian Serbs to escort any convoy of refugees from Srebrenica

24     to Tuzla."

25             Mr. Skrbic, bearing in mind what I have just read out, could you

Page 18952

 1     please tell me what you think of this?  What was UNPROFOR's attitude to

 2     this?  What was their position?  And did Mr. Kofi Annan know what the

 3     population thought about moving out, since he's stating what role

 4     everyone will play until the population has finally moved out?  Thank

 5     you.

 6        A.   Yes, this is a matter of standard procedure here that is also

 7     followed by other armies, although UNPROFOR units are United Nations

 8     units, but the chain of command is not significantly different from the

 9     chain of command in armies throughout the world.  So we can see that the

10     Dutch Battalion will be assigned a task.  They will be instructed on how

11     to act to make sure that the civilian population can move out of

12     Srebrenica.

13             In addition, the document also says that the Dutch government has

14     been informed.  And we can only speculate that the Dutch government is

15     concerned for the security of their forces and they want to establish how

16     to move their forces out of the enclave as soon as possible.

17        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Please now have a look at item C.  I'm

18     interested in the first two sentences -- or the first sentence, in fact.

19     It's the next page in the Serbian version, and it's on the same page in

20     the English version, which we have in front of us.  It says, under C, and

21     I quote:

22             "While satisfactory arrangements for the departure of refugees

23     are being sought, UNPROFOR will negotiate the departure of Dutch troops

24     from Srebrenica."

25             Thank you.  Please, in this document from Mr. Annan -- I

Page 18953

 1     apologise, from Mr. Akashi, which was sent on the 11th of July, 1995, in

 2     this document is mentioned made of seeking a solution for the refugees?

 3     And is mentioned made of the departure of the Dutch Battalion?  What is

 4     your opinion of this as an expert?  Thank you.

 5        A.   Well, first of all, it is necessary to distinguish two questions,

 6     first of all.  First of all, there is the question of Mr. Akashi's

 7     conduct in relation to his assistance and in relation to the civilians.

 8     The second question is the question of what to do with the Dutch

 9     Battalion, and here you can see the division of responsibility with

10     regard to those two issues.

11             As for the civilian population and as for the decision on moving

12     the population out, it's the civilian component of UNPROFOR that is

13     responsible for that decision.  And the decision -- or, rather, the

14     responsibility for evacuation is the responsibility of UNPROFOR command.

15     The civilians perform their own duties, and the army performs its own

16     duties.  This is quite logical.

17        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  In relation to moving out the refugees in

18     the enclave, well, was this the firm position that UNPROFOR had?  When we

19     have a look at item C that I have read out, could you say whether

20     UNPROFOR had a firm position with regard to the departure of civilians?

21     Or was this position one that was developed, given the way that events

22     unfolded on the ground?  Or is something else at stake?  Thank you.

23        A.   There is no doubt at all that the civilian population or refugees

24     were going to move out.  The only thing that was sought was the way how

25     to do it and the best possible way.  When that way was found, there is no

Page 18954

 1     doubt that the Dutch Battalion would also be evacuated, because their

 2     deployment in Srebrenica would have lost its purpose.  My final

 3     conclusion is, therefore, that there is a firm position that the civilian

 4     population has to move out.

 5        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.

 6             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like the electronic court

 7     to go to the following page in the Serbian as well as in English.  I'm

 8     interested in bullet point 3.  I would like to thank the e-court.

 9             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

10        Q.   And now I'm going to quote from the document.  I'm quoting from

11     3(a):

12             "UNHCR will immediately begin negotiations with the Bosnian Serbs

13     for the provision of emergency food and medical supplies for the people

14     in Srebrenica, particularly the wounded, and the approximately

15     25.000 displaced persons who had fled combat; the safe, rapid, and

16     orderly departure from Srebrenica of all those people, including men of

17     military age for Tuzla, beginning with the evacuation of the wounded on

18     an emergency basis."

19             Thank you.  Please, looking at this part here, in the document

20     sent by the Akashi, would you say that this part specifies UNHCR

21     obligations?  Look at the first sentence, where it says "UNHCR will

22     immediately begin negotiations with the Bosnian Serbs," is this an

23     approval for such conversations?  And if somebody receives a document

24     from the UNPROFOR command in Zagreb, would they act in accordance with

25     such a document?  Thank you.

Page 18955

 1        A.   If Mr. Akashi, the special representative of the

 2     UN Secretary-General, says that UNPROFOR will immediately start

 3     negotiating with the Serbian side, that means one and only thing:  This

 4     is the beginning of the implementation of the plan to move out the

 5     civilian population from Srebrenica.  I recognise this as the first task

 6     given to one of the interested parties or an interested bodies which also

 7     has obligations as a humanitarian organisation.

 8             If you get such a task, that means that you start implementing a

 9     plan.  Not only in this case.  This would be the case in combat

10     operations or in any other military operation.  This is also the case in

11     civilian structures, in governments, or in any organised civilian

12     society.

13        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  And now let's look at the second part of

14     the sentence, and I am going to quote from it.

15             "The safe, rapid, and orderly departure from Srebrenica of all

16     those people, including men of military age for Tuzla, beginning with the

17     evacuation of the wounded on an emergency basis."

18             Thank you.  My question is this:  This is an instruction provided

19     by Mr. Akashi; does it also imply that UNHCR representatives should

20     immediately begin these activities in order to facilitate the departure

21     of everybody, including men of military age for Tuzla?  Thank you.

22        A.   There is no doubt about that.  The only thing I can add to that

23     is this:  As you can see in the document, some priorities have been set;

24     the first to be evacuated are the wounded, which is only normal, and the

25     rest will follow.

Page 18956

 1        Q.   Thank you.

 2             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to go to the following

 3     page in Serbian.  The English page is correct.

 4             MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]

 5        Q.   This is in both versions in both letters.  I will quote:

 6             "Our efforts to negotiate with the Bosnian Serbs and to

 7     ameliorate the situation on the ground would potentially be greatly

 8     facilitated if the council were to make several points on an urgent

 9     basis, preferably in the form of a resolution, but alternatively in the

10     form of a presidential statement."

11             And then under (e) it is stated, and I quote:

12             "All those who wish to leave Srebrenica should be allowed to do

13     so under the protection of UNHCR."

14             My question is this:  Could you please explain something about

15     this document:  Whose was the decision for the population of Srebrenica

16     to move out?  Thank you.

17        A.   First of all, the decision was not taken as such, but it was in

18     the pipeline and it will be taken.  The second thing that I would like to

19     highlight here is the fact that this document clearly shows that in

20     complex situations it is not easy to reach a decision.  Even people with

21     the highest diplomatic credibility, such was Mr. Akashi, had a hard time

22     making a decision, which is clearly seen from the first paragraph that

23     you read out.

24             Mr. Akashi needed support in the form of a resolution, or at

25     least a presidential notification from the Security Council.  I repeat:

Page 18957

 1     It's very difficult to make a decision, and it's always easier for the

 2     top executive to make such a decision.  And that is true of both the

 3     military as well as civilian structures.

 4        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.  Would such a top executive make decisions

 5     based on the information that he receives from his subordinates?  Thank

 6     you.

 7        A.   Nobody makes decisions without information.  The information in

 8     question has to be relevant for the decision to be good, for the decision

 9     to be implementable, with the least effort, and in the most

10     cost-effective way.  Whoever makes a decision has to have information,

11     not only from his subordinates, and in this case it is more pronounced

12     than in normal conditions in the army because the subordinates are far

13     away from the decision-maker.  It has the right information that may be

14     provided to the Secretary-General, and if the Secretary-General makes a

15     decision, it will be a good support for Mr. Akashi at the moment when he

16     wants to implement his plan.

17        Q.   Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.

18             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I think the time has

19     come for the Court to rise.  Thank you.

20             JUDGE FLUEGGE:  You are right, Mr. Tolimir.  We have to adjourn

21     the for the day, and we will resume tomorrow morning at 9.00 in this

22     courtroom.

23             And again, this advice:  No contact to other party during the

24     break, please.

25             We adjourn.

Page 18958

 1                           [The witness stands down]

 2                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,

 3                     to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 8th day of February,

 4                           2012, at 9.00 a.m.