1 Wednesday, 8 February 2012
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning to everybody in the courtroom and to
6 those listening and following our procedures.
7 I see you on your feet, Mr. Vanderpuye.
8 MR. VANDERPUYE: Good morning to you, Mr. President. Good
9 morning, Your Honours, and everyone.
10 I just have a brief announcement and that is that we have an
11 English translation for P2587. It's uploaded and available in e-court.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much for that.
13 Mr. Gajic.
14 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Mr. Tolimir has some
15 issues with the microphone and with the headphones.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: If the Court Usher could assist, please.
17 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, good morning to you again. And is
19 everything now working?
20 The microphone is not working. The Court Usher should assist
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. May
23 God's peace reign in this house and may God's will be done in these
24 proceedings and not necessarily mine. I'm not receiving any
25 interpretation. I can't hear, so I don't understand what you said, I
1 don't understand what Mr. Vanderpuye answered to what you said. Thank
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The Court Usher will assist you again, otherwise
4 we have to call a technician.
5 I would -- I think, not to waste time, we should call in a
6 technician. I would kindly ask the Court Usher -- no, he's busy with
8 Mr. Tolimir, are you now receiving interpretation?
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Now I am
10 receiving interpretation. Thank you.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
12 Mr. Vanderpuye, another issue? Or ...
13 MR. VANDERPUYE: No, Mr. President. I just needed to correct the
14 record. I misspoke. The exhibit number is 2857.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Document P2857 will now be received into
17 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: So we are just trying again to understand.
19 Mr. Tolimir, are you now receiving interpretation in a proper way?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Now I am
21 receiving interpretation.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. If that problem occurs
23 again, please let me know immediately.
24 The witness should be brought in, please.
25 [The witness takes the stand]
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning, Mr. Skrbic. Welcome back to the
2 courtroom. Let me remind you that the affirmation to tell the truth
3 still applies.
4 WITNESS: RATKO SKRBIC [Resumed]
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir is continuing his
8 Mr. Tolimir, you have the floor.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. May
10 God's peace reign in this house and may these -- may God's will be done
11 in these proceedings and not necessarily mine.
12 Examination by Mr. Tolimir: [Continued]
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Good morning, Mr. Skrbic. I wish you a pleasant stay in our
15 midst and I wish that God's will may be done in these proceedings.
16 Now my question: Did you have an opportunity to learn about the
17 breakthrough through the area of responsibility of the Zvornik Brigade
18 while studying various documents?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you. The Trial Chamber has had an opportunity to hear that
21 the units of the Zvornik Brigade set an ambush near Djafin Kamen in
22 Snagovo and finally in Baljkovica. The units of the Zvornik Brigade set
23 up the first ambush near Djafin Kamen. The eye-witnesses say that they
24 took the column by surprise and that they opened fire at close range and
25 that there were a lot of casualties. Do you know that?
1 A. Yes. I presented that in my expert report. The data was taken
2 over from witness statements.
3 Q. Thank you. Likewise, the eye-witnesses say that at Snagovo, in
4 the Snagovo sector, an ambush was set up and that fire was opened from
5 tanks, artillery, and anti-tank weapons and that fire was opened on two
6 different columns of the BiH army which were breaking through from
7 Snagovo towards the territory under the control of the enemy. That fire
8 by the artillery units of the Drina Corps stopped because people could no
9 longer watch people falling down in such great numbers. Were you aware
10 that that happened in the Snagovo sector? Thank you.
11 A. Yes. I have to add to that that we're talking about two
12 different columns that were moving in parallel to each other, about
13 70 metres apart from each other. Artillery fire was opened and there was
14 all other sorts of support, but it doesn't make any difference because
15 the distance between the two columns was only 70 metres and that the VRS
16 had weapons and so did the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina. Their range was decreased because none of the weapons had
18 been repaired in the meantime.
19 I didn't know that fire stopped because the shooters could not
20 watch people falling down in such great numbers. In military terms or
21 from the military point of view, a fire opened on units that are breaking
22 through is legitimate and fire can be opened from any weapons that are at
23 the disposal of the unit that opens that fire. That fire has to be
24 opened in such a way that people setting up the ambush have to be safe.
25 This means that the quantity of the use of artillery, i.e., the amount of
1 fire, has to be in keeping with the requirements of the safety of own
2 people, those people that are setting up the ambush.
3 Q. Thank you. The combat situation that we have just discussed,
4 i.e., fire opened from all the artillery weapons that one brigade has at
5 its disposal, and that fire being opened on two columns, could this have
6 caused major casualties as the witnesses here claim?
7 A. Of course that fire could indeed cause major losses, because
8 those units were breaking through and not all the soldiers in the column
9 were armed. They were just moving. In that column, they did not have
10 any security on the flanks or any other support that may have guaranteed
11 their safety. One cannot hide from artillery fire. The only protection
12 is to dig in.
13 Q. Could they dig in? Could they seek shelter in the ground if they
14 were moving and if they were leaving one place in order to get to
15 another? Did they have the time to dig in, to make shelters, to make fox
17 A. No, no, that would have been contrary to the principles of a
18 breakthrough. A breakthrough is primarily an attack activity, an assault
19 activity, which does not imply digging in and making fox holes for
20 protection. You do that only in a defence situation.
21 Q. Thank you. Did you know that there were also great losses
22 suffered by those elements that had dug in?
23 A. In this concrete case, I did not have such information. However,
24 in principle, entrenched units suffer fewer losses and they find it
25 easier to protect themselves from artillery fire or any other fire.
1 Q. Thank you. Did you have information about the losses suffered by
2 the forces at the head of that column that was breaking through in the
3 sector of Snagovo and Baljkovica?
4 A. Yes. Among the total losses, there is very imprecise information
5 as to how many were killed in combat in Srebrenica and around Srebrenica
6 and how many were executed, so it's very difficult to make a distinction
7 between those who were killed and those who were executed. There were,
8 however, losses among the defenders of Srebrenica, i.e., among the units
9 of the 28th Division, but it's very difficult to say how many. Simply,
10 such information does not exist, save for the information that can be
11 found in the 28th Division's report about the number of casualties
12 covering the entire period of war, from 1992 to 1995.
13 Q. Thank you. Did you have information about the losses of the
14 Army of Republika Srpska in the sector where they set up those ambushes?
15 Thank you.
16 A. In that sector, according to the report of the 2nd Corps command,
17 if I'm not mistaken, the units of the Republika Srpska army suffered
18 great losses. There were about 40 dead. Some eight or so were captured,
19 they called them Chetniks. They also suffered losses in materiel. A few
20 pieces of weaponry and ammunition were lost. That operation, the
21 breakthrough operation, represented a major security risk not only for
22 the Zvornik Brigade but also Zvornik as a settled area.
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. You mostly relied on the BiH army
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let us now look at D280, which has
1 been marked for identification.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. In order to save time, let's just look at the segments covering
4 the period from the 12:09 to --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Tolimir repeat the time references
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, Mr. Tolimir, please repeat the exact
8 time. The interpreters didn't understand you.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. The first segment is
10 from 12:09 to 12:30. Then from 17:00 hours to 17:57. Then segment from
11 18:41 to 19:57. And finally, 33.2 [as interpreted] to 33:48. Thank you.
12 I just quoted this time for the benefit of the technical personnel, and I
13 will repeat the times again.
14 [Video-clip played]
15 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "How many?
16 "How many do you think were killed?
17 "Around two thousand.
18 "Around two or three thousand at least.
19 "At least.
20 "There is no way I can describe what we experienced while we were
21 breaking through; it's horrible for one to see or anything of the kind."
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Skrbic, do you want to see the beginning again, if you didn't
25 hear it correctly?
1 A. No. I heard this and I was following the text.
2 Q. Do you know who this person speaking is? Thank you.
3 A. In the document I can only recognise Mr. Golic. As far as I can
4 remember, he was one of the commanders in the units of the 28th Division.
5 I think he was a battalion commander, if I remember this correctly.
6 Q. Yes, you mentioned Golic as someone who was killed. Are these
7 ABiH soldiers or VRS soldiers? Thank you.
8 A. These are ABiH soldiers.
9 Q. Thank you. Did you hear what they were saying, how many were
10 killed in the breakthrough or after the breakthrough? because this video
11 was made after the breakthrough.
12 A. They say that 2- to 3.000 were killed, at least. If they say "at
13 least," that means that perhaps more people were killed.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we now see the excerpt from
16 17:00 to 17:57.
17 [Video-clip played]
18 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "That he killed himself! But he
19 also killed the man next to him, who wouldn't have killed himself, and he
20 wounded two others ... this was the first night on Buljim ...
21 "Go ahead!
22 "When the Chetniks rushed into the space where we were all
23 gathered, when we arrived there early then we started ... do not film
24 now ... um, we got there at about 12.00 in the evening. We went
25 around ... at dusk in the bunker, not in the bunker, that's our camp, and
1 this is where most people got killed. This is where they threw us in
3 "What are the estimates? How many of you got killed?
4 "There are, perhaps, two thousand missing, two or three, even
5 more perhaps. I don't know how many exactly."
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. We stopped at 15:57.
7 That's the second excerpt.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Skrbic, did you hear this participant and the information he
10 provided? What was his estimate of the number of people who were killed?
11 Thank you.
12 A. Yes, I heard him clearly. And he said that 2.000 or perhaps even
13 more were killed. He doesn't know exactly. In this case, it's a member
14 of the 28th Division from the column that was breaking through who was
16 Q. Did he mention the figure of 3.000 as well?
17 A. Yes, he did. He said that 2- to 3.000 are missing, 2- to 3.000
18 combatants. When he says "missing," that means that they were either
19 killed or were wounded somewhere. There were such cases, too. They
20 couldn't have been aware of those cases, but he categorically stated that
21 2- to 3.000 were missing.
22 Q. In the second excerpt, do the two speakers, the two participants,
23 have the same estimates on losses sustained?
24 A. Yes. And those are losses. That's the right term. In military
25 doctrine, these are the terms that are used.
1 Q. Have you already had the opportunity of seeing these videos and
2 of listening to eye-witnesses providing information about the losses
4 A. No, this is the first time I have seen these videos.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we now see the following
7 excerpt, the third one, from 18:41 to 19:57. Thank you.
8 [Video-clip played]
9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "I only saw one of them ... non
11 "... did he get across too?
12 "Yes, he did ... and when we were going over Buljim ...
13 "The Serbs were fleeing, crying ...
14 "They ambushed us down there below Medica; we had them totally
15 scattered in 15 minutes; we got hold of those two columns of people they
16 wanted to cut off ... there were Mujo and these Golic men, the mountain
17 battalion ... there are no men. Golic deserves to be general ... but he
18 got killed yesterday ... they carried four ammunition belts and each
19 carried an 84 -- M-84 machine-gun.
20 "Let's go guys, up there, whoever can; the truck is waiting ..."
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. We stopped at
22 19 minutes and 57 seconds.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Skrbic, when listening to these men from the ABiH speaking,
25 did you hear anyone saying that there was an ambush that had been laid at
2 A. I heard someone mention an ambush laid in Buljim, but later it
3 was said that there was an ambush at Snagovo, because Major Golic died in
4 that ambush that had been laid at Snagovo.
5 Q. Thank you. So are we dealing with two ambushes; first one was
6 laid in Buljim and then a second one in Snagovo? Is that what they are
7 talking about, these speakers?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let's now have a look at the last
11 excerpt, 33:02 to 33:48. Thank you.
12 [Video-clip played]
13 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "We had stayed an hour longer, not a
14 day, an hour longer, had we stayed in the breakthrough, we would have
15 been left ...
16 "This is worse than hell ...
17 "In two days we would have killed each other ...
18 "Five or six thousand people ...
19 "Last night, he threw a hand-grenade on the meadow and killed
20 himself and wounded several other people.
21 "He wounded ten people.
22 "One man killed himself with a pistol ... he killed himself ...
23 "We cannot explain this ...
24 "He threw three hand-grenades ...
25 "And did you see that guy who said, 'Guys, we have to go, I'm
1 hungry' and he took out a hand-grenade and pulled the pin out?
2 "That's nothing.
3 "This morning, as he was sitting there, there was this young man
4 next to me. There was a burst of fire and the man next to me got hit,
5 that Gale from Glogova ...
6 "And Masic barely managed to calm down ... but he's fine now,
7 he's calmed down. An hour ago Masic said, 'Where are they chasing us
8 away now? Is this collective surrender?'"
9 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Mr. Skrbic, we stopped at 13 -- at 33:48.
11 My question is now as follows: Did you analyse documents in
12 which reference was made about ABiH members who were breaking through
13 from Srebrenica to Nezuk and Tuzla killing each other? Did you hear
14 about such cases, of ABiH members mentioning the fact that they were
15 killing each other?
16 A. Yes, but I didn't search for such documents in particular,
17 because these documents that speak about such members killing each other
18 in the course of the Srebrenica battle and the breakthrough, well, such
19 documents -- or so many documents don't really exist. But when I was
20 looking at documents on the fighting of the 28th Division, I came across
21 such information in other documents, information according to which they
22 were killing each other.
23 In the debriefing, for example, it says that in the course of the
24 battle for Srebrenica they killed each other, they opened fire on a
25 column that set off from Srebrenica to Potocari one day earlier than they
1 should have, in my estimate, because they should have left on the 10th.
2 And then here we saw that they were killing each other in the course of
3 the breakthrough as well.
4 There are a lot of reasons for which they did this, but there's
5 no precise information as to the losses sustained by members of the
6 28th Division as a result of such internal conflicts. If I were to use
7 the vocabulary that the Prosecutor uses, and his military expert
8 Mr. Butler, for example, if I were to refer to several hundred, a
9 thousand, more than a thousand, less than a thousand, and so on and so
10 forth, well, if I were to express myself in such a manner, then I could
11 say that in these internal conflicts several hundred, or perhaps over a
12 thousand, or perhaps a thousand of them were killed.
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. You've heard all the information in these
14 videos, so my question is as follows: Given the information you had
15 obtained from the documents you saw, would you say that what these
16 participants in the video said with regard to losses is accurate, since
17 they provided very precise figures? Thank you.
18 A. The information provided by members of the 28th Division in these
19 video extracts that we have just had a look at do no more than support
20 the information that we referred to over the last few days. Information
21 from the Secretary-General, for example, information from document P588,
22 and this just confirms that there were about 3.000 or 3.000 [as
23 interpreted] who were killed in the course of the breakthrough that the
24 28th Division of the ABiH attempted.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Mindua has a question.
1 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, Witness Skrbic. In the
2 transcript, at page 13, line 3, you say the following. You spoke about
3 the information provided by the members of the 28th Division in this
4 video, but at the same time, a few minutes ago, if I'm not mistaken, you
5 said that you had never seen this video before. Can you confirm that you
6 have never seen this video before?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can.
8 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. So how is it
9 that you know that these people who are speaking in the video are, in
10 fact, members of the 28th Division?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you can see them. You can
12 see in the video, in fact, that they are members of the 28th Division.
13 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] How is that possible?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it couldn't be anyone else.
15 No one else attempted a breakthrough apart from the 28th Division, and
16 here they are obviously speaking about the breakthrough from Srebrenica
17 to Tuzla; therefore, they can't be members of some other unit, some other
18 formation. They can only be members of the 28th Division that was making
19 this breakthrough, regardless of whether they were wearing uniforms or
20 whether they had arms or whether they were wearing civilian clothes. All
21 those who took the decision to make that breakthrough took that decision
22 together with their command, and they consciously decided to take the
23 risk of breaking through.
24 And as you heard yesterday, in item 4.1 in the document on the
25 main ideas from the Supreme Command Staff, as you could see in that
1 document, six or seven months prior to that event they were told that
2 there might be a breakthrough and that a breakthrough is an extremely
3 difficult and complex military operation. It's one of the most difficult
4 and complex military operations. And it would be even more complex for
5 them because they would have the people burdening them. They would be
6 losing liberated territory and that wasn't mentioned for no reason,
7 because if you lose liberated territory that means that you lose a
9 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. You
10 mentioned weapons, uniforms. I saw women in the video in civilian
11 clothes. What would you say about these women in civilian clothes? Were
12 they members of the 28th Division?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All I can say here is what my
14 impression is when I look at these videos. My assumption is that the
15 woman who appears in the video isn't a member of the 28th Division. I
16 would say that she came from the team that welcomed the -- or waited for
17 the members of the 28th Division. She was a part of the team supposed to
18 assist them, so that's what my opinion of this woman who appears in the
19 video is.
20 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Skrbic, with regard to the losses referred to by the speakers
25 in the video, and the figure of 3.000 is even mentioned, are those
1 figures realistic ones for an operation that is called a breakthrough
2 that was carried out 80 kilometres from the territory from which they
3 departed when attempting this breakthrough?
4 A. Yes, these are realistic figures. Under normal military
5 circumstances, when you have a situation of an armed conflict, when a
6 breakthrough is being attempted, then it would be quite realistic to
7 expect to sustain even more significant losses. If you bear in mind the
8 fact that of the 10- to 15.000 men fit for military service who set off
9 with the 28th Division to carry out this breakthrough, only one-third of
10 those men were armed, so the unarmed soldiers did not have adequate means
11 for mounting a resistance or for carrying out the breakthrough; thus it
12 was more realistic to expect them to sustain more significant losses than
13 they actually did sustain. The fact that they only sustained the losses
14 that they did sustain is due to the fact that the VRS didn't have
15 sufficient forces to obstruct the axis of the breakthrough and to capture
16 members of the 28th Division in that manner.
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. In the documents that you had a look at,
18 were you able to see any other references to the number mentioned by the
19 men who appeared in the film?
20 A. No, I have never seen in any of the other videos mention made of
21 such significant losses. I only saw such references in the documents
22 that I have already mentioned, and I won't repeat myself now.
23 Q. And in those other documents from other sources, written
24 documents or documents of another kind, did those documents refer to any
25 numbers? And if so, what figures were provided for the losses sustained?
1 A. Well, of course I saw and examined such documents that I have
2 already mentioned, and I said that the figure relating to the losses
3 sustained in the course of the breakthrough was 3.000, about 3.000.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we see D280 -- or, rather,
5 could D280 be admitted into evidence. I apologise for tendering these
6 documents, because this was the result of a situation that developed.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would kindly ask you for a clarification.
8 D280, you said this is marked for identification. What was the reason
9 for that? This is number one. And the second question is: D280, is
10 that the transcript of the text you can hear in the video or is it the
11 video itself?
12 Mr. Gajic, can you help us?
13 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. D280 also has a
14 supplementary sheet as well as a transcript. And it's under one number.
15 It was marked for identification because when we were presenting this
16 evidence through another witness, at the time we didn't have a complete
17 transcript, and there were perhaps other reasons as well. But I hope
18 that there is now a sufficient basis for this video and the transcript
19 that pertains to the video now be admitted into evidence.
20 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, I was told that the problem we have
22 had recently was that no CD was provided to the Chamber and to the
23 Prosecution of these parts you wanted to have into evidence. This is one
24 part. The other is, Does the document that you are tendering only
25 contain these parts we have seen on the screen today, these parts of the
1 whole video, or does it contain more?
2 Mr. Gajic.
3 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, first of all let me
4 say that this video contains more information. Of course, we didn't want
5 to play the whole video in the courtroom because it lasts over an hour.
6 We received this video from the Prosecution. There is no conversation
7 taking place in the remaining part of the film that could have been
8 transferred to a transcript. Now, looking at the images, I think that we
9 all know very well what the situation was at the time in that area;
10 therefore, we decided not to show it.
11 Second question, with regard to the CD. The CD have been made,
12 and during this session we are going to provide copies for the
13 Prosecution and the Chamber because we have a sufficient number of them.
14 In any case, we would kindly ask the Trial Chamber to admit the whole
15 video-clip because this will set a context for the conversations that we
16 saw in the excerpts that were played here.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, we are only discussing a technical
18 problem at the moment and this the CD. I was told by the Court Officer
19 that the process of marking for identification was done only because the
20 lack of a CD. Wait a moment, please.
21 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I have to correct myself: the only remaining
23 condition. And after having received the CD you have just promised to
24 provide us with, we will decide then.
25 Please continue.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
2 Thank you, Mr. Gajic.
3 Can we now have D1119 [as interpreted] in e-court.
4 And, Mr. President, if this document can be added to the
5 65 ter list.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Could you briefly explain what kind of document
7 this is. Just mention the title, please, for the record.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. This is
9 a bulletin, published by the Main Staff of the Army of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, its administration and military security service.
11 And from this bulletin we are going to show only some pieces of
12 information that this witness made reference to.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I take it that the number in the transcript is
14 not correct. It should be 1D1119.
15 Mr. Vanderpuye, any objection to add this document to the
16 65 ter exhibit list?
17 MR. VANDERPUYE: No, Mr. President. There's no objection.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Leave is granted to add it to the list,
19 Mr. Tolimir.
20 Please continue.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
22 Can we please have first page in e-court, paragraph 1.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Tolimir kindly speak into the
24 microphone. Thank you.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
2 Q. We can see the document now.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, the interpreters asked you to speak
4 into the microphone. Please continue.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. I quote, paragraph 1:
8 "On the 16th of July, 1995, in the early evening hours, during
9 the breakthrough of the main bulk of the forces of the 28th Division,
10 around 10.000 members of the division arrived at a free territory. This
11 breakthrough was assisted by units of the 24th Division that were
12 carrying out a powerful counterattack on the Chetnik lines in the
13 Baljkovica sector (the general area of Memici and Nezuk) at around 1700
14 hours, and linked up with the units of the 28th Division."
15 Mr. Skrbic, yesterday when we were looking at the diagram that
16 you showed us about the exit of the civilian population and members of
17 the army from Srebrenica, you said that above this arrow you put the
18 figure of 10.000 and that you yourself computed that number. Can you
19 tell us whether the same number was precisely registered by the
20 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina after the breakthrough operation of its forces
21 from Srebrenica across the territory of Republika Srpska? Thank you.
22 A. First of all, I am glad that you have showed me this document,
23 because I didn't have access to it during my research. It supports the
24 claim contained in my document, which is 10.632, above the arrow pointing
25 from Kladanj to Tuzla. This figure, 10.632, are the civilians who joined
1 the column of 25.000 men that was evacuated from Potocari to Tuzla.
2 Now, from this paragraph one cannot say exactly that this figure
3 coincides with the figure that I provided of 10.632, because there were
4 not 10.000 members of the division, there were fewer of them. And now I
5 am happy to say that this confirms that my calculation was correct,
6 because even after the 16th of July members kept coming through whether
7 they were armed or not.
8 Now, thank you again for showing me this, because this
9 corroborates my methodology of research, and I'm now convinced that it
10 was completely proper. It was not difficult to reach the figure of
11 10.632 because if 25.000 people were evacuated from Potocari and the
12 total of 35.632 of Muslims from Srebrenica were registered in Tuzla on
13 the 4th of August, 1995, the registration accounting was done by the
14 government from Sarajevo with the assistance of the WHO, then it is
15 completely clear that this group of 25.000 must have been joined by some
16 10.632 people to make a total of 35.632 people. And they belonged,
17 obviously, to the group that was carrying out the breakthrough. And
18 thank you, once again, for giving me an opportunity to confirm my
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the speakers please
21 pause between questions and answers.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, Mr. Skrbic, you are talking very
23 fast and you - again - you are overlapping. It's very difficult for the
24 interpreters. Please pause between question and answer and the next
1 And now continue, please, Mr. Tolimir. You started with a
2 question. This is not recorded yet. Once again, please.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I'll
4 repeat my question.
5 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
6 Q. On the front page of this bulletin, have you noticed that it was
7 produced on the 17th of July, 1995?
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And can we please have the front
9 page in e-court.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I'll take a look at it now.
11 Yes. At the bottom of this page it says that this document was made on
12 the 17th of July, 1995, which is one day before the events represented in
13 the document. I apologise, one day later after the events.
14 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now go to page 2 of this
17 bulletin. Thank you.
18 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Skrbic, you spoke here about the civilians when you answered
20 my question. Can you please look at line two.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we please have page 1. I'm
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Look at line two and -- or I'll read it again.
25 [As read] "On the 16th of July, 1995, in the early evening hours,
1 during the breakthrough of the main bulk of the 28th Division forces to
2 the free territory, around 10.000 members of this division arrived
4 Is the army treating them as civilians or as members of the
6 A. Yes, the BH army is treating them as being members of the
7 division. There is no doubt about it. I would just like to add that one
8 of the Muslim witnesses said that between 10.000 and 15.000 set off to
9 carry out the breakthrough and that about 14.000 of those able-bodied men
10 were members of the 28th Division. I can give you the name of this
11 person, of this witness, but since I am not very skillful in deciding
12 which witnesses are protected and which witnesses are not, I am not going
13 to name any names to avoid disclosing any details about a potentially
14 protected witness, although I have to admit that in my view every witness
15 that testified with protective measures had a pseudonym and those who
16 testify under their full names and with their full personal details are
17 actually not protected witnesses and that what they testified about can
18 be disclosed in public.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, can this document
21 D1119 be admitted into evidence, pending translation? Thank you.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, how many pages does this document
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. This
25 document, including the cover page, is three pages long. We only need to
1 have the first paragraph translated, because that's what we used with
2 this witness. Thank you.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I have no problem with translation of the whole
4 document because it's not a lengthy one. For better understanding we
5 should have the full text translated.
6 The document will be marked for identification pending
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 1D1119 shall be
9 assigned Exhibit D364, marked for identification pending translation.
10 Thank you.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
14 Can we have Exhibit D55 in e-court, please.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Skrbic, what we see on our screens at the moment is a
17 document drafted by Viktor Bezruchenko, a Prosecution expert witness, and
18 it's entitled "The Fall of Zepa," and it speaks about military
19 developments. My question is: Did you have an opportunity to analyse
20 this report? Thank you.
21 A. Yes, I did, and I made a reference to this document when drafting
22 my report. I used it when I was preparing the section of my report about
23 Zepa to the effect that it allowed me to shorten it because I had no
24 objection to the description and narrative of the military events as
25 described by this expert in his report, and I made this note in my
1 report. Instead, I focused on other documents relating to Zepa.
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. In Viktor Bezruchenko's report, would
3 there be anything to add or subtract from the way he presented the events
4 in the area of Zepa based on documents?
5 A. I also drafted a report about Zepa, and I emphasized that I
6 accepted everything that was mentioned in this report and that I will add
7 only those things that I deem to be significant about Zepa. This is
8 exactly what I did in my report.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to call up D60. Thank
11 you. I would like to thank the e-court.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Now we can see here a document. In handwriting you can see that
14 it was drafted by the communication centre of the General Staff of the
15 BiH army. It was dispatched on the 18th of July, 1995, from Kakanj at
16 1716 hours. I am going to quote some parts of the document.
17 "General Delic, Protected."
18 Under 1:
19 "I have just been talking to General Smith. Perhaps I could have
20 women, children, and the elderly from Zepa evacuated by UNPROFOR. Would
21 you accept this?
22 "Perhaps in this case we could insert a brigade (or a battalion)
23 of soldiers to Zepa across the forest-path and thus continue the combat
24 with more success. These men from Zepa say that they could find between
25 500 and 100 volunteers (Muderis is from Zepa)."
1 Under 3:
2 "Groups should also be inserted into Gorazde (over land). This
3 would be a great encouragement. There are people interested."
4 Under 4:
5 "An evacuation plan for the population of Zepa has been made here
6 in case items 1 and 2 above fail. I'm sending it to you.
7 "I am waiting for your answers to the above.
8 "Sarajevo, 18 July 1995.
10 "A. I."
11 Mr. Skrbic, have you ever seen this document before? Thank you.
12 A. Yes, I have.
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Were you able to conclude who signed the
14 document, i.e., whom sent the document to whom? Could you conclude that
15 based on the body of the text and the contents of the document? Thank
17 A. Yes. There is no doubt about the fact that the text was sent by
18 the president of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
19 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, to the chief of the General Staff of the BiH army.
20 Q. Thank you. The text was sent on the 18th of July, 1995, as you
21 can see on the document. Can you tell us whether the state and military
22 leaderships in the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the army,
23 respectively, consider an evacuation of the population from Zepa to the
24 territory under the control of the BH army? Were plans drafted to that
1 A. There is no doubt about that either. The plan was drafted after
2 the fall of the 28th Division and the evacuation of the population from
3 Srebrenica. The only thing that is strange about this document is the
4 fact that the president of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Izetbegovic, who
5 was also the Supreme Commander of the armed forces of the Republic of
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina, asked his main person in command of the Army of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina as to what he thinks and as to what he proposes. He
8 is in a position to give him orders. He should not be seeking his
9 approval or opinion.
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. What we see under number 1, is it
11 Mr. Izetbegovic's report to General Delic about his conversations with
12 UNPROFOR about that topic? Thank you.
13 A. Again, this is certain because President Izetbegovic says here
14 that he has just finished a conversation with UNPROFOR. As far as I can
15 tell, that conversation involved the commander of UNPROFOR for
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina. There is no doubt about the topic of the
17 conversation. It is very clear that they discussed the possibility of
18 evacuating the population from Zepa.
19 As you can see from the document, the UNPROFOR commander
20 suggested that he could be of assistance with the evacuation of women,
21 children, and the elderly because the UNPROFOR forces could assist. It
22 is quite unlikely that he would have suggested something else that was
23 beyond the capabilities.
24 Q. Does the document say that the evacuation should be assisted by
1 A. Yes. UNPROFOR would be organising and carrying out the
2 evacuation that General Smith proposed.
3 Q. Thank you. Does the document show that the president of the
4 state was in favour of the evacuation of women, children, and the
5 elderly, but at the same time he wanted to continue fighting in the
6 enclaves, i.e., he wanted the forces of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina to
7 continue fighting in the enclave? Thank you.
8 A. Yes. This can be tied up with my testimony provided yesterday.
9 Under 488 [as interpreted] of the main idea, it was suggested what could
10 happen to them, that they would be breaking through with the general
11 population on their back. Obviously, this is an attempt to lift off the
12 burden from the army in Zepa to allow them to continue fighting. It is
13 stated here that it would be good to have 500 to 1.000 volunteers joining
14 them. That's according to President Izetbegovic. They should be sent to
15 Zepa. It says here that there are already 500 to 1.000 people from Zepa.
16 I suppose that he received this information from a certain Muderis who is
17 mentioned here in the document and who is a native of Zepa. He suggests
18 that in order to achieve a good effect it would be good to insert some of
19 the forces into Gorazde over land, of course.
20 He also thinks that if the evacuation should indeed take place,
21 that it should be carried out through the forest-path. This points to
22 the fact that the forest-paths in question had already been used before
23 for the supply of the units in Zepa. Those forest-paths were not unknown
24 even to the Supreme Commander of the armed forces of the Republic of
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic, you said, after reading this
2 document, that it speaks about 500 to 1.000 volunteers.
3 Could we please enlarge the second paragraph of the document.
4 The -- yes, especially that part. That's very helpful.
5 Could you tell us what is written there: 500 to 1.000; or 100,
6 as it states in the translation?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, this -- the way I
8 read it is 500-1- -- or this could be translated as 500 to something, but
9 there is something wrong here. This must be a typo. It -- it is
10 impossible to provide a range without the lowest figure to the highest
11 figure. A range does not exist if it is not marked by the two extreme
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Perhaps the interpreters interpreted the 1 behind
14 the dash, the first dash, as an I; it could mean "and." But after that
15 we have three 0s. Is it possible to interpret this number as 100?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I don't think that
17 this figure should be -- or could be interpreted as "100," because the
18 first figure that we see is 500, and when you're talking about a range
19 from 500 to something else, to another figure, that next figure, the
20 second figure, must be higher than the first figure, which in this case
21 is 500.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would agree with that, especially because we
23 see three 0s. Thank you for clarification.
24 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
1 And now I would like to call up D55, page 16. Thank you.
2 Paragraph 60.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is again the report of Mr. Bezruchenko.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That's correct, Mr. President.
5 This is Mr. Bezruchenko's report, entitled "The Fall of Zepa."
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation] I'm reading paragraph 60. I'm
8 "The meeting between VRS General Tolimir and Zepa civilian
9 leaders Hamdija Torlak and Mujo Omanovic took place on the 13 July at
10 1200 hours. According to Tolimir's account, the agenda of the meeting
11 included 'demilitarisation of the enclave and freedom of movement of the
12 civilian population in accordance with Geneva Conventions as of
13 12 August 1949.' According to the document, representatives of the local
14 government in Zepa stated that they were authorised 'to resolve the
15 problem of Zepa' with the following guarantees: Three days for
16 consultations with the population and the leadership in Sarajevo;
17 movement out of all civilians and militarily able-bodied men; evacuation
18 to be completed with the presence of UNPROFOR, UNHCR, and military
19 observers; guarantees of security during the movement across the
20 RS territory; a possibility to stay in Zepa for all those who wish to
21 stay there. Tolimir rejected the request for three days for
22 consultations and demanded that the evacuation begins at 1500 hours. The
23 only alternative was military force. Tolimir also demanded that all
24 militarily able-bodied men should be registered and exchanged for 'our
25 war prisoners in Muslim prisons.' Tolimir's assessment was that ..." and
1 so on and so forth.
2 My question to you, Mr. Skrbic, is this: You have read the
3 report on "The Fall of Zepa" and adopted it fully. Can you tell us when
4 the negotiations started for the civilian population to leave Zepa under
5 the conditions stated in this document? Thank you.
6 A. According to the documents that I had at my disposal, the first
7 round of negotiations dealt with the problems of Zepa.
8 Q. We saw that Alija's letter to Delic was dated the 18th. What
9 about the Muslim delegation's behaviour; was there duplicity in their
10 behaviour? On the one hand, they negotiated the evacuation, and on the
11 other hand they wanted to continue fighting. What is your comment to
13 A. Of course there was duplicity in their conduct. However, I, as a
14 military expert, do not understand how come that the Supreme Commander of
15 the armed forces of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, after the crash
16 of the 28th Division and after the 285th Brigade was cut off from its
17 mother unit which is even further from the units of the 2nd Corps than
18 the 28th Division, how can he think that it is still possible to continue
19 fighting within the context that was creating when the 28th Division
21 Q. Thank you. Mr. Skrbic, please have a look at the fourth line in
22 paragraph 60, which starts after the date 12th of August, 1949. And I
24 "According to the document, representatives of the local
25 government in Zepa stated that they were authorised 'to resolve the
1 problem of Zepa' with the following guarantees ..."
2 My question is as follows: Did representatives -- or were Zepa
3 representatives authorised to deal with the problem when they went to
4 negotiate with the side that they were at war with?
5 A. That part of the report concerns political issues more than
6 military ones, and in the report, at the beginning of the report, I
7 emphasized the fact that I would try to avoid, to the extent that was
8 possible, political issues, dealing with political issues, because given
9 my understanding of politics, everything is possible in politics. But
10 when you have an armed conflict, not everything is possible according to
11 military doctrine.
12 But if they say that they were authorised, and given my
13 understanding of politics and political issues, local politicians have
14 the authority to take care of their people. And this is, in fact, the
15 reason for which the people elect such representatives.
16 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as I will now be
18 moving on to another question, I suggest that it might be an appropriate
19 time for a break now. Thank you.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed, you are right, Mr. Tolimir. We must have
21 our first break now, and we will resume at 11.00.
22 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please continue.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we please see
1 D51. Thank you. Thank you.
2 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Skrbic, we can see here that on the basis of the negotiations
4 that we were discussing, an agreement was signed on the disarmament of
5 the able-bodied population in the Zepa enclave. Have you seen this
6 agreement and have you seen that it refers to the fall of Zepa?
7 A. Yes, I have seen this document. But as far as I can remember, I
8 didn't refer to this document in my report. But I can't claim that for
10 Q. Thank you. We'll see later that this document on the fall of
11 Zepa states the following -- well, I'll quote from the first paragraph:
12 "On the 24th of July, 1995, the following agreement was reached
13 between Rajko Kusic on one side and Hamdija Torlak on the other, in the
14 presence of UNPROFOR representative Semjon Dudnik."
15 And then we have a number of items. Item 1:
16 "A cease-fire between the parties to the conflict shall be
17 complemented immediately."
18 Item 2:
19 "Avdo Palic shall issue an order to his troops to withdraw from
20 the defence line and refugee groups together with the population and from
21 the centre of settlement/villages, and not to try to across illegally
22 through the territory of Republika Srpska."
23 Next paragraph:
24 "The civilian and able-bodied population of Zepa shall assemble
25 around the UNPROFOR base in Zepa, which will be assigned to the Army of
1 Republika Srpska, that the units under the command of Avdo Palic have
2 accepted the truce and will not try to take advantage of it."
3 Thank you. Five:
4 "Avdo Palic shall start disarming his units immediately, and all
5 the weapons shall be handed over to the VRS representative in the
6 UNPROFOR base in Zepa."
8 "Avdo Palic shall indicate all the mined areas and they shall be
9 cleared in the presence of a joint commission and UNPROFOR."
11 "In accordance with the Geneva Conventions of 12 August, 1949,
12 and the Additional Protocols of 1977, the civilian population of Zepa
13 shall be given the freedom to choose their place of residence while
14 hostilities continue."
16 "The able-bodied population of Zepa shall be registered and
17 accommodated in a holding centre which is to be under the control of the
18 ICRC until the release of all captive VRS members and other Serbs who are
19 in prisons in territory controlled by the army under the command of
20 Rasim Delic."
22 "The ICRC shall transport the able-bodied population of Zepa from
23 the holding centres to territory under the control of Rasim Delic's
24 army," I can't read this word.
25 A. "At the same time."
1 Q. "... at the same time as all captive VRS members and other Serbs
2 who are in prison in territory controlled by the army under the command
3 of Rasim Delic are released and transported to Republika Srpska."
5 "The UNPROFOR, the ICRC, the UNHCR, and other international
6 humanitarian organisations in co-operation with the Army of
7 Republika Srpska shall enable the transport of the civilian population
8 from Zepa to territory under the control of Rasim Delic's army or to
9 third countries of their choice in accordance with the Geneva Conventions
10 of the 12th of August, 1949."
11 The agreement of the 12th of August, 1949, the agreement shall
12 enter into force immediately after having been signed.
13 Could we scroll up a bit so that we can see the signatures. We
14 can see Rajko Kusic's signature from the Light Infantry Brigade; Dudnik,
15 Semjon, UNPROFOR representative; Hamdija Torlak, a representative of the
16 civilian authorities; Ratko Mladic also signed the document as the VRS
17 commander. And this was on the 24th of July, 1995.
18 My question is as follows: Since this agreement was entered --
19 was signed, did you see in the documents that the population did leave
20 Zepa and went to territory under the control of the ABiH, which is in
21 accordance with the items referred to in the agreement?
22 A. As far as I could see, the evacuation of the population from Zepa
23 had not yet been organised, but there were evacuations of certain
24 individuals and certain groups a lot earlier.
25 Q. Thank you. And when did you see that all the population from
1 Zepa was being evacuated to territory under the control of the ABiH? Did
2 you see that in the documents on the fall of Zepa?
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the witness, please.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No, I stopped the witness because he was starting
5 too early. We were still listening to the interpreters. Now you have
6 the floor to give your answer. Please pause after the question.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I'm really
8 making an effort but sometimes I slip up.
9 On the basis of the documents available, it could be seen that
10 the final evacuation was completed - the evacuation from Zepa - on the
11 27th of July, 1995.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Thank you. Let's see when the evacuation started.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we please see D55, item 105.
15 Thank you. Thank you.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. We can see item 105 of the report. It says:
18 "UNPROFOR started evacuation from Zepa on the 25th of July. In
19 the afternoon of the 25th of July, French Battalion 2 of Sector Sarajevo
20 sent a medevac convoy to Zepa for the evacuation of the wounded. The
21 convoy returned to Sarajevo next morning and brought 151 people.
22 29 seriously injured immediately received medical treatment in Sarajevo
23 hospital. Around midnight, the VRS, using their own buses, evacuated
24 around 1.000 people ..."
25 Mr. Skrbic, did this evacuation start one day after the signing
1 of the agreement? That is to say, did it start on the 25th? Thank you.
2 A. Yes, and that is quite logical because the agreement was signed
3 on the previous day and the provisions of the agreement can enter into
4 forces immediately after the agreement has been signed. But the
5 implementation of the agreement and the entry into force aren't the same
6 things. The implementation could not take place immediately, so it took
7 place on the following day.
8 Q. Thank you. Now that we have this document in front of us, could
9 we please take a look at 108, paragraph 108 on "The Fall of Zepa." It's
10 on the next page. Since the evacuation of the population of Zepa started
11 pursuant to the agreement and as stated in Bezruchenko's report, did you
12 see anything about this in the document that you reviewed? You told us
13 the date when it ended.
14 A. Yes --
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No, I stop you again. Please wait. Please wait.
16 Don't start immediately after you have heard Mr. Tolimir. You are using
17 the same language but we can't follow. Please wait.
18 Now your answer, please.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you once again.
20 Yes, according to the document that I had at my disposal, the
21 evacuation was finalised on the 27th of July, 1995.
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Can you tell us, In accordance with the
24 agreement was the disarming of the BH army in Zepa conducted, and did
25 they surrender their weapons to UNPROFOR? Thank you.
1 A. As far as I could deduce from the documents, there was no
2 disarming and there was no surrender of weapons by members of the
3 285th Brigade.
4 Q. Thank you. Mr. Skrbic, if only a part of an agreement is
5 implemented and we have the entire population of Zepa departing from the
6 area and you only have soldiers staying in the territory refusing to
7 surrender their weapons, how is this situation treated in war time?
8 A. That can be an indication of only one thing and that is that
9 members of the 285th Brigade did not want to surrender and did not want
10 to disarm because their intention was to continue with the armed
11 resistance but only under altered circumstances, and they were obviously
12 prepared to continue their resistance according to the principles of
13 guerrilla warfare, because there was no other way for them to carry out
14 combat operations.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Was that a demand imposed on them by
16 their superior command? Have you seen anything in the documents to that
18 A. Yes. In the previous session we saw that the Supreme Commander
19 demanded that the chief of Main Staff maintain, as one of the priorities,
20 armed combat and armed resistance, and everything else stems from that
21 priority number one.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic. Let us now see what the brigade commander
23 thought about these activities of his brigade and of the attitude of the
24 presidency towards their brigade. Let's look at item 108, which reads:
25 "Following the meeting between General Smith and Hamdija Torlak
1 on the 26th July, 285th Brigade Commander Avdo Palic sent a dramatic
2 appeal for help to BH President Alija Izetbegovic and General Staff
3 Commander Rasim Delic."
4 I quote the appeal sent by Mr. Avdo Palic.
5 [As read] "Mr. President, at about 2100 hours, negotiations in
6 Boksanica (Rogatica) at which General Smith; Torlak, Hamdija; President
7 of the Executive Board of Zepa; and the war criminal Ratko Mladic were
8 present has ended. As General Suvalic informed me today, during these
9 negotiations an agreement about the exchange of 'all for all' was to be
10 accepted also by our side. Minister Muratovic was supposed to be present
11 at these negotiations but he was not, because security was not guaranteed
12 for him. General Suvalic also informed me about this. During
13 negotiations, General Smith told us that our side did not accept the
14 agreement about the exchange of 'all for all' and that our side was
15 seeking some additional concessions. Hamdija Torlak remained at the
16 place of negotiations in Boksanica, and he was told that if we were
17 prepared for the exchange of 'all for all' during the night or until 0800
18 hours in the morning General Smith will let us know so that a plan of
19 helicopter evacuation could be prepared.
20 "President, on behalf of my brigade which is on the verge of
21 nervous breakdown, please arrange for our side to accept the agreement
22 and free us from torture. We cannot believe that this problem looks like
23 you will not solve it. If this problem is not resolved in the course of
24 tomorrow, I must make a decision tomorrow to make a breakthrough towards
25 you with 2.000 men and 10.000 rounds of ammunition, and we'll see who
1 will manage to cross. And you have the picture of Srebrenica and the
2 intelligence that we are blocked from all sides and that we have no
3 salvation, despite that we move to break through. Tomorrow the
4 evacuation of the civilians will be over and UNPROFOR will pull out
5 immediately so that as of tomorrow we will be probably left to our own
7 "President, I ask you in the name of soldiers who have been
8 fighting for the last 15 days like lions. I ask in the name of the
9 fallen soldiers, and in my ranks I have sons or parents of those who have
10 died. I ask you in the name of the evacuated families and children who
11 are eagerly awaiting to reunite with their fathers who have remained on
12 the Zepa mountain to be slaughtered or annihilated in any other way. I
13 ask you again in the name of my soldiers to make it possible for us to
14 defend Bosnia in some other battle-fields, to liberate it, and to die
15 like people. Do not let us die of hunger, of most common diseases,
16 because we do not have a single doctor but already have sick people ..."
17 so on and so forth.
18 Now my question is: Was the brigade's plan to --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Tolimir, please repeat the --
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, the interpreters didn't catch your
21 question. Please repeat it.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
23 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Skrbic, the brigade commander, the Zepa Brigade commander,
25 Mr. Palic, did he want this agreement to be implemented, and did he want
1 all the soldiers and the entire Zepa civilian population be evacuated to
2 the territory under the BH control? That was my question.
3 A. Yes. There is no doubt about it. One can clearly see here that
4 the commander of the 285th Brigade stated that he, as a local commander,
5 was prepared to evacuate himself and his troops alongside the civilian
6 population, to surrender their weapons, and to be exchanged according to
7 the principle "all for all." However, it is also clear that his superior
8 command based in Sarajevo, which is the highest level of command,
9 including the Commander-In-Chief, did not approve the exchange of
10 prisoners of war on the principle of "all for all." Had they approved
11 it, that would greatly facilitate the situation for Palic and he would
12 have been able to know what kind of decision he needed to take.
13 This was a dramatic situation in which Commander Palic found
14 himself, because he was put in a position to make independent decisions
15 and to communicate directly with the Supreme Command because he no longer
16 had his own superior command, which was the command of the 28th Division,
17 with whom he lost all communications as of the night between the 11th and
18 the 12th of July, 1995.
19 Q. Thank you for this answer, Mr. Skrbic.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have document 1D1103 in
21 e-court. Thank you. Thank you.
22 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
23 Q. We see that this is a book entitled "The Srebrenica Massacre:
24 Evidence, Context, Politics."
25 My question is: Did you have an opportunity to read this book?
1 A. Yes, I did. But at the time when I was already halfway through
2 my report. I'd like to add that I attended a promotion of this book at
3 the book fair in Belgrade on the 26th or 27th October of last year.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have page 7 in English and
6 page 11 in Serbian, and this is an introductory or forward written by
7 Phillip Corwin. Thank you.
8 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Skrbic, can you tell us who Phillip Corwin is, and what
10 position did he hold in July of 1995? Thank you.
11 [Defence counsel confer]
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please switch off your microphone during your
13 private conversation.
14 Your answer now, please.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to admit that I don't know
16 who Phillip Corwin is but I know what he did in the relevant period that
17 includes the events in Zepa. Phillip Corwin was the head of the G5 organ
18 at the UNPROFOR command for Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo. According to
19 the standards applicable by western armies and NATO, G5 is an organ for
20 civilian affairs and deals with civilian matters and co-ordinates
21 military and civilian matters.
22 Q. Thank you. If we look at line 5 -- or, rather, line 6, the
23 sentence which starts after "1992 to 1995," it says:
24 [As read] "I expressed the wish that there could have been, and
25 must be, more balance -- some balance in telling the story of what
1 actually happened in Srebrenica and in all of former Yugoslavia if we are
2 to learn from our experience."
3 My question is this: Since you have reviewed the documents
4 produced by UNPROFOR and various commissions that were active in the
5 area, did you notice that anyone maintained this kind of views and did
6 you hear anything about lessons to be learned? Thank you.
7 A. Yes. But I would like to note that I, personally, I do not
8 favour any balances on the road to finding the truth. If you are seeking
9 truth and if you accept the principle of balance, then you have to make
10 compromises. And there can be no compromises with the truth.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we now have page 12 in Serbian
13 and page 8 in English, paragraph 2 in Serbian and paragraph 3 in English.
14 Thank you. We can see it now.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. And I'm going to quote the second paragraph in the Serbian
17 version, which reads:
18 [As read] "But the situation is more complicated than the public
19 relations specialist would have us believe. That there were killings of
20 noncombatants in Srebrenica as in all war zones is a certainty. And
21 those who perpetrated them deserve to be condemned and prosecuted. And
22 whether it was three or thirty or three hundred innocent civilians who
23 were killed, it was a heinous crime. There can be no equivocation about
24 that. At the same time, the facts presented in this volume make a very
25 cogent argument that the figure of 8.000 killed, which is often bandied
1 about in the international community, is an insupportable exaggeration.
2 The true figure may be closer to 800."
3 My question is this: I would like to comment -- I would like
4 your comment on Phillip Corwin's position with regard to everything that
5 he has stated.
6 A. Yes, I can comment on his position because this position
7 confirms, first and foremost, the results of my own analysis. Moreover,
8 it also confirms the fact that there were civilian casualties. And I am
9 not disputing that. As a military expert and as a commander, I know that
10 whenever there is fighting in urban areas or in settled areas it is
11 impossible to avoid collateral casualties among the civilian population.
12 When it comes to the responsibility for civilian casualties when there is
13 fighting in urban areas, that responsibility primarily lies on the troops
14 that are defending such areas.
15 Why is that so? If they are looking after their people, they are
16 duty-bound to carry out their activities from the sectors and areas where
17 there is no civilian population present. And this is the best way how to
18 protect the civilian population. My personal experience arises from the
19 time when I became brigade commander. That is when I found supporting
20 artillery units in settled areas. I immediately issued an order for
21 those units to be moved out from those settled areas, because every time
22 they provided artillery support to my brigade, a counterattack would
23 ensue on the part of the 5th Corps units, which is only understandable.
24 What they wanted to do was to neutralise the activity of my own
25 artillery. As a result, instead of targeting and hitting my own
1 artillery, at least 30 per cent of their shells hit civilian facilities
2 close to my own artillery positions. That is why I decided to move my
3 artillery units out of the settled area. That was the way I showed
4 concern for possible civilian casualties.
5 I would kindly ask the Trial Chamber to allow me to say something
6 else about civilian casualties.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It must be the decision of Mr. Tolimir. He is
8 interviewing you.
9 Mr. Tolimir.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Skrbic, yes, you can say whatever you want. Try and be
13 concise, please.
14 A. I just wanted to confirm everything that I have stated so far.
15 In situations when you -- there is fighting going on in urbanised areas,
16 it is impossible to avoid civilian casualties. I would like to quote the
17 last operation in Iraq, when the defence minister of the United States of
18 America Donald Rumsfeld talked to the commander of the airforce which
19 carried out air-strikes on urban areas, and he asked to be informed about
20 every air-strike, which, according to their estimate, would result in
21 over 30 per cent of civilian casualties. He wanted to be informed in
22 advance so as to be able to make an appropriate decision. He was
23 informed about such air-strikes 50 times. All those air-strikes were
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic, you are an expert to testify about
1 the war in the former Yugoslavia, not about a war or any military
2 activities in another area, like Iraq. Please comment on -- please use
3 your knowledge about the war in the former Yugoslavia.
4 Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
6 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now I would like to call up
9 page 14 in Serbian and page 12 in English. I am looking for paragraph 2
10 in the English version. Thank you. We can now see the document. I am
11 going to -- It's page 11 in English. I apologise.
12 Thank you, Aleksandar.
13 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
14 Q. I am going to read now. I am reading from the third paragraph in
15 the Serbian version, and I quote:
16 "Back to military concerns. It was evident by July 1995 that the
17 Bosnian Serb army could not continue to allow five enemy bases to exist
18 behind its front lines. Mind you, I'm not speaking about the
19 humanitarian issues here, because I've never, and will never, condone the
20 slaughter of civilians. However, it would be irresponsible to ignore the
21 military aspect of the campaign in Eastern Bosnia when discussing
22 Srebrenica, just as it would be foolish to ignore the historical process
23 that led up to the events of July 1995."
24 Mr. Skrbic, in your expert report on Srebrenica, did you also
25 present the same or similar position? Thank you.
1 A. Yes, I did. I was primarily concerned with military issues in my
2 expert report.
3 Q. Thank you. How does this position presented by Mr. Corwin fit
4 within your own position and the findings of your analysis?
5 A. Mr. Corwin's position only confirms what I presented in my own
6 expert report, and it supports my positions.
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now I'd like to call up page 12
9 in Serbian, the last paragraph. Page 9, paragraph 2, in English. Thank
11 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
12 Q. We can now see the last paragraph. I'm reading --
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before you read it, I have to clarify one legal
14 matter. I was just -- my attention was drawn to one part of this
15 document, where it says:
16 "No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior
17 written permission of the publisher."
18 When we receive such a document into evidence, it will be in the
19 public domain. Can you clarify if you have asked for such a permission?
20 Mr. Gajic.
21 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, as far as I am
22 familiar with copyright laws, this is a book, and if anything is quoted
23 from a book, one should mention the author, the title of the book. In
24 other words, one should follow the customary procedure. All of these
25 documents can be found in an electronic form, so there is no need to seek
1 a special approval, because this reproduction is not a commercial
2 reproduction. It is only used as evidence in this case. And since in
3 this case we do not tender into evidence any hard copies, which is a
4 normal copy for a book, the electronic form is acceptable, and both
5 copies were downloaded from the internet.
6 What you have just read out, Mr. President, is something that
7 each publication contains, which means that for every single book we
8 should seek approval from the author to allow us to present his work in
9 this courtroom. What I'm saying here is that this is a usual clause that
10 is included in every publication of this nature.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir and Mr. Gajic, it was just a warning
12 so that you are aware of the situation.
13 Please carry on.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Thank you, Mr. Gajic.
16 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Let's read. I'm going to quote Mr. Corwin's words word for word:
18 [As read] "What happened in Srebrenica was not a single large
19 massacre of Muslims by Serbs, but, rather, a series of very bloody
20 attacks and counterattacks over a three-year period which reached a
21 crescendo in 1995. And the number of Muslims executed in the last battle
22 of Srebrenica, as former BBC report Jonathan Rooper has pointed out, was
23 most likely in the hundreds, not in the thousands. Moreover, it is
24 likely that the number of Muslim dead was probably no more than number of
25 Serbs that had been killed in Srebrenica and its environs during the
1 preceding years by Bosnian Commander Naser Oric and his predatory gangs."
2 My question to you is this: When it comes to this position
3 proffered by Mr. Corwin, does it fit within your own analysis?
4 A. This position fully coincides with the results of my own
5 analysis, because the results of my analysis have shown, quite
6 unambiguously, that Muslim losses during Krivaja 95 Operation and after
7 it certainly cannot be expressed in the thousands.
8 Mr. Jonathan Rooper says that the losses were in the hundreds,
9 and I'm familiar with that because that information was published in a
10 reputable western magazine "Defense & Foreign Affairs," in an article
11 entitled "The Icon of Srebrenica."
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now could the e-court produce
14 page 88 in the document in Serbian, 101 in English.
15 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
16 Q. We will see Mr. Jonathan Rooper's article entitled "The Numbers
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Page 89 in Serbian, 103 in English.
19 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
20 Q. The last paragraph on page 103 in the English version. It says:
21 [As read] "The current chapter looks closely at the numbers,
22 data, and explores them against the back-drop of the official version of
23 what happened in the weeks after the fall of the Srebrenica safe area.
24 It will show that rather than Srebrenica being the worst atrocity in
25 Europe since the Second World War, 'a stain on our collective conscious,'
1 in which 8.000 men and boys were murdered, it is the official version
2 that is at odds with key facts and fails to provide a consistent and
3 coherent representation of the relevant events in 1995."
4 My question: Does this position provided by the author fit in
5 with your conclusions about the movement of the population of Srebrenica?
6 Thank you.
7 A. Yes, it does fit in, and there are no two ways about it. There's
8 no doubt about this position.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now could we look at page 90 in
10 the same document, paragraph 3 in Serbian. And page 103, the last
11 paragraph in the English version of the document.
12 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
13 Q. We can see the second paragraph. I am reading from the chapter
14 entitled "Origins of the Massacre Allegations."
15 [As read] "The original ballpark estimates for the number of
16 persons who might have died following the fall of Srebrenica corresponded
17 closely to the list of some 8.000 'missing' persons. The United Nations
18 and other independent observers witnessed fierce fighting in which both
19 sides lost a considerable number of people. It is also known that they
20 were killed in the territory around Tuzla and Zepa. It is impossible to
21 determine exactly how many people fall under which category, but since we
22 know that there are a lot of people in each of the categories, this goes
23 to show that the number of missing was much lower than alleged. There
24 are strong reasons for skepticism with regard to the allegations about
25 massacre. Over the years, new information have appeared. The official
1 version of the events, which was established in 1995, has in the meantime
2 been slightly modified, but now it seems less credible. The most
3 important thing about the figures is the fact that there is something
4 wrong with the maths."
5 Thank you. And my question is this: Since on a number of
6 occasions you used the term "mathematics," could you please tell us
7 whether this also supports your analysis of numbers and mathematics?
8 Thank you.
9 A. Yes. This confirms that my research and my calculations, my
10 calculations of the number of Muslims who left Srebrenica in various
11 manners and the number of those who were in Srebrenica before the
12 Krivaja 95 operation, my research and my calculations were correct, and
13 the method I followed was the right one.
14 As it is here stated, that it is expected that the official
15 version will be changed, I also expect that following my analysis this
16 change will occur sooner than expected by this gentleman, here.
17 Q. Thank you. Since Mr. Jonathan Rooper speaks about "The Numbers
18 Game," could you please tell me what he means when he says "game"? Is he
19 speaking about real numbers or is he speaking about manipulating numbers?
20 Thank you.
21 A. Well, the very word -- the very expression "the numbers game"
22 implies that information is being manipulated, numbers are being
23 manipulated, and such information is then being disseminated to the
24 public. This is also shown by the fact that Mr. Jonathan Rooper is here
25 comparing a list of the missing, or, rather, he's comparing the concept
1 of those who are missing and those who were killed, and no such
2 comparison is possible because "missing people" has a very precise
3 meaning, and "people who were killed" also refers to a very precisely and
4 defined category of people.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we now see page 90,
7 paragraph 3. It's the last paragraph in the English version. Thank you.
8 I apologise, my mistake. Page 92, paragraph three. It's page 106 in the
9 English version. It's the last paragraph. Thank you. Thank you.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. [As read] "If we take into account all these factors - in the
12 course of moving out from the protected zone of Srebrenica 8.000 men and
13 boys were massacred - and taking into account these factors, the
14 population of the protected zone before its fall should have been
15 significantly greater than 66.000, which is a figure far higher than any
16 estimate hitherto provided; in fact, there is in fact relatively little
17 variation given in the accounts which presume that massacres took place.
18 They agree that the majority of Srebrenica's population went to Potocari
19 (estimates range from 24.000 to 27.000) and a minority went to the column
20 that set of for Tuzla (estimates range from 10- to 15.000). The
21 consensus total for Srebrenica safe -- for the Srebrenica safe area
22 inhabitants was approximately 37.000 persons in all, made up of some
23 25.000 who went to Potocari and 12.000 who left in the column."
24 My question, Mr. Skrbic, is as follows: How do these figures fit
25 in with your analysis? How do you view them?
1 A. The allegations in this paragraph fully support my analysis,
2 fully agree with it. It is true that perhaps there were
3 37.000 inhabitants in Srebrenica at the time of the initial attack on
4 Srebrenica, and this is possible to demonstrate quite simply. It's
5 possible to calculate this quite simply. If you have the figure of
6 25.000 refugees who went to Potocari and then you add to that figure the
7 higher number of 10- to 15.000 who attempted a breakthrough, then you
8 have 40.000, which means that at the time of the attack on Srebrenica
9 there were 40.000.
10 But if we have real doubts about the upper figure of 15.000,
11 since the lower figure is 10.000, well in that case it's more probable
12 that there were fewer than 40.000 inhabitants in Srebrenica at the time
13 of the attack.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could 1D1103 please be admitted
15 into evidence, and pages 1, pages 11 to 15, 88 to 132 in the Serbian
16 version. And pages 1 and 7 to 12 in the English version, as well as
17 101 to 152, also in the English version. Thank you.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
19 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
20 I know that we're dealing with a number of different authors that
21 contributed to this particular publication, if I've got it right, and
22 what I'd like, if General Tolimir is able to do, is to clarify for the
23 record which pages correspond with which authors, just so that it's clear
24 for the record. And secondly, it will also be clearer for the record
25 when the relative pieces were written or -- and clearly by whom.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And I -- in addition, I would like to know, if
2 you really tender many more pages than we have seen on the screen and you
3 dealt with, especially the pages 101 up to 152. We didn't see 51 pages.
4 But, Mr. Gajic, please help us.
5 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
6 First I would like to answer your question. Of course, we did
7 not show all the entire article. If we had gone through the entire
8 article, that would really have taken up a lot of time. We used the
9 numbers referred to by Mr. Tolimir, and these numbers relate to
10 Phillip Corwin's introduction and to Mr. Rooper's article entitled "The
11 Numbers Game." If the entire article is admitted, we can then assess the
12 context that gave rise to the article. We can see the context within
13 which the paragraphs appear, and the footnotes themselves, at the end of
14 the article. So these footnotes appear at the end of the book. That is
15 how it was laid out.
16 So, in our opinion, admitting these two articles would be of
17 assistance to the Trial Chamber and to the parties. It would help us to
18 assess these two articles and the extracts that we used through the
19 witness. To go through the entire article would have taken up a lot of
20 time, and in our opinion this was not necessary.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: To fully understand your submission, Mr. Gajic,
22 pages 1 as well as pages 11 to 15 in the B/C/S version, and pages 1 and,
23 in addition, 7 to 12 in the English version: These are the pages from
24 the forward; is that correct?
25 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] That's correct, Your Honour. Page 1
1 in the title page of the book. Pages 7 to 12 are Phillip Corwin's
2 introduction. Pages 88 to 132 are the pages where we can find the
3 article "The Numbers Game" in the Serbian version. And pages 101 to 152
4 represent the English version of that article.
5 And let me just add that for the sake of our presentation we
6 uploaded the entire book so that the Trial Chamber and the Prosecution
7 could see how these articles were published. But, naturally, if the
8 Chamber accepts our request to admit these articles into evidence, we'll
9 have 65 ter numbers or a different 65 ter number for these documents.
10 Thank you.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic, Mr. Vanderpuye asked you when the
12 article of Mr. Jonathan Rooper was written or edited or published.
13 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could we see page 3 in
14 the English version. No, I apologise. The translation was published in
15 2011. I know that. And this book was published a few years earlier in
16 English. I'll check the year now. That's why I sat down.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: For a better understanding of the content, it
18 would be helpful to know when it was written.
19 Mr. Vanderpuye, are you satisfied with these additional
21 MR. VANDERPUYE: I am very satisfied, Mr. President. The only
22 issue, obviously, is the date of publication with respect to this; but
23 otherwise there's no problem, and I think the record is clear as to what
24 the Defence is relying on.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
1 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, on page 2 in the
2 English version it says "Licensed in 2011." This is an internet
3 publication. I believe that this book was accessible to the public at an
4 even earlier date. I'll do my best to check when this book was published
5 as a hard copy and I will try to provide you with that information
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
8 Mr. Gajic and Mr. Tolimir, I would appreciate if you would upload
9 these two articles, that means the forward and the article, as a
10 different document into e-court so that that one will be admitted into
12 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Of course, Your Honour. That will be
13 done as soon as possible in the course of the day.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Very well. It will be admitted into evidence.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the referenced articles of the
16 65 ter document 1D1103 shall be assigned Exhibit D365. Thank you.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Could 1D1103 please be -- 1D115, the public version of the report
20 from Ratko Skrbic, could that document please be admitted into evidence.
21 The title is "Srebrenica and Zepa." Thank you. I would also ask that
22 1D1063 also be admitted into evidence, and this is the confidential
23 version of the same report. And the public version on the report of the
24 movement of the population, 1D114, could that also be admitted into
25 evidence as well --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the accused please repeat the last
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think most of the numbers are not correctly
4 recorded. I would kindly ask Mr. Gajic to give us the correct numbers.
5 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. The report from
6 Mr. Ratko Skrbic entitled "Srebrenica and Zepa," the public version, is
7 1D1115. The confidential version has the following number: 1D1063.
8 Mr. Ratko Skrbic's report, "The Movement of the Population of
9 Srebrenica," the number of the public version for that report is 1D1114.
10 And the confidential 65 ter version is 1D1063.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This can't be correct because that number relates
12 to the first report. You have given us twice the same number.
13 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Mr. President. It
14 should be 1D1064, the last one.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
16 I take it that the Prosecution filed a notice on the
17 20th of January, 2012, and the Prosecution is telling us that the
18 Prosecution doesn't accept the expert report of Colonel Ratko Skrbic.
19 What is your position, Mr. Vanderpuye, to the request to admit these
20 documents into evidence?
21 MR. VANDERPUYE: With respect to the request to admit the
22 documents into evidence, Mr. President, at this time we don't have an
23 objection. Obviously throughout the course of the examination of
24 Mr. Skrbic our position may change depending upon how he responds or what
25 his evidence is with respect to his methodology and so on. But for the
1 moment we don't have an objection to the Trial Chamber receiving them, at
2 least preliminarily, because I think at this point, at this particular
3 juncture, they establish, at least on their face, enough of a basis for
4 their preliminary admission. That's a separate question, I think, and I
5 will probably ask the Court to revisit that at the end of the
7 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: First of all, Mr. Gajic, 1D1064, under seal, was
9 not released, and it's not available in e-court yet. Please check that.
10 I would suggest that we mark all four documents for
11 identification and we postpone the final decision on the admission of the
12 two reports in confidential and public redacted version.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 1D1115 shall be
14 assigned Exhibit D366. 65 ter document 1D1063 shall be assigned
15 Exhibit D367 under seal.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Both marked for identification.
17 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter document 1D1114 shall be assigned
18 Exhibit D368.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Marked for identification.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you.
21 And 65 ter document 1D1064 shall be assigned Exhibit D369 under
22 seal, marked for identification.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
24 Mr. Gajic.
25 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, it seems that
1 sometimes fatigue takes its toll. I made a mistake when I told you the
2 last number, and did it twice. Mr. Ratko Skrbic's confidential report on
3 "The Movement of the Population of Srebrenica and Zepa" is, in fact,
4 1D1062. It is entirely my mistake. I said that the number was
5 erroneously 1D1064.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: 1D1062 will be D369, marked for identification,
7 under seal. Now we have it on the record.
8 Mr. Tolimir, please continue.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
10 MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Skrbic, our expert, for coming here and for
12 explaining his views and presenting his expert work. I wish him success
13 in his work, I wish him good health, and may God be with him.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] On behalf of the Defence team,
15 Mr. President, I would like to express my gratitude to all participants
16 in the proceedings, and I would just like to end by saying that the
17 Defence has no further questions for this witness.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
19 Mr. Vanderpuye, I think it would be convenient for you - and for
20 all others - to have the second break now, and after the break you shall
21 commence your cross-examination.
22 We must have our second break now and will resume five minutes
23 before 1.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 12.22 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 1.03 p.m.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Our apologies for the delayed return to the
3 Mr. Gajic.
4 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, just two short
5 questions. The CDs of the video-clip admitted as D280 have been provided
6 to the Registry and we would kindly ask for it to be finally admitted
7 fully into evidence. And the second thing: D349, marked for
8 identification, and following the guidance given by the Trial Chamber on
9 the 31st of January, we requested a revision of the translation. We
10 received it yesterday and it has been uploaded into e-court; and as a
11 result, we would like that to be finally admitted into evidence.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Both documents are now
13 received into evidence.
14 Mr. Vanderpuye, your cross-examination, please.
15 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President. Good afternoon to
16 you, Your Honours. Good afternoon, Defence.
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Vanderpuye:
18 Q. And good afternoon to you, Mr. Skrbic.
19 On behalf of the Prosecution, I will be asking you some questions
20 in relation to your direct examination. And if there's anything that I
21 ask you that's not clear, please let me know and I will try and phrase it
22 in a way that we can better understand one another. Because the
23 interpreters have to keep up with us, I'll ask you to try and speak a
24 little bit slower than you might ordinarily, and I'll try to do the same,
25 although I'm not always good at it.
1 What I would like to know right off the bat is: You presented
2 your report to General Tolimir; is that right?
3 A. That's right. Through his legal advisor.
4 Q. Okay. And he agrees with the conclusions that you draw in your
6 A. Well, I think that since he accepted me as a witness here, I
7 believe that he agrees with my conclusions.
8 Q. Okay. But surely you have spoken with the Defence before coming
9 here to testify in this case.
10 A. Of course.
11 Q. And you've spoken to them with respect to the preparation of your
13 A. Of course I've spoken with them about the preparation of the
15 Q. Of course. And when did that happen? When did you speak with
16 the Defence for the first time regarding your report?
17 A. If I remember correctly, the first telephone call came from
18 Mr. Gajic sometime in May or June this year. He wanted me to come over,
19 that we become acquainted, and to explain to me what would potentially be
20 required of me.
21 Q. And did you meet with Mr. Gajic to discuss what would be required
22 of you after that first phone call?
23 A. Of course we met, because in this telephone conversation I didn't
24 quite understand what this was all about and I wanted to learn more
25 details about what my terms of reference would be. After that, Mr. Gajic
1 and I met and in this personal conversation it was imparted precisely
2 upon me what my role would be, not what I am supposed to do. After that,
3 I asked to be given some time to think it over and to decide whether I am
4 able to do that or not.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye, Judge Nyambe has a question.
6 JUDGE NYAMBE: It was just a clarification. If you go to
7 page 60, line 19, you have just said:
8 "The first telephone call came from Mr. Gajic sometime in May or
9 June this year."
10 Can you clarify which May and June you are referring to. Thank
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course not this year. It was
13 last year. I apologise.
14 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
16 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. You said that you met with him to discuss the terms of reference.
18 Did you meet with him subsequently, after that?
19 A. Yes, I did.
20 Q. Can you tell us about how many times you met with Mr. Gajic or
21 any member of the Defence before you testified -- or began your testimony
22 here, rather?
23 A. First of all, I didn't meet anyone else from General Tolimir's
24 Defence team apart from Mr. Gajic. Secondly, I cannot tell you exactly,
25 but after that initial conversation we met perhaps four or six times
2 Q. Okay. And at those meetings, you also discussed the terms of
3 reference for your engagement or did you discuss other matters particular
4 to the report?
5 A. No. We didn't discuss what was to be contained in my report. At
6 those meetings, Mr. Gajic would provide me with the necessary documents
7 that I had requested to be supplied to me, and it was me who presented to
8 Mr. Gajic what my wishes were, what I think my report should look like.
9 And I kindly asked him that if they are not satisfied with my views about
10 the contents of the report, then I shouldn't be preparing the report at
12 Q. Great. Thank you very much for that clarification.
13 You said that you received a number of documents from Mr. Gajic
14 over the period of time that you were engaged prior to your testimony.
15 And these are documents that you requested on your own, or these are
16 documents that were offered you to look at?
17 A. No, no, it was impossible for me to ask for specific documents.
18 I asked to be supplied and provided with all the documents that he can
19 offer that might be useful and which would fit with the idea of the
20 report, as I explained to Mr. Gajic.
21 Q. In terms of your explanation of the idea of the report, what did
22 you say exactly? How did you convey this idea to Mr. Gajic?
23 A. I explained to Mr. Gajic that based on the documents, my desire
24 was to confirm or demonstrate whether it was accurate, the information
25 that more than 7.000 able-bodied men were killed. That's as far as the
1 first report is concerned.
2 As for the second expert report, I asked him to be aware of my
3 desire that on the basis of combat documents - primarily those coming
4 from the BH army - I would like to put the events in Srebrenica and Zepa
5 in the context of the conflict. In other words, the context of the
6 conflict throughout the whole period. I wanted to avoid my report to be
7 one-sided, and I didn't want to present the situation as being the
8 situation in which only one side was active and the other side wasn't.
9 Q. Okay. So I just want to be clear about something: With respect
10 to the documents that you looked at in order to prepare your report on
11 the population of Srebrenica, and your report - the military aspect of
12 your report, the separate, second -- rather, the second report that you
13 prepared - did you ask at all to see any specific documents?
14 A. No, I never asked for any specific document. Because I can tell
15 you that some documents I had received from General Miletic's Defence
16 team, having worked as an investigator for them.
17 Q. And these are documents that you incorporated in your report as
19 A. Yes, of course. Some of them are.
20 Q. Okay. Now, you yourself were a member of the VRS during the war;
22 A. That's right.
23 Q. And you served in the 17 Kljuc Brigade during the conflict;
25 A. Correct. From 9th February, 1993, until 15th October, 1993.
1 Q. And you also served in the 15th Bihac Brigade; is that right?
2 A. That's right. I was the commander of the 15th Bihac Brigade, and
3 I was appointed to that position on the 15th November, 1993, and I
4 remained in that post until the end of the conflict, i.e., until the
5 Dayton Accords were signed.
6 Q. Now, you've mentioned both on your direct and on
7 cross-examination your association with the Defence of Radivoje Miletic.
8 Is he somebody that you knew during the period of the war, between 1992
9 and 1995?
10 A. Are you referring to General Miletic?
11 Q. Yes, sir.
12 A. Yes, I knew General Miletic. And I met him in 1990 because in
13 that year we both started the course at the school of
14 All People's Defence.
15 Q. Okay. And did you know him -- did you keep in contact with him,
16 I should say, throughout the war time?
17 A. I was not in touch with him during the war. We met only once,
18 when he, with either the commander of the Main Staff or someone from the
19 Main Staff, visited the western part of Republika Srpska and the
20 2nd Krajina Corps, and we met on that occasion.
21 Q. Have you kept in touch with him since you were engaged as a
22 member of his Defence? I assume in the Popovic case you're talking
23 about; right?
24 A. I don't know whether this case is called Popovic. Maybe that's
25 the adopted name. This is case number IT-05-88-PT. But if you are
1 referring to that Popovic case, then the answer is yes.
2 Q. Very well. You have the case number right as well.
3 And what about General Tolimir. At the very beginning of his
4 examination-in-chief, he mentioned that you knew each other well. Is
5 that right?
6 A. That is right. General Tolimir attended the same high school
7 that I did, only he was two years my senior, and we he met each other
8 during our schooling at the high school.
9 Q. And were you in contact with General Tolimir during the course of
10 the war?
11 A. No, I didn't have any direct contact with him. I met him on one
12 occasion in the course of the war for sure, perhaps twice. The first
13 time I met him, he was with the commander of the Main Staff of the VRS.
14 The commander was visiting the 2nd Krajina Corps on that occasion, and
15 while visiting them he also visited my brigade.
16 Q. And have you been in contact with him since the end of the war?
17 A. After the signing of the Dayton Agreement and the reorganisation
18 of the VRS, as I have already said, I was transferred to the Main Staff,
19 which is where I met General Tolimir. But as I was in the Main Staff
20 only very briefly, we did not frequently have contact with each other.
21 Q. How about after that, after you left the Main Staff?
22 A. When I left in 1997 and went to the Army of Yugoslavia, I don't
23 remember having met Tolimir again after I left. Not until I came to this
24 courtroom, at least.
25 Q. Aside from not having met him, were you in contact with him
1 during that period of time?
2 A. No, I was never in contact with him. I couldn't have been in
3 contact with him if I did not meet him.
4 Q. Why not?
5 A. Well, because I wasn't a close friend of his. I didn't have his
6 phone number, so it wasn't possible for me to use the phone to reach him.
7 Q. All right. But you do know each other well; right?
8 A. Of course we know each other. But as for the expression "to know
9 each other well," well, knowing someone well is very relative. Sometimes
10 you might think that you know a person, but in fact you don't know that
11 person sufficiently well.
12 Q. That's true.
13 I want to ask you a little bit about your population report, and
14 I just want to see if I've got this right. Your report basically looked
15 at certain figures for the population of Srebrenica before 1995; right?
16 A. Yes. There's information in my report on the number of
17 inhabitants even prior to 1995.
18 Q. And you compared those estimates against the number of registered
19 people, refugees, from Srebrenica in August 1995; is that right?
20 A. That's correct. And those estimates or, rather, calculations -
21 they're not estimates because I didn't estimate the number of
22 inhabitants, I used data from official documents, the information from
23 local Muslim politicians and the civilian protection staff - and I can
24 confirm that I compared those figures, too, with the numbers of refugees
25 from Srebrenica after the month of July 1995.
1 Q. Okay. I didn't mean to imply that your calculations were
2 estimates. What I meant to say is that the data that you relied on were
3 estimates. Is that right?
4 A. No, that's not right. As I previously explained, they were
5 documents from the Presidency of -- of the president of the Presidency of
6 the Srebrenica municipality, and this data wasn't sent to the secretariat
7 of Tuzla in the form of an assessment. This data was precise. I took
8 this data to be precise and used that data to make my calculations.
9 Q. One of the documents you relied on was a document showing the
10 number of refugees that arrived in the area of Tuzla; is that right?
11 A. That's right.
12 Q. And is it your testimony here today that that number that you
13 relied on was an accurate number? Or was it an estimate?
14 A. The document that I used on the number of the population of
15 Srebrenica that was categorised as refugees was a document taken from the
16 debriefing of the Dutch government. And I am not making any claims. I
17 took that document to be an accurate one. My opinion was not that it was
18 an assessment, an estimate. I know that the report was compiled on the
19 basis of a debriefing, and it was compiled as ordered by the Dutch
20 parliament. And this, in fact, was organised by the Dutch institute for
21 war documentation, if I remember this correctly. So I had no reason to
22 doubt the accuracy or reliability of the information that was contained
24 MR. VANDERPUYE: If I could have 65 ter 7604 in e-court, please.
25 Mr. President, I -- this is a document I have to add -- ask leave
1 to add to the Prosecutor's 65 ter list. It is, essentially, the document
2 that the Defence used.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
4 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I heard a 65 ter number.
5 I believe that this document is already in evidence. I think it was
6 admitted during the testimony of Ms. Ewa Tabeau.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye, can you help us? Is that
9 MR. VANDERPUYE: I believe that is correct, Mr. President, but
10 there is -- there is another document that goes with this one that
11 apparently isn't attached to it, but Mr. Gajic is correct. In substance
12 this is right. There should be a number of pages that follow, which I
13 don't think is part of the Defence exhibit.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
15 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, for the sake of the
16 transcript, the first page is Defence Exhibit T314 [as interpreted]. It,
17 in fact, consists of two pages.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Is it correct that you said "D314"?
19 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] That is correct, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
21 Nevertheless, the Prosecutor asks for leave to add the complete
22 document to the 65 ter list.
23 I take it, Mr. Tolimir, that you will not have any objection to
24 that; is that correct?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. You are
1 quite right. I have no objections.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Leave is granted, Mr. Vanderpuye, to add the
3 entire document to the 65 ter exhibit list.
4 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you very much.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please continue.
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 I understand that the first page of this document was not
8 uploaded. I have a copy of it. And I'd like to show that to the
9 witness, if I could, on the ELMO.
10 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, please, with the assistance of the Usher.
11 Please use the ELMO.
12 Mr. Vanderpuye.
13 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President. We don't have the
14 signal from the ELMO, so unfortunately I don't have a second copy, and I
15 can't read the document myself.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The ELMO is not working.
17 MR. VANDERPUYE: All right. I can -- I can do it the
18 old-fashioned way. I can just read the proposition that I want to make
19 to the witness and see if he can respond.
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: But in that case you need the document back, I
22 MR. VANDERPUYE: I do, indeed.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes. It should be given to the Prosecutor.
24 MR. VANDERPUYE: I understand I can do it a different way, yet.
1 Q. What you have in front of you is a document from the
2 Minister of Defence of the Netherlands. And it's addressed -- it's dated
3 October 20th, 1995, and it is addressed to Mr. Goldstone, at that time a
4 Prosecutor at this Tribunal. And in particular --
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I take it, Mr. Vanderpuye, the witness is at the
6 moment the only person in the courtroom who has it in front of him.
7 MR. VANDERPUYE: That's correct. I'm about to read it.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Okay.
9 MR. VANDERPUYE:
10 Q. It states -- it's addressed to Mr. Goldstone, and it says:
11 "Herewith I send a document that was received during the
12 debriefing of DutchBat about the registration of approximately
13 35.632 refugees from Srebrenica."
14 It says:
15 "If this number is correct, which is not sure, it can help to
16 determine the number of missing and executed men from Srebrenica.
17 Therefore, I think the document could be of interest to you."
18 And it's signed accordingly.
19 My question to you, Mr. Skrbic, is: One, have you seen this
20 particular document before?
21 A. The first time I saw this document was when I arrived in
22 The Hague. Mr. Gajic showed it to me. I had never previously seen the
24 Q. And you've never seen this letter that I just read to you, have
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. And so your conclusion about the accuracy of the number of
3 registered refugees from Srebrenica, is it impacted in any way by the
4 fact that the Minister of Defence of the Netherlands himself is unsure of
5 the accuracy of that number?
6 A. Since this document, or, rather, the number 35.632 was officially
7 included in the debriefing of the Dutch government, I have no need to
8 have any doubts about it. I had no need to ask myself whether it was
9 correct. This number was important for me, and I used it for the
10 purposes of my analysis.
11 Q. No, we've got that. My question is: Now that you see this
12 letter, which says both that it's an approximation and, two, that it may
13 not be -- it may not actually be right, does that impact your conclusion
14 about the reliability of the number as you found it and used it in your
16 A. No, it doesn't have an impact because I completed my analysis on
17 the basis of data from various sources. There were numbers that had
18 certain ranges. I had calculations from the lower figure and the high
19 figure of given number ranges, so my report contains all the relevant
20 examples. I believe there are eight or nine such examples in my report
21 where all the relevant numbers that I could obtain were taken into
22 account. And this number -- this conclusion that it's an approximate
23 number could not have any effect on my final conclusion.
24 Q. Well, let's take a look at the document as we have it in e-court.
25 Can you see it on the screen in front of you now?
1 A. Yes, I can.
2 Q. Let's take a look at item A on this document. And you can see
3 the number 35.632, and it says "approximately"; right?
4 A. Yes, I can see that.
5 Q. Did you find any other number concerning the number of Srebrenica
6 refugees following the fall of Srebrenica? Did you find any other
7 document indicating the number of registered refugees? For the purposes
8 of your report.
9 A. No, I didn't have any other documents on the number of refugees
10 from Srebrenica because no one apart from the Sarajevo government, with
11 the assistance of the WHO, registered the number of refugees from
13 Q. Okay. So this is the number that you relied on to establish that
14 35.632 refugees from Srebrenica were registered, this is the only
15 document; right?
16 A. That is correct. That is the basic document, the main document,
17 and the main number that I relied on when drafting my analysis. And if I
18 could also add the following: It's not just this document that refers to
19 the number 35.632. I came across another document with the number
20 35.632. It's the article from Srebrenica, the Srebrenica Icon, in which
21 Mr. Jonathan Rooper also mentions the number of 35.632, and that is why I
22 had no reason to have any doubts about the reliability of that number.
23 Q. All right. Do you have any doubt now that you see that it's an
24 estimate, an approximation, and it might not be accurate?
25 A. Well, I can't have doubts about an official document. But apart
1 from that, the conclusion that I reached isn't, in fact, that precise.
2 In my conclusion I didn't say that 300 or 350 people were killed. All I
3 did was draw a certain conclusion on the basis of information that was
4 imprecise. I stated that the results of my analysis demonstrated that we
5 could not speak about thousands of people being killed, so you can see
6 for yourself that I didn't quite clearly state how many Muslims who were
7 fit for military service were, in fact, killed.
8 Q. All right. I think I follow you.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I put one additional question in relation to
10 this document.
11 We see the number Mr. Vanderpuye was asking you about, 35.632,
12 and then a breakdown with three other figures, one -- the first and the
13 second line, these figures seem to be quite accurate. What is your
14 opinion about the third figure, 6.500? Is that an accurate figure or an
15 approximation, in your view, as an expert?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think it's a precise figure and I
17 think that is the case because the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights
18 also mentioned that number when he reported on how many inhabitants left
19 Srebrenica and where they had found accommodation. He, in fact,
20 mentioned this number when referring to the people who had been provided
21 with accommodation at the Tuzla airport.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye, I think it's time for
24 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We have to continue tomorrow, in the morning, at
1 9.00 in this courtroom. And we adjourn for the day.
2 And again, Mr. Skrbic, no contact, please, to either party during
3 the break.
4 [The witness stands down]
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
6 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 9th day
7 of February, 2012, at 9.00 a.m.