1 Thursday, 9 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.
6 The witness should be brought in, please.
7 MR. VANDERPUYE: Good morning, Mr. President. Your Honours, good
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning, Mr. Vanderpuye.
10 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, I just wanted to let you know
11 that the 65 ter 7604, which is the document I was using last with the
12 witness yesterday, has been uploaded, the first page that was missing.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you for that.
14 [The witness takes the stand]
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning, Mr. Skrbic. Welcome back to the
16 courtroom. If there is any need to have a break, please let me know
18 I have to remind you that the affirmation to tell the truth still
19 applies today. Mr. Vanderpuye is continuing his cross-examination.
20 You have the floor, Mr. Vanderpuye.
21 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President. And good morning to
22 you, Your Honours, and everyone.
23 WITNESS: RATKO SKRBIC [Resumed]
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 Cross-examination by Mr. Vanderpuye: [Continued]
1 Q. Good morning to you, Mr. Skrbic. Before we pick up where we --
2 A. Thank you.
3 Q. -- left off yesterday, I just wanted to ask you a couple of other
4 questions. From your CV it's not very clear - or from your testimony -
5 but have you actually testified as an expert or prepared an expert report
6 in any other proceeding besides this one?
7 A. No, I haven't.
8 Q. Okay. So this is your first time; yes?
9 A. That's right.
10 MR. VANDERPUYE: If I could have 65 ter --
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I put another question in relation to the CV,
12 because you raised it.
13 Mr. Skrbic, I would like to know what kind of additional
14 education you went through besides your military career and education.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have any additional
16 education apart from military education.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: What about statistic, mathematics? You spoke
18 about mathematics and the importance of numbers. What did you learn
19 about that?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I studied that at the military
21 academy. We had mathematics 1 and mathematics 2, as well as in high
22 school. So if you combine these two knowledges together, I am quite
23 familiar with that area.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was looking for any kind of list of
25 publications attached to your reports. What kind of publications can we
1 think of? Did you publish anything?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I published only one paper in the
3 proceedings for the Russian Academy of Science, and my scientific work
4 was entitled: "The Analysis of the Srebrenica Population." That was a
5 paper delivered at an international conference held in Moscow in
6 April 2009.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
8 Mr. Vanderpuye, please carry on.
9 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Q. Let me just follow-up on what the president is asking you. It is
11 correct that you don't have an advanced degree or formal training in
12 demography; right?
13 A. That's right.
14 Q. Or population statistics, statistics, mathematical demography, or
15 sociology; right?
16 A. That's right.
17 Q. And it's the case that your expert report on the population of
18 Srebrenica actually didn't require any advanced degree or special
19 training in any of those subjects; right?
20 A. That's right. The calculations were very simple because I had at
21 my disposal finalised facts and information, and anyone who know the
22 basics of mathematics would be able to do that, provided they invest some
23 effort into it.
24 Q. All right.
25 MR. VANDERPUYE: I had asked, if I could, please, to have
1 65 ter 7604 in e-court.
2 Q. This was the letter that I showed you yesterday from the minister
3 of defence of the Netherlands, dated October 20th, 1995. I just wanted
4 to have it in the record so you could see that it's the same document I
5 showed you yesterday; is that right?
6 A. That's right.
7 Q. And it is -- I just want to confirm that this is the letter that
8 you had not seen prior to yesterday; is that right?
9 A. Yes, it is.
10 Q. Okay. And so you didn't see this document when you prepared your
11 report. That's clear.
12 A. Precisely so.
13 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, I would like to tender this
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would kindly ask the Registrar if that is -- if
16 this document is identical with D314.
17 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
20 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, 65 ter 7604, apart
21 from this first page, contains additional two documents admitted as D314
22 and D315.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can we please see D314 on the screen again.
24 Mr. Skrbic, you see on the screen a document we have seen already
25 yesterday. It's both in English at the moment. Did you use this
1 document while you were preparing your report?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I didn't use this document.
3 But I'd used another document that I showed to you, which is a diagram in
4 which in the debriefing it says "flight from Srebrenica." I used also
5 information from the article "The Icon of Srebrenica" from the journal
6 the "Defence and Military Affairs," which states that there were
7 36 to 632 [as interpreted] refugees. I'm glad that you have showed me
8 this document again and for giving me an opportunity to explain what the
9 term "approximately" means in mathematics.
10 Despite the fact that Mr. Prosecutor says that probably I don't
11 have sufficient mathematical expertise, but I would like to remind you
12 that yesterday afternoon I really made an effort in trying to remember
13 which specific area of mathematics contains finding solutions for
14 problems that are finally expressed not with an equation marks, which
15 would be accuracy, but instead of the upper straight line in the equation
16 mark you have a sinusoid line, whereas the lower line is straight; which,
17 in mathematic terms, means either equal or approximate. That means that
18 once you arrived at such a result after an analysis is nearly accurate or
19 accurate. Thank you. And I really wanted to go back to this document in
20 order to explain this.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Let us now see D315.
22 Mr. Gajic, you have mentioned these two documents. I can't
23 remember, at the moment, through which witness this was tendered by the
24 Defence. Can you help me with that?
25 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, to the best of my
1 recollection that was Mrs. Tabeau.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you have heard the motion of
3 Mr. Vanderpuye by which he tendered the letter. We have seen from the
4 minister of defence of the 20th of October, 1995. Do you have any
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Peace be
7 upon this house. And my desire is that the outcome of this trial be
8 decided by providence and God's will and not according to my wishes.
9 Mr. President, I have no objection to any document that is going
10 to speak about facts and information. I only think that we should admit
11 into evidence documents in their entirety.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye, we have discussed this. The
15 Chamber is not in a position to admit this document. By majority, the
16 Presiding Judge dissenting. The reason is this witness has never seen
17 this letter to Mr. Goldstone before, and therefore he can't testify about
18 its content. That is --
19 MR. VANDERPUYE: I can --
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: -- the position of the majority, Judge Fluegge
22 MR. VANDERPUYE: If --
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe.
24 MR. VANDERPUYE: Yes.
25 JUDGE NYAMBE: Just to clarify on what the Presiding Judge has
1 said: We are not saying you cannot tender this document in evidence; we
2 are simply saying this is the wrong witness through which it's being
3 tendered, since --
4 MR. VANDERPUYE: Perhaps --
5 JUDGE NYAMBE: -- there is no link between this document and this
6 witness. As he says, he doesn't know it.
7 MR. VANDERPUYE: Perhaps I can -- I can elucidate my position, if
8 that would be of assistance to the Chamber.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, go ahead, please.
10 MR. VANDERPUYE: Yesterday I asked this witness specifically
11 about this document in relation to the number 35.632 which was included
12 in his report, and I asked him whether that was an accurate number or an
13 estimate, as you will recall. And in response to that, he said that he
14 believed that it was an accurate assessment because he based his report,
15 in part, upon the debriefing information that he did review in preparing
16 his report. The letter -- the cover letter of this document specifically
17 speaks to the debriefing which this witness relied on in compiling his
18 documents. And it says, very specifically:
19 "I send a -- Herewith I send a document that was received during
20 the debriefing of DutchBat about the registration of approximately
21 35.632 refugees."
22 It is this document that is the basis of the information in the
23 debriefing report that this witness relied upon. That's why I asked him
24 if he'd seen this letter, because he's taken the debriefing report to be
25 accurate, whereas this letter contradicts that. That's the basis of --
1 of admitting it in this case, because it shows that he did not review
2 this letter which speaks to the reliability and the accuracy of the
3 number that he ultimately relied on.
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Mindua has a question for the witness.
6 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes. Good morning, Mr. Skrbic. I
7 would like to verify something. In this letter sent by the defence
8 minister of Holland, of the Dutch defence minister, there is a reference
9 to the number which was 35.632 refugees from Srebrenica, but there is the
10 word "approximately." This figure is -- may be correct or may be not.
11 What is your opinion? Are you in agreement with the content of this
12 document? Do you agree with this figure or not? Remind me.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you were listening carefully a
14 minute ago when I explained what "approximately" means in mathematics,
15 now I remember and I can tell you that maybe in the theory of probability
16 in mathematics or the theory of limit values marked with the word
17 "limes," an exact solution cannot be computed and you cannot put an
18 equation mark before that, which means that the result is completely
19 accurate. Instead of an equation mark, one puts a symbol, which I
20 explained to you is interpreted in mathematics "approximately" or
21 "equal," which means that the deviation is very, very small.
22 In addition to that, I would like to remind you that the
23 government in Sarajevo, with the assistance of the World Health
24 Organization, came at this same figure after counting the refugees on the
25 4th of August, 1995. So when I took into account the fact that that was
1 done by the Government of Sarajevo, that this was including in the
2 official debriefing report, and that finally it was confirmed by
3 Mr. Jonathan Rooper in his article, means that I had three sources of
4 information that speak about an exactly the same number, and for that
5 reason I took it to be correct.
6 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe. Oh, it's ...
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye, on the basis of your explanation
10 the Chamber has reconsidered its position, especially taking into account
11 that there was no objection by the Defence, the document will be admitted
12 into evidence.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 7604 shall be
14 assigned Exhibit P2873. Thank you.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
16 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Q. You mentioned yesterday this article called "Srebrenica Icon,"
18 and you mentioned that this was a publication or an article in this
19 "Defense & Foreign Affairs" strategic policy magazine; is that right?
20 A. Yes. I said that the article was published in the magazine
21 entitled "Defense & Foreign Affairs."
22 Q. I would like to show you 65 ter 7608.
23 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, I'll move to add this document.
24 The witness referred to it yesterday. I believe it is the article that
25 he's talking about.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, again I take it that you don't
2 object to add this article to the 65 ter exhibit list; correct?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] You are right, Mr. President.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Leave is granted to add it to the list.
5 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. I'm afraid I do not have a B/C/S translation of this article, but
7 I'll read to you the title of it just for a moment. On page 1, at the
8 very top, it reads:
9 "Psychological strategy and terrorism, a staff report."
10 And then it says: "The Srebrenica icon. How a Trojan horse for
11 Islamist terrorism was built with western help in the heart of Europe."
12 Do you recognise that title, Mr. Skrbic?
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. Is this the article that you were referring to in your testimony
15 yesterday and just a few minutes ago?
16 A. I could be able -- I would be able to tell you that with full
17 certainly only if I had a translation in Serbian. I believe so, but in
18 order for me to be absolutely certain and to be able to confirm what
19 you're asking me, I would have to have the article in Serbian as well.
20 Q. [Microphone not activated] All right. If we could just go --
21 Sorry. If we could just go to the bottom of the article. Or
22 just the bottom of the page, sorry. If we could just blow up the very --
23 the footer. Here you can see that it begins on page 4, that's on the
24 left, it says:
25 "Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy 9," which is the
1 volume number, and "2003," which is the year. Do you recognise that?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 Q. And is that the article? Does that refresh your recollection or
4 help you identify this article as the one you reviewed and were speaking
5 about yesterday and a few minutes ago?
6 A. The only thing that confuses me, sir, is the black square. The
7 translation that was published in the bulletin of the General Staff of
8 Yugoslavia doesn't feature this square. This is what confuses me and
9 this is why I may appear a bit mistrustful, although I recognise
10 everything you are showing me.
11 Q. Okay. I can read to you the part in the black square, if that
12 would help you, but I think we probably have identified it sufficiently.
13 It black square it his says:
14 "Bosnia's Islamist leaders are tied directly to 9-11."
15 Then it says:
16 "Balkan-based Iranian and al-Qaeda assets are gearing for major
17 new terror operations to break out of the US 'war on terror,' with
18 concern for the 2004 Athens Olympics."
19 And the third entry says:
20 "The new 'Srebrenica Monument' has been raised as a means of
21 staving off concerns about the Islamist as a terrorist threat."
22 MR. VANDERPUYE: Now if we could just zoom out a little bit.
23 Q. Under point 1 we see that it talks about Bosnia's link to 9-11.
24 It's on the right-hand side of the page. And it talks about the Trojan
25 horse on the left-hand side of the page. And it says:
1 "It came into effect on September 20th, 2003. It was the
2 monument built in Srebrenica to ostensibly commemorate the Muslim victims
3 of Serb 'genocide' in 1995. The monument is a pointed representation
4 solely of the claims disputed by studies of the French and Dutch
5 governments and NATO as well as other sources --"
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please slow down.
7 MR. VANDERPUYE: "... of the radical Islamists of
8 Alija Izetbegovic's Radical Islamist Party of Democratic Action (SDA)."
9 Does that sound familiar to you?
10 A. Yes, I remember that. This was more or less what I read in the
11 translation of this article.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
13 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have a request for
14 Mr. Vanderpuye. When reading from the article, could he please slow
15 down, because a lot of the things that he read out went uninterpreted or
16 the interpretation was lagging considerably behind. Thank you.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is exactly the reason why I asked
18 Mr. Vanderpuye to slow down. And the transcript has to be reviewed at a
19 later stage.
20 Mr. Vanderpuye.
21 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 If we go to page 3 of this document, on the right hand column we
23 see point number 2, which says "the Srebrenica gambit." If we can blow
24 that up a little bit. That's helpful.
25 Q. In this part of the document, it says in the first paragraph
2 "On the eve of the dedication of a monument to Muslims killed at
3 Srebrenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995, a group which included a former
4 UN official, intelligence experts, and journalists released a statement
5 on September 18, 2003, challenging the alleged casualty number of 7.000
6 victims as 'vastly inflated and unsupported by evidence.'
7 "They asserted that one-sided interventionist policies permitted
8 al-Qaeda forces and radical Islamists backed by the Iranian clerical
9 government to take root during the Bosnian war, clouding the future of
10 the region."
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Slow down, please. We are missing something in
12 the transcript.
13 MR. VANDERPUYE:
14 Q. "As well, they agreed that the memorialization of false numbers
15 in the monument [Realtime transcript read in error "municipal unit"]
16 actually appeared to be intended to perpetuate regional ethnic hatred and
17 distrust and to deliberately punish one of the victim groups in the
18 Bosnian civil war."
19 You read this as well, Mr. Skrbic?
20 A. I did, indeed. However, you may have noticed in my report I did
21 not analyse this article. The only thing I did, I used the figure of
22 35.000 as my calculation basis. As for the rest of the article, I was
23 really not interested in any of that. The only thing that I had was my
24 own personal curiosity, but that didn't go into my analysis.
25 Q. You can see at the bottom of this page a reference to former BBC
1 journalist - it's the last complete paragraph; that's right - former BBC
2 journalist Jonathan Rooper. That's the same journalist that you referred
3 to during your testimony; is that right?
4 A. I suppose so, yes. Probably.
5 Q. Okay.
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: Let's go to the next page, please.
7 Q. If we go to the far right column again. In the second paragraph
8 of this column, you'll see a reference to a Yossef Bodansky. And it
10 "Yossef Bodansky, who has written several books on the war in
11 Yugoslavia and also serves as research director of ISSA --"
12 By the way, do you know what ISSA is?
13 A. I can't remember. I believe that this has to do with the
14 research of some events or social research. If I had the translation of
15 the abbreviation, I would be able to explain what it is.
16 Q. How about: International Strategic Studies Association. Does
17 that sound about right?
18 A. Yes, yes. That does sound familiar.
19 Q. He calls the 7.000 figure "disinformation" and notes that "All
20 independent forensic evidence points to Muslim casualties in the
21 hundreds." That's basically your conclusion, isn't it?
22 A. Yes. I'm glad that you're reading this. I'm glad that the
23 Trial Chamber has an opportunity to see that this fits with my own
25 Q. To continue on in this paragraph, it says:
1 "Continued emphasis on such allegedly high numbers of Muslim
2 deaths at Srebrenica also obfuscates the Muslim murders in that city
3 earlier of Serb civilians.
4 "Bodansky also wrote extensively on the link between
5 Osama bin Laden and the Bosnian Islamists in numerous articles and
6 special reports and three books," and then they are named.
7 At the bottom of this page, we'll see a reference to Rooper
8 again. And he says -- or, rather, it says in the article:
9 "Rooper points out that the figure of 40.000 inhabitants which
10 the UN used in July 1995, before the capture of Srebrenica, roughly
11 matches the number of former residents accounted for in the aftermath."
12 That's what you conclude, too, isn't it?
13 A. Yes, that's true. However, I would like to emphasize that their
14 destiny is known, which means that they were registered somewhere.
15 Q. "A commander of the Muslim-dominated Army of BH later," if we go
16 to the next page, "confirmed to parliament, in Sarajevo, that 5.000 BH
17 troops escaped largely intact to Tuzla while the UN registered some
18 35.632 civilian survivors."
19 That's what you were referring to; right?
20 A. That's right. I also made calculations based on the figure of
21 5.000 as well as the figure of 3.000 presented by the ICRC. I made my
22 calculations based on both figures.
23 Q. If we go to the next paragraph -- or, rather, the one following,
24 it says:
25 "Instead of acknowledging that there was no support for the
1 original figures, Rooper says various means were used to prop up the
2 official story."
3 Do you agree with that?
4 A. I did my analysis and I arrived at results which demonstrates
5 that the number of those who were executed can certainly not be expressed
6 in the thousands. And for some dozen years the media and the general
7 public have persevered on something that is a figure of 7.000 or over
8 7.000 people. That figure may be convincing only if it is supported by
10 Q. All right. So you believe that that figure of 7.000 or more than
11 7.000 people killed, most of whom were summarily executed, is propaganda?
12 Is that right, Mr. Skrbic?
13 A. No, I didn't say that. Please listen carefully to my words. I
14 did not say that the figure of 7.000 is a product of propaganda. I said
15 that it was sold to the general public with the help of propaganda so as
16 to look convincing. I said that I analysed the population of Srebrenica
17 before and after Krivaja 95 operation and I established that there is no
18 difference after the operation that would point to the fact that 7.000 or
19 more than 7.000 militarily able-bodied men were missing.
20 Q. Well, Mr. Skrbic, we're at an impasse. You say that based on
21 your calculations the number of people that could be potentially victims
22 was something like 397; right?
23 A. That's according to one source. According to another source,
24 there is a different figure. There is a third figure and a fourth
25 figure. However, none of these figures are bigger than a thousand.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can you please give us the other numbers you have
2 just mentioned.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can do that, but I would have to
4 have my report on the screen, and then I'll be able to give you the
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: I can put that up in a moment, if you would
7 like, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes. Yes, please.
9 MR. VANDERPUYE: I can't remember the exhibit number, but I do
10 remember the 65 ter number: 1D01114.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I can give you the report number. I think it's
12 1-- no, it's D368 --
13 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: -- MFI.
15 MR. VANDERPUYE: I would like to tender this document, though,
16 while we have it on the screen. And we can come back to it as well, but
17 I think before we switch them I'd like to -- I'd like to tender it.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We have heard that this was also published in
19 Serbian, in a Serbian gazette. Is this version available?
20 MR. VANDERPUYE: I might be able to track it down, but I wasn't
21 able to track it down yesterday, and that's why this one is only in
22 English. I suppose we can mark it for identification until I can either
23 track down the other one or have this one translated.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That would be very helpful, especially for the
25 Defence, to know the text in B/C/S. This document will be marked for
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 7608 shall be
3 assigned Exhibit P2874 marked for identification. Thank you.
4 MR. VANDERPUYE:
5 Q. Mr. Skrbic, we have your report in e-court now. For my purposes,
6 we can go to page 19, which would be page 22 and 23 in the B/C/S, or in
7 Serbian. And I think that's right. The figure of 397 I'm focussing on
8 you'll find at the bottom of the last paragraph in the English, where it
10 "The remainder of 397 men fit for military service might be those
11 who died."
12 On the following page in the English, beginning in the
13 sentence -- it probably should be a paragraph, but the sentence that
15 "Since the exact number of Muslim losses during the breakout in
16 the fighting for Srebrenica and in the internecine clashes during that
17 fighting is not known, it is impossible to reliably determine the manner
18 of death of these 397 possible victims."
19 Now, you have indicated that you have other numbers based upon
20 the results of calculating different estimates of various populations;
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. And those numbers range from what to what?
24 A. They range from 118 to 800-something. I can't tell you off the
25 top of my head.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Perhaps you can look through your report again
2 during the break and give us after the break the page number where we can
3 find these other numbers.
4 MR. VANDERPUYE:
5 Q. Based on your calculations of the numbers that you relied on in
6 your report you concluded that the minimum number of people that could
7 have been the victims of the fighting or executed in relation to
8 Srebrenica could have been as low as 118 people?
9 A. Yes. That is the lowest figure I arrived at, taking into account
10 various sources of information and using various calculation
12 Q. And General Tolimir agreed with that? He agrees with that
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, maybe Mr. Vanderpuye
17 should give us a reference. I never discussed this issue with the
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
20 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President. You may remember at
21 the beginning of my examination of this witness I asked him whether or
22 not General Tolimir agreed with his conclusions. If I can find it in the
23 transcript, I'll let you know.
24 Q. You recall that, don't you, Mr. Skrbic?
25 A. Yes, I do.
1 Q. And you said, "most probably," or something to that effect;
3 A. I don't remember my answer. However, I did not have any contacts
4 with the general, so I'm in no position to tell you what he thinks or
5 what his position is.
6 Q. You gave us an explanation about the terms of your engagement,
7 where you said that you would only write the report -- or, rather, that
8 only if they agreed with your report that you would continue with it;
10 A. I said that I told them that I wanted to work independently. And
11 I gave them the framework of the topics that I would deal with and the
12 methodology that I would use. I didn't want anybody interfering with
13 that. The only person I spoke to was Mr. Gajic. Unfortunately, I never
14 talked to Mr. Tolimir. Perhaps I should have talked to him as well about
15 all this.
16 Q. At page 19019 of the transcript, I asked you:
17 "What I'd like to know ... off the bat is: You presented your
18 report to General Tolimir; is that right?
19 "A. That's right. Through his legal advisor.
20 "Q. Okay. And he agrees with the conclusions that you draw in
21 your report?
22 "A. Well, I think that since he accepted me as a witness here, I
23 believe that he agrees with my conclusions."
24 So my question to you is: I'm asking you about one of your
25 conclusions - does he agree with it?
1 A. Well, do I have to repeat what I said? If he agreed that I
2 should come here, this implies that he accepted or agreed with my
3 conclusions, the one that I presented in my expert report.
4 Q. Thank you. And I said to you just a moment before we got into
5 this discussion we were at an impasse because your conclusions account
6 for, at most, a few hundred victims of the Srebrenica events; whereas the
7 evidence presented in this case establishes several thousand. Is it your
8 position that the difference in those numbers is a fabrication of the
9 evidence in this case?
10 A. No, I don't have a position about the evidence you refer to,
11 about whether they -- about whether that evidence has been fabricated or
12 not. If you've been listening to me carefully, and I have to repeat
13 this, I said that I started investigating the matter to determine whether
14 what you are claiming is, in fact, true or not.
15 Q. Is it?
16 A. And as the analysis has demonstrated, the claims that you are
17 making are not correct.
18 Q. All right. I referred you to 7608. Okay. The document that
19 was -- the article, "Srebrenica Icon," I want to ask you about another
21 MR. VANDERPUYE: Could I have 65 ter 7602 in e-court, please.
22 This is a document, Mr. President, that I ask leave to add to the
23 65 ter list of the Prosecution. It is a publication relating to these
24 matters by Mr. Skrbic.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I take it from the previous answer of Mr. Tolimir
1 that he doesn't object, and therefore leave is granted to add it to the
3 MR. VANDERPUYE:
4 Q. Do you recognise this document, Mr. Skrbic?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What is it?
7 A. It's a book that I wrote, the title of which is: "Srebrenica -
8 Genocide Perpetrated Against the Truth."
9 Q. Did you pick that title yourself?
10 A. Yes, by myself.
11 Q. And when was it published?
12 A. I think it was published in March of last year.
13 Q. March 2011 is when it was published?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. When did you complete it?
16 A. Well, I think it was more than a year before it was published.
17 Q. All right. So sometime in 2010 or maybe even 2009; is that
19 A. That's right. Because I was competing -- I was in competition to
20 public this book within the Government of Republika Srpska. The ministry
21 of culture has a competition every year for the publication of new books.
22 This took about a year. It took me about a year for me to receive the
23 response -- to receive their response. I didn't win the competition, and
24 then I tried to find other means of having this book published.
25 Q. The title, "Genocide of the Truth" or "of Truth," what is that
1 intended to mean?
2 A. It means that the truth is the first casualty of war, and then
3 everything else follows. As far as I can remember, a famous
4 Greek philosopher used these words. In the forward, Dr. Mirceta Vemic
5 mentioned the name of that philosopher. He is the person who draft the
6 forward of the book.
7 Q. Now, a minute ago when I asked you -- well, maybe more than a
8 minute ago, but a little while ago when I asked you about this document
9 you referred to, "The Srebrenica Icon" that we read -- I read from
10 extensively, you said that you found the number in the document, in that
11 article, and that's what you used, but basically you weren't interested
12 in it; right?
13 A. I apologise, I really haven't understood your question.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honour, could the reference be
16 provided to the witness rather than paraphrasing what was said for the
17 benefit of the witness. Thank you.
18 MR. VANDERPUYE:
19 Q. At page 13, line 4 through 13, my question was - and I read out
20 part of this article:
21 "As well they agreed that the memorialization of false numbers,"
22 it says in the transcript "in the municipal unit," "actually appeared to
23 be intended to perpetuate regional ethnic hatred and distrust and to
24 deliberately punish one of the groups," it says "grouped" in the
25 transcript, "in the Bosnia civil war.
1 "You read this as well, Mr. Skrbic?" was my question.
2 Your answer was:
3 "I did, indeed. However, you may have noticed in my report I did
4 not analyse this article. The only thing I did, I used the figure of
5 35.000 as my calculation basis. As for the rest of the article, I was
6 really not interested in any of that."
7 Does that refresh your recollection as to what you did in
8 relation to that article?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. So you weren't interested in any of that article; is that right?
11 A. I don't know what you mean when you ask me whether I was
12 interested in it or not. If I hadn't been interested in it, I wouldn't
13 have read it at all. But I didn't use it for the purposes of a political
14 or security analysis in relation to terrorism, for example, or in
15 relation to any other matter. All I did was use the information I found
16 in that article and I used that information to make the calculations I
17 made in my expert report.
18 Q. All right. Let me go to page 12 in e-court of the book in
19 English, and I believe page 18 in the Serbian. I am going to refer you
20 in the Serbian to the paragraph that begins under the bolded text at the
21 top of the page.
22 MR. VANDERPUYE: And just a moment in the English, because I seem
23 to have a different version. Okay. There's another translation in
24 e-court. It should be ERN 6810391. If we go to the bottom of the page
25 in the English.
1 Q. I want to refer -- well, I've already referred you to the text.
2 In this document we can see here it says:
3 "'Second, by 1998, thousands of bodies excavated from all across
4 Bosnia were stored at the Tuzla airport. Despite state-of-the-art
5 DNA testing, only 200 bodies have been linked to Srebrenica.'"
6 This quote from the article entitled "The Srebrenica Icon"
7 published in "Defense & Foreign Affairs" strategic policy issue number 9,
8 2003, pages 4 through 8, the translation of which was published in the
9 information bulletin of translations issue 2/2004, Centre for
10 Documentation and Information in Military Science, Belgrade, it says
11 "Balkanska 53."
12 "This was a powerful incentive factor for me to tackle the issue
13 of Srebrenica victims in more detail."
14 Those are your words; right?
15 A. That's right.
16 Q. Your book that we have in front of us now is nearly identical in
17 every respect to your expert report that you produced for General Tolimir
18 in 2011; right?
19 A. You are almost right. But in the report there is something that
20 isn't contained in the book and that is the first part that refers to the
21 number of captured individuals who were transported and to the number of
22 men fit for military service who were killed, members of the
23 28th Division in this particular case. As for the other information, on
24 the whole that information is the same as the information in my book.
25 Q. It contains all the same information, with the exception of the
1 first few pages of your report, on the population of Srebrenica; right?
2 A. That's right. But there are perhaps certain amendments in other
3 parts, too, but one could say that that part of the book did serve as the
4 groundwork for this expert report.
5 Q. Well, when you say "groundwork," in fact, it incorporates all of
6 the identical figures, tables, and diagrams, doesn't it?
7 A. Yes, that's correct in relation to the ones that were, in fact,
8 taken from the book.
9 Q. And it advances the same arguments.
10 A. The same arguments are put forward and the conclusion is the
12 Q. You gave, in your book, several reasons why you wrote it.
13 MR. VANDERPUYE: If we could go to page 12 in the English and
14 page 17 in the B/C/S.
15 Q. You say first -- well, before that:
16 "Why did I choose to commit to truth and research it? There are
17 several reasons for this. I shall state -- I shall only state those
18 which are most important.
19 "First, simply, I doubted the possibility that any of my
20 colleagues, professional officers and non-commissioned officers, could
21 line up several hundred or several thousand enemy soldiers and civilians
22 and order that they be executed or take part in this misdeed."
23 That's one of your motivations for producing this book; right?
24 A. That's right. I really had such doubts. But as you can see, I
25 didn't say that that was not correct. I just had my doubts and then I
1 wanted to determine what the real situation actually was.
2 Q. Second:
3 "By 1998 thousands of bodies excavated from all across Bosnia
4 were stored at the Tuzla airport," as we discussed previously.
5 And you say:
6 "'Despite state-of the-art DNA testing, only 200 bodies have been
7 link to Srebrenica.'"
8 Quoting this article we spoke about; right?
9 A. That's correct. And I have to admit once more that this was a
10 significant reason for which I got involved in this, but it was a
11 personal reason.
12 Q. Now, certainly you knew by the time you wrote this book in
13 late -- either late 2009 or in 2010 that through DNA testing probably
14 more than 5.000 bodies had been linked to Srebrenica at that time. You
15 were part of the Miletic Defence, and certainly you would have known
16 that; isn't that right, Mr. Skrbic?
17 A. I didn't have that information when I wrote the book. I didn't
18 have that information on the DNA findings. I had no information apart
19 from the information I had used in this article, and I used this
20 information as a sort of additional motivating factor.
21 Q. Well, it wouldn't have been too hard to find out: by making a
22 simple phone call to the Miletic Defence to find out what the state of
23 the DNA identification evidence had been at that time; right?
24 A. Well, if I had asked for them, I believe I would have been able
25 to obtain that information.
1 Q. At the very bottom of this page, the last sentence, you talk
2 about your conclusion, and you say:
3 "Based on this fact, it can be concluded that following the end
4 of Operation Krivaja 95 --" thank you, "the entire or almost the entire
5 population of Srebrenica left for Tuzla and the surrounding area in
6 various ways and were registered among the refugees from Srebrenica on
7 4 August 1995, alive," in bold.
9 A. That's correct.
10 MR. VANDERPUYE: If we go to page 14 in the English, page 21 in
11 the B/C/S.
12 Q. I want to direct your attention to the following.
13 You say under number 4:
14 "My internal rebellion and instinct, as well as my internal
15 resistance in dissatisfaction with almost daily perennial media
16 bombardment with the alleged facts that the VRS and its members,
17 supported by Serbian forces, committed an alleged genocide against the
18 Srebrenica Muslims without anyone proving it, but where at the same time
19 it was to be conditionally accepted as truth, kept adding fuel and
20 strengthening my will to research the Muslim losses in Srebrenica during
21 and after Operation Krivaja 95 and find out whether the official version
22 of these losses is consistent with the truth or not?
23 Something you've repeated to some extent today. Right?
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. What do you by "without anybody proving it"?
1 A. Well, that must be clear. Nobody proved that 7- or 8.000 or more
2 than 7.000 Muslim men fit for military service had been killed.
3 Q. You say:
4 "'The imposing of truth,' about the official version of Muslim
5 losses, however, is not encouraged by the daily perennial media
6 bombardment by facts on the alleged genocide against Srebrenica Muslims.
7 An equally efficient means is the fact that the media are ignoring facts
8 about the events in and around Srebrenica from other sources, which the
9 author of this book was able to experience personally."
10 You go on to say that when you reached "the first tangible data
11 and results proving that the Muslim victims from Srebrenica cannot be
12 expressed in thousands and that all or almost all Muslims left Srebrenica
13 in various ways during and after Operation Krivaja 95 for Tuzla and its
14 surrounding where they were registered as refugees from Srebrenica,
15 alive," in bold, "I immediately offered these results to leading
16 electronic and printed media in Serbia, news agencies, and some political
17 parties, including those in power, expecting them to publish this data
18 without asking for anything in return. As I said, the findings and the
19 results I reached in this research of the events in and around Srebrenica
20 were absolutely ignored by the media."
21 This is one of the reasons why you undertook the research was to
22 prove a point; right?
23 A. That's not one of the main reasons for which I undertook the
24 research. When I said that, all I wanted to say is that some other
25 findings about the events in Srebrenica reached the public with a lot of
1 difficulty. In relation to the findings that became the official
2 version, the official version was that 8.000 Muslim men fit for military
3 service had been executed.
4 Q. All right. Well, it's clear from your book, in this particular
5 passage, that your research was rejected on more than one occasion and by
6 more than one entity; is that right?
7 A. No, no one rejected my research. They simply refused to publish
8 it in the media, in printed form or in electronic form. However, in one
9 newspaper my -- an article on my book was published in two parts.
10 However, after the second part was published by a -- that newspaper, the
11 newspaper ceased to exist.
12 Q. You offered your research to political parties. What parties
13 were those?
14 A. Well, to almost all important parties. And when I say that, I
15 mean the parties that had members of parliament.
16 Q. Why would you offer your research to a political party in the
17 first place?
18 A. Well, because it's a matter of public research, and my research
19 didn't tally with the official version. It was to show that there
20 were -- there was other information on the number of men fit for military
21 service who had been executed. I believed that this was information that
22 was relevant in a state that is led by parliament.
23 Q. On the following page --
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Mindua has a question.
25 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes. Mr. Prosecutor, I apologise.
1 I just have a minor question for the witness.
2 In transcript page 29, line 11, you said that after the
3 publication of the second part of your article the newspaper ceased to
4 exist, was no longer published. What do you mean? Since that point in
5 time this newspaper is no longer being published, what was the reason for
6 that, if that was the case?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know, but that was really
8 the case. That's what happened. The title of the newspaper is "Grom,"
9 "Thunder." I don't know why it ceased to exist. I don't know whether it
10 was a simple coincidence.
11 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] What kind of newspaper was it - a
12 daily newspaper? Had it been in existence for several years? Was it a
13 reputable newspaper?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I can remember, it was a
15 weekly publication that was published in a "kurir," a daily newspaper,
16 and it wasn't particularly important in Serbia.
17 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye, I think we need the first break
19 now, and you may continue after the break.
20 I would kindly ask the witness to look into your report during
21 the break and to give us the reference to the possible numbers of
22 victims. Thank you.
23 We resume at 11.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic, I noticed before the break that one
2 comment you made in answering a question of Judge Mindua was not
3 acceptable, when you said:
4 "If you would have listened to me more careful," something to
5 that effect.
6 This is not an acceptable answer to a question put to you in this
8 I asked you to look into your report to provide us with the
9 numbers of possible victims. Can you give us the reference to your
10 report, please, and give us the numbers.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First of all, I really and most
12 sincerely apologise for making this slip of the tongue.
13 Now I'm going to give you the page numbers in my report where the
14 references of possible losses can be found, and, if necessary, I can
15 provide explanation why each and every one of these references were taken
16 and what they indicate.
17 First, page 26 in Serbian, last paragraph. It reads:
18 "The lower limit of the results of this calculation (13.903)
19 which is --"
20 JUDGE FLUEGGE: [Previous translation continues]... I have to
21 interrupt you. I would be glad if we can have that page on the screen in
22 B/C/S, and you said it's page 26.
23 We need the respective page in English, too.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I can see, that's page 23
25 in English.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes. Please continue with your answer. I'm not
2 interested in an explanation. I would like to have the four figures.
3 One you have mentioned before the break, that was 397. The other was
4 118. And which are the other two figures?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the last paragraph you can see
6 two numbers: 1.097 or 188. Now, I have to explain why I put the word
7 "or." I did that because if I make my calculations based on the
8 information about members of the 28th Division who managed to break
9 through but were not registered among the 35.632, according to the ICRC
10 reports there were 3.000 such troops. And this number, 1.097,
11 corresponds to the number that served to calculate the final figure of
13 Number 188 is the result of the calculation --
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic, before the break you said there are
15 four possible numbers of losses. Can you give me the four numbers from
16 your report, the four different numbers.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's one. Then on page 29, at
18 the end of the first paragraph, we have figures 213 or 1.291. On that
19 same page, in the bold section of the text, we had the figure of 897.
20 And then on page 31, line 16 and 7 [as interpreted], we have the figure
21 of 618. And in the last paragraph on that same page, we have number 118.
22 All these figures indicate that there is a negative difference or
23 a shortcoming of able-bodied men after Krivaja 95 operation if compared
24 to the figures that existed before the operation.
25 Naturally, for each of these numbers I can give you additional
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Sir, I asked you for four numbers. Nothing else.
3 I just want to have the numbers you were referring to on page 16 of
4 today's transcript. And I refer you to that again. I don't want to be
5 confused. Mr. Vanderpuye asked you about the number of 397, potential
6 victims, and your answer was:
7 "That's according to one source. According to another source,
8 there is a different figure. There is a third figure and a fourth
9 figure. However, none of these figures are bigger than a thousand."
10 Please, what do you mean by "these four figures"? I would like
11 to have these four figures. And without any explanation. Just the
12 numbers, please. In your last answer you gave more figures. Which are
13 the four figures you were talking about?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, those four figures are among
15 this larger number of figures that I have just cited. So that means that
16 there are more than four.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I give it up.
18 Mr. Skrbic, another question. We see, or we saw, on the screen
19 your book you have recently published. You said it is -- the content is
20 quite identical to the report you have prepared for this trial. Earlier
21 today I asked you about any publications you have made, and you said you
22 have given a report to a conference in Moscow and that paper was
23 published. Is that identical with the book we have discussed, or is it a
24 different paper?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After publishing the paper and
1 after I delivered it at the Russian Academy of Sciences, I continued my
2 work, and this initial paper served as a basis for me to expand my
3 research. And as a result of such an expanded research, I arrived at the
4 book in its present form.
5 JUDGE FLUEGGE: At page 3, lines 1 through 5, you said:
6 "I published only one paper in the proceedings," and there are
7 some mistakes in the transcript, "for the Russian Academy of Science, and
8 my scientific work was entitled: 'The Analysis of the Srebrenica
9 Population.' That was a paper delivered at the international conference
10 held in Moscow in April 2009."
11 You said you published one paper. Is this the book, or is it a
12 different paper?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it's much shorter than the
14 book. This paper has about 30 pages, whereas the book has many, many
15 more pages. But the information contained in the paper coincide to part
16 of the information in the book.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Why did you say, "I published only one paper"?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Because that's how I understood
19 your question. You asked me if I published any scientific works
20 anywhere, and that's why I responded that I did and that that paper of
21 mine was scientifically verified. If that were not the case, it would
22 not have been published in the proceedings from that conference, and that
23 is why I mentioned only that paper.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I didn't use the word "scientific." I was
25 specifically referring to any kind of publications. And then I said,
1 "Did you publish anything?"
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really understood your question
3 in the way that I have just explained to you.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
5 Mr. Vanderpuye, please carry on.
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
7 I think we were on page 14 in the English, and I think probably
8 page 22 in the Serbian.
9 Q. Mr. Skrbic, the question of what happened to the population of
10 Srebrenica following its collapse in July 1995 is something you've been
11 researching for a number of years; fair to say?
12 A. Yes, it's fair.
13 Q. It's something that you've researched and given talks on and is
14 the subject of your book which you completed back in either late 2009 or
15 2010; right?
16 A. Can you please tell me what you mean by "given talks"?
17 Q. Well, have you presented your paper anywhere, or the thesis
18 that's contained in your paper?
19 A. Now I understand. Yes. And I already confirmed that, that I
20 presented my paper on the analysis of the movement of the population of
21 Srebrenica at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
22 Q. All right. And so your thesis is essentially this: That based
23 on looking at the population in Srebrenica - say of about 40.000 - around
24 July 1995, and looking at the population of registered refugees, of
25 35.632 plus however other many men you say arrived from the column, that
1 that leaves some few hundred people that could be potential victims of
2 the crimes in Srebrenica; right?
3 A. This is what the results of this analysis show.
4 Q. Well, that's what you believe, isn't it?
5 A. I have no reason to doubt it, because I used the information that
6 came from relevant sources. And not a single piece of information was
7 made up by me. Each and every bit of information that I use for my
8 calculations can be found in a relevant document.
9 Q. All right. And you came to those conclusions without making up
10 any information, but also without looking at information - documentary
11 evidence in this case and other cases - concerning the number of missing
12 and dead from Srebrenica following its collapse; right?
13 A. Yes, that's right. At the beginning of this trial I said that I
14 opted to apply a research methodology that involves following the
15 movement of Muslim survivors in Srebrenica prior and after Krivaja 95
16 operation because I had quite sufficient information about the number of
17 the inhabitants before and after the operation. In addition to that, I
18 can say that I did not have any particular need to delve into other
19 researches that applied different methodologies. I opted for this
20 particular methodology.
21 Q. When I first started asking you questions on cross-examination, I
22 asked you about the documents you received or reviewed in relation to the
23 preparation of your report. Do you recall that?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. I asked you if you asked the Defence for any particular
1 documents. Do you remember that?
2 A. Yes, I do. And I responded that I didn't ask for any
3 documentation because I thought it was their duty to provide me with the
4 documents in order to enable me to perform my task for the Defence team.
5 Q. So you reach your conclusions in your paper -- I'm sorry, in your
6 expert report, and your book - and I suppose your paper, frankly -
7 without having reviewed any exhumation reports, any pathology reports,
8 any autopsy reports; right? No forensic evidence related to this case.
9 A. I didn't do that because I don't know almost anything about
11 Q. You didn't ask for any documents concerning the number of
12 missing, for example; right? You mentioned the ICRC reports. Did you
13 consider the number of missing in the ICRC lists in terms of determining
14 the population data that you reported in your expert paper?
15 A. Yes, I did mention the findings and the lists of the ICRC on the
16 missing persons, but that would actually go beyond the scope of my
17 methodology, and for that reason I didn't study the lists of the missing
18 persons but I did become acquainted with them in the course of preparing
19 my report.
20 Q. In the list that you reviewed, how many missing persons related
21 to Srebrenica was reported by the ICRC at the time that you reviewed it?
22 A. I cannot remember at the moment the exact number. But there is
23 plenty of information, different information, about the missing persons
24 in the lists of the ICRC, of the NGO called Medecins Sans Frontieres, and
25 other international humanitarian organisations. But the first two lists,
1 the one of the ICRC and the Medecins Sans Frontieres, were the ones that
2 I saw most often.
3 Q. I understand that. My question was: How many people were
4 reported missing in the reports that you reviewed? If you can't
5 remember, you can tell us that too.
6 A. Well, as far as I can remember, between 8.000 and 10.000.
7 Q. And that's not in your report, is it? Either that you reviewed
8 that documentation or that the number reported in that documentation was
9 8- to 10.000 or 8- or 10.000 missing people?
10 A. A while ago I told you that I decided to apply the methodology of
11 following the survivors, and my entire focus was on that methodology. I
12 admitted, honestly, that I didn't need to go into other lists, that I
13 didn't think that I should devote any particular attention to them.
14 Q. All right. We talked a minute ago -- a minute ago - more than a
15 minute ago about DNA evidence. Did you review any reports relating to
16 DNA-identified missing people related to the fall of Srebrenica in
17 July of 1995?
18 A. I just came across this piece of information at a glance.
19 Q. And the information you came across, how many DNA-identified
20 missing people from Srebrenica was reported in that?
21 A. I don't remember the exact data because the documents that I
22 reviewed were drafted in different years and they contain different
23 information, and for that reason I cannot say that I remember. There are
24 significant differences.
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You said you don't remember the exact data. In
1 your recollection, approximately how many have been reported?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Are you asking me about the number
3 of exhumed and identified persons?
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I'm exactly referring to the question
5 Mr. Vanderpuye put to you: How many DNA-identified missing people from
6 Srebrenica were reported in that report? To your recollection, how many,
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can tell you now that I
9 just remembered a document that I did not include in my report because it
10 went beyond my methodology, but I did read it. It was a document from
11 the year 2007 in which an authorised official from Sarajevo is sending
12 this document in which it is said that up to 2007 around
13 4.400 individuals were identified, and this figure relates to people from
14 ten various municipalities, not only Srebrenica.
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
16 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Q. I asked you at the very beginning of your cross-examination what
18 documents you were provided with and whether you asked for any, and in
19 your answer you said you "asked to be supplied and provided with all the
20 documents that he," Mr. Gajic or Mr. Tolimir, "can offer that might be
21 useful and which could fit with the idea of the report, as I explained it
22 to Mr. Gajic."
23 You remember giving that answer?
24 MR. VANDERPUYE: For the reference of the Trial Chamber, that's
25 at page 19021, lines 17 through 20.
1 Q. Do you remember that Mr. Skrbic?
2 A. I remember. And I repeat: I didn't ask for any special
3 documents. Not a single one. I asked them to provide me with those
4 documents that might be of use to me in drafting my expert report.
5 Q. And you explained, at lines 23 through the next page, line 1,
6 that you explained to Mr. Gajic that based on the documents, your "desire
7 was to confirm or demonstrate whether it was accurate, the information
8 that more than 7.000 able-bodied men were killed." As we state it,
9 summarily executed. "That's as far as the ... report is concerned."
10 That's what the purpose of your report was, and you asked for
11 documents relevant to that end; is that correct?
12 A. Sir, all the documents that could be of some use and that could
13 have supported my methodology is what I asked for. I didn't ask for
14 anything else on top of that.
15 Q. Let me show you 65 ter -- I'm sorry, P1776. I'll wait a moment
16 for the Serbian to be uploaded.
17 This is a document - you can see in the title - it's called a
18 "2009 Integrated Report on Srebrenica Missing, Including a Progress
19 Report on DNA-Based Identification."
20 Have you ever seen this before, Mr. Skrbic?
21 A. No, I've not seen this document. However, I saw other documents
22 drafted by Brunborg, those that were drafted before 2009. I've not seen
23 this document before.
24 Q. Was this provided -- were those documents, rather, provided to
25 you by General Tolimir's Defence or General Miletic's Defence, the ones
1 that you saw?
2 A. Somebody did. I received a huge number of documents, perhaps
3 over 2500 folders. I really don't know who provided me with what. I
4 can't remember. In any case, it was one of those two Defence teams.
5 MR. VANDERPUYE: If we could go to page 6 of this document. I
6 think its the same in both the Serbian and the English.
7 Q. At paragraph 2.1, table 1, you can see a graphic representation
8 of the overall number of missing persons related to the fall of
9 Srebrenica, and it says: "7.692." Is that a number you've seen before or
10 have heard about?
11 A. No, no.
12 Q. Do you consider that this report would have been relevant to your
13 review of the number of individuals that might have been the victims of
14 crimes related to the fall of Srebrenica in 1995?
15 A. Sir, I repeat: I opted for the methodology which followed the
16 movement of surviving Muslims. I didn't do anything else. I did not use
17 any other methodology. It was never my intention. My main purpose was
18 to follow the movement of Muslim survivors, i.e., people who lived there
19 before the operation and who survived after the operation. The purpose
20 of that exercise was to establish whether there was a negative difference
21 in the population number.
22 Q. In order to determine the population number, don't you have to
23 consider not just the living people but the missing people, too?
24 A. Based on the difference in the number of survivors I determined
25 the number of those who had gone missing or who had been killed.
1 Q. If I understand what you're saying, are you suggesting that the
2 7.692 individuals that is indicated in this document is only correct to
3 the extent that your report arrives at a conclusion that only 118 or
4 maybe 618 may actually be missing or dead? In other words, do you reject
5 this conclusion as to the number of missing people as a part of the
6 population of Srebrenica in 1995?
7 A. As you've already heard and as you have seen in my expert report,
8 I'm not saying anything, I'm not claiming anything; I'm just providing
9 the results of my analysis. I arrived at only one conclusion, and we can
10 agree that this is my claim and that is that the results of my analysis
11 show that the losses of able-bodied Muslims cannot be expressed in the
13 Q. All right. I have your answer.
14 Let me show you P170.
15 Mr. Skrbic, have you seen this document before? It's entitled:
16 "Update to the Summary of Forensic Evidence - Exhumation of the Graves
17 and Surface Remains Recoveries Related to Srebrenica and Zepa -
18 April 2010," by Investigator Dusan Janc, dated 21 April 2010.
19 Any of that seem familiar to you?
20 A. No, I've not seen this report before. All the forensic reports
21 that I had an occasion to see, I simply skipped all of them because I
22 don't know anything about forensic science. I'm not competent to either
23 look at these reports to interpret their contents.
24 Q. Well, let me show you.
25 MR. VANDERPUYE: At page 5 in the English and page 6 in the
2 Q. What I'm showing you is the totals, total figures, of identified
3 individuals by DNA analysis recovered from over a hundred sites.
4 In the interest of saving time, I won't show you the other ones
5 that precede this, but there you have it. And you can see here in -- for
6 Srebrenica and Zepa graves, it says, total: 5.777, as of 2010. That
7 there are surface remains of identified individuals by DNA analysis of
8 703. You may not be aware of this, but these were mostly recovered in
9 the area of the route taken by the column towards the free territory from
10 Srebrenica. In addition, you will see 76 identified DNA remains
11 recovered from other areas. And the total number of Srebrenica- and
12 Zepa-related victims identified by DNA - at that point - was 6.556.
13 Now, those are just numbers. Did you consider? Obviously you
14 hadn't seen this report, but did you ask for this kind of information
15 from General Tolimir or Mr. Gajic, rather, the Tolimir Defence?
16 A. No, I didn't ask for any such document.
17 Q. And they didn't give it to you either; right?
18 A. I'm sure that I have not seen this one before. This is the first
19 time I see it.
20 Q. Were you made aware -- well, first of all, have you heard of the
21 International Commission for Missing Persons? Have you heard that name
23 A. Yes, I have.
24 Q. Are you aware that the director of forensic sciences for that
25 organisation testified in this case? And during the course of his
1 testimony --
2 MR. VANDERPUYE: For the Court's benefit, that was on the
3 25th of February, 2011.
4 Q. -- he testified that that organisation, which engages in DNA
5 testing, identified -- or, rather, issued 6.441 match reports related to
6 Srebrenica. And that was as of February 2011. Are you aware of that?
7 A. I didn't know that the gentleman that you have just mentioned
8 testified before this Court.
9 Q. All right. Now that you've seen some of the evidence in this
10 case relating to the number of victims following the fall of Srebrenica
11 and Zepa, would you change anything in your report with respect to your
12 conclusions as to the number of potential victims there might have been?
13 A. I can't say anything about that. Having thrown a perfunctory
14 look on the page before me, I have tried to find the period for which the
15 victims were reported. Is it for July/August 1995 or the entire war in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina? I -- what I have noticed is the fact that these
17 victims were not the result of the events in July and August 1995. In
18 order to be able to say something, first of all I would have to
19 familiarise myself with the basics of forensic. I have already told you
20 I don't know anything about forensic science. I am a military expert,
21 and my field of expertise is command, control, and management of the
23 Q. Would you have liked to have seen this kind of material before
24 you drafted your report? Would you have liked to have had an opportunity
25 to analyse it or at least take a look at it?
1 A. Of course I would love to look at all the existing documents;
2 however, it wouldn't mean much to me if I didn't understand the area of
3 expertise that such reports cover.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe has a question.
5 JUDGE NYAMBE: I just want to scroll down for me to see the top
6 of this page displayed on e-court. What -- maybe it's a clarification
7 for Mr. Vanderpuye, what is the -- starting from the left, the third
8 column, what does that denote?
9 MR. VANDERPUYE: The dates?
10 JUDGE NYAMBE: Yes.
11 MR. VANDERPUYE: Those are the dates of the exhumations.
12 JUDGE NYAMBE: Okay, thanks.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
14 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. Mr. Skrbic, you concede, don't you, that thousands of Muslim
16 prisoners were taken into the custody of VRS forces following the
17 collapse of the enclave?
18 A. Yes, I've come across this information. This is exactly what it
19 says in the documents, thousands.
20 Q. And do you have some indication as to what happened to those
21 thousands of prisoners that came into the custody of the VRS following
22 the collapse of the enclave?
23 A. The only indication that I had was the information that I found
24 in a document. I can't remember which one at this moment. But I know
25 that the commander of the Zvornik Brigade opened the corridor without
1 consulting anybody. He did it of his own accord to allow those people to
2 go through.
3 Q. Maybe we misunderstood each other, but when I said "custody," I
4 mean custody. They were detained by the VRS. Arrested, captured, and
5 detained. Do you concede that?
6 A. Yes, I concede to that. You say that people were taken in
7 custody in Bratunac and then transferred to the territory of the
8 1st Zvornik Brigade and later executed, according to you. This is the
9 information that I used in my calculations.
10 Q. All right. So let me see if I can sort this out: Am I to infer
11 from your calculations that you included the thousands of prisoners that
12 were in VRS custody as among those that arrived safely in Tuzla?
13 A. No, no. I did not treat them separately. The results of my
14 analysis show that able-bodied males from Srebrenica left and arrived in
15 Tuzla and its environs. They arrived there. They were registered. And
16 their number could not have been more than a thousand.
17 Q. Let me show you P125. This is a document the Trial Chamber has
18 seen. Have you seen it before? It's a document that was sent from the
19 forward command post of the 65th Motorised Protection Regiment. It says,
20 "Borike, 1400 hours." And it refers to the procedure for treatment of
21 prisoners of war. Have you seen this before?
22 A. Yes, I have.
23 Q. It says, in the first line, there are over 1.000 members of the
24 former 28th Division of the so-called BH army captured in the area of
25 Dusanovo (Kasaba). Prisoners are under control of the military police
1 battalion of the 65th Motorised Protection Regiment. Yes?
2 A. That's what I'm reading in this document.
3 Q. First, as a military expert now, did you come across information
4 like this showing that thousands of prisoners were, in fact, in VRS
5 custody immediately following the fall or collapse of the Srebrenica
6 enclave in July 1995?
7 A. I mostly used the information from the indictment, which I
8 demonstrated to you a couple of days ago. I have also seen several
9 documents of this nature.
10 Q. You may know this or not, but that those prisoners that were
11 captured near Dusanovo/Kasaba were captured near the road that runs from
12 Zvornik to Milici. You know that road; right?
13 A. Yes, I know where Kasaba is.
14 Q. Let me show you another document.
15 MR. VANDERPUYE: This would be P2238.
16 Q. As you can see, this is a document. Its heading says: "MUP,
17 Ministry of the Interior, special police brigade." It's dated 13 July,
18 and it says "to the Pale Police staff, Vogosca Police staff, and the
19 special police brigade Janja."
20 Have you seen this document before?
21 A. No, I have not.
22 Q. You can see at the bottom of the B/C/S --
23 MR. VANDERPUYE: And we'll have to go to the next page in the
25 Q. -- that this document is type-signed by deputy commander of the
1 special police brigade, Ljubisa Borovcanin. You know that name, don't
3 A. Only from documents. But primarily from the indictment.
4 Q. You mean the indictment that charged General Miletic, that you
5 spoke about before; right?
6 A. Yes. As far as I can remember, Borovcanin is also on that
8 Q. In this report, Borovcanin says:
9 "In the night between 12 and 13 July 1995, this armed Muslim
10 group launched an attack in the direction of Konjevic Polje. In the
11 combat that lasted several hours and which continued throughout the day,
12 the enemy sustained a loss of 200 soldiers who were killed, and we
13 captured or had surrendered to us around 1500 Muslims soldiers. The
14 number increases by the hour."
15 Do you see this?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Mr. Borovcanin's units were stationed along the road from
18 Konjevic Polje to Bratunac, which is a different location than the
19 document we saw before. Were you aware of that?
20 A. Yes, I can see that it is a different location.
21 Q. And you can see that these prisoners are also in custody, that
22 is, they've been arrested and captured, or surrendered; right?
23 A. That's right.
24 Q. Let me show you another document.
25 MR. VANDERPUYE: It's P413 -- 413B, please.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is confidential and should not be broadcast.
2 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. This is an intercepted communication which was intercepted by the
4 2nd Corps, the anti-electric warfare unit of that corps. And it's
5 between two unknown speakers taken on the 13th of July, 1995, at
6 1730 hours. And you can see right at the beginning of it, it says, -- X
8 "Is it possible for us to send about a dozen buses from
10 Y says:
11 "Call them to come immediately. There are now about 6.000 of
13 X says:
14 "Fit for military service?"
15 Y says:
16 "Quiet. Don't repeat.
17 "All right. Then I am to send --"
18 If we can go down, please.
19 "Go ahead, send, I have three check-points."
20 He uses an expletive, and he says:
21 [As read] "I have the one over where you and I were, and then
22 there is up there where the check-point is at the junction is, and there
23 is halfway from the check-point to the boarding point.
24 "There, too," says X.
25 Y says:
1 "According to a rough estimate, there are 1500 to 2.000 in each
3 And X says:
4 "And they're still transporting those women and children?
5 "There are more," says Y.
6 "I thought that was it. We were also there on location, there
7 are not so many, but I have just been there."
8 I've shown you this intercept because in fact it refers to the
9 number of prisoners that were in VRS custody at the time of this
10 intercept, 5.30, 13 July 1995.
11 Have you seen this intercept before?
12 A. I've not seen this intercept before.
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The document says "1.500 to 2.000." It was
14 recorded incorrectly.
15 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please carry on.
17 MR. VANDERPUYE:
18 Q. This document would indicate on its face that anywhere from 4500
19 to 6.000 prisoners are in three separate locations at about that time,
20 13 July 1995; correct?
21 You have to answer for the record.
22 A. That's what it says here.
23 Q. Well, do you agree with that, or do you have some contrary
25 A. Well, I quite simply don't know whether this document is
1 authentic or not.
2 Q. Okay. We heard here the testimony of Milenko Todorovic. Do you
3 know who he is?
4 A. I don't know.
5 Q. Milenko Todorovic in 1995 was the chief of security of the
6 East Bosnia Corps. He testified that he received information from
7 Mr. Tolimir that there would be some thousand to 1300 prisoners arriving
8 following the fall of Srebrenica, around the 12th or 13th of July,
9 according to his recollection. They were supposed to prepare the
10 Batkovic camp to receive these prisoners and that when they didn't
11 arrive, he called General Tolimir and spoke to him. And he was told by
12 General Tolimir ...
13 MR. VANDERPUYE: And this is transcript reference 12842, lines 17
14 through 20.
15 Q. "Drop any further preparations, we are halting the task."
16 Were you aware of that?
17 A. No, I wasn't aware of that. And as you have seen, I mostly dealt
18 with documents from Muslim sources than from international sources. I
19 hardly used a single document from Serbian forces for -- and I did this
20 for a particular purpose, a particular reason. I didn't want anyone to
21 object that I was biased or wanted to justify, perhaps, the fact that
22 there were victims and so on and so forth.
23 Q. Let me show you P1769.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness kindly move further away from
25 the microphones when speaking. He's a bit too close. Thank you.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The problem is that the witness needs to have a
2 close look at the documents. Perhaps the Court Usher can remove the
3 microphones a bit. I hope it will be better now.
4 Mr. Vanderpuye.
5 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. Mr. Skrbic, this is a document, as you can see, from the command
7 of the 5th Engineering Battalion of the Drina Corps. And it's a regular
8 combat report. And the Trial Chamber has heard evidence from the author
9 of this report. I want to direct your attention to the very first entry,
10 where it says "The enemy."
11 It reads that:
12 "A large enemy group was infiltrated in the region of
13 Pobudje Brdo --"
14 First of all, do you know where that is?
15 A. I do.
16 Q. It says:
17 "... in the region of Pobudje Brdo and the region of
18 Konjevic Polje. Units of the 5th Engineering Battalion and the MUP
19 successfully resisted the enemy."
20 It says:
21 "About 1.000 to 1500 enemy civilians and soldiers were arrested
22 and killed."
23 Have you seen this document before?
24 A. I think so.
25 Q. What do you make of it?
1 A. I can say that it's very difficult to see how many were arrested
2 and how many killed in this document, because it isn't stated clearly.
3 Q. Okay. Do you know about the events at the Kravica warehouse on
4 the 13th of July, 1995?
5 A. As far as I can remember, I took that data into account when
6 writing my report.
7 Q. When you say you took it into account, what do you mean by that?
8 Are these part of the 397 people that you say were killed as a result --
9 or potentially killed, rather, as a result of the collapse of the
11 A. No. I think I used that data only in the first part of the
12 report, in which I wanted to demonstrate that the information in the
13 indictment was imprecise.
14 Q. Let me show you P2236.
15 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters apologise again, but the
16 witness is now too far from the microphones. Thank you very much.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: The Court Usher will assist again.
18 MR. VANDERPUYE: We're going to have to blow this up so that he
19 can see it better.
20 Q. Have you seen this photo, just generally, before?
21 A. No, I haven't. Whenever I came across a photograph, I'd skip it
22 because they were of no interest to me. For my analysis, I didn't need
24 Q. You wanted to know if the information that more than
25 7.000 able-bodied men were killed was accurate; right? You see these men
1 or people lying in mounds on the ground in front of that warehouse?
2 This, by the way, is a photograph of the Kravica warehouse, and the
3 Trial Chamber has received evidence from the person that shot this video
4 footage. You see that mound of people lying in front of the warehouse
5 and bullet holes in the side of it? This was shot on the
6 13th of July, 1995.
7 Are you telling us that you skipped over a photograph because
8 this had no relevance for your determination as to whether or not the
9 information that 7.000 able-bodied men were killed in relation to the
10 fall of Srebrenica was not relevant? Is that what you're saying?
11 A. It wasn't relevant for me because I didn't ever make the claim
12 that there was no killing.
13 Q. You know from your experience in the Miletic Defence, and no
14 doubt through your review of the evidence in relation to your military
15 report, in this case that it's the Prosecution's position that more than
16 a thousand people were killed in that warehouse on that day; right?
17 A. That's correct. And you can see in my report that I stated that
18 you claim that a thousand people were killed in Kravica. And you must
19 certainly remember that when I calculated the total number of those
20 killed, according to your claims, in the municipality of Bratunac your
21 figures then didn't correspond to the figures of those transported to the
22 territory of the 1st Zvornik Brigade. So I mentioned the fact that you
23 stated in your indictment that 1.000 people were killed in Kravica.
24 Q. You've got a photograph in front of you of dead people in front
25 of Kravica; right? The warehouse, that is.
1 A. I don't know whether this is the Kravica warehouse, but I believe
2 you and I can see dead people in front of a warehouse. And let me repeat
3 that I do believe you when you say that this is the Kravica warehouse.
4 Q. This isn't a -- you said you skipped over photographs, though.
5 This isn't one of them, is it?
6 A. No, it isn't. Or perhaps it is, because I didn't pay any
7 attention to the photographs.
8 Q. Let me show you P506B.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Is it confidential?
10 MR. VANDERPUYE: It is, Mr. President. Thank you.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It should not be broadcast.
12 And I have to remind the witness: If Mr. Vanderpuye is showing
13 you confidential documents, you have to keep the confidentiality of these
15 Mr. Vanderpuye.
16 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Q. This is an intercept, again from the army -- for the ABiH army,
18 2nd Corps, anti-electronic warfare unit. And it records a conversation
19 between Colonel Ljubo Beara and General Krstic. You know who both of
20 them are; right?
21 A. I do.
22 Q. This is an intercept that is recorded at 1730 hours on the
23 15th of July. This, as you will be aware, is after the executions of
24 Muslim prisoners occurred at Kravica, after they occurred at Petkovci,
25 and after they occurred at Orahovac. In this conversation, Colonel Beara
1 is requesting General Krstic to assist him by sending him a unit or
2 people to carry out an execution.
3 I'm going to refer you to the next page. At the bottom of this
4 page, you will see Colonel Beara saying:
5 "Krle, I don't know what to do any more."
6 He says:
7 "Ljubo, then take those MUP men from up there. They won't do
8 anything. I talked to them. There is no other solution but for
9 15 to 30 men with Indjic. The thing was supposed to arrive on the
10 13th but didn't."
11 Krstic says:
12 "Ljubo, you have to understand me, too, you've done fucking all
13 sorts to me."
14 Beara says:
15 "I understand, but you have to understand me, too. Had this been
16 done then, we wouldn't be arguing over it now."
17 A. I apologise, but I can't find the passage that you are reading.
18 Q. It should be the next -- I see we're flagging it in the --
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: You see the curser.
20 MR. VANDERPUYE:
21 Q. Do you see the cursor moving up and down?
22 A. Okay.
23 Q. Krstic says:
24 "I'll be the one to blame."
25 And Beara says:
1 "I don't know what to do. I mean it, Krle. There are still 3500
2 'parcels' that I have to distribute, and I have no solution."
3 And Krstic says:
4 "I'll see what I can do."
5 Have you seen this intercept before? Have you seen this document
7 A. No, no.
8 Q. Having seen it, does it inform in any way your report concerning
9 the number of prisoners, or number of people, I should say, that were in
10 custody of the VRS following it's -- following the collapse of
12 A. With regard to all the men alleged to have been captured in the
13 indictment and alleged to have been executed, or those who are said to
14 have been transported to the Zvornik area or executed in an area of the
15 Zvornik Brigade, with regard to all those men, well, I refer to them in
16 my report, in fact. But since I can't see this document, could you show
17 me who this report was sent to? I'd like to see the stamp, too. And I
18 would also like to see who signed the document.
19 Q. As I mentioned, this is an intercept. And you can see at the top
20 of the intercept --
21 MR. VANDERPUYE: Although, we should probably go into private
22 session for this.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Private.
24 [Private session]
18 [Open session]
19 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours. Thank
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Now your answer, please.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I asked you to show me to whom
23 the report was sent, when I asked to see who sent it and when I asked to
24 see the signature, well, I put this question to you because I know what
25 military documents should look like. This is, obviously, a military
1 combat document.
2 JUDGE FLUEGGE: As Mr. Vanderpuye told you, this is an intercept.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, reports are part of
4 a combat document, that's why I say that. I can see that this is an
5 intercepted conversation, and I know what an intercept is.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
7 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you.
8 Q. Do you accept that there were at this time, as indicated in this
9 intercept, 3500 prisoners - as the Prosecution alleges and as is
10 indicated here - in the area of the Zvornik -- or area of responsibility
11 of the Zvornik Brigade on the 15 July 1995?
12 A. Yes. And I saw that in another document, which I believe is a
13 document from Vinko Pandurevic, I saw in that document that it's stated
14 there about 3.000 prisoners, and he didn't know who brought them to the
15 area of responsibility of the brigade.
16 Q. That's right. That is his 18 July interim combat report, which
17 the Trial Chamber has also received in evidence in this case as P835.
18 Did you -- you didn't receive any of these documents that I've
19 just shown you for the last hour; fair to say? Or most.
20 A. I didn't see or analyse any of the intercepted conversations. I
21 didn't take any intercepts into account when writing my report.
22 Q. What about Vinko Pandurevic's interim combat report of 18 July;
23 did you take that into account when writing your report?
24 A. No, I didn't take it into account because it quite simply wasn't
25 necessary for me to do so.
1 Q. I'm puzzled by your answer, to be honest, Mr. Skrbic. You're
2 counting the number of people that might be victims of the crimes
3 following the collapse of Srebrenica. You have evidence in front of you
4 in the form of a combat report by the brigade commander in whose zone of
5 responsibility there are, or were, several prisoners, and you're telling
6 this Trial Chamber that you didn't consider it relevant to determine who
7 might be victims of crimes related to the fall of Srebrenica? Is that --
8 am I to understand that that's what you're saying?
9 A. When I said that it wasn't necessary for me to take this into
10 account, what I had in mind was the fact that I followed the movement of
11 Muslims who were alive from Potocari and from Srebrenica, their movement
12 in two columns in the direction of Tuzla; one was breaking through, the
13 other was evacuated. When they arrived in Tuzla, they were registered as
14 refugees. And on the basis of the difference in numbers --
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- I --
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Skrbic, we have heard that several times from
18 you. Please answer the question Mr. Vanderpuye has put to you.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't take Vinko Pandurevic's
20 report, in which the figure of 3.000 was mentioned, into account in my
22 MR. VANDERPUYE:
23 Q. I've shown you documents which show 1500 in the area on -- in the
24 area along the Konjevic Polje-Bratunac road; a thousand people in the
25 area along the Milici-Zvornik road; photograph of people dead in front of
1 the Kravica warehouse; an engineering battalion report indicating
2 1500 arrested and killed; an intercept showing 6.000 people in VRS
3 custody between three separate points on the 13th of July; an intercept
4 showing 3500 people still waiting to be killed in the area of Zvornik on
5 the 15th of July; a document showing a thousand people - by the way -
6 indicating that General Tolimir suggested or proposed to put those people
7 out of sight from the air and from the ground on the 13th of July; I have
8 put to you the testimony of a witness who testified here under oath, like
9 you, that General Tolimir told him expressly to stop preparations to
10 receive 1.000 to 1300 prisoners; and you're going to sit here and tell
11 this Trial Chamber that that has no bearing on your report to determine
12 how many potential victims there are as a result of the events following
13 the collapse of Srebrenica. Is that right, Mr. Skrbic?
14 THE ACCUSED: [No interpretation]
15 JUDGE FLUEGGE: No, I want to have the answer first.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's not what I said. So I
17 didn't say that that had no importance. I never said that. I said that
18 I didn't take those things into account in my calculations.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 I wanted to say that at the beginning of the question it was
22 erroneously said that the witness said certain things, but in fact he
23 said, "I didn't take certain things into account." Are these allegations
24 here supposed to be the truth or just certain possibilities? That's the
25 other thing. Does it say that these people were executed? Because here
1 it says "3.000 people are waiting to be executed"; it's an intercept. So
2 how does the person who intercepted the conversation know that? How does
3 he know that they were waiting to be executed? Thank you.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, you know the indictment, which is
5 the background of this case, and the position of the Prosecution. The --
6 Mr. Vanderpuye has put some of the information he is basing his position
7 on to the witness, and then the question was, and I quote:
8 "... and you are going to sit here and tell this Trial Chamber
9 that this has no bearing on your report to determine how many potential
10 victims there are as a result of the events following the collapse of
11 Srebrenica? Is that right, Mr. Skrbic?"
12 He was putting the position of the Prosecution to the witness and
13 put this question to the witness. That was absolutely correct.
14 Mr. Vanderpuye, please carry on.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Excuse me.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Mr. Vanderpuye made
18 a claim which are not based on relevant information and facts. The
19 fact -- the witness didn't say that he did not consider that to be
20 relevant. He only said that he didn't take it into account.
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed, that was his answer.
22 Mr. Vanderpuye, please carry on.
23 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 Q. I want to show you --
25 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I just -- we -- am aware of the time. We need
1 the second break now.
2 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: I think that perhaps it's a good time for the
4 break. And after that you may continue.
5 We will resume at 1.00.
6 --- Recess taken at 12.31 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 1.02 p.m.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, Mr. Vanderpuye, please carry on.
9 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Skrbic.
11 A. Good afternoon.
12 Q. You indicated that the number of prisoners in the custody of the
13 VRS following the collapse of the Srebrenica enclave in July of 1995 was
14 a relevant matter but not one that you took into consideration in your
15 report; is that right?
16 A. I said that that information was not irrelevant, i.e., that it is
17 relevant, but I didn't take it into consideration when I did my
19 Q. I am going to show you P2250.
20 As you can see -- sorry, as you can see, this is a document from
21 the Main Staff. It's dated 3rd of September, 1995. And it concerns, as
22 you can see, the exchange of prisoners.
23 MR. VANDERPUYE: If we go to the last page. And it's the second
24 page in the -- well, the last page in the B/C/S.
25 Q. We can see that this document is type-signed General Tolimir.
1 Have you seen this document before?
2 MR. VANDERPUYE: We can go back to the front page for the time
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I haven't seen this document
6 Q. I'd like to show you page 4 in the English, and it's the
7 third-from-the-bottom paragraph in the B/C/S on page 2. And it reads, in
8 the relevant part, that:
9 "The exchange commission chairmen must view the exchange proposal
10 integrally, as does the VRS Main Staff, since so far as the Main Staff
11 has made the necessary number of prisoners available for the corps
12 commissions in circumstances where they did not have a sufficient number
13 of captured enemy soldiers to exchange for all the captured members of
14 their corps. Security organs and exchange commission chairmen must also
15 avoid using parents' bitterness because it is not possible to exchange
16 prisoners who have been in prison for quite some time, particularly
17 because the Main Staff VRS is not responsible for this situation, rather
18 it is the result of the small number of enemy soldiers captured by our
20 This is in September of 1995. What do you make of
21 General Tolimir's statement about the small number of enemy soldiers
22 captured by VRS units?
23 A. I understand this to mean that the exchange of prisoners was
24 agreed on the basis of a principle of reciprocity, I should say, and that
25 we, the VRS, didn't have enough prisoners or as many prisoners as the
1 Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina had Serbs in their custody so that the
2 exchange could be carried out in a proper and satisfactory manner.
3 Q. From that, Mr. Skrbic, my question is: What happened to the
4 prisoners that I just showed you documentation indicating were in the
5 custody of VRS units following the fall of Srebrenica; the 1500 that were
6 surrendering and captured, and their numbers increasing by the hour, that
7 Borovcanin talked about after he'd been resubordinated to the
8 Drina Corps; the thousand prisoners that Colonel Milomir Savcic talked
9 about and that General Tolimir proposed should be placed indoors; the
10 6.000 prisoners that were referred to in the intercept of 13 July; the
11 3.000 prisoners that were referred to in the 18 July interim combat
12 report of Vinko Pandurevic; the 3500 "parcels" that were referred to by
13 Ljubisa Beara in his conversation with General Krstic on 15 July; what
14 happened to those prisoners, and why is General Tolimir saying in
15 September that VRS units didn't capture many?
16 A. I don't know what happened with those prisoners, as you put it.
17 And what I said a moment ago, it is obvious from this that the VRS didn't
18 have a sufficient number of prisoners to accomplish an exchange with the
19 Muslim side.
20 Q. Indeed they didn't.
21 Let me show you 65 ter 5366. This is another intercept, and this
22 one is from the Ministry of the Interior in Gorazde. It's dated
23 3rd August, 1995. And I want to refer your attention to the bottom part
24 of this intercept, where it states:
25 "In this conversation, Lieutenant Masko [phoen] past on the order
1 of General Tolimir, whom they referred to as Tosa, stating, 'do not
2 register the detainees. Talk to them as much as possible and keep them
3 for future exchanges.'"
4 Have you seen this document before?
5 A. No, this is the first time that I see it.
6 Q. When a prisoner is captured by the other side, is it customary
7 not to register them or cause them to be registered?
8 A. They should be registered.
9 Q. What do you make of this instruction? Does it comport with your
10 understanding of military law, international law, VRS practice? Can you
11 tell us?
12 A. One cannot see that it is stated explicitly that they are not
13 registered, but, rather, that this information should not be publicised.
14 It also clearly states here that they have to be safe-guarded. If it
15 says here "safe-guarded," that definitely does not imply that they should
16 be executed.
17 Q. That wasn't my question. My question is: Does the instruction
18 not to register the detainees comport with your understanding of the
19 obligations of the VRS under international law or military law or, even,
20 practice, guidelines and so forth, in place at this time?
21 A. It reads here: "Do not show the people taken prisoner." This
22 does not mean that they were not registered or listed.
23 Q. Have you, perchance, seen any list of the prisoners that we just
24 spoke about before, the ones that Borovcanin referred to or Savcic
25 referred to or Beara referred to? Have you ever seen a list of those
2 A. I had an opportunity to see a list of the prisoners who were
3 exchanged from the Batkovic camp in Bijeljina, and also the document that
4 speaks about the prisoners in Rogatica visited by the ICRC.
5 Q. All right. How many prisoners did you see were exchanged in 1995
6 from Batkovic?
7 A. There is one document which says 174, if I remember correctly,
8 and there's another document which cites the figure of 255.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Nyambe has a question.
10 JUDGE NYAMBE: I just have one question for the witness.
11 In the relevant portion that we are looking at now, that is, "Do
12 not register the detainees. Talk to them as much as possible and keep
13 them for the future exchanges," my question is: In your understanding of
14 the military doctrine or international law, is it the position that when
15 prisoners are to be exchanged they don't have to be registered? Thank
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My position and the views of the
18 military doctrine is that prisoners in custody of an army should stay
19 there only for as long as it takes for them to be handed over for -- to a
20 state commission for the exchange of prisoners and that before they are
21 handed over to the commission lists must be made, because they cannot be
22 handed over to a state commission otherwise.
23 JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Does that mean they have to be registered in any
25 way -- in any case?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. That means that a list of
2 those people must be compiled.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
4 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
5 Q. Let me show you one other document.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And what about this one?
7 MR. VANDERPUYE: I'd like to tender this one, Mr. President.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 5366 shall be
10 assigned Exhibit P2875. Thank you.
11 MR. VANDERPUYE: Bear with me for one moment, Mr. President. I'm
13 It's P122, Mr. President. I apologise. It's not on my list.
14 I've asked it to be called up in light of the witness's testimony with
15 respect to the other document, the one I've just tendered.
16 JUDGE FLUEGGE: That happens sometimes.
17 MR. VANDERPUYE: I apologise.
18 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Go ahead, please.
19 MR. VANDERPUYE:
20 Q. Sir, you can see this is a document also from the Main Staff.
21 It's dated 29 July 1995. This document was also issued by
22 General Tolimir. And if you look at the next-to-last paragraph in the
23 B/C/S. In the English it's page 2, also next-to-last paragraph, near the
24 bottom of the page. In the middle of that paragraph, you will see that
25 it says:
1 "Do not register persons you capture before cessation of fire and
2 do not report them to international organisations. We're going to keep
3 them for exchange in case the Muslim do not carry out the agreement or
4 they manage to break through from the encirclement."
5 Do you see that?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 Q. What do you make of it?
8 A. Just as it reads: We are going to keep them pending the exchange
9 of prisoners.
10 Q. And your answer as to whether or not that's appropriate is the
11 same for this document as it was for the intercept that I showed you; is
12 that right?
13 A. That's right. Only in this case it seems that the exchange is
14 imminent and probably there was no need for them to be listed.
15 Q. And it would be appropriate, given General Tolimir's position,
16 for him to be involved in precisely these kinds of issues regarding
17 prisoners and exchanges; right?
18 A. General Tolimir was in Zepa primarily to perform his duties until
19 the arrival of the commander of the Main Staff to the area. He was
20 authorised by the commander of the Main Staff to ensure that the problem
21 of Zepa would be solved without fighting in order to avoid casualty.
22 Q. Let me show you 65 ter 7606.
23 JUDGE FLUEGGE: While this is coming up, I would kindly ask the
24 witness for a clarification.
25 In this document it says:
1 "Do not register person he capture before ..." and so on and so
3 You explained that there might have been an urgency and so that
4 there was no time to register the captured, the prisoners of war. How
5 can the body or unit or the commission for the exchange of prisoners know
6 whom and how many prisoners would be exchanged and were exchanged after a
7 possible exchange without registering them?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is quite certain that before
9 exchange they would have to be registered and lists should be made,
10 because without a list they cannot be exchanged at all.
11 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Then what is your understanding of the words "do
12 not register persons you capture"? How do you interpret this?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To tell you the truth, I don't have
14 any specific interpretation other than it's short notice and it will
15 happen as soon as they agreed on it.
16 Let me just remind you that that was a time when there were
17 intensive negotiations with the Muslim side on the evacuation of the
18 population of Zepa and the disarming of the Zepa Brigade and the exchange
19 of prisoners on the principle all-for-all, and everybody expected and
20 anticipated this agreement to be reached very soon. And my assumption is
21 that this situation was due to this very fact.
22 JUDGE FLUEGGE: And what about the last part of that sentence:
23 "... do not report them to international organisations"?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, and as far as
25 international organisations are concerned, only a company of the
1 Ukrainian Battalion or UNPROFOR was in Zepa. There were no other
2 international organisations in Zepa. If the same thing happened as in
3 Rogatica, i.e., if the ICRC had arrived, I am convinced that they would
4 not have been prevented from registering the detainees, just like they
5 had done in Rogatica.
6 JUDGE FLUEGGE: How do you understand this part of that sentence:
7 "... do not report them to international organisation"?
8 Why was it necessary to issue such an order? I ask you as a
9 military expert.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot answer your question. The
11 only way I can answer it is the way I've already answered it. Before
12 they were supposed to be exchanged, they would have certainly been
13 registered. That's the only way I can answer your question.
14 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
15 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President. Yes.
16 Q. If I could show you 65 ter 7606.
17 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, this is a document I've -- I'd
18 like to move to add to the Prosecution's 65 ter list. It relates to the
19 competencies, as you can see, in organisational units of the
20 General Staff of the Yugoslav Army in peacetime, and there is some
21 questions with respect to the security and intelligence sector admin--
22 security administration and intelligence administration in this document
23 I'd like to put to this witness.
24 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Again, I take it that Mr. Tolimir doesn't object.
25 Leave is granted.
1 MR. VANDERPUYE:
2 Q. Mr. Skrbic, have you seen this particular document before? Are
3 you familiar with it?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Okay. And without my showing it to you necessarily, can you tell
6 us whether or not its prescription as regards to competencies in
7 organisational units of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army were
8 applicable to the VRS, in general terms?
9 A. Yes. The conflict started under the circumstances in which they
10 did. The VRS was a newly established military, which is why it adopted
11 most of the combat and other documents from the former JNA.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The question was whether this was
14 applied by the VRS. Could Mr. Vanderpuye show us the date when this was
15 drafted, because this is the Army of Yugoslavia's document, and the
16 Army of Yugoslavia was incepted after the war.
17 JUDGE FLUEGGE: We can see the date on the screen: 1992. Do you
18 see that, Mr. Tolimir?
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] So far I could not see it. And at
20 the top, it says: "The General Staff of the Yugoslav Army."
21 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, indeed.
22 Could the year number be enlarged, please.
23 Do you see it now? It was on the bottom of that page.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I can see it, but I'm waiting
25 to see the text, and then we will see whether this was applied or not.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye, please carry on.
2 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
3 Q. I'd like to take you to page 28 in the English, and it should be
4 page 20 in Serbian. Anyway, it's article 30.
5 Are you able to read that, Mr. Skrbic? It refers to, under
6 article -- well, under number 3, Article 30 is "Security and Intelligence
7 Sector." The first thing it says is that:
8 "The sector, the security and intelligence sector, is the highest
9 administrative and professional organ for activities relating to the
10 organisation of security and intelligence organs ..."
11 Was that true both for this army and for the VRS?
12 A. Well, this is what I'm reading in the document. I can't say that
13 this is not correct.
14 Q. Well, the question is -- isn't whether it's correct what I'm
15 reading. The question is whether or not you recognise that -- how this
16 particular position is described, or organ is described, is the same both
17 for the Yugoslav Army and for the VRS. That's my question. Does it seem
19 A. Not only was it applicable to the VRS, it was actually - and it
20 is actually - applicable in all the armies in the world.
21 Q. Okay. So from what you can see in the first paragraph, anyway,
22 it -- it would have applied to the VRS as you read it; is that fair to
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. In the second paragraph, under Article 30, it says that:
1 "These tasks, the above-mentioned tasks, are performed by
2 organisational units of the sector in accordance with the law and other
3 regulations and prescribed competencies and powers."
5 A. That's right.
6 Q. The security administration is the highest administration and
7 professional security organ in the VJ, in this article, for managing and
8 directing the counter-intelligence activities of VJ security organs and
9 is directly responsible for the counter-intelligence protection of the
10 VJ General Staff. Would those be true to their corresponding organs in
11 the VRS?
12 A. In all the militaries in the world, the security organ is
13 primarily concerned with counter-intelligence, which is true of the VRS.
14 Q. And this would involve, what's listed here, a number of different
15 things: Organising and directly performing counter-intelligence tasks;
16 organising and implementing security measures within the plans and
17 decisions relating to the orders relating to the security of the
18 president, minister of defence, chief of the General Staff, and so on.
19 Do you see those under items 1, 2, and so on and so forth?
20 A. Yes, yes, I can see all that.
21 Q. And this would be -- this was applied similarly in the VRS, if
22 not identically?
23 A. I was not a member of the General Staff. I joined the
24 General Staff only in 1996. I don't know how things were done in the
25 VRS. However, I am telling you what the military doctrine envisages for
1 all the military forces in the world. These are the tasks of the
2 security organs in any military. And they would be identical everywhere,
3 in all the militaries of the world.
4 Q. And let me just refer to you Article 32, which relates to the
5 intelligence administration, so you can have a look at that.
6 MR. VANDERPUYE: We'll need to go to page 22, I think, in the
7 English, and it should just be, I think, two pages up in the B/C/S as
9 Q. Here we have the intelligence administration, as is defined in
10 this text. It is responsible for military intelligence activities in the
11 VJ, control and guidance of intelligence organs in the monitoring and
12 studying of foreign OS of interest for the security of the country. And
13 then it lists a number of tasks: Organising military intelligence
14 activities abroad, analysing military intelligence, preparing reports and
15 publications, proposing the organisational and establishment structure,
16 development and equipping of intelligence -- and intelligence
17 operation -- operational organs; and you can see that numbered one
18 through 15. Is your answer the same with respect to the intelligence
19 administration as applies to the VRS as it was for the security
21 A. Intelligence organs in all the armies of the world are involved
22 in identical tasks, which are collecting, distribution, and selection of
23 intelligence, and furnishing intelligence to their own commander with
24 regard to the enemy, the terrain, and the time-scale. So there is no
25 difference between the role and tasks of the intelligence service in any
1 army, which means that this was applicable to the VRS as well.
2 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, I'd like to admit this document.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, Mr. Vanderpuye is
5 tendering a document that was drafted after the war, and he wants to --
6 wants the document to be applied to the events that happened after the
7 war. I suggest that Mr. Vanderpuye should show the witness the original,
8 and the witness should then tell us whether this was applied during the
9 war. And all this time a reference is made to the Army of Yugoslavia,
10 and we all know only too well that the Army of Yugoslavia was established
11 after the end of the war.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Vanderpuye.
13 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, I think we can see on the face of
14 the document that it was -- it's dated 1992, so I don't know, maybe
15 there's a translation issue, but clearly it was well before the events in
16 1995 upon which this expert's report is based. So it would be relevant
17 to know whether or not the principles that are set forth in this document
18 were applied by the VRS. And I think he's answered the question.
19 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Would you agree, Mr. Tolimir?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We agree
21 that all the documents issued by the Army of Yugoslavia should be
22 admitted into evidence. What I'm saying is that this document was not a
23 document that was published before the war, before the breakup of
24 Yugoslavia, because we see the words "the Army of Yugoslavia," whereas in
25 the VRS what was applied were documents drafted in the former Yugoslavia.
1 Having said that, I don't mind the document being admitted into
2 evidence, because, as the witness has just told us, this is the kind of
3 document that would be applicable to any army in the world.
4 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. The document will be received into
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter document 7606 shall be
7 assigned Exhibit P2876. Thank you.
8 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic.
9 MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, page 76, line 1,
10 Mr. Tolimir used the abbreviation for the Socialist Federative Republic
11 of Yugoslavia, SFRY.
12 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you.
13 Mr. Vanderpuye.
14 MR. VANDERPUYE: Thank you, Mr. President.
15 Q. I'm curious about one thing that you said just a moment ago,
16 Mr. Skrbic, and that's at page 74, line 2. And I ask you this in the
17 context of your engagement as an expert for the Tolimir Defence.
18 You stated in your response to my question that you were not a
19 member of the General Staff, true; that you joined the staff only in
20 1996; and then it says: "I don't know how things were done in the VRS."
21 I'm a little confused about that. Are you talking about the VRS
22 Main Staff, you don't know how things were done?
23 A. Of course I'm talking about the Main Staff.
24 Q. Okay.
25 MR. VANDERPUYE: Mr. President, that's all I have for today. I
1 see I've got a minute left, and it's -- I think it's just as good a point
2 as any to break.
3 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, indeed. We have to adjourn for the day.
4 Sir, we will continue on Monday in this courtroom at 2.15 in the
5 afternoon, and, again, a reminder not to have any contact to one of the
6 two parties of this trial.
7 We adjourn.
8 [The witness stands down]
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.44 p.m.,
10 to be reconvened on Monday, the 13th day
11 of February, 2012, at 2.15 p.m.