1 Monday, 17 June 2013
2 [Closed session]
11 Pages 12785-12798 redacted. Closed session.
7 [Open session]
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. McCloskey, you're the one who will examine the
9 next witness, who I think started his career in this case as a 92 ter
10 witness but is now a viva voce witness.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President, that's correct.
12 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours. I
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I just asked information from Mr. McCloskey
15 about the next witness.
16 Then the witness can be escorted into the courtroom. No
17 protective measures, Mr. McCloskey?
18 An estimate of three hours. I do understand that the Defence
19 requests four hours. Now, usually if it is viva voce testimony, it is
20 one to one.
21 Mr. Lukic.
22 MR. LUKIC: Our estimate was based on 92 ter testimony. But
23 we'll see how it goes with the direct of the Prosecution, and I don't
24 know how many areas and how many documents they will cover now.
25 JUDGE ORIE: No, let's wait and see.
1 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ivetic.
3 MR. IVETIC: I apologise, Your Honour, I was just seeking to be
4 excused to go tend to other matters.
5 JUDGE ORIE: You are excused.
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Keserovic. Before you give
8 evidence, the Rules require that you give a solemn declaration, the text
9 of which is now handed out to you. May I invite you to make that solemn
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
12 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
13 WITNESS: DRAGOMIR KESEROVIC
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Keserovic. You may be seated.
16 Mr. Keserovic, you'll first be examined by Mr. McCloskey. You'll
17 find Mr. McCloskey to your right and he's counsel for the Prosecution.
18 Mr. McCloskey.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. And, Mr. President, if we could request --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: -- the caution that the witness is familiar with.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
23 Mr. Keserovic, I would like to inform you about the existence of
24 Rule 90(E) in this Tribunal. Rule 90(E) states that a witness in this
25 case, that would be you, may object to making any statement which might
1 tend to incriminate yourself. We then, however, the Chamber, we can
2 compel -- we may compel you to answer the question, but testimony
3 compelled in this way shall not be used as evidence in a subsequent
4 prosecution against you for any offence with an exception of the offence
5 of false testimony. Is that clear to you?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Then we -- Mr. McCloskey will now start his
9 Mr. McCloskey.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning,
11 Your Honours, and everyone.
12 Examination by Mr. McCloskey:
13 Q. Could you state your full name, please, for the record.
14 A. Dragomir Keserovic.
15 Q. And did you retire from the VRS?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. At what rank?
18 A. The rank of major-general.
19 Q. And you were born in Bosnia?
20 A. Yes, near Banja Luka.
21 Q. What year?
22 A. 1957.
23 Q. And it's true, is it not, that you were a career military officer
24 in the JNA before the war in Bosnia broke out?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Can you briefly describe for us the -- when you first joined the
2 VRS and where you were first assigned and just go through your different
3 assignments and ranks up until the time that you left service, just
5 A. I joined the VRS on the 17th of June, 1992. I exercised
6 different duties starting with the chief of security of an armoured
7 brigade, military police battalion commander in the East Bosnia Corps,
8 military police battalion commander of the 1st Krajina Corps, desk
9 clerk -- desk officer and chief of security department and the military
10 police department in the security administration of the security and
11 intelligence sector of the Main Staff of the VRS. Lastly, I was
12 commander of an armoured brigade in the 1st Krajina Corps. It lasted
13 until the end of the war. After the war my duties -- my duty was the
14 chief of counter-intelligence in the security administration, chief of
15 security administration, Chief of Staff of the corps, then again chief of
16 security administration in the Ministry of Defence of the
17 VRS [as interpreted] and assistant minister for security in the
18 VRS [as interpreted]. On the 30th of June, 2004, I was removed by a
19 decision of the high representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Ashdown.
20 This is where I stopped working within the defence system.
21 Q. And what is your understanding of why Mr. Ashdown removed you?
22 A. I'll try to paraphrase, or rather, present his explanation. He
23 said that as for my functional title of chief of security, I did not
24 invest sufficient effort to have the suspects that were looked after --
25 that were sought by this Tribunal to be located and arrested --
1 MR. LUKIC: I'm sorry for interrupting. Mr. --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic.
3 MR. LUKIC: I just have one intervention in regard of the
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 MR. LUKIC: Page 19, lines 13 and 14, twice it's mentioned
7 ministry of VRS. There is no ministry of VRS, it's RS.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes --
9 MR. LUKIC: It could be significant later.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I'd just like to check with the interpreters
11 whether the reference was made to the Ministry of Defence of the RS,
12 being Republika Srpska?
13 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE ORIE: That is hereby corrected.
15 Please proceed.
16 MR. McCLOSKEY:
17 Q. And you'd also said that after your war duties your duty was
18 the -- in the security administration the Chief of Staff of the corps; is
19 that correct?
20 A. No. Enumerating my positions, I said that I was Chief of Staff
21 of the corps and then after, again, I was the chief of security
22 administration in the Main Staff or the General Staff. In the meantime
23 it was moved to the Ministry of Defence of the RS and I was head of that
24 administration and assistant defence minister of the RS at the same time.
25 Q. And when you were chief of security of a corps, can you tell us
1 what corps?
2 A. I was never chief of security of a corps. I was Chief of Staff
3 in a corps, that is a command position.
4 Q. I'm sorry. Can you tell us which corps you were Chief of Staff
6 A. I was in the 1st Corps, the 1st Krajina Corps of the VRS.
7 Q. All right. And you first testified at this Tribunal as an expert
8 for the Blagojevic Defence; is that right?
9 A. Well, I was summoned by Defence representing Colonel Blagojevic
10 to appear as a fact witness. However, the way my testimony developed
11 resulted in my being placed in a position where I needed to clarify many
12 things, especially regarding the security service, the military police,
13 and the relationship of command within the security service and the
14 military police. So their mutual relationship.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. McCloskey, could I seek one clarification, also
16 in view of the correction that was made to the transcript earlier.
17 Do I understand you well that being chief of security
18 administration in the Main Staff or the General Staff that you were
19 holding a military function but at the same time that the structure fell
20 or became part of the Ministry of Defence, which is as I understand a
21 civilian structure, a government structure? Is that well understood or
22 have I missed something?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In a certain period, the security
24 administration was an organisational unit of the main -- of the
25 General Staff, and it concerns a period of time after the war. Then
1 there was migration. The administration was made part of the
2 Ministry of Defence of the RS. The chief of administration was also
3 assistant defence minister.
4 JUDGE ORIE: When you said "the administration was made part of
5 the Ministry of Defence," does that mean that it was no longer an
6 organisational unit of the Main Staff?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
8 JUDGE ORIE: So it was not simultaneously that you held these
9 positions, but this position moved from army structures to civilian
10 government structures at a certain point in time?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
13 Please proceed.
14 MR. McCLOSKEY:
15 Q. And can -- is it correct that when you say "Main Staff" or
16 "Glavni Stab," that was the war time title and it changed in peacetime to
17 General Staff or "General Stab"?
18 A. Yes, that is correct.
19 Q. All right. Let's go back to the war when you received a position
20 at the Main Staff. And can you tell us when that was?
21 A. This was in February 1995.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: And I believe it's break time, Mr. President, so
23 that might be a good time to stop.
24 JUDGE ORIE: It is, Mr. McCloskey. We take a break of
25 20 minutes, and you may follow the usher, Mr. Keserovic.
1 [The witness stands down]
2 JUDGE ORIE: We resume at ten minutes to 11.00.
3 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 10.51 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
6 [The witness takes the stand]
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. McCloskey, you may continue.
8 MR. McCLOSKEY:
9 Q. General, I noticed I failed to mention that you had been called
10 by the Prosecution in the Tolimir case as well; is that correct?
11 A. Yes, that's correct.
12 Q. And another question, what is your current position, if any, now?
13 A. Now I am a professor at the faculty for security of the
14 university in Banja Luka, so I'm a professor of security sciences.
15 Q. And which reminds me, our time is limited here. I think I'll
16 call you "General" instead of professor, so try to be as specific as you
17 can, but you'll always have a chance, I believe the Chamber will allow
18 you to explain answers, but let's try to be brief and targeted. Okay.
19 So we left off when you had been -- you had arrived in
20 February of 1995 to the Main Staff. Can you remind us where were you
21 coming from and what position you'd had just before changing over to the
22 Main Staff of the VRS.
23 A. Before I moved to the Main Staff, I was the commander of the
24 military police battalion in the 1st Krajina Corps.
25 Q. And what was your rank at that time?
1 A. Lieutenant-colonel.
2 Q. And what position did you take at the Main Staff?
3 A. I took up the post of -- well, actually the order stated desk
4 officer, but I was alone, so some places it said "chief" and in other
5 places it said "desk officer" for the military police in the security
7 Q. Okay. Can you briefly describe for us the structure of the
8 security administration in the Main Staff. Who was its head and can you
9 just outline its sections just briefly?
10 A. There was a sector at the Main Staff for intelligence and
11 security affairs comprising two administrations, the security
12 administration and the intelligence administration. Security
13 administration had four organisational units, four sections, and they
14 were counter-intelligence, analysis, military police, and
15 counter-intelligence -- the counter-intelligence group.
16 Q. And you were in the military police part of that?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And who was the head of the sector for intelligence and security
19 in 1995?
20 A. General Zdravko Tolimir.
21 Q. And who was General Tolimir's superior, immediate superior?
22 A. The commander of the Main Staff, General Mladic.
23 Q. And going now to the two administrations within that sector, the
24 chief of security of the security administration, who was that in 1995?
25 A. Naval Captain Ljubisa Beara.
1 Q. And that naval captain rank was equivalent to what army rank?
2 A. Colonel.
3 Q. And the chief of intelligence administration was who?
4 A. Colonel Petar Salapura.
5 Q. Now, can you tell us very briefly the difference between the
6 intelligence administration and the security administration in the most
7 fundamental way?
8 A. The most fundamental difference lies in the purpose, the security
9 administration protects the armed forces from intelligence activities by
10 the enemy, whereas the intelligence administration does the opposite, it
11 strives to collect information about the opponent, the enemy.
12 Q. And can the security administration, could that also include
13 protecting the forces from the internal threats within the VRS or RS
15 A. From all threats directed against the Army of Republika Srpska,
16 regardless of whether they were internal or external.
17 Q. All right. And can you briefly describe General Tolimir's job?
18 What was his job? Earlier I had made a mistake in your description and
19 you said: Oh, you had a command position as opposed to the chief of
20 security. Can you tell us, first of all, what is the difference between
21 a command position and General Tolimir's position, if any?
22 A. General Tolimir did not have a command function. He had an
23 administrative function, but he was also a part of the command, he was a
24 part of the Main Staff. Other than being the chief of sector, he was
25 also the assistant of the commander of the Main Staff for intelligence
1 and security affairs. And in that sense, he took part in the work of the
2 command or the Main Staff.
3 Q. Was General Tolimir an expert in intelligence, as you've
4 described it, and in security issues?
5 A. According to the structure and other functions from which --
6 where he served, General Tolimir mostly worked in the security organs, in
7 the security service, those organs. But in this post as chief of sector,
8 he did both, the integrated work of the security sector and the
9 intelligence sector.
10 Q. How in particular did he assist General Mladic? For example, was
11 his job to propose anything for General Mladic or did he act
12 independently, on his own?
13 A. Just like others, other members of the Main Staff,
14 General Tolimir, in the process of planning and decision-making, provided
15 security assessments and conclusions based on security assessments and
16 proposed to the commander of the Main Staff, proposed to him the manner
17 of engaging the security service and the manner in which the unit of the
18 military police would be engaged, if that was the subject of a decision
19 that needed to be made. His role was to put forward proposals.
20 Q. And what would General Mladic do with those proposals? Would
21 those get, for example, turned into -- careful, we hear you're scratching
22 on the mike. Could those proposals get turned into orders?
23 A. As the decision-making process continues, the commander when he
24 heard all the proposals would make the decision. He would accept or not
25 accept or accept some parts or change the proposals given to him by
1 members of the command, by his assistants. But he would make the final
2 decision based on all the proposals put forward to him.
3 Q. And if that decision resulted in a particular order in the field
4 of security and intelligence, what would General Tolimir's responsibility
5 be in seeing to it that that order was implemented?
6 A. After the decision is made, then it would be drafted, the person
7 or the body that would draft the decision would be the Main Staff or the
8 operations organ most often. The decision would also have a whole range
9 of attachments going by services and branches, defining the engagement of
10 the services and branches, and these proposals would be drafted by
11 professional organs, including General Tolimir. Specifically,
12 General Tolimir would be responsible for drafting the plan of
13 counter-intelligence support, the plan of counter-intelligence protection
14 of facilities, actions, professional plans that would complement the main
15 decision by the commander.
16 Q. And as orders came through from General Mladic relating to those
17 plans, what would General Tolimir's responsibilities be in implementing
18 those orders or seeing to it that they were carried out?
19 A. Orders, rather, decisions would go through the subordinate
20 commanders who would be responsible for their implementation.
21 General Tolimir or the professional organs would have the role of
22 personnel who would monitor the implementation of those decisions,
23 provide possible clarifications on the matter of the decision, but they
24 could not make any corrective actions or change the actual decision.
25 Q. Why not?
1 A. In the Army of Republika Srpska, the principle of singleness of
2 command and subordination was in force. The responsibility was set and
3 hierarchically established in relation to subordinates. So you would
4 have a higher-ranking commander in relation to lower-ranking commanders.
5 No one else could interfere in that relationship.
6 Q. All right. And your position in the security and administration
7 as part of the military police, first of all, who was your immediate
9 A. The immediate superior was Colonel Beara.
10 Q. And who was Colonel Beara's immediate superior?
11 A. General Tolimir.
12 Q. All right. And what was your job basically in February, March,
13 April, May of 1995?
14 A. The tasks of the security department or the police department
15 within the security administration involved professional military police
16 assignments ranging from assessing and monitoring the situation in units
17 of the military police, evaluating the personnel and the manning strength
18 of units of the military police, training senior officers in military
19 police units, drafting training plans for soldiers in units of the
20 military police, proposing the assignment of soldiers who complete
21 training for units of the military police, monitoring the situation of
22 the level of equipment and supplies in units of the military police, and
23 proposing procurement, deployment, and distribution of assets essential
24 for the operation of military police units.
25 Q. Okay. You mention military police units. The Trial Chamber has
1 heard evidence about a military police unit connected to the
2 65th Protection Regiment located in Nova Kasaba. They've heard a bit
3 about some Drina Corps military police and some about the brigade
4 military police, mostly related to Bratunac and Zvornik. So when you say
5 "military police units," do you include all of that group or just
6 specific ones? How does it work in relation to brigade, corps,
7 Main Staff military police and your job?
8 A. I am speaking about all military police units in the
9 Army of Republika Srpska, all units, all battalions, all companies, all
10 platoons, and sometimes squads of the military police, all units of the
11 military police in the Army of Republika Srpska. This professional part
12 was part of the duties of the military police department within the
13 security administration.
14 Q. Okay. We -- in speaking of the security administration, the
15 security job, you've told us a bit about counter-intelligence and that
16 responsibility and you've spoken now a bit about the military police.
17 Can you tell us what is it about military police and their duties that
18 puts it in the security administration?
19 A. If I understood the question correctly, what I want to say is
20 this: Military police units are not within the security administration.
21 Only the tasks that I referred to are. Units of the military police are
22 under the authority and the other responsibility of commanders in whose
23 units they are, just like any other units. As for the other, the second
24 part of the question, why they would be under the security administration
25 in terms of the duties, there are tasks that military police units carry
1 out which are not purely combat tasks. And these tasks are planned and
2 proposed by the security organs. Primarily this refers to assignments in
3 the support arms, of which there were seven that military police units
4 were responsible for. There were also assignments or tasks that a
5 military police unit would carry out for military Tribunals and military
6 prosecutor's offices which were a certain form of co-operation and also
7 involved the security service. So these were reasons why these
8 professional tasks were placed under the -- in the remit of the security
10 Q. You mentioned seven areas that military police had responsibility
11 for. Did that include issues related to prisoners of war?
12 A. There isn't a special service that would deal with prisoners of
13 war, but there are services that do have responsibility for specific
14 activities in relation to prisoners of war. At a certain point in time
15 the military police can be engaged through the security service as
16 security for prisoners of war, or rather, for locations where prisoners
17 of war are placed. Through an escort they can ensure the transfer of
18 prisoners of war from one location to another. There is also the crime
19 fighting service through which they can document possible crimes
20 committed by prisoners of war. So there are responsibilities in certain
21 services regarding the treatment and matters relating to prisoners of
23 Q. All right. So what I was -- military police can be involved in
24 treatment of, escorting of, securing of prisoners of war; correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And I think you've spoken before of the professional control or
2 oversight of the security officer, be it from the brigade or the corps or
3 Main Staff. What is the security officer's duty and job in relation to
4 the professional control of the military police?
5 A. I don't think I necessarily used the term "professional." In any
6 case, the security organ has an obligation to follow or monitor the work
7 of military police units. As regards the services we mentioned, it can
8 also decide on the engagement of those services in implementing certain
10 Q. Can the security officer do that without the knowledge of their
11 commander, be it corps or brigade or higher, Main Staff?
12 A. These tasks in the services are conveyed down the duty officer's
13 posts within the military police. However, there is an obligation in
14 terms of receiving a task and implementing it, that service as needed and
15 at the latest includes it in daily reports in order to inform the
16 commander. The commander need not provide approval for military police
17 units to do something, but he needs to be informed that military police
18 members from his unit are being engaged in providing certain services.
19 Q. When military police are engaged in one of their standard
20 activities, for example, traffic control and/or picking up prisoners that
21 have left the line, the standard thing, is that what you're talking
22 about, the commander doesn't always need to order that? Those standard
23 almost everyday tasks, but needs to be informed?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What about things that aren't so standard? For example, the
1 capture of hundreds and hundreds of prisoners, their escort, their
2 security, would a commander have to be involved in that or could that
3 happen with the military police working without the knowledge or approval
4 of their commanders?
5 A. The military police cannot do anything in that regard without the
6 knowledge of its commander. The commander of the military police unit
7 cannot act without the knowledge and approval of the commander in whose
8 unit he is.
9 Q. All right. Let's with that foundation go to a couple of
10 practical documents to see if we can bring it out in a little more real
11 detail. If we could go to 65 ter 5584. This is a document that you've
12 talked about before. And if I could just give you the three-page typed
13 version of it, it might be easier than having to sort out everything on
14 the computer all the time. It's -- and I think the Defence has seen this
15 and -- thank you.
16 And it's not my intention to go through all of this document, but
17 we see if we could -- well, the last page of the document is -- says:
18 "For the commander Colonel Ratko Mladic."
19 If we could see that last page in both languages. And this "za"
20 or "for" the commander, you've told us about that signature before. Do
21 you recognise that signature?
22 A. Yes, I do. We identified it last time as General Tolimir's
24 Q. And you stand by that today?
25 A. As last time I cannot be 100 per cent certain, but if one goes by
1 the basic elements of graphology, of handwriting, it should be
2 General Tolimir's handwriting and signature. I can't say anything
3 100 per cent, though.
4 Q. Well, I'm not sure any of us can do anything 100 per cent, but
5 you've seen a lot of his signatures, a lot of his initials over the
6 months that you worked there, hadn't you?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Does this look like the signature you were used to seeing from
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Okay. Let's go to the first page again. Now, I know you've
12 talked about this document, but when you were at the Main Staff in 1995
13 do you remember ever hearing of this document or seeing it in your work?
14 A. No.
15 Q. But are you familiar with the rules associated with security and
16 intelligence and their work, as set out by the rules of the JNA?
17 A. Yes, for the most part, because I worked in the security service
18 for the JNA too before the war.
19 Q. And did the VRS adopt or use the JNA rules?
20 A. Yes. All of the rules were mostly carried over. An explanation
21 was provided that the rules are being taken over and only certain formal
22 parts were changed, and it became the rules of work and service of the
23 security organs in the VRS instead of the JNA. In any case, most of the
24 rules were taken over.
25 Q. And as far as you know, did that include the entire war-time
1 period, those JNA rules on the security service remained applicable
2 throughout the war?
3 A. As far as I know, yes.
4 Q. Okay. Let's just take a brief look at this. We see it's called
5 instructions for the field work of the security and intelligence organs.
6 And it says under that in that first paragraph that it includes
7 intelligence and counter-intelligence tasks, which you have briefly
8 described for us, depending on the situation make up about 80 per cent of
9 the total engagement. And then it says the remaining 20 per cent of
10 their engagement consists of administrative and staff, military police
11 and criminal/legal tasks and duties. You've also spoken of that
12 particular part of security. Does this 80/20 split, is that from the
14 A. There was a correction in terms of percentage that was made. In
15 principle, the division is two-thirds to one-third of the time of
16 engagement for security organs. I said then and I say now that I don't
17 know what the reason for the change was, although later in the
18 proceedings here we saw some documents and we could observe that the
19 security organs in that period of time were significantly removed from
20 their basic duties and tasks and that unit commanders used them for
21 different purposes. That could be the reason why the percentage was
22 increased due to the seriousness of the situation the service was in. In
23 the rules of the former JNA, it was divided between the thirds. So it
24 was two-thirds as compared to only one-third.
25 Q. And did General Mladic, in your view, have every right to change
1 that percentage to meet the needs of the army and the country?
2 A. Well, the commander of the Main Staff did have the right and the
3 possibility to issue instructions in order to determine positions within
4 the system in greater detail; however, before that the percentage was
5 slightly different. As I said, it was two-thirds to one-third. But in
6 any case, instructions to this effect could be issued by the commander of
7 the Main Staff.
8 Q. Okay. Let's go to paragraph 2 which says the security and
9 intelligence organs are directly commanded by the commander of the unit
10 or institution of which they form part. Now, for the brigade that would
11 be the brigade commander, the corps the corps commander?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Okay. And then it says:
14 "But with regard to professional activities, they're controlled
15 centrally by the security and intelligence organs of the superior
17 Now, that was my reference to professional control. It may have
18 been a translation issue because I'm not sure you liked my use of the
19 word "professional." But as it's written here, can you explain what that
20 means, that the professional activities are controlled centrally by the
21 security and intelligence organ?
22 A. Yes. When it comes to professional affairs in terms of security
23 and intelligence and counter-intelligence, we also have operational
24 combination in -- at play in this paragraph. Intelligence and
25 counter-intelligence tasks are usually followed by the application of
1 operational methods. Operational combination is a combined method of
2 work, where several different methods are used within a single period of
3 time to execute a particular task. Basically, it has to do with the
4 methods and means of work which deviate from --
5 Q. General, I'm sorry to interrupt. Let me just try to cut to the
6 chase. I'm interested in the professional control of the security organs
7 of the military police. You have described that already somewhat. Could
8 you just briefly reiterate what this professional control that security
9 officers have of the military police?
10 A. Professional control, is that what you mean?
11 Q. Yes. Of the military police.
12 A. Military police units carry out tasks assigned to them by the
13 commander of the unit that they are a part of. At the same time, as per
14 services of the military police, for the needs of the security service
15 and security organs they also carry out certain tasks. Those tasks are
16 issued to them by security organs and they are in charge of professional
17 supervision in terms of the military police executing them. The military
18 police, as regards any of its services, can receive a task for a certain
19 day or a certain period. For example, it is given a certain period of
20 time to implement a task, and then by way of a report it informs the
21 security organ which issued it. The security organ monitors and assesses
22 the degree of implementation. If needed, it acts in terms of making
23 professional amendments, corrections, to what was or may have been
24 omitted. That is the sense of professional control in the units of the
25 military police, as per services under the remit of the security organ.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: I would offer this document into evidence.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Document 5584 receives number P1577,
5 Your Honours.
6 JUDGE ORIE: P1577 is admitted into evidence.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY:
8 Q. All right. Let's get one more document related to the
9 Main Staff's dealing with some of these issues just to bring us home.
10 The Court has heard about the brigades.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY: Could we go to 65 ter 25957.
12 Q. And this is a document I would like to show you the original of
13 because there's some handwritten parts of it that you've seen before.
14 The document itself is very hard to make out in the Serbian. The
15 original is not exactly easy to make out. And it's not so much the
16 document that I'm -- the details that I'm interested in, but if we could
17 hand that original to the witness. And the Defence may want to see it,
18 just the hand -- they may have seen it before but ...
19 And this is a document you've talked about before, and as I said
20 I don't want to go into a lot of details. Can we go to the last page, it
21 should be page 13 in the English. I think in both languages just so we
22 can see who this is from. We see it's the Main Staff, Republika Srpska,
23 sector for security and intelligence, security administration,
24 18 March 1995. If we could go to the back page. And we see that this is
25 the chief, Colonel Ljubisa Beara. We also see some initials there, DK.
1 Do you know who those initials are, DK, and LJS?
2 A. Yes. I produced this document for the most part.
3 Q. Okay. And can you just tell us very briefly what it is? I mean,
4 we see it's entitled "analysis of the situation in military police units
5 of the VRS." Following and then on the second page -- sorry, that's on
6 the first page. And then it talks about an inspection that was done to
7 create the report. So can you just tell us what this report was designed
8 to do?
9 A. Until February 1995 at the level of the security administration,
10 there was no one in the department for the military police, although it
11 had been made part of the establishment structure, the virtue of the
12 growth in the armed forces when a number of new units were created, new
13 military police units were established as well. They were quite
14 different among themselves in terms of manning strength, adequate
15 commanding staff in terms of the tasks they performed and equipment they
16 had. It was decided to gain a better insight into the functioning of the
17 military police units, and this was done in February and early
18 March 1995. The most important pieces of information were contained in
19 this report or this analysis, and it included a number of proposals. A
20 result of this document was an order that followed it later on which
21 imposed an obligation to improve the situation which obviously was not
23 Q. On order by who?
24 A. By the commander of the Main Staff.
25 Q. And is your involvement and Colonel Beara's involvement in this
1 project a part of the professional responsibility over military police
3 A. This was part of the professional tasks of the security organ in
4 the security administration vis-a-vis the military police.
5 Q. Okay.
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: Could we go now to page 3 in the English, should
7 be page --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. McCloskey, there are some technical problems
9 with e-court. I therefore suggest that we take the break slightly
10 earlier and have it repaired during the break. We cannot move within the
11 documents. I'm not talking about LiveNote but about e-court.
12 We'll take a break ...
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE ORIE: We'll take a break and -- yes, could the witness be
15 escorted out of the courtroom for 20 minutes.
16 [The witness stands down]
17 JUDGE ORIE: We'll resume at five minutes past 12.00.
18 --- Recess taken at 11.46 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 12.12 p.m.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
21 There still seems to be a few ...
22 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
23 [The witness takes the stand]
24 JUDGE ORIE: We still have some problems with the transcript in
25 e-court, but on LiveNote it works. So I suggest that we focus for the
1 time being on our left screen, at least for me it's the left one.
2 I hope that work will be done to resolve the problem also for our
3 e-court connections. I think -- I reconnected again and now it's
4 working. Therefore, Mr. McCloskey, please proceed.
5 Witness, we had some technical problems and it was still not
6 fully resolved, but now it seems to be okay again.
7 MR. McCLOSKEY:
8 Q. Okay. General, we're at this -- the document that you drafted
9 for the signature of Colonel Beara about the situation with the military
10 police units, and could you look at the -- it should be the second page
11 of the original in front of you, it's the handwritten part. We can see
12 the handwritten part up on the screen now and it's -- we have the English
13 translation, the first part of it also on the screen. And we see in the
14 handwritten part it says:
15 "Toso ..." and it's underlined.
16 Who is Toso?
17 A. Toso is -- that was the nickname used for General Tolimir by
18 General Mladic.
19 Q. And how did General Mladic refer to you, what nickname did he
20 give you?
21 A. I didn't have a nickname. We didn't have frequent contacts. He
22 would address me in two ways. As most senior officers he would call me
23 "sefe," "boss" or "chief" and Kesir.
24 Q. Kesir is short for your name? Okay, all right.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. All right. Do you recognise the handwriting and especially after
2 looking a bit at the text here we see that whoever's writing this starts
3 out with saying:
4 "It is a disgrace to have a soldier commanding a unit after three
5 years ..."
6 And then as we go through it - I won't read all of it - it says:
7 "Ensure that every MP unit has an educated and trained officer by
8 1 July 1995."
9 So who is this that's entering these handwritten notes on this
11 A. Judging by everything that I know, this was written by
12 General Mladic.
13 Q. Okay. Let's go to the next page in English. I think it should
14 be okay in the Serbian. We see various numbered instructions:
15 "Ensure that every MP unit has its place and role and carries out
16 its task professionally."
17 And I won't read all of paragraph 3, but we can see that it says:
18 "No one has the right to either stop or delay let alone send to
19 the archives any case. No one is or can be so wealthy to be above the
20 law. Anyone who breaks the law and commits a crime must be held
21 responsible. Commanders do not have the right to prevent security organs
22 and military policemen from doing their duties. On the contrary, they
23 must assist them to the maximum ..." I guess I did read it all.
24 And these are the words of General Mladic?
25 A. This is written probably by General Mladic and this transpires on
1 the basis of the rules and regulations that were in force.
2 Q. Yes, General, given what's said here, the context of what is
3 said, the handwriting is probably -- is this probably General Mladic or
4 is it something else?
5 A. General Mladic emphasises the importance, in essence these are
6 professional tasks that are involved here, also fighting against crime
7 also in the case of military police, the crime fighting force in view of
8 occurrences of criminal acts that were occurring. General Mladic is
9 accentuating the importance of those types of assignments.
10 Q. So is this General Mladic writing these notes or is it just
11 probably General Mladic?
12 A. Again, I cannot be 100 per cent certain, but it's General Mladic.
13 He is writing this.
14 Q. Okay. So we have an inspection of military police units, you
15 draft this long report about improving them, it goes out under
16 Colonel Beara's name. General Mladic reviews it, writes his notes
17 directly to General Tolimir. Is this the system working as it should?
18 A. Yes, because General Tolimir is the assistant and he's the most
19 responsible person in the Main Staff for security and intelligence
20 affairs and he is responsible or he answers to General Mladic.
21 Q. All right. And next point, number 4, it says:
22 "Reporting must take hold at all levels."
23 I won't go into that any further, but can you explain to us
24 briefly as you've done before what the reporting system was for the
25 military police units, and why don't you begin with the military police
1 units from the corps.
2 A. First of all, I think this third word is not based on but it's to
3 take root, "zasnivati," versus "zaziveti," since some units were not in
4 the chain of regular daily reporting and so that is one of the
5 assignments that were given to me, to make sure that this is implemented.
6 Otherwise, military police units had duty service which was also at the
7 corps level. There were battalions of military police at the corps that
8 had squads for military police services, and one of those services was to
9 be on duty, work in shifts. That service would compile all reports, all
10 information about the services in the course of the day, and then
11 overviews were made at a specific time, often that was at 17 or 1800
12 hours. They would collate all of them and make a daily report that it
13 would send to the duty service of the unit in the superior command, and
14 at the same time a copy of the report would be sent to the security chief
15 of the command that it was a part of and to the unit commander.
16 It went to three addresses: Superior duty service or the
17 military police unit at a higher level that also had its own duty
18 service, then it would go to the chief of the security organ and to the
19 head of the unit, and that is how the pyramid ended. It narrowed at the
20 military police battalion in the protection regiment, which is a military
21 police unit of the Main Staff, where from the entire army, from all the
22 units of the military police, data about their activities would be
23 summarised and then there would be a collective summary report which
24 would now in the same way be sent to the commander of the Main Staff, the
25 chief of the intelligence and security sector, and to the commander of
1 the military police battalion in the protection regiment.
2 Q. Okay. Let me -- let's use the Drina Corps and so they assemble
3 their daily activities, their reports, and where do they send their
4 material to, the Drina Corps, and we're talking about July 1995, so a few
5 months after your work.
6 A. The Drina Corps throughout the time, their duty operations
7 service in the battalion of the military police of the Drina Corps was to
8 have compiled information about the activities of all the services from
9 their section, from that battalion, as well as information from
10 subordinate units, meaning brigades, make a summary report, and then that
11 report - if we are going by names, by functions - would go to the corps
12 commander at that time, to the chief of the security/intelligence affairs
13 at the time, and to the military police battalion in the protection
14 regiment, to their duty operations service as the service that would
15 finally compile data from all the corps and provide a report to the
16 Main Staff.
17 Q. When you say the protection regiment, do you mean the military
18 police battalion of the protection regiment or to some place else in the
19 protection regiment?
20 A. Battalion of the military police in the protection regiment.
21 Q. So in July 1995 that would be the unit at Nova Kasaba?
22 A. The command and the duty operations service were in Nova Kasaba.
23 Q. And the commander of the military police unit of the protection
24 regiment was in July 1995 who?
25 A. It was Major Zoran Malinic.
1 Q. Just so I'm clear, what did the protection regiment military
2 police unit do with these compiled reports from the corps?
3 A. Based on all reports received from the corps, it made a summary
4 report, it would collate everything, and this summary report would be
5 sent to the Main Staff, to two addresses, a copy to the commander of the
6 Main Staff and a copy to the chief of the security/intelligence sector.
7 One copy would also go to the commander of the battalion of the military
8 police in the protection regiment.
9 Q. Okay. That's the MP reporting chain. How about the security
10 units of the corps, what kind of daily reporting, if any, did they do to
11 their commander or up the chain?
12 A. Reporting is not as strictly ordered in this way on levels
13 between the security organs. It did proceed in the same way from the
14 subordinate up to the superior organ, but there were no daily reports.
15 Up until the level of the corps, the brigades were not duty-bound to send
16 reports every day, but the corps were the first instance that would send
17 daily reports to the security administration or the sector for
18 intelligence and security affairs. Those sections from the corps would
19 send daily reports to the sector for security/intelligence affairs. At
20 the same time in war time the corps commander was the first-level
21 officer, superior officer, who would be and should have been informed
22 about all kinds of information. So a report of this type was also
23 received by the corps commander. In this case these reports, when they
24 were sent to the sectors by the corps, they were not sent -- they didn't
25 each send one to the commander of the Main Staff, but in the sector for
1 intelligence and security with the assistance of officers from the
2 security administration, an analysis would be made of all that
3 information and then the chief of the security/intelligence sector would
4 send excerpts or original -- or directly report to the commander of the
5 Main Staff on matters that he felt the commander should be informed
6 about. The commander of the staff did not get all the original reports
7 that were arriving from the corps, but as needed the chief of sector
8 would inform the commander. Sometimes he would submit a written
9 information and sometimes this information would be conveyed orally.
10 Q. Okay. And when you say "sector for security and intelligence
11 affairs," are you always referring to the Main Staff?
12 A. Yes, yes.
13 Q. And when you say "chief of the sector for intelligence and
14 security," you're referring to who?
15 A. General Tolimir.
16 Q. And you also mention that there is information conveyed orally.
17 What -- would that be urgent information or important information?
18 A. Among other things, this would also apply to urgent information.
19 Then there would be no written report -- I mean, there could be one but
20 also the information could be reported verbally, information that were
21 not final, and they could possibly be augmented or amended in the coming
22 period. The commander would in that case be informed that something was
23 happening and the final outcome would be reported to him when it was
24 complete. So in such cases, too, the way to convey the information would
25 be to do it verbally.
1 Q. And would these communications have the ability to be encoded or
2 encrypted in some way?
3 A. If it were to be sent in an encoded or encrypted form through
4 radio communications with the option of encryption, then that would
5 constitute a written report; however, at all levels there were manuals,
6 secret command documents, and code books which both superior and
7 subordinate officers had. So by using this code book in conversation you
8 could convey certain information in a protected manner.
9 Q. And those reports that went from the military police battalion at
10 Nova Kasaba to the Main Staff, were they done via what means? How were
11 they transmitted or transported?
12 A. When there was a lack of reliable technical means, then this
13 would be done by messenger. A vehicle would take documents from
14 Nova Kasaba to the Main Staff. Sometimes some documents or information
15 would be sent when somebody was going anyway, but if this was not the
16 case then they would be sent by a special vehicle.
17 Q. Okay.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: And I would offer this document, 65 ter 25957,
19 into evidence.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar -- before we -- yes, Mr. Lukic.
21 MR. LUKIC: I'm not clear whether this handwritten page is part
22 of the document, so maybe we should MFI it before I explore it or
23 Mr. McCloskey can explore it.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. McCloskey.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: I can tell you we found it that way as part of
1 the Drina Corps collection.
2 JUDGE ORIE: And is there -- is it on the back of the paper or
3 following pages? I haven't seen the --
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: The original is what he has, it may have been
5 mixed up a bit, but as an expert could you put it in the right order.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE ORIE: We'd like to see it.
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: And, Mr. President, as you know, we generally try
9 to ERN things in the order we got them. So each of these should have ERN
10 numbers on them.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber will admit the document into evidence.
13 Madam Registrar, the number would be ... ?
14 THE REGISTRAR: Document 25957 receives number P1578,
15 Your Honours.
16 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
17 Nevertheless, Mr. McCloskey, the Chamber would like to receive
18 more information as -- now you say it's found together, I don't know when
19 it was found, by whom it was found, whether it's the -- this apparently
20 is a photocopy. Whether it's written on the back of the typed pages
21 or -- we'd like to receive as much information as possible so as to be
22 better able to assess what probative value it should be given in its
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, thank you. And perhaps since this was --
25 JUDGE ORIE: Well --
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: -- the General's document might be able to help
2 us --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I'm not limiting you in any way to provide that
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: That is -- Mr. Blaszczyk's job to go over the
6 collections in particular documents and because we had so much agreement
7 with the Defence on most of it, but we can provide that for you very,
8 very quickly.
9 Q. And, General, we know that you're the one that basically drafted
10 this. Did this make its way back to you, General Mladic's comments?
11 A. This handwritten sheet is not on the second page of this
12 document. Maybe it was on the last page of the document that
13 General Mladic wrote it down, and then when the document was copied it
14 was somehow inserted between page 1 and 2. So this was not part of the
15 document the way we created it. Once General Mladic reviewed it, this
16 sheet was attached which we later received and relied on when drafting
17 our following instruction. So it does belong here but not in the
18 sequence provided in the document.
19 JUDGE ORIE: So if I can summarise to see if I fully understood.
20 The typed-out document was drafted, was then sent, and you received it
21 back with the handwritten part attached or as a last page attached to it,
22 and those handwritten comments were used to further draft whatever there
23 had to be drafted. Is that well understood?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is well understood,
25 Mr. President.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
2 Mr. Lukic, you said I do not know whether this is part of the
3 document. This is, as matters stand now, it is and is at the same time
4 not part of the document. It was added to the document when it was on
5 its way. Any further observations in this respect which the Chamber
6 would have to consider?
7 MR. LUKIC: We will ask the witness about the document --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Okay.
9 MR. LUKIC: -- before but we do not object, but it's anyway too
10 late now since it's admitted into evidence already.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but of course there -- we -- but I said we
12 would have to assess the probative value to be given, a special look in
13 view of the handwriting, so to that extent it's never too late. If
14 something is in evidence that it does necessarily mean that every single
15 element of a document is always fully probative, et cetera. So therefore
16 don't start to become desperate in this matter.
17 Mr. McCloskey.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: Can we have the front page of this document on
19 just for one last question because I see a stamp on the front page and I
20 see some ...
21 Q. Can you read this stamp at the bottom that's in -- it looks like
22 it's in blue.
23 A. Yes, it reads command of the 65th Protection Mechanised Regiment.
24 Q. And can you make out the date?
25 A. The 28th of April, 1995.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: In the English we don't have the right page on
2 the screen, which could be the second or the third page.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: Oh, thank you, it's the third page. I thought it
4 was missing.
5 Q. And do you know whether this is -- what kind of stamp this is, is
6 this a received stamp, a sent stamp, do you know?
7 A. This stamp was affixed when the document was logged into the
8 books of the command of the 65th Protection Regiment, that is to say when
9 they received it.
10 Q. And we see if we go back to the first page of the English there's
11 a little handwritten part up in the right-hand corner, some of which we
12 couldn't make out. I don't know if you can make out any of that up in
13 that handwritten part? We see 76 and then we can't read under the 76. I
14 don't know if you can. And then we see that the original document was
15 sent to the military police battalion. This is a photocopy for the
16 files. Can you make out any of that faint writing that's above that
17 statement I just read?
18 A. I can't, not the upper part. It says at the bottom the report
19 was, and then it seems to have been signed by someone. But I can't ...
20 Q. Okay. No problem. I want to go to one other brief area before
21 we get into the events of July 1995, something I'd ask you about before,
22 can you tell us historically how did -- as far as you know, how did
23 General Mladic and Colonel Beara get to know each other? What kind of
24 military history did they have prior to the start of the Main Staff in
25 May of 1992? And just very briefly.
1 A. I can share with you what I heard without being able to testify
2 as to the truthfulness. When the war broke out in the former Yugoslavia,
3 Colonel Beara was the chief of security of the Military Naval District
4 headquartered in Split --
5 Q. Can you give us the year?
6 A. 1991. They were blockaded in the Lora harbour. At the time
7 General Mladic had a position in the Knin Corps, and he used his units to
8 attempt to exert pressure along that axis in order to lift the blockade
9 around the officers to have them pulled out. Colonel Beara often
10 mentioned it, saying that it was those events and the efforts by
11 General Mladic had the decisive impact on their being freed by the
12 Croatian forces. That is how he came to get out of the blockade for
13 which he was particularly grateful to General Mladic. That is what I
14 know. I don't know whether they had met before that.
15 As for General Tolimir, Colonel Beara was also -- actually,
16 General Tolimir was with Colonel Beara within the security organs of the
17 Military Naval District either in the Sibenik or Zadar garrison. When
18 the blockade was lifted, he arrived in the Drina Corps where he met with
19 General Mladic. It is possible that they had known each other
20 previously, but this is what I know and this is what I could hear. I was
21 not witness to it. It is what we heard in the VRS in terms of their
23 Q. From what you saw at the Main Staff during your time, was
24 Colonel Beara loyal to General Mladic?
25 A. In order to provide an answer, one would need to analyse that
1 carefully. He was in a way -- and we all were, we all respected the
2 commander. Now, how loyal he was, he was a bit unpredictable. One
3 moment he was satisfied with his status, the next he wouldn't be.
4 Sometimes he displayed his dissatisfaction, at other times he did not.
5 So it is very difficult for me to assess the degree of his loyalty.
6 Q. All right. Let's now go to July 1995, to the events that you
7 have spoken of before. And can you tell us when you actually arrived
8 in -- the first time you arrived at the Main Staff in July of 1995 from
9 somewhere else I recall.
10 A. Yes. I arrived in the afternoon or early evening on the
11 16th of July, 1995.
12 Q. From where?
13 A. I arrived from the western part of the theatre. I was with the
14 1st Infantry Brigade Novi Grad, which at the time was part of, was it the
15 1st or the 2nd Krajina Corps, I'm not sure given the fact that it was
16 moved from one formation to the other.
17 Q. What were you doing there? Because you've already told us you
18 got moved to the Main Staff in February. We saw the report you did.
19 So ...
20 A. Given the fact that the seat of my department, the military
21 police department, was in Banja Luka, it was not part of the Main Staff
22 at Crna Rijeka in Han Pijesak, I was assigned together with another two
23 officers to co-operate with some corps officers in going to the area of
24 the brigade in Novi Grad in order to gauge the consequences of losing
25 some positions of that brigade to the 5th Corps of the
1 Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That was the task I was assigned for the
2 ten days or so in the area.
3 Q. And when you came back to the VRS command, was anyone with you?
4 A. Lieutenant-Colonel Dubovina travelled with me. He was from the
5 morale, legal, and religious affairs sector, as well as another officer
6 from the operations administration. I couldn't locate any trace of him
7 or get information on who he was. We were also accompanied by a driver
8 as the fourth person.
9 Q. What's the driver's name?
10 A. I think Novo Ranitovic.
11 Q. And tell us where you actually arrived to when we say the
12 headquarters in the Main Staff, where in particular?
13 A. In the usual way I reached the barracks at the command post where
14 the Main Staff organs were deployed. There was a degree of tension.
15 There were very few officers. I learned that in the course of the
16 previous few days there had been an attack on the Main Staff and that it
17 was for that reason that the work of the Main Staff for the most part was
18 moved to an underground facility, to the command post under Veliki Zep.
19 Q. So when you say you went to the command, was that in that wooded
20 area called Crna Rijeka?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And I believe the Trial Chamber has heard some information about
23 two wooden huts that officers had their office -- that many of the senior
24 officers had offices in.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. All right. But they weren't using those huts that day. They'd
2 gone into the underground command nearby; is that right?
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic.
4 MR. LUKIC: I object, this is leading.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. McCloskey, would you then please rephrase your
7 MR. McCLOSKEY:
8 Q. You've mentioned this underground base. Where was it in relation
9 to these wooden huts where the offices were?
10 A. It was perhaps 1 to 2 kilometres away along the road. In any
11 case, it is on Veliki Zep, on the slopes of Veliki Zep, but significantly
12 higher, at a higher altitude than the place called Crna Rijeka which is
13 in a valley.
14 Q. Aside from this Muslim attack that you mentioned, do you recall
15 any potential threat from NATO air power?
16 A. I couldn't -- actually, I don't remember any specific threats.
17 What I do know is that over some time there had been announcements and
18 some intelligence information first and foremost that in a certain
19 situation there could be strikes by NATO forces against VRS positions.
20 Q. And roughly what time did you get to the -- to this command post
21 area where -- and found out that most of the officers were in the bunker?
22 A. I can't recall the hour, but I know that it was late in the
23 afternoon or early in the evening.
24 Q. And tell us what you did and what occurred in the next few hours.
25 A. I'd like to point out something I have mentioned frequently when
1 testifying. This is the fifth or sixth time that I testify. I can't
2 recall from memory whether it was that evening or the next evening;
3 however, according to some documents that were shown to me here in
4 different cases, it is possible that it was the same evening, the 16th,
5 around 8.00 p.m. or around that time that I went to the underground
6 command post. I am not sure it was the 16th. As far as I recall when I
7 tried to reconstruct the events and in my first interview with Mr. Ruez
8 back in 2000, I thought at the time I was actually sure that it was on
9 the evening of the 17th. However, cross-referencing a number of
10 documents, I can no longer say that with any certainty, whether it was
11 the 16th or the 17th in the evening.
12 Q. All right. Let me show you what you said in the Tolimir case,
13 and perhaps this will refresh your recollection. And if we could go to
14 the Tolimir transcript, transcript page 13864 and that is the
15 10th of May, 2011, 28995. And I'll slowly read this into the record
16 starting down at -- you start talking about documents you referred and
17 documents that the Prosecution showed you. And then you're asked --
18 page 4 in e-court:
19 "Thank you. You testified before, I believe, that you had a war
20 notebook and that you consulted before testifying in Blagojevic. Were
21 you able to consult that war notebook recently on this issue?"
22 And your answer was:
23 "No. I consulted that notebook and reviewed it before the
24 interview in the year 2000 with Mr. Ruez, and that helped me to establish
25 the timeline on what it was that I did on those days, those ten -- some
1 ten days in July. And since I still had that dilemma, whether it was on
2 the 17th or 18th, after I returned from the Blagojevic testimony,
3 testifying in that case, I went over that notebook again and the
4 chronology of events and the dates that are noted there although there
5 are -- some dates were skipped because there were no developments on
6 those days, so based on that, my stay in Bratunac should have been the
7 17th, actually."
8 Do you stand by that?
9 A. Yes, undoubtedly I said so, and I did say it was following an
10 analysis of facts contained in the documents shown to me, but that I
11 simply cannot recall precisely whether it was so.
12 Q. All right. Tell us what happened that evening when you arrived.
13 A. I arrived in the operations room or operations centre that
14 evening. It is a spacious room. At a certain moment I was talking to
15 General Miletic as well as some other officers who were there.
16 General Mladic appeared.
17 Q. About what time?
18 A. It was around 8.00 p.m., perhaps a bit later up until 9.00 p.m.
19 Q. And what happened?
20 A. When we greeted each other as always, General Mladic told me - as
21 far as I can remember - that I was welcome there; that in the area of the
22 Drina Corps an operation was underway against the 28th Division of the
23 ABiH; that it was organised that co-ordination was in the hands of the
24 Bratunac Brigade commander, Colonel Blagojevic; that it was not
25 developing as fast as it should and that Colonel Blagojevic was supposed
1 to take another assignment; and that it was I who was supposed to take
2 over command of the units involved in order to continue with the
3 implementation of the operation in order to achieve its goal. An order
4 was to be issued to me by General Miletic which was supposed to contain
5 more detail. More or less, that is what General Mladic told me.
6 Q. What area were you supposed to take command of these units for?
7 The Judges have heard that the Zepa operation was going on at the moment,
8 but you're talking about Blagojevic. So what area in the Drina Corps
9 were you supposed to take command over?
10 A. The area of operation or the first stage of the operation was in
11 the area to the west of Srebrenica, Bratunac, Konjevic Polje, and Milici,
12 that is to say the Drinjaca valley. That was the area where the
13 operation was unfolding in order to block the 28th Division which set out
14 from Srebrenica to attempt a break through to join with the 2nd Corps in
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. McCloskey, we are about at the time of the
17 break, but if this is a suitable moment, if not then tell us when it
18 would be approximately.
19 MR. McCLOSKEY: One last question.
20 Q. If you could tell us what unit you were supposed to be commanding
21 according to what General Mladic told you?
22 A. If I remember well, there were parts of different units of the
23 Bratunac Brigade, the Milici Brigade, the communications regiment, the
24 engineering regiment of the 5th Corps, parts of the military police
25 battalion, of the 65th Motorised Protection Regiment, parts of, or
1 rather, some units of the MUP, parts of the special brigade, and parts of
2 the special and regular police units. Those were the units that needed
3 to be co-ordinated, as far as I could understand.
4 Q. You said an engineering battalion. We got a translation of
5 5th Corps. Who did the engineering battalion belong to that you're
6 talking about?
7 A. The engineering battalion of the Drina Corps.
8 Q. And you mentioned a communications, I think, regiment. What --
9 who did they belong to?
10 A. The communications regiment was an independent unit of the
11 Main Staff.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. President, this would be a good time.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Then we'll take the break now.
15 Witness, you may follow the usher. We'll resume in 20 minutes.
16 [The witness stands down]
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. McCloskey, after the break you have another
18 40 minutes which would leave you with 20 more minutes to go tomorrow. Is
19 that -- you announced three hours?
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, at the pace it's going and the -- I can see
21 we'll be using every bit of that. As you know, these are issues that
22 you've heard other people talk about and I -- hopefully 40 minutes will
23 do it though.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Well, I said 40 and then another 20 for tomorrow.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: Even better, yes --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Of course if you could do it in 40 minutes, that
2 would be appreciated.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: I would love to try.
4 JUDGE ORIE: But you're not yet through your three hours. We
5 take a break and resume at 25 minutes to 2.00.
6 --- Recess taken at 1.14 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 1.35 p.m.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
9 [The witness takes the stand]
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. McCloskey, you may proceed.
11 MR. McCLOSKEY:
12 Q. Okay, General, you've told us of the units that you were to
13 command. Can you give us -- particularly what was this job, what was it
14 to entail, commanding all these units in this area you've described
15 around Konjevic Polje to do what?
16 A. According to the task previously issued by General Mladic, I was
17 supposed to take over command of the operation that was underway. And
18 these units to an extent participated in the blockade of the operation
19 zone. And they also went and swept the zone in certain areas and also in
20 going after the units that were going ahead of them. So both the
21 blockade and the sweeping of the terrain was being carried out, the
22 operation had already started, and I was supposed to continue to do the
23 same job.
24 Q. What does sweeping the terrain mean?
25 A. Sweeping the terrain is not a customary term, a military term.
1 Sweeping the terrain does exist, but when we're talking about combat
2 sweeping the terrain is not a term that is used for any specific action.
3 In this case the term that is being used is "pretres terena," sweeping,
4 searching, combing the terrain in order to find remnants, parts or
5 complete units that were in that area.
6 Q. And to do what with them?
7 A. When any of those forces are encountered or reached, depending on
8 the development of the situation, combat can be initiated against them or
9 losses can occur on both sides or either side, capture and disarming may
10 also take place. And then it's all regulated by rules of the command
11 staff combat service.
12 Q. Or could it be regulated by what General Mladic wanted as opposed
13 to regulations and procedures?
14 A. Well, I really cannot say what General Mladic wanted beyond the
15 scope of what he ordered or what was contained in the assignment. There
16 were no other indications other than to continue with the blockade and
17 continue to sweep the terrain that were given, at least not to me.
18 Q. General, my question was -- and you answered that after prisoners
19 were taken that it's all regulated by rules of command staff and combat
20 service. And I think we're familiar with some of the rules on taking
21 prisoners of war and keeping them and protecting them and all those
22 regulations. If General Mladic wanted to ignore those regulations and do
23 what he -- send the prisoners somewhere else against the regulations, he
24 could have done that, I take it, couldn't he have?
25 A. Well, perhaps General Mladic could say something like that, but
1 no member of the army should have or could have or dared to carry out
2 anything that was in contravention of the rule, especially not anything
3 that would imply the commission of a crime or the actual -- involve the
4 actual commission of a crime, which means that anyone who issues an order
5 that is in contravention of the rules according to the positive rules in
6 force in the army, that order is not carried out.
7 Q. General, do you believe that thousands of men from Srebrenica
8 were summarily executed after the fall of Srebrenica?
9 A. It's difficult to say whether I believe it or not. The
10 circumstances and whether this happened in a summary manner is something
11 that I did not see. I cannot really state any position on that. The
12 events and the information that I received subsequently point to the fact
13 that there was unnecessary suffering by members of the 28th Division and
14 perhaps civilians who set off with them to break through.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat his last
17 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please repeat your last sentence. You
18 said you received -- the information you "received subsequently point to
19 the fact that there was unnecessary suffering ..." and could you
20 continue from there on.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said at the end that I don't know
22 what kind of procedure it was, whether it was a summary execution or
23 something else. That is something that I cannot say anything about
24 because I was not an eye-witness of those events.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY:
1 Q. So you won't say anything more than unnecessary suffering
2 happened to people in Srebrenica?
3 A. I cannot. It's not that I don't want to, it's that I cannot say
4 anything about the nature of the suffering. This is a completely
5 different analysis and I repeat I'm not an eye-witness. I did not see
6 the circumstances of their capture or the circumstances of their
7 detention or the status that they had in that period or the manner in
8 which they died. So for that reason I cannot say anything about the
9 nature of the suffering.
10 Q. Okay. Let's get back to that evening. After Mladic gives you
11 this job to sweep the terrain around Konjevic Polje, what happened later
12 on that evening?
13 A. I tried immediately to tell General Mladic, the commander of the
14 Main Staff, that as far as I was concerned this was a militarily
15 unacceptable assignment and that there were many reasons why I should not
16 execute it. It's true that General Mladic, in the way that he usually
17 does, said, "Never mind, Miletic will explain everything." He turned and
18 left the room. Then General Tolimir appeared or maybe he was already
19 there. And then with General Tolimir and General Miletic, I tried to
20 clarify this new situation that I found myself in. And as my superior
21 officer I asked General Tolimir to try to see if he could get a
22 correction or a change of this order from General Mladic which, as I
23 said, as far as I was concerned was militarily unacceptable.
24 Q. Did you hear about another task that Mladic had given to some
25 other officers at the Main Staff at the same time?
1 A. I'm not sure if I heard about that then, but during this
2 communication in this room at one point I found out or I learned - I'm
3 not sure whether it was from General Mladic - that a group of officers,
4 three of them, was supposed to go to the AOR of the Zvornik Brigade to
5 see what the situation was there and to provide assistance to the
6 commander if needed, or rather, to see what was going on there and to be
7 there as some sort of help. And that this should also be something that
8 would be regulated by that same order.
9 Q. The same order that Mladic had given you to go to the Bratunac
11 A. Yes, I saw the document later that the same order contained
12 orders for me and for these other three officers.
13 Q. I'm interested now in what you heard in that room. You're
14 talking about the ops room that night. So what did you hear that night
15 about this other job in the Zvornik AOR?
16 A. I already said that in the previous answer; i.e., that three
17 officers would go to the AOR of the Zvornik Brigade to see what the
18 situation was there and possibly provide assistance to the commander and
19 the brigade command in their AOR. I didn't know what sort of a situation
20 it was or what type of an assignment this could be at the time.
21 Q. Which three officers did you learn about that night were going to
22 do this assignment?
23 A. They were three colonels: Sladojevic, Trkulja and Stankovic.
24 Q. From what unit?
25 A. They were officers from the Main Staff, Sladojevic was in the
1 operations administration, he only just arrived; Trkulja was in the staff
2 as chief of armoured units; and Stankovic was, I think, in the analysis
3 department of the intelligence administration.
4 Q. Okay. So now what happens? You complained to Mladic, Tolimir
5 gets involved, it's still the evening of that let's call it your first
6 night there. What happens?
7 A. General Mladic left and then after the conversation
8 General Tolimir followed him out. He told me there that he would try and
9 see what he could do about this. After a certain period of time, perhaps
10 a couple of hours, General Tolimir returned and told me that
11 General Mladic agreed that I should not take over command of those units,
12 but that I should go to the area or where the operation was being carried
13 out the following day, go to Colonel Blagojevic, gather information about
14 what was being done and how it was being done, and report about it when I
15 came back.
16 Q. So if you weren't going to be commanding these forces, who were
17 you told that the Main Staff was commanding these forces? Clearly you
18 must have had to report to them I would guess; is that right? Who got
19 saddled with this job?
20 A. The job was not given to anyone. Again Colonel Blagojevic
21 continued with this assignment. I really don't know if somebody else
22 later took over the assignment, but Blagojevic was the one who began to
23 implement the task and he continued with it.
24 Q. Did you hear any information about where Beara was?
25 A. I cannot specifically tell when it was, whether it was the
1 evening or that morning that I heard from General Tolimir that
2 Colonel Beara was somewhere. I don't know if he was at the command or
3 the Drina Corps AOR.
4 Q. Well, General, we know General [sic] Beara was somewhere. What
5 indication did you get, if any, on his general or specific location from
6 anyone, Tolimir, Mladic, anyone while you were still at the command post
7 either that night or the next morning?
8 A. Specifically, no, I don't recall getting any specific information
9 other than that was at the Drina Corps.
10 Q. The translation we got was "at the Drina Corps." Do you mean the
11 Drina -- somewhere in the Drina Corps zone of responsibility or at the
12 Drina Corps headquarters? Can you be a little more clear what you meant?
13 I don't need a specific area if you don't have it, but just tell us what
14 you meant by "at the Drina Corps."
15 A. What I heard, if I remember correctly, was that I heard that he
16 was at the Drina Corps without specifying where that was exactly, whether
17 it was at a particular command post, the second forward command post, at
18 the command post of some brigade. I really cannot be specific about it.
19 I have no recollection of this.
20 Q. Will that include somewhere in the Drina Corps zone of
22 A. Of course, of course. Not outside the AOR of the Drina Corps.
23 Q. And who did you hear this information from, that he was inside
24 the zone of the Drina Corps?
25 A. From General Tolimir.
1 Q. Okay. And so what do you do the next morning after getting this
2 order from Mladic, as you say it was changed a bit? What do you do the
3 next morning? Where do you wake up, first of all?
4 A. I spent the night in the huts in Crna Rijeka. Besides the task
5 issued by General Mladic, I received several other tasks from
6 General Tolimir. And I set off that morning towards Bratunac, or rather,
7 towards the operations zone.
8 Q. What were your other tasks that Tolimir gave you that morning,
9 just briefly?
10 A. I was supposed to find Colonel Jankovic, convey to him that he
11 was supposed to go to the DutchBat command, and see with
12 Colonel Karremans or Lieutenant-Colonel Karremans about the evacuation of
13 the battalion that would not now proceed via the Sarajevo airport, but
14 would go through Serbia. Also, some assets were supposed to be returned
15 to the DutchBat which the army, units of the Army of Republika Srpska
16 took from UNPROFOR while passing by the check-points, the UNPROFOR
17 check-points. I was supposed to oversee the evacuation of the wounded,
18 the Muslim wounded from the medical centre in Bratunac. These were these
19 additional assignments other than the one to see Blagojevic.
20 Q. Who is this Colonel Jankovic that you were supposed to see?
21 A. Colonel Jankovic was an officer who was assigned in the
22 intelligence administration. I know that very often because he knew
23 languages he was used as a liaison officer and an interpreter even. I
24 think that he was in the sector for analysis.
25 Q. Intelligence admin sector analysis Main Staff?
1 A. No. This was the analysis sector of the intelligence
2 administration of the intelligence security department in the Main Staff.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. McCloskey, apparently moving away from the
4 previous night. I have a few questions on that. But first a general
5 question, Witness. Could you tell us, has it often happened in your
6 military career that you said that you did not want to execute an order
7 given to you or an assignment?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is difficult to discuss myself,
9 but I personally consider myself to have been a good soldier and a good
10 commander. Any order that I did not consider to be realistic or
11 implementable is something that I would not accept readily. There were
12 other cases when I did not refuse to carry out an order, but I tried to
13 have it amended. I never crudely refused to implement and I rather tried
14 to influence my commanders to amend their orders. So I would be part of
15 this group of officers which accepted their assignments and saw them
16 through to the end if in any way possible.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Now, you've told us that the -- you were asked to
18 take over the command of the sweeping operation, and you said you found
19 it militarily unacceptable. Could you explain what there was militarily
20 unacceptable in that assignment which I do understand was already ongoing
21 and was continued by others?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was militarily unacceptable
23 because I was not the commander of any unit which participated in the
24 operation. By the same token, I did not have my command or my staff or
25 my command post or a communications centre. Simply put, I could not
1 unify all of the elements contained in the concept of command and control
2 when it comes to carrying out an operation. The other reason was that I
3 was supposed to go to the area for the first time. I had never been
4 there and I could not carry out any assessments of the terrain or of the
5 units involved because I didn't know what they were, what their
6 capabilities were. So there were many reasons of military nature why I
7 believed it at that point in time to be unacceptable on my part.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Now do I understand that you were supposed to go
9 there alone without any staff not knowing who they were and to do a job
10 with your empty hands? Is that really what General Mladic asked you to
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, partially it was so. I was
13 told to go to the command post of a battalion, the battalion being the MP
14 battalion of the 65th Protection Motorised Regiment in Nova Kasaba and
15 that it was from there that I was to command all the units involved. The
16 capacity and ability of a battalion command post is far below the minimum
17 needs required to execute command over a group of brigades or joint
18 tactical level units.
19 JUDGE ORIE: First of all, the one who did the job at that time,
20 did he have everything you thought you would need and didn't have? You
21 told us that the operation was already ongoing and you were just supposed
22 to continue to do the same job. So therefore I take it that everything
23 one would need for such an operation was there because you were just
24 invited to continue, isn't it?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Colonel Blagojevic was the
1 commander of the Bratunac Brigade. He had his brigade, his staff, his
2 command, his command post, his communications centre, so it was a
3 functioning system. He simply had some other units attached. Had I been
4 the commander of any unit, it would not have occurred to me to seek
5 amendments to the order. I would have simply carried it out.
6 JUDGE ORIE: So therefore what I do understand that the order or
7 the assignment was given to you was, let me say it friendly, totally
8 idiotic. Is that more of less what you're saying, telling us? I mean,
9 you don't get the means, you don't have the troops, you have nothing, and
10 someone asks you to do a job, that is pretty strange, isn't it?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's how it was.
12 JUDGE ORIE: And there was nothing else that kept you off from
13 accepting that order?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had no other reasons other than
15 military reasons. The military reasons were problematic from the point
16 of view of implementation. The operation was complex. The activities
17 were complex and that is why preparations were needed, and yet I was
18 supposed to assume command at the same moment, the same morning, without
19 any preparation, without gaining any information, any reconnaissance. It
20 would all have been customary in such situations.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Now the second thing you were asked to do was to go
22 to the Bratunac area of responsibility and there you also said, "I'm not
23 going there," isn't it? Three others went. You didn't want to go.
24 That's at least how I understood your testimony.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, Mr. President. I'm afraid
1 there was a misunderstanding. As for the amended task of going to the
2 area, I implemented it --
3 JUDGE ORIE: No, I mean the one you did not want to implement.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To assume command of the units? I
5 didn't carry it out and the order was amended.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think you said - and I read part of your
7 answer - that you were asked what you heard in that room, that you're
8 talking about the operations room that night, what did you hear that
9 night about this other job in the Zvornik area of responsibility. Yes,
10 you say it was only asked to the other three and you were not bothered by
11 going there as the other three were. Is that is that how I have to
12 understand? That's good that it's clarified --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 JUDGE ORIE: You said you were there, the others were sent there,
15 but you had no idea what kind of an assignment that was, what it could be
16 at that time. Is that ...
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I didn't know what was going
18 on in the area of the Zvornik Brigade.
19 JUDGE ORIE: And you were never asked to go there with the same
20 assignment as Sladojevic, Trkulja and Stankovic finally had?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is correct.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
23 I have no further questions at this moment about this.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: And I see it's time to break, but I might just
25 help with a clarification that may help some.
1 Q. So you aren't sent to Zvornik, but you did -- did you get some
2 additional tasks related to the Bratunac area by Tolimir that morning
3 before you left regarding Jankovic?
4 A. Yes. I have mentioned it already concerning the Bratunac area.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you. I think it's --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, perhaps I may not have fully understood, but
8 that's the reason why I'm sometimes asking clarifying questions if it's
9 not entirely clear to me.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: No, much appreciated.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Then we'll adjourn for the day. I have stolen ten
12 minutes from your time today, Mr. McCloskey, which would men that you
13 would have another 30 minutes left for tomorrow. That --
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, I hope we can get through then. Thank you.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Witness, I would like to instruct you that you
16 should not speak with anyone or communicate in whatever other way with
17 whomever about your testimony, whether that is testimony you've given
18 today or whether that is testimony still to be given tomorrow or perhaps
19 even the day after tomorrow and we would like to see you back tomorrow
20 morning at 9.30 in this same courtroom. You may follow the usher.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 [The witness stands down]
23 JUDGE ORIE: We adjourn for the day and we'll resume tomorrow,
24 Tuesday, the 18th of June, in this same courtroom, I, at 9.30 in the
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.17 p.m.,
2 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 18th day of
3 June, 2013, at 9.30 a.m.