9434 Monday, 7 February 2011
[The accused entered court]
--- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Good morning to everybody in the courtroom. [French on the English channel] On channel four, we have the French translation at the moment. Hopefully we can -- I think now this problem is solved. Again, good morning and, especially to you, Ms. Hasan, it's the first time that I see you in the courtroom this year and we wish you a successful year.
As you see, Judge Mindua is not with us this morning. He has an urgent medical appointment. The Chamber decided to sit only with two judges, pursuant to Rule 15 bis.
MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Good morning. Your Honour, the Defence wants to respond orally to the Prosecution's motion of the 2nd of February 2011, if that is all right with you.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Go ahead.
MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] The Prosecution's motion dated 2 February 2011 is moot in the view of the Defence, because it has already been contained in the supplemental information provided by the Prosecution in accordance to Rule 74 bis on the 26th of November 2010. That's why this motion should be rejected.
As far as two reports by Mr. Brunborg, we are still awaiting decision on the Prosecution's motion that has been contained in the 9435 motion according to 94 bis in November 2009 as well as our response that was filed on the 11th of January 2010.
As far as the report of Mr. Brunborg itself and the supplemental information to that report, all that has been translated into Serbian and it has also been given to the Defence back in January 2010. Let me also remind you that the Defence in its motion of the 11th of January 2010 already stated that it would not accept his report and that he -- that the Defence wants to cross-examine the witness. Thank you.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Your position is surprising. Of course, the witness will be cross-examined this week. He will appear in the courtroom tomorrow.
Ms. Hasan, do you want to respond to Mr. Gajic? Or Mr. McCloskey, you have the floor.
MR. McCLOSKEY: Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Brunborg is my witness so he will be ready to start on Tuesday and it looks like we are going to take up most of Monday with other witnesses, and his reports of 2009 have been part of our motion for a long time. The Defence has been on notice of those reports and we merely want to get them a 65 ter number so that I can ask him briefly about them when he testifies. So we are satisfied with our motion and that we now see what the Defence has said but I don't think anything else need be said unless you have some questions. Thank you.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: The Chamber will consider the application and the statement of the Defence, and we will come back to that matter in the 9436 course of today.
I have to raise two other problems. There was a problem with some documents marked for identification related to Witness Dr. Haglund, and there was some discussion between the parties about translation of some of these documents. Did the parties reach an agreement on that? Which of these documents should be translated? Mr. McCloskey?
MR. McCLOSKEY: We haven't reached anything formal yet, but we did show the Defence some of the material that hadn't been translated and it was largely massive charts and numbers which Mr. Gajic agreed did not need to be translated so we'll get together again and see if there is anything that he does feel needs to be translated to see what we could either agree on or agree to disagree on but we are getting closer. Just other things took over but we'll get back together and I'm sure as we always do.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. We are awaiting your common position.
The third point, documents tendered and received by the Chamber pursuant to the 92 bis decision. In the meantime we received a list of 19 of these documents which have no translation yet. We have to reverse these documents from admitted documents to marked for identification pending translation. These 19 exhibits, I think it is the best way to read it out into the record by the registrar, so that we have it clear on the record that they are only marked for identification pending translation. 9437
THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the following documents shall be marked for identification, reclassified from exhibit status. P1538E, P1538F, P1538G, P1541C, P1542C, P1542D, P1543C, P1544C, P1562C, P1563C, P1565B, P1569B, P1569C, P1571B, P1660, P1661, P1677, P1678, and P1690. Thank you, Your Honours.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Are there other matters to raise at this point in time? I don't think so.
The witness should be brought in, please. We are turning into closed session to enable the witness to enter the courtroom because of protective measures of face distortion.
(5 lines redacted)
THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Again, good morning, sir, as you can see there are only two judges on the Bench today, but different from last Thursday, but this is according to our rules. The affirmation to tell the truth you made last Thursday still applies. And Ms. Hasan is continuing the cross-examination -- the examination-in-chief. Ms. Hasan.
MS. HASAN: Good morning, Your Honours.
WITNESS: MILE SIMANIC [Resumed] 9438
[Witness answered through interpreter] Examination by Ms. Hasan: [Continued]
Q. Good morning, Mr. Simanic. In July 1995 were there any other sources other than the 5th Engineering Battalion stationed in the Konjevic Polje area?
A. In Konjevic Polje, in July 1995, there was a police check-point manned by the police forces. They worked in shifts and I had absolutely no insight in their work because they worked according to their plans and their orders.
Q. And which police are you referring to?
A. They were in the school. They had the permanent check-point at the intersection in Konjevic Polje. Its purpose was to monitor the road, I suppose most probably because that's where they were most of the time.
Q. Do you recall the uniform they were wearing?
A. As far as I could see, the uniforms were blue, camouflage blue.
Q. All right. The 5th Engineering Battalion, was it subdivided into companies?
A. The 5th Engineering Battalion existed only in paper as a battalion because the manpower was maybe as high as a company. However, it was divided into companies but those companies were very small. So they only held a formal title of company, however, the units themselves were smaller and contained a smaller number of soldiers.
Q. Can you tell me the names of those companies?
A. First, there was the Pioneer Company, then there was the company for roads and bridges, then there was the construction company or 9439 engineering company, I'm not quite sure what the name was. And then there was the Pontoon Company.
Q. In the days following the fall of Srebrenica, the 11th, 12th and 13th of July 1995, was the 5th Engineering Battalion under any threat?
A. I'm not quite sure what kind of threat you have in mind. However, we learned from the soldiers who would come from their rest periods what was going on in the surroundings. We also had another big problem. Two of our guards, two of our soldiers, were wounded at the guard post number 6.
Q. What did you learn about what was going on in your surroundings?
A. We learned what is contained in a report. A group of the B and H army from Srebrenica is moving through the region. Some of them are already hors de combat, others not yet. So we did not know exactly what the situation was. We tried to solve our situation as best as we could by providing security for our own barracks bearing in mind the number of men that we had at our disposal which was quite low at the moment.
Q. And when you say you were providing security, was that defending against this group of people that were coming through?
A. I cannot tell you that through the barracks itself any of the groups passed, but we heard some things and we had a duty to provide security to the barracks. It was also our permanent duty, even if the situation was not as it was, because the barracks contained the warehouse of ammunition and ordnance.
Q. And what exactly did you do to secure the barracks and the depot containing the materials? 9440
A. Well, we reinforced our guard posts. We also reinforced the security between the guard posts, and we secured a minefield, because with the number of men we had, we couldn't provide a high-quality security to the zone of the barracks. That's why, instead, we used minefields on the left and right side of the road when you look from Konjevic Polje in the direction of Bratunac.
Q. And did any of the companies of your battalion have combat tasks?
A. What kind of combat tasks do you have in mind?
Q. Well, any combat tasks, engaging the enemy.
A. Look, if you consider laying out a minefield a combat task, then I can tell you that that was the basic task of the Pioneer Company. On the other hand, if you are referring to ambushes that I mentioned in my previous statements, that was something that was done solely as part of the security of the barracks and the minefield. So whenever we had enough manpower, we would usually during the night establish ambushes, that's how we were told to call them, and I suppose that's what is contained in the reports and that was only between the exits and the minefields. During the day on the other hand, because the visibility was better, we only had guard posts and we had a minimal number of men manning the guard posts.
Q. Do you recall the members of your battalion that were wounded at this time?
A. Right then, while this was going on, I was not in Konjevic Polje but I knew those people because they were members of the battalion. They were older people. In fact, most of the members of the battalion were 9441 older people. We couldn't send them into action or to any sort of work because they were either unable to work or they could work only little.
Q. How did you learn that these soldiers were injured?
A. When I returned to Konjevic Polje, then I learned that they were wounded.
Q. Do you recall when you returned to Konjevic Polje?
A. I think it was the same day, in the evening. I think so. I can't remember it exactly right now because it was a long time ago.
MS. HASAN: May we have 65 ter 2082 displayed on the screen, please?
Q. This is a report dated 14th July 1995, and it has a reference number of 107-2.
Sir, could you just review this document, because I'm going to ask you a few questions about it in a moment.
If I can just request the assistance of the court usher to hand the original to the witness to take a look at.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes.
Q. Could you tell us what this document is?
A. As far as I can see, this is a document that contains information about the wounded, and it was addressed to the superior command, and here you can see it's the Drina Corps command.
Q. Whose name does the document bear?
A. The command of the 5th Engineering Battalion.
Q. Sir, do you recognise the signature on the first page of that 9442 document?
A. I'm not sure whether I signed it or not, but it does look like my signature, because you have to bear in mind that my signature usually varies. You can see the same thing if you look at the two different documents. You will see that I usually don't sign it the same way.
Q. And can you -- can we just turn to the second page of this document?
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before you do that, I would like to ask the witness if he can see the typed name above the signature, what is written there?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mile Simanic.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: This is your name?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: At the time, have you been the deputy commander of this battalion?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, I was. I was the deputy commander of the battalion.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Ms. Hasan.
Q. So on this second page, there is a stamp on the bottom of it. Does that also -- whose name is written there and can you tell us the title and -- and whether that's your signature?
A. Deputy commander, Major Mile Simanic, the same applies that I said earlier, the signatures are different. It's probably my signature but ... 9443
Q. What information were you forwarding to the Drina Corps command through this report?
A. As you can see here, this is data about wounded persons in the 5th Engineering Battalion on the 13th of July, I think. It's an extraordinary report or event.
Q. Did you report to the Drina Corps command about these wounded soldiers? Was this pursuant to an order?
A. As we can see here, there was an order, I'm not familiar with the order, this was done by the administrative person who was in charge of all of that in our unit.
Q. Was it your practice to report to the Drina Corps command any time soldiers were wounded?
A. I think that it was. Well, it just turned out that I was there. Had the commander been there, he would have done it because we didn't have any wounded persons, any wounded soldiers, before.
Q. And it states here that the soldiers were wounded while executing a combat task. Can you tell me, then, since you were there, what combat tasks these soldiers were engaged in?
A. As I said, I wasn't there when it actually happened. Their combat task was to secure the barracks.
Q. Okay. I'm going to turn to another document, that's 65 ter --
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Ms. Hasan, are you tendering this document?
MS. HASAN: Yes, I can do so at this. I would like to offer it into evidence.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received. 9444
THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned exhibit number P1767, thank you.
MS. HASAN: If we could now turn to 65 ter 0012? Sorry, that's 00112.
Q. This appears to be an interim report. It's dated 13 July 1995, one day before the previous report we just looked at. Who were you -- if you could just review this document.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Ms. Hasan, is it possible to use the other microphone, to minimise the noise of the typing on that desk? Yes, it's much better now, thank you very much.
MS. HASAN: Yes, Your Honour.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I've looked at it.
Q. And who were you reporting to through this document?
A. It says that the interim report is being submitted to the Drina Corps command.
Q. And do you recognise the signature at the bottom of that page?
A. Yes. As I said before, it's similar to my signature. As for whether I signed it or not, well, the important thing is that what happened was so. It happened.
Q. Can you tell me what is written on top of your signature, right by the stamp?
A. Above my signature, it says, "Mile Simanic."
Q. Can you tell me the purpose, then, of this interim report?
A. To inform the Drina Corps command and for them to do something to 9445 draw attention, because there were very few of us, to draw attention to the fact that we were being threatened, under threat, in that area. I must repeat here, it says correctly, during a combat assignment, at guard post number 6, that is the most forward guard post, and it's the closest to the beginning of a minefield.
Q. All right. And can you tell from this document when these soldiers were wounded?
A. It says here that they were wounded on the 13th of July, at approximately 0800 hours.
Q. And you testified that you arrived in Konjevic Polje after these soldiers were wounded.
A. Yes. After the soldiers were wounded.
Q. And in light of this report, this interim report, and the previous report we looked at, which was dated 14th July 1995, would you have arrived in Konjevic Polje in the evening of the 13th of July 1995?
A. As far as I can remember, it's possible, but I don't really remember exactly when I arrived.
Q. In the first line of this, this report reads, "On 13th July 1995 an unusual incident occurred during which the following were wounded in carrying out their combat tasks in the struggle against enemy extremists and civilians infiltrated in the region of Pobudje Brdo" - excuse me for the pronunciation - "Konjevic Polje at around 0800 hours at guard post number 6."
Are these the people -- are the enemy extremists and civilians referred to here the people you were mentioning that were passing through 9446 the region?
A. Yes. Probably they were meant by that, they were passing through. As far as I was informed and as far as I heard, they escaped so you couldn't really establish it quite specifically.
MS. HASAN: May we have this report tendered as the next exhibit?
JUDGE FLUEGGE: May I put an additional question to the witness? If I'm not mistaken, you are referring to the same event in this document as in the previous document we have seen; is that correct?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. It's the same -- it's the same event.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can you tell me the reason why this event was reported to the Drina Corps command the same day twice?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm a reserve officer, so I don't understand military terminology or military administration all that well, so the administrator who was in charge, he was doing all these things. He says, "This is how it should be done" and this is how he did it, and I signed it. That's how it went, more or less.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you, this document will be received as an exhibit as well.
THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned Exhibit number P1768, thank you.
MS. HASAN: May we just have the court usher retrieve the original document from the witness, and perhaps, if Your Honours, if you would like to take a look at it.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, please. 9447
MS. HASAN: Now, that is the first report we looked at. It's report dated the 14th of July 1995, which refers to the injured soldiers.
Q. Sir, the Pioneer Company, where were they located on the 11th, 12th and 13th of July 1995?
A. We never used the company in its full composition at one place, so there were several places. I don't remember exactly how many places there were. One of them was at an elevation, Vis, it's a construction site in the area of the Kalesija municipality, the place is called Osmaci. There was a group also that was doing de-mining in one location. I'm trying to remember the name of the place. I can't remember the name right now. It's in the direction of Srebrenica, as you're going to Skelani, this was also a minefield that needed to be de-mined so I think they kind of came back in that period sometime. Some soldiers are always resting. A number of them were supposed to be at the passive reflector. This is a facility where some rocks needed to be mined. I can't remember exactly where that was. There was also a number of soldiers who went to de-mine a place behind Milici towards Srebrenica, behind Derventa. There was a road that was mined so they went to clear those mines there.
Q. What about the road and bridge company? Where were they located on the 11th, 12th and 13th of July?
A. None of our companies was alone in any construction site. We combined them because we did it according to the needs at the time. We combined the personnel. A number of them were at Vis, in the Kalesija municipality, as Osmaci, one of them at the reflector location above Vlasenica. A number were supposed to be carrying out preparations to 9448 build an electricity power line from Vlasenica to Konjevic Polje, to the approach roads there. Also, there was a number who was supposed to be in the Bisina barracks above Sekovici. I cannot give you the exact days and the number of men but this is something that you learn only after the tasks are completed. You draw up a report and then this is something that is then mentioned in the report, who carried out certain assignments, what was expended of the material in the execution of the task and how much time was needed to complete the task.
Q. The engineering company of your battalion, where were they located and what were they doing during this same time period?
A. The engineering company, actually we called it the Construction Company, comprised skilled men. They were carpenters, construction workers, builders, and they mostly worked in places where there was some work on buildings, let's say, high-rise buildings or other buildings, needed by other units and higher-ranking units. A number were at the Bisina barracks. There was a barracks building that was being built there. A number were deployed among the other units at other construction sites, as needed. And then also a number of them were resting.
Q. Where was the Logistics Company at this time?
A. There was no logistics company. It was actually a platoon that had five or six women and a number of men, and they were billeted at Konjevic Polje.
Q. Did you have a duty to report back to the Drina Corps command when any of the tasks that they ordered were completed? 9449
A. Each assignment proceeded pursuant to an order. We couldn't do any assignments unless there was an order to do them. After each such assignment we would submit a report with the exact number of people engaged on it, what was spent of material and equipment, how much time was required, and this report is then submitted to the superior command.
Q. Do you recall following that procedure in July of 1995?
A. I don't see why it wouldn't have been followed. I don't know exactly what you mean.
Q. Sir, we've looked at some of the reports that bear your signature, that went up to the Drina Corps command. We've seen the interim report. We've seen some of the other reports that were submitted pursuant to orders. Was there any other duty for your battalion to report to the Drina Corps command?
A. I answered that, that we were duty-bound to submit reports and we submitted the reports.
Q. How -- how often were these reports submitted to the Drina Corps command?
A. You mean upon completion of the task?
Q. Sorry, no, I was asking whether there were -- was any other duty for your battalion to report to the Drina Corps command about the activities of the various companies.
A. You mean combat reports?
A. We were obliged to do that, and we sent them all the time. The administrative person was the one who took care of that. 9450
Q. And what form of communication was used to submit these combat reports?
A. This was delivered by hand. It would always say, "By courier" but there were no couriers in the sense that somebody especially came for that. It was more likely that somebody would be going to Vlasenica anyway and as they were going they would take the report and submit it.
Q. And how often did you submit these reports to the Drina Corps?
A. On a daily basis.
Q. When were you required to submit the reports by, what time of day?
A. I am not really able to say until by what time of day. These reports were not all that important to me. Nobody harried us, nor was it important at what time of the day it arrived. Sometimes we would even be a whole day late. It depended on what time or when somebody would leave for Vlasenica, and that's when the report would be sent.
Q. Who signed these reports?
A. I would sign them, the commander would, when he was there, but if neither of us was there, somebody else would sign it, probably the duty officer would do that when it had to be sent.
Q. Where was the commander Avramovic on the 11th, 12th and 13th of July?
A. At the time, he was on leave. I think his wife and daughter had come. I don't know exactly where he was. Somewhere in Serbia.
Q. Given his absence during that time period, whose responsibility was it to sign off on these reports? 9451
A. I mentioned this earlier. If I was there, I would sign it. Sometimes I knew that I wouldn't be there at a certain time so I would just sign a blank report. We didn't really attach -- well, we were not that important actually. In a way, we were kind of tenants there. I mean maybe this is not appropriate military terminology but we didn't have an area of responsibility like the infantry units did. The place where we were was in the area of responsibility of another brigade. I think this was on the triangle between Bratunac, Srebrenica and Milici. So I'm not really sure exactly whose area of responsibility it was.
MS. HASAN: May we now have 65 ter 1910 displayed on the screen, please? And if I could just request again the assistance of the Court usher to hand the original to the witness?
JUDGE FLUEGGE: It would be helpful.
Q. Sir, if you could just take a moment to review and let me know when you're done.
A. I've read it.
Q. Sir, this report -- there is an indication on the first page of this report that this is a regular combat report. Would that have been one of the daily reports written to the Drina Corps command?
A. Well, yes. It's a regular daily report, so that's what it should have, yeah.
Q. What is the date of this report?
A. The 14th of July 1995 is what it states.
Q. And if you could just turn the page, turn your original, to the 9452 second page, and on e-court in English version it's the third page, B/C/S version the second page, could we just have the English then to the third page? Sorry, my mistake. I apologise. It's page 4 on e-court.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: In the English.
Q. Sir, could you tell us whose name is written right near that stamp on the bottom of that page?
A. The name is Mile Simanic, that's my name.
Q. And do you recognise that signature?
A. Well, it does look like mine, as I said.
Q. Does that -- the text on top of your name there also state your title?
A. Yes, it says Major and Deputy Commander.
Q. Would you please now read aloud the text written under the first paragraph of this document so if we could revert back to page 1 of the B/C/S -- okay, I'll -- perhaps it's easier if I just read it and that is, the first page of the English and the first page of the B/C/S. It reads: "1, the enemy: A large enemy group was infiltrated into the region of Pobudje Brdo and the region of Konjevic Polje. Units of the 5th Engineering Battalion and the MUP, Ministry of Interior, successfully resisted the enemy. About 1.000 to 1.500 enemy civilians and soldiers were arrested and killed."
Sir, do you remember what you said when you were first shown this document by the Office of the Prosecutor?
A. When do you mean? Here in the courtroom? 9453
Q. No, this could have been during an interview that you had with the Office of the Prosecutor in 2006.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Gajic?
MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, just to correct the transcript, it seems to me that Ms. Hasan read correctly the version in the English language. However, it does not correspond to the version in the Serbian language as between the words "killed", or rather I'm sorry, "Arrested" and the word "killed" there is no conjunction "and".
JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would like to ask the witness to read the last sentence of the first paragraph into the record.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can do that. The gentleman is right and I wanted to note that while reading but it's better that he did it. It says, "Arrested, killed, around 1.000 or up to 1.500 enemy civilians and soldiers." So there is no conjunction "and".
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Did you read the -- this sentence literally? Can you please do it again, just read the sentence.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. "Arrested, were killed, around 1.000 to 1.500 enemy civilians and soldiers."
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Ms. Hasan, please carry on.
Q. Mr. Simanic --
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Before you carry on, Mr. Gajic has another comment.
MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, just to correct the transcript, between the word "arrested" "were" and "killed" there were no 9454 commas in the original text.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: In the original text, I don't see any comma. Thank you. Ms. Hasan, please carry on.
Q. Sir, do you remember your exact words when you were first shown this document by the OTP in an interview in 2006?
A. I think that I just glanced at this at the time, and that I said, "Oh, my God."
Q. This information that is in this first paragraph of the report, where did it come from?
A. You see, when I said that as a battalion we did not have a zone of responsibility, the battalion also does not have trained personnel who would do that. So mostly the infantry battalions and bigger formations have intelligence men who are in charge of such things. We did not have this, and the information was received from our soldiers who were returning from rest, because we did not have any official information from the higher commands.
Q. The way you received this information, was it the same way you received the information about the wounded soldiers that we've previously discussed?
A. Well, the wounded soldiers were something that could be seen and something that happened in Konjevic Polje itself. And this was something that happened somewhere. It doesn't say here where it happened. It's the general area.
Q. Since you didn't -- as I understand you to have just testified 9455 that you didn't have any intelligence of your own in the battalion, did you rely on your soldiers for information from -- coming from the field, from the region?
A. Not from the region but, rather, our own soldiers who were returning from the places where they were taking rest. They would come back to Konjevic Polje and tell us what was happening, and this was probably included in order to turn attention of this unit to the fact that it could have problems. The higher command was supposed to check that and if it decided to react or do something about it, then it would order that unit or some other unit, which would step up the security in Konjevic Polje. But we never received such an order or such a piece of information. So we had to shift for ourselves, and I must note that at that moment, in Konjevic Polje, we did not have many troops available. There were only about 20 men or so. The weapons were really not good. These were old M-48 rifles and semi-automatic rifles, hardly a few automatic rifles. So that with that number of men and with such weapons, we fared pretty well and it's good that we didn't sustain greater losses.
Q. The killing of enemy soldiers and civilians as referred to in this paragraph, would you have considered that to be a crime?
A. Look, for me, the biggest crime is when someone kills somebody who is tied. I don't know where, when and in what manner this happened. So I really cannot pass any personal judgement about that, whether it happened in combat or I don't know in what other way. When a war is being waged, you always have both the dead and the wounded on all sides.
Q. If these people were first arrested and then killed, would that, 9456 in your view, have been a crime?
A. Well, I am not a lawyer. I cannot say something like that. But for me personally, that really would be a crime. But it's not on me to establish anything and to judge anything.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir?
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I have an objection because the witness is being asked to give a legal qualification and he explained earlier that in the report where it says, "Arrested killed," does not specify whether they were arrested or killed and whether his troops just heard it from soldiers who were passing by. He said that he didn't see it and he didn't have at his disposal a service which could check that and collect the relevant information, thank you.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Indeed, we received this answer and another answer to the last question. Please carry on, Ms. Hasan.
Q. The report then continues, and it outlines the tasks of the battalion. Under paragraph 2(a), we see a reference to the 1st Pioneer's company and it talks about building obstacles and fortifications in the area of the Vis facility and clearing mines in the region of Derventa. This, as well as -- sorry, as well as the fact that a squad was sent to clear mines in the Zeleni Jadar/Skelani region which had come back at that point.
Is this what we were discussing before, when you were outlining to me what the Pioneer Company was doing on the 11th, 12th and 13th of 9457 July? Does that accord with what you told me?
A. Well, you just read it. It means that this unit was never engaged to carry out one specific task, as a whole. Usually it had to carry out more tasks than it could. So when this unit came back from Skelani, the place is called Pribicevac, where they worked on de-mining, it came back and then it continued de-mining in Derventa. It says here "Sastavi," but it should say "Sastavci." It's a road leading from Derventa in the direction of Srebrenica. And some of them were working on the Vis facility. That's Osmaci, on Kalesija, it's quite far away, and another part maybe one or two soldiers, I'm not sure how many, remained in the barracks, were engaged on security tasks. I must say that as for Konjevic Polje, as a sector in geographical terms, one couldn't say where Konjevic Polje ends and Pobudje Brdo begins. One doesn't know where the border between municipalities are. I didn't know that at the time, nor was that important for us. But on Pobudje hill, where there was a power line leading towards Bratunac, there was a minefield, so that here the overlapping of these geographical notions cannot be taken literally because Pobudje as a hill belongs once again to the general sector, and therefore the border line is not quite clear.
Q. Is the information contained in this paragraph, then, accurate?
A. Well, it should be correct because it was written by a man who collected all this. It was the desk officer. He would collect all that and then type up the reports and he rarely made any mistakes.
Q. Let's move on to subparagraph (b) which is on second page of the English version. It talks about the activities of the road and bridge 9458 company, that they were working for the Vlasenica PTT on a relay at Pogled, that they were constructing defensive positions in the area of the Vis facility and organising ambushes and engaging in combat activities with the enemy. Again, here would you say that the information in this subparagraph would -- was -- is accurate?
A. Well, perhaps this could be a slip of the pen of the person who did this. I don't think that the road and bridge company could obstruct roads but it did do the works in the area of Vis. When something is obstructed it's usually the minefields that they mean here, and this was what the company was doing, and it was definitely located in the area of Vis.
Q. Then let's move to subparagraph (c), the engineering company or what you've referred to as the construction company, it states that they were carrying out construction work as ordered by the Drina Corps command in Crna Rijeka, at the Bisina barracks and at the Zaklopaca Limekiln does that accurately reflect the activities of the engineering company at that time?
A. It should reflect, perhaps, I don't know, because I cannot see it anywhere here, we also had a workshop in Vlasenica, which was part of the engineering company but it was a separate entity in Vlasenica, and it was in charge of minor repairs of buildings. It had a joiner and a painter and an electrician. So there were several repairmen, seven or eight of them, there. They were separated, and I see that they are not mentioned anywhere here among the work tasks but they were in another location. I'm not sure what the right military word for that is. They were 9459 attached to the Drina Corps command and they would reach agreements about works and tasks directly with them. Perhaps this is the reason why they are not included in the report.
Q. Now if we can move to page 3 of the English version, under subparagraph 5, that would be page 2 of the B/C/S version, there is a reference here to an extraordinary event and it talks about two conscripts who were injured on the 13th of July 1995 at 0800 hours. Are these the same soldiers we were discussing earlier today?
A. Yes. These are the very same soldiers, Trifko Bandjur, Spaso Bandjur and Vasilije Orasanin.
Q. Now under subparagraph 6, under the heading "logistics," it reads:
"Preparatory activities need to be carried out for the loading machine which will be engaged to bury the killed enemy soldiers. 50 litres of oil to be assigned for the task."
Do you see that written there, sir?
A. Yes, I can see it.
Q. Now, you have the original version in front of you. Do you see that there is a circle around "50 litres"?
Q. And if we can now turn to the -- to subparagraph 9, if you look at subparagraph 9, which is -- yes, on the last page of the English version, it states under requests, "assign 50 litres of oil for the above task," and there is a handwritten note there that says, "Done." Would that have been -- would that handwritten note and the circle around the 9460 "50 litres" written with blue ink on the previous page of the English version have been a notation that you completed?
A. No. It wasn't us who entered the note. We just typed it out. And I don't know who wrote this note.
Q. Now, were you aware that your unit was involved in the burial of killed enemy soldiers?
A. I didn't know that.
Q. Would your battalion make equipment available for projects that were not completed by your battalion but by others, if so ordered by the Drina Corps command?
A. Well, you see, the unit did everything only by order of the Drina Corps, and whatever the Drina Corps ordered to a subordinated unit, a battalion, it would issue an order and the order would specify in what manner the task would be carried out, whether we, if we had at our disposal such machines, would give such a machine, together with the operator, to somebody else, or we would be in charge of the task and then other machines would be attached to our unit. We did not have such cases when machines were attached to our unit but there were cases when we had to give our machines to others when roads were being built, if we had a machine at our disposal we would give it to another unit and it would be engaged for the need of this unit or for civilian needs. But then, in such a case, all the logistics and everything else, the manner in which this would be done and the tempo and so on, this would be given to the machine operator by the respective unit.
I would also add that when it says under item 6, "logistics 9461 security," that it's necessary to carry out certain works for the work of a loader which will be engaged on burying. The loader is not a machine for digging. It just loads earth and other materials. There are other machines which are used for digging and which are specifically made in order to perform that.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can we please turn back to item 6 of the English version? Thank you. Ms. Hasan, please carry on.
Q. Sir, there were massive graves that were being dug out in the vicinity of where your battalion was, and you've testified here that you had construction equipment in your battalion, including a loader. Are you telling us today that your equipment was not used in these massive operations that were going on?
A. As far as I'm aware, no. During the time that I spent there, I never issued such an order.
Q. And if we turn to subparagraph 8, this is on page -- we've got the page already displayed. Under conclusions, forecasts and decisions, it states:
"Continue organising ambushes to fight the enemy, infiltrated in the Pobudje hill, shift the focus of the fight against them there, destroy the enemy and liberate Pobudje hill as soon as possible. Continue with the 5th engineering tacks, increase security and vigilance measures in the region of Konjevic Polje."
Would you say that this assessment or conclusion accurately reflects the measures that had to be taken at that time? 9462
A. Well, I must note once again, Pobudje Brdo, Pobudje hill, Konjevic Polje, these are the geographic names which are used all the time. Fighting against enemy with 20 men outside of a barracks, in order to do that you would have to have Special Forces rather than the old men that we had at our disposal. We tried to secure Konjevic Polje as a barracks as best as we could, but even without an order and let alone with an order issued to that effect, the barracks had to be secured, all of it. And as for the minefield, it began to the right of Konjevic Polje in the direction of Bratunac. So on the right-hand side, between the brook and the road, that was where the farthest guard post was. So we were supposed to close it off and not to let anyone pass through the minefield. It was a problem at night because we could not even change the guard. It was a greater problem at night. And it was rather a problem to secure all this. And the man who drew up this document wanted to illustrate the way that we had to work in the field or rather in Konjevic Polje, and once again, it's clear that we had to be engaged more in the field when it says, "Continue the work in which units of the 5th Engineering Battalion are charged with," it means that we were continuing to do one and the same thing, because when the superior command did not order us to bring back our men from the construction site, that meant that we normally just had to continue working as we had been doing up until that moment.
MS. HASAN: Thank you. It's 10.30 and perhaps a good time to take the break.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Could you indicate how much 9463 time you will need after the break to continue and finish your examination-in-chief?
MS. HASAN: I won't need -- I will probably need about 15 minutes to complete my examination-in-chief.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Mr. Gajic?
MR. GAJIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I just noted a small mistake, on page 1 in line 21, it says, "Rule 74 bis" and it should say "Rule 94 bis."
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. It was a long time ago at that parts of the transcript. Before we break, I just would like to put one question to the witness.
If we take it that you signed this document, did you sign it after having read it?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] How should I tell you? I rarely read those documents. Actually I didn't read them. Because what was important or at least what I was told that was important is that we should simply write it out, everything where the G unit was engaged so that we could perform the duties that we can bearing in mind the number of men we had. And after each task we had to draft a report and that was the most difficult part to do. The most important thing to write out was how much fuel we spent because that was the most critical element in the whole setup. Excuse me, so I'm not an active officer. I'm a reserve officer. So there are some of my signatures that I indeed I did write down, although actually if you ask me I think it wasn't up to me to sign it as a deputy, because if the commander wasn't present, we would not do 9464 the handover. I don't know why he left and there was no handover which means that actually he was still a commander, not me. So this document should have been signed by a commander and then my signature should have been there as signing for the commander.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. We must have our first break now and we will resume at 11.00.
--- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
--- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: So as you can see, the Chamber is now complete again.
Ms. Hasan, please continue.
MS. HASAN: May we just have 65 ter 1910 displayed on the screen again?
Q. Sir, the fuel that we've been discussing, referenced in subparagraph 6, as well as paragraph 9, does that fuel relate to the mentioning in paragraph 1 of the people that were killed?
A. No. It does not relate to that. Since it is the logistics people who were requesting it, and this is the logistic department, they are simply requesting it from the higher command. I think that this was drafted by a professional man who heard that there were some killed people and decided to request it. If we receive such a request, then the use of this fuel can only be in accordance with a special order. As far as I know, we did not receive such an order and also we did not receive this fuel. It's a small quantity and nobody brought it over to us, as far as I know. So this wasn't actually used. And this thing that it 9465 says here, that it has been resolved, it means that somebody else wrote it. Only they know why it was done and how it was done. We didn't do it, and as far as I know, I'm not sure whether it was actually used.
Q. Sir, in relation to the first paragraph, which refers to the people being killed, why did you, when you first were shown this document by the Office of the Prosecutor, say, "Oh, my God"?
A. Because at first, I didn't read the whole of the report. In the first moment I thought that it was this unit who did it. And to me, it was a crazy thought that 20 soldiers, old and weak, could do something like this, while we only performed the tasks related to the security of the barracks. That's why I reacted like this. Because I have to emphasise it once again, I'm a reserve officer, and I simply took this as a template. Actually, I didn't write it myself. This is how these things were done all the time. And the administrative person drafted it in this particular way simply because I think that somebody had started it earlier on, probably the commander, and then the reports were drafted in this way. If you ask me, it's illogical that the
5th Engineering Battalion would have to contain anything related to the police company, because we didn't know anything about it. I don't know why it found its place in this report. Except maybe in order to inform the higher command that the police company is here in case they didn't know.
Q. Sir, you've mentioned a few times now that you were a reserve officer but can you tell us what your position was at the time this report was sent to the Drina Corps command? 9466
A. All the time, I performed the function of the deputy commander of the Engineering Battalion. I said that at the beginning. We divided the tasks between us and we used the same system of work all the time. So I did all the construction works, while other works related to administration and the military part of business so to speak, that's how I used to call it, I didn't do because I didn't know how to do these things. So it was the commander who did these things.
Q. This document that we are looking at, as the deputy commander, were you responsible for the information contained in that report that went to the Drina Corps command?
A. Well, according to the engagement of this unit and the rules of engagement of this unit, I suppose I should be, but take a look at this. How could I be responsible for this police company that is also mentioned in here? There was no connection between the military and the police at this level. It never existed. I also said it already, I think, I don't know if you can probably find it in some transcript, but there was even some antagonism between the military and the police because the police used to be better supplied than the military, and also had at its disposal a far better logistics. So this antagonism actually grew by day.
Q. Sir, I'm not quite sure I understand your answer to my question which was not whether you're responsible for the police but whether you were responsible, having signed this document, for the information contained in the report.
A. I don't know how to answer. That's the essence of the problem. 9467 Am I responsible for information here? Well, take a look. Here, we find the police company mentioned, about which I know nothing. It was the administrative person who drafted it, who took care of all these things, and I simply signed it in hurry or sometimes even I signed blank papers so that they could go out as quickly as possible. This report wasn't really that important. We had separate reports for each construction site and that was important. When you drafted a report about the construction site, that was something very important, and then you really had to stand behind every single litre of the fuel reported, every single man-hour reported, and for that we had very accurate logs.
Q. Sir, you testified here that you were -- you arrived in Konjevic Polje after the two soldiers of your battalion were wounded. Can you tell me when did you hear about these 1.000 to 1.500 men as mentioned in paragraph 1 of this document having been killed?
A. I didn't say that I learned about it. That's what happened that day, I suppose. Because the 14th of July means that it happened the day before it, because I suppose that when you write a report on the 14th of July then you actually report about what happened on the 13th of July. So it was simply rumours among our soldiers, and that's why it found its place here.
Q. Do you believe, sir, that 1.000 to 1.500 people were killed, as stated in this paragraph?
A. I can't either believe or disbelieve this. We don't have an organ which could determine that. This was more of an information to a superior command telling them that we learned that. And they can then go 9468 on and undertake certain measures in order to verify this information because we didn't have an intelligence organ or any other person who would be qualified to check this information because if we knew then we would probably say where they were and what they were doing.
Q. Okay. I would like to tender this document as the next exhibit.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: It will be received as an exhibit.
THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned Exhibit P1769. Thank you.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please -- I would like to have it on the screen because I would like to put an additional question related to this report to the witness. Ms. Hasan, have you finished this document?
MS. HASAN: Yes, I have and I was going to offer the original to Your Honours if you would like to take a look at it.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes, please. And I would like to ask the witness, this document is from the 14th of July. Where have you been that day?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't remember where I was that day. I said that after the wounding, I arrived, and that I found out only when I arrived that there were wounded. As far as my movements are concerned, I moved to all construction sites. You can see it here in the report, it says that the works are continuing on all the construction sites, and I had to go and ensure that the works went on, and those construction sites were quite far apart from each other. I had one in Bisina barracks, in the Sekovici municipality, then one above Vlasenica, then there was another construction site below Vlasenica, what's its 9469 name, Krecana and then there was another construction site that was in the preparation phase in Vlasenica so I had lots of work to do, and it wasn't my job simply to sit in Konjevic Polje. I had my tasks that I had to perform. That is why I can't tell you with any precision now where I was in each moment.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Have you been in Konjevic Polje that day?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean the 14th?
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's possible.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Can you recall having been in the administration of your battalion, where those people who are responsible for the administration are located?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's where we used to sit. We used a smaller house that had been destroyed earlier and then we converted it into small offices, and that's where we performed part of our tasks, when we were in Konjevic Polje.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Have you been in this location that day, 14th of July?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to tell you again that I really cannot remember for this date. It was a long time ago and I cannot remember all the dates and where I was on those dates. If I was there on the 13th, late in the evening, I probably wouldn't go back in the night. Maybe I would then go again to visit the construction sites in the morning on the 14th because that was the kind of programme I usually had so it is possible that I was there for a part of the 14th. 9470
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Who was your commander?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My commander was Milenko Avramovic, the commander.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Where was he that day?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was not in the unit. I already said that. He was on leave, I think, that his wife and his child visited him and I think that he was somewhere in Serbia with them.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: That means you were really in charge as the acting commander of your unit; is that correct?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, in a sense, conditionally speaking, yes, because wherever I was at the construction site, I was also in charge of that construction site. You know, when my commander left, we didn't do any formal handover of duties. He continued to be the commander and I continued to be the deputy, and we continued performing our tasks in accordance with our agreement, meaning that I would do the construction part of the business and he would take care of the military part, and administrative part.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: You told us that it happened that you signed blank pieces of paper. Do you recall how frequently you did that?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I couldn't do it often. There were just a few combat reports. When I had to leave earlier, and then I would simply sign a blank paper in order not to leave the combat report undrafted. You know, all these reports basically repeat its contents, and I was told that the most important part was the part about the use of the unit, meaning what the battalion was doing, but the rest 9471 simply contains information.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: How did you know in these cases when you signed blank pieces of paper where to put your signature?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, since the administrative person was a professional, he had an idea about how much text there was going to be approximately, and then he fitted it in.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Who was this administrative person you are referring to?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's written here, MB/MB. It was a staff sergeant who used to do all these things for us. He was old. He was either already retired or just about to retire. His name was Mirko but I don't know his last name. We used to call him Zajo.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Was he in a position to determine how many litres of oil you will need for carrying out this task?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. This is the logistics. He simply picked up those data. He would simply collect all the data from everybody and then he would formulate it into the sentences and the text later on. And then he would draft a report like this one.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Tell me: Is it permitted for a deputy commander to sign a report without knowing the text of the report? That means a blank piece of paper.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me tell you: You know, we would usually agree the contents, what he was going to write. We would agree on that beforehand. And this is not the kind of document -- or at least I was told so, the kind of document that would be important, 9472 because it wasn't a combat unit. This unit did not take part in carrying out the tasks. So we didn't really have to spell out each task. The only important thing was to say where the unit was and where the unit was used so that we wouldn't get a task that we would not be able to carry out due to insufficient manpower. So in most cases, these combat reports were rather stereotypic and simply repeated their contents.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: You just told me, in line 14 through 16, "You know, we would usually agree the contents, what he was going to write. We would agree on that beforehand."
Was it the case with this report as well?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I say "agree," what I mean is each of us who had to take part in this would write a certain part. For instance if there were some changes in the kind of the use of this unit. And then you would write what had to be changed in relation to the previous report. I also didn't know where all the units exactly were and where they were engaged. So the guy in charge of the logistics would write his own part, he would collect all these other data, and then he would draft it into the shape of a combat report.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: I would like to understand your -- the sentence, "each of us would who had to take part in this would write a certain part." Did you write a certain part?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's why I'll telling you all this. If you take, for instance, the use of the unit, if there were some changes or a part of the unit would arrive to Konjevic Polje, then I would only write down this particular part. For instance, the 1st 9473 Pioneer company arrived from carrying out a task. Or if I had issued an order or assigned a task, then I would write it down, and if there are no changes, then he would incorporate this and simply copy the parts that hadn't been changed.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: I understand your position. Can you nevertheless tell me which part of this report was written or drafted by you?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I told you, take for instance item number 2(A). Most probably it was I who said that this unit returned from de-mining of Zeleni Jadar. Most probably it was I who said that. He may have known it but I wrote it down because I knew it. If a unit goes to perform a certain task, it is done in accordance with an order because they have to act in accordance with that order. And then also this administrative person knows that such an order has been issued and he knows who went there and to carry out what task.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: And who was it who wrote the paragraph item number 1, "The enemy"?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. It must be the staff sergeant who wrote this, most probably, based on what he heard, because all of us heard this in Konjevic Polje, you know, people were talking about it. People were talking about certain problems, that there were some killed people, some captured people, and most probably he wrote it in in order to draw attention to this because there were very few of us in the barracks. So we were not secure and things were going around, around us, and we didn't know which things exactly were going around.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Are you saying that you were reporting rumours? 9474
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we had no other way to do things because our unit did not have an intelligence organ who could go out and establish this or double-check it.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: How could the Drina Corps command rely on your report signed by you, probably signed by you, in this combat report if there are only rumours? It's an official, regular, combat report.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, there are rumours. I told you that if there was a need to double-check this, then the corps would go and double-check it, or if they thought there was a need to double-check it and if they knew that that was a fact then they wouldn't double-check it and then they would have to act in accordance with their own conclusion to see whether we are safe or not. If we were safe, the 20 of us, then they probably wouldn't even write to us, and in case we why not safe and secure then they would issue us some other order, if that was necessary in their view. They could maybe even call some other forces who would then come and help us to secure the barracks in Konjevic Polje.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Did you come across an instance where somebody in your unit or somebody else signed instead of you, using your signature?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, let me tell you, I didn't really check these things.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: It seems to be quite important, that this is your signature or the signature of another person. Did you authorise another person to use your signature at any point in time?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I never authorised anybody. 9475 I told you my signature is never the same. Every time it turns out slightly different. I never thought that this signature was really something important.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Ms. Hasan, I would like to give back the original version of the report. Please carry on, Ms. Hasan. Judge Mindua has a question, sorry.
JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, sir. I don't know, you might have already answered this question. In the first paragraph, referring to the enemy, I see that it says that about a thousand to 1500 enemy civilians and soldiers were arrested and killed. Do you recall whether your battalion unit had arrested and then killed civilians?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sir, at no point did I say that our battalion made the arrests. Those 20 or so soldiers could not have done that. Our battalion only provided security for the barracks in Konjevic Polje, and that is the only task that we could have comfortably carried out in view of our numbers and the weapons that we had at our disposal. When I speak about our numbers, I also want to mention the age of the soldiers who were there. And again, it doesn't state there, "arrested and killed." What is meant there is that they were taken out of operation, but it's not known how many of them were killed or wounded or captured.
JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Fine. So you had about 20 men with you. But you haven't answered my question. Was it usual to arrest people and then to kill them? Have you ever seen such things, so people being arrested and then, afterwards, being executed? 9476
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not see that. And I think that this is not something usual. This should not be a usual thing.
JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Okay. The Presiding Judge has already asked the question that I wanted to ask, meaning why did you sign this paper, but you've already answered this question. Thank you.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Ms. Hasan. Sorry, Judge Nyambe has a question.
JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you. I just need to understand your testimony regarding to the compilation of a regular combat report as the one on the screen. Is it your evidence that more than one person contributed to the contents of this report?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to what I said before, and according to what was required, it had to be a number of people. I can also say something that I forgot to mention before, and that is that this report is drafted in the Ekavica dialect, and I, you may have been able to notice, speak in the Ijekavica dialect. This automatically means that a number of persons participated in the drafting of this report. I'm not a professional in those tasks. Perhaps I would have drafted a different report which would not correspond to what was required. And that's why there was a person there who was entrusted with doing that job, with drafting the report -- reports.
JUDGE NYAMBE: Okay. So you have different people writing the reports, inputting in this final report. How exactly did you input? Did you sit down, type your own portion, or did you write your report and give it to the person who finally finalised the report?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, nobody really wrote it 9477 properly. These would be just done along the general lines, adding only changes for a certain day, perhaps somebody requests -- would request that a certain change would be made in a particular part so this would be done very quickly and then the person would draft the report. At least, the way I understood it, the report doesn't have any weight because after that, it is used by the corps or by a larger unit, to understand what is going on in the field, in a particular unit, what the situation is, and what they would need to do. For example, to improve security or if people are not fully engaged to engage them on some other task and so on and so forth.
JUDGE NYAMBE: Finally, we have a document on the screen, which is a combat report, in which you had an input as an individual. Did you actually type this portion on the report or somebody else typed it?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I mentioned it before who drafted it and who typed it, usually at the end of the combat report you would have initials. Here it's MB/MB, so that would be the answer to your question, that would be the person who drafted the report. That person did everything. If it hadn't been for him, we wouldn't even have half these documents done in this particular way. Perhaps we would have done them, yes, this is it.
JUDGE NYAMBE: Thank you very much.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Now I have a follow-up question, sir. You said, answering a question by Judge Nyambe, "Perhaps somebody requests -- would request that a certain change be made in a particular part." How can I understand this answer? What does it mean? Somebody 9478 requests, particular -- to make a change in a particular part of the report? A change -- was there first a first draft and then a second draft after having made a change or was it a regular report sent every day and just with some additional remarks or what are you talking about?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what you mean, change the report. I didn't mean for anybody to change the report. What I meant was, for example, if there were changes then, for example, just briefly I would say the unit returned from de-mining, so then he would know which unit and then he would put that in, if that happened when I was there. If I wasn't there, he would gather all the information himself and write -- write it in the report.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: I have to put to you what you said to one of the last questions. Page 43, lines 17 and the following. "Well, nobody really wrote it properly. These would be just done along the general lines, adding only changes for a certain day, perhaps somebody requests -- would request that a certain change would be made in a particular part." What does that mean? I'm referring to your own words about changes. What kind of changes are you talking about?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Additions, something -- for example, I mentioned the 1st Pioneer company, the new thing would be that a part of that unit, I don't know how many men, came back from de-mining. So that would be a change in reference to a previous situation. So if I wrote that, I would write that just briefly, in case the person who was writing the report didn't know, then they would put that into the report. This is what I meant. Something new. 9479
JUDGE FLUEGGE: You just said, "So that would be a change in reference to a previous situation." Do you mean a previous situation or a previous report?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If it's not stated in the previous report, it would need to be put in the current report. Then we write down what happened. If I knew that such and such a unit returned, actually that group of people who went to Zeleni Jadar and Skelani for de-mining, I would just write, "The group returned from assignment in Pribicevac." And then he would just enter that, if it wasn't entered before.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: This doesn't help me to clarify the situation, especially in relation to the first paragraph.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's like this: Something that is new -- something new that happened, so if something new happened then that would be written in. I don't know if that would be entered into the previous day's report. I would write that just put it in general lines, write it by hand, saying a part of the unit came back from demining in Zeleni Jadar/Skelani and that was sufficient for him to check to see if he had entered that particular thing in the report from the previous day, whether that was something that he had already reported, and if not, then he would enter that regarding the engagement of the 1st Pioneer company.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: And the other colleagues of your unit who contributed to this report, did they do that in the same way as you did?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Most probably, if he wasn't there he -- if he was there, he would write it in, if he wasn't there he would 9480 give it to someone else saying, "Put that in, put that in," and that person would put that in and then do it, because who would know -- who else would know what was required by the logistics unit, what was lacking, what needed to be replenished, so on and so forth.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Who was it, I ask this question again, who gave the information which was put into paragraph 1, item 1, the enemy? There is a reference to the units of the 5th Engineering Battalion and the MUP. Who was it who gave this information so that the man who is just sitting in the office would be able to write that down?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This information is something that we heard from soldiers who were returning to Konjevic Polje from their rest period. They conveyed this information to us. And that man entered it most probably in order to draw attention to events that were taking place around us. We didn't know anything about that, whether we were in danger or not and to what degree we were in danger. That was supposed to indicate that the superior command would need to check and issue a -- an adequate order if necessary, order to us, how to behave. It was our duty, as soon as we came to Konjevic Polje, to provide security for those barracks. I don't know whether that would be something that would be done with six soldiers or four soldiers at the guard posts, depending on the number of men.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: If I understood you correctly, you and some others of your unit, you learned about this -- these 1.000 to 1.500 enemy people from your soldiers returning from the field; is that correct?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From the rest period. They would 9481 go home to rest for two or three days, then they would come back, they would report to Konjevic Polje, and then proceed to executing the same assignment or would be transferred to a different assignment.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: That was not my question. I wanted to know, if I understood you correctly, that you learned about these 1.000 to 1.500 people from the soldiers coming back; is that correct?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Judge Mindua has a final question.
JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, Witness. I would like to put a question to you. You see that this document has triggered many questions and, of course, the Chamber has to find out about this document, and as far as I'm concerned, it's the first paragraph, where it is stated that between 1.000 and 1.500 civilians and soldiers were arrested and killed. And the Chamber has to find out what has happened. So I've listened to what you said very carefully. You said that there was a person who was drafting the report, and I understand that this person had to draft the main parts of that report. Even in this Tribunal, when the Registrar submits a report to New York, many people contribute to the drafting of the report, many sections contribute to the report. But the person, the final person, who signs the document has to checkup and has to find out whether he's not giving wrong information to his superiors, so you are an educated man, sir. What does a signature mean for you? You may sign any document and then you can send them to your superiors and you never check what's in it? Because this is not a propaganda document which was sending to the radio or the television, you 9482 were informing your superiors in order for them to give follow-up orders. So I would like to ask you for a last time a question: Did you check up the information about the thousand to 1500 people, we are talking about civilians and soldiers, who were arrested and killed? So this would be the last time that I would ask you this question, witness.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sir, I replied and told you what I know, and that is that -- how we found out about it and what we found out. The unit where I was did not have any trained people who would be able to check this because this is something that is done, checked by the intelligence organ. We didn't have such an organ in the unit, and we had to somehow protect ourselves or, in a way, inform the superior command that we had heard that something was happening and that we didn't know what it was and that, of course, we were concerned about how things would develop. This is why this was put in, so that the superior command could check it because they also knew that we didn't have an intelligence organ who would be able to provide relevant data there that would be accurate. This is generally what we heard and what we reported to the superior command, and it was up to the superior command to react if there was a problem relating to the security of the unit.
JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Fair enough. So the report was not properly drafted. You might have used the verb "may" or "might" about a thousand to 1500 people might have been arrested and killed. Or for the first sentence, you could have said, "A large -- it is possible that a large enemy group was infiltrated," and then you could have added that you hadn't double-checked the information because for me, I still -- 9483 I still have a doubt, I'm still sceptical about the number of people who had been arrested and killed as stated in your report.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I mentioned that it was some 20 people. It's impossible that they would be able to do something like that, to provide security for the barracks and to do this. This is why this was put into the report so that the superior command would have to do something if they assessed that we were under threat because there were only a few of us. We were not properly armed, and elderly people could not really fight seriously in any type of enemy attack.
JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] So in other words, you wanted to disinform the superior command in order for them to react and you were expecting a positive reaction from them?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I was not able to establish whether this was erroneous information from the soldiers or not who were returning. I already mentioned that we didn't have an intelligence organ and this is why. Had I had an intelligence organ in the unit, then this would have been processed by the intelligence organ and they would have said, "Well, this is erroneous information. Please do not write that in the report." This is at least what I think and what I know about the way official correspondence is carried out in the military.
JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, sir.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Ms. Hasan, sorry for this lengthy interruption. You should proceed now.
Q. Sir, are you familiar with Kravica? 9484
A. You mean the place? The settlement of Kravica?
A. Yes. I know it. It's a settlement between Konjevic Polje and Bratunac.
Q. How many kilometres away from Konjevic Polje is Kravica?
A. I don't know precisely. I think it's about halfway between Konjevic Polje and Bratunac.
Q. Sir, you work in that area. Approximately how many kilometres is it from Konjevic Polje?
A. If I said halfway, then it's about 12, 13, 14 kilometres. That would be that, more or less.
Q. And have you seen the famous video that's been -- that was broadcast all over the world of dead bodies piled up in front of the Kravica warehouse? Have you seen that video?
A. I think that I didn't see that video footage, but I heard on television that they talked about it and about what was done there in Kravica.
Q. Were you aware that 1.000 plus bodies were exhumed from a mass grave in Glogova?
A. I did hear that after, once this exhumation was completed. Until then I wasn't aware of it.
Q. And how many kilometres is Konjevic Polje from Glogova?
A. Glogova, the place, is near Bratunac, as far as I know. It's very near Bratunac. It's some three to four kilometres from Bratunac, which means that it's some 20 kilometres away from Konjevic Polje, 9485 Glogova.
MS. HASAN: Your Honours, that concludes my examination-in-chief.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Mr. Tolimir, you may commence your cross-examination now.
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. Peace in this house, peace to all present. I would like today's day and the entire trial ends in accordance to God's will and not as I wish. I welcome the witness, I would like to wish him a pleasant stay here amongst us and also a pleasant and fortunate return home. I thank him for coming.
Cross-examination by Mr. Tolimir:
Q. Since we are speaking the same language I would like to ask you after I put the question to you and say thank you, I would like you to pause for some five seconds with your answer until the interpreter has translated and then you will be able to see actually the pace by watching the screen, which will show the progress of the translation. So you wait until the typing on the screen stops before you begin answering. After the examination-in-chief, today I -- the Prosecutor, Ms. Hasan, for you to be able to follow more easily I'm going to start from the more recent questions that were put to you.
On page 50 of this transcript, today, Judge Mindua - actually on page 48, line 1, Judge Mindua asked you about the number of prisoners your administrator entered as a piece of intelligence data into the collective daily report that was submitted to the corps command. You were also asked whether you checked this information. On the basis of 9486 that, my question is: Data about the enemy that is submitted to the superior command on the basis of your information, was that something that was checked by you or was that sent to the commands to be checked? If you don't have an intelligence organ, who is supposed to actually check the information that is being submitted? Thank you.
A. Well, you are much more knowledgeable in this area than I am, and that is why you're putting this question. I'm trying to explain this the whole time because we, in the unit, did not have a single organ that would be capable of checking this information. I, as a layman, if I can call myself that, in relation to military administration, was told that this would be something that the superior command would check and that they will give us information about how to proceed further. This is something that this warrant officer knew for sure, he was also a professional, so this is the way he did this particular thing.
Q. Thank you. Are you able to tell us if anyone of your acquaintances from the unit, from your lower-ranking units or superior unit, was accountable for providing inaccurate information about the enemy in each item of the report? Thank you.
A. I'm not aware that anyone was held accountable for inaccurate information that was submitted on the enemy situation. I was not held accountable, nor was I ever called out by anyone for providing this information.
Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us whether the information about the enemy, which is the first item of every report, are submitted on the basis of the information collected up to that point, and if they are not 9487 checked, can anyone be held responsible for that by the superior command? Thank you.
A. Well, I don't know that anyone was held responsible. I tell you that again. But we didn't have any way to check and this is why we would send them unchecked information and we waited for the response of the superior command.
Q. Thank you. Did you have soldiers from the entire zone of responsibility of the Drina Corps in the composition of your unit? Thank you.
A. Yes, we did. The soldiers were from all areas of the Drina Corps's zone of responsibility.
Q. Thank you. Did you have construction areas which you had to carry out works at in all areas of the zone of responsibility?
A. Yes. In all places except in Zvornik.
Q. Thank you. Did your desk officer always state the information which he received from the field from the soldiers who would come back from the places where they were taking rest, whether it was at home or from the construction sites?
A. Well, we only had information about the enemy in that area and at that time. We didn't have anything else. And the information was only based on what we were told by the soldiers who were coming back from rest or from leave.
Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us, for the transcript, though, one can conclude from your answer, did your soldiers take rest in the barracks or did they go to their homes? Thank you. 9488
A. All soldiers who were sent to take some rest were taking the rest at their homes. Depending on how long they had worked, that would determine the number of days that they were given for rest.
Q. Thank you. If you remember, we heard a lot of information about what you just said but I would like to introduce some new information and something new that you learned. Can you answer my question, please? Did your desk officer always enter the new activities of the unit and the new information as compared to the previous one, or would he mention that the task that had been issued earlier would be stated once again? When you said that he did not enter any changes, the changes only had to do with actual changes of activity, not the changes in terms of the contents of the report. I'm not sure if you understood me and can you please answer this question? Thank you.
A. All the works that we had to carry out would still be entered, but if there was a change, then it would be added. So let me explain. If, for example, we worked on a passive reflector and if one unit had to work about that, but the road and bridge unit also some work to do at Vis and in some other places, that would remain in a report but an addition would be added that the unit which completed its part of the task had returned to the barracks or had now moved to another construction site.
Q. Thank you. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber, and for the transcript, whether the managers of construction sites in various places within your zone of responsibility and platoon commanders of the engineer's company did make any contributions for the daily report to the desk officer who would collate all the information to produce the daily 9489 report for the whole brigade?
A. Sometimes they would. If somebody wasn't there, myself or somebody else, they would directly give the information they had to the desk officer, for example that they returned or that they were going to a specific construction site in accordance with a specific order.
Q. Thank you. Are you aware whether your desk officer sometimes called parts of the unit on the telephone, because they were dispersed across the whole zone, to ask them what they were doing and what was the new task in which they would be engaged and how much time they would need to complete the previous task?
A. When it was possible, he sometimes did that, because he also had various tasks to perform. He wasn't just sitting there and typing up reports. But our communication line was very poor, and most of the time it wasn't working. I said that we had a field telephone where the cable was on the ground, and we generally had a problem communicating with the higher-ranking units.
Q. Thank you. We have in front of us your report dated the 14th of July 1995. It's 65 ter --
THE INTERPRETER: Can the accused please repeat the number of the document.
MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
Q. And can we please slow it on the screen? Thank you.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, are you asking for P1769? That's on the screen now.
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That's right, Mr. President, and 9490 thank you.
MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
Q. Now, witness, if we would now have a look at this, this is the report dated the 14th of July 1995. Is that so?
Q. As for the two soldiers who are mentioned in the report, were they wounded on the 14th or on the 13th? Thank you.
A. On the 13th.
Q. Thank you. Does that mean that the report was only written on the following day, on the 14th, that is to say one day after they were wounded? Thank you.
A. It couldn't have been written in any different manner. It was written on the following day.
Q. Thank you. It doesn't say here when this report of yours was submitted to the corps command. But was it submitted by the 1500 hours on that day, the 14th? Thank you.
A. I don't know exactly when it was submitted, but sometimes the reports were late. We always had problems because of this, because they would just tell us a few words to upbraid us and it would end there.
Q. Thank you. Does that mean that the report could have been written on the basis of information that was available as early as on the 13th? I mean that the desk officer who drew up these reports had them? Thank you.
A. Yes, yes.
Q. Thank you. On several occasions, you said that sometimes you 9491 would sign blank documents that were to be turned into reports as the deputy commander or that sometimes you signed it without even glancing at it knowing that the warrant officer was a professional so I won't ask you anything more about that, but I will ask you the following: Do you know if you look at the last page of this report, and can we please show it on the screen, here it is, it says, down there, MB/MB. Do you know that the MB means that these are the initials of the person who drew up the document and the initials of the person who typed it up? On the left side, it's the person who signed it, and the right initials are the initials of the person who drew up the report. Do you know that this is the rule for official correspondence?
A. No. I'm not aware of that. But I once accidentally asked about that and it was told to me that the persons of those who drew up the document and wrote it were placed there.
Q. Thank you. We'll have a look later on at the reports which were written by the corps commander and other officers so we'll see that it's always -- the initials of one person that are on the left and the other one on the right. The one who is writing should be on the left and one who is typing it up should be on the right so that one could know through whom secret and confidential military information could flow or leak. Thank you. As it says here, MB/MB, does it mean that one and the same person drew up and typed up this document? Thank you.
A. Well, judging by what's here, that is so.
Q. Does it mean that on the 14th of July 1995, this person, whose initials are MB/MB, typed up this daily report which was sent to the 9492 corps?
Q. Thank you. I will not ask you much about item 1 because both the Prosecutor and the Trial Chamber asked you about that and you answered as you have. I will ask you just one question. The first item, concerning the enemy, does it include all the information that the unit has about the enemy both in the field and in the zone?
A. This is how they explained to me, write everything you know, and then as you don't have an organ who will check that, then either the superior command will check it and send you feedback about the unit's further activities.
Q. Thank you. Could we please see in e-court the following document? P1603, which was sent by the Drina Corps command to the Main Staff so that we could see whether your information was included in the amalgamated daily report which was sent out from the corps. Thank you.
Thank you. We can see it now. This is the report to the Drina Corps command written on the 14th of July 1995. It is actually addressed to the Main Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska and it is called the regular combat report. You can see item 1, concerning the enemy, which talks about the northwestern part of the front where I shall quote:
"In the general Kalesija area, Pohunjak, Osredak and Kutici a large buildup of enemy forces was observed, their objective by attacking from the front is to link up with a group which had pulled out from the 9493 Srebrenica enclave."
And the following sentence says, "In the morning, the enemy from the Gorazde enclave fired with infantry weapons on the Sjenokos and Crvljevac [phoen] village sectors but it did not affect our forces. It is quiet in the remaining part of the front in the corps's zone of responsibility."
This is all that it says about enemy and it's the information dated the 14th of July 1995.
My question is this: Do we see anywhere here the information about the enemy which you submitted? Thank you.
A. Here, I cannot see a single information that came from us.
Q. All right. Thank you. My command [as interpreted] is then this: Did the corps command then make a selection of what they would report about and what may be interesting for the Main Staff and what they will report to the Main Staff and also about the truth of the information that it could send?
A. Yes, they probably made their own assessment and selection of the information about the enemy that they would include here.
Q. All right. Can you see in the first sentence here, that by observation, a large buildup of enemy forces was observed? And then they go on to discuss the aim of their attack. So do they talk about exact information and exact intentions of the enemy here or is this just the assessment?
A. Well, decidedly, this is the exact information and also the intention of the enemy, which is stated here. 9494
Q. Thank you. Can we now please show page 2 of this document in e-court? Thank you. Can you see under item 8, that it says, conclusions, forecasts and decisions for further action? Thank you.
Q. Thank you. Was it a duty of each battalion and each unit, which submitted information to the corps, to make the conclusions, forecasts and decision for further action which was then collated by your desk officer? Thank you.
A. Well, on the basis of the information we had because we didn't receive any other information it was his duty to draw some conclusions.
Q. Thank you. On several occasions you were asked about the meaning of these conclusions, whether the conclusions were conclusions, forecasts and intentions or, as in this case, decisions of the corps command which is a higher command and which does make decisions. As for your specific report, was it also a possibility for the person who drew up the document to freely make some conclusions and assessments?
A. Yes. He was free to do that because we did not receive any instructions or orders.
Q. Thank you. I'm sorry, thank you. During the examination-in-chief, the Prosecutor asked you the following, about item 8 in your report, which is entitled, "Conclusions, forecasts and decisions," and you were asked this: Whether someone could be held responsible and whether you are aware that anyone was held responsible, prosecuted or held responsible on the basis of chain of command for the conclusions and decisions if they were contrary to the main order for 9495 carrying out certain tasks. Thank you.
A. Well, our conclusion was not made on the basis of the main order, but on the basis of our view, and if we made a mistake, then the superior command should suggest this to us in the appropriate manner.
Q. Thank you. Do you say clearly in the last sentence: "Continue with carrying out the works which the units of the 5th Engineers Battalion is carrying out and increase the measures of security and vigilance in Konjevic Polje sector"?
A. I wrote that for this reason; if I hadn't received a new order that means that the previous orders were priority, and I had strict deadlines for completing works on specific facilities, and this is why I mentioned that in the conclusion, that we were continuing to carry out the works on the previous tasks we had been issued.
Q. Thank you. If on the previous day two of your soldiers were wounded as the report says, is it then logical that, as you said here, the measures of vigilance and security in the Konjevic Polje sector where they had been wounded would be increased? Thank you.
A. Well, the situation was out of control. As soon as you have wounded men, then that's the factual situation, you have to take measures to protect other soldiers and workers in Konjevic Polje because it was no longer an assumption. Now we had two wounded men. We had a conflict that had broken out in the Konjevic Polje barracks.
Q. Thank you. In item 8 of your report, in conclusions, forecasts and decisions, do you make these on the basis of actual elements of what happened and which could threaten the unit for the security of which you 9496 were responsible?
A. Well, in my view, that was the actual factual situation because if you had two wounded men, then you could have more. I didn't know what the intentions of the enemy were. He could attack the barracks. So you could -- you had to take all the possible measures that you had at your disposal to defend the barracks.
Q. Thank you. As the enemy also knew that the barracks was situated there, and that it's possible that they knew which mines and explosives were there, was there a danger that they might seize these mines and explosives in case the enemy took over the barracks? Thank you.
A. Not only that, not only the ordnance within the warehouse, but they maybe could have de-mined the minefields and then used them for their own purposes.
Q. Thank you. Did you go towards the enemy or did the enemy arrived in the zone of the barracks in Konjevic Polje on its own?
A. We did not go anywhere from Konjevic Polje. They came to us.
Q. Were your soldiers wounded while performing duty at the guard posts or were they wounded in some other sort of combat activity?
A. My soldiers were wounded at the guard post number 6, while performing the task of securing the barracks.
Q. Thank you. So item 5, written on the 14th of July at 0800 hours where it mentions the wounding of those two soldiers at guard post number 6, is it true?
A. As I already told you, I wasn't there but those who were there, they wrote exactly what happened that day at -- at the 0800 hours. 9497
Q. Thank you. Take a look at the report that is currently on the screen in front of you. And can you take at the bottom of the page, where it said, "received," can you see when the encryption people in the Main Staff received it? Look at this. 14th of July 1945.
A. I can see that.
Q. And you can also see the signature. Does that mean that this report arrived to the Main Staff only at 1945 on the 14th?
A. According to this, yes.
Q. So does that point to the conclusion that every day a report would have to be filed with the Main Staff until 8.00 in the evening?
A. That's most probably true but I wouldn't know that.
Q. All right. You don't know that. But can you tell us, would you allow for the possibility that your unit also received a certain deadline for filing its reports so that they could be then incorporated in a report going higher up?
A. Probably yes.
Q. Thank you. Can we now take a look at 1D571?
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Just a moment, before we do that, I would like to put a question in relation to this document on the screen. Can we have back item 8 in both languages, please? In English, it's page 2, I think. I would like to receive a comment on this part, with the headline, "decision." The second sentence is the following.
I quote: "Part of the forces in coordination with the MUP, Ministry of Interior, will check the territory behind the lines. Detect, block, arrest and disarm, disperse, Muslim forces" and so on. 9498 Next sentence, I quote: "Part of the forces will check and set up ambush operations with the MUP along the Muslim group's axis of withdrawal completely secure the" and there is mentioning a certain line. I see here a decision of a higher level above you about the coordination of the army and the MUP. We talked about a possible coordination of these units earlier today. Can you comment on that?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sir, are you referring to my report and not this report sent to the Main Staff?
JUDGE FLUEGGE: In your report, there was also a mentioning of cooperation with the MUP and you said you didn't know anything about that. Now we see here in this report also a decision about a common cooperation of these different units. And I would like to know what you know about that.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you were listening carefully, and I think you did, you would have noticed that I emphasised that there was a permanent police check-point at the intersection in Konjevic Polje. They controlled part of the intersection and whatever else they controlled. Our first neighbour, looking from the guard post number 6, is this very check-point. In between there is a minefield. Not literally in between but slightly up there. So you could say that one of our guard posts controlled one end of the minefield so that nobody could enter into the barracks using the path between them and the minefield. They were our neighbours, you know we couldn't kick them out because they too were part of the forces securing this area of Konjevic Polje.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: I was not asking about the presence of these 9499 units but about the cooperation. Here it is said, "part of the forces in coordination with the MUP, will check" and so on. Was there a coordination or not?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If we talk about coordinated action, we can only talk about it if we understand it that they have to observe one part of the minefield that was in Konjevic Polje. That was the only coordinated action. If they were defending that part then it was quite logical that they would also be taking part in securing it.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you. Now we should -- Judge Mindua has a question.
JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Yes, Witness. I would like to go back to Exhibit P1603, which is the regular combat report issued on the 14th of July 1995 by Major-General Radislav Krstic. And in this report, the enemy is mentioned, and General Krstic does not talk about the 1.000 or 1.500 civilians or soldiers that were arrested and killed. Of course, this could be explained in such a way that having checked the information in the report, he felt that it was not accurate. But I note that in your report, which is Exhibit P1769, we have the same date, 14th of July 1995. So exactly the same date as that of Major-General Krstic's report. So I'm rather at a loss. I'm wondering why the Major-General's report does not mention the civilians that are mentioned in your report. Could that be, and this is a possibility, so I'm asking for your input here, could it be that your 14th of July report arrived in the evening while the Major-General's report was sent to his superiors beforehand, which means that the Major-General did not have time to include what was mentioned in 9500 your report? So my question is the following: I would like to know when the report reached the 2nd Corps. I'm talking about your 14th of July report.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Our reports, as I have explained, did not go regularly, but I think that they would always arrive during the day. They would always arrive to the corps during the day. And if not, then there would be problems with us. We would be singled out for criticism. I didn't see it written here, but I think that they should have read our report, and I think that they have formed their opinion on it, if they deemed it necessary, or if they thought that it was truthful. So if this report doesn't contain it, if, as you say, our report arrived too late, then it should be contained in the following report of theirs. Here, I don't see any such mention. Now I had a chance to read it in more detail. And he says that the main body of the forces from the Srebrenica enclave had already passed Konjevic Polje and reached Udrc so obviously he must have had some assumptions and information and he must have made some checks because Udrc is higher than Cerska in the direction of Tuzla. It's quite far away from Konjevic Polje.
JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: We need our second break now and then you should continue with the next document, Mr. Tolimir. We will resume five minutes past 1.00.
--- Recess taken at 12.33 p.m.
--- On resuming at 1.05 p.m.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, please go ahead. 9501
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
Q. A moment ago, you said, if something was not entered into your report going towards the corps and into the report of the corps going upwards on the 14th, then you should be able to find it in the report written on the 15th. So let us take a look at the following. When was it that you sent the first information on the wounded to the corps? Can we take a look at P1768? Thank you. So here we can see that your unit informed the corps command on the 13th that Spaso Bandjur and Milan Orasanin were wounded. Can you see that?
A. I can see it.
Q. Do you know did the corps command receive this report?
A. Well, they should have, it should have arrived.
Q. Thank you. Can we have now P1767? Thank you. Okay. Here we can see another report, sent by your battalion, and in the first sentence, we see the following. "Pursuant to your record strictly confidential 05/1-207 of 16th of June" and so on and so forth, "We are forwarding you the data on the wounded members of the 5th Engineering Battalion." So my question is as follows: Judge Mindua asked you why you sent two reports. Do we find here exactly what is the basis for sending reports?
A. Well, if we take a look at this, you can see it. I don't really know this order. I haven't seen it. But if you take a look at it, you will see that there was a change in the system of registering killed and wounded. I assume that, most probably, there is also another form that 9502 went as an attachment to this report, and then it was obviously sent pursuant to the order 05-1-207. And it was sent on the 14th of July.
Q. Thank you. Now, let us take a look at what you said just before the break. If something wasn't included on the 14th, it should have been included on the 15th. Can we take a look at P1604? That's the report for the 15th. Report sent by the Drina Corps to the Main Staff. Thank you. So this is the report to the 15th of July. And we can see item 1, the enemy. The first paragraph contains the information of the -- about the Kalesija-Kladanj part of the front. The second paragraph talks about the front facing Gorazde. The third paragraph talks about the Zepa enclave and the last paragraph describes the activity of the enemy on the Tuzla-Zvornik and Orlovo-Kladanj axis. You can see the commander here announces an interim report. So can you see anywhere under item 1 the information provided by your analyst from your battalion? Thank you.
A. I don't see any of the information that we had forwarded to them.
Q. Can we find anything in this report that pertains to wounded or killed Muslim soldiers in Konjevic Polje?
A. We cannot find any such thing in this report.
Q. Thank you. Can we now take a look at page 2 of this report? Thank you. All right. We are waiting for the second page. Here at the bottom you can see that it was received on the 15th of July at 1945, just like the report of the previous day. It was also at 1945. In English it's the following page. Thank you.
So we can see from this that the corps reports arrive to the Main Staff mostly until 2000 hours, which means that a lower units send 9503 their reports to the corps command earlier; is that so?
A. Well, it must be like that, otherwise how would they report the final report -- how would they compile the final report?
Q. Here we can see again conclusions, projections and decisions for further action. So that was what the commander decided on the 15th that is to be done on the 16th. Can you find here at any place the zone where your barracks is located or are they simply talking about Udrc which is the territory further on towards Tuzla, further on from Konjevic Polje where the enemy had already evacuated by that time?
A. Here you can only see the mention of Udrc and there is no mention of our territory.
Q. Thank you. Can you tell us how far is Srebrenica from Konjevic Polje?
A. There is about 35 kilometres between Srebrenica and Konjevic Polje, and then Udrc is - now let me calculate - about 15 kilometres from Konjevic Polje.
Q. In order for us to gain a clear picture, especially for those who never visited that area, looking from Srebrenica, what is further away, Udrc or Konjevic Polje?
A. Well, if you add the two values, you get the distance between Srebrenica and Udrc which means that Udrc is about 50 kilometres from Srebrenica, meaning it's further away than Srebrenica.
Q. Thank you. You've been asked whether you, in your report, under item 8, mention the cooperation with MUP. Can we have now on the screens your report so that we can see whether there is anything like that 9504 contained in it. That was your first report, P1 -- it's the report dated the 14th of July, sent by your battalion to the corps command, one second, I'll find it, it's 1769, yes. Thank you, Aleksandar. Thank you. Could we look at page 2, please, in e-court? Thank you.
We can see at page 2, item 8, where it says, "Conclusions forecasts and decisions." Can you please read it for yourself and then I will put some questions to you. Thank you.
A. I've read it.
Q. Thank you. My question is: In paragraph 8, Conclusions, forecasts and decisions, did you make any kind of decision or conclusion regarding the cooperation of your unit with the MUP forces?
A. I didn't bring -- make any conclusions or issue any orders in relation to cooperation with the MUP.
Q. The person who wrote the report for your activities that day, did they state anything about your cooperation with the MUP?
A. There was nothing else written about cooperation with the MUP other than what is written here.
Q. I was thinking of paragraph 8. I was imprecise, perhaps. I apologise for that.
Q. Could the Trial Chamber please have document 0190 and P1604?
JUDGE FLUEGGE: We should stay for a moment with this document, please. I would like to see the next page in English. And now I would like to see the first paragraph again in both languages, the first 9505 paragraph. Could you please comment on the first paragraph, "A large enemy group was infiltrated in the region of Pobudje Brdo and the region of Konjevic Polje. Units of the 5th Engineering Battalion and the MUP successfully resisted the enemy." Could you comment on that?
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What is primarily meant here is this: Since there were no losses, there were no deaths, and the enemy did not enter the barracks, so this was considered a success.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Tolimir, now you should continue with the document you wanted to see on the screen.
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to see 1D571 on the e-court, please. And while we are waiting I would like to say that this is an interim report by the corps command for the 14th of July, signed by General Krstic.
MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
Q. We are looking at this report and it should include the data, this is a report General Krstic sent to the Main Staff, and the Drina Corps command. This is sent by General Krstic, interim combat report, the first paragraph contains data about the enemy, it says: "The enemy put up a strong resistance to our forces, particularly on the Podzeplje-Brloznik axis and so on. And it said it fired on Zepa and around Zepa and also it relates to Krstic's answer where he says, "I have decided after ordering the combat alignment at the achieved lines to forcefully extend the attack and capture Zepa as soon as possible." Could the second page of the document please be shown in e-court? Thank you. 9506
JUDGE FLUEGGE: I take it that there is no English translation available at the moment.
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Actually, we don't need to look at page 2. What we need to do is just to look at the bottom of this page to see when the document was sent to the Main Staff. We can see at the bottom that the document was sent on the 14th of July and that it was received at the Main Staff at 2312 hours, which means that up until the 14th at 2312 hours there are no other data on your unit; is that correct?
A. Yes, that is correct, that is what is stated here.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Ms. Hasan?
MS. HASAN: Mr. President, there is an English translation of this document, and perhaps when discussing it we should display that one as well.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Yes. That would be very helpful. We have on the screen only two times the same B/C/S version.
MS. HASAN: It seems that the English version was not uploaded on to e-court, so it is available on Sanction, and Janet tells me that that can be displayed.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Now we should put both side by side, if that is possible. I was told it's not possible to see -- to look at both at the same time because it is not uploaded in e-court yet. The problem can be solved later. At the moment, it's not possible to put both on the screen. If necessary, we could try to print one version and put it on the ELMO and then we switch -- or we can switch from one to the other. I 9507 don't know how to deal with that. Mr. Tolimir, please carry on.
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. You can look at the copy in English. I have the original in my hand. After that, because there is a translation, I would like to tender this document. Thank you.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: But first you should continue your questioning to this document or have you finished that already?
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you, I would like to put my last question to the witness regarding this document.
MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
Q. Does this interim report contain any data relating to the activities or the zone in which your unit is located? Thank you.
A. When I read this, I didn't see anywhere that anything referred to the area where our unit was.
Q. Thank you.
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to tender this interim combat report by General Krstic of the 14th of July at this point. Thank you.
MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
Q. My question to you is, on the basis of --
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please be patient for a moment. We will mark it for identification. It will be then very shortly received into evidence when we have the official translation uploaded into -- in e-court.
THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be assigned exhibit number D156, marked for identification pending translation. Thank you. 9508
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Please continue.
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
Q. Witness, on the basis of the documents that we've seen of the 13th, 14th and 15th that was dispatched to the Main Staff, does any of those documents contain any information about your unit, its activities, or anything else other than the data about the wounding of two soldiers? Thank you.
A. Well, no, I didn't read any data like that about my unit anywhere.
Q. Thank you. And your soldiers, were they wounded at the permanent guard post number 6 or were they away from the guard post when they were wounded?
A. They were wounded while they were at the permanent guard post number 6.
Q. Thank you. Could you please explain to the Trial Chamber what does it mean, permanent guard post? Is that a location in the barracks in order to provide security for the barracks?
A. When we were transferred to Konjevic Polje, the commander issued an order to provide security for the barracks. It would be combined security for the barracks, consisting of minefields and guard posts. There were six permanent guard posts and if there were more soldiers, for example sometimes in the winter there were more of us, and in order to utilise all the soldiers present, then there would be two more temporary guard posts that would be included under that particular order. 9509
Q. Thank you. During the examination-in-chief, on page 4, line 10, you said, "We learned that a group of the B and H army was passing." On the basis of that, my question is: Did you learn about this only after they opened fire at your guards near your barracks, or did you get this information from soldiers who were coming from different areas back to your unit after resting?
A. We found out about it from soldiers who were coming back. The wounding that occurred after that, confirmed that there was something there that could present a problem for our unit, in our barracks, and that is why this was followed by the conclusion that combat readiness measures should be increased.
Q. Thank you. You used the term "passing". Does somebody who is passing by wound soldiers at the guard post or were they actually trying to get through to the area under the control of the B and H army?
A. We used the term "passing through" or "passing by" there because up until then we didn't have any problems. They were passing by next to us before. As for places where there were some combat actions and contact with our soldiers, that did happen, but when this happened, when our soldiers were wounded, that meant that this was a direct contact between the two sides and then this was followed by these two soldiers of ours being wounded.
Q. Thank you. The activities of the enemy in relation to a stationary unit, when two soldiers are wounded, which constitutes 20 per cent of the overall number of soldiers who were in your barracks, does that constitute just passing by or does that constitute an attack on your 9510 barracks and your unit?
A. We constituted -- we understood that to be a direct attack, as they were passing by our barracks. We didn't have enough men or weapons so we had to pay attention to that more than anything else, any kind of sabotage in terms of our depot could be devastating for all the people in that area. So then this was a problem, like I said -- I mentioned we also had two minefields that were about two kilometres in length, I don't know how broad they were. And if you didn't guard those minefields they were also exposed to de-mining and to being utilised on the part of the enemy.
Q. Thank you. [French on English channel]. In the area of combat --
JUDGE FLUEGGE: For a moment we had French translation on our channel but now it's correct again. Please continue.
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
MR. TOLIMIR: [Interpretation]
Q. Do combat rules provide for a unit in combat, which is deployed somewhere or which is at a permanent location and is secured by minefields, by a wire fence and other protection, depending on what other protection it has, is that provided for under the rules?
A. According to what the commander told us and he probably put that in writing as well, since he informed us about this, what he said was that all means are to be used to secure the barracks, and its surrounding area, amongst other things, since we didn't have enough personnel and we knew that we would be working on all of these construction sites, we knew 9511 that there would be a problem with forces and that is why the defences were strengthened by the minefields. We didn't have anything else available so this is why we laid down the minefields and we put up the permanent guard posts as well for the same purpose. Later he took all of us to show us the exact location of the minefield so that we wouldn't activate the mines ourselves.
Q. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber was this minefield laid down immediately after the unit deployed at Konjevic Polje or was this something that was laid down on the 13th? Thank you.
A. This was done immediately when we came to Konjevic Polje. As soon as we created conditions for any kind of stay in Konjevic Polje, the commander ordered for the fortifications to be built in that area which was inaccessible because of the size and the lay of the area, so he decided, because it was inaccessible, to augment the guard posts with the minefields.
Q. I'm sorry for being imprecise, can you please tell us what time that occurred, what time of the year, what date it was?
A. I think that we came in 1994, as far as I can remember.
Q. Let's clarify for the transcript, the minefields that you were questioned about here, were they laid down in 1994 and 1995 on the day of the attack by the Muslims who were trying to get past by you after leaving Srebrenica?
A. The minefields were laid immediately, in 1994, in order to compensate for the low number of personnel there so that we could step up the security during our stay in Konjevic Polje. 9512
Q. Thank you. During the examination-in-chief you were asked about the locations that are closer to Konjevic Polje and so on. My question would be this: Did your soldiers who were in Konjevic Polje on the 13th, leave the barracks in Konjevic Polje? Thank you.
A. As far as I know, they did not leave the barracks. They stayed there and the result of that was that the people who were standing guard at night had good relations with them because fear is stronger in the men during the night which is normal so they didn't leave their guard posts nor Konjevic Polje nor the barracks.
Q. Thank you. Do you know whether your soldiers from the location where they were went into action in any way, did they fire at all, because you explained that they had old weapons.
A. As far as I know, they did not fire and that would include the two who were wounded. They had no time to react because they were wounded first.
Q. Thank you. Can you tell me, as the Prosecutor asked you several times, why you said during some interview, "Oh, my God"? Was it a surprise for you when you saw the piece of information that made you exclaim, "Oh, my God"?
A. Well, it was the order itself, I didn't read it in detail so at first I thought that it said that our unit had done that and I knew that it wasn't capable of something like that, particularly considering the number of men we had at our disposal at Konjevic Polje at the time.
Q. As the officer who was in charge of the unit at the time, do you think on the basis of your military expertise, that the person who 9513 entered the information about the enemy while typing up the report did not explain how he came to the information which he included in the report and then submitted to the corps command? Thank you.
A. Well, now, when I read it, I think that perhaps he should have processed that in much more detail, but at the moment, we just thought that it should be mentioned probably, just mention it and then the superior command is the one to react or not to react, and then we would know what the situation in the territory that was around us was like.
Q. Thank you. Considering the general situation in the field at the time, did the members of your unit feel any concern about their safety during the night and during the day and so on and so forth considering the rumours that were going around and which you forwarded to the corps command?
A. How could they not feel concerned? Once the rumours start going around, then things become inflated and once they reach the last person who hears this, the news becomes alarming. You have such problem in the army, when there is had hear say that was the situation. I was afraid someone might panic and leave Konjevic Polje which would really be a problem but no one left their posts including the guards which means that this had an effect on them because we never had the change of guard during the night. A certain number of men would stay in their posts as guards throughout the night.
Q. Thank you for the answers you have provided during your testimony. Thank you for coming here. The Defence asked as many questions as it believed was necessary. I wish to thank you. I wish you 9514 a pleasant stay here and a pleasant return home, a happy return to your family.
A. Thank you.
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have completed this part of my cross-examination in relation to this witness. I wish to thank you everyone who helped me and the witness and I wish to excuse myself before everyone because of the speed because I thought that I would have more questions to ask in the same time period. Thank you, Witness, I wish you a happy return home and God bless you.
THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you too.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much. Ms. Hasan, do you ever re-examination?
MS. HASAN: Yes, Your Honour, I do. Re-examination by Ms. Hasan:
MS. HASAN: I'd like to start with Exhibit P94, page 37, please. These are the photo exhibits of Jean-Rene Ruez.
Q. Sir, do you recognise this building?
A. I think that this is the elementary school in Konjevic Polje.
Q. Was this where your battalion was based?
A. Our battalion was not located at the primary school.
Q. Where -- in which school was your battalion based, then?
A. We were not accommodated at a school at all. It was on the other side, at the back of the school, there was one classroom which we had turned into a dining room, but it had no contact with the main road. You couldn't enter it from the main road. It was at the back side where the 9515 boiler room was. That was another room there which was turned into a kitchen, and another room that we used as the dining room.
Q. But, sir, are you talking about behind this building, this school?
A. Yes, yes. The entrance was from the back side of the school.
Q. And the -- sorry, is this where you had your offices?
A. No. I explained that. Behind the school, there are some smaller buildings too. They were ruined, and two or 300 metres behind the school, to the hill there, were the offices and then I'm not sure how many metres away was the warehouse, and then the logistics security, that was the logistics platoon.
Q. Are you aware, sir, that a witness has testified, who said that they were housed in this shack that we see in this photograph, the left of this photograph, who was housed there in the evening of the 13th -- on the 13th of July and was subsequently sent for execution -- I'm sorry, my apologies, the morning of the 13th of July, and was subsequently sent for execution at the banks of the Jadar River? Were you aware of that?
A. It's the first time I hear that, because we were not using these premises at all. The police were there, those who came and had shifts there and at the check-points. We were not using these premises at all.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Ms. Hasan, first, Mr. Tolimir wants to say something, and we are now at the end of today's hearing. How much time do you need for re-examination?
MS. HASAN: There is a couple of documents I'd like to go through so it may take a good 15 to 20 minutes to do so. 9516
JUDGE FLUEGGE: Then we have to continue with that tomorrow of course.
THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. I only had an objection because no references were given to the witness, and he's asked about something that others stated or others did. Thank you.
JUDGE FLUEGGE: We have to adjourn for today. Ms. Hasan, I would like to let you know the Chamber would appreciate if during the re-examination you always could indicate the relation to that specific part of the cross-examination. We have to adjourn but before we do that I have to tell the parties that there was a need for rescheduling our hearing on Wednesday because we had many problems with different Chambers to combine, especially in relation to those Chambers, two of the members of this Bench are involved in. We are sitting on Wednesday in the morning instead of the afternoon. This is the only change. And the other Chamber will sit in the afternoon.
We adjourn and resume tomorrow in the afternoon in this courtroom, 2.15, and, sir, please be reminded that it's not allowed to have contact to either party during the break.
The court usher will assist you in relation to the break. Thank you very much. We adjourn.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 8th day of
February, 2011, at 2.15 p.m.