1 Monday, 14 June 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Mr. Court Deputy.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
7 IT-02-60-T, the Prosecutor versus Vidoje Blagojevic, and Dragan Jokic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
9 Mr. Karnavas, are there any protective measures for the next
11 MR. KARNAVAS: No, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE LIU: Are there any other matters that the parties would
13 like to raise?
14 MR. KARNAVAS: I have none, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE LIU: I see none, so could we have the witness, please.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE LIU: Good morning, Witness.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
19 JUDGE LIU: Could you please make the solemn declaration in
20 accordance with the paper the usher is showing to you.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
22 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
23 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. You may sit down, please.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 WITNESS: BOGOLJUB GAJIC
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours.
4 Examined by Mr. Karnavas:
5 Q. Good morning, sir.
6 A. Good morning.
7 Q. Could you please tell us your name.
8 A. Bogoljub Gajic, G-a-j-i-c.
9 Q. Thank you. Mr. Gajic, could you please tell us where you're from.
10 A. I'm from Bijeljina.
11 Q. How long have you lived in Bijeljina?
12 A. I lived in Bijeljina up to 1965, and then from late 1992 to this
13 very day.
14 Q. All right. Thank you. Could you please tell us a little bit
15 about your educational background.
16 A. Back in 1965, I completed my training at a teachers' college, and
17 I left with my wife for Srebrenica municipality where I worked at a
18 village school together with my wife. In 1970, after I'd graduated, I
19 started working with the Ministry of the Interior in Tuzla.
20 Q. All right. Could you please tell us how long were you a teacher.
21 A. I worked as a teacher from the 1st of September, 1965 to the 1st
22 of January, 1970.
23 Q. And after 1970, what work did you do? Concretely.
24 A. In 1970, I started working as inspector for the youth and
25 underaged persons with the Tuzla security centre -- security services
1 centre, and in 1975, having completed my undergraduate studies, I started
2 working as higher inspector for sexual crimes and crimes against limb,
3 life and limb.
4 Q. So in other words, you were a police inspector.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And could you please tell us, for how long were you a police
8 A. I worked as inspector until the 30th of June, 1986.
9 Q. All right. And after that, could you please tell us, what kind of
10 work did you do?
11 A. After that, I set up a private detection agency as a private
12 detective, which was the first agency of that kind in the former
13 Yugoslavia and remained the only one.
14 Q. All right. Now, where were you when the war broke out? Where did
15 the war find you?
16 A. The war caught me in Tuzla.
17 Q. And did you stay in Tuzla throughout the war?
18 A. No. I stayed in Tuzla from the 15th of May to the 1st of
19 September when, based on my assessment that my life could be at risk, some
20 friends helped me to forge documents. I tried to leave Tuzla on the same
21 day at about 2330 hours, but I was arrested in the village of Posusje.
22 Q. And what happened to you after that?
23 A. After several days in Posusje, I was taken to a prisoners' camp in
24 Ljubusko, and from sometime in November, I can't remember the exact date,
25 at some point in November I was transferred to the camp in Mostar.
1 Q. How long were you a prisoner at the camp in Mostar?
2 A. I spent a total of about a hundred days as a prisoner, give or
3 take a day or two. Sometime in mid-December 1992, Mr. Mazowiecki, who was
4 there on behalf of the United Nations Human Rights Council, unilaterally
5 closed the camp down one day, and the prisoners who still remained there
6 were taken away in Red Cross buses over to Montenegro.
7 Q. All right. And eventually where did you go?
8 A. After a brief recovery at a hotel in Montenegro, I arrived in
9 Bijeljina where my family still lived, some of my family. I have
10 relatives there, and my wife was in Bijeljina. The two sons -- my two
11 sons were not in Bijeljina at the time.
12 Q. All right. Now, when you arrived in Bijeljina, were you
14 A. No. There had been several summonses from people I knew to join
15 the Ministry of the Interior, several offers to join. I must admit when I
16 saw who exactly worked there at the ministry, which persons, I didn't like
17 what I saw and I refused to join. Another acquaintance eventually
18 convinced me to join the investigations section of the 3rd Battalion of
19 the military police of the East Bosnia Corps based in Bijeljina.
20 Q. So you did in fact join the VRS?
21 A. Yes. On my own free will, but I had not been mobilised.
22 Q. Okay. And could you please tell us a date. When would that have
24 A. I believe it was between the 20th and 25th of December, 1992, or
25 thereabouts. I can't be quite sure, but it was certainly the second half
1 of December 1992.
2 Q. And if you could just please tell us, how long did you remain in
3 that position?
4 A. With the investigations unit that was attached to the Military
5 Police Battalion, I stayed until the 1st of April, 1994.
6 Q. Okay. And after that did you remain in the VRS?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Okay. All right. Now, what I want to do is go back a little bit
9 and focus our attention on the 3rd Battalion, the military police of the
10 3rd Battalion of the East Bosnian Corps. First of all, could you please
11 tell us a little bit about this MP unit.
12 A. I'm not really a military strategist myself. The unit was set up,
13 it was called the 3rd Battalion of the military police. Globally
14 speaking, I didn't have too much to do with the MP unit. I tried to help
15 set up an investigations unit or department that was within the
16 composition of that unit, and I must point out that I'm proud of that
17 particular achievement. There were seven persons working in that
18 department, and they had a total of about 200 years of police work
19 altogether prior to the outbreak of war. So those people were true
21 Q. All right. Now, I just want to make sure that we understand.
22 This -- the MP -- this battalion, the 3rd Battalion of MPs, that was part
23 of the corps itself, was it not, the East Bosnian Corps?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And I take it below the corps you had brigades at the East Bosnian
1 Corps, very much as in the Drina Corps, for instance?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now, let's focus a little bit on the -- your investigative unit
4 that was within the MPs of the 3rd Battalion of the East Bosnian Corps.
5 Please explain to us a little bit, what exactly did this investigative
6 unit do?
7 A. The unit as part of the MP Battalion, the investigations unit,
8 mainly dealt with crimes, crimes that had been discovered or crimes that
9 the unit was informed about through brigades or through individual
10 persons. All of us in that department were specialists in a way for
11 particular areas. One of my colleagues specialised in traffic-related
12 crimes, another specialised in burglaries. My own speciality in that
13 department, because that had always been my task on the force, my
14 speciality, I worked on murder cases, rapes, and robberies possibly. So
15 the department dealt with crimes, the usual crimes. It's the usual thing
16 that professional police officers do.
17 Q. All right. Now, what sort of resources did this investigative
18 unit have?
19 A. The people working there, that was the most important thing.
20 Everything else depended on what we could get. We had some equipment. It
21 wasn't much. And our operational personnel were not happy. The police
22 officers were not happy, but that was the equipment we had. Sometimes
23 one, two, or three vehicles to go out and carry out a on-site
24 investigation. We had a room for detention of suspects, people suspected
25 of having committed crimes, and we had a room where we could interview
1 them. We had a small room. When one of us was working, everyone else
2 would need to leave the room. That's how small it was. We used whatever
3 we had, and we tried to adapt to how things were at the time in that war.
4 So nothing special.
5 Q. All right. Now, was there a commander or a komandir of this
6 particular unit that was within the structure of the MPs, the military
7 police of the East Bosnian Corps?
8 A. At that time, the commander of the battalion of the military
9 police was captain, I believe that was his rank at the time, Keserovic.
10 We as a unit or department were directly under the command of the
11 battalion commander, although I believe that as a department we were more
12 independent than some other formations or units in the battalion. I mean,
13 the company, the logistics people. I think we enjoyed a higher degree of
14 independence. We made proposals of our own accord sometimes, and we
15 processed crimes.
16 Q. All right. I just want to try to work on figuring out the
17 hierarchy over here. So the next few questions, I'm going to focus on
18 that. You mentioned a Captain Keserovic. Is that the same General
19 Keserovic who is currently in Banja Luka, if you know?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. All right. And he was the commander of the military police or the
22 commander of the 3rd Battalion?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Now, was the 3rd Battalion within the security organ, if you know?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Do you know by any chance who Captain Keserovic, at the time,
2 reported to? Who was his immediate commandant?
3 A. The 3rd Battalion, the 3rd Battalion, it was a unit that was
4 within the composition of the East Bosnia Corps. In my view, it was an
5 independent unit just like all the other brigades, except that it wasn't a
6 brigade, it was a battalion. Now, whether the battalion commander,
7 Mr. Keserovic specifically, was duty-bound to report to the person who was
8 in charge of security-related issues with the corps or perhaps directly to
9 the corps commander, I really can't say.
10 Anyway, the corps was in a different location from the battalion.
11 There were meetings, and Mr. Keserovic would report at the corps command.
12 I'm not sure how comprehensively, but he did.
13 Q. All right. And I take it that the -- this unit, the investigative
14 unit, reported to Captain Keserovic?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, just as an aside, could you tell us whether you know from
17 your experience and personal knowledge whether the Drina Corps had a
18 similar investigative unit within the military police structure, at the
19 corps level, that is.
20 A. Yes. All corps had either the same or identical kind of
22 Q. Again, just so we can have a better notion, did your investigative
23 unit, to your understanding, have working relations with the Drina Corps
24 investigative unit?
25 A. Not much really. Depending on a specific case, the territories of
1 the East Bosnia Corps and Drina Corps were adjacent, after all, and
2 everyone worked within their own area of responsibility, the area of
3 responsibility of their respective corps.
4 Q. All right. Now, if we could just focus our attention a little bit
5 on how an investigation would commence. So I want to talk about that a
6 little bit. Please tell us, first of all, how would an investigation be
7 initiated, at whose request?
8 A. For an investigation to get off the ground, first there must be a
9 crime that has been found out. And how does one do that? Well, there are
10 different ways and different sources. There can be an injured party to
11 inform us. There can be an accidental witness. There can be someone else
12 who just has some obtained this information. So there were different ways
13 to find out about this.
14 Once a crime has been established, without taking the long way
15 around, you must go and verify whether this crime has really occurred.
16 Sometimes a crime is publicly discussed and sometimes it's written about
17 in the media. So as soon as the existence of a crime has been proven
18 - I'm talking about crime against life and limb, which was my area
19 - most often but not always what you do is you draw up an operations plan
20 detailing actions to be undertaken in order to shed light on the crime.
21 Then you start implementing that plan. You need a little luck, you need a
22 lot of work and a lot of experience, and you try to pursue that task to
24 Q. All right. But I want to take it step-by-step. Can you as the
25 inspector within this investigative unit initiate an investigation on your
1 own without, for instance, a -- an injured party or a witness coming to
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And under what circumstances would you do that?
5 A. Having found out about the existence of a crime, I was duty-bound
6 to report to my superior officer. I never encountered any difficulty. It
7 never happened to me that a superior officer tried to prevent me from
8 finding out about the existence of a crime, verifying the existence of
9 that crime. So that was the method that we applied in order to verify the
10 existence of a crime.
11 Q. All right. So based on some information, you could just go to
12 your immediate supervisor, that would be Captain Keserovic, inform him;
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, would you need his approval or could you just give him the
16 indication that you were about to commence an investigation?
17 A. The squad was made up of people, professionals. Captain Keserovic
18 knew that full well.
19 A. He never asked us to report in writing or to send in comprehensive
20 reports about what we knew. He said, "I know you're capable officers.
21 Please go about your work the best way you can." I never doubted for a
22 moment that any of my superior officers could try to stand in the way of
23 an investigation. And I'm talking about bodies within my field of work
24 when I was trying to verify a crime. I was never in the least afraid that
25 anyone would try and stand in the way.
1 Q. I'm not suggesting that anyone was. I just want to know, did you
2 have to get clearance from Captain Keserovic to proceed with your
3 investigation or did you merely have to give him notice that you were
4 conducting an investigation or about to conduct an investigation?
5 A. It's difficult for me to draw that sort of distinction, but I
6 would be inclined to say that, yes, some kind of clearance was required.
7 Sometimes it was a tacit one, but he had to be in the know, and by virtue
8 of that, he would have approved as soon as he found out that I was
9 actually doing something.
10 Q. All right. Now, what if a witness were to come to you? Were you
11 duty-bound to proceed based on information from a witness?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And was -- were there any mechanisms in place at the time that
14 you're aware of that would allow a witness to a serious crime to remain
15 anonymous or protected, that is their identity should be protected?
16 A. No.
17 Q. And is there a particular reason why, if you know?
18 A. When we look at this kind of crime, it's very difficult to assume
19 that there could be anonymous reports. Well, perhaps there may have been,
20 I don't know. Whoever reports a crime must talk about certain facts.
21 It's difficult to conceal that person's identity then, or we had no
22 arguments to back that course of action.
23 When you talk about this kind of crime, you know, it's difficult
24 to translate what was happening at the time into the present. Back where
25 I live, life at that time was worthless. It wasn't worth much. I'm not
1 saying the situation is a lot better now, but that's how it was back at
2 the time. Someone would have found out sooner or later, and obviously
3 this person would have been scared, and the person would probably think,
4 "If I report this crime, my family and myself would probably be at risk.
5 Our lives would be at risk." That's what the person would have been
6 thinking, or at least that was my understanding. Except if I, for
7 example, was courageous, daring enough to, on my initiative, conceal the
8 identity of whoever provided the information, but I was there by placing
9 my family at the same risk as I would have been placing his at, because
10 the prosecutor, after all, wants clear information.
11 Q. All right. But what if -- what if information came anonymously by
12 way of letter? In other words, the person did not report directly but
13 would just write a letter informing the investigative unit of a potential
14 crime that had taken place?
15 A. It was a matter of assessment. We were not duty-bound to proceed
16 based on anonymous information. If you ask me what I would have done on
17 receiving an anonymous letter, I would most probably have informed my
18 superior organ, through my commander, of course, and I would have waited
19 for their approval, or perhaps I would have tried to assess whether this
20 anonymous letter contained sufficient facts for me to embark on
21 preliminary information gathering and checks. That is a hypothetical
22 question. It's hard to generalise. It would depend on the particular
24 Q. All right. Now, to what extent did you rely on the military
25 police - not within the investigative unit but the other military police -
1 to assist you in your investigation?
2 A. Not very much. I relied on all the information that could assist
3 me in throwing light on the crime in question, whether it was a citizen, a
4 policeman. So it was up to the individual to find his own methods of
5 information gathering.
6 Q. I'm going to interrupt you here for a second. Concretely what I'm
7 asking is would you be relying on the military police, for instance, to
8 locate someone, subpoena someone, arrest someone?
9 A. Of course.
10 Q. All right. What about the security organ within the corps? Would
11 you -- did you have any relationships, that is the investigative unit, not
12 you personally but the unit itself, did it have any professional
13 relationship where they would engage them to assist -- or engage it, I
14 should say, the security organ?
15 A. For the most part I would do this through the battalion commander.
16 Maybe directly occasionally but not bypassing the battalion commander.
17 Q. All right. What about with the prosecution organ, the military
18 prosecutor? To what extent did you have a professional relationship with
19 him or that office?
20 A. If there was a crime and we managed to prove it and find a
21 suspect, we would file a criminal report and bring the accused to the
22 investigating judge of the military court. If we could not find the
23 perpetrator, we would submit a criminal report against an unknown person
24 and sometimes a report to the prosecutor who had, then, the burden of
25 filing a criminal report. And we would, of course, act on any request to
1 collect additional information if the prosecutor dealing with the case had
3 Q. Okay. And what if the matter had been forwarded on to the
4 investigative judge? Would you -- did you have any professional
5 relationships with that organ?
6 A. No. I personally always felt that by submitting a criminal report
7 and bringing in the perpetrator, that was the end of the policeman's job.
8 I never thought about what course the investigation would take, whether
9 the person would be found guilty or not. I may be wrong, but I feel that
10 this is not a policeman's job.
11 Q. All right. Now, I want to switch topics a little bit, and perhaps
12 we can talk about the types of cases that you were involved with. First
13 of all, could you please tell us, during that two-year period that you
14 were with the investigative unit of the 3rd Battalion of the East Bosnian
15 Corps, whether there were any investigations conducted against Serbs who
16 had committed crimes against Muslims.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. All right. What sort of crimes are we talking about?
19 A. We're talking about -- for example, I'll tell you what I did.
20 There were murders, there was rape, there was robbery; all the crimes.
21 Q. All right. Now, could you please tell us, of those cases, how
22 many involved officers, where you were investigating, for instance, an
23 officer who had committed or had ordered the commission of atrocities
24 against Muslims or crimes against Muslims?
25 A. I never had occasion to contact proceedings against an officer who
1 participated in or ordered any such crimes. Of course, I did engage in
2 other investigations against even high-ranking officers who committed
3 other crimes, but in relation to murder or rape, I had no knowledge that
4 any officer had either participated in or ordered the commission of such
6 Q. All right. Now, what sort of crimes are we talking about, then?
7 There wasn't murder or rape. What sort of crimes did you initiate
8 investigations against officers?
9 A. For the most part it was aiding and abetting illegal trade. In
10 cigarettes, for example. There were certain abuses of authority by
11 providing false documents enabling someone to gain illegal advantages,
12 funds, and so on. That was the sort of thing that we investigated
13 involving officers.
14 Q. In other words, war profiteering, for lack of a better term.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. All right. Now, could you please tell us how many investigations,
17 if you recall, were actually conducted against officers of somewhat of a
18 medium or high-ish level, at the corps level, that is.
19 A. Are you referring to the total number of crimes?
20 Q. I'm not interested in numbers, but -- well, let me rephrase the
21 question. Against lieutenant colonels, majors, lieutenant colonels and
22 upwards, how many investigations did you conduct against them or were you
23 aware of?
24 A. I conducted three such investigations.
25 Q. All right. How many investigations are you aware of against
1 members of the security organ?
2 A. Are you referring to persons carrying out the function of security
3 organ in particular units?
4 Q. I'm referring to members of the security organ conducting
5 activities, whatever they may be. Whether they believe they were lawful
6 or unlawful, how many investigations do you recall having been initiated
7 against those individuals?
8 A. None.
9 Q. All right. Now, I want to focus your attention to a particular
10 individual. Please tell us if you know -- know this individual and know
11 of him. His name is Colonel Beara. Were you acquainted with this
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And did you know him both personally and by reputation?
15 A. I met him two or three times, but we did not converse directly. I
16 think that I knew more about him by reputation.
17 Q. All right. And being an investigator within the 3rd Battalion of
18 the East Bosnian Corps, could you please tell us what reputation Colonel
19 Beara enjoyed.
20 A. It would depend on the individual. If you're asking me
21 personally, I think it was very low, very poor. When people heard that
22 Beara was coming to unit, whether it was a corps, a brigade, or a former
23 barracks, 70 per cent of the officers would disappear from the barracks on
24 that day. They would suddenly all have very important business elsewhere.
25 Q. Why is that?
1 A. I'm thinking about how to reply. Not because I don't know the
2 answer but because it's hard to explain. Many people did not know or
3 maybe they were able to assume that Colonel Beara was the -- a close aide
4 of General Mladic, and I have to say that General Mladic enjoyed a very
5 high reputation. How he came by it, I won't go into that, but Beara was
6 General Mladic's right hand, and everybody wanted to avoid Beara.
7 When you asked me about the number of security organs against whom
8 criminal reports had been filed, I have to say that these were all Beara's
9 men, to put it very simply. So I will conclude by saying that these
10 people were not to be touched. That's my personal opinion. Of course
11 that was not my own attitude.
12 Q. All right. What about the security organ itself? What sort of a
13 reputation did it have?
14 A. Do you mean among the soldiers or among the general public or the
15 officers? If you're asking me what I think about it, I personally think
16 that the security organ did not enjoy a very good reputation. Whatever
17 reputation he had was based on his position or the fear it inspired, not
18 his own qualities.
19 Maybe I'm not putting this very clearly. If you need
20 clarification, please ask.
21 Q. Let me ask you this: Why would the security organ inspire fear?
22 A. Well, you know, in our lives, we had all at some point had a job
23 that was somehow secret in the state security or somewhere else, and that
24 applied to the security organs. You didn't know how they had come there,
25 where they went. They didn't associate with people a lot. There whole
1 organisation was somehow surrounded by mystique, and I think that it was
2 this that inspired fear among people. Or in my own free interpretation,
3 in the pre-war period, the state security and public security never got on
4 very well. The police investigations department and the intelligence
5 security service perhaps did not understand each other very well and get
6 on very well, and this was something that was always in the air. It's
7 hard to give a precise reply as to exactly what it was that stood between
9 Q. All right. Let me go a little more concretely in this case.
10 Based on your experience, what would the possibility be to -- for an
11 officer, assuming that he had learned of -- of crimes that the security
12 organ had been involved in. And in particular let's say Beara himself,
13 what would the possibility be of asking that an investigation be launched
14 against Beara?
15 A. No. No. It would have been suicide.
16 Q. Why?
17 A. Well, it's a difficult question to answer why. Because of fear,
18 fear of the person, fear for one's own life and the life of one's family.
19 Q. All right. Now, what if it wasn't Beara himself? What if it was
20 just somebody who was the assistant commander for security at a corps
21 level, say someone like Lieutenant Colonel Popovic of the Drina Corps?
22 A. The answer is the same but the fear would be a little less because
23 he was a lower-ranking officer. All these people, as I've said, were
24 people who were put there like chess pieces by the person we are talking
25 about, that is Colonel Beara, or perhaps somebody else from the top, I'm
1 not sure, but I think they were his men.
2 Q. Based your experience, and you have a lot of experience in law
3 enforcement prior to the war and during the war, do you think it's
4 possible that someone at the corps level, an assistant commander for
5 security, could be involved in large-scale atrocities without the
6 knowledge of or involvement of his superior, that is Beara?
7 A. It would be hard to believe in such a possibility. My reply may
8 not be appropriate, but I think Beara knew what they had for breakfast let
9 alone what they were planning to do that day. I repeat, this is my own
10 personal opinion. I'm referring to my own personal opinion, and I abide
11 by it.
12 Q. All right. Well, what about at the brigade level? What if we
13 were talking about the assistant commander for security or the chief of
14 security and intelligence if it was a light infantry brigade? What was
15 about that, if they were asked to investigate conduct concerning
16 large-scale atrocities? What would the possibility be of launching an
17 investigation against such an individual?
18 A. You know, in the chain of command, there was a kind of double
19 standard. This officer would be responsible to the brigade commander, but
20 in view of his job, what he did, he was also responsible to someone of
21 Beara's type, someone who was like Beara. And the possibility of the
22 brigade commander instituting legal proceedings for a crime against his
23 security organ would be very tenuous, because these people were directly
24 linked to Beara, much more directly than to their own brigade commanders,
25 although they did belong to the brigade.
1 Q. All right. And do you know whether, based on your experience, of
2 course, whether it would have been possible to launch an investigation
3 against, say, the commander or the chief of intelligence and security, at
4 the brigade level, that is, without the corps, the corps security organ
5 becoming aware of it? In other words, doing some sort of a clandestine
6 investigation. Would that have been possible under the circumstances as
7 they existed back then during the war?
8 A. No. No. The corps had to know. Everything had to be done
9 through the corps.
10 Q. Explain that a little bit so that's not lost on us. What do you
11 mean everything had to be done by the corps? Because we're talking about,
12 at this point in time, some lower-ranking officer at the brigade level.
13 He just happens to be the chief of intelligence and security.
14 A. Yes, I understand your question. This lower-ranking officer at
15 brigade level would depend on the security officer in the corps, to put it
16 very simply. And without him, the brigade commander could not initiate
17 proceedings against his own security officer.
18 There were no such cases. He couldn't do it. Security officers
19 communicated with their superiors from the corps who were in charge of
20 security and intelligence, and they rarely communicated with the brigade
21 commanders - it would depend on the particular brigade commander - even
22 though they did belong to the brigade. They were set apart in a way.
23 That's how it was.
24 Q. Now, just -- I failed to ask you, do you think it's possible that
25 the --
1 MR. McCLOSKEY: Excuse me.
2 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: Ms. Issa is feeling suddenly very sick. If we
4 could take just a brief break so we could --
5 JUDGE LIU: Yes, could we take a break?
6 MR. KARNAVAS: This would be appropriate, Your Honour. Yes.
7 JUDGE LIU: Maybe we could have our first break now. We will
8 resume at 10.30.
9 --- Recess taken at 9.57 a.m.
10 --- On resuming at 10.30 a.m.
11 JUDGE LIU: Well, Ms. Issa, how are you feeling now?
12 MS. ISSA: I'm okay, Your Honour. I don't know why, I just
13 suddenly felt very nauseous. I appreciate the break, but I feel fine now
14 and I can continue.
15 JUDGE LIU: If you feel any problem, just inform us. I think we
16 are flexible and your colleague is also flexible to have the breaks
17 whenever you need.
18 MS. ISSA: I appreciate that, as well as Mr. Karnavas's
19 flexibility in this regard. Thank you very much.
20 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Mr. Karnavas, please continue.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you. And truth be told, I needed the break
22 myself, so it was well timed.
23 Q. Now, sir, I just wanted to finish up, more or less. What if --
24 what if the -- an officer, a commander, came to you and -- with
25 information with respect to potential crimes that might have been
1 committed by, say, his chief of intelligence and security but asked you to
2 keep his name hidden? In other words, for you to commence an
3 investigation but without disclosing his identity. Would you do that or
4 would it be possible to do that?
5 A. In theory, yes, although if he refused to disclose the person's
6 identity to me, I would insist that he disclose the person's identity to
7 someone else and maybe I would ask the person to send an anonymous tip so
8 it would reach us by mail, and there would be all the regular steps. I
9 would perhaps insist on gathering data on the case. Well, it depends on
10 the specific case. If the crimes we're looking at are the sort of crimes
11 you're talking about, murder, that sort of thing, I wouldn't be too ready
12 to jump the gun and open an investigation on the basis of an anonymous
14 Q. All right. If you want to adjust your headsets a little bit.
15 There you go. All right.
16 Well, I'm speaking about atrocities of a rather large scale.
17 Would it be possible, under the circumstances, to keep the identity of the
18 complainant, the person, the commander that's bringing this to your
19 attention, would it be possible to keep his identity secret throughout the
20 course of the investigation?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Why not?
23 A. We're not talking about individual cases of murder. If we're
24 talking about large-scale crimes, I suppose in such a case it would be
25 necessary to inform -- well, I'm not even sure myself. Perhaps the people
1 in the top positions or several different individuals. You should inform
2 as many highly positioned people as possible if the crimes we're looking
3 at are large-scale crimes or mass crimes. But I was not aware of anything
4 like that while I was there in my position.
5 Q. Speaking in a hypothetical sense. To what extent did you rely on
6 the civilian organs, the civilian police, to assist you in your
8 A. Little.
9 Q. And by that what do you mean?
10 A. Throughout the period that we're talking about, there was some
11 sort of a tacit or public misunderstanding between the military and
12 civilian structures in the areas so that both the military police and the
13 civilian police were sometimes like two distinct units in the same area.
14 I don't know how else to put that. So we didn't rely on each other much
15 except if someone was using their own personal acquaintances or contacts.
16 Q. All right. Now, in your position, this particular unit that we're
17 speaking of, the 3rd Battalion of the East Bosnian Corps, did it have
18 authority to investigate civilians who might have committed atrocities
19 against civilians, say, who were prisoners of war?
20 A. No. And the reason was at one point you couldn't even tell who
21 was a civilian and who was a military person. According to one theory,
22 everyone was a military person at the time because there had been general
23 mobilisation. So some segments pulled out and went back to the so-called
24 civilian structures, bodies. So as far as civilians were concerned, there
25 were a number of such cases. I filed criminal reports against two persons
1 who introduced themselves as civilians initially because they were not
2 members of any particular military unit, however, the military prosecutor
3 decided to go ahead and press the charges, and those persons were
4 sentenced and they are now serving their sentences.
5 Q. All right. And lastly - and I might have asked you this question
6 already - would it have been possible for -- for you or any other organ to
7 provide protection? We have a witness protection programme here for those
8 who are cooperating or assisting the Tribunal. Did such an institution
9 exist at the time so that witnesses could come forward, provide
10 information, and be protected, they and their families?
11 A. No. Officially there was no system of protecting the witnesses or
12 their identity, not prior to the war or during the war. I don't think now
13 we have anything like that in place. People are talking about some
14 possibilities now, but back then, no, there was no protection guaranteed.
15 Q. All right. Now, you told us that you left the 3rd Battalion of
16 the East Bosnian Corps in 1994. Could you just briefly tell us what
17 you've done since then.
18 A. What I've done since. After that or before that?
19 Q. After that. We've finished talking about your experiences as a
20 member of the investigative unit of the 3rd Battalion of the East Bosnian
21 Corps. You told us you left in 1994 and were no longer a member of the
22 VRS. Just so we know, because I'm ending my questioning of you, just so
23 we know, what have you done since, what sort of work?
24 A. I have worked for a number of state-owned companies for my
25 livelihood. Nothing much, just to make a living. Two state-owned
1 companies. One was into selling fruit juice, and there was another one
2 selling sweets and pastries. It was just to make a living.
3 Q. In other words, you're no longer connected in any way with law
5 A. No. No. I no longer wanted to remain involved.
6 Q. And I failed to ask you, you told us you left in 1994. If you
7 could reflect back to 1995, July, August, September, and onwards, 1996
8 perhaps, was the situation the same in 1995 and 1996 as it had been in
9 1994 or had it changed?
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Ms. Issa.
11 MS. ISSA: Your Honour, I think the witness has already testified
12 he left in 1994, so I don't see how he could ask this question.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll rephrase, Your Honour. I'll rephrase.
14 JUDGE LIU: Yes, and your question is too broad. It's very
15 difficult for the witness to answer.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll narrow it, Your Honour.
17 Q. After you left in 1994, where did you go, sir? What did you --
18 well, did you move from Bijeljina?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Did you move from -- so you were still in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, we know that you were no longer a member of the military
23 police or a member of the 3rd Battalion within the East Bosnian Corps.
24 Could you please tell us whether you are competent enough to tell us and
25 describe to us the conditions as they existed a year after you left, say
1 in 1995, or had things so drastically changed that you are no longer --
2 you are no longer capable of giving us any background information?
3 A. I understand your question. I believe things didn't change much.
4 Although I was no longer directly involved in the unit, there were a
5 number of my younger colleagues who sometimes saw it fit to consult me on
6 a number of different issues, to seek my advice. I helped some of them
7 set up their operational plans, to set up investigations. Everyone knew
8 me. My colleagues and the people who came after me to work with the unit,
9 they all knew me.
10 Q. Your particular unit, you left in 1994. Just briefly, could you
11 tell us why you left.
12 A. It was for personal reasons. The battalion commander had been
13 removed, and the new one who came along was a professional officer, and if
14 I may add, a competent officer, but he was not a police officer. Whatever
15 we had gathered throughout the years in terms of the people who worked
16 there and our activities, he set out to establish absolute power over the
17 unit, and I couldn't cope with that, I must admit. I must say I have
18 always found it very difficult to respect a superior officer who is less
19 competent than myself. I said that I would just go and do something else.
20 I said goodbye, and I said I would leave them to it. I went on sick
21 leave, after which I returned my military identity booklet, and I left.
22 Q. What happened to the investigative unit since Captain Keserovic
23 left? That's who you were referring to earlier; correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What happened eventually to this investigative unit that had been
1 set up and organised to carry out these investigative tasks?
2 A. There were six of us in the unit, and very soon, within one or two
3 months, five of us left and new people came along, younger people, who I
4 must admit were successful in continuing our work. Perhaps they were not
5 as successful as we used to be, but certainly they didn't start from
6 scratch. There was something that we left behind for them that they could
7 use in their work.
8 Q. Now, I want to give you one more hypothetical. Assuming that the
9 -- that the assistant commander of the security organ of the Drina Corps
10 was involved in planning and perhaps even executing atrocities, how
11 possible would it have been for the investigative unit of the military
12 police of the Drina Corps to have conducted an investigation against that
13 security organ?
14 A. I think it would not have been possible. I don't think that there
15 would have been a possibility to conduct an investigation.
16 Q. Sir, I want to thank you very much for coming here and giving your
17 evidence. There may be some questions from Mr. Stojanovic, Mr. Jokic's
18 lawyer, and the Prosecution, and the Judges may have some questions. If
19 you could be as frank and forthright with them as you have been with me, I
20 would most appreciate it. Again, thank you very much, sir.
21 JUDGE LIU: Thank you, Mr. Karnavas.
22 Mr. Stojanovic -- he's not here. Mr. Lukic, yes.
23 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, no, our Defence does not have any
24 questions for this witness. Thank you.
25 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. Any cross-examination?
1 MS. ISSA: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour, I do have a few
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Ms. Issa.
4 Cross-examined by Ms. Issa:
5 Q. Good morning, sir.
6 A. Good morning to you.
7 Q. I just have a few questions, sir, relating to your testimony about
8 the investigation and prosecution of Serbs having committed crimes against
9 Muslims. You said that there were such investigations. Do you have any
10 records that reflect that there were such investigations of Serbs having
11 committed crimes against Muslims?
12 A. Yes. These records exist. I'm not in possession of these
13 records, but the military prosecutor is. I'm not sure about all of those
14 cases, but I think there were eventually sentences in all of those cases,
15 and those persons were sent to prison pursuant to those sentences.
16 There was a case where two brothers were killed. There was a rape
17 case, and so on and so forth, and those are some of the cases that I
18 worked on.
19 Q. Okay. Now, are you referring to the years between 1992 and 1994,
20 I take it, that those cases that you say took place?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Okay. Do you know, sir, who Mr. Novak Kovacevic is?
23 A. No, I'm not familiar with that person.
24 Q. You're not aware, sir, that he was -- he worked as a prosecutor in
25 the Bijeljina district before 1992, subsequently became the chief
1 prosecutor there and was sitting as a judge in the Bijeljina district?
2 A. I was in touch with prosecutors from the Bijeljina district but
3 not with Mr. Kovacevic. Probably he had left the prosecutor's office by
4 then. I knew the prosecutors who were active in Bijeljina at the time
5 when I was there.
6 Q. According to Mr. Kovacevic, sir, all the military records after
7 the dissolution of the military court in 2000 were sent to the Bijeljina
8 district, were transferred there, and that, according to him, there were
9 no such records that reflected that the VRS was -- members of the VRS were
10 prosecuted for committing crimes against Muslims. Are you aware of that?
11 A. I don't know what Mr. Kovacevic said, but I say this with full
12 responsibility: I had two persons detained and carried out investigations
13 against two persons from the village of Medzasi in the municipality
14 because they had committed the murder of two young Muslims, Bosniaks, on
15 the River Drina. I was even assisted in this by certain bodies from
16 Yugoslavia, from across the river Drina. They carried out investigation
17 on their turf, and I worked on mine. One of these persons was sentenced
18 to nine years in prison and the other to seven. Those are two brothers.
19 I wasn't really very much into names, but this information should be easy
20 to obtain and perhaps I can pass it on to you later on, if you like.
21 Q. Okay. Do you happen to have any of those names now? Are you able
22 to tell us who these people were?
23 A. No, I really can't remember their names, but it should be simple
24 enough to find those. They're from the village of Medzasi in Bijeljina
25 municipality. I know they were brothers. I remember all the details
1 about how I had them arrested, how the investigation was carried out, how
2 the criminal report was filed, how the bodies were identified. The family
3 of the injured parties, they were well aware of the bodies and everything
4 surrounding that.
5 Q. Okay. Now, as I understand it, sir, as I understood your
6 testimony, anybody who was aware of or privy to an offence in the military
7 context was required to report it. Is that fair to say?
8 A. Not quite. I wouldn't agree when you say was required to report
9 it, but it may be the case. I don't have an answer to that question.
10 Q. Okay. Perhaps I can refer you, then, to Exhibit P380.
11 MS. ISSA: If I can get the assistance of Mr. Usher. We can put
12 the English version on the ELMO. Page 8, please.
13 Q. Just so we know what we're talking about, this is entitled
14 "Guidelines for Determining Criteria for Criminal Prosecution," and it's
15 from the Main Staff of the armed forces of Republika Srpska. It was
16 admitted previously under -- as P380, for the record. If we turn to page
17 8, which is under the heading of "Criminal Offences Against Humanity and
18 International Law," and we look at the second paragraph, that, sir, speaks
19 to officers who find out about criminal -- about crimes having been
20 committed by their members - and I'm just paraphrasing because we can see
21 the text there - are answerable for these -- for criminal offences. Do
22 you find that in your version?
23 I could read it out to assist you. It states: "If officers
24 merely find out that units of the armed forces of the army of Republika
25 Srpska or their members have committed or are committing such acts and
1 take no measures to prevent the consequences or the acts themselves and
2 expose perpetrators to criminal prosecution, this in itself makes them
3 answerable for these criminal offences."
4 Are you aware of -- of this guideline, sir?
5 A. Well, let's say that I am. I didn't use this as a guideline while
6 I was on the job, and I'm not sure what the question is about.
7 I -- I'm not sure that I had these guidelines, for example, back
8 in 1993 while I was still on the job, these specific guidelines, that I
9 had a chance to familiarise myself with these, but I believe that this was
10 understood, that it was the duty of an officer to report the -- that a
11 crime had been committed.
12 But I'm not sure what your original question was, whether everyone
13 was duty-bound to report. When I say "everyone," I mean ordinary
14 citizens, too, and not only officers, military officers. Perhaps you
15 would like to repeat your question and I'll try to go back to what you
16 asked me about.
17 Q. Well, sir, I was simply asking if you were aware of this
18 particular guideline, and I read it verbatim and it specifically refers to
19 officers. And I understand your answer to mean that you're not quite
20 sure. If you're aware of it, it's just something that you may have known
21 about but you don't recall if you've seen that before. Am I correct in
22 stating that? It's a very simple question.
23 A. Yes, you are right, but this would have been understood regardless
24 of whether I had a chance to look through these guidelines or not. It's
25 -- it's a matter of an officer's honour. And officers would have been
1 bound, duty-bound by his officer's honour to report a crime that he knows
2 had been committed.
3 JUDGE LIU: Ms. Issa, for the sake of this witness, would you
4 please inform him about the date of this document.
5 MS. ISSA: Yes, Your Honour. It's actually dated 1992.
6 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
7 MS. ISSA:
8 Q. Thank you. I have no further questions, sir.
9 MS. ISSA: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE LIU: Any redirect, Mr. Karnavas?
11 MR. KARNAVAS: No, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Well, at this stage are there any
13 documents to tender? Mr. Karnavas?
14 MR. KARNAVAS: No, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE LIU: Ms. Issa?
16 MS. ISSA: No, thank you, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE LIU: But we received a long list.
18 MS. ISSA: Unfortunately, Your Honour, I didn't have too much
19 information to go on, so I was perhaps over anticipating.
20 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Well, Witness, thank you very much for
21 coming here to give your evidence. The usher will show you out of the
22 room and we wish you a very pleasant journey back home. You may go now.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 [The witness withdrew]
25 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Mr. President.
2 JUDGE LIU: Do you have another witness available? I believe that
3 last week you informed us we have two witnesses for this week.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: That's correct, Mr. President. I anticipated one
5 to take a little bit longer on my direct, and I thought that the cross
6 might be a little bit longer, but also, because there are only two for the
7 entire week, I had planned on putting the next witness on for tomorrow, so
8 I'm afraid I erred in not having him available to go on now. So that's it
9 for today.
10 JUDGE LIU: I see.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Given that Ms. Issa also is rather ill, I think
12 this is appropriate too, so I am taking advantage of that situation as
14 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much for your consideration. Since
15 there is no witness available, are there any other matters that the
16 parties would like to raise at this stage? Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes. Good morning, Mr. President. I think just
18 housekeeping. I believe on Friday, when I wasn't here, there was some --
19 a short discussion about Mr. Schifanelly, one of the Defence experts, and
20 I had -- Mr. Karnavas and I had talked and we had tentatively agreed not
21 to have -- we really don't object to the report coming in under the Rules
22 as long as it's clear that we do not accept it as truth but that it is the
23 Defence version of the events, which is -- which is fine, and that way I
24 think we cannot -- not have -- we can resolve the matter, the whole case a
25 little earlier and that Mr. Schifanelly will not be testifying and we will
1 accept the report into evidence, and if that's -- the understanding is
2 that we still have it, that's -- that's fine with the Prosecution.
3 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Can I hear the response from Mr. Karnavas.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Mr. President. I did speak with Mr. McCloskey
5 on Friday, and that was what was conveyed to me, and I said that's fine.
6 Rather than fly the gentleman over to testify more or less to what is in
7 the report, the understanding was that the report and the attaching
8 documents would come in, the supporting documents. So we filed a motion.
9 So you have a report and then the supporting documents to the report. So
10 that would be in lieu of flying the gentleman over here to testify about
11 that limited scope. So -- because that was an issue that had been raised
12 by Mr. McCloskey earlier, and I'd given him assurances that the nature of
13 his -- of his testimony would be limited to the scope of the report
14 itself. And so I think that in light of that, and we understand that
15 they're not accepting what is in the report but they're accepting the
16 report in lieu of viva voce testimony, so that's my understanding, and it
17 is rather efficient.
18 JUDGE LIU: I'm a little bit worried about those so-called
19 attaching documents, you know. I'm just afraid, you know, some documents
20 will go through the back door.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour -- Your Honour, I'm disappointed to
22 hear that, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE LIU: I'm not blaming you, you know.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: No. I understand that, but I can assure you that
25 there's nothing in the -- in that document itself that should raise any
1 alarms. The report itself is rather terse. However, in order to
2 understand how somebody could reach that -- that conclusion or make that
3 report, it was necessary to -- it was necessary for them to spend a
4 tremendous amount of time looking at other documents. Now, the -- there
5 are some sources that are referred to, many of them already in. Whatever
6 is not, I certainly am making every effort to -- to provide the
7 appropriate pages that are being referenced so that there's nothing that's
8 going to be sneaking in through the back door.
9 The report, it is what it is, and Mr. Schifanelly, in essence, is,
10 if I may summarise his report, is challenging the methodology of
11 Mr. Butler. That's all I'm going to say. I'm not going to go into
12 specifics, I won't give my closing argument, I'll save it for another day.
13 But basically that's the limit of it. But then, without having that
14 supporting document, you may wish -- may be thinking, well, how could this
15 person possibly give such an opinion or opinions, and so that gives you
16 the -- the opportunity to see his approach and his analysis and how he
17 reached his final conclusions. So that's all it is. And we're certainly
18 not going to argue something through the back door. That's not my
19 approach and I don't think it would be appropriate, although I am familiar
20 with the tactic.
21 JUDGE LIU: Thank you. Mr. McCloskey.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. We haven't really -- in
23 looking at this material, I don't even believe we'll be calling Mr. Butler
24 on rebuttal. We may, as we review the whole case, but I don't believe so.
25 And if there is any material that appears to need some sort of rebuttal
1 or some information that's in there, we -- we may provide that. But as it
2 stands, I think the Prosecution is not -- doesn't have a real concern with
3 -- with this material. I think the Court, given all the material and all
4 the testimony, has -- will be able to make its own judgement.
5 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much. I think this kind of practice
6 should be encouraged, that both parties could meet together and discuss
7 about the documents, especially the expert statements.
8 Is there anything else?
9 So, the hearing for today is adjourned, and we will resume
10 tomorrow morning at 9.00.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 11.07 a.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 15th day of June,
13 2004, at 9.00 a.m.