1 Tuesday, 28 January 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Registrar, could you call the case,
8 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. Good morning, Your Honours.
9 This is case number IT-99-36-T, the Prosecutor versus Radoslav Brdjanin.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Brdjanin, good morning to you.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Can you follow the proceedings in a language that
13 you can understand?
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I can.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. You may sit down. Appearances for the
17 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honours, Julian Nicholls with Joanna Korner,
18 Ann Sutherland, and Denise Gustin.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you and good morning for the four of you.
20 Appearances for the Defence?
21 MR. ACKERMAN: Good morning, Your Honours it's John Ackerman again
22 with Milan Trbojevic and Marela Jevtovic. Nice to see you this morning.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: And good morning to you, the three of you. So let's
25 Witness -- usher? Madam, the usher is going to ask you to give
1 you the text of the solemn declaration so that you repeat it once more.
2 Thank you.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
4 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
5 WITNESS: WITNESS BT1 [Resumed]
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. You may sit down and good morning to
8 you too.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Your Honour, the interpreters have a bit of a
10 problem, the channel 7 on which we hear the witness is mutually exclusive
11 with the channel on which we hear everything else. So if we turn on
12 channel 7 to hear the witness, we don't hear the courtroom.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: So what do you want us to do?
14 THE INTERPRETER: If the technical people could do something so
15 that when we listen to the witness we can also hear you and everyone
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I thought so much. When I was about to come in the
18 courtroom and the Registrar told me that there were no technical problems
19 today and no preliminaries, I said, "How come?"
20 THE REGISTRAR: The technician is going to see what they can do.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: In the meantime, would it help if we all switch off
22 the -- I think that's the only way we can help the interpreters, I
24 THE REGISTRAR: Normally, we just allow one person to talk at a
1 JUDGE AGIUS: But that's difficult in this courtroom. You know
3 So, Mr. Nicholls, Mr. Nicholls will be proceeding with his
4 examination-in-chief. Thank you. Please, as soon as you finish with your
5 question, switch off the microphone so that we try and make the problem a
6 little bit less cumbersome. Thanks.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, Your Honour, thank you.
8 Examined by Mr. Nicholls: [Continued]
9 Q. Good morning. I'm now going to continue talking about the same
10 topic we were on yesterday. Please remember again that you do not need to
11 say your name. And I'm going to be asking you about the delegation which
12 visited Omarska, you said around the 15th of July.
13 First I want to go back and ask you some questions about the
14 arrival and the greeting which you started describing yesterday by the
15 camp commander, Meakic. Then I'll move on and ask you some questions
16 about how the delegation moved to around the corner, which you started to
17 indicate yesterday. Then I'll ask you about what you saw there. And you
18 had started to describe how prisoners were singing to the delegation.
19 Okay? So we'll do it step by step that way. And it might help if the
20 witness could be given again 1128.4/1, which is the same diagram which we
21 were using yesterday. And can I just ask to be careful to confirm that
22 the voice distortion is working since we have some technical problem this
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Registrar, could you check?
25 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, it's working quite well.
1 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
2 Q. Okay. Can you hear me now, Witness?
3 A. [Microphone not activated]
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Ms. Korner was right, yes. We need court
6 THE WITNESS: [Microphone not activated] [Interpretation] I didn't
7 hear your question at all because I wasn't tuned in to the right channel.
8 I would kindly ask you to repeat your question, please.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls could I ask you to repeat your
10 question, please? Thank you.
11 MR. NICHOLLS:
12 Q. Okay. I hope it's working now. Just relax. I'm going to ask you
13 again about the same topics we went over yesterday and move through it
14 step by step in a little bit more detail.
15 So first I'm going to ask you about the arrival of the delegation
16 in Omarska camp, which you said was around July 15th. The first part
17 we'll talk about is the arrival of the delegation and the greeting by the
18 camp commander. Then after we are done with that I'll ask you some
19 questions about how the delegation moved around the corner and you saw
20 them through the other part of the window, which you started to talk about
22 Then I'll ask you some questions about how you saw the inmates,
23 the prisoners, singing to the delegation and you started talking about
24 that yesterday as well. And then finally I'll ask you some questions
25 about how the delegation left or went out of your view, out of your field
1 of vision.
2 Were you able to hear everything I've just said to you?
3 A. Again, I have no translation. No interpretation. I don't know
4 what's going on.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Madam Jevtovic?
6 MS. JEVTOVIC: I had translation.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know what's happening. Perhaps one of the
8 technicians could come in the courtroom and check things out because we
9 are wasting precious time.
10 I'm sorry about this, Mr. Nicholls, I know it's not your fault.
11 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour. It's fine.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Could we have a test transmission, please? Can you
13 hear -- can you follow in a thank that you can understand now?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it's all right now. I can hear
15 the interpreters now clearly.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Nicholls, again, please, I'm
17 sorry about this. It's the third time you're putting the question. So go
18 ahead. My apologies.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
20 Q. We are going to briefly go over the same topic you started talking
21 about yesterday before we had to stop. I'm going to first ask you some
22 questions about the arrival of the delegation at Omarska camp, which you
23 witnessed, and you said yesterday was around July 15th. And how you saw
24 the delegation being greeted by the camp commander Meakic.
25 After we are done with that, I'll ask you a few questions about
1 how you saw the delegation move and where they went to next from the spot
2 where they were greeted. Then I'll ask you a few questions about how what
3 you started to talk about yesterday, how you saw some inmates singing
4 songs, you described them as a choir, for the delegation. And then
5 finally, I'll ask you to tell the Court about how this delegation left and
6 you couldn't see them any more. And then we'll have a few closing
8 So first, if you can look again just to catch up and confirm where
9 we were yesterday, if you look at the exhibit in front of you, number 1
10 represents -- correct me if I'm wrong -- the restaurant or canteen, the
11 position in the restaurant or canteen where you were when you first saw
12 the delegation arrive. Is that correct?
13 A. Yes, that's correct.
14 Q. Number 2 represents where you saw the camp commander greeting the
15 delegation. Is that right?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. Okay. Now, when you first saw this delegation somewhere around
18 where you've marked 2 on the map, you said you saw an APC carrier. I take
19 it there were some other vehicles. How many people -- I'm not talking
20 about the escort but if you remember, approximately how many people were
21 in the delegation that came to visit Omarska that day?
22 A. Well, there was a group of people. I identified them clearly
23 yesterday. That's Radoslav Brdjanin, Vojo Kupresanin, Radislav Vukic,
24 Stojan Zupljanin, and Simo Drljaca.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Nicholls, one moment, Mr. Nicholls.
1 Madam, yesterday you also mentioned someone else in addition. You
2 mentioned another name.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Momir Talic. I don't know why
4 I omitted him now.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
6 Mr. Nicholls, you may proceed.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
8 Q. And I believe that yesterday you did not mention Simo Drljaca.
9 Are you sure that he was there?
10 A. I didn't mention him yesterday, although I'm sure he was there. I
11 don't know why I forgot him yesterday. There may have been other people
12 whom I did not enumerate because I'm not sure about them. I only
13 mentioned those who I'm absolutely certain about.
14 Q. Thank you. So just to be clear, in addition to the people you've
15 mentioned today and yesterday, there may have been other persons present
16 in that delegation. Is that right?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. Was -- when this greeting was taking place at point 2 which you've
19 marked on the diagram, were the members of the delegation who you've named
20 facing towards you? Were you able to see them clearly at that point?
21 A. Yes. I could see them clearly. The people I mentioned were
22 facing me, and I could see them distinctly.
23 Q. What did these persons, the people in the delegation you've
24 mentioned, what were they doing during this greeting? Were they doing
1 A. Well, they heard this report, accompanied by Zeljko Meakic's
2 salute. They stood there for a while while he greeted them, and then they
3 started walking towards the tarmac, they turned around the corner, walked
4 a certain distance, and stopped in front of this choir made up of inmates.
5 Q. Now, still staying with during -- at the spot where you saw the
6 greeting, could you hear what was being said even though you were in the
7 restaurant at that time?
8 A. Well, I heard the odd word but I couldn't really hear what was
9 being said. I saw the commander raising his hand in salute, turning
10 towards this high-ranking delegation, saluting them. I don't know exactly
11 how long this ceremony took before the delegation walked on towards the
13 Q. Had you personally -- did you know this delegation was coming that
14 day? Did you have any advance notice? Were you told that anything
15 special was going to happen that day? Or was it a complete surprise to
16 you when this delegation arrived?
17 A. Well, we who were in the camp and working at the restaurant, we
18 had a feeling that somebody was -- something was in the air, that
19 something was about to happen, but we didn't know exactly what. We could
20 hear the rehearsals of those Chetnik songs that were to be sung that day
21 in front of the delegation. However, nobody told us expressly that a
22 high-ranking delegation was supposed to arrive that day to the camp to
23 visit. Later on of course, when all that was over, there was talk among
24 the guards.
25 Q. Now, normally, in the restaurant or canteen which you've pointed
1 out to us, that is somewhere where you had to work during the day. Is
2 that right?
3 A. Yes. That was the rule. Every day, we, the women, worked in the
4 restaurant where the inmates of Omarska received their one meal of the
6 Q. While you were watching this greeting and you'd first -- and you
7 first saw the members of this delegation, the people you've told us about,
8 did you have to work? Were you working at that time or were you able to
9 watch what was going on without any distractions?
10 A. I could observe what was going on without any distraction because
11 there was no work to be done at the moment, no food to be distributed.
12 All our everyday activities at the camp had been suspended and everything
13 was concentrated on the delegation.
14 Q. Now, if you can tell me, you stated that Radoslav Brdjanin was
15 amongst that delegation that you recognised him and that you're sure he
16 was one of the members. Can you tell us, please, how you know that? How
17 did you recognise Mr. Brdjanin?
18 A. Well, Mr. Brdjanin was a prominent public figure occupying an
19 important political position, so I had had occasion, since the time when
20 the nationalist-oriented parties in Bosnia had taken over, to see him
21 frequently in the media, in the press, and the electronic media. He was a
22 frequent guest in TV programmes and his face was very familiar.
23 Q. Prior to that, to this day in July, around mid-July, had you ever
24 to your knowledge, had you ever seen Mr. Brdjanin in person before?
25 A. No. I had never been personally acquainted with him. I was never
1 near the political circles in power at the time, nor I had any opportunity
2 to meet him.
3 Q. How far away during the greeting and salute which you've told us
4 about, approximately how far away do you think you were - if you could
5 give an estimate - from Mr. Brdjanin?
6 A. It could have been 4 or 5 metres approximately, but I was very
8 Q. Now, I just want to be clear and be clear for the Chamber. At
9 what point did you in your mind say, That's Radoslav Brdjanin? Was this
10 an instant recognition? Did you realise this at some point later after
11 the delegation had left? Did anybody talk to you and that's what made you
12 think this was Mr. Brdjanin? Can you describe how you in your mind knew
13 or believed this was Radoslav Brdjanin you were looking at?
14 A. I saw them clearly as soon as they stopped in front of Zeljko
15 Meakic, and as soon as he started greeting and addressing them. I
16 recognised him instantly, as soon as it all began. Nor did I learn it
17 from anyone else. I saw it and heard it with my own eyes and ears.
18 Q. Now, if you could again look at the exhibit next to you, can you
19 just -- I don't think we need to mark it but could you just show us how
20 the delegation moved from point 2 where they next moved to and stopped?
21 A. Here, as I said, number 1 marks my position at the canteen in the
22 restaurant, number 2 is the position of Zeljko Meakic the camp commander
23 who was saluting the delegation. And the spot where the delegation
24 remained for a while before moving on, around the corner, towards the
25 pista, the tarmac, and stopped in front of this choir here that was
1 standing on the tarmac. So this is the path along which they walked, the
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: If the witness could be given a pen I think it
5 would be helpful if she marked where the people she saw lining up, the
6 choir, as she calls them, were.
7 Q. So if you could just draw a line, please, marking where so that we
8 can see how the prisoners were lined up.
9 A. [Marks]
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Ask her to put a 4 against that line, please.
11 MR. NICHOLLS:
12 Q. Could you please mark that line with a 4 at one end of the line?
13 A. [Marks]
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: If I could now show the witness, this was Exhibit
16 P1128.5. I'll give her a clean copy in case Your Honours want it to be
18 Q. Now, if you take a moment to look at that, please, Witness, is
19 that from the part of it you can see, that's another photo of a model of
20 Omarska camp, is that also a fair and accurate representation of part of
21 the camp as it was in 1992?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. Can you, without marking it, can you point to the spot, if it's on
24 there, where you were during this time of the delegation. First where you
25 were, if it's visible there, when you were able to see the greeting which
1 you've talked about? In other words, where would point number 1 be on
2 this diagram, which you'd marked on the earlier diagram?
3 A. Yes. It is clearly visible, very much so, and I will show you on
4 this photograph or rather on this model, because that part of the
5 restaurant can be easily seen. I was here, this corner, then the
6 delegation is moving in this direction, and now I'm here in this part.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Will the witness please speak towards the
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Usher, could you please arrange -- yeah, move the
10 microphone a little bit so that when the witness is looking at the ELMO,
11 she can be heard?
12 It's not your problem. We are fixing that. Thank you.
13 MR. NICHOLLS:
14 Q. Thank you, Witness. Then just to be clear, this corner which
15 you're now pointing at represents the area where you were the entire
16 time? You've moved within that glassed area to see the delegation first
17 while they were greeted and then while they were watching the prisoners
18 who were lined up singing. Is that right?
19 A. Yes, that is quite right. As a rule, we were sitting in this
20 corner here, which I've just pointed at. The last one. There was a
21 table, perhaps two or three chairs, and a radiator and that is where we
22 sat at the time when we were not working somewhere.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. NICHOLLS: Could this be exhibited as a -- that's all right.
25 Sorry, it's already in. And maybe could the other diagram be put back on
1 the ELMO?
2 Q. Now, I'd like to, if you could, just describe the scene as you
3 remember it, of the prisoners singing for the delegation. If you could
4 describe how that started? You started to yesterday. What types of songs
5 they were singing and if you can, how many prisoners approximately there
6 were at that time, lined up, where you've indicated?
7 A. As I have already said, what I said yesterday, I will repeat
8 that. So I am standing here. I was right here in this corner, in this
9 part, marked here on this drawing, number 1, and this high-ranking
10 delegation arrives. I see an APC nearby and clearly --
11 Q. At this point, I think that's clear. I'm just asking about what
12 you saw at the time that the prisoners were singing to the delegation.
13 How long -- let me ask you this: How long did that singing continue? How
14 many songs were these prisoners forced to sing, if you remember?
15 A. Well, I've just said it seems to me, although it was -- it is very
16 difficult to pinpoint the time, but it could have been 10, 15 minutes,
17 during which nationalistic, chauvinistic Chetnik songs were sung, "od
18 Topole pa do Raume gore, Svud su straze djemerala Draze, Ko to kaze Ko to
19 laze," "Who is saying, who is lying?" There were various salutes with
20 three raised fingers, they cry out, "Long live Serbia, long live
22 Q. If you were able to see, could you tell what the reaction of
23 Mr. Brdjanin and the other members of the delegation was to this display?
24 A. Well, they listened attentively to the salutes and the singing
25 went on. They were standing in front of that choir, and I thought that
1 they were addressing them, that one member of the delegation was
2 addressing the choir. But it was really very loud, because they were --
3 the singing was going on, the shouts were going on, so that one could not
4 really hear what the members of the delegation were saying to the inmates
5 standing in the choir.
6 Q. And I think you've been clear but just to be sure, were you able
7 to also see Mr. Brdjanin at this point during the singing which you've
9 A. Yes, yes, yes. Now they are facing -- at some point they had
10 their backs on me because they were looking at the choir, from the place
11 where I was, I could now see only their backs, of course.
12 Q. What type of clothing was Mr. Brdjanin wearing? Was he wearing
13 any kind of uniform or was he in civilian clothing?
14 A. As far as I can remember, the clothes were civilian but I can't
15 really remember. I can't remember what those civilian clothes looked
17 Q. Now, briefly you stated that you recognised Mr. Brdjanin from
18 seeing him in the media, on TV and in newspapers and in magazines. Did
19 you personally know any of the members of that delegation? In other
20 words, were there any that you recognised from having known them rather
21 than just from having seen their pictures before?
22 A. I knew Simo Drljaca, the then chief of the public security centre
23 in Prijedor, and I also knew Stojan Zupljanin because we had been at the
24 university together.
25 Q. When you first saw this delegation, did you have any -- how did it
1 make you feel? What did you think they were there for? Did you have any
2 ideas, any -- did it trigger anything in your mind?
3 A. Well, as a matter of fact, I didn't know. First I thought that
4 the delegation would come to the restaurant where the women were so that
5 they could see us there. I did not know the reason for the visit, and
6 perhaps I was hoping against hope that they would sympathise with us and
7 perhaps do something to alleviate our position in the camp and perhaps do
8 something about our release from there.
9 Q. And how did you feel when you saw these prisoners singing songs
10 for the delegation?
11 A. It was a very painful scene. People exhausted by torture, with
12 the conditions in the camp, who had lost weight significantly. My
13 impression was it was a choir of skeletons singing. I couldn't understand
14 where they drew their strength from to be able to sing so loudly and shout
15 out those war cries.
16 Q. Did the delegation ever come into the restaurant or did you in any
17 other way personally meet the members of the delegation face to face?
18 A. No. The delegation did not enter the restaurant. No. While I
19 was there, nobody did, and I did not meet any of the members of the
20 delegation. I mean, I didn't have any particular meeting with any one of
22 MR. NICHOLLS: Could the witness please be shown, this is
23 P1547/S238? It's also marked as -- this is a Kozarski Vjesnik article
24 headlined, either, "It's difficult or it's tough for everyone," depending
25 on the translation.
1 Q. Witness, if you could ask you to take a moment, it's quite a short
2 article dated 17th July, 1992. If your copy is clear enough, could you
3 please read that to yourself and just tell me when you're done?
4 A. Yes, I've finished.
5 Q. This article dated 17th July, 1992, in paragraph 2, refers to
6 Krajina representatives Radoslav Brdjanin, Radislav Vukic, Predrag Radic
7 and Stojan Zupljanin, and then the next paragraph states, "After they
8 visited the areas where combat operations had taken place and collection
9 centres, the guests from the Krajina thanked their hosts for their
10 hospitality and their efforts put into creating a new Serbian state at
11 this area. At the decisive moment when Alija Izetbegovic already thought
12 he had turned Prijedor into a new Alcatraz," and then it quotes Radoslav
13 Brdjanin as talking about the situation in Prijedor being a job well done.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Could the usher please move the text down so the
15 interpreters can see it, since we cannot hear Mr. Nicholls?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I've read that.
17 MR. NICHOLLS:
18 Q. Now, this is dated 17th July, 1992, talking about a visit to
19 collection centres a day earlier. Could that have been the same visit
20 which you've been discussing in your mind? Do you believe that's the same
22 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, Your Honour, she could have --
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm quite sure about that and this
24 corroborates what I told you.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Don't jump like that, Mr. Ackerman.
1 MR. ACKERMAN: I'm sorry.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: She was in the middle of an answer and you didn't --
3 MR. ACKERMAN: I'm sorry, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: -- let her finish.
5 MR. ACKERMAN: There could just be no basis for her to answer that
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, but you should have waited until I gave you the
8 go ahead.
9 MR. ACKERMAN: I'm sorry.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: What's your objection, Mr. Ackerman? Because I
11 couldn't hear the two of you talk -- speak at the same time.
12 MR. ACKERMAN: The question is: After reading the article, could
13 that have been the same visit you've been discussing, in your mind? Do
14 you believe that's the same visit? My objection is she would have
15 absolutely no basis to answer that question. How could she possibly know?
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, you can rephrase your question, Mr. Nicholls,
17 by asking the witness whether the visit to the camp by the delegation that
18 she referred to earlier coincided according to her, as far as the date is
19 concerned? In other words, with the visit that is mentioned in the
20 document that has been just shown to her. Thank you.
21 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Witness, I just want to clear up that the visit could have been
23 coincided with, as His Honour stated, what's laid out in this article
24 taking place on the 16th of July. Is that right?
25 A. Yes. It did coincide, as the Presiding Judge has said. It
1 coincides with my story about the delegation's visit, and this article
2 corroborates it.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, I'm going to move to a different topic
5 and I think we should go into closed session.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into closed session for a while, Madam
7 Registrar, please.
8 Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
9 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I think private session is sufficient,
10 isn't it? I don't think we have to close all these things here. Private
11 session gets us the same place just without closing all those --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Does it, Madam Registrar? Would that be okay with
14 MR. NICHOLLS: That's fine.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So we go into private session.
16 [Private session]
13 Pages 13660-13683 – redacted – private session
12 [Open session]
13 MR. ACKERMAN:
14 Q. Witness, I'm now going to discuss with you that time in July when
15 you claim that Mr. Brdjanin visited Omarska. The first thing -- well --
16 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I have to go back into private session
17 for just a moment. I'm sorry.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go back into private session for a moment.
19 Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
20 [Private session]
7 [Open session]
8 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session.
9 MR. ACKERMAN:
10 Q. Now, Witness, the people you claim to have seen during this, what
11 you call delegation visit to Omarska, were Mr. Brdjanin, Mr. Zupljanin,
12 Dr. Vukic, Simo Drljaca, Momir Talic, Vojo Kupresanin. Correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you be any more specific about the date that you claim it was
15 when this happened?
16 A. I've already said around the 15th. It could have been a day
17 before or a day after. I already said it before.
18 Q. Now, you believe that this article you saw from Kozarski Vjesnik
19 this morning dated the 17th may very well have been connected to that
20 meeting, don't you?
21 A. Yes, yes. That's right. It so happened, whether by accident
22 or -- but be that as it may, it tallies with what I told you about.
23 Q. Just going back to that article for just a second, I think you'll
24 recall that your attention was brought to a part of that article which
25 purports to quote Mr. Brdjanin that, "The situation in Prijedor is an
1 example of a job well done, and it's a pity that many people in Banja Luka
2 are not yet aware of it."
3 Of course, you of your own personal knowledge have no idea whether
4 Mr. Brdjanin actually said such a thing or not, do you?
5 A. Well, I learned it from that article. It was from that article
6 that I learned what he had said.
7 Q. And this is the same newspaper that you told us just a moment ago
8 was an unreliable pack of lies, basically, isn't it?
9 A. I suppose so, yes, the Kozarski Vjesnik.
10 Q. Yes. You left the camp, didn't you, on, I think, the 3rd of
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You told us during your examination by Mr. Nicholls today,
14 page 14, line 22, that when you saw that delegation there, you were hoping
15 that they would do something about our release from there. That was one
16 of your reactions to seeing them, wasn't it?
17 A. Well, yes. The mood changed and reactions also changed. At some
18 point, I thought that perhaps it might help us to get out of the camp,
19 however, I was wrong.
20 Q. And how long at that time had you been there?
21 A. Well, from the 9th until the 15th, 16th, or the 17th. From the
22 9th of June, 1992, so there you are, 20, 21 days, and 15 there, so it was
23 well over a month.
24 Q. And it's the case, isn't it, that just two weeks after this
25 delegation had come that you were released?
1 A. I was released on the 3rd of August, 1992, so it was sometime
2 after the visit. And we were not released, we were transferred to another
4 Q. And then rather immediately released from there, weren't you? I
5 think you were there five days, right?
6 A. Yes, five days.
7 Q. Do you remember whether or not you saw Predrag Radic in this group
8 that you claim visited Omarska?
9 A. I did not really spot him, and I don't want to speak about things
10 that I'm not sure about. I said that in addition to those individuals
11 whose names I gave you today and yesterday, there were some others, but I
12 simply did not -- did not spot them exactly, did not identify them.
13 Q. You told us today that, with regard to Mr. Brdjanin, that you --
14 you knew who he was when you saw him there, when you claim to have seen
15 him there, because he occupied an important political position. What
16 political position did you understand that he occupied in July of 1992?
17 MR. NICHOLLS: Just for the record, that wasn't her exact answer.
18 She said she'd seen him. She knew who he was. Because he had that
19 position, he was in the media a lot, and she had seen him on television
20 and papers, not just because he had this position.
21 MR. ACKERMAN: Your honour, I wasn't limiting her. She said that.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: She definitely referred to Brdjanin as an important
23 political figure who held an important position.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Yes.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: So I suggest we don't lose or waste time. Go ahead,
1 Mr. Ackerman, because I do remember it very vividly.
2 MR. ACKERMAN:
3 Q. What important political position was it that you claim that he
5 A. He ranked very highly in the Serb Democratic Party. He was the
6 President of the Autonomous Region of Krajina, and the president of the
7 Krajina Crisis Staff. I learned that from the media, as I have already
8 said. There was frequent talk about that on television, on radio, or the
9 written press. His photographs also appeared, because he was frequently
10 in various television programmes. That is how I knew about him.
11 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I have two questions now that I need
12 to go back to private session, and then I think we will be finished with
13 private session.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's go back to private session for a
15 while. Thank you.
16 [Private session]
13 Pages 13689 to 13698– redacted – private session
10 [Open session]
11 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session now, Mr. Nicholls.
12 MR. NICHOLLS:
13 Q. Mr. Ackerman referred you to P1547 -- I think it's /S238. That is
14 the Kozarski Vjesnik article 17 July, 1992, and questioned you about
15 whether this paper printed lies and about how you would know whether or
16 not the statement made was actually made by Radoslav Brdjanin. You
17 testified that you heard him in the media and on the news very often
18 before you were in Omarska.
19 Did you listen carefully to the statements he made in those --
20 before you were in Omarska that you heard made in magazines and on
21 television or radio?
22 A. Yes, I did. I did listen carefully.
23 Q. And this article, which purports to quote Radoslav Brdjanin, it
24 states, "After saying that the situation in Prijedor is an example of a
25 job well done and that it is a pity that many people in Banja Luka are not
1 yet aware of it," he also states, "these Muslims had fled the neighbouring
2 municipalities and already making plans to heed the call of Jihad."
3 Is that the same as the type of statements you used to hear him
4 make before you were put in Omarska?
5 A. Yes, yes. Verbal threats, accusations, torture, which is even
6 worse. The staff of the camp used to tell us that we were there because
7 it was our fault, that we were guilty of waging this holy war, Jihad, that
8 we were guilty for having voted for Bosnia and Herzegovina as an
9 independent sovereign state.
10 Q. Just to be clear for the record, where you say, "Yes, yes. Verbal
11 threats, accusations," et cetera, are you talking there about statements
12 you heard Brdjanin make in the media? Or are you talking about what you
13 heard in the camp? Because you've put those together in that statement?
14 A. Yes. The message was the same, filled with hatred, nationalism.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Judge Janu will be asking you a question. Thank
18 Questioned by the Court:
19 JUDGE JANU: Madam, Mr. Ackerman in his cross-examination took you
20 to the point where you visited your flat, the new lady was there and you
21 said she offered you a coffee. And he asked you if you asked her for
22 something what was dear to you.
23 My question is this: Did she offer you that you can take
24 something, what is dear to you?
25 A. No. She didn't offer me anything. She said that she liked the
2 JUDGE JANU: Thank you.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I have a final question arising out of the question
4 that has been put to you by Judge Janu. Why on earth did you decide to
5 accept to go inside what was previously your own flat and have a coffee
6 with a person that had taken possession of it and also of all your
7 belongings? What were you trying to prove or achieve?
8 A. Well, she had invited me. She was pretty nice, and I accepted.
9 Perhaps at that moment, I was naive thinking that she might return the
10 apartment to me. Because after leaving the camp, I had no idea where to
11 go, where I could spend the night, where I would live, until I was finally
12 put up by my own friends and acquaintances. She even asked me why I was
13 so anxious, nervous. I told her that I had this strange sensation, as if
14 I were not sitting in my own apartment.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. That brings us to the end of your
16 testimony in this trial. I do understand that this must -- this wasn't an
17 easy time for you, to come here and give evidence on certain events that
18 you allege have taken place in your life. On behalf of the Tribunal, I
19 wish to thank you for having accepted to come over and give evidence, and
20 I can put your mind at rest that you will receive all the assistance that
21 you require now to enable you to return to your place of residence. I
22 thank you once more and the usher will accompany you out of the courtroom.
23 One moment. While she goes out -- yes, exactly. I think we ought
24 to pull down the curtains for a while. We don't need to go into closed
25 session? No. Or do we?
1 THE REGISTRAR: No.
2 [The witness withdrew]
3 JUDGE AGIUS: So I think it's you, Madam Richterova, who is taking
4 over now.
5 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yes, it's me. And the following witness was
6 granted image distortion, so we can as well use -- take --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we leave the curtains down for the time
9 Yes, Mr. Ackerman, are you just going back to your place?
10 Do we need to go into some kind of private session while he walks
11 in or whatever, Madam Chuqing? No. Just --
12 At this point in time, if you are taking an hour, and
13 Mr. Brdjanin -- Mr. Ackerman is taking half an hour, I don't see any point
14 in bringing the other witness, because it would have been okay had we
15 finished with the previous witness 20 minutes ago.
16 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yeah. This one was sent back, so we will finish
17 with this witness today.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: So, Ms. Sutherland, can I rely on you to liaise with
19 Ms. Korner and take a decision? We are here. If you want to bring in the
20 witness even for five minutes, we are prepared to hear him but it's up to
21 you any way.
22 [The witness entered court]
23 MS. RICHTEROVA: If you give me one second to set up things before
24 we start?
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, thank you.
1 In the meantime, I'll handle the witness. He's got a pseudonym,
2 correct? Pseudonym and image distortion? Is that right? Yes. Let me
3 check it once more.
4 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yes. The Prosecution is ready.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: And the witness enjoys voice distortion -- image
6 distortion and pseudonym, no?
7 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yes. He was granted a pseudonym and image
9 JUDGE AGIUS: So good morning to you, sir.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I -- on behalf of the Tribunal, I welcome you. You
12 are about to start giving evidence, and before you do so, our rules
13 require from you that you enter -- you make, a solemn declaration
14 equivalent to an oath that in the course of your testimony, you will be
15 speaking the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The text
16 of the solemn declaration is in the hands of the usher who has just handed
17 it over to you. Please read it out loud and that's your solemn
18 undertaking with us.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
20 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 WITNESS: WITNESS BT31
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, sir. You may sit down.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: What's going to happen very briefly is the
1 following: You won't be here for a long time. First, for about an hour
2 or so, you're going to be asked questions by Madam Richterova for the
3 Prosecution. I suppose you are already familiar with her. You know who
4 she is. And she will then be followed by, I would imagine, Mr. Ackerman,
5 who is the lead counsel for the accused Radoslav Brdjanin.
6 Madam Richterova, the witness is all yours.
7 MS. RICHTEROVA: Thank you, Your Honours. At first I have to
8 apologise to the witness for the delay we had.
9 Examined by Ms. Richterova:
10 MS. RICHTEROVA: May I ask the usher to show the witness this
11 piece of paper?
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Now, that piece of paper supposedly contains your
13 name and surname. Please don't read it. Just have a look at it and if it
14 contains your name and surname, just say yes. And then we have a look at
15 it ourselves.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Yes, please show it to the Defence and to
18 us. The reason for all this -- these precautions, sir, is to protect
19 you. We have placed an order for some protective measures. You will not
20 be referred to by your name in this courtroom but only by a nom de plume
21 that we have given to you, and in addition, no one can see your face
22 because we have agreed to protect you in another manner, also by image
24 If in fact you press the button video on your monitor, when you
25 are talking, you will see how others will be seeing you. And that's by
1 way of protecting your identity as you actually yourself requested. Thank
3 Madam Richterova.
4 MS. RICHTEROVA: This piece of paper will be Prosecution Exhibit
5 under seal P1620.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: And it will be under seal, Madam Registrar, please.
7 MS. RICHTEROVA: Your Honour, if we could go to the private
8 session just for a moment for the background information?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Please go ahead. Let's go into private
11 [Private session]
17 [Open session]
18 JUDGE AGIUS: So we are in open session. Mr. Ackerman.
19 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, contrary to what Your Honours had
20 basically ordered much earlier in the case, just at this very moment was I
21 advised that exhibits are going to be used with this witness, what those
22 exhibits are going to be, and this is just a violation of everything that
23 we have been trying to do in this case, and I object very strongly to it.
24 The Prosecution knows that I have an e-mail address that I watch
25 constantly. They could have easily sent this to me yesterday evening.
1 They probably could have handed it to me yesterday afternoon. I'm sure it
2 was known then. But to -- at the very beginning of a witness who I have
3 already said that I would finish rather quickly, to hand this material to
4 me, I think, is unfair and violates your prior orders. And all I want to
5 say about it is I may need to ask you to allow me to delay my
6 cross-examination until tomorrow, at least part of it, but I will look
7 through these documents as quickly as I can now. I may not need to ask
8 for that but I just think it's not fair to do it this way.
9 MS. RICHTEROVA: May I answer?
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Richterova.
11 MS. RICHTEROVA: Your Honour, I prepared the list of exhibits on
12 Thursday and as I was informed by Ms. Gustin, she handed over this list to
13 the Defence. So I really do not know whether a gremlin took it from the
14 locker or -- but it was handed over.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: We got it now but what I -- what I see here is,
16 Chuqing, for Judges, SLO, you, and J. Ackerman. This is what's written on
17 this yellow slip, which is different from the list obviously because these
18 are the documents, not the list.
19 MS. RICHTEROVA: I apologise what happened. I received this
20 information and I tried to hand over this as soon as possible.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ackerman? Were you aware --
22 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, if Ms. Gustin believes that she handed
23 this to me at some time -- sometime this week, I cannot -- I will not
24 stand here and say --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Last week, she said, Thursday.
1 MR. ACKERMAN: I will not stand here and say 100 per cent that I
2 never received it. I just can't do that because she is reliable. I don't
3 recall ever seeing it. I don't think I ever saw it, but in any event we
4 can go forward.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Any way, I think point taken, Mr. Ackerman, also
6 Madam Richterova. I think Mr. Ackerman has been fair to leave open the
7 possibility of being able to proceed and conclude today. However, if he
8 does find a difficulty, then obviously, we have to protect the interests
9 of the accused here as well, and we will have to postpone the
10 cross-examination until it can be done.
11 MS. RICHTEROVA: Of course.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So let's go ahead.
13 MS. RICHTEROVA:
14 Q. Witness, can you briefly describe the life in your village before
15 the war in Croatia started, and after the war started?
16 A. Well, I can say that we -- I mean, all peoples had good relations
17 and got along well. We were all together, but when the war in Croatia
18 started, then the change towards us -- the Croats changed. We all of a
19 sudden became a different people and they started insulting us and
20 treating us differently.
21 Q. Now I want to focus on the year 1992. Was there any restriction
22 on movement?
23 A. That's right. The movement was restricted. Tomasica and on its
24 boundary, there were guards. So that we, the Croats, from Tomasica could
25 not go to Sasina. And they had guards every 100 or 200 metres. We could
1 move around Tomasica. We could even reach the shops, but we could not get
2 out, because Serb troops came from other places, unknown, and under arms,
3 so that we dared not move further away from Tomasica.
4 Q. You said you could reach the shops. Did you go shopping?
5 A. No. I didn't, because I was afraid. There were many troops from
6 other villages and they were drinking a lot, and we didn't know them and
7 this is why I was afraid to go shopping. But they did not prohibit us
8 from selling goods except that we were ashamed.
9 Q. During the year 1992, was there any announcement to hand over
10 weapons, legally or illegally obtained?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. When was that?
13 A. 1992. I don't know which month, but there was a statement in
14 Prijedor, through Sanski Most, that those who owned weapons should return
16 Q. You said a statement. Did you hear this statement and was it on
17 television or on the radio?
18 A. I heard it on the radio. When they said it, I didn't have a TV
19 set. I still do not have one.
20 Q. Do you remember exactly what was said with respect to surrender of
22 A. I remember they said they -- that people should return weapons to
23 the Prijedor police and Sanski Most police. That is what I remember. I
24 know nothing else.
25 Q. Did you own a weapon?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Do you know whether anybody else returned or handed over the
4 A. In Tomasica, there were three men who had pistols and licensed
5 pistols, and they came and seized their weapons. I know nothing else.
6 Q. In the period of 1992, are you aware that there would be searches,
7 that there would be searches of houses in your village?
8 A. No.
9 Q. And in 1992, did you see coming soldiers to your village?
10 A. I started to visit a neighbour. It was the 10th of July, 1992,
11 and I saw soldiers at Tomo Grgic's house. The house was surrounded. They
12 asked me where I was headed. I told them. They said,
13 "Go home. Today the houses are searched." And I went back home.
14 Q. So on this occasion, was the houses searched?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And was your house searched that day?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And to your knowledge, did the soldiers find any weapons?
19 A. Not at my place.
20 Q. When we are talking about these soldiers, do you know who they
22 A. I know one, Slavko Torbica from Rakelici. I didn't know him until
23 then; I met him on that occasion. And I knew a Croat, Andjelko Kaurin,
24 who volunteered to join the Serb army, and he searched Croat houses
25 together with Serbs.
1 Q. Do you remember what these soldiers wear? Did they wear normal
2 uniforms or camouflage uniforms?
3 A. They wore normal uniforms. The soldiers I do not know them, I
4 only know Slavko Torbica from Rakelici and Andjelko Kaurin. I don't know
5 those other soldiers.
6 Q. On this occasion, was anybody arrested?
7 A. On that occasion, they arrested Juro Grgic, Tomo, and Vinko
9 Q. Do you know where these people were taken?
10 A. Those people were taken in a van to Andjelko Kaurin's house. A
11 lamb was being roasted there and drinking was going on, and then they took
12 people towards Prijedor. In which direction from there, I don't know.
13 Andjelko Kaurin might know that.
14 Q. Have you seen these three people ever since?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Witness, I want now you to focus on the events which occurred in
17 December 1992, but before we start, did anything else happen in your
18 village between July and December 1992 which would struck your attention?
19 A. Yeah. In November 1992 - I don't know the date, the exact date
20 Ivo Toplovic was killed, taken out from the house, taken 50 metres away,
21 and the next day his body was found by people.
22 Q. Do you know who killed him?
23 A. I don't.
24 Q. Now I will focus on the events which occurred in December 1992.
25 On 2nd of December, you were tasked to cut wood. Who gave you this order?
1 A. On the 2nd of December, 1992, Bore Stojic came with another Serb
2 soldier. The place of Busnovi, they came to Tomasica, to Andjo Maric's
3 house, and ordered us, the Croats, to go to the boundary between Sasina
4 and Tomasica in three days' time to get out 150 cubic metres of firewood.
5 Some people started to protest a little, Bore Stojic replied, "Don't you
6 make me come to get you the second time."
7 Q. Witness, who was Bore Stojic?
8 A. Why, he was dressed as a soldier. I don't know anything else --
9 oh, yes, he had a rifle too.
10 Q. As a -- you said he was dressed as a soldier. Do you know which
11 army he belonged?
12 A. No.
13 Q. How long did you cut the wood?
14 A. Three days.
15 Q. It means until the 5th of December?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And the 5th of December is the day when the event occurred. Can
18 you describe what happened that day?
19 A. I can.
20 Q. So please tell us what happened.
21 A. On the 5th of December, as we were driving the timber, Mile
22 Topalovic and I stayed back in the woods and Juro Sedic, Mato Sedic. And
23 the timber was driven away by Pero Topalovic, Pero Popovic, Mile
24 Komljenovic, Ante Komljenovic.
25 Q. You said that these people took the woods away. Where was this
1 wood taken?
2 A. It was taken to Franjo Salic's house, as Bore Stojic had ordered.
3 Q. And the people you just listed, did they stay in that house?
4 A. No.
5 Q. And where did they go from this house?
6 A. They went back to the woods, and we, that is Mile Topalovic and I,
7 went out of the woods, and there we met Bore Stojic. And we asked him if
8 we could go home. And Bore said, "Sure. But don't speak to anyone."
9 Q. So you and Mile Topalovic, where were you going? Did you go home?
10 A. We started for our homes, towards Franjo Salic's house. We were
11 some 500 metres away still, and we heard some shots.
12 Q. After you heard these shots, what was your reaction? What did you
14 A. Well, we did not really have any foreboding that something would
15 happen because Serbs were always armed, and fired.
16 Q. Did you see -- what did you see after these shots?
17 A. We moved forward, where some 200 metres away from Franjo Salic's
18 house, Mile Topalovic said, "Somebody might kill us." We moved forward,
19 and were about 100 metres away from Franjo Salic's yard. We had Marinko
20 Topalovic, Mile Topalovic's son, with us.
21 Q. So when you reach the house or better say you said you were about
22 100 metres from that house, did -- what did you see went on before the
24 A. When we fetched up at Franjo Salic's yard, five soldiers came out
25 of Franjo's yard, and one soldier said to us, "Come on, move on, faster.
1 What are you waiting for?" When we reached them, two soldiers started
2 towards us, and one of them asked Mile what his name was. And Mile said,
3 "We are bringing in the timber." And he said, "I'm not asking you what
4 are you doing but what your name is." Mile said, "Topalovic." Then he
5 asked me, and I answered. He asked me, "And whose is this kid?" And I
6 said, "Mile's."
7 The second soldier had his rifle aimed at me, at the left
8 shoulder. The first soldier, the one who asked questions of Mile, who
9 asked Mile what was his name, hit him with the rifle, to turn back in the
10 direction from which we had come, and then fired a bullet in his neck.
11 Q. After he fired this bullet in Mile Topalovic's head, what happened
13 A. Mile fell, head down, swallowed something, and stayed like that.
14 And then that first soldier ordered the second soldier, the one who had
15 his rifle against my left shoulder, he said to him, "Well, hit, what are
16 you waiting for?" And this second soldier hit me with a fist in the left
17 side of my face so that I would turn back like Mile, and he fired a bullet
18 in my left shoulder. I made one step forward and fell next to Mile.
19 When I fell, then one of them, I don't know which one, fired a
20 second bullet which went through my right shoulder, but I was still
21 conscious. Marinko Topalovic was crying with pain and said, "Don't kill
22 me. I've done nothing wrong." At that, the first soldier who had killed
23 Mile Topalovic came up to me and fired a bullet beneath my left eye. And
24 then I fainted.
25 Q. I will stop you here for a moment. You -- and I will start from
1 the moment you were close to Franjo Salic's house. You said you saw five
2 soldiers. Did you recognise any of these soldiers as persons you knew
3 from before?
4 A. No.
5 Q. What kind of uniforms did they wear?
6 A. Multi-coloured.
7 Q. Do you mean a multi-coloured, does it mean a camouflage uniform?
8 A. Why, all the soldiers wore that. What else to call it? Just as
9 I've said, of many colours.
10 Q. What kind of weapons did they wear?
11 A. That first soldier had a PAP, and those others, I don't know,
12 because we had our heads down and we could not look up at them.
13 Q. And last question about these soldiers: Did you see any insignia
14 on their uniforms?
15 A. No.
16 Q. And another question is: How old approximately was Marinko
17 Topalovic at that time, at the moment, when his father, Mile Topalovic,
18 was shot in front of him?
19 A. 14.
20 Q. I interrupted you at the moment when you said that you were shot
21 by one of these soldiers below your eye and you lost consciousness.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. When, what time approximately, this happened? What time of the
24 day this happened?
25 A. It was around 1400, 2.00 in the afternoon.
1 Q. When you came around, was it still light?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What were you able to see? What happened to you?
4 A. When I came to, I sat up. I see Mile Topalovic dead, and my both
5 left and right arms were between my legs. My right jaw was broken and my
6 teeth were hanging down around my right leg.
7 Q. After --
8 A. And --
9 Q. I'm sorry. After you came around, did anybody come to the place
10 where you both were lying?
11 A. When I came to, somebody let Bore Stojic know in the woods, what
12 happened to us. Bore turned up and then Knezevic, with a car, in a
13 Zastava. And when Bore saw us, he was taken aback but he could not pass
14 by, because of us, because Mile was dead and I was alive. And then Renato
15 Knezevic got out of the car and moved my legs to a side and that is how
16 they went on. Where they went, I don't know.
17 Q. Did these two men provide you with any help?
18 A. No.
19 Q. After they left, did anybody else appear there?
20 A. Later on, Goran Savic turned up in a uniform and with a rifle, and
21 Radenko Jovic, likewise, and Nevenka Savic. Goran Savic asked me,
22 "Neighbour, who did this to you?" I couldn't answer anything. Nevenka
23 Savic got the cart which belonged to Pero Popovic and took me to her home.
24 Q. Excuse me, did you say took me to her home [as interpreted]? Does
25 it mean that she took you to her --
1 A. No. The horse cart or ox cart.
2 Q. Because it was on the transcript. You just named these three
3 people. Who were they? Were they Croat? Muslims? Serbs?
4 A. Serbs.
5 Q. Did they provide you with any help?
6 A. No.
7 Q. After they left, where did you go?
8 A. I tried to stand up. I tried to -- I put my back against the wall
9 and with my feet on the ground, and I managed to stand up, and I started
10 towards Ivica's house. And in Salic's yard, I saw Pero Topalovic killed,
11 Dragica Salic killed, and Mara Salic killed.
12 Q. When you saw these three people in the yard and you said they were
13 killed, did you see any wounds?
14 A. No.
15 Q. How did you know that they were killed? Or I will -- excuse me, I
16 will rephrase: How did you know that they were dead?
17 A. I knew, whereas I saw Pero was on his back, Dragica Salic also on
18 her back, and Mara Salic on her side but I don't know which one.
19 Q. Did you go closer to them to be able to see what exactly happened
20 to them?
21 A. No. I could not do it, since I was at risk too.
22 MS. RICHTEROVA: Thank you. I think this is the time for the
23 break. Is it possible that we would ask for a shorter break to be sure
24 that this witness will -- of course it will depend on Mr. Ackerman, that
25 he finishes today? Because he has been here for quite a long time.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
2 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, unless the Prosecutor is going much longer
3 than they had originally planned, there is no reason we can't finish with
4 him today.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Shall we say 15 minutes' break? Is that okay
6 with you, Mr. Ackerman? All right. Okay.
7 15 minutes' break.
8 Usher and Madam Registrar, please, if the witness is leaving the
9 courtroom, since we have image distortion, we need to take precautions so
10 that while he's going out, he is not seen by the members of the public or
11 is not taken on camera. Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
12 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour I've, had a chance to go through the
13 documents and I'll not be asking for any additional --
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I had looked through them as well. I don't
15 think they are that vitally important except to prove maybe one thing.
16 That's all. Okay. We'll have a break of 15 minutes. Thank you.
17 --- Recess taken at 12.33 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 12.52 p.m.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Madam Richterova, please go ahead.
20 MS. RICHTEROVA: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. Witness, before we adjourned, you described that you went inside
22 of the yard of the Franjo Salic's house, and you found bodies of Pero
23 Topalovic, Dragica Salic, and Mara Salic, and they were lying on the
24 ground. Where did you go from, from the house of the Franjo Salic?
25 A. Then I went to Ivo Knezevic's home, where Mile Causic from
1 Ratinsko, Banja Luka, was. There was Radko Kaurin from Tomasica. There
2 was Zeljko Jovic and Radenko Jovic, all with rifles. Mile Causic ripped
3 his shirt and bandaged his right jaw. He said to Zeljko that I was not in
4 life danger. At that moment, a car arrived. Zeljko Jovic went out to
5 meet the car.
6 Q. I will stop you for a second. You just named people who were in
7 Ivo Knezevic's home, and you said they all had rifles. Who were these
8 people? What ethnicity were they?
9 A. Zeljko Jovic and Radenko Jovic had rifles. They were Serbs.
10 Q. And only these two people had their rifles; is that correct?
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. And the other people you named, who were they?
13 A. Mile Causic and the other one, Ranko Kaurin, were Croats. It was
14 a place where pigs were slaughtered. They were in the process of
15 slaughtering pigs.
16 Q. So you said that Mile Causic ripped his shirt and bandaged his --
17 I'm sorry, your jaw. Was it the first opportunity or was it for the first
18 time when you received any kind of help since you -- since you were shot
19 in the woods -- I'm sorry, since you were shot in front of the house of
20 Franjo Salic?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. After you were provided with this first aid, what happened then?
23 Were you taken to a hospital?
24 A. Dusko Kljajic put me in his car, drove me to the mine in Tomasica,
25 where an ambulance was waiting for me. There were about 30 policemen,
1 Serb policemen, there under arms. Slavko Torbica from Rakelici took me
2 there, and another Serb, whose name I don't know. They took me over at
3 that spot and they asked me whether I was a Croat. Somebody answered for
4 me that I was, and they put me in the first available ambulance.
5 Q. And with this ambulance, where were you taken?
6 A. They took me to the hospital in Prijedor, where I was given an
7 injection to calm me down, but it didn't really help.
8 Q. You just said that in Prijedor hospital, you got this injection.
9 Did they provide any other help?
10 A. No. They only gave me another ambulance to be driven on to Banja
12 Q. So from Prijedor, you were transferred to Banja Luka. Which
13 hospital in Banja Luka were you taken?
14 A. The hospital in Banja Luka was Paprikovac.
15 Q. This hospital, Paprikovac, was it the first hospital you were
16 taken in Banja Luka?
17 A. No. It was the third hospital in Banja Luka to which I was taken.
18 Q. What happened in the two hospitals -- you said this was the
19 third. It means that there were two other hospitals. What happened in
20 these two hospitals?
21 A. I was taken to two hospitals where I wasn't admitted, for a reason
22 I ignore, before I was taken to Paprikovac where I was eventually
24 Q. In the transcript, it says for a reason I ignore. What do you
25 mean by this? Were you given a reason why they didn't admit you to these
1 two hospitals?
2 A. No.
3 Q. While in the hospital in Paprikovac, what kind of help were you
4 provided with?
5 A. When I arrived at the hospital, it was already dark. I saw a lot
6 of knives on a table, and I understood that the doctors were saying they
7 were going to pull out my tongue from my throat to avoid suffocation.
8 They did that and they gave me a sedative, after which I fell asleep.
9 Q. When you woke up, what were you able to observe on your body?
10 What did you [as interpreted] do to you with respect to treatment?
11 A. When I came to, I had so-called fixators on both sides of my
12 face. I had a tube in my throat. Under my throat, I had another device
13 to facilitate breathing. The right side of my jaw was bandaged and my
14 mouth was bound, tied, with ordinary wire.
15 Q. How long did you stay in hospital?
16 A. I was admitted on the 5th of December, and discharged on the 18th
17 January, 1993.
18 Q. While in the hospital, were you washed? Was your facial hair
20 A. For a long time, I went without washing or shaving. I don't know
21 exactly for how long, because I had long spells of unconsciousness. When
22 Drago Jovic and Vucin Jovic came from Tomasica, however, they fetched the
23 doctor. And I don't know what they told the doctor, but after their
24 visit, I got two blood transfusions, two full bottles of blood for
25 transfusion and I was washed and shaved.
1 Q. You mentioned a second ago that you weren't washed and shaved.
2 What were the consequences of this?
3 A. The consequences were I don't know how to put it, I was covered
4 with lice, large lice, and that itched and ached, but I couldn't do
5 anything about it.
6 Q. So can you -- are you able to tell us approximately after how many
7 days in the hospital you were shaved and washed for the first time?
8 A. For about 25 days, until Drago and Vucin Jovic came to visit me.
9 Q. And it was also for the first time you receive the blood
11 A. I received the drips in my legs whenever I came to. I couldn't be
12 given drips in my arms because my arms were too heavily injured.
13 Q. While your mouth was tied with wire and you said that it was just
14 an ordinary wire, were you able to receive any food?
15 A. No.
16 Q. So how were you receiving food or -- what --
17 A. I only got this drip that was inserted in my leg, but I couldn't
18 get any nutrition through my mouth.
19 Q. After they removed the wire and you received normal food for the
20 first time, what happened?
21 A. When the wire was removed, I was given some mashed food. However,
22 it all came back up through my nose. When the doctor came to see me the
23 second time, I showed him with my hands that I can't eat because the food
24 is coming back up through my nose. And the doctor answered that a bullet
25 had passed below my eye, through my nose, and that the injury was very
1 serious and that's when I got real scared.
2 Q. Were they able to treat you properly in this hospital in Banja
3 Luka? Or did you need -- or were you told that you need some special
4 treatment in some other hospital?
5 A. Yes. They tried their best, the physicians, to care for me, to
6 give me proper care, but they did not have the wherewithal to treat me
7 properly. They asked for permission to transfer me to Belgrade, but the
8 management or whoever was supposed to sign this request refused.
9 Q. While in the hospital, how would you describe the nurses? And I
10 mean how did they treat you?
11 A. The nurses were very kind and very good. One of them, nurse
12 Slavica told the doctor every day that I need to be sent on somewhere. I
13 don't know exactly what she meant by that but the doctor said something to
14 shut her up. And she stopped saying eventually that I should be thrown
16 Q. And I will return to my previous question about the washing. You
17 said that you were washed for the first time after the 25th day. Then you
18 were washed. And how did it look after that? Were you washed regularly?
19 A. For a long time after that, I wasn't washed again, and then a
20 Muslim woman Hasnija Klipic, came to visit me in the hospital. She asked
21 if my father was coming to visit me. I told her that I had no father.
22 Then she asked the doctor to release me from the hospital, saying that she
23 would take me to her home. And that's what happened. And from then on,
24 she cared for me, washed me, and fed me.
25 Q. And, Witness, is it correct that after you were released from the
1 hospital and after you spent some time with this woman, you managed to
2 leave for a third country in which you received another medical
3 treatment? You underwent surgeries; is it correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now I would like to show you some documents which I know you
6 didn't see before, until -- until I show you these documents. I'm sorry?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
8 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I don't know if there is an useful
9 purpose for showing documents to the witness that he's never seen. If the
10 only purpose is to get them admitted, I have no objection to their
11 admission. They can simply be marked and admitted and they stand for what
12 they stand for. I don't know how the witness could either add or detract
13 from them since he's not seen them before. So if that's the purpose, I
14 have no objection and we can save a lot of time.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Madam Richterova?
16 MS. RICHTEROVA: The only purpose was to show that no one was ever
17 punished for this crime.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: But that -- I mean, you can still prove that point
19 by what -- following the procedure suggested by Mr. Ackerman, with which I
20 agree 100 per cent. I mean, you're not going to gain any ground by
21 referring those documents to the witness.
22 MS. RICHTEROVA: I agree. If I may, I --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Just put one question to the witness. Ask him
24 whether he knows or he's ever heard of the name that appears on those
25 documents or names. If he's in a position to tell us something about
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 them, then, yes, we go ahead and try to conclude. Because otherwise,
2 Mr. Ackerman will not be having the 30 minutes that he asked for.
3 Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
4 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I won't need the 30 minutes. I'm
5 wondering if I could have the Court's permission for Mr. Jevtovic to
6 consult with Mr. Brdjanin for a minute? There is something he wants to
7 tell us.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, certainly.
9 [Defence counsel and accused confer]
10 JUDGE AGIUS: We can go ahead, no? Yes, Madam Richterova, you can
11 tender these documents --
12 MS. RICHTEROVA: I would like to tender into evidence Prosecution
13 Exhibit P739, which is regular combat report from the 6th December, 1992.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: This is different. This is -- this is different. I
15 mean, are we adding fresh documents now?
16 MS. RICHTEROVA: I'm sorry, this has already been tendered. I
17 want to tender new Prosecution Exhibit P1620.1 until 6, because there are.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Related?
19 MS. RICHTEROVA: I'm sorry, P1621 because 20 was the exhibit under
20 seal. And this is a criminal file, so I want to tender it under one
21 exhibit number.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
23 MS. RICHTEROVA: I only want to ask the witness one question with
24 regard to the people who committed this crime.
25 Q. Have you heard or did you receive an information of anyone who
1 committed this crime?
2 A. Yes. I heard that a -- the men who perpetrated this crime was the
3 soldier Mile and Zoran Simcic in Usorci, Mile Gvozden came to Tomasica to
4 Nedjo Jovic's house and bragged that he was the killer. He said that he
5 also -- that he killed seven people. One of them --
6 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter's apology.
7 A. If anyone had survived, he said, the shooting, he would have slit
8 their throat.
9 MS. RICHTEROVA:
10 Q. Witness, we had some difficulties at the beginning. You stated
11 that it was Mile and Zoran Simcic and then later you stated, Mile
12 Gvozden. So what were the names, please?
13 A. Mile Gvozden and Zoran Simcic.
14 Q. While you were in hospital or after you were released from
15 hospital, were you ever contacted by an investigative judge or an
16 investigator with regard to this incident?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Were you ever called as a witness to the Prosecutor's Office in
19 Banja Luka or to the Court in Banja Luka or to any other court with regard
20 to this incident?
21 A. No.
22 Q. And my last question: What are the consequences of the injuries
23 which you sustained on the 5th of December?
24 A. Well, the consequences are naturally I have problems with my right
25 side of the jaw, and my arms. I have lots of difficulties, lots of
1 problems with my illness -- and what else to tell you? I'll never be
2 fully fit as long as I live.
3 MS. RICHTEROVA: I don't have further questions for this witness.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Richterova.
5 Sir, Mr. Ackerman, who is the lead counsel for the accused, will
6 be putting some questions to you on cross-examination.
7 Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
8 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, before I begin, I have a motion.
9 Under the Statute of this Tribunal, Your Honours have limited
10 jurisdiction, and only certain things are relevant to the issues before
11 this Court. This is not something that you have jurisdiction over or
12 that's relevant to any issue before this Court.
13 This is just a common crime, no way has it been connected to the
14 armed conflict that was going on in that area. The evidence before you
15 now with these exhibits is that it was a couple of guys who were seeking
16 revenge for the death of their brother and went off and committed a
17 murder. That is not within the cognizance of this Court, and I therefore
18 ask that you declare -- that you have no jurisdiction over this particular
19 event and that it's irrelevant to any issue contained within this
20 indictment. Because it's simply not a war crime.
21 It's a crime, no question, that there was a horrible murder
22 committed, horrible injury to this man. I feel nothing but extreme
23 sympathy for him, but it was just a couple of criminal who is committed
24 these acts and these acts are not war crimes. They are not cognizant to
25 this Court.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Point taken, Mr. Ackerman, please file a proper
2 motion so that it will give the Prosecution a proper opportunity to make
3 submissions to the Court. And we will decide the appropriate moment on
4 whether to keep this evidence in the record in order that it be taken
5 consideration of in due course or whether to scrap it.
6 MR. ACKERMAN: Out of an abundance of caution, Your Honour, I will
7 ask just some very brief cross-examination questions in the event that you
8 decide to consider this evidence.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
10 MR. ACKERMAN: It will happen rapidly.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I understand that you are going to cross-examine
12 him, without prejudice, in other words.
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Ackerman:
14 Q. Sir, I'm going to ask you almost no questions, very few, and the
15 first thing I want to do is tell you that what happened to you is
16 unforgivable and we are all very sympathetic with what you suffered.
17 You've already told us that while you were hospitalised at the
18 Paprikovac hospital in Banja Luka, that doctors there wanted to send you
19 to Belgrade, and they wanted to do that because they didn't have the
20 appropriate medication available to them in Belgrade, did they -- I mean
21 Banja Luka?
22 A. I suppose that was the reason that there were no conditions, there
23 were no proper conditions there, they could not help me, and they wanted
24 to send me to Belgrade. But why the doctor refused to sign it, that is
25 something that I don't know.
1 Q. Yes. While you were there at that hospital, either in December,
2 1992 or January 1993, you were seen by a Muslim doctor, weren't you?
3 A. Yes. A Muslim doctor and a lady who was a Serb.
4 Q. Have you remembered the Muslim doctor's name?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Did you see other Muslim doctors working at that hospital?
7 A. No.
8 Q. I want to ask you about some people. Dusko Kljajic his
9 ethnicity -- Dusko Kljajic and Nevenka Knezovic were the two people who
10 picked you up and took you to the ambulance, correct?
11 A. Correct. Dusko Kljajic is a Serb. Nevenka Knezevic is a Croat.
12 Q. All right. And then you were visited in the hospital by
13 Drago Jovic and Vucin Jovic, and what is their ethnicity?
14 A. They are Serbs.
15 Q. The doctor at Paprikovac who arranged for your release, you said
16 in your statement that his first name was Ilija. Would that be the Muslim
17 doctor that you were referring to?
18 A. No.
19 Q. All right. Sir, I hope you have a good trip home, and I hope the
20 rest of your life is comfortable and enjoyable to you. Thank you very
22 A. Thank you, too.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: So, sir, that brings us to the end of your
24 testimony. I told you it would be a short testimony, that it won't last
25 long. You are therefore now in a position to return back home after
1 having been here in The Hague for quite some time.
2 On behalf of the Tribunal, I thank you for having accepted to come
3 over and give evidence, and may I assure you also that you will be given
4 all the assistance by our staff to enable you to return back home safely.
5 I wish you a safe journey back home. Thank you.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Now -- yes, Mr. Ackerman?
8 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I would ask that be --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Please pull down the curtains.
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 MR. ACKERMAN: I would ask that those persons in charge of
12 finalising the transcript of this session compare what our transcript
13 shows to what appears in the tapes, because the translations that we were
14 getting were just not correct. It was almost every answer was not
15 correct, and we didn't want to interrupt to change every answer. Mr.
16 Brdjanin noticed it. Ms. Jevtovic noticed it. It just -- probably was an
17 unfamiliarity with medical things, but it was not -- in many ways it
18 wasn't even close. So it needs to be -- it really needs to be carefully
19 reviewed it if we are going to have an accurate transcript.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Ackerman. And I suppose that point
21 has been taken up.
22 Registrar, please, it's your task to coordinate this, up to the
23 extent that it is necessary.
24 Ms. Sutherland, as the senior one, or Ms. Richterova, I don't know
25 who to address, do I take it that we are not starting with the next
1 witness or are we starting with the next witness?
2 MS. RICHTEROVA: It looks that he was sent back so we will have to
3 start with the new witness tomorrow morning.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Please file the motion in writing, the
5 motion that you have just raised, so that the Prosecution will have an
6 opportunity to reply. If it needs be, then we give it a short hearing.
7 On the other hand, please do refer to the records that we have here, the
8 folder, to make sure that we won't waste our time.
9 And another thing, Ms. Sutherland, I would appreciate if we had
10 some sort of reply to Mr. Ackerman's motion for time off in February to
11 enable --
12 MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, I have a signed memo from
13 Joanna Korner for Your Honours and a copy for Mr. Ackerman.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. You want to -- do you have any remarks,
15 Mr. Ackerman, to Ms. Korner's memo?
16 MR. ACKERMAN: Yeah, only that I don't know that Dr. Stakic even
17 has a family to come visit him so -- or what kind of arrangements there
18 are made for that with him, but I can tell you that it is -- I mean, we
19 have Status Conferences, frequently, to determine the conditions of
20 detention, and that sort of thing. And one of the conditions that
21 makes -- that's essential to I think, the mental health and well being of
22 an accused is that he be able to see his family. So I think it's real
23 harsh to say if Stakic hasn't seen his family no one else should without
24 even knowing that he has a family to see.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. We'll decide tomorrow. Thank you. The trial
1 stands adjourned until tomorrow in the morning, 9.00.
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
3 1.28 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday
4 the 29th day of January, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.