1 Wednesday, 29 January 2003
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Registrar, could you call the case, please?
6 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. Good morning, Your Honours.
7 This is case number IT-99-36-T, the Prosecutor versus Radoslav Brdjanin.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I thank you. Mr. Brdjanin, good morning to
9 you. Can you follow in a language that you can understand?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, yes, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. You may sit down. Appearances for the
13 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, Joanna Korner assisted by Denise Gustin,
14 case manager. Who is just briefly leaving court to do some copying. Good
15 morning, Your Honours. The reason is that we discovered yesterday that
16 there were two newspaper articles from Glas that were referred to events
17 in Bosanski Novi and we did a very quick translation but it's only just
18 arrived this morning. So Ms. Gustin is going to copy it so we can hand
19 out copies and I hope nobody will object.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's hear your objection, Mr. Ackerman. Good
21 morning to you. Appearances for the Defence?
22 MR. ACKERMAN: Good morning, Your Honours. I'm John Ackerman with
23 Milan Trbojevic and Marela Jevtovic. It's impossible for me to form an
24 objection until I see what it is that we are dealing with. Chances are I
25 won't have one.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. And good morning to you three.
2 So --
3 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, may I just ask you a question?
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
5 MR. ACKERMAN: We talked yesterday about the testimony of that
6 last witness and you suggested I file a motion.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
8 MR. ACKERMAN: I'm wondering if it might be more appropriate to
9 simply make that part of a motion at the end of the Prosecutor's case
10 rather than try to piecemeal issues like that.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: You could do that. But frankly -- I mean I
12 obviously said nothing or very little for a very simple reason that at
13 this particular point in time, it's very difficult to agree with what you
14 said or what you -- because there maybe other witnesses that tie the whole
15 incident up, apart from other considerations, but I obviously wanted to
16 wait for some kind of response from the Prosecution. If you prefer to
17 postpone that, I think at the present time, you're perfectly entitled to
18 do it. You reserve your position.
19 MR. ACKERMAN: As I thought about it last night, Your Honour, I
20 had the same kind of thought you just had that it may not be ripe for
21 decision until we've actually gone through the rest of the Prosecutor's
22 case. I think I'll just postpone it and file later.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Also because you base your whole argument mainly on
24 the allegation that this was a personal revenge taken by two persons
25 and --
1 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I was keeping an eye on the television,
2 big mother watching or whatever, and I know Ms. Richterova could have
3 dealt with it on the spot but I think Mr. Ackerman is right in one sense.
4 We could present an argument as to why, the most obvious being that these
5 men were members of the 1st Krajina Corps and no Prosecution was taken and
6 it's part of that part of the case.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: There is, but one of the documents that you
8 exhibited yesterday.
9 MS. KORNER: Exactly.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Precisely confirms that.
11 MS. KORNER: Yes. But, Your Honour, I think it's better -- I
12 think Mr. Ackerman in one sense may be right when Your Honour sees the
13 whole aspect of a failure to prosecute that we are going to deal with.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: You will understand, Ms. Korner, that at that point
15 in time, it would have been extremely rash on our part to hint at that,
16 but once Mr. Ackerman himself is hinting at this possibility.
17 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I think that's perfectly appropriate.
18 It's right to say straight away that I'm almost certain that when we get
19 to the end of the Prosecution case, there will be certain matters which
20 are listed in the indictment, for example, in respect of mosques in Banja
21 Luka, which we will be withdrawing some of the details because it's quite
22 clear even at this stage that we haven't established that some of the
23 listed mosques were actually either damaged or destroyed. I do at this
24 stage emphasise damaged. So, Your Honour, I think there will be, as it
25 were, an assessment made by everybody at the end of the Prosecution case.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: That's very fair, Ms. Korner. And, Mr. Ackerman.
2 MS. KORNER: Can I just very quickly, before -- because we have to
3 go into closed session as Your Honour recalls to see about this witness's
4 protective measures, raise two matters? Well, one is entirely, as it
5 were, personal. I hope that Your Honours understand that by my response
6 to Mr. Ackerman's request, I was not suggesting that Dr. Stakic had been
7 denied visits. He does have a family and he has been receiving visits,
8 and I was not by that part of my reply intending to indicate that it was
9 our desire that Mr. Brdjanin should be denied family visits. I was merely
10 pointing out that it's clearly possible for accused who are on trial to
11 receive visits.
12 Your Honour, the second matter is effectively yesterday was the
13 end of the Prijedor evidence with one exception. Your Honours, a witness
14 was called, as I think I mentioned to Your Honour, as part of the Stakic
15 Defence case who inter alia stated that she was present, she was a
16 secretary in Omarska, apparently, when the delegation visited the camp,
17 and that is a matter of extreme dispute. And so it is our intention to
18 call her. We will provide Your Honours and Mr. Ackerman with the
19 transcript of her evidence. We do not, however, intend to tender the
20 transcript. She will merely be called to deal with that aspect of the
21 case. But that will have to be later because we have to make arrangements
22 for her to be brought but otherwise that really concluded yesterday the
23 end of the Prijedor part.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: That's perfect, Ms. Korner.
25 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, finally on that, we have -- Your Honour
1 may recall I mentioned that because effectively in the way that witnesses
2 have been called, we haven't gone through anything other than a minute
3 quantity of the documents we've produced. We had prepared a schedule of
4 those documents which effectively shows the areas to which these documents
5 relate. That has been given to Mr. Ackerman. Mr. Ackerman -- you haven't
6 had it yet because I'm waiting to see whether Mr. Ackerman --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I was checking something else.
8 MS. KORNER: And Mr. Ackerman has been asked that he may be given
9 the time that he's away to look at them, and that seems appropriate. It
10 will be my application that Your Honours get a copy of that, but I'll have
11 to wait to see whether Mr. Ackerman objects.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated]
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Presiding Judge, please.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: While we are at it, perhaps we can take up the
15 matter of Mr. Ackerman's motion and your response regarding the short
16 break asked for. And I asked the Registrar to make a comparative report
17 as to how many times we have sat in 2002, and I think we did extremely
18 well, Ms. Korner.
19 MS. KORNER: 154 days? Not even that actually.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Ms. Korner, your microphone.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Martinovic and Naletilic is 109 and Milosevic is
22 134, and they only started three weeks after we did; Simic is 63; Stakic
23 is 98, although it started in April, but if you add the first three and a
24 half months --
25 MS. KORNER: I think that's wrong, Your Honour. We had Judge
1 Schomburg remark the other day that that was the 100th day and he hoped it
2 wasn't going to run into 200. So that figure is wrong.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: And Galic, 164. And that -- they started three
4 weeks before we did. Or they were already sitting three weeks before we
6 MS. KORNER: Well, Your Honour, I wasn't inviting a comparison I
7 was merely pointing out --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: What I meant to say is we did -- I think we worked a
9 hell of a lot. I think we worked a hell of a lot. That's the conclusion
10 I reach. And considering the kind of case that we have, I wouldn't like
11 to draw comparisons because comparisons are always odious. But the type
12 of case that we have, and the amount of reading that it entails, is indeed
14 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, as I said it's a matter for Your Honour.
15 I merely pointed out the statistics for this case. If Your Honour is of
16 the view that we are -- that Mr. Ackerman's request should be granted then
17 that's a matter entirely for Your Honours.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, I -- leaving apart the family aspect to which
19 we are extremely sensitive, as a matter of right, but we have no reason to
20 believe that there are complaints or that there have been complaints in
21 that area. So we are not attaching to great importance. But the fact
22 that we ourselves are pretty much behind in catching up with the reading
23 that needed to be done with the Prijedor phase, we haven't finished that
24 as yet. So I think we will try to combine everything and our decision is
25 to grant the break, as requested by Mr. Ackerman, with the understanding
1 that there will be absolutely no breaks after that until Easter. That is
2 an understanding. All right?
3 So the figure, I'm told, is right.
4 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. But that's not going to make a
6 difference anyway because our concern is not Stakic or Simic; it's
7 Brdjanin and Talic or Brdjanin.
8 So the witness -- I think we need to go into closed session for a
9 while. So prepare the room please, the courtroom.
10 For the time being, our decision -- this witness initially had not
11 requested any --
12 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, he was a Rule 92 witness originally, as
13 you will see.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
15 MS. KORNER: And so I don't think the question of protective
16 measures was ever discussed with him because it wasn't intended to call
17 him, so it was only when he arrived here that he made known his concerns.
18 Your Honour, I wonder if the simplest thing would be as I'm aware of his
19 concerns for had me to ask him to deal with it, and then if Your Honours
20 feel there are further questions you need to ask, that perhaps would --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Of course that's perfectly okay with us, provided
22 you don't put the alternative of a closed session as the only reasonable
23 or sensible way of dealing with him or protecting him.
24 MS. KORNER: No.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: So the approach should be more or less --
1 MS. KORNER: I'm simply going to ask what his concerns are and why
2 he has them. But, Your Honour, I should point out -- are we in closed
4 JUDGE AGIUS: No. Yes, we are in closed session, yes. We are in
5 closed session.
6 MS. KORNER: I can't see it on the screen, that's all.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I can see it.
8 [Closed session]
12 Pages 13742 to 13753 – redacted – closed session.
17 [Open session]
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Before we proceed, sir, look at me. When would you
19 like to return home?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As soon as possible.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, but if you really want to return home as soon
22 as possible, I suggest to you to be very brief in your answers because the
23 way we are going, you are going to be here the rest of the week, if not
24 part of next week too. So please try to answer the questions that you
25 are -- that are put to you as briefly as possible. Just answer the
1 question, the whole question, and nothing but the question. Take my
2 advice because otherwise you will be here for days plus the weekend, which
3 is not going to be very nice here in The Hague.
4 MS. KORNER: I gather we are promised snow again, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, starting from late this evening, I think. Yes,
6 Ms. Korner, he's in your hands.
7 MS. KORNER: Thank you.
8 Q. Sir, I'm going to ask you now about the ethnic composition of
9 Bosanski Novi, and I'm going to show you another map. But first of all,
10 can I put some figures to you?
11 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I'm referring to the document which is
12 P60 but I don't think it needs to be shown.
13 Q. Is it right that in the census in 1991, the total population of
14 Bosanski Novi was 41.665 occupants?
15 A. Yes. I believe that's right.
16 Q. And that out of that, the Croats were the tiniest proportion,
17 there were some 403 Croats forming 1 per cent of the population?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. The Muslims, Bosniaks, 14.040, 33.7 per cent?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And I'll come -- I know the point you're going to make in a moment
22 but the Serbs, 25.101, so 60.2 per cent of the population?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And then there were some persons who described themselves, and for
25 the purposes of the census, as Yugoslavs, 1.557, forming 3.7 per cent of
1 the population?
2 A. Yes, perhaps slightly few more people.
3 Q. And finally, some 564 people who described themselves as "others"?
4 A. Yes. I suppose that is correct.
5 Q. Now, I want you please to look at a map of the whole municipality,
7 MS. KORNER: And there are copies for Your Honours.
8 Q. Again, sir, this is a map that you've had an opportunity to look
9 at before. That shows roughly the makeup of the various villages and
10 areas within the municipality of Bosanski Novi. Would you agree that that
11 is roughly accurate and all it requires for you to say is yes or no.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you very much.
14 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, may that be made, then, P1624?
15 Q. Now, sir, within the town of Bosanski Novi itself, were the
16 populations, the nationalities, mixed within that town or were there areas
17 that were specifically Bosniak, specifically Serb, and so on?
18 A. In the centre of the town, it was rather mixed. There were areas,
19 parts of the town, where the Bosniak population predominated, and other
20 parts where there were more Serbs.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Ms. Korner, you have our authorisation to be very
22 direct in regard to this part. So you can put it straight to him whether
23 these were Serb, whether these were Croat, whether these were Muslims. Go
24 ahead so that we --
25 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I'm not going to ask anything more about
1 the map.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. All right. But if you are, go ahead.
3 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I'm not because there are going to be
4 other witnesses who are going to deal with the various villages.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay.
6 MS. KORNER:
7 Q. As far as the area in which you lived, was that a mixed area?
8 A. Yes, it was a mixed area.
9 Q. And the relationships between the ethnicities, which was
10 nationalities, which was really Serbs and Bosniaks, what were they like
11 before the events of late 1991 and 1992?
12 A. The relations were very harmonious between the ethnic communities,
13 very friendly, and life was good in the town because there were no
14 chauvinistic excesses or perhaps incidents that would be worth mentioning.
15 Q. Now, did that harmonious relationship change really after the
16 first election -- national -- sorry, the first multi-party elections in
18 A. Well, I did notice certain changes, especially after the
19 ethnically-based parties were formed.
20 Q. And what changes were those in particular?
21 A. A rift began to appear between the young people, I saw also
22 amongst those of more advanced age in sports teams, some guys began to
23 leave, even though they were indispensable. In coffee bars, in pubs, you
24 could begin to feel the division, and places began to appear which were
25 frequented only by people of a specific ethnic origin. That is in one
1 you'd find only Serbs, and in others you'd find only Bosniaks. There were
2 those which were frequented by both but, yes, one could feel a certain
4 Q. Now, were those tensions affected by what was happening
5 politically? Perhaps I should --
6 A. Oh, yes, definitely.
7 Q. Did you see speeches on television of the politicians, the Serb
8 politicians, Bosnian Serb politicians?
9 A. When I had electricity and when my TV set worked, then yes, I did,
10 but as a matter of fact, no, for the most part, I didn't. I did hear some
11 of the speeches.
12 Q. And can we deal first with 1991, after the war in Croatia had
13 started? Was there anything about the speeches that were being made that
14 caused you concern?
15 A. Well, what did cause concern was a duel between the Members of
16 Parliament of the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina, also the concern was
17 exacerbated by certain broadcasts aired by local radio stations in
18 Prijedor and Banja Luka, when I could hear them.
19 Q. And what were those certain broadcasts which exacerbated the
21 A. Well, more or less, those were speeches and programmes inviting to
22 ethnic humanitarian organisations who were egging people on against other
23 ethnic communities or setting people against other communities. Also,
24 some pieces of information were broadcast which were not based on facts,
25 but I believe it caused concern amongst the Bosniak population, but I'd
1 also say that the Serb population also started to worry.
2 Q. And can you give us one example of a piece of information which
3 was broadcast and not based on fact?
4 A. Well, there was this kind of information, that, for instance, this
5 or that was about to happen, that extremists of another ethnic group would
6 be brought to justice, that they would account, that this or that had to
7 be done, that safety could not be guaranteed in the area, and so on and so
9 Q. I want to ask you directly: Did you ever see Mr. Brdjanin first,
10 physically, in Bosanski Novi?
11 A. I never communicated personally with Mr. Brdjanin. I never talked
12 with him. I do not know him except from journals, magazines, photographs
13 and television.
14 Q. From what you saw in magazines, journals, or television, what was
15 his role? Who was he, as far as you were concerned?
16 A. According to my own personal opinion, even though --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman, one moment.
18 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, there is no time frame involved here.
19 I think it needs to be placed within the time frame of the indictment.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: You're correct.
21 Ms. Korner, please.
22 MR. ACKERMAN: In addition, that's an awfully broad question to
23 have asked in any event.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, rephrase your question with reference to a time
25 frame, please.
1 MS. KORNER: I'll certainly do that, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Otherwise I don't agree with Mr. Ackerman that it's
3 broad or too broad.
4 MS. KORNER: I'll certainly rephrase it.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
6 MS. KORNER:
7 Q. Sir, when did you first become aware of Mr. Brdjanin, if you can
8 give us a time frame?
9 A. In 1992-1993, as we did say that we would not refer to anything
10 that happened afterwards. So it was agreed that we would refer to 1991,
11 that is 1992, in the course of that year.
12 Q. So just to clarify that, did you become aware of him in 1992 or
13 before, in 1991?
14 A. I can't be sure about 1991, but I do remember that he was a SDS
15 member in 1992. I think that he had some leading positions but I don't
16 know exactly what his job was.
17 Q. Now, when you became aware of him in -- on the television or in
18 newspapers, what were you -- did you become aware of?
19 A. It's a bit difficult to answer that but since he was a member of
20 the SDS, since he held some leading positions there, and since later on,
21 over time, as things progressed, he -- well, it is -- it was my judgement
22 that after all, he was somebody who was consulted and was probably
23 involved in the decision-making processes due to his position within the
25 Q. And how did you get that impression? From what you saw in the
1 media or from what people told you?
2 A. Unfortunately, I only occasionally saw some programmes from Banja
3 Luka where he was involved. I can't remember a great deal or in any
4 detail. But I do remember that I was pretty horrified by what I heard and
5 it really made me feel uncomfortable. I believe that in one of the
6 speeches, there was a reference to moving the Muslims out of the area,
7 something like that.
8 Q. And is that -- you said you were pretty horrified. Was that the
9 type of thing that horrified you?
10 A. Well, if somebody starts planning to move me out of my house or
11 chase me away or arrange for things to happen to me, obviously it would
12 make me feel uncomfortable and I suppose it goes for many other people as
14 Q. Do you know whether or not he ever came to Bosanski Novi?
15 A. I don't know for sure, but I did hear rumours that he did spend
16 sometime in Bosanski Novi. I don't know exactly when.
17 Q. So all you heard was rumours? You don't know for sure whether he
18 ever came?
19 A. I don't know for sure.
20 Q. All right. Thank you. Now, I want to move to the events of
21 1992. Did there come a time in Bosanski Novi when there were checkpoints
22 being set up?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Can you remember roughly -- and I know it's a long time ago --
25 when those checkpoints were set up?
1 A. I think in 1992 -- well, when you say "checkpoints," I suppose you
2 mean places where it was made more difficult to cross over to another
4 Q. Well, first of all, yes, can we deal with this in two stages?
5 Were there barriers or barricades, if you wanted to leave Bosanski Novi --
6 the town of Bosanski Novi and go elsewhere?
7 A. You couldn't do that unless you went through the checkpoints and
8 you had to display certain documents and you were subjected to controls
9 and the documents were issued by the municipal authorities.
10 Q. And who was operating the checkpoints?
11 A. On the basis of my own experience, I know that there were
12 policemen there, both regular and reserve policemen, and some checkpoints
13 were probably manned by the military, by soldiers.
14 Q. And when did they start to be established? When did it become
15 difficult to travel out of the town of Bosanski Novi?
16 A. It became more difficult in the course of the second half of
17 1992. Or perhaps we should say it was risky to travel anywhere at all.
18 Q. Now, within the town of Bosanski Novi itself, were any checkpoints
19 set up in the course of 1992?
20 A. In the town itself, not really, but there were on the outskirts.
21 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, then for the next series of questions,
22 can we go into private session, please?
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Any objection, Mr. Ackerman? Let's go into private
25 [Private session]
23 [Open session]
24 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session now.
25 MS. KORNER:
1 Q. Sir, I know that -- I think it's right that you were not a member
2 of any of the nationalist parties. Is that correct?
3 A. No, I'm not.
4 Q. And I don't think you took a great deal of interest in politics.
5 Is that also right?
6 A. Not during the war but when I was younger, I did take an active
7 role in politics, prior to the war.
8 Q. But as a result of the 1990 elections, until the events we are
9 going to come to, was there a division of posts in the municipality
10 between the Serbs and the Bosniaks?
11 A. Yes. It was based on a party agreement, and certain posts were
12 held by Muslims, Bosniaks.
13 Q. Now, do you recall a time in around May of 1992, when there was a
14 call, announcements of people having to surrender their weapons?
15 A. Yes, I do remember that event.
16 Q. Now, unless there is an objection, I'm going to ask you to look at
17 a couple of articles from Glas from that period which you haven't had an
18 opportunity to see in advance. I hear no objection, so could you look,
19 please, first of all, at an article from Glas dated the 6th of May?
20 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, there are copies available.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I can see them in Madam Chuqing's hands.
22 Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
23 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, the only comment I have is that the
24 translations we were given bear no dates and the originals -- one of them
25 does, the longer one does, but the short one does not have a date,
1 although the paper itself does have a date, so it should reflect the date
2 in the translation it seems to me.
3 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, that's right. It's been missed off, but
4 one can see clearly in the original.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ackerman is right and I'm pretty sure that for
6 the time being we can go ahead with what we have with the understanding
7 that they will be replaced as soon as possible with copies that do bear
8 the date of the publication of the issue of the newspaper that they
9 purport to be a translation of.
10 MS. KORNER: Is there any reason, Your Honour, why the Registrar
11 can't write over the top 6 of May?
12 JUDGE AGIUS: If you are both happy with that, we can do it that
13 way as well.
14 MS. KORNER: In fact, Your Honour, this is the 6th of May, 1991.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Correct.
16 MS. KORNER: Not 1992. So it's just that -- you may be able to
17 assist on some of the matters that are here, sir.
18 Q. Can you find a part in Glas that has something -- it's headed,
19 "Personnel Shifts." Have you found that, sir?
20 A. Yes, I have.
21 Q. It's Bosanski Novi and it says that at the most recent session,
22 Mirko Djukanovic from Bosanska Kostajnica has been elected to replace the
23 current SDS assembly president, Radomir Pasic who is also the President of
24 the Bosanski Novi municipal assembly and his deputy will be Drago
25 Djukanovic [sic] from Bosanski Novi.
1 MS. KORNER: Your Honour I'm sorry, Your Honour, we now have to go
2 into private session.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, let's go into private session for a short
5 [Private session]
13 Page 13767 – redacted – private session
19 [Open session]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Ms. Korner.
21 MS. KORNER:
22 Q. Sir, did you know anything about the community of municipalities
23 of the Banja Luka region? If you didn't, say so straight away.
24 A. No.
25 Q. All right. Thank you.
1 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, may that article then be made P1625, the
2 date being the 6th of May, 1991?
3 Q. And now can you have a look, please, at a second article which is
4 May 1992. Sir, if you can find an article, say -- that's headed, "Peace,
5 common interest, successful termination of negotiations between the SDS
6 and the SDA regarding the surrender of weapons in Bosanski Novi"?
7 Have you seen that -- have you got that article, sir?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. Thank you. It's dated May the 7th, and it says, "Today in
10 Bosanski Novi days-long negotiations between the representatives of the
11 SDS and the SDA on the implementation of decisions of the Serbian Republic
12 of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the autonomous region Bosanska Krajina have
13 successfully been brought to an end. This primarily regards the issue of
14 disarming illegally armed groups and individuals who are not part of the
15 regular municipal TO forces.
16 "The meeting was organised by the municipal authorities led by the
17 President of the municipal assembly, Radomir Pasic. The SDS delegation
18 was led by the President of the municipal board, Mirko Dejanovic, and the
19 SDA delegation headed by the President of the city council, Izet
20 Muhamedagic. And the meeting was also headed by the TO Staff Commander
21 and the public security station chief."
22 Now pausing there, sir, at this stage in May of 1992, it looks as
23 though most of the leading positions were held by members of the Serb
24 nationality. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. "The organisation and collection of weapons has been entrusted
2 primarily to the TO municipal staff and the public security station
3 whereas the political activity aiming at peaceful and casualty completion
4 of the operation is to be carried out by representatives of the SDS and
5 the SDA. And in that sense, Mr. Muhamedagic [Realtime transcript read in
6 error "Mr. Mayhew"] has publicly called for Muslim people who possess
7 illegally-acquired weapons to surrender them in the way that has been
8 previously agreed upon. And Mako Dejanovic has sent a similar call to
9 Serbs who illegally possess weapons.
10 "Official authorities and legal armed formations have duty to
11 provide security to citizens who surrender their weapons. Concurrently
12 with the activities on the surrender of weapons, Muslims shall be joining
13 the TO and the public security station for the purpose of creating a
14 structure along ethnic lines that is to mirror the ethnic composition in
15 the municipality."
16 Now, sir, is that what you were referring to when you told us a
17 little time ago that the leader of the SDA called for the Muslim people to
18 surrender illegal weapons?
19 A. I believe that the calls came from the municipality but I know
20 myself that on the radio, there were calls being issued by the President,
21 not of the municipal SDA but the regional SDA, Mr. Muhamedagic.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
23 MR. ACKERMAN: Page 36, line 10, Mr. Mayhew has reappeared, and
24 I'm quite certain that was not what was asked. Maybe it needs to be
25 cleaned up now while somebody might remember what Ms. Korner asked there.
1 MS. KORNER: No, I read out -- I tried to pronounce the
2 gentleman's name, but I'll spell it out so we don't have any problem.
3 It's M-u-h-a-m-e-d-a-g-i-c with an accent. And I have real difficulties
4 with that name, as everybody can see.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm sure Mr. Mayhew will be very much flattered
6 knowing that he is being confused with this gentleman.
7 MS. KORNER:
8 Q. Now, in actual fact, this was a call for the surrender by all
9 parties of illegally-held weapons. I want you to have a look, please, at
10 a further document which is Exhibit P1652.
11 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, it's in the Bosanski Novi binder which
12 I hope Your Honours have with you today.
13 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, no exhibit number has been assigned to
14 this second newspaper article yet and should be done now for record
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. That would be 1626, I suppose.
17 MS. KORNER: It would, thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
19 MS. KORNER: Always alert to the transcript. This is a document
20 dated the 15th of May. It's in the binders, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, but we don't have it here ready with us because
22 it was not included in the list that was indicated to us. So our
23 secretaries did not --
24 MS. KORNER: I did say, Your Honour, as we only had one binder.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: It's no problem, Ms. Korner.
1 MS. KORNER: I'll put it on the ELMO.
2 Q. Now, sir, this is a document from Bosanska Kostajnica branch
3 police station and when we saw it on the map we saw it was right up in the
4 corner of the municipality of Bosanski Novi. Which says, "On the 15th of
5 May, 1992, a thorough search of Muslim houses in the Uzice neighbourhood
6 began. The search much was carried out by policemen from the special
7 purposes unit. And during the search, many mistakes that cannot be
8 tolerated were observed; arrogant behaviour, seizure of weapons for which
9 citizens possessed valid licences, no record was made of weapons and
10 equipment seized. It was noticed that pistols and other equipment were
11 not handed over to the police station but were appropriated.
12 "We are of the opinion that this kind of behaviour damaged the
13 reputation of police officers because it was also citizens of Serbian
14 nationality who drew our attention to these omissions. Any cooperation
15 with this kind of unit [group] is impossible. Station commander Marinko
17 Can you pronounce that last name?
18 A. Marinko Curcija.
19 Q. And it's dated Bosanska Kostajnica the 15th of May, 1992. First,
20 do you know -- did you know this man, Marinko?
21 A. I did.
22 Q. And what was he when you knew him?
23 A. He was at the branch police station in Kostajnica. That is when I
24 knew him, but I think that later on he also became the chief of the
25 security service in Bosanski Novi. I think so.
1 Q. All right. Now, this document refers to policemen from special
2 purposes unit. Do you know anything or did you know anything about that
4 A. I didn't, but this document I deem that they existed because later
5 on, from those who lived in the locality of Urije where this happened, I
6 heard that those groups behaved as they pleased.
7 Q. The complaint was that weapons were being seized from Muslims even
8 though they had valid licences. Was that something that you became aware
10 A. Yes. Everything that could be used to fire from was being seized,
11 even when people showed legal documents, that is their licences for
12 hunting rifles or hunting carbines, all of that was seized, and they were
13 issued no receipts or anything, at least that is what people who lived in
14 Uzice in Bosanska Kostajnica said.
15 Q. And did you hear this from people in other areas as well?
16 A. I heard that it was being done in the Japra valley, in suburban
17 locality Urije where nobody asked, "Do you have your licence for the
18 possession of a weapon?" They were just seized and no receipts were
19 issued for the weapons seized.
20 Q. Was the same thing happening to Serbs who had valid licences? In
21 other words, were their weapons being seized?
22 A. I am quite sure that weapons which were brought to the
23 municipality, the municipal services refused to take them over so that
24 those people had to take them back. I am not aware of the seizure of
25 weapons in Serb localities, although the proclamation requesting people to
1 hand over their weapons was an all-embracing one.
2 Q. Now, did you become aware of weapons being supplied to Serbs?
3 A. In 1992, Bosanski Novi was overflown by both planes and
4 helicopters. I know that helicopters used to go to some boundary areas of
5 Bosanski Novi and some areas inhabited by Serbs only. So all I know is
6 that they flew over and landed but what they were transporting I could not
7 see that nor was it accessible to me. But according to information, they
8 were bringing in weapons.
9 Q. Now, I want you to look, please, at another document which is
10 Exhibit P1653.
11 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, this comes from the CSB in Banja Luka.
12 So it's a Serb report.
13 Q. It's headed "Review of security relevant information for Bosanski
14 Novi municipality." It doesn't, I don't think, have a date on it. But it
15 says that, "The political and economic situation in the country, which has
16 been deteriorating for several months now, is reflected in almost all
17 aspects of life, and in the security situation in this area. In view of
18 its geographic and strategic position, Bosanski Novi has become
19 interesting to all of the warring parties, i.e., wartime and ideological
20 opponents. The extremist part of the SDA has proceeded to issue arms on a
21 massive scale to citizens of Muslim ethnicity prepared primarily to
22 execute any tasks entrusted to them by the SDA."
23 Now, were you aware of any massive arming or the issuing of arms
24 on a massive scale to citizens of Muslim ethnicity?
25 A. In a nutshell, no.
1 Q. It is suggested in the third paragraph that a meeting was held in
2 Blagaj on the 9th of May, 1991, which prepared a plan for the liquidation
3 of Serbs in that municipality. Now, first, do you know of any such
5 A. Whether it took place in Blagaj, I don't know. But there were
6 meetings around areas, the SDS held its meetings in various villages, and
7 I suppose that the SDA must have also held its meetings in various areas,
8 especially in the upper valley which is almost exclusively Bosniak.
9 Q. The suggestion is that at one of these meetings, there was a plan
10 made by the SDA to liquidate Serbs in that municipality. In your view,
11 what was the likelihood of Muslims being able to liquidate Serbs in the
12 municipality of Bosanski Novi?
13 A. I don't think they would. Even if they wanted to, I don't think
14 they would have been up to doing it, because the correlation of forces was
15 in favour of the Serbs. I mean the Serbs were more numerous, and also had
16 more weaponry.
17 Q. Then if we go to the very last part of this document, it states
18 that "Citizens of Serbian ethnicity are organised within the system of TO,
19 mainly through the efforts of Radomir Pasic, president of the Bosanski
20 Novi municipal assembly. So far, about 1.300 Serbs have been armed,
21 mostly are automatic infantry weapons and they control a considerable
22 amount of equipment for -- and what's translated as anti-armour combat --
23 90-millimetre launchers, one 6 -- 76-millimetre howitzer gun and a smaller
24 amount of 82- and 120-millimetre mortars."
25 Now, as far as the makeup of the TO was concerned, was that, as is
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 suggested here, a mainly Serb organisation?
2 A. I think it was mono-ethnic.
3 Q. And by mono-ethnic, you mean?
4 A. Serbs, that the Serbs held the Territorial Defence. Secondly, I
5 don't think that this is an accurate figure, because if we are talking
6 about the period of time, I don't know, because you didn't tell me. But
7 it must be 1992, I think there were more weapons there and that hardly a
8 single man of Serb ethnicity who was able-bodied didn't have a weapon if
9 he wanted to have one.
10 Q. Thank you. You can put that document away now.
11 Now, sir, finally before we reach the events of June of 1992, had
12 any dismissals of non-Serbs taken place before the violence began in
13 Bosanski Novi?
14 A. Yes. Sporadically. Individuals. But after the power was taken
15 over, then the dismissals began on a large scale, and I was an eyewitness
16 to them.
17 Q. We'll deal with that, then, at the point at which we reach it.
18 Two matters finally, then. Before what you describe as the takeover of
19 power, had there been any, as it were, isolated incidents of violence,
20 bombings, anything like that, within the town of Bosanski Novi?
21 A. Both in Novi and around it.
22 Q. Was -- were any particular types of -- let's deal with
23 explosions. Were any types of buildings targeted?
24 A. In the early days, old buildings, old Bosnian houses, which
25 unequivocally belonged to Muslims. I mean in terms of architecture, they
1 were indubitably Muslim, but I do not think there were any casualties at
2 the time of those minings because a warning would come that something
3 would happen and people would seek shelter. Then grenades were also
4 thrown into various commercial business outlets belonging to Muslims,
5 coffee shops, shops, and so on.
6 Q. There -- were there any incidents where people were beaten or
7 anything of that nature?
8 A. I believe there were such instances but people who were not in
9 mortal peril did not come to seek help, because that was too dangerous
10 because they had been threatened that they were not to go and seek help or
11 else, if they did.
12 Q. All right. This is the final question. Then we'll come to the
13 events. When did you first hear of the organisation calling itself the
14 Crisis Staff?
15 A. Well, I think as soon as power was taken over, although I think
16 that the Crisis Staff had been put into place even before that. It had
17 its premises in the municipal hall [redacted]
18 [redacted], I knew those people who were on
19 the Crisis Staff, at least some of them or some of them more, some of them
21 Q. Just pause for a moment, sir. Sorry.
22 MS. KORNER: Yes, can we please redact that?
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, we need to redact the answer from line 43 --
24 line from 43 after the words "municipal hall" redact all the other words
25 until we start again with the two words, "I knew those people." All
1 right? Did you follow me?
2 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Yes, Ms. Korner.
4 MS. KORNER: Well, Your Honour, I think we perhaps need to go out
5 of an abundance of caution into private session because I want to follow
6 up on what he said there.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go to private session.
8 [Private session]
21 [Open session]
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. We are in open session.
23 MS. KORNER:
24 Q. And this really is the final question about the events before the
25 takeover. Did you become aware of more armed persons within Bosanski
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. In uniforms?
4 A. In camouflage uniforms and under arms.
5 Q. Did these appear to be members of the regular military forces,
6 either the army or the TO?
7 A. I think those were groups which were not under the control of
8 lawful authorities, but these authorities never tried to stop them from
9 moving around the town, carrying their weapons.
10 Q. And what made you think that these were groups not under the
11 control of lawful authorities?
12 A. It transpired later on that those were trouble-makers, even after
13 the takeover of power, and the authorities then tried to -- had show-downs
14 with those groups in the town and because there were murders and some of
15 those groups were decimated. Those groups later on became known as "Suha
16 Rebra," dry ribs, and something else. I don't know. But at any rate,
17 there was another group, and the security service of the municipal
18 assembly later on settled scores with them.
19 Q. It's always the same thing. One other matter I need to ask you
20 about. Were you aware of the presence of the UN forces just across the
21 river in Croatia? UNPROFOR?
22 A. I was. Those forces were stationed near the bus terminal in the
23 neighbouring Brod [as interpreted] [redacted]
25 Q. You can just answer this one yes or no. Were you ever made aware
1 of meetings at the end of May between Mr. Pasic and --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
3 MR. ACKERMAN: Just for accuracy, Your Honour, page 45, line 25,
4 it's not Brod, it's Dvor, D-v-o-r.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I suppose that's correct.
6 MS. KORNER: And, Your Honour, I'm afraid it's happened again,
7 which I hadn't picked up, in line -- I need to have redacted lines 23 to
8 25. On page 45.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Mm-hmm. Yes. I think that ought to be redacted.
10 Lines 24, after the word, "I was" after the word, "Bus terminal," redact
11 the other words, the next four words, five, six, seven, next -- redact all
12 the words before the word "could be -- could be seen." Right until the
13 very end, okay? All the words after "bus terminal" up to the full stop.
14 All right?
15 MS. KORNER: I'll just ask, Your Honour, that may be an
16 appropriate question -- time to break. I'll just ask the question I was
17 asking when Mr. Ackerman pointed that out.
18 Q. Were you ever aware of meetings between Mr. Pasic or a meeting
19 between Mr. Pasic and representatives of the UN at the end of May in
20 respect of people wanting to leave Bosanski Novi?
21 A. I did hear about it, and on one occasion, I also talked with
22 Mr. Balija, who was an educator, and heard that there were meetings
23 between the representatives of the Bosanski Novi municipal assembly and
24 the international organisation, but I do not know where or when.
25 Q. And this may seem a question to which the answer is obvious sir,
1 but why, as we'll hear, were Bosniaks so anxious to leave were Bosanski
3 A. You're asking me about the time prior to the takeover or after it?
4 Q. Prior to the takeover. We'll come to what happened afterwards.
5 A. A sizeable part of the citizens had analysed the situation and
6 perhaps even foresaw what would happen, and therefore tried to leave the
7 area, their homes, and their houses. Those who wanted to do that prior to
8 the takeover, perhaps also had certain reasons, because some swapped their
9 property, but presumably, they must have received some threats or perhaps
10 some anonymous calls or had become aware that people had begun
11 disappearing, that there were cases of arson, and they also heard of the
12 persecution of population in the Japra valley.
13 Q. Do you personally know persons who left before the takeover
14 because of threats or anonymous calls or any of the matters you've
16 A. Well, I'm not positive but I'm aware that the Ceric family left, I
17 presume under pressure, and I know that they left the territory of
18 Bosanski Novi. Then another family, Delic, and others.
19 MS. KORNER: Thank you, sir.
20 Your Honour, that may be an appropriate moment nor a break because
21 I'm going to move on to ...
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Would you agree to 20 instead of the usual 25-minute
24 THE INTERPRETER: Unfortunately the interpreters cannot hear the
25 Presiding Judge because the microphone was switched off.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: So 20 minute break.
2 --- Recess taken at 11.28 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 11.54 a.m.
4 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I'm just reminded before we go on, I
5 think we may have to go into private session for the description of what
6 happened. That we've not had a decision on the protective measures motion
7 for up and coming Novi witnesses.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Not yet.
9 MS. KORNER: So we do rather need that because we think we are
10 going to move through the witnesses rather --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I know that they are working on it. I have a
12 meeting with Mr. Von hebel immediately after the sitting and I will see
13 what stage they are at.
14 MS. KORNER: Because, as I say, we anticipate --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I know.
16 MS. KORNER: Gave a decision relating to a 92 bis witness.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I think also with regard -- any way, I can't
18 remember exactly what my instructions were. I'll check with Mr. Von
19 hebel. I know that it's in the pipeline any way.
20 MS. KORNER: It can't stay in the pipeline much longer because we
21 are going to be going through the witnesses fast. Your Honour, can I take
22 it that we will sit through until 1.30 and then conclude.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: We will sit right through to quarter to 2.00 but we
24 may have to stop for two minutes to change the tapes. That's all.
25 MS. KORNER: Thank you.
1 Q. I want to come, sir, to the night that -- of the takeover. Yes.
2 I think we can wait for a moment before we go into private, unless we have
3 gone in?
4 JUDGE AGIUS: We are not in private session as yet.
5 MS. KORNER: All right.
6 Q. I think the night of the takeover you were actually at home. Is
7 that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Before the violence started, had anything alerted to you the fact
10 that something might be going to happen?
11 A. Nothing in particular, except that I did not notice a really
12 normal situation. There were no people outside. Most houses were closed,
13 and even though the weather was nice, it was a nice afternoon, but there
14 was nobody out.
15 Q. All right. I am now going to ask to go into private session?
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session, Madam Registrar,
18 [Private session]
13 Pages 13785-13793 – redacted – private session
24 [Open session]
25 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session now.
1 MS. KORNER:
2 Q. Now, I want to ask you about the events after the takeover and I
3 think we can use for, as it were, a starting point, a report that was made
4 by the public security station in Bosanski Novi. Could you be handed,
5 please, Exhibit 717?
6 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, that is on the list so Your Honour
7 should have copies there. And we need to go in it -- I think before it's
8 handed to the witness, the usher better give it to me -- to the part that
9 deals with Bosanski Novi. Your Honour, that's for our -- in the
10 translation, it's quite a long document, it begins, Your Honour, at 00 --
11 01109856. It's headed, "Bosanski Novi." I'll just try and find that.
12 Q. Now, sir, this is a report by the security services centre, Banja
13 Luka, on the events in Bosanski Novi, and it was prepared on the 14th of
14 August, 1992. And it says, "One, collection centres in Bosanski Novi
15 municipality. Pursuant to the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
16 Ministry of Defence decision of 16th of April, the decision of the
17 government of the Autonomous Region of Krajina in cooperation with the
18 Bosanski Novi Territorial Defence municipal staff and representative of
19 government organs, the public security station has prepared a plan to
20 confiscate illegally acquired weapons." And so on and so forth.
21 "The plan envisages the completion of these activities by 1500
22 hours on the 11th of May; however, with the voluntary surrender of weapons
23 these activities did not produce the desired effect. And in addition,
24 according to a report submitted by a military police patrol, they were
25 attacked in the village of Blagaj Rijeka during the night of 10, 11 May.
1 "As a result, a series of combat operations were directed against
2 areas and villages with a majority Muslim population. Thus on the 24th of
3 May, 1992, the entire population of the Japra valley villages was put up
4 in the central part of the Blagaj Japra. After the burial of a member of
5 the military police who had been killed during an attack on Prijedor,
6 combat operations took place in the Prekosanje suburb on the evening of
7 June 1992."
8 Now, pausing there, please, sir, were you aware of the operations
9 that had been conducted in the Japra valley? And you can just answer that
10 yes or no because we are going to hear other evidence about that.
11 A. Yes, I was.
12 Q. The description, as it's called, of the combat operations taking
13 place in the Prekosanje suburb on the evening of the 1st of June, does
14 that date, the 1st of June, correspond in your mind to what you were
16 A. I said that it was then when the power was taken over from the
17 territory of Kula and hills above it, above that locality, fire was
18 opened, and afterwards, I saw houses burning. The next day, I heard that
19 there were also some fatalities in that area.
20 Q. Okay. That would seem to be what they are describing here. "All
21 the combat operations mentioned above were carried out by armed uniformed
22 men who were either self-organised or members of the Territorial Defence
23 or JNA combat units and no members or policemen of the Bosanski Novi
24 public security station took part in them. On 2nd of June, 1992, the
25 forces of the Bosanski Novi Territorial Defence municipal staff and the
1 military police began to round up non-Serbian citizens at the Mlakve
2 stadium without the knowledge of or consultations with the Bosanski Novi
3 public security station." All right. Now let's pause there. So did you
4 become aware of people, non-Serbian citizens, being rounded up and put
5 into the football stadium?
6 A. As far as I know, and I listened to you carefully, the population
7 in the Japra valley were the most populous, from the outskirts, from
8 Gornji Agici to Donji Agici, Suhaca, Hozici, they were all evicted and
9 brought to the territory of the village Blagaj Japra. They spent several
10 days there.
11 Q. I don't want -- as I say we are going to hear from other witnesses
12 about that. I'm concerned now about the football stadium. Did you become
13 aware of people --
14 A. No, no. At that moment in time, they were not taken to the
15 football stadium of the Sloboda club. They were brought back to the
16 stadium. They were taken away and then brought back to the stadium.
17 Q. All right. Let's talk about the time when they were brought back
18 to the stadium. What happened to them there?
19 A. Other groups of citizens were also brought there apart from them,
20 to this same stadium at Mlakve. Some estimates say that there were over
21 700 people who were put there and kept there for quite a long time, from
22 the Japra valley, as far as I can remember, sometime in the second decade
23 of May, were brought there, thus joining people who had already been
24 brought to that stadium before them.
25 As far as I know, there was -- there were some guards or rather
1 the army was guarding them. They were fed, I don't know how regular the
2 meals were, and from the conversation with Dr. Bokan I learned that, as
3 the doctor told me, his duty was to go there, examine the sick, or extend
4 the necessary aid at the Sloboda football stadium. They were not released
5 before the 23rd of July.
6 Q. You said that a doctor went there to treat them. Was he a Serb
8 A. A Serb, yes, a Serb. I believe there were different doctors but
9 this one was the one who went there most often, the Serbs always went
11 Q. And the people who were kept there, were they men, women, and
12 children, or were people separated?
13 A. No. From what I know, only men were at the stadium.
14 Q. Did any of these men get ill-treated by the people who were
15 guarding them or by other people who were allowed in?
16 A. Well, ill-treatment is a very broad term. They were -- there was
17 offensive language, verbally abused too. According to Dr. Bokan, there
18 were no drastic cases of ill-treatment apart from these abuses and
19 insults, which were ethnically motivated.
20 Q. What about provisions, food and drink and the like? Do you know
21 whether that was provided?
22 A. Since the largest number of those men -- I mean, their families
23 were not in the territory of the Bosanski Novi municipality, they had been
24 sent in G-trains towards Doboj, that is one group was sent towards Maglaj,
25 another one towards Batala [phoen] that is the area of Tuzla, and they
1 were turned back, starting from men of younger age, to those very senior
2 ones. They were brought back to the stadium of the Sloboda football club
3 in Bosanski Novi from the Ostruznja station.
4 Q. Yes. Sorry, I just asking, do you know whether they were given --
5 the people who were being kept there, were they being given by their
6 guards sufficient food and sufficient water and sanitary and bathing
8 A. From what I know, it was not enough what they got, because in --
9 you cannot find a reception centre where you're given enough food. But
10 relatives, not male but female, from the territory of the town and the
11 suburbs knew about the men who were kept there. And now and then the
12 guards would allow those women to take food to persons incarcerated at the
14 Q. Did you become aware of any other detention-type facilities within
15 Bosanski Novi itself?
16 A. In Bosanski Novi, individual arrests happened in the Una Hotel,
17 that is in the discotheque, which was in the basement of the hotel. And I
18 guess some rooms, too. And also the fire brigades house, that is the
19 present cultural centre, which is on the bank of the Una in the town.
20 Q. Did that have a name, the fire brigade, which is now the cultural
22 A. Well, it was built as the firemen's centre with all the necessary
23 facilities. It was fully appointed as such. It had rooms. It had a
24 hall, it had the depot for the engines, and also a storage space.
25 Q. Is that the Vatro -- I think I heard it through the
1 interpretation -- the Vatrogasni Dom?
2 A. Yes, that's right. It is on the bank of the Una itself, and
3 according to what I know, and I've lived long in Bosanski Novi, it was
4 called Vatrogasni Dom, that is the fireman's centre. Now it is both the
5 cultural centre and the fireman's centre, that is Vatrogasni Dom.
6 MS. KORNER: We better go into private session for just a couple
7 of questions.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Private session, please.
9 [Private session]
24 [Open session]
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
1 MS. KORNER:
2 Q. Before we go on back to this report, what happened to leaders of
3 the Muslims in Bosanski Novi, that is leaders of the SDA and the like?
4 A. Just a small explanation. The SDA leaders, yes, I knew them
5 during the war. No contact except when I would run into them in the
6 street. The President of the SDA, that is of the municipality of Bosanski
7 Novi, I've already said that. For a while, he was in Bosanski Novi, then
8 in time he left. And then he was killed. But the municipal board of the
9 SDA, I knew some of them, not all of them -- or rather I didn't know they
10 were members except Dzafer Kapetanovic, Misa Berberovic, and I think Ismet
11 Muslimovic or Iso as we used to call him. They were arrested. They were
12 taken -- they were first in the hotel, then they were taken elsewhere,
13 perhaps the fireman's centre. Later on they were taken in an unknown
14 direction and after torture and ill-treatment, and we still do not know
15 their whereabouts.
16 Q. Have they ever been seen since the end of the war in -- the end of
17 the conflict in 1995?
18 A. No. They have not been seen. Now, in the wake of the war, they
19 were not seen there. They were not seen in 1993, 1994, 1995. And to this
20 day, and as likely as not, nobody will see them tomorrow either.
21 Q. Can we go back to the report that you were looking at? Because it
22 carries on after dealing with the football stadium. "According to our
23 information the municipal Territorial Defence staff resorted to this
24 measure in order to put a stop to uncontrolled groups and units who not
25 only carried out reprisals against the population but also took to
1 destroying all premises and property owned by Muslim citizens. The people
2 who were brought to the collection centre" -- this still refers I think to
3 the football stadium -- "were not registered at this time but according
4 to our information we assess that around 300 predominantly Muslim people
5 were brought in. Most of them were men of military age, between 18 and
6 60, but there were also a few women and children, around 20 persons, from
7 an area of the Prekosanje suburb which had been destroyed. The arrested
8 persons were not processed by either the army or this public security
9 station. The collection centre was dismantled on the 5th of June when
10 most of the citizens were released and allowed to go home. A number of
11 them, around 120 persons, voluntarily signed up to join wartime army units
12 while a small number, some 17 people, who were considered to be of
13 security interest, were detained on the premises of the military police.
14 During their stay at the collection centre, the citizens had access to the
15 football club sports and social facilities and they received water and
16 food regularly."
17 Now I want to come back to what they say about the release of
18 these men, but I want to talk or ask you now about the description of the
19 groups who were destroying premises and other property owned by Muslim
20 citizens. After the takeover that you've described, at the beginning of
21 June, what were the circumstances of what was happening in Bosanski Novi
22 to the non-Serb population?
23 A. As I was also involved in that, that is as I also shared with
24 others life in that town, I most emphatically say that the security
25 service, and I mean what I'm saying when I say the "security service," I
1 mean the police, in the public security station, that by and large did
2 their job properly and tried to establish some order in the town.
3 The units of the regular army at that time, and from what I know,
4 were not involved in such activities, but I've already said that a group
5 called dry ribs, "Suha Rebra," whose names are on record, they tortured,
6 slaughtered, burned, forced people to jump off high storeys. I've already
7 said that the security service did settle scores with that group. I know
8 that because it happened near my house because I know that a member of
9 that group, dry ribs, called Petic, was killed in front of the bank, and
10 his brother was killed in front of the municipal hall. And the municipal
11 hall what we call it, it was an Austrian building a long time ago, which
12 is right next to the border with the Republic of Croatia, next to the
13 bridge, and we called that building Veznica [phoen] which is the town hall
14 or the municipal hall. There were also other groups.
15 Q. So although the police, you say, tried to restore order, there
16 were these groups going around and doing the actions that you've
17 described, in particular the Suha Rebra?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Now --
20 A. But there were other groups too.
21 Q. So what was the atmosphere like in the town of Bosanski Novi for
22 those who were not Serb?
23 A. The atmosphere in the early days, it was very tense, almost
24 unbearable for a while, unbearable because apart from our safety being
25 under threat -- the Bosniak corps, as a matter of fact, following the
1 proclamation of some staff or other, the Bosniaks could not buy flour,
2 edible oil, that is the basic necessities. And I also experienced that
3 because I had some refugees in my house and some small children.
4 Q. Was there ever a refusal by shops in the town to serve or supply
5 foodstuffs to non-Serbs?
6 A. No, not that it happened. They also had a piece of paper, and
7 only some in some shops would show it, that Muslims were not allowed to
8 buy flour and edible oil. I need to add that some Serbs, who had heard of
9 the needs of their townsmen -- co-townsmen that they needed flour or oil
10 or something, would meet them in the street and offer them help and they
11 sometimes even would take flour or oil to their neighbours.
12 Q. You've told us about the Crisis Staff. Was Mr. Pasic the head of
13 the Crisis Staff which declared itself?
14 A. In the beginning, I think that Mr. Radomir Pasic discharged all
15 the three offices, I think, the municipal mayor, the President of the
16 Crisis Staff, and for a while, president of the SDS.
17 Q. Did the Crisis Staff, during this period of time, during June of
18 1992, make announcements over the radio or other media?
19 A. Yes. The radio station aired certain provisions about the
20 permissible conduct, what one is -- may or may not do, what happens in
21 different parts of the town or outside it, so that we could all hear
22 that. That is when we had electricity and when we could find the
23 batteries for our transistor radios.
24 Q. Were you allowed to move round the town freely and at any time?
25 By "you," I mean you, the Bosniaks.
1 A. For a while, we could move around the town but I think that I
2 think that the curfew covered a large part of the evening and night, when
3 you couldn't move around. So we, the Bosniaks, did not go out, but I
4 think that some other individuals, persons I believe of Serb ethnicity,
5 could move about.
6 Q. And when did that curfew first start? Immediately after the
7 events at the beginning of June, the takeover?
8 A. In early June, I think, people imposed the curfew on themselves
9 because the situation was so tense that one could never know when some
10 armed group might turn up in a street, around the corner, and put your
11 life in peril.
12 Q. Now, I want to move to the topic of the movement out of, as it's
13 put in this report, citizens from Bosanski Novi. Can you go to the part
14 of the report which says, "2, the moving out of citizens from Bosanski
15 Novi municipality?"
16 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, that's at page 3 of that part of the
18 Q. Now, what it says there is, "After the adoption of the decision
19 number," and it gives the number, "on the 4th of May, 1992, by the
20 government of the Autonomous Region of Bosanska Krajina, legal government
21 organs initiated political activities to ensure that the necessary
22 political and other measures and actions were taken to implement the
23 decision to disarm." And it goes on to talk about disarming. Then it
24 goes on to talk about the paramilitaries, and we've already dealt with
25 that. And then it talks about the attacks on the villages.
1 And on the 24th of May, the entire Muslim population leaving
2 Blagaj, Japra. Now, if you go, please, to the part which begins,
3 "According to an agreement with the representatives of the Bosanski Novi
4 municipal assembly Crisis Staff." Have you found that?
5 A. I'm looking at the document, moving out of the citizens from the
6 territory, but that passage, no, I haven't found it -- yes, I have. "On
7 the basis of the decision or following the decision." Is that it?
8 Q. It starts, "According to an agreement with the representatives of
9 the Bosanski Novi municipal assembly Crisis Staff, on the 9th of June,
10 1992, the citizens from the Japra valley who were refugees in Blagaj Japra
11 headed for Doboj in a railway train consists of 22 closed cars. In the
12 assessment of a policeman working at this public security station who
13 escorted the train from Blagaj to Doboj, around 4.000 people of all ages,
14 male and female, boarded the train. The next day the 10th of June, 1992,
15 652 men fit for work were taken off the convoy in the Doboj area and
16 returned to the municipality where, on instructions from the Crisis Staff,
17 they were put up at the Mlakve collection centre."
18 Now, were you aware of this train leaving and then people being
19 returned to the football field, football centre?
20 A. As for the relocation of people from the Japra valley, that is
21 from Blagaj, yes, I was aware of that. I knew that they had been all put
22 in freight cars. I suppose they were loaded on to these trains in Blagaj
23 Rijeka, that is at the station itself, or perhaps in the area of what was
24 it -- that is where the Japra company premises were.
25 Q. Don't worry about describing because, as I say, we are going to
1 hear other evidence about that. Just -- but you were aware of that
2 attempt to leave the municipality?
3 A. To leave, yes, but I emphatically say that it was people were not
4 moving away of their own will. I mean, I do not think you can call
5 voluntary departure when there is torture, when there are murders, when
6 there are threats and so on, and most people had left their homes and
7 houses to get there. So I would not really call it voluntary moving away
8 or leaving, departure.
9 Q. We understand, sir.
10 Now, can we just go on with this document? We see there, it says,
11 if you move down the page, "Proceeding from a decision on the voluntary
12 moving out of citizens issued by the government of the Autonomous Region
13 of Krajina, and an order by the Bosanski Novi municipality Crisis Staff on
14 criteria for voluntary moving out, the Bosanski Novi public security
15 station has, in accordance with due procedure, dealt with the citizens'
16 requests in the following manner: Permanently cancelled the residency of
17 5.680 persons, issued certificates to 1.758, temporarily cancelled the
18 residence of 41, and issued permits for temporary departure." And then it
19 breaks it down.
20 And then we see, "According to ethnicity, the total number of
21 cancelled residencies was: Muslim, 5.629; Serbs, 3; Yugoslavs, 6; Croats,
22 2; Albanians, 38; Hungarians, 2." Then it goes on to say this: "In
23 addition to a request for the permanent cancellation of residency, in
24 accordance with the procedure prescribed by the existing laws and
25 regulations, citizens who have moved out voluntarily have given written
1 statements to the competent municipal organ that their moving was
2 voluntary on the status of their moveable and immovable property and the
3 routes by which they will leave and/or the places they wish to register or
4 take up residence."
5 And then it goes on to deal with the convoys which I want to
6 finish up with.
7 Now, what did people have to do before they were allowed to leave
8 Bosanski Novi, the non-Serbs?
9 A. The people who intended to leave, and I believe that it was the
10 intention of almost the entire population to leave the area, well of
11 course you have to stop mentioning voluntary, because it was not voluntary
12 in any way, by any stretch of imagination. I tend to disagree with the
13 figures, the overall figure, indicating the number of people transported
14 on that day, because there were 6 people leaving my house. I disagree
15 quite simply because there were more people than this.
16 Q. Stop, stop, stop. I'm sorry, sir. I don't want to stop you, but
17 I'm going to come on to exactly that day but I just want to know at the
18 moment: What did people who wanted to leave, not voluntarily but because
19 of the circumstances you've described, what did they have to do in order
20 to be allowed to leave by the municipality? In other words, it talks
21 about here written statements saying they were leaving.
22 A. Well, then, whoever wished to leave and was a non-Serb had to
23 report to the authorities, and start the procedure. They had to pay their
24 utility bills, they had to get quite a few documents, they had to mention
25 whether they had done their military service, et cetera, and they had to
1 give up any claims, real estate claims they might have had and quite a few
2 people signed those papers. But I still disagree with the figures here
3 and, and also I object to the way in which this figure is being
4 misrepresented here as to the number of people leaving the area on that
6 Q. I'll come back to the figures in a moment. You say a number of
7 people signed the papers in which they had to give up any claim, real
8 estate claims. Does that mean they had to sign over their property to the
10 A. Yes. Approximately, yeah. People were made to sign these
11 papers. I don't know what happened to them later on, the papers, I mean.
12 Q. What about the moveable property they owned, jewellery, money,
13 small items? Were they allowed to take those with them?
14 A. Well, I was standing next to Mr. Pasic and I was talking to him,
15 and so I was there with the convoy. It was a well-organised operation.
16 Q. Stop, stop, stop. Honestly I'm going to ask you about the
17 convoy. I just want to know in general terms, were people -- no, wait.
18 Were people allowed to take with them as much of their jewellery and money
19 and small items of things, as much as they wanted to? And then we'll come
20 to the convoy.
21 A. They could take away jewellery, money, as much as they could
22 carry, as much as they could fit into their vehicles, as much as they
23 could manage. And my impression was that if their houses were on wheels,
24 they would have been allowed to take them as well.
25 Q. And just one more question about the houses and then we will deal
1 with the convoy. Those -- what happened to the houses that the non-Serbs
2 had had to abandon? Did anybody move into them?
3 A. The houses remained there of course, and some people did move into
4 them later on or maybe families, other families, took over. So basically
5 the houses were filled by the Serb population and the returnees from the
6 Republic of Croatia.
7 Q. Now, we'll come to the convoy and the figures that you see here.
8 And can we just for one moment go into couple of questions go into private
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session for a while, please.
11 [Private session]
13 Pages 13811-13820 – redacted – private session
1 [Open session]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session.
3 We are going to stop here for the day. I know that this must have
4 been very tiring for you. We will resume tomorrow. It's not expected
5 that you will take long to finish with your testimony here because
6 Mr. Ackerman, as you may have already heard and -- will cross-examine for
7 approximately one hour or even less than that. So I take it that the
8 Prosecution and the rest of the organisation of this Tribunal, will make
9 the necessary arrangements to enable you to return to your country of
10 residence without further delay.
11 I thank you for your patience and understanding, and we'll all
12 meet again, please God, tomorrow morning at 9.00. Thank you.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
14 1.31 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
15 the 30th day of January, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.