1 Monday, 3 March 2003
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.19 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: So good afternoon to you, Madam Registrar. Could
6 you call the case, please?
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-99-36-T, the Prosecutor versus Radoslav Brdjanin.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Mr. Brdjanin, can you follow the
10 proceedings in a language that you can understand?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, yes, I can. I can
12 understand as well, thank you.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Please sit down. And good afternoon to you, Madam
14 Richterova, appearances for the Prosecution?
15 MS. RICHTEROVA: Good afternoon, Your Honours, Anna Richterova for
16 the Prosecution, assisted by Denise Gustin, case manager.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you and good afternoon to you. And
18 Mr. Ackerman, appearances for the Defence?
19 MR. ACKERMAN: Good afternoon, Your Honours, I'm here today with
20 my co-counsel, Milan Trbojevic, and Marela Jevtovic and I'd like to
21 introduce you to Ms. Barbara Baruch, who has now joined our team.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, welcome to the Tribunal and good
23 afternoon to you all. So can we start with the witness or is there
24 anything that you like to raise? Nothing? Okay. Do you pronounce it
25 Baruch or Baruch?
1 MS. BARUCH: Baruch.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon to you, Mr. Alkic, and welcome
5 back. I hope you had a nice weekend. Let's proceed straight away with
6 the solemn declaration once more, please.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
8 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 WITNESS: SENAD ALKIC [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Please be seated. Mr. Ackerman.
12 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Cross-examination by Mr. Ackerman: [Continued]
14 Q. Good afternoon, sir, and welcome back.
15 A. Thank you.
16 Q. When we broke on Friday we were talking about what had happened in
17 Kupres in early 1992 or what was happening there and in that connection
18 I'd like you to take a look at another document. I'd like you to look at
19 P885, please. Now, this document, sir, is a military secret, strictly
20 confidential, coded document from the 5th Corps Command to the 2nd
21 Military District Command and it has to do with basically a report on the
22 disposition of the forces of the 30th Partisan division and contains some
23 information which I'd like to go through with you. If you look on what
24 might be the second page, you'll see a paragraph beginning with, "In
25 Bugojno, SJB." Do you find that paragraph? Just let me know when you
1 find the paragraph that begins with the words, "In Bugojno." It's at the
2 end of the first page. Can you not find it or what?
3 A. Yes, I've found it.
4 Q. It reads this way: "In Bugojno SJB, public security station,
5 ammunition has been distributed to the wartime police but only to Muslim
6 members who were also told to keep this secret from members of the
7 Croatian nationality." Do you know anything about this?
8 A. At this point in time, April and early May, I was in Donji Vakuf
9 and I didn't know what was going on in Bugojno.
10 Q. But you very soon after that went to Bugojno, did you become
11 familiar with ammunition having been distributed only to Muslim members of
12 the police?
13 A. When I arrived in Bugojno, police, both Bosniak and Croatian
14 police, had some weaponry and ammunition.
15 Q. The next paragraph says this: "Relations between Croats and
16 Muslims in Gornji Vakuf are tense." Do you know anything about that?
17 A. No.
18 Q. About 200 HOS members were sighted in Turbe, their headquarters
19 located in the Feniks cafe. Do you know anything about that?
20 A. In view of the fact that I came out in mid-May to the village
21 called Karaula, and Turbe, I know of certain circumstances that existed in
22 the village of Turbe. During that period of time, it couldn't have been
23 200 members of HOS there in that village.
24 Q. Did you ever see any HOS forces in that village?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Did you ever see any HOS forces in the area of Bugojno? Either in
2 Bugojno or in that area?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. The next paragraph says HOS forces captured --
5 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Ackerman, were you aware at the time
6 of the Feniks cafe serving as the headquarters for HOS members in Turbe?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Go ahead, Mr. Ackerman.
9 MR. ACKERMAN:
10 Q. Next paragraph says: "HOS forces captured the Koprivnica-Bugojno
11 residence." And I don't know if this is translated properly: "Our forces
12 in the area are weak." Do you know what the Koprivinica-Bugojno residence
14 A. I know where it is.
15 Q. Is it in Bugojno?
16 A. It is far from Bugojno.
17 Q. How far?
18 A. A bit more than 10 kilometres, perhaps 12.
19 Q. Do you know anything about that being -- what is it? Is it a
20 building, is it a residence? What is it? What is --
21 A. That was the old or rather new villa of Josip Broz.
22 Q. And do you know anything about it having been captured by HOS
24 A. That part or shall I call it that area was never controlled by the
25 army forces in 1992. Their front was some 6 to 7 kilometres away from
2 Q. And the question, sir, that I was really trying to get from you
3 is: Do you know anything about that villa being captured by HOS forces?
4 A. No.
5 Q. And when you say it was the new villa of Josip Broz, you're
6 referring to Tito, aren't you?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Where is the village of Donji Malovan?
9 A. The village of Donji Malovan is to the southwest from Kupres in
10 the direction of Livno, on the very road leading to that place.
11 Q. And the paragraph says that HOS forces captured the village of
12 Donji Malovan and dispatched ten tanks which are engaged in fighting in
13 the Suica village area. Did you ever observe HOS forces having tanks in
14 their arsenal?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Next paragraph -- is Suica village near Donji Malovan?
17 A. In view of the fact that I'm not familiar with that area, I do
18 think that it's in the vicinity of Donji Malovan.
19 Q. All right. "The HOS is holding Kupreska Vrata, blocking the
20 passage to Bugojno." Would that be the tunnel we were talking about that
21 was right on the edge of Kupres?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. "Two buses with HOS forces set off from Jajce and one set off from
24 Bugojno towards Kupres." Do you know anything about these forces leaving
25 Bugojno and Jajce to go to Kupres?
1 A. No.
2 Q. "Strong HOS forces are deployed in Livno and Tomislavgrad, around
3 Kupres the forces are deployed around the villages of Rasticevo, Ravno and
4 Zlosela." Do you know about those HOS forces deployed in those villages
5 around Kupres?
6 A. I don't know.
7 Q. Finally, the report, which is signed by Colonel Tomislav
8 Damjanovic says: "According to our intelligence, there are two ZNG,
9 National Guard Corps brigades in the area and they are constantly gaining
10 in strength." Were you aware of the presence of ZNG brigades or units in
11 the Bugojno-Kupres area?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Did you ever see any ZNG forces in the area of Bugojno during the
14 time you were there?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Next document I'd like you to look at is DB138, please. Now this
17 is another document, sir, from the 5th Corps. It's dated 4 April, 1992,
18 addressed to the command of the 2nd Military District. It's a regular
19 combat report. The last two paragraphs under paragraph number 1 read as
20 follows: "The Kupres area is the main target of attack by Ustasha
21 formations. The main access of the attack is from Suica via Malovan
22 towards Kupres, up to two battalions of a tank company supported by
23 artillery are attacking along that axis."
24 Now, you were certainly aware in early April, 1992, that there was
25 some kind of combat activity going on at Kupres, weren't you?
1 A. I knew.
2 Q. And you knew that that combat activity was between Croatian and
3 Serbian forces with Muslim forces involved in support of the Croatian
4 forces? You knew that too, didn't you?
5 A. Not exactly along those lines. I knew that the conflict between
6 the Serb forces or rather the JNA and the Croatian forces was in
8 Q. The next paragraph reads: "Columns of Ustasha motor vehicles have
9 been noticed moving from the Gornji Vakuf and Bugojno areas towards
10 Kupres. Ustasha forces the strength of a battalion have dug themselves
11 in, in the area of Rasticevo, Zlosela, and Osmanlije villages. The
12 Ustashas will probably extend the attack with the goal of capturing Kupres
13 and its plateau."
14 In fact, that's what happened, isn't it?
15 A. There is a lot of illogical -- there are a lot of illogical things
16 in these two sentences. Whoever wrote this report probably did not use a
17 map, nor did he know where the village of Rasticevo is located, as well as
18 the village of Osmanlije and Kupres.
19 Q. Do you want to explain that further or not? I'll give you the
20 opportunity to do so, if you wish.
21 A. As far as I understand it, and as far as I know, Rasticevo,
22 Zlosela and Osmanlije are the villages located between Janj Plateau and
24 Q. And how far would they be from Kupres?
25 A. I truly don't know. Probably several kilometres.
1 Q. Several could be as few as five, not more than ten?
2 A. Not more than ten.
3 Q. All right. I'm going to change subject matter now. I'm going to
4 refer now to something you said in your statement of September, 2001. I
5 think it might be useful for the Prosecutor to return that to you at this
6 point. I'm looking at page 3 of the English version where you're talking
7 about the removal of weapons from the TO warehouse to the JNA warehouse,
8 and what you indicate there, in fact I think you say it clearly, yes, you
9 say, "Left the TO warehouse, placed in the JNA Daljan warehouse but I'm
10 not sure of the exact date." I'd like you to look in connection with that
11 at document DB137.
12 This is a document, sir, which appears to have been issued by the
13 Federal Secretariat for National Defence, main staff of the armed forces
14 of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. First administration.
15 It's document number 19-1, dated 14 May, 1990. Now, in 14 May, 1990,
16 Yugoslavia, with all of its republics, still existed, did it not?
17 A. I think it did not. Or rather, yes, it did.
18 Q. And this is an order, it says deliver immediately to the commander
19 personally and it deals with safekeeping of weapons and ammunition of the
20 TO. And it reads as follows, in part: "In order to provide for the safe
21 storage and safekeeping of the Territorial Defence weapons and ammunition,
22 and in keeping with the tasks laid out by the Federal Secretariat for
23 National Defence at the military council session held on 27 April, 1990, I
24 hereby issue the following order. Number 1, the military district air
25 force and naval district commands, together with the TO staffs of the
1 socialist republics and socialist autonomous provinces," that's everybody,
2 isn't it?
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Alkic, please answer the question. You are
4 being asked whether by referring to the socialist republics and socialist
5 autonomous provinces, this document was addressing the entirety of what
6 was then Yugoslavia.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: TO units in what was then Yugoslavia.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, but --
9 MR. ACKERMAN: Yeah.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It probably did address all of the
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
13 MR. ACKERMAN:
14 Q. And it says that, "all of those units shall organise the takeover,
15 storage and safekeeping of the complete stock of the TO weapons and
16 ammunition in the JNA supply dumps and depots. Within the scope of
17 further organisational and establishment improvements, TO commanders shall
18 consider the possibility of abolishing certain smaller TO units whose
19 weapons and ammunition cannot be safeguarded in the JNA dumps and depots."
20 A little further down, it talks in paragraph 2, "exceptionally,
21 where facilities are very far away and where conditions are not conducive
22 to or it is impossible to find a place for TO weapons and ammunition in
23 JNA depots, they should be stored and safeguarded in TO depots, guarded by
24 JNA units."
25 And then finally, well, not finally, paragraph 3, "The TO staffs
1 and TO units are to take out weapons and ammunition required for the
2 execution of planned activities with the approval of the military district
3 commands. The military district commands shall issue special instructions
4 regulating the entry, maintenance and safekeeping procedures as well as
5 the procedure for taking out and returning weapons and ammunition to the
7 4, "The collection and storage of weapons and ammunition is to be
8 completed by 21 May, 1990." And then finally, "Submit a report on the
9 execution of this order with the exact breakdown of the quantities and
10 types of ammunition being kept in JNA dumps and depots and exceptionally
11 in the TO depots to the OS main staff first administration by 5 June,
12 1990." It's signed by the chief of GSOSFRJ, Colonel General Blagoje Adzic.
13 Did you ever hear of General Blagoje Adzic?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. This document tells you, does it not, the date upon which this
16 order was entered for the removal of weapons from the TO warehouses and
17 their transport to JNA warehouses, that being 14 May, 1990; correct?
18 A. Yes. Sometime during this period of time.
19 Q. And it additionally tells you that this was done throughout former
20 Yugoslavia, in every republic, with regard to every TO, doesn't it?
21 A. I don't know what happened throughout Yugoslavia but I received an
22 order from the district TO, after which we stored the weapons.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Where do you suggest that the document,
24 Mr. Ackerman, where do you suggest that this document says that this was
25 done throughout former Yugoslavia and every republic with regard to every
1 TO? Because you seem to be saying that this -- it specifies the order and
2 also specifies that the order was executed, but I see no where in the
3 document such a statement.
4 MR. ACKERMAN: I may have -- my question may have been poorly
5 worded, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Your question was, and it additionally tells you
7 that this was done throughout former Yugoslavia and every republic with
8 regard to every TO, doesn't it?
9 MR. ACKERMAN: This I referred to the order. We will see the
10 result of that order in just a second, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: But the document itself doesn't say so.
12 MR. ACKERMAN: No. The order was issued in every FTO in former
14 JUDGE AGIUS: That's correct.
15 MR. ACKERMAN:
16 Q. And now, sir, I'd like you to look at P19 and we will see what
17 happened with regard to this order. Now, this document, sir, and I'm only
18 interested in the first page of the document, it's dated 13 September,
19 1990. It refers to the Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it
20 speaks of this order we were just talking about, order number 19-1, of 14
21 May, 1990. And it says this in the first two paragraphs: "Pursuant to
22 the order of the head of the chiefs of staff of the armed forces of the
23 SFRY, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, strictly confidential,
24 number 19-1, of 14 May, 1990, the action geared to take over and secure
25 the armaments and ammunition of the ONO, All People's Defence, and DSZ,
1 Social Self-Protection, subjects in the JNA depots, was conducted in the
2 territory of the SFRY. The relocation of the TO Serbian Republic of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina armaments and ammunition was carried out between 18 May
4 and 23 May, 1990, with the exception of the region of Bihac and Banja Luka
5 where it was completed on 13 June, 1990."
6 Do you see that?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And so it appears, does it not, that the weapons were removed from
9 every TO within the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and put within
10 the control of the JNA between the 18th of May and the 13th of June of
11 1990. Correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Friday, in your testimony, you mentioned that you had discussed
14 this removal of TO weapons to JNA control with Mr. Osman Selak; is that
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Is it -- Mr. Ackerman, sorry to interrupt. Is it
17 the Serbian Republic of BiH or the Socialist Republic?
18 MR. ACKERMAN: Did I say Serbian?
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, exactly because you have been referring to
20 Serbian Republic of BiH throughout and that's certainly not correct.
21 MR. ACKERMAN: It's not, it's the Socialist Republic of
23 JUDGE AGIUS: So that's being corrected for the record.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you, Your Honour, for pointing that out. It
25 was the Bosnia-Herzegovina that existed before the break-up, basically.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Exactly.
2 MR. ACKERMAN: The secession.
3 Q. Now, you told us, I think, on Friday that you had discussed this
4 with Osman Selak.
5 MS. RICHTEROVA: I'm sorry, can you refer, please, to the page of
6 the transcript?
7 MR. ACKERMAN: I wish I could.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, please, Mr. Ackerman.
9 MR. ACKERMAN: I wish I could, and I can't. I forgot to make the
10 note so I will abandon the question rather than.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: He said, Mr. Ackerman, if I remember well, you --
12 someone did ask him whether he knew Osman Selak. And he said that knew of
13 the existence of Osman Selak and that on one occasion, he was at a meeting
14 or somewhere standing next to him, but he was not introduced to Mr. Selak.
15 So he'd never had the opportunity to discuss anything with him.
16 MS. RICHTEROVA: As I went through the transcript, it was in
17 reference to the second transfer of the weapons, not this first one in
19 JUDGE AGIUS: But in any case, forget the transfer of the weapons.
20 MR. ACKERMAN: I'm satisfied to leave it where it is, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah.
22 MR. ACKERMAN:
23 Q. Sir, I want to refer now to page 4 of your statement, and there is
24 a paragraph on page 4 in the English version that begins with the
25 language, "I mentioned in my previous statement that the SDS took
1 political control in Donji Vakuf." And then you go on in that paragraph
2 to talk about attending certain meetings in 1992, that they were organised
3 by the head of the municipality, that they were usually designed to
4 discuss the security situation in Donji Vakuf, and then you ended with
5 this sentence: "The Serbs tried to justify what they were doing by saying
6 that it was to protect the Serb people. I don't recall specifically who
7 said these things." Do you recall saying that?
8 A. Specifically, it was Colonel or Lieutenant Colonel Kostic who told
9 me that. I asked him about the Daljan barracks and he was the one who
10 told me that.
11 Q. Who told you that they were trying to justify what they were doing
12 by saying that it was protect the Serb people?
13 A. I heard that from ten other people apart from him.
14 Q. Yeah. "And we are in a situation in Donji Vakuf at this point
15 where, within a very few kilometres, there is armed combat going on
16 between the JNA and Croatian forces, we are 12 kilometres away from
17 Bugojno where there are Croat forces who may be in possession of tanks,"
18 that was certainly information that was disseminated at that point in
19 time. Don't you think that there was a legitimate basis for fear on the
20 part of the Serb residents of Donji Vakuf and a need to at least take some
21 steps to protect themselves from an attack by the Croatian forces?
22 A. Well, I was the person who was supposed to know what was going on
23 in the area of Kupres in the month of April, 1992.
24 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... person who was supposed to
25 but you told us on Friday that you didn't know, so the person who was
1 supposed to know didn't know, but I think you'll agree that you could hear
2 the sounds of the combat all the way to Donji Vakuf. You could hear the
3 sounds of the weapons, couldn't you?
4 A. If I may continue with my previous answer, in view of the fact
5 that I had to know and in view of the fact that I didn't know that, I
6 claim here with full responsibility that many Serb residents from local --
7 from Donji Vakuf didn't know about what was going on in Kupres either.
8 The information that people had had mostly come from the explosions and
9 detonations that were coming from the direction of Kupres so they made
10 their conclusions on the basis of that and I am referring to the
11 population of Donji Vakuf.
12 Q. I suppose you'd agree that there were at least rumours going
13 around at the time, whether they were correct or not, there were at least
14 rumours going around about what was happening in Kupres?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. I think the information that you got from Kostic, you talked about
17 on page 6 of your statement where you said: "During my conversations with
18 Kostic, he explained to me that he and a group of officers had come to
19 Donji Vakuf to form and organise the Serb people in Donji Vakuf, and
20 justified this by saying that the Serb people in Donji Vakuf were
21 threatened." Is that what you were referring to a moment ago when you
22 said you heard it from him?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Where was it he came from when he came to Donji Vakuf? Do you
25 know where he'd been right before that?
1 A. I heard from Darko Savic that he had retired, that he had been a
2 member of the JNA but that upon an invitation by the SDS and JNA, he
3 became active again but that's all I know about that man. I think he had
4 come from Banja Luka.
5 Q. I guess you'd have to agree that it's likely that he had valid
6 information about what was going in the area of Kupres when he arrived in
7 Donji Vakuf?
8 A. Probably, yes.
9 Q. Back on page 5 of your statement, you make the following
10 assertion: It's a paragraph that begins with, "The SDS." You say: "The
11 SDS in Donji Vakuf before March, 1992, received certain guidelines from
12 higher SDS leaders regarding preparations for war. I say this because the
13 SDS authorities in Donji Vakuf were regularly going to Banja Luka for
14 meetings and that was the conclusion I drew."
15 Now, let's discuss that a bit. You claim to know that SDS
16 authorities in Donji Vakuf were regularly going to Banja Luka for
17 meetings. How is it you know that?
18 A. I know that from the conversations I had with Serb officials who
19 were employees of the Municipal Assembly. I talked to them every day and
20 they told me accidentally or on purpose, I don't know, that a so and so
21 member of the SDS had gone to Banja Luka for a meeting.
22 Q. Give me the names of these Serb officials who told you that.
23 A. Milan Surutka, Zoran Glisic, Mile Ilic, Novo Zelic, Predrag Vujic.
24 So it was through everyday conversations was these men that I was able
25 to learn that a certain SDS leader was away in Banja Luka. They went
1 there from time to time.
2 Q. And then what you say about this, after learning that SDS leaders
3 or a leader were going to Banja Luka for meetings you say, "The conclusion
4 I drew" then go back to the beginning, "Was that they received certain
5 guidelines from higher SDS leaders regarding preparations for war." Now,
6 that's just a kind of guess on your part, isn't it?
7 A. Before these activities started, very few party or municipal
8 officials ever went to Banja Luka. They mostly went to Zenica.
9 Q. Let me stop you. My question is simple: The proposition that
10 they went there to receive guidelines from higher SDS leaders regarding
11 preparations for war is a conclusion that you drew based upon your
12 knowledge they were going to Banja Luka. That's my only question. Is
13 that true or not true?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. All right. You tell us on page 7 of your statement that you left
16 Donji Vakuf and fled to Bugojno and joined the army. True?
17 A. I fled to Travnik and from Travnik to Bugojno where I joined the
19 Q. And when was that, that you joined the army?
20 A. On the 29th of May.
21 Q. And what --
22 A. But it was not until June that I actually joined the unit.
23 Q. And what army was that that you joined?
24 A. I joined the TO staff of Bugojno, Bugojno and Donji Vakuf TO
25 staff. They acted jointly.
1 Q. And which became the army of -- part of the Army of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina; correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. There were also other Bosniaks who left Donji Vakuf that joined
5 that army too, didn't they?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Your statement you said -- you said this: This is on page 8. "On
8 the 29th of May, I reported to the Secretariat for People's Defence in
9 Bugojno. After that, I stayed in Bugojno for about ten days and then I
10 went to Gornji Vakuf. I was still in civilian clothes. I stayed in
11 Gornji Vakuf for 20 days and following that I was called to Bugojno to
12 help in organising the Defence of Bugojno. I was engaged in the municipal
13 TO staff in Bugojno for ten to 15 days. After that, the municipal TO
14 staff assigned me to the 1st Battalion in Bugojno as operations officer."
15 That was kind of the sequence of events by which you became a member of
16 that army; correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Now, a little bit above that on the same page, you are talking
19 about the departures from Donji Vakuf, and you refer to it as being
20 disorganised and like a stampede, and that most people went on foot to
21 Bugojno. What was it about Bugojno that made it a safe place, 12
22 kilometres away from Donji Vakuf that made it a safe place for people to
24 A. Because it was the closest municipality or the closest town with
25 respect to Donji Vakuf.
1 Q. But there was something -- there must have been something else
2 about it that made it safe, like it was in control of Bosniaks or Croats
3 or something; correct?
4 A. Trust me, while I was in Donji Vakuf, I was not aware of the
5 situation in Bugojno, but I was aware of course of the fact that the JNA
6 forces were not concentrated there.
7 Q. Well, someone must have been aware of it or these large numbers of
8 people would not have left Donji Vakuf and gone to Bugojno if they thought
9 they were going to a more dangerous place; correct?
10 A. The main reason why we went for Bugojno and why many people went
11 to Croatia was the fact that that was the best route to take, the best
12 communication to take, and that was the closest municipality to Donji
14 Q. The fact is that Bugojno was Muslim territory, that there were
15 Muslim and Croat forces deployed in Bugojno, and that people felt safe
16 going there. That's a fair statement, isn't it?
17 A. It can -- could be a fair statement now, yes, but at the time, I
18 was not aware of it.
19 Q. I'd like you to look at, it's on page 9 in the English version, of
20 your statement. You talk about in September of 1992 being appointed as
21 the 1st Battalion commander in Bugojno. And then a little further down,
22 you talk about a unit coming from Djurici and you say this: "The unit
23 coming from Djurici was supported by one tank." Now, that would be a
24 JNA-VRS unit; correct?
25 A. I haven't found it.
1 Q. It's on page 10 of your version, sir, paragraph begins, the unit
2 coming from Djurici. Third paragraph, you got it?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. The unit coming from Djurici that you refer to would have been a
5 VRS unit; correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And you say: "It was supported by one tank which was rolling
8 along the asphalt road, the Bosniaks near the area had fled, the tank
9 rolled forward and went uphill towards town. The Bosniaks who were near
10 to Tepedzik thought it was a Croat tank. It was dark and it had passed
11 Djurici. Our people did not react at all and the Serbs walked right into
12 town. Their infantry realised that the support from the direction of Srt
13 was not there. Our people realised that they were Serbs," our people being
14 Bosniaks, I assume, "our people realised that they were Serbs and opened
15 fire wounding and killing a certain number of their soldiers. The tank
16 could not open fire because it was among houses and lamp posts. The Serbs
17 picked up their dead and wounded and turned back. The infantry unit
18 coming from the direction of the canyon was unable to climb the cliff to
19 take position on top of the hill. They refused to surrender and turned
20 back. The terrain was very unfavourable for an attack and when they
21 realised they had not surprised Bosniaks, they returned."
22 I just want to know, to have you kind of tell us what that was all
23 about, what was going on there?
24 A. It was a textbook attack of Serb forces against the village of
1 Q. Where is Djurici and where is Tepedzik?
2 A. The village guarded by the Serbs or rather the line guarded by --
3 defended by the Serbs was in Djurici, whereas the Tepedzik settlement is
4 located in the village of Prusac, and that was defended by the army, by
5 the BH Army.
6 Q. So was this -- this area, Djurici nearby Prusac?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Which was located in the Donji Vakuf municipality?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. If you just move up a couple of paragraphs, you speak of an attack
11 on Prusac in August or September, 1992. You say Prusac was being
12 constantly shelled during this period. And then you talk about marking a
13 map of some kind. "The Serbs attacked Prusac from three directions, from
14 Arambasisi-Radici-Srt, from Djurici-Tepedzik-Brdo and from Livopljic
15 canyon town centre Brdo. From two of those directions they used tanks and
16 infantry and from the last direction, only infantry." You say "they were
17 supported by artillery, installed in the areas of Arambasici, Bozici,
18 Vucinac, Tosicani. I was on the Bugojno front line and then I received an
19 order from my commander to support the defence in Guvna. I was supposed
20 to wait for HVO units and I was to take them into Prusac because they
21 didn't know the area. They never came and I wait there in a trench. When
22 I realised that they were not coming, I went back to Bugojno. I could see
23 the attack because I was close to Prusac, the artillery units started
24 shelling intensively two or three hours before the infantry attacked. The
25 units coming from the area of Srt were stopped because the tank rolled
1 over an antitank mine and was destroyed. The infantry which was to go
2 forward got scared and turned back."
3 What you're describing here is an attack by VRS forces on this
4 village of Prusac that failed and was repulsed, aren't you?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. I'd like you to look at Exhibit P1757, please. This is a
7 document, sir, from the Republika Srpska Ministry of the Interior
8 Srbobran, which is what Donji Vakuf was before they changed the name.
9 It's dated 4 October, 1993, and the part of this report that I want refer
10 you to is very near the end. It's the paragraph next to the last
11 paragraph, beginning with the date on 17 August, 1992. Let me know when
12 you've found that paragraph.
13 A. I've found it.
14 Q. It reads: "On 17 August, 1992, the operation to liberate Prusac
15 village, which was the largest Ustasha stronghold, began at 1600 hours.
16 Fifty-six policemen and a fair number of RS soldiers took part in the
17 operation. After an artillery preparation, there was an infantry and tank
18 attack from two directions. The policemen participated in these attacks
19 and they went ahead in the first line of attack. There was hand-to-hand
20 combat and a good part of the village was captured. By night fall, Nenad
21 Gnjatic, a reserve policeman who was an excellent combatant, had died in
22 combat and three policemen had been seriously wounded. Eleven soldiers
23 died and a considerable number, around 40, were wounded. The operation
24 was not successful because of poor command and preparation. And during
25 the night we returned to our original positions. This was the first
1 unsuccessful attack." So that pretty much agrees with what you told us in
2 your statement to the Prosecutor, doesn't it?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. The main features are that it agrees that there was artillery
5 involved, it agrees the tanks were involved, and it agrees that infantry
6 was involved in this attack; correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And this was an attack by tanks and artillery and infantry on a
9 village that you told us Friday contained a few people with a few weapons
10 with virtually no ammunition. Is it your position that these few people
11 with a few weapons and virtually no ammunition were able to repulse an
12 attack by artillery, tanks and infantry?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. All right. You gave another statement on 5 February, 2001, for
15 the Sarajevo University Institute for the Investigation of Crimes. I'd
16 ask the Prosecutor to make that available to you, please.
17 I'm not sure where it is in the -- in your version but if you look
18 at the basically the end of the document, there are two paragraphs, both
19 beginning with the date 8 May, 1992. The paragraph before that says, "The
20 already-complex security situation." Do you see that? It's at the end of
21 the document, sir. Just the third --
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Okay. The already complex security situation reached its
24 culmination in the afternoon of 30 April, 1992, when the terrorists
25 destroyed the bridge on the Vrbas River in the very centre of Donji Vakuf.
1 Can you tell us who the terrorists were? And why do you call them
3 A. I don't know for certain who they were.
4 Q. Did you ever hear reports that it was Croats who did that, who
5 blew up that bridge?
6 A. When I came to Bugojno, I heard stories going around to the effect
7 that Serbs had done it.
8 Q. All right. I want to talk now about a couple of entries in your
9 diary and I need you to have your diary now. The part I want to refer to
10 and I don't have any idea how I'm going to help you find it since we don't
11 have it all translated, it's page 5 of the English translation, and the
12 number is 0306-0162. And maybe the Prosecutor could help me direct you to
13 the appropriate page in your diary.
14 MS. RICHTEROVA: I would say that it is page 0207-2297 and 98.
15 MR. ACKERMAN:
16 Q. See if you can find 2297 and 2298, sir. 0207, it says 2292 to
17 2307, whatever that means. Have you found what I'm -- those pages? I'm
18 looking for a paragraph that you wrote that begins with the language,
19 "Open confrontation of the parties in power."
20 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yes, this is in the middle of page 0207-2298.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
22 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you very much, Ms. Richterova. I appreciate
24 Q. "Open confrontation of the parties in power resulted in increased
25 psychosis and fear that the war might spread from Croatia to
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The already-formed paramilitary national formations
2 which are armed and as such very often threatened with war are
3 contributing to that. Such a situation is also directly reflected --" I
4 think maybe we should stop. Do you want to stop or do you want to go
5 another 15 minutes?
6 JUDGE AGIUS: It's up to you but we can't stay longer than 2 or 3
7 minutes in any case.
8 MR. ACKERMAN: I thought we broke at 3.45, Your Honour. Am I
9 wrong, if we start at 2.15?
10 JUDGE AGIUS: You are right. Go ahead.
11 MR. ACKERMAN:
12 Q. "Such a situation is also directly reflected on the area of our
13 DPZ and the voices of those who would divide villages and even
14 municipalities or those who would attain the independence of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina at the cost of war are growing louder. Those most
16 affected by such opposing opinions are citizens of a municipality who
17 already fear for their very lives and such a situation is worsened even
18 more by a very low standard of living of the population." Now, that's how
19 it was in Donji Vakuf, and you recorded it accurately, didn't you?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Next page of your diary I want to talk about is -- it's 0306-0166.
22 The page 9 of the English version. It's where you talk about only Serbs
23 being mobilised. Do you have any idea why only Serbs would be mobilised
24 during this period of time?
25 MS. RICHTEROVA: It is page preceding the page 0207-2305, so it is
1 2304 but it is not visible on that page because it's black on this --
2 MR. ACKERMAN: All right. Thank you, Ms. Richterova.
3 Q. Why would only Serbs be mobilised? You say the mobilisation was
4 carried out in secret and members of just one ethnic group were called up.
5 A. Because the mobilisation was carried out by the SDS.
6 Q. Okay. We'll get to -- into that in a little more detail in a
7 little while. The next thing you write is this: You felt that such
8 behaviour, that is mobilising only Serbs, to be extremely incorrect
9 because as the commander of this formation said, it is possible that one
10 ethnic group requested the protection of the JNA, so I wonder what would
11 happen if Muslims requested protection, and then you say this: "Since I
12 think they are just as endangered as the other inhabitants of Vakuf";
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. So you agree that other inhabitants of Vakuf, that being Serbs and
16 Croats, were also endangered?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Could you look at document P58, please? I'd like you to look
19 through that document until you find Donji Vakuf, maybe it will take you
20 long enough to do so so I can find P58.
21 MS. RICHTEROVA: It's page 9 of original version.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Richterova.
23 MR. ACKERMAN: It would be helpful if I could find the document
24 itself but I'm having trouble doing that.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There is no Donji Vakuf, only
1 Srbobran here.
2 Q. That's the one I'm tried in, and if the usher could get the
3 English version on the ELMO so that I could look at it that way, that
4 would solve the problem. All right. Sir, what I think you will see there
5 are population figures from 1991 and 1995; correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And in 1991, it says that the Serbs are 79.2 per cent or 12.318?
8 You see that?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Okay. I was looking at the wrong place. 1991, Serbs, 9.375, 38.7
11 per cent.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Muslims 13.393, 55.3 per cent?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... 1995, and the usher is going
16 to have to help me. It's probably the next page, page -- the 1995 Serbs
17 are 8.884, 98.7 per cent; correct? Wait a minute, don't change that yet.
18 Is that correct?
19 A. It probably is. I don't know the situation that was there on the
20 ground in 1995.
21 Q. So according to this, in 1995, there are about 500 less Serbs than
22 there were in 1991 but now they make up 98.7 per cent of the population.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Let's look at the number of Muslims. Only 81, 0.9 per cent;
2 A. Yes, I can see that.
3 Q. Do you have any idea what those numbers are today, 2003? How many
4 Serbs are living in Donji Vakuf today?
5 A. I don't know exactly but I know that there are very few Serbs.
6 Q. All right. Thank you.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, this might be a good time.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Ackerman. We'll have a 25-minute
9 break. Thank you.
10 We make it 20 minutes, not 25. 20 minutes. Thank you.
11 --- Recess taken at 3.40 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 4.08 p.m.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Go ahead, Mr. Ackerman. Thank you.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, can we go to private session for just
15 a moment?
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, let's go to private session for a while.
17 [Private session]
12 Page 15040 – redacted – private session.
12 Page 15041 – redacted – private session.
5 [Open session]
6 MR. ACKERMAN:
7 Q. All right, sir, we are ready again. Sorry for the little
9 In your testimony on Friday, at page 15 of the LiveNote, line 20,
10 you were asked this question. You were talking about checkpoints and then
11 this question was asked of you: "And what about Muslims? Did they set up
12 their checkpoints, let's say in Muslim villages?" Your answer was: "No
13 they never did, they never set up a single checkpoint anywhere."
14 Do you recall giving that answer, sir?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. In your statement of June and September of 2001, the English is on
17 page 8, you say this: "I found out by talking to Serbs from Donji Vakuf
18 and from my brother-in-law who lived in Prusac, that the Bosniaks had
19 organised a checkpoint in Prusac but I certainly wouldn't call it
20 resistance." True?
21 A. They called it a checkpoint. However, it was not really a
23 Q. Well, what you said was that your brother-in-law told you that the
24 Bosniaks had organised a checkpoint in Prusac. Now you're saying it
25 wasn't really a checkpoint?
1 A. It didn't look like the ones set up by Serbs because there were
2 only two men who would stand on the road during the day and they wore
3 civilian clothes.
4 Q. Did you go there and look at it? Did you see that?
5 A. No. It was my brother-in-law who told me this.
6 Q. And your brother-in-law told you that it was a checkpoint, didn't
8 A. They considered it to be a checkpoint, as I have already
9 indicated, but it was not a checkpoint -- not the kind that was usually
10 set up by Serbs on different roads.
11 Q. Well, when you told these Judges on Friday, with regard to the
12 Muslims, that they never set up a single checkpoint anywhere, why did you
13 tell the Judges that? If you're contending this wasn't really a
14 checkpoint, why didn't you explain that to the Judges? You told the
15 Judges on Friday that they never set up a checkpoint anywhere, didn't you?
16 A. Yes, there was not a single one that was armed.
17 Q. That isn't what you said Friday, is it?
18 A. I spoke about the checkpoints set up by Serbs on Friday. Muslims
19 didn't have such checkpoints anywhere.
20 Q. Let's look at it again. The question that was asked of you: "And
21 what about Muslims? Did they set up their checkpoints, let's say, in
22 Muslim villages?" Now the word "armed" is not in there any where, is it?
23 A. I was referring to the checkpoints manned by armed people who were
24 in charge of controlling the traffic. This is what we referred to as
1 Q. Let me have you answer my question. The question that was asked
2 of you was: "And what about Muslims? Did they set up their checkpoints,
3 let's say in Muslim villages?" The word "armed" does not appear in that
4 question, does it?
5 A. Well, it doesn't, but that's what I imply.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: It's clear enough now, Mr. Ackerman.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: All right, thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Look at -- we got to go back to your diary again and this is
9 always difficult.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Richterova, if you can continue helping us --
11 MR. ACKERMAN: There is a table which I think you'll find at page
12 290 of your diary. It's 0306-0165.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: So that's easy to find.
14 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yes, diary 0207-2303.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Richterova.
16 MR. ACKERMAN:
17 Q. You see the table?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. What does that represent? What is that?
20 A. It represents the census of the population broken down per local
21 communes of the Donji Vakuf municipality.
22 Q. When?
23 A. I believe that the period in question was -- is before the war.
24 Q. There was a census in 1991. This would be the 1991 census, do you
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. I'd like you to look now at the map, P1692. Let's put it on the
3 ELMO so that we can all look at it.
4 Now, you see on this map that you have there, where you made a
5 mark where this foot bridge you talked about was built. Do you see that?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And you indicated this was a foot bridge that was built by Serbs?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And you told us that its purpose was to give Serbs access to Donji
10 Vakuf without having to pass through the Muslim villages of Karici and
11 Cehajici; right?
12 A. And the Muslim settlements and local communes in Donji Vakuf.
13 Q. And the Serbs you're referring to were the Serbs from Brezicani?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And at page 18 of the LiveNote, in your testimony on Friday, you
16 told us - I want to make sure I get your exact words - "Then there is the
17 village of Brezicani which is an exclusively Serb village." That was your
18 testimony Friday; correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. If you look at this census table, contained in your diary, it
21 shows that the village of Brezicani had 972 residents, of which 484 were
22 Muslims and 425 were Serbs or that it was a majority Serb village, doesn't
24 A. In this table, I was referring to local communes, not the
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts. Pages 15047 to 15055.
1 Q. You've lost me. You said in your testimony that Brezicani was an
2 exclusively Serb village. The table shows clearly --
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. -- that it was not, that it was mostly a Muslim village, doesn't
6 JUDGE AGIUS: But Mr. Ackerman, at the top left corner of that
7 chart or that page, you see what in English appears to be -- to have been
8 translated "neighbourhood."
9 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, I can't imagine that makes any difference at
10 all, Your Honour, because he didn't refer to anything but Brezicani in his
11 testimony which he said was exclusively Serb.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: In his testimony he referred to it as a village and
13 now he is telling you that what appears in this list, in his diary, is not
14 indicated as villages but as neighbourhoods, as communes. So perhaps
15 we'll -- not saying that what you are alleging is not correct, but I'm
16 asking the witness to clarify this.
17 MR. ACKERMAN:
18 Q. Well, what's the difference between the village of Brezicani and
19 the neighbourhood of Brezicani? What's the difference?
20 A. Let me try to explain. A local commune or a neighbourhood refers
21 to a greater area, which consisted of several villages and hamlets. In
22 this particular case, the local commune or the neighbourhood which was
23 officially called Brezicani consisted of the following villages:
24 Cehajici, Karici, Brezicani, and several other hamlets located in this
1 Q. So those two Muslim villages of Cehajici and Karici you're now
2 saying were parts of Brezicani?
3 A. Of the Brezicani local commune, not of the Brezicani village.
4 Q. Yes. I understand that. Now, tell me why it was that Serbs who
5 lived in Brezicani didn't want to pass through Muslim villages on their
6 way to Donji Vakuf? Why would that be?
7 A. You will notice that very close to the village, or rather the
8 village itself bordered the municipality of Bugojno, and it was for that
9 reason that Serbs believed that this village was jeopardised. They could
10 leave the village via main road leading from Brezicani towards Vrbas,
11 along the Cehajicka River, which ran parallel with the road, and then
12 further to this newly built bridge.
13 Q. What is the line we see on the map that goes from Brezicani below
14 Karici and Cehajici and meets the Vrbas? What is that line?
15 A. This is the Cehajicka River.
16 Q. So one could travel from Brezicani to Donji Vakuf by going through
17 that river and then joining the road that goes up to Donji Vakuf?
18 A. This road went parallel with the river, linking Brezicani and the
19 Vrbas, and then downstream, along the Vrbas, up to Donji Vakuf.
20 Q. So you could follow that river down to the Vrbas and then follow
21 the Vrbas into Donji Vakuf by road?
22 A. Downstream, yes, the Vrbas River.
23 Q. I'm trying to understand what difference it made to make that foot
24 bridge. That's what I'm confused about. How did that change anything?
25 Other than get them out of their cars and make them walk?
1 A. In Donji Vakuf, on the right bank of the Vrbas River in town
2 itself, there were two local communes. One was called Veremalija and the
3 other one was called, I think, 27th of July. Therefore, this road went
4 through the Veremalija local commune, which was mostly populated by Muslim
6 Q. But that's all the way up in Donji Vakuf itself, isn't it?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we need to approach it in a different
8 manner, Mr. Ackerman, let's be practical about it. Let me ask three
9 questions myself. Anyone who lived in Cehajici and wanted to go to Donji
10 Vakuf, did he have a direct access road to Donji Vakuf?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They had to come to the road because
12 Cehajici and Karici are not on the road leading from Brezicani to Donji
13 Vakuf. But they could have also gone using side roads from Cehajici,
14 Karici and Brezicani, macadam roads. They could have used those side
15 roads to come to Donji Vakuf.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Would it have been the same applicable to those
17 living in Brezicani?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: So anyone from Brezicani who wanted to go to Donji
20 Vakuf, would they have to pass through Karici or Cehajici or did they have
21 other options, before the bridge was constructed?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From Brezicani, they had two roads
23 they could have used to come to Karici and Cehajici and then to Donji
24 Vakuf or they could have come down the river along the road and the right
25 bank of the Vrbas and then pass through Veremalija local commune, and then
1 you would get to the main and only bridge in Donji Vakuf, which was used
2 by vehicles.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: And with the construction of this bridge that you
4 told us about last time, what would change as a result?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Nothing changed except that the
6 Serbs were given another option to avoid Muslim settlements, in order to
7 reach the local commune called the 1st of May, which had a majority of
8 Serb residents and Serbian police.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I think that's clear enough, at least in my mind,
10 Mr. Ackerman, I don't know in yours. If it's not, you're free to ask any
11 other question you'd like.
12 MR. ACKERMAN:
13 Q. Well, sir, you just told us now that the bridge enabled them to go
14 to something I think you called the --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Enabled them to go to the 1st May, local commune,
16 without having to pass through the other commune which was predominantly
17 inhabited by Muslims; is that correct?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: That's why I told you it's clear in my mind, at
21 MR. ACKERMAN: Maybe, Your Honour, but it's different.
22 Q. In your testimony on Friday, you said that the purpose of building
23 the bridge was to enable the Serbs who lived in the villages of -- village
24 of Brezicani and other neighbouring hamlets to come to Donji Vakuf without
25 having to pass through Muslim-inhabited locations. Now you've changed the
1 place they were going by using this bridge; correct?
2 JUDGE AGIUS: No, Mr. Ackerman. He said that Donji Vakuf
3 consisted of two local communes, one is - I can't pronounce the name -
4 which was predominantly inhabited by Muslims, Manja or whatever and the
5 other one was the 1st May which was predominantly Serb or where a lot of
6 Serbs lived.
7 MR. ACKERMAN:
8 Q. Is that correct, sir, is 1st May part of main town of Donji Vakuf?
9 A. The town of Donji Vakuf itself consisted of four local communes,
10 Two of which were predominantly inhabited by Muslim residents. They were
11 called Veremalija local commune and the 27th of July. The next one was
12 called the 16th of September. That was a mixed local commune. And then
13 there was a local commune called the 1st of May, which also made up the
14 downtown area of Donji Vakuf town, and that local commune was
15 predominantly inhabited by Serb residents.
16 Q. So I guess what you're saying is by using that foot bridge, they
17 could get to the 1st of May part of Donji Vakuf without passing through
18 any Muslim parts of Donji Vakuf?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And now I have to go back to the question I asked awe few moments
21 ago, why would they not be willing to pass through Muslim parts of Donji
22 Vakuf? You told us they wouldn't be willing to pass through Cehajici and
23 Karici because they were right on the border of Bugojno municipality and
24 they were frightened about that, but now we're talking -- you've switched
25 to afraid to travel through Muslim parts of Donji Vakuf and I want to know
2 A. They probably planned to divide the municipality or something
3 similar to that. I don't know why would they -- they be afraid but at any
4 rate, throughout the time, when there was Muslim population in those local
5 communes, Serbs always passed through the Muslim local commune and used
6 this bridge very infrequently.
7 Q. The bridge being the foot bridge?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Okay. I think we've worn that subject out.
10 You were asked just very briefly about the term "mop up" or
11 "mopping up" on Friday and you told us what you believed it meant. Can
12 you tell us what is the traditional and correct military definition of
13 that term? You described it in the context of Donji Vakuf in early 1992
14 but being a military man, you know the traditional and correct military
15 definition and I'd like you to tell us what it is.
16 A. I don't know how is it defined in the army. I have never used
17 that term before and I believe that there is no such term in the army.
18 There is only a similar term used, which is search the terrain. That's
19 the only similar military term, but as for mopping up, I've heard that
20 this is what the Serbs did in Bosniak villages during the war.
21 Q. I want to talk to you now a little bit about this business of
22 mobilisation. Mobilisation was done from lists of persons who had done
23 their basic service with the JNA and then were available in a reserve
24 capacity to be mobilised in the event of the necessity for that. Is that
25 a fair statement?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And these lists, I believe, were kept by -- in each municipality
3 by the secretary of the Secretariat for National Defence. Am I correct
4 about that?
5 A. There were records there, two different kinds of records,
6 individual ones and original, or master records, but there were no lists.
7 Q. Well, who kept the lists of persons from which mobilisation would
8 be done? It was somebody's responsibilities to maintain those lists,
9 wasn't it?
10 A. The Secretariat for National Defence was in charge of master
11 records, and also in charge of personnel assigned to war units.
12 Q. Who was the Municipal Secretary of National Defence? Who held
13 that position in Donji Vakuf in the spring of 1992?
14 A. I think it was Mile Ilic.
15 Q. And how long had Mile Ilic held that position?
16 A. I don't remember.
17 Q. At page 21 of LiveNote, you spoke about mobilisation and the
18 creation of the war unit of the 19th Brigade and what you told the Judges
19 was that this mobilisation was carried out by the SDS; correct?
20 A. I think that the SDS did it with the assistance of the JNA.
21 Q. So as far as you know, it was actually carried out properly in
22 accordance with the law regarding mobilisation but it's your position that
23 you think that the SDS encouraged that mobilisation, not that they
24 actually performed it themselves?
25 A. They carried it out, implemented it and completed it.
1 Q. They being who, the SDS?
2 A. Yes, I'm referring to the SDS.
3 Q. How did the SDS get these records that would be necessary to do
4 the call-ups for mobilisation?
5 A. The records were ignored. They carried out the mobilisation of
6 the entire Serb population, regardless of whether they were in some other
7 units or not, and by this I'm referring to the TO units.
8 Q. Well, do you not know that there was a general mobilisation
9 throughout the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that caused
10 President Izetbegovic to advise Muslims not to respond to that
11 mobilisation? You're aware of all that, aren't you?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And if they had only been trying to mobilise Serbs, that would
14 have been a waste of time for Izetbegovic to tell Muslims not to respond
15 because they weren't being mobilised in the first place?
16 A. I think that the mobilisation had started a long time before the
17 general mobilisation in BH was declared.
18 Q. Would this be more a mobilisation that was not a mobilisation and
19 just perhaps the creation of a paramilitary unit or something like that?
20 Is that maybe what you're talking about?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. All right. I want you to look at one final document, 1754, P1754,
23 please. I want you to look at the last page of this document, so
24 Mr. Usher, we are actually on page -- page 4, the last three paragraphs.
25 Now, sir, this is a document, it's a report on the work of the Donji Vakuf
1 Public Security Station from 1 April, 1992, to 25 December, 1992. It's
2 dated January, 1993. And signed by the chief of the SJB, Sekula Sisic. I
3 want to refer to you the last three paragraphs of that document which read
4 as follows: "As for explosions, fires and damage, our municipality finds
5 itself in special circumstances since it is situated on the front line."
6 Now, what knowledge do you have about Donji Vakuf being situated
7 on the front line?
8 A. The demarcation line between the forces was, for the most part,
9 the border between Donji Vakuf and Bugojno. This is where the demarcation
10 line ran. However, the downtown area of Donji Vakuf, with the four local
11 communes that I've mentioned was some 3 to 4 kilometres from the
12 demarcation line.
13 Q. Yes. It goes on to say: "We cannot supply precise indicators, as
14 a large number of houses and other buildings have been burned in the war
15 operations, and practically every fortnight, the enemy shells the town and
16 its surroundings. In this way, significant material damage is caused to
17 buildings and the infrastructure. On 26 September, 1992, great damage was
18 caused to the Janj DP shareholding company plant by aerial bombing. Since
19 no record has been made of destroyed and damaged buildings, and the number
20 is increasing day by day, we have no precise data on material damage.
21 Finally, we would just like to mention that since 1 April, 1992, our
22 municipality has experienced a difficult period of war operations, and we
23 are still frequently under enemy attack."
24 Now, Donji Vakuf, being only 3 or 4 kilometres away from the line
25 of demarcation was, of course, within range of artillery, wasn't it?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And do you know, of your own knowledge, that there was artillery
3 bombardment of Donji Vakuf along that line of demarcation, from the
4 Bugojno side of that line?
5 A. Very seldom.
6 Q. But there was, wasn't there?
7 A. Yes, but very infrequently, and the data from these two parts are
8 incorrect for the most part, and if you wish, I can explain.
9 Q. I think I don't. If the Prosecutor wants to you explain, they can
10 ask you.
11 I'm finished. Thank you.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Ackerman. Is there re-examination?
13 MS. RICHTEROVA: I have two issues. And I will start with the
15 Re-examined by Ms. Richterova.
16 Q. If could you give us the explanation to this document and the
17 points which are not correct in this document?
18 A. Do you mean this last segment from this document?
19 Q. Yes. I mean this last segment.
20 A. This document makes the following claim: We are unable to give
21 these indicators as a large number of houses and other buildings have been
22 burned in the war operations, and so on. I can assure you that no houses
23 were set on fire by the army shelling, nor were the facilities in the Janj
24 compound targeted. Further on, as far as aerial bombardment is concerned,
25 these were the planes that bombed on that day, the factory called Slavko
1 Rodic which was located in Bugojno. That was a specialised factory, and
2 defence factory, and a pilot who was not familiar with the municipality
3 targeted the Janj factory in Donji Vakuf.
4 I learned of this event from the Serbs after the war ended. We in
5 Bugojno were very surprised to see that the Serb planes were bombing Donji
6 Vakuf municipality.
7 Q. And you said that neither of these villages was set on fire by the
8 army shelling, so how were they set on fire?
9 A. In 1992, there wasn't a single house set on fire by the army.
10 Almost all of them were set on fire by Serbs, who most often torched the
11 houses of well-known and prominent Bosniaks from Donji Vakuf, as well as
13 Q. And we were talking about -- we were talking about liberation of
14 certain villages, and you mentioned that the liberation was, among others,
15 plundering, arson. So the arson, how did it happen?
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Richterova, I'm sorry about this but I need to
17 interrupt you a minute. Let's go into private session for a while because
18 I need to say this before 5.00, in case Mr. Ackerman needs to do something
19 about it.
20 [Private session]
7 [Open session]
8 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session. Again my apologies to you,
9 Madam Richterova, and let me just repeat your question.
10 You were told, sir, that you were asked, and we were talking
11 about -- we were talking about liberation of certain villages, and you
12 mentioned that the liberation was, amongst others, plundering, arson, so
13 the arson, how did it happen? And perhaps you can answer now to that
15 MS. RICHTEROVA:
16 Q. Or better say, who did -- who set -- who set these houses on fire?
17 A. I don't know what people were involved in it but I know that they
18 were members of the Serb army.
19 Q. And was it during a combat operations?
20 A. No.
21 Q. The Defence asked you about one sentence in your statement, when
22 you said that the SDS in Donji Vakuf, before March, 1992, received certain
23 guidelines from higher SDS leaders regarding preparation for war, and the
24 Defence question was, the proposition that they went there, meaning Banja
25 Luka, to receive guidelines from higher SDS leaders, regarding preparation
1 for war, is a conclusion that you drew based upon your knowledge they were
2 going to Banja Luka. Did you conclude this at the time when they were
3 going to Banja Luka or did you conclude this at the later stage? And I
4 mean did you conclude that they were receiving certain guidelines?
5 A. I knew that even before, before that started, so it was no secret.
6 It wasn't just a conclusion that I drew. This was something that was
7 publicly discussed, openly, both among the Serbs and among the Bosniaks
8 and when we were all together in Donji Vakuf.
9 Q. Just to understand correctly, are you referring now to the fact
10 that they are receiving the guidelines or the fact that they were going to
11 Banja Luka?
12 A. In respect of certain things that we had to agree upon, including
13 the setup of joint checkpoints, which were supposed to be manned by
14 Bosniaks and Serbs together, in order to designate people, this could not
15 be done before a certain person would come back from Banja Luka and then
16 after he would come back, then we would discuss on how to implement this.
17 Q. And can you be now specific? How did you conclude that they were
18 receiving guidelines for preparation of war? How did you conclude this?
19 A. I drew this conclusion, and this was common knowledge in Donji
20 Vakuf, especially amongst the members of the municipal administration,
21 where these things were being discussed on a daily basis, because the
22 municipality of Donji Vakuf had never been linked with Banja Luka. It had
23 closer relations with Zenica. SDS officials, or Donji Vakuf municipal
24 officials of Serb ethnicity now went to Banja Luka, which means that they
25 were now working under the instructions coming from Banja Luka and not
1 from Zenica.
2 MS. RICHTEROVA: That's answered my question. Thank you.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
4 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I would just like to remind the
5 witness of his testimony on Friday, if you would permit me to do so.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, go ahead.
7 Further cross-examination by Mr. Ackerman:
8 Q. Sir, on Friday, page 27, beginning at line 11, you were asked if
9 you recall whether higher SDS leaders were going to Banja Luka to conduct
10 some meetings or whatever, and your answer was this: "I remember they did
11 go to Banja Luka but I don't know whether they went there for meetings or
12 discussions or negotiations." And the fact is you have no idea why these
13 people went to Banja Luka, do you?
14 A. I didn't know the specific reason why they went to Banja Luka but
15 I knew that they were going to Banja Luka. That's my answer.
16 MR. ACKERMAN: That's all I have, Your Honour, thank you.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I was just going to check because he did also
20 explain on Friday, more or less along the same lines as he did today, that
21 they found it strange at the time that they would go to Banja Luka -- that
22 they would go to Banja Luka and not Zenica. I was trying to find it but
23 if there are no further questions, I think we can leave it at that.
24 Sir, that brings us to the end of your testimony. As Presiding
25 Judge in this trial, me in my own name and on behalf of the other two
1 Judges, Judge Janu from the Czech Republic and Judge Taya from Japan and
2 also on behalf of the Tribunal, I would like to thank you for coming over
3 to give evidence. You will be escorted from the courtroom by the usher
4 and you will be given all the assistance you require to enable you to
5 return to your country of residence. Should you encounter any
6 difficulties, please let us know. On our part we wish you a safe journey
7 back home. Thank you.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 [The witness withdrew]
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Now, I take it Madam Richterova that the next
11 witness is here?
12 MS. RICHTEROVA: The next witness is here but because with this
13 witness we will start a new municipality, I would like to deal with Rule
14 92 bis for the witnesses from Donji Vakuf municipality. We received a
15 reply from the Defence regarding the witness 7.164.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, because I need to get the document,
17 appropriate document, to be able to follow you here. 7.164? Yes.
18 MS. RICHTEROVA: And we didn't receive any reply for the Witness
19 7.153. However, Mr. Ackerman informed me orally that he doesn't object to
20 using his statement under the Rule 92 bis.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Saving his general reservations on Rule 92?
22 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I actually prepared two documents, a
23 first response and a second response, and sent them for filing but for
24 some reason only the second response got filed. I will resubmit the first
25 response so that it gets in the record and --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay.
2 MR. ACKERMAN: -- my position on it. But Ms. Richterova is
3 correct. I do not have an opposition other than what I normally say in
4 those responses.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I know. I take it that this is so. So all right.
6 So I think there is no problems as far as that is concerned. You can
8 MS. RICHTEROVA: Your Honour, we would like to tender these two
9 statements into evidence, if you allow us.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
11 MR. ACKERMAN: And again, Your Honour, I have no objection beyond
12 that general objection that I put in all these responses.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So the documents -- the statements are being
14 admitted under the Rule 92 rule, under Rule 92 and they are given exhibit
16 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yes. The witness 7.153 was given Exhibit number
17 P1694, and the witness statement 7.164 was given an exhibit number P1695.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. All right. So that's done.
19 MS. RICHTEROVA: And I'm sorry to bring one other thing but it
20 relates to Rule 92 bis as well, and it relates to the witness 7.263. It
21 is witness from -- I know, it is witness who was supposed to testify about
22 three weeks ago. The witness didn't appear. We would like to ask -- this
23 witness testified in Stakic case, and we would like to ask the Defence
24 whether he would agree to accept this -- the transcript under Rule 92 bis.
25 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I think I've already talked to
1 Ms. Richterova about this and made it real clear that I would not accept
2 the transcript. That there is significant cross-examination with regard
3 to this witness, and it does go directly to the conduct of the accused, so
4 it doesn't fall under Rule 92 bis in the first place.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
6 MS. RICHTEROVA: Thank you. It's true we discussed it. I just
7 wanted to have it on the record.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: So do you -- yeah, but as a result of the opposition
9 that you have now do you stick to your request or do you withdraw it?
10 MS. RICHTEROVA: We will withdraw it.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So that goes on the record as well, because
12 it's the most important part of this story. Next?
13 MS. RICHTEROVA: And the witness is ready.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So usher, please -- does this witness -- this
15 witness does not enjoy any -- as far as I can recall from my records, he
16 does not enjoy any protective measures, no?
17 MS. RICHTEROVA: No, he wasn't asking for any protective measures.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. And how long do you anticipate to
19 examine him in-chief for?
20 MS. RICHTEROVA: Your Honour, already knows me that I anticipate
21 always shorter time. I want to hope that I will manage to finish him
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Which would mean tomorrow will be reserved for
24 cross-examination and tomorrow, apart from this witness, do you have any
25 other witness? I wouldn't think so?
1 MS. RICHTEROVA: No, we don't have. We already announced that the
2 major witness will testify from Wednesday.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: So Madam Chuqing, I think that clarifies more what I
4 have handed down to you in writing so the planning is more or less along
5 these lines. Yes. Where is the witness? Please.
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon to you, Mr. Odobasic. And welcome to
8 this Tribunal. You are a lawyer by profession so I will cut short my
9 introduction. The gentleman standing next to you is the usher, he's going
10 to hand you the text of a solemn declaration to the effect that in the
11 course of your testimony, you'll be saying the truth, speaking the truth
12 and nothing but the truth. Please read out that text aloud and that will
13 be your solemn undertaking with us. It's the equivalent of an oath.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
15 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 WITNESS: JASMIN ODOBASIC
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, sir. Please sit down. And Madam
19 Richterova, with whom I suppose you are already familiar, is going to lead
20 the examination-in-chief on behalf of the Prosecution. Yes, Madam
22 Examined by Ms. Richterova:
23 Q. Good afternoon, witness. Can you please state your full name for
24 the record?
25 A. Jasmin Odobasic.
1 Q. When and where were you born?
2 A. I was born on the 2nd of April, 1952, in Prnjavor.
3 Q. Your ethnic origin is Bosniak and your religion is Muslim; is that
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. You studied at the university and you graduated as a lawyer;
8 A. Yes. I obtained a degree in law, and for a brief period of time,
9 I worked as a Defence counsel.
10 Q. In the period of 1990 and 1991, what was your occupation?
11 A. The year of 1990 caught me working as a general secretary of the
12 shoe factory in Prnjavor. After I was removed from that organisation, I
13 opened a law firm which survived only for three days when it was destroyed
14 as a result of an explosion.
15 Q. We will go into details and you will have opportunity to talk
16 about this but now please just answer my questions. I would like to show
17 the witness a map Prnjavor municipality, and I believe that Your Honours
18 and the Defence --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, we have it.
20 MS. RICHTEROVA: We will provide the Defence with spare copy. And
21 I would like to tender this map into evidence under P1765.
22 Q. Can you please just briefly discuss what was the ethnic
23 composition of Prnjavor municipality?
24 A. The municipality of Prnjavor was one of the most mixed
25 municipalities in the former Yugoslavia, in the Republic of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Nineteen ethnicities lived there apart from the three
2 most numerous ones, Croats, Serbs and Muslims. There were a number of
3 minorities, Czechs, Poles, Ukrainians, Ruthenians and so on and so forth.
4 There were 46.000 citizens in the municipality. 71.6 per cent were Serbs,
5 15.3 per cent were Bosniaks, 3.7 per cent were Croats and 9.4 per cent
6 were others. These other ethnicities, minorities, and those who declared
7 themselves as Yugoslavs.
8 Q. Thank you. Would you be so kind and have a look at the map which
9 is next to you? And we already heard that Serbs were in majority in this
10 municipality, and Bosniaks had about 15 per cent. Were there any Muslims
11 villages which would be purely Muslim villages?
12 A. Yes. There were four or five villages which were exclusively
14 Q. Would you be so kind and place the map on the machine and point on
15 the machine at these villages, please?
16 A. As I have already said, Bosniak villages were located near the
17 town, the villages of Konjhovci, Mravica, Galjipovci, Lisnja, Puraci and
18 then there was a small number of Bosniaks living in the village of
19 Bobanovci which is not on the map but which is located 2 to 3 kilometres
20 from the Prnjavor town.
21 Q. And was there any Croat village?
22 A. Croats and Bosniaks lived for the most part in the town itself but
23 there were two other villages, the village of Drenova where the population
24 was almost 100 per cent Croat. It is located before Donji Vijacani
25 [phoen] on this communication line and there were also some Croats living
1 in the village of Kulas which you can see here on the map.
2 Q. Thank you. I'm done with the map.
3 Witness, how would you describe, just very briefly, the life in
4 this multi-ethnic municipality? How was the relationship between various
6 A. I will try to give you a brief description, though this is a
7 demanding task, because of the extent to which this community was mixed
8 and because of the diversity of this area. At the time of the former
9 Yugoslavia, which existed until 1991, the life of these minorities and
10 these three main ethnicities in the town itself was very harmonious.
11 Minorities had schools in their own language, Italians, Ukrainians and
12 Ruthenians, every significant minority also had their cultural societies
13 and there was a cultural society in the town itself in which all these
14 minorities participated. There were no conflicts whatsoever, and
15 Prnjavor -- in Prnjavor itself there had not been any massacres during the
16 two world wars. However, according to the stories told by elderly people,
17 there were such attempts but people helped each other and provided shelter
18 to each other. So in 1990s, more than one-third of marriages were mixed,
19 and often the President of the municipality was a member of a minority
20 community, Italian, Ukrainian, Croat, Serb, and I personally had a lot of
21 friends amongst these minorities, Italians, Czechs and others. Which was
22 the case with the other citizens living in this area, including Croats and
24 Q. And are you able to tell us whether at some point this ideal
25 relationship among different ethnicities changed?
1 A. The relationship among different ethnicities started to change
2 from the beginning of 1990s, but at the beginning, these changes seemed to
3 have been imposed, which was the case in most of the cases.
4 Q. When you say they seemed to have been imposed, what are you
5 implying to?
6 A. As I have already said, there had never been any conflicts between
7 these ethnicities or minorities in the town itself. To illustrate this
8 point, there had not been any murders in the area at all. There were more
9 suicides than murders. There had been no significant incidents up until
10 1990. As for the changes that were imposed at one point in time, from
11 elsewhere, I abide by what I stated. This small area was often referred
12 to as a small Europe, a little Europe, because of the harmony, of the
13 harmonious life of these ethnicities and minorities, and if you will allow
14 me just one more sentence --
15 Q. No. I will allow you later to elaborate but now I would like to
16 know when and how this ideal life changed. When was it?
17 A. It happened with the formation of national political parties.
18 This harmonious life started to change, and I remember that it came as a
19 big surprise, which was followed by fear in Prnjavor, when in 1989, at a
20 rally organised by the SDS, a certain Mr. Zelenbaba declared: "Citizens
21 you better start selling your life stock and start buying rifles and
22 getting ready for war." People were shocked and then incidents started to
24 Q. Tell me which parties were formed in Prnjavor.
25 A. In the town itself, there was the SDP, which was a successor to
1 the former League of Communists, a Reformist Party was also established in
2 the town, since there was not much response, not much interest for
3 national parties in the town itself. I think the SDS was established in
4 the village of Strpci or Visnja, villages located outside the town,
5 although they did hold a rally inside the town before they were formally
6 established. So this -- this idea did not find fertile soil in the town
7 itself. These national parties were first established outside the town.
8 Q. And these parties, and you already touched, did they organise
9 their own rallies? And let's start with SDS. Did they held -- did they
10 hold any rallies, either in the town of Prnjavor or in other villages?
11 A. Before the first multi-party elections, all political parties with
12 the exception of the reformists in the Prijedor municipality had been
13 organising promotional rallies. I remember one such rally organised by
14 the SDS at the main square. It was then that I saw for the first time
15 some of the emblems from the Second World War, which had never been seen
16 prior to that in the town itself. The SDS also held rallies in the
17 village of Visnja and in a number of other local communes. The SDP, and I
18 participated in their activities myself because this was the only
19 multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-confessional political party, held
20 their rally at the main square, in the centre of the town, and a number of
21 rallies in the neighbouring villages, and local communities.
22 Q. You already mentioned this one particular rally when Dusan
23 Zelenbaba stated, "Serbs, you -- rather sell your live stock and by the
24 rifles." Were you present during this rally?
25 A. I was present at this rally. I observed what was going on.
1 Q. Do you remember who else was present on the side of the SDS party?
2 A. I saw Radovan Karadzic, he was present. Leaders of the Prnjavor
3 SDS, Radan Djuric, Jovan Vasic and a number of their associates, their
5 Q. And can we be a little bit more specific about the time? You said
6 it was before the elections. Was it in 1990?
7 A. The first multi-party elections were held in 1990, and a month or
8 two prior to the elections, all of the parties organised their promotional
9 rallies. They went campaigning, recruiting activists, issued membership
10 cards and so on.
11 Q. And during this time, are you aware of any other rallies where
12 some nationalistic views would be introduced?
13 A. I did not attend them because I never went outside of the town to
14 attend those rallies. However, I know that some of the rallies, and I
15 think in the villages of Smrtici and Strpci, there was a group of
16 activists of the SDS that walked out, or rather the SDA walked out,
17 although they had been invited to attend as guests. They walked out due
18 to very fierce national statements that had been made and that had been
19 addressed to them. I was informed of this by one of the members of that
20 party who attended and walked out. I can give you his name, if you wish.
21 Q. Can you tell us whether SDP and SDA held their own rallies as
23 A. I've already told you, the SDA held their rallies in the four
24 Muslim villages, whereas the SDP also held them in many villages and local
25 communes. They had their pre-election rallies. I participated in some of
1 them, although I was a member of the SDP for only two years. That was a
2 multi-national party and this is why I had agreed to participate in these
3 pre-election rallies. As far as these gatherings are concerned, I avoid
4 attending them due to symbols that were used at those rallies, first and
5 foremost by the SDS. They were using flags with skulls, with four Cs and
6 so on. They also issued threats. And it wasn't a good idea to attend
7 these rallies, if one knew that you favoured a different political option,
8 in fact.
9 Q. And what about SDA? Did they present some symbols as well, during
10 their rallies?
11 A. Yes. I remember well they used green and white flags with the SDA
12 written on them. At least during that time, I didn't see other kinds of
14 Q. Do you know what was the result of the elections in the Prnjavor
16 A. Certainly. We were interested in getting as many seats as
17 possible, so we followed the number of seats won by each party. According
18 to the Statute of the Prnjavor municipality, the assembly had 60 seats.
19 SDS won 42 seats. SDP won 11. SDA won 5. And I think that the remaining
20 two or three seats were won by the Reformist Party of Ante Markovic so the
21 42 seats constituted the absolute majority in the Prnjavor assembly and it
22 was won by the SDS.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. We need to have a break now.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: We need to have a break. 15 minutes? 15 minutes.
1 Thank you.
2 --- Recess taken at 5.34 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 5.58 p.m.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, go ahead, Madam Richterova.
5 MS. RICHTEROVA:
6 Q. Before we will talk about the events which occurred after the
7 elections, I would like to ask you whether there were any paramilitary
8 formations in Prnjavor before the elections?
9 A. Before the elections, I used to see some people bearing arms,
10 which under normal circumstances, was banned. Most often I would see them
11 in the villages of Kremna and in that area, meaning Luzani villages, near
12 Vijacani and so on. However, they claimed that those people were the
13 so-called reservists of the Yugoslav People's Army which wasn't the case.
14 Q. And did they form any group or were they just a separate people
15 carrying weapons?
16 A. In the village of Kremna they used to meet very often and they
17 spent time together. Now, whether they were part of a formation at the
18 time, I couldn't tell you that. I believed that they started becoming
19 active in 1991, as a formal unit, when they started going to the
20 battlefields in Croatia and elsewhere.
21 Q. And when you now stated that they started becoming active in 1991
22 as a formal unit, do you know what kind of unit, what was -- whether they
23 had any name?
24 A. The unit was known as Wolves from Vucjak.
25 Q. And did you know at that time who was their commander?
1 A. At the time, their commander was a certain Veljko Milankovic,
2 somebody that I know very well.
3 Q. And when we are going back to the time of the election, elections,
4 this group was already formed or not?
5 A. They were armed, and I personally saw them even before the first
6 multi-party elections, namely my party wished to hold a pre-election
7 gathering in the village of Kremna where the base of that unit was
8 located. We made proper announcements to the police and other organs but
9 in front of the hall in that village we were met by armed members of the
10 unit. Their commander said that they wouldn't allow communists to hold a
11 pre-election gathering because they wished to hold one as well,
12 simultaneously. A tension arose there so we decided to go some 200 to 300
13 metres away to a school building to healed our rally there because this
14 man, the commander, had two or three armed members of his unit standing
15 next to him.
16 Q. And do you know which ethnicity were members of this armed group?
17 A. For the most part, they were Serbs. However, there was a very
18 small number of Bosniaks, a certain number of Croats in it as well. I
19 don't know whether there were any other ethnicities in that unit. Perhaps
20 there was a Ukrainian or two.
21 Q. And you mentioned that this group stop you entering that building
22 because they wanted to hold their own gatherings. Do you know which party
23 were they referring to?
24 A. They were all members of the SDS. Moreover, the commander of the
25 Wolves, Veljko Milankovic, said to me, "Why are you among the communists?
1 Go to your own national party, the SDA." I replied to him I told him that
2 those weren't the communists, that that was the Reformist Party.
3 Q. And we already heard that the elections were won by the SDS. Do
4 you know who became the President of the municipality?
5 A. Naturally, Nemanja Vasic became president of the municipality,
6 somebody who graduated from the high school with me.
7 Q. And do you know who became the President of the executive board?
8 A. A certain Radivoje Radivojevic, whom I know also well because I
9 used to be his boss.
10 Q. And you also stated that some seats went to other parties. Did
11 members of these other parties got some important position in newly
12 established government of the Prnjavor municipality?
13 A. We were second ranking party, based on the seats that we won. We
14 were told that we could not be allocated any offices, and we didn't really
15 want them. I know that the SDA received or got two lower ranking offices.
16 Two men were appointed to those offices. One was in charge of an agency
17 that procured firewood, took care of vehicles, electrical supply, water
18 supply, and so on, within the municipal government. The other office was
19 the secretariat for local communes, local administration, and the registry
20 office. That was all. The highest offices were not awarded to any
21 members of other parties.
22 Q. And by any chance, do you remember who was the President of the
23 Prnjavor municipality before Nemanja Vasic?
24 A. I couldn't remember the name now. Let me think.
25 Q. I would like to show the witness an exhibit, P10. I can provide a
1 copy. This is a document dated 15 of April, 1991, and it is a decision by
2 which the municipality of Prnjavor adopts the agreement to join the
3 Bosnian Krajina community of municipalities. And Nemanja Vasic, the
4 President of the Prnjavor Municipal Assembly is here authorised to sign
5 the agreement on joining the Bosnian Krajina community of municipalities
6 on behalf of the Prnjavor municipality.
7 Do you know or was it ever discussed in the municipality that
8 Prnjavor would join this Bosnian Krajina community of municipalities?
9 A. I personally didn't talk to anybody about joining it. However,
10 one day, in the afternoon, I was at home and at the local radio, Dragan
11 Djuric was a guest in a broadcast. He had been elected to the Assembly of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina in the first multi-party elections. He spent some two
13 hours, almost, explaining the reasons that led to the establishment of the
14 Autonomous Region. He explained the goals and tasks of that region. It
15 was a programme that was open to the public, the public could call in with
16 questions, and I called with a question as well. Later on, I heard that
17 that regional community had been established.
18 Q. I would like to show the witness Exhibit P61. I provided Your
19 Honours with the copy because it wasn't in the binder. And if you would
20 be so kind and have a look at the first page, the title is "List of
21 Representatives in the Krajina Autonomous Region Assembly." And you can
22 see a few names from Prnjavor Municipal Assembly. Can you just briefly
23 tell us first whether you knew that these people were representatives from
24 Prnjavor to the Krajina Autonomous Region Assembly?
25 A. Nemanja Vasic was president of the Municipal Assembly, therefore
1 he was an assemblyman. The other person, Dobrivoje Vidic also was elected
2 to the Republic Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the multi-party
3 elections. Dragan Djuric was also elected to the Republic Assembly of
5 Borivoje Vasic is a peculiar kind of person. Therefore, I don't
6 know whether he took part in the Municipal Assembly for the following
7 reasons: He was a second-ranking person on the SDP list in the
8 multi-party elections and since we won 11 seats, he got a seat in the
9 assembly. Nobody else from the SDP was interested in taking part in the
10 work of the Assembly, but I think that this gentleman, Borivoje Vasic,
11 appeared a few days later as a secretary of the Secretariat for Economy in
12 the Prnjavor municipality, as a member of the SDS, and I'm sure that he
13 took part in the work of the Assembly. The following one, Mehmed Sabic, I
14 couldn't tell you about him, whether he was a member or not, but I know
15 that he was our man, somebody who appeared on our list in the multi-party
16 elections. I don't know about the two following gentlemen.
17 Q. When you said on "our" list, which party are you referring? Are
18 you referring to SDP?
19 A. SDP.
20 Q. And do you know what was his nationality? Ethnicity?
21 A. Mr. Sabic?
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. Mr. Sabic was a Bosniak. He was quite inactive in the political
24 life. I'm referring to the pre-elections period. He agreed to getting on
25 the ticket of the SDP, and even gave a speech at a pre-election rally in
2 Q. Do you know whether he stayed in politics throughout 1991 and
4 A. I know that this man later on, I believe in 1993 or perhaps in
5 1994, fled from Prnjavor and went to Hungary. I don't know whether he was
6 politically active and to what extent during that period of time in
7 Prnjavor political establishment. I believe that he was not active.
8 MS. RICHTEROVA: I would like to show the Witness Exhibit 1785.
9 Q. This document has title "Summary of Information of Interest for
10 Security in Prnjavor Municipality." And it is dated 15 of March, 1992.
11 Mr. Odobasic, did you have opportunity to read this document?
12 A. Yes, I did.
13 Q. You had this opportunity yesterday when you read your statement.
14 I would like to ask you, does this document reflect accurately the
15 situation in the Prnjavor municipality? It starts with the ethnic
16 composition and I think you already stated it was a multi-ethnic
18 A. Yes. I read this document yesterday for the first time. As to
19 your question regarding the ethnic composition, I know that it is only
20 somewhat different compared to the figures that I provided. My statistics
21 come from the ethnic map of Bosnia and Herzegovina which was published by
22 the Statistical Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina prior to the first
23 multi-party elections. I think that these data here are not fully
24 accurate. I think that my data were more accurate but you can see from
25 this, these data here, that the ethnic structure was mixed.
1 Q. It says -- I will ask you a question and you will answer my
2 question, please.
3 The first paragraph says "The SDS party won a majority of votes in
4 the election but extremist tendencies predominate in the senior leadership
5 of this party," and further down, when we have a title, "Evaluation by
6 Political Parties," these people who were in politics in Prnjavor
7 municipality are listed. Do you know -- or would you characterise the
8 people who were elected for the SDS as extremists or not?
9 A. Some of these people I can freely characterise as extremists.
10 Some were more moderate, to a certain extent. However, as regards the top
11 leadership, almost 100 per cent of them were extremists, but I can also
12 talk about them individually.
13 Q. When you say the top leadership, and you are referring to SDS top
14 leadership in Prnjavor; is it correct?
15 A. Of course, the SDS leadership and the people appointed by the SDS
16 to individual offices within the town.
17 Q. Can you tell us very briefly just the names, who was among these
18 top SDS leadership in Prnjavor?
19 A. Yes, I can give you a number of names. Nemanja Vasic, for
20 instance, Dragan Djuric, Dobrivoje Vidic, three Cvijetic brothers, Pero
21 Turudija, Pero Rudonjic, Milan Spasojevic, Radivoje Radivojevic.
22 Q. We already talked about Nemanja Vasic as the President of the
23 municipality. Can you really very briefly describe the behaviour of this
24 person in 1991 and 1992?
25 A. It would be very difficult to describe his behaviour briefly but
1 I'll do my best. As I have said, I know the gentleman because we went to
2 school together. We went together to the university after that, and I
3 know that after that, while he was employed at the Autoprevoz company
4 where he was manager for a while, he was a communist, an extreme
5 communist, and persecuted people who were not in favour of the communist
6 idea. Shall I continue?
7 Q. No. Please I ask you about his behaviour in 1991 and 1992, and
8 very briefly, what was his relationship with the other parties? What was
9 his stance towards the other nationalities, another ethnicities in the
10 municipality? How did you express his ideas, if he had any ideas?
11 A. I must say here that prior to the period of time you're asking
12 about, he was the front man of the Prnjavor League of Communists and at
13 the time, he was quite extreme. After that, he moved to the SDS. He
14 changed his attitude and his behaviour. He was amongst the first ones who
15 started going to the church. In his speeches, he often declared that it
16 was impossible for Muslims, Serbs and of course Croats and others to live
17 together. He did everything he could to prevent other options. As far as
18 I'm concerned, personally, he prevented me from carrying out the
19 referendum in Prnjavor in 1992, and he made a number of very extremist
20 statements in the media. He was always in the group of the most
21 vociferous ones who held meetings around the town of Prijedor [As
22 interpreted] and this was later reported on in the town itself.
23 Q. We have on the -- in the transcript around the town of Prijedor.
24 Did you talk about the Prijedor?
25 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, the witness said in
2 A. I'm talking about Prnjavor all the time.
3 MS. RICHTEROVA:
4 Q. We just have to be clear about the transcript. You stated that he
5 made a number of very extremist statements in the media. Do you remember
6 any of these speeches?
7 A. I personally heard one such speech only once. I don't know
8 whether it was in 1991 or 1992, when he said that they were not going to
9 persecute anyone. He was referring to Muslims and Croats, with weapons,
10 but that they would use other means, such as extortion, blackmail and
11 other methods and he said that eventually they will leave on their own,
12 which is what happened.
13 Q. And now can you -- you mentioned that Radivoje Radivojevic was
14 elected as the president of the executive board. Can you very briefly
15 describe this person and his attitude?
16 A. Mr. Radivojevic is also one of the people I knew very well. He
17 was -- I was his construction inspector in a -- the period of time between
18 1983 and 1987. At the time, he behaved more or less normally, except that
19 when he attended some celebrations that we attended together. When he
20 would criticise the existing system and glorify the old Kingdom of
21 Yugoslavia. I know that he is from a town in Serbia by origin, where
22 Draza Mihajlovic, one of the worst war criminals from the Second World War
23 was born. He imitated, impersonated him, in 1991, 1992, he wore similar
24 spectacles as Draza Mihajlovic did. He knew how to make sure that his
25 attitude were implemented. He was the one who organised training of this
1 formation called Wolves from Vucjak in Knin.
2 Q. And how did you learn about this, that it was him who organised
3 the training?
4 A. I didn't observe it myself, but he organised the send-off of this
5 paramilitary unit when they went to Knin where they stayed for about 40
6 days in Knin and that he organised the welcome party when they came back
7 from Croatia.
8 Q. And in this document is also mentioned one Mladen Saric. Do you
9 know who he was?
10 A. I know him very well. This was the man who was appointed director
11 of the local radio station, Radio Prnjavor, by the SDS, after Nedjeljko
12 Sanicin had been removed, who was closely related to Mladen because he
13 refused to advertise the extremist attitudes of the SDS. His son at the
14 time was working at the state television of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I mean
15 those were the reasons why Mr. Sanicin was replaced. The first statement
16 by Saric that I heard broadcast over the radio was something, "Brothers,
17 the war between Serbs and Croats will be led, will go on until the last
18 Muslim is killed."
19 Q. And another and last name which I'm interested in is Dragan
20 Djuric. Did you know Dragan Djuric? You already mentioned that he was a
21 representative in the Krajina Autonomous Region Assembly. What else did
22 you know about this person?
23 A. I didn't know him very well. We met officially a couple of
24 occasions while I was still working for -- at the shoe factory. He was
25 the manager of a shop and he was selling office supplies. After the
1 attempts to establish the SDS, he became very active and involved, and
2 apart from Nemanja Vasic, he was one of the most extreme persons in the
3 municipality of Prnjavor. He often made very extreme statements in the BH
4 parliament and I know the names of deputies who can confirm this. In the
5 town itself, he often visited local companies to make sure whether -- that
6 the remaining Croats and Muslims had been sacked. Two managers complained
7 to me personally that he was doing this on a daily basis.
8 Q. We will talk about this. I would like to return to this document,
9 and I want to ask you about one thing. It is the third paragraph on the
10 first page, and it is the third sentence, stating: "The SDA is very
11 resentful of the Serbian authorities, partly because they are Serbian but
12 partly for justifiable reasons because of the tactlessness of those most
13 responsible in the executive political authority. The Muslim clergy
14 exerts a powerful influence but here too there is a division." Can you
15 make a comment on this? First, was the Muslim clergy -- did Muslim clergy
16 have a powerful influence?
17 A. This assessment, whatever its author, is really ridiculous. The
18 Prnjavor Bosniaks were not very religious. They were hardly religious at
19 all. I don't know whether there was an imam in the town of Prijedor [As
20 interpreted] in at the time -- in Prnjavor town. I know, for instance, in
21 the village of Konjhovci the local religious leader was close to the SDA
22 because I happened to see at one of the rallies that I attended that he
23 was actively involved in politics. As for the influence of the religion
24 generally speaking on the population of Prnjavor, there was really very
25 little such influence because of the fact that the population was so mixed
1 and because the national political parties had not been organised in the
2 town itself.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we need to stop there for today.
4 MS. RICHTEROVA: Your Honour, would it be possible to ask one more
5 question and I am done with this document.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, of course.
7 MS. RICHTEROVA:
8 Q. I ask already about this Muslim clergy. Now, can you, and very
9 briefly, tell us the stand, the attitude, of the SDA and SDP towards the
10 SDS? Very briefly, 1991, 1992. And we will elaborate on that later, but
11 now I want to hear your comment on this particular sentence.
12 A. The SDP operated on the basis of very firm principles. They did
13 not cooperate with SDA or SDS in any respect. As for the relationship
14 between the SDS and the SDA, prior to the first multi-party elections,
15 they had met and appeared together in various programmes or rallies.
16 Their joint position was that the communist government should be -- had to
17 go. The SDS, however, took over, and I think that they adopted the same
18 attitude to their former partners, including the SDP and others. They
19 were quick to exclude all others from the political life in Prijedor [As
20 interpreted] and the first --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Prijedor?
22 THE INTERPRETER: In Prnjavor, interpreter apologises.
23 A. After the multi-party election.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So that's the end for today. We need to
25 stop here because our time is up. We will reconvene tomorrow in the
1 afternoon at 2.15. Do you think between you and you, Mr. Ackerman, that
2 you will manage to finish with there witness by tomorrow 5.00?
3 MS. RICHTEROVA: I will try to do my best.
4 MR. ACKERMAN: We have a pretty good chance, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you, good evening.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.36 p.m.,
7 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 4th day of
8 March, 2003, at 2.15 p.m.