Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 18478

1 Monday, 30 June 2003

2 [Open session]

3 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.

4 [The accused entered court]

5 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Registrar, could you call the case, please?

6 THE REGISTRAR: [Microphone not activated] Yes, Your Honour, this

7 is case number IT-99-36-T, the Prosecutor versus Radoslav Brdjanin.

8 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning, Mr. Brdjanin, can you follow in a

9 language that you can understand?

10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Yes, I

11 can.

12 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Appearances for the Prosecution?

13 MR. NICHOLLS: Good morning, Your Honours, Julian Nicholls with

14 Anna Richterova and Denise Gustin.

15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Appearances for the Defence?

16 MR. CUNNINGHAM: Good morning, Your Honours I'm David Cunningham,

17 today I'm assisted by Aleksandar Vujic.

18 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Everything all right with Mr. Ackerman?

19 MR. CUNNINGHAM: He had kind of a bad weekend. I saw him this

20 morning and he's doing better. He'll be back in court tomorrow but it's

21 just one of those days where he, as he would put it, he crashed but he

22 looked much better today and was up and very, very chipper, so he'll be

23 back tomorrow.

24 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Cunningham. We wish him well. Any

25 preliminaries before we bring in the witness? Right. So let's prepare

Page 18479

1 the witness, please. The witness enjoys image distortion.

2 MR. NICHOLLS: And voice, Your Honour.

3 JUDGE AGIUS: And voice distortion and pseudonym?

4 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, Your Honour.

5 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Is the room prepared for voice

6 distortion already? Okay. All right.

7 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, I will be requesting that we go into

8 private session for the background of the witness.

9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. We can bring him in without any problems, no?

10 Even though we are still in open session?

11 THE REGISTRAR: Yes.

12 [The witness entered court]

13 JUDGE AGIUS: There are two documents, Madam Chuqing, that my

14 secretary did not succeed in locating, one is 52 -- as we go along, 525, I

15 think, and 532, something like that. I will tell you as we go along. And

16 I will need them to have -- to be photocopied at some point in time. All

17 right?

18 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, I should say that this will be my

19 first attempt but we are going to try to use the new system and display

20 the exhibits on screen as we come to them. I hope that all works

21 smoothly.

22 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Nicholls.

23 Good morning to you, sir. And welcome to this Tribunal. You are

24 going to give evidence in this case which has been instituted against

25 Radoslav Brdjanin and before you do so, you are required by our Rules to

Page 18480

1 make a solemn declaration, equivalent to an oath, to the effect that in

2 the course of your testimony you will be speaking the truth, the whole

3 truth and nothing but the truth. The text of this solemn declaration is

4 going to be handed over to you now by Madam Usher and my request to you is

5 to take it in your hands, read it out loud and that will be your solemn

6 undertaking with us that you will be telling us the truth.

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

8 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

9 WITNESS: WITNESS BT104

10 [Witness answered through Interpreter]

11 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Please sit down. And I'll try to

12 explain to you the basics that you need to know. First of all, you asked

13 and the Prosecution asked on your behalf for certain protective measures

14 which have been granted by the Trial Chamber. The protective measures are

15 the following: In the first place you will not be referred to by your

16 name in the course of the testimony, but you will be referred to by a

17 number. That is an order -- we are doing our best to protect your

18 identity and hide your identity. Also, in order to be able to protect

19 your identity better, we have granted that -- we have granted both facial

20 and vocal and voice distortion. In other words, people outside the --

21 this courtroom will not be able to hear your true voice but they will hear

22 a distortion of your voice and that will make it impossible for them to

23 recognise you and also, your face will not be shown outside these four

24 rooms. In fact, if the camera focuses on you and you look on your screen

25 in front of you, this is how others will be seeing you, if you look at the

Page 18481

1 screen, that's how others are going to see you. In other words, they will

2 not be able to detect your features or see your face.

3 I hope that this is acceptable to you and that they will put you

4 at ease so that we can start with your testimony straight away.

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.

6 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. You will first be asked questions by

7 Mr. Nicholls, who is appearing for the Prosecution and he will then be

8 followed by Mr. Cunningham who is appearing for Radoslav Brdjanin. Thank

9 you.

10 Let's go into private session for a while, please.

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13 [Open session]

14 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session.

15 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.

16 Q. Sir, I'm now going to ask you some questions about what your

17 recollection was of Banja Luka from the time that you arrived that we've

18 spoken of. When you first arrived in Banja Luka and going through the

19 summer of 1992, what was the -- just very briefly, if you can tell us what

20 the general atmosphere was like in the city?

21 A. To begin with, I wish to make a correction. I arrived in Banja

22 Luka in March 1992, and I was there as of then so that that summer that

23 you mention, I was already in Banja Luka.

24 Q. That's right. And could you tell me what the atmosphere was like

25 in Banja Luka from the time you arrived onwards, please?

Page 18487

1 A. To begin with, I wish to remind Your Honours that it is very

2 difficult to explain the situation at the time in a few sentences, but I

3 will try to be brief but nevertheless say a few sentences.

4 That period of time could be defined in one word and that one word

5 is "fear". There was fear in the town and around it because of the events

6 which happened and the fear had spread amongst the population --

7 especially amongst the population which was not of Serb origin. Of

8 course, fear is a general term which spread amongst the population as such

9 but I emphasise and I stress that it was much more pronounced amongst the

10 residents who were of Muslim, that is Croat, ethnicity. If you want me to

11 explain that fear at that time, I can do that.

12 Q. I'll ask you some more questions and I think we will cover that,

13 sir. Now, which political party was in power, was in control, at that

14 time in Banja Luka?

15 A. At that time in Banja Luka, and other places around Banja Luka,

16 the power was in the hands of the Serb Democratic Party.

17 Q. And if you can tell us, what was the overall goal of the SDS at

18 that time? What was their campaign about? What were they trying to

19 achieve?

20 A. According to my knowledge and information, the chief purpose of

21 the Serb Democratic Party was to create a Serb state, together with parts

22 of the then Yugoslavia, Serbia Montenegro and the part of Croatia which

23 was at that time called Krajina.

24 Q. Now, where was the non-Serb population to fit into this Serb

25 state?

Page 18488

1 A. The events which followed showed that that population, that is

2 Muslims and Croats, were not staying in that region. They left that

3 region, and they departed from that region because of the above-mentioned

4 fear which I didn't explain fully but if you want me to, I will. It

5 transpired from what happened on the ground that in that state Serbs

6 should live and the remnants of other nations that would voice their full

7 loyalty to the Serb authorities.

8 Q. Now, at this time, do you remember hearing or seeing Radoslav

9 Brdjanin on television?

10 A. I didn't know Mr. Brdjanin personally, but I had the opportunity

11 to read his statements or his speeches in the papers or on television.

12 Q. How often was Mr. Brdjanin's speeches broadcast on television or

13 printed in the newspapers?

14 A. Of course, to say very often is very general. I cannot say

15 whether it was every day or every second day but it was very often.

16 Q. What did he speak about when he was on television or when he was

17 quoted in the press? What was his message at that time?

18 A. As I sit here, I cannot interpret all his statements. I can

19 interpret his statements indirectly from conversations I had with my

20 Muslim and Croat friends, with whom I kept contact. My school fellows or

21 my university fellows. And from conversations with them, I learned a

22 great deal about the activities of Mr. Brdjanin in the sense of his

23 statements, but one of the topics was -- had to do with rationalisation of

24 housing in Banja Luka and that was one of the topics frequently broached

25 by Mr. Brdjanin.

Page 18489

1 Q. Well, in general, did Brdjanin's statements and what you heard or

2 what your friends told you they heard, did that support the idea of this

3 Serb state, this pure Serb state which you've talked about?

4 A. All these people that I talked with and who were not of Serb

5 origin pronounced the name of Mr. Brdjanin in great fear, as a rule, and

6 they explained that they were departing from Banja Luka because of him.

7 They thought that he was an individual who was -- who was having an

8 adverse effect on the rest of the population in Banja Luka.

9 Q. Now, when the ARK Crisis Staff began to function, what was its

10 role in Banja Luka? Where did you see that authority? Can you explain

11 how you saw the ARK Crisis Staff in 1992?

12 A. The Crisis Staff was formed in Banja Luka and in all the other

13 municipalities that belonged to the region of Banja Luka in that year.

14 According to my knowledge, in Banja Luka and in Sanski Most, members of

15 the Crisis Staff were the highest officials of the SDS starting with the

16 president of the Municipal Assembly, the president of the government, the

17 president of the SDS and other officials from the police. Their role was

18 to obtain the loyalty of all the citizens of those who wanted to be loyal,

19 and as for the others who didn't want to show loyalty, they were to leave

20 the region of Banja Luka.

21 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nicholls, I've noticed that the witness has gone

22 straight into what is important to avoid at this point in time early in

23 his testimony, and that is he has put in one basket all the municipalities

24 and all the Crisis Staffs of the municipalities, together with the ARK

25 Crisis Staff, and your question was only directed to the ARK Crisis Staff,

Page 18490

1 the regional one, in other words, and not to the municipal ones so I would

2 suggest to you that you redirect your witness and put the question again,

3 limiting only -- limiting it only for the time being to what you mentioned

4 before, that is the ARK Crisis Staff, 1992, and then if he wants to

5 proceed later on or if you want to proceed later on with questions and

6 answers on other Crisis Staffs, we can do that obviously, but for the time

7 being, what we want to know is the regional staff, the Crisis Staff, the

8 Crisis Staff of the Autonomous Region of Krajina.

9 Yes, Mr. Nicholls.

10 MR. NICHOLLS:

11 Q. Sir, you've heard the Judge's comment and I think in your answer

12 you were saying that the regional Crisis Staff, the ARK Crisis Staff, and

13 the municipal Crisis Staff, had the same goal but could you answer the

14 question again, please, with -- just with reference to the ARK Crisis

15 Staff in Banja Luka?

16 A. Banja Luka obviously had a Crisis Staff. It was the seat of the

17 Region of Krajina. I knew a few members of that Crisis Staff, and from

18 their appearances I could conclude what their intention was. However, I

19 never attended any of their meetings so I can't speak about their intent

20 or decisions, but as for what was happening on the ground, I can tell you

21 about that from my contacts with other people who mentioned gentlemen from

22 the Crisis Staff and they said that these people were the main reason or

23 one of the main reasons for which they were leaving Banja Luka.

24 MR. NICHOLLS: May we go into private session for one moment?

25 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session, please.

Page 18491

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17 [Open session]

18 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session, Mr. Nicholls.

19 MR. NICHOLLS:

20 Q. Now, then, just to follow up and then we'll move on, you were

21 talking about how the function of the ARK Crisis Staff, and you began to

22 talk about municipal Crisis Staffs as well, was to ensure the loyalty of

23 citizens. Are you speaking of loyalty to this SDS idea you spoke about of

24 a Serbian state?

25 A. I meant loyalty of that kind. All those who remained in the

Page 18492

1 region would belong to this new state that was being formed, a new Serbian

2 state.

3 Q. Thank you. Now, you were also talking earlier about fear and what

4 was the daily life, especially for non-Serb civilians of Banja Luka. Can

5 you describe some of the physical actions or what was going on during the

6 day and night that would make, if anything, people scared for their

7 personal safety?

8 A. In order to explain things better, I have to say that every

9 municipality had a unit which was called Serbian armed forces. Banja Luka

10 was not an exception to that. This unit was operational in the territory

11 of the town and the operations included rape, murder, and other attacks on

12 the integrity of non-Serbian population, on their life, on their property,

13 and this happened very often. The fear was caused by the existence of the

14 so-called Serbian Defence or armed forces, whatever you want to call them.

15 According to my assessment, they acted independently, I would say.

16 Q. Are you referring to the SOS?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Now, in your interview with us, in August of 2002, you talked

19 about bombings occurring in Banja Luka at night. Can you tell me -- can

20 you tell the Court about what was being bombed and how often these

21 bombings occurred?

22 A. This is correct. Very often there would be explosions during the

23 night. There would be bombing of private houses or business premises of

24 those who were of non-Serb origin. This would happen very often during

25 1992. It would happen perhaps two or three times every week.

Page 18493

1 Q. Now, what did the authorities do at that time in Banja Luka to

2 protect the non-Serb population from these incidents and to prevent these

3 incidents from happening?

4 A. At that time, in Banja Luka, there was an organised civilian

5 justice and later on military judiciary, there was also police but a

6 number of such cases were not prosecuted. There was neither a police

7 procedure or a judiciary procedure instituted in respect of such cases.

8 Q. But were these types of incidents, the explosions and the crime

9 you've talked about directed at the non-Serb population, did the powerful

10 people in the SDS do anything to try to stop these incidents?

11 A. Whether they did anything specifically, I don't know, but I

12 believe they did. However, there is a number of cases which have never

13 been elucidated which would imply that the authorities in Banja Luka did

14 not pay sufficient attention to these cases.

15 Q. And again, these incidents you're talking about, just briefly,

16 what effect did that have on the non-Serb population, if insufficient

17 attention was being paid to these cases to protect that population?

18 A. Every such incident would make more and more non-Serb leave Banja

19 Luka.

20 Q. Thank you. Now, beyond --

21 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm sorry, could we go into private session for one

22 question?

23 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session, Madam Registrar,

24 please.

25 [Private session]

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6 [Open session]

7 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session, Mr. Nicholls.

8 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.

9 Q. Can you just now tell us a little bit about the work obligation

10 which was instituted in Banja Luka in 1992? Why was that instituted and

11 who had to perform these menial jobs, sweeping the streets and the like?

12 A. It is generally well known that during the wartimes, there is a

13 work obligation to which some people are mobilised, people who had to do

14 work obligation could not at the same time have military obligation.

15 Those people were engaged to perform some tasks, either in town or

16 something that was required by the army or some individuals. There were

17 cases, and not only the two that we have just mentioned, but there were

18 other cases where people of non-Serb origin had to do work obligation

19 where they were humiliated. The work they were given was far below their

20 level of education or their profession.

21 Q. Thank you. And during this time, what happened to these men

22 and -- or men and women, other people? Were they able to keep their

23 employment there in Banja Luka in the summer of 1992?

24 A. We are talking about the wartime. The economy was at a

25 standstill. Only some sectors still worked. So the number of employees

Page 18497

1 dwindled. However, membership in the Army of Republika Srpska also

2 entitled people to keep their jobs if that was at all possible. All those

3 who had left the army would be sacked immediately after that from the jobs

4 that they had before being mobilised into the army. Ninety-nine per cent

5 of the Muslim and Croat population left the army and consequently, the

6 majority of them were fired from their jobs. There were two reasons for

7 that. One of them, as I've already mentioned, is that there was not that

8 much work for the people to be had at the time and the second reason was

9 another thing that I've mentioned, and that is that they have left the

10 Army of Republika Srpska.

11 Q. Who assigned the work obligation tasks, if you know? Who decided

12 which people were to perform which jobs, who was supposed to sweep on

13 which street?

14 A. The Ministry of Defence or rather its department in Banja Luka.

15 So this was done at the municipal level.

16 Q. Something you were speaking about earlier that you'd heard

17 Mr. Brdjanin talking about on television was rationalisation of

18 apartments. Can you expand on that and tell us what that means?

19 A. This was a -- the situation when non-Serbs were moved to live in

20 smaller apartments and Serbs were moved to live in bigger apartments.

21 This was a general phenomenon which was the consequence of the departure

22 of non-Serb population from Banja Luka. Mostly younger people were

23 leaving and elderly people remained behind. So these elderly people were

24 moved to smaller apartments and their bigger apartments were given to

25 Serbs. However, as a rule, after this rationalisation and as I say, as a

Page 18498

1 rule, these people also left Banja Luka and moved to other countries.

2 Q. Thank you. Finally, if you can tell us what was the connection

3 between the ARK Crisis Staff and the municipal Crisis Staffs at this time?

4 A. There was a link, although to my mind it was rather strange.

5 Presidents of some local municipalities had a much tighter connection with

6 the Crisis Staff of the ARK, much tighter connections than the Presidents

7 of the SDS. Some presidents of some municipalities had a much better

8 connection with Pale, with President Karadzic, whereas presidents of

9 municipalities had their connections with the ARK in Banja Luka.

10 Q. And we will talk about that a little bit more when we move on.

11 MR. NICHOLLS: I'd like to go into private session, Your Honour.

12 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session for a while, please.

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5 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session, Mr. Nicholls. And please

6 continue to be careful.

7 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.

8 Q. Now, can you tell us, please, about the Sanski Most municipal

9 Crisis Staff? Who were the main personalities or -- in Sanski Most at

10 that time?

11 A. I knew Sanski Most very well(Redacted)

12 (Redacted)

13 Q. Can we stop?

14 A. I'm not going to mention any names.

15 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session, Madam Registrar,

16 please.

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Page 18500

1 MR. NICHOLLS:

2 Q. Who --

3 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session.

4 MR. NICHOLLS: We are in open session.

5 Q. Let me ask it this way: Who was Nedeljko Rasula?

6 A. He was the municipal mayor, the president of the municipality.

7 Q. And do you know what position he may have had on the Crisis Staff

8 in Sanski Most?

9 A. He was the President of the Crisis Staff of the Sanski Most

10 municipality.

11 Q. And who was Vlado Vrkes?

12 A. He was the President of the Serb Democratic Party for Sanski Most.

13 Q. Now, in 1992, in Sanski Most, generally speaking how powerful were

14 these two men, say in May, 1992, in the running of Sanski Most?

15 A. According to what I know, they were very powerful. Their

16 decisions were by and large respected and enforced.

17 MR. NICHOLLS: Can we go into private session, please?

18 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session, please.

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6 JUDGE AGIUS: So we'll have a break of 25 minutes, please. Thank

7 you.

8 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.

9 --- On resuming at 10.59 a.m.

10 JUDGE AGIUS: So Mr. Nicholls is here, Mr. Brdjanin is here.

11 Shall we go again into private session, Mr. Nicholls?

12 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, Your Honour, please.

13 JUDGE AGIUS: So let's go into private session, Madam Registrar.

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4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

5 1.47 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,

6 the 1st day of July, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.

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