1 Monday, 1 December 2003
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, good morning, everybody. Madam Registrar,
6 could you call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. Case Number IT-99-36-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Radoslav Brdjanin.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam.
10 Mr. Brdjanin, can you follow the proceeding in a language that you
11 can understand?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. Yes, I
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And good morning to you.
15 Appearances for the Prosecution.
16 MR. NICHOLLS: Good morning, Your Honours. Julian Nicholls with
17 Joanna Korner and Denise Gustin.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. And good morning to you all.
19 Appearances for Radoslav Brdjanin.
20 MR. ACKERMAN: Good morning, Your Honours. I'm John Ackerman with
21 David Cunningham and Aleksandar Vujic.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, and good morning to you. And welcome
24 Today we have a new witness. But before we start with the new
25 witness, do you have anything to tell us, Mr. Ackerman? First of all, how
1 are you feeling?
2 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I'm feeling much better. Thank you.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Good.
4 MR. ACKERMAN: I don't know if I have anything else to tell you.
5 You're hinting at something.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm concerned at the possibility of going beyond the
7 end of January to finish your case, and of course if you need to finish in
8 more -- more days to finish your case beyond the end of January, it's not
9 going to be a major confrontation, major battle with us, provided it
10 doesn't go on and on and on. So what's the position?
11 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, the current date, assuming every
12 witness comes and takes the amount of time that we've predicted
13 is -- February 12th would be our last sitting day. I think we'll finish
14 quicker than that because I think some of those witnesses won't come.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Then if that would be the case, I would like to know
16 whether you would still require -- anyway, but I prefer not to waste
17 time -- not to use the sitting time to discuss that. If necessary, we'll
18 have a short meeting on that, and that's the time you need for preparing
19 the closing statements and whatever. We go through the plan again once
20 more, but it can be done later without taking our time here.
21 The witnesses for this week, we have number 33 starting today, no?
22 MR. ACKERMAN: Yes.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: And you anticipate will last with
24 cross-examination -- do you anticipate a long detailed cross-examination,
25 Mr. Nicholls?
1 MR. NICHOLLS: I hope it's going to be short, but I don't know
2 yet. Probably a couple hours.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: How many witnesses do you have laid out for this
5 MR. ACKERMAN: Let me look, Your Honour. We have --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Because on paper I have three.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: One, two, three.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: On paper, I have three.
9 MR. ACKERMAN: That's what we have.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: You plan to have the first two between today and
12 MR. ACKERMAN: The second witness will be available to testify on
14 JUDGE AGIUS: But then what about the -- yeah, Mr. Cunningham
15 informed us of that. And the third one was scheduled to require two days
16 of testimony.
17 MR. ACKERMAN: The third one is coming in at the same time,
18 Your Honour, and will be available as soon as we finish the second one.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, but the second one was scheduled to last a day
20 and a half at least.
21 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, that may happen.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: And which --
23 MR. ACKERMAN: The third one may have to remain over the weekend.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. Provided you understand that and
25 he's prepared for it.
1 MR. ACKERMAN: That's a possibility.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. But please do put that witness in the picture
3 straight away because I don't want long faces and witnesses do get tired.
4 MR. ACKERMAN: I know.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Especially when it starts heating up, as I can see
6 this past three.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, I was listening while I was ill to the
8 proceedings, Your Honour, and I recall a time when Ms. Korner complained
9 that we were having down time, and she said it would be better to have
10 witnesses stacked up waiting than have down time. That's expensive.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: On the other hand, Mr. Ackerman, I would rather
12 prefer to have a witness stay here the weekend rather than find ourselves
13 with nothing to do on a Friday. That is also very expensive.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: I was trying to avoid that, Your Honour, because
15 earlier complaints that were directed, I guess to you, that we were
16 keeping witnesses here too long --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: It's true, and the complaints are still there, but
18 we are approaching the end and I think it will be false economy if we
19 tried to work out otherwise. I don't know anyway. I mean, if it's
20 problematic for you or for the Tribunal structure, then let me know.
21 MR. ACKERMAN: I reworked the list last week, and I'm really
22 compressing people pretty tightly now. So I think we're going to have
23 people sitting here rather than people not being here.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: That's my opinion. That's why I agreed with
25 Ms. Korner's suggestion.
1 MR. ACKERMAN: One of the reasons, just so the Chamber will
2 understand that it might make sense to keep people over the weekend now
3 and then is because of the -- it's that season in Serbia and
4 Republika Srpska where everybody has their what they call Slavas, it's
5 their saint days. So they all bunch up right in November and December.
6 So a lot of these people are doing these huge celebrations on Saturdays,
7 and won't travel on Saturdays, and can only come on Sundays.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know enough about it anyway.
9 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, that's the problem. We've run into it two or
10 three times now.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Korner.
12 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, may I just make one inquiry about the
13 timetable. Can we go into private session.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, let's go into private session.
15 [Private session]
12 Page 22935 redacted, private session
15 [Open session]
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Usher. Any preliminaries before we bring in the...?
17 Usher, could you escort the witness into the courtroom, please.
18 MR. ACKERMAN: There was one matter that we need to go back to
19 private session for.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Then let's go back to private session.
21 [Private session]
15 [Open session]
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Also, we didn't hear anything, and of course being a
17 Defence witness, and the system being what it is, I was very reluctant to
18 ask any questions about the offices themselves or the premises themselves
19 because when she gave evidence, she gave information on that, and we
20 didn't hear anything from the other witness.
21 Anyway, it --
22 MS. KORNER: For the moment, let's just wait and then I'll see.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's see who the next witness is.
24 There are no protective measures in place?
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: And welcome to this Tribunal.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: You're about to give evidence, testimony, and our
6 rules require that before you do so, you enter a solemn declaration,
7 something similar and equivalent, as far as legal effects are concerned,
8 to an oath in several jurisdictions that in the course of your testimony,
9 you will be speaking the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
10 truth. The text of the solemn declaration is being handed to you now.
11 Please read it out aloud, and that will be your solemn undertaking with
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
14 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Please take a chair.
16 So Mr. Vidic, let me explain to you very briefly what's going to
17 happen. You're going to give evidence now, and since you are a witness
18 called by the Defence, a Defence witness, the first series of questions
19 that will be put to you will be coming from the lawyers representing
20 Mr. Brdjanin, who is the accused in this case.
21 After that, you will be cross-examined. In other words, you will
22 be asked questions by Mr. Nicholls, I suppose, Mr. Nicholls, who is
23 appearing for the Prosecution today. And you realise that there are two
24 sides, the Prosecution and the Defence, and you are a witness for the
25 Defence. Doesn't mean to say that you're here to favour the Defence or
1 that you have a right to discriminate between the Defence and the
2 Prosecution. Your obligation under the undertaking -- solemn undertaking
3 that you have taken with us, made with us, is that you speak the truth and
4 you answer each question as fully and as truthfully as possible,
5 irrespective of who is putting the question to you. In other words,
6 whether it's coming from the Prosecution or from the Defence, the
7 requirement is that you answer truthfully each time.
8 This is an advice that I give to every witness that comes here.
9 And the second advice is don't try to go around in circles or give more
10 information than you are asked for. Please, in answering the questions
11 that are put to you, answer the question, the whole question, and nothing
12 but the question. And that ensures that you will be out of this courtroom
13 the earliest possible. Otherwise, you will be here for days, and I am
14 sure that everyone will get fed up, and probably foremost yourself. Okay?
15 Did I make myself understood?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ackerman or Mr. Cunningham? Mr. Ackerman, who
18 is the lead counsel for Mr. Brdjanin will be examining you in chief.
19 Mr. Ackerman.
20 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
21 Your Honour, as has become our practice, I have prepared a book of
22 exhibits for the witness, and I'll ask the usher to deliver it to him.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: What I don't have, Mr. Ackerman, and that's because
24 everything arrived late, is a summary of the witness's proposed testimony.
25 You don't have it either? I don't think either of us...
1 Do you have it, Mr. Nicholls?
2 MR. NICHOLLS: We got it, I think, late on Thursday or Thursday
4 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I sincerely apologise. I thought it
5 had been --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I could understand that it could also be somewhere,
7 because the list of documents arrived this morning, and my secretary was
8 preparing everything this morning.
9 MR. ACKERMAN: I thought it had been emailed to you in the normal
11 JUDGE AGIUS: It may well be, but everything was done this
12 morning. So yes, Mr. Ackerman, please proceed.
13 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you.
14 WITNESS: DOBRIVOJE VIDIC
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 Examined by Mr. Ackerman:
17 Q. Good morning, sir.
18 A. Good morning.
19 Q. Your name is Dobrivoje Vidic?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And where do you live, Mr. Vidic?
22 A. At the moment in Banja Luka.
23 Q. Would you tell the Chamber just briefly about your educational
24 background and your highest level of education that you've attained?
25 A. I'm an architect by profession. I own a private company. Many
1 engineers are involved. We are a stock company. We are working on public
2 projects, and I'm also into urban planning. I plan towns and physical
3 space in general, entire areas and regions, their infrastructure, and so
4 on and so forth.
5 I completed my studies in Belgrade in the 1980s. I was always
6 involved in my profession. Well, most of the time, at least.
7 Q. Where were you living in 1991 and 1992?
8 A. 1991, 1992, I resided in a small village 50 kilometres from
9 Banja Luka. The name of the village is Prnjavor.
10 Q. In -- during that period of time, and especially directing your
11 attention to 1991, did you become involved in politics with the advent of
12 the multiparty elections that were going to be held in that period of
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did you join any particular political party?
16 A. Yes. The free democratic elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina took
17 place in 1990, in late 1990. I had a personal need to get involved in
18 politics. My greatest reason for doing so was my desire, the ideal that I
19 held. My understanding was that it was necessary to introduce democracy
20 and institutions of democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through my work,
21 through my profession, I was particularly involved with an area of
22 activity called urban planning. This area deals with urban infrastructure
23 in towns and entire countries. This is an area of study well known
24 throughout the world. It was early on that I noticed that our system at
25 the time in the socialist Yugoslavia was not like the system that was
1 common at the time in the world.
2 I became very interested. And this, in a manner of speaking, got
3 me involved in politics. I started studying the kind of literature
4 favouring a liberal and democratic society. I tried to obtain the right
5 books. I tried to attend international conferences and obtain the kind of
6 literature that was advocating democracy. At one point I decided I should
7 make a personal contribution to this process, and in 1992, when I think
8 back, perhaps a little naively, before I even became actively involved in
9 trying to set up a political party, I started making plans for new
10 environment, some sort of civilian society. That was my main subject of
11 study. In 1990, at least to the extent that I can still remember, my main
12 envisaged aim was to change society itself, to introduce democratic
13 institutions. Frankly, my friends and other people I knew were more than
14 anything frustrated by fear, frustrated by division along ethnic lines,
15 because the Bosnian society at the moment, the society in Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina, under its constitution was established as a state where power
17 was divided between the different ethnic groups.
18 The institutions of civil society were not functioning properly.
19 Q. I think you've gone a little beyond the question, "Did you join a
20 particular political party?" Your answer was that you did and then you
21 explained to us some of the background of your interest in politics and
22 why you got interested in politics. And -- just a minute, don't answer
23 until I ask you a question. Then I think what you were trying to do was
24 to tell us about what was happening politically in 1990 in Bosnia that
25 started causing you and others that you knew some concern. And I think
1 that's important, so please tell us what you were observing during that
2 time that caused you to have some concern and to feel like you should get
3 involved in politics. What was it you were seeing?
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Perhaps you can start by telling us how old you were
5 at the time. It seems you are about in your late 40s now, no?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm 50. In fact, it is my birthday
7 today. So in 1990 --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Happy birthday.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. So in 1990, that was --
10 well, I can't really figure it out. I would be 40, in fact, 38 or 39.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, so now perhaps you can answer Mr. Ackerman's
12 question. So please tell us what you were observing during that time
13 caused you to have some concern and to feel like you should get involved
14 in politics. What was it you were seeing happening around you? That was
15 your question -- or rather, the question that was put. And try to be as
16 concise as possible, please.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Citizens were mostly frustrated.
18 They felt that democracy should put them in their own ethnic groups. That
19 was the heritage of the former system. The only important thing it was
20 felt was that politically you should approach your own ethnic group.
21 Through politics, I tried to make my contribution to democracy, but the
22 real problem was that I did not have the money. I did not have the
23 possibility to form my own party. Since the processes were going really
24 fast --
25 MR. ACKERMAN:
1 Q. Excuse me. We have interpreters who are desperately trying to
2 keep up you with and failing, I think. So please speak a little bit
3 slower and give them a chance to do their job. Because they're really
4 good, but they can't go as fast as you can.
5 A. After I became active in mid-1990, I was thinking that perhaps I
6 could form some kind of a local association which would be affiliated to a
7 strong political party which had influence throughout Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina. At that time, on the political scene, there were some strong
9 parties which were strongly polarised. They each had their own ethnic
10 group behind them, SDA, HDZ, and SDS. The opposition that remained was
11 the thinkers from the former regime, socialists who, according to my mind,
12 had highly conservative ideas, and they used democracy, or rather the
13 elections, to prevent change.
14 So my options were quite limited as to whom I should join if I
15 wanted to become active in politics. I decided, therefore, to join the
16 SDS in 1990, in July.
17 Q. All right. Now, after -- by the way, I think this is about the
18 third or fourth witness who we have had here on their birthday,
19 Your Honours, which probably defies all the odds that we could figure on
21 So happy birthday.
22 After you joined the SDS, did you hold any positions within that
23 party during the time you were a member?
24 A. At the beginning, no. I did not have any functions until the end
25 of the elections. After that, I became the deputy in -- deputy in the
1 assembly. I'm not quite sure now whether I was in any kind of a
2 commission or on any kind of board. But right at the beginning, before
3 the elections, there were some political misunderstandings or conflicts
5 Q. Did you become a member of the main board of the SDS at any point?
6 A. As far as I remember, it happened the next year after the
7 elections, in 1991. At a session to mark the anniversary of some kind, if
8 I recall correctly, it was in July 1991. I was appointed to a body of the
9 main board, although in February, this means after the elections, after I
10 was elected as a deputy to the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I had a
11 conflict with the SDS politicians at the local level. I did not agree
12 with their policy, and I was thrown out of all the bodies at the municipal
13 level, in the municipality where I lived. But the party was keen on
14 keeping me as a deputy because I was elected as such to the assembly, and
15 that is why the party tried to get me involved in their work.
16 Q. How long did you remain a member of the SDS?
17 A. From July 1990 until February 1991, or perhaps it was March. That
18 is when, at the session of the SDS in the Municipality of Prnjavor, I was
19 dismissed from all my functions. However, I continued to be a deputy in
20 the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And then I was appointed to the
21 main board of the SDS, and I attended many meetings in this capacity.
22 Q. So are you still a member of the SDS today?
23 A. No.
24 Q. When did you officially end your membership in that party?
25 A. There are some periods in which I was strongly opposed or when my
1 views were very much different from their views. It was in February 1991,
2 and then in December, January, or February of 1992. And in February or
3 March of 1992, I did not attend the sessions of the main board at all and
4 also, the sessions of the assembly until the fall of 1992.
5 Q. I still need to have an answer to the question of when you ended
6 your membership in SDS. Do you remember approximately what date you
7 stopped being a member?
8 A. The party did not operate in such a way that you could say I'm no
9 longer a member of the party. At one point, you were admitted to the
10 party, you became a member. And it was up to you to decide when to leave.
11 The act of dismissal was not official, but it was quite clear that I was
12 treated as a dissident by the entire party. I was treated that way all
13 the time.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: But we need to know exactly when this happened. I
15 mean, it's -- in other areas where I am familiar with, you cease to be a
16 member of a party or of an association when you signify the termination of
17 your membership, either by not paying any more and writing saying that
18 "I'm ceasing -- stopping my membership now." I mean, it's not automatic;
19 it doesn't happen just like that. In fact, if you don't usually write a
20 letter to that effect or inform them officially that you're ceasing from
21 being a member, they would still send you -- you would still be
22 responsible for the payment of the annual membership fee, et cetera,
23 et cetera. But we need to know. The whole purpose of Mr. Ackerman's
24 question was to place this within a time frame so that we know exactly
25 when you ceased to have any connections with the SDS, particularly as with
1 regard to your being a member of the party.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not pay the membership fee in
3 the SDS ever. But I did not join any other party until 1994.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you resign your membership? I mean, did you
5 send a letter to the SDS saying, "I am no longer a member." Never?
6 So on what basis do you maintain that you are not a member of the
7 SDS now? Because if there was never any membership being paid. How do
8 you become a member and how do you cease to become a member of the SDS?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You signed an admission form for the
10 admission to the party, and you also took part in some meetings and things
11 like that. But the very act of dismissal -- officially, I was thrown out
12 of all my functions in February or March in 1991. But as a member and as
13 a citizen, you would not be thrown out of the party. This was not how it
14 was done. I never submitted any kind of a written letter to the party
15 indicating that I was no longer --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: [Previous interpretation continues] ... Is it that
17 important for you? Let's move ahead.
18 MR. ACKERMAN: I think I understand. I'll ask one more clarifying
20 Q. There came a time when you absolutely ceased participating in any
21 activities of the SDS. I think that's what you told us. Could you tell
22 us about when that was, that you ceased SDS activity.
23 A. I have to admit that it happened on several occasions. I would
24 stop, and then I would come back. The first time when I no longer
25 attended the meetings, I was no longer an active member, I simply
1 withdrew, that was in 1992 in February -- January or February.
2 Q. Okay. I want to talk to you about regionalisation and ask you if
3 you had any interest in regionalisation. I think you know what I'm
4 talking about when you say regionalisation. Did you have any interest in
5 that process?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And could you tell the Chamber what it was that caused you to
8 become interested in regionalisation and what that interest entailed.
9 A. While I was a deputy in the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I
10 noticed that the assembly could not function properly because people were
11 trying to outvote each other. The political parties in Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina were there to express solely ethnic affiliation, and there was
13 very little interest in the -- in obtaining real changes in Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina, in the civil society there.
15 I felt that my region was in a very real danger. I will now try
16 to explain to you what I mean.
17 Q. When you do that, when you explain that, try to explain it as
18 briefly and as concisely as you can. What was the danger that you
19 believed your region was in? What was that danger?
20 A. Bosnia and Herzegovina was not a state with democratic
21 institutions. The only thing that was there was the elections. It was a
22 republic which had a great deal of autonomy in Yugoslavia. It was like a
23 company that owned all its property, all its assets. It was not like in
24 democratic states where there were real owners of the property, which
25 meant that the state had owned all the factories, all the companies, and
1 had a great deal of power that way.
2 There was a danger that if the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina was
3 not regionalised with the kind of outvoting that was going on in the
4 assembly - we also have to know that the central government had much more
5 power than in normal democratic countries - I believe that there was a
6 danger at the time that the funds would be moved from one region to
7 another. My political idea was to launch the process of regionalisation of
8 certain areas. I was particularly interested in achieving the
9 regionalisation of the area where I lived. It was a developed part of the
10 country with a developed agriculture. And since in the Assembly of Bosnia
11 and Herzegovina, there was a long, long debate which always ended in
12 attempts to win majority by outvoting on the part of one ethnic group over
13 another, they were all trying to achieve the power to rule, to control the
14 assets of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That was the essence of what they were
15 trying to achieve, not democracy. I --
16 Q. So because of this concern that you saw the events that you saw
17 happening in that regard, you became concerned, did you, about your
18 region? And I take it that would be the Krajina region. And what was it
19 you were afraid would happen in the Krajina region that got you concerned?
20 A. There were some key issues. One issue, for instance, was the
21 property of the state-owned companies. It was in all the towns, so the
22 local government would appoint directors of such companies, and through
23 them it would control the property. I think that you can all see what the
24 possible consequences are.
25 The second type of danger was to the safety of the inhabitants.
1 The events in Croatia were quite frustrating for the public and caused a
2 great deal of concern and fear because there was this horrible, dirty war
3 there. Many people simply wanted to feel safe. In the end, it turned out
4 that the fear was justified because those who took the functions,
5 positions in the state, was in a position to actually endanger certain
6 areas and regions.
7 Q. So based upon all of that, what, if anything, did you do regarding
8 regionalisation, you personally?
9 A. Yes. My idea was to try on a voluntary basis to find people,
10 like-minded people, and then that we would put forward first the proposal
11 for an association of municipalities, and then to establish a multiethnic
12 region which would first set up a legitimate body which could be
13 established by appointing the deputies who had already been elected from
14 all ethnic groups in the region. And then we would launch negotiations,
15 diplomatic negotiations with the government and the Assembly of Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina which, at that time, had already violated certain protective
17 institutions, protective instruments that existed in the constitution.
18 The government and the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina violated
19 the constitution and its own rules of procedure. That was the idea I had,
20 to do things on a diplomatic field, to negotiate with the government of
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina through a legitimate body which would represent all
22 the citizens in order for the work of that body not to be in violation of
23 certain international rules. In particular, the charter on civil and
24 political liberties.
25 Q. So the idea was a multiethnic association designed to protect the
1 economic interests of the people in the Krajina. Is that what you're
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And did you make -- did you take any steps, then, to form that
5 organisation? Were steps taken? Were you part of it?
6 A. I first talked to my colleagues, deputies in the assembly, some
7 friends of mine, and also some people from other parties, and I got quite
8 a lot of support for this idea. A group was established following this
9 initiative of mine, but I have to admit that I did not have that much
10 influence in the SDS. I simply had to talk and try to persuade a certain
11 small number of people. But when you get things on a higher level, then
12 things either changed and things were done in a different way, and the
13 goal that I wanted to achieve was not achieved.
14 If at the beginning the idea was to establish an association of
15 municipalities, the association of municipalities was not supposed to be
16 any kind of authority, did not have to have its own government or
17 anything. The idea was to unite the municipalities and to aid them to
18 achieve some kind of an agreement so that they can then protect their
19 interests, those interests that they all had in common. The organisation
20 itself was based on the provisions of the constitution of Bosnia and
22 Q. All right. Now, if you will look in your book at Exhibit P160,
23 1-6-0, that's it. You have it right in front of you. That's it. It's a
24 press report that deals with the formation of the Association of Bosanska
25 Krajina Municipalities on 27 April 1991. Were you involved in that
1 process? Were you at that meeting? Were you involved in the creation of
2 this association on 26 April, 1991?
3 A. Yes. Yes.
4 Q. And so this association actually got formed on that date, did it
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And the association that was formed on that date, was it
8 formed - and you alluded to this just a moment ago - was it formed as a
9 voluntary association or was it formed as a level of government?
10 A. It was a voluntary organisation. It was the steering committee.
11 It was just an initiative that was launched. At the first meeting, it was
12 not clear yet. There was a bit of confusion. There were some people,
13 some deputies who were opposed to this idea. It was supposed to be the
14 first, initial meeting. There were some results. A representative of
15 this association was elected.
16 Q. If you look now at Exhibit P11, this is a report on the second
17 session of this assembly of ZOBK, as it was called. If you look under
18 item 3, I think you're going to find your name. And could you just
19 explain to the Trial Chamber what that meeting was about and what
20 you -- position you were elected to and what that position entailed, if
21 you could?
22 A. This is the first serious meeting at the cultural centre in
23 Banja Luka with representatives of the municipalities in attendance. May
24 I remind you, in every municipality, there were deputies at the local
25 level, and each municipality sent one, two, or three of its
1 representatives to this meeting. These representatives then helped to put
2 together an initiative to establish an association of municipalities.
3 At this meeting, there was a proposal and proclamation. Members
4 were proposed to be appointed to the executive board, Andjelko Grahovac.
5 That's when my name was put forward, too. I think it was Mr. Brdjanin, as
6 a matter of fact, who put my name forward as vice-president of the
7 executive board. I was supposed to be in charge of the economy, the
8 economic activity, as far as I remember. Yes.
9 Q. So what happened to your concept that you just explained to the
10 Chamber of a multiethnic association that could represent the Krajina in
11 negotiations with the republic? What happened to that idea? Did it get
12 carried into effect in this organisation we're just talking about here or
14 A. Not at this precise moment, not at this meeting, nor later, at
15 least not the way I imagined it should be done. However, at the very
16 outset, I could not oppose this because any initiative to establish an
17 association of municipalities would have been a good one. Also because
18 this did not mean that any authorities would immediately be established.
19 Therefore, I simply allowed myself to follow my own ideas. Throughout the
20 work of the assembly, the idea was to set up a body that would decide on
21 its own multiethnic nature and that deputies should come from all the
22 parties, whereas here you had only the representatives of the
23 municipalities. And it all depended on who the specific municipality
24 would send to the meeting.
25 Q. Okay. I take it there did come a time when it became clear to you
1 that your -- that your ideas, that your dream was not going to be able to
2 become a reality. Is that true?
3 A. That's true. The reason was that even this kind of organisation
4 and association of municipalities was viciously attacked by people close
5 to the top of the Serbian Democratic Party. This was a political platform
6 in the Krajina or in the centre of Banja Luka, the centre of which was in
7 Sarajevo. You knew exactly which the people were who were attacking or
8 undermining this initiative, keeping anything from actually being
9 established. Even the work of the municipality itself was under attack
10 and did not enjoy adequate support from the top level of the SDS.
11 This affected the organisation of our work, which after a while
12 boiled down to convening sessions that were not even attended by a
13 sufficient number of members. The approach became informal, and the
14 association of municipalities was merely there to issue the occasional
15 press release, make announcements every now and then. The real power,
16 however, was exercised at municipality level. Municipalities throughout
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina were different from what they were at the time in
18 the democratic world. The municipalities in our society, as it was, were
19 the first body under the state itself, directly subordinated to the state
20 itself. They were not independent units as seems to be the tendency now.
21 The municipalities each had their secretaries in charge of legal affairs
22 who passed opinions on what was feasible and what was not. They worked
23 under state laws mainly, the laws that Bosnia and Herzegovina had
25 Throughout this period, the laws of Bosnia and Herzegovina were
1 the ones that were enforced throughout the municipalities. Any decisions
2 by this Krajina Municipality throughout this particular period of time
3 were mostly of an advisory nature, the occasional press release, public
4 announcements, that sort of thing. And in as far as was possible, these
5 were then implemented occasionally at municipal level, wherever legally
6 feasible. However, I know from my own experience that most of those
7 decisions that were adopted under varying circumstances with no proper
8 procedure in a way that was not even serious enough. You didn't even know
9 what had been adopted. There were announcements made for the public in
10 the newspapers, but the majority of those decisions were actually illegal
11 [Realtime transcript read in error "legal"], and therefore the
12 municipalities could not implement them. The assembly did not have a
13 proper legal filter, so to speak, in order to be able to decide what was
14 legally feasible and what wasn't. Anything could have been adopted
15 because in essence there was not a single body that was there to enforce
16 these decisions.
17 Q. I'll stop you there.
18 There came a time when this association, ZOBK, transformed itself
19 into the ARK, the Autonomous Region of Krajina. Were you still involved
20 in that regional process when that happened? And I'm not asking you to
21 look at a document. I just want to know if you were involved in --
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Now, I will ask you -- yeah, I thought so.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Just a moment.
25 Your Honour.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
2 MR. ACKERMAN: Page 25, line 21, the word right there at the
3 beginning should be "illegal," not "legal."
4 JUDGE AGIUS: 25.
5 MR. ACKERMAN: Page 25, line 21.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: He said: "The majority of those decisions were
8 actually illegal, and therefore the municipalities could not implement
10 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
11 Before we go into the ARK, I mean, I'm going through this part of
12 the evidence, where did the initiative to form the ZOBK come from? Where
13 did it originate? Who took the first steps?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not sure about this, but --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: [Previous interpretation continues] ... Especially
16 when you have various municipalities coming together to form something
17 like this, someone must have taken the initiative or inspired the whole.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Certainly. Certain municipal
19 circles were interested. There were conversations where this was
20 discussed months ahead of time. It's very difficult to say precisely who
21 provided the initiative. I know about my own ideas that I presented.
22 Eventually, it happened naturally. I'm not sure, however, who was the one
23 to provide the initiative. But I do know that the leaders of the SDS were
24 not keen on that. You could clearly see that at the first session in
25 Celinac when there was a heated argument. The people who were involved in
1 this argument were later to become very successful members of the SDS.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: But would you agree that it was a Serbian
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At that moment, yes.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
6 MR. ACKERMAN:
7 Q. In fact, earlier, I think you said you were one of the people who
8 came up with the idea and started the discussion, weren't you?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. All right.
11 A. I also tried to contribute to the establishment of the association
12 of municipalities. My idea was to adopt a multiethnic approach. At the
13 very outset, the association of municipalities was supposed to be as the
14 municipalities themselves multiethnic. If their representatives were
15 there, it could be considered that the Krajina itself was multiethnic.
16 This was not government level yet. It was later that I thought a
17 mini-parliamentary local body could be established that could then demand
18 autonomy from the central government of Bosnia and Herzegovina through
20 Q. When you first started discussing this, I think you said you
21 discussed it with other members of the Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 Did you discuss it with non-Serb members of that assembly from the
24 A. Yes. Yes.
25 Q. And did you receive support from any of those people for that
2 A. From some, but many in Sarajevo denied me their support. In
3 Krajina itself, many were prepared to talk about it. A number of my
4 friends approved of the idea of regionalisation and believed that this was
5 feasible. However, my supporters as a rule were people who understood
7 Q. Now, when you talk about your friends and your supporters, are you
8 talking exclusively about Serb friends and supporters, or was that a
9 multiethnic group of people?
10 A. It is a multiethnic group. I had many friends in my political
11 debates and negotiations who were not Serbs, who included both Croats and
12 Muslims, and those were prominent intellectuals, people very much in the
13 public eye. I can provide you with names if you like.
14 Q. All right. I'd like to go now to the formation of the
15 Autonomous Region of Krajina. And I want you to look at P80, which you
16 have there in your book, P8-0, which is the statute of the autonomous
18 And the first part I want to bring to your attention are the two
19 articles, 10 and 11. Let me know when you've found those and had a chance
20 to look at them.
21 Now, those two articles, 10 and 11, what kind of an organisation
22 are those articles describing? Are they describing an association,
23 voluntary association, or are they describing a level of government?
24 A. These two articles are describing the possibility of the
25 municipalities joining an association on a voluntary basis only, or
1 leaving [Realtime transcript read in error "leading"] the association on a
2 voluntary basis. Furthermore, they state that any municipality may join
3 the association. Article 10 states this very clearly.
4 Within the Autonomous Region of Krajina, other municipalities may
5 join. Here you have it, Article 11. Freedom of association for the
6 municipalities within one calendar year.
7 Q. Was any municipality required to be a member of the association?
8 Or was any municipality prohibited from leaving the association, to your
10 JUDGE AGIUS: They are two questions pooled together. You may
11 answer yes or no to either of them, or if you want to separate them,
12 you're free to do so.
13 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, page 29, line 9, the word is not
14 "leading," but "leaving." "Leaving" instead of "leading."
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
16 MR. ACKERMAN:
17 Q. Did you understand my question, or should we start over?
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I think separate the questions yourself,
19 Mr. Ackerman, because it will be easier.
20 MR. ACKERMAN:
21 Q. To your knowledge, was any municipality ever required to be a
22 member of the Autonomous Region of Krajina?
23 A. No. No municipality was ever required to be a member of the
24 autonomous region.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay, let's move to the next question.
1 MR. ACKERMAN:
2 Q. To your knowledge, was any municipality ever prohibited from
3 leaving the association if they had wanted to?
4 A. No. No municipality was ever prohibited from leaving the
6 Q. All right. I now want to call your attention to Article 35 of the
8 And the second paragraph of Article 35 says: "Decisions and
9 conclusions of the Assembly shall become binding for the associated
10 municipalities once they have been approved by the Assemblies of
12 Now, as a member of this association representing Prnjavor, what
13 was your understanding of the meaning of that paragraph? How did that
14 apply to your municipality of Prnjavor, to your knowledge?
15 A. Paragraph stating that the municipalities must apply these, the
16 municipalities could not apply anything that was not legal. The
17 municipalities would assume the responsibility to implement any of the
18 decisions. For example, if a municipality which was the case all the
19 time, so to speak, decisions were not implemented in any of the
20 municipalities. Very often, they were confusing, awkwardly put together.
21 They did not reflect the common interests. Therefore, the municipalities
22 did not implement those. Krajina did not have the instruments of power to
23 dissolve the assembly or to subordinate it in any legal way. Only the
24 central republic government of Bosnia and Herzegovina had the power to do
1 There was no legal or physical instrument for them to do that.
2 Q. All right. The next document that I want you to look at is P95.
3 And P95 is the 10th session of the Assembly of the Autonomous Region of
4 Krajina held in Banja Luka. And if you notice on the first page in the
5 agenda section, it indicates that part of the agenda is a report by you on
6 the work of the government of the Autonomous Region of Krajina. But
7 before we get to that, I would like to draw your attention to a couple of
8 paragraphs under item 2.
9 There is a report from the Banja Luka Security Services Centre and
10 a report from representatives of the JNA on one Veljko Milankovic and his
11 arrest. Were you familiar with that at the time that it occurred, the
12 arrest of Milankovic?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And if you go, then, to the next -- I think it's maybe on the next
15 page, it's when you give your report. Apparently during the giving of
16 your report, you mention a personal issue apparently that you had with
17 Mr. Milankovic when you apparently told the assembly that he even drew a
18 weapon on you as president of the SDS, a member of the BH Assembly, and
19 vice-chairman of the executive council.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Which part of Exhibit P95 are you referring to,
21 Mr. Ackerman?
22 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I'm on page 2. It's on the screen.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, I think page 2 may be missing from the
24 exhibit which has been --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: That's what I have.
1 MR. ACKERMAN: I don't know how it could be missing. It's on the
3 JUDGE AGIUS: It's not missing on the screen. Unfortunately what
4 we have here, Mr. Ackerman, is -- my -- at least, my P95, is I have page
5 1, and then at the back, there should be page 2, but there is page 3. So
6 page 2 is missing. That is what -- so, Madam Registrar --
7 MR. ACKERMAN: We should probably check the original record and
8 see if it's complete or not.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: That's what we need to do anyway.
10 Anyway, please proceed, Mr. Ackerman.
11 MR. ACKERMAN:
12 Q. Was that the case, was that a report that you actually made about
13 your run-in with Mr. Milankovic?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Would you describe that a little bit, in a little more detail to
16 the Chamber? Did you actually have such a -- what happened? What was
17 that situation?
18 A. At that time, the frustration was great. There was a war in
19 neighbouring Croatia and paramilitary units started showing up in the
20 area. There was a great danger that the different groups would identify
21 themselves with the assembly of the Krajina and with this association of
22 municipalities. There were people walking around informally bringing with
23 them armed persons. I was not particularly active in the work of the
24 executive council as the president was, and the rest of them. But as the
25 association of municipalities itself was in disorder, which you can
1 clearly see from this report. The president of the association of
2 municipalities convened this meeting in an ill-prepared manner. There was
3 a lot of confusion. I was invited, and I had never been invited to any of
4 their private meetings before, although at the first meeting it was
5 decided that I would be professionally and gainfully employed, this was
6 never carried out. Four or five months went by. I was gainfully employed
7 with the municipality, but I did not attend too many of those meetings,
8 and the assembly functioned very poorly.
9 However, I did discuss the various dangers, what might happen. I
10 discussed this with the president, and he convened a meeting of the
11 assembly. I'm afraid there weren't sufficient people to have one to begin
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
14 MR. NICHOLLS: This is nonresponsive, unless I'm really missing
15 where he's going.
16 MR. ACKERMAN: You're not. I was just getting ready to interrupt
18 Q. Maybe you didn't understand my question. My question was: Could
19 you just describe very briefly your encounter with Mr. Milankovic. What
20 was that about? How did that happen when he pulled a gun on you?
21 A. Mr. Milankovic had with him a grouped of armed persons who were
22 just going about talking about the people, and they became very dangerous
23 at one point. They were very often in the Krajina region, and they had
24 brought with them journalists who took photos of them representing them to
25 be the army, the official army of the Krajina. This was absolutely
1 impermissible, and someone had to say something. I happened to know that
2 man. I tried to reason with him, telling him this was no way to do it,
3 telling him there were legal police bodies, the army, the Army of
5 However, in one such conversation, he threatened me with the use
6 of firearms. And that's why I summed up the courage to go to the meeting
7 of the assembly, although I myself was not sure about suggesting this to
8 the municipalities. The municipalities had their own police, but the
9 assembly of the Krajina did not have any bodies that were directly
10 subordinated to it. You needed to have consensus from the
11 municipalities. You needed to have agreement at a higher level for this
12 to be done.
13 MR. ACKERMAN: Okay, thank you.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: We'll have a 25-minute break now. Then we will stop
15 shortly before noon. I explained last week that we have a swearing-in
16 ceremony of the new Dutch ad litem judge, and I need to be there. That
17 would replace the break we usually have at 12.30. Okay. Thank you.
18 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 10.59 a.m.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Vidic, we're going to proceed. Mr. Vidic,
21 I once more would like to emphasise the importance that you try and keep
22 your answers strictly to the questions that are put to you and to be as
23 concise as possible. Otherwise, you're going to be here the rest of the
25 Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
1 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. Mr. Vidic, we're looking at Exhibit P95.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: And the understanding, Mr. Ackerman, you know that I
4 don't like to stop the witnesses. I try to avoid it as much as you can.
5 But I think we have discussed this a little bit. I wouldn't like to take
6 you by surprise if I do between now and the end of the day because I think
7 it's a bit necessary.
8 MR. ACKERMAN: Not a problem, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Go ahead.
10 MR. ACKERMAN:
11 Q. If you look under the conclusions of P95, first paragraph 2 and
12 then paragraph 3, paragraph 2 indicates that there was a discussion
13 followed by a conclusion regarding paramilitary formations. And the
14 assembly is expressing its position basically that it is -- does not
15 support paramilitary formations and that any military organisation should
16 be under the control of the JNA at that point in time. Correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And then finally in paragraph 3, there is a conclusion that
19 probably followed a discussion regarding the arrest of Milankovic. In
20 fact, it says that there was a lengthy debate and says the
21 Autonomous Region of Krajina fully accepted the report and supported the
22 measures and activities of the security organs of the JNA 5th Corps and
23 the Banja Luka Security Services Centre.
24 I take it that means --
25 MR. NICHOLLS: I'd like him to just ask the witness what the
1 witness thinks it means rather than --
2 MR. ACKERMAN: That's fine. He's correct.
3 Q. What was the position that the autonomous region was taking
4 regarding the arrest of Milankovic? Were they in favour of it or opposed?
5 A. They were in favour of his arrest.
6 Q. Now, it says that that conclusion was arrived at after a lengthy
7 debate. Do you remember what if anything Mr. Brdjanin had to say about
8 the arrest of Milankovic and his feelings about it?
9 A. I think that he agreed with the arrest and that such formations
10 could not exist within the Krajina. So I think he was in favour. He
11 agreed with this.
12 Q. Did you hear him speak in that regard at this particular meeting,
13 or did you hear him or read about his position in that regard from other
15 A. He took an active part even in the arguments with the people who
16 were leading those armed people. Mr. Brdjanin, in fact, took the most
17 active role in bringing about this.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: "This" what?
19 MR. ACKERMAN:
20 Q. Bringing about this what?
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Bringing about what?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The things that are stated in the
23 conclusions. In other words, that the paramilitary formation should be
24 disarmed by the authorities and should be placed under the proper control.
25 MR. ACKERMAN:
1 Q. All right. I'm finished with that document now.
2 And I'll simply ask you this: During the year 1992, were the
3 municipalities of the Autonomous Region of Krajina bound in any way to
4 implement the decisions of the ARK Assembly? Were they required to do so?
5 A. No.
6 Q. During -- during 1992 between basically May and July, were the
7 municipalities of the autonomous region bound or required to implement
8 decisions and conclusions of the Crisis Staff of the Autonomous Region of
10 A. In that period, the constitution and the laws were passed by the
11 Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the municipalities were
12 bound to comply with the laws. There was the Official Gazette, and they
13 all had to comply with this. There were also the instructions on how to
14 work and how the crisis staffs in the municipalities were to be
15 established, if there was any danger. The legal documents quite clearly
16 indicate that the Crisis Staff of Krajina was an illegal body as far as I
17 understood it. And I think that the municipalities acted accordingly.
18 They had their own crisis staffs which were based on the appropriate laws.
19 They also applied the existing laws of Bosnia and Herzegovina which
20 provided for the establishment of crisis staffs at the municipal level.
21 Q. I'm not sure you answered my question. And let me ask it again,
22 and please listen very carefully. Between May and July of 1992, were the
23 municipalities of the autonomous region bound or required to implement
24 decisions and conclusions of the ARK Crisis Staff?
25 A. I'm not sure because I do know that some municipalities did not
1 implement that.
2 Q. Were the police required or bound to implement decisions and
3 conclusions of either the ARK Assembly or the ARK Crisis Staff?
4 A. No. The police was part of the ministry, and they abided by the
5 chain of command that existed in the ministry. Responsibilities -- in
6 terms of responsibilities, implementation, and the chain of command in
8 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, page 38, line 12, I'm told that the
9 witness said not "some municipalities," but "many municipalities" did not
10 implement that.
11 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I'm sorry, I would like for the whole
12 question and answer to be given again properly. I'm not happy, not for
13 that respect, but for something else. I don't think that's what he said.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: The question -- Mr. Vidic, I'm referring you back to
15 a question that Mr. Ackerman put to you, which was the following: "I'm
16 not sure you answered my question, and let me ask it again and please
17 listen very carefully. Between May and July of 1992, were the
18 municipalities of the autonomous region bound or required to implement
19 decisions and conclusions of the ARK Crisis Staff?"
20 And you answered: "I am not sure because I do know that some
21 municipalities did not implement that."
22 Now, the first point is it's being suggested that you didn't say
23 "some municipalities," but you said "many municipalities did not
24 implement that."
25 MS. KORNER: This is my objection to some of these so-called
1 corrections. I would like to have the whole question please asked again
2 and the witness to give his answer without any prompting.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: So what is your answer to the question? Were the
4 municipalities of the ARK bound or required to implement decisions and
5 conclusions of the ARK Crisis Staff? What is your answer to that?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to make a comment, and I
7 apologise for that. I am not sure whether Krajina had the instruments of
8 government whereby it could operate or act in the municipalities through
9 these authorities. And pursuant to the constitution and the laws that
10 were passed, it followed that Krajina could not force the municipalities
11 to implement its decisions. Because the municipalities had the executive
12 government, and Krajina did not have the executive government. This is
13 what I base my conclusion on. And what I know, that many municipalities
14 did not implement these decisions, and they did not -- no sanctions were
15 imposed on them for this reason.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. You have explained about the Krajina and
17 its nonexecutive powers. But the question that Mr. Ackerman had put to
18 you in the first place referred to the Crisis Staff of the ARK and whether
19 in your opinion, having lived those days, whether the municipalities were
20 bound to follow, to observe the decisions taken by the crisis staff. That
21 was the question. And what you have given us is an answer to some other
22 question that was not put to you.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The situation was similar with the
24 crisis staffs. As far as I know and as far as I can remember, because it
25 was a long time ago, the Crisis Staff of Krajina, it seems to me - I'm not
1 sure - but I can say that there was a certain duplication. I'm not sure.
2 I'm not sure.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
4 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you.
5 Q. Was the army bound to implement decisions and conclusions of
6 either the ARK Assembly or the ARK Crisis Staff?
7 MR. NICHOLLS: I think it would be better to break that up into
8 two questions.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I think you're right, Mr. Nicholls.
10 MR. ACKERMAN:
11 Q. Was the army bound to implement decisions or conclusions of the
12 ARK Assembly?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Was the army bound to implement decisions or conclusions of the
15 ARK Crisis Staff?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Were you aware that Radoslav Brdjanin was the president of the ARK
18 Crisis Staff? Were you aware of that?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you know of anyone who was bound to follow the orders or
21 instructions of Radoslav Brdjanin? Was there anyone to whom he was a
22 superior that you knew of?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Mr. Vidic, thank you very much. I have no further questions.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nicholls, I think you need to start here because
1 otherwise it doesn't make sense.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I apologise to you. Yes.
4 Cross-examined by Mr. Nicholls:
5 Q. Let me begin by asking you, sir, when were you first contacted by
6 Mr. Brdjanin's Defence team about being a witness in this case?
7 A. I don't know when it was exactly, but perhaps two or three months
8 ago. Well, there was a contact about a year ago. I'm not quite sure.
9 Q. Who made the contact about a year ago?
10 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, this may be interesting, but I have no
11 idea why this is relevant, who contacted him, when he was first contacted.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I can't discount it as irrelevant straight away,
13 Mr. Ackerman. I'll wait and see what the answer and what the next
14 question would be.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: I can say the reason is, Your Honour, that we have
16 found out that statements have been taken in the past and that some
17 witnesses have talked earlier. We've gotten these witness summaries very
18 late. Not everything in this witness summary was covered --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Proceed, Mr. Nicholls. Proceed.
20 MR. ACKERMAN: Let me do this, as an officer of Court and an
21 officer of this Chamber, I will never withhold a witness statement. If a
22 witness has given a witness statement, it'll be given to the Prosecution.
23 So we're wasting time to ask this person if he gave a witness statement.
24 He didn't or the Prosecution would have it.
25 MR. NICHOLLS: Well, that's very interesting, but if you could
1 just let me finish with my questions.
2 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, I'm objecting to it, so it's up to the Judge
3 whether you -- the Prosecutor finishes with his questions or not. I think
4 we're wasting time and it's a fishing expedition.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: We probably are, Mr. Ackerman, but I think we'll get
6 there quicker if we proceed.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: If he has some good-faith reason for his question,
8 then I don't have any objection to it. But he's just on a fishing
9 expedition, he's trying to find something. He doesn't have any suspicions
10 there even.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls, go ahead.
12 MR. NICHOLLS:
13 Q. When you were contacted a year ago, all I want to know is did you
14 meet somebody in person and talk to them about this case, about what your
15 testimony might be? Or over the phone?
16 A. As for the testimony for Radoslav Brdjanin, there was no contact a
17 year ago. It was about some other issues which have no relevance for this
19 Q. What issues were those? Because you said it was a contact from
20 the Defence team, from Mr. Brdjanin's team.
21 A. Yes.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: A year ago? A year ago?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, as for the Defence of
24 Radoslav Brdjanin, it was not a year ago. It was -- I don't know exactly
25 when it was.
1 MR. NICHOLLS: All right.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Nicholls. One moment.
3 MR. NICHOLLS: I think it's possible that he's confused and it's
4 another Defence team.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: It could well be, but witnesses should not get
6 confused when the question is pretty straightforward. I mean your very
7 first question on cross-examination was: "Let me begin by asking you,
8 sir, when were you first contacted by Mr. Brdjanin's Defence team about
9 being a witness in this case?" And he answered: "I don't know when it
10 was exactly, but perhaps two or three months ago. Well, there was a
11 contact about a year ago. I'm not quite sure."
12 So when you mention there was a contact a year about a year ago,
13 you were mentioning it within the context of a question that was put to
14 you referring specifically to contacts made by the Brdjanin Defence team.
15 If you want to make corrections, to correct yourself, feel free to do so.
16 No one is after your blood. Don't misunderstand me.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, there was a contact that had to
18 do with other persons. But the name of Radoslav Brdjanin was not
19 mentioned at that time, a year ago.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: But was the contact made by anybody on the Defence
21 team of Mr. Brdjanin? Who was the person who contacted you about a year
22 ago? Was it a certain Mr. Peric?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: You see. You'll get there.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But it had to do with testimony in
1 another case, for Krajisnik. I don't know. We had only one conversation
2 about a year ago.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. It's not important for me anyway.
4 I mean, it's...
5 Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
6 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
7 Q. At the beginning of your testimony, you told us how you became
8 politically active in the early 1990s and began taking part -- well, you
9 ended up having several different positions within the SDS and various
10 assemblies. Correct?
11 A. Well, these were not functions. Until the elections, I was the
12 president of the municipal board of the SDS. Immediately after the
13 election, I no longer held that function. I was merely a deputy. Later
14 on I was involved -- I became a member of the main board as a deputy.
15 Q. And my question is before all of that, were you involved in
16 politics? Were you involved in politics as a younger man, in your 20s?
17 A. No. As a young man, no. I was over 35 when I got active in
19 Q. And the whole time when you began your political activities, are
20 you saying that you - Mr. Ackerman called it a dream - that you were
21 trying to build this pluralistic representative party in the Krajina?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Now, it soon became apparent to you that with the SDS in your
24 municipality, Prnjavor, that was not an acceptable position. Correct?
25 A. Well, to a certain extent, yes. But there were conflicts related
1 to some other issues.
2 Q. Yes, but one of the issues that was clear was that the SDS in
3 Prnjavor did not envisage itself transforming into a pluralistic
4 representative parties of all people. That's correct, isn't it?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. I'd like to show you, please, P1785.
7 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm distributing my list now, Your Honour. I
8 wasn't sure when exactly this was going to start.
9 Q. Do you have that document, sir, in your language?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, if you look at that first paragraph, the very first
12 paragraph, it talks about how this municipality, which was 72 per cent
13 Serb, 13 per cent Muslim, and then just a few Croats and others, had
14 earlier on lived in harmony. Correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And then it talks about how interethnic relations had
17 deteriorated, and you spoke a little bit about that on direct. That's the
18 fear and mistrust between ethnicities that you were talking about when
19 Mr. Ackerman was questioning you. Is that right?
20 Now, the next paragraph --
21 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm sorry, the transcript has not picked up your
22 answer. You may need to speak up a little bit.
23 Q. The last question was a very important question. This first
24 paragraph is correct, is it, it talks about the interethnic tensions and
25 mistrust which you discussed with Mr. Ackerman. Correct?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. This second paragraph states: "The SDS won a majority of votes in
3 the elections, but extremist tendencies predominate in the senior
4 leadership of this party where there are insufficient educated and
5 competent people. Among the Serbs, there is a tendency to divide into
6 moderate, left-leaning and extreme. This division is deepening and is
7 leading to a rift amongst the Serbs."
8 Now, this document is dated the 15th of March 1992, after you were
9 essentially kicked out of your position as president. Correct? You need
10 to answer --
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. So that paragraph is correct as well, isn't it?
13 A. Yes.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
16 MR. ACKERMAN: To ask if a paragraph is correct asks him to affirm
17 every word of that paragraph, and I object to it in that regard. If
18 there's some part of that that the witness says is not correct, then he
19 should be permitted to say so.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I think that's obvious. Perhaps you can rephrase
21 your question in a sense that if there's anything in that paragraph that
22 the witness doesn't agree or disagrees with, then he should state it.
23 MR. NICHOLLS:
24 Q. Everything I have read to you from this document, you have
25 affirmed it and that's the truth, isn't it? What I have read out aloud to
1 you from this document is correct. Isn't that right? You've already said
2 that it is.
3 A. Sir, what you told me, that was what my answer referred to. But I
4 was not focussed on the text itself. I was merely listening to what you
5 were saying, and I provided an answer to your questions.
6 Q. All right. Everything -- I don't want to go through it again, but
7 the questions I asked you, the statements I read to you were true
8 statements. Correct?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: If he hasn't focussed on the paragraph or contents
10 of the paragraph, Mr. Nicholls, you have to go through it again.
11 MR. NICHOLLS:
12 Q. All right. Let's do this again. Read the first paragraph. You
13 told me you had read it. Read it again, please, if you didn't read it.
14 You told me you read it, I thought. But please read the first paragraph.
15 Let me know when you're done reading it.
16 A. I'm finished.
17 Q. All right. Now, this paragraph is correct, is it not, that
18 approximately 72 per cent of the population of Prnjavor were Serbs? Is
19 that right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. That percentage of the population and the remaining of the
22 population prior to the multiparty elections and the breakdown lived in
23 relative harmony and peace. Correct?
24 A. That's a good question. I would even be inclined to say no.
25 Q. Wasn't Prnjavor known as "little Europe" because everybody got
1 along so well?
2 A. Yes, but there were often fights in the town itself, interethnic
3 fights, fights between Muslims and Serbs. Prior to that, there were
4 drastic cases like that, just before the election.
5 Q. Just before the election. But what you answered when I first
6 started questioning you, that yes, traditionally in Prnjavor the different
7 ethnicities had lived together in harmony and tolerance. Go back into the
9 You need to answer with your voice, sir. I see you nodding, but
10 you need to speak into the microphone.
11 A. So there was a period of harmony that was about two years before
12 the election. But if we talk about two years before the election, it's
13 still a long shot from saying that life was harmonious.
14 Q. "The SDS, Serbian Democratic Party" - look at the second
15 paragraph, please - "won a majority of votes in the elections." That's
16 true, isn't it?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. "But extremist tendencies predominate in the senior leadership of
19 this party." That was true at that time, isn't it? You spoke about that
20 even on direct examination.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. "Where there are insufficient educated and competent people" --
23 the rest of that sentence, that's true as well, isn't it? That was part
24 of the problem with the SDS party in Prnjavor.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. "Among the Serbs, there is a tendency to divide into moderate,
2 left-leaning and extreme. This division is deepening and is leading to a
3 rift amongst the Serbs." That's true as well, isn't it?
4 A. Yes. Yes.
5 Q. "The fact that the leading core of the SDS is encumbered by
6 incompetence and criminal activity (smuggling weapons, aid to the Serbs,
7 and other acts through achieving citizens' rights) is a particular
8 problem." That's true as well, isn't it, that there were members of the
9 SDS involved in smuggling weapons at that time in Prnjavor?
10 A. Members, persons, people who were smuggling weapons, but you can't
11 say that this was the case with the leaders of the party. Certain
12 individuals, yes; party leaders, no.
13 Q. Individual members of the SDS were involved in smuggling weapons?
14 A. I'm not sure about that. I can't really say who specifically
16 Q. Skip five paragraphs, if you could, go down to the sixth paragraph
17 and I think you'll see your name in it, in the second sentence. Tell me
18 when you've found that paragraph.
19 A. I'm not sure about the page numbers.
20 Q. It's page 2 in your original.
21 A. All right.
22 Q. Tell me when you've found that section.
23 A. Yes, I've found it.
24 Q. We can move on, but the paragraph I'm interested in starts:
25 "They" - still talking about the SDS throughout this section - "also
1 espouse a struggle against the Muslims." That's the same paragraph you've
2 got. Right? Is that the paragraph you're looking at?
3 A. Yes. Yes, that's the one I'm looking at.
4 Q. The next statement -- the next sentence states: "The cadres in
5 the party are Dragan Djuric, president and businessman, blinded
6 politically by extremism, became president in a putsch replacing
7 Dobrivoje Vidic, an architect politically inclined towards the Serbian
8 Renewal Movement, highly irresponsible, both also a national
9 representative involved in arms smuggling and the idealogue behind the
10 military formation in Kremna." Is it true that it was Dragan Djuric who
11 replaced you? You talked about being replaced earlier.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. As far as you know, is this an accurate sentence?
14 A. No.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
16 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, there's a giant ambiguity here, so I
17 really object to a question about "is it an accurate sentence"? If you
18 begin with those words, "highly irresponsible," those could either apply
19 to Dragan Djuric or they could apply to Dobrivoje Vidic; it's difficult to
20 tell. But I think it's totally ambiguous in that regard.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls. I just don't agree with your
22 interpretation, Mr. Ackerman, but I won't say more to leave the witness
23 free to answer the question.
24 Mr. Vidic, I would like you to read carefully the first part of
25 that paragraph starting with the words or from the words, "they also
1 espoused a struggle against the Muslims." And you can end with the part
2 "and the idealogue of the military formation in Kremna." Read it
3 carefully, and then I have one or two questions to ask you so that we
4 clear this up.
5 When you have finished reading it, tell me.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've read it.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Was Mr. Djuric an architect?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I was the one.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: You are the one. Now, how is Mr. Djuric described
10 in this first sentence of this paragraph? How is he described?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Blinded by extremism, became
12 president, Djuric, that is, in a putsch replacing Dobrivoje Vidic.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. And how are you described in that
14 paragraph, in that sentence?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As politically inclined towards the
16 SPO. This is not accurate. That was just propaganda for me, but I was
17 not politically inclined that way. Highly irresponsible, also a national
18 deputy involved in arms smuggling, and the mastermind behind the formation
19 of a paramilitary formation in Kremna. This is not true. Veljko
20 Milankovic, commander of a paramilitary formation, this is simply not true
21 because --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: When the paragraph uses the words "highly
23 irresponsible," it's referring to you, no?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: And also a national representative, it's referring
1 to you?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: And the allegation accusation of involvement in arms
4 smuggling is referring to you?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, here in this document.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, and also being the mastermind or the idealogue
7 behind the military formation in Kremna is also supposedly referring to
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's what it says, just that
10 it's not true.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay.
12 Are you happy now, Mr. Ackerman? Thank you.
13 Mr. Nicholls, please proceed.
14 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
15 Q. Veljko Milankovic's paramilitary formation was in Vucak, if I'm
16 pronouncing it correctly? Isn't that right?
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Nicholls, please.
18 MR. NICHOLLS:
19 Q. Veljko Milankovic's paramilitary formation was from Vucak, isn't
20 that right? They were called the Wolves from Vucak?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. So you don't agree about some of the accusations made against you
23 in this, but you do agree with this statement that you were replaced by
24 Dragan Djuric who was a Serb extremist. Correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, skip forward a couple pages probably. There's a heading
2 "public security station." And the first paragraph under that heading
3 starts with the words: "This organ has 70 employees, 48 policemen..." Et
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You've found that?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And it states that Milenko Savic is the chief of the SJB police
9 station. Did you know Mr. Savic?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And it states he was an economics graduate and a Serb with 17
12 years of professional experience who had held a series of leading posts of
13 responsibility in the administrative organ.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Is that true what I've -- what is stated in this sentence we've
16 just read out together?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You agree with me that -- well, do you think that Mr. Savic was a
19 decent professional police chief?
20 A. Yes, he was.
21 Q. You were pushed out in February, allegedly, for not being amongst
22 the most extreme Serb leadership in Prnjavor. What happened to Mr. Savic,
23 say, in April 1992?
24 A. As far as I remember, he, too, faced problems. I don't know at
25 which point exactly, but he was facing problems with the same structures
1 as I was.
2 Q. And one of his problems was that he wasn't a member of the SDS.
3 Isn't that right?
4 A. This may have been the case, but I'm not sure.
5 Q. Well, you know that he was not a member of the SDS. Correct?
6 A. Yes, but it wasn't that important. What mattered more was
7 Mr. Savic was an old hand. Maybe he refused change. So this can be seen
8 in two ways. I'm not really sure that that was the reason. Based on this
9 example, you can't --
10 Q. Go ahead and finish.
11 A. If you look at this example, I'm not sure that he was eliminated
12 from power simply because he was not a member of the SDS.
13 Q. You agree that could have been a factor?
14 A. I do agree. This may have been one of the reasons.
15 Q. And I think you're right that it was because in part he was old
16 school and didn't agree with all the changes which may have been coming.
17 Isn't it correct that the SDS leadership felt that it could not depend on
18 him to push their programme in Prnjavor?
19 A. At the time the SDS platform was not that extremist. There were
20 still people around who were conscious of the need for a democratic
21 society. It was only later that --
22 Q. Let me stop you. You've just agreed with me that this document is
23 correct and the statements in here are correct, that extreme SDS Serbs,
24 extremist leaders were taking over or were leading the Serb party at this
25 time. You'd explained that's why you were replaced. Right?
1 A. Yes. Yes.
2 Q. The reason he was replaced, because he was not sufficiently
3 extreme; he would not carry out orders that were illegal. Correct?
4 MR. ACKERMAN: I would ask at this time that the witness be
5 permitted to answer the question and not interrupted. It's being asked a
6 second time, and this time I hope he'll be allowed to answer it.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Nicholls, please.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't say either of these two with
9 sure and certain knowledge. I can't say for sure that this was the
10 reason. Despite the fact that I had been eliminated, chucked out of the
11 party, there were still people who could effect future change and who
12 refused to allow extremism to spread. I, too, was persistent in my
13 efforts. Naturally, I was the president of the party, after all. So in
14 answer to your question, I'm not certain about this.
15 MR. NICHOLLS:
16 Q. You're not certain, but you the president of the party were kicked
17 out. You're certain about that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So it's highly plausible, you'll grant me, that he could have been
20 pushed out for the same reasons, the reasons I've suggested to you, that
21 he was not --
22 MR. NICHOLLS: I think that's a completely fair question. He said
23 he doesn't know exactly, but based on --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Let him answer it.
25 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, Your Honour, it's the fourth time it's been
2 MR. NICHOLLS: No, it's a different question.
3 MR. ACKERMAN: So he can say for the fourth time that he doesn't
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Answer the question, please. It is different. It's
6 being put to him in a different manner.
7 MR. NICHOLLS:
8 Q. You can answer the question, sir, if you remember.
9 Is it not entirely plausible based on what you know that the
10 reason that Mr. Savic was removed from his position as chief of police is
11 because the SDS felt that it could not count on him or depend on him to
12 carry out orders in the coming period, their plan for the summer of 1992?
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Now you have changed it in a way that Mr. Ackerman
14 would be right in objecting to because you have rephrased it exactly the
15 way you had phrased it before when he had given you an answer.
16 The question that I allowed you to --
17 MR. NICHOLLS: I can repeat the question exactly.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
19 MR. NICHOLLS:
20 Q. It's highly plausible --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: You will grant me that he could have been pushed out
22 for the same reasons, the reasons that I've suggested to you, and then you
23 were interrupted. Basically it's being put to you that both you and
24 Mr. Savic were pushed off for basically the same reasons, that you did not
25 fit in.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not sure that it was for the
2 same reasons.
3 MR. NICHOLLS:
4 Q. The question is that it's plausible that it was.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
6 MR. NICHOLLS:
7 Q. The question is not that you were a hundred per cent sure, but it
8 makes sense based on what happened to you. It makes sense, doesn't it?
9 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, how many times did he have to answer
10 the same question over and over.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: This is the last time, Mr. Ackerman.
12 MR. ACKERMAN: So this time when he says he's not sure, that'll be
13 the end?
14 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you for suggesting the answer, Mr. Ackerman,
15 but the question is different. He keeps saying he's not sure exactly what
16 happened, that's not the question.
17 MR. ACKERMAN: The question is not different. He keeps saying is
18 it plausible, it's plausible isn't it? And he keeps saying I don't know.
19 How many times do we have to do this. We can stay here all day and ask
20 the same question over and over and he can give the same answer over and
21 over. Mr. Nicholls is not going to be happy until he gets the answer he
23 JUDGE AGIUS: You think Mr. Nicholls is going to get the answer he
25 MR. NICHOLLS: He says I'm not sure it was for the same reason.
1 That's not answering the question.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: What makes you unsure, Mr. Vidic? What makes you
3 unsure? Because at a certain point in time - look at me - at a certain
4 point in time the situation changed. You got pushed off. He got pushed
5 off. Others got pushed off. The situation changed. Why did it change.
6 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I really hesitate to interrupt but
7 there's really no foundation for this -- for these questions. Because
8 there's not showing that he knows from the people who pushed Savic out
9 why it was they pushed Savic out. If he hadn't talked to those people and
10 learned from them why they pushed Savic out, how could he possibly give an
11 answer here that's of any value to anyone?
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ackerman, the way the witness answered the
13 question before shows that he does know or, at least, he knows more than
14 he has told us. When he was pushed to answer whether not being a member
15 of the SDS could have been one of the factors, he said yes, but he hadn't
16 said it before. It was only when he -- and then he gave us to understand
17 that there may have been other reasons one of which was belonging to
18 this -- sort of the old school. I think the witness knows more than he
19 has told us, Mr. Ackerman.
20 MR. ACKERMAN: If we want him to guess, let's just ask him for his
21 guess and let him guess.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't want him to guess. I want him to answer the
24 MR. NICHOLLS: I can give the foundation very simply. This was a
25 small community. We've gone through this before. This man was president
1 of the SDS. He was involved in the power struggle in the SDS --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's not argue in front of the witness,
3 Mr. Nicholls. Rather, I insist on my own question.
4 At a certain point in time, things changed. Why did things
5 change, if you know?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After Savic, there was another man
7 who was not a member of the SDS either who assumed the same position that
8 Savic had held. Therefore, I don't think that really mattered. Perhaps
9 what mattered is that he had been good with me. I don't know.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Anyway, Mr. Nicholls, he's your witness now. But
11 let's move now.
12 MR. NICHOLLS:
13 Q. Let me ask you if you agree with this statement: Up to April
14 1992, and we're breaking at noon, Your Honour, is that right?
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
16 MR. NICHOLLS: You said before. So I'm not sure whether --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I need two minutes to get to the President's
19 MR. NICHOLLS:
20 Q. Up to April 1992, there was no ethnic cleansing in Prnjavor. In
21 my view, it started officially when the war started, and that is in 1992.
22 Everybody knows this and so do I. But this did not happen in Prnjavor
23 before April --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: What are you reading from, Mr. Nicholls?
25 MR. NICHOLLS: This is from a section of the transcript, Your
2 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, they just went ballistic if I ever did
3 anything like that.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: That is completely not true. He put to so many
5 witnesses: "Would you agree with the statement that Banja Luka became an
6 ethnic ghetto for non-Serbs" or something like that. He knows exactly
7 what I'm doing is proper. It's the same thing that he's been allowed to
8 do. I'm not identifying where this came from or what it's about.
9 MR. ACKERMAN: He's identifying that it's testimony. He's reading
10 the exact words of the testimony. Ms. Korner objected over and over and
11 you --
12 MR. NICHOLLS: That is simply a completely misleading statement by
13 Mr. Ackerman.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. I see nothing irregular about this. Go ahead.
15 MR. NICHOLLS:
16 Q. Up to April 1992, there was no ethnic cleansing in Prnjavor. In
17 my view, it started officially when the war started, and that is in 1992.
18 Everybody knows this, and so do I. But this did not happen in Prnjavor
19 before April, or rather, I think it was May, June, July when the problem
20 in Lisnje happened. But there wasn't any ethnic cleansing up to that
21 time. There was tension, but there was not ethnic cleansing.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Shall we stop here, and he will think about the
23 question and give us an answer when we resume.
24 MR. NICHOLLS: That's fine, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. 25 minutes, please.
1 --- Recess taken at 11.58 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 12.28 p.m.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: So, Mr. Nicholls.
4 Mr. Vidic, do you need me to repeat the question to you or not?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, I'm going to read out to you what I have here.
7 "Up to April 1992, there was no ethnic cleansing in Prnjavor. In my
8 view, it started officially when the war started, and that is in 1992.
9 Everybody knows this, and so do I. But this did not happen in Prnjavor
10 before April, or rather, I think it was May, June, July when the problem
11 in Lisnje happened. But there wasn't any ethnic cleansing up to that
12 time. There was tension, but there was not ethnic cleansing."
13 And we stopped here so that you could have a coffee and we could
14 attend to our duties as well. Doesn't mean to say that we did not have a
16 Mr. Nicholls, your question.
17 MR. NICHOLLS:
18 Q. Sir, you were in Prnjavor at that time. You've heard that
19 statement which the Judge has read out to you again. Do you agree that
20 that is an accurate statement of the situation in Prnjavor during the
21 summer of 1992?
22 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, there are a number of things --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I agree with you, Mr. Ackerman.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: I think there are eight questions, I counted them,
25 in that one phrase.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: You are not correct in your counting. There has
2 perhaps half.
3 MR. ACKERMAN: I have no objection to the witness answering the
4 way it's phrased if he believes he can. But if he wants to answer it in
5 separate parts, he can do that, too. I don't want to be here all day.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Vidic, do you think you need to take that
7 statement bit by bit, or can you give us a straight answer taking it as it
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Part by part, bit by bit, because
10 it's quite lengthy.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
12 MR. NICHOLLS:
13 Q. I can break this down. It will take a little longer, but it's
14 okay because we've got all of today and tomorrow.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, exactly.
16 MR. NICHOLLS:
17 Q. Was there ethnic cleansing in Prnjavor before April 1992?
18 A. No. I don't think so.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: So you agree with this statement insofar as that
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
22 MR. NICHOLLS:
23 Q. It started officially when the war started, and that is in 1992.
24 Do you agree with that statement, that sentence?
25 A. Partially, but I would say no.
1 Q. What do you partially agree with in that statement?
2 A. The question is whether a legal legitimate intervention by the
3 police against civilians who are armed or are disturbing public law and
4 order, whether that would constitute ethnic cleansing. I am not sure that
5 at that time there were any drastic examples --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Stop, stop, stop. You are an educated man with a
7 university education. I take it well read, and certainly not the kind of
8 person who for the first time is hearing the phrase "ethnic cleansing." I
9 hope you're not. It just doesn't tune in, at least in my mind, how
10 someone like you with your education can get confused with a legal,
11 legitimate intervention by the police against civilians who are armed or
12 are disturbing public law and order can in any way that you may volunteer
13 to describe to us become or constitute ethnic cleansing. That's unless
14 you have a very perverted view of what ethnic cleansing is all about. And
15 I'm being very blunt with you now.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Endangering civilians and the
17 persecution of civilians, this is what I would call ethnic cleansing and
18 violating their human rights and liberties. Where there is such pressure
19 on civilians, I would refer to that as ethnic cleansing.
20 MR. NICHOLLS:
21 Q. Now, do you agree that that took place in Prnjavor Municipality,
22 what you just described, during the summer of 1992?
23 A. I don't know about the municipality of Prijedor, but I do believe,
24 I do say that --
25 Q. I think I got a translation error. I said Prnjavor.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: The transcript says Prnjavor. I wouldn't know what
2 the interpretation --
3 MR. NICHOLLS:
4 Q. We're only talking about Prnjavor now. Answer the question,
6 I'm sorry, I heard Prijedor.
7 A. At that time, the situation was quite specific. The question is
8 whether the all the ethnic cleansing was conducted by the local
9 authorities. You could not say that because there was a lot of chaos --
10 Q. That was not the question.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Nicholls, I think I have to go back to the core
12 of this issue because the witness says within the context of ethnic
13 cleansing, trying to define it, how he understands it, and then you follow
14 up with questions, he says endangering civilians and the persecution of
15 civilians, that is what I would call ethnic cleansing, and violating their
16 human rights and liberties.
17 We have ethnic -- two words, "ethnic" and "cleansing" combined
18 together in one context. What ethnic group are we talking about here with
19 reference to Prnjavor?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Bosniaks.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: And what do you understand by cleansing?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The pressure on them to move out.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: All right it's much more clear.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unlawful arrests.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I take it you're being very honest with the
1 Trial Chamber. Now it's clear. It has been put within the context of
2 both ethnicity and also an operation of cleansing. Moving on, so
3 Mr. Nicholls, now you can put your questions, and they will be more
4 answerable, I would say.
5 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour. I think you're right.
6 Q. Now, having told the Chamber your understanding of that term
7 "ethnic cleansing," did that occur in the Municipality of Prnjavor during
8 the summer of 1992?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And that occurred in Lisnje village. Correct?
11 A. [No audible response]
12 Q. Thank you. I'd like to, I'm sorry, briefly go back...
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, I see the transcript says "no audible
14 response." It could well be -- can I ask you, Mr. Vidic, to come nearer
15 to the microphones, or perhaps usher could position the microphones in a
16 way that they can receive.
17 MR. NICHOLLS:
18 Q. I'm sorry, sir, I want you to be comfortable. We're recording
19 everything said here today; that's why.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: And the thing is that your answer, which I heard
21 from here, was not heard by the interpreters. So the question was you
22 were first asked: "Ethnic cleansing, did that occur in the Municipality
23 of Prnjavor during the summer of 1992?" You said yes. And then you were
24 further asked: "And that occurred in Lisnje village, correct?" I heard
25 you say yes, but the interpreters did not hear you. Do you confirm that
1 you said yes?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
4 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
5 Q. If we could go back to P1785, the document you were looking at
6 earlier, sir.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
8 MR. NICHOLLS:
9 Q. I apologise. If we could go back to P1785.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Is it still on the ELMO? Yes, it's still on the
12 MR. NICHOLLS: Page 4 of the B/C/S, page 3 -- although it's not
13 marked, page 3 of the English.
14 Q. Before we get to this, sir, were you ever a member - you may have
15 answered this; if you did, I apologise - of the Prnjavor municipal crisis
17 A. No.
18 Q. Who was the president of that crisis staff when it was in
20 A. I'm not sure about the name.
21 Q. Who was president -- sorry?
22 A. I don't know. I don't know.
23 Q. Who was the president of the municipality before the crisis staff?
24 A. Nemanja Vasic.
25 Q. Does that help your memory at all as to who was president of the
1 crisis staff, too? If it doesn't, that's fine.
2 A. Yes, I assume that Mr. Nemanja Vasic was, but it was a long time
3 ago, so I don't really remember whether he was.
4 Q. All right. If you look at page 4, it's on the -- to your right.
5 It's not in the binder. You've got it.
6 The top paragraph, if I've got it correctly, should start with:
7 "The executive committee of the municipal assembly comprises eight
8 members." Is that right, what you have in front of you?
9 A. Yes. It then states as follows: "Radivoje Radivojevic is
10 chairman." Now, is that correct?
11 A. Radivoje Radivojevic. I have to make this correction. Yes, yes,
12 that's correct.
13 Q. All right. Was he a qualified engineer, this man?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did he belong to an extreme faction?
16 A. I don't think so. He was more of a professional, professional
17 when it came to municipal affairs.
18 Q. He was a member of the crisis staff, was he not, the municipal
19 crisis staff in Prnjavor?
20 A. I'm not sure.
21 Q. You don't recall him being thrown out of his position the way you
22 were and the way chief Savic was, do you?
23 A. No, I don't remember.
24 Q. Let me ask you --
25 A. As far as he's concerned.
1 Q. Let me ask you to speak up a bit. Some of these questions you're
2 answering very quietly. That's fine, but we just need to make sure that
3 the interpreters can hear you.
4 Do you believe -- we can skip the phrase that he was very
5 self-seeking. To your knowledge, was he one of the people who you've
6 talked about who were involved in smuggling arms?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Now, you know he wasn't, or you don't know whether he was or not?
9 A. It's a difficult question. As far as I know, however, no.
10 Q. Okay. Well, I've got to ask: What's difficult about that
11 question? It seems pretty simple and straightforward to me. What did you
12 mean when you said that was a difficult question?
13 A. It may be true that you or somebody else know that he smuggled
14 weapons. But I don't know about that. I do not know that he did that.
15 Q. All right. I'm just curious, have you seen this gentleman
16 recently or spoken with him?
17 A. I did not see him. I haven't seen him in over a year.
18 Q. Have you talked to him in over a year -- in the last year on the
20 A. I don't remember, but I do know that some time ago, perhaps a year
21 ago or so, we met about a project for his apartment. He wanted to buy an
22 apartment, and I do projects of apartments for a company. And that was
23 the only issue. His daughter came, and she also wanted to know about the
25 Q. That's all right. Thank you.
1 Now, if you go to page 3, it will be towards, I think, the bottom
2 of the page. I'm sorry, I've got that wrong. Page 2 at the top of the
3 page. I'm sorry. It's also page 2 in English. We see "Evaluation of
4 political parties." Do you see that heading? It would be at the top of
5 page 2 in your language.
6 A. Yes. I see it.
7 Q. It begins by talking about how the SDS won a majority, and we've
8 talked about that. Later on in that same paragraph it states: "The SDS
9 leadership gathered around Dragan Djuric, Veljko Milankovic,
10 Radivoje Radivojevic, and Nemanja Vasic, and some others, publicly
11 advocate the formation of Chetnik black Trojka units. Have you read that
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, based on your knowledge of being former president of the SDS
15 there, were these men, Dragan Djuric, Veljko Milankovic, Radivojevic, and
16 Mr. Vasic people who, as it states here, were of the same political mind
17 who gathered together?
18 A. This would be too strong a qualification. That is not true.
19 Q. All right. I'll ask an open-ended question. You describe the
20 relationship between these men I've just asked you about. What was it
21 like in March, April, May 1992 in Prnjavor?
22 A. Mr. Nemanja Vasic and Mr. Radivoje Radivojevic were on good terms.
23 One was the president of the municipality, and the other one was the
24 chairman of the executive board. Veljko Milankovic, I know that they did
25 not like him, and he caused a great deal of problems for them. But they
1 did not have any options or they did not have any courage since they did
2 not have police under their control at that time, and they were just
3 setting up the civilian authorities. But I know that
4 Mr. Veljko Milankovic was causing them trouble. And I know that they were
5 not on good terms with him. But they sometimes would meet in the same
7 Q. What would they meet with Veljko Milankovic to talk about, even if
8 their relationship was as you characterise it?
9 A. Veljko Milankovic frequented the SDS premises, or actually he went
10 there when they would meet, and he usurped the proceedings, and he would
11 disrupt their work. But I don't know whether they put him on the board
12 because they were forced to do so. But I do know that while I was the
13 president, I insisted on Veljko Milankovic, who was a person like that and
14 who did not represent any local community, that he could not be a member
15 of the SDS. I had problems because of that, but I insisted on that point.
16 While I was there, he did not have the power to decide.
17 However, when they came on board, I know that they tried to avoid
18 him. But he was active there, too. This is as much as I know.
19 Q. All right. And you weren't at those meetings, so you don't know
20 exactly what was discussed between these men. Correct?
21 A. No. At that time, I did not attend any meetings.
22 Q. You'd already been replaced?
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, there seems to be a fairly significant
25 transcript problem. 69/6, page 69, line 6, "they did not have any
1 courage" which I thought was strange when I heard it. I'm told that what
2 he said was "since they belonged to the civil authorities, they did not
3 have any police under their control at the time." I don't think the "did
4 not have any courage" appeared there at all.
5 MR. NICHOLLS: I think he said something about the police under
6 their control earlier, but I can ask the witness.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we need to ask the witness.
8 MR. ACKERMAN: Wait a minute, I'm told I'm wrong about that, too.
9 He did say it about the courage, but the first part where he said they
10 belonged to the civil authorities. I don't know. It's very confusing to
11 me at this point to me even.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go through it. Mr. Vidic, sometime back you
13 were asked this question: "All right. I'll ask you an open-ended
14 question. You describe the relationship between these men I've just asked
15 you about. What was it like in March, April, May 1992 in Prnjavor?"
16 And this is what we have in the transcript: "Mr. Nemanja Vasic
17 and Mr. Radivoje Radivojevic were on good terms. One was the president of
18 the municipality and the other one was the chairman of the executive
19 board. Veljko Milankovic, I know, that they did not like him, and he
20 caused a great deal of problems for them. But they did not have any
21 options and they didn't" - this is where the problem starts - "but they
22 did not have any options or they did not have any courage since they did
23 not have police under their control at the time and they were just setting
24 up the civilian authorities."
25 Does it make sense to you, or do you want to correct anything?
1 It's a question of transcript, it's not a question of whether you have
2 been clear or not.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's how it was. They did not
4 have -- yes, yes. I abide by what I have just said.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Is it okay, Mr. Ackerman?
6 MR. ACKERMAN: I guess so.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Let's take it up, then, from where we had
8 left it before. And yes, Mr. Nicholls.
9 MR. NICHOLLS: I've lost whichever question I may have asking.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: It's okay. I'll help you. I'll help you.
12 Q. All right. And you weren't at those meetings so you
13 don't know exactly what was discussed between these men. Correct?
14 A. No, at the time I did not attend any meetings.
15 Q. You had already been replaced?
16 And then Mr. Ackerman interjected. And this was all being said,
17 questioned and answered in relation to Milankovic and his relationship
18 inside the group.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Yeah.
20 Q. My point is, sir, you've described this relationship. You don't
21 really know what these men may have said to each other during their
22 meetings because you weren't present. Correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. One thing - and going through all of this again of this
25 correction - surprised me you said they didn't have any police. What
1 about chief of the local police there, Mr. Savic? Didn't he, in fact,
2 later on take part in arresting them?
3 A. Yes. But not then when the president of the municipality or the
4 civilian authorities wanted it, when there is a certain consensus, when
5 you get the support of the higher superior ranks of the -- actually
6 superior organs of the police.
7 Q. Okay. So there needed to be a consensus in the superior organs of
8 the police that it was necessary to arrest Mr. Milankovic? Is that what
9 you're saying? I think that's what you just said, isn't it?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Well, who were the superior organs of the police who at that
12 time - we're talking about March, April - did not think it was yet ripe to
13 arrest Mr. Milankovic?
14 A. Under the ministry of police, which was centralised, down to the
15 ministry of police --
16 Q. Sorry, sir, you're whispering, at least that's what it sounds like
17 to me. If you could just speak a little bit louder.
18 A. Police had the chain of command for certain things, and it was
19 under the ministry of police. The AR Krajina could not influence the
20 police, only the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina which passed its
21 constitution and laws on the Ministry of the Interior could do that. They
22 set up the whole structure, and they appointed people at the higher levels
23 of the police.
24 Q. And so you're saying that the people at the highest level of the
25 police had not reached a consensus or did not want Veljko Milankovic
1 arrested. Is that right?
2 A. No. That's not what I mean. The events happened quite fast.
3 Veljko Milankovic was not the only person causing trouble. There were
4 other similar groups, and trying to enter the fray with such groups was a
5 dangerous thing at the time. And that is why there had to be
6 collaboration with the superior organs and throughout the whole
7 organisation in such actions because it was not a question of just this
8 one man, Veljko Milankovic, but of all the people that he had, his men,
9 who were all over the place.
10 Q. Could you look at P82, please. Now, what I'd like you to do, you
11 can skip the cover letter which is signed "Stojan Zupljanin" and go to the
12 report on the activity of the armed groups of the centre's territory.
13 Have you found that?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, I've got just a few questions about this, but I'd like you if
16 you could to just read from the report pages 1, 2, and 3. Sorry, that
17 will take a moment, but I'm going to ask you some questions about it. I
18 want to make sure you've read it.
19 A. My apologies. The paragraphs, not the pages?
20 Q. No, the first three pages which describe the activities of
21 Veljko Milankovic and his group.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: While he reads, what's your question going to be?
23 Because knowing that, I would see whether it's necessary for the witness
24 to read first three pages.
25 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, and I wouldn't want --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: And then get Mr. Ackerman stand up, object, and we
2 have to go straight to the first sentence. So let's see what's cooking.
3 MR. NICHOLLS: I wouldn't want to go line by line, but what I
4 wanted to see if he agrees, if he remembers these incidents that are
5 described here, these activities by Milankovic's group, and the
6 individuals involved on the scale of the problem in Prnjavor. I thought
7 it might be easier if he --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Maybe you are right. So Mr. Vidic, go ahead, read
9 the three pages. And when you are ready, let me know.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, I've finished the first
11 three pages.
12 MR. NICHOLLS: All right. And I hope --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the President, please.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: I would suggest that you be very articulate about
15 your questions.
16 MR. NICHOLLS: I will try to be, Your Honour, and try not to cause
17 Mr. Ackerman any concern.
18 Q. Having read that document, has that helped you in any way to
19 refresh your memory about the activities of Veljko Milankovic and his men
20 in 1991 and 1992?
21 A. Yes, it has.
22 Q. Do you agree that it was in July or thereabouts in 1991 that this
23 group led by Milankovic came to Prnjavor from Knin? You correct me if
24 it's a different time.
25 A. Yes. I'm not sure about the month, but it was in that period.
1 Q. They came -- well, first of all, Veljko Milankovic was well known
2 in Prnjavor before the war, before these ethnic tensions. Correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. He was known as a notorious criminal?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. He went to Knin for training, military training?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Who sent him to Knin for that training?
9 A. At that time, they requested volunteers from Knin, the municipal
10 authorities in Knin requested humanitarian aid. They requested people to
11 come over. People started reporting. He owned a bus. In fact, he owned
12 a private company. They ran buses, and he used this bus to collect people
13 and drive them to Knin. That's what I know about it.
14 Q. All right. Back up a second. You just agreed with me that
15 Veljko Milankovic went to Knin for military training. He was not just
16 running some kind of taxi service. Correct?
17 A. No, no. He left, that's at least what I learned, only to provide
18 taxi service. However, once he reached Knin, he reported and stayed.
19 Q. And he received --
20 JUDGE AGIUS: The question is, still I don't know how many lines
21 later, we're still pretty much confused.
22 Mr. Vidic, Mr. Nicholls asked you a question some time back. He
23 said, referring to Milankovic, he went to Knin for training, military
24 training. And you said yes. That was your answer. Then he asked you,
25 who sent him to Knin for that training? And you have been telling us
1 about buses, taxis, transporting people. Could you please now tell us
2 whether you know who sent him to Knin for that military training? Because
3 that's what we want to know.
4 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, he answered that. He said there was a
5 volunteer request, and he was a volunteer.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: No, he hasn't answered it in any way, Mr. Ackerman.
7 I'm not stupid, Mr. Ackerman. Read it all from beginning to end, and you
8 will see that he has been trying to answer everything except that.
9 MR. ACKERMAN: I respectfully disagree. Lines 8 through 12 are a
10 pretty clear answer to that question. They called for volunteers, and he
11 volunteered and went and took his bus.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Military training.
13 MR. ACKERMAN: He answered it.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: No, it's not --
15 MR. ACKERMAN: He's not playing around it, he answered it. Look
16 at lines 8 through 12, Judge. I think you just didn't hear it.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: No. Mr. Ackerman, it's completely different. Let's
18 go through it bit by bit if you want.
19 "Who sent him to Knin for that training?" And he said: "At that
20 time, they requested volunteers from Knin. The municipal authorities in
21 Knin requested humanitarian aid." And that's what he responded to,
22 according to the witness. He had a bus, and he started using that bus by
23 taking people to Knin.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: I think what he said was among the things they
25 requested was humanitarian aid.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: The question before was who sent him to Knin for
2 that training, the military training? And that's the answer I want to
3 that question.
4 MR. ACKERMAN: I think his answer is pretty clear. Nobody did, he
5 went as a volunteer.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: That's enough, Mr. Ackerman.
7 You have acknowledged already that Milankovic went or undertook
8 military training in Knin. Who sent him to Knin for the military
9 training? Or who was instrumental in that military training being given
10 to Milankovic?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were various agitators who
12 were taking people to Krajina. Many of them even boasted about this or
13 that person. Whether it was someone there leading the whole thing, that's
14 one thing that I was not aware of.
15 MR. NICHOLLS:
16 Q. I'm sorry, I don't understand your answer completely.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
18 MR. NICHOLLS:
19 Q. I'm sorry, sir, I don't understand your answer completely. Many
20 of them boasted about this or that person. What do you mean there? I'm
21 just trying to ask you who was it who sent Veljko Milankovic to Knin for
22 military training? And you're talking about people boasting about this or
23 that person. Could you be a little more specific, please.
24 A. I do not know who took Veljko Milankovic to Knin.
25 Q. You do know, don't you, that he and his unit were involved in the
1 takeover of the Kozara transmitter?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. That was after he returned from Knin, wasn't it?
4 A. I think so. I don't know. Perhaps if I could have my memory
5 refreshed. But yes, I think so. Yes. I don't know. I can't answer your
6 question with precision, but yes, after all, yes. Yes, later.
7 Q. When Milankovic returned to Prnjavor, did he have about 30 armed
8 persons with him? Is that an accurate -- reasonably accurate figure, from
9 your knowledge of how many people were operating in his group in Prnjavor?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Were they well armed with pistols, automatic weapons, bazookas,
12 and grenades?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Now, I don't want to go through all of this line by line. But is
15 it true that they used these weapons to harass, intimidate, threaten the
16 population -- or just say people in Prnjavor?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Is it true that on main roads, they set up checkpoints and they
19 conducted illegal searches of cars and that they actually committed thefts
20 from citizens?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Is it true that individually and as a group, they provoked and
23 harassed the Muslim population with the aim of precipitating interethnic
24 conflict -- interethnic fighting? Excuse me.
25 A. Not Muslims only. They mistreated everyone.
1 Q. I think you're right about that. But isn't it true that they were
2 particularly threatening and focussed on the Muslim or Bosniak population
3 in Prnjavor?
4 A. It was more against the Muslims than anyone else. That's correct.
5 Q. We've agreed that there was ethnic cleansing in Lisnje in the
6 summer of 1992. Milankovic was involved in that, wasn't he?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And those were Bosniaks who were driven out during that particular
9 campaign. Correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, you've told us, and you told Mr. Ackerman -- you explained at
12 some length how when the multiparty elections occurred and when these new
13 democratic institutions were being set up, your idea was to have a sort of
14 pluralistic multiethnic party, but that that didn't happen. Right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And although you were a member of the SDS and the SDS president,
17 you were pushed out of office?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And that was by the more -- I'll use the word nationalistic
20 elements of the SDS in Prnjavor?
21 A. It was more that they didn't really understand democracy than
22 being obsessed by hate.
23 Q. I didn't say "obsessed by hate." But they certainly were not
24 interested in your ideas about a multiethnic party?
25 A. That's correct.
1 Q. And in fact, has it never occurred to you that it would have been
2 useful for that SDS leadership in Prnjavor to have Veljko Milankovic
3 causing these disruptions and fear in the Bosniak population? Has that
4 ever occurred to you, that he was useful to the SDS leadership?
5 A. There's a dilemma there. What I understood was that other,
6 unknown people had influence on him. What I'm confused by, however, is
7 the hostility between him on the one hand and the municipal bodies on the
8 other. And --
9 Q. Why don't you try to answer that question again. Start over,
10 because you sort of faded out. Hasn't it ever occurred to you -- isn't it
11 true that Veljko Milankovic's activities after he returned from Knin were
12 useful and positive for the SDS party and leadership?
13 A. You can't say that. As far as I was aware, and I did talk to
14 people at that time, you know, the multiethnic assembly was still
15 operating with Muslims, Croats, and other parties in it. It was still
16 operating. The municipality, there was -- the feeling was more fear of
17 unrest than an ambition to deter unrest in the municipality. Also the
18 president, the way I saw it, regardless of their relationship. It's just
19 that they simply failed to understand my idea.
20 Q. I'm not talking about your ideas right now. I'll try it this way.
21 Veljko Milankovic's unit, the Wolves, were well armed and
22 ruthless. Correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. They saw themselves as Serb heroes?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. There were others who saw them as Serb heroes?
2 A. Yes. Yes.
3 Q. That included some of the top SDS leadership and some of the SDS
4 leadership in Prnjavor. Stop. That included some members of the SDS
5 leadership in Prnjavor. Correct?
6 A. I don't know about those particular relations. I really can't say
7 anything about anyone there.
8 Q. All right. I'll move on in a minute. But something you said
9 earlier, I think it has gone off the screen, was that nobody knew, you
10 were saying, who had influence over Veljko Milankovic. The takeover of
11 the Kozara tower was viewed as a very positive development by the Krajina
12 leadership, wasn't it?
13 He was, in fact, congratulated by Dr. Vukic and Grahovac. Do you
14 remember reading that, for this Kozara takeover?
15 A. It may very well have been the case. I'm not certain about it,
16 but at one point in time, there was a person who was always there in touch
17 with Grahovac. That's precisely what some other people among us did not
18 like. So we moved for a decision within Krajina to express displeasure
19 about that. This was no authentic expression of Krajina. I think this
20 was a misuse, a case of misuse of that particular unit. There was no need
21 for anything like that.
22 Who was it to place another extra channel on the repeater itself?
23 This would have been no problem at all. It was something perfectly legal,
24 after all. I don't think there was a real reason to use force there,
25 least of all for this force to be used on behalf of Krajina. As far as I
1 remember, I became involved in this as well as other people from this
2 area. We couldn't come to terms with the fact that certain groups were
3 boasting about being part of Krajina, or rather the assembly of Krajina at
4 that time.
5 Q. You said a minute ago there was a person.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
7 MR. NICHOLLS:
8 Q. You said a moment ago there was a person who was always there in
9 touch with Grahovac. Who's that person? Who are you referring to?
10 A. Miro Mladjenovic. May I just be allowed to say something else.
11 Q. Go ahead.
12 A. Mr. Brdjanin had a run-in with Mr. Mladjenovic in connection with
13 these very things.
14 Q. Were you present at this run-in?
15 A. Not for the biggest run-in, but later at a session that occurred
16 later, I heard about this very strong animosity, and I heard about the
17 reasons for it.
18 Q. Are you --
19 A. Miro Mladjenovic, and the reporter, he was a reporter himself,
20 took pictures, photographs, of Veljko Milankovic, or rather, of his men.
21 And they came to Krajina before we realised what was going on. And that
22 is why later, we took a stand on this issue.
23 Q. Just to be clear, what period are you talking about?
24 A. It is the period in 1991, the fall of 1991, as far as I can
25 remember, after the summer. In fact, just after the end of summer, as far
1 as I can remember.
2 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, the next thing I was going to do
3 involves playing an audiotape and a recording. If it's acceptable to the
4 Chamber, I'd rather just start off with that tomorrow rather than start
5 and begin questions on it and not finish. I can say that I will
6 definitely finish tomorrow.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Is it okay with you, Mr. Ackerman?
8 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, it is okay with me. Can I know what
9 video it is that's going to be used tomorrow.
10 MR. NICHOLLS: It's an audiotape, and the transcript has been
12 MR. ACKERMAN: Is it on the list of exhibits that you've given us?
13 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: All right.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: Doesn't have an exhibit number yet.
16 MR. ACKERMAN: I think I know what it is, Your Honour. It's the
17 0323 -- one of those two 0323 documents.
18 MR. NICHOLLS: That's right.
19 MR. ACKERMAN: No problem.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Blagojevic is sitting tomorrow? It's still sitting.
23 It's not cancelled by any chance? So there is no way we can move to the
25 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I'm now so utterly confused by this
1 timetable. Tomorrow is the afternoon, is it?
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
3 MS. KORNER: Wednesday is the morning.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
5 MS. KORNER: Thursday is the afternoon.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
7 MS. KORNER: And Friday is the morning.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
9 MS. KORNER: Make eminent common sense.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: You're telling me, Ms. Korner.
11 Yes, Mr. Vidic, we have to stop here because tomorrow we're
12 starting a new chapter, and I don't think we can finish that in the few
13 minutes that we have left. So take a rest, and you will come here again
14 tomorrow afternoon starting at 2.15. And hopefully we will finish with
15 you tomorrow and you would be able to go back home.
16 Madam Usher will now escort you out of the courtroom. Thank you.
17 [The witness stands down]
18 JUDGE AGIUS: So that's it. We stand adjourned until tomorrow at
19 2.15. I think it's the same courtroom, Courtroom II. Thank you.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.35 p.m.,
21 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 2nd day of
22 December, 2003, at 2.15 p.m.