1 Friday, 20 February 2004
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Good morning. Could you call the case,
6 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. Good morning, Your Honours.
7 Case Number IT-99-36-T, The Prosecutor versus Radoslav Brdjanin.
8 [The accused entered court]
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Mr. Brdjanin, good morning to you. Can you
10 follow the proceedings in a language which you can understand?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour. Yes, I
12 can follow in a language which I understand.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you. Appearances for the
15 MS. KORNER: Good morning, Your Honours. Joanna Korner assisted
16 by Denise Gustin, case manager.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, and good morning to you, ma'am.
18 Appearances for Radoslav Brdjanin.
19 MR. ACKERMAN: Good morning, Your Honours. I'm John Ackerman.
20 I'm here with David Cunningham and Aleksandar Vujic, back in my more
21 familiar spot.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. And good morning to you, too. Yes, I
23 see you, Ms. Korner.
24 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, it's only a question of the timetable
25 for, effectively, the rest of the evidence. Your Honours are calling the
1 witness this morning. I don't know whether Your Honours can give us a
2 rough idea how long you're going to be with the witness.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, we are going to follow the same procedure we
4 did last time. We have prepared -- one moment. We have prepared a list
5 of questions which I am going to put to the witness. And then as we go
6 along, as one question might breed another, then obviously there might be
7 questions coming from either Judge Janu or Judge Taya or even myself in
8 addition to what we have here. I don't anticipate much more to be frank
9 with you. I reckon we should definitely be well over with this witness by
10 the first break.
11 MS. KORNER: Right. Well, Your Honour -- again, as we don't know
12 what Your Honours are going to ask, we don't know yet from our side how
13 long we'll be. Can I just inquire whether Your Honours got a copy of a
14 document. It had already been a part of an exhibit, but we found a
15 translation for it, and we handed it -- Mr. Ackerman, I think, had it. It
16 was the order from Neskovic.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, it's available.
18 MS. KORNER: Thank you.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: We are -- we have the Teslic Binder, folder, yeah.
20 So we've prepared ourselves obviously with all the documents that we
21 thought would be necessary or might be necessary.
22 MS. KORNER: Yes.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: But beyond that I can't tell you.
24 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I was merely inquiring because we made
25 arrangements to get it to you.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: That document we do have, yes.
2 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, then the next matter is this: As
3 Your Honour knows, I have objections to a number of the exhibits that
4 Mr. Ackerman wants to put in, and he has given us an added one this
5 morning to which I also object.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Which added one?
7 MS. KORNER: May I ask Your Honour doesn't read out the name,
8 please, in open session.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
10 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, it seems to me that before Mr. Ackerman
11 formally closes his case, Your Honour will have to deal with that. The
12 question is if there isn't sufficient time today, are Your Honours going
13 to sit on Monday?
14 JUDGE AGIUS: On Monday, Ms. Korner and Mr. Ackerman, I was -- is
15 Mr. Roberts here? No, he's not. I was in contact with Mr. Roberts this
16 morning through email, internal email, asking him to contact you and
17 Mr. Ackerman with a view to possibly holding a meeting on Monday to
18 discuss the business we are going to have together next month. So I was
19 suggesting 11.00, subject to both of you being able to be present and
20 subject, of course, because at the time I had not yet spoken to Judge Janu
21 and Judge Taya about the time. But we have other business to discuss on
22 Monday, so I imagine that I could go ahead and ask Mr. Roberts to contact
24 I suppose since you're saying this, you haven't been contacted as
1 MS. KORNER: No.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: But my intention is to have a meeting with you,
3 that's the three of us with you and Mr. Roberts, and maybe someone else on
4 Monday at about 11.00.
5 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, certainly that's convenient for us.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: That's convenient. Obviously, if that's not
7 convenient, we can talk of Tuesday. We have a witness on Tuesday.
8 MS. KORNER: We do. And Your Honour, that's why I was
9 saying -- that witness won't take very long, I don't think, but as I say,
10 I think we need to deal with the objections to the exhibits before
11 Mr. Ackerman formally closes the case.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Yes, definitely. What I suggest is that since
13 we have not discussed the matter at any length in camera amongst
14 ourselves, that we leave this matter outstanding until Tuesday, and we
15 will decide it on Tuesday.
16 MS. KORNER: Very well.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Also, we need to make sure which documents
18 you are referring to and that we have got a complete picture.
19 Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
20 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, with regard to your suggested meeting,
21 I wonder if it would be acceptable if we could do it like immediately
22 after the sitting on Tuesday so that I don't have to make two trips down
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, Tuesday the position is as follows,
25 Mr. Ackerman: I personally have no problem at all. The only thing is
1 this: I imagine that -- Tuesday, we are sitting in the afternoon,
2 Madam Registrar, no? I do not anticipate that particular witness who is
3 coming over to testify on Tuesday to be here for more than half an hour.
4 MS. KORNER: Well, I wouldn't -- there's cross-examination. The
5 witness may only be half an hour in chief, but there's cross-examination
6 as well.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: But that witness is testifying on one particular
8 instance -- all right, make it one hour. But that gets us to 3 -- let's
9 say it takes us to 3.30.
10 MS. KORNER: Your Honour needs, I think to hear the argument on
11 the exhibits first --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, exactly.
13 MS. KORNER: -- before the witness is called because it's a
14 witness in rebuttal.
15 MR. ACKERMAN: I agree with that.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So let's -- then the meeting, I suppose,
17 won't last more than an hour. The only thing is I need to be at the
18 airport as I explained to you last time sometime in the evening. My wife
19 returns that day at 7-something, I think. So I need to go and pick her
21 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, Your Honour --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Otherwise, she won't return again, Mr. Ackerman.
23 MR. ACKERMAN: I'm familiar with that kind of attitude,
24 Your Honour.
25 Your Honour, my objections to the Prosecution's exhibits were all
1 given to you in writing, and that saved a lot of argument time in Court.
2 It would seem to me if Ms. Korner could simply give you the objections in
3 writing, that we could shorten this up rather dramatically.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly.
5 MS. KORNER: Really, I think this is a question for oral
6 discussion rather than in writing.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. It's not the end of the world. We can cope
8 with that.
9 So would you agree to, therefore, postpone the meeting on the
10 other matter until Tuesday --
11 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I'm perfectly happy with that. I would
12 suggest that we hold it sometime in the morning, as Mr. Ackerman will have
13 to come on Tuesday in any event, rather than after court on Tuesday.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: It makes no difference to me. I'm really at your
15 disposal. I can come any time you want.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I will now need to discuss with Mr. Roberts, my
17 legal officer, to see what commitments he has, because the entire next
18 week Mr. Von Hebel will not be here, so practically he will be responsible
19 for the whole team. And I don't want to tax him unduly. So I'll come
20 back to you later on today directly or indirectly through Mr. Roberts.
21 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I was told by Mr. Ackerman that some of
22 the exhibits I've objected to, he may not be seeking now to put in. So
23 perhaps if he could let me know, that would also shorten matters.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I will do that right now. It will
25 take me a few seconds.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
2 MR. ACKERMAN: For the record, Your Honour, I want to formally
3 offer and tender Defence exhibits 1 through 379 with the following
4 exceptions: I wish to withdraw Exhibits 77, 90, 91, 92, and 342.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: It's not much, Mr. Ackerman.
6 MR. ACKERMAN: It's more than the Prosecution has withdrawn,
7 Your Honour.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Oh, the Prosecution has failed to tender thousands
9 of documents, I would say.
10 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I could have tendered something like a
11 hundred thousand pages had I felt inclined to do that.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm glad you didn't, Ms. Korner, because the -- our
13 office -- the sooner I get rid of this case the better. I'm just looking
14 forward to seeing all those binders leave my office.
15 MS. KORNER: I was told actually by Ms. Hollis, that the original
16 intent - she's one of the original people who came here - the original
17 intention was this should be a paperless Tribunal, and it's never worked.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: In my country, I was in charge, way back in the
19 1980s, of the computerisation programme, and before that I embarked on
20 that I went to the States and I went to England to see. The States were
21 much more advanced at the time, England not yet. I remember some of the
22 courts, particularly in Slough, for example. I went to see how it was
23 operating, et cetera, and I convinced myself we were going to get more
24 paper than we were actually used to. And I carried out the whole
25 computerisation programme over the years, believe me, you start printing
1 out yourself plus you're given hard copies, plus you get drafts and drafts
2 and drafts. And it's impossible.
3 Anyway, let's bring the witness in. Does he -- he hasn't asked
4 for any protective measures, has he? To my knowledge, no.
5 Where is he?
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Welcome to this Tribunal. You have been summoned to
10 appear, give testimony in this trial against Mr. Radoslav Brdjanin by the
11 Trial Chamber itself. I suppose you are already familiar with the
12 procedure. If not, tell me and I will explain to you. But the first
13 thing that you ought to know is that before we can proceed with your
14 testimony, our Rules require that you make a solemn declaration to the
15 effect that in the course of your testimony you will speak the truth, the
16 whole truth, and nothing but the truth. You are a judge, so you know
17 exactly the importance of this declaration. You have the text of the
18 declaration in your hands. Please proceed. Read it out aloud, and that
19 will be your solemn undertaking with us.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
21 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Please take a seat.
23 WITNESS: GORAN NESKOVIC
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 Questioned by the Court:
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Could you state your name and surname, please.
2 A. My name is Goran Neskovic.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: When were you born?
4 A. I was born in 1955, in Doboj, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: And your ethnicity is Serb?
6 A. Yes, I am. That's right.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: And could you give us some information on your
9 A. I graduated from the faculty of law in 1978. And since then, I
10 have worked in the justice department throughout. I worked as a judge.
11 That was up until 1976 [as interpreted]. And from 1986 onwards, I worked
12 as the basic public prosecutor in Doboj. From mid-July 1992, I worked as
13 the president of the high court in Doboj. From 1994, I worked as
14 assistant minister for justice. And in 1998 -- since 1998, I have been
15 working as a lawyer.
16 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I think there must be a mistake.
17 Because it says he worked -- he graduated in 1978. But it says on the
18 transcript: "I worked as a judge up until 1976." It must be 1986.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: First of all, is it correct you graduated in 1978?
20 Yes, I don't see the --
21 A. I said I graduated in 1978. And that since then, I worked in the
22 judiciary including my charge at the higher prosecution office. From 1998
23 [as interpreted] to 1986 I was also working as a judge. In that period of
24 time, I also did my military service.
25 MS. KORNER: I heard from the headphones 1998 until ...
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's clear this. I will put a direct question
2 straight away. After graduating -- you graduated from which university?
3 A. Faculty of law in Sarajevo.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: And you worked as a judge up until which year?
5 A. From 1981 to 1986.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I see. From 1981 until 1986, okay. And then from
7 1986 you worked as a public prosecutor, and then subsequently as a judge,
8 as a president of the high court in Doboj. That's correct.
9 A. That's right, yes.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: So what was your position in 1992 when you say you
11 became president of the Doboj court in July, mid-July 1992. Correct?
12 A. From the 10th to the 15th of July, I was the charge d'affaires of
13 the president of the high court in Doboj because the elections had not
14 gone through yet, had not been completed. That is de facto when I started
15 working. On the 20th of July 1992, I was elected, together with other
16 judges, as president of the high court, and official authorisation from
17 the Ministry of Defence to work in the court I received on the 1st of
18 August. Which means from the 1st of July between the 10th and the 15th, I
19 was already working as the president of the high court.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: As president of the high court, I don't know how
21 your system works, did you report to anyone? Go ahead.
22 A. No. A high-court judge was in charge of solving cases sent up by
23 the lower courts, first-instance courts. The high court, however, was
24 duty-bound to send in his report to the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry
25 of Justice sends it on to the national assembly for adoption. Of course,
1 if the court is not working properly, then the Ministry of Justice can ask
2 the national assembly to relieve him of his duties.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: But you had no direct superior, did you?
4 A. No.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Just before and until you became president of the
6 high court in Doboj, were you still performing duties as a prosecutor?
7 A. No, although I was listed as working, and I did receive a salary
8 from the prosecutor's office.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: So what you were actually engaged in? What kind of
10 work were you engaged in?
11 A. I was the acting president of the high court. That is to say, I
12 represented the high court.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: When did you actually start working as the acting
14 president of the high court? Which day? Which date?
15 A. On the 10th of July 1992.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
17 A. As far as I can remember.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Until the 10th of July 1992, what was your position?
19 A. Public prosecutor in Doboj.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: And as public prosecutor in Doboj, who was your
21 direct superior?
22 A. The higher prosecutor in Doboj.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Who was he? Or she?
24 A. His name was Mr. Stevan Savic.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: So if I read you well, you became -- you were
1 appointed president of the Doboj court, high court, from your position as
2 prosecutor, public prosecutor.
3 A. That's right, yes.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Who appointed you as president of the Doboj high
6 A. The Judges' collegiate --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: So the Judge's collegiate --
8 A. No, I apologise. Not the collegium. They did not appoint me.
9 They put me forward, nominated me, and then put forward that proposal to
10 the minister of justice for the president of the court and the judges.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: So all the incumbent judges did not choose a
12 president from amongst themselves, but they chose someone from the
13 prosecution, the public prosecutor for that matter, and that was their
14 recommendation to the minister; is that correct?
15 A. That's right, yes.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Prior to your coming here to the courtroom to
17 testify today, have you spoken to anyone about your being summoned to give
18 testimony in this case?
19 A. Yes, I talked to my family.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Anyone else?
21 A. But not about the facts.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Anyone else?
23 A. No.
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I just want to make sure that I am right.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Today, you are no longer occupying a public office. You are in private
2 practice. Am I right?
3 A. Yes, yes, a lawyer.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. In your life, were you ever a member of
5 any political party.
6 A. No.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Not even the communist party or whatever it was
8 called in your --
9 A. Oh, yes. I do apologise. I was a member of the communist party.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: When did you cease being a member of the communist
11 party, League of Communists?
12 A. In 1990, when it was dissolved.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: So in other words, even when you were still a judge,
14 because you told us that there was a time until 1986 that you were working
15 as a judge, you still held a membership card with the League of Communists
16 at the time?
17 A. Yes, that's correct. All judges were members of the League of
18 Communists. They couldn't have held a post otherwise. A person who was
19 not a member of the League of Communists could not become a judge or hold
20 a public office.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Were you a member of the SDS?
22 A. No. In 1990, there were instructions banning people in public
23 office or banning judges from being members of the SDS.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Now, let's come to the most substantial part of your
25 testimony or the reason why you are here, in particular. I am going to
1 refer you to the events that took place allegedly in Teslic and which
2 involved a group known or called as the Mice group. Have you ever heard
3 of such a group?
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you familiar with the circumstances that led to
6 the Mice group coming or arriving in Teslic? Do you know how come they
7 got there?
8 A. I do not know how they arrived, but while I was still working in
9 the prosecutors' office, I learned that in Teslic, there had been a
10 conflict between the police from Doboj and the police from Banja Luka.
11 And that a group of people had been arrested and that they were being
12 detained in Teslic.
13 Later on, I learned about this case from the documents, the
14 documents before you now.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Can you tell us whether you were aware of the
16 arrival -- at the time, of the arrival of the Mice group in Teslic before
17 you learned that they had been arrested?
18 A. No. No, no. I learned about them only when they were arrested.
19 As follows from this criminal report, they arrived in Teslic in two
20 groups. One group arrived on the 3rd of June, and the second one on the
21 6th of June. They were arrested on the 30th of June 1992. On the 8th of
22 July, the police submitted a criminal report against them; that is,
23 against a total of 16 persons. The police said that eight of them were
24 members of the Mice, seven were civilian policemen and the rest were
25 soldiers. It was a total of 16 persons.
1 On the 10th, the prosecutor submitted a motion for an
2 investigation to the Teslic court asking for them to be interviewed, for
3 witnesses to be interviewed, and to have it checked with the military and
4 police command whether these persons belonged to their units. On the 10th
5 of July, the investigating judge of the court in Teslic issued a decision
6 on initiating an investigation against these persons. Five of them
7 confessed. They were charged with depriving various people of their
8 freedom in illegal ways, serious theft, extortion. Five persons from the
9 army also confessed. The others did not.
10 On the 16th of July, the investigating judge and the president of
11 the court in Teslic informed me, as the president of the court, that in
12 the meantime three persons had been released because there were no further
13 grounds for keeping them in detention and that 13 persons had been
14 transferred to the district prison in Banja Luka. It was not clear to him
15 why they were transferred there.
16 On the 17th of July, I wrote a letter to the president of the
17 district court in Banja Luka, to the Ministry of Justice, and informed
18 them that these persons were to be held in detention in Doboj because
19 Teslic was within the jurisdiction of the high court in Doboj, and the
20 appropriate detention unit was in Doboj. Two or three days later, these
21 persons were transferred from Banja Luka to Doboj. I do not know about
22 the manner of their transfer. This was done in Banja Luka, and they were
23 already in the district prison on the 21st of July.
24 The investigating judge in Teslic, on the 21st of July, again
25 released eight persons, and the reasons he gave was that they had been
1 interviewed, that witnesses had been interviewed, that there were no
2 further grounds for detention, and that the military command had requested
3 that these persons, as soldiers, be sent back to the fighting so that only
4 five persons remained in detention as of the 21st of July 1992. They
5 remained in detention until the 6th of August. On the 6th of August, the
6 investigating judge moved that the five of them, that their detention be
7 extended. The accused submitted a complaint, and then these five were
8 also released with the reasons they had been interviewed, that witnesses
9 had been interviewed, that they would not influence each other, and that
10 if the previous group had been released on the 21st, there was no longer
11 any reason to keep these men in detention. And that is all of the Mice
12 were released from detention on the 6th of August.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: So the way you have explained these events, it seems
14 to indicate that you had absolutely nothing to do with this whole process,
15 except that you wrote this letter on the 17th of July --
16 A. That's correct.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: -- to have the detainees transferred from Banja Luka
18 to Doboj.
19 A. That's correct. I wrote this letter on the 17th of July and
20 delivered it to the president of the district court in Banja Luka, to the
21 Ministry of Justice, and I think to the district prison. I have a copy
22 here. And on the same day, it says in the upper right-hand corner "A/A"
23 and my signature, because I felt that the case was closed, that I had done
24 my legal duty. I may be wrong or I may be not. But it was accepted that
25 I was right to do this.
1 The person in charge of the entire proceedings was
2 Nenad Kovacevic, the investigating judge, who knows all the details of the
3 case. What I have told you I said on the basis of the documentation at my
4 disposal, which I read before this session.
5 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, may I --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Ms. Korner.
7 MS. KORNER: -- On that note may I raise something. I note that
8 the witness has a very large file in front of him. Your Honours may not
9 be able to see it.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I saw him entering with a binder.
11 MS. KORNER: I don't know how Your Honours would want to deal with
12 it, but I would request that before I cross-examine I be allowed to look
13 through the file. And because I can't read the language, I'm going to ask
14 for one of the language assistants to go through it.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, what did you bring with you by way of
16 documents? I saw you entering with a green folder or binder.
17 A. There is a copy here of the Official Gazettes which the Prosecutor
18 also has. For example, about the jurisdiction of the high court. This is
19 the Official Gazette of the 17th of May. Then there is the decision on
20 the election of myself as the president of the court. Then there is my
21 letter of the 17th of July which I addressed to the high court in
22 Banja Luka. The criminal report of the 10th of July. The motion to
23 institute an investigation of the 10th of July. On the 11th of July, the
24 decision to conduct an investigation. The Prosecutor has this also.
25 Then here I have two requests sent to the court, and this is cut
1 out from the newspapers, from the military command, and from the police,
2 that they be released. On the 21st of July, there is the decision ending
3 their detention. And another such decision dated --
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the date.
5 A. These are the documents I obtained in 1999 because that was when
6 certain articles were published about this group, and my name was
7 mentioned in this context. That's why I wanted to have this
9 JUDGE AGIUS: How come you know -- or you tell us that you know
10 which documents the Prosecution already has?
11 A. I apologise. I know because this decision on conducting an
12 investigation which I have has the markings of the Prosecution. I
13 borrowed this from another case because I was involved in another case.
14 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, this is -- I was going to raise this.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
16 MS. KORNER: He must have acquired these documents as a result of
17 being Defence counsel for Mr. Krajisnik. Unless he's still employed on
18 that case, those documents should have been returned to the new counsel.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: What I wanted to know first and foremost how he
20 knows what you have and what you don't.
21 MS. KORNER: I was going to raise exactly the same question. But
22 it didn't occur to me this was the only way --
23 A. It's only one decision. The other documents are not from that
25 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, can I leave that until the end of the
1 evidence. I want to raise that issue. Thank you.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Obviously, yes. Thank you, Ms. Korner.
3 Were you ever asked to make a statement to the Office of the
4 Prosecutor on the events related to the Mice and their release?
5 A. No. Nobody asked me to do that.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Now, who -- again, could I have you repeat the name
7 of the investigating judge in Teslic that took all these decisions.
8 A. I didn't hear the interpretation.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. I will repeat my question.
10 A. Yes.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Could you please repeat the name of the
12 investigating judge in Teslic that took all the decisions that you
13 referred to.
14 A. Nenad Kovacevic.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: What was his position in the hierarchy in the court
16 in Teslic?
17 A. The president of the court and an investigating judge.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: And as a judge and president -- he was president of
19 the court of first instance, I'm informed.
20 A. That's correct.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: So as president of the court of first instance, who
22 was he directly answerable to? Who was his direct superior?
23 A. He was independent in his work. He was directly responsible to
24 the Ministry of Justice, as all courts were, both first instance and
25 second instance.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Was there a court of second instance in Teslic? Was
2 there a high court?
3 A. The second-instance court was the high court I worked in. That
4 was the appellate court.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Was he answerable to you?
6 A. No, no. Under the law, he could not be answerable. We at that
7 time only dealt with appeals against decisions issued by the
8 first-instance courts. Every court reported to the Ministry of Justice,
9 and the Ministry of Justice compiled a report for the assembly evaluating
10 the work of each court. He was appointed like me by the assembly and
11 could be dismissed by the assembly.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
13 Now, page 15, line 3 of your testimony of today, you testified:
14 "On the 16th of July" - now, this is when you are already president of
15 the Doboj high court - "the investigating judge and president of the court
16 in Teslic informed me as president of the court that in the meantime three
17 persons had been released because there were no further grounds for
18 keeping them in detention and that 13 persons had been transferred to the
19 district prison in Banja Luka."
20 Why would the investigating judge and president, I suppose we're
21 talking of the same person, Mr. Kovacevic, why would the investigating
22 judge have to inform you?
23 A. Because this was already a regional issue by then. The detainees,
24 had they been transferred within Doboj, he wouldn't have had to inform me.
25 But as they were transferred to the area covered by another court, then he
1 had to inform me of this. It was just information. Because it was a
2 conflict of jurisdictions.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you inquire with Mr. Kovacevic why they had been
4 transferred to Banja Luka and -- why they had been transferred to
5 Banja Luka?
6 A. No, he only informed me that the police from Banja Luka had taken
7 the detainees from Teslic to the prison of Banja Luka. I think he did
8 this because there was a conflict between the Banja Luka police and the
9 Doboj police. Up to the moment of the arrest, as far as I know, Teslic
10 was under the control of the Doboj police, the Security Services Centre
11 there. After the arrest, Teslic was controlled by the Banja Luka Security
12 Services Centre. That's how it remained throughout the war. Now again it
13 is under the control of the Doboj Security Services Centre.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Why do you say "after the arrest, Teslic was
15 controlled by Banja Luka security services"? Am I right -- or rather, I
16 put it to you that Doboj or the Municipality of Teslic -- sorry, the
17 Municipality of Teslic, by a declaration of the 4th of April 1992, joined
18 the Autonomous Region of Krajina with Banja Luka being the capital. Is
19 that correct?
20 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, just to correct, I think it's the 6th of
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah, probably you're right, Ms. Korner.
23 MS. KORNER: P1921.
24 A. I'm not aware of this decision on joining the Krajina. I know
25 that up to the outbreak of war, Teslic belonged to the Doboj region and
1 was under the competence of the Doboj Security Services Centre.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: When did the war start?
3 A. The war started in May.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: So why do you say that after the arrest, Teslic was
5 controlled by Banja Luka security services? Because if the war started in
6 May, and you say that up to the breaking of the war -- breaking out of the
7 war Teslic did not form part of the Banja Luka, that's a contradiction.
8 So basically what I'm suggesting, you are fully aware, according to what
9 you testified, up until July of 1992 when you were president of the Doboj
10 high court, Teslic was already part or controlled by the Banja Luka
11 security services and not by those in Doboj.
12 A. That could be. I am not an expert on this. But I do know that
13 before the war, Teslic was within the area covered by the Doboj Security
14 Services Centre.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: The war had already -- the war had already been on
16 for a couple of months at least, and the president of the Doboj high
17 court, I would expect to be familiar with who was actually controlling
18 what and from where before getting involved in matters of jurisdiction
19 between municipalities and before issuing the order to which you referred
20 earlier on in your testimony.
21 A. I agree. But according to the decision, the Teslic court is under
22 the jurisdiction of the Doboj higher court. It was never under
23 Banja Luka.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: But before involving yourself in this, did you try
25 to find out how come and why these persons forming part of the Mice group
1 had been transferred to Banja Luka? Who had ordered their transfer to
2 Banja Luka?
3 A. The president said only the police from Banja Luka. That was the
4 only information I had. The police from Banja Luka.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: But let's speak now in legal terms because you are a
6 judge, and therefore you should be in a position to give me these answers.
7 Once a person is detained, charged and detained, does he or she fall
8 within the jurisdiction of the court or not, in your country? Who can
9 decide on his state of detention, on his condition of detention? Who has
10 got jurisdiction?
11 A. The judge.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: It seems that these detainees were
13 transferred -- were they transferred by the judge? Or were they just
14 transferred by the security services or by the police or the military to
15 Banja Luka?
16 A. I don't think the judge did that.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: So why didn't the judge refer the matter straight to
18 you before we had a fait accompli, before these detainees were
20 A. He informed me on the 16th of July.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Could Mr. Kovacevic have stopped their transfer to
22 Banja Luka?
23 A. I don't think he could have. I conclude this because after
24 studying these documents I see that they were detained on the 30th of
25 June. And the criminal report was submitted only on the 8th of July.
1 This means that they were detained without any court decision for the
2 first eight days of their detention. The first court decision on this was
3 issued on the 10th of July. On the 30th -- that's right, the dates were
4 30th June, 8 July, and 10th July, and that's why I conclude he could not
5 have prevented it.
6 MS. KORNER: Can I just clarify, is the witness saying 13th or
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, are you saying 13th, 1-3, or 30th, 3-0, June?
9 A. The 30th of June.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: So you're saying that when they were transferred to
11 Banja Luka, they were not yet formally under the jurisdiction of the court
12 in Teslic?
13 A. That's not what I said. I don't know when they were transferred
14 to Banja Luka. Yes, yes, I only said that they were arrested on the 30th
15 of June, and that from the criminal report I see that it was submitted
16 only on the 8th of July. The president informed me on the 16th or 17th, I
17 think. It's in my letter. Yes, on the 17th, I learned that these persons
18 were transferred. On the 17th.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you try and investigate why and who had -- why
20 they had been transferred to Banja Luka and who had issued the order for
21 their transfer to Banja Luka?
22 A. No, I did not. I assumed it was the police from Banja Luka.
23 That's what the president told me.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you try to verify why, how come that Banja Luka
25 security services had claimed for themselves these detainees and had them
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 transferred from the Teslic jurisdiction to the Banja Luka jurisdiction?
2 A. No. However, I just heard that the Doboj security centre filed a
3 criminal report against the members of the police force from Banja Luka to
4 the Teslic prosecutors' office because they considered them to have acted
5 unlawfully, but I don't have that particular report.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: At the time all this was happening, were you aware
7 or had you been put -- made aware of the kind of activities that the Mice
8 group had been engaged in in Teslic prior to their arrest?
9 A. Only what it says in the documents, that there were murders, that
10 it concerned looting, extortion, and they were deprived of their freedom
11 against the law. And it also says that those individuals represented
12 themselves falsely to be soldiers and policemen and that they acted as a
13 parapolice force and paramilitary.
14 And that is why the public prosecutor in his request for an
15 investigation asked the investigating judge to check out with the police
16 and army whether they were, in fact, paramilitaries and parapolicemen.
17 From the report by the investigating judge dated the 21st of July, we can
18 see that he released eight persons who were soldiers, and the reasons I
19 have already said was that they were questioned and interrogated and that
20 the military command asked these individuals to be released. So the
21 military command, thereby, recognised that they were indeed military men.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Were you aware or made aware of the circumstances
23 under which the Mice group were arrested?
24 A. I did have some knowledge about that. I wasn't working at the
25 high court at the time, though. But there was an armed struggle, I was
1 told, between them and the police from Banja Luka and that two policemen
2 were killed on the occasion, and that a number of other policemen were
3 wounded. And that that's how they came to be arrested.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Why would the police of Ban -- from Banja Luka be
5 involved in this, in this operation of the arrest of the Mice group if you
6 maintain that it was the Doboj security service and Teslic security -- or
7 Teslic police that were responsible?
8 A. I don't know why.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: But didn't it occur to you --
10 A. I think that's -- I think it was a question of who would be in
11 charge of Teslic because as I was informed at that time, the head -- the
12 chief of police in Doboj was in Teslic and that he was beaten up, up
13 there. Those were the rumours going round. But anyway, Teslic was cut
14 off from Doboj, so it was very difficult to communicate with it and nobody
15 went to Teslic.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: What do you mean, "nobody went to Teslic"? What do
17 you mean to tell us by that?
18 A. Well, what I meant was people didn't go on a daily basis. There
19 were no telephone lines, no electricity. If you received some
20 information, you would receive it through courier in a period -- during a
21 period of seven days or seven days' later.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Who was the chief of police that was beaten --
23 allegedly beaten up in Teslic?
24 A. Andrija Bjelosevic.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Who was the chief of police in Teslic at the time of
1 the arrest of the Mice group?
2 A. In Teslic, you mean?
3 JUDGE AGIUS: In Teslic, yes.
4 A. I think it was Dusan Kuzmanovic, but I'm not quite sure. However,
5 I think it was Dusan Kuzmanovic.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: And the commander of the police station? Do you
7 know who it was?
8 A. I don't know that. No, I don't. I wasn't in Teslic, so... And
9 the komandir would be a lower level post.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Would it be Predrag Markocevic?
11 A. There is a man called Predrag Markocevic who did work in the
12 police in Teslic. I don't know what position he occupied, however.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you aware that almost immediately following the
14 release of the Mice group, Dusan Kuzmanovic was replaced by someone else?
15 A. I don't know who was appointed. I know he was replaced. But who
16 was appointed in his place, I don't know.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Was he replaced by Predrag Radulovic?
18 A. I don't think so. I know Predrag Radulovic. He's a colleague of
19 mine. He's a lawyer. But I don't think he was appointed as chief of
20 police, although I'm not quite sure. I think Predrag Radulovic
21 was -- worked at the Banja Luka police.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: This is precisely what I'm suggesting to you, that
23 Dusan Kuzmanovic was replaced by Predrag Radulovic as a consequence, as a
24 result of an ad hoc order from Stojan Zupljanin. Are you aware of this?
25 A. No, I'm not.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you aware that Predrag Markocevic, who was, I
2 suggest to you, commander of the police station in Teslic, immediately
3 after the Mice release was replaced again as a result of a direct order
4 from Stojan Zupljanin by a certain Milenko Savic?
5 A. I'm not aware of that. I don't even know who Milenko Savic is. I
6 don't know the man.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: At the time all this was going on, and particularly
8 on or around the date the 17th of July when you wrote that order, where
9 you sent that order to have the Mice group returned to Teslic or Doboj
10 Municipality, were you contacted by anyone on the matter? Did you speak
11 to anyone on the matter, apart from Mr. Kovacevic?
12 A. Nobody contacted me, either from Banja Luka or the Ministry.
13 Nobody did, nor from the police. I don't remember anybody contacting me
14 about that. And it wasn't an order, it was just a letter to a colleague
15 of mine of the same rank as myself.
16 As far as I can see here, I placed the letter and dated it after
17 I -- I put it A/A, case closed, in the documents.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: To your knowledge, were the members of the Mice
19 group or any of them linked to a superior authority? Let's start from
20 here. Are you aware that some of them were members of the military?
21 A. Yes, yes. From the criminal report one can see that nine
22 individuals were members of the army, and seven were members of the
24 JUDGE AGIUS: So basically, they were all under superior
1 A. Yes. Yes.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: From your investigations in these -- on these
3 matters, are you aware of any representations made by the military with
4 regard to those members of the Mice group that were members of the
5 military? You have already stated earlier on in your testimony that there
6 was a specific request by the military command to have them returned to
7 barracks so that they could fight. But are you aware of this through your
8 own investigations or through reports that you have read or you may have
10 A. No, I learned about it on the basis of the report, where the
11 military command is asking for that and where the judge, the investigating
12 judge from Teslic, states in his report that that was being requested of
13 him by the military command. Now, whether the army undertook anything
14 with respect to those individuals or not, I really don't know.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you aware -- I mean, I know that 14 years
16 have -- almost 14 years have practically passed from those events, but are
17 you aware if any action was taken by the military with regard to those
18 members of the Mice group who were also part of the military?
19 A. I don't know that, no.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Have you tried to find out?
21 A. I did not investigate that, no.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: What happened to these members of the Mice group
23 after that they were returned from Banja Luka? Were any of them at any
24 time subjected to a trial, to trial proceedings? Were any one of them
1 A. They were under investigation. And as far as I know, the
2 investigations ended in 1993, and there was something else that needed to
3 be done and that was the exhumation of the persons killed and that then
4 the president of the investigating team asked resources for the
5 exhumation. But as there were no resources for that, the case remained
7 JUDGE AGIUS: But --
8 A. So that an indictment was never actually raised.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: You are aware that an indictment was never actually
10 made against any of the members of the Mice group?
11 A. There are certain proceedings underway at the cantonal court in
12 Zenica in the Federation. Now, for what cases, I don't really know.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: But for all intents and purposes, are all the
14 members of the Mice group still at large, walking around as free men?
15 A. I assume they're walking around as free men, yes.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Is there any reason why the military, for instance,
17 or the police or the security services for that matter, because as you
18 said, nine of them were members of the military, seven were members of the
19 police, are you aware of any reason at all why the military or the police
20 would not have been aware at the time of the reasons why the members of
21 the Mice group were arrested in the first place and of the details of the
22 alleged -- of the crimes alleged to have been committed by them?
23 A. I think the army and the police knew the crimes they were alleged
24 to have committed.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Why, in your opinion, do you think the members of
1 the Mice group were transferred to Banja Luka?
2 A. I think the reason was because it was the police and military from
3 Doboj. I think that was the main reason.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: What do you mean?
5 A. What did you say?
6 JUDGE AGIUS: What do you mean? My question was why in your
7 opinion were the members of the Mice group were transferred to Banja Luka.
8 And you're telling me the reason because it was the police and military
9 from Doboj. I don't really understand your answer.
10 A. Well, I assume -- it was like this. The police in Banja Luka was
11 in conflict with the police in Doboj. So that means there were people who
12 were wounded, injured, killed. And they decided to have them transferred
13 to Banja Luka because they didn't dare bring them to Doboj because there
14 was this conflict. And nobody at the time went to Teslic or went from
15 Teslic to Doboj. There was a conflict going on. So I think that was the
16 main reason.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: And did Banja Luka security services have a right,
18 according to you, at the time to have them transferred to Banja Luka?
19 A. I don't think so, no. If they were under the court's
20 jurisdiction, they did not. All they did have was to keep them in
21 detention for three days, a maximum of three days. Now, if the judge made
22 a decision, then they would have to be in the detention unit in the place
23 where the high court is, and the high court being in charge of the lower
25 JUDGE AGIUS: But if, as I suggested to you, starting from the 6th
1 of April of 1992 it was the Banja Luka security services that had
2 jurisdiction in that area, wouldn't it make sense to you that the Banja
3 Luka security services had every right at the time to have them
4 transferred straight away to Banja Luka, rather than have them kept and
5 detained in Teslic? Wouldn't that make sense to you?
6 A. No, it would not make sense, Your Honour. They can keep somebody
7 for only three days, either in Teslic or Banja Luka. Now, if there is a
8 court order by the judge pertaining to detention, then they would have to
9 be at the detention unit in Doboj because the order made by Teslic with
10 respect to the centre of the police has nothing to do with jurisdiction.
11 The judiciary, which was in keeping with the laws of Bosnia-Herzegovina --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: You told you don't really know whether they were
13 already under the jurisdiction of court or not at the time they were
14 transferred. So why did you get involved?
15 A. Because the president of the basic court informed me that he had
16 already released three men from detention, so it was under his authority,
17 and that the police had transferred the rest to Banja Luka. That is point
18 2 or paragraph 2 of my letter.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, but that brings me back to the question that I
20 asked you earlier: How would and why would a responsible judge, the
21 president of court, allow the transfer of detainees who are under his
22 jurisdiction when he shouldn't?
23 A. I don't think they even asked him that. I don't know how this
24 actually happened, but I don't think they asked him. And he didn't inform
25 me that he had -- why would he have informed me if he hadn't had this
1 problem in the first place?
2 JUDGE AGIUS: In other words, you're suggesting that they were
3 transferred to Banja Luka without the judge being consulted or informed,
4 without Mr. Kovacevic being put into the picture?
5 A. I don't know that. I can only assume.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: You were not consulted as president of the high
7 court in Doboj, were you?
8 A. No. No.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Now, you did tell us earlier on, according to how
10 the -- according to the documents that you were referring to, why and when
11 the various members of the Mice group were released. Could we go through
12 that again in greater detail. I want to know exactly what happened step
13 by step, who was released, before who and after whom, and who released
14 them and what was the reason.
15 A. Very well, yes. This is how it was: On the 9th of July 1992, a
16 criminal report was brought in against 16 individuals, 9 individuals
17 belonging to the army and 7 belonging to the police. The 8 individuals
18 who were in the army were called "the Mice," as the criminal report says.
19 May I take a moment, please, to look through the documents. On
20 the 16th of July 1992, detention was revoked against three individuals.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Those three individuals, were they
22 members of the police or were they members of the army? These are the
23 first three individuals that are released.
24 A. That's right. One was a member of the police, two were members of
25 the army.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: And the reason for their release?
2 A. I don't know. I haven't got a document about that. I was just
3 orally informed by the president of the basic court.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
5 A. And the investigating judge.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: But did the president, President Kovacevic, tell you
7 why he had ordered the release of those three individuals.
8 A. I think he said there were no grounds for proceedings against them
9 because allegedly they weren't there throughout that period but just
10 happened to be there by chance on that night when they were arrested, but
11 I'm not quite sure because I don't actually have the document.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have the names?
13 A. I have written them down here. Slobodan Karagic, Zoran Tadic, and
14 Predrag Subotic. And I named them in my letter.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, the next batch of --
16 A. The date is the 20th. The investigating judge in Teslic --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: So when were they returned from Banja Luka?
18 A. Around the 20th or 21st. I'm not quite sure.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: So they were returned on the 20th. And what
20 happened on the 20th now in Teslic?
21 A. What do you mean?
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, you were about to tell us "then on the
23 20th" -- I had asked you when was the next batch, next group released.
24 And you mentioned the date of the 20th.
25 A. The 21st. I apologise. It was actually the 21st. And I started
1 reading out the document.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Go ahead.
3 A. On the 21st of July 1992, the investigating judge revokes
4 detention for the following persons, eight individuals: Sljivic
5 Rodoljub, Sljuka Ranko, Sljuka Zoran, Slajuvica Dario, Mimic Ranko,
6 Gavranovic Sasa, Kezunovic Dragomir, and Devic Vitomir. That is the
7 military group.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: So that counts how many?
9 A. 11. And then it says: "Reasons by the judge: The investigating
10 judge finds that by interrogating the individuals and a certain number of
11 witnesses, basic investigatory work has been conducted, and most of the
12 people questioned owned up to having committed the crimes. And pursuant
13 to the law, this Court finds that with respect to the individuals
14 mentioned above, there are no further reasons for detention being
15 effective. And the time and circumstances have shown that they were
16 military men and that the individuals will be subjected to the military
17 command and will, therefore, not influence other witnesses who have not
18 yet been questioned." Those are the reasons stated by the judge. The
19 judge was Nenad Kovacevic, and the date was the 21st of July.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. There is a part of the transcript which I
21 don't understand. Perhaps I could ask you to read out again the first
22 sentence of that paragraph. The investigating judge finds that by
23 interrogating --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be asked to read
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Could you read slowly, please.
2 A. Very well. "The investigating judge finds that after interviewing
3 the accused and a certain number of witnesses, the most necessary
4 investigating actions have been performed, and most persons confessed to
5 having carried out crimes, committed crimes," and then there is a list of
6 the legal provisions. According to the provisions of Article 190,
7 Article 3 of the Law on Criminal Procedure and provisions of Article 191,
8 paragraph 2, items 2 and 4 of the above law, this Court finds that in
9 relation to the above-mentioned persons, there are no longer any reasons
10 for detention."
11 The judge has especially taken account the request of the
12 above-mentioned military command the time and the circumstance that these
13 are military personnel and are carrying out the most necessary
14 investigating actions, finds that they will be subjected to the control of
15 the above-mentioned military command and will therefore not be able to
16 influence witnesses who have not yet been interviewed."
17 JUDGE AGIUS: So at this point in time after the release of this
18 next group, are there any other Mice group members still being detained?
19 A. Five.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. What happened to those five?
21 A. On the 6th of August 1992, these five accused complained, or
22 rather appealled against their detention, and the file reached the Doboj
23 high court where three judges reviewing criminal cases, Drago Stokic
24 [phoen] as the president, Savo Lehovic [phoen], and Lazarevic Miroslav, as
25 members of the panel, issued a decision, handed down a decision approving
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the appeal of the appellants and changing the decision of the Teslic court
2 and abolishing their detention. The prosecutor of the high court in Doboj
3 has in writing submitted a motion to take into consideration the appeal of
4 the accused.
5 In the statement of reasons, it says the following: "The court of
6 first instance has interviewed a large number of witnesses in these
7 criminal proceedings and has, therefore, completed the most necessary
8 investigation of the accused. In the decision of the 21st of July" - so
9 this Court refers to the previous decision - "the other accused had their
10 detention revoked. Therefore, there are no special circumstances
11 indicating that the accused will interfere with the investigation by
12 influencing witnesses. Furthermore, there is no evidence to show that the
13 actions of the accused have disturbed citizens, and further it is not of
14 evident that detention is necessary in order to further conduct the
15 criminal investigation. For this reason, the court finds that the grounds
16 of appeal are justified and, therefore, the court overturns the decision
17 of the court of first instance and orders that the detainees being
18 released." And that's how they were all released.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's have a 25-minute break starting from now.
20 Thank you.
21 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, may I ask that I be given, at this
22 stage, the witness's file.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Cunningham.
24 MR. CUNNINGHAM: Judge, we're going to join in the request to look
25 at the file as well.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, unless he's got some personal papers of his
2 that might not be related --
3 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I would like to see any documents that
4 he has with him that relate to this, the evidence he is giving.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Judge, could I ask you to make that file
6 available both to the Prosecutor and to Defence counsel, please. Thank
8 We'll have -- then perhaps we can have a longer break.
9 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I think we'll have to because I'm going
10 to ask our language assistant to go through that with me now, and then
11 I'll give them over to Mr. Cunningham. If I can have them for the first
12 20 minutes.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
14 MS. KORNER: If Your Honour were to say instead of 25 minutes, 40
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm at your disposal, Ms. Korner, Mr. Cunningham.
17 MS. KORNER: That will give us both a chance.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know how you're going to go about this. But
19 are you removing papers from that file?
20 MS. KORNER: He is, yes.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. Right away.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Why are you removing?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Why are you separating some papers from others?
25 What are you actually doing?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wanted to take out the documents
2 connected with my testimony. Well, that's not all. I have here a
3 brochure with information for witnesses at the Tribunal. This is
4 not -- I'm just taking out the relevant documents, relevant for this case.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. But let us decide what is relevant and what's
6 not. I suggest you leave everything there.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Then obviously you will have everything back. Thank
9 you. We will rise now, a 40-minute break. If you require more, just let
10 us know and we are at your disposal. Thank you.
11 --- Recess taken at 10.37 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 11.23 a.m.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: In your country at the time, before and after,
14 someone who is charged with murder, especially multiple murders, who
15 confesses in the course of the investigations conducted by the
16 investigating judge, was it normal procedure, has it ever been normal
17 procedure, that that person is practically immediately released a few days
18 after the confession? Or do you find this utterly abnormal?
19 A. Utterly abnormal. Usually, in cases of multiple murder, or even
20 ordinary murder, the person is usually held in detention.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: So didn't it strike you as very abnormal to have on
22 the 21st of July eight persons who, according to the investigating judge
23 most of whom had confessed to the crimes imputed to them, to be
24 immediately released? Didn't that strike you as very abnormal?
25 A. To be quite honest, up to that -- I got this decision in the
1 archives and read it only recently. But I think it is unusual to release
2 people if there is evidence that they committed the above-mentioned
4 JUDGE AGIUS: And they were released by the same Kuzmanovic, no?
5 Kovacevic, sorry. Dusan --
6 A. No, no. Nenad Kovacevic, investigating judge.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: They were released by the same Nenad Kovacevic,
8 weren't they?
9 A. Yes. I just wanted to look, Your Honour. I think that in that
10 decision, it says that this was at the proposal of the public prosecutor.
11 Usually they're held in detention if the public prosecutor opposes their
12 release. If the public prosecutor agrees with their release, in most such
13 cases the court approves the release, although the court is not bound to
14 do so.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Now, let's go back a little bit before I return you
16 to this part of your testimony. The ones who were released on the 21st of
17 July by Judge Kovacevic, were they all members of the military?
18 A. It doesn't say that in the decision. And in the criminal report,
19 it says that yes, they were. They were members of the military. I only
20 wanted to add in connection with this decision, I found it when they were
21 released, it says here the public prosecutor in Teslic agrees that the
22 accused be released. That's the decision concerning the persons you are
23 now asking me about, dated the 21st of July.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Doesn't it strike you as strange in the least that
25 they are returned from Banja Luka on the 20th, allegedly interviewed
1 between then, after that, all of them, I suppose, and released the day
2 after? Doesn't it strike you as very strange that the day after their
3 return the judge who until their transfer to Banja Luka had no reason to
4 release them effectively releases them?
5 A. The judge handed down the decision on the 21st of July 1992. This
6 decision reached the prison on the 24th of July, as there was no postal
7 service or telephone. And it says here, released on the 24th of July 1992
8 at 15.10 hours. I think that the -- there was a three-day delay. I think
9 that when the judge released these persons, that he took into
10 consideration the request by the military command.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. But doesn't that make you think that the
12 return from Banja Luka to Doboj or to Teslic was not just a matter of
13 jurisdiction, but a carefully planned strategy to be able to satisfy the
14 requests of the military in Doboj?
15 A. I don't think it was a strategy. To be sure, I cannot speak on
16 behalf of the investigating judge. I don't know whether he had any talks
17 with the military. Nobody applied to me to have them released. As for
18 the army, it was all one. The 1st Krajina Corps covered both Doboj and
19 Teslic. They had a single command.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: You addressed your letter of the 17th July to the
21 president of the Banja Luka high court. That's Jovo Rosic. Is that
23 A. That's correct.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Did he at any time contact you on the -- on this
1 A. No, no.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you try to contact him before sending the
4 A. No. No, there were no telephone lines. If you look at my letter,
5 it was sent by telefax. It's something like Morse code. The telephone
6 lines were down. I didn't contact him or the ministry because the lines
7 were down, nor did they contact me. Simply three days later I learned
8 that the detainees had been transferred.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Could the witness please be shown Exhibit
10 Number P1938.
11 Have you ever seen this document before?
12 A. I can't remember ever having seen it before. I see that this is
13 addressed to the prosecutors' office. No, no, the prosecutors' office was
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, what does this -- what is actually this
16 document? What does it purport to be?
17 A. This document is information on instituting criminal proceedings
18 against members of the military police and the Security Services Centre in
19 Doboj, and problems relating the actions of judicial organs.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: And you haven't -- you have never seen it before,
21 you say?
22 A. No, I don't recall ever having seen it before. I see here on page
23 4 that my name is mentioned.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Could I ask you to read, please, for yourself
25 or read out aloud paragraph 10 on page 4 of the document.
1 A. Mm-hmm.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: And I would like the interpreters, rather than
3 referring to the document, to the translated document in English that we
4 already have, to follow the reading by the witness himself and try to
5 translate as he goes along. It's not a long paragraph. I want to make
6 sure that the translation -- that the translated version of the document
7 that we have is correct.
8 Yes, go ahead.
9 A. "On the 20th of July 1992," --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness read slowly, please.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Neskovic, Judge Neskovic, could you read
12 slowly, please.
13 A. "On the 20th of July 1992, from the head of the criminal service
14 of the public security station in Teslic, the public prosecutor and
15 investigating judge learned that all the accused were released from the
16 district prison in Banja Luka and that they are at large. Not doubting
17 the information from the Teslic -- from Teslic, the public prosecutor" --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness slow down, please.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Neskovic, please slow down.
20 A. "And at the president of the higher court's office, Jovo Rosic,
21 that the warden of the prison in Banja Luka, without his knowledge and
22 approval, pursuant to a telex from the president of the high court in
23 Doboj, Goran Neskovic, released all the detained persons because of whose
24 taking over the district prison in Doboj. The president of the high court
25 in Banja Luka showed us the teletext in which the president of the high
1 court in Doboj asks the transfer of the detainees to the district prison
2 in Doboj as the one with jurisdiction of place. Unofficially we learned
3 that the arrival of these persons in Doboj was celebrated in front of the
4 public security station and that all the persons were released."
5 JUDGE AGIUS: What are your comments on this paragraph? Because
6 it seems to me that the investigating judge himself is pretty much
7 surprised that these persons are released and returned back -- released
8 and returned back from Banja Luka, while it doesn't seem to be the case in
9 Doboj where according to this report there were even celebrations in the
10 CSB building?
11 A. I'm not aware of this. I know that while they were in detention,
12 the investigating judge, Nenad Kovacevic, and the public prosecutor
13 visited them in Doboj, and that then they dropped in to see me. I
14 remember that. I don't know that anybody celebrated anything. That I
15 sent a telex, that's true. And the president of the court knew about the
17 JUDGE AGIUS: How do you know that the president of the court knew
18 about the telex if this reports states --
19 A. He received it. Rosic. He got it.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: This report maintains that the Mice detainees were
21 all released without his knowledge and approval, and that there was
22 already a vehicle from the Doboj district prison ready there to collect
24 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I think there's a slight confusion here.
25 He's talking about Rosic, and you're talking about Kovacevic.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, I'm talking about Rosic. What paragraph 10
2 states is that according to Rosic, these Mice detainees were released
3 without his knowledge and approval and that there was already a bus from
4 Doboj waiting for them when they were actually released.
5 Do you have reason -- yes -- do you have reason to doubt what your
6 counterpart in Banja Luka supposedly stated to the persons who drew up
7 this report?
8 A. I didn't understand you. Are you saying that Rosic said that
9 these persons had already been released in Banja Luka?
10 JUDGE AGIUS: No, I am saying that according to this report
11 Jovo Rosic informed the persons who prepared this report that the Mice
12 group were released from the Banja Luka prison without his knowledge and
13 without his approval.
14 A. Transferred, yes.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. And there was a Doboj district prison bus
16 waiting for them as well.
17 A. I don't know that. I didn't go to Banja Luka, and I don't know
18 that. How it came about that they were transferred from Banja Luka to
19 Doboj, I don't know. I think it was the prison wardens in agreement with
20 Rosic who determined the logistics of this.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Rosic is saying he never gave his approval and he
22 didn't even know that they had been released. And I want to know from you
23 who would have sent the Doboj district prison bus to collect these
24 detainees from Banja Luka. Not you.
25 A. No, no. Who in Doboj can decide what's done in Banja Luka? Only
1 the president of the high court. Somebody has to give the order to the
2 prison in Banja Luka and say "I approve that these detainees be
3 transferred to Doboj." Or "I don't approve." Doboj can't do that. No
5 JUDGE AGIUS: What this paragraph states is not what you are
6 stating, Mr. Neskovic. What this paragraph is stating is that these
7 persons were released without the knowledge of high court president
8 Mr. Rosic, without his approval, and when they were released there was a
9 Doboj district prison bus waiting for them.
10 A. This happened in Banja Luka.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, it happened in Banja Luka, yes, as a result of
12 your telex.
13 A. No, no. I only sent a telex to the president of the court in
14 Banja Luka, the Ministry of Justice, and the district prison. I did not
15 contact anyone, nor do I know how they were released or who gave the order
16 for their release. That, I don't know.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: But it so happens that the Doboj district prison bus
18 was there to pick them up precisely when they were released. So someone
19 must have been informed -- someone must have been informed in Doboj.
20 Someone must have been informed in Doboj about their imminent release.
21 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, can I help on this -- if the
22 witness -- if Your Honour goes to the document that he's talking about,
23 the telex, and you look at the last paragraph --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, it says that they will be sending a bus.
25 A. It says in the telex. I sent a telex to the president of the
1 court, and it says: "On the 18th of July we shall transport the
2 detainees. As you are in charge of the detainees, if you have any
3 problems in connection with this, please advise us by telefax through the
4 Ministry of the Interior."
5 JUDGE AGIUS: But they were not transferred on the 18th; they were
6 transferred on the 20th, weren't they?
7 A. That's correct, yes.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: So --
9 A. So somebody agreed, bypassing the presidents of the court about
10 this, but somebody in Banja Luka had to give their approval for the
11 release on the 20th. I asked for the 18th. They didn't come on the 18th.
12 I didn't send any other letters.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you inquire what happened on the 18th after you
14 did not see the Mice group back in Doboj?
15 A. No.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Did the prison van go to Banja Luka and return
17 without the prisoners on the 18th?
18 A. I don't know. I think this was agreed on at the level of the
19 prison wardens. The prison wardens discussed among themselves how they
20 would do this if they got approval. I put A/A, the 17th, on my document,
21 archiving it.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you try to contact Mr. Jovic to see why the 18th
23 had passed and these detainees had not been handed over to the prison van
24 which had been sent from Doboj? Did you at least inquire to see what
1 A. No, I didn't.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you check on the 19th?
3 A. No. I didn't check anything, except for sending this fax, and it
4 was only three days later that I learned that they had arrived. I didn't
5 expect them to arrive. They could have left and not arrived.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Rather, these 16 members of the Mice group, am I
7 right in saying that they were -- am I right in saying that the ones which
8 were -- who were members of the military were all military policemen from
10 A. I can't say that offhand. I think most of them were. But I think
11 it says here, gives their names, where they come from.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
13 A. Just one wasn't from Doboj. He was from Teslic, number 16. He is
14 registered militarily in Doboj.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, who was the one? Was it Captain Petrivcevic?
16 A. He wasn't registered. He's not on the criminal report. As far as
17 I knew, he was also arrested and was somewhere in military detention.
18 Now, who conducted those proceedings against him, I don't know.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Was he, in actual fact, the head of the group inside
20 the Mice group that were members of the military? Was he in command of
21 that particular part of the group?
22 A. I don't know about that. All I know is that he was a
23 Captain Petrivcevic who was not from Doboj, a native of Doboj, his first
24 name was Ljubisa, and that he was incarcerated in the military prison in
25 Banja Luka.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: And the other members of the Mice group, I put it to
2 you that they were group members of the security services in Doboj. Is
3 that correct? And that Milan Savic was responsible for that component
4 part of the Mice group. Is that correct?
5 A. Seven members of the police is how many there were. As to
6 Milan Savic, he was the deputy chief of the security centre in Doboj.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: So basically we're saying that out of these 16
8 members of the Mice group, 15 were certainly from Doboj. Only one seemed
9 not to be from Doboj. Is that correct?
10 A. Yes, that's right. That's what it appears to be from the criminal
11 report. Number 16, born in Teslic. I don't know where he resided.
12 Perhaps he resided in Doboj.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I put it to you earlier that Dusan Kuzmanovic was
14 replaced by Mr. Zupljanin following the release of the Mice group. And
15 you agreed to that, although you could not agree or you could not confirm
16 that he had been replaced by Predrag Radulovic. Is that correct?
17 A. Yes, that's right. I know Predrag Radulovic. As to the rest of
18 it, I don't know about that. I wasn't sure.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you aware that Dusan Kuzmanovic was a member of
20 the crisis staff of Teslic at the time?
21 A. I know Dusan Kuzmanovic because he went to the gymnasium, to
22 school with me in Doboj. That's why I remember him. And I know that he
23 was chief of the public security station in Teslic. But who the members
24 of the crisis staff in Teslic were, I don't know.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Could the witness be shown, please, Exhibit Number
1 2438, please. 2438.1. Or 2438 anyway.
2 Yes, if you have the -- if I am given a copy in B/C/S of the
3 document I can refer the witness immediately.
4 JUDGE JANU: It's 7 on the B/C/S. Page 7.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Please go to page 7 of the document. Go to page 7
6 of the document, halfway down the page, there's the name Dusan Kuzmanovic.
7 Have you found it?
8 A. I don't see Dusan Kuzmanovic on page 7 anywhere.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Can I have the document here, please, for a moment.
10 This is in English. I want the B/C/S. That's why he
11 wouldn't -- couldn't find it.
12 Yes, could I ask you to read that paragraph which -- first of all,
13 what document do we have -- are you looking at?
14 A. This is -- well, I don't know what this document actually is.
15 There is a statement of reasons of some kind.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Look at the first page of the document, first
17 paragraph. What does the title state?
18 A. It says here that this is an extract from the notes of the 18th
19 regular meeting of the municipal assembly of Teslic held on the 20th of
20 August 1992 in the hall of the municipal building of Teslic. So these are
21 the minutes from one of the municipal assembly meetings, and it states the
22 agenda. Now what this actually means is --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go to page 7 on that document. And could I
24 ask you, please to, read out aloud what Mr. Kuzmanovic is reported to have
25 stated in the course of that meeting.
1 A. Dusan Kuzmanovic says that "the observation made by R. Jokic that
2 in Teslic" - and it says that the Mices appeared as a military
3 formation - "does not stand, is not true. The group had official
4 authorisation from the superior military command for conducting
5 mobilisation and establishing civilian power and authority in the
6 municipality, and the protagonists wielding power and authority have been
7 informed of that. All the activities of the public security station of
8 Teslic were under the patronage of the crisis staff. As regards the
9 activities of this operational group, the crisis staff was informed
10 thereof, and the police had the role of leader in these activities. The
11 conflict with the operative group in Doboj occurred at the point in time
12 when the mentioned criminal took part."
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, perhaps you can read the last sentence of that
14 paragraph again because the translation -- interpretation did not come
15 through complete. "The conflict," please read the last sentence.
16 A. "The conflict with the operative group from Doboj occurred when
17 the mentioned crime in which allegedly the political peaks of Teslic took
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, what does that --
20 A. "Mention was made of the crime in question."
21 JUDGE AGIUS: What does that all mean to you?
22 A. From this observation, it would appear that there had been some
23 conflict with the operative group from Doboj on the part of the
24 authorities in Teslic, because some crime was mentioned. A conflict with
25 the operative group from Doboj occurred when this crime occurred, and then
1 it says: "Participation of the leadership in Teslic."
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Does it seem clear to you that the Mice group had
3 the blessing and the protection of the highest authorities, political,
4 civil, and military, from the very beginning?
5 A. That's how it would seem, judging by the observation made by
6 Kuzmanovic, the head of the station, the chief, that they had official
7 authorisation from the superior military command to conduct mobilisation
8 and establish civilian authority in the municipality, and that all the
9 protagonists of the leading posts in Teslic were aware of this.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: And doesn't it occur to you that the fact that these
11 people are still at large and no real trials took place against them in
12 essence means that that protection has never ceased?
13 A. No. The president of the court in Teslic wanted to complete the
14 investigation by 1993. However, he didn't have the resources necessary to
15 exhume the victims. And I think that he was in conflict with the
16 authorities in Teslic to a certain extent. And I think that in 1994
17 actually, they accused certain functionaries in Teslic of having committed
18 crimes, as far as I remember. Now, Mr. Kovacevic would be best placed to
19 tell you about that, to tell you what his relationship was to the official
20 authorities in Teslic.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: But the Doboj Court of Appeal did reverse the
22 decision of Kovacevic not to release the remaining five Mice members still
23 detained, didn't it?
24 A. Correct.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: And that fell within the jurisdiction of your court.
1 You are responsible for that court, aren't you?
2 A. Yes, I am. I was the president of that high court. However, to
3 be quite frank, nobody could wield an influence of those judges. They
4 made their decisions themselves, and the reason for that was the public
5 prosecutor had proposed that the detention be revoked. And once you get a
6 proposal from the public prosecutor, then in 90 per cent of the cases the
7 court agrees to the proposal made by the public prosecutor. And they said
8 that if the -- on the 21st of July they were released, then why should the
9 others remain in detention? If they were taken into custody for the same
10 reasons, you can't hold one lot and release another. That is how I
11 understand this order.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: It could also be understood that what Mr. Kovacevic
13 left undone, the Doboj high court completed. Isn't that so?
14 A. No. That is not so.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Is the result -- is the ultimate result of the
16 decision of the Doboj high court that all the members of the Mice group at
17 the end of the day following that decision were free and at large?
18 A. No, just five individuals. The high court gave orders for the
19 release of just five.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Were it not for the decision of the Doboj high
21 court, there would still be five individuals detained? Is it solely
22 because of the decision of the Doboj court that those five individuals
23 were also released, leading to all the members of the Mice group released?
24 A. Yes, they were at large.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: This is why I'm suggesting to you that what
1 Kovacevic left incomplete your court made sure to complete.
2 A. Correct. He completed their release.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: And I put it to you also, sir, that the reason why
4 you insisted upon the return of the Mice group from Banja Luka had nothing
5 to do with jurisdiction but had absolutely and completely to do with
6 ensuring that military and police from Doboj were brought back to Doboj to
7 be released immediately after.
8 A. No. My intentions were just to act in accordance with the law at
9 that point in time. And the detainees who were transferred to Doboj would
10 remain under the competency and authority of the investigating judge from
11 Teslic. And had they stayed in Banja Luka, the investigating judge could
12 have released them on the 21st.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you aware that in Teslic the release of the Mice
14 group was considered very negatively and is still considered very
15 negatively to date?
16 A. I'm not aware that it was considered negative. Depending on who
17 said what.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Can the witness be shown again, please,
19 Exhibit 1938. This is once more the public prosecutor in Teslic writing
20 to the government of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
21 Ministry of Justice, Ministry of the Interior, and Ministry of National
22 Defence. Could I ask you to read out aloud paragraph 11, which is the
23 penultimate paragraph in that document, please.
24 A. "The arrival of the group from Doboj and the written
25 authorisation by the command of the operative group of Doboj, the
1 organisation of the group by the leaders from the area, Kapetan Ljubisa,
2 and the civilian authorities, deputy chief of the public security centre
3 of Doboj, the manner in which they have worked, their conduct, the command
4 of the operative group after their arrest and release, the detainees from
5 the district court in Banja Luka, without the knowledge and acquiescence
6 of the judge in the basic court in are, the facts which, with the staff of
7 the judiciary and all the citizens of Teslic, are creating justified doubt
8 in the work of the organs and military bodies in Doboj. And this leads to
9 the conclusion that a state authority has absorbed among its ranks people
10 of little knowledge and doubtful morals which leads to crime, and this is
11 a dangerous link between political authority and the underground which
12 could inflict great damages to the Serbian People and state unless the
13 necessary measures are taken forthwith to stop this. For the above-stated
14 reasons, I consider that this piece of information should be sent out to
15 the competent authorities of the Serbian Republic of BiH so that within
16 the frameworks of their lawful undertakings they should investigate the
17 case and bring the culprits to justice, undertake necessary measures to
18 prosecute the culprits."
19 JUDGE AGIUS: What do you have to say on this paragraph?
20 A. Well, what do you want me to say? How can I react whether I see
21 that the prosecutor wrote that on the 28th of July 1992, whereas the same
22 man on the 21st proposed that eight individuals be released from
23 detention? That means that he was doing one thing and writing another.
24 And I have -- I was not aware of this piece of information, but I agree
25 that the conclusions made therein are the right ones.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Who do you think he's referring when he says:
2 "State authorities had taken into their ranks people of scant knowledge
3 and dubious morals from the past"?
4 A. Well, probably he means the police that were mobilised into the
5 police force and the army.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Judge Janu is also referring you to another part of
9 the same paragraph -- in the same paragraph where it states that "the
10 dangerous connection between the political authorities and the underworld
11 could cause enormous damage to the Serbian People and the state unless the
12 necessary measures are promptly taken." Again, what is the prosecutor,
13 public prosecutor referring to? What kind of dangerous connection between
14 the political authorities and the underworld could he be referring to
15 here, according to you?
16 A. Well, according to me, he is -- if he refers to political
17 authorities, he probably means political authorities in Teslic. And when
18 he refers to the underworld, he probably considers that to be the units
19 who were in the army and the police as being that underworld.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: So let's move. I ask you, sir, do you have any
22 political pressure brought to bear on you when you decided to send that
23 letter on the 17th of July? And if you prefer not to answer that
24 question, just ask me not to answer it. I find it very hard to believe
25 from what we know about the events that you wrote that genuinely out of
1 your anxiety to preserve jurisdictional rights of the Doboj court. I find
2 it difficult how a president of the high court in Doboj in something like
3 this does not contact first the -- his counterpart in Banja Luka, discuss
4 the matter, and agree on how to proceed. I find it difficult that the
5 president of the Doboj high court writes a letter in which he specifies
6 exactly the time and date when the prison bus will pick up the detainees,
7 these detainees are not picked up on the specified date and time, and the
8 president of the Doboj high court does not query that.
9 And when we have a report which states that ultimately these
10 persons were indeed released without the knowledge of the president of the
11 Banja Luka high court, and without his consent, of course, but when they
12 were released the prison van was there, the prison van sent from Doboj. I
13 find it difficult to believe that in all this you acted out of your
14 determination to protect the jurisdictional rights of the Doboj
16 A. Your Honour, I've already stated that I didn't occupy the post of
17 the president of the high court from the 10th to the 15th of July. I did
18 not know Mr. Rosic, nor had I ever seen him before in my life. So this
19 was quite a new post. That's the first point.
20 Now, if you're talking about peacetime, the high court is 2
21 kilometres away from the front line during the war, and 30 to 40 shells
22 hit the court building daily. So we weren't working eight hours a day.
23 We would work one hour on one particular day or not work for several days.
24 Judges would come in for work or they would not. What we're talking about
25 was a war situation, but nobody exerted any pressure on me ever, and I
1 stand by that. I did so in the interests of justice on my own, have those
2 detainees in detention, and then I asked Mr. Rosic to have them
3 transferred. I wasn't able to contact him because there was just one
4 telephone line that was open in the information centre, and I wasn't able
5 to access that telephone.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: You still haven't answered my question. Was
7 Mr. Kovacevic in favour of their being returned from Banja Luka?
8 A. Mr. Kovacevic just informed me that they had been transported to
9 Banja Luka. And having been apprised of that, that's what I wrote in my
10 letter. I don't think he knew about the telex. He was only informed of
11 it once the telex reached Banja Luka. Now, who released them, I don't
12 know. I certainly could not have released anybody in Banja Luka, nor
13 could I have gone to Banja Luka at all.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you know Mr. Brdjanin?
15 A. I didn't know him in 1992. I think I got to know him in 1994 or
16 1995. Mr. Trbojevic introduced us, my colleague -- a colleague of mine
17 who is an attorney.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: What's his name, Mr. Trbojevic?
19 A. Milan.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Was he Minister of Justice at one time in
21 Republika Srpska?
22 A. I don't think so. I think he was never the Minister of Justice.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Was he --
24 A. He was the vice-president or the deputy prime minister in 1992.
25 But not the Minister of Justice.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you aware whether he was an attorney
2 representing someone before this Tribunal?
3 A. Milan Trbojevic? Oh, yes. Mr. Brdjanin. It was on television.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: So when did you meet Mr. Trbojevic?
5 A. In 1994. I think he was an attorney then.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: And was he in the company of Mr. Brdjanin when you
7 met Mr. Trbojevic?
8 A. I can't recall. I think so.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you ever discuss with Mr. Trbojevic or
10 Mr. Brdjanin the events in Teslic relating to the Mice group?
11 A. I don't remember ever having discussed it with them.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you ever discuss the events in Teslic and the
13 Mice group with anyone from the military in Teslic or in Banja Luka,
14 anyone from the 1st Krajina Corps, later the VRS?
15 A. No. Neither in 1992 nor later did anyone contact me or ask me
16 anything about this.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you ever discuss the arrest of the Mice group
18 with Predrag Radulovic?
19 A. Predrag Radulovic and I see each other very often, but I don't
20 think we discussed this. We may have done, but I can't recall. We are
21 colleagues, and we are in touch every month.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you ever discuss the events about the Mice group
23 and their release in particular with Milenko Savic?
24 A. I don't know who Milenko Savic is.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: With Milan Savic?
1 A. I know Milan, but I -- oh, yes. I think I did have a conversation
2 with him, but that was at a later date, not at that time. Milan Savic
3 lives in Doboj.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. And what was the gist of the conversation with
5 Milan Savic on the Mice group?
6 A. This conversation may have taken place in 1999. An article was
7 published in the newspapers about the Mice group in which I was described
8 as a traitor because I was a liaison officer and the person who had given
9 information to the international prosecutor here. That was the context of
10 our conversation. Four articles were published in a period of four weeks
11 about this case, and these documents were published. But nothing else.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you ever discuss these matters, the
13 Mice -- related to the Mice group with Colonel Stevilovic?
14 A. I don't know this colonel. I never met Colonel Stevilovic. I
15 think he was killed.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Before he got killed, did he ever contact you on the
17 Mice --
18 A. No.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: No. Stojan Zupljanin? Stojan Zupljanin?
20 A. No.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you ever speak to Stojan Zupljanin?
22 A. About the Mice? No, never.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: And with Jovo Rosic --
24 A. I do apologise, Your Honour. I didn't even know that Teslic
25 belonged to Banja Luka. I thought that Teslic belonged to Doboj, so I
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 never had any conversations with Banja Luka, nor did I ever go to
2 Banja Luka to discuss this matter with anyone. I never even discussed it
3 later on with Jovo Rosic.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. And before I pass you on to the other
5 Judges, who was the most influential and the most powerful person in
6 Teslic at the time?
7 A. I think the president of the municipality then was Nikola Peric.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you think he --
9 A. He was the president of the municipality, yes, and he nominated
10 judges and prosecutors on behalf of the municipality.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Did he wield the real power, or was it just a post
12 that he held without indeed wielding the real power?
13 A. I can't tell you that. I wasn't in Teslic in 1992. I know that
14 later he was replaced, sometime in 1994.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: In Doboj, who was the most powerful person in 1992
16 when these events took place?
17 A. The chief of police. That was Andrija Bjelosevic. He was the
18 chief of police.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Not the mayor, not the president of the
20 municipality, in other words?
21 A. No, no. The president of the municipality was Mr. Drago Ljubicic.
22 He was the president of the municipality, but I'm referring to the area of
23 Teslic. And that was Bjelosevic.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: But in Doboj, who was the most --
25 A. In the municipality, the president of the municipality was
1 Drago Ljubicic, and the president of the executive board was Mr. Paravac
2 [phoen]. And the two of them were the highest government authority.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: But who really wielded the power in Doboj at the
4 time? Who decided things? Because we have heard several instances of
5 presidents being there as a front and nothing else, and the power being
6 wielded by others. Who wielded the power in Doboj?
7 A. I think they all made decisions together, the president of the
8 municipality, the president of the executive board. There were deputies.
9 There were three or four deputies from Doboj, Mladenko Vasiljevic [phoen],
10 Mr. Jaudic [phoen], Milan Ninkovic, and I don't know if there was a
11 fourth. The army was there, the 1st Krajina Corps, Milivoje Simic was
12 there. He was a colonel. Later on, it was General Lisica.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: What about the crisis staffs? Did they have any
15 A. That was a municipal body, and they only made decisions relating
16 to the municipality. I don't know enough about that because the judiciary
17 was not under the authority of the crisis staff.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you aware that in several municipalities in
19 Bosnian Krajina, several judges were removed as a result of decisions
20 taken by the crisis staff of the ARK?
21 A. I'm not aware of that. As for the Autonomous Region of Krajina, I
22 don't know because I wasn't there. Doboj did not belong to the ARK.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Until when?
24 A. Doboj was a separate region, before the war, during the war, and
25 after the war. The organisation has remained the same throughout.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: With regard to Banja Luka, can you tell us who
2 wielded the power in Banja Luka.
3 A. I can only tell you what I saw in the media. I didn't go to
4 Banja Luka. I didn't have contacts with anyone from the government.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: And what did the media tell you about who wielded
6 the power in Banja Luka?
7 A. I saw General Talic as the commander of the 1st Krajina Corps. I
8 saw Predrag Radic as the president of the municipality. I saw
9 Stojan Zupljanin as the chief of police. I saw Mr. Brdjanin on several
10 occasions. I think he appeared on television, too. And that was it, more
11 or less.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I think for the time being I've finished with my
13 questions. Judge Janu, do you have any questions?
14 JUDGE JANU: Not at this stage. I will ask some questions at the
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Judge Taya.
17 JUDGE TAYA: Mice group terrorised all population of Teslic after
18 their arrival. Is that true?
19 A. I can't tell you that. I don't know.
20 JUDGE TAYA: Was it not true that everyone in Teslic knew Mice
21 after their arrival?
22 A. I don't know about the manner of their arrival. I only got to
23 know about them when proceedings were instituted against them.
24 JUDGE TAYA: After the release of 16 members of the Mice group,
25 weren't there any incidents by those men?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, I think there is some difficulty with the
2 transcript, if I could ask you to repeat the question, Judge Taya.
3 JUDGE TAYA: Okay. I repeat my question. After the release of 16
4 members, all the members of Mice group, weren't there any incidents by
5 those men?
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Incidents, yeah. Were there further incidents after
7 their release in which the Mice group were involved that you are aware of?
8 A. I didn't hear of any incidents.
9 JUDGE TAYA: Didn't they take part afterward in war operations
10 with the aim of breaking the military resistance of Islamic
12 A. I don't know that. I wasn't in the army. I don't know anything
13 about the army or the police. I remained working in the judiciary. I
14 assume that they had to be part of military units and that they fought
15 against the other army because they could not remain unmobilised. They
16 had to be part of military formations of some sort.
17 JUDGE TAYA: I stop my questions.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. There are no further questions from the
19 Bench for the moment.
20 Yes, Ms. Korner.
21 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, can I say, I'm not going to finish
23 JUDGE AGIUS: We will move on to Monday.
24 MS. KORNER: Just so the witness also knows. Thank you.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Did you make preparations for your return the end of
1 this week, Mr. Neskovic?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: But the Registry --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No problem.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: The Registrar will make sure that he is given all
6 the assistance he requires to change the ticket and whatever.
7 Yes, Ms. Korner, you can --
8 MS. KORNER: Your Honour is intending to take a break --
9 JUDGE AGIUS: We have been sitting for an hour and 15 minutes
11 MS. KORNER: So about quarter to.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Oh, yes, we will finish at quarter to 2.00.
13 MS. KORNER: Is there going to be a break between now and a
14 quarter to 2.00?
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I think there ought to be. Because we can't sit for
16 another hour and ten minutes without a break.
17 MS. KORNER: If I stop at 20 minutes to 1.00, Your Honour is going
18 to have a sort of 15, 20-minute break?
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
20 Questioned by Ms. Korner:
21 Q. Mr. Neskovic, you've told us you're friendly with Mr. Radulovic;
22 is that correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Are you aware that not only have no proceedings ever been taken to
25 indict the Mice, but the Mice or members thereof have been suing
1 Mr. Radulovic, taking him to court?
2 A. A criminal report was filed against Mr. Radulovic in 1992.
3 Q. No, recently in the last couple of years, are you aware --
4 A. Oh, yes, yes, yes. He told me about it, that he's involved in
5 legal proceedings, but I don't think it relates to that. I think it's
6 something else. He didn't tell me the details, but he said that he was
7 engaged in a civil suit with two members.
8 Q. Of the Mice?
9 A. Yes, yes, correct. Radulovic told me about this.
10 Q. And the reality, isn't it, that nobody in Republika Srpska from
11 1992 until 2004 has made any proper attempts to prosecute these murderers?
12 A. Is this a question?
13 Q. It is a question.
14 A. Or a statement?
15 Q. No.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. I'm asking you a question. That's the truth, isn't it? That's
18 the reality?
19 A. That they were not prosecuted?
20 Q. Nobody has --
21 A. They were prosecuted, but the proceedings have not been completed.
22 Q. Twelve years after the event? Is that what you're telling us,
23 Mr. Neskovic, 12 years after the event there has been no opportunity to
24 complete the proceedings?
25 A. It's not for me to decide about this. I left in 1998. I left the
2 Q. Okay. All right.
3 A. It's a matter for the public prosecutor when proceedings will be
5 Q. I'm going to come back to some of the problems of this prosecution
6 in a moment. But I want to put, if I may, the Court a little bit in the
7 picture of Doboj. Doboj in 1992 was a municipality --
8 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, I'm looking at P60 now.
9 Q. -- that contained something in the -- well, exactly according to
10 the 1991 census 41.000 Muslims who constituted 40 per cent of the
11 population. Would you accept that?
12 A. I don't know about the statistics, but probably, yes.
13 Q. And 39.820 Serbs who constituted 38.8 per cent. Would you agree
14 that the percentage of Serbs was marginally less than that of Muslims?
15 Would you agree with that, Mr. Neskovic? That's the question.
16 A. Marginally less, yes.
17 Q. Teslic, the next-door municipality, on the other hand, had an
18 overall majority which was Serb, didn't it? 55 per cent? Are you aware
19 of that?
20 A. I don't know that.
21 Q. On the 2nd and 3rd of May of 1992, you were working, were you, as
22 a prosecutor in Doboj?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. In the town of Doboj?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And during that night the town of Doboj was taken over, wasn't it,
2 by the Serb authorities?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Serb forces occupied all the municipal institutions, the SUP
5 building, the municipality building. That's right, isn't it?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And Doboj saw some of the highest concentration of what I will
8 paramilitary forces; that is to say, units of Arkan men. Is that correct?
9 A. How could I know that? I -- wait a minute. When you put a
10 question to me, I have to respond. In the night of the 2nd to the 3rd of
11 May, Doboj was taken over. Before the war, I worked in the prosecutors'
12 office, and I returned to that position on the -- between the 10th and the
13 15th of May. Up till that time I stayed at home. I couldn't leave the
14 house. Doboj was the front line. It was surrounded. It was full of
15 refugees and full of different kinds of soldiers.
16 Q. I am suggesting to you, sir, that before the actual takeover
17 whilst you were still walking around the town, there could be seen there
18 units of Arkan's men. Do you agree with that?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Seselj's White Eagles?
21 A. No.
22 Q. The -- Martic's men? You're saying you never saw any of those
24 A. No, no Martic's men. When there was fighting around the corridor
25 in June, that's when soldiers from the Knin Krajina and Bosnian Krajina
1 arrived, and they were concentrated around Doboj. That's true.
2 Q. After the takeover, the declaration of a Serb crisis staff was
3 made, wasn't it?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And immediately after that crisis staff was declared, they became
6 the government of Doboj?
7 A. Yes, yes, that was the municipal body.
8 Q. And the first thing that happened was that non-Serbs were
9 dismissed from jobs. That's what happened as well, wasn't it?
10 A. In some places, they were dismissed; in other places, they
11 continued working. And in yet other places, they failed to show up for
13 Q. Because you replaced, didn't you, as president of the Doboj court,
14 a Muslim? That's right, isn't it, Mr. Neskovic?
15 A. Excuse me, I didn't understand your question. The president of
16 the district court, the high court? The president of the high court in
17 Doboj before me was a Croat, Kresimir Zubak who in early May left Doboj,
18 and he was deputy prime minister of Herceg Bosna in Mostar. So his
19 position remained vacant. There was never a Muslim president of the
21 Q. You're quite right. I'm sorry. He was a Croat.
22 A. And nobody dismissed him. It was a vacant position. At that
23 time, I was working in the prosecutors' office.
24 Q. All right. Did you yourself, in fact, become a member of that
25 crisis staff by virtue of your position?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Are you sure about that, sir?
3 A. I'm absolutely sure because members of the judiciary could not be
4 members of the crisis staff. They could only be working on behalf of the
5 municipality. There was a mistake in an interview where a witness told
6 you that I had been a member of the crisis staff. But that was an error.
7 It was not true. I was not a member of the crisis staff, nor could I
8 attend their meetings.
9 Q. Just pause for a moment, sir, please.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: He seems to be very well informed.
11 MS. KORNER:
12 Q. How do you know what a witness told us?
13 A. Because your investigator told me this. I was the liaison officer
14 at the time. Are you talking about the statement of -- I can't say the
15 name now.
16 Q. I would be very grateful, sir, if you would not mention any names
17 in open court. You're saying -- you were told when you were the liaison
18 officer between the Republika Srpska and this Tribunal?
19 A. Yes. I was finding witnesses for you. I brought witnesses here
20 for you to interview.
21 Q. Were you aware, sir, that Jovo Rosic was a member of the regional
22 crisis staff?
23 A. I heard that. It was published in the newspapers. I don't know
24 how he could have been.
25 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, that may be a reasonable time for a
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. We'll have a break of 20 minutes. Is that
3 fine with the interpreters?
4 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I see nodding. Let's try and cover as much ground
6 as we can, and if necessary then we finish about five minutes earlier.
7 We'll continue on Monday as well.
8 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, can I just ask if it will be Monday
9 morning or Monday afternoon?
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't remember, Ms. Korner. I think it's in the
11 morning on Monday, but I'm not quite sure.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Monday morning in Courtroom I.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it's in the morning. I am
14 sending -- because there was a seesaw going on between me, my
15 Trial Chamber, and Milosevic, so that we could accommodate the Milosevic
16 trial to sit on Monday instead of us, and it had been on and off and on
17 and off. So now I just sent a memo to Mr. Roberts to make sure that we
18 have the courtroom available on Monday. Thank you.
19 20 minutes. Thank you.
20 --- Recess taken at 12.45 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 1.07 p.m.
22 MS. KORNER:
23 Q. Now, sir, I want to carry on just for a few more minutes about
24 conditions in Doboj after the takeover. It's right, isn't it, that during
25 the course of May all the mosques in Doboj town, three of them, were
2 A. I saw that.
3 Q. The Catholic church was destroyed?
4 MR. CUNNINGHAM: Excuse me, Your Honour. I'm going to object
5 because going into the events in Doboj is outside the parameters of this
6 indictment, and I would suggest to the Court it's beyond the scope of the
7 questioning that the Court undertook when this gentleman appeared before
8 this Court. So I would object to any continued questioning.
9 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I'm dealing with these matters
10 on -- from the point of view of investigation, prosecution, and the like.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I understand, because to be honest with you, I was
12 going draw your attention that in summoning this witness we did not
13 indicate these events as amongst those that he would be questioned by us.
14 MS. KORNER: No.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: But it did occur to me that the reason behind the
16 question was what did he do at the time because he was prosecuting? So I
17 will allow the question within those parameters, Mr. Cunningham. And
18 that's why I didn't stop you actually.
19 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I wouldn't be asking. I appreciate it's
20 outside the --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, I put two and two together very quickly,
22 Ms. Korner.
23 MS. KORNER:
24 Q. Apart from the destruction of the religious edifices, there were
25 numerous detention facilities set up, weren't there?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. There is a detention facilities in Doboj where people were held in
2 custody when trials were pending, and there were others that the army
3 controlled. But I don't know about those.
4 Q. The Bare ammunition warehouse. Or B-a-r-e, I'm not entirely sure
5 of the pronunciation.
6 A. I have heard of that as being held by the army.
7 Q. What about the Spreca prison, S-p-r-e-c-a, with an accent?
8 A. That is a detention unit in the Spreca prison, yes.
9 Q. Were you made aware that there were beatings and killings taking
10 place in these facilities?
11 A. No, I was not. However, I do know that the representatives of the
12 military court and prosecution from Bijeljina worked in Doboj on some such
13 cases in view of the fact that that came under their competency, if you're
14 referring to May 1992.
15 Q. Was anybody ever -- was any investigation carried out into the
16 destruction of the three mosques and the Catholic church?
17 A. I don't know that the military court conducted an investigation,
18 and I don't remember at that time that the prosecutor's office did either.
19 Q. Did your court ever deal with anyone for the -- those criminal
21 A. My court dealt with appeals from the lower courts, for individual
22 crimes such as murder perpetrated by civilians. So our court was in
23 charge of individuals who were civilians. As to those who belonged to the
24 armed forces, it was the military court that dealt with such cases.
25 Q. Did you deal with -- were there any prosecutions in your court for
1 Serbs, civilians, who had killed non-Serbs?
2 A. Of course. They were prosecuted for robbery, for armed robbery,
3 and for killings, for murder. And our records -- the records were kept by
4 the prosecutor. And if the crime could not be proved, it was documented
5 and investigations conducted.
6 Q. Are you able to say how many convictions of Serbs for killing
7 non-Serbs there were whilst you were at -- president of the Doboj court?
8 A. I couldn't say. That's statistics now. Perhaps had I prepared
9 for a question like that, I could have had the figures. And I can say
10 that I think that certain individuals are still serving a prison sentence
11 pursuant to convictions like that.
12 Q. Now, I want to move, then, from Doboj to this question of your
13 involvement with this Mice case. Now, I want to make sure I perfectly
14 understand this. You heard that the Teslic investigating judge,
15 Mr. Kovacevic, had sent the arrested persons to the prison in Banja Luka.
16 Is that right?
17 A. Yes. The police from Banja Luka had transferred these individuals
18 to the prison in Banja Luka.
19 Q. That's what you're telling us now. And I'm going to suggest to
20 you that's not true. From whom did you get the information?
21 A. The president of the court Kovacevic, that they had in fact been
22 transferred to Banja Luka.
23 Q. So Mr. Kovacevic said to you that without his knowledge, the
24 Banja Luka police who had arrested these men had transferred them from
25 Teslic to Banja Luka?
1 A. He said that the Banja Luka police had transferred the prisoners
2 to Banja Luka.
3 Q. Yes. That's not an answer to my question. Did he say this was
4 without his knowledge or authority?
5 A. No.
6 Q. He didn't, did he?
7 A. No, he didn't say that to me. He didn't say that. That's why I'm
8 not mentioning that. He didn't say with or without his knowledge. All he
9 said was the prisoners from Teslic have been transferred to the prison in
10 Banja Luka.
11 Q. Because what I suggest you have been giving this Court to
12 understand is that it was the police who had taken it upon themselves to
13 transfer these men to Banja Luka. That's not right, is it? And you know
14 that's not right.
15 A. I don't know that that is not right. All I know is that the
16 prisoners were transferred to Banja Luka, and that I received information
17 from Kovacevic that the transference was conducted by the police from
18 Teslic to Banja Luka, if that's what you mean.
19 Q. That may well be right, but there is no conceivable way, is there,
20 under the law of the Serbian Republic or the Bosnia-Herzegovina law that
21 those prisoners could have been transferred without the order of the
22 investigating judge? That is the situation, isn't it?
23 A. I don't know about any such order. If they were under the
24 jurisdiction of the investigating judge, which they were, he had to know
25 whether he issued an order for that not. Now, why he informed me about
1 that, probably to inform me because he knew it belonged to the realm of
2 the high court.
3 Q. I'll repeat the question. The law, as it then stood, in
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, or what was called the Serbian Republic, only the
5 investigating judge had the authority to order the transfer of a prisoner.
6 That is right, isn't it?
7 A. Right. He would determine detention and give this order. But
8 technically speaking, it would be the police who transfers the
9 individuals, not the judge himself. The police following orders from the
10 investigating judge.
11 Q. But we finally got there. It was clear, wasn't it, that
12 Mr. Kovacevic had ordered the police to transfer these men to Banja Luka?
13 A. I don't know that.
14 Q. Why did -- sorry. Did he give you any reason why these men had
15 been transferred to prison in Banja Luka?
16 A. No.
17 Q. You have in your file, don't you, some copies of letters that were
18 published in the articles about this case?
19 A. That's right.
20 Q. I'd like to you get them out, please.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. The letter, first of all, from Mr. --
23 A. Which letter did you have in mind?
24 Q. The letter first of all from Mr. Bjelosevic.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Which Mr. Bjelosevic?
1 MS. KORNER: Bjelosevic, the chief of the CSB in Doboj.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: The one mentioned by the witness earlier on
3 in -- yeah, okay. Thank you.
4 MS. KORNER:
5 Q. Can you just read, please, to the Court, slowly, so it can be
6 translated, what that says. And the date, please.
7 A. I have copied this out from the newspapers on the 29th of
8 September 1999. And I learned for the first time when I read it in the
9 papers, and in my previous statement I've already said that the army and
10 police went to the judge. "The Ministry of the Interior, the security
11 service centre of Doboj, the 17th of July, to the investigating judge of
12 the basic court in Teslic and the case of Culibrk Dobrivoje and others,
13 their request to be released. And there are criminal proceedings against
14 Culibrk Dobrivoje and others with the court for having perpetrated several
15 criminal acts in the area bearing in mind" - I apologise for reading too
16 fast - "bearing in mind that the broader area of Teslic and Tesanj has
17 been engulfed by a war and conflict. As the conflict could expand we
18 request that Culibrk Dobrivoje be released immediately, and as well as the
19 others, Tekic Slobodan, Spaso Slobodan [phoen], Djuric Stojan [phoen],
20 because we feel that their personal security is at risk because the
21 conflict has flared up around Teslic. We think that the criminal
22 proceedings can be carried on against these individuals, that there is no
23 impediment to that, and they shall be convicted and given a sentence
24 commensurable to the crime, and they will be able to defend themselves
25 while at freedom."
1 The head, Milosevic [as interpreted] signed it, and this was
2 published on the 29th of September. And I photocopied this and left it in
3 my archives, and I've already said that the police went to see the
4 investigating judge to have these released. He did not comply with their
5 request because they were released only on the 6th of August. So he
6 followed requests from the army later on.
7 Q. Can we just correct, please, it was signed not by Milosevic but by
8 Bjelosevic. Is that right?
9 A. Bjelosevic. Andrija Bjelosevic is what I said.
10 Q. And then there was the letter from the army. Is that correct?
11 A. That's right. And it is the letter to which I referred when I
12 read out the findings of the investigating judge dated the 21st of June in
13 which he says the release of military persons from detention to the basic
14 court in Teslic, the investigating judge, the findings, and an
15 investigative procedure is underway against this operative group,
16 Ranko Sljuka, Sljivic Rodoljub, Gavranovic Sasa, the people involved,
17 Kezunovic Dragomir, Mimic Ranko, Slavujic Dario, Sljuka Zoran and
18 Devic Vitomir. "Bearing in mind that the above-mentioned were questioned,
19 and in the Teslic/Tesanj area, there are combat activities going on. We
20 request that these military persons be released immediately so that they
21 could become involved in the war operations, and any prosecution against
22 these individuals, if proof exists of them having committed a crime, can
23 be conducted once the necessary conditions are fulfilled." And it is
24 signed commander of the operative group, Milivoje Simic, and colonel is
25 his rank.
1 I've already read that out. And he did refer to that letter from
2 the army, and that is why he released them on the 21st of June.
3 Q. Right. The reason that Mr. Kova -- Judge Kovacevic sent those men
4 to Banja Luka prison rather than prison in Doboj was because, wasn't it,
5 that he was uncertain that they would be kept in prison as far as the
6 police members were concerned?
7 A. Well, these members of the police were released on the 6th of
8 August. They were the only ones that stayed. So I assume that the
9 operative group of Doboj belonged to the 1st Krajina area.
10 Q. Are you saying that your telex to the Banja Luka court president
11 the following day had nothing to do with these demands from the police and
12 the military?
13 A. No. I met these requests for the first time -- I saw them in 1999
14 for the first time, and I photocopied them from the newspaper articles,
15 and that's why I brought them here into court, to present them if the need
16 arises. So it's pure coincidence that the 17th of July is the day on all
17 three documents. And I checked that out to see why, but I wasn't able to
18 see any connection between them. The 17th was a Friday, so because of the
19 weekend, they wanted to do it as soon as possible.
20 Q. Is that --
21 A. Otherwise, I needn't have brought them into court, and I wouldn't
22 have brought them in had I not been certain of what I just told you.
23 Q. All right. So --
24 A. But this is how it was. They were transferred on the 17th, so it
25 is normal that this was written on the 17th, and that's when I learned
1 about it. It would be very strange had they been transferred, for
2 example, on the 10th and the date being the 17th for all these three
3 documents, and then the question could have arisen as to why they all had
4 the same date on them.
5 Q. Right. What was your objection to these men remaining in prison
6 in Banja Luka provided that the investigation was still being carried out
7 by the authorised court at Teslic?
8 A. I didn't have any objection to the court conducting an
9 investigation, nor did I have any objection to their being or not being in
10 detention. What I did object to was their being transferred to the prison
11 in Banja Luka when it was the prison in Doboj that belonged to the Teslic
12 area. If detainees were being transferred to the prison in Banja Luka,
13 this would mean that we no longer needed a prison in Doboj, then we would
14 not have a court in Doboj. Doboj would no longer be the regional centre.
15 Those were my conclusions. So I did not want to allow prisoners to be
16 transferred to another prison when we had a prison. Had I known what
17 would later transpire, I wouldn't have asked for this. I wouldn't have
18 written this letter.
19 Q. Provided that the Teslic court continued its investigative
20 function and provided you, as the appeal court in Doboj, was still seized
21 of the matter, why did it matter that they were being kept in Banja Luka
22 to be interviewed rather than in Doboj?
23 A. What talks are you referring to?
24 Q. I'm not referring to talks. There must be a mistranslation. I
25 asked you, and this is the last time I'm going to ask you, if the Teslic
1 court retained its jurisdiction and if the Doboj court retained its
2 jurisdiction, why did it matter where the perpetrators of crimes were kept
3 in prison?
4 A. Well, I told you, because pursuant to the law they had to be in
5 the detention unit belonging to the high court. The high court was in
6 Doboj. That was the court that had jurisdiction over Teslic. That's what
7 mattered. There was no other motive.
8 Q. Let me move on. Why didn't you tell Mr. Kovacevic, who was the
9 investigating judge in charge of the case, that you were going to send a
10 telex to Mr. Rosic?
11 A. Because I was unable to inform him of this on the 17th.
12 Q. Why didn't you tell him at the time when he told you that's where
13 they were, that this was, in your view, illegal and that you were going to
14 say they should be transferred back to Doboj?
15 A. Because he informed me the day before, and the day before I hadn't
16 thought about this transfer. Afterwards, I looked through the
17 regulations. I saw that this was illegal and decided to send a telex. I
18 think Kovacevic did know about it, but I can't assert that. He alone can
19 say whether that's so.
20 Q. Well, I'm going to show you what you know he said because it was
21 published in the newspaper. But at what stage did you decide that this
22 was an illegal detention?
23 A. Who said it was illegal?
24 Q. You just told us that detaining them in the Banja Luka prison was
25 against the law. First of all, tell us what section of which law you say
1 this was in breach of?
2 A. What I said was -- no, no. I didn't say that they had been
3 illegally detained; I said that they had been detained in a detention unit
4 that was not the legal one. I will read this to you now.
5 "Decision on the basis of the organisation and the headquarters
6 and areas covered by the regular courts, Official Gazette number 6, 12th
7 to 17th of May, Article 7. The high court shall be established for
8 regions, the high court in Banja Luka for the Autonomous Region of
9 Krajina; the high court in Trebinje for the Serbian Autonomous Region of
10 Herzegovina, the high court in Herzegovina --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness slow down, please.
12 MS. KORNER:
13 Q. Witness, just tell us the part that says that if somebody is in
14 the jurisdiction of the high court in Doboj, they must be kept in the
15 prison in Doboj.
16 A. The high court in Doboj for the territory of the Serbian
17 autonomous region of Northern Bosnia. Teslic belongs to Northern Bosnia.
18 And as for the legal provisions, I don't have the one about the execution
19 of sanctions of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted by Republika Srpska.
20 Q. Look, I'm sorry. It's a simple question: What section of what
21 law says that persons who have been arrested within the jurisdiction of
22 Doboj high court must be imprisoned in the Doboj prison as opposed to any
24 A. The law on the implementation of criminal sanctions.
25 Q. Which you don't have with you.
1 A. I don't have it with me. It's the old law of Bosnia and
2 Herzegovina. I only have the decision on the establishment of penal
3 institutions, but it only refers to their establishment, nothing else.
4 It's about the appointment of prison wardens and so on.
5 Q. All right. Do you accept that by the Article 192 of the law of
6 criminal -- on criminal procedure, anyone being investigated or charged
7 with an offence for which the death penalty is prescribed has to be kept
8 in custody?
9 A. Just a moment, let me check. I think there is something about
10 that. It's the old law, the law on criminal procedure.
11 Oh, yes. It's paragraph 4. "If the crime in question is a crime
12 for which an imprisonment of ten years can be handed down, under the law,
13 or a more serious sentence and in view of the manner of perpetration the
14 consequences and other circumstances, citizens might be disturbed to such
15 an extent that detention is necessary for reasons of safety and security."
16 So that the sentence has to be ten years or more, and also the general
17 public has to be upset about this, and the judge decided that the reasons
18 for the citizens being disturbed no longer existed. So there have to be
19 two reasons. A sentence of at least ten years and the public should be
20 disturbed about this.
21 Q. I may have given you the wrong article, but it's a simple
22 question. If someone was being investigated for a crime which carried the
23 death penalty, and it may be Article 191, it was mandatory --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, it is Article 191. And he has referred to
25 paragraph 4 of that article and not to paragraph 1 which deals with crimes
1 which carry the death penalty.
2 MS. KORNER: I'm grateful. Thank you, Your Honour. You've
3 obviously got it there.
4 Q. Article 1, it is mandatory that people charged with offences which
5 carry the death penalty must be kept in custody. Paragraph 1 of Article
7 A. In Article 191, paragraph 1, that's what it says, but the
8 investigating judge in Teslic did not refer to this article. He referred
9 to paragraph 1 of article -- or rather, paragraph 2, influence on
10 witnesses, and paragraph 4 which I read -- or rather, Article 4. If the
11 prosecutor did not refer to that article, then the judge could not do so
12 proprio motu. But I think that the death penalty was abolished at that
13 point in time. I think there is a decision in May 1992 which says that
14 the death penalty shall be abolished in the Republika Srpska.
15 Q. Well, I don't want to spend too long on this. But it's right,
16 isn't it, that there's no way that these men should have been released?
17 You agree with that, don't you, in the light of the serious nature of the
18 charges against them?
19 A. In peacetime conditions, they would never have been released.
20 It's probably due to the war circumstances that they were released. Had
21 this happened in peacetime, they would have been in detention until they
22 were sentenced. I'm telling you this from my own experience.
23 Q. I wanted to deal with the question of this telex. You sent this
24 telex to Jovo Rosic. Is that right?
25 A. Yes. And the minister of justice, and the warden of the district
2 Q. Did you take any other action to ensure that these men were
3 released from Banja Luka prison?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Nothing at all?
6 A. No steps at all. I immediately archived this. I didn't know
7 whether it would be followed through. I did this in order to show that
8 the law had been broken. That's why I sent this to the ministry and to
9 Jovo Rosic. And in Banja Luka, they decided about the manner of their
10 transfer, and I learned about this later on, as I said. But you can talk
11 to all of them. I didn't contact any of them after the 17th.
12 Q. All right. I just...
13 Just look at that telex for a moment, will you.
14 A. Yes.
15 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I think it better be given a separate
16 exhibit number, although it's part of the larger file. I think we've got
17 up to -- what exhibit number are we up to?
18 It is actually already part of Exhibit P1969. But can I have it
19 made P1969.1 so that we've got it also separate.
20 Q. You refer in that telex only to the article that you just read to
21 us, I believe, saying that the high court in Doboj is constituted for the
22 area of the Serbian Autonomous District of Northern Bosnia. Is that
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You refer nowhere to any provision that says "because of that,
1 they are not properly being detained in Banja Luka prison." In fact, all
2 you do is make a proposal.
3 A. No, no. Excuse me. The paragraph before the last: "As the high
4 court in Doboj also covers the area of the Serbian Municipality of Teslic
5 and the seat of the prison in Doboj has been designated for the Teslic
6 area..." So I did tell him why I wanted them to be in prison in Doboj,
7 because that's what belongs to the Teslic area.
8 Q. No. You say -- and I accept, I'm not disputing, that Teslic came
9 under the Doboj high court. But you don't say anywhere, do you, sir, that
10 because they are -- because it comes under the jurisdiction of the Doboj
11 high court their being held in Banja Luka is illegal? Do you, sir?
12 A. You misunderstood me. I wrote to him as a lawyer, not as a
13 layman. I said: "Pursuant to the decision on the basis, the
14 organisation, and the seats of the areas of the regular courts of the
15 Presidency of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Article 7,
16 paragraph 5, the high court in Doboj has been established to the SAO of
17 Northern Bosnia which includes the Serbian Municipality of Teslic." So I
18 gave him to understand quite clearly that Teslic belonged to the high
19 court in Doboj. Further, I informed him that "As the high court in Doboj
20 also covers the Serbian Municipality in Teslic and the seat of the court
21 for Teslic is in Doboj, we propose that the persons be transferred," and
22 so on and so forth. I think this was quite clear, and I hope that my
23 colleague understood it because he acted on it.
24 Q. Yes, right. The last thing I want to deal with today is would you
25 like to go to your own copy of the document and the sleeve that goes with
2 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, we actually have copies of this, and we
3 have got copies for Mr. Cunningham and Your Honours.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: We have three minutes -- two minutes left,
6 Ms. Korner.
7 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, may these be made P2731. Yes, for the
8 witness as well.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have it, yes.
10 MS. KORNER:
11 Q. Is this a whole series of documents signed by the various people
12 who were in Banja Luka prison and signed by yourself in which the various
13 people who were imprisoned, the Mice, declared that they would report to
14 the district prison in Doboj on the 20th of July? And you have signed it
15 and dated it for the 18th. Is that right?
16 A. Are you waiting for a reply?
17 Q. Can you just acknowledge that these are documents signed by you.
18 A. Of course, yes. That's my signature. That's why I brought them
19 here, to explain them to you. Last week in the archives of the district
20 court I took out this letter of mine, and along with it were these
21 statements which I brought as evidence that they were in prison. When
22 they were transferred to prison, somebody from the prison informed me that
23 they were asking to take a bath. I asked each of them for a guarantee
24 that after taking a bath, they would immediately return to the prison,
25 that they should sign this. And when they brought this, I signed it and
1 put it in the archives as evidence that they had reported to prison and
2 that if they didn't, they should have detention ordered. So this is
3 evidence that they had been released in order to take a bath, and I had to
4 keep this in the archives. And this is still in the archives of the
5 district prison where they promised that they would immediately return to
6 the prison after taking a bath because there was no water or electricity
7 in Doboj. So they went to take a bath. That's what they said.
8 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I think that may be an appropriate place
9 to end for today.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I entirely agree with you, Ms. Korner.
11 We will rise now, and we stand adjourned to Monday at 9.00. Which
12 courtroom is it on Monday, Madam Registrar?
13 MS. KORNER: Your Honour may wish to give the warning to the
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Thank you, Ms. Korner.
16 Mr. Neskovic -- Courtroom I? III.
17 We have to adjourn until Monday. According to our Rules, since
18 you are still testifying, and I needn't explain this in any great detail,
19 you are bound not to contact anyone or discuss with anyone the matters
20 relating to your evidence here.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Have a nice weekend, everybody. We'll
23 meet Monday morning.
24 [The witness stands down]
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,
1 to be reconvened on Monday, the 23rd day of
2 February, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.