1 Monday, 30th November, 1998
2 (Open session)
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.47 p.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Please be
5 seated. Can the registrar please call the case
7 THE REGISTRAR: (Interpretation) Case number
8 IT-95-10-T, the Prosecutor versus Goran Jelisic.
9 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Thank you very
10 much. Good afternoon to everybody. We will have the
11 appearances in a few seconds, but can the accused
12 please be brought in first?
13 (The accused entered court)
14 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Please sit
15 down, Mr. Jelisic. I will ask you to give us your full
16 identity in a few moments for the transcript, but first
17 of all, I would like to have the appearances.
18 Mr. Jelisic, once again, you may be seated. In a few
19 minutes, I will ask you to stand up again, but first we
20 will have the appearances. For the Prosecution,
22 MR. BOWERS: Good afternoon, Your Honours.
23 My name is Terree Bowers. My colleagues are Vladimir
24 Tochilovsky. Also joining us is Geoffrey Nice, who
25 will be replacing me on my departure. Thank you.
1 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Are you about
2 to leave us, Mr. Bowers? You've only just started on
3 this trial. That's not very nice of you. Thank you
4 very much anyway.
5 For the Defence, please, can we have the
7 MR. LONDROVIC: (Interpretation) Good
8 afternoon, Your Honours. I am Veselin Londrovic,
9 attorney from Bijeljina, and on the team for the
10 accused Jelisic are Mr. Greaves, attorney from Great
11 Britain, and Attorney Babic from Novi Sad.
12 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Thank you very
13 much. Mr. Greaves, can you spell out your name for me,
14 and can you introduce yourself fully? Your name is
15 Greaves; is that right?
16 MR. GREAVES: Yes. Michael Greaves,
18 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Thank you very
19 much, Mr. Greaves.
20 MR. GREAVES: I'm from the bar of England and
21 Wales; we making a small distinction between our
22 Scottish neighbours.
23 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Well, we will
24 not enter the details of this nationality or that
25 nationality. We could enter a very difficult debate.
1 You are from the bar of England. That's sufficient.
2 Mr. Jelisic, I now turn towards you. Could
3 you please give us your full name, your age, your date
4 of birth, and could you tell us where you worked before
5 you were arrested and where you lived before being
6 arrested? Mr. Jelisic, could you please stand and
7 answer these questions I've just put to you?
8 Can you hear me, Mr. Jelisic, in a language
9 you understand? It seems there's a technical problem.
10 Mr. Jelisic is not getting any interpretation.
11 All right, fine. Mr. Jelisic, since you can
12 now hear me, please stand up, and please state clearly
13 your full name, the date and place of your birth, and
14 tell us where you worked before your arrest and where
15 you lived before your arrest.
16 THE ACCUSED: (Interpretation) I'm Goran
17 Jelisic from Bijeljina. I was born on 7 June, 1968, in
18 Bijeljina. Before the arrest, I worked at the
19 agricultural combine, Sembrija near Bijeljina.
20 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) And you lived
21 in Bijeljina, I assume.
22 THE ACCUSED: (Interpretation) Yes, Your
24 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Thank you very
25 much. You may now be seated.
1 THE ACCUSED: (Interpretation) Thank you.
2 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) For the
3 public's sake, I'm just specifying that it's not
4 customary for the Judges of this Tribunal to come in so
5 late, but we had to discuss a very important issue
6 before declaring this particular trial open. We will
7 now get started.
8 Mr. Bowers, I think you are about to make an
9 opening statement; is that what you had planned to do?
10 MR. BOWERS: Yes, Your Honour. I am prepared
11 to make an opening statement. We have a few items,
12 such as our request for protective orders. I don't
13 know if the Court wants to take that as a preliminary
14 matter or wait until after the opening.
15 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) No. First of
16 all, first of all, Mr. Bowers, I wanted to know whether
17 or not you would be giving your opening statement today
18 pursuant to Article 84 of the Rules -- Rule 84.
19 For the public's sake, the public being
20 present today, as is customary, for the public's sake
21 then, I would like to specify that on November 25th,
22 the Judges of this Tribunal have been assigned this
23 case. On my left is Judge Riad, on my right is Judge
24 Rodrigues. I am Judge Jorda; I am Presiding Judge for
25 this case.
1 So on November 25th, we have tried to give an
2 answer to an issue raised by the Defence counsel; i.e.,
3 was the accused able to follow the hearings during his
4 trial? We have asked for a commission of medical
5 experts to study Mr. Jelisic's case and to tell us
6 whether or not he was able to follow the hearings.
7 I will ask the legal officer of the Chamber
8 to give us the conclusions of Dr. Duits and Dr. van der
9 Veen. Please read out the conclusions of this report,
10 Mr. Registrar.
11 THE REGISTRAR: (Interpretation) Three
12 questions had been put to the accused. The first
13 question: "Is the accused suffering from a mental
14 illness, and if so, which?" The answer to that
15 question has been the following: "The subject does not
16 have a mental illness. He does have a serious
17 personality disorder in the sense that he suffers from
18 a borderline personality disorder with anti-social and
19 narcissistic tendencies which have probably existed
20 since adolescence. These tendencies have possibly been
21 superimposed on an earlier behavioural disorder."
22 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Mr. Registrar,
23 could you please read out the last conclusion? I don't
24 wish to enter into too much details. These details
25 should not be made public.
1 The Defence raised a number of legitimate
2 issues, and I would like the Defence to be fully
3 convinced of the fact that the accused is fit to stand
4 trial. So please read the third conclusion of the
5 medical report, and please give us the answer to the
6 question that states: "Is the accused fit to stand
7 trial, scheduled to start 30th November, 1998, which
8 will last for three days and resume in January 1999?"
9 I will ask you to give us the answer to that question
10 only. Please go ahead.
11 THE REGISTRAR: (Interpretation) The answer
12 to the question is, "Yes, the subject is fit to stand
14 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) So it is on
15 the basis of these conclusions that Mr. Jelisic is here
17 Mr. Londrovic, I think this answers your
18 questions. I see that you are raising your hand. Just
19 a minute. I would like to state that Mr. Londrovic
20 gave the Judges full leeway to decide whether or not
21 Mr. Jelisic should be examined by a commission of
22 psychological experts or not.
23 Yes, Mr. Londrovic, you have the floor.
24 MR. LONDROVIC: (Interpretation) I would just
25 like to request to go into closed session for a brief
1 period in order for the Defence to be able to address
2 some procedural issues.
3 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) I am turning
4 to my colleagues. Would you rather bring these issues
5 up before the Prosecutor's opening statement?
6 MR. LONDROVIC: (Interpretation) Yes. Yes,
7 Your Honour.
8 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) How long do
9 you need, Mr. Londrovic? Mr. Greaves?
10 MR. GREAVES: It's a matter I'm going to
11 raise with Your Honours. It will take, I think, about
12 15 minutes.
13 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Very well
14 then. We'll just go into private session, and after
15 hearing your arguments, Mr. Greaves, we will go back
16 into open session and we will then hear the
17 Prosecutor's opening statement.
18 Mr. Registrar, could you please make sure
19 that we go into private session?
20 (Private session)
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9 (Open session)
10 MR. GREAVES: Yes, I was dealing, I hope, as
11 quickly as possible, with Article 21.
12 Your Honours will recall that Article 21(4)
13 sets out a number of what are described as minimum
14 guarantees to an accused. There are three which are
15 relevant: Article 21(4)(B), which sets out that he has
16 adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his
17 defence and communicate with counsel of his own
18 choosing; Article 21(4)(C), which guarantees him to be
19 tried without undue delay; and Article 21(4)(F), to
20 have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot
21 understand or speak the language used in the
22 International Tribunal.
23 21(4)(B) is relevant to the present matter in
24 that it guarantees his right to communicate with
25 counsel of his choice. As well as having leading
1 counsel, he has chosen me to act as his co-counsel, but
2 we have not, as yet, had a satisfactory opportunity to
3 communicate concerning his defence. The result of that
4 is that I, for my part, if called upon to cross-examine
5 the witnesses, would have to say that I did not feel
6 that I was in a proper position so to do and that I did
7 not feel that I was adequately prepared to
8 cross-examine the witnesses.
9 The third matter is this: There has been
10 prepared for submission to the Tribunal a document
11 which sets out three special defences. It has not yet
12 been filed. Those three defences are: alibi, in
13 relation to incidents which took place after the 19th
14 of May, 1992; secondly, diminished responsibility; and
15 thirdly, duress.
16 That document was prepared recently. I, for
17 one, have not yet had an opportunity of considering it
18 at length, and certainly have not gone into the
19 documents which are set out in that notice, and, for
20 example, Your Honours have referred to the medical
21 report, the conclusion of which was read out in
22 public. That document is in Dutch and hasn't yet been
23 translated into English or French, as I understand it,
24 and is unlikely to be so until Wednesday. Whilst that
25 report touches on the issue of fitness to stand trial,
1 it may well contain matters which are relevant to any
2 issue of diminished responsibility which is raised.
3 Plainly, the issue of his mental health and some of the
4 features that were read out at the beginning of the
5 Registry's presentation of that matter might affect the
6 question of whether he had the requisite mens rea.
7 Can I make it perfectly plain, Your Honour,
8 that we make this application very conscious of the
9 fact that there are witnesses here in The Hague who are
10 ready to testify before Your Honours and that any
11 adjournment of their participation in the trial is, of
12 course, unfortunate and to be regretted. And I'm
13 anxious that Your Honours should be aware that we are
14 very much alive to the problems that the Victims and
15 Witnesses Unit have over witnesses who get brought here
16 but do not give evidence as arranged, but we make the
17 application nevertheless.
18 Our first submission is this: That given the
19 circumstances that prevail, it would be proper to give
20 effect to the guarantees set out in Article 21 to
21 enable the whole of the Defence team, which the
22 defendant has chosen to act for him, to be fully and
23 adequately prepared. This is a most grave charge, and
24 he faces the very real possibility of a life sentence
25 of imprisonment. It's important that he has the
1 opportunity to know that his counsel are fully prepared
2 and communicate fully with them.
3 I accept, of course, there would be a delay
4 involved in the process I have outlined to Your Honour,
5 but the only prejudice to the Prosecution would be, in
6 my submission, that they had brought witnesses here who
7 had unfortunately to return to their native countries.
8 As far as court time is concerned, there would be only
9 a minimal amount of time lost.
10 I would also hope, and I hope Your Honours
11 will bear this closely in mind, although I cannot
12 promise it, some delay might enable us further to
13 restrict and define the issues which are to be tried by
14 Your Honours. I've spoke briefly to two of my learned
15 friends for the Prosecution this morning and indicated
16 to them that I would, of course, be open to further
17 discussions if we can limit, in any way, some of the
18 issues that you have to try, if at all possible.
19 Obviously, I haven't had the chance to do that as yet.
20 In all those circumstances, we invite you to
21 accede to the request for an adjournment. If Your
22 Honours don't accept --
23 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) You didn't
24 talk about the essential point. What would be the date
25 you would propose because I suppose you would need a
1 long preparation, so do you have any idea of the date?
2 MR. GREAVES: Can I deal with two final
3 suggestions that I have? If you are against me on the
4 general proposition that I've just made, I have two
5 alternative suggestions. The first is this: If you
6 wish to commence the trial, you should hear only the
7 Prosecution's opening address and then adjourn so that
8 it may properly be said that we have started on time
9 and at least have done some work today and possibly
10 tomorrow morning, although I don't know how long my
11 learned friend is going to be in his opening address.
12 The second alternative, and I know this
13 because I have spoken this morning with Mr. Bowers, I
14 know that this is one which doesn't appeal to the
15 Prosecution, but I proffer it to Your Honours for your
16 consideration, is that you could commence the trial by
17 hearing the Prosecution's opening address and then
18 having witnesses called but only giving their
19 examination-in-chief and not at that stage being
20 cross-examined. I can understand the reluctance of the
21 Prosecution, but I put that forward as an alternative
23 Your Honour, I know that you are always
24 concerned about the rights of the defendant to have a
25 speedy trial, and that's one matter that I considered
1 when asking you to balance his various rights under
2 Article 21. We have discussed this at length with the
3 accused. He has been asked his views about the delay,
4 and he has signed a notice declaring that he is content
5 with the course that we have adopted, and I have a copy
6 available for Your Honours to see if you would wish.
7 So the matter has been canvassed with him, and he is
8 content that we make this application today.
9 As to Your Honour's point that you raised, I
10 heard the date of, I think, January 1999. Your Honour,
11 I would hope to be well in order by the New Year from a
12 personal point of view.
13 I hope that I've said all that I can. Is
14 there any other matter on which I can assist any of
15 Your Honours?
16 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) No from the
17 Registry. We are going to ask the Prosecution for
18 their opinion, but I haven't quite understood. You
19 wish us to delay the proceedings for the benefit of
20 Mr. Jelisic or yourself because as far as I have been
21 able to follow so far, it is for your own benefit
22 because you were not here at the beginning, you arrived
23 today, you did not attend the Pre-Trial conference that
24 was held -- when was it, Mr. Fourmy -- the 18th of
1 Therefore, I heard some very pertinent
2 arguments. I also heard reference to the right of the
3 accused to a speedy trial. And today you have behind
4 you the experience of the Celebici trial, but I must
5 say that the arguments were primarily to allow you to
6 converse with the accused who speaks Serbo-Croatian.
7 You told us that you can speak Serbo-Croatian only well
8 enough to order a beer. I don't know whether you will
9 have a greater knowledge of the language by the
10 beginning of January.
11 We in this case have the opposite problem.
12 Usually, we have attorneys who only speak
13 Serbo-Croatian, but in this case, it's a different
14 case, a different matter. As I said, I don't know
15 whether by January you will speak Serbo-Croatian
16 sufficiently to be able to converse with the accused.
17 The agreement of the accused -- Mr. Jelisic
18 has been asked for his opinion every time. We heard
19 him last time criticise Mr. Kostic.
20 Mr. Greaves, at the end of January when you
21 will be ready and, perhaps, Mr. Jelisic or yourself or
22 Mr. Londrovic requests the presence of a fourth counsel
23 who may be of a completely different nationality, would
24 we again be in a position to have to postpone?
25 I think that the right of the accused is
1 taken very seriously by you, that is your mission, but
2 equally by the Judges. They too have a very lofty
4 I should like first to hear the Prosecution
5 and then your colleagues from the Defence team.
6 MR. TOCHILOVSKY: Your Honours, we have been
7 in this situation or a similar situation several times
8 in this case. Goran Jelisic's first Defence counsel,
9 who was Mr. Pantelic, was withdrawn from this case in
10 April of this year on the request of the accused.
11 In August '98, another counsel, Mr. Kostic,
12 was assigned as co-counsel for Mr. Jelisic. Soon after
13 that assignment, Mr. Kostic requested for a continuance
14 of the trial date. In November '98, again at the
15 request of the accused, Mr. Kostic was withdrawn from
16 the case, and now another co-counsel, Mr. Greaves, is
17 assigned to assist Mr. Londrovic, and again the same
18 request for an adjournment of the proceedings.
19 The fact is that it is still Mr. Londrovic
20 who is the lead Defence counsel for Mr. Jelisic, and
21 Mr. Greaves is only to assist him. Mr. Londrovic has
22 been the leading counsel for the accused from April
23 1998. Since then, he has had more than six months to
24 read witness statements, to prepare cross-examinations,
25 to prepare the Defence case.
1 Therefore, the Prosecution doesn't see any
2 violation of Article 21 of the ICTY Statute, and,
3 therefore, we object to any adjournment of the
5 With regard to preparation for
6 cross-examination by one of the co-counsel who is
7 Mr. Greaves, the Defence can start cross-examination of
8 the Prosecution's first witness today and continue it
9 tomorrow morning. Therefore, tonight, for such an
10 experienced lawyer as Mr. Greaves is, the Defence will
11 have sufficient time and opportunity to prepare for the
12 cross-examination of both the first witness and the
13 second witness who will testify -- the second witness
14 who will testify either today or tomorrow.
15 All in all, the Prosecution doesn't see any
16 violation of Article 21, and we will insist that there
17 should be no adjournment granted to the Defence, and
18 the trial should commence today.
19 Thank you, Your Honours.
20 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Before
21 deliberating, I should like to hear the opinion of
22 Mr. Londrovic, Mr. Babic, and then Mr. Jelisic.
23 Mr. Londrovic, what do you feel? You have
24 been the lead counsel of the accused for many months.
25 You didn't tell us at the 18th of November Status
1 Conference that you had any difficulties or that you
2 were going to resort to another attorney. On the
3 contrary, when I asked Mr. Jelisic, you confirmed that
4 Mr. Kostic was no longer the third counsel of the
5 accused, and today we see a new co-counsel.
6 Can you give some explanations to the
7 Judges? We would like to hear those explanations. You
8 have the floor.
9 MR. LONDROVIC: (Interpretation) Your
10 Honours, on the 18th of November, the Pre-Trial
11 conference, the accused, Goran Jelisic, informed you
12 that his co-Defence counsel would no longer be
13 Mr. Nikola Kostic. He's an attorney from the United
14 States. He has fallen ill. He is suffering from
15 pneumonia and diabetes, so that he was unable to carry
16 out his duties according to the Defence plan.
17 Mr. Jelisic, therefore, withdrew his assignment to
18 Mr. Kostic, even though it is not something that he
19 should do, but I, upon Goran Jelisic's insistence,
20 agreed with him and informed the Registry accordingly.
21 My personal opinion and that of Mr. Babic is
22 that in such a serious trial, I would even refer to it
23 as a historic trial, as this is the first time that the
24 charge is genocide, myself and Mr. Babic, coming from a
25 civil law system, need the assistance of a respected
1 attorney from the other system, and we opted for
2 Mr. Greaves, who is very knowledgable about the common
3 law system.
4 I can understand the Trial Chamber, that they
5 may be irritated by all of this, and I understand also
6 the Prosecution, but I hope that the Court will show
7 trust and believe us if we say that we will not ask for
8 any adjournment again.
9 So I appeal to you on behalf of the whole
10 Defence team that we adjourn the proceedings, and I
11 hope that there will be no further changes or, rather,
12 I can guarantee that there will be no further changes
13 in the Defence team and that the trial can begin in
15 We have been told that this trial should
16 resume between the 25th and the 29th. The Court would
17 not lose much time, and I think that the Defence, in
18 view of the seriousness of the charges, that is, the
19 charge of genocide, would be far better prepared then
20 than if the trial were to begin today.
21 Thank you.
22 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Mr. Babic, do
23 you have anything to say? I'm asking you the same
24 question I addressed to Mr. Londrovic. I have the same
25 question for you as for Mr. Londrovic. I didn't
1 understand at the previous meeting that you were going
2 to appeal to a new co-counsel.
3 MR. BABIC: (Interpretation) Your Honours, I
4 really have nothing more to add to what Mr. Londrovic
5 has said, so if you could accept what he said as the
6 position of the Defence as a whole. Indeed, for
7 Mr. Londrovic and myself, we are faced with very
8 serious problems in organising the defence properly and
9 the beginning of trial in accordance with the Rules and
10 Statute and its provisions. We really do hope that we
11 have by now resolved all the problems related to the
12 Defence team and the composition of that team and that,
13 in the very near future, we could begin the trial
15 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Before the
16 Judges deliberate at the bench, Mr. Jelisic, can you
17 stand up, please? The last time we saw each other at
18 the Pre-Trial conference, we examined the outlines of
19 the trial, and as far as your Defence counsel was
20 concerned, it was clear that you no longer wanted to
21 have one of the Defence counsel, that is, Mr. Kostic,
22 and that you had trust in Mr. Londrovic and in
23 Mr. Babic.
24 What is your viewpoint at this stage? Will
25 you please express your views about this matter before
1 the Judges deliberate? Are there any specific problems
2 that you had with these two attorneys that you had to
3 appeal to a third? What is your opinion? Will you
4 please present it to the Judges?
5 THE ACCUSED: (Interpretation) Your Honours,
6 in the last few days, some unexpected problems arose in
7 connection with my defence, and all I would have to say
8 would be to support the position of my attorneys in the
9 interest of the best possible defence which is, of
10 course, in my interest.
11 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Thank you.
12 The Judges are going to deliberate at the bench.
13 Mr. Greaves, Mr. Londrovic, Mr. Babic, the
14 Defence team, Mr. Tochilovsky, who responded: The
15 Judges decided, taking the following into
17 First of all, they feel that there have
18 already been many changes on the Defence side since the
19 beginning and the arrest of Mr. Jelisic and since his
20 arrival in The Hague.
21 Secondly, that Mr. Jelisic has had two
22 Defence counsel throughout who speak the language of
23 the accused, that is, Mr. Londrovic as the lead counsel
24 and Mr. Babic as his co-counsel, who are perfectly
25 familiar with the language. Regarding Mr. Greaves, the
1 Judges note that there is no judicial system that would
2 envisage such things, but there are, in some rules and
3 regulations, characteristics of a particular system
4 which one or another lawyer may be more familiar with,
5 but the rules and regulations give preponderance to the
6 initiative that the Judges have to take.
7 Fourthly, Article 73 bis of a recent date
8 envisaged a Pre-Trial Conference which closes the
9 preliminary stage of the investigations and, in a
10 sense, sets the outline of the proceedings. It is in
11 that context that 73 bis, paragraph (F) allows, if the
12 Trial Chamber wishes, to file, seven days prior to the
13 date set for trial, a list of factual and legal issues
14 as well as a Pre-Trial brief.
15 Also, the Chamber feels, regarding the
16 defence of alibi, this should be submitted prior to the
17 beginning of trial, and this hasn't been done by the
19 Fifth, at a factual level, before going back
20 to the principles, that, unfortunately, for various
21 reasons and independent of the will of the Judges, the
22 trial will take place for three days, beginning today,
23 but will have to be interrupted until the end of
24 January, which again will give time for the Defence, if
25 necessary - Mr. Greaves in this case - all the time
1 necessary to familiarise himself not only with -- not
2 the common law system but the law of the Tribunal and
3 the facts of the case and also to converse with
4 Jelisic, not only through the intermediary of the two
5 attorneys but also an interpreter which the registry
6 will certainly place at the disposal of the accused in
7 the detention facility.
8 Sixth, the Judges take into account the
9 rights of the accused and also the superior interests
10 of international justice. The rights of the accused
11 have not been prejudiced in any sense. At our last
12 Status Conference, the wish was expressed to have the
13 most expeditious possible trial. The very text of the
14 Statute requires of the Judges, according to very high
15 international standards, that the trial be fair and
16 expeditious and that the expeditiousness should not
17 affect fairness, and as regards fairness, I think the
18 accused benefits from a Defence counsel which has been
19 very well composed from the very beginning of the
21 As for the interests of justice, the
22 understanding of the Judges is that they should defend
23 public order, and it is not legal assistance where the
24 Prosecution is opposed to the Defence with the Judges
25 as neutral arbiters, and I ask the Defence to read in
1 detail the regulations, the very great importance the
2 Judges attach to the establishment of the truth.
3 Finally, and perhaps most important of all,
4 the interests of the victims and witnesses. The
5 witnesses who know that they need to appear here for
6 three days and then again in January, and any further
7 delay in the proceedings can only prolong the time
8 required for protection.
9 In order to comfort Mr. Greaves, it is not a
10 question of sacrificing, in any sense, the rights of
11 the accused. If this should appear necessary, the
12 possibility will be taken into account of envisaging
13 certain additional time.
14 The examination-in-chief will be done by the
15 Prosecution now and the Defence tomorrow, but the
16 Judges will certainly be responsive to any request in
17 that sense.
18 Therefore, our ruling is that the trial will
19 begin after a ten-minute break with the opening
20 statement of the Prosecution.
21 The hearing is adjourned.
22 --- Recess taken at 3.42 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 4.00 p.m.
24 (The accused enters court)
25 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Please be
1 seated. I would like the accused to be brought in
2 after the Judges arrive in the courtroom, please,
3 Mr. Registrar. It is not appropriate for the accused
4 to wait for the Judges. It is not the procedure we
5 usually use. The Judges come in the courtroom and then
6 enters the accused.
7 Mr. Prosecutor, you have the floor so that we
8 can have your opening statement in accordance or
9 pursuant with Rule 84.
10 Mr. Bowers, you have the floor.
11 MR. BOWERS: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 May it please the Court: Before the fighting
13 started in Brcko, it was a prosperous and peaceful
14 place. The city is located on the Sava River which
15 divides Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and has a
16 port facility known as Luka. Luka is a large complex.
17 As you enter through the main gate, there are offices
18 on the right and large hangars or warehouses on the
19 left. The city of Brcko, like Bosnia and Herzegovina
20 itself, was ethnically mixed with Bosnian Muslims,
21 Serbs, and Croats living together. According to the
22 1991 census, the Bosnian Muslims constituted about 45
23 per cent of the population. Now very few Muslims live
24 there at all.
25 At approximately 5.30 in the morning of the
1 30th of April, 1992, the peace of Brcko was shattered
2 by two consecutive explosions on the bridges that
3 spanned the Sava River. The first explosion killed
4 numerous pedestrians who were on the bridge when the
5 bomb detonated. Body parts landed throughout the
6 central portion of the city. The explosions served as
7 the signal for the Bosnian Serb attack and takeover of
8 the city.
9 Brcko was a critical target for the Bosnian
10 Serbs because the city sits right in the middle of the
11 so-called Posavina corridor which connects the western
12 Krajina section of Bosnia with the northeastern and
13 eastern sections in which the Bosnian Serbs reside.
14 The Posavina corridor served as a critical bottleneck
15 between the two geographical areas controlled by the
16 Bosnian Serbs. Because Brcko was so important, the
17 Bosnian Serbs unleashed a violent campaign of ethnic
18 cleansing in the municipality. JNA artillery units
19 shelled the city, while local militia, paramilitary
20 units from other areas of Bosnia and Serbia, and other
21 volunteers united in a destructive wave to cleanse the
22 area of non-Serbs.
23 The accused Goran Jelisic was one of the
24 individuals sent to Brcko to assist in the ethnic
25 cleansing. Before the war, Goran Jelisic had been an
1 agricultural machinery mechanic from Bijeljina, a city
2 which is located slightly southeast of Brcko. Earlier
3 in 1992, a local court had sentenced Goran Jelisic to
4 serve three years in prison for a conviction on fraud.
5 Bosnian Serb authorities, however, had more expansive
6 plans for Jelisic, and within a short period of time,
7 Goran Jelisic found himself in a police uniform in the
8 middle of Brcko. His presence in Brcko in 1992 was the
9 result of a Bosnian Serb strategy to unlock the
10 jailhouse doors in order to provide sufficient
11 executioners for the genocidal and ethnic cleansing
12 activities which took place in the spring and summer of
14 THE INTERPRETER: If counsel could slow down,
16 MR. BOWERS: We are not certain of the exact
17 date on which Goran Jelisic arrived in Brcko, but from
18 eyewitnesses, we know that by the first week in May
19 1992, Goran Jelisic was executing prisoners outside of
20 the police station in downtown Brcko. A photograph of
21 one of those executions made it into international
22 newspapers. The Prosecution intends to introduce that
23 particular newspaper photograph into evidence. It is
24 quite dramatic evidence of what Goran Jelisic was up to
25 in those early days in Brcko.
1 Jelisic has admitted that he is the policeman
2 depicted in the photograph and that he carried out that
3 particular execution. But as the Court knows from
4 Goran Jelisic's guilty please, Jelisic killed
5 additional detainees outside of the police station.
6 In addition to executing detainees at the
7 police station, Goran Jelisic moved to the Luka
8 warehouse facilities on the Sava River where hundreds
9 of Bosnian Muslim and some Bosnian Croat men were being
10 detained. For approximately two weeks, Goran Jelisic
11 acted as the chief executioner at Luka camp. He held
12 the power of life and death in his hands, and
13 systematically and regularly went about killing the
14 Muslim detainees as well as several Croats. His
15 trademarks were a blue police shirt, a pistol, and a
16 preference for executing detainees over a metal
17 drainage grate.
18 This particular trial will be more focused
19 than the average trial because the accused has already
20 admitted to twelve murders charged in the indictment.
21 The Defence and the Prosecution jointly submitted a
22 factual basis for the entry of the guilty pleas.
23 Investigators from the Office of the Prosecutor have
24 extensively interviewed Goran Jelisic, and he does not
25 deny that he committed multiple murders in the Luka
1 complex. In the interviews, Goran Jelisic has even
2 admitted to committing murders that were not charged in
3 the indictment. During this trial, we will introduce
4 some of the more revealing statements which Goran
5 Jelisic made to investigators.
6 Because of the prior admissions and the entry
7 of the guilty pleas, the Prosecution's case in chief
8 will concentrate on proving that Goran Jelisic
9 committed the murders in Brcko with a genocidal
10 intent. As the Court knows, in order to convict Goran
11 Jelisic of genocide, the Prosecution must prove beyond
12 a reasonable doubt that Goran Jelisic committed the
13 murders at the police station and at the Luka camp with
14 the intent to destroy in whole or in part a racial,
15 ethnical, or religious group. For purposes of this
16 indictment, the Prosecutor has charged that Goran
17 Jelisic committed his murders with the intent to
18 destroy a part of the Bosnian Muslim population.
19 It is important to emphasise at the outset
20 that under the law, Goran Jelisic could be guilty of
21 genocide if he had committed a single murder with the
22 intent to destroy a racial, ethnical, or religious
23 group. In this trial, however, we will establish that
24 Goran Jelisic killed a high number of people during his
25 genocidal spree in Brcko. We will never be able to fix
1 the exact number. If he would be pressed to fix the
2 number, he could not fix that number himself because of
3 the cavalier nature in which he committed the
4 executions and the great number of executions. But if
5 we are to believe even a small percentage of the totals
6 which Goran Jelisic claimed, then his victims certainly
7 number well over a hundred.
8 Not only is the number of victims substantial
9 for purposes of prosecuting a genocide case, but the
10 Prosecution will also establish that the portion of the
11 group which Goran Jelisic set out to destroy was a
12 significant portion of the Muslim population within the
13 Brcko municipality.
14 We will introduce evidence that shows that
15 Bosnian Serb officials in the municipality drew up
16 lists of those individuals who would be executed,
17 thereby targeting intellectuals, military-aged men, and
18 political leaders. By the end of the evidentiary
19 presentation, you will see that the victim group
20 targeted by Goran Jelisic was both significant in its
21 importance to the Bosnian Muslim community and
22 substantial in number.
23 In criminal cases where the Prosecution must
24 prove the subjective intent of the accused, the
25 Prosecution must often rely, almost exclusively, on
1 circumstantial evidence in order to prove that intent.
2 The case against Goran Jelisic, however, is
3 horrifically unique in that we have numerous witnesses
4 who can testify about what Jelisic said at the time of
5 his executions. A person's words are perhaps the most
6 accurate and edifying indicator of the inner workings
7 of his mind. This Court will be presented with the
8 unique opportunity to listen to and analyse the very
9 words Mr. Jelisic spoke as he carried out his genocidal
11 The heart and the strength of the
12 Prosecution's case will be elicited from the victim
13 witnesses who saw and heard Goran Jelisic during his
14 activities in Brcko. Many of these witnesses
15 corroborate each other. Permit me to quickly review
16 some of the anticipated testimony which demonstrates
17 Goran Jelisic's genocidal intent.
18 First, numerous witnesses will testify that
19 Goran Jelisic referred to himself as the Serbian
20 Adolf. He, himself, during his initial appearance
21 before this Tribunal, admitted that he went by the
22 nickname of Adolf. The context in which Goran Jelisic
23 used this nickname will demonstrate conclusively that
24 this was not some form of endearment but was a direct
25 reference to the genocidal activities of Adolf Hitler
1 in World War II. Indeed, one witness describes Goran
2 Jelisic as stating to the effect, "Hitler was the first
3 Adolf. I am the second."
4 It matters little whether others gave Jelisic
5 the nickname or whether he adopted it himself. What
6 the evidence will show is that, regardless of the
7 genesis of the nickname, Goran Jelisic used the
8 nickname with a perverse pride in the genocidal
9 symbolism it represented.
10 In addition to the use of the nickname
11 "Adolf," numerous witnesses will testify that Jelisic
12 openly bragged that the reason he had come to Brcko was
13 to kill Muslims and to kill as many as possible. You
14 will hear from at least one witness who tells of a
15 confrontation which occurred when Goran Jelisic first
16 took control at the Luka detention centre. As Goran
17 Jelisic began harassing detainees, a local Serb from
18 Brcko attempted to intervene. Jelisic became angry and
19 said, in effect, "Do you know who I am," and stated
20 that all he had to do was to make a telephone call to
21 resolve the matter. Goran walked off, came back.
22 According to the testimony from the witnesses, Goran
23 remained in control, and the local Serb was not seen
25 Goran Jelisic did not hide the fact that the
1 reason he had come to Brcko was to kill as many Muslims
2 as possible. One witness states that Jelisic bragged
3 he had to kill 20 or 30 Muslims before he had his
4 morning coffee. During his murderous spree, Goran
5 Jelisic kept daily tallies of the number of Muslims he
6 had killed. Numerous witnesses will testify about
7 Goran Jelisic announcing his most recent totals. Goran
8 Jelisic often told the detainees themselves how many
9 Muslims he had killed at given points in time. Jelisic
10 also told the guards in Luka camp how many individuals
11 he had killed. Jelisic often set goals for himself by
12 vowing not to rest until he had killed a certain total
13 of detainees on a certain day. Once Goran Jelisic,
14 according to one of the witnesses you will hear, even
15 declined assistance from a guard with regard to a
16 planned execution, noting that he, Goran Jelisic, was
17 still in good form, even though he had killed over 60
18 people that day. Some of the daily tallies may have
19 ranged into the high sixties, yet Goran Jelisic
20 continued with his daily carnage.
21 The victim witness testimony will also
22 establish that Goran Jelisic was not a reluctant tool
23 of the genocide who was being compelled by Serb
24 authorities to act against his will. Quite to the
25 contrary, the testimony will firmly establish that
1 Goran Jelisic was an efficient and enthusiastic
2 participant in the genocide.
3 One witness had the unfortunate experience of
4 being with Goran Jelisic when Jelisic executed
5 individuals over the metal grate. As mentioned
6 previously, Goran Jelisic often executed his victims
7 over the grate in order to minimise the amount of
8 clean-up after the execution. The grates fed into a
9 drainage system which led out into the Sava River.
10 This particular witness will testify that he watched as
11 Jelisic forced a detainee to kneel over the grate and
12 then shot him in the head. Jelisic then turned to the
13 witness and said something to the effect of "I can see
14 that you are scared. It is nice to kill people this
15 way. I kill them nicely. I don't feel anything."
16 Goran Jelisic became so effective and so
17 notorious during his genocidal spree that even the
18 Bosnian Serb authorities had to rein him in. You will
19 hear from witnesses that around the 19th or 20th of
20 May, 1992, some Bosnian Serb officials removed Goran
21 Jelisic from Luka detention centre. Earlier in
22 mid-May, however, when Jelisic first heard that an army
23 major wanted to stop his killing, according to a
24 witness, Goran Jelisic responded that he, Goran
25 Jelisic, was the boss and that the Luka detention
1 centre was not within the jurisdiction of the army.
2 Jelisic said that he was ready to have a war with the
3 army if they wanted him to stop his killing. Four or
4 five days later, however, someone was able to get Goran
5 Jelisic removed from the Luka camp. But for this
6 eventual removal of Jelisic, he would have continued
7 killing until he had fully decimated the detainee
9 It is also important to note that Goran
10 Jelisic understood how his individual actions fit into
11 the broader genocidal campaign which had been launched
12 by the Bosnian Serb authorities. During interviews
13 with OTP investigators, Jelisic explained that upon his
14 arrival in Brcko, the head of the Serbian crisis staff
15 provided Jelisic with a list of Muslims and instructed
16 Jelisic to kill as many of the Muslims as possible.
17 Through the witness testimony, we will also
18 show that Goran Jelisic was not just a mere guard
19 within the Luka camp but that he exhibited and
20 exercised considerable authority. Particularly during
21 the night, Goran Jelisic had free rein to do whatever
22 he wanted to with the detainees. Often, he ordered
23 guards to assist him in his activities and the guards
24 complied. To the detainees whose lives were held in
25 balance on an hourly basis, Goran Jelisic was the
1 primary, if not the only, authority figure. As one
2 witness put it, "To us, he was like a god. He
3 controlled whether we lived or whether we died."
4 It is appropriate and just that the
5 Prosecution has pursued charges against individuals
6 such as Goran Jelisic because without key executioners
7 in the various geographical areas, the Bosnian Serb
8 authorities would not have been able to implement the
9 ethnic cleansing and genocidal campaign on which they
10 embarked in the spring and summer of 1992.
11 Accordingly, at the conclusion of the
12 evidence, we will request this Court to find Goran
13 Jelisic guilty of genocide because to the victims in
14 Brcko, the face of genocide was the face of Goran
16 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Thank you,
17 Mr. Prosecutor. Before hearing the Prosecution's case,
18 I think a certain number of principles should be
19 established. You know that the Rules have changed on a
20 number of issues and that the Rules now give the Judges
21 a certain number of powers which may be important, and
22 I'm now turning to Mr. Greaves, which may be more
23 important than in the common law systems. These new
24 powers stem from the first trials in this Tribunal.
25 I would now like to focus your attention, and
1 I'm turning to the Prosecution and the Defence, to Rule
2 90(G). You will have to keep in mind this Rule when
3 you present your arguments. The Judges have control on
4 the presentation of the arguments of the Prosecution
5 and the Defence so that all the arguments can be
6 presented in an efficient manner and to avoid wasting
8 Article 90 says that the cross-examination,
9 and I now turn to the Defence, should be limited itself
10 to the points addressed in the examination-in-chief.
11 In other trials, this Rule has been interpreted in
12 different ways. Of course, people who are familiar
13 with the common law systems are very familiar with this
14 Rule, but sometimes it's not very easy to apply it in
15 this Tribunal. So the Judges have said that this Rule
16 should be applied with a certain flexibility, and if we
17 had to limit only the cross-examination to the
18 examination-in-chief, of course, it would be very
19 easy. The witness would come and testify on a very
20 limited area or very limited events, and the person in
21 charge of the cross-examination would not have the
22 possibility to use the presence of this witness to ask
23 questions about issues that may be of interest to this
25 I would like to remind you that the new Rule
1 73(C) bis allows the Judges to make the
2 cross-examination shorter. Of course, all the
3 witnesses did not go through the same experiences and
4 events. For instance, if you take the example of an
5 UNPROFOR officer, maybe his testimony could be shorter
6 than a person who was raped or went through very
7 difficult ordeals. However, I would like to remind the
8 Prosecution today, but maybe tomorrow the Defence, the
9 Judges have the power to make the cross-examination
10 shorter than the examination-in-chief.
11 Then, of course, Mr. Greaves, I'm sure you
12 will read Rule 98 of the Rules. Maybe this is a power
13 that the Judges have here and that you won't find in
14 the common law systems. The Judges can have the power
15 to bring some new witnesses if they wish to do so or
16 they can obtain additional evidence if they wish to do
17 so, so be aware of all these provisions. The Judges
18 may have the need to intervene during the proceedings.
19 Of course, this is not what we wish to do, but it may
20 be necessary.
21 Now, as far as witnesses are concerned, I'm
22 turning to the Prosecution, when you have a witness in
23 the courtroom, the Judges want the witness to testify
24 on the charges which are in the indictment. So that we
25 don't have to intervene, please make sure that the
1 witness tells his whole story if it is necessary in
2 order to confirm one of the charges in the indictment.
3 Sometimes the witness gets tired. It's always very
4 difficult to come here to The Hague for these
5 witnesses. Sometimes it's very far away from the place
6 they come from, but it's always very difficult as well
7 for a witness to come in front of a Tribunal. Usually,
8 they are not familiar with Tribunals and with legal
10 Thirdly, the Judges would like you to remain
11 focused on the various elements of the charges. A
12 witness is here to throw some light on various precise
13 points of the indictment. A witness can come to say
14 that his house was on fire. Of course, it can be very
15 important for the witness to address other questions,
16 and if that's the case, please do it, but please always
17 remember your final objective, and I am turning to the
18 Prosecution and to the Defence.
19 For instance, as far as the Prosecution is
20 concerned, you want to prove the facts that constitute
21 the charge of genocide. Here, you are in front of a
22 Tribunal. You are not in front of an investigation
23 committee or not in front of a commission whose job it
24 is to write a report. We are Judges, and, beyond any
25 reasonable doubt, we have to determine if the accused
1 is guilty or innocent.
2 After all these considerations, the Judges,
3 and I'm turning to Mr. Tochilovsky and to Mr. Bowers,
4 the Judges will make sure that the witness can speak
5 freely. Of course, we will adopt this procedure to the
6 different witnesses. Some witnesses cannot do this,
7 and then we will ask you to intervene from the very
8 beginning. But in most cases, you gave us a
9 memorandum, and through this memorandum, we are now
10 aware of the main reasons why a witness has been asked
11 to come and testify, but, generally, the witness will
12 speak freely about the events he went through. And
13 given the documents that you gave us, pursuant to the
14 Rules, we will see if this witness did not say enough
15 or, on the contrary, if the witness said too much or
16 repeated too many things.
17 Then we will ask you to ask new questions to
18 the witness, but we don't want you to have the witness
19 repeat the same things. We will ask you to ask some
20 questions to the witness so that we can get more
21 clarifications or precisions maybe, because you may
22 think that the witness did not say all the elements
23 that he was supposed to address or to mention in front
24 of this Tribunal. That's the procedure we will be
1 As far as the exhibits are concerned,
2 Mr. Registrar, we think that it is appropriate that, in
3 the morning or before trial, both parties give a list
4 of all the exhibits to the Registry. It's much
5 easier. So I think the Prosecution and the Defence
6 should inform the Registry of all the useful exhibits,
7 so that when you need to have one exhibit presented to
8 the witness, this exhibit could be presented to the
9 witness more expeditiously.
10 As far as the exhibits are concerned, and I'm
11 telling this to the technical booth, who are very
12 competent and I do thank them for their work, this
13 exhibit should be presented on the ELMO and on the
14 screens, except when the hearings are closed hearings,
15 but usually we are working in open hearings. And
16 particularly here in this Tribunal, it's very important
17 where international justice is rendered. So when an
18 exhibit is presented to the Judges through the ELMO,
19 this exhibit should also appear on the screens in the
20 courtroom and in the public gallery. These are the
21 main principles I wanted to address.
22 There's one last point, and then I will turn
23 to Mr. Fourmy. I think we should take an order on the
24 contact between witnesses and the parties during the
25 trial, but we will talk about this later so that there
1 is a division between the parties. Of course, it may
2 change in one system or the other, but we're not bound
3 by any national legal system. We want to make sure
4 that the witness, when he is asked to come and testify
5 here, is a witness of justice and not a witness of one
6 of the parties. As soon as the witness enters this
7 courtroom, this witness becomes a witness of justice
8 and should answer primarily to the Judges.
9 The Defence should also know that when some
10 protective measures are asked for, you just have to
11 present a submission, and this could be done in a
12 closed session. This is possible. We started a few
13 moments ago in closed session. Of course, if you want
14 this, the Judges will answer to your submission, and we
15 will go into closed session so that you can present
16 your motions.
17 Are there any other observations? I turn to
18 my colleagues? No? No.
19 Mr. Prosecutor, then I'll give you the
20 floor. Mr. Tochilovsky, shall we start right now?
21 MR. TOCHILOVSKY: Your Honours, prior to
22 commencing the presentation of the Prosecution's
23 evidence, the Prosecution would like to raise a few
24 issues relevant to the presentation.
25 First, in accordance with Rule 90 of the
1 Rules of Procedure of the ICTY, upon order of the Trial
2 Chamber, an investigator in charge of a party's
3 investigation shall not be precluded from being called
4 as a witness on the ground that he has been present in
5 the courtroom during the proceedings. Subsequently,
6 the Prosecution would request the Trial Chamber to
7 apply this Rule to an investigator from the Office of
8 the Prosecutor --
9 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Which
10 paragraph? Which Rule?
11 MR. TOCHILOVSKY: It is Rule 90,
12 paragraph E.
13 The Prosecution would request the Trial
14 Chamber to apply Rule 90(E) to the investigator of the
15 Office of the Prosecution, Bernard O'Donnell, who is
16 present in the public gallery.
17 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) I shall
18 consult with my colleagues.
19 The Judges agree but they wish to note that
20 this provision of the Rules applies to the Defence, as
21 well as to the Prosecution.
22 Very well. Please continue.
23 MR. TOCHILOVSKY: The second issue is the
24 protection of witnesses who are to testify in this
25 portion of our trial, these three days. Upon their
1 arrival to The Hague, the Prosecution witnesses have
2 requested some measures for protection provided for in
3 Rule 75. Subsequently, the Prosecution requests the
4 Trial Chamber to hear the testimony of the Prosecution
5 witnesses in open session in which measures are taken
6 to prevent disclosure to the public or the media of the
7 identity of the victims and witnesses. We discussed
8 the measures with the Defence, and the Defence has no
9 objection to that.
10 The measures that the Prosecution requests
11 for these eight witnesses, in consultation with the
12 Victims and Witnesses Unit, are those provided for in
13 Rule 75(B)(i), namely, such measures as deleting names
14 and identifying information from the Chamber's public
15 records; non-disclosure to the public of any records
16 identifying the witness; giving oral testimony through
17 image-altering devices; assignment of a pseudonym.
18 The written motion for these protective
19 measures is being filed by the Prosecution, but the
20 names of those witnesses who need the protective
21 measures I can give to the Trial Chamber, if we can
22 have a closed session for that. Actually, it's just
23 six witnesses, five of whom would request pseudonym.
24 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) For these
25 three days, you envisage six witnesses for three days?
1 MR. TOCHILOVSKY: Yes, we are calling six
2 witnesses for these three days.
3 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) You wish to
4 submit the motion straightaway? Do you have it in
5 writing? Then we can rule immediately, especially if
6 the Defence has no objection.
7 Mr. Registrar, do you have the motion in
8 writing or has it still not arrived? Then perhaps we
9 can leave it for the afternoon. No?
10 Let's have a private session to agree at
11 least on the measures that we will take for the witness
12 that will be appearing in a couple of minutes,
13 especially if the Defence has no objection. Can we
14 have a private session now?
15 (Private session)
13 Page 50 redacted - in private session
7 --- Recess taken at 4.40 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 5.15 p.m.
9 (Open session)
10 (The witness entered court)
11 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) We will now
12 resume our work. Please be seated. Can the accused be
13 brought in, please?
14 (The accused entered court)
15 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) First of all,
16 I will ask the usher to immediately give the headset to
17 the witness. We should know this by now, that the
18 witness needs to have a headset immediately.
19 Can you hear us, Witness? If you can, I will
20 ask you to stand up. I wish your microphone could be
21 switched on. Mr. Usher, could you please switch his
22 microphone on? Thank you.
23 Witness A, can you hear me? Please stand
24 up. Thank you for coming. That's the first thing I
25 would like to say. Please do not say anything right
1 now; first of all, do not tell us what your name is.
2 The usher will hand a sheet of paper to you. On this
3 sheet of paper, you will see your name written down,
4 and you will please tell us "Yes" or "No" whether this
5 is your name.
6 Mr. Usher, could you please hand out this
7 sheet of paper to the witness, please?
8 Witness A, is this your name which appears on
9 this sheet of paper?
10 THE WITNESS: (Interpretation) Yes.
11 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Thank you very
12 much. I will ask you to remain standing for a few
13 minutes. The usher will now present you with a solemn
14 declaration which I will ask you to say out loud.
15 THE WITNESS: (Interpretation) I solemnly
16 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
17 and nothing but the truth.
18 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Thank you very
19 much. You may now be seated. A pseudonym has been
20 attributed to you. You will be Witness A throughout
21 these proceedings.
22 You have come to testify as a Prosecution
23 witness in the case brought by the Prosecutor against
24 Goran Jelisic. Mr. Jelisic has been accused of
25 genocide. You have been granted a number of protective
1 measures. This is the reason why the sound of your
2 voice has been distorted; that is the reason why a
3 pseudonym has been attributed to you. All these
4 measures are part of the regular measures that we grant
5 to witnesses who wish to be protected.
6 We will ask you a number of preliminary
7 questions and then I will ask you to tell us freely
8 what happened to you. It may happen that the
9 Prosecutor will interrupt you and will ask you to give
10 us some more details or to add some elements of
11 information. Then there will be a cross-examination by
12 the Defence counsel and then the Judges will put a few
13 questions to you.
14 Mr. Bowers or Mr. Tochilovsky, is there
15 anything you would like to ask the witness? Do you
16 have any preliminary questions you would like to put to
17 the witness before the witness starts telling us about
18 the events he has been through?
19 MR. TOCHILOVSKY: Yes, Your Honour, just some
20 questions -- some background information.
21 WITNESS: WITNESS A
22 Examined by Mr. Tochilovsky:
23 [Witness's answers interpreted]
24 Q. Witness A, let me ask you some background
25 information first, and the first question is: How old
1 are you?
2 A. Thirty-seven.
3 Q. Are you a Muslim by ethnicity?
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Witness A, I
6 know this is a very difficult experience for you, I
7 know you must feel very intimidated, but you have to
8 speak out for the interpreters. The interpreters
9 cannot hear you if you do not speak directly in the
10 microphone. They need to hear what you are saying
11 because we need to have your testimony interpreted into
12 the official languages of this Tribunal. If you don't
13 feel at ease, please say so, and we will suspend the
14 hearing. At any rate, we won't go beyond 6.00, but if
15 anything should happen and if you don't feel at ease at
16 any particular moment, please say so.
17 Mr. Tochilovsky, did you ask for the voice of
18 the witness to be distorted or did you only ask for his
19 face to be distorted?
20 MR. TOCHILOVSKY: Only the face.
21 Q. The last question, which is relevant to the
22 background information is: Where did you live before
23 the war, Witness A?
1 MR. TOCHILOVSKY: Mr. President, if you would
2 allow me, I would start with general questions relevant
3 to this case and then we will proceed.
4 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Of course,
5 Mr. Tochilovsky. We all have to get used to the
6 different principles I set out before the break. The
7 essential thing is for you to try and launch the
8 witness in his testimony and then let him speak
9 freely. Afterwards, maybe you will feel the need to
10 ask some more questions, but first of all, let's try to
11 have the witness start his testimony.
12 MR. TOCHILOVSKY:
13 Q. Witness A, were you detained in Luka camp?
14 A. Yes, I was.
15 Q. Can you tell the Court, when did you arrive
16 to Luka camp?
18 Q. Can you describe what happened upon your
19 arrival to Luka?
20 A. I do not quite understand. Do you mean --
21 shall I describe it, the arrival itself or what went on
22 after I arrived?
23 Q. First of all, can you tell the Court what
24 happened immediately upon your arrival?
25 A. Immediately upon our arrival, we were lined
1 up against a wall of the hangar. The soldier who had
2 brought us there, who was put in charge of our -- I
3 don't know how to put it. I don't know how to express
4 myself -- who was responsible for us, who was put in
5 charge to bring us to the Luka camp, he addressed the
6 other soldiers and said, "Here, I brought some more
7 balijas." And the soldiers who were there were Serbian
8 soldiers, to put it that way, but they themselves
9 called each other Chetniks and so did we. They started
10 beating us and verbally abusing us. They called us
11 "Gang," they said "We'll kill you all. Nobody's going
12 to save you."
13 Q. Witness A, you mentioned that the soldiers --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Excuse me. Can we have the
15 second microphone also turned on, please, in front of
16 the witness?
17 A. These were the guards in the camp --
18 MR. TOCHILOVSKY:
19 Q. May I interrupt you? The question is: When
20 you arrived, you just said that they called you
21 balijas. Is "balija" a derogatory name for Muslim?
22 A. Excuse me. Let me just ask you, how do you
23 want me to describe it? I would have to go into a
24 lengthier explanation to tell you what "balija" means.
25 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Please feel
1 free to express yourself. Please tell us what happened
2 once you entered the camp, why were you brought to the
3 camp, and tell us what happened inside the camp. If
4 the Prosecutor feels the need to have more details,
5 then he will ask you to provide us these details, but
6 the essential thing for us is not to have you repeat
7 anything. We don't want you to have to go over these
8 events again and again. But, please, express yourself
9 quite freely, Witness A.
10 MR. TOCHILOVSKY: If I could have the
11 assistance of the usher, Mr. President, in placing
12 Prosecutor's Exhibit 341 in front of the witness and
13 distributing it to counsel and the Court?
14 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) We do seem to
15 have a small technical problem. You see, Witness A,
16 there is a problem with your voice. We have
17 implemented the voice distortion device which means
18 that the interpreters can't hear you very clearly.
19 THE REGISTRAR: (Interpretation) Exhibit
20 number 2. Exhibit number 1 being the sheet of paper
21 which was shown to the witness earlier.
22 MR. TOCHILOVSKY:
23 Q. Witness A, does the photo depict the hangar
24 in which you were detained?
25 A. Yes, it does.
1 Q. Have you had an opportunity to indicate
2 certain locations on the photo which are relevant to
3 your testimony today?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Is the location marked as X-2 the place where
6 you were lined up upon your arrival to Luka?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Was Goran Jelisic among those soldiers who
9 were at the hangar when you arrived?
10 A. Goran Jelisic was not in front of the hangar
11 when we arrived there. He arrived five minutes later
12 after one of the soldiers had called him from the
13 office which he shared with Ivan Repic.
14 Q. Did Goran Jelisic introduce himself to you?
15 A. Yes. He said that he was the director of the
16 collection centre and that we had been brought here,
17 that we would be interrogated, and who would be found
18 guilty would be killed and who was going to be found
19 not guilty would be released, and in his words, he said
20 that he did not believe that there was a single balija
21 who was not guilty.
22 Q. Did Goran Jelisic introduce himself after
23 that first day on other occasions?
24 JUDGE RIAD: Excuse me, there was a mistake.
25 He said there was not a single "body" who was not
1 guilty or a single "balija" was not guilty, in the
3 MR. TOCHILOVSKY:
4 Q. Can you explain to the Court, did you mention
5 "balija" or "body"? Could you explain to the Judges?
6 A. He used those words, and what he meant to say
7 was that all balijas were guilty, they should all
8 disappear, that they should all die, that they should
9 all be eradicated, and "balija" was for "Muslims"; in
10 other words, he was saying that all the Muslims were
11 guilty, that this nation did not exist, that we have
12 been invented, that we descended from the Turks. So
13 that was the meaning of it, that the Muslims were
14 guilty for the simple fact of being alive. So that was
15 his belief.
16 Q. Did Goran Jelisic introduce himself on other
17 occasions and did he call himself by any other name?
18 A. Yes, he did. Now, I cannot recall whether
19 this was the very same day or the next day. He came to
20 the hangar where we had been put because after our
21 group, additional people arrived, and he addressed the
22 people who were at the front of the hangar, he told
23 them that his name was Goran Jelisic, that he was also
24 called Adolf, that he was in command of the group which
25 blew up the bridge over the Sava River, and on this
1 bridge, about 100 people were killed during that
2 explosion, men, women, and children, even small
3 babies. This is the assessment of the police sources.
4 He said that he had killed about 150 people in the Luka
5 camp and that it wasn't all, that he was going to
7 Q. With regard to Goran Jelisic, have you seen
8 his picture in any media after you left the camp?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Would you be able to recognise him if you saw
11 him again?
12 A. Well, even though more than six years have
13 gone by and many things have changed, including my life
14 after the camp, I still believe that I would recognise
16 Q. Can you see Goran Jelisic in the courtroom?
17 A. I'm not sure, but I would like to request of
18 Their Honours if Mr. Jelisic could get up and turn up
19 his sleeves. Can he turn them around because he should
20 have a big scar on his arm, for which he claimed that
21 he got it in Croatia. I cannot see it well from here,
22 but he did have this scar which he claimed to have
23 received in Croatia in a camp. And later, I heard from
24 others, other camp inmates, in the Luka camp that he --
25 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Excuse me. I
1 want to confer with my colleagues.
2 Mr. Prosecutor, could you approach the bench,
3 please, and also Mr. Londrovic as well, could he
4 approach the bench?
5 Please sit down, Mr. Jelisic, for the time
7 Mr. Londrovic, will you approach the bench?
8 Mr. Greaves as well, please.
9 The Judges are going to ask Witness A why
10 this scar was on the arm which would have enabled you
11 to recognise the accused. Why did he have this scar?
12 Could you tell the Judges?
13 A. Because he would show that scar to all of us
14 in the hangar, and he tried to tell us a story,
15 according to which he too was detained in a Croatian
16 camp because he had been a volunteer in the Croatian
17 theatre of war and that the Croats had poured salt on
18 his wounds made with a knife to make them more
19 painful. And he boasted of that scar, and I saw that
20 scar, not just I, but all the others who were in the
21 Luka camp.
22 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Very well.
23 Thank you, Witness A. You may continue.
24 Yes, Judge Riad?
25 JUDGE RIAD: (Interpretation) Witness A, did
1 you have a good view? Do you see well? Is your vision
2 good? Do you see well at a distance? Can you
3 recognise people at a distance or not?
4 A. People that I see on a daily basis or who I
5 saw a year ago, I would recognise certainly, but I
6 haven't seen him for more than six years, and he has
7 changed also. He's not the same person he was six
8 years ago physically, though some features still
9 remain, but it is not the same face that it was six
10 years ago. He has calmed down -- he has changed --
11 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, the interpreter
12 corrects herself.
13 A. -- just as I have changed.
14 JUDGE RIAD: (Interpretation) Thank you.
15 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Very well,
16 Mr. Tochilovsky, please proceed with your examination.
17 MR. TOCHILOVSKY:
18 Q. Was Goran Jelisic wearing any uniform on him
19 at that time when you were in Luka?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. With regard to that scar, you just explained
22 that Goran Jelisic represented it as a scar as a result
23 of his detention in Croatia. Do you know another
24 explanation for that scar? Have you heard about any
25 other explanation for that?
1 A. Yes. I heard from others, other detainees in
2 the Luka camp, because he had given a different story
3 to some others. He personally, according to this other
4 story, he had been wounded when he was interrogating
5 or, rather, when he wanted to kill Fritz, and "Fritz"
6 is the nickname of a commercial inspector in the
7 municipality. His surname is Novalic. The person is
8 deceased. He was killed by Jelisic. According to
9 Jelisic's statement and the statements of other
10 witnesses that I heard, he tried to attack Jelisic with
11 an axe to defend himself because this one wanted to
12 kill him, and eventually, he, in fact, did.
13 Q. Witness A, can you describe what happened on
14 that first night in the Luka camp with you and the
15 other detainees?
16 A. After the mistreatment initially in front of
17 the hangar when we were brought in, this went on, I
18 couldn't tell you exactly for how long, because when
19 one is fearful, things last an eternity, and one only
20 thinks about reducing the pain from each blow as much
21 as possible and avoiding the blow and just to keep
22 alive. That is the only thought in his mind. So
23 afterwards, under blows, we were pushed into the front
24 part of the hangar, and we were ordered to sit down on
25 the concrete floor.
1 Q. And what happened to you and the other
2 detainees at night?
3 A. We stayed like that, sitting there all day
4 until the evening. Roughly, it might have been about
5 8.00, 7.30, the door of the hangar through which we had
6 come in was closed, and outside, singing could be
7 heard, their Chetnik songs, provocations to the effect,
8 "Balija, you've had it. There's a little left for
9 you. We will exterminate you," and things like that.
10 Then music could be heard from a tape recorder. And
11 during the night -- no one could have known the exact
12 time because all our watches and valuables, rings,
13 everything we had had been seized from us, even our
14 personal documents.
15 Anyway, it was before midnight. The door was
16 opened but not altogether, just enough to allow a
17 person to pass through without hitting the door frame
18 or the door walking out, and they called for four
19 volunteers to do a job. We didn't know at all that,
20 besides us, there were others in the camp, in the
21 hangar. The part of the hangar where we were, in the
22 middle, there was another door leading to another part
23 of the hangar. As it was dark and the door was more or
24 less closed, we couldn't see whether there were any
25 people in the other part of the hangar, and only once
1 the door was opened and when people started coming out
2 did we see that we were not alone there, that, in
3 addition to us, there were others.
4 Four men came out of the other part through
5 the door, and one could hear blows outside, that these
6 four volunteers were being beaten outside, that they
7 were called balijas, the Turkish gang. They cursed
8 their Muslim mothers. I couldn't see anything, but I
9 could hear all of this. People were moaning, begging,
10 "Don't do that. We are not guilty of anything."
11 To the background of these moans and blows
12 and all of this, a voice could be heard, a voice that I
13 recognised later on because I heard it every day, the
14 order was, "Lie down. Lean your head against the
15 grate." Then, "Don't. Don't do that to me. Why me?
16 I haven't done anything. I'm not guilty." Again,
17 moans of the same man, most probably, because I
18 couldn't see anything. This was all to no avail. One
19 could just hear a silenced shot, and very briefly after
20 that, like a vibration of the concrete, because there
21 was just one wall separating me from the spot where the
22 people were killed.
23 After that, maybe two or three minutes later,
24 then the same sound, the shot, a silenced shot, then
25 the blunt sound of a blow against the concrete,
1 preceded, of course, by blows, by screams, by moans,
2 "Don't do that. Why? I've always lived with the
3 Serbs here in peace. I haven't done anything. I never
4 hurt any Serbs." But all of this was to no avail.
5 I'm saying this in this way because I didn't
6 see anything through the wall. But I'm saying this
7 precisely because I too was a volunteer on two
8 occasions. I went outside and I saw with my own eyes
9 how people were mistreated, beaten --
10 Q. If I may interrupt you, Witness A? With
11 regard to the fact when you volunteered, when you went
12 out, can you provide some more details about the
13 incidents you saw when you went out, and please refer
14 to the photo that you have, Exhibit 2, where you were
15 staying and what happened?
16 A. I went out as one of four volunteers on the
17 second or third day; I can't remember exactly. Before
18 me, there were about ten groups of four volunteers
19 each. People were afraid to go out. They knew what to
20 expect. And then they started yelling from the door,
21 "Come out, balijas, come out. Don't let us come in
22 and select those who will go out." Considering the
23 fear I had been in, particularly after May the 3rd when
24 I was mistreated by the Chetniks, I simply didn't care
25 anymore. I went out to put an end to all this
1 suffering, and I thought it was all the same to me,
2 whether it happened today or tomorrow, because it
3 appeared that the same fate would befall all of us.
4 So I went out, and as soon as I got out, they
5 started hitting, cursing, shouting, "Balijas, there's
6 no salvation for you," curses, Muslim mothers were
7 cursed, and everything else that they could think of.
8 They lined us up here (indicating), they
9 forced us to line up against the wall with our heads
10 bent down, our hands behind our backs --
11 Q. Excuse me. Are you referring to location X-1
12 for the record?
13 A. Yes, yes, X-1, yes.
14 Q. What happened next after you were taken out?
15 A. I was the third in line, counting from this
16 end, the end of the hangar or the beginning of the
17 hangar. There were two men in front of me, then I,
18 then another one after me. The second man in our group
19 was approached by Ivan, known as Repic. The other
20 soldiers moved away from us, they stopped beating us,
21 and he pulled this man out of the group and ordered him
22 to lie down on the asphalt and to put his head on this
23 grate marked as X-3. The man pleaded, "Don't. Let me
24 go." The same words were used by all. Everyone wanted
25 to live. Nobody wanted to be killed. But that didn't
1 help. Whether the victim put his head down of his own
2 free will or was forced to do so by them, it was the
3 same for them so long as they killed him.
4 What is more, it was my impression that they
5 enjoyed it more when the victim pleaded with them. The
6 more the victim pleaded not to be killed, to be allowed
7 to live, the more they enjoyed the killing.
8 Also, the first time that I went out in a
9 group, Jelisic was doing the killing. The second time,
10 it was Miroslav. My impression was and still is that
11 they really enjoyed the killing of helpless people.
12 Many times I asked myself whether those beasts in human
13 form, if I could call them that, would they have the
14 courage in the street to fight one on one and to look
15 us in the face, and how would they behave then? But
16 like this, to treat unarmed, helpless captives,
17 20-to-1, in those conditions, they were very brave and
18 they enjoyed what they did.
19 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Yes? You have
20 another question? Yes, please.
21 MR. TOCHILOVSKY:
22 Q. Witness A, after Goran Jelisic killed the
23 person, did he order you to carry the bodies?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Can you explain, where did you carry the
1 bodies? Were you told where to carry the bodies?
2 A. They told me and the first man, the one who
3 was first in line while the group was still whole, and
4 under blows they forced us to carry the dead body, to
5 carry it. I carried the man by his arms, the other one
6 by his legs, and we carried him to here (indicating),
7 the corner here, the edge of the building, and behind
8 it, a truck was parked, a refrigerator lorry. We only
9 saw the back flap open, it was dark, and in the dark,
10 we reached the truck, we threw in the body, and in
11 doing so, I saw that there were other bodies in the
13 We came back, again under blows and insults.
14 "The same fate awaits you," they said. We formed a
15 group again, which now, unfortunately, consisted of
16 only three men. I was the first now in the group,
17 because while they were beating us on the way back, the
18 man in front of me ran off, and I followed him, so that
19 he stood next to the other man and I next to this one.
20 We didn't stand at attention for long when a man was
21 brought out again, the same man that had carried the
22 first body with me, and he was killed in the same way
23 as the first man.
24 Q. Who killed the man?
25 A. The first and the second man were killed by
1 Goran Jelisic, and while doing so, he said, "Another
2 balija less."
3 After that, I and the last remaining man in
4 the group were forced once again to carry the body to
5 the truck, to throw it in, into the truck, and then we
6 returned, again under blows. This time we thought it
7 would be our turn, but they continued beating us and
8 forcing us in the direction of the door of the hangar,
9 saying, "Get in, balijas, and get ready, because in a
10 day or two, it will be your turn."
11 Not long afterwards, maybe ten or fifteen
12 minutes later, maybe even less, because minutes
13 appeared like hours to us, hours like years, the next
14 group of volunteers was called out, and so it went on
15 until morning, 4.00 or 5.00 in the morning.
16 At the end, in the night, a group of seven or
17 eight men would be called out who had to clean the
18 blood which could be seen everywhere, around the grate
19 and on the grate rails itself, to remove all traces of
20 their savagery and their crimes. This was repeated
21 every night.
22 It went on until the early hours of the
23 morning until the day when Goran Jelisic entered the
24 hangar with Major Dzurkovic and a captain who was
25 wearing a uniform of the former Yugoslav People's Army,
1 as was the major, Major Dzurkovic, accompanied by
2 several guards, and then they read out -- or, rather,
3 they didn't read out, they just told us, that killing
4 was prohibited, killing and mistreatment of prisoners,
5 of detainees.
6 The men started to applaud. Some even raised
7 him onto their shoulders, which hurt me so much. In
8 that moment, I couldn't really accept that after
9 everything this beast had done, that men could have
10 raised him up on their shoulders. I couldn't applaud
11 him, never mind lift him up. I would have rather
12 dropped dead than do that. But I later had more
13 understanding for those men because the words he had
14 spoken, the order which had come from someone up there,
15 someone from their leadership, meant that we were born
16 again, that we could continue to live, that we had
17 survived, unlike our other compatriots.
18 After that - was it that day or the next day?
19 - a guard came into the hangar with a big notebook in
20 his hands and a pen and ordered us to line up, and he
21 wrote down our names one by one, our first and last
22 names, date of birth, addresses, where we used to live,
23 because our address at the time they were taking it
24 down was the Luka camp. Only then did we become human
25 beings with names and surnames, with former addresses,
1 and a new address, the Luka camp.
2 Q. Excuse me. May I interrupt you, Witness A?
3 If I can continue? I just have a few
4 questions for today.
5 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) No. You know,
6 it is a quarter past 6.00. This witness -- first of
7 all, we had planned to adjourn at 6.00. Even though
8 the witness has not been testifying for long, he's
9 re-experiencing all that very emotionally. We will
10 meet again tomorrow at 10.00.
11 Try, I can't say to forget, but to relax a
12 little, and I hope the Witnesses and Victims Unit will
13 take care of the witness. Mr. Prosecutor?
14 MR. TOCHILOVSKY: So we can continue tomorrow
15 with this Witness A?
16 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) I am saying
17 that he will be taken care of by the Victims and
18 Witnesses Unit. He won't be alone.
19 MR. TOCHILOVSKY: Yes. Actually, this
20 Victims and Witnesses Unit takes care of our witnesses.
21 JUDGE JORDA: (Interpretation) Very well.
22 We will now adjourn and resume tomorrow morning at
23 10.00 a.m.
24 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
25 6.16 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
1 the 1st day of December, 1998, at
2 10.00 a.m.