1 Wednesday, 3 April 2013
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE KWON: Good morning, everyone. Mr. Tieger and
7 Mr. Robinson, given the prior notice, the Chamber has decided not to sit
8 on Friday, 24th of May.
9 MR. ROBINSON: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
10 MR. TIEGER: And I echo that, Mr. President. Thank you.
11 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Karadzic.
12 WITNESS: MILOVAN BJELICA [Resumed]
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, everyone. Good
15 morning, your Excellencies.
16 Examination by Mr. Karadzic: [Continued]
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Bjelica. Can you tell us
18 whether there was some military organising in your municipality before
19 the war and if so who was engaged in that?
20 A. Before the war in Sokolac municipality there was the TO as well
21 as the Ministry of Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Ministry of
22 Defence had the task of providing manpower to -- for the
23 216th Motorised Brigade which was part of the JNA. There were no other
25 Q. Thank you. How about the SDA? Did the Muslim side have anything
1 in 1991, and what did you know about it?
2 A. As regards the Muslim side, we had information that the Muslim
3 people were arming themselves in the territory of Sokolac municipality.
4 We had such information as early as June 1991, when we learned that
5 Muslims were being organised through a military wing of the SDA which was
6 called the Patriotic League. In addition to the Patriotic League, there
7 were also the Green Berets. We also had intelligence that the political
8 leadership of the SDA had made a decision to establish a military
9 structure, a military formation, which was supposed to protect the Muslim
10 people and which was also to be used to defend the independence of Bosnia
11 and Herzegovina when such time came about. It functioned under the
12 auspices of Mr. Izetbegovic, and its operational part was led by
13 Ejup Ganic.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We didn't hear the second
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And the military activity was led
17 by --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the name.
19 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Bjelica, could you repeat from where you
20 mentioned Mr. Izetbegovic and Ejup Ganic. The interpreters were not able
21 to hear the names of other persons. And speak very slowly, please.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. It
23 functioned the under the auspices of the leadership of the SDA. It was
24 directly led by Alija Izetbegovic. The political part, political
25 supervision of this newly formed formation was in the hands of Ejup Ganic
1 and Mr. Mehmed [as interpreted]. The military part was in the hands of
2 Sefer Halilovic, who before that had been a senior officer of the JNA in
3 the territory of our municipality of Sokolac. There was a unit of the
4 Patriotic League which was organised by a member of the security service
5 of the Main Staff of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time, it
6 was the staff of the Patriotic League which after the outbreak of
7 conflicts transformed itself into the army of BiH. His name was Mevludin
8 Smajic. He provided a statement on the 24th of September, 1992, to the
9 "Oslobodjenje" newspaper. I think that article was entitled "The Voice
10 of a Patriot" or "Mevludin Smajic, the Story of a Patriot." The date is
11 the 24th of September, 1992, it means it is already the fall of 1992 when
12 the war was well under way in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He stated that for the
13 entire last year, that is to say 1991, the entire previous year, he
14 worked on arming the Muslim people in the territory of Sokolac
15 municipality. He also stated that he basically went to Vitez every other
16 day, bringing in explosives.
17 Q. I would kindly ask you -- well, we have the newspaper. We'll see
18 it in a moment, but did you learn it from him, or when was it that you
19 heard of it for the first time?
20 A. The public security station had intelligence because we had acted
21 upon some reports of neighbours when we were informed that there were
22 weapons in the house of Emir Klica. At the time he provided a statement
23 to the police at the station in Sokolac. He stated that he was a
24 commander of a Patriotic League company. They found a radio device on
25 him as well as a PM, as well as some other weapons. He said that they
1 had some 866 people on the list out of whom 40 per cent were well armed.
2 He also stated that they had sent their young men to be trained in Libya,
3 in Kumrovec, and Remetinac and another two places in Croatia where there
4 were camps for the training of terrorists.
5 Q. Thank you. Mr. Mehmed, the name is actually Omer Behmen, which
6 is on page 2 in the transcript, Omer Behmen when we asked Mr. Bjelica to
7 repeat the name.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have in e-court 1D14014.
9 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation].
10 Q. What was Mevludin Smajic's occupation? What was his position?
11 A. He worked at the Ministry of Interior of Bosnia-Herzegovina. For
12 a while, I think he was in charge of security detail, providing security
13 for Mr. Cengic, Delimustafic, and other prominent personnel. He worked
14 in the state security of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
15 Q. Was he an authorised official? Did he have an ID?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. Can we zoom in on the part in the box so that you can
18 tell us whether that is the statement he provided to the newspaper, and
19 how did it fit into the information the police had at the time when the
20 weapons were discovered in 1991? No. No. Towards the bottom of the
21 page in the Serbian.
22 A. I can see it now.
23 Q. Can you please put the frame in the centre of the picture.
24 A. That is it. A member of the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
25 Mevludin Smajic. He used to work -- or he worked on the arming of
1 members of the Ministry of the Interior of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is
2 the article in question. They also published a book about the
3 establishment of the Patriotic League where they described things in
5 Q. Thank you. Can you tell the Chamber whose newspaper is the
7 A. It was published in Sarajevo, in the Federation of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war. One could not get it in the territory
9 of RS.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Can this document be
12 JUDGE KWON: Yes, we'll receive it.
13 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D3224, Your Honours.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no further
15 questions of Mr. Bjelica at this point.
16 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Yes, Ms. Gustafson.
17 MS. GUSTAFSON: Thank you, and good morning, Your Honours.
18 Cross-examination by Ms. Gustafson:
19 Q. Good morning, Mr. Bjelica.
20 A. Good morning, Ms. Gustafson.
21 Q. At paragraph 8 of your statement, you discuss the SAO Romanija.
22 You said that you were a member of the SAO Romanija Assembly, and you
23 stated that only one Assembly session was held at which Assembly bodies
24 and executive organs were elected, that they did not function later on so
25 that the existence of the SAO Romanija was declarative in character.
1 Now, you said there was only one SAO Romanija Assembly session.
2 When was that session?
3 A. I don't recall the precise date. It is true that there was only
4 one Assembly session of the SAO Romanija. The Assembly was established,
5 and the prime minister of the SAO government was elected. It never met
6 after that, however, because the seat of the SAO Romanija was in
7 Sarajevo, and members of the Assembly came from different municipalities,
8 not only from Sokolac. So as the situation developed and tensions rose,
9 there were no conditions in place to hold such Assembly session. So on
10 that session the SAO Romanija was proclaimed, but it never -- it was
11 never followed up by any other session.
12 Q. Could we have 65 ter 01473, please. Mr. Bjelica, these are
13 minutes of a session of the Assembly of the SAO Romanija held in Pale on
14 the 11th of December, 1991, and the first agenda item is adoption of the
15 decision on appointment of members of the SAO Romanija government. Is
16 this the session that you were referring to?
17 A. I know that a decision was made at that session to appoint
18 Mr. Blagojevic to be the prime minister as is stated here. So this is
19 most likely the session in question, although I'm not positive.
20 Q. Okay. If we go down to the -- towards the bottom of the page, it
21 says -- there's a statement by the representative from Sokolac, and it
23 "At the last meeting we agreed that all candidates for ministers
24 should attend this session."
25 Now, that reference to at the last meeting indicates that there
1 was a previous session of the Assembly of the SAO Romanija; right? So
2 this would have been at least the second session?
3 A. No, it was not an Assembly session, the other meeting. It
4 says -- it is correct the Assembly of the SAO Romanija, but it is the
5 minutes of a meeting rather than of an Assembly session. It was probably
6 a smaller body which met representing the 22 municipalities. So it was
7 not an Assembly session. There was only one Assembly session, that is
8 certain, but there may have been other meetings held by the various
9 government candidates, but there was only one SAO Romanija Assembly
10 session. Perhaps this was a consultative meeting and that is what is
11 referred to as the previous one. Usually people are agreed upon, those
12 who will be in charge of activities in the municipalities, and they have
13 to agree on the assigning of position and which municipality will have
14 what position.
15 Q. Thank you. My time is very limited, which is why I interrupted
16 you. If you could try to keep your answers focused and concisely
17 directed to the question.
18 The -- now, you said that the SAO Romanija was declarative in
19 character. However, the SAO Romanija government, which was established
20 at this session, held government sessions and carried out government
21 activities, didn't it?
22 A. The government only issued certain communiques if they met and
23 there was a crisis and as needed. For example, Mr. Zugic, the minister
24 of information would issue such communiques or the
25 Prime Minister Drago Blagojevic. They may have issued a few communiques
1 for the public, and it always came from either the Ministry of
2 Information or the prime minister himself. There were no other
4 MS. GUSTAFSON: If we could have 65 ter 24874, please, and I
5 would tender the minutes of the Assembly, please.
6 JUDGE KWON: We will receive it.
7 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P6250, Your Honours.
8 MS. GUSTAFSON:
9 Q. Now, if we could go -- sorry. Mr. Bjelica, you can see this is
10 the government of the SAO Romanija work programme for 1992, and if we
11 could go to the next page in the B/C/S. It refers to the agreement
12 reached at the second session of the government of the SAO Romanija held
13 in Pale on the 15th of January, 1992. So that indicates that by the 15th
14 of January, the government of the SAO Romanija had held at least two
16 A. I can't see.
17 MS. GUSTAFSON: If we could slide the text over so that
18 Mr. Bjelica can see this.
19 Q. Can you read it now, Mr. Bjelica? And it says that all the
20 ministers of the government were obliged to produce 1992 working plans,
21 and then it gives details about what those plans were to cover.
22 A. [No interpretation]
23 Q. And if we could scroll through the document, you can see that
24 there are detailed plans for government -- SAO Romanija government
25 activities in the areas of economy, agriculture, forestry, industry and
2 MS. GUSTAFSON: If we could scroll through the document so
3 Mr. Bjelica can at least see the headings.
4 Q. Traffic, spatial planning, finances, trade, tourism and catering,
5 health, information system, justice, science, education, culture, and
7 This document makes clear, Mr. Bjelica, that this was not just a
8 government that issued communiques. They were involved in governmental
9 activities; right?
10 A. No. I see this for the first time. As regards the SAO Romanija,
11 there was the association of municipalities of Han Pijesak, Sokolac,
12 Pale, and Rogatica which was then expanded, but it never came to life.
13 It had existed back in the times of Communism and the SFRY. There were
14 such districts encompassing associations of municipalities.
15 Now, this programme never saw the light of day, and I see it now
16 for the first time. This is completely new to me. But also there's
17 nothing special about it. It's a programme. Maybe drafted by the prime
18 minister. I don't know. I've never seen it, and I'm not familiar with
20 Q. Well, let's look at something you have seen before. It's
21 65 ter 05360, the minutes of the Sokolac Crisis Staff session held on the
22 7th of May, 1992, and a document that is referenced in your statement at
23 paragraph 35.
24 You can see that the third item on the agenda for this meeting is
25 the status of ethnic Muslim workers. And if we go to page 2 of the
1 English and page 3 of the B/C/S. And this is the second paragraph from
2 the bottom in the English and the second paragraph from the top in the
3 B/C/S. There's an intervention by you. It says:
4 "Milovan Bjelica participated in the discussion and stressed that
5 it is necessary to deal with any kind of provocations immediately. He
6 proposed that the Muslim citizens who are military conscripts be called
7 up as well as to introduce a compulsory work service for them."
8 And then at page 3 of the English and page 4 of the B/C/S, so the
9 next page -- sorry, it's page 4 of the English as well. Directly the
10 last paragraph above item 4. It says:
11 "Concerning the suggestion of Milovan Bjelica that the ethnic
12 Muslim citizens be mobilised, it was concluded that the proposal needs
13 more consideration and that this question together with the question
14 about the loyalty of the Muslim citizens should be resolved uniformly at
15 the level of the SAO Romanija."
16 Now, Mr. Bjelica, you were at this meeting. This is a reflection
17 of the fact that the SAO Romanija was a decision-making body; right?
18 A. No. It's not correct. This is for the territory of the SAO
19 Romanija, including Ilijas, Olovo, Han Pijesak, et cetera. So it's the
20 same territory. I did propose that members of Muslim ethnicity be called
21 up who refused to respond to mobilisation to be assigned to work in the
22 companies of Romanija and Sumarstvo, the forestry company. This simply
23 encompasses the territory of the SAO Romanija, but it is not its document
24 or the body itself, the organisation itself.
25 Q. Mr. Bjelica, this document refers explicitly to the SAO Romanija
1 and says that a decision should be made at that level. Who else is going
2 to make a decision at the level of the SAO Romanija other than a body of
3 the SAO Romanija?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Excuse me. Can it be read out
5 precisely what needs to be done, because there is no word "decision" in
6 the text.
7 MS. GUSTAFSON: I read out the text. It's in front of the
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I may. As regards the proposal
10 of Milovan Bjelica, this is not my conclusion, but I did suggest that
11 Muslim conscripts be called up for work obligation. Based on this
12 proposal after thorough discussion at the meeting, it was concluded that
13 my proposal deserved a second thought and that at the level of the SAO
14 Romanija a uniform decision -- conclusion needs to be made in order to
15 take up position in terms of loyalty of Muslim citizens. This is not a
16 conclusion. There was war in the territory and the SAO Romanija could
17 not function because its seat was in Sarajevo in the federation. At that
18 time, it was controlled by the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the
19 Patriotic League, the Green Berets, and the MUP of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
20 and others. So it's got nothing to do with anything.
21 MS. GUSTAFSON:
22 Q. Mr. Bjelica, the government document we just referred to stated
23 that it was issued in Pale. So presumably just like the republic level
24 government, the SAO Romanija level government moved from Sarajevo to
25 Pale; no?
1 A. The president or the prime minister of the SAO Romanija
2 government lived in Sarajevo. That's perhaps why he invited several
3 colleagues and held a meeting. The seat was in Sarajevo. The Pale seat
4 was never made official.
5 As for the other institutions, for security reasons they had to
6 be moved to Pale. For the government of the SAO Romanija, it was not
7 necessary for it to function. It could not function because the
8 territory could not be reached like in Ilijas, Olovo, Stari Grad,
9 Novi Grad, Trnovo, all those municipalities that were members of the SAO
10 Romanija. So that's why the SAO Romanija could not function.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The transcript don't reflect that
12 the territory was intersected. But your Excellencies, I'm looking at the
13 translation, and I can say that the translation does not reflect the
14 original. The translation is a bit creative. It's more of a summary
15 than the word-for-word translation of the original.
16 MS. GUSTAFSON: If we could now go to 65 ter 19834, and I would
17 tender the government document we saw previously, which was 65 ter 05355.
18 JUDGE KWON: What's the 65 ter number of the previous document?
19 MS. GUSTAFSON: The one we just looked at is a Defence associated
20 exhibit so I don't tender that, but the one before that was 05355 -- oh,
21 sorry, 24874. My mistake.
22 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
23 Yes, Mr. Robinson.
24 MR. ROBINSON: Yes, we object to the admission of this document
25 because the witness didn't say anything about it and hadn't seen it
2 MS. GUSTAFSON: It's an impeachment document, Your Honour. The
3 witness stated that the SAO Romanija was -- organs were declarative in
4 character and the document indicate contrary.
5 MR. ROBINSON: We don't know anything about the provenance of the
7 JUDGE KWON: I don't follow your statement, Mr. Robinson, about
8 the provenance.
9 MR. ROBINSON: Yes.
10 JUDGE KWON: Are you challenging the authenticity of the
12 MR. ROBINSON: Yes. We don't know anything about the
13 authenticity. Perhaps the Prosecution can provide us with some
14 information about it, but since the witness had nothing to say about the
15 document, we don't have any information about its authenticity.
16 JUDGE KWON: Shall we upload that document again?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've not seen this document before.
18 JUDGE KWON: Although you didn't see this document before, do you
19 agree that this is a document produced by the SAO Romanija government
20 programme for 1992?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was not at the Assembly. The
22 SAO Romanija Assembly met only once. I cannot accept this document. I
23 don't know anything about it. I've not seen this document before, so I
24 can't agree with it.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE KWON: At the moment we'll mark it for identification until
2 we hear more about the provenance of this document.
3 THE REGISTRAR: As MFI P6251, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE KWON: And you are not tendering 5360? That's admitted
5 already, yes.
6 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D3227, Your Honours.
7 MS. GUSTAFSON:
8 Q. Now, I'll just change course slightly.
9 MS. GUSTAFSON: If we could go to 65 ter 05355.
10 Q. Now, Mr. Bjelica, this is a document issued by the SAO Romanija
11 Ministry of Defence, dated the 10th of February, 1992, about obtaining
12 medical and sanitary equipment for the need of the wartime hospital. You
13 can see that it is signed and stamped by the vice-president of the
14 government, Milan Tupajic, the minister of defence, Dragomir Krstovic,
15 and the commander of the SAO Romanija Territorial Defence
16 Slobodan Batinic, and the document indicates that the SAO Romanija
17 ministry of defence had created a list of medical equipment needs for
18 wartime hospitals, was requesting assistance from the addressees in
19 procuring this assistance, and had assigned coordinators to procure the
20 requested equipment. Again, this is evidence that the SAO Romanija
21 government was a functioning governmental body, not just a body as you
22 stated that issued communiques; right?
23 A. I don't know. I've not seen this document before. I can't
24 comment upon it. I've not seen it before. There's nothing out of the
25 ordinary in it, but I've not seen it before. I was not a government
1 member. As far as I know, and as I've already told you, a communique
2 here and there was issued on behalf of the government, and as for the
3 Assembly, I've already told you what I know. I've not seen this document
4 before ever.
5 MS. GUSTAFSON: I tender this document.
6 MR. ROBINSON: No objection.
7 JUDGE KWON: Yes, we'll receive it.
8 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P6252, Your Honours.
9 MS. GUSTAFSON: And if we could go now to 65 ter 19834. And this
10 on the B/C/S is towards the bottom right-hand side of the document.
11 Q. Mr. Bjelica, this is an announcement by the SAO Romanija Crisis
12 Staff, stating that the Serbian people in this area have definitely lost
13 their confidence in the possibility of a political agreement with the
14 Muslim people.
15 Now, it is correct, is it not, that by the 5th of March, 1992,
16 when this announcement was issued that the SAO Romanija leadership had
17 lost confidence in any political agreement with the Muslims, isn't it?
18 A. Can the document please be zoomed in a little. I'm talking about
19 the article.
20 Q. Now, my question is, Mr. Bjelica, do you agree that by the 5th of
21 March, 1992, the SAO Romanija leadership had lost confidence in any
22 political agreement with the Muslims?
23 A. First of all, this was issued by the Crisis Staff of the
24 SAO Romanija. That did not exist. I don't know who issued this. As far
25 as I'm personally concerned, this article speaks about a body that did
1 not exist at all, this SAO Romanija Crisis Staff did not exist, but after
2 the member of Nikola Gardovic who was a wedding party member, the Serbs
3 started believing that they would see the same fate as in 1990 -- 40 and
4 1995 -- 1 and that they would all be killed. I agree with that.
5 And as for this article, I don't know who may have sent it to the
6 media, but I agree that the whole situation was reminiscent of the
7 slaughters that happened in 1914 and then in 1941, and that was an
8 additional reason for the Serbs to become more homogeneous, to try and
9 defend themselves, because after the killing of Nikola Gardovic who was a
10 wedding party guest, the authorities in Sarajevo did not react. They,
11 rather, let the murderer escape. On the 4th and on the 5th of March, I
12 believe that the president, President Karadzic --
13 Q. Mr. Bjelica?
14 A. I apologise. Yes.
15 Q. I'm interrupting you because your answer is straying far away
16 from my question, which was very simple. Let me put it this way: You
17 were shown this document in the Krajisnik case and you were asked whether
18 the SAO Romanija leadership had lost confidence in the possibility of any
19 political agreement with the Muslims, and you answered yes. That's what
20 you say in the Krajisnik case, and that's true; right? That's at 65 ter
21 2487 --
22 A. [Overlapping speakers] I said that, yes.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 JUDGE KWON: I'm not sure the witness has answered correctly
25 because of the overlapping.
1 MS. GUSTAFSON:
2 Q. Mr. Bjelica, that's what you answered in the Krajisnik case, and
3 that's correct; right?
4 A. Please, this is what I said: When it comes to the SAO Romanija
5 Crisis Staff, I'm not familiar with that body, but I agree with the text
6 that I can see before me. After the murder of Nikola Gardovic, the
7 Serbian --
8 Q. Thank you. Mr. Bjelica, stop.
9 A. -- the wedding party member, the Serbs started fearing --
10 Q. Stop, Mr. Bjelica.
11 A. I want to answer.
12 Q. No, I'm asking the questions here.
13 A. Please do not -- do not raise your voice. I'm a witness here.
14 JUDGE KWON: Just a second.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm a witness here and I want to be
16 protected. I want to be protected here.
17 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Bjelica, you are fully protected. Don't worry
18 about it. Shall we upload the Krajisnik transcript.
19 MS. GUSTAFSON: That's 65 ter 24876, page 123.
20 Q. And at the top of the page you were asked:
21 "That is the case in SAO Romanija, isn't it, Mr. Bjelica, that by
22 the 5th of March, 1992, the leadership of SAO Romanija had lost
23 confidence in the possibility of any political agreement with Muslims?"
24 And then you start discussing the article. You say:
25 "I don't know who declared this or who [sic] signed this --"
1 JUDGE KWON: Given that the witness does not read English, read
2 it in full, please.
3 MS. GUSTAFSON: Okay. I was just going to move to where he said
4 yes, and the question was:
5 "Now take your eyes away from the article and listen to the
6 question and answer the question. They had lost confidence in the
7 possibility of a political agreement with the Muslims, hadn't they?
8 "A. Yes.
9 JUDGE KWON: I think it's fair to read out the previous passage.
10 MS. GUSTAFSON: Certainly.
11 JUDGE KWON: He said:
12 "I don't remember this. I don't know who declared this or signed
13 this, whether this was Mr. Blagojevic or Djukic. I don't know. But at
14 any rate, this was not discussed at any forum. This was an announcement
15 of a personal kind."
16 That's what the witness said.
17 MS. GUSTAFSON: Certainly, Your Honour, if you feel that he
18 should see that, that's fine.
19 And then the question was:
20 "Q. I'm sorry, Mr. Bjelica. You have to listen to my questions
21 and my question was specific. It was that the people, the Serb people of
22 SAO Romanija had lost confidence in the possibility of a political
24 "Now take your eyes away from the article and listen to the
25 question and answer the question: They had lost confidence in the
1 possibility of a political agreement with the Muslims hadn't they?
2 "A. Yes."
3 That's what you said this Krajisnik; right?
4 A. And I'm repeating it today. I said it at the Krajisnik case. I
5 don't know who signed the document. I said that at the Krajisnik case,
6 and I am saying this today in the President Karadzic case. My statement
7 is still the same. You did not allow me to finish.
8 After the murder of Nikola Gardovic on the 5th of March, that's
9 the day you mentioned, and you asked me whether we lost confidence on the
10 4th and on the 5th of March. The apartments of well-known Serbs would be
11 marked, and that would be the dark night for the Serbs. Then
12 General Kukanjac and Alija Izetbegovic invited people to calm down, for
13 tensions to be lowered, because there was a state of general chaos among
14 the Serbian people in Sarajevo, and of course needless to say that the
15 confidence was lost because if a person was killed at a wedding and
16 nobody reacted, what could one expect? It happened before the eyes of
17 thousands of spectators. Still that person was not arrested. That
18 person, the murderer, he was allowed to walk free.
19 Q. If you could try to keep your answers concise and directly focus
20 on the question, please. I'd like 65 ter -- or sorry, P5802, please.
21 MR. ROBINSON: Is the Prosecution offering that article?
22 MS. GUSTAFSON: No.
23 Q. Mr. Bjelica, this is a transcript of a conversation between you
24 and Mr. Karadzic on the 13th of December, 1991, and before you read it,
25 you said at paragraph 24 of your statement that the Bosnian Serbs
1 supported the JNA and that several companies from Sokolac went to the
2 Croatian front at the orders of the command. In fact, you and
3 Dr. Karadzic in 1991 were directly involved in sending forces to the
4 Croatian front, weren't you?
5 A. Not correct. Mr. Karadzic did not participate in that at all.
6 Why would the party president be involved in sending troops to the front
7 line in Croatia in 1991? It's not correct.
8 Q. If I could ask you to just read this conversation before I ask
9 you the next question. It's quite short. You can just read it to
10 yourself. It's three pages.
11 JUDGE KWON: Five pages.
12 MS. GUSTAFSON: Sorry, three in the English, five in the B/C/S.
13 Q. If we can just scroll through so that you can read it.
14 A. As for this document, this document is an intercept of a
15 conversation between myself and Mr. Karadzic, and then the president of
16 the municipality got involved in the conversation. This is about
17 mobilisation, the mobilisation of the 216 Motorised Mountain Brigade. It
18 is correct that President Karadzic advocated the policy of preserving
19 Yugoslavia and of supporting the Yugoslav People's Army, because the
20 Yugoslav People's Army was the guarantor of peace and the survival of the
21 people in the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. The
22 216th Motorised Brigade had its zone of responsibility in Romanija. It
23 was mostly replenished from -- by people from Sokolac, Han Pijesak, and
24 Vlasenica. In Vlasenica there was a large number of Muslims who --
25 Q. I'm going to interrupt you because I didn't ask you about the
1 zone of responsibility of the 216th Brigade.
2 When Dr. Karadzic says to you: "Do you have any spare troops?
3 Could you send one company to Uzelac?," and you respond: "Right now,
4 Doctor, I can't until I've checked. We have two more units in
5 Minici [phoen] and Vukovar," it's clear that whether or not this is
6 talking about the JNA or not, you and Dr. Karadzic, two SDS officials,
7 are involved in sending forces to fight in Croatia, aren't you?
8 A. The JNA, the 216th Motorised Mountain Brigade under the command
9 of General Milosevic and -- no, no. That's not correct. You are
10 misinterpreting things. We encouraged them. I personally invited
11 military conscripts to report to the legal unit of the JNA to defend the
12 Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia in Croatia. The JNA was
13 still active in the territory of Yugoslavia. I don't know about
14 Slovenia. In any case, they were there to defend the state that we took
15 our oath to. I asked them to join the legal army and to replace those
16 who deserted and who were Muslims and who deserted from the ranks. I
17 wanted to replenish the formation, the battalion who had to Vukovar on
18 the orders of the Supreme Command of the Socialist Federative Republic of
19 Yugoslavia, i.e., the General Staff in Belgrade. They had a chain of
20 command, and when a superior command sent people to a certain locality,
21 they had to go.
22 Q. Thank you. Your position is clear. At paragraph 28 of your
23 statement, you said the Sokolac Crisis Staff was formed according to the
24 instructions of the RS government to form Crisis Staffs, and you refer to
25 Exhibit D2676, those government instructions.
1 Now, under the terms of your own sworn statement, that
2 proposition is impossible because the government instructions you refer
3 to are dated the 26th of April, 1992, and you discuss in your statement
4 numerous Crisis Staff documents dated well before this time, for example,
5 D3176, a Crisis Staff order from the 10th of April.
6 Now, you agree with me that it's impossible that the Sokolac
7 Crisis Staff which was clearly functioning as of the 10th of April could
8 have been formed pursuant to government instructions dated the 26th of
10 A. I have my reservations. I can't remember the date. That's what
11 I always repeat. I can't remember that it was set up on the 26th of
12 April. The Crisis Staff acted in lieu of local authorities up until the
13 summer of 1992, and then the executive power duties were assumed by the
14 executive council. In any -- in any case, members of the Crisis Staff
15 elected -- were elected by virtue --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be asked to slow down.
17 It's impossible to interpret.
18 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Bjelica, you're speaking too fast for the
19 interpreters to follow. Could you repeat your answer.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Prosecutor is speeding. When
21 it comes to the Crisis Staff, the Crisis Staff in Sokolac was set up in
22 the spring of 1992, and it consisted of the president of the Municipal
23 Assembly, the president of the Executive Board, the chief of the public
24 security station -- yes.
25 Q. I didn't ask you about the composition of the Crisis Staff. It
1 was a very simple question. Do you agree with me that it is impossible
2 that the Sokolac Crisis Staff, which was clearly functioning as of the
3 10th of April, 1992, was established pursuant to government instructions
4 dated the 26th of April, 1992?
5 A. I said the spring of that year, the spring of 1992. I don't know
6 if what -- if it was on the 26th of April, the 1st of April, the 1st of
7 May, the 25th of May, I'm not sure. And I already told you that I am not
8 sure about the date. I can't remember the date.
9 Q. Your own statement references numerous Crisis Staff documents
10 dated well before the 26th of April. Do you now deny the authenticity of
11 those documents that you commented on and were tendered through you?
12 A. No, I'm not denying. I'm not denying any document that I
13 commented upon, but you would have to jog my memory about the date.
14 That's the only thing in dispute. I may be wrong about the dates, but
15 I'm not denying knowledge about any of the documents.
16 Q. I am jogging your memory, Mr. Bjelica. I'm telling you that the
17 documents in your statement indicate that the Sokolac Crisis Staff was
18 functioning as of the 10th of April, 1992. Now, do you agree that it's
19 impossible that that Crisis Staff was established pursuant to government
20 instructions dated the 26th of April, 1992?
21 A. I don't understand the question. Please clarify.
22 Q. In light of the time, Mr. Bjelica, I'm going to move on.
23 Now, at paragraph 18 of your statement you said that as far as
24 you know, the Variant A and B document was never delivered to the
25 authorities in the entire Romanija region. The Chamber has received
1 evidence indicating that at the end of December 1991, a Serb Municipal
2 Assembly was created in Rogatica pursuant to the Variant A and B
3 instructions, and that's P3407. In other words, Variant A and B was
4 received and implemented in Rogatica according to the documents.
5 Now, did you know about that?
6 A. I talked about Sokolac. I did not talk about Rogatica and I
7 don't know what happened in Rogatica. I know that this document was not
8 in Sokolac, and that's what I said at President Krajisnik's trial too,
9 and I also sent an official letter to you from the directorate of the
10 Serb Democratic Party stating that this document was never before any one
11 of the organs of the party. It was never discussed at any one of the
12 organs of the party.
13 Now, for a number of pensioned officers to write this document
14 and to send that to their compatriots in certain areas, well, the
15 document as far as I found out later, it was actually copied from a
16 document that was created by Croatian and Muslim officers for their
17 municipalities where they were in the position that the Serbs were in
18 where this document was found, but this is not a document of the Serb
19 Democratic Party.
20 Q. Well, that's --
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Transcript, please. In line 13, it
22 was not recorded correctly. The witness said "I sent you an official
23 document from the Serb Democratic Party." It wasn't to the Serb
24 Democratic Party.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I sent it to the Office of the
1 Prosecutor when I was director of the Serb Democratic Party, and it's
2 been over ten years.
3 MS. GUSTAFSON:
4 Q. Let's look at that letter. That's 65 ter 24873. On page 1
5 there's a letter from the ICTY Prosecution asking for a distribution list
6 for the 19 December 1991 Main Board instructions, otherwise known as
7 Variant A and B. And then your letter is attached.
8 MS. GUSTAFSON: And if we could go to page 3 of this document.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I just ask whether Variant A
10 and B is mentioned at all in Prosecutor Blewitt's letter? I haven't
11 found it anywhere.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We cannot follow what the
13 witness is saying because he spoke at the same time Mr. Karadzic spoke.
14 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Bjelica, when Mr. Karadzic's words are being
15 translated, please refrain from making any statements.
16 MS. GUSTAFSON: Your Honours, I think it's common ground that the
17 19 December 1991 SDS Main Board instructions for the organisation and
18 activity organs of the Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the
19 Variant A and B document.
20 JUDGE KWON: Very well, let's continue.
21 MR. ROBINSON: Yes. Excuse me, Mr. President. With respect to
22 this particular document, we are going to object to its use at this trial
23 because it was not disclosed to us until yesterday, and we had made a
24 motion pursuant to Rule 66(B) which you had granted ordering the
25 Prosecution to have disclosed all documents authored by witnesses,
1 enumerated witnesses, including this one, and there was a dead-line for
2 that that was I think about a year ago and this document was not
3 disclosed, and so given that we didn't see it until yesterday we would
4 ask that it not be used and not be admitted.
5 JUDGE KWON: Mm-hmm. Can I hear from you, Ms. Gustafson.
6 MS. GUSTAFSON: Yes. Your Honour, I'm somewhat surprised. This
7 objection is true. This document was disclosed yesterday. This document
8 was a public exhibit in the Krajisnik case, and it was in fact shown to
9 this witness in the Krajisnik case and discussed in his testimony. I
10 would assume that the Defence would have read this witness's prior
11 testimony in the Krajisnik case. If they were interested in this
12 document, it was readily available to them. When I -- that -- and in
13 fact that is exactly how it came to my attention, from my reading of the
14 Krajisnik testimony. Then when I saw the document, I realised it had no
15 ERN number and that led me to think it may not have been picked up in our
16 earlier searches and I asked that it be disclosed immediately, which it
17 was, and the Defence had at least some time to incorporate this document
18 into their preparations. And, again, in any event this is entirely --
19 the position that the witness has stated in this document is exactly the
20 position he stated in his prior testimony which the Defence has, so
21 there's no prejudice here and this objection has no real merit.
22 MR. ROBINSON: Well, Mr. President, we can see how easy it is for
23 people to miss --
24 JUDGE KWON: Just a second.
25 Yes, Mr. Robinson.
1 MR. ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. President. We can see how easily it is
2 for people to miss things since the Prosecution missed this during its
3 disclosure searches for this witness and we also missed it, so we
4 don't -- we apologise for the fact that we didn't pick it up. But
5 nevertheless, it was required to have been disclosed to us a long time
6 ago, so I would ask that you first make a finding that the Prosecution
7 has violated Rule -- it's disclosure obligations under Rule 66(B) by
8 failing to provide this document within the prescribed time.
9 With respect to prejudice, again, it's something that we should
10 have seen, but we have over 2 million pages of disclosure already, and
11 we -- it's easy for us to miss things, and we don't think that the issue
12 of prejudice ought to be determinative. If the Prosecution had disclosed
13 this earlier to us we wouldn't have missed, so it's our position that it
14 should be excluded and there should be an explicit finding of disclosure
15 violation. Thank you.
16 JUDGE KWON: Very well.
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE KWON: The Chamber would like to read it, but the Chamber
19 will rise for 15 minutes and resume at 25 past. We will have another 15
20 minutes' break before the lunch break.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.09 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 10.34 a.m.
23 MS. GUSTAFSON: Sorry, Your Honour. I just wanted to inform the
24 Court: As I mentioned earlier, I ensured that this document when I came
25 across it was disclosed out of an abundance of caution because it had no
1 ERN number, so I wasn't sure it had been disclosed previously. While the
2 Court was recessing we've checked our records and the document was
3 disclosed on the 25th of January, 2013, it had an ERN number and was
4 disclosed then to the Defence.
5 MR. ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. President. So obviously we don't know
6 what we have and what we don't have and I apologise for that. We accept
7 the fact that it was disclosed.
8 JUDGE KWON: But further, Mr. Robinson, you referred to
9 Rule 66(B) disclosure. Yes, I'm looking at this, because we do not have
10 access to the e-court while we are logged on in the courtroom. Yes,
11 indeed, you referred to Rule 66(B) disclosure, but in your previous
12 motion this witness was never listed as Defence witness.
13 MR. ROBINSON: Actually, Mr. President, this witness was included
14 in a letter of the 10th of August, 2012, specifically as number six of
15 witnesses whom the Prosecution had undertaken to provide in addition to
16 those that were listed in the Chamber's order. So he was covered by the
17 Rule 66(B )request but not specifically mentioned in your order.
18 JUDGE KWON: Very well. In any event, it resolves everything.
19 Shall we continue.
20 Yes, Ms. Gustafson.
21 MS. GUSTAFSON: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Mr. Bjelica, if we could go -- well, you can see it if we go to
23 the next page in the English just to look at the last two sentences of
24 this letter that you wrote in November 2001 where it says that the
25 Main Board, as well as any other SDS body, never considered or instructed
1 the organisation and activation of Serb people in BiH at its sessions.
2 We were informed that such instructions with given by a certain number of
3 retired officials -- officers, sorry, of the former Yugoslav People's
4 Army. Now, is that still your position regarding the Variant A and B
5 document today?
6 A. Yes, I signed this document too.
7 Q. The Chamber has received a great deal of evidence to the
8 contrary, and I would refer to P2589, the references at paragraphs 20 to
9 30 of that report, and that evidence includes SDS members speaking openly
10 about the Variant A and B instructions at Assembly sessions.
11 Now, at this point you had been -- when you wrote this letter in
12 2001 you were the director of the SDS as you said, and you have been an
13 SDS member more or less since its inception. Now, you must have known,
14 Mr. Bjelica, that what you were saying here is false and you were just
15 putting forward what was then the party line about this document; right?
16 A. That is not correct, what you said just now, because not in any
17 archives, nowhere in the archives of the Serb Democratic Party was this
18 document found as received, registered, or that it was discussed by the
19 party organs. So it is not reflected in any one of the records.
20 Now, whether somebody distributed it personally, privately, that
21 I don't know, but it's not in the organs of the party and that is clearly
22 stated in this letter, in this reply that was sent. Nowhere. I stand by
23 what I said.
24 Q. Now, when you said it was never discussed by the party organs, I
25 guess you're not aware of the speech of the Jajce municipal president at
1 the 33rd Assembly session where he said:
2 "If we go back a little and recall the material which came from
3 the Main Board for work in the field, there was Variant A, Variant B."
4 And then he says:
5 "When according to instructions we were to form the Serbian
6 municipality of Jajce on the orders of Dr. Karadzic and yourself," and
7 he's speaking to Mr. Krajisnik, "I conducted talks with all the Assembly
8 men in the joint Assembly who were Serbs," and then he refers to speaking
9 to Dr. Karadzic and Mr. Krajisnik in Sarajevo about what he was to do to
10 implement the instructions.
11 That's P1377, page 148.
12 You're not aware of that discussion at a party organ about the
13 Variant A and B document, are you?
14 A. No, I'm not aware of that, because nowhere is there any record of
15 this kind of discussion at an Assembly meeting. I'm talking about what
16 is official. It is not contained in any document. And now somebody
17 taking part in a discussion, not all discussions are reflected in the
18 record. Perhaps this was an informal conversation, but I claim to you
19 with full responsibility that in the archives of the Serb Democratic
20 Party this document does not exist.
21 Q. In we could go to 65 ter 05382, please.
22 JUDGE KWON: If I could intervene, Ms. Gustafson.
23 Do you see the last paragraph here, Mr. Bjelica? The last
24 sentence. You said, I quote:
25 "We were informed that such instructions were given by a certain
1 number of retired officers of the former Yugoslav People's Army."
2 I find it very unclear. Could you expand what you meant by this?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As a responsible individual and as
4 director of the directorate of the Serb Democratic Party, the ruling
5 party in that period of time when this document was requested, respecting
6 this institution of the court and of the Office of the Prosecutor, I
7 asked a number of friends from the party whether they knew anything about
8 this document because it wasn't contained in the archives. I asked the
9 then minister of defence, Mr. Subotic, Bogdan Subotic, General Subotic, I
10 asked him whether he knew anything about this document. General Subotic,
11 Bogdan, said to me that this document was never adopted, never
12 considered, but he knew that a number of retired officers of the former
13 JNA wrote this document on their own and that they allegedly sent it to a
14 number of people in certain municipalities that they had originally
15 hailed from and that in such way as persons with experience, military
16 experience, they sent this document to the places where they had come
18 JUDGE KWON: So first question for you, Mr. Bjelica, is that when
19 you said "we were informed," the informant was Mr. Subotic? Is that what
20 you're saying?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes. Because I investigated
22 the matter in order to give the most complete answer possible to this
24 JUDGE KWON: And what did you mean by a certain number of retired
25 officers? How many of them, and then who are they?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Believe me, I don't know. That's
2 what General Subotic said to me, Bogdan. I did not investigate it
3 further. I was asked whether there was any such thing in the archives of
4 the Serb Democratic Party, whether such a document had been registered,
5 and I claim with full responsibility that it hadn't.
6 JUDGE KWON: As a responsible person, as you said, I would have
7 expected you to ask Mr. Subotic who were they, who they were. Why did
8 you not ask Mr. Subotic further?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the question that was put to
10 me was whether this was contained in the archives of the Serb Democratic
11 Party and whether there were minutes from the session of the Assembly
12 where this matter had been considered. No. But in order to help in
13 terms of this answer where this document came from, then I did ask a
14 number of people from the party. Most of them were not aware of this
15 document. And then I asked the most adequate person as far as this issue
16 was concerned in my view, General Bogdan Subotic, who was minister of
17 defence during the war, and this is the answer that he gave to me.
18 JUDGE KWON: And still now at this moment, you do not know who
19 they were and how it was circulated?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No.
21 JUDGE KWON: Very well. Thank you. Back to you, Ms. Gustafson.
22 MS. GUSTAFSON: If we could have 65 ter 05382, and I would tender
23 this letter.
24 MR. ROBINSON: No objection.
25 JUDGE KWON: Yes, we'll receive it.
1 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P6253, Your Honours.
2 MS. GUSTAFSON:
3 Q. Mr. Bjelica, this is a document that reproduces the text of an
4 article from Tanjug on the 17th of May, 1992, and under number 1 and it
5 indicates that Tanjug reported that a meeting was held in Sokolac on the
6 17th of May, 1992, with representatives of the government of the RS, the
7 Serb autonomous region of Romanija, municipalities of Olovo and Rogatica,
8 and representatives of the Belgrade-based association of the citizens of
9 Romanija region, and it indicates that Dr. Karadzic, Mr. Krajisnik, and
10 General Mladic were in attendance.
11 Now, such a meeting did take place on the 17th of May, 1992, in
12 Sokolac; right?
13 A. It is correct that this meeting was held in Sokolac on the 17th
14 of May, 1992.
15 Q. And it's correct that at this meeting Dr. Karadzic,
16 Mr. Krajisnik, and General Mladic all addressed the attendees, although
17 it was primarily Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic who spoke; is that
19 A. This meeting was held at the initiative of a number of our fellow
20 citizens who live in Serbia, Montenegro. When the crisis started, they
21 came. They were in certain positions in Serbia, and some of them were in
22 the business community, others worked in some institutions of the Federal
23 Republic of Yugoslavia at the time, and they came to get some information
24 to see how they could help their own people a bit. Primarily in terms of
25 organising activities that were aimed at providing food and so on, and
1 they asked for a meeting with the leadership of Republika Srpska and --
2 Q. Sorry to interrupt you. My question was: At this meeting
3 Dr. Karadzic, Mr. Krajisnik, and General Mladic all addressed the
4 attendees, but it was primarily Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic who
5 spoke; right?
6 A. Perhaps in terms of the questions that were being put. Most of
7 them who had come were saying what was -- what could be done, whether
8 Yugoslavia could be preserved, what could be done to help, and it was
9 probably in response to some of these questions, and certainly they were
10 not in charge of this meeting. This meeting was organised in the
11 municipality of Sokolac and it was attended by members of the
12 neighbouring municipalities, heads of the municipalities, MPs,
13 businessmen. Perhaps there were over 50 of us at that meeting. And
14 representatives of the church and so on.
15 Q. I'm going to remind you about what you said in the Krajisnik case
16 about this meeting on this point, and that's at 65 ter 24876, page 22638.
17 You were asked by Judge Orie:
18 "You mentioned the president of the republic. Did he address the
20 "THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 "JUDGE ORIE: You mentioned the president of the Assembly. Did
22 he address the meeting?
23 "THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, they all said something. It
24 was primarily the president of the republic and the commander of the
25 Main Staff, General Mladic, who were primarily asked to address the
1 audience. Then Mr. Krajisnik took the floor, he made a contribution, and
2 some other people also asked to take the floor. However,
3 President Karadzic and General Mladic had the main say at the meeting.
4 They were the keynote speakers."
5 That's what you said in Krajisnik about this meeting and that's
6 correct; right?
7 A. That's right, because most of the questions were addressed to
8 them and then they answered those questions. So I don't see anything in
9 dispute as far as this meeting is concerned. This is a regular meeting.
10 This is a meeting where information was being provided to a number of
11 important people about the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Yugoslavia,
12 and so on and so forth, nothing special. And nothing spectacular
13 happened there and no decisions were being made. I think it was a useful
15 Q. Okay. This article under point 3 quotes from Dr. Karadzic
17 "We know exactly what we want. We want our state in
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And if they want to take Bosnia-Herzegovina out of
19 Yugoslavia, we want to take our state out of Bosnia-Herzegovina."
20 And under number 4:
21 "We must continue the transformation of the JNA triggered off by
22 Alija Izetbegovic when he suggested to Muslims and Croats that they
23 should not join the ranks of the JNA."
24 Do you recall Dr. Karadzic saying words along these lines at the
1 A. This is a newspaper article. Nobody kept any minutes over there.
2 It is possible that President Karadzic said that we were striving for
3 preserving Yugoslavia and that we supported the Yugoslav People's Army.
4 It was quite certain already then that the JNA had no place in the area
5 of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Serb people -- rather, the Assembly of the
6 Serb republic passed a decision to the effect that on the 12th of May,
7 five or six days before this meeting, that the army of the Serb republic
8 be established. Now, was it the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina or
9 was it just the Serb republic? I'm not sure. Then this meeting followed
10 at the request of a number of business people and people who cared about
11 the area where they came from. After this a decision was made to
12 establish the Army of Republika Srpska and to have the JNA withdrawn.
13 They were concerned about what would happen to the Serb people in this
14 area, and that is what President Karadzic and General Mladic were asked
16 And now if the Muslims wanted to get Bosnia-Herzegovina out of
17 Yugoslavia by force, then certainly the Serb Republic of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina would ask for the rest in Yugoslavia, and that is what
19 we stated by way of a plebiscite, that we would remain in Yugoslavia.
20 This is a position, and if it was presented, it is based on the
21 referendum question that was responded to by the people in
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that they wished to remain in Yugoslavia --
23 Q. Thank you. I think your answer's quite clear now. Now, just one
24 last question. There were journalists present at this meeting; right?
25 A. Later, after the meeting somebody made a statement. It was
1 Mr. Krajisnik, but journalists did not attend the meeting itself.
2 Q. Okay. So just if I could remind you of what you said in the
3 Krajisnik case and we can get this clear. This is at page 22637 of the
4 transcript. You were talking about Mr. Krajisnik and Dr. Karadzic, and
5 you said:
6 "When they started to leave, they may have been stopped by a
8 And then you were asked:
9 "That's what I wanted to ask you about, the contact with a
10 journalist, one or more journalists. Did you listen to Mr. Krajisnik or
11 Dr. Karadzic's conversations with those journalists?"
12 And you said:
14 That's -- is that a correct understanding of the role of
15 journalists at this meeting?
16 A. Well, yes, when they came out of the meeting. That's what I said
17 a moment ago. They were not in the meeting hall. They were in front of
18 the meeting hall. Once the meeting was over, it was logical that
19 someone, and in particular Krajisnik, Mladic, and Karadzic, provided a
20 statement to the journalists because that's what they were waiting for.
21 That's what I said. They provided statements after the meeting was over.
22 I can't say exactly who spoke to the journalists because it's only now
23 that you've reminded me. I seem to have forgotten it. But you did jog
24 my memory somewhat. Thank you for that.
25 MS. GUSTAFSON: I tender this document.
1 MR. ROBINSON: No objection.
2 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P6254, Your Honours.
4 MS. GUSTAFSON:
5 Q. Now, Mr. Bjelica, at paragraph 54 of your statement you spoke
6 about detention facilities in Sokolac and you said that Muslims suspected
7 of taking part in sabotage and terrorist operations were detained in the
8 elementary school in Sokolac, Cavarine and Knezina, and also at paragraph
9 54 you said in relation to these facilities:
10 "I assume that the detained persons did not have the required
11 hygiene and other facilities in such premises since they were not
12 envisaged for such purpose."
13 Now, at paragraph 65 of your statement, this is information that
14 you provided over the weekend, you were asked about adjudicated facts
15 relating to the Cavarine detention facility, and you said:
16 "As far as I know, hygiene was satisfactory."
17 Now, you're saying two contradictory things about Cavarine in
18 your statement, first that hygienic facilities were inadequate and second
19 that hygiene was satisfactory. Those are contradictory statements about
20 this facility; right?
21 A. As far as I know from my contacts with the members of the VRS,
22 units of the VRS did have temporary prisons where they temporarily held
23 POWs or other people who were believed to have engaged in sabotage and
24 terrorist activities and espionage. In such detention units, there were
25 also people of Serb ethnicity who had committed a breach of discipline or
1 an offence, things such as not responding to call-up, theft, or something
2 of the sort. In such detention units Serbs and Muslims were held
4 Q. I didn't ask you to give me --
5 A. And Croats --
6 Q. -- all the information you have about these facilities. It was a
7 very specific question. You are saying contradictory things about the
8 Cavarine detention facility. On the one hand you said, "I assume --" you
9 said, "I assume that the detained persons did not have the required
10 hygienic and other facilities," and on the other hand, you're saying, "As
11 far as I know hygiene was satisfactory." Those two statements are
12 contradictory, aren't they?
13 A. No, please. It is true that hygiene measures were not
14 satisfactory and later on toilets were introduced. It was up to
15 ABiH [as interpreted] units to install showers and bathrooms. There were
16 many Serbs who were detained as well. This goes for the school as well,
17 because it was not supposed to have been used as a detention unit. It
18 was an abandoned facility that was used by the security organs of the
19 2nd Romanija Brigade. Well, no one had fell ill there or had jaundice or
20 anything. They all shared the same food as the army. The soldiers
21 received the same food the detainees did. There was a kitchen in Knezina
22 and the food was there -- taken from there to the front lines and to the
23 detention units. Everyone received the same food. It is true that such
24 things did not exist at the beginning, but as the number of detainees
25 increased then showers were installed in order to improve hygiene. So no
1 one complained of everything, nor did people have skin conditions there,
2 skin diseases. Later on they were all exchanged and were safe and sound.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] An intervention for the transcript.
4 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In line 25, page 37, these are not
6 units of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They're not to be confused with
7 the ABHO unit which is a service. They offer protection of -- in terms
8 of nuclear and biological and chemical threats. In any case, it's not
9 the ABiH.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Nuclear, biological, chemical
11 protection. That's the name of such units. They were present there, and
12 they --
13 MS. GUSTAFSON:
14 Q. Mr. Bjelica, you didn't visit any of these detention facilities
15 and see the conditions first-hand, did you?
16 A. That is correct. I did not. I said that I had contacts with the
17 VRS members and that's where my information came from. That's what I
18 said. I never entered any such premises. It was under the control of
19 security organs and no one had any business being there.
20 Q. If we could go to 65 ter 19836, please. Now, this is a statement
21 given by a woman named Sema Mujanovic, born on the 5th of May, 1930, in
22 Knezina, a housewife, so in 1992, when the events that she talks about
23 occurred, she was a 62-year-old housewife then living in Sahbegovici.
24 And at page one on both languages in the second paragraph, she explains
25 how on the 28th of July, 1992, Chetniks entered her village of
1 Sahbegovici and captured six men and six women including herself, and
2 they were taken to the Sokolac primary school.
3 And if we go to the next page in the English and near the bottom
4 of the page in B/C/S --
5 A. As far as I can see, they only took her. I see this statement
6 for the first time.
7 Q. Well, in any event, in this paragraph on the next page in the
8 English and at the bottom of the B/C/S, she identified 18 other prisoners
9 detained with her in the Sokolac primary school. And on the next page in
10 the English and also the next page in the B/C/S, around the middle of the
11 page in both texts, she says:
12 "After exactly 65 days in prison, the Chetniks moved all the
13 prisoners in the school to the village of Cavarine."
14 And this would have been in early October based on the dates in
15 her statement.
16 MS. GUSTAFSON: And if we could go to 65 ter 06947.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can the witness receive a question
18 about this document so as not to amass documents that the purported
19 question refers to?
20 MS. GUSTAFSON: Well, the next document is related.
21 Q. This is a letter from the Sokolac exchange commission to the
22 president of the VRS exchange commission Dragan Bulajic, and it states
23 that the following POWs detained in the Sokolac prison are put at your
24 disposal. And you can see that number 8 on the list is Sema Mujanovic,
25 and there are 17 other prisoners including a number whom she had
1 identified as being detained with her.
2 Now, at paragraph 54 of your statement, you said that as far as
3 you know, Muslims who were suspected of taking part in sabotage and
4 terrorist operations were detained in these facilities, and you made a
5 similar claim at paragraph 65.
6 Did you know that a 62-year-old housewife from Sahbegovici was
7 imprisoned first in Sokolac elementary school and then in Cavarine?
8 A. No, I didn't. I see this for the first time. I don't know what
9 the reason for her detention was since there were women who participated
10 in the war, taking part in operations, carrying weapons, and setting up
11 explosives. I do not exclude the possibility that she was one of them.
12 No one says here why she was detained, and she doesn't mention that in
13 her statement.
14 Q. In fact, Mr. Bjelica, you don't have a clue as to why any of the
15 people on this list here were detained. Isn't that right?
16 A. No, I wasn't interested. It was up to the security organ, and I
17 had no right to meddle in her activities and why they were detained.
18 They must have taken part in certain activities. There were other
19 inhabitants who were certainly not detained. There must have been a
20 reason why they were brought in, a justified reason.
21 Q. Mr. Bjelica, you have said that you saw in relation to both these
22 documents I showed you, you said that this is the first time you've seen
23 these documents. That's not actually true. You were shown both of these
24 documents in the Krajisnik case, and in relation to this document in
25 front of you now --
1 A. It is possible. I'm saying here in this courtroom that I see it
2 for the first time, but back then it didn't mean anything. Why would I
3 have remembered it? It was the work of security organs. People were
4 interviewed and then put on the list of the exchange commission.
5 Mr. Bulajic was in Lukavica, and he was -- he put them on the list for
7 THE INTERPRETER: And could the witness kindly repeat the end of
8 his answer.
9 MS. GUSTAFSON:
10 Q. Mr. Bjelica, I hadn't actually asked you a question yet. The
11 question I wanted to ask you was that, as I said, you were shown these
12 two documents in the Krajisnik case, and when you had this document on
13 the screen in front of you, you were asked and this is at page 22721 of
14 the transcript:
15 "But the reason I present that to you is to ask you this question
16 and put it to you that in fact the Muslims detained in these facilities
17 we've described, they were not POWs, but they were civilians, and
18 Ms. Sema Mujanovic is an example of that; correct?"
19 And your answer was:
20 "Believe me, I don't know. I can't confirm this. I never heard
21 of any of these people or most of them. I don't know whether they had
22 been armed. I don't know what is at stake. I really can't be a judge of
23 that. I haven't a clue."
24 That's what you said in the Krajisnik case and that's the truth;
1 A. Please, what did I say a moment ago other than that? I don't
2 know why they were brought in. There must have been a reason for their
3 bringing in. For example, number 8, Sema Mujanovic. Perhaps someone
4 knew she had done something. It was the assessment of the security organ
5 that she was of interest because she had taken part in certain
6 activities. That is why she was interviewed, and then she was offered
7 for an exchange after a while. That's all I said. I said in my
8 introduction that I knew from my contacts with VRS members that those
9 were the premises used for detention used by the security organ of the
10 2nd Romanija Motorised Brigade. That's all I can say.
11 MS. GUSTAFSON: I tender this document, and I'd also like to
12 tender the transcript page I just referred to.
13 MR. ROBINSON: No objection, Mr. President.
14 JUDGE KWON: You are not tendering the statement itself?
15 MS. GUSTAFSON: No.
16 JUDGE KWON: Yes. We will receive them both.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, 65 ter number 06947 will be
18 Exhibit P6255 and the transcript will be Exhibit P6256.
19 MS. GUSTAFSON:
20 Q. Mr. Bjelica, at paragraph 57 of your statement, you talked about
21 the massacre of Muslim civilians in Novoseoci in September of 1992, and
22 you spoke about an incident several years later where you met an
23 acquaintance whose son had committed suicide, and he said to you, "I
24 cannot get over my son's death. This was a great tragedy. See what
25 Krstic did to us? He took our children to Novoseoci."
1 Now, you understood from this conversation that it was
2 Radislav Krstic who had issued the order to kill these civilians; right?
3 A. Yes. Based on that conversation. That was my understanding at
4 the time, that he took the guys there. I was so told by the father of
5 one of them who had killed himself. I didn't even know his son was
6 there. As I said in the statement, that was all I knew. The father of
7 that young boy told me that.
8 Q. And at paragraph 57 of your statement, you said that you are
9 certain that no one from the Sokolac Municipal Assembly knew about the
10 incident because it had been kept secret from the public. Now, that's
11 totally false, Mr. Bjelica. A Defence witness who just testified,
12 Mr. Obradovic, said that he heard about the Novoseoci killings the same
13 day they happened, and the reason he heard about them was because this
14 was something that people were generally talking about by the evening of
15 the day of this incident, and that's transcript page 36095 and 36096.
16 Mr. Tupajic similarly testified that he first learned about the
17 Novoseoci killings on the evening of the day they took place from a
18 soldier who had passed by the crime scene and seen the bodies, and he
19 then learned through the grapevine, as he put it, that the night before
20 members of the 2nd Romanija Brigade had killed all the men at Novoseoci
21 at a landfill approximately 5 kilometres from the village. And that's
22 P5238, transcript pages 15428 to 15430.
23 Mr. Bjelica, these killings were the talk of the town by the
24 evening of the day they took place, weren't they?
25 A. I don't know. I was not in Sokolac at the time. What I mention
1 in this statement is something I learned from Mr. Tupajic who expressed
2 his doubt before me that the people in Novoseoci suffered an inglorious
3 fate. We never had precise data as to what had happened, because no one
4 ever forwarded it. I stand by what I said in 2006 in the Krajisnik case,
5 and I still stand by it.
6 There was a terrible crime in Novoseoci, but there was another
7 crime in Novoseoci in 1942 when a unit called the Black Hand from the
8 adjoining municipalities of Rogatica and Pale, aided by the Ustasha from
9 Novoseoci, surrounded the church in the village, killing 57 civilians, 23
10 of whom were between 10 and 20 years of age, and 16 people who were
11 younger than 10. The same day they committed a massacre in the
12 neighbouring village of Kula where also beastly they killed 45 civilians
13 of whom 23 were younger than 20 years of age. In total on that day in
14 two villages 103 people were butchered and torched in the two villages of
15 whom 60 per cent were younger than 20.
16 This crime, as many others, where the Ustasha during the
17 Second World War in the territory of Sokolac municipality killed --
18 JUDGE KWON: That's not responsive to the question. We'll have a
19 break for 15 minutes, Ms. Gustafson.
20 --- Recess taken at 11.16 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 11.33 a.m.
22 JUDGE KWON: Please continue, Ms. Gustafson.
23 MS. GUSTAFSON: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. Mr. Bjelica, at paragraph 37 of your statement, and I noticed
25 in -- or we noticed when in the last answer you gave you appeared to be
1 reading from a text that was not your statement. If you need to refer to
2 something other than your statement, if you could please just indicate
3 what the text is and your need to refer to it.
4 At paragraph 37 you said that some Muslims in Sokolac remained in
5 their homes nearly until the end of the war, and you cite Vrbarije as an
6 example. Just to put that in context, sorry, it's true that by late 1992
7 there were very few Muslims left in the entire municipality, no more than
8 30 to 40 households total; right?
9 A. I don't know how many. In any case, a majority of the Muslims
10 left before the end of 1992. I don't know how many household exactly
11 stayed behind. A majority left. I said that yesterday. They left in
12 the direction of Olovo and Kladanj.
13 Q. Okay. In -- I'd like to go to 65 ter 19814, please. I'm sorry,
14 that's clearly the wrong 65 ter number, so I will come back to that.
15 You were asked about the number of Muslims left at the end of
16 1992 in the Krajisnik case, and that's at page 22639 of the transcript,
17 and you had brought a bundle of documents that were given the exhibit
18 number D166, and which indicated prosecutions and investigations in late
19 1992, and you were -- when you were asked about this, you said -- about
20 these documents, you said the police did their job within the boundaries
21 of their capabilities under such circumstances. This is just to support
22 the thesis that there was no anarchy, unlike some people said that
23 everybody did what they wanted to do. Those who were involved in crimes
24 were brought in regardless of their ethnic background.
25 And then on the next page of the transcript the Judge asked you a
1 question. He said:
2 "Mr. Bjelica, one question to clarify. You said irrespective of
3 their ethnicity, those who were involved in crimes were brought in. At
4 that time, how many Muslims were left in the municipality?"
5 And you said:
6 "I don't know. In the town of Sokolac there were not many
7 Muslims even before the war. The municipality had some 15.000
8 inhabitants, and 4.000 of them were Muslims. In the town itself there
9 may have been a few dozens of households, Muslim households, and some of
10 them exchanged property with the Serbs from other areas, so there were
11 not that many Muslims in the town itself."
12 And the Judge said:
13 "Yes, you said 4.000 in the municipality. How many of them were
14 left or how many families approximately?"
15 And you said:
16 "In 1992, towards the end of 1992, or in the second half of 1992,
17 I can't remember exactly, very few of them left in 1990 through the
18 villages Vrbarije or maybe some other villages that were there, and they
19 stayed there until 1993 or 1994. The others had left after the agreement
20 in Knezevo [sic] now with the president of the municipality of Olovo,
21 Mr. Dzevad Abazovic, and the negotiations were led by Milan Tupajic."
22 And then the Judge asked and this is at page 22641:
23 "Yes. So I do understand that there were a few dozens of
24 households in the town, whereas you have no information on the remainder
25 of the municipality and how many still were there."
1 And you said:
2 "Very few, very few, maybe 30 or 40 families altogether at the
3 most. Very few."
4 Now, it's correct, isn't it, Mr. Bjelica, in the Krajisnik case
5 you testified that by late 1992 there were no more than 30 or 40 Muslim
6 households in the municipality?
7 A. First of all, there is a mistake. Not Knezevo but Knezina. I
8 see it in the English translation. In 1992 after the agreement with
9 Mr. Dzevad Abazovic, municipal president in Olovo, and the representative
10 of the Serbs from Olovo, Mr. Milovan Zugic, as regards the 30 or 40
11 families in Sokolac, perhaps there were some 12 family homes there and
12 some 30 or 40 apartments where Muslims resided and they did not own them
13 but had tenants -- tenancy rights.
14 So 12 family homes in Sokolac and some of them as I said also
15 remained in Novoseoci. Until 1993 or 1994 there were some in Burati and
16 Vrbarije. Some even remained after the Dayton Accords, and even the
17 remaining few left following the Dayton Accords to the area that became
18 the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. So for the most part I agree
19 with that statement. It is correct. There's nothing to add, only
20 perhaps to clarify a thing or two.
21 Q. Now, just to be clear in your answer you said some of them, as I
22 said, also remained in Novoseoci. But with respect to Novoseoci, nobody
23 stayed; right? On the 22nd of September when the 2nd Romanija Brigade
24 killed all the men, women and children were taken to Sarajevo. There
25 were no Muslims left in Novoseoci at that point; right?
1 A. That is correct. I said that it was in the second half of 1992
2 when they stayed, and what you say is true. After the incident in
3 Novoseoci, no Bosniaks were left there.
4 Q. Now, in relation to Vrbarije and the neighbouring village of
5 Burati in Rogatica, you said in your statement that these villages asked
6 for mutual departure in late 1994, and yesterday at page 36401 you said
7 that this was arranged with international organisations and you mentioned
8 the ICRC. In fact, it was the RS exchange commission which arranged this
9 departure, and on the 29th of October, 1994, the Vrbarije villagers were
10 taken to Kula prison under police escort by the Sokolac SJB; right?
11 A. I don't know about that. I don't know where they were taken to.
12 I only know -- well, I didn't hear that they suffered any ill fate. I
13 did hear, though, that sometime after the Dayton Accords, perhaps in 1997
14 or 1998, they returned to their homes and rebuilt them. I didn't hear
15 that they suffered any harm. Some left before the Dayton Accords, some
16 after, whereas some never even left. It is on the border between Sokolac
17 and Rogatica. Perhaps some 15 kilometres from the seat of Sokolac
18 municipality and some 15 kilometres away from the seat of Sokolac
19 municipality -- of Rogatica municipality. Those villages are next to
20 each other, and there are even houses where the building itself was is in
21 one municipality and the land owned by the family is in the other. But
22 in any case, they are closer to Sokolac than to Rogatica.
23 MS. GUSTAFSON: If we could have Exhibit D3189 please.
24 Q. Now Vrbarije, Mr. Bjelica, according to the 1991 census it had a
25 total of 53 inhabitants and they were all Muslims. Now is that
1 consistent with your information? This was a tiny village, 53 people,
2 all Muslim; right?
3 A. Let me tell you. Some of them left but some of their relatives
4 had arrived from Rogatica or perhaps Sokolac and some other villages, and
5 they were accommodated with their relatives. There were a lot more of
6 them then would have been correct pursuant to any census, because they
7 felt safe there. I'm not denying the facts of the census, but after the
8 Dayton, over 50 left, which means that there were a lot more of them
9 accommodated there during the war. They had arrived from various
10 villages in order to be together, just like Serbs arrived from Sarajevo
11 Sesekovac [phoen]. Some 10.000 of them arrived in Sokolac from Sarajevo
12 and Olovo, at least 10.000 refugees and displaced persons ended up in
14 Q. You said at paragraph 37 that these villages, referring to
15 Vrbarije and Burati, asked to leave in order to reunite families. Now,
16 this implies that every family in these two villages or at least the
17 majority of them all happened to have family members living elsewhere and
18 all of them at the exact same time decided to leave their village and
19 their homes and their property and their livelihoods in order to move --
20 reunite with family members elsewhere. Mr. Bjelica, that explanation
21 doesn't make sense. Every family is different. Every family has
22 different circumstances. It's not possible that the collective departure
23 of two entire villages could be attributed to family reunification;
25 A. Please. There were very few military conscripts in those
1 villages. Those who were fit for military service had left before. I
2 suppose that they were assigned to the units of BH Army or perhaps
3 outside of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In other words, very few
4 military conscripts lived in those villages. I don't know exactly. I'm
5 talking about two villages, Vrbarije and Burati. I don't know how many
6 there were, but I know that there were a lot more people living there at
7 the time than live there according to the 1991 census.
8 I am not denying what you've just said. I'm not contesting that.
9 But I believe that people had arrived from Sjenica and the other villages
10 around Kula, and they came to Sokolac and other villages, and there were
11 a lot more living in those villages during the war than before the war.
12 I'm not contesting your numbers or what you're saying. What matters to
13 me the most is the fact that none of those people came into any harm's
14 way and they returned. And nothing bad ever happened to them. That's
15 important. And another important thing is that they returned.
16 Q. Mr. Bjelica, you didn't answer my question. I'll try it one more
17 time. Your explanation as to why these two villages asked to leave,
18 family reunification, doesn't make sense because every family is
19 different and every family has different circumstances, and it's not
20 possible that every single family at exactly the same time made the
21 decision to reunite with family members elsewhere. That explanation
22 doesn't hold any water; right?
23 A. Well, they said we'll go with our own, with our families, with
24 our relatives. And the same was true of the Serbs. After the
25 Dayton Accords were signed they did not trust the authorities of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina. They left Sarajevo and ended up in some
2 underdeveloped municipalities having left behind all of their property
3 that they had amassed for a long time. It was a natural thing to do. It
4 was only after the Dayton Accords were signed that the real transfer of
5 the population started.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It was not recorded that everybody
7 went to those area was in a majority, and especially after the Dayton.
8 That's what the witness said. After the Dayton Accords, people went to
9 the areas where their own people were a majority.
10 MS. GUSTAFSON:
11 Q. Mr. Bjelica, the Chamber has received evidence that the security
12 situation in Vrbarije village was very bad. The men were being taken out
13 by the army for forced labour on the front lines, thieves were stealing
14 cattle and searching their houses, and they had started to spend the
15 night in the woods, and that was why they asked to leave. That's P6235.
16 Did you know about the security situation in Vrbarije?
17 A. That's what you are saying. I did not know that before. The
18 first time I've ever heard it is now from you.
19 Q. Okay. And Mr. Tomislav Batinic, the president of Rogatica
20 municipality testified for the Defence, and he discussed the village of
21 Burati in Rogatica which is a village you connect with Vrbarije, and he
22 acknowledged that at the time the people of Burati left they lived in
23 daily fear. Did you know about that? Sorry, that's transcript page
24 33691 to 33695.
25 A. I don't know that.
1 Q. Okay. In your testimony yesterday, you stated that the departure
2 of Muslims from Knezina and Kaljina was temporary and that they returned
3 to Sokolac "immediately after the Dayton Peace Accords." And that's
4 transcript page 36402. And the Chamber has received demographic
5 statistical evidence indicating that in 1997, virtually no Muslims had
6 returned to Sokolac, and that's P4994, Annex A1, table 1N. So when you
7 said immediately that's not true because in 1997 virtually -- or very,
8 very few Muslims had returned to Sokolac right?
9 A. I know that villages are now full. All the houses and religious
10 edifices have been rebuilt. There are a lot of Muslims. They voted in
11 the elections. They supported me in my candidacy for the president of
12 the municipality. They voted for me. I enjoyed their support. A
13 significant number returned. They're opening their companies. They have
14 their households. They have their cattle. Those who have cattle sell
15 their milk. It is true that as quite a high number of young people work
16 in Sarajevo and Olovo, but they visit every weekend. A lot of Bosniaks
17 have returned to Sokolac. When it comes to the very nucleus of Sokolac,
18 it is true that people did not return there. Those houses and apartments
19 were exchanged even before the war conflicts broke out. A majority of
20 the Bosniaks who lived in Sokolac had an alternative. If they had an
21 apartment in Sokolac, they had a house in Sarajevo at the same time.
22 Q. It's true, is it not, that after the war you had at least on one
23 occasion publicly advocated ethnic separation and stated that you do not
24 want to live with Muslims; right?
25 A. No, it's not right. It's not true that I said that we didn't
1 want to live with Muslims. It would be best for us to live next to each
2 other and that was at the moment the best solution. However, as some
3 time goes by, nobody advocated a division of any kind or anything else,
4 but just to live next to each other. And the Muslims themselves wanted
5 that and they say the same, that this is the best and this is the best
6 solution for the Serbs, the Muslims, and the Croats.
7 The Dayton Accords which have been accepted by the three sides,
8 not fully, however it put a stop to the war and today we are living
9 together. We have the central bodies of Bosnia-Herzegovina which are
10 functioning, so I don't know whether I have been clear enough. If you
11 want to ask me anything else, if you need any clarifications, please go
12 ahead, ask me.
13 Q. Well let's look at 65 ter 24876 in this context.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] If this is not a reference to the
15 previous assertion, can we get the reference for the question put on line
16 1, page 53?
17 MS. GUSTAFSON: That's where we're going now. Sorry, I must have
18 misspoken. I wanted 65 ter 19837. My apologies.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Also we need a reference for
20 Batinic. It's not the page that has just been quoted. This is not where
21 we find the words that have been referred to in the question.
22 MS. GUSTAFSON: I can double-check my reference.
23 Q. Now, Mr. Bjelica, this is a Washington Post article dated the
24 26th of July, 2004, and it involves an interview with you, and if we
25 could go to page 3 of the English and page 2 of the B/C/S. Now, the
1 third paragraph in the B/C/S and the English, in fact. There's a quote
2 from you, and it says:
3 "We want to have a complete break from the Muslims. We did not
4 want to live with them and we don't want to be buried near them."
5 And then it says:
6 "In his view," referring to you, "Bosnia has no future as a
7 single state and the three ethnic groups should go their own way."
8 Now, that's what you stated to this Washington Post journalist in
9 2004; right?
10 A. I don't know. It is possible that I said that, but I don't know.
11 I don't remember this text at all. What they say here, we wanted to
12 separate completely from the Muslims. Please, the position of the Serbs
13 is clear: Either Yugoslavia or a separate state unit for the Serbian
14 people, if they didn't want to live in Yugoslavia. Over the night they
15 actually took away from us the state that we had lived in before and all
16 of that had associated of the events that happened to the Serbs in 1914
17 and 1941. We were afraid that we would be exterminated, that another 1
18 million of us would be missing, and the best for us would be to live next
19 to each other and to co-operate pursuant to the Dayton Accords and its
21 Q. Mr. Bjelica, you said you don't know and you don't remember this
22 text at all, but when this -- when this -- please wait for the question.
23 When this article was put to you in the Krajisnik case, and that's at
24 page 22737 of the Krajisnik testimony, the question was asked, the quote
25 was given:
1 "We wanted to have a complete break from the Muslims. We do not
2 want to live with them and we don't want to be buried near them."
3 Your response was:
4 "This is taken out of context. This is not an integral
5 conversation. This was recorded by a camera. I remember this clearly.
6 There was a woman whose husband and two sons had been killed, and it was
7 in that context that I said that everything that happened they did not
8 want to live next to each other, and that is why the dead were
9 transferred from Sarajevo."
10 And then on the next page you said:
11 "So this is an emotional -- this was an emotional conversation
12 that took place at the military cemetery. You have to bear in mind
14 That's what you said in the Krajisnik case about this article;
16 A. Probably -- or, no, certainly. Now you have jogged my memory and
17 thank you for that. That was Jela Djuricic. Two of her sons and her
18 husband were killed in Sarajevo in Hadzici. She lived near Hadzici. She
19 had her house there. She left all of her property, but she exhumed her
20 two sons and her husband. She brought the remains to Sokolac and buried
21 them there. That was the footage and in that conversation it was said
22 that she didn't want to leave the remains of her two sons and her
23 husbands there. She didn't want them to be trampled over. They did not
24 want to be buried next to them. That's Jela Djuricic. She buried two of
25 her sons and her husband after they were killed on the threshold of their
1 own family house in Sarajevo. And that's correct. She left everything
2 behind. However, she did transport the remains of her dead husband and
3 sons to Sokolac and buried them there, and she was not the only one to do
4 that. There were hundreds of people like that. And thank you for
5 jogging my memory. Thank you for reminding me of that.
6 Q. Okay. And if we look at the last paragraph of this article,
7 right at the bottom of the page in the B/C/S it says:
8 "But Bjelica makes no effort to hide his admiration for Karadzic:
9 "'I knew him during the war and I followed him. I would not like
10 anything bad to happen to Radovan.'"
11 You also said that to the journalist on this occasion; right?
12 A. Yes, yes, yes, and I stand by that even today.
13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Bjelica. I have no further questions.
14 JUDGE KWON: And you are not tendering that article?
15 MS. GUSTAFSON: Pardon me. Yes, I am. Thank you.
16 MR. ROBINSON: No objection.
17 JUDGE KWON: We'll receive it.
18 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P6257, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Karadzic.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, your Excellency. Can we
21 receive the precise reference for what Batinic said, the way it was
22 interpreted in the question. And I insist on that.
23 Re-examination by Karadzic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Bjelica, while we have the document on the
25 screen, could you please tell us whether Bosnia-Herzegovina is a unitary
1 state today?
2 A. Bosnia-Herzegovina is not a unitary state today. The Bosniaks
3 are trying to unify Bosnia and Herzegovina because -- let me not
4 elaborate here, because Bosnia-Herzegovina consists of two different
5 entities and the Brcko district. It is true that they're trying to
6 centralise certain positions and posts which were not defined in the
7 Dayton Accords, but that was what the High Commissioner did by issuing
8 unauthorised decisions after the Dayton Accords, but that was nothing
9 short of violence that happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
10 Q. Thank you. In this document it is stated that as Ashdown
11 dismissed you from your position. He accused you of having been the ring
12 leader of a network of legal and illegal businesses that helped to
13 protect Karadzic. Can you tell the Trial Chamber whether Ashdown or
14 anybody else for that matter had any objections to what you did during
15 the war? If he did have objections, what kind of objections did he have
16 and how did you fare in all that?
17 A. He did not have any objections to what I did during the war or to
18 my war past, if we can call it that. The authorities had to be shaken up
19 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, i.e., in Republika Srpska, and that's why some of
20 the local opposition at the time tried to launch some rumours and
21 misinformation to the officials of the high commission, and they tried to
22 portray some people as being involved in illegal deals in order to remove
23 them to -- from the political scene in order to push their own political
25 Mr. Ashdown did not have a single argument for my dismissal from
1 my position, and it later turned out that that was the fact. There were
2 investigations by NATO and the court of Bosnia-Herzegovina and local
3 courts, and I had never been held responsible even for a breach of
4 discipline. No criminal reports were ever filed against me. Finally,
5 the High Commissioner, Mr. Valentinisko [phoen] withdrew the previous
6 decisions on my removal from position.
7 MS. GUSTAFSON: Sorry to interrupt. Since Dr. Karadzic was
8 mentioned the Batinic transcript reference several times, I believe the
9 reference I gave was correct: 33693 through to 33695.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. In that part Batinic said that the authorities did everything to
13 protect them and that they could only fear some idiot not the authorities
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The witness was never shown that
16 part but it's neither here nor there. Let's move on.
17 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation].
18 Q. Can you please tell us what kind of procedure did you have to
19 undergo? How much time did you waste from the moment Ashdown suspended
20 us until the moment when Mr. Valentinisko, is not recorded, rehabilitated
21 you? How much time elapsed between the two?
22 A. A hundred months, eight years and four months.
23 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Bjelica, please remember to put a pause before
24 you start answering the question.
25 Yes, please continue, Mr. Karadzic.
1 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Can you tell us what kind of procedure did you have to undergo?
3 Were you remanded in custody? Were you interrogated? What was happening
4 to you? Can you tell the Trial Chamber?
5 A. Yes, I can. It's very difficult for me to look back. I was
6 removed on the 7th of March 2003. I was not allowed to work in any of
7 the state institutions. I didn't have the right to work. I did not have
8 the right to health care or social security. I couldn't travel. My
9 family and my friends after my removal were in a difficult position. In
10 2004 on the 14th of May of that year SFOR kidnapped me in Sokolac and
11 took me in an unknown direction or at least what was an unknown direction
12 to me. I found myself in an unknown location for 60 days from the 14th
13 of May 2004 until the 14th of June 2004, and then from the 30th of August
14 until the 29th September 2004.
15 I don't want to go into details of what was going on. There were
16 daily interrogations. I could not orientate myself either in time or in
17 space. I didn't know where I was. I did not have access to any press.
18 I had nothing to read. Nobody visited me. I did not have any right to
19 legal aid. I did not have any contacts with anybody. On two or three
20 occasions I was allowed to use a telephone and to call home just to tell
21 them that I'm alive and well.
22 After I was released from that detention unit, I was told that
23 their part of the job is over, that they had no arguments to remand me in
24 custody or to transfer me to the prosecution. They handed me over to the
25 security organs of the Republika Srpska, and they told me they had
1 anything to do with Mr. Bjelica. It's up to you to carry out
2 investigation, to prosecute him. As far as we're concerned we're done
3 with him.
4 On the 30th of November, 2005, I voluntarily surrendered to the
5 court of Bosnia-Herzegovina when two people were arrested. There was
6 some unfounded accusations against me. I spent 11 months in detention
7 and then the court rendered a not guilty verdict. The panel was presided
8 by Meddzida Kreso, the president of the appeals chamber. So in all of
9 these proceedings I was found not guilty and then a decision ensued on my
10 rehabilitation. And then I filed a case with the European Court for
11 human rights in Strasbourg. I did not receive an answer.
12 A number of people who were removed from their positions in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina also filed applications with the court in Strasbourg.
14 They were turned down by that court but my court -- my case was accepted
15 because I brought charges against the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina for
16 not protecting me according to the Geneva Conventions and other European
17 legal documents.
18 Q. Thank you. This is the price you had to pay for co-operating
19 with me; right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber whether you could sleep while you
22 were in SFOR custody? Were you able to sleep? How were you treated?
23 A. There was music blasting for 24 hours, 7/24 in the container
24 where I was. There was a neon light on 24/7. I could not communicate
25 with anybody. I was interrogated. The only thing that I had was a
1 church calendar and -- after the three meals that were brought to the
2 cell where I was, and I was tied in that cell most of the time. I would
3 scratch the dates with a nail, and I remember well that it was on the
4 21st of May, 2004, when I was taken out for interrogation, and what I was
5 told at the time was if you need an interpreter, you raise a thumb. If
6 you want to go to the toilet, you raise another finger. If you want to
7 do a number two you raise two fingers, and another signal if you needed a
9 They took me away. They asked me about Karadzic. They asked me
10 if I knew anything about his whereabouts, the whereabouts of Mr. Karadzic
11 at the time. I also had to take a lie detector test. I had to undergo
12 all that. And one day I was taken out and then they told me you are
13 being taken to Guantanamo. I was put in a car or a helicopter, I don't
14 know. I was driven here and there. And then they returned me and they
15 told me you're not going to Guantanamo but to The Hague, and then not to
16 The Hague but to the court of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Then they took me out
17 of the vehicle in which I was being transported. They moved me a bit
18 further. I always had headphones on my ears. I had to have dark glasses
19 and a hat on my head, a balaclava. I was handcuffs, they pushed me, and
20 I felt something hard behind my back like an obstacle, and then in front
21 of me I saw five or six armed soldiers with long barrelled rifles. And
22 then after that -- let me not go into any more details. Then they
23 returned me back to the room.
24 It was already summer, the days were warm, and there was a
25 ventilator by the door which brought in hot air. I also sensed some
1 unnatural smells. I realized that those were some irritants. I don't
2 know what they were. But in any case, what I had to go through I would
3 not wish upon the enemy.
4 Q. Thank you. I'd like to move on to a different topic now. The
5 authorities in Sokolac, did they expel Muslims? Did they leave because
6 they were expelled by the authorities?
7 A. No. That's what I have already said, no.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we have 65 ter 19836, the
10 statement of Sema Mujanovic, just for the sake of seeing one sentence.
12 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation].
13 Q. I'm going to read out the sentence. It's the second one.
14 "Out of fear because of the Chetniks, most of the inhabitants of
15 the village moved in the direction of Olovo."
16 How does this tally with what you know?
17 A. No. That's for sure. I've already said on the basis of the
18 agreement initiated by Mr. Abazovic and Mr. Milovan Zugic with the
19 leadership of the municipality of Sokolac, the population, the Bosniak
20 population was supposed to be moved temporarily to the municipality of
21 Olovo, and the Serb municipality temporarily to the municipality of
22 Sokolac until the situation calmed down. So this is certainly incorrect.
23 Q. Thank you. Mr. Obradovic, is he an assemblyman in the Municipal
24 Assembly? Actually, tell us that first.
25 A. No.
1 Q. I'm asking that because on page 43 in line 18 it was put to you
2 that you had said that no one in the Municipal Assembly and the municipal
3 parliament knew about this. However, you were confronted with the
4 following: that Mr. Obradovic heard about that before you. Tell us, what
5 was Obradovic?
6 A. Mr. Obradovic was then in the public security station. I don't
7 know whether he was chief or commandeer of the police, but he was not a
8 member of the SDS then and he could not have been an assemblyman in the
9 Municipal Assembly of Sokolac, and I know for sure that he was not a
10 member of the SDP or the reformist forces or the movement for Yugoslavia
11 or the SDA or the MBO. These were the parties that participated in the
12 government of the municipality of Sokolac. Mr. Obradovic was a person
13 who did not belong to any political party. He had a job with the police,
14 but then maybe he joined a political party after he retired. Maybe he
15 signed something like that.
16 Q. Thank you. When you answered the questions that had to do with
17 the perpetrators of the killing in Novoseoci, and also you deal with that
18 in Article 57 of your statement, in this -- the father of this man said
19 see what Krstic did to us. Did he say that Krstic was personally in
20 charge of this action, or did he mean that as commander he was
21 responsible for his son?
22 A. Well, I don't know exactly whether he was in charge, but it is
23 certain that nothing could be done in the brigade without the brigade
24 commander. That is to say that decisions were executive for
25 lower-ranking officers and soldiers.
1 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 57 you say:
2 "At the time I was not there."
3 You didn't know that this young man was there. And for yourself
4 you say:
5 "I did not know under whose command this incident occurred."
6 Can you tell us whether you found out who commanded this
7 lower-ranking unit?
8 A. No. I didn't know.
9 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Ms. Gustafson.
10 MS. GUSTAFSON: I think that question was a little misleading
11 because the full sentence in the statement was:
12 "I had not known up to that moment," mean the conversation with
13 the acquaintance, "that this young man had been there, nor did I know
14 under whose command the incident had been committed."
15 So the way the sentence is phrased he then discovered that
16 occasion and the question was I think misleading in that respect.
17 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
18 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. I'm just quoting this but it's not for the purpose of citing it,
20 I'm just asking him whether he knew which lower ranking unit this was.
21 It certainly wasn't the whole brigade.
22 A. I believe it was not the whole brigade, but I don't know which
23 lower-ranking unit it was.
24 Q. Thank you. On page 19 it was suggested that you and I sent units
25 to Croatia. Could you tell the Trial Chamber who General Uzelac was and
1 where his headquarters was in 1991?
2 A. General Uzelac, I think, was the commander of the Krajina Corps,
3 as far as I can remember, with headquarters in Banja Luka. He was the
4 commander of the Banja Luka Corps or the Knin corps, some corps up there.
5 He wasn't in Sarajevo. And we could not send units to the front line.
6 Rather, we encouraged military conscripts to respond to the JNA call-up
7 in order to preserve Yugoslavia and the JNA.
8 Q. Thank you. Can you take a look at this. On page 14 you were
9 asked about the war hospital. Did any official ask for that -- or,
10 rather, was this within the system, or was this the SAO Romanija that was
11 doing this on its own apart from the system as such?
12 A. The military hospital, rather, the hospital of the Main Staff in
13 Sokolac was established by the JNA. It was in the days of the JNA that a
14 number of doctors were relocated or sent to a particular facility in
15 Sokolac that was built by the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was
16 called Zavod za Medicinu, 7.500 square metres. The command of the
17 Sarajevo district decided to establish a temporary hospital there. They
18 sent a number of doctors from the Sarajevo military hospital there. As
19 far as I know -- well, no, I know for sure that Mr. Nakas was there from
20 the military hospital. He was a Bosniak. He was the first doctor that
21 came to that hospital and worked there, and he worked there, and then
22 also a number of Croats and Slovenes worked in this military hospital
23 throughout the war, and even some Bosniaks. And this military hospital
24 catered to all who needed their assistance irrespective of ethnic
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] P6252. Could we have a look at
2 that, please. May I remind the other participants that the brother of
3 the late Abdulah Nakas who testified here confirmed that his brother went
4 out to Pale and Sokolac when the war started.
5 P6252. Could we have document, please.
6 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation].
7 Q. Please read the first paragraph only. Could you read it out,
8 just the first paragraph?
9 A. Yes. Yes.
10 "In connection to the agreement of the Chief of General Staff of
11 the armed forces of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the
12 chief of the Medical Corps administration, the command of the
13 2nd Military Distinct, we hereby submit the list of necessary medical and
14 sanitary equipment for the wartime hospitals of Podromanija-Sokolac. The
15 newly erected building with about 7.000 square metres of useful space
16 will be used as a wartime hospital and should be provided with technical
17 and technological equipment ..."
18 Q. Thank you, thank you. We don't need to read any further. What's
19 the role of the SAO Romanija here?
20 A. The SAO Romanija did not play any role here because this was
21 passed by the command of the 2nd Military District in Sarajevo, and one
22 of the persons who was the most deserving in terms of setting up this
23 hospital was Mr. Nakas, Mr. Lazarevic, Tausan, and the others who came
24 and who established this hospital.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 A. They were military personnel. They were lieutenant-colonels and
2 colonels of the JNA, and it was on orders from their Supreme Command that
3 they went up there and established that institution.
4 Q. Thank you. You were asked about the organs of the SAO. First of
5 all, can you tell us whether the SAO Romanija -- actually, I'm not asking
6 you whether it was proclaimed or whatever, but was it part of the
7 government as such? Did it have executive organs and did it pass
8 executive decisions?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Thank you. In 05360 in paragraph 4, it says they reached a
11 conclusion, or rather elements of the SAO should strike a balance in
12 terms of their policies. Could you tell the Trial Chamber what the
13 difference is between a conclusion and a decision?
14 A. A conclusion is recommended, whereas a decision is implemented.
15 To view the situation in the neighbouring municipalities and to behave in
16 a similar way. I mean, that would be it. As for decisions, a decision
17 has to be carried out, whereas a conclusion is not binding. However, a
18 decision is binding.
19 Q. Thank you. Mr. Treanor, an expert witness of the Prosecution, in
20 his report, P2536 in paragraph 137, he said:
21 "However, it seems that the SAO Romanija-Birac never existed and
22 that SAO Romanija and Birac continued to exist during the summer of
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note: We do not have the text.
25 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Further on in paragraph 38 he says:
2 Like in the previous stage, the community of municipalities under
3 Serb control information about the structure and functioning of the SAO
4 primarily stem from the ARK. As far as other SAOs are concerned, only a
5 small number of documents are accessible in terms of organs that belonged
6 to them.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note: Again, we do not have the
8 document so this is not a quote.
9 JUDGE KWON: The interpreters are not following.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note: What was read out was
11 interpreted but we don't have the original document so it cannot be
12 considered as a quotation as such.
13 MS. GUSTAFSON: Also, Your Honours, this is an expert report
14 which cites in detail quotes. This witness is not an expert on the SAOs.
15 I don't know what exactly Dr. Karadzic wants to ask, but first of all it
16 appears to be leading and secondly it could be misleading because, of
17 course, the witness doesn't have all of the sources and material that
18 Dr. Treanor relied upon, so this isn't an appropriate exercise in my
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'll rephrase.
21 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. In paragraph 138, the Prosecution expert witness complained that
23 the other SAOs except for the ARK Krajina did not have any documents.
24 Can you tell us how many documents remained after the SAO Romanija?
25 A. Well, I didn't know about this programme. Somebody must have
1 just written this and had it published, but except for a few releases
2 that were issued by either the prime minister or the minister of
3 information, but anyway there weren't any other documents because this
4 did not function. I've already said that the territory was not
5 contiguous and the seat was in Sarajevo and we never met. The Assembly
6 never met to decide on the further fate of the SAO Romanija.
7 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us, you mentioned on page 6 that this
8 plan, this programme, was not before the Assembly, the one that was
9 produced by the government. Why would it have to be before the Assembly?
10 Who approves government documents?
11 A. Well, government -- the government itself passes its own
13 Q. And which organ approves these documents so that the government
14 could go on working?
15 A. The peoples Assembly. And then the president of the republic by
16 his own decrees confirms certain laws.
17 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Bjelica.
18 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Karadzic, if it is convenient, shall we take a
19 break now?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Exactly. I was just about to
21 finish right now, Excellency.
22 Thank you, Mr. Bjelica, for your work, thank you for your
23 testimony, and thank you for your great work on behalf the Serb people,
24 and I owe you a great deal because of the suffering that you've been
25 through on account of me.
1 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Tieger.
2 MR. TIEGER: Mr. President, I didn't want to raise this in open
3 court. I raised it with the Defence previously and expressed my concerns
4 about these continued and now growing expressions of directed at
5 witnesses at the conclusion of their testimony. Recently it prompted an
6 unfortunate diatribe by a witness.
7 In any event, I think they're clearly inappropriate, particularly
8 since they've been expanding in scope and length, and I would ask that
9 Mr. Karadzic be encouraged to desist from this practice. As I say, I
10 raised it with the Defence initially and said I didn't want to do it in
11 open court, but if it persisted I would raise it in open court.
12 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Robinson, if you could advise Mr. Karadzic what
13 to do and what not to do.
14 MR. ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. President.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But I'm doing this, Excellencies,
16 because I'm not in a position to say good-bye to the witnesses. I do not
17 have the opportunity to say good-bye on a personal note to witnesses once
18 they've finished testifying.
19 JUDGE MORRISON: Dr. Karadzic, saying good-bye is one thing.
20 Making extended commentary is quite another, and you must realise that is
21 it has absolutely no evidential value whatsoever.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That is absolutely clear to me, but
23 this is a matter of courtesy. And it's true, too. However, if this is
24 not allowed, then somebody should express their gratitude to the
25 witnesses who appear here on behalf of the Defence.
1 JUDGE MORRISON: Dr. Karadzic, every witness has the gratitude
2 expressed by this court for attending as you well know.
3 JUDGE KWON: It's quite inappropriate in the Chamber's view to
4 say what you said, and you had the opportunity during your proofing if
6 In any event, that concludes your evidence, Mr. Bjelica. On
7 behalf of the Chamber and the Tribunal, I thank you for your coming to
8 The Hague to give it. Now you are free to go.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too, and I would just
10 like to say that the persons belonging to the service that takes care of
11 us and escorts us while we're in The Hague have done a great job and I
12 would like to thank them once again.
13 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. We'll rise all together. We'll have a
14 break for 45 minutes and resume at 1.20.
15 [The witness withdrew]
16 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.35 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 1.21 p.m.
18 [The witness entered court]
19 JUDGE KWON: Before Mr. Cekic makes the solemn declaration yes,
20 Mr. Tieger.
21 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
22 As I discussed with Mr. Robinson during the adjournment, there
23 was some confusion about the witness order list arising from conflicting
24 information that was sent. I only mention that because it -- Mr. Zec's
25 understanding was and other understandings were that this witness would
1 be testifying tomorrow. It's not a problem. Mr. Zec is prepared to
2 proceed so there won't be a delay. I only mention that because -- so
3 that the Court, if necessary, may provide Mr. Zec with a little latitude
4 in his examination as a result of the circumstances in which he finds
5 himself, but I don't think there will be any sort of problem.
6 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
7 MR. ROBINSON: Mr. President.
8 JUDGE KWON: Yes, Mr. Robinson.
9 MR. ROBINSON: I just also want to express my appreciation to the
10 Prosecution, and we apologise for any confusion that we caused them.
11 JUDGE KWON: On my part as well. I thought it was Mr. Kralj.
12 MR. ROBINSON: At one point the Prosecution had asked us to
13 switch the witnesses and then we thought that they had -- there was no
14 need for that any longer so we switched them back, but we didn't
15 communicate it very well. Sorry about that.
16 JUDGE KWON: Thank you for your patience, Mr. Cekic. Would you
17 make the solemn declaration, please.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
19 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
20 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Cekic. Please be seated and make
21 yourself comfortable.
22 WITNESS: GOJKO CEKIC
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 JUDGE KWON: Before you commence your evidence, Mr. Cekic, I must
25 draw your attention to a certain Rule of procedure and evidence that we
1 have here at the International Tribunal, that is Rule 90(E). Under this
2 Rule, you may object to answering any question from Mr. Karadzic, the
3 Prosecution, or even from the Judges if you believe that your answer
4 might incriminate you in a criminal offence. In this context,
5 "incriminate" means saying something that would amount to an admission of
6 guilt for a criminal offence or saying something that might provide
7 evidence that you might have committed a criminal offence.
8 However, should you think that an answer might incriminate you
9 and as a consequence you refuse to answer the question, I must let you
10 know that the Tribunal has the power to compel you to answer the
11 question, but in that situation, the Tribunal would ensure that your
12 testimony compelled under such circumstances would not be used in any
13 case that might be laid against you for any offence save and except the
14 offence of giving false testimony.
15 Do you understand what I have just told you, Mr. Cekic?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand.
17 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, Mr. Cekic.
18 Yes, Mr. Karadzic, please proceed.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 Examination by Mr. Karadzic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Cekic, good afternoon.
22 A. Good afternoon, Mr. President.
23 Q. I need to ask you to speak slowly as I will try to do, and we
24 need to pause between question and answer so as to have everything
25 recorded in the transcript. Thank you.
1 A. You're welcome.
2 Q. Mr. Cekic, did you provide a statement to the Defence team?
3 A. I did.
4 Q. Thank you. Can we have 1D7982 in e-court. Could I ask you to
5 look at the screen before you. Do you see that statement of yours before
6 you on the screen?
7 A. I can see it, but it's too small for me to read.
8 Q. Thank you. Do you have a hard copy of your statement with you?
9 In that case, we would ask the Chamber to allow you to rely on it if
11 A. Unfortunately, I don't. I was told to only bring my glasses and
13 Q. Have you read the statement and signed it?
14 A. I have.
15 Q. Kindly pause before answering.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we see the last page so that
17 the witness is able to see his signature.
18 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Is it your signature?
20 A. Yes, it is.
21 Q. Thank you. Does this statement faithfully reflect what you told
22 the Defence team, or do you have any need to make certain corrections?
23 Is it completely accurate?
24 A. For the most part it faithfully conveys my words, and there's
25 nothing that I'd like to correct.
1 Q. Thank you. If I were to put the same questions today, would your
2 answers be basically the same?
3 A. Yes. The gist would be the same.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. Your Excellencies, I
5 seek to tender this statement under Rule 92 ter.
6 MR. ROBINSON: Mr. President, we're also offering three
7 associated exhibits, none of which are on the 65 ter list. We would ask
8 that they be added as we hadn't interviewed this witness at the time the
9 document was filed.
10 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Zec, do you have any objections?
11 MR. ZEC: No, President.
12 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. We'll admit the statement as well as the
13 three associated deliberates.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. The statement is Exhibit D3236
15 and the three documents will be Exhibit D3237 through to Exhibit D3239.
16 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. Yes, please continue, Mr. Karadzic.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you. I will read out a
18 summary of Mr. Cekic's statement in the English language.
19 [In English] Mr. Gojko Cekic was born on 6th of July, 1936, in
20 Podgorica village, Bosanska Gradiska municipality. Now resides in
21 Bijeljina city. Gojko Cekic worked at the Hadzici garrison until he
22 retired at the end of 1990 with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In
23 August 1992, following the formation of the VRS, he was mobilised and
24 assigned to the Bijeljina garrison. In August 1994, he was assigned to
25 duty as the commander of the Ekonomija collection centre in Batkovic
1 village where he was charged with organising the centre pursuant to the
2 order of the corps commander. This was done at all times in accordance
3 with the provisions of the Geneva Conventions relevant to the treatment
4 of prisoners of war. All procedures here were in keeping with the
5 current rules and regulations of the entire army.
6 The individuals brought to the Ekonomija collection centre were
7 soldiers captured on lines facing the units of the 28th Division of
8 BH Army as it is clear from the statements of individuals leaving the
9 centre and from other lines of confrontation. Interviews were conducted
10 with captures by members of the military police and security organs of
11 the corps in order to ascertain information about the prisoners' unit and
12 command and uncover any war crimes against combatants, Serbian
13 combatants, and civilians.
14 The relationship between the guards and the prisoners was correct
15 and at any -- at times friendly. The prisoners ate the same food as the
16 guards and the VRS soldiers in the barracks, were given sufficient
17 shelter and heating in the winter, and were given regular preventative
18 medical check-ups by mobilised doctors. Gojko Cekic never ordered nor
19 allowed any of his subordinates to physically abuse prisoners in any way,
20 in any violation of order issued by him -- and any violation of orders
21 issued by him was punished.
22 Gojko Cekic was ordered to allow unhindered access to the centre
23 to the ICRC officials who had no complaints about the prisoners'
25 The Ekonomija collection centre was disbanded with the order of
1 superior command in -- in the autumn of 1995 when the truce came into
3 [Interpretation] At this point I have no questions for Mr. Cekic.
4 JUDGE KWON: Very well. Yes, Mr. Cekic. As you have noted, your
5 evidence in chief in this case has been admitted in writing, that is
6 through your written witness statement in lieu of your oral testimony,
7 and you'll now be cross-examined by the representative of the Office of
8 the Prosecutor.
9 Yes, Mr. Zec.
10 MR. ZEC: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Cross-examination by Mr. Zec:
12 Q. Good afternoon to you, Mr. Cekic.
13 A. Good afternoon.
14 Q. Let me first clarify something that you said in your statement.
15 In paragraph 12 you referred to document 1D06076, which has been admitted
16 associate exhibit, and if we can have it please on the screen.
17 You told us, Mr. Cekic, that the Batkovic centre had 4.310
18 blankets and 315 sleeping mattresses. For this assertion, you refer to
19 paragraph 2 and paragraph 4 of the document from 1996 which you're going
20 to see on the screen in a minute. And I would like to look at these two
21 paragraphs of the document.
22 MR. ZEC: Mr. Registrar, I have number 1D06076. That's one of
23 the associated exhibits.
24 Q. So, Mr. Cekic, if you look at the screen, I would like to
25 paragraph 2 and 4. So -- and paragraph 4 says that in 1993, Bijeljina
1 military post 7109 was given 3.710 blankets and 110 mattresses.
2 First, Mr. Cekic, military post 7109 was a logistic base, was it?
3 A. Yes, it was.
4 Q. So the numbers that you provide in paragraph 12 represent the
5 totality of these items that apparently went through Batkovic throughout
6 its existence, and this was -- this was not something that you had at
7 your disposal; correct?
8 A. I don't quite understand the question, but as for the figure of
9 3.000 -- just one moment. Four thousand three hundred and ten blankets
10 and three hundred and fifteen mattresses, I returned that equipment in
11 1996 to the units they belonged to; that is to say, to the base, to the
12 barracks of the unit where they had come from, that and the rest of the
14 Q. That's exactly what I want to ask you about, because in the
15 document it says that this material was given to logistic base in 1993,
16 which means it was not there in 1996. That's exactly the issue I want to
17 raise with you.
18 A. No. No. A moment, please. Did I sign this document at the
20 Q. Yes. You did.
21 A. How could I have signed it in 1993 when I came there in 1994?
22 This is a mistake with the date. In any case, they were handed over in
23 1996, not in 1993. Only the vehicle -- no, not even the vehicle. It was
24 all handed over in January 1996. In 1993, I was not at the collection
25 centre, and I couldn't have signed this.
1 Q. I was not suggesting that you were in 1993 there, but what it
2 says document that the material was given to the logistic base in 1993.
3 In any event, let me ask you this: The main provider of these items was
4 the ICRC, was it?
5 A. Part of it did arrive from the International Red Cross. However,
6 the rest came from the barracks such as parts of tents, mattresses,
7 wooden frames for beds, weapons, et cetera. Please bear with me. As for
8 the ICRC, we for the most part received some of the blankets. That's why
9 there were so many. They were given us by the International Red Cross,
10 quite a few blankets.
11 Q. So while we're on this topic, let me show you another related
12 document, and this time I want to focus to what you said in paragraph 11
13 about the prisoners having been able to take hot showers every day at
15 MR ZEC: Can we have 65 ter 24877.
16 And, Mr. President, I believe we have not received translation of
17 this document yet, so we'll try to work with B/C/S.
18 Q. And this is another hand-over receipt issued in 1996 following
19 the disclosure of Batkovic. It refers to the hand-over of the premises
20 and items used at Batkovic. Item 1 refers to the offices. Item number 2
21 refers to the reception centre office, sorry. Item number 3, hangar and
22 other facilities.
23 Mr. Cekic, if you look at item number 3 and what is listed there,
24 can you see 1 field bath and one field toilet with two cabinets?
25 A. Yes, I can see it. I see what it is.
1 Q. Mr. Cekic, there is no on the list five or six showers that you
2 describe in your statement, is it?
3 A. It is correct. Can I provide an explanation for this?
4 Q. This is the document that lists all the items at Batkovic at the
5 time, including, and as we saw in the previous document, spoons, so the
6 toilets that you talk about should be listed here but they are not there.
7 A. Yes, it's not there. Do you know where the difference lies?
8 This is the materiel we had received, not myself but those who held my
9 position prior to 1993. They received it from the Ekonomija farm. The
10 same goes for the bath and toilet boxes. As for the part that was
11 additionally added, I see, for example, wire which is missing and the
12 five or six toilet boxes and baths. They're not to be found here. I
13 can't exactly explain why they aren't, but they were also not issued to
14 us, the equipment needed for such baths.
15 Q. If you look the signatures, among these there is your signature
16 and the signature of Milenko Lujic. Can you confirm that Milenko Lujic
17 is Surgeon First Class Lujic that you referred to in paragraph 15 of your
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you explain what these letters VIK that we see before his
21 name stand for?
22 A. He was the company clerk as we referred to them. As for the VIP,
23 I don't really know what it stands for.
24 Q. And he --
25 A. In any case, he was the recording clerk at the collection centre.
1 He was in charge of issuing and receiving equipment and I only verified
2 the lists he kept. He was in charge of the office.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note: In line 17, it should be
4 VIK instead of VIP.
5 MR. ZEC:
6 Q. And before that Lujic was in charge of the guards at the camp,
7 was he?
8 A. He was also the guard commander or one of. There were a few of
9 them. Once every month for a week he commanded the guards.
10 Q. You are not aware -- aware of him being punished or disciplined
11 for any offence, are you?
12 A. No. As far as I know, he was not summoned, interviewed, or
14 Q. This Chamber has received evidence that during 1992-1993,
15 Milenko Lujic was involved in beatings, torture, and hiding of the
16 prisoners from the ICRC. Do you know about this, Mr. Cekic?
17 A. I couldn't have been aware of it, because in 1992 and 1993 I was
18 never at the collection centre, nor did I know the people working there.
19 MR. ZEC: Your Honours, I refer to P48, page 8 to 10.
20 Q. Mr. Cekic, this Chamber has received evidence that a prisoner by
21 the name of Ferid Zecevic or professor, how he was called, was beaten to
22 death by the guards in the presence of Veljko Stojanovic for whom you say
23 in paragraph 22 that he was a guard commander at Batkovic. Husein Curic
24 and 70-year-old Zulfo Hadziomerovic were also beaten to death. These and
25 other murders and beatings, Mr. Cekic, were not result of a drunk
1 prisoner attacking guards and then them defending themselves with the
2 rifle as you describe it in paragraph 18, but the result of the cruel
3 conditions imposed on the Batkovic prisoners. Were you aware of this,
4 Mr. Cekic?
5 A. No. I wasn't aware of the conditions or of the fact that people
6 were being beaten or that anything else that was not permitted was done.
7 At the time I was not at the collection centre in Batkovic. I couldn't
8 have been aware of it and I didn't hear it being discussed.
9 JUDGE KWON: Just a second. Before that P48 you referred to. It
10 may be something different.
11 MR. ZEC: 84, P84.
12 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. And now?
13 MR. ZEC: Now I was referring to P59, page 873, and P3212,
14 page 44.
15 Q. Mr. Cekic, this Chamber has received evidence that there were up
16 to 3.000 prisoners at Batkovic. They slept on the concrete floors. The
17 toilet was a deep hole in the ground. There was no medical treatment. A
18 young man from Brezevo Polje died from diabetes. Some prisoners had
19 heart attacks. So were you aware, Mr. Cekic, of these conditions at the
20 Batkovic before you were appointed commander?
21 A. I wasn't aware of such conditions or incidents or cases or such
22 things occurring before I was appointed commander.
23 MR. ZEC: Your Honours, I refer to P58, page 11; P111, page 491
24 to 43 -- 493, and P3212, page 43.
25 Q. Mr. Cekic, the prisoners were forced to labour on the fields at
1 the front lines and abandoned Muslim houses; that is, to remove these
2 goods from these houses. Those that were forced to labour at the front
3 lines, they were used to dig trenches, to carry ammunition, and chop
4 firewood. Some of the prisoners got killed and some wounded while
5 performing this labour. Were you aware of this?
6 A. No, I was not aware of that. At the time when I was there, that
7 did not happen. Prisoners went to work --
8 Q. I'm asking this because you were in security organ as you say of
9 the 3rd Mixed Artillery Regiment. So you haven't heard or so prisoner
10 carrying ammunition? Would you like me to repeat my question?
11 A. No, I understand your question, but now the volume has been
12 stepped up so I can hear it. No, I was in the 3rd Mixed Artillery
13 Regiment. I went out into the field, I visited units, but in those units
14 there were never any prisoners who carried ammunition. So that was not
15 the case for the 3rd MAP.
16 MR. ZEC: Your Honours, I refer to P58, page 11; P59, page 875 to
17 876; P84, page 9; P111, page 495 to 496; and P3212, page 46, 47.
18 Can we have now on the screen 65 ter 24879, please.
19 MR. ROBINSON: Mr. President, is 24877 being tendered?
20 JUDGE KWON: Hand-over receipt.
21 MR. ZEC: Thank you, Mr. Robinson.
22 Yes, Mr. President. We would like to tender, but we don't have
23 translation, so I presume --
24 JUDGE KWON: Shall we mark it for identification pending English
1 MR. ROBINSON: Yes, we have no objection.
2 THE REGISTRAR: As MFI P6258, Your Honours.
3 MR. ZEC:
4 Q. And this is a decision to release 16 prisoners from Batkovic and
5 send them to -- to the Yugoslav river shipping company, Belgrade, to
6 conduct compulsory work service. This decision refers in its
7 introductory part to the order of the president of the RS Presidency, the
8 IBK order, and the request of the Yugoslav River Shipping Company.
9 Mr. Cekic, was this company listed among the companies that you referred
10 to in paragraph 19 of your statement when you say that the companies
11 asked for prisoners to labour?
12 A. Could you please repeat what the name of that company was and
13 where its seat was?
14 Q. The seat was in Belgrade, and the company name is Yugoslav River
15 Shipping Company.
16 A. No, never heard of that, that prisoners went outside the
17 territory of Republika Srpska, especially not to Belgrade. This is the
18 first I hear of it. And I don't believe that. I mean, I'm not saying.
19 Anything is possible.
20 Q. One can presume that shipping company can have some premises at
21 Sava River, Sava River near Bijeljina, but in any event, you haven't
22 heard of this company?
23 MR. ZEC: Your Honours, I would tender this document.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
25 MR. ROBINSON: Well, Mr. President, we would object at this point
1 because the witness hasn't been able to confirm anything. It looks like
2 it has some elements of authenticity, but I was just checking myself
3 because it refers to an order from the Presidency of 8 September 1992,
4 and I was unable to find that order. So I have some questions about
5 whether this should be admitted. So perhaps absent a showing of
6 provenance it can be marked for identification.
7 JUDGE KWON: Can I hear from you, Mr. Zec?
8 MR. ZEC: Mr. President, if I'm given sufficient time, I can show
9 to you that these 16 names are listed in another exhibit that you have
10 before you, which is P03213, which verifies that these people were
11 detained at Batkovic and these dates when they were sent to this -- to
12 labour, so which suggests that this document is authentic document.
13 JUDGE KWON: Is it necessary for you to rise, Mr. Tieger?
14 MR. TIEGER: It's only for the purpose of trying to ensure
15 consistency, Mr. President, but I take it from your question that you
16 would not wish further comment.
17 JUDGE KWON: Having heard Mr. Zec's submission, would you like to
18 add anything, Mr. Robinson?
19 MR. ROBINSON: No, Mr. President.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE KWON: We will admit it.
22 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P6259, Your Honours.
23 MR. ZEC:
24 Q. Let me ask you, Mr. Cekic, about the ICRC visits to Batkovic
25 before the time that you were there. This Chamber has received evidence
1 that some of the Batkovic prisoners were removed from the camp prior to
2 the visits of the ICRC. These were mostly elderly, children, and some
3 others. The guards stood or posed for the missing and killed prisoners.
4 The prisoners were instructed what to say when the ICRC arrives. Were
5 you aware, Mr. Cekic, of this practice at Batkovic with respect to the
6 ICRC before your service there?
7 A. I don't know. I can just answer about what I -- about what I
8 know. I can only say about the period when I was there, and if you want
9 me to talk about that, fine.
10 Q. That's in your statement, so we'll move on.
11 MR. ZEC: Your Honours, I refer to P59, page 877 to 878; then
12 P84, page 8; and P2929, page 12.
13 Q. Mr. Cekic, Major Djoko Pajic, who you referred to in paragraph 4
14 of your statement, who was in charge of Batkovic before you, is currently
15 on trial before the local court in Bijeljina for crimes committed at
16 Batkovic together with Petar Dmitrovic, Ljubisa Misic, and Djordje
17 Krstic. Can you confirm this, Mr. Cekic?
18 A. Yes, I heard that there was a trial like that in Bijeljina. I
19 don't know whether it's over and I don't know what the outcome is.
20 Q. Let's talk about Batkovic at the time when you were in charge.
21 Among these 120 prisoners that you say arrived to Batkovic after the fall
22 of Srebrenica, among them there were wounded, elderly, and children;
24 A. Among them there weren't any children. There weren't many
25 elderly people either. There were people there, say, up until the age of
1 55. I could not really tell then how old people were.
2 Q. Some of these wounded died at Batkovic as a result of the
3 conditions they were subjected to; correct?
4 A. No, that is not correct. What is correct is that three persons
5 died, those who were wounded in Srebrenica during the breakthrough. They
6 were given medical assistance when they came to the collection centre in
7 Batkovic. However, after that, after a few days, they died nevertheless.
8 That was established by a doctor. The International Red Cross was
9 informed, so everything was done in accordance with regulations.
10 Q. Let's talk about them.
11 MR. ZEC: Can we have 65 ter 24880.
12 Q. And this is a list of seven wounded people brought by the
13 UNPROFOR from Potocari to the health centre Bratunac on 17 July 1995.
14 The Chamber has heard evidence about the MSF field hospital in Potocari,
15 but here on this document do you see item number 4, Hajrudin Alic?
16 Hajrudin Alic died at Batkovic. Do you remember him?
17 A. Well, I remember that there were several persons by the name of
18 Hajrudin. Whether that's the one, I don't know. Possibly.
19 MR. ZEC: Your Honours, I mention this evacuation of wounded from
20 Potocari, and that's P04752, page 10 to 12; P04175, page 25 -- 24-25.
21 Can we have now 65 ter 23185.
22 MR. ROBINSON: Is this being tendered?
23 MR. ZEC: I will use one more document, so then I can ask to be
24 tendered together. And this is a list -- this is not correct document.
25 It should be 03185. And this is a list of 22 people that were
1 transferred under guards on 18 July 1995.
2 JUDGE KWON: Could you give the number again.
3 MR. ZEC: 65 ter 03185.
4 Q. The last seven names on this list are the seven that were brought
5 to Bratunac the day before that he saw on the previous list. Item number
6 19 is Hajrudin Alic who is the -- whose name we also saw a moment ago.
7 These 22 people, Mr. Cekic, these were among the first few Srebrenica
8 prisoners that you received at Batkovic after the fall of Srebrenica;
10 A. Right now I cannot remember exactly the names and surnames of
11 these people who came, but I do remember that a group of some 20 persons
13 MR. ZEC: Perhaps I can now tender these two lists,
14 Mr. President.
15 MR. ROBINSON: No objection.
16 JUDGE KWON: Yes, we'll receive them.
17 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibits P6260 and 6261 respectively, Your
19 MR. ZEC: Can we have now P03213. And this is a list of the
20 Batkovic prisoners. We would need e-court page 9 for the B/C/S.
21 Mr. President, this document, the translation does not contain
22 all the names that appear on the B/C/S version simply because it's a list
23 of names.
24 Q. And, Mr. Cekic, can you have a look at item number 121 on this
25 page. It is Hajrudin Alic, son of Alija, that we talk about for some
1 time now. He arrived at Batkovic on 18 July 1992. Next to it there's a
2 date, 24 July 1995, and in the last column it says that he died.
3 MR. ZEC: Can we now have B/C/S e-court page 133.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] A question, your Excellencies, not
5 to have things piled up in these questions, and even I cannot see where
6 these questions are going.
7 JUDGE KWON: Let's see. Let's hear the question. Let's wait and
9 Shall we proceed, Mr. Zec?
10 MR. ZEC: Yes, Mr. President. And my basic question was about
11 these wounded who died at Batkovic, and we are talking about them. So I
12 want to just point to two names that appear on this list.
13 Q. And now on this page, item 213 is Ramo Mujic, son of Mustafa. He
14 was brought to Batkovic on 25 July, 1995, and he died on 7 August 1995.
15 Now I can -- can we have 65 ter 24883.
16 JUDGE KWON: So you have no question for the witness?
17 MR. ZEC: Yes, I will have. After I show one more document I
18 will have a witness -- because what I'm going to show next is the local
19 witness statement of a person who saw these people at Batkovic, these two
20 that I just mentioned.
21 And this is a local statement or questionnaire of Bekir Ademovic.
22 Can we have last page of this document. And this person, Mr. President,
23 Bekir Ademovic is also listed in the list of 22 people taken from
24 Bratunac to health centre, from Bratunac to Batkovic on 18 July 1994 --
25 1995. And in B/C/S we would need -- go back to page before. And one
1 more page, Mr. Registrar.
2 Q. So here Bekir Ademovic said that Hajrudin Alic had a stomach
3 wound. Bekir did not see him receive any medical treatment until the
4 arrival of the Red Cross. Hajrudin died at Batkovic. Bekir also said in
5 the next paragraph that Ramo from Babuljica village, Srebrenica, could
6 not take any food as a result of the beating that he suffered when he was
7 captured. Ramo died at Batkovic. And these are --
8 JUDGE KWON: What page do we have it on the English version?
9 MR. ZEC: Should be last page in English version.
10 Q. And these two names I've been showing earlier in the log-book
11 that we saw.
12 So, Mr. Cekic, the realities that people were dying at Batkovic
13 as a result of the conditions they were subject to, were you aware of
15 A. No. They were not dying because of the conditions in the
16 Batkovic centre. They died as a consequence of their wounding during the
17 breakthrough from Srebrenica. This can be confirmed by Dr. Blagojevic,
18 who established that they had died, and this can be confirmed. I believe
19 that for each and every person who died in the Batkovic centre there is a
20 report of the International Committee of the Red Cross, because they were
21 called in every time a person died. Also, they were present when this
22 first group of 22 persons came to Batkovic, and together with us in the
23 afternoon they took care of them. A doctor was called in straight away.
24 Since food had not been provided for that day we sent the driver to town.
25 Bread and tins were purchased for them. They were in a sorry state.
1 No one could have died as a consequence of the conditions in
2 Batkovic because the conditions were not that bad.
3 MR. ZEC: Can we have English page 8 and B/C/S page 2 of this
5 Q. What, Mr. Cekic, this person Bekir Ademovic said that during his
6 detention at Batkovic, he saw Vujic, he's a deputy camp commander, beat
7 Alija from Cerska, Zaim from Tokoljak village in Srebrenica, and
8 Alija Canic from Janja. So, Mr. Cekic, these prisoners were subjected to
9 beatings and torture at Batkovic; correct?
10 A. That is not correct. While I was commander of the collection
11 centre there, no one beat anybody up. No one abused anyone. Persons
12 from the ICRC came regularly. They would meet them, and none of us were
13 present during those meetings. After these meetings I always asked are
14 there any objections in terms of our work and what do you think about
15 this? Persons from the International Red Cross never said that there
16 were any complaints concerning beatings or anything else.
17 Q. Was there any Vujic deputy commander at Batkovic? Or this
18 perhaps could be Lujic, Milenko Lujic, that we talked about earlier.
19 A. Yes, it is Milenko Lujic.
20 MR. ZEC: Could we now have P03213.
21 Q. And this is again the list of Batkovic prisoners that we looked
22 at earlier.
23 Mr. Cekic, I asked you whether elderly and children who were
24 detained at Batkovic during your time there, so now we're going to have a
25 look at some of their names.
1 MR. ZEC: Can we have B/C/S e-court page 9. And I believe,
2 Mr. President, we can work from this point with B/C/S only.
3 Q. Item number 136 is Ramo Ahmetovic.
4 MR. ZEC: We need B/C/S e-court page 9, please.
5 Q. So item number 136 is Ramo Ahmetovic, son of Selve, born in 1924.
6 And, Mr. Cekic, you told us in paragraph 19 that you were the oldest at
7 Batkovic. Here we see that the prisoner by the name of Ramo Ahmetovic
8 was 12 years older than you, Mr. Cekic. Did you see him there?
9 A. Well, I personally do not remember him, but he was present there.
10 However, when I said that I was among the eldest persons there, that had
11 to do with those prisoners of war who were there up until then, July
12 1995. However, in 1995, at the end of July, these prisoners who were
13 brought in were persons -- I mean, who were brought from the breakthrough
14 or from combat. Now, whether he had joined these soldiers of the BH Army
15 and then together with them did he come --
16 Q. Thank you. You and answered my question.
17 MR. ZEC: Can we now have e-court page 50.
18 Q. Item number 29 is Haris Dzenanovic, born in 1978, 17 at the time.
19 Item number 31 is Mersad Dzanic, born in 1980, 15 at the time.
20 MR. ZEC: Can we have e-court page 78.
21 Q. Item number 223 is Nermin Hakic, born in 1980.
22 MR. ZEC: Perhaps I should show only one additional page. Can we
23 have e-court page 139. E-court page 131, I'm sorry.
24 Q. Item 191 is Hazim Mujanovic, born in 1980, and so on.
25 Mr. Cekic, there were a number of children detained at Batkovic
1 during your time there. Did you -- didn't you see them there?
2 A. Yes. All those persons, just like the previous one who was born
3 in 1924, they were all brought with those who were captured during the
4 breakthrough on the front line. That means that they either fought or
5 joined the combatants. The Army of Republika Srpska, when they captured
6 them, they couldn't be the judge of --
7 Q. Mr. Cekic, I only asked for whether you knew that children were
8 there, and we just saw there were children. So we can move on.
9 You told us in paragraph 19 about Vanekov Mlin. This prison was
10 located in an old building nearby the Bijeljina garrison, wasn't it?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Srebrenica prisoners were held there including Sado Ramic whose
13 statement you have commented, Mr. Cekic. Did you also know that
14 Avdo Palic from Zepa was held also at Mlin? Did you know that,
15 Mr. Cekic?
16 A. No. I had no information about the Vanekov Mlin because those
17 people were all under investigation.
18 Q. Thank you and that's statement. This Chamber has received
19 evidence that Avdo Palic was brought to Mlin from Rogatica around 10
20 August, 1995, in order to be hidden from the public.
21 MR. ZEC: This is at transcript page 3446465 and Exhibit P06156,
22 Your Honours.
23 Q. Sado Ramic, Mr. Cekic, whose statement you have commented, said
24 that Avdo Palic was brought to Mlin during his detection there.
25 MR. ZEC: Can we have 65 ter 24779.
1 Q. And this is receipt on hand over of Avdo Palic to
2 Dragomir Pecanac on 5 September, 1995, for the needs of the VRS
3 Main Staff intelligence sector?
4 According to the heading of the document, the prison Mlin was
5 under the head of Bijeljina garrison, and Milan Savic was in charge of
6 the prison. Is this correct, Mr. Cekic?
7 A. Correct.
8 MR. ZEC: Your Honours, I tender this document.
9 MR. ROBINSON: Objection, Mr. President. All that has been noted
10 is that the head of the prison is Milan Savic. There's nothing about the
11 content of the document that has been confirmed by this witness.
12 MR. ZEC: This whole topic I'm talking about Avdo Palic and his
13 imprisonment at Mlin. So this is another confirmation that this person
14 was held there. The witness had said that he doesn't know.
15 JUDGE KWON: But at least you could have asked if this is signed
16 by Milan Savic to the witness.
17 MR. ZEC: I'll do so.
18 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
19 MR. ZEC:
20 Q. Mr. Cekic, if you look the signatures and the one that's on the
21 middle, that's -- do you recognise as the signature of Milan Savic?
22 A. No. I can't recognise the signature because I was not his
23 superior. I've not seen his signature before. I'm in no position to say
24 whether he signed this or not.
25 MR. ZEC: Mr. President, the witness confirmed that the prison
1 was under the Bijeljina garrison and that Milan Savic was head of the
2 prison so on that basis this document can be admitted.
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Zec, until the time we are satisfied about the
5 provenance or the other foundation, we'll mark it for identification.
6 THE REGISTRAR: As MFI P6262, Your Honours.
7 MR. ZEC: Mr. President, I see the time. The only I have is
8 three photographs of Batkovic to show to the witness with your leave.
9 JUDGE KWON: Please continue, Mr. Zec.
10 MR. ZEC: Can we have 65 ter 24881.
11 Q. And, Mr. Cekic, what I would like to show you now is photographs
12 of Batkovic.
13 JUDGE KWON: I'm not sure, did you tender or did you not 24883?
14 MR. ZEC: I believe that was his statement, so --
15 JUDGE KWON: Ah, yes. That was the statement. Very well.
16 MR. ZEC:
17 Q. Mr. Cekic, if you look at the photo in front of you, in 1995 the
18 prisoners were held in the first hangar looking from the top, the one
19 near the small house with red roof; correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 MR. ZEC: Can we have next page, please.
22 Q. This is the entrance to Batkovic, is it?
23 A. Yes.
24 MR. ZEC: Can we have next page, please.
25 Q. And here we see these open hangars of the Batkovic complex,
1 Mr. Cekic; correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 MR. ZEC: Mr. President, these photos are from June 2009, and I
4 tender these photos.
5 MR. ROBINSON: No objection.
6 JUDGE KWON: We'll receive them.
7 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P6263, Your Honours.
8 MR. ZEC: I have nothing further. Thank you very much.
9 Thank you very much, Mr. Cekic.
10 JUDGE KWON: Do you have re-examination, Mr. Karadzic?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I do, your Excellency, yes. May I?
12 JUDGE KWON: Yes, please proceed, Mr. Karadzic.
13 Re-examination by Mr. Karadzic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Help us, Mr. Cekic, and shed light on some
15 things. You started saying something about the military which captured
16 those combatants, including a few who were younger. Can you finish that
17 answer of yours?
18 A. Yes. In the indictment, I saw that there was a number of persons
19 in Batkovic aged between 15 and 18 and a number of those who were over
20 70. Both groups were brought together with those people who were
21 combatants and who were taken as prisoners of war. However, those who
22 imprisoned them, the VRS army, that is, could not separate them from each
23 other. They couldn't know who were combatants irrespective of their age.
24 That's why they were all brought together. A few days later or perhaps a
25 fortnight or 20 days later, we separated a group of some 50 or 60 elderly
1 people. We did not even exchange them because we were absolutely certain
2 that they could no -- not be engaged in the BiH Army in the future. And
3 we released them. We did not even need to exchange them. We allowed
4 them to go to the territory of the federation, i.e., they went to Tuzla.
5 Q. I'm afraid that the transcript did not understand you. I don't
6 want to be accused of anything, especially not of a leading question.
7 Are you saying that you released them unilaterally without any
9 A. Yes, we released them unilaterally. We did not ask for any of
10 our own prisoners in return for those people.
11 Q. Thank you. Several questions were put to you by Mr. Zec on pages
12 from 77 through 80. You said, "I didn't know." When he asked you if you
13 knew, you said, "I didn't know." Did you subsequently learn that the
14 abuses were going on before you became commander? When did you learn
15 about possible abuses before you took over?
16 A. Yes, I understand your question. I did for the legal
17 representative about any abuses, I did not have any suspicions that there
18 was such abuses, because what I heard here is something that my guards
19 would not do, something that is very hard for me to believe. I learned
20 something else from those people who had arrived there Srebrenica. When
21 they got off the lorries and when they were lined up and when we took
22 them to the hangar, the doctor came, the International Committee of the
23 Red Cross came. We sent somebody to fetch food. They were fed. And
24 then one of them stood up, I don't know his name, I never asked him, and
25 he said, "You see how they lied to us? Our superior lied to us that when
1 we arrived here in the prison in Batkovic there would be two men waiting
2 for us with batons who would beat us up, that we would not be given any
3 food, that we would be beaten up and ill-treated and so on and so forth.
4 And we were also told that we would be better off dead, killed in combat
5 than ending up in the Batkovici collection centre."
6 Q. Thank you. And now can you tell us, you were asked on page 80
7 whether the prison?
8 JUDGE KWON: Just a second. If I can intervene. Mr. Cekic, a
9 moment ago you said in the indictment you saw that there was a number of
10 persons in Batkovic aged between 15 and 18 and a number of those who were
11 over 70. What indictment did you refer to?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Excellency, the -- your
13 sentence -- in your sentence there are two different words used for the
14 indictment. The first part of your sentence was translated as judgement,
15 and the second part as indictment. Can we do something about the
16 interpretation? Can it be more accurate? On the record we see the word
17 "indictment," and your words were interpreted as if you said "judgement."
18 If somebody were to listen to the tapes, you would see that I'm right.
19 JUDGE KWON: But having heard -- having heard Mr. Karadzic's
20 explanation, do you understand my question? Do you remember having said
21 that, Mr. Cekic?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what we're talking
23 about here.
24 JUDGE KWON: Yes. When Mr. Karadzic started his re-examination,
25 you were asked -- he asked you to complete the answer you were stopped in
1 one way or another, and then you said:
2 "Yes." This is quote from your answer:
3 "Yes. In the indictment I saw that there were a number of
4 persons in Batkovic aged between 15 and 18 and a number of those who were
5 over 70."
6 And you further explained both groups were brought together with
7 people who were combatants. Do you remember now having said that,
8 Mr. Cekic? My question was what indictment you referred to? What
9 indictment did you read?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Again, I don't understand,
11 Mr. President.
12 JUDGE KWON: Very well. I'll leave it at that.
13 Please continue, Mr. Karadzic.
14 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation].
15 Q. Mr. Cekic, did you mention any indictments at all?
16 A. No.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The problem is in the
19 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter notes that the witness did
20 mention the word "optuznica" which stands for "indictment" in English.
21 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. What was the position on page 80 when you were asked about the
23 competence of the command of the East Bosnia Corps? What was the
24 position of the command of the East Bosnia Corps with regard to honouring
25 the rights of prisoners of war and their treatment in Batkovic?
1 A. The position of the command of the East Bosnia Corps was that the
2 prisoners of war in Batkovic should not undergo any coercion or -- or
3 punishment. Only the measures that are provided for in the Geneva
4 Conventions could be applied, and we adhered to that. The person who
5 drew my attention to that was the commander of the East Bosnia Corps when
6 I took over duties in Batkovic.
7 Q. A document was shown to you, and in it you can see that 16
8 prisoners were taken to work.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to call up 65 ter
11 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Please pay attention to the fact that on the 25th of March, 1995,
13 the command of the East Bosnia Corps issued this order.
14 I'm looking for page 5. The same page in English, please.
15 Now I'm going to read this. Page 5 in English. Before 73 -- at
16 the end of 7.2. In English it's after brief interviews. It says here:
17 "The prisoners of war are to be escorted to the Batkovic
18 collection centre for further treatment and processing. Prevent any
19 abuse of the prisoners of war with a view to their possible exchange for
20 our captured soldiers."
21 Were you familiar with the position of the commander of the
22 East Bosnia Corps?
23 A. Yes, I was aware of that position.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could this be admitted?
25 JUDGE KWON: Yes, we'll receive it.
1 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit D3240, Your Honours.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Cekic, did you have any impression or knowledge as to my
5 position vis-a-vis respecting international humanitarian law or did you
6 see any order of mine to that effect?
7 A. No, I had no such occasion.
8 Q. To see such an order?
9 A. Yes. I didn't see such an order.
10 Q. Thank you. But were you aware of my position through someone
12 A. I did know of your position because twice I was present in the
13 barracks when you held a meeting, and you said to everyone there what
14 your position was, that the population should not be driven away, that
15 everyone should be treated equally, and some people, some civilians were
16 even accommodated in the barracks. So I was completely familiar with
17 your position in that regard. It did not differ as compared to the
18 position we just saw.
19 Q. Thank you. What nationality were the civilians accommodated or
20 who took shelter in the barracks?
21 A. There were Croats, Muslims, Serbs.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 A. The Roma.
24 Q. Thank you. 65 ter document 24879. Perhaps we don't need it on
25 the screen. It is the military post 7102, Bijeljina. It reads:
1 "Pursuant to the order of the president of the Presidency of
2 Republika Srpska number 01827/92 of the 8th of September, 1992 --" well,
3 it actually discusses departure of 16 people to work on -- on the nearby
4 river to help out with the boats.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In any case could we look at
6 1D7995, which is actually the reference to the number quoted therein.
8 Your Excellencies, may we go up till 3.00 today or do we need to
9 break for the day and continue tomorrow?
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE KWON: We need to rise at least 5 to 3.00 or possibly 10 to
13 MR. ROBINSON: Mr. President, this document is -- can be seen in
14 e-court by the Defence but not by anybody else, so I'm giving a hard copy
15 to be placed on the ELMO.
16 JUDGE KWON: Very well.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 MR. KARADZIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. The date is the 8th of September, 1992. The number is -- can we
20 go down a bit? [In English] Okay. [Interpretation] 10-827/922. Is this
21 the document quoted in the previous one? We can all see that it is so.
22 In any case, since there is no translation, Mr. Cekic, I wanted to
23 introduce the gist of the document. It says "Strictly confidential,
24 urgent. Telegram to all municipal presidents in the RS."
25 And then it says:
1 "In keeping with my order of the 13th of July 1992 on respecting
2 international humanitarian law when treating prisoners of war, I remind
3 you that you are personally responsible for events in the territory of
4 your municipality. In that regard, I remind you that in the prisons and
5 collection centres people should not be held against their will if they
6 are civilian and if they did not commit any crime. You also -- you need
7 to release them safely to the territory where they seek to go to take
8 shelter from the war or the activities of the war."
9 I'll move on to the last paragraph now.
10 "You are also duty-bound to respect the Geneva Conventions when
11 treating prisoners -- or, rather, in both treating the prisoners and
12 their registration and reporting to our Red Cross, which is under an
13 obligation to report; the Belgrade mission of the ICRC in Ruzvelta Street
14 61. The prison guards must accommodate requests of the ICRC and the
16 Since you read and speak Serbian, can you tell us whether this
17 order says anything about work obligation?
18 A. No, it doesn't.
19 Q. This order of mine of the 8th of September, how does it fit with
20 your knowledge as regards my position and the position conveyed to the
21 military and civilian authorities?
22 A. Yes. Those were your positions, and it fits completely into the
23 position that was conveyed to us.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can this be admitted for
2 JUDGE KWON: We'll mark it for identification.
3 THE REGISTRAR: As MFI D3241, Your Honours.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] If the witness can return tomorrow,
5 we'll need him for another 20 minutes. It's better to do that than to
6 rush things today.
7 JUDGE KWON: Very well. Unless it causes a lot of problem with
8 you, Mr. Cekic, we'll adjourn for today.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it doesn't.
10 JUDGE KWON: Thank you for your understanding. We'll continue
11 tomorrow morning at 9.00. The hearing is adjourned.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.49 p.m.,
13 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 4th day
14 of April, 2013, at 9.00 a.m.