1 Monday, 6 September 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone. And Madam Registrar, would
6 you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Case Number IT-00-39-T, The Prosecutor versus
8 Momcilo Krajisnik.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
10 Mr. Harmon, you're representing the OTP this morning. Are you
11 ready to call your next witness?
12 MR. HARMON: Yes, I am, Your Honour. Good morning, Your Honours.
13 Good morning, counsel.
14 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand that that's Mr. Biscevic.
15 MR. HARMON: That's correct.
16 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber would have appreciated to receive also
17 the June 2002 statement last Friday and not this morning.
18 MR. HARMON: The June 2002 statement, are you referring to the
19 Bosnian statement?
20 JUDGE ORIE: No, I'm referring to the OTP statement with the 13th
21 of December 1995 statement attached to it. The 1995 statement was
22 delivered to the Chamber last Friday, just as another one, but not the
23 June 2002. But I do understand that it's a mistake. But I'm just asking
24 for position in that respect.
25 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I have something to say before the
1 witness comes into the Court.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, we've received on Saturday evening a
4 preliminary supplemental information -- well, it was an email containing
5 supplemental information. We've received in a slightly more formal state
6 a supplemental sheet. I make no point about the differences between the
7 two because the later formal sheet only contains a couple of minor
8 additions and adjustments to what was sent to me on Saturday evening.
9 However, what was sent to me on Saturday evening contains a radically
10 different point and involves radically different substance to this
11 witness's evidence as compared with everything that we had previously
12 understood. That is certainly true when one looks at the 65 ter
13 statement, but it goes beyond that because it is true when one looks at
14 the three statements that this witness has given on previous occasions,
15 and in particular, when one looks at his statement which was signed on the
16 29th of July 1999.
17 The difference, and Your Honours have this material, so there is
18 no -- there need be no disguise about what the difference is, but of
19 course it is extremely important that the witness does not come into Court
20 and create any possibility that he should hear this discussion. In the --
21 I don't at the moment have a numbered version, in fact, of the statement
22 signed on the 29th of July 1999 except numbered by me, but it's at the
23 foot of the third page of that statement in the English version. The
24 paragraph begins "Vrkes and Savanovic were the SDS leaders who came to
25 these meetings." Does Your Honour see that paragraph?
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. They said that they never stated that they
2 received orders from superiors."
3 MR. STEWART: Yes, and Your Honour sees that paragraph. The first
4 paragraph of the supplemental information sheet which says that
5 Mr. Biscevic met and negotiated many times with the leaders Rasula and
6 others frequently on occasions where a decision needed to be taken Rasula
7 and all the other negotiators would say - more slowly - that they could
8 not decide on their own but they needed to ask others. They would then
9 postpone the meeting and make a decision for one to two days and go to
10 Sarajevo. They would then return with concrete proposals."
11 Now, that point --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I do understand that that is one of the most
13 important parts of the statement, either in favour or against.
14 Yes, it's clear to me that such surprises are not something the
15 Defence could easily accept at such a late stage. And I think that
16 perhaps part of the explanation would be that since resources are limited
17 in asking the witness to come any earlier, I did understand from a remark
18 of Mr. Harmon last week that the witness only arrived on Saturday. But I
19 fully agree with you, if you would say we would need more time to explore
20 these matters. So let's get started. But if this surprise would
21 disenable you to fully cross-examine the witness or to -- then, of course,
22 additional time should be given either by recall of the witness or in
23 whatever other way. But a remedy should be sought to that. I do agree,
24 from what you tell me now, I haven't received those supplemental
25 information sheet, it's a 180-degree on a very important point.
1 So therefore, feel free to ask the Court to stop or give further
2 opportunity to prepare for further cross-examination when it comes to that
4 MR. STEWART: Yes, well, I'm obliged, Your Honour. In light of
5 Your Honour's observation, there's no more I need to say right now, or we
6 don't need to debate it. Thank you. At this time.
7 MR. HARMON: So the record is clear, Your Honour, I met
8 Mr. Biscevic on Saturday. Then late morning I discussed the matters with
9 him. I informed counsel as soon as I concluded my discussions with Mr.
10 Biscevic. I gave him an email, and yesterday I sent him a supplemental
11 memorandum. So that is the genesis of the situation. We certainly have
12 no objection if more time is needed to cross-examine this witness. We're
13 prepared to proceed on his direct examination at this point.
14 JUDGE ORIE: And perhaps it's also due to the weekend. If a
15 witness arrives two days prior to examination in Court, and usually you
16 find out during the first day of a briefing whether there's something
17 different. But over the weekend, it might be even more difficult to --
18 but there's no question about if this kind of surprises come up, that the
19 Defence will get a proper remedy to deal with it.
20 Then, Madam Usher, could you please escort the witness into the
22 [The witness entered court]
23 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning. Do you hear me in a language you
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning. I do hear you.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Biscevic, before you give evidence in this
2 court, the Rules of Procedure and Evidence require you to make a solemn
3 declaration that you'll speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
4 the truth. The text will be handed out to you now by Madam usher. May I
5 invite you to make that solemn declaration.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
7 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Biscevic. Please be seated.
9 You'll first -- you will first be examined by Mr. Harmon, counsel
10 for the Prosecution.
11 Mr. Harmon, please proceed.
12 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Your Honours.
13 WITNESS: FAIK BISCEVIC
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 Examined by Mr. Harmon:
16 Q. Good morning, Mr. Biscevic.
17 A. Good morning.
18 Q. Let me begin by asking you about your background, and what I
19 propose to do is summarise biographical information about you and ask you
20 to affirm this is correct. Mr. Biscevic you were born on June 9th, 1940,
21 in the Prijedor Municipality?
22 A. That's correct.
23 Q. You lived mostly all of your life in the municipality of Sanski
25 A. That's right.
1 Q. You are a Bosniak?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You are married?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Before the war, your immediate family consisted of your wife and
6 three sons?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You are a dentist by profession, and at the same time you had a
9 jewellery business in Sanski Most. Is that correct?
10 A. It is.
11 Q. Now, if I could have you focus your attention first of all on the
12 formation of political parties in Sanski Most prior to the war, I'd like
13 to first of all ask you to describe the ethnic composition of the
14 Municipality of Sanski Most.
15 A. In the Municipality of Sanski Most, there were various ethnic
16 groups. The Muslims were in the majority, 45 per cent of the population
17 was Muslim. 42 per cent were Serbs. And the rest were Croats or people
18 who had not decided how to declare themselves.
19 Q. Now, prior to the multiparty elections that were held in Bosnia, a
20 number of political parties were formed based on essentially ethnic lines.
21 There was the SDS, the SDA, and the HDZ being the major parties. Is that
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. Can you tell me at the republican level who the leaders were of
25 the SDS party.
1 A. At the republican level, there was Krajisnik, Karadzic, Biljana
2 Plavsic, and Nikola Koljevic.
3 Q. Now, in the Municipality of Sanski Most, did political parties of
4 the HDZ, SDA, and SDS form?
5 A. Yes, they did.
6 Q. Can you identify for the Trial Chamber the leaders of the SDS
7 party in Sanski Most.
8 A. Nedeljko Rasula was the president, then later on he was the mayor
9 of the municipality. Vlado Vrkes was the secretary, and later he was the
10 president. Vujic -- Drago Vujanic, I think was the name, was the deputy,
11 but there were others. But those were the three persons who at the
12 beginning decided about the SDS party. Drago Vujovic is the name.
13 Q. Who were the leaders of the SDA party in the Municipality of
14 Sanski Most?
15 A. The SDA leaders in Sanski Most included myself. I was the
16 leader. Hivzo Hodzic was the president before me. I was the first
17 president. He was an acting president. Then there was Suad Sarbic,
18 Mirzet Karabeg. That was the core leadership. Then there was Rasema
19 Cero. That's how it was at the beginning. And later on the party
20 expanded, and other people became member of its organs.
21 Q. How long, Mr. Biscevic, did you remain president of the SDA party
22 of Sanski Most?
23 A. I served there for one term.
24 Q. When did that term conclude?
25 A. In 1991 or 1992.
1 Q. After you relinquished your position as the president of the SDA,
2 did you remain a member of the SDA main board?
3 A. I was a member of the main board, and I was in the core leadership
4 of the party itself.
5 Q. And who were the leaders of the HDZ party in Sanski Most?
6 A. The leaders -- the leader was Ante Tunic. There was Skripa
7 Andjelko and Ivan Filipovic. They on the whole were the president, the
8 vice-president, and the secretary.
9 Q. Now, following the foundation of the SDS party in Sanski Most, did
10 Mr. Krajisnik, Mr. Karadzic come to the municipality of Sanski Most?
11 A. When the SDS party was being founded in Sanski Most, in the
12 village Lusci Palanka which is inhabited by Serbs alone, that's where the
13 party was formed. And probably in order to form it as best as possible,
14 the leaders -- the leadership from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and
15 Kosovo came. So they -- there was Mr. Karadzic who spoke while the party
16 was being formed on that occasion, and they contributed to the party.
17 MR. HARMON: Could I have the witness be shown Prosecutor's
18 Exhibit 115. This photograph is also being displayed on the monitor, I
19 can see.
20 Q. Mr. Biscevic, can you identify this particular photograph and can
21 you inform the Court where you believe that photograph was taken.
22 A. This photograph was taken when the SDS party was being formed in
23 Lusci Palanka.
24 Q. Lusci Palanka is located in which municipality?
25 A. In the Municipality of Sanski Most.
1 Q. Can you identify starting from the individual seated at the far
2 left of the image and moving to the right, I'd like you to identify the
3 people in that image, starting at the far left. Are you able to identify
4 that individual?
5 A. Mr. Karadzic, Mr. Nedeljko Rasula, Mr. Krajisnik, Mr. -- someone
6 from Croatia. Raskovic. The fifth one, I don't know who he is. The lady
7 there is Krajisnik's wife. The one standing is an official from the
8 municipality in Sanski Most.
9 Q. Just so the record is perfectly clear, I don't think you
10 understood the way I wanted you to identify these people, Mr. Biscevic. I
11 will identify going from the left side of the image to the right side of
12 the image, the individual. And if you could say I do know this person or
13 I don't know this person, then we'll move to the next person. So starting
14 at the far left, the man seated at the far left, can you identify that
16 A. I can't identify the first one.
17 Q. Okay. Now, moving from left to right, the second individual who
18 is seated at the table and appears to have a beard, can you identify that
20 A. Yes. This is a representative from Croatia who came to contribute
21 to the formation of the SDS party in Sanski Most. His name is
22 Mr. Raskovic.
23 Q. Moving to the next individual standing and holding -- appears to
24 be holding a plaque of some kind, who is that individual?
25 A. The gentleman standing is Mr. Krajisnik.
1 Q. Now, moving again from left to right, the man standing next to
2 him, who is that?
3 A. This person standing next to him is Mr. Nedeljko Rasula.
4 Q. He was the head of the SDS party you identified in Sanski Most.
5 Is that correct?
6 A. Yes. He was then proposed as president of the SDS party. Up
7 until then, he hadn't held that position. He represented others. It was
8 on that occasion that he was proposed as president of the party.
9 Q. Now, the woman seated at the table with her hands -- appears to be
10 almost in a praying position, who was that?
11 A. That's Mr. Karadzic's wife.
12 Q. And the man next to that woman, again, moving left to right?
13 A. Mr. Karadzic.
14 Q. The woman standing, can you identify the woman who is standing
15 next to Mr. Karadzic?
16 A. That was an official of ours in the Municipality of Sanski Most.
17 Q. All right. I've concluded with Exhibit 115.
18 Mr. Biscevic, in terms of the goals and objectives of the
19 multiparty elections, the Trial Chamber has heard that the communist party
20 was running a slate of candidates. Was there an agreement between the
21 parties of the SDS, the HDZ, and the SDA to defeat the communists, and can
22 you describe what that agreement may have been?
23 A. We know that communism was in power for 50 years in Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina, and it was necessary to topple the system somehow. The only
25 way to do so was for the nationalist parties to come together, to form an
1 association of a kind. And this is what happened. For example, no one in
2 Sanski Most knew who Mr. Koljevic or Mrs. Plavsic or Mr. Karadzic were.
3 We knew Karadzic. We didn't know who Krajisnik was. We didn't know
4 Mr. Boris or Mr. Ljubo Ganic. When the lists arrived, then there was a
5 proposal from the party stating whom we should select from the various
6 parties. So these candidates mostly obtained a majority in the
7 municipality and were able to take power. That was the recommendation
8 from above. We implemented it.
9 Q. When you say there was agreement from above and there was a list,
10 what kind of a list was it that you, members of the SDA, received and what
11 instructions accompanied that list?
12 A. All the parties received it, not only us. There was a complete
13 list of all the parties, and it was said on behalf of the SDS that these
14 people have to go through. They had to be encircled. Others for the HDZ,
15 it said "don't select anyone from the communist list." How we were to
16 proceed was quite clear, and that is how we obtained a majority of votes.
17 Q. So you were essentially instructed from the SDA party at the
18 national level who to vote for. Correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Did that include voting for members of the SDS and the HDZ?
21 A. Yes, for all the parties.
22 Q. Did you personally vote on that occasion?
23 A. I did.
24 Q. Were you instructed to vote for Mr. Krajisnik among others?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did you do so?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now, what were the results of the multiparty elections, and can
4 you describe how those results were implemented in the Municipality of
5 Sanski Most?
6 A. The results were very favourable. The League of Communists
7 failed. They didn't get any votes, or almost none. The three nationalist
8 parties obtained votes, and after the votes had been obtained, power in
9 the municipalities were divided depending on the votes that the individual
10 parties had obtained. Since in Sanski Most the population is multiethnic,
11 40 per cent of Muslims, 42 per cent of Serbs, the SDS Serbian party
12 obtained the majority in Sanski Most. We were aware of this but could do
13 nothing about it, but at the time this had already been rigged because
14 they were probably aware of the fact since they were more literate than we
15 were, they were aware of the fact to obtain more votes. That meant you
16 had absolute power in the municipality and you could do whatever you
17 wanted to do.
18 Since the SDS party obtained the greatest member of votes,
19 Mr. Nedeljko Rasula who was the president of the SDS party then requested
20 that he be appointed as the mayor, and the post of president of the party
21 be given to Vrkes. We agreed to this. The president of the executive
22 committee was Mirsad Karabeg. The deputy of the president of the
23 municipality was Ante Tunic. So that was the first division of power that
24 was made, and these positions were handed out on the basis of the votes.
25 After that, it was necessary to appoint people to the organs of
1 power. The SDS at the time was acting as the number one organ, and they
2 wanted to have the position of the chief of the MUP and of the chief of
3 the military section. These were the next two positions which were the
4 most important ones in the municipality. And they said that they had to
5 be given these positions, and in the end they got them.
6 Q. Now, following the initial election results, how would you
7 describe the relationships between the SDA, the HDZ, and the SDS party in
8 Sanski Most?
9 A. At the beginning, the relationship was correct. There was the
10 euphoria of a victory over the communists. The mayor was the person who
11 was the president of the SDS. Another position was given to the SDA, and
12 another one to the HDZ. However, soon there were conflicts because the
13 SDS always had new requests and always wanting to receive what did not
14 belong to them by rights. So all of a sudden, there were political
15 discords amongst these three parties.
16 Q. And when there were political discords between the three parties,
17 how would those discords be resolved? What methods would be used to try
18 to resolve those differences?
19 A. I was the president of the SDA, Suad Sabic was the president of
20 the representative group. And Mirzet Karabeg was president of the
21 executive board. In the SDA, we made decisions in a regular way which
22 were not disputed. However, there were always problems with the SDS. So
23 whenever there was a conflict and when we couldn't agree on a certain
24 position, then they would say we cannot agree to things before we consult
25 our party members. At the beginning, we didn't have a problem with that
1 because we thought that this was a legitimate procedure, and we would ask
2 them "who is it that you have to consult?" However, we never learned who
3 they had to consult.
4 But the fact is that they would come to the following meeting with
5 a decision that they got from somebody that a certain kind of compromise
6 could be reached on a position.
7 Q. Now, during the period of time of these negotiations and
8 differences of positions between the SDS on one side and the SDA and the
9 HDZ, I take it you were negotiating with Mr. Rasula who was the head of
10 the SDS party for Sanski Most and others in positions of power in the SDS
11 party. Is that correct?
12 A. Yes. His advantage lie in the fact that he was a mayor besides
13 being the president of the SDS. His decisions were obeyed and were
14 implemented the way he wanted them to be implemented. He was the one in
15 charge of the politics in the municipality, not only of the politics in
16 the SDS party.
17 Q. Now, at times when there were disagreements on significant issues
18 where compromises had to be made with the SDA party, are you aware of
19 whether Mr. Rasula left Sanski Most and went to some other location?
20 A. Mr. Rasula was the mayor. He did not have to explain his acts.
21 He didn't want to tell anybody -- he didn't have to tell anybody where he
22 went. Nevertheless, he did go somewhere every week. He didn't tell us
23 where he went. It did happen. It was a common practice that he did go
24 away on business. He had his chauffeur. He had his car. He could go
25 wherever and whenever he wanted to go. He did not have to explain himself
1 to us.
2 Q. Are you aware of his going to Sarajevo or to Banja Luka or to
3 points outside of Sanski Most?
4 A. Yes. He would mostly go to Sarajevo and to Banja Luka because
5 this is where the higher levels of government were.
6 Q. Now, did -- now Mr. Rasula never stated that he had received
7 orders from his superiors. But did you and other members of the SDA
8 attempt to find out whom Mr. Rasula was consulting, and what was
9 Mr. Rasula's response to those attempts?
10 A. We never doubted for a second that he went to the higher levels to
11 consult. Whenever he said "I can't take a decision without consulting
12 somebody at a higher level," we always supposed that it will be somebody
13 from his party. However, later on it turned out that it wasn't, that it
14 was somebody else.
15 Q. Were you able to find out with whom he was consulting?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Okay. Now, at some point in time, you have described the
18 relations between the various political parties, the SDA, the HDZ, and the
19 SDS as starting out harmoniously and then the relationships changed. And
20 you said that the SDS party was making more and more demands. During that
21 period of time, can you recall a conversation that you had with
22 Mr. Rasula's secretary in which he made comments directly to you?
23 A. The situation got more acute. On one occasion, amongst the items
24 of the agenda, there was an item according to which Sanski Most should
25 become part of the west Krajina region. It's centre was in Banja Luka.
1 We reacted quite strongly. We said we did not want to belong to that
2 region because most of the municipality already belonged to the Banja Luka
3 region, and we knew that the centre of all the Serbian ideas was in Banja
5 We were supposed to reach a party -- an interparty consensus. We
6 as a party went to a different room to try and reach an agreement. When
7 we started discussing the matter, our proposal was for Bihac to be the
8 centre, and the SDS proposed Banja Luka as the centre. Mr. Rasula's
9 secretary Mr. Drago Vukic who has a degree in economics, and he worked as
10 a secretary, he was a member of the main board of the party, he was also a
11 representative in the municipal assembly, he told me on that occasion,
12 "Faik, we don't want to live with balijas in Alija's state. We are all
13 going to die. Not you." I was dumbfounded. I knew that he was
14 intellectual, so I didn't understand what he meant. I had asked him "what
15 is it that could happen to you in this state?" He didn't say anything.
16 He just said "we are all going to die if we continue to live in the -- in
17 Alija's balija state."
18 Q. The term "balija," is that a pejorative term for Bosniaks?
19 A. Yes, it's a derogatory word for Bosniaks.
20 Q. Now, let me ask you to focus your attention on the war in Croatia
21 that was taking place. The Court has heard a lot of evidence about those
22 events. But in Sanski Most, what effect did the war in Croatia have on
23 the stability in the Municipality of Sanski Most?
24 A. Sanski Most is in Western Bosnia, very close to the Croatian
25 border, and this is only normal that the developments in Croatia had an
1 effect on Sanski Most. There was this war in Croatia, and we knew it. We
2 felt it. And as the SDS volunteers started volunteering as members in the
3 JNA in order to fight a war, they would stay 10 or 15 days on the front
4 line. When they returned, they would be drunk. They would have beards,
5 long hair. A lot of them had cockades on their heads. They all carried
6 Kalashnikovs, automatic weapons, and when they arrived in lorries, there
7 would be celebratory shooting. There would be a lot of drinking. There
8 would ill treatment of people, provocations, and we did not find that
9 pleasant, to say the least. And then the population of the Sanski Most
10 Municipality were asked to join the JNA. When we saw what was going on
11 and what was being done, we said to the Muslims and to the HDZ that we
12 would not respond to those call-ups to wage the war in Croatia. If we
13 were to be mobilised in the Municipality of Sanski Most, then we would do
14 that. If not, we would not go anywhere under such conditions.
15 What happened next was the JNA when we realised that they couldn't
16 mobilise people, they said "very well, then. Those who didn't want to be
17 mobilised, they should return their uniforms, their weapons, and they
18 would be deleted from the mobilisation lists." We agreed to that. And it
19 was an occasion for the Serbian able-bodied men to be mobilised to the
20 ranks of the JNA. The procedure was as follows: As they returned from
21 the front lines, they became more and more bold and daring. So in
22 addition to their drinking and celebratory shooting and provocations, in
23 Sanski Most during the night, Muslim and Croat business premises were
24 being destroyed and blown up. There were some 20 or so that were blown up
25 at the time, and the perpetrator was never discovered. The chief of the
1 MUP was a Serb, a member of the SDS. The chief of the military department
2 was also a Serb, a member of the SDS.
3 We asked from them to organise joint patrols during the night. We
4 wanted to see who was it that was doing those things. They told us "don't
5 interfere with our work. We know what we are doing. As soon as we
6 discover the perpetrator of these things, we will let you know who they
8 At the same time when Muslims and Croats refused mobilisation, an
9 order came from the command in Belgrade or in Banja Luka for all the
10 weapons of the Territorial Defence that was to be found in companies and
11 in local communes to be surrendered to the military department and stored
12 there instead of being with the citizens. Even the guards who were
13 standing guard in various companies were also disarmed. In simple terms,
14 the population was disarmed in every possible way.
15 Q. Now, I take it from your testimony that there was little, if
16 anything, done to control the unruly soldiers coming back from the
17 Croatian front, those soldiers that you described as "destablising" the
18 situation in your municipality. Is that a fair statement?
19 A. Absolutely fair. When they arrived, they had full power because
20 they had JNA uniforms on. They had all sorts of bands, white, black, and
21 red. The civilian population did not dare say anything to them because
22 they had the right to shoot and kill them. And they were the ones who
23 introduced this destability in town.
24 Q. Now, in early April, did a unit of the JNA arrive in the
25 Municipality of Sanski Most?
1 A. We were informed from Sarajevo that a large convoy of the JNA was
2 moving through Bosnia. Interestingly enough, this convoy started from
3 Jasenovac during the night with their lights off, and they were moving
4 through the less-densely inhabited areas with less Muslim population.
5 However, we knew that they were moving, and we were following them from
6 Bosanska Dubica. We were monitoring their movement. They set off in the
7 evening, and they arrived in the territory of Sanski Most in the local
8 commune of Lusci Palanka. After that, after a day or two maybe,
9 Mr. Rasula invited me and the other leaders of the SDA to join him. And
10 he told us that representatives of the JNA were coming. This meeting was
11 held during the day. Mr. Basara came from there. Major Zeljaja came from
12 Prijedor. Captain Dragan came from Banja Luka. They said that they had
13 arrived in the territory of Sanski Most. According to them, they wanted
14 to give their troops a rest after having spent some time in the front
15 line. They wanted to repair their weapons and clean them, and he also
16 said that they had nothing whatsoever to do with the developments in
17 Sanski Most.
18 According to him, they were simply following orders. We listened
19 to them --
20 Q. Let me ask you this, Mr. Biscevic: You said they arrived in the
21 village of Lusci Palanka. Is that a Serb village?
22 A. Yes, 100 per cent Serb.
23 Q. Did they make their base or their headquarters in that village?
24 A. We didn't know that. We only knew that they were deploying their
25 troops and weapons on the hilltops around Sanski Most in the villages with
1 the Serbian population. This is where all the weapons were deployed.
2 Interestingly enough, later on when we held our meetings, they were always
3 attended by Mr. Basara. He attended as the representative of the
4 government. If there was a conflict or some sort of discord at those
5 meetings, he would tell us "we guarantee peace in this area. We will not
6 interfere with politics. However, we will prevent any conflicts because
7 we are here to protect the interests of all the ethnic groups in the
8 territory of Sanski Most." This is what he used to tell us.
9 Q. [Previous interpretation continues] ... I'm sorry to interrupt
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, may I ask you the following, Mr. Biscevic: The
12 last question was about whether the headquarters were in that village.
13 The beginning of your answer, you focussed on that question. But then you
14 went on exactly to say whether or not Mr. Basara was attending what kind
15 of meetings and what position he took, et cetera. That was not the
16 question. We are under some time constraint. Could you please carefully
17 listen to the question. If you have answered the question about the
18 headquarters, if Mr. Harmon would like to know about what Mr. Basara did
19 or did not, he will certainly ask you. So could you please focus on the
20 question, answer that, and then wait for the next question to be put to
22 Please proceed.
23 MR. HARMON:
24 Q. Mr. Biscevic, the Court has heard a lot of evidence about the
25 arrival of the JNA and the people who made up the JNA in Sanski Most, but
1 just so the record is perfectly clear, you've mentioned Basara. What
2 position did he have as far as you knew in the JNA unit that had arrived
3 in Sanski Most? What was his position?
4 A. Commander.
5 Q. Were there subordinate officers to Mr. Biscevic -- I'm sorry, to
6 Mr. Basara who were from the Municipality of Sanski Most? And if there
7 were, could you identify who they were.
8 A. Mr. Vukic. He was captain from Tuzla. We met him when there was
9 an attack on Sanski Most. But there were reservists, citizens of Sanski
10 Most who had already had ranks. And as soon as they were mobilised, they
11 kept those ranks and under those ranks they joined the army.
12 Q. Now, in your previous answer before Judge Orie intervened, you
13 said -- you testified that the army representatives, Mr. Basara included,
14 had said that the army was here to protect the interests of all ethnic
15 groups. Was that the public position that the JNA took?
16 A. I believe so.
17 Q. Was there a different agenda in your opinion? And if so, what was
18 that agenda of the JNA?
19 A. The time would show that the agenda was totally different. It was
20 as clear as a bell that the agenda was to occupy, militarily occupy the
21 area of Western Bosnia.
22 Q. Now, I would like to focus in the next series of questions I have
23 for you, Mr. Biscevic, and have you describe the role of the JNA and the
24 SDS party in the arming of the Serbian citizens of Sanski Most. Can you
25 describe the respective roles as you understood them, and can you
1 incorporate in your answer any observations, personal observations you
2 had, about the arming of the Serbian citizens of Sanski Most.
3 A. They stopped hiding it. Helicopters would arrive every day either
4 in the territory of a Serbian local commune or the -- a playground in
5 Sanski Most by the MUP. They refashioned a bus. They put tin plates
6 instead of glasses, and they used this bus to distribute weapons amongst
7 the Serbs in the Serbian villages. And that happened every day.
8 Q. You personally saw the bus and you personally saw the landing of
9 the helicopters in Serb villages?
10 A. I saw helicopters. However, nobody dared approach them. I saw
11 Mico Krunic who was a retired policeman who was in charge of that. And I
12 saw that bus moving around every day.
13 Q. Do you know what was in that bus?
14 A. Arms.
15 Q. Now, can you describe to the Court a meeting that took place in
16 the village of Kruhar. First of all, identify what ethnicity was the
17 majority population in that village, and can you describe a meeting that
18 took place in that village in respect to the provision of arms.
19 A. The village of Kruhar is a Serb village. A meeting was held
20 there. However, there were also three Croat houses there. When the
21 meeting was called, a Croat citizen went to that meeting. He didn't know
22 what it would be all about. Mr. Rasula came, and he said to the citizens
23 of this local commune "I'm capable of arming you within two hours and with
24 those weapons you would be able to wage a war for five years." This Croat
25 citizen was dumbfounded. He didn't know what would happen at that
1 meeting. However, as soon as the meeting was over, he came to us and he
2 told us what Mr. Rasula said to these people.
3 Q. Now, let me read you a quotation.
4 MR. HARMON: Your Honour and counsel, this is a quotation from an
5 exhibit. It's Prosecutor's Exhibit 65, tab 221. This is a quotation of
6 General Milan Gvero at the 34th session of the Bosnian Serb Assembly.
7 This was held on the 29th of September 1993. And in his speech to the
8 Bosnian Serb Assembly, General Gvero said the following: "The Serbian
9 democratic party and the established state institutions also have the most
10 credit for the initial arming of the Serbian people with small arms which
11 was possible thanks to the support and cooperativeness of numerous Serbs.
12 Officers in JNA commands in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbs in
13 the interior ministry, and other political institutions and offices of the
14 army of Serbia, that is to say, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia." I
15 won't read more.
16 Q. But is General Gvero's quotation consistent, Mr. Biscevic, with
17 what you saw and observed and understood to be the case of arming in the
18 Municipality of Sanski Most?
19 A. Yes, it's all consistent.
20 Q. Now, during the period of time when the Bosnian Serbs were being
21 armed by the JNA in coordination with the SDS party, did Muslims and
22 Croats request arms from the JNA?
23 A. No, no they didn't.
24 Q. Were they provided other arms by the JNA?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Now, let me focus your attention then on another topic, and that
2 is the takeover of the MUP, the police, and the Territorial Defence. Can
3 you inform the Court what happened in respect of the takeovers of those
4 particular institutions. Can you describe that to the Court, please.
5 A. Mr. Rasula, Mr. Nedeljko Rasula came in front of the MUP with the
6 troops armed with Kalashnikovs and said "from now on, this is the Serbian
7 MUP. The MUP of the Serbian state of western Krajina. All the Croats and
8 Muslims who are willing to sign and pledge loyalty should sign or leave."
9 Only one Croat pledged loyalty. The others didn't, and they had to leave.
10 They were chased out of the building.
11 Q. What was the result of the takeover of the police station? What
12 effect did that have on the municipality?
13 A. There were political meetings later again, and we said that if
14 they were taking the MUP building, the building of the Territorial Defence
15 on the grounds of the MUP, that's a military section, we wanted the SDS or
16 the HDZ to take that building then, and they didn't allow this. Since
17 there wasn't an agreement about this issue, we then decided to take the
18 building of the municipal assembly which was located in the centre of the
19 town. And we took over this building.
20 Q. When you say "we took over this building," who is "we"?
21 A. The SDA, the HDZ, and MUP employees who hadn't signed the pledge
22 of loyalty.
23 Q. Was there any violence or force used to take over the municipal
25 A. Well, there was political negotiating for two days. There was an
1 SDS delegation. We tried to reach an agreement on how to divide things up
2 and we couldn't reach an agreement. On the second in the evening, there
3 was a gathering before the building, a gathering of troops, armed troops,
4 Next to the municipal building there is the post office building which
5 very high and a hotel. That is where we noticed sniper nests, machine-gun
6 nests, and there were troops. The square was full of troops. They had
7 encircled the municipality. We were in the municipality. They were on
8 all other sides. At 10.00, Rasula phoned and said "leave the municipality
9 in 10 minutes' time or you will be destroyed and burnt in the
10 municipality." At the same time, a Zolja was launched into the basement
11 area. When this was done, the members who were in the assembly withdrew,
12 and they went to the Muslim village of Trnova Sesto.
13 Q. How many people were in the municipal assembly building at the
14 time it was attacked by the -- you said Zolja, which is a rocket.
16 A. Yes. There were about 30 or 40 people there. It's difficult to
17 say exactly how many.
18 Q. You were personally present, were you?
19 A. No. I was travelling. I was on a trip so I wasn't there that
21 Q. So the information you've related to the Court is based on
22 information you received from people who were present in the municipal
24 A. Yes. On the following day, we talked about this because they
25 returned. On the following day, nothing happened. It was calm. But at
1 the square in Sanski Most, we could see the flag of the Serbian state of
2 Western Bosnia, and the same flag was flying from the MUP building. It's
3 interesting to point that out. So as they said, by flying these flags,
4 they had given legality to their takeover of power.
5 Q. Now, the Court has heard the considerable evidence about the date
6 of the takeover. Can you recall the date of the takeover of the municipal
8 A. I think it was on the 19th of April. I think that is when the
9 municipality was attacked.
10 Q. What was the significance? You mentioned there were flags,
11 Serbian type of flags flown over various locations in the municipality.
12 But what was the real significance of the takeover of the municipal
13 building? Did that change the power structure in the municipality of
14 Sanski Most as far as you were concerned and the HDZ was concerned?
15 A. From that time onwards, the SDS had complete power. We didn't
16 have any power. We weren't allowed to go there.
17 Q. Were there announcements made in respect of which laws now applied
18 in the Municipality of Sanski Most?
19 A. On the following day at daybreak, they told us that Mr. Talic was
20 coming from Banja Luka and that he wanted to have a meeting with us. He
21 really did come, and he said that he was guaranteeing security for all the
22 citizens of Sanski Most. He said that this was a JNA guarantee. But
23 since the SDS had taken over power without authorisation of any kind,
24 without having consulted with anyone, they took over the Sanski Most radio
25 station whose director was a Muslim. They took the SDK service whose
1 director was a Croat. These were the first steps that they took in order
2 to take over power. So they had funds available, and there was
3 propaganda, and they broadcast announcements over Sanski Most radio from
4 that day onwards.
5 Q. From that day onwards, Mr. Biscevic, were the HDZ parties and the
6 SDA parties partners in a democratic system of ruling the Municipality of
7 Sanski Most?
8 A. The SDA and HDZ didn't have power of any kind any more.
9 Q. Okay. Let me -- you mentioned removal of people from -- non-Serbs
10 from positions of power. I'll come to that in a minute. I'd like to
11 focus first of all your attention on the efforts to disarm the non-Serb
12 population, populations of Sanski Most following the takeover of the
13 municipal building in April of 1992.
14 First of all, can you describe to the Trial Chamber, was there a
15 campaign to disarm the non-Serb populations of Sanski Most, and can you
16 describe what it was, how it took effect?
17 A. Well, the campaign took place every day. There were announcements
18 of Radio Sana. For example, the Otok settlement on Monday at 5.00 in the
19 afternoon at such and such a checkpoint. For example, all citizens were
20 supposed to take legally and illegally owned weapons. My settlement is
21 the settlement of Otok. I handed over my hunting weapons. We didn't have
22 anything else. Then a civilian vehicle with a trailer arrived. Things
23 would be put on to the trailer. A man in a military uniform appeared. He
24 didn't issue a certificate of any kind for any of the weapons that were
25 handed over. This was current practice in all the villages and all the
1 streets where there were Muslim and Croat inhabitants. Patrols went
2 around gathering illegally and legally owned weapons.
3 Q. When you say it happened in all the villages, did it happen in
4 Serb villages, this campaign to disarm the citizens of Sanski Most?
5 A. No.
6 Q. And how were the locations -- how were the areas that were
7 identified for disarmament identified? Was that -- you mentioned a radio
8 broadcast. Were there other means in which citizens were informed when
9 they had to submit their hunting rifles and their legal and illegal arms?
10 A. Apart from the fact that they announced where there would be
11 checkpoints in various areas, every day there was an announcement stating
12 that weapons could be taken to the MUP premises and to the premises of the
13 military section. They said that there wouldn't be any questions, that
14 people could quite simply hand over these weapons which were illegally or
15 legally owned and that they wouldn't suffer consequences of any kind.
16 Q. Now, you turned over your weapons. Did your sons turn over any
17 weapons they might have had?
18 A. My eldest son and myself, we were hunters. We had weapons which
19 we had permits for, and we handed these weapons over.
20 Q. Did you receive any receipts for those weapons?
21 A. No, we didn't.
22 Q. Now, could you describe for the Court very briefly the events in
23 the disarming of Trnova. First of all, is Trnova -- what type of village
24 is Trnava?
25 A. It's inhabited by Muslims alone. It's a large village. And
1 someone told them that there were two guns in Trnova. It's interesting to
2 point out that they always said "bring your weapons." And "bring" meant
3 that the weapon was either a pistol or a rifle. Yet they claimed that the
4 Muslims and Croats were armed. They never said "bring your weapons." On
5 one occasion, they heard from that village that they had two guns, and
6 they asked them to bring those guns. It's a Muslim custom when praying to
7 fire from a gun so that the entire population would know that it was time
8 to starting eating. So these were made of cherry wood. They were 60
9 centimetres long. You would put a little paper and gunpowder in the gun
10 and set it alight and the gun would then fire. Those were the only guns.
11 There was a man who worked on this, and a man who was half mad and didn't
12 know how to do anything else. When they heard of these guns, he took this
13 gun, he put it on his back and took it to them.
14 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may we comment here. Ms. Cmeric
15 confirms that whatever the merits or demerits of the answer, it made
16 perfect sense in the witness's own language as delivered. It doesn't
17 really make a great deal of sense in the English translation on the
18 transcript, certain aspects of it. Just to put down a marker there that
19 that particular answer will need some particular attention when the
20 transcript is reviewed because it really doesn't work in English.
21 JUDGE ORIE: I notice that in the supplemental information sheet
22 provided to us, it's about a cannon, where here the translation says it's
23 a gun.
24 MR. HARMON: I'll clarify that.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please.
1 MR. HARMON:
2 Q. Can you -- yesterday when you and I, or Saturday when you and I
3 spoke, you described the gun as a cannon. Is that correct?
4 A. It was a cannon.
5 Q. And the information that the Serbs were aware of was that there
6 were two cannons in the village of Trnova, not two guns but two cannons.
7 Is that correct?
8 A. They claimed that there were two cannons.
9 Q. Okay. And then an announcement was made. And can you tell us --
10 strike that.
11 Then you described a man who was, I think in your words a minute
12 ago, half mad. Did he take that cannon made of cherry wood and turn it
13 into the Bosnian Serb authorities?
14 A. He took it to the police. He handed it over to the police.
15 Q. Okay. I think that's a more accurate description of the event as
16 opposed to what was translated.
17 Now, let me continue with this line of inquiry, Mr. Biscevic. In
18 response to weapons being turned in, what assurances were given by the
19 local governmental authorities and the JNA to the people who had turned in
20 their weapons? What types of guarantees were given?
21 A. They provided verbal guarantees for the security of the citizens
22 of Sanski Most.
23 Q. As a result of the announcements on the radio and the request to
24 various Muslim and Croat portions of Sanski Most to turn in their weapons,
25 by the time the attacks in Sanski Most started in May, late May of 1992,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 were most of the villages that were non-Serb disarmed?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Okay. Now, in terms of -- again focussing your attention on the
4 post -- the period following the takeover of the municipality building and
5 leading up to the period when active combat started, you mentioned that
6 there had been the removal of at least two non-Serbs from positions. You
7 mentioned, one, the radio station, and two, you mentioned a Croat woman
8 from the SDK. Were there other non-Serbs removed from positions of
9 authority in government and in private business?
10 A. All Muslims and Croats, all positions in the Municipality of
11 Sanski Most were removed. They were replaced. At the gate of the medical
12 centre one morning, there was a soldier, and all Muslims and Croats, all
13 the doctors could no longer enter the building. In the school, it was the
14 same. In the public utilities building, it was the same. In the fire
15 brigade, it was the same. Wherever the Muslims and Croats, access was
16 prohibited. They were quite simply drawn away from their jobs.
17 Q. Who was removing these people from their jobs? Who was
18 responsible for the removal of those people from their positions?
19 A. On the whole, either Vrkes or Rasula would appear with the troops.
20 Q. Now, let me focus now your attention to an attack on the Mahala
21 that took place on the 26th of May 1992. First of all, was the Mahala a
22 Muslim quarter, Muslim section of the village of -- the town of Sanski
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Can you describe to the Trial Chamber an announcement that was
1 made over the radio in respect of what the people in the Mahala had to do
2 to show their support to the Serbian governmental authorities in Sanski
4 A. The announcement was that weapons should be handed over at
5 checkpoints. Whenever they gathered those weapons, they would say "there
6 are extremists who haven't handed over their weapons. Hand your weapons
7 over or the troops will come to take them away by force." This was a
8 pretext for them to do what they subsequently did.
9 On the 25th in the evening, there was an all out attack on Sanski
10 Most. They fired from all kinds of weapons from all sides, from all
11 directions. My family and I were in the garage. That's where we spent
12 the night. My friend, Mehmed Alagic was with me, Dr. Mehmed Alagic. He
13 was later killed. And my children and wife. At 7.00 in the morning, the
14 attack stopped and there was an announcement made over the radio according
15 to which Gornji Mahala hadn't handed over their weapons. There was an
16 ultimatum according to which the weapons had to be handed over by 11.00
17 otherwise Gornji Mahala would be attacked in order to take the weapons
18 from the extremists by force. The scenario was quite different since Otok
19 and Mujici and Gornji Mahala were linked. The Muslim inhabitants lived
20 there. The troops went from house to house, and they said that -- they
21 asked for all of the inhabitants to come out, men, women, and children.
22 Whoever didn't was killed. If someone hid somewhere, and if they
23 subsequently found that person, he would be killed. When they had driven
24 the population out, there was a training ground near Sanski Most which is
25 fenced in. That's a training ground for drivers.
1 And all the population from that area was taken there. That
2 population was transported later on to Krings, some to the hall, some to
3 the central prison. They were moved out immediately by buses. A column
4 of five buses had already left at that time. On that day, the attack
5 against Mahala took place from 11.00, as I said, and lasted until 3.00 or
6 4.00. On that day, 192 houses were destroyed and set on fire and looted.
7 192 houses were set on fire and destroyed, so the entire Gornji Mahala was
9 In Kuzelj, there was one inhabitant from that part who had hid in
10 a manhole. They found him and they eliminated him. In Mujici, there was
11 someone else. They let him go, but when he came out of the barn they
12 killed him. Farko Malicevic didn't go to the training ground. He went
13 across the field of the training ground, they killed him, too. Whoever
14 remained, they killed him, whoever didn't go to the training ground was
16 Q. When you say "they killed him," who do you mean "they"?
17 A. The Muslims, the inhabitants of those villages.
18 Q. When you say "they killed them," who killed the Muslim
20 A. The Serbs in military uniforms.
21 Q. Now, was there an announcement in respect of sheets, bed sheets?
22 A. Yes. When the attack on Gornji Mahala was supposed to take place,
23 there was an announcement before that that stated that all the Muslims who
24 were loyal to the Serbian State should have white signs, white flags in
25 front of their houses. So many of those Muslims and Croats took white
1 sheets and had them flying from their houses so that one could see that
2 they were loyal to prevent shooting from breaking out and to avoid being
3 killed. But this was a signal for them so that they could know which
4 house was Muslim and Croat house and which one was a Serbian house. They
5 didn't want to destroy any Serbian houses. Later when they were shelling
6 the houses, they knew exactly which houses had to be destroyed.
7 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, are we going to go until 10.30? Is that
8 what the schedule is?
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, 10.30 is the usual time.
10 MR. HARMON:
11 Q. Mr. Biscevic, I'm going to ask you about 7 or 8 minutes of
12 questioning, and then we're going to take a break. We're going to
13 interrupt part of your testimony. But let me just ask you, on the 27th of
14 May 1992, were you arrested?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can you describe your arrest, please.
17 A. I said that that evening I was in the garage with my family. I
18 was there with Dr. Alagic. At 7.00, the shooting stopped. Things calmed
19 down. We went to the kitchen to have something to eat. But at 11.00,
20 they announced that there would be an attack on Gornji Mahala since the
21 weapons hadn't been handed over. They said this would take place if the
22 weapons weren't handed over. When the shooting started at 11.00, we went
23 to the garage again because there was shooting from all sides. And there
24 was a danger of being hit. Since my house wasn't secure, we were in the
25 garage. After 12.00, there was an attack. But before that, my son
1 "father, see the troops passing by. But there is no attack going on
2 here." I didn't pay any attention to this. After 12.00, we went to the
3 garage again, and we heard that someone had broken down the entry to our
4 house. My wife went to see what was happening. When she went out, they
5 said "Faik needs to report immediately. They need him at a meeting." I
6 went out. I put a coat on. When I went out, I saw that the troops had
7 arrived from all directions. And I think that there were four vehicles
8 there. There was a white Mercedes in front of the gate. They put me in
9 the middle. On each side there were two uniformed troops. There was one
10 in front and there was the driver. When I sat between them, when I sat
11 down between them, they said that they had been ordered to put handcuffs
12 on me, which they did.
13 Q. Where were you taken?
14 A. First they took me to the MUP. They put me in the hall in the
15 MUP, told me to face the wall. There were many troops who were swearing,
16 beating people. After a while, they came back. Took me and put me in the
17 car again. They took me to the Magarice village. That was the name of
18 the village. That's an elevated, hilly area on the periphery of Sanski
19 Most. When I reached that village, after they had taken me out, when I
20 got out, I first saw that there were many troops there because the troops
21 passed by there. Later on, I found out that their command was located
22 there. When I got there, I saw that there was a big table, and there was
23 a litre of cognac and a map of Sanski Most on the table. Mr. Basara and
24 another officer were sitting there. Later I found out that this officer
25 was Captain Major Lukic. When I said good day, he cursed my balija mother
1 and he shouted at the troops. Why have you handcuffed him in front? Do
2 it at the back and make it tight, as tight as possible.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Biscevic, the only question put to you is where
4 you were taken. You're now describing the behaviour of other persons.
5 I'm not saying it's not important for you, but we are under some time
6 constraints. So please, listen to the question. And please, Mr. Harmon,
7 keep a bit better control.
8 MR. HARMON: I would have asked that question next, but he
9 anticipated the question. So at least Mr. Biscevic saved us -- me the
10 time of asking that question, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ORIE: If Mr. Biscevic always knows exactly what questions
12 you're going to put to him but I can't imagine that you would not have
13 asked him again whether someone was cursing, whether -- perhaps some
14 details might have been a bit repetitious.
15 Please proceed.
16 MR. HARMON:
17 Q. Continue, if you would, just describing the events upon your
18 arrival. You indicated that an officer complained that you had been
19 handcuffed in the front. What happened then? And can you describe the
20 events that followed.
21 A. He then stood up and took me next to that camp to an opening. I
22 saw there were a lot of troops there. There were military crates that had
23 been lined up. 1 metre by 2 metres. And then there were the small
24 cannons used for firing rockets at the town. I saw that they fired on the
25 town from that area. I saw that it wasn't necessary for them to be in
1 Sanski Most.
2 He told me "see what you have done to Sanski Most. See what this
3 has led to." There was nothing I could do. When he returned me to other
4 soldiers, they took charge of me and they took me to an orchard. These
5 were soldiers who were supposed to beat people. Since they had brought in
6 two other people, the scenario was the same. I could see that this was
7 current practice among them. And naturally they took me away and they
8 beat me so badly that I broke the handcuffs. When they returned me, then
9 the captain appeared. He asked me to stand by a table. He gave me a
10 piece of paper and side write down the following. I didn't know what I
11 was supposed to write.
12 Q. Let me interrupt you there. This is a good time to break. I want
13 to just fill in a couple more details and then we'll get to that part of
14 the story in just a minute. When you say you were beaten, how long were
15 you beaten? What period of time?
16 A. It's hard to say for how long. At least half an hour.
17 Q. How many troops were in the area where you had been brought? How
18 many did you see?
19 A. Wherever you looked, there were troops everywhere.
20 Q. And is it correct to say that from the location where you were --
21 had been brought, you could look down into the village of -- into the town
22 of Sanski Most?
23 A. That was an elevation, and there isn't a forest down below, so you
24 could Sanski Most, the entire town, very clearly.
25 Q. You indicated that at that time, the troops from that location
1 appeared to be shelling into Sanski Most. Correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Was there any shelling coming out of Sanski Most back to the
4 firing positions where the Serb soldiers were firing?
5 A. No, they were singing, drinking, laughing, having fun. Because
6 there was no danger of a bullet hitting them.
7 MR. HARMON: I think, Your Honour, this would be an appropriate
8 time to break.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Harmon. We'll adjourn until 5 minutes
10 to 11.00.
11 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 10.57 a.m.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon, please proceed.
14 MR. HARMON:
15 Q. Mr. Biscevic, before we proceed with your continuing to recount
16 the events of the 27th of May, I would like to go back in time and ask you
17 again a question or two about the period relating to the multiparty
18 elections. And following the multiparty elections or before the
19 multiparty elections, did you ever have occasion to meet the defendant in
20 this case, Mr. Krajisnik?
21 A. On one occasion.
22 Q. And can you describe to the Trial Chamber the circumstances of
23 that meeting, who introduced you, when it was, where it was?
24 A. Soon after the elections, I was the president of the party.
25 Mr. Rasula was the president of his party. And when we travelled to
1 Sarajevo together, we came across Mr. Krajisnik and I was introduced to
2 him. This was our only contact. It was not a conversation. It was just
3 an introduction. But I knew that that was Mr. Krajisnik.
4 Q. And the person who introduced you to Mr. Krajisnik was Mr. Rasula?
5 A. Yes, yes.
6 Q. Okay. Let us return now to the 27th of May 1992. And I want to
7 take you back to the point where you said that after you had been beaten,
8 you were returned and asked to stand by a table. A captain gave you a
9 piece of paper and asked you to write. So can you tell us what happened
10 to you from that point on.
11 A. I didn't know what I was supposed to write. He came to me. He
12 took the piece of paper. He took a gunfire burst by my ear, and said
13 "this awaits you and your family if you didn't read this." I didn't know
14 what "this" was supposed to mean. First I was beaten. And I don't know.
15 I didn't know what this was all about.
16 Q. What happened after he gave you the piece of paper?
17 A. Again, the two soldiers took me, put me in the car and took me to
18 the radio station of Sanski Most, which is downtown.
19 Q. At that point in time, who controlled the radio station?
20 A. The SDS did.
21 Q. What happened at the radio station?
22 A. At the radio station, I was placed at a desk. I was given a piece
23 of paper with the text that I was supposed to read into the microphone.
24 And this is what I did.
25 MR. HARMON: Now, Your Honours, if we could pass out the
1 Prosecutor's next exhibit. It is an audiotape. And it has a transcript
2 associated with it. There are two parts of the audiotape that we're going
3 to play. And I can direct Your Honours' attention -- I don't know if
4 Your Honours have copies of the transcripts already. If that can be
5 distributed, then I can direct Your Honours to the portions that we will
6 be playing. And likewise, if Mr. Biscevic could be given a copy of the
7 transcript in B/C/S.
8 Your Honours, let me direct Your Honours to -- we're going to play
9 two portions of this tape. The first portion we will be playing starts on
10 page 5. There should be a shaded area on page 5 that runs over to page 7.
11 Q. And Mr. Biscevic, for your information, the first portion of the
12 tape we're going to play appears on page 9 of the B/C/S version and runs
13 over to page 11. Then we'll pause. Then we will play a second portion
14 of the tape. That portion in the English version has been highlighted.
15 It starts at page 9 and goes to page 10 in the English version. And in
16 the B/C/S version, Mr. Biscevic, if you turn to page 15 and 16 of the
17 B/C/S version, that will be the second part that will be played.
18 If we could play, then, the first part of the tape.
19 MR. HARMON: And Your Honours will see that we're going to start
20 above, two segments above the portion where Mr. Biscevic starts. It will
21 start with a female voice, then there will be a male voice. Then there
22 will be Mr. Biscevic's voice.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
24 MR. HARMON: And a male voice will conclude the first segment. If
25 we could play that first portion.
1 Q. Mr. Biscevic, if you could follow along in the transcript, and
2 then I'm going to ask you some questions to identify about this tape.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon, can I take it that the interpreters'
4 booths have received copies?
5 MR. HARMON: Correct.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
7 [Audiotape played]
8 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "If not at exactly 18.10 hours we
9 will begin to show the village. If the order is not complied with we will
10 not bare a moral or material responsibility for the consequence of the
12 Male Voice: "The Serbian armed forces have captured the greatest
13 Muslim and Croatian extremist in the Sanski Most Municipality. Faik
14 Biscevic who attempted to flee from the town. This extremist will address
15 the Croatian and Muslim peoples over the radio and explain the reasons why
16 he involved them in the war.
17 "Announcement. That all Muslims and Croats unconditionally hand
18 over all the weapons they possess legally and illegally and that they
19 surrender to the Serbian Army and government because this is a Serbian
20 town. To avoid the soldiers having to use force to locate and seize
21 weapons, it would be better to hand over the weapons voluntarily,
22 otherwise Sana will continue to be destroyed until final capitulation.
23 That is why we call upon all the citizens of Sana, Muslims and Croats, to
24 hand over their weapons straight away which would be better for them than
25 to have the town continue to be destroyed. That is why I ask you to see
1 reason and without delay hand over all the weapons and surrender to the
2 legitimate Serbian authorities. This has to be done immediately. The
3 weapons have to be handed over in order for the destruction of the town
4 for which I bear most of the blame, to cease.
5 "That is why again I call on all Muslims and Croats to immediately
6 hand over their weapons and recognise the legitimate Serbian authorities
7 so that the legitimate authorities can start functioning as soon as
8 possible and the destruction of the town can end. The Serbian armed
9 forces guarantee the safety of all loyal Muslim and Croatian citizens, and
10 I recommend to Alija's and Tudjman's extremists, and I am their greatest
11 follower in Sanski Most, not to lead their people into further bloodshed.
12 "I, Redzo Kurbegovic, Mirzet Karabeg, Suad Sabic, Hasib Kamber,
13 Ferid Burnic, Enver Burnic, Nihad Kljucanin, Ekrem Medic, Nedzad Muhic,
14 Eniz Sabanovic, Ahmed Paunovic, Hase Osmancevic, Fahrudin Prsic, Arif
15 Hodzic, Hidajet Dudic, Arif Muhanovic, Fikret Agic, Muhamed Smajlovic,
16 Muhamed Arapovic, Mehmed Alagic, Ibro Pasic, Omer Krupic, Enisa
17 Kurbegovic, Ibro Krickovic, Vahid Fajdo Badnjevic, Safet Avdic, Vahid
18 Handanagic, Suad Cehic, Ismet Ico Avdic and his two brothers, Tale
19 Zahirovic, Muharem Handanagic, Taib Crnkic, Hamza Rekic, Fuad Kurbegovic,
20 Osman Talic, Dervis Hamzic, Elhad Talic and Basic, I don't know his first
21 name, but he worked in the Borac Travnik in Lusci Palanka are guilty for
22 everything that has happened recently. That is why we are prepared on the
23 orders of the Serb armed forces to come out before our people and to be
24 judged by our people in the next few days.
25 "I assure you that the command of the Serbian armed forces which
1 is carrying out the armed activities in Sanski Most was forced into such
2 behaviour by our lies and sycophancy. I call on all my sympathisers to
3 join me, to surrender to the command of the Serbian armed forces since
4 that is the way we can stop the further bloodshed of our people.
5 "Sehovci, Poljak, Sasina, Pobrijezje, and Caplje, are to collect
6 all the legally and illegally obtained weapons..."
7 MR. HARMON:
8 Q. All right. In respect of this particular transmission, there's a
9 part of the transcript that is attributed to you. You've heard the audio
10 transmission. Was that your voice?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Was that the statement that you were forced to read on the 27th of
13 May 1992?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, did you draft that statement or did somebody draft that
16 statement and give it to you?
17 A. It was waiting for me at that desk.
18 Q. Did you have any information on who drafted that statement?
19 A. No.
20 Q. I'm going to play now a second portion of the tape. And if you
21 turn, Mr. Biscevic, to page 15 and 16, you can follow it. It should be
23 MR. HARMON: And Your Honours, it is the transcript portion of the
24 tape that is highlighted on pages 9 and 10. And if we could start that,
25 I'm going to ask you some questions about that. If we could play that,
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 [Audiotape played]
4 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "...their legal and illegal weapons
5 to the Serbian authorities. Not to fall prey to Muslim or Croat
6 extremists, nor to the tale they tell because that would lead to the
7 suffering of innocent people. We have now shown who and what we are,
8 accusing and blaming one another. Our people have seen through us and
9 don't trust us any longer. That is why I ask you to respond to the
10 legitimate Serbian army and authorities. The Serbian army has already
11 made a few announcements and has given us the opportunity to surrender, so
12 please, heed the appeal and hand over your weapons to the command of the
13 Serbian army where I have been staying for two days now and I'm personally
14 convinced that it is the most humane army I have ever met.
15 "The exclusive blame for all the sadness and pain inflicted on the
16 Muslim and Croat peoples lies with us who did not have the instinct or the
17 brains to extend the hand of reconciliation to the Serbian people who
18 generously held out theirs to us. The words I'm saying are my own. And
19 the officers and soldiers of the Serbian armed forces with whom I have
20 spent the past two days have helped me see the truth. Announcement
21 written by Faik Biscevic."
22 MR. HARMON:
23 Q. In respect of the second portion that was just played,
24 Mr. Biscevic, were those your words?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Can you tell the circumstances under which this statement was
3 A. On the second day, I was taken out of the room where I was. They
4 placed me at another desk, and the captain gave me this written text.
5 Because the second time, I didn't go to the radio station. I read that
6 out at the Magarice. I didn't know that this would be aired on the Radio
7 Sana. And later on, it was indeed broadcast, and it was broadcast in the
8 way to show that I had been at the radio station.
9 Q. Now, let me ask you to -- first of all, let me ask you, were the
10 sentiments that were described in both of these statements your sentiments
11 or were those sentiments that were essentially -- you were forced to
12 express in these transmissions?
13 A. At the time I did not have an occasion to see this. But one can
14 tell that it had been drafted by an expert who had a goal in mind. I
15 didn't have anything to do with the drafting of these two texts. I just
16 read them out.
17 Q. Now, after you read the first text, you had been taken down to the
18 radio station. You read the text. What happened to you?
19 A. Again, I was put in a car, but this time it was not the troops
20 that took me in the car but a policeman whom I knew personally. He put me
21 in a Golf car, and he took me towards Magarice. One part of the road is
22 asphalt; the other is not covered in asphalt. He -- we stopped at the
23 asphalt part, and he told me that I would be taken over by the army.
24 However, when I got out of the car, the troops saw me. They shouted
25 "Oh, here is a balija we have captured." And they wanted to slaughter my
1 throat. One of them was very aggressive. He cursed my balija mother. He
2 told me that his sister and his brother-in-law had died in Ilidja, a
3 village near Sarajevo, and this is -- was a good opportunity for him to
4 take his revenge. When the policeman saw what this was all about, I
5 suppose that he -- his orders were that he should bring me to Magarice
6 alive. So he returned me to the car, and then he drove me to the top of
8 Q. Okay. That's -- Magarice is the village where the Bosnian Serb
9 Army, where Colonel Basara was located. Is that correct?
10 A. Yes, this is where the command was and the kitchen was also there.
11 MR. HARMON: Could I have the exhibit number, by the way, of the
12 tape and the transcripts just for recordkeeping purposes before I
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Madam Registrar.
15 THE REGISTRAR: The tape is Prosecution Exhibit Number P274. The
16 transcript, P274A in the original B/C/S, and P274.A.1 for the English
18 MR. HARMON: Thank you.
19 Q. When you returned to Magarice, describe your treatment and
20 conditions, please.
21 A. When the two soldiers brought me there, the car had remained some
22 15 metres away. They marched me to the prison. I had broken my
23 handcuffs. They were surprised to see that. So they tied my hands with a
24 rope. So they carried me more than allowed me to walk. When we arrived,
25 the captain wasn't there, only Basara was there. And he said "don't do
1 that. Take this man down to the prison." They said "no. He has to stay
2 here according to the orders of Captain Vukic." They put me in a room
3 where a dry kiln was. It is where meat is dry-cured. It is a wooden room
4 with pebble stones on the floor. They threw me down there, and this is
5 where I was kept for two days.
6 Q. Describe the conditions. Were you given food? Were you given
7 water in those two days? Be very brief.
8 A. No. There was no toilet. I was not given any food or water. I
9 was not even allowed to lie down. I had to sit. I could not stand up, so
10 I was half awake all the time. Only on the second day, around 12.00 in
11 the night, the two men that were brought to that same place later on and I
12 were taken out. And they put the three of us in three separate cars. I
13 was sitting in the middle. On my two sides were two armed soldiers with
14 Kalashnikovs, and the third soldier was sitting in the back. And they all
15 had their guns pointed at me. They were probably afraid that I would try
16 to flee. And they took me to the central prison in Sanski Most.
17 Q. And how long did you remain in the central prison in Sanski Most?
18 Until what date?
19 A. I stayed there until the 27th of August, I believe.
20 Q. Can you describe the conditions in the central prison in Sanski
21 Most where you were detained.
22 A. When I arrived at the central prison in Sanski Most, it was past
23 midnight. I found in my cell all the leaders who had been placed there
24 before me. The room was 4 metres by 2 metres. It had an iron door. And
25 there was an opening where a window used to be. This was covered in tin
1 sheet. And there were just holes pierced with a 4-millimetre drill. This
2 was our only source of air. There was no electricity most of the time.
3 There was no water. At first, we would be taken three times a day to be
4 given food and to relieve ourselves. And later on, they didn't do even
6 Q. Let me show you the next two exhibits, please, in order. They are
7 photographs. And I would ask you to identify those photographs for us,
8 please. If we could start with this photograph, and if I could have a
9 number on this particular photograph.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Photograph bearing ERN number 01249099,
11 Prosecution Exhibit Number P275.
12 MR. HARMON: And if I could have the other exhibit also shown to
13 the witness, which I assume will be P276, we will proceed with the
15 Q. Okay, Witness, Mr. Biscevic, starting with the first exhibit
16 which is Prosecutor's Exhibit 275, could you identify this exhibit and
17 inform the Trial Chamber what this represents.
18 A. This is the corridor of the central prison. You can see two
19 cells, and the third one is behind the glass with an iron door. At the
20 far end, you can see the entrance to the toilet.
21 Q. If we take a look at the next exhibit, which is Prosecutor's
22 Exhibit 276, can you identify that exhibit.
23 A. Here you can see the iron door. There was no air. And you can
24 see this tin sheet through which we received air. That was the biggest
25 problem. We did not have enough air to breathe.
1 Q. Now, was that tin sheet with the perforations in it the only
2 source of ventilation in the cell where you were detained?
3 A. The only one, yes.
4 Q. How many men were detained in the cell with you? And the cell I'm
5 talking about is the room depicted in Prosecutor's Exhibit 276.
6 A. Every day there were interrogations, so they would bring new
7 people every day. The number, therefore, differed. There were up to 20
8 people at times. We didn't have any air. We kept standing all the time.
9 And we would usually move in a circle all the time so that each of us
10 would come close to those tiny perforations through which the air was
12 Q. You were brought into that Sanski Most prison on or about the
13 29th, I take it, the 29th of May, and you remained until the 27th of
14 August. Were there ever any formal charges brought against you or brought
15 against any other person who was in that cell as far as you know?
16 A. At that time, when we were there, we were interrogated. But there
17 were never any official charges brought against any of us.
18 Q. When you arrived in the Sanski Most prison and went into that
19 cell, can you identify some of the other people who were present.
20 A. At that time when I arrived, there was Jakupovic, there was Suad
21 Sabic, Redzo Kurbegovic, there was also an engineer called Ceric. There
22 was a Croat who used to work at a bank. He was among the first ones to be
23 brought there. Unfortunately I can't remember his family name.
24 Q. The people who were detained in that cell, were they soldiers?
25 Were they civilians? Can you characterise their status for us, please.
1 A. They were mostly party leaders. But there were also people who
2 had nothing to do with the party. For example, Ico Jakupovic was one of
3 those. The Croat that I mentioned had nothing whatsoever to do with any
4 of the parties. They were mostly intellectuals.
5 Q. Again, coming back to my question, Mr. Biscevic, were they
6 soldiers? Was there status as armed combatants? Were they civilians?
7 A. No, no, they were civilians.
8 Q. Now, can you give us a general description of the sanitary
9 conditions that were made available to you and to the other prisoners who
10 were in that particular cell throughout the period of your detention. I'm
11 talking not only sanitary conditions, I'm talking about food, I'm talking
12 about what shower facilities were available to you, what toilets were
13 available to you. If you could summarise, please, for the Trial Chamber.
14 A. When we arrived, there was nothing in the cells. The last room
15 that you see is the toilet. It was very messy. There was a lot of paper
16 thrown around. And the toilet was used, and the ante room was full of
17 excrement and paper. In order to be use that, we had to clean this room
18 with our hands. There were a lot of us there, and the cells were full.
19 And this one toilet could not be used as it was supposed to be used. So
20 behind our cell, they forced us to dig a 2-metre deep hole which was 2
21 metres long and about 1.60 centimetres wide. They placed two wooden
22 boards there, and this is where we relieved ourselves. During the 60
23 days, I was given just one opportunity wash myself, and that was towards
24 the end of my stay. So what I'm saying is that for the 60 days I stayed
25 there, I did not have a change of clothes. I did not wash myself
2 Q. Is that the same as to the other detainees who were in that
3 particular cell?
4 A. There were three cells there, and this applied to all of them, the
5 situation was the same for all the people in all the three cells.
6 Q. As a result of your detention in the Sanski Most prison, did you
7 lose weight?
8 A. I lost 32 kilos during that 92-day period.
9 Q. Do you know a man by the name of Emir Seferovic?
10 A. Most of the leaders were captured and brought in very early on.
11 Hasan Kamber who was the secretary of the party and Emir Seferovic who was
12 a religious leader were brought to the third cell some 20 days later.
13 When they were brought in, Seferovic suffered the most because he was the
14 religious leader. He was always taken out more than the rest of us to be
15 given food. That food was the leftovers from the officers' food. And
16 most of the times, the food was pork. So this poor guy was given that
17 food, that pork to eat. They would force him to eat pork, and they
18 laughed at him and ridiculed him and they would say "look at the Hodza,"
19 how he eats pork.
20 Q. He was a Hodza from a particular village or from Sanski Most?
21 Where was he from?
22 A. He was from Vrhpolje.
23 Q. During the time that you and Mr. Seferovic and others were
24 detained, were detainees beaten?
25 A. Yes. That was an everyday practice. Everybody could beat us. We
1 enjoyed a special treatment. And according to the rules, the shift leader
2 was the only one who had the key. However, after the working hours, they
3 would bring the troops in and the troops beat us. And this especially
4 applied to Kamber and Seferovic because they were brought in after us.
5 Q. Who was responsible for the beating? Can you identify the
6 organisational unit from which these people who were beating you were
8 A. We didn't know who they were. Whoever wanted to get to us did.
9 Q. Were they civilians or soldiers who were -- or police? Are you
10 able to give us any enlightenment as to the organisational units that
11 these people were associated with?
12 A. They were in military uniform.
13 Q. Now, did you have occasion at some point in time during your stay
14 in the Sanski Most prison to examine the condition of Mr. Emir Seferovic,
15 the hodza?
16 A. As I said, we received special treatment. In 15 minutes, all
17 three cells had to go out, have breakfast, relieve ourselves, and then go
18 back to the cells immediately. The cells would be locked -- or the cell
19 would be locked and another would be opened. Then the International Red
20 Cross arrived, a representative came, and they allowed all of us to go out
21 into the yard. One by one they took us into the cell with this
22 representative, and we were able to talk there.
23 On that occasion, I saw Emir. He said that his jaw hurt, that it
24 had been broken and that he couldn't open and close his mouth. As I am a
25 dentist, I was able to approach him then and have a look. I saw that the
1 mandible arch had been broken, that the bone was broken. And this was the
2 reason for his pain. But there was nothing I could do. All I could do
3 was take note of the fact that the mandible had been broken.
4 Q. Thereafter, did you see Mr. Seferovic again?
5 A. Not alive.
6 Q. Let me turn to the next exhibit, which is Prosecutor's Exhibit --
7 it should be 277.
8 JUDGE ORIE: It is, Mr. Harmon.
9 MR. HARMON:
10 Q. This exhibit, Mr. Biscevic, is a record of the identification of a
11 body. It was made on the 2nd of June 1998 in Sanski Most. Can you
12 identify this particular exhibit and tell the Judges the circumstances
13 under which this exhibit was created.
14 A. This is in English. Is there a translation into B/C/S?
15 Yes. This is an original record that I drafted. It came to light
16 that in the village of Trnova, there was a cemetery. It was opened up,
17 and two bodies were found there. Asim Kamber, the brother of Hasan Kamber
18 asked me to go identify the body since I was with him. And I said that
19 the Efendi had had a broken jaw. He wanted to see whether I could tell
20 whether it was his brother whether it was Efendi. When I went there, when
21 I examined the body, I saw that to the left the jaw had been broken. And
22 I said that it was Efendi Hodza. When we had a look at the second body,
23 since they had been registered by the Red Cross, too, we could then find a
24 certificate from the Red Cross with the Efendi. And then we saw that it
25 was Asim's secretary, that was the first body, and his jaw was also broken
1 on the left. Whereas in the case of Emir, when I examined him, on both
2 sides there was a fracture of the mandible.
3 Q. So this is the official record of the identification of Mr. Emir
4 Seferovic. Correct?
5 A. An official record.
6 Q. Now, if we could -- let me continue to explore with you a little
7 bit your stay in the Sanski Most prison. Did you have occasion to see any
8 Bosnian Serb political leaders come into the Sanski Most prison?
9 A. As I said, we were in a corner, whereas the yard was large. And
10 there was a kitchen there where the policemen and officers and the troops
11 would go to eat. Initially, we saw Nedeljko Rasula, who would go there to
12 have a little food. We didn't have any contact with him because he was
13 over there.
14 Q. Was he in a position to see the detainees?
15 A. Of course he was.
16 Q. Now, in your earlier testimony about the prison, you said when you
17 arrived, many intellectuals were being detained in the Sanski Most prison.
18 Can you tell me in terms of intellectuals what you mean by that term first
19 of all.
20 A. People with a university education.
21 Q. And were the people who were detained in the Sanski Most prison
22 people who were leaders in the non-Serb community?
23 A. There were leaders of the party of democratic action, and
24 intellectuals who had absolutely nothing to do with the party.
25 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber the fate of the non-Serb
1 intellectual community of Sanski Most.
2 A. Many of them were killed. And they were all driven away.
3 Q. Do you know why they were killed?
4 A. Well, they probably wanted an ethnically clean area in Sanski
6 Q. Can you tell us, after you left -- I'm sorry. Can you tell the
7 Trial Chamber when you left the Sanski Most prison and where you went.
8 A. On the 27th of August at about 10.00, a duty officer arrived, and
9 he said that we should all get packed, that we were leaving. When we sent
10 out, we saw that they were coming out from the other cells and a bus had
11 been brought into the yard and the door was open. They said we should go
12 in one by one and sit down in the bus.
13 Q. How many people?
14 A. Well, I think there were about 12 of us at that time, 12 of us who
15 were receiving this special treatment.
16 Q. Where did you go once you got on the bus?
17 A. When we got on to the bus, we first went to the Krings prison.
18 That was a hall in an industrial zone, and there were far more detainees
19 there. And they detained them together with us. And then they took us to
21 Q. Now, earlier in your testimony, you said you had three sons.
22 Briefly identify them and what their professions, occupations were at the
23 time in May of 1992.
24 A. My eldest son Haris was a graduated dentist. He had his own
25 business in Sanski Most. Edin and Nedim, the other two sons were twins.
1 And they studied at the university of stomatology. They were fourth year
3 Q. Had they been arrested in May of 1992?
4 A. There was this gathering in Sanski Most, they were all gathered
5 and taken to the hall. And I was taken to the prison.
6 THE INTERPRETER: The two sons studied at the university of
8 MR. HARMON:
9 Q. Can you tell the Judges the fates of your three sons?
10 A. The eldest son Haris and one of the twins, Nedim, were taken away
11 on the 6th of June. That was with the first convoy that went to Manjaca.
12 It was the first organised convoy. They were taken there in lorries, and
13 they were taken to Manjaca. The twin Nedim stayed in Manjaca. When they
14 got there, there were beatings everywhere, and then they called out six or
15 seven persons, I think. Six or seven of our citizens. My son Haris
16 Biscevic was called out. They put them in the lorry again and took them
17 away from Manjaca. And to this day, we don't know where they were taken
19 Q. And have you seen your son Haris since that period of time?
20 A. I haven't.
21 Q. What happened to your other son?
22 A. The other son remained in Sanski Most. And on the 7th of July,
23 when there was the final gathering, a large convoy set off consisting of
24 six lorries also in the direction of Manjaca. He was in one of the
25 lorries, one of the lorries collecting detainees from the Betonirka
1 premise. It had a tarpaulin, which was hermetically sealed. The other
2 lorries were open. And as they had been collected at 10.00 in the
3 morning, it was only at 5.00 in the afternoon that they arrived in
4 Manjaca. And they were kept under that tarpaulin for the entire day
5 without water, without air. And people suffocated. Masses of people
6 suffocated under the tarpaulin. My son wasn't in that lorry. He was in
7 another one. When they arrived at Manjaca and when they saw that the
8 people had suffocated, the leadership of the camp panicked, but there were
9 four of them who were still showing signs of life. They then cried out,
10 "Is there a doctor here who can help?" As my son was a doctor, he
11 responded, and used artificial respiration to bring them back to life.
12 They then put those four people and my son back in a lorry and took them
13 away in an unknown direction. Those who had suffocated, we found the
14 cemetery where they had been buried, whereas the four persons giving signs
15 of life and my son didn't return to Sanski Most. They haven't returned to
16 Sanski Most to this day.
17 Q. What was the name of that son?
18 A. Nedim Biscevic. Edin Biscevic.
19 Q. Now, I would like to have the next exhibit in order, please. And
20 this --
21 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit Number P278 and P278.1 for the English
23 MR. HARMON:
24 Q. This exhibit deals with your third son Nedim Biscevic. Can you
25 identify this exhibit and explain the circumstances of its creation.
1 A. Occasionally officers would come from Banja Luka. They would come
2 to the camp and call out certain detainees asking them to come out. And
3 one day, they appeared and they called out my son's name. I wasn't there
4 at the time. And they put him in a car. Vojo Kupresanin took charge of
5 him, the president of the Assembly of Krajina. They took him to Banja
6 Luka to my sister's house.
7 Q. And did you acquire a copy of this document from your son?
8 A. Yes. That's an official copy stating that he's being released
9 from Manjaca. There is the signature of the officials who authorised
11 Q. And therefore, of your three sons, this was the only two son who
12 survived the events of the war. Is that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you describe briefly to the Trial Chamber the fate of your
15 wife during those days.
16 A. As I said, they were all collected in Sanski Most. My wife was
17 taken to the Krings hall. And from the Krings hall they gathered the
18 women and men over 60 years of age. They put them into the buses and took
19 them to Bosanska Krupa. She ended up in Velika Kladusa where I think she
20 spent about five months. She was then taken to Croatia.
21 Q. Now, you remained in Manjaca until what date?
22 A. Until the end of August.
23 Q. Prior to your being released from Manjaca, were you presented with
24 some sort of a form to sign?
25 A. I wasn't, but everyone had to sign a form saying that we wouldn't
1 be returning to Bosnia because they said if you ever return you'll be
3 Q. Who gave you that form?
4 A. An official from the camp.
5 Q. Now, have you since returned to the Municipality of Sanski Most,
6 and do you reside there today?
7 A. Immediately after its liberation, I returned there. And that is
8 where I live now.
9 Q. Now, I'd like to show you the next exhibit. It's a previous
10 exhibit. It's Prosecutor's Exhibit 209.
11 JUDGE ORIE: May I meanwhile ask some clarification from the
12 witness. You said you remained in Manjaca until the end of August. If I
13 did understand you well, you arrived on the 27th of August. Would that
14 mean that you stayed for only a couple of days in Manjaca?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, until November. Until the end
16 of November. It was a slip of the tongue.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That has now been clarified.
18 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
20 Just to be sure, Mr. Harmon, from what I remember from last
21 Friday, P209, the seal has been lifted.
22 MR. HARMON: Yes.
23 I don't know if Defence counsel has a copy of this at hand. If
24 not, perhaps the English version could be displayed on the ELMO so they
25 can see it, and we can -- I can question the witness on the B/C/S version.
1 Q. If you would turn to -- put on the ELMO, first of all, so counsel
2 can see it, the front page of the document. And -- yes, it's there. And
3 then if you could turn, Mr. Usher, to page 2 of that document and display
4 page 2 of the document on the ELMO.
5 Let me ask you to inspect this document, Mr. Biscevic. This is a
6 document that has previously been exhibited before the Trial Chamber. It
7 was prepared in May of 1993 by the Republika Srpska Minister of the
8 Interior. It is a list of citizens who have moved out and into the area
9 covered by the sector. And if you turn to page 2 of that document under
10 IV, under Sanski Most, you will see that it says "moved out, Muslims,
11 24.000; Croats, 3.000; Serbs, data n/a; moved in, Serbs, 5.000."
12 Does that appear to be an accurate estimation of the numbers of
13 non-Serbs who were forced out of the Municipality of Sanski Most?
14 A. I think it's very accurate, very precise.
15 Q. Okay. Now, let me turn, then to another area, and that is the
16 area of religious facilities that were existing in the Municipality of
17 Sanski Most prior to the conflict starting in May of 1992. Approximately
18 how many mosques and Catholic churches were there in the Sanski Most
20 A. In the Municipality of Sanski Most, there were 26 mosques, 4
21 Catholic churches. They were all completely destroyed. Not a single
22 Serbian religious institution was destroyed up until then or after the
24 Q. Now, when you were taken after your arrest and you were taken up
25 to the elevated area where you encountered Colonel Basara and you could
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 see down into the village, were you able to see a mosque that had been
3 A. Captain Vukic asked me "do you see the mosque in Trnovo?" Because
4 you can see it from everywhere. He said "you'll never see it." I said "I
5 can't see it." And he said "you'll never see it again. It's been
7 Q. Had that mosque been intact prior to the shelling of the Mahala
8 and the attack on Sanski Most?
9 A. Yes, it was.
10 Q. Let me focus now finally on one other area, and that is I'd like
11 you to affirm for me certain losses. I'd like to focus if I can on the
12 impact of these crimes on you, on members of your family. And let me just
13 focus briefly on the material losses that you suffered because you, as I
14 understand it, you can correct me, you were a wealthy man in the village
15 of Sanski Most prior to the conflict erupting. Is that correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Let me read a list, and all I'd like you to do is affirm for me
18 what I have to say. Your material losses included the following: Your
19 house and your dental offices and your dental equipment were either
20 destroyed or burned. You had a jewellery store. That was looted and
21 burned. You had 200.000 deutschemarks worth of gold as part of the assets
22 of your jewellery store that was stolen. You had a cottage on the river
23 that was looted. You had a farm with two houses and two stables. That
24 was looted -- those buildings were looted and destroyed. You had
25 significant livestock, approximately 130 sheep, 60 goats, 600 chickens,
1 three cows, two calves, five dogs. Those were stolen or killed.
2 You had farm equipment, a truck, a tractor, a cultivator, and
3 other farm machinery that was stolen. You had a bus. That was stolen.
4 You had the following motor vehicles: A Mercedes car, a Fiat car, two
5 Jeeps. That was stolen. Your material losses are estimated to be in the
6 range of 1 million deutschemarks. Is that correct?
7 A. At least that much.
8 Q. You have described the tragic loss of your two sons during these
9 events. I'd like you to describe if you can, if you want, the impact of
10 the loss of your sons on you and the surviving members of your family.
11 A. Well, we're living as we have to do after experiencing the camp,
12 the terror. We're not dead but it's as if we have been killed. It
13 couldn't be worse. The children are not present. That's even worse. I
14 don't know where they were. If only we could bury them like normal
15 people. All we do is listen about the -- to information about the
16 location of mass graves, wonder whether they will be found. I was a
17 healthy man. After having left the camp, I now live with the help of
19 Q. Can you comment on the effects of these tragic losses on your
21 A. My wife has been bearing this stoically. As she weighs 45 kilos,
22 she lives as she has to live.
23 Q. Finally, can you describe to the Trial Chamber the effects of
24 these crimes on the social fabric of the community of Sanski Most.
25 A. In Sanski Most, the community was a mixed one. We lived in
1 harmony. I had many Serbian and Croatian friends. My family was mixed.
2 My sister's daughter was married to a Serb, et cetera. I thought this was
3 quite normal. These ties are now broken. Contact is gradually being
4 established, contact of a sort. People are returning to their homes. No
5 one bothers them. They live quite freely in Sanski Most. Those who
6 committed crimes, and that's the majority, they quite simply can't return.
7 So their houses have been abandoned. It's ugly to see them. The
8 inhabitants who have returned live miserably, they don't have a pension,
9 they don't have houses, they don't have money to fix them. They live in
10 ruined houses, and also with nylon covering them. So they're just
11 surviving. The effect on the whole community has been very negative.
12 This will be put right, but it will take some time.
13 Q. Can you focus just briefly on the effect on the Serb community in
14 Sanski Most, the effect of those crimes as you see it presently.
15 A. If the Serbian leaders who were in that area and the ones in the
16 federation could return to their Serbs to Sanski Most I would like that.
17 And then we would see what they would experience and how they would fare
18 because those who aren't guilty are now suffering. They can't put up with
19 their leaders now. I'd like it to be possible if they could go and be
20 among them so that they could see what they did to their own people, to
21 the Serbian people.
22 Last Sunday -- last week, as I'm a hunter, there was a man who
23 died in a Serbian village. One man buried him. He was standing there all
24 day. There was a dead man lying there all day. No one was there to bury
25 him. And that is the responsibility of those leaders. That's what they
1 did to their people.
2 MR. HARMON: I have no additional questions, Your Honour. I've
3 concluded my direct examination. Thank you.
4 Thank you, Mr. Biscevic.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Harmon.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Biscevic, would you like to have a short break,
8 or can we continue.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We can continue. That's not a
11 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
12 Mr. Stewart, are you ready to start the cross-examination of this
14 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, Mr. Biscevic, we suggest, should
15 leave the Court at this point anyway.
16 JUDGE ORIE: I take it there's an issue you would like to raise at
17 this moment.
18 Mr. Biscevic, there is a procedural issue the Defence would like
19 to raise.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No problem.
21 JUDGE ORIE: If you would follow the usher for the time needed,
22 and we will call you back as soon as we're ready with that issue.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's not a problem.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart.
25 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, it's, of course, precisely the
1 issue that was raised immediately before this witness gave his evidence
2 this morning. Now, I recognise, on our side anyway, that there are now,
3 if you like, at least three versions. There is his original statements.
4 There's what we were notified over the weekend. And there's what he
5 actually said in evidence this morning. And they're all a bit different.
6 On the other hand, what he said this morning, although falling slightly
7 short of, if you like, his proof of what we were notified over the
8 weekend, is still essentially the radical departure from the way in which
9 his evidence stood before he came here.
10 Your Honour, the question is not, and I have absolutely no reason,
11 cause, to criticise Mr. Harmon for the work done over the weekend and the
12 fact that these matters came up over the weekend. When Mr. Harmon said
13 this morning, and I'm paraphrasing, that he had done what he could over
14 the weekend to notify us, and so on, I don't quarrel with that at all.
15 But that's not the point. The point is -- we do comment of course that
16 although no doubt financial constraints all over the place have an effect
17 on when witnesses can be brought here as well, they shouldn't have a
18 devastating effect on the ability to pick up the telephone and talk to the
19 witness in another country. But the -- but that's -- the essential point
20 is where we are now, and where we are now is a very different witness.
21 And Your Honour, the chief -- the possibility of compartmentalising
22 cross-examination, that's not -- with respect, that's not the -- a
23 possible cause or an appropriate course because -- but the fact that
24 inquiries need to be made and the fact that this witness has, in effect,
25 gone into a different category means that the -- the overall approach to
1 his cross-examination may need to be revisited.
2 So even though in theory one could take small, encapsulated bits
3 of his evidence and deal with it in cross-examination, that's not, with
4 respect, a fair approach. The Defence must have the opportunity of
5 investigating these matters, and then we must have the opportunity of
6 assessing our approach to cross-examination before this witness is
7 cross-examined. And, Your Honour, so far as timing is concerned, that
8 typically -- such inquiries, and of course we do make inquiries, we're in
9 communication with people in Republika Srpska and elsewhere. We find that
10 typically they take one or two days. That's the norm. And of course, we
11 have to do some translation work in each direction as well. That's done
12 fairly speedily because, of course, we do have people on hand to do it.
13 But we do find that typically is takes one or two days to obtain material,
14 sometimes it's a bit quicker, sometimes, of course, it can be
15 significantly slower if people need to travel.
16 But Your Honour, it does put us in a position where it simply
17 isn't feasible for us to proceed with cross-examination of this witness
18 during this session. When I say "this session," this session which is now
19 breaking until the 20th of September.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Harmon.
21 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, two things. One, I do believe that
22 cross-examination can proceed. There are a number of areas that are
23 discrete. There are areas dealing with, for example, the elections, the
24 arrangements that had been made up to the multiparty elections. There is
25 the takeover of the municipal building, the takeover of the MUP, the war
1 in Croatia and its effects, the arrival of the army in Sanski Most which
2 has been the subject of considerable testimony prior to this. I can
3 remember detailed testimony of Witness 628 in that regard. There is
4 discrete areas of the arming of the Serb population in Sanski Most, again,
5 a subject of considerable testimony by Witness 628.
6 There is an area of the disarming campaign. Again, the subject of
7 considerable testimony by Witness 628. The area of discrimination against
8 the non-Serbs, once again I direct your attention to the prior testimony.
9 The circumstances of Mr. Biscevic's arrest, the statement that he was
10 compelled to give over the radio, his conditions in the Sanski Most prison
11 have all been outlined in his statement that the Defence has had for a
12 considerable period of time. The conditions in the Manjaca camp and the
13 circumstances of Manjaca, also detailed there. So there are considerable
14 areas where cross-examination can and should continue in our view.
15 On the issue of what is the material difference that is cited by
16 counsel in the statement that was -- of Mr. Biscevic's, and Mr. Stewart
17 kindly directed the Court to bottom of page 3, and the statement reads, in
18 the second sentence of the bottom paragraph: "The SDS leaders never
19 stated they received orders from their superiors." That has not changed
20 in terms of the testimony. "No political leaders from Banja Luka or other
21 high-ranking visitors came to these meetings with the SDS." That has not
22 changed. "I concluded that local leader -- SDS leaders went to Banja Luka
23 for meetings but I cannot give any facts about that." He didn't give any
24 facts about the meetings that took place outside of Sanski Most.
25 So there may be a difference in the nuance, but in terms of the
1 substance of his testimony today, it is not significantly different that
2 it requires an adjournment for the whole cross-examination of this
3 witness. So our position is clear -- it is that the cross-examination
4 should proceed today. If there is a particular element that the Defence
5 feels so disadvantaged by the information revealed in the testimony or the
6 supplemental information sheet, we don't have an objection to a brief
7 delay. However, I understood that the hearing is scheduled for today; it
8 is not scheduled for tomorrow. I understand that members of the Trial
9 Chamber, and I will not be available either for the remainder of this
10 week. My view is that the cross-examination should proceed today, and we
11 should conclude as much of that as possible. If there is an area that
12 needs additional investigation, then we can consider how much time, if
13 any, should be granted for an adjournment.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
15 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I say, first of all, a textual
16 analysis of what's said in that paragraph and what has subsequently been
17 said is not the point. I referred specifically to that paragraph because
18 as matters stood before this witness gave evidence, there was a clear
19 difference. But even without that paragraph at the bottom of the
20 statement, the point is that this is an entirely new piece of his
21 evidence. It's an entirely new approach. Textual analysis is really not
22 the point. It's quite clear, as Your Honour recognised earlier this
23 morning, it's quite clear that there is a 180-degree turn, it's quite
24 clear that this witness has been moved into a very different category in
25 relation to this absolutely critical element of the case which involves
1 links. It's also as I submitted, Your Honours, a few minutes ago, it's
2 quite inappropriate to compartmentalise cross-examination. Many of those
3 areas -- in fact, as matters stood at the moment, as listed by Mr. Harmon,
4 I probably wouldn't cross-examine about at all. But without wishing to go
5 into some sort of account of a way we might approach this witness, but
6 Your Honour knows that every witness in cross-examination, in effect you
7 make a decision whether you're going to say that the witness is lying,
8 whether he's mistaken, whether he's confused, what mixture of that. And
9 when a witness changes his category and the thrust of his evidence changes
10 the opportunity is required, apart from obtaining necessary information,
11 to reconsider that aspect of the matter as well. And it may be that
12 matters which didn't require cross-examination on the evidence as we were
13 expecting it to arrive up to the weekend do then require
14 cross-examination. It could be that the converse applies, that the whole
15 question of a witness's cross-examination then has to be reconsidered.
16 So far as timing is concerned, well, it may be unfortunate that
17 here we are without the opportunity, although -- well, I say it's
18 unfortunate. In fact, it's we -- if we had been able to continue later on
19 in the week, that would still raise the question of whether the witness
20 should stay here in The Hague for a few days or should go home and come
21 back and so on, so there may not be much difference. But anyway, the fact
22 is apparently we can't. The -- it isn't just a question of hour or so to
23 obtain information. We can obtain, of course, Mr. Krajisnik's immediate
24 instructions, and we've made arrangements to do that. Of course we can do
25 that. But that's not -- that's not the point. The point is we will, and
1 I'm absolutely -- I'm sure about this, Your Honour, we will need to make
2 inquiries of our people, if I can put them that way, our people out in
3 Republika Srpska. That's -- it's certain that we will need to do that.
4 And it is certain that that cannot be done in the matter of just a few
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
7 I think the Chamber will have to withdraw to take a decision. But
8 from what I understand -- of course, when I gave this morning -- when I
9 made an observation about the 180-degrees, then, of course, we did not
10 know yet the testimony of the witness to come. What I do understand that
11 at this moment -- and in his statements, the witness said that the SDS
12 leaders never stated that they received orders from their superiors,
13 whereas in the supplemental information sheet he says that when he was
14 talking about SDS leaders, they that they frequently on issues where a
15 decision needed to be taken, Rasula and all the other negotiators would
16 say that they could not decide on their own but they needed to ask others,
17 whereas in his testimony of today he said about such consultation that he
18 supposed that it would be someone from his party. However, later on, it
19 turned out that it wasn't, that it was somebody else, although when asked
20 he said that he had not found out who. But I do understand it was not
21 someone from the party.
22 I think these are the three changing positions in the course of
23 statements, supplemental information --
24 MR. STEWART: May I make one observation.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
1 MR. STEWART: Sorry, I didn't wish to interrupt Your Honour. May
2 I make one other observation, that I would after all be entitled to
3 cross-examine this witness on something. I'll consider of course to
4 cross-examine this witness on discrepancies that -- among the three
5 points, really, what's been given in statements before, what's given as
6 to -- in the supplemental information sheet, because after all the
7 witness can hardly deny that that's what he said to Mr. Harmon over the
8 weekend, and what he said today. Now, Your Honour, I can't fairly be
9 expected to enter into cross-examination of this witness, for example on
10 any discrepancies between what he said over the weekend and what he said
11 this morning, without my having an opportunity to find out what our
12 position is and what my instructions are. I can't be expected to take the
13 risk of exploring those matters without the opportunity of knowing what
14 our position is and what information I will get in response to those
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE ORIE: We'll adjourn for a short while, and then the Chamber
18 will decide whether or not the Defence is required to start
19 cross-examining the witness.
20 --- Break taken at 12.14 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 12.34 p.m.
22 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber grants the request of Mr. Stewart to
23 postpone cross-examination as a whole. I add to that immediately that the
24 fact that new information appears in a supplemental information sheet,
25 even if that would need further inquiries, would not under all
1 circumstances bring the Chamber to a decision that cross-examination could
2 not be started. It is, therefore, the general remarks on -- I always have
3 difficulties in pronouncing that word - compartmentalising, it's a
4 difficult language for me as well - that splitting up in specific
5 compartments, that's easier to pronounce when the -- that would not be
6 acceptable in the -- in general terms, that is not a view the Chamber
7 adopts. So for future events, if a similar thing would happen again, then
8 this decision could not be understood as accepting that general principle.
9 On the other hand, it is also clear that here we -- the Defence
10 has had no opportunity to verify with those persons with whom the witness
11 may have been negotiating and may have been speaking at that time, that
12 there was no reason whatsoever to verify with the other participants in
13 such negotiations or meetings whether they would have ever said anything
14 apart from -- so therefore that that certainly takes some time. The
15 Chamber is aware of that. And of course, it might be such an important
16 issue that the approach of the witness, the approach of the
17 cross-examination might be affected by that. It is the expectation of the
18 Chamber that if we would start here, that the issue is of such importance
19 that there's hardly any chance that after verification the witness would
20 not be recalled, even if those inquiries would not result in a lot of
21 things, then of course it would have -- it would lead to quite a lot of
22 questions on how at this moment he says this is why and another moment he
23 says a different story. And of course, you are to reserve those questions
24 until after verification. The Chamber is aware of that. So since there's
25 hardly any chance that the witness would not be recalled, at least that's
1 our expectation at this moment, it's also for the practical reason that
2 the Chamber, where it would be quite hesitant to send the witness back and
3 have him recalled unless that would be really necessary. But understood
4 the present circumstances, and also in view of the practical consequences,
5 the Chamber grants the request.
6 I'd like to briefly explain to the witness what happened, and I'd
7 also like to instruct him.
8 Yes, Mr. Harmon.
9 MR. HARMON: Two things, Your Honour: One, I wasn't aware the
10 Chamber would be granting that. But in anticipation that it could, and
11 possibly would, I've looked at the schedule when it would be convenient,
12 given the other witnesses who are scheduled. The dates that are available
13 on our schedule would be the 30th of September and the 1st of October
14 would be the two first dates that would be available. Second of all, I
15 would appreciate it if the Chamber could inform the witness that the
16 Prosecutor -- parties are not to have consultations with him and cannot
17 talk to him until the conclusion of his cross-examination so he will
18 understand. Thank you.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So you say the 30th of September, 1st of
20 October. And what would be the next day? The 4th.
21 MR. HARMON: Those would be the two dates, Your Honour. I
22 anticipate that the cross-examination would not take more than two days.
23 So those are the two dates that are available for us in terms of
25 JUDGE ORIE: Examination-in-chief took approximately two and a
1 half hours. It was indicated to start with for four hours. And then it
2 was reduced on our last sheet to three hours. But I can imagine that the
3 issue at stake would make it a bit more difficult to apply the 60 per
4 cent, if not rule, then at least the 60 per cent practice.
5 MR. STEWART: Guidelines, Your Honour. We always have this --
6 this verbal difference. The -- what your -- I would say, so far as it
7 might be helpful, Your Honour, that although the point is important, it
8 wouldn't necessarily take a long, long time. So I would be quite hopeful
9 that the 60 per cent guideline would be broadly met anyway. Certainly,
10 two days seems most unlikely.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I will consider that. If you start with the
12 witness in the morning, if we would have a morning session, that he might
13 even be able to return home on that same day. Also, because the Chamber
14 is not led by financial issues, as may come clear from this decision
15 already, at the same time the Chamber shares a responsibility with the
16 parties not to waste unnecessarily any time or money.
17 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, since I'm on my feet, may I just
18 mention very, very, very briefly, so far as the dates are concerned for
19 scheduling this witness, we -- we have no -- no observation at all.
20 That -- those dates, if we're notified via counsel, that creates any
21 problem. We note what Your Honour says about compartmentalisation which
22 is a word which itself probably requires to be compartmentalised. The
23 third point, Your Honour, is just that I -- I take it that of course we
24 understand entirely the -- the fair courtesy to the witness in explaining
25 how it is he's being sent away, but I take it that Your Honour will only
1 be giving him the very barest indication of why it is.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I'll not set out to him in detail, although
3 it's part of the public session by now. But it's -- I'll just instruct
4 him in general terms.
5 MR. HARMON: One last item, Your Honour, before the witness comes
6 in, if Mr. Stewart could inform us before the -- well before the arrival
7 of the witness, approximately how long he anticipates taking, then we can
8 schedule perhaps other witnesses behind that, if it's going to be one hour
9 cross-examination, we will find ourselves without a witness for those
10 remaining portions of the day.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
12 MR. HARMON: So that's a courtesy I would request.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart.
14 MR. STEWART: Yes, of course, no problem at all about that,
15 Your Honour. We shall do that.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon, I do not know exactly, but I take it the
17 witness would be sent back again since it would be almost 14 days, that.
18 MR. HARMON: I suspect he would like that as well.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
20 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
21 JUDGE ORIE: The Victims and Witnesses Unit, unfortunately,
22 thinking that it was already a lunch break took the witness to the place
23 where he resides. If the parties would agree that --
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
1 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber wants to explain to the witness what
2 happened and to instruct the witness. Of course, we could now wait until
3 it's 2.00 and have a whole new team of interpreters and technicians at our
4 disposal and to send them away again after five minutes, the Chamber
5 prefers the parties to remain stand by to see whether we can get the
6 witness into the courtroom witness the next 10 or 15 minutes.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Stewart.
8 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I have a couple of very short points
9 that I would like to raise with the Trial Chamber anyway, so if this --
10 JUDGE ORIE: If we could use that time.
11 If Madam Registrar -- I excused Madam Registrar because she will
12 try to do whatever is needed to get the witness back. And then we could
13 use our time.
14 MR. STEWART: I'll make sure to speak slowly for the courtesy of
15 the interpreters, so -- courtesy as well of Your Honour, that will --
16 perhaps the witness will be here.
17 The first point, Your Honour, was simply to clarify something in
18 relation to -- and I'll be careful what I say on this, Your Honour. There
19 is a motion for protective measures in relation to a particular witness.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
21 MR. STEWART: And we had raised the question the other day
22 about -- and there was a certain amount of discussion related to ex parte
23 and confidential judgements. And we understood Mr. Tieger to be saying
24 that a decision which was made about four or five months ago was not
25 material, didn't fall to be considered for the purpose of this motion. I
1 said at the time that if it wasn't absolutely, 100 per cent clear that
2 nobody was going to be relying on anything in that decision or any of the
3 material leading up to that decision, except, of course, as far as it is
4 specifically reproduced again for the purpose of this motion, then we
5 didn't have a problem with this. But we are slightly concerned about
6 whether that could really -- not questioning anybody's integrity or
7 anything like that but whether that can really be the intention because
8 the motion itself expressly refers to that decision, recites that the
9 Trial Chamber had found that the witness might face retaliation and harm
10 if the identity was disclosed, and so on, and then footnotes what
11 happened. And we are slightly concerned about this, Your Honour, and it
12 may be that the more satisfactory position is to go back to what we were
13 asking for originally which is what -- which is that we should get to see
14 this material, because under the present timetable, and it is our
15 intention to meet it, we have to respond to this tomorrow. And we're
16 ready to do that subject to completing our work in relation to this
17 particular matter.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I'll try to see whether we can -- first of all,
19 the Chamber will look at the matter with -- I would say, with Defence
20 counsel eyes, if you would -- I still remember from the past.
21 MR. STEWART: Yes, please, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE ORIE: And if your response is due for tomorrow, of course,
23 if we have some difficulties, we'll look at it this afternoon and see
24 whether we can give you any different message apart from go ahead as you
25 initially wanted to go ahead, that you have to see that decision before
1 you can respond.
2 MR. STEWART: Yes indeed. And, Your Honour, it's important -- we
3 are, as I say, equipped to do that, and our work is very far advanced,
4 subject to this, and we need to do that anyway because the witness is due
5 when we come back.
6 The second point, or maybe it's the third point, but again, it's
7 very brief, Your Honour, in relation to another witness whose number is,
8 was, 625, we have in the past asked on a number of occasions if there was
9 going to be a report back.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. As a matter of fact, it was a matter which --
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do agree with you, that we should still spend
13 time on it. If there would be five or ten minutes left before the witness
14 arrives, we might turn into closed session to deal with it.
15 I do understand that we have still 10 minutes. Is there any other
16 issue you would like to raise?
17 MR. STEWART: No, Your Honour. That was my shopping list.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon.
19 MR. HARMON: I am reluctant to comment on a motion that was argued
20 with Mr. Tieger. He's not here. I --
21 JUDGE ORIE: We are now dealing with another issue. Let's first
22 turn into private session. I think private session will do.
23 [Private session]
12 Page 5561 redacted, private session
22 [Open session]
23 MR. HARMON: May I be excused for just a minute. I may be able to
24 intercept Mr. Tieger who's on his way down, and I can at least brief him
25 about it.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, of course.
2 We are in open session.
3 The witness has not yet arrived. In order to prevent us --
4 perhaps we could just have a short break. And the Chamber will be
5 standing by, if the parties could also be standing by, and as soon as the
6 witness arrives, we'll return.
7 --- Break taken at 1.00 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 1.14 p.m.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Biscevic, I apologise that as a result of a
10 misunderstanding that you thought that you would have your lunch break,
11 and that it now turns out that matters are different. When we asked you
12 to leave the courtroom for a while, in your absence, the Defence indicated
13 that they would need a bit more time to prepare for your
14 cross-examination, and the Chamber has considered that and has granted a
15 postponement of cross-examination. I'm not going to explain to you
16 exactly for what, but that's the situation. And under normal
17 circumstances, this would have meant that you would have to wait perhaps
18 for one day or two days, and then the cross-examination could be
19 finalised. But it's a very unfortunate coincidence that the Chamber will
20 not sit any more on from tomorrow until the end of next week. That means
21 that your cross-examination cannot be postponed just for one or two days,
22 but it has to be postponed for a longer period of time. So I take it,
23 although I'm not responsible for matters in relation to leaving and coming
24 back, but most likely, I think, the Victims and Witnesses Unit would ask
25 you to come back at a later stage. That could be in approximately two
2 First of all, I'd like to ask you whether you would be available
3 to come back in the time as I set out. That would mean from now on and
4 anything between 10 and 20 days. Would you be available to come back for
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I'm a dentist. I have my own
7 practice. This was a waste of time for me, and I've come to help as much
8 as I could. This is an enormous effort for me because of my ill health.
9 I only work three hours a day when I'm at home. And over the past three
10 days, I have been working almost 24 hours a day. Under such conditions, I
11 would not be able to come back again. I'm here. And if there's anything
12 I can do now, I'll do my best to help.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Biscevic, if I would tell you that most likely if
14 you would come back, you would arrive, let's say, one day, be examined the
15 next morning, and perhaps even be able to travel back, of course we have
16 to look at the schedules, whether that's possible. But it would not be a
17 similar couple of days that would be needed. The examination -- there
18 would be no further preparation for that. Just you would be required to
19 answer questions in Court and no preparation for that, and just going
20 back. Would that be possible for you?
21 So presumably, it might be able to --
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I can't
23 walk. I am an ill man. This has been a huge effort for me. And in
24 addition to that, I've had to close my house, my son is on his own. But
25 he can't do anything without me. We have a huge laboratory. We have a
1 practice that I am in charge of. This has been a huge sacrifice for me,
2 coming here to help you. Unfortunately, I won't be able to do it again.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Well, this, Mr. Harmon, creates a new situation which
4 perhaps we could better discuss in the absence of the witness.
5 MR. HARMON: There are, of course, alternatives. Videolink is a
6 possibility. I don't know other possibilities other than that. I would
7 suggest that that be considered.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, of course, it's -- if the witness would
9 not be available. And I'm just inquiring, one of the things that has been
10 done now and then in this Tribunal is that people would testify in a
11 studio with a videolink, so that would take you then, I would say exactly
12 the same time. Perhaps you would have to travel to Banja Luka, but a
13 short distance, and then to be examined by a videolink between The Hague
14 and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Would that be something that would be
15 possible for you?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Banja Luka is certainly closer. And
17 I would consider going to Banja Luka if I'm informed exactly when I'm
18 supposed to be there. If there's a slot given to me in advance, then yes,
19 I would be able to travel there.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Is there anything at this moment that should be
21 discussed in the presence of the witness? Apart from that, I'll instruct
22 him -- yes, Mr. --
23 MR. HARMON: Given what Mr. Biscevic says about his personal life,
24 his personal health, and his dental practice, it would be perhaps of
25 assistance to Mr. Biscevic if we could identify at least the dates now
1 when the Court would consider a videolink possibility in Banja Luka, so he
2 can make the appropriate schedule.
3 MR. STEWART: I do think the witness should be asked to leave
4 straight away now. We've already had enough discussion in front of the
5 witness. Appreciate that his own personal convenience comes into it, but
6 I suggest it's no longer appropriate.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon, I think that at this moment, to go into
8 those details would not be something that could not be done if at all
9 needed at a later stage and through other means.
10 I'll instruct the witness on what to do.
11 Mr. Biscevic, as you well have understood, the parties and the
12 Chamber will have to consider further how to proceed in respect of
13 cross-examination of you. You are at this moment, therefore, perhaps in
14 the middle of your testimony. You have been examined by counsel for the
15 Prosecution, not yet examined by counsel for the Defence. I'd like to
16 instruct you that at this stage, and you should not speak with anyone
17 about the testimony you have given, also not about the testimony that
18 still would come. So refrain from speaking to anyone about the testimony.
19 You'll be informed through the witness and victims section, and you might
20 even be consulted about certain matters, as soon as possible so that it
21 will be clear to you as well how this Chamber would like to proceed. And
22 I noticed that you said that you're not available to come back to
23 The Hague, partly due to your health and to your personal circumstances,
24 and that you would consider to be examined by -- through a videolink from
25 the area.
1 For the time being, therefore, I thank you for having come to
2 The Hague, especially since you explained to us that it was not easy, both
3 in view of health and your professional duties, and it might also not have
4 been easy for you in respect of your family situation on which you
5 testified until now. The Chamber will not speak about that at this moment
6 since you're in the middle. But certainly there's understanding that this
7 is not just easy. So you're excused. You'll hear from the Tribunal soon
8 about whether and how we would proceed.
9 Thank you.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Usher, would you please escort Mr. Biscevic out
12 of the courtroom.
13 [The witness stands down]
14 JUDGE ORIE: The witness now has left the courtroom. Before we
15 address the other matters that were still on our agenda, I would like to
16 give an opportunity to the parties - and to the extent they can do in open
17 session, fine, if they think we should turn into private session, I'll
18 hear from them - on the issue of how we should proceed with the testimony
19 of Mr. Biscevic.
20 I think, Mr. Harmon, you at least gave a suggestion for an
21 alternative, and I felt that the Defence would like to say something more
22 about that.
23 MR. HARMON: Yes. I only reiterate, Your Honour, that the sooner
24 Mr. Biscevic is informed of the dates, the sooner he can make plans to
25 accommodate his personal situation. And that's my only request.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. One of the practical reasons why I refrained
2 from giving any follow-up to your suggestion is that setting up a
3 videolink requires quite a lot of matters, like someone being present
4 there, availability of technical facilities, et cetera. So therefore, for
5 that reason already, I thought that it was not of that much use to
6 continue that immediately. But I can imagine, Mr. Stewart, that you have
7 different views on how to proceed. Could you please tell us.
8 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, yes, in this sense, that with
9 respect, Your Honour, we suggest that the witness's quite natural
10 irritation I think he displayed, but we all do that sometimes, about the
11 fact that he'd have to come back doesn't mean that what he says shouldn't
12 perhaps be treated with a little bit of skepticism as far as his health is
13 concerned, perhaps. He came here once, and he can come here another time.
14 I don't wish to be harsh about it. But inconvenience to witnesses is
15 inevitably a feature of these serious trials. And to simply accept on his
16 say-so that he has a health problem preventing comeback, it's just, well,
17 the evidence is that he doesn't because he was here.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, the mere fact that he's here doesn't say
19 that he doesn't have a health problem, but at least not such a health
20 problem that didn't prevent him from coming once.
21 MR. STEWART: That's exactly what I meant. I don't mean that his
22 health may be perfect, I simply have no idea. But clearly, it doesn't
23 prevent him from being here. I 100 per cent agree with Mr. Harmon. Of
24 course, in fairness to the witness and everybody, the more notice he's
25 given of the more specific date -- and we will cooperate so far as our
1 cooperation is needed, as fully as possible - but that goes for every
2 single witness anyway - but so far as videolink is concerned, we don't
3 necessarily have strong views on that. We apprehend that there is a
4 preference on significant evidence to have a live witness in court.
5 Although, it no longer requires him to be here to be interviewed by the
6 Prosecution might cause less trouble if they didn't come here for that.
7 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand that the Defence prefers the witness
8 to be recalled and appear in The Hague and not to be examined --
9 cross-examined by videolink. And Mr. Harmon, I take it that you only made
10 the suggestion for an alternative on the assumption that the primary aim
11 of getting the witness back in The Hague would fail. Is that a correct
13 MR. HARMON: Perhaps we could have this discussion in private
14 session, Your Honour.
15 MR. STEWART: I don't follow that at all. It's difficult to see
16 why there's any reason to have this discussion in private session. We're
17 not going into any health details --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, let's hear the reasons for the private
19 session in private session because --
20 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour. I can't resist that, having
21 expressed an initial reaction, I'll reserve my position.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we turn into private session.
23 [Private session]
12 Page 5570 redacted, private session
12 Page 5571 redacted, private session
22 [Open session]
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. When we were in private session, counsel for
24 the Prosecution explained what he knew about the health situation of the
25 witness, and then counsel for the Defence opposed against dealing with
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 this matter in private session and asked for a ruling and the Chamber will
2 give that ruling, main objection being that there was no detail
3 whatsoever, nothing that could not have been dealt with in open session.
4 Upon further explanation by the OTP, the Chamber established that
5 at least part of what had been said was already a part of the testimony of
6 the witness. The Chamber will give a ruling on whether or not it is
7 necessary to make that part of the transcript public.
8 Apart from that, is there -- I think the Chamber will consider at
9 this moment whether -- how to proceed. And that means that the Chamber
10 will consider whether it would seek further information, perhaps through
11 the Victims and Witness Unit on whether it should allow the witness to
12 complete his testimony through videolink where the Defence seems to have a
13 clear preference for -- clear preference for further viva voce
14 cross-examination, where the Prosecution would think that there are good
15 reasons to accept the statement of the witness that for the reasons he
16 mentioned he's not available for cross-examination in The Hague. We'll
17 consider the matter, and we'll let you know. We'll let the parties know.
18 Then, having dealt with that issue, Mr. Tieger, I'd like to turn
19 into private session again for the other issues still pending.
20 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, before we go into private session, may
21 I just ask something. First of all, Your Honour said the Chamber will
22 give a ruling on whether it's necessary to make that part of the
23 transcript public. In other words, the part that coincides with evidence
24 that has already been given. Do I understand that the Trial Chamber is
25 therefore ruling that the other part of what was said in private session
1 just now should remain in private session? Or is that still open?
2 JUDGE ORIE: That's still open. I would say it was mainly to say
3 that the part we dealt with in private session, whether that should remain
4 private, or whether it could be made public without any further
5 specification on the specific parts.
6 MR. STEWART: Yes, I do understand that. May I again comment,
7 again I'm trying to be as careful as I can in this area, notwithstanding
8 my submission. I recognise that at the moment as things stand a certain
9 amount of things have been said in private session. But the witness after
10 all himself in open session referred to the reasons for his not wishing to
11 come back and give evidence and referred to his health. Just this,
12 Your Honour, that it is absolutely standard practice, we suggest, that
13 there must be a medical certificate in relation to such matters, that a
14 witness's say-so that for some reason he really can't come back, although
15 he has already been here once, if there is a compelling reason, and that
16 is what's being suggested in this case for the matter to be dealt with by
17 videolink rather than by live evidence, stronger support of the reasons is
18 needed. And we would simply, because in the middle of what I was saying,
19 then Your Honour invited Mr. Harmon to comment, what the witness says
20 about his working life, according to him the most that he's going to lose
21 in terms of work is three hours, because that's what he says he does a
22 day. Well, maybe six hours if it's not possible to do it quite as quickly
23 as Your Honour indicated, though it does seem, on the basis of where we
24 are, that the likelihood of this witness being able to travel one
25 afternoon - no doubt, there's three hours in the morning - and go back
1 pretty quick is quite high. Whether it's three hours or six hours, my
2 point is only this, Your Honour, that hours of work lost by witnesses at
3 that level are simply standard. It's inconvenient. It's a nuisance.
4 Nobody wants it. But then Mr. Krajisnik is facing something rather
5 different from that if he is ever convicted. So Your Honour, it's
6 standard. Witnesses, we're afraid, have to accept inconvenience. That
7 goes with the position.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, you gave further reasons to explain why I
9 already established that the preference of the Defence was that the
10 witness would reappear viva voce.
11 Then we'll turn to the other matters, and we'll have to turn to
12 private session. And I am looking to the booth whether we could still go
13 on for -- I hope not more than ten minutes. This will prevent us from
14 coming back this afternoon. If there's any problem, then I'd like to hear
15 about it.
16 We now turn into private session.
17 [Private session]
12 Pages 5577 to 5581 redacted, private session
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.53 p.m.,
16 to be reconvened on Monday, the 20th day of
17 September, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.