1 Tuesday, 11 October, 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.09 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
7 IT-00-39-T, the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Krajisnik thank you.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar. Good morning to everyone.
9 I see that Mr. Harmon and Mr. Tieger are representing the Prosecution this
10 morning, and Mr. Josse, you are here to represent Mr. Krajisnik.
11 I've got two technical matters. The first is: Would it be
12 possible for the Prosecution to respond to the motions as we discussed
13 yesterday at the very end of the first session? And how much time would
14 it take?
15 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, it is possible. Mr. Gaynor will be
16 making the submissions.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Could you then invite him to -- I take it that it
18 would not take more than five, maximum ten minutes?
19 MR. HARMON: Correct.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Then we'll take time for that. I have another
21 practical matter and I'm now looking at you, Mr. Josse. There was a
22 specific request from the Defence to alternate morning and afternoon
23 sessions. This always is a bit of a battle. But there is even a chance
24 that we could get even a bit more afternoon sessions, although I know that
25 it's -- for none of us it's our personal preference, but would the
1 Defence, if it would be more than half, would that assist you?
2 MR. JOSSE: I discussed the matter with Mr. Stewart last week
3 after I received a helpful call from one of Your Honour's legal officers,
4 and our conclusion was a half is exactly what we're looking for.
5 JUDGE ORIE: You don't want more?
6 MR. JOSSE: No. We don't want more. Could I just say this: That
7 it may be that Mr. Stewart will be here later on to address the Chamber
8 about scheduling matters in general.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, then I have to go back to the -- because
10 I had the impression that sitting in the afternoon would give you more
11 time to prepare also in the Detention Unit and that for that reason it
12 might even be one of your wishes to even have more than half. But --
13 MR. JOSSE: Could I leave the matter open until the end of today?
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
15 MR. JOSSE: I suspect Mr. Stewart will be listening to this, and
16 if anything, it will make him more, rather than less likely, to come here.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Apart from that, whether we can follow your
18 wishes, we have in the month of November, we have a specific problem that
19 only two courtrooms are available for trials ongoing. One of the trials
20 usually scheduled for the morning, for reasons still not fully explained
21 to everyone in this house, so therefore it might be that not in every
22 respect your wish could be followed.
23 There's another matter that it might be alternating not week by
24 week, but half week by half week. That's one of the problems, to do it on
25 a weekly basis or on a two or three days basis.
1 I'll further discuss the matter with the court management.
2 Mr. Harmon.
3 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, I apologise. After I made that
4 commitment that we could make the submissions at the end of this hour, I
5 realised Mr. Gaynor told me yesterday evening that he will be in a
6 doctor's appointment this morning. So if I could check during the first
7 break, then --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Of course. We would not call him back -- going to a
9 doctor in the Netherlands usually means that you are spending a lot of
10 time in the waiting-room. We will not call him back neither from the
11 waiting-room or -- but if he would be there, we'd prefer, so if you would
12 check at the end of the first session.
13 MR. HARMON: I'd be glad to.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, are you ready to continue the examination
15 in chief of the witness Mr. Vasic?
16 MR. JOSSE: Certainly.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Usher, would you please escort the witness into
18 the courtroom.
19 MR. JOSSE: Whilst we're waiting, could I say copies are being
20 made for the interpreters of these documents at this very moment and I
21 hope they will be supplied within the next 15 minutes.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's good to hear. At the same time, I draw
23 your attention to the fact that with documents, sometimes using the ELMO
24 can help us out. That certainly is not the case for videos, because there
25 we really need a transcript. And I don't think there will be any other
2 MR. JOSSE: There are no other videos.
3 JUDGE ORIE: No, but for the future, I just draw your attention to
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Vasic. Please be seated. I'd like
7 to remind you that you're still bound by the solemn declaration you've
8 given at the beginning of your testimony yesterday. May I take it that
9 you not only have delivered your notes to the Registry, but that you
10 received them back?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: And may I also take it that the parties have received
13 copies of these notes? Yes. I see nodding on all sides.
14 Mr. Josse, please proceed.
15 WITNESS: NEMANJA VASIC [Resumed]
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 Examined by Mr. Josse: [Continued]
18 MR. JOSSE: Mr. Vasic, could you be given, please, the black
19 exhibit binder.
20 Q. Turn to tab 7, please. You were talking yesterday about the
21 incident in Lisnja. We see at tab 7 a series of photographs. First of
22 all, generally, what are -- what, as far as you understand it, do those
23 photographs depict?
24 A. These photos were taken by an official of the public security
25 station of Prnjavor after the disarmament, and they depict the trenches
1 that the group of extremists had prepared for possible combat operations
2 or whatever -- I'm sure they knew why they prepared them.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Has the witness the original photographs or are we
4 all working on black and white copies?
5 MR. JOSSE:
6 Q. Well, if your original documents that you brought with you --
7 well, perhaps I could answer the question for you, Mr. Vasic, but I'd like
8 you to agree, to make sure I am right about this. It's right that you
9 brought copies of these photographs with you?
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The only thing I'm -- the only reason why I'm
11 asking is if there are any colour copies or colour originals available, we
12 could put them on the ELMO. If not, we'll have to deal with the --
13 MR. JOSSE: There are no coloured copies available, are there,
14 Mr. Vasic?
15 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
16 MR. JOSSE:
17 Q. I'd like you to confirm that, actually. Is that right, Mr. Vasic,
18 you only brought black and white copies with you? I see you nodding.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If you would say yes or no, because nodding --
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: -- doesn't appear on the transcript.
22 MR. JOSSE:
23 Q. Let's take the very first page as an example. Perhaps you would
24 put it on the ELMO, because I think it would help the interpreters. I'm
25 just going to take this as an example.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Top or bottom?
2 MR. JOSSE: Top will be fine.
3 Q. Could you read what it says there, please, in B/C/S.
4 A. "A trench in the vicinity of the house of Puskar Zijad in the
5 field towards Milosavci in Gornja Mravica. The trench is about five
6 metres long. It is semicircular and it was constructed from dirt and the
7 concrete blocks.
8 Q. Did you ever go to Lisnja at the time of this incident?
9 A. I learnt about this incident in the afternoon, by accident. I was
10 on my way towards Prnjavor and I saw smoke. The first person I came
11 across I asked what was going on. He told me that Lisnja was on fire. I
12 got on a bus and then as I was driving through, I saw what was going on. I
13 saw the situation after the disarmament and I saw that there were houses
14 set on fire and that there had been shooting. There was real combat going
15 on. That's what I saw.
16 Q. Who was responsible from the authority's point of view? Who was
17 in charge? Let me rephrase the question. Who was in charge of the
18 attempt to seize these weapons from the inhabitants of Lisnja?
19 A. I've already mentioned that the authorities tried to reach an
20 agreement about the hunting rifles and the Territorial Defence weapons,
21 and I already mentioned the composition of the delegation that was
22 involved in the negotiations. This attempt failed. Only some of the
23 weapons were brought to the culture hall, but the group of extremists
24 broke into the culture home and took the weapons away. In more specific
25 terms, the operations were carried out by the public security station of
1 Prnjavor, pursuant to the orders of their superiors from the security
2 services centre in Banja Luka. And there was also a unit of Territorial
3 Defence which cooperated with them in that operation, pursuant to the
4 orders which we received from the army.
5 In that unit, there were some 20 to 30 members of the so-called
6 Wolves from Vucjak unit who were already at the time members of the 1st
7 Krajina Corps of the army.
8 Q. We'll come to them in few minutes' time. But how long did the
9 operation to secure these weapons take?
10 A. The operation took place in the afternoon, and on the following
11 day until 11.00, there was nothing going on during the night.
12 Q. Was anyone injured or killed on either side during the course of
13 the operation?
14 A. When a report was drafted on the operation, it was established
15 that, among the people who were organised in the village, some four or six
16 people had died. I can't remember exactly, but I'm sure you can find it
17 in your documents. And one policeman was slightly wounded.
18 Q. Was anyone prosecuted as a result of the incident or operation?
19 A. Yes. The complete documentation on the cases and on convictions
20 can be found amongst your documents. All those who were involved in the
21 operation were taken to task, but they did not -- they were not charged
22 with armed rebellion, but rather for illegal possession of weapons and
23 weapons smuggling. Also, five members of the Serbian ethnic group were
24 convicted because they had sold those weapons in the first place.
25 Q. I think we'll find these details in tab 7. I'm, of course, very
1 reliant on your help in this regard, Mr. Vasic. But perhaps you would
2 direct the Chamber to the documents which show the conviction of those --
3 of the villagers and also of the Serbs who supplied the arms.
4 MR. JOSSE: What -- I think what -- what I'm sure what the witness
5 is doing, Your Honour, is he's taken something out of his briefcase. They
6 are his original copies of the documents that we have in the binder. He
7 may be a little bit more familiar with those.
8 Q. I don't know whether you're able to look in the binder, Mr. Vasic,
9 because they should all be there.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vasic, everything should be under tab 7 in the
11 binder. The --
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 7, yes.
13 MR. JOSSE:
14 Q. Not that one, Mr. Vasic?
15 JUDGE ORIE: The other one in the hands of Madam Usher.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Tab 7?
17 MR. JOSSE:
18 Q. Immediately after the photographs.
19 A. Yes, yes. Immediately after the photographs, I can see an
20 overview of criminal reports filed against certain individuals.
21 Q. Put those on the ELMO, if you would. Have a look first of all at
22 what's on the screen. I'm certainly not going to ask you to read all of
23 this out. Read -- it says 1992. Then read the four words after that,
25 A. "An overview of criminal reports filed."
1 Q. Do any of the names and details we see there relate to the
2 incident in Lisnja?
3 A. Almost all of the data are relative to the incident in Lisnja.
4 Only very few of them are not.
5 Q. And are you able to cross-reference those entries with any other
6 document as to what happened to those who were convicted of crimes in
7 relation to this incident?
8 A. Could you please repeat your question?
9 Q. Yes. Looking further on in tab 7, are you able to get more
10 details of the crimes individuals were convicted of in relation to the
11 incident which you've just been describing?
12 A. We have this list of the criminal reports filed, as I've said, but
13 afterwards we have references to the sentences passed by the court affairs
14 instance in Prnjavor with reference to the same individuals, of course.
15 And it can be seen that the criminal proceedings were conducted in line
16 with all the relevant rules and regulations.
17 Q. Take out of the bundle an example of that, please, and put it on
18 the ELMO. I'd like you to read slowly the four words in the heading, and
19 then all of number 1.
20 A. "The court of first instance at Prnjavor. Number 1: The sentence
21 of the basic court number K76/92, dated the 10th of November, 1992.
22 Because of the crime of illegal detention of arms or explosives, according
23 to Article 213, Para 1, taken over from the criminal law of the Socialist
24 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Time: By the end of 1991. Place:
25 The village of Lisnja, in the municipality of Prnjavor. The damaged
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 party, nothing. Note: Prison sentence lasting two months and 25 days."
2 Q. Now, take this person Mr. Osman as an example. As far as you
3 know, did he ever serve that prison sentence?
4 A. Nobody actually served a prison sentence. I believe the judge,
5 especially if we look at all the other sentences, in the first few days,
6 people were fined. They had financial penalties imposed on them. But as
7 time went on, people were being given prison sentences that referred to
8 the duration that they had spent in detention already, whilst waiting for
9 their case to be heard.
10 Here in this first case, it says 1991 and, in most other cases,
11 1992. Some individuals were sentenced because they were involved in the
12 selling and buying of arms, even previously. It was an ongoing process
13 for about six months.
14 Q. Just before we move away from these documents, perhaps you could
15 also help the Chamber. Immediately before this list, there is about ten
16 pages between paragraphs 1 to 62, in Cyrillic script. Can you go to the
17 first of those pages, please.
18 A. You mean just after the photos?
19 Q. After the photographs and after some other lists, in fact.
20 JUDGE ORIE: It's the only part in Cyrillic of the document.
21 A. Yes, I'll find it.
22 MR. JOSSE:
23 Q. If you'd put the first page on the ELMO. Read the heading in
24 number 1, please.
25 A. "Documents for Prnjavor. Number 1: The sentence for Osman
1 Rahimic son of Ramadan, born on the 29th of May, 1952. Because by the end
2 of 1991, in the village called Lisnja, in the municipality of Prnjavor, he
3 obtained for free an M-48 rifle and 50 bullets from Husein Vukovic and he
4 kept those items at home. And then, in April 1992, he exchanged the M-48
5 rifle for a semi-automatic rifle, and this exchange was entered into with
6 Sead Korkaric and that was his partner in his duties as village guard.
7 And then he relinquished those arms on the 17th of June, 1992 to the
8 employees of the police station in Prnjavor.
9 Q. There are a large number of lists in tab 7. Do they all relate to
10 crimes committed by the inhabitants of Lisnja?
11 A. No. There are also documents referring to crimes committed by
12 five or six Serbs who actually sold those weapons to these other people.
13 Q. Could you have a look at number 47, please, of that Cyrillic list.
14 Could you read number 47 out.
15 A. "The public security station in Prnjavor, a criminal report
16 against Miroslav Simic, son of Milan, born on the 9th of June, 1958 in
17 Derventski Lug, permanently resident at Derventa. Because on the 14th of
18 August, 1992, in the village Ratkovac, in the municipality of Prnjavor,
19 between 6.00 and 6.15 p.m., whilst travelling on a military vehicle TAM
20 110, he damaged a number of passenger vehicles which were parked in front
21 of the Podgorica restaurant in Prnjavor. And then he continued his
22 journey in the direction of Klasnice and he also ran into two cyclists and
23 one of the two was injured. And the cyclists names are Grujic Dimitrije
24 and Pezer Vesna.
25 Q. I just want you to read one other example, and that's number 51,
2 A. [No interpretation]
3 JUDGE ORIE: We could not receive English translation at this
5 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry. The interpreter forgot to switch on the
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you perhaps restart reading this
8 paragraph. I think it was 51. Yes.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Public security station Prnjavor,
10 certificate on temporarily taken items from Siljak Sladjan, son of Milan,
11 born on 3rd of February, 1975 in Doboj in the municipality of Doboj,
12 permanently a resident in Ceceva in the municipality of Teslic. Criminal
13 report against eight individuals because in the night of the 27th of
14 November, 1992, at around 10.30, they were in a group of both military and
15 civilian individuals and they went to the Catholic church of Kulasi and
16 they found four local men who were on duty in front of the church and they
17 were told to sit on the benches in the church. And a part of the group
18 that came along had gone to the parish, to the offices of the parish,
19 which were not too far from the church. They broke into the office and
20 there they found Anna Juric and a priest, Nikica Lozancic, who was
21 questioned, mistreated, beaten, punched, and he was therefore injured. And
22 they also ransacked the office. They smashed glass and crystal objects
23 and then they also stole a TV set and recorder."
24 MR. JOSSE:
25 Q. And can you confirm the individuals who were charged --
1 MR. TIEGER: Sorry, Your Honour, but that seems to be an
2 unnecessarily leading question.
3 MR. JOSSE: I'll move on.
4 Q. Number 52, please.
5 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, I'm not -- excuse me, I'm caught down
6 here. I'm not objecting to any pursuit -- information about this area; I
7 simply want the information to come from the witness and not as a result
8 of a statement presented by counsel. That's all.
9 MR. JOSSE: I'm aware of that.
10 Q. 52, please. "Public security station Prnjavor. Criminal report
11 against Mladen Kitanovic, son of Nikola, born on the 27th of August, 1945
12 in the village Bobare, the municipality Tesanj. Permanently resident in
13 Babanovci in the municipality of Prnjavor. Because the said individual,
14 on the 2nd of December, 1992, at around 6.30 p.m., after an argument and a
15 fist fight that he had with Sefko correspond Totic in the yard of the
16 house owned by Nikola Barkijevic from Babanovci. After that he went home
17 to fetch a rifle in order to kill this other person.
18 "Having collected a rifle from a room in his house, his family
19 members tried to prevent him from taking it out of the house, but to no
20 avail. He went to the above-mentioned courtyard and he was followed by
21 his son, Dragan. When they got to the courtyard, Dragan tried to calm him
22 down and to convince him to give up his intention. But on that occasion,
23 his father first of all fired a bullet in the air from his rifle, M-48,
24 and then he fired another bullet and he actually shot his son Dragan in
25 the head. And therefore, on the way to the hospital, his son Dragan
1 succumbed to the injury."
2 Q. In number 52, the accused came from which ethnic group?
3 A. All these three criminal reports refer to the accused -- or
4 rather, defendants who were Serbs.
5 Q. When you say "three," which three are you referring to, for
6 precision, please?
7 A. We read out numbers 51, 52, and 47. And 48 and 49 refer to
8 murders where the accused individuals are Serbs.
9 Q. And in number 52, the person whom the accused shot at originally,
10 what ethnic group was he from?
11 A. The person that he intended to kill was a Muslim, but his son, who
12 was actually killed, is of course a Serb -- was a Serb.
13 Q. Thank you. There has been a witness who has given evidence to
14 this Chamber, albeit by way of a 92 bis statement, that is, a statement
15 that was read to the Chamber, who alleged that the judicial system in
16 Prnjavor in 1992 was inherently unfair to Muslims. What do you say about
17 that, Mr. Vasic?
18 A. I can say that it's incorrect, because all murders referred to
19 here were adequately processed and documented and the people were
20 sentenced. And in most cases - and that's a rarity even now - the
21 perpetrators were discovered and sentenced, and some of them are still in
22 prison today, after that many years.
23 Q. Thank you. I would like now to move on to --
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, could we perhaps ask the witness whether
25 he could mention one or two of the persons still in prison for these
2 MR. JOSSE: Certainly, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us just -- you said some of them are
4 still in prison. Could you give us a few names of those still in prison.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Number 55.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Anyone else?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I read out the name? Mladen
8 Zgonjanin. He killed Ramiz Jugo. He was a Serb who killed a Muslim, and
9 he was in prison and I'm pretty certain he was still in prison last year.
10 I'm not sure if he's still there, but I do know that he served a long
11 prison sentence.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Also, I'm not quite sure; I think
14 later on he was transferred to a psychiatric hospital. It's number 49,
15 Miodrag Debic, who killed a taxi-driver, Miljenko Beus, for financial
16 gain. And he was in prison and later on we heard that he had mental
17 health problems and was therefore transferred to a psychiatric hospital.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you for this answer. Please proceed.
19 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, excuse me. I know we're struggling
20 trying to cope with the absence of translations, but I think it's
21 preferable if there's a reference to a particular passage of the document
22 that we get some translation on the record. It's not going to cost us
23 more -- it may cost us a little more court time, but it's going to have to
24 be translated in any event for comprehensibility.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Perhaps we'll ask, then, the witness to read
1 the two examples he gave, the one being number 55.
2 Could you please read 55. It looks as if a sentence of 20 years
3 was imposed.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Public security station, Prnjavor.
5 Criminal report against Mladen Zgonjanin, son of Merko, born on the 27th
6 of March, 1957 in Prijedor. Permanently resident in Prijedor because on
7 the 13th of July, 1992, in the garden of the Nacional Hotel at Prnjavor,
8 he wounded Ramiz Jugo from Prnjavor in the neck and after 20 days Jugo
9 Ramiz succumbed to his injuries. Ramiz was in fact a member of the armed
10 forces of the Republic of Srpska."
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And would you also read 49, please.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Public security station Prnjavor.
13 Criminal report against Miodrag Debic, born on the 28th of July, 1965,
14 because, on the 17th of May, 1992, at 5.00 p.m., he killed Miljenko Beus
15 in a wood belonging to Rado Kesa."
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
17 MR. JOSSE: In the last example you gave, number 49, have you any
18 idea of the ethnic origin of the victim and deceased in that case?
19 A. In this case, the victim was a Croat. He was a taxi-driver in
20 Prnjavor. That was his job.
21 Q. I'd like to move on, please, to something you mentioned earlier,
22 and that is the so-called Wolves from Vukjak. It's been alleged, again by
23 at least one Prosecution witness, that they were a paramilitary outfit.
24 What do you say about that?
25 A. I can say that a group of young men, I think about 18 of them,
1 went for training to Knin and they received training from Captain Dragan.
2 After a week, as we heard later, Veljko Milankovic - his name has been
3 mentioned on a number of occasions - joined that group. Upon completion
4 of that training, they returned to Prnjavor and we received information
5 according to which they came back armed. There had been a number of
6 difficult situations with the police, and on those occasions, those men
7 had been disarmed. However, at that time, a conflict broke out in Western
8 Slavonia, and that group, plus some volunteers, so that the group swelled
9 to about 50 or 60 individuals, as I heard later, and under the command of
10 the 1st Krajina Corps and following the orders from the corps commander,
11 General Uzelac, they participated as a military formation in the fighting
12 in Western Slavonia. And I believe they were in a unit which is called
13 309th unit, or something like that.
14 Throughout the war, it was a regular military unit and the
15 civilian authorities had no control over them. They gained fame in combat
16 and quite a few of them were killed. Almost half of this total number of
17 300 at their peak were actually killed. They were killed because, as a
18 unit, which later on depended on General Talic, who commanded the 1st
19 Krajina Corps, were trying to break the lines on the front. And upon
20 completion and every individual action they came back to base because they
21 were never in charge of holding the front lines. And the base was on the
22 territorial of the municipality of Prnjavor.
23 In as far as the civilian authorities were concerned, it was a bit
24 of a problem, because there were about a hundred -- rather, 1.500
25 soldiers, that is to say, one third of the total number of people
1 mobilised in Prnjavor were always on the territory of the municipality,
2 and they were all armed. Our MP, Dragan Djuric, tried to intervene with
3 President Karadzic and tried to get him to reach an agreement with the
4 armed forces on the basis of which soldiers going on home leave would have
5 to leave their weapons at the barracks and come home unarmed. However,
6 General Talic rejected that idea, and his rationale was that military men
7 would not be safe if they were unarmed.
8 You can only imagine how civilian authorities could function if at
9 any given time there were 1.500 people walking around carrying arms and
10 ammunition. However, all things considered, looking back, it wasn't as
11 bad as it could have been, considering how many weapons there were in that
12 part of Bosnia and Herzegovina at that time. And I'm talking about a
13 municipality such as Prnjavor, where there was no combat activity going
14 on. The front line was about 30 kilometres away from the town of
16 I mean, the fact that General Talic actually had -- was in favour
17 of the Wolves can be seen on the basis of special authorisations that they
18 had, a number of prizes that they got. They had special authorisation to
19 get weapons whenever and wherever they wanted. However, the fact is that
20 they were a rather disciplined army. However, they did sometimes cause
21 problems, because throughout the war, the army tried to meddle in civilian
22 affairs. So we started protesting, saying that we couldn't do our job if
23 they kept threatening us and saying that they would replace police
24 officers or start arresting mayors, and that was something that happened
25 quite often. So General Talic, following our insistence when all this
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 culminated in September 1992, finally issued an order which is also
2 included in one of the tabs here, and quite a few things transpired, quite
3 clearly, from that order. He actually ordered for the military police in
4 the municipality of Prnjavor to stop carrying out patrols of the round,
5 that they could only carry out patrols in areas where combat activity was
6 under way, and all police matters were to be taken care of by the police
7 station of the municipality of Prnjavor.
8 Also, he disbanded the Wolves from Vucjak unit. He then formed it
9 again and issued an order for this unit to be sent and deployed in Knin.
10 Q. Have a look at the bundle, Mr. Vasic, at tab 5, please. What is
11 tab 5?
12 A. As I was leaving to go to The Hague, I asked the association of
13 veterans to give me a copy of the CV of one of the fighters that belonged
14 to the Wolves from Vucjak unit, describing the time he spent during the
15 war. And such CVs exist for every fighter from that unit. This is the CV
16 of the deputy commander of the battalion, which clearly shows that
17 throughout the war, they were members of military units of the Army of
18 Republika Srpska.
19 Q. Put it on the screen, because I think that might help all
20 concerned. What is the name of the soldier whose record we see here?
21 A. Miro Sikarac was this soldier's name. When commander Milankovic
22 got killed, this person was appointed commander in his lieu. And earlier
23 on, he was a member of the battalion, and you can see clearly in this
24 document where he was and what he did.
25 Q. And -- yes. When you say "one can see clearly," read out slowly
1 the parts that tell us where he was and what he did.
2 A. He joined the army on the 19th of September, 1991. He joined the
3 Territorial Defence unit at the time. And he was in charge of providing
4 security for various facilities. He remained in that position until the
5 28th of January, 1992, which is four months and ten days all together.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Could we ask the witness first of all to point at the
7 name on the ELMO on the list. I have still some difficulties in finding
8 the name.
9 Could you please, with the pointer, tell us where we find the name
10 of the individual. Please, on the ELMO. Could you please -- no. I'd like
11 you to watch what Madam Usher is showing you. Could you please turn to
12 the right. Could you turn to your right and seek from the instructions of
13 the usher to point at where the name appears on the document, on the ELMO.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I assume this was on page 1, which I
15 either didn't bring with me or it hasn't been photocopied.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, perhaps during the next break you pay
17 attention to -- because the -- what looks very much as a computerised
18 record of activities --
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it is a computerised record.
20 JUDGE ORIE: And where I also see that very often the same text
21 reappears. So even for a translation, a couple of lines would already do
22 and would make the remainder of most of the document understandable. But
23 at least we have no name at this moment, so we can't relate it to any
25 MR. JOSSE: Could I ask -- I'm going to move away from this topic.
1 Could the witness give us, please, binder number 5 that he brought with
2 him. One of those plastic binders that you've got, Mr. Vasic.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Could Mr. Vasic find his own material.
4 MR. JOSSE: Number 5.
5 Q. If you just give that to us, we will look at it and ...
6 JUDGE ORIE: Would you be willing to give it to Mr. Josse so that
7 he can have a look?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not find it necessary to
9 photocopy those. I might have made a mistake. These are the records of
10 some five or six thousand fighters, and I did not photocopy the name page,
11 which obviously was a mistake.
12 JUDGE ORIE: You don't have to apologise for it. Mr. Josse will
13 have a look at it and see how he will proceed.
14 Mr. Josse.
15 MR. JOSSE:
16 Q. I will ask you one other question about these lists in tab 5. What
17 is your understanding as to the relationship between that list and the
18 Wolves? When I say "that list," perhaps I should say that computer
19 printout and the Wolves.
20 A. The link is as follows: In the list of all the fighters that were
21 members of the Republika Srpska army, you can also find the record of the
22 soldiers who were members of the Wolves, from Vucjak. That was only their
23 popular name. People referred to them as Wolves, but otherwise they were
24 members of those units. And my intention was to show you what units they
25 were members of, because they were attached to some eight or nine
1 different units, pursuant to the orders of General Talic. They were
2 members of the 1st Assault Battalion and as such they were attached to
3 various units. This is what their tasks were as volunteers. This was the
4 only unit that was replenished from the ranks of volunteers. All the
5 other units were replenished in the Secretariat for National Defence in
6 different ways. They are the ones who themselves found volunteers and
7 then they would go to the secretariat, asking the secretariat to assign
8 them places in various units. General Talic personally sent them --
9 Q. I'm going to stop you there, because I think you've answered my
10 question and I'm --
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, just for my understanding: From what
12 we've seen at tab 5, I couldn't find a name. Is my understanding correct
13 that this document is not about one person but gives records of many
14 persons? For example, if I look at the fourth and the fifth entrants, I
15 see as starting date in both cases 29th of January, 1992 -- or at least
16 the first date. And the second date in both 17th of March, and at the
17 same time, under 1 I see, well, at least Banja Luka as a place. And on
18 the next one, which very much looks like Slavonia, whether it's Western
19 Slavonia or not. So this is a compilation of many persons.
20 MR. JOSSE: That's our understanding, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No. This is the record of only
23 one person.
24 JUDGE ORIE: But how, then -- I pointed at --
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Many things were recorded. In the
1 veterans association is as follows: Every case is recorded two times.
2 Firstly, which unit they belonged to --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And secondly, where their zone of
5 their combat operations was. They also recorded the date of joining and
6 the date of transfer to another unit. Every time one person was
7 transferred, you will see this date being recorded in two different lines.
8 I don't know why this was done like that. I can't tell you. In any case,
9 what matters here is where you see the name of the war unit. This is what
10 shows you clearly which unit a certain person belonged to.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do I then take it that one record takes
12 approximately 12, 13 lines, so that we have approximately three records on
13 the first page? Is that -- I'm just trying to understand what type of
14 document I've got in front of me.
15 MR. JOSSE: The best one can do, Your Honour, is ask the witness.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I'm asking the witness whether we have three
17 records on the first page, or do we have more?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All these pages belong to one
19 soldier, unless there are double copies. Yes, I actually have double
20 copies of each page. The record of this particular soldier consists of
21 three pages. This is the case of which applies to the Wolves, who were --
22 very often changed units. All the other soldiers have records consisting
23 of only one page, because they remained with the same unit throughout the
24 war. But, as I've already told you, General Talic would assign them very
25 often to different units. They would act as an assault battalion. They
1 would be used to break through the enemy lines and then they would be sent
2 home on leave.
3 JUDGE ORIE: So just to understand: This is about one man, and
4 may I take it that the first 13 lines, then, cover the period of September
5 1991 until the 28th of January, 1992, when he was in the TO of Prnjavor,
6 and that the next 13 lines cover the period of the 29th of January until
7 the 17th of March, when he seems to be related to something in Banja Luka?
8 Is that correct? Could you please either confirm or --
9 A. Yes.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And then --
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. It says the zone of combat
12 operations, Western Slavonia, the war unit from Banja Luka, 8840. This is
13 the designation or the number of the unit.
14 JUDGE ORIE: And then we continue for the period of the 18th of
15 March until the 31st of March, when he was again a member of the TO in
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 JUDGE ORIE: And then the next is about the 1st of April until the
19 14th of May, when he was in Derventa, as far as I can see, a unit from
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. 7127, Derventa.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. At least now I have --
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was when the combat operations
24 had already started in Derventa.
25 JUDGE ORIE: I've got now at least a global idea of what type of
1 document is presented.
2 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And then, Mr. Josse, the first three pages, the
4 witness explained to us that this is a record of one person, three pages.
5 Then the next three pages we find some handwriting on it. Apart from that
6 handwriting, it very much looks as if it is the same document. Could you
7 explain to us what this next three pages are, with handwriting on it on
8 the top, 22nd -- or 22.06.91. We are still in tab 5.
9 MR. JOSSE: It does look identical.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but with some handwriting added.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is my handwriting. When I took
12 the files, I found the soldier and I asked him where he was engaged, and
13 he told me then. It transpired that I didn't know everything. For
14 example, when it says "7519 Prnjavor," he explained to me that this was an
15 infantry brigade. And then here I have made an annotation corridor asking
16 what that was. And then he told me that this was the corridor as a
17 military term. I'm not a military expert, and it was very difficult for
18 me to understand all the military terms. Where it says here "Western
19 Slavonia, 7540" --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I wonder whether it is of any help to have
21 the comments of the witness written to the exhibit which is presented.
22 Therefore, I wonder whether the handwritten, annotated version adds
23 anything as far as a document is concerned.
24 MR. JOSSE: I agree entirely. I'm quite content to have the first
25 three pages exhibited.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Then we take out these fourth, fifth, and
2 sixth page, which contains handwriting and apart from that seems to be the
3 same document. Please proceed.
4 Judge Hanoteau would like to ask a question. And perhaps when he
5 asks the question, then we listen to the answer -- no. No.
6 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] I would like the witness to tell
7 us what he knows about the origin of this group of men, the Wolves, and
8 why were they given this name? Why did people refer to them as "the
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that most of them, if not
11 all of them, were Serbs. The nucleus, when they returned from Knin and
12 they were engaged in Slavonia, most of them were from the municipality of
13 Prnjavor, Derventa, and partly from Doboj. Later on, they also received
14 members from Banja Luka and other places. People volunteered to join
15 them. So they were not territorially limited. They were all very young.
16 I believe that some 70 per cent of them were not older than 19 or 20 at
17 the time. They were renowned for their courage in combat operations. The
18 commander, Milankovic, who joined them down there and imposed himself on
19 the unit and became the commander of the unit, had been known to us before
20 the war as a criminal. There were a lot of criminal reports against him
21 for various crimes. However, during the war, he was wounded twice. He
22 became a war hero and finally he got killed in combat.
23 As a result of his courage and his skills, he was held in very
24 high esteem by General Talic, the commander of the 1st Krajina Corps.
25 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] You didn't answer my question.
1 Where does the name come from?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wouldn't know. I never asked
3 them, not even in informal conversations. I believe that somebody told
4 them in Knin that they should call themselves something to be different
5 from others. One of their characteristics was the fact that they did not
6 wear any hats or caps. Whatever unit they were attached to, they always
7 referred to themselves as the Wolves, although they were never a separate
8 unit, a separate formation. This was their popular name that they had
9 given themselves. And on one sleeve, they wore an insignia depicting a
10 wolf's head.
11 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, Witness.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
13 MR. JOSSE: I'd like now, Mr. Vasic, to turn to political --
14 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, Mr. Gaynor has arrived. If the Court
15 had expressed an interest in the last few minutes, before Mr. Josse turns
16 to a different topic.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 MR. HARMON: We're at your disposal, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Josse, since it seems that you're moving to
20 your next subject, perhaps it could wait and we could first hear what
21 Mr. Gaynor wants to respond to the motions filed by the Defence, then have
22 a break, and that we then start with your next subject.
23 MR. JOSSE: Yes, Your Honour, that's fine.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Gaynor.
25 MR. JOSSE: Could the witness --
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Perhaps -- the witness doesn't have to -- we
2 have to discuss, Mr. Vasic, a procedural issue which is still outstanding,
3 which takes us a couple of minutes. We have a break after that. So
4 there's no need for you to stay at this moment, so you could follow
5 Madam Usher and we'd like to see you back most likely at approximately
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 [The witness stands down]
9 MR. JOSSE: Whilst the witness is leaving the court, Your Honour,
10 could the Chamber inform me: Are the Defence entitled to an oral
11 rejoinder of Mr. Gaynor's submissions? I ask because --
12 JUDGE ORIE: It depends what he'll say. If he says that he fully
13 agrees with the Defence, then of course there would be no need, but that's
14 not apparently what you expect.
15 Mr. Gaynor, let's first listen to him and then -- Mr. Gaynor.
16 MR. GAYNOR: Your Honours, the Defence has made three applications
17 for certification. Two were filed on the 5th of October; one was filed on
18 the 6th of October. I presume you wish me to respond in respect of all
19 three. Is that correct?
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Whatever outstanding, we have to decide upon.
21 MR. GAYNOR: The Prosecution opposes all three Defence
22 applications for certifications. In brief, our position is that the
23 Defence has failed to meet the criteria set out in Rule 73(B) in order for
24 the Trial Chamber to be in a position to exercise its discretion to grant
25 certification, even if the criteria in Rule 73(B) are met, the Trial
1 Chamber does retain a discretion to deny certification.
2 JUDGE ORIE: But let's just try to be clear. Isn't it true that
3 one of the motions is not for certification but is for an extension of
4 time to seek certification?
5 MR. GAYNOR: That's correct, Your Honour. It starts out that way.
6 However, the motion goes on to actually seek such certification in
7 paragraph 10, subparagraph 2, of that motion, the Defence actually seeks
8 such certification. Now, in respect of the application for extension of
9 time for that particular motion, the Defence has relied on a decision in
10 the Blagojevic case, in which the Trial Chamber did make a suggestion that
11 an appeal as of right lay in respect of decisions taken pursuant to Rule
12 98 bis. Now, there are considerable number of other decisions before the
13 Trial Chamber and which certification was granted following decisions
14 rendered pursuant to Rule 98 bis. Therefore, it was certainly open to the
15 Defence to take the view that certification was still required under the
16 new Rule. And there was really nothing in the new Rule which should have
17 led the Defence to believe that an automatic right of appeal had suddenly
18 come into existence where it did not exist before. Therefore, it may be
19 that Your Honours wish to take the position that there is no good cause
20 that's been shown by the Defence to grant the Defence an extension of time
21 in order to apply for certification.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's about the extension of time. Now about
23 the certification as such. You say the Defence has not met the
24 requirements of 73, I think it's B, but I have to look that up.
25 MR. GAYNOR: Yes.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please explain to us in what respect the
2 Defence has not met the requirement.
3 MR. GAYNOR: Certainly. One by one. In relation to the Defence
4 application for certification pursuant to Rule 73(B), to appeal against a
5 decision on the motion for an extension of time. Here, essentially, the
6 Defence is re-arguing the merits of its original application. Rule 73(B)
7 is not intended to provide an avenue for re-arguing the merits. It's
8 intended to provide for an appeal where the Trial Chamber has erred or may
9 have erred on the matter of fact or of law. Now, the Defence suggests
10 that the Trial Chamber unreasonably disregarded the shortage of time,
11 resources available to the Defence. The decision shows that the Trial
12 Chamber took due regard of the amount of time and resources available to
13 the Defence throughout the totality of these proceedings. It acted within
14 its discretion and no error in the exercise of that discretion has been
15 shown. The Defence goes on to say that the Trial Chamber attached
16 disproportionate weight to the question of the accused's obligations to
17 contribute financially to his own defence and unduly penalised him, with
18 the result that a fair trial has been unreasonably jeopardised.
19 Our response to that is that the Trial Chamber in no way acted
20 unreasonably. It took into account the Defence's own submissions that the
21 accused has been very difficult with his own Defence team, to use the
22 Defence -- Defence's own words. And it also took into account that the
23 Defence itself has taken the position that the failure of the accused to
24 present 180.000 dollars has had a significant detrimental effect on the
25 presentation of Mr. Krajisnik's defence. Further, the Trial Chamber, in
1 fixing the date of the 3rd of October, 2005, to commence the Defence case
2 took into account submissions made by the Defence on the 23rd of August in
3 which the Defence suggested that it might be ready on the 1st of October.
4 Finally, in the Defence's -- in the Trial Chamber's decision, the
5 Trial Chamber ordered the Defence to file in the most complete form
6 possible, the list of witnesses. It did not require an exhaustive list of
7 witnesses. It did not require the Defence to file its list of exhibits at
8 that time. The order provided by the Trial Chamber built -- contained
9 built into it a great deal of flexibility, and it's our position that no
10 error in the exercise of the Trial Chamber's discretion has been shown in
11 respect of that particular application.
12 Now, in the application also filed on the 5th of October, entitled
13 "Defence application for certification pursuant to Rule 73(B) of the
14 Rules of Procedure and Evidence, to appeal against a decision on Defence
15 motion to stay the proceedings," our position here is that an appeal on
16 this would certainly not help to expedite these proceedings. In fact,
17 appellate litigation on this issue would frustrate the expeditious conduct
18 of the proceedings. The Defence have essentially asked the Trial Chamber
19 to reconsider its decision not to hold in abeyance this trial while a
20 possible Rule 98 bis appeal may go on. There is no general right for a
21 trial to grind to a halt while an interlocutory appeal is taking place.
22 The Trial Chamber has set out very clearly in its decision on the Defence
23 motion to stay the proceedings, its understanding of how -- if an appeal
24 were to be successful under Rule 98 bis, how it would deal with the
25 evidence which had been presented by the Defence until that moment in
1 time. There has been no error in the Trial Chamber's exercise of
2 discretion in that decision either.
3 On the decision of the 6th of October, 2005, this is the decision
4 which in that motion -- this is the motion in which the Defence seeks an
5 extension of time, pursuant to Rule 127, to apply for certification, and
6 applies for certification are responded to the point on this application
7 for an extension of time. In respect of the merits of the appeal itself,
8 again, the Defence only made a very bare assertion in its Rule 98 bis
9 submission concerning the whole of the indictment. Its detailed
10 submissions were concerning really two points, first of all, whether there
11 was any prejudice to the fundamental rights of the accused caused by the
12 new Rule 98 bis; and second, whether the Prosecution had established --
13 had put forward evidence meeting the 98 bis threshold in respect of the
14 genocide of the Bosnian Croats. Those were the two reasoned submissions
15 for -- the Defence made. The Trial Chamber is not obliged to consider
16 unreasoned submissions or any of bare assertions made by the Defence.
17 It's only obliged to consider those reasoned decision made by the Defence.
18 The Rule 98 bis decision itself considered the Defence's submissions in
19 detail and no possible error of fact or law has been identified by the
20 Defence. And for those reasons, we'd oppose that application also.
21 Unless I can help you further, that ends our submission.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Gaynor.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Now we've heard the response by the Prosecution.
24 Mr. Josse, would you like to --
25 MR. JOSSE: I can be very brief, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
2 MR. JOSSE: Could I in fact primarily deal with the request for
3 the extension of time in order to certify the 98 bis. Because in my
4 submission, that is an important matter.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 MR. JOSSE: I would submit --
7 JUDGE ORIE: You'd say, if there's no extension of time, you're
8 too late.
9 MR. JOSSE: There's no question about that. What I would submit
10 is that in the -- this Chamber should ask itself first of all, in fact,
11 whether it would in fact certify. The answer to that, despite what
12 Mr. Gaynor said, must be yes. For a Chamber not to certify a 98 bis
13 appeal would have to be extremely unusual. There were reasoned
14 submissions. I accept what Mr. Gaynor said about some of the bold
15 assertion that is were made, but there were reasoned submissions in
16 relation to certain aspects of this indictment and in the normal course of
17 events, the Defence submit this Chamber would certify.
18 So far as the extension of time is concerned, there was a
19 misunderstanding of the part of the Defence. It wasn't an unreasonable
20 misunderstanding, we submit, bearing in mind the recent change in the
21 Rules. The position is at the very best moot. The Appeals Chamber have
22 now decided and have decided that one does still need to seek
23 certification, notwithstanding the change of the Rules, but has shut the
24 Defence out. As this Prosecution are now suggesting, let's make no bones
25 about it, as they are now suggesting would be unfair in the extreme,
1 bearing in mind the fact that it was an error in relation to what is, as
2 I've already said, a rather moot new rule.
3 So far as Mr. Gaynor's other submissions are concerned, could I
4 say two things. First of all, he simply rehashes exactly what Mr. Tieger
5 said. He addresses the merits of the various motions. He doesn't, in my
6 submission, actually address the Rules in any very specific way.
7 And finally this: Yet again, and I don't blame Mr. Gaynor for
8 this because it was part of this Chamber's reasons for rejecting this
9 particular motion, the matter of my client's financial contribution has
10 been raised. It's a matter, as the Chamber is well aware, of the utmost
11 sensitivity to Mr. Krajisnik and he's asked me to mention he simply
12 doesn't accept what's been said in relation to that. I might put that on
13 the record again. Those are my submissions.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Josse.
15 The Chamber will consider the matter and we will give decisions as
16 soon as possible, possibly oral decisions.
17 MR. JOSSE: I think Mr. Krajisnik is concerned probably about the
18 last thing that I said. Apparently he'd like to consult me on that issue.
19 I will speak to him during this adjournment.
20 JUDGE ORIE: If you would speak to Mr. Krajisnik during the break,
21 and if there would be anything to be added, you could do that immediately
22 after the break.
23 MR. JOSSE: Very kind of Your Honour.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Then we will adjourn until 5 minutes past 11.00.
25 --- Recess taken at 10.35 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 11.11 a.m.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I would give you an opportunity to
3 immediately address us after the break, once you had consulted with
4 Mr. Krajisnik.
5 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, could I make it clear that Mr. Krajisnik,
6 and I speak very much on his behalf here, does not accept the assertion
7 that he has failed to comply with his financial obligation. And what we
8 submit is this: That the Chamber placed too much reliance on
9 Mr. Krajisnik's alleged failure to make that financial contribution in
10 relation to its decision not to grant more time. And the issue, the
11 relationship between that financial contribution or lack of it and the
12 granting of more time, or in fact in this case, not granting more time to
13 the Defence, is one that should be considered on appeal.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's perfectly clear, what you tell us.
15 Before we continue, I would have one additional question. We're talking
16 about three decisions, two filed on the 5th and one on the 6th of October.
17 One of these requests for certification was later called a dead duck --
18 MR. JOSSE: Yes.
19 JUDGE ORIE: -- by Mr. Stewart. That is the certification to appeal
20 our decision not to grant a stay during the, at that time, appeal lying as
21 of right. Meanwhile, the Appeals Chamber has decided that first
22 application -- I mean, that's why we are dealing at this moment with some
23 of the other ...
24 The 6th of October submission, which asked for extension of time
25 to apply for a certification to appeal against -- I mean, that's the
1 result of the decision of the Appeals Chamber. And that certification to
2 appeal our decision not to grant a stay is -- seems to be moot at this
4 MR. JOSSE: That, I think, is right, Your Honour. Because first
5 of all, of course, this Chamber would have to grant the extension of time
6 and the certification in relation to 98 bis. If it didn't do that, the
7 stay would clearly be redundant. If this Chamber would grant the
8 certification in relation to the 98 bis, as I understand it, and I don't
9 pretend to be a huge expert on these rules, we then need to seek an
10 extension of time from the Appeals Chamber, because we would be out of
11 time so far as they're concerned. And it was only then I suppose if the
12 Appeals Chamber granted us an extension of time could we ask for a stay.
13 JUDGE ORIE: I'm not quite sure about that, because it might be
14 you have a limited time once the certification has been granted to file an
15 appeal. So if we would grant an extension of time and if we would grant a
16 certificate, then an the basis to certify the appeal, I think you would
17 still have sufficient time. But whatever that may be, the 5th of October
18 request for certification to appeal against our decision not to grant a
19 stay was to grant a stay in respect of the appeal as had been filed.
20 MR. JOSSE: Yes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: And I think that matter is now closed.
22 MR. JOSSE: Yes.
23 JUDGE ORIE: And if there would ever in the future be a moment
24 where the Defence would consider again to ask for a stay or to -- then
25 we'll see, but this one at least is resolved, I would say.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. JOSSE: With respect, I accept that.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then we have two motions to decide upon in view
3 of certificates. There's one other procedural matter I'd like to briefly
5 Again and again, we have not been struggling, but we at least have
6 heard some evidence about majorities and minorities in terms of
7 nationalities or ethnicities, but as far as I know, the 1990 census is not
8 in evidence, which of course would give us the information very often now
9 sought from witnesses. Could the parties agree that we would have the
10 results of this census in evidence so that we don't have to revisit the
11 matter again and again?
12 MR. JOSSE: I thought the witness dealt with it orally at the
13 beginning of his testimony.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but the next witness we'll have to do the same
15 for his municipality and then for the next municipality we'll have to do
16 it the same. If we once would have -- if the Chamber would call upon the
17 parties to provide us with the results of the census, then we would all
18 have it in front of us.
19 MR. JOSSE: That seems very sensible, if I might say.
20 JUDGE ORIE: And if there would be any need to refer to it, of
21 course, we could always do it. It's not to remain silent on majorities
22 and minorities from that moment, but we don't have to establish what it
23 was on the basis of the census.
24 MR. TIEGER: I would completely agree, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Any party volunteering for -- I mean, we'd like
1 to have this in evidence.
2 MR. TIEGER: We'll be happy to volunteer, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
4 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Josse, we'll ask Madam Usher to escorted
6 the witness into the courtroom and then you'll have an opportunity to
7 continue your examination-in-chief.
8 At the end of this morning's session, I'll ask the registrar to
9 attribute provisional exhibit numbers to the exhibits we've dealt with. Of
10 course, we could not admit them until we have received the translation.
11 Usually we wait for the translation before we admit any document into
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vasic, please be seated.
15 Mr. Josse, you may continue.
16 MR. JOSSE:
17 Q. I'd like now to ask you, Mr. Vasic, about the destruction of
18 religious buildings in Prnjavor in 1992. Briefly, could you list those
19 religious buildings that were destroyed or attacked in your municipality
20 in that time.
21 A. In the municipality of Prnjavor, there were three Catholic
22 churches. One was situated at Kulasi, one in Prnjavor itself, and one
23 where the Italians lived in the village called Stivor. Already earlier
24 on, when I was referring to those eight people who had been arrested, I
25 mentioned that church at Kulasi, where the Catholic priest was beaten up.
1 He then went to Zagreb. And the Italian church at the Stivor village,
2 except for a single graffiti, had never been damaged. As to the other
3 church at Kulasi, we had a meeting with the inhabitants of Croat
4 nationality on the next day within the church itself. And then we had
5 another meeting with the bishop Komarica in Banja Luka.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vasic, would you first focus on answering the
7 question. Because you were not asked about meetings, you were not asked
8 about where the priest went, but you were asked about destruction of
9 places of worship, churches, mosques, whatever. Could you please focus on
11 MR. JOSSE: I think we'll move on --
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The church in Prnjavor -- well,
13 there was an attempt to mine it. And two soldiers -- one soldier from
14 Banja Luka and one from Celinac, were arrested and they had two bombs in
15 their possession, tank bombs. And they were questioned, and after
16 questioning, they were escorted by police officers to the prosecutor's
17 office in Banja Luka. And so the church was not mined, and even today
18 there is no damage to speak of there. There was a single graffiti. It
19 said "Seselj." And a week ago, the facade of this church was re-painted
20 and so even that single graffiti has now disappeared.
21 So those two churches were not destroyed. Ukrainian minority
22 church at Prnjavor was destroyed. There were two Ukrainian churches, one
23 Catholic, or rather, the Unionist and an Orthodox church. So the
24 Ukrainian Unionist church was not destroyed, and the Ukrainian Orthodox
25 church was. A couple of days before this attempt at destroying the
1 Catholic church in Prnjavor, during questioning at the police station, one
2 woman recognised one of the arrested individuals and she said that she did
3 see him next to the Ukrainian Orthodox church. We were of the view --
4 MR. JOSSE:
5 Q. I'm going to stop you and ask you to move on, because you've dealt
6 there with the various churches.
7 A. Fine.
8 Q. To mosques, please.
9 A. The mosque in the village of Lisnja and Poraci, that's a single
10 village, in fact. It is a part of the village of Lisnja which is called
11 Poraci and there were two mosques there. In the aforementioned action,
12 both mosques were destroyed. In the same way, later on when we saw the
13 reports, we learned that shots were being fired from the mosques and that
14 there was an arms warehouse in the mosque. I don't know whether this is
15 correct or not. The Prnjavor mosque was destroyed and the criminal report
16 was filed against unknown perpetrators. A mosque in Konjuhovci was
17 destroyed in 1994 and a suspect was brought in.
18 Q. I'm going to stop you there, because we don't need to examine 1994
19 at this stage.
20 Have a look, please, at tab 9 of the bundle.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Before you ask the witness to do so, could the
22 witness please explain when he said that shots were fired from the mosque
23 and that the mosque in Lisnja was destroyed during the action. How was it
24 destroyed? I mean, you can mine a mosque, you can take hammers and take
25 out the basement. What -- in what way was the mosque destroyed?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said -- I just heard from the
2 police and the people involved in that action, but I myself was not an
3 eyewitness to anything. I heard those rumours about the Poraci mosque,
4 but I had arrived and I was standing together with the Muslim president
5 Ramo Seperovic when two soldiers came along and said that the mosque was
6 on fire. They asked what they should do, and I turned round and I looked
7 and saw a shop and I saw two fire extinguishers there and I said, "Break
8 the glass and get these fire extinguishers and try to put out the fire."
9 That's what they did, and --
10 JUDGE ORIE: This is not an answer to my question. I mean, a
11 mosque can be on fire because of arson, a mosque can be on fire because it
12 was hit by any grenade or mortar fire. What do you know what destroyed
13 the mosque? Because just fire just often --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know that detail. I'm not
15 aware of that detail. All I know is that the president of the village, a
16 Muslim, can probably tell you, because he was standing next to me and he
17 can testify to the fact that an attempt was made to put the fire out. But
18 I don't know how it was set on fire. I wasn't even allowed to go there,
19 because I was a civilian. I was standing there with the president of the
20 village, at a distance of about 500 metres, 500 metres away from the
21 events that were taking place at the end of that action. Because I got
22 there rather late as well.
23 JUDGE ORIE: The mosque and the minaret, were they of bricks or of
24 wood? What was the construction?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The upper part was made of wood, and
1 there was quite a bit of wood there, in fact. And other than that, it was
2 a brick building.
3 JUDGE ORIE: The minaret?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The minaret was made out of wood.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Was made out of wood. Was it still standing when you
6 saw it or was it already -- I mean, was the construction still there or
7 was it just the remains?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Those two guys came back after a
9 while and they said that they couldn't put it out because it was made of
10 timber and that fire had caught everything.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The young men in question were
13 Sinisa Gataric and another one called Ricko. They're the two people who
14 tried to put the fire out. They were members of the police force.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
16 MR. JOSSE:
17 Q. Have a look at tab number 9, please, Mr. Vasic. First document in
18 that tab, the one in Cyrillic, please put it on the ELMO, because I'm
19 going to ask you to read this. If you'd read it out, then I'll ask you
20 some questions about it.
21 A. "The Crisis Staff of the municipality of Prnjavor, on the 14th
22 meeting held on the 23rd of June, 1992, looking into the request of the
23 Main Staff of the Islamic religious community of Prnjavor relating the
24 security of religious buildings in Galipoljice and Konjuhovci reached the
25 following conclusion: The Crisis Staff is in favour with providing
1 security with regard to the religious buildings of the Islamic religious
2 community in these places and for that to be done on the part of the
3 police officers of the police station in Prnjavor.
4 "As to the price for that and number of people needed, this is the
5 information -- the facts that will be established at a later stage,
6 together with representatives of the Islamic religious community in
8 Q. And dealing with the right hand bottom corner, there's a stamp.
9 What is that stamp?
10 A. This is the stamp of the municipality of Prnjavor and my signature
11 as president of the Crisis Staff in this case.
12 Q. Does it have your name there in Cyrillic?
13 A. Yes. It says Nemanja Vasic, a graduate in economics.
14 Q. And what about in the left-hand corner, opposite that, where it
15 says 1, 2, 3? Would you read out the heading and 1, 2, 3, please.
16 A. It says: "To be delivered to the public security station in
17 Prnjavor." That's number 1. Number 2: "The main council of the Islamic
18 community in Prnjavor." And number 3 is the files of the Crisis Staff.
19 Q. We haven't dealt with the Crisis Staff, but you've just told us
20 you were the president of it. We might come back to that a bit later.
21 But why did the Crisis Staff make this promulgation?
22 A. The Crisis Staff passed this decision for two reasons. The first
23 one was the fact that a request had been made by the Islamic community for
24 us to do that. And the second one was the fact that there were fears that
25 something like that might happen because the rate of crime was on the
1 rise, the crimes could not be curbed. There were lots of people with
2 weapons roaming around the town and the police station had a very
3 difficult time coping with all that. Basically, this was a measure of
5 Q. Turn to the second document, please, in this particular folder.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, one thing is not entirely clear in
7 relation to this document. When read out, it says that the price has to
8 be set at a later stage. What do I have to understand by "the price"?
9 Was this just a matter of calculation for what it would cost the
10 municipality of Prnjavor or would they have to pay for -- would the
11 Islamic community have to pay for these measures of protection?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Since the police station had its
13 superiors along the vertical line, we could only issue conclusions, but
14 not orders. Or we could agree with some orders, if some costs were
15 accrued. There was room for the Islamic community and the public security
16 station to reach an agreement. In this particular case, there was no
17 compensation, nothing was paid for the services. This was just a way of
18 preventing somebody coming up with an excuse, and the excuse being
19 additional cost. That's why this clause was included into the conclusion.
20 JUDGE ORIE: That's clear. Thank you very much.
21 MR. JOSSE:
22 Q. The second document in this tab is from a bishop, as we can see.
23 Am I right? I'm sure I can lead on this. He was the Catholic bishop of
24 Banja Luka.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And if you would read -- the letter is to a Mr. Vincic, is that
3 A. Yes. I started telling you about that. After the events in
4 Kolasanin [phoen], after the group that had attacked the priest had been
5 arrested, I made an arrangement with the bishop in Banja Luka for the
6 transport of the priest from Prnjavor to be secured so that he could hold
7 services in Kolasija [phoen]. And you can see what was done and then --
8 I'll start reading it now, as a matter of fact.
9 "The Mr. Vincic, the chief of the public security station of
11 "Dear Sir, I have been informed about your attempts to preserve
12 the necessary peace and order in these hard times in the area of your
13 competence. I'm also familiar with your attempts to provide our
14 parishioners to follow religious services. For a while now, one of the
15 police officers of your police station has been escorting the priest, who
16 goes to the church in Kulasi to perform religious services there. I would
17 like to express my gratitude for all your help. In these hard times,
18 people like you are very precious, because they appreciate that there can
19 be no real state without the rule of law, which provides guarantees for
20 the human rights to every person, to every religious or ethnic community.
21 I am convinced that you will continue pursuing this. I would like to
22 thank you once again. I remain your sincerely Franjo Komarica, the bishop
23 of Banja Luka."
24 MR. JOSSE: I'm going to move on, because I think that speaks for
25 itself. Could we move on to the issue of population movements, please.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. I want to ask you about, firstly - and listen to my question
2 carefully, Mr. Vasic - problems that the civilian authorities in Prnjavor
3 faced in 1991 and 1992 in relation to Serb refugees.
4 A. At the beginning of combat operations in Western Slavonia, 9.000
5 refugees of Serbian ethnic background arrived in the municipality of
6 Prnjavor. All those refugees were accommodated, in 99 per cent of the
7 cases, in the Serbian houses. In my house, I had nine refugees for a year
8 and a half. Since this was just the beginning of conflict in Croatia, in
9 Bosnia there was still no war, and in economic terms, they did not pose
10 too much problem for us, because the population in Prnjavor still had
11 plenty of food and funds to provide for that population. And the
12 municipality itself also had ample funds to assist them with that.
13 Q. I'd now like to move on to the departure of Muslims from Prnjavor
14 in, firstly, 1991, 1992. Were there any departures, and if so, when and
16 JUDGE ORIE: Before we ask the witness, just for my better
17 understanding of his previous answer, the beginning of combat operations
18 in Western Slavonia. When in time was that, approximately?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was when the conflict in
20 Croatia started. I believe we're talking about 1991, as early as that.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Any more specific time of the year, spring,
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that it was the autumn of
24 1991, or thereabouts.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
1 MR. JOSSE: Yes.
2 Q. I'll repeat the question I asked a moment ago. Were there any
3 departures of Muslims from the Prnjavor municipality in 1991 and 1992, and
4 if so, why?
5 A. If you will allow me one sentence about something that is
6 important with regard to that question. Before the war, there were about
7 7.000 people working in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland from the
8 municipality of Prnjavor. Out of those, some 1.500 were Muslims. And
9 when it looked like the conflict from Croatia would spill over to Bosnia
10 and Herzegovina, all these people who worked abroad tried to bring their
11 wives and children away from Bosnia and Herzegovina and bring them over to
12 them, where they worked. That's why in 1991 and 1992, that is immediately
13 before the conflict, most of the people left Prnjavor. The next wave was
14 in 1995. According to our estimates, about 2.000 Serbs and about 1.000 to
15 1.500 Muslims all together left during that period of time. They were just
16 afraid of a war, and also some others left if they could obtain either
17 work permits or visas to go to other countries.
18 At that time, when this was being done, there was still no
19 conflict and they could not seek asylum. The main characteristics of
20 departures that took place early on was the fact that they had members of
21 family already living abroad and that's how they could obtain visas to
22 move out to third countries. And the main reason why they did that was
23 their fear of war.
24 Q. There have been allegations in this courtroom in relation to your
25 municipality that Muslims had to pay for the privilege of leaving. What
1 do you say about that?
2 A. The executive board of the municipality of Prnjavor could issue
3 decrees or orders stipulating the conditions of departure. They had to
4 settle their bills, first of all. Because these departures took place
5 before the conflict. So this applied to everybody across the board, to
6 the Serbs, Muslims, and Croats. All of them had to settle their debts,
7 pursuant to some orders that the executive board could issue. And I know
8 that it was said in the courtroom here that some people had to pay for
9 their departure, but that happened later on, when those people were
10 transported via the corridor through Serbia and Hungary, by private
11 companies from Germany and Austria. There was still traffic for as long
12 as there was corridor, there was traffic through that corridor. And I
13 don't exclude the possibility that they had to pay either to the drivers
14 or the organisers of those journeys for their illegal passage. But I only
15 heard rumours of that. I was never officially informed of any such thing
16 happening. I'm talking about the period 1991, 1992.
17 Q. After the exodus that you have just described, were any Muslims
18 left in Prnjavor for the duration of the war?
19 A. According to our estimates, some 1.500 Muslims remained there
20 throughout the war. We don't have any official records of that. I
21 believe that Merhamet will have that, Merhamet is the only organisation
22 that functioned as of September 1992 as the organisation of the Muslim
23 people in the municipality of Prnjavor. And later on, from mid-1991 to
24 the end of the war, in case people wanted to leave, this organisation
25 cooperated with the Red Cross and they drafted lists, they delivered them
1 to the Red Cross, they provided for escorts and things like that. But up
2 to 1995, I believe that not more than 1.000 people left, in smaller
3 groups, and they ended up in the countries of western Europe. Very few of
4 them ended up in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is.
5 Q. Those that remained throughout the war, in your estimation, as
6 president of the Municipal Assembly, were they persecuted?
7 A. Those who remained, in my view, were not persecuted. But they
8 suffered maybe a bit more than the Serbs, because there were fewer of
9 them. There were various problems, and all of those were an integral part
10 of the war. In case they wanted to move about, they were issued with the
11 same permits as the Serbs. And those permits were to assist them. If
12 anybody had been caught without a permit on any of the roads there, there
13 were a lot of checkpoints, military checkpoints, where the military
14 stopped vehicles, would not allow passage to anybody who did not have a
15 permit of that kind. They were not terrorised in the sense of being
16 sacked from their jobs, like some witnesses claimed here, but they had to
17 obey rules, they had to act in keeping with the regulations, just like
18 anybody else, Serbs or any other people.
19 In your documents, you can see a list of people who were issued
20 with permits to move about, and you can see that there is a lot more Serbs
21 than Muslims there. And as for people being fired, could you please show
22 the Chamber a decision that I signed on behalf of the Municipal Assembly.
23 This decision was issued on the 11th of October, 1991.
24 Q. You've referred, Mr. Vasic, to two different documents. First of
25 all, if we go to tab 8, actually.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Before we do so, could we ask from the witness where
2 he said the Muslims suffered more because there were fewer, which is not
3 immediately understood by me.
4 In what way did they suffer more, a bit more, Mr. Vasic?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it is only logical. If 1.500
6 Serbian soldiers move around the town with weapons, then Muslims would
7 fear more than the Serbs if put in the same situation of having to walk
8 through the same streets. And also there were some night visits and
9 intimidation, and it happened more to the Muslims than to the Serbs. And
10 it can also be seen from the documents that you have what measures were
11 being put in place to prevent those things.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
13 MR. JOSSE:
14 Q. Let's first of all -- I don't think we do need to put it on the
15 ELMO, actually. Take tab 8, please, in front of you. It's clearly a
16 list. It's a handwritten list. Well, it has been put on the ELMO.
17 That's fine. What is this, Mr. -- in fact, could we go to the second
18 page, which is 1992, please, because it's a little more relevant. What is
20 A. This is a list of people who were issued with a permit to leave,
21 either to go abroad, to Banja Luka, to Belgrade. So these are issues to
22 move outside of the municipality of Prnjavor. If somebody wanted to move
23 about the municipality of Prnjavor, they didn't have to be issued with any
24 special permit. These are several different lists pertaining to different
25 years, to different days. We had many such lists, because a lot of people
1 applied for a permit to move out or to go out of the municipality on any
2 given day. And looking at the names, you can tell what the nationality of
3 these people were. In this particular list that is now on the ELMO, under
4 number 838, you can see Nevzeta Dervic, a Muslim lady from Prnjavor. The
5 next on the list is Gordana Tomas, a Serbian lady from Prnjavor. The next
6 one is Milica Dopudj, also a Serbian lady. Biserka Dopudj, another
7 Serbian lady. This is not legible. The family name is Avdic. The
8 father's name is Muhamed, and this means that the person is Muslim. Then
9 Gordana Mihajlovic, a Serbian lady. Tomo Korjanic, a Serb under 845.
10 Under 846, Stojan Marjanovic, a Serbian. Nada Bardak, 847, a Serbian
11 lady. 848, Dusan Korjanic, a Serb. 849, Meho Pandzo, a Muslim. 850,
12 Mahmut Mesic, a Muslim. 851, Boska Kitic Ilija, a Serb. 852, Stefano
13 Fedlesic, Italian.
14 Q. I'm going to stop you, because for my purposes, we get the idea.
15 And so who would have made these entries in these particular ledgers that
16 the municipality kept? In other words, who was the record-maker?
17 A. This record was kept by the official who was in charge of issuing
18 permits to all the citizens who applied for one and who were entitled to
19 be issued with one. And everybody was entitled to being issued with a
21 Q. Could we now turn to tab 4, please. And in tab 4, I hope
22 somewhere near the front, is a document in Cyrillic, but on the first line
23 has the date the 11th of October, 1991.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Could it be put on the ELMO so that we can all see
25 what we're talking about. It looks as if it's the first page under tab 4.
1 Is that -- yes.
2 MR. JOSSE:
3 Q. Before you read this out, just tell us what it is, because it may
4 not all be relevant.
5 A. This is a decision on measures being taken with regard to the
6 complex political and security situation in the territory of the
7 municipality of Prnjavor. This was issued by the Municipal Assembly of
8 Prnjavor on the 11th of October, 1991, when this was the time when the
9 municipality was still functioning, all the MPs were there, the assembly
10 was being convened and all the parties had their seats in the Municipal
11 Assembly, the SDS and all the other parties.
12 Q. It's number 3 that I want you to read out, please.
13 A. "It is ordered to the company managers that on 15 October 1991
14 they send an official for national defence or any other responsible person
15 to the Municipal Secretariat for National Defence, in order to define a
16 list of conscripts who will be issued a mobilisation call to the war units
17 or Territorial Defence, or the list of conscripts who have responded to
18 those calls and who have not responded to that call. All those who have
19 not responded to the call without reason and who have failed to turn out
20 for work within the stipulated deadline should be issued a decision on
21 their jobs being terminated."
22 Q. And what does that mean, please?
23 A. This means that all those who have been called to join the army
24 did not have to come to work. A lot of witnesses have said that if they
25 didn't join the army, that they were fired. One has to pay special
1 attention to the part of the sentence which reads: "If they failed to
2 respond to the call for mobilisation without a reason," and I
3 emphasise, "Who have failed to turn up for work within the stipulated
4 deadline provided for by the law, these people should be issued with a
5 decision on the termination of their job."
6 This means that those who didn't want to join the army had to
7 continue coming to work. Under the law on labour relations that was in
8 effect at the time, if you failed to turn up for work for three days
9 without any justified reason, you would lose your job. The motive for
10 this decision had more to do with the Serbs than anybody else. The
11 military wanted to have a clear record of those who failed to respond to
12 the mobilisation call. They were deserters in their book and they could
13 easily be found at work if they indeed continued working. That's why
14 people did not turn up for work, in order not to be found by the military.
15 And we were responsible for the companies functioning properly. A lot of
16 workers had been mobilised and a lot of them had failed to turn up for
17 work, and the companies still had to operate, and we were in charge of
18 supervising that.
19 If somebody was fired, that doesn't mean that they were fired
20 because they had failed to respond to the mobilisation call, but because
21 they had failed to turn up for work. And this is clear from this
23 Q. I'd next like to turn your attention to tab 10, please.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Just in order to avoid whatever misunderstanding: So
25 you tell us that they were fired for not showing up at work. But if they
1 did not follow the --
2 A. I didn't say --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Well, at least that then they could be fired if they
4 would not appear at their jobs. And that if they did not follow the -- if
5 they had not responded to the mobilisation call, that they were at risk to
6 be found by the military if they would be on their jobs. Being deserters,
7 they could be easily found there. And did I understand you well that for
8 that reason they might not have shown up at work?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Obviously, there's a
10 misunderstanding here, or maybe I didn't make myself clear. It says here
11 that the company managers were being ordered to send national defence
12 advisor or somebody else in charge of those matters because it needed to
13 be established what the situation was, and they had to act in line with
14 the law. I didn't say that they would be dismissed automatically. I just
15 explained that there were certain cases, but you can't see that directly
16 on the basis of this particular article of the decision. But the main aim
17 was to have a full record of all the people. That was the order we had
18 received to help with the mobilisation process. And one form of such
19 assistance would be this: According to the previous system that applied
20 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, every company had one employee who was in charge
21 of, generally speaking, national defence issues. So it was simply in
22 order to establish how many people responded to this mobilisation call,
23 who didn't -- who did so for justified reasons, who did so for unjustified
24 reasons, and therefore, if those reasons were found to be unjustified, the
25 people in question would be dismissed. That was just a set of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 instructions for company directors.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do understand that. But apart from the
3 decision itself, you explained to us, and I just wanted to verify whether
4 I correctly understood it, that those who without any valid reasons failed
5 to respond to the mobilisation call, that those were considered - and I'm
6 now using your own words - "deserters, and that they could be easily found
7 at work if they indeed continued working. That's why people did not turn
8 up for work." And as a consequence for not turning up for work, you could
9 be fired. Is that -- I'm just trying to see the logic in your answer and
10 to see whether I fully understood it.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've tried to explain the fact that
12 we had to have complete records, because the people at the company might
13 have thought that a certain employee was at war. And the military thought
14 that the person was at work. It would have been a bit confusing. We had
15 to establish where everybody was. And perhaps they had the impression
16 that if they were in a certain place, the reason given would be
17 unjustified reasons, et cetera, I probably would have had the same
18 impression had I been in their place.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but apart from having good records to know
20 exactly what happened, I can imagine that a factory would like to know
21 whether one of their workers was absent because he went -- he responded to
22 the mobilisation call or whether he would be absent for any other reason.
23 I fully understand that. But this in fact resulted in those who did not
24 respond to the mobilisation call were at risk, as you explained to us,
25 when they went back to their jobs, because they could be found there, and
1 while not showing up at their jobs, they were at a risk of being fired,
2 having no good reason not to be on their jobs. Is that a correct
3 understanding of what happened? I fully understand that those responsible
4 both for factories and for the military would like to have a clear insight
5 in who was supposed to be where, but is this what then actually happened
6 for those who, without a good reason, did not respond to the mobilisation
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, you're quite right. But we are
9 referring to the decision dated the 11th of October, 1991. So at that
10 stage, there was no immediate threat of war. There was no state of war,
11 as it were. According to the Territorial Defence law, everybody is
12 obliged to respond to such a mobilisation call. It was a kind of
13 mobilisation which was tantamount to an exercise of sorts, because we have
14 seen at what point there was some preparatory work for combat activities,
15 and it was actually in the spring after that. And this is much before
16 that. It has nothing to do with the actual war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
17 According to law, they were obliged to respond to this mobilisation call.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Those who responded to the mobilisation call, was
19 there any chance that they would be sent to Croatia, where there was a war
20 at that time, isn't it?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was a single unit from Prnjavor
22 in Croatia, and that was all, and it was a platoon, and they were
23 mobilised much, much earlier. And they went there, and they were indeed
24 there, as well as the before mentioned Wolves who were attached to some
25 Banja Luka unit, according to the orders of the corps commander.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The other units were simply being
4 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
5 MR. JOSSE:
6 Q. Tab 10, please. You mentioned a little time ago the charity
7 Merhamet. This is a document from them. I'd like you to read it out,
9 A. "The meeting of MHD" - I really don't know what it is - "Merhamet
10 Prnjavor with representatives of the UNHCR. Point 1: Meeting the new
11 deputy of the office of UNHCR based at Banja Luka. And point 2: The
12 transfer of inhabitants who would like to leave this area across the Davor
13 crossing. The response from the UNHCR was that the Croatian authorities
14 did not express any wish to receive and accept any Muslim refugees from
15 this area." And a question put by the UNHCR representative to the
16 president of the Merhamet as to whether the Muslim population was driven
17 out of their homes --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger.
19 MR. TIEGER: Just one quick question. I didn't quite understand
20 what the witness was referring to when he said, "I really don't know what
21 it is." I don't know if that means he's referring to some particular
22 aspect of this document or the document in general. If the latter, it
23 seems to me there is something of a foundation issue.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What I meant was this acronym just
25 before the word "Merhamet." It is probably Muslim, M for Muslim, and D
1 for Drustvo, which is an association, and I don't know what the H stands
2 for. So it is a kind of acronym -- or no, no, no. I've just remembered.
3 The Muslim Humanitarian Society, Merhamet.
4 JUDGE ORIE: It seems, Mr. Tieger, that the witness wasn't sure
5 about the abbreviation.
6 MR. TIEGER: I understand now, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
8 MR. TIEGER: As one, again, minor clarification, I note that the
9 heading indicating the place and date was omitted. I think that would be
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I would read as Prnjavor, the 30th of October,
12 1995. Yes.
13 Please proceed, Mr. Josse. Perhaps you could invite the witness
14 to continue reading.
15 MR. JOSSE:
16 Q. I think you had got to Odgovor, the paragraph beginning Odgovor or
17 something approximating that. Apparently not, I'm told by -- wherever
18 you'd got to, just continue.
19 A. Yes. I had got to item 2. "The question put by the UNHCR
20 representative to the president of the MHD. Has the Muslim population
21 been driven out of their homes and taken to the sports stadium at
22 Prnjavor?" And the answer from the president was the following: "That
23 information is incorrect." And such cases have never taken place in the
24 course of the war. And he went on to add that he could confirm that "the
25 truth is quite different and what I want to say is this: Muslims in
1 Prnjavor have never experienced anything of the sort and have always
2 enjoyed the protection from the authorities in Prnjavor to the extent that
3 it was possible at that time. The protection refers to the protection of
4 personal property and human life, and I claim upon my own responsibility
5 that in the course of the war, there were no rapes of Muslim women and
6 there was no driving people out of their homes by force. And in the last
7 days of war, the War Presidency of the municipality of Prnjavor prevented
8 an exodus taking place in Prnjavor or anything along those lines. Because
9 of the fact that the Presidency took the side of the people and left it up
10 to them to make their own decisions as to whether they wanted to stay or
11 leave this area. I would like to stress that I would like for this
12 information to be forwarded to Geneva, because at any time I am in a
13 position to confirm that this is indeed the truth and that on the
14 territory of the municipality of Prnjavor, no distinction is made in terms
15 of protecting people on the basis of their ethnic group." And that is
16 addressed to the president of the municipality of Prnjavor, the chief of
17 police, and the UNHCR office in Banja Luka and the Muslim humanitarian
18 society Merhamet, in Prnjavor. The president of the Muslim humanitarian
19 society Merhamet Prnjavor, Turin Sakib, Prnjavor, the 30th of October,
21 I would just like to stress that no representative of the
22 municipal authorities was present at that meeting. It was a meeting
23 between the Merhamet representatives and the representatives of the UNHCR
24 from Banja Luka.
25 Q. And further to that, how did you get hold of this document?
1 A. This is a document that was forwarded to us through official
2 channels back then, and afterwards I photocopied it in order to have it as
3 evidence, because as soon as a statement was taken from me, I supposed I
4 might be invited as a witness before this Tribunal, and I thought that
5 this document might be of some use in order to give a proper overview of
6 the situation in the municipality of Prnjavor at the time.
7 Q. Now, in my remaining time, I want to turn to the Municipal
8 Assembly, the executive committee, and the Crisis Staff. The Municipal
9 Assembly, of which you were president, did that continue to operate
10 through 1991, 1992?
11 A. The Municipal Assembly and the Executive Committee of the
12 municipality of Prnjavor were functioning in 1991 and 1992. Since the
13 decision on the setting up of the crisis staffs gave us the opportunity to
14 allow these bodies to continue to function in those places where they
15 could and in those places where it was more difficult --
16 Q. I'm going to interrupt you, because I'd like you to try and answer
17 the question, if you could, please. I want to deal with each in turn. The
18 Municipal Assembly, did that continue to function through 1991, 1992?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. The Executive Committee, did that continue to function as well?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did you have any part in the Executive Committee?
23 A. No. I've never participated in any meetings of the Executive
24 Committee. I didn't deem it necessary. And according to the League of
25 Professions, it wasn't within my duties to do so. But I've often talked
1 to the president of the Executive Committee.
2 Q. So far as the Municipal Assembly is concerned, did the
3 representation in that body change at all during 1991, 1992? In other
4 words, did its ethnic composition change?
5 A. There were changes, because according to the League of
6 Professions, those who are elected officials can't be members of the
7 Municipal Assembly. But according to the same election law, their places
8 would be taken by other names on the same list of the same party. There
9 were other changes as well. By the end of 1992, I think two people were
10 replaced because they had been killed and, for that reason, others had to
11 take their places.
12 Q. Could we look at tab 11, please. Again I'm sure I can lead to
13 this degree. This is a register of the names of the members of the
14 Municipal Assembly at the relevant time and a register of their
15 attendance; is that correct?
16 A. It is.
17 Q. Again, very briefly, if you'd help the Chamber with the symbols.
18 What does a 0, or an "o" represent?
19 A. "O" means that someone is absent for a justified reason,"+" that
20 they attended the meeting and,"-", they were absent for unjustified
22 Q. And it's right that the vast majority of members of the Municipal
23 Assembly in Prnjavor were Serbs?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Would you help us with the Muslim members of the assembly. Take
1 us to their names by reference to the number against their names, please.
2 A. Muslims had six councillors, I believe, from the SDA party. And
3 SDP, or the communists, that is, they had 11 councillors and there were a
4 couple of Muslims among them as well. As to the names, Husein Vukovic --
5 Q. Number, please.
6 A. Could you just move this up a bit. Number 8.
7 Q. I actually think it would help if you had the document in front of
8 you. You can put mine on the ELMO.
9 A. No, it's okay like this. Then Klokic, Fuad, number 23, Ahmet
10 Klokic, number 24. Could you just move it up a little more? And then
11 Nusret Pandza, number 29. Mujo Rahimovic, number 42. Curan -- I can't
12 read this, really. It's number 50 -- 52, sorry. And Ago Cehic, number
13 55. Mehmed Sabic, number 56. And another Sabic. I think -- I can't
14 really read this, but it's 57. And then Ramadan Seperovic, number 58. So
15 these were the Muslim councillors.
16 Q. Many of those names have been scored through. Why is that?
17 JUDGE ORIE: Before the witness answers this question, I have some
18 difficulties. I might have missed something, but on the transcript, I
19 read, as far as the "Os" or the "0s" are explained to the witness, the
20 answer was: "'O' means that someone is absent for a justified reason,
21 that they were absent for unjustified reasons." Which is quite confusing.
22 MR. JOSSE: What the witness said was"+" was for justified
23 reasons. That's what I heard.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I said that"+" was for people
25 who were present, who actually attended the meeting.
1 JUDGE ORIE: "+" is for presence. Zero is for --
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Zero, absent for justified reasons.
3 And "-", absent for unjustified reasons. Perhaps there was a justified
4 reason, but the practice was if we didn't know of the reason, we would put
5 a "-".
6 JUDGE ORIE: So the "-" is absent for either unknown or
7 unjustified reasons.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
10 MR. JOSSE:
11 Q. Many, but not all, of the Muslim names that you have just read out
12 have been scored through. Why is that?
13 A. This is a notebook, a record kept by one of the employees, and I
14 think it was the secretary. And some names are underscored, others are
15 scored through, both Serb and Muslim names, and I can't see that there is
16 a rule or a system here. So I'm not in a position to give you a proper
17 answer. Perhaps in some cases he wanted to underscore the name and then
18 he scored it through, in fact. And in other instances he was maybe
19 writing other things down, making annotations or whatever. But there is
20 no rule either with reference to Serbs or Muslims.
21 Q. And finally on this document, are there any -- were there any
22 Croatian representatives on the Municipal Assembly?
23 A. Yes. Just a moment. There was someone. Just a second. I think
24 it would be a bit easier if I could take a proper look at the list.
25 Number 34, Zarko Maric, a Croat. Apart from that, HDZ did not participate
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 in the elections there, so it was an SDP councillor who was a Croat in
2 this case.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. And there was also Branislav Vukojevic, number 7. I think he was
5 an SDP councillor as well.
6 Q. Thank you. You can put that down now.
7 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, I was going to move on briefly, I hope,
8 to the Crisis Staff.
9 JUDGE ORIE: And you're looking at the clock at the same time.
10 Could you give us an estimate on how much time you would need at all?
11 MR. JOSSE: I am as determined as I can be to leave the
12 Prosecution some time today to begin their cross-examination.
13 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, the Prosecution is not in a position to
14 begin today. We're still awaiting the translation of certain documents,
15 we're still awaiting a response from inquiries we made in reaction to
16 receipt of some of these documents. There was, as I think the Court can
17 see, only a small fraction of the documents actually referred to in Court
18 that were translated which we must review more carefully. As a result, in
19 addition to actions we took in response to the receipt of notification
20 about this witness, which was already a compressed time period, and then
21 the belated receipt of the exhibits.
22 JUDGE ORIE: We often have put questions to the Defence not
23 whether they were ready to cross-examine but whether they were ready to
24 start to cross-examine the witness. I do take it that some time, limited
25 time, is left. Could you try to find at least some portion of the
1 cross-examination which you could start today, not expecting that you are
2 fully prepared, but --
3 MR. TIEGER: I understand the Court's point, of course,
4 Your Honour, and of course I will look carefully at the material and do my
5 best to comply with the Court's request. I will say, however, that it may
6 well be the case that I will return and tell the Court that I think it
7 really is necessary to have the information that we are currently awaiting
8 in order to know how to frame any portion of the examination. I hope
9 that's not the case, but I want to foreshadow that it may be.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Let's see what you could do. We'll then adjourn now
11 until 5 minutes to 1.00. So we would then have 50 minutes remaining.
12 --- Recess taken at 12.31 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 1.01 p.m.
14 JUDGE ORIE: The witness is not in. Then please could you escort
15 the witness into the courtroom.
16 MR. JOSSE: Whilst he's being brought in, I used virtually the
17 whole of the adjournment to confer with my client, and he's asked me to
18 ask some questions. I have no disagreement about those questions. It's
19 really a matter of emphasis, bearing in mind the available time.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
21 MR. JOSSE: I will see how I get on, if I may.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But so your consultation has led to a situation
23 in which you put the questions.
24 MR. JOSSE: I didn't ask Mr. Krajisnik that question in terms. I
25 suspect he'd like to see --
1 JUDGE ORIE: As a matter of fact --
2 MR. JOSSE: -- how I do it. I'm going to ask what he's asked me
3 to ask. Whether I ask it in a sufficiently thorough way to his
4 satisfaction, I don't know.
5 JUDGE ORIE: We'll then see whether there's need for one or two
6 additional questions. But this is exactly the course the Chamber would
7 like to be followed.
8 Mr. Vasic, please be seated.
9 Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
10 MR. JOSSE:
11 Q. I wanted to ask you, I've already said, about the Crisis Staff.
12 Short questions, and if you can, Mr. Vasic, in short answers: When was
13 the Crisis Staff set up in Prnjavor?
14 A. Pursuant to the decision of the Presidency of the Republic and the
15 instruction of the government of the Republic, the Crisis Staff was set up
16 in May 2002 --
17 Q. 1992, I assume. Yes, 1992. I apologise. It was on the 15th or
18 on the 16th.
19 Q. For how long did it last? In other words, when did it cease to
21 A. The Crisis Staff was disbanded at the session of the Municipal
22 Assembly, when all the decisions of the Crisis Staff were adopted. This
23 was in August 1992.
24 Q. And during the time it existed, to whom did it report?
25 A. The situation in Prnjavor was very specific. The Presidency and
1 the government suggested that wherever there were conditions for the
2 functioning of the Municipal Assemblies, they could continue operating.
3 So throughout all this time, when the Crisis Staff was in place, the
4 executive board of the Municipal Assembly existed, adopted decision, and
5 its decisions were also adopted at the same session of the assembly, at
6 which the decisions of the Crisis Staff were adopted. It reported to the
7 assembly, and the first session of the assembly was held in August, as
8 I've said.
9 Q. What about minutes or reports? Were they sent --
10 A. The 14th of August.
11 Q. Minutes or report, were they sent to anyone or any body outside of
12 the municipality?
13 A. No. The minutes were adopted at the assembly session and all the
14 minutes were presented to the MPs. I don't remember whether we had that
15 obligation and whether we informed the so-called government of the
16 autonomous region of Krajina, or whatever its name was at the time. The
17 Crisis Staff of Krajina, whether we informed them or not, I don't think we
18 did. Sometimes we would send them a request. I don't think that we were
19 even under obligation to report to them or to send them information, but I
20 can't be sure of that. I don't know this for a fact.
21 Q. To what extent, if at all, would you say the Crisis Staff was
22 controlled either from Sarajevo or from Pale?
23 A. During this period, the communication lines were bad, there was no
24 corridor, and we were left to our own devices, more or less. And during
25 that period, we only had some contacts with the AR Krajina. Before and
1 after that period, we made fun of this AR Krajina. We did not consider it
2 a factor, to be honest. But let me be more specific. During that period
3 of time, from the moment the Crisis Staff was set up to the moment its
4 decision adopted by the assembly, we did everything on our own and we were
5 responsible for whatever was done in Prnjavor. The only cooperation we
6 had with the bodies that had their superiors in Banja Luka, but this
7 cooperation was just coordination, because there was no line of
8 subordination. For example, the police had its regional office in Banja
9 Luka and they were subordinated to them. They would send them requests
10 and these requests could be met with only if an order to that effect was
11 issued from their superiors in Banja Luka. I am talking about the
12 Territorial Defence, about the civilian police. The vertical line of
13 command went to their respective offices in Banja Luka.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Judge Hanoteau would like to seek a clarification
15 from you.
16 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] In your testimony you have
17 indicated that the minutes were adopted at the assembly sessions and all
18 the minutes were presented to the MPs. Could you be more precise in that
19 respect, especially when you said that they were presented to the MPs.
20 What does that mean?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was a legal obligation for all
22 the decisions of the Crisis Staff to be offered for adoption to the
23 assemblymen of the Municipal Assembly as soon as the conditions were in
24 place for the session to be called. I believe that we had that
25 possibility before anybody else, because in the territory of our
1 municipality there were no war operations. The only problem was that a
2 lot of assemblymen were in the front lines, and that's why we had the
3 problem of quorum. And that's why the assembly was not called that often.
4 In lieu of that, we had Crisis Staff sessions. The first assembly session
5 was called on the 14th of August, and all the decisions of the Crisis
6 Staff were adopted at that session. That's what I meant.
7 And this was the last session of the assembly in a mixed
8 composition. When I say that, I'm referring to the Muslims, the Croats
9 stayed until the very end.
10 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.
11 MR. JOSSE:
12 Q. I want to show you next, please, Exhibit 65, tab 66, a document
13 that this Chamber is very familiar with. The Registry have very handily
14 produced the original exhibit. I do have some copies, but I don't think
15 it will be necessary. This is a document that we all know as variant A
16 and B. When was the first time, Mr. Vasic, that you saw this document?
17 A. I saw this document the first time when you showed it to me here,
18 and that was also the first time I heard of the document, when I first
19 came to give my testimony here in The Hague.
20 Q. Could I just follow that up by asking you this: Did you attend,
21 at the end of 1991, any meetings at the Holiday Inn in Sarajevo?
22 A. I believe that this was a meeting of the Main Board, and I was not
23 a member of the Main Board. However, the presidents of the municipalities
24 were called to attend the meetings of the Main Board. I and the president
25 of the Executive Board and the secretary of the assembly were in Sarajevo,
1 and I was in the meeting in Holiday Inn.
2 Q. Can you tell us when you were at the meeting at the Holiday Inn in
3 Sarajevo? Do you know the date? If you don't, say so.
4 A. It was either in the autumn or in the winter of 1991. I can't
5 remember exactly. In any case, it was late, in late 1991. I can see the
6 date on this document. I suppose it is related to that event, but I
7 cannot be sure of that.
8 Q. Well, you worked out my question may be related. All right. We
9 can move on. I want to next ask you about something called the six
10 strategic goals. What is your awareness of that phrase and those goals?
11 A. I'm not familiar with the term. I'm not familiar with what they
12 imply. I'm not familiar with the goals of any sort. Nothing ever reached
13 me as the president of the Municipal Assembly. I was not an MP, I was not
14 a member of the Main Board. However, I did attend that meeting and I can
15 remember that well.
16 Q. How familiar were you with the aims of the SDS in general?
17 A. I was familiar to the extent to which they were discussed at the
18 Prnjavor SDS meeting. I was not the president of the SDS in Prnjavor ever
19 or the vice-president of the party. Both the president and the
20 vice-presidents informed us about the reports that they had received from
21 the meetings of the Main Board, which were held up until the spring of
22 1992, when the work of the SDS was frozen and the party stopped
23 functioning all the way up to the end of the war. The then president,
24 Karadzic, told us that in order to prevent divisions among the people
25 along the party lines at the moment when unity was needed, the work of the
1 SDS party was frozen and it did not become operational again until the end
2 of the war.
3 Q. I want to ask you about --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 MR. JOSSE:
6 Q. I want to ask you about two final topics. The first is: A
7 witness came to this Court called Jasmin Odobasic and alleged, among other
8 things, that you were responsible for his being beaten up. Is there any
9 truth in that?
10 A. It's a lie. Never, ever did I order for anybody to be beaten up.
11 In the second part of his testimony, he said that it was another person
12 who had ordered that.
13 Q. So that's a comment on his evidence, so leave that to others.
14 The same witness claimed that you were obstructive in the
15 referendum in 1992 by only allowing one polling station in the middle of
16 Prnjavor to be opened, at the Dom Kultura. Any truth in the fact that you
17 were destructive and tried to rig the election, Mr. Odobasic was saying
18 against you?
19 A. Mr. Odobasic. The general opinion among the Serbs was against the
20 referendum. We estimated the situation to --
21 Q. I'm going to stop you. Answer the question, please, the specific
22 question, and I want a specific answer. Did you try and effectively rig
23 the election by only allowing one polling station to be open?
24 A. No.
25 Q. I now want to move on to --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Could we ask the witness -- I do know that it was not
2 what you specifically asked him, but you're explaining something about the
3 Serbians who were opposed against the referendum and you said, "We
4 estimated the situation to --" could you please -- you wanted to explain
5 something. Could you please explain that to us.
6 A. Yes, of course. We believed that there could be some unpleasant
7 things, and given the number of the Muslim population and those who wanted
8 to vote, we estimated the necessary number of polling stations that could
9 be secured by the police, and that is why I made a decision that a polling
10 station should be open in every village. That was a common practice then,
11 and it is still today. So one polling station per village. And in
12 Prnjavor, I set up one polling station for the town of Prnjavor, because I
13 believed that this would be enough for approximately 1.500 Muslims who
14 wanted to vote and that this was as many as we could provide security for
15 in order to avoid major incidents. And indeed, there were no incidents,
16 there were no disturbances or destructions. The police simply wouldn't
17 allow that.
18 Whether I was wrong or not, whether I should have opened two
19 polling stations, is up to people's views and opinions. In my view, I did
20 exactly what I was supposed to do, and I did it right.
21 JUDGE ORIE: So what Mr. Odobasic said is right to the extent that
22 you decided, for the reasons you've just given, that in Prnjavor town
23 there would be only one polling station? Yes. Thank you for that answer.
24 Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, instead of the two that they
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 had in mind.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
3 MR. JOSSE:
4 Q. My final topic, Mr. Vasic, is the accused in this case,
5 Mr. Krajisnik. Did he come to Prnjavor in 1991 or 1992?
6 A. Mr. Krajisnik was in Prnjavor in February 1993 and in February
7 1994 -- 5, and he was also there in 1996, during the election campaign,
8 preceding the elections. And those were the visits that he paid to
9 Prnjavor during that period of time.
10 Q. What did he -- in short, what was he doing there in February in
12 A. As far as I can remember, the meeting was held at the Nacional
13 Hotel. At the time, there was quiet on the front line. All the company
14 directors were called to the meeting, together with the leadership of the
15 municipality. Mr. Krajisnik was not alone. I believe that he was a
16 member of the republican delegation. And the visit was staged for
17 everybody to meet each other. It was part of the protocol. There were a
18 lot of discussions about the economy of the town and the requirements of
19 the town, and its economy.
20 Q. In 1991 and 1992, did you receive any orders or instructions from
21 Mr. Krajisnik?
22 A. We received Official Gazettes with the conclusions and orders of
23 the assembly of the Republic. As for the direct contacts with
24 Mr. Krajisnik, we didn't have any of those. We did not receive any orders
25 from him. Our contacts with the top leadership of the Republic mainly
1 boiled down to either the president of the party or a member of the
2 assembly contacting Mr. Karadzic if there was a need to do something or to
3 take some measures.
4 Q. As a municipal president, are you able to assess what
5 Mr. Krajisnik's power was within the Republic?
6 A. In 1991, the power line in the party, there was a joint assembly
7 of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We watched those sessions on
8 TV. He became popular because he was very skilful at chairing those
9 assembly meetings and he prevented the MPs who were members of the SDA
10 from passing decisions that would be against the interests of the Serbian
11 people. That's why he became popular. However, we did not see him as
12 having any power. If anything was required, if any instruction reached us
13 in 1991, that mainly went via the Serbian Democratic Party and
14 President Karadzic, save for the functioning of the Municipal Assembly,
15 which was regulated via the Official Gazettes and other official documents
16 that reached us directly from the Republican Assembly.
17 Q. And what about 1992? In your last answer, you specifically twice
18 referred to 1991.
19 A. I referred to 1991 because the same was true of the period up to
20 May 1991. And then we were left to our own means. If we needed
21 something, we either discussed things amongst ourselves as presidents of
22 municipalities, Banja Luka, Celinac, Prnjavor, we exchanged experiences,
23 or we had contacts with people from the AR Krajina, although we had
24 opposed to that previously. However, we realised that they might have
25 some information and that they might be useful with providing us with
1 advice. We tried to join ranks as municipalities within the AR Krajina.
2 However, this all boiled down to informal talks and consultations. When
3 it came to making decisions, we were left to our own means and we made our
4 own decisions and we were also physically separated from Sarajevo, which
5 posed a problem to us, as well as it did to the witnesses who have
6 testified before this Court.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vasic, when in the beginning of your answer you
8 said, "I referred to 1991 because the same was true of the period up to
9 May 1991," did you have in mind May 1991 or May 1992?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I may have misspoken. What I had in
11 mind was May 1992.
12 JUDGE ORIE: That's what I thought, but I just wanted to seek
14 Mr. Josse.
15 MR. JOSSE: That concludes my examination, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Before we'll ask Mr. Tieger whether he's ready
17 to start the cross-examination, I would like to put one question to the
18 witness and seek clarification.
19 Mr. Vasic, you were asked about the Municipal Assembly and whether
20 its -- about its functioning and whether its ethnic composition changed in
21 1991, 1992. You explained to us that some people were replaced but the
22 gist of your answer was that there was not a real major change in the
23 ethnic composition. Somewhat later in one of your answers, when you were
24 asked about the Crisis Staff, you told us that the Municipal Assembly
25 confirmed or -- well, at least took decisions on the 14th of August, 1992,
1 in which it adopted all the decisions taken by the Crisis Staff. And then
2 you added that this was "the last session of the assembly in a mixed
4 What then did change in the composition after the 14th of August?
5 Was it from then on a mono-ethnic assembly? I did not fully understand
6 the answers, the two of them. What happened after the 14th of August in
7 the assembly?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 14th of August, as you can
9 see on the basis of this report, there were still Croats in the assembly
10 and there was a Muslim there as well. After that, up until the end of the
11 war -- well, the Croat member remained, but I think that only one of the
12 Muslims remained.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Here again you said there was a Muslim there as well,
14 talking about the 14th of August. And then you said: "After that, only
15 one of the Muslims remained," which sounds very much the same as far as
16 Muslims are concerned.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As to Croats, I am in a position to
18 claim that the Croat member remained until the end. And as to the Muslim
19 member, he was present at that meeting, but I can't say anything with any
20 degree of certainty for latter meetings. But I know he was in Prnjavor,
21 in the town of Prnjavor, almost up until the end of the war. He was not a
22 member of the SDA party, and so he did not receive any instructions to
23 leave the assembly meetings and not attend any more. He was a Muslim
24 member of the SDP party.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Do you know anything about the other Muslims that did
1 not show up any more?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do know that the SDA members, at
3 least this is what the president of the party told me in conversation by
4 the way, as it were, that they had the instructions to leave any positions
5 of authority or government in Prnjavor. And even in the meantime, some of
6 the SDP members were supportive of some SDA ideas, such as Mr. Odobasic,
7 some others as well. The reformist powers remained within the assembly,
8 the SDP, SDS.
9 JUDGE ORIE: If we look at the list of those who attended, that's
10 under tab - I think it's 11 - it seems that this list is cut off. It's
11 the last tab. It very much looks as if this is cut off from the whole of
12 this document, because after the August session, there seems to be other
13 sessions which is not part any more of this document. Would you have the
14 whole of the document? I mean, how did you get this one, and would the
15 whole of the document be available?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I asked for this, and one of the
17 employees made a photocopy, and this refers to the period in which the
18 Crisis Staff existed and was fully functioning. Afterwards, we did not
19 have any major problems with the functioning of the assembly, because
20 basically what you needed was a quorum, that is to say, 31 members.
21 JUDGE ORIE: If you would ask the whole of the document to be
22 copied, would that be possible?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think so. In case they managed to
24 find it, and they should be able to.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you.
1 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, I don't have any supplementary questions.
2 Could I just say this: That Mr. Stewart is here. He does have a few
3 procedural matters that he'd like to mention today, about five minutes'
4 worth, and he needs to do it today rather than tomorrow. Let's put it
5 like that.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Tieger, this would at least save you. I
7 don't know whether you resolved your problem, yes or no, but --
8 MR. TIEGER: I appreciate that, Your Honour. I might as well
9 mention at this point and I indicated to Mr. Josse when we returned, that
10 I would be moving forward with the examination. So I guess I get to have
11 my cake and eat it too.
12 MR. JOSSE: I might as well mention that Mr. Stewart took a rather
13 more generous view of the situation than I did, but there we are.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Perhaps --
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE ORIE: It will be hardly of any use to first listen to
17 Mr. Stewart, and then even if he would be as short as he always is, and
18 then start the cross-examination of the witness. Therefore, I'd like to
19 instruct you, Witness, Mr. Vasic, not to speak to anyone about your
20 testimony already given or still to be given. And we'd like to see you
21 back tomorrow morning, 9.00, where you would expect that you'll be
22 cross-examined by counsel for the Prosecution.
23 Madam Usher, could you please escort Mr. Vasic out of the
25 [The witness stands down]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart.
2 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I didn't know I had been so generous to
3 Mr. Tieger and I didn't know it was Mr. Josse's name to be -- day to be
4 bad cop. I shall have to look at the schedule again.
5 Your Honour, the -- two points. They're related points, actually.
6 I understand from Mr. Josse to whom I spoke in the course of the morning,
7 that Your Honour raised early on today the question of morning and
8 afternoon sittings and scheduling. And as far as -- and invited an
9 up-to-date preference or detailed preference at least to be expressed by
10 the Defence.
11 Your Honour, the Defence's position is this: We would be entirely
12 content with the alternating schedule which we suggested a few days ago of
13 one week mornings, one week afternoons. If that's not possible, and if it
14 is a question, which doesn't seem likely, given the way that scheduling
15 goes, but if it is a question of in effect electing for one or the other,
16 then, Your Honour, casting aside all personal preferences in relation to
17 this matter, the Defence preference would be extremely strongly then for
18 afternoons, for the reasons that I indicated, because it is really for
19 practical purposes impossible to make any serious headway in consultations
20 with the client if we sit mornings, mornings, mornings, mornings. Because
21 the afternoon sessions at the United Nations Detention Unit are extremely
22 short, and after a court day, very unproductive.
23 JUDGE ORIE: What I'll do is to try to get at least 50 per cent of
24 our sessions in the afternoon, and if for any practical purpose we'd have
25 to decide whether it would be more or less than certainly search for more
1 rather than less.
2 MR. STEWART: May I simply add this. Your Honour has long
3 experience in this Tribunal. I'm sorry I'm at an awkward angle for
4 Your Honours here this morning. But you'll have to look for me out of a
5 side -- sidelong glance or something. But the -- Your Honours will be
6 familiar with this: That if it isn't done in week on, week off, and if
7 it's done in a more not random way, but it's done in a more mixed-up way,
8 that can be awkward for all concerned sometimes when a witness is an
9 afternoon and then again the following morning. It does cause disruption
10 for all counsel in the case sometimes as far as preparation is concerned
11 and for all concerned, in fact.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. In my conversations with the officer
13 responsible for scheduling, I very much asked for mornings and afternoons.
14 But especially the month of November is a bit different, where no three
15 courtrooms are available. And sometimes also, especially if less
16 courtrooms are available, sometimes we have to make deals with other Trial
18 MR. STEWART: Understood, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Because sometimes, of course, the Judges have also
20 other commitments apart from sitting in the Krajisnik case, both in the
21 Tribunal, sometimes outside of the Tribunal, and that creates now and then
22 a rather complicated situation. But I do understand that apart from what
23 I just said, that your preference, apart from whether that could be
24 followed for the month of November, would be alternating on a weekly basis
25 rather than on a half weekly basis.
1 MR. STEWART: Indeed, Your Honour. May I just add this,
2 Your Honour, that however it is exactly done from the Defence's point of
3 view, it is with respect rather important that we do get at least a
4 significant number of afternoons free of court in the month of November.
5 Otherwise we will fall seriously behind, we will have great difficulty in
6 doing the preparation we need to do with Mr. Krajisnik.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps as a result you get even a bit more than you
8 ask for.
9 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, that's again --
10 JUDGE ORIE: The other matter.
11 MR. STEWART: It's connected. It's this, Your Honour: That I
12 have said something similar on a number of occasions. Your Honour, even
13 based -- well, may I say straight away, it is an area in which it is
14 appropriate for me to just give some indication of personal position. I
15 did write to the Trial Chamber a little while away. After today, in fact,
16 first thing tomorrow morning, I am going to be away and not available in
17 this case for one week, and back next Wednesday. This is long overdue and
18 this is what I'm doing. I did keep the Trial Chamber informed. That's
19 one of the reasons I do hope to deal with this today because I won't be
20 here tomorrow and I won't be here available for work, apart from - of
21 course, I keep in contact with Mr. Josse - until next Wednesday.
22 Your Honour, it's very early in the Defence case, although of
23 course we've had a rather tough run up to it in many ways. Your Honour, a
24 long time ago when the Prosecution was expected to end on a different
25 date, 22nd of April, and a provisional schedule was put before the parties
1 at that stage by the Trial Chamber, it was contemplated that sittings
2 during the Defence case would be four weeks on and one week off. Now,
3 Your Honour, without -- that's just respect reminding on that. Without
4 saying that that would be satisfactory, Your Honour, the position is I can
5 already see, and I have to express it as what I can see and assess as lead
6 counsel myself, Your Honour, as really part of my submissions. I can
7 already see that the contemplated sitting schedule of -- apart from the
8 week's break that's coming up next week for different reasons and the odd
9 United Nations holiday and the normal Christmas/New Year recess, I can see
10 that the contemplated schedule of sitting week in, week out, Monday to
11 Friday, is going to be impossible for the Defence. It simply is. We do
12 not have the human resources. And it won't make any difference, whatever
13 my negotiations with the Registry, the outcome of those won't make any
14 significant difference to what I'm saying here at all. It obviously must
15 make a difference somewhere, otherwise we wouldn't be bothering, but it
16 won't make a significant difference to this. We do not have the human
17 resources and we do not have the time and we do not have the energy,
18 frankly - we just do not - to cope with that sort of schedule. I know it.
19 It's based on pass experience of this case. It's based on an assessment
20 of just the last few days and the weeks before that.
21 Your Honour, I mention it today simply because I didn't want to
22 come back on the 25th of October and raise this point. I'm raising it
23 today just really to give an indication and to ask that we all give very
24 serious consideration to this matter as soon as is possible, which would
25 be, well, maybe it's before the 25th of October. The Defence would be
1 available, Mr. Josse and I would both be available Friday next week and
2 the Monday before we resume on the Tuesday. And Mr. Josse is actually
3 going to Bosnia, so he's not going to be available in The Hague very much
4 either, because he's going to be away too. We both actually won't be
5 available in The Hague. But, Your Honour, we are ready to explore, of
6 course, we are at the Trial Chamber's disposal to explore and discuss and
7 to present and examine any difficulties. But the simple fact,
8 Your Honour, is that we will not be able to do that. And this trial is
9 not manageable on the Defence side on that sort of schedule. And it does
10 need a little more than just tinkering. I can't see at the moment,
11 Your Honour, that, for example, that contemplated schedule of four weeks
12 on and one week off, I can't see that that will work. It just -- it just
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Stewart. I noticed that the
15 four weeks on, one week off was already relying on a previous schedule,
16 but we've well understood your words and we'll consider whether it will
17 cause us to take any action or to enter into any further conversations
18 with the Defence. And I notice that you're available -- I take it that
19 next week Friday, the Judges might not be available. Perhaps on Monday
20 they are, perhaps not all of them. But we'll see how to proceed and just
21 as you can be reached, of course, the Chamber is always at a place where
22 it can be reached if need be.
23 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, we're always reachable in one way
24 or another. That goes without saying. On the other hand, we do - it's
25 part of it - have to have some break. May I simply say, Your Honour, I
1 mentioned the past, but -- experience of the past is valuable for the
2 future, but I am concerned simply about today onwards.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We well understood you. We'll adjourn until
4 tomorrow morning, 9.00, same courtroom.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.,
6 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 12th day of
7 October 2005, at 9.00 a.m.