1 Thursday, 6 April 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.12 a.m.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-00-39-T, the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Krajisnik. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 I assume that there are no procedural matters to be raised and
11 that, after I have invited the witness to make a solemn declaration, that
12 you could start the examination of the witness?
13 MR. JOSSE: That's the position, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE ORIE: No protective measures, as far as I understand.
15 MR. JOSSE: That's correct, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: And as I also do understand, major portions of the
17 testimony to be received through Rule 89(F)?
18 MR. JOSSE: That's our application. I will deal with that as soon
19 as the witness has been sworn.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
21 Good morning, Mr. Bjelica, I assume. Yes.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Usher will help you to adjust so that the
24 earphones will not drop off.
25 Mr. Bjelica, good morning in this courtroom. Before you give
1 evidence in this court, the Rules of Procedure and Evidence require you to
2 make a solemn declaration that you'll speak the truth, the whole truth,
3 and nothing but the truth. The next is now handed out to you by Madam
4 Usher. May I invite you to make that solemn declaration.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
6 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please be seated, Mr. Bjelica. You'll
8 first be examined by Mr. Josse, counsel for the Defence.
9 Mr. Josse, please proceed.
10 WITNESS: MILOVAN BJELICA
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Examination by Mr. Josse:
13 Q. Your name is Milovan Bjelica. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. JOSSE: Could the witness be given a copy of the exhibit
16 bundle, please.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 Madam Usher.
19 MR. JOSSE: Could the witness turn to tab 19, please.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Usher, could you please assist the witness so
21 that ...
22 MR. JOSSE:
23 Q. In tab 19, Mr. Bjelica, we find a document which is headed
24 "Milovan Bjelica Rule 89(F) evidence." It's right that you had a
25 chance --
1 A. Yes, yes.
2 Q. -- to look at this document and confirm its accuracy?
3 A. Yes, I signed it.
4 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, I handed to the registrar this morning
5 the signed copy, B/C/S only, which the witness signed and dated yesterday.
6 I hope that that complies with the formalities.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, I take it that there are no -- oh,
8 Mr. Margetts.
9 MR. MARGETTS: Yes, Your Honour. Obviously we would appreciate
10 also having a copy of that document.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I don't know whether usually all pages are
12 signed off, but --
13 MR. JOSSE: In --
14 JUDGE ORIE: -- if there's no problem --
15 MR. JOSSE: I mean, the -- my learned friend can look at the
16 original. The witness simply signed and dated, otherwise it's absolutely
18 MR. MARGETTS: Yes, Your Honour, if we could have that opportunity
19 at some stage.
20 MR. JOSSE: Of course.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Often on each page there is --
22 MR. JOSSE: That's not the procedure we adopted. If the Court
23 feels that should be done, it needs to be done now before we begin.
24 JUDGE ORIE: If the witness looks at it -- Mr. Josse, of course
25 you present the evidence that's also -- if you say this is what the
1 witness was given, this is what he read, this is what he signed on the
2 last page, then there's no specific need to ask the witness now to sign
3 every page.
4 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed.
6 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, after the very helpful advice that the
7 Defence received from Mr. Zahar, we have prepared a summary of this
8 evidence to be read into the record.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
10 MR. JOSSE: I have a number of copies of that summary. Again, I'm
11 unclear as to whether the Chamber would like a copy in front of them as I
12 read it or --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Well, not necessarily, because the main purpose of it
14 is to inform the public that what is approximately the content of the
15 evidence which is led but which is not in full audible to the public. So
16 it serves mainly the public character of the trial rather than that it
17 serves the Chamber, who receives of course the original statement. Please
18 read it but slow enough to -- for the interpreters --
19 MR. JOSSE: I'm going to do that. Could I just address the
20 witness, please?
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
22 Have you provided a copy to the interpreters, because that would
23 certainly be helpful.
24 MR. JOSSE: I haven't, I'm afraid, but we've got three here.
25 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber could do without.
1 So, Madam Usher, could you please distribute that.
2 MR. JOSSE:
3 Q. Mr. Bjelica, while the interpreters receive this document, what
4 I'm about to do is read a summary of the document that you have signed.
5 It's a few pages long. It's in English only but of course it's going to
6 be translated into your language as I read it.
7 A. Very well.
8 MR. JOSSE: If Your Honour would indicate when I can begin.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think the interpreters have received it.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ORIE: And through the smoked glass I see the sign, so
12 please start, Mr. Josse.
13 MR. JOSSE: In the period after the first multi-party election in
14 1990, the witness was chairman of the SDS municipal council deputies' club
15 in Sokolac. In May 1991 he was elected vice-president of the Sokolac
16 municipal committee of the SDS.
17 In September 1991, he was nominated Sokolac representative in the
18 SAO Romanija Assembly, which convened for the first and last time that
19 same month. At the end of 1991, the witness was elected director of
20 public enterprise "Romanijapetrol." On 13 January 1992 he was elected as
21 president of the SDS municipal committee, replacing Mirko Malovic.
22 Based on an agreement between SDS and SDA, it was decided that
23 Serbs and Muslims would share power at the municipal level in Sokolac.
24 The agreement, insofar as it concerned the division of posts in the police
25 system, was confirmed by the then-leadership of the BiH MUP at a meeting
1 in Sarajevo, which the witness attended as chairman of the personnel
2 commission of Sokolac municipality.
3 On 30th of March, 1992, the Ministry of the Interior was set up
4 and Zoran Cvijetic was elected as SAO Romanija MUP minister. After a
5 period of time, autonomous region interior ministries were renamed
6 security centres. Thus Zoran Cvijetic became head of Serbian Sarajevo
7 security centre.
8 At the end of 1991/beginning of 1992, a reserve police force, the
9 Territorial Defence, and the reserve staff of the 216th Mountain Brigade
10 of the JNA were present in Sokolac. Mixed patrols of army and police
11 personnel regularly made rounds of Serbian and Muslim communities and
12 provided security for camps with refugees from Croatia. Neither then nor
13 later was any paramilitary group formed in Sokolac, nor any other armed
14 group of any sort.
15 Before the outbreak of the war, Muslim municipal deputies and all
16 other Muslim municipal officials left their posts following instructions
17 from the SDA leadership in Sarajevo. They set up their own parallel
18 municipal structures in Kaljina and Knezina. One such structure was the
19 police force. On one occasion a postal vehicle was stopped by Muslim
20 police in Kaljina, the mail was thrown into the river, the vehicle looted,
21 and a police escort detained. When efforts were made to investigate this
22 incident, the Muslim police would not cooperate.
23 Despite the departure of SDA deputies from the Sokolac Municipal
24 Assembly, it continued to function and serve the citizens of Sokolac
25 throughout the war. There was a Crisis Staff at the municipal level,
1 which included members of SDS, SDP, industrial managers, representatives
2 of humanitarian and health organisations, and non-party persons.
3 There were no combat activities in the territory of the
4 municipality of Sokolac when the first armed clashes occurred in Bosnia.
5 However, subversive and terrorist activities were conducted by members of
6 the Muslim paramilitary unit the Patriotic League, which was formed in the
7 territory of Sokolac long before the war started, somewhere in autumn of
8 1991. The Patriotic League had been arming itself since then and forming
9 combat units since December 1991. According to some people, Patriotic
10 League members were hiding arms in Muslim religious buildings, the very
11 same buildings in which these weapons were distributed.
12 The number of wounded and killed members of the army and the
13 police tasked with the maintenance of security in the Sokolac region was
14 increasing. In summer 1992, the VRS brigade command issued a request that
15 those people who had not been mobilised in the army or police to hand over
16 illegal weapons and explosives. No one acted upon this request. The
17 subversive and terrorist attacks still occurred, especially in the
18 territory of Sahbegovici, Kaljina, and Knezina, which resulted in killing
19 and wounding of many civilians. As a result of these events, the VRS
20 command of the 2nd Romanija Brigade decided to undertake a
21 demilitarisation of the region in order to guarantee security to the
22 civilian population as well as to its own soldiers.
23 During the demilitarisation of the Sokolac municipality armed
24 clashes occurred in the following villages: Meljine, Sasevci, Iseric
25 Brdo, Zulj, Sahbegovici, Pedisama, Rakitinci, Novoseoci, Kutima,
1 Kalimanic, and Micivoda.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I see the transcribing is a little bit
4 MR. JOSSE: I have every sympathy. They're not the easiest proper
5 names for an English speaker.
6 Throughout 1993 and 1994, subversive terrorist Muslim actions
7 resulted in the death and injury of many civilians. Houses were looted
8 and set on fire. During the war, there were no prisons or camps in
9 Sokolac. Persons suspected of taking part in or organising subversive
10 terrorist acts, whether Serb or Muslim, were put into custody in military
11 security offices in Cavarinama and Knezini and questioned.
12 All Muslim terrorist activities were conducted according to the
13 directive issued on 14 April 1992 by the BiH Territorial Defence commander
14 Colonel Hasan Efendic. When war broke out, there were no medical
15 institutions in Sokolac or Romanija, everything was in Sarajevo. Muslim
16 subversive terrorist groups destroyed equipment used for transmitting
17 electrical energy in Visegrad and Rogatica, as a result of which the whole
18 Romanija region was left without electricity and water. Main roads from
19 Serbia were cut off and were subjected to continuous attacks from
20 Srebrenica and Bratunac. Paramilitary ambushes took place, which resulted
21 in the deaths of many Serbian civilians. Traffic was also blocked in
22 Konjevic Polje, as a result of which food and other supplies could not get
24 During the 1992-1995 war, 288 members of the VRS and MUP from the
25 Sokolac municipality lost their lives, one-third of which were killed in
1 terrorist actions and ambushes carried out by Muslim extremists.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Josse, perhaps just for the information of
3 the Chamber, having looked at the 65 ter summary, now the 89(F), the
4 evidence led gives quite some details about, I would say, violence
5 committed by Muslims. Do we have to understand that as in terms of -- I
6 see three major options. We'd like to know which of them we should pay
7 specific attention to. One could be that it's important for - if it ever
8 comes to that - sentencing, just to give a balanced view of what happened.
9 Second possibility is that it would undermine the evidence or contradict
10 the evidence we received through Prosecution witnesses. For example, I
11 see some of the villages mentioned also appear in some of the evidence we
12 received during the Prosecution case. And the third option I perceive is
13 that there would be something like self-defence situation, or -- which of
14 the three we should specifically focus on when hearing this evidence.
15 Could you give us some guidance in that respect. If you have a fourth or
16 a fifth option, fine, but I took the most obvious ones.
17 MR. JOSSE: Really, I perceived the second option I'm bound to
19 JUDGE ORIE: Second option, okay. That's -- not excluding the
20 others ones, I take it, but that's the focus of -- that's the real -- the
21 importance of this evidence. I would say the primary importance of this
22 evidence. Okay. Thank you very much. Please proceed.
23 MR. JOSSE:
24 Q. Mr. Bjelica, in the first paragraph of your 89(F) evidence, you
25 deal in part with your political history. I would like to go into that in
1 a little bit more detail now, if I may. It is right that you graduated
2 from Novi Sad in Serbia -- what is now Serbia --
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. -- in economics?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You worked in an accounting department of a state enterprise
7 called Romanija in Sokolac?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You then became the director of Romanijapetrol, another state
10 enterprise, a job you held up until 1994?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. From 1994 to 1997, you were commercial manager of another
13 government enterprise?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. From 1998 to the year 2000, you were secretary-general of the SDS?
16 A. Yes -- or it was the director of the directorate of the Serbian
17 Democratic Party. That's what it was called.
18 Q. From the year 2000 to 2003, you were president of the municipal
19 association of Serb Sarajevo?
20 A. It wasn't a municipal association. It was the Assembly of the
21 city of Serbian Sarajevo, made up of six municipalities, and they are:
22 Sokolac, Pale, Rogatica -- It was called Serbian New Sarajevo, Serbian
23 Ilidza, Serbian Old City, and another one. Those were the municipalities
24 that made it up.
25 Q. You were removed from that job by the then-High Representative of
2 A. Yes, I was removed on the 7th of March, 2003. The explanation was
3 that I financially supported a person who was accused of war crimes.
4 Q. What's the name of that person, please?
5 A. Radovan Karadzic.
6 Q. And this may be a subject we'll return to later, but was the
7 allegation that the High Representative made against you a true one?
8 A. Nothing was ever proved, and I claim again before this Trial
9 Chamber that I never supported in any way, financially or otherwise, to
10 Karadzic or anybody else, nor did anybody ask for me to extend such
11 support. On two occasions I was brought in by NATO and SFOR in Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina in May 2004, and I spent 30 days in an unknown location. And
13 the second time I was taken in was between the 31st of August and 27
14 September of the same year, that is 2004. During the investigation -- and
15 I can't complain of the way the investigation was carried out, it was done
16 very correctly by those who interviewed me, and the duration of the whole
17 investigation was 60 days or so. Whatever I had to say, whatever I knew,
18 I told them. Up to year 1999 nobody even looked for Dr. Karadzic. He
19 negotiated at the time with many people from the international community.
20 And let me just say this: All this time while I was a -- being held at
21 that location, reports were sent by NATO and SFOR command about Milovan
22 Bjelica being at a safe place, about Milovan Bjelica cooperating, and that
23 they were happy with the conversations that they were holding with
25 They ended their conversations, they handed me over to the public
1 security service of East Sarajevo. They said: We are done here, we have
2 nothing whatsoever to do with Bjelica, what we needed to do with --
3 managed to accomplish. This was the official report of the NATO commander
4 on the 14th of June and then on the 27th of June [as interpreted] when I
5 was released for the second time.
6 JUDGE ORIE: I'm going to stop you. You were asked whether the
7 allegations were true or not. I do understand from your answer already
8 from the first three or four lines that they were not. Then you started
9 to give a long explanation.
10 I saw, Mr. Josse, that you were about to intervene.
11 MR. JOSSE: I tried.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. May I just give the guidance that I think there
13 was ever reason to intervene at that moment. If you have done it a bit
14 more strongly, you would have been successful, I take it. I also do
15 understand that the witness just came in.
16 Mr. Bjelica, please focus very much on the question. Just to give
17 you an example, if someone would ask you whether you came by plane to the
18 Netherlands, you could say: Yes or no. Or you say: No, I didn't come by
19 plane, I came by car. But we don't need to know what company, we don't
20 need to know what food was served on board. These are all details. If
21 we're interested to know these details, we'll ask you. So first answer
22 the question briefly, and then Mr. Josse will let you know what further
23 details he will need.
24 Mr. Josse, please proceed.
25 MR. JOSSE:
1 Q. Yes, and Mr. Bjelica, I'll add one other thing: I think in my
2 original question I said it may be a subject we'll return to later but I
3 was simply at this stage trying to deal with your history. Because after
4 you were removed by Lord Ashdown, it is correct, isn't it, that you have
5 been unemployed ever since?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And I'll come in a moment to your present predicament, but before
8 I do that, the political jobs that I've asked you about hitherto were jobs
9 that you were paid for. They were full-time bits of work. Correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. So what we now need to do is go back in time, please, and look at
12 some of your other political activity before you were employed in
13 politics, so to speak. It's right that you were a member of the League of
14 Communists, but you left when the SDS was formed?
15 A. Yes, I left the League of Communists when I joined the SDS. I
16 never actually sent a notification in writing to the League of Communists
17 informing them that I actually left them, which was also the case with all
18 the other people who did that.
19 Q. You were elected to the Sokolac Municipal Assembly in 1990?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You were a member of the Crisis Staff in Sokolac --
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. -- in 1992? You were elected a member of the Executive Committee
24 of the SDS in 1993?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Locally, as we have heard in the 89(F) summary, you became
2 president of the SDS municipal committee in -- at the beginning of 1992?
3 A. Yes. On the 13th of January, 1992, to be more precise.
4 Q. As I said a moment ago, I want to turn briefly to your present
5 situation. You are presently incarcerated in Bosnia, facing an allegation
6 of fraud, the allegation relating to matters after the war had ended. Is
7 that right in an absolute nutshell?
8 A. I have been charged with abuse of official position. Allegedly I
9 signed a loan agreement, and that loan, the funds were used for the
10 electoral campaign of the SDS in 1998. And allegedly those funds were
11 never returned by the SDS. And the SDS never returned the loan because
12 the then-leadership --
13 Q. I'm going to stop you there. You've told the Chamber what the
14 essence of the allegation is. I want to ask you one other thing about it.
15 It's right that there are a number of people who were charged with you,
16 one of whom this Chamber has heard evidence from, namely Momcilo Mandic.
17 Is that correct?
18 A. Yes, Momcilo Mandic is the one who was charged with that crime
19 first. He was one of the owners of the bank that granted the loan which
20 was allegedly given to the SDS, but there are other charges against him.
21 In my case, there's just one count of the indictment against me, which is
22 the loan that was used to finance the SDS.
23 Q. And you have pleaded not guilty to that count and you are awaiting
24 trial. Correct?
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. Could you turn, please, to tab 16.
2 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, some of these --
3 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
4 MR. JOSSE: -- documents have --
5 JUDGE ORIE: Before doing so, Mr. Josse, I think tab 19, the 80 --
6 no, the 89 -- yes. The statement, not the summary, but the written
7 statement signed by Mr. Bjelica on the 5th of April, I think it was --
8 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D160, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 MR. JOSSE: Thank you. Your Honour, some of --
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please proceed.
13 MR. JOSSE: Some of the documents in this bundle have been
14 translated; others, unfortunately, have not yet been.
15 Q. Turning to tab 16, Mr. Bjelica, a document that isn't translated.
16 It's right that you took the trouble to obtain this certificate which
17 states that you are a man who has no criminal convictions, certainly as of
18 the 7th of February, 2005?
19 A. Yes. This was issued on the 7th of February, 2005. I tried to
20 apply for certain jobs, but I couldn't find a job so I obtained a
21 certificate proving that I had never been convicted and that I had never
22 been tried. And this certificate was issued with a purpose of finding a
24 Q. Who issued the certificate? Who is the issuing authority?
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, just for my information, is there any
1 dispute about whether Mr. Bjelica -- perhaps it serves other purposes but
2 is there any dispute about whether Mr. Bjelica was ever prosecuted or
4 MR. MARGETTS: No, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I don't know what we're heading for, but
6 if that's the issue, then --
7 MR. JOSSE: That is simply it, but clearly when the Defence bring
8 a man to a court in custody, and the Chamber is aware that he is in
9 custody, it seems unusually important --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but --
11 MR. JOSSE: -- on this occasion to try and bolster his
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but you could have just discussed it with
14 Mr. Margetts. A jury might be under an impression that someone who is in
15 custody might be a criminal, whereas this Chamber is aware that whatever
16 prosecutions are taken against a person, that one sits the first time. So
17 we had no reason, as a matter of fact, to even think about it, where a
18 jury might think that. So let's proceed.
19 MR. JOSSE: In those circumstances --
20 JUDGE ORIE: It has not got a number yet. It has been copied
21 already, so -- the problem is it should be translated. We do understand
22 that this is an unusual --
23 MR. JOSSE: I think it has been sent for translation. If it
24 hasn't, I won't exhibit it; if it has -- it has been sent, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE ORIE: It could still be withdrawn. It serves no purpose
1 than that the witness, uncontested, says this is the first time that he's
2 involved in any criminal investigations.
3 MR. JOSSE: I'm content to withdraw the document.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then --
5 MR. MARGETTS: Your Honour --
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
7 MR. MARGETTS: -- I may at this juncture indicate that there have
8 been certain public pronouncements by authorities relating to
9 Mr. Bjelica's conduct, and it could be that as a result of that this
10 document may become relevant. But the question of actual trial --
11 JUDGE ORIE: We're not aware of that and whatever -- I mean, the
12 document, I take it, is just reflecting to what extent a criminal record
14 MR. JOSSE: That's my understanding.
15 JUDGE ORIE: So whatever people say in public, whatever they think
16 about Mr. Bjelica -- as long as you are not going to lead any evidence
17 that people say he was charged before, he was convicted before, I think
18 it's not very relevant. Let's proceed.
19 MR. JOSSE:
20 Q. The power-sharing agreement in your municipality, how did it work?
21 Was it effective?
22 A. Based on the inter-party agreement among the three ethnically
23 based parties, the SDA, the SDS, and the HDZ, positions were distributed
24 at the republican level, at the town level, and at the municipality level
25 across Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Sokolac municipality --
1 Q. I'm going to stop you. The reason I'm going to stop you,
2 Mr. Bjelica, is you have the advantage in one sense of having had a
3 significant amount of your evidence produced in this written form. So the
4 Chamber are aware of what you're saying because they have read the
5 document that you are looking at at this precise moment. My question was
6 a very specific one, was: How effective was the power-sharing agreement
7 in your municipality? That's where you worked, where you lived, where you
8 were active in politics.
9 A. An agreement was reached and everybody was happy, both the Serbs
10 and the Muslims. There were no Croats in the municipality. The agreement
11 was implemented to the full.
12 Q. When did it start to break down?
13 A. The agreement started breaking down at the moment when the Serbs
14 did not accept the referendum on the independence of Bosnia and
15 Herzegovina - I suppose you are going to ask me about that later - and the
16 Muslims asked the municipality to organise this referendum. The Sokolac
17 municipality did not want to organise the referendum on independence
18 because it was not supported by the Serbs, and then it was done in an
19 undemocratic and unlegal way. The consensus was not respected. We would
20 not stand by the referendum. And in the meantime, the Serb assemblymen
21 signed a document, the 20 of them, organised into the committee on
22 protection of national interests and equality of nationalities and
23 national minorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This was not accepted, and
24 then a new organisation was set up in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and this spilled
25 over to all the municipalities. And those people, the Muslims, were not
1 satisfied with the fact that the Serb assemblymen did not want to organise
2 a referendum. Then they said that they would organise their power, their
3 municipality, and that they would organise their own referendum. That's
4 how the referendum was organised. Only the Muslims participated in the
5 referendum unhindered, nobody prevented them from voicing their opinion,
6 and there were no -- there were no incidents during the referendum. They
7 were given official premises in the SDA and in the office of the president
8 of the SDA, Pecacina [phoen], and the vice-president, Hajrudin Smajic.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bjelica, when you refer to Serb assemblymen, it
10 would be Municipal Assembly?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the municipality Assembly, there
12 were assemblymen of both Serb and Muslim ethnicity.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were Serb assemblymen in the
15 municipality, that is.
16 MR. JOSSE:
17 Q. What about the Croatians --
18 JUDGE ORIE: It's still not -- reading the last line, it's still
19 not perfectly clear. When you're talking about the Serb assemblymen
20 signed a document, the 20 of them, were you referring to 20 Serb members
21 of the Municipal Assembly or were you referring to 20 members of any other
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 20 assemblymen in the National
24 Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 20 Serb assemblymen who were seeking
25 protection of their national interests through the committee on the
1 protection of equality of people's national minorities in
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and they'd wanted to prevent a violation of the
3 constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Yugoslavia. And all this was
4 taking place in the National Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 Please proceed.
7 MR. JOSSE:
8 Q. I want to ask you about the Croatian war and what effect that had
9 on municipal relations.
10 A. When the war in Croatia started, we knew that a number of Muslims
11 volunteered to fight in Croatia in -- as members of illegal formations.
12 Those units were called HOS units, MUP units, ZNG units, whatnot. And the
13 Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina wanted to preserve Yugoslavia as it was
14 and to preserve the JNA. We publicly supported the JNA, and we invited
15 all those who were in favour of Yugoslavia to respond to the call of the
16 only legitimate military institution and force in the former Yugoslavia,
17 which was the JNA, and to respect the orders of superior commands. And
18 this is what was done.
19 In Sokolac also we issued an invitation to our men to respond to
20 the call of the JNA rather to organise themselves or to support any
21 paramilitary organisations. In Sokolac there were a few companies of the
22 then-216th Brigade based in Han Pijesak and they went to Croatia to fight
23 in the war there on the order of the -- their superior command.
24 Q. It is right that you have in your possession a recording in part
25 of a funeral in December of 1991 of a serviceman killed in that war?
1 A. Yes. I believe that one of the witnesses - and I read it
2 somewhere or I followed it in the media, and it was also said by SDA
3 representatives from Sokolac - that volunteers were sent from Sokolac
4 municipality to Croatia to fight in the war there in 1991, that they got
5 killed there, and that we received them, their bodies, as heroes. We
6 buried them under some fascist symbols, Chetnik symbols, whatnot. And I
7 claim before this Trial Chamber that only one young soldier, who was a
8 conscript at the time, a conscript in the JNA, Aleksandar Jolovic was his
9 name, he got killed somewhere near Osijek. And maybe two or three months,
10 the Croatian armed forces, the ZNG or MUP, would not allow the JNA to
11 exchange the bodily remains. Once the exchange was carried out -- and I
12 have the recording because the late Aleksandar Jolovic's father gave this
13 to me, it features the funeral that took place towards the end of 1991,
14 and you can see the symbols of the former JNA, the army of the former
15 Yugoslavia, which was --
16 Q. Thank you. Now, what we're going to do is --
17 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps before we play that, may I ask one clarifying
19 In your previous answer you said you invited - I think you said -
20 your men to respond to the call-ups of the JNA. And then you said:
21 "... rather, to organise themselves or to support any paramilitary
23 What made you invite them -- invite them to join paramilitary
24 organisations rather than the regular army?
25 Yes, Mr. --
1 MR. MARGETTS: Your Honour, I hadn't read that transcript in that
2 manner. Maybe clarification --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Well, then it's unclear to me. I just read what it
4 says on my screen.
5 MR. JOSSE: There was some concern from one of -- from
6 Mr. Sladojevic about that as well --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Well, then let's first try to clarify --
8 MR. JOSSE: I'm bound to say I was concentrating on something
9 else. It needs clarification, and I would be grateful to Your Honour.
10 JUDGE ORIE: You said you issued an invitation to your men to
11 respond, and then could you please -- there might be a translation
12 problem. Could you please repeat that portion of your answer.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter believes that she said "rather
14 than," and the word "rather" has not been recorded.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Municipal Assembly of Sokolac
16 municipality, and I myself as a deputy, we had the majority, we invited
17 the citizens of Sokolac to respond to the Yugoslav -- join the Yugoslav
18 People's Army, not paramilitary formations.
19 JUDGE ORIE: That has been clarified now, and it's good, I think,
20 because it could give a totally false impression.
21 MR. JOSSE: Thank you, Your Honour, and I'm grateful, actually.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
23 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, the relevant CD is quite long. We intend
24 to fast-forward it. There is no sound and I'm simply going to ask the
25 witness in due course to identify the various speakers at the graveside,
1 two in particular of some importance, and to recollect what they said.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 MR. JOSSE:
4 Q. You were at this funeral, weren't you, Mr. Bjelica?
5 A. [No interpretation].
6 Q. I didn't get the translation of that answer.
7 A. I helped organise the funeral. We were all included in organising
8 the funeral because it was the first victim, he was a young soldier, and
9 the municipality took it upon itself to help the family with the funeral.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
11 MR. JOSSE: We're going to start playing it and I'll give
12 instructions for it to be fast-forwarded.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you.
14 MR. JOSSE: If we could fast-forward to the gravesite, please.
15 [Videotape played]
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is very important, if I might
17 be allowed to comment. It is important to see that you have the
18 five-pointed star as the insignia. No other insignia is anywhere. The
19 official insignia of the Yugoslav People's Army, which was the
20 five-pointed star.
21 MR. JOSSE:
22 Q. Yes. Feel free to comment at any time. That's exactly why we're
23 playing it, Mr. Bjelica.
24 A. Yes, fine. You can see here officers of the Yugoslav People's
25 Army; Colonel Krsmanovic, and Colonel Vehbija Karic, who was later on a
1 high-ranking officer of the BH army and member of the Patriotic League.
2 Have a look: On the helmets you can see the five-pointed star and all the
3 uniforms are uniforms of the JNA. Nothing else, no other insignia. And
4 the flag with a five-pointed star is covering the coffin. The only other
5 insignia we see here is the cross because he was a believer, an Orthodox.
6 And this is the decoration that his family was posthumously handed by the
7 president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Vehbija Karic, colonel of
8 the Yugoslav People's Army, and handed that decoration over to the man's
9 -- the young man's father. So he was killed and he was buried with
10 insignia of the Yugoslav People's Army and not, as we heard allegations
11 of, Chetnik insignia or whatever.
12 MR. JOSSE: I think we're just going to fast-forward to Colonel
13 Karic, if we may.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. There you can see it again,
15 the five-pointed star. Take a look, please. On the coffin, the flag with
16 the five-pointed star, the tricolour flag. The Serbs supported in Sokolac
17 the Yugoslav People's Army and all the legal institutions of the federal
18 Republic of Yugoslavia. That was legal and nothing to do with those
19 working illegally who are trying to turn events around and prove that with
20 this funeral. You can see the five-pointed star, the flag, the Yugoslav
21 flag, and all the rest, the uniforms, et cetera.
22 Once again, the president of the municipality, Mr. Tupajic,
23 delivering a eulogy on behalf of the socio-political organisations of
24 Sokolac, saying that he hoped nothing like that would happen again, that
25 he died in defence of Yugoslavia. And this was confirmed by the other
1 speakers who took the floor, as well as the uncle and a lawyer from
2 Belgrade of Aleksandar Jolovic says that he laid down his life for the
3 third Yugoslavia, because Slovenia had already left. He's the man with
4 the hat. He's the son of a national hero, Jolovic, from World War II.
5 And the last speaker was the priest, Orthodox priest, as is customary.
6 And then Mr. Vehbija Karic, who referred to him as a hero of the new
7 Yugoslavia and who had laid down his life, he said, for Yugoslavia, his
8 country, and the defence of Yugoslavia.
9 MR. JOSSE:
10 Q. Who's speaking -- we just saw the second speaker there. Who's
12 A. That's Professor Milorad Savic. His speech was delivered on
13 behalf of the young people and pupils of Sokolac municipality because the
14 soldier was a young man and a member of the youth organisation of Sokolac,
15 so that was on behalf of the professors from secondary school, et cetera.
16 Q. And did we see Colonel Karic in the video?
17 A. Yes, he was in front of the municipality building, and you'll see
18 him again delivering his speech. You can show that footing of him
19 delivering his speech. And he said that the Serbs had no aversion towards
20 officers of other ethnic groups and that a Muslim who was a high-ranking
21 officer at that time came to speak at a meeting of this kind and nobody
22 had anything against it because we felt that he was supporting the
23 Yugoslav People's Army as well and that he was going to fight for the
24 preservation of Yugoslavia. There you had Mr. Karic a moment ago.
25 The cemetery is next to the church, a religious facility,
1 religious site.
2 And another important point is this: There was just one victim in
3 Croatia from the Sokolac municipality. Here you see it. That is Aleksa
4 Krsmanovic, a colonel, and next to him -- that's the uncle that I was
5 talking about who's a lawyer and who mentions Yugoslavia and the
6 preservation of Yugoslavia in his speech and that all efforts should be
7 invested to that end and that his forebears in 1914 and 1941 to 1945 laid
8 down their lives to protect Yugoslavia and that they had national heroes
9 among their family members holding decorations, and so on. That was a
10 speech delivered on behalf of the family. But nobody mentioned any
11 Greater Serbia or greater Serb nationalism or anything of that kind.
12 Here you can see it again, the decoration -- the insignia of the
13 Yugoslav People's Army, the decoration of the Yugoslav People's Army and
14 the Presidency decision to accord it. This is the honour platoon,
15 honorary platoon.
16 Q. Who's that? Stop there. Who's that, please?
17 A. That is Colonel Vehbija Karic, a colonel of the Yugoslav People's
18 Army, and later on he was a high-ranking officer in the Army of Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina, whether the Patriotic League as well or not, I don't know.
20 That was to the end of 1991. So that the colonel, who was a Muslim,
21 delivered a speech at this funeral, not as many wished to portray it as
22 being something else with different insignia and so on. So to the last
23 moment, very last moment, we tried to do everything in our power to give
24 our contribution as far as was possible to preserve Yugoslavia and to
25 preserve the Yugoslav People's Army, which was a multi-ethnic army, which
1 is evidenced from all this footage that we have been able to see. Thank
3 MR. JOSSE: Does that need a number, Your Honour?
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I think it needs a number, Mr. Registrar.
5 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D161, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, could you guide us as -- because it seems
7 that this evidence contradicts allegations of a Chetnik-type funeral and
8 demonstrates that it was not of such a kind. Do you remember exactly,
9 because it might have slipped out of my mind, where we heard this evidence
10 that this was a --
11 MR. JOSSE: I don't have those particular notes with me. I may
12 have them, in fact, in the Defence room.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Margetts, could you assist us on where we find
14 the evidence so that we know what is contradicted? Or was no evidence
16 MR. MARGETTS: Your Honour, I have no specific memory at this
17 stage of evidence regarding this funeral.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
19 MR. MARGETTS: But there were other gatherings in the region at
20 that time where evidence was led --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but not this specific funeral?
22 MR. MARGETTS: I can't say we led evidence on --
23 JUDGE ORIE: Can you please check, because if there's evidence, it
24 makes a lot of sense to show us the picture that contradicts that
25 impression. If, however, there is no evidence and as the witness said it
1 was at that time said in the press that Chetnik matters -- I mean, that's
2 not part of the evidence. I don't hope that the Defence is going to lead
3 evidence just not to contradict the Prosecution's evidence but to
4 contradict what was published at that time in the press. Because I take
5 it for granted that the press was not impartial. So therefore, the whole
6 exercise is very important if it contradicts evidence, and the Chamber
7 hopes and prays that the Defence does not understand its task to be to
8 contradict whatever was published at that time in the press, because then
9 we would need another ten years.
10 MR. JOSSE: Thank you for that guidance.
11 MR. MARGETTS: Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
13 MR. MARGETTS: In relation to this Exhibit D161, the witness has
14 given evidence as to the content of the speeches. We have the visual of
15 the funeral.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 MR. MARGETTS: It would be useful if we could obtain the audio as
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I do understand, but I take it that no audio is
20 available, Mr. Josse?
21 MR. JOSSE: Let's ask the witness.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, of course.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There is an audio-recording. I have
24 the tape in my room with the audio part, the audio-recording. So there's
25 no problem. I can provide it. You can see it, that was Vehbija Karic,
1 and it is our aim to prove that the Muslims attended the funeral and that
2 it was a multi-ethnic event --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bjelica, there is nothing which you have to prove
4 here. The only purpose for you being here is to answer the questions in
5 accordance with the truth. No burden of proof whatever upon you.
6 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
8 MR. JOSSE: I could help to this extent as well --
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
10 MR. JOSSE: -- I know, because I had some limited personal
11 involvement in this, that the witness provided a tape, a videotape, of
12 what the Court has just seen, to the Defence. It is not possible to play
13 videotapes in this courtroom, so we've been told. I -- if that sounded
14 critical, it certainly wasn't meant to be at all. And as usual, the
15 technicians were very helpful some time in advance, and they -- of their
16 own volition, or at least at our request, transferred the videotape onto a
17 CD --
18 JUDGE ORIE: And lost the sound.
19 MR. JOSSE: -- and the sound was not on the CD, as we understand
21 JUDGE ORIE: If we could -- I do understand that these are kind of
22 technical problems, but nevertheless it would be good to have the text of
23 at least the speeches, because there seem to be real speeches on --
25 Perhaps, Mr. Bjelica, if you could provide that tape to the
1 Victims and Witnesses Section, and the section will then, I take it, give
2 it to you?
3 MR. JOSSE: Well, I'm going to try and help there.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 MR. JOSSE: I mean, that's clearly difficult for them. He
6 probably needs to provide it to one of the prison officers, realistically.
7 The Victims and Witnesses Services have very little to do --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Then we need very specific instructions for the
9 prison officers.
10 MR. JOSSE: -- for obvious reasons.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Could you -- it will it be copied, I take it, so that
12 the original will be returned to you, but could you -- Mr. Registrar, I
13 invite you to take the necessary measures that the Detention Unit will be
14 informed about you handing over a tape so that we can listen to the words
15 as well and not only see the pictures.
16 This, Mr. Josse -- still, the relevance is very much dependent on
17 what evidence we receive.
18 MR. JOSSE: Could I make two very quick observations?
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
20 MR. JOSSE: We should still have a videotape somewhere. Neither
21 of the two gentlemen who are assisting me today were involved in the
22 operation of transposing the video onto a CD. My second observation is
23 this: The Defence do not intend to provide a transcript of this funeral.
24 Frankly, Your Honour, it's exactly the same as the Tuzla convoy point; we
25 don't have the resources to do that. And so we will make the tape
1 available to the Prosecution. What Mr. Margetts requests is not
2 unreasonable. The burden will be on them.
3 JUDGE ORIE: I take it that since the witness has now testified
4 about the contents of the speeches that at least the audio gives an
5 opportunity to you, Mr. Margetts, to check, on the basis of the audiotape,
6 whether there is any reason to dispute the testimony of the witness in
7 this respect. So you first could listen to it, perhaps, with the
8 assistance of a language assistant and, if need be, then to transcribe it
9 and have it translated and have that added to the evidence.
10 MR. MARGETTS: Yes, Your Honour. And just in terms that my
11 learned friend will understand, what we're seeking here is the best
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think it's --
14 MR. JOSSE: I can't argue with that. I emphasise that.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So then, Mr. Margetts, you will receive either
16 the tape or a copy of that tape; and you can do with it as you deem fit.
17 Please proceed.
18 MR. JOSSE:
19 Q. I want to ask you about whether your municipality received any
20 refugees from the Croatian war.
21 A. During the war in Croatia, there was an exodus of Serbs and people
22 of mixed marriages. So there were women who were Croats, children from
23 Papuk, Zvecevo and Podravska Slatina. Several hundred families arrived on
24 the territory of Sokolac and a certain number in the Pale area and
25 elsewhere, and we put them up in Sokolac. And some families were put up
1 in the hotel in Sokolac, other families would take in families coming into
2 the village and give them support and assistance for the time they spent
3 there. So that was one of the special tasks, care and attention to the
4 displaced persons and refugees coming in from the war-engulfed areas.
5 Q. I next would like to ask you about your knowledge of Muslims in
6 your municipality beginning to arm before the war.
7 A. In the Serbian Democratic Party through our personnel in the
8 Ministry of the Interior, Territorial Defence, and Defence Ministry, as
9 well as in the state security, and in certain talks held with the
10 population in the Sokolac municipality - and that was the similar case in
11 other municipalities - we learnt that the Muslims were preparing
12 themselves for war, that they were arming themselves, rallying in mosques,
13 in certain houses, in certain locations, and so on and so forth, and that
14 they were wholly bent on propagating the declaration once written by Alija
15 Izetbegovic which was published in certain Sarajevo dailies at that time,
16 which instilled more fear amongst the Serb population throughout
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, not only where we were. And we --
18 Q. I'm going to stop you there because it's right that if we look at
19 paragraph 13 of your 89(F) evidence, you set out various matters.
20 A. Well, this is just -- this just confirms what I said a moment ago;
21 all the information that we had, that it was all correct. And the police,
22 when controlling traffic, would stop vehicles and make checks. And on one
23 occasion there was a religious official who was found with a Kalashnikov
24 on him. I think it was produced -- manufactured in the 1980s or the
25 1990s. I know that that was made public. There was a lot of ammunition.
1 And he said in the Sokolac municipality, where he was stopped under Mount
2 Romanija, he was prosecuted, that man, and then there was a deputy for
3 Gorazde, Hadza Efendic. He was found with a bomb and other weapons in his
4 car while he was driving towards Sarajevo, and things like that.
5 Q. Mr. Bjelica, you mention in paragraph 13 an article in
6 Oslobodjenje dated the 24th of September, 1992. Do you have that article?
7 A. Well, I didn't think that I was going to talk about this, but on
8 the 24th of September, 1992, in the Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje - and you
9 can see it on the Patriotic League's site and you can get it from
10 Oslobodjenje newspaper as well - that Mevludin Smajic gave a statement,
11 and he was in the staff of the command of the Patriotic League, he made a
12 statement to the effect that in 1991 -- throughout 1991, he worked to
13 organise the Muslim people on the territory of Sokolac municipality, that
14 he went to Croatia and brought in weapons, and that every other day he
15 would go to Vitez and bring in explosives, and at one point he had brought
16 in 120 kilogrammes of explosives. And in January 1992, he had on his list
17 866 members of the Patriotic League who were well-trained and we knew that
18 they were undergoing training, that training had been organised for them,
19 sabotage work in Kumrovec, and that certain groups went to Libya as well.
20 We had information to that effect before the war, and that he had -- 40
21 per cent of these members were well-organised members of the Patriotic
22 League, well-trained. And this was also borne out by Mr. Isic, who was
23 the deputy minister of defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And in his --
24 Q. Mr. Bjelica, I asked you a very straightforward question. I
25 expected the answer to be: No, I don't have the article, and then I was
1 going to ask you why and to explore that sort of thing. You must try and
2 answer the question that I am asking you. Is that clear? I know you've
3 got a lot that you want to say to this Chamber, and they understand as
4 well, but you must try and answer the questions that I ask you.
5 MR. MARGETTS: Your Honour, I'd just like to note at this juncture
6 that what we have here is not only the presentation of a press article, we
7 in fact have much less. We have someone giving evidence as to their
8 memory of the press article, and I just would like to note that and ask,
9 through the Chamber, whether Mr. Josse considers that he wishes to lead
10 that evidence.
11 MR. JOSSE: Well, I don't know what that means, Your Honour,
12 that --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Let's be -- Mr. Margetts, I think Mr. Josse started
14 exploring whether the press article exists. If it doesn't exist, then
15 still, having read something in a press article is not, as such,
16 irrelevant nor, as such, unreliable, nor, as such, incredible. So
17 therefore, at the same time, Mr. Josse, I'm more concerned about the
18 content of all of it to have a lot of details. And I'm also concerned
19 about what would have been the sources of the press article. We have
20 heard now, I think from both sides, approximately a hundred times that
21 reporting was usually very partial -- nevertheless, we accepted some of
22 it, as mainly on events rather than on the interpretation of events. So
23 it's not without concern that I allow you to continue.
24 MR. JOSSE: I'm moving away from the press article. Could we look
25 at tab 20, please. Your Honour, I make no criticism of this, quite the
1 opposite, but this was a document that the Defence received very recently
2 by way of Rule 68 disclosure, and so it has not been translated nor, I
3 suspect, sent for translation.
4 JUDGE ORIE: I take it if the Prosecution was able to identify it
5 as Article 68, then -- no, one second, Mr. Bjelica.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well.
7 JUDGE ORIE: That the Prosecution is aware of the approximate
9 Please proceed, Mr. ...
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I could just say that this was
11 published in Oslobodjenje, which was published in the federation in
12 Sarajevo, not in the Oslobodjenje published by the Serbs.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Bjelica, your attention is now drawn to tab
14 20, and Mr. Josse will put questions to you in that respect. Could we
15 perhaps, for "omot spisa," Mr. Josse, what would that approximately be, so
16 we have an introduction to the document?
17 MR. JOSSE:
18 Q. What I -- you received a copy of this yesterday, quite late, to be
19 fair to you, Mr. Bjelica, didn't you?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Have you had a chance --
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. -- to look through these documents?
24 A. Yes. I knew of such things. There were many such cases that
25 the --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bjelica, again, the question was: Did you have
2 an opportunity to look at the documents? I take it since you start
3 commenting on it --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. Very well then.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse.
6 MR. JOSSE:
7 Q. The learned Judge --
8 A. Yes, yes.
9 Q. We're going to take this slowly and in stages, Mr. Bjelica,
10 because we do not have a translation and that makes certainly my life and
11 most other English speakers in this courtroom life very difficult.
12 Looking at the very first page, we see that it says "o-m-o-t s-p-i-s-a."
13 You're not on the first page, Mr. Bjelica. The very first page.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Cover page.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 MR. JOSSE:
17 Q. What do those two -- perhaps you could read out "omot spisa," or
18 perhaps I could ask the interpreter to tell us what they mean, please.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Could the interpreters tell us what "omot spisa"
21 THE INTERPRETER: "File cover," "cover page."
22 JUDGE ORIE: That doesn't help us.
23 MR. JOSSE: It does, Your Honour, I rather think.
24 Q. This is a complete file, as one can make out, isn't it, relating
25 to the Prosecution --
1 A. [No interpretation].
2 Q. And in fact we're going to see this type of thing on various other
3 occasions during the course of your evidence. What we have here are all
4 the documents relating to the Prosecution of this man, Mr. Halilovic. Is
5 that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, the Chamber has some assistance. If one
8 looks at the index --
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Josse, perhaps first, there could be easily
10 a misunderstanding here. It is Alilovic instead of Halilovic, and since
11 the name Halilovic, of course, is only too well-known, I draw the
12 attention to this small imprecision in the transcript, page 37, line 3.
13 MR. JOSSE: Yes. Thank you very much. So, Your Honour, if one
14 goes to the index at the front of the bundle --
15 Q. Not you, Mr. Bjelica, it's not going to help you but it will help
16 the learned Judges.
17 MR. JOSSE: There we see a summary prepared by the Defence of
18 these various documents.
19 Q. Now --
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. In essence, Mr. Bjelica, what was Mr. Alilovic alleged to have
23 A. Mr. Alilovic was charged with possession of automatic weapons of
24 foreign make, Kalashnikov, that is, and that he possessed a large quantity
25 of ammunition which was illegal. I believe that this was in January, I
1 don't know exactly when. In any case, it was in 1991, and this is one of
2 the proofs to show how Muslims armed themselves.
3 Q. Could you go to three pages from the end of tab 20, a document
4 that is numbered 01398231 and is dated the 15th of February, 1996.
5 A. In -- my number under the date the 15th of February -- no, no, no,
6 you're right. You're talking about the Prosecution number. I have that
7 document, I have that page in front of me.
8 Q. Now, this shows that in fact the proceedings, in the end, were
9 stopped in some way. Is that right?
10 A. Yes, because of the statute of limitations under the criminal
11 code. The summons could not be delivered. In the meantime, the war took
12 place, the -- and according to the statute of limitations which was in
13 effect by then the judge had to close the case.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Josse, I'm going -- first of all, I'm not
15 going to ask you whether this would be a suitable time to stop, but
16 usually my breaks are filled with other meetings so I would like to have a
17 break now. Could you at the same time during this break perhaps identify
18 a few lines which are of direct relevance for the understanding because
19 the only word, you'll understand, is "sudija," which I do understand. But
20 all the remainder and then it's not yet entirely clear as far as
21 ethnicities are concerned or what ethnicity was the accused, or at least
22 the suspect. It seems to be a Republika Srpska decision, at least that's
23 what I take from the top. Could you try to identify those portions that,
24 in the absence of a translation, at least gives us a better way of
25 understanding some of the literal wordings of this document.
1 Mr. Bjelica, we'll have a break. We'll resume at 11.00.
2 --- Recess taken at 10.37 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 11.12 a.m.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, please proceed.
5 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, could I first of all deal with the issue
6 of the videotape, and I've been asked by the registrar, who's very --
7 who's worked very hard on this subject during the break, to do this in
8 public. We have found the videotape --
9 JUDGE ORIE: So there's no need anymore to --
10 MR. JOSSE: We have handed it over to our learned friends. There
11 is no need -- we have checked that the sound works on it. Apparently it
12 could have been played in court, we were unaware of that and I apologise
13 if in any way I suggested the opposite, and there is no need, as far as I
14 can see, for the UNDU to be asked to provide the copy that the witness has
15 in his possession there.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 Mr. Josse, I leave it to you whether you, in addition to the
18 testimony of the witness about the content of the speeches, whether you
19 would like the speeches then to be played rather than the whole of the
20 video again. And moving through a video goes slower than moving through a
22 Mr. Margetts, same for you. If you find it relevant in -- in
23 addition to what the witness told us, to let us hear the content of the
24 speeches, we'll hear them.
25 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
2 MR. JOSSE:
3 Q. Back to tab 20, please. The third page of tab 20, the document
4 that is dated -- I don't know if it's altogether clear, it seems to be
5 August of 1992, but it bears the number 1992 at the top, third page -- no,
6 not that one. Go to the first page of tab 20, please, Mr. Bjelica. The
7 first page. One --
8 A. Yes, yes.
9 Q. What we see here is in the middle of the page where it says:
10 "dana 13/1/1992" it sets out the allegation. Is that correct?
11 A. Just a moment. I can't find it. 13 January -- yes, yes. This is
12 a witness statement -- actually, this is the statement of the accused,
13 based on his statement. I don't think --
14 Q. Try and answer my questions, please, Mr. Bjelica. What I would
15 like you to do, please, is slowly read out that one paragraph.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I'd prefer larger portions to be read by
17 one of your team members. They are more use to speed of speech, et
19 MR. JOSSE: I'm going to ask Mr. Mujanovic to do it, Your Honour,
20 because he has been helping me with this particular --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Mujanovic. So we start with "Stoje" and
22 then "Dana."
23 MR. MUJANOVIC: [Interpretation] "13 January 1992, in Sarajevo in
24 the immediate vicinity of the town hall from an unknown person, in an
25 authorised manner he purchased an automatic rifle, Kalashnikov, factory
1 number S4BJ4751, calibre 7.62 millimetre, and four rounds of ammunition
2 and 101 pieces of bullets for the aforementioned rifle, calibre 7.62
3 millimetre. The aforementioned weapon and ammunition were found on the
4 accused in an Argentina 2000 car -- Argenta, I apologise -- in Podravanje
5 during a regular check-up by an employee of the public security station
6 Sokolac. In other words, in an authorised -- in an unauthorised manner he
7 purchased fire weapon and ammunition by which he committed a crime of
8 unlawful possession of weapons or explosives pursuant to Article 213,
9 paragraph 1, of the penal code of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and
11 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
12 MR. JOSSE:
13 Q. And for completeness, and I'm not going to ask this to be read
14 out, if you turn, Mr. Bjelica, another one, two, three, four pages, there
15 we have the statement of the accused, Mr. Alilovic. Is that correct?
16 A. It is correct that weapons were found on him, that he -- that he
17 admitted, this is all correct, but I don't think he paid.
18 Q. Mr. Bjelica, I know - and I'm sure the learned Judges know - you
19 are trying your best, but listen very carefully to the questions that I am
20 asking you. I wasn't asking you at that particular point in time to
21 comment on the evidence; I was simply asking you to verify one or two
22 things. You must understand that we have a serious handicap - not your
23 fault at all - namely, we do not have these documents in English and that
24 makes life rather difficult. Do you understand what I'm saying?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. My question is simply this: The document that you are now looking
2 at is the statement of the accused man, Mr. Alilovic, where he explains
3 how he came by these fire-arms. That's right, isn't it?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Are you able to help the Chamber as to the ethnicity of
6 Mr. Alilovic?
7 A. Mr. Alilovic is a Muslim and purportedly he obtained the fire-arms
8 in Sarajevo. And we only want to make a contribution to the Muslims
9 arming themselves.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bjelica, Mr. Josse asked you very friendly to
11 focus on the question. The question was whether -- what the ethnicity of
12 Mr. Alilovic was. Of course he's asking that in order to demonstrate to
13 the Chamber that at least this Muslim obtained a weapon, or at least was
14 suspected of it. There's nothing -- you don't have to bother about to
15 make a contribution to anything but the truth. And the questions are
16 focussing, I think, as a matter of fact, on the same matter as you have in
17 mind at this moment, which is quite understandable, but just leave it to
18 Mr. Josse. Answer his questions. He'll ask for further details.
19 MR. JOSSE: I --
20 JUDGE ORIE: I mean, I even asked for the --
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise to the Defence. He was
22 a Muslim. I apologise. It won't repeat again.
23 MR. JOSSE:
24 Q. At the bottom of the page that we're looking at, we see two other
25 names. Could you first of all read out the title in capital letters above
1 the name of Mr. Predrag.
2 A. "A statement taken by ..."
3 Q. What ethnicity is Cajic Predrag, do you know?
4 A. Predrag Cajic is a Serb. At the time he was a crime inspector in
5 the public security station of Sokolac.
6 Q. Same question in relation to Mr. Borovcanin, Ljubisa Borovcanin.
7 What is the title in block letters above his name, please? Read that out.
8 A. "Present."
9 Q. And what ethnicity is Mr. Borovcanin?
10 A. Serb, an employee of the public security station. He was either
11 the deputy commander or the head of the crime police. I don't know
12 exactly what he was.
13 Q. Now, only answer this if you can. If we turn on another three
14 pages, we see the document that we looked at before which deals with the
15 discontinuation of the proceedings, you have told us, because of the
16 statute of limitations. We see that that document is headed up
17 "Republika Srpska." Are you able to explain how it is that Republika
18 Srpska became involved in these proceedings which started before that
19 republic had been founded? Only answer if you know, please.
20 A. The date is 15 February 1996. This was after the Dayton Accords
21 were signed, and the basic court in Sokolac was part of the Ministry of
22 Justice of Republika Srpska and the only court in -- courts in Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina were in Republika Srpska. And the basic court in Sokolac took
24 over all the cases which were not resolved by them. And an order came
25 from the Ministry of Justice for them to finish the cases, and that's why
1 the basic court in Sokolac finished this particular case in this way.
2 MR. JOSSE: I've no further questions, Your Honour, about these
3 documents. I don't know whether they've been given a number. If they --
4 JUDGE ORIE: Not yet, from what I understand. I take it that the
5 whole bundle gets one number, Mr. Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D162, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you.
8 MR. JOSSE:
9 Q. Now, Mr. Bjelica, we were looking at paragraph 13 of your 89(F).
10 Could you turn back to tab 19 and go to paragraph 13.
11 A. Yes. I've found it.
12 Q. And we see there the name a few lines up from the bottom of
13 paragraph 13 Atif Saronjic and Konda Karmen.
14 A. Atif Saronjic. Just a moment, please. Yes.
15 Q. We see that you have said that they were arrested.
16 A. Yes, they were taken in. I don't know what -- yes, arrested, if
17 you will.
18 Q. And what was your understanding as to why they were arrested?
19 A. The police probably had information about Mr. Atif Saronjic, who
20 was a highly ranking officer of the JNA, he was a corvette captain of the
21 JNA. He left the JNA in 1990 and got involved in the organisation of the
22 Patriotic League of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The intelligence service and
23 the police knew that he was in charge of operative work on the ground and
24 that he was accompanied by Konda Karmen who had documents, but nobody
25 knows whether this was a true personality, whether this was a true
1 identity, which proved to be the case during an exchange.
2 Q. You see my hand. The reason I had my hand out was you need to
3 slow down a little bit. As I said to you already, I appreciate it's not
4 easy, but apart from answering the questions, when you answer the
5 questions, you need to answer them in a slow pace because obviously the
6 interpreters have to try and keep up with what you're saying. Do you
7 understand, Mr. Bjelica?
8 A. I do understand, yes.
9 Q. Could we turn now to the last document of tab 13, which again,
10 sadly, has not of yet been translated since some time ago, Your Honour, I
12 Now, let me try and summarise this document. This is a document
13 that was sent by Velibor Ostojic to the Red Cross in, it appears, the 30th
14 of April, 2000 -- I beg your pardon, 1992. And it states that the MUP of
15 the RS had custody of the following individuals on your list, so
16 presumably it must have been a list that the Red Cross had provided to the
17 government of the Republika Srpska. Is that your understanding of this
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And we can see that numbers 11 and 12 are the two people whom you
21 have just referred to?
22 A. Yes, but under number 4 you also have that person. So the people
23 that were looking for that person didn't know what number they would
24 appear under, and they looked under Karan Saronjic, so you can analyse
25 that. You see, number 4 is the same person, whereas the person was taken
1 into custody under the name of Karmen Konda.
2 Q. That's very helpful. Read out, please, the whole entry, including
3 the words in the two sets of brackets under number 4, just those two
4 lines. Read them out slowly.
5 A. "Karan, not known, possibly it is a case of Karmen Konda and not
6 Saronjic, as was listed in the list under number 12." That means that
7 they were looking for another name, Karan Saronjic, whereas down here we
8 have Karmen Konda who was arrested, and it says here that possibly it was
9 a case of Karmen Konda and not Saronjic, as was stated, so it's the same
10 person. That means there was something suspicious, and they were never
11 able to ascertain the identity of the person in question. And I asked in
12 the police station about that person, and later on it turned out that they
13 were very important people in the patriotic -- in the organisation of the
14 Patriotic League and the activities of the Patriotic League in
16 Q. Do you know where in Sokolac these people were detained?
17 A. In the police station. They were in detention.
18 Q. For how long were they in detention?
19 A. Well, I don't know. The police determined that. We just learnt
20 later who these people were and that they worked in intelligence and
21 visited certain persons, and they gave statements to that effect to the
22 police, and the police sent it on to the Office for Cooperation with The
23 Hague Tribunal, those particular statements and everything about them that
24 they deemed necessary.
25 Q. And have you any idea when they were released from detention in
2 A. Well, straight after the request made by the government of
3 Republika Srpska, and the names were handed in to the International Red
4 Cross Committee and the International Committee -- they were handed over
5 to the International Red Cross Committee, so that was straight away,
6 straight afterwards, a couple of days later.
7 Q. Are you aware as to whether their detention was by way of any
8 legal process; that is, their detention in Sokolac?
9 A. Yes, I do think that they have the whole dossier, the whole police
10 file, on this case as well as for the others who were taken into custody.
11 I can't really know this because it's up to the organs of the interior to
12 deal with. But everything was done according to the legal process.
13 Q. And are you able to assist as to who in the municipality would
14 have been responsible for liaising with the Republika Srpska government to
15 organise the transfer of these people and that type of thing?
16 A. Well, that could have been done by the Ministry of the Interior.
17 The president of the Municipal Assembly would have to have been informed,
18 and he would contact the government in that regard. And the Sokolac
19 municipality had its own commission, just like any other municipality, its
20 commission for searching for and exchanging persons who were missing and
21 prisoners of war, and the president was Mr. Dragan Podinic. And this was
22 constitutional procedure according to the rules and regulations that were
23 in force at the time. So they cooperated closely with similar commissions
24 from other areas, a different entity as it is today, and with the ICRC,
25 the International Red Cross Committee.
1 MR. JOSSE: Could that document have a number, please.
2 THE REGISTRAR: That would be D163, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
4 MR. JOSSE:
5 Q. Your -- questions I'm going to ask you, Mr. Bjelica, are by their
6 nature rather disparate, so we're going to go to a completely different
7 topic now but still in the pre-war period, and I want to ask you to have a
8 look at this, please.
9 MR. JOSSE: This is the Variant A and B document, Your Honour.
10 Q. Now, you're aware now of the existence of that document. That's
11 right, isn't it?
12 A. I heard it mentioned at trials here, this document.
13 Q. And indeed, you have dealt with the matter in correspondence to
14 this Tribunal. Could we turn to tab 18, please.
15 A. When the trials in Hague started, I got to know this document --
16 Q. I'm going to stop you, Mr. Bjelica. Could you turn -- or could
17 the usher help you turn to tab 18, please.
18 MR. JOSSE: This is D9, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ORIE: I see it's written on the top of it.
20 MR. JOSSE:
21 Q. So this document has an introductory letter from Mr. Blewitt, who
22 was then deputy Prosecutor in the Office of the Prosecution, and
23 thereafter there is your reply to his inquiry. We see the reply there.
24 It's been dealt with in this court previously. Does that set out what you
25 understood in November of 2001 to be the position so far as the Variant A
1 and B document is concerned?
2 A. Well, yes. I wrote this and I sent it. It went through the
3 Ministry of Justice. I understand the situation fully. I've understood
4 it, and they asked whether we still have these documents in the archive.
5 And I don't know what you want, whether to comment on what I wrote here.
6 I'm not quite clear on your question. What are you asking me?
7 Q. Well, in particular, the very last paragraph, please. There are
8 two sentences. As far as the first sentence is concerned --
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. Is that still the position as you understand it?
11 A. Well, that's it 100 per cent. This question was never posed, nor
12 was it solved, nor were any similar documents compiled, and that's the
13 situation today as well. That's how I understand it now as well.
14 Q. What about the second sentence where you told the Ministry of
15 Justice that you were given information that a certain number of retired
16 officers of the former Yugoslav People's Army were responsible for the
17 document? Where did that information come from?
18 A. Well, all of us together in the party tried to see where this
19 information was coming from regarding these documents, and I asked on one
20 occasion - I think he was General Subotic, the defence minister in the
21 government of Republika Srpska, the first defence minister - whether he
22 had any knowledge of these documents and whether they had anything like
23 that in the Ministry of Defence, because we had to give a response. And
24 he said no. And I said I was the president of the party and never heard
25 of them. And then he said that a certain number of individuals, retired
1 persons, that they had the same information, as did some other people,
2 that they were in the divided municipalities, that is to say whether you
3 had Serbs and Muslims, a mixed population of Serbs and Muslims, and that
4 the Muslims and the Croats already had such Crisis Staffs. They had
5 Crisis Staffs and they, for a certain number of individuals and
6 municipalities, they wanted to copy that, and that's why they compiled
7 these documents. And a group of retired officers -- well, that was the
8 situation, if this is true, this Variant A and B.
9 Now, as far as Sokolac municipality is concerned and the Romanija
10 area as a whole, as far as I know, a document of this kind never reached
11 us, never arrived anywhere.
12 Q. Could you turn, please, to --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, could we ask the witness:
14 When you were -- when you were told that these were retired
15 officers of the former Yugoslav People's Army, did you ask for any names
16 or were any names mentioned?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, no, because it wasn't a party
18 matter. I don't know who -- well, it wasn't linked to the Serbian
19 Democratic Party, what they were asking at the time -- asking for at the
20 time. We weren't asked to investigate. I said that I asked around, asked
21 people whether they knew about this. Perhaps I shouldn't have even done
22 that, even asked around, because it didn't exist, it wasn't in the
23 archives, but I wanted to help, to throw light on the situation, to
24 resolve the issue because it was an issue since these trials in The Hague
25 began. I think that someone did it with the right intentions. It might
1 have been slipped in or whatever, I don't know, apart from the official
2 SDS organs.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could I ask you: Did you learn whether this
4 was a -- kind of a secret action by those military men or by those
5 officers or -- did you learn anything more apart from that it was just a
6 group of retired JNA soldiers -- officers?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, no, I didn't do anything
8 special. I know that there were officers like that in our area. For
9 example, retired officers, that is. They would come in and then they
10 offered their services and we would send them to the commands; what they
11 did with them, I don't know. But quite certainly, they did it on their
12 own bat. I don't know that they did anything else. Perhaps it was
13 well-intentioned, perhaps not. People who were ready to accept their
14 support and assistance, they were old officers, bureaucrats, and so on,
15 who could not find their way in the newly arisen situation.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Now, this Chamber received evidence that at later
17 stages reference was made to such a document in a very official setting.
18 I think it was Assembly meetings, but could you explain why such a
19 document of what you say, well, just the initiative of some JNA -- retired
20 JNA officers, whatever they had in mind, took such importance at a later
21 stage at Assembly meetings?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. What I'm saying is
23 that I never have seen this document, never saw it until recently. And I
24 have no information that Badza [phoen] was in an Assembly anywhere.
25 Possibly, but I never saw it. He never came where we were.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please proceed, Mr. Josse.
2 MR. JOSSE:
3 Q. Could you turn to tab 4.
4 MR. JOSSE: This, though it doesn't say it, Your Honour --
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Tab 4, right.
6 MR. JOSSE: -- in the index is P835.
7 Q. Tab 4, please. You have had a chance to look at this intercept of
8 a conversation between you and Radovan Karadzic on the 27th of December of
9 1991. Firstly, do you have any recollection, 15 and a half years later,
10 of this conversation?
11 A. Well, I remember that there were some conversations, but this has
12 reminded me, jogged my memory, and I think this is quite correct. I have
13 no objections to make. Had I not read it, I wouldn't have known what we
14 talked about, but when I saw this, then quite certainly it is correct, a
15 correct rendition.
16 Q. Reference is made at the start of the intercept to invoices being
17 put through someone called Krajisnik. To whom is that a reference?
18 A. Well, these weren't sent on, but I'm not quite sure whether they
19 were Slavo Krajisnik or Mirko Krajisnik. I'm not quite sure now because
20 we had some telephone conversations with the two of them; we never saw
21 them. But I don't think anything came of this. It was never realised.
22 This business was never realised. They were two systems full of fuel that
23 had to be paid for. We weren't able to meet those requirements, so this
24 was a business transaction that never went through. And President
25 Karadzic called us up at that time because we had contacted as an
1 enterprise and as a municipality the competent institutions and asked for
2 their assistance to prevail upon the Ina and Energopetrol companies to
3 provide resources for the vital institutions of the municipality; that is,
4 to provide us with fuel, with petrol. But they didn't do so. They didn't
5 cater to the Romanija area. When these two cisterns turned up, this
6 transport company appeared and they asked the president or whoever, Tintor
7 or whoever, whether they needed fuel anymore, he said ask for Sekovic. So
8 we needed petrol but we couldn't comply with the price, we didn't like the
9 price because it was supposed to be 45 dinars first of all, that was the
10 figure quoted, and now the next price was 58 that was being asked for, 58
11 dinars, and we didn't have the money to pay for that and so this never
12 materialised. This business transaction never went through.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, under tab 4 we find, after the literal
14 text, we find a report on the transcript search, on exhibit search. May I
15 take it that this is work products which should be taken out?
16 MR. JOSSE: That should most certainly be taken out.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Margetts, could I invite you to take that out and
18 to destroy it immediately because it's there through mistake.
19 MR. JOSSE: Thank you very much, Your Honour. Thank you very much
20 for spotting that, Your Honour.
21 Q. You mentioned Slavo Krajisnik. Who is he?
22 A. Slavo Krajisnik worked with Branko Ostojic and Sekovic down there,
23 from the Birac region, and he worked in the company dealing with fuel.
24 But I never saw him. We spoke over the phone twice and I don't think
25 anything actually went through, went ahead. And I'm sure that he's not
1 any relation of Mr. Krajisnik as far as Krajisnik is concerned. They're
2 different areas. This was the Birac area.
3 Q. If we turn in the English to the third page --
4 JUDGE ORIE: May I ask: Are you aware of any oil or petrol trade
5 that ever succeeded where Mr. Slavo Krajisnik was involved?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know that there was anything
7 like that. We went directly to the Jugopetrol company, as I see it says
8 here, because the refinery price was better and there was no middleman to
9 cater to.
10 JUDGE ORIE: But at the same time you say it would be the price
11 plus 3 dinars which is, from what I understand, the contribution to the
12 party. So would that -- would you pay 3 dinars to Jugopetrol to be then
13 transferred to the party or -- because you said "no middleman."
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, had I -- no, I wouldn't have
15 gone via Jugopetrol, it went via Raja Dukic's firm, and that would have
16 calculated in the 3 dinars for the party. That would be the margin, the
17 sales margin would be increased by 3 dinars only if we were to go through
18 that company because the SDS had an agreement with that company for
19 financial assistance. I wasn't in the Main Board at the time, so I can't
20 know for sure what the arrangement was. And I don't think it would be
21 relevant for you, anything that I would say in that regard because of
23 JUDGE ORIE: Is there any link between Slavo Krajisnik in his
24 company and Mr. Dukic's company?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I think there is a link, not
1 Dukic with Branko -- with Branko Ostojic, not Dukic. But I've actually
2 forgotten, it was all a long time ago, you must understand. The business
3 deal didn't go through, so I really can't remember. But there was some
4 sort of story, whether with Ostojic or whoever, but I never met the man
5 and I don't think it was anything terrible. Nothing secret. Everything
6 went along these lines. Everything was legal and it was legal to set
7 aside a portion for the party, for companies to set aside a portion for
8 the party.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. When you said you're not quite sure whether
10 they were Slavo Krajisnik or Mirko Krajisnik, you explained to us that
11 Slavo Krajisnik was not in any way related to Mr. Momcilo Krajisnik.
12 That's at least how I understood it. When you referred to Mirko, were you
13 referring to Mr. Momcilo Krajisnik's brother or -- you mentioned that
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I meant Mirko Krajisnik,
16 Momcilo Krajisnik's brother. He worked in Rajko Dukic's company; that's
17 not contested. And then there's this other man Krajisnik who has nothing
18 to do, no relations. They are two companies, two individuals.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
20 MR. JOSSE:
21 Q. I'd like you, please, to turn, Mr. Bjelica, to the third page of
22 this intercept, page 3 in the English as well. At the very bottom of the
23 page we see reference to Mr. Dukic paying as well and Mr. Ostojic will pay
24 as well. What is that a reference to, please?
25 A. Well, you can see here that those were two companies, one
1 belonging to Ostojic, one Dukic's. And one Krajisnik worked with Dukic,
2 another Krajisnik worked with Ostojic. In the Sokolac area, this activity
3 was conducted by Milan Tupajic, and we decided to install a satellite
4 antenna, a strong satellite antenna, reinforced, which could broadcast and
5 catch programmes -- broadcast by state television from Serbia, from
6 Yugoslavia, from Belgrade, because all the other transmitters were
7 switched off by Radio Television Bosnia-Herzegovina. And we weren't -- we
8 were in a complete media blockade. We had no programmes to watch. So we
9 asked for offers from Belgrade, from the authorised company, and the offer
10 was 26.000-odd convertible German marks for them to install and put into
11 operation a system which would allow us to cover the Sokolac municipality
12 and have a television signal -- radio and television signal coming from
13 Belgrade, the Belgrade 2 programme, in fact. And in that conversation, I
14 informed the president of the Serbian Democratic Party, Mr. Karadzic, of
15 that because it is a -- the media blockade was a very major problem. We
16 had information from Sarajevo, which was under the control of the Party of
17 Democratic Action, and I said -- I told the president on that occasion
18 that we had reinforced the Radio Romanija transmitter and that we were
19 working with this new system, that we would do our best and via our
20 sponsors and friends in the Serbian Democratic Party in Sokolac
21 municipality, managed to collect 26.500 convertible German marks for that
22 project. President Karadzic at the time asked us to look into the
23 possibility of the technical feasibilities to reinforce the system so that
24 it could be -- television programmes could be watched in Sarajevo as well.
25 And I said in this conversation that we had no more resources and whether
1 we could check this out. But he said that if need be, if we needed the
2 resources and the funds, see if you could do it because it would be a good
3 thing if the Serbs in Sarajevo should not only be able to watch Alija's
4 television but Belgrade television programmes and all the rest. And then
5 that difference, the additional money that should be paid to install a
6 system of that kind, if possible, would be paid by Mr. Dukic and
7 Mr. Ostojic. But as I say, this business transaction never went through
8 because we didn't have the necessary resources. We had to build a
9 repeater station and transmitter and that was all very expensive and we
10 didn't have the money to do that. So I hope I have been able to explain
11 what all this is about.
12 Q. Turn back, please, to your 89(F) at tab 19, and I want to ask you
13 about paragraph 15, please.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. How did you learn about the ambush and killing of the people
16 mentioned in that paragraph?
17 A. As soon as something happened in the field, the signal centre
18 would inform -- actually, the command of the 2nd Romanija Brigade informed
19 the signals centre, and then in their turn they would inform the families
20 of the casualties, and those people from the signals centre were
21 duty-bound to also inform the Municipal Assembly, and then the Municipal
22 Assembly either would wait for somebody from the brigade command or on
23 their own initiative inform or put somebody in charge of informing the
24 families that an accident had happened and that people got killed. That's
25 how I learnt of these people having been killed, that they had been
1 ambushed. Bogdan Borovcanin, Darko Krsmanovic, Nenad Tabakovic, and this
2 was very deep in the territory of the municipality of Sokolac. They were
3 set fire to and their bodies were torched on the main road where there
4 were no combat activities at all in that part.
5 Q. In the paragraph immediately above that one, in other words,
6 paragraph 14, you talked about "subversive and terrorist actions
7 occurring." Why do you use those words?
8 A. What else could you call this but terrorism if somebody plants
9 explosives on the road or kill a person who is sowing their meadow or a
10 shepherd in the field when you have a statement by the commander of the
11 Patriotic League that they had obtained weapons and that he himself
12 trained people in the area how to make explosives. 30 per cent at least,
13 according to the list, were people who were engaged in the army and the
14 police in the territory of Sokolac municipality and who were duty-bound to
15 protect the territory of Sokolac on certain lines of separation and stay
16 there. As they went there or as they were returning, they would be killed
17 by explosives or hitting minefields. I'm sure that you have information
18 that those were all booby-traps or anti-infantry mines that were planted
19 on the road and that mostly these people either were killed or their lower
20 extremities were injured, and I'm sure that you can find confirmation of
21 that somewhere.
22 Q. So far as paragraph 16 is concerned, could I invite you to look at
23 that and then turn to tab 7 of the documents in front of you.
24 A. Tab 7? I saw a number 16 and now tab 19 --
25 Q. Paragraph 16 relates to tab 7.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. So once you've read paragraph 16, turn to tab 7. Fortunately, all
3 of these documents have been translated. Could I ask you: Where did you
4 obtain the documents in tab 7 from?
5 A. Documents in tab 7 were obtained from the public security station
6 in Sokolac or the security services centre in eastern Sarajevo in their
7 department for documentation of war crimes.
8 Q. And shortly, if you can, explain to the Chamber why you obtained
9 these documents.
10 A. Well, I've been following these trials to a certain extent and all
11 the activities and investigations that have been conducted, and I see that
12 only the Muslim and non-Serb victims are being mentioned in the territory
13 of our municipalities. There were -- hadn't been no Serb casualties or if
14 people had actually killed themselves.
15 Q. And summarising these documents, we see that an investigation is
16 carried out into the death of Mr. Krsmanovic. Could I ask you: What is
17 his ethnicity, please?
18 A. Krsmanovic, the late Krsmanovic, Sofren, was a Serb.
19 Q. So far as the two people that I think were injured -- one was
20 injured and one was unharmed, Rajko Eric and Milenko Krsmanovic, they were
21 both Serbs as well; is that correct?
22 A. Yes, yes.
23 Q. And these documents detail the investigation into the death of
24 one, the attack on the others. There are a number of names that the
25 police suspect as perpetrators. We go to a document somewhere near the
1 middle, dated the 20th of October, 1992.
2 A. On the same page?
3 Q. No. Several pages on, please. Let me count how many for you,
4 including the English. 13 pages on.
5 A. Yes. Yes, I've found it.
6 Q. You'll see that the person that compiled this official report
7 believed that the perpetrators may have been someone -- well, let me ask
8 you to read the names. At the bottom of that page there are two names.
9 A. Yes. Izet Popara and Vahid Hajdarevic, who were Muslims and
10 neighbours of the late Sofren and the late Eric and the others. The
11 perpetrators' village was very nearby. They were neighbours.
12 Q. If one goes through this file and goes to the documents at the
13 very end, one can see that as of the year 2000 no one has been brought to
14 justice for these crimes. Is that right?
15 A. That's right. Official reports were filed against unknown
16 perpetrators; however, to this very day it hasn't been established who the
17 perpetrators were. The case is still open for all crimes, not just for
18 this crime; for everything that happened.
19 MR. JOSSE: Could that have a number, please, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
21 Mr. Registrar.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, all those documents will be under
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's fine. Do we have in the description of
25 the documents we have, I think, a further specification of -- let me just
1 check. Yes, we have a further specification.
2 Mr. Josse, by the way, you asked the witness whether -- you say:
3 One can see that as of the year 2000 -- no. Let me just -- let me just
4 check what you --
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the year 2000 nobody by then was
6 found guilty of these crimes -- of this crime, that is.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Josse, page 60, line 2 - and I more and
8 more become aware of what a leading question is - invites the witness to
9 confirm that the -- those who compiled the report were of the opinion that
10 Mr. Hajdarevic and Popara might have been the perpetrators. At the same
11 time, I see that this is an interview of Mr. Eric and it's not at all
12 clear to me whether this opinion is the opinion of the -- of Mr. Cobovic
13 and Vojinovic or whether it's the witness who is --
14 MR. JOSSE: As usual, and I mean this with the greatest respect,
15 Your Honour is very beady eyed. It's my fault entirely. I would read it
16 for what it's worth, that it's the opinion of the witness.
17 JUDGE ORIE: You ask a different --
18 MR. JOSSE: I led the witness in the wrong way. I'm entirely at
19 fault. I mean this in the full sense of the word, I'm entirely grateful
20 to Your Honour for picking that up.
21 JUDGE ORIE: I'm just trying to follow the evidence as closely as
22 possible, unless you would have reason that the witness could help us out
23 that this is -- otherwise, we'll leave it at face value.
24 MR. JOSSE: I don't. And indeed to be fair to me, it wasn't that
25 I particularly wanted to suggest that the police suspected these
1 individuals as against a witness. I simply wanted to establish in fact
2 that no one had ever been charged with these particular allegations.
3 JUDGE ORIE: No, it's not that relevant. I'm not blaming you in
4 any way of trying to achieve anything because it doesn't bring you that
5 much, as a matter of fact, but apart from that, I insist, as always, on
7 MR. JOSSE: Might I observe, of course, that's what comes of
8 asking leading question.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Josse, I -- my first line said, "I more and
10 more become aware of what a leading question is."
11 MR. JOSSE:
12 Q. Could you go back, Mr. Bjelica, to your 89(F) at tab 19, and could
13 you look at paragraph 17. Only a few lines there. Just read them to
14 yourself. And when you've done that, could you turn to tab 6, please.
15 Again, you obtained these documents from your local police. Is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And on this occasion, the victims of these crimes are Muslims. Is
19 that right?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And to summarise the effect of this, they, it is alleged, had been
22 murdered. And I don't suppose there's any dispute about that. If we go
23 three pages from the back of tab 6 - so count three pages back, four in
24 the English - we see the doctor's report where he verifies that all these
25 unfortunate individuals were shot dead.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Have you any idea whether the authorities were able to bring
3 anyone to justice for these crimes?
4 A. I don't know what the court did and how far this has gone to. A
5 file -- a report has been filed with the court. I don't know what the
6 court has done so far. As far as I know, nobody has been tried, just like
7 in the case of Krsmanovic and other cases. Everything is at a standstill,
8 as far as I know.
9 MR. JOSSE: Could these documents have a number, please, Your
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
12 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D165, Your Honours.
13 MR. JOSSE:
14 Q. Now, your --
15 MR. JOSSE: I'm going to move on, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please do so. I'm trying to digest portions of
18 MR. JOSSE:
19 Q. Your Honour 89(F) does not include, and I'm not criticising you
20 for this, that was the Defence's decision any reference to the incident at
21 Novoseoci. I may have pronounced that wrong. N-o-v-o-s-e-o-c-i. This
22 was a massacre that occurred in the summer of 1992 in your municipality.
23 A. Novoseoci.
24 Q. I'm very grateful. This was a massacre that occurred in the
25 summer of 1992 in your municipality; is that correct?
1 A. That's correct. I can see now that everything is correct and
2 deserves every sort of condemnation.
3 Q. The victims, 44, were of Muslim ethnicity. Correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. What -- when did you learn of this massacre?
6 A. On one occasion, I don't know how long after that, Milan Tupajic
7 told me on one occasion, he told me it seems to me these people from
8 Novoseoci had a very unglorious ending. He told me something to that
9 effect. Don't hold me on to that. I don't know what words he used, how
10 he interpreted the event. I know that nobody spoke about the event. At
11 that time or before that time, the army spoke about disarming the
12 villages, that the whole area of Romanija is at risk because of these
13 units that were moving about. Maybe I can say something more about that
14 later. But when I learnt -- I didn't know how many people were involved,
15 how many were executed. In my view, this was unnecessary. On one
16 occasion, I believe that this was a few years after the event, there was a
17 religious holiday of some sort, All Saints' Day, or St. Mark's Day or some
18 anniversary. In any case, a day when you go to the cemeteries, and I met
19 -- I bumped into the father of a lad who had committed suicide, and I
20 asked him about another person whose name I can mention. And this man
21 says: Well, I'm trying to get by. This was a great misfortune, and see
22 what Krstic had done; he took these children, he took them to Novoseoci.
23 I never knew that this guy had been there, and there was him and two other
24 lads, and then he says he was persecuted by that all the time, he couldn't
25 sleep, and before the eyes of his parents he had committed suicide. And
1 this was more or less what I learnt from the parents of one of the lads,
2 and he also mentioned another lad who were together -- who was together
3 with him and participated in the -- in the incident. I finally learned
4 the number when the place had been identified and when the victims had
5 been discovered, when their remains had been discovered, and the post
6 mortem had been carried out, then I became absolutely aware of what had
7 happened. And for a while there were rumours, the village was rife with
8 rumours about these people, that they were actually away on work
9 obligation, that they would be exchanged, and only later did it turn out
10 that it was all not true. And I don't think that any other bodies knew of
11 that, not even the president of the municipality Mr. Pajic, who was also
12 president of the Crisis Staff, knew about the event.
13 Q. So not to --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, the witness mentioned -- said that someone
15 told him: Well, I'm trying to get by. This was a great misfortune, and
16 see what Krstic had done. I'd like to --
17 MR. JOSSE: That was exactly what --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
19 MR. JOSSE:
20 Q. Well, you went to a funeral some years later. When was the
21 funeral, the funeral where you received this information? Which year, can
22 you remember?
23 A. I can't remember. I believe that it was at the end of the war,
24 towards the end of the war. And it was not a funeral. This guy had
25 already been buried, a monument had been erected. I came across his
1 father, whom I knew very well. And I knew that his son had committed
2 suicide. I don't know why, I don't know what the motives of the suicide
3 were. I don't know what the family had to go through and what problems
4 they were facing.
5 Q. My fault. And the father told you something about Krstic. Can
6 you be more precise as to what he said about --
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. -- Krstic?
9 A. This is what he told me. He accused Krstic of the death of his
10 child. He says: See what Krstic did to us. He dragged our children into
11 all that, and I said: What that? And he said: All that thing that
12 happened around Novoseoci. And as a result of that, his late son had
13 nightmares, problems, and then finally, right before the eyes of his
14 parents, he did what he did. This is all what he told me, what I knew,
15 what I learnt about the whole thing.
16 Q. What did you understand him to be saying about Krstic? What was
17 he suggesting that Krstic had, in fact, done -- or alluding to rather than
19 A. Probably, but not only probably but certainly, it was Krstic who
20 had issued the order to do whatever was done. I can't see anything else
21 as a possible explanation.
22 MR. JOSSE: I'm going to move on, Your Honour, unless the Bench
23 has any questions on this.
24 JUDGE ORIE: I don't know whether that was a -- the name "Krstic"
25 is not unique.
1 MR. JOSSE: No, it's General Krstic, isn't it?
2 JUDGE ORIE: General.
3 MR. JOSSE: The man who was convicted of the Srebrenica massacre.
4 Q. We're talking about the same person, aren't we?
5 A. Yes, yes, yes, yes.
6 Q. The next matter I'd like to ask you about - again a completely
7 different topic --
8 MR. JOSSE: I don't know whether this would be a convenient
9 moment, Your Honour, moving on to a --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, if you've moving to another subject, this would
11 be a convenient moment. We'll have another break, Mr. Bjelica, until ten
12 minutes to 1.00.
13 --- Recess taken at 12.28 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 1.02 p.m.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, please proceed.
16 MR. JOSSE:
17 Q. The topic I now want you to tell the Chamber something about is
18 the visit of, among others, Radovan Karadzic and Momcilo Krajisnik to
19 Sokolac on the 17th of May of 1992. It's not in your 89(F), Mr. Bjelica.
20 Again, a decision of the Defence that we wanted you to tell the Court
21 orally about that particular occasion. Let me guide you a little bit.
22 A. Very well, then.
23 Q. You had some guests coming from Belgrade. Is that correct?
24 A. These were not guests -- actually, they were guests, but those
25 were people who hailed from Sokolac who resided in Belgrade, mostly
1 executives, doctors who hailed from the area and they wanted to come and
2 visit the area where they originated from because we can say that at the
3 time Sokolac was completely encircled by the enemy, that the entire region
4 of Romanija was at a risk of a huge material disaster.
5 Q. And I'm going to lead on this, and I'll be stopped if my learned
6 friends have any objection.
7 MR. MARGETTS: Your Honour, because this does deal with issues
8 evidently -- specifically directed to the accused, it would be better in
9 this area if Mr. Josse didn't lead. We will be sensitive.
10 MR. JOSSE: I'm being -- I'm only interrupting because I'm not
11 going to lead on Mr. Krajisnik. I'm simply dealing with the guests who
12 were coming from Belgrade at the moment.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, the warning is there, and Mr. Margetts
14 also knows that although he's sensitive on the matter, the Chamber invites
15 him certainly not to be oversensitive.
16 Please proceed.
17 MR. JOSSE:
18 Q. I simply wanted to deal with how these guests were going to get
19 there from Belgrade. And it's right, isn't it, that there was a military
20 hospital in Sokolac. People were -- wounded were being ferried by
21 helicopter from that hospital to Belgrade, and it was decided that some of
22 the returnees from Belgrade could take a helicopter ride back, so to
23 speak, from Belgrade to Sokolac?
24 A. It is correct that was there a military hospital in Sokolac.
25 Those who were more heavily wounded were referred to the military medical
1 academy in Belgrade. There were lots of wounded every day. Every day a
2 helicopter would transport the wounded and would come back empty from
3 Belgrade. Those who wanted to come to Sokolac, some of them doctors, some
4 of them executives -- and the road was not safe. There was a road block
5 near Visegrad. You couldn't get to Rogatica because in Gorazde from
6 Medjedja to Foca the roads were also blocked, and in order for --
7 Q. I'm stopping you, Mr. Bjelica. That is why I wanted to lead. It
8 is not in dispute, I'm sure. That's how these people got there from
9 Belgrade. Correct?
10 A. By helicopter, because it wasn't safe to travel by road.
11 Q. All right. Now --
12 A. They had to take the helicopter because there was a risk at every
13 step of the way that they would be targeted by the Muslim terrorists if
14 they had decided to take any of the roads.
15 Q. Why did you - when I say "you," the municipal authorities - also
16 invite various members of the leadership of the Republika Srpska to attend
17 on the same occasion?
18 A. We organised a meeting of executives from Sokolac and those who
19 had arrived from Belgrade. We could not convey the situation in the
20 general region of Republika Srpska to our friends, and in order to have
21 them fully informed about the political and economic situation, we asked
22 the president of Republika Srpska, Dr. Karadzic; the president of the
23 National Assembly; somebody from the government; a few ministers;
24 vice-president of Republika Srpska, and the newly appointed commander of
25 the Main Staff and his associates, to come and to talk to our guests and
1 to inform them about the situation, whether the situation was good or not,
2 whether it was safe when -- how these people could be involved into
3 sending humanitarian aid to their own people because they knew that we
4 were in dire straits and Muslim saboteurs had destroyed our transmission
5 lines, our main transmission lines that served to feed Romanija with
6 electricity. We had been without electricity for six months, which we
7 needed for the wounded, for the injured --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bjelica, you very clearly explained why you
9 invited the leadership of the Republika Srpska, and then you continued to
10 explain that by demonstrating how awful your situation was and who was to
11 be blamed for that. I'm not saying that it's not right or -- what you
12 say, but it was not a portion of the question.
13 Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
14 MR. JOSSE:
15 Q. So we -- you've told us that, among others, Dr. Karadzic and
16 Mr. Krajisnik attended. What --
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. -- were they shown? Where were they taken? Mr. Krajisnik in
19 particular I'm asking about. What happened on the day, so to speak?
20 A. They were not taken anywhere. Nothing was shown to them. They
21 arrived in the meeting hall of the Sokolac municipality straight from Pale
22 and they returned to Pale. They did not even have time to have lunch.
23 And the rest of us stayed, having lunch with our friends from Belgrade and
24 other members of the delegation. Those people were in a hurry and I don't
25 know whether something had happened or some international representatives
1 were supposed to come for a meeting. I know that they didn't even stay
2 for lunch, that immediately after the meeting they headed for Pale and the
3 rest of us stayed at lunch. In other words, their stay boiled down to
4 them sitting down in the meeting hall of the Municipal Assembly building
5 in Sokolac, nothing else.
6 Q. If you can be precise, but only if you can be precise, could you
7 tell the Chamber what dealings you had with Mr. Krajisnik that day.
8 A. I didn't have any direct contacts with him because that meeting
9 was not planned like that. There were no individual contacts. The
10 leadership came, the president of the republic, the president of the
11 National Assembly, and somebody from the government - I don't know who -
12 some of the vice-presidents, I can't remember who he was. They came, they
13 sat down in the meeting room, and there were no individual contacts
14 between them or -- and anybody else. There's some 70 people sitting
15 there, some former politicians from the former system, some retired
16 officers, some executives. There were no individual contacts. This was
17 just not planned. When they started to leave, they may have been stopped
18 by a journalist, but that was all. That is all the contacts that
19 leadership had with anybody.
20 Q. That's exactly what I wanted to ask you about. The contact with a
21 journalist, one or more journalists, did you listen to Mr. Krajisnik or
22 Dr. Karadzic's conversation or conversations with those journalists?
23 A. No.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, one or two clarifying questions.
25 Did any of the persons you mentioned, did they address the
1 meeting? Did they speak to the 70 persons being present?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
3 JUDGE ORIE: You mentioned the president of the republic. Did he
4 address the meeting?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: You mentioned the president of the Assembly. Did he
7 address the meeting?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, they all said something. It
9 was primarily the president of the republic and the commander of the Main
10 Staff, General Mladic, who were primarily asked to address the audience.
11 Then Mr. Krajisnik took the floor, he made a contribution, and some other
12 people also asked to take the floor. However, President Karadzic and
13 General Mladic had the main say at the meeting; they were the keynote
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Were the journalist present during these
16 addresses made by the three persons you mentioned?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think so. Nothing was hidden.
18 And there were not just three persons. Maybe 10 or 15 people spoke but
19 there were two keynote speakers who were in charge of informing the
20 gathering of whatever was necessary. That was the president of the
21 republic and the chief of the Main Staff.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
23 Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
24 MR. JOSSE:
25 Q. I'd like to move on to a different topic. Could you turn to tab
1 12, please. This is another collection of documents that you have
2 provided to the Defence. That's correct, isn't it, Mr. Bjelica?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And this details military prosecutions - correct me if I'm wrong
5 about that - or prosecutions of members of the VRS for various alleged
6 crimes. Is that right?
7 A. Which one? Which one?
8 Q. Well --
9 A. There was a crime involved. Serbs wanted to take something from a
10 Serb, and those things were processed. Whenever a report was filed, these
11 things ended up in court. There was no anarchy. The police did their job
12 within the boundaries of their capabilities under such circumstances.
13 This is just to support the thesis that there was no anarchy, unlike some
14 people said that everybody did what they wanted to do. Those who were
15 involved in crimes were brought in regardless of their ethnic background.
16 Q. Now, in fact, as you've, I think, just --
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse.
18 MR. JOSSE: Yes.
19 JUDGE ORIE: I think we need a number for this first, or for this
20 bundle of documents.
21 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D166, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
23 MR. JOSSE:
24 Q. As I think you just explained, you've said Serbs wanted to take
25 something from Serbs, so in all of these cases the alleged perpetrators of
1 the crimes are Serbian and the alleged victims are also of Serb ethnicity.
3 A. Yes, yes.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bjelica, one question also to clarify. You said:
5 "Irrespective of their ethnicity, those who were involved in crimes were
6 brought in."
7 At that time, the -- how many Muslims were left in the
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. In the town of
10 Sokolac there were not many Muslims even before the war. The municipality
11 had some 15.000 inhabitants and 4.000 of them were Muslims. In the town
12 itself, there may have been a few dozens of households -- Muslim
13 households, and some of them exchanged property with the Serbs from other
14 areas in -- even before the war, so there were not that many Muslims in
15 the town itself.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You said 4.000 in the municipality. How many
17 of them were left, or how many families, approximately?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1992, towards the end of 1992, or
19 in the second half of 1992, I can't remember exactly, very few of them
20 left. In 1990 through the villages, Vrbare, Buta [phoen], or maybe some
21 other villages that were there, and they stayed there until 1993 or 1994.
22 The others had left after the agreement in Knezevo now with the president
23 of the municipality of Olovo, Mr. Dzeved Abazovic, and the negotiations
24 were led by Milan Tupajic, the president of the municipality of Sokolac,
25 and since they thought at the time the war would not last long, and that's
1 why they left.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So I do understand there were a few dozens of
3 households in the town, whereas you have no information on the remainder
4 of the municipality and how many still were there.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very few. Very few. Maybe 30 or 40
6 families altogether at the most. Very few.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
8 MR. JOSSE:
9 Q. There's one document in tab 12 that we would invite you to
10 particularly look at. It's, unfortunately, very near the middle. It's
11 dated the 18th of November of 1992, and it's a report on recognition of a
12 person, and it's an alleged attempted murder filed by someone called Cedo
14 A. What page is that?
15 MR. JOSSE: Give me one moment.
16 [Defence counsel confer]
17 MR. JOSSE:
18 Q. No, I -- it's my fault, Mr. Bjelica. I'm going to, in fact, ask
19 you not to look at that for a moment. I want to return to the questions
20 that the learned Judge has just asked. He asked you -- this is the
21 learned Presiding Judge asked you, that there were a few dozen households
22 in the town, whereas you have no information on the remainder of the
23 municipality, how many were still there.
24 JUDGE ORIE: I think, as a matter of fact, Mr. Josse, that I said
25 no precise information but that has not appeared in the transcript, but I
1 stand corrected if I'm wrong.
2 MR. TIEGER: That is what I heard as well, Your Honour, but --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, if there's any need, we could listen to the
5 MR. JOSSE: No, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
7 MR. JOSSE:
8 Q. And your answer was: "Very few, very few." When you used the --
9 A. A few dozen of houses or households, I'd say.
10 Q. When you used the words "very few," what were you referring to;
11 the town or the municipality as a whole?
12 A. The municipality as a whole. If there had been 4.000 Muslims
13 before the war, only a few hundred remained, which is very few in
14 comparison with the number that had lived there before the war.
15 Q. I next want you to turn, please, to tab 15. There are two
16 documents there. They are, unfortunately, untranslated --
17 JUDGE ORIE: One question before we go to that.
18 MR. JOSSE: Yes.
19 JUDGE ORIE: D166, Mr. Josse, is about the theft of a blue Lada
20 1600. You initially asked the witness to move to another portion of that
21 material. Then you said: No, please do not. Does that mean that not the
22 whole of D166 is material which you would like to tender?
23 MR. JOSSE: No, that doesn't mean that. We would like to tender
24 it all.
25 JUDGE ORIE: All of it.
1 MR. JOSSE: There was a specific point that I was going to draw
2 the witness's attention to, but --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, okay.
4 MR. JOSSE: -- on instructions, there is no need.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please do so. Please proceed.
6 MR. JOSSE:
7 Q. Just before these are given a number, the Chamber, I dare say,
8 would like to know where you have obtained these documents from, and then
9 you can explain what they are. So first question is: Where have you
10 obtained these two documents from?
11 A. Mostly in the municipality or municipality committees of veterans'
12 organisations in the territory of the municipality, if they dealt with
13 veterans, and in the municipalities and in the hospitals where the wounded
14 were hospitalised. They are from various institutions, from the hospital,
15 from the municipality, or veterans' organisations. And all these
16 documents have been filed with respective records, and there are even some
17 death certificates there.
18 Q. Could you read the title of the first document.
19 A. "People who were either injured or killed in the territory of
20 Sokolac municipality."
21 Q. And it is right, isn't it, that looking at number 1, it talks a
22 Dragicevic Rade being killed in an ambush on October the 20th, 1992.
23 A. Yes, Rade Dragicevic, yes, at the Beta mountain on the territory
24 of Sokolac municipality, the father of four children. He was gathering
1 Q. Number 2 is Ilija Macar, who was killed when stepping on a
3 A. Ilija Macar and his wife, Slobodanka Macar Ceranic. They were on
4 their way from a funeral, the funeral of her brother-in-law and on their
5 way to the village, they stepped on a land-mine and both of them were
6 heavily injured and succumbed to their wounds on the way to the hospital.
7 Husband and wife.
8 Q. Kezunovic Lazo, number 3, was also killed in an ambush?
9 A. Lazo Kezunovic and Maksim Vukovic were killed in an ambush, and
10 they were torched. And nothing remained but a few body parts and ashes.
11 Q. Do you know anything about the ambush in which they were killed?
12 Do you know any details about it?
13 A. I don't know anything. It was not just the two of them who were
14 killed. Some 20 cars or so came by and there must have been 30 or so
15 casualties. There is information on that. I took just the information
16 about two people from Sokolac. There were other people, from Rogatica,
17 for example, Viljko Bojevic and his brother, a director of a company, they
18 were on their way to purchase some supplies. So the two brothers Bojkovic
19 were killed, and I have to apologise to all the other victims of that
20 event for having taken just the data on these two people from Sokolac.
21 This happened on the main road between Sokolac and Zvornik.
22 Q. The second document details individuals who were killed on or near
23 their property?
24 MR. MARGETTS: Your Honour, just -- it was unclear to us from the
25 witness's last answer exactly what these documents purport to be. It
1 appeared that the witness referred to sources of information but not
2 exactly to how these specific documents were compiled.
3 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand.
4 Mr. Josse, you asked where he obtained them, but how they were
5 compiled is not clear.
6 MR. JOSSE: No.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Especially the last answer of the witness raises some
8 questions in this respect. Could you please explore that.
9 MR. JOSSE: Yes.
10 Q. Mr. Bjelica, did you produce this document?
11 A. I just systematised this. They were all documents and records in
12 the police station about this and they were never brought in, just like --
13 or rather, they were never finalised. All the criminal reports were filed
14 against perpetrators unknown. All this was in the police station in
15 Sokolac, Rogatica, Zvornik, each of these names and surnames. And I say
16 that with full responsibility, that in the public security station,
17 Sokolac, Han Pijesak, Rogatica and Vogosca, everything belonging to the
18 security services of Zvornik, all these names are to be found in those
19 police stations. And I think that the office for tracing missing persons
20 and Office for Cooperation with the Tribunal have handed these documents
21 over to the Prosecution, to the OTP, or wherever, and that they have been
23 MR. JOSSE: Well, I'm going to move on, Your Honour. I'm in the
24 Court's hands as to whether they should be given a number.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Well, if you want to tender them -- I mean, of course
1 the whole -- I would say all of the information is in the witness's
2 testimony to the extent -- to the other extent, we can't read it at this
3 moment. You would need a translation. And from what I understand, the
4 purpose of these documents is to present to the Chamber at least these
5 four examples of how people in Sokolac died; as a result of ambushes or
6 mines laid by whomever.
7 MR. JOSSE: Precisely.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I don't think there's any need to give it
9 a number. Please proceed. But I leave it to you, if you insist to have
10 it -- but then you need to have it translated.
11 MR. JOSSE: It's being translated again. We could try and have it
12 withdrawn, but I --
13 JUDGE ORIE: You don't insist on giving it a number. Then let's
14 refrain from doing it. Please proceed.
15 MR. JOSSE:
16 Q. Turn briefly, if we could, to tab 14. Who compiled this list?
17 A. This list was compiled by the board of the families of dead
18 fighters and missing persons, persons detained and missing from the Pale
19 municipality. Then the president of that board was Mr. Cicovic.
20 Q. And could you read the title of this document, please.
21 A. "List of fallen fighters --" because they are listed as fighters,
22 they were members of the army -- "from Zepa."
23 Q. And after that, can you turn to the next list. That is a list of
24 servicemen who were injured in the course of the conflict. Is that
1 A. This was not a conflict. The data about the wounded persons come
2 from the military hospital in Sokolac where they were taken and given
3 medical assistance, and it was agreed between the command in Zepa and the
4 army that the unit should go to Zlovrh, where the repeater stations are,
5 to replace the young soldiers there and to leave food and fuel for the
6 repeater stations. They did not expect to encounter any problems. The
7 unit set out, and when they went through a canyon, they weren't ready for
8 any fighting. They had no intention in engaging in any battles or
9 fighting. The extremists from Zepa, from various weapons and artillery
10 pieces, opened fire, and that's what happened. On the one hand they say
11 they had nothing, that they weren't armed, whereas the unit that set out
12 in a humanitarian -- on a humanitarian assignment, we can call it that,
13 this is what they experienced and what happened to them.
14 Q. Right. I --
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, again, is this again related to Zepa or --
16 because that seems to appear from the answer of the witness. Could
17 perhaps the witness read the title just above the second document.
18 Could you please read that, Mr. Bjelica, so just the handwritten
19 title. Yes.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Ah, yes. "List of injured and
21 wounded fighters, Zepa, 1992." I got this from the military hospital in
22 Sokolac, the 4th of June, 1992.
23 JUDGE ORIE: 4th of June. What -- it's for the first time that we
24 now get information about Zepa, Mr. Josse. Is there any specific link to
25 Sokolac or -- I mean -- or is it just that you say: I would like to give
1 a broad view on what happened in that part of the country?
2 MR. JOSSE:
3 Q. Why have you obtained this information is the question I'd like to
4 ask, Mr. Bjelica?
5 A. Well, there were fighters, people from Sokolac there, and this
6 happened on the border between the Sokolac and Rogatica-Han Pijesak
7 municipalities. And the participants were people from Sokolac; that's why
8 I'm talking about it. And that's the border of the two municipalities,
9 and it's directly linked to Sokolac. It's the same brigade. Now, whether
10 they were from Pale, more from Pale or more from Sokolac, in any
11 particular unit, that is debatable, and it's not essential here.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
13 It also introduces a new element, Mr. Josse, because although the
14 witness seems on grounds not immediately clear to me, sources not
15 immediately clear, that we now entered into the area of listing in some
16 detail the casualties among combatants, which is, as far as I am aware of,
17 not the core of this case.
18 MR. JOSSE: I'm not going to ask for a number for these documents.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
20 MR. JOSSE:
21 Q. Whilst dealing with --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I didn't finish my last thing when I said
23 because although the witness seems on grounds not immediately clear to me,
24 sources not immediately clear, I should have continued and said more or
25 less denies or at least puts in question whether there were combatants,
1 being soldiers, not having arms, et cetera. I'm not inviting you to
2 explore the matter, but I read on the transcript, which happens to me now
3 and then, that I start a part of a sentence and do not finish it.
4 MR. JOSSE: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
6 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, I'm about to lead the witness on a
7 portion of his evidence which has been notified to my learned friend.
8 He'll stop me if he's unhappy with --
9 JUDGE ORIE: He'll ask us to stop you, Mr. Josse, perhaps, yes.
10 MR. JOSSE: Of course.
11 Q. It's right that you have some knowledge of an attack by Muslim
12 forces in a place called Jabucko Sedlo on August the 20th, 1992? Is the
13 answer to that yes, please?
14 A. Yes, it is, yes.
15 Q. And it's right that, as you understand it, there was a delivery of
16 humanitarian assistance to the Serbian community in Gorazde, which was
17 taking place --
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. -- and five men were ambushed and killed. And you can provide
20 their names if asked. Is that right?
21 A. Yes, yes.
22 Q. And where does your information of that particular attack come
24 A. The same as everything else; the military hospital in Sokolac
25 informed the leadership of the municipality about people from the
1 municipality, so we had to see to the families and the population. And
2 nobody wanted to do this kind of work so they would transfer this duty to
3 the municipality, tell the family that their member has been killed or
4 wounded. So this was unpleasant, an unpleasant duty that we had to
6 Q. How do you know that it was a humanitarian convoy these people
7 were involved with?
8 A. Well, certainly it was because in Gorazde, at Jabucko, the Serbs
9 were in a very difficult situation and they needed assistance. On the one
10 hand they were cut off, they couldn't go to Rogatica, or -- that would be
11 the safest route otherwise, and the decision was taken by the unit that
12 they should provide -- well, there were civilian vehicles from the
13 Romanija-Sokolac firm that were being used and they were driving food,
14 taking food, whereas security was provided by soldiers, some of the army.
15 And I don't know what the name of the place was now, but it was between
16 Mesici and Jabuka -- Jabucko Sedlo, actually. They were stopped there --
17 or rather, came across an ambush, and they were looted. Five or six
18 persons were killed including Curovic Predrag, Bjelakovic Radisa, Vidovic
19 Radomir, Srdjan Djeric, Jovanovic Ilija. Their remains were never found.
20 And later on we learnt that they were caught alive, captured alive and
21 liquidated in Gorazde and thrown into the Drina River, but their bodies
22 were never found, their bodily remains were never found, so that they are
23 listed as missing.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I am looking at the clock and wonder how
25 much time you would still need.
1 MR. JOSSE: My firm intention is to use one more session and one
2 more session only.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then please finish this part and then we'll
4 consider --
5 MR. JOSSE: I have finished.
6 JUDGE ORIE: You have finished.
7 Then we'll first invite Mr. Bjelica not to follow the usher, as
8 usual, but, Mr. Bjelica, we will continue tomorrow. Most likely we'll
9 have a later start, Mr. Josse, because there's a swearing in ceremony of
10 new Judges and I am --
11 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
12 JUDGE ORIE: We would have an opportunity -- let's first ask
13 Mr. Bjelica to be escorted out of the courtroom. Mr. Bjelica, we'll start
14 tomorrow, most likely anything between quarter past 9.00, 9.30,
15 approximately, in this same courtroom. I would like to instruct you that
16 you should not speak with anyone about the testimony you have given or the
17 testimony you are still about to give tomorrow. Is that clear to you?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Quite clear, yes.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Could then the witness be escorted out of the
20 courtroom. Could you -- would you please follow the security officer.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. Shall I leave this here?
22 MR. JOSSE: The documents, please, Mr. Bjelica.
23 [The witness stands down]
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, of course I'm asking -- I did ask you
25 because we -- I wondered whether we could finish the witness by tomorrow.
1 Mr. Margetts, do you have --
2 MR. JOSSE: Could I just add this?
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
4 MR. JOSSE: Yes. He is as keen as every witness to get back to
5 his home country as soon as possible. He tells me he has a Status
6 Conference in his case on the 14th of April. The sooner he is back, the
7 sooner he can prepare with his lawyers.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I do understand.
9 Mr. Margetts, much of the evidence led by the Defence is of a
10 character which I can imagine that there's not -- I don't know exactly
11 what the position of the Prosecution is, but we often heard that some
12 attacks, some ambushes, some crimes committed by unknown perpetrators, and
13 therefore not prosecuted nor -- well, no follow-up, it's -- I asked
14 Mr. Josse in the very beginning on what we had to focus on, whether it
15 would undermine the -- or contest the evidence led by the Prosecution. He
16 said it was mainly that rather than, although perhaps also, about
17 sentencing. I wonder whether we should go in every detail -- I mean,
18 whether there was a Lada 1600 and whether it was blue or not. I mean, I
19 don't know what the position of the Prosecution is, but the Chamber might
20 be a bit reluctant to go into every single detail of what certainly are
21 crimes reported, sometimes with a follow-up, sometimes without a
22 follow-up, sometimes rather unclear, such as people being killed by mines.
23 I don't know whether we have to go in every detail of who laid mines in
24 what area of this municipality.
25 So I wonder whether, keeping this in mind, whether we could finish
1 tomorrow. I was already informed by Mr. Registrar that if we could have a
2 late start, we could have a late finish as well. So we would not lose
3 that time but we would have our full time available. That would be two
4 sessions for the Prosecution. Would that do?
5 MR. MARGETTS: Your Honour, obviously we're always reluctant to
6 make time commitments.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I know you're reluctant.
8 MR. MARGETTS: But in this circumstance with Your Honour's
9 comments, I think shared by us as well, so we expect we would be able to
10 finish in two sessions.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And then of course there might be a lot of
12 questions by the Judges, we'll see. But we have at least an opportunity
13 to continue beyond a quarter to 2.00 and therefore have the full time
14 available. Nevertheless, I'd like to start tomorrow morning as soon as
15 possible. So if everyone -- officially the swearing in ceremony has been
16 scheduled for half an hour, but if we would be ready by quarter past 9.00
17 it would be highly appreciated if we could then immediately start.
18 MR. MARGETTS: Yes, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse.
20 MR. JOSSE: I'll mention to your legal officer when Your Honour
21 has risen one subsequent or consequential scheduling difficulty there
22 might be of sitting too late into tomorrow afternoon. I can do that --
23 JUDGE ORIE: Not too late, as a matter of fact. We have limited
24 time because there will be a Status Conference in the afternoon, but it
25 will not start at a quarter past 2.00, as usual the afternoon sessions do
1 start. So I'm not thinking about more than compensating for the half an
2 hour. If you need another 15 minutes --
3 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, I will have a brief word, of course in
4 the presence of my learned friends.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 Then we'll adjourn until tomorrow morning, same courtroom, quarter
7 past 9.00 up till 9.30.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.50 p.m.,
9 to be reconvened on Friday, the 7th day of
10 April, 2006, at 9.15 a.m.