Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 149

1 Wednesday, 4th August, 1999

2 (Initial Appearance)

3 (Open session)

4 --- Upon commencing at 5.03 p.m.

5 JUDGE MUMBA: Good afternoon. Can we have

6 the case name called, please?

7 THE REGISTRAR: (Interpretation) Case number

8 IT-96-23-I, the Prosecutor versus Dragan Gagovic, Gojko

9 Jankovic, Janko Janjic, Radomir Kovac, Zoran Vukovic,

10 Dragan Zelenovic, Dragoljub Kunarac, and Radovan

11 Stankovic.

12 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you very much. From the

13 outset, I would like to find out from the accused

14 whether he can understand what is going on in a

15 language he understands. The accused?

16 THE ACCUSED: (Interpretation) No.

17 JUDGE MUMBA: Is there no interpretation?

18 You're not understanding us?

19 THE ACCUSED: (Interpretation) I can hear the

20 interpretation.

21 JUDGE MUMBA: You can understand what is

22 going on?

23 THE ACCUSED: (Interpretation) Yes, I

24 understand.

25 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. I'm sitting alone

Page 150

1 for this initial appearance following the order by the

2 acting president, Judge May, dated today.

3 May I have the appearances for the

4 Prosecution, please?

5 MR. RYNEVELD: Good afternoon, Your Honour.

6 If it please the Court, Dirk Ryneveld, for the

7 Prosecution, and with me today are my colleague, Peggy

8 Kuo, and the case manager, George Huber. We are

9 prepared to proceed this afternoon.

10 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. For the Defence?

11 MR. MORRISON: If it please Your Honour,

12 Howard Morrison for the defendant for today's

13 proceedings, and again, we are ready to proceed.

14 JUDGE MUMBA: May I find out from Defence

15 counsel the particulars, your residence and the bar

16 association to which you practice?

17 MR. MORRISON: Yes. I am a member of the bar

18 of England and Wales, and I'm assigned counsel to this

19 Tribunal in other cases, as well as this case.

20 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. I wonder whether

21 the Prosecution have submitted the relevant documents

22 to the Registry?

23 MR. RYNEVELD: I believe so. Thank you.

24 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.

25 The accused is now making his initial

Page 151

1 appearance and is formally charged under Rule 62 of the

2 Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

3 Would the accused please stand up and give us

4 his name, his date of birth and place of birth, and the

5 name of his Defence counsel.

6 THE ACCUSED: (Interpretation) Radomir Kovac,

7 born 31 March, 1961, in Foca.

8 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. What about the name

9 of your Defence counsel? You can't remember the name,

10 I take it. Mr. Morrison?

11 THE ACCUSED: (Interpretation) Morrison, yes.

12 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. You may be seated.

13 I just want to make sure, Defence counsel, that the

14 name of the accused is correctly spelled.

15 MR. MORRISON: It is, as far as I know, yes,

16 Your Honour. It is certainly the same name that I was

17 given yesterday, in the order from Judge May that I

18 received today, and the same name that appears on the

19 indictment.

20 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you very much.

21 This is the initial appearance for the

22 accused, as I have already stated, and we would like to

23 make sure that the rights of the accused, according to

24 Article 20 of our Statute, have been complied with. We

25 want to make sure that the accused understands the

Page 152

1 indictment and that his counsel has had time to discuss

2 with him and give him instructions on today's

3 proceedings, that is, on how he should plead.

4 Under Article 21, the rights of the accused

5 are also spelled out. So I would like to find out from

6 the Defence counsel whether he has had time to discuss

7 the indictment that the accused is facing.

8 MR. MORRISON: If it please Your Honour, yes,

9 I've had the opportunity this afternoon at the

10 detention centre to go through the matters which he

11 faces. As Your Honour will see from the indictment,

12 they consist of the last two counts on the indictment

13 alone.


15 MR. MORRISON: So that has been a relatively

16 straightforward task, and it has been determined, of

17 course, to Your Honour's agreement, it has been

18 determined that the proper course in this case is

19 simply to read out the general background to the

20 indictment and then simply read out those two counts,

21 being the counts that name him.

22 JUDGE MUMBA: Relevant to him, yes.

23 MR. MORRISON: As far as the rest of the

24 matters concerned under Article 21, I have specifically

25 asked the defendant whether or not he has any

Page 153

1 complaints or observations that he wished to make to

2 the Court through me. He has no complaints to make at

3 the moment. He has indicated what his plea will be,

4 and I can tell the Court that that will be one of not

5 guilty to both the counts on the indictment, and that

6 any further matters that he needs to raise, he will

7 raise through myself or other counsel, if he so

8 chooses, in due course.

9 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you very much.

10 The indictment which the registrar will refer

11 to was issued by the Prosecutor on the 19th of June,

12 1996 and was confirmed by Judge Vohrah on the 26th of

13 June, 1996. Since counsel has indicated that he has

14 had time to confer with the accused on the indictment,

15 I will ask the registrar to read the relevant parts of

16 the indictment.

17 THE REGISTRAR: (Interpretation) The

18 Prosecutor of the Tribunal against Radomir Kovac.

19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.

20 THE REGISTRAR: (Interpretation) I will start

21 again.

22 The Prosecutor of the Tribunal against

23 Radomir Kovac.

24 Indictment:

25 The Prosecutor of the International Criminal

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1 Tribunal of the former Yugoslavia, pursuant to his

2 authority under Article 18 of the Statute of the

3 Tribunal, charges Radomir Kovac with Crimes Against

4 Humanity, as set forth below:

5 Background:

6 The city and municipality of Foca are located

7 southeast of Sarajevo, in the Republic of

8 Bosnia-Herzegovina and borders Serbia and Montenegro.

9 According to the 1991 census, the population of Foca

10 consisting of 40,513 persons was 51.6 per cent Muslim,

11 45.3 per cent Serbian, and 3.1 per cent others. The

12 political and military takeover of the municipality of

13 Foca started with the first military actions in the

14 town of Foca on 7 April, 1992. Regular military units

15 from the Bosnian army and irregular military units from

16 Serbia and Montenegro, supported by artillery and heavy

17 weapons, proceeded to take over Foca, section by

18 section. The occupation of Foca town was complete by

19 16 or 17 April, 1992. The surrounding villages

20 continued to be under siege until mid July 1992.

21 1.2 As soon as the Serb forces had taken

22 over parts of Foca town, military police accompanied by

23 local and non-local soldiers started arresting Muslim

24 and Croat inhabitants. Until mid July 1992, they

25 continued to round up and arrest Muslim villagers from

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1 the surrounding villages in the municipality. The Serb

2 forces separated men and women and unlawfully confined

3 thousands of Muslims and Croats in various short- and

4 long-term facilities or kept them under constructive

5 house arrest. During the arrests, many civilians were

6 killed, beaten, or subjected to sexual assault.

7 1.3 During the takeover and the arrest of

8 the non-Serb population, there was a close alliance

9 between the Foca police (hereinafter SUP) and the Serb

10 forces. The arms and uniforms for the Serb soldiers

11 were distributed from the SUP building. Serb soldiers

12 were constantly going in and out of the SUP building

13 and started their wave of arrests from there.

14 1.4. The Foca Kazneno-popravni Dom

15 (hereinafter KP Dom), one of the largest prison

16 facilities in the former Republic of Yugoslavia, was

17 the primary detention facility for men. Muslim women,

18 children, and the elderly were detained in houses,

19 apartments, and motels in the town of Foca or in

20 surrounding villages, or at short- and long-term

21 detention centres such as Buk Bijela, Foca High School,

22 and Partizan Sports Hall, respectively. Many of the

23 detained women were subjected to humiliating and

24 degrading conditions of life, to brutal beatings and to

25 sexual assaults, including rapes.

Page 156

1 1.5 Besides the above-mentioned detention

2 places, several women were detained in houses and

3 apartments used as brothels, operated by groups of

4 soldiers, mostly paramilitary. The ICRC and other

5 organisations, unaware of these detention facilities,

6 did not intervene. Therefore those detainees had no

7 possibility of release or exchange.

8 The Accused:

9 Radomir Kovac, also known as Klanfa, son of

10 Milenko, born on 31 March, 1961 in Foca, was a

11 permanent resident of Foca at Samoborska Street.

12 Radomir Kovac was one of the subcommanders of the

13 military police and a paramilitary leader in Foca. He

14 was involved in the attack on Foca and its surrounding

15 villages and the arrest of civilians.

16 General allegations:

17 4.1 At all times relevant to this

18 indictment, a state of international armed conflict and

19 partial occupation existed in the Republic of

20 Bosnia-Herzegovina in the territory of the former

21 Yugoslavia.

22 4.2 All acts or omissions set forth herein

23 as grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and

24 recognised by Article 2 of the Statute of the Tribunal

25 occurred during that armed conflict and partial

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1 occupation.

2 4.3 At all times relevant to this

3 indictment, the victims, referred to in the charges

4 contained herein, were persons protected by the Geneva

5 Conventions of 1949.

6 4.4 At all times relevant to this

7 indictment, the accused was required to abide by the

8 laws or customs governing the conduct of war.

9 4.5 Unless otherwise set forth below, all

10 acts and omissions set forth in this indictment took

11 place between April 1992 and February 1993.

12 4.6 In each count charging torture, the acts

13 were committed by, or at the instigation of, or with

14 the consent or acquiescence of, an official or person

15 acting in an official capacity, and for one or more of

16 the following purposes: to obtain information or a

17 confession from the victim or a third person; to punish

18 the victim for an act the victim or a third person

19 committed or was suspected of having committed; to

20 intimidate or coerce the victim of a third person;

21 and/or for any reason based upon discrimination of any

22 kind.

23 4.7 In each count charging crimes against

24 humanity, a crime recognised by Article 5 of the

25 Statute of the Tribunal, the acts or omissions were

Page 158

1 part of a widespread or large-scale or systematic

2 attack against a civilian population, specifically the

3 Muslim population of the municipality of Foca.

4 4.8 In this indictment, acts of forcible

5 sexual penetration of a person, or forcing a person to

6 sexually penetrate another are alleged. Sexual

7 penetration includes penetration, however slight, of

8 the vagina, anus, or oral cavity by the penis. Sexual

9 penetration of the vulva or anus is not limited to the

10 penis. Such acts can constitute an element of a crime

11 against humanity, (enslavement under Article 5(C),

12 torture under Article 5(F), rape under Article 5(G)),

13 violations of the laws and customs of war (torture

14 under Article 3 and Article 3(1)(A) of the Geneva

15 Conventions) and a grave breach of the Geneva

16 Conventions, (torture under Article 2(B)). Where the

17 nature of the sexual assault is unspecified, the

18 Prosecutor is not aware, at the present, of the precise

19 form of penetration or sexual abuse.

20 4.9 The terms "Serb soldiers" or "Serb

21 forces" used in this indictment refer to persons of

22 Serbian descent under the command of the Bosnian Serb

23 army or paramilitary forces connected thereto, who were

24 either citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina or citizens from

25 any other part of the former Yugoslavia.

Page 159

1 4.10 Witnesses and victims are identified in

2 this indictment using code names or pseudonyms such as

3 FWS-95 or initials, for example, D.B.

4 4.11 The accused is individually responsible

5 for the crimes charged against him in this indictment,

6 pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Statute of the

7 Tribunal. Individual criminal responsibility includes

8 committing, planning, initiating, ordering or aiding

9 and abetting in the planning, preparation, or execution

10 of any acts or omissions set forth below.

11 The Charges:

12 Counts 61-62: Enslavement and rape of FWS-75

13 and FWS-87 in the Brena Apartment.

14 12.1 Radomir Kovac detained, between or

15 about 31 October 1992 until December 1992, Witness

16 FWS-75 and until February 1993 Witness FWS-87. Radomir

17 Kovac was in charge of an apartment in the Brena block

18 and had taken over the two witnesses together with two

19 other women he had received from Dragan Zelenovic,

20 Gojko Jankovic, and Janko Janjic. Their situation was

21 similar to what they had experienced in Karaman's

22 house. They had to perform household chores and were

23 frequently sexually assaulted.

24 12.2 FWS-75 was detained in this apartment

25 from about 31 October until about 20 November 1992.

Page 160

1 During that time, she had to do household chores and

2 sexually please soldiers. Radomir Kovac and others

3 frequently raped her. Around 20 November 1992, Radomir

4 Kovac took FWS-75 and victim A.B. from the apartment to

5 a house near the Hotel Zelengora. They were kept there

6 for about twenty days, during which time they were

7 frequently sexually assaulted by a group of Serbian

8 soldiers. Although the two women were no longer in the

9 Brena apartment, Radomir Kovac still was in charge of

10 them. Around 10 December 1992, FWS-75 and victim A.B.

11 were moved from the house near Hotel Zelengora to a

12 flat in the Pod Masala neighbourhood of Foca. There,

13 they stayed for about fifteen days, together with the

14 same soldiers as the weeks before. FWS-75 and A.B.

15 were frequently raped during those fifteen days. On

16 the night when FWS-75 and the other women were brought

17 back to the apartment, Radomir Kovac sold A.B. to an

18 unidentified soldier for 200 German marks. In December

19 1992, FWS-75 was handed over to Janko Janjic.

20 12.3 FWS-87 was detained in Radomir Kovac's

21 apartment from on or about 31 October until about

22 25 February, 1993. During this entire time, she was

23 raped by Radomir Kovac and another unidentified man.

24 12.4 On one occasion, during their detention

25 in Radomir Kovac's place, FWS-75, FWS-87 and other

Page 161

1 women were forced to take all their clothes off and

2 dance naked on a table, while Radomir Kovac watched.

3 12.5 On or about 25 February, 1993, FWS-87

4 and another woman were sold by Radomir Kovac for

5 500 German marks each to two unidentified Montenegrin

6 soldiers, who took them to Montenegro.

7 12.6 By the foregoing acts and omissions,

8 Radomir Kovac committed:

9 Count 61:

10 A Crime Against Humanity punishable under

11 Article 5(C) (enslavement) of the Statute of the

12 Tribunal;

13 Count 62:

14 A Crime Against Humanity punishable under

15 Article 5(G) (rape) of the Statute of the Tribunal.

16 Richard J. Goldstone, Prosecutor,

17 18 June, 1996.

18 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you very much. Will you

19 stand up, Accused? You have understood the allegations

20 and the particulars read by the Registrar concerning

21 the indictment for which you are charged, and the

22 Defence counsel has already explained that you are

23 ready to plead today, so I will put the two counts

24 against you to you, and you are supposed to plead using

25 the words, "I plead guilty" or "I plead not guilty,"

Page 162

1 and you're supposed to use those exact words.

2 So I'll go ahead with count 61, a Crime

3 Against Humanity, punishable under Article 5(C)

4 (enslavement) of the Statute of the Tribunal.

5 How do you plead to Count 61?

6 THE ACCUSED: (Interpretation) I plead not

7 guilty.

8 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Count 62, a Crime

9 Against Humanity, punishable under Article 5(G) (rape)

10 of the Statute of the Tribunal.

11 How do you plead to Count 62?

12 THE ACCUSED: (Interpretation) I plead not

13 guilty.

14 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Pleas of not guilty

15 are entered for Count 61 and Count 62.

16 Please be seated. The Registrar is

17 instructed to issue a date for trial in due course.

18 Having completed the initial appearance, we

19 will move to a Status Conference, still in open court.

20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at

21 5.20 p.m. sine die