1 Wednesday, July 8th, 1998
2 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
3 (In open session).
4 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours,
5 Case No. IT-97-24-T, the Prosecutor versus Milan
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Keegan, are you going to
8 take this witness?
9 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, sir.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Vucicevic.
11 MR. VUCICEVIC: Before we proceed, if may I
12 address the Court?
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
14 MR. VUCICEVIC: I have received earlier most
15 of the -- 1200 pages of the exhibits. And we have
16 objected to most of them as you heard yesterday.
17 However, coming to Chicago this time, I have not
18 brought with me those that we have objected and so I
19 didn't have those copies with me. What I have
20 received, a list of the exhibits that are going to be
21 introduced through this witness. Previously to
22 yesterday afternoon, I have only got a notice that one
23 exhibit shall be admitted. And now it seems the long
24 list of them is going to be. So I didn't have them in
25 my possession and I might ask permission of the Court
1 to read them before I would. Because some of them most
2 likely I never read. And some of them, if I did, I
3 will so inform you, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Yes, let the witness
5 be sworn.
6 THE WITNESS: Your Honours, I solemnly
7 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth
8 and nothing but the truth.
9 THE WITNESS: Mevludin Semenovic.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you would like to sit
12 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
13 MR. KEEGAN: If I may begin, Your Honour.
14 Thank you.
15 Examined by Mr. Keegan:
16 Q. Will you please state for the Trial Chamber
17 your full name?
18 A. My name is Mevludin Semenovic.
19 Q. Mr. Semenovic, where were you born?
20 A. I was born in the Municipality of Vlasenica
21 in the Village of Cerska. Since 1964 I have lived in
23 Q. Can you please briefly describe for the Trial
24 Chamber your education, background and military service
1 A. I completed elementary education in Kozarac
2 and I went to grammar school in Prijedor. I started
3 mining and geology at the university in Tuzla. I did
4 my military service with the JNA in 1982, in Leskovac
5 in Serbia.
6 Q. And what was your military speciality during
7 your service with the JNA?
8 A. My military speciality was artillery. I
9 served on Howitzer, 105 millimetres. It was an
10 assignment I could not choose, it was given to me.
11 Q. What is your nationality, your ethnic
13 A. I am a Bosniak and a Muslim.
14 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you now hold a political
16 A. I am a member of the Party of Democratic
18 Q. When did you join the Party of Democratic
19 Action or the SDA?
20 A. I joined the SDA in June, 1990. It was
21 immediately after it was established in
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I was also involved in the
23 creation of the party branch in Prijedor.
24 Q. Could you please briefly describe for the
25 Trial Chamber what caused the development of political
1 parties in the Former Socialist Federal Republic of
3 A. Political parties in the Former Socialist
4 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were created in the
5 period which was characterised by a series of reforms,
6 which took place in the South Eastern Europe. And
7 Yugoslavia also experienced the same fate. The former
8 republics of Slovenia and Croatia were the first
9 republics to join such a process. People remember very
10 well the situation at that time. There was a -- it was
11 a period of democratic awakening and the objective was
12 to topple the communist governments. In a number of
13 countries, this process took place peacefully and
14 democratic changes took place.
15 In former Yugoslav republics, population
16 felt, people realised that it was a chance for them to
17 become democratic and a series of movements took
18 place. There was a series of changes in law which
19 enabled the creation of democratic parties in the
20 area. We joined that process and we decided to
21 establish the Party of Democratic Action in Prijedor
22 and to join this process of transformation and change.
23 Q. Can you please describe, what were the other
24 main parties that developed in Bosnia and Herzegovina
25 at this time and in Prijedor municipality as well?
1 A. It is important to note that until that time,
2 there was only one party that had the power, the League
3 of Communists. There was a number of organisations,
4 but they were under the control of the communist party
5 and they were not real political parties. The party
6 that had power at that time and the segment of the
7 society which enjoyed the support of the party in
8 power, did not like the idea of having new parties.
9 And several parties were developed from the former
10 communist party and it was the so-called left bloc.
11 All others who did not take part in the power in the
12 old system, established other parties, created other
14 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt. You're talking about
15 very complicated and difficult issues, could you slow
16 down just a bit for the interpreters?
17 A. I will do that. Thank you.
18 Except for the former communists, whose party
19 was transformed into the SDP party, and Democratic
20 Socialist Union, and Socialist Social Reformers and to
21 the Liberal party, the Party of Democratic Action was
22 established, the Croatian Democratic Party, a Serb
23 Democratic Party, Serb Radical Party and Croatian
24 Democratic Union.
25 At the level of the Republic of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, there was a number of other
2 parties, but I will confine myself to the area of
3 Prijedor. And these parties were established in
4 Prijedor, the parties that I have just enumerated.
5 Q. Could you please describe the general
6 identification of each of the parties, that is, what
7 ethnic group, if any, were they associated with?
8 A. It was only partly the case. First of all,
9 there was the Serb Radical Party, which was
10 established and was identified with the Serb Radical
11 Party, which had been established prior to that
12 in Serbia. Its leader was Vojislav Seselj. He was
13 very well known in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Yugoslavia
14 and in the international community in general because
15 of his radical convictions and radical actions and
16 other things that he did later on, which were basically
17 violations of the international humanitarian law.
18 The leader of the radical party in Prijedor
19 was a Mr. Stojan Vracar who was from Omarska. He was a
20 teacher as far as I can remember.
21 In addition to the Serb Radical Party, as
22 a party identified with the Serb people, the Serb
23 Democratic Party was established as well. Bosniaks,
24 Muslims were members, most of them, of the Party of
25 Democratic Action or the SDA. According to its
1 programme, it was not an exclusively national party.
2 However, due to the circumstances in which it
3 functioned, the process -- and because the process of
4 the homogenisation of the Serb people was already
5 completed because of the influences coming from the
6 neighbouring Republic of Serbia and because of the same
7 process that happened with the Croatian segment of the
8 population, because of the influence of the
9 neighbouring Republic of Croatia and its official
10 policy, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatian people decided
11 to establish the Croatian Democratic Union, which was a
12 branch of the Croatian Democratic Union in Croatia.
13 So, in view of the circumstances, the Party
14 of Democratic Action was formerly a party of the
15 Bosniak Muslim segment of the population in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, thanks to our programme,
17 and thanks to our efforts, we managed to win over a
18 certain number of members, a certain percentage of
19 members and even officials coming from other national
20 communities in the republic. Of course, in the period
21 that followed, it was treated as a party of Bosniaks
22 and Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
23 Q. Thank you. You discussed briefly the Serb
24 Radical Party and you mentioned its -- the leader of
25 the party, Vojislav Seselj, did he ever, in fact, visit
1 the Prijedor area?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Please continue.
4 A. I remember for sure that he visited Prijedor
5 on two occasions. There was rumours that he came to
6 Prijedor on more than two occasions, but I can only
7 vouch for two such occasions.
8 His first visit was in the area of Omarska or
9 Maricka. This was related to me by a number
10 of my colleagues. We used to live in that area. This
11 took place in a very -- during a very tense period, but
12 during the period through which people still
13 communicated with each other.
14 The second occasion was prior to the war in
15 Prijedor and, according to the information I received,
16 he was in the Prijedor town itself. According to some
17 sources, he was accommodated in the local hotel in
18 Prijedor, but I cannot be sure about that.
19 Q. Was there any physical evidence that you,
20 yourself, saw in the municipality that there were
21 followers of the Serbian Radical Party in the Prijedor
23 A. Of course it was obvious and one could see,
24 one could realise that such a party existed. I have to
25 draw your attention to an important fact in my
1 opinion. A long time before the elections, some 10
2 months before the elections took place and before all
3 these changes took place, one could see a number of
4 graffiti celebrating Seselj in the area. The graffiti,
5 which were actually some Chetnik signs, signs that
6 belonged to the criminal Chetnik formations during the
7 Second World War. These people were celebrated and
8 revered as heroes by the members of the radical party.
9 One could see graffiti that were also very
10 common at that time in Serbia, all Serbs should live in
11 one state. I can give you a few examples. You could
12 see such graffiti on the way from Prijedor to Banja
13 Luka on the railway line. At the railway station in
14 Omarska, before you enter the railway station, on the
15 left hand side on one of the administration buildings
16 of the railway station, there was a graffiti that says,
17 "Long Live Seselj". And, also, "This is in Serbia."
18 This took place before the new parties were created.
19 There was also writing that said Serb
20 Chetnik movement. We could also see a number of signs,
21 such as "for us," signs that later became official with
22 the Serb people.
23 Of course all this had a very negative
24 influence on the population in Prijedor and all
25 attempts to identify perpetrators, people who were
1 writing these slogans, were to no avail.
2 Q. What was it about the programme or policies
3 of the Serb Radical Party that from this kind of
4 graffiti would cause a negative influence on the
5 population in Prijedor, what was the concern?
6 A. I have to underline that the Serb Radical
7 Party always had very clear positions. Let me give you
8 several postulates of the programme of this party. All
9 Serbs in one state. It's a very transparent and a very
10 clear objective and it was part of the programme of
11 that party.
12 Second, they claimed and they insisted on it,
13 that wherever there is a single Serb grave, that that
14 was Serb land. And they even went so far as to
15 propound some morbid thesis. They abused certain
16 tragedies that befell the Serb people during the
17 Second World War. They kept saying that Jasenovac was
18 the largest Serb town, largest that was
19 underground. This had terrible consequences on one
20 hand on the Serb people, which experienced some kind
21 of nationalistic awakening at the time. On the other
22 hand, it instilled terror among other segments of the
24 Also, there was the idea that the Serb
25 land was bordered by Serb graves. And then there
1 was also the idea that wherever there was a Serb
2 grave for Serbs, that that was the Serb land. And
3 according on the basis of these ideas, you could see a
4 number of graffiti in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The most
5 common was one, this is Serbia. This was one of their
6 main ideas. I could give you a number of that, but
7 these were the most common ones.
8 Q. Well the concept as a general principle that
9 the Serbs would want to live in an unified state, in
10 and of itself is not a problematic concept. The
11 question is, why did it instil terror in the
12 non-Serbs? What was it about this position of the
13 Serb Radical Party that caused fear in non-Serbs?
14 A. The fear was caused by the fact that they
15 were proclaiming Serb lands, also lands where
16 non-Serbs were living. While not recognising their
17 identity on nationality, they said that Muslims don't
18 exist. It's a conjured up nationality. These are
19 people who betrayed their faith. They should be --
20 they even went so far at some rallies, they stated
21 these are people which should be killed, who should be
22 evicted. We knew that they were the followers of the
23 Chetnik movement from the Second World War. We knew
24 that because their ideas in their political programs
25 were the ideas of Stevan Moljevic who from the Second
1 World War and who had a very decisive plan concerning
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina. He had a project. He drew a
3 project where a certain percentage would be Christian,
4 one would be evicted, expelled and a percentage
5 killed. These are facts which can be also confirmed in
6 the archives, in Serbia this is the Moljevic programme,
7 later the Nedic programme we were afraid of the fact
8 that the Serb--
9 JUDGE MAY: I am just going to interrupt you
10 for a moment. Mr. Keegan, yesterday we intervened
11 during the cross-examination of witnesses saying that
12 these events which were being talked of were 50 years
13 ago. Now, if that rule applies to the Defence, it
14 certainly applies to the Prosecution. So, would you
15 confine yourself to relevant matters.
16 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour. These issues,
17 and I am attempting to do it briefly. I am hesitant to
18 break in on the witness and interrupt their
19 statements. But the issue this goes to show the state
20 of mind of the individuals during 1990 to 1992. But I
21 will keep it brief, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE MAY: I appreciate that. It seems to
23 me you're perfectly entitled to break in on the
24 witness, if you want to do so. I am sure it won't be
25 regarded as discourteous.
1 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, I would object
3 the this logic that a Prosecutor is propounding. I
4 mean if he had an expert witness, he could testify as
5 to the state of mind of individuals. This is an
6 occurrence witness, he can testify of what he saw and
7 what he heard. But as to the state of mind, I would
9 JUDGE MAY: He can testify to his own state
10 of mind.
11 MR. VUCICEVIC: Yes, Your Honour.
12 MR. KEEGAN:
13 Q. Mr. Semenovic, did you take part in the
14 pre-election campaign in Opstina Prijedor, the
15 Municipality of Prijedor in 1990?
16 A. Yes, yes I have.
17 Q. At that time, was there cooperation in the
18 Prijedor area between the parties that you have named
20 A. Yes. Yes, there was.
21 Q. And from your perspective and knowledge of
22 the campaigning process, what was the main focus of
23 developing, or intention of developing, the cooperation
24 between the parties in Prijedor at that time?
25 A. Our main objective and the main objective of
1 the party, which I participated in the foundation of,
2 that is the Party of Democratic Action, that was to win
3 over communism and to set up a democratic society, a
4 multi party society, where we wished and made the
5 endeavours in the electoral campaign to establish
6 cooperation on the basis of these principles with all
7 the parties whose goal was, objective was, democratic
8 change. We totally excluded any type of cooperation
9 with the Serb Radical Party. In view of the facts
10 which I have mentioned previously, we wanted to achieve
11 cooperation with the Serb Democratic Party and with
12 the Croatian democratic community.
13 Q. And did you have, in fact, some events, or
14 did you take part in some events aimed at developing
15 that cooperation?
16 A. Of course. Of course. In the stage when we
17 had the foundation committees for SDS and SDA, we had
18 cooperation. We had the guarantee of the Serb
19 Democratic Party that they do not support the radical
20 party. And just as the Party of Democratic Action,
21 they wished to have a victory and to defeat the
22 communist. So, in our meetings we also proposed to
23 express this cooperation publicly. We proposed a
24 number of forms. Our first proposal was, when holding
25 electoral rallies that we present ourselves jointly.
1 That the SDA representatives attend the meetings of
2 the SDS and vice versa, that they
3 attend our rallies.
4 And later on, in the pre-electoral stage, we
5 also proposed to print joint propaganda material.
6 Q. Did you attend any joint rallies?
7 A. Yes, I have. I have attended one of the
8 rallies of the Serb Democratic Party, rallies in
9 Cirkin Polje that was in all across the railroad
10 station and it was near the silo. That was a local
11 pre-electoral rally. I also took the floor as a
12 representative of SDA. And there wasn't much
13 difference in my utterances and those of the gentleman
14 from the Serb Democratic Party.
15 Q. And after that rally in Cirkin Polje, did you
16 have the opportunity to attend any other joint
18 A. No.
19 Q. And why not?
20 A. There was -- I am speaking of the period now,
21 the president of the two main officials in the
22 foundation committee of the Serb Democratic Party
23 were Mr. Milakovic and Mr. Mirko Curcija. They were
24 recalled from these functions and they weren't any more
25 important figures in the Serb Democratic Party.
1 They were quite open for cooperation, but later on as I
2 said regrettably they were recalled. After that, Mr.
3 Milakovic in the Kozarski Vjesnik, he gave -- granted
4 an interview and he stated that there was an eruption
5 of unimaginable nationalism and that that was the cause
6 that he was recalled because he didn't want to accept
8 Q. After that time, did the SDS agree to any
9 more joint rallies?
10 A. No, no rallies, no. But we had already
11 achieved an agreement to print a poster jointly, a
12 pre-electoral poster, and despite the recalling of
13 these two people, we insisted that this be completed,
14 that this job be completed, which it also was.
15 MR. VUCICEVIC: Upon consultation with
16 co-counsel, we observe that a previous question had
17 contained some remarks in the newspapers or coming from
18 the third person, what Mr. Milakovic had said after he
19 had resigned, and this does not indicate whether the
20 witness has heard it, seen it, read it, word-read it.
21 If the Prosecutor would like to connect it up, that is
22 absolutely proper, but if there is not any connection,
23 we move that to be stricken.
24 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour, we will
25 produce the newspaper article.
1 Q. Now, Mr. Semenovic, during this period, did
2 you have any contact with the accused, Milan Kovacevic?
3 A. During the period before we agreed on a joint
4 poster, no, I've never met the gentleman. I saw
5 Mr. Kovacevic for the first time when we were
6 discussing the graphic design of the poster.
7 Q. When you became introduced to him and came to
8 know him, what was your knowledge of his position or
9 role in the SDS?
10 A. Until then, I knew nothing about his position
11 and his function in the SDS. The first time I met him
12 during these talks on the printing of this joint poster
13 and how we shall present ourselves at the elections.
14 The two parties agreed on such a poster, and our common
15 attitude was to present an idea of the graphic design
16 at this joint meeting with the SDS. The SDA had to
17 give the authority to two members, and the other party
18 also authority to two members, to decide on the graphic
19 design. The Serb Democratic Party proposed that we
20 meet in the new hotel in Prijedor on the first floor in
21 one of the rooms on the upper floors.
22 We, at the time, agreed upon -- we attended
23 the meeting, myself and Mr. Aladin Sijercic from the
24 SDA. Later on, he was killed. He's not alive any
1 Q. And who was the representative from the SDS?
2 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, we move the
3 non-responsive remarks be stricken or be fully
4 explained as to the extent of knowledge referring to
5 "the gentleman that went to our negotiations, he's no
6 longer alive."
7 JUDGE MAY: Well, for the moment, I don't
8 think it's very important whether he is or not from the
9 point of view of these proceedings.
10 MR. VUCICEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 MR. KEEGAN:
12 Q. Mr. Semenovic, who was the representative
13 from the SDS for the meeting?
14 A. We came to that meeting and, in the room, we
15 saw twelve people, twelve members of the Serb
16 Democratic Party. This was a bit of a surprise for us
17 because it was decided that there would be two and two,
18 but they explained that they had a previous meeting and
19 that they would all be attending this joint meeting,
20 and we had nothing against that.
21 It was the first time that I met on that
22 occasion Mr. Kovacevic, Dr. Kovacevic, and four of the
23 five who were discussing the possible graphic outlay of
24 the poster. Dr. Kovacevic spoke the longest. His
25 comments and his observations concerned the colours on
1 the poster, then the title, "SDS," where it should be
2 on the poster; on the alphabet, the lettering. They
3 wanted also that the name "Yugoslavia" be present on
4 the poster.
5 Q. Subsequent to this meeting, did you reach an
6 agreement on the poster?
7 A. Yes. After a few hours of discussions, the
8 gentleman from the SDS asked us to leave the room for
9 some ten minutes so that they could have their own
10 internal consultations. After that, we returned to the
11 room, and they told us that they accept the compromise
12 solution that we submitted. After that, they regularly
13 paid half the price for this poster.
14 Q. Now, you indicated that there was discussions
15 about the colours on the poster and the alphabet. What
16 were the positions of the SDS and what was the
17 compromise which was reached?
18 A. SDS asked us to remove the name "Bosnia" and
19 "Herzegovina," and to have it "Yugoslavia," namely,
20 and that a part of these posters be printed exclusively
21 in the Cyrillic script and half in the Latin alphabet.
22 They wanted the colours of the existing flag, Yugoslav
23 flag, and I think the flag was -- the colours of the
24 flag were at the bottom of the poster. Then they also
25 demanded that the graphic solution contain the
1 overlapping initials of the two parties, that SDS is
2 not placed vertically but horizontally because SDS, as
3 was proposed, was hanging, and wherever it was
4 possible, we accepted a compromise, and we said, "Okay,
5 we'll place 'Yugoslavia,' but we will not -- we cannot
6 delete 'Bosnia' and 'Herzegovina'." Then we also added
7 we want the simultaneous use of Cyrillic script and the
8 alphabet, Latin alphabet; and after some consultations,
9 this was accepted.
10 Q. After these meetings and as you continued in
11 the political process in Prijedor, did you come to be
12 aware of Dr. Kovacevic's positions in the party?
13 A. I got to know about his position later on.
14 For some time, I didn't know, but only later, when it
15 was officially published, his position was officially
16 published, I knew that he was the vice-president of the
17 executive committee of the SDS.
18 MR. KEEGAN: If I could have this exhibit
19 tendered, please? This is Exhibit 7.1 on the
20 Prosecution index of documents submitted earlier. Here
21 are the copies for everyone else, to the Defence, to
22 the witness, and to the Judges. This is not one of the
23 documents that we reached agreement on as of yet, Your
25 Q. Mr. Semenovic, I would direct your attention
1 to the third page of that document, the Kozarski
2 Vjesnik article, entitled "Leaders Dismissed."
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Do you recognise that article?
5 A. Yes, yes, of course I recognise it. This is
6 the article in the local paper which published the
7 piece of news about the dismissal of the leaders, of
8 Mr. Milakovic, Mr. Curcija and some others, and
9 the new leadership was elected, Dr. Srdja Srdic was
10 elected to the presidency, Ranko Gnjatovic as the head
11 of the main board, and as vice-president, Dr. Brane
12 Koncar, Dr. Milan Kovacevic, Professor Milan Pilipovic,
13 Dusan Kurnoga, Nedeljko Katana, and Momcilo Radakovic.
14 So this happened in the beginning -- or at the end of
15 the month of October, beginning of November, and these
16 dismissals had a direct impact on the cooperation
17 between the two parties, SDA and SDS. Here also, in
18 the lower left angle, corner --
19 MR. VUCICEVIC: Before we proceed, I have to
20 interrupt here because as I informed the Court earlier,
21 that I have not read these documents before, and we
22 objected to the overwhelming majority of documents that
23 were produced, and most of those objections were as to
24 the foundation of the papers, and when I looked at the
25 exhibit, original newspaper clipping, Kozarski Vjesnik,
1 November 2nd, year 19 -- and we don't know what year it
2 was, and if it is not -- and the translation reads 2nd
3 of November, 1990. I move that this exhibit be
4 stricken at this time.
5 MR. KEEGAN: The second page of that document
6 has the cover page of the edition, Your Honour. These
7 were provided to the Defence with the dates available.
8 JUDGE MAY: Is there any dispute about
9 whether the accused was the vice-president or not?
10 MR. VUCICEVIC: Based on my present knowledge
11 and level of investigation, I cannot ascertain whether
12 he was ever vice-president, and that's why I will take
13 this as indication of such effect if I had -- and I am
14 not nit-picking here, believe me, Your Honour -- if this
15 is translation and translation is on the page and the
16 article, we can't accept this front page. It could be
17 a simple mistake. Because if we are pursuing the
18 truth, we have to be accurate.
19 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, have we the
21 MR. KEEGAN: We have, Your Honour. And, of
22 course, the offer to view all the originals of all the
23 documents was made back in April -- actually, prior,
24 February it was made, and the offer still stands at any
25 time, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps you could produce the
2 original, and that will resolve the matter.
3 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MAY: We will admit this exhibit, but
5 we will call for the production of the original.
6 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Mr. Semenovic, were you also made aware that
8 Dr. Kovacevic was a founding member of his party as you
9 had been a founding member of your party in Prijedor?
10 MR. VUCICEVIC: Objection. That is a
11 question that misstates and mischaracterises previous
12 testimony. The witness has testified only that he has
13 seen Dr. Kovacevic when they were -- and he doesn't
14 know anything about his activity in the party until the
15 present exhibit.
16 JUDGE MAY: It's a leading question anyway.
17 Mr. Keegan, could you rephrase that in a non-leading
18 form, ask the witness what he knows about --
19 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE MAY: -- if he knows anything or what
21 the basis of his knowledge is about the accused's role
22 in the party.
23 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
24 Q. Mr. Semenovic, were you made aware of what,
25 if any, role the accused had in the origins of the SDS
1 party in Prijedor municipality?
2 A. Yes. Yes, he had a role in the origins of
3 the SDS party. I wish to repeat, I wish to state to
4 the Court, the SDS delegated a certain number of people
5 to discuss the graphic design of our pre-electoral
6 poster, so this was for the purpose of the
7 pre-electoral poster. All members of -- all the then
8 members of the SDS were founding members, they belonged
9 to the founding segment of the party, all these people,
10 just as all the people who were present there as
11 members of the SDA were also founding members of the
13 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, I move the
14 response be stricken as conclusory without any basis in
15 fact. We are only -- the witness is surmising of
16 seeing Dr. Kovacevic in a meeting where it's being
17 discussed about a poster, a poster, and that he is the
18 founding member of SDA.
19 JUDGE MAY: He can give the evidence and you
20 can cross-examine about it.
21 MR. VUCICEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE MAY: It's a question of what weight it
24 MR. KEEGAN: I would now tender the document
25 that has been marked on the exhibit of documents number
1 7.16. Again, this is one that the Defence and the
2 Prosecution have not yet had an opportunity to discuss.
3 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise that
5 A. Yes, I do. This is the document belonging to
6 the Serb Democratic Party in Prijedor. It was
7 published on the 5th of May, '94. It's a typical party
8 document issued by the personnel committee, and this
9 kind of document concerns a number of prominent members
10 and this is a list of candidates.
11 The first candidate here proposed was
12 Mr. Milan Kovacevic and you have a list of
13 qualifications and the reason why he's being proposed
14 to the office of director. Among other things, it
15 stated that he was an anaesthesiologist and also that
16 he was one of the founding members of the SDS in the
17 area of Prijedor.
18 The document was signed by the president of
19 the municipal board of the SDS, Mr. Ranko Gnjatovic,
20 and it is stamped with a rubber stamp of the Serb
21 Democratic Party. So this is quite clear. It's stated
22 clearly that he was one of the founding members of the
24 In addition to Dr. Kovacevic, we have a
25 number of other persons as candidates for various
2 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you. I would offer that,
3 Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
5 MR. KEEGAN:
6 Q. Now, Mr. Semenovic, just referring back to
7 the Kozarski Vjesnik article that we had looked at. It
8 had described there the election for the main board,
9 the municipal board, of the SDS in Prijedor. Can you
10 please describe what the role and purpose of a main
11 board for the political party is?
12 A. The role of such a board within a political
13 party is to elect or to appoint officials of the party,
14 to confirm their office or to replace them from
15 function. That is the highest party body at the level
16 of the municipality. Such a body would elect the
17 president of the party, that is, they would propose a
18 candidate who would then have to be approved by the
19 central board in Sarajevo. They proposed officials for
20 various offices at the level of the municipality. It
21 drafts the policy of the party at the local level.
22 Local officials are accountable to the main board for
23 the implementation of the policy of the party or for
24 failure to implement such policy.
25 Q. Thank you. Also in that Exhibit 7.1, is
1 there, in fact, a --
2 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, I would have to
3 object to what has happened here. I think this is
4 inadvertent and for whatever reason it happened because
5 the question was: What were the functions of the
6 president of the executive committee --
7 MR. KEEGAN: Mr. Vucicevic ...
8 MR. VUCICEVIC: Of the executive committee on
9 the municipality level, and the witness is testifying
10 as to what would be the functions of the party
11 executive board president, and I think if he can just
12 clarify this so that we are not confused.
13 MR. KEEGAN: No, that actually wasn't the
14 question. I believe the question was: What was the
15 role and function of the municipal board of the party
16 in the municipality? And that was what the answer was,
17 Your Honour. It was the board itself I was after, not
18 the president.
19 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Let's move on.
20 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. Also, Mr. Semenovic, on that Exhibit 7.1, is
22 there also a depiction of the poster which you have
23 been discussing?
24 A. Yes. Yes, but I have to emphasise that you
25 can only see one part of the text, and in its
1 integrity, the text was the following: "We, in Bosnia
2 and Herzegovina, have always been and shall remain
4 And according to the compromise that was
5 reached with members of the SDS, we added also "in
6 Yugoslavia." You can see it on the right side of the
7 poster. And the text was therefore, "In our
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina and Yugoslavia, we shall be and we
9 shall remain always together."
10 In the middle of the poster, there was a
11 geographical map of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and inside
12 the borders, there were two abbreviations, two initials
13 of the two parties overlapping, so that they're
14 connected with one letter that they have in common.
15 Q. Thank you. Mr. Semenovic, what were the
16 results of the elections held in November of 1990 in
18 A. According to the election results, the Party
19 of Democratic Action won, second came the Serb
20 Democratic Party, and the remaining votes went to the
21 opposition parties.
22 Q. What was the margin of victory? What was the
23 difference in the results between the SDA and the SDS?
24 A. According to the results, out of the total of
25 90 seats, the SDA won 30 seats, the Serb Democratic
1 Party won 28 seats, and the remaining seats went to
2 other opposition parties. The difference, that is the
3 margin of victory, the results as represented in
4 percentage, were 44 per cent SDA and forty-two
5 point something for SDS, but you can see it for the
6 number of seats at the assembly.
7 Q. Now, as a general matter, what would that
8 result mean with respect to the appointment of
9 positions in the municipal administration?
10 A. This result meant that the Party of
11 Democratic Action had the right to appoint its
12 candidate to the highest level office within the
13 municipality; that is, the office of the president of
14 the municipality.
15 Q. Did the SDS contest the results of the
17 A. Officially, at various press conferences, the
18 SDS claimed that the elections were somehow rigged,
19 they tried to contest the results of the elections, but
20 they had no evidence for that, so finally, the results
21 were accepted by the SDS.
22 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you. We seem to have lost
23 our usher. Thank you, Mr. Bos.
24 If I may continue as regard to the second
25 round of --
1 Q. Mr. Semenovic, I would direct your attention
2 to the article entitled, "National Composition Causes
3 Dissatisfaction." Do you recognise that article?
4 A. I apologise, but I, maybe I have the wrong
5 document, because I cannot find the title you
7 MR. VUCICEVIC: I don't see it either. It
8 seems that a translation has been an attached to the
9 different original that does not comport to
10 translation, a mix up.
11 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Keegan, perhaps you
12 might review that during the adjournment.
13 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, we'll move on.
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We'll hand that back for a
16 THE WITNESS: May I refer to the document
17 that I have in front of me?
18 JUDGE MAY: Well, not for the moment.
20 THE WITNESS: Okay, thank you.
21 MR. KEEGAN:
22 Q. I would now tender the document marked 5.2 on
23 the index. That first one was 5.1, Your Honour. Mr.
24 Semenovic, in that document I refer you to, I believe
25 it's the fourth page, the article entitled, "Compromise
1 on New Elections."
2 A. Yes, I have found the article.
3 Q. I would refer you specifically to the
4 comments of Srdja Srdic as are represented in that
6 A. Dr. Srdic claims here that the agreement
7 could not be reached within the expected period and he
8 says that he doesn't believe that the agreement would
9 be reached, the agreement concerning that division of
10 power. And, therefore, it would be necessary to have
11 the old authorities in place for additional period of
12 one month. Within this period, no agreement is
13 reached. He believes that new elections should be
15 Q. Thank you. We would offer that, Your
16 Honour. This was one of the documents agreed?
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
18 MR. KEEGAN:
19 Q. Mr. Semenovic, you indicated earlier that the
20 challenge to the legality of the elections did not
21 succeed. Thereafter, how did the process of the
22 formation of the new government proceed in the
24 A. The process of the formation of the new
25 government was very difficult. We can divide it into
1 two stages. The first stage that followed immediately
2 the elections, which was the stage of the appointment
3 of main officials within the municipality, that first
4 stage was without problems. However, when we reached
5 the phase of appointed president of the executive
6 committee, president of the municipality and so on,
7 this was a very difficult period. And we experienced a
8 number of obstacles throughout that period.
9 Q. And are those difficulties what Dr. Srdic
10 referring to in the article, the exhibit we just
11 viewed, 5.2?
12 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, we object to
13 this line of questioning and these type of answers.
14 Because Mr. Semenovic was elected on the same elections
15 and one of the exhibit standard explains as a member of
16 the parliament of the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So
17 unless he indicates where he participated in those
18 negotiations or somehow has been consulted, it would be
19 proper, but otherwise by his function heretofore
20 presented, it seems he wouldn't have that knowledge.
21 JUDGE MAY: Well, you can establish the base.
22 MR. KEEGAN: I will, Your Honour. I was, in
23 attempt to speed things up, as requested by the trial,
24 I was leaving out some of the foundation material which
25 is clearly stated in the prior testimony of this
1 witness which the Defence had. But I will go back to
2 those questions.
3 Q. Mr. Semenovic, as Mr. Vucecevic just
4 indicated, you were elected to a position in the
5 November elections?
6 A. Yes, I was elected to Parliament of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Chamber of Mmunicipalities. I
8 was elected in the second round of elections because in
9 the first round none of the candidates garnered a
10 sufficient amount of votes. And in the second round,
11 the number of candidates was reduced to two and the one
12 who gained the majority of votes was then elected to
13 the republican parliament.
14 Q. And the Chamber of Municipalities, that is
15 one of two chambers in the republican parliament?
16 A. Yes. And that was one of the two chambers,
17 the Chamber of Citizens and the Chamber of
18 Municipalities. The Chamber of Municipalities was
19 composed of representatives; namely, from each
20 municipality, one such representative was elected.
21 Q. During this initial phase after the November
22 elections, did you participate in the formation of the
23 government in the Opstina of Prijedor, as well as
24 attending duties at the Republican Assembly?
25 A. No, no, no. The level of municipal level and
1 the level of the Republic, these are two different
2 notions, two different levels. As a member of the
3 republican parliament, my only link with the
4 municipality was in the sense that certain problems,
5 which I observe in the municipality, I could raise them
6 and try to resolve them on the republican level, in the
7 republican parliament. And, according to my function,
8 I had no right to participate in the formation of the
9 municipal authority, government.
10 JUDGE MAY: Excuse me, Mr. Keegan, I wonder
11 if we may move on from here. The minutiae of the
12 formation of this government, I don't think is going to
13 assist us very much.
14 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, in fact is the
15 problem of the political process, which later on is
16 responsible for the take-over by force. So we do think
17 that there is some need to at least cover the fact that
18 the political democratic process did not proceed
19 smoothly and what were the problems. And there will be
20 a demonstrable link to the events that then occur.
21 JUDGE MAY: We've heard evidence that things
22 have not proceeded smoothly and you've produced some
23 documents in relation to that. Perhaps we can now move
25 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
1 Q. With respect to the agreement that was
2 eventually reached on distribution of power, did
3 that -- was that agreement, in fact, reached at the
4 republic level and then transmitted down to the
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. This is Document 6.1 on the exhibit list,
8 Your Honour. And it is one of the documents agreed to
9 by the parties.
10 JUDGE MAY: Very well, we admit it. It will
11 admit it.
12 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise this
15 A. Yes, I do recognise it. This is the document
16 which has been coordinated on the level of the
17 leaderships of the three national parties in
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And after this coordination, all
19 the parties informed the municipal boards concerning
20 these criteria for the distribution of municipal
21 functions and departments. The criteria here are
22 specified quite clearly. They're expressed in
23 percentages and on the level of municipalities, what
24 remained to be done was to apply these criteria.
25 Q. Now, Mr. Semenovic, I would note that in this
1 document there are two different documents, one which
2 is dated 22 December, 1990 and one which is not dated.
3 Can you indicate for the Court which of these documents
4 came first, which of these agreements came first and
5 which was second?
6 A. The first agreement which had been
7 achieved -- just a moment please. The first one was
8 achieved on the 22nd of December. After that, criteria
9 were defined immediately after, two or three days
10 later, these criteria were defined as you see them here
11 without a date. I had partial view and insight in this
12 coordination because in connection with this, I stayed
13 in Sarajevo a number of times.
14 Q. And, sir, when you were not in Sarajevo, you
15 were back in the Prijedor municipality?
16 A. Yes, I was in the Municipality of Prijedor.
17 Q. And during that time you were back at home,
18 would you continue in your role as a member of the SDA,
19 participating in the municipal political issues as a
20 member of the party?
21 A. Yes, as a member, and as a Vice-President of
22 the party. Because after the election into the party,
23 I was also elected to the post of Vice-President of the
24 SDA party for Municipality of Prijedor and, in this
25 capacity, I was then involved in some of these
1 political issues and business.
2 Q. Now, based on this agreement that was reached
3 at the republic level, it would appear then that under
4 the agreement, in fact, the SDA was entitled to pick
5 first in the choice of positions in the municipality,
6 is that correct?
7 A. Yes, that is correct.
8 Q. How were the candidates for the municipal
9 positions nominated and elected?
10 A. The candidates were nominated by the parties
11 and they were elected by the Municipal Assembly. In
12 line with the inter party agreement, which had already
13 been achieved.
14 Q. Now which position did the SDA select as its
15 first choice in the municipality?
16 A. It had the right, on the basis of the
17 electoral results, to cover the first and foremost post
18 in the municipality, the President of the Municipal
20 Q. What position did the SDS then select as its
21 first choice in the municipal government?
22 A. I have already said the SDA has opted for the
23 position of the president of the municipal assembly
24 and, according to the agreement, the next one was SDS
25 and they chose the function for the highest function,
1 the President of the Executive Board of the Assembly,
2 of the Municipal Assembly.
3 Q. And who was their candidate for that
5 A. Their candidate was Dr. Milan Kovacevic.
6 Q. Was his candidacy then confirmed by the
7 Municipal Assembly?
8 A. Yes, the municipal assembly confirmed it.
9 Q. We would now offer another Kozarski Vjesnik
10 article, Your Honour, it's Document No. 7.2 on the
11 list. This is not one of the ones which the parties
12 have had the opportunity to discuss yet.
13 Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise that
15 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, could you give
16 us some latitude here, so we can read this document? I
17 haven't seen it before.
18 JUDGE MAY: Well, let the witness go through
19 and refer to the points that he wants to. Then, if
20 necessary, you can have a moment during the adjournment
21 to have a look at anything else.
22 MR. VUCICEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 MR. KEEGAN:
24 Q. And what does this article reflect, Mr.
1 A. This article is a journalist report from the
2 constituent meeting of the Municipal Assembly where the
3 new leadership was appointed on the basis of the
4 results. You can see also an insert here, on the right
5 hand side where you have the photographs of the two
6 leading municipal officials, Professor Cehajic,
7 and Dr. Milan Kovacevic. And under the photographs
8 there are short biographies of the short curricula of
9 the two persons.
10 Q. And in the article it reflects the election
11 of the municipal officers?
12 A. Yes. Yes, and the curricular of the two new
13 officers are also presented in the article.
14 Q. Just a moment please --
15 A. It describes --
16 Q. Okay. Please continue, sorry.
17 A. It states that after the elections and the
18 appointment of the two officials, that they solemnly
19 were taking the oath that they were then also
20 congratulated by Mr. Milakovic, the former president,
21 and then they have taken over solemnly their new
22 functions. And then they both addressed the Assembly
23 with short welcoming addresses.
24 Q. Does the article also indicate who were
25 elected to the deputy positions for those two jobs,
1 that is the Deputy President of the Municipal Assembly,
2 and the Deputy President of the Executive Committee of
3 the Assembly? Who was elected as the Deputy of the
4 Municipal Assembly?
5 A. Here it stands that it was Mr. Milomir Stakic
6 and the Deputy President of the Executive Committee
7 Enes Kursumovic.
8 Q. I believe the witness actually said Dr.
9 Milomir Stakic, was Milomir Stakic a doctor, Mr.
11 A. I believe so, if I recollect, if my
12 recollection serves me, but I would like to check it in
13 the text, but I can't read it. It's not clear.
14 Q. That's fine. I'll move on. What position
15 would Milomir Stakic later hold after the take-over of
16 power in April, 1992?
17 A. Later on he occupied the post as the head of
18 the crisis staff, and the President of the Serb
19 Assembly of Prijedor, but that was at a later stage.
20 Q. And what party was Milomir Stakic affiliated
22 A. He was a member of the SDS. And, in fact, he
23 was a member of the leadership of SDS.
24 Q. And, sir, if you know, what later happened to
25 Mohamed Cehajic, the President of the
1 Municipal Assembly, after the take-over of power in
2 April 1992?
3 A. After power was taken over in April, 1992,
4 Mohamed Cehajic, and all the other non-Serbs were
5 banned, had no band to their offices and there they had
6 no access to the premises where they carried out their
7 functions. And twenty days after the coup, they were
8 all arrested and a greater number of these people were
9 regrettably killed.
10 JUDGE MAY: These are matters which the
11 witness could only speak of second-hand and we should
12 have first-hand evidence, if possible on these matters.
13 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MAY: Go on until five past eleven, if
15 you would, Mr. Keegan, we started late.
16 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
17 Q. To make clear then your knowledge of these
18 events, Mr. Semenovic, did you personally know Mohamed
20 A. Yes, I knew him very well. We worked
22 Q. Since the end of the hostilities in 1995,
23 after the Dayton accords, have you travelled throughout
24 Bosnia and been a participant in the SDA party once
1 A. In part, yes. But there were certain areas
2 where I couldn't go in Bosnia.
3 Q. And in any of the intervening seven years
4 since, six years since the summer of 1992, have you
5 ever seen or heard or had any contact with Mohamed
7 A. No, I have never obtained any piece of
8 information about him. He was seen the last time in
9 Omarska. There are certain people who saw him there.
10 But for the past seven years, we haven't received any
11 information on him. The International Red Cross has
12 him listed as missing.
13 Q. Thank you. Who were some of the other SDA
14 leaders in the Prijedor municipality.
15 A. Dr. Mirza Mujadzic, Dr. Rufus Suljanovic, Mr.
16 Meho Terzic, Professor Ilijaz Music, Mrs. Valida
17 Mahmuljin, Ilijaz Memic, Becir Medunjanin,
18 Avdo Mujkanovic, Islam Bahonjic,
19 Denija Dzafic.
20 Q. Of those people you that just mentioned,
21 since the summer of 1992, how many of these people are
22 you aware of that still survive?
23 A. Of the people I mentioned, I know that three
24 are alive. Out of twenty leaders of the municipal
25 board, I know that three are alive, plus myself, four
1 that is. Of course, I didn't give you an exhaustive
2 list of these people, but if necessary, I could provide
3 you with a complete list of these leaders.
4 Q. Who were the leading members of the SDS in
5 Prijedor municipality that you're aware of?
6 A. I know that the SDS leaders were the
7 following: Dr. Srdja Srdic, Mr. Dragan
8 Savanovic, Simo Miskovic, Milomir Stakic, Dr. Milan
9 Kovacevic, Mr. Dusan Kurnoga, Mr. Dragan
10 Sidjak, Mr. Simo Drljaca, and some others.
11 Q. And other than Mr. Simo Drljaca, whose
12 circumstances we're all aware of, to your knowledge, do
13 all of those individuals -- or are all of those
14 individuals still alive in the Prijedor area?
15 A. Yes, yes. I have heard from some of them
16 that they no longer live in the area of Prijedor, that
17 they live in Cyprus. That is what I heard. But
18 according to the information I have, I know that they are
19 all alive.
20 MR. KEEGAN: Might that be a good time, Your
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we'll adjourn now, twenty
24 --- Recess taken at 11.05 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.28 a.m.
1 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Q. Mr. Semenovic, after the initial
3 government -- initial offices were assigned in the
4 municipality of Prijedor, were there continuing
5 problems in reaching agreement on candidates for other
6 municipal positions?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What were the disagreements over? What were
9 some of the positions that were in contention?
10 A. Agreement was reached only concerning people
11 at leading positions and their deputies. However,
12 problems arose concerning the appointment of officials
13 within the police and the public auditing service, or
14 SDK as it is known in Serbo Croat, and in some other
15 functions as well, but these two positions are the two
16 that I remember best.
17 Q. What were the particular difficulties with
18 those positions? Why were they so contentious?
19 A. There were lots of difficulties because the
20 SDA, as the winning party, had the right to appoint the
21 Chief of Police and the Chief of the Public Auditing
22 Service. However, the Serb Democratic Party did not
23 agree with that, and they wanted to appoint the Chief
24 of Police and the President or the chief of SDK. This
25 was a major obstacle and a number of discussions were
1 held, but no agreement could be reached.
2 Q. Why was it important to the SDA to have the
3 position of Chief of Police?
4 A. For SDA, it was very important because it was
5 one of the pre-electoral promises to the voters. We
6 promised them that if we win, we would finally have our
7 Chief of Police because, for a number of years, for
8 maybe 40 years, a Muslim was never appointed to the
9 office of the chief of police, and according to the
10 results of the census, the area was predominantly
12 Q. What was the SDA demand with respect to the
13 Chief of Police -- sorry, SDS demand? Excuse me.
14 A. The SDS demanded that they be given that
15 office. They had their own candidate. I believe that
16 they proposed Simo Miskovic to that post, who had
17 already retired. However, regardless of their
18 candidate, we wanted to stick to our electoral right
19 and to make good the electoral promise to our voters,
20 so we wanted to have -- we insisted on having that
22 Q. How was the issue resolved?
23 A. The issue was resolved to our advantage, and
24 Mr. Hasan Talundzic was elected to that post as the
25 candidate of the Party of Democratic Action. He became
1 Chief of Police. But, of course, it was only after
2 very long and difficult negotiations and it was in
3 consultations with our central party boards, SDA and
4 SDS respectively, and in the end, the SDS had to accept
5 the principles that had been agreed upon at the level
6 of the Republic.
7 Q. Can you please describe the nature of the
8 relationship between the central offices of the party
9 at the republic level and the municipal offices?
10 A. Yes. For all important issues, central
11 offices of the party were responsible, the offices in
12 Sarajevo. Both SDS and SDA had their central offices
13 in Sarajevo. They established criteria, they issued
14 directives or orders concerning the implementation of
15 political decisions that were made at the higher level.
16 These criteria and these orders or directives
17 had to be honoured because it was in this way that each
18 party implemented their policies, policies that were
19 agreed upon at the highest level and that were then
20 implemented at the municipal level. So all municipal
21 leaders or municipal committees would refer issues --
22 would refer, if there are any problems, to the central
23 offices in Sarajevo.
24 Q. Now, you've described the nature of the
25 relationship between the parties at the Opstina level.
1 Can you describe, please, the nature of the
2 relationship between the parties in the Republic
3 Assembly of which you were a member?
4 A. Yes. The situation was almost identical, the
5 relationship was almost identical at the level of the
6 Republic. Here I have in mind the relationship between
7 the leadership of the parties, that is, between central
8 offices of the parties.
9 I am familiar with that situation because I
10 was a member of the parliament. We had a number of
11 sessions, they were very long, and during the breaks,
12 representatives of each party would meet together and
13 hold their internal meetings; and I had an opportunity
14 to exchange views with members of the SDS, members who
15 had certain instructions and directives from their
16 central offices in relation to parliamentary issues,
17 the adoption of laws and things like that.
18 Everything that happened at the level of the
19 Republic was then transferred to the level of the
20 municipality. This was especially the case with the
21 SDS. And when it comes to Prijedor, the SDS did not
22 fully follow the directives from the SDS office in
23 Sarajevo. Very often, they would block the
24 implementation of certain things for which they had
1 The division of power was agreed upon at the
2 level of the Republic, but they did not accept their
3 proposals, and they posed a number of obstacles. In
4 the end, they had to accept the proposals given by the
5 Republic, but it was only upon the insistence of their
6 central offices.
7 Q. You have mentioned taking part in discussion
8 with SDS officials in the republic assembly. Did any
9 of those discussions regard the situation in Prijedor?
10 A. Some of them, yes. I discussed the situation
11 in Prijedor with Mr. Srdja Srdic most often, he was the
12 president of the SDS in Prijedor, and he was the deputy
13 to the Republic Assembly, Parliament. Sometimes we
14 would travel together to parliament sessions, and we
15 also had opportunity to talk during the breaks when we
16 would wait for the next session to begin.
17 Likewise, I had several opportunities to
18 discuss these matters with Mr. Timarac, who was a
19 deputy to the republic parliament. He was from
20 Prijedor and he was a member of the SDS.
21 Q. In any of your conversations with Srdja
22 Srdic, would he engage in serious conversations about
23 the problems in Prijedor with you?
24 A. No, he wouldn't. There was a need for us to
25 talk because the situation was getting more complex.
1 However, all my attempts to have a conversation with
2 him would boil down to an exchange of anecdotes or
3 jokes, and in the end, our conversations would be
4 rather comical and we couldn't agree on anything in
5 connection with the problems in the municipality.
6 Q. Were you a witness or part of conversations
7 with SDS officials from outside of Prijedor where they
8 discussed the issue of Prijedor with Srdja Srdic or the
9 other members of the Prijedor delegation?
10 A. Yes, I was, during the breaks, between
11 sessions at the parliament. We had a room upstairs
12 where we could have a cup of coffee during the break
13 and where representatives from various parties would
14 get together. Sometimes they would be separate, but I
15 didn't pay much attention to that, and I often talked
16 to all of them.
17 Sometime in mid-1991, I had opportunity to
18 listen to various critiques concerning the work of
19 Srdja Srdic and the situation in Prijedor. I vividly
20 remember one particular occasion where an SDS
21 representative, Mr. Ljubo Bosilicic (phoen), who I
22 believe was from Pale, where he attacked very fiercely
23 Mr. Srdja Srdic, and a number of deputies joined him,
24 and his main concern was that Srdja Srdic hadn't done
25 anything in Prijedor, that he hadn't organised the
1 Serb people in the municipality of Prijedor, he
2 didn't know what Srdja Srdic was waiting for, why he
3 wasn't doing anything, and so on.
4 The essence of that conversation was a little
5 strange to me. This was something that I couldn't
6 understand. I had a very definite view of the
7 electoral process. Elections had taken place, and I
8 simply saw no point in some further organising of the
9 people, and that is why the very essence of these
10 criticisms eluded me.
11 Q. As these difficulties in establishing
12 cooperation in the government continued, both at the
13 Republic and municipal level, was there a movement by
14 the SDS and other Serb politicians to separate from the
15 democratically elected government?
16 A. Yes. As early as August 1991, certain things
17 started happening, things that were not fully in
18 accordance; that is, they were not at all in accordance
19 with the law and the constitution of Bosnia and
21 In July, in Herzegovina, some kind of
22 autonomy was proclaimed, and on the 1st of August, in
23 the territory of Banja Luka, certain events took place
24 which were later on discussed at the level of the
25 Republic, within the parliament.
1 The TV relay at Kozara in Lisina was
2 captured, and this all resulted in the change of the
3 situation in the field and in the change of atmosphere
4 in general from the psychological point of view,
5 because the media, in this case the TV, had completely
6 lost any connection with the republic, with the centre
7 of the republic. So we raised that issue. We wanted
8 to know why this was happening. The SDS stated
9 publicly that they had nothing to do with that and that
10 this issue should be discussed at some other level.
11 At the local level, in Prijedor, members of
12 the SDS told us that they didn't know who had done that
13 and they didn't know the reason why this had been done
14 and that this was something that they were opposing and
15 that the police should do their own job, the police
16 should resolve that problem.
17 So we tried a number of official channels,
18 but it was not possible to resolve that problem. It
19 was not possible to have access to the TV transmitter.
20 But this put us in a very difficult situation because
21 we could no longer follow the programme of the Sarajevo
22 television, and all broadcasts we could receive were
23 from Serbia or the Belgrade TV.
24 Q. Now, focusing on events in the summer and
25 early fall of 1991 outside of the political events,
1 what significant events were occurring in Slovenia and
2 Croatia at this time?
3 A. First in Slovenia and then in Croatia, the
4 Yugoslav People's Army carried out a military
6 Q. As that conflict, particularly in Croatia,
7 built up, was there a call for mobilisation by the
8 Yugoslav People's Army, the JNA?
9 A. Yes, there was. There was a call for
10 mobilisation issued by the JNA. The state leadership
11 of Bosnia and Herzegovina did not agree with that call
12 for mobilisation, but it was issued anyway. In
13 accordance with the existing legal provisions, the JNA
14 could not mobilise people for the war against Croatia,
15 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, the call-up
16 papers were distributed, and the media conducted a mass
17 campaign. They included the Serb television and the
18 local Banja Luka TV station which was established in
19 September in '91. They had a number of reports from
20 the battlefield in Croatia. A campaign was conducted
21 to that effect.
22 At the beginning, it was under the pretext to
23 protect Yugoslavia, and later on it became quite
25 Q. Now, after the mobilisation call was issued,
1 what was the response from the elected government in
3 A. The elected government of Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina was against the intervention of JNA in
5 Slovenia and Croatia. In the meantime, these two
6 states gained their independence, and with that act
7 also the laws of Yugoslavia did not apply anymore.
8 In the parliamentary discussions, I discussed
9 and pointed out these matters, and they insisted on
10 negotiations and insisted on the withdrawal of JNA from
11 Croatia and that it stop military operations there.
12 However, there was no success in this endeavour of
14 Q. Did the SDA and HDZ parties support that
15 position, both at the Republic level and in the Opstina
17 A. Yes. On the level of the Republic, it was
18 supported by SDA, HDZ, by The League of Communists, the
19 other opposition parties, but SDS was for mobilisation
20 and for the military operations in Croatia. So SDS
21 held totally opposite position.
22 Q. Was that also the same scenario in the
23 Opstina of Prijedor itself, in the local Assembly,
24 within the local politics?
25 A. Yes, yes, absolutely the same. And also in
1 the local Assembly, quite similar debates were carried
2 on. The Serb representatives were accusing the
3 Bosniaks in the municipal assembly that they were
4 supporting the Ustasha because they don't want to wage
5 battles against them. They also stated that Prijedor
6 has to be defended in Croatia and not in Prijedor
7 itself, and therefore, we don't want to defend
9 Q. When you say "we don't want to defend
10 Prijedor," who are you referring to?
11 A. The Serbs told us, "You don't want to defend
12 Prijedor because you don't want to fight in Croatia
13 because Prijedor is to be defended in Lipik and Pakrac
14 and not in Prijedor itself."
15 Q. Despite the position, the official position
16 of the government, did some Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian
17 Croats volunteer for service with the JNA?
18 A. Yes. At the beginning, yes.
19 Q. Did you know some of those individuals who
20 volunteered from the Prijedor area?
21 A. Yes. Yes, I knew -- the number was symbolic
22 of these volunteers.
23 Q. After these individuals returned from
24 Croatia, as an elected representative in a local
25 community, did you go to speak to them about their
1 experiences in Croatia and what the situation was?
2 A. Of course. Of course. I talked to them and
3 I talked to a young man whom I knew quite well,
4 Elezovic Salih, he was a lieutenant in the reserve, and
5 when he received the call-up papers, he accepted them
6 and he went to Croatia. He was there for some time and
7 availed himself at the first opportunity to abandon and
8 to desert.
9 Q. Did he describe to you the treatment of the
10 Bosnian Muslims within the JNA during their service in
12 A. Yes, yes, yes. First of all, he said that
13 there were very few and that they were often derided.
14 They were the object of jokes for a number of reasons:
15 Firstly, because there were few of them there, because
16 they didn't know some traditional Serb songs and
17 cannot sing with them.
18 Q. What kind of insults or comments, derogatory
19 comments, were made toward them?
20 A. Usually they labelled them as Turks. Turks.
21 That was always as a joke but it was also always
22 derogatory. They joked at their expense because they
23 didn't eat pork.
24 Q. At this --
25 A. And an ever-greater number of the soldiers
1 weren't bearing the insignia of JNA. The insignia were
2 diverse, with -- then some insignia from the Second
3 World War. For example, the --
4 JUDGE MAY: I am going to interrupt you for a
5 moment. Mr. Keegan, we're going somewhere away from
6 Prijedor at the moment. Let's return there.
7 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
8 Q. At this time, as a result of this particular
9 mobilisation, did there then result an uneven balance
10 in the ethnic composition in the JNA?
11 A. Absolutely. Absolutely. In the JNA at that
12 time, we had a predominant majority of Serbs.
13 MR. VUCICEVIC: (Note: Counsel states
14 objection prior to interpretation being completed)
15 ... we are too far afield from Prijedor. If he wants
16 to testify about the composition of the JNA in
17 Prijedor, that's fine.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
19 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour. That
20 was the next question.
21 Q. Did this same disparity also exist in the
22 Opstina Prijedor?
23 A. Of course. I wish to say to the Trial
24 Chamber that we had a garrison with some 100 soldiers.
25 During the period under discussion, thousands and
1 thousands were mobilised, and in Prijedor, there was
2 officially an entire brigade which was then transferred
3 to the war theatre in Croatia, and that brigade, the
4 composition of the brigade, was almost exclusively
5 Serb, almost exclusively Serb soldiers. It was
6 the 6th Krajiska brigade and later on the 5th Kozarska
8 Q. During this time, while this was going on,
9 did the parties nevertheless continue to try and work
10 with the SDS to prevent a further separation and
11 continuing difficulties?
12 A. Of course, we tried -- we were attempting
13 this on a daily basis and incessantly, but it was very
14 difficult. On the level of the republic, there was an
15 agreement between the parties; namely, to cooperate.
16 But for us, it was very difficult to have any success
17 in that because the Prijedor municipality was overcome
18 by this war euphoria and a great percentage of the
19 Serb population signed up for mobilisation.
20 The brigade was formed, it was sent to
21 Croatia, it returned to Prijedor, and when they were
22 returning home for a few days' vacation, they didn't
23 dispose of their and did not hand in their weapons and
24 ammunition to the depots but sent it home. They would
25 shoot in the air, and this was disturbing the local
2 SDS had very good cooperation with the
3 military, they had identical views concerning the issue
4 of mobilisation, and it was very difficult for us to
5 establish cooperation because we didn't believe.
6 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, I would now --
7 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, at this time
8 Defence moves the non-responsive part of the answer be
10 JUDGE MAY: I don't understand what you
11 mean. The record is being made, and we can't remove
12 it. Motions to strike are not recognised here.
13 Now, what is the objection? We'll get on
14 more quickly if we don't have interruptions. What is
15 the objection?
16 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, perhaps this is
17 the difference because of the system where I practice,
18 and I apologise because this is not the practice here,
19 so -- I'm getting used to it.
20 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
21 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, the document now
22 being handed is labelled 5.9 on the exhibit list. It
23 is a document agreed to by the parties.
24 Q. You recognise this document, Mr. Semenovic?
25 A. Of course. Yes, I recognise it.
1 In the beginning of August, due to an
2 ever-increasing number of incidents in the field, the
3 Party of Democratic Action, together with the Serb
4 Democratic Party and the HDZ of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
5 succeeded in drafting an agreement in view of this
6 situation, that they establish monitoring groups on the
7 level of municipalities to monitor the situation and to
8 calm the situation where necessary, and this was also
9 signed by the president of the Serb Democratic
10 Party, Dr. Radovan Karadzic, and this document is, in
11 fact, information to the municipal committees and an
12 instruction that on the level of municipalities, the
13 SDS appoints two members of joint monitoring
15 Q. Were these monitoring groups ever
16 established? Was this agreement ever implemented?
17 A. No, no. On the municipal level, according to
18 the -- in line with these instructions, no. No, we
19 didn't succeed in that, although we attempted many
20 times. We succeeded in that only in two or three local
21 communes, but on the municipal level of Prijedor, there
22 was never an attempt to create such a monitoring group
23 and to make that piece of information public.
24 Q. You indicated earlier that during the same
25 period of time -- we're now talking the fall of 1991 --
1 that the SDS initiated, began moving away from the
2 elected government?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did they, in fact, initiate the development
5 of a separate political structure?
6 A. We didn't receive any official information
7 from the SDS that they're doing that, operating in that
8 direction, but on the basis of their act and their
9 work, we concluded that such a process is underway. In
10 fact, we asked a number of times why the cooperation
11 isn't more intense, why certain events are occurring,
12 whether they are setting up their parallel system. The
13 response was always negative, no way, and that they had
14 nothing to do with the incidents which were occurring.
15 Often they would quote, under quotation lines, marks,
16 say, "This is done by some fools of ours." I heard
17 that from Mr. Srdja Srdic and Mr. Miskovic. This was
18 their explanation of the incident.
19 Q. You mentioned earlier the creation of an
20 autonomous region in Herzegovina. Were other
21 autonomous regions later declared?
22 A. Yes, the Autonomous Region of Banja Luka
23 was proclaimed.
24 Q. And who was it that proclaimed the creation
25 of these autonomous regions?
1 A. These autonomous regions were proclaimed,
2 that is the instruction for that could only be given by
3 the Serb Democratic Party. Such region was first
4 proclaimed in Herzegovina and then in Banja Luka. We
5 discussed this at the session in the parliament of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And the Serb Democratic Party
7 denied any involvement in such a process. They tried
8 to convince us that they were in favour of
9 regionalisation, but on the basis of the economy and
10 that there could be no talk of any national principle
11 in that sense. We discussed this on a number of times
12 and I had an opportunity to hear the conversation
13 between Mr. Kupresanin and other representatives of the
15 Q. The economic basis for the autonomous
16 regions, had there already existed in
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina association of municipalities?
18 A. Yes, of course, they existed. We call them
19 association of municipalities. Banja Luka had its
20 association of municipalities in accordance with the
21 relevant law of the republic. Such organisation was in
22 place for the past 25 years, I believe. Intense
23 discussions were held at the parliament and I remember
24 taking part in that. We wanted to hear an explanation,
25 why do we need regionalisation based on the economy
1 because we already had one. We didn't need any other
2 type of regions. Then they insisted that such a
3 division --
4 JUDGE MAY: Let's get back to the case. This
5 isn't really relevant.
6 MR. KEEGAN:
7 Q. Your Honour, the -- I respectfully ask a bit
8 of indulgence. I am trying to move along. It's, of
9 course, difficult, we're dealing here with cultures
10 which tend to explain things differently, perhaps, than
11 we're used to in our own courts. This is leading to
12 the creation of the Serb Autonomous Regions which you
13 heard about from Judge Greve. That becomes the
14 political basis from which Republika Srpska is
15 created. And becomes, in fact, the main focus of the
16 Serb effort and it is because Prijedor fails to join
17 that, we submit, that it is so violently attacked. So
18 it is relevant to establish the basis, the motivations,
19 for the prosecution count and this underlying issue of
20 the nationalism does, in fact, play a strong role in
21 establishing the intent for the genocide charge.
22 So while I understand that at this point it
23 appears like we're discussing issues that don't appear
24 directly relevant to the charge, we would submit that
25 by the time we get to the close of this case, which is
1 going to take some time in any event, it will be quite
2 clear why this is relevant.
3 JUDGE MAY: Let's move to the creation of the
4 Autonomous Region. Let's deal with that next.
5 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MAY: Ask the witness directly.
7 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
8 Q. Mr. Semenovic, did the SDS later declare the
9 creation of a Serb Autonomous Region in the northern
10 area of Bosnia referred to as the Autonomous Region of
11 the Krajina?
12 A. Yes, they did.
13 Q. And did this Serb Autonomous Region
14 declare in its founding documents that it had not only
15 an economic aspect, but also a defence aspect? That
16 is, a military aspect?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And during this same time, did, in fact, the
19 SDS as a party indicate or give indications that it
20 exercised or was going the exercise the creation of
21 military forces and of military or police powers?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Your Honour, the document that's being handed
24 out is Document 5.11. It is one of the documents
25 agreed to by the parties. Excuse me, I am incorrect,
1 it's not one of the documents agreed to by the
2 parties. We have not met on this document yet.
3 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, I would like to
4 move that this document be stricken because I believe
5 it does not comport to the previous order of this
6 chamber that all the documents and the statements of
7 the witness that are going to be disclosed to the
8 Defence by 15th of June. And by the statement of the
9 Prosecutor hasn't been disclosed, provided, to us, so
10 move to be stricken.
11 MR. KEEGAN: This document was provided in
12 the collection of 20 of April, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes, I accept that. We'll admit
14 it for the moment. If there are objections in due
15 course, we'll hear them.
16 MR. KEEGAN:
17 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise that
19 A. Yes, I recognise it. This was sent by the
20 president of the Serb Democratic Party, Dr. Radovan
21 Karadzic, to municipal boards of the party. Stated in
22 this document was that the Serb Democratic Party
23 should provide an around the clock guard duty at all
24 bridges. In particular, the ones on transit roads to
25 Serbia and Montenegro and the ones in Bosnia Krajina
1 and central Bosnia. Radovan Karadzic emphasised the
2 importance of this task and that this task should be
3 done in coordination with police and military organs.
4 And it should be carried out by municipal boards.
5 Members of the SDS should, therefore, form a
6 number of groups that would be in charge of guarding
7 bridges. And, in doing so, they were to cooperate with
8 the police and the military. Although the security of
9 such facilities normally would be provided by the
10 police and not civilians.
11 Q. Mr. Semenovic, when these autonomous regions
12 were declared by the SDS leadership, how was it that
13 municipalities were joined to the Autonomous Region?
14 A. The municipalities with predominant
15 Serb population and with the SDS in power were
16 automatically joined to the Autonomous Regions. This
17 happened in the area where I lived; namely, the area of
18 Banja Luka. All municipalities joined the Autonomous
19 Region, except for the ones where the SDA had power or
20 had an important number of seats. At that time, when
21 the Autonomous Region was declared, Prijedor did not
22 join in, just as Sanski Most. And I think that Krupa
23 and Bosanski Novi didn't join the region either. I am
24 not sure about Sanski Most. The remaining municipalities
25 had already joined the Autonomous Region.
1 Q. Now was there a move to try and have a vote
2 in a municipal assembly to join?
3 A. Yes. Discussions were held at the
4 parliament, but this simply couldn't be accepted
5 because we couldn't accept such a violation of the law
6 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7 Q. And what happened later in the summer of 1992
8 to those municipalities you named, particularly
9 Prijedor and Sanski Most, who did not vote to join this
10 Serb Autonomous Region?
11 A. In the summer of '92, a coup occurred in
12 these municipalities. The power was taken over
13 forcibly. After the take-over of power all levels of
14 authority in the municipalities, municipalities we are
15 discussing, it was the SDS that took power.
16 Q. And what later happened to the non-Serb
17 populations in those Opstinas in the summer of '92?
18 A. In the summer of '92, non-Serb population
19 from these municipalities was partly killed, partly
20 arrested and taken to concentration camps. It was also
21 partly evicted and displaced and they simply could no
22 longer live in their homes.
23 I can give you a number of examples for
24 that. Out of -- yes?
25 Q. I'm sorry, can you finish that sentence,
1 please, I'm sorry.
2 A. After that, only a symbolic number of
3 non-Serbs remained in the area. Let me give you an
4 example. Today in the Municipality of Prijedor, out of
5 48.000 residents, there are only 400 Muslims or
7 Q. Now, these Serb Autonomous Regions that
8 were created in Bosnia-Herzegovina, did they eventually
9 become part of what is now referred to as the Republika
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. After the creation of the Serbia autonomous
13 regions, was a plebiscite conducted by the SDS in the
14 fall of 1991?
15 A. Yes, it was conducted in November 91. It
16 was organised by the SDS. And the Serb population
17 was supposed to declare themselves in regards to the
18 current situation and the situation in Yugoslavia in
19 general. I have to stress that we at the Parliament
20 could not accept such a kind of plebiscite because it
21 was not constitutional. It was not legal. One could
22 never hold a plebiscite for only one segment of the
23 population. In accordance with laws of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, a referendum could be held, but
25 only for all, for all residents of the Republic or all
1 citizens of the Republic. However, the SDS party
2 managed to organise such a plebiscite through their own
3 institutions and bodies.
4 Q. Were the results of that plebiscite later
5 used by the SDS as a justification for the creation of
6 a separate Serb republic in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
7 A. Yes. They used the results of the plebiscite
8 as some kind of justification for establishing their
9 own state structures in the territory of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina. They claimed that the plebiscite
11 was completely constitutional and legitimate. Although
12 the state bodies took no part in that plebiscite and
13 they, of course, believed that it was completely
15 Q. Now, at the same time, was there a movement
16 by the SDS party in Prijedor toward separate political
17 and governmental structures within the municipality?
18 A. Yes, there was.
19 Q. And what were some of the proposals from the
21 A. Some of the proposals of the SDS at the time
22 were, for example, to separate the so-called Serb
23 territories within the Municipality of Prijedor and to
24 have Muslim territories on the other side. And then
25 let the Muslims establish their own municipalities.
1 All Serb territories should go to Serbs and all
2 Muslim territories should go to Muslims. That was
3 their proposal.
4 Q. And how did they propose a division of the
6 A. Yes, they proposed a division of municipality
7 into two separate municipalities. An official proposal
8 was issued and a geographical map was printed as to how
9 that division should look. The SDS delineated the
10 Muslim, the Serb municipality and the Muslim
11 municipality in the area.
12 Q. How did that division look on the map? What
13 would have been the effect on the Opstina Prijedor, had
14 it been implemented?
15 A. It had nothing to do with the realty with the
16 situation in the field because, according to the map,
17 80% of the territory was Serb, including most of the
18 residential areas, industrial facilities, state-owned
19 companies, forests, agricultural companies and so on.
20 And they also delineated two parts of that area which
21 they called Muslim parts. They were mostly rural
22 areas, including the town of Kozarac. These areas were
23 depicted as Muslim areas, which, in fact, meant --
24 MR. VUCICEVIC: Objection or remark. We have
25 had some maps introduced into evidence and obviously
1 the witness is testifying about the maps. It would be
2 quite helpful for all of us to see those maps and have
3 a witness point out what he is referring to. I have
4 been in Prijedor several times and it's still difficult
5 to follow.
6 MR. KEEGAN: Well, Your Honour, Mr. Vucicevic
7 is certainly free to use the map in cross-examination,
8 if he wishes. I was simply trying to use the
9 recollection of the witness and move on from the point.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes, if you would like to move
12 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you.
13 Q. Mr. Semenovic, what would have been the
14 effect on the non-Serb population in terms of the shift
15 of the population in Prijedor had this division been
16 accepted or implemented?
17 A. Over 50% of the population would have been
18 displaced from their houses, their farms and
19 transferred to the area which was already inhabited, so
20 almost 5.000 people were supposed to be -- 50.000
21 people were supposed to be moved to the area which
22 couldn't accept more that, say 20.000 people. The SDS
23 insisted publicly on such a transfer of population and
24 it was perfectly clear to us that we could simply find
25 ourselves in a situation where we would have to fight for
1 our survival.
2 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, I have to
3 object to this again. Your Honour, please, please -- I
4 mean, this is a legal objection. If I am going to
5 have, as Mr. Keegan has suggested, have the privilege
6 and full privilege to cross-examine this witness on
7 this investigation, I would have to have at least a
8 complete testimony on this point. And if I am going to
9 explore this point by introducing the witness'
10 statements on direct, then it's going to be quite
11 difficult. And then I will not have a chance to probe
12 for his recollection, voracity and truth and I will be
13 introducing his evidence at the same time. Quite
14 impossible task, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Vucicevic, I do not
16 understand what you mean. Now, what do you mean?
17 Would you explain yourself?
18 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, if the witness
19 is permitted to further testify about a plan which a
20 map drawn by SDS, which he has just been testified,
21 without referring geographically to the terrain and the
22 areas containing the vision of the properties,
23 resettlement of the population, and only outline it in
24 a so sketchy. On cross-examination, I will absolutely
25 -- it will be absolutely impossible to examine him and
1 probe for his recollection, for his knowledge, for his
2 sources, without leading him to and basically
3 presenting part of direct testimony on the cross. And
4 that is, you know, is one of the main reasons for
5 having a cross-examination. It's not to be open on a
6 full attack by a witness on cross. That's what I am
7 trying. May I proceed, Your Honour?
8 JUDGE MAY: Well, there is nothing in that
9 point at all. The witness has given evidence. He is
10 giving it in such form as the Prosecution wish him to
11 give it, as I understand it. You are entitled to
12 cross-examine. If we had fewer interruptions,
13 particularly pointless ones of that sort, Mr.
14 Vucicevic, we'd get on more quickly.
16 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Mr. Semenovic, during this same period, were
18 there also individuals from the SDS who, although not
19 elected officials, were representing themselves as
20 authority members or authority figures in the
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you have occasion of conversations with
24 some of these individuals?
25 A. Yes, I talked to some of them.
1 Q. And did they indicate to you or did you
2 question the basis of the authority that they were
4 A. Yes, yes, I did. I could talk to some of
5 them about that subject. However, I couldn't talk to
6 all of them. But I remember a specific example at the
7 local level. I discussed this authority with an
8 individual in my municipality and in the local commune
9 where I lived. In that local commune, we had the SDA
10 and we had the SDS as well. They cooperated.
11 And, later on, after all these problems
12 arose, we tried to find some solution in that spirit of
13 cooperation. However, when incidents started taking
14 place and when we were supposed to resolve some really
15 burning issues, official SDS, officials of the SDS at
16 that level stated that they would be represented by an
17 individual, who, at that time, was not officially
18 member of the leadership of the party.
19 I am referring to individuals whom I know
20 very well. My neighbour, Ostoja, for example, who, on
21 behalf of the SDS, although he was not an official of
22 the SDS, had the highest authority in that particular
24 Q. And (Microphone not on)?
25 A. The local commune of Trnopolje. The name
1 that the witness stated was Ostoja Skrbic.
2 Q. And what type of authority did Mr. Skrbic
3 represent that he had in terms of dealing with ethnic
4 divisions in Trnopolje?
5 A. People said about him, and I have to quote
6 them on that, that he was an experienced man. That he
7 was the eldest member of the community and that he was
8 the individual that was most respected by the Serbian
9 population in the area. And that he is the best person
10 to represent their interests.
11 Although we had official bodies of the local
12 commune, where bodies which were composed of Muslims,
13 Serbs and others, we saw no need to resolve problems,
14 to try to resolve problems outside these official
15 bodies and structures. However, upon their insistence,
16 we also talked to Ostoja Skrbic.
17 Q. Would that be a convenient time before we
18 move on the a different area?
19 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, it would be. I note
20 from the time estimate for this witness that
21 examination-in-chief was supposed only to take three
22 hours. We've been going for three hours very nearly
23 and we haven't reached the take-over. So, I hope we're
24 going to make greater progress in the afternoon.
25 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
1 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.05 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
3 MS. HOLLIS: Your Honour, prior to Mr. Keegan
4 commencing his direct examination of Mr. Semenovic, I
5 would like to ask leave of the Trial Chamber to be
6 absent from the session this afternoon from the break
7 until sometime after 4.00. My presence is required in
8 a hearing at 4.00. Once that is concluded, I will
10 JUDGE MAY: Certainly, Ms. Hollis.
11 MS. HOLLIS: Thank you.
12 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Mr. Semenovic, as a result of the events in
14 the summer and fall of 1991, was there a call by the
15 Republic Assembly in Bosnia-Herzegovina for a
16 referendum on the issue of independence for Bosnia and
18 A. Yes, there was such a call.
19 Q. Was there a resolution adopted to carry out a
21 A. Yes, the resolution was adopted, and the
22 referendum was held on the 29th of February and the
23 30th of March, 1992.
24 Q. Did the SDS agree with that initiative to
25 hold a referendum?
1 A. No. SDS was against the holding of the
3 MR. KEEGAN: This is document number 5.19,
4 Your Honour. It is not one of the documents agreed to
5 by the parties.
6 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise that
8 A. Yes, I do recognise it. This is the document
9 issued by the Serbian Democratic Party and which was
10 addressed to its municipal and regional boards and in
11 which it states the position of SDS concerning the
12 referendum and it invokes the conclusions of the
13 Assembly of the Serbian People of Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina, an illegal body which was formed by the
15 Serbian Democratic Party a few days earlier.
16 Q. I would direct your attention to the third
17 paragraph of that document, beginning with, "It will be
18 your duty to work out an action plan."
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. In there, what specific instructions are they
21 giving to the municipal boards?
22 A. In this document, the leadership of the
23 Serbian Democratic Party asks the municipal boards and
24 regional ones to draft plans in order to prevent any
25 action towards the organisation of the referendum. It
1 states that SDS should explain to any Serb not only
2 that he shouldn't participate in the referendum by
3 casting a vote but neither should he serve as a member
4 of any municipal or other committee involved in the
6 The document also states that the leadership
7 of SDS in the municipal bodies have no obligations in
8 assuring material or other means for the holding of the
9 referendum, nor should they personally be involved in
11 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you. May we have this
12 next document --
13 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, I object to this
14 document because the original document is unsigned and
15 contains only one page while this translation -- page
16 and a half translation indicates the name of president
17 of executive board, Rajko Dukic, so I object to its
18 admission based on its authenticity, which hasn't been
19 established at all.
20 JUDGE MAY: Well, that, Mr. Keegan, seems to
21 be the case.
22 MR. KEEGAN: We'll tender the original, Your
23 Honour. The translators, when they work, went to the
24 originals where a document appeared to be -- a copy
25 appeared to be difficult for them, so we'll produce the
2 JUDGE MAY: Well, meanwhile, I don't think
3 we'll admit it. We'll exclude it until we get the
4 original. Let us hand it back.
5 MR. KEEGAN: This is document 5.17, Your
6 Honour. Again, it's not one that the parties had an
7 opportunity to meet on yet.
8 Q. Do you recognise this document,
9 Mr. Semenovic?
10 A. Yes, I do. This document is of the so-called
11 Assembly of the Serbian People in Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina, a body formed by SDS illegally. This
13 document contains the conclusions referring to the
14 stand of that body vis-à-vis the referendum.
15 The first conclusion, it says that the
16 decision was taken in an irregular form, was reached
17 irregularly, and that the decisions, based on that
18 referendum, will be null and void and non-binding,
19 non-binding, and by which also the officials of Bosnia
20 and Herzegovina will be banned from participating in
21 the work of federal bodies, and next, that the Assembly
22 of the Serbian People in Bosnia and Herzegovina will
23 see to it that at a conference of the legitimate
24 representatives of the three constituent nations, an
25 agreement be achieved, and that such a solution will be
1 offered for the people then to decide at a referendum.
2 Q. In the third paragraph, what are they asking
3 their governmental bodies to do?
4 A. In the third paragraph: "The Assembly of the
5 Serbian People of Bosnia and Herzegovina is hereby
6 tasking the Ministerial Council, working bodies and
7 other authorised representatives of the Serbian people
8 in Bosnia and Herzegovina to draft the Constitution,
9 relevant decisions and other instruments which would
10 regulate, as soon as possible, the subsequent
11 organisation of the Serbian people in Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina into a state so that the Republic of the
13 Serbian People of Bosnia and Herzegovina could function
14 as an actual state entity."
15 In conclusion, item 4, paragraph 4, that "The
16 place of the Republic of the Serbian People in Bosnia
17 and Herzegovina is in a common state of the Serbian
19 Then it continues: "Democratic
20 transformation of Yugoslavia must be conducted in
21 parallel with the organisation of the entire Serbian
22 people into a Serbian federation or a union of Serbian
24 In the last, fifth conclusion, it states that
25 "It is necessary to redefine our relationship with
1 Yugoslav federal institutions, in particular with the
2 JNA, on the basis of the mutual, political and
3 existential interests."
4 These documents and conclusions were signed
5 by Mr. Momcilo Krajisnik, a high official of the SDS,
6 and in this case he was also the president of this
7 illegally formed Assembly of the Serbian People of
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
9 MR. VUCICEVIC: I have a small objection
10 here. In reading the paragraph, I think the witness
11 has added a word in paragraph 3 at the end. I'm
12 looking in the original where it says -- and I'll look
13 back in the -- the original translation says, "We'll
14 see to it," and the witness has used two forms of
15 translation, basically editorialised to comment that it
16 was indeed a very strong word in the Serbian language
17 that kind of represented an order, and I am asking that
18 such editorialising be stricken and the Prosecutor be
19 informed that such infractions do not occur.
20 JUDGE MAY: Which is the word in the
22 MR. VUCICEVIC: I was following, I'm sorry,
23 Your Honour, not the English translation, but I was
24 following his testimony in Serbian, and I'm going to
25 read in Serbian so that I'll make myself perfectly
1 clear here. The witness says: "The Assembly of the
2 Serbian People in Bosnia and Herzegovina will see to it
3 or not as asking..." Basically he is commenting that
4 this is indeed a strong word and tying it up to his
5 explanation of law that this was illegal.
6 I mean, what I'm objecting to is; the witness
7 is reading from a document, he's free to read it, but
8 not to change the document because Your Honours could
9 not follow the original.
10 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, if I understand the
11 objection correctly, first off, what he is saying the
12 witness said matches exactly what the English
13 translation is in paragraph 2. I believe it's the
14 first sentence: "The Assembly of the Serbian People in
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina will see to it that an agreement
16 is reached." Is that --
17 JUDGE MAY: We will not pursue this anymore.
18 There is some note for the interpreters.
19 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, I suggest that
20 we proceed, and if there is going to be a need to do
21 this, we can look at a tape at some later time and
22 really show you what I'm referring to here.
23 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
24 MR. KEEGAN: It can also be handled in
25 cross-examination, Your Honour.
1 This is document 5.22, Your Honour. Again,
2 we did not meet on the documents numbered in the 5
3 category, so this is one we have not agreed upon yet.
4 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise this
6 A. Yes, I do recognise it. This is a document
7 issued by the municipal board of SDS, a document
8 inviting to a rally and it is addressed to all
9 municipal boards of SDS in Bosanska Krajina: "You are
10 invited to attend, as many of you as possible and in an
11 organised fashion the arlly which will take place on 15
12 March (a Sunday) at 1200 hours, on the Trg Krajine
13 Square in Banja Luka.
14 The rally will reflect the will of the
15 Serbian people as it was stated at the plebiscite."
16 And it follows: "The rally against the sovereign
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina." And at the end: "Krajina is
18 a link in the uniting of Serbs." It is signed by
19 Dr. Radislav Vukic, the signature and stamp reading
20 SDS, Banja Luka Municipal Board.
21 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you. I take it from the
22 instruction from yesterday, sir, unless there is an
23 actual objection to the document, they're admitted?
24 JUDGE MAY: That's correct.
25 MR. KEEGAN: So in this extent then, only
1 5.19 is not admitted pending the original.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes. That's the position.
3 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, we also have
4 available the original of the newspaper from this
5 morning which was requested. Could the article that
6 was introduced, 5.1 this morning -- 7.1, excuse me,
7 which was introduced this morning and which the Defence
8 had a conditional objection pending seeing the original
9 to verify that it was, in fact, the 2nd of November.
10 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps they could be shown
11 during the adjournment.
12 MR. KEEGAN:
13 Q. Mr. Semenovic, what was the result of the
14 vote in the referendum?
15 A. The referendum, legal majority -- with a
16 legal majority, a decision was adopted concerning the
17 status of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 Q. Did, in fact, the SDS or Serbian people in
19 numbers participate in the referendum?
20 A. The Serbian Democratic Party officially
21 denied the legality of the referendum; however, in
22 reality, the SDS did not wish to participate in the
23 organisation of the referendum. They boycotted it.
24 However, it was noticed that a certain number of
25 Serbian citizens took part in the referendum and
1 declared themselves as to the question raised by the
3 Q. Thank you. Earlier -- excuse me. What was
4 the date of the referendum again?
5 A. 29th of February and 30th of March, 1992.
6 Q. Earlier, you spoke of the military forces
7 returning to the Prijedor area from the war in
8 Croatia. Did the number and types of forces returning
9 to the Prijedor area represent the normal contingent of
10 military forces that had been stationed in Prijedor
11 prior to the war?
12 A. No, no, it did not.
13 Q. To what extent, if you know, was there a
15 A. The contingent was between 30 and 40 times
16 greater than under normal conditions. There were
17 several thousand members of such a formation, but
18 otherwise, this type of formation would only have a
19 hundred troops.
20 Q. And that was the garrison in Prijedor you had
21 referred to earlier?
22 A. Yes, yes, of course, I'm referring to the
23 Prijedor garrison and I'm also referring to the
24 commanders of the units, commander of the garrison was
25 also commander of that brigade.
1 Q. Among the forces that were redeployed to
2 Prijedor from the war in Croatia, were there units that
3 did not originate from Prijedor?
4 A. Yes, there were such units.
5 Q. And where, if you know, did those units
6 originate from?
7 A. It was observed that in the area of Kozara, a
8 large number of troops were deployed coming from
9 Yugoslavia or Serbia. It was a far greater number than
10 it would have been under normal conditions. We also
11 observed a number of military formations who did not
12 exist in that area prior to that, and it was also
13 observed that military forces were deployed with the
14 kind of weapons that they did not have before that, and
15 they were deployed on several such locations in the
16 area of the Prijedor municipality.
17 MR. VUCICEVIC: ... hearsay rule but --
18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Vucicevic, the reply was
19 being translated.
20 MR. VUCICEVIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour. I'll
21 follow the answer in Serbo Croatian, and the answer is
22 basically not reporting any sources whatsoever, it is
23 kind of a reflective form of speaking like "People
24 heard," "People saw."
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we'll find out what the
1 source of information is.
2 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Q. Mr. Semenovic, could you please explain to
4 the Trial Chamber how you were aware of the quantity,
5 location, and types of units that were stationed in
7 A. We could obtain some information from the
8 population, depending on where certain individuals
9 lived, and people could observe in the vicinity of
10 their houses a certain number of troops and weapons.
11 I'm quoting the example of Gornja Puharska, for example,
12 the residents of that village saw a military battery
13 that was located there and had previously never been
14 deployed in that area. People also noticed in the
15 vicinity of the Prijedor-Bosanski Novi road, in the
16 area of Cejreci village, they noticed artillery
17 batteries which were composed of several pieces of
18 multiple rocket launchers and some other types of
19 artillery weapons. These weapons were in no way
20 covered and they could be plainly seen. One could also
21 observe such instances in Kozarac and Benkovac. We saw
22 a number of troops there because they used the same
23 road as the soldiers did. People also noticed in the
24 vicinity of their houses artillery weapons in Tomica ^,
25 for example. Artillery weapons were also observed in
1 the area of the Urije airport. This is close to a
2 residential area, and this could be very clearly
3 observed at that time.
4 At the party -- people would come to see us,
5 to the centre of the party, they wanted to know the
6 origin of these artillery weapons and they wanted to
7 know why they were pointing towards the residential
8 areas. All we could do was to try and reach an
9 agreement with the military and ask them to remove
10 these weapons and to take them back to the depots
11 because they were not pointing towards the Republic of
12 Croatia with whom the JNA was officially at war, but
13 they were pointing towards the interior of the
14 municipality of Prijedor. All we could do was to use
15 such type of information in our discussions with the
16 SDS which was close to the military leadership in
17 Prijedor, and we could use them also in some contacts
18 that we had at the time with the military authorities.
19 This was reality for us, for everybody who
20 lived in the area, this was something that we could
21 clearly observe and see for ourselves.
22 Q. You mentioned in your answer that you had
23 negotiations or discussions with the SDS as they were
24 close to the military. During this time, to your
25 knowledge, was the commander of the JNA garrison in the
1 area also becoming directly involved in political
3 A. Of course. This was public, this was
4 completely transparent. He made several public
5 appearances at meetings, at the sessions, and he would
6 take the floor just as other representatives to the
7 assembly would, and he held a series of lectures to the
8 representatives at the assembly concerning their
9 attitudes towards the military, and he also let us know
10 what would happen if we do not cooperate with the
11 military. He could also be seen accompanied by some
12 other soldiers, but some other members of the SDS, and
13 I'm here referring to all commanders of the JNA in the
14 area. I was also asked to show my ID card on that
16 Q. That morning, were there announcements
17 already that reflected that there had been a change in
18 the name of Prijedor municipality?
19 A. Yes. This is what I learned when I arrived
20 in Prijedor, having passed three or four checkpoints
21 and military controls.
22 That morning, when I got up, I did not switch
23 on my radio, and I didn't really know what was going
24 on, so I realised what the situation was only when I
25 got to the Prijedor bus stop and I realised that there
1 was a number of machine gun nests throughout the town,
2 that there were military patrols asking people for
3 identification cards, and this is when I realised what
4 was happening.
5 So I went to the town hall, the municipality
6 building, and I found out that access to the building
7 was denied. So I went to the party, and I wanted to
8 use the telephone to call some people who could provide
9 me with some information as to what was happening.
10 Q. At that time, that morning, did you hear
11 announcements or were there signs proclaiming the new
12 name of the Prijedor Opstina?
13 A. Yes, I did.
14 Q. What was that?
15 A. The Serbian Municipality of Prijedor.
16 Q. Did it appear, from everything you could see,
17 that this take-over had been organised and well-planned?
18 A. Yes, it did, because we could see that a
19 large number of troops were involved and that there was
20 a large number of checkpoints, a number of protected
21 infantry checkpoints, machine gun nests and so on, and,
22 of course, it was clear to us that it was not possible
23 to organise all that overnight, let alone plan it.
24 In the centre of the town, between the bus
25 stop and the party headquarters, we counted over a
1 hundred soldiers, over 400 soldiers that were in the
3 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you. Your Honour, the
4 document being passed out now is document 5.21. Again,
5 we did not have a chance to meet on these documents yet
6 so they were not agreed to by the parties.
7 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise that
9 A. Yes, I can recognise this document, it was
10 issued by the Serbian Democratic Party by the Executive
11 Committee of the SDS in Sarajevo. It was addressed to
12 all municipal boards of the SDS.
13 By this instrument, the Executive Board
14 ordered that all municipal boards should assess the
15 possibility of organising a Serb municipality in
16 their area of responsibility. It further states that
17 it was necessary that municipal boards of the SDS
18 include local communes and other residential areas,
19 that they enumerate those areas which would be part of
20 the Serbian municipality in the area in question.
21 It also states further in the conclusions
22 that a written report should be made and submitted to
23 the Executive Committee of the SDS.
24 The document was signed by the President of
25 the Executive Committee of SDS, Mr. Rajko Dukic, and it
1 is stamped by the stamp of the SDS.
2 Q. And dated ...
3 A. The date is 13th of March, 1992.
4 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, again
5 concerning authenticity of these documents, now we
6 receive original, there is a hand-written mark in double
7 block, double backs on the right-hand side that either
8 was written in Latin characters or it was written in
9 Cyrillic character. It doesn't make sense. It is
10 mixed up. Two alphabets are mixed up in the same
11 word. That's what gives me a little pause to believe
12 what is this all about?
13 JUDGE MAY: Well, we'll admit this document.
14 The original should again be found and no doubt some
15 explanation can be attempted as to what it is.
16 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour. That is
17 actually -- well, let me ask the witness if he knows;
18 otherwise, I can provide what I know, Your Honour,
19 but ...
20 Q. Mr. Semenovic, did you hear the remarks of
21 Mr. Vucicevic about the hand-written --
22 A. Yes, I have.
23 Q. Can you recognise what that is?
24 A. This is the address. Titova Ulica Number 7A
25 in Prijedor, the name of the street. I believe it
1 refers to the address of the SDS headquarters at the
3 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, "T" and then
4 "I," the second, if you are going to spell because
5 "T" is the same in Latin and in Cyrillic, and the
6 second "I" is Latin and then it's not Titova, it's
7 something else. So indicates that either a person --
8 it basically indicates it could be -- what is written
9 here could be a forgery because it is somebody who has
10 been using Cyrillic characters could make this mistake
11 and somebody who has been using all of his life Latin
12 characters in trying to write the Cyrillic could
13 possibly have made a mistake.
14 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Vucicevic, you can
15 cross-examine on this document. The original, of
16 course, should be produced.
17 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
18 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, I apologise for
19 making this remark. The only cross-examination that
20 could help me, if the witness had made that note. If
21 he didn't, that would be of no help.
22 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Mr. Semenovic, you have described thus far
24 that you saw some machine gun nests and also soldiers
25 within the town of Prijedor. Can you describe, please,
1 where those machine gun nests were positioned and where
2 the soldiers were stationed, please?
3 A. The first one I saw was next to the building
4 of the SUP, that is the police, in Prijedor. In front
5 of the police building, there was a number of soldiers,
6 and there were quite a few soldiers standing around the
7 machine gun nest. The other machine gun nest, I saw it
8 in the area in front of the town hall, the municipal
9 building; and then in front of the building belonging
10 to the public auditing service, in the vicinity of the
11 bank, I also saw one such machine gun nest. Then on a
12 couple of buildings, we saw snipers, soldiers with
13 sniper rifles, and we saw a number of soldiers in the
14 streets, but most of them were at the railway station,
15 at the junctions, and in the area around the new
16 market, in the vicinity of the department store at the
17 central square. There were a lot of soldiers there as
19 The majority of these soldiers were wearing
20 some cotton ribbons around their sleeves, but we did
21 not know what they meant, what they stood for. Some
22 ribbons were white, some were of some other colour, I
23 don't remember, and they all had weapons.
24 Q. Were there any checkpoints or security points
25 located in the town?
1 A. Yes, yes, there were. I was asked to show my
2 identification card at the bus stop and then near the
3 new market and also in the vicinity of the department
4 store, so I had to identify myself on three occasions
5 while I was on my way to the party headquarters, and we
6 are talking about a distance of several hundred metres.
7 I was also asked to show my ID near the town
8 hall when I attempted for the second time to reach the
9 building to find out what was happening.
10 Q. Were you successful in getting into the
11 municipal building?
12 A. No, no, I wasn't.
13 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, objection. This
14 was asked and answered. Repetitive.
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
16 MR. KEEGAN:
17 Q. After you failed to get into the municipal
18 building, what did you then do?
19 A. First time, after I failed to get into the
20 municipal building, I went to the party headquarters.
21 A number of leaders of the party had already gathered
22 there, and we tried to establish contact with the SDS.
23 Some of our municipal leaders were also there, some who
24 had been sent back from their work. They were denied
25 entrance to the municipal building, to the court, the
1 bank. The majority of these people came to the party
2 headquarters to ask for an explanation. They wanted to
3 know what was happening.
4 Of course, at the same time, we could hear
5 over the radio some proclamations, public statements,
6 that were broadcast by the so-called Serbian radio.
7 However, there was no official contact between the SDA
8 and the SDS.
9 Q. What were the nature of the proclamations
10 that you were hearing over the radio?
11 A. These proclamations stated that Prijedor was
12 finally liberated. They were singing songs having to
13 do with liberation, long-time forgotten songs, and they
14 were also trying to explain the take-over of the power
15 and interpreted as a kind of deep looking of the work
16 of the municipality, and they tried to explain that
17 from now on, the municipal bodies could function
18 normally, that everything was in perfect order, that
19 all employees, all officials were back at work and that
20 the population had nothing to worry about.
21 Q. Did these announcements on the radio indicate
22 who had been responsible for the take-over?
23 A. Yes. They were quite open about that. They
24 said that the Serbian Democratic Party had taken over
25 all power in the municipality so that the municipality
1 could function normally again. That was their
2 explanation. Because other parties, as long as they
3 were present at the municipality, were the major
4 obstacle for normal functioning of the municipality.
5 Q. Did the announcements indicate who the new
6 leaders of the municipality were, the individuals, the
8 A. Yes, individual names were cited as well. As
9 far as I can remember, the head at that time was
10 Mr. Milomir Stakic, Simo Miskovic was also mentioned,
11 Dr. Kovacevic, and some others as well.
12 Q. Over the next couple of days, what attempts
13 did the SDA members, the party make, to try and
14 re-establish contact with the SDS, the new leadership?
15 A. The SDA leadership and a certain number of
16 officials who had been sent tried to establish such
17 contact. They were rather persistent in that, and I
18 believe that several talks took place. Several talks
19 were held between presidents of the two parties,
20 Dr. Mirza Mujadzic and Simo Miskovic. However,
21 they yielded no result.
22 Q. Over those first days after the take-over,
23 were the SDA members, or indeed Muslims in general,
24 allowed to go to their work, places of work or
1 A. No, no, they were not. What followed was
2 dismissal of Muslim employees from practically all
3 jobs. I'm not talking only about cleaners. Only
4 Serbian nationals remained at their places of work.
5 Q. Did this dismissal of non-Serbs continue over
6 the subsequent weeks?
7 A. Yes, it did.
8 Q. Were there any other steps taken to limit the
9 freedom of movement of the non-Serb population?
10 A. Yes. The town was practically under some
11 kind of blockade. Some ten days after the take-over,
12 even the local traffic stopped. Children who lived in
13 the area which were not Serb-dominated areas could no
14 longer go to school. On the border areas, areas
15 inhabited by Serbian population and other nationals,
16 the military had set up a number of their military
17 installations, including bunkers, and because of that
18 blockade, the people, the non-Serbs, were terribly
19 frightened. They didn't know what to do. No
20 explanation could be offered to them at the time. We
21 were not in the position to be provided security by
22 anyone outside the municipality because we were
23 isolated in two enclaves, and non-Serbs who lived in
24 the town itself were confined to their apartments.
25 At the same time, programs were broadcast
1 over the radio in which the Serbian Democratic Party
2 constantly repeated that Muslims were preparing
3 themselves to wage a war against Serbs, but that the
4 Serbs and the Serb soldiers would not allow for that to
5 happen, that they would not allow for the uniting in
6 '41 to happen again.
7 Q. Did you then attempt to meet with the SDS
8 leadership in Prijedor to discuss these issues?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Were you successful in arranging a meeting?
11 A. We did succeed in the arrangement, but we had
12 no success at the meeting itself. The meeting did take
13 place with the SDS somewhere in mid-May 1992, I believe
14 between the 16th and the 18th of May. The
15 representatives of SDS and of SDA, they met in the
16 headquarters in the premises of the headquarters of
18 Q. Can you please describe what occurred at that
19 meeting and who was present?
20 A. From the SDA, Becir Medunjanin attended the
21 meeting, Mr. Islam Bahonjic, Mr. Meho Terzic,
22 Mr. Ilijaz Music, and myself. We agreed, we from the
23 Party of Democratic Action, that we will meet in the
24 SDA headquarters and that then together we'll go to the
25 SDS headquarters where the meeting was planned.
1 Q. Were you able to hold that meeting in the SDA
3 A. You know, we couldn't get into our
4 headquarters because the lock had been changed, we
5 couldn't enter our premises; therefore, we just
6 continued towards the SDS headquarters. We were
7 stopped by the police some 15 metres in front of the
8 headquarters of SDS, namely, four policemen, and they
9 asked us to show our ID cards.
10 Q. Were you eventually allowed into the
12 A. Yes. While our papers were being read,
13 Mr. Simo Miskovic came out and he told the policemen to
14 go and asked us to come in. He told us also -- we
15 asked for an explanation, but he said "Forget it. Come
16 with me and let's have the meeting."
17 In that office, in addition to Mr. Miskovic,
18 Mr. Dusan Kurnoga was present, Mr. Slobodan Kuruzovic,
19 then a younger woman, I had never seen her before, I
20 don't remember her name, and then another or two
21 people, and I cannot state their names at this point.
22 Q. Did you then begin a meeting in the office?
23 A. No, no.
24 Q. Why could you not start the meeting?
25 A. We asked that the meeting begin, but
1 Mr. Miskovic said that we have to wait for other people
2 to come, that was Lieutenant-Colonel or Colonel Arsic
3 and Zeljaja. We said also that this was a meeting
4 between the two parties, and they said, "But this
5 meeting cannot be held without their presence." And
6 then Mr. Arsic and Mr. Zeljaja appeared as well as
7 another officer, and we were told that he was Arsic's
8 intelligence officer.
9 Q. What positions did Colonel Arsic and Major
10 Zeljaja hold in the Prijedor area?
11 A. Zeljaja was the garrison commander in
12 Prijedor and commander of one of these military
13 formations while Mr. Arsic was the commander of the
14 entire unit which was deployed to Croatia and which
15 then later came back.
16 Q. Once they arrived, can you describe for the
17 Trial Chamber the content of the meeting?
18 A. Yes, I can. We were in a very difficult
19 position at the time. As opposed to the gentlemen from
20 the SDS who were joking and laughing all the time, we
21 were faced with a very situation and we wanted to begin
22 the talks as soon as possible to arrive to some
23 solution and agreement.
24 We expected that Simo Miskovic would be
25 leading and chairing the meeting, but it was
1 Mr. Zeljaja who chaired the meeting. At the very
2 beginning, he stated that, "Gentlemen, first return the
3 weapons and then we'll talk."
4 From the SDA, Mr. Music began talking, and he
5 informed that people are frantic, they don't sleep due
6 to their fear, that something should be done in order
7 to change the situation, that the Muslims should be
8 reinstated in their jobs, but there was no discussion
9 of that.
10 Mr. Kuruzovic asked for the floor, and he
11 told us directly, "You Muslims want war. You don't
12 know what war is. Let's come to an agreement, and then
13 both you and me will go to the war theatre in Croatia,
14 and once you see demolished homes, you will forget
15 about your war plans." And they told us that we don't
16 know what war operations are. We considered this
18 We insisted on an agreement, but then
19 Mr. Arsic stated once again, "There is nothing much to
20 discuss," his intelligence officer is present, and he
21 said that they and the army knew just how many weapons
22 we have and that we have to return the weapons, that
23 Kozarac must return from five to seven thousand
24 rifles. He also stated that they knew that Muslims in
25 Prijedor have some ten or even eleven thousand pieces
1 of rifles, and only after that has been returned, only
2 then we can begin the discussions, and only after the
3 flag, Serbian flag is flying in Kozarac and when the
4 Serbian police station is in Kozarac, only then we will
5 be talking.
6 Q. What was the response from the SDA delegation
7 about these weapons?
8 A. You're thinking of the SDS -- to the SDS, our
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. Well, we tried to explain that we don't have
12 so many weapons, that they cannot exist. But they
13 stopped any type of this type of talk. They said, "We
14 know. We have our intelligence officer. We have the
15 data. We know you have so much weaponry, we know who
16 has it, and once you return the weapons, we'll continue
17 the talks." Mr. Medunjanin asked, he asked, "How do
18 you expect us to return those 5.000 rifles we do not
19 have?" And the answer was, "Gentlemen, that is your
20 problem because we know you have these weapons."
21 He also said, "There will be a timetable, a
22 time frame, and if you don't return those weapons, I
23 will level Kozarac with the ground."
24 I tried to calm the situation down, and
25 Zeljaja said, "Don't play with fire. I will be
1 leveling Kozarac with the ground. The Banja Luka Corps
2 is 30.000 troops strong, we have tanks, we have planes,
3 and we have also rockets, while you have no chance."
4 Then Mr. Medunjanin stated, since it wasn't
5 possible to continue this dialogue, he said that he
6 would convey this message to the people of Kozarac, and
7 then let it be -- the people to decide whether they
8 will accept the Serb flag, the Serb police
9 station in Kozarac, and "We will inform you later on
10 about that decision. I only guarantee that no Muslim
11 will fire a single shot at any Serb, and please do not
12 attack because there is no reason to attack."
13 Q. Earlier you referred to negotiations that
14 occurred between the SDA and the SDS with the military
15 to return some of the weapons to the TO for those
16 common patrols. Was it, in fact, Colonel Arsic, as the
17 commander of all forces, who had agreed to the return
18 of the weapons to the TO?
19 A. Yes, he agreed, but they only returned a
20 symbolic number of our weapons and without any
22 MR. KEEGAN: That would be a convenient time,
23 Your Honour.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Quarter of an hour.
25 --- Recess taken at 3.33 p.m.
1 --- Upon resuming at 4.50 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, the Trial Chamber
3 are concerned about the speed with which the
4 examination is going. Are you going to be able to
5 finish his evidence in chief by the adjournment?
6 MR. KEEGAN: I will not, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE MAY: Well, would you make effort to do
9 MR. KEEGAN: I certainly will, Your Honour.
10 I should just let you know, Your Honour, that as, of
11 course, as in many of the cases, and I am sure you've
12 had it in the other cases here, the front witnesses, we
13 tend to try and bring out as much and then sort of pick
14 up the pace we go along. But I do appreciate your
15 concern. But with the scope of the documents and the
16 issues here, it is a bit longer than I anticipated.
17 First off, Your Honour, if we can clean up
18 what we we've covered so far. With respect to Exhibit
19 5.21, I do have the original available. I have shown
20 it to counsel. In addition, in it, on there I have
21 noted that it does reflect that the box, it's in blue
22 pen, it's on the original which is a fax document, it
23 is the address, Titova 7A. I have another document,
24 both original copy here that in the body of the
25 document, confirms that Titova 7A is the address of the
1 SDS headquarters in Sarajevo. I'm sorry, you're right.
2 The original, as I said is a fax, which contains on
3 the top, of course, of the fax document, the telephone
4 number and the fact that it does come from Sarajevo.
5 So I would offer this Document 5.16, as I indicated,
6 which does confirm the address, is the address of the
7 SDS headquarters in Sarajevo.
8 JUDGE MAY: I'm sorry, I thought this was
10 MR. KEEGAN: It is, Your Honour, but the
11 question was, what is the relevance of Titova 7A. If
12 there is still an objection to that, I have a document
13 which proves that that is the address of the SDS
14 headquarters in Sarajevo, indicating where the
15 document, it's reflecting the address of where the
16 document originated from on the facts.
17 JUDGE MAY: Well, is there any objection to
19 MR. VUCICEVIC: I'll look at the documents
20 over the break. Mr. Keegan, which is the fax copy, is
21 that --
22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Vucicevic, I am afraid you
23 must direct your comments through the bench, not across
24 the Court. What is the point?
25 MR. VUCICEVIC: We just wanted to know, Your
1 Honour, whether this writing in the box on the original
2 -- I get the original. Thank you. The original
3 contains the fax. On the top, which the copies are
4 also admitted.
5 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, with the originals,
6 how we would like to proceed, with the Court's
7 indulgence, is that we will certainly make them
8 available for inspection, but because of continuing
9 investigations in other potential cases, we, of course,
10 would like to retain the originals and not make them a
11 part of the record, official record of this case.
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
13 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 The other issue was the Exhibit 5.1, which
15 was, we had the one copy attached to the English
16 language earlier. We have now got the corrected
17 version and that has also been shown to counsel. So we
18 would ask--
19 MR. VUCICEVIC: Without objection.
20 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Thank you, Your Honour may I proceed?
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Keegan.
23 MR. KEEGAN:
24 Q. Mr. Semenovic, you indicated that after the
25 take-over in the weeks following, there was a series of
1 announcements on the radio. We talked specifically
2 already about announcements by -- that indicated they
3 were from the SDS talking about the take-over. Were
4 there also announcements with respect to the security
5 situation in the Prijedor municipality?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. The document that's being handed up, Your
8 Honour, is Document 6.29 on the list. It has been
9 agreed to by the parties and I do have the original
10 available in chambers for inspection.
11 Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise this
13 A. Yes, I do. May I continue? It is document
14 of conclusions drafted by the Executive Municipal Board
15 and signed by the Executive Board, Mr. Milan Kovacevic.
16 Mainly it authorises the security service to make
17 announcements over the local radio concerning the
18 security situation in the Municipality of Prijedor.
19 The second conclusion is that it comes into
20 force on the day of its publication. And the
21 conclusion-- a copy of the conclusion is submitted to
22 the security service. And in the heading we have the
23 Republika of Srpska, Municipality of Prijedor. It's
24 May, 1992. It is five days after the military coup.
25 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, we would like to
1 reserve admission to this document, pending our
2 investigation on cross.
3 JUDGE MAY: Well, that will be noted, but for
4 the moment it will be admitted subject to any future
6 MR. KEEGAN:
7 Q. Mr. Semenovic, the question about this
8 document I wanted to ask you, based on your experience
9 as an elected official, a member of the parliament, in
10 your experience with the laws of Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina, prior to this conflict, to this take-over,
12 was it necessary for the public security service to get
13 the approval of the President of an Executive Committee
14 of the Municipal Assembly in order to make an
15 announcement on radio?
16 A. No, it wasn't necessary. It was the normal
17 function of the radio and that journalist who followed
18 what was the event. In case of some extraordinary
19 events, the state security issued its information. The
20 information were then broadcast by journalists. So
21 that was the case of car accidents, that a number of
22 people were killed in such accidents and so on. So
23 under normal conditions, there was no need for the
24 President of the Executive Committee of the
25 Municipality to issue such authorisation to the radio.
1 Q. This document, Your Honour, is 5.25. Again,
2 in that category, that is...
3 Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise this
6 A. Yes, I recognise this document.
7 Q. Did you review this prior to the meetings
8 here today?
9 A. No, no.
10 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, what is the source of
11 all these documents which you're producing?
12 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour. These are
13 all, as was made known to the Defence, very early on,
14 in fact, at the beginning of the year, Your Honour,
15 these are part of the collection that were seized by
16 members of the OTP during a search, the seizure,
17 execution of a search warrant in Prijedor
18 municipality. They were seized variously from either
19 the police station, the municipal assembly building or
20 the SDS headquarters in Prijedor. Because that fact
21 had been known, the offer had been made back at the
22 beginning of the year for the Defence to examine any
23 and all originals. We did not believe it was necessary
24 to bring an investigator to say, here is the index of
25 the documents. I took part in the search and seizure.
1 I seized all these documents. Since that time they've
2 been locked in a secure area within the Tribunal. The
3 normal foundation you might use in an individual
4 case. Had we been aware such an objection, we would
5 have brought the investigator in first. We can
6 certainly do next week if it's necessary. But, unless
7 otherwise indicated, these are all seized documents.
8 JUDGE MAY: What was the date of the search
9 warrant execution?
10 MR. KEEGAN: It was the 11th -- or, 12th of
11 December of 1997, Your Honour.
12 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, if I may present
13 our view or our response to the Prosecutor's
14 submission. The Defence has insisted that these
15 documents be returned to us in original. However, the
16 Prosecutor had said that because of the sensitive
17 nature of the documents, they had to first to be
18 catalogued and then translated. Meanwhile, I was
19 coming back from Bosnia, I could stay over here for a
20 couple of days and go back to Chicago. And then it
21 took three months or two, I received them on sometime
22 in the beginning or end of April and most of them were
23 illegible. So it is not our favour that these
24 documents that we did not review them. And if you're
25 looking at them, and even now, after our objection,
1 they are still legible. We do not object to
2 Prosecution making an offer of proof of chain of
3 custody of these documents. But if the witness never
4 saw them and they are illegible, testify from them,
5 that's your decisions, Your Honour. I do not wish to
6 obstruct the proceedings as you said earlier.
7 JUDGE MAY: The Trial Chamber, of course,
8 appreciates that you haven't had the opportunity of
9 properly reviewing these documents and you shall have
10 that opportunity if you need it. Meanwhile, if you
11 want to see any originals, Mr. Vucicevic, would you say
12 so. We will admit the documents as we go along, but
13 subject to any objections which you may raise in due
14 course. Yes?
15 MR. VUCICEVIC: I would like to see the
16 original of this one, Your Honour.
17 MR. KEEGAN: Of the group that I have in the
18 courtroom right now, Your Honour, that is the one I
19 don't have. But if you want, I will certainly reserve
20 this document for later and can proceed to ones where I
21 have the originals.
22 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, the Prosecution
23 already stated that they're going to have a witness in
24 the next session, so perhaps at that time they could
25 have an original and introduce it through the witness,
1 if I may suggest.
2 JUDGE MAY: Can you do that?
3 MR. KEEGAN: Certainly, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MAY: Let's hand this one back.
5 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Mr. Semenovic, you also testified earlier
7 that immediately after the take-over, that non-Serbs
8 were fired from their positions, or at least not
9 allowed to return to their positions in the municipal
10 administration or in the municipal organs, economic
11 associations. I would like to now show you a series of
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Again these are documents which have been
15 agreed in the meeting between the parties for
16 admission, Your Honour. And I do have the originals
17 here, for inspection if it's necessary. Thank you.
18 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, if it may help
19 to expedite the proceedings, I have reviewed the
20 documents that I believe that are being tendered now.
21 Those are the documents that my client signed as the
22 President of the Executive Board terminating employment
23 of certain persons. I would -- I had no objection to
24 admission of these documents. And unless this witness
25 have any specifics to add, then what the document
1 purports to be on its face, I don't see any reasons to
2 go over them.
3 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Keegan, perhaps you can
4 take this quickly.
5 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, I can, Your Honour. The
6 only point with the witness would be, do they know the
7 person or the person's ethnic background?
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
9 MR. KEEGAN: Since that's relevant. We'll
10 start with, I believe 6.5 is the first document, Your
12 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise the name of
13 the individual being dismissed on that document?
14 A. Yes, I recognise this name, it's Milenko
15 Djukanovic economist, director of the enterprise called
16 Voce (phoen) from Zagreb. He was relieved of duty.
17 And Mirko Savic, engineer, was appointed director or
18 manager of this company. This decision was signed by
19 Dr. Milan Kovacevic, President of the Executive Board.
20 Q. Mr. Semenovic, did you know Milenko
21 Djukanovic personally?
22 A. No, no.
23 Q. And is he -- can you tell from his name
24 whether he is a Serb?
25 MR. VUCICEVIC: Objection, Your Honour, the
1 question asked witness to guess.
2 JUDGE MAY: Well, the question is, are you
3 able to tell from his name what his nationality is?
4 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, that is the question, Your
6 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps you would like to ask it.
7 MR. KEEGAN:
8 Q. Can you tell from his name what his
9 nationality is, Mr. Semenovic?
10 A. On the basis of his name, I think that he is
11 a Serb.
12 Q. Thank you. Rather than take them one at a
13 time, if you give the whole group to the witness, then
14 I'll simply go through them as a group. The first
15 document, Your Honour, should be 6.8.
16 Mr. Semenovic, do you know the individual
17 named in paragraph 1 who is being dismissed, or can you
18 tell his ethnic identity from his name?
19 A. Yes, this person is known to me. I know him
20 personally. This is Mr. Jakupovic Idriz.
21 Q. What was his ethnic background or
23 A. He was a Bosniak, a Muslim.
24 Q. Thank you. The next document, Your Honour,
25 would be 6.11, and again, in the first paragraph, do
1 you know that individual or can you tell his ethnic
2 background from his name?
3 A. I know the person. This is Mr. Esad
4 Mehmedagic, again a Bosniak, Muslim. By a decision of
5 the President of the Executive Committee of the SDS, he
6 was relieved of his duty on the 4th of May, 1992. By
7 virtue of the same decision, Slobodan Radun was
8 appointed, and he is a member of the Serbian ethnic
10 Q. And the next document, 6.12. Do you know the
11 person in paragraph 1 or can you identify his ethnic
12 group from his name?
13 A. I know the person. The person that was
14 dismissed by virtue of this decision from the direct
15 post of the director of this company is Nikola Saric, a
16 Croat by nationality.
17 Q. Thank you. Now, the next document is 6.13.
18 This is not a dismissal notice, it's an appointment,
19 and the name reflected there is Srdja Srdic. Do you
20 know that individual and can you describe his functions
21 for us?
22 A. He was the President of the SDS, and at the
23 time this decision was made, he was an SDS official,
24 but I'm not quite sure about the office he held. He
25 was also a representative to the parliament of Bosnia
1 and Herzegovina.
2 After the establishment of the Serb
3 Republic, he was a deputy to the parliament of that
4 Serb Republic. By this decision, he was appointed
5 President of the Municipal Board of the Red Cross
6 organisation in Prijedor.
7 MR. KEEGAN: Again, Your Honour, we would
8 note the document is signed by the accused, Milan
10 Q. The next document is 6.14, another
11 appointment. Do you know the person there, or can you
12 determine his ethnic background from his name?
13 A. I don't know this person, but Mr. Mladen
14 Zoric is of Serbian nationality, which can be seen from
15 his name and surname.
16 By virtue of this decision, he was appointed
17 Secretary to the Municipal Board of the Red Cross.
18 Q. The next document, I believe they're right at
19 the top of your table, Mr. Semenovic, and if we
20 actually take them in reverse order, 6.19 first --
21 JUDGE MAY: We don't have these yet.
22 MR. KEEGAN: I apologise, Your Honour.
23 A. By virtue of this decision, Mr. Hilmija
24 Jakupovic, an accountant, was released of his duty.
25 He's a Bosniak and a Muslim.
1 Q. And the next document, which would be 6.18?
2 A. This is a decision issued by the President of
3 the Executive Board of the Serb municipality of
4 Prijedor, whereby Mr. Miroslav Kozina was appointed to
5 that post, that is, the head of accountancy service,
6 dated the 1st of May, 1992. The decision came into
7 effect on the date of issuance, and in charge for the
8 implementation was the head of the relevant service.
9 This person is of Serb nationality.
10 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you. These two documents,
11 Your Honour, are 6.21 and 6.30. Again, these have been
12 agreed to by admission of the parties.
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Vucicevic.
14 MR. VUCICEVIC: We will stipulate that these
15 documents are signed by the accused; however, the
16 interpretation of the language -- not the translation
17 but the interpretation and usage of the language in the
18 second paragraph is subject to our reservation, to
19 reservation of cross-examining this witness and also to
20 exploring this language further in our case in chief.
21 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
22 MR. KEEGAN: If we could ...
23 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise that
25 A. 6.21 or 6.30?
1 Q. You've got both. Let's begin with 6.21.
2 A. Very well. Yes, I do recognise this
4 Q. Do you know that individual or can you
5 identify his ethnic background from his name?
6 A. This is Mrs. Jasminka Hadzibegic. She is a
7 Muslim. By virtue of this decision, she was relieved
8 of her duty as an ombudsman, deputy ombudsman of the
9 self-managing system.
10 The decision came into effect on the day of
11 its issuance, and in charge of the implementation of
12 the decision was the President of the Executive
14 Q. Mr. Semenovic, could you briefly describe for
15 the Trial Chamber what the function of the deputy
16 public attorney of self-management was?
17 A. Deputy public attorney of self-managing
18 system -- deputies in general had the task to supervise
19 and follow the regularity in the administration of the
20 various companies. They could call to task individuals
21 in cases of mismanagement or any other illegal actions.
22 Q. Would this person have the authority to
23 remove a director of a public company in case of
24 mismanagement or illegal action?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. If we can move to 6.30? Do you know that
2 person or can you identify his ethnic background from
3 his name?
4 A. I don't know this person personally; however,
5 from the name and the surname, I can see that the
6 individual is of Serbian nationality, Mr. Milan
7 Nisevic. He was appointed acting director of the
8 Commercial Bank of Sarajevo, that is, its Prijedor
10 MR. KEEGAN: These two documents, Your
11 Honour, are documents 6.17 and 6.20. The Defence did
12 not agree to the admission of these two documents. I
13 do have both originals available for inspection.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Mr. Keegan, you already
15 submitted 6.20.
16 MR. KEEGAN: No. We haven't discussed it.
17 THE REGISTRAR: We haven't?
18 MR. KEEGAN: No, we haven't. Oh, there are
19 two marked. We can discuss the document. I can then
20 find on the index the correct number. Obviously it was
21 mismarked on the copy. I think it's 6.14 perhaps.
22 Is it the same one? Okay. But we did not
23 discuss it. Sorry. I didn't realise that I had
24 already given it.
25 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise these two
1 documents, and if we could take 6.20 first, please?
2 A. I only have the document marked 6.17.
3 (Witness provided document 6.20)
4 I recognise document 6.20. It is a decision
5 of the President of the Executive Committee of the
6 Serbian municipality of Prijedor, whereby deputy
7 commander for the organisation and mobilisation and
8 personal issues was relieved of his duty, it is
9 Mr. Vahid Ceric, who is a Muslim by nationality.
10 Q. That position that Mr. Ceric was holding, is
11 that a military or a civilian position?
12 A. It's a civilian position, and the function,
13 the duty of the official in this post is to conduct the
14 mobilisation, to carry out the mobilisation. That's
15 his most direct task. He's therefore a deputy to the
16 commander who is in charge of organising mobilisation
17 and other such activities.
18 Paragraph 2 of the decision states the
19 following: "This decision shall come into effect with
20 the date of its issuance, and in charge of its
21 implementation will be Major Zeljaja." That is a
22 military person who at the time was the commander of
23 the garrison.
24 Q. Now, in normal times, prior to this take-over
25 on the 20th of April, based on your knowledge of the
1 laws of Bosnia-Herzegovina, would it be normal for the
2 President of an Executive Committee to give a direction
3 to a military commander of a JNA unit?
4 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, objection. The
5 question calls for expertise in law and so has been
6 addressed. The witness's occurrence with this is --
7 not an expert of law.
8 JUDGE MAY: You can explore with the witness
9 if he can answer the question or not.
10 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE MAY: But if he is not an expert in
12 law, then he probably can't.
13 MR. KEEGAN:
14 Q. Mr. Semenovic, as a member of parliament in
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina and given the development during the
16 time you were elected of the state -- the development
17 of the state as an independent state, was it a matter
18 for you to become familiar with the operation of the
19 different branches of government, the roles and
20 responsibilities of the various branches, both on the
21 republic and municipal level?
22 A. Yes, it was. As a member of the parliament
23 of the Republic, I had to discuss proposals, drafts of
24 the law, and I participated in these discussions; and
25 during my mandate, we adopted several hundreds of
1 amendments to already existing laws and laws
2 themselves. Members of parliament are not exclusively
4 Q. Thank you. Mr. Semenovic, during the course
5 of your creation of the new state, did you discuss in
6 these amendments which you referred to the separations
7 between the various branches and organisations in the
8 government as it existed in the former Yugoslavia, that
9 is, the differences between civilian elected officials,
10 the Ministry of the Interior, the police forces, and
11 the military and what the separations of powers and
12 authority were there?
13 A. Yes, yes, we discussed --
14 JUDGE MAY: The witness has given sufficient
15 evidence to enable his reply to remain on the record.
16 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. In your opinion and based on your background
18 then, would this indicate that the accused, in signing
19 this directive, was exercising authority which normally
20 did not accompany his office?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Could we now move to 6.17? Do you recognise
23 the name of the person in paragraph 1, or can you
24 determine his ethnic background or national background
25 from his name?
1 A. That was Mr. Bucan Iso. I didn't know him
2 personally, but judging by the name and surname, I
3 suppose he's a Bosniak Muslim and I'm sure he's not of
4 Serbian descent. He is relieved of his capacity and
5 function as the Commander of the Rear, and the decision
6 comes into force on the date of adoption, and it will
7 be implemented by Major Zeljaja.
8 Q. Now, this post that Iso Bucan held, Commander
9 for the Security of the Rear, do you know whether that
10 was a military or a civilian position?
11 A. I'm not sure whether it was a civilian or a
12 military function. I suppose it was a military
13 function; however, functionally, it covered the
14 intelligence area of the civilian sector.
15 Q. Again, is the fact that this document is
16 making Major Zeljaja responsible for its implementation
17 an exercise of power that would not normally come with
18 the office of the accused at this time?
19 A. Yes. Yes.
20 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, these documents are
21 documents 2.11, 2.12, and 2.14. They all relate, in
22 fact, to the same decision of the Crisis Staff of the
23 Autonomous Region of Krajina, but they're being offered
24 for slightly different reasons, which I will explain
25 through the witness, but they can be considered
1 collectively as they reflect the same information.
2 These are documents that were not agreed to by the
3 parties for admission, Your Honour, as we had not got
4 to this category.
5 Q. Mr. Semenovic, if you could look at number
6 2.12 first, please, which, on the second page of the
7 document, is a newspaper article which is publishing
8 this act of the Autonomous Region Crisis Staff.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Are you familiar with this decision of the
11 Autonomous Region Crisis Staff?
12 A. Yes.
13 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, I'm sorry, I
14 don't have clear markings on top. Is that a document
15 that's entitled "Rukovodioci-Samo Lojalni Srbi"?
16 MR. KEEGAN: That's it.
17 Q. Mr. Semenovic, were you familiar with this
18 decision or the content of this decision back in June
19 of '92 when this was issued?
20 A. Yes, I was aware of the content.
21 Q. I would direct your attention to paragraph 1
22 of the decision.
23 A. Paragraph 1 of this decision imposes that on
24 all leading positions, positions involving access to
25 information, protection of public property and other
1 positions of importance for the functioning of the
2 economy can be occupied exclusively by personnel of
3 Serbian nationality. It applies to all socially-owned
4 enterprises, joint stock companies, state institutions,
5 public enterprises, the Minister of the Interior, and
6 the Army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
8 In addition, such positions cannot be
9 occupied by workers who have not confirmed their
10 Serbian nationality in the plebiscite or to whom it is
11 not yet clear that the only representative of the
12 Serbian people is the Serbian Democratic Party.
13 Q. Does that indicate to you that the decision
14 is not simply that positions may only be held by the
15 Serbs but it's defining what Serbs are loyal?
16 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Keegan, that really is
17 a leading question. Anyway, I think that's probably a
18 matter for us to determine, not the witness.
19 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
20 Q. Then if you look to paragraph 3?
21 A. Paragraph 3 says that: "Failure to carry out
22 the above Decision shall result in automatic suspension
23 of the responsible persons."
24 Q. Now, if you look to the document marked 2.11?
25 JUDGE MAY: Before you get to that, there is
1 a third page attached to the document which I have at
2 2.12. That is the decision you've referred to. Then
3 there is the original, I take it, and then there's a
4 third page --
5 MR. KEEGAN: That is the translation, Your
6 Honour, of the actual news part of the article that's
7 at the top of the decision. I was referring only to
8 the decision itself with this witness. I thought,
9 again, a news article is fairly self-explanatory in the
11 Q. If we move to 2.11, and Mr. Semenovic, does
12 the first page reflect the same decision of the Crisis
13 Staff of the Autonomous Region of Krajina?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And then on the second page, can you identify
16 that document, please?
17 A. The second page, we have again a conclusion
18 of the Crisis Staff, the meeting held on the 23rd of
19 June, 1992. At meetings of the Crisis Staff of the
20 Prijedor Municipality held on the 23rd of June, it was
21 decided that we forward you the decision of the Crisis
22 Staff of the Autonomous Region of Krajina for
24 Q. Who is that document signed by?
25 A. It was signed by Dr. Milomir Stakic,
1 President of the Crisis Staff of the Municipality of
3 Q. Then if we could move to 2.14, and does that
4 document, on the first page, reflect reproduction of
5 the same decision of the Autonomous Region of Krajina
6 Crisis Staff?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. On the second page, does it indicate who is
9 forwarding that decision and what their organisation
11 A. On the second page, yes, on the second page,
12 it says that, in the implementation of this, the chiefs
13 of public security stations are obliged to particularly
14 abide by its provisions with regard to the proposal of
15 candidates for posts described in Article 1 of the
16 decision. The reason for this is the fact that the
17 CSB has the authority to decide on the appointments and
18 placement of staff while the chiefs of SJBs nominate
19 the candidate.
20 Q. What does the last paragraph of that section
21 say, just above the signature block, beginning with "In
22 the same fashion"?
23 A. It says that: "In the same fashion, when
24 recommending new staff for certain posts, particular
25 attention must be paid to the provisions of section 1,
1 paragraph 3 of the decision: 'Chiefs of public
2 security stations will be responsible for the above.'"
3 Q. Again, paragraph 3 of section 1 of the
4 decision is which paragraph?
5 A. Paragraph 3, section 1, it's section -- I
6 don't see the third paragraph --
7 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, are we looking
8 at 2.14?
9 MR. KEEGAN: Yes.
10 MR. VUCICEVIC: If you could please ask
11 counsel to lead us through these documents because I'm
12 clearly not following. It seems the witness is having
13 some difficulties too.
14 MR. KEEGAN: Fine.
15 Q. On the first page in the Serbian version,
16 Mr. Semenovic, what you have is section 1, and you see
17 two paragraphs. Then it appears there's a page number
18 inserted, which is 2, but that's not actually section
19 2, that's the third paragraph of section 1, because
20 below that you see the double Roman (ii) for section
21 2. So it's confusing in the fact that they apparently
22 submitted a page number --
23 A. Yes, I do understand.
24 MR. VUCICEVIC: The Serbo Croatian is
25 illegible. I can't read it.
1 A. I do understand now.
2 JUDGE MAY: It may be as well, if this
3 document is looked at again, and the original be shown
4 to the Defence so they can see it.
5 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, it is now five to
7 five in any event. I understand there is a matter that
8 you want to raise in closed session.
9 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MAY: Is that right? Well, that might
11 be a convenient moment.
12 Are there many more documents you want to
14 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, there are, but perhaps,
15 since we will be on break over the next couple of days,
16 I can meet with Defence counsel to see if we can
17 stipulate on admission on the foundational matters, and
18 therefore, I'll just have to go directly to the point
19 of the document with the witness.
20 JUDGE MAY: That seems a sensible course.
21 Mr. Semenovic, would you be back, please, on
22 Monday morning at half past nine, and you're free to go
24 THE WITNESS: Yes, I will, Your Honour. I
25 will, and thank you.
1 (The witness withdrew)
2 MR. KEEGAN: We did wish to do this as a
3 matter in closed session, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MAY: Can we go into closed session
6 (Closed session)
13 Pages 455-465 redacted - in closed session
19 Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
20 5.15 p.m., to be reconvened on
21 Monday, the 13th day of July, 1998
22 at 9.30 a.m.