1 Monday, 13th July 1998
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.32 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours.
7 Case number IT-97-24-T, the Prosecutor versus Milan
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
10 MR. KEEGAN: Good morning, Your Honours.
11 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, before we
12 proceed, if I may introduce an additional member of our
13 team who is sitting at the desk with us today, Your
14 Honour. This is Mr. John Ostojic, attorney from
15 Chicago, member of the law firm McBrean and Kopko, and
16 a founding member of the Serbian-American Bar
18 Your Honour, he has been designated by the
19 registry as an assistant; however, he has assisted
20 immensely from the very beginning that I entered this
21 case and he has been on the case, and I would like him
22 to be recognised as an attorney who will receive an
23 audience before this Trial Chamber.
24 JUDGE MAY: The registry has designated him
25 as a legal assistant. I think we have been through
1 this with your other legal assistant, Mr. Vucicevic,
2 and have said as far as we interpret the Rules, only
3 counsel are allowed audience. I understand that matter
4 has been taken up with the President. Perhaps you had
5 better take this matter up too.
6 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, first, he is
7 prepared and would assist immensely to the Trial
8 Chamber in the argument that we are about to deliver
9 and also in the cross-examination at a later time.
10 That's number 1.
11 Number 2, I have delivered a letter to the
12 registry that has sufficiently addressed this matter in
13 order to have him recognised, and basically, of the
14 very sensitive personal issues, I do not think if I
15 should address this openly to you; however, the letter
16 that was delivered to the registry on Friday indicated
17 that if the Trial Chamber shall not recognise him, that
18 he will be treated and designated as co-counsel, and I
19 believe that this Trial Chamber has been informed about
21 It seems to me that the desires and wishes of
22 the client and lead counsel ought to be given some
23 weight, proper weight, under the Rules of this Tribunal
24 in order to effectuate the most efficient defence
25 here. At this point, Your Honour, if you maintain that
1 Mr. Ostojic cannot talk, I would like to change the
2 designation and I would like to put Mr. Ostojic as the
3 co-counsel and Mr. D'Amato as the assistant.
4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Vucicevic, there are Rules,
5 and you are bound by the Rules as we are, and at the
6 moment, the Rules say that co-counsel only can address
7 the Chamber, as I understand it, and not legal
8 assistants. The position as to who is designated
9 counsel and who is designated legal assistant is not a
10 matter for the Chamber, it is a matter for the
12 For the moment, we have made our ruling. We
13 are not going to hear Mr. Ostojic for the moment. If
14 you want to take the matter up with the registry, of
15 course, you are free to do so, and as I say, you have
16 already taken the matter up with the President in
17 relation to another legal assistant, and no doubt you
18 could take this matter up too. But for the moment, we
19 are applying the Rules.
20 Now, can we get on, please?
21 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, I understand
22 this, but I think we have been discussing the singular
23 matter: What is the jurisdiction and the province of
24 the Trial Chamber? All the matters that relate to the
25 Defence, and the effectiveness of Defence are the
1 province of the Trial Chamber and not the province of
2 the registry. Let me finish, Judge, please.
3 I have submitted a letter which I, in detail,
4 explained all of this after your ruling on Thursday,
5 and I have handed this letter directly to Mr. Roeland
6 Bos to convey to the registry, and it has been conveyed
7 to me that that has been done. If the registry, at the
8 beginning of the trial, cannot change the designation
9 of counsel in a day or two or three, it's a shame. I
10 understand your ruling, but we are entitled to a good
11 defence. We cannot be so sticking to the Rules and, on
12 the other side, complacent about certain acts of the
13 registry. Thank you, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Keegan?
15 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour. First,
16 before I begin with the witness, I would like to
17 address the issue of the documents as that was a matter
18 raised by the Chamber at the end of the proceedings on
20 I met with Defence on Friday and again on
21 Saturday, and on the basis of our meetings, the
22 situation stands at the present time as follows: The
23 Defence has indicated they will agree to the
24 admissibility of any of the Kozarski Vjesnik articles,
25 they will agree to the admissibility of any document
1 signed by the accused, Milan Kovacevic, and they will
2 agree to the admissibility of any document which
3 mentions the accused which also has a signature on the
5 MR. VUCICEVIC: One correction. We have not
6 agreed to admission of the documents where somebody
7 else's signature is on the document, only where the
8 accused's signature is on the document.
9 MR. KEEGAN: Then my notes must have been
10 incorrect at the time of the meeting. Sorry.
11 Thank you, Your Honour. If then I may
13 WITNESS: MEVLUDIN SEMENOVIC (Resumed)
14 Examined by Mr. Keegan:
15 Q. Mr. Semenovic, on Wednesday, you testified
16 about the removal of non-Serbs from --
17 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, if I could
18 present a base on our conference? In my consultation
19 with both co-counsel in this case, we would like to
20 present an argument of law on confrontation -- on the
21 right of confrontation which is going to be denied if
22 certain documents are going to be admitted through the
23 fact witnesses.
24 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Vucicevic, let's get to the
25 documents and then we'll have the argument. That would
1 be the right time to do it rather than in a vacuum.
2 MR. VUCICEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE MAY: We will move on. Yes.
4 MR. KEEGAN:
5 Q. Mr. Semenovic, on Wednesday, you testified
6 about the removal of non-Serbs from their positions in
7 the municipalities after the take-over. In the weeks
8 following the take-over, did you become aware of any
9 changes in the way that the economic and financial
10 organisations or municipal organs in Prijedor and
11 elsewhere were operated?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. What was the nature of the changes that you
14 became aware of?
15 A. The nature of the changes was as follows:
16 Various transformations were carried out, changes in
17 the ownership or changes in the relationship of the
18 management boards and companies and the State of the
19 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They were no
20 longer a part of the economic system of the State of
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina; they became a part of the
22 economic structure of the newly formed Autonomous
23 Region of Krajina in Banja Luka.
24 Q. How did you become aware of these various
1 A. I learned of some of the changes personally,
2 I became personally acquainted with them, but most of
3 them I learned about from people who were fired and who
4 came to our party headquarters to ask for help and to
5 see whether something could be done for them to go back
6 to their jobs. They also informed us of what the
7 situation was immediately before they were fired from
8 their jobs. We had all that information in our party
9 headquarters, in our offices there.
10 MR. KEEGAN: I have a series of documents,
11 Your Honour, I would now like to introduce. I will try
12 to do them in an order based on the agreements that we
13 just mentioned. Dealing with the ones signed by the
14 accused first, and if I do them in a group, it may make
15 it a bit more efficient.
16 The first three documents are document 6.2,
17 6.4, and 6.15 on the admission list, all documents
18 signed by the accused, Milan Kovacevic.
19 The next two are documents 6.16 and 6.27,
20 also signed by the accused, Milan Kovacevic.
21 The final two signed by the accused are 6.28
22 and 6.51, Your Honour.
23 Q. Mr. Semenovic, if you would, please, starting
24 with document 6.2.
25 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, the document
1 that we have as 6.2, there is a stamp "Draft
2 Translation" on the translation. We move this to be
3 stricken because we can't be sure what this draft
4 translation is. Is it final? Is it correct? Once the
5 Prosecutor -- the Prosecutor has had at least six
6 months to present a final translation. On April 20th,
7 we objected, when these documents were produced to us.
8 I move that these be stricken until we get a final
10 In addition, Your Honours -- since all of
11 these documents here -- I just noticed -- it seems that
12 all of these documents are draft translations that you
13 have before you.
14 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour. Yes,
15 Your Honours, I mentioned last week, when we first
16 started with the documents, all of the documents, of
17 course, we indicated at that time that they're in the
18 process of final revision and that we would be
19 admitting them contingent upon the final translation
20 being admitted, but in addition, these documents were
21 specifically reviewed by Defence counsel in the
22 presence of myself. They viewed the originals, and
23 these are the documents which they themselves at the
24 time agreed to the admission of with the translation as
25 they currently are. They viewed each one individually,
1 Your Honour. So unless they are now going back on that
2 agreement, I'm not aware of it.
3 JUDGE MAY: Well, as far as the Prosecution
4 are concerned, you are having these translations
5 checked; is that right?
6 MR. KEEGAN: That's correct, Your Honour.
7 Yes, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, we will admit these
9 documents, but subject to their being checked, if you
10 undertake that that will happen.
11 MR. KEEGAN: Yes. It is happening as we
12 speak, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MAY: Very well. And you will give us
14 the results of those revisions.
15 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
16 Q. Mr. Semenovic, if you would look now to 6.2,
17 please? Can you please explain to the court what the
18 nature of the company Energopetrol was, please?
19 A. It was a company that supplied the area of
20 Prijedor with oil and derivatives, that is, fuel of
21 various kinds. So they supplied and distributed and
22 sold the fuel, mostly the kinds of fuel that I just
24 Q. Does that include fuel for heating buildings
25 and homes, fuel for automobiles and other vehicles?
1 A. Yes. Of course. All kinds of fuel. Liquid
3 Q. In paragraph 3 of that document, who does it
4 indicate is responsible for the implementation of this
6 A. According to paragraph 3, the person
7 responsible for the implementation is the President of
8 the Executive Council, and Dr. Milan Kovacevic held
9 that post.
10 Q. If you could look to 6.4, please? The basic
11 and special sales taxes. Could you please briefly
12 describe for the Trial Chamber what that means, what
13 those taxes are?
14 A. Basic and special sales tax, it's the tax
15 that was to be paid into the budget of the Republic of
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina. The special sales tax is the
17 tax paid on high tariff goods, cigarettes, coffee,
18 certain kinds of fuel.
19 Q. What was the basic sales tax?
20 A. The basic sales tax is the tax that was paid
21 to the States, to the Republic, on any sales of goods.
22 When you manufacture something, you sell it then, and
23 then, in the final price that is paid, a certain
24 percentage of that price is the tax that is collected
25 as the State revenue.
1 Q. In the collection of the taxes, what
2 organisation within the municipality was responsible
3 for the collection of taxes?
4 A. It was the SDK, the Social Accounting
5 Service, and it was also in charge of controlling the
6 regularity of the collection of taxes, whether taxes
7 are being paid regularly, and it could also institute
8 criminal proceedings against companies or persons who
9 failed to pay the tax to the State.
10 Q. In normal times, prior to the take-over, prior
11 to 1992, how was the sales tax distributed once it was
12 collected by the SDK?
13 A. The taxes went into the State budget, that
14 is, the budget of the Republic, and laws then
15 determined how that would be allocated. A certain
16 amount of that tax collected went back to the
17 municipality, depending on the level of its
18 development. For the poorer municipalities, the State
19 allocated larger funds from its budget, and for the
20 mid-sized and highly-developed municipalities, they
21 allocated less funds. And that's the way in which they
22 tried to balance the development of municipalities in
23 the Republic.
24 Q. If you could look to 6.15 now, please? And
25 the PTT that's listed, the company that's listed there,
1 could you briefly explain to the Trial Chamber what the
2 PTT was, please?
3 A. The PTT public company; that's the
4 abbreviation for Post, Telephones and Telegraph. It
5 was a public company owned by the State or by the
6 society, and it had a monopoly in the republic on the
7 telephone communications and also on the postal service
8 and all the other functions that postal service carried
9 out. That was the only company in charge of that, and
10 it was strictly controlled by the State.
11 Q. If you could look to document 6.28, please?
12 Have you reviewed this document previously?
13 A. I saw it here at the Tribunal.
14 Q. Have you had an opportunity --
15 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, now would be the
16 time to hear my argument because this is the type of
17 document that I am referring to.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
19 MR. VUCICEVIC: When we had Dr. Greve
20 recognised as an expert witness, it was Your Honour
21 that said this is hearsay upon hearsay, and Dr. Greve
22 was testifying about, you know, what witness has told
23 to the investigator that was later on communicated to
25 Here we have a witness who is a politician,
1 officer, one party who is attempting to speak about
2 documents either of the body of the Prijedor
3 Municipality where he wasn't present, where he wasn't
4 elected, and that he was only a local party official
5 for the SDA. But there are going to be documents that
6 are even much further remote from this witness than
7 this one, and they are documents of the SDS, documents
8 of the Crisis Staff, the documents, as he just
9 indicated, he never saw before but today.
10 He is, as Mr. Keegan indicated in our
11 conference on Saturday, a fact witness and not an
12 expert witness, and Dr. Greve was given latitude to
13 testify on those, even to the strong admonition of Your
15 The problem here that we are facing, it is
16 not hearsay but it is a fundamental right to
17 cross-examine the evidence that is presented against
18 the accused. The documents that are not in his
19 knowledge, the content of the documents that were --
20 that didn't become part of his knowledge
21 contemporaneously with its making or that he has not
22 talked about the content of the document
23 contemporaneously with some people that are indicated
24 in the document are hearsay on the nth power, infinity
25 -- that was so far removed that anybody could be
1 proven guilty on anything on that type of evidence.
2 Because -- if we accept it, we are going to write
3 Article 21 out of the Statute, and those are the rights
4 of the accused. Right to cross-examination is indeed a
5 sacred right in civilised systems.
6 We ask you to make a ruling that we should be
7 given a right to cross-examine the evidence against the
9 Sometimes -- we are mindful of your decision
10 that hearsay is admissible, but there is a collateral
11 way of it before learned Judges, as you are, to
12 collaterally examine upon hearsay. But on the
13 documents that the witness has said he has never seen
14 them before today, there is no way to cross-examine the
15 document, nor the statements in the document.
16 The Prosecutor has had a chance, he prepared,
17 he said he was ready to go ahead in the case. He
18 should have had somebody at least who knew something
19 about the document at the time the document was made.
20 If you don't hold the Prosecutor to that, this is not
21 going to be fair to the accused. Thank you.
22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Vucicevic, there is a
23 distinction, isn't there, between the document itself
24 being produced if that document speaks for itself in
25 some way and someone giving evidence about it? Of
1 course, if somebody gives evidence about a document
2 when they know nothing about it, that would be
3 hearsay. But if the document is produced as a document
4 without any comment, then, it seems to me, that it may
5 be admissible. What the purport of the document is,
6 what the significance of the document is, will, no
7 doubt, emerge during the trial.
8 So it would seem to me, subject to, of
9 course, discussing the matter with my colleagues and
10 hearing what the Prosecution have to say, that a
11 document could be admitted as a document. The witness
12 could tell us what the Sarajevo Commercial Bank is,
13 because that, no doubt, would be a matter of general
14 knowledge, but as to the effect of the document or
15 anything of that sort, well then, he couldn't really
16 speak because, as you say, he wouldn't have seen the
17 document before he got here the other day.
18 I will see what Mr. Keegan has got to say
19 about the matter.
20 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Firstly, we agree entirely with the Court's statements
22 with respect to documents in and of themselves being
23 admissible by virtue of the nature of the document and
24 the relevance established and the import can be
25 established in many cases from the face of the document
1 themselves. And, indeed, there will be many, many
2 documents in this case that, in fact, we will seek to
3 admit on that basis alone.
4 But it may also be the case that you have
5 witnesses who, although are being brought here
6 primarily as fact witnesses, may have particular
7 experience or background or knowledge that gives them a
8 basis for providing further explanation for documents.
9 In this case, as we indicated in the testimony last
10 week for this witness, he has particular knowledge and
11 experience with the effect with the functioning of
12 governmental structures in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
13 particularly at this time as he was a member of the
14 parliament as pointed out by the Defence, had been
15 elected from Prijedor to the Republican Assembly and
16 had been dealing with the issues of developing a
17 governmental structure for a new state during which he
18 was engaged in the process of deliberation,
19 negotiations and reviews of existing laws in the former
20 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in an attempt
21 to create the laws of a new state. In addition to his
22 direct experience, in the Prijedor Opstina with its
23 local government as a key member of the party that was
24 engaged in the deliberations and discussions on the
25 effect of functioning of government there.
1 In contrast to what the Defence counsel has
2 said this morning, the evidence on the record indicates
3 that this witness was present in Prijedor. That except
4 for the times that he was in Sarajevo for the Republic
5 Assembly, sessions or meetings, he was present in
6 Prijedor. He, as a key member of that party in
7 Prijedor, was intimately involved by his testimony in
8 developing solutions to the difficulties that were
9 occurring. He was the subject of repeated, or the
10 person who received repeated reports from individuals
11 throughout the municipality on the different and
12 growing problems as they came to the party seeking
13 possible solutions or at least advice on how to
15 Certainly, to the extent that you find that
16 the witness does not have sufficient foundation to
17 render an opinion or to give the particular explanation
18 being offered, and of course, that evidence should be
19 given no weight. But should you find that they do have
20 sufficient background or experience, then they are
21 certainly capable of giving an opinion or an
22 explanation with respect to a particular document that
23 may assist this Trial Chamber, even if they are not
24 being particularly classified as an expert witness.
25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, what is it, for
1 instance, that you want to ask the witness about this
2 Document 6.16?
3 MR. KEEGAN: Well, for example, Your Honour,
4 the funds that are listed here, this document, it's 6.28
5 that we're dealing with.
6 JUDGE MAY: I'm sorry, 6.28?
7 MR. KEEGAN: I thought we'd move to 6.28, are
8 we not? I thought so, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE MAY: We seem to have moved there,
10 yes. Let's go on to 6.28 if that's the one.
11 Mr. Vucicevic, is it that document that you
12 began your objection to?
13 MR. VUCICEVIC: Yes, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MAY: You don't need to tell us what it
15 is for the moment. I just want to find out by way of
16 example what the document was.
17 MR. VUCICEVIC: The document is signed by the
18 accused. We do not have an objection for this document
19 being admitted. However, Mr. Semenovic was not present
20 on this meeting. And for him to testify what the
21 basically official conclusion of this meeting, with the
22 document, which the document speaks for itself would be
23 only for him invitation to editorlise or in a fine
24 piece of oratory that Mr. Keegan presented, would be
25 invitation for you to violate your own rule on the
1 disclosure of expert witness. If Mr. Keegan thought
2 that Mr. Semenovic is an expert witness, he should have
3 so declared him and basically let us all know before
4 the deadline which has long past.
5 Secondly, what I said previous and you were
6 concerned about it, that Mr. Semenovic could testify
7 indeed on all the documents in which he participated in
8 passing on the state level. He can testify on all the
9 documents that where he or his friends or party,
10 co-workers, participated in the SDA. But he was not a
11 member of this body and this is official document,
12 sealed and signed, speaks for itself.
13 JUDGE MAY: What is it, Mr. Keegan, that you
14 wanted to ask about 6.28?
15 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour. Particularly
16 with the funds that are listed there, what the
17 relevance of some of those funds were, so that later
18 on, their clear importance to the issues that do
19 develop in Prijedor and the conflict that which is then
20 initiated makes this document particularly relevant
21 with respect to the involvement of this accused.
22 JUDGE MAY: We shall admit this evidence, but
23 on this basis. We shall admit documents that speak for
24 themselves, such as these documents. The weight and
25 significance of the documents are purely for us to
1 determine. We shall allow the witness to give evidence
2 about the documents to this extent and this extent
3 only: That he is able to explain matters which appear
4 on the face of the document, such as these funds,
5 provided he knows about these matters from his own
6 knowledge. If he knows the matters that are referred
7 to, then, of course, he can give evidence about that.
8 But as for the interpretation of the document
9 and deciding on weight and significance, that is for
10 the Trial Chamber to decide and not the witness.
12 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Mr. Semenovic, you had an opportunity to
14 review this document?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, I would direct your attention then to
17 the section which describes the various funds for which
18 the listed individuals in paragraph 1 will have the
19 authority to sign documents for.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. With respect to Paragraph No. 1, funds for
22 building shelters in Prijedor Municipality, during the
23 period in the fall of 1991 and the beginning of 1992 as
24 the Municipal Assembly was being brought together,
25 convened in Prijedor Municipality, did you take part in
1 discussions with the other party leaders with respect
2 to the budget and the nature of the items which should
3 be in the budget for the Prijedor Municipality?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Were -- was the consideration of building
6 shelters within the municipality one of the priority
7 items mentioned in the discussions in the Municipal
8 Assembly and within the party leadership?
9 A. No, no, it was not.
10 Q. With respect to No. 2, can you briefly
11 describe for the Trial Chamber -- well, let me ask you
12 first this. As a resident of the Prijedor
13 Municipality, throughout your life and as a member, as
14 we have previously discussed in the senior leadership
15 of that party and on the basis of your discussions,
16 were you aware of what fell within the category of
17 municipal emergency supplies?
18 A. Do you mean with reference to Item No. 2?
19 Q. Yes, what types of items constituted or fell
20 within the category of municipal emergency supplies?
21 A. While the assembly was functioning often,
22 the urgent problems were of the economic nature. We
23 had to set aside the funds for the economy to assist
24 with the transformation of the companies and those were
25 the priorities, the economy, the agriculture and so
2 Q. Yes. My question was, based on your
3 experience as a resident in Prijedor, throughout your
4 life and your particular experience in the governmental
5 structure during '91 and '92, do you have knowledge of
6 the types of items that fell, normally fell within the
7 category of municipal emergency supplies? What were
9 A. Every municipality had to, in order to
10 function in a balanced -- in order to have the balanced
11 market, every municipality had to have the reserves.
12 And this is how it was always in our Republic. This
13 was regulated by the legislation. The reserves were
14 held at the level of the republic and at the level of
15 the municipality and the purpose of that was, should
16 there be some kind of disbalance, so that the state
17 could intervene. And the other purpose of that was, so
18 that these funds can be used should there be some
19 emergency situations of war situation, so that these
20 reserves can be used to feed the population.
21 Q. What other kinds of items would be included
22 within emergency supplies? What types of items?
23 A. The food article and fuels and the medicine,
24 those were the priorities with respect to the
1 Q. No. 3, funds for All People's Defence and
2 social self-protection in the Prijedor Municipality,
3 what do those categories include? What do those terms
4 mean, "All People's Defence and social
6 A. It included the Territorial Defence, the
7 reserves of the Territorial Defence, the reserve
8 formations, civil protection and this issue -- the
9 issue of financing was regulated by the legislation
10 that work was passed automatically. And there was no
11 need for any further intervention unless, unless there
12 was a war situation, a war activity. In that case, the
13 Territorial Defence required larger funds and larger
14 funds had to be provided. So just in the case where it
15 was an emergency situation or preparation for the war
16 situation, if there was a war danger.
17 Q. When you mentioned it included the
18 Territorial Defence, you then said, "The reserve
19 formations and civil protection," what did you mean by
20 "reserve formations," please?
21 A. The reserve formation of the police -- the
22 reserve police forces or what we used to call war
24 Q. No. 4, funds for the prevention of livestock
25 epidemics in Prijedor Municipality?
1 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, do we really need to
2 be told about this? It speaks for itself, doesn't it?
3 MR. KEEGAN: There are two questions with
4 respect to that I would prefer to ask, Your Honour, if
5 you would indulge me?
6 JUDGE MAY: Of course.
7 MR. KEEGAN:
8 Q. Previously I asked you about the negotiations
9 on the priorities for the budget. In what kind of --
10 in what position in the budget did the issue of
11 livestock epidemics normally hold? Was it a matter of
12 importance in a municipality?
13 A. No, no, it was never a highly important
14 item. They were at the bottom of the list usually
15 where we had the funds for culture for the
16 infrastructure and so on.
17 MR. VUCICEVIC: This directly flies in the
18 face of your determination. He was not a member of the
19 Municipal Assembly even when it was together. This is,
20 you know, a document that represents a document from
21 Serbian Municipal Assembly dated May 7th. And if he
22 has been so astute and followed every minutiae on the
23 municipal level, perhaps he could have produced his own
24 notes that he was aware of that. But this is basically
25 an attempt to circumvent, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE MAY: I don't agree. He is speaking
2 from his experience. But whether of it is of any
3 assistance, I rather doubt it. Can we move on, Mr.
5 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
6 Q. Mr. Semenovic, you were present in Prijedor,
7 and we will get to this testimony in a while, during
8 the attacks on Kozarac and the surrounding area; is
9 that correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And during the time that you were in that
12 area until you were brought into the camps, can you
13 describe for the Trial Chamber what effect the attacks
14 had on the issue, an issue which would be relevant to
15 livestock epidemics in Prijedor Municipality? What was
16 one of the results of the attacks?
17 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, same
18 objection. Plus, you know, the question asked the
19 witness to speculate because this witness came by
20 himself to the camps, Tadic transcript.
21 JUDGE MAY: I shall allow the question. Yes,
22 can you deal with this fairly quickly, Mr. Semenovic,
24 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour, I will. The
25 result of the war action was that a large number of
1 houses were burned and so were the agriculture land and
2 the barns where the livestock was. The livestock in
3 many cases burned too. There was also a lot of
4 livestock that was shot, that was shot, that was killed
5 when -- by the grenades. And there was a lot of
6 livestock that was just wandering around the meadows
7 and the forests and the Serbian soldiers would collect
8 that livestock. There was also a lot of carcasses and
9 a lot of places people would see that. And the
10 carcasses were not removed on time. They were left
11 there for a long time where people were killed. And
12 that created a possibility for epidemics for infection
13 and it would be difficult to pass through some places
14 because you could smell the stench, in 10 metres
15 diameter. I would see the dead livestock in the area
16 in the time that I was hiding in that area.
17 And, yes, at that time there was a huge --
18 there was a realistic possibility for infectious, for
19 the spread of infectious diseases.
20 Q. You mentioned carcasses and then in the next
21 section you mentioned they were left for a long time
22 where people were killed?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Were you referring to animal carcasses or
25 human corpses?
1 A. Both, animal and human.
2 Q. If we could move then to Document 6.27, Your
4 Mr. Semenovic, have you had an opportunity to
5 review this document?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And can you briefly explain to the Trial
8 Chamber the nature of the insurance company, Zoil,
10 A. Yes, it was the insurance company that was
11 controlled by the state and it had monopoly. It was
12 mandatory both for the citizens and for the companies.
13 They had to be insured through this company, based on
14 the legislation all the companies had to insure their
15 property through this insurance company and also
16 certain parts of personal property had to be insured
17 through that, cars and other vehicles, the machines and
18 it was a mandatory insurance. It wasn't voluntary or
19 optional, it was a mandatory one and it had to be paid
20 regularly because this is how it was regulated by the
22 Q. Was it common knowledge that this mandatory
23 insurance, state company, had huge financial reserves?
24 A. Yes, yes, it did have. It was a common,
25 well-known fact.
1 Q. Given the prior comments already, Your
2 Honour, I will forego the explanation of the Sarajevo
3 Bank on Document 6.16 and just move to admit all of
4 these documents.
5 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
6 MR. KEEGAN: The final document, Your Honour,
7 is Document 6.51, again signed by the accused, Milan
9 Q. Mr. Semenovic, have you had an opportunity to
10 review this document?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Based on your experience as a
13 parliamentarian, can you explain to the Trial Chamber
14 briefly what the final part of that first paragraph
15 means, where it talks about the companies which were
16 owned by the Republic of Slovenia, Croatia or the
17 former Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as it's referred
18 to here? It's given to the temporary ownership of
19 Prijedor Municipality until final settlement of assets,
20 what does that mean, "temporary ownership to the
21 Municipal Assembly"?
22 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, this is a plain
23 language on its face.
24 JUDGE MAY: Well, that seems to be so, Mr.
25 Keegan, it seems to explain itself.
1 MR. KEEGAN: Very well, Your Honour, we'll
2 move on, if the Trial Chamber sees that.
3 Q. Now, Mr. Semenovic, if we can turn then to
4 your experiences in Prijedor. At the last session on
5 Wednesday afternoon, you testified about a meeting
6 between SDA and SDS officials after the take-over, which
7 you attended, and you testified as to comments made by
8 Radmilo Zeljaja, what, if any, comments about Kozarac did
9 the SDS officials at the meeting make?
10 A. The officials at that meeting didn't speak
11 much, Slobodan spoke and Mr. Simo Miskovic as well.
12 Q. What, if any, comments did Mr. Miskovic
14 A. Mr. Miskovic said that we have to accept what
15 we are being asked to do and then he said that in
16 Kozarac there must be a Serbian flag and Serbian police
17 present. And unless we accept that, he literally said,
18 I am quoting, "We will not be able to prevent our
19 extremists for a long time, to stop them. They will do
20 it on their own."
21 Q. What, if any, comments did he make with
22 respect to the flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
23 A. Yes, he said in Kozarac there has to be a
24 Serbian flag. We cannot look at the flag of the former
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Kozarac. And Mr. Medunjanin
1 tried to reply, but was not successfully.
2 Q. Did the SDA propose any measures to try and
3 reduce the tension in the area or moderate the
5 A. Mr. Medunjanin spoke on behalf of the SDA the
6 most. He proposed that SDS and the army that was
7 present at the meeting form a delegation and then
8 jointly go around Kozarac and visit all the areas and
9 then ask the soldiers, the army and the SDS to form
10 joint groups formed from the members of the Territorial
11 Defence in Kozarac and so they joined groups of the TO
12 and the army who would then guard the reserves so that
13 they could calm down the tension, but they did not
14 accept any kind of discussion on this issue. And at
15 the end, Medunjanin stated that after the ultimatum
16 that was issued, he said, all right, gentlemen, we will
17 ask the people, we will gather them and ask the people
18 to state their opinion on your request.
19 Q. After this meeting, did you and the other
20 leaders of the Bosnian Muslim Community discuss what
21 might occur next?
22 A. Everything was clear to us. The messages
23 that we were given were not indirect. They were quite
24 direct. Zeljaja literally said, gentlemen, you have to
25 return 5.000 rifles. Once you return them, then we can
1 start the discussion again. You have a deadline. I
2 think, if I remember correctly, he said five days was
3 the deadline. If you do not return them, we will not
4 discuss any further. And it was completely clear to
5 us, at that point, what were their intentions and that
6 they will attack with arms, Kozarac and the surrounding
7 areas. Because we were not able to reply to those
8 requests, we had no means. We had not nearly as many
9 arms, as many rifles as they requested us to return by
10 a certain day.
11 Q. By the time of this meeting, were you, and
12 other leaders of the Bosnian Muslim Community, aware of
13 attacks on non-Serb areas in other parts of Bosnia and
15 A. We watched it every day, daily on television,
16 even before that, prior to these events in Bijeljina,
17 Bosniaks and Croats were killed, literally, women,
18 elderly. We saw the pictures of civilians being
19 shot at from close proximity. We also observed the
20 activities of the Serb army in Zvornik and also
21 Musakrahs (phon). And we also had information from
22 Bosanski Novi, where prior to that the military action
23 has been carried out. And where people were gathered
24 in the stadiums and they were marked in a special way.
25 Some of them managed to escape from Bosanski Novi and
1 this is the information that they gave us. The freedom
2 of movement with was non-existent. We couldn't move
3 neither to Prijedor nor to Omarska. Prior to that, the
4 departure from Prijedor Municipality was forbidden to
5 women and to elderly and children. And everything was
6 quite clear to us. We just tried to -- we looked for
7 the way to find a peaceful resolution to this.
8 However, we had no influence, we couldn't affect the
9 events and, in fact, we were being told that, we were
10 being clearly stated what the intentions were.
11 Q. You mentioned that freedom of movement was
12 non-existent, we couldn't move either to Prijedor, nor
13 to Omarska, could you explain what you mean by that,
15 A. In May, after the take-over by SDS, two or
16 three days after that, the buses were returned, the
17 buses that left from Prijedor towards Banja Luka, they
18 were stopped around Omarska. Part of the passengers
19 were robbed and then the buses were sent back to
20 Prijedor. On the radio there was an information and
21 spread out that Muslims are preparing for the war
22 against the Serbs and that they're evacuating, they
23 wish to evacuate their families, women and children so
24 they can fight better, more successfully. After that,
25 the travel on bus was ceased and after May 4th or 5th,
1 there was basically no traffic. They had checkpoints,
2 military points at the exit points of Kozarac towards
3 Prijedor. At the entrance of Prijedor, there was no
4 traffic. It was impossible to send children to school,
5 the children from Kozarac who went to high school from
7 The events, the activities around us, we
8 followed them by radio, by television. Part of it we
9 watched was Belgrade Television and part of it was
10 Croatian Television that we could watch there, and
11 everything was clear to us. There was a huge fear
12 present, and all we did was just sit there and expect
13 the attack. We tried -- and the conclusions from all
14 of our meetings was to try and not give them any motive
15 and to not react to the shootings that took place
16 around the houses of Bosniaks. The shootings at that
17 time were quite frequent. In Kozarac on May 3rd, the
18 army sent a tank into the intersection. The tank was
19 there for several days with a complete crew and a
20 certain number of soldiers. They were fully armed and
21 aiming at Kozarac.
22 Q. Just a minute, if I may? How was it that you
23 were able and the other members of the delegation were
24 able to actually attend the meeting then in Prijedor
25 which we have been discussing?
1 A. There was telephone contact between the army
2 in Prijedor and the Crisis Staff, the local community
3 in Kozarac and the police in Kozarac, and the
4 Territorial Defence also in Kozarac. Maybe a day after
5 the take-over, the people from the Crisis Staff called
6 Kozarac and required that a group go there for
7 negotiations. As far as I remember, that was Becir
8 Medunjanin who was called, Ilijaz Music and some other
9 people. So the negotiations took place on the 5th, as
10 early as on the 5th of May. They had assurances of
11 security. In the beginning of May, for the first ten
12 days, it was still possible to go to Prijedor. I went
13 to Prijedor on a bus. But after the 15th of May, it
14 was impossible, 15th to 18th, I'm not sure about the
15 exact date. It was absolutely impossible. It wasn't
16 safe. People were afraid for their lives.
17 If I may? The last negotiations, the
18 invitation to that meeting that I spoke about, it was
19 arranged via telephone links with the Territorial
20 Defence staff in Kozarac and the Serbian authorities in
21 Prijedor. We all came together and we went to Orlovci
22 in one car, and the Serbian authorities told that they
23 would advise the Serbian soldiers at the checkpoints
24 and that they should let us through and to let us go
25 back, and that's how it was.
1 Q. Now, subsequent to that meeting, what plan of
2 action did the Bosnian Muslim leadership in the Kozarac
3 area decide upon?
4 A. The only decision was for us to defend
5 ourselves. We were sure that we would come under an
6 attack because that was made plain to us, and the
7 population could not go anywhere, flee anywhere. There
8 was nowhere out. The only possibility left for us was
9 to keep quiet and, in the case of an attack, to defend
10 ourselves, to prevent the massacres in our area the
11 massacres that occurred in some other municipalities of
13 Q. What type of forces existed at that moment,
14 the day of that meeting, in the Kozavac area, which
15 would be available for defence?
16 A. There was the Territorial Defence.
17 Q. At that time, are you aware of how many
18 people were mobilised acting as members of the
19 Territorial Defence?
20 A. I personally did not know the exact number,
21 but I knew that it was not sufficient, that not enough
22 people had been mobilised. We were not able to
23 conduct, to carry out the order of the Presidency of
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina - I think it was dated the 8th
25 of April - to mobilise the Territorial Defence. It
1 wasn't possible to carry it out because the Territorial
2 Defence, its headquarters was in Prijedor. Some of the
3 commanding officers were of Serbian nationality, and
4 they blocked this process. The only option left was
5 for the local parts of the Territorial Defence to carry
6 out the order of the Presidency on the mobilisation,
7 but the technical conditions were non-existent. We did
8 not have them. We had very few weapons. People were
9 not organised according to the organisational charts,
10 and we had to organise everything ad hoc very quickly,
11 so that in the event of an attack, we would be able to
12 defend ourselves and avoid the massacres.
13 Q. So what steps were undertaken, then, to try
14 and prepare for the attack?
15 A. The Territorial Defence was expanded as much
16 as possible.
17 Q. How was that expansion conducted?
18 A. Well, we asked the people at those
19 gatherings, we had rallies of the people, of the
20 citizens, we asked them, what are we to do? We wanted
21 to have the opinion of everyone. Everybody knew that
22 we did not have enough people in the Territorial
23 Defence to defend against the forces that were deployed
24 around us, and the conclusion was to ask people whether
25 they wanted to volunteer and to join the Territorial
1 Defence, everybody who had any kind of weapons, hunting
2 rifles, pistols, and they reported to duty, even those
3 who did not have any weapons decided to join.
4 We deemed that out of the number of people
5 that we had, every fifth person had some kind of
6 weapon, so people placed themselves at their disposal,
7 and we wanted to take shifts at the lines to defend our
8 village. So that the Territorial Defence had a large
9 number of people who decided to join, but they did not
10 have the weapons. They were not armed.
11 Q. How were those people actually contacted, how
12 were they added to the TO list, and how did you
13 determine who had weapons?
14 A. Every person was -- every man was approached
15 in their own house and they were asked directly and
16 they signed indicating that they agreed to join. We
17 wanted to conduct this in accordance with the legal
18 procedure, in accordance with the rules on the
19 organisation of the Territorial Defence, and all those
20 who stated that they wished to join the Defence, they
21 put their signature, and all those people who had
22 weapons, they indicated what kind of weapon they had,
23 and they signed it.
24 Later on, from these records, we attempted to
25 expand the existing formation of the Territorial
1 Defence and to adapt it to the area in which we lived.
2 Immediately before the war, since there was no other
3 solution available, we contracted a few blacksmiths.
4 We wanted them to make some kind of home-made pistols,
5 guns, with metal tubes because people were afraid and
6 there weren't enough weapons, and that was a way for
7 the people to try to obtain some kind of weapons to arm
8 themselves and to defend themselves, and we managed to
9 produce some of those guns, and some other people who
10 did some metal processing, they also manufactured their
11 own weapons.
12 Q. Did you yourself sign the list indicating
13 that you would volunteer for the TO?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Did you possess a weapon?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Now, was the intended organised defence force
18 actually able to be formed?
19 A. No.
20 Q. And why not?
21 A. We did not have the means for that.
22 Telephone communications were down and communication
23 equipment was scarce. I'm talking about the
24 walkie-talkie equipment that the police and the
25 Territorial Defence had, they were not in good order.
1 We did not have enough fuel for the commanders in the
2 Territorial Defence to communicate with their units.
3 We did not have time to train people. For some people,
4 it was the first time that they held a weapon in their
5 hands. We did not have the officers. We had two or
6 three men who had some kind of experience, who were
7 retired military officers, and when we managed to
8 improvise some kind of solutions, then the problem was
9 that we did not have enough weapons, not even one-third
10 the weapons required to successfully defend the area.
11 Q. You've talked about the problems of
12 communication. What then was the primary method of
13 communicating between the local communes in the area?
14 A. I did not understand the question.
15 Q. Earlier in your previous answer, you
16 discussed the problems of communication. What was then
17 the primary means of communicating between the local
18 communes? How were messages passed? How were
19 instructions passed?
20 A. Radio communication or telephones, if the
21 information was of such a nature that it could be
22 conveyed over the phone.
23 Q. If it wasn't, what did you rely upon?
24 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, objection to the
25 form of the question. Leading.
1 JUDGE MAY: I shall admit it.
2 MR. KEEGAN:
3 Q. You can answer the question.
4 A. We were forced to communicate physically. If
5 you had to go from one area to another, then you went
6 there by bicycle or by motorbike, not often by car
7 because there was not enough fuel. People had already
8 used up all their fuel reserves. So this coordination
9 required a lot of time.
10 I went to Kozarac a couple of times by bike;
11 it's a distance of about 5 kilometres by the time you
12 go there and come back. If it's an urgent issue that
13 needs to be resolved, then you're late.
14 Q. At this time, were there checkpoints being
15 manned by members of the Territorial Defence in the
16 local communes?
17 A. Yes, that's right.
18 Q. Were all of those members armed?
19 A. No.
20 Q. You indicated earlier that the Territorial
21 lists were drawn up and people were contacted in their
22 houses. What was the level of the organisation for the
23 Territorial Defence in the Kozarac area at that time?
24 On what level was it organised?
25 A. At the level of the Republic. And the orders
1 from the level of the Republic applied only in the
2 areas where Bosniaks, Croats, and other non-Serbs were.
3 Q. You've discussed earlier the order. What I'm
4 referring to now is, during the time that you were
5 trying to organise the Territorial Defence in the
6 Prijedor area, the Kozarac area, what was the level of
7 the organisation? At what administrative level?
8 A. Yes. In Kozarac --
9 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, that's been
10 asked and answered. He asked the same question.
11 A. In Kozarac, there was the command of the
12 Territorial Defence for the Kozarac area, so that's
13 where the command was; and at the lower level, you had
14 the local commune. Local communes had their own local
15 Territorial Defence units, and those who were in charge
16 of those units had their command in Kozarac. The basic
17 organisational unit of the Territorial Defence was the
18 local commune.
19 MR. KEEGAN: Could we have Exhibit 35 shown
20 to the witness, please, which is the map of Prijedor?
21 If that could be placed on the overhead, please?
22 Now, could the map be moved so that it
23 focuses on the Kozarac area, please, on the overhead?
24 Now, is it possible to pan back a bit? Thank
1 Q. Mr. Semenovic, if you could, please, to
2 assist the Trial Chamber, could you please indicate the
3 various local communes that were then being formed as
4 part of the Territorial Defence for the Kozarac area?
5 A. This is Kozarac, and this is the Kozarac
6 area. There are several local communes. There are the
7 local commune in the town itself, then the local
8 commune of Trnopolje, this area here, then Kamicani,
9 local commune of Kozarusa, local commune of Brdani.
10 Q. If we can slow that down a bit to make sure
11 that it's clear to everyone? As we look at that map,
12 Kozarac now being in the centre of the screen, the
13 local commune of Trnopolje would be now to the -- could
14 you indicate that area, please?
15 A. The area of local commune of Trnopolje is
17 Q. You may need to move the map up.
18 Now, could you please indicate that again?
19 A. So this is the area of the local commune of
20 Trnopolje. This is where it is. To the south of
21 Kozarac, down this road that's visible here and close
22 to the fish pond, fishery, this is the local commune of
23 Trnopolje. It consists of several villages, Trnjani,
24 Kararici, Sivci, Mujkanovici, and so on.
25 Q. That is the local commune that you were from?
1 A. Yes. That's my local commune where I lived.
2 Q. Now, the local commune immediately above
3 that, between Trnopolje and Kozarac, what was that area
4 referred to as, between Trnopolje and Kozarac?
5 A. The local commune of Hrnici, this part here.
6 Q. Now, that road that runs on the map, on our
7 computer screens, essentially from the top left to the
8 bottom right as you look at the screen, indicating in
9 red, what was the name of that road? How was it
10 referred to in the area?
11 A. That's the Prijedor-Banja Luka road. The
12 Banja Luka road, as it was called.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please
14 speak into the microphone?
15 MR. KEEGAN:
16 Q. Mr. Semenovic, when you're giving your
17 responses, could you please lean forward and speak into
18 the microphone so that the interpreters can hear you.
19 A. The road that's indicated in red here is the
20 Prijedor-Banja Luka road. Sometimes the local
21 inhabitants called it the Banja Luka road or the
22 blacktop road.
23 Q. Was there another road that was referred to
24 as the Old Prijedor-Banja Luka road?
25 A. Yes. There was the old Prijedor-Banja Luka
1 road which goes through Kozarac, and then there is the
2 turnoff here (indicated). I don't know if you can see
3 it here.
4 Q. What's that area that you're pointing to
5 now? What's that area called, that area? That area?
6 A. That's Donji Orlovci. That's the area which
7 is inhabited by Serbs. And then you have Mujkanovici,
8 that's the area with the Bosniak majority, and then
9 it's Kozarusa further down the road.
10 Q. The Old Banja Luka-Prijedor road would be the
11 road that's indicated in yellow which essentially
12 follows the new Banja Luka road in red. Earlier you
13 indicated the checkpoint at Orlovci that you had to
14 stop at on your way to the meeting. Could you indicate
15 where that was on the map, please?
16 A. It's here (indicated).
17 Q. Now, these local communes that you referred
18 to, and we'll deal specifically with Trnopolje first,
19 was that local commune made up of one ethnic group?
20 A. No.
21 Q. How many other groups were there in the local
22 commune of Trnopolje?
23 A. Seventeen.
24 Q. Were there, however, in the area, local
25 communes that were composed of only one ethnic group or
1 by a vast majority of only one ethnic group?
2 A. There were.
3 Q. The actual town of Kozarac and the local
4 communes immediately adjacent to it on the north side
5 of the Banja Luka-Prijedor road, what was the majority
6 ethnic group there?
7 A. Bosniak Muslims. They had the absolute
9 Q. And the area of Omarska, the local commune of
10 Omarska, what was the majority ethnic group there?
11 A. Serb population had the absolute majority.
12 Q. In the area that you refer to as Kozarusa
13 that's indicated on the map, what was the majority
14 ethnic group there?
15 A. Bosniak Muslim.
16 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, would that be a
17 convenient time before we move on to an area since it
18 is so close to the break?
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Twenty minutes.
20 --- Recess taken at 10.58 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 11.38 a.m.
22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Vucicevic, we've clarified
23 matters with the registry concerning your request of
24 Mr. Ostojic. And at their request, we've considered
25 the matter again. We are prepared to grant him a right
1 of ordnance. But, of course, only him and only one
2 legal assistant at a time. If you want legal
3 assistants, their applications have to be made to the
4 registry. If you want to apply for the right of
5 audience for a legal assistant, then you must apply to
6 this Trial Chamber. But, at the moment, we're prepared
7 to grant an audience to Mr. Ostojic. But, of course,
8 it must be understood that if he is going to
9 cross-examine, only one cross-examination will be
10 allowed per witness, as it were. You can't have two.
11 MR. D'AMATO: Thank you very much, Your
13 JUDGE MAY: I hope that clarifies matters.
14 MR. D'AMATO: Your Honour, may I address one
15 other point?
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes, of course.
17 MR. D'AMATO: The Prosecutor on Friday and
18 Saturday had provided us with a number of new documents
19 which are in the process of translation, some of which
20 have already been introduced in this trial. We would
21 like to ask the Court for some kind of guidance with
22 respect to the amount of time that we are allowed to
23 prepare with documents. Originally we had 20 days.
24 And I think the 20-day figure, while I am not asking
25 for rigidity in that matter, at least betokens a
1 certain amount of latitude to the Defence to be able to
2 understand, read, discuss these documents. But two or
3 three days' notice with a weekend was very, very hard
4 for us to put this defence together on that. And we
5 would like to ask the Tribunal for some kind of
6 guidance with respect to the future operations of the
7 trial with respect to disclosure of documents.
8 JUDGE MAY: Well, I think speaking for
9 myself, there should be prompt disclosure and adequate
10 time for the Defence to prepare. It's the duty of the
11 Prosecution to disclose all the documents, so there is
12 such time to prepare.
13 Yes, Mr. Keegan.
14 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour, we're clearly
15 mindful of that. The question was to whether they had
16 an objection. And if they object, that is an issue we
17 take into consideration and we can certainly make the
18 witness subject to recall and bring them back at a
19 later time after the Defence has indicated they have
20 had time to prepare.
21 MR. D'AMATO: We're mindful of the necessity
22 to speed up the trial. Some of these documents were
23 very short and we did put the weekend in work and so
24 we're able to be here today and accommodate as much as
25 possible. But I think, as a general matter, we would
1 like that adequate time that you're talking about and I
2 don't think a weekend is an adequate time.
3 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, if I may? First
4 off, none of the documents introduced thus far were
5 turned over in the weekend. All of these documents
6 were turned over either in January or April. My
7 question today was with respect to the documents newly
8 discovered, which I turned over the day after, in fact,
9 the morning after we discovered them was, do you have
10 an objection? They indicated they do, we'll take that
11 into consideration and we can bring the witness subject
12 to recall.
13 JUDGE MAY: Well, I think what we want to
14 avoid is any unnecessary delay in the trial
15 proceedings, which necessitated any delays necessitated
16 by the Defence having had time to prepare. If you
17 receive documents too late for you to prepare, then, of
18 course, it's open to you to apply for time. But we
19 will discourage any late disclosure.
20 MR. D'AMATO: Mr. Vucicevic, would like to
21 add something out of his personal knowledge with the
22 Prosecutor. Thank you.
23 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, the document
24 that you are talking about, it was not translated yet
25 and, supposedly, the prosecutor said discovered this
1 document among the batch of documents that were seized
2 in Prijedor in December pursuant to this Trial Chamber
3 warrant for such search and seizure. And some of the
4 documents from the same batch were disclosed to us in
5 April. And that, your order indicated that all the
6 disclosures should be done 20 days before trial. And
7 it's, indeed, somewhat unusual that a document from the
8 same batch would surface only three days after the
9 trial has started and two days before the witness will
10 take the stand and talk about a document. That's
11 basically what we are talking about, compliance with
12 the orders. Thank you, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Keegan, if you would
14 like to go on.
15 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. Mr. Semenovic, where did the first military
17 attack occur in Prijedor?
18 A. In the area of Hambarine.
19 Q. And do you recall the date of that attack?
20 A. Yes, May 22nd, 1992.
21 Q. And where were you when that attack
23 A. In Trnopolje.
24 Q. How did you become aware of the attack?
25 A. The night prior to the attack, in the local
1 commune, we heard on one of the equipment pieces of the
2 TO on the -- with walkie-talkie, we heard that there
3 was some shooting at the entrance into Hambarine. And
4 that there is some kind of ultimatum issued concerning
5 the return of the weapons, but we did not have any
6 precise information. The next day we were able to hear
7 the artillery shooting and see a large part of
8 Hambarine burning. We saw smoke, significant smoke.
9 And since the day was clear, we could very well see the
10 smoke and hear the shooting.
11 Q. And in the ultimatums that you mentioned,
12 what organ of the Serbian government in Prijedor was
13 giving these ultimatums?
14 A. As far as I remember, it was the Crisis Staff
15 headquarters that issued the ultimatum.
16 Q. Were you aware -- had you been made aware
17 prior to this attack of where artillery had been
18 positioned in the Municipality of Prijedor?
19 A. Yes, yes, we knew that quite well in advance
20 of the attack.
21 Q. And where were some of those areas that
22 artillery had been positioned?
23 A. It was in the area of Urije, Brezicani, above
24 the Village of Gornja Puharska. In Kozara, in two
25 areas of Kozara. In Tomasica. And somewhere in the
1 area of Omarska.
2 Q. What area in Kozara, you mentioned two areas
3 in Kozara, what areas are you referring to?
4 A. In Benkovac and somewhere above the quarry.
5 Benkovac is in the area of Mrakovica.
6 Q. And the other area is a quarry, by that you
7 mean a rock quarry?
8 A. Yes, this is where they obtained the stone.
9 Q. Based on my prior experience, Your Honour, I
10 just want to make sure the record is clear for when
11 they produce the transcript.
12 Where was the next area of attack in
14 A. Kozarac.
15 Q. And what was the date of that attack?
16 A. Two days after the attack on Hambarine, May
17 24th, 1992, in the early afternoon, as far as I
18 remember, it was around 12.30, one o'clock in the
20 Q. What, if any, demands were made prior to the
22 A. They issued the ultimatum on surrender. I
23 wasn't able to hear it, but this is what people heard
24 on the radio stations. And in the police in Kozarac --
25 Serbian authorities called the police in Kozarac and
1 talked to the chief of police and officially issued the
2 ultimatum to them.
3 Q. You say "surrender," what type of surrender?
4 A. They requested the Territorial Defence to
5 surrender and also the police force. And also the
6 people that they knew were armed.
7 Q. Now, earlier in your testimony you had
8 mentioned observing instances where Serbian families
9 had left their homes during the evening and come back
10 during the day and you indicated that this occurred on
11 several occasions, or a number of occasions.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. What, if any, unusual movement by Serbian
14 civilians did you notice prior to the attack on
16 A. Yes, we observed how the Serb population
17 withdrew completely from those mixed areas and they
18 withdrew into the depth of the territory, into the
19 Serb territory. And it was only the grown men that
21 Q. In the area of Trnopolje, in the local
22 communes that made up Trnopolje, did every home have a
24 A. No. The telephone lines were completely
25 abolished and only in one house there was a telephone
1 link. And that was, of course, a private house. And
2 people couldn't understand how come in just one house
3 the telephone was functioning, but it was functioning
4 at that house.
5 Q. Did everyone in the local commune have a
7 A. No.
8 Q. Where were you when the attack on Kozarac
10 A. In the local commune in Trnopolje.
11 Q. What did you do after the attack began?
12 A. I started walking towards Kozarac because we
13 didn't have the radio connection to Kozarac, so
14 somebody had to go and see what needs to be done out
15 there, the field, because we could hear the shooting,
16 the artillery shooting towards the Bosniak houses. And
17 I started towards -- there were not enough -- there
18 were several vehicles, but we didn't have enough fuel,
19 so I started on the bicycle.
20 Q. And did you make it into Kozarac?
21 A. No. I managed to reach the area above Hrnici
22 and to be more precise, I managed to reach Suhi Brod.
23 Q. And why did you stop there?
24 A. It wasn't possible to go on because the
25 shells, the area where I was, was being shelled
1 constantly and one couldn't go on because of the
3 Q. Based on your experience in your artillery in
4 the JNA, what types of weapons was it that were firing
5 the shells which were falling on Kozarac?
6 A. I --
7 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, I object to this
8 question because this witness hadn't been qualified as
9 a military expert. He has only testified that he has
10 served in the artillery unit. The question is asking
11 him, based on the type of a fire that's obviously
12 heard, to determine what kind of weapons are firing.
13 JUDGE MAY: He was in the artillery, he can
14 answer the question. Whether the answer has any weight
15 is for us to determine.
16 MR. VUCICEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 MR. KEEGAN: You can answer the question, Mr.
18 Semenovic. Mr. Semenovic.
19 THE WITNESS: Yes, I could say that there
20 were several different types of artillery that were
21 being fired. I saw the shelling. I saw the explosions
22 and I heard the detonations of the shells that were
23 falling on Kozarac and the area around Kozarac. And I
24 also heard the explosions of the shells being fired.
25 This came from the area of Urije and I think that was
1 the long-range artillery. The Howitzers. And I could
2 tell that because the explosions were magnificent. I
3 also noticed that the shells were coming from Kozara
4 area. I noticed from Orlovci, I noticed that the
5 shells of smaller calibre, which were probably
6 Howitzers, mortars of smaller calibre were coming from
7 Orlovci and the shells were falling around Kozarac
9 From Omarska, I heard a very, very loud
10 firing and which indicated that it was the heavy
11 artillery that was being fired in that area.
12 We expected from that that Kozarac and Trnopolje
13 would be fired at from the area of Tomasica because we
14 knew before that there were guns there facing Kozarac,
15 however, there was no fire from Tomasica area.
16 MR. KEEGAN:
17 Q. How intensive was the shelling during that
19 A. It took place the whole day that day and
20 almost the whole night with small breaks and then the
21 next day.
22 The next day there was firing from Tremblans
23 (Phon) as well, from the area of Trnopolje where the
24 Serbian villages were mostly in the area of Sivci,
25 where there were already groups of people that were
1 gathering there, the groups of civilian inhabitants
2 were gathering there.
3 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Semenovic. Your Honour, I
4 note in the record that the interpreters repeated the
5 Serbo-Croatian word that the witness used, Tremblans?
6 THE INTERPRETER: Should be rifle launched
8 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you.
9 Q. Now, the -- how many days did the shelling go
10 on for, Mr. Semenovic?
11 A. Two days.
12 Q. And what occurred after the shelling lifted?
13 A. After the shelling ceased, Serbian forces
14 entered from the direction of Prijedor into Kozarac and
15 burned the whole area of Kozarac up until the middle
16 section of Kozarac. I observed that from about from
17 the distance of two and a half kilometres.
18 Q. Were there movements by parts of the
19 population toward Trnopolje?
20 A. Yes. The people from Kozara who tried to
21 flee into Kozara and people that left their basements
22 once the shelling stopped, they all started moving
23 toward Trnopolje and the inhabitants, the complete
24 inhabitants of -- the complete population of Trnopolje
25 with all the necessities, they started walking and
1 going on the tractors towards Kozara. There was no
2 coordination. In these groups of people -- these two
3 groups met somewhere halfway in the area, of the
4 villages of Sivci, Mujkanovici, Suhi Brod. A huge
5 number of people were present. Those that came from
6 above because they had information that the Serbs
7 broadcast on the radio that those who are not armed and
8 who are not guilty, can come down to Trnopolje and they
9 will be safe there. That only the extremists would be
10 the ones who would be arrested. And the population
11 just needed to go away because the extremists were
12 dangerous for Muslims. And once everything stopped,
13 the population would be able to go back into their
14 houses. And a lot of people believed what they heard
15 on the radio and this is why they started moving
16 towards Trnopolje.
17 The Serbs took several Muslim Bosniaks into
18 the radio stations to urge people to go into
19 Trnopolje. I heard that Hilmija Nukic, who lived in
20 Trnopolje was the one who urged the population to go to
21 Trnopolje, together with the Crisis Staff. And I also
22 heard that some people in Prijedor were forced to do
23 the same.
24 Q. Now, you referred to Kozara as the location
25 where people were heading from Trnopolje. Can you
1 explain briefly to the Trial Chamber what Kozara is?
2 A. Kozara is a mountain above Kozarac.
3 Q. Now, did you see what happened to any of the
4 villages in the area, any of the particular villages in
5 the area?
6 A. Yes, I saw that part of Kozarac, actually
7 almost the whole Kozarac was almost completely burned.
8 There was an incredible fire because it was, it was put
9 on fire within a very short time and they started
10 putting it on fire sometime in the afternoon around
11 5.00 p.m. And around eight or nine that evening,
12 almost all of that area was burning simultaneously. It
13 was terrible to watch. There was some occasional
14 shooting, but not a lot of shooting, just this huge
15 fire. Several people managed to flee when the Serbian
16 army entered that area. And they told us how they did
17 that. They throw some kind of bombs into the houses
18 and then the houses start burning and burn out very
19 quickly. And some houses where they thought there was
20 some people in there, they would throw the bomb first,
21 the plaine bomb. And then the bomb that puts the house
22 on fire, but in that they basically didn't leave any
23 house untouched. They burned every house.
24 Q. The fires that you saw beginning in the area,
25 can you tell from what direction the fire started?
1 What side of the village? What area was it adjacent
3 A. From Mujkanovici and then Kozarusa was
4 burning up until the mid section of Kozarac. So from
5 the section of Prijedor from the direction of the
6 checkpoint, the Serb forces checkpoint, up until
7 Kozarac, that whole area was put on fire. And the area
8 that I mentioned, it burned out completely within a
9 very short period of time, the whole village was
10 burning. It was a horrible sight.
11 Q. You mentioned that there had been shooting
12 going on during this time as well, was any of the fire
13 directed toward the civilians, the people who were
14 fleeing the village?
15 A. Certainly, in Kozarusa, those people that
16 managed to flee and join the other group down there,
17 they started mentioning the people that were shot.
18 They gave an example of Jasim Jelkic. He was very old,
19 he couldn't run away and he was shot. And also some
20 that were fleeing were being shot at some and some were
21 killed and some managed to escape.
22 Q. Did you become aware of when the camp in the
23 Trnopolje area opened?
24 A. Yes, I learned of that a few days after the
1 Q. In the days following the attack, what did
2 you do?
3 A. When these groups of civilians that I
4 mentioned joined, due to shelling and to firing and
5 burning of the villages in Kozarac, people had no other
6 choice but to walk towards Trnopolje where houses were
7 not being fired and where there were non-firing going
8 on. At the same time Serb army in certain areas
9 started entering the civilian groups, giving the
10 explanation that they were looking for extremists.
11 However, I was one of those extremists that they were
12 looking for and I had to hide.
13 Q. How long did you remain in hiding?
14 A. I was hiding by myself in one area for two
15 days, and then a woman called me and she told me that I
16 could hide in her house because her house was in a safe
17 place because it was among the houses of the Ukrainians,
18 non-Serb population, so this is why those houses would
19 not be searched.
20 Q. For how long did you remain in hiding total?
21 Until what day?
22 A. In that house, or around that house, I
23 remained for a month. After that, I was hiding by
24 myself because those houses were cleansed as well and
25 that area was cleansed as well. This woman was taken
1 towards Trnopolje together with her children, and I
2 remained by myself there alone. There were also
3 several of my acquaintances there; however, I didn't
4 dare be with them because we were afraid that, should
5 we be arrested by Serb forces, they would be shot
6 because I had a political position prior to this and
7 they were looking for me.
8 In the end, those people left, and I remained
9 completely alone.
10 Q. Can you name the hamlets or villages which
11 you went through or in the area during the time that
12 you were in hiding?
13 A. Yes. I was in Hrnici, Suhi Brod, Gornji
14 Sivci, Sivci, Mujkanovici, Kenjari, and lastly,
16 Q. During the time that you were in hiding in
17 the area of Sivci, did military forces come into that
18 area and seize the population?
19 A. Yes, yes. They were undertaking those
20 actions under the explanation that they were looking
21 for extremists; however, every time they passed through
22 the hamlet, they would take out all of the inhabitants,
23 and while doing that, they would kill some people.
24 They would take the men towards Kozarac or Trnopolje, I
25 didn't know exactly where they were being taken, but I
1 noticed that they were being taken either towards
2 Kozarac or into the direction of Trnopolje.
3 Q. What was the ethnic group of the people
4 living in that village?
5 A. Bosniak Muslims and a small number of
7 Q. Were you able to determine what ethnic group
8 that the military forces who were attacking that
9 village were members of?
10 A. Yes. Those were Serb forces.
11 Q. How were you able to tell that?
12 A. I could conclude that based on the insignia.
13 I watched them from a short distance, I was hiding
14 either in the grass or in the bushes by the road, and I
15 also knew it because one of the Ukrainians that I have
16 mentioned, in order not to be shot, he was forced to
17 put on the uniform and become a member of the Serbian
18 army. However, he asked for permission to stand guard
19 in the area around his house and it was accepted. This
20 woman that offered to hide me in her house, in her
21 property, he gave her the information that he was able
22 to acquire from other soldiers.
23 Q. Can you describe the treatment of the people
24 as they were being rounded up by these forces in the
25 village of Sivci?
1 A. Well, it wasn't actually the rounding-up.
2 They always told the inhabitants, "You're safe. We
3 just want to arrest the extremists." And then suddenly
4 it would happen that the village would be surrounded on
5 all sides by the troops; that would always be without
6 any prior notice. I was able to observe that on two
7 occasions, first when they attacked Sivci and then
8 Mujkanovici and Hrnici, so three times. They would
9 surround the village from all sides and then they would
10 open fire in a synchronised manner, and all those
11 people who attempted to flee would go back, and also
12 the people from other areas would flee in the opposite
13 direction, and in the course of that shooting, they
14 would always invariably kill a few people. Then they
15 gathered the women and children in one location and
16 male adults would be taken away in groups.
17 On the main road, they had vehicles parked,
18 vans, and in the course of the ethnic cleansing of
19 Sivci, there was also a small bus. Some groups were
20 taken away on foot and some were put on those vehicles
21 and transported in vehicles, and while they were
22 transported along the road, I wasn't able to flee very
23 far from the road so I was hiding in the hedges, and
24 thus I was able to observe a large group being taken
25 from the village of Mujkanovici. They were taken to
1 Kozarac, they were beaten along the way. Some people
2 fell down and the others had to pick them up. Some
3 were singing Serbian songs and they were forced to do
4 so and they were laughing at them, telling them, "You
5 don't know those songs." They were beaten again, lined
6 up, ordered to run, then to go slower. All the while,
7 there was shooting.
8 Later on I heard from the people who observed
9 these events, further down the road to Kozarac, that
10 some of the people from those groups were shot by the
11 road. I did not see that personally, but people who
12 did see it confirmed that fact.
13 Q. Now, these forces involved in the attack,
14 were you able to tell where any of those forces were
16 A. Yes. In the course of the cleansing of the
17 village of Kenjari, after the infantry that had rounded
18 up or gathered up the population and took it away,
19 there was also an APC, armoured personnel carrier,
20 going from Trnopolje towards Kozarac, and it passed
21 through Gornji Sivci. That's next to Kenjari. There
22 was a Serbian flag on the APC. On the APC itself,
23 there were quite a few soldiers sitting on top of that
24 APC, and there was a group walking immediately behind
25 it. They had the insignia, two or three types of
1 insignia: The police of the Autonomous Region of
2 Krajina, there was the JNA insignia, and also some
3 insignia I hadn't seen until that time.
4 Over the next few days, when they were taking
5 away the people from the village of Mujkanovici, I was
6 able to observe from an abandoned house that group, and
7 I could hear the discussion that they had. I don't
8 mean the people who took away the captured men but the
9 group of soldiers who walked through the village
10 afterwards. I saw a mixed group. Some of them had the
11 full uniform on, some wore jeans and military-type
12 shirt, there were people who were younger, some were
13 older, and I listened to a conversation which to me was
14 strange at the time.
15 One of the soldiers told another that, "This
16 was really great, that it's better for him to come here
17 and to be engaged in combat for two days than to work
18 for a month in Banja Luka," which is where he lived and
19 worked. He was telling that to another soldier who
20 spoke with a pure Akkadian accent. I heard two
21 soldiers speaking the Akkadian accent in that group of
22 soldiers who were walking down the road.
23 Q. Mr. Semenovic, what does the Akkadian accent
24 mean? What do you mean by that? What does that
1 A. It's the accent of people from Serbia. This
2 is how the language is spoken in Serbia, and it's
3 different from the dialect in Bosnia, it's an obvious
4 difference, and people who live in the area are able to
5 tell the difference.
6 Q. Did you recognise whether any of the forces
7 were from the local area, that is, the Prijedor area?
8 A. Yes. Yes, I was.
9 Q. As it got closer to the time where you went
10 into Trnopolje camp, did the nature of the attacks
11 change in the villages?
12 A. Yes. The villages were completely
13 depopulated. People were taken away; women and
14 children were in Trnopolje and also some of the men.
15 The other men were taken to camps. The villages were
16 completely abandoned. Some were burnt, some were not.
17 And then the looting by the soldiers began en masse.
18 They took away everything they could take
19 away, and I was also able to observe that when I was
20 hiding in the area. First they would take away the
21 most valuable items, electronic devices, TV sets, then
22 refrigerators, cookers. In the end, they would also
23 take the wood in front of the house, electric cables
24 from the walls, light fixtures.
25 Every time when they would approach the
1 house, they opened fire on the house. Since I was
2 hiding, at first I thought that they were opening fire
3 on people who were hiding in the houses, and then,
4 later on, I realised that they were actually
5 communicating by firing.
6 The looting went on in the entire area. They
7 parked the cars in which they arrived near the houses
8 or in front of the houses, they would load on the
9 goods, and then they would drive away. This lasted for
10 four or five days.
11 After that, there were groups of soldiers who
12 also did that, and I was able to observe that there
13 would be groups who would only pick up cookers. They
14 entered each and every house, and if there was a cooker
15 in there, then they would take it away. Then there was
16 a group that was collecting electrical cookers and
17 refrigerators and also the water heaters. Later on,
18 there was a group that gathered cattle.
19 Since at that time I slept in a large hedge
20 which was very close to the military checkpoint, I felt
21 that they would be least likely to look for me so close
22 to the place where they were. I was able to see a
23 place where they stockpiled the goods that they
24 collected. Approximately every 24 hours, a large truck
25 would arrive, and they would load the goods onto the
1 truck and took it away towards Kozarac. Then they
2 would be collecting items for another two days and then
3 the truck would arrive again.
4 I did not observe individual soldiers do any
5 looting in that period anymore.
6 Q. Thereafter did you move towards Trnopolje?
7 A. Yes. I was thinking whether I should go
8 towards the Kozara and maybe try to escape that way or
9 maybe towards the Grmec Mountain. And then I concluded
10 that the route to Grmec was perhaps a bit easier,
11 although it was longer, because on the Kozara,
12 especially on the side facing Croatia, there were a lot
13 of soldiers and minefields. That was because of the
14 war in Croatia. And also because they spoke on the
15 radio that there were minefields laid on Kozara in
16 order to prevent extremists from fleeing that way. So
17 I set off towards Grmec.
18 The terrain that I was most familiar with was
19 the area where I lived, Trnopolje. From that place
20 where I was hiding, it took me 24 hours to pass the two
21 kilometres because I didn't know where the soldiers
22 were, where the guards were located. I was able to --
23 to my own property, the land which is my own property,
24 that's called Rosulje, it's a slightly elevated area
25 near the centre of Trnopolje where the local commune
1 building was and where the camp was at the time.
2 I arrived there around 3.00 a.m., just before
3 dawn, and I decided to remain there in hiding for that
4 day and to see how I could pass Trnopolje because I
5 knew that the security was very tight there. I
6 couldn't go to the left because there were the Serbian
7 villages to the left of Trnopolje, and to the right, I
8 did not know the terrain, and it was also adjacent to
9 Serbian villages.
10 So I observed from the hill the camp, it was
11 about 500 metres away from me, and I observed it
12 throughout the day until the evening. In the evening,
13 I observed where the guards were and how I would be
14 able to pass through this area. I saw that they
15 changed shifts every two hours, and I observed which
16 path they took around the camp.
17 Q. Now, the next day, what did you see in the
18 area of the camp?
19 A. From that distance, I was able to see the
20 camp and the people, a large number of people. They
21 all walked very slowly and they were stooped. I wasn't
22 able to hear their voices because the distance was too
24 I also noticed that some buses and trucks
25 arrived at Trnopolje from the direction of Prijedor. I
1 was able to go down into a cornfield and I was able to
2 see that there were men on the buses, and they held
3 their hands behind their backs and their heads were
4 bent down. Those buses were full.
5 I also saw some empty trucks, trailer trucks,
6 and also some empty buses arrive at Trnopolje. I
7 thought that maybe they were preparing to evacuate the
8 whole camp because we did have some information from
9 the Serbian radio that the Red Cross would evacuate
10 everybody and that everybody would go to the Muslim
11 territory, as they called it.
12 From the place where I observed the goings
13 on, I realised that I could go closer, get closer. To
14 the left of the area from my observation point, behind
15 the houses, there is a small wood, a cache of wood, and
16 there were two cornfields, and then there was the area
17 where the guards patrolled; and I concluded that maybe
18 during the night, I would be able to cross through the
19 cornfield and through the woods and to hide there at
20 the edge and to see what was going on, because I
21 realised that if I could wait for the evacuation, maybe
22 I could also infiltrate into the convoy, or at least to
23 try. It seemed like a safer option than to go to
24 Grmec. I did not have any food or anything, it was
25 over 30 kilometres on mountainous terrain. So that was
1 my decision.
2 The next evening, I managed to get to that
4 Q. How did you actually get into the camp?
5 A. When I reached that clearing, it was early
6 morning and there was a thick fog. That was maybe 70
7 metres away from the wire of the camp. They couldn't
8 see me there. I saw that there was complete chaos in
9 there. I had thought that there would be guards, but
10 there were women, children, elderly people. I saw that
11 some people were packing their bags.
12 I also noticed that the clearing that I was
13 telling you about, those were two fields of arable
14 land, and there was a border of maybe about a metre
15 between those two fields and there was a rather deep
16 ditch between them, and I realised that maybe I would
17 be able to crawl along that ditch and get immediately
18 next to the wire because I saw a lot of people
19 relieving themselves next to the wire fence. I
20 realised that this was, in fact, the latrine.
21 And also that area below the wire fence was
22 overgrown with raspberries, and I realised that they
23 would not be able to see me. If I couldn't get in
24 touch with those people and if I realised that I
25 couldn't get inside and join them and that the
1 situation was not as chaotic as it had seemed to me, I
2 thought that I would either sleep in the raspberry
3 bushes and then go back or maybe I could go back
4 immediately, if I deemed it possible.
5 When I got to the wire fence, I realised that
6 I was right, and I also recognised some of my friends.
7 Q. So did you get in through the wire?
8 A. Yes. I took off my trousers - I have to say
9 that - I jumped through the wire fence, and I pretended
10 that I was also relieving myself, just like all the
11 other people there.
12 I observed the area for about five minutes
13 and I noticed some of my friends. And then, just like
14 everybody around me, I pulled up my trousers, and I
15 approached the first person that I knew and I asked
16 what was happening and if it was possible for me to
17 hide here. He said that they were preparing to
18 evacuate the camp and to take everybody to Gracnica
19 and that it would be possible for me to hide, but I had
20 to go under a tractor or in an area at the corner of
21 two buildings. He said that it was a safe area but
22 that I would have to hide underneath a blanket.
23 Q. Did they indicate whether or not the Serbian
24 forces had been looking for you?
25 A. Yes. I asked him if anybody was looking for
1 me. He said, "They are not looking for you. They
2 called out your name a couple of times, but later they
3 said that your corpse had been found and recognised by
4 some soldiers in Kozarac." So they stopped looking for
5 me. They hadn't been looking for me for about a
6 month. That's what my friend Adem explained to me.
7 Q. For how long did you remain in the Trnopolje
9 A. Three days and three nights. On the third
10 night, around 2.00 a.m., I left again.
11 Q. Why did you leave the camp?
12 A. I left because I was in a group of people
13 from Kamicani, their last name is Foric; they are all
14 related to each other. On that day, just before I
15 left, they were called out and taken away, and then we
16 heard shooting, two bursts and six single shots.
17 The next day, the camp administration called
18 a man to bury six bodies and, according to his
19 description, it turned out that these were the Foric
20 men. At first I thought that maybe they had been shot
21 because of me, but one of the group who had survived
22 told me that it had nothing to do with me. He also
23 reminded me that this soldier who had arrived a day
24 before to say hello to the Foric brothers, to the Foric
25 men, he took them away to kill them, and I was there
1 when this happened, but I had my back turned on that
3 He came and he said hello in a peaceful way.
4 He said, "Well, guys, when are we going to play
5 football? What's happening?" They were quiet and then
6 he turned around and left. One of the lads then
7 clutched his stomach and he said, "It's all over." I
8 asked him, "Why is it all over?" And he just repeated,
9 "It's all over." And that was the end of that
11 That night, the Serb police came, they
12 called out "Zilho Foric," one of the six relatives.
13 They talked to him behind the tractor for several
14 minutes; then he came back and he called his brother
15 and four relatives, told them to get up and to put on
16 their shoes and to accompany him. That's how they were
17 taken away.
18 Q. For how long did you leave the camp?
19 A. Two or three days.
20 Q. Why did you return to the camp?
21 A. I returned on the third day. I had an
22 arrangement with one of my acquaintances from the
23 village of Kamicani. He was supposed to leave a
24 message for me and to bring me some food because I did
25 not have anything to eat. I explained to him how I got
1 out, and he said that he would take the same route.
2 After two days, he did not appear, but on
3 that morning, I saw six large buses that arrived in
4 Trnopolje empty and several trailer trucks. They were
5 all empty. And they had come from the direction of
6 Prijedor. I realised that they were there to evacuate
7 the people, to transfer them to Gracnica, as the
8 rumour went, and that that was reason why my friend
9 could not get out, because he didn't want to miss his
10 chance. I also realised that this was a good
11 opportunity for me.
12 Q. So did you re-enter the camp?
13 A. Yes. Yes, in the same manner, I re-entered
14 the camp.
15 Q. What did you discover when you re-entered the
17 A. When I re-entered the camp, I saw my friend,
18 Adem Trnjanin. He noticed me because I was at the same
19 spot where I had been before. He was crying. He just
20 kept saying, "It's all over. They learned that you had
21 been here. The 15 of us who contacted you, we were all
22 interrogated, some were beaten, and we were given the
23 ultimatum, 48 hours to tell them where you were." And
24 that ultimatum was expiring at that time. I was there
25 in the early morning, and at 10.00 or 11.00, that
1 deadline expired.
2 Q. So what did you decide to do?
3 A. I did not have any choice. I could have
4 tried to escape to save my own life, but in that case,
5 the 15 of them would have been shot. I did not ponder
6 that. I took off my watch, gave it to a friend of
7 mine. I wanted him to give it to my family if he
8 survived. The 50 German marks that I had in my pocket
9 I gave to another friend, and I told Adem to go and
10 fetch the captain, the chief of the camp, of the camp
11 guards, of the military guards who were there.
12 So Adem went to fetch the captain, came back
13 with him.
14 Q. Where were you taken by this captain?
15 A. He took me to a room that was across from the
16 school, that was the room where the camp administration
17 was. Some officers, military officers, were in there,
18 and when this military officer took me to that house,
19 Mr. Slobodan Kuruzovic, who I recognised, was getting
20 out. I knew him from before the war. He was walking
21 towards me. And there were also several soldiers.
22 Some were running.
23 Some of them punched me a couple of times,
24 and Kuruzovic said that they should stop because there
25 would be information coming from me. And then they
1 stopped. And he said, "No, this is not Semenovic. I
2 know Semenovic." I said, "Yes, that's me." And then
3 he recognised my voice.
4 Later he asked me where my coat was, where my
5 tie was. He said, "Look at you. You're so dirty." So
6 they took me to their command where I was interrogated
7 for a while, but I was not beaten.
8 Q. Where were you taken then?
9 A. They handcuffed me and took me out of the
10 room. They put me into a Mercedes which was parked
11 there, it was a green Mercedes. A soldier sat next to
12 me in the back. He was one of the two twin brothers
13 who were in Trnopolje. One of them sat in the back
14 next to me, and in the front, in the driver's seat, was
15 the officer who took me to Kuruzovic, and in the
16 passenger seat, there was an employee who used to work
17 for a friend of mine at the veterinary station. I
18 think his name was Brane Beric. He asked me, "Where is
19 your friend?" He asked that in an ironical matter. He
20 meant his erstwhile employer, boss, Sejad Sivac, who
21 was a friend of mine. So they took me to Prijedor, on
22 the Trnopolje-Prijedor road, next to the railway line.
23 Q. Where did they take you to? Where did you
24 finally go?
25 A. First they took me to Keraterm. Across the
1 road from Keraterm, there was some kind of
2 administrative building of a company. I don't recall
3 which company it was. At that time, this was where the
4 military police were located. This is what was written
5 on the building.
6 Across the road, I saw the Keraterm factory
7 and a large number of camp inmates in there, in the
8 factory compound.
9 We remained in the car for maybe ten or
10 fifteen minutes. I took the opportunity -- this young
11 soldier remained with me in the car, and the two who
12 were in the front seats, they went to the military
13 police building. Since this soldier at one point asked
14 me, I quote, "Well, Mevludin, how come -- you are a
15 member of parliament. How come you lived in such a bad
16 house, a house in a bad condition?" My house was very
17 small and rather old, and I said, "Well, this is what
18 you get for living honestly."
19 And then I realised that maybe this was a
20 good opportunity for me to ask him what was going to
21 happen. So I asked him that question. I simply said,
22 "Can you tell me, will they kill me immediately or
23 later on? What's the procedure? How is it done?"
24 Q. What did he respond?
25 A. And then he said, "It doesn't necessarily
1 mean that you will be killed. It depends on what you
2 will tell them." I asked him, "What would be the best
3 thing for me to say?" And then he said, "I don't
4 know. May Allah help you." And that was the end of
5 the conversation.
6 Q. Where were you taken from that location?
7 A. The two persons, that captain or the
8 lieutenant, I am not sure of his rank, and Mr. Beric,
9 took me from the military police building to the
10 building of the SUP, the building of the military
11 affairs in Prijedor to a room upstairs to an office
13 Q. Were you interrogated there?
14 A. There was a younger gentleman there. I
15 realised that he was a police officer, in fact. Before
16 the war he was a student and sometimes we had a drink
17 together before the war because he was a boyfriend of a
18 schoolmate of mine. When he started the interrogation,
19 he was mocking me. He said, how come that you are so
20 dirty? He was being very ironical, wearing a tie. Is
21 that how an MP should look? And then at one point a
22 soldier entered the room, he was a large man, blonde.
23 He simply approached me, started to laugh and started
24 hitting me. He beat me for a while and then he took a
25 police baton and started hitting me over the back.
1 Then he started hitting me on the head and then, after
2 a couple of blows, I fell down. Then he took out my
3 belt from my pants, put it around my neck and pulled me
4 up by the belt and he said the MP, member of
5 parliament should have a tie. And he pulled me by
6 the belt to another room. A police officer and a
7 civilian were in that room, that later sat at the
8 desk. And this is where they started the
9 interrogation. And they also wrote down the
10 interrogation. Right at the start they said, let's
11 make one thing clear, you're a fundamentalist and we
12 know it. You can say whatever you want, but your
13 father was a fundamentalist.
14 Q. Did they have anything that they indicated
15 that there was proof that you were a fundamentalist?
16 A. Yes, they said we have evidence. And in
17 front of them they had a box, a shoe box, in which was
18 my working diary and also a magazine, my father's
19 magazine. My father died before the war. He was a
20 priest or Imam Hodi as we say. And as Imam Hodi, of
21 course, he was a subscriber to religious magazines. This
22 is what he used in his work.
23 And the police in my house, when they
24 searched the house, they took one of those magazines.
25 It was called, "Islamic Thought." And that magazine
1 was in police, on the police office, on the desk, and
2 that was the proof that I was a fundamentalist and so
3 was my father. And also there was a tape from the
4 founding meeting of the SDA in Dubica and those were
5 the two pieces of evidence that they had. I also saw
6 that that magazine was three or four years old,
7 although there were several of those that were just one
8 year old. But in our house, we had a lot of those
9 magazines and they didn't even try to find a fresher
10 one, they just took the first one that they came across
11 and they used it as evidence.
12 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Keegan, it's after half
14 MR. KEEGAN: Yes.
15 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now. Five past
1 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.35 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 2.08 p.m.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Keegan.
4 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Mr. Semenovic, did you know the ethnic group
6 of the policeman who interrogated and beat you?
7 A. I did, they were Serbian ethnic background.
8 Q. Did you know any of them, were any of them
9 local men?
10 A. Yes, I did know two of them. I also knew the
11 policeman that with was present while the interrogation
12 was taking place. I was interrogated by the
14 Q. And the others who you did not personally
15 know, how is that you were able to identify their
16 ethnic background?
17 A. Yes, they were calling each other. The one
18 that was beating me, they called him Dragan, if I can
19 remember correctly. The one that was in the car when I
20 was taken to Prijedor, I knew him, I met him through my
21 friends because he was a director to one of my
22 friends. And I also knew that the chief of the guards
23 in Trnopolje camp was called Slavko. I don't know his
24 last name.
25 Q. Now, after the interrogation, where were you
2 A. After the interrogation, I was taken to the
3 prison cell.
4 Q. Was there anything about the condition of the
5 cell that indicated to you what had happened to
6 prisoners who had been in there before you?
7 A. Yes, there was a lot of blood on the floor
8 and on the walls. And I remember that there was a big
9 bloody stain above the metal bed that took about
10 two-thirds of the room. From the entrance to the
11 right, on the right wall there was a spot, a bloody
12 spot on the wall, maybe one metre wide. A huge bloody
13 spot. And there was part of the wall that gave in.
14 The bloody spot was descending as if somebody was
15 draining the blood downwards. I suppose that somebody
16 was shot from a close proximity and this bloody spot
17 was there on the wall. And there was also a hole in
18 the wall from the bullet. There was some blood on the
19 floor and also the, the cover, the bed spread was, had
20 several blood spots on it.
21 Q. Was there anyone in the cell when you were
22 put in there?
23 A. Yes, four persons were in it, two men and two
25 Q. Did you know any of those people?
1 A. I did know one person, an acquaintance. But
2 when I was -- when I was taken into the cell, I was
3 beaten in front of the cell. I was thrown on the floor
4 and then thrown inside. And I just lay on the floor
5 for about half an hour on the concrete floor and I was
6 quiet. And then after half an hour, these women said
7 to the men, asked them to pick me up and put me on the
8 bed. And then I started quietly talking to them and
9 they told me that they were from Cela.
10 Q. And were you able to determine the ethnic
11 group of the people who were in the cell with you?
12 A. Yes, they were Bosniak Muslims, both men and
13 women that were in the cell. And they told me, the
14 woman told me that some were arrested on the street and
15 some in their houses and they were brought in without
16 any reason or explanation.
17 Q. And what occurred to you after that?
18 A. After that, they took the men and women out
19 of the cell and I remained there alone. I spent a
20 night in the cell. And during the night, the guards
21 were beating on the door several times saying that they
22 would come in, saying that I would clean the bedroom,
23 the dormitory of the military police, that was across
24 from there; however, they did not open the door. And
25 the next morning, the police came in and they took me
1 out of the cell. They took me again through the
2 building of the Internal Ministry into the court yard
3 where there was a bus, a parked bus. When I was going
4 through the hallway of the building of the Interior
5 Ministry, I saw a gentleman, Simo Miskovic that I knew
6 from before. I tried to catch his glance and perhaps
7 ask him something, however, he turned his head the
8 other way when he saw me. And the policeman brought me
9 to the bus and told me to enter the bus and to sit
11 Q. And what was Simo Miskovic's position at that
13 A. He was President of the Serbian Democratic
14 Party in Prijedor.
15 Q. And how was it that you were being led
16 through the building? By what means?
17 A. I was tied with a belt around my neck and I
18 was taken, you know, they were pulling the belt and I
19 couldn't walk straight, I couldn't straighten up, I was
20 all bent down and looking downwards. They were
21 laughing and saying: "Move away. We're leading the
22 member of the parliament here." And just prior, before
23 we entered the bus, they took the belt off and told me,
24 get in.
25 Q. What type of uniforms were the individuals
1 wearing who were involved in your interrogation, in
2 your detention in the SUP and taking you out of the
4 A. The persons who took me into SUP and took me
5 out wore the uniforms of the special military police.
6 And some -- and also the people that beat me also had
7 military or police uniforms. And one of the persons
8 that interrogated me, had a classic police uniform, the
9 blue colour uniform.
10 Q. Can you describe what the special police --
11 excuse me, what the special police military uniform
12 looks like?
13 A. They were camouflage uniforms, however, they
14 were not green as usual. They had some kind of a
15 purplish, light purplish colour. They were slightly
16 different, slightly darker than regular military
17 camouflage uniforms.
18 Q. Now, when you, after you were put on the bus,
19 where were you taken?
20 A. Omarska.
21 Q. And when you arrived at the Omarska camp,
22 where were you first taken?
23 A. I was first taken into the administrative
24 building. And up there, upstairs, they recorded my
25 name in some kind of a record book and then they took
1 me out of the administrative building and escorted me
2 to a small house that was across from the
3 administrative building.
4 Q. How long of a period of time did you spend
5 totally in Omarska camp?
6 A. I think about eight or nine days.
7 Q. Your Honour, I am now going to ask the
8 witness to identify the structures on the model that's
9 before him. I believe he may need to change head sets
10 to have on the longer cord.
11 Mr. Semenovic, if you could come around the
12 end of the table, so that the judges can see where
13 you're pointing, please. This is Omarska camp, it was
14 Exhibit No. 130 in the Tadic trial. It would have to
15 be now given the next number in order. P-14, I
16 believe. 40, excuse me.
17 THE REGISTRAR: 40, that's correct.
18 MR. KEEGAN: Mr. Semenovic, you're going to
19 need to speak into one of the microphones.
20 THE WITNESS: Okay.
21 MR. KEEGAN:
22 Q. Mr. Semenovic, if you could first identify
23 which building there is the administration building?
24 A. This is the administration building, this
25 here is the administration building in Omarska.
1 Q. And what is the structure on the other side
2 of that building then?
3 A. This is the former restaurant of the mining
4 complex, the cafeteria in which the workers that worked
5 in the mine ate. This is the entrance into the
6 administration building, you enter here and they have a
7 spiral staircase that goes up.
8 Q. And later on, you'll be referring to in your
9 evidence the glass house, can you point out the area
10 where the glass house is to the Trial Chamber, please?
11 A. The glass house is this part here. So it is
12 sort of a link between the administrative building and
13 the restaurant. And partly it is without roof. This
14 part here.
15 Q. And which of the structures was referred to
16 as the hangar building?
17 A. These are hangars, this large facility here.
18 Q. And the white house?
19 A. The white house is this one.
20 Q. And where is the area known as the Pista?
21 A. This is Pista. This part and this part.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Semenovic, you may return to
23 your seat. I should state, Your Honour, we will be
24 attempting now to reproduce, make photographs of each
25 of the buildings, that we would attempt to use for
1 witnesses. I indicated this earlier in conversation to
2 the defence. Based on our experience in Tadic, it can
3 get difficult to use the model, but the model will be
4 available, of course, any time for the Trial Chamber or
5 the Defence, if necessary.
6 All right, you indicated that when you first
7 arrived at the camp you were first taken into the
8 administrative building and your name was logged in.
9 Where were you taken from there?
10 A. I was taken into the white house after that.
11 Q. And what happened to you once you were in the
12 white house?
13 A. They beat me.
14 Q. Which room in the white house were you put
16 A. Into the room on the left side, when you
17 enter the first room on the left. The window of that
18 room faced the Pista.
19 Q. The men who beat you, did they say anything
20 to you as they were beating you?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. What did they say?
23 A. First a civilian entered without the uniform,
24 that person beat me and saying, "You were a member of
25 the parliament." And after that person, another
1 soldier walked in, he beat me and saying, "Did you talk
2 on TV, did you say something against the Serbian army
3 on television? You are a member of the parliament."
4 And then the next person again did the same. They were
5 about a total of five of them. One civilian and four
6 uniformed persons, but one by one. They didn't enter
7 together, they entered one by one.
8 Q. Did you know any of these people?
9 A. I did know some from passing by, from
10 before. And the person that was the civilian, I met in
11 the following days in the glass house.
12 Q. Did you know the ethnic group of those
13 individuals? Could you determine the ethnic group of
14 those individuals?
15 A. The first person that was civilian was
16 Bosniak Muslim. And the uniformed men were Serbian
17 ethnic background.
18 Q. Now, what did these individuals beat you
19 with? Did they use any kinds of weapons or tools?
20 A. Hands and batons and with their feet, with
21 their boots. One had a baton. It was actually a metal
22 stick and then a transparent water pipe, plastic was on
23 that stick and then this is what he used to beat me.
24 He was a shortish man with moustache, fat.
25 Q. What type of injuries did you suffer as a
1 result of the beating?
2 A. I fell down and then as I fell down, when I
3 was on the floor, I was hit with a boot into the face
4 by a soldier. I was completely covered with blood,
5 very soon after that the blood was coming out of my
6 mouth and nose. And then they stopped beating me and
7 they called over an old man and asked him to clean me
8 up. And he cleaned me with my clothes that I had
9 on and that I had to take off at their, following their
11 Q. And did they say anything about what was
12 going to happen to you next?
13 A. After that, police came in and they took me
14 towards the administration building again. And as we
15 were exiting the white house and on our way to the
16 administration building, soldiers started running
17 towards me from various areas and they started beating
18 me. But the policeman that was behind me, told them,
19 "We've been told not to beat him while he is
20 interrogated. You will have your chance later on."
21 And then they left. They didn't beat me anymore and I
22 was taken to the administration building upstairs
23 again, into an office on the right side, I think it
24 with was a third room on the right side.
25 Q. Did you know the man who was to interrogate
1 you, did you know who he was?
2 A. Yes, I knew him by sight. And I also saw him
3 immediately prior to that on the bus that took me from
4 Prijedor to Omarska. He sat in front of me, about
5 three or four seats in front of me. Occasionally he
6 would turn back. And he was an old man, a civilian.
7 Occasionally he would turn back and when I saw him in
8 that office room, I recognised him as the man from the
9 bus. But at that point he already had an uniform on
11 Q. What kind of uniform was he wearing?
12 A. A military one.
13 Q. And what was his name?
14 A. Dragan Radakovic.
15 Q. Do you know what he did before the war?
16 A. Yes, I know. He used to be a director of the
17 National Park, Kozara, Mrakovica. And later on during
18 the interrogation, he confirmed that to me.
19 Q. And what did he ask you about when you were
20 put in the room?
21 A. I was taken by policemen into that room. And
22 immediately after them, a largely built man, policeman
23 with a nickname Krkan entered and he stood there and
24 Radakovic started interrogating me. And his first
25 question was: "Have they beaten you?" That's what he
1 asked me. Then it was quiet and he repeated the
2 question. And then I answered, "I don't know whether I
3 should say that I have been beaten or not." And he
4 said: "Why don't you say that you have been beaten.
5 Look at you, you're all bloodied and your countryman
6 beat you, didn't he?" And I answered, "Yes." And then
7 he asked me, "Did somebody else beat you?" And I said,
8 "I don't remember, because I fainted."
9 Q. What else then did he say during the
11 A. He said afterwards, after this discussion, he
12 said, "We are not interested in Prijedor. We are not
13 interested in weapons. We know that you didn't have
14 any. There was just a little bit of weapons and we
15 know who had that. We're interested in Sarajevo. In
16 Sarajevo", this is what he was saying as he was hitting
17 the desk with his hand. And then he started
18 questioning me about the people on leading positions in
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Who did I saw last? Have I
20 talked to any of these leaders? When that took place.
21 Did I hear of any conversation between these leaders?
22 What they were talking about. And he mostly insisted
23 on questions concerning two Serb, high-placed
24 officials, Miodrag Simovic, who was the Vice President
25 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Miro Dragonovic (Phon).
1 They were still members of the government of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina. They had not left the government
3 yet at that point. And this is probably why these
4 people were so interested in them.
5 Q. What was Dragan Radakovic's ethnic back
7 A. He is a Serb.
8 Q. Now, the Bosnian Muslim who came in first to
9 beat you, do you recall what his name was?
10 A. His nickname was Besa, and I think his last
11 name was Besic. The guards in the camp used him to
12 make coffee. He would make coffee to them. He would
13 clean their rooms. And often they joked with him. And
14 as far as I could tell, they did not abuse him.
15 Q. Did he receive special treatment or special
16 favours from the guards?
17 A. Yes, he was in the glass house. I know
18 because I was taken into the same room the next day.
19 And I had a conversation with this man called Besa. I
20 pretended not to recognise him, but since his bed --
21 actually my bed was right next to his because his was
22 the last in that line, when I came into the glass house
23 and hen he saw me, sort of lying down, he bent over me
24 and he asked me, "Did they beat you?"
25 Q. Were you beaten during the interrogation?
1 A. No.
2 Q. And how long did the interrogation last?
3 A. That day or the total?
4 Q. That day.
5 A. That day, it lasted, I believe around five
7 Q. And how many days thereafter were you
9 A. Six or seven days, I am not sure.
10 Q. And during the time that you were at Omarska,
11 did media personnel visit the camp?
12 A. Yes. I think that that was the day before my
13 last day when I came to the camp. I think maybe the
14 8th day. It was unexpected. We just noticed in the
15 morning that all the officers put on new uniforms.
16 That the guards had their weapons, arms, in their hands
17 and not hanging on their shoulders. That everybody was
18 clean, the weapons were cleaned. We noticed on Pista
19 that the military vehicles drove in with a larger
20 number of officers in them. We also heard some
21 shooting, but we -- we didn't conclude that it was some
22 kind of a war action because the officers were laughing
23 at Pista and talking between themselves. And then all
24 of a sudden, a group of journalists walked into the
25 cafeteria, into this restaurant. There were several
1 cameras that were recording, shooting everything
3 And we noticed that the group of prisoners
4 who had their meal at that point, they ate very
5 slowly. And prior to entering the cafeteria, they were
6 ordered to eat slowly and they had five minutes to eat
7 their meal -- no, five minutes, this time they had five
8 minutes and normally they had two minutes to enter.
9 And this time they were eating very slowly and we
10 observed the journalists talking to some of the
12 Q. Did the camp authorities approach you about
13 giving interviews when the journalists were present in
14 the camp?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And did you, in fact, give interviews to
17 journalists in the camp?
18 A. Yes. Zivko Ecim, a local journalist from
19 Prijedor came to tape me and the police called me from
20 the glass house and took me upstairs again in the
21 administrative building and they said, "You will be
22 taped now. And if you are taped, maybe you will remain
23 alive." And then a journalist that I remember from
24 Prijedor came into the room and he said, "Mr.
25 Semenovic, this is a chance for you to --" no, he said,
1 "This is your chance to stay alive. You have to read
2 this statement." He had a piece of paper with him.
3 Q. How many interviews in total did you give to
4 Serb media?
5 A. Ecim filmed me twice and that day when the
6 foreign journalists entered the camp, after they taped
7 the cafeteria, the police came to the glass house,
8 called me by name and took me upstairs to the
9 administration building. And I saw all the journalists
10 taping things down there and they brought me in front
11 of the foreign journalists who refused to film me. I
12 know that because the interpreter who was interpreting,
13 that's how she put it. The police then took me to that
14 same floor, to the lift further down the hall. There
15 is a large hall in the administrative building and they
16 told me to wait there and left a police officer to
17 guard me. After a couple of minutes, some other
18 officers came and some police officers too. And the
19 team of journalists entered then. They were from the
20 SRNA news agency. There was a journalist, a cameraman,
21 and another person who was with the cameramen. In the
22 meantime, this hall filled in with people. They
23 probably wanted to observe me being filmed and being
25 Q. Now, during your interrogations, was there a
1 statement eventually prepared for you to sign?
2 A. Yes, that's right.
3 Q. Did Mr. Radakovic ask you about other
4 prisoners in the camp? For example, Medunjanin?
5 A. No, he did not question me about other
6 prisoners in the camp, but he did mention some of them
7 and asked me if I knew Anes Medunjanin. I said that I
8 did know him. And then he said that he was a nice
9 guy. That's what Radakovic said. He said, "I was
10 surprised how much that guy knew about the Orthodox
11 faith. He knows more about the Orthodox faith than I
12 do about Islam and maybe even more than I know myself
13 about the Orthodox faith. And I am amazed that an
14 extremist such as his father, Becir Medunjanin could
15 produce such a smart child." And he said "I will
16 introduce you to Anes Medunjanin." And I said, "I did
17 not know Anes personally because there is a big age
18 difference. I knew his father." And then this
19 conversation ended, this part of the conversation.
20 Q. During the interrogation, did he talk about
21 the position that Serbs had in other areas of Bosnia or
22 the difficulties they were encountering?
23 A. Yes. The second day of the interrogation,
24 they mostly -- the questioning actually proceeded in
25 this way: He talked and I kept quiet. He held those
1 long monologues and he would be speaking about things
2 that had nothing to do with the war, about art. He
3 said he had a degree from the Academy of Arts, that he
4 was a sculptor. That he liked arts and poetry. And
5 then he said to me, "This thing here is a hotel
6 compared to how Serbs lived in some places where
7 Muslims are in power." He said in Tuzla, "It's true
8 hell for Serbs. All of them had been brought to the
9 stadium. And the Muslim army, from the salty wells
10 where the water, salty water is taken out to produce
11 salt, they take the salty water out and they spray it
12 on the grass in the stadium. And since it is very hot,
13 it was in the summer, Serbs have to lick that salty
14 water, which makes them even more thirsty and they die
15 in great suffering."
16 Q. Could we now run or prepare the tape to run,
17 which should be the next exhibit in order, No. 15 --
18 41, excuse me. Be Exhibit 41, Your Honour. And if we
19 could have these transcripts of the tape distributed
20 and marked as Exhibit 42. No, the witness doesn't need
21 one, thank you.
22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, what is this tape
23 that we're going to see?
24 MR. KEEGAN: This tape has several segments
25 on it, Your Honour. It had been previously provided to
1 the Defence. One including the Serbian interview of
2 this witness in the Omarska camp. Could we run the
3 first clip, please?
4 (Videotape played).
5 Q. Mr. Semenovic, have you had an opportunity to
6 review this tape, which is Exhibit 41?
7 A. Yes, I saw it here at the Tribunal.
8 Q. And in this first part of the tape, is this a
9 Serb press report which quotes Milomir Stakic as the
10 mayor of Prijedor talking about the camps in Trnopolje
11 and Omarska?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Could we proceed to the next segment, the
14 next queue, please, it's 527.
15 (Videotape played).
16 Q. Mr. Semenovic, what is that that we're now
17 seeing on the monitor?
18 A. What you can see now is the restaurant, the
19 mining complex cafeteria.
20 Q. Is that the -- are those the prisoners eating
21 the meal that you referred to earlier in your
23 A. Yes, that's correct.
24 Q. If we could forward to 8 minutes, 30
1 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, what is the purpose
2 of this transcript that we're being given?
3 MR. KEEGAN: This is an actual transcript of
4 the tape. Rather than have the witness repeat
5 everything on the tape, we thought it would be far more
6 expedient to simply provide the transcript of exactly
7 what's on the tape. And simply have him identify the
8 various parts and some of the relevant parts of the
9 tape such as the Omarska camp so that you don't have a
10 video representation of it, his interview, who is
11 conducting the interview, and then some of the Bosnian
12 Serb leaders who are on the later segments of the tape,
13 simply for identification purposes. And then we'll be
14 submitting the actual tape and the transcript as the
16 JUDGE MAY: Well, where am I supposed to be
17 looking now at the transcript?
18 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour, this is at the
19 bottom of page 3, we will begin there. Now, if we
20 could run it back. Thank you, right there is good.
21 Mr. Semenovic --
22 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, I have an
24 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. Let's just get an
25 answer to that question. Who was the man on the tape?
1 MR. KEEGAN:
2 Q. Being shown?
3 A. This is Mr. Simo Drljaca.
4 JUDGE MAY: Now, Mr. Vucicevic, what do you
5 want to say?
6 MR. VUCICEVIC: Just as the Court had
7 difficulty following this transcript, I have the same
8 difficulty because we have been given these tapes,
9 about four days ago. And we have been getting two
10 tapes everyday. Finally we received some tapes on
11 Saturday, we didn't get because we couldn't get
12 reviewed those two tapes. And I do not know whether
13 this is a footage that we received a couple of days ago
14 or not, just having one image on the screen. If the
15 Prosecutor would like to play the whole film or, you
16 know, substantial portion of it, so that we can
17 identify that that's the film that we have received it,
18 we don't mind it being admitted. And of course, you
19 know the witness could testify to -- or parts of it.
20 But the transcript, as I said, clip three as I look
21 just right now, I can't recall that I ever saw that
22 film because these names are strange to me, never saw
23 them before, never heard of them.
24 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, if I might?
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Keegan.
1 MR. KEEGAN: This was given to the Defence a
2 week ago, prior to this witness' testimony. We have
3 the receipt. In addition prior to this session, I
4 specifically asked the Defence if there was any
5 objection to this tape. And the answer was, there was
6 no objection. That he, he was talking about the tapes
7 which we gave him this weekend that we don't intend to
8 offer now and he said he hadn't reviewed. And
9 we specifically spoke about this tape and he said, "No
11 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, I don't think I want
12 to go through the discussions you've had outside
13 court. I think it's not easy quite to follow what's
14 happening. We'll allow you to go through this in the
15 way that you want. But I think we're going to need
16 some explanation. But it is right, is it, that the
17 Defence have had all these tapes?
18 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour. And, in fact,
19 I was simply trying to go as quickly as possible, given
20 the prior remarks about trying to get through the
21 evidence. But I am happy to go through the tapes more
23 JUDGE MAY: Well, do it the way that you want
24 to, but just bear in mind that we have to follow. I am
25 supposed to be looking at page 3; is that right, of the
2 MR. KEEGAN: That's right, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE MAY: And an interview with Simo
5 MR. KEEGAN: Drljaca, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
7 MR. KEEGAN:
8 Q. And if we could back it up to about the six
9 minute mark and play it from there, please.
10 (Videotape played).
11 Q. Now, this would actually be on page 2, Your
12 Honour, moving on to page 3, the one on page 2, you can
13 see that the reporter is talking about arriving at the
14 camp during lunch time. And then we move to page 3.
15 And Mr. Semenovic, can you identify that
16 individual who is in the centre of the frame there?
17 A. Yes, it was Simo Drljaca, the police chief in
19 Q. And is that him there on the left
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, if we could forward to the queue No. 3,
23 which is about 8 minutes, 30 seconds. And that would
24 pick up then, Your Honour, on the bottom of page 3,
25 "male reporter off camera." Thank you. Mr.
1 Semenovic, can you identify the people there?
2 A. That's me here on this video.
3 Q. And who is it that is conducting this
4 interview of you?
5 A. The interview is conducted by Dragan Bosonic,
6 a journalist from the SRNA news agency and before the
7 war he was a reporter at the Bosnian Herzegovina TV.
8 Q. And do you know what current position he
10 A. He is a high-ranking official of the SDS and,
11 as such, he is the Deputy Foreign Minister of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina and he is also one of my superiors
13 because I work for the Foreign Ministry. SDS officials
14 still are able to work unless --
15 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment, I don't know that
16 this is going to assist us, what's happening now, is
17 it, Mr. Keegan?
18 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, it is, we believe
19 relevant to the issue, as what we believe will be
20 raised later in this case. The attitudes of the
21 various groups towards the various ethnic groups and
22 their willingness to be cooperative. So that is the
23 nature of the evidence.
24 JUDGE MAY: I shall need to be convinced of
25 the relevance of any evidence about what's going on
2 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, your honour. If we could
3 then continue with that segment, please.
4 Q. Mr. Semenovic, during this interview, you are
5 asked to explain how you came to the camp and the
6 answer you indicate is that you came to the camp on
7 your own, was that, in fact, the truth? Could you
8 pause the camera there, please, the film.
9 A. No, that was not the truth.
10 Q. There are other questions in this interview,
11 such as knowledge about priests or Imams providing
12 weapons to people and you indicate in your answer that
13 you had knowledge of such things, was that the truth?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Why did you give those answers then during
16 this interview?
17 A. Because I would have been killed if I had
18 spoken the truth.
19 Q. If we could continue with the film, please.
20 (Videotape played).
21 Q. What is that area now that we're seeing now
22 on the film, Mr. Semenovic?
23 A. This is the glass house.
24 Q. That is the area in the camp in which you
25 were held?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Thank you, if we could now forward to the 4th
4 JUDGE MAY: What page in the transcript,
5 please, Mr. Keegan.
6 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour. This would
7 now be No. 6, on the 5th page of the transcript. Sixth
8 page, excuse me, Your Honour. You'll see the male
9 reporter in the middle of the page and male reporter
10 off camera and talking about Trnopolje.
11 (Videotape played).
12 Q. Mr. Semenovic, can you identify that area
13 that's being shown on the video?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. What is that, please?
16 A. That's the Trnopolje camp.
17 Q. The building that's being shown there right
18 now, just moving off the screen, what building was
20 A. That was the local commune building and the
21 primary school in Trnopolje. Also the old cinema
22 theatre and to the left, that was the first thing that
23 was seen on that shot, it's the warehouses of the
24 co-op. They were in that area. The prisoners were all
25 over the place in all those areas.
1 Q. If we could then move to 5th queue. And
2 that, Your Honour, would be the section labelled Clip
3 3, on the 18th page of the transcript.
4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, can I ask in future
5 that these documents are paginated?
6 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour, they will be.
7 I apologise.
8 Q. Mr. Semenovic, can you identify that
9 individual there?
10 A. Yes, that's Dusan Kurnoga he is an official
11 of the SDS in Prijedor.
12 Q. And if we could now go to the next clip,
13 which is Clip 4, Your Honour. It's the very next
15 This segment, Your Honour, relates to the
16 take-over of the transmitter, which has been referred to
17 in evidence already, both by this witness and the prior
19 (Videotape played).
20 Q. If we could --
21 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, this is exactly
22 the footage that I have not seen and I would like you
23 to give us opportunity, perhaps, to review this later
24 on this afternoon and indulge a little bit more to
25 asking the witness about this. Not in relation to the
1 footage that is shown, but I don't know what else is on
2 this tape.
3 JUDGE MAY: Well, we'll allow the questions
4 now and then you can have time, if you want it, after
5 the adjournment, to review the matter.
6 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, we have had
7 technical difficulties, what Mr. Keegan has indicated
8 because we were given maybe 15 tapes within the last
9 five days. We're living out of the hotel. We don't
10 have facilities to do this. It with was this -- we
11 should have received them before. And like I was
12 saying, we won't be able to review all of these tapes
13 because there were two other ones that I didn't get a
14 chance to look it over. And I don't know whether
15 they're being introduced at all. What I am kindly
16 asking for, latitude that we review these tapes later
17 on this evening, and perhaps recall witness on this one
18 perhaps tomorrow.
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
20 MR. VUCICEVIC: Thank you.
21 MR. KEEGAN: Could we just move to 32
22 minutes, 26 seconds, please.
23 (Videotape played).
24 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise that
1 A. Yes, that's Vojo Kupresanin. He was the
2 President of the Autonomous Region of Krajina. He was
3 at the time.
4 Q. And what role, if any, did he play in your
5 removal from Omarska camp?
6 A. He visited the Omarska camp a day after the
7 visit of the foreign journalists. He sought some
8 persons in the camp. And I was the only person that he
9 was able to find out of the persons he was looking
10 for. And he took me to Banja Luka under police
11 escort. He was also looking for Mirza Mujadzic and
12 Rasema Cero and he asked me if I knew where they were,
13 since he hadn't been able to find them in the camp. I
14 said I didn't know. And he said he wanted to put this
15 all together because he had some plans. He also asked
16 about my family members, where they were. I said that
17 they were all abroad. He asked me if I had any
18 relatives in Banja Luka? I said, yes. I did not dare
19 to hide that fact since they already probably had that
20 information. He took me to the municipality building
21 in Banja Luka under police escort.
22 Q. Mr. Semenovic, can you identify the man now
23 being shown on the video?
24 A. Yes, that's Mr. Srdjo Srdic, the President of
25 the Serb Democratic Party in Prijedor.
1 Q. Thank you, that's all I have for the tape.
2 Now, during your discussion, meeting with Mr.
3 Kupresanin in the Omarska camp, did he indicate to you
4 what the purposes of his visit was?
5 A. No, he did not. However, during the
6 conversation, the phone rang in the office across the
7 room in which I was taken in. And a soldier came and
8 told him that President Karadzic wants to speak to him
9 on the phone. And Kupresanin got up and left to take
10 the phone call.
11 Q. Could you see him discussing on the phone
12 from where you were sitting?
13 A. Yes, I did. I saw him and I could hear what
14 he was saying, what -- I could hear him clearly. He
15 repeated several times that they need a lot of soaps,
16 detergents, 300 beds, sheets and that they needed it
17 urgently. If possible, during the day. That's what he
18 requested. And he also said in the end, "I found only
20 Q. Did he tell you -- did he have a discussion
21 with you about what the role of the Serbs was at that
23 A. Yes, when the police took me, and when
24 Kupresanin walked into the room where I was, where I
25 was waiting, he first introduced himself and said that
1 he remembered me from the parliament because we served
2 there together. And then he said, literally the
3 following: "This is all a plot from Vatican against
4 Muslims, the Europe assigned to the Serbs, the role of
5 the executors of the Muslims. It's time to undertake
6 something." And this kind of political conversation, I
7 just kept quiet because that was the situation. It was
8 absolutely ridiculous for me to carry on political
9 conversation. And, of course, I didn't dare join in
10 because I didn't know what were his intentions. And I
11 knew what my status was.
12 Q. And from Omarska camp, where did Mr.
13 Kupresanin take you?
14 A. To Banja Luka and to the municipality
15 building. We walked in that building, to his office
16 that was on the first floor, on the right hand side.
17 It was, maybe the second or the third door on the first
18 floor on the right hand side. It was a large office
19 consisting of two rooms. In the left room was a
20 receptionist and in the room on the right, there was
21 his -- another office and I was there when the officers
22 whom he called upon came in and also some civilians
23 that I did know from before. They asked me what I had
24 eaten in the camp, how was the camp? And I mainly kept
25 quiet because I was just lost in that situation. And I
1 remember that during that conversation, during that
2 interrogation, the secretary called. And he said,
3 here, the President needs to talk to you. And
4 Kupresanin got up the take the call. And I was just
5 maybe four metres away from him and there was just a
6 door between us. There was a black telephone, the old
7 kind of telephones, the ancient one. And I could hear
8 the voice on the other end.
9 Q. During the time that you were in the Banja
10 Luka area, where did you stay?
11 A. Kupresanin said that I will be put in some
12 kind of an apartment or that I would be taken into a
13 village. And if I remember correctly, it was the
14 village called Kordvija (Phon), or something like
15 that. He said it was a Serb village, but that
16 I would be safe. And then later on they changed their
17 decision, and took me to Ljubina, to my sister's house,
18 and who lived in Ljubina, my sister and her husband, my
19 brother-in-law. And then they talked to them and told
20 them that I was not allowed to leave the house, that I
21 had to be inside the whole time and that people could
22 not, were not allowed to walk in and talk to me. They
23 also said that I need to gain some weight and that they
24 would bring some food. They said that they would bring
25 in the clothes and I was told in the assembly that they
1 would give me the money and they even asked me what
2 kind of women did I like? Blonde or brunettes?
3 Because they said, "You will not be alone here. We'll
4 get you a girl", this is what they said.
5 Q. During the time you were in that area, did
6 Mr. Kupresanin ask you to phone anyone or contact
8 A. Yes, the following day the police came and
9 took me into the municipality building. And they asked
10 me to call Zenica and Tuzla. Because they tried to
11 contact Zenica and Tuzla. However, on the other end no
12 one would respond, they would just hang up. And they
13 wanted me to contact these people on behalf of the
14 Serbs, which I didn't dare do. And then they said,
15 "Well, do you have any friends in Sarajevo, in
16 Prijedor? Why don't you call them?" And I had to, in
17 order not to jeopardise myself, I had to call some
18 friends in Prijedor, whose telephone numbers I knew.
19 However, nobody answered. And one friend's house, a
20 member of the family answered the phone. However, the
21 conversation was very brief because I didn't really
22 have much to say. I only called -- I only called in
23 order to obey and to fulfil something, at least some of
24 the things that they requested me to do.
25 Q. On one occasion were you brought to Banja
1 Luka for the purposes of meeting the President of the
2 Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, I should say?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And on that occasion, did you overhear a
5 conversation between members of the SDS from Prijedor?
6 A. Yes. Yes, I did. The police took me again
7 into the municipality building and I was told that I
8 would meet the President, Karadzic. On the radio I heard
9 that day that Mr. Cyrus Vance and Lord Carrington were
10 in Banja Luka that day. I was taken into the
11 municipality building and there was a complete chaos
12 inside, people were arguing. There was a huge
13 argument. They were cursing at each other. They were
14 cursing Karadzic's mother. They were saying something
15 on abolishment of regions. They said he had the right
16 to do so. And inside I also saw Mr. Srdjo Srdic and
17 Mr. Stakic. At one point Srdic noticed me too. And he
18 was already arguing with some people and then at that
19 point, he approached me and he pulled me by my arm and
20 he took me to those people. And he said, "Here
21 Mevludin, why don't you confirm that I was never in the
22 Omarska and Trnopolje centres." And then he faced
23 these other people and he said, "I don't want to be the
24 responsible party for the buses in Vlasic." I had no
25 idea what he was talking about, however I just kept
1 quiet. At one point Stakic, passing by him, he
2 approached this group and was shocked to see me there.
3 And then he just instinctively said to me, "Hi,
4 Mevludin, how are you doing?"
5 Q. When did you finally leave the territory then
6 known as the Republika of Srpska?
7 A. January 15th, '93. Around January 15th or
8 19th, I am not sure.
9 Q. And prior to being able to leave, did you
10 need some assistance from Mr. Kupresanin in getting
11 documents in order to leave?
12 A. Yes. Yes, in view of the fact what the
13 International Red Cross agreed to assist, assist me in
14 leaving this area, they asked that some kind of a
15 personal ID of mine would be given to the Red Cross.
16 Since I really didn't have any ID, and they couldn't
17 put me on the list of persons without any kind of ID,
18 the only thing that could be done was to obtain some
19 kind of document from the police in Banja Luka or any
20 other kind of authorities. And then the Red Cross
21 contacted them. And then my sister had to go into the
22 municipality and ask that some kind of ID be issued to
23 me. They said it was not possible to do so and then
24 one day later, a person from Banja Luka who was
25 friendly with Kupresanin and had a conversation with
1 him and said they would give me some kind of ID --
2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, is this going to
3 assist us?
4 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour, it will.
5 JUDGE MAY: Let us have a copy of it then,
7 MR. KEEGAN: It will be Exhibit 43.
8 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise Exhibit 43?
9 A. Yes, it's that certificate.
10 Q. And on the certificate, who gave you the
12 A. That certificate was issued by Vojo
13 Kupresanin it was issued to his friend and then this
14 friend, in turn, delivered it to me.
15 Q. How does Mr. Kupresanin refer to Omarska in
16 the last page of that document?
17 A. He calls it a prison.
18 MR. KEEGAN: That's all we have, Your
20 JUDGE MAY: Is that your examination?
21 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. Now, Mr. Vucicevic,
23 do you want to make a start now or do you want to break
24 before you -- you would like the break? Very well,
25 quarter of an hour.
1 --- Recess taken at 3.18 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 3.36 p.m.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Vucicevic.
4 MR. VUCICEVIC: May it please the Court?
5 Q. Mr. Semenovic, my name is --
6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Vucicevic, your questions in
7 English, please.
8 MR. VUCICEVIC: Oh, I thought --
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Vucicevic:
10 Q. Mr. Semenovic, my name is Mr. Vucicevic, and
11 I represent Dr. Milan Kovacevic in these proceedings.
12 We have heard that you suffered a lot for the period
13 that you testified and I personally regret what
14 happened to you. I know how difficult it must be for
15 you to recall and go through all of these events, but I
16 will have to go -- just as a part of my professional
17 duty as an attorney, is to go and examine you about
18 some of these details. And, Your Honours, I do thank
19 you for your latitude for allowing me to give a little
21 Mr. Semenovic, you said in your testimony you
22 were born in the Village of Srpska near Vlasenica.
23 Where is that?
24 A. It's a village called Srpska, in Municipality
25 of Vlasenica, in the eastern part of Bosnia. I was
1 only born there and my parents moved in 1964 into the
2 Prijedor Municipality. And from the age two I have
3 been living in Prijedor.
4 Q. When you said that your parents moved to the
5 Prijedor Municipality, is that in the city of Prijedor
6 itself or any of the villages or hamlets?
7 A. First they moved into the village of Rizvanovici
8 in the village of Prijedor. And that's where we lived
9 for about seven years. And, after that, my father got
10 the job in Kozarac in the village of Brdjani and then
11 we moved into Brdjani and spent the next years there.
12 After that, my father got a job in Trnopolje and then
13 we lived in Trnopolje up until the war.
14 Q. Where did you finish high school?
15 A. High school Esad Midzic in Prijedor.
16 Q. Did you go the Tuzla to study mining
17 immediately after finishing your high school?
18 A. No, first I went into the army. I served the
19 mandatory army service that every healthy male had to
20 serve. And then, after the army service, I went to the
21 university in Tuzla.
22 Q. Military in the town of Leskovac, Republic of
23 Serbia, did you spend all of your time in Leskovac?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You also testified that you were assigned to
1 the artillery unit?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Could you tell me, what was your rank?
4 A. I didn't have a rank. Towards the end of my
5 military service, I was a private, but it wasn't a
6 high, high-ranking position.
7 Q. Were you assigned to the artillery unit from
8 the very beginning or there was some boot camp or
9 preparatory training for the service?
10 A. In the JNA, all the young men who joined the
11 army who go on to the military service, they all go
12 through the training that lasts for several months.
13 And then after the training is completed, they are
14 stationed in the barracks and the training really
15 specialises privates for certain duties in the
16 Yugoslavia National Army.
17 Q. And you were prepared as a specialist for the
18 artillery unit; is that correct?
19 A. No, I was just a plain soldier in the
20 artillery. I wasn't a specialist.
21 Q. What were your duties as the private soldier
22 in the artillery unit? As you said, you were not a
23 specialist then.
24 A. I was a private soldier, so I did not have
25 any commanding authorities. My -- I was part of the
1 crew in the Howitzer of one of 5 millimetres. They had
2 a person who was targeting and then they had the other
3 crew members that were providing the ammunition. I was
4 part of this crew for a while. And then, I was for a
5 while, I was a gunner on the Howitzer 105 millimetres.
6 Q. How long -- strike it. Have you performed
7 all of these duties in your unit that you have just
9 A. Every soldier did that because all of the
10 privates had to go through certain stages, you know,
11 learning how to use the weapons. You know, everybody
12 had to go through the training and gunning and in
13 placing the Howitzers. And then, towards the end, each
14 would be assigned a certain role. And then when we had
15 training, we knew well in advance who would have what
16 role, who would be the gunner, who would be putting in
17 the ammunition and all that.
18 Q. How long of a time span did you spend as the
19 fellow who was bringing the ammunition to the gun? Or
20 how much time did you spend as the soldier who was
21 charging up the gun and how much time did you spend as
22 the aiming soldier?
23 A. Just like any other soldier, the training was
24 set up in such a way so that each soldier in the
25 artillery had to learn all of these operations. And
1 then at the end of the training, you would get a
2 military speciality and I was the gunner. This duty
3 was awarded to me at the end of the training, through
4 which all of the privates that are member of the
5 artillery units go through.
6 Q. In order to get this certificate that you are
7 an aiming soldier on the gun, how much training did you
8 have to have and what was the scope of your training?
9 A. The training covered all basic military
10 aspects, the aiming, the targeting, what to do in case
11 of nuclear attack, nuclear explosions, how to take
13 Q. How many soldiers were in the basic artillery
15 A. Do you mean my unit? In Howitzer unit -- no,
16 platoon is a larger unit. The elementary one is a crew
17 of five persons that serve the Howitzer one of five.
18 And larger calibres have larger crews, if I remember
20 Q. And what was the rank of the commanding
21 officer of the few Howitzers that were comprising one
22 unit? What was the rank of the officer who was
23 commanding you?
24 A. Captain.
25 Q. Do you remember the name of the captain that
1 was your training officer at that time or commanding
3 A. His nickname was Djuro, I don't remember his
4 name. I served in the army in 1982.
5 Q. Do you remember the names of any other lower
6 ranking commanders in your unit besides captain?
7 A. It was the Corporal Kovac. I remember some
8 of the nicknames, but not the names because it was a
9 mixed nationality situation. There were Macedonians,
10 Slovenians --
11 Q. Besides doing your regular duty, camaraderie,
12 friends, staying together after the official hours of
13 exercise have passed?
14 A. No.
15 Q. So you haven't made any friends at all, you
16 just spent all the time in the army for two years just
17 by yourself?
18 A. The military service was one year long, not
19 two. And, of course, during the service, we have made
20 friends, which is normal. But I have already mentioned
21 that the people where from Macedonia, Slovenia, Serbia,
22 and later I didn't travel to Slovenia for many years
23 and neither did I travel to Macedonia, so most of these
24 people I've never met them again.
25 Q. I'm asking, Mr. Semenovic, maybe you're not
1 getting my question correctly, have you made any
2 friends with these young men, regardless of what former
3 part of Yugoslavia they were, just at that time, did
4 you make any friends, not whether or not you maintained
5 the friendship throughout the years later?
6 A. Yes, all of us in the unit, we were all
7 friendly with each other. We had, after the training,
8 we had certain spare time and, of course, after that,
9 we did socialise.
10 Q. You slept in the same bedroom, big bedrooms.
11 How many soldiers slept in that bedroom together?
12 A. Somewhere about fifteen.
13 Q. And you and your fellow soldiers also ate in
14 the same cafeteria, didn't you?
15 A. Yes, there was a central cafeteria for the
16 barracks and all the soldiers ate there.
17 Q. And all of you ate the same food, didn't
19 A. Yes, everybody was offered the same food.
20 People ate what they liked and some people -- people
21 ate what they wanted.
22 Q. Have you heard any jokes, at that time, for
23 any of the soldiers refusing to eat certain foods?
24 A. I don't know about that. I know for myself,
25 I did not see what other people, I was not interested
1 in what other people ate or did not eat.
2 Q. Did anybody joke because -- strike it. Have
3 you refused to eat certain foods at that time that were
4 offered to you as a part of the regular meals?
5 A. I ate what I wanted to eat from the food that
6 was offered to me. And those things I did not want to
7 eat, I just left them. If I didn't like the food that
8 was prepared, I would only eat the first meal, the
9 appetiser and some fruit and that was enough for me.
10 Q. Certain foods on religious grounds?
11 A. I did personally.
12 Q. Did any of your fellow soldiers make fun of
13 you or make any jokes because you practice your
15 A. I can't recall.
16 Q. You are a religious man, aren't you?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And making mockery of somebody's religion, or
19 religious practice is indeed a serious matter to the
20 true believer, isn't it?
21 A. I don't understand the question.
22 Q. I'll move on to the next line of
24 You said that when you came back from the
25 military, you enrolled to the university in Tuzla.
1 Have you obtained a degree, an engineering degree from
2 mining from the University of Tuzla?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And could you tell me, what were the
5 employment that you held later on from the time that
6 you graduated through beginning or middle of '89?
7 A. After I graduated, actually after I had
8 listened to all the courses, but before I graduated, my
9 father died and I had to start working in order to feed
10 my family because my sister studied at the same time
11 and we planned that she should graduate first and then
12 she should get a job, which would allow me to
13 graduate. For about a year, I was employed by a
14 private employer. I actually worked with my friends,
15 we processed wood, timber, and we sold the products
16 that we manufactured. At the same time I studied and I
17 also passed all the exams that I had to and I was
18 writing my thesis.
19 Q. And did you graduate soon thereafter or --
20 and obtain some other job, that is, that you were
21 professionally qualified for?
22 A. No, I graduated later. I had this job and
23 that is how I -- I graduated later in '95. I had
24 passed all the exams, but the events that we have been
25 discussing here took place, so I defended my thesis
1 formerly in '95.
2 Q. Just so I would have the time perspective
3 here, when did you finish your prescribed courses, as
4 you said, what year was that?
5 A. '88.
6 Q. Have you had any other jobs throughout '88
7 and '89?
8 A. No, I was not employed by the state. I
9 stress again, I studied at home and passed my exams
10 and, at the same time, I worked, because I had to
11 support my family and my sister who was at the
12 university at the time.
13 Q. All what I am trying to find out, when did
14 you get into the university, when did you get the first
15 job and what other jobs you had. If you could just try
16 to put it to me as plainly as possible. Because I am
17 not trying to make it difficult. I am just trying to
18 find out, what were your life experiences?
19 A. Having served in the national service, I
20 finished that in 1983, so after 1983, I studied in
21 Tuzla. I attended -- I finished attending all the
22 courses in '88.
23 Q. Have you had any state jobs after finishing
24 the university besides that private enterprise, small
25 business that you worked for?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What kind of a state positions, state jobs,
3 have you held?
4 A. I had several jobs in the Ministry of Foreign
6 Q. Is that something that you have done after
7 these events of 1992? I am not looking into what he
8 has done after 1992, I am just looking before all these
9 events happened. I just want to limit this.
10 A. In the period before 1992, I held the
11 position in the parliament. And pursuant to a decision
12 of the parliament, I was made into a professional. I
13 gained a professional status. It was in the beginning
14 of 1992.
15 Q. That you received by the decree of the
17 A. That the function of the member of the
18 parliament is a -- has a professional status because
19 the law enabled us to do so. There were certain
20 members of the parliament, who were there as
21 professionals. That means that they were paid for the
22 job that they did.
23 Q. Any members of the parliament that were not
24 declared as professional men that did some other jobs
25 and were doing their political duties as the members of
1 the parliament part-time?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. I am bringing you now to the second half of
4 1989. You testified that in Tadic's case that you
5 participated, and I am directing, Your Honours, if it
6 would be any help, page 892, and it's line 4. I
7 participated in the foundation of the Party of
8 Democratic Action. Could you tell me, how did you get
9 an idea to pursue this political activities? Was it
10 your own or somebody suggested to you, Mr. Semenovic,
11 let's proceed with this?
12 A. It was my idea. And I joined these
13 activities in 1990 and not in 1989 as you suggested.
14 Q. So, tell me, how did you get keyed in, as I
15 am using your term, or came on board. Your Honours, I
16 am listening to the witness and getting, you know, the
17 questioning I am not looking at the -- maybe I should
18 -- how was it translated, so I can help you exactly
19 you know, with terminology.
20 Well, how did it come about that you began to
21 participate in the political activities?
22 A. I wanted to join the process, which I saw as
23 an opportunity for the democracy to come to this area
24 where we lived because we had watched these processes
25 take place in the neighbouring countries.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please
2 wait until the end of the interpretation.
3 MR. VUCICEVIC:
4 Q. Who did you get together in order to start
5 the political cell in Prijedor?
6 MR. KEEGAN: Sorry, to interrupt, Your
7 Honour, there is a request from the translators to
8 allow the translator to finish with the answer before
9 the counsel begins again. It would be helpful for you
10 to wear the headphones and then you can hear when
11 they're done because it is difficult. We don't get the
12 answer, the full answer, because he talks over and they
13 have to stop.
14 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, I'll pause, with
15 the headphones, I feel a little restricted when I am on
16 my feet.
17 Q. Mr. Semenovic, all what I am trying to find
18 out, a few friends, a few associates that you got
19 together and in starting a political movement that you
20 just, whose goals you just described.
21 JUDGE MAY: What was the question?
22 MR. VUCICEVIC:
23 Q. Mr. Semenovic, all what I am trying to find
24 out, who are the few friends and few associates that
25 you got together and started a political movement with
1 the goals that you just described? Who are those
2 friends? Who are those individuals?
3 A. These were my friends who shared the same
4 ideas with me in the Municipality of Prijedor. When we
5 saw that parties were being formed, we decided to join
6 in in the process. And we formed the steering
7 committee for the formation of the SDA in Prijedor.
8 Q. Initiating committee of the SDA in Prijedor?
9 A. It was myself, Nijaz Kapetanovic, Dr. Iljas
10 Music, Becir Medunjanin, Islam Bahonjic, Husein
11 Bahonic, Jusuf Delkic, Hamid Saftic.
12 Q. Do you recall when you met for the first time
13 and established the initiating committee?
14 A. We met for the first time and discussed this
15 topic in a cafe in Prijedor. We called it Dzavidova
16 Cafe. It's an old Bosnian cafe. This is the first time
17 when we discussed this idea.
18 Q. Do you remember when was it?
19 A. It was in July, 1990.
20 Q. What did you decide then and how did you
21 follow on your conclusions?
22 A. The programme of the SDA was acceptable to
23 us, we were able to read about it in the papers. We
24 decided that one of us should travel to Sarajevo and to
25 ask for the materials from a representative of that
1 newly formed parties so that we can study the
2 materials. And if we realise that they were in
3 agreement with our ideas, that we should join the party
4 and form a branch office of that party in Prijedor.
5 Q. (No microphone).
6 A. It was in the second half of May. In early
7 June it was registered. I think it was registered in
8 the first half of June in 1990. I can't recall the
9 exact date, but I think it was thereabouts.
10 Q. Do you know who were the founding officers of
11 the SDA in Sarajevo?
12 A. I knew about some of them and for others I
13 did not know. I remember some names.
14 Q. (Microphone not on).
15 A. There was Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, he was one
16 of the founders. Savet Isovic, he was a singer, a
17 well-known person.
18 Q. That you remember of?
19 A. Some other persons whose names I learned from
20 the press, from the media, and I did not know a lot
21 about them beforehand.
22 Q. Have you read anywhere about the programme of
23 this newly established SDA from Sarajevo?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. The programme was everything that you
1 testified yesterday, isn't it?
2 A. I did not testify.
3 Q. The last day when you were in court.
4 A. I don't understand the question.
5 Q. A few days ago, on Wednesday, you were here
6 testifying for the Prosecutor's case in chief and Mr.
7 Keegan was asking you about the programme of the SDA
8 and now I am asking you, did you say and stated
9 everything that you knew about SDA programme at that
11 A. What time are you referring to? What
13 Q. May, June of '90, about the programme of the
14 SDA at that time. Or, perhaps, your testimony referred
15 to some other programme or some other time.
16 A. No, that portion of my testimony did refer to
17 the programme, to the basic elements, but the programme
18 of the party was very broad. And you could talk about
19 it for a long time.
20 Something else too, the basic guidelines of
21 the parties, of most of the parties in Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina were practically the same, market economy,
23 human rights, full national and religious
24 freedom, freedom of the press and so on.
25 Q. Do you know when was the SDS established in
1 Prijedor established and where?
2 A. I think it was founded in the end of August
3 or beginning of September. And the constituting
4 assembly was held in the sports hall in Prijedor. And
5 I was there at the constituting or founding assembly.
6 Q. Mr. Semenovic --
7 A. 1990.
8 Q. So, your testimony is that the SDS was formed
9 a few months after SDS -- after SDA was formed in
10 Prijedor; that's correct?
11 A. No, SDA in Prijedor was founded on the 17th
12 of August and you asked me when it was founded in
13 Sarajevo. As I said, in Sarajevo, it was founded in
14 June. That is when it was officially registered. The
15 steering committee of the party of the SDA party in
16 Prijedor was formed, as I have already said, in July.
17 But the facts of the founding -- but legally speaking,
18 it's the moment when the founding assembly was held and
19 that was in August. In a brief period, both the SDS
20 and the SDA were established in Prijedor.
21 Q. You just stated a few minutes ago that you
22 were present at the founding assembly of the SDS in
23 Prijedor; am I correct on that one?
24 A. No -- yes, that's correct, I was present at
25 the founding assembly, that's right.
1 Q. And were you invited to that founding
2 assembly by the SDS?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Who invited you?
5 A. The collective leadership of the Party of
6 Democratic Action was invited. The main officials of
7 the party, the SDS invited the SDA and that's how we
8 were there.
9 Q. SDA was formed before SDS in Prijedor?
10 A. I think it is shortly before SDS, if I
11 remember correctly.
12 Q. You observed the founding assembly of SDS in
13 Prijedor, didn't you?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Their goals were freedom of the press,
16 privatisation of the economy, freedom of religious
17 expression, human rights, just as were the goals of
18 SDA; isn't that correct?
19 A. Yes, that's what they declared in public.
20 These were their public positions that they took.
21 Q. At that time, you found them, you, yourself,
22 you found them and, indeed, a natural ally to overturn
23 the communist government which was in power for
24 proceeding 45 years; isn't that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And you have cooperated with the SDS officers
2 in the pre-election campaign?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You also testified, the only time that you
5 saw the accused was at the meeting where the poster was
6 discussed; isn't it true?
7 A. That was the first time that I saw him. That
8 was not the only time, however.
9 Q. And at that meeting, could you just remind
10 me, where was the meeting held?
11 A. In the new hotel in Prijedor, upstairs.
12 Q. Was it -- to the best of my recollection,
13 there is a big dining hall on the floor on the Prijedor
14 hotel; isn't that true?
15 A. Yes, it was to the left of that hall. When
16 you look from the beginning of the hall where the band
17 played, to the left there is a corridor and there are
18 offices there in that corridor. The doors of that
19 corridor are to the left, the first, second, third
20 door. And the meeting was held in the first office to
21 the left.
22 Q. When you got to the meeting, was Dr.
23 Kovacevic already present in that room?
24 A. Yes. Yes, because they had a meeting of
25 their own before that. That's what it had seemed to
2 Q. How many of -- how many men were in that room
3 before you arrived there?
4 A. Ten to twelve men, I think there were twelve
5 of them. At any rate, there were many and we had
6 expected only two of them to be there. I think there
7 were ten or twelve of them because the whole side of
8 the table, it was a long table, it was full of people.
9 It was a table where people could sit on both sides.
10 Q. You were expecting to see only two
11 representatives from the SDS; that's correct?
12 A. Yes, that's what the arrangement was.
13 Q. And the new hotel in Prijedor is basically
14 the biggest hotel in Prijedor, right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And the people, when they go out, quite often
17 go to new hotel in Prijedor?
18 A. Some people went to the new hotel, some
19 people went somewhere else, wherever they wanted to
21 Q. During the discussion about the poster, my
22 client, Dr. Kovacevic, has made the remarks that the
23 name "Yugoslavia" should be on the poster; isn't that
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And isn't it true that, at that time,
2 Yugoslavia was an official country, intact country and
3 country of which all of you were the citizens?
4 A. Yes, but we were now preparing for the
5 elections in the Republic, not at the federal level.
6 These were the elections for the authorities of the
7 Republic and the poster had to do with the elections
8 for the Republic, not for the federal level, for the
9 area of all of Yugoslavia.
10 Q. Isn't it true that Yugoslavia had principles
11 of equality of nations up to that time?
12 A. Yes, but it had nothing to do with the
13 poster. We had the republic elections, some republics
14 had already conducted the elections. And then the
15 election in Bosnia followed. We were making the poster
16 for the pre-election campaign in the Republic.
17 Q. Not results of the elections in the other
18 states, but what was happening at that time when you
19 were preparing for the election in Bosnia? Since Dr.
20 Kovacevic insisted that the word "Yugoslavia" would be
21 enclosed, indeed, that could reasonably assume that he
22 was concerned about equality of the nations. The
23 principle that you just said existed in Yugoslavia,
24 just one of the reasonable conclusions. Is it possible
25 to conclude that? There might be some other
1 conclusions, but that's one of the conclusions?
2 A. We understood that and we put the word
3 "Yugoslavia" on the poster and we accepted the
4 position of the Serbian Democratic Party.
5 Q. As a matter of fact, this coalition between
6 SDA and SDS was indeed so strong, that there was an
7 agreement made ahead of the election how to divide the
8 power in the case of victory; isn't it correct?
9 A. Yes, on the level of the leadership of the
10 party leadership, there was an agreement. I am not
11 quite certain as to the content of the agreement, but
12 immediately after the elections, the principles of the
13 allocation of power were defined in a written form and
14 the parties even have a written agreement on the
15 percentage of allocation of power.
16 Q. In order to win the election in Bosnia at
17 that time, one party, as I understood the government,
18 one party must have more than 50 per cent of the
19 aldermen on the municipal level; isn't that so?
20 A. They had to have over 50 per cent of the
21 votes in order to create the government on their own.
22 Q. So, therefore, it is unfair to state that SDA
23 won elections in Prijedor, is it?
24 A. No, it is not unfair. It is a correct
25 statement in accordance with the election law that was
1 in force at that time, the party who took most of the
2 votes won the election. If it happened to be 20 per
3 cent and all other parties, and there were a lot of
4 them had 5 per cent, then the party that got 20 per
5 cent of the vote was the winning one. So the party, as
6 I said, was the majority of the percentage of votes.
7 The other problem is that with only 20 per cent of the
8 votes, that party could not create a government on its
9 own. That's a separate issue. But, as the law
10 regulates, only the party with more than 50 per cent of
11 the votes can create a government on its on.
12 Q. And testify on the accuracy or anachronism on
13 the sum of the laws that existed in the communist
14 Yugoslavia, didn't you?
15 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, I am sorry to
16 interrupt, but it's happened about four or five other
17 occasions, where Mr. Vucicevic is beginning his
18 questions again before the translation of the answer
19 has finished and we have been unable to get complete
20 answers from the witness in translation. So I would
21 just appeal if you would at least either put on the
22 headphones or watch the screen more carefully, so we
23 can get complete answers before the next question
25 MR. VUCICEVIC: I apologise, Your Honour, I
1 will try to observe the screen.
2 THE WITNESS: The election law was quite
3 clear, there was no an anachronism or confusion in the
4 law itself.
5 MR. VUCICEVIC:
6 Q. Mr. Semenovic, the leadership of your party
7 could have made a deal with, with the other parties
8 besides the SDS and achieve the electoral victory, but
9 found them unsuitable. Why were those parties
10 unsuitable for coalition for the officials of your
12 A. We didn't want to enter the coalition with
13 the Communist Alliance and all the other parties that
14 emerged from the alliance of communists.
15 Q. We will proceed now, after the election. The
16 elections were held and the main responsibility of the
17 parties was to form the municipal government. You
18 testified there was no difficulties in selecting the
19 mayor, the deputy mayor, the president of the executive
20 board; isn't that correct?
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. Of the executive board, two of them. All of
23 these positions--
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. --had to be confirmed because those mayor and
1 deputy mayor are elected positions, they were elected
2 as the aldermen and then elected by their constituents,
3 but all of these positions had to be confirmed by the
4 municipal assembly; isn't that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And all of these officers were confirmed by
7 the unanimous votes of the coalition alderman?
8 A. I can't recall if the election was unanimous,
9 but the assembly did confirm the president that were
11 Q. Were you a guest, perhaps, at the
12 inaugural assembly or the founding assembly of the
13 first three municipal assembly in Prijedor, perhaps
14 could have been in order?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Do you recall seeing a single SDA alderman
17 voting against the slate for the officers?
18 A. I don't recall --
19 Q. I'm sorry?
20 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness finish.
21 THE WITNESS: I was present as a guest in the
22 first row and I didn't look back to see who was voting
23 and who isn't.
24 MR. VUCICEVIC:
25 Q. Were the votes officially posted or announced
1 by the presiding officer?
2 A. Yes, they were.
3 Q. We will move on to the distribution of
4 power. And you said that the difficulties arose with
5 the appointment of the chief of police; isn't that
7 A. Yes, I stated that as an example, as a very
8 good example, and this arose with respect to several
9 positions, not just the position of the chief of
10 police, but this issue itself was the most obvious with
11 respect to the chief of police.
12 Q. Could you describe the procedure at that time
13 by which the head of police is being appointed?
14 A. The chief of police at that time after the
15 coordination concerning the candidates among the
16 political parties, the chief of police was appointed by
17 a formal decree of the Minister of Internal Affairs, if
18 I remember correctly, but only after the coordination
19 among the parties concerning the candidates and
20 confirmation that they are in agreement concerning the
21 candidates in accordance with the allocation of power
22 among the parties.
23 Q. The electoral victory, you have testified
24 that you promised to your voters, to your supporters if
25 you win that you should appoint a head of police; isn't
1 that correct? You testified to that fact?
2 A. I stated that as one of the examples of the
3 pre-election promises, and there were many pre-election
4 promises, just like in every campaign, but people
5 expected that because for decades they didn't have an
6 opportunity to see a Bosniak, a Muslim on that post.
7 Q. You have testified, and I will specify the
8 language, tomorrow the line and the page, but you have
9 testified and used the word, therefore, 45 years, the
10 heads of police have been Serbs. To my previous
11 answer, you said there was no Bosniak Muslims, but you
12 have said that those were Serbs, haven't you?
13 A. Yes, as far as I know, I said -- I stated
14 what I knew based on the information that I had. Of
15 course, I was born in 1962 and I have been living in
16 Prijedor since 1964. I don't know what happened in the
17 40s and in the 50s, but from what I heard from the
18 elderly and from the time when I was born and I was
19 aware, I know that it was always the Serbs that held
20 that position.
21 Q. Pre-electoral campaign, you have spoken about
22 Serbs having this power position for 45 years, haven't
24 A. No, I didn't give that example. We never
25 used those terms during the pre-election campaigns. In
1 fact, we didn't analyse that from the nationalistic
2 example. We sincerely wanted to go beyond that
3 communist stage and to enter the democratic society
4 that we have witnessed in the countries around us.
5 People travelled and they know that in other countries,
6 people live better, they have more freedom in the
7 democratic countries. And that's just what we wanted.
8 We wanted to seize the monopoly of one party of the
9 league of communists. And always during the
10 pre-election campaign, this is what we stated because
11 that is exactly what our intention was.
12 We didn't specify what nationalities had what
13 posts. Simply, that wasn't what we cared about at that
14 time. We had the same view, the same position towards
15 Bosniak and Serbs, we simply made a distinction based
16 on what position people held. And we wanted the people
17 to be free to elect their own parties, their own
18 people, and to follow the programmes that they wished
19 to follow and to establish the government on this
20 democratic principle where there just wouldn't be one
21 party, but multiple parties.
22 Q. But, indeed, if one takes what you just said
23 on its face value, it wouldn't have made any difference
24 whether the chief of police was Serb, Muslim, Serb
25 communist who declared themselves a Yugoslav or a
1 Muslim who didn't practice and declared him Yugoslav,
2 it really wouldn't matter, would it?
3 A. It would matter and for the following
4 reasons: The factual situation in Prijedor
5 Municipality during the communist regime was such that
6 it was mostly the Serbs that held high positions. For
7 example, Prijedor, I think, had 19 public companies.
8 And in 18 leading managing positions -- in 18
9 companies --
10 Q. As the political appointee, you're going into
11 the economy. I mean, if you can stay on this one, on
12 the political appointee and the chief of police. If
13 you could answer my question.
14 A. This is exactly what I am talking about. I
15 wished to say the following: People understood,
16 realised, that if we gained the opportunity to have the
17 multiple party, democratic system, then in the national
18 respect, the power will be balanced, allocated in a
19 balanced way. There wouldn't be a situation where we
20 would have 18 Serbs on leading positions and only one
21 Bosniak and this is the issue that we raised during the
22 pre-election campaign.
23 Q. How do you find somebody to be a Serb?
24 A. We know based on their name and last name.
25 There is a clear distinction there. And also, whether
1 they're religious, we know whether they go to the
2 church or to the mosque and also people in certain
3 situations state openly their views.
4 Q. Basically, I would like to narrow this
5 question a bit more. Is a Serb being born into the
6 religion an ethnicity, or there is some other
7 requirements or criteria?
8 A. I don't understand the question. I am a
9 Bosniak, a Muslim, and I know that I was born as such.
10 What you asked, I didn't understand that.
11 Q. Do you think that -- does definition, a Serb,
12 include a man who was born with a Serbian first name
13 and last name, but who doesn't practice Orthodox
14 religion, is that a Serb?
15 A. For me, a Serb is a person that states openly
16 that he or she is a Serb. We in Bosnia make this
17 distinction among ethnic background very well. It's a
18 matter of personal choice. They were people who were
19 -- who were of a certain nationality, but they stated
20 that they were Yugoslavs. And, among Yugoslavs, the
21 majority, at least this is what the statistics showed,
22 the majority of Yugoslavs were Bosniak Muslims.
23 Q. Could it perhaps be that any of the police
24 chiefs in Prijedor in 50 years prior to your electoral
25 victory, could it be that it was some of those, perhaps
1 that were denoted as Serbs, they were Yugoslavs?
2 A. No. The nationality, Yugoslav nationality,
3 was introduced relatively late. Immediately after the
4 Second World War, after the communists took over, the
5 law prescribed that they were officially only Serbs,
6 Croats and Bosniak Muslims could either declare
7 themselves as Serbs or as Croats and later on they were
8 given the opportunity to declare themselves as
9 undecided. At that time, we didn't really have
10 Yugoslavs. From what I know, this declaration of being
11 a Yugoslav was introduced only in the 70s. I am not
12 quite sure of this, but I think that this term was not
13 used in the constitution prior to that, the Yugoslav
15 Q. Mr. Semenovic, in your high school report
16 notes, and so were in mine and generations before us,
17 were categories "nationality," and they were one
18 printed Yugoslavian and another dash line for everybody
19 else to write, wasn't that so?
20 A. Yes, there was that line there, that item
21 where you could enter your nationality.
22 Q. Whether there was a Yugoslav written
24 A. I don't remember.
25 Q. So perhaps some of these police chiefs could
1 have been Yugoslavs, so you don't know definitely that
2 they were Serbs, do you?
3 A. I have already explained that term.
4 Q. Indeed, Mr. Semenovic, the police chiefs, as
5 you said, was the first power position that the
6 coalition partners stumbled upon in Prijedor, that's
8 A. One of the problems was also the post of the
9 police chief in the allocation of power.
10 Q. But the native language, you used the word
11 "power," you didn't use "political appointees," you
12 did not use "functionaries," you didn't use anything
13 else and you repeatedly used the word "power"; isn't
14 that correct?
15 A. The power means the carrying out of certain
16 functions in the municipality, in the government
17 service. In our Bosnian language that means to have
18 the power -- to exercise power.
19 Q. So when you ran for the political office, you
20 ran to get the power, but not to serve the people,
21 didn't you?
22 JUDGE MAY: I don't think that's going to be
23 a very helpful line of cross-examination.
24 MR. VUCICEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour, I'll
25 move on.
1 Q. You were travelling with Dr. Srdo Srdic quite
2 often to Sarajevo. He was a Serbian representative
3 into the council of citizens; isn't that correct?
4 A. Yes. Not -- I didn't travel often with him.
5 I travelled several times, but not often. However, we
6 were together on the parliament sessions and I saw him
7 frequently there. Because I mostly took the train into
8 Sarajevo and to sessions and Srdic generally travelled
9 in a luxury car.
10 Q. You testified last Wednesday that SDA had
11 finally obtained their man as the police chief in
12 Prijedor and that was upon the assistance of the
13 political tops from Sarajevo, SDA and SDS; isn't that
15 A. Yes, and after that, the leadership of SDS
16 and SDA agreed and Prijedor, to divide these posts in
17 such a way. So there was an agreement between the
18 leaders of SDA and SDS in Prijedor and after which an
19 allocation was achieved. But I did say that this was
20 done only after the intervention, after the urging from
21 the leaders on the republic level, as far as I
22 remember, because I was not a participant in these
23 discussions. But I know that this was the only way to
24 solve the problem because SDS did not agree at the
25 local level to completion of the allocation of power in
1 this manner.
2 Q. Since you were a member of the parliament and
3 quite often in touch with the political leadership in
4 Sarajevo, somebody has informed you about what you just
5 testified; isn't that correct?
6 A. Of course, I insisted, since we were unable
7 to agree at the municipal level, since the SDS refused
8 to honour the agreement on the allocation of power that
9 had already been achieved, that we should address the
10 leadership in Sarajevo. And the Prijedor SDS refused
11 that suggestion. In the end, they agreed that these
12 consultations should be carried out at the republican
13 level and allegedly Kadiric said, let them put their
14 man on that position.
15 Q. Who informed you of this statement of Dr.
17 A. In the parliament, I was able to see Srdic
18 consult Kadiric on such matters. And the SDS
19 leadership in Prijedor formally agreed, they said, "All
20 right, the agreement has been achieved. You have the
21 post of the chief of police."
22 Q. So it's reasonable to conclude that the
23 officials of SDS in Prijedor disregarded at times,
24 directions and orders from the political top; isn't
25 that correct?
1 A. They did not reject the instructions, they
2 carried them out, just as they did when they agreed
3 that the SDA should have the key function of the chief
4 of police, but only after the intervention of the
5 central office of SDS in Sarajevo. That's when the
6 municipal leadership accepted that and honoured it
7 after that. Before that, they refused.
8 Q. Last Wednesday you testified, there was an
9 exhibit introduced, about power sharing between the SDA
10 and the SDS and that was passed on the SDS in Prijedor,
11 therefore, it seems that looked like a directive,
12 didn't it?
13 A. These are the principles. The percentages
14 and general functions are indicated there. If a party
15 wins a certain percentage of votes, it gets the post of
16 the president, the second party, the runner up has the
17 post of vice president. Then you have chief of
18 departments, deputies and so forth. This is what is
19 indicated in that document. You don't have the
20 definition of specific posts that one party should get
21 the post of the chief of police and the other the post
22 of the president of the executive board. You have just
23 the generalist terms there.
24 Q. Of Bosnia-Herzegovina at that time?
25 A. At that time, that was the first government,
1 I think it was Mr. Deli Mustafic.
2 Q. And do you know the gentleman personally?
3 A. I don't know him personally, intimately.
4 Q. One politician --
5 A. Yes, as a member of parliament, I saw him in
6 the parliament. Sometimes he would submit reports and
7 that's how I know him. I listen to some of his
8 remarks. I did not have any personal contact with
9 him. Yes.
10 Q. Was he the officer, high officer of SDA at
11 that time?
12 A. No.
13 Q. But he was a member of the parliament also,
14 wasn't he?
15 A. No, he was not a member of the parliament.
16 He was the Minister of the Interior. He was a member
17 of the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 Q. Looking to find out how he came to the
19 parliament. On another occasion, while you were a
20 member of the parliament, common room on their lobby,
21 you have overheard the conversation where the Prijedor
22 chapter of the SDS was criticised, who was the
23 representative who criticised Prijedor chapter of SDS?
24 A. You said that the convention of the SDA was
25 criticised --
1 Q. Prijedor SDS council.
2 A. Oh, yes, I understand, I see now. The SDS
3 party in Prijedor. Yes, I heard that in the breaks of
4 the sessions in the assembly, sometimes those breaks
5 were quite long and then we would sit down together and
6 listen to the conversation --
7 Q. That was a gentlemen from Pale; isn't that
9 A. Yes, it was Mr. Ljubo Bosiljcic. He was
10 the member of the parliament from the Serb
11 Democratic Party.
12 Q. At the time that you heard that criticism,
13 you didn't know what that criticism was about, did
15 A. I knew it, they told him that he wasn't doing
16 his job properly, that he failed to achieve anything in
17 Prijedor because they lost in Prijedor.
18 Q. That that criticism was rendered because of
19 the inefficient political organisation in Prijedor
20 because they lost?
21 A. As for that criticism that we have been
22 discussing now, it may have meant that. The reason
23 could have been something else, some problems within
24 the party, but I don't know about that.
25 Q. As a matter of fact, there were not any major
1 problems between SDS and SDA until the war in Croatia
2 broke out; isn't that correct?
3 A. There were problems regarding the allocation
4 of power.
5 Q. But when, when the war in Croatia erupted,
6 what was the position of SDA toward the draught, JNA
7 draught, for Croatian war?
8 A. The SDA did not support the intervention of
9 the JNA in Slovenia and Croatia.
10 Q. Have you published any notices, any
11 information, any positions as to the response to the
13 A. Do you mean at a local level in the Prijedor
14 municipality? At the level of the republic, the
15 political leaders stated their views and it was
16 reported in the media. There was also discussion about
17 that in the Bosnian parliament.
18 Q. At that time, Bosnia and Herzegovina were a
19 part of Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of
20 Yugoslavia, were they?
21 A. At that time, yes. That means several months
22 after the new government was formed.
23 Q. JNA was the official military of the
24 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at that time?
25 I am talking July, August, September of '91.
1 A. Yes, but Yugoslavia had already been
2 transformed and the status of the JNA --
3 Q. What I am asking, I am asking is JNA at that
4 time --
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, yes, just a moment. We can
6 only have one person speaking at a time. And, in this
7 case, it was the witness. You must allow him to
8 finish, Mr. Vucicevic. And then if you want to ask
9 another question, do. Would you bear in mind also that
10 everything has got to be interpreted, and therefore,
11 there is a necessity for a discipline waiting before
12 asking questions.
13 MR. VUCICEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Was there anything you
15 wanted to add, Mr. Semenovic, to that answer?
16 THE WITNESS: Yes, I wanted to add that at
17 the time this question referred to, there had already
18 been democratic changes both in Slovenia and in
19 Croatia. There were some changes in the Yugoslav
20 leadership and Slovenia and Croatia passed certain
21 legislation, which changed their status and their
22 position within Yugoslavia.
23 Our view was that, at that time, the peace
24 process had already started, the process of negotiating
25 on the transformation of Yugoslavia. Our view was that
1 until a solution is found, first of all, that solution
2 should be reached by peaceful means. But until such a
3 solution is found, the army should not get involved in
4 any conflicts in order to prevent a war breaking out.
5 That was the view of the republican leadership and of
6 the party. And, to that effect, we were opposed to the
7 mobilisation because we deemed that negotiations should
8 be conducted and not war. We shouldn't have a war of
9 JNA against the people, the people that it was supposed
10 to protect. That was the reason why it was established
11 in the first place.
12 Q. Mr. Semenovic, when I simply asked you, and I
13 still insist that you answer the question, if I may,
14 please, Your Honour, is whether or not Bosnia was
15 officially part of Yugoslavia in the summer of 1991?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And whether JNA was an army of the Socialist
18 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at that time?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And sometime in September of 1991, official
21 army of the existing country of Yugoslavia, JNA, has
22 issued a call for mobilisation in Prijedor area; isn't
23 that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And having lived in that country for at least
1 20 or more years, re-service and active soldiers have
2 responded to the call; isn't that correct?
3 A. Some did, some did not.
4 Q. Is it fair to say that most of the people who
5 declared themselves as Bosniak Muslims did not respond
6 to mobilisation call?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You testified last time when you were before
9 the Trial Chamber, you said there were two units from
10 Prijedor, 5th Kozara Brigade, which was to be 6th
11 Krisca (Phon) Brigade beforehand and 343rd, later 43rd
12 Brigade were filled up to their full formation by the
13 re-service from Prijedor area; isn't that correct?
14 A. I did not mention the 343 Brigade and the
15 43rd Brigade. I talked about the 5th, Kozara Brigade
16 and the 6th Krajina Brigade. Because for a while, it
17 had one name and for a while another. I don't remember
18 which name was used at which time.
19 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Vucicevic, it's now five
20 o'clock, is that a convenient moment?
21 MR. VUCICEVIC: Yes, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE MAY: We'll go on tomorrow.
23 Mr. Semenovic, would you be back, please,
24 tomorrow at half past nine.
25 We have another matter to deal with, in fact,
1 at nine o'clock, so I hope we'll be able to start this
2 case at half past nine. But, if not, that is the
4 Could you be back tomorrow, please.
5 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
6 5.00 p.m., to be reconvened on the
7 14th day of July, 1998, at 9.30 a.m.