1 Tuesday, 14th July 1998
2 (Open session)
3 (The accused entered court)
4 (The witness entered court)
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.56 a.m.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-97-24-T, the
7 Prosecutor versus Kovacevic.
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Vucicevic?
9 MR. VUCICEVIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
10 Good morning, Mr. Semenovic.
11 WITNESS: MEVLUDIN SEMENOVIC (Resumed)
12 Cross-examined by Mr. Vucicevic:
13 Q. Good morning, Mr. Semenovic.
14 Mr. Semenovic, you testified in the Tadic case and
15 also you gave a statement in this case about the date
16 when you met with SDS officers and the military
17 commanders of Prijedor. In the Tadic case you said it
18 was 16th, and then in Tadic case you said it was eight
19 days before, another answer was eight days before the
20 attack began, and then you said in this case, it was
21 15th to 18th. Could you please reconcile those dates
22 for the Court?
23 A. When answering that question, I clarified
24 that I could not give the exact date because I had not
25 remembered the exact dates, but I gave it a time frame,
1 when this meeting took place, and I said that it was
2 after the 16th or eight days before the attack, so that
3 refers to the same period because the attack on Kozarac
4 was on the 24th, but at any rate, the meeting took
5 place within that time period.
6 Q. Directing your attention to the meeting
7 itself that was held in the offices of SDS in Prijedor,
8 you testified that Mr. Kurnoga was there, Mr. Kuruzovic
9 was there, and the meeting couldn't get started before
10 the military commanders came over; isn't that correct?
11 A. Yes, Mr. Miskovic said that the meeting could
12 only start after Mr. Zeljaja and Mr. Arsic arrived.
13 Q. What was Mr. Miskovic's position in the SDS
14 at that time?
15 A. He was the president of the Serbian
16 Democratic Party.
17 Q. You testified in the Tadic trial that about
18 half an hour later, Mr. Zeljaja, Lieutenant-Colonel
19 Arsic, and another soldier or a military officer whom
20 you did not know arrived; isn't that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did anybody else arrive with them?
23 A. I do not remember whether anybody else
24 arrived with them. There were some persons present
25 there previously, and I had mentioned them.
1 Q. ... that were present in the room, before the
2 meeting commenced?
3 A. I already stated that Kuruzovic was present as
4 well as Miskovic, Dusan Kurnoga was present, and there
5 were another one or two persons whom I did not know,
6 they were in civilian clothes. I assumed they were not
7 members from the SDS leadership, but I do not know
8 these persons so I could not tell you who they were.
9 Q. Is it fair to say you knew all the leadership
10 of the Prijedor SDS by that time, having been in a
11 coalition government with them?
12 A. I could not know all the SDS leadership
13 because the leadership of every party consisted of a
14 number of people who had at least eleven members. The
15 SDS changes leadership at least two or three times. It
16 was impossible to remember all these names. I only
17 knew the persons with whom I had some direct type of
19 Q. Could you please -- you have testified in the
20 Tadic trial that Major Zeljaja told delegation from
21 Kozarac to return 7.000 rifles. Then when you
22 testified on Wednesday, you testified that Colonel
23 Arsic told the delegation to return 5.000 rifles.
24 Could you reconcile who said that and how many rifles
25 indeed were demanded for return?
1 A. As far as I recall, Zeljaja said 5.000
2 rifles, and when Mr. Arsic referred to his intelligence
3 officer who was sitting right next to him, the figure
4 was put at 7.000, and for the entire Prijedor, I think
5 the total number was 11.000. I do not know the exact
6 number, but I know that it was over 10.000.
7 Q. Who made a demand or made an estimate that
8 there was over 10.000 rifles in Kozarac on or about May
9 16, 1992, at the meeting in the SDS offices?
10 A. Nobody estimated that the number referred to
11 Kozarac, but in the area of the Prijedor municipality.
12 This is what Colonel Arsic was referring to.
13 Q. You referred to a statement made by
14 Lieutenant-Colonel Arsic, wasn't it?
15 A. At that time, all their statements were
16 important to us, not only at that time but even before,
17 because we had been accused of something for which
18 there was no evidence, and since these were accusations
19 against us, we deemed them very important.
20 Q. ... you testified to that statement in
21 Tadic's trial, didn't you, that there was ten to eleven
22 thousand rifles according to Lieutenant-Colonel Arsic?
23 A. No, I do not remember whether I said that or
24 not. That meeting took place -- it was a long one, and
25 what I was saying at that time was answers to questions
1 that were asked and I was not in a position to say --
2 to state the entire event, and this is one of a large
3 number of meetings which I attended before, during, and
4 after the election process, so in that short period of
5 time, it would have been impossible to interpret all of
6 this, and even when you're asked questions, you cannot
7 recall all the details. This is why you need a
9 Q. It seems it would be very important to
10 distinguish political dialogue in the meetings and
11 testifying in the court, isn't it?
12 JUDGE MAY: Well, I think that's a matter of
13 comment, Mr. Vucicevic.
14 MR. VUCICEVIC: I will withdraw that one.
15 Q. In Tadic's trial, you testified that
16 Mr. Medunjanin made a comment about the number of the
17 rifles. What was the number of rifles that
18 Mr. Medunjanin mentioned. Your Honours, I will direct
19 you to the Tadic transcript, page 924.
20 A. At this moment, I cannot remember the number
21 mentioned by Mr. Medunjanin. I spoke about that two
22 years ago, so it has been two years since that time. I
23 only know that he spoke about a much, much smaller
24 number of weapons than the number for which we had been
25 originally accused.
1 Q. So today you don't remember what you said two
2 years ago; isn't that correct? And today you don't
3 remember what Mr. Medunjanin said seven years ago --
4 six years ago?
5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan?
6 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour, first I would
7 object. Counsel is misstating the record. If he is
8 going to refer to the record, I assume he is asking
9 that this be admitted as evidence for consideration by
10 the Trial Chamber, and in which case he is misquoting
11 the evidence given by the witness, because at the
12 time -- it's actually 923 on the transcript I have, the
13 conversation which I believe he's referring to, and in
14 which case Mr. Medunjanin was simply responding to --
15 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, I'm objecting to
16 this --
17 JUDGE MAY: Let Mr. Keegan -- let Mr. Keegan
19 MR. VUCICEVIC: Yes.
20 MR. KEEGAN: Of course, the testing of memory
21 is a legitimate avenue but not when you're misquoting
22 the witness which then misleads the witness, and can
23 put the witness into conflict.
24 JUDGE MAY: What is the quotation?
25 MR. KEEGAN: There's nothing on 924, I
1 believe it's on 923, the conversation, and
2 Mr. Medunjanin didn't refer to them having a specific
3 number of weapons, he was simply responding and said,
4 "How can we give you 7.000 when there's not even a
5 thousand?" So Mr. Medunjanin did not refer to a
6 particular number of weapons, which is exactly what the
7 witness is saying, and yet counsel is asserting that
8 there is somehow a difference in the witness's
9 testimony when there, in fact, isn't.
10 JUDGE MAY: I'm not, at the moment, going to
11 ask the Trial Chamber to consider any question of
12 admitting some previous statement as evidence. No
13 doubt we can consider such an application in due
15 But clearly counsel is entitled to
16 cross-examine about earlier evidence. I do wonder,
17 Mr. Vucicevic, about how helpful it is for a witness to
18 be cross-examined as to precisely what he said two
19 years ago and whether he remembers what he said two
20 years ago. It would be surprising if he did.
21 Put any inconsistencies, by all means, to the
22 witness, but I don't think we're going to be helped by
23 a detailed recital of what the witness said or didn't
24 say in Tadic.
25 Can we move on now --
1 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, if I may
3 JUDGE MAY: No, I'm not asking you to
4 comment, Mr. Vucicevic, I'm asking you to move on,
6 MR. VUCICEVIC:
7 Q. Mr. Semenovic, I am directing your attention
8 to your testimony in Tadic's trial, page 923, line 14,
9 and I will read this for you, sir, verbatim. The
10 question was: Did Commander Zeljaja indicate what he
11 would do if 7.000 weapons were not turned over to SDS?
12 Your answer was: Yes, he did. After these words of
13 his, Mr. Medunjanin asked to speak and then Mr. Tadic.
14 They said it was impossible to surrender 7.000 rifles
15 when there was not even a thousand of them.
16 Do you remember speaking these words?
17 JUDGE MAY: Well, now whether the witness
18 remembers or not, that is what the transcript says in
19 the Tadic trial.
20 Now, Mr. Semenovic, is that the position or
21 not? Did Mr. Medunjanin say something along those
23 A. Something along those lines, but the number
24 of pieces of weapons, he did not specify. He did not
25 say a precise number. He wanted to say that there was
1 not even an approximate number of the ones we were
2 accused of. Now you have just reminded me.
3 He said something to that effect. He did not
4 say that Kozarac had about 1.000, he said, in fact,
5 Kozarac did not have even 1.000. Those were his words.
6 Of course, I testified two years ago, and I
7 did not have an opportunity to read or review this
8 testimony of mine, so that when I'm asked a question, I
9 need to refresh my memory, I need to recall these
10 events and what the gentleman is asking me about.
11 MR. VUCICEVIC:
12 Q. Mr. Semenovic, when you testified yesterday,
13 you quoted Mr. Medunjanin that there was no more than
14 5.000 rifles?
15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Vucicevic, I'm going to
16 instruct you to move on. You've dealt with this point,
17 you've drawn our attention to what it said in Tadic. I
18 don't think we're going to get much further.
19 MR. VUCICEVIC: I was just, you know,
20 pointing inconsistencies, you know, two years versus
22 JUDGE MAY: You can make all those points in
23 due course. Can we move on now to something else,
25 MR. VUCICEVIC: Yes, Your Honour.
1 Q. Mr. Semenovic, in the Tadic trial, right at
2 the beginning, when you began discussing your political
3 career, page 892, line 1. In answer to the question
4 "Did you become involved in the political process at
5 this time?" You said, "Yes, I became politically
6 active as of the second half of 1989."
7 In your testimony yesterday, you said you
8 began your political career, you became politically
9 active as of the middle of 1990. Could you reconcile
10 those two answers?
11 JUDGE MAY: I think you asked him yesterday
12 about this. That's my recollection.
13 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, I intentionally,
14 after hearing his answer, I intentionally omitted his
15 reference to Tadic's trial. I think the record -- my
16 recollection is clear, the record would reflect it.
17 That's why I'm asking him today.
18 JUDGE MAY: Well, I don't think we ought to
19 go back to all that again. You cross-examined about it
20 very fully yesterday.
21 Can we go on, please?
22 MR. VUCICEVIC:
23 Q. Mr. Semenovic, when you testified yesterday,
24 when the SDA was formed, you also indicated that the
25 presiding officer, the chairman of SDA, on the State
1 level, was Mr. Alija Izetbegovic; is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And you also testified a few days ago that
4 SDA had a programme, didn't you?
5 A. Yes. Every party had its own programme.
6 Q. When did Mr. Alija Izetbegovic become the
7 president of the SDA or the chairman, whatever the
8 proper translation might be?
9 A. As far as I recall, I gave that answer
10 yesterday. When the SDA was officially established,
11 that was sometime in June in 1992 -- in the '90s. That
12 is when it was registered and that's when its founding
13 conference was held.
14 Q. ... founding declaration written by
15 Mr. Izetbegovic?
16 A. Yes, I did. A lot was said about that. It
17 was covered in the media, and Mr. Izetbegovic was very
18 much in focus. No.
19 Q. Has Mr. Izetbegovic written any other books,
20 to the best of your knowledge?
21 A. I believe that he wrote very few books, but I
22 did not read them.
23 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, we would like to
24 tender the next Defence Exhibit. Just different
25 national practice.
1 Your Honours, I didn't get a chance because I
2 got this book a couple days ago. I didn't get a chance
3 to translate it. But I will read -- I will ask the
4 witness to read a pertinent paragraph, and you will get
5 a translation. In a couple of days, I will translate
6 and tender to you the full translation of the exhibit.
7 JUDGE MAY: We will allow you to do it, but
8 normally, you must understand, the Rules are these
9 documents have to appear translated. As an exception,
10 we will let you do it on this occasion, but in future,
11 could you make sure it is translated, Mr. Vucicevic.
12 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour.
13 Q. Mr. Semenovic, I'm directing your attention
14 to the page 22, the last paragraph, starting with
15 "First and most important of these conclusions," first
16 two sentences.
17 A. I did read it.
18 Q. Would you read it out loud so that the
19 Court -- the interpreters would interpret that for the
20 Judges to hear what is being written there?
21 A. You mean to quote the text?
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. Here it states, and I quote: "First and most
24 important of these conclusions and I did not read what
25 these conclusions were, so the first and most important
1 of these conclusions is the irreconcilability of Islam
2 and non-Islamic religions, there is no peace between
3 and coexistence between the Islamic and non-Islamic
4 social and political institutions."
5 JUDGE MAY: Do you want the witness to read
6 on, Mr. Vucicevic?
7 MR. VUCICEVIC: Pardon me?
8 JUDGE MAY: Do you want the witness to read
10 MR. VUCICEVIC: No, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE MAY: Just that passage.
12 MR. VUCICEVIC: Just this.
13 Q. Do you agree with this statement,
14 Mr. Semenovic?
15 A. No. I do not understand the context of it
16 because I read a quote from a book which I have not
17 read, so I don't know what preceded this quote and what
18 came after it.
19 Q. I am asking you simply whether you agree or
20 disagree with the statement that you just read, and
21 I'll repeat it: "There is no peace or coexistence
22 between Islamic faith and non-Islamic social and
23 political institutions."
24 A. No, I absolutely do not agree with it.
25 Q. Where was the first annual convention,
1 anniversary of the SDA -- of the SDA of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina held? I'm directing your attention
3 to a year 1991.
4 A. You mean the first anniversary?
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. I don't understand.
7 Q. Where was the first annual assembly of the
8 SDA for Bosnia and Herzegovina held, in 1991 being that
9 the establishment was in 1990?
10 A. You mean the first convention or you mean the
11 founding conference?
12 Q. Was there a meeting held in Foca in 1991?
13 A. There was a meeting in Foca, but it was
14 neither a convention nor the founding conference, it
15 was just a meeting. I heard that on television and I
16 heard from within the party that they supported that
18 Q. ... Mr. Izetbegovic's presentation at that
19 political gathering?
20 A. I do not remember following it.
21 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, I'm sorry. If I
22 might? This is now approximately about the fifth
23 question or answer that the reporter has not been able
24 to get, the same problem as yesterday, that he is
25 talking over the witness. You will notice in the
1 transcript we are missing the first part of
2 questions. We have also missed answers.
3 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Vucicevic, did you hear that
4 point made by Mr. Keegan.
5 MR. VUCICEVIC: Yes. I'm cognisant of that
6 fact, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE MAY: Can you bear that in mind all the
8 time, please?
9 MR. VUCICEVIC: Certainly, Your Honour.
10 Q. Mr. Semenovic, having testified that you
11 disagreed with this statement of the party leader,
12 isn't it fair to conclude that the Prijedor SDA
13 disagreed with the policies of the leadership in
15 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour -- may I object to
16 that, please?
17 JUDGE MAY: I don't think so. No, you can't
18 object. It's not objectionable. But let's deal with
19 these matters as quickly as we can, Mr. Vucicevic.
20 MR. VUCICEVIC: Yes, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Semenovic, did the local SDA
22 disagree with the policies of the Sarajevo leadership?
23 A. I just want to say that this is not a
24 statement of the president of the party, this is a
25 statement that this man gave 20 or 30 years ago in a
1 book, and this is the book. This book was written
2 several decades before the period of which we are
3 talking, and this is a quote from one book of this
5 Many years later he became the president of
6 this party, and he did not give this statement, nor did
7 he officially restate this as president of the party.
8 He was talking -- he talked about this book on a number
9 of occasions, but I was never much interested in that
10 book, I never read it, and it was not part of the
11 programme of the SDA. This is all I can state about
13 MR. VUCICEVIC:
14 Q. When you were referring to the arms that were
15 available in Kozarac area, you said there were not
16 enough arms even for one-third of the population.
17 A. I said that that was to illustrate the things
18 that I was referring to before.
19 Q. ... you testified and you were shown the
20 exhibits denoting the lists of the Territorial Defence
21 mobilisation, call-up lists. You also testified in
22 Tadic's trial that you participated personally in
23 reinforcement of these lists. Could you tell the Court
24 how many formation units of TO were there in Kozarac
25 and surrounding areas?
1 A. I don't know because I was not in charge of
2 Territorial Defence nor was I in charge of the
3 organisation of the Territorial Defence in this
4 military sense based on the laws under which they were
5 established, so I really don't know how many people
6 were involved, how many pieces of weapons there were.
7 It was not part of my duties, simply put. And I don't
8 know these numbers.
9 Q. You testified that there was on April 8th,
10 there was a letter or directive that came up from the
11 Republic level indicating the call-up, mobilisation of
12 the Territorial Defence. Do you know who issued that
14 A. I said that as far as I recall this was on
15 the 8th, so it was probably on the 8th of April, but
16 I'm not sure about it. However, what I am sure of is
17 that it was an order of the Presidency of Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina. The territorial staff of the defence of
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina was established and this
20 decision was read on the radio, anybody could have
21 heard it. I think that also Croatian television
22 carried it as well as some others.
23 Q. It was on April the 8th, State of Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina called up all its armed forces which it had
25 on its command; correct?
1 A. It issued an order on mobilisation of
2 Territorial Defence, and I mentioned this order.
3 Q. In Prijedor, SDA committee implemented that
4 order on the Muslim populated and dominated area, isn't
5 that correct, by setting up the checkpoints?
6 A. No. There was a Territorial Defence command
7 in Prijedor, and it was in charge of implementing this
8 order. However, it had a mixed ethnic composition, and
9 the relationship between the leaders of Serbian ethnic
10 background -- I have already explained their position
11 in view of this. So in this context and in view of
12 these relationships, this order could not be
13 implemented because part of the people did not accept
14 this order. I said that this order from -- this order
15 could not be implemented completely in Prijedor, which
16 meant that in a part of Prijedor, a decision of the
17 Presidency of the State cannot be implemented.
18 Some people started implementing parts of
19 this decision; however, it was not very successful
20 because the central coordination was lacking.
21 Q. You were a politician from -- living in
22 Trnopolje, a politician for the whole municipality.
23 You were indeed very concerned when this order came
24 down, weren't you?
25 A. Yes, I was concerned even before this order
1 because daily we watched events that I have already
2 described in my testimony, there were explosions,
3 shootings, and everybody was concerned at that time.
4 Q. Yesterday you testified that JNA tank was
5 positioned on or about May 3rd at the intersection of
6 the main road from Prijedor to Banja Luka, so-called
7 Banja Luka Cesta, and the main side road that is going
8 into Kozarac; isn't that correct?
9 A. Yes. As far as I remember, it was on May
11 Q. And at that time was there a checkpoint by
12 Kozarac or just on the other side of the road?
13 A. I think yes. After the tank appeared, people
14 created this checkpoint and sort of protection -- sort
15 of a shelter, I think it was made out of wood or sand.
16 Q. So basically JNA soldiers on one side of the
17 road and SDA army, TO, from the other side, were
18 staring at each other across the road, down the gun
20 A. Those were not the JNA soldiers, it was
21 mainly the known persons -- well-known persons and
22 people from Kozarac even talked to them. I have in
23 mind soldiers that were around the tank and the crew of
24 the tank. Those were people, older people from Kozarac
25 and from the area who served their army service a long
1 time ago, and this happened after the take-over of the
2 power by SDS in Prijedor, three days after that
3 take-over, the tank appeared there, and the population
4 was just basically taken by -- overcome by panic and
5 they tried to create some kind of shelter for
6 themselves, protection.
7 You said on one side there was TO and on the
8 other side was the JNA. No, it was not the JNA. We
9 could clearly recognise the soldiers of the JNA. At
10 that point, part of the soldiers of JNA were in
11 Benkovac in the military camp, and we know that because
12 many of them wanted to escape and they would apply to
13 people in Kozarac, and some of the people in Kozarac
14 would help them and procure a civilian wardrobe so they
15 could escape. There was an example, a baker, Jevid,
16 provided clothes for several soldiers of the JNA so
17 they could escape. Another example is Avdo
18 Mujkanovic. He also assisted them.
19 MR. VUCICEVIC: ... from in a intersection
20 that I just asked about.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Your next question, please.
22 MR. VUCICEVIC:
23 Q. Isn't it fair to say that from April the 8th,
24 there was a state of Cold War in Bosnia between SDA and
25 SDS based on what you just testified?
1 A. I don't understand the term "Cold War," the
2 state of Cold War. We were issued an ultimatum, and
3 prior to that, the officials in their discussions and
4 on the radio broadcast, after the take-over, they were
5 issuing messages and saying -- stating that very
6 clearly, they want disarmament of extremists, and after
7 that the tanks appeared and things were obvious. If
8 you wish to ask me if, on one side, there was a
9 checkpoint of TO and on the other side was the tank,
10 yes, that's clear. It's an obvious matter.
11 Q. So on or about May 16th, when you and the
12 other officials from Kozarac were issued ultimatum by
13 the JNA commanders, you go back to Kozarac and discuss
14 that ultimatum with anybody?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Whom did you discuss it with, when and where,
17 location? Who was present?
18 A. I don't recall the exact date. I think it
19 was a day after this meeting in Prijedor. A meeting
20 was called, a mass meeting was called, and there were
21 representatives of the local communes there, police and
22 Territorial Defence representatives, all of them came
23 and the meeting was held in the building of the
24 elementary school in Kozarac.
25 Q. Did you speak at that meeting?
1 A. Yes, I did.
2 Q. Did anybody else speak at that meeting?
3 A. Becir Medunjanin spoke as well. Many people
4 spoke. It was a meeting that lasted for several hours,
5 because after these threats, it was obvious people
6 would be killed and we looked for a solution. Many
7 people spoke and I really cannot remember the names of
8 20 or 30 people that did speak.
9 Q. Basically choice was either to surrender the
10 arms or go to war, to shooting war. What did you
12 A. No, no. The choice was to surrender the
13 weapons and to have the Serbian police enter Kozarac
14 and raise the Serbian flag. That was what we were
15 asked to allow.
16 Q. ... for the gathering at the elementary
18 A. I did not have a proposal. I interpreted
19 what I had heard at that meeting that I've mentioned.
20 People were called to the meeting to discuss this and
21 to make a decision. I did not suggest anything at that
23 Q. Do you remember what Mr. Medunjanin said at
24 that meeting?
25 A. I don't remember quite well those speeches,
1 but I know that Medunjanin didn't have a specific
2 proposal either. The purpose of that meeting was to
3 make some kind of a common -- issue some kind of a
4 common decision; however, not to pass the decision by
5 an official or an official of the TO or a politician.
6 If we had wanted to do that, we wouldn't call upon the
7 people to come to the meeting. The purpose of the
8 meeting was to have a large number of people make a
9 common decision that would be supported by everybody,
10 and if I remember correctly, Becir Medunjanin did not
11 say "We will do this and this" or "We should do this
12 and that." He simply called the meeting in order to
13 ask what was the will of the people present there.
14 Q. My question put --
15 JUDGE MAY: That was an example. The
16 interpreter hadn't finished.
17 MR. VUCICEVIC: Sorry, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE MAY: I may have to insist in due
19 course that you put the ear phones on so you can hear,
20 Mr. Vucicevic.
21 MR. VUCICEVIC: Yes, Your Honour. It will be
23 JUDGE MAY: It may be helpful.
24 MR. VUCICEVIC:
25 Q. Mr. Semenovic, was there a question put to
1 the assembly on the issue whether to surrender the arms
2 and accept the Serbian authority in Kozarac or not?
3 Was there a vote taken on that issue by the assembly of
5 A. I don't remember exactly, but I do think that
6 there was some kind of expression of opinion.
7 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, this was indeed
8 a very important meeting and this seemed to be a
9 democratic process taking place. If I may follow up
10 with the same line of questioning?
11 Q. Mr. Semenovic, there was indeed an important
12 issue debated. One of the most important issues in the
13 life of all politicians from that area. And SDS and
14 SDA advised and supported democratic processes. How
15 was a decision reached at that meeting and what was the
17 A. The decision at the meeting was for us to
18 abide by the laws of Bosnia and Herzegovina because we
19 did not recognise the State that was created by the
20 Serbs. They had already by that time created Serbia
21 and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and they wanted this part
22 to become a part of the Serbian Bosnia and Herzegovina,
23 and at the end, the decision was made to follow the
24 instructions of the presidency of Bosnia and
25 Herzegovina and of our authorities.
1 Q. So what was the direction by your authorities
2 which you followed on the point of ultimatum that was
3 before you?
4 A. We did not have any contact with our
5 authorities in the Republic, we had no telephone
6 communication or any other means of communication. The
7 only thing we had were the laws of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina, we had a Territorial Defence as a
9 structural organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we
10 had police in Kozarac as a structural organisation set
11 up by the laws of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That's all
12 that we had. And we also listened to radio broadcasts,
13 we heard the statements by the officials and the views
14 taken by the presidency.
15 We had two options, either to stop -- cease
16 being Bosnia-Herzegovina and agree to enter the newly
17 created Serbian Bosnia-Herzegovina or to remain Bosnia
18 and Herzegovina, and people decided to remain in Bosnia
19 and Herzegovina. That was the decision reached at that
21 Q. Mr. Semenovic, you were informed that
22 Kozarac was encircled. Based on information received
23 before, you knew the location and the strength of the
24 military that was opposing you and their artillery, the
25 numbers, and it seems the decision before you and the
1 people of Kozarac is not to defend independence of
2 Bosnia and Herzegovina at that point, but to decide
3 whether to fight or not or to surrender.
4 Could you narrow your answer to that
5 question, please?
6 A. I can tell you the following concerning that
7 issue: People had decided -- of course, everyone was
8 afraid for their lives. We were aware that we were
9 completely surrounded and we decided to continue to
10 exist as Bosnia and Herzegovina because only as such we
11 had a right to legal defence, lawful defence. Also at
12 that time there was a decision issued by JNA to
13 withdraw from Bosnia and Herzegovina. That was
14 broadcast on the radio. The Security Council of the
15 U.N. also made a resolution concerning the aggression
16 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we expected that despite
17 this huge military force that was around us, we
18 believed that in view of this decision, resolution by
19 the International Community, that the attack would be
20 prevented and we thought it was just a matter of a few
21 days when this decision on withdrawal would be upheld,
22 and, of course, at that time we just wanted to make
23 sure that we did not provoke any action.
24 The decision at that meeting was to abide by
25 the legislation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to maybe
1 protect ourselves legally should we be attacked. And
2 the decision was, should we be attacked, to defend
3 ourselves, and the only way people could defend
4 themselves was through the Territorial Defence because
5 that was the only remnant of our defence structure
6 under the auspices of the President of the Republic.
7 Everywhere around us was the new state of the Bosnian
8 Serbs that they had created.
9 Q. Mr. Semenovic, I am bringing you back right
10 to that meeting in Kozarac that you described earlier.
11 Have you, in your address to the meeting, spoke these
12 words that you spoke before the Court about
13 international situation and imminent international
14 developments while facing the ultimatum? Have you
15 spoken about this same issue that you just informed the
17 Your Honour, if I may instruct the witness to
18 just answer "Yes" or "No" and I'll follow up very
20 A. I don't recall.
21 Q. So perhaps you could have spoken about this
22 at that time, could you?
23 A. I really don't recall.
24 Q. You have testified that you had volunteered
25 for the TO. What was your military assignment or
1 fighting assignment in TO before the fighting started
2 on Kozarac?
3 A. I didn't have any special duties. I was
4 placed -- I was a member of TO at their service and I
5 didn't have any particular duties.
6 Q. Who was the president of the local board of
7 the SDA in Prijedor at that time, in Prijedor
9 A. Dr. Mirza Mujadzic.
10 Q. Had you consulted him after the ultimatum was
11 given to you on the 16th of May?
12 A. No, it wasn't possible to establish any kind
13 of connection anymore.
14 Q. Did you know perhaps where he was at that
16 A. No, I didn't. I knew where he lived and
17 where his house was, but I didn't know where he was at
18 that point. I didn't know if he was at home or some
19 place else.
20 Q. You testified yesterday that Mr. Medunjanin
21 guaranteed to military commanders that the Moslem side
22 or Territorial Defence shall not open fire first.
23 A. Yes. He said in Kozarac it is definite that
24 nobody would shoot at your army.
25 Q. But yet the fire was opened at Hambarine
1 checkpoint on the 22nd of May; isn't that true?
2 A. Yes, I had heard that on the radio. However,
3 I wasn't present in that part of Prijedor, and I don't
4 know what, in fact, did happen.
5 Q. Do you remember exactly what you heard on the
6 radio at that time about the military confrontation at
7 Hambarine checkpoint?
8 A. I do not remember exactly, but on the radio
9 they said something that there was fire, some shooting,
10 somebody was shooting at the Serbian army, and I think
11 it was information of the Crisis Staff, I don't
12 remember exactly because we were in Kozarac, we were
13 surrounded, and we had no physical contact with that
15 Q. Did you hear any ultimatums given to the
16 Hambarine TO over the radio shortly thereafter after
17 the incident happened?
18 A. No. As far as I remember, some kind of
19 ultimatum was mentioned in that news, but I cannot
20 remember precisely.
21 Q. After the military activities on Kozarac on
22 the 24th, have you managed at all to go to Kozarac in
23 the next day or two or three?
24 A. I tried once, but then after that, no, there
25 was no opportunity for that after that.
1 Q. Have you been in any contact with the
2 political leadership of SDA after 22nd of May? And I'm
3 directing your attention only for the three months of
4 1992, summer months.
5 A. No, I had no contact. I only met a
6 gentleman, his name was Besim Alic who was in the
7 Territorial Defence staff, and I met him mid-July. I
8 already mentioned that I had remained completely alone
9 in that area where I was hiding, and at that time I met
10 this gentleman, Mr. Alic. We had a very brief
11 conversation, two or three sentences, and he said that
12 he's going over the mountain of Kozara and he left and
13 I have never seen him after that.
14 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, this might be a
15 good time to adjourn because we will have a tape for
16 the continuation of the hearing or I can go for
17 another --
18 JUDGE MAY: No, that's a convenient moment.
19 Twenty minutes.
20 MR. VUCICEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour
21 --- Recess taken at 10.57 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 11.26 a.m.
23 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, if I may point
24 out to the exhibit that we introduced earlier titled
25 "Islamska Deklaracija," "Islamic Declaration," that
1 publication was -- here is the book.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes. What was the date?
3 MR. VUCICEVIC: And the book, the publication
4 was by small Muslim library, that's the publishing
5 house that's published in Sarajevo in 1990, for your
7 JUDGE MAY: We will admit the exhibit when it
8 is translated. Yes, Mr. Vucicevic?
9 MR. VUCICEVIC: The second point, when the --
10 I pursued a line of questioning on the meeting that
11 took place after the ultimatum was issued by the
12 military commanders, and the meeting took place in
13 Kozarac. I noted the witness used the word "consensus"
14 and translation was made "a decision," and I'd just
15 like to pose a question just to clarify that point,
16 Your Honour. That was pointed out to me by co-counsel
17 during the break.
18 Q. Mr. Semenovic, when you testified about the
19 ending phase of the meeting that took place at the
20 elementary school in Kozarac, was there a vote taken?
21 A. I said that there was some kind of expression
22 of will, and I do not remember what exact kind of
23 expression of will, but the point was for the people
24 that came to the meeting, to express their opinion on a
25 common view, common position, with respect to the
1 problems that surrounded them. I don't remember if
2 they voted by raising their hands or it was some kind
3 of a collective expression of will, I really don't
4 remember. I stated that before.
5 Q. You just referred to collective expression of
6 will. Could you explain, what do you mean? How is
7 that being done?
8 A. There is voting where you make the ballots
9 with the voting lists and then you put the questions on
10 the list and then you put it in the ballot boxes and
11 there is voting conducted in such a way that peoples
12 names are called up and people get up and they say
13 "Yes" or "No." There is also a type of voting where
14 all the people gathered there are asked, "Do you agree
15 with this proposed solution?" And then everybody who
16 is for it raised their hands and those who are against
17 it that don't raise their hands, and then you establish
18 whether you have a majority, whether everybody voted,
19 whether you had enough people for or against it, and
20 this is all different type of voting.
21 I know that we didn't have ballots, this is
22 not how we voted at that meeting. It was some kind of
23 other means of expression of will.
24 Q. So today you clearly explained several modes
25 by which the people could express their vote, informed
1 decision, but you also testified that you really don't
2 remember which one of these means was used.
3 A. I don't remember if people's names were
4 called out one by one or all of those who were present
5 there were asked whether they agree and they had to
6 raise their hands, I don't remember because in the
7 years prior to that, I participated in a lot of types
8 of voting and I really don't remember which kind of
9 voting took place at what meeting. It would be
10 impossible to remember that.
11 Q. Isn't it fair to state this was one of the
12 most important meetings in your life? Wasn't it?
13 A. There were several most important meetings in
14 my life.
15 Q. But this one you just do not remember, do
17 A. I don't remember, sir. We were under
18 terrible pressure, we lived in fear, and we arranged
19 that meeting fearing for our lives, so I think you can
20 understand how we felt at that point. It was a
21 question of whether we will survive or be killed, and
22 we also had to decide how to avoid the mass murder that
23 we saw on TV was taking place in other municipalities
24 in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Semenovic. I will move on,
1 Your Honours.
2 Mr. Semenovic, in Trnopolje, did you have
3 any family members who lived in the same house with
5 A. My mother was there.
6 Q. Did you go in hiding immediately after the
7 military action started in Kozarac?
8 A. I said that yesterday. On the second day
9 after the mass exodus started from Trnopolje, I started
10 hiding so that people would not suffer if the military
11 who was approaching were with me, because in the eyes
12 of these Serbian authorities, I was an extremist.
13 Q. What happened to your mother during that
14 period of time? Could you tell the Court?
15 A. You mean in those days or later, during the
16 entire period?
17 Q. Both, both.
18 A. Could you please specify?
19 My mother also started hiding. First she was
20 in the village of Sivci with a group of -- large group
21 of people, then she had to leave that house, and she
22 wandered about through the forests and across the
23 fields, and she herself did not know where she was
24 going, exactly, and somehow she managed to get to
25 Prijedor through Garevci, which was a Serbian area.
1 This is an elderly woman who can barely read and
2 write. She found a person in Prijedor who hid her
3 there and then sent her to the village of Cejreci.
4 From the village of Cejreci, together with some other
5 women, she went to Hambarine. When the Serbian
6 authorities gathered women and children and put them on
7 buses in order to transport them, she was among them
8 and they were transferred to Trnopolje in a convoy.
9 There they spent one night, and the following morning,
10 on these buses and trucks, they took them to Travnik,
11 that is to the village of Turbe which was under the
12 control of the Bosnian army.
13 In Prijedor, it was Muharema Trnjanin's wife
14 who helped her hide, and I don't know about other
16 Q. Was your mother ever inquired about your
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Could you tell the Court about that occasion?
20 A. Yes. I mentioned that my mother was in the
21 village of Cejreci with a large group of people, and a
22 couple of days later, the people started fearing her
23 because she was the mother of a Muslim extremist, as
24 the Serbian authorities called me, and so they asked
25 her to leave this house, which is the house of Osman
1 Sivac. So she left the house. She wandered in the
2 fields, she was hiding there.
3 Then she went back to the house to pick up
4 some things because she realised she had to flee, and
5 she did not have personal effects that she needed to
6 take along. And so she went to the house -- this was
7 our house now -- and they -- according to what she
8 said, four Serbian soldiers came, they came in a car,
9 they surrounded the house, two of them stayed outside
10 and two of them entered. They mistreated her there,
11 they threatened her, they put the barrel of their rifle
12 in her mouth, and after that, they took her to the car.
13 Leading her to the car, they opened the back
14 door, and she is very short, she's only 150-plus
15 centimetres, and the car was parked next to the
16 vineyard and there was some bushes, and she ran and hid
17 down in the creek. They went looking for her, they
18 shot around, they searched through the garden, they
19 searched through the little forest; however, she was in
20 that creek which had a lot of undergrowth and she went
21 upstream and fled.
22 So this was going on during that day. What
23 she told me. And part of these events were witnessed
24 by some other people who later related it to me. Later
25 on, I received information that she had been killed
1 because some people observed when she was led out of
2 the house, and later on, they heard shots and they
3 thought that she had been killed. However, later on,
4 it turned out that she managed to flee.
5 Q. That was indeed a very difficult time that
6 your mother survived. But nevertheless, later on, when
7 she came to Trnopolje, she was transferred to the
8 Bosnian Muslim territory; is that correct?
9 A. Yes, that is correct.
10 Q. And I hope that she is living and well today.
11 A. She's alive.
12 Q. You testified that you found refuge in a
13 house of a Ukrainian lady and you stayed there for a
14 month; isn't that correct?
15 A. No. In a house of a Muslim woman, but her
16 house was among the homes of Ukrainians, her neighbours
17 were Ukrainians. This is the wife of Dzemala Sivac, we
18 called her Hada Sivac, she is also alive today.
19 Q. This is a rather new effect that has come
20 up. Could you please explain to the Court the origin
21 of the Ukrainians around the Prijedor area, they
22 assimilated, their parties affiliations, their
23 religion, so that we will know?
24 A. I mentioned that in Trnopolje, there were a
25 lot of ethnic groups. I believe there were 17 of
1 them. Among them there were a number of Ukrainians,
2 there were two German families, there were Turks,
3 Albanians, Romalis, Serbs, Croats, and as far as
4 Ukrainians are concerned, I do not know much about
5 their past, or about them. I had some friends at
6 school who were Ukrainians and later on colleagues. I
7 don't know when they had settled there. I know it was
8 in some distant past, but I know that these people whom
9 I knew were born there and they lived and worked on
10 their properties regularly like everybody else.
11 Q. But isn't it fair to conclude that the
12 Ukrainians' families that created majority in that
13 hamlet were friendly to the SDS or at least you
14 perceived them friendly to SDS?
15 A. No. No, that was not my perception. A
16 certain number of Ukrainians managed to escape from the
17 area before the events that we are talking about, and
18 those who did not manage to do so remained there, and
19 out of those some, probably out of fear, agreed to be
21 After these events, there were no more
22 Ukrainians left in the village, and I believe that
23 today there are none there.
24 Q. But at least it will be -- could we state
25 they were neutral as far as the relationship between
1 SDS and SDA because you sought refuge in that village
2 because there was predominance of the Ukrainians, and
3 Ukrainian who was in the military uniform at that time
4 had given you some information.
5 A. No, not to me. They were neighbours of
6 Ms. Hada who had offered to hide me. I did not make
7 any contact with the Ukrainians, they did not know that
8 I was there. In fact, she was asked at one point,
9 because I guess they had suspected that she was hiding
10 someone and she denied it.
11 Also, I can confirm that there were not many
12 Ukrainians who agreed to be mobilised. It was a small
13 number. And perhaps they did so because they felt that
14 they had to, because they feared for their own lives.
15 Q. Do you know whether the Ukrainians in that
16 village where you sought refuge were Orthodox or
17 Catholic or any other religion?
18 A. They are members of some type, I believe, of
19 a Catholic religion. I think that they call themselves
20 Greek Catholic, I think that's how they define it. I
21 had a colleague in school who was that. But I don't
22 know enough about the distinctions between the Roman
23 Catholic and the Greek Catholic. Whether there were
24 any Orthodox there, that I also do not know.
25 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, I'd like to
1 move on, and if we could view the tape that the
2 Prosecutor introduced yesterday? Of course, I will not
3 suggest that we view it all, just a few scenes.
4 (Videotape played)
5 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise the
6 intersection in the background of the picture?
7 A. The image that I have on the screen is pretty
8 bad, so I'm not sure that I can see very well what area
9 this is.
10 Q. I will direct your attention that this was
11 footage that was taken in and around Trnopolje
12 detention centre. Does that refresh your memory?
13 A. Yes, yes. I believe this is where the
14 substation, the power substation is, if I see it
15 correctly because, as I said, the image is very bad,
16 and the road could be the Trnopolje-Prijedor road, as
17 far as I could see.
18 Q. So the Trnopolje-Prijedor road is the stretch
19 of road going from the left edge of the screen to the
20 electrical station here; right?
21 A. Yes, yes.
22 Q. And that road runs basically east-west?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And the other road is intersecting the
25 Trnopolje-Prijedor road at 90 degrees, doesn't it?
1 A. Yes, and it's going in the direction of
2 Kozarac. And the road which we have just described is
3 going towards Omarska.
4 Q. So it wouldn't be fair -- strike it.
5 What does this corner represent then that you
6 see in the picture?
7 A. This is part of the area which was part of
8 the business premises of the agricultural commune, so
9 it was the substation and then, to the right, there
10 were warehouses of this commune and their buildings.
11 Q. So is this electric station, trafo-stanica
12 you called it, that's in the very corner of the
13 property as you described; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Take a look at this photo. If you can maybe
16 move it a little bit back and forth so we would get a
17 clearer image?
18 I'm directing your attention, Mr. Semenovic,
19 as the tape is being played, to observe if there is any
20 fence? Could you play it forward now?
21 (Videotape played)
22 Q. Is there any fence at this corner?
23 A. No. Here, on this tape, I cannot see a
25 Q. That's enough, please. In relation to this
1 corner that we have on tape, could you describe where
2 did you get in and out on few occasions into this camp,
3 because this would be a south-west corner of that
4 detention centre?
5 A. It would be the opposite end, over to the
6 right, behind the old cinema building and school
7 building, and on the tape, that would be even farther.
8 The other side that is completely opposite to this
10 Q. Were you inside Trnopolje detention complex,
11 had you ever come close to this corner that you see now
12 in front of you?
13 A. No, no. But I know this area because my
14 house -- it can almost be seen from this vantage point
15 at the end of this road which you have shown, Prijedor
16 Trnopolje, at the end of that road on the right is my
17 house. You can see a pine tree which is in front of my
18 house, behind this pine tree to the right, at the very
19 pine tree is the entrance to my house, and then behind
20 it is my house, and you cannot see it because there is
21 a lot of greenery covering it. So I knew this area or
22 this terrain quite well.
23 Q. Indeed. That is indeed very helpful. Based
24 on your recollection prior to -- just immediately prior
25 to the armed conflict around Kozarac in this area, what
1 kind of fence was on this corner, if you recall?
2 A. In this part, in this area, when I arrived
3 there, which officially was the camp, in certain parts
4 had a fence, but the fence did not fully surround the
5 compound. This area towards the road did not have a
6 fence, neither before nor during that time when there
7 was a camp there. However, there were machine gun
8 nests there, near my house, and then in this open clear
9 area, on the balcony of Hamdo's house, and then over on
10 the other side on the side where I would enter, behind
11 the road, there was a row of houses between the school
12 building and the house across, there was a barn. This
13 barn was open on both ends. And in this barn, there
14 was also a machine gun nest.
15 The portion that you just showed me, near the
16 place where the camera is standing there was some kind
17 of a bunker and maybe another 50 or 80 metres away from
18 that, there was another military sentry post there, and
19 another further metres along the road there was
20 another sentry post, so this fence was not there along
21 the road, it was on this front side. I don't know how
22 long. Then there was the school fence and the
23 warehouse fence and then there was also a section of
24 the fence where I was entering, from the school and
25 onward, and again there was a clear open space to the
1 house of Hamdo who I have just mentioned.
2 These open spaces were under guard, and
3 these sentry points where these machine gun nests were
4 always manned and somebody was always observing.
5 Q. Mr. Semenovic, you just testified about the
6 position of the machine gun nests?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. In this very location here, but indeed, just
9 a few moments ago, you testified that while you were in
10 the camp, you never came to this corner. Could you
11 please tell us when did you ascertain a position on
12 those machine guns?
13 A. When I entered the camp, when I crawled
14 through the canal which I described, I saw the machine
15 gun nests in the barn which I have mentioned. I also
16 saw machine gun nests on the balcony of Hamdo's house,
17 I saw the machine gun nest -- here we go again. Here's
18 the tape.
19 (Videotape played)
20 A. Here to the left of this image, the machine
21 gun nest that I described on the road, I did not
22 personally see, but I contacted about 15 people in the
23 camp and I asked them what the deployment was when the
24 convoys were going and all that stuff. So the majority
25 of people who were there knew about this. I personally
1 did not see it, but other people did. So all this was
2 in one and the same area. But I did mention the ones
3 that I saw personally.
4 Q. Place, the exact place, where you entered
5 Trnopolje centre was along this road that we see here
6 but way down west -- I mean -- strike it -- east?
7 A. Across from this road. It was behind the
8 substation and the school. It was a lawn. It used to
9 be a soccer field. Parallel to that road, the other
10 end of this soccer field is where I came in; in other
11 words, not this road but the opposite end, the opposite
13 Q. Just to make sure that we are talking about
14 the same location, the place where you entered the
15 centre, was it diagonal corner from this corner or the
16 corner which is way to the left as we are looking now
17 on the picture?
18 A. To the right, not to the left, all the way to
19 the right of the image, and you cannot see that part.
20 Q. Okay. Now we are seeing a man with a
21 wheelbarrow pushing something in a wheelbarrow. Could
22 you tell us what was held in these containers, if you
23 do know?
24 A. You mean in the wheelbarrow?
25 Q. Yes.
1 A. This is probably one of the people who had
2 received permission to go home and bring back a sack of
3 flour or something else which he had, because every few
4 days, the police would give permission to a few people
5 to go to their homes and bring wood to build a fire for
6 big caldrons or to bring potatoes if they had any in
7 their back yards, and these permits were issued every
8 several days. However, I do know that they had to
9 receive permission, they had to talk to the guards, and
10 some of them were allowed to go there and some of them
11 were not. However, they all had to come back within a
12 defined period of time.
13 Q. The persons under special permission were not
14 escorted by the armed guards to their houses, were
16 A. No. I mentioned the road Trnopolje-Kozarac.
17 On that checkpoint, the permits were issued and also
18 the deadline -- the specified time within which they
19 had to come back, and also I heard that close to my
20 house there was a checkpoint as well, and that you
21 could also get permission to leave there and you would
22 go and let them know when you're leaving and they would
23 record the time of departure.
24 Q. But just to be clear, the picture depicting
25 this man is taken inside the camp, not the outside of
1 the camp; isn't that correct?
2 A. Yes, yes. I think that a person brought back
3 flour, maybe water from somewhere. I can't see very
4 well on this picture what it is. If it's flour, then
5 based on the permit, he probably went and got it, and
6 if it's water, if it's a water gallon, then the water
7 was probably brought from the pump which was about a
8 hundred metres away, by the school, because this part
9 didn't have really running water and I guess people
10 needed drinking water, so I can't really see what is in
11 the wheelbarrow so I can't tell you precisely.
12 Q. So this could be a container in which the
13 water was held for the people in the detention centre;
14 is that correct? Because there was no water in this
15 part of the centre.
16 A. No, there was just the electrical station
17 here, there was no water.
18 MR. VUCICEVIC: Will you please move on to
19 the next section of the tape?
20 (Videotape played)
21 MR. VUCICEVIC: Further back. You just
22 passed the point that I had some interest in. Could
23 you rewind it, please? Could you rewind it some more?
24 Some more? Right here. Move up a little bit to the
25 point that I indicated to you on the break. Okay.
1 Right here.
2 Q. Mr. Semenovic, I am directing your attention
3 to two fences. There is an inner fence and it seems
4 there is an outer fence; isn't that correct?
5 A. I don't know that there is an inner and outer
7 Q. Could you describe what is the building in
8 the right-hand corner of the picture now as you see it
9 on the screen?
10 A. This is the building of the old cinema, and
11 it belongs to the complex -- to the compound of the
12 local commune building.
13 Q. And where is that trafo-stanica corner that
14 we just looked earlier in relation to this building?
15 A. To the left.
16 Q. And where is that storage material building
17 that you indicated earlier in relation to this
19 A. To the left.
20 Q. Having lived several years just perhaps 200
21 yards away, if not less, do you recall what was this
22 fence that is now on the screen?
23 A. It was the fence that existed prior to this,
24 before it existed before the one that we can see on the
1 Q. And this was also a fence that was a
2 perimeter of the detention centre, isn't that correct,
3 when you were there?
4 A. Yes.
5 MR. VUCICEVIC: Could you move to the next
6 section of the tape, please? You can fast-forward.
7 Okay. Stop here.
8 Q. You see these wheelbarrows here, don't you,
9 Mr. Semenovic?
10 A. The image is not really good, but I do
11 suppose that these are wheelbarrows.
12 MR. VUCICEVIC: Could you just run the tape
13 back and forth, please, so that we can get a clearer
15 (Videotape played)
16 Q. Okay. Do you see a little bit better now,
17 Mr. Semenovic?
18 A. Unfortunately, the image is really poor, but
19 I do suppose that these are wheelbarrows. They
20 certainly look like wheelbarrows. It's quite possible
21 that they are.
22 Q. These wheelbarrows belonged to the building
23 material company, didn't they?
24 A. That's possible, but I'm not sure.
25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Vucicevic, we should be sure
1 about this. This is Omarska, isn't it, or are you back
2 at Trnopolje.
3 MR. VUCICEVIC: This is at Trnopolje, Your
5 JUDGE MAY: You're still at Trnopolje.
6 MR. VUCICEVIC: Yes.
7 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
8 A. I'm not sure. It's possible that they
9 belonged to the company and also possible that they
10 belonged to the people who were allowed to go out and
11 fetch the flour, and this is why they, after they
12 completed the task, left their wheelbarrows here, but
13 I'm really not sure.
14 MR. VUCICEVIC:
15 Q. Do you see the house which is right in the
16 middle of the screen there? Perhaps you lived in that
17 area and you might know whose house that is, the house
18 way in the back.
19 A. I can't see, really.
20 Q. There is a house, as the image is moving,
21 between two blond men in civilian uniforms. It seems
22 they are reporters. Way in the back. Do you recognise
23 that house?
24 A. I see the edges, but I guess it's a house
25 of ... I can't see well.
1 Q. Play it a little further. Slow.
2 (Videotape played)
3 MR. VUCICEVIC: Could you stop it here?
4 Q. Do you recognise the tree line in the back
6 A. I don't understand. I do see that these are
7 the trees --
8 Q. Do you recognise this particular cluster of
9 trees, having lived there for so long and having been
10 at the camp, detention centre for a little bit?
11 A. I think that these trees are those that are
12 located on the road in the direction of Prijedor. I
13 think that it's in the vicinity of the house of --
14 Hamdo's house that I've mentioned.
15 MR. VUCICEVIC: Could you move it to the
16 next -- quickly to the next piece, section of the
18 (Videotape played)
19 MR. VUCICEVIC: Could you slowly now play
20 that part of the tape from here?
21 (Videotape played)
22 MR. VUCICEVIC: You can play it normal speed,
23 I didn't mean slow, just play it normal speed.
24 Q. Mr. Semenovic, I'm directing your attention
25 to the people that are next to the fence and the people
1 that are getting out.
2 That's enough. Thank you.
3 Mr. Semenovic, did you recognise that part
4 of the fence there in the picture now?
5 A. I think that this is the fence by the road,
6 Trnopolje-Kozarac. I think that's what it is. And
7 across from this fence are the houses, mostly Ukrainian
8 houses, in which at that point still some Ukrainians
10 Q. You would agree with me at this point at
11 least, in the detention centre, the people are walking
12 in and out freely, were they?
13 A. No, no. I think -- I suppose that these
14 people on the road are the people that actually live in
15 the houses that I have mentioned, in the houses across
16 from the camp. There was a family of Pavle, the
17 Ukrainian who was there, and also some other families
18 who lived there for a while before they departed as
20 Q. But we've seen two civilians, two young
21 girls, walking out?
22 A. Yes. I'm talking about the people, about the
23 families that actually lived there. I suppose that
24 these are those families.
25 Q. Could you please play the tape back again?
1 Only with the civilians getting out of the -- the
2 section of the fence where the civilians are getting
4 (Videotape played)
5 MR. VUCICEVIC: A little more. Could you
6 back it up just a bit more? You can play it at a
7 normal speed from here.
8 (Videotape played)
9 Q. Could you direct your attention,
10 Mr. Semenovic, to the man walking now in the picture?
11 The girl coming out, the second girl coming out.
12 Thank you. You can stop playing this
14 Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise the man,
15 elderly man, who walked in on that part of the film?
16 A. No, I don't recognise. I don't know who it
18 Q. You testified about Ukrainian men having a
19 house just across the street. Are these girls that
20 walked out part of the household?
21 A. I don't know. I didn't recognise the exact
22 persons. I have just said that in these houses across
23 from the camp at that point there was still some people
24 residing there, and also the people from the Serbian
25 Red Cross from Prijedor visited the camp as well and
1 there were civilians. Also the treatment was different
2 for men and women in Trnopolje. The men were treated
3 much, much more strictly. And they were not allowed to
4 leave the camp without permission.
5 Q. But the elderly gentleman who we saw in this
6 footage seemed like he was bringing something in a
7 container to the centre, didn't he?
8 A. No, I don't know.
9 MR. VUCICEVIC: Could you play that part of
10 the tape back, please?
11 (Videotape played)
12 MR. VUCICEVIC: You can play it from here.
13 Q. There are two uniformed men right on the road
14 now, as you see, and there's a man with a white T-shirt
15 coming out carrying a container in his right hand.
16 A. I think he was going to fetch the water into
17 one of those Ukrainian houses.
18 Q. So would it be fair to conclude that was one
19 of the detainees or the refugees at this centre going
20 to get water at this time?
21 A. It is possible, but I'm not sure because I
22 don't know this particular person and he must have had
23 permission because otherwise he wouldn't have been able
24 to go there. I know that for a fact.
25 MR. VUCICEVIC: Go to the next segment of the
2 Q. You testified yesterday that this man is
3 Mr. Kupresanin; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. What was his position in the assembly of
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time when the coalition
7 government was formed in the beginning of 1991?
8 A. He was a member of the parliament of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, just like me.
10 Q. Was he in the leadership of the SDS, on the
11 State level?
12 A. I don't know about that.
13 Q. Have you had any communications with him, any
14 conferences, either professional or social in terms of
15 determining the policy, or trying to do a better job as
16 a legislator or any conversations with him in the
17 beginning of 1991?
18 A. I have seen him in the parliament and I have
19 listened to him talk just like other legislators from
20 other parties. We didn't have any particular contact,
21 nor did we carry on any particular conversations. He
22 was just a member of the parliament just like me, and
23 since I was a legislator as well, I've seen a lot of
24 these people, sometimes I would listen to their
25 speeches, sometimes I would listen to the conversations
1 they had with other people, just like they listened to
2 mine, and that's all.
3 Q. But yet this man, Mr. Kupresanin, later
4 became the president of the autonomous region of Serb
5 Krajina; isn't that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And while you were confined in Omarska, he
8 came in to see you, didn't he?
9 A. No, he didn't come to see me. From what I
10 understood, he came to look for the officials, highly
11 placed officials that were still alive, and he wanted
12 to gather them at one point in Banja Luka, and he
13 coordinated that with the higher leaders, he had some
14 consultations with Karadzic on that issue, and the
15 purpose was to use those surviving highly-placed
16 officials for their own purposes.
17 Q. So just from their actions it would be fair
18 to say that Mr. Karadzic and Mr. Kupresanin thought
19 that the SDA leaders in Omarska are not at great peril
20 because he came to contact them, as one of the
22 A. Two days later, I found out exactly what
23 their intentions were. One Serbian soldier who
24 escorted me from the municipal building where I was
25 taken by the police, when he escorted me back to
1 Vrbanja in the car, at one point the soldier told me,
2 "Your decision to become a member of the Serbian
3 parliament was a good one. I appreciate that.
4 However, you have to be aware the Muslim extremists can
5 kill you." And it was completely clear what was
6 actually taking place in this case.
7 Q. In Tadic's trial, you testified on page 961
8 that, starting on line 20 to 26. Did Mr. Kupresanin
9 ever ask you to assist in negotiations? You answered:
10 Yes, yes. One of the first things that they wanted to
11 do was they wanted to create some kind of roundtable in
12 Banja Luka. He said as follows --
13 JUDGE MAY: Don't go too quickly. It's got
14 to be interpreted.
15 MR. VUCICEVIC: ... is going to be the part
16 Serbian Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is of the Banja Luka
17 region -- Your Honours, I lost the sound on my
19 Q. A Muslim will be the President of the
20 government, the Prime Minister. We have got a very
21 excellent man Fikret Abdic. We have already agreed
22 with Fikret Abdic. He will be the Prime Minister and
23 the Serb will be the President, and the Muslims will be
24 satisfied and all those that remain in Banja Luka as
1 A. Yes, that's correct, that's what he said.
2 Q. Would you explain -- you hear about this plan
3 first from the soldier or from Mr. Kupresanin?
4 A. I think that if I remember correctly, I think
5 that I first heard it from Kuprasanin and shortly
6 thereafter from the soldier.
7 Q. Could you explain to the Judges who is
8 Mr. Fikret Abdic?
9 A. Prior to the war, he was a member of the
10 Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, he left
11 the Presidency and established paramilitary formations
12 that cooperated with the military formations of the
13 Serbs and Croats -- cooperate with Martic's police and
14 later on with the Serb forces and they jointly attacked
15 the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
16 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, that would be a
17 convenient moment.
18 JUDGE MAY: Have you got very much more for
19 this witness, Mr. Vucicevic?
20 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, I have to just
21 tie this up, this encounter with Mr. Kupresanin and
22 perhaps another few questions. Not very much at all.
23 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Five past two.
24 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.28 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.08 p.m.
2 MR. VUCICEVIC: Good afternoon, Your
4 Q. Mr. Semenovic, before we paused for the
5 lunch break, you were testifying about Mr. Fikret
6 Abdic. Who was Fikret Abdic?
7 A. I already said that he was a member of the
8 Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, elected after the
9 first free multiparty elections. At first he was a
10 member of the Party of Democratic Action, and later on,
11 he left it.
12 Q. When he was a member of the Presidency, was
13 he a member of the SDA?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Was he a member of the executive board of the
16 SDA at any time?
17 A. It is possible that he was in the beginning,
18 but I am not sure of it.
19 Q. Indeed, he was a candidate for President of
20 the State in the election of 1990, wasn't he?
21 A. No, he was a candidate for the membership of
22 the Presidency of the Republic.
23 Q. Therefore, his name was on the ballot, wasn't
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. The name of Mr. Izetbegovic was on the same
2 ballot, wasn't it?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Isn't it true that on that election,
5 Mr. Abdic won the most votes, the majority votes?
6 A. Yes, he received more votes than Izetbegovic.
7 Q. Isn't it fair to state that Mr. Fikret Abdic
8 is a Muslim, Bosniak?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You also testified and stated that he,
11 relating to Mr. Abdic, later attacked army of Bosnia
12 and Herzegovina. Is that the --
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. -- army of Mr. Izetbegovic's Bosnia and
16 A. After the pull-out of the Yugoslav People's
17 Army from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the army of Bosnia
18 and Herzegovina was established. On exactly what date
19 it was established, I do not know that, but I know that
20 the Territorial Defence was established in early April,
21 and after that, it grew into the army of Bosnia and
23 Q. So Mr. Abdic separated from the government
24 which was headed by Mr. Izetbegovic and declared his
25 own entity in north-western Bosnia; isn't that correct?
1 A. Yes. A part of the area in which he was
2 present, he split off and he declared an autonomous
3 province there.
4 Q. Could you name a few bigger towns in that
6 A. In that area, Bihac, Velika Kladusa, Cazin
7 Buzin, Bosanska Krupa that is the area of the Bosnian
8 Krajina, and in the area in which Fikret Abdic
9 proclaimed autonomy was Velika Kladusa and a portion of
10 the Cazin municipality.
11 Q. So when you testified that Mr. Abdic later
12 attacked the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that means
13 you basically stated there was an arms conflict between
14 two Muslim armies?
15 A. There existed a defence formation of Bosnian
16 army in Bosnian Krajina, at one point Fikret Abdic who
17 at that time was in the territory of the Republic of
18 Croatia issued directives and returned to Velika
19 Kladusa and split off that area with the assistance --
20 with the weapons which he received from the Bosnian
21 Serbs, he was able to corral that territory and I don't
22 know more about that territory because I was not in
23 that territory.
24 Q. What you know from the press reports at that
25 time, could you inform the Court when was that,
2 A. I don't know exactly when that was.
3 Q. You testified that Mr. Abdic and his
4 followers, the autonomous region that he declared as
5 separate from the central Muslim government in Bosnia,
6 cooperated with the Serbian entity known as Autonomous
7 Region of Krajina, didn't you?
8 A. Yes, I could read that in the media, and also
9 see it on television and other mass media. At the time
10 when he did this, he was no longer a member of the
11 Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He stepped down
12 from that position.
13 Q. And the followers and members of his
14 insurgent troops were majority Muslims, were they?
15 A. Members were, for the most part, Muslims, but
16 the officers for the most part were Serbs.
17 Q. So what you are testifying before this high
18 court today is that Muslims from Bihac area, Sasinska
19 Krajina so called as you testified earlier, had indeed
20 very close cooperation and military alliance with Serbs
21 from Autonomous Region of Krajina, including Prijedor,
22 that you are from?
23 A. I have been talking about the impressions
24 which are gained from reading reports in the press and
25 watching things on television, so I was talking about
1 what I saw something regarding Velika Kladusa and not
2 Buzim and Sasinska Krajina.
3 Q. Do you know whether there were any military
4 actions between the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
5 under central authority of Mr. Izetbegovic, and troops,
6 formations loyal to Mr. Abdic?
7 A. The army units of the army of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina which were under the control of the
9 Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, not Alija
10 Izetbegovic because he was only one member of this
11 Presidency, were defending the country and the
12 aggressor's forces were attacking it. Apart from the
13 Serbian aggressors, there was also the militia of
14 Fikret Abdic which was engaged in this aggression.
15 This is what I knew from the general mass media, and I
16 did not have any personal additional knowledge of it.
17 Q. Just one more question, Your Honours, along
18 this line. Mr. Semenovic, do you know whether there
19 were any prisoners of war taken between two Muslim
20 armed groups, armies, armies of Mr. Izetbegovic and
21 military formations of Fikret Abdic?
22 A. I don't know. I do not know that.
23 Q. In Tadic's trial, you testified that
24 Mr. Kupresanin had informed you that the Serbian entity
25 in Bosnia is about to form a coalition government with
1 Mr. Abdic whereas Mr. Abdic was supposed to be the
2 President of the new political entity. Do you remember
3 that testimony?
4 A. I remember it, but the interpretation is
5 wrong. Kupresanin was talking that the President of
6 this entity, of this Serbian state, was going to be a
7 Serb, and Abdic was going to be the Prime Minister.
8 Q. And the position that you were considered for
9 was a member of the parliament of such an entity. You
10 testified to that effect, didn't you?
11 A. I was not told this by Kupresanin, I repeat,
12 I was told this by a soldier who drove me from the
13 municipality building back to Vrbanja, and I did not
14 have a conversation with him. He just on his own
15 commented that "It was good that you decided to become
16 a member of the Serbian assembly." And several days
17 later, Kupresanin came and said that they would
18 probably take me to Knin and from Knin, we would
19 probably go to Bihac, to the demarcation line with
20 UNPROFOR because we were going to start negotiations
21 there. However, he told me nothing about the nature of
22 my presence there. I just know that I was terribly
23 afraid of this possibility and I refused it even at the
24 cost of my life.
25 Q. So at that time, you looked Mr. Kupresanin
1 straight in the eyes and said "I can't go to Knin, I
2 can't go to Knin or these negotiations," didn't you?
3 A. No, I did not dare say it in that way. I
4 told him, "Sir, Mr. Kupresanin," this is as far as I
5 recall, "I don't know how much this will contribute to
6 these negotiations, but I believe that it will not be
7 of much use. However, you are a smart man. You know
8 these things best. So you decide." In other words, I
9 was trying to be conciliatory. I did not want to tell
10 him openly that I wasn't going to go because I knew
11 where I was, nor did I tell him that I did not want to
13 After this conversation he said, "We'll still
14 come for you tomorrow and we'll take you there on a
15 helicopter, maybe even a car, because I don't like
16 flying in a helicopter." And in these following days,
17 I expected to be taken -- to be picked up by the police
18 and taken there.
19 Q. But, in fact, you never made that trip, did
20 you? You were not forced to go.
21 A. No, they did not take me there.
22 Q. And while you were waiting for a possible
23 trip to negotiate with the Muslim representatives of
24 Mr. Abdic, you were recuperating at your sister's home
25 in a suburb of Banja Luka, weren't you?
1 A. Yes. Those were the contents of the
2 conversation of Kupresanin and the military officers
3 who came and who talked to my sister. They said that I
4 needed to put on some weight and recover, and in those
5 days, they kept bringing food.
6 Q. As a matter of fact, do you recall whether
7 any of the Serb authorities, soldiers, ever brought you
8 any food as they promised?
9 A. Yes, once -- I don't know the exact date when
10 this was -- but they came to Vrbanja, that is
11 Kupresanin did and some officers, and they brought a
12 lunch package. There was some cooking oil and beans
13 and some other food items in it.
14 Q. One more point here in your contacts with
15 Mr. Kupresanin. Mr. Kupresanin picked you up in his
16 limousine and drove you to Banja Luka; isn't that true?
17 A. This was a car -- this was an official car of
18 the Banja Luka municipality, of the municipal
20 Q. And in Tadic's trial you testified that you
21 had casual conversation with Mr. Kupresanin upon
22 entering the car, and then it seems there is an hour
23 gap, and then you arrived at your sister's home. What,
24 if anything, has Mr. Kupresanin told you during that
25 limousine drive from Omarska to Vrbanja?
1 A. I did not have a casual conversation, I was
2 answering the questions which he was asking me, and I
3 listened to what he had to say. During this trip, the
4 driver stopped at one point and picked up two soldiers
5 who were hitchhiking, and for the most part of the
6 trip, they talked to the soldiers about the front-line
7 in Gradacac, in Jajce.
8 Q. Could you mention to the Court -- what is
9 Gradacac, where is it located, and why was
10 Mr. Kupresanin interested in military situation in
12 A. During the trip from Omarska to Banja Luka,
13 there was a bus stop about ten kilometres out of
14 Omarska and two soldiers were standing there
15 hitchhiking. Mr. Kupresanin told the driver to stop
16 and pick them up, and he asked them where they were on
17 the front. One said that he was at Gradacac and the
18 other one as I recall said that he was on the front-line
19 at Jajce. Then he asked them what the situation was
20 like where they were, how many days of holiday they got
21 and those were basically the contents of the
23 Q. I just asked you a simple question and if you
24 can answer with a very short answers. Your Honour, I
25 ask for some latitude here. Who was fighting whom at
1 the positions in Gradacac?
2 A. The soldiers said that they were fighting
3 Ustasha, those were the words that they used.
4 Q. And Gradacac is located east from Banja Luka;
5 is that right?
6 A. No, Gradacac is on the border with Croatia.
7 Q. But how many kilometres approximately east of
8 Banja Luka is Gradacac located?
9 A. I don't know that exactly.
10 Q. Would you care to state that the Gradacac's
11 military activities were part of the battle for
13 A. I heard that on the radio, that there was
14 fighting for the corridor, but we didn't know anything,
15 we were under siege, so what I could -- the only
16 information I could get was from the radio and maybe
17 from the Croatian media, so I could only sort of guess
18 what was going on. I did not know what was going on.
19 Q. You have testified that you and the citizens
20 of Kozarac were blocked at some time at the beginning
21 of May of 1992. Do you know for general information
22 whether the whole region of Krajina was blocked from
23 the eastern part of Bosnia because of the closure of
24 the corridor along the river Sava by Muslim forces?
25 A. I did not know that at that time.
1 Q. When did you learn that fact, Mr. Semenovic?
2 A. I heard it on the radio, in the following
3 days, that there was fighting for the corridor. There
4 was fighting against the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina
5 and on the other side, the other side was the army of
6 the Serbian Bosnian army, that is of this new state
7 which the Serbs had established and Bosnia and
9 Q. Let me ask you: Do you recall when did
10 electrical power was disconnected to Kozarac and
11 Prijedor in April or May of 1992?
12 A. I don't know that there was -- that the
13 electrical power was cut off in Prijedor. Maybe there
14 were shortages, maybe there were interruptions, but I
15 know that immediately before the attack on Kozarac, the
16 power was cut off.
17 Q. But to the best of your recollection,
18 Trnopolje had electrical power until the very day when
19 you were forced to leave the city or the village, is
20 that correct, or perhaps there is another explanation?
21 A. That is correct. All Serbian households in
22 Trnopolje in the village had an uninterrupted supply of
23 electrical power throughout the fighting period because
24 we could see the lights on, whereas in the Muslim
25 areas, including Trnopolje and Kozarac, there was no
1 electrical power at all.
2 In one area in the Krajina area -- in these
3 Ukrainian households they also had supplies, but for
4 the most part, all the way to the foothills of Mount
5 Kozara, the electrical power was cut off from most
7 Q. You are a mining engineer. Perhaps just as
8 having general engineering background you might know
9 the answer to the following question: Where was the
10 electricity supplied to Prijedor and Banja Luka? Where
11 from? Only if you do know.
12 A. I don't know that exactly, not exactly. I
13 suppose that part of the electricity came from the mid
14 section of Bosnia and the other from somewhere else,
15 I'm not sure from where, what quantities, and where
16 they came from. It's really not -- doesn't have much
17 to do with my profession.
18 Q. You testified in Tadic's trial that you
19 overheard two conversations between Mr. Kupresanin and
20 Dr. Radovan Karadzic; is that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You testified that you definitely recognised
23 the voice of Mr. Karadzic having heard him speak on the
24 floor of the parliament and also, I believe, in some
25 personal contacts; isn't that correct?
1 A. I rarely had personal contact, maybe on two
2 or three occasions when I had, on behalf of the club of
3 SDA members of the parliament, take over to them some
4 bills, and occasionally in that club, Mr. Karadzic
5 would be present as well. Those were very rare
6 contacts, maybe just on two or three occasions, and
7 those were formal -- the contacts were of a formal
8 nature. And, of course, his voice, I knew his voice
9 very well, because Mr. Karadzic was a frequent speaker
10 at the parliament when the members of SDS were present
11 at the Bosnian parliament. I managed to recognise the
12 voice, not on the first occasion when Mr. Kupresanin
13 talked to him from Omarska but on the second occasion
14 in Banja Luka in the municipality building, since I
15 wasn't far away from the telephone and I could hear.
16 Usually when you have old telephones, you can hear
17 that -- I heard a voice similar to Karadzic's and the
18 content of the conversation convinced me later on that
19 indeed it was Dr. Karadzic on the other line.
20 Q. During the first conversation, besides
21 Mr. Kupresanin and yourself, who else was present in
22 those two rooms, as you testified?
23 A. In the room where I was, I was brought in by
24 a policeman, and when Mr. Kupresanin came in, the
25 policeman left and I remained alone with Mr. Kupresanin
1 and then we started a conversation, as I have indicated
2 before. And then from a nearby office, they called him
3 and they said that the president needs to speak to him
4 on the phone, and he got up and went to answer the
6 Q. Could you see any other persons being present
7 in the other office?
8 A. I think there was a person or somebody, there
9 were some official persons there, but this is what I
10 could see from the hallway and through the other doors
11 that were diagonally across. I couldn't even turn
12 back. This is just what I could see without really
13 moving my body, just using my eyes, because indeed I
14 was in a camp where there were terrible conditions, and
15 you had to be aware of every millimetre of your
16 movement and your behaviour, and at one point, when he
17 was talking, carrying a conversation there, Mr. Merkic
18 entered the room and he wanted to start a conversation
19 with me but I didn't dare really start a conversation,
20 and after a while he left, and from the other office,
21 the only thing that I heard was about the beds and the
22 soaps and the sheets. I heard it twice. It was
23 repeated twice. He said, "I found only one of them."
24 I didn't understand the essence of it. It was only
25 clear to me later on when he told me that I needed to
1 go with him.
2 Q. While you observed Mr. Kupresanin speaking
3 with Dr. Karadzic, did you hear these words:
4 "Blankets, beds, detergent" directly from the
5 telephone in Dr. Karadzic's voice or perhaps you heard
6 Mr. Kupresanin repeat them?
7 A. No, I didn't hear what was said on the other
8 side, I heard what Kupresanin said. He repeated those
9 words, that he needed soaps, detergents, 300 beds.
10 Q. If you heard Mr. Kupresanin convey those
11 requests or orders to anybody at that time or at any
12 time later on in Banja Luka?
13 A. No, I didn't hear him talking about those
14 orders to somebody else, I heard him carry on a similar
15 conversation on the phone in Banja Luka, but he wasn't
16 issuing orders. He wasn't ordering somebody to bring
17 that in, he was just mentioning the same things again,
18 and he also mentioned clothes for me, a job, as far as
19 I could remember he was saying, "All right, all
20 right." He was confirming some of the statements.
21 Q. So you are testifying now that it was Mr. --
22 Dr. Karadzic who requested a suit and good treatment
23 for you because you overheard him directly, in Banja
24 Luka it wasn't Kupresanin repeating, it was Karadzic's
25 voice that you could overhear from the old-fashioned
1 telephone on the desk?
2 A. Based on what I had heard, I repeated several
3 times what I had heard, I concluded that it was ordered
4 to Kupresanin to go to Omarska and search for the
5 surviving members of the parliament and put them
6 somewhere where they could get better and then use them
7 for his political purposes. This is how I understood
8 the whole matter.
9 Q. But what you have just testified that you
10 understood, that is not what Dr. Karadzic said. What I
11 asked you only, what did you hear in his own voice?
12 JUDGE MAY: I think the witness has dealt
13 with that.
14 MR. VUCICEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. One minor point. Mr. Semenovic, I will
16 direct your attention to the very first day when you
17 surrendered yourself to the authorities of the
18 detention centre in Trnopolje. What was the name of
19 the captain that you were turned into?
20 A. His name was Slavko and I heard that from
21 Adem Trnjanin a friend of mine who later went on to
22 this Slavko.
23 Q. Did Mr. Trnjanin make any comments who to
24 turn into and not to turn into?
25 A. He asked me to surrender because he was
1 afraid that they would kill 15 persons, including
2 himself, because they were given the ultimatum with a
3 deadline of 48 hours, and he told me that Slavko would
4 not beat me, he was solely interested in how I entered
5 Trnopolje camp and how I exited the camp. This is what
6 Slavko wanted to hear from me. This is what Adem told
7 me, and he didn't say anything about the others, and he
8 was beyond himself. He could barely speak about that
10 Q. So it wouldn't be fair to conclude that the
11 inmates, refugees, at Trnopolje centre, had favourable
12 opinion about Captain Slavko?
13 A. Captain Slavko was interrogating some of the
14 15 persons that I have mentioned. Among others, he
15 also interrogated Adem Trnjanin, and at the end of that
16 interrogation and abuse, some of them were beaten.
17 They issued the ultimatum. What else was said in the
18 conversation, I do not know, but Adem said he will not
19 beat you, he's only interested in how you entered the
20 camp, because Slavko was the head of the guards at the
21 camp, and he was only interested in how I was able to
22 enter the camp.
23 Q. As a matter of fact, Captain Slavko was
24 almost your neighbour before the war started, wasn't
1 A. No, no, I had not known him. It is possible
2 that he was my neighbour but maybe further away from my
3 house. I really didn't know him. I didn't recognise
4 him when I saw him.
5 Q. You were then taken to the -- or the car that
6 you were driven in stopped in front of Keraterm factory
7 and you testified you observed the prisoners in that
8 camp in very, very poor shape, and you observed a
9 building across the street. Who was housed at that
10 time in that building?
11 A. The car stopped across from the Keraterm
12 camp, and on the road, going on the road from Trnopolje
13 towards Prijedor, we, in front of Prijedor, came to the
14 point where this road connects with the road
15 Prijedor-Banja Luka, and at that spot, on the
16 right-hand side is the factory, Keraterm, and the
17 property that belongs to it, that's next to the road,
18 and on the left side are some kind of buildings that
19 belong to one of the companies from Prijedor, so the
20 car stopped on the other side across from Keraterm in
21 the back yard, right through the gate, and in that
22 building was the military police.
23 Q. Did you observe any uniformed men in and
24 around Keraterm factory?
25 A. Behind the car through the right window, so
1 next to the soldier and in front, I saw the fence of
2 the factory property, and I saw a large number of
3 people, inmates, inside the camp, and I couldn't see
4 the other part of the factory property. I could see a
5 large number of uniformed persons leaving the building
6 that I have mentioned, the building in front of which
7 the car had stopped.
8 Q. Did you see any uniformed men on the other
9 side of the road, on the Keraterm side?
10 A. No. I could see a smaller portion of the
11 factory property, the fence, and also a large number of
12 inmates along the fence, and then further inside, the
13 portion that I could see, I couldn't see the whole
14 Keraterm and the whole factory property and I couldn't
15 see what was going on on the other side of the
17 Q. In comparing Trnopolje and the building in
18 Trnopolje and comparing the building of Keraterm, just
19 the physical structure, Keraterm building is indeed
20 very, very close to the road, isn't it?
21 A. Yes, it's close to the road.
22 Q. Did you notice any machine gun nests at
24 A. I couldn't notice it from the car, the area
25 to 30 to 40 metres around the car, I couldn't see any
1 machine gun nests, there was just a very high fence,
2 and along that fence, I saw those people, but I repeat
3 to you that I could see only a portion of that area
4 through the window of the car.
5 Q. And I apologise to the Court and also through
6 the Court to the witness that I am asking for these
7 details. I know it's very difficult for him. But I
8 will just move on with this as quickly as possible,
9 Your Honour, because I know that it's very painful for
10 him to go through these things.
11 Mr. Semenovic, just one minor detail. Once
12 you were put into the cell in the police building, in
13 the police, basically, prison, cells, in Prijedor, you
14 testified about the horrible situation of the cells,
15 the condition of other people, but at one point you
16 stated that the -- somebody knocked on the door and you
17 were supposed to clean a dorm. Who were the people who
18 knocked on the door and whose dorm were you supposed to
19 clean up?
20 A. Special police. And the person that knocked
21 with his foot on the door, that hit -- and who was
22 verbally abusing me was Dragan Saponja who beat me the
23 previous day in the SUP building just prior to the
25 Q. That is indeed so reprehensive and I deeply
1 feel for your suffering. However, in your testimony
2 you mentioned that you were woken up and you were
3 supposed to clean up a dorm. Whose dorm were you
4 supposed to clean up?
5 A. It was the dorm of the special police that
6 slept there, the special police. When I was taken into
7 the cell, when I was taken into the first door, I was
8 beaten right in front of the cell door. Several of
9 those soldiers beat me. And the next door of the next
10 cell was open, and I saw the beds in there, and I saw
11 that it was a dorm.
12 Q. I apologise to you, Mr. Semenovic, but I was
13 under the impression, and I checked it in the
14 transcript, I believe that you mentioned yesterday that
15 was military police. That's why I was confused. I
16 just wanted to find out was that police special units
17 of the ordinary police of the police that we know
18 belonged to --
19 A. No, it wasn't an ordinary police, it was
20 special police.
21 Q. But based on the uniforms, was it special
22 police in blue uniforms, as is the traditional colour
23 of the police in Yugoslavia, or is that military
25 A. No. It wasn't a civilian police, it was a
1 special police. Yesterday, when giving the answers to
2 some of the questions, I explained the difference
3 between the uniforms that they had and the rest of the
4 uniforms. I said that they had sort of a purplish
5 uniform, it was also a camouflage uniform, and that's
6 all that I saw. All of them wore those uniforms. And
7 when I was beaten right in front of the cell, some of
8 them asked that I be thrown into the dorm to scrub
9 their floor, to clean their dorm; however, I wasn't
10 taken into the dorm. I, as I was beaten, I fell down,
11 and later on they stopped and they put me into the cell
12 on the floor and they closed the door.
13 After that, I wasn't taken into the dorm to
14 clean it.
15 Q. It seems one of the marks of the military
16 police in the former Yugoslavia, in the units that
17 followed, is a white belt. Did they have a white belt
18 or they didn't have a white belt? And you can answer
19 if you agree with the first proposition with me. If
20 it's something else, then please state so?
21 A. As far as I can remember, they didn't have
22 white belts. Dragan Saponja did not have a white belt,
23 he had a dark belt. And as far as I can remember,
24 others didn't -- that I could see -- and those who beat
25 me in front of the cell, I don't recall that I saw them
1 wearing white belts. However, I listened to some of
2 their conversations during the night because I couldn't
3 sleep and they were on guard, so I listened to some of
4 the conversations on the actions that they undertook,
5 and based on that conversation, I concluded that they
6 were the special unit.
7 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honours, may we play the
8 tape that we played earlier, please?
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
10 MR. VUCICEVIC: Could you please roll the
11 tape forward and identify the segment of the tape when
12 Mr. Semenovic is being interviewed.
13 JUDGE MAY: That's the wrong way.
14 MR. VUCICEVIC: I apologise. This is a
15 Prosecutor's Exhibit, so -- could you roll it back
16 there, please.
17 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, can you help? Where
18 are we going to find this.
19 MR. KEEGAN: If my recollection serves me,
20 it's at about 8 minutes on the tape.
21 MR. VUCICEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour. Are
22 we getting the tape rolled back or what is the status
23 of the medium?
24 MR. KEEGAN: To be more precise, Your Honour,
25 looking at my notes, it would be eight minutes 30
2 MR. VUCICEVIC:
3 Q. Could you please play the tape and the sound
5 JUDGE MAY: This is page 8 of the transcript;
6 is that right?
7 MR. VUCICEVIC: Could you roll it back until
8 the Court gets the proper reference.
9 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour, down the page
10 it starts, and the witness is referred to in the
11 transcript as "Man" because his name is not repeated.
12 JUDGE MAY: Before we play it, I see the --
13 our own transcript refers to page 8. I said page 4.
14 Presumably it's the passage beginning "Journalist
15 on/off camera, we've heard that you're one of the rare
16 inhabitants of this reception centre who came to
17 Omarska on his own? Man: Yes, that's correct.
18 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour, that is it.
19 JUDGE MAY: And the "Man" is Mr. Semenovic.
20 MR. KEEGAN: That's correct, Your Honour.
21 MR. VUCICEVIC: Could you play the tape,
23 (Videotape played)
24 THE INTERPRETER: We heard that you're one of
25 the rare inhabitants of this reception centre that came
1 to Omarska on his own.
2 Yes, that's correct. Can you explain why you
3 did that? Why did you come here?
4 I came here after waiting for a while and
5 hiding here. I waited for all the prime actors in
6 these horrendous events to be captured and for the
7 truth to be established about the people who have done
8 all this evil acts, so that my efforts and work as well
9 as the statements I can give can be appreciated.
10 Who do you have in mind? Who is responsible
11 for all these horrors that took place here?
12 First of all I have in mind the leader of the
13 party for Bosnia and Krajina, Mirsad Mujadzic and
14 Mirsad Mujadzic chairman of the party branch in
15 Prijedor and also member of the party executive council
16 for Bosnia and Herzegovina, also the persons who within
17 the party organised all these military activities.
18 Are your colleagues who are here with you,
19 are they aware of your opinion? Are you able to state
20 your opinion publicly why all this took place?
21 I have spoken on two occasions about this,
22 also in an interview for TV Krajina, I have made my
23 statement, and I have sent a message to the people with
24 respect to this situation that I am now personally
25 witnessing in Bosnia, Krajina, and Prijedor, not
1 theoretically like those who are watching from the
2 denizens and who are the master minds behind all
3 these. I don't know if you are aware of the fact that
4 there are some foreign reporters who came here, and the
5 reason why they came here is because in the past few
6 days, the international media have stated that in the
7 Republic of Srpska, so in this territory here there are
8 concentration camps for Muslims and Croats.
9 Since you have stated that you have come here
10 on your own free will, can you tell us whether this is
11 a concentration camp or this is a reception centre?
12 What can you tell them?
13 I would like to tell them that the military
14 operations caused such consequences that it was
15 necessary for the people to group up both for their own
16 safety and for the survival, and this centre does not
17 have the characteristics of the concentration camp in
18 the sense that is stated by the political propaganda.
19 And one last question: Before the war broke
20 out here, were the Muslims in any way preparing
21 themselves for the war? In the past few months --
22 MR. VUCICEVIC: We can stop the tape here,
24 Q. Mr. Semenovic, you have testified yesterday
25 that you were given a statement to read before this
1 interview. I am just asking you: Did you have that
2 statement in front of you when you made this interview?
3 A. Yes. When the journalist from Prijedor
4 arrived, Mr. Ecim, he brought a statement which I was
5 to read and he was going to tape it with a camera. And
6 then later on, he wanted me to interpret this statement
7 without a statement. He taped me twice. And following
8 that, this interview took place when the Serbian
9 SRNA television outlet taped this report.
10 Q. So you didn't have that statement in front of
11 you when SRNA took this statement?
12 A. No, I did not.
13 Q. Did Mr. Ecim offer for you to speak to the
14 foreign journalists?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Do you remember when the foreign journalists
17 came in to visit the centre Omarska?
18 A. A day after the interview conducted by Zivko
19 Ecim, it was I believe one day later that the four
20 journalists arrived and then the police took me from
21 the glass house and took me upstairs and up there there
22 were the crews of the international TV media, and they
23 refused to take me, and then they took me to a room on
24 the first floor when this interview then took place.
25 Q. Just a couple of minor points, Your Honours.
1 Mr. Semenovic, have you been a member of the
2 Territorial Defence in Trnopolje after you finished
3 your regular military service? To what duty were you
4 assigned as a reservist?
5 A. I was not a member of the Territorial
6 Defence. I put myself at this position on the eve of
7 the war when the TO needed to be expanded because there
8 were no other ways to legally organise defence, and
9 before the war, after completing my regular military
10 service, I was part of the reserve forces, reserve
11 units, which every couple of years would be called up
12 for military exercises, that was the only duty. Some
13 were called every two or three years, some were called
14 every seven or eight years. Within ten years, I was
15 only called up once, and I believe that was sometime in
16 1984 or '85, I am not entirely sure. It was a long
17 time ago.
18 Q. After signing up for the Territorial Defence,
19 have you at any time received a weapon from anyone?
20 A. I did not, no, because there weren't weapons
21 to be had, and those weapons that were around, it was
22 supposed to be taken only by the persons who were on
23 the front-lines. So if they were to be killed, the
24 others would take over from them and keep defending
25 Kozarac and their villages.
1 The majority of people who reported to these
2 reserve -- these units did not have any weapons.
3 Q. You just testified that you were in the
4 reserve composition of the Yugoslav Army after you
5 finished your regular service. In the time of
6 emergency, at a time of mobilisation, you had your
7 place where to report. Where was that place supposed
8 to be?
9 A. In law, that place was called gathering
10 point. When we had that military exercise in 1984 or
11 '85, we received calls, and those who received them
12 had to report to this gathering point, and this
13 gathering point where I was supposed to report was in
14 the area of Orlovci, that is the Upper Orlovci, at the
15 intersection off to the right, there is a local road,
16 and down that road somewhere, a couple of kilometres
17 down that road, that is where the gathering point or
18 the meeting point was. When everybody reported there,
19 from there, everybody would go to the location where
20 the military exercise then took place.
21 Q. And Gornji Orlovci remained your Zborno Mesto
22 for the rest of your reserve service; right?
23 A. No. This meeting point or gathering point,
24 also called Zborno Mesto was a point where everybody
25 who was to take part in this military exercise was
1 meeting or gathering. From there, from that point, we
2 all travelled to the location where the actual military
3 exercise was then to take place.
4 Q. I'm directing your attention now to the
5 beginning of September of 1991. Have you received a
6 summons as a military reservist and at that time still
7 under the jurisdiction of JNA to report to active duty?
8 A. As far as I can recall, no, I did not.
9 Q. Who had the jurisdiction? What body had
10 jurisdiction to issue the summons for mobilisation?
11 A. I believe that it was the secretariat for the
12 People's Defence which issued this call, I believe it
13 was this secretariat, but I'm not entirely sure.
14 Q. And isn't it fair to state that Mr. Becir
15 Medunjanin from Kozarac was Nacelnik, meaning head of
16 that body?
17 A. I believe that he was. I am not sure, but I
18 believe that he was.
19 Q. And he was very close friend of yours or
20 close political associate of yours, wasn't he?
21 A. Yes, a political associate. That, he was.
22 Q. And do you know whether men of your age at
23 that time were called up for service, weren't they?
24 A. Yes, many were called up.
25 JUDGE MAY: I think we've been through this
2 MR. VUCICEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MAY: Anything else for the witness?
5 MR. VUCICEVIC:
6 Q. In your testimony yesterday, you retracted
7 the statement that you've given to SRNA television, of
8 course. But when was the first time that you retracted
9 that statement?
10 A. I do not understand the word "Retracted."
11 Q. I would say "disavowed" or ...
12 JUDGE MAY: "Contradicted."
13 MR. VUCICEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MAY: You said yesterday that what you
15 reported as saying on television, you, in fact, didn't
16 mean. You explained that. And what counsel is asking,
17 if you can answer, is when, for the first time, did you
18 take that statement back? Can you assist?
19 A. I said that for the first time when I managed
20 to leave the area of Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina and in conversation with the official
22 bodies of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that is what I
23 stated to this Trial Chamber.
24 MR. VUCICEVIC:
25 Q. This is indeed a very important statement in
1 the life of any man who has suffered as much as you
2 did. I'm just trying to see whether you recall who was
3 that official that you stated to and when?
4 A. During the conversation which I had about my
5 stay in the camp, I believe that this conversation was
6 conducted with one of the investigators of The Hague
7 Tribunal, it was the first time then that I talked
8 about these events and that is when I spoke about it,
9 about this interview and about the taping.
10 Q. If you could remember, perhaps the month or a
11 season and what year that you spoke to representatives
12 of the Tribunal and that you took back this statement?
13 A. In 1995, I believe in late '95, but I'm not
14 sure. It could have even been early '96.
15 Q. You left the territory of Krajina on January
16 15, 1993, didn't you?
17 A. On 15th or 19th, I am not sure, but within
18 that time period.
19 Q. Did you have any approval of Mr. Kupresanin
20 to leave the Serbian-held territory because that point
21 is not completely clear to us? If you could just state
22 what conversation have you had with Mr. Kupresanin
23 directly or indirectly before you were permitted to
25 A. Regarding my departure, I never talked to
1 Kupresanin. A representative of the International Red
2 Cross talked to Mr. Kupresanin and a gentleman called
3 Nikola Granic, he was director of the Plon company in
4 Banja Luka who had good personal relations with
5 Kupresanin and a dentist called Emir. So they talked
6 to him and he gave approval for me to leave this
7 territory, and they were engaged in some activities
8 there of which I did not know.
9 Later on, when this dentist named Emir came
10 to me and asked me to sign a statement in which I'm
11 expressing my gratitude to Mr. Kupresanin for having
12 saved my life which was to stay in Banja Luka, in
13 return, through auspices of the IRC, they were going to
14 enable me to go to Norway. I do not know why Norway,
15 but they said that they could do that and I would be
16 able to leave for Norway.
17 Q. If you do know, what is the ethnic background
18 on Mr. Nikola Granic?
19 A. I am not sure. I believe he is a Croat, but
20 I'm not entirely certain.
21 Q. So isn't it fair to conclude that even in
22 '93, that Mr. Kupresanin had a close relationship with
23 a Muslim doctor and Croat in Banja Luka, and all three
24 of them, a Serb, a Muslim, and a Croat assisted you to
25 leave the area?
1 A. And Mr. Bernard Schwitzer, or Schwartzer, a
2 representative of the International Red Cross. But I
3 know that the three gentlemen were all close friends,
4 they were all wartime orphans from World War II, and
5 all three of them grew up in a house, in a Muslim
6 household. I believe it was the mother of this
7 dentist, I believe that she raised them, and so they
8 continued this friendship, continued into 1993.
9 Following that, Mr. Granic had to leave Banja Luka. I
10 believe that he went through to Slovenia. That is as
11 far as I heard, and I do not know what happened to
12 Mr. Emir.
13 Q. This is indeed very interesting and very --
14 JUDGE MAY: Well, it may be, but I wonder if
15 you can assist us --
16 MR. VUCICEVIC: Thank you, Mr. Semenovic,
17 and, Your Honour, if I can just have a minute to
18 consult with co-counsel, whether we have any more
20 Thank you, Your Honours. We don't have any
21 more questions for this witness.
22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, any re-examination?
23 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour, we do have
24 some brief re-examination, but in light of the long
25 discussion about the camp and the position, relative
1 position of things, we had a diagram prepared over the
2 lunch, but I haven't had an opportunity to show it to
3 the Defence. I wonder if we might take the break early
4 in order to do that, and some film that would also
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I hope this can be dealt
7 with fairly rapidly so we can make a start with another
9 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MAY: Perhaps I can add this while
11 you're on your feet, Mr. Keegan. The Trial Chamber
12 have been considering arrangements for Friday. We
13 don't intend sitting late at all that day. There are
14 other matters we have to attend to. And, in fact, we
15 have in mind finishing at 1.00 p.m. and starting at
16 9.00, slightly earlier than usual. I don't imagine
17 that is going to cause anybody any inconvenience.
18 MR. KEEGAN: No, Your Honour.
19 MR. VUCICEVIC: No, Your Honour
20 --- Recess taken at 3.24 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 3.48 p.m.
22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, we appear to have
23 lost nearly ten minutes during that break. That was no
24 fault of yours, of course, but we will sit on till ten
25 past five to make up.
1 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour
2 Re-examined by Mr. Keegan:
3 Q. Mr. Semenovic, with respect to the issue or
4 the questions regarding the order of the government of
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina for the mobilisation of the
6 Territorial Defence forces on about April 8th, as you
7 testified, earlier you had testified as to your
8 knowledge about attacks on Muslim areas in eastern
9 Bosnia, including Zvornik and Bijeljina and others.
10 Are you aware, did those attacks come before or after
11 this issuance of the formation of the Territorial
12 Defence for Bosnia-Herzegovina?
13 A. It came before the order on the establishment
14 of the Territorial Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
15 MR. KEEGAN: If I could have this photo
16 marked, shown to the witness, and then put on the ELMO,
17 please. I apologise, Your Honour, we got it quickly
18 during the break and we only have one available. It
19 can be produced to others. It was shown to the Defence
20 during the break.
21 THE REGISTRAR: The photo is marked number
23 MR. KEEGAN: Could you put it on the ELMO,
24 please? Thank you.
25 Q. Mr. Semenovic, I'm directing your attention
1 to the uniform that that individual is wearing. Do you
2 recognise what type of uniform that is?
3 A. Yes. This is the uniform of the special
4 police, the one that I have mentioned several times and
5 explained. It was a camouflage uniform but with -- in
6 purple hues, so it's darker than the regular camouflage
8 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you. Could that
9 photograph be given to the Judges, please, so they can
10 actually see the colours?
11 Next, Your Honour, we have a diagram of
12 the -- a diagram to present to the witness, a copy has
13 already been provided to the Defence during the break.
14 This would be Exhibit 45, Your Honour.
15 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise that
16 diagram, please, what that represents?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. What is that, please?
19 A. It represents Trnopolje and, in the middle of
20 the drawing are the sketches of the local commune and
21 the school buildings and then there's a soccer field --
22 Q. Mr. Semenovic, if we could put that on the
23 overhead, then you can describe it so everyone can see
24 what you are pointing to on the screen, please. Could
25 that be panned back just a bit, please? Thank you.
1 That's good.
2 First question, Mr. Semenovic: Do you
3 recognise the roads that are depicted there?
4 A. Yes. This is the road, Trnopolje-Kozarac.
5 Q. Could you please put a "K" on that diagram,
6 write a "K" at the end of the road in the direction of
7 Kozarac, please?
8 A. (Indicates).
9 Q. Thank you. Now, the other road that is
10 depicted, it runs basically left to right as it is now
11 existing on that diagram and on the computer screens.
12 A. This is the road Trnopolje-Prijedor.
13 Q. Could you put a "P" on the diagram at the end
14 of the road in the direction of Prijedor?
15 A. (Indicates)
16 Q. If that road were to continue to the left, to
17 what area in the municipality would it go?
18 A. It would continue towards Omarska, not
19 towards the municipality but towards Omarska, and that
20 is the road.
21 Q. And could you put an "O" there then, please?
22 A. (Indicates)
23 Q. Thank you. Now, if I could direct your
24 attention to the buildings that you had begun to
25 describe when you first received the diagram, you
1 referred to the building of the local commune or Mjesna
2 Zajednica. Could you please point that out?
3 A. This complex of structures is the local
4 commune. This structure here is the old cinema
5 theatre, and in the middle were the offices of the
6 local commune.
7 Q. Could you please, Mr. Semenovic, put a "T"
8 next to the building which contained the theatre, as
9 you described, or the cinema, excuse me, put a "T" next
10 to that building?
11 A. (Indicates)
12 Q. You also mentioned in your -- I'm sorry.
13 Could you also then describe the next building to the
14 right of the Mjesna Zajednica complex. Could you
15 please describe what that is?
16 A. This is the building of the elementary
17 school, and here it is on the drawing. This is the
18 part where the classrooms were, and this farther part
19 is the sports hall that was part of the school complex.
20 Q. And could you please put an "S" next to the
21 school building?
22 A. (Indicates)
23 Q. If you could please pan back from that in the
24 audio booth? Thank you.
25 Now, Mr. Semenovic, could you please give,
1 on the diagram, a general indication of the area from
2 which you entered the camp?
3 A. In this area (indicated).
4 Q. Could you please put an "A" in that area?
5 A. (Indicates)
6 Q. Thank you. At this point, Your Honour, we
7 also have a video, it was a video provided to the
8 Defence on 3 July. I believe it shows the areas that
9 the Defence was interested in this morning in a much
10 more clear resolution, as well as the area behind the
11 local commune building and the school area, as the
12 witness has described. If we could run that tape,
14 That would be Exhibit 46, Your Honour, the
16 If we could hold the film there for a minute,
18 (Videotape played)
19 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise the area
20 that has just been shown on this segment of the video?
21 A. Yes, I do recognise it.
22 Q. What is that, please?
23 A. This is the building where the storage house
24 of the agricultural co-op was, and the thing next to
25 the wire fence was the yard belonging to the co-op.
1 Q. If you could advance the film, please?
2 Continue the film?
3 (Videotape played)
4 What road would that be shot from? Where
5 would the cameraman be standing, Mr. Semenovic, on
6 which of the two roads?
7 A. On the road Trnopolje-Kozarac.
8 Q. No, I'm sorry. I apologise. I meant the
9 prior scene? That shot there.
10 A. The camera man is on the intersection of the
11 Trnopolje-Kozarac and Trnopolje-Prijedor roads, and the
12 electrical power substation is to the left of the
14 Q. Thank you. Now if you could advance the
15 film, please?
16 (Videotape played)
17 Hold the film there, please? Now, from this
18 shot, Mr. Semenovic, can you recognise where the
19 camera man would be standing?
20 A. The camera man is on the road, the
21 Trnopolje-Kozarac near the place which I described
22 before, maybe 30 metres farther down, and behind the
23 wire fence and the people there is the building where
24 the cinema theatre was, and next to it we see the local
25 commune building.
1 Q. Advance the film, please. Advance the film,
3 (Videotape played)
4 If you could hold the film right there?
5 Mr. Semenovic, can you recognise the uniform
6 that the man on the right, far right, on the other side
7 of the fence, is wearing?
8 A. The man on the right has the uniform of the
9 special police unit.
10 Q. Thank you. If you could advance the film,
12 (Videotape played)
13 And if you could turn up the volume, please?
14 Never mind then. Just fast-forward the tape, please,
15 to the next section.
16 (Videotape played)
17 That's sufficient, thank you. If you would
18 advance the film? Stop. Thank you. If you hold the
19 film right there, please?
20 Mr. Semenovic, can you tell from that shot
21 what area the camera man is now standing in?
22 A. I think the camera man is at the beginning of
23 the road, Trnopolje-Prijedor.
24 Q. If you could back the film up slightly,
25 please? Right there is good.
1 What is the building that we're looking at
2 there, Mr. Semenovic, in the picture, that's the large
3 building and it takes up most of the picture?
4 A. It's the building of the old cinema.
5 Q. The building then that you see to the far
6 right in front of the cinema with the orange roof,
7 which building would that be?
8 A. It's one of the houses that are across from
9 the local commune building.
10 Q. Thank you. If you could advance the film,
12 (Videotape played)
13 You can fast-forward it. And if you could
14 now hold the film, please? Thank you. Back it up
15 slightly and then just play at normal speed. Back it
16 up, please?
17 (Videotape played)
18 Now play at normal speed. Thank you. You
19 may advance it.
20 Q. Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise this field
21 area with the woods behind it?
22 A. Yes. I think that this is the area behind
23 the school.
24 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you. You may stop the
1 Your Honour, we would offer the entirety of
2 the tape. We will provide -- we pulled it together
3 rather quickly, but we will provide a complete
4 transcript in addition to the number of interviews that
5 are conducted in English. Thank you.
6 Q. Mr. Semenovic, one final question: When
7 Mr. Kupresanin came to take you from the camp and then
8 all of the events that transpired, which you've already
9 discussed, did he come to take you out of the camp
10 before or after the international press had visited
11 Omarska camp?
12 A. The following morning after the foreign
13 journalists and international representatives came to
14 visit the camp.
15 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you. I have no further
16 questions, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Semenovic, thank you for
18 coming. You are released.
19 MR. KEEGAN: I'm sorry, I didn't know if
20 there were any further questions. We would like to
21 make him subject to recall, please.
22 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE MAY: I hope it will be only be for a
24 very good reason indeed. He's been here for the better
25 part of the week.
1 MR. VUCICEVIC: We object to that, Your
2 Honour. Just for the record.
3 JUDGE MAY: I don't think you can object,
4 but, Mr. Semenovic, I hope that you will not have to
5 come back because you have given evidence for long
6 enough, but subject to that, you are released. Thank
7 you for coming.
8 (The witness withdrew).
9 MR. KEEGAN: The next witness, Your Honour,
10 would be Mr. Edward Vulliamy, it's V-U-L-L-I-A-M-Y.
11 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, if I may just
12 approach the registrar for 30 seconds?
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes
14 (The witness entered court)
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness make the
16 solemn declaration.
17 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I shall
18 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
20 MR. KEEGAN: You may be seated. Thank you.
21 WITNESS: EDWARD VULLIAMY
22 Examined by Mr. Keegan:
23 Q. Would you please state for the record your
24 full name?
25 A. Edward Sebastian Vulliamy.
1 Q. Mr. Vulliamy, you're a citizen of the United
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Where did you attend university, and what
5 were your major areas of studies?
6 A. I was educated at Oxford University in the
7 United Kingdom where I studied philosophy with politics
8 and briefly at the University of Florence in Italy,
9 again studying philosophy.
10 Q. And after completing your studies, did you
11 become a journalist?
12 A. Yes, I did.
13 Q. What organisation do you currently work for?
14 A. I work for the Guardian newspaper in the
15 United Kingdom and for its sister paper, The Observer.
16 Q. What areas of interest do you generally
18 A. Well, I've been covering a number of things
19 over the past 15 years. Conflicts in various parts of
20 the world for both my newspaper and a television
21 company before that and during the past six years or
22 so, overwhelmingly the wars in the former Yugoslavia.
23 Q. And what particular awards have you received
24 as a journalist?
25 A. Before Yugoslavia, I won an award called the
1 Royal Television Society Award for Current Affairs that
2 was for a film unconnected with Yugoslavia. Since
3 covering the wars, I have won the British Press Award
4 International Reporter of the Year, '92. The same year
5 I won, I think, the Foreign Correspondent of the Year
6 awarded by a program called "What The Papers Say." I
7 won Amnesty International Award for Journalism in '93,
8 I won a thing called the James Cameron award in '94,
9 which is referred to as the British Pulitzer award, and
10 then last year I won the British Press Award's
11 International Reporter of the Year, again for a
12 retrospective history of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 Q. So when did you first begin to cover the
14 break-up of the former Yugoslavia?
15 A. I first went to the former Yugoslavia,
16 professionally that is, in the summer of 1991, June
17 1991, initially to cover the conflict that had -- that
18 was breaking out in what was then the west of
19 Yugoslavia in Slovenia, the first shots of the war,
21 MR. KEEGAN: If we could have the map
22 provided to the witness, please? I want the witness to
23 put it on the ELMO, please. A copy of this map has
24 already been provided to the Defence, Your Honour.
25 The purpose of this particular map is because
1 it lists the towns within the former Yugoslavia, many
2 of them important towns, without any other sort of
3 interference, the topographical kinds of marks or roads
4 that can distract from where the towns are.
5 THE REGISTRAR: The map is marked Exhibit 47.
6 MR. KEEGAN: If we could have the overhead
7 turned on, please? Thank you.
8 Q. Mr. Vulliamy, if you could, you indicated
9 that you first began your coverage in Slovenia. Can
10 you briefly describe the areas you covered there?
11 A. Yes. I'm afraid we start off slightly off
12 this map, off the top left-hand corner, you can see
13 Slovenia sort of peeping in here. I was in this area
14 here, in the Slovenia capital of Ljubljana, which is
15 about here, off the map, and in this area in the east
16 of Slovenia adjacent to Croatia. That was the first
18 Q. And from there, where did you next go in the
20 A. Well, a fresh phase of the war began in
21 Croatia, and I was assigned to move with it, and I
22 worked for the next few months in Croatia.
23 Q. And if you could indicate that area on the
24 map, please?
25 A. Yes. I worked in Zagreb, the capital,
1 obviously, in what was a frontline between the emergent
2 Croatian forces and the then Yugoslav People's Army,
3 the JNA, firstly around this area, Sisak, Petrinja,
4 Glina; down here, Slunj; and this area on the edge of
5 what was called the Krajina where the Croatian
6 populations and Serbian populations met.
7 I worked for the most part in this area here,
8 in the east of Croatia and the west of what is now
9 Serbia, on the Croatian side, in the town of Osijek,
10 which was under siege by the JNA, in Vukovar, right
11 here on the border, also under siege by the JNA. I was
12 in Vukovar until I think the penultimate day when you
13 could be. Came out through a road cut through the
14 cornfields. Thereafter covered the siege of Vukovar
15 from a town called Vinkovci, which is here, and a
16 little village called Mustar (phoen), which is not
17 marked; and during this period, I was also working on
18 the JNA side with the Yugoslav People's Army, which was
19 in the process of becoming the Serbian army, at a place
20 called Bogojevo, which is not marked. It's here
21 somewhere; a garrison town. At this place, which was
22 an important town called Sid, and in all this area
23 here, Sombor, indeed, and you could go through Hungary
24 to skirt the frontlines there. Then the third area in
25 Croatia I worked during 1991 was down here on the
1 coast, most particularly Dubrovnik which was under
2 siege as well, and in the towns of Sibenik, further up
3 the coast, and Zadar, further up again, which were also
4 under shell fire and attack.
5 Q. Now, if we could move back to the area in
6 eastern Croatia, around Vukovar, Vinkovci. Can you
7 describe the type of forces that were engaged on both
8 sides of the conflict and the type of weaponry which
9 they had arrayed there?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, I object to this
12 questioning. It is outside the Prijedor area, outside
13 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
14 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Keegan, that prima
15 facie seems a reasonable objection. What is your
16 answer to this? What's the relevance of it,
17 interesting though it is, about what the witness has to
18 say? How is it going to assist us to try this case?
19 MR. KEEGAN: The description of the conflict
20 here, Your Honour, will go to help establish the plan
21 and pattern which you see later emerge within the
22 Autonomous Region of Krajina and which is employed, in
23 fact, in the Prijedor area and the municipalities
24 surrounding it. Of course, keeping in mind the nature
25 of the elements we have to prove for certain of the
1 charges, the legal elements, we believe it is
2 relevant. We will try and keep it brief, but we
3 believe its relevance will be indicated as we get into
4 the evidence.
5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Keegan, we shan't stop you
6 adducing this evidence. We accept your point about the
7 width of the charges which you have to prove. But at
8 the same time we shall encourage you to limit the
9 evidence until we come to what is directly relevant
10 here, and that's events in Prijedor.
11 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour. Certainly.
12 Q. Mr. Vulliamy, could you please describe the
13 way that the forces were structured on both sides and
14 the type of weaponry which were employed?
15 A. Yes. And I note the request for brevity.
16 The Croatian army was a nascent army, a mixture of
17 police, former soldiers, civilians, initially scantily
18 armed, and a hodge-podge really of former regular
19 soldiers and various militias which were formed often
21 On the other side, on the JNA side, you had a
22 regular army, the Yugoslav People's Army, with the
23 armaments at its disposal which were apparently
24 considerable, as far as one could see. Acting as a
25 director of and support echelon of irregulars who were
1 fighting out in the villages that I worked in, on the
2 Yugoslav/Serbian side. So you had an entwinement,
3 really of an irregular army with irregulars with whom I
4 spent a great deal of time.
5 Q. Were you able to discern a pattern in the
6 manner in which the attacks were conducted during the
7 time you spent in this area on the Serbian side with
8 the Serbian forces?
9 MR. OSTOJIC: Your Honour, if I may object,
10 and I want to thank you for giving me an opportunity to
11 speak yesterday. My name is John Ostojic, and we
12 object to both the form and foundation of the question
13 asked by Mr. Keegan.
14 JUDGE MAY: We have just ruled it
15 admissible. Yes?
16 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you.
17 A. The pattern was roughly as follows.
18 Bogojevo, which is here --
19 Q. I don't believe the video monitor is on. I'm
20 sorry, it is.
21 A. Bogojevo, which is roughly here, and Sid
22 roughly there were essentially garrison towns where the
23 armies would be based, where the echelons would be
24 based, artillery and tanks and transport vehicles
25 repaired, troops billeted. Sid would then feed the
1 frontline, siege lines, for Vukovar and the artillery
2 lines and water lines and tank lines around Vukovar,
3 and Bogojevo would be similar deployed with regards to
4 Osijek, and so the operation was astride the border, if
5 you like, with the main bases and garrisons on the
6 Serbian side and the fighting over on the Croatian
8 I recall one particular night in a place
9 called Bijelo Brdo, which is about here, where you
10 could see it was fairly obviously arraigned, I was
11 actually on the edge of a field across which the
12 fighting was taking place. At the very frontline you
13 had the irregulars with their machine guns, behind them
14 were rows of tanks, and so the small arms fire would be
15 between the irregulars across the field with the
16 Croatians, the tanks and the actual shelling of Osijek,
17 as it was in that case, was coming from directly behind
18 them, a matter of 500 yards behind them, and then the
19 logistics would all be taking place over the border
20 back in Serbia. Given that you want me to be brief, I
21 shan't go over it all again, but the same thing was
22 happening in Sid over here regarding the siege of
23 Vukovar, so you had this entwinement between regular
24 and irregular forces with the officers, in particular a
25 Colonel Uzelac I got to know quite well, making it
1 plain that they were in charge of both.
2 Q. Did you have, during the time you spent
3 there, discussions with these irregular forces as to
4 what their role and purpose in the conflict was?
5 A. At length, yes, because we used to hang
6 around with them in the cafes and so on and got to know
7 what their aims were, which were the establishment of
8 Serbian-only territory within Croatia, and indeed also,
9 I must say, about their fears and the unpleasant
10 experiences they had had in the nascent Croatia, a lot
11 of them lost their jobs and so on, so they explained
12 not only what they were fighting for, but why they were
13 doing it. We spent a lot of time with them.
14 Q. What did they see as their purpose with
15 respect to the non-Serb population in those areas?
16 A. Well, they wanted to push them back as far as
17 possible. They wanted to take Osijek, they wanted to
18 push the Croats back as far as Zagreb, and if you allow
19 me to be anecdotal, a chap once went "Zagreb, vroom" --
20 yes, that's the vernacular, I apologise. They wanted
21 to take Osijek and push the Croats back as far as
23 Q. Now, when you later moved on in the war, did
24 you come across a very similar type of scenario in 1992
25 between the areas of Serbia and Bosnia?
1 A. Yes. There was a -- this was -- this would
2 be the beginning of August 1992, so a different year,
3 different war. And this was a place called Loznica,
4 let's see if I can find it -- it's here. Just inside
5 Serbia, on the border of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I went
6 down there because we were looking at places where
7 deportees, refugees, and alleged prisoners were being
8 kept. Loznica was one of the camps where Bosnian
9 Muslims who had been deported from this area were being
10 kept within Serbia. That's another matter.
11 But if I understand the question, and the
12 point is that Loznica was once again a garrison town.
13 You could see equipment being maintained, a lot of
14 traffic across the border into this little place that I
15 went to called Zepak from whence the deportees had
16 come, and there was actually so much military movement
17 going forward to furnish the troops here that we were
18 able to cross the border ourselves without even being
19 asked to show any papers; the border didn't really
21 The only difference really was that whereas
22 in the first war there was actual fighting going on,
23 because the Croats had armies which were indeed
24 intimidating some of those who were fighting, very
25 considerably, and indeed advancing at some points, here
1 there was no actual fighting so much as simply
2 occupation, deportation of civilians. So that was the
3 difference, but the pattern was the same: garrison
4 town and the military action, as it were, astride the
6 Q. And the nature, the composition of the forces
7 which you saw in that area crossing from Loznica into
8 eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, what was the
9 composition of the types of forces that you saw there?
10 A. Well, by now the JNA had been pretty much
11 disbanded and was now the Yugoslav Army because
12 Communism -- the pretense that Communism had gone and
13 they were now just the Yugoslav National Army or
14 Yugoslav Army. So you had that, the regular army and,
15 again, groups of irregulars, men in semi-fatigues,
16 maybe a T-shirt and camouflage trousers, or the other
17 way around, so this same interaction between troops and
18 militias and armed semi-civilians, if you like.
19 Irregular troops.
20 Q. What types of cooperation did you observe, if
21 any, between those irregular forces, the militias, and
22 the Yugoslav Army?
23 A. Well, they would -- I mean, they would share
24 quarters, they would share billets; the weaponry was
25 fairly obviously coming from the regular army and
1 supplied to the irregulars; the transportation would be
2 that of the regular army, even if men who were not in
3 irregular uniforms were using it. So, if you like, one
4 could say that the logistics, the military expertise,
5 such as it was, was being furnished by the regular army
6 for the benefit of the irregulars who it was arming.
7 Q. Did you witness the movement of any heavy
8 weaponry, such as artillery or tanks?
9 A. Yes, yes, yes. I mean, there was less heavy
10 artillery and tanks crossing over at that particular
11 point into Bosnia than there were towards Vukovar,
12 there was less actual fighting going on. But, oh, yes,
13 there was, I mean, heavy artillery, mortar transport,
14 and some tanks too, yes.
15 Q. Now, could you please describe, while we
16 still have the map on the screen, describe very
17 briefly, just pointing out the other areas of the
18 conflict which you covered between 1992 and 1995?
19 A. Right. Well, this is spanning a considerable
20 time, so I'll be as quick as I can. I'll do this
21 chronologically inasmuch as I can. Probably simplest.
22 During the summer of 1992, I was in the
23 capital, Sarajevo and Pale, which was the capital of
24 the Serbian part; I was in Banja Luka, which is here;
25 Prijedor, which is here; in the area - in circumstances
1 we'll come to - around Prijedor, going into the
2 government-held territory; Omarska, Trnopolje, and
3 then, for a while, I was working around here, in
4 Travnik - that was held by the government, Turbe - Novi
5 Travnik, Zenica, Vitez. These were towns mixed between
6 Muslims and Croats. Up in Tuzla, which is mixed
7 between all three ethnic groups but in government
9 I worked, again still during that summer,
10 down here in Herzegovina area, Mostar, there; Trpinja.
11 I worked, going into the autumn now, up here in what's
12 called the Bihac pocket. It's now contiguous with the
13 government territory but was then isolated and cut
15 I worked, into '93, a great deal around here
16 in Central Bosnia, around Travnik, the fighting here, a
17 great deal down here. '93 again, Sarajevo. '94,
18 concentrating in Mostar. I was then out of Bosnia for
19 ten months when I came back. At the end of the war,
20 Zenica, Central Bosnia again, Sarajevo again. And when
21 the war was over, for the first time I was able to go
22 into parts which were impossible to visit during the
23 war, the Drina valley area here through Visegrad, Foca,
24 and once again to Prijedor and Banja Luka, and also
25 these parts here. All over, in other words.
1 Q. During that time, did you cover the conflict
2 involving all three of the main groups involved, that
3 being the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Croats, and the
4 Serbian forces?
5 A. Yes. In a way, this was the difficulty.
6 There were, for long periods of time, two wars going
7 on: one between the supposed Muslim-Croat alliance and
8 the Serbian nationalist side, and another between
9 Croatians in Bosnia and Muslims in Bosnia, and I had to
10 cover both wars, depending on what the call was,
11 really, and what seemed to be the priority at the
13 Q. Did you spend time with and report on stories
14 from participants in each of those wars?
15 A. Oh, yes, yes. I spent a great deal of time
16 with participants on all three sides.
17 Q. Did you speak with military commanders,
18 police commanders, and paramilitary members?
19 A. Of all kinds on all sides, yes.
20 Q. Did you speak with victims of all three
21 nationalities or ethnic groups?
22 A. Yes, I did indeed, yes.
23 Q. In those conversations, did you focus on
24 their respective roles in the conflict, how they were
25 conducting it, or how they were victimised, as well as
1 its origins and purposes?
2 A. Yes. With the soldiers, one talked about
3 little else other than what they were trying to do and
4 what they were fighting for; and with the victims, one
5 spoke of little else but that which had happened to
6 them on all three sides, yes.
7 Q. In your research for stories and reporting on
8 events in Bosnia-Herzegovina, particularly in 1992, as
9 well as in the research for your book, did you speak
10 with fellow journalists, review archive records about
11 the events that were occurring in different regions in
13 A. Yes, indeed. Well, as you can imagine, the
14 journalists, as regards the fellow journalists, we were
15 quite a clan and would end every day after dark talking
16 a great deal amongst ourselves as to what had happened
17 and comparing experiences and helping each other out,
18 actually, unusually, and we obviously would talk to the
19 agencies that were deployed internationally, the UNHCR,
20 the Red Cross. They would often be sharing quarters
21 with them or pitching up at the same motels or
22 whatever. And, yeah, I tried to read as much as I
23 possibly could. A lot of material was being produced,
24 and we read everything we could get our hands on,
1 Q. Did that include official reports by
2 government and non-governmental agencies,
4 A. Official reports from, most notably, the
5 UNHCR, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the
6 International Red Cross, most certainly, and indeed,
7 using our translators, we would read anything we could
8 being put out by the three governments, yes; that is to
9 say, Croatian, Yugoslav/Serbian, and the government in
10 Sarajevo, and the self-established government in Pale,
11 of course.
12 Q. Based upon your experiences and your
13 conversations, particularly with people of Serbian
14 descent in the areas known as the Krajinas, that is,
15 both the area in the Croatian area, Croatian Krajina,
16 and the Bosnian Krajina area, did you determine that
17 there was a difference and a perspective toward people
18 that were considered to be Bosnian Muslims as opposed
19 to those who were considered to be of Croatian descent?
20 A. Yes. I mean, this inference developed slowly
21 over a period of time, but there was quite an important
23 If you will permit me, I will say -- when I
24 say "Serbs," I mean Serbs, who, as it were, followed
25 the ideology and the call to arms because there were
1 large numbers of Serbs who found this ideology
2 obnoxious, so I might occasionally use the word "Serbs"
3 to mean Serbian nationalists, and I stand to be
4 corrected if I ever do. There were, indeed, tens of
5 thousands of Serbs who fought against that ideology.
6 So as a rider to my reply but, yes, there was a
8 Serbs who fought, or Serbs who accepted the
9 ideology of nationalism, feared and despised, in a way,
10 but also respected the Croats. There was a very strong
11 sense of this word "narod," "a people"; not as in sort
12 of people at a bus stop but "the people," as in the
13 German "das Volk," and the Serbs respected the Croats
14 as a legitimate sort of "narod" in that sense.
15 The war in Croatia, which I talked about
16 earlier, I got the impression at the end it was being
17 fought sort of by mutual agreement. I mean, both sides
18 were fighting for something they wanted to achieve, and
19 they opposed but respected each other. Serbs were
20 justifiably fearful of the Croats, and given the
21 history of this century and their suffering in the
22 Second World War, that is unsurprising. So there was a
23 mixture of hostility, fear, and respect, if you like,
24 but certainly not disdain.
25 With the Muslims, it was something very
1 different. The language was different. They would be
2 talked about as undesirable, dirty. There is a word
3 "balija," which translates roughly - and I stand
4 corrected by our friends if I'm wrong - but it's sort
5 of "dirty gypsy," sort of thing.
6 Nikola Koljevic, who was the Vice-President
7 of the Republic of Srpska --
8 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, we object to the
9 translation of this word.
10 JUDGE MAY: Well, no doubt a translation can
11 be agreed in due course.
12 THE WITNESS: Well, I will defer to whatever
13 the translators agree upon.
14 But the point I'm trying to make is that I
15 think Koljevic, the Deputy President of the Republic of
16 Srpska, talked about a "breeding war" against the Serbs
17 by the Muslims. General Mladic said, "If you let one
18 in, he'll bring his five wives, and you'll have a
19 village." It was a different language being used, that
20 they weren't a proper sort of race, they weren't a
21 proper narod, they were a false people, and that I
22 heard quite a lot.
23 But over the years, I came to realise, I
24 think rightly, that this disdain felt by a large number
25 of but by no means all Serbs - and I stress that
1 again - was entwined with a sort of envy or it was
2 envy-masked as disdain, because in many of these places
3 that I worked in and met people from, the Muslims would
4 perhaps be overrepresented among the merchants or the
5 intelligentsia, they would often be better educated, so
6 that there was this odd entwinement between disdain and
7 hatred but also a degree of envy, and that I sort of
8 started to realise over a period of time as it became
9 clear that it was the mercantilist and sort of the
10 intelligentsia that were bearing the brunt of this
12 So, yes, there were - sorry to be lengthy -
13 there were differences, yes.
14 Q. In your conversations, you mentioned
15 Professor Koljevic who at that time was Vice-President
16 of what was referred to as the Republic of Srpska. In
17 that conversation, did the term "racial memory" ever
19 A. I had quite a few conversations with
20 Professor Koljevic --
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes. If you would like to go
23 A. Yes. I had a number of --
24 MR. VUCICEVIC: Your Honour, just a small
25 point here. In the United States, I would raise the
1 "dead man's rule." Because Mr. Koljevic is dead and
2 has been dead for a while, there would be no way to
3 cross-examine what was said and what he said. I don't
4 know whether it is applicable here or not so ...
5 JUDGE MAY: We don't have that rule here and
6 we admit hearsay and, of course, you can cross-examine
7 as best you can.
8 But, Mr. Keegan, I think we could limit these
9 views as far as possible.
10 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour. We're going
11 to actually relate to -- not specifically to what
12 Professor Koljevic said but how this term and the ideas
13 for it are relevant and were relevant in Prijedor in
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes. If you could get on with
16 that as quickly as you can.
17 MR. KEEGAN:
18 Q. What was your understanding based on the
19 conversations of the context of that term? What did it
20 allude to?
21 A. Well, actually, Professor Koljevic was in the
22 process of sending us down to Prijedor in 1992 and I
23 had the first of my conversations with him.
24 "Racial memory" was what he regarded as the
25 great sort of blessing of the Serbs. He said it was
1 very important to have it, that the Serbs had one, and
2 that the Muslims did not have any racial memory, and
3 he -- I won't go into it all -- but he was very
4 articulate, he was an intelligent man and talked a lot
5 about what he thought this racial memory meant in terms
6 of poetry, awareness of history, in many cases
7 vindication of history, and that I think is what he
8 meant by "racial memory," and he didn't think the
9 Muslims had a racial memory.
10 Q. Was there, from your observations, a
11 relationship between this concept as discussed and the
12 use of propaganda by Serb leaders from the beginning of
13 the conflict and throughout its duration?
14 A. Certainly in terms of what Professor Koljevic
15 called "racial memory," what we can call "history,"
16 yes, indeed, there was. I mean, if you will forgive
17 me, I mean, one of our jokes as a community of
18 journalists was you ask a question about why the mortar
19 fell yesterday and the answer begins in
20 1360-something. History infused and informed an awful
21 lot of what happened, and these echoes had come down
22 certainly the decades since World War II and indeed the
24 Professor Koljevic, during that conversation
25 on the eve of my first visit to Prijedor, talked about
1 this being the third Great Balkan War, the third Great
2 Serbian uprising, the first two having been against the
3 Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires respectively.
4 History was invoked in the propaganda. You
5 asked me about propaganda. Yes, it was relentless. It
6 was on television, in magazines, cartoons. People from
7 outside found it banal, perhaps, but I think it was
8 very --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Mr. Keegan, could you ask
10 the witness to speak somewhat slower?
11 MR. KEEGAN:
12 Q. Mr. Vulliamy, I have a request from the
13 translators, if you could please speak a bit more
14 slowly in your responses?
15 A. My apologies to them.
16 Q. Did you see, in your experiences during your
17 time there, the use of these historical examples and
18 how were they focused, particularly with respect
19 towards Bosnian Muslims?
20 A. Well, one of the landmarks in all this is
21 said to be President Milosevic of Serbia's visit to the
22 field of Kosovo Polje which was a defeat of the Serbs
23 by the Ottomans back in the, I think, 13th century, and
24 the promise of revenge against the Turks, which was
25 another word often used to describe Bosnian Muslims.
1 Certainly the invocations of the Serbian
2 suffering during the Second World War was deployed a
3 great deal, not least the disinternment of bodies on
4 the eve of war, Serbian bodies. This didn't appear to
5 be directed so much at the Muslims but at the Croats,
6 but one later found that the Muslims were implicated in
7 this as well. Yes, I mean, specific episodes in
8 Serbian history were always being invoked to justify
9 what appeared to be the infliction of suffering in this
10 time, yes.
11 Q. In your research and in your experience, did
12 you find that there was a relation with these
13 historical examples between the use of propaganda and
14 paramilitary forces that was similar to what you saw in
15 your experiences in '91, from '91 through '95?
16 A. Well, I've tried to describe the relationship
17 between the regular armies and irregulars. Obviously
18 I'm speaking from what I've read in books here, so ...
19 Yes, there did appear to be a relationship
20 between, whether it was the Serbian Royal Army and
21 irregulars, the various militias that fought in World
22 War II. Yes, you always had this irregular sort of
23 underbelly or element in the Serbian forces. In the
24 old days, they were called the "Ceta," as I recall, and
25 that is the source of the word "Chetnik" which you hear
1 now sometimes to describe these irregulars.
2 Q. Slow down, please.
3 A. But, yes, the pattern seemed, from what I
4 could gather in researching the history of Yugoslavia,
5 to repeat itself at these various junctures.
6 Q. In the examples that you saw both in your
7 research and in the propaganda, what had been the role
8 of that paramilitary or irregular forces?
9 A. The dirty work, really, going in before,
10 ahead of the main troops, rather as shock troops, if
11 you like, against invariably civilians, or the other
12 end of the process, mop-up operations, getting rid of
13 pockets of resistance and/or civilians they didn't want
14 to be around.
15 Q. In your meetings with Bosnian Serb leaders,
16 both civilian and military, were there particular
17 documents or writings which they relied upon in
18 promoting their ideals in these historical arguments
19 you referred to?
20 A. There were a number of tracts, yes, mostly
21 produced in the 1940s, to justify the Greater Serbia,
22 as it was called then, and older material too, and some
23 of this stuff was reproduced in handbooks that troops
24 would carry, proclamations, maps. In many ways, this
25 was a war of maps. I always thought -- people always
1 had a map to justify whatever was going on and, yes,
2 these maps and tracts would be physically produced on
3 television, read out in political speeches, and indeed,
4 in some cases, carried by troops in little diaries that
5 they were given.
6 Q. In this concept of Greater Serbia which you
7 became aware of, what territory or area of the former
8 Yugoslavia was encompassed within that idea?
9 A. Well, it varied according to which time we're
10 talking about. The maps that I was most often shown
11 dated from the late '30s, early '40s of this century,
12 and they would cover most -- well, a lot of Croatia,
13 usually all of Bosnia, with Dalmatia as a sort
14 of vassal statelet down on the Adriatic coast, and they
15 certainly were to contain all the areas, and this is, I
16 think, the crucial point, if I understood them rightly,
17 all the areas where the Serbs lived, whether this be
18 Bosnia or Croatia or anywhere else, that was the
19 propelling idea behind the Greater Serbia, which was
20 that wherever there is a Serb is Serbia, and this idea
21 informed the maps.
22 Q. Now, having followed the break-up of the
23 former Yugoslavia from the beginning, were you aware of
24 whether there were periodic statements about the crisis
25 involving refugees and the commission of atrocities
1 from U.N. agencies, the ICRC, from newspapers on all
2 sides of the conflict, that would be within Bosnia and
3 without, as well as statements from political and
4 military leaders of all the republics?
5 A. Well, I was out of Bosnia for the first few
6 months -- the first couple of months of the war, in the
7 spring of '92, but obviously I was following it
8 closely, and, yes, the UNHCR in particular and the
9 International Red Cross, inasmuch as they felt
10 empowered to, and governments, particularly the
11 Croatian government, were talking about what one man
12 from the UNHCR, whose name is, I think it was Peter
13 Keslar, called the worst forced movement of population
14 since the Second World War, and the newspapers -- well,
15 I was reading the British and American newspapers --
16 and television reports were reporting a vast influx of
17 people from the Prijedor-Banja Luka area across the
18 Croatian border into the border town of Karlovac where
19 testimonies were being collected and, yes, the
20 international agencies, the media, and the Western
21 governments were almost, all of them, thrown into
22 disarray by the size of this movement of population,
23 and the Croatian government in particular was worried
24 because the population of the country, itself coming
25 out of war, was being increased by a matter of hundreds
1 of thousands.
2 Q. In August of 1992, as you re-entered the area
3 of the former Yugoslavia, did you come across an
4 example of this type of transfer of population or, as
5 it's been referred to, "ethnic cleansing" in the area
6 of Loznica which you described earlier?
7 A. Yes, this was my first direct taste of it. I
8 was there on my way to Bosnia and visited a camp. That
9 was the first -- well, it wasn't actually a camp, it
10 was a place in which the Serbian authorities, the
11 Yugoslav authorities, were billeting people who had
12 come from eastern Bosnia, in the case of the people I
13 spoke to a village that I visited called Zepak, and
14 they were the first people I spoke to and met. Their
15 condition, I have to say, was not bad. They were being
16 treated with -- well, all things are relative, I now
17 know -- fairly well, but they were my first encounter
18 with this massive movement of population and, I have to
19 say, the other end of the country, not where the main
20 influx was coming, which was out of Prijedor and Banja
22 Q. Did the individuals in that location in
23 Loznica indicate to you how they had come across the
24 border and why they were in that area, that centre?
25 A. Troops had arrived at their houses and told
1 them they were leaving on pain of -- I don't think they
2 bothered to ask. Yes, they were deported.
3 Q. Did they indicate where they were told they
4 were going to be taken to?
5 A. They were told that they were going to a
6 place called Subotica, which is in the north of
7 Yugoslavia near the Hungarian border, and they were
8 told that papers had been organised for them to leave
9 the country and to go to Hungary and Austria and
10 Germany, I think, but there was no sign of that having
11 happened when we spoke to them.
12 Q. Did they indicate how long they had been in
13 the camp?
14 A. They had been there a matter of weeks rather
15 than months.
16 Q. What type of forces were arrayed around this
17 area, the centre?
18 A. Yugoslav police, uniformed police officers.
19 Q. At what distance were you from the border
20 with Bosnia and Herzegovina?
21 A. Almost no distance at all. Loznica is a
22 border town, and actually, the deportees could see
23 their village from -- I don't actually like to call
24 that place a camp. It wasn't. That really was a
25 deportee centre. From the yard of that centre, which
1 was a converted school, they could actually see their
2 village over the border and point it out to us and even
3 gave us instructions to find their houses. Some of
4 them could even see their houses.
5 Q. How was it that you came to be in Loznica?
6 A. Well, it was the first stage in what would be
7 quite a journey. It was one of a list of alleged
8 concentration camps which the Bosnian government had
9 put out, and we were visiting it for that reason. It
10 turned out to be anything but a concentration camp.
11 The background is this: These reports I was
12 talking about, the massive influx of people into
13 Karlovac, across the border into Croatia from the
14 Prijedor and Banja Luka area, were accompanied by
15 reports also of camps.
16 Q. Do you recall the date that those reports
17 were published in the Western press?
18 A. These would be the last ten days of July.
19 Q. Of what year?
20 A. Sorry, 1992.
21 Q. After those reports of mass movement of
22 people and of the existence of camps, what occurred?
23 A. Well, British and American newspapers were
24 reporting the existence of these camps and
25 progressively mentioning some of them by name. The
1 testimony was initially based on people who were coming
2 into Croatia, Manjaca was one that was being mentioned,
3 also Trnopolje and, finally Omarska, and Dr. Radovan
4 Karadzic, the President of what was then called the
5 Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, happened to be
6 in London for a meeting on the day that my paper and
7 others published a story based on people who had come
8 across into Croatia and were talking about Omarska and
9 describing alleged conditions in Omarska and other
11 A man called Roy Gutman had been writing
12 similar material in a newspaper called News Day which
13 is published in New York. Dr. Karadzic was challenged
14 on television about this, on ITN, and said that these
15 reports were lies and exaggerations, that no civilians
16 were being held prisoner, and he wrote a letter to The
17 Guardian, my paper, to that effect as well, and both
18 his -- which was published later, a couple of days
20 His rejection of these allegations was
21 accompanied by a challenge to journalists,
22 specifically, I think, ITN on whose network he was
23 speaking and in The Guardian where the Omarska
24 allegations had appeared, a challenge to come and see
25 for ourselves. He said, "These are untrue, they're
1 fabrications," and I'll paraphrase him - you can get
2 the exact words - "Come and see for yourselves." My
3 boss, my foreign editor, said, "Well, all right, we
4 will, if that's okay," and so did ITN.
5 I don't know quite what kind of time frame he
6 had in mind for our visit, but my foreign editor, a man
7 called Paul Webster, phoned Dr. Karadzic on a mobile
8 phone when he was going to the airport and said, "Well,
9 we're on our way," and I think there was some talk
10 about two weeks, but he said, "No, I've got a reporter
11 ready to go now," and that was me. So that's how --
12 well, we got to Loznica because Loznica was the first
13 one on the list, but that's how we ended up in Belgrade
14 and in a position to visit Loznica. It was the result
15 of Dr. Karadzic's challenge/invitation.
16 Q. When you arrived in Belgrade, did you have to
17 accredit yourself with anyone?
18 A. Yes, we got to Belgrade the next day, and
19 first thing we had to do was to accredit ourselves with
20 a thing called the SRNA, S-R-N-A, I think, which was
21 the Serbian News Agency, Yugoslav Serbian News Agency,
22 and we had to have their papers to be able to proceed
23 with this trip, this investigation.
24 Q. How many days did you end up staying in
1 A. Well, we stayed there longer than we had
2 hoped, actually. We wanted to get straight on to
3 Omarska as soon as possible. But we ended up staying
4 in Belgrade three days while we waited for the various
5 authorities to make arrangements for us to travel and
6 to get the necessary clearances and, indeed, to listen
7 to Professor Koljevic, as I mentioned before; and it
8 was during that time that -- well, rather than just
9 waste our time in Belgrade, we thought, "Well, while
10 we're here, let's have a look at some of the places on
11 the list supplied by the Bosnian government of alleged
12 concentration camps and see if they match the
13 description which indeed they did not.
14 Q. Who took you to the camp at Loznica, the
16 A. ITN went with -- we were allowed to go of our
17 own accord to those places. I went with my translator
18 and a freelance colleague who worked in Belgrade.
19 There was no problem going down there at all. Once we
20 had the SRNA paper and told the authorities where we
21 were going, indeed told the Professor where we were
22 going, that wasn't a problem. I can understand having
23 seen Loznica and another place at Subotica, that they
24 didn't have any problem with us going there because
25 although the situation was tragic, the term
1 "concentration camp" was clearly inappropriate.
2 MR. KEEGAN: Might that be a convenient
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We'll adjourn now.
5 Mr. Vulliamy, will you be back, please, at
6 half past nine tomorrow morning?
7 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour.
8 --- Whereupon proceedings adjourned at
9 5.07 p.m., to be reconvened on
10 Wednesday, the 15th day of July,
11 1998, at 9.30 a.m.