1 Friday, 9 January 2009 2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 8.59 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Kindly call the case,
6 Mr. Registrar.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, everyone in and around the
9 This is case number IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus
10 Vojislav Seselj.
11 Thank you, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In open session, let me greet
13 Ms. Dahl, Mr. Ferrara, Mr. Seselj. Good morning to all the other people
15 Let's move now into closed session. Indeed, I see on the screen
16 that we are ready with the video conference, so let's move into closed
18 [Closed session]
11 Pages 13145-13205 redacted. Closed session.
14 [Open session]
15 THE REGISTRAR: I'm sorry to interrupt you, Counsel. Your
16 Honours, we're back in open session.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So we're back in open session.
18 Mr. Prosecutor, please read out the summary. We're not supposed
19 to see the witness on the screen. It should not be displayed outside
20 this courtroom. The face must be distorted. Here, I can see the
21 picture. Oh, I see, it is displayed on the ELMO. No problem; fine.
22 Sir, please read out the 92 ter statement or summary in open
24 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Good morning to everyone in the courtroom. I
25 will start to read out the summary.
1 The witness is a Serbian inhabitant from Zvornik who, before the
2 conflict, had different jobs. Among others, he worked as an undertaker.
3 After the outbreak of the conflict, the local Serbian authorities tasked
4 the witness to transport the bodies of killed persons either to Gero's
5 slaughterhouse or to the various mass graves in and around Zvornik.
6 Shortly before the outbreak of the conflict in April 1992, while
7 returning on foot from Zvornik and trying to cross the bridge between
8 Zvornik and Mali Zvornik, the witness noticed a road-block. Nobody was
9 allowed to cross the bridge to Serbia
10 Brano Grujic, the President of the municipality, and Dragan Spasojevic,
11 the head of the SUP
12 the car. He hold an automatic weapon in his hands and started cursing
13 and threatening the witness. He said, "Why don't you stay and defend the
14 Serbian people?"
15 Grujic ordered the witness to go to Alhos, a textile factory in
16 Karakaj in Zvornik, to get an assignment. The witness did what Grujic
17 had ordered him and walked to the factory. When he arrived, he noticed
18 about 40 to 50 people who had already gathered there. They seemed to be
19 members of paramilitary units. Some of them wore black uniforms, while
20 others wore various types of uniforms. Most of them had masks over their
22 About 20 minutes after the witness had arrived at Alhos, Grujic
23 and Spasojevic, accompanied by Arkan, appeared in a car. The witness and
24 about 20 other civilians were ordered to line up, and Arkan came over to
25 them. He counted the first six men, the witness was among them, and
1 explained that their task would be to collect the bodies of the killed
2 persons who were killed during the attack. He threatened in case anyone
3 should try to escape, he would fire at them.
4 The day after the attack, a member of a paramilitary unit arrived
5 at Alhos driving a three-ton Zastava lorry. He handed the keys over to
6 the witness, saying, "Follow the orders." The next days either
7 Kosta Eric, a member of the Commission for the Clearance of the
8 Battle-field, or Nedo Mladjenovic, the director of the Public Utilities
10 in Zvornik. Serbian refugees helped the witness. Two policemen provided
11 protection escorting them.
12 This witness estimates that during the next seven to eight days,
13 he and his helpers collected the bodies of about 50 Muslim men, one
14 Muslim woman and one Serbian woman. Around half of the killed men wore
15 uniforms. The other half was in civilian clothes. The witness assumes
16 that Arkan and members of the paramilitary units had killed the victims.
17 All of them had wounds from automatic weapons. After being packed into
18 bags, the witness and his helpers deposited the bodies behind the boiler
19 of the Alhos factory.
20 There pathologists from Belgrade
21 examined the bodies. However, the pathologists did not perform a
22 complete autopsy. Their examination was limited to a quick determination
23 of the cause of death.
24 During April/May 1992, the witness transported bodies of Muslim
25 victims from the Alhos factory compound to the Muslim cemetery in
1 Kazambasca. Altogether, the witness made four trips to Kazambasca. He
2 estimates that each time there were about 10 to 15 bodies loaded on his
3 lorry. Two or three other lorries participated in the transport of
4 bodies from Alhos to Kazambasca.
5 Two graves had already been dug when the witness arrived. One
6 grave was about 15 to 20 metres long, 2 to 3 metres wide, and a little
7 more than 1 metre deep. The bodies were laid into this grave, one next
8 to the other, at a distance of half a metre. Close to this grave, a
9 second grave was prepared. The bodies were laid into the grave in two
10 rows. Kosta Eric, Brano Grujic and some other people from the
11 municipality were already there at Kazambasca. Kosta Eric explained a
12 military rule would require that the bodies be put on straw at a distance
13 of half a metre between them.
14 Between the end of May/beginning of June 1992, the witness and at
15 least one other truck driver transported bodies from the Karakaj
16 Technical School
17 removed about 10 to 15 times bodies of deceased detainees from the
18 Karakaj School
19 wearing masks, loaded between 12 to 15 bodies on his truck. During the
20 transport, two masked policemen escorted the witness. At Gero's
21 slaughterhouse, the same men who had loaded the bodies at Karakaj
22 unloaded them. The witness was not allowed to leave the truck while it
23 was unloaded.
24 In the middle of 1992, a police officer stopped the witness in
25 Drinjaca. He ordered him to transport bodies from the playground at the
1 Cultural Centre in Drinjaca to Gero's slaughterhouse. The witness
2 noticed a huge pile of bodies, some of them wearing uniforms, and others
3 had civilian clothes. They all were Muslim men. The witness could see
4 that these victims had been killed by automatic weapons; many of them
5 were shot in their heads.
6 Uniformed men loaded about 15 to 20 bodies on the witness' truck.
7 Around 15 to 20 bodies had to be left behind, because the witness' lorry
8 was full. Someone told him that another lorry would come to collect the
9 remaining ones. The witness transported these bodies to Gero's
10 slaughterhouse, where the guards unloaded his truck.
11 Also in mid-1992, the witness was called by an unknown person,
12 ordering him to drive to the Cultural Centre in Celopek and transport the
13 bodies of deceased Muslims to Gero's slaughterhouse. The guards of this
14 detention facility ordered prisoners to load about 12 to 15 bodies on the
15 lorry. The witness could see that the victims had been killed from
16 automatic weapons. The lethal wounds were mostly in the chest and in
17 some cases in the head. All the bodies were from Muslim victims.
18 One day, the witness realised two lorries driving through
19 Karakaj. The witness, suspecting what was going on, followed the lorries
20 with his car. The lorries stopped near an already prepared mass grave at
21 the Crni Vrh and Konjevic Polje corridor. The witness hid at a distance
22 of about 50 metres from the grave and observed the lorries unloading
23 about 30 to 50 male bodies each into the grave. He also saw a number of
24 arms and legs being unloaded into the grave. He noticed some soil on the
25 bodies and suggested that these bodies had been exhumed from another
1 place. The witness does not know the people who were involved in this
2 burial. Close to the grave, a yellow excavator was parked. While the
3 witness observed the scene for about five to six minutes, he did not see
4 the excavator covering the bodies with earth.
5 The witness transported two to three times about 15 to 20 bodies
6 of Muslim victims from Celopek to a grave in Sahbegovici. Sahbegovici is
7 a village between Karakaj and Orahovac. The victims originated from
9 On one occasion, the witness transported bodies from the
10 Ekonomija farm to the same graveside in Sahbegovici. Paramilitary unit
11 members, among them men from the Zuco, Pivarski, Arkan, and Gogic groups
12 loaded the bodies on the lorry and two men escorted the witness while
13 driving to Sahbegovici.
14 From Gero's slaughterhouse, the witness transported about 10 to
15 15 times bodies to Sahbegovici. Every time he had around 15 to 20 bodies
16 loaded on his truck. All the victims were Muslims.
17 In the course of 1992 and 1993, the witness was tasked to collect
18 bodies from six differ villages from Zvornik to Gero's slaughterhouse.
19 He presumes that these bodies were always from Muslim victims.
20 So far my summary.
21 Your Honours, I would like the Registrar to show on the monitor
22 the document under ERN number 0643 and then 8328. And, Ms. Usher, could
23 you please show this document, the same document, to the witness in hard
24 copy. Just for the record, it has the 65 ter number 7433.
25 Examination by Mr. Mussemeyer:
1 Q. Has the witness this document in front of him? I don't hear any
2 answer. I'm not sure.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, did you hear the
4 question that was put to you by the Prosecutor?
5 THE WITNESS: [No verbal response]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mussemeyer, please put your
7 question again, because the witness didn't hear anything at all.
8 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I wanted to make sure that the document, I
9 wanted to be shown in hard copy to the witness is in front of him and it
10 should not be broadcast, this document because this witness is protected.
11 So if somebody could confirm if the witness has this document in front of
12 him, it would be helpful.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I signed it; correct.
14 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
15 Q. Do you recognise this document?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, why cannot we see
17 this document on our internal monitor? I don't know what this is all
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On our in-house monitor, we see
20 the witness and the Registrar. You would then have to press on the
21 e-court button, but there's nothing. Nothing is displayed on that
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am pressing the button all the
24 time, but it says: "No computer evidence" on the monitor.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Press on "ELMO," then.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now I see it, yes. Thank you.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right, there it is.
3 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
4 Q. Mr. Witness, could you please confirm that this is your signature
5 on the document?
6 A. I signed this document.
7 Q. Did you have a chance to read the statement again before you came
8 to testify?
9 A. Everything that the Judge read out to me is correct, and I abide
10 by it. I signed it.
11 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Your Honours, I would like to move this document
12 into evidence, under seal.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can we have an
14 exhibit number, under seal, please.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. The document shall be given
16 Exhibit P696, under seal. Thank you, Your Honours.
17 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Your Honours, I intend to show now four video
18 clips. The first one I wanted to show is showing the witness, so it
19 should not go outside. And I would like to have shown the video which
20 bears the 65 ter number 6065, clip C. It is an excerpt from the video
21 documentary film entitled, "The Death of Yugoslavia."
22 [Videotape played]
23 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Everything was well organised and
24 well performed.
25 "Some 2.000 people were unaccounted for. Nobody knows how many
1 of them were executed on the spot or how many were sent to concentration
2 camps where the murder continued. The rest were expelled.
3 Forty-nine thousand Muslims lived in Zvornik. None remain. Five
4 centuries of Islamic life and culture there were erased. This is ethnic
5 cleansing. It became routine as the Serbs took control of three-quarters
6 of Bosnia
7 ethnic cleansing continued."
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. First of all, these
9 sort of documents are impermissible in any serious legal system. This
10 has obviously been doctored.
11 Secondly, what has the witness got to do with this video? If he
12 had been shown the loading of the bodies onto the truck and asked if he
13 remembers the situation, that would be all right; but to play the
14 commentary of the Spanish journalist, who summarises events taking place
15 over a number of years, impressing on them his personal stamp, this is
17 What is evidence here? If it's the footage of the bodies being
18 loaded, all right, but then it should have been limited to that and the
19 witness asked whether he remembers this, whether he was there. But if
20 you see a column of Muslims, you have to identify the Muslims, say where
21 this took place, in what village, in what town, who these Muslims were.
22 You can't play this sort of video clip for propaganda purposes in the
23 courtroom. This is propaganda shown by the Prosecutor, and it's
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. First of all, I
1 would like to know whether we are in open session or closed session. I
2 had the feeling that we had remained in open session, so let's move into
3 closed session.
4 [Closed session]
11 Pages 13216-13239 redacted. Closed session.
7 [Open session]
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, we're back in open
10 session. I want to thank you for testifying at the request of the
11 Prosecution. I wish you a good return back home.
12 Next week, we're going to start in the morning, working in the
13 morning. We'll start at 8.30, and we have a schedule for witnesses. Is
14 that right, Ms. Dahl?
15 MS. DAHL: Yes, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. So in theory, we
17 shouldn't have any problem for next week's witnesses.
18 I wish you all a good afternoon, and we shall reconvene at 8.30
19 on Tuesday.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.48 p.m.
21 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 13th of January,
22 2009, at 8.30 a.m.