1 Monday, 10 September 2001
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.32 a.m.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Good morning. Would the registrar please call the
7 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-95-9-T, the Prosecutor versus
8 Blagoje Simic, Milan Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and Simo Zaric.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: May I have appearances for the Prosecution, please.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. My name is Mr. Di Fazio. I appear for the
11 Prosecution. On my left is Ms. Aisling Reidy; my colleague on my
12 immediate right Diane Boles, the case manager, and further on my right,
13 Mr. Phillip Weiner, who is also appearing for the Prosecution.
14 Immediately in front of me is Mr. Nicholas Koumjian, who will also be
15 appearing for the Prosecution, but only for the purpose of the first
16 witness. There is good reason for that, if Your Honours please. He is
17 expected to be leading the same witness in another trial, has covered a
18 lot of the same -- a lot of the area that he will cover today has been
19 done by him before and so he will come in for just that witness, Dr.
20 Robert Donia.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
22 Appearances for the accused persons.
23 MR. PANTELIC: Good morning, Your Honours. I'm Igor Pantelic
24 Defence counsel appearing with my co-counsel, Mr. Srdjan Vukovic. Thank
1 MR. ZECEVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Slobodan Zecevic for
2 Milan Simic. With me is Ms. Catharine Baen as my co-counsel.
3 MS. BAEN: Good morning.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. I'm Novak
5 Lukic, Defence counsel for Mr. Miroslav Tadic, and Mr. Dragan Krgovic is
6 my co-counsel.
7 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. I'm
8 Borislav Pisarevic, representing for Mr. Simo Zaric, and next to me is my
9 colleague, Mr. Aleksander Lazarevic.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
11 I would like to find out from the accused persons whether they are
12 able to understand the proceedings in a language they understand. The
13 first accused, Mr. Blagoje Simic, please. Do you hear the proceedings in
14 a language you understand?
15 THE ACCUSED BLAGOJE SIMIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: The next accused person, please. Do you understand
17 the proceedings?
18 THE ACCUSED MILAN SIMIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I do, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: The next accused, please. Do you understand the
21 THE ACCUSED MIROSLAV TADIC: [Interpretation] I understand.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: The last accused, please. Do you understand the
24 THE ACCUSED SIMO ZARIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: This morning we are about to start the trial in this
1 case, but before we do that, we have some matters to deal with, especially
2 pending motions. The first motion the Trial Chamber has on its list is
3 the one dealing with actually two charges which the Prosecution have
4 insisted on having in the amended indictment. We will combine that with
5 the Prosecution by the Defence where they are discussing judicial economy
6 and fairness of the trial. Again, it's related to matters.
7 I take it that the Prosecution are putting everything in their
8 written motion and also the Defence put in everything in their written
9 motion. It's not the intention of the Trial Chamber to have an oral
10 hearing, because the Trial Chamber is of the view that the matters raised
11 within the jurisprudence of the Tribunal and the Trial Chamber has looked
12 at the issues raised.
13 The first point is that cumulative charging is
14 allowed. The issue of judicial economy cannot override the interests of
15 justice. Principles of fairness of a fair trial demanded by the accused,
16 I take it for all the accused in this case. Those demand for the
17 Prosecution and the Defence, the principles are well-known. The Trial
18 Chamber's duty is to make sure that the trial is fair for both parties,
19 the Prosecution and the accused, and also to make sure that only evidence
20 which is relevant in the proceedings is adduced and recorded.
21 On cumulative charging, depending on the evidence, the Trial
22 Chamber will deal with the matters at the end of the trial and it will
23 also consider the sentencing aspect in the case of a conviction being
24 recorded, should the Prosecution adduce sufficient evidence.
25 The Trial Chamber finds that the claims for which the accused
1 Blagoje Simic stated on his fears about unfairness are unfounded. All
2 these issues will be dealt with after all the evidence has adduced at the
3 end of the trial. It will be part of the issues for the Trial Chamber to
4 handle. The Prosecution motion is therefore granted. The Defence motion
5 is denied.
6 The second motion before the list is that by the Prosecution on
7 the first witness, Dr. Donia. The Trial Chamber has noted the response of
8 the Defence, all the Defence counsel, so they don't object. The Trial
9 Chamber therefore allows extension of time for the due notice, and also
10 grants the motion to the Prosecution.
11 The next motion on the list is by the Prosecution intending to put
12 on their Exhibit list the interviews of Miroslav Tadic and Simo Zaric,
13 annexes A, B, and C. On this motion I didn't see any response from the
14 accused persons, and even though only two are mentioned, maybe the matters
15 raised in those interviews do affect the other accused persons. So I
16 would like to get responses from all counsel whether they have anything to
17 say or whether they have any objection to these three annexes that the
18 Prosecution wish to have on their list of exhibits so that during -- at
19 the right time, they may formally ask for them to be admitted. So I'd
20 like to hear from the counsel for the first accused. Any objection?
21 MR. PANTELIC: No objection, Your Honours, on behalf of Mr.
22 Blagoje Simic.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: The second counsel, any objection?
24 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honour, we do have an objection, but I believe
25 that the counsel for Miroslav Tadic, who is in question here, has the
1 legal grounds for this objection, and I would like to leave the floor for
2 him. Thank you.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: So what you are actually saying is that you are
4 joining in the objection --
5 MR. ZECEVIC: We are joining with the objection, yes.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Next counsel.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with your agreement, I
8 would like to address this motion which was handed us on Saturday. We
9 oppose the motion to include the telephone transcripts, and the reasons
10 are as follows: The telephone conversation conducted with Miroslav Tadic
11 was conducted on three occasions in April and May of 1996. At that time,
12 Mr. Miroslav Tadic had not received the indictment. It had not been
13 delivered to him. The indictment was read by the investigators over the
14 telephone in such a way that he was only read only paragraph 20 of the
15 indictment, which was the version of the indictment of 1996.
16 The Article 21 of the Statute, paragraph 4, provides for a minimum
17 fairness and it insists that the accused has to have full and detailed
18 information of the charges in the indictment in the language he
19 understands. We believe that the way in which the indictment was
20 presented that time, which means only paragraph 20 was read to him, and
21 especially because the accused was not read paragraphs 1 through 20, which
22 refer to the background. This constitutes a failure to present the
23 indictment to the accused in a way that he can fairly understand, and I
24 think that Rule 21 -- Article 21.4 was violated, as well as the Rule 95.
25 Thank you.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: I'll give the Prosecution a right to reply briefly,
2 because the intention of the Trial Chamber is to take a decision in due
3 course, not necessarily today. So I'd like to ask the Prosecution if they
4 have any points in reply, especially on the legal issues raised by
6 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Your Honours. The Prosecution's
7 immediate response to hearing the submission of the Defence is this: The
8 crucial question is the voluntariness of the content of the interviews.
9 The accused who were spoken to were all cautioned or all advised that they
10 didn't have to answer questions, were all told that the material would be
11 recorded and might be used against them in future proceedings. And so
12 from that point of view, there is, in the Prosecution's submission, no
13 prejudice that has been occasioned to them.
14 The fact that they didn't know the precise details of the material
15 contained within the indictment doesn't detract from those points that I
16 raised, and therefore I submit that the material ought to be admitted on
17 that basis.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Counsel, the Trial Chamber is concerned by the fact
19 that the indictment was not served at the time that these interviews were
20 conducted. Would you say more than just the issue of fairness? How can a
21 suspect who does not know the entire content of the indictment be said to
22 be giving his answers voluntarily?
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, would you just bear with me for one
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm reminded that the factual background, as I
2 understand it, is this: They were faxed a copy of the indictment after
3 the first interview, and they also made efforts to contact the Tribunal to
4 speak to investigators from the Tribunal. So it wasn't just a question of
5 investigators suddenly approaching these accused and suddenly springing,
6 as it were, questions upon them in the course of a telephone interview.
7 They were alive to the issues, issues relating to the possibility of an
8 indictment being laid against them, and certainly, as I understand the
9 facts, they were, as I said, faxed a copy of the indictment after the
10 first interview. So that goes some way to addressing the issues raised by
11 the Chamber, in my submission.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE MUMBA: In fairness to the accused, I'll give counsel leave
14 to respond.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is not a question of
16 a voluntary action on the part of the accused to give a statement. The
17 question is whether the accused was informed about the charges in the
18 indictment. Even after he was read the paragraph, he was not -- after he
19 had been read the paragraph, he was not asked whether he understands it or
20 not. So we believe that all this rises to a level when this evidence
21 should not be included. His right to respond in an informed way is a
22 crucial part of his right to defence.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you, counsel. The Trial Chamber will take
24 time to consider the objections by the Defence on these intended exhibits
25 by the Prosecution and will give its decision in due course.
1 We will proceed to the fourth motion again by the Prosecution.
2 This is extending the Exhibit lists to include maps. I would like to
3 find out whether there is an objection to the Defence of the inclusion of
4 the maps by the Prosecution.
5 MR. PANTELIC: No, Your Honours, I believe on behalf of all my
6 colleagues, no objection.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. The motion is granted. The Exhibit list
8 by the Prosecution is amended accordingly.
9 The next motion is by the Prosecution on the witness Roko Jelavic.
10 The motion does detail the reasons for their earlier decision and their
11 reasons for their wish now that he should be included perhaps by
12 videolink. I want to find out from the Defence whether there are any
13 objections to Roko -- to this witness being included on the Prosecution
15 MS. BAEN: Your Honour, on behalf of -- Your Honours, on behalf of
16 Milan Simic, we do object, and as stated in our response to the Chamber, I
17 believe the Chamber received our response.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: When was it filed?
19 MS. BAEN: It was filed on Friday, I believe.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm sure it's still in the process.
21 MS. BAEN: Okay. Your Honours, we filed a written response, and I
22 don't know if you would like to consider that written motion first or you
23 would like for me to fully respond now.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: No. We'll consider the written response.
25 MS. BAEN: Thank you.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: The rest of counsel on this particular witness?
2 MR. PANTELIC: On behalf of Blagoje Simic, we are joining this
3 motion of our colleagues, our response, actually, to the Prosecutor's
5 JUDGE MUMBA: To object?
6 MR. PANTELIC: To object, yes, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: On the same grounds as --
8 MR. PANTELIC: Same. On the same grounds of matter of legal
10 JUDGE MUMBA: So since we haven't yet seen this response, was it
11 signed by all of you, the objection, or is there counsel who has an
12 independent response?
13 MS. BAEN: Your Honour, we only filed a motion on behalf of Milan
14 Simic. It was not a joint request.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Okay. All right. Thank you.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Although, sorry, Your Honour, we have other motions
17 filed jointly by all of us.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
19 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: The other counsel.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We join the motion of Milan Simic on
22 behalf of the defence of Miroslav Tadic.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: So you are objecting?
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes. Yes, I do object, yes.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Counsel?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] On behalf of Simo Zaric's defence,
2 we join the motion. We also object to its inclusion.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. The next -- let me find out before we
4 leave this motion on this particular witness whether the Prosecution
5 received the responses.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: No, I haven't had the opportunity of
7 seeing the response, so I can't really say anything about it.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: So we'll adjourn this one until the Trial Chamber is
9 satisfied that everybody has got everybody's comments or written
11 MR. DI FAZIO: I would recommend that course.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: The next motion is by the Defence on the evidence
13 touching on Todorovic, and the response by the Prosecution. I just want
14 to make sure that the Defence did receive the response by the Prosecution
15 on this motion.
16 MR. PANTELIC: That is correct, Madam President.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Okay. You wish to respond?
18 MR. PANTELIC: Just a short clarification, I would say.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Okay.
20 MR. PANTELIC: By filing the initial motion --
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
22 MR. PANTELIC: -- the Defence for Blagoje Simic was mindful about
23 the contents of the testimonies of Prosecutor witnesses, which means that
24 on the basis of judicial economy and especially on the basis of the
25 fairness of trial, we have a situation that Mr. Todorovic, being one of
1 the co-defendants in this case, and who pleaded guilty to certain charges,
2 to certain factual backgrounds and certain issues, it is absolutely not
3 practical to hear, in a line of Prosecutor witnesses, all acts. For
4 example, beatings personally committed by Mr. Todorovic to the particular
5 witness, then torture, sexual assault, and all other acts.
6 My position is to be constructive. Defence would like to have a
7 cooperative manner and to be constructive with regard to the principle of
8 judicial economy and with respect to our colleagues from the OTP. Maybe
9 our colleagues from Prosecutor bench can file a certain -- a written
10 summary or, you know, a document which relates to the, let's say, all acts
11 of the Todorovic with regard to the count 1, which is the persecution, in
12 general terms. So the Trial Chamber can have, you know, an overview of
13 what happened, but not to waste time, Your Honours, hearing 45 witnesses
14 speaking, I would say, at least 70 or 80 per cent of the acts committed by
15 former co-accused Todorovic. So we have to speed up things and be focused
16 on the real issues.
17 If my learned colleagues from the Prosecutor bench would like to
18 make certain nexus or relationship between the acts of Todorovic with
19 regard to the general atmosphere related to count 1, the crime of
20 persecution, that's another thing, but they have possibility to admit even
21 Todorovic guilty plea, even a factual basis of Mr. Todorovic, and finally,
22 all other necessary. But I do believe we don't have to spend too much
23 time on acts committed by Mr. Todorovic.
24 Thank you very much, Madam President
25 JUDGE MUMBA: You're welcome.
1 A very brief response because the Trial Chamber has already looked
2 at all the points raised. A very brief response, Mr. Prosecutor.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, if Your Honours please. The essence of
4 the Defence submission was there's just too much prejudice and it's not
5 sufficiently probative in the circumstances and, therefore, should be
6 excluded. The Prosecution response is that it's difficult to think of
7 more probative, more relevant evidence than that of Mr. Todorovic. It is
8 not the purpose of the Prosecution or the aim of the Prosecution to adduce
9 evidence of a litany of bad acts purely and simply to prove that. That's
10 not the aim of the evidence at all.
11 The aim of the evidence is to establish the conditions of life
12 that existed in the prisons and the detention centres that were set up
13 there, not to mention a whole host of other issues that he will talk about
14 that actually go to the conduct of all of these defendants; in other
15 words, their activities as leading members of the Crisis Staff and other
16 similar related activities.
17 So that's the initial response of the Prosecution. It would, of
18 course, be desirable to have the Chamber made aware of the evidence of
19 Stevan Todorovic in its entirety so that it would be able to know more
20 clearly what it is intended that he will say, but there is a large
21 practical problem with that.
22 Firstly, the Prosecution hasn't finished proofing him, and we'll
23 be obtaining, hopefully from the weeks to come, more evidence. And that's
24 one of the reasons why we intend to call him towards the end of the case,
25 quite apart from the fact that it will assist you having heard all the
1 other witnesses. But simply presenting or giving to the Defence and the
2 Chamber a full statement, as it were, whether it be in the form of
3 interviews or witness statements of Stevan Todorovic, and say, "Okay, now
4 you have it; now you can assess it," and assess its relevance, it is for
5 practical purposes, not possible, and so we must deal with the situation
6 as it stands.
7 The Defence have had the interviews that were conducted with Mr.
8 Todorovic for some time now. They have not chosen to place any of that
9 material before the Chamber and say, "Look at this, this is irrelevant or
10 this portion is irrelevant or this issue is irrelevant." That is a matter
11 that they have -- that's the manner in which they have chosen to approach
12 this issue.
13 So in summary, the Prosecution position is it's far too relevant,
14 far too probative for any prejudicial considerations to arise to the point
15 where they outweigh the relevance and the probative nature of the
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you very much.
18 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honours, just a few words, please. I think my
19 colleague -- just really a few words. My colleague missed the point, with
20 all due respect. I didn't speak about the guilty plea of Todorovic and
21 acts of Todorovic. I'm very happy to hear Mr. Todorovic here as a
22 witness, whatever, but I'm speaking about all victims. I'm speaking about
23 all witnesses. And my learned colleague didn't outline that in order to
24 speed up any proceedings and to exclude all acts related to Mr. Todorovic.
25 Thank you very much, and excuse me.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you very much. I think The Trial Chamber has
2 got the sufficient points. It will give its decision in due course.
3 MS. BAEN: Excuse me, Madam President. For purposes of the
4 record, we'd like to join the objection on behalf of Milan Simic, join the
5 co-counsel's objection.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Because the motion was by --
7 MR. PANTELIC: Blagoje Simic.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
9 MS. BAEN: Yes. We join in that objection.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Okay.
11 MS. BAEN: Thank you.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Any other points the other counsel wish to raise?
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we also join the
14 objection of Mr. Pantelic as regards Mr. Todorovic's testimony.
15 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] We also join the motion regarding
16 the evidence of Mr. Todorovic.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: I know the Prosecution may be wondering, but the
18 Chamber has the liberty to allow counsel for the other accused, even
19 though they haven't put in anything, to make their views known by the
20 Trial Chamber so that when the Trial Chamber comes to make a decision, the
21 Trial Chamber will be aware of the stand of the other accused persons, and
22 I don't think it causes any prejudice to the Prosecution.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, of course.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. So the decision will be rendered by the
25 Trial Chamber in due course.
1 The last motion is by Mr. Milan Simic on the sitting hours. The
2 Trial Chamber has read the medical reports so far filed in this case
3 regarding the health of Mr. Milan Simic. At the time that the Trial
4 Chamber issued the Scheduling Order for the hearing hours, it was because
5 before that Scheduling Order was issued, this courtroom was supposed to be
6 used by another Trial Chamber in another case. So when the Trial Chamber
7 was informed that the case had come to an end, the Trial Chamber felt that
8 then it was at liberty to sit even in the afternoon.
9 In view of this motion by Mr. Simic that he may not be able to sit
10 morning and afternoon, the Trial Chamber is quite considerate. And
11 looking at the medical report, especially at latest one where it was
12 suggested that maybe if he was allowed to be in a lying down position,
13 maybe have a two-hour break, maybe that would assist in sitting maybe
14 morning and afternoon. In that regard, I will give instructions to the
15 Registry assistant to inform the Registrar to look into the possibility of
16 looking for a suitable bed. This is not just an ordinary bed, but a
17 suitable bed to deal with the condition of the accused Mr. Simic and see
18 whether he can be assisted so that the Trial Chamber can have extended
19 hours of sitting.
20 In the meantime, we will sit mornings only to accommodate the
21 situation, because we are not yet able to see whether or not a suitable
22 bed can be provided. So the sitting hours will be amended. We will sit
23 mornings, 9.30, have a break at 11.00 for half an hour to accommodate the
24 number of accused we have, and then resume at 11.30 and sit through up to
25 1300 hours. There will be no sittings in the afternoon until the bed
1 problem or the health of the accused Mr. Milan Simic is further looked
2 into by the Trial Chamber. So the sitting hours for this week are amended
4 As counsel will know that we have more trials going on in the
5 Tribunal, so maybe next week and the weeks to follow, we shall have to
6 share the courtroom. So we may be sitting afternoons only or mornings
7 only, but the Trial Chamber will issue instructions on the sitting hours
8 accordingly, according to the situation. As we all know, in criminal
9 cases, anything happens. The trial may end abruptly or there may be a
10 reason for adjourning, in which case the courtroom may be free, so we may
11 come back to sitting morning and afternoon.
12 Although we are not sitting this afternoon formally for trial, the
13 Trial Chamber wishes to sit for a Status Conference with Prosecution
14 counsel and Defence counsel only this afternoon. The accused will not be
15 required to attend. We intend to discuss logistics and how we are going
16 to handle this trial so that we have an expeditious trial in view of the
17 health of one of the accused and also in the interests of all of the
18 accused. Because like I have said, we have so many trials and we have to
19 use our time economically. So we will sit for a Status Conference this
20 afternoon at 1500 hours with Prosecution counsel only and Defence counsel
21 only today.
22 I wonder whether there is any other matter that needs to be dealt
23 with before we start our opening speeches. Prosecution, any matter?
24 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. In terms of outstanding motions, I think
25 the only matter is the Defence motion for determination as to whether
1 Bosnia was a state prior to May 22nd, 1992. Our response -- the
2 Prosecution response was filed on the 31st of August. I'm not calling
3 for -- I'm not suggesting that the matter needs to be disposed of and I
4 can see no reason why it shouldn't be disposed of at a later time, but I
5 just raised that to remind the Chamber of the motions. The recent flurry
6 of motions that have come before the Court, that's the one that you
7 haven't dealt with this morning.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Okay. Since both parties did put in their points in
9 written form, the Trial Chamber will decide that in due course.
10 MS. BAEN: Also, Madam President, there are several other motions
11 that the Defence filed on Friday, and I'm assuming since you didn't
12 receive one of these other motions we mentioned, that you have not yet
13 seen those. Would you like to cover those at the Status Conference after
14 you've had a chance to -- there are a couple of other motions, motions in
15 limine, and motions limiting admissibility of a certain expert's
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Does that touch on the first witness for the
19 MS. BAEN: The motion in limine quite possibility could. It's a
20 broad motion in limine which just says that the Prosecution be instructed
21 that he should not try to elicit any testimony in the form of a legal
23 In other words, there are some witnesses who have said they are
24 testifying to facts, but they say in their opinion these defendants have
25 committed war crimes. Well, obviously, the trial, you all are the people
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 who are to determine whether or not a war crime has been committed. The
2 witnesses are only to testify as to facts. And that is a general motion.
3 Now, I don't know if this will apply to Donia or not. It could possibly
4 if he starts testifying to legal matters.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: In that case, then -- you said there are two motions
6 which you filed on Friday?
7 MS. BAEN: Yes, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Okay. In that case, the Chamber will look at them
9 during the break and be able to say whether or not anything needs to be
10 done and decide when decisions can be given in due course.
11 MS. BAEN: Okay.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: The only question I would like to ask Defence
13 counsel is why were such motions filed on Friday when the trial date was
14 given some time back?
15 MS. BAEN: Well, first of all, Madam President, we received some
16 motions from the Prosecutor. That's part of our answer. Secondly, the
17 motion in limine with respect to legal conclusions, we're only receiving
18 certain witnesses and witnesses' expert opinions in the last week or so.
19 Also, there's been another -- last week we received an additional
20 250.000 pages of discovery which we haven't been able to see yet. We've
21 asked for some additional help from OLAD to let us get through that
22 information. That's the reason why we're filing motions now, because
23 we're receiving new information from the Prosecution.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: May I get clarification on the last part where you
25 say you received so many pages in the process of discovery in the last
1 week. Pertaining to what?
2 MS. BAEN: Excuse me? Why?
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Is it an exhibit or the many, many pages you're
4 talking about?
5 MS. BAEN: We don't know if they're exhibits. This is no fault of
6 the Prosecution. They -- I'm told the Prosecutor found 250.000 pages of
7 information. They don't know exactly what it is.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Okay.
9 MS. BAEN: So we don't know what it is either. And we have sent a
10 letter to the Prosecutor requesting that they designate which part is
11 exculpatory and which -- you know, that's the request we've made. In all
12 fairness --
13 JUDGE MUMBA: So these are matters you are still discussing with
14 the Prosecution?
15 MS. BAEN: Yes. Thank you.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: All right. In that case, the Chamber will look at
17 the other two motions you say you filed on Friday and they will be able to
18 decide -- perhaps discuss them this afternoon.
19 MS. BAEN: Thank you.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: So we can go ahead with the formal opening of our
21 trial by having the opening statement by the Prosecution.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, before I commence my
23 opening, there's just one matter. Seated in the courtroom or in the
24 audience viewing area is Dr. Donia, who is expected to be called as our
25 first witness. He wanted to hear the Prosecution opening. I just thought
1 I would inform the Court that he's there, and Defence counsel, and if
2 anyone has got any views, to express them now rather than after I've
3 started my opening.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
5 MS. BAEN: Your Honours, all Defence counsel discussed this
6 prior. We would like to invoke what is known in other jurisdictions as
7 the rule which is all witnesses who are going to be testifying in the
8 trial cannot sit and listen to the trial. They can only be present in the
9 courtroom when they are giving their testimony.
10 The reason for that is, and especially in this case, this happened
11 in a small area. There are family members who are going to be testifying
12 and may be coming to the Tribunal together, and the whole point of
13 testifying in this Tribunal is to give an objective account, an accurate
14 account and it's not coloured by any other witness's testimony. So we're
15 making a joint request that the witnesses be instructed that if they are
16 not testifying, they are not to be present in the trial, in the courtroom,
17 or listening to the testimony of other witnesses. Thank you, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Prosecutor, is there any special reason really why
19 your first witness should listen to your opening statement?
20 MR. DI FAZIO: No, there's no particular reason. He expressed a
21 desire to do so.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: I think it's safer for us to just exclude him.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: As the Tribunal -- as the Chamber pleases.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: The Trial Chamber would be grateful if the witness
25 can leave the public sitting area, and not listen to the opening
2 MR. DI FAZIO: As far as the general remarks made by Ms. Baen,
3 there's of course no question that that will occur.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: No witness will be brought in before they give
6 their evidence.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. The Prosecution can go ahead with their
8 opening statement.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
10 If Your Honours please, in the 50 years leading up to the events
11 that form the basis of the charges laid against these defendants, Bosnia
12 and Herzegovina existed in relative peace, a patchwork of different
13 communities and ethnic groups coexisting and intermingling. Some areas of
14 the country were predominantly populated by Croats or Serbs or Muslims. In
15 some areas the ethnic mixture was greater, but in all areas members of all
16 the different groups existed together and they coexisted in peace. In
17 1990, this coexistence was threatened by the unraveling of the Yugoslavian
18 state, a process which lead to the bloody wars in Croatian and Bosnia.
19 The defendants who are before this Chamber today are four men, who
20 like many, partook in that bloody war in Bosnia. All of these defendants
21 stand charged with persecutions as a result of the actions they took in
22 that war. Milan Simic is further charged with counts of torture, inhumane
23 and cruel treatment. Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic and Simo Zaric are
24 also charged for their roles in the deportations and forcible transfers
25 that took place in the municipality of Bosanski Samac and surrounding
2 The Prosecution contends that each of these defendants acted in
3 concert together, and with other Serb civilian and military officials,
4 planned, instigated, ordered, committed, or otherwise aided and
5 abetted the planning, preparation, and the execution of crimes which
6 ultimately resulted in the successful ethnic cleansing of Bosanski Samac.
7 These defendants in their individual capacities participated in
8 attacking the established institutions of government and wholeheartedly
9 helped to run new organisations dedicated to setting up a new Serb-only
10 state. They drew up the lists of people who were to be arrested. They
11 presided over the establishment of prison camps where men were tortured
12 and beaten on a daily basis. They engaged in a process of arrests,
13 beatings, and killings of innocent people, looting, forced labour, and
14 deportation. They worked hand in hand with paramilitaries who beat and
15 terrorised the non-Serbs of Bosanski Samac.
16 However, before dealing with the events that led these defendants
17 to this Tribunal, it's necessary to provide this Chamber with the
18 historical context and background against which their crimes were
19 committed in Bosnia.
20 In the late 1980s, federal Yugoslavia was experiencing the rise of
21 democracy, the demise of Communism and the rise of nationalism. In 1990
22 elections were held in the various republics of Yugoslavia, and in all
23 cases, the nationalist parties won. The independence of the several
24 Yugoslavian republics became a burning issue. Slovenia declared its own
25 independence on the 25th of June 1991, and after a short bout of
1 hostilities with the Yugoslavian army, or JNA as I shall refer to it,
2 continued on its way to full statehood. The lack of a sizeable ethnic
3 minority in Slovenia meant, however, that it escaped the bitter conflicts
4 that took hold in other parts of Yugoslavia.
5 In the summer of 1991, war erupted in Croatia following its
6 declaration of independence. It was a portent of things to come in
7 Bosnia. It was an ethnic war with the Croatian armed forces pitted
8 against Croatian Serbs from the Croatian Krajina supported by the JNA. If
9 the conflagration spread to Bosnia, it would produce even greater misery
10 and death and destruction, given the far more complicated demographic and
11 ethnic picture in that country, and that is precisely what occurred within
13 The nationalist parties that emerged in Bosnia in 1990 were formed
14 along ethnic lines. The Croatian Democratic Union, or HDZ, was closely
15 linked to the party of the same name in Croatia itself, and in Bosnia
16 derived its support from the Croatian community. The Serbian Democratic
17 Party, or SDS, came onto the political scene in mid-1990. Its leader was
18 Radovan Karadzic and it derived its support from the Serbian community in
19 Bosnia. The Bosnian Muslims were represented by the Party of Democratic
20 Action, or SDA, whose leader was Alija Izetbegovic.
21 Following the November 1990 elections in Bosnia, these nationalist
22 parties overwhelmed their multi-ethnic rivals and came to dominate the
23 political scene.
24 The continuing controversy over the fate of what remained of
25 Yugoslavia resulted in more than ominous and menacing development in
1 Bosnia. The SDS began to make plans in anticipation of possible Muslim
2 and Croat moves to lead Bosnia out of the Yugoslav Federation. These
3 plans contemplated the creation of separate Serb institutions and then
4 eventually the creation of a separate Serb state within Bosnia.
5 On the 20th of December, 1991, the collective presidency of Bosnia
6 voted to seek recognition from the European Community as an independent
7 state. In compliance with conditions laid down by the Europeans, Bosnia
8 held a referendum on independence on the 29th of February and the 1st of
9 March, 1992. This referendum, although boycotted by most Bosnian Serbs,
10 resulted in an overwhelming vote in favour of independence. Bosnia
11 declared its independence on the 6th of March, 1992, and on
12 the 6th and 7th of April, 1992, it was recognised as an independent state
13 by the European community and the United States of America respectively.
14 If the SDS policy of a separate Serb state within Bosnia was to
15 come to fruition, it would now have to deal with the question of what to
16 do with the Croats and Muslims who lived throughout Bosnia. It did indeed
17 deal with that question, and the solution that they adopted became known
18 to the world as ethnic cleansing.
19 The process of ethnic cleansing commenced in the municipality of
20 Bosanski Samac in April of 1992. In order to better understand these
21 events, it is important to have a clear picture of the municipality and
22 the town as it was back in 1992. Bosanski is a small provincial town on
23 the Sava River in the north-east of Bosnia which forms the border with
24 Croatia. It is the capital of that municipality that bears the same name.
25 It lies in an agricultural area dotted with farms and small villages. It
1 also had the misfortune to lie in an area of Bosnia that came to be known
2 as the Posavina Corridor, which linked populations of predominantly Serb
3 origin in the west with Serbia in the east. To the north lay Croatia. In
4 early 1992, Bosanski Samac was undergoing serious troubles that were to
5 erupt in April, but it still reflected the ethnic mix that characterised
6 Bosnia. You will hear of this mixture of ethnic groups from the people
7 who used to live there. They will be called to give evidence of the
8 events of 1992, but they will also tell you what life was like before the
9 crimes that we are concerned with occurred. The Prosecution will call
10 evidence of the demographics of the area prior to April 1992 and after the
11 Dayton Agreement had ended the war in Bosnia in 1995. The evidence will
12 establish that in 1991, and that was a year in which a census occurred,
13 the population in the municipality was 44.7 per cent Croat, 41.3 per cent
14 Serb, 6.8 per cent Muslim, and 7.2 per cent fell into none of those
15 categories. Most of the Muslims lived in the town of Bosanski Samac
16 itself, which also had its Serbian and Croatian citizens.
17 The demographic evidence will also establish that after the war
18 ended with the Dayton Peace Agreement in 1995, this mixture of people was
19 gone. A line had been drawn through the municipalities of Bosanski Samac
20 and Odzak. Serbs now lived on one side, and Croats and Muslims lived on
21 the other side. So achieve this state of affairs, a horrific
22 campaign of ethnic cleansing was conducted by the nationalist Bosnian Serb
23 leadership. On the night of the 16th and 17th of April 1992, the town of
24 Bosanski Samac was forcibly taken over by nationalist Bosnian Serb forces.
25 Hundreds of people were arrested, beaten, imprisoned and tortured, for no
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 other reason than the fact that they were non-Serbs. Thousands of people
2 were forced to live in fear until they were "exchanged" - I put quotations
3 marks around that term - the process whereby they were driven from their
4 homes and villages. Homes and businesses were systematically looted and
5 people's livelihoods destroyed. Hundreds of people were forced to work,
6 often in trenches on the front line. Paramilitaries rampaged throughout
7 the municipality, killing people, beating men, and looting. There will be
8 evidence of a massacre by paramilitaries of 16 non-Serbs in a factory in
9 the small villages of Crkvina, a short distance outside Bosanski Samac.
10 All of this, the demographics evidence will show, resulted in that line,
11 either side of which people who formerly existed together. The Muslims
12 and the Croats are now gone from the town of Bosanski Samac.
13 These events in Bosanski Samac didn't just happen. This was no
14 case of a sudden or disorganised or inexplicable eruption of ethnic
15 hatreds. The Prosecution will produce evidence that there was a
16 deliberate campaign of ethnic cleansing which was conducted according to
17 plan. In Bosanski Samac, that plan was implemented by a body called the
18 Serb Crisis Staff and its loyal agents. It was the Serb Crisis Staff,
19 later renamed the War Presidency, that took power in Bosanski Samac.
20 The Territorial Defence system, and the Court will hear more about
21 this system from the Prosecution's first witness, Dr. Robert Donia, was
22 provided for and regulated in the Statute, and it vested responsibility
23 for its operation with the municipality. I shall refer to the Territorial
24 Defence system later as the TO. Chapter 111 of the Statute dealt with the
25 All People's Defence and Social Self-protection. Article 90 gave the
1 municipality responsibility for taking organisational, materiel, and other
2 measures to prepare citizens for All People's Defence, and their
3 participation in armed struggle and other forms of resistance in war, the
4 immediate threat of war, and other emergencies. It was also responsible
5 for the organisation and training of Territorial Defence units, as well as
6 the supply of such units. Legally, therefore, in the event of war, or
7 threat of war, the leaders of the municipality bore a responsibility to
8 prepare and implement this comprehensive scheme of self-defence.
9 Territorial Defence extended down to the local community level by
10 virtue of the operation of Article 98, which mandated that in local
11 communities, citizens organised themselves in case of war and that they do
12 so in accordance with the law. Thus, the Territorial Defence system lay
13 firmly within the control of the Bosanski Samac municipality. Under
14 Article 105, in the event of war or immediate threat of war, the Municipal
15 Assembly, the Presidency of the Municipal Assembly and various other
16 municipal bodies were to assume responsibility.
17 In April of 1992, when the Serb nationalists took power in
18 Bosanski Samac, none of these legal procedures were followed. None of the
19 bodies such as the Territorial Defence or the municipal assembly were
20 allowed to take up their duties. Ready to grab power and start their
21 process of ethnic cleansing stood the parallel Serb-only institutions.
22 The Serb nationalists had anticipated that the legitimate TO
23 system might prove to be a hurdle in the implementation of their plans.
24 In Bosanski Samac the legitimate TO could not be relied upon to support
25 implementation of a Serb-only state. Therefore, steps were taken early on
1 to ensure that the non-Serbs would be disarmed.
2 In 1990, the JNA moved weaponry from the local Bosanski Samac TO
3 to the JNA's Derventa garrison. In late 1991 and early 1992, the JNA
4 established the 4th Detachment. This detachment was publicly proclaimed
5 to have been set up to defend the town. The situation had therefore
6 developed whereby the legitimate and already existing Territorial Defence
7 of Bosanski Samac had been disarmed and the JNA had, in turn, set up
8 another military unit, the 4th Detachment, to perform precisely the same
9 function as the original TO. Officially, the man in charge of this unit
10 was a Radovan Antic, but many considered Simo Zaric to be its real head.
11 Other detachments were formed in the nearby Serb villages of Gornja
12 Slatina, Gornja Crkvina, and Brvnik. The 4th Detachment had approximately
13 500 members, and their arms and uniforms were supplied by the JNA.
14 The plan to establish a Serb-only state, which included the use of
15 local military units such as the 4th Detachment, was well documented.
16 The Prosecution will prove that these defendants knowingly participated in
17 a plan to divide and drive out the non-Serb population from Bosanski Samac
18 and adjoining areas. Documents will be produced that demonstrate the
19 objectives of the SDS and the unfolding of its policy. The overall plan
20 for Bosnia was stated in a document dated the 19th of December, 1991, the
21 variant A and B document, and you will find that listed as Exhibit C-5 of
22 the Prosecution's list of exhibits. It was entitled "Instructions for the
23 Organisation and Activity of the Organs of the Serbian People in
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Extraordinary circumstances." It provided a
25 blueprint for the, and I quote "Tasks, measures, and other activities to
1 be carried out within the Bosnian Serb community." It was a document
2 produced by the main board of the Bosnian SDS in Sarajevo and sent to SDS
3 local boards. Variant A covered municipalities with Serb majorities and
4 variant B applied to those without majorities. In cases where the SDS
5 held a majority, matters were simpler. A Crisis Staff had to be formed
6 immediately and positions such as the chief of police and president of the
7 executive board qualified one for appointment to this body. Detailed
8 instructions were provided for the setting up of state organs in the
9 municipality. Intensification of Serbian propaganda, strengthening of
10 police and Territorial Defence in case of their, and I quote, "activation
11 as required by further developments."
12 In the case of the variant B situation, as was the case in
13 Bosanski Samac, the instructions were similar, but entailed establishing
14 separate Serb institutions parallel to the existing government. Two
15 stages were envisaged. The first stage required the setting up of Serb
16 Crisis Staffs drawn from the local SDS leadership, the proclamation of an
17 assembly of Serb people, preparation for the takeover of staff and
18 selected equipment of Security Services, and various other measures
19 designed to wrest power from the existing municipality. In essence, this
20 stage of the plan amounted to the creation of shadow institutions of
22 The second stage required inter alia the mobilisation of all
23 Bosnian Serb members of the police forces and their gradual
24 resubordination in conjunction with the JNA and the transfer of Serbs to
25 safer areas. The document referred darkly to, and I quote, "special
1 defence measures to be implemented in areas where Serbs
2 are not in a majority," which was to be a Crisis Staff responsibility.
3 Finally, the document made clear that the secret procedures and
4 instructions for implementing the plan would be adopted at a later time.
5 It is plain from this document that the SDS in Bosnia planned to carve out
6 a separate Serb state within Bosnia and that they envisaged war.
7 Dr. Blagoje Simic was immersing himself in these activities in
8 late 1991. In November 1991 the founding session of the Serb autonomous
9 district northern Bosnian assembly, or SAO, took place in the northern
10 Bosnian city of Doboj. The collective chair of this body was elected and
11 it included Blagoje Simic. It made decisions. It proclaimed itself and
12 then voted on who should be its president and vice-presidents, and the
13 defendant Blagoje Simic was elected as vice-president. Thus, the SDS had
14 created another Serb-only organ. This body would have to deal with the
15 fact that non-Serbs also lived in northern Bosnia and that the Republic of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina already had legitimately created organs of state.
17 The creation of new Serb institutions continued unabated. In
18 February of 1992, the SDS leaders of Bosanski Samac set up the Serbian
19 municipality of Bosanski Samac in Pelagicevo, Pelagicevo being a small
20 town just south-east of Bosanski Samac. The Prosecution will produce the
21 document attesting to this process, and you will find that listed as
22 Exhibit C-6. It will reveal that they first separated themselves from the
23 legitimate Bosnian municipalities and then created, and I quote, "The
24 highest body of authority of the Serbian people in the municipality."
25 Naturally, the SDS was given immediate membership of this body and members
1 of other boards of Serbian people were also permitted to join. Article 8
2 said, and I quote:
3 "Senior officials, management, employees with special authority and
4 employees of Serbian nationality in the administrative bodies,
5 organisations, institutions and funds shall retains their posts, rights,
6 and duties," et cetera, et cetera.
7 No mention was made in this document of the non-Serb people who
8 also lived in Bosanski Samac and the neighbouring municipalities of
9 Orasje, and Odzak.
10 The simple fact of the matter is that non-Serbs were not meant to
11 fit in. There was no place for them in the new Serb state to be carved
12 out of Bosnia. They would have to go elsewhere. In May 1992, after war
13 had broken out, a document was produced by the Assembly of the Serbian
14 Republic in Bosnia and Herzegovina that proclaimed itself as the "Decision
15 on the strategic objectives of the Serbian people in Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina." These strategic objectives came to mean a lot for the
17 non-Serbs of Bosanski Samac.
18 The objectives were: Number 1, the creation of a separate Serb
19 state distinct from the other two ethnic communities; number 2, the
20 establishment of a corridor between Semberija in north-east Bosnia and the
21 Krajina in the west of Bosnia, and that is a tract of land in which
22 Bosanski Samac happened to find itself; number 3, the establishment of the
23 Drina River as the border between two Serbian states; number 4, the
24 establishment of borders on the Una and Neretva rivers; the division of
25 Sarajevo into Serbian and Muslim halves with separate state authorities;
1 and finally, access to the sea for the Republika Srpska.
2 The Prosecution will produce evidence from numerous witnesses who
3 will attest to the military takeover of the town of Bosanski Samac on the
4 night of the 16th and 17th of April, 1992. They will testify to the
5 immediate military build-up prior to the takeover. They will relate the
6 threats and warnings of dire consequences uttered by Blagoje Simic if
7 anyone dared to oppose the planned division of peoples that would make
8 Bosanski Samac ethnically pure. The events on the night of the 16th and
9 17th of April were, of course, the military expression of the plans that
10 had previously been made by the Serb nationalist forces. It was a
11 well-orchestrated move coordinated between the regular army of the former
12 Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, the JNA, the 4th Detachment - I've
13 already referred to that - and paramilitary units from Serbian and Serb
15 The 4th Detachment had been set up well before the military
16 takeover, and Simo Zaric played a significant role in its organisation.
17 Witnesses will tell the Court of the manner in which members of this group
18 would meet in Cafe AS, or Cafe AS - I'm not sure of the pronunciation -
19 which was owned by Miroslav Tadic, and it was regarded by many people as
20 the headquarters of the 4th Detachment. The 4th Detachment was part of a
21 larger JNA formation, the 17th Tactical Group, which was headed by a
22 Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic, and which covered the Posavina area. In early
23 1992, before the military attack on Bosanski Samac, Simo Zaric and another
24 commander of the 4th Detachment were interviewed on local radio and stated
25 that the 4th Detachment was set up by the JNA and its supposed purpose was
1 the prevention of ethnic conflicts within the town. Simo Zaric played an
2 active role in recruiting for the 4th Detachment. The 4th detachment
3 began to patrol the town at night. Preparations were being made for the
5 On the evening of the 16th of April, 1992, a meeting was organised
6 between the Territorial Defence and representatives of the 4th Detachment,
7 including Simo Zaric. At that meeting the TO commander proposed that the
8 4th detachment become part of the TO, since their objectives were the
9 same, local defence. Simo Zaric refused, saying the 4th detachment could
10 not be part of the TO as it was part of the JNA. But what he couldn't say
11 was that its objectives were precisely the opposite. The 4th detachment
12 was about to launch an attack on the town, not to defend it.
13 In the lead-up to the attack on Bosanski Samac, ominous
14 developments started to take place. Shops started to be closed, Serb
15 families were seen leaving the town on weekends. Serb parents removed
16 their children from school. Witnesses will testify to the presence of
17 strangers in Bosanski Samac in the weeks leading up to the takeover.
18 Paramilitaries arrived from Serbia in JNA helicopters and landed in the
19 nearby town of Batkusa just days before the takeover. The names of two of
20 these paramilitaries the Court will frequently hear mentioned during the
21 evidence are Dragan Djordjevic, or Crni, and Slobodan Miljokovic, or
22 Lugar. Lugar was indicted with these defendants but was shot and killed
23 before he could face charges. The two men were paramilitaries. I refer
24 to Crni and Lugar, who following the takeover, engaged in the most bestial
25 behaviour imaginable, beating and torturing people. Witness after witness
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 will describe the horrific savagery of their attacks.
2 The attacks started in the middle of the night of the night of the
3 16th and 17th of April, 1992. Armed members of the 4th detachment were
4 seen in uniform, moving through the streets. Tanks and armoured vehicles
5 and men in camouflage uniforms and balaclavas went through the streets.
6 The phone lines went dead. Some people hid in an attempt to protect
7 themselves. People gathered in each other's apartments to be together.
8 The next morning, members of the 4th detachment and paramilitaries went
9 around the town from house to house, demanding that people hand over their
10 weapons. Simo Zaric and Miroslav Tadic participated in this process.
11 The armed takeover met little resistance, and by the following
12 day, all that remained to be done was the final destruction of the
13 institutions of Government. In a sense, that had already been done at the
14 point of a gun, but some paperwork remained. The Serb Crisis Staff, on
15 the 19th of April, issued a decision simply dissolving the municipality.
16 That said, and I quote, "All bodies and institutions of Bosanski Samac
17 municipality shall cease to operate in their current mandate and the
18 Crisis Staff of the Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac shall take up
19 their functions, rights, and obligations." And that was the end of the
20 Bosanski Samac municipality.
21 The arrests of non-Serbs started soon after. Witnesses will talk
22 of the manner in which they were arrested and taken to the police station,
23 to start the many months of incarceration and torture and beatings that
24 they were to endure. Paramilitaries were already at the police station.
25 Initially, the men were detained in the SUP and TO buildings, of which you
1 will hear more, but later, as the numbers of non-Serbs being arrested
2 increased, other buildings in the town were used, such as the primary and
3 secondary schools and a gymnasium.
4 Would Your Honours just bear with me for one moment?
5 [Prosecution counsel confer]
6 When I refer to the SUP, I'm referring to Ministry of the
7 Interior, a term that Your Honours will become completely familiar with as
8 the trial progresses. Beatings in these places were commonplace.
9 Paramilitaries were permitted to enter the prisons and beat the
10 defenceless men. Men had their teeth pulled out with pliers. A figure
11 who was to loom large in the tortures that were inflicted on the prisoners
12 was Stevan Todorovic. A man with absolutely no prior police experience,
13 he was chosen by the Crisis Staff to head the police. He was a member of
14 the Crisis Staff and their man. He was responsible, if the term "police
15 chief" is to mean anything, for the protection of the people. The reality
16 is that the people had to be protected from him. He oversaw and
17 participated in a regime of vicious beatings, torture, and appalling
18 sexual violence. This was the man the Crisis Staff had chosen as their
19 chief of police in the new Serb state. You will hear of the nightly
20 visits of Todorovic and a host of other thugs who had access to the
21 detention centres, and the tortures and beatings that occurred when they
23 The Prosecution intends to call Stevan Todorovic to give evidence
24 of events in Bosanski Samac. In dealing with the evidence of this man,
25 the Chamber will have to proceed with caution. Mr. Todorovic was arrested
1 by SFOR in September 1998 in Bosnia and then taken here -- brought here to
2 The Hague. Thereafter, a protracted legal dispute occurred involving
3 Mr. Todorovic in the Office of the Prosecutor over the circumstances
4 of his arrest. Before the legal proceedings concluded, a plea agreement
5 was reached between the parties and approved by the Chamber, and Mr.
6 Todorovic pleaded guilty to one count of persecutions, a crime against
7 humanity. As part of the plea agreement, it was agreed that Stevan
8 Todorovic would cooperate with the Office of the Prosecutor and provide
9 assistance to investigators and testify, if necessary. The remaining
10 charges were not proceeded with, as the persecutions charge incorporated
11 the criminal behaviour that had been the subject of those other charges.
12 Mr. Todorovic admitted to participating in the crimes of murder, torture,
13 sexual assault, beatings, looting, and forced labour. He admitted forcing
14 defenceless prisoners to perform sexual acts upon each other. He carried
15 out the murder of a man called Anto Brandic, known as Antisa, by kicking
16 him to death over the period of an hour. The evidence will establish that
17 he signed edicts posted around the town prohibiting the gathering of three
18 or more non-Serbs. It is plain, therefore, to see that his evidence will
19 have to be treated with caution. He was sentenced to ten years
20 imprisonment in July of this year.
21 Mr. Todorovic, as chief of police, worked closely with these
22 defendants. He was a member of the Crisis Staff and often reported
23 directly to Blagoje Simic. As such, he is to be properly regarded as very
24 much an insider. He was privy to the inner workings and functioning of
25 the Crisis Staff. He is therefore in a position to provide highly
1 relevant and pertinent evidence of events at Bosanski Samac and the
2 activities of these defendants, and the Prosecution will seek to call him
3 for this reason. However, the question of his veracity and his frankness
4 and the reliability of his evidence are matters which the Trial Chamber
5 will be better able to assess once the evidence in all the case had been
6 presented. To assist the Chamber, the Prosecution proposes to call Stevan
7 Todorovic towards the end of its case and thus provide the Trial Chamber
8 with a better opportunity to assess what he says, having first heard what
9 the other witnesses have got to say.
10 The evidence of the prisoners will not be confined to the beatings
11 and the sexual assaults. When the men were not being beaten, they had to
12 endure the appalling conditions of the makeshift prisons with inadequate
13 food, room, and toilets facilities. Women were prevented from delivering
14 food to their husbands in captivity. Food consisted of a meagre piece of
15 bread and marmalade. Shockingly overcrowded conditions existed in these
16 small buildings used to hold the prisoners. There were no washroom
17 facilities and very little medical care. Prisoners were forced to sing
18 patriotic Serbian songs for hours at a time. Contacts with the outside
19 world were almost non-existent. When representatives of the International
20 Committee of the Red Cross came to inspect the detention centres, selected
21 prisoners were ordered to clean up and present themselves in areas that
22 had been deliberately cleaned up to paint a completely false picture of
23 what was really taking place.
24 The prisoners were also ferried around at their captors' whims.
25 There will be evidence that a group of prisoners, including a contingent
1 of the more important personalities from the town of Bosanski Samac, such
2 as the president of the SDA and the former police chief, were transported
3 to various other detention camps within Bosnia and also into Serbia
4 itself, where they endured mortar torture until "exchanged". And again I
5 use that word in quotes.
6 All of these defendants knew of the shocking conditions under
7 which prisoners were being kept, and all of them could have done something
8 to control the horrors being visited upon these men. All of them had
9 opportunities to see the bloodied and beaten figures of prisoners and to
10 hear the screams of tortured and beaten men from the TO and the SUP
11 building. Simo Zaric, interviewed by officers of the Office of the
12 Prosecutor on the 2nd of April 1998, and he described what he saw when he
13 had occasion to go into the TO building, and I quote:
14 "It was the first time that the door of the TO had opened before
15 me and this is when I saw about 40 or 50 people in one room and the way I
16 saw it, these people were in a very miserable condition indeed. The whole
17 thing made a terrible impression on me, and I have to say, because of the
18 way the people are looking, because of their deformed faces, I did not
19 recognise some people. So many were badly beaten, I did not recognise
20 some people. So many were so badly beaten, I did not know who they were."
21 Simo Zaric should have known who these men were whom he couldn't
22 recognise. He had, after all, been instrumental in having numbers of them
23 arrested and detained in those places.
24 There will be evidence that on two occasions Milan Simic
25 personally entered a detention centre, ordered detainees to be removed
1 from the detention area and taken into a corridor where he and the men
2 with him inflicted savage beatings. These two episodes give rise to the
3 charges in counts 4 to 6 for the first attack and counts 7 to 9 for the
4 second attack. In both cases, the scheme of the indictment is the charge
5 two counts of crimes against humanity, torture in one count and inhumane
6 acts in another, and one charge of -- and one charge of violation of the
7 laws or customs of war. The charges in count 6 and 9 allege a breach of
8 Common Article 3(I)(a) of Geneva Conventions.
9 Counts 4, 5, and 6 all relates to an attack by Milan Simic that
10 occurred in the gymnasium of the primary school in Bosanski Samac in about
11 June or July of 1992. All the victims were men who had been imprisoned in
12 the gymnasium. They will give evidence that late at night, Milan Simic
13 and an escort of bodyguards came to the gymnasium and selected a number of
14 men to be taken out of their prison and then beat them savagely. Milan
15 Simic announced to the victims that he was "The president of the Serb
16 government that had come to teach them a lesson." Those are the men
17 mentioned in paragraph 24 of the indictment. They were beaten with chair
18 legs and other club-like weapons. Some had guns pressed to their
19 foreheads and were threatened with death. Shots were fired over their
20 head, and they were kicked and struck repeatedly in the genitals. It was
21 a vicious and sustained and cowardly attack. Before the outbreak of
22 hostilities, Milan Simic had been a friend of these victims. He had been
23 a friend of Ibrahim Salkic, and Perica Misic. He had been a regular
24 customer at Muhamed Bicic's small pizza restaurant. He had been Hasan
25 Bicic's friend and schoolmate. Although they were once Simic's friends,
1 this counted for nothing now. Now they were simply non-Serbs and
3 Counts 7, 8, and 9 all relate to another attack by Milan Simic on
4 a prisoner held in the gymnasium in Bosanski Samac. In this instance the
5 victim was dragged out into the corridor of the gymnasium by a contingent
6 of men who were in company with Milan Simic. Milan Simic pushed the
7 victim into the wall and placed the barrel of his pistol in the victim's
8 mouth. The men's trousers were pulled down and one of the group of men
9 with Milan Simic threatened to cut off his penis. A knife was
10 brandished. Milan Simic shot rounds into the area. Guards were yelling
11 encouragement to the assailants to cut off this man's penis. Finally, his
12 tormenters let him run back into the prison and to escape this degrading
13 and terrifying attack.
14 For the men imprisoned in the police station and the TO buildings
15 and other places around the town, daily life was a struggle to survive
16 until the next beating or torture. Particularly savage were the
17 paramilitaries, who frequently came to these prisons and attacked the
18 defenceless men. Witness after witness will describe the horrific actions
19 of these paramilitaries, and two men whose names I have already mentioned
20 stand out for their exceptional cruelty and cowardice: Crni and Lugar.
21 Some of these defendants, however, did not see things this way.
22 On the contrary, they welcomed the presence of such men. The
23 paramilitaries initially arrived in Bosanski Samac in corroboration with
24 the SDS leadership. On the 7th of May, 1992, Lugar and his henchmen were
25 responsible for the single most horrific mass killing of innocent people
1 in Bosanski Samac, the Crkvina massacre.
2 On the night of the 7th of May, approximately 50 men were being
3 held at a small warehouse in Crkvina, which is a small village only a few
4 kilometres from Bosanski Samac. The men prepared to go to sleep on layers
5 of sacks filled with corn. Late in the evening, Lugar and his thugs - all
6 of them were Crni's men - arrived. Crni was Lugar's superior. They began
7 firing into the building. The terrified men sought refuge wherever they
8 could find it. Lugar entered the building and began clubbing people. A
9 group of four or five men were immediately shot. Another man was
10 summarily executed with a shot to the back of the head. Lugar lined up
11 the men and conducted interrogations by torch light. He decided who would
12 be shot and who wouldn't. His decisions resulted in 16 men being
13 murdered. The building was drenched in blood and brain matter. The next
14 day the survivors were taken to Bosanski Samac to be placed in the care of
15 Stevan Todorovic.
16 Following this incident, one might ask oneself, did the defendants
17 distance themselves from the paramilitaries they worked with? On the
18 contrary. On the 12th of May, only five days after these murders, Blagoje
19 Simic, as president of the assembly of the Serbian municipality of
20 Bosanski Samac, wrote to the Serbian people of Vranje praising the good
21 works of Crni. He informed the people of Vranje that the Serbian people
22 of Bosanski Samac wished to thank them, and I quote, "for raising such a
23 son." He said, and I quote, "We received immeasurable assistance from
24 Crni." For the men who were covered in the blood and filth in the
25 makeshift prisons of Bosanski Samac, the good works of Crni and his
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 subordinate Lugar were not apparent.
2 The Crisis Staff was deeply involved with paramilitaries. The
3 Prosecution will produce evidence to show that the Crisis Staff was
4 instrumental in having Crni appointed commander of the 2nd Posavina
5 Brigade, even making a special trip to Belgrade to ensure that this
6 would happen. After the paramilitaries had returned to Serbia, the
7 evidence will show that they went back to Serbia for a period of time, the
8 Crisis Staff, in a request signed by the defendant Blagoje Simic and
9 personally delivered by Stevan Todorovic to Belgrade, sought their return
10 to Bosanski Samac.
11 Another episode that reflects the interrelationship between the
12 defendants and the paramilitaries occurred in November of 1992. Milan
13 Simic and Stevan Todorovic were arrested by the military police of the
14 VRS, the army of the Republika Srpska, on their way to speak to the
15 commander of the East Bosnian Corps. The response of the paramilitaries
16 and Crni, together with Blagoje Simic, was to close down the Posavina
17 Corridor for a period of time to force the release of Todorovic and Milan
19 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm sorry, counsel. We need to go on our break. We
20 have to have a break. It's 11.00 hours.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Do you still need more time?
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. I haven't finished.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Okay. So we will take our break and resume at 11.30
25 hours in this courtroom.
1 --- Recess taken at 11.02 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 11.34 a.m.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Counsel for the Prosecution is continuing.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Perhaps before I proceed with my opening, there's just a question
6 of logistics for this very morning and not the afternoon. The question
7 arises of when Dr. Donia will give his evidence. I'm about two-thirds of
8 the way through, just over two-thirds of the way through my opening, and I
9 hope I won't be too much longer. I've got six minutes of video footage
10 that I want to show the Chamber. So all things going well, about another
11 40, 45 minutes or thereabouts for me. I understand that Mr. Pantelic for
12 Blagoje Simic wants to make an opening statement. I don't know how long
13 he will go, but it will take some time, obviously.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I see your concern that we are keeping
15 counsel --
16 MR. DI FAZIO: It's not a question for Mr. Koumjian. I think he's
17 happy to stay here. I think it's more a question of preparing Dr. Donia,
18 and secondly, also setting up the technological aspects of that. Would it
19 be presumptuous of me to suggest that we just deal with the openings this
20 morning and deal with the evidence of Dr. Donia tomorrow?
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Yes. Actually, it looks like that, that we
22 will not start the first witness today.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: I think that would be --
24 JUDGE MUMBA: So we'll deal with opening statements only, and then
25 we'll start with the first witness tomorrow.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm grateful to the Chamber.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: 0930 hours.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
4 I was dealing just before the break, if Your Honours please, with
5 an episode that the Prosecution says reflects the relationship between the
6 Crisis Staff and the paramilitaries and it deals with an episode when two
7 of the personalities -- when the defendant Milan Simic and Stevan
8 Todorovic were arrested, for some reason, and the response of the
9 paramilitaries was to close down the Posavina Corridor in order to force
10 the release of Todorovic and Mr. Simic. So I'll continue from there.
11 This resulted in various legal proceedings involving Lugar and Crni as
12 defendants, which are not particularly relevant. What is significant,
13 however, is the documentation which the proceedings produced and the
14 insight it gives us into the relationship between the Crisis Staff and the
16 Blagoje Simic provided a statement to the investigating judge, a
17 Nikola Tomasevic, on the 14th of December, 1992. In this statement he
18 makes absolutely clear how Crni and the paramilitaries arrived from Serbia
19 to Batkusa prior to the takeover of Bosanski Samac described by Blagoje
20 Simic as a liberation. He describes how Crni and his assault battalion
21 closed down the corridor with the support of the Samac War Presidency.
22 The evidence surrounding this episode will provide the Chamber graphic
23 evidence of the relationship between Blagoje Simic and the
25 I now want to turn to a different topic, the conditions of life
1 for the non-Serb residents of Bosanski Samac who were not arrested. For
2 those Serbs not arrested, life was not much better. Immediately following
3 the takeover, the Serb authorities issued edicts that all non-Serbs were
4 required to wear a white armband on their arm to distinguish them from
5 Serbs. Later, the gathering of three or more Muslims or Croats together
6 in public were also forbidden. The fate of non-Serbs who had not been
7 arrested was to be exchanged or forced into labour digging trenches and,
8 if they were lucky, some other safer form of menial labour. Within six
9 months of the seizure of power, Blagoje Simic had signed another War
10 Presidency decision renaming the town simply Samac and dropping the
11 Bosanski or Bosnia part of the town's name. The preamble to
12 this decision said it was part of a decision for the, and I quote, "The
13 expungement of all undesirable and imposed symbols and values." One can
14 only imagine the offence a living Croat or Muslim might have caused to
15 such purists, for they were a living symbol and were required to be
16 expunged from the new Serbian town of Samac.
17 The Crisis Staff banned political activity on the 12th of June,
18 1992. Blagoje Simic, as president of the Crisis Staff, signed the order.
19 It stated, and I quote: "No organising, work, or activities of any
20 political party and other political organisations and associations shall
21 be permitted on the territory of the Serbian municipality of Bosanski
22 Samac and Pelagicevo municipality in the process of being established."
23 Of course, what that meant was that no non-Serb political party
24 activity was to be permitted. In fact, Bosanski Samac was alive with
25 political activity, but that of the Serbian Democratic Party only.
1 A month after the takeover of the town, Blagoje Simic signed a
2 decision of the Crisis Staff which stated: "All people of Croatian
3 nationality on the territory of the Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac
4 shall be isolated and deployed to vital facilities in the town and in
6 The reasons given for that action were not the protection and
7 safety of these people; rather, it was, as the document attests, because
8 there were reasonable grounds to suspect that aircraft were being guided
9 and that there was collaboration with criminals and subversive conduct.
10 Isolating and removing people from their homes is a clear violation of
11 humanitarian law. This document speaks clearly, and there can be no doubt
12 about its plain intent and meaning. The Croatian people are to be
13 isolated because of supposed aircraft guidance and collaboration with
14 criminals and subversive conduct, not individuals, not combatants, but all
15 people of Croatian nationality.
16 The majority of non-Serbs were isolated and forced out of their
17 homes. The Prosecution will produce evidence of women, the elderly, and
18 the children being rounded up and taken to a nearby village called
19 Zasavica, which is only a very short distance from Bosanski Samac.
20 Zasavica was ideal as a prison village, as it was surrounded on three
21 sides by a river and accessible only by a small road. There will be
22 evidence of those who were taken there being warned that they would be
23 shot if they were out after dark. Women were selected to perform forced
24 labour. No medical care was provided, no food was provided, and the
25 inmates had to fend for themselves. It was the sort of existence the
1 non-Serbs of Bosanski Samac endured if they weren't arrested.
2 There can be no question that Bosanski Samac was ethnically
3 cleansed. The Prosecution will produce demographic evidence of the
4 profound population changes that occurred, which will clearly establish
5 that such changes were ethnically based. The statistics, though, will not
6 convey to the Chamber what it meant to be driven out of the place in which
7 one has lived all one's life. As a process, it was remarkably successful,
8 although carried out in different ways in different municipalities. In
9 Bosanski Samac, the forcible expulsion and coerced flight of the
10 population could start relatively quickly, there being little defence, but
11 in the neighbouring municipality of Odzak, the Croats resisted the
12 takeover and only lost control on about the 13th of July, 1992 to the
13 first Krajina Corps. Prior to July 1992, 75 per cent of the population in
14 Odzak, that's over 22,000 people, were non-Serb. In November 1995, at the
15 time of the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, most of the Croats and
16 Muslims had been forced to flee.
17 You will hear much evidence of people being exchanged. The word
18 "exchange" is a misnomer. It does not convey the truth. It's a sinister
19 euphemism for a far more brutal process, and it was a process in which
20 three defendants, Miroslav Tadic, president of the exchange committee,
21 Simo Zaric, and Blagoje Simic, participated willingly. The Prosecution
22 will produce evidence of the manner in which these exchanges occurred and
23 the real reasons people were being exchanged. These were not exchanges of
24 combatants by opposing armies. These were people who had lived in
25 Bosanski Samac all their lives, who had houses and businesses in the town.
1 These were people who were being forced out against their will or by the
2 appalling conditions of life that were deliberately imposed upon them.
3 On the 2nd of October, 1992, Blagoje Simic, as president of the
4 War Presidency, signed a decision on the appointment of a committee for
5 the exchange of prisoners and other persons. It was to report to the War
6 Presidency on a monthly basis. Miroslav Tadic was a member of this
7 committee. This committee merely formalized the process in which he had
8 been involved from the time of the takeover.
9 You will hear evidence from many of the victims of these exchanges
10 having to pay money to Miroslav Tadic in order to be exchanged. Witnesses
11 will give firsthand descriptions of scraping together what money they had
12 and handing it into Tadic's hands so that they might escape what had
13 become of their lives.
14 The exchanges began soon after the takeover of Bosanski Samac in
15 April of 1992. Simo Zaric and Miroslav Tadic took an active role in the
16 process. Witnesses will speak of going to Simo Zaric or Miroslav Tadic
17 and asking to be exchanged and both men being present at exchanges.
18 Witnesses will speak of having to leave their possessions behind when
19 being exchanged. Other witnesses will speak of simply being told they
20 would be exchanged. Above all, it is plain that there was simply no
21 choice left for many of the people of Bosanski Samac. It was a question
22 of either enduring the persecutions, beatings, the discrimination, the
23 forced labour, or trying to get out through the exchanges which were run
24 by the Serbs. People had to pack their bags, were herded onto buses and
25 taken to exchange points. Here, the final stage of the deportation took
1 place. In this way, people were forced from their homes and villages, and
2 Bosanski Samac was ethnically cleansed. Simo Zaric was asked whether
3 people had a choice about leaving the place they had lived in all their
4 lives, and his answer was, and I quote: "I think they had no choice.
5 That's my opinion. It's the terrible truth, but it's the truth."
6 The Prosecution will call a Roman Catholic priest, father Jozo
7 Puskaric, who was arrested and for many months was severely beaten and
8 tortured. On two occasions in the midst of his travails, he was pulled
9 out of his detention centre and taken by Simo Zaric to negotiate with
10 Croats using a radio transmitter. The negotiations were over the
11 exchanges to be conducted and the number of persons to be exchanged. On
12 the third or fourth occasion he was forced to participate in these
13 exchange negotiations. It was Miroslav Tadic who was in charge. A
14 videotape which will be produced by the Prosecution depicting exchanges
15 will show the final phase of the journey of Father Puskaric from Tisina,
16 where he lived as the parish priest, to his new destination in life.
17 Another witness will give evidence that he was in prison in
18 Bosanski Samac and simply told he was to be exchanged by Stevan Todorovic
19 and that if he did not go, he would be killed. He had lived in Bosanski
20 Samac all his life. He had gone to school there and his children had been
21 raised there. For him, the exchange was the final chapter of his former
23 At this stage of the proceedings, if Your Honours please, I want
24 to show you a short extract from a videotape which depicts the sort of
25 exchanges I've referred to, and it also includes a brief interview with
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 Father Puskaric. I've taken the opportunity of providing the Court with a
2 -- earlier this morning with a brief synopsis of what the scenes show.
3 It's only a short clip. It's about six minutes. It's divided into about
4 six scenes, only two of which have any text, and I've given copies to
5 Defence counsel. It's essentially an extract or selected scenes from a
6 video that's been on the Prosecution's Exhibit list now for some time, and
7 I understand there's to be no objection to the eventual production of that
8 tape. So essentially, it's just extract bits from the main exhibit, and I
9 would now seek the assistance of the Court and those responsible for the
10 technology for the playing of that particular tape.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, please. Go ahead.
12 [Videotape played]
13 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Tell us, what was it like? What can
14 it be like in a camp. I have no words, but what I've been through, I
15 wouldn't give any statements. I would just say that I was taken away from
16 the parish of Hrvatska Tisina, where I was the priest, for more than half
17 a year. I was taken away on the 15th of January, and today, thank God,
18 after many attempts, we have finally been exchanged. I know that I was
19 supposed to be exchanged a long time ago. However, I was still given back
20 then that some kind of decision was made that I couldn't be exchanged
21 until an overall exchange takes place. So today I managed to come out
22 after all of that. I can only thank God for coming out of this alive.
23 Q. We can see that you've lost a lot of weight. What was the
24 treatment in that Serbian camp?
25 A. I can't tell you anything about that now. I cannot say
1 anything. You see what I look like. I think words are superfluous.
2 Thank you.
3 Q. Just one question. Tell us: Is this a continuation of the
4 action of ethnic cleansing?
5 [In English]
6 These are people who have suffered a lot. Our business is to try
7 and ease that suffering.
8 Is this solution this kind of transport in deporting the people?
9 No, this is not a solution. These people are all victims. The
10 solution is the end of hostilities, the end of the war. And then maybe
11 there will be conditions for people to co-exist.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: The Chamber will have an opportunity of hearing
13 from one of the people depicted in that tape, the gentleman with the
14 moustache - he's Father Puskaric - and we will be calling him later in the
16 For those who were not imprisoned or exchanged swiftly, there was
17 the threat of forced labour. Witnesses will describe the arbitrary way in
18 which they were called out to perform such labour. The forced labour was
19 of course confined to the non-Serb population. Often it involved the
20 forced looting of non-Serb residences and businesses. Often it involved
21 digging trenches on front lines in dangerous conditions, and some of these
22 slave labourers were killed carrying out this most dangerous of tasks.
23 Others were drafted into the Serb forces and had to fight. Others were
24 given demeaning tasks. One witness, Sulejman Tihic, the leader of the SDA
25 in Bosanski Samac and former prosecutor and judge in the municipality, was
1 forced to sweep the streets in front of the SUP building where he was
3 Those who were forced into labour were non-Serbs. They were not
4 paid or were given paltry money. They had no choice about their assigned
5 tasks. Many would have to gather in the early mornings at prearranged
6 points and were then told what to do. They would be driven in trucks to
7 their work sites. The Prosecution will call one witness who will give
8 evidence of being specifically assigned the task of demolishing the
9 Catholic church in Bosanski Samac. He watched Serb men demolish the
10 church with demolition balls, and then the labourers were forced to load
11 the ruins onto trucks to be taken away. It took ten days of forced labour
12 to remove the Catholic church from the landscape in Bosanski Samac. The
13 destruction of places of worship for Catholics and Muslims and hence the
14 destruction of the religion of the Croat and Muslim people was not,
15 however, restricted to the town of Bosanski Samac. The Prosecution will
16 be able to show the Chamber photographic evidence of the extensive
17 destruction of Catholic churches and mosques that occurred within the
18 municipality and adjoining villages. It is utterly inconceivable that the
19 Crisis Staff, which was the highest civilian body in the municipality, did
20 not have control over this process.
21 Another witness will speak of being forced to loot homes in Odzak
22 after it fell to the Bosnian Serb forces. Homes and businesses were
23 systematically looted. This witness will testify that Simo Zaric was
24 often present in the mornings and handed out assignments to the assembled
25 labourers through a deputy. The workers were taken to private homes, they
1 were told what to loot and load it in the street for trucks to come along
2 and take it away. Serb homes were never looted. Simo Zaric personally
3 benefited when he ordered the witness to dismantle a heating system in
4 Odzak and have it transported to his home in Bosanski Samac.
5 In comparison, looting was a safer form of forced labour. Digging
6 trenches on the front line was extremely hazardous and could result in
7 death or injury to those who had been selected. One witness, then a young
8 man of 19, was ordered to cut grass in front of the Serb lines in the
9 midst of shelling, and on another occasion was forced to go to Grabinca,
10 to dig trenches, and there he was shot and wounded.
11 The evidence in this case, if Your Honours please, will present a
12 grim picture of the descent into war and the establishment of a system of
13 persecution and relentless oppression of the non-Serb population of
14 Bosanski Samac. In their efforts to create an ethnically cleansed
15 Bosanski Samac, these accused each participated in actions that have
16 brought them to this Tribunal to face trial. They didn't have to
17 participate in these actions. There is much of what happened in the
18 former Yugoslavia which demonstrates that compassion and tolerance and
19 understanding did not die, but those were not sentiments which moved these
20 defendants. Nobody forced these defendants to immerse themselves so
21 readily in the system of terror that gripped that part of the former
22 Yugoslavia. Nobody forced Milan Simic to enter the gymnasium at night,
23 where prisoners were helpless, and to beat them. Nobody forced Miroslav
24 Tadic to be a driving force in that sinister process known as the
25 exchanges and preside over the deportation of hundreds of men, women, and
1 children who had lived in the municipality all their lives. Nobody forced
2 Simo Zaric to draw up the lists of men who were to be arrested and
3 imprisoned. Nobody forced Blagoje Simic to sign edicts consigning Croats
4 to be isolated and taken to the vital facilities of the town. Nobody
5 forced these defendants to commit any of the acts for which they are
6 charged and are now called upon to account for. Your Honours will be left
7 in little doubt as to just what those actions were.
8 After all the evidence had been produced and after Your Honours
9 have had an opportunity to consider it, it will be clear to you that each
10 of the accused is guilty of the charges laid against them.
11 Thank you.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you to the Prosecution. We will now hear the
13 opening statement of the Defence by Mr. Pantelic.
14 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you, Madam President.
15 First of all, allow me to just make a few very short remarks
16 regarding the evidence or proofs that the Prosecutor wants to rely upon at
17 trial. You remember that the Prosecution stated that they will introduce
18 an evidence called variant A and B about the plan of Serbian Democratic
19 Party in Bosnia, allegedly planned for division of Bosnia. For your
20 information, this document is not signed by anyone. There is no seal,
21 there is not any reliable sign on this document to be considered as the
22 real evidence. But in the course of the trial, we should come to that
24 About the second allegation regarding -- of the Prosecutor
25 regarding the issue of separate Serbian state or Republika Srpska, you, as
1 the well-trained practitioners and professionals, will know that Republika
2 Srpska is internationally recognised as entity of Republic of Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina. So this case is also closed.
4 Regarding the relations between my client, Mr. Blagoje Simic, at
5 that time president of the Crisis Staff, and paramilitary units and police
6 units, in fact, there is no relationship between paramilitaries, chief
7 of police, and Blagoje Simic, as well as the other co-defendants, of
9 Why? Because speaking about my client, several years ago, at that
10 time members of Prosecutor Office dropped the charges relating to superior
11 authority, according to Article 7.3 of the Statute.
12 Another thing: No orders given by any defendant to Lugar,
13 commander of paramilitary units, or Todorovic, the former co-accused in
14 this case, to kill or to sexually assault or to beat anyone. There is no
15 nexus for that.
16 Speaking about the very important document for this case, an order
17 for isolation, allegedly signed by my client, several weeks before I
18 have discussed that issue with Prosecutor, and the fact is that this order
19 was not signed by my client. It is a photocopy. The Prosecutor cannot
20 provide me any clue or fact where they collected this document and who
21 signed it, et cetera. In due course, we shall come to that issue, too.
22 Allow me to underline that there can be no vicarious liability for
23 what former co-accused Todorovic and Lugar did unless the defendants aided
24 or assisted him.
25 Another thing: We saw this videotape. I would like to outline
1 that at scene 2, we saw the exchange people walking in both directions.
2 They are mainly Serbs coming from Croatian prisons, coming from the other
3 territory. And in addition to scene 5, where the Prosecutor described
4 this scene 5 as a large number of people walking from buses, I don't know
5 from which reason, but my learned friend from Prosecution forget and
6 omitted to say that these people are Serbs coming from Odzak, ethnically
7 cleansed territory neighbouring Opstina, neighbouring area from Samac,
8 just for the sake of argument.
9 Now, Your Honours, distinguished colleagues from the Prosecutor
10 bench, ladies and gentlemen, how can one begin to tell a tragic Balkan
11 story which, unfortunately, due to recent events in Macedonia, is still
12 ongoing? Is the Balkan saga, in fact, a never-ending story? Once upon a
13 time, almost 83 years ago, there was in many ways a unique kingdom in the
14 Balkans. It arose from the ashes of the defeated Austro-Hungarian
16 At that time, all southern Slavs and other Balkan ethnic
17 communities were satisfied for different reasons: Serbs and Montenegrins
18 for imbedding their previously-created states into a more prospective
19 kingdom; Slovenes and Croats for gaining their own states; and finally,
20 Bosnian Muslims, Albanians, and Macedonians and other ethnic communities
21 for getting a unique historical chance to realise their national
22 objectives in more favourable circumstances. Indeed, riding on a tide of
23 an optimistic wave of pan-Slavism, that kingdom was in all respects a
24 genuine predecessor of the present-day European union.
25 Alas, like in every ill-fated tale, the period of prosperity and
1 development had gone by quickly. Ethnic tensions, followed by cruel
2 assassinations in parliament and tragic events, crowned with the abrupt
3 death of the king killed by the Croats during his visit to Marseille, came
4 forth. The outbreak of the Second World War had further increased the
5 tragedy of Yugoslav nations and essentially postponed the inevitable
6 dissolution of the state.
7 A tragic outcome occurred 50 years later. Due to the Cold War
8 era, and supported by western funds, loans, and the iron-fist rule in
9 domestic affairs, the communist dictatorship, led by Marshal Tito,
10 thought existing on a paralysed economy and false political categories
11 succeeded in securing ethnic tolerance and stability of the multi-ethnic
12 and multi-confessional socialist Yugoslavia.
13 As Fodor's guide to Yugoslavia outlined in an affirmative
14 manner: "Yugoslavia: one country, two alphabets, three religious, four
15 main languages, five peoples, six republics, and a border with seven
16 foreign states." The impact of various substantial factors, such as
17 unresolved ethnic issues, a common problem for all communist regimes;
18 collapse of socialist non-market economy; changes in world community; fall
19 of Communism; rise of hegemonic interest in Europe; hesitation; ignorance;
20 and malevolence of a part of occidental war in an attempt to resolve the
21 political crisis in former Yugoslavia, initiated a cruel civil war, the
22 war that still goes on.
23 At this point, Your Honours, allow me to express my respect for
24 the visionary creators of this honourable ad hoc Tribunal, who, eight
25 years ago voted in favour of unlimited temporal jurisdiction of this
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 Court. Obviously, they predicted the magnitude of Yugoslav crisis. As a
2 matter of fact, I wish to emphasise that this Tribunal, contrary to its
3 sister, ad hoc Tribunal Rwanda, had unlimited rationae temporis. The
4 Tribunal's interest in the current Macedonian crisis is a splendid example
5 how farsighted that approach was, whatever the motives were at that time.
6 But getting back to the subject, it should be noted that if the
7 former Yugoslavia could be portrayed as the European Union in
8 miniature, then within Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina was a perfect
9 example of how three constitutive nations and other ethnic communities
10 could live in multi-ethnic and multi-confessional tolerance. A
11 significant percentage of mixed marriages, ethnically mixed towns and
12 villages, a harmonious mix containing Oriental and occidental flavours
13 made Bosnia an inspiration to a number of people of cosmopolitan spirit.
14 At this point I refer to the work of well-known author Rebecca
15 West in her book "Grey Falcon and Black Lamb": "Bosnia had always
16 possessed their specific charms, spirit, and atmosphere which left an
17 indelible impression on everyone who had either lived there or visited
18 it." But who is the one to blame for cruelly toying with the Bosnian
19 people's faith? Who sent the four riders of Apocalypse to Bosnia?
20 There are so many questions to ask, and even more answers to seek.
21 Madam President, Your Honours, it is my understanding that this
22 Trial Chamber shall deal only with legal and factual matters, not with
23 fruitless and groundless interpretation. The Defence will show at trial
24 how the Prosecution misunderstands the situation in Bosnia and how my
25 learned friends from the opposite bench make errors in interpreting a
1 certain number of exhibits they intend to rely upon in the forthcoming
3 The Prosecution asserts, inter alia, that the principal
4 instigators of all tragic events in Bosnia and Herzegovina were Serbs. As
5 it is usually the case, the Prosecution tends to exaggerate in presenting
6 the factual background, facts, and legal elements relating to the Bosnian
7 conflict and uses them in a rather biased manner.
8 Now, what in fact is the real cause of the horrific tragedy of
9 Bosnia? Your Honours, to begin with, perhaps it would be appropriate to
10 paraphrase the words of the former representative of the European Union
11 for the town of Mostar, the distinguished architect of the common
12 European home, Mr. Hans Koshnik, who said on one occasion:
13 "If today's Europeans were as impoverished as the people in the
14 former Yugoslavia, conflicts in Europe would be far bloodier and far more
15 brutal than those in the former Yugoslavia, and particularly in Bosnia and
17 Although it would be unfair to link tragic events in the former
18 Yugoslavia only to the issue of economy, it has nevertheless repeatedly
19 been proven that civil wars and ethnic conflicts almost never break out in
20 economically stable societies. Keeping that in mind, let us dwell for a
21 moment on the subject of how the average European lives today and what his
22 priorities and prospects are.
23 From the ensuing brief analysis, one can easily conclude how
24 living standard directly prevents the possibility of social conflicts.
25 The main problems that today's European is facing are how to buy a new
1 car, a new house, where to spend the vacation, what furniture to buy, how
2 to keep his job or perhaps find a better one, how to deal with the
3 introduction of Euro currency, as well as a series of ordinations which by
4 themselves -- and these are the problems which in fact represent the
5 everyday concern of an average citizen in a developed Western democracy.
6 For Europe, this era could be compared to the golden age of
7 ancient Greece. New visions and perspectives are opening up. Art,
8 science, and technology are reaching ever new frontiers. Can we find
9 anyone in Europe today promoting ethnic divisions, war, aspiration for new
10 territories? No, Your Honours. That is simply an unthinkable plot.
11 Living standards have reached such a high level that no idea stirring up
12 nationalist feelings, however attractive it may be, can find its
13 supporters in 99 per cent of the European populations.
14 In relation to the crisis in former Yugoslavia, western
15 governments responded in different ways. The European Community, acting
16 under direct pressure of Germany, made various political mistakes,
17 primarily pushing for premature recognition of Slovenia and Croatia. At
18 the end of the 20th century, Germany, being the undisputed leader of
19 Europe in every respect - economic, military, and cultural - imposed its
20 political will, taking into account only its own hegemonistic aspirations.
21 This time, however, it did so after two unsuccessful attempts in the 20th
22 century by using entirely different methods.
23 In order to fully explain the German position, it might be useful
24 to point out the ambiguity in the International Community in relation to
25 the issue of recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina. For instance, Lord
1 Peter Carrington, chairman of the REC conference on Yugoslavia, and
2 Mr. Cyrus Vance, the former U.S. Secretary of State, agreed upon the issue
3 of recognition of Bosnia, outlining the danger of premature recognition of
4 Slovenia and Croatia, which would necessitate the recognition of Bosnia
5 and Herzegovina and ultimately provoke a civil war in Bosnia.
6 In addition, the reaction of at that time UN Secretary-General,
7 his Excellency, Javier Perez de Cuellar, was expressed in his letter to
8 Mr. van den Broek on December 10th, 1991, when he indicated the following.
9 I will quote:
10 "The possibility of premature recognition of the independence of
11 the Yugoslav republics and the effect such a move might have on the
12 remaining republics, leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia were
13 among the many military and political figures who last week underscored to
14 Mr. Vance their own strong fears in this regard. More than one of the
15 high-level interlocutors described the possibly explosive consequences of
16 such a development as being, I underline, a potential time bomb."
17 Mr. de Cuellar said, in addition to that:
18 "Given these anxieties, I believe that the 12 are correct when
19 they reiterated at their special EPC ministerial meeting held in Rome on 8
20 November that the prospect of recognition of the independence those
21 republics wishing it - I'm emphasising - can only be envisaged in the
22 framework of an overall settlement. As we know, that overall settlement
23 is being pursued by the conference on Yugoslavia under the chairmanship of
24 Lord Carrington."
25 The Former UN Secretary-General added:
1 "Let me be clear. I'm not in any way calling into question the
2 principle of self-determination which is enshrined in the Charter of the
3 United Nations. However, I'm deeply worried that any early selective
4 recognition could widen the present conflict and fuel an explosive
5 situation, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and also Macedonia.
6 Indeed, serious consequences could ensue for the entire Balkan region. I
7 believe, therefore, that uncoordinated actions should be avoided."
8 Since the UN secretary's warning was in fact aimed at the German
9 Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hans Dietrich Genscher, the latter
10 responded on December 13th, 1991. I will quote:
11 "The denial of recognition of any republic which wishes its
12 independence can only lead to a further escalation of force by the
13 Yugoslav People's Army, JNA, for they would see a justification for
14 their policy of conquest. I may note that for Europe, after the final
15 Act of Helsinki and the Charter of Paris, the borders are inalienable and
16 cannot be changed by force. The EC has therefore demanded respect for the
17 inner and external boundaries of Yugoslavia."
18 Now, the UN Secretary-General replied to the German minister as
19 follows. I'll quote again:
20 "Let me recall that at no point did my letter state that the
21 recognition of the independence of particular Yugoslav republics should be
22 denied or withheld indefinitely. Rather, I observe that the principle of
23 self-determination is enshrined in the United Nations Charter itself. The
24 concern that I continue to have relates to the prospect of early selective
25 and uncoordinated recognition. In this connection, I cannot but note the
1 omission from your letter of any reference to the common position adopted
2 by your colleagues on the 12th at the special ministerial EPC meeting held
3 at Rome on 8 November 1991. You will recall that the declaration issued
4 by the 12th on that occasion stated that, "The prospect of recognition of
5 the independence of those republics wishing it can only be envisaged in
6 the framework of an overall settlement."
7 In light of the fact that EC position, being the German position,
8 actually, was contravening the doctrine of international law, as well as
9 the position of the UN, one learned scholar, Lori Fisher Damrosch, said,
10 I'll quote: "Neither the multilateralisation of Germany's initiative
11 within the framework of the EC, nor the fact that the EC acted after
12 following what was purported to be a judicial proceeding, should suffice
13 to resolve doubts about the legitimacy about premature recognition, at
14 least not against the urgent plea of the Secretary-General for all states
15 to refrain from selective recognition outside the framework of an overall
16 political settlement. The Security Council had explicitly approved the
17 Secretary-General's report, which embodied the plea to refrain from
18 premature recognition. The EC's disregard of his appeal should therefore
19 be considered legally suspect."
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, we have got enough of the background
21 information. Can we get to the indictment?
22 MR. PANTELIC: Just two words, Madam President.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we get to the indictment?
24 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely. "... as a derogation from the
25 authority of UN organs in the international peace and security." So I've
2 Your Honours, in order to illustrate further development of the
3 Yugoslav crisis, it might be useful to bring to your attention the work
4 and conclusions of Badinter Commission appointed by the EC to rule on the
5 issue of the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the subsequent recognition of
6 Yugoslav republics. In brief, many critics of Badinter's findings
7 expressed their views broadly. For example, Mr. Hans Koshnik, in his
8 work, "Self-determination Yugoslavia and Europe, old wine in new bottles,"
9 suggested that the Badinter Commission's decisions appear to have been
10 based, I will quote, "on geopolitical concerns and imaginary principles of
11 international law."
12 A significant number of learned scholars outlined the Badinter
13 Commission's misapplication of the principle uti posidetis iuris. In
14 relation to the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in particular to the
15 issue whether the Bosnian Serbs had the right to self-determination,
16 Badinter's response was unclear and evasive. At that time, Germany,
17 without waiting for Badinter's Commission to determine which republics met
18 the criteria, unilaterally recognised Yugoslavia and Croatia on December
19 23rd, 1991. As a result, Bosnia was pushed closer to war.
20 As regards the approach of the United States, the State Department
21 was reluctant to act directly, following its old habit throughout the 20th
22 century. Firstly, the US administration took up to some extent the
23 passive position compared to EC action and then --
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, you're still continuing on the
25 background information. We want to discuss the indictment.
1 MR. PANTELIC: It is very closely related to the indictment,
2 because I will remind that the indictment covers period from October 1991
3 until the end of 1993. So everything regarding the issue of Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina at that period of time is very relevant.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: But you are not giving all this information as
6 justification for what your accused persons are alleged to have committed.
7 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. It is very much related, because the position
8 of the Prosecutor is that they tried to create an alleged situation that
9 Bosnian Serbs illegitimately, illegally, organised plebiscite, created
10 their state, and they proceeded with the ethnic cleansing. So these
11 points are very much related to this issue. I'm speaking about the issue
12 of self-determination of nations.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic --
14 MR. PANTELIC: It's part of the indictment, Madam President, so I
15 mean, that's my position anyhow.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: We're interested in the charges against the accused
18 MR. PANTELIC: These are the charges. Absolutely. These are the
19 charges, Madam President. Because if we have a situation where one
20 constituted nation is working on the illegitimate basis, preparing a
21 takeover, forcible takeover, and all unconstitutional approaches contrary
22 to international law, then it's a crime.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: No, no, no. The crimes --
24 MR. PANTELIC: It's a plan. I'm speaking about -- Madam
25 President, I'm speaking about the plan.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: The crimes are stated in the indictment: Killing,
2 persecution, forcible transfer, and things like that, in the nine counts.
3 Those are the charges against the accused persons. Those are the ones
4 they have to answer. So can we get to that, Mr. Pantelic, please?
5 MR. PANTELIC: I will go to another part, which is strictly
6 related to my motion which I filed by the end of August. This is related
7 to my legal positions, of course.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, but bearing in mind that what you are stating
9 in your opening statement is not evidence.
10 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, but I'm trying to present the context of the
11 situation from various points, public international law, constitutional
12 law, and then we shall come to the situation in Samac. I will do my best,
13 Madam President, and to try to outline really most important issues
14 related to this case. Thank you so much.
15 In terms of public international law, before May 22nd, 1992, the
16 Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was one of the six
17 constituent units of the socialist federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
18 abbreviated as SFRY. Only SFRY was recognised as a state in international
19 law. Following the admission to the UN on May 22nd, 1992, Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina became a state in terms of public international law. Before
21 the first multiparty elections in Bosnia, the principle known as the
22 national key was respected at all levels of administration, including
23 Samac. Three constitutive nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina under
24 communist regime succeeded to maintain mutual tolerance and internal
25 stability. Despite isolated national incidents on all three sides, Bosnia
1 and Herzegovina nevertheless managed to preserve the melting pot concept,
2 locally known as the Bosnian pot.
3 The first multiparty elections in Bosnia in 1990 revealed a
4 completely different picture. Abruptly, brotherhood and unity, the main
5 motto of communist times, melted away and gave way to the three-headed
6 seal of the ethnic differences. Through mutual contacts, representatives
7 of all three ethnic communities attempted to find an acceptable solution,
8 as well in Samac. However, the ongoing war in Croatia, as well as open
9 outvoting against the Serb representatives in Bosnian parliament, which
10 was contrary to the principles of equality of the constitutive nations,
11 rapidly led to the collapse of central institutions and made a peaceful
12 resolution of the political crisis practically impossible.
13 It will be very important to outline at that moment that the
14 constitutional principle of protection of the vital interests of
15 constitutive nations under the provisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina
16 constitution of 1974, outvoting representatives of one or three
17 constitutive nations was practically impossible. The same solution is
18 enshrined in the present constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is an
19 integral part of the Dayton peace accord. The critical moment in Bosnia
20 occurred in October 1991, when the Serb deputies in the republic
21 parliament were outvoted by Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats. The
22 Bosnian Serbs had no choice but to protect their own vital interests by
23 way of a referendum and the establishment of their own entity within
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
25 At the Lisbon conference, the EU suggested a realistic and at
1 that time only possible plan for resolving the crisis, which unfortunately
2 was never realised, namely, although on March 18, 1992, representatives of
3 all three ethnic communities signed the EU peace plan, known as Cutilliero
4 plan. The Bosnian Muslims unilaterally withdrew their consent only a week
5 after the conference. Even though there are several interpretations of
6 this essentially erroneous decision, for instance, America's pressure on
7 the European Alliance to recognise Bosnia, the political misunderstanding
8 within the Bosnian Muslim political leadership, the influence of Muslim
9 state on the Bosnian Muslims' leadership, et cetera, it is nevertheless an
10 indisputable fact that Bosnia was thereby pushed into a cruel civil war.
11 The maelstrom of war, coupled with the changing role of European
12 Community and the US, ultimately led to the conclusion of the Dayton Peace
13 Accords in 1995, which inter alia recognised two entities within Bosnia
14 and Herzegovina. One is Muslim Croat Federation and the second one is
15 Republika Srpska, as well as the existence of three constitutive nations
16 with constitutional solution which guarantees as a safeguard for the
17 equality of all nations within Bosnia and Herzegovina and forbids the
18 outvoting of the representatives of any constitutive ethnic group.
19 Accordingly, the Dayton Peace Accord reaffirmed the constitutional
20 principle of protection of vital national interests, which in fact was
21 recognised in the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina before 1992.
22 Throughout the period of its work, this Prosecution has
23 persistently tried to discredit and underestimate one of the official
24 entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is, Republika Srpska. I'm not
25 referring to my learned colleague, but I just make some references in
1 jurisprudence of this Tribunal. During all these years, the Prosecution
2 has, in rough inappropriate and unprofessional manner, used the following
3 expressions as synonyms for Republika Srpska: for example, the Bosnian
4 Serb administration, then the so-called Republika Srpska, then the puppet
5 entity, et cetera, et cetera.
6 Perhaps the Prosecution, too, had fallen under the malicious
7 influence of the powerful and well-controlled western media and had
8 perhaps unconsciously adopted these inappropriate expressions.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: That is uncalled for, Mr. Pantelic. That's uncalled
10 for. You can't refer to the Prosecution like that. That is your
11 professional colleague.
12 MR. PANTELIC: I'm speaking about the jurisprudence, Madam
13 President. I have proofs for all this. As I said, it is not a case with
14 my learned colleague. It is a case in another case.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, I know, because the Prosecutor is one for the
16 Tribunal and you have to be respectful to your colleagues. The other
17 point is, let's get down to the indictment. I think we are still going
18 ahead with what you think is relevant, which is not the case.
19 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely. I understand your position.
20 So it is an indisputable fact that the one of the Bosnian
21 political parties led mainly by Bosnian Serbs won the second largest
22 number of votes at the first multiparty parliamentary elections in Bosnia
23 in 1990. The party in question is the SDS. I particularly outline this
24 since the SDS were legally registered as a party with multi-ethnic
25 membership. Besides at the political scene, there were some other Bosnian
1 Serb led parties which also participated in legislative and executive
2 bodies of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Let us also state the indisputable fact
3 that at that time the existing constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina
4 provided for the protection of the vital interests of all three
5 constitutive nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, namely, Bosnian Muslims,
6 Bosnian Croats, and Bosnian Serbs. What this actually meant was that
7 there could be no outvoting among the three constitutive nations regarding
8 the vital interests of any of three nations.
9 In addition, the Bosnian Serbs were forced to establish their own
10 entity, for they were constitutionally outvoted by the Bosnian Muslims and
11 Bosnian Croats in October 1991. Accordingly, on that day,
12 October 24, 1991, the former Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina ceased to
13 exist, both de facto and de jure. Furthermore, by applying the
14 international law principle, uti posidetis iuis, and the principle
15 of self-determination of peoples, the Bosnian Serbs organised their
16 plebiscite and consequently verified the existence of Republika Srpska.
17 Moreover, when establishing their own entity, Bosnian Serbs,
18 pursuant to the highest legal standards, adopted the constitution, elected
19 parliament, government, and local government authorities, and in addition
20 formed their own army, police, and state bodies. It is a very important
21 moment, because we have to know that at the beginning of 1992 all these
22 bodies were formed, and then we are going to April 1992 and the events in
24 This factual state of affairs was during the war in Bosnia also
25 fully recognised by the International Community, since the Bosnian Serbs
1 were legitimately participating in all international peace conferences,
2 crowned by the Dayton Peace Conference. However, for the sake of truth,
3 the Defence wishes to emphasise its acknowledgment of the fact that Bosnia
4 and Herzegovina became a state in terms of international law on May 22nd,
5 1992. Based on this fact, the Defence for Mr. Blagoje Simic filed the
6 relevant motion.
7 On that date, the UN General Assembly by its decision admitted
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina to full membership in the United Nations.
9 Nevertheless, according to the public international doctrine, even this
10 fact could be questioned since viable criteria and issues such as control
11 of the territory, existence of central authorities, and others could be
12 raised. Even so, respecting the time of this Court and observing the
13 principle of judicial economy, at that moment the Defence would like to
14 outline that we are going at trial to concentrate on establishing the fact
15 that Bosnia could not be a state in terms of public international law
16 based exclusively on the will of a few within the world community, despite
17 the fact that those few are the leading states in the world. The Defence
18 will rather show that Bosnia and Herzegovina could be considered as a
19 state in terms of international law as from May 22nd, 1992, at the
20 earliest, which is also very important moment in our legal framework of
22 We have heard the Prosecution's version of the events that
23 occurred in Samac municipality. From all thus far presented by the
24 Prosecution, the Defence can only agree on facts relating to the
25 geographical location of the Samac and crimes committed by the members of
1 the Serb paramilitary and police units under command of Stevan Todorovic,
2 the former co-accused in this case, who pleaded guilty and admitted his
3 participation in a certain number of criminal offences.
4 Your Honours, I would like to point out the importance of the
5 geographical position of the town of Samac during war. I would like the
6 assistance for ELMO. And with your permission, Your Honours, I will try
7 to point out certain important region here to facilitate you in this case.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, please. Go ahead.
9 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you. Thank you, Madam President.
10 We could see that Croatia, a neighbouring country, is located
11 north of town which is just here, Bosanski Samac, just across the Sava
12 River. In other words, it is about 50 metres air distance. Whereas from
13 the other side to the west, east and south, Samac was surrounded by the
14 Muslim and Croat military formations. That was the situation. Hence the
15 town was practically under siege. Samac, Your Honours, could be to some
16 extent compared to a small boat in a turbulent ocean. Maybe we could
17 compare the situation of Samac with the Alamo siege conducted by Mexicans
18 in 19th century against the Americans, and you all know the important fact
19 of this siege.
20 Since this case focuses on the events of April 1992, I
21 would just like to remind you that throughout the entire 1991, early 1992,
22 there was a war raging in Croatian. Your Honours, only 50 metres away
23 from the town, there was a war going on, a war with all its tragic
24 consequences. The wind of war from Croatia represent the key fact which
25 significantly clarifies events that occurred in Samac and surrounding
2 At this point, it should be also underlined that armed Croat
3 military and paramilitary units broke in and attacked several villages
4 near Samac, leaving behind nothing but destruction and devastation. One
5 of the worst hit places was the village of Sjekovac, which is near
6 Bosanski Brod in this region. In February 1992, two months prior to
7 events, alleged events, on the invitation of the Prosecutor, in Samac. In
8 this tragic event, the Croat forces committed a horrendous massacre. In
9 addition, the Croat paramilitary units, local extremist and members of
10 Muslim paramilitary formations, in the region of Posavina committed a
11 large number of crimes against the Serb population in the period January
12 to April 1992, so four months prior to the events in Samac.
13 The reaction of the Serb population of Posavina to the crimes
14 committed by the Croat Muslim armed formations against them was a
15 spontaneous one, not planned, not instigated, not in sort of conspiracy.
16 These are villages, Your Honours, neighbours. They have a common life and
17 also they have a common problem when it arises.
18 It was aimed at self-defence and defence against the danger of
19 the repetition of genocide against the Serb people in Second World War,
20 since the collective memory of those tragic events was still vivid.
21 At this point, I would like to indicate the following indisputable
22 facts. All three constitutive nations in Bosnia embraced their political
23 parties. Second, in the process of the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the
24 JNA, the federal army, also broke up and both officers and ordinary
25 soldiers joined their ethnic communities. Practically, it meant that
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 Muslim officers and soldiers had joined the Bosnian Muslim army. Croats
2 turned to the Bosnian Croat side and Serbs officers and soldiers joined
3 the Bosnian Serb line. All political activities of the Bosnian Serbs at
4 that time, including those going on in the Samac region, were directed at
5 the establishment of a Serb entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina, based on
6 the right of self-determination of people and the right to self-defence.
7 Regarding relevant events resulting in establishment of the Serb
8 municipality of Samac, the Defence emphasises the following indisputable
9 facts. First, prior to April 17th, 1992, the Bosnian Croats, under the
10 leadership of HDZ, Croatian Democratic Party, created their own region in
11 the predominant part of Posavina, and you will see where this region,
12 Croatian region, was formed, by Bosnian Croats, region of Bosanski Brod,
13 which is just 20 metres from Croatia, and then Derventa, which is here,
14 then Odzak, the neighbouring municipality also covered by this indictment,
15 and Orasje, which is east of Samac.
16 Prior to April 17, 1992, Bosnian Muslims also established their
17 own municipality, which is Gradacac, on the south of Samac. Hence keeping
18 in mind that Bosnian Serbs constituted the majority in Samac municipality,
19 they, by applying the principle of parity, sought to protect of their
20 national interests. Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims were secretly -
21 I'm emphasising secretly - arming themselves, and we have proof for that,
22 planning and plotting to forcibly take power in Samac. That would put the
23 town on the map of Croat and Muslim ethnic territories and expand their
24 boundaries. That was part of the plan. West, east, and south, and Samac
25 was surrounded.
1 In general, the events after April 17, 1992 took place in the
2 following order: First, knowing that other two ethnic groups are planning
3 to forcibly take power and having in mind tragic consequences of recent
4 conflicts in the region that I just mentioned, west of Samac, the Bosnian
5 Serbs from Samac decided to protect their own interests by creating the
6 Serb municipality of Samac, and I must outline according to the actual
7 legislation and constitutive framework in Bosnia. Following the
8 establishment of the legitimate and constitutionally based body, the
9 municipal Crisis Staff, which I would like to underscore, was
10 multi-ethnic. Samac Crisis Staff was multi-ethnic and multiparty in
11 character also. The organisation of relatively normal living conditions
12 in war circumstances begin. That is the main task and scope of work of
13 Crisis Staff, Your Honours.
14 Although the municipal government was doing its best to ensure
15 satisfactory conditions, the war, nevertheless, Your Honours, brought
16 about the shortages in electricity, war supply, food, and all other
17 things. The foremost problem for the population of Samac constituted
18 paramilitary formations acting out of any control from the municipal
19 government but under the control of co-defendant Todorovic, military units
20 and their own commanders. Numerous incidents took place, not only against
21 the non-Serb populations, but against the local Bosnian Serbs, too,
22 including here presently my learned colleague, lawyer Pisarevic.
23 Several members of the Serb police under the command of Stevan
24 Todorovic, one being the former co-accused in this case who pleaded guilty
25 and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for the acts covered by this
1 indictment, were committing offences against some residents of Samac,
2 regardless of their ethnic origin. At this point I wish to underline that
3 Samac civil government had neither de facto or de jure authority or
4 paramilitary police or judicial organs, which had their own separate chain
5 of command or hierarchy pursuant to the Republika Srpska constitution and
6 other relevant laws such as law on the Republika Srpska army, law on
7 internal affairs, and law on the ministries, the organisation of
9 Samac civil government was responsible only for providing for
10 proper living conditions of the Samac population, public utilities, water
11 and electricity supplies, health care, organising the proper functioning
12 of the local economy in war conditions, et cetera. A significant moment
13 for the Samac municipality was the flow of persecuted Bosnian Serb
14 refugees from neighbouring villages controlled by the Bosnian Croats and
15 Bosnian Muslims, and the pictures we just saw from the Prosecutor's
16 video. At that point, enormous difficulties arose with regard to the
17 temporary accommodation and securing these basic conditions and aid to
18 these refugees, although even before the outbreak of armed conflicts, a
19 significant number of Serb, as well as non-Serb, population had left
20 Samac. And here I refer to members of all three nations, due to the war
21 in Croatia, due to the war in Bosnia. This is a personal decision of
22 everyone to leave the region.
23 The arrival of thousands of Serb refugees further disturbed living
24 conditions in Samac and local ethnic relations. And finally, in these
25 circumstances, the local government took measures to protect the non-Serb
1 population of Samac and in cooperation with international humanitarian
2 organisation, and the ICRC, as well as with Croat and Muslim authorities
3 and relevant military and civil authorities of Republika Srpska, made it
4 possible for a number of non-Serbs to join their families and relatives on
5 the territories controlled by Muslim and Croats, and for a certain number
6 to leave for foreign countries.
7 Your Honours, I think it's appropriate for this moment I would
8 like to have assistance of the usher, please, to see this video of not
9 more than ten minutes relating to the events in Samac. Please, could you
10 rewind it at the beginning?
11 Your Honours, I wish to show you a videotape which relates to the
12 expulsion of Serbs from Novi Grad, Donja Dubica, and Gornja Sulje [phoen]
13 in Odzak municipality, just a couple of kilometres from Samac. It
14 happened at the end of April, 1992, end of April, 1992, following
15 prolonged negotiations with the Croat side. The Serbs were promised a
16 free passage, safe passage, but this promise was broken, resulting in the
17 detention of over 700 Serbs at the camp in Odzak. The pictures that
18 follow will show the atmosphere of persecution against the Serb
19 population, and no further comment I think is required.
20 This footage is very important because we have to know in general
21 terms the chronology of events in this region. We cannot take out of
22 context only one isolated event. We have to follow the events and then we
23 shall come to the events in Samac, of course, and then we shall discuss
24 these things. I mean, during the course of the trial, of course. I will
25 be not more than 20 minutes here for my opening.
1 So could we start the videotape, please.
2 [Videotape played]
3 MR. PANTELIC: 21st of April, 1992. Croat paramilitary units.
4 Could you stop and just a few seconds, can you rewind prior this person is
5 getting out from this restaurant? Just a little bit more, to rewind a
6 little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more. Now, could you
7 repeat this scene, please?
8 [Videotape played]
9 MR. PANTELIC: It was a "Heil Hitler." Negotiations between
10 representatives of Serbian ethnic group and the Croat military units on
11 the basis that all Serb citizens with a safe passage will be transferred
12 to another region or to be free to leave this region with these guys,
13 these sides -- they are discussing about the details of the -- the convoy
14 of Serb citizens is now moving from Odzak to the other region, to the
15 Serbian territory, so everything was settled and they are leaving, at that
16 moment. So the expulsion of Serb residents by the end of April, 1992, or
17 rather to say, they wanted to leave this region to join their families and
18 their relatives where the Serbian ethnic community was. I am not claiming
19 that inevitably that was a crime.
20 Could you please head forward a little bit of this tape,
21 because -- fast forward, please. We can just speed up this convoy. Could
22 you rewind -- please, just stop for a moment and then could you rewind
23 this tape back, please?
24 Now, Your Honours, we shall see -- a little bit back. Back. We
25 shall see the conditions in -- stop here, please. We shall see the
1 conditions in Croat detention camp where Serbs were betrayed, because they
2 negotiated this arrangement for transfer and then the Croats betrayed them
3 and they put them in the detention and then they forced them to follow the
4 Nazi manners, signs and to sing ultra-nationalist, the Ustasha, the Croat
5 extremists' song.
6 Could you please play this tape?
7 [Videotape played]
8 MR. PANTELIC: Okay. You can fast -- just put fast forward,
9 please. For the rest of this thing. Mainly these are the conditions in
10 the detention.
11 Thank you. As we have seen, the activities between the Serb --
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, first of all, how long do you have to
13 go to finish your opening statement?
14 MR. PANTELIC: Ten minutes, maximum ten minutes.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. May I ask the interpreters whether they are
16 willing to sit another ten minutes so that we can finish the opening
18 MR. PANTELIC: Please, my dear friends from interpreters' booths,
19 give me these five minutes, otherwise we can --
20 JUDGE MUMBA: They are overloaded, usually. So can I have an
21 answer, please?
22 THE INTERPRETER: It's all right.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: It's all right. Thank you very much. So we can
24 have ten minutes only, Mr. Pantelic.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Madam President. I will be expeditious
1 as much as I can.
2 As we have seen the activities between the Serb and Croat side
3 aimed at liberating the civilian population, and this is very important.
4 These activities began on May -- 8 May, 1992. This date, May 8, 1992,
5 represents, in the opinion of the Defence, the key date for understanding
6 of the subsequent course of events in the region of Samac and Odzak. But
7 I wish to emphasise that the Defence will not rely upon the legal
8 principle of tu quoque. We are very well aware about that. And that
9 these tragic pictures are being presented to the Trial Chamber for the
10 purpose of gaining a better understanding of a complex war situation in
11 this region, not to create a line of defence, of course.
12 Now, let us consider another critical issue. The Prosecution here
13 manipulates the facts of common knowledge. According to the allegation
14 contained in paragraph 35 of the indictment, almost 17.000 Bosnian Croats
15 and Bosnian Muslims out of total population of about 33.000 lived in the
16 municipality of Bosanski Samac. Following the forcible takeover of the
17 Bosanski Samac municipality by Serb forces, as the indictment states, the
18 majority of the non-Serb residents fled or were forced to leave the area
19 so that by May 1995, fewer than 300 of the 17.000 Bosnian Croat and
20 Bosnian Muslim residents remained. This is the part of the indictment.
21 It is absolutely unclear to the Defence why, from 1995, when this
22 indictment was filed, until today, 2001, in total there is more than six
23 years, the Prosecution was trying to misinterpret a commonly known fact,
24 that is, the figures. Your Honours, it is a fact of common knowledge that
25 the village of Prud -- now I will try -- could you please zoom -- yes.
1 Just a moment. Now we are speaking about the figures, and I'm using the
2 map of -- okay. Yes. Your Honours, these are the figures. It's not
3 interpretation, it is not the story. These are the facts. The village of
4 Prud, which is north-west of Samac, you will see this yellow area,
5 north-west of Samac is Prud. 1.288 inhabitants was brought prior to the
6 end and after Dayton Peace Accords under the control of the Muslim Croat
7 Federation, not Serb. Then we have a village of Grebnice, here, with
8 2.193 inhabitants, the village of Domaljevac, which is here, with 4.097
9 inhabitants, as well as some other villages. In total, it is amount
10 around the 7.578 people. In addition, until the military operation in
11 Posavina Corridor, which is this, the village of Kornica, with 840
12 inhabitants, and the village of Srednja Slatina, which is also in the
13 region, were under control of military authorities of the 2nd Corps of the
14 Muslim Croat Federation army.
15 Now we are coming to calculation. Subtract the number of 7.587
16 from 17.000, and we are coming to the figure of 9.422. This figure is by
17 far not the final result of this rather simple mathematical operation. We
18 should further deduct around 1.500 non-Serbs who voluntarily and under the
19 auspices of the ICRC and UNPROFOR joined their families. Furthermore, we
20 should subtract around 7.000 non-Serbs who, even before the outbreak of
21 conflicts on the territory of Samac municipality, left Samac for a variety
22 of reasons, primarily personal, economic and due to the fear of further
23 spread of war from the neighbouring Croatia.
24 Finally, we have the number of around 1.000 non-Serbs residents of
25 Samac municipality who lived in that town throughout the war and who still
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 live there today. It is, Your Honours, a genuine picture. It is not
3 I would like to rely on the result of Dayton Peace Accord. The
4 municipality of Samac covers the territory significantly smaller than in
5 1992. Due to demographic migrations and substantial number of Serb
6 refugees, the present population structure is as follows in Samac: Out
7 of total population of 20.290, out of this number, 18.522 are Serbs, and
8 among them, 6.037 are refugees, Serb refugees, residing now in Samac. And
9 there are around 1.768 non-Serbs. The municipality of Samac was
10 established in 1992 on the basis of Republika Srpska constitution and
11 relevant legislation regulating regional and local autonomy.
12 Now you can see, Your Honours, this red line, starting from the
13 west and going to the south and then to the north and going to the east,
14 and also this red line at the bottom of this presentation, these lines are
15 boundaries, of course, artificial, just on the paper, between two
16 entities. Entities, which brings me to another conclusion.
17 If the Prosecutor is trying -- because this initial indictment was
18 filed in 1995. I agree, that was a wartime. The Dayton Peace Accord was
19 concluded by the end of 1995, so if I would be a Prosecution, I would say,
20 "Well, I have figures." But now we are in 2001 and we are now living in
21 absolutely different situation. We now are living in after Dayton Peace
22 Accord. We know as a fact that Odzak municipality and Samac municipality
23 are divided between two entities, and accordingly, with the population.
24 So this is the fact, actually, and not the policy of ethnic cleansing or
1 Now, it is very important. We heard from the Prosecutor side that
2 they want to rely on a document issued by Crisis Staff, renaming the name
3 of Bosanski Samac into Samac, and they want to make this relation with the
4 common intent or particular individual intent of persecution, which means
5 that for the non-Serb population, this moment is very scareful [sic].
6 They are getting to be nervous and they want to leave this region.
7 Remember that document.
8 I would like now to present the fact that the name Samac dates
9 back to 17th century. It is not 1992. It is 17th century. The etymology
10 of the word "Samac" is this: It comes from the German word schanze,
11 s-c-h-a-n-z-e, meaning a military trench. At that time the town was in
12 fact a military settlement during the Austro-Turkish war, and wishing to
13 maintain the local tradition of the town, during 1992 local authorities
14 renamed Bosanski Samac into Samac because Bosanski Samac was the origin
15 imputed by the Austro-Hungarian empire at the beginning of the 13th
16 century. It was not original. Inevitably, Bosanski Samac was, you know,
17 by force named. And then Samac is more -- on the other hand, Samac is
18 more general, and also based on the historical fact.
19 So this is really something which I must outline, because it is
20 not usual in opening statement to make these relations. But when we
21 come to this exhibit during the course of trial, I will provide this Trial
22 Chamber with further facts and information.
23 Now we are seeing the --
24 JUDGE MUMBA: We've gone beyond the ten minutes, Mr. Pantelic.
25 One minute.
1 MR. PANTELIC: I have only legal issues.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Because the interpreters are overworked, so are you
3 winding up in five minutes?
4 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, five minutes. I'm absolutely fine, yes.
5 The Prosecution is trying to persuade this Court that the process
6 of ethnic cleansing was carried out on the territory of Samac
7 municipality, whereby, inter alia, Dr. Blagoje Simic allegedly committed
8 the war crime, a crime of persecution as charged under count 1 of the
9 indictment. The Defence shall prove that none of the elements of this
10 offence can be found in the acts of Dr. Blagoje Simic.
11 Assuming that even if crimes of persecution were committed, they
12 could only be ascribed to paramilitary and police forces with which Dr.
13 Simic had no relevant connections that could point to his possible
14 criminal responsibility. Apart from that, there is no nexus between
15 Dr. Simic's acts and consequences that could be qualified as persecution.
16 The essence of this complex legal issue in brief form is as
17 follows: Where there are, within the temporal and territorial scope of
18 the indictment, such acts committed on the territory of Samac municipality
19 could be qualified as persecution. The Defence will show that they cannot
20 be qualified as persecution. Assuming that such actions did take place,
21 were they widespread and systematic or were they in fact isolated events
22 of low intensity and in the form of separate incident? Even if there were
23 such actions committed by other perpetrators, the question is whether they
24 stood in any sort of causal relationship with Dr. Simic; and if so, what
25 was the form of scope and that relationship?
1 With regard to this issue, I would like to outline the possibility
2 that elements of persecution on political, racial, and religious grounds,
3 which is Article 5(h), did exist in the acts of the members of police and
4 paramilitary units; yes, indeed. But I categorically deny any possibility
5 that Dr. Simic, who acted in capacity of Crisis Staff president, can be
6 found guilty for crimes against humanity under Article 5(h) of the Statute
7 solely based on his activities.
8 What sort of persecution are we talking about if throughout the
9 existence of the armed conflict, members of the non-Serb exercised
10 important functions within municipal authorities, public institutions,
11 hospital? What sort of persecution is it when in conditions of war
12 municipal authorities organised life in the best possible way under those
13 circumstances for all the inhabitants of Samac, regardless of their ethnic
14 origin? And what sort of persecution are we talking about if all
15 inhabitants, regardless of their nationality and despite significant
16 difficulties caused by the war, are being provided with the best possible
17 health care? What sort of persecution is it if everyone, regardless of
18 nationality, is being paid salaries, and even receive financial
19 compensation for legitimate compulsory wartime working obligation?
20 With regard to the Prosecution position concerning count 2,
21 crimes against humanity; deportation, under Article 5(d); and count 3,
22 grave breaches of Geneva Conventions of 1949; unlawful deportation or
23 transfer or unlawful confinement of a civilian under Article 2(g) of the
24 indictment, the Defence emphasises that pursuant to the latest
25 jurisprudence of this Tribunal and the doctrine of continental criminal
1 law, cumulative charges are not permissible, and we shall rely on this
2 document during the course of trial. Actually --
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone is off.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Microphone is off, counsel.
5 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Maybe you should continue tomorrow, because we are
7 really running over the time for the interpreters. We'll continue
9 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, if you allow me one minute, I will
10 finish today.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: One minute, okay. Just one minute.
12 MR. PANTELIC: In fact, Dr. Simic has no relation whatsoever with
13 the events which took place in Odzak municipality. In that particular
14 town, a military administration was established, which basically meant
15 that the civil administration had no power over it. Even Prosecution
16 provided the evidence to that effect, so I cannot see any viable reason to
17 charge Mr. Simic on these grounds.
18 Your Honours, in brief words, who is Dr. Blagoje Simic? You have
19 in front of you a man dedicated to humanity, a doctor of medicine by
20 education, a family man, a father of three children, and an exemplary
21 husband. In his life, Dr. Simic only helped people. He was bound to do
22 this not only because of the Hippocratic oath but also because of the
23 family system and the ethics, the value system which in his education he
24 received from his parents. The Defence will prove that this man is not
25 criminally responsible for the alleged crimes charged against him.
1 Finally, Your Honours, in this court of law, you are here to try
2 solely by the law and book and on the basis of fact. This Tribunal does
3 not try political beliefs, despite the Prosecution endeavours to present
4 this case as a part of broader policy of Bosnian Serbs being members of
5 criminal enterprise at top levels, et cetera, et cetera.
6 I believe in this Court, Your Honours, and Dr. Blagoje Simic too,
7 he believes in this Court. He voluntarily surrendered and put himself
8 under the jurisdiction of this Tribunal. He is absolutely convinced of
9 his innocence, and he is convinced that he will free himself of the unjust
10 allegation the Prosecution charges him with. By presenting his defence,
11 he would not be only defending himself, but also his family, his town, his
12 neighbours, Republika Srpska, and all Serb people. For Dr. Blagoje Simic,
13 I think, by the outcome of these proceedings, the only possible decision
14 will be not guilty.
15 Thank you very much, Madam President and Your Honours.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you, Mr. Pantelic. Two quick announcements.
17 Mr. Pantelic, the video footage had no transcript. There were scenes
18 where people were discussing, especially where they were discussing
19 stopping motorists, which can easily be interpreted by our interpreters of
20 the Tribunal, and can we have that transcript prepared, please?
21 MR. PANTELIC: Madam President, yes. I have an internal
22 version - it's a part of my evidence - of one hour and a
23 half. So I will prepare in each part of this genuine videotape all
24 transcripts treated to all these events, and in due course I will provide
25 it to my colleagues and also one copy to the Trial Chamber, you can be
1 sure. Because this one is just a selected one, and I don't want to
2 make -- to have an impression that it's kind of manipulation of the acts.
3 So it was just based on the principle of judicial economy, nothing more.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. And I would like to ask the Prosecution
5 to number the paragraphs in the statement of Mr. Donia, the first witness
6 tomorrow. If we can have the paragraphs numbered, it is much easier to
7 refer to a specific paragraph should the issue arise. So I would be
8 grateful if that can be done before tomorrow.
9 The proceedings will adjourn. At 1500 hours we will sit for a
10 Status Conference involving counsel only.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours pleases, might I just raise one
12 very brief matter? That's this afternoon. If possible, and if it would
13 help the Chamber, would it be a sensible idea for myself and also for
14 Defence counsel to approach the legal officers of the Tribunal at about
15 2.30 to get an idea of the sort of issues that the Chamber is interested
16 in, the sorts of things that they want to hear answers to this afternoon,
17 so that we can be prepared and come here with answers rather than having
18 to --
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Yes. That is a good idea, yes.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: I suggest that. Thank you.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We'll give instructions to the legal officer.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. The Court will rise.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.30 p.m., to
25 be followed by a Status Conference