1 Monday, 24 September 2001
2 [The accused entered court]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [Open session]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Good morning. Will the registrar please call the
8 THE REGISTRAR: Morning, Your Honour. This is case number
9 IT-95-9-T, the Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Milan Simic, Miroslav
10 Tadic and Simo Zaric.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: The Prosecution is examining -- examination-in-chief
12 for the witness.
13 WITNESS: DRAGAN LUKAC [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 Examination by Mr. di Fazio: [Continued]
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Your Honours.
17 Q. Mr. Lukac, on Thursday I was asking you some questions about the
18 defendants. I asked you questions about Mr. Simo Zaric and Mr. Blagoje
19 Simic. I want to ask you now about Mr. Milan Simic. Can you tell the
20 Chamber if you know him and how long you've known him?
21 A. I knew him before the war for some ten years. I had known him
22 before the war for ten years.
23 Q. Were you friends, were you acquaintances, or did you just know him
24 by sight?
25 A. Well, perhaps the best definition would be that we knew each other
1 by sight. Bosanski Samac is a small town and people know each other if in
2 no other way than by meeting each other in the street. But it may be
3 important to note here that Mr. Simic lived in the same apartment building
4 where I lived for a while, for some three years. It was before the war.
5 But even in those circumstances, we knew each other only by sight.
6 Q. May I ask you about Mr. Miroslav Tadic? Again, can you tell the
7 Chamber if you knew him, under what circumstances you knew him, and how
8 long you knew him?
9 A. I knew him in the similar way as I knew Mr. Simic. I know that he
10 worked as a teacher in the school in Bosanski Samac and that he retired
11 from there. Nothing special.
12 Q. A name that has been mentioned in evidence is that of Fadil
13 Topcagic. I think I've got the --
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Would Your Honours just bear with me for a moment
15 on the pronunciation of that?
16 THE INTERPRETER: Topcagic.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: I do apologise. I've got the pronunciation wrong.
18 It's Topcagic.
19 Q. Now his name has been mentioned on occasion, sir. Do you know
20 that gentleman?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Again, tell us how you know him, how long you've known him, and
23 what he did, what his occupation was before the war.
24 A. I had known him for some ten years before the war. He worked in a
25 company called Toplana. He is the brother Mr. Zaric's wife.
1 Q. Did you ever have an opportunity to observe any relationship that
2 might exist between him and Mr. Zaric, and if you did, can you comment
3 upon it?
4 A. I never had an opportunity to observe the relationship between the
5 two, but I would assume that it was the kind of relationship that people
6 who are related have.
7 Q. Thank you. Are you aware of a body called the 4th Detachment?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. How did you -- when did you first become aware of that?
10 A. As far as I can remember, this military unit, its existence was
11 mentioned for the first time sometime in January 1992.
12 Q. Was it part of a larger military grouping?
13 A. As far as I know, the 4th Detachment was a military formation
14 which was a part of the reserve force of the JNA, established in the town
15 of Bosanski Samac.
16 Q. Have you heard of the formation -- a military formation called the
17 17th Tactical Group?
18 A. Yes. The 17th Tactical Group was a relocated part of the
19 18th Corps of the JNA, which was usually stationed in Tuzla. It covered
20 the wider area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly its north-eastern
22 Q. We'll get on to the details of the structures of these groups just
23 shortly. What I'm concerned to know is was there any connection between
24 the 4th Detachment and the 17th Tactical Group?
25 A. Well, if the 4th Detachment was in the reserve force, a reserve
1 unit of the JNA, then it would be only logical to say that it was part of
2 this 17th Tactical Group.
3 Q. Let's start with some -- if you could provide us with some general
4 background. First of all, was Yugoslavia divided into military districts,
5 the former Yugoslavia?
6 A. As far as I know, the Yugoslav People's Army in the former
7 Yugoslavia operated -- divided into five military districts. I think that
8 the 2nd Military District had its seat in Sarajevo, and that it in effect
9 covered the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a part of the Republic
10 of Croatia.
11 Q. Within each military district were there a number of corps and
12 then divisions and then further divisions, subdivisions, and then down
13 into brigades and so on?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, the 17th Tactical Group, was that simply part of the military
16 formations of the military district covering Bosnia?
17 A. The 17th Corps of the JNA was a part of the 2nd Military District,
18 which means that the 17th Tactical Group, as a relocated command post of
19 the 17th Corps, had to be a part of this military district.
20 Q. Where was the 17th Corps based?
21 A. The 17th Corps or, rather, the headquarters of the 17th Corps was
22 located in Tuzla, and the headquarters of the 17th Operational and
23 Tactical Group was in the village of Pelagicevo. It was the former
24 municipality of Gradacac which is adjacent to Bosanski Samac.
25 Q. Who was the head, if you're aware of who it was, of the 17th
2 A. I think that the Commander of the 17th Corps was General Savo
3 Jankovic, and the Commander of the 17th Operational and Tactical Group was
4 Lieutenant Colonel Stevan Nikolic.
5 Q. Now you've given -- you've told the Chamber that the 17th Tactical
6 Group was formed in the early 1990s. I can't recall if you said 1991 or
7 1990. What was your answer before?
8 A. As far as I can recall, the 17th Operational and Tactical Group
9 was formed sometime in August 1991.
10 Q. Thank you. Was Nikolic immediately appointed its commander? Or
11 did someone else take that position initially?
12 A. As far as I know, he was the commander right from the start, until
13 the war broke out and I would assume even for a certain period of time
14 after the war broke out. I don't recall anyone ever holding that post
15 apart from him.
16 Q. Are you aware of Nikolic having had any combat experience in other
17 theatres of war prior to his appointment to the 17th Tactical Group?
18 A. As far as I know, yes, he was the commander of the JNA garrison in
19 Dzakovo in the republic of Croatia. Dzakovo is some 30 kilometres away
20 from Bosanski Samac. During the combat operations in the Republic of
21 Croatia, the Croatian army entered the barracks where Lieutenant Colonel
22 was the commander, that is in Dzakovo, but he managed to leave the
23 barracks with a certain number of JNA officers and came to Bosnia and
25 Q. Was it following that that he received his appointment as
1 commander of the 17th Tactical Group?
2 A. Immediately after that.
3 Q. Now, you've described to the Chamber the 17th Tactical Group and
4 you said that the 4th Detachment was part of that. I now want to ask you
5 some questions about the 4th Detachment. Firstly, the name itself, the
6 4th Detachment, implies that there may be other detachments. Were there
7 in fact other detachments?
8 A. Before the 4th Detachment, in the municipality of Bosanski Samac,
9 there had been three similar detachments. Their form was similar to this
10 detachment. The seat of the 1st detachment, as far as I can recall, was
11 in the village of Batkusa, a Serbian village in the municipality of
12 Bosanski Samac. The 2nd detachment was located -- its headquarters was
13 located in Donja Crkvina, another village in Bosanski Samac municipality.
14 The 3rd detachment, I think, had the headquarters in the largest Serbian
15 village in Bosanski Samac municipality, Obudovac. And then the 4th
16 Detachment was established in the town of Bosanski Samac itself.
17 Q. From the time of its inception, who was the head, the actual head,
18 of the 4th Detachment?
19 A. The commander of the 4th Detachment was Radovan Antic.
20 Q. Who was that gentleman? Where was he from?
21 A. He's a man from Bosanski Samac. A year before that, he was the
22 chief of police in Bosanski Samac, before the multi-party elections in
23 Bosnia and Herzegovina. As far as I can remember, he was a reserve
24 captain, he held the rank of a reserve captain. His assistant for
25 security was Mr. Simo Zaric. There were probably some other people who
1 also held command posts in the 4th Detachment but I don't know their
2 names. I know quite well, though, for these two gentlemen, that they had
3 command posts in the 4th Detachment.
4 Q. Did Fadil Topcagic have any position within the 4th Detachment?
5 A. I don't know what his duty or position was, but logic dictates
6 that he was in the 4th Detachment.
7 Q. Why does logic dictate that? Was it something you observed or
8 heard or saw?
9 A. As I have already said, Bosanski Samac is a small town, and the
10 public simply knows a lot, regardless of what it is. So in the early days
11 when the 4th Detachment was established, the information that got round in
12 the public was that he was a member of the 4th Detachment.
13 Q. Prior to the establishment of the 4th Detachment, did the town of
14 Bosanski Samac have any military formations in it?
15 A. Before the establishment of the 4th Detachment, there were no
16 military formations in Bosanski Samac.
17 Q. Did it -- did the 4th Detachment recruit men from around the town
18 of Bosanski Samac?
19 A. Members of the 4th Detachment were men of military age from the
20 town of Bosanski Samac.
21 Q. Do you know how the -- if there was a recruiting process and how
22 it was -- how it was approached?
23 A. I don't know the way in which these people were recruited, but I
24 know that most of the members of the 4th Detachment were of Serbian ethnic
1 Q. If most were, that must mean that some weren't. Do you know who
2 the members of the 4th Detachment were who were not of Serbian ethnic
4 A. As far as I know, 80 per cent of the 4th Detachment were ethnic
5 Serbs. Apart from ethnic Serbs, there was a certain percentage of members
6 of Muslim origin and a small percentage of Croats. I wish to note,
7 however, that the Bosniak members or Croat members were mostly people who
8 were in mixed marriages, i.e., married to women of other ethnic
9 background, or children born in mixed marriages with, say, a father a
10 Bosniak, and the mother a Serb, or something like that.
11 I also want to stress that among the Bosniaks who were there, a
12 certain number of people had criminal records.
13 Q. What about the Croatians who were members of the 4th Detachment?
14 Did those observations that you just made in your last answer apply also
15 to the Croatian members of the 4th Detachment?
16 A. It also refers to Croat members, but one needs to stress here that
17 as far as I know, only about 10 or 15 men were in the 4th Detachment who
18 were of Croat ethnic origin, and before the war and before the
19 establishment of the 4th Detachment, they were in the state security
20 service, and Simo Saric was their boss.
21 Q. Can you give us some names in respect of your last answer, that
22 is, those who were in the state security service?
23 A. You mean the reserve, the reserve part of the -- those who joined
24 the 4th Detachment from the reserve force?
25 Q. All I mean is two answers ago, you just said that there were 10 or
1 15 men in the 4th Detachment who were of Croatian ethnic origin, and
2 before the 4th Detachment was established, they were in the state security
3 service and Zaric was their boss. Can you give us the names of any of
4 those people? If you can, so be it, but I just want know if you can give
5 us the names?
6 A. I said out of the 10 or 15 people, some of them were the reserve
7 section of the SDB, the state security service. As far as I can recall,
8 among them were Petar Karlovic, Goran Kljajic [Realtime transcript omitted
9 "Goran Kljajic"], Blaz Esegovic. The latter two were killed as members
10 of the Serbian army at the beginning of the war.
11 Q. Are you aware of a premises in Bosanski Samac called Cafe AS or
12 Cafe AS?
13 JUDGE MUMBA: I see Defence counsel on his feet.
14 MR. LAZAREVIC: Your Honours, excuse me. We have a transcript
15 objection because the witness stated about three names, and here I see
16 only two, Petar Karlovic, Blaz Esegovic, and when he referred that last
17 two killed, this could provoke some misunderstanding, I believe.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I think counsel for the Prosecution can
19 explain that through the witness.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Thank you.
21 Q. Mr. Lukac, you recall that you were giving us some names of the
22 reserve section of the SDB, the Croatian names, and you gave us Petar
23 Karlovic - I'm not sure of my pronunciation - Blaz Esegovic. There may
24 have been a third name. What was the third name?
25 A. Blaz Esegovic and Goran Kljajic. Esegovic and Kljajic were
2 Q. Thank you. Now, I was asking you about a place in Bosanski Samac
3 called Cafe AS. Have you ever heard of that?
4 A. Yes, I have heard. It's a cafe owned by Mr. Miro Tadic. It was
5 located in the ground floor of his house in Bosanski Samac.
6 Q. Did you ever go there or see people going there?
7 A. I never went to that cafe, but I do know that people went there.
8 Q. Did members of the 4th Detachment ever go there?
9 A. As far as I know, yes, they did, because on the basis of the
10 information we had at our disposal at the time, the HQ of the
11 4th Detachment was, in effect, located in that very cafe at the
13 Q. You use the expression "the information we had at our disposal."
14 Who is the "we" that you refer to?
15 A. When I say "we," I mean the police.
16 Q. Do I take it from that answer that the police in Bosanski Samac
17 were maintaining some sort of observation of the activities at Cafe AS and
18 of the 4th Detachment?
19 A. Well, the police did not monitor these activities, but they did
20 receive information about these developments.
21 Q. For how long was Cafe AS associated with the 4th Detachment, from
22 its inception, from the inception of the 4th Detachment, or at a later
24 A. This association existed right from the inception, from the
25 beginning of the war, but as far as I know, the HQ of the 4th Detachment,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 at a certain stage - I think it may have been sometime in March 1992 - was
2 relocated to one of the office buildings of the Samac textile industry,
3 which -- this building was located across the road from the Cafe AS.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Would Your Honours just bear with me for one
5 moment. I just want to look at the list of photographs.
6 May the witness be shown Exhibit P14, the photographs, please. If
7 they could be shown on the ELMO, please. Photograph number 39.
8 Q. Mr. Lukac, would you please look at the photograph number 39? It
9 obviously depicts a building. What is that building?
10 A. That's the building I was talking about. That's the building
11 where the headquarters of the 4th Detachment were transferred. That is
12 the Samac textile industry building. Across the street from this building
13 is Mr. Tadic's house, where the Cafe AS is.
14 Q. Thank you. I've finished with the photographs. Now, you
15 mentioned that the 4th Detachment had some connection with this building
16 that you've just shown us, the textile factory building. What connection
17 were you aware of between the 4th Detachment and this building?
18 A. I already said that during a certain period of time, I think it
19 was the beginning of March 1992, that the headquarters of this 4th
20 Detachment took over the offices in this building, and that is where they
21 carried out their work. That is to say, the command was transferred from
22 the Cafe AS to this building that we've just seen on the monitor.
23 Q. Thank you. Were members of the 4th Detachment armed?
24 A. The members of the 4th Detachment had had weapons issued to them,
25 and they kept them at their homes where they lived. As a matter of fact,
1 they had been issued weapons considerably before the war had started, so
2 it went on all the way up to the beginning of the war.
3 Q. Did the fact of their keeping weapons at home cause any concern to
5 A. The presence of the 4th Detachment in town, and its formation as
6 such, caused great concern among the citizens, because the establishment
7 of a military unit in a small town, as I said, which is a multi-ethnic
8 town at that, and given everything that was happening in the surrounding
9 area, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Croatia, et cetera, all of this caused
10 considerable fear among people, who were wondering what this was needed
12 Q. Did the members of the 4th Detachment wear a uniform or did they
13 get around in civilian clothes?
14 A. As far as I know, they had been issued uniforms, which they also
15 kept at home, but they were moving about in civilian clothes.
16 Q. Did you ever see Simo Zaric at Cafe AS?
17 A. I never saw Mr. Zaric in Cafe AS, because I had never been to Cafe
18 AS, but I do know that he went there because I had such information.
19 Q. Now, I want to ask you about the function of the 4th Detachment.
20 Did it have a publicly stated purpose?
21 A. As far as I can remember, sometime in the first half of February
22 1992, the local radio station had a programme with Mr. Radovan Antic and
23 Mr. Simo Zaric on it. In this TV -- in this radio programme, as far as I
24 know, they said that the 4th Detachment had been established as a reserve
25 unit of the Yugoslav People's Army in Bosanski Samac and that the
1 establishment of this 4th Detachment was motivated by a desire to prevent
2 the outbreak of interethnic strife in town.
3 Q. Apart from this TV programme, did you hear any other utterances
4 from individuals or see documents or hear anything elsewhere the purpose
5 of the 4th Detachment, its function, was discussed or aired?
6 A. This was a radio programme, not a TV programme, the one I talked
8 Q. I'm sorry, I do apologise.
9 A. However, what was a bit strange about this whole thing was that
10 the people who had established the 4th Detachment and who headed the 4th
11 Detachment defined its purpose as the prevention of interethnic strife in
12 town, and I state here with full responsibility that at that time, there
13 was no interethnic tension in the town of Bosanski Samac. If it was
14 necessary to resolve certain situations where public law and order had
15 been infringed upon, that is exclusively within the domain of the police,
16 according to law, and the military, the army, has nothing to do with that
18 Q. Thank you. I just want to leave briefly the 4th Detachment and
19 ask you this: Were checkpoints, military checkpoints, ever set up in the
20 municipality of Bosanski Samac or around the town of Bosanski Samac?
21 A. Yes. Sometime around the establishment of the 4th Detachment in
22 town, the Yugoslav People's Army set up the first permanent checkpoint,
23 which operated around the clock, for 24 hours. This was in the village
24 called Srpska Tisina. This checkpoint was on the regional road between
25 Bosanski Samac and Orasje. This checkpoint is about two kilometres away
1 from the entrance into town, let's say. In the later stage, during March
2 1992, the JNA also established a checkpoint on the road leading from
3 Bosanski Samac via Doboj to Sarajevo, in the village of Donja Crkvina.
4 That is about two and a half or three kilometres away from town. The
5 Yugoslav People's Army established such checkpoints and basically in this
6 way controlled the two main highways that led to town and that went
7 through town.
8 I also wish to point out that the Yugoslav People's Army also set
9 up these checkpoints illegally. First of all, through these checkpoints,
10 the members of the Yugoslav People's Army controlled citizens and the
11 movement of citizens and property, and according to law they do not have
12 the right to do that. In addition, this caused concern among the
13 citizenry, and it contributed to restricting the freedom of movement of
14 people along the mentioned roads.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
16 If Your Honours please, I'd like to refer to the map, the large
17 map of the town of Bosanski Samac, which is behind me, and if it could be
18 mounted on the easel. For the purposes of the transcript, it's Exhibit --
19 I'd just like to clarify. If this particular map has been given an
20 exhibit number, I can't seem to find it at the moment.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Which one is it?
22 MR. DI FAZIO: It's the map of the municipality of the town of --
23 JUDGE MUMBA: The large one?
24 MR. DI FAZIO: The large one of Bosanski Samac. My case manager
25 informs me, in fact, that it's Exhibit P9, if that could just be confirmed
1 by the Chamber.
2 JUDGE SINGH: That's correct.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: That's correct. Thank you. I'm grateful to Your
5 Q. Mr. Lukac, I just want you to show to the Chamber, as best you
6 can, where these checkpoints were located. And if you can't see on the
7 map the actual location of the checkpoint, just indicate the roads that
8 they were established on.
9 A. It's here.
10 Q. Which checkpoint are you now pointing to?
11 A. That is the checkpoint at Srpska Tisina.
12 Q. And just for the sake of completeness, you can see those brown
13 lines on the -- brown or dark red lines on the map. Are they the
15 A. This is the regional road between Bosanski Samac and Orasje. That
16 is to say, it is a road linking two neighbouring municipalities, and the
17 checkpoint was there.
18 Q. At the crossroads?
19 A. Yes. Yes. This is the intersection leading to the village of
20 Tisina and the other villages here. That's where the road was. This is a
21 local village road leading to Srpska Tisina and other villages.
22 Q. And about how far out of the town, out of the built-up municipal
23 area, would that be? Is that a matter of half of a kilometer, three
24 kilometres, five kilometres? Approximately.
25 A. It's hard to give approximation. About a kilometre and a half
1 from the entrance of town. It's here. Say a kilometre and a half.
2 Q. Thank you. Now, can you please show the Chamber the second
3 checkpoint that you mentioned?
4 A. It's here. This is a big road going from Bosanski Samac to Doboj
5 and Sarajevo, and this is a road that forks off towards the municipality
6 of Gradacac, and the checkpoint was here, at the intersection.
7 Q. And where was the village of Crkvina in relation to that last
8 checkpoint that you pointed out?
9 A. All of this. This is the villages of Gornja Crkvina and Donja
10 Crkvina, all of this here.
11 Q. Thank you. I don't need to refer to the map any more.
12 A. Let me just tell you one more thing. In addition to these two
13 checkpoints, there were other checkpoints on the territory of the
14 municipality, but they are considerably further away from town. For
15 example, on this road to Gradacac, in the village of Kornica there was
16 also a checkpoint of the JNA.
17 Q. Thank you very much. Now, you commented in your answer that these
18 checkpoints were established at about the same time as the establishment
19 of the 4th Detachment. Can you give us any idea of what "about the same
20 time" means? Is that a matter of weeks apart, days a part, months apart?
21 A. I said that the first checkpoint in Srpska Tisina was established
22 more or less at the same time when the 4th Detachment was, and the other
23 checkpoint at Gornja Crkvina was established sometime in the first half of
24 March. I don't know whether the actual day coincided or whether there was
25 a difference of a few days in terms of the establishment of the
1 4th Detachment. That I cannot say at this point.
2 Q. Did the 4th Detachment ever hold meetings?
3 A. Well, I assume they did. It would only be natural for the command
4 of the 4th Detachment to have very frequent meetings.
5 Q. I want to ask you about the activities now of the 4th Detachment.
6 You've given a description of its inception and where it was headquartered
7 and so on. Did it engage in patrols of any nature?
8 A. According to the information we, the police, had then, the
9 4th Detachment or, rather, the members of the 4th Detachment patrolled
10 during the night in certain parts of town.
11 Q. What parts of town?
12 A. This particularly pertains to the part of town where the
13 headquarters of the 4th Detachment was. Then as time went by, these
14 patrols spread to other parts of town as well, particularly in situations
15 when members of the 4th Detachment were next to vital facilities in town.
16 During this period of time, there were two incidents - I'm talking about
17 the pre-war period - between our regular police force and the members of
18 the 4th Detachment.
19 In one of these incidents - I think that this was also sometime in
20 March 1992 - there was an armed conflict between the patrol of our police
21 and three members of the 4th Detachment. The members of the police patrol
22 wounded all three members of the 4th Detachment with firearms. All of
23 this practically showed that the members of the 4th Detachment were quite
24 active, notably during the night.
25 It is also important to point out that the members of the
1 4th Detachment or, rather, a number of them - and Mr. Zaric was, for the
2 most part, in such groups - that when Lieutenant Colonel Stevan Nikolic
3 came to attend certain meetings in Bosanski Samac, they provided security
4 for him.
5 Q. We will get on to that provision of security in due course, but at
6 this stage, I'm interested in the patrols.
7 During one of these patrols, you have just said there was a
8 shootout, and three members of the 4th Detachment were wounded. Can you
9 remember the names of any of the men in -- any of the wounded men, any of
10 the 4th detachment men?
11 A. Nizan Ramusovic was wounded then. He was a member of the
12 4th Detachment. He was a local criminal, by the way. Another person was
13 wounded as well, Danilo Vitomir, as far as I remember. I can't remember
14 the third person's name. They were moving about in a vehicle that night,
15 and as they came across our police patrol, they started shooting. There
16 were four policemen on this police patrol of ours, and they responded with
17 gunfire. And I already said that on that occasion, these three members of
18 the 4th Detachment were wounded.
19 Q. Were there any repercussions in the town from this episode
20 involving local community groups or the municipality or the police or the
22 A. Well, generally speaking, the citizens were concerned. And when
23 there are such incidents, then the public in general is upset. As far as
24 I can remember, there were a few meetings that were held at the political
25 level and that were attended by members of the 4th Detachment, and as far
1 as I can remember, Mr. Zaric was present at these meetings too.
2 An effort was made for the situation to be normalised and to ease
3 the tensions and to prevent the situation from becoming even more complex.
4 Q. Thank you. Now, earlier you mentioned two episodes. You have
5 described one. What was the other episode that you referred to involving
6 the 4th Detachment?
7 A. This other episode was, I think, before these events I just
8 referred to. In one of the streets in Samac, in this part of town which
9 was the part of town that was near Cafe AS and where the members of the
10 4th Detachment patrolled, let me call this the night patrol of the 4th
11 Detachment, and they disarmed the two policemen who were on duty one night
12 in that part of town, without any special pretext or for no reason
13 actually, but needless to say, that kind of action is totally illegal and
14 unlawful because the police force is the legitimate force that carries out
15 its corresponding duties. I cannot remember any details related to that.
16 You will have to appreciate that all of this happened ten years ago, and
17 it is difficult to remember all these events in minute detail.
18 Q. You've mentioned Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic. Did he ever come to
19 the town of Bosanski Samac and have meetings with you?
20 A. Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic, as commander of the 17th Operational
21 and Tactical Group came to Bosanski Samac several times. I had the
22 opportunity to meet him. I think this was towards the end of 1991,
23 perhaps it was October or November, I really cannot recall all these dates
24 any more. Actually, he then came to our police station with the intention
25 of talking to the then chief of police, Mr. Dragicevic. However, since he
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 was absent, he asked for me to receive him because then I was the person
2 in charge of the police station at that moment. I received him then. I
3 talked to him.
4 Q. What was the conversation about?
5 A. He actually came to discuss a particular incident that had
6 occurred before that on the bridge in Bosanski Samac. There was a ban on
7 crossing the bridge between 1900 hours and 0600 hours in the morning, and
8 a citizen, an ethnic Serb, I think his name was Milos Miric, as far as I
9 can remember, he was under the influence of alcohol, and although our
10 police patrol that was at the entrance of the bridge tried to stop him, he
11 refused to stop. He wanted to cross the bridge in his vehicle. And the
12 bridge had been mined at the time and there were even anti-tank mines on
13 it. As he got on to the bridge, the Croatian army who were manning the
14 bridge on the other side, on the Croatian side, they shot at the vehicle
15 that started moving -- had started moving towards them, but as a result of
16 the shooting, the man was wounded. He was then transferred to hospital in
17 Croatia, in Slovanski Brod, and after medical treatment he was released
18 from hospital.
19 After all of that, Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic came to discuss this
20 particular incident. However, he thought that this event, or rather the
21 action taken in relation to this event, in the sense of his wounding, his
22 transfer to hospital in Croatia, et cetera, he thought that all of this
23 should not have been done. He pointed out then that those who transferred
24 this particular citizen to hospital had taken money from him, and he was
25 asking for that money to be returned to that man, and if that were not
1 done, then the members of the JNA would stop the citizens of Croatia who
2 would be found on the roads in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that they would
3 take money from Croatian citizens in that case, so that this particular
4 citizen who had been shot at at the bridge would be compensated for it.
5 Actually, everything he had to say and the fact that he came
6 seemed a bit strange to me. The army, the Yugoslav People's Army, had
7 nothing to do with such incidents. As I said, this was exclusively within
8 the domain of the police. And also, what he said in terms of the measures
9 the JNA would possibly take in relation to these incidents were something
10 that I took as a threat. I told him quite openly then that I am not
11 afraid of these threats of his and that there was no reason for me to be
12 afraid, or for anybody else to be afraid, and that we will continue doing
13 our work in accordance to the law, and that we would work exclusively
14 within the framework of the law, and that the JNA should also act in
15 accordance with the law and do what they are supposed to do.
16 Q. Thank you. Now, I just want to ask you one or two questions about
17 this episode. First of all, Nikolic complained that money had been taken
18 from this man who was wounded?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. He threatened to seek compensation by stopping money from
21 Croats -- from stopping -- sorry, I'll withdraw that -- from the pockets,
22 so to speak, of Croatian citizens?
23 A. That is correct.
24 Q. You took the view that this was not a matter that concerned the
25 army at all but was a police matter?
1 A. Yes, that is correct.
2 Q. Did you explain that to him?
3 A. Yes. I explained that to him and I expressed myself in very
4 specific terms.
5 Q. Thank you. What was his response once you had made it clear that
6 this was a police matter and didn't concern a lieutenant colonel from the
8 A. I was under the impression that he was surprised by my attitude.
9 He was surprised because I had given him a very vigorous resistance to his
10 attitude to this whole affair, because he always wanted to present a very
11 authoritative stance in his speech and in his appearance.
12 Q. Thank you. Now, the circumstances of his visit, you've told us
13 what transpired between you two. I want to know what it was like
14 around -- first of all, I should ask you: Was this in the police station
15 of Bosanski Samac, this encounter?
16 A. Yes. This discussion was in my office.
17 Q. Thank you. Now, were there any members of the 4th Detachment in
18 the vicinity of the police station?
19 A. I cannot recall if there were any members of the 4th Detachment at
20 the time. There were members of the military police who escorted him
21 there. But members of the 4th Detachment were there when he came to the
22 police station on another occasion. That was on the 6th of March 1992.
23 Q. Thank you. Very well, then. Can we please, then, transfer our
24 thinking to that episode, the 6th of March 1992? Can you briefly describe
25 to the Chamber what happened on that occasion?
1 A. This meeting that was held on the 6th of March was also held in
2 the premises of the police station in Bosanski Samac. It also took place
3 in my office, and it was held at the request of Colonel Nikolic. The
4 reason why the meeting was held and the topic that we were to discuss was
5 the request issued by Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic and the JNA to set up
6 this checkpoint that I mentioned a little while ago in Donja Crkvina.
7 Q. Can I just interrupt you there? Who else was present at the
9 A. At this meeting, Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic was present as a
10 representative of the JNA, and there was also his security officer,
11 Captain Milan Petrovic. Our police station was represented by Chief Vinko
12 Dragicevic. There was also the police commander, Mr. Milan Ekic. And I
13 was there too. Representing the municipality authorities, there was
14 Mr. Blagoje Simic. There was also Mr. Mirko Lukic. And I think that the
15 Secretary for National Defence, Mr. Milos Bogdanovic, was also there.
16 Perhaps there were some other people, but I can't recall. I'm sure that
17 these people I just mentioned were there.
18 Q. Thank you. Now, you were telling us the purpose of the meeting.
19 Please continue and explain what it was.
20 A. A few days before the meeting, the meeting of the 6th of March,
21 the Minister of the Interior of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Alija
22 Delimustafic, together with the members of the JNA, I believe that these
23 were the men at the level of the 2nd Military District in Sarajevo, he
24 signed an agreement indicating that the personnel of the JNA and of the
25 Ministry of the Interior could form joint checkpoints if it is deemed to
1 be in their joint interest and in accordance with their agreement.
2 Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic referred to this agreement that I have just
3 mentioned and sought for such a checkpoint to be established in Gornja
5 Q. Can I just interrupt you there? You've referred to personnel of
6 the Ministry of the Interior and the JNA forming checkpoints. Is that, in
7 effect, the police and the military getting together and manning
9 A. According to the agreement that was reached, it was possible to
10 establish such checkpoints, but at such checkpoints, the personnel had to
11 carry out their duties in accordance with the law, which meant that the
12 civilian police would control civilians, the civilian vehicles, and the
13 military police or JNA members at such checkpoints were entitled to check
14 only military vehicles and military personnel.
15 Q. You've referred to Mr. Blagoje Simic being present at this
16 meeting. Did he take a stance in respect of this issue?
17 A. Mr. Blagoje Simic, as all the other ethnic Serbs at the meeting,
18 supported this agreement and requested that such a checkpoint be
20 Q. What was the police attitude?
21 A. Chief Gragicevic and myself who were present there representing
22 the police thought that this checkpoint made no sense. There was no point
23 in establishing such a checkpoint, and we felt that it should not be
24 established, primarily because this checkpoint would be set up on the main
25 road going through Bosnia and Herzegovina and that the setting up of such
1 a checkpoint would, in effect, mean that the free movement of citizens and
2 free traffic of goods would be impeded.
3 Q. Thank you. Did you convey this attitude, did you convey this
4 attitude toward Sarajevo and the Ministry of the Interior? This police
5 attitude, I should say.
6 A. After the meeting, we informed the Ministry of the Interior in
7 Sarajevo about the meeting that was held, and we put in the proposal or I
8 presented my view that this -- there was no point in establishing this
9 checkpoint, that it was not justified. We said to Lieutenant Colonel
10 Nikolic that we would report to the Ministry of the Interior at the
11 republican level and that when we received their response, we would inform
12 him about the outcome, about the view taken by the Ministry.
13 After a few days, we received the response from the Ministry of
14 the Interior in Sarajevo, where the Ministry in Sarajevo agreed with our
15 view and indicated that there was no justification for such a checkpoint
16 to be set up.
17 Chief Dragicevic informed Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic about this
18 stand, but a few days later, this checkpoint was set up, despite all this,
19 at the location that I pointed out a little while ago.
20 Q. Now, it was set up. Did it have police or was it just JNA?
21 A. There were JNA members and also members of the police reserve
22 force, ethnic Serbs who had left our police station perhaps a month or two
23 before these events because they refused to work in the same police
24 station any more.
25 JUDGE SINGH: Could you please indicate on the map where this
1 checkpoint is set up?
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Is Your Honour referring to the map that we
3 showed previously? P9, I believe.
4 JUDGE SINGH: Yes, if it's on the map.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Thank you. I'd ask that the usher put P9 on
6 the easel, please.
7 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honours, in the meantime, can I have the
8 floor, please, for a second?
9 I think we have to establish a certain practice with regard to the
10 use of these maps. I suggest that this map should be here through the
11 whole proceedings, because otherwise, we are wasting time here. The
12 Prosecution is, you know, relying on P9 exhibit and then closing, getting
13 back. I mean -- and then by the end of the day, with all due respect,
14 maybe this witness will have also inevitable obligations in Sarajevo or in
15 Bosnia and then we shall be without the possibility of cross-examination.
16 So please instruct the Prosecution to act promptly and efficiently
17 as possible.
18 Thank you so much, Your Honours. Please excuse me for this
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. Your points are taken.
21 MR. DI FAZIO:
22 Q. Now, His Honour's question was where was the checkpoint that
23 you've just mentioned set up, the one that was set up in disregard of the
24 Ministry of the Interior?
25 A. [Indicates]
1 Q. And is that one of the checkpoints that you referred to earlier in
2 your evidence?
3 A. Yes, that is the checkpoint.
4 Q. Thank you. Continuing to ask you about your contacts with
5 Nikolic, did you ever have occasion to speak to him?
6 A. I spoke to him on three occasions. The first time I already spoke
7 about. That was when he came with respect to the wounding of that
8 person. The second time was the meeting regarding this checkpoint, and
9 the third time I spoke to him was in the barracks in Brcko.
10 Q. Thank you. That's the episode I was about to ask you about. Can
11 you tell the Chamber the circumstances under which you went to Brcko? I
12 don't need a full exposition of the reasons but just briefly why you went
14 A. On the 2nd of December 1991, the Republican Minister of the
15 Interior, Mr. Alija Delimustafic, in accordance with his legal powers,
16 dispatched a joint police unit of the Ministry of the Interior to the
17 territory of Bosanski Samac. At the head of the unit of the Ministry of
18 the Interior was an inspector from the Republican Ministry of the
20 I think that sometime in the second part of February 1992, members
21 of the 2nd Detachment of the JNA in Crkvina stopped the car of the
22 inspector, whose name was Safet Becirevic. They brought him into the
23 headquarters of the 2nd Detachment to see the commander, Marko Tubakovic.
24 They held him there for questioning for about an hour.
25 After this event, after he came to work the next morning, he
1 called Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic and asked him to see him, because he
2 wanted to resolve this situation in which he found himself in the night
4 Q. And is that the reason that you went to Brcko?
5 A. I went with him to Brcko. He asked me to accompany him. He did
6 not want to go there alone. Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic received us in the
7 barracks of the JNA in Brcko, in the office of the commander of the
8 barracks, Lieutenant Colonel Pavle Milenkovic. The inspector told him
9 about the events, and I believe that in this conversation regarding the
10 event, Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic was, in fact, quite fair. He denounced
11 the actions of his subordinates, and he undertook to investigate the
12 matter and to see what in fact had happened that night.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, during this encounter, did Nikolic produce any
14 small object or have a small -- a small object with him?
15 A. While we talked, there was an officer's satchel lying on the desk
16 next to us. It was opened, and I saw that there was a tape in the
17 satchel. I thought it was a videotape. I tried to provoke Lieutenant
18 Colonel Nikolic, saying to him, "Mr. Nikolic, are you watching porno
19 movies?" He was quite taken aback when I asked him that, and he said,
20 "Why do you ask me that?" I told him that he was carrying a videotape in
21 his satchel. He then said that it was not a videotape, that it was
22 something else. He took it out of the bag, out of the satchel. I think
23 it was a computer of some sort. I had never seen such a device before.
24 He turned the computer on, and he said that this computer
25 contained the coordinates for targets assigned to 109 artillery pieces.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 The coordinates were all in the town of Bosanski Samac. He said, "If you
2 try anything, I will raze Bosanski Samac to the ground."
3 Q. If who tries anything? Was he referring to you?
4 A. I think he meant the Croats and Muslims.
5 Q. Why do you think that he meant Croats or Muslims?
6 A. Well, the logic dictates. There was nobody else he could have
7 referred to.
8 Q. I've asked you some questions about the 4th Detachment patrols.
9 Were you aware of patrols being conducted by any other ethnic groups or
10 representatives of ethnic groups in Bosanski Samac?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What were the circumstances that you can tell us about?
13 A. Well, in the period between the 28th of November 1991 and the 1st
14 of April 1992, in the territory of the Bosanski Samac municipality, we had
15 28 [as interpreted] diversions or sabotages. I'm referring to events in
16 which various facilities were blown up, in effect destroyed. Such
17 sabotages were targeting certain business facilities but also privately
18 owned buildings in the town of Bosanski Samac. This was the reason why
19 the Bosniaks or Muslims in the town of Bosanski Samac, within the ranks of
20 the SDA. Organised some patrols, night-time patrols, in the town, the
21 purpose being to guard the buildings owned by Muslims in the town of
22 Bosanski Samac.
23 Q. May I just ask you to pause there? First of all, you've referred
24 to facilities being blown up, sabotage. Can you recall approximately how
25 many episodes occurred during the period of time you're talking about?
1 A. As I have already said, there were precisely 23 such events.
2 Q. And what about the victims of these or targets, I should say? Can
3 you comment upon those?
4 A. There were no casualties in such sabotages. They were usually
5 carried out late at night when there were no citizens in the streets or in
6 the facilities where it happened. But there was huge damage to property
7 in those events.
8 Q. When I say "victims," I'm not actually referring to injured or
9 wounded people but the owners of the property. Who were they?
10 A. For the most part, these facilities were state-owned or socially
11 owned, as we called it. The bridge in Bosanski Samac over the Sava River
12 was damaged. High-tension lines, the power-supply lines, were brought
13 down. As regards the privately owned buildings, they belonged exclusively
14 to Croats and Muslims.
15 Q. Just for the purposes of the transcript, Mr. Lukac, the transcript
16 that I see indicates that you first mentioned 28 events and later 23
17 events when I asked you a second time about that. What is your position?
18 Was it 23 or 28?
19 A. I never did say 28. I said that from the 28th of November until
20 the 1st of April 1992, I said that there were 23 such cases.
21 Q. That's my memory as well. It may simply be a transcript error.
22 Now, you -- you've mentioned that apart from the state property, all of
23 the targeted property belonged to Muslims and Croats.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Can you give us some examples of these privately owned buildings
1 that were targeted?
2 A [redacted]
6 [redacted]. I can't recall all the names of all
7 the owners, but I'm quite sure that all these properties belonged to
8 Croats and Bosniaks.
9 I was present during the on-site investigations on the scenes of
10 each of these crimes. All these cases were investigated in accordance
11 with the police procedure, and I'm sure that the papers pertaining to
12 these cases can still be found somewhere in the police station in Bosanski
14 Q. Did you cause any examination to be conducted into the type of
15 explosive used and other forensic indications around the scene of these
17 A. We carried out all the activities that have to be taken. We
18 carried out the scene-of-crime or on-site investigation in the presence of
19 the investigating judge, and we also took all the other criminal
20 investigative measures taken by the police in such cases. During the
21 on-site investigations, we would find some traces on the scene, and it was
22 quite clear to us that explosives that only the army had was used in such
23 sabotage activities. The civilians could not have had this type of
24 explosive at that time. The manner in which it was done indicated that
25 the persons who set up the explosive devices were highly professional, and
1 on the scenes, on some of the scenes, we found footprints left by boots
2 that were used by the JNA. And there was some other physical evidence
3 indicating that most likely the perpetrators came from the JNA.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. If Your Honours please, I'm going to
5 move on to another topic. It's just past 11.00. Is this the time for the
6 morning break?
7 JUDGE SINGH: Perhaps he can just tell us very quickly. He talked
8 about the incidents, the time frame over which the 28 -- the 23 incidents
10 A. In the period between the 28th of November 1991 and the 1st of
11 April 1992, so that would be approximately four months. Because the first
12 sabotage took place in the night between the 28th and the 29th of November
13 1991. It may be important to note here that, in my view, the date was not
14 an accident, because the 29th of November was the national holiday of the
15 Socialist Federated Republic of Yugoslavia.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Maybe we can break off and resume our sitting at
17 1130 hours.
18 --- Recess taken at 11.03 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 11.30 a.m.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The Prosecution is continuing.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Mr. Lukac, just one last question on bombings. You've described
23 these 23 bombings and your investigations and so on. Were you aware of
24 any similar types of bombings in neighbouring municipalities?
25 A. Yes. Yes, there were similar sabotages in the territory of
1 neighbouring municipalities; however, the number was smaller. For
2 example, on the territory of Orasje, Gradacac, and Odzak, the neighbouring
4 Q. Earlier you were mentioning that there were some SDA patrols, and
5 then we came into speaking or discussing or testifying on the issue of the
6 bombings. Did I understand your evidence to be correct that the SDA
7 organised patrols in response to this spate of bombings. I don't want to
8 put words in your mouth, but tell me if my understanding is correct.
9 A. That is how I viewed it then.
10 Q. What sort of patrols did they engage in?
11 A. These were patrols on which there were three or four citizens.
12 They had a motor vehicle. They were wearing civilian clothes. They had
13 information that some of them carried weapons in this vehicle. However,
14 they did not cause any incidents in town or were they in any position to
15 infringe on public law and order. In a certain way, the police tolerated
16 them appearing in town in such a way.
17 Q. Did they confine their patrols to any particular part of the town
18 or was it all over the town?
19 A. As far as I can remember, they were patrolling all over town.
20 However, they would spend longer intervals of time at certain positions
21 near these facilities that were owned by Bosniaks in town itself.
22 Q. Were you aware, as head of -- or as a police officer, of attempts
23 by the SDA or the HDZ or by any other Croat or Muslim ethnic groups to arm
25 A. I am aware that there were such activities within the Bosniak
1 population and within the Croat population. I think that people in these
2 local communes where Croats lived, and also in the town of Bosanski Samac
3 where Bosniaks lived, tried in a way to buy a certain quantity of weapons,
4 in keeping with their financial abilities, in order to defend themselves,
5 bearing in mind the fact that the Serb population was fully armed and
6 established from a military point of view from -- by virtue of the fact
7 that the JNA had established these formations.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note: Could the witness please
9 slow down.
10 MR. DI FAZIO:
11 Q. I think you heard the interpreters. Just slow it down, your
12 speech a bit, because it's hard to interpret everything when you speak too
14 Mr. Lukac, I want to show you a document now.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please and if my friends from the
16 Defence please, they will find it listed as C7 on the list of exhibits.
17 For the purposes of the transcript, it can be referred to as "Balance
18 sheet of money collected abroad, document prepared by the villagers of
19 Donji Hasici," D-o-n-j-i H-a-s-i-c-i.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Does it have a date?
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. If Your Honour pleases, it's dated the 10th
22 of March, 1992. Thank you. And I provide the Chamber with both the
23 English translation and with the B/C/S as part of the latter part of the
24 document. It consists of four pages in all. And I'll be seeking to put
25 into evidence the B/C/S version and perhaps the B/C/S version could be
1 placed on the ELMO so that the defendants may see what's being discussed.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have the number, please, for both the English
3 and the B/C/S?
4 THE REGISTRAR: This document entitled "Balance sheet of money
5 collected abroad" shall be marked for the record as Prosecutor's Exhibit
6 P18, and the B/C/S version shall be marked for the record as Prosecutor's
7 Exhibit P18 ter.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: May I proceed, if Your Honours please?
9 MR. ZECEVIC: I'm sorry, Your Honour, if I may have the floor for
10 one second?
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
12 MR. ZECEVIC: There are two documents in B/C/S. One document is
13 exactly the balance sheet on the money collected abroad, and the second
14 one is a list of the people who contributed to this, but it has not
15 been -- it hasn't been translated to English. So, I mean, the first
16 document, okay, corresponds to the original in B/C/S, but the second
17 document does not have a translation.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: Mr. Zecevic is quite right.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Prosecutor. Can we please have an
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Well, there is a simple reason, or a reason
22 for that. The second document, I think the evidence that I'll elicit
23 is -- speaks for itself. You can see that there are names and numbers
24 next to that, and I think the evidence will clearly establish that that's
25 all they are, names and figures of money. At the top of the page, there
1 is some writing in large lettering, and at the end, the very end, of
2 the -- very end of the document, there is a short paragraph after the
3 names and amounts of money are listed, and I will simply ask the witness
4 to read that into the transcript and we can have it immediately
6 JUDGE MUMBA: In which case we -- if you need it in your evidence,
7 that is the list of names, we need to have it also given a number.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: I wanted the document to be produced as a whole, as
9 P18, consisting of one, two, three pages in B/C/S.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Let the registrar number it according to her
11 system so that we have -- if we have a P18 ter, it's just a translation of
12 this page, so if we can have this one as well, numbered, please.
13 THE REGISTRAR: The list of persons contributing shall be marked
14 for the record as Prosecutor's Exhibit P18/A ter.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm sorry, Mr. Pantelic, you're on your feet.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Madam President, just for the sake of principle, I
17 don't believe that my learned colleague from Prosecutor bench can read
18 this document on B/C/S, because there are interesting stories here. It's
19 not only the list of names. For example, maybe -- I'm sure that my
20 colleague, he is not speaking B/C/S language, so, for example, you see,
21 after the fifth name on this donor list -- actually this is the fifth
22 name, "Anto Blazanovic plus," there is something. Maybe it's not
23 important for the Prosecution but maybe it might be important for the
24 Defence during the cross-examination. It said, "Mr. Anto Blazanovic plus
25 Albanian friends." And so on, and finally, there is a --
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, if you allow the Prosecutor to go
2 through this document with his witness, and then when you come to
3 cross-examine, you can take up these matters which, depending on what you
4 want, will diminish the evidential value of the document or will add
5 something to your Defence, that's fine.
6 MR. PANTELIC: Madam President, I absolutely concur with your
7 position, but it's a matter of principle. We have to follow certain
8 standards here. If a party in proceedings want to introduce and produce
9 an exhibit, it should be made on a proper way, which means that no matter
10 how simple this document is, it should be -- I mean, with this document
11 should be attached English translation. And we cannot -- in addition, we
12 cannot go through the -- all these documents with the witness saying,
13 "Well, witness shall read and we shall know." It's not an exhibit. So
14 it's just my friendly suggestion to my friends from the Prosecution that
15 in future they try to establish certain standards, nothing more. Of
16 course, we are free to cross-examine witness, and that will be done, but
17 it's a matter of principle.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Let the Prosecutor go through with it and
19 let's see where he reaches.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm sure he's taken note of the points you raised.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Madam President.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: I am of course grateful to my learned friend for
24 his assistance, and if any problems develop from additional material on
25 these pages, the latter pages, we can get a full translation done, and
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 that will be done, if necessary. But for the moment --
2 JUDGE MUMBA: But usually that is the rule. You can go through
3 with it provided we get an official translation of the list of names.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, yes. So if I may proceed?
5 Q. The document is apparently signed by a number of people at the
6 bottom. The translation that in English indicates two names that we can
7 see. One is Ivo Katic and the other a name Blazanovic. Do you recognise
8 any of the other names that are apparently signed at the bottom of the
10 MR. DI FAZIO: And perhaps before you give your answer, I should
11 point out to the Court that I'm not sure that the -- I think the ELMO has
12 the English version on it. For the benefit of the defendants, it should
13 have the B/C/S version on it, I think. I think it should be the B/C/S
14 version. We all have our documents, but the defendants don't and they can
15 only read B/C/S. So
16 if --
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. They can see on the screen.
18 MR. DE FAZIO: -- it is in B/C/S, then they can see it on the
19 screen and it's far better for them to have it. The rest of the court is
20 well-served because they've got both. Thank you.
21 Q. Now, my question was, do you see at the bottom of the page any
22 name signed other than those names I've mentioned?
23 A. I can recognise the names under 4 and 5 respectively.
24 Q. What are they?
25 A. I think that it is important to highlight here that this balance
1 sheet, this document, was signed, as it says here on the right-hand side
2 in the corner, members of the council of the local commune of Donji
3 Hasici, and the council is the executive organ of the municipal assembly.
4 That is to say that it is practically the government of that local
5 commune. So I personally know some of the persons mentioned here.
6 Q. Briefly, very briefly, just tell the Court of this local commune
7 system in villages.
8 A. We have already mentioned that at the level of the municipality of
9 Bosanski Samac, there were 26 local communes, and 25 were in rural areas
10 and one was in an urban area. That is to say, the town of Bosanski Samac
12 At the level of every settled area, regardless of whether it was a
13 village or town, there were government authorities. The highest organ of
14 government in a local commune is an assembly, and its executive is the
15 council of the local commune.
16 In this case, in this document, in this report, we see that it is
17 the council of the local commune that is dealing with these matters
18 related to expenses. It seems obvious that these six people who signed
19 this document are members of the council in the village of Donji Hasici.
20 Q. Thank you. Where is Donji Hasici?
21 A. It's here.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. DE FAZIO: For the purposes of the transcript, the witness
24 indicates a small village on Exhibit P9. Thank you very much.
25 Q. So it's obviously not very far, just a couple of kilometres out of
1 Bosanski Samac.
2 A. Well, 4 to 5 [Realtime transcript read in error"45"] kilometres
3 approximately. That is a village with a population of about 1.000. It's
4 a Croat village.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note that the transcript says "45
6 kilometres," whereas it is 4 to 5 kilometres, between 4 and 5 kilometres.
7 End of interpreters note.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you for that clarification. Yes, counsel.
9 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honour, again we have objection to transcript.
10 Well, here it said line 13, "45 kilometres approximately," and this is 4
11 to 5 kilometres.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That's what the interpreters were correcting,
13 actually. Thank you.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm grateful to counsel for that.
15 Q. Before the war, did people from the area go abroad to work and
16 send money back to the former Yugoslavia? Is it a common phenomenon in
17 the society at the time?
18 A. Well, I could not say quite specifically with regard to this
19 subject, but I can say that there were such cases. If, for example, some
20 important infrastructure projects were being carried out in a particular
21 village that were organised by such a local commune, for example, making
22 an asphalt road in that village, then, for example, people who worked
23 abroad, and there were about 2.500 people from the territory of the
24 pre-war municipality of Bosanski Samac who were working abroad, mainly in
25 Germany, Switzerland, Austria and other Western European countries, then
1 these citizens did make certain financial contributions with the purpose
2 of having such projects carried out.
3 Q. Thank you. Now, it indicates that a certain amount of money was
4 used for the purchase of 24 weapons, 13.250 DM.
5 A. Yes. This is item number 1.
6 Q. Yes. "DM," is that Deutschemarks?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Can you comment on the price that you see there for these 24
9 pieces of weapons, 13.250 Deutschemarks for 24 weapons. Can you conclude
10 anything from that?
11 A. Well, this figure shows that most probably automatic rifles were
12 bought here, small arms, because this would mean that kind of price when
13 the actual amount is divided by the number of weapons concerned, and then
14 we also know the black market price of weapons at that time.
15 Q. There are a number of other unexceptional items, road repairs,
16 Christmas party and so on. However, there is a further item on the
17 document, salaries for reserve police.
18 Now, why would the local commune or council be involved in payment
19 of salaries for reserve police? Can you provide the Chamber with any
20 explanation on that issue?
21 A. Yes. On the basis of the decision made by the Presidency of
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, as far as I can remember, on the 20th of September,
23 1991, in all of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the reserve police force was engaged.
24 A reserve policeman in such a situation, after being engaged in
25 this way, according to law, enjoyed all the rights that were enjoyed by
1 regular policemen. When I say "rights enjoyed by regular policemen," I'm
2 referring to rights based on their employment as such, and on the other
3 hand, rights in the sense of the actions that could be taken by a regular
4 policeman and the powers enjoyed by regular policemen.
5 These policemen practically came from two categories of citizens.
6 One group were people who had permanent employment in various companies on
7 the territory of a particular municipality, and the other group belonged
8 to the category of citizens who were unemployed, that is to say, who did
9 not work anywhere else. When they would be engaged in the reserve police
10 force, a problem cropped up, that is to say, how they could be compensated
11 for that, what kind of a salary should be paid to them, because they did
12 not go to their regular jobs in the companies where they worked, where
13 they were employed.
14 In this initial stage, salaries to policemen were paid by the
15 Republican Ministry of the Interior. However, as the situation evolved
16 further, the subsidies that came from the Ministry of the Interior became
17 irregular as far as such payments to policemen are concerned, because the
18 companies where they were employed asked for compensation, for a refund of
19 the salaries that were being paid to them in their own companies.
20 For example, the managers, in the companies where some of these
21 people worked and who were ethnic Serbs, refused to pay salaries to
22 members of the reserve police force who were otherwise employed in these
23 particular companies.
24 It is for those reasons that we turned to Mr. Mirko Jovanovic,
25 President of the municipal government, with the request to have salaries
1 to these reserve policemen paid from the municipal budget. However, he
2 refused that, with the exception that he does not need a reserve police
3 force on the territory of the municipality and that the Yugoslav People's
4 Army is there and that it will work on providing security for the citizens
5 of Bosanski Samac, the municipality of Bosanski Samac.
6 For that reason, most of these reserve policemen remained without
7 any financial compensation whatsoever. In such circumstances, and that is
8 corroborated by this document, people sought certain resources in order to
9 be able to give at least some financial compensation to reserve policemen
10 who were from their villages, and this item, which says, "Payment to the
11 members of the reserve police force," pertains precisely to that. I don't
12 know whether I've been clear enough, but that would be it.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, if you turn to the second page of the document,
14 there is obviously a list of names there. First of all, at the top of the
15 document, there is some large writing in print. Just read that out,
16 please. Tell us what it says so that we all know what it says.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have the correct page on the ELMO, please?
18 Can the usher please assist?
19 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm sorry, page 2, the second page of the
20 document. Thank you, that's the correct page now. I note that the usher
21 has that -- thank you. That's precisely the document.
22 Q. Now, we can't see at the top -- on the screen at the moment, it's
23 just the writing at the top. You see it in large print. What's that
24 say? What does it mean?
25 A. In large script, it is said, "Persons providing gifts for the
1 purposes of the Donji Hasici local commune," the donors.
2 Q. Thank you. I will now ask the usher to turn over the next page,
3 the last page, and again, there are a continuation of names and at the
4 bottom where a stamp appears, some writing. Please read out the writing
5 at the bottom of the page close to the stamp.
6 A. It is stated, "The report on the expenditure of these funds will
7 be submitted at the rally of the villagers to be held on Friday at 6.00 --
8 at 1800 hours."
9 Q. Was this a public document?
10 A. Well, I don't know if it was a public document or not, but it is
11 quite obvious that if this rally of villagers is being convened, it means
12 that all the villagers from the local commune were invited, which means
13 that this balance sheet and the report on the departure of the delegation
14 from the local commune of Donji Hasici to Germany and to Austria where
15 they were to gather funds from the citizens working there and the
16 expenditure of these funds according to these items would be presented to
17 the villagers at such a rally or a meeting. It is my personal view that
18 this whole document is quite transparent.
19 Q. Thank you. Now, would you turn to the second page, or the
20 previous page of the document, the second page listing various names and
21 amounts of Deutschemarks. One of the Defence counsel asked -- brought to
22 the court's attention a particular entry, the fourth down.
23 JUDGE SINGH: Just one minute, before you get there, there is a
24 stamp there, looks like an official stamp. Can you just tell us what that
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, I'm grateful to Your Honour. I omitted to get
2 evidence of that.
3 Q. Turn back to the last page of the document, and we can make out a
4 stamp. Can you comment on any of the writing in the stamp and what the
5 stamp is for?
6 A. This is the official stamp of the local commune of Donji Hasici.
7 Do I need to read out the text on the stamp?
8 Q. If you can make out any text, please do.
9 A. It says, "The Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the
10 municipality of Bosanski Samac," and below that, "The local commune of
11 Donji Hasici."
12 Q. Thank you. Now, if you go back to the second page --
13 JUDGE SINGH: Is he familiar with this stamp? Has he seen it
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
16 Q. You heard His Honour's question. Have you ever seen such a stamp
18 A. Well, perhaps not this very stamp, but each local commune had
19 their stamps with the same lettering, but the name of the local commune
20 would be different, depending on the actual local commune. This is a
21 completely normal and official stamp. But it is quite obvious that this
22 stamp was made before the democratic changes in Bosnia and Herzegovina
23 because the very title, "The Socialist Republic of Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina," indicates that fact.
25 Q. In effect, it's an old stamp, if it was affixed to the document in
1 March of 1992?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. All right. Now, page 2, please. Fourth entry down, can't quite
4 see it yet on the ELMO. Thank you, now you can. Fourth entry down, we
5 see what I can make out as Blazanovic, and then some words next to that.
6 Read out the words next to that, to that name.
7 A. It says, "Anto Blazanovic plus Albanian friends."
8 Q. Thank you. Can you help us with who or what the Albanian friends
10 A. I assume that these were his friends, the friends of
11 Mr. Blazanovic, who were of Albanian ethnic origin, who also contributed a
12 certain amount for the purposes of this local commune. The amount was 500
13 Swiss francs and 500 I assume German marks. I don't know what else one
14 can conclude.
15 Q. Thank you. Next entry, there is a word, "Lala." What does that
17 A. It is the nickname of this man.
18 Q. Thank you. Continuing down, we see, ten lines down, another word,
19 "Klebara." What does that mean?
20 A. I assume it is probably also the nickname of Marko Katic.
21 Q. Cast your eye down the list of names to the bottom of the page,
22 please. On occasions you will see an additional lettering that follows
23 obviously after a full name. Can you comment upon what those entries
24 are? For example, "Prubanin," "Bartolov," "Macak," "Mrki," and so on.
25 A. These are the nicknames of these men, or perhaps some additional
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 designation that is given to them in order to be able to identify them,
2 because you have people with the same first and last name. Several people
3 would have the same first and last name.
4 Q. Thank you. Turn over to page 3, and again, look at the list of
5 names, and again, there appear to be entries and we can all read them for
6 ourselves. Obviously the second from the top, there is something
7 indicating Bosanski Samac.
8 A. It says, "Mustafa Smajlovic, Bos. Samac." That means he is from
9 Bosanski Samac. This is the man who contributed 100 German marks.
10 Q. And the rest of the names on that -- the rest of the words that
11 follow on from the names in that list on page 3, are they all place names
12 or nicknames?
13 A. There follow indications of the locations where these people are.
14 Q. Thank you. I've finished with the document. Okay. Now, I'd like
15 to direct your mind back to the police forces in Bosanski Samac in the
16 period of time, the few months leading up to April 1992. You earlier
17 commented in your evidence that a number of Serbs or people of Serb ethnic
18 origin had left the reserve police force. Can you explain to the Chamber
19 what you meant by that, the circumstances under which it occurred?
20 A. After the decision of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina on
21 raising the reserve force of the police, of the 20th of September 1991, we
22 implemented this decision by engaging the entire reserve force that
23 existed in our municipality. After that event, four stations, reserve
24 police stations, were set up in the municipality of Bosanski Samac, in
25 accordance with the existing police structure there.
1 Q. Can I just interrupt and ask you there, does that -- is the effect
2 of that answer that the reserve police were called up into action and
3 became engaged in full-time duties?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Thank you. Please continue.
6 A. As I said, the four reserve police stations were set up, and each
7 of them covered or had jurisdiction over certain parts of the territory of
8 the Bosanski Samac municipality. The largest station was in Bosanski
9 Samac itself. It covered, as far as I can recall, the town of Bosanski
10 Samac and the 13 surrounding rural local communes.
11 This reserve police station had 96 reserve police officers. The
12 ethnic composition of this police station was really very multi-ethnic.
13 It included, in accordance with the census taken in the local communes, it
14 included representatives or ethnic Serbs, Bosniaks, and Croats.
15 Another reserve police station was located in the village of
16 Domaljevac. It had 50 police officers and it covered four local communes,
17 Domaljevac, Bazik, Trbnik, and Skrebince. Ethnically, it included Croat
18 and Serb officers, police officers.
19 The third reserve police station had its seat in the Obudovac
20 village. It is the largest Serbian village in the territory of the
21 municipality of Bosanski Samac in terms of the number of its inhabitants.
22 This was -- the personnel in that station was only of Serbian ethnic
23 origin because they covered only the areas with Serb population. It also
24 had 50 police officers.
25 The fourth reserve police station was located in the village of
1 Gornja Slatina. It had 38 police officers. There were Serb and Croat
2 police officers because it corresponded to the ethnic breakdown of the
3 population in the area that it covered.
4 In the initial stage of their work, these stations worked at full
5 strength. What I'm referring to is the whole -- the entire personnel,
6 regardless of their ethnic background, was engaged.
7 In December 1991, we began noticing that in some of these
8 stations, primarily in Bosanski Samac and partly in Domaljevac, Serb
9 police officers would be absent from work. And by the end of January
10 1992, no Serb police officers came to work in these two police stations,
11 which in effect means that the station in Bosanski Samac had only Croat
12 and Bosniak police officers and the one in Domaljevac had only Croat
13 police officers left.
14 Q. Did you take any steps to ascertain why this was happening?
15 A. Some of these police officers were talked to. They did not
16 provide any particular explanation, and they refused to return to work.
17 In my view, the reason why they no longer wanted to come to work or why
18 they withdrew from these stations was because they wanted to weaken the
19 police force primarily in the reserve police station in Bosanski Samac.
20 And at the same time, in my opinion, another reason was to seek a
21 justification for the presence of the units of the Yugoslav People's Army
22 in the municipality of Bosanski Samac.
23 If you have a strong police force, then you don't need an army,
24 because then you have a force that is able to establish public law and
25 order. And at any rate, a justification, a pretext had to be found for
1 the establishment of military units and for their presence in that area.
2 Q. Now, the comments that you've just given us, are they confined to
3 reserve police?
4 A. Exclusively the reserve police. The active police force or,
5 rather, the professional police officers employed in the police, who had
6 been employed in the police before, went to work as normal.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 A. But perhaps it is important to note here that in our police
9 station in Bosanski Samac, we had a total of 24 police officers who were
10 employed there. It is also perhaps important to note that out of the 24
11 police officers, 14 were ethnic Serbs, which did not reflect the ethnic
12 composition of the population in Bosanski Samac at all.
13 Q. Now, did the regular police, not the reserve police but regular
14 police, continue to carry out their duties throughout March and April or
15 the initial part of April 1992?
16 A. As I have already said, they performed their duties, but it has to
17 be noted that the active police force, the full-time police officers, when
18 the reserve police stations were established, they were then sent out or
19 dispatched to these police -- reserve police stations. It is also
20 important to stress another fact that in my view is quite important, and
21 that is the fact that the commander of the reserve police force was an
22 ethnic Serb, and he was appointed to that post by the Serbian Democratic
23 Party. His name is Milan Ekic.
24 Q. Did he work closely with you in the Bosanski Samac police
1 A. He worked with me on some tasks, since I was the chief of the
2 criminal -- of the CID, and he was in charge of the uniformed police
4 Q. Did any of the full-time police, not reserve police but the
5 full-time police, regular police, have any contact with Mr. Simo Zaric in
6 the period of time leading up to April 1992?
7 A. According to the information I had at the time, a certain number
8 of police officers of the full-time regular police officers of Serbian
9 ethnic origin, they were in touch with Simo Zaric.
10 Q. What precisely do you mean when you use the expression "were in
11 touch with Simo Zaric"?
12 A. For instance, I mean that these police officers provided certain
13 pieces of information to Mr. Simo Zaric from the domain of the police in
14 the Bosanski Samac area. In light of the fact that he was the assistant
15 to the commander for security, this information would be quite useful to
17 I also have to note that providing such information is a criminal
18 offence, because such information is to a great extent officially --
19 treated as an official secret.
20 Q. Did you ever do anything to come to grips with this problem, to
21 deal with it in any way?
22 A. I didn't do anything. First of all, at that time, I was not in
23 charge of the police; and secondly, the question is: What could have been
24 done, realistically, in the circumstances that existed at the time?
25 Q. What were your sources of information as to this activity, this
1 passing of police information to Simo Zaric?
2 A. Such information either came from the police officers who worked
3 side by side with the police officers who passed on such information or
4 were relayed by the citizens who simply made note of such contacts.
5 Q. Can you comment on where this sort of contact took place, the
6 contact between regular police officers and Simo Zaric, according to your
8 A. Such contacts usually took place in the Cafe AS that we mentioned
9 a little while ago, where, to all intents and purposes, the headquarters
10 of the 4th Detachment was located.
11 Q. Can you comment on what period of time this activity was going --
12 over what period of time this activity occurred?
13 A. This activity went on in the entire period from the time when the
14 4th Detachment was established until the beginning of the war, but as the
15 war approached, the activity intensified.
16 Q. Thank you. And finally on this topic, can I ask you, do you have
17 any information or knowledge of the sort of information that was being
18 passed, the topics?
19 A. This information pertained to various topics. It may have
20 pertained to certain criminal investigations undertaken by us at the
21 time. They may have pertained to certain events in which the police
22 acted. It also may have had to do with the duty roster in the police,
23 which means which police officer worked where and when. It may have
24 pertained to any information relayed to our superiors through the
25 communications centre to Sarajevo and Doboj where Mr. Veselin Cajic, an
1 employee in the communications centre, was particularly active in this
2 regard. He is a personal friend of Mr. Simo Zaric, and he had access to
3 all this information because he was employed there. That's what he did,
4 and so on and so forth.
5 Q. What ethnic background is Mr. Cajic?
6 A. A Serb.
7 Q. Is the communications centre part of the police force in Bosanski
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Was it located in the police station?
11 A. Yes, on the upper floor of the police station building.
12 Q. And this Mr. Cajic was a policeman himself?
13 A. They had the powers that the police officers had, but they did not
14 work as police officers. They worked in the communication centre. There
15 were five employees in the communication centre. Four of them were Serbs,
16 and their chief was a Bosniak but he was married to a Serb.
17 Q. Who -- sorry, I withdraw that. What sort of information would be
18 within the possession of the communications centre?
19 A. The communication centre had all the information that was
20 dispatched from the police station to the ministry in Sarajevo. This is
21 mostly information that was sent through the system of dispatches. Then
22 the information sent on to the Security Services Centre in Doboj and the
23 information received from the Minister of the Interior -- received by the
24 police station and sent through the dispatches system from the ministry,
25 or also from other police stations in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 Q. Thank you. Now, I'd just like to leave this topic and move to a
2 slightly different one. I may have asked you if you know a gentleman
3 named Stevan Todorovic. If I already have, I'm sorry, but I'll repeat the
4 question. Do you know him?
5 A. I know him only by sight. That is to say, nothing beyond that.
6 For example, I never talked to him before the war about anything. But
7 physically, I know who he is.
8 Q. Thank you. Now, I don't think it will be in dispute and there
9 will be evidence that he was at some stage appointed a police chief. Were
10 you ever aware of that prior to April, or rather the 17th of April 1992?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What can you tell us about his appointment as police chief?
13 A. I know that after the founding assembly of the Serb population of
14 Bosanski Samac, there was a Serb government that came into being. Within
15 this government the heads of various government ministries were
16 appointed. As for the interior, Mr. Stevan Todorovic was appointed head.
17 That was information that could be heard among the citizens, among the
18 people of town, with regard to the establishment of this new Serb
19 government in Bosanski Samac.
20 Q. That's an issue I'm interested in. Was it a question of finding
21 out about this appointment of Todorovic and the creation of the Serb
22 government from or by word of mouth rather than any official or publicised
24 A. I found out through unofficial means. That is to say that is what
25 people talked about.
1 Q. Did he have his own office, with -- somewhere, with his name on
2 the door, saying, "Chief of police," anything like that?
3 A. Before the war, he did not have such an office. Before the war,
4 he was the manager of a company in Bosanski Samac.
5 Q. Do you know where the village of Batkusa is located?
6 A. Yes, I do. That is one of the 25 villages in the territory of the
7 municipality of Bosanski Samac.
8 Q. Can you see it on Exhibit P9, which is just behind you, the map of
9 the area or is it off the map?
10 A. Off the map. It's somewhere around here.
11 Q. In effect, south -- south-east of Bosanski Samac?
12 A. That's right.
13 Q. Is it a -- what is the ethnic background of the villagers?
14 A. The village of Batkusa is a village with a Serb population.
15 Q. Do you know a man named Dragan Antic?
16 A. I do.
17 Q. Did he ever make a report to you, an official report?
18 A. He never made an official report to me, but after the war, I had
19 the opportunity to talk to him.
20 Q. Does Batkusa have a football field?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. In the period of time before the 17th of April, did any
23 helicopters land there?
24 A. As for this football field in Batkusa, allegedly, on the 11th of
25 April, JNA helicopters brought a group of soldiers from Serbia to the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 territory of the municipality of Bosanski Samac. This group allegedly
2 consisted of 32 soldiers.
3 Q. Now, can I just ask you to pause? Where did you get that
4 information from?
5 A. I first got that information on the 12th of April, in the morning,
6 from our policeman who at that time was commander of this reserve police
7 station in Obudovac. His name is Mirko Pavic.
8 Q. Now, you said in evidence that you were appointed chief of police.
9 When were you appointed chief of police?
10 A. I was appointed acting chief of the police station of Bosanski
11 Samac on the 11th of April 1992.
12 Q. So this report came to you the day after your appointment?
13 A. Yes, the very first morning.
14 Q. What sort of information did you get in the report? By that, I
15 mean did you have information as to who the people were, their numbers,
16 how they were there, why they were there?
17 A. This information came by word of mouth. It was very scarce. As
18 far as I can remember, he said that a group of soldiers came in JNA
19 helicopters and landed on the soccer field in the village of Batkusa. He
20 did not know the exact number of these men, and he said that they were
21 staying at the youth hostel in that village. It is right next to that
22 soccer field.
23 Q. Did you do anything with this information? Did you take any
25 A. I did not take any action whatsoever vis-a-vis these persons who
1 came in the described manner.
2 Q. Any reason for that, not taking action?
3 A. The question is what kind of action we could have taken. If they
4 came in JNA helicopters, if they wore military uniforms, if they were
5 armed, then for us, practically, this was yet another JNA unit in that
7 Q. Thank you. Did you ever mention this arrival of military men at
8 Batkusa to any of the defendants in this case?
9 A. Yes, I did.
10 Q. Under what circumstances did that occur?
11 A. This occurred on that very same day, that is to say the 12th of
12 April, at a meeting that was held at the local commune in Bosanski Samac,
13 where Mr. Blagoje Simic and Mr. Simo Zaric, defendants in this courtroom,
14 were present.
15 Q. How did it come about that mention was made of the military men?
16 A. During that meeting, Mr. Zaric was called to the telephone which
17 was in the offices where the meeting was being held. After he returned
18 into the meeting hall where the meeting was taking place, he said
19 something to the following effect: "We are talking about preserving the
20 peace here, and I have just received information now that members of the
21 Croatian army at Slavonski Samac, which is a town in the Republic of
22 Croatia on the other side of the Sava River, which is the boundary as far
23 as Bosanski Samac is concerned ...."
24 After this statement of his, I presented a piece of information
25 there to the persons who were present, the one that had to do with the
1 arrival of soldiers by helicopter in Batkusa. And I said that it would be
2 a good thing if Mr. Zaric would inform the gathering of such occurrences
3 in the territory of the municipality of Bosanski Samac as well, because I
4 assumed that he had had that piece of information. However, he made no
5 comment whatsoever, neither he nor Mr. Blagoje Simic. They simply
6 disregarded what I had said.
7 Q. Explain to the Chamber why you would have provided that comment if
8 the only information you had was that it might have been some JNA soldiers
9 in JNA helicopters landing in a small village. Why make the comment?
10 A. I said that for two reasons. The first is that according to the
11 information I had received from my policemen, it was evident, according to
12 the way in which they were dressed and the kind of uniforms they wore,
13 that these were no ordinary soldiers. Rather, they were members of
14 special units, which indicated that their arrival there cannot be without
15 a reason and cannot be totally innocent, so to speak.
16 The second reason why I said this was that I thought that if we
17 are discussing the security situation and whatever could imperil the
18 safety and security of the citizens of Bosanski Samac, then we should take
19 a realistic view of that, regardless of the side from which danger might
20 have been coming from.
21 Q. Thank you. I'd like you now to turn your attention to the week
22 leading up to the night of the 16th and 17th of April. Do you know a
23 gentleman named Alija Fitozovic?
24 A. I do.
25 Q. Who is he?
1 A. This is a man who, on the 14th of April, 1992, was appointed chief
2 of staff of the Territorial Defence of Bosanski Samac. The establishment
3 of the Territorial Defence in Bosnia-Herzegovina or, rather, Territorial
4 Defence staffs, was based on a decision which was passed by the Presidency
5 of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina at a joint
6 session. This meeting was held or, rather, the decision was passed on the
7 8th of April, 1992, in Sarajevo.
8 The same decision was passed after the international recognition
9 of Bosnia-Herzegovina as an independent and sovereign state, and it was
10 internationally recognised on the 6th of April.
11 Q. Was that decision communicated to the municipality in Bosanski
13 A. This decision of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the
14 government of Bosnia-Herzegovina was conveyed to all municipalities in
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina or, rather, the authorities in these municipalities.
16 For example, such a decision was conveyed to the president of the
17 municipality, also to the defence office, to the police station, et
19 Q. Who was present at the meeting that resulted in the appointment of
20 Mr. Fitozovic?
21 A. This meeting was held on the 13th of April, 1992. It started at
22 1800 hours, and it was held in the village of Grebnice. The meeting was
23 attended by the representatives of the socio-political structures of the
24 Bosniak and Croat populations. As chief of the police station, I was also
25 present at this meeting.
1 At this meeting, what was discussed was the implementation of the
2 decisions of the Presidency and government of Bosnia-Herzegovina
3 concerning the establishment of the Territorial Defence for our
4 municipality, and in that context, proposals were made for the appointment
5 of a commander of the Territorial Defence. Mr. Marko Bozanovic was
6 proposed for this post, and a Bosniak person was proposed to be chief of
7 staff, and that was the mentioned gentleman, Mr. Alija Fitozovic.
8 On the next day, the 14th of April, these proposals were submitted
9 to the president of the municipality, and he submitted these proposals on
10 the same day to the Ministry of Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina in order to
11 have the above-mentioned persons appointed to these positions.
12 So on that day, the Ministry of the defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina
13 appointed them to these positions in accordance with the provisions of the
14 law on national defence.
15 Q. So this was, if I understand your evidence correctly, the
16 formation of a new TO, a Bosnian TO, an independent Bosnian TO.
17 A. That's right. I think that this Territorial Defence that was
18 established was actually a point of departure for the establishment of the
19 legal army of the State of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I said after the
20 recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina as an independent and sovereign state.
21 Q. Now, this meeting occurred in the village of Grebnice, and it
22 dealt with the TO of the municipality. Why Grebnice? Why not Bosanski
23 Samac? Why have the meeting in another village?
24 A. I don't know why the organiser of this meeting chose this
25 particular place. As chief of the police station, I was invited to this
1 meeting, and I really cannot answer that particular question.
2 Q. How far is Grebnice from Bosanski Samac?
3 A. About six kilometres. It's around here.
4 Q. I see. So again quite south-east of the town.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Was the fact of this formation of a Bosnian TO at this -- for
7 Bosanski Samac at this meeting widely publicised or made known to the
8 citizens of the town and the municipality?
9 A. This fact was made public through the local radio station by way
10 of a press release that was signed by Mr. Mato Nujic, president of the
11 municipality. Inter alia, I believe that the most important thing in this
12 announcement or this press release were two matters, actually: first,
13 that a Territorial Defence was established; and secondly, that all
14 citizens, irrespective of ethnicity, can apply to join the Territorial
15 Defence. I emphasise that this is on a -- on a principle of
16 voluntariness, and it is no accident that I'm saying that, because the
17 leadership of this new Territorial Defence no longer had any military
18 records concerning military conscripts from the territory of that
19 municipality at their disposal. As far back as July 1991, these records
20 were violently taken by the JNA from the Defence office in Bosanski
21 Samac. These were among the most important measures that were taken in
22 order to prepare for everything that would follow.
23 Q. Was there any response by the citizenry when -- sorry, I'll
24 rephrase my question. You said that the citizenry was invited to join the
25 TO. Was there any response, any discernible response, prior to the night
1 of the 16th and 17th?
2 A. I've already said that the commander and the chief of staff of
3 this new Territorial Defence were appointed on the 14th of April. They
4 started working on the next day, the 15th of April, and they started
5 working in the building of the Territorial Defence that was there until
6 then, and this particular building is across the street from the police
7 station. They kept the personnel that had been employed there within the
8 administration of the Territorial Defence until then. So on the 15th,
9 that is to say on this first day when they started working, and on the
10 next day, the 16th of April, a large number of citizens applied to join
11 the Territorial Defence.
12 Q. Now there were two organisations that were charged with the
13 responsibility of defending the town, were there not? The 4th Detachment
14 and the TO? Is that a correct assessment of the situation?
15 A. I wouldn't put it that way. I would define it in the following
16 way: that at that time, there were two military components in town, but
17 with different purposes and different objectives.
18 Q. Can you -- I'm sorry, I don't understand your point. Can you
19 amplify upon your last answer?
20 A. Well, at that moment, when the Territorial Defence was
21 established, that is to say from the 15th onwards, there was the
22 Territorial Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and there was the 4th
23 Detachment in town, as a reserve unit of the Yugoslav People's Army.
24 I'm not sure that we have understood each other when I said that I
25 do not think that these two military structures had the same task, because
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and the English transcripts.
1 that manifested itself very soon after that, only two days later. The
2 structure of the 4th Detachment, together with other JNA units, occupied
3 the town of Bosanski Samac. The purpose of the establishment of the
4 Territorial Defence was precisely that, to preserve the peace in the
5 territory of the municipality and also to provide safety and security for
6 the citizens, in terms of their personal safety and the safety of their
7 property. So these are different things.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, do you wish me to
9 continue? It's 1.00.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We have reached the end of our proceedings
11 to. I'm afraid the proceedings will continue being half day because the
12 Registry is still looking into the services required by Mr. Milan Simic
13 for us to be able to sit in the afternoon. It is a great inconvenience to
14 everybody because it seems that the trial will take longer than
15 anticipated, and I would also ask the witnesses to be patient and perhaps
16 things will change in the near future. So we will adjourn today until
17 tomorrow morning at 0930 hours.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
19 1.00 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday the 25th day
20 of September, 2001, at 9.30 a.m.