1 Wednesday, 13 November 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Please call the case.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Case number
7 IT-95-9-T, the Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and
8 Simo Zaric.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: This morning -- I take it we are starting with
10 Mr. Blagoje Simic?
11 MR. PANTELIC: Good morning, Your Honours. That's correct. I'm
12 calling the witness, defendant, my client, Mr. Blagoje Simic.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. He may take the witness stand and make the
14 solemn declaration.
15 Yes. Please stand up and make the solemn declaration.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
17 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 WITNESS: BLAGOJE SIMIC
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Please sit down.
21 MR. PANTELIC: Prior to beginning, Your Honours, allow me to
22 address the Court with the issue regarding the time consumption or time
23 limitations of the examination-in-chief of Dr. Simic. My understanding is
24 that the list that the Defence provided to the Trial Chamber according to
25 the instructions is related to the order of the Trial Chamber. But also
1 my understanding is that this particular case with the testimony of the
2 defendant will not affect the time limits imposed by the Trial Chamber
3 with regard to the other witnesses. So I just want to clarify that issue.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The defendant will be given sufficient time to
5 present his case. So you can start.
6 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you. Thank you, Your Honours, for this
8 Examined by Mr. Pantelic:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Dr. Simic. Can you hear me? Can
10 you hear the interpretation? Did you hear the interpretation of what was
11 just discussed with the Trial Chamber? Is everything all right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Before we start, could you please be so kind as to explain briefly
14 to the Trial Chamber why you decided to testify, why you decided to give
15 evidence, since you are aware of the fact that this is not compulsory in
16 such proceedings, that the Rules do not make this compulsory.
17 A. I wanted my own views to be heard in these proceedings as well.
18 Q. When were you born?
19 A. On the 1st of July, 1960, Kruskovo Polje, municipality of Bosanski
21 Q. Kruskovo Polje is part of the municipality of Samac.
22 A. Yes. It is 7 kilometres away from Samac.
23 Q. Which direction? North? South? East? West?
24 A. South, towards Modrica.
25 Q. Tell me, your parents still live in Kruskovo Polje?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What is your father, what is his occupation?
3 A. He used to be a financial expert. Now he is a retiree.
4 Q. Please, since we speak the same language, when I finish putting my
5 question, could you pause 45 seconds so that the interpreters could finish
6 doing their work so that we could have an accurate transcript.
7 So your father was born, I assume, also in Kruskovo Polje?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Your grandfather?
10 A. Also in Kruskovo Polje -- my paternal grandfather, that is.
11 Q. And in this case your great-grandfather?
12 A. Also in Kruskovo Polje.
13 Q. So several generations of your family have already been living in
14 Samac, or rather, in that area?
15 A. Yes. At least for 400 years.
16 Q. What is your mother, Dr. Simic? What is her occupation?
17 A. She is a housewife.
18 Q. Where was she born?
19 A. The village Obednik [phoen], municipality of Bosanski Samac.
20 Q. I assume that her ancestors also hailed from that area.
21 A. Yes, yes.
22 Q. Do you have any brothers and sisters?
23 A. I have one brother.
24 Q. When was he born?
25 A. In 1949.
1 Q. Was he also born in Kruskovo Polje?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. What is his occupation?
4 A. He has an MS in agriculture.
5 Q. What does he do now?
6 A. He is Secretary for Economic Affairs in the municipal assembly.
7 He was a member of the mayor's cabinet.
8 Q. I assume that he has a family as well?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You're married?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. How long have you been married?
13 A. Since 1985.
14 Q. What does your wife do? What is her occupation?
15 A. She has a degree from the higher school of social sciences, and
16 right now she is working in a pharmacy.
17 Q. Is she also studying something from the field of pharmacy?
18 A. Yes. She is studying in order to obtain a degree in pharmacy at
19 the university in Banja Luka.
20 Q. How many children do you have, you and your wife?
21 A. My wife bore four children, four of our children; three are alive.
22 Q. It is my understanding that you lost one child?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. I am not going to go into the details. Of course this is your
25 private affair. How old was your child when it died?
1 A. Five months old.
2 Q. As for your other children, how many daughters, sons do you have?
3 Of what ages are they?
4 A. I have a 17-year-old son and I have two daughters. One is 14 and
5 the other one is 10.
6 Q. Tell me, where did you complete elementary school?
7 A. In Bosanski Samac.
8 Q. What about secondary school?
9 A. In Gradacac.
10 Q. In relation to Samac, where is Gradacac?
11 A. 18 kilometres to the south-east.
12 Q. Is Gradacac now in the territory of Republika Srpska?
13 A. No.
14 Q. What degree do you have from university?
15 A. I completed medical school in Tuzla.
16 Q. When was this?
17 A. 1984.
18 Q. I assume that after obtaining the degree in medicine, you people
19 who are involved in this line of work specialise. What was your
20 specialist training? What did you do in the field of medicine?
21 A. I did several residencies, smaller and bigger ones. In 1987, I
22 was trained for treating chronic alcoholics in Jagomir near Sarajevo.
23 Then in 1990, I was trained as a resident for six months in Tuzla in order
24 to work on chemodialysis. Then in 1991, I obtained a residency in the
25 field of internal medicine. I did this pre-clinical training in 1990, and
1 in 1991 in Doboj and Tuzla; however, due to the war operations, in 1994 I
2 changed my residency to epidemiology, and in 1996 I got my degree as a
3 specialist in Banja Luka. Then, I took a post-graduate course in Banja
4 Luka. I completed my first year of post-graduate studies. And due to
5 what happened then, I did not continue my post-graduate studies.
6 I can say that I am the first physician in Samac who started with
7 chemodialysis who opened this process and introduced this at the Samac
8 Medical Centre for Chemodialysis.
9 Q. You mentioned epidemiology as your specialist training, and this
10 was practically during the time of war?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What was the reason for you to opt for that field of medicine?
13 A. Because I could deal with that theoretically to a large extent and
14 I didn't have to get that much practical training, because I didn't have
15 enough time to spend at clinical facilities. That meant that I would have
16 to leave town for several years and so on to go to a larger medical
18 Q. This field of medicine, epidemiology, was it of relevance to the
19 town, for example, during the war operations, in terms of providing better
20 healthcare to the population? Please just answer -- just wait --
21 A. It can be said that it is logical for that to be the most
22 important field of medicine in a time of war, in addition to war surgery,
23 of course.
24 Q. You also mentioned this centre for dialysis at the medical centre
25 in Samac.
1 JUDGE WILLIAMS: [Microphone not activated].
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: [Microphone not activated] I think I have a
4 problem again.
5 Two days in a row, I don't have the button correctly adjusted.
6 Dr. Simic, I -- being that I'm not an expert medical person, I
7 wonder whether you could tell me exactly what epidemiology is and why it
8 would be important in a wartime armed conflict-type of situation.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Epidemiology is a science that
10 previously dealt only with the spread of contagious diseases. However,
11 today it also has to deal with the spread of non-contagious diseases. So
12 nutrition is a very important field, generally speaking. However, in a
13 situation of war, due to poor hygiene, contagious diseases are on the
14 rise. And therefore, it is the task of epidemiologists to propose
15 measures that curb the degree and control the spread of contagious
16 diseases, because then there is no electricity, there is no water, there
17 is poor nutrition, and so on and so forth, poor hygiene.
18 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
19 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. You mentioned this centre for dialysis at the medical centre in
21 Samac. Please tell us now briefly, why was it necessary to establish the
22 centre for dialysis and what is -- what is it so particular about that
23 region where you lived?
24 A. In the valley of Sava -- or rather, the Sava Valley all the way
25 down to the Black Sea, that area is known for endemic kidney diseases,
1 nephropathy, which leads to deterioration of kidneys. And since this is
2 an endemic area, and we are within that area, we had to open a centre for
3 dialysis in order to treat chronic kidney patients. Their natural kidneys
4 stopped functioning and then they have to use artificial ones. It enables
5 them to extend their life for some ten years. And after chemodialysis
6 becomes impossible, then they can proceed to transplantation of kidneys
7 providing that that surgery is successful, they continue with a normal
8 life. And if it fails, then they have to go back to dialysis. So this is
9 a method that cleans the blood. It's called an artificial kidney.
10 Q. Now, tell me, please, during war operations in Samac, did this
11 centre continue to operate?
12 A. Yes, it did throughout the war, and it provided services to all
13 patients with kidney problems residing in Samac.
14 Q. When you say "all patients residing in Samac," do you mean
15 regardless of their ethnic or religious background?
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. Now, tell me, please, when did you complete your military service?
18 A. In 1985 and 1986.
19 Q. In which branch of service did you serve in the army?
20 A. In the medical corps.
21 Q. And upon completing your military service, you became a member of
22 the reserve forces, didn't you?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Can you tell me what reserve forces were you a member of.
25 A. Medical corps within the Territorial Defence in Samac
1 municipality. I think that I was listed there as head of the medical
3 Q. Did you from time to time also perform certain -- did you
4 participate in certain military training, as was mandated by the law?
5 A. Yes. There were regular trainings, and they existed within the
6 framework of National Defence and Territorial Defence.
7 Q. Who was the commander of the unit that you belonged to?
8 A. Ivo Dragicevic was the commander. He was the Chief of Staff of
9 Territorial Defence.
10 Q. How long did he stay in that position?
11 A. Until the -- until he was forcibly removed, until the 16th of
12 April, 1992. He's Croat by ethnicity.
13 Q. Can you please explain what you mean by "forcible removal." Who
14 removed him forcibly?
15 A. He was removed by the coalition of the HDZ and SDA. The
16 then-president or mayor of municipality issued an order that he be
17 removed, and that was done without the consent of Serb representatives,
18 assemblymen, and other official organs of the municipality.
19 Q. Since something was not recorded in the transcript -- you
20 mentioned the name of the president of the municipality.
21 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues] ... [In English]
22 Just a kind of intervention and suggestion to the Translation Unit. If we
23 are speaking of the chairman of the municipal assembly, that sense is
24 rather different than the term "mayor" -- "mayor of municipality," which
25 you can find, for example, on page 9, line 19. So for the sake of
1 clarity, in the future the proper and correct translation of what
2 Dr. Simic just said was president of municipal assembly or chairman of
3 municipal assembly, et cetera, but it's not mayor, because that's a
4 completely different term. Thank you.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Now, please tell me, Dr. Simic, you mentioned the
6 name of the president of the municipal assembly of Bosanski Samac. What
7 was it?
8 A. Mato Novic -- Mato Nujic. N-u-i-c [as interpreted]. That's
10 Q. What was his ethnic background?
11 A. He was a Croat.
12 Q. In view of the fact that at the time a coalition existed, a
13 multi-party coalition, can you tell us what party did the president of the
14 municipal assembly come from?
15 A. I wouldn't call it a coalition. It was more of a partnership that
16 existed between the parties. At the time Mato Nujic, a member of the HDZ,
17 was president of the municipal assembly.
18 Q. Now, since the name of Ivo Kobas was mentioned as well with
19 respect to Territorial Defence --
20 A. No, it was Ivo Dragicevic.
21 Q. And as I took it, he, without applying appropriate legislative
22 procedure, was removed from office.
23 A. Yes, that's right, together with his entire cabinet.
24 Q. Now, instead of those people who then were in the TO staff, who
25 replaced them?
1 A. The SDA and HDZ put their people into office, into TO staff, and
2 they also appointed head of Territorial Defence staff. And then
3 afterwards, it wasn't the Territorial Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina
4 any more; it was the Territorial Defence of SDA and HDZ. A member of HDZ
5 was appointed head of -- Chief of Staff, and Alija Fitozovic was appointed
6 his deputy.
7 Q. Now, let us go back to the time when you completed your military
8 service and when you started working as a physician. When did you start
9 working as a physician in medical centre in Samac?
10 A. Immediately upon graduation, in 1984.
11 Q. And what was your exact title at the medical centre in Samac when
12 you started working?
13 A. I was head of emergency and general services and ambulances.
14 Q. Can you tell me who was director of medical centre in Samac at the
16 A. Mesud Nogic.
17 Q. I suppose that similar to other institutions the medical centre
18 had multi-ethnic staff, didn't it?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And Dr. Nogic, by ethnicity, is what?
21 A. He's a Muslim.
22 Q. And what kind of relationship did you have with Dr. Nogic, both
23 professionally and personally?
24 A. They were correct.
25 Q. Is Dr. Nogic still employed at the medical centre in Samac?
1 A. I don't believe he is any more. However, I think that he still
2 resides in Samac and that he brought his family back to Samac.
3 Q. And until what time did Dr. Nogic remain in the medical centre in
4 Samac as a physician and as an executive? Until what year?
5 A. I couldn't tell you exactly, but he remained director of medical
6 centre for quite a while after the war started, until sometime in 1993, I
7 believe. I could be wrong, but I think that's how it is.
8 Q. So even during war operations, Dr. Nogic continued working in
9 medical centre in Samac.
10 A. Yes. He was director there.
11 Q. I suppose that Samac, just like Bosnia itself, is a multi-ethnic
12 area that nurtured the spirit of ethnic tolerance throughout the time?
13 A. Yes, just like the entire Yugoslavia did.
14 Q. During your youth, while at school, I assume that you had friends
15 among all ethnic groups.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And what was your relationship with your peers from other ethnic
19 A. Very proper, which later led to me choosing a Muslim for a best
20 man at my wedding.
21 Q. But unfortunately after the break-up of Yugoslavia, I assume that
22 tensions started growing in Samac, just like elsewhere in the former
23 Yugoslavia. Please tell me, when was it that you noticed for the first
24 time that up until then tolerant and proper inter-ethnic and neighbourly
25 relations started deteriorating and changing? What was your personal
1 impression regarding all that?
2 A. Well, all of that was initiated in the centres, in large urban
3 centres, Sarajevo, Zagreb, Belgrade perhaps as well, and then it spread to
4 the provinces, elsewhere. With the break-up of Yugoslavia, once the
5 republic started seceding -- and up until then we believed that to be
6 impossible, we believed that it was impossible for somebody to break apart
7 a state that existed for a hundred years, where everybody lived together,
8 went to school together and felt comfortable in. And this led to greater
10 And at the time, it was believed that people separated into two
11 groups: Patriots and those who favoured separatism. Patriots wanted to
12 preserve Yugoslavia, and separatists wanted to break it apart. And
13 depending on the method of preserving or breaking apart Yugoslavia, that
14 influenced the events in the field. If the method of break-up was
15 favoured, then that denied the constitution, the system of National
16 Defence, the JNA, and that also basically went against everything that was
17 joint. However, if the system of preserving Yugoslavia was favoured, then
18 people -- then people acted different. There were referendums.
19 There was support expressed to the Yugoslav People's Army and so
20 on. And this spread from the centres to local areas. And in view of the
21 fact that the front was quite near, tensions grew and this in turn led to
22 further polarisation. The war started first in Slovenia, then in Croatia,
23 and then there was a front line some 20 kilometres away in Vukovar. We
24 could hear the combat going on daily. All of this had repercussions in
25 the area of north-western Bosnia. There were refugees streaming in from
1 all ethnic groups. There were soldiers coming to this area. And then the
2 exchanges started between the Yugoslav side and the Croatian side. And
3 all of this frequently went through the territory of the municipality of
4 Bosanski Samac.
5 Q. Doctor, I will interrupt you here and we will come back to that
7 You as a young man got involved in politics. You're an educated
8 man, you've read a lot, and so on, so I will put this question to you:
9 You now described patriots to us and those who favoured separatism, and
10 you spoke about one group that wanted their own independent state, and
11 there was another group that wanted to preserve a federal state. And as I
12 said, you read a lot and were involved in politics at the time. Can you
13 tell us whether you can draw any parallels in relation to Northern Ireland
14 in that respect.
15 A. Yes. There probably are some similarities, however, I'm not an
16 expert and I would not like to go into that now.
17 Q. Let's go back to the atmosphere that you described in Samac. I am
18 specifically interested in the following, since you spoke about this in
19 considerable detail: I am now interested in your personal knowledge and
20 your experience about that period in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Samac, that is
21 to say, 1990. As we know, in 1990 in Bosnia-Herzegovina the first
22 multi-party elections were held. Is that right?
23 A. Yes. The first democratic multi-party elections.
24 Q. Why were these elections different from the previous elections?
25 A. Because it was the first time that we had political parties.
1 Q. So what was it like before?
2 A. Before that, for 50 years we had one party. That is to say, that
3 we did not have a multi-party system. That was the League of Communists,
4 for 50 years.
5 Q. Just one suggestion: I have a feeling that the interpreters have
6 a problem. Slow -- speak slower, please. I know that you and I speak the
7 same language, but I think that for the same of the transcript it is
8 important for you to speak calmly, slowly, so that the transcript will
9 make sense. You have time. Thank you.
10 So in 1990, if my math doesn't fail me, you were 30 years old. Is
11 that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Before 1990, were you engaged in any kind of political work?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Were you engaged politically in Communist groups, companies,
16 whatever? Please wait for five seconds before you give an answer.
17 A. I did not have any political experience. I was not involved in
18 any kind of political work. However, from 1985 I was a member of the
19 League of Communists, until 1989.
20 Q. Tell me, at that time could a person take up any kind of major
21 position, say, in a company, if he or she was not a member of the
22 Communist Party?
23 A. It would be with great difficulty, but there was no absolute rule.
24 Q. For example, if there were two doctors applying for the same
25 position -- of course, I don't want to generalise, but, say, on the basis
1 of your own experience -- with the same grades from university university,
2 et cetera, et cetera, one is a member of the Communist Party, the is other
3 one is not. Which one would be admitted?
4 A. Advantage would be given to the one who is a member of the League
5 of Communists.
6 Q. Tell me, are you a believer?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Were you baptised?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, in 1990 you became a member of a party. Isn't that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Which party is that?
13 A. The Serb Democratic Party.
14 Q. Can you give an approximation in terms of time, not necessarily
15 the accurate date or month but, say, the time of year when you became a
16 member of the SDS?
17 A. The summer of 1990.
18 Q. This municipal board of the SDS, was it founded in Samac?
19 A. No. Later, yes. But it was established in Gornje Slatina,
20 St. Peter's Day in 1990.
21 Q. Gornje Slatina is near Samac, isn't it?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And who was among the founders of the SDS? Just give a few names
24 if you remember.
25 A. Dr. Stanko Pivasevic is one of the founders of the Serb Democratic
1 Party. And nowadays he is president in Samac of the municipal board of
2 the SDS. Then there was Stevo Tosic, Marko Tubakovic, et cetera. I was
3 not present. I entered a few months later.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours, please, I'm just a bit confused by
5 this portion of the evidence. Is the witness saying that this was the
6 founding of the entire party within Bosnia or whether it was a local
7 founding of the party in that area? That might be of some assistance to
9 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm sure Mr. Pantelic will --
10 MR. DI FAZIO: It's not quite clear on that point.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Counsel will clarify that with --
12 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. There is quite precise explanations in page
13 16, line 20 and 21. But I would -- I could clarify that. No problem.
14 Q. [Interpretation] So let's clarify this for the Prosecutor and
15 ultimately for the transcript as well. The founding assembly for that
16 municipality was in Gornje Slatina. Is that right?
17 A. It was the founding assembly of the branch of the Serb Democratic
18 Party for the municipality of Bosanski Samac. It was associated with
19 Jovan Raskovic, because that is the period - this should be known - when
20 there were five democratic parties that were founded. They had different
21 leaderships. And these five Serb Democratic Parties exist until the
22 present day; they were never a single party.
23 Q. All right. You mentioned Dr. Jovan Raskovic. Is that the founder
24 of the SDS in Krajina, in Croatia?
25 A. Yes, that is the man who created, who invented the Serb Democratic
1 Party. It can be said that he was the first president of the Serb
2 Democratic Party, its founder and ideologue. He established his branches
3 in Krajina, in Bosnia, and in Serb.
4 Q. Very well. One way or the other, we are talking about a municipal
5 branch, about a municipal board of the SDS. Is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Which was established in Gornje Slatina in 1990 on St. Peter's
8 Day. Is that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. We know which date this is, but could you please say which date it
12 A. I don't know exactly. I just know it was St. Peter's Day, but I
13 don't know the exact date. It was the summer of 1990.
14 Q. So you were not one of the founders of this municipal board?
15 A. No.
16 Q. A few months later you entered the party?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. How? Did somebody approach you from this municipal leadership, or
19 was it that you made this decision in some other way? Could you explain
20 your motive. Could you explain to us why you joined the Serb Democratic
22 A. Dr. Stanko Pivasevic, who was the founder, talked to me - and he
23 is my younger colleague - and the idea was that they needed a man who
24 could win the election and who, together with other parties would create
25 relations of partnerships so that communism could be toppled after 50
1 years. The first idea, in terms of establishing the Serb Democratic Party
2 and the Croat Democratic Union and the SDA, was to topple communism.
3 Perhaps naively, perhaps not, I accepted to enter the Serb Democratic
4 Party, and they put me at the head of the list for the first elections in
5 the municipality of Samac in 1990.
6 Q. All right. On that occasion did you acquaint yourself with the
7 programme orientation or, rather, the contents of certain party principles
8 of the SDS?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Please, always pause before answering my question. Pause for a
11 few seconds. Because we have to have the question finished. We have to
12 give the interpreters the opportunity to interpret that so that the Trial
13 Chamber can hear this and the Prosecution. And it is only then that you
14 should answer. Please. I know that you have greatly been looking forward
15 to this moment so that you can give your views in respect of all of this
16 after one year of trial, but as you have heard, the Trial Chamber has been
17 very fair and you will have enough time to present everything. So please.
18 I'm asking you the following now: In which way and how did you
19 acquaint yourself with the programme orientation of the SDS in 1990?
20 A. The programme orientation was brought to me -- no, it wasn't the
21 programme orientation that was brought to me. It was the programme of the
22 SDS that was brought to me. And it was published in all newspapers as,
23 all newspapers that were published then. And there was also a separate
24 bulletin in Bosnia-Herzegovina that published the programmes of all the
25 parties that participated in these first elections.
1 The programme of the Serb Democratic Party was, as the name itself
2 says, was democracy; the preservation of Yugoslavia; the preservation of
3 the unity of Bosnia-Herzegovina; the preservation of Bosnia-Herzegovina
4 within Yugoslavia; respect for the Yugoslav People's Army as the only
5 legitimate and legal force; respect for laws and the constitution of
6 Yugoslavia and the constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina; private ownership,
7 because until then private ownership was very scant, barely existent --
8 private ownership over means of production, until then, that was not the
9 case there was barely any; and denationalisation. That means returning
10 property to their former owners. All the property that was taken away
11 from them when the League of Communists came to head the country in 1945.
12 At that time factories, land, houses, other facilities were
13 nationalised and everything that constituted private property. There was
14 a nationalisation that was carried out, and we advocated
15 denationalisation, that is to say, the return of such property.
16 Q. All right.
17 A. And -- and anti-communism was present as well.
18 Q. So as a young man and as a professional, you found yourself in all
19 of this, in this programme?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. So you headed the election list for the municipal assembly of
22 Bosanski Samac in 1990. Is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. From a few testimonies, we've already heard quite a few details
25 and we've also looked at Official Gazettes. We're not going to go into
1 all of those details now. But tell me briefly - if you remember, of
2 course - what was the outcome of these multi-party elections at local
3 level in Bosanski Samac in 1990?
4 A. The national parties won a convincing victory. The list of the
5 Serb Democratic Party won almost 98 per cent of the vote, of the Serb
6 vote, that is. The Croat Democratic Union, the HDZ, won a convincing
7 victory among the Croatian population, while the SDA in Samac had a very
8 poor result because the Muslims in Samac primarily voted for the reformed
9 Communist, the SDP, and also for the reformists. So the SDA in Samac did
10 not fair well at all at these first multi-party elections. They won only
11 two seats in the municipal assembly, in the municipal parliament; they did
12 very badly.
13 Q. Tell me, and what was the situation at republican level, for the
14 republican parliament? What was the outcome there?
15 A. Approximately that's the way it was in almost all municipalities.
16 So in the republican parliament, the majority of seats was won precisely
17 by the national parties, the SDA, the SDS, and the HDZ. Very few seats
18 were won by the reformed Communists, by the reformists, by the Liberals,
19 et cetera, the SPO, also.
20 Q. What is this party the SPO?
21 A. That is the Serbian Renewal Movement. It was the second or third
22 largest party, headed by Vuk Draskovic, and he managed to win one seat in
23 the parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina during these first multi-party
25 Q. All right. One way or the other, at municipal level after these
1 elections, how were the municipal authorities established and among which
3 A. Everything that happened at municipal level was reflected from
4 Sarajevo; that was a reflection from what was going on in Sarajevo. So
5 the leaderships of the SDA, the HDZ, and the SDS agreed to have relations
6 of partnership, not coalition but relations of partnership for a division
7 of power, which then was supposed to constitute the first non-Communist
8 government after 50 years. Agreement was to share power among the three
9 national parties according to the criteria that they established, and then
10 it depended on the number of seats won in each municipality by one party
11 or the other or the third national party. But one of the principles was
12 that if one party would get the post of the president of the municipal
13 assembly, then the other party would get the office of prime minister of
14 that government, head of the municipal government. And that is how these
15 posts were rotated.
16 So when this agreement was reached, then the municipal parliament
17 was constituted and then there would be a secret ballot on the basis of
18 the rules of procedure of the municipal assembly of Bosanski Samac. And
19 at the proposal of the commission for proposals, namely, the proposals of
20 the national parties, because the national parties established their clubs
21 of MPs in the Municipal Assemblies.
22 In the republican parliament, there was the Club of Deputies of
23 members of parliament as well.
24 Q. Very well. Did I understand you well when you said that this
25 principle of rotation of posts in this partnership -- was the power
1 basically divided according to a certain principle?
2 A. Yes. According to a principle established among the parties.
3 Q. Yes. But this principle of key or of quotas was present in
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina anyway, precisely because there are three constituent
5 peoples there in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
6 A. The concept of key was introduced by the League of Communists, and
7 based on that principle, in Bosnia-Herzegovina all offices were shared
8 between the members of these three peoples. So in one term, president of
9 municipality would be a Serb; in the next term, he would be a Croat; and
10 in the third term, he would be a Muslim; and then we would come back to
11 the beginning of this rotation, so that interests of all three peoples
12 would be satisfied at all times.
13 Q. All right. Now, tell me, please, after the 1990 elections at the
14 local level, who started inter-party negotiations concerning the
15 organisation of government? Maybe you've already mentioned, but let us
16 say again. These three parties, the SDS, the HDZ, and the SDA, did they
17 have certain instructions coming from the republican level as to how the
18 government should be set up?
19 A. Those were not really instructions, directions; they were more in
20 the nature of recommendations as to how should the power be shared. And
21 it was addressed to all three parties at the municipal level, and we
22 upheld this recommendation in Bosanski Samac municipality. The clubs of
23 MPs decided about the division of power among themselves. We had a vote
24 and agreed that the president of municipalities should be a member of HDZ,
25 Mato Nujic; vice-president on a voluntary basis of municipal assembly was
1 me; president of the executive council, which means head of the executive
2 government at the municipal level, was Mirko Jovanovic, who described
3 himself as a member of the SDS. However, I never saw his membership
4 booklet, nor did I ask to see it. And his vice-president came from the
5 SDA, and his name was Izet Izetbegovic. And then within the executive
6 branch, the Secretary for Construction came from the HDZ; the Secretary
7 for People's Affairs was a candidate proposed by the SDS, Milos
8 Bogdanovic, who was not a member of the SDS; and then the Secretary of
9 Internal Revenue was Mirko Lukic, who was again nominated by the SDS,
10 although he was not a member of that party, and so on and so on.
11 One of the posts that had to be agreed between the parties was
12 also the Chief of Staff of Territorial Defence, and that post was awarded
13 to the SDS, because in the past that post was held by a Croat, Ivo
14 Dragicevic. And we didn't ask that he be replaced. We supported his
15 appointment as commander of the Territorial Defence in 1990, and he had
16 our support all the way until the beginning of the war.
17 I haven't finished yet. And as regards the chief of police in
18 Bosanski Samac, that office was awarded to HDZ -- or rather, they
19 appointed Ivo Dragicevic head of police. He was a Croat. And Ivo Kobas
20 was commander of the TO staff. So I made a mistake. I got them confused.
21 And I would like to set this clear now. Ivo Dragicevic, although he was
22 a member of the HDZ had the support of the SDS; however, before the war
23 broke out, he was forcibly removed from office and that office was taken
24 over by Dragan Lukac forcibly, who became chief of police then, who
25 testified in this court.
1 Q. All right. These are all political issues, but they --
2 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Dr. Simic, you used the word "forcibly" in terms
5 of the removal of the one person, Mr. Dragicevic, and then you used the
6 word "forcibly" again in terms of the office being taken over by
7 Mr. Dragan Lukac. Could you just explain very briefly what you mean by
8 "forcibly" in those two circumstances.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As regards every executive post
10 within the municipality, head of police was a political appointee who had
11 professionals working under him. So he was a political appointee and then
12 professionals performed various duties. And parties wanted Ivo Dragicevic
13 to take that office, and without party's approval no executive can be
14 removed from office. Sometime around 12th of April, and perhaps even
15 earlier, the leadership of SDA and SDS [as interpreted] coalition started
16 persecuting Ivo Dragicevic and appointed Dragan Lukac to the office
17 without consent of the third party. And at that time that represented
18 forcible takeover of the police station, because Dragan Lukac did not have
19 a consent from the Serbian side to take that office.
20 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
21 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Let's just make a correction and to remind you. Were you, in
23 fact, referring to Vinko Dragicevic?
24 A. Yes, that's right. Vinko Dragicevic. I apologise.
25 Q. All right. In order to set the transcript clear, let's put it
1 this way: Mr. Vinko Dragicevic, a Croat by ethnicity, was head of
2 municipal SUP, wasn't he?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. Mr. Ivo Kobas, a Croat by ethnicity, was commander of TO staff.
5 Is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. PANTELIC: It's just clarification for the transcript so that
8 we have proper names and titles here.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, perhaps to assist
10 Mr. Pantelic, I wonder if he could look at line 17 from page 25. Did the
11 witness mean to say that around the 12th of April, the leadership of the
12 SDA and SDS started persecuting Ivo Dragicevic and appointed Dragan Lukac
13 to the office?
14 MR. PANTELIC: I'm grateful to my learned friend, although in
15 politics everything is possible, you know, so that this combination too.
16 But I will clarify that.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Dr. Simic, there's an error in the transcript, so
18 let's clarify that as well. You spoke about the time period around the
19 12th of April, prior to the breakout of hostilities in Samac. Which two
20 parties basically in an illegal way, in contrary to the municipal statute,
21 put Dragan Lukac into the office?
22 A. It was the coalition of the SDA and HDZ. Thank you for your
24 Q. All right. So there were certain principles that were set out.
25 The SDS, the HDZ, and the SDA had a sort of a local agreement regarding
1 the distribution of posts. Is that right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And this inter-party agreement, was it basically founded on a
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. In reality, does that mean that when one party has a candidate for
7 a post in the municipal administration and a third party is against that
8 nominee, that that person cannot be appointed? Is that right?
9 A. Yes, it's right.
10 Q. Therefore, in April of 1992 there were at least two examples where
11 that inter-party agreement was violated at a municipal level in Bosanski
12 Samac. Is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You mentioned that you held the post of vice-president of
15 municipal assembly as a volunteer. Please tell me, what was the scope of
16 your responsibilities, and what did you do as vice-president of the
17 municipal assembly in Bosanski Samac?
18 A. I did this on a voluntary basis, meaning that I did not have an
19 office in the municipal assembly building, since in 1991 I worked in
20 Doboj, which is 70 kilometres from Samac, I was attending a residency
21 training there. And in 1992 I worked in Tuzla, which is some 100
22 kilometres away. Due to my professional responsibilities, I seldom found
23 time to come to the municipal assembly and acquaint myself with what was
24 going on there regularly. However, there was no need for that at all
25 because I had no duties other than being an assemblyman in the assembly
1 because representatives of Serb people were in various committees and
2 secretariats, and they were able to duly represent their electorate.
3 Q. Can you tell us who was the member of the municipal board of SDS
4 in 1990?
5 A. In 1990 it was Stevo Tosic and Dr. Stanko Pivasevic; both of them
6 held that post. And in 1991, I was elected to that post, namely,
7 president of the municipal board of the SDS.
8 Q. When was that in 1991?
9 A. I can't give you the exact date.
10 Q. I'm not asking you about the exact date, just what season it was.
11 Summer? Fall?
12 A. I think it was fall of 1991.
13 Q. While performing your volunteer duties as vice-president of the
14 municipal assembly, did you as an executive of the municipal assembly have
15 any perks? Did you have a limousine, a bodyguard, a driver? Did you have
16 any particular privileges that went with that office?
17 A. No, there were no benefits or privileges attached to that office.
18 I didn't have any.
19 Q. So basically you continued doing what you used to do before. You
20 continued living like you lived before, except that you, due to your
21 political activities, also were appointed to that post as well. Is that
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Now, could you please briefly explain to us this: After the
25 municipal assembly was established in 1990 between the three parties -
1 HDZ, SDA, and SDS - an agreement was reached between them and then
2 sessions of the municipal assembly were held. Can you tell us something
3 about those sessions. Who prepared the agenda? Who prepared material
4 that was to be analysed at a session and so on? Can you please describe
5 what a typical session looked like. How was everything prepared for it?
6 Can you just give us an idea as to how that looked at a municipal level.
7 A. President of the assembly would convene a session and send out
8 agenda and material for that session. The work of the assembly was
9 regulated by the statute of the municipal assembly, and the municipal
10 assembly at the time and later on as well had very few authorities, mostly
11 those that had to do with infrastructure, utilities, and so on. Whereas,
12 everything else boiled down to just formal reports, and I will explain
13 what I mean by this.
14 The municipal assembly was not allowed to interfere into affairs
15 of the Ministry of the Interior because there was a government at
16 republican level and there was a Minister of Defence at that level, which
17 regulated these affairs. The municipal assembly was not allowed to
18 interfere in financial matters and revenue administration because at the
19 republican level there was a Minister of Finance, who through municipal
20 offices and financial police regulated all of these matters. So the
21 entire financial sector was the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.
22 Healthcare was regulated by the Minister for Health. Primary and
23 secondary health services were organised by him as well; meaning that he
24 organised medical centres, hospital, the healthcare network as well. The
25 financing for the healthcare services was performed at the republican
2 Education was organised and controlled by the Minister of
3 Education. He appointed principals in schools. He paid out salaries for
4 staff. He organised schools, faculties, kindergartens, and so on, so this
5 area was organised by the ministry at the republican level as well.
6 Agriculture, which is one of the most important spheres in
7 Posavina was regulated by the Minister of Agriculture. Waterworks --
8 there are two rivers in our area -- were regulated by the Minister for
9 Waterworks. Forestry, once again, was regulated by the Minister for
10 Forestry. The economy was regulated by the Minister for Economy. So
11 there was basically not a single sphere that wasn't covered by government
12 at the republican level, and therefore the scope of responsibilities of
13 municipal assembly was very narrow.
14 Q. However, I'm interested in what a session of the municipal
15 assembly looked like. First of all, tell me what -- you say that the
16 president of the municipal assembly sends the agenda, et cetera, et
17 cetera. Now I'm asking you who in the municipal assembly prepares
18 materials, drafts decisions, various documents, et cetera. Tell us about
19 the staff of the municipality.
20 A. These are the organs within which is the secretariat, and it takes
21 care of all the operative work. There is always a secretary employed
22 there who is a lawyer, and he always bears in mind the fact that these
23 decisions have to be in accordance with the law. It is almost always the
24 municipal government, the members of the municipal government, that
25 propose these bills and these documents to the assembly because the
1 assembly is the legislative branch of government and it needs to -- and
2 the executive needs to coordinate with the legislation so that it can
3 carry out its functions. Individual assemblymen can also propose the
5 The agenda is first adopted by the municipal parliament. And if
6 it obtains a democratic majority, that is to say, 51 per cent, then that
7 particular agenda is adopted. Then there is a discussion, there are
8 answers, there are conclusions, and then the president of the municipal
9 assembly asks for a vote to be taken. The assemblymen say whether they
10 want to vote in public, that is to say, by raising their hands, or if they
11 want to have a secret ballot, and then voting is organised.
12 If a democratic majority is obtained, 51 per cent, then such a
13 decision is considered adopted. It is the organs - that is to say
14 secretariats - that write this out. Lawyers are there on the staff, and
15 it is their duty to have everything kept in accordance with the law. Then
16 they bring it to the president of the municipal assembly for his
17 signature. Then this decision is further channelled to the executive
19 In the executive authorities, there are professionals. In every
20 secretariat there had to be highly educated professionals who were in
21 charge of bearing in mind in accordance with the law on the administration
22 whether every decision is lawful or not. If a decision is not lawful,
23 then it was returned to parliamentary procedure again, or they asked for
24 an opinion from the competent legal services. Legal people know this
25 better than I do, in which way this is done. And they were quite
1 literally in charge of having every decision of the municipal assembly
2 sufficiently lawful.
3 Q. Let us show this by way of an example. A certain municipal tax is
4 introduced. Now, in the municipal government, in the municipal executive
5 committee, which service, which staff, is in charge of drafting a proposal
6 on municipal tax?
7 A. In the situation of Samac - because this is a small municipality
8 and the administration was always kept at the lowest level possible - this
9 was done by the Secretary of the Economy. The proposal for this kind of
10 tax -- for example, companies were taxed. Then also outdoor cafes were
11 taxed. Then also the number of chairs in various cafes and restaurants
12 was taxed, and so on and so forth. This proposal of the Secretariat for
13 Economic Activities is put forth to the administration organs, and then
14 administration organs make a proposal to the assembly. If the assemblymen
15 agree that this decision can be passed, it is then returned to the
16 executive once again. They look at how lawful it is, and then the
17 decision is implemented.
18 Q. So the president of the municipal assembly is an office that is
19 not directly related to the preparation, analysis, and the adoption
20 procedure for certain documents from the domain of the activity of the
21 municipal assembly?
22 A. No.
23 Q. How often after 1990 in this multi-party parliament of the
24 Municipality of Bosanski Samac did you have sessions of the municipal
25 assembly, approximately?
1 A. Approximately once every two months.
2 Q. And during that same period of time, how often were sessions of
3 the executive council held?
4 A. Far more often. I think every seven days. Sometimes even more
5 often; sometimes even every day.
6 Q. Did the executive council have certain powers by way of adopting
7 certain decisions or regulations from its own provenance of work?
8 A. Yes, everything that is regulated by statute and law. However,
9 the municipal executive council was responsible to the parliament, but
10 according to certain enactments it also had its responsibilities towards
11 the republican government and the ministries. So there is this line
12 within the executive branch of government.
13 Q. The decisions of the executive council, were they also binding for
14 the population, or rather, various sectors of the society and economy?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Can we say that this is a kind of, conditionally speaking, in
17 order to give an illustration -- that this would perhaps be a kind of
18 by-law in the sense of a decree, decision, or conclusion?
19 A. At the municipal level these are already legal matters, and I
20 cannot say much about that. This is the municipal government, the
21 municipal authority. Everything is regulated by laws and decrees, and
22 they indeed have a broad scope for action within the municipal government.
23 Q. Tell me - we have a minute until the break - tell me, the way in
24 which the vote takes place in the municipal assembly, tell me, after how
25 many members of parliament were there in the municipal assembly?
1 A. I think about 40 assemblymen, but I'm not absolutely certain. Not
2 approximately, it was 40.
3 Q. A decision required a majority?
4 A. Yes, 21.
5 Q. Tell me, why did you, the SDS, not immediately make a coalition
6 with the Serb parties?
7 A. I wanted to correct myself first. At that time the municipal
8 parliament had 50 members, 50 assemblymen.
9 Q. I asked you why you did not form a coalition with Serb parties
10 immediately. The SDS, why didn't it do that, the SDS and other parties?
11 A. Parties cannot be divided into Serb parties and other parties. I
12 could only divide them into patriotic parties and some other parties.
13 However, relations of partnership between the national parties were
14 primarily based on anti-communism and agreement was reached between
15 these -- among these three parties to establish the first government after
16 50 years between and among the three parties.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we take our break?
18 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. Just last question before the
19 break. If you have another question, maybe --
20 JUDGE MUMBA: No. It's already 11.01. Think of the interpreters,
21 please. They need their break.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: We'll take our break and return at 11.30 hours.
24 --- Recess taken at 11.02 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.32 a.m.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Examination-in-chief continues.
2 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you, Your Honours.
3 Q. [Interpretation] So before the break we were talking about the
4 principles of work of the municipal assembly and how preparations are
5 carried out. We also discussed some aspects of political partnership
6 among the SDA, the HDZ, and the SDS at local level.
7 From the multi-party elections in 1990 onwards in the municipality
8 of Bosanski Samac until the autumn of 1991, how would you describe your
9 inter-party relations and the atmosphere in carrying out your political
10 duties, that is to say, among these three political parties, what is your
11 view regarding this?
12 A. I would like to explain what the real situation was in the
13 municipal parliament in 1990. That is to say, the municipal parliament
14 had 50 assemblymen; the HDZ had 21 MPs; the Serb Democratic Party 17; the
15 SDA [Realtime transcript read in error"17"] had 2; the Liberals had 1; the
16 Reformists had 4; and the Reform Communists had 5. I am mentioning all of
17 this so that I could show that the patriotic bloc, that is to say the bloc
18 that advocated Yugoslavia could have formed a government on its own,
19 without the HDZ and the SDA, because we had almost 30 assemblymen. So we
20 could vote in favour of any decision basically and we could appoint
21 officials from the SDS, the Liberal Party, the Reformist party, and the
22 Reform Communist Party only.
23 MR. LAZAREVIC: Intervention. It's on page 35, line 15. It has
24 the 17 had 2. It has no meaning, so I believe it was the SDA, but maybe
25 it should be corrected.
1 MR. PANTELIC: I will clarify that, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
3 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. You said that the SDA had two members of parliament in the
5 municipal assembly. Is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Please proceed, Dr. Simic.
8 A. So we could have formed a government on our own, and the HDZ and
9 the SDA would not have had a single official in the municipality of Samac.
10 However, respecting our relations of partnership at republic level, we
11 made it possible for them to share power on a footing of equality with the
12 Serb Democratic Party, expecting this anti-Communist bloc to achieve some
13 results and that we would not destroy what was most important to us, and
14 that was the state.
15 However, the situation started changing as time went by. Some
16 witnesses spoke about this here as well. However, polarisation in the
17 municipal parliament between the HDZ and the SDA, as opposed to the
18 patriotic bloc, became ever-more pronounced. And when they could not
19 carry through decisions at the level of the municipal parliament, they did
20 not even convene any sessions, because it is the president of the assembly
21 that convenes the municipal parliament sessions. They made decisions on
22 their own. So inter alia, they themselves reached a decision on changing
23 the head of the staff of the Territorial Defence. On their own, they
24 passed a decision on changing the head of the Public Security Station and
25 so on.
1 Q. In 1991 the political situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina became
2 highly tense. The war in Croatia started. And bearing in mind the fact
3 that Bosanski Samac is on the banks of the Sava River, only about 50
4 metres away from Croatian territory, what did you personally notice during
5 the year of 1991 as regards transportation and also certain incidents in
6 Bosanski Samac? What were your personal observations?
7 A. I believe that the co-accused will speak to a greater extent about
8 this, but I can say that already in 1991 Serbs no longer crossed the
9 bridge in Samac and none of the Serbs went to Croatia any longer. From
10 Croatia though, every day Serb refugees were coming in en masse from all
11 parts of the Republic of Croatia, notably from the zone of war operations.
12 Q. Did you want to say something else?
13 A. In addition to that, there was traffic primarily between Croats
14 and Croats, and Muslims on the one hand and Croats on the other hand, or
15 Muslims and Croats together, but the Serbs could not use that bridge or
16 road in Croatia, not even for their private companies or did they dare go
17 on behalf of socially-owned companies.
18 Soldiers of the ZNG already started coming across; that's what the
19 Croatian army was called at the time. They were crossing in uniform and
20 with weapons. They appeared in the town of Samac. All of this gave rise
21 to tensions, major tensions among all three ethnic groups; among the Serb
22 people for the most part.
23 Then information was coming in that Croat volunteers were going to
24 the front line in Croatia en masse, that they were being trained there to
25 participate in the war, that they were obtaining uniforms and weapons,
1 that they were training officers, and that all of this is then returned to
2 the area of Posavina. Then information came in to the effect that all
3 Croat villages already have established units, their own units armed,
4 linked up with officers of their own, and then also people were talking in
5 town about this and then checkpoints were set up in Croat villages in the
6 territory of the municipality of Samac and throughout Posavina. So Serbs
7 could not longer go to Croat territory or could they cross through Croat
8 villages, absolutely not at nighttime.
9 Then also bunkers were cropping up like mushrooms at the
10 boundaries of all Croat villages. I saw this with my very own eyes. This
11 was particularly pronounced between Hasici and Kruskovo Polje. When the
12 inhabitants of Kruskovo Polje asked the inhabitants of Hasici: "Why are
13 you building bunkers that are so obvious, that are so striking" --
14 Q. Let me interrupt you.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, could we have the Exhibit P9. This is
16 a map of Samac and surrounding villages, so that maybe Dr. Simic can show
17 us the exact positions.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Mr. Pantelic, which particular map would you
20 MR. PANTELIC: I think A. A will be fine.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you.
22 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Could you please take the pointer. Not the felt pen but the metal
25 MR. PANTELIC: The pointer.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Is there a problem?
2 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. You don't have to mark this, but when you are telling us what you
4 saw, please just point to it with a pencil.
5 A. This is the area of Hasici, and it is around this village in the
6 direction of the Serbian villages that quite large bunkers were erected,
7 and these were visible from the road. Towards the end of 1991,
8 information arrived to the effect that the Croatian Community of Bosanska
9 Posavina had been established. It covered the territory of eight Bosnian
10 municipalities, and I cannot indicate this territory on this map. These
11 were Bosanski Brod, Derventa, Odzak, Modrica, Samac, Orasje, and Gradacac.
12 After this, tensions mounted even more because this resembled a
13 sort of state that wanted to annex itself to Croatia.
14 Q. Just a moment.
15 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues] ... Take P9A and
16 we could have Exhibit P12, which depicts the area of Posavina, so that we
17 could better follow the testimony.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Please continue. You were talking about the
19 Croatian Community of Bosanska Posavina. Could you please show us what
20 municipalities made up this community.
21 A. Bosanski Brod, Derventa, Modrica, Odzak, Samac, Orasje, and
22 Gradacac. This is the area that the Croats in Bosanska Posavina
23 considered to be theirs and which they wanted to annex to the Republic of
24 Croatia. In several conversations I had Mato Nujic told me this. He was
25 the president of the municipal assembly. And Filipovic, who was the
1 president of the Croatian Democratic Union --
2 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, the witness has --
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: -- just gone some way to answering the query that
5 I'm about the raise. But I wonder if Mr. Pantelic could clarify whether
6 the position -- when the witness says "Croats in Bosanska Posavina
7 considered this area to be theirs," this Croatian municipality or
8 whatever, is the witness referring to a political programme on the part of
9 the HDZ? Is it his assessment of the general consensus amongst the Croat
10 population? Is it a certain group of Croats? Does he know specifically
11 when he says "Croats" who he's talking about in particular? That might be
12 of interest to the Chamber and certainly of interest to the Prosecution.
13 Thank you.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. Certainly my assumption is that
16 Dr. Simic will explain that, because he mentioned the president of HDZ,
17 Croatian party, in Samac as well as the president of municipal assembly,
18 also Croat. And probably during this conversation we shall hear more
19 about that. But I will direct the -- Dr. Simic towards that.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
21 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Please continue, Dr. Simic, as regards these
23 meetings and what my learned friend has just asked.
24 A. These were conversations held in the office of the president of
25 the municipal assembly. He used to work in the health centre with me. He
1 was employed as a lawyer there, and he worked with my father as well, so
2 he had a paternal attitude toward me.
3 Q. Would you please tell us his name.
4 A. Mato Nujic. He treated me like a son. He was a lawyer and I was
5 a doctor, so I don't know enough about law, but he advised me or else he
6 tried to justify his actions. He told me that this was Croatian territory
7 and that they had established the Croatian Community of Bosanska
8 Posavina. He also said that at the head of this community was Iko Stanic,
9 that its seat was in Derventa, that they had established their own army
10 which they then called the Croatian Defence Council, and that they
11 considered this to be sovereign territory of the Republic of Croatia.
12 I thought that this was an overambitious line of thinking of an
13 overambitious local politician and that something like this was
14 impossible. I thought it was impossible for Yugoslavia to break up. I
15 thought it was impossible for Bosnia and Herzegovina to break up, and I
16 thought it was especially impossible for a territory to be broken up into
17 such small local areas. However, in early 1992 everyday events showed
18 that their intentions were serious. Relatively soon in early 1992, the
19 Serb population were dismissed from their jobs in all these municipalities
20 and little by little they moved out. They moved to areas which they
21 believed to be safer, and many of them moved in the direction of the Samac
23 In early 1992 the Serbian population of Orasje, Brod, Derventa,
24 and especially Odzak, where they were grouped in Serb local communes, many
25 of them no longer went to work. Then road blocks were set up, skirmishes
1 broke out. There were conflicts, and there was forcible takeover of
2 towns. Bosanski Brod was taken over, and the Serbs were expelled and made
3 to go to the Serbian part of the territory of Bosanski Brod. After this
4 part of the Croatian army crossed the River Sava and perpetrated the
5 massacre in Sijekovac, and this was on the territory of Bosanski Brod,
6 very close to Samac as the close flies.
7 Q. We'll come to this, doctor, but could you please indicate on the
8 map which is on the ELMO where Bosanski Brod is.
9 A. Here is Sijekovac and here is Samac.
10 The town of Bosanski Brod was taken over by the Muslim Croat
11 forces and the Serbian population was expelled from that area or else they
12 were imprisoned. After that the town of Derventa was taken over and there
13 were clashes there. In Odzak there was a large percentage of Croats, so
14 that there were no conflicts in the town. The Serbs simply didn't enter
15 the town any more. And as for the villages, in Orasje there was a large
16 percentage of Croats, so that the Serbs moved out of that town and crossed
17 over to the territory of the municipality of Samac, to Batkusa and
18 Obudovac. In Gradacac the Serbs also moved out and the town was taken
19 over by Croatian and Muslim forces.
20 Q. Dr. Simic, I have to interrupt you. This was in the spring of
21 1992, was it not?
22 A. Yes, yes.
23 Q. Well, let us go back to an earlier period of time chronologically,
24 and then we shall come back to this later, simply for the sake of a
25 logical narrative and in order to present the facts.
1 I wish to ask you specifically what your opinion was about the
2 atmosphere in Bosanski Samac itself. I'm speaking of late 1991 and early
3 1992. What was the relation between neighbours and friends? What were
4 their relations? Were there any ethnic divisions that were noticeable?
5 A. Unfortunately, tensions mounted daily. There was ethnic division,
6 and people were concentrated in Croatian or Serbian municipalities. From
7 day to day there was less and less confidence because some thought that
8 Yugoslavia should collapse, that there should no longer be a JNA, while
9 the patriotic side believed that Yugoslavia should survive, that a
10 political solution should be found, and that the JNA should be the only
11 army securing peace.
12 Q. Speaking of this, please tell us in late 1991 and early 1992, were
13 you called for military exercises as a JNA reservist?
14 A. Yes. Yes, I was. I was in the medical corps, and I was called
15 for exercises on a regular basis ever since I completed my army service.
16 I received call-up notes, and I responded every time there was an
18 Q. In relation to the previous period, did you notice any changes in
19 the ethnic make-up of the reservists who responded to these calls for
21 A. There were far fewer Croats now, and this was very noticeable.
22 The Muslims responded as they had before. One couldn't say that there
23 were no Muslims in the JNA and that they did not perform all the tasks
24 assigned to them.
25 Q. In early 1992, were you called up to the 4th JNA Detachment?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Were you ever a member of the 4th Detachment?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Let us go back to October 1991, when in the middle of that month
5 there were certain tensions and a serious split in the republican
6 parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina. What I would like to know now is what
7 you know about this personally, and later on I will put a few more
8 questions in connection with the impact of this event on political
9 developments and political relations on the local level in Bosanski
10 Samac. So in brief, what do you know about this?
11 A. I think that a great deal of us followed this on television. This
12 was a very difficult situation in which two people were -- two peoples
13 were outvoting the third nation. They were denying something that existed
14 for almost 100 years, and that was the state of Yugoslavia, and at the
15 same time trying to create something that never existed before, because
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina never existed as a state before, especially not
17 within those borders.
18 At the same time, they completely ignored the fact that there was
19 another nation living there from ancient times, perhaps a nation older
20 than any other nation with that status nowadays. So it was a very
21 difficult situation which led to a great many divisions on the ground and
22 provoked dissatisfaction among the population and at the same time led to
23 polarisation between patriots and separatists. I am using the term
24 "patriots" because it wasn't only the Serbs that wanted Yugoslavia to
25 remain intact, but there were also those from the category of Yugoslavs.
1 Then there were Jews, Romas, and a great deal of Muslims in Bosanski
2 Samac, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a portion of Croats who supported
4 Q. At a local level in inter-party contacts in October and November
5 of 1991, what were you able to observe? Was your cooperation regarding
6 assembly affairs the same, or were there any changes there?
7 A. No. The atmosphere wasn't the same as before. People started
8 rooting for their causes. They commented on the issue of whether
9 Yugoslavia would continue to exist or not, on who would win in Croatia,
10 whether this army or that army would win in Vukovar, who had greater
11 casualties on a daily basis, was it this army or that army, and so on
12 people started splitting into two blocs and it was evident.
13 Q. [Microphone not activated]
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please.
15 MR. PANTELIC: I apologise.
16 Q. [Interpretation] At that time, were you able to notice any changes
17 in surrounding villages on the roads and so on?
18 A. Barricades, or rather, checkpoints were set up on the roads in all
19 Croat villages. Some unknown soldiers manned those checkpoints, wearing
20 insignia that wasn't familiar, and they also had a particular type of
21 conduct that wasn't known until then. Residents avoided those villages
22 and those checkpoints.
23 Q. I wouldn't like to go into historical topics, but do you have any
24 information and could you tell the Trial Chamber who held the power in
25 1941 in the territory of Bosanska Posavina, as well as during the Second
1 World War.
2 A. During the Second World War, this was -- this area was ruled by
3 Independent State of Croatia, NDH, Independent State of Croatia. It is a
4 well-known fact that during World War II they sided with Hitler and that
5 their units were called Ustasha units.
6 Q. Based on your daily contacts with people, could you tell us what
7 was their impression regarding the emergence of uniformed individuals,
8 barricades, checkpoints, and so on.
9 A. This reminded them of the Second World War, when Ustashas tried to
10 destroy the population en masse, and this took place some 70 -- or rather,
11 70 to 80 kilometres as the crow flies from Samac was a site where some
12 700.000 Serbs, Jews, and Romas were executed.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic --
14 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yeah, the sufficient time does not include history,
16 which is not relevant to the issues in the indictment.
17 MR. PANTELIC: I agree, Your Honour --
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yeah, it's to be cut down.
19 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. All right, Dr. Simic, I asked you a specific question: In 1991
21 can you please describe to us what was the predominant feeling among the
22 Serb residents. How did they feel about this increasing arming of the
23 other nations?
24 A. They felt threatened.
25 Q. All right. On the 9th and 10th of November, 1991, as far as we
1 know, a plebiscite of Serb people was held. Can you tell us what was the
2 purpose of this plebiscite and what was decided then.
3 A. The plebiscite of Serb people was held. Other nations also could
4 have participated. And the question that was to be decided was whether
5 they wanted to remain in Yugoslavia or not. I have to say that in that
6 area in Serb local communes, Serbs in -- almost -- Serbs almost fully
7 voted in favour for remaining in Yugoslavia, whereas in the territory of
8 Bosanski Samac itself, the town, 75 to 80 per cent of all citizens who
9 voted, voted in favour of remaining in Yugoslavia.
10 Q. Can you tell me, please, in the beginning of January was there
11 something created in the Serb community in Samac?
12 A. The Serb assembly in Bosanski Samac was created at that time, and
13 then later on the Serb republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was proclaimed
14 in Sarajevo.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, could you just bear with me for a
16 second. I have some notes from my colleague regarding the transcript.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
18 [Defence counsel confer]
19 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. There is an error in the transcript, page 47,
20 line 9. It was not Serb assembly in Bosanski Samac that was created at
21 that time. It was the Serb assembly on a level of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 But I will clarify that for the transcript.
23 Q. [Interpretation] For the sake of the transcript, let's clarify
24 this. After the plebiscite in the beginning of January, you said that
25 something was created. Can you tell us again what.
1 A. On the 9th of January, 1992 the Serbian republic was created and
2 proclaimed, the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in fact. And
3 later on it was named Republika Srpska.
4 Q. And prior to that, what was established?
5 A. The people's assembly of the Serbian Republic.
6 Q. Was that at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
7 A. [No interpretation]
8 Q. Now, tell us, please, how was the Serbian municipality of Bosanski
9 Samac in Peligecevo established at the end of February 1992? How did that
10 come about? And specifically --
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Before that answer, if you look at the transcript,
12 page 48, line 3, at 4 we haven't got the answer interpreted. Maybe he
13 wasn't clear enough.
14 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. I'm grateful for your
16 Q. [Interpretation] I will repeat my question. So at the level of
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina, the People's Assembly of the Serb people was
18 created. Is that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. All right. We are now focussing on the end of February 1992.
21 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Mr. Pantelic.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE LINDHOLM: What is meant by the expression "at the level of
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina"? What ...?
25 MR. PANTELIC: I will clarify that.
1 JUDGE LINDHOLM: I hope so.
2 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. We have to clarify the English expression, which doesn't seem to
4 be quite precise. Let me ask you this way: Was the People's Assembly of
5 the Serb people created for the territory of the entire
7 A. It was created for the territory of Republika Srpska.
8 Q. And in that decision on creating the People's Assembly of the Serb
9 nation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, it was defined that that organ was
10 associated with a certain territory.
11 A. Yes. I think it was defined in that way; however, this is a legal
12 issue, and I cannot go into that.
13 Q. Do you know about a certain recommendation of the People's
14 Assembly of the Serb People in Bosnia-Herzegovina on creating Serb
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And now we are dealing with the end of February 1992. And can you
18 tell us, please, how was the Serb Municipality of Bosanski Samac in
19 Peligicevo created?
20 A. So first there was a plebiscite of Serb people held and the Serb
21 population voted in large numbers in favour of remaining in Yugoslavia.
22 After that a recommendation was adopted by the People's Assembly of Serb
23 People in Bosnia-Herzegovina to establish Serb municipalities on the basis
24 of the right to self-determination and secession. Following that, in all
25 Serb local communes in that area town meetings were held, as they were
1 called in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time. I'm not sure that that can be
3 Q. Well, perhaps you could elaborate on that.
4 A. All right. That means then residents of every local commune or
5 village would be called to gather, usually in culture halls, and a
6 proposal was presented to them and they were asked to vote on it.
7 Residents voted by raising their hands. The question they were asked was
8 whether you are in favour of remaining in Yugoslavia, and they would vote
9 in favour or against it. And then the second question put to them was
10 whether the citizens were in favour of creating Serb municipalities in
11 Serb areas, and they would have, again, to vote in favour or against it.
12 Based on their votes, in the territory of Posavina,
13 representatives of Serb local communes gathered and created Serb
14 municipality Bosanski Samac and Pelagicevo in formation. They created
15 municipal assembly, elected executive council, appointed assemblymen who
16 participated in elections, and that parliament has existed since then and
17 exists even today with a certain change in territory, because later on
18 Pelagicevo was proclaimed a municipality, as was Srpsko Orasje, whereas
19 Odzak remained a different municipality, as did Vukosavlje.
20 Q. Can you tell us when was the founding session held of the Serb
21 municipality of Bosanski Samac and Pelagicevo and where.
22 A. It was held at the memorial centre in Bosanski Samac at the end of
23 February 1992. The exact date can be seen in the decision that was
24 adopted then.
25 Q. Who attended this founding assembly?
1 A. It was attended by Serb assemblymen who were elected at the first
2 parliamentary elections in 1990 from the municipalities of Bosanski Samac,
3 Odzak, Orasje, and Gradacac.
4 Q. And these Serb assemblymen, from which political parties did they
5 come from?
6 A. They came from the Serb Democratic Party, the Serbian Renewal
7 Movement, the SDP, the Liberals, the Party of the Reform Forces, and I
8 think that there were representatives of citizens who were not in any
10 Q. On that occasion were rules of procedure for the work of this
11 assembly adopted?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. On that occasion was the president of the municipal assembly
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Who was elected president?
17 A. As president of the first assembly, it was Ilija Ristic -
18 Dr. Ilija Ristic who was elected.
19 Q. Now we're going to look at this Official Gazette. You have these
20 decisions here, so we can deal with these questions more easily.
21 MR. PANTELIC: Madam Usher, Exhibit P124 and ter. This is the
22 Official Gazette of the Municipality of Samac, where a certain number of
23 decisions were published, including the general decision of the
24 foundation, establishment, of Serbian municipalities. So we can go
1 Q. [Interpretation] Is that Official Gazette number 1, Dr. Simic? Do
2 you have number 1 in front of you?
3 A. Yes, yes.
4 Q. Very well. Let us look at page 4 of the B/C/S version. Please
5 take a look at the upper right-hand corner, number 4. Is that it?
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. PANTELIC: It's ERN number 00479560.
8 Q. [Interpretation] Very well. So tell me, Dr. Simic, who was then
9 elected vice-president of the assembly of the municipality?
10 A. Dusan Tanasic was elected. Dusan Tanasic, T-a-n-a-s-i-c.
11 Q. Please take a look at Article 8 of this decision on the
12 establishment of the municipal assembly.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Tell me, what would you have to say by way of comment with regard
15 to Article 8? Do you remember whether this was discussed and what the
16 objective was of adopting this kind of formulation? What did this pertain
18 A. This pertained to the following: Everything that was being
19 established by the Serb people in Bosnia-Herzegovina can be withdrawn if
20 the decision on the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina is withdrawn. If,
21 on the other hand, there is no such decision, then the Serb people ask
22 that there is separation by peaceful means between the Serb territory and
23 other territories. Until such a moment when there would be this
24 separation, all officials in joint assemblies would remain at their posts.
25 Q. Will you be able to comment upon Article 9, in terms of the
1 technical aspect, as to how it was envisaged. For certain separations to
2 take place in a material, legal, and property sense.
3 A. This Article 9 is self-explanatory. It was envisaged that mixed
4 commissions be established, that there should be peaceful agreement, and
5 that these mixed commissions should do whatever was supposed to be done by
6 way of documents and everything else that both sides were interested in.
7 Q. At this gathering, was there any mention of a forcible takeover of
8 power, any armed actions, or revenge against members of other ethnic
9 groups in Samac?
10 A. No. That was never discussed.
11 Q. Was the basic point of these mixed commissions an attempt by the
12 Serb and Muslim and Croat sides to divide by peaceful means the funds and
13 the material assets in this specific municipality of Bosanski Samac?
14 A. I do not understand your question.
15 Q. I'm interested in the principle governing these mixed
16 commissions. Who was supposed to be a member of these mixed commissions,
17 those mentioned in Article 9?
18 A. I am being asked to comment on Article 9. I'm not a lawyer, and I
19 did not write these decisions of the mixed commission. I assume that it
20 is the representatives of all three peoples.
21 Q. Article 6, can you comment on the objective of the adoption of
22 this Article 6 within this decision. If you recall, of course.
23 A. I would like legal people to comment on this.
24 Q. Tell me, on page 7 of that Official Gazette, you see the decision
25 on the election of members of the executive board.
1 MR. PANTELIC: The English version should be -- yes, ERN number
3 Q. [Interpretation] This decision, as its title says, refers to the
4 election of members of the executive council. Tell me, since it was
5 adopted at the second session on the 28th of March, 1992 -- have you found
7 A. Yes, yes.
8 Q. At this first founding meeting at the memorial centre towards the
9 end of February, do you remember was there any reference to the
10 establishment of an executive council, or was this just the founding
12 A. What is most important and what happens at an assembly is written
13 down as conclusions and published in the Official Gazette. So now I can
14 only comment upon what is written in the Official Gazette.
15 Q. At that time, towards the end of February 1992, was any reference
16 made to annexation to some Serb autonomous region?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Tell me, were you elected vice-president of the Serb autonomous
19 area of Northern Bosnia towards the end of 1991?
20 A. I attended that meeting; however, I must say that this SAO
21 district, as far as I know, was not constituted at all, nor did it ever
22 function, nor did it ever pass any decisions. Nobody ever handed me a
23 decision stating that I was its vice-president. The municipality of Samac
24 did not adopt any decision either to the effect that it would belong to
25 any one of the SAO areas.
1 Q. As you say, this SAO Northern Bosnia practically never functioned.
2 A. To the best of my knowledge.
3 Q. What was the activity of the Serb Municipality of Bosanski Samac
4 in Pelagicevo after the founding assembly? Were there any sessions? Were
5 there any meetings? What do you know about this?
6 A. Well, the next session after February was held in March, and then
7 the one after that was held in March 1992, and the one after that was held
8 in December 1992.
9 Q. So practically from February --
10 A. March.
11 Q. February, from the end of February, when the founding assembly was
12 held, until March 1992, there were no assembly activities. Is that right?
13 A. There weren't any.
14 Q. So more or less this was a mere declaration, rather than an
15 effected decision?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Do you have a problem with translation that you see?
18 A. No. My answer had not been typed in yet.
19 Q. So what was the reaction of the other two constituent peoples in
20 Samac? I mean, on the basis of some of the personal contacts you had, in
21 respect of the establishment of the Serb municipality.
22 A. I think that the policy was unchanged. Regardless of the
23 consequences, the policy at local level of the HDZ and the SDA worked in
24 the direction of creating an independent state of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 That is to say, regardless of what the Serb people did and the extent to
1 which they protested and complained, they never deviated from the
2 establishment of an independent state.
3 Q. What is your personal knowledge regarding the activities of the
4 International Community, precisely at that time, in 1991, in December 1991
5 and January and February 1992, from the press or from some other
6 contacts? Are you aware of the Lisbon negotiations and a certain
8 A. Yes. That time, the beginning of 1992 all the way up to the
9 summer of 1992, is a period of time when the Lisbon agreement was being
10 referred to as well as the Cutilheiro plan.
11 Q. Who did you discuss this with at the municipal level?
12 A. Well, at the outset this was published by all newspapers. It was
13 on TV. It was discussed among people at all levels. And this was a ray
14 of hope that we in Bosnia-Herzegovina would perhaps be smart and that
15 there would not be a war. The European Community worked rather
16 intensively on this plan, on the Lisbon agreement, and at that time it
17 represented a solution for all three peoples. We heard yesterday as well
18 that three years later the Dayton Agreement was signed, which differs very
19 little from the Lisbon Agreement.
20 Q. Dr. Simic, let us focus on your personal knowledge and on
21 testimony concerning the time that we are discussing, so that we would not
22 deviate from the line of testimony. What you referred to are generally
23 known facts, and we're going to leave that for some other
24 occasion. So now I'm asking you once again: Among the parties that
25 constituted the government at local level, the HDZ, the SDA, and the SDS,
1 was any reference made to the resolution of certain political tensions,
2 both at political level and beyond?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. How often and with who did you communicate for the most part? I
5 assume that you then, as the president of the municipal board of the SDS.
6 A. Physically I was absent, so I took part in these discussions to a
7 lesser extent. But the president of the executive council and other
8 assemblymen of the Serb Democratic Party had the opportunity of conducting
9 such talks.
10 Q. Where were you when you were physically absent?
11 A. I was doing my residency in Tuzla at the time, so that means this
12 is 1992.
13 Q. All right. But to a large extent your co-workers gave you
14 information as to what was going on. You were president of the municipal
15 board of the SDS, weren't you?
16 A. These were unofficial talks at micro level, and basically nothing
17 depended on that because the kind of agreement that is reached at top
18 level is usually transmitted to micro level. There was only one
19 inter-party discussion at an official level.
20 Q. At that time the president of the executive committee of the
21 Bosanski Samac municipality, which was established after the elections of
22 1990, was Mirko Jovanovic, was he not?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you have any knowledge and did he inform you of how cooperation
25 in his institution, the executive committee, was functioning in those
1 first few months of 1992?
2 A. He informed the entire municipal assembly and all the deputies.
3 There were very few personal contacts.
4 Q. Did he or did others who were active in the municipal organs of
5 this municipality at that time, did they draw your attention to certain
6 issues or problems or to tensions they were faced with in their work?
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Do you still need --
8 MR. PANTELIC: Oh, no. Thank you. Thank you. Sorry, Ms. Usher.
10 Q. [Interpretation] Tell us, did you find out from your colleagues or
11 friends anything about the way in which business was conducted, whether
12 there were any political tensions and what people thought and what your
13 personal observations were?
14 A. Individuals meant nothing at the time. Their work was made very
15 difficult, and starting from the 10th of April, they didn't even go to
16 work because they didn't feel safe. The undermining of their work took
17 place at all levels. The decisions they were supposed to be implementing
18 on the territory influenced by the HDZ and the SDA simply could not be
19 implemented. Then they stopped going to those areas at all. I am
20 referring to secretaries, inspectors, and so on.
21 Q. What inspectors?
22 A. The inspectors working in the municipalities, inspectors mostly of
23 the Internal Revenue Service.
24 Q. I assume there were no police inspectors employed in the
1 A. No.
2 Q. At the second session of the Serb municipality of Samac and
3 Pelagicevo, on the 28th of March, 1992, certain members of the executive
4 council were elected. Do you remember this?
5 A. Yes. This is in the Official Gazette.
6 Q. Were you there?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did you nominate Stevan Todorovic as chief of the Public Security
10 A. No.
11 Q. Who nominated him, if you remember?
12 A. He was nominated by Lazar Stanisic. But I think he was also
13 supported by Ilija Ristic, the then-president of the municipal assembly.
14 I can say that the Serb Democratic Party opposed Stevan Todorovic being
15 appointed to any post.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Mr. Pantelic, on page 58 and where you have an
18 answer, "Individuals meant nothing at the time," what does the --
19 Dr. Simic mean by "individuals"? It's a very diffused concept. Could you
20 clarify that.
21 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Yes, Your Honour. I'll do that. By all
23 Q. [Interpretation] Because of the way this was interpreted into
24 English, when you were asked as to whether your colleagues informed you of
25 their problems at work, you said this did not take place on an individual
1 level but through institutions. Could you explain this to Judge
2 Lindholm. Can you explain how this functioned at the local level in
3 relation to these various secretariats and people's posts and the
4 difficulties they had at work, who they informed of this and how all this
5 functioned while you were the deputy president of the municipal assembly
6 elected at the elections.
7 A. The president of the executive council chaired the meetings of the
8 executive council, and this was a body in which information was exchanged
9 among the members. Then the president of the executive council informed
10 the assembly, which numbered 50 assemblymen, and he presented his
11 impressions and suggestions to the assembly. If he wanted to inform the
12 party, he would come to the deputies club, the meeting of the deputies
13 club, when invited by a political party, and this took place in the
14 municipal assembly building. The Serb Democratic Party had 17
15 assemblymen, and then he would inform them of his impressions, his
16 conclusions, his suggestions, and so on and so forth.
17 MR. PANTELIC: The sense, Your Honour, was of -- of course that's
18 my understanding of the previous answer of Dr. Simic that individuals were
19 not in charge to do anything at the same time when the institutions were
20 there. That means that there were no private lines of professional work,
21 I mean, between one department of the -- one municipal functioner and
22 someone from the authorities of the municipality. It's, rather, a
23 relation between -- ex officio between the functioner in one department
24 and the next level, which is executive board or municipal assembly. That
25 was the sense of his explanation previously, if that satisfied your
1 inquiry. Thank you.
2 Q. [Interpretation] Let us go back to the assembly of the 28th of
3 March, 1992, when you said that the SDS opposed the appointment of
4 Stevan Todorovic as chief of the Public Security Station. I am a little
5 bit confused when you say that. Was he a member of the SDS?
6 A. The Serbian Democratic Party expelled him after the first
7 parliamentary elections. He was expelled from the party. He was not
8 allowed to participate on the list of candidates. And from that time, the
9 party did not count on him in any way whatsoever. The proposal, or
10 rather, the nominees of the Serb Democratic Party were professionals.
11 Pero Stevic, Milan Stankovic, Petrovic - I've forgotten his first name -
12 men like that, but not Stevan Todorovic.
13 Q. When the list was drawn up in 1992 for the local elections, was
14 there -- I won't call it a conflict, but were there any tensions between
15 you and Stevan Todorovic? Can you explain that?
16 A. That was one of my conditions. I said if I was at the head of the
17 list, he could not be in it because I knew him -- I had known him for a
18 certain time as a patient, and I didn't want him anywhere.
19 Q. How do you mean as a patient?
20 A. As an alcoholic, a drug addict, someone addicted to pills.
21 Q. Wait a minute. At this session of the 28th of March, what group
22 nominated him? Was this a fraction among the Serb deputies or
23 assemblymen? Were you outvoted? Did you remain in the minority? Can you
24 explain this process. How did this happen?
25 A. At the Serbian assembly there were 50 assemblymen from different
1 parties, and within the Serbian Democratic Party there were also various
2 groups. Whether interest groups or other factions, it was impossible to
3 have a unanimous opinion, so that some people insisted that it should be
4 him. And during the secret ballot, he was elected.
5 Q. Tell me, please, in the period during the first few months of
6 1992, did you continue to be the deputy president of the Bosanski Samac
7 Municipal Assembly elected in 1992?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Were there any sessions of this assembly in that composition?
10 A. Unfortunately, no, unless I've forgotten.
11 Q. And why not? Do you know?
12 A. Because the HDZ and the SDA did not have a parliamentary majority,
13 and they could not push through the decisions that suited them. That's
14 why the president never convened the assembly.
15 Q. How, then, did the executive council of that municipality elected
16 in 1992, where the vice-president was Izet Izetbegovic and where others
17 were in the municipal secretariats, how did it function? Do you know
19 A. Well, it functioned with ever-greater difficulties throughout this
21 Q. In this period, as the president of the SDS municipal committee or
22 board, did you together with the other Serb assemblymen or other circles
23 of people of Serb ethnicity draw up any plans about takeover of power in
24 Bosanski Samac? You personally, I mean.
25 A. No.
1 Q. Do you have any knowledge of any of your close associates from the
2 SDS or from the Serb Municipality of Bosanski Samac drawing up plans which
3 would include a takeover of power by forcible means in the Bosanski Samac
5 A. No.
6 Q. Did you have any secret talks or relations with the JNA units that
7 were stationed in the territory?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Did you have any contacts or any plans with the Ministry of the
10 Interior of Serbia?
11 A. No.
12 Q. In those first few months of 1992, did you recruit your
13 acquaintances or certain young people as members of commando units?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Did you, together with Stevan Todorovic in these first few months
16 of 1992, have any meetings or talks about establishing a Serbian police in
17 Bosanski Samac?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Did you put forward any initiatives in connection with the
20 establishment of a Crisis Staff of the Serbian Municipality of Bosanski
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Can you explain briefly what your role was. First, explain to us
24 what the Crisis Staff was, in fact, on the basis of what you know, of
1 A. The Crisis Staff is actually the municipal assembly under
2 conditions of war.
3 Q. In the previous period, during the former Yugoslavia, would there
4 have been a Crisis Staff at the local level and under what circumstances?
5 A. It was always established in times of crisis, when there was an
6 earthquake, a flood, a big fire, whenever there was any sort of emergency.
7 Q. And what in essence was the purpose of that body?
8 A. To get through the period until conditions were created for the
9 convening of the entire assembly. All decisions would then have to be
10 tabled before the entire assembly and re-adopted by it.
11 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honours, I think it's time for a break. And
12 then in the afternoon we shall start with another part of --
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well. We shall have our lunch break and
14 continue our proceedings at 14.30 hours.
15 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 2.32 p.m.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Examination-in-chief is continuing with
18 Mr. Pantelic.
19 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
20 Q. [Interpretation] Dr. Simic, before the break we touched upon the
21 Crisis Staff. Now, please tell me, based on your information, how was the
22 Crisis Staff of the Serb Municipality of Bosanski Samac established?
23 A. After the founding -- after one of the sessions in March, it was
24 decided that should it be needed, a Crisis Staff should be established if
25 the war breaks out in the territory of Bosanska Posavina. President and
1 vice-president of municipality and the chairman of the municipal board of
2 SDS were tasked with implementing this. However, we believed that there
3 wouldn't be a war, and therefore we didn't do much in terms of making
4 consultations with respect to the Crisis Staff.
5 Then there was a meeting of the executive council of the Serb
6 Municipality of Bosanski Samac in Pelagicevo under formation was held, and
7 the situation was described as dramatic there. And based on that
8 information on the 14th and 15th of April, I believe, it was insisted that
9 a Crisis Staff should be established if there are any war operations in
10 the area. Possible appointees to the Crisis Staff were discussed, and its
11 general structure, however, the Crisis Staff itself was not established.
12 The war broke out on the 16th and 17th of April. We did not have
13 a Crisis Staff, nor did we have a stamp of the Crisis Staff. And
14 somewhere between the 17th and 19th of April, we had consultations with
15 assemblymen of the municipal assembly and -- with participation of the
16 people from the Ministry of Defence, because people had been mobilised and
17 they were sent to the front line, which was some 70 kilometres long. And
18 with consent of patriotic political parties, the Crisis Staff was
20 Sometime around the 19th of April, Miroslav Tadic joined the
21 Crisis Staff - perhaps it was on the 20th of April - and he joined it as
22 the commander of the TO staff [as interpreted]. And I think that we could
23 take the 19th of April as the starting date for creation of the Crisis
24 Staff, and it went on working until mid-1992.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, could I have just a second, because I
1 have one document to possibly tender into evidence, please.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
3 MR. PANTELIC: For the benefit of my friends from the Prosecution,
4 this is our internal number -- it's a page for Crisis Staff for the month
5 of May --
6 JUDGE MUMBA: I see Mr. Lukic on his feet.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I can see an error in
8 translation, page 65, line 23. The witness said that Miroslav Tadic
9 joined as the commander of the civil protection staff, whereas it says
10 here that he joined as commander of the TO staff. So I would like that
11 clarified, please.
12 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. When you mentioned Miroslav Tadic, Dr. Simic, you meant to say
14 that he was commander of civil protection. Is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. For the benefit of my colleagues from the
17 Prosecution, it's our -- well, internal number KS1. It's a payroll list
18 for the month of May 1992. And maybe we could have some comments from the
20 Mr. Usher, please. This is the B/C/S version and English
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, we are wondering whether we could have
23 clarification. What is the difference between civil protection and the
24 Territorial Defence?
25 MR. PANTELIC: Well, I can -- I can --
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Ask the witness, please.
2 MR. PANTELIC: Clarify with the witness, yes.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Dr. Simic, can you please, if you know, explain
4 the difference between the Territorial Defence and civil protection.
5 A. Both components are regulated by the law on National Defence.
6 Territorial Defence is a military component that is armed and takes part
7 in a war, whereas civilian protection consists mostly of retirees and
8 veterans, disabled veterans who are involved in solving various issues
9 within civilian protection, funerals, exhumation, protection of windows,
10 and so on and so forth. Miroslav Tadic would be able to explain this in
11 greater detail. All of this is regulated by the law on National Defence.
12 Q. Please take a look at the document in front of you.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you please tell me what is this document about.
15 A. This is a payroll list of the Crisis Staff for May of 1992.
16 Q. When you said that at that gathering of Serbian assemblymen and in
17 the presence of the members of the executive board of the SDS in that
18 municipality there was some talk about creating Crisis Staff, do you see
19 on this list the same people that were then at that occasion mentioned as
20 possible members of the Crisis Staff?
21 A. Yes. That mostly corresponds to that, yes.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I wonder if Mr. Pantelic
23 would be interested in confirming whether or not this is an exhaustive and
24 complete list of the Crisis Staff, because that would be of use to the
25 Chamber, I submit.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. That's also my intention. But first let me
2 correct the transcript. Page 67, line 18, I think it was not correct to
3 say that that was the executive board of SDS.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Please tell me: The meeting in which Serb
5 assemblymen participated, were members of the executive council of the
6 Serb municipality of Bosanski Samac present as well?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. So it wasn't the executive board of the SDS that you had in mind?
9 A. No.
10 Q. And once you recollect what took place during that meeting, and if
11 you compare that with this list, in April of 1992 when the Crisis Staff
12 started functioning, can you tell us did it have more members than we can
13 see listed here or what? Can you please give comment.
14 A. While we had our consultations, more people were proposed as
15 members. But later on, due to the war developments and so on, a number of
16 people couldn't join the Crisis Staff. And by this I mean first and
17 foremost Matan Asijovic [phoen] who was mobilised, then a possible
18 candidate mentioned was also Ilija Ristic, who did not participate later
19 on in the work of the Crisis Staff because he headed the veterinary
20 service. And there were other people involved in similar circumstances.
21 Q. And does this list in fact reflect the situation and the
22 membership of the Crisis Staff in April of 1992, when according to you it
23 started functioning?
24 A. Yes, it does.
25 Q. Can you tell us who manufactured the stamp of the Crisis Staff.
1 A. Administrative organs of the municipal assembly. Physically it
2 was manufactured by Marko Kuresevic.
3 Q. When was that?
4 A. It was between the 17th and 18th of April.
5 Q. I'm not going to go into details, but if you remember what did
6 that stamp look like? What text did it have?
7 A. In the middle it had four Cyrillic S's, and then it also had this
8 text on it: "Serbian Municipality of Bosanski Samac and Pelagicevo Under
10 Q. If we take a look at the English version of this document, we'll
11 see that the copy is very bad. So could you please put your copy on the
12 ELMO so that we can see what this stamp looked like.
13 A. It is not very clear.
14 Q. But can you actually read what it says on that stamp.
15 A. It says here - at least the part that I can see - "the Executive
17 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic, page 69, line 11. I'm
18 sure there must be something a little incorrect there, because there is no
19 stamp on the English version. Just for the sake of the record.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, yes, you are right. As I said, there is no
21 stamp on the English version, and my idea was just to check on the B/C/S
23 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. No, I understand that, but at the moment it
24 looks as though there's a stamp on the English version, and it isn't very
25 clear, which doesn't make any sense.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Yes, Your Honour. We shall take some steps
2 to maybe ask the assistance of the interpreters' unit.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Please tell me, why is there a stamp of the
4 executive council here on the left side if this is a payroll list.
5 A. Because the financial department was within the executive branch
6 of the government.
7 MR. PANTELIC: If there is no objection, I would like to tender
8 this document into evidence, Your Honours.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: No objection, if Your Honours please.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well. Can we have it numbered, please.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours. This will be marked Defence
12 Exhibit 55/1, and that's for the English. And Defence Exhibit 55/1 ter
13 for the B/C/S.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I make that clear though,
15 on the basis that there is no concession by the Prosecution on
16 authenticity at this stage, of course. I raised that point initially at
17 the pre-Defence case conference the other day, and I'll reiterate that
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well.
20 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Mr. Pantelic, I have just a little question here.
21 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE WILLIAMS: I'd like to find out from Dr. Simic whether the
23 payments in dinars, being that I don't know the value of the dinar in
24 1992, whether the payment for the month of May, whether this reflects a
25 real salary of substance or whether it was more like an honorarium of some
1 description. So to have a sense of how much and, as I've said, was it a
2 real salary or some type of honorarium.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time the worth of this was
4 very low. I don't think one could pay a drink in a coffee bar with this
5 amount. And we had daily inflation of 10 per cent. We had a
6 hyperinflation at the time, so this amount in dinars was practically
7 without any worth. However, we did receive this payment.
8 JUDGE WILLIAMS: So what would, for example, the equivalent -- if
9 you can recall. I mean, we've seen in the trial so far often times the
10 equivalent has been put into Deutschmarks. If it's easier for you to
11 maybe give us an equivalent in Deutschmarks or any -- any -- any sense for
12 us, rather than simply to say that there was a high rate of inflation. I
13 think we just need to get a sense of, shall we say, the financial worth of
14 the job of being on the Crisis Staff.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The republic government issued a
16 decree in the Official Gazette which reflected that there was a daily
17 inflation of 10 per cent. Financially there was no sense in doing this
18 because the municipality had no funds, and it couldn't distribute
19 salaries. No tax was levied. There was no budget. There was no
20 financial assistance coming from outside either.
21 JUDGE WILLIAMS: So if I understand you correctly, then,
22 Dr. Simic, you and the other members of the Crisis Staff, including
23 presumably Mr. Tadic, were not doing this for financial reasons but for
24 political reasons -- in any event, you were almost volunteering your
25 services. Is that the sense that I have?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
2 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
3 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. What's the equivalent? Was it 300 Deutschmark? 150? Or 10
5 Deutschmark? Can you remember approximately what the equivalent would be?
6 A. About 10 German marks.
7 Q. At that time, what about the salaries of other employees in other
8 companies? Was it roughly at that level?
9 A. All of that can be seen from payrolls. Approximately everything
10 is at that level.
11 Q. All right. Tell me, you mentioned Mr. Marko Kuresevic, who
12 manufactured stamps. Do you know how many stamps contained the words:
13 "the Serb Municipality of Bosanski Samac and Pelagicevo Under Formation,"
14 how many stamps of this kind were made?
15 A. As far as I was informed - I did not take part in this; it's the
16 administration that dealt with these matters - three stamps of this kind
17 were made.
18 Q. You mean with the same content?
19 A. The same content.
20 Q. And who used them? I mean, which institutions.
21 A. One was at the Crisis Staff, and two were in the municipal
23 Q. Now, could you explain to us: The decision to appoint you
24 president of the Crisis Staff, how come it was dated the 17th of April?
25 A. They agreed at the Crisis Staff that this should be covered, this
1 period of two days, and that the documents should be written from the 17th
2 of April. That includes this decision to appoint me president. Actually,
3 it was from the 19th of April, but it said the 17th of April.
4 Q. You mean because of your years of service and things like that?
5 A. I don't know why, but that's the agreement that was reached then.
6 Q. Tell me, how were you elected president of the Crisis Staff? In
7 which way? What did this look like?
8 A. The members of the Crisis Staff amongst themselves decided who
9 their chairman would be.
10 Q. So you were practically voted president?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Tell me, as a military reservist, according to the law on defence
13 and the law on the army, you had your own war assignment, didn't you?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Could you please explain to the Trial Chamber whether "war
16 assignment" means at any rate that you should have a military function or
17 does that -- can that also imply some public offices and things like
18 that? Do you know about that?
19 A. War assignments applied to political positions -- to public
20 positions and to military positions depending on what the Ministry of
21 Defence decides.
22 Q. As for work duty --
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Just for the purposes of clarification --
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
25 MR. DI FAZIO: -- is the witness speaking about the situation
1 prior to the creation of this Serb municipality, or is he speaking about
2 the period of time well before, mid-April of 1992? I'm not sure which
3 ministry he's referring to and which laws he's referring to and so on.
4 Thank you.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I think that can be clarified with the
7 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
8 Q. [Interpretation] So on the basis of what you know, was this
9 principle applied in the former Yugoslavia in accordance with these laws
10 and in Republika Srpska in accordance with these laws that were in force,
11 those that had to do with war assignments?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. All right. Tell me, please, the concept of work duty, if one does
14 not engage in active military service, if one does not go to the front
15 line, to put it that way, do then civilians have some other options, to be
16 in another position in accordance with the law on defence?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Is that then work duty?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Did you have some kind of work duty?
21 A. My work duty was member of the Crisis Staff, or rather, president
22 of the municipal assembly.
23 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me. Dr. Simic, what about the members of
24 your family? Did your wife have work obligation as well, your brother and
25 the other members of your family that were mentioned earlier on this
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My brother had military duty and
3 work duty. That is to say, when he was off, he went to the front -- I
4 mean, when he was not off he went to the front. And then he was here, he
5 was on work duty. And my wife at that point in time, at the beginning of
6 the war, was very pregnant and she had a baby on the 20th of June in
7 1992. That was her fourth delivery. My parents are very old, so they did
8 not have military duty or work duty.
9 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Just two questions: How old were your parents
10 then? And secondly: If your wife had not been pregnant, would she have
11 been assigned a work obligation?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Later already in 1993, she was
13 assigned a work obligation and she worked at her own workplace, at the
14 centre for social welfare. That is to say, when her maternity leave had
15 expired. As for my parents, my father was born in 1925, and my mother in
16 1930, so at that time they were very old people.
17 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
18 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Did your parents till their land? Were they engaged in
20 agricultural activity?
21 A. Yes, yes. They are always engaged in agricultural activity. But
22 these are private activities.
23 Q. In this local environment in that village, did they give their
24 contribution through their harvest and other things that they dealt with
25 for the civilian population and for defence needs?
1 A. Like every household in a war situation, they helped by way of
2 food. They gave what was required.
3 Q. Who required this from them?
4 A. For the most part, it was the local staffs or the civilian
5 authorities in the local communes, and they further organised help --
6 assistance to soldiers at the front line.
7 Q. Was this regulated by some regulations in a particular field?
8 A. This was regulated by various regulations. It was also left to
9 one's own initiative.
10 MR. PANTELIC: I have a document here which I would like to tender
11 into evidence; it's a kind of certificate, our 36. It's a certificate
12 issued by the Ministry of Defence, municipal department of the war
13 assignment for Dr. Simic. I have the original also -- document here, as
14 well as B/C/S and English translation.
15 Ms. Registrar, we need only one copy for our records, so ...
16 Q. [Interpretation] Very well. So this document shows that it was
17 issued by the Ministry of Defence, Department of Samac. Is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. I also see that your war assignment was head of the medical
20 service in the TO staff in Bosanski Samac?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Further on I see that your war assignment was at the position of
23 vice-president of the Bosanski Samac Municipal Assembly in 1990?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And you remained at that war assignment until the 17th of April,
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. From the 17th of April, 1992 onwards, you held the position of
4 President of the Municipality of Samac and you remained with that war
5 assignment until 1995. Is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. PANTELIC: Assuming there is no objections from the
8 Prosecution, I would like to tender that into evidence, please.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: No objection, if Your Honours please.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well. Can we have the number, please.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours. That will be Defence Exhibit
12 56/1 for the English and Defence Exhibit 56/1 ter for the B/C/S.
13 MR. PANTELIC: The next document, Mr. Usher, please. I have the
14 original, too. It's the decision on work -- of assignment on work
15 obligation, issued by Ministry of Defence, Samac department.
16 I have also the original document to tender also.
17 Since the B/C/S copy is not so legible, could we have the
18 original, please, Mr. Usher, so that Dr. Simic can give us certain
20 Q. [Interpretation] So this was issued by the Ministry of Defence,
21 Municipality of Samac, Department of Samac. What's the date on the
22 left-hand side?
23 A. The 8th of June, 1993.
24 Q. All right. And it says that you hold the position of President of
25 the municipal assembly from which date?
1 A. The 17th of April, 1992.
2 Q. Could you please place that document on the ELMO.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Because, Your Honour, I see in English translation
4 that due to the bad copy, I would say, it was translated the date of 7 of
5 April. But instead of 7, it should be 17. And you can -- you can -- you
6 can see by yourself that number 1 in front of 7 is quite shade, but ...
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
8 MR. PANTELIC: So that's a correction, I mean, just for the
10 JUDGE MUMBA: So it should be 17th April, 1992.
11 MR. PANTELIC: That's correct.
12 And I would like to tender this document into evidence too, if
13 there is no objections.
14 And please, Mr. Usher, could you please be so kind to provide this
15 B/C/S version to our friend from the Prosecution just to take a look at
16 this particular part.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: I just want it to clear with this document. The
18 date on the left-hand top is 8th June, 1993?
19 MR. PANTELIC: That's correct. Correct. Because I believe that
20 the person -- head of this department will come to testify here and he can
21 maybe clarify why this document was issued on 1993 and he'll give details.
22 So could we have a number, please.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. Your Honours, this will be Defence Exhibit
24 57/1 for the English and Defence Exhibit 57/1 ter for the B/C/S.
25 MR. PANTELIC: [Microphone not activated]
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
2 MR. PANTELIC: Excuse me.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Let's go back to the period now of when the
4 Crisis Staff began working, as you said. Where were you personally in the
5 night between the 16th and 17th of April, 1992?
6 A. I was -- in the evening hours, I was in Kruskovo Polje in my
7 family home on the 16th, in the evening. And on the 17th in the morning,
8 I was called to work in the outpatients department as a doctor in Crkvina.
9 Q. Who called you?
10 A. I was called up by the duty officer in the army, from the army,
11 the military. And several other doctors were called as well; not only
12 me. I was the only one that responded.
13 Q. And what did you do?
14 A. There were several wounded persons whom I had to see to; I had to
15 bandage their wounds.
16 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE WILLIAMS: But before you go on with this line of
19 questioning, I'd just like to ask Dr. Simic whether the person, Mr. Bozo
20 Ninkovic, who signed D57/1, is the same Bosko Ninkovic on Exhibit D55/1,
21 number 11, in charge of information.
22 So on the first exhibit, D55/1, he's a member of the Crisis
23 Staff. And on the second exhibit, D57/1, he is now in the Ministry of
24 Defence for Republika Srpska. I just want to know whether it's the same
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Okay. Thank you.
3 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Let's clear up this point. Was he a member or, rather, the head
5 of the Ministry of Defence, the Samac department, Bozo Ninkovic I'm asking
7 A. Yes, that's right. After Milos Bogdanovic, the minister was
8 Bozo Ninkovic, and he was head of the Ministry of Defence in the Samac
10 Q. In the payroll dating back to May, he worked in the field of
11 information. What did they do exactly?
12 A. Well, he worked in the field of information, but he wasn't the
13 head of the Defence Ministry because that was Milos Bogdanovic at the
15 Q. And what did the field of information mean? What did this cover?
16 A. Well, at that time we tried to come by as much information as
17 possible, because we were in a media vacuum. We had no electricity. We
18 received no newspapers. We weren't able to watch television. We listened
19 to the radio very rarely. So somebody tried to -- so people tried to get
20 as much information as possible to be able to tell the people what was
21 going on in the surrounding parts.
22 Q. What party was he in?
23 A. He was a member of the Liberal party of Rasim Kadric [as
25 Q. Did you say Rasim Kadic?
1 A. Yes, Rasim Kadic.
2 THE INTERPRETER: K-a-d-i-c, interpreter's note.
3 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. And by nationality, I assume he's a Muslim, right?
5 A. Yes.
6 MR. PANTELIC: Mr. Usher, could we have Exhibit P79.
7 Q. [Interpretation] Tell me whether you recognise this document.
8 A. Well, I don't know how to answer that.
9 Q. Let me help you. Perhaps you're worried about whether I'm asking
10 you whether you recognise the form of the document or the content, so let
11 me say whether you've ever seen it.
12 Do you recognise it by virtue of us form?
13 A. Yes. I have seen it.
14 Q. Who is the author of the document?
15 A. Stevan Todorovic.
16 Q. Is he alone or with somebody else? Who worked on this document?
17 Did he do so alone or with the assistance of others?
18 A. I think that the document was compiled under his control. Now,
19 who actually helped him, I don't know.
20 Q. Were you ever consulted yourself or in any way did you take part
21 in the compiling of this document?
22 A. No.
23 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher. You can take this.
24 Q. [Interpretation] Tell us briefly, please, or rather, give us a
25 description of those first days. What were they like when the Crisis
1 Staff began functioning? And this was, as you say, about the 20th of
2 April, and it went up to the end of April. So what were the activities of
3 the Crisis Staff? How were the decisions taken? How were the decisions
4 prepared? What was the runner-up to the decisions, and what was your
5 working day like in those few weeks?
6 A. Well, first of all, I should like to describe the atmosphere that
7 prevailed, which was an atmosphere of war. There were shells falling from
8 all sides. We were under total encirclement with no electricity, no
9 water. It was a very dark and dismal atmosphere, and even the sky looked
10 dark under conditions of that kind. And in that general chaos and anarchy
11 and everything that civil war brings with it - deaths, funeral, woundings
12 and so on - we tried to introduce a certain measure of law and order or to
13 establish some sort of civilian authority which would at least in the
14 civilian sector introduce a little bit of law and order.
15 The executive board did what it could. It was the first to take
16 steps in that direction, and they tried to organise public kitchens. The
17 Crisis Staff was in the process of being formed, and then it was looking
18 for some premises to set up its headquarters. And the municipal premises,
19 the upper floors of the building, were bullet-ridden and they were on
20 the -- up at the front line itself. And we had to collect the necessary
21 legal staff and create the necessary conditions for us to be able to
22 function. So we started out from scratch. We had nothing to begin with,
23 but little by little we were able to round up the people and to start
24 resolving some of the problems that faced up.
25 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I wonder if there could be
1 a clarification in the transcript. The witness just referred to the
2 Crisis Staff, and early activities, and said, "The municipal premises, the
3 upper floors of the building were bullet-ridden." I wonder if we might
4 get some more precision as to precisely which building he's talking about
5 and its location and when they were there in that particular building.
6 It's of some significance, I think.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm sure, Mr. Pantelic, you'll get those details
8 from the witness.
9 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, yes, Your Honour. Certainly.
10 Q. [Interpretation] Tell us first, please, where was the municipal
11 building located?
12 A. We saw it here in some of the material we had.
13 Q. Describe it to us, please.
14 A. It is opposite the Territorial Defence building, right next to the
15 Public Security Station building, and the Crisis Staff was never in that
16 building. It was the municipal government that was housed there and the
17 organs of administration.
18 Q. Is the building on the banks of River Sava?
19 A. Yes. That building is on the banks of the River Sava and the
20 lower floor is protected by an embankment, whereas the upper floor is
21 exposed to the bullets coming from the Croatian side, so that they pierced
22 the building, hit the building with their ammunition, that part of it, at
24 Q. And where was the first headquarters of the Crisis Staff located,
25 physically speaking? Where were you? Where did you have your meetings in
1 those first days?
2 A. Well, we would meet for several hours in those first few days in
3 the building of the agricultural combine, the Poljara Privredna Binat
4 [phoen], and then the Uniglas building, and then we went into some of the
5 empty rooms of the municipal heating system plant. And that's where we
6 were while we were in existence.
7 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have Exhibit D27/3 ter. This is -- I
8 believe it's a map of Bosanski Samac. So maybe Dr. Simic can quickly
9 point out the positions.
10 Q. [Interpretation] We discussed these positions at length, but let's
11 see the diagram on the ELMO once again so that you can point out the
12 different location where the Crisis Staff had its meetings. First show us
13 peak -- perhaps it was towards the Sava River bank.
14 A. Here it is.
15 Q. Yes.
16 A. The municipal assembly building is over here for you to be able to
17 orientate yourself better.
18 Q. What about Uniglas?
19 A. For a few days it was here, and then it moved to this area, to a
20 commercial building where the municipal heating plant was located.
21 Q. Thank you. And we started talking about how you made the
22 decisions you took, what this process was like in the first few weeks up
23 until the end of April, how the Crisis Staff worked until that time.
24 A. At all the meetings of the Crisis Staff, as this was a municipal
25 parliament, we always had the president of the municipal government
1 present and a representative of the Defence Ministry as well. All the
2 decisions in the regular work of the municipal parliament and in these
3 wartime conditions, extraordinary conditions, all the decisions are put
4 forward by the executive council, the municipal authorities, or the
5 president, if he is putting them forward himself, the president of the
6 executive council. And the organs of administration prepare a decision
7 and draft a decision in conformity with the law and then offer it up for
9 If the voting, which can be secret ballot or public -- if the
10 majority votes in favour - and we always wish to achieve a consensus - for
11 a decision to go through, then the decision would be made public. It
12 would be written, printed, and then brought to me to sign, and then sent
13 out to the executive organs for them to check it out, to see that it is in
14 conformity with the prevailing laws because the executive power had the
15 responsibility of checking to see whether the decision was in conformity
16 with the law. If not, it would be taken back to undergo the same
17 procedure again. And if it didn't, that decision would be revoked and
18 another one written in its place. That's what we did then and that's how
19 we work today.
20 Q. On the professional side, who prepared the decisions? Who drafted
21 the decisions?
22 A. Every secretariat in the executive organs had professionals as
23 members of the team. So every secretariat in every ministry has its
24 professionals, well versed in their particular professional field. The
25 draft is then sent on to the legal men to see whether they -- the decision
1 is in compliance with the law, and then it is offered up to the municipal
2 parliament. Once it reaches the municipal parliament, people of different
3 professions, ranging from farmers to tradesmen, engineers, physicians,
4 whatever, they are there to vote on the decision, whether they understand
5 it or not.
6 Q. May I interrupt you there so that we can move on a little faster.
7 JUDGE LINDHOLM: I'm sorry, but on page 85 and line 14, "printed
8 and then brought to me to sign and then sent out to the executive organs
9 for them to check it out, to see that it is in," and so on and so on. By
10 saying so, do you mean that you had a personal responsibility for those
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't pass any decision
13 personally. All of the decisions were passed by the institution. I, as a
14 chairperson, as any other chairperson, only had to sign those decisions.
15 JUDGE LINDHOLM: But you told us that they were brought to you to
16 sign and then sent out and so on. What does it mean?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said first that those decisions
18 went through the municipal assembly first. They were debated there and so
19 on. After the discussion, there would be a vote, either public or
20 secret. If we had a majority, then a decision would be adopted and then
21 technical organs, administrative organs, would type up the decision that
22 had been adopted by the municipal assembly. And once they processed it,
23 they would bring it to me to sign.
24 And then after that, the decision would be sent out to executive
25 organs because executive organs are one thing, administrative organs are
1 quite another. And once they receive this decision and the executive
2 branch is staffed by professionals only, by people who had been trained
3 for that job by either the Ministry of Defence or Ministry of Agriculture
4 or whatever. And then they would verify that decision once again to make
5 sure it's in compliance with the law. And if it was, they would implement
6 it. If they didn't think it was in compliance, they would send it back to
7 go through the parliamentary procedure once again.
8 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you. Why was your signature required?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Somebody had to sign it. That was
10 the procedure in place. Somebody had to sign decision in addition to the
11 stamp in the legislative procedure, there also had to be a signature.
12 This was regulated by the statute of the municipal assembly and the
13 same -- it is regulated in the same way at the republican level when it
14 comes to the republican parliament.
15 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. All right. Let us now go down to our local level. So on behalf
17 of the body that adopted the decision, you signed it. Is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you have a lawyer in your Crisis Staff?
20 A. We had a lawyer in the Secretariat of the Municipal Assembly, or
21 rather, in the administration.
22 Q. Did you have a lawyer in the Crisis Staff itself?
23 A. I don't think -- I don't know whether we had a lawyer in the
24 Crisis Staff. However, administrative organs had to have a lawyer.
25 Q. What lawyer did you most often cooperate with?
1 A. With Mitar Mitrovic.
2 Q. And what was his task --
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, there. So if that was the case,
4 Mr. Mitar Mitrovic, whose name I was trying to recall, is in fact listed
5 as number 2, member of the Crisis Staff on the May 1992 payroll. I'm
6 sorry. That isn't a question. I was just offering that bit of
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. He was the only lawyer,
9 qualified lawyer there and the secretary of the municipal assembly.
10 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Very well. Can you tell me, please: During those first few
12 weeks, what did you personally do at the Crisis Staff? Please describe
13 one of your days. I know that no days are the same, but briefly can you
14 describe one of your typical days in terms of your professional and other
16 A. The working day would start by first ensuring that we had all the
17 necessary preconditions for the work of the Crisis Staff, and it wasn't
18 easy to ensure that. After that, we would convene the session of the
19 municipal assembly, and we would have to send out notices to people to
20 attend sessions of the Crisis Staff on such and such date at such and such
21 time. And it wasn't an easy task when there was no electricity for
22 example telephone lines and so on.
23 Later on, I would try to find Official Gazettes because the
24 republican assembly at that time passed quite a number of decrees and
25 other enactments. I think more than 300 of them were passed at the time.
1 And we had to receive all that, analyse all that, read it, and so on. I,
2 as a physician, had especially difficult time dealing with these legal
3 documents. I had to read them and so on and to prepare myself as much as
4 possible for meetings.
5 Later on, we would have consultations with assemblymen of the
6 municipal assembly; there were 50 of them. And each one of them insisted
7 on being well informed and find out what various opinions were, and so on,
8 and therefore president of municipal assembly had to inform various
9 assemblymen on the situation on the ground and on the work of municipal
11 Q. Let me please interrupt you for a second.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: And perhaps --
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Before Mr. Pantelic proceeds to that question. I
15 have certainly no objection to this evidence coming out. But to be of
16 assistance to you, I think we should know what period of time the witness
17 is speaking about. Particularly, as there's reference to a republican
18 assembly and decrees being passed. Is this during the months and weeks
19 immediately following April 17th? Do we have an up-and-running republican
20 assembly at work passing laws and decrees? Something like that should be
21 clear to the Chamber, I submit.
22 He might -- the witness might be talking about 1993 or a later
23 period of time. Is this during the Crisis Staff period, during the War
24 Presidency period, when the municipal assembly got up and running again?
25 That sort of matter should be made clear to the Chamber, I submit.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, yes. That's my intention to --
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
3 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Dr. Simic, let's simplify this as much as possible. All of us are
5 familiar with these procedures and so on. Let me ask you this first:
6 Where did you sleep during those first days immediately after you were
7 appointed president of the Crisis Staff? Where was your family?
8 A. My family was in my family house in Kruskovo Polje [as
9 interpreted], and my immediate family, my wife and children, were in --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the name of the
11 place where his immediate family was.
12 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Could you please repeat this. Your wife and children were where?
14 A. They were with my wife's mother in the village of Koprivna near
16 Q. How far is that from Samac?
17 A. Some 40 kilometres.
18 Q. So you would come to work in the morning to attend meetings of the
19 Crisis Staff. Is that right? And then you would ask your professional
20 aids about your agenda for the day. Is that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And how often during those first few weeks the Crisis Staff met?
23 Did it meet daily? Once a week? Once a fortnight? Tell us about that,
25 A. During those first days, it met almost daily. And later on, it
1 wasn't that frequent, or they met when necessary, although it existed for
2 some two months. So that period passed quite quickly.
3 Q. I know that it was wartime. Shells were landing nearby. It
4 wasn't easy to live and work under those conditions. But you were tasked
5 with coordinating and organising what? You and several others in the
6 Crisis Staff, what was your task? Could you explain it to me, the Trial
7 Chamber, what your work in there entailed?
8 A. We had to organise in wartime the functioning of the legislative
9 bodies of the municipal assembly -- or rather, the legislative body of
10 civilian government.
11 Q. So you had to pass various decisions enactments. Is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have --
14 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Again, we're just not getting anywhere. We have to
17 understand this evidence. It's important for the defendant as well to
18 make his position clear. Mr. Pantelic asks -- sorry, the witness said
19 that he had to organise in wartime the functioning of the legislative
20 bodies of the municipal assembly, or rather, the legislative body of the
21 civilian government.
22 Next question: "So you had to pass various decisions. Is that
25 Well, who passed them and secondly, what was this organisation of
1 the municipal assembly? Was there a municipal assembly functioning,
2 handing over work to the Crisis Staff and to this witness? Because I
3 understood, and I heard the witness say earlier, that the Crisis Staff was
4 the municipal assembly. So was it -- did it have an office? Did people
5 gather and debate things and pass laws and so on? This needs to be
6 clarified, I submit, otherwise the evidence can't be understood. And it
7 can be easily done by just asking the witness.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The Prosecution is right. We need
9 clarification. And also time perspective, what periods were these.
10 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely, Your Honour.
11 Q. [Interpretation] All right, Dr. Simic. Let's put this briefly.
12 We are now focussing on the first few weeks of April 1992 up until the end
13 of April of that year. Is that the period you were referring to?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. All right. The Crisis Staff during that period of time met almost
16 daily. Is that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You were the president of the Crisis Staff?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And in addition to you, there is a number of permanent members, to
21 put it that way. Is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you invite experts from other areas to the meetings of the
24 Crisis Staff in order to coordinate the work and the conditions for
25 civilian life? Is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, give us some examples. Who did you invite to attend those
4 A. Milos Bogdanovic, Secretary of National Defence; President of the
5 Executive Council of municipal assembly, Mirko Jovanovic. When it came to
6 information, we called Perica Krstanovic, director of the electrical power
7 company, and so on.
8 Q. Could you wait a second, please. I think we had -- we have a
9 mistake here. What does information have to do with the director of
10 electrical power company? Why would you call him to give you information
11 about what was going on?
12 A. So that he could let us know what was the situation with the
13 electrical power in our municipality.
14 Q. What about other public utilities and medical services? It was
15 wartime, after all.
16 A. Yes, it was wartime, and this was within the scope of
17 responsibilities of municipal government. So we would call these people
18 from time to time to inform us about the situation. However, the
19 executive branch of the government was the one that was in charge of daily
20 functioning of various operations -- government operations. By this I
21 mean both the municipal government and various departments of republican
23 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Could I interrupt you.
24 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. Of course.
25 JUDGE LINDHOLM: I beg your pardon. In times of a war, there are
1 always crisis not only for the Crisis Staff but for the community at
2 large. Which was the connection between the Crisis Staff and the head of
3 the police, Stevan Todorovic?
4 MR. PANTELIC: That was my next question, Your Honour, in fact.
5 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Okay.
6 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
7 Q. [Interpretation] So the first question: Was Stevan Todorovic a
8 member of the Crisis Staff?
9 A. Stevan Todorovic was not a member of the Crisis Staff. He was
10 occasionally invited to attend sessions of the Crisis Staff. And much
11 more often he would come on his own, uninvited, and usurp the meetings of
12 the Crisis Staff. There was basically no link between the Crisis Staff
13 and Stevan Todorovic factually, because Stevan Todorovic was within the
14 Ministry of the Interior. He was head of the Public Security Station in
15 Samac. His immediate superior was Andrija Milosevic in Doboj. And then
16 the next step up was the Minister of the Interior. And all of this is
17 regulated by the law on internal affairs.
18 Q. Let us slow down a little bit. Was he a member of the executive
20 A. When the executive council was elected at this second session, he
21 was supposed to be a member of the executive council; however, he was
22 invited to attend those meetings ex officio. However, he was not a member
23 of the municipal government. He was on the payroll of the Ministry of the
25 MR. PANTELIC: Mr. Usher, could we have Exhibit P124. That's the
1 Official Gazette. And we shall speak about the decisions verified by the
2 municipal assembly after the conditions for first session.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Dr. Simic, page 9, please. Would you take a look
4 at page 9.
5 MR. PANTELIC: If the usher can put on the ELMO page -- English
6 version page 15, ERN number 00479571.
7 Q. [Interpretation] Have you found it?
8 A. Page 9.
9 Q. Yes, page 9. What does this decision say? Could you read it,
11 A. "Decision to confirm (verify) the decisions and other documents of
12 the War Presidency of the Samac Municipal Assembly."
13 Q. And down there on the right-hand side.
14 A. On the 23rd of January, 1993.
15 Q. Do you remember this decision?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did you sign it in the capacity of president of the municipal
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. So while the Crisis Staff and War Presidency operated, these
21 decisions were practically verified. And during that time, since the
22 municipal assembly could not meet regularly due to the war, you
23 practically performed the functions of the municipal assembly?
24 A. In order to clarify this, this decision was passed on the 23rd of
25 January, 1993, and the assembly was held a month before this assembly,
1 that is to say, in December 1992, when a commission was established that
2 took all the documents of the Crisis Staff, of the War Presidency, and
3 then this commission looked at all these decisions, documents. This was
4 an independent commission. And then finally it reported to the municipal
6 Q. Item 2 of this decision says the following -- I beg your pardon,
7 Article 2 says the following -- could you please comment on what Article 2
9 A. It means that the War Presidency of the municipality is being
10 relieved of its duties and that the municipal parliament will start
11 working on a regular basis and that it will work in its entirety, and it
12 is the presidency that takes over the function of president.
13 Q. Who was that?
14 A. Yes, me.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher. You can take this exhibit,
17 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic.
18 Dr. Simic, if I understand therefore correctly, this decision that
19 we've just seen was retroactive confirmation of all decisions that had
20 been made by the Crisis Staff in the period from 17th of April, 1992
21 onwards to the time when this decision was enacted. Is that correct?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
24 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. This decision was passed at the session of the municipal assembly,
1 and how many MPs were present at that session?
2 A. Well, the majority was present, the majority of assemblymen. So
3 there was a quorum and the assembly could function normally.
4 Q. During those first few days when you started working at the Crisis
5 Staff, on a daily basis how much time did you spend in the Crisis Staff
6 premises? Did you go out into the field, and what were your activities?
7 A. For the most part, I spent my working hours at the Crisis Staff.
8 I tried to do some of my professional work as well, work for my own
9 profession. But for a longer period of time, due to my private problems,
10 I did not come to work at all. This was July, August.
11 Q. All right. We'll get to that. As for your professional domain,
12 what did you do during those days?
13 A. I was still a resident. I was trying to help with chemodialysis.
14 Q. Were you employed at the health centre?
15 A. No.
16 Q. At the medical centre?
17 A. No. I tried to coordinate some things. I tried to offer some
18 help. For a while, I was on duty in the hospital -- only during the night
19 hours, that means, but this was already in 1994.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, could I have just a second to find one
21 exhibit, please.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
23 MR. PANTELIC: [Microphone not activated]
24 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, please, Mr. Usher.
1 Q. [Interpretation] Have you familiarised yourself with this document
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Tell me, when was this document adopted?
5 A. This document has a date here, the 27th of April.
6 Q. Who adopted it?
7 A. It was adopted by the Crisis Staff.
8 Q. Do you recall this document?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And on behalf of the Crisis Staff, I assume that it was you who
11 signed it?
12 A. Yes. Although, we avoided doing this. But well, as far as health
13 is concerned, yes, we did it.
14 Q. I didn't understand this. What was it that you were avoiding?
15 A. We avoided writing such decisions. All of this has to do with the
16 domain of the executive council.
17 Q. All right. Could you explain the motive of adopting this
18 decision, please.
19 A. Mesud Nogic is a doctor, a gynaecologist, an experienced doctor.
20 Previously, he was director. And we only made this proposal to him that
21 he work as director of the medical centre in this situation of war in the
22 Serb Municipality of Bosanski Samac, and he did that up until that point
23 in time until he wished to do so.
24 Q. What is he by ethnicity?
25 A. A Muslim.
1 Q. All right.
2 MR. PANTELIC: Yes my colleagues have just informed me. In my
3 question on line -- on page 98, line 18, actually after the question, the
4 answer should start with the words "Mesud Nogic," because otherwise it's
5 the question and answer are in the same. So I don't know -- do we have
6 technical abilities to split that, just for the record. So the answer of
7 the witness is starting on page 98, line 18 with the words "Mesud Nogic."
8 Thank you, just for the record.
9 Q. [Interpretation] Tell me, was one of the most important topics
10 during the war, during the conflict and all these difficulty that is you
11 referred to in view of the civilian population, you are a doctor -- was
12 health protection one of the most important fields?
13 A. It was one of the most important fields, especially during the war
14 for the civilian population, in my opinion.
15 Q. As for you personally, as a doctor, as president of the Crisis
16 Staff, and as a person who is from that town, what did you do by way of
17 improving the organisation of that particular sector that in essence is
18 the one that is closest to you personally?
19 A. It has to be known that this sector is also organised by the
20 republic government, that is to say, the Minister of Health. At municipal
21 level, civilian authority can be assisted, coordinated, they can channel
22 humanitarian aid, but there cannot be much interference because salaries
23 are paid by the Minister of Health.
24 As for funds and the procurement of medicine, that is also taken
25 care of by the Ministry of Health to the best of their ability. But if
1 not, then the municipal assembly helps. I tried in that field in which I
2 could help to indeed give help. This was my obligation as a human being.
3 I tried to coordinate and help, obtain equipment for chemodialysis,
4 although this was a very expensive method. I wanted this process to
5 evolve with the assistance of generators. This is Swedish technology.
6 And I wanted to ensure that there were sufficient spare parts so that
7 people who were on chemodialysis could remain alive in the spite of the
8 war and in spite of the fact that this was such and expensive method. I
9 have to say that chemodialysis was operating all the time. The mortality
10 rate did not increase, and that the pre-war and the post-war average was
11 more or less maintained through the war as well. It also requires a great
12 deal of auxiliary services.
13 Also, a lot of intermediary materials that have to be provided.
14 And we had to obtain oil, which was truly deficient, so the generators
15 could function, because there was not a proper power supply for all this
16 equipment. On the other hand, we had to supply enough blood because in
17 the transfusion system all these patients who are undergoing chemodialysis
18 lose quite a bit of blood. And every 15 days or every month, they have to
19 undergo a transfusion.
20 Q. I have to interrupt you, doctor. This is indeed an important
21 subject, but --
22 JUDGE MUMBA: We have to adjourn. This is 1600 hours.
23 MR. PANTELIC: We are -- my assumption is that we were working
24 until 16.15 or 16.30 today, according to the schedule -- or maybe I am
1 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I'm informed that we can proceed up to 16.15.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Sorry, Mr. Pantelic. Just before you ask that
5 question, just for a point of clarification. Dr. Simic has mentioned in
6 connection with the document that we are now looking at concerning the
7 Dr. Nogic and the medical issue that this was signed by the Crisis Staff.
8 Just for the sake of clarification, the English translation doesn't
9 mention the Crisis Staff. It mentions the Serbian Municipality of
10 Bosanski Samac emergency headquarters.
11 MR. PANTELIC: Unfortunately, Your Honour, that's a matter of
12 interpretation or --
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: I --
14 MR. PANTELIC: So it's -- I should correct that.
15 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. I mean, I assumed that. But for the sake
16 of the record when we come back to look at these documents perhaps later
17 on, for the sake of the record, could you -- could you clarify that,
19 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. It's just -- it's a matter of the translation
22 of "term," in fact.
23 Q. [Interpretation] So in order to clarify matters, this document
24 that refers to the appointment of Dr. Mesud Nogic as coordinator for the
25 operations of the health centre was actually adopted by the Crisis Staff,
1 wasn't it?
2 A. Yes.
3 MR. PANTELIC: And I would like to tender this document into
4 evidence. If there is no objection, could I have a number, please.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: The Prosecution?
6 MR. DI FAZIO: No objection, if Your Honours please.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: We can have the number, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will be marked Defence Exhibit
9 58/1 for the English translation and then Defence Exhibit 58/1 ter for the
11 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Doctor, tell me this --
13 A. May I continue?
14 Q. What do you want to continue on?
15 A. I was talking about my professional involvement during the war.
16 Q. That's right. So I had two questions to ask you along those
17 lines. The first question is this: Did you have any contact with your
18 colleagues in the health centre, because you were president of the Crisis
19 Staff? So personally, did you have contacts with your colleagues?
20 A. Occasionally, yes. But not with all of them, of course, depending
21 on the way in which the war conditions evolved.
22 Q. What was your main -- what was the main area of work of the
23 medical centre in those first few weeks of April?
24 A. Well, as we didn't have a wartime hospital in Samac, it was in
25 Pelagicevo, which was 40 kilometres away. Their task was to see to the
1 wounded, because around Samac was the front and there were casualties
2 every day. There were people killed and people wounded and the town was
3 shelled and each shelling would lead to casualties. So along with all
4 their regular duties that the medical centre normally dealt with, as it
5 did in peacetime, it had to organise an emergency service, a first aid
6 service, which worked round the clock, 24 hours, and so it had to deal
7 with the war casualties and with all the other problems, the chronic
8 patients, et cetera, because all the patients remained in the
9 municipality, the ones who were seriously ill and needed treatment, and
10 those who nobody wanted to look after because it was in this war zone.
11 So the medical centre, as I say functioned normally, the
12 laboratory, the x-ray department, the tuberculosis section, the
13 paediatrics department ward, the gynaecological ward, the pregnant women,
14 expectant mothers department, maternity ward. But what I especially tried
15 to coordinate and facilitate was the following: In the war, conditions
16 were very complex and it was very difficult to come by vaccines.
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina didn't have a factory producing vaccines then or now.
18 And we had very regular programmes for the vaccination of children and
19 adults, and vaccines, when they have to be transported from the factory to
20 the medical centres where they are administered, you have to ensure that
21 you have what is known as a cold chain, which means storage at a
22 temperature of minus 4 or plus 4 degrees, between minus 4 and plus 4. And
23 this temperature must be maintained throughout the period of transport.
24 If the indicator goes above that temperature, the vaccines have to be
25 thrown away.
1 We did our best to ensure regular supplies of vaccines with the
2 necessary kind of transport and the refrigeration devices that were
3 needed. We had bags -- ice bags to keep the vaccines cool, and we had a
4 generator as well, which ensured fresh vaccine supplies, so that this
5 programme of vaccination for all children, regardless of ethnicity, was
6 running normally and up until the age of 18, all the children received
7 their vaccines. The anti-tetanus vaccine was also administered to anybody
8 who asked for it, and it was also administered to all the casualties in
9 the war. The rabies vaccine is a very costly vaccine, but we had that
10 too. And during the influenza epidemic, we managed to secure the flu
11 vaccine as well.
12 What was a particular problem during the war days was ammoniac,
13 because in Samac there was a factory where large quantities of ammoniac
14 stored in their warehouses, in their cold storage --
15 JUDGE MUMBA: I think it's sufficient to say as much possible the
16 accused did try to make sure that necessary facilities were functioning.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Dr. Simic, tell us about food for the civilians.
19 How was that first organised in those first few weeks after the conflict,
20 the war conflict, broke out in view of the siege of Samac, et cetera? How
21 did you in the Crisis Staff solve the problem of food and food supplies
22 with the executive organs? How did you feed the population in Samac?
23 A. Well, this is another area. It comes under the competence of the
24 executive organs. Public kitchens were organised in the Sritar [phoen]
25 restaurant and the Utva restaurant and food stores functioned. There was
1 a marketplace. We organised a marketplace and a livestock market, so that
2 anybody with surplus food supplies were able to offer it up in the
3 markets, to sell their food. We were also able to obtain food through
4 humanitarian aid organisations, the Red Cross. They set up their various
5 checkpoints, made lists, and distributed food to the population on their
6 territories, so that everybody -- nobody died from hunger who lived in
7 Samac during the war.
8 Q. And what about water, water supplies?
9 A. Well, the same was true for water. The situation was very
10 difficult. It was a catastrophic situation in fact, because we needed
11 electricity for the water pumps to function and we were cut off from the
12 Tuzla water supply system. And we had no electricity, no power system of
13 our own, so we had to set up this generator in the waterworks supply
14 system to work the pipes, to ensure the necessary pressure for the water
15 supply system so that we would have water on occasion -- not a constant
16 flow of water. We didn't have enough fuel or regular water supplies
18 Q. And now my last question for today, and please, a brief answer to
19 it: What about the telephone communications? Did you have problems with
21 A. Yes. Telephone communications were completely cut off, and I
22 think that throughout the war and even later on they were not set up
24 Q. But did some of the telephones work? Did they work partially?
25 A. Yes, they did. We had five telephone numbers in working order,
1 but the real link system from the Federation -- coming in from the
2 Federation, that was severed. It was cut off. And we had no technical
3 means to set it up, those who were in the executive organs would be better
4 able to tell you about that.
5 Q. Well, thank you, doctor. That is all for today.
6 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I think we are --
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We'll adjourn for today.
8 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: And continue tomorrow.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
11 at 4.16 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
12 the 14th day of November, 2002, at 9.30 a.m.