1 Friday, 6 December 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 10.20 a.m.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Case number
8 IT-95-9-T, the Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and Simo
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. It's examination-in-chief continuing.
11 Mr. Pantelic.
12 MR. PANTELIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: As we have started now, we'll have our break at
15 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, do I understand it's half an hour
16 break at 11.35 or 20 minutes?
17 JUDGE MUMBA: It will be 20 minutes, because we have lost a lot of
19 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
21 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
22 WITNESS: BOZO NINKOVIC [Resumed]
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 Examined by Mr. Pantelic: [Continued]
25 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Ninkovic.
1 A. Good morning.
2 Q. On Wednesday we started analysing some evidence, and now we are
3 going to continue with that.
4 MR. PANTELIC: Ms. Registrar, please could we have Exhibit D4/1,
6 Q. [Interpretation] Tell me, what can you say about this document?
7 A. "Vox" is a newspaper, a periodical that was published in Sarajevo,
8 that was distributed publicly. One day in Samac this page happened to be
9 on the walls of houses, on chestnut trees by the pedestrian paths. This
10 is a very morbid paper that instigated violation, retaliation, aggression
11 in the harshest possible terms. I recognise here the heads of some
12 well-known politicians of that time. The first head is the head of
13 Mr. Radovan Karadzic; then Koljevic; then Slobodan Milosevic; and then
14 Vojislav Seselj.
15 Q. So what was your impression, your personal impression regarding
17 A. This caused fear, fear, fear for one's own life, being a Serb who
18 lived in that town.
19 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher.
20 Could we have now Exhibit D21/1, please.
21 Q. [Interpretation] Can you take a look on the right-hand side. Let
22 it stay on the ELMO, but perhaps you can see it better on the right-hand
23 side rather than on the monitor itself. What can you say about this
24 document, Mr. Ninkovic.
25 A. I am aware of this document. This appeared also on the facades of
1 buildings, on the chestnut trees by the pedestrian paths. I know a few
2 names here. Most of them were Muslims. As far as I can see, all of them
3 were Muslims that had a pro-Yugoslav orientation, who were loyal to the
4 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the JNA as the only legal
5 armed force. However, they were under the attack of the newly-established
6 paramilitary formations of the Muslims. In a way this called for lynching
7 them, for condemning them, eliminating them. This was the message.
8 MR. WEINER: Objection, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
10 MR. WEINER: He can indicate that's what -- his impression is
11 that, but that's not what it says here. That's not what the exhibit says.
12 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. All right, Mr. Ninkovic. What were comments regarding this
14 document like in town?
15 A. This was an event that was discussed for days. It caused major
16 polemics, friction, clashes, and it caused unrest among the public in
17 Samac and led to an escalation of inter-ethnic tensions, and also within
18 the Muslim community itself.
19 Q. Did you have an opportunity to discuss this list with any one of
20 the persons on the list, how such a person experienced the fact that he or
21 she was put on this list? If you remember.
22 A. No, no, I can't remember having discussed it with any one of them.
23 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher.
24 Could we have now Exhibit D -- sorry, D28/1, please.
25 Q. [Interpretation] Tell me, what can you say about this document?
1 A. I hadn't seen this document before, but I can say that the Public
2 Security Station of Samac is in charge of taking measures regarding the
3 movement of vehicles and persons. So I believe that this document, or
4 rather, this order was issued in that sense. I mean, I think that is the
5 way it is. It's not that I'm assuming it. That's what I think.
6 Q. Was this order being carried out, this order issued by the police
7 in Samac? Because this has to do with a curfew, doesn't it?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did all the inhabitants observe this order?
10 A. This document was issued on the 17th of April. As far as I know,
11 on that day in Samac there was fighting, so there was an armed clash. So
12 on the basis of that, one may infer that not everybody observed it.
13 Q. All right. To the best of your knowledge, how long was this order
14 in force? In May, June, and later as well?
15 A. No. It was in force until conditions were created to have it
16 withdrawn. I don't know whether it was two or three days or something
17 like that.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, there's something --
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Excuse me. There's a matter in the transcript
21 that's not clear. Mr. Pantelic asked in reference to this document: "Was
22 this order being carried out, this order issued by the police in Samac?"
23 And then he went on to ask a second question: "Because this has to do
24 with a curfew, doesn't it?" Answer: "Yes."
25 I take it that from the subsequent answers of the witness that he
1 probably meant that the order was in fact issued, but it's not clear if
2 he's saying yes, it's got something to do with a curfew, or yes, the order
3 was issued. And I want to know whether this order was issued and acted
4 upon, if the witness is now testifying about it.
5 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Can you tell us whether you have any knowledge about whether this
7 document was actually issued.
8 A. Yes.
9 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic, but that doesn't really
10 answer Mr. Di Fazio's point.
11 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
12 JUDGE WILLIAMS: It was issued, but was it actually carried out.
13 I think that was Mr. Di Fazio's point.
14 MR. PANTELIC: And that was exactly my next question.
15 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Because I notice that it's -- it was in my previous
17 one, the second part.
18 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes.
19 MR. PANTELIC: So yes, thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. [Interpretation] My next question, although you've already
21 answered, but just in case: Was this actually being enforced?
22 A. I found out about that at the police checkpoint that was placed on
23 the outskirts of town, before one entered town. I think it was being
24 enforced because there were police checkpoints at the entrance into town.
25 However, as I've already said, on the 17th in town there was fighting.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher.
3 Could we have now Exhibit D35/1, please.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Please take a look at this document; it has
5 several pages. Please familiarise yourself with it. Take a look at it.
6 Leaf through it.
7 What can you say about this document, Mr. Ninkovic?
8 A. Just a moment, please. Let me have a look at it.
9 On this document I see a list of persons who were issued weapons.
10 The type of weapon is listed, the quantity of ammunition, the number of
11 clips, so it looks as if it were a unit that has such-and-such weapons,
12 such-and-such amounts of ammunition, et cetera. I personally know some of
13 the persons here. I know Mr. Sulejman Tihic. I know Mr. Izet
14 Izetbegovic. They held the highest positions in the Party of Democratic
15 Action in Samac at that time.
16 Q. Are there any non-Muslims on this list?
17 A. Just a moment, please. No, it's only Muslims.
18 Q. Please take a look at page 3 of this document and give me your
19 comments. What is this all about? What is this specification?
20 A. In the upper part of the third page, we have infantry weapons,
21 automatic -- automatic -- there is ammunition 7.62, that is used for
22 automatic rifles like Kalashnikovs. Several types of ammunition. Some is
23 incendiary, others is not. There are tracer bullets and others.
24 Then on page 3, under 4 and 5 it says "long and short." I assume
25 that this is ammunition for pistols, because 9 millimetre calibres have
1 long and short bullets. That's a well-known thing. Then in the lower
2 part of page 3, there are rifle grenade projectiles that are used for
3 destroying protected trenches and the like, fortifications as well. I can
4 see explosives here as well, detonators and so on. So this is explosives
5 and other necessary weapons for destroying larger fortified buildings or
6 also bridges and the like.
7 Q. Did you have the opportunity of discussing this document with
8 someone in Samac and did anybody mention this document, what its purpose
9 was and organisation?
10 A. No.
11 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher.
12 Could we have now Exhibit D37/1, please.
13 Q. [Interpretation] What can you tell us about this document, please?
14 A. This document was issued in the Republic of Croatia. In the
15 letterhead I can see "the Republic of Croatia," and "the Crisis Staff of
16 Slavonski Brod Municipality." This is on the river Sava in the Republic
17 of Croatia, some 40 kilometres away from Bosanski Samac, and this is a
18 certificate in the name of Alija Fitozovic. He is an inhabitant of
19 Bosanski Samac whom I know. We went to secondary school together. When I
20 was in the first grade, he was in the fourth grade of the technical school
21 in Bosanski Samac and that's how I know him.
22 I can also see here the stamp of the organs of the Republic of
23 Croatia, more specifically, the Municipal Assembly of Slavonski Brod. I
24 can also see here the signature of the president of the Crisis Staff,
25 whose name is Pilipovic and whom I don't know, obviously.
1 Q. Can you please read this signature more carefully, the second
2 name. What is typed here? What family name is typed on the document?
3 A. I believe that this is Franjo Pilipovic.
4 Q. No. The last name on my document -- can you spell the last name,
5 if you could.
6 A. F-r-n-o -- Fiplovic. I apologise. My eyesight is not that good.
7 So this is a document, a certificate which allowed Alija Fitozovic to
8 cross the river Sava every day and go to Slavonski Brod to perform certain
10 Q. What is handwritten below "Slavonski Brod"?
11 A. It says Slavonski Samac?
12 Q. Where is Slavonski Samac?
13 A. Slavonski Samac is across the River Sava opposite Bosanski Samac.
14 Q. What is the date on this document?
15 A. It is the 29th of December --
16 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: This last passage of questioning has not revealed
19 anything that we could not have seen by simply looking at the document
20 ourselves. I know Your Honours are concerned about time. We're being
21 asked to read out, being asked to look at who -- the date of the document,
22 the person who signed the document. Well, you just need to look at it.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: He can tell you. All this information that this
25 witness is being kept here to give us is material that we can get from the
1 face of the document.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Of the document, yes.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Now, the if this witness knows something about this
4 document or knows something about the activities of Alija Fitozovic or the
5 background to the creation or the reason for the existence of this
6 document, all well and good, but -- the Prosecution will listen avidly.
7 But this examination-in-chief is giving us nothing.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
9 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Can you reorganise your examination-in-chief,
11 because once an exhibit is admitted into evidence, then all the contents
12 are on record.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. I just have a couple of issues to clarify
14 with this witness.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, in the second paragraph of this
16 certificate some checkpoints are mentioned on the bridges in Slavonski
17 Brod and in Slavonski Samac. Can you please tell me what you know about
18 these checkpoints, who organised them, who manned those checkpoints.
19 A. Yes. On the big bridge on the Sava, between Bosanski Samac and
20 Slavonski Samac, which is in Croatia, there were two checkpoints. On the
21 Bosnian side there was the checkpoint manned by the reserve police of the
22 MUP of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is, of the Samac MUP. And on the
23 other bank there was a checkpoint manned by the Croatian MUP. So nobody
24 could cross the bridge without being controlled, and this gentleman, Alija
25 Fitozovic, had a document allowing him passage from one side to another
1 through the checkpoints and that was a certain privilege at the time.
2 Q. What is your personal knowledge of the activities of Alija
3 Fitozovic in December 1991 through April 1992?
4 A. Alija Fitozovic at that time was well known to the general public
5 in Samac as a prominent member of the SDA who was in charge of
6 establishing paramilitary Muslim formations in Samac. He was very close
7 to the military circles in Croatia, and he always travelled between
8 Bosanski Samac, the SDA, and the HDZ, and the military circles in
9 Croatia. It is also a well-known fact that he was in charge of
10 establishing and commanding the Muslim paramilitary formations.
11 Q. Since your job pertained to the area of defence and administrative
12 procedures, can you please tell us what was his professional military
13 background did he have. Had he undergone a special military training or
14 did he have any other knowledge, military knowledge?
15 A. Yes. As far as I can remember, he did have some training,
16 military training and training regarding the compulsory military service.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher.
18 Could we have Exhibit D38/1, please.
19 Q. [Interpretation] What can you tell us about this document,
20 Mr. Ninkovic?
21 A. What I can see here is the list of automatic rifles, Kalashnikovs,
22 AK-47, made in Russia --
23 JUDGE MUMBA: I think, Mr. Pantelic, you're going through the same
24 thing Mr. -- the Prosecution objected to, describing what is in the
25 document, which is already on record.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, yes, Your Honour. I'll move on.
2 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, did you ever see this document
4 A. No.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have now Exhibit D39/1, please.
7 Q. [Interpretation] Can you please also look at the second page of
8 this document and tell us what you can about this document.
9 A. These are military formations, i.e., groups in charge of certain
10 tasks and duties. As far as I can see, members are all Muslims.
11 Q. Where are they from?
12 A. They're all from Bosanski Samac.
13 Q. What do you know about such groups?
14 A. Yes. I know it was well known that there was a paramilitary
15 Muslim formation in Samac and that they had different groups for
16 communications, intelligence, reconnaissance, sabotage groups, and they
17 have all the other groups that normally are on the strength of any army.
18 Q. And how do you -- how did you learn about these groups and about
19 their checkpoints?
20 A. I had contacts with some Muslims who were of pro-Yugoslav
21 orientation and who spoke to me about those things they mentioned some
22 names, and I also know some of the people on this list.
23 Q. Who do you know? Just a few names. Can you mention a few names.
24 A. Let me just have a look. Hakija Srna, Edin Nurkic, Avdo Piric,
25 Mensur Kapetanovic.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher.
2 Could we have now Exhibit D41/1, please.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, tell me, do you have any personal
4 knowledge of the existence of checkpoints and certain groups consisting of
5 Muslims from Samac? And I am particularly interested in the period of
6 March and April 1992.
7 A. This is the period during which the paramilitary formations were
8 already well organised and they started carrying out their actions. They
9 put up their checkpoints. They were armed. They had records. They also
10 enlarged their strength by mobilising new men, and this period was full of
12 Q. Did you personally know about these groups and the checkpoints
13 that they manned?
14 A. Yes, I knew personally of these checkpoints, and I was personally
15 harassed on one of the checkpoints on the bridge between Prud and Samac
16 closer to Samac. They were armed. They carried semi-automatic and
17 automatic weapons.
18 Q. Did you ever see this document before?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Tell me, when you see the marks for the checkpoints 1 and 2, where
21 are these checkpoints in Samac, these two places that are mentioned in the
23 A. These were the main checkpoints at the entrance to Samac, close to
24 the veterinary clinic; and the second checkpoint was on the other entrance
25 to Samac, on the direction coming from Modrica, close to the hospital and
1 the Mebos company. These were the main checkpoints, and they were facing
2 Serbian villages. Let me just tell you who was in charge of the --
3 whoever was in charge of those checkpoints held the key position in the
4 defence of the town.
5 Q. Did you personally witness some activities regarding the armament
6 of these people?
7 A. Yes. My office was at Secretariat of National Defence. This is a
8 building in the centre of town. On the ground floor is the bank and on
9 the first floor is the Secretariat for National Defence.
10 MR. LAZAREVIC: -- Those who held checkpoints held the key
11 position in the defence of the town. Here it's page 13 in my laptop.
12 Probably -- line 1 and 2.
13 Actually, what he said -- he said -- what I heard that he said is
14 that the one who controlled these checkpoints actually controlled the
15 town. And if my colleague Pantelic could clarify that.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Maybe he can -- yes.
17 Mr. Pantelic, can you clarify with the witness.
18 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, yes, I will -- I will. Thank you, my
19 colleague, for this intervention.
20 Q. [Interpretation] Can you please repeat for the record your. Your
21 last sentence was about the checkpoints. And you said that whoever
22 controlled these checkpoints, and so on. What did you say?
23 A. Whoever controlled these two checkpoints by the veterinary clinic
24 and by the hospital and the Mebos company practically or effectively
25 controlled the town, the main entrances to the town.
1 Q. Thank you. You started talking about your office which was in the
2 municipal secretariat in the centre of the town.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. What period are we talking about? When was that?
5 A. That was in late March, early April. I and my colleague --
6 Q. Which year was that?
7 A. It was in 1992. We were sitting in my office and --
8 Q. Can you please give us his name.
9 A. Stevan Arandjic. Across the road from our building there are a
10 little park, and in its corner there was the Islam community. We saw a
11 car. It was an Opel Kadett and there were also two men who were unloading
12 some boxes, some crates. We stepped out to observe. We found it
13 suspicious that somebody would be unloading some crates in front of the
14 Islam community. These crates were of olive colour, and we suspected that
15 they contained infantry weapons.
16 When we came closer we saw that they were taking out the last box
17 and we saw that it bore the JNA insignia. So it was indeed a box for
18 infantry weapons. These were also the premises of the SDA for Samac
19 municipality. When we saw that, we returned. We called the police and
20 informed them about all that. The police told us that they would send a
21 patrol to investigate; however, later on when we contacted the police
22 again, they told us that the patrol had already been there and left and
23 that the car had gone through the MUP checkpoint in Grebnice, on the road
24 to Orasje, on the road between Samac and Orasje.
25 Q. Please tell me, in the time period December 1991/April 1992, what
1 do you know about certain cases? Were there any cases of confiscation of
2 illegal weapons? And if so, please give us details. We know that that
3 bridge was a highly-frequented bridge.
4 A. At the time there was a checkpoint in Pisari, which is a town in
5 the direction of Modrica. On the road between Samac and Modrica, there
6 was a checkpoint of the JNA military police there. And when conducting a
7 routine control of a bus, they found weaponry, ammunition, and small
8 infantry weapons. They also found a knife or a machete, something like
9 that looked like a machete. It was hand-made and it had the words
10 "Srbosjek" engraved in it.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note Srbosjek --
12 Q. What does "Srbosjek" stand for?
13 A. That means that it was a blade intended to slaughter Serbs.
14 Q. Can you tell us whether in Samac there was any other information
15 circulated regarding weaponry and possible confiscation of it.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please. If Your Honours please, if
17 I may assist the Tribunal. I'm not objecting, but that last answer is
18 just meaningless. What you've got is an allegation from the witness who
19 may know more about it - I don't know - but he says that on the road
20 between Samac and Modrica weaponry was found and this machete with the
21 words on it.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Now, you don't know who had the weaponry. You
24 don't know who seized the weaponry other than the fact that it was JNA.
25 You don't know what the weaponry was. It's just a slab of information
1 that you will never be able to use effectively. If I may assist Mr.
2 Pantelic, he may care to get the point out of the evidence and it will
3 also save on my cross-examination time as well.
4 MR. PANTELIC: Well, I'm very grateful to my learned friend, but
5 he's a little bit running ahead. Because several of my next questions, I
6 will just make a final question -- not to split them, you know, many times
7 but what is his personal knowledge about the sides involved in these
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well.
10 MR. PANTELIC: Just a matter of efficiency.
11 A. May I give some more details regarding that event?
12 Q. No, that won't be necessary.
13 A. All right.
14 Q. I asked you whether you knew about any other events in Samac from
15 December 1991 until April 1992. Were there any other events involving
16 confiscation of illegal weaponry?
17 A. Yes. At that time Croats from Bosnia-Herzegovina went as
18 volunteers to assist the armed formations of Croatia which were at war
19 with the Yugoslav People's Army. They frequently went there in buses, in
20 shifts, especially from Western Herzegovina. I know the road map in
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The main communication was Zenica, Sarajevo, Doboj,
22 and this bridge over Sava River, which led to Croatia. The military
23 police stopped the buses and found on the buses people that had been at
24 the front line. They had certain documents on them, weapons such as small
25 arms, pistols, hand grenades, cold weapons from the front, as I've
1 mentioned before.
2 Q. Please tell me, that period of time, December 1991/April 1992, the
3 events that you've just described to us, what ethnic group was involved in
4 that process of illegal weapons smuggling and arming, if you know?
5 A. It was Croats and Muslims.
6 MR. PANTELIC: Please could we have Exhibit D42/1, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Mr. Pantelic, this is document D42/1 ter ID.
8 Thank you.
9 MR. PANTELIC: It's ID, yes. Thank you.
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, please tell me, what do you know
11 about this document?
12 A. This is a so-called block scheme or organigram which in the
13 military depicts the organisational chart of units. We can see here at
14 the top the political organ that was called the Crisis Staff, and then
15 underneath it we have a developed military structure. We have a military
16 staff and then underneath, various units. We have units in different
17 branches of service, such as sabotage units, communication units, and so
19 Q. And what is written in the right corner, the section that has to
20 do with the staff, with the municipal staff?
21 A. This is a political organ which was directly appointed by a
22 political party. That's the only explanation that makes sense.
23 Q. This type of chart, was it typically made at the time when you
24 held positions in the Secretariat for People's Defence? Does it
25 correspond to the doctrine that was in force when you held the position?
1 A. No. If you're asking me about a professional -- as a
2 professional, then I will tell you that in a military formation you never
3 have a political organ that is directly superior to it and can issue
4 commands to the military units. It is a very unusual link depicted here,
5 the one between the military staff and the municipal staff. There were no
6 such cases in the doctrine and organisational structure of the JNA, and
7 this is not known in the military doctrine at all.
8 Q. Have you seen this document before?
9 A. I saw this document during preparations for my testimony here.
10 Q. No, I meant before, prior to coming to The Hague. I'm talking to
11 the time period prior to coming here.
12 A. Yes. Milos Savic is a lawyer who worked at the Public Security
13 Station in Samac and who was in charge of criminal proceedings. Rather,
14 he filed charges against people who had illegal weapons in Samac. He
15 showed me a number of documents, including this one.
16 Q. When was that?
17 A. That was in 1992. Let's say June or July.
18 Q. And in what context did Milos Savic mention this and other
19 documents? Can you describe to us what other documents were. What did he
20 show to you?
21 A. Milos Savic is a judge in Samac now, so he now deals with
22 proceedings against people who possessed weapons. He showed me --
23 MR. LAZAREVIC: -- Intervene at the moment. This is not what the
24 witness said. So he now deals with proceedings against people. He was
25 talking about that time, 1992.
1 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Let us go back to the beginning, because we have a problem with
3 the transcript. You started telling us how Milos Savic was a judge.
4 A. No. Milos Savic is a judge now. But at that time, he was a
5 criminal detective in the Public Security Station in Samac and he was
6 involved in filing charges against people on whom weapons had been found
7 and he dealt with documents depicting paramilitary formations in Samac.
8 Q. Did he mention to you any names of people against whom charges
9 were filed? Who were the suspects in that case?
10 A. Tihic Sulejman, Izet Izetbegovic, Alija Fitozovic, Namik Suljic,
11 and some other people.
12 Q. Now, you told us that he mentioned some other documents to you
13 too. Can you tell us what other documents dealt with.
14 A. He showed me some documents that were plans. Some were
15 handwritten. Some were typewritten. And these documents illustrated that
16 there had been paramilitary units. It described the structure, the
17 personnel of that unit, the weaponry that they had, and it also described
18 a direct link between the SDA, because a lot of documents had the SDA
19 heading, letterhead, or the SDA seal, the SDA from Samac.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I don't object to this --
21 to the previous question, but I think for you -- in order to understand
22 the evidence of this witness, it's probably important that he clarify for
23 us what he means by "paramilitary units." He's used the term throughout
24 his evidence. For example, he used it in reference to the document which
25 showed patrols and referred -- Muslim patrols, or SDA patrols, and he use
1 add reference -- he used the word "paramilitary" in describing those
2 patrols. Now, the word conjures up different things in different people's
3 minds, and it's important that we are all clear about what precisely he
4 means by "paramilitary formations." Does he mean groups of armed --
5 officially groups of armed men sent in by the authorities from Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina, or is he referring purely and simply to formations within the
7 political parties? It's just not very clear to me when he uses the word
8 if he's just referring to small isolated groups or large well-organised
9 formations within the SDA. He may have a particular understanding, and
10 it's probably important, since he uses the word from time to time, for him
11 to give us a clearer idea. I suggest that would be useful for you in
12 order to understand -- understand his evidence.
13 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Yes. I think this was a very appropriate intervention, both for
15 the sake of those who are laymen here and for the Trial Chamber. Please
16 explain what you understand under the term "paramilitary formation" and
17 then I will ask you something else regarding your personal knowledge from
18 Samac. Please tell us what you as a professional understand under the
19 term "paramilitary formation."
20 A. If we are speaking on the base of the law, the only legal armed
21 formation or structure was the Yugoslav People's Army. That means that
22 all other armed formations that are party-based or party-affiliated,
23 regardless of the number of their personnel and weaponry, are considered
24 paramilitary formations. We can say that a group consisting of three
25 members is a paramilitary formation, just like one that has 500 members.
1 Q. My next question has to do with Samac.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Is that --
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. That's precisely clarified exactly what I was
4 concerned about. So it's anything from 3 to 500 in this witness's
5 testimony. Now I understand his evidence. Thank you.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
7 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Ninkovic.
9 Now, please tell me this: When you spoke to people who were
10 policemen, investigative organs, and also based on your personal knowledge
11 prior to April 1992, what were your conclusions, if any, regarding the
12 existence of paramilitary formations in the town of Samac itself and the
14 A. Based on my testimony so far, one can conclude that I have clearly
15 stated my position that there had been paramilitary formations in Samac
16 consisting of Muslims who had been armed through various illegal channels
17 and that these activities had been coordinated by the Party of Democratic
19 Q. Do you have any knowledge regarding the Croat ethnic community in
21 A. I have to say that the ethnic composition of the population in
22 town was dominated by Croats and Muslims. There were fewer --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: By Serbs and Muslims.
24 A. There were fewer Croats. The Croats mostly resided in Prud,
25 Domaljevac, Bazik, and Grebnice. I as an official of the Secretariat for
1 People's Defence can say that in these parts of municipalities, the
2 paramilitary formations were established earlier than in the town itself,
3 because in Samac we had the Croatian Democratic Union, which was the first
4 of the national parties to be established prior to the SDS and the SDA,
5 and it had very close links to the HDZ in Croatia. They had political
6 consultation between them. They took over terms, concepts, and platform,
7 and they established their paramilitary formations prior to April of
9 An especially important stronghold was Domaljevac, Bazik,
10 Grebnice. Back in 1990 when we sent out call-ups for military conscripts,
11 we had cases where mailmen did not dare go to those Croatian villages
12 because they were afraid. The mailmen therefore had difficulties in
13 delivering mail in that area back in 1990. That means that at that time
14 the obstruction of the Federal army had started.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I would like to tender into evidence
16 this document that we have discussed, D42/1, because that was an ID.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Any objection?
18 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. I -- yes. I think there is an objection. In
19 fact, I think Mr. Weiner should address you on this.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: It was a document that I think was tendered through
22 Fitozovic and Mr. Weiner handled that witness.
23 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, the issue all along has been
24 authenticity of portions of this document. This witness hasn't added
25 anything. Alija Fitozovic explained what the document was, that it was
1 part of a hierarchy of a military group, the TO that he was developing,
2 and that certain portions were added to this by -- or forged on this or
3 falsely added to this, and this witness here was -- has not testified that
4 he was present when this document was drafted, that he has any information
5 concerning the drafting. He didn't even see this document until June or
6 July. This document was drafted -- the original, wherever that is, was
7 drafted sometime in early to mid-April, and then portions of this,
8 according to Alija -- the testimony of Alija Fitozovic was forged on top
9 of this, to make this a false document and to use it as some sort of
10 propaganda tool. This witness hasn't added anything, so we're still at
11 the same place that we were several months ago. We still have a document
12 which has forged sections. And unless this witness can testify as to its
13 authenticity, there is nothing this witness has added.
14 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, it's a little bit absolutely and
15 strange. This witness is not speaking whether the author of this document
16 is Alija Fitozovic. He simply speaks about the document that he saw from
17 the detective, police officer, Mr. Milos Savic. And then as we did in all
18 other cases with the tendering of documents, we did it like a normal way.
19 If my learned friend has some problems with regard to the
20 authenticity, et cetera, he may -- he may call for some kind of
21 examination or stuff like that --
22 JUDGE MUMBA: No, Mr. Pantelic. The point is clear. The
23 Prosecution is still objecting on grounds of authenticity. So it's not
24 similar to how the other exhibits have been admitted. It's totally
25 different. Authenticity is being contested by the Prosecution, and unless
1 you call evidence to show or you call the person -- the maker of that
2 document or the people who were present when that document was being made.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Or maybe --
4 JUDGE MUMBA: To -- to satisfy the Prosecution on authenticity.
5 MR. PANTELIC: Well, in that case, I must proceed with the
6 additional forensic analysis. So my handwriting expert should deal with
7 that. No problem.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yeah. The Defence can deal with authenticity in the
9 way they think best.
10 MR. PANTELIC: Okay. Thank you, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: So it still remains an ID.
12 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. In that case, I will submit this document to
13 our handwriting expert, and he will give his opinion. Thank you, Your
15 Now could we have document -- it's Exhibit, in fact, I believe,
16 yes, D43/1, please.
17 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, on this document.
19 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. If you go back to the transcript, you'll find
21 that in July it was discussed again and it remained ID, and one would have
22 thought that since that time you would have already got your handwriting
23 expert to deal with it.
24 MR. PANTELIC: With this particular document.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. You should just check the transcript.
1 MR. PANTELIC: In July?
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Let's proceed.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Look at the document carefully, please. The copy
5 is not very good. This has been provided to us by the Prosecution in the
6 bundle of their evidence.
7 A. Just a moment, please.
8 Q. Maybe you can take the document -- maybe you'll find it easier to
9 read it.
10 Mr. Ninkovic, what can you tell us about this document, i.e., this
11 piece of evidence?
12 A. This is another plan which carries a specific weight. This
13 document was compiled by a minimum of two persons, if not more. Why do I
14 say that? Firstly, let me tell you about the group or the team which
15 worked on compiling this document. This team consists of some people from
16 the political life or an individual who may have been a member of a
17 municipal organ, maybe a municipal board who was privy to the complete
18 information regarding the positions of that political organisation. And
19 also, there was somebody on the team who had experience and knowledge in
20 the area of military profession. Also, people involved in the drafting of
21 this document were people from the area of economy and finance. So it
22 must have been a very competent team who drafted this document very
23 professionally, and for that reason I believe that this document carries
24 special weight.
25 Q. What institution are we talking about? What does this document
2 A. This document serves to establish the territorial political
4 Q. At the very beginning of the document, can you please read the
5 thesis for compiling the plan of what.
6 A. Of the Crisis Staff.
7 Q. What can you infer, based on this document? You mentioned a party
8 organisation more specifically. Which party was that?
9 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: I object to any inferences being drawn, unless the
12 basis for this -- this portion of the testimony is made clear. I've got
13 no objection to the witness telling us what this document is about or who
14 made it, why it was made, and so on and so forth. But what is not clear
15 at this stage is the basis upon which he is saying all of this.
16 Normally, one would expect Mr. Pantelic to have asked him if he
17 had seen the document before, if he was familiar with its contents, with
18 its creation, and the reasons for its creation, and so on, and then go on
19 to ask these questions. But that basis hasn't been laid yet. All you've
20 got is the witness telling us his conclusions and we have absolutely no
21 idea on what basis he is giving this evidence. And so therefore if
22 Mr. Pantelic wants to lead this, we should ascertain on what basis the
23 witness is making these assertions about the nature of the document, the
24 content of the document.
25 MR. PANTELIC: The basis is --
1 MR. DI FAZIO: And so on.
2 MR. PANTELIC: Well, Your Honour, the basis is very simple: We
3 have a professional here who can give us additional information about the
4 document and the form by itself. That's the first point. Because up to
5 now, we didn't -- we were not able here during the Prosecution case for
6 various reasons - I don't know - but simply during the Defence case it's
7 obvious, we didn't have a person, professional educated with these
8 particular issues to give us explanation first of all what does this
9 document says.
10 And then during the examination of this witness, we shall come to
11 the following points: Which political party was mentioned in this
12 document, what names from the Municipality of Samac were mentioned in this
13 document, and finally that will be a basis for the evidence of this
14 witness, because he, we know, is a professional for the matters of
15 defence. And I cannot ask all these questions to a physician or to the
16 engineer or whoever. I mean, we have the right person, I believe, here to
17 hear his testimony.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I thought that was the
19 basis on which the questions were being asked, and on that basis I object
20 to this portion of the testimony. The document is -- if you look at it,
21 it covers all sorts of activities, all sorts of areas. And it seems to me
22 that this witness is in no better position than ourselves to be able to
23 look at it and read and understand the plain intent and meaning of the
24 words. The words speak for themselves. It's very clear.
25 If the witness could tell us something about the creation of this
1 document, how it was made, why it was made, the intent and purpose behind
2 it, all well and good. I would have no objection. He can't do that. All
3 he can tell us is what's written here, and we can read that as well.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I think there's a problem here, Mr. Pantelic,
5 because this witness has come here as a fact witness. He is not an expert
6 in the sense that you have put it, vis-a-vis his knowledge of this
7 document, because he was not there when it was created.
8 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, yes, that's correct. But we have
9 certain -- well, we have certain bases to think that this was created by
10 the Croatian party in Samac, that this was created within the municipality
11 of Samac, and the members of the HDZ in Samac - because clearly there are
12 some signs and there are some details here.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The witness --
14 MR. PANTELIC: He is a fact witness, Your Honour. I will simply
15 ask him: Do you know what the name is here? Do you know this man? What
16 was his position and what are your conclusions or personal knowledge about
17 his activities? And then that will be the evidence.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: All right. That is fine.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: That's fine. I've got no objection to that.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: If that is the line of question, that's fine. You
21 can go ahead.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
23 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, tell me, please, can you infer from
24 this document -- or maybe you know from some other source which party
25 organisation is here in question.
1 A. This is the Croatian Democratic Union.
2 Q. How do you know?
3 A. I know two people on this list. I was in personal contact with
4 them on several occasions.
5 Q. What names are these?
6 A. Mato Madzarevic from Domaljevac who worked in Samac
7 municipality. He was a member of the executive council in charge of
8 communal affairs. And Mato Milovic [as interpreted], the president of the
9 municipality of Isevo [phoen] -- I apologise. So the second person is
10 Mato Nujic, the president of the Samac Municipal Assembly, highly
11 positioned in the hierarchy of the Croatian Democratic Union.
12 Q. Finally, what is your conclusion about this document?
13 A. Your Honours, can we please comment on this document, just
14 briefly, if I may, the way the document was drafted and compiled?
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, you can go ahead.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I base my observations regarding
17 this document on the regulations in the areas of planning which existed in
18 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. These are plans for the
19 establishment of defence civilian structures. In those regulations, there
20 is a very clear indication on what elements should a document contain.
21 And in this document -- this document tells me that somebody who was
22 familiar with these regulations was involved in drafting these documents.
23 So somebody who had experience in these -- in this area, because I was
24 also involved in that area. This, I can tell based on the thesis which
25 are very precise and elaborated in great detail.
1 Q. And finally, did you ever see this document before? If you did,
2 when was that? If not, can you tell us that you didn't see it.
3 A. No, I didn't see it before.
4 MR. PANTELIC: Still 10 minutes, yes, for -- we are working --
5 because I'm a little bit lost because of this day.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: No, I said 11.45.
7 MR. PANTELIC: 11.45. Yes, thank you, Your Honour. Thank you so
9 Thank you, Mr. Usher, please.
10 Could we have now Exhibit D56/1, please.
11 Q. [Interpretation] Look at the document, Mr. Ninkovic. What could
12 you tell us about this document?
13 A. This document was issued by the Department of Defence in Samac. It
14 was signed by the person whom I know personally, Srecko Handzic [phoen].
15 So the document is authentic, and it is a customary document certifying to
16 some facts about the person who is on military records, and this is a
17 certificate that Simic Blagoje, son of Petar, a doctor, served a
18 compulsory military service.
19 Q. All right. This document speaks for itself. Let's not repeat
20 what is in the document. I want to ask you something about the document.
21 This is the war deployment. What for you is the -- the wartime
22 assignment, rather?
23 A. Every conscript, every person who served military service becomes
24 a member of the reserve military strength and then he is given a war
25 assignment in accordance with the replenishment plan of army units. So
1 this is a procedure based on the replenishment plan, which is obtained
2 from the higher organs in the army. So this is a usual, customary
4 Q. So the war assignment for, so to say, politicians or officials in
5 the administration, what was the practice prior to 1992 and after 1992?
6 A. After the elections, if a military conscript is given a position
7 in the civilian authorities, then he is assigned -- he is given the war
8 assignment as assigned to this position that he has in the civilian
9 structures, and that is then considered his war assignment for the purpose
10 of wartime duties.
11 Q. Based on what has this principle been designed? How come that a
12 politician or a high official in the public life, how come that that
13 person has a war assignment in his own position? Can you please explain
15 A. The Ministry of Defence cannot contest the electoral will of
16 citizens. So if somebody -- if a candidate in the elections has been
17 elected and has thus been given a position in the structures of the
18 civilian authorities, then this has to be confirmed in his war
19 assignment. So the Ministry of Defence has to confirm that assignment by
20 issuing a document.
21 Q. What does that mean for practical purposes? For example, when war
22 breaks out.
23 A. That practically means for all intents and purposes that this is
24 that person's war assignment. Have I understood your question well? I'm
25 not sure that I have understood you well.
1 Q. For example, somebody is an official or was an official before the
2 war broke out. For example, he was the president of the municipal
3 assembly. What happens with that person during the war? What does that
4 person do during the war? I suppose that would be his war assignment.
5 A. Yes. He is issued a certificate about his work obligation, and
6 that certificate says, for example, "Blagoje Simic has been given war
7 assignment as the president of the Municipal Assembly of Samac, and for
8 that purpose this is his war assignment."
9 Q. What does he do during the war?
10 A. He does whatever the president of the municipal assembly has to do
11 according to the statute and other enactments of that municipality.
12 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge on how these issues were dealt
13 with in another entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
14 A. The issues were dealt with in an identical way.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you. Mr. Usher, could we have now Exhibit
16 D57/1, please.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Again, this document speaks for itself. You
18 yourself signed it?
19 A. Yes. This is my document.
20 Q. Mr. Ninkovic, tell me, the term of work obligation, the notion of
21 work obligation in very brief outlines -- we will go back to that in the
22 course of the day today, but in introduction -- by way of introduction,
23 can you tell us what is work obligation.
24 A. The law on defence which draws from the constitution defines the
25 rights of natural and legal persons. When natural persons are concerned,
1 that is, citizens, they have the obligation to carry out military
2 obligation, work obligation, that they have to be members of the civilian
3 protection and they have to do the obligation and intelligence. And this
4 is a legal obligation, and every citizen has -- every able-bodied citizen
5 has to have work obligation. When I say "able-bodied," that's 15
6 [Realtime transcript read in error "50"] to 60 years of age for men and 15
7 to 50 for women, but -- women with small children and pregnant women do
8 not have to have that obligation if a child is under 10 years of age.
9 MR. LAZAREVIC: -- Deal with the transcript.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lazarevic.
11 MR. PANTELIC: Page 33, is it the same -- line 6.
12 Q. [Interpretation] You said in the transcript, it says that -- that
13 able-bodied men between the ages of 50 to 60. That is what it says in the
14 transcript. Can you please correct that or explain that. And please,
15 Mr. Ninkovic, these are very important things you're saying. Every
16 testimony is important, and we are going to have a problem with the
17 quality of the transcript. Can you please slow down, be more relaxed.
18 These are very important things.
19 A. I apologise.
20 Q. So can you please tell us. This work obligation, which group of
21 citizens did it apply to? Can you give us the age range. Just slowly.
22 A. The work obligation applied to all the able-bodied citizens, both
23 males and females. The only difference being that for men that obligation
24 was for men between 15 and 65 years of age and for women, it was for women
25 between the ages of 15 and 60. But it didn't apply to those women who
1 were pregnant, women who had one child under the age of seven. So that is
2 mothers with children -- and mothers with two children under the age of
4 Q. Thank you very much. We will continue after the break.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, thank you -- if Your Honours please, perhaps
6 my learned friend Mr. Pantelic could clarify what the witness meant when
7 he referred to the law on natural -- on this -- derives from the
8 constitution? Which constitution? What is the source of this law? When
9 was it created?
10 MR. PANTELIC: I'm going to explore that. But I will continue
11 after we take our break --
12 JUDGE MUMBA: We will take our break and continue our proceedings
13 at 12.15 -- oh, I'm sorry. I said 20 minutes, at 12.05.
14 --- Recess taken at 11.46 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 12.06 p.m.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, before the break we spoke about the
19 concept of the work obligation. In order to clarify that, please tell me
20 the following: You have mentioned a legal framework that regulated that.
21 Can you tell me how was this regulated by the regulations of the former
22 Yugoslavia. You don't have to go into details. Just tell me whether that
23 was the principle based on which this was organised.
24 A. The law regulated this matter in the same way as it was regulated
25 in the former Yugoslavia, an identical way.
1 Q. And what you just explained to us was the principle of the work
2 obligation as it existed in the Republika Srpska, isn't it?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Tell me, please, do you know whether in the other entity of Bosnia
5 and Herzegovina -- I mean, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina --
6 this was regulated in some other way?
7 A. No. It was regulated in the same way; the same law applied.
8 Q. Thank you. All right. As I've told you, we will come back to
9 that and explore it in more detail. This was just as way of introduction.
10 Another question in relation to that document. It just came to my
11 mind. I see that it was adopted in 1993 and it covered the period from
12 the 17th of April, 1992, retroactively. Can you explain this to us. What
13 is the reason for that.
14 A. The reason is continuity, the continuity of the authorities
15 concerned and the municipality. So it carries more weight that way. This
16 does not only refer to one person. It shows the continuity of the
17 authorities in the municipality and the higher organs.
18 Q. Look at the preamble of this document. What can you say about
20 A. If you're referring to the preamble in the sense of this decree
21 that is being referred to here, this is a decree on introducing war
22 production and services. There were some other documents of this kind, or
23 rather, regulations of this kind. This decree is based on the law on
24 defence. It has to do with the powers of the government as far as defence
25 matters are concerned. So the government passed this decree.
1 Q. What's the year of this decree?
2 A. 1993. The beginning of 1993.
3 Q. When a person went out for work obligation, did you pass such a
4 decision once for all or did you have to do it each and every time? Tell
5 us about that.
6 A. I told you that there were several such decrees, and from time to
7 time these documents had to be renewed.
8 Q. Specifically, if this is from 4/93, on the basis of Official
9 Gazette 4/93, what did that mean in practice? What was supposed to be
10 done in practice?
11 A. This meant that this kind of decision had to be renewed or issued.
12 Q. Tell me, what other purposes were these documents used for in
13 practice? What could an individual do with this kind of a decision? What
14 did an individual gain by this kind of document?
15 A. This is a document certifying that a person had a wartime
16 assignment. So whoever had a document, a decision of this kind, had proof
17 of his wartime assignment. That means that if the police were checking
18 his documents at a particular checkpoint, this was proof that this person
19 was entitled to unhindered movement; meaning that the person concerned was
20 not evading his responsibilities from the field of defence.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, just for the purposes of
22 the record, I think we should make it clear that the witness --
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: And this series of questions all relate to D57/1,
25 and that's the document that the witness has in front of him. Thank you.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well.
2 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Tell me, in practice, if you know, what would happen to people who
4 when they were checked by the police or the military police did not have
5 this kind of decision or military ID, that military booklet? This is a
6 fact that you are aware of and perhaps you can tell us more about this.
7 A. Allow me to explain. A citizen who is of military age had to have
8 a document whereby he would prove that he was engaged in some defence
9 structure. As for the members of the military, that is a military
10 booklet. In it there is the stamp of the unit to which that person
11 belongs. Along with this military booklet, the said person could also
12 have an ID, a pass issued by that unit. This pass would show how many
13 days of leave this person may have been granted. A person who had a work
14 obligation and who had his or her assignment in a company, in a government
15 agency, had such a decision. As for members of the civil protection units
16 denoting work obligation, a civilian protection booklet was required and a
17 pass. For members of work obligation units, the required document was a
19 Q. Very well. One more thing: Paragraph 5 of this decision, could
20 you please give me a comment based on practice and on your personal
22 A. That means that this decision is fully in accordance with the
23 decree on checking persons, vehicles, and goods. That is a government
24 decree which regulated this particular area; that is to say, regarding the
25 movement of persons, or rather, checking the movement of persons,
1 vehicles, and goods. That is to say, that this is a proper document.
2 Q. Tell me, since you worked in the Secretariat for National Defence,
3 in the period before mid-April 1992, was such an obligation in force
4 practically for all the officials from the municipal authorities?
5 A. Can you repeat this once again. Could you explain this.
6 Q. I'm talking about the period from March, February, January, 1992,
7 1991. I'm talk about municipal officials. The subject of the wartime
8 assignment of political officials, was that something that was present in
9 Samac -- or rather, did this apply to the officials in Samac?
10 A. If I understood what you were saying, you have asked me whether
11 this assignment actually was in force.
12 Q. Look, there were multi-party elections in 1990, local elections;
13 is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In Samac at that time, different officials were elected. The
16 president of the municipality, vice-president, and president of the
17 executive council, et cetera, et cetera. I'm talking about 1990 onwards.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Great. Further on, for all these persons who held certain
21 positions, was there a principle of wartime assignment that applied to
22 them, to officials belonging to the municipal authorities?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Tell me now -- tell me now, the president of the municipality was
25 Mato Nujic, right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. The vice-president of the executive council was Izet Izetbegovic;
3 is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. When the conflicts broke out in April 1992 in Samac, what about
6 these two persons and the members of the Muslim and Croat ethnic
7 communities in Samac? I'm referring to these high officials. Did they
8 report to their war assignment posts? Do you have any knowledge about
10 A. No, they did not report.
11 Q. Do you have any knowledge as to where these municipal officials
12 were? Did you know that then or did you find out later? Do you have any
13 personal knowledge regarding this? Where were they over those few days?
14 A. I found out about that later.
15 Q. What did you find out?
16 A. They were armed. They were in their armed formations, the ones I
17 talked about before the break.
18 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher.
19 Could we have a document D61/1, please.
20 Q. [Interpretation] This is a document from 1993. As we know, we are
21 going to move on to another subject that is not chronologically linked to
22 what we've been discussing just now, but I'm interested in the following:
23 Do you personally know that there were violations of certain legal
24 regulations, that there was unauthorised cutting of wood, et cetera, by
25 military units in the territory of the municipality of Samac?
1 A. [No interpretation]
2 Q. Tell us something about that particular subject matter, very
4 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: And I apologise to Mr. Pantelic for making this
7 objection -- or interjection at this point but before he goes on to
8 develop this particular topic, can we just return to an earlier portion of
9 evidence. Did the -- the witness said -- sorry, Mr. Pantelic asked about
10 members of the Muslim and Croat ethnic communities reporting to their war
11 assignment posts, and the witness said, "No, they didn't report."
12 I don't think Mr. Pantelic has clarified which particular war
13 assignment post he is referring to. Is that one imposed by the Republic
14 of Bosnia and Herzegovina or the Republika Srpska or the Municipality of
15 Bosanski Samac or the former Yugoslavia? The source of that obligation is
16 not clear. And this witness presumably is in a position to tell us about
17 that and perhaps it might be relevant for that to be clarified by the
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
21 Q. [Interpretation] So let us go back to the previous topic. Which
22 wartime assignment are we referring to? In accordance with which laws
23 before 1992? We talked about municipal officials there and their
24 obligation to report in case of war at a particular place. Which
25 regulations were then in force in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
1 A. The regulations of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
2 Q. Do you know whether these regulations were practically accepted by
3 the authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
4 A. Yes.
5 MR. PANTELIC: Can we move to the over topic, Your Honour, now?
6 Is it clear enough --
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Di Fazio.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: That last question, if Your Honours please, the
9 witness is talking about the government of the Republic of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, I take it.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That is his answer.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: That is his answer. Okay. Thank you.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. You can move on, Mr. Pantelic.
14 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. So 1993, Mr. Ninkovic, what is your personal knowledge about
16 possible cases of unlawful behaviour by members of the military? Which
17 unit was this and so on?
18 A. This question requires a bit of time. You see, at that time a
19 large number of military conscripts were engaged in the units of the
20 army. Because of the priority of army needs defined by internal
21 regulations in the field of priorities, the municipal authorities, the
22 civilian authorities, did not have sufficient manpower to man all the
23 different government agencies in the municipality, inspectorates, et
24 cetera. An attempt was made to resolve this by employing women, elderly
25 people, those who are not military conscripts. And these services did not
1 have enough power to prevent the unlawful behaviour of members of the
3 Q. Wait a minute. According to law, who is duty-bound to stop the
4 illegal behaviour of the military? Is it civilian authorities or military
6 A. Military authorities.
7 Q. Please concentrate on this letter. Do I understand this
8 correctly? This is a person from the PIK Samac stating that the soldiers
9 are walking around and behaving --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please slow down. He is
11 overlapping all questions, and it is impossible to follow two speakers at
12 the same time.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. There is a problem with the way
14 you are overlapping the witness's answers.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Okay. Your Honour. Thank you. I do apologise. I
16 do apologise to the interpreters.
17 Q. [Interpretation] The question is very simple: Did you have any
18 knowledge about this specific letter? You see it there. You see who it
19 was sent to.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did you have any knowledge about certain cases of unlawful
22 behaviour of members of military units in the territory of the
23 municipality of Samac and -- or rather, just Samac?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. In which period? Which years? When did you have such
2 A. As for the unlawful cutting of wood --
3 Q. No, different ones. Different ones. Not only that.
4 A. This went on throughout the war.
5 Q. What did you know about the behaviour of the military or possible
6 incidents related to looting in the municipality of Odzak?
7 A. Over there the command of the 1st Krajina Corps, or rather, its
8 commander, General Talic, introduced military administration, military
10 Q. All right. We'll get to that. I'm asking you about very simple
11 things. Did you personally have any knowledge about the fact that the
12 members of the military were engaged in looting, unlawful behaviour in the
13 territory of the municipality of Odzak in 1992 and 1993?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Ninkovic. Let us go on. We'll go back to these
17 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have now Exhibit D62/1, please.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Please take a look at this document. It has two
19 pages. Could you familiarise yourself with it.
20 Are you aware of this document otherwise?
21 A. Just a minute, please.
22 I've had a look at the document.
23 Q. Do you have any knowledge about this document?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Tell us what you can about it.
1 A. The civilian or municipal authorities had a problem because of the
2 unlawful behaviour of members of the military. Therefore, they requested
3 from the commands of military units to take measures in order to prevent
4 such behaviour, because the municipal authorities are not in charge of
5 prosecuting members of the military.
6 Q. All right, Mr. Ninkovic. Look at the document itself. Look at
7 paragraph - one, two, three - after paragraph 4, something is typed out in
8 capital letters. What does it say there?
9 A. "The Serb army is looting Serb property."
10 Q. Will you read the paragraph below that paragraph. Do you have any
11 personal knowledge about such things occurring in the territory of the
12 municipality as referred to in paragraph 5?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What does this pertain to?
15 A. As it says here, and on the basis of my own knowledge, there were
16 lootings, robberies, individual cases.
17 Q. By who?
18 A. Members of the military.
19 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher.
20 Could we have now the Exhibit D77/1 and then D78/1, 78A, B, C.
22 Q. [Interpretation] We are going to skim through these documents very
23 briefly, without any extensive explanations, because we're going to go
24 back to this later. We just need you to explain the mechanism involving
25 work obligation, which authority addressed who, and which way, what this
1 looked like. And in order to speed things up, these are four documents.
2 You can look at all four of them and give us a comment with regard to the
3 entire lot, or if you think it is necessary for you to comment upon them
4 individually, please do.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, we've got a minor problem
6 here in the Prosecution in that we're missing this particular document.
7 We'll rectify it. But I wonder if I might just see the document, please,
8 before it's given to the witness. I do apologise for this. The English,
10 Oh, if the English -- the ter documents are not going to be
11 produced, maybe we could borrow them for the time being and ...
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Oh, you mean just to look at them from the
13 registry --
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Just so I can follow the evidence, if Your
15 Honours please. I'd be grateful for that assistance.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
17 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. In order to assist our colleagues from the Prosecution, document
19 D77/1 is dated 7 June 1992, was signed by the Secretary for Economy. And
20 this document D78A, B, and C are the documents dated 20th June 1992. So
21 these are these three documents from the 20th of June.
22 All right. Now, Mr. Ninkovic, please take a good look at it and
23 then tell us briefly what was the basis for the work obligation. We can
24 see here that these documents deal with the work assignment. Can you
25 please explain this to us. Who requests what from whom and how does this
1 work in practice? Just briefly, please, as an introduction, because we
2 will later come back to this. Slowly, please.
3 A. The relevant competent organs, such as, for example, Secretariat
4 for Economy, based on their assessment of the need to engage workers,
5 delivers a document, a request to the Secretariat for People's Defence, to
6 assign to a certain company a person with a work obligation that is
7 needed. So they would request a person by first and last name with
8 certain qualifications and education in order for that company or an
9 enterprise to be able to function normally.
10 If the person requested is not serving in the military, then a
11 decision would be issued assigning that person to a work assignment.
12 Q. And this work obligation, did it represent a military obligation
13 but in a different form? Let me just clarify this. For example, if a
14 military conscript could be issued with call-up papers to join a military
15 formation but also pursuant to law, that person could receive call-up
16 papers to start performing their work obligation. Does that mean that
17 there is one single military obligation in several forms? Is that your
18 understanding? Can you please explain this to us.
19 A. Yes. This is a defined obligation. If somebody receives call-up
20 papers to report to their work obligation, then that person is duty-bound
21 to report or else maybe sanction.
22 Q. What kind of sanctions are we talking about?
23 A. Sanctions ranged from submitting a report on misdemeanour up to
24 criminal charges.
25 Q. Now that we've touched upon that topic, can you please tell me,
1 what is your personal view of the following: In that particular field of
2 military service, duty to respond, and so on, what punishment was set
3 forth in the law in peacetime and in wartime?
4 A. Yes. One system existed in peacetime, in the sense of the level
5 of the punishment. And this punishment was much greater in wartime
6 because it was a special kind of time and people had to respond to the
7 obligations that they had as part of their war assignments.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Di Fazio.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Thank you, Your Honours. I was just waiting
10 for the witness to finish. If he can give direct evidence about this
11 issue, fine. But not his personal views, with respect.
12 If Your Honours please, there's just another matter that arises
13 from the evidence that is unclear. Mr. Pantelic asked at about lines 14
14 or 15 of the previous page, "If a military conscript issued with call-up
15 papers, could that person also receive papers to start performing their
16 work obligation? Does that mean that there is one single military
17 obligation in several forms? Is that your understanding? Can you please
18 explain this to us."
19 And the witness said. "Yes, if the person receives the call-up
20 papers, they're duty-bound to report."
21 Now, what I understood Mr. Pantelic to be asking this witness is
22 there some sort of global general obligation to perform some sort of
23 duty? And that can be either military and/or work obligation. And the
24 witness went on to say yes. Now, that's my understanding of the
25 evidence. But if that needs to be clear -- you see, they're two different
1 things. You can be called up for military service. You can be called up
2 for work obligation. But Mr. Pantelic was putting to the witness that
3 it's really one and the same thing, and I understood the witness to be
4 saying, "Well, yes, yes, it is." Now, I'd like to be clear about that and
5 I think the Chamber should be clear about that.
6 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. I can clarify that with the witness. No
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well, Mr. Pantelic.
9 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. You've heard what it was about, so could you please clarify this
11 term of a military obligation and the subgroups that come under that
12 term. How was that regulated by law, especially by law in the Former
13 Yugoslavia, meaning prior to April 1992, and how it was regulated in
14 Republika Srpska?
15 A. I think that in my testimony so far I have explained this.
16 Q. But please repeat.
17 A. All right. A citizen, an individual, is duty-bound to carry out
18 his or her military obligation, work obligation, obligation to serve in
19 civilian protection, also to participate in the monitoring and reporting
20 service and in affairs that have to do with defence training. These are
21 all different kinds of obligations that were established by law. Avoiding
22 a military obligation or evading military obligation is considered a grave
23 violation of law. But also evading work obligation or any other
24 obligation is subject to sanctions.
25 The law on defence clearly specified what sanctions were possible,
1 whereas the Criminal Code of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
2 which was taken in full and adopted in Bosnia and Herzegovina and
3 Republika Srpska, clearly spells out the qualification of what it meant to
4 violate obligations that existed in various military matters.
5 Q. These various kinds of military obligations, does this in fact
6 mean wartime assignment?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, let us go back to my previous question before the Prosecutor
9 asked for clarification. Please tell us this: Based on your professional
10 knowledge, experience, you as a direct participant in these events, can
11 you explain to the Trial Chamber what was the policy concerning
12 punishments applied in peacetime as opposed to that applied in wartime.
13 A. Yes. I can explain that. Since I worked in the agency that dealt
14 with defence matters, and I worked there in the 1980s, meaning much before
15 the war, a person that evaded and did not report to a military exercise,
16 such a military conscript was subject to a misdemeanour report. This
17 misdemeanour report was filed with the misdemeanour judge. I worked on
18 these matters.
19 In wartime, a military conscript that evades his or her military
20 obligation - and this can be done in a number of ways - either by failing
21 to respond to call-up papers or by deserting the army and so on, is
22 subject to a criminal report, a criminal complaint that is filed with the
23 military prosecutor. And I worked on these matters during the war.
24 Q. What about the punishments? What were they like in peacetime and
25 in wartime?
1 A. The difference is radical. Misdemeanours entailed a monetary
2 fine, and on rare occasions with respect to a military conscript that was
3 particularly insolent, there would be a one- or two-month sentence, prison
5 During wartime, a person evading military obligation would be
6 subject to a very grave punishment in the form of a prison sentence
7 lasting from 10 to 15 years.
8 Q. What do you know regarding these matters in the Federation of
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
10 A. The law is the same. The Criminal Code is the same, both in the
11 Federation and in Republika Srpska. It was taken over from the former
12 Yugoslavia. As far as I know, it was not until last year or the year
13 before last the high representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina initiated the
14 adoption of a new Criminal Code in Bosnia and Herzegovina. That means
15 that throughout the war and for a few years after the war the law in force
16 was the same one, and that was the Criminal Code of the SFRY. As far as I
17 know, the same is true for Croatia during war.
18 Q. So the law applied in the entire territory of Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina in both entities throughout the war?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Ninkovic.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Ms. Registrar, could we have a document, D92/1,
24 Q. [Interpretation] This document has several pages. Please take a
25 look at it. Please tell me, are you familiar with this document?
1 A. Yes. This is a decree of the government of the Serbian Republic
2 of BH, dated July 1992.
3 Q. Yes, that's a decree, but I assume that this is something else.
4 This is a decision by another organ.
5 A. No, I'm referring to --
6 Q. You were referring to the basis based on which this decision was
7 later passed.
8 A. Yes, and the implementation of this decree.
9 Q. And who passed this decree?
10 A. The executive council of Bosanski Samac municipality.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic.
12 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Please remember to pause.
14 MR. PANTELIC: Sorry, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: It was too much for the interpreter.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, yes. I do apologise again.
17 Q. [Interpretation] What can you tell us, Mr. Ninkovic, about these
18 matters in the territory of Bosanski Samac municipality? This involves
19 agricultural works. I am particularly interested in this: In wartime,
20 how was this obligation set up? But prior to that, please tell me --
21 Samac, I assume, is an agricultural area with a lot of farmers.
22 A. May I begin?
23 Q. Certainly.
24 A. The Samac municipality is flatlands, and a large amount of the
25 territory is very fertile. Therefore, people are mostly involved in
1 agriculture. There are seasonal works throughout the year, such as sowing
2 in springtime, harvesting of wheat in July, or harvesting of autumn crops
3 in autumn. These are works requiring significant manpower. The effort is
4 to conduct the harvesting as quickly as possible due to weather, and
5 everybody able to assist, the elderly, the young, women, are involved in
6 this effort. This is a tradition with our people to get everybody
7 involved in harvesting.
8 There is a so-called custom called Moba where everybody gets
9 involved in these works in order to complete them as soon as possible.
10 Harvesting means securing food for winter, and that is a vital interest,
11 especially in wartime, when a number of various food items can be lacking
12 and their absence can mean a catastrophe for the population.
13 Q. Now, in wartime and in view of insufficient manpower, what kind of
14 problems arise?
15 A. I said that these were works requiring massive participation,
16 requiring significant number of workers. Mostly physical manual labour,
17 and also other people needed are those that can operate the machinery.
18 Q. Now, could you please take a look at the second page of this
19 document. Could you please explain this term "militarily not engaged.
20 People able to perform agricultural work," and this covers children,
21 women, and others. Now, we are speaking specifically about Samac and the
22 various work units that existed. Could you please explain this term, "The
23 workers needed for autumn works, agricultural works." Who did this apply
25 MR. DI FAZIO: If I actually could have --
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Perhaps we could have the article so that it's
3 clearer for the purposes of the transcript and for us to follow.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I believe that I made the reference and --
5 MR. DI FAZIO: It was page, not article. So it might be
7 MR. PANTELIC: Article 3, I said. Maybe it did not get in the
8 transcript. Yes, Article 3, my friend. Article 3, second page.
9 A. So the war requires that people be engaged. The priorities to
10 have: All military fit individuals serve in the military and in the
11 police. That's a priority, and that is regulated by law. The remaining
12 work force that has not been engaged in military structure should be
13 engaged for these types of work. This mostly covers the elderly or those
14 who for various reasons to not serve in the military. When I say
15 "children," I'm referring to adolescents aged 15 and over. Those who are
16 younger may not be used according to law.
17 Q. [Interpretation] What about non-employed women? And can you tell
18 us who are the employed women.
19 A. The employed women are those who had a decision concerning their
20 assignment to work in a administrative organ, enterprise, or a company.
21 Unemployed women are the remaining ones, housewives and so on.
22 Q. So which ethnic groups did this decree apply to? Which ethnic
23 groups participated in agricultural works of this nature?
24 A. When it comes to obligation, there is no distinguish -- it does
25 not distinguish among various ethnic groups.
1 Q. In Samac in spring and autumn agricultural works, what ethnic
2 groups participated in agricultural works?
3 A. Members of all ethnic groups.
4 Q. The last paragraph of Article 3 mentions mobilisation call-up.
5 Can you please tell us briefly what that was.
6 A. Just a minute, please.
7 Q. Please read this. Take a look at it, and we can continue after
8 our break.
9 MR. PANTELIC: -- Our lunch break.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We'll continue the proceedings in the
11 afternoon at 14.30 hours.
12 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
13 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.01 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 2.31 p.m.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We'll continue examination-in-chief.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, before the break, we discussed
18 Article 3 of the decree, that is, its paragraph 2. Kindly explain to the
19 Chamber the principle of mobilisation of the able-bodied population which
20 was not engaged in military units.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, perhaps we should have in
22 the transcript the exhibit number, since we've resumed proceedings and
23 that we're -- that Mr. Pantelic is referring to.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. For the record, this is Exhibit D92/1.
1 Q. [Interpretation] Could you please comment upon the principle of
2 mobilisation calls and mobilisation of able-bodied people who were not
3 members of any military unit.
4 A. The Secretariat for the Economy was the municipal organ in charge
5 of the economy within the framework of the executive council and it had
6 all the necessary information through general managers of agricultural
7 combines and other companies within the overall economy, and they informed
8 them about the scope of work which needs to be done, and this was then
9 expressed in figures, in places where these specific tasks had to be
10 performed and when. Then these persons would be called. Those persons
11 who were not involved in other defence structures, that is, the military,
12 the police, these persons were called to perform work obligation from time
13 to time for a limited duration of time. For example, during the harvest
15 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I wonder if Mr. Pantelic
16 would be so kind as to clarify -- and I suggest this would also be useful
17 for the Trial Chamber -- whether the witness is in fact saying that this
18 work obligation was in fact part of the defence structure and part of the
19 defence obligations required of a citizen. He seems to be saying that
20 where he says, "These persons would be called. Those persons who were not
21 involved in other defence structures, that is, the military and the
22 police," had to do work obligation. From the way you read it in English,
23 it comes across that the work obligation was in itself a -- something that
24 was considered to be part of the defence structure. I'd just like to know
25 if -- if that is in fact the case; in other words, whether the people who
1 were performing work obligation are involved in the defence of the Serb
3 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Yes, Mr. Ninkovic. If you could explain.
5 A. Yes, this is exactly how it can be interpreted, Mr. Prosecutor.
6 Q. The process of calling or mobilising that particular part of the
7 population, which organ was in charge of that?
8 A. If we are talking about the period that is relevant to this
9 decision or decree, and that is summer of 1992, then it would be the
10 executive council, the staff of the civilian protection, the coordinator
11 of work units, and call-up notices were received from the defence
13 Q. You are talking about the municipal defence department of the
14 Ministry of Defence; isn't that so?
15 A. Excuse me. Is this the 10th of September or ...?
16 Q. I believe that it was the 18th of September, but the decree was
17 issued on the 31st of July, 1992.
18 A. This is the government decree issued in July 1992.
19 Q. And this went through the municipal office or department of the
20 Ministry of Defence, these call-up notices.
21 A. Let me tell you why these call-up notices went through that
22 particular organ. If, for example, somebody did not want to observe this
23 obligation of the work obligation and if there was no proof that that
24 person indeed received the call-up notice, then there was no proof to
25 instigate any proceedings against that person. It transpired as if that
1 person had not received the call in the first place. So that was the
2 customary technique of calling up people.
3 Q. Maybe this is not within your scope of expertise, but could you
4 please tell us whether these people were compensated for the work
5 performed. And if they were compensated, how were they compensated?
6 A. According to this decree, those who performed work obligation were
7 entitled to compensation, and it was envisaged that this compensation was
8 either in money or in kind, in food, so in kind. We still have a custom
9 amongst other people that when -- during the harvest, if somebody takes
10 part in harvest, then a quantity of the crops would be given to that
11 person in return, a certain percentage of the quantity. So this is a
12 customary procedure, habit.
13 Q. Can you tell us how that -- what was the procedure in Samac in
15 A. That means that people who performed work obligation were given a
16 certain quantity of food, flour, oil, lard, sugar, coffee, tinned food,
17 anything that at the moment was even more necessary than money itself,
18 because at that period of time the rate of inflation was rather high and
19 the money was not of any particular value. It wasn't worth much and it
20 was much better to receive food than money, than cash.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Is it your evidence that during the period relevant
23 to the indictment, 1992, 1993, all those on work obligation only
24 received -- were paid in kind? Nobody was paid in cash?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is not what I said. I said
1 that payment was both, in kind, that is, in food. And to what extent that
2 was up to the organs which were obliged to execute the payments. So
3 either the companies or the executive councils. Those who asked for the
4 work force. So the executive council, companies, agricultural combines,
5 the mill. So it really depended on the possibilities and on the wish
6 expressed by the person who was on work obligation, whether that person
7 wanted money or food. And what was the ratio, I really can't tell you and
8 I believe that there are documents in -- either in the municipality or in
9 the combines who engaged those peoples, and from these documents you would
10 be able to find out exactly the ratio of payment, whether in kind or in
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher.
14 Could we have now Exhibit D112/1, please.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Can you please tell us, Mr. Ninkovic, something
16 about this document.
17 A. This is again a customary procedure by way of which an
18 administrative organ, in this case the executive council, appears before
19 the office of defence in Samac and asks for somebody to be assigned to a
20 certain work obligation. In this case, the person was born in 1941, so he
21 can be said to be an elderly person. I know this person personally. His
22 name is Nikola Mikanovic, and I know that his position was the chief
23 accountant in the municipality, and that is that. It is a customary
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher. I am finished with this
3 Could we have now Exhibit D114/1, please.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Can you please look at both pages of this
5 document. Bearing in mind the stamp of the Secretariat for Defence on the
6 first page, I suppose you can tell us something about this document.
7 A. Yes, I'm familiar with this document. This document says that the
8 executive council of Samac municipality looked at the problem of the
9 transportation of those who were on work obligation, the transportation to
10 the place where the work obligation was to be carried out, and it realised
11 that this should be done in an organised manner and that for that
12 transportation subjects to work obligation should not pay; that this
13 should be provided free of charge, because this was of the general
14 interest of the community. So people were supposed to be transported to
15 work on time, that they shouldn't be late. That was very important
16 because if people were late, then there could be disruptions to the work
17 process. At that time, there was no -- there was a shortage of petrol, so
18 people couldn't use their own private vehicles, so the transportation had
19 to be organised and that was of vital importance for the maintenance of
20 the level of production of various goods in the area of the municipality.
21 Q. And finally, please tell me, at the time when this decree was
22 passed and later on, can you tell me whether this functioned in the
23 municipality of Samac.
24 A. Yes, it did. Absolutely.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, thank you.
1 Yes. Now I'm going to examine some of the documents under the
2 section 2. So could we have now Exhibit D3/2, please.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Mr. Pantelic, just to inform you that this is
4 still a document, not an exhibit. Thank you.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: [Microphone not activated] Might I just briefly see
6 the document, please. Thank you.
7 And just for clarification -- sorry to interrupt -- I take it
8 marked for identification only at this stage.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That's what the registry said, yes. It was
10 marked for identification only.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: Right. Thank you. Yes.
12 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
13 Q. [Interpretation] Tell me, please, looking at this document, have
14 you ever seen it before?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Can you please explain the term in the last part of this document,
17 "the transfer of materiel and technical means." What is this notion?
18 What does this mean, "materiel and technical means"?
19 A. In the literature pertaining to the area of the military, very
20 often you'll find the abbreviation MTS. That's the materiel and technical
21 equipment. And this refers to military material of various sorts and
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher. Could we have now --
25 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, perhaps before Mr. Pantelic leaves the
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: I don't, of course, read B/C/S, but I don't see any
4 abbreviation MTS on the original. I see the words [B/C/S spoken] and some
5 other words.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Is there no English translation?
7 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, there is and it says "materiel and technical
8 equipment." I don't see any abbreviation in the English either. I don't
9 see any abbreviation in the original, I don't see any abbreviation in the
10 English. The witness says, Oh, yes, this is a military document because
11 it uses that abbreviation. So where is the abbreviation?
12 JUDGE MUMBA: The answer was: What is this notion?
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: That was the question.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Simply as that. In fact, there's no abbreviation
16 itself, yes, in the document, but it's just explanation.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: The notion was explained in general, not in relation
18 to that document.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: I see. I misunderstood the evidence obviously. I
20 thought the document -- the witness was talking about this document in
22 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Actually, Mr. Di Fazio, he said -- the witness
23 said, "In the literature pertaining to the area of military, very often
24 you find the abbreviation." He didn't say it was in this particular
1 MR. DI FAZIO: No. That's -- that's right. Yes.
2 MR. PANTELIC: Okay. Thank you.
3 Could we have now Exhibit D4/2 ID, please -- document, not
5 Mr. Usher, is this a two-page document or -- yes. Oh, okay. So
6 could you put in front of the witness both pages so he can -- I think the
7 first one is the colour page and ...
8 Q. [Interpretation] What can you say about this document,
9 Mr. Ninkovic?
10 A. This is a mobilisation document which elaborates procedures and
11 measures starting from the issuing of mobilisation orders up to the
12 transfer of that order, engaging a messenger, the call-up messengers, as
13 they're called, in the mobilisation procedure, then it elaborates the
14 mobilisation site. It is a park in this particular case. That is where
15 they are going to meet. That is their meeting point.
16 Q. That is exactly what I wanted to ask you. Do you have any
17 personal knowledge about the beginning of the conflict, the 16th and 17th
18 of April, whether some members of political parties were seen at this
19 particular place?
20 A. This document shows that the entire process of running
21 mobilisation, that is to say, from the initial orders up to the actual
22 mobilisation of mobilised manpower, all of this is led by the signatory,
23 that is, the president of the SDA in Samac, Sulejman Tihic. This shows
24 that this is a military organisation based on a political party. I
25 testified about that this morning -- I mean, the first time I appeared
1 here, I talked about checkpoints and things like that. So persons with
2 weapons were seen around town, around the town of Samac, at several
4 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, that evidence -- for you to
5 make -- use that and evaluate that, you're going to have to know the basis
6 on which this witness makes those assertions. The procedure has been
7 he's -- the document is put in front of him and then he gives that
8 evidence. The entire process of running mobilisation from the initial
9 orders and so on -- and then he goes on to finish, "Persons with weapons
10 were seen around the town of Samac at several places."
11 Now, it's not clear to me whether that is a conclusion that he's
12 basing on what he's read in this document or something that he has
13 personal knowledge of. If he saw people at the park, he saw Sulejman
14 Tihic running around with a gun and lots of other SDA men gathering in the
15 park well, good, let's hear about it. But not conjecture based on the
16 document -- or even worse, something you can't tell is conjecture or an
17 assertion of fact. We just don't know what he's basing that on. It may
18 be the witness can really help you out. He may have direct knowledge; in
19 which case it should be made clear that he's talking about direct
20 knowledge or whether he is speculating or extrapolating from this document
21 as to what the situation must have been according to him.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Since he was not the author of the document.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, that's one reason, yes.
24 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
25 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, you mentioned here that you
1 referred to it this morning, that you spoke of it this morning. However,
2 let us clarify something. You said that you saw the unloading of some
3 boxes in the park. But tell me, in terms of time, when did this happen,
4 the boxes?
5 A. You mean at what time?
6 Q. You said that an Opel came there. Could you give us some
7 indication of time.
8 A. I said it was the end of March, beginning of April. That's what I
9 said during my testimony.
10 Q. Very well. That's what I'm interested in.
11 A. I'd like to say something else in relation to this document, by
12 your leave. According to the structure of this document, I can see that
13 mobilisation instructions were used from the professional literature of
14 the Yugoslav People's Army; that is to say, that somebody used those
15 instructions as an outline for compiling this document. I worked on
16 mobilisation affairs for several years, and I know these documents, these
18 Q. All right. Did you personally have any knowledge? And if so,
19 when did you acquire it and how? Directly or indirectly? Where were
20 armed members of certain political parties seen? I'm primarily referring
21 to the SDA and the HDZ.
22 A. I've already testified here about checkpoints, checkpoints that
23 were established. I testified about the occurrence by the Islamic
24 community. Then I saw armed men by the Sava River facing Croatia.
25 Q. When?
1 A. In that period.
2 Q. Tell us which period.
3 A. March, April.
4 Q. And what were these armed groups by the Sava River? What
5 formations were these, to the best of your knowledge?
6 A. They only could have been paramilitary formations of the Muslim
7 forces, in view of the fact that at that time one could see members of the
8 JNA because they had formation uniforms that were very well known,
9 generally known. At that time the MUP still wore uniforms and the members
10 of the National Guards Corps were crossing over from Croatia and they also
11 had uniforms of the National Guards Corps, the ones I saw, that is. And I
12 wasn't the only one who saw them. They were observed by a great many
14 Q. Tell me, this particular term that is used here, place of
15 reporting, how do you explain that professionally speaking? In which case
16 is this referred to?
17 A. This place of reporting means that when somebody was in a
18 paramilitary formation and gets call-up papers, call-up papers can be in
19 an envelope, as it says here -- then this person reports to this place
20 that is mentioned here, namely, the park.
21 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge? Not necessarily that you saw
22 this personally. Maybe you heard about it. So tell us, what kind of
23 knowledge do you have, if any, about the park in Samac when the conflict
24 broke out, that a certain number of people were seen and what happened.
25 And if you don't any knowledge about this, just say so.
1 A. No, I didn't see anything.
2 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
3 Could we have now Exhibit D11/2, please. I think it's an exhibit,
4 because this is an extract from the Official Gazette number 8.
5 Q. [Interpretation] This is a decree, and the title is
6 self-explanatory. As we can see, it was published on the 8th of June,
8 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters note that they cannot see a
9 copy of this document and it is very hard to follow it this way.
10 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Did you use this document --
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: The interpreters say they don't have this document
15 so you should be slow when reading it.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, yes. I apologise.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Could you please put the document on the ELMO.
18 Very fine print, but in order to facilitate matters, I'm going to give you
19 a copy so that you can follow this and this other copy can remain on the
20 ELMO. The print is very fine.
21 All right. The question is the following: During your work as
22 your department of the Ministry of Defence in Samac worked in Samac, did
23 you apply this decree? Did you enforce it?
24 A. Yes. But let me say that I was not head of that particular agency
25 at the beginning of the war. When I became head of the department, that
1 is when I started dealing with these particular matters.
2 Q. Could you explain that now precisely, when you came to head that
3 particular agency. This is a good opportunity to explain that.
4 A. Yes. By a decision of the Minister of Defence of the Serb
5 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, I was appointed head of the department of
6 the Ministry of Defence on the 16th of July, 1992. That day is considered
7 to be the day when this department of the Ministry of Defence was
8 constituted. So from that day onwards it was a republic organ, not a
9 municipal organ, as the Secretariat of Defence was before.
10 On that day I started employing persons who would be employed in
11 this particular agency. Rather, I gave my proposals to the minister. And
12 it was at my proposal that on the 1st of September, the minister signed
13 decisions -- four decisions on appointing employees who would be working
14 together with me in this particular agency.
15 Q. Who was minister at the time?
16 A. The Minister of Defence was Bogdan Subotic, that is to say, a
17 member of the government of the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So
18 this person was appointed by the Assembly of the Serb Republic of
20 Q. Very well. From the moment when the Crisis Staff appointed you,
21 if I'm not mistaken, this was in July 1992 -- did you start carrying out
22 some preparations in terms of organisation as early as then and did then
23 the decision of the Minister of Defence follow?
24 A. Allow me to explain. I worked on information, and sometime in the
25 second half of June, as you say, the Crisis Staff appointed me. But this
1 should be understood in the following way: The Crisis Staff made a
2 proposal, because it is the minister who makes the actual appointments.
3 So practically this was a proposal, a nomination. But from that period
4 until the 16th of July, I dealt with information affairs, at least in
5 part, and I was slowly taking over these jobs that I had been envisaged
6 for, so this was a transition period, so to speak.
7 After my actual appointment, for the first month or two my
8 activity mainly focussed on military obligations.
9 Q. And within this department of the Ministry of Defence, or rather,
10 this is a municipal department of the republic ministry, to be quite
11 precise -- who was in charge of these particular duties related to work
13 A. Let me explain. This is a republic agency which has jurisdiction
14 over the territory of the municipality. That is a precise definition of
15 the position of the department of the Ministry of Defence. Sorry, what
16 was your other question? I didn't hear it.
17 Q. In terms of hierarchy, you are related to the Ministry of Defence,
18 aren't you?
19 A. Yes. There is another clarification that is required there.
20 There was a regional organ of the Ministry of the Interior that was the
21 division of the Ministry of the Interior in Bijeljina, which covered a few
22 municipalities in the region, namely, Zvornik, Bijeljina, Ugljevik,
23 Popare, Brcko, Samac, and Modrica. And --
24 MR. LAZAREVIC: -- Line 16, there was a regional organ of the
25 Ministry of the Interior. It was the Ministry of Defence. That's what
1 the witness said.
2 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Just a -- it's a clarification, actually.
3 There is an error in the transcript. Page 68, line 21. Instead of
4 "Ministry of the Interior," it should -- the witness said, "The Ministry
5 of Defence." Because the question was -- actually related to the Ministry
6 of Defence.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. It will be corrected.
8 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation].
9 Q. You can clarify that. You referred to the Ministry of Defence not
10 the Ministry of the Interior.
11 A. Yes. I've been talking about the Ministry of Defence all the
12 time. Just another moment, please, so that I can explain this hierarchy
13 with the Ministry of Defence. So the Minister of Defence is the chief and
14 then comes the head of the division, and then the head of the department.
15 So the head of the department is at the lowest position within the
16 Ministry of Defence. And orders for carrying out particular duties come
17 from the Minister of Defence or from the head of division if he is
18 entrusted by the minister to carry out particular duties and to entrust
19 the departments to do so.
20 Q. So the municipal department of Samac and then above that organ,
21 what is the name of the next level up?
22 A. The division of the Ministry of Defence.
23 Q. And it's seated where?
24 A. In Bijeljina.
25 Q. And then above that is what?
1 A. The Minister of Defence, Bogdan Subotic, headquartered in Pale.
2 Q. In the Samac Department of the Ministry of Defence, was the Crisis
3 Staff of Samac municipality able to interfere in its work?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Could they issue orders to the municipal department?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Please tell me: This decree dated 8th of June, 1992, I assume
8 that it was enforced from the time it was passed onwards. Was it
10 A. Yes. What I'm trying to say is that the secretary of the
11 Secretariat for National Defence was Mr. Milos Bogdanovic, who at the time
12 was the Secretary of National or People's Defence.
13 Q. We are now talking about the period when you were appointed head
14 of the department in Samac, and that was in July, based on the decision
15 from the ministry. And then you served from that time on. I would like
16 you to explain here, in Article 1 of this decree we can see here now that
17 the work obligation consists of various types of work. But could you give
18 us, please, a better, closer interpretation of this concept of the work
20 A. I shall explain. As I've already said, the work obligation is an
21 obligation that was established by the law on defence. This decree, as
22 well as some other decrees that were adopted later -- rather, the work
23 decree was further defined by this decree and other decrees.
24 The work decree can be considered as permanent work obligation in
25 various institutions, enterprises, and so on, if there is a document
1 called the war organisation of work posts. This plan is proposed by the
2 director of a company and adopted by the executive council of the
3 municipality. This document describes various positions in that
4 institution or enterprise, number of workers, qualifications needed to
5 perform that work, and then once this document is adopted by the executive
6 council, it can proceed to the implementation stage.
7 At that point director of the institution or enterprise, based on
8 this wartime organisational chart of positions, sends a request to the
9 Ministry of Defence stipulating first and last name of employees, position
10 held, and so on, and requiring that these persons be assigned to that
11 work. If the required person is serving in the military, then the
12 Ministry of Defence -- or rather, its department has to send a written
13 request to the unit where the individual in question is serving his
14 service, asking that he be released and reassigned to work obligation.
15 This usually involves some key work positions, engineers of technology,
16 doctors, and so on, who were considered indispensable and without whom a
17 company or an institution could not function.
18 If the person required is not serving in the army and has not
19 received a different assignment, then the department of the ministry
20 issues a different kind of a decision that is issued in three copies. One
21 is issued to the company in question, one to the person in question, and
22 one copy remains in the archives of the Ministry of Defence. These are
23 permanent positions that can be equaled to regular employment, in terms of
24 obligations, business hours, and so on.
25 The other kind or the other form of performing work obligation are
1 occasional or temporary kinds of work, such as harvesting, clean-up of
2 damage caused by shelling during wartime, or work in the military,
3 performing different tasks in the military. In this decree, it says that
4 there can be various tasks that need to be performed in the military.
5 However, these are occasional types of work on the as-needed basis. So
6 only if the need arises.
7 In this case, the remaining residents, citizens able to work that
8 have previously not been assigned are thus assigned to some defence
9 structures: Military police, permanent work obligation. A list of these
10 persons is made up. There is a person known as coordinator or commander
11 of that unit, and he is authorised to call up these individuals and say,
12 for example, "The three of you or the five of you will go today and work
13 at the municipal utility company clearing up the rubble made by -- caused
14 by shelling, and so on, or you will go and work for the army."
15 JUDGE MUMBA: I --
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Now, when a military unit requests a certain
18 number of persons to work within that unit, then who is in charge? Who is
19 responsible for those people performing their work obligation within the
21 A. Commander of that unit is responsible for those persons. The
22 person requesting somebody to perform the work obligation, if that is
23 somebody from the army, then the army is required to provide
24 transportation from the place of residence of these persons with the work
25 obligation to the unit or to the site where they're going to perform their
1 work obligation. The person requesting these persons also has to provide
2 food, accommodation, healthcare - meaning if somebody needs any medical
3 assistance - and safety of persons performing work obligation. And this
4 responsibility is the same as in the case of a soldier.
5 Q. Were there any victims in Samac within these work obligation
6 units? Were any of these persons with work obligation wounded or became
8 A. Unfortunately, some did.
9 Q. Can you give us any idea? Can you give us a number?
10 A. As far as I know, there were two or three cases.
11 Q. Were there any wounded?
12 A. Yes. Perhaps three or four, as far as I know.
13 Q. Do you know whether there are any proceedings underway for
14 compensation and who are parties to those proceedings?
15 A. After the war the wounded or the families of those who had been
16 killed launched -- commenced proceedings in relevant courts in order to
17 enforce their rights stemming from that: Compensation, damage, and so
18 on. And as far as I know, there are several proceedings underway.
19 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE WILLIAMS: I wonder whether, Mr. Ninkovic, you could give us
22 some idea with respect to these two or three cases that you mention, what
23 type of work obligation were they involved in, if you know, the ones who
24 were wounded or killed that you mentioned?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The military unit requesting persons
1 to perform work obligation is not required to state in which kind of jobs
2 these people -- to which kind of jobs these people would be assigned.
3 That decision is made by the commander of the unit, because nobody within
4 the municipal government or within the ministry knows what are the work
5 force requirements within that military unit. That is something that only
6 the commander knows.
7 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Ninkovic. That's not really
8 addressing my question. My question is: You mentioned that you -- as far
9 as you know - this is line 4 on page 20 - you say there were two or three
10 cases of people who were killed or wounded. My question is: What were
11 they doing? Were they picking plums? Were they digging trenches? Were
12 they -- you know, what were they actually doing at the time of the
13 wounding or the death?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know that. I don't know
16 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: So it means you don't even know the names of the
18 victims or those wounded.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The unit in which somebody got
20 killed does not submit a report to anyone but the higher military organ,
21 or rather, the command, the military command of the corps, because this is
22 considered classified information. I learned about this subsequently.
23 And as to the circumstances of somebody's death, I know nothing about
24 that. Only an eyewitness could know this. I am somebody who works in the
25 municipal administration downtown, and therefore I cannot know about
1 something that happened 20 or 30 kilometres away on the front.
2 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Just one follow-up question: You did, however,
3 mention that with respect to these two or three cases that you -- as far
4 as you know about, that civil actions for damages were being brought by
5 the families. So in terms of those civil actions, the claims presumably
6 have to detail when and where and how these persons were killed.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I suppose that it is so, because it
8 is expected that evidence is presented to the court. In that case, the
9 family of that person would have to address itself to the command --
10 military command, because when somebody is killed in the military, a
11 record is usually made, a record of those who were killed and wounded. As
12 to the circumstances of their death, that is described in the record of
13 the unit. So perhaps commander of the platoon or of the company or
14 somebody who was in the vicinity, who was an eyewitness, can create such a
16 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
17 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. You said that you learned of these cases subsequently. Did you
19 perhaps then learn about the names of these people, and when was this
21 A. It is hard to define how much later it was. In that wider area,
22 some 350 soldiers from the local military unit, the 2nd Posavina Brigade,
23 were killed and approximately 80 civilians. There were a lot of units in
24 that area from the 1st Krajina Corps, so there were frequent deaths,
25 almost every day. Sometimes more people got killed on the same day. So
1 it's difficult for me to pinpoint when exactly this was, but it must have
2 been several months later.
3 Q. You said that proceedings were underway. Can you tell us who the
4 defendant is. Who are the families suing?
5 A. Republika Srpska.
6 Q. Do you know any names? Do you know somebody who is currently
7 involved in these proceedings?
8 JUDGE MUMBA: I thought the witness had said that he didn't know.
9 He has been giving lengthy explanations about this, so -- he didn't know.
10 MR. PANTELIC: To jog his memory, Your Honour. You never know.
11 Maybe at the moment.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm trying to remember.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Because in the evidence of the Prosecution, the
14 names were given of the people who were wounded, of the people who were
15 killed during work obligations.
16 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Maybe you can still try and remember. Can you?
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we move on.
19 MR. PANTELIC: Because Your Honour, I believe that he -- well,
20 personally, I forget also -- I forgot also, but I believe that he
21 mentioned one of these -- maybe we shall come to that later.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Isn't that so, Mr. Ninkovic?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Can you remember?
25 A. I will probably remember later on.
1 Q. Can you please look at Article 7. As far as I understand it, a
2 person who is subject to work obligation can fall into one of the several
3 categories. Can you please explain those categories to the Honourable
5 A. I believe that I've already explained that, but I can maybe
6 provide you with some more detail or repeat what I've already said.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: That's what I was about to say. I was thinking that
8 this question has already been answered when the witness was describing
9 the part played by the military and different institutions who wanted
11 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. But the basic question is the following:
12 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, can you please tell me whether
13 essentially this work obligation was war assignment for that particular
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Who was the coordinator of the work obligation unit in 1992?
17 Maybe we could first tackle the period from April until the moment when
18 you became the chief of the department.
19 A. When I was appointed the chief of the department, then at that
20 time the coordinator of the work obligation unit was Dzemal Kapetanovic,
21 also known as Beka. Later on he was replaced by Nermin Hadzialijagic,
22 also known as Nirva [phoen].
23 Q. What was their ethnicity?
24 A. They are Muslims.
25 Q. Mr. Kapetanovic, how did he become the coordinator? Did he have
1 any previous experience? Based on what procedure was he appointed to be
2 the coordinator of that work obligation unit?
3 A. All I know about this gentleman is that he had worked for a number
4 of years in the Secretariat for National Defence in Samac. And then when
5 the Federal law on defence and the army changed, and when the military
6 territorial organs -- or specifically, the department in Brcko were set
7 up, then he was transferred to work there. Then he left that organ
8 sometime in March of 1992, and he was without an assignment in the
9 Secretariat for Defence.
10 Q. And what about the second person, Mr. Hadzialijagic, I believe his
11 name was.
12 A. I don't know what he did before. All I know is that he was a
13 footballer, an amateur footballer, not a professional.
14 Q. Can you please tell me when did he become the coordinator?
15 A. I believe that it was in late August or early September.
16 Q. How long did he stay in that position?
17 A. I believe that it was up to May or April 1993. I don't know for a
19 Q. For example, when a military unit asks for a number of people to
20 work in that unit, what would be the tasks and duties that they would ask
21 these people for?
22 A. You mean in the army?
23 Q. Yes.
24 A. Look --
25 Q. Just give us a general idea.
1 A. These are usually jobs related to logistics, either in a warehouse
2 or in a kitchen, building of fortification facilities, and other tasks and
3 duties which are at the time required.
4 Q. Who would the commander address in order to ask for a certain
5 number of people?
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, the Prosecution case is clear, and
7 there are specific people who gave evidence as to what happened to them
8 during work obligation, which was called forced labour at that time. And
9 I thought that you would be asking for these specific people to get
10 answers from this witness as to what actually happened. If you have any
11 defence at all against those allegations. It doesn't help us to give us
12 just a general picture -- a general system, what would happen, what might
13 have happened. It isn't helping your case at all. This is not a defence.
14 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour --
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Because there are specific cases that the
16 Prosecution referred to in the evidence, specific witnesses with names and
17 times, and those are the answers you would be dealing with in the Defence
18 case, not just a general picture.
19 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely, Your Honour. I will come to that when
20 I will discuss with this witness one list, where the killed and wounded
21 members of this working unit were mentioned. But prior to that, the
22 Defence case is very clear. We have to establish the chain of command and
23 who is, by commander's responsibility, responsible for these people. So
24 that's the line which I have to establish.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: At the material time.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Correct.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Not just generally.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Just but for this particular time, when this --
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, covered by the indictment, yes.
5 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely. That's my intention, of course.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, somewhat related to that
7 matter that Your Honour raised, I wonder if the witness might clarify what
8 fortification facilities are, whether in fact they might be trenches.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
10 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
11 Q. [Interpretation] You've heard the question. You mentioned
12 fortification facilities. What could those be?
13 A. We had a company, the name of which was Usce Bosne, the mouth of
14 the Bosna River. And that company excavated pebbles from the river and
15 they manufactured all sorts of concrete products. And that company also
16 manufactured mobile concrete bunkers. And this was done according to the
17 design of the army engineers. So when a bunker, for all intents and
18 purposes, we can call that a bunker -- when that bunker is constructed and
19 completed, it was transported to the place designated by the army.
20 Q. My question: The period of 1992/1993, this is the relevant period
21 that we are talking about. When a commander of a military unit says, "I
22 need 10 people to work in my unit," my question to you is very specific
23 and direct: Who would that commander approach and how would people be
24 selected to work in the military unit on the request of that commander?
25 A. The commander would address the coordinator or the commander of
1 that work unit. He would then take the list of the work obligation unit
2 and he would choose from that list those persons that he wanted to work in
3 his unit.
4 Q. And during the performance of work in the military unit, who is
5 responsible for those people?
6 A. It is the commander of that military unit. Can I please give you
7 an explanation? In the criminal law, in the chapter relative to the
8 military obligation in the army, there is the responsibility of a
9 commander who fails to protect his men, men who are in the unit at the
10 time. According to the legislator, the commander is held responsible if
11 it is established that he has failed to put in place measures to protect
12 his men who are in the unit. This is a customary thing in our systems.
13 Q. Do you know that somebody from Samac who was in this -- in any of
14 the military units is suing Republika Srpska for compensation?
15 A. Yes.
16 MR. PANTELIC: All right. Could we have now Exhibit D12/2,
18 Q. [Interpretation] Very briefly. A question regarding this
19 decision, which is not long. This is the decision on the functioning and
20 protection of capacities in the conditions of the immediate threat of war
21 in Republika Srpska, and it was issued in May of 1992. Can you please
22 explain the role of the Secretariat for National Defence. Would that fall
23 under the scope of economic activities during the war? If you can.
24 A. The role of the Secretariat is primarily to engage the work
25 force. So the secretariats are in the position to provide work force. Or
1 if somebody doesn't want to respond -- observe their work obligation,
2 there are instruments to take them to court for failure to perform their
3 duties and obligations.
4 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you. The next document that I would like to
5 discuss with this witness is D19/2, please.
6 Q. [Interpretation] Another short question: You already spoke about
7 this decision. Is this the decree pursuant to which the municipal
8 decision on temporary work during harvesting period was passed?
9 A. Yes, this is the government decree from July 1992, based on which
10 the municipality issued its decision on the engagement of people during
11 harvesting period.
12 Q. In Article 5, paragraph 2 it says that compensation should be
13 made. Was that the same thing that was applied in Samac? Just say yes or
15 A. Yes.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have now Exhibit D22 -- D22E and F/2.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I'm sorry, that slipped
18 past me, the last answer.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Mr. Pantelic asked: In Article 5, paragraph 2, it
21 says that compensation should be made. "Was that the same thing that was
22 applied in Samac? Just say yes or no." Answer: "Yes."
23 And paragraph 5 says that -- well, it's not very clearly
24 translated in the English -- that free harvesting shall be organised for
25 families of soldiers of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
1 killed in action.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, that's the --
3 MR. DI FAZIO: It's a different situation from what Mr. Pantelic
4 was discussing with the witness, is it not.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: I thought that was the compensation, the free
6 harvesting of them -- for the families of the soldiers who were killed.
7 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Perhaps I misunderstood. I'm grateful, Your
9 Honour, for clarifying the matter. Thank you.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: It's just for those who were killed. We don't know
11 the names and -- yes. That was the answer.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm sorry I raised the matter. Thank you.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Could you --
14 Q. [Interpretation] Could you please look at the document D22E/2.
15 What can you tell us about this document? First of all, have you ever
16 seen it before?
17 A. Yes. I saw it in the municipal assembly, that is, in the
18 executive council of the municipal assembly. This is the payroll. And
19 the only comment I could provide is on the title. That is the list of
20 members of the work brigade. The brigade here is not the right term. The
21 brigade is too big, and there were not enough people in this unit to call
22 it a brigade, so this is just a clumsy expression in this document.
23 Q. So in this particular case, the compensation was in cash. Do you
24 know anything about that, whether this was really enforced?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. What about the second document?
2 A. This is the assignment to a very specific work obligation, to a
3 very specific position in a company. This is a permanent work obligation
4 for [redacted]
6 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I believe this is under
7 seal, this -- I'm told that these documents are under seal.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The two documents, E and F, Mr. Pantelic.
9 MR. PANTELIC: Could we go into private session for a moment.
10 Just for a moment.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: We are still discussing them, yes. Let's go into
12 private session.
13 [Private session]
13 [Open session]
14 MR. PANTELIC: Please, D23/2.
15 Q. [Interpretation] All right. If somebody had work obligation at
16 the municipality and if he were to be injured or killed, who would be
18 A. The municipal executive council. I was responsible for my staff
19 who worked with me.
20 Q. Take a look at this document. Have you seen it before?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. That's a payroll too. Do you know anything about it? Were people
23 paid in that period? I see that it ends with the month of August.
24 A. This is a payroll of the technical staff that was in charge of the
25 work obligation unit. The names, the number of days engaged --
1 Q. We can see that, but do you have any personal knowledge as to
2 whether people were actually paid these amounts?
3 A. Yes, yes.
4 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher.
5 Now we --
6 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic.
7 MR. PANTELIC: Just, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Just so clarify, your question on line 10 of page
9 32, the translation says, "If somebody had work obligation at the
10 municipality, and if he were to be injured or killed, who would be
11 liable?" I presume you mean in the municipality of Bosanski Samac, in the
12 whole of the municipality.
13 And also, are you talking as well about a person who is doing work
14 obligation not for the military sector?
15 MR. PANTELIC: In fact, Your Honour, my question was related to
16 the employee or the person within the administrative organs of
17 municipality, which is a staff of -- administrative staff, you know. It
18 was not related to the whole territory and then without any -- any
19 relations, whether he was engaging in military or in --
20 JUDGE WILLIAMS: So the words "at the municipality," you meant, as
21 you say, a civil servant-type position?
22 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Yes.
23 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay.
24 MR. PANTELIC: But in order to clarify the transcript, I will
25 repeat that question, to be absolutely sure.
1 Q. [Interpretation] So it seems that we have understood each other,
2 but the interpretation sounds different. Let me explain it now. If a
3 civil servant in the municipal administration would, during the course of
4 his work, get injured or killed due to the type of work carried out within
5 the municipal administration, in that sense who would be liable from a
6 material point of view or before a court of law?
7 A. The executive council, or rather, the government of the
9 Q. Very well. Thank you.
10 JUDGE WILLIAMS: And just one other question on that note,
11 Mr. Ninkovic. Who would be responsible for, let us say, persons who were
12 selected outside the old-age pensioners' building in Bosanski Samac and,
13 for example, were given the work obligation to fill sandbags and put them
14 around the first floor -- or the ground floor of the municipal building?
15 If somebody was injured in doing that type of work obligation, who would
16 be responsible for the compensation?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I understood you correctly, this
18 was work performed within civil protection, right?
19 JUDGE WILLIAMS: I would presume so, yes.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In such a situation it would be the
21 municipality, because the civilian protection is at a lower level.
22 However, the commander of the work unit is the person that is directly
23 responsible at the moment when that particular work was chosen. So you
24 cannot give someone this kind of work assignment if shells are falling.
25 There has to be the right kind of assessment, that this kind of work can
1 be carried out when it is safe.
2 Although, in a war situation, nothing is ever safe. It is always
3 possible for a shell to fall. I can tell you that many times I avoided
4 death while I was driving my car in town or walking on foot. The wall of
5 the building behind my back in my office was bullet riddled. If it were a
6 stronger shell, perhaps it would have penetrated the wall and I wouldn't
7 be sitting here now.
8 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Well, now we've gone into a subject matter like two lawyers, five
10 opinions. Civilian protection, if it is part of the system of total
11 national defence, is there a responsibility of the state as such involved?
12 A. Yes, it exists.
13 Q. All right. Let's leave that for a subsequent interpretation.
14 MR. PANTELIC: D11/3.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Very briefly, Mr. Ninkovic. My question is the
16 following: Could a political party in 1991 in Bosnia-Herzegovina have
17 been active in recruiting police officers, according to the laws that were
18 then in force?
19 A. No.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you. Could we have now Exhibit D33/3,
22 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I wonder if Mr. Pantelic
23 could assist us or perhaps the witness as to where in the document we --
24 that there is talk of recruiting of police officers. I see a request for
25 the Party of Democratic Action in Sarajevo sending to the executive boards
1 a list of candidates. I don't see anything about recruiting.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: And I'm wondering, because I don't think the answer
3 was specific to that document of the witness.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: No. We're left with the impression that this is a
5 recruitment document. And all I can see is it's the SDA trying to fill
6 candidates or put it candidates for entry into the police force. Now,
7 it's a different thing from -- one is left with the impression that they
8 are actively engaged in finding police officers for the --
9 JUDGE MUMBA: The police force.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: For the police force, rather than offering officers
11 for the police force, which is a different thing altogether.
12 MR. PANTELIC: I will clarify that gladly, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
14 MR. PANTELIC: Very gladly.
15 Mr. Usher, thank you.
16 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, I thought that I could speed things
17 up, but the Prosecutor would like to have a bit more detail, so now let us
18 be of assistance.
19 First of all, tell me, according to the laws of Bosnia-Herzegovina
20 in 1991, who was in charge and how did the principle of recruitment for
21 members of the police force evolve, if you know of course?
22 A. I know absolutely. Because we cooperated with the MUP in this
23 area, and these are similar institutions. You see, the MUP of Republika
24 Srpska --
25 Q. We are talking about 1991, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 A. Yes, yes. The MUP of Republika Srpska.
2 Q. We are talking about Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1991. And please speak
4 A. Well, the MUP of Bosnia-Herzegovina has an announcement of
5 vacancies at the secondary police school and at the police academy. This
6 is published in the media, radio, television, et cetera. It is put on
7 bulletin boards. It is advertised. So this opening is valid for a while,
8 and then candidates are tested; that is to say, they have to meet certain
9 health requirements and also their academic record is looked at. So this
10 is a procedure that has nothing to do with political parties.
11 Q. So how do you explain this document, this last word down here,
12 greetings -- I don't know, what is this down here?
13 JUDGE MUMBA: You're referring to which document?
14 MR. PANTELIC: To D11/3, Your Honour.
15 A. Well, you know what? I know the Serbian language, but this is
16 something like an Arabic --
17 Q. Oh, Arabic. In these public announcements and advertisements, did
18 it say that in 1991 in Bosnia-Herzegovina political parties could recruit
19 their own people?
20 A. Heaven forbid.
21 Q. So what do you infer on the basis of such a document?
22 A. This is the most flagrant possible way of interference of
23 political parties in state matters.
24 Q. What do you know about the Green Berets and the Patriotic League?
25 A. These are extremist groups of armed persons consisting of Muslims
1 under the leadership of the SDA, the Party of Democratic Action.
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Ninkovic.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have Exhibit D33/3, please.
4 Q. [Interpretation] This is a technical document. We don't really
5 need to dwell on it much longer. My question is very brief, so could your
6 answer please be brief too. Tell me, engineer Jovo Krstic is mentioned
7 here, who was in the military and now the Secretary for the Economy is
8 asking for his services. Tell me, were there such requests that were put
9 forth for persons who had work obligation and who belonged to all three
10 ethnic communities? Of course, if they had a special profession.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Of course, this is Samac 1992/1993. Thank you.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have now, please, Exhibit D34/3.
14 Q. [Interpretation] Tell me, Mr. Ninkovic, what is this document?
15 Very briefly.
16 A. This is a call-up document, very ordinary type, calling a military
17 conscript to deal with some defence matters.
18 Q. All right. On page 2 of this letter, I see that the JNA is
19 referred to. Could you explain, since this is a stamp of the Ministry of
20 Defence of Republika Srpska in Cyrillic and the form is in the Latin
21 alphabet, what is the reason for which the JNA is mentioned?
22 A. Well, there was this form for call-up papers, and you can see that
23 it has a number up here, 7, where the stamp is. So these are the call-up
24 papers that were used.
25 Q. I am trying to ask you whether you had printed forms from the
1 Ministry of Defence of Republika Srpska at that time in the Cyrillic
2 alphabet or was there some other reason why this was used?
3 A. We did not have any printed call-up papers of Republika Srpska at
4 that stage, so we used the forms that we had already.
5 Q. Do you know perhaps whether members of the Secretariats of
6 National Defence in the other entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina also used these
8 A. Yes.
9 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Could we have, please, Exhibit D --
10 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please --
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Perhaps the witness or Mr. Pantelic could find out
13 on what basis the witness can say whether other secretariats also used
14 these forms.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
16 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Would you please explain that. Could you please explain that,
18 Mr. Ninkovic. How come you know that such call-up papers were used by the
19 other entity too? And if so, in which period?
20 A. You know, these are prescribed forms, you see. This is a form
21 that is prescribed and the only possible form for such cases. I found out
22 from my colleagues who worked in the Federation of BH on these matter that
23 is they also used these call-up papers.
24 Q. My question is very clear and brief. And they worked in
25 Federation of backwards. Up here it says the Socialist Republic of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina. So let it be a municipality in the federation. I am
2 simply interested in a very simple matter. In which period if these
3 call-up papers were used, in which period did this occur? Do you know
4 about that?
5 A. This was primarily at the beginning, at the beginning of the war,
7 Q. Do you know the reason why it was so at the beginning?
8 A. Well, there weren't any other call-up papers.
9 MR. PANTELIC: Does that, my dear friend, satisfy your inquiry?
10 MR. DI FAZIO: Very satisfied, thank you.
11 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have Exhibit -- thank you, Mr. Usher --
12 D57/3, please.
13 Q. [Interpretation] Same again, Mr. Ninkovic, very briefly. The copy
14 is poor, but this is a decision dated May 22, 1992. This document makes a
15 reference to the document of Bosnia and Herzegovina on general
16 mobilisation. My question is very brief: The department in Samac, did it
17 also have to enforce this decision of the Serbian Republic of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, number 40385/2?
19 A. The 22nd of May, 1992 - that's the date here - the
20 then-Secretariat for National Defence had to enforce this decision.
21 Q. And within this document, there is a reference to an organ that is
22 between the municipal and the one at the republic level. They are
23 mentioning it as the district or region organ. Where was it?
24 A. It was in Bijeljina. And later on it became a department of its
1 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you. Mr. Usher, thank you.
2 I have a couple more documents which was previously -- yes. Could
3 we have Exhibit D4/4, please.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Do you know -- do you know the person that is
5 signed here to the right as having received this -- this thing here?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Where is this person from?
8 A. From Samac.
9 Q. And what was this person engaged in? What was this person's
11 A. I believe that he was a worker in one of the factories in Samac.
12 Q. Do you know, why would he in January of 1992 sign for having
13 received 20 kilogrammes of explosive and 12 metres of detonating fuse?
14 A. I don't know that.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher.
16 Could we have now Exhibit D5/4, please.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Do you know a person signed here in the lower
18 right corner as having allegedly received this?
19 A. Yes. I know Mr. Izetbegovic. I had contacts with him. I know
20 him personally.
21 Q. Can you explain to us what these abbreviations O4 and M160 mean.
22 A. These are abbreviations for automatic rifles set, and M160 are
23 bullets -- or number of bullets.
24 Q. And "O," what does "O" stand for?
25 A. It stands for clip. A clip has 30 bullets.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, is it time for the adjournment today?
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We will wind up at this time and we will
3 continue on Monday.
4 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
5 at 4.15 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
6 the 9th day of December, 2002, at 9.00 a.m.