1 Wednesday, 8 January 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Happy New Year to everybody. Please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon. Case number IT-95-9-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and Simo Zaric.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you very much, Mr. Ninkovic, for coming back.
10 We will now continue and hopefully complete your testimony before the end
11 of tomorrow. Cross-examination by the Prosecution continues.
12 WITNESS: BOZO NINKOVIC [Resumed]
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
15 Cross-examined by Mr. Di Fazio: [Continued]
16 Q. Well come back, Mr. Ninkovic. There are a couple of topics that I
17 want to return to, topics that I questioned you about last year in
18 December. One of them was the issue of the Crisis Staff doing something
19 about Lugar's actions at Crkvina, namely the killing of 15 or 16 people.
20 I asked you if Lugar -- I asked you about sending of letters, doing
21 something, doing anything at all, and you said that nothing could be done
22 because -- particularly by Dr. Blagoje Simic because that would have
23 placed his life in jeopardy. Do you recall saying that?
24 A. More or less, like that, but I can repeat what I said. Lugar was
25 a member of the army. He was authorised to process that crime that
1 happened [as interpreted]. The military bodies were there, the military
2 police, the investigative organs of the army, the military prosecutor were
3 there. See, if this man had killed 15 people, another victim more would
4 mean nothing to him. It is certain that that man would carry out an act
5 of reprisal against Blagoje Simic had he informed higher authorities.
6 Q. Thank you. That's how I understood your evidence. There was one
7 aspect --
8 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Di Fazio. If I could just ask for
9 a clarification page 1, line 25 and page 2, line number 1. Mr. Ninkovic,
10 the translation says Lugar was a member of the army, full stop. He was
11 authorised to process that crime that happened. I just don't understand
12 what he was authorised to process that crime that happened means and I
13 don't know who the he was. If you could clarify, please?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't say that. I said the army
15 was authorised to process that, the bodies of the army, the military
16 police, the military prosecution, because he was a member of the army. He
17 was a criminal and he didn't have any such authorities, particularly after
18 this event.
19 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you very much.
20 MR. DI FAZIO:
21 Q. It was however a singular lack of action on the part of the army
22 in doing anything, wasn't there?
23 A. No. When the 1st Krajina Corps came to that region with their
24 large military formations which in a way placed the area of Samac under
25 their area of responsibility in the military sense, then the processing
1 process began and that was when the military prosecution in Banja Luka
2 initiated proceedings against Lugar, Crni and perhaps some others, I don't
4 Q. Yes, but that had nothing to do with the massacre at Crkvina, that
5 had everything to do with their role in the closure of the Posavina
6 corridor. That was the situation, wasn't it?
7 A. I cannot tell you precisely the contents of the indictment -- the
8 indictment. Because I didn't see it, but what I know is that he was
9 accused of several crimes.
10 Q. Yes. Are you saying that he was accused of the crime at Crkvina,
11 amongst other crimes, namely the murder of 15 or 16 civilians?
12 A. As far as I know, the investigation was conducted in that sense,
14 Q. I see. Well, we'll return to that in just a moment but let me
15 direct your attention to another feature of the evidence from last month.
16 I asked you this question and you gave this answer.
17 Question: Are you saying that something like D62/1 could never
18 have been sent because if Lugar and his associates had discovered such a
19 complaint, Dr. Blagoje Simic's life would have been in danger?
20 Answer: I wish to say precisely that. Namely, if they -- they
21 were to find out that Dr. Blagoje Simic had complained to someone who was
22 more powerful and above him, then his life would have been in danger.
23 Do you remember me asking you that question and you giving that
25 A. I do remember but I think that there is a small misunderstanding
1 here. The investigation was conducted by the 1st Krajina Corps and not by
2 the Crisis Staff.
3 Q. Yes. I'm asking you a very simple issue. If Dr. Blagoje Simic
4 had complained to someone about the Crkvina massacre, your position is
5 that Lugar and his associates would have placed his life in danger?
6 A. Yes, in principle, yes.
7 Q. Thank you. Do I take it from that answer, then, that there was a
8 perception at least on your part, that Lugar acted in company with a
9 number of other men when he was carrying out activities such as the
10 Crkvina massacre, a number of other paramilitaries? That there was a gang
11 of them, so to speak?
12 A. I believe that this was an isolated act, that's what I believe
13 about this event. It was an isolated act by Lugar and I believe that it
14 has nothing to do with others but in that group of volunteers, there were
15 certainly people who did have a predilection towards crime but I think
16 that that particular crime, which was very cruel, and I wish to express my
17 sympathy to the families of the victims, I believe that it was an isolated
19 Q. You said quite clearly last year that if Dr. Blagoje Simic had
20 done anything about the event at Crkvina, his life would have been in
21 danger. Do you mean by that that you know of something that he did to
22 consider -- do you know -- let me rephrase that. Do you mean by that that
23 you know that he thought about the issue, talked about the issue,
24 discussed the issue, considered alternatives?
25 A. It is possible that Dr. Blagoje Simic thought about this. I know
1 that he was afraid of Lugar, not only Lugar but of some other people from
2 that group, and based on my knowledge that he was afraid of them,
3 especially of Lugar, I said that Blagoje Simic's life would be in danger
4 had he informed higher authorities, because Lugar had killed 15 people and
5 one more victim would have meant nothing to him.
6 Q. Did you ever actually hear or see or have reported to you anything
7 that Dr. Blagoje Simic had said about taking some action in respect of the
8 massacre at Crkvina?
9 A. I heard stories about that event only later, when the 1st Krajina
10 Corps arrived in the area. This was discussed more openly only then.
11 Q. In fact, your position last year in December when you gave
12 evidence about this, was that all that you ever heard were really rumours
13 and you didn't even find out about it until much later. That's correct,
14 isn't it?
15 A. That is not quite correct. I said that I didn't find out about
16 the event immediately after it happened, but I found out about it once the
17 units of the 1st Krajina Corps arrived, and this was at the end of June,
18 1992. That's what I said.
19 Q. Just let me remind you of what you said. I'll read the passage to
20 you. This was in answer to questions from Mr. Pantelic. He asked you
21 about the incident?
22 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise, could we have a page?
23 MR. DI FAZIO: 13531.
24 Q. Answer: No, I don't know anything about this, there was no
25 official report or information about that.
1 Question: All right. Was this talked about among the population?
2 Answer: A bit later there was some talk but all of it was
3 hearsay. There was a war going on. There is a lot of misinformation
4 going on during a war, so the story about this crime was something that
5 could -- that I could neither believe nor disbelieve.
6 Question: Can you tell me when in which period, you heard these
8 Answer: This is considerably later.
9 You gave the impression there didn't you that all you ever knew
10 about Crkvina was some rumour and that that was not until much later.
11 That's correct, isn't it?
12 A. I told you that I received more relevant information only upon the
13 arrival of the 1st Krajina Corps, and this fits in with what I said in
14 response to a question by Mr. Pantelic, but it's true that there were
15 no -- there was no official information. I didn't see it. I didn't hear
16 anything about it. There were rumours but rumours were rampant about
17 different topics, and I will repeat in war it's difficult to know what is
18 true and what is not.
19 Q. Would you agree that taking some action in respect of this
20 incident was a matter that would have been of the utmost concern to the
21 Crisis Staff? And I say that notwithstanding your assertion that
22 jurisdiction over the crime rested with the military. Regardless of that,
23 it was still a matter that the Crisis Staff would have given the utmost
24 importance to and would have been seriously concerned or should have been
25 seriously concerned about following up?
1 A. If you look at it from the aspect that this crime happened in the
2 territory of the municipality of Samac where the Crisis Staff had certain
3 authority, absolutely, in that sense, the Crisis Staff should have
4 reviewed that question, looked at it, and initiated some activities but I
5 repeat, if they had the relevant information, a report, facts, then it
6 could have relevantly discussed that, and offer up some kind of
7 initiative, but this was actually something that was in the jurisdiction
8 of the military organs so it was in the military domain to arrest such a
9 man, to conduct the investigative proceedings, to issue an indictment
10 for the murders. These things should have been carried out by the
11 military bodies and they should have informed the Crisis Staff about this
13 Q. Are you aware of the police, Todorovic, Savo Cancarevic having any
14 knowledge about the events at Crkvina?
15 A. They had to have known that.
16 Q. And there was nothing then to prevent them telling the Crisis
17 Staff of what had taken place?
18 A. In principle, the police first of all should have prevented this
19 from happening, this Lugar should not have been allowed to enter the
20 detention area with weapons, and because he attempted to do that, the
21 police should have prevented him from doing so. So that was the first
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness be shown Exhibit P127, the 13
24 signatories document. I assume we have the B/C/S version for the
25 witness. Thank you.
1 Q. This document your familiar with, having already seen it earlier
2 in your testimony. Just for the sake of speed, you'll see that the
3 document is divided up into paragraphs and the text refers to the number
4 of the paragraphs. On page 2 of the English version, so it may be
5 somewhere around there in the B/C/S, and in the fifth paragraph there is a
6 reference to this episode. I just want to read a passage to you so can
7 you please find the fifth -- the fifth paragraph? Have you found it?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. The passage that I want to read to you is very short. "The crime
10 committed by Lugar in Crkvina was reported on by Yugoslav and
11 international press and attributed to Serbian soldiers from our
12 municipality creating a difficult collective legacy that will have to be
13 cleared up only after the war." Do you see that passage?
14 A. Not yet. I have the passage, "The Special Forces who came to
15 train." I found that passage.
16 Q. Yes. It's the fifth paragraph. Do you have that? Definitely the
17 fifth paragraph. No number. The text itself says "fifth" and it's on --
18 I can't tell you where on the B/C/S it is, but in the English it's page 2.
19 A. Yes. I found it. It's on page 2 at the bottom of the page, about
20 the specials.
21 Q. That's right. And about halfway through the paragraph, it talks
22 about -- starts to talk about massive arrests and isolation of Croats and
23 Muslims and then that passage that I read to you appears. Do you now have
25 A. Yes. I've found it. It's on page 3.
1 Q. Okay. Would you agree with the assessment of the authors of this
2 document that the crime committed in Crkvina was reported on in the
3 Yugoslav and international press?
4 A. This information, as far as I know, was compiled on the 1st of
5 December, 1992, so at the end of the year. So this is about six or seven
6 months after the crime. I don't know whether the Yugoslav or the
7 international press wrote about it, because I didn't have access to such
8 information at that time. It's possible that they did. But they probably
9 wrote about that later, perhaps in the autumn or something like that, but
10 I'm certain that they did not report about it after the event itself.
11 Q. You worked with the press, didn't you?
12 A. Yes, in the period, as I said, until I was appointed to my post in
13 the Defence Ministry.
14 Q. All right. So that was during 1992, wasn't it?
15 A. Yes, from the beginning of the war until, let's say the beginning
16 of July, I was performing duties regarding media and information.
17 Q. Right. Okay. Now that would have placed you in a very good
18 position to keep abreast of reporting of events in which you yourself were
19 caught up, sorry to interrupt, particularly in the Yugoslavian press at
20 least, if not the international press?
21 A. [In English] Okay. [Interpretation] As I said, in that period
22 immediately after the event, there was no official report. My superior,
23 who was in charge of the media and information sphere was not able to make
24 or compile a relevant information for the media. I assume that in this
25 period that you're talking about, reports were being written about this
1 event only later, after Lugar, Crni and other volunteers had left this
2 area. After processing in Banja Luka, then some information was released
3 to the public regarding these volunteers.
4 Q. This document is dated December, 1992 and it seems to contemplate
5 reporting having taken place in the international and Yugoslav press so
6 presumably there was some reporting at the very least before December of
7 1992, if this document is correct?
8 A. I cannot judge or talk about this act, and I cannot tell what the
9 author of this article -- document meant, so the person who wrote the
10 document should be asked about it. If we look at the document, it was
11 written by the body for morale in the command of the 2nd Posavina
12 Brigade. I told you that as far as this information is concerned, this
13 information is not quite proper, because it deals with civilian issues,
14 which are not in the domain of military authorities. Looking at the
15 information as a whole.
16 Q. Thank you. I'm not interested in demarcation of what is proper
17 sphere of activity of the civilian or military authorities. What I'm
18 interested in is a very simple issue. This event at Crkvina was, I put to
19 you and I suggest to you, a matter that was known almost immediately
20 throughout the municipality of Bosanski Samac, was known to just about
21 everyone in the municipality and I suggest it must have been known to you
22 as well, and it was met with complete inactivity on the part of the
23 civilian authorities. They did absolutely nothing following -- they did
24 nothing to arrest Lugar, they did nothing to cajole or encourage others to
25 arrest Lugar, they took absolutely no steps at all, and I suggest to you
1 that that is the truth of the case and you know it. Do you agree with
3 A. I don't agree with you that everybody knew. How do you mean
4 everybody knew? How can tens of thousands of people know what happened in
5 Crkvina one night? How can they know that? That claim of yours cannot
6 stand. It's quite understandable that we cannot accept something like
7 that. Only the authorised bodies could know about it and they are the
8 ones who are responsible for that.
9 Q. [Microphone not activated]
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
11 MR. DI FAZIO:
12 Q. Very well. I suggest to you that knowledge of the event was
13 widespread in Bosanski Samac and the municipality of Bosanski Samac.
14 A. Later, yes, but not right away.
15 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Di Fazio, I wonder again just for
16 clarification, sake, on page 9, lines 23 and 24, Mr. Ninkovic mentions
17 "after processing in Banja Luka, then some information was released to
18 the public regarding these volunteers." I would be interested to know
19 what after processing in Banja Luka means.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, and if I may respectfully add another
21 aspect to Your Honour's question, perhaps the witness could also ask what
22 that information was that was released after the Banja Luka trial. Sorry,
23 do you understand the question that Her Honour raised and the question
24 that I added on to it, tacked on to it?
25 A. I said that after Lugar and Crni were processed, I think that
1 somebody else was on that list too, after that, some information appeared
2 in public, and they were more freely exchanged among the population, among
3 citizens, et cetera. I have not read any official report of the
4 prosecutor with regard to that.
5 Q. What information can you recall being released after the Banja
6 Luka trial?
7 A. Information of the following type: That these volunteers went
8 beyond the framework of the law, that they acted arbitrarily, apart from
9 military hierarchy and the military does not suffer arbitrariness
10 gladly. So only assignments given through a hierarchy are to be carried
11 out and that in this way the system of command and control had been
12 infringed upon due to the arbitrary behaviour of the persons that we are
13 discussing now.
14 Q. You were from the area and had lived in the area of Bosanski Samac
15 all your life, basically. That's right, isn't it?
16 A. I was born in Samac but I lived in the area of the municipality of
17 Odzak, but from 1987 until the present day, I have been living in Samac,
18 rather working in Samac.
19 Q. Miroslav Tadic, he was a man who also had strong roots and had
20 lived basically all his life in Bosanski Samac, that's correct, isn't it?
21 A. He was born in Novi Grad. I don't know when he moved to Samac but
22 I know that he has been in Samac for quite sometime.
23 Q. Okay. Now, Mr. Tadic was interviewed by officers of the Office of
24 the Prosecutor in March of 1998 and he was asked about the state of
25 knowledge in the community of the Crkvina massacre and he had this to say
1 and I'll just quote to you what he said. He was talking about Crkvina,
2 okay? Question by the then investigator: I know that this killing was
3 widely known by people in the area --
4 MR. LAZAREVIC: I apologise to my colleague, if he we can have a
6 MR. DI FAZIO: Certainly, I'm referring to the old interviews,
7 it's Exhibit P139, page 7 of that interview. P139, page 7.
8 Q. Question: I know that this killing was widely known by people in
9 the area and I assume that this was brought to your attention.
10 Answer by Mr. Tadic: Yes, it could not have been avoided not to
11 hear about it. Even housewives who had spent the war in cellars heard
12 about it. That was something unimaginable at that time that somebody
13 would commit such a crime for no apparent reason. And that obviously
14 placed a terrible shadow over all the relationships in Samac.
15 Now, he is essentially saying there that this was -- what had
16 happened in Crkvina was a matter of notoriety. Do you have any idea why
17 it is that he asserts that it was a matter of some notoriety and yet you
18 heard nothing but rumours and only then not until much later after the
20 A. The statement of Mr. Tadic that even housewives knew about this
21 is inconsistent at any rate but it's also a bit strange. I assert that in
22 that part, his statement is inconsistent. I will agree, though, with the
23 part of the statement in which he says that this is undoubtedly a crime.
24 Q. Just to finish up on this topic, the Banja Luka trial that we've
25 raised from time to time in the course of your evidence took place only
1 after Lugar and others had been arrested by the military. That's the
2 logical sequence, isn't it, arrest first and then at some later point the
4 A. These are regular proceedings that are instituted any way. Are
5 you talking about this in principle or are you referring to this specific
7 Q. I'm referring to the specific event but let me -- I don't want to
8 get bogged down in unnecessary detail. Let me get straight to the point.
9 When Lugar came to be arrested the military had no problems in arresting
10 him and dealing with him, locking him up and dealing with him, that's the
11 case, isn't it? It wasn't the case that they were terrified of acting
12 against him or moving against him, is it?
13 A. I keep repeating the same thing to you. It is only when a big
14 mighty military formation came in, and I will remind you that the 1st
15 Krajina Corps had half of the Army of Republika Srpska in its ranks and
16 General Talic was the second person in command in the Army of Republika
17 Srpska. It is only then that this could have been carried out.
18 Q. So that's what you're telling the Chamber, is it? Nothing could
19 work against Lugar, no one could take any action, it wasn't until you had
20 the massed force of, as you say, half the Army of the Republika Srpska
21 with General Talic in command that finally something could be done about
22 Lugar? That's your position? That's what you're telling these Judges?
23 Is that right?
24 A. I am telling you that the Crisis Staff could not have done all of
25 that. That is to say prosecute the persons involved, arrest them, et
1 cetera. The command of the second Posavina Brigade could though,
2 but now why they didn't do it, that is the question.
3 Q. Okay. Let's move to another topic now. One of the other topics
4 that was raised last December was the issue of the executive board that
5 didn't function in the first part of 1992. Do you recall that I asked you
6 questions about that? And that you said that the executive board only
7 started to function in June of 1992? I'm talking about the executive
8 board of the -- of the Crisis Staff. Do you recall that evidence?
9 A. Yes. You asked me about who was on the executive board and you
10 asked me about executive -- about the Official Gazette, where my name is
11 mentioned. I told you that this executive board did not function, it did
12 not meet, and sometime in June, an executive council started functioning
13 presided by Milan Simic, the vice-president was Mirko Lukic and sometime
14 in the autumn more people were included in this council. That is to say
15 Veselin Blagojevic, I think, and Milos Pavlovic, the first one being in
16 charge of housing and the other one in charge of social services.
17 Q. Fine. It's your assertion that it didn't start to function until
18 June of 1992 that I'm interested in.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness please be shown Exhibit P124?
20 Q. All right, Mr. Ninkovic, the way these gazettes are laid out is
21 somewhat confusing but I'll do my best to direct you to the portions that
22 I'm interested in in the B/C/S version. And if Your Honours please, page
23 12 of the English version. Firstly, this - you agree, I think - is the
24 Official Gazette? It's for year 1, edition number 1, put out in June of
25 1994, do you agree?
1 A. Yes, that's it.
2 Q. Right. Now, at page 12 of the English, and as part of what I
3 think is paragraph 3 of the gazette, it deals with a decision on the
4 election of members of the executive council. Can you see if you can find
5 that in the B/C/S version?
6 A. On page 12 in the document that I have are the contents of this
7 Official Gazette. I can't find this. If you're talking about page 12 I
8 have the contents there.
9 Q. No, no. I was only --
10 A. Please tell me what the actual name of the decision involved is.
11 Q. Yes. It's decision on the election of members of the executive
12 council, and it lists a whole -- it's got a whole list of names, your name
13 included as deputy secretary of the municipal secretariat of national
14 defence. It's got Todorovic's name there. Do you see all of that?
15 A. I found it. It's on page 7 in the B/C/S version.
16 Q. Okay. All right. Now, it says that there was a session on the
17 28th of March, 1992, and the municipal assembly decided to elect these
18 people on to the executive council and that's where your name appears. Do
19 you see that?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Now, your position is that this was a non-functioning executive
22 council, it didn't work?
23 A. Yes, yes.
24 Q. Article 1 deals with members of the council. Go to Article 2,
25 please. You see that it says that "The President of the executive
1 council, together with various other people, is charged, is given the job
2 of, carrying out preparations for the transition to work under wartime
3 conditions." Do you see that?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. That's a very important task, is it not, that the executive
6 council was given?
7 A. I will now go back to this Official Gazette a bit. It was
8 published on the 3rd of June, 1994. I don't know exactly how this
9 Official Gazette was printed. I'm expressing a certain doubt, suspicion
10 that is, that some decisions were entered subsequently into this gazette
11 but that's not that important. I want to say that this executive council
12 did not operate. I was never invited to attend any meetings of this
13 executive council. As a matter of fact, no one even talked to me about
14 the actual composition of this executive council. Then also, this is a
15 very short period, from the end of March until the beginning of the war.
16 In order to reorganise the authorities and so on.
17 Q. I understand that but my question is really very, very simple.
18 Article 2 simply says that the executive committee has got to carry out
19 preparations for the transition to work under wartime conditions. Now
20 that's a really serious task, isn't it? A serious task for the -- and
21 solemn and weighty task for the executive council, isn't it? Just answer
22 "yes" or "no". It's a fairly simple question. I'm not asking for a
23 history of the document. All I'm asking is that that's a serious topic, a
24 serious matter that the executive council had to deal with.
25 A. I want to say to you that whoever wrote this decision did not know
1 that a war would break out. I don't know how this kind of an article
2 could have been written any way.
3 Q. [Microphone not activated]
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Di Fazio, please.
5 Mr. Di Fazio:
6 Q. The fellow who signed the -- that or rather appends, attaches his
7 name to this particular portion, Dusan Tanasac? Is there any reason to
8 think that the chairman of the municipal assembly got this wrong, that he
9 wrote down things in this Official Gazette that are incorrect?
10 A. Dusan Tanasac as far as I know did not take part in the
11 elaboration of this Official Gazette. As far as I know this was done by
12 Mitar Mitrovic, secretary of the municipal assembly. I don't know which
13 archives he drew upon and what sources he used for writing this document,
14 so Mitar Mitrovic is the one who should really answer that question.
15 Q. Yes, yes. So let's be clear about this. Is your position that
16 this document is not the Official Gazette of the municipality of Samac?
17 Is that what you're saying to the Chamber? Feel free to say it if you
18 wish but is that your position?
19 A. No, no, no. That's not what I'm saying. I'm talking about the
20 technology of writing this. I'm talking about the shortcomings. I'm
21 putting the following question. On the basis of which information, which
22 data, was this Official Gazette compiled, since it was published in June,
23 1994, that is to say two years after the event that we are discussing
24 right now. The author of this gazette, did he have all the relevant
25 information for compiling it? I doubt it. I'm not challenging the fact
1 that this is the Official Gazette. That is not something that I'm
2 challenging before this Trial Chamber.
3 Q. But you're saying that it's inaccurate. Is that your position?
4 A. I didn't say it was inaccurate. I have been saying the
5 following. I have put a question. Did the author have enough information
6 to compile this Official Gazette two years later? Because from a legal
7 point of view, there are certain shortcomings, and you also said that this
8 Official Gazette was a bit strange.
9 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me. Mr. Ninkovic just for the sake of
10 clarity, you mention that as far as you knew the gazette was done, to use
11 the words of the transcript by Mitar Mitrovic, secretary of the municipal
12 assembly. I presume that this is the same Mitar Mitrovic who signed
13 Exhibit D55/1, which is the list of the Crisis Staff of the municipality
14 of Bosanski Samac on which your name appears as a member of the Crisis
15 Staff. It is the same person?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
17 MR. DI FAZIO:
18 Q. Can I ask you to go to what I believe is paragraph 6 of the
19 gazette, headed, "Decision to confirm (verify) the decisions and other
20 legislation of the war president [sic] of the Samac municipal assembly"
21 and there follows a list of various decisions that were confirmed. Can
22 you find that? It follows a few pages later.
23 A. Yes, yes. That is precisely the page I'm looking at.
24 MR. PANTELIC: Just intervention to the transcript. It's page 19,
25 line 15, said war president, which is not in consistency with what my
1 learned friend just has said, I think. He mentioned War Presidency, not
2 war president.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well. It will be corrected.
4 MR. DI FAZIO:
5 Q. Have you found that article, that decision, article?
6 A. I found the page where all the decisions are. Could you please
7 repeat the decision that you're looking at?
8 Q. I just want you to find the portion of the gazette. Now, what --
9 A. All right. I've found it.
10 Q. Good. And it says that essentially it says this, between the 17th
11 of April, 1992 and January, 1993, various decisions were confirmed and
12 they list them out there, going all the way to 38 of them. Go to number
13 ten. "Decision on the executive council and administrative bodies." Do
14 you see that?
15 A. Yes, yes.
16 Q. What does that mean?
17 A. I wish to repeat before this Trial Chamber that I'm not
18 challenging the Official Gazette as a public gazette issued by the local
19 authorities. I'm talking about the technology according to which this
20 Official Gazette was compiled. The municipal assembly on that date -- I
21 mean it verified the decisions of the Crisis Staff, and I'm not
22 challenging that either. But now, when I look at item 10, I'm not
23 challenging that that was verified too, but I am expressing my doubts as
24 regards the following: Whether what was actually happening was translated
25 into these decisions in the right way, whether the text accurately
1 reflects what was actually happening. So I think that from a legal and
2 professional point of view, I think that there were certain shortcomings.
3 Q. All right. Okay. Well, let's perhaps approach it from another --
4 another angle to see if this executive board is actually functioning or
5 not. If Your Honours please, page 20 of the English. I'd like you,
6 please, to go to again I believe it's paragraph 12 of the gazette. It
7 deals with notice of appointment of senior official in the administration,
8 signed Mirko Jovanovic, president of the executive council. It's towards
9 the end of the document. Can you find that, please?
10 A. Just a moment, please.
11 Q. Certainly.
12 A. I have a few decisions here. On the election of the Presidency of
13 the municipal assembly, the vice-president, the commission.
14 Q. It's the one that appoints Milan Simic to assistant secretary of
15 the municipal secretariat for the economy. Do you find that? Paragraph
16 12 and it's dated the 15th of April, 1992. Do you --
17 A. I haven't found that yet.
18 Q. Okay. Let's just --
19 A. That's after the decision on the executive council; is that
21 Q. Yes. It follows on from that. It's after that. It's -- it's
22 preceded immediately by a notice to dismiss Ilija Ristic, and then it
23 follows immediately after, all right?
24 A. I found it. I found it. Yes. This is the decision on appointing
25 the management organs, members of the -- that body.
1 Q. Thanks. Now, it says in the preamble, that a session was held on
2 the 15th of April, 1992, and that the executive council made this decision
3 appointing Milan Simic. Now that would indicate that this executive board
4 or executive council was up and running and leading an active, happy
5 existence, wouldn't it? Actually working, functioning, meeting, carrying
6 on its business?
7 A. I am telling you that I have no information that the executive
8 council had a meeting. I don't have any information about anybody
9 informing me that the council had any such meeting. I am very decisive in
10 telling you this.
11 Q. Certainly. Very well. If that's your position, that's your
12 position. However, you would agree with me that as a matter of simple,
13 pure logic, it must indicate that an executive council was functioning
14 midway -- in fact two days before the outbreak of hostilities in Bosanski
16 A. If we used logic in the sense of interpreting this document, the
17 decision provides the answer, but I am telling you that the council was
18 not operative, and perhaps it's possible that somebody made a mistake with
19 the date when compiling this report two years later, this gazette. What I
20 know is that the executive council was really working when Milan Simic was
21 placed as the President of the executive council, and when Mirko Lukic was
22 his deputy. That executive council did work. This is not something that
23 I am disputing. This is beyond dispute.
24 Q. Sorry, if Your Honours just bear with me, my microphone is acting
25 up, can I just switch over to the other one, please?
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Good, thank you.
3 Q. Very well. Now, one other matter that I want to ask you about
4 that arises from this document. Please continue into the next paragraph,
5 which is paragraph 13. Now, there you see another decision of the
6 executive council taken on the 14th. That is the day before the
7 appointment of Milan Simic. Do you see that decision? Or conclusion?
8 A. Yes, yes.
9 Q. Now, I'm not going to ask you if there was an executive council
10 functioning on the 14th. I understand now what your position is but I do
11 want to ask you about one paragraph 3 of that -- of that conclusion. It
12 says that the President of the executive council assigned the chief of
13 public security station to form a special purpose unit of the MUP and
14 attached to the public security station in collaboration with the
15 responsible bodies of the military and civilian authorities. Do you see
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. First of all, the head of the public security station was
19 Todorovic, wasn't it?
20 A. On the eve of the war you're talking about, during the war, yes.
21 Q. He was the chief of -- he was the head of the public security
22 station even before that, wasn't he? Didn't he -- he was appointed in
23 February, I think it was.
24 A. You need to look in the personnel files, when the Minister of
25 Internal Affairs appointed Todorovic as the chief of the public security
1 station. That is the only thing that is relevant.
2 Q. Okay. What I'm actually interested in is this: Have you got any
3 idea what this special purpose unit was, who was in it, what its job was?
4 What special purposes it dealt with?
5 A. I have no knowledge about such a unit existing at all.
6 Q. It appears on paper that this special purpose unit was to act in
7 conjunction with the civilian authorities and the military. Now, isn't
8 that a matter that would have concerned the Ministry of Defence, in which
9 you were carrying out duties?
10 A. This is an inconsistent text that has no basis in the facts, if we
11 are talking about the wartime period, there was a unit for special
12 purposes in the Republika Srpska MUP, but it was under the authority of
13 the Minister of Internal Affairs, and it did not operate in the territory
14 of the municipality of Samac and that has nothing to do with what it says
15 here. I don't know about any MUP units in the territory of the Samac
16 municipality prior to the break out of the war or during the war.
17 Q. The executive council obviously thought that they could tell the
18 chief of public security station to form such a unit and they decided to
19 do that on the 14th. Now, they still operating under that notion the
20 following day on the 15th, because the next article deals with the same
21 topic. If you go to paragraph 3, paragraph 3, of -- sorry, yes, paragraph
22 3 of paragraph 14, the second-to-last paragraph, and it says that the
23 special purpose unit has got to -- sorry.
24 A. I read that paragraph, yes.
25 Q. First of all, again, I assume you can't tell us anything about
1 this special purposes unit. You don't know anything about it or its
2 existence; is that right?
3 A. There was no special purpose unit prior to the break out of the
4 war or during the war in the municipality of Samac, particularly not in
5 connection with the public security station, as far as I know. So this
6 item 2 [as interpreted] in this text is empty. It has no content, as far
7 as I know, first of all the term Serbian Territorial Defence, it did not
8 exist. There was only the Yugoslav People's Army as the only legal armed
9 structure. So that this term to me is something to be disputed. What I
10 want to say is that this item 3 is just empty words.
11 MR. PANTELIC: If you allow me just as a matter of clarification,
12 I heard when the witness said this is at page 25, line 1, that he said
13 item 3 instead of item 2, which is in the transcript, so I kindly ask this
14 correction because afterwards, he also mentioned item 3 in this part of
15 his testimony, so there is some inconsistency between these two issues,
16 item 2 and item 3, maybe my learned friend can clarify that. I think it's
17 just an error in the transcript.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: Obviously just an error in the transcript if Your
19 Honours please, I'm certain that the witness --
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. I'm only talking about
21 item 3.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well.
23 MR. DI FAZIO:
24 Q. And I suppose given what you've told us about this special purpose
25 unit, you could not possibly explain why immediate steps had to be taken
1 to form this unit on the 15th of April? You would have no idea about
3 A. No.
4 Q. I take it you would disagree that it was in preparation for an
5 imminent takeover on the night of the 16th and 17th of April by Serb
7 A. I think that this qualification about the takeover of power does
8 not stand, according to me it's not a term that could be applied to the
9 situation in Samac. When we are talking about that night between the 16th
10 and the 17th, when the regular armed forces from the legal Yugoslav
11 People's Army prevented and thwarted an attack by regular forces from the
12 Republic of Croatia and the paramilitary forces from Samac itself and its
13 environs and that is my precise definition of that night, that date, and
14 that event.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness just be shown Exhibit P126, please?
16 Q. The preamble to this document is what I'm interested in. In fact
17 the very first few lines. You see that it refers to an operation for the
18 liberation of Bosanski Samac and the creation of the first free Serbian
19 municipality started during the night of the 16th and 17th of April,
20 1992. Do you see that sentence?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. This preamble was written in June of 1993 by Dr. Blagoje Simic.
23 You can check that for yourself by just going to the end of the preamble.
24 A. Yes. I see that document.
25 Q. I just wonder about the use of the language there, it says an
1 operation for the liberation of Bosanski Samac started that night. I
2 assume Bosanski Samac hadn't yet been taken over by Croatian forces or any
3 other forces by that stage, by the 16th and 17th of April.
4 A. Allow me to state my position. You will find in many documents
5 which have been presented before this Chamber different terms and concepts
6 which are simply not authentic. They are simply not based on the
7 regulations or they simply do not stand, and this is a reflection of
8 people who were not qualified but who compiled this -- these documents.
9 You will find such bad qualifications, imprecisions and so on. Many
10 documents were written by people who, let me say, did not know, did not
11 have much experience in their job, were not trained, did not have the
12 information required so they used terms which were inadequate. I believe
13 that this part also that you are talking about came from such a mental
14 state so from someone who was not knowledgeable enough to use the proper
15 term, the Yugoslav People's Army had intelligence data that an attack on
16 Samac was being prepared from the Republic of Croatia assisted by forces
17 from within Samac and its environs. Some members of the army could
18 testify about this who saw a column of tanks immediately across the Sava
19 River on the 17th in the morning, from -- how come that there was a column
20 of tanks or several tanks on the 17th of April in the morning just in
21 front of the bridge towards Samac? Were they there by chance?
22 Q. I understand your position. I'm not trying to contradict you on
23 that. I don't accept it but I understand what your position is. But I'm
24 more interested in the language that was used here. You say there was an
25 unfortunate lack of precision in the language. That couldn't have applied
1 to Dr. Blagoje Simic. First of all, he was an educated man. He was a
2 doctor. Secondly, he had by the time he wrote this, had some considerable
3 experience in administration. This is written in June of 1993. He'd been
4 president of the Crisis Staff, the War Presidency, the municipal assembly.
5 And thirdly, he's writing in a document that demands precision. It's a
6 gazette. So all of those factors combined would really make sure that he
7 chose his words carefully, wouldn't they?
8 A. No. As far as I know, Dr. Blagoje Simic, he would sign documents
9 prepared by others, and as far as I know, he was not very diligent in
10 reading the actual text of the document beforehand. Blagoje Simic is a
11 doctor, but I am not sure whether doctors know other things as well as
12 they know medicine.
13 Q. That might be so but the other curious aspect of the first
14 sentence that he uses is this: He refers to an operation, A for the
15 liberation of Bosanski Samac, and secondly, for the creation of the first
16 free Serbian municipality. Do you know anything about that? What -- what
17 was this operation to create the first free Serb municipality? Can you
18 tell the Chamber?
19 A. I can comment on that, if we take the region from the River Tinja
20 which is west of Brcko about six or seven kilometres, up to Prnjavor which
21 is another 120 kilometres to the west and if we take the depth of the
22 territory from the River Sava, from the border with Croatia some 25 to 30
23 kilometres, the region of the municipality of Samac itself was not under
24 the control of the army of Republic of Croatia or the HVO so it was just
25 the municipality of Samac so this is probably in that sense. So this
1 area is 120 by 25 kilometres. It's a pretty large area. At that point,
2 the municipality of Samac, which was controlled by the Serb forces was
3 spread over an area of about 170 kilometres. All the other
4 municipalities, Bosanski Brod, Derventa are part of the Doboj
5 municipality; Modrica, Odzak a part of the Bosanski Samac municipality;
6 Orasje, Gradacac a part of the Brcko municipality, was held by the armed
7 formations of the Republic of Croatia and the HVO, and the Muslim
8 paramilitary formations.
9 Q. Yes, well, I suggest to you that the interpretation that you've
10 given is -- strains credibility to the breaking point. I suggest to you
11 there Dr. Blagoje Simic is speaking with commendable frankness and that
12 he's talking the truth. Namely that the operation on the night of the
13 16th and 17th of April was in fact designed to create a Serbian
15 A. You're practically talking about the existence of a preconceived
16 plan for that. Is that what you're trying to say?
17 Q. That's right. You hit it?
18 A. Well, I disagree with you.
19 Q. All right. I understand your position.
20 MR. PANTELIC: If I may, another clarification, it's page 28, line
21 24, it says 170 kilometres, I don't believe that this witness said that
22 the territory or region controlled by Serb forces is one. Could you
23 clarify that? I mean it's something which we not heard. Page 28, line
24 24. It says about 170 kilometres, but we heard something else. Maybe you
25 can clarify that. It's also an error in transcript which is important.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Certainly.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
3 MR. DI FAZIO:
4 Q. Witness, I think there was a problem in transcript. You were
5 talking about the area under control by Serb forces and you referred to a
6 figure of 170 kilometres. Is that the figure that you actually mentioned,
7 170, or did you mention some other figure?
8 A. I was talking about the size of the territory, 120 kilometres by
9 25 kilometres, which was controlled by the Croatian armed forces. Within
10 that territory, there was about 170 kilometres, which, let me say, was
11 controlled by the JNA at that point, if that's what the point of time we
12 are talking about.
13 Q. Thank you. Turn to another topic now. Do you know who was on the
14 Crisis Staff in the first few months following the night of the 15th and
15 16th of April? Now you don't have to mention the ones we already do know
16 but if you know the remainder. We know that Dr. Blagoje Simic was
17 president, we know Mr. Tadic was on the Crisis Staff. Do you know of
18 anyone else?
19 A. I will list several more that I know about, although I don't know
20 the final list, and I don't know whether this list was ever precisely
21 defined. So Blagoje Simic, Simo -- no excuse me, Tadic, Miroslav; Simeon
22 Simic, then Savo Popovic, then Fadil Topcagic, Mirko Jovanovic but I'm not
23 quite sure about Mirko Jovanovic.
24 Q. Over the ensuing months --
25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me just one question. What about
1 Mr. Mitar Mitrovic that we are hearing a lot about? Was he on the Crisis
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what to say. He was a
4 close associate of Blagoje Simic, who wrote, as far as I know, the
5 majority of these decisions, and regulations. I don't have information
6 about him being a member of the Crisis Staff.
7 MR. DI FAZIO:
8 Q. So are you saying that he could have been on the Crisis Staff but
9 you just don't know?
10 A. I think that he was not a member of the Crisis Staff.
11 Q. What about Milos Bogdanovic?
12 A. I think that he was not a member of the Crisis Staff either.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness be shown Exhibit D55/1, please?
14 MR. LAZAREVIC: Could it be placed on the ELMO for the benefit of
15 our clients so that they know what we are talking about?
16 MR. DI FAZIO:
17 Q. Now, let's just remind the Trial Chamber about yourself. Your
18 position is that you were not and never were on the Crisis Staff. That's
19 correct, is it not?
20 A. Yes. I was not a member of the Crisis Staff.
21 Q. First of all, can you tell the Chamber why your name is there?
22 A. I assume that this was a -- because of the salary list, so that --
23 the payroll so that they would not put my name on it there. I was in the
24 information service which was formed in order to disseminate information
25 and Simeon Simic was a member of the Crisis Staff in charge of
1 information. Because if you pursue that logic, there are also on this
2 list the cook, security personnel, and they were not members of the Crisis
3 Staff for sure, but they did need to be paid, to receive their salary.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Di Fazio, I think it's important to explain to
5 the witness that it's not a question of logic. The Trial Chamber wants
7 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Thank you. I'll endeavour to do that, if
8 Your Honours please. But perhaps before I do that, it's quarter to
9 4.00. Is now the time you intend to take the break, Your Honour?
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, we will take our break and continue at 1615
12 --- Recess taken at 3.46 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 4.15 p.m.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio, continue.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. If Your Honours please, before I do
16 continue, can I just ask you to indicate your views about time? I'm
17 mindful of the fact that on the last occasion before Christmas you took
18 the view that I should have a further three hours.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: I've used up one and a half of those.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm fearful that I won't be able to finish my
23 cross-examination in the next one and a half hours and I'd like a bit more
24 time. I'm doing the best I can. My assessment is that I will finish
25 possibly, although unlikely, if I were allowed to proceed in the way I've
1 devised my cross-examination, I would finish possibly later towards the
2 end of the day, more likely fairly soon tomorrow morning.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Well, Mr. Di Fazio, you've had quite a long time for
4 cross-examination and --
5 MR. DI FAZIO: I appreciate that, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. And the Trial Chamber sometimes notices
7 repetition so you should wind up within the time allocated.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. I appreciate that. I understand that, your
9 view, I make no bones about that. I understand that fully, if Your
10 Honour's please. But what I'm saying is that in order to complete I need
11 a bit more time. And I would be grateful.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: You start, we'll see how we go.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you if we could approach it in that ad hoc
15 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour if I may be of assistance with this
16 matter? I would like to inform the Trial Chamber that Defence has another
17 witness here but not in the premises. So it's more likely that it will be
18 very complicated for us to arrange his presence here, because we plan to
19 have him tomorrow morning, so in that sense maybe my learned friend can be
20 more relaxed.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: How long will your re-examination take?
22 MR. PANTELIC: Re-examination, frankly, Your Honour, it's hard to
23 say, 40, 30 minutes, 40 minutes maximum, more or less, so --
24 JUDGE MUMBA: All right.
25 MR. PANTELIC: So we could be quite within the time frame. Yes,
1 thank you.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you if Your Honours please and I will
3 endeavour to get through my cross-examination as swiftly --
4 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm sorry we just want to ask the technical people,
5 the laptop for Judge Williams is not working. You can proceed.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
7 Q. Before the break, we showed you D55/1, and you gave an explanation
8 about the reason your name appears on D55. Do you know if any of the
9 names listed under security were in fact simple -- were in fact simply
10 guards or security officials?
11 A. These were ordinary guards, and drivers at the same time, as far
12 as I know, Branko Jokic, Milos Ilic, they worked as drivers.
13 Q. Is there any reason to doubt that there would be other documents,
14 if this is a valid and authentic document, that there would be other such
15 documents dealing for June, July, the rest of the year?
16 A. This is a document related to the salaries of persons who are on
17 this list, possibly such a document exists. That is to say for the
18 following month or I don't know, but I am not aware of any such document.
19 I mean, I haven't seen it.
20 Q. Now, Dr. Blagoje Simic gave evidence in this case and he looked at
21 this document and explained what it was about, and said that people who
22 were named on it were in fact members of the Crisis Staff. Do you have
23 any idea why he would say that and thereby include you as a member of the
24 Crisis Staff?
25 MR. PANTELIC: Well, Your Honour, objection. I don't -- well, I
1 try to refresh my memory but I'm quite sure that my client didn't say that
2 in that sense that all these people, including drivers and guards and the
3 other stuff, are the members, including of course Mr. Ninkovic.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Page 12243 of the transcript he said that, however
5 I'm even making allowances that it was a blanket statement and that it
6 doesn't include the security guards and the cook, he didn't mean to
7 include the security guards and the cook. So perhaps if I rephrase my
8 question just to make sure that they are excluded and I'll -- so perhaps
9 if I put the question to the witness again so that --
10 JUDGE MUMBA: You do have the answer which Dr. Blagoje Simic
11 gave. Why don't you just recite it?
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Fine. I'll do that.
13 Q. The question by Mr. Pantelic: And does this list in fact reflect
14 the situation and the membership of the Crisis Staff in April of 1992 when
15 according to you it started functioning?
16 Answer: Yes, it does.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well.
19 MR. DI FAZIO:
20 Q. All right. Now I don't want you to speculate but I ask you this:
21 Do you know of any reason why he would adopt that position? Because of
22 course that includes you as a member of the Crisis Staff.
23 A. If Mr. Blagoje Simic fully understood the question, then I'm
24 surprised by this answer which includes me as well. I will repeat that I
25 was in the information service, I was not a member of the Crisis Staff.
1 Q. Fine.
2 A. And I have been repeating that several times now so there is no
3 need for me to repeat it yet again.
4 Q. I understand that. We are both -- we both understand each other
5 perfectly well but I do want to persist with this topic because you may be
6 able to assist us. Still on the same topic, is the -- is utterances made
7 by Mr. Tadic in the past, he was interviewed by officers of the Office of
8 the Prosecutor in March of 1998, and when he was interviewed regarding
9 membership of the Crisis Staff, he said that Milos Bogdanovic was on the
10 Crisis Staff by virtue of his being chief of the secretariat of national
11 defence. Do you agree with that proposition?
12 A. No, I don't agree. There was no functional appointment, as far as
13 I know, related to membership on the Crisis Staff. This is probably a
14 position taken by Mr. Tadic that was a bit arbitrary, although I will say
15 to you, as far as I know, there was a large number of people there who
16 participated in meetings, who came and went, so I would not look at this
17 Crisis Staff as a precisely defined body with certain powers. It was a
18 rather broad-based organ in which many people who had certain tasks came,
19 presented their positions, presented certain problems, took part in a
20 discussion that would relate to the problem -- to the matters that they
21 were in charge of. So I would not attach such importance to the Crisis
22 Staff. It had quite a few forms.
23 Q. Yes, but I do attach importance to the Crisis Staff, and I'd like
24 to know, as precisely as possible, who was on it and who was not. You say
25 it had quite a few forms. Do you mean that its membership was fluid and
1 people would join at sometimes and others would leave at other times? Its
2 membership was fluctuating? Is that your position?
3 A. No, no, no. That is not my position. I want to say that people
4 came to these meetings, depending on the problems that were on the agenda,
5 and that not always the same people were present at each and every
6 session, so there were many more people than those who are on this list
7 that were involved in a certain way in the process of making certain
8 decisions, if I can put it that way or information.
9 Q. For you to explain this, you presumably must have been present
10 often at such meetings?
11 A. I have told you that there were two telephones that were
12 accessible to me so that I could do my work as a journalist. That was the
13 telephone attached to the Crisis Staff and the telephone at the reporting
14 centre. So when I was in the premises where the Crisis Staff was inter
15 alia, there were several offices, different people came there.
16 Q. I'm not asking you about telephones, I'm asking you about your
17 presence at meetings. You've described -- you've described a lot of
18 different people coming along to these meetings and this would happen
19 quite often. Now, for you to give that evidence, for you to be able to
20 tell us that that's in fact what happened, as a matter of reason, you must
21 have been there often yourself, often at Crisis Staff meetings, in order
22 to describe this. Otherwise it wouldn't be possible, correct?
23 A. I was often at the premises of the Crisis Staff, but I was not
24 often at sessions of the Crisis Staff. These are two different things.
25 Q. Would you agree with the proposition that for to you carry out
1 your duties at the Ministry of Defence it would have been very important
2 for you to know who was in the leadership of the -- of the municipality
3 and who was in the Crisis Staff, since it was the highest civilian
5 A. As for that question, I am going to give the following answer:
6 When I was there, I don't know, I was there very little, names were not
7 called out, and there was no calling out of names in the sense of who was
8 there, who was not there. That's not the way meetings would begin. The
9 agenda would be discussed. Problems that were on the agenda. That was
10 probably a technology of work about which Blagoje Simic could say more
11 than I could. He convened these meetings so how did he convene them, in
12 which way, according to which list?
13 Q. Okay. Can the witness be shown P72? While P72 -- whilst that
14 document is being obtained, can I ask you this? You agree that the notion
15 of work obligation that you've testified about is a type of war
16 assignment? That's in effect the evidence that you gave?
17 A. As for work obligation, it has to be carried out, that is clearly
18 sanctioned, because that would mean a violation of law in wartime.
19 Q. You agree that it's a type of war assignment, not whether it has
20 to be carried out. You agree it's a type of war assignment. I can take
21 you back to your own words if you wish, if you'd like me to remind you
22 what you said on the last occasion, I will, otherwise I pose the question
23 simply, war obligation is a type of war assignment. Do you agree or not?
24 A. Well, not quite literally, because who -- those who had work
25 obligation were not members of a military formation.
1 Q. All right. Let me --
2 A. However, this needs to be clarified.
3 Q. I'm not seeking clarification because I suggest that you
4 abundantly clear when answering questions by Mr. Pantelic, page 13477.
5 Question: If I understood you correctly, work obligation is also
6 a type of war assignment?
7 Answer: Yes, it is.
8 Question: You explained that before.
9 Answer: Yes, and the command of the military unit does not have
10 the right to change anybody's war assignment. He is not in a position to
11 do so. All right, now I've refreshed your memory and that's what your
12 position is -- was, work obligation is a type of war assignment, that's
13 correct, isn't it?
14 A. Yes, yes. Absolutely, work obligation is war assignment. There
15 is no doubt about that.
16 Q. And would you agree with the proposition that the -- that work
17 obligation as a war assignment exists for the defence of the nation?
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 Q. Okay. And would you agree that the Serb forces, would it be your
20 position that the Serb forces in Bosanski Samac were fighting a war of
21 self defence from aggression? They were not aggressors? That would have
22 to be your position, wouldn't it?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. P72, just let's have a look at that. Now, this is a gazette dated
25 8th of June, 1992, and it's been signed apparently or rather the author of
1 the document, of the gazette, is apparently Dr. Radovan Karadzic. Do you
2 see this?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And it -- the effect of the document is to form War Presidencies
5 in municipalities, right?
6 A. Yes. This decision pertains to that subject.
7 Q. Thank you. And Article 3 says that "A War Presidency is to
8 organise, coordinate and adjust activities for the defence of the Serbian
9 people, and in addition establish lawful municipal authorities." Article
10 3, first paragraph or sentence?
11 A. Yes, yes, I'm reading it.
12 Q. And also third sentence, "It's also got to create and ensure the
13 conditions for the work of military bodies and units in defending the
14 Serbian nation," okay?
15 A. [In English] Yes.
16 Q. As a matter of logic, then, War Presidencies have to work with
17 the Ministry of Defence, since work obligation is part of the defence of
18 the nation. That's reasonable, isn't it?
19 A. [Interpretation] It can be put that way.
20 Q. And it would be therefore of supreme importance that the Ministry
21 of Defence work very, very closely with the Crisis Staff, or War
22 Presidency as it was later known? In view of this gazette.
23 A. I want to say that in that part, the executive council did a lot
24 more direct work, made decisions, et cetera. I think that that can be
25 seen from the documentation involved because the executive board had very
1 serious obligations in the sphere of the economy. So the cooperation was
2 greater with the executive council.
3 Q. Maybe so but I'm not asking you about the executive council. I'm
4 asking you about the Ministry of Defence. If the Ministry of Defence is
5 responsible for work obligation, if work obligation is part of the defence
6 of the nation, then according to this gazette, it makes sense that the
7 Ministry of Defence, who are responsible for dealing with work obligation,
8 work hand in glove, very closely with the War Presidency. That's demanded
9 by Article 3, isn't it? It's required by Article 3, because work
10 obligation is defence --
11 A. That is your interpretation of this decision. As for this task
12 regarding work obligation, we had the law, the order of the Minister of
13 Defence. We had the executive council. I am not disputing that the
14 Crisis Staff in principle had this position, but in direct terms, it did
15 not have, how should I put this, it was not directly involved with regard
16 to this matter in that period. Later, in 1995, when a state of war was
17 declared, according to law, the War Presidencies then ratified wartime job
18 descriptions, et cetera, but this was later. This was in 1995.
19 Q. I'm not asking you about 1995. I'm asking you about 1992, 1992.
20 It's simplicity itself, is it not? Look, you've said twice that work
21 obligation is a matter of defence of the nation. You said it in your
22 examination-in-chief, in answer to questions by Mr. Pantelic. You
23 reaffirmed it today when I asked you, and we know that your department,
24 Ministry of Defence, was the very body that oversaw, organised, work
25 obligation. Now, if work obligation is a form of defence, then Article 3
1 of this gazette demands, requires, that the War Presidency organise,
2 coordinate, adjust activities for the defence of the Serbian people, as a
3 matter of logic, you, the Ministry of Defence and the Crisis Staff or the
4 War Presidency must have worked together for this to be effectively
5 adhered to, followed, the orders of Dr. Radovan Karadzic, sorry, the
6 Official Gazette of the Serbian people in Bosnia. How can it be any other
8 A. You're asking me for my comment?
9 Q. Yes, I do, because you were working for the Ministry of Defence.
10 A. First of all, may I say that the ministry is in charge of
11 allocation. However, your position that we oversaw this, this is a matter
12 that can be discussed item by item because you put it in too strong
13 terms. There was the executive council, then the director of the
14 enterprise -- of the company where a person worked, et cetera, but I claim
15 as regards work obligation, it was not indispensable to have this kind of
16 cooperation that you are referring to, namely between the department of
17 the Ministry of Defence and the Crisis Staff. Functionally, it was more
18 important between the department of the Ministry of Defence and the
19 executive council, or -- because the executive council saw how the economy
20 was functioning, and they needed the labour force involved. They could
21 see how many people were needed. The Crisis Staff did not have such
22 tasks. Perhaps something can be drawn out of this decision, along these
23 lines, but that's not the way it was in practice.
24 Furthermore, the date here is the 31st of May. At that time I
25 wasn't in the ministry yet. It was only on the 16th of July that I was
1 appointed head of the department of the Ministry of Defence, and I
2 testified about that last time.
3 Q. You see, the reason I asked you about this is simply to put to you
4 so that you understand my position, the Prosecution's position, that
5 according to P72, the Official Gazette, it really, as I've already said to
6 you twice now, demanded that you work hand in glove -- sorry, that the
7 Crisis Staff work hand in glove with the Ministry of Defence because work
8 obligation is a type of defence, and that if that is so, it would make
9 absolute sense for someone from the Ministry of Defence to be on the
10 Crisis Staff, to be a member of the Crisis Staff, because it's such an
11 important function. That's what I was driving at. Now, would you agree
12 with that proposition?
13 A. You want me to accept your conclusions as my own position? Your
14 interpretations of this? I can't accept that.
15 Q. Very well. You don't have to but I want you to understand --
16 A. I've been trying all this time, no, I understand this full well.
17 Now you're trying to construct something on the basis of this Article 3
18 and you want me just to say "yes" and I have been explaining all the time
19 that it was not indispensable to have this kind of firm direct cooperation
20 between the department of the ministry and the Crisis Staff. The Crisis
21 Staff is an organ which was not involved in immediate executive work, if I
22 can put it that way. In that section the Crisis Staff did not have this
23 direct engagement. This can be seen on the basis of some decisions that
24 were made on -- by the executive council, like on war production, et
25 cetera. There are some decisions that are far more important than the one
1 we are looking at right now and that speak about these relations. I
2 discussed them in detail during my previous testimony.
3 Q. Yes. Thank you. And just to end this topic of membership of the
4 Crisis Staff, Mr. Simo Zaric was interviewed -- if Your Honour will just
5 bear with me, please, for one moment? Was interviewed twice in I think
6 1998, regarding events in Bosanski Samac. The 2nd of April, 1998, my
7 learned friends will find this at P141 and 142. He was asked about
8 membership of the Crisis Staff and yourself, and he said that you were a
9 member of the Crisis Staff on both occasions. Now, again, I am not
10 inviting you to speculate as to what was in his mind but if you do know of
11 any reason or can think of any solid reason as to why he would adopt the
12 view that you were on the Crisis Staff, can you please tell us?
13 A. I don't know what his motives are, but as far as I know,
14 Mr. Zaric, he liked to promote himself in the media.
15 Q. Yes. Yes. Okay. But this was -- I understand what you say but
16 this was not a media interview. This was an interview with -- I should
17 be-- I'm sorry if I misled you. This was an interview with officers of
18 the Office of the Prosecutor who was being interviewed following his
19 arrest and he said that you were on the Crisis Staff, twice, two separate
20 interviews. Now, if you know of any reason why he would say that, tell
22 A. I didn't finish. I don't know what were the reasons for which he
23 said that, but I know that many of his statements were untrue, just like
24 that one. Not only that one is untrue but other ones too.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes?
1 MR. LAZAREVIC: Mr. Zaric was not arrested, he voluntarily
2 surrendered and I would like to clarify that.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm sorry, I didn't -- I have no quarrel with that
4 proposition. That was my mistake. All right.
5 Q. Now, just one other question on the Crisis Staff: Do you know
6 when it was formed?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Perhaps I can jog your memory and tell me if this has that effect.
9 In the gazette that I showed you earlier, Exhibit P124, there was a
10 preamble written by Mitar Mitrovic. In that preamble, he says that the
11 Crisis Staff was formed on the 15th of April, 15th of April, in a place
12 called St. Sava's hall. Having heard that, does it jog your memory? Do
13 you now remember and is he correct? If not, say so.
14 A. I don't know about that, and I cannot testify about things that I
15 don't have precise information about. The only thing I know is that when
16 I saw one of those people for the first time from the Crisis Staff that we
17 were talking about was on the 19th of April in Pik, the agricultural
18 combine, Pik, and I saw them there for the first time but there were some
19 other people there also, not only the ones we talked about, there were
20 also deputies, people were coming and going, and I think that it was only
21 then that the Crisis Staff started to function in some kind of form.
22 Q. Well, I've got to know so that I can make the decision,
23 Mr. Ninkovic. What is your position? Let me --
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Lukic?
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just one correction for the
1 transcript. Page 45, line 7, I heard the witness say that he saw some of
2 those people and in the translation, in English, it says that he saw them,
3 but he said that he saw some of those people on the 19th. That's what I
4 heard in the original language.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
6 Q. Now, Mr. Ninkovic, --
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have that confirmed by the witness, please?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, some of those people. That's
9 what I said.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
11 Q. Is it your -- are you saying that you just -- you just don't know
12 when the Crisis Staff was formed and so it could be on the 15th, that is
13 at some point before the 16th and 17th of April? Or are you saying, no,
14 it is far more likely that it was formed after the 16th and 17th of April?
15 A. I am close to this last stance of yours so that it was on the 19th
16 that it started to function. I don't know whether this was a spontaneous
17 meeting and they decided to then continue working in sessions or whether
18 somebody convened it. That's something that I cannot testify about, but I
19 did see at that place some of those people that we talked about. I saw
20 some deputies of the municipal assembly of Samac. I also saw Mirko Lukic
21 from the executive board.
22 Q. Okay. Let's see if we can get through this topic as quickly as we
23 can. I don't want to dwell upon it but can the witness be shown P124,
25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Di Fazio in your questions, last
1 two questions, you were asking Mr. Ninkovic when the Crisis Staff was
2 formed, but in Mr. Ninkovic's answers in translation, for example, page
3 46, line 6, he is talking about when it started to function. Now it
4 strikes me that those two could be the same, formed and functioning on the
5 same date, or it could be different, formed on one date starting to
6 function on another.
7 MR. DI FAZIO: I take Your Honour's point and I will clarify that
8 with the witness.
9 Q. You probably understood Her Honour's distinction. Is it possible
10 that the Crisis Staff was formed at an earlier point in time, before the
11 15th and 16th but only really got going with its business after that
13 A. The information that I have about that, or the knowledge that I
14 have, is that the Crisis Staff started to function after the beginning of
15 the war, but I don't have knowledge about it being formed before the war.
16 Q. Okay. Now that you have P124 before you, let me just draw your
17 attention to a couple of matters. First of all, the preamble at the very
18 beginning of the document, Mitar Mitrovic's preamble, secretary of the
19 municipal assembly, he says, towards the end of that preamble, and it's a
20 separate paragraph, "The Crisis Staff was formed in the St. Sava hall of
21 the church of the holy mother in Obudovac on the 15th of April, 1992." Do
22 you see that? So he's quite specific, he's got a date, he's got a place.
23 He's got a town. Quite specific information. Is he -- have you any
24 reason to doubt that?
25 A. I'm not disputing that. It says so here quite decisively but that
1 is not my testimony. I don't have any knowledge about that but I --
2 Q. That's fine.
3 A. I know as much about it as you do on the basis of the text.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: All right. Thank you very much. I've finished
5 with that document for the time being, and if Mr. Usher pleases, I
6 think -- yes, I've finished with that document and any other documents
7 that are there with the witness.
8 Q. The simple, broad situation is this, in terms of the life of the
9 institutions in Bosanski Samac: On the 15th of April, 1992, the
10 municipality of Bosanski Samac existed, the municipality of Bosanski Samac
11 that had existed for many years, and on the 17th, it no longer did. Would
12 you agree with that?
13 A. No. What I wish to say is that the local assembly fell apart,
14 which was based on the will of the voters. So this assembly fell apart
15 along national lines and it could not be put back together again. So we
16 can talk about the breakdown of power in the municipality of Bosanski
17 Samac and we can also talk about the same type of breaking up of power all
18 over Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the same time we can talk about the
19 process of constructing state organs of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina in the territory of Bosanski Samac, the municipality of
21 Bosanski Samac.
22 Q. You would agree, I think, at least, that the assembly of the
23 Bosanski Samac municipality did not dissolve itself?
24 A. There was no such document that it was being dissolved, but it
25 could not be convened. There was no forum.
1 Q. That's because on the 17th, the town was crawling with Serb forces
2 and Serb paramilitaries, isn't it? And its members and Croats and Muslims
3 were being arrested?
4 A. As far as I know, in the period before the 17th of April, several
5 months before, there was no meeting of the municipal assembly, the one
6 that was elected in 1990 in the first free elections in Bosnia and
8 Q. Let's look at the issue by reference to language that was used at
9 the time.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness be shown Exhibit P89?
11 Q. Now, just acquaint yourself with that. Right. Paragraph 2, or
12 perhaps sorry, paragraph 1, it simply establishes a state of emergency,
13 this is on the 19th of April, and then in the next paragraph, at the
14 stroke of a pen, out go the bodies and institutions of Bosanski Samac
15 municipality, I quote, "They shall cease to operate in their current
16 mandate." And then you have the Crisis Staff of the Serbian municipality
17 of Bosanski Samac taking up their functions. You couldn't want for a
18 clearer, more emphatic document, could you? It makes the situation
19 abundantly clear, the old municipality ceases to exist and the new one
20 takes over. That's -- and in fact, that represents reality, doesn't it?
21 A. I would not agree with you, and here is why. First of all, item
22 1, state of emergency is being introduced into in the territory of the
23 municipality of Bosanski Samac in view of the fact that war had already
24 begun, that's why we had the state of emergency so in a way it was already
25 verified. There was a situation of war in the territory of that
1 municipality. So it is only a verification here of what we already have
2 on the ground. This is how I experience article 1 or paragraph 1 of this
3 decision. If you look at paragraph 2 of this decision, I interpret it as
4 meaning that new coordination was required in the sense of functioning of
5 normal life in the territory of the municipality of Bosanski Samac.
6 Q. New coordination? How do you get new coordination out of the
7 words "shall cease to operate in their current mandate and the Crisis
8 Staff of the Serbian municipality shall take up their functions, rights
9 and obligations"? That's not new coordination. That is a takeover, pure
10 and simple, is it not?
11 A. Your interpretation does not -- is not in accordance with the
12 factual situation. We can say that in the territory of the municipality,
13 you had the municipal authorities, the parliamentary authorities, and the
14 executive authorities. The assembly was not able to convene for several
15 months, nor could the executive board. So who was this power taken from,
16 if these organs already did not exist in the municipality, the assembly
17 didn't exist or the executive board. This is an effort to introduce -- to
18 approach the constituting of the organs of power.
19 Q. Tell me, the fact -- you say that the old municipality that had
20 existed, the old assembly, hadn't been able to function for months. And
21 is it your position that this was widely known and everyone understood
22 this in the municipality?
23 A. It was known in the whole territory of the Republic of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina that there was a crisis in the functioning of the
25 organs of power at the level of the republic and at the municipal level
1 also, so this was well known. It was discussed every day on the
2 television, in the newspapers, over the radio, so there was a crisis of
3 authority, of power, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There were opposing
4 stances by the national communities of that republic, on very key
5 questions, key issues, and this disunity was transferred from the top,
6 from the President through the republican assembly, down to the
7 municipalities. All the institutions of power in Bosnia and Herzegovina
8 were falling apart.
9 Q. All right. So a vacuum of power had existed and the Crisis Staff
10 of the Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac stepped in because of that
11 vacuum of power. Is that your position?
12 A. Not quite like that. The JNA thwarted an attack on Samac on the
13 17th and it was necessary then to start to coordinate the issues from the
14 civilian domain and this is what the Crisis Staff took upon itself, until
15 the other organs of power, the ministries, were set up, and this was later
16 confirmed by things that happened, by documents, and so on.
17 Q. If the old municipality of Bosanski Samac, the old assembly, was
18 moribund, had ceased to effectively function and there was a vacuum of
19 power and it was because of that or partially because of that, that the
20 Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac was set up, why didn't paragraph 2
21 say that? Perhaps in different words but why did it not convey that
23 A. Are you trying to say that instead of the Serbian municipality of
24 Bosanski Samac, it should be the municipality of Bosanski Samac? Is that
25 what you're trying to say?
1 Q. Why didn't paragraph 2 say that in view of the fact that the old
2 municipality of Bosanski Samac was moribund, no longer functioning, no
3 longer able to function, the Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac shall
4 step in and take up its functions? It doesn't say that. It says they
5 shall cease to operate. It's very clear when you read it.
6 A. They had already ceased operation, but I will agree with you that
7 the terms used are not as precise as they could be.
8 Q. The result was that the Croatian and Muslim people, people of
9 Muslim and Croatian ethnicity living in Bosanski Samac and in the
10 municipality were effectively stripped of any political representation
11 following the events of the 15th -- sorry, the 16th and 17th. Would you
12 agree with me?
13 A. The Dayton Accords stated things as it did.
14 Q. No, no, no, I'm not asking you about the Dayton Accords. I'm not
15 asking you about that. I'm asking you about 1992 and the early part of
16 1993. The result was, following the events of the 16th and 17th, that the
17 Croatian and Muslim people who had lived or -- and who lived in the town
18 of Bosanski Samac and the municipality were stripped of any
19 representation, any political representation. If you wish, I can take you
20 to the gazettes and the new statutes and show you the language and I'll do
21 that if necessary but I can save time and simply put that proposition to
23 A. I understood you. At that point, new elections would be
24 necessary, in view of the fact that there was a war going on, elections
25 were not possible. So this situation lasted until the signing of the
1 Dayton peace accords. This is why I mentioned the Dayton peace accords.
2 Q. I think we will be a little more specific.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness be shown P124, please?
4 Q. All right. Paragraph 1 --
5 THE REGISTRAR: Mr. Di Fazio sorry to interrupt you, on the
6 transcript I can see Exhibit P124 that was the exhibit provided to the
7 witness, is that the correct exhibit.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, thank you, P124, the Official Gazette.
9 Q. All right. Let's go to the first paragraph, the first decision
10 following Mr. Mitrovic's preamble. "Decision to establish an Assembly of
11 the Serbian People of the municipality of Bosanski Samac and Pelagicevo
12 under formation." Do you see that?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Go straight to Article 5, please. Now, there it is in black and
15 white, very clear, "The assembly is to consist of deputies of the Serbian
16 Democratic Party, various places, and other deputies of Serbian
17 ethnicity." No mention of Muslims or Croats. Now, the effect of that is
18 very, very simple and very, very plain, isn't it? That's the end of
19 political representation for Croats and Muslims, isn't it?
20 A. Yes. That's what it states in Article 5.
21 Q. Sure does.
22 A. As you read it. But in my opinion, this should be linked to the
23 referendum about the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was
24 carried out --
25 Q. Frankly, I'm not asking you for your opinion. I'm simply asking
1 you what the effect of this is in black and white. Article 5 is very,
2 very clear. There is no reference to any referendum. It's very simple.
3 The assembly is only going to be SDS members and other deputies of Serb
4 ethnicity. That's the group that is going to compose the new assembly.
5 Nothing about Croats and nothing about Muslims. Now, surely, surely you
6 have to agree with that?
7 A. I said that that is what it states here, if you're looking for me
8 to comment on it, yes, I will do that, and if you wish me to read Article
9 5, I will do that.
10 Q. No, no. Thank you. And the interests of the Serbian people only
11 are further entrenched in Article 6, because it then says that the
12 assemblies got to recognise all federal regulations and so on as long as
13 they don't infringe upon the interests of the Serbian people. Do you see
15 A. I wanted to give you my comment for those very reasons, but you
16 didn't permit me to do that.
17 Q. Very well. If you -- if your position is that your comment will
18 help explain these Article 5 and 6, please go ahead and provide us with
19 your comment.
20 A. The referendum that was carried out in the autumn of 1992 was
21 against the will of the Serb people, that was one of the constituent
22 peoples of the BH. The constitution of BH stipulated unequivocally that
23 major decisions had to be reached by way of consensus of the three
24 peoples. Since this referendum violated the elementary basic right of the
25 Serbs, that is to say it violated the constitution, since the Serbs
1 believe that they should remain within the federal state and in Article 6,
2 that is linked to that. While the Muslims and the Croats wanted the B and
3 H to be outside Yugoslavia.
4 Q. I'm not asking you for the history of events in 1991 and 1992.
5 Nor the reasons why this gazette -- sorry, this statute was adopted in the
6 form that it is, that it is in. I'm simply asking you this: The effect
7 of Article 5 and 6 was to disenfranchise Croats and Muslims who lived in
8 the municipality. That's undeniable, isn't it?
9 A. If we were to take things out of a general context, then there
10 would be some elements of that which you have been referring to, but
11 taking things out of a general context and out of a general situation on
12 the ground would not be right, and as such, it cannot be decisive.
13 Q. Okay.
14 A. Individual, isolated incidents.
15 Q. Sorry, I cut you off. I didn't mean to do that. Please
17 A. Actually I disagree with your intention. To take individual
18 things out of a general context and then you want me to confirm that to
19 have been the dominant policy, that is to say the approach of the
20 authorities in the municipality of Samac.
21 Q. All right.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: With the witness be shown P125, please?
23 MR. PANTELIC: In the meantime Your Honour it's page 54, line 10,
24 there is a some reference to the referendum which was carried out in the
25 autumn of 1992. Obviously, it's maybe a mistake in the transcript. The
1 referendum was not in --
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Di Fazio, can that be corrected?
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
4 Q. Just for the sake of the record, you meant 1991, didn't you?
5 A. Yes, yes, yes, yes, 1991.
6 Q. All right. Quick look at P125. Now, you have it there. This is
7 the Statute. Now this time I can tell you that you'll find the portion
8 that I'm interested in at page 4 of the B/C/S -- of the B/C/S. The
9 Statute of the municipality, item 1, municipality.
10 A. You said page 4?
11 Q. Yes, page 4 of the B/C/S version. And it talks about the
12 municipality, Article 1.
13 A. The rights and responsibilities of the municipality? Talking
14 about the Statute of the municipality of Samac?
15 Q. Yes, I am. I believe it says this: "Article 1, Samac
16 municipality shall be a municipality of the Serbian people and other
17 citizens living there." Do you see that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Why is preference -- why are the Serbian people mentioned in
20 particular? Why doesn't it just refer to Serbian -- sorry to people who
21 are living there?
22 A. That is the approach.
23 Q. All right. Okay. Perhaps more relevantly I should direct your
24 attention to Article 51 and that's on page 9 of the B/C/S. That sets out
25 membership of the municipal assembly. Do you see that? That says that
1 the Samac municipal assembly is to consist of SDS members.
2 A. Yes. I'm following you.
3 Q. And other members of other parties who were Serbs. Now the effect
4 of that is disenfranchisement of Croats and Muslims, isn't it?
5 A. No, the expression you used is too strong, that there would be
6 disenfranchisement. No. Now, again what did you ask me? My answer is
7 related to the Dayton Accords again, the Dayton peace agreement. It
8 ratified the disintegration of Bosnia-Herzegovina as it was in the
9 constitution of 1991, so it verified that this state no longer existed and
10 it also verified a new Bosnia-Herzegovina, new Dayton Bosnia-Herzegovina,
11 with new constitutional solutions.
12 Q. Let me perhaps approach it from the point of view of a concrete
13 example. If -- the municipal assembly started operating again in early
14 1993, right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. The Crisis Staff had been and gone and the same for the War
17 Presidency and now it was the Serbian municipal assembly?
18 A. Yes, the municipal assembly, yes.
19 Q. Now, if for whatever reason a member of that assembly had to be
20 replaced, a Croat or a Muslim simply couldn't stand for election, simply
21 couldn't seek office, could they, because they are not Serb? It's as
22 simple as that. That's the effect of those provisions, isn't it?
23 A. No. That's not the way it was, and now I'll tell you why. First
24 of all, all these councilmen were elected in the election in 1991 so none
25 of them were illegitimate. All of them were legitimately, legally elected
1 at the first free elections. However the territorial organisation
2 was different of the municipality.
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Ninkovic, but I thought your
4 earlier testimony was that the preexisting structures in the municipality
5 were no longer in operative effect, and I believe the document
6 Mr. Di Fazio showed you was talking about such ceasing to exist. So I'm
7 just a little uncertain what the relevance of the election of these people
8 in the first free elections has to do with the newly formed assembly that
9 we are talking about now.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You did not understand me, Judge
11 Williams. I am talking about the councilmen, the assemblymen. I said
12 they were legitimate because they were elected in the first elections in
13 1990. So it's not that there were some elections that were held after
14 that. So these assemblymen were legitimate. However, the assemblies
15 where they were before the war, where they worked before the war, these
16 assemblies no longer functioned. New assemblies were created. But out
17 of the ranks of the assemblymen that were elected in 1990. Did I manage
18 to make things clearer now?
19 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. I think so. But just one follow-up
20 question. But out of -- you say out of the ranks of the assemblymen that
21 were elected in 1990, but we are talking strictly of assemblymen or women,
22 I presume, of Serb ethnicity; is that correct?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is correct, but also
24 assemblymen of Croat ethnicity functioned in Odzak or in Orasje or in the
25 municipality of Domaljevac, a new municipality, because the area was
1 recomposed, the area of the municipalities, and this was done along ethnic
2 lines but that's the way it was.
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
4 MR. DI FAZIO:
5 Q. I understand that the Serb members of the Serbian municipality
6 that started operating in early 1993 had been elected earlier, and I
7 understand that they were members of the old municipality of Bosanski
8 Samac. I've got no problem in understanding that.
9 What I'm putting to you is this: The result of all of those
10 provisions that I showed you in the gazettes, P124 and P126, is that
11 following the establishment of the Serbian Assembly of -- municipal
12 assembly of Bosanski Samac, Croats and Muslims could no longer be
13 representatives of people, whatever people, in this assembly because it
14 was an exclusive club, it was confined to Serbs. Now, is that -- that's
15 as clear as I can put it. Now, do you agree or not? You don't have to
16 agree with me but just let me know your position.
17 A. Yes. You see, every elected assemblymen, elected in the free
18 elections, is independent. That is to say he cannot be replaced, because
19 he has behind him the legitimacy of direct elections. It is his own free
20 will where he is going to represent his voters. If an assemblyman of the
21 municipal assembly of Bosanski Samac decided later to represent his voters
22 in the newly established municipality of Domaljevac, a Croat municipality,
23 that is his own free will. If an assemblyman who was a Serb
24 decided to represent his voters in the Serb Municipality of Bosanski
25 Samac, again that is a matter of his own will.
1 Q. Okay.
2 A. What I know is that in this assembly, there weren't any
3 assemblymen who had not been elected in the free elections in 1990. That
4 is to say that all of them had the legitimacy of the free elections behind
6 Q. Except that their Croat and Muslim counterparts, they were no
7 longer carrying out their functions as political representatives of their
8 people who had lived in Bosanski Samac and the municipality of Bosanski
9 Samac. That's the case, isn't it?
10 A. I don't know now what the situation was in 1993, when the assembly
11 started working, how many assemblymen of other ethnic backgrounds there
12 were in Samac. I cannot really give you that kind of a cross section now.
13 Q. Well, I hadn't asked for numbers but I'll withdraw that. Let's
14 turn to another topic on representation. Do you agree that the villages
15 and small communities that existed within the municipality of Bosanski
16 Samac prior to -- prior to the war, used to have a form of representation
17 on the local village Crisis Staffs?
18 A. Excuse me, I beg your pardon. Would you please repeat your
19 question? Because I could not focus for a few seconds.
20 Q. Just compose yourself and I'll rephrase my question so you can
21 understand clearly. What I'm -- what I'm asking you is this: Before the
22 war, Croats and Serbs who lived in small villages within the municipality
23 of Bosanski Samac had a form of representation because there existed
24 small, local village crisis staffs, right?
25 A. Just a moment, please. If you mean the councils of local
1 communes, then yes, the councils of local communes. Those were the
2 regular authorities.
3 Q. Well, yes.
4 A. At this lowest level, yes.
5 Q. Perhaps I can save time and ask you simply to look at P91 and
6 P92. And while we are waiting for that to be delivered to you, there is
7 no doubt, is there, that some villages in Bosanski Samac, in the
8 municipality, were exclusively Croat villages? That is inhabited mainly
9 by Croats and some villages were inhabited mainly by Serbs?
10 A. I agree with you, yes.
11 Q. All right. So look at P91, first of all.
12 A. Are you referring to the order related to the ban of political
14 Q. My apologies. I apologise to the Chamber and I apologise to the
15 witness, and to the usher. I've asked for the wrong documents to be
16 placed before him. I in fact need P106 and P107. I apologise for that
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. On your request, Mr. Di Fazio, for more time,
19 the Trial Chamber conferred and we decided that we will give you 20
20 minutes more.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: May I just have a chance to confer with my
22 colleague, please?
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
24 [Prosecution counsel confer]
25 JUDGE MUMBA: It is 20 minutes after the break. After we've taken
1 our break.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. 20 minutes after the break.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
5 Q. Just have a quick look at 106, please. I don't want to spend too
6 much time on this but the effect of this is the local communes are
7 dissolved and the Crisis Staff appoints its own people in those local,
8 small village communes, right?
9 A. Yes. This decision pertains to that subject. That is to say what
10 you said just now.
11 Q. The effect of that, therefore, is that any representation that
12 Croats in Croat villages in the municipality of Bosanski Samac might have
13 had through their village Crisis Staff, was gone. That was the end of
14 that. And the Crisis Staff of which Dr. Blagoje Simic was president, now
15 had control even at that level. That's the effect of it, isn't it?
16 A. That's not the way it should be interpreted. This is a narrow
17 interpretation. One has to look at Article 3 where it says that a special
18 decision would regulate the position of the local commune. So the motive
19 of this decision is not for the Croats or the Muslims or rather for the
20 Croats to be thrown out of the authorities in the local communes. There
21 is probably some other motive behind this decision. Perhaps some
22 shortcomings were noted in the work of these local communes. I would not
23 agree that this is --
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Is the way you are asking the questions because now
25 the witness is just speculating.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, I'm not inviting him to speculate.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: He's a fact witness so the questions should be to
3 elicit evidence of facts, not what was intended, what was the motive.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: No, no, I don't want the motive. I want the
5 effect of this document and that's the question, with respect, Your
6 Honour, I asked.
7 Q. Witness, I'm not asking you what the reason behind this was. I'm
8 suggesting to you that the simple effect of this document is that even at
9 village level, even at village level, any representation of the people on
10 the local village Crisis Staff is ended and the Crisis Staff, the Crisis
11 Staff that was in Bosanski Samac, the town, has placed its people in those
12 positions. So it controls not just the town but the whole municipality,
13 village by village, commune by commune.
14 A. I understand what you're after, that total authority was taken
15 over by the Crisis Staff, that they took control from the lowest level
16 upwards and that that is what this decision says. I told you already that
17 this is a very narrow interpretation and I cannot agree with it. I would
18 rather put it this way: That the intention involved here is to organise
19 these local communes in a clearer way. It was probably noted that there
20 were some shortcomings in their work, so better organisation and
21 coordination were aimed at in order to have this work carried out in a
22 better way on the ground.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, may I ask what time you
24 intend to --
25 JUDGE MUMBA: We have a break at 1745. This is one and a half
1 hours, one and a half hours, and then you have a 20 minutes break.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: I have finished this with this particular topic.
3 I'm about to embark on the next topic. Now, I'd like an opportunity if I
4 may to confer with my colleague, Mr. Weiner, regarding the remainder of
5 the cross-examination.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: So you want us to take the break now.
7 MR. DI FAZIO: Would it matter if we took the break, it's only a
8 matter of two or three minutes and that will help me devise the next 20
9 minutes and I'd like to do that with my colleague if I may.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: We will take the break now and continue our
11 proceedings at 1805.
12 --- Recess taken at 5.43 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 6.05 p.m.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. Can the witness be shown Exhibit P72?
16 Q. You saw this document earlier this afternoon. I would just like
17 to highlight a number of the more important features of it, Witness.
18 Firstly, this is the document that orders the transformation of Crisis
19 Staffs into War Presidencies, isn't it?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. It is an example, is it not, of state or republican institutions
22 interfering or perhaps interfering is not the right word, affecting
23 municipal level institutions?
24 A. I don't know what you are trying to say with that. The
25 jurisdictions of certain institutions are well known. I don't understand
1 your question. What is the point?
2 Q. It's an example, isn't it, of state or republican institutions
3 issuing instructions as to the structure and name of municipal-level
4 civilian administration?
5 A. The person who signed this decision referred to Article 5, 6, and
6 7 of the --
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't catch what the witness
8 said. So the decision is based on previous regulations.
9 MR. DI FAZIO:
10 Q. Can you repeat what you said?
11 A. I said the signatory of this document, of this decisions in the
12 preamble referred to Articles 5, 6, and 7 of the constitutional law
13 for the implementation of the constitution of the Republic of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina, so in the preamble he refers to a legal basis so this
15 is not an arbitrary decision.
16 Q. I understand that. I'm not seeking the legal history or
17 background of this document. It's not my purpose and I don't have the
18 time for that. All I'm asking you is simply this: Legal or otherwise,
19 okay? This is an example of the state, republican level institutions, the
20 President of the Presidency, affecting the composition of municipal-level
21 civilian administration?
22 A. You're trying to get a principled idea that the state organs are
23 interfering with municipal bodies. You're trying to get that across. If
24 a republic body is based, grounded within the law, they can issue such
25 decisions. This is well known. This is a well known method.
1 Q. It gives instructions for the formation of War Presidencies and in
2 Article 2 it gives instructions for the composition of War Presidencies,
4 A. Yes. I think in Article 2, it states who should be there, if I'm
5 reading this correctly.
6 Q. Article 3, which we've already looked at, goes on to set out that
7 the War Presidency shall do various things in relation to the defence of
8 the people, and then in Article 4, you see that the Presidency can appoint
9 a representative on the War Presidency. Do you see that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And that representative of the republican-level government can
12 have quite an active role, they can undertake all measures relating to
13 appointments, organisation of work and so on? Is that right?
14 A. You would like me now to draw conclusions which are outside of
15 Article 4, but if you ask me how I interpret Article 4, I do it in the
16 following way. The signatory, the person who reached this decision,
17 included provisions in Article 4 so in places where the local authorities
18 are not functioning, there are problems in constituting the local
19 authorities, then this trustee would help in doing that. This is how I
20 interpret that.
21 Q. There was in fact a War Presidency formed in Bosanski Samac, was
22 it not? Was there not? And Dr. Blagoje Simic was president of that War
23 Presidency? If you want, I can show you the document.
24 A. I'm not disputing that.
25 Q. Okay. Now, let's go back to Article 4. Article 4 in the second
1 sentence or paragraph of Article 4, it very clearly says that the
2 republican representative has got to ensure, amongst other things, ensure
3 permanent coordination and implementation of the policies and measures
4 defined and adopted by the republic's state institutions. Do you see
6 A. I'm reading that text in the same way that you are.
7 Q. Okay.
8 A. But we are reading this text. I still don't understand what
9 you're trying to get, what is the point? What is it that I should be
10 explaining in Article 4, paragraph 2?
11 Q. Nothing. I'm just drawing your attention to that particular
12 requirement, that the republican representative ensure permanent
13 coordination and implementation of policies and measures adopted by the
14 republic's state institutions.
15 A. If you permit me, I would like to comment. You are trying to
16 prove here that there was subordination and coordination from the level of
17 the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina down to the municipal level
18 and that the Crisis Staffs were the key bodies. I would like to say that
19 that wasn't so. The Crisis Staffs often were just a form, and that
20 substantially the power was held by the army. They are the ones who had
21 the power. You are trying to say the whole time that the centre of all
22 events was the Crisis Staff and that is not so. And that is my general
23 assessment regarding all of these events that happened.
24 Q. I'm not asking you for to you comment on your assessment of what I
25 am driving at, okay? I'm just asking you to note the plain words, the
1 plain, simple words, the plain printed words, that appear on -- in Article
2 4, and the plain, printed words are: The republic will appoint a
3 representative to work with the War Presidency and ensure permanent
4 coordination and implementation of the policies and measures defined and
5 adopted by the republic's state institutions. Now, that's clear and plain
6 as day, isn't it? You couldn't get -- you couldn't get more clearer
7 words, could you?
8 A. I can read it the same way that you can read it, and we can agree
9 on that, if we read the same text twice.
10 Q. Now, the national assembly is a state institution, isn't it?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. If the national assembly adopts various strategic objectives, they
13 must surely be policies or measures adopted by a state institution?
14 A. I am not questioning the authority of the bodies of the state
15 institutions. They are well known, according to the constitution, the
16 constitutional laws and other regulations. This is an axiom.
17 Q. Thank you. Can the witness be shown P5, please?
18 And may I see it as well, the actual exhibit itself, before it's
19 handed to the witness, please?
20 Would Your Honours just bear with me for a moment? Thank you.
21 Would you look at paragraph 386?
22 A. Yes, I see it.
23 Q. That is a decision on the strategic objectives of the Serbian
24 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it has at the end of that decision
25 the name of Momcilo Krajisnik, President of the national assembly and it
1 has six strategic objectives listed there, does it not?
2 A. Yes, I see that here in the text.
3 Q. And you would agree with me that a decision on something called
4 the strategic objectives of the Serbian people can only be described as a
6 A. It is certain that the assembly intended to establish the
7 strategic goals.
8 Q. Yes, but I'm not asking you about the motives or what was in their
9 mind. It's a very, very simple matter, really simple. If you have before
10 you a document that says, "This is a decision on the strategic objectives
11 of the Serbian people," then it can only be described as a policy of a
12 state institution, can't it?
13 A. Maybe it is over-ambitious to claim that it was totally the
14 official policy but it was certainly a part of the policy.
15 Q. Right. Now, one of the features of this policy is the
16 establishment of state borders separating the Serbian people from the
17 other two ethnic communities, and that's obviously a reference to Muslims
18 and Croats, isn't it?
19 A. I have to go back to Dayton once again, because Dayton verified
20 this, what happened with the falling apart of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
21 Q. With respect Mr. Ninkovic, I'm not asking you about Dayton. All
22 I'm asking you is, is what is there in plain black and white part of this
23 policy is the establishment of state borders separating Serbs from the
24 other two ethnic communities and those other two ethnic communities can
25 only be in the context of the circumstances of this case, and the times
1 and so on, they can only be Croats and Muslims, right?
2 A. It is impossible to explain this decision, if we mention the word
3 strategic then you cannot look at things in an isolated way, outside of
4 the general contexts. If a strategic project is planned, it's planned on
5 the basis of general strategic events, the situation and so on.
6 Q. Let's just go back for a third time. The reference to
7 establishing state borders separating the Serbian people from the other
8 two ethnic communities, the reference to the other two ethnic communities
9 can only as a matter of reasonable logic, that can only be a reference to
10 Croats and Muslims, right?
11 A. It's possible, but I don't see that from this text.
12 Q. What other two ethnic communities were there? There were only
13 three, they are the Serbs and Croats and Muslims or Bosniaks, right? We
14 all know that. You surely don't deny that, do you?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. All right. Now, in a place like Bosanski Samac --
17 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, just for the sake of clarity, the
18 answer "yes" does that mean Mr. Ninkovic is denying or agreeing?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am just stating here the position
20 that the other two ethnic communities are Muslims and Croats. The
21 dominant ones, besides the Serbs. And this is what I meant when I said
23 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But your attempts to prove that this
25 is a strategic document, without taking into account the position that the
1 general strategic atmosphere, without taking that into account, is a very
2 narrow approach and it's not objective. Your approach is not objective.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Your time is complete, Mr. Di Fazio.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Just a few more minutes, if Your Honours please
5 this is my last topic.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: We have to finish this witness today and
7 Mr. Pantelic said he needed about 30 to 40 minutes for re-examination.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, can I just ask one or two more questions, if
9 Your Honours please.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yeah, finally.
11 MR. DI FAZIO:
12 Q. Establishing state borders separating Serbian people from other
13 two ethnic communities, that's going to be very difficult, isn't it, in a
14 place like Bosanski Samac where Croats and Muslims and Serbs live cheek by
15 jowl, where they are all living together. That's going to be very hard,
16 isn't it, to carry out that sort of programme?
17 A. As you said, about an hour ago, there were ethnically pure
18 settlements of Serbs and Croats in the territory of the municipality of
19 Samac, as you said, so there were purely Serb villages and purely Croat
21 Q. And finally, the last question, item number 1 of that decision is
22 really a recipe for what later became known as ethnic cleansing and that
23 is in fact what took place in the municipality, is it not?
24 A. No. I cannot agree with you at all on that point. It's a very
25 pretentious formulation which I cannot extrapolate from this first
1 decision, and I see from what you say also that you are not objective in
2 your approach to these charges.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Re-examination, Mr. Pantelic?
5 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, thank you, Your Honour.
6 Mr. Usher, please, could you just leave this exhibit because I'm
7 going to examine on it. Your Honour when I said that I would need between
8 30 and 40 minutes, that was in the more or less in the at the midway of
9 the examination of my learned friend. So I have some other exhibits now
10 and topics so I kindly ask not to be very strict to this time limit. I'll
11 do my best to organise my questions within this time limit but when I said
12 30 and 40 minutes that was let's say one hour and a half ago when the
13 other topics were not raised.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, just go ahead with your
16 MR. PANTELIC: I'm very mindful about time as usual. Thank you.
17 Re-examined by Mr. Pantelic:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Excuse me just a few more questions,
19 Mr. Ninkovic, with regard to this. Could you please just move this
20 document that's on the ELMO so that I can see the date up there?
21 A. It has to be turned on.
22 Q. Look at what is on the ELMO. However could you just move the
23 document a bit towards you? Right, excellent. Could you read in the
24 upper right-hand corner what the date is? The upper right-hand corner of
25 this document.
1 A. The 26th of November, 1993. Is that what you meant?
2 Q. That's what I meant. Did you personally ever have any knowledge
3 regarding this document?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge about this decision and its
6 contents ever being discussed by the local authorities in Samac?
7 A. No. This was never discussed.
8 MR. PANTELIC: I will -- I finished with this exhibit, thank you
9 Mr. Usher.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: Just for the purposes of the record I think we
11 should be clear that the witness was talking of P5 and that's what the
12 question related to.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: That's the exhibit.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: I just wanted to be absolutely clear about that.
15 That's all.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, I'm grateful to my friend for this
17 intervention. Thank you. Yes, that was Exhibit P5.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, in order to be efficient you talked
19 about the municipality of Samac, the Serb Municipality of Samac, the
20 pre-war municipality of Samac, in response to the questions put by my
21 learned friend Mr. Di Fazio, there was an entire series of these
22 questions. In order to clarify certain matters, and in order to assist
23 the Trial Chamber in reaching their decision, I'm going to ask you to look
24 at a map. Let's comment on that, please. [In English] 31/1, please.
25 [Interpretation] As far as I can remember. While Madam Registrar is
1 looking for this document, I want to ask you some other things. Right now
2 you are president of the municipal assembly of Samac, aren't you?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. As such, as this kind of official, and in view of your long years
5 of experience in administration, what can you say? You as president of
6 the municipality, do you reach decisions of the municipal assembly or is
7 this done in some other way?
8 A. The statute of the municipal assembly defines --
9 MR. DI FAZIO: Apart from -- I can't quite understand the question
10 but I'm -- one thing I can understand is that it doesn't arise out of
11 cross-examination as far as I can see.
12 MR. PANTELIC: In fact --
13 MR. DI FAZIO: If it does, exactly, as Mr. Weiner points out to
14 me, he's talking about events that are occurring --
15 JUDGE MUMBA: At present.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: -- at the present time as well, so I just don't see
17 how this clarifies anything that I raised.
18 MR. PANTELIC: Okay. I can understand. I will rephrase my
20 Q. [Interpretation] When you were answering the Prosecutor's
21 questions, for example when certain enactment was passed and we'll go back
22 to that, when an enactment adopted by the municipal assembly was published
23 in the Official Gazette and then when the signature said Dr. Blagoje Simic
24 as president of the municipal assembly, these are the kind of things I'm
25 talking about, was it he personally who passed this decision or was a
1 different process involved? Because the formulation of the question put
2 to you by the Prosecutor was such that it went in that direction?
3 A. I understand. These are internal matters related to the work of
4 parliament assemblies, that is to say the chairing person, the President
5 of the assembly, has only one vote. He only has his own vote. And every
6 decision is passed by a majority vote out of all the assemblymen present
7 and this is in line with the Statute of the assembly. However, the
8 President of the assembly signs these documents because that is the way
9 things are, according to protocol and he represents the assembly.
10 Q. Thank you. Could you please take a look at this map? If it's
11 easier for you, just take a look at it directly at the ELMO. Could you
12 please tell me the following? This red line, what could that be? The one
13 that goes across the municipality?
14 A. You mean right of the red line?
15 Q. No, I'm asking you specifically about that red line. What is your
16 interpretation, what is this red line that goes through the territory of
17 the municipality of Samac?
18 A. This red line is the border between the entities on the basis of
19 the Dayton Accords. That is to say that is the boundary between the
20 Republika Srpska and the federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
21 Q. Very well. Thank you. And what is this thin black line that goes
22 for example from the Sava River and then goes by Orasje, Gradacac, Modrica
23 and then goes up to the Bosna, what is that line?
24 A. Yes, that is the boundary of the pre-war municipality of Bosanski
25 Samac. And the pre-war of -- municipality -- boundary of the pre-war
1 municipality of Odzak.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please I think we have got a key or
3 a legend or an index or whatever the right -- yes, a legend at the bottom
4 left-hand corner that tells us what all these lines are. These questions
5 aren't necessary.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic? The map is self explanatory.
7 MR. PANTELIC:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, tell me the following now.
9 MR. PANTELIC: You can take your seat because I will discuss this
10 exhibit, several questions.
11 Q. [Interpretation] So Mr. Ninkovic, right now, or perhaps let me put
12 the question this way. What is your personal knowledge as to the
13 following: Since when has there been a municipality Domaljevac Samac if
14 there has ever been one?
15 A. The municipality of Domaljevac Samac has been in existence since
16 the war days and it is in part of the territory of the pre-war
17 municipality of Bosanski Samac. Specifically it includes Domaljevac,
18 Bazik, and Grebnice. These were local communes, settlements, within the
19 pre-war municipality of Bosanski Samac. I can testify about the number of
20 inhabitants specifically as well. Domaljevac had a population of 400.
21 Bazik, 800, and Grebnice had a bit over 2.000. The municipality had
22 32.800 inhabitants.
23 Q. If you know, which MPs constitute the assembly of the municipality
24 of Domaljevac Samac, I mean their ethnic background?
25 A. These are Croats and during the war, these were assemblymen who
1 had been elected in 1990, which means that they constituted the
2 municipality of Domaljevac-Bosanski Samac.
3 Q. Does this municipality still exist?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Are there any Serb MPs in that assembly?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Were there any during the war? I mean from 1992 onwards?
8 A. No, but in the municipality, in the municipal assembly that I
9 chair, there are both Croats and Muslims, there are their representatives
10 among the authorities, whereas in Domaljevac there aren't any. And now
11 after Dayton as well. That is a fact.
12 Q. Tell me, Mr. Ninkovic, do you have any personal knowledge about
13 the following? The civilian authorities in the Serb part of the
14 municipality of Bosanski Samac, during 1992, and 1993, did they ever
15 discuss the takeover of power in the territory of the municipality of
16 Domaljevac Samac?
17 A. As far as I know, no.
18 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you. Mr. Usher, you can take this exhibit,
20 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Ninkovic, when you say -- sorry,
21 Mr. Pantelic, when you asked the question, the civilian authorities in the
22 Serb part of the municipality of Bosanski Samac, et cetera, can you be
23 specific? You're referring to the Crisis Staff and so on? I think it
24 would be useful to have the specific body named rather than the general.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
1 Q. [Interpretation] Her Honour Judge Williams is right. I should
2 clarify this. So my question pertained to the Crisis Staff, the War
3 Presidency and the executive council as well as the municipal assembly of
4 Samac, when I mentioned the civilian authorities. That's what I meant.
5 So within these forums, in these institutions, was this ever discussed,
6 practically the takeover of territory and of power of Domaljevac Samac?
7 A. I immediately understood your question so I will repeat my
8 answer. As far as I know, never was there any discussion at any one of
9 these institutions or authorities concerning the takeover of Domaljevac
11 Q. Maybe you know, maybe you don't know?
12 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes, I was just going to add a supplementary
13 question. You've been stating that you were not a member of the Crisis
14 Staff and even though you were in the building where it met, you weren't
15 at all of its meetings, so I'm just wondering how you would know what was
16 discussed or not discussed on this issue, if you, as you say, were not a
17 member of the Crisis Staff?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you listen to me carefully, I
19 said as far as I know, no. Perhaps one could have a look at the
20 transcript and see that that is actually what I said.
21 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes, in fact that's what you did say but I wanted
22 for the sake of the record to hear you address specifically with regard to
23 your status of not being a member of the Crisis Staff, as you put it.
24 Thank you.
25 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. One more question with regard to this subject. Did you ever hear
2 in any contacts, informal conversations in town, when talking to your
3 colleagues, your friends, with people who held certain offices, did you
4 ever hear any mention of this subject that we have been discussing now?
5 A. I'm going to answer with a few words, because I think the
6 leadership of the municipality of Samac had the ambition of defending the
7 territory it held, not that there were any aspirations vis-a-vis the
8 territories that were not under their control. So I never heard anywhere
9 of anyone showing any aspirations in that sense.
10 Q. Very well. Let us go back to the period of April, 1992, April,
11 May, 1992. My question is the following: Do you have any personal
12 knowledge in terms of the following, that in April, 1992, in the territory
13 of the municipality of Bosanski Samac, specifically in the town of Samac,
14 where the seat of the municipal assembly was, at the moment when the
15 conflict broke out, did you see or did you know that assemblymen of the
16 municipal assembly of Bosanski Samac who were ethnic Croats were there in
17 town at the moment when the conflict broke out, did you know about them
18 being in town?
19 MR. DI FAZIO: A, the witness said he wasn't there, he said he was
20 in Skarici, the village of Skarici. He wasn't there when the conflict
21 broke out. He only turned out later, and B, it didn't arise in my
23 MR. PANTELIC: Well, Your Honour --
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, please, in fact, the basis of my
1 question was to introduce personal knowledge or to explore personal
2 knowledge of this witness with regard to the exhibit P124, I believe, and
3 specifically with regard to the deputies, the ethnic background of the
4 deputies in this municipal assembly. So --
5 MR. DI FAZIO: The time for exploration is over. That was to
6 occur if it was to occur at all in examination-in-chief. The purpose of
7 re-examination is to clarify anything that I have wrongly left unclear and
8 that's all.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: It doesn't go beyond that.
11 MR. PANTELIC: That's exactly Your Honour what I would like to
12 achieve in my redirect.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: The objection is sustained so can you proceed?
14 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. The Prosecutor asked you about whether in the Serb Municipality of
16 Samac, in the assembly, whether there were Croat and Muslim assemblymen.
17 He asked you about that this afternoon, remember that?
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 Q. My question is the following: I have to clarify this with you.
20 I'm not talking about the specific date of the 16th or the 17th. I'm
21 talking about the weeks following the second half of April and May. Did
22 you see any assemblymen who were ethnic Croats in Samac at that time?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge as to where these assemblymen
25 were, these assemblymen headed by the President of the then municipal
1 assembly, Mato Nujic? Also an ethnic Croat. Did you personally know
2 where they were?
3 A. I explained that, the municipality of Domaljevac-Bosanski Samac.
4 They constituted the municipality of Domaljevac-Bosanski Samac.
5 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have please Exhibit P125, please?
6 Q. [Interpretation] Could you please place page 1 on the ELMO? My
7 learned friend asked you today, Mr. Di Fazio, about Article 1 of the
8 Statute, and I am now asking you the following: Do you have any personal
9 knowledge about what the motive was of the Serb deputies in the parliament
10 of Bosnia and Herzegovina in October, 1991, to leave that parliament? To
11 leave that assembly?
12 A. That is a well-known matter. There was a violation of the
13 constitution and the constitutional rights of Serbs in Bosnia and
15 Q. What is your personal knowledge about what the Serb deputies,
16 after they left the parliament, what did they establish?
17 A. They established the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
18 Q. In that Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was any territory
19 planned that would form that republic? And if you know, what would that
20 territory comprise?
21 A. As far as I know, those would be the territories with the majority
22 Serb population.
23 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge about whether in the territory
24 of the municipality of Samac, in early 1991, a plebiscite was held about
25 the establishment of the Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac?
1 A. You said --
2 Q. I'm talking about the local plebiscite, if you remember. If not,
3 it's not a problem.
4 A. I don't remember that.
5 Q. Very well.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, Mr. Lukic asked for permission to
7 address the Trial Chamber. So maybe we can adjourn -- you complete your
8 re-examination tomorrow morning.
9 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: So that Mr. Lukic can take up the matter he wants to
12 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: And can the witness be escorted out of the
15 [The witness stands down]
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic?
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Very briefly, Your Honours, today,
18 when I came into the courtroom, I was very surprised, unpleasantly, when I
19 saw that my client came to the courtroom on crutches, during the break I
20 talked to him and he told me that he has an injured knee, luckily he told
21 me it's not a serious injury. He had a blood vessel burst in his knee and
22 he is under treatment. So he expects for the bandages to be taken off by
23 Monday. But he authorised me, since the doctor told him that he should
24 rest but he wanted to come and attend the cross-examination today, but
25 since the doctor did suggest for him to rest for the next couple of days,
1 and since the schedule plans all day hearings for the next two days, he
2 has told me that he would like to spend the next couple of days in his
3 cell in the detention unit, so -- and he agrees that the trial should
4 continue without him, and if he needs to sign anything, he's willing to do
5 so, but he expects next week when our presentation of the case begins that
6 he would be quite well.
7 Since I will talk with the warden tomorrow, I hope that I will be
8 able to stay in touch with my client during the breaks in the proceedings
9 tomorrow. I hope that will be made possible for me so that I could keep
10 him up to date, and I think that it will be enough for me to stay in touch
11 with him during the break so that he would stay up to date with the
12 proceedings by telephone. So this is all that I wanted to tell you.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well, Mr. Lukic. Yes, it's very kind of
14 Mr. Tadic to agree that the trial should proceed in his absence and that
15 he will remain resting, tending his injury in the detention unit so we
16 will proceed as scheduled and I'm sure that you will be able to make
17 contact with your client during the breaks and apprise him or between the
18 two of you, you can divide your labour, one can go after one session and
19 brief the accused so that if he has any instructions to give that can be
20 done so that should be divided between the two of you. We shall now
21 adjourn and continue our proceedings tomorrow.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
23 6.53 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
24 the 9th day of January, 2003, at 9:30 a.m.