1 Friday, 10 January 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The accused Tadic not present]
5 [The witness entered court]
6 --- Upon commencing at 10.01 a.m.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. Case number IT-95-9-T the
9 Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and Simo Zaric.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Today because we are starting at 10.00, we will sit
11 up to 17 hours to catch up on the last half hour. Any other counsel who
12 wishes to examine the witness before re-examination by Mr. Pantelic? I
13 see none.
14 MR. LAZAREVIC: No, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, please.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you. Good morning, Your Honours.
17 WITNESS: DUSAN TANASIC [Resumed]
18 Re-examined by Mr. Pantelic:
19 Q. Good day.
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. Yesterday, a question from the Prosecutor relating to the
22 political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina after multiparty elections
23 in 1990, you spoke about party relations, so could you please tell us: Do
24 you know who formed the coalition government after the multiparty
25 elections in 1992, at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina? We're talking
1 about parties now which parties formed the government?
2 A. At the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the government was formed
3 by the Party of Democratic Action, the Serbian Democratic Party, and the
4 Croatian Democratic Union.
5 Q. Could you please tell me whether the principle of that coalition
6 alliance was in some way applied at the local level as well? I'm talking
7 about the municipal level.
8 A. Yes. The same principle was applied at the local level.
9 Q. And in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the period up to 1991, was the
10 principle of equality of the constitutive peoples in force?
11 A. Yes, it was.
12 Q. Could you please tell us how this worked in practice at the local
13 level, according to what you know, and how were these interests protected,
14 if you know? I'm thinking about the decision-making process and also the
15 parliamentary life at the local level.
16 A. After the multiparty elections in 1990, there were no particular
17 protection mechanisms. I already mentioned in the municipality of
18 Gradacac, since the Serbs were a minority there, the decisions were made
19 by outvoting to the disadvantage of the Serbs. I'm talking about some
21 Q. You said that at the local level, the government was formed
22 between -- amongst the SDS, the Party of Democratic Action, and the HDZ.
23 So what is your knowledge about how this functioned there?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What were the political measures taken by the Serb delegates in
1 this sense? How did the Serb deputies react to attempts at outvoting,
2 this occurred?
3 MR. RE: I object.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Re.
5 MR. RE: I didn't ask any questions relating to the functioning of
6 the local municipality or local government after the elections. This just
7 doesn't arise out of cross-examination. It's not relevant to the
8 proceedings at the moment.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic.
10 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I think since this is a last question
11 in this topic, I think it's relevant because this witness can clarify how
12 the system, political system, functioned on the republican level and on
13 the local level and what the consequences of certain actions of the
14 coalition partners were, simple as that.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We are back to the same problem. It may be
16 relevant, but the matter wasn't raised in cross-examination.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Okay. Then I can go to another topic.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Tanasic, could you please tell me, since the
19 Prosecutor yesterday asked you questions relating to the party
20 organisational structure of the SDS party: Do you have any knowledge
21 about how the SDA party was organised in Bosnia and Herzegovina? And I'm
22 thinking about the relationships there and I'm also thinking about the
23 functional aspects of that.
24 MR. RE: I'm objecting, Your Honour, before the witness answers.
25 I didn't ask about the functioning of the SDA. I asked this witness about
1 the functioning of the SDS, of which he was the local president.
2 Completely outside the bounds of re-examination.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Well, Your Honour, I mean, the coalition
4 partners, SDS, SDA, and HDZ, I would just like to find out what are the
5 system of organisation and functioning, just to make a parallel. And I
6 don't see any particular problem not to explore this matter with this
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. With the explanation, then you can go ahead.
9 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
10 Q. [Interpretation] So my question was that if you have any personal
11 knowledge, can you explain how the SDA party was functionally organised in
13 A. At the local level, the Party of Democratic Action also had a
14 municipal board, and at the republican level, they had a Main Board and
15 the party presidency.
16 Q. Could you please tell me what the situation was with the HDZ?
17 A. Very similar. They also had at the local level municipal boards,
18 and at the top the Main Board.
19 Q. Very well. Do you have any knowledge about how many members were
20 there in the Main Board of the SDS, if you remember, could you please tell
21 us the numbers.
22 A. I'm not sure. I think it was over 80 members.
23 Q. And could you please tell me: In the decision-making process,
24 when a decision was adopted by the Main Board, can you explain to us what
25 its force was? Was it binding on the other party bodies or, if you know
1 and if you can make a parallel, if the decision about implementing party
2 policies was in the hands of an inner circle or something like that.
3 Could you please explain that principle to us. Since you said that there
4 were 80 members, could you please tell us what you know about that.
5 A. All key decisions, more important decisions, decisions of a global
6 importance, were adopted at the Main Board, and they were binding for the
7 lower bodies.
8 Q. Were these decisions binding for the organs or officials at the
9 highest level also of the SDS party?
10 A. Yes. Yes. They were binding on them also.
11 Q. How many members were there in the Main Board of your
13 A. From our municipal board, there were no representatives in the
14 Main Board because we were a smaller municipality.
15 Q. And at the municipal level, did you have a body that was called
16 the municipal board or the Main Board? You were a president of the
17 municipal board. What were other bodies that existed there and what were
18 they called?
19 A. At the municipal level, it was called the municipal board, and it
20 numbered about 40 members, comprised of representatives from all the
21 villages of the municipality.
22 Q. And the decision-making process, did that proceed by discussion
23 and by adopting conclusions, or did you, as the president of the board,
24 give certain indications and ideas that were to be adopted? How did that
1 A. In principle, the duty of the president was to conduct meetings of
2 the municipal board and not to directly make decisions but to carry out
3 those decisions which were crystalised through discussion and reached by
5 Q. Do you know if that was the same at the highest level, if the
6 procedure was the same as you have just described it at the highest
8 A. Yes. This principle applied to all the levels of the party.
9 Q. Since a lot of time has passed since then, I'm interested if you
10 can remember still in 1990 and 1991 which bodies existed at the republican
11 level of the SDS party. You mentioned that -- if you remember, of course,
12 that it was the -- the Main Board was there, the Executive Board. Do you
13 remember who was the president of the Main Board of the SDS at the
14 republican level, or of the Executive Council?
15 A. As far as I can remember, there was no president of the Main
16 Board. There was a president of the party, and that was Dr. Radovan
17 Karadzic. And as far as I can remember, there was no Executive Board, but
18 there was a party presidency.
19 Q. Could you please tell me what your personal knowledge is in the
20 period of 1992 and 1993 about possible discriminatory moves and acts of
21 Dr. Blagoje Simic in Samac? Did you hear of anything like that? And
22 please explain to us whether you have any knowledge about that at all?
23 MR. RE: I object to the question. I didn't ask the witness about
24 discriminatory acts by Dr. Simic. I asked him only the hypothetical
25 question in relation to the character conclusion the witness had drawn.
1 My learned friend Mr. Pantelic asked the same question in
2 examination-in-chief. This just doesn't arise out of anything I asked,
3 with respect.
4 MR. PANTELIC: Well, Your Honour, it was a little bit more
5 expanded by my learned friend during his examination, cross-examination,
6 because on my question with regard to the character of Dr. Blagoje Simic,
7 my learned friend expanded that to the issues of discriminatory actions
8 and some issues with regard to the indictment. So I'd just like to
9 clarify that with the witness, because that was the matter which was
10 raised by the Prosecution during cross-examination.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: I will allow the question, Mr. Pantelic. Go ahead.
12 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Tanasic, do you have any personal knowledge in the period of
14 1991, April 1992, until the end of 1993, about discriminatory acts of
15 Blagoje Simic relating to non-Serb ethnic groups and generally?
16 A. I don't have any information about any such actions by Dr. Blagoje
18 Q. Did anybody -- any of the people around you or anybody from that
19 area possibly speak about acts of such nature by Dr. Blagoje Simic? Did
20 you hear anybody complain about his conduct or any of his acts?
21 A. I didn't hear about anything like that either.
22 Q. I have another question relating to the -- to a topic that was
23 mentioned during cross-examination. Do you have any personal knowledge
24 that in the territory of the municipality of Samac, from April 1992 until
25 July 1992, about the functioning of the Crisis Staff? Do you have any
1 information about that? Was there any talk about that? This was after
2 the conflict broke out.
3 MR. RE: Your Honour, I object to this. The witness answered this
4 in cross-examination in the clearest possible way, saying the Crisis Staff
5 was never established. He didn't know anything about it. There is
6 nothing that can be clarified from that answer, in my respectful
8 MR. PANTELIC: My impression, Your Honour, was that --
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
10 MR. PANTELIC: -- this witness was confused or to some extent
11 misled by the questions of the Prosecution, so I don't think that --
12 JUDGE MUMBA: No. There is no such thing as being misled. The
13 question was quite clear and it was even further clarified by the witness
14 MR. PANTELIC: I mean in terms of whether the question was focused
15 on a period prior to the outbreak of hostilities in the municipality or
16 after, in that term.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: You remember that point was also discussed
18 yesterday, that there was no relationship as to the answer from the
19 witness covered the whole period.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: So the objection is sustained.
22 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Very well. Mr. Tanasic, could you please tell me what your
24 knowledge is about certain failings by the police in Samac? Do you have
25 any information about certain things committed by the police in Samac?
1 MR. RE: Again I object, Your Honour. I didn't -- I can't recall
2 asking anything in relation to the police in Samac yesterday.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Uh-huh. Mr. Pantelic --
4 MR. PANTELIC: Well, in broader term, Your Honour -- yes.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We are back to the same problem. It's not an
6 opportunity for you to continue examination-in-chief.
7 MR. PANTELIC: Okay. I think that I've finished with the
8 re-examination of this witness, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Very well.
10 I just want one matter with the witness. I wanted to find out:
11 Yesterday you did say that soon after the outbreak of the war about April
12 1992, you went off to fight. You were a soldier. I just want
13 clarification on that. What did you mean exactly? Were you away on the
14 front line so that you never participated with the civilian institutions
15 during the -- from the outbreak up to the end of 1993, or which period did
16 you go away as a soldier?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wasn't somewhere else. I was in
18 Pelagicevo, as part of the military unit. I was in communications in the
19 3rd Detachment, which means that since at that time in Pelagicevo, the
20 municipality that was founded, and that was banned, I didn't take part in
21 its work then or later. I was simply a member of the army.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
23 Any questions arising from that answer? The Prosecution?
24 MR. RE: No, Your Honour.
25 MR. PANTELIC: No, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well. Thank you very much for giving evidence
2 to the Tribunal. You are now free. You can leave the courtroom.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, if I may during this few seconds to
5 inform the Trial Chamber that due to certain important personal
6 commitments, I would like to -- I informed my learned friend from the
7 Prosecution with regard to the line-up of the witnesses for today. It was
8 scheduled to have witness Dr. Stanimirovic this morning after this
9 witness, but I was informed by the witness unit yesterday afternoon and
10 also by Mr. Paleksic, a witness who should come here, that he should be
11 at latest on Monday, next Monday, in Belgrade. So I just want to inform
12 that instead of Dr. Stanimirovic, if it's convenient with the Trial
13 Chamber to have Mr. Paleksic as the next witness.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Let's go ahead. Whichever witness is
15 available, as long as the Prosecution is informed.
16 MR. RE: The Prosecution is informed just before -- just prior to
17 coming into court this morning. It does present us with a little bit of
18 difficulty in that no one has prepared for the cross-examination of this
19 next witness, because until 2 minutes to 10.00, we were under the
20 impression that another witness was coming. So the only difficulty is we
21 may ask for a slight adjournment after hearing his evidence in chief,
22 because we have been taken by surprise, because the witness list keeps
23 changing from the Defence perspective and we can't keep up with this rate.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. But I think this is a common problem in most
25 trials all the time, even with the Prosecution we had these problems. I
1 expect counsel to be prepared for cross-examination for all the witnesses
2 listed, regardless of the sequence, please, so that we go ahead with the
3 Defence. Can we have the next witness.
4 [The witness withdrew]
5 JUDGE MUMBA: In this case for instance, the Prosecution I want to
6 pay attention. We have a list of viva voce witnesses and they're fairly
7 few, so that it shouldn't be much of a problem to prepare for. Be ready
8 for any to be called, all right.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 MR. RE: The only difficulty with this one is Mr. Di Fazio was
11 going to take this witness and he's not actually in court today. But we
12 can -- we'll just switch it.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: All right, Mr. Re.
14 Good morning. Please make the solemn declaration.
15 WITNESS: SLAVKO PALEKSIC
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
17 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Please sit down.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, please.
22 Examined by Mr. Pantelic:
23 Q. Good morning, Witness. Can you hear me and can you hear the
25 A. Yes, I can hear you.
1 Q. Are you receiving proper translation when you address the Chamber?
2 A. Yes. Everything was all right.
3 Q. Will you be so kind to state your full name, please.
4 A. My name is Slavko and last name Paleksic.
5 Q. Just a few remarks concerning our communication. After my
6 question, since both of us speak the same language, you should make a
7 slight pause in order to allow for the interpreters to translate what has
8 been said and the transcript is properly done. And I hope that will not
9 present a problem.
10 Tell me: When and where were you born?
11 A. I was born on the 5th of June, 1953, in Gracanica, in
13 Q. Are you married? Do you have children?
14 A. Yes. I'm married, with two boys.
15 Q. Tell me: Were your parents and your grandparents also from
17 A. Yes, all my relatives come from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
18 Q. Can you please tell us approximately how many generations it goes
20 A. I think that my family has been living in Bosnia around 200 years.
21 Q. Mr. Paleksic, what kind of education do you have?
22 A. I graduated from the faculty of law in 1977. Then I passed the
23 bar exam in 1981 [as interpreted]. I completed my military service in
25 MR. LAZAREVIC: Your Honour, for the accuracy of the transcript.
1 The witness said that he passed his bar examination in 1979, not in 1981.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have that corrected.
3 MR. PANTELIC: I will rectify that. I will clarify.
4 Q. [Interpretation] My question was: When did you take the bar exam?
5 A. In May 1977 -- 1979, sorry.
6 Q. In which branch of the army did you serve in?
7 A. Infantry and sub-branch president Tito's guard.
8 Q. Did you have any rank in the military?
9 A. No, I didn't have any, but after that I acquired the rank of a
11 Q. I suppose that after you completed your military service you found
12 a job. Where was your first employment?
13 A. I apologise. I got a job before I went to the army. As soon as I
14 graduated from the faculty, I got a job in the basic court as an intern in
15 Gracanica, and after I had taken my bar exam, I worked as a judge of the
16 basic court in Gracanica. I also worked as a public Prosecutor of the
17 basic court. Then I was a manager of a company. And after that, I was
18 the secretary of the municipal assembly. That was before the war broke
19 out, until the war broke out.
20 Q. We shall go back to this period. After the war broke out, you
21 left the territory of Gracanica; is that right?
22 A. Yes. I left my place of living on the 29th of April, where I had
23 been living for the previous 15 years.
24 Q. Concerning your further professional career, after you had left
25 Gracanica, what did you do professionally, and in which period?
1 A. From 1st of May 1992 I had a work obligation in the police station
2 of Petrovo, where my parents lived and where I went as a displaced person,
3 and there I worked as chief of the legal affairs section.
4 Q. Just briefly: What kind of jobs did you do?
5 A. This is the issuing of identity cards, driving licences,
6 passports, and various other certificates within the framework of the
7 Ministry of the Interior Affairs.
8 Q. You remained there how long?
9 A. Until August 1992.
10 Q. What did you do afterwards?
11 A. After that I worked at the security centre service -- services
12 centre in Doboj, as head of the section for personnel and legal affairs.
13 Q. I presume that was a similar job.
14 A. Yes, a similar kind of job, only at the regional level.
15 Q. We shall also go back to this period later.
16 When you said "at the regional level," which particular region was
17 covered by the Doboj regional centre?
18 A. The Ministry of the Interior was set up in such a manner that it
19 had several centres. The Doboj centre covered the region of Brod,
20 Derventa, Doboj, Samac, Petrovo, and Teslic municipalities, Pelagicevo as
22 Q. Mr. Paleksic, can you tell me, when you were the head of the legal
23 affairs section, that was from August 1992 until when?
24 A. Until 1st of October, 1994.
25 Q. What did you do after that?
1 A. After that I have to correct myself, I was an acting chief of the
2 Security Services Centre in Doboj.
3 Q. For how long did you discharge this duty?
4 A. Until the 1st of April, 1995.
5 Q. After April 1995, what did you do?
6 A. After that I moved to Bijeljina, where the seat of the minister of
7 the interior of Republika Srpska was, and there I took the position of the
8 head of the personnel and legal affairs department. It was basically the
9 same job but only at the level of the minister of the interior of
10 Republika Srpska.
11 Q. How long did you stay there?
12 A. Until end of August 1997.
13 Q. After August 1997, what did you do?
14 A. In August 1997, there was a division in the Ministry of the
15 Interior and the leadership of Republika Srpska. I was the minister of
16 the interior of Republika Srpska until February 1998.
17 Q. After February 1998, what did you do?
18 A. For a short while I also worked as the chief of the legal affairs
19 section, and then, in June 1998, I opened my own law firm, and at the
20 moment I work as an attorney at law.
21 Q. Where is your law office?
22 A. In Bijeljina.
23 Q. Did you work on any cases in The Hague?
24 A. I was a legal assistant in this case, prosecutor against the
25 accused Blagoje Simic.
1 Q. Mr. Paleksic, are you a member of a political party?
2 A. No. I have never been one, or rather, I was a member of the
3 League of Communists until 1991.
4 Q. And after that?
5 A. No, I wasn't a member of any party.
6 Q. Tell me, Mr. Paleksic: What was the situation in April 1992 in
7 Gracanica, and what was the reason for your leaving Gracanica?
8 A. I was very much politically engaged as member of the League of
9 Communists in Gracanica and I discharged various duties, like, for
10 example, the vice-president of the municipality, president of the social
11 political council of the municipality. The situation was similar to other
12 towns in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Very tense, strong tensions could be felt.
13 Gracanica was a town where both the area of the municipality and the town
14 itself was populated by 80 per cent of Muslims, now Bosniaks, and some 15
15 per cent Serbs, and the rest were made up for the remaining percentage. I
16 know that because I was at the time the secretary of the municipality when
17 the elections were held.
18 Q. Tell me: What specifically happened in April 1992, after which
19 time you left Gracanica?
20 A. I worked as the assistant for morale in the Territorial Defence
21 staff, and I noticed that the people from the town, my Muslim neighbours,
22 were very often away, that they wore uniforms, that very often they
23 returned with muddy uniforms and boots. And I asked one of my neighbours,
24 who was on that staff where I was an assistant, and he was hierarchically
25 below me, asked him where they had been going, and he replied that they
1 were going to a military exercise. It was very indicative to me that they
2 had been holding a military exercise and I, as his superior, did not know
3 anything about it. I heard that weapons had been distributed and that
4 there were some unofficial formations that were preparing themselves for
6 Since I wasn't a member of any party, I couldn't believe that that
7 could happen in Gracanica, where I had very good relations with my
8 neighbours, despite the war that had broken out elsewhere. However, on
9 the 28th of April, in the evening, a friend approached me - in fact, he
10 came to my door, at midnight, to the door of my flat. He was a Romany, a
11 gypsy. And I had helped him to bury his two sons who had been killed
12 during a military exercise. We were very close. He was about 60 years of
13 age at the time. And he told me -- they used to address me as "judge."
14 He told me: "Judge, they're going to kill you tonight." I asked him,
15 "Who do you mean?" And he replied, "You don't want to know."
16 I took my wife and my children, and in sneakers and in shorts,
17 left my flat and my town and I never went back.
18 The following day, if you allow me to finish, the following day,
19 somebody called me by phone to tell me that my flat had been plundered.
20 Q. Where did you leave with your family?
21 A. I went to my parents' house in Petrovo, on Mount Ozren, which is
22 about 20 kilometres away.
23 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic.
24 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: For the sake of clarity, could the witness tell
1 us the geographical location of Gracanica, please.
2 MR. PANTELIC: That was my intention.
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: That's very good, then. We're thinking alike.
4 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Paleksic, in respect to the town of Doboj, where is Gracanica
6 located, and where Petrovo was, where you went?
7 A. Gracanica is halfway between the towns of Tuzla and Doboj. On the
8 one side is Gracanica, and that is the side where mainly Muslim villages
9 were situated. That is the right-hand side of the Spreca River. And on
10 the left-hand side of the river is Petrovo, composed of Serbian-populated
12 Q. How far was it from Doboj?
13 A. There is about 20 kilometres between Doboj and Gracanica, and some
14 40 kilometres to Tuzla.
15 Q. In which direction from Doboj geographically is Gracanica?
16 A. Geographically, it is exactly on the east from Doboj, to the east
17 from Doboj. Yes, that is north-eastern Bosnia. And Gracanica is about
18 approximately 50 kilometres from Samac. So that was the region. And it
19 has almost the identical number of inhabitants and it is structured in the
20 same way. These are generally small Bosnian towns.
21 Q. You were secretary of the Gracanica municipality; right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Tell me: How long were you in this position?
24 A. All the dates that I took jobs were either the 1st of April or the
25 1st of October. So from 1st of October 1987 until the 1990 multiparty
1 elections, when practically I was expelled from this job because I didn't
2 favour any political option.
3 Q. Which political parties in the aftermath of the 1990 elections
4 practically took power?
5 A. Practically, SDS and SDA, in conformity with the number of
7 Q. Given the fact that you held this office and that you knew how the
8 municipality worked, can you tell us: In the decision-making process, the
9 municipal level, in the Municipal Assembly, which principle prevailed?
10 How the debates were held and on what principles the decisions were based,
11 and what was the role of the president of the municipality? Can you just
12 be brief? Because you know that.
13 A. I know very well how the municipality operated, because I was also
14 the vice-president of the municipality. Decisions were adopted at
15 sessions, at the proposal of the executive committee. The president was
16 the first among equals, and his role was the role of a speaker, and he
17 also chaired the sessions. The decisions were adopted by majority vote,
18 and the vote of the president was equal to the vote of any of the
20 Q. Tell me, Mr. Paleksic: Do you know -- can you just tell us
21 briefly, do you know anything about the events in the region of Posavina
22 in the period 1991, which means late 1991, until April 1992?
23 A. I just heard stories about that and read about it, because at the
24 time I was living in Gracanica. But as an official of the Security
25 Services Centre in Doboj, and especially as the head of the section, in
1 1994 I learned detailed information about what had taken place in
2 Posavina, particularly in the village of Sijekovac, Brod municipality,
3 then in Derventa, and Novi Grad and Odzak. Because then, as an authorised
4 official, I signed criminal charges for this Honourable Court against a
5 number of persons who had at the time, according to these criminal
6 charges, presumably had committed serious crimes.
7 MR. RE: Can we clarify which court, which Honourable Court this
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I'm sure Mr. Pantelic will do that.
10 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. This is also my intention.
11 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Paleksic, could you please just give us a few
12 details. First and foremost, which are the persons against which you
13 brought criminal charges, as part of the team that was involved in this
14 Prosecution, and what were the circumstances? Could you give us a few
16 A. We brought criminal charges - perhaps there was a
17 misinterpretation - through the committee for cooperation with The Hague
18 Tribunal from Belgrade, and we submitted this to this office of the
19 Prosecutor, that is to say, the Office of the Prosecutor of The Hague
20 Tribunal against a certain number of persons who were mostly ethnic
21 Croats, but some were ethnic Muslims as well, for crimes committed in the
22 camp of Novi Grad, Sijekovac, and Brod. I don't know what happened with
23 this charge sheet, but I know that there were a lot of documents there, a
24 lot of photographs, et cetera.
25 Q. How could you describe the atmosphere, based on what you know
1 yourself, starting from April 1991 onwards, in political terms, I mean? I
2 would like to know whether you have any personal knowledge as to what was
3 going on in the republican parliament in 1991. Of course, we are talking
4 about Bosnia-Herzegovina.
5 A. We all followed that very carefully, because I knew that the lives
6 of my children and of my entire family were at stake. As Yugoslavia
7 disintegrated - I think there's no reason for me to repeat all of this - a
8 similar situation occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina. There was a spillover
9 and there was outvoting. The Croat and then Muslim people did that, and
10 practically an independent Bosnia-Herzegovina was proclaimed. I don't
11 want to go into the reasons why somebody felt threatened in Yugoslavia and
12 why some other people felt threatened in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but tensions
13 were such that at an incredible speed there was rallying along ethnic
14 lines on all sides. It was only a question of time, in terms of days,
15 when conflicts would break out. The conflicts started very soon, and that
16 proved to be true, unfortunately.
17 Q. In the place where you lived, how could you describe that period,
18 say from the end of April -- from the end of 1991 until the moment when
19 you left? Could you give us your assessment concerning the atmosphere in
20 the briefest possible terms?
21 A. Well, you know what the atmosphere was like in towns that have
22 predominantly one population. You cannot really feel a pending conflict
23 because the minority sort of withdraws and wonders what will happen.
24 Also, the majority population lives relatively safely, so that's what the
25 situation was like. So I belonged to a people that practically on the eve
1 of the conflicts that were imminent just sat there and waited to see what
2 would happen. That was the cruel truth.
3 Q. Tell me, Mr. Paleksic: In a political sense - of course, if you
4 know, it's not all that significant, but in order to paint a complete
5 picture - what was the situation like in a political sense among the
6 parties in the place where you lived? Could you give us an assessment in
7 that respect?
8 A. I'll tell you what I know. Power was divided between the SDA and
9 the SDS. Very few Croats lived there, so they did not have a party of
10 their own. So power was divided, and everybody was tugging the rope in
11 their own direction. However, the population that was bigger had bigger
12 chances. There was not a true relationship of partnership. There was not
13 a real coalition. And excuses were made to the effect that this was a
14 struggle for toppling the previous regime, but it was obvious that it
15 could not function normally for very long.
16 Q. Tell me: Since you held certain positions, certain offices,
17 during your career, how come you were not a member of the SDS? Wasn't
18 that a prerequisite for carrying out the duties that you did?
19 A. I had the fortune or misfortune to always come to certain
20 positions when times were uncertain or difficult. I always came to these
21 positions on the basis of professional experience and knowledge. Nobody
22 ever asked me to be a member of any party.
23 Q. Tell me: In that period, say from April 1992 and further on,
24 while you were in these state agencies, was that a prerequisite for having
25 these jobs? Was it possible for a person who was not a member of the
1 ruling party to get a job? Could you tell us about your personal
2 knowledge about this?
3 A. Wherever I was, I gave people jobs on the basis of their
4 professional qualifications. In leading positions, in top jobs, usually
5 there weren't any people who were not affiliated with the political party
6 concerned. I had the fortune or misfortune, as I said of holding certain
7 positions in spite of the fact that I was not a member of any political
9 Q. Tell me: While you were doing your work obligation at the public
10 security station in Petrovo, as you said, from April 1992 onwards, how
11 could you briefly describe your work there? First of all, can you tell us
12 what work obligation is and how did you get orders to be engaged in this
13 way? Could you just tell us in a few words?
14 A. The Ministry of Defence, I think it was called the department, the
15 relevant department, on the basis of professional qualifications and the
16 education they had, allocated people to certain work obligations. I spent
17 a few days in the army, and then they transferred me to the public
18 security station. This was practically an order issued by the Ministry of
19 Defence. There was a war going on and there were some places, some work
20 places, for which very few people were qualified and then persons who
21 actually were qualified were appointed to those jobs.
22 Q. So that was the period in Petrovo. And now tell me: In which
23 capacity were you transferred to Doboj, to the regional centre? Was this
24 also a type of work obligation or was there another procedure involved now
25 within the ministry that you belonged to?
1 A. I think that two matters need to be clarified here. Work
2 obligation is one thing, and employment is another thing. At the same
3 time, I had work obligation which I was carrying out upon orders from the
4 Ministry of Defence, and at the same time I was employed, and I had a
5 decision on my employment on the basis of which my years of service were
6 registered and I received a salary, and I also had social and health
7 insurance, et cetera. So that's what the situation was like, actually.
8 Q. Tell me, please: Could you explain how the Ministry of the
9 Interior was organised, the Ministry of the Interior of Republika Srpska?
10 First tell us when it was established.
11 A. It was first established at the beginning of 1992. I think it was
12 February or March.
13 Q. What was the basis for doing that?
14 A. The law and the government, and on the basis of that law, there
15 was a law on ministries, and in this law all ministries were enumerated,
16 their province of work, their responsibilities, et cetera. The Ministry
17 of the Interior was established and it functioned in two parts. One was
18 the public security section and the other one was the state security
19 section. The public security section in which I worked functioned on the
20 basis of departments that were organised within the republic, so there was
21 a department of the police, department for crime prevention, department
22 for legal affairs, a department for border matters, and I think there was
23 a department for financial matters. And territorially, the ministry was
24 organised on the basis of centres of public security for certain districts
25 or regions, and within the centres there were public security stations,
1 usually for the area of one municipality. All organisational entities had
2 such -- had the same kind of segments that the ministry did. That is to
3 say that the police was there, then the personnel department, general
4 affairs, financial affairs, et cetera. The ministry functioned on the
5 basis of the principle of subordination, and also there was a compulsory
6 quality in its work.
7 Q. Let's go into detail a bit. If you were in this regional centre,
8 you explained a little while ago that within that regional centre there
9 were a few public security stations that were usually in various towns;
10 right? Now tell me: Who was superior to the regional centre? How did
11 this function?
12 A. It was the minister who was the superior of the regional centre,
13 and it was the head of the centre who was the superior of public security
15 Q. I understand. Tell me --
16 MR. PANTELIC: Just a moment, Your Honour. I was informed that
17 there are some -- yes. Thank you.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Paleksic, tell me: How was funding provided
19 for the payroll of the Ministry of the Interior?
20 A. From the budget of the republic.
21 Q. Now we are going down to the regional centre level. Who provided
22 for the payroll there? Tell me, if money is allocated from the budget to
23 the ministry, and then how is the further allocation done?
24 A. To all the employees and in all the centres. That is to say, of
25 course, the overheads have to be taken into account and various other
1 expenses like for oil, accommodation, et cetera.
2 Q. When I said -- when you said "centre," then you say what?
3 A. Then the centre makes this allocation to the various stations.
4 Q. Very well. Thank you. In Doboj, you were head of the
5 department --
6 A. I was head of the department for personnel and legal affairs.
7 Q. What did that entail? What did you do, actually?
8 A. The department for personnel and legal affairs prepared for the
9 ministry decisions related to employment; then it supervised the issuing
10 of passports, personal identity cards, drivers' licences, traffic
11 licences, and various decisions in that field.
12 Q. Tell me, Mr. Paleksic: During your career at the regional centre
13 in Doboj, did you have any professional contacts with your colleagues from
14 the public security centre in Samac, and if so, could you describe with
15 who and what the nature of your professional relationship was?
16 A. As head of this department, I had contacts first and foremost with
17 the people who were engaged in these matters at the public security
18 station in Samac from August 1992 onwards. I had contacts with the then
19 head there, Stevan Todorovic, and the chief over there as well, Savo
20 Cancarevic. Often they would come to Doboj for meetings, and sometimes
21 we, as a team from the centre, would go to Samac as well.
22 Q. Yes. Tell me now: What is the extent of these contacts,
23 professionally speaking? What type of work was involved, from the domain
24 of work of the Ministry of the Interior, what was it that you actually
25 covered, and in which context did you communicate with the persons at the
1 public security station in Samac? Could you give us a bit more detail?
2 A. IDs were given by the Ministry of the Interior to the centres, and
3 then we, when necessary, sent them further on to the public security
4 stations. We wrote or dispatched instructions for the issuance of IDs.
5 That means the procedure involved in issuing passports, drivers' licences,
6 personal IDs, et cetera. We were also in charge of disciplinary
7 proceedings, and we carried out certain inspections along the lines of our
8 professional work, either on a regular basis or when necessary.
9 Q. Now that we've touched upon that subject, could you tell us
10 whether in this period in 1992 there were any -- there were any checks in
11 the public security station in Samac?
12 A. In December 1992, the minister established a commission consisting
13 of professionals from various fields, and he issued an order to check on
14 the work of the public security station in Samac in the field of police
15 work, the crime prevention service, and the legal service. I was the
16 appointed member of the commission for checking on the work of the legal
17 service in the public security station.
18 Q. In the period that you are talking about, can you recall who was
19 the member of the -- the minister for internal affairs in Republika
21 A. I think it was Mico Stanisic.
22 Q. And how was this technical commission founded? How were you
23 informed about it? Can you give us details?
24 A. The communication in the ministry for internal affairs were pretty
25 firm, and I think that the committee was formed on the basis of an order.
1 There was a certain number of people from the headquarters of the ministry
2 for internal affairs. I was there, and there was another colleague also
3 from the public security centre in Doboj.
4 Q. How many members did this commission have?
5 A. I think five.
6 Q. And which sectors did the committee monitor, in accordance with
7 the order of the Ministry for Internal Affairs?
8 A. I said in my previous sentence that this was the police work
9 sector, so relating to uniformed police, criminal activities, and the
10 sector of public identification, so ID papers and so on.
11 Q. Just to clarify a little bit here for the transcript: Could you
12 please give us brief descriptions of these sectors? What is their area of
13 activity and what is under their jurisdiction, like you said, because of
14 the translation it's a little imprecise. So can we clarify that, please?
15 Not because of any fault of the interpreters but because of the specific
16 topic that we are talking about professionally here. So in order to have
18 A. A police station functioned within the centre for public
19 security. So these are police affairs, police activities, like anywhere
20 in the world, which implies people in uniform who work out in the field.
21 They monitor traffic, take care about public peace and order. They secure
22 certain facilities, certain buildings. And the criminal police dealt with
23 the processing of information for criminal charges, future investigations,
24 and those people worked in civilian clothes. Legal affairs meant mostly
25 the issuing of public documents for the needs of the citizens.
1 Q. If I understood you properly, so as part of the commission there
2 were people, members, who covered certain segments of that work and that
3 structure. So if you remember, could you please tell me: Who were these
4 colleagues, and which one of them was in charge of what? It was a long
5 time ago, but --
6 A. Yes, I remember. I remember. There was Mr. Goran Saric. He
7 was in charge of the police aspect. And there was Ostoja Minic, who was
8 in charge of the criminal aspect. Minic, not Mijic, but Minic. Mico C
9 Novakovic. Mico C Novakovic, for the aspect of the police, as part of the
10 public security centre. I was in charge of legal affairs. And there was
11 somebody who was in charge of the financial aspect, but I don't remember
12 the name of that person.
13 Q. Based on the order issued by the minister for internal affairs,
14 when did this commission that was formed begin its work, and what was the
15 procedure of the work of that commission whose member you were?
16 A. It was an urgent order. I remember that. And we went to Samac
17 right away. And everybody worked along their line of duty. Since it said
18 in the order what were all the things that needed to be controlled, I
19 remember that it was said that traffic and drivers' licences were being
20 issued there without the appropriate basic documents to clarify. For
21 example, there is no contract on the sale and purchase of a vehicle, and a
22 traffic licence would be issued in such a case, or there is no other proof
23 of ownership and the traffic licence would still be issued, or there was
24 no proof of a past driver's test, and in such a case a driver's licence
25 would be issued. While I was checking all of these things, I found that,
1 yes, it was really so.
2 Q. What were these failings, and what was the extent?
3 A. In the traffic area, I think there were over 100, but as far as
4 the drivers' licences, I don't remember. But as far as vehicle
5 registration, there were over 100 such cases where there was no proof of
7 Q. Could you please tell me whether, in your area of work, you
8 personally came up against some other shortcomings, maybe regarding some
9 other documents or IDs or anything like that.
10 A. There was quite a mess regarding the employment papers of some
11 police officers and other members of staff, so it took a long time to
12 correct all of that. There were major problems relating to drivers'
13 licences, because they were issued without any proof of a driver's test.
14 And I noted all of that in a separate part of the report. And I remember
15 that I suggested to the minister that immediately over the local media,
16 the radio stations and local newspapers, all those who received their
17 documents in this way should be called to report in within a certain time
18 period to correct these documents, and if they failed to do so, their
19 documents would be declared invalid and their vehicles would be
20 confiscated. And this is the way it functioned. And I think the minister
21 accepted this and issued instructions to this effect, and I think that's
22 what happened, because many people later did bring in the required
23 documents, or some people fled, escaped, with their vehicles, or they were
24 confiscated by the police. So this is the situation concerning my area of
1 Q. When you mentioned people who ran away with their vehicles, if you
2 remember, of course, are you talking about local citizens here or are you
3 talking about some other people? In which context did you mention this
5 A. I think that they were both local people and people who had come
6 from other places, but I don't know the proportion.
7 Q. According to functional jurisdiction and responsibility in the
8 public security station, who was responsible for the work of the station?
9 I'm talking about the Samac station.
10 A. The chief was responsible, so that would mean Mr. Todorovic.
11 Q. Do you remember what were the findings of the other members of the
12 commission that was doing this work?
13 A. Mostly in conversations I understood that there were a lot of
14 things that were not quite right in the work of the station. In the
15 report they were all noted down, but there were a lot of things that were
16 not functioning properly, and the view was that the station was not being
17 managed in a professional manner.
18 Q. Mr. Paleksic, could you please tell me: This first check, how
19 long did it last? What was the method of work that the commission
21 A. We stayed there for three or four days. The first day, as is
22 proper, we reported to Chief Todorovic, and then after that, Mr. Blagoje
23 Simic was the only one who greeted us, in his office. In the commission,
24 we knew that the minister did not form a commission purely on his own
25 initiative. Someone from the municipality requested the forming of the
1 commission, but I don't know who.
2 After we completed our work, Mr. Simic held a joint dinner - I
3 don't know what I would call it in those conditions - but I remember that
4 he thanked me personally for coming, and he asked that order be imposed
5 through the ministry of internal affairs. I think that I saw Mr. Simic
6 only once before that, and I had seen Mr. Todorovic several times at
7 meetings. I would like to say that the minister, based on our report,
8 issued a series of orders to correct matters, and it is very interesting
9 that he appointed an experienced commander from the former Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina, whose name is Mirko Blazanovic. I think that at that time
11 he had already been working for 20 years in the service. And he had
12 instructions to oversee the work of the Samac station, Mr. Todorovic, for
13 the next three months, and to help him in his work. So to monitor the
14 work of the station and to help Mr. Todorovic in his work.
15 Q. Let me just interrupt you for a minute, Mr. Paleksic. When you
16 mentioned this detail that Dr. Blagoje Simic thanked you for your work,
17 and because you had come, for the work of the commission, not just you
18 personally, what conclusion do you draw from that, or what was your
19 impression? What were you able to conclude, based on certain facts that
20 you were a witness to? What is your conclusion here?
21 A. Since I've known Mr. Simic, and this is my personal view --
22 Q. Yes. I'm specifically interested in this.
23 A. He was always very responsible, pedantic. He even overdid it
24 somewhat. My view, my opinion at the time, was that it was important to
25 him for everything to function in accordance to law and to regulations.
1 And I haven't changed that opinion. I still think that that is what he
3 Q. Could you please tell me, since you mentioned a little earlier on,
4 even though you don't know any details, that you had heard, you had some
5 information that somebody from the municipal government called in or asked
6 for the formation of this commission: Did you discuss this issue with Dr.
7 Simic in any detail about what was specifically happening in the Samac
8 public security station regarding this and what were the repercussions and
9 how did this reflect upon the atmosphere in the town and in the
10 institutions? If you have any details about that.
11 A. I told Mr. Simic at that dinner what our findings were and what
12 the suggestions were, what the proposals were, and as far as I can recall,
13 he agreed with that, and he was satisfied to have all those things that
14 were not functioning properly corrected. But I don't remember any other
16 MR. RE: Could that perhaps be clarified, whether it's in relation
17 to the findings about the drivers' licences or other things?
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
19 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I talked about traffic and drivers'
21 licences and different certificates and things, so I only discussed those
22 things that related to my area of work.
23 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. I would like to clarify the following, though: During that
25 contact, did Dr. Simic express interest in the overall work of the
1 commission, how that was proceeding and what were the efforts invested and
2 the position, or is it that he was exclusively interested in your domain
3 of work?
4 A. He talked with all of us from the commission, Mr. Simic, and the
5 conversation that he had with me pertained to this topic.
6 Q. And since you were present at this dinner, do you recall whether
7 other members of the commission that had come and that had completed its
8 work had also informed the municipal leadership of Samac about their
9 findings and about their work?
10 A. Yes. I was practically the least important person there, because
11 the findings about the legality of the police work and the criminal
12 department were much more important.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, if I'm -- maybe I'm wrong. Is it time
14 for our break now? Because it's one hour and 30 minutes.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We shall take our break now and continue
16 proceedings at 12.00. In the afternoon, we shall have a break at 1550 and
17 continue at 1610, up to 1700 hours. So we shall have one break in the
19 --- Recess taken at 11.30 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 12.02 p.m.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. You're continuing.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Paleksic, before the break, we spoke about
24 this dinner that you had with the municipal authorities and members of the
25 commission. You mentioned, and it's only logical, that in your job you
1 first and immediately contacted Mr. Todorovic, the chief of the station,
2 upon your arrival. Can you tell me, or rather, describe, what was his
3 reaction when the ministry's commission started its investigation and when
4 it instructed for certain documents to be reviewed and generally to do
5 their work, if you can remember.
6 A. I must say that Mr. Todorovic did not receive this without a
7 certain degree of nervousness. In addition, as far as I can remember, he
8 graduated from a technical faculty, and so he wasn't qualified for that,
9 and he was rather nervous. Of course, he was polite, but it was obvious
10 that he was anxious to see us there.
11 Q. Did he in any way comment on the presence of this commission and
12 the initiative that was launched by the ministry?
13 A. Not in my presence.
14 Q. You said that part of the investigation covered review of personal
15 files, employment decisions, and other personnel issues. Do you remember
16 if you did review these personal files of Mr. Todorovic, can you tell us
17 when and by whom was he appointed chief of the station in Samac?
18 A. As far as I remember, because I had seen his personal file many
19 times later, there was some problems concerning his appointment. In fact,
20 he was appointed in early 1992 - I don't know exactly the date - by the
21 minister of the interior, but I know that in 1992, that took place,
22 and after our investigation, we issued new decisions to all personnel,
23 including Mr. Todorovic, dated -- in 1993, but the decisions were dated
24 based on the original decisions made by the Minister of Defence [as
25 interpreted] for the simple reason for those people to have a continuation
1 in their service and the payment of social security, health insurance, et
3 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, there is I think a need for one
4 correction in the transcript. It's page 35, line 20. Instead of the word
5 "Minister of Defence," this witness said it was minister of interior, or
6 minister of police.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well.
8 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Tell me, Mr. Paleksic: So the appointment letter and appointment
10 was done by whom?
11 A. It was exclusively under the jurisdiction of the minister of the
12 interior, for all members of the staff.
13 Q. After the commission completed its work, when was the final report
14 on the findings made, and to whom was it forwarded, and what happened with
15 it later and what was the procedure?
16 A. According to the rules under which governing the operation of the
17 Ministry of the Interior, the report is done immediately. So upon our
18 return to Samac, I think we prepared the report within 24 hours. One copy
19 was given to the chief of the Security Services Centre, and another copy
20 was sent to the minister of the interior personally. After that, he,
21 based on the report, prepared a series of orders pertaining to various
22 fields in order to rectify these flaws detected in the station in Samac.
23 Q. When you mentioned the chief of the centre, were you referring to
24 the regional centre?
25 A. Yes, the Doboj regional centre.
1 Q. Do you know what specific measures were taken by the Ministry of
2 the Interior in that period after you had filed your report?
3 A. I know specifically which measures were taken within the field
4 that I was in charge of, so we have set up valid and good records of ID
5 cards, drivers' licence, traffic licence, passports. We remedied the
6 flaws where it was possible in all files pertaining to these public
7 documents. One of the measures was to appoint a kind of revisor or
8 supervisor who will monitor the work of the station and its chief, and I
9 remember that one of the measures pertained to the conduct of policemen in
10 compliance with the law on the interior and which implied the method how
11 they were going to treat the citizens, how the dress code, how the orders
12 were to be executed, et cetera. I don't know anything about other
14 Q. You mentioned the appointment, or rather, an order on appointing a
15 supervisor by the minister of the interior. That was Mr. Blazanovic. And
16 you mentioned that he started to do his job. Are you aware -- do you know
17 how long he discharged these duties, how much was he involved in
18 supervising the public security station in Samac and what his conclusions
19 were? Tell me just briefly.
20 A. I think that he stayed there about three months, which means that
21 the problems were rather serious, since he stayed that long. His duty was
22 to correct the method of operation and to issue instructions and
23 guidelines for further work. I think that was fruitful because following
24 that the public security station started to operate in a more -- in a
25 better way.
1 Q. You mentioned that following the work of the commission, certain
2 problems persisted with Mr. Stevan Todorovic within the ministry and
3 within his office. Can you offer more details about that? What was that
4 all about?
5 A. Since I was chief of the legal department of the Ministry of the
6 Interior, and before that in the public services centre, on two or three
7 occasions - I cannot recall exactly - Mr. Todorovic was either suspended
8 or appointed to another post due to his non-compliance with the rules of
9 operation that were valid in the Ministry of the Interior. I think that
10 that became very prominent in 1995. I was present while Mr. Todorovic
11 talked with the deputy minister, and the reasons for his transfer and
12 suspension were always his hardheadedness and his need to do many things
13 contrary to the rules and regulations and standard practice.
14 Q. Given the fact that you mentioned that the principle how the
15 Ministry of the Interior operated, I mean the principle of subordination,
16 did Mr. Todorovic acknowledge the orders and instructions that he received
17 from higher bodies within the ministry?
18 A. Sometimes he did, sometimes he didn't. He wasn't the type to
19 recognise authority.
20 Q. Can you tell us how eventually - of course, if you know - this
21 story ended with his office and engagement in the police?
22 A. He was dismissed, but I don't know on what grounds.
23 Q. What can you tell us, if you know, of course, about the cases when
24 certain authorised services or the minister himself passed certain
25 decisions, were these decisions put into practice concerning
1 Mr. Todorovic?
2 A. Most often the execution of these decisions relating to the status
3 of Mr. Todorovic within the Ministry of the Interior always proved to be
5 Q. In what sense?
6 A. In the sense that he never voluntarily accepted that. He always
7 thought that he had been demoted and degraded, that his conduct was
8 proper. So whenever a decision was taken, he always filed complaints,
9 which was followed by lengthy discussions, et cetera.
10 Q. Did he use exclusively official channels in this procedure or
12 A. I don't know about any other methods.
13 Q. When you were in Samac as a member of the commission in December
14 1992, what do you know about the existence of certain number of people in
15 detention? Did you establish that fact in December of 1992?
16 A. We were in the municipal building. We visited the heating plant,
17 where I think that Mr. Simic was president. We also visited two buildings
18 used by the security station, which is the police station and the
19 department store, and at the time we didn't find any detainees there. To
20 tell the truth, we didn't look for any detainees, because that was not
21 contained in the order given by the minister. So to repeat, we did not
22 see any detainees.
23 Q. Was it ever mentioned that there were people, large number of
24 people, detained in Samac in December 1992?
25 A. No.
1 Q. When I say a large number, I mean several hundreds.
2 A. No. This issue had never been raised, nor did I hear anything
3 about it. Later on, in this case I heard that there were some people in
4 detention and that they were transferred to a small town or village near
5 Bijeljina, but at the time there was no mention of that.
6 Q. Tell me: In the period, although you started to work in August
7 1992 in the Doboj centre, but between April and December 1992, when you
8 came to -- went to Samac as member of the commission, did you, in the
9 regional centre in Doboj, have information that there was a number of
10 detainees in Samac and that there was some illegal proceedings or crimes
11 committed in the period?
12 A. Perhaps somebody else had. I didn't. I was mainly -- I was
13 exclusively involved in legal issues. I first visited Samac during the
14 war, in December 1992.
15 Q. Since you were a judge, now you're a lawyer, and you were involved
16 in legal matters, tell me: What was the procedure during police
17 interviews under the then valid rules and regulations? Was it possible
18 and allowed at the time for a counsel to be present during this
20 A. No. Only since last year in Bosnia-Herzegovina, or rather,
21 Republika Srpska, it was allowed to have counsel present during
22 questioning. That was not the case before.
23 Q. Tell me: Who was authorised to conduct certain procedures,
24 investigating procedures, and instituting criminal proceedings between
25 April 1992 until, let's say, until the end of 1993, if a crime was
1 committed, if there was a suspicion of crime? Can you explain to us how
2 this was reflected, given there was a war at the time?
3 A. There were civilian courts and civilian prosecutor's offices.
4 Members of the Ministry of the Interior did the on-site investigation of
5 all forms of crimes and provided a perpetrator was a serviceman or member
6 of the military, then the case was transferred to the military
7 prosecutor's office, and if he was a civilian, it was transferred to the
8 basic prosecutor's office. Criminal charges were filed by the police or
9 citizens' charges could have been filed as well, and also the military
10 prosecutor, but I'm not very versatile in military matters. So we had
11 civilian prosecutors' offices and courts, and military prosecutor offices
12 and courts, and pre-investigation procedure was mainly carried by members
13 of the Ministry of the Interior.
14 Q. Since you were in Samac in December 1992, do you have any
15 knowledge regarding some court proceedings that took place before the
16 military court in Banja Luka related to some things that happened in
18 A. I familiarised myself with these cases the first time when I was a
19 legal assistant in the proceedings here against Mr. Simic.
20 Q. So at that time you did not have any knowledge about these
21 proceedings being instituted before the Court in Banja Luka?
22 A. No. No, I had no knowledge of that.
23 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge regarding the fact that
24 Todorovic, through official channels, reported to the top staff in the
25 centre in Doboj about the detainees that were in the -- under the police
1 station in Samac?
2 A. I don't know about that. I don't know about that. I'm not sure
3 that he really did report about this.
4 Q. What was the prevalent practice in police work in terms of this
5 hierarchy? The lower authority, that is to say the head of the police
6 station, was he duty-bound to report to higher authorities about all the
7 aspects of his work, including the number of detainees, the number of
8 charge sheets filed, et cetera? Could you tell us what the obligation was
9 of this lowest rank of organisation, that is to say, police stations?
10 A. The police in any state organised in the following way: That
11 lower police stations report to higher instances on every particular
12 matter, starting with minor occurrences all the way up to serious crimes.
13 Reports are sent at 00 hours for the previous day every morning -- every
14 night, and in the morning, this is on the table of the public security
15 station, centre station, and also the minister's table. So the minister
16 had information as to everything that happened in the republic, the head
17 of the regional centre had information about everything that happened
18 in the region, whereas the head of the public security station had
19 everything within his jurisdiction. So it was the duty of the police
20 station to report every day to the centre about things that happened on
21 the previous day in that area.
22 Q. Tell me: You are aware of the operation related to the corridor
23 break through in 1992. Can you tell us something about that?
24 A. I can say what my experience was. Perhaps it doesn't really
25 pertain to this case. I have a handicapped child, and this child has been
1 under medication since birth. And this child cannot live without this
2 medication. So now I'm telling you of my personal history. When the
3 corridor was broken through, my child had medicine only for 21 more days.
4 So I believe that it was necessary to establish this corridor. Whether
5 some rules were violated in that respect, I really do not know, but I know
6 that this was a necessity for that part of Republika Srpska where I
7 lived. I also know of some babies who died in Banja Luka because they did
8 not receive proper treatment. I was not in the military. I don't know
9 how this action took place. But this is my personal experience.
10 Q. When did this happen?
11 A. I think it was July 1992, June or July 1992. No, July.
12 Q. Tell me: Do you have any personal knowledge about the work of the
13 police authorities -- or rather, before that, let me ask you something
14 else. Do you know, in the territory of the municipality of Odzak, after
15 the corridor was established, do you know what the situation was like from
16 an administrative point of view?
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note. Could Mr. Pantelic speak
18 into the microphone.
19 A. There is one thing that I remember, that the public security
20 station had complained to me that no one could enter Odzak and I asked
21 what was this all about and he said military administration. I didn't
22 know what military administration meant but I knew that the minister of
23 the interior for a long time did not have the situation in Odzak under
24 their own control. Afterwards we established a public security station
25 there, but a few months had gone by in the meantime.
1 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. When we talked previously about the procedure within the ministry
3 itself, can you tell us whether in practice, and also on the basis of law,
4 was it possible for the Municipal Assembly to dismiss the chief of the
6 A. No. No. No. The chief of SUP could be replaced only by the
7 minister of the interior at the proposal of his immediate superior, namely
8 the head of the regional centre of security.
9 Q. Do you have any knowledge as to whether the municipal War
10 Presidency could replace the chief of SUP?
11 A. No. That is against the law.
12 Q. Could the Crisis Staff pass a decision dismissing the chief of
14 A. I think that I have already said that anybody within the ranks of
15 the police was appointed and dismissed by the minister, nobody else.
16 Q. Now that we are on that subject, could you explain to us briefly
17 the relationship between the Municipal Assembly - this is something that
18 we know from the constitution and the legal system - and the police
19 station within a certain municipality. Who gives the orders and on the
20 basis of which instructions --
21 MR. RE: I object to this. Firstly, it isn't in the summary; and
22 secondly, the question which has just been asked is: Who gives the orders
23 within a certain municipality. That is an entirely theoretical question.
24 We're concerned here with a factual situation which occurred in a certain
25 municipality in the indictment period. The question my learned friend is
1 asking the witness can only relate, if the witness knows, to that
2 municipality, because that's what we're concerned with here.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, first of all, in my summary, item 2,
4 formation of Serb police forces, including the internal organisation and
5 relation towards the other authorities. So I don't see any particular
6 reason not to have some additional facts on that issue from this witness.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: So that there can be a comparison with Samac
9 MR. PANTELIC: With Samac municipality. And I will directly ask
10 him about the Doboj region and Samac municipality.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, as long as it's very, very restricted, so that
12 we get details on the municipality we are interested in.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
14 Q. [Interpretation] Could you please explain to us specifically now,
15 first of all in relation to the regional centre of security in Doboj and
16 then the public security station in Samac, how do they actually operate?
17 And the municipality, that is to say, the social political community in
18 Samac. Could they do anything, and were they involved in the hierarchy
19 that pertained to the terms of reference of the police? Can you explain
20 this to us on the example of Samac and Doboj?
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note. Could both speakers please
22 slow down.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: The interpreters are complaining. Please do slow
24 down, both of you. I just want to emphasise that the question is related
25 to the period in the indictment, the operations then, not today.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Yes.
2 Q. [Interpretation] You have heard the Presiding Judge, Her Honour
3 Judge Mumba. So we are interested in that period from when the Ministry
4 of the Interior of Republika Srpska was established, the beginning of
5 1992, as you said, and we are interested in the period of the indictment,
6 that is to say from the end of 1993, and we are speaking about that
8 A. I do apologise to the Presiding Judge for speaking so fast. I
9 will try to be briefer and slower.
10 A. At that time the municipality authorities could ask the public
11 security station to do some things. For example, to regulate the traffic
12 within the area, to reinforce the control of public law and order in a
13 certain area, et cetera. After that, the chief of the public security
14 station would have to ask for the consent and approval of the head of the
15 centre for regional centre for security. So there was no hierarchy. The
16 municipal organs could turn to the public security station for help and
17 the head of the public security station would ask for approval or consent
18 for having something done or not done. That is the way it operated.
19 Q. Furthermore, in terms of certain pre-investigative procedures in
20 the proceedings against certain persons, what was the role of the police
21 there, and what did the police station, the public security station, as
22 the lowest level within this organisation, carry out this procedure? How
23 did they carry out their cooperation and how did they relate to higher
25 A. Within the field of crime investigation, they had the right and
1 duty to bring criminal charges. They did whatever the police does
2 anywhere in the world, that is to say that they gathered evidence, written
3 materials, witness statements, et cetera, and then they reported to the
4 centre about that if serious crimes were involved. If lesser crimes were
5 involved, they directly submitted charge sheets to the municipal public
6 prosecutor. I don't know whether you are interested in this, but at that
7 time there were distinctions in terms of the crimes involved. So in
8 Republika Srpska, we had the basic courts and the district courts. The
9 basic courts dealt with lesser crimes and district courts dealt with more
10 serious crimes, those that involved sentences of five years onwards. So
11 it is the public security station that submitted charge sheets to the
12 basic court, and it was the centre -- the regional centre for security
13 that provided these charge sheets to the district courts. So the district
14 court and the regional centre of public security had jurisdictions that
15 coincided. That is how these powers were divided.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, could we just bear for a second with
17 me. I have to check the transcript, please.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
19 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Very well. We were just waiting for a legal expression to come
21 up, because that was complicated, and we're also waiting for the
22 transcript to be finished on the computer.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note that this rate of speaking is
24 too fast for the court reporters and for the interpreters. Could the
25 speakers kindly slow down for the record as well.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic and Mr. Slavko, you understand that you
2 have to slow down so that the record is correct.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, yes.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Just one correction. When you said that charge
5 sheets, are they submitted to the Court or to the prosecutor?
6 A. To the basic prosecutor, the municipal prosecutor, and to the
7 district prosecutor.
8 MR. PANTELIC:
9 Q. My next question pertains to a relationship during the war
10 conflict, namely, between the police force and the military.
11 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I think we have a problem with the
13 JUDGE MUMBA: The recording on the monitor seems to have a
15 MR. PANTELIC: I think that --
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Maybe we can start and see.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you.
18 Q. [Interpretation] So my previous question was whether you had any
19 personal knowledge whether you could tell us something about the
20 relationship during the war, during the state of war, the state of war
21 conflicts between the police force and the military. Of course, we're
22 interested in the period from April 1992 until the end of December 1993,
23 in Republika Srpska?
24 MR. PANTELIC: Again, Your Honour, I think we have a problem with
25 the transcript, with LiveNote.
1 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
2 JUDGE MUMBA: The Trial Chamber has been informed that the problem
3 requires some time to rectify, so I'm afraid we'll have to adjourn now and
4 continue in the afternoon, at 1430 hours. Hopefully during the lunch
5 break the problem will be corrected.
6 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
7 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.40 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 2.46 p.m.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes we'll continue our proceedings. We've been
10 informed that the technical problem has been sorted out. So we'll sit for
11 one and a half hours and take ten minutes' break and continue after 1700
12 hours. We are sitting under Rule 15 bis because Judge Lindholm has had to
13 go away. Please continue, Mr. Pantelic.
14 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Paleksic, before the break we had a problem
16 with the transcript. I'm going to repeat my question. So we're talking
17 about the period from April 1992 until December 1993. Can you tell us
18 what you yourself know about the relations between the police and the
19 military during the war. What do you know about this relationship?
20 A. Your Honours, the police worked on the basis of the law of the
21 interior and the relevant by-laws. It had its own powers. The army
22 worked according to the law on the army, and they had their own powers.
23 However, these powers became intertwined if there were joint actions in
24 the territory where the police was engaged as well. Then the police
25 forces would be resubordinated to the military command, to put it in
1 military terms. So, for example, in the territory that was held by a
2 particular corps, a police company would take orders from the military
3 commander of that area. Those were the only joint activities of the
4 military and the police.
5 Q. Very well. Tell me: In terms of procedure, if in that situation
6 a crime were to be committed in times of war, and since there were both
7 police and military forces in the area, could you tell us who was in
8 charge of taking action in terms of the pre-trial and criminal
10 A. For the military, it was the military organs that were there
11 charge, and for civilians, the civilian organs, that is to say, the office
12 of the prosecutor and the court.
13 Q. Tell me: Did you personally have any knowledge about the alleged
14 crime that was committed in the month of May in Crkvina by the members of
15 paramilitary units in 1992?
16 A. I learned of this case only when I was legal assistant in these
17 proceedings. In 1992, I didn't know anything about that.
18 Q. Did you know, and if you did, when did you find out about certain
19 crimes that were committed by Stevan Todorovic?
20 A. I learned about them during these proceedings as well.
21 Q. What is it that you learned about what Stevan Todorovic had done?
22 Do you know whether he was convicted? Did he admit to something, or what
23 do you know?
24 A. I only know what I read in the media.
25 Q. While your commission, and you personally, were in Samac, did
1 Stevan Todorovic speak about any crimes perhaps, or those committed by him
2 as well as other persons in the territory of Samac?
3 A. No. No.
4 Q. Can you describe for us the atmosphere in Samac in 1992, December
5 1992, in relation to the fact whether there were or were not any refugees
6 among the civilian population, and what were your observations during the
7 work of your commission? What did you personally observe while you were
8 in Samac?
9 A. It was obvious, and we also found out as we talked to people and
10 employees of the police that there were a lot of refugees, especially from
11 the area of Posavina, that is to say Brod, Odzak, Derventa, and so on.
12 Q. Can you assess the numbers involved in 1992 in Samac, December
14 A. I don't know, but I think it was thousands.
15 MR. RE: I object. The summaries which Your Honour has ordered my
16 learned friend to provide as to facts about this -- about which this
17 witness would give evidence say nothing about refugees or an estimation of
18 refugee numbers or anything about the refugee situation. The closest it
19 gets is political and military aspects, but I can't see how refugee comes
20 into that. The witness is described as the former chief of the legal
21 department of the regional police centre at Doboj. He's here to talk
22 about Stevan Todorovic, as far as the summary says.
23 MR. PANTELIC: Maybe, Your Honour, my learned friend can turn to
24 page 7 on the summary and then he can find the other factual allegations,
25 including the number of citizens in Odzak and Samac municipality, as well
1 as the first paragraph in the summary, the general situation in Posavina
2 regarding political and military aspects. And finally, this witness might
3 be an eyewitness of the period in December 1992 in Samac with regard to
4 that issue, nothing more.
5 [Trial Chamber confers] .
6 JUDGE MUMBA: The Trial Chamber is of the view that the question
7 can be asked. It will be allowed, because it does concern some of the
8 political aspects of the movements of the people in that area.
9 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Paleksic, just tell me about what you saw
11 yourself and what you found out, both in your conversations with persons
12 in Samac regarding this subject that we mentioned, that is, refugees. So
13 the number and also the atmosphere that prevailed in Samac in general.
14 Could you tell us what you actually saw?
15 A. Since I lived in Doboj at the time, I know that many people in the
16 places that I mentioned moved or fled to Doboj, Samac, Petrovo, Teslic,
17 and so on, and I know that we talked about that, because this was an
18 inevitable subject anywhere, and I saw such persons myself while I spent
19 those three or four days in Samac.
20 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic, but before you move on,
21 I'd just like to go back to the question and answer on page 50, where your
22 question was concerning legal procedure in times of war, and that's
23 line 7 on page 50. And the witness's answer on line 13, he says: For the
24 military, it was the military organs that were in charge; for civilians,
25 the civilian organs, that is to say, the office of the prosecutor and the
2 Mr. Paleksic, I wonder whether you know what the procedure would
3 have been if a person in Bosanski Samac had been arrested during the
4 period after April 17th, 1992 for having a weapon without a licence. So
5 if we had a Bosnian Muslim or a Bosnian Croat arrested in Bosanski Samac
6 on or after April 17th, 1992 for having a gun or other weapon without a
7 licence, would that person have been amenable to the civilian courts,
8 the office of the prosecutor, the civilian courts, and all of the
9 fundamental human rights and guarantees under international law that that
10 person is entitled to, including right to a speedy trial, right to
11 counsel, right to be presumed innocent, and so on and so forth, if you
12 know, as a person with your legal background and involvement in these
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is a very complex question. I
15 think that in all towns there were lists of military conscripts, and if
16 this had to do with a military conscript - now I'm telling you about
17 what I think - then it is the military prosecutor's office that would
18 receive the charge sheet. I think that that was the practice that
19 prevailed. I don't know.
20 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me. If the person was not a military
21 conscript, if the person was a citizen of Bosanski Samac who had not been
22 conscripted as such, if you don't know, obviously say that you don't know.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what was done at that
24 time. I don't know what the procedure was.
25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you very much.
1 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Paleksic, in that period -- actually, as concerns your
3 personal knowledge regarding the period from April 1992 to December 1993,
4 was the civilian judiciary operating in the area, in Doboj, where the
5 regional security centre was?
6 A. The regional judiciary was functioning. I'm not sure about Samac,
7 but I think Samac actually never had a court of its own or a prosecutor's
8 office. As far as I know, they only had an office from a court of law.
9 Q. But where was the seat of that court of law?
10 A. In Doboj or in Modrica. Please don't take my word for it. At
11 that time I was not involved in judicial matters, either in Doboj or in
13 Q. Very well. Tell me: If a crime would be committed by a member of
14 a paramilitary unit, which judicial organ would be in charge of such a
15 person? Perhaps I should ask you before that whether you know who the
16 volunteers were subordinated to. Let's put it that way.
17 A. I presume that they were subordinated to the military. I was not
18 in the military, but that's my assumption, according to the very logic of
19 these matters, it would have to be the military organs that would be in
21 MR. RE: I object. I object to this sort of evidence. My learned
22 friend should know the answer to the questions he's putting to the
23 witness, and if it's going to be "I presume," it shouldn't be asked in the
24 first place. That evidence is of no value to the Trial Chamber if the
25 witness can't answer it. He should not be asked these questions in the
1 first place, which don't appear to be in the summary anyway. There's
2 nothing there about paramilitaries.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. This time the Prosecution's
4 objection is sustained.
5 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
6 Q. [Interpretation] So, Mr. Paleksic, what do you know yourself about
7 the relationship between Stevan Todorovic and Blagoje Simic in the period
8 from April 1992 until the end of 1993? How could you describe that?
9 A. I felt that the relations were such that they always bordered on
10 some kind of a quarrel. In terms of what I knew towards the end of 1993,
11 these were two quite different persons. Their characters were quite
12 different. Mr. Simic was a rather quiet, responsible person, whereas
13 Mr. Todorovic was, well, prone to arbitrary behaviour.
14 Q. Can you give us a bit more detail? What kind of arbitrary
16 A. I already said that Mr. Todorovic did not respect authority. The
17 institutional way of work. He did quite a few things on his own. That is
18 what I know in terms of -- from the relationship between the regional
19 security centre and the public security station.
20 Q. In the regional centre in Doboj, were there certain comments or
21 complaints regarding this kind of behaviour of Todorovic, who, after all,
22 was a member of the same service?
23 A. There were, but at that time I was not in charge of resolving such
25 Q. Tell me, please: In relation to the subject that we touched upon
1 a while ago, that is to say, your personal views and also the situation
2 regarding refugees in Samac when you were there, what are your
3 observations regarding the atmosphere that prevailed in Samac, in terms of
4 that number of refugees? Because, of course, we are talking about
5 December 1992.
6 A. I don't know any details, but I know that in all towns where there
7 was a large number of refugees, there were problems between the local
8 population and the refugees, because it was impossible to accommodate
9 everyone because of the frustration of the people who had fled because
10 they had lost their property. Some of them had lost their nearest and
11 dearest as well. So it was hard to establish this kind of contact.
12 Actually, I'm talking about Doboj more than I'm talking about Samac,
13 because I spent only a short time in Samac, so I could not observe the
14 situation in its entirety, but it was the same everywhere.
15 Q. In terms of the number of crimes committed and the security
16 atmosphere, safety and security atmosphere that prevailed, what are your
18 A. The number of crimes was on the rise, especially those pertaining
19 to property, namely, robberies, lootings, as far as I know, murders as
21 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I've finished my examination-in-chief
22 of this witness. Thank you.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Cross-examination.
24 MR. RE: You want me to go first, Your Honour, or the other
25 Defence counsel?
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Oh, I'm sorry. Yes. Any other questions from
2 Defence counsel. I see none.
3 MR. LAZAREVIC: No, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Re.
5 Cross-examined by Mr. Re:
6 Q. Mr. Paleksic, have I pronounced it correctly? Paleksic?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. I'm going to ask some questions on behalf of the Prosecution. Do
9 you understand that?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Your position in 1992 at the Doboj regional centre, I think you
12 said you were the chief of legal and personnel. Have I got that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did that also -- sorry. In that position you had access to all
15 the personnel files of all the police officers under the Doboj regional
16 command; is that right?
17 A. In the beginning, in 1992, or rather, in August and October 1992,
18 no, but after that, yes.
19 Q. That, of course, included the police chief of Bosanski Samac, or
20 Samac, as it then was, Mr. Stevan Todorovic; correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Your position, did it also involve responsibility for
23 investigating complaints against police officers under the general command
24 or within the responsibility of the Doboj regional centre?
25 A. No. If I can explain.
1 Q. Please.
2 A. The department for personnel and legal affairs carried out
3 administrative tasks in the public security centre, and also for all
4 public security stations. Decisions and -- it issued decisions and
5 identification, and the --
6 Q. What I'm interested in --
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not catch the last sentence
8 of the witness. I apologise.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can the witness repeat the answer, especially
10 the last part. The interpreters didn't get it.
11 MR. RE:
12 Q. You got up to, "it issued decisions and identification and the" --
13 and we didn't get that last bit. Could you tell us what that last
14 bit was?
15 A. We carried out only administrative tasks for the centre and for
16 the public security stations, and the monitoring of the work of the public
17 security station was in the jurisdiction of the chief of the public
18 security centre.
19 Q. Was that the chief of the public security centre in Doboj, where
20 you worked?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. When you went to Samac in December 1992 for three or four days,
23 you were investigating complaints about the running of the police station,
24 and you had a specific area; is that correct, to investigate; is that
1 A. Yes, that's correct, but everybody worked in their own field, so I
2 reviewed, in accordance with the instructions of the minister, the
3 shortcomings that appeared in the issuance of public papers,
4 identification, and also drivers' licences and traffic permits.
5 MR. PANTELIC: Just an intervention to the transcript. The answer
6 of Mr. Paleksic, we don't see the personnel issues, and he said clearly
7 that also he was in charge for investigation. But maybe my learned
8 friend can clarify.
9 MR. RE: In charge of what?
10 MR. PANTELIC: Of personnel. Personnel issues in terms of the
11 personnel of the police station.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Maybe he can repeat the answer slowly.
13 MR. RE:
14 Q. If I could just clarify that last part. My learned friend Mr.
15 Pantelic said you also referred to personnel issues. Can you please tell
16 the Trial Chamber what you just said about your responsibility
17 for investigating personnel issues.
18 A. Our inspection meant, understood for us whether to review whether
19 all the police officers had appropriate work papers as required under the
20 law in order to work in the police.
21 Q. You went there in December 1992 with was it two or three other
22 people? Just the figure.
23 A. I was there with four other people.
24 Q. You were specifically charged - correct me if I'm wrong - with
25 investigating the running of the police station under the direction of
1 Stevan Todorovic; is that right?
2 A. That was the task of the whole team.
3 Q. Before you embarked upon your visit to the station in Samac, you
4 of course discussed with the other members of the team how you were going
5 to approach your task, didn't you?
6 A. No. The order came from the ministry of the -- for internal
7 affairs, and we went, two of us, Mico Novakovic and myself, and in
8 Vakuf [as interpreted] we met with three other people. I had not seen
9 them before. And when we met, we agreed that upon the division of the
10 overall tasks, each one of us would be monitoring --
11 MR. LAZAREVIC: -- transcript. Page 63, line 1. Here it says
12 Vakuf, and actually, the witness said that they met in Samac. It could
13 make some confusion.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can we correct that, Mr. Re.
15 MR. RE:
16 Q. You met in Samac, the other members of the investigation team; is
17 that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And when you met there, you agreed upon the division of the task;
20 is that what you're saying, and coordinated how the five of you were going
21 to investigate the running of the Samac police station under Stevan
22 Todorovic's command; is that right?
23 A. Each one of us was responsible for our own field of work. We had
24 a specific task from the minister for internal affairs. I dealt with
25 legal matters, Mr. Saric and Mr. Novakovic dealt with police matters, and
1 Mr. Ostoja Minic dealt with the criminal investigation issues. I think
2 that there was one more member who was monitoring some financial matters,
3 but I can't quite remember who that was.
4 Q. Before you went to Samac, as a person who had access to Stevan
5 Todorovic's personnel file, you looked at his file, didn't you, to find
6 out who you were going to investigate; correct?
7 A. There were no files at that time. There was only a decision
8 issued by the Ministry for Internal Affairs. After that, files were being
9 set up for another year or two. Because many people in the police
10 were -- had the status of refugees, so they didn't have any documents with
11 them. Stations were formed in a rush, so that the administrative part was
12 lagging behind compared to other tasks from the domain of the
13 internal affairs duties.
14 Q. Is your evidence, then, to this Trial Chamber that Stevan
15 Todorovic, as the chief of the Bosanski Samac police station, in December,
16 as of December 1992, did not have a personnel file with the Doboj regional
17 command centre? Is that your evidence?
18 A. I cannot claim that for sure, but I think that they did not.
19 Q. In the normal course of an investigation, if you're investigating
20 the activities of someone running a police station, you, as a trained
21 investigator, would go to a personnel file to find out what there was
22 against -- what was on the file before you went to the station; correct?
23 A. That is how it should be, but it was war, and many people did not
24 have personnel files. And in the beginning, all the personnel files
25 contained only the letter of appointment or the decision of the
1 appointment. There was no proof of completed education or any other
2 things, so all this was done later.
3 Q. Complaints about -- I withdraw that. How many police stations
4 were under the Doboj central command in December 1992, when you went to
6 A. Samac, Brod, Derventa, Doboj, Modrica, Petrovo, and Teslic.
8 Q. Your evidence earlier was that the regional command in Doboj
9 received daily reports from the police stations each day on their
10 activities, wasn't it?
11 A. No, not from the regional centres but from the public security
12 stations. When there was a communication established between the centre
13 and the public security stations.
14 Q. The regional centre where you worked received -- was receiving, is
15 it correct, daily reports from the Samac public security station in that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And you had access to these daily reports?
19 A. I had no access to them. Only the chief of the centre had access.
20 Q. You were specifically charged with investigating matters relating
21 to licensing in Samac. What were the four other people charged with
22 investigating in relation to Stevan Todorovic's activities as head of the
23 police station there?
24 A. I've already said that the station had a police department, a
25 criminal investigations department, and a department for personnel and
1 legal affairs. The other members of the team controlled the work of the
2 police, of the inspectors, and the back-up services in the investigations
3 of criminal acts.
4 Q. What specifically were these four other people investigating in
5 relation to the running of the police station? It's fairly major, you'd
6 agree, for five people to descend from the Ministry of the Interior upon a
7 small police station, each investigating an aspect of it. What was each
8 of them specifically investigating, please?
9 A. The inspectors of the police work were investigating how the
10 police was conducting its duties: Did they act according to regulations,
11 were they trained according to regulations, were they wearing the
12 regulation uniform, and other things as set down in regulations about the
13 work of the police. Those investigating the criminal investigations
14 section were to see how the pre-investigative or pre-criminal procedures
15 were being carried out. Were they being conducted in accordance with the
16 law on -- with criminal law and the law on criminal procedures. So the
17 gathering of evidence, the procedures in taking statements from witnesses,
18 and so on. I was checking the issuance of public documents.
19 Q. So none of these five investigators were investigating the murder
20 of someone called Anto Brandic, also known as Antesa, on the 29th of July,
21 1992, in the Samac police station?
22 A. I am not aware of that, no.
23 Q. You're not aware of anyone -- these five people investigating the
24 allegation that Todorovic kicked this man to death in the hallway of the
25 police station on that day?
1 A. I'm not aware of that, no.
2 Q. You're not aware of any complaint being made about Stevan
3 Todorovic kicking to death Antesa on the 29th of July, 1992, in the police
4 station, under the general command of the Doboj regional police centre?
5 A. No, I'm not aware of that.
6 Q. And as far as you know, none of these five investigators were
7 investigating an allegation of sexual assault in the Bosanski Samac police
8 station in which Stevan Todorovic beat and kicked a prisoner, Witness A,
9 in the genital area, took him over to another man, who Stevan Todorovic
10 ordered to "bite into his penis." As far as you know, no one was
11 investigating that particular allegation?
12 A. I don't know anything about that.
13 Q. And as far as you know, none of the five investigators, including
14 yourself, were investigating the -- Todorovic ordering two prisoners,
15 known as C and D, being ordered to perform oral sex on each other in the
16 Samac police station in that period?
17 A. The first time I found out about those facts was when I was
18 engaged as a legal assistant on this case. Until then, I was not aware of
20 Q. As far as you're aware, none of the five investigators, including
21 yourself, were investigating the beating of a priest in the Samac police
22 station on the 29th of July, 1992, who was then imprisoned there?
23 A. I don't know anything about that. I was only dealing with the
24 issues regarding public documents. Anything else I'm not aware of.
25 Q. So as far as you know, none of the investigators, the five of you,
1 were investigating Todorovic's beating of prisoners in the primary school
2 at Bosanski Samac in 1992?
3 A. I didn't even know that there were any prisoners in the elementary
4 school at that time.
5 Q. So far as you're aware, none of you were also investigating
6 Todorovic's participation in the unlawful arrest and detention of non-Serb
7 civilians arrested and detained only because they were non-Serbs, in the
8 Bosanski Samac region?
9 A. I must say that I know that I was not investigating that, and I
10 didn't know anything about that. But I cannot say whether any of the
11 other members of the commission investigated it or knew about it. Allow
12 me to respond to the Prosecutor. I don't know about any of these things.
13 Whether others knew about them or not, I don't know.
14 Q. So far as you know, no one of the five of you was investigating
15 the cruel and inhumane treatment of non-Serb civilians in Bosanski Samac,
16 in which Todorovic has admitted his participation in this Trial Chamber,
17 through forced labour assignments, including digging trenches and
18 constructing bunkers on the front line? You weren't investigating that?
19 A. I did not, but I don't know about others.
20 Q. And you don't know whether the others were investigating -- sorry.
21 I withdraw that. So far as you know, the others weren't investigating the
22 arrest and detention and Todorovic forcing prisoners to sign false
23 statements before December 1992 in the Samac police station?
24 A. No. I don't know.
25 Q. So far as you're aware, you don't know whether the other
1 investigators were investigating Todorovic's admitted participation in the
2 deportation of non-Serb civilians only because they were non-Serb, from
4 A. We worked there in the following way: Each one of us worked
5 separately on their tasks and compiled a part of the report, which was
6 then passed on to the ministry. I don't know anything about that.
7 Q. So far as you know, the others weren't investigating the issuance
8 of orders and directives which violated the rights of non-Serb civilians
9 to equal treatment under the law, infringed upon their enjoyment of basic
10 and fundamental rights, such as an order he signed on the 4th of August,
11 1992, prohibiting three or more Muslims or Croats from gathering in a
12 public place?
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic.
14 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. Generally, I'm not objecting to
15 the issues that the learned friend from Prosecution would like to explore,
16 but the form of the question is very general and multi-barrelled. First
17 of all, how this witness could know, and he precisely answered on many
18 occasions whether or not the other members of the commission of the team
19 were aware or not about certain events. The proper way of questioning
20 should be what is his personal knowledge of certain events, and then if
21 maybe he heard that the other members of the team were aware, stuff like
22 that. Otherwise it's too general and it's heading nowhere. I
23 tried not to object on these many occasions, but generally I object to
24 this line of questioning, Your Honour. Thank you.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Perhaps it's loaded, Mr. Re. Please split it up.
1 MR. RE: I'm merely putting to the witness, Your Honour, the
2 factual allegations to which Todorovic pleaded guilty and was found guilty
3 of by the Trial Chamber.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That I realise. But it's just that there are
5 too many -- a bit too many issues. Just take them one by one for the
7 JUDGE WILLIAMS: As well, I think, Mr. Re, it might be useful to
8 ask the witness directly whether, for example, he and the other members of
9 the commission following their days, through or four days work in the
10 police station, whether they discussed over dinner or a drink or what have
11 you what they had done during the day, and therefore he knew from the
12 other persons directly, you know, what they had found or something similar
13 to that.
14 MR. RE: I will do that, Your Honour. I will ask that question.
15 Q. I don't think you answered the last question I asked you, and that
16 was in relation to the investigation of orders issued by Mr. Todorovic
17 violating the rights of non-Serb civilians to equal treatment, one of
18 which was an order signed on the 4th of August, 1992, that's four months
19 before you went there with the four others to investigate activities,
20 prohibiting three or four Muslims or Croats from gathering in public
21 places. The question is: Were you or, to your knowledge, any of the
22 other four investigators investigating that specific complaint about it?
23 A. I have already said, and I'll try to explain. We received our
24 orders from the ministry -- from the minister of the interior. We did not
25 act on the basis of complaints of citizens or anything like that. I saw
1 that paper only when I started working here at The Hague Tribunal. I did
2 not know about this at all before.
3 Q. Are you aware whether the other investigators investigated
4 Todorovic's participation in the plunder and looting of non-Serb property,
5 that's property belonging to Muslims and Croats, in the Samac region?
6 A. I said that in Samac I saw for the first time some persons from
7 the Ministry of the Interior, and I did not learn anything about the
8 circumstances that you have referred to just now. The only person I knew
9 on the team was Mico Novakovic, the one who was monitoring the work of the
10 police from the point of view of how well trained they were, whether they
11 were in proper uniform, et cetera. We did not exchange experiences in
12 that situation. Everybody did his own job.
13 Q. I'll come to Your Honour's question in a moment, which I'll ask.
14 So is it correct that so far as you're aware, none of the other
15 investigators, so far as you're aware, were investigating any of the
16 specific things which I've just read to you? It's a yes or no answer.
17 A. I don't know about any one of them having investigated that.
18 Q. And so far as you're aware, as the then chief of legal and
19 personnel in the regional command at Doboj, which was responsible for the
20 oversight of the Samac police station, you weren't aware of any of the
21 complaints of the nature which I've just read to you of murder, torture,
22 ill-treatment, plunder, looting, and so on, against Todorovic?
23 A. I don't know about that. I only worked in the domain of personnel
24 and legal affairs.
25 Q. You're telling the Trial Chamber you heard nothing about
1 Todorovic's activities and his participation in murder, ill-treatment of
2 prisoners, detaining non-Serbs, only because they were non-Serbs, looting
3 and plundering, et cetera, in the period which you worked as -- in the
4 Doboj regional command?
5 A. Quite frankly, I did not hear about that.
6 Q. Her Honour Judge Williams asked me to ask you in relation to what
7 the other investigators -- the other four people spoke to you about after
8 you had completed your three or four day investigation. What did they
9 tell you about what they had been investigating and what their findings
11 A. The general assessment was that the situation in the station was
12 not in proper order and that the station was not being managed properly.
13 I did not have any other information.
14 Q. So no one mentioned to you there had been a complaint about
15 murder, torture, ill-treatment, detention -- extrajudicial detention
16 on discriminatory grounds only, plundering, looting, sexual assault. None
17 of the other investigators said we've been looking into these terrible
18 allegations about our police station in Samac. The highest it got was
19 things aren't being done properly?
20 A. No one said anything.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Lukic.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The witness has already responded, but
23 I wanted to object. I believe that the Prosecutor is being over
24 repetitive. He has already received many answers from this witness and he
25 is now asking him to speculate as well.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Re. Mr. Lukic's observation is correct.
2 MR. RE:
3 Q. While you were an employee of the Ministry of the Interior in 1992
4 and 1993, were you paid centrally through the Ministry of the Interior?
5 A. Yes. These resources came from the Ministry of the Interior.
6 Q. Likewise, the local police chiefs, such as the police chief of
7 Samac in the other stations you mentioned, were they also paid essentially
8 through the Ministry of the Interior?
9 A. Salaries were sent to the centre for regional security, and the
10 centre then further transferred these funds to public security stations.
11 However, may I just add one thing? It would happen that the entire
12 payroll for the entire regional centre, that is to say, for 1.000
13 employees, would amount to a certain amount of money that was sufficient
14 for buying a pack of cigarettes only, because there was such rampant
16 Q. Stevan Todorovic, as the police chief of Samac, his name, so far
17 as you're concerned, as someone who worked in the Ministry of the
18 Interior, his name would only appear on a Ministry of the Interior
19 payroll, for his job as chief of police; correct?
20 A. That is not correct. He sent reports every day. That's where his
21 name appeared to. He participated in some meetings that were organised by
22 the head of the centre. He signed charge sheets, et cetera.
23 Q. Maybe you misunderstand. I'm talking about the payroll, the
24 people who paid him. The only payroll upon which his name should appear
25 as Ministry of the Interior employee and as chief of the Samac police
1 station would be on a Ministry of Interior payroll; is that correct?
2 A. I don't know about that. He appeared on the payroll of the
3 Ministry of the Interior. Whether he appeared on any other payroll is
4 something that I don't know about.
5 Q. Did your name, as a serving officer of the Ministry of Interior,
6 appear on any other payrolls other than the Ministry of the Interior's?
7 A. Mine, no.
8 [Prosecution counsel confer]
9 MR. RE: Would Your Honour just excuse me for one moment? I think
10 I'm there.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
12 [Prosecution counsel confer]
13 MR. RE:
14 Q. I just want to ask you about the report you prepared as a result
15 of your three-day visit to Samac. Do you have a copy of that report or
16 the reports the other four investigators prepared in relation to Stevan
17 Todorovic's activities?
18 A. We all sent our own reports separately. It is forbidden to keep
19 official reports. I believe that this report does exist in the Ministry
20 of the Interior, but I could not have a copy at home.
21 Q. And we can take it from the evidence you've given that you've
22 never heard about the allegations of murder, sexual assault, plundering,
23 looting, all those things I read to you from the sentencing judgement,
24 except when you came into this case, that Dr. Blagoje Simic never
25 mentioned those things to you when he spoke to you, any of those
1 complaints about Stevan Todorovic when he spoke to you at that dinner in
3 A. He did not mention any such thing to me.
4 MR. RE: I have no further questions, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Re-examination?
6 Re-examined by Mr. Pantelic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Paleksic, in principle, you have clarified
8 everything here as regards the questions put by the Prosecutor. Let's
9 just look into a few matters.
10 In relation to what the Prosecutor asked you about salaries, you
11 said that due to truly rampant inflation, this amount was totally
12 devalued, the entire payroll. Tell me: Do you have any personal
13 knowledge as to whether the employees received something else instead of
14 these salaries? Could you please explain this to us? How did things work
15 out? Because people have to live on something.
16 A. Exactly.
17 Q. So how were these questions resolved in practice by various
19 A. Sometimes the Red Cross would give the Ministry of the Interior
20 some basic food supplies, but very rarely. All the rest of us lived on
21 humanitarian aid. I'm sorry that I didn't bring along my membership
22 card. Before the war, I was a person who was well off, but this card
23 shows that for two years I would take a sack of flour, of sugar, some oil,
24 et cetera, every 15 days or every month, and that's the way people lived
25 throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina. They couldn't buy a thing using their
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Paleksic.
3 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous interpretation continues] ...
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you, Mr. Paleksic, for giving evidence to the
5 Tribunal. You are now free. You may leave the courtroom.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
7 [The witness withdrew]
8 MR. RE: Your Honour, while the next witness is being brought out,
9 can I inform the Court in relation to the joint Defence handwriting expert
10 professor Aleksic, we filed a notice requiring him for examination. The
11 Prosecution no longer requires him for cross-examination and we don't
12 object to tender of his report in the due course of these proceedings.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you very much for that explanation.
14 So the Prosecution notice which was filed is withdrawn?
15 MR. RE: Yes, Your Honour.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Good afternoon. Please make the solemn declaration.
18 WITNESS: OZREN STANIMIROVIC
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
21 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Please sit down.
23 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Examined by Mr. Pantelic:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Witness. Can you hear me?
1 A. Yes, I can.
2 Q. Can you hear the translation in your headphones? Please, before
3 we commence, please bear in mind, since both you and I speak the same
4 language, we often overlap in our discussion, which necessitates that you
5 take at least a few seconds' pause before you start answering my question
6 and to allow for the interpreters to do their part of the job. Thank you
7 in advance for that. Could you kindly tell us your full name?
8 A. My name is Ozren Stanimirovic. I'm a medical doctor by
9 profession. I graduated from the medical school in Pristina and I
10 specialised in pulmonology and tuberculosis of the lungs.
11 Q. Dr. Stanimirovic, will you please tell us when you were born?
12 A. I was born on the 12th of February, 1948, in Nis.
13 Q. Tell me: Since when have you been living in Samac?
14 A. I moved to Samac on the 18th of April, 1978.
15 Q. Tell me: What is your father by ethnicity?
16 A. My father is a Serb.
17 Q. What about your mother?
18 A. My mother is a Croat.
19 Q. Tell me: Are you married? What is your marital status?
20 A. At the moment, I am happily divorced.
21 Q. Were you married in 1992?
22 A. Yes, I was, and my wife was also a Croat, but we didn't divorce
23 because she was Croat.
24 Q. Although this is a personal question, please don't be offended
25 with it, but tell me: When did you divorce?
1 A. I think that was about two and a half years ago.
2 Q. Tell me: Did you have children with your ex-wife?
3 A. Yes. We have one child, and my ex-wife comes to visit her son and
4 her grandchildren, because my son is married and has his own children. We
5 keep seeing each other, but we don't live together any more.
6 Q. You have been living in Samac since 1978. Did you spend the whole
7 time there or was there a period between 1978 and today that you did not
8 live there?
9 A. With the exception of two years in the early 1980s when I went to
10 Belgrade for specialisation, I have lived in Samac all the time.
11 Q. Let me ask you, in addition to your medical specialisation, in
12 your professional career, including the present time, have you completed
13 any other courses of specialised medicine?
14 A. Not in -- I'm currently doing the specialisation course of family
16 Q. Is that with some medical institution, faculty, or something else?
17 A. It is being organised by a Geneva cantonal hospital.
18 Q. Tell me, please: Did you complete military service?
19 A. Yes, I did.
20 Q. Where and when?
21 A. In 1976 and 1977, the first part of the military service I did in
22 Zrenjanin, and the second part at the military airport in Skopje.
23 Q. Please tell us how long have you been working? What is your
24 length of service?
25 A. About 25 years.
1 Q. What is your current professional position that you hold at the
3 A. At the moment I am the head of the pulmonology clinic within the
4 medical centre in Samac.
5 Q. If you can briefly just lead us through your professional career
6 ever since you started working. Tell us which positions and posts did you
8 A. I started as an intern, which is a usual practice and the usual
9 beginnings for every medical doctor. I was a secondary doctor in a chest
10 department in Samac. Then I did my specialisation in this same ward, and
11 eventually I became the head of this ward. For a time, I was also the
12 director of the Samac hospital. During the war, I was a coordinator for
13 the whole of Samac, which means the coordinator for the medical centre in
14 Samac. And for four years I have been the head of the medical clinic.
15 Q. Tell me, Doctor: Have you ever been a member of a political
16 party? Were you politically active?
17 A. I was a member of a few political parties, as an exemplary
18 soldier, I was admitted to the League of Communists of Yugoslavia.
19 Q. When was that?
20 A. While I was in the army. That was a kind of reward, because I was
21 pronounced the best soldier of the battalion. When I left the army and
22 started working, I left this party. When the SDS was in the process of
23 forming, I came to a meeting, so I can be deemed to be one of the founders
24 of the party. So at one point in time when I did not -- started
25 disagreeing with them, I left the SDS.
1 Q. When was that?
2 A. I think that was about four or five or even six years ago.
3 Q. Tell me -- sorry. I interrupted you. You said several parties.
4 Were you a member of any other party in the meantime?
5 A. No. I am more or less a kind of decorative member, because I'm
6 not very much interested in politics, and I'm a popular person, and I was
7 one of the doctors who had lived and worked in this municipality for a
8 long time, and people liked to have me around.
9 Q. You said that you were one of the founders of the SDS Samac. Can
10 you tell us what year was that?
11 A. Well, it's a little bit difficult to say now, but I think that was
12 in 1990. I believe so.
13 Q. Can you name any other persons who were also the founders of the
14 SDS at the time?
15 A. Well, you know, at this meeting there were about some 40 or 50
16 people. I can't remember all their names. I can remember that in the
17 town of Samac there were very few such people, due to which I
18 automatically became member of the town board. I could not allow myself
19 to be elected by somebody else.
20 Q. If you remember, at the time, in the 1990, who was the president,
21 the chairman of the town board of the SDS?
22 A. A neighbour of mine. His first name was Dusko, but I can't
23 remember his last name. He was a neighbour of mine.
24 Q. Do you know anything about this period in 1990? Were any other
25 parties established in Samac?
1 A. Yes. The other parties that were established there, the
2 presidents of those parties were all my friends.
3 Q. Can you tell us which parties were established in 1990, whether it
4 was in or around 1990?
5 A. I cannot remember, because I was not interested. For example,
6 Sulejman Tihic, the founder of the SDR [as interpreted] in Samac is a
7 friend of mine. The vice-president of the HDZ, I cannot remember his full
8 name. He was a friend of mine, and we knew each other and he was known by
9 the nickname --
10 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry. The interpreter didn't get the
12 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. You just mentioned that a certain person was the vice-president of
14 the HDZ.
15 A. I don't know if he was a member of the presidency or the
16 vice-presidency. I wasn't interested.
17 Q. Just tell us your [sic] name for the record.
18 A. His nickname was Pilja, and I don't know his full name. I don't
19 want to be mistaken. We usually call each other in the place where I come
20 from by nicknames.
21 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I'm not too sure. I'm a little bit
22 lost with the schedule for today. Is it time for a break now or we have
23 to --
24 JUDGE MUMBA: No. The break will be at 1615.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Oh, 1615. Thank you so much. I do apologise.
1 Q. [Interpretation] All right. Tell me, Dr. Stanimirovic: Apart
2 from the SDA, SDS, and the HDZ, at the local level in Samac, was there --
3 were there any other parties on the political scene there?
4 A. Of course. There was a socialist party, and I attended their
5 first meeting during the war. And the people who lead this party, I know
6 them very well, and we are on good terms.
7 Q. Apart from these, were there any others?
8 A. I cannot remember right now.
9 Q. Tell me: I forgot to ask you within your personal data whether
10 you are a religious person, and which confession do you belong?
11 A. Yes, I'm a believer, and I'm an orthodox religion.
12 Q. Do you remember local elections for the Samac Municipal Assembly?
13 When were they held, and how was the assembly -- or the authority
14 established, if you know?
15 A. I don't remember that.
16 Q. Can you tell us: What were your personal observation and
17 knowledge of the situation that prevailed in Samac in the period between
18 the autumn of 1991 and April 1992? How would you characterise this?
19 A. There was some indication that the situation will become ugly, but
20 many of my acquaintances did not believe that, that what happened would
21 have happened. We really hoped that it would not come to that. My
22 friends and I were really caught by surprise with all these events.
23 Q. Can you describe interethnic relations in Samac in that period?
24 A. Well, that's a rather difficult question. I can explain that I
25 used to socialise with people who were my friends, of whom I was fond of,
1 and with whom I still maintain friendly relations. They are all Serbs,
2 Muslims, and Croats equally. So I cannot tell you any specific opinion
3 about interethnic relations in the town itself. I'm not the proper person
4 to give you that.
5 Q. Have you ever heard or were you witness to any conflicts along
6 ethnic lines? Were there any explosions? Were there any wounded people?
7 You are a medical doctor, after all. Maybe you had some knowledge about
9 A. Yes, there were some shootings, although I wasn't on duty. There
10 were some misunderstandings that led to the blockades in the town. But
11 since I knew these people, I felt it was very awkward for me to go and
12 look what was going on, and I preferred to stay at home.
13 Q. When you said that you knew these people, who are you referring
14 to? I presume you are referring to the people who took part in these
15 blockades or some other people. Can you explain?
16 A. Out of the 30.000 inhabitants of Samac, I think that about 20.000
17 of them knew me, and I knew almost all of them. So whoever was there must
18 have been at least half of them must have been my acquaintances.
19 Q. Tell me: In doing your medical job, you were in charge
20 practically for the entire territory of Samac municipality. Did you, and
21 how often, go to the villages that belong to municipality of Samac?
22 A. About six months before the war started, let's call it a war, I
23 took part in an experimental project of house visits that our medical
24 centre was doing together with the medical school in Tuzla, so we had a
25 very nice project and we started working on it and implementing it.
1 However, the project failed, most probably to technical difficulties, to
2 put it that way, because at the time we visited the whole territory of
3 municipality in a small car and we reached all places. However, since the
4 times had already become rather strange, people had put guards everywhere,
5 although I knew all those guards, and we passed through these checkpoints
6 without any problems, but it was rather embarrassing. So eventually the
7 project was abandoned.
8 Q. What were the motives for those guards and sentries to be posted
9 in villages?
10 A. Well, you know, probably they felt they need to protect themselves
11 from anyone. I didn't [as interpreted] believe that Croatian villages had
12 Croat guards, Serbian villages had Serb guards. We didn't have in Samac
13 Muslim villages, but if we had had them, they would have had their guards.
14 But as I said, we passed through these checkpoints and by these guards in
15 a correct way.
16 MR. LAZAREVIC: Your Honours, this is one small intervention.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
18 MR. LAZAREVIC: In the transcript. Here it is, page 90. The
19 witness didn't say "I didn't believe that Croatian villages had Croat
20 guards." It makes not much sense. He spoke that Croatian villages had
21 Croat guards, Serbian villages Serbian guards. Just that correction.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I think that can be taken care of.
23 MR. PANTELIC: I will clarify.
24 Q. [Interpretation] Just to clarify, Doctor, this transcript. Could
25 you please just speak a little bit more slowly, because the interpreters
1 are having a problem keeping the pace. I asked you if you had any
2 personal knowledge what the motives were and the reasons for posting
3 village guards at the time, and for certain tensions to arise along ethnic
4 lines, and you started to explain that -- maybe you can repeat what you
6 A. All village guard posts that I passed through wore identical
7 uniforms. Those were the uniforms of the war police, which means blue
8 uniforms, just like the ones worn by the army. I remember that when I did
9 my military service in the air force. I know that Serbs were manning
10 those guard posts in Serbian villages, because I knew them personally.
11 Equally, I know that Croats had their guards in Croatian villages, because
12 I knew them personally as well. I thought that they were either doing
13 some exercise or drill or were just exercising how to protect themselves.
14 Q. In February or March 1992, you were travelling from Samac to
15 Brcko. Can you tell us something about what happened that?
16 A. I was supposed to travel, and Samac was under the blockade.
17 Nobody was able to either go out or enter the town, since the chief of the
18 police was a neighbour of mine, he -- we lived in the same building and
19 the same entrance to the apartment building. I called him and asked him
20 what was going on, and he told me that the town was under the blockade by
21 members of the SDA and that I should wait, and as soon as he settles the
22 matter, he will let me know and tell me that I can leave the town. He
23 soon resolved -- the matter was soon resolved. He gave me a call and I
25 Q. This neighbour of yours who was the chief of the police, what was
1 his name?
2 A. Vinko. Vinko Dragicevic.
3 Q. Tell me, Doctor: At your work in early 1992 until April, where
4 did you work in Samac?
5 A. From the beginning of 1992 until the war broke out, I worked in
6 the department for occupational medicine.
7 Q. Can you tell us briefly, because I presumed the staff of mixed
8 ethnic origin, there were Muslims, Croats, and Serbs, how would you assess
9 the atmosphere that prevailed among the co-workers there -- then, from the
10 beginning of 1992, until April?
11 A. Well, you know, the situation that was embroiling and brewing for
12 some time could not be felt in the medical sense, because those were
13 people with higher moral standards or responsibility, and we did not
14 exactly get involved in these problems. Probably over coffee we had a
15 tete-a-tete discussions, but officially there was no mention of that in
16 the medical centre.
17 Q. Tell me: Just before the war broke out in mid-April 1992, let's
18 say, a couple of weeks or a month before that, did you notice anything
19 unusual at work? Did everybody continue to come normally to work or were
20 there any changes?
21 A. The only thing that I found very odd was an enormous inflow of
22 medicines and medical supplies. We received assistance from outside in
23 medication, and we received aid in the form of gauzes, bandages, and other
24 medical supplies that normally exist in hospitals. We even received an
25 ambulance, which for a rather poor town like ours was really a major gift.
1 Some of our colleagues went on holiday or on a sick leave. I even
2 helped one of my colleagues to get through to Western Europe. I gave him
3 a false order for his mother that she was purportedly ill. Fortunately,
4 the lady wasn't sick at all. I was not interested what was underlying
5 the reasons for their departure. The one I spoke about was a colleague of
6 mine, and I believe that one should always offer help in hand to one's
8 MR. PANTELIC: Break now?
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We will have a ten-minute break. We shall
10 resume our proceedings at 1625 hours.
11 --- Recess taken at 4.16 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 4.29 p.m.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. You continue.
14 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you. Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Dr. Stanimirovic, if you're not feeling well or
16 if you're feeling too hot or anything, you have the right to inform the
18 A. I feel well.
19 Q. Before the break, we were talking about the atmosphere in the
20 medical centre. Could you please tell me who at that time, in the period
21 from January 1992 until the beginning of the war or the conflict in Samac
22 in April 1992, who was heading the medical institution where you worked?
23 Who was the director?
24 A. The director was Dr. Anto Majic. He was a pediatrician.
25 Q. What was his ethnicity?
1 A. Dr. Anto is a Croat.
2 Q. After him, who was heading the medical centre from April 1992
3 until -- and onwards?
4 A. After him, the coordinator, as it was called then, was Dr. Mesud
5 Nogic. He was a gynaecologist.
6 Q. And what is his ethnicity?
7 A. He's a Muslim.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please make a break between
9 question and answer.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: [Previous interpretation continues] ... pausing.
11 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you for your instructions, Your Honour. I do
13 Q. [Interpretation] Could you please tell me until when was Dr. Nogic
14 at the head of the medical centre?
15 A. Dr. Nogic was managing the medical centre until I returned from
16 the Donja Slatina local clinic, where I was -- from where I was brought
17 back to Samac, and this was sometime in September or October 1992. So
18 then I substituted for him.
19 Q. Did he leave Samac at that time or did he stay? And if he did,
20 what was the post that he continued to work at?
21 A. Dr. Nogic remained in Samac, and he worked in the gynaecology
23 Q. Could you tell us what the ethnic composition was of the
24 institution where you worked from January 1992 --
25 MR. LAZAREVIC: We heard -- only one small correction here on page
1 96. The witness said he was chief of gynaecology department.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Where abouts?
3 MR. LAZAREVIC: Line 8. Line 8.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Instead of just him remaining in the -- working in
5 the gynaecology department, he was chief? Mr. Pantelic can clarify that.
6 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. There's a correction for the transcript. What you said after you
8 were appointed -- allow me to finish, please, sir, Dr. Stanimirovic.
9 Could you please make a break also because of the transcript. So your
10 answer to the question was that he, after you were appointed, remained and
11 continued to work. Could you tell us what was his post and at which
12 department in the medical centre did he work?
13 A. Dr. Nogic remained at work in the medical centre as a
14 gynaecologist. Since this is a specific service which other doctors
15 cannot perform, they don't know how to perform it, and he was the only
16 gynaecologist, naturally he was the head of the department. He was that
17 also before the war. He is otherwise a person that I have full confidence
18 in, and he's a friend of mine.
19 Q. Can you tell us what your personal knowledge is about the ethnic
20 composition of the institution where you worked, roughly? You don't have
21 to go into details. Was it a single ethnic group that comprised the
22 staff, or was it multi-ethnic? How would you describe it?
23 A. The composition of the employees at the medical centre was
24 multi-ethnic: Croats, Serbs, and Muslims were employed there.
25 Q. And the composition, was it such from April 1992 until the end of
1 1993, or was it different?
2 A. When the war began, I was at the Samac medical centre. Quite a
3 few of us stayed behind. So the composition was varied. There were
4 Serbs, Muslims, and Croats. I was there at that place for a few days
5 performing that duty. Then I was entrusted with the job of the sector
6 clinic in Donja Slatina. That's where I was sent to work.
7 Q. Once you were appointed as the chief of the medical centre in the
8 fall of 1992, what was the ethnic composition of your colleagues then?
9 A. When I returned to Samac, to the medical centre, the staff was
10 still multi-ethnic. There were fewer Muslims and Croats, but there were
11 Muslims and Croats still there.
12 Q. Did you have any information about any of your colleagues in the
13 fall of 1992 who were no longer in the institution? Did you know where
14 they went and why did they go?
15 A. When I returned, naturally, the first thing was to see where my
16 colleagues were, and then I heard from other colleagues that they had
17 pulled out of Samac, they had left Samac, which I considered to be
18 normal in given circumstances.
19 Q. As far as your Serb colleagues are concerned, did you notice any
20 changes there in the personnel structure? Let me put it that way.
21 A. Yes, of course. They all went to different posts, because -- to
22 different places, because Samac is a place that was frequently shelled.
23 So it was a little more difficult at that time to work in Samac. People
24 were afraid. So they found ways to leave.
25 Q. When you mentioned how you remarked that a larger quantity of
1 medical supplies appeared in the medical centre, what conclusion did you
2 make? Did you have any information where this came from, and why?
3 A. This happened several months before the outbreak of the war, and
4 all the doctors participated in the transport of the material, for
5 example, when a vehicle arrived with the supplies, we would help the
6 nurses and the other staff to carry that into the medical centre building.
7 The director explained to us that we had to sort all of that out, gauze
8 and bandages on one side and medicines on another side, and then the
9 medicines were sorted according to groups, what each medicine was for. So
10 this is what we did. We expected that something ugly would happen, most
11 probably because we were already sinking into poverty. So we thought
12 that the world was helping us and that this would always be something
14 Q. Do you have any information about events in the period before the
15 outbreak of the conflict? So I'm talking about the month of March, in the
16 inner area of Samac, Odzak, Brod. Were there any events there which stick
17 to your mind?
18 A. No.
19 Q. What was the situation in Croatia at that time?
20 A. At that time you could cross the bridge over into Croatia, and we
21 crossed there, to buy petrol. Of course, we had our personal ID. There
22 was a checkpoint on the bridge, on one side and the other side. I crossed
23 the bridge several times. I didn't have any problems, again because I
24 know those people. But, you know, it was difficult for me to see a guard
25 on each corner and to be watched while you were passing by, but that was
1 the reality.
2 Q. What was the situation in Croatia in the sense of armed conflict?
3 Did that stop at that time or were they still going on? I'm talking about
4 the first initial period from January 1992 until April 1992. That's the
5 period I'm talking about.
6 A. I can't really tell you anything about that. I don't know. I
7 wasn't really following that. It's something that I'm not really
8 interested in. I didn't want to watch daily news or news on television.
9 It was very sad. But sometimes you could hear cannon fire from a
10 distance, and there was some information, so I was able to assume that
11 fierce fighting was going on somewhere.
12 Q. In mid-April, to be more specific, on the day between the 16th and
13 the 17th of April, what do you remember about that specific period?
14 A. I was at home that night. I was woken by firing. The first
15 thought was that it was some kind of a holiday and that people who were
16 celebrating that holiday had gotten drunk and that they were firing from
17 their weapons, because that's a custom of ours. However, the shooting
18 continued for a while, so I assumed that it was a major holiday. But then
19 they told me that it wasn't a holiday at all [as interpreted]. So I
20 thought that was a little strange.
21 In the morning I went to work. At the time, I was working in a
22 glass factory. It was producing glass for vehicles. When I got there --
23 Q. Just one moment, Dr. Stanimirovic. Just one correction. What did
24 you say, that you worked in a --
25 MR. LAZAREVIC: There is another correction in the transcript. It
1 is on page 101. He said they told me that it wasn't a holiday at all. He
2 was speaking about his conversation with his wife. So this is not an
3 accurate reproduction of what the witness said.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have it corrected?
5 MR. PANTELIC: I will -- yes, Your Honour. I will try to correct
6 that with the witness.
7 Q. [Interpretation] Dr. Stanimirovic, this part of the transcript,
8 could you please repeat the following: You were asking yourself, was it a
9 holiday. Who were you talking to?
10 A. I asked my wife, who was sleeping next to me at the time, since
11 she is more religious than I am, she knows such things better than I do,
12 and she told me that it wasn't any kind of church holiday.
13 Q. The second thing which I would like to clarify here, I think that
14 I heard you say that in the morning, on the 17th of April, you went to
15 your job, and you mentioned something. What was it? Could you please
16 repeat what it was?
17 A. When I came to the factory where there was a clinic serving the
18 employees of the factory, I didn't find anybody there except the person at
19 the entrance. The gatekeeper. And he didn't even stop me, because he
20 knows me. Again, I came back to the entrance gate, to the main entrance,
21 and I asked him, "What is going on? How come there's nobody here?" And
22 he looked at me so strangely and said, "Doctor, what's the matter with
23 you? There's shooting in town."
24 Q. Could you please tell me: In that period, in April 1992, where
25 were you residing? Can you tell us where you were living in town?
1 A. Yes. I lived between the medical centre and the hospital, so that
2 when I was going to the work, to work at the factory, I wouldn't go
3 through the centre of the town, but I would go via another round about
5 Q. And where was the factory?
6 A. It was either at the entrance or the exit to Samac, depending on
7 how you look at it.
8 Q. On which side was it?
9 A. Towards Tisina.
10 Q. Was that east of Samac?
11 A. Well, it was upstream from Samac.
12 Q. What did you notice on the way from your flat to your -- to the
13 factory? What did you notice on the road and on the streets? How would
14 you describe what you saw?
15 A. This is a transit road. It was empty. But when I'm driving, I
16 listen to music usually, so that I wasn't really paying much attention to
17 the fact that there wasn't that much traffic.
18 Q. Were there any patrols or checkpoints or barricades on that road?
19 A. No. This is a secondary, round about road, so there were no
20 patrols or barricades on it.
21 Q. After you went to the clinic at Uniglas, where did you go then?
22 A. They called me from the medical centre to come back immediately,
23 and I returned to the medical centre, and that's where I found a lot of my
24 colleagues, amongst them my colleague Vuckovic, who told me, "Come and see
25 what happened to me." And I did have something to see indeed, in one room
1 in the medical centre. His father was lying there. He was dead. I asked
2 him what happened, and he told me that he was killed. At that moment, I
3 became very serious and I realised -- I understood some things which are
4 very difficult to describe but which happened to me. War in my town, in
5 Samac, looked like something quite impossible, and it seemed to be quite
6 impossible. And that dead man showed me that in fact it was possible and
7 that it was happening here.
8 Q. Did you find out any details about the circumstances of the death
9 of your colleague's father?
10 A. I heard that he did not stop when stopped by a police officer,
11 that he sped through -- when he was not allowed to pass, and that they
12 opened fire, and that is how he was killed.
13 Q. Can you describe to us in that first period, those first few days,
14 whether there were armed clashes, was there any shelling? Could you
15 please describe those first few days for us, if you remember.
16 A. Those first few days that I spent in Samac there was firing all
17 over town. There were also powerful explosions. I am not able to say why
18 these explosions happened. I don't know what they were, were they
19 mortars, artillery shots, or whatever. But you could hear them. And so
20 we immediately all together went to a cellar or basement underneath the
21 lab, and we made a shelter there.
22 Q. Did you know where the mortar shells were coming from and the
23 other fire?
24 A. No. Nobody dared to go outside to look, especially because we
25 didn't know what was happening.
1 Q. When did you leave Samac? You said you spent a couple of days in
2 Samac and that after that you went to a new job. Where was that?
3 A. That was the sector clinic in Donja Slatina. It's a village near
4 Samac. I think it's about seven kilometres away, and it's on the
5 Samac-Brcko road.
6 Q. Could you please tell me: Why did you go there, and how long did
7 you stay there? What were you doing there? What were your duties, your
8 activities while there?
9 A. I don't know what the basis was for my going there, but I was
10 transferred there. My activities were to be -- to make a 24-hour clinic
11 there, an emergency clinic there, which was supposed to work for 24 hours
12 a day. I got one nurse, a male nurse, and one car. I went there. I
13 organised the service as best as I could. And I stayed there until
14 September or October. It's probably mid- or late September more rather
15 than October.
16 Q. Tell me: While you were working in this clinic in Donja Slatina,
17 what medical services did you render, in fact, to this clinic? Who were
18 your patients? Can you describe this in a couple of sentences, how you
19 were professionally engaged there?
20 A. It was a clinic of the medical centre which became a clinic where
21 everybody who was either dead or alive was brought to this clinic within
22 the range of five or six or seven kilometres. Most of them were wounded
23 and injured people and dead people, so people who were killed, and we
24 occasionally had a sick patient. It is very interesting that in the war,
25 because that already looked like a war, people very seldom get sick. So
1 my chief duty and that of my staff was reduced to treating 50 or 53 dead
2 people, around 200 severely injured people, and those lightly injured, we
3 didn't even count.
4 Q. Are you speaking about the number of the dead and the wounded for
5 the entire period that you spent in the Donja Slatina clinic?
6 A. Well, these are conditional numbers. I cannot be accurate,
7 because this is just my estimate. Because many of those people I didn't
8 have time to put on record. I simply didn't have time for that. And
9 this refers only to the period that I worked at this clinic.
10 Q. I understand. Could you please explain whether the reason or the
11 cause of the wounds and the deaths of these people that you mentioned were
12 combat operations, war, or can you explain where the front line was in
13 respect to your clinic, and what happened with some more severe cases that
14 you were not able to treat in your clinic?
15 A. The front line was on the one side about two kilometres away, and
16 on the other side of the clinic it was 1.5 kilometres away. The clinic
17 was situated on an asphalt road, or by the asphalt road. Mainly, the
18 wounds or the deaths were caused by firearms or by shrapnels. When I say
19 "shrapnels," I'm referring to grenades, to fragmentation mines, and things
20 like that.
21 Q. What happened with more severe cases that you were unable to treat
22 in your clinic in Donja Slatina?
23 A. All severe cases that arrived, we tried to make them able to
24 survive the transportation to the village of Pelagicevo, where there was a
25 military field hospital, and they had helicopters, and then they
1 transported them further on. My duty was to make all the casualties,
2 whether they were wounded or injured, et cetera, to make it to this
3 hospital, to make sure that they make it to this hospital. This clinic
4 was in a garage. It was not equipped properly. But nevertheless, we
5 managed, and I think that during the transportation we lost only two
6 lives, that all the others survived and made it to the hospital. However,
7 I don't know what happened with those people after that. I knew about
8 some of them who had returned, but most of all I don't know what happened.
9 Q. Tell me: What ethnicity -- your patients were of what ethnicity?
10 A. You mean in Donja Slatina? They were mainly Serbs. Mainly Serbs.
11 But there were Croats as well, because the surrounding villages were
12 Croatian villages. And there were Muslims. I know one particular case of
13 a Muslim woman who was wounded by a shrapnel, and since our clinic was the
14 nearest one, she came to us for help.
15 Q. Tell me --
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic --
17 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: 1700 hours.
19 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise. Because I thought that we would
20 work around 15 minutes more due to the technical problems that we suffered
21 with the computers.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: No. It's not possible because of other commitments.
23 MR. PANTELIC: I see. Thank you, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: As we have other cases to deal with.
25 Yes. We will continue on Monday, Dr. Stanimirovic, at 1415 hours.
1 So you come back to Court. We'll adjourn now.
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
3 5.01 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
4 the 13th day of January, 2003 at 2.15 p.m.