1 Tuesday, 4 February 2003
2 [Depositions Hearing]
3 [Open session]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
5 PRESIDING OFFICER: ... everyone. We're going to start as
6 planned. I believe that everyone knows what the instructions are, and so
7 I understand, Mr. Pisarevic, you're going to start first with your
8 witness, and so you know, you have 40 minutes for your
10 So the witness can be brought in now. I believe everyone knows
11 the instructions, and we'll proceed expeditiously.
12 [The witness entered]
13 PRESIDING OFFICER: Good morning, Mr. Cukic. Could you please
14 take the solemn declaration. It's -- could you read the -- could you read
15 the sheet which is in front of you, the pink sheet.
16 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
17 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you.
18 WITNESS: IVAN CUKIC
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 PRESIDING OFFICER: Mr. Pisarevic.
21 Examined by Mr. Pisarevic:
22 Q. [No Interpretation]
23 A. [No Interpretation]
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Cukic. I'll repeat what I just
1 Good morning to all those present; good morning, Mr. Cukic. Good
2 morning everyone.
3 I should like to give you just a few brief instructions. Should
4 something fail to function or should you be unable to hear me or anyone
5 else taking part in these proceedings, please let me know and we will do
6 our best to remove those difficulties.
7 Regarding the technology and in the interest of the success of
8 this testimony of yours, I would like to ask you to wait a couple of
9 seconds after I finish my question and only then to start answering those
10 questions slowly and clearly so that the interpreters can successfully
11 carry out their duties.
12 Please tell us what is your name.
13 A. My name is Ivan Cukic.
14 Q. When were you born?
15 A. I was born on the 9th of December, 1962.
16 Q. Tell me, please, where you were born.
17 A. I was born in Bosanski Samac.
18 Q. Tell me, please, where were you living up until 1992?
19 A. Until 1992, I lived in a village called Zorice.
20 Q. Is there close to this village of Zorice another settlement that
21 has a name of its own?
22 A. The real name of the village is Trnjak Zorice, which was also the
23 name of our local commune.
24 Q. Tell me, please, which municipality does your village belong to?
25 A. Our village is within the territory of Odzak municipality.
1 Q. Where are you living now?
2 A. I'm now living in the Republic of Croatia, in Osijek.
3 Q. Are you married?
4 A. Yes, I am. I have a wife and two children.
5 Q. Have you done your military service in the Yugoslav People's
6 Army? Where and when, please.
7 A. I served in the Yugoslav People's Army in 1982 and 1983 in Zadar
8 and then in Maribor.
9 Q. Do you have any military rank?
10 A. Yes. I am a reserve lieutenant.
11 Q. And what is your occupation?
12 A. I graduated from a secondary school of economics so that my title
13 is economic technician.
14 Q. And what is your ethnicity, Mr. Cukic?
15 A. My ethnicity is Croatian.
16 Q. Were you a member of any political party?
17 A. I was a member of a political party.
18 Q. Will you tell us which.
19 A. I was a member of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia.
20 Q. Tell me, please, this local commune of yours, Trnjak Zorice, what
21 kind of local commune is it? Who are the residents of that community?
22 A. From the name itself which consists of two words, Trnjak and
23 Zorice, one can intimate that this was a village inhabited by Serbs and
24 Croats, Zorice being the place inhabited by Croats whereas Trnjak was
25 inhabited by Serbs.
1 Q. Thank you. Do you know how long this local commune of yours has
2 existed in the republic?
3 A. I'm not familiar with those data, probably because this has
4 existed from -- for a very long time.
5 Q. Do you know the Zaric family from Trnjak?
6 A. Yes, I do. The Zaric family, like all the other families living
7 in Trnjak Zorice, are people I know.
8 Q. Did Mr. Simo Zaric stay in your local commune of Trnjak Zorice?
9 A. Simo Zaric originally came from our local commune, so that it is
10 normal that he spent much of his life there.
11 Q. Can you tell me what kind of reputation Simo Zaric had in your
12 community of Trnjak Zorice.
13 A. Simo Zaric was always considered in our community to be a
14 prominent figure and an organiser of all activities in the community which
15 were conducive to its betterment.
16 Q. Are you familiar with the fact the kind of relations Mr. Zaric
17 advocated among the inhabitants of Trnjak and Zorice?
18 MR. WEINER: Objection, madam. Could we have at least a date or a
19 time period for this witness's answer, please, or could counsel at least
20 express some sort of time period in relation to when the questions are
21 being asked.
22 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I'll do that, but I think
23 that it follows from the questions so far that we are referring now to the
24 time period up to 1992, so that we're speaking of the period up to 1992,
25 which is until when Mr. Cukic lived in Trnjak, and Zorice, of course.
1 Q. Could you please answer my question that I put to you a moment
3 A. Could you repeat the question, please.
4 Q. Yes, I'll do that. In that period, that is up until 1992 while
5 you were living in Zorice itself and Trnjak, could you tell us what were
6 the kind of relations that Mr. Zaric sought to promote in the community
7 among Serbs and Croats?
8 A. Simo Zaric was considered to be a man of integrity and with a very
9 good reputation, so that accordingly, he urged that inter-ethnic relations
10 should not be disturbed in any way, and to that end he geared his efforts
11 throughout that period.
12 Q. Before the outbreak of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
13 that is prior to April 1992, did you have occasion to talk to Simo Zaric
15 A. I did have occasion to talk to Mr. Simo Zaric frequently.
16 Especially this was true in the period immediately prior to the outbreak
17 of the war. In those days, we met regularly, that is, all the
18 representatives of the local communes within our municipality. And the
19 aim of those meetings was to ease tensions and safeguard peace.
20 Q. When did you learn that Simo Zaric was mobilised to the Yugoslav
21 People's Army, that is, to the 4th Detachment?
22 A. I cannot give you a precise date, but certainly before the
23 outbreak of the conflict in our area I knew where Simo was, how he had
24 been mobilised and what his assignments were, that is, that he had been
25 mobilised to the 4th Detachment.
1 Q. Who did you receive that information from?
2 A. I can't tell you exactly, because there was no secret. I think
3 that most of the locals knew about it.
4 Q. Did you have occasion after the 17th of April to talk to Simo
6 A. Yes, I did have the opportunity to talk to him even after that
7 date. Yes.
8 Q. How did that conversation come about after the 17th of April,
10 A. A friend of mine, Mijo Matanovic, who knew very well that I and
11 Simo Zaric came from the same village, told me that during discussions
12 within our Crisis Staff of Odzak and also on the other side, that is in
13 Samac, that Simo Zaric was participating in those discussions.
14 Q. Did Mr. Matanovic ask you to contact Mr. Simo Zaric if you wanted
16 A. Yes. Mr. Matanovic invited me to talk to Simo Zaric, and I had my
17 own reasons for wanting to talk to him.
18 Q. Thank you. Mr. Cukic, you can speak a little faster. The
19 interpreters tell me it would be easier.
20 And what did you do then?
21 A. When this conversation had been scheduled for me, I got in contact
22 with Simo Zaric. This occurred three times.
23 Q. What was the subject of your conversation the first time you
24 talked to Simo Zaric?
25 A. The motive for my talking to Mr. Zaric was to look for my friends
1 and relatives, that is, to learn about their whereabouts, and they were in
2 Samac at the time.
3 Q. What did you ask Simo Zaric to do then?
4 A. I had a total of three conversations with Simo Zaric. What I
5 asked of him specifically was to -- to release my friends and uncle and to
6 help them to leave and come to the territory of our municipality.
7 Q. What was Mr. Zaric's answer?
8 A. He disappointed me. He said that he could not allow any one of
9 those I was inquiring about to leave. He said he wasn't the one who
10 decided and that he was not the one who had detained them anyway.
11 Q. Did he say anything else in that connection?
12 A. Yes. He said that all he could do was to check whether they were
13 there and the condition they were in, whether they were in need of
14 anything. I wasn't satisfied with this answer of his. I felt that he was
15 unwilling to help me.
16 Q. When you met a second time, did Mr. Zaric provide any information
17 about the persons you had inquired about?
18 A. Yes. Under pressure of relatives, of my relatives who pressured
19 me to look again for the same people, I got in touch with Mr. Simo Zaric a
20 second time. This time, too, the answer was the same, and that is that he
21 was powerless to do anything to meet my requests.
22 Q. After that, did you learn anything as to whether Mr. Zaric had
23 told you the truth or not?
24 A. Yes. It should be noted how our third conversation evolved. I
25 insisted, and on a third occasion I made the same requests. I again
1 received the same answer. And my plan was for me to try to blackmail him,
2 and what happened was the following: For such a false attempt at
3 blackmail, I had my reasons, and also a possibility to do it. In our
4 village, I was a representative in the Crisis Staff and thereby I assumed
5 full responsibility for the protection of Serb families who had stayed
6 behind in Trnjak, who had not left to the territory of Samac
7 municipality. Nothing happened to those Serb families. Maybe mostly it
8 was thanks to me that they fared so well. And I felt this entitled me to
9 say to Simo the following: "I was fair with your people, so in return,
10 please release these people that I request." His answer was that he
11 couldn't. I then threatened, something to the effect that I would hand
12 them over to the police, that I would take them into custody, arrest
13 them. His response was, "Ivan, do what you must. I simply cannot help
15 And now to answer your question: After the exchange during which
16 the people I had inquired about were exchanged, and talking to them I
17 learnt something quite unexpected.
18 MR. WEINER: Once again we have a time problem. I object. Which
19 exchange? Is he talking about the May 25th exchange? What's the date?
20 It would be very helpful to all parties involved.
21 PRESIDING OFFICER: I actually wanted to say something apart from
22 your objection. You basically have 15 minutes to conclude your
23 examination-in-chief, Mr. Pisarevic, and I have noticed that you haven't
24 touched yet upon the issues mentioned in your summary. So I would advise
25 you to speed up and avoid unnecessary questions. And if you can also --
1 and I believe otherwise maybe you can -- maybe you can try to accommodate
2 Mr. Weiner regarding the date if you think it's relevant to your summary
3 and your examination.
4 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] First of all, the --
5 PRESIDING OFFICER: The interpreters are going to switch.
6 So now you can proceed. So you have two minutes more because of
7 that switch.
8 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. As regards
9 Mr. Weiner's objection, I should like to ask the witness when was it that
10 they came. He's talking about exchange.
11 Q. Will you please finish.
12 A. Just one more sentence. They replied to me then that absolute
13 power in Samac was wielded by the -- by Seselj's men and that Simo Zaric
14 was -- did not have any authority there. On that occasion, I heard that
15 he had been given troubles by the same people then. That was when my
16 dilemma was resolved, why he hadn't helped me, that is.
17 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us how many exchanges took place between
18 the municipalities of Samac and Odzak.
19 A. Well, I can guess and -- although I should know that. What I do
20 know, that these people of mine got exchanged at the second exchange.
21 Q. Can you tell us approximately when that particular exchange took
22 place? What month was it? What season was it?
23 A. The first exchange, I believe, took place sometime in May. The
24 second one perhaps -- The first was in the beginning of May, and the
25 second was at the end of May or at the beginning of June. I'm not quite
2 Q. Thank you. When was it that you talked and were in Odzak where
3 the representatives of Odzak municipality and the Odzak Crisis Staff were
4 when you talked to them? Can you tell us what people were there on that
6 A. In addition to Mijo Matanovic, who made it possible for me to get
7 in touch with them and talk to them, I didn't know the other people,
8 because we as local community always had ties with Samac, gravitated
9 towards Samac where I was born, where I went to school, and where I
11 Q. Thank you. Do you know what the subjects of the talk was then
12 between those people who represented Odzak municipality and the people who
13 were on the other end of the radio connection in Samac?
14 A. In principle, I know that the principal topic of their
15 conversation was the release of some people from both sides.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have no
18 more questions. I have finished my questioning.
19 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you. First, can I remind -- I don't
20 know if it was an interpretation problem or if it is what you said. You
21 shouldn't call me "Your Honour," but -- because I'm not a Judge, as you
22 know. You should -- anyway.
23 Mr. Weiner.
24 Cross-examined by Mr. Weiner:
25 Q. Good morning, sir. My name is Phil Weiner. I'm a Prosecutor with
1 the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and I'm
2 going to ask you some questions. Is that all right? Okay.
3 Let's get to April and May of 1992. Now, in late April, early
4 May, you knew that there were problems in Bosanski Samac; isn't that
6 A. I'm getting no translation.
7 Q. Test. Can you hear me now?
8 A. Yes, I can.
9 Q. All right. Sir, my name is Phillip Weiner. I'm a Prosecutor with
10 the ICTY, and I'm going to ask you a couple of questions. Is that all
12 Sir, let's go back to April or May of 1992, okay, just after the
13 takeover of Bosanski Samac. You knew that there were problems for the
14 non-Serbs in late April or early May of 1992; correct?
15 A. The very fact that as we saw it and as we could actually witness
16 for ourselves, the city was occupied. All the non-Serbs who happened to
17 find themselves there was to be expected that they would be encountering
19 Q. Thank you. Now, you knew prior to this occupation there had been
20 an elected government in Bosanski Samac; isn't that correct?
21 A. Yes, I did. I knew that.
22 Q. And it was made up of people from various political parties, and
23 it was made up of people from various ethnic groups. You knew that, too,
24 didn't you, prior to the occupation as you've described it.
25 A. This is something I did not regard as essential. I didn't have to
1 know all that. I had no need to know all that. But I had heard some of
2 it, and I knew some of it. I had different preoccupations at the time.
3 Q. All I'm asking you is if you were aware of that, that's all.
4 And --
5 A. Yes, I was.
6 Q. And you knew that after the takeover or occupation of Samac, these
7 people had been removed. They were no longer in office, these non-Serbs
8 from the SDA and HDZ. You knew they weren't in office any more?
9 A. That night that I assume you are now talking about when this raid
10 into Samac took place, everything ceased. All the functions stopped.
11 There was a replacement as such. Some people who until then had been in
12 the dark, unknown, some people who held some junior functions and post
13 until that time. So I did not know many people in Samac. I do, however,
14 agree that a very large number of them lost their -- lost their positions
16 Q. And you knew that the Serbs were now in control of Bosanski Samac,
17 didn't you?
18 A. I knew that.
19 Q. And you knew that the JNA, the police, paramilitaries had taken
20 over Samac?
21 MR. LAZAREVIC: I object to this question. First of all,
22 Mr. Weiner should first establish whether he actually knows what happened
23 on 17 and then ask him this question.
24 MR. WEINER:
25 Q. You were aware that certain groups, including the JNA, the --
1 certain paramilitary groups and the police had taken over Bosanski Samac.
3 A. You refer to another person not using my name, but let me answer
4 your question. In a talk with Pisarevic, I said that that night Seselj's
5 men had taken over authority there. The information that we received was
6 that a group of approximately 30 people had entered that night or, rather,
7 raided Samac, as they say, and took over all positions and all the
8 facilities there. And this is what I knew, and I believe that everybody
9 else also knew that. And I stress these were Seselj's men.
10 Q. And, sir, maybe I mistook part of your answer. Did you say that
11 Mr. Pisarevic had told you that it was Seselj's men who took over? Or did
12 I misunderstand, or did you say it was during a discussion with
13 Mr. Pisarevic?
14 A. I said that to a question by Mr. Pisarevic I gave this answer, as
15 well as to your question, which is that authority was taken over by
16 Seselj's men.
17 Q. Thank you. And you were also aware, sir, that in other areas in
18 Bosnia, in Bijeljina, Zvornik, Derventa, Vlasenica, Visegrad, Prijedor,
19 Brcko, similar things were happening all at once, all during the month of
20 April. These cities were taken over. Were you aware of that?
21 A. Yes, I was.
22 Q. And you were aware that these cities that I just mentioned which
23 were taken over in April, that it was taken over by either various
24 paramilitary groups, the JNA or the police. Were you aware of that, that
25 these cities, in April, were taken over by these groups?
1 A. Well, I can say that this is something that was known.
2 Q. Okay. And you also knew in these areas the legitimate
3 governments, which included people from the HDZ and SDA, were removed from
4 office when these takeovers occurred in those seven communities that I
5 just mentioned? Just whether you were aware.
6 A. Yes, I was.
7 Q. And you were aware, sir, that in each of those seven communities
8 taken over in April where the legitimate governments were removed that
9 non-Serbs were arrested, camps were established, and non-Serbs were
10 mistreated in each of those locations?
11 A. Perhaps I didn't know that much, but I did know that those who
12 were non-Serbs and wished to -- that they wished to leave the area as soon
13 as possible. Now, as for camps, perhaps I knew about these, but I cannot
14 remember. Perhaps at the very beginning or some five -- for some five
15 days after the takeover there were no camps.
16 Q. Now, sir, you were aware that just like in those seven other
17 communities or municipalities that I mentioned, Bosanski Samac was also
18 taken over in that same time period. Or "occupied" is the word that you
20 A. Well, haven't I already said this?
21 Q. Thank you. And you were aware that during that occupation of
22 Bosanski Samac, people were being arrested or detained, meaning non-Serbs
23 were being arrested or detained?
24 A. It is more difficult now to answer that question as to what I knew
25 at that moment. According to what I feel and think today, I think that in
1 the first several days only a small number were apprehended of those who
2 held positions of power or those who posed dangers to the new
3 authorities. So the arrests of a larger number of "civilians" was
4 something which happened only later.
5 Q. Okay. But you were aware later, let's say in May, because you
6 mentioned people that were detained in your earlier testimony with
7 Mr. Pisarevic, that sometime in May, civilians were being detained in
8 Bosanski Samac; isn't that correct? You were aware of that?
9 A. Yes. Yes, I knew about it, but I -- I don't know when civilians
10 were detained, how many days after the occupation. And this I don't know
11 to this date.
12 Q. Okay. Without knowing the exact date or how many, you were aware
13 civilians were being detained and, sir, you knew that these were non-Serb
14 civilians that were being detained?
15 A. Yes, I knew that.
16 Q. And, sir, were you aware that in May of 1992, the Crisis Staff
17 ordered the isolation of Croats? Were you aware of that, sir?
18 A. I don't know how I could have known that.
19 Q. Okay.
20 A. In other words, I didn't know.
21 Q. Fine. But you were aware when you spoke to Simo Zaric, which had
22 to have been in May of 1992, that non-Serbs were being detained in
23 Bosanski Samac.
24 A. Yes, I was.
25 Q. Now, let's go to May of 1992. And you mentioned that Mijo
1 Matanovic approached you and spoke to you; correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And did he indicate that he was involved in some sort of
4 negotiations with Bosanski Samac at the time?
5 A. He told me that the Crisis Staff was involved in negotiations.
6 Q. And when these --
7 MR. PANTELIC: Maybe just a suggestion to clarify. Which Crisis
8 Staff? Thank you.
9 PRESIDING OFFICER: Can I remind you, Mr. Pantelic, that Mr. Cukic
10 is not your witness. So in theory, if somebody wants to object, it should
11 be either Mr. Pisarevic or Mr. Lazarevic, for next time.
12 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, yes. Thank you. Well, that -- that was a new
13 approach. So a little bit hard for me to adjust, so --
14 PRESIDING OFFICER: Yes, yes, yes. You're --
15 MR. PANTELIC: I'll take care about it. Thank you. Thank you,
16 Madam Presiding Officer.
17 MR. WEINER: Thank you. I was going to ask the question anyway,
18 so I thank my learned brother.
19 Q. Sir, when you said that Mijo Matanovic told you that the Crisis
20 Staff was negotiating, with -- which Crisis Staff, the Samac Crisis Staff
21 with Odzak, the Odzak Crisis Staff with Samac? Which Crisis Staff? One
22 of them? Both of them?
23 A. It takes two to negotiate, so these were both the Crisis Staffs
24 that were involved in the negotiations.
25 Q. Now, when Mijo Matanovic told you that both Crisis Staffs were
1 involved in negotiations, did he tell you what those two Crisis Staffs,
2 meaning the one from Odzak and the one from Samac, were negotiating?
3 A. He may have told me. It was either him or when I entered this
4 room in which the negotiations were taking place, I realised that among
5 other things, they were also discussing the release of certain people,
6 certain people who were significant to both parties, of the release of
7 these people, freeing of these people.
8 Q. Okay. So would you say that they were negotiating -- the two
9 Crisis Staffs were negotiating exchanges?
10 A. Well, you can use the term "Crisis Staff" or individuals who were
11 in charge on behalf of the Crisis Staffs to perform certain tasks.
12 Q. Now, did Mijo Matanovic tell you that Simo Zaric was involved in
13 these negotiations?
14 A. Mijo Matanovic told me that the possibility existed for Simo Zaric
15 to be -- I cannot say included but to be present at -- there when he took
16 me there for these talks. He could not have known at that time exactly
17 who would appear for the other side. He told me, and I cannot be certain
18 to a point in time, but that the possibility existed for Simo Zaric to be
20 Q. [Previous translation continues]... told you that Simo Zaric could
21 possibly be there indicates that he had some knowledge of Mr. Zaric's
22 involvement in these matters; isn't that correct?
23 MR. LAZAREVIC: I object to this question. This is calling for
24 speculation. It is asked -- this witness is asked to speculate what was
25 the knowledge of Mijo Matanovic, what he had in mind on what.
1 MR. WEINER: It is not speculation in that the answers previously
2 during direct were not clear. He previously indicated that he was told
3 that Simo Zaric was involved in the discussions, and I'm trying to get to
4 the point. So that's just for the record, and the Judges will make that
5 determination later.
6 Q. So let us continue, sir. He indicated that Simo Zaric was
7 involved, and you've testified today Simo Zaric was involved in these
8 discussions. Although he didn't know if he would be on that raid you were
9 on that day, he knew that -- he told you that Simo Zaric was involved in
10 these discussions.
11 A. Simo Zaric was on the other side but not every time. I said that
12 I talked to him three times. I came there as -- on a number of occasions,
13 but many times there was somebody else on the other side on the line, and
14 I did not talk to him. So that means Simo Zaric was involved, but he was
15 not the only one.
16 Q. Thank you. Now, finally I'm just going to talk to you about one
17 more quick area. In April -- sorry, in March and April of 1992, you
18 didn't have the opportunity to observe Simo Zaric's activities with the
19 4th Detachment, did you?
20 A. I absolutely had no occasion to see what activities they had
21 because I was not a member of the 4th Detachment. Perhaps not even those
22 who were knew.
23 Q. And you weren't present with Simo Zaric at any meetings of the
24 4th Detachment. You were not present, sir; isn't that correct?
25 A. No, I did not attend a single meeting, but I had heard about the
1 task of the 4th Detachment, which was to defend Samac.
2 Q. Did you ever attend any meetings with Simo Zaric or the
3 4th Detachment? That's the question. You didn't; correct?
4 MR. LAZAREVIC: Excuse me. Just for the record, the Prosecution
5 already used his 25 minutes. All right. I just want it on the record.
6 PRESIDING OFFICER: No. Well, I disagree, actually, because
7 Mr. Weiner started his cross-examination at 9.40, and therefore 25 minutes
8 leads up to five past ten. So he's still within his time.
9 You can proceed.
10 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
11 Q. And you weren't with Mr. Zaric on the evening of April 16th or the
12 17th of April when Bosanski Samac was taken over and occupied? You
13 weren't with Mr. Zaric on those days; isn't that correct?
14 A. I was not then. And to clarify my reply given to the previous
15 answer -- question, I was not at a single meeting of the 4th Detachment
17 Q. And finally in relation to this subject, you never assisted Simo
18 Zaric in the distribution of weapons or firearms; correct? You weren't
19 involved with Simo Zaric in that?
20 A. This is the first time I hear of it.
21 Q. Thank you very much. No further questions, sir.
22 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you. Mr. Lazarevic [sic], any
23 re-examination? Fifteen minutes.
24 Re-examined by Mr. Pisarevic:
25 Q. [Interpretation] You replied here when you replied to the question
1 whether you had heard about the taking over of the cities of Bijeljina,
2 Zvornik, Vlasenica, et cetera. Were you ever in those towns at that
4 A. No, I wasn't there even much before that nor at that time.
5 PRESIDING OFFICER: Excuse me. Sorry, Mr. Pisarevic. The
6 interpreters need to switch, I believe.
7 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. And this information concerning these towns, Bijeljina, Zvornik,
9 Vlasenica, and so on, you learned of this through mass media; is that
11 A. Yes. Mostly correct, although this was something that was
12 discussed within the public in general.
13 Q. Thank you. I have no further questions. Thank you, Mr. Cukic.
14 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you, Mr. Cukic, for coming and giving
15 your deposition for the purposes of the trial in the Simic case. You may
16 leave now.
17 [The witness withdrew]
18 PRESIDING OFFICER: We're going to have a ten-minute break now,
19 and please be back on time. So we'll start again at 10.13. Thank you.
20 --- Break taken at 10.03 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 10.13 a.m.
22 [The witness entered]
23 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you. We're going to start again.
24 Mrs. Grbic, could you please read the solemn declaration on the pink sheet
25 of paper which is in front of you.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the microphone be turned on for the
2 witness, please.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
4 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
5 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you.
6 WITNESS: NEVENKA GRBIC
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 PRESIDING OFFICER: Mr. Krgovic.
9 MR. KRGOVIC: Yes. Thank you, Madam President.
10 Examined by Mr. Krgovic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning.
12 A. Good morning.
13 Q. Please tell us your name.
14 A. Nevenka Grbic.
15 Q. Mrs. Grbic, tell us, please, when and where you were born.
16 A. On the 24th of May, 1957, in Doboj.
17 Q. Mrs. Grbic, tell us, please, what education you have completed.
18 A. I have completed secondary economics school.
19 Q. Are you married?
20 A. I'm divorced or widowed.
21 Q. What do you mean? You were divorced and then, after the divorce,
22 your husband died?
23 A. Yes, that's correct. He died.
24 Q. Tell us your nationality, please.
25 A. I'm a Serb.
1 Q. What about your husband? What was his ethnicity?
2 A. He was a Muslim.
3 Q. Mrs. Grbic, how long have you lived in Bosanski Samac?
4 A. Do you mean after I married? Well, I've lived there since 1978.
5 Q. Do you have children?
6 A. Yes, I do. I have two children.
7 Q. With the husband who had died?
8 A. Yes, that's correct, with that husband.
9 Q. Mrs. Grbic, please tell us, where did you work before the 17th of
10 April, 1992.
11 A. I worked in Vinkovacka Bank in Bosanski Samac.
12 Q. Mrs. Grbic, please tell us, where did you live in Bosanski Samac
13 before the 17th of April, 1992?
14 A. Well, it's difficult.
15 Q. Do you know the name of the street where you lived then?
16 A. I'm not quite sure. It could have been Vuka Karadzica Street.
17 Q. Mrs. Grbic, tell us, please, whether after the 17th of April you
18 received a paper asking you to report to a different workplace.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you tell us who and when asked you to report there.
21 A. I don't know exactly the date, but I know that Slavko called me
22 up, asking that I go to work in the kitchen.
23 Q. In the kitchen where?
24 A. In the military kitchen in textile factory Tekstilac.
25 Q. You said "Slavko." Where did Slavko used to work? Did he work in
1 Tekstilac company?
2 A. I don't know.
3 Q. Mrs. Grbic, did you receive any decision assigning you to work
4 there as part of your work obligation?
5 A. I don't know. I can't tell now.
6 Q. Tell me, please, how long did you work in that kitchen?
7 A. Some two to three months.
8 Q. And what did you do afterwards?
9 A. I worked at the Privredna Bank.
10 MR. RE: A moment ago you mentioned the word "Slavko." Could we
11 please clarify who Slavko is.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know that he used to be a
13 secretary at the Tekstilac company, but I don't know whether he worked in
14 that capacity then at that time.
15 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Can you tell us how long after the 17th of April? You don't have
17 to tell us the exact date, but just give us a time indication. How long
18 after the 17th of April?
19 A. Well, I think that it was some 20 days after the 17th.
20 Q. And when you arrived there, who did you find there? Do you
21 remember who was the head of the kitchen?
22 A. It was Djoko Arsenic.
23 Q. Please tell us, Mrs. Grbic, what other women worked there with
24 you. Do you remember any names or last names?
25 A. Yes. I know Jela Vockic. I know that there was Cvijeta there. I
1 don't know her last name. Then there was Mara Bogdanovic.
2 Q. What were your tasks in the kitchen?
3 A. I was an assistant there, an assistant chef.
4 Q. Mrs. Grbic, what kind of food did you prepare there?
5 A. Well, we cooked beans, goulash. We prepared sandwiches, rice,
7 Q. Mrs. Grbic, tell us, please, how many meals did you prepare per
9 A. Three.
10 Q. Mrs. Grbic, please tell us, who was this food prepared for? Who
11 came to eat there?
12 A. The military, the police. Then we prepared food for the
13 prisoners. Also, people who had no other place to eat could come there,
14 feed themselves.
15 Q. Tell us, please, those people who were in prison, did they come to
16 get their meals at the Tekstilac or was the food taken to them?
17 A. It was taken to them.
18 Q. As far as you know, tell us how many times a day was the food
19 taken to the people who were imprisoned.
20 A. I believe it was twice a day.
21 Q. Was that the same food that was served to others or was that some
22 different type of food?
23 A. No. All of the food was the same.
24 Q. Tell us, please, who took the food to these people? Who went from
25 your kitchen to take the food there?
1 A. Usually the chef went with the driver, the chef lady.
2 Q. Did the prisoners come to get their food there perhaps? Did you
3 see them?
4 A. No, I never saw them.
5 Q. Tell me, please, Mrs. Grbic, the food that was prepared, was it
6 taken to the front line for soldiers?
7 A. Yes, it was.
8 Q. When did you complete your assignment? I know you told us that
9 you stayed there for some two or three months, but can you be more
11 A. It was in August.
12 Q. And then, after that, you resumed your job at the bank?
13 A. No, not at the bank where I used to work previously. I went to a
14 different bank called Privredna Bank.
15 Q. Did your husband also work for some time at that kitchen?
16 A. Yes, he did.
17 Q. Can you tell us, when was that?
18 A. When I started working there, he joined me too, and then later on
19 he was imprisoned. And then afterwards, when he came back, he went to
20 work there again.
21 Q. What was the name of your husband?
22 A. Sladjan Grbic.
23 Q. Mrs. Grbic, please tell us, if you know, how long did this kitchen
24 operate for, the kitchen at the Tekstilac company?
25 A. I really couldn't tell you. I left the place.
1 Q. When you went to a different position at the bank, did you receive
2 a decision of some sort?
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. What kind of a decision?
5 A. A decision on work obligation.
6 Q. Do you know who issued that decision, who issued it to you?
7 A. The ministry.
8 Q. The Ministry of Defence?
9 A. Yes, the Ministry of Defence.
10 Q. Please tell us, Mrs. Grbic, in addition to your husband, were
11 there any other members of ethnic -- of Muslim or Croat ethnic communities
12 working there?
13 A. Yes. I know that there was a lady Croat working there as well.
14 Q. Your husband was a Muslim?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Mrs. Grbic, how long did he remain in Samac with you? How long
17 did he remain in Samac and when did he leave?
18 A. I don't know the date exactly, and I can't remember all of that
20 Q. Well, can you just give us the year?
21 A. 1992 is when he was there, and then in 1993 he left.
22 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions for this
24 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you. The Prosecution.
25 Cross-examined by Mr. Re:
1 Q. Mrs. Grbic, my name's David Re, from the Prosecution. I'm going
2 to ask you some questions. Can you hear me clearly?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. When you worked in the kitchen, you said that, as far as you knew,
5 you prepared food every day for the prisoners. You, of course, don't know
6 whether the prisoners actually got to eat that food, do you?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. When you say "yes," you mean you don't know whether the prisoners
9 got to eat it or not?
10 A. I don't know. The dishes came back empty.
11 Q. How many meals did you prepare every day when you were in the
12 kitchen which was supposed to go to the prisoners?
13 A. Two.
14 Q. When you prepared the meals, did you prepare them in pots or did
15 you do individual servings on plates?
16 A. We cooked them in large pots.
17 Q. Did you prepare food separately for the guards at the prisons?
18 A. All of the food was prepared together.
19 Q. So you can't tell us whether it was the guards or the prisoners
20 who ate the food which you prepared for the prisoners, can you?
21 A. I don't know. I don't know that. I wasn't there.
22 Q. Precisely which prisons was this food supposed to go to? Can you
23 please list them for us?
24 A. I didn't take the food anywhere, therefore I don't know. I just
25 don't know.
1 Q. So the best you can tell us is that every day you cooked some food
2 which you were told was going to the prisons, but you don't know who the
3 food was going to or even where it was going to or even where it went?
4 A. I don't know because I didn't take the food. Therefore, I don't
6 Q. You worked in the bank, I think you said, was it, until May 1992?
7 Is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And you worked in the kitchen for several months and then you went
10 back to the bank; is that right?
11 A. Yes, to a different bank.
12 Q. Was the bank state owned?
13 A. Yes, it was.
14 Q. When you were paid, were you paid in cash by the bank or did money
15 go directly into a bank account you had?
16 A. While I was at the bank, it was paid in cash.
17 Q. As a person working in a bank in Bosanski Samac, you had some
18 familiarity, didn't you, with how people were paid for work they did at
19 that time, didn't you?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Were people pay -- were people paid -- were people paid in cash
22 generally or was money transferred into their bank account by their
24 A. In cash.
25 Q. What about pensions? Were pensions paid centrally, that is
1 through transferring money to the pensioners' bank accounts or in cash?
2 A. Pensions were not paid out through the bank. Therefore, I do not
3 know about that.
4 Q. In 1992, after -- I'll start again. After April 1992 when the war
5 started, the currency became worthless, didn't it?
6 A. Yes, that's right.
7 Q. The -- inflation was very, very high, and money couldn't really
8 buy anything; is that right?
9 A. That's right.
10 Q. The Red Cross was delivering basic food to people such as -- basic
11 food such as bread and milk to people, wasn't it?
12 A. That's right.
13 Q. And people were basically scrounging around for whatever else they
14 could get because their money was worthless?
15 A. That's correct. That's how it was.
16 Q. And other commodities became more valuable than money, such as
17 gold and jewellery?
18 A. I'm not familiar with that. I don't actually understand your
19 question quite --
20 Q. Okay. I'll ask it another way. The local currency was worthless,
21 but the currency that -- but people were trying to get their hands on hard
22 currency such as Deutschemarks or US dollars, weren't they?
23 A. People found ways to the best of their abilities. They managed as
24 they could. I don't know exactly what you're asking me.
25 Q. I'm asking you about people wanting hard currency such as
1 Deutschemarks or US dollars to use, to trade instead of the local currency
2 during the war.
3 A. Are you trying to say that they had to sell their gold in order to
4 acquire hard currency? Is that what you mean?
5 Q. No, I'm not suggesting that. I'm just asking you about the use of
6 hard currency and saying that -- or suggesting to you that people were
7 more interested in getting hold of Deutschemarks to use to buy things, if
8 they could, than the local currency because it was more valuable. Would
9 you agree with that?
10 A. Well, naturally, yes, because we had inflation and, therefore,
11 people preferred having German marks.
12 Q. And people didn't deposit their German marks into your bank. They
13 kept them, didn't they?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Also, many, many people were out of work in Samac at the time
16 because of the economic conditions; weren't they?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Your husband was arrested and imprisoned. Where was he
20 A. In Samac. In Samac.
21 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
22 A. In the SUP building.
23 Q. How long was he held at the SUP building for?
24 A. I couldn't tell you that exactly.
25 Q. Were you able to visit him in the SUP building?
1 A. Yes, I was.
2 Q. When was he imprisoned in the SUP building, approximately, to the
3 best of your recollection?
4 A. Perhaps one month after working in the kitchen.
5 Q. Was that in June, July, August 1992?
6 A. June or July. I'm not sure. I don't know.
7 Q. And did he stay in prison until he was exchanged or was he
9 A. He was transferred to another prison.
10 Q. Was that Batkovic?
11 A. Batkovic, yes.
12 Q. Was your husband an SDA member?
13 A. Yes, he was.
14 Q. Was your husband charged with any offence, with committing any
16 A. They accused him of possessing weapons, and later it was proved
17 that that hadn't been the case.
18 Q. When I say "charged," was he formally charged as in a court
19 situation like you're in here now, in a court, brought before a court and
21 A. No. No, that wasn't the case.
22 Q. So he was detained without charge and without trial in the SUP and
23 at Batkovic; is that right?
24 A. I really couldn't tell you that. I don't know.
25 Q. Was any reason, any formal, official, judicial reason ever given
1 to you for his detention without charge?
2 MR. KRGOVIC: Objection. [Interpretation] I understood the
3 question of the Prosecutor, but I think the interpretation was too
4 complicated, because this is a lay witness, and I would ask that the
5 question be reformulated so that this witness can actually comprehend it.
6 I believe that a legal, formal grounds is too complicated of a formulation
7 for this witness.
8 MR. RE:
9 Q. I'll rephrase it, Mrs. Grbic. Were you ever given any official
10 reasons by the government or the judiciary for your husband's detention
11 without charge or trial?
12 A. I personally was not.
13 Q. You remained -- your husband was, of course, was a Muslim. The
14 other people in the SUP were Muslims and Croats, weren't they?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And the prisoners for whom you were supposed to be making food,
17 held in various places in the town, they were also Muslims and Croats,
18 weren't they?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And they weren't just men who were supposed to have had weapons.
21 They were also women, too, weren't they?
22 A. Well, yes.
23 Q. The only reason that you know of for those people being imprisoned
24 during the war was because they were Croats and Muslims?
25 A. Well, I think that there were reasons but not the one you
2 Q. What other reasons can you give the Trial Chamber in your
3 deposition for women being imprisoned in the various detention centres in
5 MR. KRGOVIC: Objection. [Interpretation] First of all, the
6 witness should be asked whether she knows that women were imprisoned in
7 Samac and only after that can the Prosecutor ask her about the reason for
8 their detention in Samac.
9 MR. RE:
10 Q. A moment ago, you said you were aware that women were imprisoned
11 in detention centres in Samac. The question I'm asking you is: Can you
12 give any other reason? Can you give any reason for their detention?
13 A. I heard about that, but I don't know this really.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Could we pause for a minute for the interpreters
15 to switch.
16 MR. RE:
17 Q. The lady Croat you mentioned as working in the bank, was her
18 husband a Serb?
19 A. Yes, he was. No, she wasn't working in the bank. She was working
20 in the kitchen.
21 Q. I'm sorry, in the kitchen. Did she lose her flat or apartment or
22 house during the war?
23 A. She didn't.
24 Q. Your husband was exchanged from Batkovic. Did he come back to
25 Samac after that?
1 A. Yes, he did.
2 Q. When did he come back?
3 A. I'm unable to give you the exact date.
4 Q. The year?
5 A. 1993.
6 Q. Mid-1993, late 1993?
7 A. Mid-1993.
8 Q. And you were able to stay behind and live in your apartment during
9 that time; is that right?
10 A. Yes, it is.
11 Q. The Muslims and Croats in Samac were desperate to leave Samac
12 after the Serb takeover in April 1992, weren't they?
13 A. Not for that reason.
14 Q. Hundreds of Muslims and Croats were being detained in various
15 detention centres around Samac in 1992 and 1993, weren't they?
16 A. I don't know exactly.
17 Q. You know that a lot of Muslims and Croats were being detained in
18 Samac in 1992 and 1993, don't you?
19 A. I do know that, yes.
20 Q. And many people -- many people who were in detention went from
21 there to be exchanged in Croatia or other parts of the former Yugoslavia,
22 didn't they?
23 A. I heard about that, yes.
24 Q. And you heard, too, that people who were trying to leave through
25 exchanges were paying to leave, didn't you?
1 A. I don't know about that.
2 Q. I'd asked you whether you'd heard, whether you'd heard around town
3 that people were paying to leave through the exchanges. Not whether you
4 know but whether you'd heard.
5 A. I didn't move much around town. I spent most of my time at home
6 with the children, so I'm unable to give you a precise answer.
7 PRESIDING OFFICER: Mr. Re, you have five minutes to conclude.
8 MR. RE: Yes. Thank you.
9 Q. Were you aware of the Crisis Staff order in May 1992 ordering the
10 isolation of Croats in Samac?
11 A. No, I don't know that.
12 Q. There was a massacre of 16 Croats in Crkvina in May 1992. You
13 were aware of that, weren't you?
14 A. I heard about it.
15 Q. You heard about it. Did you hear about it fairly soon after it
17 A. Sometime later.
18 Q. Was it something people were talking about in the town, the fact
19 that 16 people had been massacred one day in one place of one ethnicity?
20 A. I don't know that.
21 Q. Was your husband beaten when he was in the SUP in detention?
22 A. He didn't tell me about it.
23 Q. What about at Batkovic? Did he tell you whether he'd been
25 A. He didn't talk about that either.
1 Q. You managed to keep your house or your flat during and after the
2 war, didn't you?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. No refugees moved in with you, did they?
5 A. No.
6 MR. RE: I have no further questions.
7 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you. Any re-examination?
8 Re-examined by Mr. Krgovic:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Mrs. Grbic, the Prosecutor asked you for the
10 reasons for the detention of your husband. Do you know anything about
11 whether your husband was interrogated, investigated, and whether he made
12 any statements?
13 A. I don't know what you mean.
14 Q. Did he sign any statements in the SUP? Was he interrogated? Was
15 he questioned?
16 A. I think he did.
17 Q. Tell me, please, Mrs. Grbic, did your husband tell you whether he
18 was on a list of citizens who had self-organised themselves?
19 A. Yes, he was.
20 MR. RE: [Previous translation continues]... leading. Doesn't
21 arise in cross-examination. I just ask that Mr. Krgovic, although he
22 can't be controlled by the Bench at the moment, not lead.
23 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] This question stems from the
24 cross-examination because the Prosecutor asked whether there was any
25 reason whether he had been a member of the SDA. So I asked whether in
1 addition to those reasons mentioned by the Prosecutor there were any other
2 reasons. So I think it does stem from the cross-examination.
3 PRESIDING OFFICER: The argument in support and against your
4 objections have been recorded. The Trial Chamber will decide.
5 You may proceed.
6 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mrs. Grbic, the Prosecutor also asked about those reasons. Was
8 your husband related to anyone who had organised the arming of Muslims in
10 A. He was.
11 Q. Could you tell us, who was he related to?
12 A. Fitozovic Alija.
13 Q. Mrs. Grbic, the Prosecutor asked you about the reasons for the
14 detention of Muslims and Croats in Samac. Had you heard why those people
15 had been arrested? Was there any reason? Was there an investigation that
16 was conducted?
17 A. I don't really know what you mean.
18 Q. Let me put it in simpler terms. Had you heard that those men were
19 arrested and taken into custody because they had weapons and took part in
20 certain formations?
21 MR. RE: Leading in its most blatant form. You just cannot put
22 words into the witness's mouth like that.
23 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mrs. Grbic, I'll rephrase the question. These men who were
25 detained together with your husband, had you heard in Samac stories about
1 the reasons --
2 MR. RE: I object. Mr. Krgovic is entitled to ask, "What have you
3 heard?" He is not entitled to suggest answers to the witness.
4 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. What did you hear? What was the reason for their arrest, those
6 Muslims and Croats who were detained in Samac together with your husband?
7 A. I heard that they had weapons, that they were on lists.
8 Q. The Prosecutor asked you earlier on about the payment of pensions,
9 and you said that pensions were not paid through the banks. Through which
10 institution were pensions paid out in Samac in those days?
11 A. I don't know.
12 Q. The Prosecutor also asked you about your work in the bank
13 regarding payment in cash, et cetera. While you were working in the bank,
14 was there a prohibition on members of Croatian and Muslim ethnicity to
15 withdraw money from their accounts?
16 A. No.
17 MR. RE: I object. Firstly, it doesn't arise; and secondly, again
18 it is a blatantly, grossly misleading -- leading question. You cannot,
19 Mr. Krgovic, put answers into the witness's mouth. This is the fourth
20 time I've raised this objection.
21 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] It is not a leading question at
22 all. It's a very simple question. Was there an order to the effect that
23 members of other ethnicities were unable to withdraw money? It's a very
24 simple question. It's not a leading question. I'm just asking whether
25 the witness is aware of any such order or decision.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't --
2 MR. RE: [Previous translation continues]... suggests. Object to
3 the question. It's a question which suggests an answer. He can ask,
4 "What did you hear? What do you know?" He can't ask if there was such
5 an order, which doesn't arise anyway. There were no questions asked in
6 cross-examination about Muslims and Croats using the services of the
8 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] This question follows on directly
9 from the cross-examination. The Prosecutor asked the witness about the
10 work -- her work and the bank and how -- how salaries were paid out. I
11 will rephrase it.
12 Q. Mrs. Grbic, did all citizens of Samac receiving salaries in those
13 days through the bank, regardless of ethnicity, were they able to pick up
14 their salaries?
15 A. Yes, they were.
16 Q. Were members of other ethnicities employed in the bank together
17 with you?
18 A. They were.
19 Q. Did they also receive salaries in the same way as you did?
20 A. Yes, they did.
21 Q. Mrs. Grbic, the Prosecutor asked you whether the money lost value
22 because of the soaring inflation at the time. But for that money, was it
23 possible to buy something after all or was it completely without value?
24 A. Well, something very little.
25 Q. While you were working in the bank, did you see members of other
1 ethnicities coming there and picking up their money?
2 A. Yes, there were.
3 MR. RE: [Previous translation continues]... place strongly on the
4 record my objections to this line of questioning in re-examination. The
5 questions I asked were relating to the banking -- to salaries being paid.
6 I did not ask about ethnicities. These questions do not arise from
7 cross-examination at all.
8 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] It does arise, because if people
9 were receiving salaries, it is only logical to ask the witness who were
10 those people receiving those salaries or keeping savings there in the
11 bank. And such questions were allowed during the entire proceedings.
12 MR. RE: I object. I asked the witness about people being paid
13 salaries in Bosanski Samac, whether they were paid in cash or through the
14 bank. Her evidence was, as far as she knew generally, people, including
15 herself, were paid in cash. I did not -- it doesn't go anywhere, because
16 she can't then be asked about people being paid salaries through the bank
17 when her evidence has already been they weren't and then leading on to
18 ethnicities. It does not arise.
19 PRESIDING OFFICER: Mr. Krgovic, please --
20 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes. But the witness said that
21 people did receive salaries through the bank.
22 PRESIDING OFFICER: There is no need to argue any further. I
23 think the arguments have been recorded fully for both sides. So go on
24 with your question, and the Trial Chamber will decide whether it will take
25 the answer into consideration or not at a later stage.
1 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] I have no further questions for this
3 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you. Mrs. Grbic, thank you very much
4 for coming to give your deposition. You will now be escorted out of the
5 room. Thank you. You may leave.
6 [The witness withdrew]
7 PRESIDING OFFICER: We will have a ten-minute break now. Please,
8 ten minutes sharp. Thank you.
9 --- Break taken at 11.03 a.m.
10 --- On resuming at 11.38 a.m.
11 [The witness entered]
12 PRESIDING OFFICER: The headphones. Mr. Tovirac, good morning.
13 Could you please --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
15 PRESIDING OFFICER: Could you please read the pink sheet of paper
16 which is in front of you and take -- this is the solemn declaration.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Should I rise? I solemnly declare
18 that I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
19 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you.
20 WITNESS: MIHAJLO TOVIRAC
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 PRESIDING OFFICER: The Defence for Mr. Tadic.
23 Examined by Mr. Krgovic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, sir.
25 A. Good morning.
1 Q. Tell us your name, please.
2 A. My name is Mihajlo Tovirac.
3 Q. When were you born, sir?
4 A. I was born on the 25th of December, 1952.
5 Q. Where were you born?
6 A. In Samac.
7 Q. What are you by ethnicity?
8 A. A Serb.
9 Q. Please, Mr. Tovirac, would you kindly, when you hear my question,
10 pause for a couple of seconds so that the interpreters could do their work
11 and to avoid any overlap, because later we will have much more complex
12 questions and longer answers, so you need to wait for these couple of
13 seconds in order for us to proceed normally.
14 A. Okay. Thank you.
15 Q. Mr. Tovirac, are you married?
16 A. I'm married.
17 Q. Excuse me. Do you have any children?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. How many?
20 A. Two.
21 Q. Mr. Tovirac, where did you reside at in Samac immediately prior to
22 the 17th of April, 1992?
23 A. At -- in the -- at number 17 Vuka Karadzica Street.
24 Q. Tell us -- tell us, Mr. Tovirac, have you served the army?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. When did you do your military service and where?
2 A. That was in 1974 in Bileca.
3 Q. Did you have any rank when you left the army?
4 A. Yes. I was conferred the rank of lieutenant.
5 Q. [No interpretation]
6 A. [No interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Tovirac, where was your military duty station after you left
8 the army and immediately prior to the 16th and 17th of April, 1992?
9 A. It was in the territory of defence of Samac municipality.
10 Q. Mr. Tovirac, what schools have you completed?
11 A. I have finished the secondary school of economics.
12 Q. Were you a member of any party prior to the 17th of April, 1992?
13 A. Yes. I was a member of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia.
14 Q. After the dissolution of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia,
15 did you join any other party?
16 A. No, I didn't.
17 Q. Mr. Tovirac, where did you work before the month of April 1992?
18 A. I worked at the Territorial Defence Staff in Samac.
19 Q. Mr. Tovirac, was this work of yours with them for a longer period
20 or a shorter period before April 1970 -- 1992?
21 A. I was there from 1976.
22 Q. What particular duties were you assigned to?
23 A. Initially this was bookkeeping work and later it was logistics,
24 rear work.
25 Q. Were you, at any point prior to April 1990 -- did you, at any
1 point prior to April 1992, leave your post, leave that particular work?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Can you tell us when that was?
4 A. That was -- that was some ten days prior to the outbreak of the
6 Q. Was there any specific reason for that?
7 A. When the Bosnia-Herzegovina Territorial Defence was formed, or
8 whatever its name was, at that moment I left my work in the Territorial
9 Defence Staff.
10 Q. Tell me, Mr. Tovirac, where were you when war broke out between
11 the 16th and the 17th of April, 1992?
12 A. I was at my workplace, which is to say in a village near Samac,
13 the village's name being Tisina.
14 Q. Did you get any summons, any call-up, any call for mobilisation in
15 these days of April 1992?
16 A. Yes. I was mobilised into the Territorial Defence.
17 Q. As we are using these terms, I'm interested in the period
18 specifically the 16th and 17th of April. Were you mobilised? Were you
19 issued with any weapons, and what was the name of the unit that you were
20 assigned to?
21 A. I was given my duty station in the platoon stationed at Tisina.
22 That was on the 17th of April. And it was under the command of the
23 4th Detachment in Samac.
24 Q. Mr. Tovirac, tell me, were you a member of the 4th Detachment
25 before the war?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Mr. Tovirac, were you at any moment after your engagement in the
3 4th Detachment given any particular position, any particular function
4 within the framework of the 4th Detachment?
5 A. Yes. Some ten days after the war broke out, I was transferred to
6 the command of the 4th Detachment to work on logistic duties in the
8 Q. Was that the post of the assistant commander for the rear?
9 A. Yes, it was assistant commander for the rear.
10 Q. Tell me, Mr. Tovirac, where did you specifically report to in
11 order to assume that position? Where was the seat, the headquarters of
12 the 4th Detachment?
13 A. This was at SIT, or Tekstilac, which was an enterprise in Samac.
14 Q. Mr. Tovirac, did you know before the war that the 4th Detachment
16 A. Yes, I did.
17 Q. Did you know where the headquarters of the 4th Detachment was
18 before the war?
19 A. It was at SIT. I believe it was at SIT.
20 Q. Mr. Tovirac, after the change of -- after you assumed this duty,
21 who was the commander of the 4th Detachment?
22 A. Mr. Radovan Antic was, I think, the commander of the
23 4th Detachment.
24 Q. And after him?
25 A. Jovo Savic. After him, Jovo Savic.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Mr. Krgovic to switch his
2 mike on.
3 MR. KRGOVIC: I beg your pardon.
4 Q. Mr. Tovirac, will you tell us, what particular work did you
5 assume? What was this function of assistant commander for the rear? What
6 did it consist of?
7 A. When I assumed this position of assistant commander for the rear,
8 the first thing which I had to attend to was to establish certain records
9 and files and to see to the provision of material resources for the army,
10 because when I assumed this position, nothing of the kind had already been
11 secured and no material resources had been secured.
12 Q. Do you know who it was that you replaced on that particular
13 position? Who held that duty before you?
14 A. I didn't know that. I was told that Mr. Miroslav Tadic had been
15 the one doing that work before me.
16 Q. Did you draw up any minutes on the changeover of duty between the
17 two of you and the handing over of any resources?
18 A. No. No minutes, no record of the changeover of duty was drawn up,
19 and we did not have any formal changeover.
20 Q. And why not?
21 A. I don't know. I didn't receive any of the resources that were to
22 be under my competence thenceforth as it were.
23 Q. Tell me, Mr. Tovirac, how long was the seat of your logistics
24 department at SIT, and did you change location after awhile?
25 A. Yes. I believe that we were in Tekstilac until the end of 1992,
1 at which time we relocated to a bigger building which was across the
2 street from SIT, from the Tekstilac enterprise, near the house of
3 Mr. Tadic.
4 Q. Is it detached? Is this house detached from Miroslav Tadic's
5 house or is it one -- one facility?
6 A. This is a physically unite -- one building. It is one facility.
7 Q. Are these physically buildings which are adjacent, which one leans
8 onto the other, or are these detached houses? Is there any connection
9 between them?
10 A. They are in a row, but they are separate houses. They are
11 adjacent, but they are separate houses.
12 Q. And how long did you stay there?
13 A. Until the end of the war.
14 Q. Mr. Tovirac, do you know Miroslav Tadic?
15 A. Yes, I do.
16 Q. How long have you known him?
17 A. For many years. From our schooldays. I knew him as a teacher at
18 school and then on.
19 Q. Mr. Tovirac, tell us, prior to your assumption of duty, of your
20 duties, do you know that Miroslav Tadic held any position in the
21 4th Detachment?
22 A. No, I wasn't aware of any such thing.
23 Q. Mr. Tovirac, were -- was rear logistics supplies also a part of
24 your work? Were you in charge of the logistics in respect of the mess, of
25 the kitchen?
1 A. Initially when I came there I had nothing to do with the kitchen,
2 and my priority was to secure some other resources for the troops, for the
3 soldiers. And the kitchen, which was of very large capacity because it
4 also provided meals for the population, was outside my competence at that
6 Q. But tell us, later did you do anything associated with the
7 kitchen? Did you provide foodstuffs for the operation of the kitchen or
8 anything similar?
9 A. Yes. Later I assumed also some such duties. Namely there was a
10 person who was directly in charge, but I oversaw what he did in the
12 Q. Did you tell us what the name of that person was?
13 A. It was Djordje Arsenic.
14 Q. Mr. Tovirac, had you -- were you aware at the time that food was
15 cooked in that kitchen also for people who were detained in Samac?
16 A. When I came there first, I didn't know that.
17 Q. Mr. Tovirac, how long did you hold this position? Did later any
18 changes take place? Did any changes happen or did anything happen after
19 the withdrawal of the JNA?
20 A. After the withdrawal of the JNA, the 5th Battalion was formed, and
21 I was appointed as assistant commander for the rear, and I associated with
22 the higher instances, the brigade, et cetera.
23 Q. When was this? Can you recall that? When was this? The date,
24 the period when the 5th Battalion was set up.
25 A. I don't know the exact date, but on the 19th of May the JNA had
1 left this territory. So I believe it was around this time that the
2 battalion was also established.
3 Q. Did you actually perform the same duties as before but this time
4 within the framework of the 5th Battalion?
5 A. Yes, that is correct.
6 Q. Did you have any rank?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Which one?
9 A. Captain first class.
10 Q. So this is what I'm interested in: When did you get this captain
11 first class rank?
12 A. Before the war. Before the war, but I cannot recall the exact
14 Q. I don't need the date, but approximately. So it was before the
15 war that you were conferred this rank?
16 A. Yes, it was.
17 Q. Was it a rank of reserve captain?
18 A. Yes, it was.
19 Q. Tell me, Mr. Tovirac, where was the command during the war? Did
20 it continue to be at SIT or elsewhere?
21 A. Which -- which command, please?
22 Q. The command of the initially 4th Detachment and subsequently the
23 5th Battalion.
24 A. It was relocated from SIT to the new settlement, to a building
25 there, and then again to another building in Samac. I cannot recall the
1 street or the exact location.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Madam Presiding Officer and Mr. Krgovic, it's not
3 clear from the way the evidence is coming out whether this witness is
4 saying that the 4th Detachment transformed itself into the 5th Battalion
5 or whether they were two separate military organs. It's important for us
6 to understand that they were in fact two separate military organs, if that
7 is in fact the case, or if they subsequently changed -- if the
8 4th Detachment subsequently changed its name and became the
9 5th Battalion. Otherwise, the evidence won't be clear.
10 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Tovirac, I will ask you. When you were appointed assistant
12 commander for the rear of the 4th Detachment, in whose composition was
13 this 4th Detachment? What was it part of? Which army?
14 A. It was part of the Territorial Defence.
15 Q. Was it a unit of the Yugoslav People's Army or --
16 A. Oh, I don't know. I am not -- I can't be sure of that. I don't
18 Q. And the 5th Battalion in which you also were assistant commander,
19 was it part of the army of the Republika Srpska?
20 A. The 4th Detachment was transformed into the 5th Battalion and was
21 part of the army of Republika Srpska.
22 Q. Tell us, Mr. Tovirac, who were the soldiers? What was the
23 composition of the troops? Was this the local population in the
24 4th Detachment; i.e., 5th Battalion, or were there some other people
1 A. It was the local population.
2 Q. Mr. Tovirac, I have no more questions.
3 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you. Cross-examination for the
5 Cross-examined by Mr. Di Fazio:
6 Q. Mr. Tovirac, my name is Di Fazio. I'll ask you a few questions.
7 Do I understand that you took up no active duty until ten days or
8 so after the 16th and 17th of April?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Up until that time, do you say that you had not been a member of
11 the 4th Detachment?
12 A. Yes, that's right. I wasn't.
13 Q. Did you make any moves to join the 4th Detachment?
14 A. No, I didn't.
15 Q. Did you have an opportunity to see the 4th Detachment operating in
16 and around Bosanski Samac in the days immediately following the 16th and
17 17th of April?
18 A. No, I didn't.
19 Q. Is that because you didn't have an opportunity to see what they
20 were doing or are you saying no, they did nothing in the days after the
21 16th and 17th of April?
22 A. I hadn't an opportunity to see what was going on.
23 Q. And why was that?
24 A. I was not part of the army then. I was not part of the army of
25 Republika Srpska; i.e., of the 4th Detachment, at that time.
1 Q. Okay. But did you have an opportunity to walk around the town or
2 travel through the town of Bosanski Samac and perhaps in villages close by
3 to Bosanski Samac and actually see in that ten-day period the
4 4th Detachment carrying out duties, setting up trenches, perhaps, or
5 walking around with arms, that sort of thing?
6 A. I could see them going around, going about some sort of activity,
7 but what specifically they were doing I don't know because I did not
8 inspect the actual sites. I didn't go to those locations.
9 Q. But it's clear, isn't it, that they were up to something? They
10 were carrying out some sort of activities in the period of time
11 immediately following the 16th and 17th. What those activities were you
12 may not know, but certainly they were carrying out activities, military
14 A. Well, I suppose so.
15 Q. Thank you. You said that you received your mobilisation call and
16 that led to your becoming involved in logistics in the 4th Detachment.
17 That's correct, isn't it?
18 A. Yes, it is.
19 Q. You also said that you were responsible for materials and
20 resources for the army. First of all, I'd like to ask you, what sort of
21 materials and resources are you referring to?
22 A. Materials and resources required for them to carry out their
23 tasks; uniforms, weapons, and so on.
24 Q. Thank you. And how long did you continue organising that aspect
25 of military life?
1 A. After my arrival, I started doing that, and I held this position
2 and performed this duty of assistant commander for the rear in the 5th
3 Battalion until the end of the war.
4 Q. You were aware, I think, of the 4th Detachment operating as part
5 of the JNA up until the JNA withdrew?
6 A. Yes, I was.
7 Q. At which point the 4th Detachment transformed itself into the
8 5th Battalion and became part of the army of the Republika Srpska?
9 A. That is correct.
10 Q. And in the days after your appointment as logistics commander, you
11 must have had an opportunity to see more clearly the activities of the
12 4th Detachment, what sort of military activities they were carrying out.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And plainly they were fighting or carrying out military activities
15 against the enemy, namely Croatian forces and Muslim forces?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. As were another bunch of military men, some volunteers who had
18 arrived from Serbia. That is so, is it not?
19 A. Yes, there were volunteers.
20 Q. Yes. And they were both carrying out the same military objective,
21 namely fighting Croatian and Muslim forces, weren't they?
22 A. Yes, I guess so.
23 Q. And as commander of logistics, did you provide resources and
24 materials for all forces fighting the Croatian and Muslim forces?
25 A. Only for the 5th Battalion.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Can we have a little break for the interpreters
2 to switch, please.
3 MR. DI FAZIO:
4 Q. Where was the 4th Detachment fighting at the time immediately
5 following your appointment as logistics commander?
6 A. In the territory of Samac municipality. This is the area we
8 Q. Fine. And was that the area in which the volunteers from Serbia
9 were also conducting activities?
10 A. They were present in the territory. And as to whether they were
11 active and whether they carried out assignments, I don't know anything
12 about that.
13 Q. You testified just a moment ago that they were carrying out
14 military activities, namely fighting Croatian and Muslim forces, as the
15 4th Detachment was. Presumably they were doing so in the same area, were
16 they not?
17 A. Same area, yes, but I don't know their areas of activity. I don't
18 know whether they were together or whether they carried out activities
19 separately. I don't know things about that.
20 Q. I was really directing my question to geographical area. They
21 were both carrying out military activities in the same geographical area,
22 were they not?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And therefore, as a matter of logic, they must have cooperated if
25 they were both fighting the same enemy forces.
1 MR. KRGOVIC: Objection.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. I've noted the objection. I can -- I
3 assume it's based on something not being within the competence of this
4 particular witness.
5 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] No. The objection has to do with
6 the fact that the witness said he did not know what their activities were,
7 and the Prosecutor is asking the witness to speculate. The witness said
8 that he didn't know what activities were performed by the special forces
9 from Serbia, except that he knew that they were present in the same area,
10 and the Prosecutor is now asking the witness to speculate.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. Well, the -- Madam Presiding Officer,
12 perhaps the objection can be noted and I will ask the question
13 nonetheless, and the Chamber may deliberate on it later.
14 PRESIDING OFFICER: Yes, but could you put in your argument
15 regarding your objection on record.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, yes. My submission is that this man is
17 obviously qualified to talk about that. He was involved in logistics. He
18 was actively operating as an officer of high rank in the 4th Detachment.
19 Therefore, he must be qualified, as a matter of sense, to comment upon
20 that issue.
21 Q. So my question is: They were basically, as a matter of common
22 sense, the volunteers and the 4th Detachment, by fighting a common enemy
23 in the same geographic area must have been coordinating their activities.
24 A. I've already said that I didn't know whether there was a
25 coordination and how were the military activities carried out. I really
1 can't say anything about that. I wasn't a part of the operative sphere,
2 so I don't know about that.
3 Q. Okay. It was necessary, wasn't it, for the 4th Detachment members
4 who were fighting to communicate back to supply sources, namely yourself,
5 so that you could supply them with the necessary military resources that
6 they required?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And the resources that they required depended, of course, on what
9 happened at the front line. That would be so, wouldn't it?
10 A. Well, one could say so. I suppose you're right.
11 Q. And therefore, if events were affecting activities of the
12 4th Detachment members at the front line, those same events would affect
13 the volunteers who were also, you have said, fighting a common enemy in
14 the same geographic area?
15 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Please do not answer this question.
16 Same objection as a minute ago. The Prosecutor is asking the witness to
17 speculate again. The witness is asked to say whether this pertained to
18 volunteers as well, and the witness has already said that he did not know
19 anything about the activities of the volunteers. This is why I am
20 objecting, because this is a typical case of speculation. The witness is
21 asked to speculate, whereas this witness has no knowledge concerning
23 MR. DI FAZIO: My I just confer with my colleagues, Madam
24 Presiding Officer.
25 [Prosecution counsel confer]
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. Madam Presiding Officer, my retort to
2 that objection is based -- is essentially the same as the previous one.
3 This is a military witness. He's responsible for an important function or
4 aspect of the 4th Detachment. He's an officer in the 4th Detachment. He
5 is, therefore, a man fully qualified to speak about these issues.
6 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] I have to respond to this. I did
7 not respond the previous time. I don't mind the Prosecutor asking the
8 witness as follows: "Have you heard that the special forces were together
9 with the other ones? Have you heard of any problems encountered by
10 special forces?" If the question is formulated in this way, then that is
11 fine. But the way it is formulated now, the witness is asked to
12 speculate, and that is the basis for my objection, because an answer is
13 actually imputed here, and the witness is asked to speculate.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, thank you, Madam Presiding Officer. I think
15 counsel have made their objections clear for the transcript. I'd like to
16 proceed to ask the question now. The Trial Chamber can deliberate upon it
17 later and decide upon its admissibility or otherwise.
18 PRESIDING OFFICER: Yes. Proceed.
19 MR. DI FAZIO:
20 Q. Sir, can you answer my question, please?
21 A. I don't know whether and what activities were carried out by
22 volunteers, by special forces. I don't know anything about their
23 activities. I wasn't privy to that.
24 Q. Thank you. In April of 1992 -- in April of 1992, hostilities
25 broke out all over the Posavina area, did they not? They broke out in
1 Derventa, in Brcko, Visegrad, Prijedor, Bosanski Samac, Bijeljina,
2 Zvornik, and Vlasenica. That is so, isn't it?
3 A. I suppose so.
4 Q. And they're all within the area known as the Posavina Corridor, or
5 Posavina? Sorry, within the area known as Posavina.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And in those places that I have mentioned, Serb forces took over
8 those towns, didn't they, as they did in Bosanski Samac?
9 A. I suppose that's how it was. I don't know, but I suppose so. At
10 least, I didn't know at the time.
11 Q. Okay. But your knowledge since then has made that clear, hasn't
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And they, in common, were all fighting Croatian and Muslim forces
15 in those towns that I've mentioned?
16 A. Well, yes.
17 Q. So the situation is that the JNA and Serb forces carried out
18 operations against Croatian and Muslim forces in all of those towns
19 against a common enemy.
20 A. Is that a question?
21 Q. Do you agree with that?
22 A. I guess that's how it was.
23 Q. And those volunteers that came from Serbia who were operating in
24 Bosanski Samac were also carrying out military operations against their
25 common enemy in conjunction with JNA forces?
1 A. I don't know what their activities were. I don't know whether
2 they acted together or separately. I don't know about that.
3 Q. Yes, but you know, don't you, that they were carrying out
4 activities against the same common enemy? That's my question. That's all
5 I'm asking. Namely Croatian and Muslim forces.
6 A. Well, yes.
7 Q. Were all the Serb forces, as far as you were aware, under the same
9 A. I don't know about that.
10 Q. It was important for you, wasn't it, as assistant commander of
11 logistics engaged in actual warfare, fighting first for the 4th Detachment
12 and later the 5th Battalion, the army of the Republika Srpska, to know who
13 your commander was. As a matter of logic and reason, you must have known
14 that that is so, isn't it?
15 A. Yes.
16 PRESIDING OFFICER: Mr. Di Fazio, you have five minutes to
18 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Madam Presiding Officer.
19 Q. So who was in command of the Serb forces fighting in the Posavina
21 A. I don't know who was the commander of those forces. I know that
22 the commander of the brigade or some other formation, or I relied -- I
23 relied on the next level above me, which was the brigade. And in the
24 beginning, the commander's name was Nikolic. I don't know his rank.
25 Later on, somebody else took over. There were different people there, and
1 I cannot recall all of them now.
2 Q. Did you have to report to a superior on how your duties were
3 going? In effect, on whether or not you could carry out your duties, what
4 the state of resources and materials were and so on.
5 A. Occasionally I had to submit reports to my superior within the
6 battalion, within the 5th Battalion, just the 5th Battalion.
7 Q. And as far as you're aware, he would in turn report to his
8 superior, and so on and so forth, so that the leadership of the Serb
9 forces operating in the area would know what was going on, would be able
10 to coordinate their activities?
11 A. I don't -- I don't know what the commander did further on. I
12 assume that he reported subsequently to somebody else, but I don't know.
13 Q. As a matter of reason. Otherwise, the army can't coordinate its
14 activities. Is that not so?
15 A. I suppose that's so.
16 Q. And therefore, as a matter of logic, it would be necessary for the
17 Serb forces operating in the Posavina area to know exactly what the
18 volunteers from Serbia were doing?
19 A. I don't know that.
20 Q. In the period of time in, say, April and May of 1992, did you see
21 the volunteers from Serbia occasionally around the town or in the
22 municipality of Bosanski Samac?
23 A. Occasionally, yes, I would see them. Yeah.
24 Q. Were they later absorbed into a special battalion which was
25 actually part of the army of the Republika Srpska?
1 A. I don't know that. I don't know whether they became part of
2 special forces within the battalion. I don't know that.
3 Q. Okay. And how long were you engaged in carrying out your duties
4 as logistics commander before switching to duties in the kitchen?
5 A. I remained assistant commander for logistics from the late April
6 1992 until the end of the war. And within that time frame, I took care of
7 supplying food for units and for the kitchen. Later on, I took over that
8 segment as well. Not me personally, but people who worked there with me.
9 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Tovirac.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: I have no further questions, Madam Presiding
12 PRESIDING OFFICER: Re-examination?
13 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
14 Re-examined by Mr. Krgovic:
15 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Tovirac, while you explained your duties and
16 tasks, could you also tell us this: During that entire period of time
17 while you worked within the logistics, was kitchen last under your
19 A. Yes, later on, subsequently. I don't know exactly when, but after
20 some five or six months had passed and everything else had been set up
21 within the units.
22 Q. And that entire time you served as assistant commander for
24 A. Yes, that's right.
25 Q. The Prosecutor asked you about the places where conflict broke out
1 and numbered several towns that he described as belonging to the Posavina
2 region. Now, let me ask you this: Does Visegrad belong to Posavina
4 A. No, it doesn't.
5 Q. What about Vlasenica?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Prijedor?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Zvornik?
10 A. No.
11 Q. How far are those places, approximately, from Samac?
12 A. Two, three, four, some even 500 kilometres.
13 Q. Does Bijeljina belong to Posavina as well or is it part of a
14 different region?
15 A. It is a part of Semberija.
16 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Madam Presiding Officer.
17 I have no further questions for this witness.
18 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Tovirac,
19 for coming to give your deposition here today. It will be used in the
20 trial and transmitted to the Trial Chamber. Thank you. You may go.
21 [The witness withdrew]
22 PRESIDING OFFICER: We're going to take the lunch break now, so
23 one hour and 15 minutes. Fifteen. Thank you.
24 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.06 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 1.25 p.m.
1 [The witness entered]
2 PRESIDING OFFICER: Good afternoon, Mrs. Pavlovic. You can read
3 this. Yes, please.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
5 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
6 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you.
7 WITNESS: GORDANA PAVLOVIC
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 PRESIDING OFFICER: Mr. Lukic.
10 Examined by Mr. Lukic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mrs. Pavlovic.
12 A. Good afternoon.
13 Q. You can hear me well?
14 A. Yes, perfectly well, thank you.
15 Q. As I mentioned yesterday, I shall do my best to speak slowly, and
16 please make a brief pause between my question and your answer so that we
17 can have the translations accurately.
18 Will you please give us your full name.
19 A. My name is Gordana Pavlovic.
20 Q. When were you born?
21 A. On the 16th of September, 1972.
22 Q. How long have you been living in Bosanski Samac?
23 A. For 23 years.
24 Q. I'm sorry. What is your ethnicity?
25 A. I'm a Serb.
1 Q. Are your parents also Serbs by ethnicity?
2 A. My father, yes, and my mother is Croatian.
3 Q. Your parents are also living in Samac, are they not?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Tell me, please, how old were you in 1992 when the war started?
6 A. I was 20 years old.
7 Q. Were you working at the time?
8 A. No, I wasn't.
9 Q. Were you a member of any party in those days?
10 A. No, I wasn't.
11 Q. Are you a member of any party now?
12 A. No, I'm not.
13 Q. Having covered this personal information, I should like to refer
14 to two episodes linked to the wartime situation. First let me ask you
15 whether at the beginning of the war and before the war, did you have a
16 boyfriend and what was his name?
17 A. Yes. Before the war I was going out with a young man whose name
18 was Enver Bobic.
19 Q. Will you tell us, please, the names of his parents, if you
21 A. Yes, I do remember. Kemal and Ediba Bobic.
22 Q. Were they also living in Samac?
23 A. Yes, they were.
24 Q. How long did you go out with Enver prior to the war?
25 A. For two years, starting with 1990.
1 Q. Would you please repeat his surname for the record, please,
2 slowly. What was his surname, your boyfriend's surname.
3 A. Bobic.
4 Q. Was he working and where?
5 A. Yes. He worked as a waiter in his parents' cafe or restaurant.
6 Q. Do you perhaps remember the name of the coffee bar owned by his
8 A. Yes, I do. The name of it -- its name was Sedrvan.
9 Q. Tell me, do you know whether he was politically active? And I
10 mean Enver Bobic.
11 A. Yes, he was. He was in the so-called MOS, the Muslim youth
13 Q. Will you please describe to me what happened on the 14th of
14 February, 1992. Were you with him at the time, and could you describe
15 that incident for us, but slowly.
16 A. On the 14th of February, 1992, on St. Valentine's Day, I was with
17 Enver Bobic in a coffee bar that was called Valentino, and in the evening,
18 I got there about 8.00 p.m. He was waiting for me. He was at the bar
19 with another waiter who was drunk. I joined them.
20 Enver and I left the Valentino. We went outside and talked.
21 After that, we came back. It was around 10.00, a bit before 10.00 when
22 Enver took out a hand grenade that he owned, which he had owned for a
23 month or two prior to that. I knew he owned it, as did many others. He
24 had obtained it or, rather, purchased it in that same coffee bar in which
25 he worked. He had told me that.
1 Q. Would you tell us where he purchased the hand grenade.
2 A. In the Sedrvan coffee bar. He had told me when I asked him, when
3 I saw the hand grenade for the first time. It was a month or two prior to
4 this. And he also told me that his mother had given him the money to buy
5 the hand grenade with.
6 He took it out, and he and this drunken waiter started playing
7 around with this hand grenade. After awhile, the waiter pulled a wire on
8 that hand grenade - I don't know how you call it - and the grenade went
9 off. The next thing I remember was that I was lying in the middle of the
10 Valentino coffee bar. I heard screams around me. I didn't see anything,
11 which means that I regained consciousness relatively quickly.
12 A friend of mine came up to me and said that everything would be
13 all right, that they would take me to the emergency ward, and they did.
14 They drove me there. And in the emergency ward, they just dressed my
15 injuries and drove me on to Brcko.
16 Q. Will you tell us whether from Brcko you went further on. So let's
17 speed this up.
18 A. Yes. They transferred me to Tuzla, where I underwent surgeries.
19 Q. Tell us what kind of injuries you sustained.
20 A. Both my eyes were injured, and both of them were operated on. I
21 have quite a number of fragments in my body. I had burns on my left hand
22 and leg.
23 Four days later, I started seeing with one eye, and the other one
24 is permanently damaged.
25 Q. Tell me, while you were at the hospital in Tuzla, did anyone come
1 from the police and did you make a statement in hospital or later in
2 connection with that incident?
3 A. I didn't give any statements in the hospital, but when I returned
4 home, some police officers did come, Milos Savic and someone else. I
5 don't remember his name. They came to the flat where I was living, and I
6 made a statement.
7 Q. Did you hear any rumours about that incident while you were in
8 hospital, and what kind?
9 A. Yes. I heard that a journalist had come to my hospital room, but
10 I couldn't see him because my eyes were still bandaged at the time. He
11 came and said to me -- or actually, he asked me what had happened. I
12 didn't want to say anything to him because I didn't know whether Enver was
13 alive or dead. I still didn't know at the time. But I heard that the
14 rumours were that somebody had thrown in a hand grenade from a green
15 vehicle, a passenger car, that there were some guys in this car and that
16 they had thrown the grenade, which is not true.
17 Q. And what did you hear? Who was spreading these rumours?
18 A. That night when this happened, Kemal Bobic, he and I don't know
19 who else, some other men, went in front of the SUP and they spread the
20 rumour that he had seen a green vehicle passing by and that they had
21 allegedly killed his son.
22 Q. Tell me, Gordana, how long did your recovery last? Did you have
23 any further treatment, medical treatment, and where were you in the months
24 following the event?
25 A. I spent most of my time at home, but I did have some further
1 treatment in Belgrade, and they had a prosthesis fitted for its aesthetic
2 effect, because the eye was not pleasant to look at, and I had to have
3 this prosthesis fitted.
4 Q. And when did you go to Belgrade?
5 A. That same year. In July, I think it was.
6 Q. Tell us, please, what was the attitude of Enver's parents, Ediba
7 and Kemal, in the period that followed?
8 A. Our relations were good. We didn't see each other often, but they
9 came to see me when I came out of hospital. Kemal and his other son and
10 Kemal's daughter-in-law, Amira. They came to visit me. And they told me
11 that they would leave me two houses in Brcko which were in their
12 possession so that I could sell them and use the proceeds for future
13 possible treatment, that they would sign over these houses to me.
14 Q. So this was in the period prior to Kemal's arrest?
15 A. Yes, yes.
16 Q. And tell me, what happened in June 1993? Did you have any contact
17 with Ediba? Were there any arrangements made regarding their property and
19 A. Yes. Ediba had planned to be exchanged, and she came to my
20 parents' apartment where I was living. She came to discuss this
21 arrangement, that she would leave me the house in Samac, the house they
22 lived in, for me to look after it for them. I didn't agree to that. It
23 was a very serious responsibility. However, a little time later, she came
24 again, and she brought me a letter which she had received from Kemal, who
25 was at the time in Batkovic. She brought me this letter from the Red
1 Cross, and Kemal had written the note saying that his house and the
2 Sedrvan coffee bar, that he was leaving it to me and that the whole family
3 wanted to be exchanged.
4 Q. And what happened then?
5 A. Finally I agreed to look after the house for them. Ediba went to
6 the municipality to ask how she could sign the house over to me. And then
7 they told her that in view of the situation such as it was at the time,
8 she couldn't pass it on to me as a -- sign it over to me but only on the
9 basis of a contract on a gift.
10 And then Amira came to my apartment again with her sister. My
11 mother and father were there, Amira and Ediba, the two sisters, and they
12 drew up some sort of a contract, an agreement, and we went to the
13 municipality with this contract. However, Kemal Bobic's signature was
14 indispensable as he was the owner.
15 Then I, my father, and Ediba Bobic, and her son Bedrudin went to
16 Batkovic to see Kemal. At the gate of Batkovic, only Ediba and Bedrudin
17 could visit Kemal, being the closest of kin. I and my father couldn't.
18 Then we went back to Bijeljina, to the court, where we got a pass,
19 and then we went to Batkovic to see Kemal and could get his signature.
20 Q. Did all four of you come to visit Kemal together?
21 A. Yes. All four of us were together. We spent perhaps one hour
22 talking to Kemal. My father asked Kemal to read out the contract that we
23 had compiled. He said that he didn't want to read it. He had said that
24 everything should be left to me, and he signed the contract.
25 Q. Just a moment, please.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I have with me a copy. I don't know
2 whether Madam Registrar has a copy. I would like to show the witness a
3 document, D74/3 ter ID.
4 Q. Will you please look at this document and tell us whether you
5 recognise it as the document that Kemal Bobic signed in front of you at
6 the time.
7 A. Yes, that is a copy of that document.
8 Q. Do you have on you the original of that document?
9 A. Yes, I have it at home, the original.
10 Q. Did you give me a photocopy of that contract yesterday?
11 A. Yes, I did.
12 Q. Will you please look at this document. I have already provided a
13 copy to the Prosecution. Is that the document you gave me?
14 A. Yes, it is.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I should like this document given to
16 me by the witness, and we don't have a translation but she will provide
17 the original and provide it to the Trial Chamber, if we could mark it for
18 identification. Maybe we can use the same number with the letter "A" in
19 view of the fact that this document, D74/3 ter, already has a number.
20 PRESIDING OFFICER: I think you should repeat for the benefit of
21 Anabela, because she couldn't follow.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I suggest that this document which has
23 been shown to the witness and which I received from the witness yesterday
24 and provided a copy for the Prosecution could be marked for identification
25 only under the same number with the indication "A". And once we have it
1 translated, then we could tender it into evidence. In the meantime, I
2 shall obtain the original document from the witness.
3 I now have a sufficient number of copies for the Registry and for
4 the Trial Chamber. It's a contract on a gift. We can call it that.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: I'd asked that it just be marked for identification
6 at this stage and for the Trial Chamber to determine its admissibility
8 PRESIDING OFFICER: So if I understand it correctly, the second
9 document that you showed the witness, you would like it to be part of
10 D74/3 ter ID to be later admitted into evidence. Okay. Thank you.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Tell us, please, what happened after that, once Kemal had signed
13 this contract.
14 A. After that, we went to the municipality where this was certified,
15 and Mira Bobic, who was the owner of the other part of the house, she also
16 signed it because she also made a gift her part to me. And this was
17 certified by the municipal authorities and regulated.
18 Q. Will you tell Their Honours, Ediba and Amira, for how long did
19 they stay living in that house?
20 A. I think it was in December 1993 that they were exchanged.
21 Q. Ediba or anyone else, did she mention giving any money to anyone
22 to be exchanged?
23 A. No, she never made mention of any such thing.
24 Q. Did you go to that house? Did you move into that house at all and
1 A. Yes. I went to that house a couple of months after they left. I
2 think it was in February. I moved in only once I had obtained a document
3 on temporary accommodation in that house from the municipal authorities,
4 and I wanted an inventory to be made of all the property inside the house,
5 and this was done.
6 Q. And what about Amira's part of the house? Did you move in there
7 or someone else?
8 A. As far as I know, even before Ediba had left, Ediba's sister's
9 daughter, a third sister whom I hadn't known until then, and Cvijan
10 Stefanovic, I think his name was. I didn't know him either. The two of
11 them and the daughter of this lady were living in that part of the house.
12 Q. Do you know perhaps whether they were married?
13 A. They were living together.
14 Q. Tell me, please, are you living in the house of Ediba and Kemal
15 Bobic today? Have you left it, and if so, when?
16 A. I no longer live there. I left the house last year in April.
17 Q. Did someone force you out or did you yourself decide to leave?
18 A. Kemal Bobic insisted that I abandon the house, and so I did.
19 Q. Did you leave the house as soon as he asked you to leave it or did
20 you oppose it or was there any litigation or anything?
21 A. No, I didn't oppose it. I just stayed long enough to find other
23 Q. Did the Bobics ever make you a present of any other property in
24 the name of your treatment?
25 A. No. They promised that if they ever came back and if I gave them
1 back their house that they would provide accommodation for me, which they
2 never did, nor did they ever mention it again.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I have finished, but just a minor
4 correction for the translation.
5 Q. Will you tell us, please, whose sister was Amira and who was she
6 married to?
7 A. Amira. Amira is Ediba Bobic's sister.
8 Q. And who was she married to?
9 A. She was married to Kemal's brother.
10 PRESIDING OFFICER: Cross-examination after the switch of
12 Cross-examined by Mr. Di Fazio:
13 Q. Ms. Pavlovic, initially --
14 PRESIDING OFFICER: Can you -- can you wait?
15 MR. DI FAZIO:
16 Q. Ms. Pavlovic, initially you say that the Bobics wanted you to look
17 after the property; is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. But for some reason you were unable to do that, and so the
20 situation developed whereby the property had to be sent to you -- passed
21 over to you by way of a gift?
22 A. Yes. As before the war they had promised to me that they would
23 bequeath, leave the property which they had in Brcko to me. And since the
24 war broke out, that wasn't possible. So they left me this house in
25 Samac. Provided, however, that if they ever returned, I was to give them
1 the house back and that they would provide me with some sort of
2 accommodation by way of some sort of recompensation or what have you.
3 That was some sort of oral agreement between us.
4 Q. Initially, the house in Bosanski Samac, Mr. Bobic wanted you to
5 simply use it. That was his initial desire; right?
6 A. Well, Mr. Bobic, yes, he wanted me to use it or, rather, he was
7 ostensibly making it a present to me. But if he were ever to return to
8 Samac, that I should make the house available to him, return it to him.
9 Q. I have a note here in my notes when you were giving evidence that
10 you said that he -- that you agreed to look after the house initially. Is
11 that a fair assessment? You agreed to look after the place, take care of
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Without going into the reasons, is it your position that that
15 became impossible and so a gift had to be made of the house?
16 A. I wouldn't have been able to use his house without some sort of
17 adequate paper, document. And in order for me to get a paper from the
18 document -- from the municipality, sorry, I had to have some sort of a
20 Q. But the situation developed whereby in order for you to carry out
21 his wishes, he had to give you a gift, make a gift of the house to you.
22 Is that your position?
23 A. I don't know. I couldn't just very well walk into the house and
24 look after it. He didn't have to make a present of it to me, but how
25 could I occupy the house without a document from the municipality? He
1 didn't sign over the house to me as my property.
2 Q. And to carry out this process of a gift, you went to see him while
3 he was in custody in Batkovic to carry out all the necessary things to
4 ensure that you could -- you could take up the place?
5 A. That was his desire. He didn't -- he did not lose his property by
6 that act. He just left it in the custody of someone.
7 Q. And eventually legal proceedings developed between certain parties
8 over possession of the house, didn't they, with Mr. Bobic initiating those
9 legal proceedings?
10 A. I don't understand. What legal proceedings?
11 Q. Were some legal proceedings initiated by Mr. Bobic in respect of
12 this house?
13 A. Do you mean when he returned to Samac? I'm not aware of any
15 Q. You're not aware of any legal proceedings involving possession of
16 the house?
17 A. No. Mr. Bobic got his house back the minute he returned to
18 Samac. He restituted. His property was restituted to him.
19 Q. So he's never had any problem at all in relation to the house?
20 A. No.
21 Q. You were occupying the house, and you more than happily gave it up
22 as soon as he showed an interest in the place again. Is that what you're
24 A. That is exactly what I'm saying.
25 Q. Okay. When you went to Batkovic, did you have an opportunity to
1 see inside the camp?
2 A. No, I wasn't.
3 Q. Had you been living in the town of Bosanski Samac from April of
4 1992 -- in fact, throughout 1992 and 1993?
5 A. Yes. Yes.
6 Q. You were aware, weren't you, that Mr. Bobic was only one of
7 hundreds of Muslim and Croat men who were arrested?
8 A. Yes, I was.
9 Q. Do you know why?
10 A. Well, only from what I'd heard, namely that they possessed
12 Q. In the period of time immediately following the 16th and 17th of
13 April, did you see any people wearing armbands?
14 A. Can you please repeat the question. I didn't understand it
16 Q. In the period of time immediately following the 16th and 17th of
17 April, 1992, did you see any people around the town wearing armbands?
19 A. No, I didn't. Actually, I left the house seldom at that time
20 because of my health condition, but I don't know that that was the case.
21 Q. Were you listening to the radio because of your health condition?
22 I take it you had trouble seeing at that stage because of the injuries
23 you'd suffered.
24 A. Yes, but since there were frequent power cuts, we had no
25 electricity and couldn't listen to the radio.
1 Q. Not at all or was that only from time to time that the radio
2 wasn't functioning?
3 A. We didn't have any electricity. There was no water, no
4 electricity, and the telephones were down as well.
5 Q. Fine. I'm not -- I'm not denying that. I'm not trying to say
6 otherwise. All I'm asking about is the radio. Was the radio functioning
7 from time to time, radio services?
8 A. No. I could not listen to the radio at all.
9 Q. Were you aware of a group of Croats having been murdered in a
10 place called Crkvina, a village nearby to Bosanski Samac, in early May
12 A. Yes, I'd heard that.
13 Q. Did you hear of that very soon after the event?
14 A. I heard that from my parents, so they told me at home, but that
15 was much, much later, because they didn't want to upset me.
16 Q. And were you virtually confined to the house because of your
17 injuries at the time?
18 A. Well, yes, practically.
19 Q. So you can't tell us anything much about the conditions of life in
20 Bosanski Samac in the period of time following April of 1992; is that
22 A. Yes, that is so.
23 Q. Did you rely primarily on your parents for news of what was
24 happening in the municipality?
25 A. Well, I did not attach much significance to it, and in fact, they
1 told me little precisely on account of my -- of the status of my health.
2 Q. Did you ever become aware of Croats being taken to a village
3 called Zasavica?
4 A. Yes, I know all of that.
5 Q. And again, what was your source of information regarding that?
6 A. Amira Bobic was also isolated in Zasavica with her two daughters.
7 Q. How do you know that?
8 A. My mother went there a couple of times to visit them and to take
9 some things to them which they needed.
10 Q. And did your mother tell you how they were, what the conditions
11 were like there, what their general situation was like at Zasavica?
12 A. They were put up in houses, abandoned houses. Well, they had the
13 basic necessities there.
14 Q. The situation in 1992 as far as the Bobics were concerned was that
15 Amira had been taken off to Zasavica, Kemal was locked up in one of the
16 detention camps in Bosanski Samac and later Batkovic. That's correct,
17 isn't it? What did --
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. What about Kemal's brother? What was his fate in 1992?
20 A. Which brother do you mean?
21 Q. I'm sorry. I don't know how many brothers he had. How many
22 brothers did he have?
23 A. I don't know myself exactly.
24 Q. But he had one brother at least, didn't he?
25 A. Yes. He had one brother in Samac, yes.
1 Q. Was that brother also locked up?
2 A. No, he wasn't.
3 Q. Was he doing work obligation?
4 A. He was, but I don't know what it was that he was exactly doing. I
5 don't remember.
6 Q. Do you know why Amira was taken to Zasavica?
7 A. I'd heard that the reason was that her son had swum across the
8 Sava River.
9 Q. That's right. And in fact, a large number or a largish group of
10 Muslim and Croat men swam across the Sava River and then their wives and
11 sisters and so on were rounded up and taken off to Zasavica. Does that
12 accord with your memory?
13 A. Yes. That's what I'd heard, yes.
14 Q. And you'd agree, wouldn't you, that the Bobics weren't in a very
15 good position to be making important decisions about their house or
16 properties in Bosanski Samac, given the circumstances that befell them in
18 A. Well, Amira with her daughters was returned from this isolation.
19 She was -- she did not stay there for a long time, and she went to be
20 exchanged from her own home.
21 Q. Right. So she was taken from Zasavica to her home and then
22 exchanged. Is that what you're saying?
23 A. Yes, that is what I'm saying, but she was not exchanged
24 immediately. She stayed on living in her house for a while.
25 Q. About how long, would you say?
1 A. I cannot remember exactly. I cannot recall. But they stayed in
2 that house for a while, and they could make their own decision. They
3 decided to leave Cvijetin and this sister there in that house, and later I
4 came to occupy the other half. And that was also their desire that I
5 should do so.
6 Q. You may or may not be able to tell us, but do you know if Amira
7 could have been exchanged from Zasavica if she'd wanted to?
8 A. Well, I'm unable to tell you that.
9 Q. Did anyone help her get exchanged?
10 A. As far as I know, they had their names inscribed on the exchange
11 list, and then after, once they indeed left.
12 Q. As far as Kemal was concerned, did you only visit him once when he
13 was in custody, namely when he was at Batkovic and in relation to this
14 business relating to the house?
15 A. Yes.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Just bear with me, please, Madam Registrar.
17 Thank you very much. I have no further questions.
18 PRESIDING OFFICER: Mr. Lukic.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Very briefly.
20 Re-examined by Mr. Lukic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Mrs. Gordana, before the departure to Batkovic to
22 see Kemal and before this contract was drawn up, the Prosecutor asked you
23 about the municipality. Who went to the municipality to inquire about the
24 procedure regarding your entitlement to use the house? Did you go or did
25 Ediba go?
1 A. Ediba did.
2 Q. Who told you that you needed to draw up a contract on a gift?
3 A. Ediba was told this at the municipality. I don't know who it was
4 exactly who told her.
5 Q. The Prosecutor asked you about the white armbands. Have you heard
6 anything about those? Had you heard anything about this? At the
7 beginning, you said that your mother was a Croat. Is that not a fact?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did your mother ever tell you during the war that she had to wear
10 a white band or that somebody told her to wear a white band?
11 A. No.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: For the purposes of the transcript, I object to the
13 question, and I object to the answer that was given on the basis that it's
14 obviously leading, placing the answer firmly and squarely in the witness's
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I don't think that the question was
17 leading, but it -- and it stems from a question put by the Prosecutor. I
18 just wanted to correlate the fact of the national or the ethnic origin of
19 the mother, which is a question that arose from the Prosecutor's
20 question. So I don't think that the objection stands.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Madam Presiding Officer, I think -- and Mr. Lukic,
22 I think we can only agree that I'll make my objection and you carry on,
23 because since we -- the matter of its admissibility will have to be
24 determined later. Or alternatively, if the objection strikes a chord with
25 opposing counsel, then they can rephrase their question.
1 PRESIDING OFFICER: My impression is that you haven't really
2 answered his reasons, that you're not speaking about the same thing,
3 because Mr. Di Fazio said the question was leading, and you answered on
4 whether it arose or not from cross. So if the problem is just leading,
5 then maybe it can be solved.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: I should also point out that Mr. Lukic perhaps
7 went -- was correct in assuming that part of my objection was also based
8 on the fact that it didn't arise in the course of cross-examination. So
9 it's really twofold: A, leading; and it doesn't arise.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Let us leave this for the Trial
11 Chamber to decide.
12 Q. Just another question. The Prosecutor asked you when you went to
13 see Kemal Bobic in Batkovic was that the only time that you went to
14 Batkovic to see him, and you replied to that question. Will you tell us
15 what your impression was. What did Kemal look like when you saw him? Let
16 me not lead you. What was his mood like? He saw you, your -- his
17 father. What was the impression that you gained about his state, his
19 A. Kemal struck me as perfectly normal. He was perhaps a bit leaner,
20 had lost some weight, but he also joked with me. He was quite fine.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Again, Madam Presiding Registrar, I submit I object
22 to that question and the answer that was given. I ask that it be noted.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can I please be told what the grounds
24 for the objection is so that I could state my opinion on it.
25 MR. DI FAZIO: It doesn't arise from cross-examination.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I believe that it does arise, because
2 the whole line of the second part of the Prosecutor's questioning regarded
3 the possibility and the free will of Bobics to actually leave. So the
4 basic thread of the Prosecutor's argument that his questioning was whether
5 the Bobics -- the witness could conclude that the witness -- that the
6 Bobics could actually dispose of their property according to their free
7 will. So I asked the witness about Kemal Bobic's mood during the visit to
8 Batkovic, and she told me that he was just fine and that he had even joked
9 with her.
10 So I have finished my questioning of this witness.
11 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you, Ms. Pavlovic, for coming here
12 today. Your deposition will be transmitted to the Trial Chamber. Thank
13 you for coming. You are free to leave now.
14 [The witness withdrew]
15 PRESIDING OFFICER: We will have a ten minutes' break. Thank
17 --- Break taken at 2.16 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 2.31 p.m.
19 [The witness entered]
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
21 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
22 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you.
23 WITNESS: MUHAREM BICAKCIC
24 [Witness answered through intepreter]
25 PRESIDING OFFICER: The Defence.
1 Examined by Mr. Krgovic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, sir. Could you please give us
3 your name.
4 A. Muharem Bicakcic.
5 Q. Tell us, please, sir, when were you born?
6 A. 28th of November, 1959.
7 Q. Where were you born?
8 A. In Bosanski Samac.
9 Q. Please tell me, Mr. Bicakcic, are you married?
10 A. Yes. I have two children.
11 Q. Tell us, sir, where did you live in Bosanski Samac prior to 1992?
12 A. Vijenac Jugoslovenske Narodne Armije number 136.
13 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, please tell us what is your ethnic background.
14 A. I'm a Bosniak.
15 Q. What about your wife? What is her nationality?
16 A. She is a Bosniak as well.
17 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, where is your wife from originally?
18 A. From Gradacac.
19 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, could you please wait a few seconds upon hearing my
20 answer -- upon hearing my question before giving your answer so that we do
21 not overlap.
22 A. All right.
23 Q. Tell me, Mr. Bicakcic, did you do your military service?
24 A. Yes, in 1978.
25 Q. Where?
1 A. In Novi Sad.
2 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, what is your educational background?
3 A. I graduated from an elementary school and then I completed
4 training for fireman.
5 Q. And did you thereafter become a fireman?
6 A. Yes. I'm a professional fireman.
7 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, where did you work prior to April of 1992?
8 A. In Bosanski Samac in the fire brigade.
9 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, what was the ethnic composition of your brigade?
10 Were there members of all ethnic communities?
11 A. Yes, there were members of all ethnic communities. It was a
12 multi-ethnic composition before the war.
13 Q. Your unit, was it under the supervision of the municipality or
14 what status did it have?
15 A. We were financed from the municipal budget and, yes, we were under
16 the jurisdiction of municipal authorities.
17 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, before April 16, did you go somewhere with your
19 A. Yes. I went to Gradacac since there was some commotion, so to
20 speak. And I wanted to move away with my family, so I went to Gradacac.
21 And I stayed there, and then other things happened after that, and I
22 wasn't informed about what was going on.
23 Q. We'll get to that. Now, please tell us, Mr. Bicakcic, how long
24 did you stay in Gradacac when you got there?
25 A. Some ten or 11 days. I'm not sure, but about ten days.
1 Q. Now, Mr. Bicakcic, tell us, did you speak on the phone with
2 somebody in Samac during the time?
3 A. I spoke to my director, the commander, and I asked him whether I
4 should come to work, and he told me that I should, that there were no
5 problems. And I decided to do that, and I arranged it with him.
6 That same day when I spoke to him, I returned to Samac.
7 Q. Did somebody greet you at the entry point into Samac?
8 A. Yes. I arranged it with him, and he awaited me there, and we went
9 together to the fire brigade in Samac.
10 MR. WEINER: Excuse me. For clarification, can we have the
11 dates? I know you were talking about originally pre-April 16, 17. Now
12 we're into incidents after April 16th and 17th, and we just don't have any
13 dates here.
14 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Yes. Please tell us how many days prior to April 16 you went to
17 A. Just one day prior to the 16th. On the 15th I went to Gradacac,
18 and on the following day the conflict broke out. I spoke to my commander
19 a few times prior to returning to Samac. I spoke to him a couple of
20 times. I wanted to ensure my own safety, because I didn't know how things
21 were there.
22 Q. Now, tell us, please, in relation to your arrival in Gradacac, how
23 long after your arrival there you went back to Samac.
24 A. Some ten days after.
25 Q. So it was probably around the 25th when you returned.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now, tell us, Mr. Bicakcic, did you return to your apartment?
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, during your stay in Samac, did you resume your work
5 as fireman? Did you do the same work as before the war?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, the people who worked with you before the 16th of
8 April, 1992, did some of them remain in the workplace together with you?
9 A. Yes. All of them remained there.
10 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] I would now like to show a document
11 to the witness. Document D81/1A, and D81/1B. Could that please be put on
12 the ELMO.
13 Q. And you can see it on the screen now. Mr. Bicakcic, these people
14 who are listed here on this document, you can see it on the screen. Tell
15 me, please, did all of them work with you in your fire brigade in May of
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Tell us, Mr. Bicakcic, did you receive your May salary? Do you
20 A. We received a couple of salaries. I think for the month of May
21 and June. We received a couple of salaries. And since there was an
22 inflation, later on we would receive our salaries in kind. We would
23 receive food and so on.
24 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Now, could the witness please be
25 shown document 81/1B.
1 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, these names of people on the list here, did all of
2 these people work with you in June of 1992?
3 A. Yes. All of these people listed here worked with me then.
4 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, what is the ethnic composition of the people on this
5 list? Are there members of all nations here?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. What nation is dominant here?
8 A. The Muslims.
9 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, did these people here receive salary just like you
10 did? Do you know something about that?
11 A. Everybody on the payroll received a salary, all of the people on
12 this list.
13 Q. Thank you. We will not need this document any more.
14 Mr. Bicakcic, did you receive a decision assigning you to work as
16 A. Yes. All of us received such decisions from the secretariat of
17 People's Defence.
18 Q. Were these decisions on work obligation?
19 A. Yes. We belonged to the Civil Defence, and we were under the
21 Q. Now, could you please explain this to us: You were a special
22 unit, and within which secretariat was it? Was it the Secretariat for
23 National Defence?
24 A. Yes, Secretariat for National Defence. There was a command for
25 National Defence there.
1 Q. And who was your commander?
2 A. Slobodan Milovanovic.
3 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, tell us, please, did you have a lot of work during
4 the war? Were you actively working throughout that entire time?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, where did your family stay during that time?
7 A. In Gradacac.
8 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, did your parents live in Samac?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did they leave Samac during the war?
11 A. They did not.
12 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, did you at one point wish to join your family?
13 A. Certainly.
14 Q. Were you able to establish telephone contact with them?
15 A. I wasn't able. The phone lines were down. In the beginning, the
16 phones were operational, but later on they were not.
17 I apologise. I was able to establish contact with them through
18 radio, through radio ham operators.
19 Q. When you wanted to join your family, who did you apply to?
20 A. The Red Cross. I signed up to be exchanged.
21 Q. Did you give any information concerning where you wanted to go and
22 to see whom?
23 A. At the Red Cross, there was a woman who worked there, Anka. I
24 can't remember her last name. She was compiling the lists, and she kept
25 records. So I signed up for the exchange and was waiting for one.
1 Q. Tell us, please, where did you wish to go?
2 A. To Gradacac.
3 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, tell us, please, were you told when was the exchange
4 with Gradacac supposed to be held? Did somebody tell you about that?
5 A. I signed up for an exchange sometime in May, and since there
6 weren't that many exchanges with Gradacac, I was waiting to hear from
7 them. And then one morning a courier came, and he said, "You're needed
8 for an exchange. You signed up for an exchange, and you are being sought
9 to go to be exchanged." And this is how this evolved. This is how I was
11 Q. We will get to that. Tell us, please, who had the control of
12 Gradacac at the time?
13 A. The army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
14 Q. And the courier who came to inform you, what was his ethnicity?
15 A. He was a Muslim.
16 Q. Do you remember where he worked?
17 A. He was director of the bank. Ahmet was his first name, and I
18 can't remember his last name. His nickname was Cokolada.
19 Q. What I'm interested in is where was he attached to as a courier?
20 A. He was a courier with the local commune.
21 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, when did you set out towards Gradacac?
22 A. On the 16th of December.
23 Q. Which year?
24 A. 1993.
25 Q. Do you remember whether somebody called out your name when you
1 were departing? What was the starting point? Where did you leave from?
2 A. From the place in front of the local commune building.
3 Q. And who was there with you at that site where you were exchanged?
4 Were there any people that used to work with you there as well?
5 A. There was Veljo there. And then as we were departing, I saw
6 Miroslav Tadic, called Brka.
7 Q. And at the site of the exchange itself, at the separation line
8 with Gradacac, who was present there?
9 A. There were Veljo, then Tadic, then some soldiers were there. They
10 negotiated about something. I don't know about what. So all of this was
11 going on. And then on one side there was the International Red Cross. I
12 don't know what they talked about. We were simply waiting to be
13 exchanged. And this is how this exchange was conducted.
14 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, please tell us, at the time at this site, did they
15 ask you whether you wanted to cross over to the other side?
16 A. Yes, they did, and I said that I wanted to cross over. That's how
17 it was.
18 Q. Please tell us, in front of whom did you say that you wanted to
19 cross over? Were there representatives of Gradacac there as well?
20 A. Yes. There were representatives from the other side as well, and
21 I think that there were some people from the Red Cross there too. I don't
22 know their names.
23 Q. When you say the Red Cross, do you mean the International Red
25 A. Yes. Yes, the international one.
1 Q. And when you say "Veljo," which Veljo do you have in mind? Please
2 give us the last name. Was it Maslic?
3 A. Yes, yes, Maslic. He was involved in the exchange.
4 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, did you reunite with your family then?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What about your job? Did somebody get hired instead of you?
7 A. Where do you mean; in Samac?
8 Q. Yes, in Samac.
9 A. You mean when I left?
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. My brother had a work obligation, and then I asked them, since he
12 was an elderly person, I asked them whether he could substitute me there.
13 And we knew the director and he had some influence, and therefore, my
14 brother remained with the fire brigade upon my departure.
15 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, did you have any other brothers in Samac in 1992 in
16 addition to this brother who got your job?
17 A. I had two other brothers.
18 Q. Did they remain in Samac during the war?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Did they have their families?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did their families remain in Samac?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, while you were in Gradacac, did somebody enter your
25 apartment or your house?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Who remained to live in the house where you used to live?
3 A. My parents, father and mother, and my eldest brother.
4 Q. Mr. Bicakcic, did you return to Samac?
5 A. Yes, in 1998.
6 Q. Now, please tell us, Mr. Bicakcic, where are you employed now?
7 A. In the same unit where I used to work before the war. I submitted
8 a request upon my return to Samac, a request to the municipal assembly,
9 and then they replied to the director saying that, "If he is needed, then
10 hire him." Therefore, the director gave me the same job I had before.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Bicakcic. I have no further questions.
12 PRESIDING OFFICER: Cross-examination for the Prosecution.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could we just be given a minute to switch.
14 Cross-examined by Mr. Weiner:
15 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Bicakcic. My name is Phillip Weiner. I'm a
16 Prosecutor with the ICTY, and I'm going to ask you some questions.
17 Sir, you testified that you were a member of the fire brigade
18 in -- prior to April 16th and after, and that after April 16th it was
19 still multi-ethnic. That's correct, isn't it?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And, sir, isn't it a fact that after May of 1992, which was the
22 first of those two sheets that you looked at, certain non-Serbs in the
23 fire department started leaving?
24 A. Not Serbs? No one was forced out of the fire brigade. No one was
25 dismissed from the fire brigade.
1 Q. [Previous translation continues]...was, sir. Sir --
2 A. It was up to his own free will.
3 Q. My question was: Were people, non-Serbs, leaving? I didn't --
4 that's my question. Yes or no. I can give you names, if you like.
5 A. From the fire brigade, you mean? No, they didn't leave.
6 Q. If you look at 81A, in May we see the name Marko Nodjic [phoen]
7 and Fuad Kuburic [phoen]. You don't see their names on June or July, do
8 you, sir? It's in the records.
9 Were Marko Nodjic, Fuad Kuburic on the fire brigade in June of
11 81B, please. You'll see their names do not appear.
12 A. This Kuburic Fuad, he fled of his own accord. He just
13 disappeared. He abandoned the service. He didn't report to anyone.
14 Q. People were leaving. That's all I'm saying is people were
16 And in June, Mirsad Hecimovic, he also left after June; correct?
17 A. Mirsad Hecimovic, he was taken into custody.
18 Q. He was no longer on the fire brigade after June? Just -- that's
19 all -- whatever reason, he wasn't on the fire brigade after June.
20 Do you know what the reason was for him being taken into custody?
21 A. I don't know. That's up to the person who arrested him. He
22 probably knows, and he must know why he was taken into custody. So I
23 can't tell you anything about that.
24 Q. And isn't it a fact a year later in June or July of 1993 a whole
25 group of non-Serb firemen left? Sefik Pistoljevic [phoen], Salkan
1 Pistoljevic [phoen], Isudin Ibralic, Suad, Sulejmanovic. They all left
3 A. Yes, yes, they left, just as I had left because I wanted to. And
4 they wanted to go too.
5 Q. And are you also aware -- or let me ask you this question, sir: I
6 know some of these non-Serbs were sent to Brvnik [phoen] to dig trenches.
7 Were you one of those persons that had to dig trenches at Brvnik at the
8 front lines in June 1993? People such as Sefik Pistoljevic had to go to
9 the front lines and dig trenches while he was a fireman for five days.
10 Were you one of those non-Serb firemen that had to do that?
11 A. We did go for a couple of days, but it wasn't often. When we were
12 free, when we were not on duty, when our shift was not on duty. And then
13 we'd again return to our same workplace.
14 Q. You've indicated you have some brothers. Now, Mehmed, is it your
15 brother who was a fireman, Mehmed?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And Mirsad -- Mirsad the butcher, same last name as yours, is he
18 related to you?
19 A. [No interpretation]
20 Q. And how is he related to you; a cousin, an uncle?
21 A. They are my brothers.
22 Q. Mirsad, was he a member of the 4th Detachment?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Was he Mirsad the butcher who got into an incident with Nassir
25 Izetbegovic [phoen]? Was he involved in an incident, that Mirsad the
1 butcher? Tota. Tota. You know Tota -- I'm sorry, not Tota. Tota
2 Ramusovic. Do you know Tota Ramusovic, sir?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Was your brother Mirsad the butcher the one that was involved in
5 an incident with Tota Ramusovic?
6 A. Just a moment, please. My brother is not a butcher. He's not a
7 butcher. I mean, that's wrong if you have such information. He's not a
9 Q. There's a Mirsad who's known as Mirsad the butcher. Is that your
10 brother? That's a nickname -- okay.
11 A. No, no. "The butcher" is not his nickname.
12 Q. Okay. Thank you. Let us move on. You were aware at the time
13 that you were working in Samac, you and your brothers, that a number of
14 non-Serbs were being detained; correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And these included the leaders of the SDA political party Sulejman
17 Tihic, Izet Izetbegovic?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And as you travelled throughout the municipality as part of the
20 fire department, you were aware that a large number of Muslims and Croats
21 were being detained at various locations in Bosanski Samac; isn't that
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And they were being detained at the SUP, the police station or
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Territorial Defence building?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. At the high school and primary school, or if you want to call it
5 the secondary school and the primary school too?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And you were aware that people were being detained at Zasavica?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And, sir, were you also detained -- were you also aware that these
10 people who were being detained were being treated very poorly?
11 A. I can't say that. I wasn't there. I heard, but I wasn't there.
12 Q. Have you heard of very poor treatment, beatings, torture, murders
13 that were occurring at these places of detention? Have you heard?
14 A. I heard, but I only heard about such things, but I didn't see
15 whether anyone was beating anyone else or what they were doing as I wasn't
17 Q. Well, are you aware that your own police chief and also the
18 president of the -- your own police chief has pled guilty to persecution
19 of the non-Serb prisoners, including beatings, murders, and torture? Were
20 you aware of that, that Stevan Todorovic pled guilty to that? The police
21 chief in Bosanski Samac.
22 A. I heard something to that effect. I didn't really pay much
23 attention to that.
24 Q. And were you aware that your city managers, as we would call it in
25 the western part of the -- in the Western countries, the president of the
1 executive or the executive board, Milan Simic, pled guilty to torturing a
2 number of civilians who were detained in Bosanski Samac? Were you aware
3 of that, sir?
4 A. I don't know that.
5 Q. But you -- on the other hand, you were never beaten or harmed. Is
6 that true, sir? You were never arrested, never beaten, never harmed?
7 A. No, I wasn't.
8 Q. Your brothers, were they ever beaten or harmed or arrested?
9 A. No. As far as my brothers are concerned, they didn't get involved
10 in politics. They weren't in any parties or anything, so nothing happened
11 to them. We're simply not interested in politics and, therefore, it's no
12 wonder that that is how we fared.
13 Q. Now, you were very lucky. You and your brothers are very lucky,
14 because the other people, the other civilians, were severely beaten.
15 Were you aware that the Crisis Staff, in May of 1992, issued an
16 order to isolate members of the Croat community, where they were sent to
17 the high school in Zasavica. Were you aware of a large number of Croats
18 being sent to Zasavica and to the high school?
19 A. You see, I don't know where people were detained or who was
20 detained. I heard that there were camps, but I don't know anything.
21 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] I object to this method of
22 questioning. First of all, the Prosecutor asked three questions in one.
23 "Had you heard of the order on the detention of Croats in Samac?" Then,
24 "Were you aware that they were detained and taken into isolation?" And
25 thirdly, what those places were. So could the witness be asked one
1 question at a time, because he doesn't know which to answer. That's just
2 my objection.
3 MR. WEINER: The witness doesn't seem to have any problem
5 Q. Were you aware that civilians were taken to Zasavica and held
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And were you aware that the phrase used or the term used for their
9 being held was "isolation"? Had you heard that used in reference to
10 people being detained or do you recall back ten years ago?
11 A. I heard it. I just heard it. But I don't know how one could --
12 Q. I don't know if you're -- are you aware that Simo -- both Simo
13 Zaric and Miroslav Tadic gave statements to the Office of the Prosecutor?
14 If you're aware.
15 A. I don't know that. I wasn't present.
16 Q. Simo Zaric indicated that the Crisis Staff issued an order to
17 isolate the Croats in 1992 and they were sent to Zasavica. Does that
18 refresh your recollection as to what happened?
19 A. Let me tell you something quite frankly and openly. I know that
20 people were held in detention, but if I had -- as if I had monitored
21 anyone, who gave what orders, I had no idea. I just did my job honestly
22 and decently as a fireman who was devoted to protection of the civilians.
23 Everything else is simply what I heard. I don't know these things. I
24 don't know who gave what orders and who detained people. So therefore, I
25 can't answer these questions for you as if I had been in the Crisis
1 Staff. I just heard about these things, nothing more than that.
2 Q. Now, let's move on to two other -- a few other subjects, and we'll
3 finish up for the day.
4 With regard to your exchange, you were notified by a courier that
5 you were to be exchanged; correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You said that the courier was a Muslim man; correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And he was a courier in 1993 in Samac, and his previous job was
10 bank director; correct?
11 A. Before the war?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. Before the war, yes. Let's make it quite clear. Before the war,
14 he was bank director, yes.
15 Q. So he went from bank director to courier during the war?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now --
18 A. That was his work obligation.
19 Q. So he was at one point the bank director of which bank?
20 A. The bank of Vinkovci. Of a Croatian bank. It was called the
21 Vinkovci bank.
22 Q. And then he became a courier where he was delivering messages,
23 like to you that you were going to be exchanged. Now -- is that a yes or
24 no or -- you nodded your head.
25 A. Yes, yes, yes.
1 Q. For the record, you have to say yes or no because the transcript
2 has to pick up the other language.
3 Now, you would ask to leave in May. You wanted to leave Samac in
4 May of 1993?
5 A. Yes. In May I put my name down for the exchange, and the exchange
6 itself, the first exchange, was in May, and the second one was in
7 December. There were only two.
8 Q. And you're also aware that other Muslims and Croats were trying to
9 leave, escape, or get out? Isn't that true? Other Bosniaks, Muslims,
10 Croats, however you want to describe it.
11 A. Yes. Well, you see, no one was forcing anyone to stay or to
12 leave. It was up to each individual to put his name down for the
13 exchange. That's what I did. Nobody forced me to be exchanged. I didn't
14 have to. I could have easily stayed on doing my job, only I was separated
15 from my family, and I'd had enough of being alone, and I wanted to reunite
16 with my family after a year and a half. After all, it's a long time. It
17 doesn't really matter where I was going to go. Gradacac is somewhere
18 else. I just wanted to be with my family and my family with me.
19 Q. You're aware that some people were taking actions to leave. Had
20 you heard that some people were offering bribes to be exchanged? Just
21 whether or not you've heard it. Have you heard that people were taking --
22 were offering bribes to be exchanged?
23 A. As far as bribes are concerned, I don't know anything about that.
24 Nobody asked for any -- me for any money when I went. I don't know about
25 others, whether there were any bribes or not. I just can't say whether
1 someone -- anyone gave anything to anyone. All I know is that I didn't
2 give anyone anything. No one asked me for a penny for the exchange.
3 Nobody asked me for that.
4 Q. But you don't know what other people did, though. You don't know
5 what other people and their families were doing either. No?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Now, were you aware that people were paying to have false papers
8 made so they could leave by way of Serbia? Were you aware of that, that
9 papers were being falsified, identifications?
10 A. I heard of it. Again I wasn't present to be able to testify, to
11 be a witness of that. I just heard about it.
12 Q. You were also aware that some people escaped by swimming across
13 the Sava or sneaking out in whatever way they could?
14 A. There were some such cases, but that was up to them. That was
15 their affair. You should ask them about it.
16 Q. Now, while you were living alone, did any refugees ever move into
17 your house?
18 A. No.
19 Q. After you left in December of 1993, did anyone ever move into your
20 home; refugees or persons unknown to you?
21 A. No one moved in.
22 Q. And that includes anyone you know? No one without permission
23 moved into your home; correct?
24 A. No, nobody except my parents. My parents were there.
25 Q. And you never lost any property. You never faced any eviction.
1 Correct, sir?
2 A. No. No. I was not. As for other cases, I don't know.
3 Q. And your brothers, did they lose any of their property or were
4 they evicted from their homes?
5 A. One brother was with me in the same yard. We had a little house.
6 So he wasn't evicted either. And another brother, he has a couple of
7 small rooms. It wasn't a real house. And another brother lived in a
8 rented apartment. He didn't have anything of his own. He didn't have an
9 apartment of his own. He was paying rent.
10 Q. So no one lost any of their property, including your brother who
11 was renting. He wasn't forced out. Everyone maintained their property or
12 their flats?
13 A. These two brothers and myself, we were all living next to one
14 another, really, in the same sort of yard. And this other one who was
15 renting rooms, it was in a house owned by someone else, someone else's
17 Q. Sir, just one last area of questions. You indicated that you went
18 to the front lines in Brvnik. Mr. Pistoljevic said he was there for five
19 days. You were there for a couple of days. You did that on your spare
20 time, sir?
21 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honours. The
22 witness is being referred to a statement of another witness, which is not
23 allowed, according to the Rules of the Tribunal, and could the question be
24 rephrased and the record corrected accordingly.
25 MR. WEINER: We've already covered this area before. I just want
1 to clear up a couple issues in the area.
2 Q. So you indicated that you --
3 PRESIDING OFFICER: Mr. Weiner?
4 MR. WEINER: Yes.
5 PRESIDING OFFICER: You have one minute left.
6 MR. WEINER:
7 Q. Sir, you indicated that you went to the front lines and you dug
8 trenches. How many days -- you said you were out there for a couple
10 A. I was there for a couple of days. We agreed amongst ourselves,
11 those of us who were there, who would go. I said, "I'll go." Nobody
12 ordered people by name to go. There was no list of people who had to go.
13 But we, amongst ourselves, agreed we need to help in digging the
14 trenches. So several of us went and did that part of job, and then we
15 returned to our regular jobs after those couple of days.
16 Q. Was there any fighting? Was any fighting going on there while you
17 were digging the trenches?
18 A. No. They wouldn't let us dig when there was firing. They
19 wouldn't let us, but only when there was no shooting, no fighting.
20 Q. Again, we'll leave it at this last part of it. So there was no
21 firing on, and you did that voluntarily, not as part of your work
22 obligation? That was work that you volunteered to do, you personally, you
23 and some of the others?
24 A. Those of us working in the fire brigade unit, we agreed amongst
25 ourselves who would go. "I'll go for two. You'll go for two." It didn't
1 matter. And then we came back to our workplace.
2 Q. And you did that voluntarily, not as part of any work obligation;
4 A. You see, I -- I don't know really how to call it. I don't know
5 who provided this document saying that some people needed to go. I don't
6 know these things. I just know that we were supposed to do it. Now, why
7 it was that I went and not someone else, somebody had to go.
8 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, we -- not Your Honour. Madam -- I was
9 going to say Madam Director. We have approximately seven minutes banked
10 from this morning. The first witness -- from the first witness we had
11 four minutes, from the second witness we had three to four minutes. So we
12 have an additional seven minutes in our bank. If you've kept your time --
13 if you've kept the time, you'll notice that we have a little bit more.
14 PRESIDING OFFICER: So how many more minutes do you need? Two?
15 You're sure?
16 MR. WEINER: [Microphone not activated] I just want to finish this
17 and then we can leave, because I -- and then redirect.
18 PRESIDING OFFICER: Yes, redirect.
19 MR. WEINER:
20 Q. I just want to leave you with this question: While you were out
21 there, the time that you were out there and the other firemen were out
22 there, at any time was there any firing that was occurring? Yes or no.
23 A. While we were at the trenches?
24 Q. Yes.
25 A. Or in the fire brigade? At the trenches?
1 Q. At the trenches. Was there any firing occurring while you were
2 out there?
3 A. Even if fire was opened, we would take shelter. If somebody
4 should open fire by chance, then we would take shelter until it stopped.
5 Q. No. My question is: Do you recall any firing occurring while you
6 were out there back in 1993? Was it -- was there firing going on while
7 you were out digging?
8 A. Where?
9 Q. In Brvnik, digging trenches.
10 A. While I was digging the trench, or we were digging the trench,
11 there was no firing. I am repeating. And should somebody fire a bullet
12 or from a sniper, we would take shelter. And when this calms down, we'd
13 go out again and finish what we had to do.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment for consultations,
17 [Defence counsel confer]
18 PRESIDING OFFICER: Re-examination.
19 Re-examined by Mr. Krgovic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Bicakcic, I have a couple of questions, so
21 please put your headset on.
22 The Prosecutor asked you about different ways of leaving Samac,
23 and he asked you whether you had heard that there were false papers being
24 made for money, and you answered that you had heard of such things, that
25 this service was -- had to be paid for.
1 Now, my question is, since the Prosecutor asked you, whether you
2 had heard, you personally.
3 A. I just heard about it. I wasn't present to see anyone giving
4 anyone any money for something.
5 Q. Yes, that's quite clear, but I have another question. The
6 Prosecutor also asked you whether you had offered anyone money for you to
7 be exchanged. Now I'm going to ask you quite clearly. Did you hear that
8 it was necessary --
9 MR. WEINER: Sir, sir. Counsel, I didn't ask him if he offered
10 anyone. He indicated that he hadn't offered anyone. I asked him if he
11 was aware of any of the rumours that bribes were being paid.
12 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. So had you heard of rumours of bribes being needed for people to
14 be exchanged? It's very simple. If you had, yes. If you hadn't, no.
15 A. I can't explain now whether I had heard it or not. People say all
16 kinds of things. I wasn't present. I don't know whether anyone gave
17 anyone such money. As to whether I heard it, there were rumours, but I
18 paid no attention. There are people who just talk, gossip.
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Bicakcic. I have no further questions.
20 PRESIDING OFFICER: Thank you for coming today. You may go now.
21 [The witness withdrew]
22 PRESIDING OFFICER: The day is over for now. So tomorrow morning,
23 9.00. Thank you all.
24 --- Whereupon the Depositions Hearing adjourned
25 at 3.38 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday,
1 the 5th day of February, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.