1 Tuesday, 4 March 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Good morning. Please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-95-9-T, the Prosecutor versus Simic and others.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic. It's your case. May the witness
10 make the solemn declaration.
11 WITNESS: MILUTIN GRUJICIC
12 [Witness testifies via videolink]
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
15 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Please sit down.
17 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
19 Examined by Mr. Lukic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Grujicic. Can you hear me?
21 A. Good morning. I can hear you well.
22 Q. Mr. Grujicic, when we spoke previously, I already told you how
23 this examination should proceed: To speak slowly and to wait before
24 answering my question. There will be a pause anyway, because this is a
25 videolink, but we don't want your answers and my questions to overlap.
1 I will also tell you that the Trial Chamber is aware of your
2 health condition. I was informed yesterday by my colleague Mr. Krgovic
3 that you feel well now. So now, on behalf of the Trial Chamber, and in my
4 own name, I wish to say that if at any point in time you don't feel well,
5 please feel free to say so, and we are going to take a break then,
6 primarily in the interests of your health.
7 A. Thank you very much.
8 Q. Now I'm going to work my way through your c.v., and then I'm going
9 to put leading questions to you, so that we would go through this a bit
10 more quickly. And in part, I'm going to ask you for very precise answers
11 to some questions.
12 Could you please slowly state your full name and surname.
13 A. My name is Milutin Grujicic. I was born in 1935, in Jasenovac,
14 municipality of Novska, Republic of Croatia.
15 Q. Thank you. Thank you. Just pause for a second. Could you please
16 give us your marital status. Are you married? Do you have a family?
17 A. Yes, I'm married. My wife's name is Zorica. My father and mother
18 have died.
19 Q. Mr. Grujicic, could you please tell us what your ethnic background
21 A. Serb.
22 Q. I'm going to present what I know about your c.v. now, and you're
23 going to tell me whether that is accurate. You have completed teacher's
24 college in Krizevici; is that right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You completed the academy of Pedagosku in Pakrac?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Both towns are in Croatia?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You worked as a teacher throughout your career, if I can put it
6 that way?
7 A. Yes, but I wish to add that I also obtained a university degree in
8 political science, in Zagreb, and I studied at the department for all
9 National Defence.
10 Q. When did you get this university degree? Which year?
11 A. 1980.
12 Q. You were a teacher in Virovitica, in Novi Gradiska, in Okucani; is
13 that right?
14 A. That's right.
15 Q. You spent a certain period of time as a teacher at the Stara
16 Gradiska house of corrections; is that right?
17 A. I was there as a teacher and a penologist. I had to deal with
18 convicts who were multiple offenders. I was director of the schooling
19 centre for convicted persons. There was an elementary school and there
20 was a secondary school.
21 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the end because of
22 what the attorney said.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. In May 1987, you retired; is that right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Just a moment, please.
2 MR. LUKIC: Just a second, please.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Thank you. Let us note one more thing in
4 relation to your c.v., you were an active sportsman. You were a referee
5 in handball, and for many years you were president of the cultural and
6 arts society in Okucani; is that right?
7 A. Yes. A handball referee, coach, and player. That's what I did in
8 Virovitica and Novi Gradiska. As for the culture and arts society, I was
9 in charge of that in Okucani.
10 Q. I think that it is noteworthy for this Trial Chamber to refer to
11 another thing from your c.v. Mr. Grujicic, you have been a writer as
12 well, a non-fiction writer. Could you tell us what you've been writing
14 A. Yes. First, as a teacher, I wrote professional papers and various
15 periodicals. I also worked as a journalist for the local radio station of
16 Novi Gradiska and the local paper. After this civil war, that is to say,
17 after the exchanges, I wrote two books. One is called "Listen, country.
18 I'm confessing to you." And the second one is called "The graves of war
19 hurt." I've been trying to write other things too in order to establish
20 the truth, to see where 24.000 missing persons are.
21 Q. Thank you. Did you do your military service? When? Which year?
22 Do you remember that?
23 A. Yes. Everybody remembers that. In 1958, towards the end of
24 March, I went to the reserve officers' school in Zadar. I completed this
25 reserve officers' school, and then I was sent to Backa Topola. I returned
1 to [as interpreted] the army and I continued to work in Okucani. I'm a
2 reserve officer, a Captain First Class.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please. There is an
4 intervention to the transcript.
5 MR. LAZAREVIC: [Previous translation continues]... The witness
6 said I returned from the army, not to the army. It's on page 4, line 23.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That will be corrected.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Grujicic, one more question related to your c.v. Were you
10 ever a member of a political party, and are you one now?
11 A. No, I'm not a member.
12 Q. And what about before? Were you ever a member of a political
14 A. Yes. Before the war I was a member of the League of Communists of
15 Yugoslavia. However, when my party betrayed me, I stopped being a member,
16 and I am no longer a member of any political party, except for one thing:
17 I always think about humanism.
18 Q. Let's be quite clear. After you stopped being a member in the
19 League of Communists, you never joined any other party?
20 A. Never. Never. I never joined up again.
21 Q. Mr. Grujicic, we asked you to come here as a witness to talk about
22 the process of exchanges that you participated in and about your knowledge
23 related to what my client, Mr. Miroslav Tadic, did in the field of
24 exchanges. So I would like to ask you now first to tell us: How come you
25 actually got involved in the process of exchanges, and when this took
2 A. This took place in 1991, when the unfortunate civil war broke out
3 in Croatia, in my area, between the Serbs and the Croats. It happened
4 that three days after the war broke out, there were already persons who
5 were dead or taken prisoner. I must say that on both sides there were my
6 pupils. I was afraid for both, because they were taken prisoner, and I
7 remembered that the only exchange was carried out in 1942, in Okucani,
8 between the partisans and the Ustashas. That was the first exchange in
9 world ever since there has been warfare, that during the actual course of
10 a war there is an exchange between the warring parties involved.
11 I immediately addressed the command of the Territorial Defence in
12 Okucani that I belonged to as well, and I suggested to them that we
13 telephone our friends and colleagues who had been our friends and
14 colleagues only until yesterday but who now belonged to the other side,
15 those who were from Gradiska, and that we should offer them an exchange of
17 Q. What number of persons was involved? Do you remember?
18 A. Yes. Yes. At that moment, three of our people were taken
19 prisoner, and one of their people. I can also give you the names.
20 Q. You don't have to go into detail.
21 A. This was the 17th of August, 1991. Mr. Miroslav Cupic, who I
22 proposed this to, was president of the Crisis Staff in Novi Gradiska. He
23 said that as soon as he agreed with the army - and he believed that it
24 would be all right - he would let me know whether our proposal was
25 accepted, and indeed our proposal was accepted. We carried out the first
1 exchange in this civil war, the first official exchange, on the 28th of
2 August, 1991, and since then, exchanges started. As an ongoing form of
3 exchange between the warring parties.
4 Q. Thank you. Please tell the Chamber - you've already mentioned it,
5 but were you then part of the Territorial Defence?
6 A. Yes. I was --
7 Q. Just a moment.
8 A. I was involved in the Territorial Defence. I was 57 years old at
9 the time, and I had health problems even then, though of a different kind,
10 and of course I agreed to do whatever I could and what I felt in my heart
11 that I should do in a case such as that. So I was a member of the
12 Territorial Defence.
13 Q. When did you join the military commission, and what was the first
14 military commission you joined? Could you tell the Chamber briefly when
15 this was and what this commission was competent for.
16 A. Let's understand each other. A member of the Territorial Defence
17 is, by definition, a member of the JNA. It's true that I was wearing
18 civilian clothes, but on the 1st of January, 1992, the Territorial Defence
19 of the municipality of Okucani was deployed in the units of the 5th Banja
20 Luka Corps. General Talic suggested to me that I become part of the
21 commission of the Banja Luka Corps because he had heard of my previous
22 work in the Territorial Defence.
23 Q. Thank you. Just a minute, please. Tell us: The 5th Banja Luka
24 Corps, what army was that part of at the time?
25 A. The Yugoslav People's Army, and on the 19th of May, I think, 1992,
1 the Yugoslav People's Army was withdrawn and the army of Republika Srpska
2 was established. Therefore, I began my work in the Yugoslav People's
3 Army, and I continued it in the army of Republika Srpska.
4 Q. Thank you. We shall talk about your work in that commission, but
5 now please tell me -- I would like to put a few questions to you about the
6 period before your work in the commission of the 1st Krajina Corps. You
7 have already told us that from August 1991, you worked on the first
8 exchange, in the period from August 1991 and throughout the first few
9 months of 1992, did you work on exchanges?
10 A. All the time I worked on exchanges, which means from the 17th of
11 August, 1991 until 1995. However, up to 1992, I worked in a commission
12 with active-duty officers --
13 Q. We'll go into that later.
14 A. -- but exchanges took place all the time.
15 Q. In these exchanges in the first period, were representatives of
16 international organisations present, and do you remember who escorted the
17 first exchanges? I'm referring to international institutions. Who
18 monitored them?
19 A. During the first exchanges, the European Mission was there, and
20 they were there as monitors. They did not get involved in our work or in
21 the negotiations. They simply monitored what was going on. They had
22 their own interpreters, who interpreted to them our conversations. They
23 wore white uniforms, and we were glad of this, because, for the most part,
24 we were on no man's land between two front lines, and the European Mission
25 in white uniforms could be seen from afar. So we found them very useful.
1 That's as far as the beginning is concerned.
2 Q. Just a moment. Did the International Red Cross get involved, and
3 if so, when? And does the name Heidi Huber mean anything to you? Can you
4 tell us something about this?
5 A. The exchanges took place, but sometimes they could not take place
6 on the territory of Western Slavonia. In those cases, we went to Bosnia
7 and Herzegovina and exchanged people across the river Sava. This created
8 difficulties for us. I heard that in Sarajevo there was a lady who was a
9 representative of the International Red Cross, and her name was Heidi
10 Huber. I obtained her telephone number and address. I sent her an
11 official letter saying that I wanted us to meet in Bosanska Gradiska so
12 that I could get to know her and ask her for help, because I was aware of
13 the amount of help that the International Red Cross could provide.
14 She came to the meeting in Bosanska Gradiska and we reached an
15 agreement, but as there was still no war in Bosnia and Herzegovina -- I
16 mean to say we kept in touch with her. And as soon as war broke out in
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina, I asked her, if at all possible, that an office of
18 the International Red Cross be opened in Banja Luka. This was closer to
19 us, and we needed it to facilitate our cooperation. And I assume that she
20 informed her superiors of this, and very soon an office was opened in
21 Banja Luka. And then our work went on more smoothly and more
23 Q. Let's just clarify for the Chamber, and we will go into this later
24 on: You were a member and president of the commission of the 1st Krajina
25 Corps. Could you please tell the Chamber where the headquarters of the
1 1st Krajina Corps was.
2 A. The headquarters was in Banja Luka.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. Later on, our office was also in Banja Luka, in the corps
5 command. The International Red Cross was about 300 metres away from us.
6 Q. Now that we are discussing the International Red Cross, please
7 tell us whether you addressed them and whether they organised any seminars
8 in connection with your work.
9 A. The International Red Cross organised a seminar in Banja Luka,
10 pursuant to an agreement between the gentleman from the International Red
11 Cross and me, and I was already the president of the commission for the
12 exchange of war prisoners and civilians of the 1st Krajina Corps, and we
13 were co-organisers, so to speak. The meeting was held in the -- on the
14 premises of the corps, and the lecturers were representatives of the
15 International Red Cross. They brought files with material for each
16 participant. We had tests to fill in. And in agreement with the
17 representatives of the ICRC, I invited all the members of the military
18 commission, all the members of those municipalities which had civilian
19 commissions and which did not have representatives of municipal committees
20 of the Red Cross.
21 This seminar was very successful, and it was also attended by
22 Mr. Miroslav Tadic, among other people, of course.
23 Q. Thank you. I will now move on to your membership and your
24 appointment as president of the commission of the 1st Krajina Corps. You
25 have already said that after the Yugoslav People's Army left on the 19th
1 of May, the army of Republika Srpska was established and the 1st Krajina
2 Corps. Do you remember when you were appointed president of the
3 commission? And I'm especially interested in what led up to this
4 reorganisation of the commission, according to your knowledge, of course.
5 A. First, I was a member of a commission comprising active-duty
6 officers, and I was the only one there whose only duty this was. And I
7 was the one who initiated constant requests for searches for the
8 imprisoned and those who had been killed. But the active-duty officers
9 were on positions with their duties -- with their units, and this was a
10 burden to them. At the time, I was not yet the president of the
11 commission, and I felt helpless. I wanted to do much more than I was able
12 to do, because it became evident in Okucani that a lot could be done if
13 one was willing.
14 At a certain point, I suggested to General Talic that it might be
15 a good idea if the commission for the exchange of prisoners of war
16 comprised civilians from the entire territory where the front line was, to
17 facilitate the work of the commission, to help in collecting information,
18 and to make it easier for the commission to do its job. He ordered me to
19 put down my proposal in writing, and I did so, and I listed the kinds of
20 professions that were to be represented in the commission for exchanges.
21 At my proposal, the civilian commission was then established, and
22 sometime in May I was appointed president of the commission for
23 exchanges. But at that time, there was still two officers and one lawyer
24 in the commission.
25 Q. Thank you. I would now ask the registrar to show the witness
1 document PDB 17/3. I have prepared copies for the Chamber of all the
2 documents I wish to tender through this witness. There are some 14 or 15
3 documents in total. I disclosed these documents to the OTP a long time
4 ago, and yesterday I talked to Mr. David Re again about these documents.
5 And if there is no objection, after the OTP could perhaps tell us their
6 position when the first document is introduced so that we could proceed
7 relatively quickly.
8 The first of the documents that I wish to discuss is the document
9 that I hope you have been shown now, Mr. Grujicic.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Just confirm to me that we are looking at the same document,
12 please. This is a document dated the 29th of May, 1992, and it's an order
13 on the establishment of the commission for exchanges, signed by General
14 Major Momir Talic.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Tell us, please: Is this the document appointing you president of
17 the commission?
18 A. Yes, this is the document where I was appointed president of the
19 commission, along with two officers, Veljko Grbic, a major; and Major
20 Novak Djokovic; and Zoran Opacic, a conscript, was a lawyer, and he worked
21 in the legal service of the 1st Krajina Corps.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
23 Just a moment, Mr. Grujicic.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, our clients are saying
1 they cannot see the document. Let me see if I have a copy for them. [In
2 English] Ms. Usher, a copy at the ELMO, just for the benefit of our
4 JUDGE MUMBA: I think it's there.
5 MR. LUKIC: Okay.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, this is good.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Grujicic, you see this now?
10 A. Yes. It's not very sharp. If you could raise it up a little
11 bit. Yes. Yes. I see it now.
12 Q. Perhaps if you were to look directly at the document, if that's
13 technically possible.
14 A. I see the document on the ELMO, and I also see it on the monitor.
15 Q. Excellent. In the preamble, what it says here, it says that in
16 view of weaknesses noticed in the work of the commission. Is this what
17 you have just been telling us about the problems in the previous work of
18 the commission?
19 A. Yes. This is it. Because this commission, as I said, couldn't
20 carry out its humane task, so I drew up this proposal. But this order is
21 in fact an interim solution --
22 Q. We'll go into this later.
23 A. -- until what I proposed could be carried out.
24 Q. I see in the first paragraph, after the appointment of the members
25 of the commission, it says that only the president of the commission will
1 do this job full time. Does this mean that you, Mr. Grujicic, did only
2 exchange work after your appointment as president of this commission?
3 A. Yes. I only did work on exchanges. I had a lot of help from
4 Zoran Opacic, and less help from the active-duty officers, because they
5 were at their positions.
6 Q. Thank you. Could you explain to us now what it says in the third
7 paragraph: "The commission will keep records and realise full cooperation
8 with the ICRC and all those who can help in searches." What was the task
9 of the commission in relation to these civilian institutions mentioned
11 A. This is how it was: The commission will cooperate. This means --
12 it was wartime, so I was not able to go over to the other side and say to
13 them: Are our prisoners of war here? But on the basis of conversations
14 with people and the municipal committees of the Red Cross, and all
15 possible structures, we cooperated so that we could learn about the
16 imprisoned, the missing, and the dead, as soon as possible and as easily
17 as possible. In the field, this was well understood, so that in many
18 municipalities which were directly exposed to the front line, civilian
19 commissions were set up. Where there were no civilian commissions, there
20 was the Red Cross.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 A. Besides this, we learned about the imprisoned, the missing, and
23 the dead through prisoners who had been exchanged.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 A. So no army can be without its people if it wants to --
1 Q. Never mind. We'll talk about that later. Just tell me one thing,
2 in order to understand this document fully. The last sentence, assistant
3 commander for MV and PP. Who was that?
4 A. The assistant commander for moral training is Milutin Vukelic from
5 Banja Luka. Nowadays he's a retiree.
6 Q. And what does "PP" mean?
7 A. To tell you the truth, at this moment I can't remember myself.
8 I'll have to give it some thought, and perhaps I'll remember.
9 Q. Never mind. Is that perhaps legal issues, "pravna pitanja"?
10 A. No. It is legal affairs, "pravni poslovi."
11 Q. I was actually guessing too.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] So, Your Honours, if there is no
13 objection from the Prosecution, I would like to have this document
14 tendered into evidence.
15 MR. RE: There's no objection, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have the number, please.
17 THE REGISTRAR: The number for this document is D169/3 and ter.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Tell me, Mr. Grujicic: In addition to your commission, were there
20 other military commissions for exchanges?
21 A. In the area of Bosnia-Herzegovina, there were military commissions
22 in all corps. There were six corps and six military commissions. At the
23 level of Republika Srpska, there was a central commission too, which
24 brought together civilian and military commissions. And I've already said
25 this, actually: There were civilian commissions. And in the Republic of
1 Croatia, because we still worked with them too, there was a single
2 commission for missing persons.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. In the regions, such as the Banja Luka region and the Krajina
5 region, there was also a regional civilian commission, also in the other
7 Q. Thank you. I would particularly be interested in the
8 interdependence between all the institutions that you've referred to.
9 First of all, I'm interested in the relationship between military
10 commissions at the same level. So what kind of relationship was there,
11 and was there a relationship between the 1st Krajina Corps and the East
12 Bosnian Drina Corps?
13 A. Well, it is only natural that we had good relations with the
14 military corps that bordered on us, that is to say, the East Bosnian
15 Corps, with its headquarters in Bijeljina. Later on, when the 2nd Krajina
16 Corps was established, I was sent there to help them with this. Their
17 seat was in Drvar, and of course we had cooperation with them too.
18 As for the Drina Corps from Zvornik, we had this too, whereas the
19 other corps that are geographically remote, it was only that we could
20 communicate by fax, seeking information about missing persons.
21 Cooperation was, quite simply, necessary, in view of the fact that we were
22 dealing with the same regions. For example, the East Bosnian, the
23 Zvornik, and us, we all had to deal with the Tuzla region. It was not
24 important who would carry out the exchange, Banja Luka, Bijeljina, or
25 Zvornik, who would exchange which prisoners. We would simply reach
1 agreement on this, based on the request put forth by the other side. So
2 we worked in concordance.
3 Q. Thank you. In relation to what you've said just now, I would like
4 you to have a look at a document?
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like the witness to be shown
6 document PDB 98/3. This is a letter dated the 3rd of April, 1993. It is
7 addressed to Lieutenant Matija Bodirogic in Bijeljina.
8 Q. Do you have that document before you, Mr. Grujicic?
9 A. Yes. Yes. It is before me.
10 Q. Just a moment, please. My first question: Is this your
11 signature? Are you the signatory of this document?
12 A. It is my signature. I wrote the letter. No one could sign a
13 letter on behalf of the commission for exchanges of the 1st Krajina Corps
14 except for me.
15 Q. Thank you. Please take a look at this document. Is this what
16 you've been talking about? Do the contents of this letter show this
17 cooperation? First tell me: Who was Matija Bodirogic?
18 A. A lieutenant, reserve lieutenant. Matija Bodirogic was president
19 of the commission for the exchange of prisoners of war of the East Bosnian
20 Corps from Bijeljina.
21 Q. Thank you. Does this -- I mean, the document itself is
22 self-explanatory, but is this what you refer to? Does this reflect your
23 cooperation and the relations between the military commissions?
24 A. Yes. Yes, on the basis of agreements reached. We would always
25 reach agreements as to who should do what, either vis-a-vis the Main
1 Staff, because there can be no exchanges without the Main Staff, without
2 the legal services, that is to say, without the judiciary or, rather, the
3 core legal organs. And it is only when we would receive these documents
4 that we could approach a prison, so we had to reach agreement on this.
5 Q. In paragraph 2, Maksim Simeunovic is referred to. Tell me: You
6 could tell us what he did and whether you had cooperation with this man
7 often. We here are familiar with this person.
8 A. Mr. Mato [as interpreted] Simeunovic was a member of the
9 commission of the East Bosnian Corps. He was in Brcko. I admire the calm
10 way in which he worked. I admire his sense of responsibility and his
11 great care for missing persons. So Makso Simeunovic was a link between
12 our two corps. As the Samac commission was -- well, we'll deal with that
14 Q. Just a minute, please. I have to correct the transcript. The
15 name is wrong. Page 18, line 5, it says, "Mato," but Makso is the word
16 you used. That was his nickname; right?
17 A. Yes, Makso. His real name was Maksim, and we called him Makso.
18 Q. And who is the person mentioned in the last paragraph, Mitrovic?
19 A. I see. In every commission there was a member and a security
20 officer -- that is to say, the security officer of that particular corps.
21 In this case, Mr. Mitrovic was the security officer of the East Bosnian
22 Corps. In order to carry out these duties as easily as possible, by way
23 of reaching agreement at commission level, he had the task of
24 communicating with the security service in the corps.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have a number for this
2 document, if the Prosecution does not object.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can we go ahead?
4 THE REGISTRAR: The number for this document is D170/3 and ter.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Next question: You've already referred to a central commission
7 that existed, a state commission. Where was the seat of this commission?
8 Do you know? And there's another thing I'm interested in -- well, let's
9 do this one by one. Where was the seat of the commission?
10 A. The seat of the commission was in Pale.
11 Q. Tell me: Do you know who were the members of this commission?
12 Were these military personnel or civilians?
13 A. The president of the commission was reserve Captain Dragan
14 Bulajic, and in the commission there was also a representative of the Main
15 Staff, an officer from the Main Staff. He was liaison. He was
16 coordinator between the commission and the Main Staff, and there were
17 certain civilians who were members of this commission or, rather, military
18 conscripts, right?
19 Q. Do you know whether in this commission there were persons who
20 cooperated with the Ministry of Justice of Republika Srpska or who worked
21 there? Do you know anything about that?
22 A. Well, you see, in every commission there were lawyers too, so I am
23 a teacher by vocation, and certainly I'm not very well versed in this.
24 Perhaps I know a bit, because I worked in this kind of service. But a
25 lawyer is a lawyer. This is a professional thing. So basically, he was
1 supposed to cooperate with the judiciary organs, with the investigators,
2 et cetera.
3 Q. Thank you. Tell the Trial Chamber: What was the relationship
4 between this central commission and your military commissions? How did
5 this function?
6 A. Well, you see, there was a war. This did not always function very
7 well. But specifically, our commission - and I know the East Bosnian
8 commission very well too - we enjoyed the support of our command, and we
9 worked on the basis of approval. If we did not have communications right
10 at that moment, and if the persons we were exchanging were not really
11 troublesome, if I can put it that way, except if somebody was under
12 investigation or was sentenced, then our command couldn't do a thing.
13 That was only natural. Then our republican commission said that if
14 somebody had been sentenced already, the president of the republic could
15 amnesty such a person for this exchange that was involved, or the
16 president could pardon a person who was under investigation so that the
17 exchange could take place. But this was also done by the commission at
18 the level of the republic.
19 Q. Tell me: What was your experience, Mr. Grujicic, in that work on
20 exchanges? We heard that for a long number of -- for a long time you
21 worked on this. What was your experience with politicians if they worked
22 on exchanges and in this line of work?
23 A. I said that I was the first person to start exchanges in this war,
24 and I have given deep thought to the matter. I thought that only persons
25 who feel the misfortune of those who need help - namely, prisoners - only
1 such persons could be involved in this line of work, only humanists could
2 do this. It would often happen that in various capacities, not as
3 permanent members, there were politicians who would rush into this kind of
4 thing. Then we'd really have problems, because politicians from either
5 side would sort of go -- would function on a tit-for-tat basis. If
6 somebody would say something, the other one would hasten to return. So
7 then no exchange could be carried out. I proposed to all humanists that
8 we should work out a code, a humane code, that no one could be engaged in
9 exchanges except for us who really wanted the persons who were imprisoned
10 to be exchanged, and those who really wanted to look for missing persons.
11 So we eliminated politicians. I specifically had the possibility
12 of issuing an order to the soldiers on the front line that such-and-such a
13 person could not go through. It was the same on the other side. So
14 everyone who would be entering no man's land would have to be recorded in
15 the list that I would send to certain organs with my signature. So
16 politicians were never welcome. We never found them welcome in these --
17 in this particular line of work.
18 Q. Mr. Grujicic, tell me -- or, rather, tell the Trial Chamber: What
19 did your commission do? Who did you exchange? Who did you reach
20 decisions about?
21 A. The subject of work of our commission was the exchange of
22 prisoners of war, looking for missing persons and looking for persons who
23 were killed. However, sometimes it would happen that we would have to
24 deal with civilian persons as well. Although we had a principle there
25 that civilian persons -- or, rather, that corridors should be established
1 and that civilians should have unhindered passage both ways, in order to
2 have families reunited. Or, for example, students, pupils who happened to
3 be in towns, sick persons, all these people simply happened to be in a war
4 zone. And I already said that with civilian persons, we had various
5 situations. For example, if people from the other side would try to move
6 through a minefield to move on to our side, then they would usually call
7 us to handle that particular line of work, or rather, to help these
8 people. These are civilian persons. For example, I remember well at
9 Bugojno, a little girl got killed. One passed to the other side and some
10 other civilians too. They informed us from Donji Vakuf. We first of all
11 fed these people, and then we took them to the Croatian side, because they
12 wished to go to Croatia. We handed them over at Grabovac.
13 Q. Thank you. Did your commission have any rules of procedure, and
14 what was the legal basis for the work of your commission?
15 A. First, the East Bosnia Corps drew up a proposal, or rather, a
16 draft rules of procedure, for the commission for the exchange of prisoners
17 of war. Our colleagues submitted this to us and we adapted it to suit the
18 conditions we were working in, in the Banja Luka region. We then compiled
19 rules of procedure, but I don't have them in my possession. I left them
20 behind in the Banja Luka Corps.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I wish to inform the Chamber that I do
22 have these rules of procedure from 1994. They fall outside the time
23 limits of the indictment, so I will not enter them here.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. We drew up these rules, and
25 they were signed by General Talic, Corps Commander.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Thank you. Now, tell us, please, although you've already
3 mentioned this, but tell us in detail: The principle of exchange was
4 negotiating searching for people on both sides, asking for people to be
5 exchanged. Tell us: On receipt of a request from the other side, what
6 was your procedure? What approval did you have to seek? You mentioned
8 A. When we received a request from the opposite side, that is, a list
9 of names of people they were looking for, first we would check whether
10 these persons were in prison. If they were not in prison, we would ring
11 up the East Bosnia Corps to see whether they were being held in Batkovic
12 If they weren't there either, we would then mark the names those who were
13 not in the prisons of the two corps. Those who were in one of these two
14 prisons would be listed by us, and we would send this list to the public
15 prosecutor. The investigations department and the Court, to see what the
16 status of each particular prisoner was.
17 On receipt of the reply, we would submit this to the security
18 service. The security service of our corps would submit this to the
19 security service of the Main Staff. If someone had been convicted, after
20 approval from the Main Staff, we would ask for a document from the
21 president of the Republic, or other organs, so that this prisoner could be
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Now I would like two documents to be
25 shown to you. One is PDB 78/3. This is a telegram from the Main Staff of
1 the army of Republika Srpska, dated the 4th of January -- the 14th of
2 January, 1993.
3 Q. Mr. Grujicic, will you tell us, please, what institution is
4 writing this, whom it is addressing, and who is the person who signed this
6 A. All the activities I have just mentioned had been carried out by
7 us. Lists had been submitted to the Main Staff of the army of Republika
8 Srpska, asking for approval for this exchange, and pursuant to our
9 document, they sent us a reply, and this was signed by the chief, General
10 Major -- Major General Manojlo Milovanovic, because General Tolimir wasn't
11 there at the moment and it was he who was in charge of security usually.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can this document be given a number
13 first, please.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can we have the number?
15 THE REGISTRAR: This document is marked as D171/3 and ter.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The next document is PDB 80/3.
17 Q. This is a telegram from the Main Staff of the army of Republika
18 Srpska, dated the 21st of January, 1993, and is signed by Colonel Zdravko
19 Tolimir. Tell us: Who is writing? Whose signed is this [as
20 interpreted], what you have just mentioned, the person who, for the most
21 part, issued these approvals?
22 A. Yes. This is another exchange. But again, on the basis of
23 clarification of all situations, we sent a request for exchange, and
24 Colonel Zdravko Tolimir --
25 Q. Just a moment. We had some technical problems. Can you tell us
1 who Mr. Zdravko Tolimir is?
2 A. Mr. Zdravko Tolimir was a colonel, and he was the chief of the
3 service or administration for intelligence and security work in the Main
4 Staff of the army of Republika Srpska. And pursuant to our request, he
5 sent us approval for the exchange we had proposed.
6 Q. Did this same principle apply in every exchange you carried out?
7 A. Yes, exclusively. There was no exchange without approval. The
8 army said that everything had to be done according to the rules of
9 service. Every exchange, therefore, had to be approved. When an exchange
10 was carried out, we had signed lists, and with these, we crossed the lines
11 into no man's land. No one was able to go there who was not on the list.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] May this document be given a number,
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
16 THE REGISTRAR: The number for this document is D172/3 and ter.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I have one more document connected to
18 this topic. Could the witness be shown document P127/3 [as interpreted].
19 Q. This is also a telegram from the Main Staff of the army of
20 Republika Srpska, dated the 9th of September, 1993, and also signed by
21 Colonel Zdravko Tolimir. This is a similar document --
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please. There is a
23 correction of the transcript. Just a moment.
24 MR. LAZAREVIC: We have some problem in the transcript. I believe
25 that my colleague is referring to document D127 -- PDB.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That will be corrected.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Grujicic, this is evidently a letter that is very similar to
4 the ones we have seen, but what I'm interested in here is that exchanges
5 are mentioned here on the all-for-all principle, and this is obviously
6 what the negotiations were based on. Please tell me: Were such exchanges
7 agreed on, and was it possible to carry them out?
8 A. I proposed to the East Bosnia Corps and the Drina Corps that we
9 carry out an all-encompassing exchange with the areas on the other side,
10 that is, Tuzla and Zenica, that we carry out an all-for-all exchange, but
11 before that, that we should all be quite sincere and open, and submit
12 lists of all prisoners. All three corps worked on this, but unfortunately
13 on that occasion we were unable to carry this out, for various reasons.
14 In fact, Tuzla and Zenica were not able to establish a connection in some
15 way. They had problems because they were not geographically close. They
16 were cut off from each other. So that we had to carry out these exchanges
17 in another way.
18 Q. Very well.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The Chamber already knows this, but
20 please tell us:
21 Q. When you say Tuzla and Zenica, you're referring to a
22 Muslim-controlled territory; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, that's correct.
24 Q. This document mentions prisons in Banja Luka, in Tunjice, and the
25 Batkovic collection centre. You see this in the third paragraph. At the
1 time when this document was issued, were these the prisons controlled by
2 the army of Republika Srpska?
3 A. Yes. The word "VIZ" is mentioned here. This stands for military
4 investigation institute in Banja Luka. The Tunjice prison is also in
5 Banja Luka. It had been a prison before the war, a district prison, in
6 fact, and the collection centre in Batkovic, near Bijeljina, was
7 established in that area.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] May we have a number for this
10 document, please.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
12 THE REGISTRAR: The number for this document is D173/3 and ter.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 Q. My next question is: Within the 1st Krajina Corps, or rather, the
15 territory covered by this corps, was there a military court, a military
16 prosecutor's office, and military judicial organs competent for your
18 A. Yes. They were in Banja Luka, and we cooperated with them
19 normally. There was no other way. The Court was staffed when military
20 lawyers arrived from Zagreb, so that all the judicial organs were fully
21 staffed within the 1st Krajina Corps.
22 Q. Was it possible for someone to be exchanged if legal proceedings
23 had been instituted against them, before the military judicial organs,
24 without the approval of these organs or without your applying to these
25 organs for approval? Was that possible, if you knew that proceedings had
1 been instituted against someone?
2 A. As I've already said, I used to work in a penal institution, and
3 all of us, even if we were civilians, were searched by the guards; and if
4 we were allowed to enter, then we were let in; otherwise, no. The
5 military judicial organs had their military police, and we were not able
6 to take anyone out without approval. Of course, we didn't have the right
7 to do this. We could only do what I have already described, and that is
8 to ask for amnesty or pardon for that person, if this was in the interests
9 of the exchange, but this would have to be issued by a higher organ, but
10 no one could issue orders to the judiciary organs.
11 Q. Do you know that the East Bosnia Corps also had military judicial
12 organs, a military court, and a military prosecutor's office?
13 A. Yes. In the East Bosnia Corps, they had this also. We cooperated
14 with them too.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Another document I wish to be shown to
17 the witness in connection with this topic is document PDB 105/3. It is a
18 description -- or rather --
19 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter corrects herself.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] A letter of the 10th of May, 1993,
21 addressed to the military court.
22 Q. I will ask you again, Mr. Grujicic: Is this your signature, and
23 what can you tell us about this document?
24 A. Yes, this is my signature. I drew up this document. And prisoner
25 Ivan Matkovic -- that is, everything that had to be done under the law had
1 been done, and as he was in the military investigation detention unit,
2 because they had room there, he was left there, even afterwards. We took
3 him out for exchange with Vujadin Cecavac. They both hailed from the
4 Odzak municipality but one was a Serbian, the other was a Croat.
5 Mr. Vujadin Cecavac was exchanged for the second time because he had been
6 taken prisoner twice. Since the exchange had been agreed with the HVO
7 commission, we carried out this job successfully.
8 Q. Tell us, please: Was this regular procedure? It says May 1993
9 here. Did you work the same way in 1992 in connection with prisoners that
10 were under the jurisdiction of the Court?
11 A. From May 1992, this was the procedure that had been prescribed and
12 according to which people worked. However, until May 1992, while the JNA
13 still existed, we asked the federal secretariat for National Defence from
14 Belgrade for approval, because we were within the JNA. This procedure was
15 a bit more difficult, because it was a bit time-consuming, but we indeed
16 managed to do it, and how. After all, the army was organised. It had
17 these services, and therefore, that's the way things worked from day one.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I have finished with this document,
19 thank you. And now I would like it to get a number as well.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
21 THE REGISTRAR: This document is numbered D174/3 and ter.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Grujicic, tell us: What was the principle of people stating
24 their actual views at the separation line where they were about to be
1 A. During 1991 and the beginning of 1992, while we did not have
2 representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, we, both
3 commissions, that is, would hear, at the place of exchange, from all the
4 people there as to who wanted to go for an exchange and who did not.
5 Because, quite simply, from both sides there were people who didn't want
6 to be exchanged, who wanted to go back to their families, and we would
7 honour that. When the International Red Cross started to work in our area
8 too, then the representative of the International Red Cross would get a
9 list. If he boarded a Serb bus, then from the Serbs, from us, that is,
10 and then he would call out the names of the Croats, who would say, loud
11 and clear, whether they wanted to be exchanged or not. And the reverse
12 was also true. When they would finish in one bus, then they would go to
13 the other bus and do the same thing. So it was the free will of the
14 prisoners that was the rule advocated by the representatives of the
15 International Red Cross, and we accepted that as well.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a minute, please. We have an
17 objection from the Prosecution, or perhaps it's not even an objection.
18 MR. RE: It's actually a clarification. Could we have some
19 clarification of where exactly the witness is referring to and the period,
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Grujicic, perhaps you heard this. Perhaps you didn't. The
24 objection of the Prosecution or, rather, their wish to have this
25 clarified. When you're explaining this, which period does this refer to,
1 this which you told us about, the procedure of people stating their own
3 A. It pertains to the first exchanges that we carried out before the
4 representatives of the International Red Cross came, as I already said.
5 We together did this, both sides. We heard people's views. As soon as
6 the representative of the International Red Cross came - and this was
7 already in 1992 - I mean, in 1991, Mrs. Heidi Huber was there, and we did
8 part of the work involved, but she was too far away, and she had to cover
9 a very big area.
10 I, for instance, have many letters in which we asked the
11 representative of the International Red Cross to come and to do certain
12 things. However, I assume the area was enormous, as I said. There was a
13 war going on. It was not easy to come. So sometime from 1992, when the
14 representative of the International Red Cross came to Banja Luka,
15 Mr. Michel Janaret I don't know exactly how to pronounce this, because I
16 don't speak English, then there weren't any problems involved any longer.
17 On the other hand, the Tuzla region, for example, the HVO had its
18 dealings with the International Red Cross in Osijek, and the Zenica region
19 had a representative of the Red Cross in Zenica. So often we would have
20 even two representatives of the International Red Cross.
21 Q. Mr. Grujicic, could you speak a bit slower so that all of this
22 could be interpreted. Tell me now: These persons that you took for an
23 exchange, these prisoners of war, before being taken for an exchange, they
24 were in detention, weren't they?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. I'm interested in the following: After these persons would state
2 their views at the exchange line, if a certain person did not want to go
3 and be exchanged, was any person ever returned to detention?
4 A. Well, this is hard. I mean, I can tell you about our side, but I
5 can't tell you about --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please not speak at the same time
7 as the witness, asks the interpreter.
8 A. As for those persons who stated their views, namely, that they
9 wished to say, regardless of whether they were Serbs, Muslims or Croats --
10 of course, such a person would be allowed to do that. If this person had
11 residence in Republika Srpska or in Western Slavonia, then this person
12 would be allowed to return home. Because once these exchanges started,
13 and once there was this procedure, there was nothing wrong with such a
14 person. The anathema was no longer there, so this person would turn out
15 to be a free person and could go wherever he or she wished to go.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 Your Honours, I would like to move on to a different topic now.
18 Perhaps we could have a break now. I know that I have a bit more time
19 left, two minutes, but perhaps this would be a convenient time to take a
20 break, and perhaps it would be a good thing for the witness to get some
21 rest as well.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, we can take our break and continue our
23 proceedings at 1100 hours.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic, you continue.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I can't see the witness.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I think we just have to wait a few -- yes,
4 here he is.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. We're going to continue, Mr. Grujicic. Can you hear me?
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter cannot hear the witness.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Would you please repeat this? Can we hear each other?
10 A. I can hear you well. I assume that you can hear me too.
11 Q. That's right. Now we can hear you fine.
12 Mr. Grujicic, my next question: When you negotiate and when you
13 have exchanges with the other side, how did you communicate with the other
14 side? Did you have direct contacts or did you have contacts through
15 certain communications equipment? Was it the same always, throughout the
17 A. Well, it wasn't. In 1991, when the war broke out, up until the
18 month of November, we had telephone communications. That was the easiest
19 way of reaching agreement. However, when there were certain disruptions,
20 then these lines were cut off. So then we used the reporting centres
21 attached to the military. And through these centres, for example, if we
22 did not have such communication on the other side, then from these centres
23 we would ask for ham radio operators to get in touch with this other
25 So it would happen that, for example, if I needed to communicate
1 specifically with Orasje, and if we could not establish it directly, then
2 on one occasion we would get a ham radio operator from Pula, we would give
3 him the telephone number of the gentleman from Orasje so that he could
4 inform them that they should come to their centre so that we could reach
5 agreement on a meeting, exchanges, or other things that we had to agree
7 Q. Tell me: Later on, did these negotiations become direct? Did
8 they become more frequent? Did you personally meet up with the
9 representatives of the other side? And when did this start, if there were
10 such negotiations?
11 A. Well, let's be clear on this. Our commission had a large area to
12 cover, and every day we went somewhere for negotiations, exchanges, or
13 other things. If we are, for example, negotiating with Orasje, and if we
14 know that perhaps we will not have an opportunity to talk to each other
15 because we would be absent, then we would propose to the gentleman, for
16 example, the following week, that same day, at the same time, at the same
17 place, and this would remain as our agreement.
18 So there were such ways as well. Very successfully so. As a
19 matter of fact, we said every week, every -- the same day, the same time,
20 the same place. And we indeed found this useful, because there were
21 different problems.
22 When we would succeed in having the commands set up telephones at
23 positions between our unit and the enemy unit, the so-called hot lines,
24 they would only be used by the commanders. If there were certain
25 violations in terms of what had been agreed upon previously. However, if
1 there had to be negotiations, then the commanders would not mind if we
2 would, with their approval, use this telephone of theirs. So that was
3 also one of the ways in which we communicated.
4 Q. Thank you. Tell me, Mr. Grujicic: We heard quite a few
5 testimonies before this Court that there were frequent negotiations and
6 exchanges between the side of Republika Srpska and the side of the HVO,
7 that there were in the so-called UNPAs. In your work, you covered that
8 region too, and you worked on negotiations in other areas that were not
9 UN-protected areas. What were the advantages of the UNPAs, if any, in
10 relation to negotiations that were held outside such areas, and exchanges
11 themselves, of course?
12 A. In this past war, Western Slavonia, where I come from too, was the
13 first one to be handed over to the UN. The United Nations guaranteed the
14 safety of the population in that area. That is where the United Nations
15 forces came. They secured passages. No heavy weapons were allowed, only
16 short-barreled weapons, whereas we negotiators, when we'd come from, say,
17 Banja Luka, we would have to report everything, or rather, we would have
18 to inform UNPROFOR, in the UNPA, that we were coming to negotiate with the
19 opposite side. We would also have to inform the local police in the UNPA
20 and the police in Republika Srpska, at the crossings where we would be
21 going over to the other side. Everything had to be covered with permits
22 and papers.
23 In addition to that, for a while, or rather, most often, we could
24 not cross over to the other side wearing uniform. This caused
25 difficulties for me, because I had to change in the car in front of the
1 bridge, and it was wintertime.
2 Q. Tell me: What was the situation like in the other places that
3 were not UN-protected areas?
4 A. Well, then both sides would agree that the war would be stopped at
5 the locality where negotiations were taking place, depending on how much
6 time we needed.
7 Q. Just a moment, please. When you say "two, three, five," what do
8 you mean?
9 A. I mean they would stop for two, three, or five hours, depending on
10 how much time we needed, depending on how much time we needed for
11 negotiations. Then these approvals would be issued, although often there
12 would be violations and our lives would be at risk. However, that is
13 where we had all the representatives of the international institutions:
14 UNPROFOR, the European Mission, the ICRC, all thee represent these
15 representatives. And then, of course, we would protest if there had been
16 a violation of that agreement of ours.
17 Q. Thank you. Just tell the Trial Chamber: Who did you negotiate
18 with? What was the other entity that you were negotiating with in those
19 territories that were not UN-protected areas?
20 A. Well, under UN protection, or rather, the Zenica district, the
21 Tuzla district, and Orasje were not under UN protection. These are areas
22 where the UN had not taken them over as their own areas.
23 Q. Do you know where the representatives of Orasje went for
24 negotiations and exchanges with you?
25 A. The representatives of Orasje would come to Dragalic most often.
1 This is in Western Slavonia, in the UNPA zone. Or, if there was sudden
2 gunfire there, we would go to Lipovica, but then we would have problems
3 because we would have to ask for permission from the civil police, the
4 military police, the Republic of Serbia, the Federal Republic of
6 Q. Just a moment. Just a moment, sir. You mentioned these
7 approvals. We already have this in evidence. Who on behalf of the
8 negotiators and those who went for exchange, who was it who obtained all
9 these permits and approvals to move through the territory and enter the
10 UNPA zone?
11 A. In our area, it was I who did that, because I come from Western
12 Slavonia, and of course I knew everyone. But regardless of personal
13 contacts, what had to be covered by documents had to be covered by
14 documents. When we went to Lipovica on the Republic of Serbia, then we
15 would ask the gentleman from the East Bosnia Corps to do that, because
16 this was closer to them and they did that more often, and they would get
17 permission, and we would submit to them our list of people, or rather, of
18 negotiators, people to be exchanged, and people we wanted to get in
20 In Orasje, this was very convenient. In Dragalic, in the UNPA
21 zone, it was quite far from us, but we had no other opportunities.
22 Q. You said there were some incidents. Do you remember an incident
23 that took place at Malinjak, near Lukovac, where members of the commission
24 were shot at? Do you remember that event?
25 A. I remember many events. For instance, let me describe one of
1 these, near Jajce.
2 Q. Just a moment.
3 A. We arrived for negotiations, and it was very risky. Moreover,
4 most of the representatives of the Red Cross from our side and journalists
5 turned back. But a member of the commission from Mrkonjic Grad, Mladen
6 Arezina, I, and the military police and my driver, we went ahead,
7 regardless of the danger. And in brief, when we found ourselves at the
8 negotiations, everything proceeded as usual. But half an hour later,
9 there was a rifle shot on one side, another one on the other side, and
10 then the exchange became faster and faster, and they opened up fire. They
11 fired on the school building, where we were. I don't believe they were
12 aiming at us, but it was most unpleasant.
13 And at one point, Mr. Meho Spriritovic from Jajce, asked me: Mr.
14 Grujo, what shall we do now? And I said to him: Meho, we have to fly the
15 flag of the Red Cross. So the two of us climbed up onto a high place in
16 order to calm down the passions of war on both sides. He said to me: I
17 dare not -- my sugar level will rise up to 300. So there was nothing for
18 it but for my driver and I to go out. I used my megaphone, and because we
19 were in a valley, I yelled at the top of my voice: Stop shooting. Excuse
20 me. There are international negotiators here. Which wasn't true, but I
21 used this little trick for the sake of both sides, because they would
22 think, if the international community is here, they will register who
23 started first, and then there will be discussion of this incident, and
24 fortunately they did stop.
25 Q. You said that this sort of situation occurred often. Is that
2 A. Yes. Yes. You mentioned Malinjak. A rifle went off by accident.
3 Q. We won't go into this now.
4 A. Very well.
5 Q. Now, Mr. Grujicic, tell me what I and this Court are most
6 interested in, and that is: What was the relationship between the
7 military and civilian commissions, and why did there have to be any sort
8 of relationship between the military and civil commissions? What made
9 them work together?
10 A. The unfortunate war. First there was the military commission, the
11 geographic area was enormous, and of course we couldn't be everywhere at
12 once. All the men were at the front line. Families had a difficult
13 time. When they heard that their men were missing - I'm referring to the
14 women - it was hard for them to reach us in Banja Luka because there was
15 no traffic, and also it was quite risky and quite far. Then a part of
16 this humanitarian activity which falls within the sphere of activity of
17 the Red Cross was taken over by them, and the families would apply to
19 In some municipalities which bordered on the front line, civilian
20 commissions were set up. The commissions consisted of people who knew the
21 people in their territory. They would establish telephone or fax
22 connections with us and submit requests to us, because units were
23 established according to municipalities. In this way, communication was
24 faster, so that the missing, the imprisoned, and those killed could be
25 reported faster.
1 The civil commissions and the Red Cross were very important. We
2 didn't have any authority over these commissions.
3 Q. We'll go into that later.
4 A. Very well.
5 Q. Mr. Grujicic, when was the first time you established contact with
6 the Samac commission? Can you tell us when this was and when you got to
7 know Tadic?
8 A. Through the media, we were informed, like everybody else, about
9 what had happened in Odzak. The roads then were not open. It was not
10 possible to travel to Yugoslavia. In the Main Staff of the army of
11 Republika Srpska, I assume an order was issued to break through and
12 establish a corridor. I had never been in Samac before that time, nor did
13 I know anyone there, but through the media I learnt of two men who were
14 doing, as far as they were able, work on exchanges, and these were
15 civilians who had not been exchanged.
16 Q. Just a moment. We had some technical difficulties. You learned
17 through the media of two men. Can you repeat what you said after that?
18 A. I read the names of two men in the papers who were carrying on
19 this humanitarian activity between the municipality of Samac and the
20 opposite side, that is, the municipality of Odzak. These two men were
21 Velimir Maslic and Miroslav Tadic. I had never seen those men, nor did I
22 know them. When the corridor was opened up, I think it was in July 1992,
23 though I'm not sure - I went there because the area of Samac municipality
24 was also covered by our corps, and I knew about the prisoners in Odzak, so
25 I went to link up with Miroslav Tadic and Veljo Maslic, to get to know
1 them and to agree with them as to what should be done in future in order
2 to free the prisoners.
3 Q. Is that when you got to know them?
4 A. When I first arrived, I met Mr. Velimir Maslic. I got to know him
5 then. But I didn't see Miroslav, because Mr. Maslic told me that Miroslav
6 was away somewhere negotiating. I didn't know the area, but he was away,
7 so I met him on my next visit.
8 Q. Mr. Grujicic, from the time you met them, did you begin working
9 together? Did you go to negotiations together? Did you organise
10 exchanges together, each doing their own part of the job?
11 A. From that time, not only did we establish links with the
12 municipality of Samac, but also with the municipality of Modrica, which is
13 in the same area, and we hadn't had connections with it before. The
14 municipality of Doboj was under the command of our corps. Then we agreed
15 that it would be a good thing if they were also to attend the
16 negotiations, so that they could discuss - I'm referring to the civilian
17 commissions - so that they could talk the reuniting of families and the
18 passage of civilians, while we, the military commission, held talks with
19 the military commission on the other side about the exchange of
20 prisoners. And that is how it was all the time. On both sides, we always
21 had this composition of negotiating teams: Civilian commissions or, if
22 there was no civilian commission, the Red Cross, plus the military
23 commission. This was the team, the team doing humanist work.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown document
25 PDB 63/3. This is a letter to the Ministry of Justice from the commission
1 for exchanges, dated the 12th of November, 1992.
2 Q. Did you sign this document, and what can you tell us about it,
3 Mr. Grujicic?
4 A. I signed this document. Two days before I wrote this document, I
5 was visited by a gentleman from the Ministry of Justice of Republika
6 Srpska, from Pale, that is, Serbian Sarajevo, Mr. Slobodan Markovic. He
7 introduced himself as a member of the republican commission. I explained
8 the problems to him in connection with moving around on the ground.
9 We, the military commission, received passes and permits from our
10 command, and we were able to move around in the area covered by our
11 command. Civilians had more problems than us, and when I explained this
12 to him, he said: We will issue a single card, enabling people to move
13 throughout the territory of Republika Srpska. Apart from the military
14 commission, to submit to us also the names of the representatives of the
15 civilian commission also. In this case, in Samac, the president was
16 Mr. Velimir Maslic, and there was another one in Modrica and so on, so I
17 submitted the names so that they could get these passes as soon as
18 possible, and later on we got other passes as well, including one for
19 Miroslav Tadic.
20 On the basis of these passes, we could move around on the
21 territory not only of the 1st Krajina Corps, but on the entire territory
22 of Republika Srpska.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] May this document be given an exhibit
25 number, please.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
2 THE REGISTRAR: The exhibit number is D175/3 and ter.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Another document on the topic you have
4 talked about, that is, PDB 74/3. It is a letter to UNPROFOR, dated the
5 5th of January, 1993.
6 Q. You have already told us that you wrote letters of approval, or
7 rather, letters requesting approval of the appropriate institutions, and
8 UNPROFOR and the police station of Stari Gradiska and Gradiska mentioned
9 here. In the second paragraph here, there is mention of Veljo Maslic from
10 Bosanski Samac. Are you the author of this document, and can you explain
11 to us why a member of the civilian commission should be appointed as the
12 person responsible for this exchange?
13 A. I wrote this letter. I signed it in my own hand. And the answer
14 to your question is the following: The year 1993 was a year when we had
15 problems in connection with fuel. We agreed with the East Bosnia Corps
16 that whatever we could do together, we would do, as regards paperwork, but
17 to reduce our expenses, as the neighbouring municipality was Samac, I
18 agreed with them that, let's say, the gentleman from Samac - sometimes it
19 was Velimir Maslic; in this case it was he, and sometimes it was
20 Mr. Miroslav Tadic - that they should go to the East Bosnia Corps to
21 collect the prisoners to be exchanged.
22 I appointed Veljo Maslic, the responsible person, for the passage
23 through the area from the East Bosnia Corps to Gradiska, at the bridge,
24 and then I would take over. Therefore, for the sake of savings and to
25 reduce the amount of work, we divided the job in this way. The East
1 Bosnia Corps knew that the gentleman from Samac, and sometimes from
2 Modrica, could do this job, because we had already drawn up all the
3 necessary documents beforehand.
4 Q. And now for something that I said that I would ask you about
5 separately. The members of the civilian commissions, did they have any
6 possibility to participate in the decision-making of the military
7 commissions, and the other way around; did the military commissions take
8 part in that? I mean, did they decide on structures and on exchanges,
9 civilians for the military and the military for the civilians?
10 A. We could only talk with the representatives of the civilian
11 commissions. Before we would draw up a list for exchanges, in order for
12 the prisoners who were from the area to be there, because when we from the
13 commission would send the list to all those authorities that I mentioned
14 already, and when we would get their consent, then I would be the person
15 who would copy this list, in a verified fashion. I would sign it, and it
16 was only in that form that the prisoners could be picked up from the
17 prisons where they were, and then these people could come with me for the
19 The civilian commissions did not interfere, but they were
20 welcome. They had excellent cooperation with us. And of course, the army
21 came from their localities, and therefore we cooperated. But I see this
22 cooperation through the ICRC and other bodies. The representatives in the
23 international community were often there. Most often it was the
24 representatives of the International Red Cross.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Could we please get a
1 number for this document.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
3 THE REGISTRAR: The number for this document is D176/3 and ter.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would like the witness to be shown
5 another document related to this subject, PDB 77/3. I shall call it the
6 letter to Maslic, Velimir, dated the 13th of January, 1993.
7 Q. This document is also self-explanatory. First I'll ask you
8 whether you signed it, and what was the reason why you addressed the Samac
9 commission, or rather, Mr. Maslic.
10 A. Yes, I am the person who signed this letter. Since we were
11 involved in negotiations every day throughout our territory, we were
12 divided up into several groups. We asked the gentleman from Samac,
13 Mr. Veljo, to get in touch with Mr. Matija Bodirogic, who -- or rather,
14 sorry, it was still Jovika Savic then, who was quite ill. He had
15 diabetes. He died ultimately. So we were always together at negotiations
16 and talks. And at one point, in a particular area, a certain group of
17 Muslims was supposed to be exchanged, those who were in our prison. So we
18 gave them to the East Bosnian Corps because they had been sought.
19 The East Bosnian Corps agreed on the exchange of some combatants
20 from our area too. However, this exchange failed. It did not come
21 through. Therefore, I asked Veljo Maslic, president of the civilian
22 commission, to contact -- or rather, I asked that he should check this
23 with Jovika to see what should be done so that we should exchange these
24 four names that are mentioned here. These are representatives of the
25 Ministry of the Interior of Croatia, who were taken prisoner in Slunj.
1 They were supposed to be exchanged in our area. So Veljo was asked for
2 those reasons, because we were absent quite often, and sometimes our
3 communications did not work properly but theirs did, so this was purely
4 for technical reasons.
5 Q. My question in relation to this document was whether Velimir
6 Maslic or, rather, the civilian commission, in addition to conveying
7 information, could they do anything in terms of decision-making in respect
8 of these requests?
9 A. No. I've told you: Before a list would be compiled, then we
10 could talk.
11 Q. You don't have to go into all of this. It's all right. You've
12 already explained this. I just asked you specifically, in addition to
13 conveying this information, you asked me whether there was anything else
14 and you said no.
15 A. No.
16 Q. So then we don't have to go into that. You also said this person,
17 Jovika -- you know who that was?
18 A. It was Major Jovika Savic, at that time president of the
19 commission for the exchange of prisoners of war of the East Bosnian Corps.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please get a number for this
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
24 THE REGISTRAR: This document number is D177/3 and ter.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
1 Q. Do you know a person by the name of Pera [as interpreted]
2 Jakovljevic, and do you know what that person did, what line of work he
3 was involved in?
4 A. Colonel Petar Jakovljevic, or Pero, is a person I only knew over
5 the telephone. I did not know him personally. He was deputy commander
6 for security at the East Bosnian Corps.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
9 document 102/3. I'll call the document the letter to Pero Jakovljevic,
10 dated the 18th of April, 1993.
11 Q. Mr. Grujicic, you are probably familiar with this document as
12 well. Is this your signature on it?
13 A. Yes. Yes. My signature is on it, both. I know the letter.
14 Q. The letter is self-explanatory. We don't need details. But I
15 would be interested especially in the following: I see from the first
16 paragraph that you had had a telephone conversation previously, but you
17 insist in this document that you get approval in writing. Now, my
18 question is the following -- can we hear each other?
19 A. I can hear you.
20 Q. My question is whether it was necessary to get approval in writing
21 with respect to the exchange of each and every prisoner of war.
22 A. For every exchange, a written approval was required. This letter
23 shows that we obtained the consent of the military prosecutor, and also
24 Mr. Pero gave us his consent by telephone. However, on the basis of this
25 consent, we also got approval from the Main Staff, and subsequently he
1 called the Main Staff and said that he did not agree with this. Of course
2 I was surprised to hear that.
3 The army always asked for something to be done according to the
4 rules of service. These are humanitarian matters. I observed the rules
5 of service. But when a humanitarian matter is involved, some things can
6 be skipped. So I felt that this was a question of this officer's vanity.
7 Perhaps he looked down on me because I was a reservist. So that is why I
8 was sharp with regard to this matter, because I got all the approvals
9 required. I called him yet again by telephone, and ultimately he was told
10 by the Main Staff that he should not create any problems.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can we please get a number for this
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
15 THE REGISTRAR: The number for this document is D178/3 and ter.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The next document was internally
17 marked PDB 106/3. I shall call it the invitation to attend a meeting,
18 dated the 11th of May, 1993.
19 Q. Mr. Grujicic, you've probably signed this document too. Tell us:
20 What was the reason for writing this document?
21 A. Well, I received an order from the president of the republican
22 commission, Captain Dragan Bulajic, to convene a meeting in our area, that
23 is to say, in the Banja Luka region, in the Krajina region, and to invite
24 all the representatives of the military commission and the civilian
25 commissions, and the Red Cross too. I wrote down these telephone numbers
1 here because there was no other way. It was urgent. And then I asked for
2 all these people to be informed, because this had to do with reaching
3 agreement on a larger, more comprehensive exchange. And in order to have
4 something like that done, all the participants had to be there.
5 When we did not have somebody's telephone number, for example,
6 Miroslav Tadic, then we actually had the telephone of the Red Cross. I
7 mean, he did not have a telephone then, or whatever. So the meeting was
9 Q. Thank you. Tell me: Were such meetings often organised, those
10 that were sought by the state commission, and were the local commissions
11 present, or was this a rare case of such meetings?
12 A. This was one of the rare meetings of this kind. The war zone of
13 the 1st Krajina Corps, we had more -- meetings more often, because we
14 often had negotiations. For example, if we were to be in Gradacac one day
15 for negotiations, when we would go to -- back to Modrica, we would first
16 analyse what we had done and then we would agree on the next exchange, and
17 that's the way it was, wherever we happened to be.
18 Q. And when you had these meetings, these internal meetings of yours,
19 if I can put it that way, at the level of the corps, were these meetings
20 often attended by the representatives of the civilian commissions with
21 regard to the organisation of following exchanges?
22 A. It wasn't often the case; it was always the case. In order to be
23 as successful as possible - I've already said that we would go together to
24 no man's land, and everybody would negotiate with their representative at
25 that particular point. So it was quite compulsory. It was natural for
1 all of us to go.
2 Q. You said: So it was quite compulsory, and then we lost contact.
3 What were the words you said after that?
4 A. I said it was compulsory, and I said it was natural for all of us
5 to meet up on the actual spot. I can only add one more thing: If there
6 was a little problem, if I can express myself that way, not a real problem
7 but sort of a little problem in the negotiations, then they would call me
8 and the representative of the military commission from the other side, so
9 that we would agree together. We would not resolve the dispute. I mean,
10 we would simply agree, discuss this.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would also like to ask for a number
13 for this document as well.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
15 THE REGISTRAR: The number for this document is D179/3 and ter.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. When you first started speaking, when we looked at the decision
18 appointing you president of the commission for exchanges of the 1st
19 Krajina Corps, we said that there were military representatives there at
20 first, but later on did it happen that your commission got more members?
21 And I would like to ask the registrar to prepare the document P109/3, to
22 be shown to the -- I'm sorry. I have to correct myself. This is an
23 internally marked document, PDB 109/3. I just said "P." I'm sorry.
24 Could you please tell us about this document. This is a document
25 that I will denote as order of the first KK, dated the 18th of May, 1993.
1 What is different here in relation to the previous decision that we've
2 already tendered into evidence?
3 A. Well, I've said to you that the general ordered me to write for
4 him what my view was as to what the commission should look like. When I
5 wrote that, he said to me that I should propose people for that. I did
6 not know about that, but in various ways I did get people's names and I
7 did make such a proposal.
8 I became member of that commission, and my profession is teacher.
9 Lieutenant Colonel Uros Mirosljevic, he was representative of the security
10 of our corps. Malic, Dusan, he was in Derventa, a teacher from there, in
11 charge of the area of Derventa, Brod, and Odzak, so that was closest to
12 him. Arezina, Mladen, was an economist from Mrkonjic grad and he was in
13 charge of the following municipalities: Sipovo, Donji Vakuf, and Jajce.
14 Branislav Urosevic, reserve Captain First Class from Doboj, member of the
15 military commission, in charge of Doboj, Teslic, and Modrica. Radoljub
16 Trkulja a veterinarian, also from Mrkonjic Grad, in charge of Jajce and
17 Skender Vakuf. He was a younger man, very pedantic and very courageous in
18 our activities. Milan Bobic was my driver or -- I mean, sorry, the
19 commission's driver, and then there was also security. Miroslavka
20 Jokanovic, who we also exchanged from Travnik, she was the person who
21 listed all the exchange persons in the computer, and Mrs. Biljana Culum,
22 she was a lawyer and she was secretary of the commission.
23 Well, that's it. That's the new commission that could normally
24 carry out all its tasks.
25 Q. Just a moment, Mr. Grujicic. I will have to ask you to speak a
1 bit slower, once again. I'm going to read these names now and you tell me
2 if I read them out right. Just say yes or no. Number 1, Milutin
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. 2, Uros Mirosljevic?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. 3, Malic, Dusan?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. 4, Arezina, Mladen?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. 5, Branislav Urosevic?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. 6, Rodoljub Trkulja?
14 A. Trkulja, yes.
15 Q. 7, Milan Bulovic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. 8, Miroslavka Jokanovic?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. 9, Culum, Biljana?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Very well. Tell me, please: In the introductory part, it says
22 that one of the tasks of the commission will be to assist in organising
23 the exchange of civilians and of art objects and sacred objects.
24 A. In connection with civilians, that was put in because in our title
25 there was a part referring to families of soldiers who had crossed over
1 from the other side, and they were afraid for their families, so they
2 asked for their families to be brought over so they could be reunited. As
3 for objects of art and ecclesiastical objects, yes, because every nation
4 has its own history and heritage, and we didn't want this to be
5 destroyed. So if there was any possibility, that we should do this. This
6 was a case in Travnik --
7 Q. We won't go into details.
8 A. Very well.
9 Q. Mr. Grujicic, the last sentence, the translation is a bit
10 awkward. It says to the assistant commander for UNPROFOR. Can you
11 explain whether this assistant commander was attached to your command,
12 whether he was in charge of cooperation with UNPROFOR and civilian
14 A. There's something missing here. The commission is subordinate to
15 the assistant commander for cooperation with UNPROFOR and civilian
16 affairs, so he was the assistant of General Talic. It's a bit awkward
18 Q. Yes. I just wanted to clarify this.
19 A. Very well.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can this document be given an exhibit
21 number, please.
22 THE REGISTRAR: The document number is D180/3 and ter.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Grujicic, we have heard testimony here about Batkovic, and I
25 will ask you whether you know, in view of the fact that you covered an
1 area that did not include the Batkovic camp, do you know, in view of your
2 cooperation and correspondence with the East Bosnia Corps, what was the
3 procedure to get a person out of Batkovic and be exchanged?
4 A. Of course, I know about the procedure, yes, just as was the case
5 with us in Banja Luka. The gentleman from the East Bosnia Corps, if we
6 agreed to have certain persons exchanged, they would have to get all the
7 approvals and permissions from the judiciary, from the corps security
8 organs and from the Main Staff.
9 When all this had been obtained on the day the exchange was to
10 take place, they could take out the persons to be exchanged. There was no
11 other way. The persons who were to be exchanged could be collected by the
12 person mentioned in the order. Very often it happened, or it would happen
13 sometimes, that, along with the presence of the East Bosnia Commission,
14 either Velimir Maslic or Miroslav Tadic went to collect the prisoners.
15 Q. Do you remember that you yourself wrote to the East Bosnia Corps,
16 saying that Miroslav Tadic would come to collect the prisoners? Do you
17 remember that?
18 A. Yes, I do. Yes, I did write, and this was done.
19 Q. Thank you. What was your cooperation with Miroslav Tadic like, in
20 general? I will repeat my question.
21 A. Yes, yes.
22 Q. During the period when you cooperated with the Samac commission,
23 what was your cooperation with Mr. Miroslav Tadic like? Was he different
24 from the other people you cooperated with in the civilian commissions?
25 A. Our cooperation - I'm referring to the military commission - both
1 with Velimir Maslic and Miroslav Tadic, was correct and successful. How
2 could it have been otherwise? Miroslav Tadic is a humane person. He's a
3 person who wished to help those who needed help the most, in wartime.
4 Never did I receive any complaints at any of the negotiations from anyone
5 on the opposite side in connection with any of the people in the
6 delegation, including the military commission, the civilian commission,
7 and the representatives of the Red Cross. We always did our best to have
8 things done in a fair and correct manner. I think the gentlemen from
9 Samac, Velimir Maslic and Miroslav Tadic, were selfless in carrying out
10 their tasks. Moreover, Miroslav Tadic, on one occasion, paid for fuel for
11 the transport of prisoners out of his own pocket.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness be shown document
14 PDB 118/3. This is a letter to the ICRC, dated the 17th of June, 1993.
15 Q. You are probably the author of this document also. Can you tell
16 us the reason for the writing of this letter and what it's about?
17 A. I signed this letter, and I also wrote it to the representative of
18 the ICRC in order to inform him and to have him present at the
19 negotiations that were to be held in the area of Pakrac. Mr. Michel
20 however, did not attend these negotiations, because at these negotiations,
21 almost all the Croatian and Serbian commissions were present. The
22 negotiations were chaired by the chief of the International Committee of
23 the Red Cross. I apologise. I don't speak English, but I think his name
24 was Ponfly [phoen] and he was the chief from Zagreb. He was the one who
25 chaired the meeting which was held -- which lasted from 10.00 a.m. to 8.00
1 p.m. It went on for about ten hours. And we were quite successful at the
2 level of the entire Serbian and Croatian area.
3 After the meeting, of course we went on to agree on those
4 obligations that we had undertaken, and I assume the Croats did the same.
5 So that was the meeting in Pakrac.
6 Q. Mr. Grujicic, in general, what was your relationship with the
7 International Red Cross in connection with the work you were doing? Did
8 you have any complaints from that institution on your work or the work of
9 people who you were associated with?
10 A. No, we didn't have any problems, because these were people who
11 came to help us. In that evil time, through them - and this refers to all
12 sides - we tried to find out about prisoners whom we assumed had been
13 taken prisoner, but we had not received a positive reply from the other
14 side. We asked the representatives of the ICRC to check whether the other
15 side was holding people whose names we had listed. We received a lot of
16 help from them. We cooperated very well, and I have to say that they were
17 happy with our activities.
18 Q. Did you personally receive an invitation from the ICRC to visit
19 Geneva? Who did you get it from, and what was it about?
20 A. I had a very good cooperation with Mr. Michel who was the
21 representative of the ICRC in Banja Luka. He was a man with a great deal
22 of experience in that sort of work, worldwide. He had been in other parts
23 of the world before. He was young. He wanted to do his job even when his
24 own vehicle was shot at. When he left Banja Luka, a meeting was held in
25 Geneva of representatives of the Muslims, Croats, and Serbs, and he, of
1 course, expected me to be there at that meeting, and he came to look for
2 me there, but there were other people, so he sent his regards. I wish I
3 could send him my regards as well.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] May this document be given an exhibit
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
8 THE REGISTRAR: The exhibit number for this document is D181/3 and
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Grujicic, I will put a few questions to you concerning two
12 specific exchanges, about which we have heard testimony at this Tribunal,
13 and the facts you know in connection with these exchanges. And we can see
14 from the documents that you know a lot about many exchanges, but now I
15 will ask you about two specific exchanges and certain facts connected with
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness be shown document
18 PDB 117/3. The document is a letter to the chief of the Samac public
19 security station, Stevan Todorovic, dated the 17th of June, 1993.
20 Q. Could you please look at this document and then tell me what you
21 know about it.
22 A. We had agreed on an exchange with the HVO, which was to take place
23 on the 15th of June, 1993, and on this occasion, in agreement with the
24 Bijeljina Corps, I had agreed that Mr. Miroslav Tadic should go to collect
25 the prisoners. So he was just going to collect them. Miroslav Tadic did
1 that job well, but something unexpected happened. The fuel ran out and he
2 was unable to obtain any. We had agreed that the exchange would take
3 place in Dragalic at 11.00. The Croatian side, however, and the HVO, and
4 we, waited and waited.
5 On that spot, we had no telephone lines, so I asked the gentleman
6 from the HVO to wait and I would go back to Bosanska Gradiska, with my
7 driver, and try to telephone, in order to find out what was going on. I
8 called our command, our military command, and I asked them to go and
9 check. Miroslav came back there and he explained to me that there was a
10 problem with fuel. It was already 1800 hours, so there had been a delay
11 from 1100 to 1800 hours, and he suggested that he hand over the prisoners
12 to the police station, the public security station in Samac, and during
13 the night he would try to solve the problem -- besides this --
14 Q. Just a moment. Just a moment. We had some technical problems.
15 The last thing we heard was "during the night." Can you repeat what you
16 said after that?
17 A. During the night he would try to solve the problem of petrol.
18 Q. Thank you. Go on.
19 A. I promised that I would call the command in Modrica, if necessary,
20 but Miroslav, as usual, solved the problem successfully, and on the
21 following day -- during the night he let them know that he could bring the
22 people at 8.00 a.m., if necessary. But I came back on that day. I went
23 back to Dragalic and I told the gentleman from the HVO, after apologising,
24 I told them what had happened and we agreed to meet at the same place, the
25 same time, on the following day. And I told Miroslav to bring the
1 prisoners to Dragalic at 11.00 a.m. We met him in Bosanska Gradiska, took
2 over command of everything, and set out to the negotiations and exchange.
3 Because let's understand each other: Whenever there was an exchange, we
4 also conducted negotiations. We would analyse what had been done and put
5 forward proposals for the next exchange.
6 When we arrived at the motorway near Dragalic, I went to tell the
7 representatives of the HVO that everything was all right, that all the
8 people on the list were there, and that the exchange could begin.
9 However, at one point Miroslav approached me and said that certain
10 problems had arisen. What was the problem? He said that prisoners had
11 been beaten up in the Samac public security station. I simply couldn't
12 believe it, because I exerted influence on all the members of all the
13 commissions to ensure that in their areas they would to their utmost to
14 prevent such unfortunate incidents. But now I myself, I found myself in
15 an embarrassing situation.
16 I think the prisoner's name was Salkic, I think, and he showed me
17 and Miroslav, and also the representatives of the international community
18 and the representatives of Croatia, what had happened. I was horrified.
19 I apologised to the HVO commission and I said that I would do everything
20 in my power, that I would inform my command, and that I was sure that my
21 command would help us and issue an order that something like this should
22 never happen again.
23 After I heard from Miroslav Tadic that the chief was
24 Stevan Todorovic - I didn't know him, but I consider him to be
25 responsible - I wrote this letter right away, in order to inform him of
1 this and to tell him that something like this must never happen again. I
2 also informed our commander, General Talic, and he issued an order that
3 all prisoners had to be kept safe, that they could be questioned but not
4 beaten, if they were going to be exchanged [as interpreted].
5 Miroslav Tadic again carried out a humane job. There was no
6 conflict. And why? Because we were all amazed when we saw the corpus
7 delicti and all we could do was apologise to the other side and then agree
8 on further activities.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please. I have an
10 intervention in respect of the transcript.
11 MR. LAZAREVIC: [Previous translation continues]...
12 Interpretation, because -- actually, this is not what the witness said,
13 here on page 59, lines 17 and 18. It seems that, according to what is in
14 transcript - and this is not what I heard from the witness - that the
15 only -- those who are going to be exchanged were not supposed to be
16 beaten. So maybe this can be clarified. This is not what the witness
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I think counsel should clarify with the
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 Q. Mr. Grujicic, we have a small problem with the transcript. I will
22 have to ask you again to speak a bit slower, if you can.
23 A. All right.
24 Q. When you talked about the beatings, did you mean the beatings of
25 only those who were supposed to be exchanged, or did you mean beatings in
1 general in prisons that were under the army of Republika Srpska?
2 A. I said that there was an order that prisoners, when they were
3 being taken prisoner, had to be handed over in the same condition in which
4 they were when they had been taken prisoner, that they should not be
5 beaten, and that means that from that moment until the exchange, they were
6 not allowed to be beaten. These were incidents that occurred at given
7 points in time. This happened on all sides.
8 Q. Tell me now, in relation to these incidents that occurred: What
9 about you, the people who worked on exchanges? Did this work well for
10 you, that such incidents would take place in respect of the work you did?
11 A. This indeed made our work far more difficult. First of all, we,
12 as humanists -- I mean, I, as a teacher, never slapped a pupil or caned a
13 pupil. I thought that my word should be the strongest and that it is my
14 word that would work far more efficiently than any beating. So in these
15 situations, we also agreed that this should not be allowed to happen. It
16 would slow things down. There could be retaliation. There could be
17 beatings on the other side, without giving thought to it. This is
18 wartime; it's not peacetime. And then it made things more difficult for
20 Q. Did these incidents decrease the confidence that had been
21 established between the negotiators? Could they affect the trust that had
22 been established during the negotiations?
23 A. No, for a simple reason: Because I always knew that neither the
24 opposite side nor us were in favour of such dirty things, and I mean we
25 never had the opportunity of doing any such thing. How could I go to
1 prisons and beat people up if my job was something quite different? So we
2 trusted one another, because we knew that this part of the work probably
3 took place where there were either civilian or military policemen, so it
4 could happen.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we please get a number for this
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
8 THE REGISTRAR: The document number is D182/3 and ter.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Another exchange that I would like to
10 discuss with you is something that again has to do with the facts that you
11 know about. This is the exchange dated December 1993, on the occasion of
12 the Catholic Christmas.
13 Q. Do you know anything about the exchange and what happened in
15 A. Yes. We called that the Christmas exchange. But could I please
16 have the relevant paper?
17 Q. We don't have the document that has to do with that. We don't
18 have that list of exchanges. But I can remind you that this was an
19 exchange where civilians from Samac were exchanged for Christmas 1993, and
20 there were Muslims and Croats involved.
21 A. The gentlemen from the HVO -- I mean, these talks were often
22 attended by Mr. Marko Milos from the Croatian side, and gentlemen from
23 Samac, for the most part, did their part of the job very well, what they
24 were in charge of. At one moment, when this exchange was discussed,
25 Mr. Marko Milos said the following: Gentlemen, if possible, can the
1 Croats celebrate mass --
2 Q. Could you please repeat what Mr. Milos said? And I'm going to ask
3 you about this talk. When did it take place before the actual exchange?
4 How many days before that, if you know the date, since if the exchange
5 took place on Christmas day, Catholic Christmas, then when did the talks
6 take place, and what did Mr. Milos say?
7 A. If I were to look at my diary - I mean, I kept a diary throughout
8 the war, every single day - then I could give you the exact date. But it
9 was certainly about ten days before, because such a big group of civilians
10 could not be transferred just like that. The commission from Samac would
11 have to do a great many things, because many of these civilians reported
12 to them at the Red Cross, where their office was, saying that they wanted
13 to go over to the other side, since, for the most part, the younger men
14 were on the other side. Then, in these talks, after we had finished with
15 all military negotiations, then these negotiations started. At one point
16 Marko Milos said: Gentlemen, if at all possible, let the Croat gentlemen
17 from the area of Samac celebrate mass on their own land. And of course,
18 in an informal conversation, he said to me: If help is required, please
19 help them as much as possible.
20 The gentlemen, even without my help, Maslic Velimir and
21 Miroslav Tadic, carried out all the preparations for that day, that is,
22 the 24th of December, 1993. There was a bit of a delay, so they came
23 later. And from 6.00 p.m., which had been the agreed time, I think -- I
24 mean, the weather was very bad on that day. It was raining, it was windy,
25 so it was cold. All of us from our side met at the point by the Dragalic
1 gasoline station -- excuse me - where the Nepalese battalion was.
2 However, nobody showed up from the other side.
3 Time went by. I was a bit confused by that. I tried to do
4 something through the Nepalese battalion, but unfortunately we didn't
5 manage to understand each other. There was a change in the Nepalese
6 battalion. Those who had been there for six months had left, and new ones
7 had just arrived, so we didn't really know each other yet. So we were
8 waiting there until about 8.00 or 9.00 in the evening, and when we
9 realised that there was no one from the other side, then I proposed to the
10 gentlemen who had come to the point and who were supposed to cross over to
11 Croatia that they should be patient. Because, you know what it's like.
12 People came. There was no one from the other side. And all of this
13 looked strange to them. I asked them to be patient. I said that
14 Mr. Miroslav Tadic, Veljo Maslic, and I would go to Bosanska Gradiska and
15 that we would try to get in touch with the Croatian commission one way or
16 the other.
17 However, we did not succeed to speak either to Mijo Matanovic or
18 to Marko Milos, although we did have their telephones, although we called
19 them through ham radio operators. Quite simply, there was something
20 suspicious as to what was going on. Later on, I heard that they had had
21 information stating that only Muslims were being brought to them for an
22 exchange, which was not true.
23 While we were waiting and trying, all of a sudden a car appeared,
24 an UNPROFOR car, the representatives of the Nepalese battalion. They came
25 to my apartment where I was staying temporarily and they said that a
1 representative of the Croatian side had come. It was Mr. Berislav Stetic,
2 whom I knew well. He was a good co-worker of ours from Nova Gradiska.
3 And then, when they informed us about this, we immediately set out yet
4 again to the point in Dragalic. We came there. Of course, we found the
5 gentleman concerned, and this is what he said to me: Mr. Grujicic, I did
6 not come here to negotiate or to take over anyone, but I know how
7 responsible you are. I know that this will cause problems, and if there's
8 anything I can do to help, I'll try to do that.
9 I said to him: Please, find, one way or the other, Marko Milos.
10 Because, actually, in that situation he was the only one who could find a
12 Q. Just a moment, please. We are going to pause here, and then after
13 the break you will tell us how this ended.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think that we could
15 take the break now and have a break in the witness's evidence.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, please, and we'll have a break, but do instruct
17 your witness to avoid unnecessary details, so that we can move on. We'll
18 take a break for 20 minutes and resume at 12.50 hours.
19 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 12.52 p.m.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will continue, and I
23 plan to finish my examination-in-chief very soon. But there is a question
24 I have to put to the Prosecution.
25 I have just found two pages of a text in English on my desk,
1 mentioning Milutin Grujicic's name. I don't know whether the OTP wishes
2 to use this document, which is a draft translation, to put some questions
3 in cross-examination. If they do, I insist that the B/C/S version of this
4 document be delivered to me and that my co-counsel in Belgrade be
5 allowed - this is an unknown document. This is what the practice has been
6 up to now, so that we can prepare, in order to be fair to the witness.
7 Does the Prosecution intend to put any questions in
8 cross-examination based on this document or, rather, this translation?
9 It's a draft translation, and there is no B/C/S version. This is a
10 transcript of a radio broadcast, apparently, but I know nothing about it.
11 I've just found it on my desk.
12 MR. RE: I object strongly to what my learned friend has just said
13 in front of the witness. Can the witness please be turned off so that I
14 can respond to this?
15 I provided my learned friends, out of courtesy, with the document,
16 which I may use in cross-examination. If I can respond to this, I will do
17 so, without the witness being turned on. It is most improper to reveal
18 the contents of a document which may be used in cross-examination to a
19 witness who is listening. It is something that should be spoken of out of
20 court, or a ruling sought, in the absence of witnesses.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We are having problems with the
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 MR. LAZAREVIC: Your Honours, we are not receiving translation in
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 THE INTERPRETER: The B/C/S booth notes that they cannot hear the
3 proceedings from the courtroom. They have technical problems, says the
4 English booth.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: We seem to have problems.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We didn't get an interpretation of
7 what our learned friend has said, but I did understand. Your Honours,
8 throughout these proceedings, any document that was put to a witness
9 during cross-examination, when we were doing the cross-examination, had to
10 be disclosed in time to the OTP. Let me remind you that on several
11 occasions there was a break in the proceedings, so that the other side
12 could prepare. I don't know what document this is. We need not discuss
13 it before the witness. That wasn't my intention. It's simply that if
14 this is a document that the OTP wishes to use during their
15 cross-examination, the document should be handed to my co-counsel so that
16 we can prepare. We have never yet had a situation where the OTP put a
17 document on our desk without our being able to discuss the document with
18 the witness. This is an example of hide and seek.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: The Prosecution?
20 MR. RE: Your Honour --
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Without disclosing the contents, what is the
23 MR. RE: I'm not saying while the witness is listening, Your
24 Honour. I could have dealt with this -- Mr. Lukic could have spoken to
25 me. I spoke to the other counsel. He could have spoken to me instead of
1 raising it when you walked on the Bench instead of raising it with the
2 witness. Now, I will deal with the issue, but not in front of the
3 witness. It has nothing to do with preparing for the witness. It's
4 something which, out of courtesy, a document I have given to the other
5 counsel which I have discovered. Now --
6 JUDGE MUMBA: It has nothing to do with this witness?
7 MR. RE: It does, but I'm not proposing to put the document into
8 evidence. My learned friend could have found that out very easily by
9 walking over and speaking to me rather than raising it here.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well. We'll go ahead. The Prosecution have
11 said that they're not proposing to use it to put the document in
12 evidence. So go ahead. Because we have very limited time with videolink,
13 so --
14 MR. RE: Your Honour, that doesn't -- I've given them a document
15 which I may use the contents of, but it's not a document which I intend to
16 put into evidence.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Can you discuss that after we're through?
18 MR. RE: Of course.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: And then see if you can come to an agreement, and
20 the Trial Chamber will decide.
21 Just continue.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I do not wish to burden the Chamber
23 with this any further.
24 Q. Mr. Grujicic, to put things briefly, I only wish you to tell us
25 whether Mr. Milos, or rather, the representatives of the opposite side,
1 arrived. If they arrived, when they arrived and what happened then? Was
2 anything talked about with the persons to be exchanged?
3 A. I understand you. At about 1.00 a.m., Marko Milos arrived, with
4 buses. He got permission from the deputy Prime Minister of Croatia,
5 Mr. Kostovic, so that what had been agreed on could be carried out. And
6 before I let Marko get into the bus and tell the truth to the people from
7 the area of Samac, Marko got into the bus and said: Gentlemen, we
8 apologise for this incident. Marko apologised. It is our fault. The
9 Serbs did what we asked them to do.
10 We had some misinformation on our side, among ourselves, and the
11 Serbs have nothing to do with this problem. I apologise to you.
12 The transfer of civilians from the buses which arrived from Samac,
13 two buses brought by Mr. Marko Milos, started, and at around 3.00 a.m.,
14 that job was done. We said goodbye and went back, each to our own side,
15 because on the following day there was to be an exchange and negotiations
16 in Gradacac. We didn't get any sleep that night at all.
17 Q. Thank you. Mr. Grujicic, I will now move on to my final topic.
18 You testified that during the exchanges you cooperated with a lot of
19 people on both sides, on your own side and the opposite side.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown document
21 PDB 131/3, and this is an excerpt from a newspaper, Krajski Vojnik [phoen]
22 of November 1993.
23 Q. Can you tell me in a few words why this article was written and
24 whether it mentions all the people you were cooperating with at the time
25 in your area of responsibility?
1 A. Every year --
2 [Technical difficulty]
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Please wait a little, and can you start again, because your answer
5 wasn't recorded on the transcript.
6 A. Every year we conducted a review of the results of our work, so
7 that on the basis of this, we could set our goals for the following year.
8 This means that, in view of the corps command and the civilian organs, we
9 were accountable to them for our work in the past year or, as in this
10 case, the past two years. We did this, and the meeting was of course
11 attended by all the representatives of the military commission, all the
12 representatives of the civilian commission, the representatives of the Red
13 Cross, the representatives of the ICRC, the European Mission, and other
14 structures of the international community who were in this area.
15 I mentioned here in the last part of this paragraph all the people
16 who in various ways participated in this activity. Some of the former
17 prisoners came to speak about their experiences before this gathering.
18 General Talic, the commander, said that the results of the commission were
19 indubitable. Work was conducted under difficult conditions. The lives of
20 the members of the condition [as interpreted] were just as much at risk as
21 the lives of the soldiers at the front line. Never before had so many
22 living and dead soldiers been exchanged, because usually exchanges were
23 carried out after wars ended. This means --
24 Q. Thank you. Thank you. The Chamber will certainly be very
25 interested in reading this whole article, but my question, since a large
1 number of people are listed here, including the name of my client,
2 Mr. Tadic, tell us whether you think that - and I'm here referring both to
3 the military and the civilian commissions you cooperated with - whether
4 you think that you were doing a humane job or a political job.
5 A. This part of the work, had we obeyed the politicians, never would
6 such a large number of people have been exchanged on our own initiative.
7 We did something that was very difficult, that is, the exchange of
8 prisoners of war. When listing these names, including Mr. Miroslav Tadic,
9 I considered all of them to be humanists fighting for human lives. This
10 article is written by a Muslim journalist named Dizdar.
11 Q. Mr. Grujicic, I didn't ask you at the beginning of my examination,
12 but could you now tell the Chamber where you are living now.
13 A. Unfortunately, I am a refugee from the Republic of Croatia. My
14 town is unfortunately no longer my town. I became a refugee on the 2nd of
15 May, 1995, with my wife, and my mother remained at home. Later on I
16 exchanged the house, and my mother, who was in prison for seven days - and
17 she was 86 years old - I exchanged her as well, and she was the 12.001st
18 person I exchanged in the municipality of Apatin [phoen]. We sold our
19 house and we bought a flat in Sombor. I now live in Sombor.
20 Q. Thank you. You probably wanted to say what you were doing now.
21 Can you tell the Chamber where Sombor is, what country it's in?
22 A. I didn't understand you.
23 Q. Where is Sombor? In which country?
24 A. Sombor is in Serbia, in the autonomous province of Vojvodina.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] May this document be given an exhibit
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
4 THE REGISTRAR: The document number is D183/3 and ter.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Grujicic, in your work, you evidently often met Mr. Tadic. In
7 all your work, did you ever hear any complaints, by anyone, either in the
8 commissions or from the people being exchanged, any complaints against his
10 A. During the war, I often met, worked with, and reached agreements
11 with Mr. Miroslav Tadic, among others, and I never heard any complaints
12 from anyone. Had something happened, I would have been the first to
13 object, because in our activity, 24 hours in a day were not enough. Even
14 when we were asleep, we were thinking about prisoners and those who needed
15 our help. This is the kind of thing Miroslav Tadic was a part of.
16 Q. You have already answered my next question, but please be very
17 specific. Did you personally notice, in any action on the part of
18 Miroslav Tadic, any kind of intolerance towards members of other
20 A. Humanists cannot be intolerant. We tried to exchange or to have
21 civilian commissions, allow passage of one ethnic group to their mother
22 country, and had Miroslav Tadic been hostile in any way to members of
23 other ethnic groups, his daughter would not have married a Croat. Besides
24 this, Miro Tadic, whenever we met representatives from Orasje, was
25 friendly. They would ask each other about all sorts of people whom they
1 both knew. Mr. Mijo Matanovic comes from Odzak, and he knew Miroslav
2 Tadic very well. I never received any kind of complaint.
3 Q. My last question, Mr. Grujicic: After these ten or more years,
4 during which you worked on exchanges, do you feel that you were successful
5 in this job?
6 A. I understand your question. I think we have not successfully
7 completed the job, because 24.000 persons are still missing, and this
8 refers to all three ethnic groups: Croats, Serbs, and Muslims. In order
9 to complete this job, because I could not rest in peace while this was
10 still undone, I wrote to Gordon Bacon, who at that time was at the head of
11 some sort of international Exchange Commission. I wrote to the commission
12 of Republika Srpska, to the Yugoslav commission. I asked that they try,
13 through the international community, to reactivate us, because we still
14 had some knowledge among us that would certainly help a great deal to
15 solve many cases of missing persons.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 A. Yes, that's my response.
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Grujicic.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have concluded my
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Any other counsel who wishes to ask questions?
22 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, I have a few questions.
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Pantelic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Grujicic. I am Igor Pantelic
25 and I defend Blagoje Simic from Samac. Can you hear me?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. I just have a few questions. In your work, since you have
3 invaluable experience that you gained over all these years, do you have
4 any personal knowledge? Were you, in a way, a witness as to whether
5 Dr. Blagoje Simic took part in the work of your commission in any way?
6 Did he exert any pressure? Did he exercise any influence in terms of
7 whether somebody would be exchanged or not? What is your personal
8 knowledge about this?
9 A. Throughout this period, I got to know Mr. Velimir Maslic and
10 Mr. Miroslav Tadic from Samac quite well. That was sufficient for me in
11 order to engage in the activities that were joint activities. As for
12 Mr. Blagoje Simic, I do not know him personally, and I did not hear any
13 complaints in terms of him influencing in any way the activities carried
14 out by Miroslav Tadic and Velimir Maslic.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Grujicic.
16 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues]... Thank you, Your
18 MR. LAZAREVIC: We don't intend to examine this witness.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Cross-examination.
20 Cross-examined by Mr. Re:
21 Q. Mr. Grujicic, my name is David Re. I'm going to ask you some
22 questions from the Prosecution. Can you hear me clearly, and do you
23 understand that?
24 A. I can hear you and I can understand you through the
1 Q. Can you also see me on the screen while I'm asking you the
3 A. Well, I assume that I see you the way you see me, so I think we
4 see each other.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 A. Thank you.
7 Q. Your evidence has been of your commission working with the
8 civilian commission for the exchange of prisoners and prisoners of war.
9 What I want to ask you about is your experience or your involvement in
10 Bosanski Samac and the exchanges there. Do you understand that?
11 A. I understand. A civilian commission worked with us, and it is
12 quite certain that we cooperated.
13 Q. You cooperated because you had to coordinate your activities, such
14 as making sure you each had lists and the right people at the exchange
15 places at the right time, didn't you?
16 A. That's right. It is certain that both sides, as I've already
17 said, had its own lists, and in order to compile them, a broad number of
18 activists is required for compiling that list, and then the list would go
19 into the procedure that was required.
20 Q. And the success of each of these exchanges depended upon the
21 closest cooperation between the civilian and military authorities, didn't
23 A. Yes. Yes.
24 Q. And the rules governing the exchange of prisoners of war and
25 civilians were interchangeable, weren't they?
1 A. Well, I don't know what you meant, but I don't really think so,
2 because as far as prisoners of war were concerned, it was well known in
3 which way they would be exchanged. As for civilian persons, through the
4 corridors that had been established and agreed upon between the two sides,
5 they would pass through them, and in this way, families would be
6 reunited. So there is a difference, isn't there? We are intermediaries,
7 because as the military commission, we secured passage through this
8 corridor. This was a war -- or negotiations.
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the middle part.
10 MR. RE:
11 Q. We just lost the last part of your answer, Mr. Grujicic. We got
12 up to "this was a war," and then we lost what you were saying. Could you
13 just repeat that last part, please.
14 A. This was a war, so it was impossible to go through positions any
15 way people wanted. Movement was exclusively possible through corridors
16 which we secured.
17 Q. The army of the Republika Srpska operated -- or had a set of
18 rules, didn't it, for the exchange of prisoners of war?
19 A. Yes. Yes.
20 Q. Did each corps have its own rules or did you operate according to
21 the same rules?
22 A. I cannot give you an answer to that. I know about the East
23 Bosnian Corps and I know about our corps. It was the East Bosnian Corps
24 that first made their rules, and then we adjusted them to our own mode of
25 work and to the ground in which the -- the area in which we operated. I
1 assume that others did something along those lines too.
2 Q. Some of the exchanges that occurred were mixed exchanges, that is,
3 there were civilians and prisoners of war being exchanged in the same
4 exchange, weren't they?
5 A. No. I said a while ago that by the time we would carry out the
6 exchange of military prisoners, by then, the civilian commissions would
7 deal with the civilian population. If it would so happen that there were
8 civilian persons also on the list of the military commission, that was
9 only for the sake of having safer passage through the military positions.
10 Because during each and every passage, the military police or the unit at
11 that position would check all the persons who were crossing over to no
12 man's land.
13 Q. Even if it were for safety reasons, what you're telling us now is
14 that in some of the exchanges there were civilians who were included on
15 the military list, and they went to the exchange at the same time as the
16 prisoners of war; is that right?
17 A. I think that we simply haven't understood each other. I said that
18 along with the soldiers who were going to be exchanged, we would put on
19 the same list, in order to make passage easier through the front line and
20 through the firing positions, we would do that. But in the place where
21 the exchange would actually take place, then we would carry out a certain
22 procedure in terms of the exchange of military prisoners. So a commission
23 would establish -- would deal with them. The ICRC would ask them whether
24 they wanted to go or not.
25 As for civilians, they were free to go. They were free to pass
1 over to one side or to the other side. So that's the difference.
2 Q. But the names were on the same list as the POWs; is that what
3 you're saying? I'm just trying to work that out.
4 A. I said that.
5 Q. And in those circumstances, the ones you've just told us, where
6 there was a mixture of names on the list, not on the exchange, but on the
7 list, the exchange would be soldier for soldier, woman for woman, and
8 elderly person for elderly person, wouldn't it?
9 A. Well, that's the way it was for the most part, because I just
10 know, when you say "woman for woman," I mean, I just know that we, for
11 example, had a tank crew that were of the female gender only. So that
12 sentence can be valid if there are prisoners that are taken. But it could
13 have happened that a woman or an elderly person could have been involved,
14 and when I say "elderly person," I mean military conscripts up to the age
15 of 60 and reserve officers up to the age of 65 who do have military
16 obligation and who either did certain work within their own local commune
17 or, for example, they were in a fire-fighting unit or in a first aid
18 unit. Such persons could have been taken prisoner too, and of course we
19 would then pursue such activities as well.
20 Q. The basis of the exchanges was on a one-for-one basis, wasn't it,
21 one prisoner for another prisoner, one soldier for another soldier, one
22 woman for another woman, one elderly person for another elderly person?
23 A. That's not the way it always was. I'm talking about combatants,
24 you know. A soldier is someone who exists in peacetime, but combatants
25 exist in times of war. So that was the approach for combatants. However,
1 when dead combatants were concerned, then this was not abided by, in order
2 to honour the dead. We would deliver all the dead to the other side,
3 irrespective of the numbers involved.
4 As regards civilians who had certain obligations, then,
5 irrespective of their number, they could pass freely. So the one-for-one
6 principle was not applicable, because that is not an exchange. We had
7 students going through as well. We asked for it, as a matter of fact.
8 Students who happened to be on one side or another side. Then also high
9 school students, then also from hospitals we had retarded persons, for
10 example. We handled that too. Perhaps you could say exchange for that
11 too, but that was not an exchange. It was help that was given to families
12 who were looking for their nearest and dearest, and we did that with a lot
13 of confidence.
14 Q. I was only asking you about names on a list, Mr. Grujicic. I just
15 want you to concentrate on that, please. The principle of putting names
16 on a list for an exchange was that one side would compile a list of names
17 and the other side would compile a list of the same number of names,
18 wasn't it?
19 A. No. No, sir. On a list, there could have been many more, and on
20 another list there could have been far less. But as far as soldiers are
21 concerned, then sometimes it would not be exactly one for one, even
22 situations like that could happen. But as far as the passage of civilians
23 is concerned, as I said, it depended on how many people they would take in
24 in order to have families reunited. So it wasn't the principle of equal
25 numbers that was applied there.
1 Q. In exchanging soldiers, there would be no reason -- or there was
2 no reason to exchange a male soldier for a male soldier and a female
3 soldier for a female soldier. A soldier was just a soldier?
4 A. A soldier is a soldier, yes. That's how it was.
5 Q. And the practice was to ignore gender and, if your side had a
6 soldier in custody, regardless of whether they're male or female, and the
7 other side, the HVO, had a soldier, male or female, you exchanged the
8 person, regardless of their gender; correct?
9 A. Well, now, it's hard to be specific, for the simple reason that
10 whether it was a woman for a woman, it's simply hard to answer that. I
11 don't think that's so important. What really matters is -- both sides
12 were happy to do it.
13 Q. I'll just stop you there. We just missed part of your last
14 answer. We got to "what really matters is," and we missed a part because
15 of a technical breakdown. Can you just repeat that. "What really matters
16 is" something, something, something, "both sides were happy to do it."
17 A. What was important was -- or rather, we did what was important.
18 We didn't have many women in such situations. These were rare cases, and
19 we did our work with full responsibility, bearing in mind that women
20 especially had to be helped.
21 Q. A moment ago you said that the other corps adopted the East Bosnia
22 rules and regulations -- East Bosnia Corps rules and regulations in
23 relation to the exchange of prisoners of war. Now, those rules and
24 regulations say - this is paragraph 13: "The exchange of prisoners of war
25 shall be conducted on the one-for-one basis (soldier for soldier, woman
1 for woman, elderly person for elderly person) or on the all-for-all
3 You told us a moment ago that these were the rules which you
4 used. When these rules referred to soldier for soldier, woman for woman,
5 elderly person for elderly person; you said woman for woman, elderly
6 person for elderly person was to encompass those situations where there
7 were names on the list which included civilians and prisoners of war?
8 A. That's not what I said. I said --
9 Q. Can you stop there? I'm not saying that's what you said. You
10 said you used those rules. I'm suggesting to you that that's what they
11 mean, and I want you to comment on that. I'm suggesting to you that
12 they -- the words "woman for woman, elderly person for elderly person" are
13 inserted there to encompass situations when there was mixed civilians and
14 prisoners of war on the list, not on the exchange but on the list. Sir,
15 can you please confine it just to that?
16 MR. LUKIC: Objection.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] If an article from this document is
19 being put to the witness, the title of the document should be mentioned to
20 the witness. The Prosecutor is basing his conclusion on part of the
21 document, and he should put the document to the witness.
22 MR. RE: I certainly have no objection to showing it to the
23 witness, but I thought the witness understood clearly what I was saying to
24 him. But if it will assist, I'll ask that P92/3 ter be placed on the
25 ELMO, the page which has paragraph XIII on it.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
2 MR. RE: And the witness has already said he knows the document
3 which I'm referring to.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I only asked that when the article be
5 quoted, that the title of the document be mentioned to the witness.
6 MR. RE:
7 Q. Mr. Grujicic, I was reading from -- Article 13 will be placed on
8 the monitor for you. The full title of the document is "Command of the
9 East Bosnia Corps, confidential, 1/1369 to 2261, 7th of March, 1993,
10 military secret confidential, pursuant to Article 175 of the law of the
11 army of Republika Srpska and Article 3 of the provisional rules of service
12 of the army of Republika Srpska. I hereby approve the following: Rules
13 and regulations for the work of the commission for the exchange of
14 prisoners of war in the zone of responsibility of the IB corps to come
15 into force on the 10th of March, 1993, signed Commander Colonel Novica
16 Simic," signed and stamped.
17 Are you clear that that's the document I'm referring to.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The wrong document was put on the
21 ELMO, but what my learned friend has read is correct. That's what I
22 wanted to have read. But the document is a completely different document,
23 so let's not confuse the witness with it.
24 MR. RE: I'm sorry. That was my fault. It was -- I was reading
25 from the PDB number. It's D166/3. I'm sorry.
1 Q. Can you see the document, Mr. Grujicic?
2 A. It would have to be a little sharper.
3 Q. Can you see it now, Mr. Grujicic? Can you see it clearly?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. I just want you to read paragraph --
6 A. Yes, yes.
7 Q. I just want you to read paragraph 13. That's the one I just read
8 to you.
9 A. I don't have it here.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, throughout my
11 examination-in-chief we had a problem. The document would be put on the
12 ELMO for only 10 to 15 seconds and then the image from the courtroom would
13 come back. I have no objection to the Prosecutor reading the paragraph to
14 the witness. What was important for me was to have the witness hear the
15 title of the document, the full title of the document as it stands.
16 MR. RE:
17 Q. Mr. Grujicic, do you know what I'm referring to? It's Article 13,
18 which was placed on the screen for a moment, which I read to you. If I
19 could read it to you again. Just stop me if you need me to. "The
20 exchange of prisoners shall be conducted on the one-for one basis (soldier
21 for soldier, woman for woman, elderly person for elderly person) or on the
22 all-for-all basis."
23 Don't answer, but are you clear on what I've just read to you?
24 A. Yes. I have heard, and I also saw it on the monitor. Let me
25 answer now.
1 Q. You understand my question was the meaning of the words "woman for
2 woman and elderly person for elderly person," and I'm suggesting that it
3 was put there to encompass situations when there was a mixture of
4 civilians and military personnel on a list for exchange?
5 A. During the examination-in-chief by Mr. Novak, I said that we used
6 a copy of the East Bosnia Corps rules and that we adapted it to suit our
7 situation, so that, as far as I can remember, we had adapted this article,
8 and besides mentioning combatants, one for one, we had an all-for-all
9 exchange. So when an all-for-all exchange was carried out, there is no
10 one-for-one principle. We had our own rules, which I don't have. They
11 stayed behind in Banja Luka. And they were rewritten and signed by our
12 general, Momir Talic. The rules that you showed me were the rules of the
13 East Bosnia Corps, and they were signed by General Novica Simic.
14 Q. I'm sorry if I misunderstand you. I thought your evidence was
15 that prior to General Talic's orders coming into force, which was outside
16 the indictment period, that is, after the 31st of December, 1993, you
17 adapted the East Bosnia Corps regulations. Now, if you can't -- are you
18 simply telling us -- are you simply telling us that you can't comment upon
19 the meaning of those rules? If you can't, just tell us you can't.
20 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation] There is a mistake in the
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was a break in the connection,
23 so I didn't understand everything the Prosecutor said.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, which -- where is the mistake?
25 MR. PANTELIC: Due to the technical -- the same issue that the
1 witness just --
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Is talking about. All right.
3 Mr. Re, the witness didn't understand everything.
4 MR. RE: Yes.
5 Q. What I'm simply trying to find out is the gap between when the
6 East Bosnia Corps rules came into force in March 1993, and I think your
7 evidence was that you adapted them until -- just let me finish -- until
8 General Talic's came in force after the 31st of December, 1993, which is
9 the indictment period. I'm just trying to find out which rules you used
10 in that period, before Talic's came into force, and whether or not you can
11 comment on that; and if you can't comment on it, that's fine. So if you'd
12 address those two things: One, which rules did you use before 31st of
13 December, 1993; and second, are you able to comment on it; and if not, no.
14 A. I can comment to the extent that we did not get any orders from
15 anyone to the effect that we had to draw up rules. We understood our task
16 to be that of helping people. Our rules represented the way we behaved.
17 When we got hold of these rules, we weren't able to rewrite them in one
18 day. We had a lot to do. But when we had rewritten them, we gave them to
19 the general to sign. We started our work in 1991, on the one-for-one
20 principle or on the all-for-all principle.
21 MR. RE: It's a quarter to 2.00, Your Honours. Time for the break
22 for the day?
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We'll stop our proceedings now and continue
24 tomorrow morning at 9.00.
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
1 1.45 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday,
2 the 5th day of February 2003, at 9.00 a.m.