1 Thursday, 6 March 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
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 Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and
9 Simo Zaric.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Mr. Pantelic, you're continuing with
11 your witness.
12 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. Good morning. We are continuing
13 WITNESS: SAVO POPOVIC [Resumed]
14 [Witness testifies via videolink]
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 Examined by Mr. Pantelic: [Continued]
17 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Popovic. Can you hear me? Can
18 you hear me now, Mr. Popovic?
19 MR. PANTELIC: We cannot hear the witness.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. It seems we can't get the transmission across.
21 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Can you hear me now, Mr. Popovic?
23 A. Yes, I can hear you.
24 Q. I can hear you too.
25 A. We can proceed.
1 Q. Very well. Thank you.
2 Mr. Popovic, yesterday we talked about the events during the night
3 between the 16th and the 17th of April, 1992. You said that people
4 gathered in Crkvina. Mr. Popovic, can you please wait until I finish my
5 question. We had great problems yesterday. I was checking the
6 transcript, and there are quite a number of mistakes. So please, if you
7 could just speak a bit more slowly and keep your answers brief. Try to be
8 as accurate as possible when using the terms "we," "they," "the other
9 side," that sort of thing. We both understand each other. We know what
10 happened in Samac. But for the sake of the Trial Chamber and for the
11 transcript, please try to keep it as accurate as possible and specify the
12 Serb side, the Muslim side, the Croat side, or whatever it is you're
13 referring to in the context. Thank you very much.
14 Mr. Popovic, in Crkvina, in the period prior to the night between
15 the 16th and 17th of April, did you notice any JNA units? Were there any
16 JNA units around in Crkvina?
17 A. As far as the JNA units are concerned, what I can say is that
18 throughout that period, there were forces that were withdrawing from
19 Croatia and Slovenia. They were crossing in groups. Soldiers were
20 crossing, and they were staying in the area. They would refresh
21 themselves. They would tell us stories about what happened in those
22 areas, that barracks had been abandoned or taken, and they would return to
23 their homes. And I can also add that the army was being evacuated from
24 those areas, and across the bridge in Samac, the army was leaving for
25 Sarajevo and Banja Luka. I can't say exactly how many of them --
1 Q. Very well. That suffices. Mr. Popovic, can you hear me?
2 A. Yes, I can hear you.
3 Q. What's the name of the JNA unit in the Samac area? Was there any
4 particular unit stationed there? What was its name?
5 A. That was the 17th Tactical Group.
6 Q. The 17th Tactical Group, how many detachments did it comprise?
7 A. I know that according to the military structure, there were
8 supposed to be six or seven. Now, some people refer to them as
9 detachments, some as battalions, but in that area, they were based in the
10 general Samac and Pelagicevo area.
11 Q. Very well. In the area of your own local commune, Crkvina, which
12 detachment was there?
13 A. The Crkvina Battalion. The Crkvina Battalion was stationed there.
14 Q. Let us not confuse these names. Is there any particular
15 detachment name associated with it, the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd detachment?
16 Which one was in Crkvina?
17 A. I think it was the 5th detachment. I'm not a hundred per cent
18 certain, but that's how I referred to it, the Crkvina Detachment. It was
19 perhaps the 1st or the 2nd or the 5th. I can't answer this accurately.
20 Q. Do you know who the commander of that detachment in Crkvina was?
21 A. The main commander [as interpreted] was Marko Tubakovic.
22 Q. What do you mean the main commander? In which period?
23 A. I think until May, and then --
24 Q. Take it easy, please.
25 MR. LAZAREVIC: Just a matter of accuracy of transcript. The
1 witness said "the first commander was," not "the main commander." Because
2 after that, he was replaced with another person. So ...
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That will be corrected.
4 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Popovic, please speak slowly.
6 When you say the month of May, it can be both 1992 and 1993.
7 Until which May specifically was he the commander of the 2nd Detachment?
8 A. Until the month of May, 1992.
9 Q. Thank you. Prior to the night between the 16th and 17th of April,
10 1992, were any soldiers present in Crkvina? How can you describe that?
11 A. As there had been mobilisation prior to that, through the
12 secretariat for National Defence, the units were filled up. I was talking
13 about Croats and Muslims wanting or not wanting to join the units. There
14 were loyal people too, and a number of those people was in Crkvina too.
15 Crkvina, as a local commune, was mobilised with a number of members who
16 had been members of the Territorial Defence, in terms of their
17 assignment. I can't define this precisely, but there were people from
18 Crkvina there, from Pisar. They had their own command.
19 Q. Please try to speak a bit more slowly.
20 A. Very well. The role of the local commune --
21 Q. Mr. Popovic, can you hold on, please. My question was brief and
22 very clear. Let us not waste time, please. Prior to the 16th of April,
23 did you see that any soldiers, legitimate soldiers, or organs of the JNA,
24 the 1st or 2nd Detachment, were present in Crkvina?
25 A. No, I didn't see. We, at the local commune, as the local commune,
1 it had the task and the role in case of war to protect the civilian
2 population, in case of shelling. Innocent people, women and children,
3 were to be protected. Food was to be provided, as well as the protection
4 for those people.
5 Q. You described yesterday how the conflict started in the night of
6 the 17th of April, 1992. Can you please tell me: What sort of units did
7 you see in Crkvina? What military units? Can you describe that? And
8 specifically, I want to know if there were any tanks in Crkvina at that
10 A. There were no tanks at that time in Crkvina. Checkpoints had been
11 set up in Crkvina at the crossroads towards Gradacac. Uniformed police
12 officers appeared there.
13 Q. Which checkpoints? Which barricades? And who had organised
15 A. The public security station in Samac were the ones who had set
16 them up. And then there were locals present there surprised by what was
17 going on. They were standing about. And in that period of time, they
18 were performing checks as to who was leaving Samac and who was entering
19 Samac, or that general area.
20 Q. As for the specific period, we are talking about the period of
21 time after the 17th of April, 1992, to all intents and purposes.
22 A. Yes, correct.
23 Q. You told me that the next day, on the 18th, you went to the Pik
24 factory. Who called you to go there and who took you there?
25 A. I tried to -- but I couldn't manage. I, with Mr. Bogdanovic, who
1 was simply the alpha and omega of the mobilisation in Samac, he was a
2 friend, and he would come to Crkvina. And he called me and we went to his
3 car and we drove to the Pik factory. I found a number of people there, as
4 I described. There were people gathering there in that area. Why there
5 specifically? Why at the Pik? Because it was in the outskirts. And it
6 was safer in some way than the town itself, so that's where I came to.
7 Q. Who exactly did you find there?
8 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic. Just for the sake of
9 clarity: On page 6, line 1, could Mr. Popovic be specific when -- maybe
10 it's just the translation, but it says that: Mr. Bogdanovic, who was
11 simply the alpha and omega of the mobilisation in Samac. We all know
12 Latin, but I think for the sake of clarity, could we have an understanding
13 what Mr. Popovic means when he says that.
14 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Popovic, did you hear the Honourable Judge Williams and her
16 question? Can you please explain?
17 A. As Milos Bogdanovic was the chief or the head of the secretariat
18 for National Defence or the secretariat for National Defence, and he was
19 linked with the military component, as they refer to it, so it was under
20 his leadership, from his stories, when the 17th Tactical Group was present
21 there, he was the person who was in communication and who was
22 communicating with the gentleman from that specific Tactical Group. He
23 had all the plans, which means that everything was done according to his
24 directives or according to the plans that the secretariat for National
25 Defence had. So practically, he was in charge. That's why I said that he
1 was the alpha and omega, and no one else could interfere with
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay. Thank you.
4 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Popovic. As you've told us, he called you and you
6 went to the Pik factory. Can you please tell me: Which persons exactly
7 did you find there? Can you give us the names? How many people were
8 there? What sort of people were they? What were their backgrounds? What
9 were their jobs? Can you please tell us about the first few hours of the
10 18th of April there. Please tell us whatever you know about it, what you
11 talked about and so on and so forth.
12 A. When I arrived there with Mr. Bogdanovic, we parked our car near
13 the barn and we ran over to the main building of the Pik because there was
14 shooting and bullets were flying all around. The building had one floor,
15 and on the first floor I found Mr. Mirko Jovanovic. Blagoje Simic was
16 there too, Simeon Simic. There were other people there, other gentlemen
17 who were there from the surrounding villages. People simply came there to
18 see what was going on, because that was one of the roads practically into
19 the city, the town. There was chaos. People were coming in and going
21 So everyone was talking about what it was that was happening, and
22 in what way fighting could break out in the town itself. I know that
23 people were talking about how to secure the infrastructure, how things
24 could be kept to function in terms of food, bread, and health protection,
25 in order to keep the town and its surroundings going and functioning
1 normally, so there wouldn't be any breakdown in the normal functions of
2 life, so that life could go on.
3 Everyone agreed that this was important and that the whole thing
4 had to be stopped as quickly as possible, so there would be no bloodshed.
5 So as to stop the undesirable consequences from ensuing.
6 Q. Mr. Popovic, was a body set up on that occasion? The whole group,
7 did you spontaneously continue working or did you sort of begin to
8 organise yourselves? Can you please explain that.
9 A. Let me tell you. The body probably was transformed into terms of
10 its name into a Crisis Staff, but as far as the people who were present
11 there, and I must point out Mr. Mirko Jovanovic, who was the then
12 president of the Executive Board and of the newly created -- I mean the
13 municipality of Serbian Samac, he was in charge and he was the head of
14 government. He said that a body should be set up, whether it was --
15 whether it would be called a staff, a civilian organ, one organ which
16 could secure the functioning of the economy, all I've talked about now,
17 the functioning of the educational institutions, of the health
18 institutions. And he said we should see which people exactly were there
19 at that moment who could make sure that the whole thing kept functioning.
20 Q. Mr. Popovic, so was a Crisis Staff set up at that point?
21 A. They asked me whether I, as a man who was always around or near
22 them, whether I would accept to be with them, to join them in that team.
23 I said I had nothing against it, if I can place myself at your disposal,
24 gentlemen. I have worked before in the economy, and I was active in the
25 political life too. At that moment, Blagoje Mirko Jovanovic and
1 Savo Popovic, at first, the three of us, we sat down and we started
2 thinking in what way specifically we could keep things functioning and
3 which people exactly we could involve in our work over the next period of
5 Q. So who were the people that you had involved?
6 A. From the economy, Stevan Todorovic, Perica Krstanovic, the
7 distribution; and as far as the health institutions were concerned, we
8 engaged a number of doctors; as far as education, Simeon Simic and Lazar
9 from Donji Zabar; Mirkic for the economy, because he was associated with
10 the economy; from Pelagicevo --
11 [Technical difficulty]
12 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Popovic, can you please slow down. We had some technical
14 problems here. Let us start from the beginning. Tell me first: You said
15 that Stevan Todorovic was in charge of economic affairs. Tell me first --
16 please wait. Let me finish, please. Let's start from the beginning. Do
17 you know whether Stevan Todorovic was appointed head of the public
18 security station in Samac? Wait, please.
19 A. Yes. Yes.
20 Q. Mr. Popovic, please slow down. Do you know whether the Serbian
21 MUP was established in March of 1992 at the level of the Republic of
22 Srpska at the time? Do you know that?
23 A. Yes, I do.
24 Q. Were the civilian authorities in Samac - and by this, I refer to
25 the Crisis Staff or any other structures of the Serbian municipality - in
1 charge of commanding the police?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Tell me whether Stevan Todorovic, at the time that you describe of
4 things taking place at Pik, was he involved as a member of the Crisis
5 Staff in the later work of the Crisis Staff?
6 A. At the time, I didn't see Stevan Todorovic. He appeared later,
7 for a brief period of time, and he used to go and we couldn't possibly
8 establish any communication with him or talk to him about what was
9 happening and how he was operating.
10 Q. Let us go back to what you said before. Since the transcript says
11 that you stated that Stevan Todorovic was appointed for economic affairs
12 on this Crisis Staff, was that true? Can you please explain that slowly.
13 Which people were appointed to the Crisis Staff?
14 A. Those were: Blagoje Simic; Savo Popovic; Mirko Jovanovic, as
15 president of the Executive Board from the previous composition; and also,
16 in this new body, Stevan Todorovic was appointed chief the public security
17 station. Therefore, he could not be appointed to be in charge of economic
18 affairs. Rather, I said that it was Lazar Mikic, from Donji Zabar, I
19 don't know exactly, was in charge of economic affairs, and another person
20 was mentioned, that it would be advisable to have him on board. And then
21 later we agreed that a man who was at the head of the civilian protection
22 should also be on the Crisis Staff. Later it turned out that that was
23 Miro Tadic.
24 Q. When was that?
25 A. A few days later.
1 Q. Was Simeon Simic a member of the Crisis Staff?
2 A. Simeon Simic joined later. He wasn't there immediately, but the
3 four that I mentioned were there on the spot, and we proposed other
4 people, even Fadil of another ethnicity was proposed to become a member.
5 Q. Which Fadil?
6 A. The brother-in-law of Simo Zaric. His name was Topcagic, I
7 think. I'm not sure.
8 Q. Are you referring to Topcagic?
9 A. Yes. His last name was Topcagic. So this body, only after they
10 left to Uniglas a few days later, given the circumstances prevailing at
11 the time, was fully established and was supposed to start operating.
12 However, this Crisis Staff was never able to become functional with all
13 its members, and I know that Mr. Simo Zaric came a few days later, and he
14 was simply supposed -- and he was in a certain way promoted as chief for
15 national security in the area of Samac.
16 Q. Tell me, Mr. Popovic: Since you mentioned Perica Krstanovic from
17 the power utility company and other professionals, how would you describe
18 the operation of the Crisis Staff, both in the narrow and the broader
19 terms? Who were those people? Who had the voting right? And could quite
20 simply in those first weeks of war conflict, how did you function, and
21 what were your duties?
22 A. Well, let me tell you: We first had to see which people -- on
23 which people we can count and what companies were of vital importance that
24 were to function in this initial period in order to provide an unhindered
25 supply for citizens. That means schools, health care, staples,
1 commodities. So we agreed that all these major companies that in fact
2 remained without their management, that we appoint coordinators to these
3 companies, and we decided that Perica Krstanovic would take charge of
4 power utility company, Dr. Nogic for health care. So I wouldn't enumerate
5 all of them.
6 In a nutshell, all companies had their coordinators. For example,
7 the trade also had its coordinator taking charge of providing supplies for
8 the population. Therefore, we asked these people to come. We discussed
9 this with them and explained to them what their tasks in the forthcoming
10 period were to be.
11 Q. Tell me, Mr. Popovic: For how long did the Crisis Staff function
12 in that -- on that location, and did it move to another location later?
13 A. We remained about two or three days - I cannot say exactly - but
14 since the space that we used was not safe, we decided to move to Uniglas,
15 which is about 100 metres downwards across the railway track, and this
16 facility had a shelter. And we were in a sort of way isolated from the
18 Q. Did you have a lawyer on your Crisis Staff?
19 A. Well, you see, there was a suggestion while we were still in Pik
20 and I think Mr. Mirko Jovanovic said that, and proposed Mr. Mitar Mitrovic
21 from Obudovac, who was a lawyer with the agricultural cooperative. He was
22 an ambitious man, with good prospects, and at the time we believed that it
23 would be advisable to have such a person for legal matters.
24 Q. What did Bozo Ninkovic do?
25 A. Bozo Ninkovic was entrusted with taking care of technical matters
1 relating to information, so he was supposed to be at hand to us if we
2 needed something, since at the time he worked for the Ministry of Defence,
3 or rather, the secretariat for defence, and he spent the whole time with
4 us and he provided his services to all of us there at the Pik and in the
6 Q. In the first period, did the Crisis Staff take the decision to
7 impose a state of emergency?
8 A. As far as I know, we did not adopt any decisions. We simply
9 discussed what is to be -- what was to be done in terms of organisation.
10 But as for any decision on introducing, we didn't take such a decision.
11 Q. Tell me, Mr. Popovic: What did the Crisis Staff do regarding the
12 Serbian detainees in Odzak in April and May? Who did it appeal to?
13 A. Well, this problem of people detained in the area of Odzak
14 municipality was kind of imposed on us, because there was --
15 communications were totally cut off across the river Bosna with the
16 Serbian population in Trnjak, Dubica, Novi Grad, and other places,
17 Serb-populated places. They -- the detainees, about 4.000 of Serbs, were
18 located in one place, and our task was to use the media and inform --
19 Q. Please slow down, Mr. Popovic. You are speaking much too fast,
20 and we cannot have everything you say on the transcript. I know that you
21 have to tell us a lot, but please be calm and explain this slowly.
22 Continue, please.
23 A. So I mentioned that according to some information, there were
24 about 4.000 Serbian detainees in Novi Grad. So let's say that was a
25 camp. And our role and task were to inform the general public, through
1 the media, and to request that these people be released and to cross over
2 to the territory of Samac. And in doing that, we asked television, the
3 press. I know that a man from the Oslobodjenje newspaper called me, who
4 used to live in Samac. His name was Mato. He asked me what was going on
5 in Novi Grad and what was going on in Samac. I gave him information and
6 asked him to write articles in his newspapers demanding that these people
7 be released and be let go wherever they wanted to go.
8 Q. Mr. Popovic, I presume that you also appealed both to the
9 international and domestic public concerning the situation with the Serbs
10 in Odzak; is that right?
11 A. That's right. Whomever we knew, and whenever we could get in
12 touch with international organisations, we sent faxes demanding them to
13 intervene for those people to be released.
14 Q. I suppose that you also addressed the federal organs in Yugoslavia
15 concerning our people in Odzak. Just say yes.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Tell me, Mr. Popovic: On the Crisis Staff, did you extensively
18 discuss these issues concerning the Serbs in Odzak?
19 A. We were preoccupied with that issue that we spent most of the time
20 dealing with, trying to find a way how to bring these people back, because
21 their families or relatives managed to pull out before that or remained on
22 this side.
23 Q. Did you get in touch with the representatives of the Croatian side
24 regarding the release of people in Odzak; and if you did, who initiated
25 these contacts?
1 A. As far as I knew, I believe - I don't believe I know - that that
2 was taken care of by Mr. Tadic and Simo Zaric. They maintained contacts
3 through communication channels in order to find a way to pull these people
5 Q. Tell me: Do you know anything about the behaviour of
6 Stevan Todorovic and his police and the volunteers from Serbia in these
7 first few weeks in Samac? Specifically, were there any arrests?
8 A. Since Stevan Todorovic, as a civilian authority, did not accept,
9 and Stevan and his police acted independently, surely they had - and that
10 turned out to be true later - they made some arrests when they -- when the
11 police station and other municipal institutions were captured, lists were
12 found, and they knew which people from the SDA and HDZ were linked and
13 whether they should be arrested in order to acquire information who else
14 was involved in the SDA and HDZ, HVO formations, as they were used to
16 Q. Tell me, Mr. Popovic: What do you know about a tragic event in
17 Crkvina sometime around the 8th of May, 1992, between the 7th and 8th of
18 May, 1992, when a number of non-Serbian persons were killed?
19 A. About this horrendous event that we all comment on, I heard only a
20 few days later, because that was kept secret by Stevan Todorovic's police,
21 and those other men who were involved in that, and we found out who
22 committed this horrible crime.
23 Q. Just a moment. We had an interruption. The last thing that we
24 heard from you is that you learnt who was the perpetrator of that terrible
25 crime. Please continue, but slowly.
1 A. A few days later, we learnt who the perpetrator of that crime
2 was. We didn't know immediately who was involved in all that. We only
3 found out about that a few days later, and we demanded that it be
4 established precisely, that it be condemned, and the perpetrators to be
5 brought to justice. I know that Mr. Savo Cancarevic, a police commander,
6 was involved, probably somebody from the military was also involved in a
7 way in this horrendous murder.
8 Q. Just a moment.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Weiner.
10 MR. WEINER: Yes, Your Honour. He's using a lot of phrases: We,
11 "we demanded that it be established precisely," whatever that means.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
13 MR. WEINER: "We didn't know who was involved." And then "I know
14 that Savo Cancarevic, a police commander, was involved, probably someone
15 from the military was also involved in this horrendous murder." Is he
16 saying that they -- Savo Cancarevic was shooting people to or ... Nothing
17 is clear in this statement.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. Can you ask the witness to
20 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Popovic, you are a serious man. You discharged various
22 functions in your lifetime. Please, this is absolutely chaotic what we
23 have on the transcript. Can you speak at this pace that I am talking to
24 you now. Please answer this question, but slowly. When you say "we," who
25 are you referring to? To the Crisis Staff? And the people from the
1 civilian authorities?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Please wait a minute. Let us clarify what you said. We have a
4 confusion here about what you said, Mr. Popovic. Did we understand you
5 correctly that Savo Cancarevic, the police commander, and some other
6 bodies from the military, were in charge of investigating the crime? Is
7 that what you said? Wait a minute, please.
8 Who, according to your knowledge, since you said that there were
9 rumours about that, who committed this crime, as far as you know, that all
10 the civilian authorities and all the residents of Samac condemned? Tell
12 A. I said that I learnt, and the Crisis Staff learned about that a
13 few days later, that that was committed by Lugar, a man called Lugar. And
14 what I was just telling you about the investigation --
15 Q. Mr. Popovic, let us go back to the beginning.
16 A. Very well.
17 Q. Who was investigating this crime?
18 A. This crime was investigated by the police commander,
19 Savo Cancarevic.
20 Q. Who had committed the crime in Crkvina?
21 A. Lugar was the perpetrator.
22 Q. In those days when the crime was committed, did you enter the hall
23 or the premises where the crime occurred, personally?
24 A. I couldn't enter. I was at the Uniglas building, and I was in no
25 position to be where the crime took place. So I was not in Crkvina. I
1 was in Samac, at the Uniglas building. And I said that I had learnt, like
2 all the others, several days later after the vicious crime.
3 Q. Do you have a brother?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. What's his name?
6 A. His name is Ranko.
7 Q. Was he a police officer in May 1992?
8 A. Ranko was an active-duty policeman. He was an officer with the
9 police at that time.
10 Q. I asked you all these questions because there is a Prosecution
11 witness who got the names all muddled up. So this is an opportunity for
12 us to clarify this once and for all. That's why I asked you this
14 A. Very well.
15 Q. Mr. Popovic, the police authorities, what did they do upon
16 learning of the murder in Crkvina?
17 A. That's why I said and mentioned the name of Mr. Savo Cancarevic.
18 He was engaged in some way. Now, who he had received orders from, I don't
19 know, to carry out the entire investigation. He didn't tell the public
20 about what had happened and who had been hurt and who had been behind the
21 whole thing.
22 Q. Mr. Popovic, on or about the 19th of May, the JNA left the area;
23 isn't that correct?
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. Which units -- which unit was set up as part of the army of
1 Republika Srpska in the Samac area at that time?
2 A. The Posavina Brigade was set up.
3 Q. Who was its first commander, the first commander of the Posavina
4 Brigade? I suppose we're talking about the 2nd Posavina Brigade.
5 A. Well, yes. We named it the 1st, but later it was renamed as the
6 2nd Posavina Brigade. Because Brcko also had a brigade, and that brigade
7 was referred to as the 1st, and the 2nd was the Posavina Brigade.
8 Q. Who was the first commander of the 2nd Posavina Brigade?
9 A. While the Tactical Group was present, it was in some way
10 Mr. Stevan Nikolic was the coordinator of all those activities
11 concerning --
12 Q. Wait a minute. Please, listen carefully to my question. The JNA
13 left. Stevan Nikolic left. After the 19th of May, 1992, that's my
14 question, according to your information, who was the commander?
15 A. Mr. Colonel --
16 THE INTERPRETER: The interpretation didn't get the name.
17 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation] Can you please repeat the name?
18 A. Colonel Djurdjevic.
19 Q. Colonel Djurdjevic. Is Colonel Djurdjevic a relation of yours?
20 A. He is my brother-in-law.
21 Q. That leads me to assume that you -- the two of you are close and
22 that you discussed certain details.
23 A. Yes, yes, we did.
24 Q. How long was Colonel Djurdjevic the commander of the 2nd Posavina
1 A. Only for a brief period of time, because he was exposed --
2 Q. Go easy. You'll explain everything.
3 A. Because he was under pressure from Mr. Todorovic, Crni, Debeli,
4 and the others. They said that he was inept because he was a
5 communications officer by profession, and they said that he couldn't be in
6 charge of a tactical -- I mean a brigade like that.
7 Q. You said he was an engineer by profession, is that correct, not a
8 communications officer?
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. What was the role of the Superior Command and Colonel Dencic
11 concerning the appointment of Djurdjevic first to the 2nd Posavina Brigade
12 and then later to a different position? He was your relation, so probably
13 you did discuss that at the time. Tell us what you know about it. Was
14 there a Superior Command?
15 A. In terms of military structure, we all belonged to the East Bosnia
16 Corps, and Colonel Dencic was the chief of that corps, the commander.
17 Everything that concerned the brigades, down the chain of command, orders
18 were coming from the corps. Mr. Djurdjevic had been appointed by
19 Mr. Dencic, who was the Corps Commander.
20 Q. Tell me, please: Colonel Djurdjevic, which position was he
21 appointed to after leaving Samac, according to your information?
22 A. After the unfortunate events that had occurred and his forced
23 dismissal by the group I talked about, who came in with a number of their
24 own battalion commanders and demanded that he leave his duty, that he
25 resign immediately and leave his position. Later I found out from him
1 that he had been transferred or, rather, assigned to the 1st Bosnian [as
2 interpreted] in Brcko. He was appointed the brigade commander there.
3 That brigade was bigger and stronger than the one in Samac, in terms of
4 its structure.
5 MR. PANTELIC: Just a correction to the transcript. Page 20, line
6 22. Instead of 1st Bosnian in Brcko, it should be 1st Posavina Brigade in
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, the 1st Posavina.
10 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. You were at the Crisis Staff at the heating plant when
12 Colonel Djurdjevic came to see you; isn't that correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Who else was there with you? And can you describe what happened
16 A. I was there. Blagoje was there too. I was there, Mitar Mitrovic
17 was there, Simeon was there.
18 Q. Slowly, please. Slowly.
19 A. Bozo Ninkovic is the man who was in charge of intelligence and
20 information. Mr. Djurdjevic came in. He greeted us. He told us about
21 problems related to supplies. The army didn't have enough food or
22 equipment. They were running out of uniforms. All those problems related
23 to that. He told us about them.
24 We looked through the window and we saw vehicles arriving. They
25 pulled over, and Stevan Todorovic came out, escorted by several battalion
1 commanders. They came upstairs. They sat down. The commanders were
2 standing there, armed. He said that Commander Djurdjevic could no longer
3 remain in his position as the head of the Posavina Brigade, because there
4 was another person who was better suited or more qualified to run the
5 thing, and that was Crni. He said the whole thing had been arranged at
6 corps level.
7 Mr. Djurdjevic, Mico, told me: Please don't get involved. Let
8 the thing run its course. Mr. Todorovic said: Unless we have this our
9 way, the way we have requested, and the way battalion commanders want it
10 to be, there could be great problems. He said that we, as a civilian
11 organ, were not to interfere with the military component or the military
13 After that, those gentlemen left. Crni took over, according to
14 our information, took over the command of the 2nd Posavina Brigade, and
15 Mr. Dencic, as a superior commander at corps level, gave him the rank of
16 lieutenant colonel, because he had no rank, so he was not qualified to
17 command the army. Now, how that had been agreed or who had been behind
18 it, those were the orders that reached the Posavina Brigade.
19 Q. According to your information, Stevan Todorovic, did he have any
20 relation to the military structures in Belgrade? If you know what sort of
21 relationship there was, tell us, please.
22 A. As far as I know, whenever he came to see us, he would phone
23 certain persons and he would say: I know this general or that general,
24 General Bajic, Colonel Jeremic, people like those. He did drop a couple
25 of other names. Whether he was directly linked with them or not, we don't
1 know, but he threatened us all the time that if we tried anything to
2 interfere with the military structures or the police, we would be
3 stopped. He stalled our work and he forbade us to interfere with the
4 police and military structures.
5 Q. Mr. Popovic, how would you describe the relationship between you,
6 personally, and your colleagues from the Crisis Staff with Stevan
7 Todorovic and the volunteers? We're speaking about the period of May and
8 June. How would you describe the relationship? Were you on friendly
9 terms? Were you allies?
10 A. I knew Stevan Todorovic as a man who was abrasive. He liked to
11 put himself first. He thought he could do anything. And I had the
12 feeling that he had used his connections in Serbia, and those people who
13 arrived in the Samac area, as a team that was supposed to work with him,
14 to cooperate with him as some sort of a force that would secure a certain
15 sense of safety for us. However, it turned out that those people who had
16 arrived were simply there for his own purposes, and to all of us they were
17 just a menace to our lives. No one was supposed to stand up against them
18 or oppose them. Their lives would be in danger, or those of their
20 He tried to eliminate all those who didn't share his opinions, who
21 didn't share the opinions of Stevan Todorovic. He tried to have these
22 people eliminated from the structures, from the civilian structures and
23 from Samac municipality. You could feel this, and you could see this,
24 because this had happened with the late Milos Bogdanovic, who, in a way,
25 posed a problem for Stevan Todorovic. He was an obstacle.
1 There were games going on in the wings, and this man had been
2 accused, falsely accused, as it turned out later, and they arranged that
3 he could no longer be the head of defence ministry, or rather, the
4 secretariat for National Defence.
5 Another thing I need to add: In my opinion, the president of the
6 Executive Board, Mirko Jovanovic, was also removed by force, who, on one
7 occasion, banged his fist against the table and said: I am the president
8 of the Executive Board, not you, Mr. Todorovic. It's down to me. I'm the
9 one calling the shots as far as the civilian structures are concerned.
10 And I will not let you, the police, interfere.
11 After several days, after receiving threats from Crni and his
12 people who had arrived, Mirko Jovanovic had to step down as the president
13 of the Executive Board.
14 Q. Mr. Popovic, as the corridor had been broken through towards the
15 end of June 1992, and the Krajina Corps entered its area, the area of
16 responsibility of Odzaci [phoen] and later also Samac, what did you and
17 Blagoje Simic do concerning the volunteers? Who did you get in touch
18 with, and what was the result of your contacts? Who did you talk to about
19 this problem you had with this particular group?
20 A. As I'm a man who was present at the staff, as we refer to it now,
21 I knew what was being done and what the aims of that group were, that it
22 was a group of plunderers and looters, renegades, practically. Now,
23 whether he was in charge, whether he commanded them, whether he took part
24 in their operations or just whether he was carrying out their orders, it
25 was Stevan Todorovic. I proposed to Blagoje that we should go and see
1 Mr. Colonel Novica Simic, who I think was a major at that point, or
2 lieutenant colonel, in Odzak, to talk to him and ask him to make it
3 possible for us to go and see General Talic and request assistance from
4 the general as regarded the military structures, because we could no
5 longer put up with what Crni was doing.
6 So an appointment was made for us to immediate General Talic.
7 Mr. Blagoje Simic and I went to the village of Osjecani, near Doboj, where
8 the command was based, the headquarters. General Talic was there. We
9 told the general about all the problems that Samac, as a municipality, was
10 facing at the level of civilian government. We told him about what was
11 happening in relation to the 1st [as interpreted] Posavina Brigade. We
12 appealed for -- we appealed to him to provide assistance. He listened to
13 our story and he told us that he knew what had been going on over there.
14 He said he would send over Mr. Mile Beronja - I think he was a major at
15 that point, and he was the head of the 1st Tactical Group in Odzak.
16 After several days, because communications had already been set up
17 with the 1st Krajina Corps, through military communications, a number of
18 dismissals were made, and Mr. Beronja was appointed commander of our
19 Posavina Brigade.
20 Q. Mr. Popovic, please tell us: When Commander Beronja was
21 appointed, were some other officers appointed to security tasks in the
22 brigade at the same time?
23 A. Yes. All of that was, in a way, subordinated, because Crni was
24 the commander, so it was only logical to expect that Beronja, as the new
25 brigade commander, would appoint his own man and put his own man in charge
1 of security issues. And he brought Mr. Jez, who was, I think, a captain,
2 and I think he had been a security officer at the Laktas Brigade, part of
3 the Tactical Group in Odzak, and --
4 Q. Mr. Popovic, on page 25, line 4 of the transcript, you said the
5 1st Posavina Brigade. Actually, it should be the 2nd Posavina Brigade.
6 Are we talking about the 2nd Posavina Brigade?
7 A. Yes, yes, the 2nd.
8 Q. Mr. Popovic, tell me: At that time, were the volunteers removed
9 from the territory of Samac municipality when Beronja was appointed
11 A. As far as I know - I'm speaking for myself - Beronja did a kind of
12 purging of these battalions from these volunteers. But in a certain way,
13 individuals were still present in the area of Samac, because somehow they
14 should have been expelled and removed from the territory of Samac
16 Q. Were they expelled?
17 A. That was very difficult.
18 [Technical difficulty]
19 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Popovic, we had technical problems. Could you please go back
21 to the beginning. I asked you: Were they expelled from the area?
22 A. Yes, they were removed, and quite simply were not allowed to stay
23 any longer in the territory of Samac municipality.
24 Q. Can you stop here, and then we shall proceed slowly. Do you know
25 about the operation which resulted in the military administration in Odzak
1 in June 1992?
2 A. After the liberation or, rather, when the 1st Krajina Corps
3 entered the area of Odzak municipality, these contacts were established
4 connected with Samac, and several days later, Colonel Vujinovic came to
5 Samac. He was the assistant commander for civilian affairs of the 1st
6 Krajina Corps. He requested our Crisis Staff to second a number of people
7 to be dispatched to this area and become involved in organising civilian
8 life there and the acceptance of people to return, the people who had left
9 the area.
10 Q. Do you know anything about the order by General Talic, the
11 commander of the 1st Krajina Corps, to introduce military administration
12 in July -- in June 1992? Just say yes or no.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. One correction. I was referring to July 1992.
15 Mr. Popovic, did you go to Odzak as an economist? Did you go on
16 of your own volition or as a tourist or on orders or within the framework
17 of your work obligation? Can you please explain that.
18 A. After the colonel's request from the Samac municipality to have
19 certain number of people transferred to this area, I was given a decision
20 within my work obligation to go there and do certain jobs in the area of
21 Odzak municipality. So I got this decision from our ministry. At the
22 time, it was necessary, and Miroslav Tadic came a few days later to take
23 care of this civilian protection domain, and Simo Zaric came as a person
24 in charge of both civilian and military security, in order to be present
25 in Odzak municipality. And those were our assignments made by our
2 Q. Mr. Popovic, when you say "our ministry," can you be more
3 specific? We have people here who don't know what "our ministry" is.
4 A. That was the secretariat for defence of Samac municipality. That
5 is the organ that we received --
6 Q. Wait a second. Are you referring to the department of the
7 Ministry of Defence of Republika Srpska in Samac?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. In Odzak, that was under military administration, were
10 representatives of other surrounding municipalities, as well as
11 representatives from the villages in Odzak municipality, can you tell us
12 the names of the people who were on the military administration council
13 and what kind of duties they discharged? When you tell us the names,
14 since we have the transcript in English, could you please pronounce their
15 names slowly so that we can have them correctly on the transcript.
16 A. I went to Odzak. I reported to the commander of this formation,
17 and I said that I had been given a written decision to report to him. He
18 told me: Please have a seat. He explained to me what the role and the
19 task of that body that I was supposed to run, as a man who came from
20 Samac, in order to establish a body or an organ, to include
21 representatives of local communes in the territory of Odzak municipality,
22 and that involved Ljubo Goranovic, from Trnjak; Aco Minic, from Donja
23 Dubica; Dusko Galic, from the town of Odzak; Miso Pavic, from Novi Grad;
24 Rakic, from Svilaj, I don't remember his first name; Kojic, from Josava,
25 I think his first name was Milenko.
1 THE INTERPRETER: The interpretation didn't get the name of the
3 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Slowly, Mr. Popovic, please. The interpreters, because you are
5 really speaking at a deadly pace -- please name the names slowly. They
6 didn't get the name of the village. Did you see Gnionice? Slowly,
7 Mr. Popovic. There was a large number of people involved in this council,
8 mainly representatives from local communes of Odzak municipality and of
9 the surrounding municipalities. Is that right?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. The commander of the military administration was the man who
12 approved all these appointments and who ran the whole military
13 administration work.
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. WEINER: I'd object. I'd move to strike his answer. The
16 counsel is testifying at this point.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. That was a very leading
18 question. Can you rephrase it?
19 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, yes, Your Honour. I do apologise. I tried to
20 control the witness, you know, because he is so confused and he's speaking
21 with unnecessary detail. So I tried to put him in tracks.
22 MR. WEINER: Your Honour --
23 MR. PANTELIC: I will rephrase the question.
24 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, if he asks one question at a time, it
25 would help, instead of these long questions that have five different
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can we get back to the witness so that he can
3 give the evidence.
4 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, yes, of course.
5 Q. [Interpretation] So, Mr. Popovic, tell me: You already explained
6 that there were a lot of people on the council discharging various
7 duties. Later we shall discuss a number of documents relating to this.
8 Could you please explain to the Chamber how the military administration
9 functioned. Explain what the role of the commander of the military
10 administration was, and tell us his name, of course.
11 A. The Tactical Group commander was at the head. Initially it was
12 Major or Lieutenant Colonel Novica Simic. And as they were rotating at
13 the head of the Tactical Group, equally, that person would also assume the
14 role of the commander of the military administration. Mr. Simic was
15 replaced by another commander.
16 Myself and the other people on the council were -- had the task
17 and the role to organise life for the people who were supposed to return
18 and who started to return to their respective local communes. In other
19 words, we were supposed to organise the infrastructure, which means
20 electricity, water, regular supplies for the population, education system,
21 health care system, civilian protection, the Red Cross, and other utility
22 affairs within the domain or that had impact on civilian life. Everything
23 else was exclusively under the jurisdiction of the Tactical Group command,
24 and this Tactical Group had its own rules or, rather, orders how --
25 relating to the behaviour of the civilian sector, governing how and in
1 what way we could come into or out of this zone.
2 [Technical difficulty]
3 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Popovic, we had another interruption. I apologise.
5 As members of the council, were you allowed to take any
6 independent decisions in the domain of work that you took care of in
7 Odzak? Can you explain that, just briefly, please.
8 A. We were not allowed to do anything independently. Whatever idea
9 we had, we had to present this to the commander of the military
10 administration, and it was up to him to listen to us and then approve or
11 not approve. Whatever was to be done in this territory, we needed full
12 endorsement from the commander of the Tactical Group, who was at the head
13 of this administration.
14 Everything was divided according to their areas of responsibility
15 of various brigades in their respective zones of responsibility. They
16 have their own rounded areas, and neither -- the civilians were not
17 allowed to cross from one zone to another without explicit permission from
18 security organs in the areas where their units were located. So
19 practically, we were all under the control in terms of movement and
20 working, of this council and of the civilians who at the time lived in the
21 area of Odzak municipality.
22 Q. Under whose control were you, as members of the council?
23 A. We were under the control of security organs of the Tactical Group
24 1, or if we move downwards, that was under the control of security organs
25 of their units, in their respective areas. There was a man in charge of
1 security in a particular area. You have to report to this person if you
2 move onwards to another local commune, where another unit was deployed.
3 You had to first report to another security organ --
4 Q. When you say "the Tactical Group," you were referring to the
5 military unit that was in charge in the area of responsibility of Odzak?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Yes. Can you please be precise in order to avoid any confusion in
8 the transcript. Tell me, please, for how long were you personally member
9 of the military administration council? Tell us the exact period. When
10 did you become member of the council and for how long did you discharge
11 this duty? Just give me the time frame, without any further explanations.
12 A. I discharged this duty until the end of February or March 1993,
13 and then changes were introduced in running this military administration,
14 and I became just a member of the personnel in charge of a specific
15 centre, and the council itself ceased to operate.
16 Q. When did you become member?
17 A. From July --
18 Q. Which year? July which year, Mr. Popovic?
19 A. July 1992, between the 20th and the 25th of July, 1992, until the
20 end of March 1993.
21 Q. Very well. When you came to Odzak, were there any residents there
22 from the territory of Odzak? Who did you find there?
23 A. Well, upon the arrival of these units of the 1st Krajina Corps, a
24 number of civilians returned with them. But mainly there was no one there
25 from the former residents that used to live there before the units entered
1 the town. So two or three days prior to their arrival in Odzak, they all
2 left, and they just took the belongings that they could carry with them,
3 because the HVO was present in this area. And I heard that an order had
4 been issued that everyone must leave and take with them a number of Serbs
5 that they kept in detention in Odzak in Novi Grad, and that they took them
6 with you [as interpreted], and that later they were in the area of
7 Slavonski Brod or other parts of Slavonia.
8 Q. When you say, Mr. Popovic, that an order was issued, who issued
9 the order on withdrawal of the civilian population?
10 A. I heard that that was done by the HVO, in agreement with the
11 authorities and commands from Croatia, because they operated in concert.
12 Q. When you say "Odzak," are you referring to the entire territory of
13 Odzak municipality?
14 A. Yes, the entire territory of Odzak municipality, where Croats,
15 Muslims, and a number of Serbs used to live. And these Serbs -- the Serbs
16 who were detained were taken away with them before the territory was
18 Q. Tell me, Mr. Popovic: I would like now to discuss with you a
19 document that you have provided for the Defence counsel.
20 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues]... Of Defence
21 document ODZ-1. It was already provided to our learned friends from the
22 Prosecution. The title of document is, "The obligatory instructions on
23 tasks of the military administration's organs, public state organs and
24 other bodies," issued on October 10th, 1992, by the Ministry of Defence of
25 Republika Srpska. So very briefly I will discuss a couple of articles of
1 this document. These are three copies for the Trial Chamber and two
2 copies for the registry, and the Court officer.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Popovic, the registrar in Belgrade, who is
4 sitting next do you, can she please show you the document? Do you have it
5 in front of you?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 Q. That means we can proceed discussing the document. Mr. Popovic,
8 can you please tell me: When you saw this obligatory instruction for the
9 first time, in which period of time? Tell me briefly. Which time of
11 A. That was towards the end of 1992.
12 Q. Mr. Popovic --
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Maybe we should have a copy put on the ELMO so
14 the accused persons can see what we're talking about.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely. That's correct. But I think --
16 Mr. Usher, you can put on the ELMO, please, the B/C/S version. But I'm --
17 I don't think that it would be possible, because we suffered the same
18 problems yesterday. When we have a document here on the ELMO, and then
19 when we push the button video evidence, we are receiving the videolink
20 from Belgrade, actually, the -- actually, the witness by himself. So we
21 cannot see this document here.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: We can proceed, because what is important is that
23 the witness has got a copy at the table where he's sitting.
24 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour, of course.
25 Q. [Interpretation] Tell me, please, Mr. Popovic. You said that
1 towards the end of 1991 you first found out about this document. Can you
2 please tell me, if you look at Article 1 -- I will read the first item of
3 this document: "The organs of military administration, in cooperation
4 with republican and state organs, carry out administration, expert, and
5 other types of work regulated by laws and regulations based on law.
6 THE INTERPRETER: May the booth please be provided with a copy of
7 this document.
8 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Tell me, Mr. Popovic: What did this mean in practice? Can you
10 please explain this to us?
11 A. What this meant, in practice, is that all these segments were
12 governed by the military administration. As a council, we were an
13 executive body that was supposed to act on these instructions and carry
14 out our tasks in accordance with our instructions. We didn't have any
15 written orders. We only received oral instructions. You are to do this
16 and that. You should carry out this and that. You should organise the
17 reception of returnees. You should cooperate with the Executive Board of
18 Samac municipality concerning the securing of material supplies, so that
19 the returnees could survive, in order to organise the proper functioning
20 of the health system, and those people who were returning, to organise for
21 a doctor to visit the Odzak area, to organise the transport of the
22 population, to organise for transport and set up a bus line, if possible.
23 The public works and the public utilities were to be linked with
24 the communal works in Samac. The Pik factory in Samac was to be linked up
25 with the farms in Odzak or in Novi Grad, and coordinators were to be
1 appointed for that. And through our companies in Samac, they would keep
2 working. But again, only as approved and as ordered by the military
3 administration. You couldn't do anything without their approval and their
4 consent. All those who were in charge of organising this whole thing had
5 to go to the military administration or, rather, to the command, see the
6 commander, talk to him, and obtain approval or permission as to what they
7 could do and what they couldn't do.
8 Q. Mr. Popovic, please tell me: As the chief activity, was the
9 return of refugees. This return of refugees, did this apply to all
10 refugees, regardless of their ethnic background, or were any distinctions
12 A. No distinctions were being made. Everyone was to be received, all
13 those who wished to return. But again, approval had to be obtained, and
14 there was a certain procedure that had to be followed, regardless of
15 whether a person was a Serb, a Croat, or a Muslim. The whole thing had to
16 go through their security organs, and only then could they obtain
17 permission to return to their homes, which means there was no ban, no
18 prohibition against anyone. Whoever wished to return could do so.
19 Q. During your work with the council, or the military administration,
20 do you know of any cases where non-Serbs returned to the Odzak area, the
21 area of Odzak municipality?
22 A. Yes, of course. I know a man who worked with the Red Cross. He
23 was a Croat. And there were a couple of other names too that I can't
24 remember now, but they came and were received. They came there, and no
25 one caused them any trouble. He was even actively involved. This means
1 that all those who wished to, could do so. There were a couple of those
2 who were of a different ethnic background.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Okay. I would like to tender into evidence this
4 document, Your Honour, if there are no objections from the Prosecution
6 JUDGE MUMBA: There's no objection.
7 MR. WEINER: No objection.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have the number, please.
9 THE REGISTRAR: This document is marked D185/3 and ter.
10 MR. PANTELIC: No, no, no. Ms. Registrar, I'm /1 in internal --
11 and Mr. Lukic is /3, and we have /4, Mr. Lazarevic. Of course, "P" is for
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Thank you.
14 THE REGISTRAR: If you could please give me a moment to find the
15 next number.
16 THE REGISTRAR: [Belgrade] [Inaudible]
17 JUDGE MUMBA: The witness can go ahead. We can get the number
19 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Popovic --
21 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues]... Appropriate time
22 for the break, because I have another document to discuss with this
23 witness, so maybe we shall not have enough time to --
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well. We'll take our break now and continue
25 our proceedings at 11.00.
1 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We'll have the number of the exhibit first.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. The number of the last exhibit tendered is
5 D167/1 and ter.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
7 Mr. Pantelic.
8 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Popovic, let us discuss another document now,
10 that is, the rules for entering the zone of Tactical Group 1 or the
11 military administration zone.
12 MR. PANTELIC: I have three copies for the Trial Chamber and two
13 for registrar and court officer.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Can the booth have one document, please.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Regulations on entering TG 1 zone by various
16 publicly or privately owned firms, et cetera, issued by the commander
17 Colonel Ratomir Simic on April 8th, 1993.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, the booth are asking for a copy, if
19 anything is going to be read, especially.
20 MR. PANTELIC: No. Just to make comments in general, so I don't
21 have intention to ...
22 JUDGE MUMBA: All right.
23 MR. PANTELIC: Internal number, for the benefit of our friends
24 from the Prosecution, is ODZ 2. In B/C/S language it's version of one
25 page, and translation is two pages.
1 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Popovic, I see -- do you have this document,
2 Regulations of entering the zone of TG 1?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can you please describe for us: How did that work in practice?
5 Because that was an order issued by the commander of the military
6 administration. Tell me: How did it work in practice? I'm particularly
7 interested in the movement of individuals and material and equipment into
8 the military administration zone and outside of the zone. How did it look
9 like in practice?
10 A. Well, this was like this: Within the civilian domain, we had a
11 secretary or a technical professional who kept record of what the civilian
12 requirements were so that within the area of responsibility, or rather,
13 Odzak municipality, that they can be -- go in or out of the zone. This
14 was done by Mrs. Jelena Zaric. A person was supposed to go to her, give
15 their personal details, and from this document you see that she had to
16 fill out certain forms, then take them to the commander to be approved or
17 to the organ that was in charge of these affairs, and that was in fact
18 Captain Todorovic, the assistant, and it was up to him to approve the
19 request or not approve.
20 Q. Mr. Popovic, let us summarise. So the person in charge was
21 Captain Todorovic, assistant commander for civilian affairs. Who was his
22 superior, according to hierarchy?
23 A. The commander, Colonel at the time, it was Ratomir Simic, and
24 before him, Colonel --
25 THE INTERPRETER: The interpretation didn't get all the names.
1 A. According to their hierarchy --
2 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Please, Mr. Popovic. Can you please repeat, starting from Colonel
4 Novica Simic onwards, but slowly, so that we can enter that into the
6 A. The first commander was Major or Lieutenant Colonel Novica Simic.
7 After he left, Lieutenant Colonel Miroslav Bandzur took the office. After
8 that came Colonel Pero Spasojevic, and his successor was Colonel Ratomir
9 Simic. And then later, Milivoje Simic was appointed this duty.
10 Q. All right. Mr. Popovic, tell me: In case it was necessary for
11 certain works to be done in the area of the military administration, who
12 was it to coordinate the workers and their coming into the area, and who
13 was in charge of that?
14 A. At the beginning, I said that everybody was interconnected in the
15 area of Odzak municipality with certain companies in Samac, in Modrica,
16 Brod. Brod was not very much involved. And the managers or, rather, the
17 coordinators, would come and present their requests concerning, for
18 instance, if it had to do with electricity, then they would come to
19 Krstanovic, Perica, and they would obtain approval to bring some material
20 into or take it out of the area. And at every entry point there were
21 checkpoints manned by military police who inspected the documents, and if
22 a person didn't have an approval from the military administration
23 commander, such person was not allowed either to go out or in. So it --
24 Q. Mr. Popovic, can you tell us when the Crisis Staff of Samac
25 municipality ceased to operate and when another body started to function,
1 and what was the name of that body?
2 A. I think it was in 1993.
3 Q. No, no, no. Please, we are going back to the year of 1992. First
4 there was a Crisis Staff of the Serbian municipality, and which body
5 succeeded it?
6 A. The War Presidency.
7 Q. When did it start to function?
8 A. As far as I know, it was sometime in July 1993.
9 Q. Maybe you are wrong. When did the Serbian municipality of Samac,
10 when did the Assembly hold its session, the first session?
11 A. The first session was held in 1992, in late March 1992.
12 Q. Wait, Mr. Popovic. Just slow down, please. First there was a
13 Crisis Staff, and it lasted -- operated until a certain point in time.
14 Then came the War Presidency, then the Municipal Assembly of the Serbian
15 municipality of Samac was held. Can you recall that?
16 A. Yeah. I confused these things a little bit. That was, I think,
17 in December or November 1993.
18 Q. Please wait, wait. You're a little bit confused. Mr. Popovic,
19 you -- in July 1992, you went to work on the council, as instructed by the
20 military administration. Which body was established at the time in Samac?
21 A. The Crisis Staff.
22 Q. Very well. Do you know anything about establishing the War
23 Presidency of Samac municipality in July 1992?
24 A. That was transformed into a War Presidency composed of three
25 men --
1 Q. Who were those three men on the War Presidency?
2 A. As far as I know, those were Blagoje Simic, Simeon, and myself.
3 The other worked on the Executive Board of the municipality, headed by
4 Milan Simic and the others.
5 Q. Okay. We have cleared that. Did the War Presidency of Samac
6 municipality, in the period between July 1992 onwards, during several
7 months, was in any way related to the operation of the military
8 administration council?
9 A. There was no relation whatsoever. As an illustration, for
10 example, if I was a member of the War Presidency, I had no reason to go to
11 Samac municipality, to the Executive Board, and try discuss things with
12 people who called themselves ministers, to persuade them that I needed
13 things for the civilians and refugees living there, in terms that I needed
14 food, fuel, seed, et cetera. If I were a superior to that person, why
15 should I go and ask him to do me a favour? I could only -- I could simply
16 give them an order. Because as far as I understood the situation, the War
17 Presidency's role was simply to verify certain formulations presented to
18 us by the Executive Board relating to what they had done in the previous
19 period. And gentlemen, pending the beginning of the Assembly coming into
20 operation, they were just supposed to do that, full stop.
21 Q. Tell me: Did the War Presidency bear any influence on the work
22 obligations from July 1992 onwards that was carried out in Odzak?
23 A. No, it did not have any influence. I have to go back again to
24 what was originally agreed, and that is that everyone was supposed to be
25 linked with enterprises in Odzak municipality. So any request would be
1 forwarded to the executive committee or, rather, to the ministry
2 Department of Defence. Based on that, every enterprise, for instance,
3 waterworks, knew what they had to do.
4 So people in Samac involved in this would either send those who
5 were supposed to do the work and issue decisions for their work
6 obligation, and if it was possible, they were paid salaries for the work
7 that they did. This is -- the same was applied for electric power,
8 utility enterprises, and other factors involved. So it was not addressed
9 by the War Presidency, because who was there on the War Presidency? If
10 Savo was in Odzak, Blagoje was alone; Simeon was engaged in information
11 affairs. So there was no need whatsoever, nor was it determined by
12 decisions that this should go through the channel of the War Presidency.
13 MR. PANTELIC: If there is no objections from the Prosecution.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: I see none. Can we have the number?
15 THE REGISTRAR: The number for this document, it's D168/1 and ter.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Mr. Usher, please. Another document that I would
17 like to discuss with this witness is the internal number ODZ 3.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Popovic, it was you who submitted this
19 document to us. On the left-hand corner there is an illegible part, but
20 it refers to an order issued by General Talic, appointing the head of the
21 military administration and other organs. As much as you can recall, can
22 you tell us when this order was issued? Because I see your name under A,
23 under B there was Pavic, Miso Pavic. So do you remember when this order
24 was issued because we can't read it in the left-hand corner.
25 A. Given the fact that that was sent by fax, so that's not very
1 discernible, I think that was in late May or early June 1993, and that
2 this order arrived, as far as I can tell -- there was some ambiguities
3 whether, in the law or the rules governing the military administration,
4 whether it was up to the head or to the chief of court to introduce
5 military administration. And therefore, a new order was issued appointing
6 Colonel Milivoje Simic, who was singled out from the command staff, and he
7 had a special occasion where he had a secretary of his own --
8 [Technical difficulty]
9 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Mr. Popovic, we had problems with the reception. Just can you
11 please comment on this? Because we see that in this military
12 administration organ, you were appointed officer for economic affairs,
13 whereas the other members covered other areas. Can you tell us: How did
14 it work in practice? What were your particular overall duties?
15 A. It's written here that I was in charge of economic affairs, but
16 when this man was appointed the head of the military administration, he
17 was dislocated from the TG command and he had his own officers. And he
18 invited the people listed here to a meeting, where he said: Gentlemen,
19 based upon the order, I am the head of the military administration, and
20 you are going to do and perform whatever I order you to do. And I think
21 that this kind of order, or the actions taken by Mr. Milivoje Simic were
22 exclusive, and he was the one who maintained all contacts with the
23 command, with the neighbouring municipalities, and he took over these
24 roles and he also went to the Executive Board of Samac and Modrica
25 municipalities and he coordinated work with them.
1 We were sort of pushed aside, and I started -- I didn't go to
2 meetings as often as I did, and I didn't have much work to do, because
3 people went solely to him. He talked to them. And whether he consulted
4 someone else or -- I don't know if he did that or not.
5 Q. Mr. Popovic, the civilian structures in Samac, more specifically,
6 the president of the Municipal Assembly, Blagoje Simic, at that time - I'm
7 speaking about 1992 - did he have any influence on the work and on the
8 organs of military administration in Odzak?
9 A. There was no way for him to exert any influence there, because the
10 army during that period was such that you had no possibility of talking to
11 them a lot. It was all about them giving orders to you, saying that they
12 needed this or that, so please go and find fuel or anything else that they
13 requested the army. It had to be done, because tasks were in question
14 concerning the defence, and there was no possibility for communication of
15 any sort.
16 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues]... Number of this
17 document, please.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
19 THE REGISTRAR: The number for this document is D169/1 and ter.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Mr. Usher. Please, could we have your
22 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Popovic, now, I have one last document to go
23 through with you, one you forwarded to us. It's a dispatch of the Main
24 Staff of the army of Republika Srpska, dated the 2nd of September, 1993.
25 It has to do with the takeover of a certain amount of corn for feeding
2 My question is the following. It's related to the supply of the
3 fodder for the cattle. How was fodder put aside for the needs of the
4 army, of the Main Staff, on the one hand, and for the republican stocks
5 and supplies, on the other hand, in the zone of the military
6 administration of Odzak? Can you please explain briefly? Who made these
7 requests? How would these requests then be carried out?
8 A. As far as the stocks and supplies are concerned, that was on the
9 jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence and the republican government
10 exclusively. But as far as the provisions for the army stationed in this
11 area were concerned, a certain company or enterprise based in Samac or
12 Modrica would, for example, have a bakery as part of their company. And
13 there was no more corn, no more wheat. So they would speak to the
14 assistant for civilian affairs, or rather, through the military
15 administration all the way to the assistant for civilian affairs of the
16 corps for the Main Staff to approve some of the supplies that were kept in
17 barns and accumulated throughout the previous period, usually wheat, which
18 was going rot because there was no electricity for circulation over
19 there. So that means the enterprise, the military administration --
20 Q. Very well. Thank you. A specific question: The civilian
21 authorities of Samac municipality, did they have any influence over the
22 way goods, supplies, and materials were distributed in the area of the
23 Odzak military administration?
24 A. No. They couldn't distribute anything, because it was all under
25 the command of the military administration.
1 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues]...
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
3 THE REGISTRAR: The number for this document is D170/1 and ter.
4 MR. WEINER: Which document are you referring to, counsel?
5 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. This is a document under the title of -- it's
6 ODZ 4. It's execution of order, dated September 2nd, 1993.
7 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
8 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Popovic, tell me, please: You remember a member of the War
10 Presidency of Samac, and although you explained there were no such
11 activities, but do you have any personal information that the War
12 Presidency of Samac, in September 1992, requested by a letter the return
13 of a group of the volunteers from Serbia via the Serbian MUP, I mean
14 Lugar, Crni, and other such people? What's your information about that?
15 A. I had no part in that, nor was I aware of the existence of any
16 such document requesting the return of volunteers. There were certain
17 assumptions, and there were rumours that the volunteers would be back,
18 because nothing was to be achieved without them. But I think it was
19 merely Stevan Todorovic's propaganda, in order to --
20 MR. WEINER: I'd move to strike. He's speculating at the end of
21 that question: I think.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
23 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Fair enough. You heard this from Todorovic and there were rumours
25 about town. So as far as I understood, you don't have --
1 MR. WEINER: I'd object.
2 A. There was no such decision.
3 MR. WEINER: It's a leading question. He just said -- I move to
4 strike because he was just speculating, and then he says, "Fair enough you
5 heard from Todorovic and there were rumours about town." He's testifying
6 for the witness. The witness just said, you know, he thought. The
7 witness was just speculating. Now he's putting -- he's giving the witness
8 an answer.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. Don't ask leading questions.
10 The witness was very much in the sphere of things, so he knows what was
11 happening. So simply put questions to him.
12 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely, Your Honour. I follow the direction.
13 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Popovic, as you were both a member of the War
14 Presidency, although you spent most of your time in Odzak, still, you were
15 a man who was in possession of certain information. Please tell me
16 accurately: The War Presidency, did it ever send any kind of letter to
17 the MUP of Serbia regarding the return of volunteers, the group including
18 Crni, Lugar, and the rest of them? I'm talking about September 1992.
19 A. Not as far as I know.
20 Q. Fair enough. What's your information concerning the arrest of
21 that group of volunteers towards the end of 1992? Do you have any
22 knowledge that they were arrested or of their eventual fate, whether any
23 charges were brought against them? Tell us what you know about those
24 events towards the end of 1992.
25 A. The group that was active in the area of Samac municipality had
1 links to both the police and the army. They committed certain crimes.
2 They were guilty of mistreatment. Arrests were made by the organs, and
3 those who were under investigation, who were suspected of having committed
4 various crimes -- I never found out myself what exactly had happened over
5 there during their interrogations or during investigations, whether anyone
6 was finally convicted or not. Eventually, those gentlemen left the area
7 of Samac municipality.
8 Q. Mr. Popovic, tell me, please: Do you have any information? Where
9 were charges brought against them? Before which court?
10 A. This was mostly done by military investigators, and this was, as
11 far as I know, within the framework of Bijeljina and Banja Luka. They
12 were in charge. Banja Luka. That's as far as I know.
13 Q. Do you have any information regarding the wounding of Mr. Blagoje
14 Simic? When did that happen?
15 A. That was in the summer. It happened --
16 Q. Which year?
17 A. 1992 or 1993. I'm not sure. Give or take a year or two. It's
18 difficult to remember. I think it was back in 1993 or 1992. It was in
19 the summer, anyway.
20 Q. Hold on, Mr. Popovic. You started working for the military
21 administration in 1992, in July. If you bear in mind that moment when you
22 began working there, in relation to that, when was Dr. Blagoje Simic
24 A. I'd say 1992.
25 Q. Tell me: Do you have any knowledge how long Mr. Blagoje Simic
1 took to recover from his wounds? Was he in touch with you? Did he ever
2 go to Odzak in that period?
3 A. No, he never went. He was being treated. He was in a
4 rehabilitation period. And I was absent too. I was in Odzak, and the War
5 Presidency ceased to function. And the only man who was there at the time
6 was Mr. Mitar Mitrovic. As far as I know, Stevan Todorovic often came to
7 see Mr. Mitar, and my information was that he had --
8 MR. WEINER: I'd object at this time.
9 A. -- He had written up a document for him to represent the
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
12 MR. WEINER: The question was about Blagoje Simic going to Odzak,
13 and he starts off by talking about Blagoje Simic apparently going to
14 Samac, which is not the question before him, and now he's off on a tangent
15 on Stevan Todorovic. He's not answering the questions. I just move to
16 strike whatever he said and let them start again.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
18 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Popovic, let us please try to clarify a number of issues.
20 Firstly, you were in Odzak; Mr. Blagoje Simic had been wounded. My
21 question is: Did Blagoje Simic come to see you in Odzak during that
23 A. After his wounding, in that period, he never came. And he wasn't
24 able to. In the area of Odzak municipality, Blagoje could only have been
25 there two or three times, to the best of my knowledge. That's when he
1 came to me and spoke to me. Whether he was there without me knowing that
2 he was actually there, I can't say.
3 Q. To the best of your knowledge, when was that when you met him
5 A. That was in 1992, when we were supposed to go and see Mr. Novica
6 Simic. That was in late August or perhaps in August. That's when he came
7 to Odzak. And we spoke to Mr. Novica Simic, and then we were off to
8 Osjecani. Throughout 1992, he did come another time. It was in the
9 afternoon hours.
10 Q. Fair enough. Mr. Popovic, there's a story developing here in the
11 course of certain testimonies by Prosecution witnesses. Was there any
12 kind of pool next to the singer Meho Puzic's house in Odzak?
13 A. As far as I know, the pool is still there, and it was there. I'm
14 not sure why the reference to the pool.
15 Q. Was this pool being used while you were in Odzak?
16 A. No, it couldn't be used, because in that period of time there was
17 no electricity. Generators were being used to pump water, sporadically.
18 Sometimes generators were used to provide water for the command building
19 and its close surroundings, but not to top up a pool for someone to take a
20 swim. Certainly not.
21 Q. Do you know anything about Mr. Blagoje Simic ever having been
22 there, near that pool in Odzak?
23 A. I have no such information.
24 Q. Tell me: What do you know about Mr. Blagoje Simic being wounded
25 and then after that who was the head of the War Presidency in Samac, in
1 practical terms?
2 A. That's exactly what I started talking about, and that's why there
3 was a misunderstanding. After Blagoje had been wounded, the three of us
4 were practically -- Mitar as a lawyer was there in those rooms, and I was
5 informed later that Mr. Todorovic had abused the War Presidency, misused
6 the War Presidency, and that a document was signed for him that he could
7 speak on behalf of the War Presidency and that he went somewhere to the
8 government or wherever, I don't know where he could go and where he could
9 introduce himself.
10 Q. Were there any cases of robberies in Odzak?
11 A. That's right, there were a number of robberies. But the situation
12 we were in as civilians, or as civilian authorities, the military security
13 were in charge of everything. It was all down to them. They had their
14 own organs, and Odzak municipality was surrounded by checkpoints manned by
15 military police officers. And inside, we had a department of the Samac
16 police station, headed by Mirko Pavic. Their role, their task, was to
17 protect property, property that was in the area. However, there was, and
18 certainly there are cases where people with a carton of cigarettes, or
19 after being bribed, could take whatever they liked, through the
20 checkpoints at night, those people there. Certainly they could. I was in
21 no position to control that. But yes, everything was hermetically cut
22 off by the military administration, that is, the command of the Tactical
23 Group number 1, the checkpoints of the military police, and you couldn't
24 pass through, you couldn't go in or out without them stopping you.
25 Q. Mr. Popovic, can you please tell us: How would you describe that
1 on the basis of your personal information? Was that organised robbery,
2 with orders being given and plans being drafted, or were those random,
3 individual cases which occur in peacetime, let alone in war? How would
4 you describe that?
5 A. We've seen the instructions a while ago. The military
6 administration had the authority to move goods from one area to another.
7 Now, whether the military administration or the command did anything
8 without the organs of civilian authority knowing about it, they could use
9 lorries to take stuff away. They didn't have to report to me, but I do
10 have information or, more specifically, I know that some of the equipment
11 had been moved to the area of responsibility of the Krajina Corps.
12 Q. During those operations where equipment was being moved, did
13 Blagoje Simic play any role in that, or any civilian bodies from Samac?
14 A. Blagoje Simic, as the president of the presidency, could not have
15 anything to do with it. If something was needed for the needs of the
16 Executive Board of Samac municipality, the Executive Board would go
17 through the military administration or an enterprise from Samac
18 municipality through the military administration. Whether something was
19 needed for the territory of Odzak municipality, iron, cement, building
20 materials, corn, wheat, that part which could have been in function of
21 Samac municipality. So that the needs of the population could be met,
22 those who were returning to the area of Odzak, and refugees who were
23 located in Samac municipality. That means, again, you need to have papers
24 to cover what you needed and who would approve or not approve the
25 commander of the military administration. If he approved, you could take
1 things out.
2 Q. According to what you know, how many Serbian refugees were
3 returned to the territory of Odzak municipality? Can you give us some
5 A. Between five and six thousand Serbs were returned. But in early
6 1993, based on the approval of the military administration and some higher
7 organs, refugees from around Zavidovici and Maglaj and other
8 municipalities started pouring in into Odzak, and they were given
9 accommodation in the town and the surrounding villages. So very soon,
10 until mid-1993, there were some 10 or 11.000 civilians in the territory of
11 Odzak municipality.
12 Q. After the Dayton Accord, do you know how many Serbs, roughly
13 speaking, remained in the territory of Odzak municipality?
14 A. At the time, I worked for another company, but as far as I know,
15 all the Serbs have left the municipality, although they thought they could
16 stay. But somebody ordered -- gave an order, the Dayton Accords were
17 signed, and nearly 100 per cent of the Serbs left the municipality of
18 Odzak. Maybe a dozen persons were left. I'm not sure, because I was not
19 involved very much in those events at the time.
20 Q. Do you know, in late 1992, was there any information signed by the
21 2nd Posavina Brigade command relating to the situation in Samac
22 municipality? Do you know anything about this document and the reasons
23 for drawing up that document?
24 A. Yes, I do know, and I know who wrote this information. That was
25 Mr. Simo Zaric, who prepared that information. I don't know on whose
1 orders that was done, but that was subject of consideration at the level
2 of Posavina Brigade command, and the desire was to create an atmosphere
3 through such information that it was somebody else among the civilian
4 authorities doing robberies, that they were not satisfied, and they were
5 not performing along the lines of the army that was covering a
6 2-kilometre-long front. And I believe that this is where certain
7 disagreement occurred among a number of personnel who imposed themselves
8 in early 1992 -- in early 1991 and 1992, but due to the lack of
9 competence, they failed to perform some other duties, and that is what I
10 believed how it was. And I am positive that they were infiltrated -- or
11 rather, assigned to this brigade, saying that this one is going to be in
12 charge of morale, the other was going to be in charge of technical
13 matters, and you cannot be a battalion commander any longer because the
14 army didn't want to have you.
15 Q. Very briefly, Mr. Popovic: According to what you know, what was
16 the reason and what was the background of this information being drawn up?
17 A. The background was, in fact, to launch a sort of coup against the
18 legal organs, and that was the civilian authorities and War Presidency.
19 Q. By whom?
20 A. By the gentlemen who were then on the Tactical Group command and
21 who wrote this information. So it is easy to see who those people were,
22 and if you allow me, one of the signatories asked me very often: How come
23 that I was on the War Presidency? Who was I elected by? And that was
24 Mr. Tubakovic and some others whose names I wouldn't like to mention. So
25 due to that, they wanted to create such a climate within the units and to
1 carry out a sort of coup and to bring some other people in, in order to
2 take over these duties.
3 MR. WEINER: Objection.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
5 MR. WEINER: Most of his testimony in the last few minutes doesn't
6 even make any sense. However, his indication of what the intent was --
7 persons who filed the document is not proper. They can -- Mr. -- there's
8 testimony indicating Mr. Zaric will testify. We've had Marko Tubakovic
9 who was one of the signatories testifying in Belgrade. Those are the
10 people who can indicate what the intent was on drafting that document and
11 publishing that document, not this gentleman who is technically being
12 accused of certain crimes or inadequacies in that document. Thank you.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, maybe this is a matter for
14 cross-examination. This is a personal knowledge of this particular
15 witness of the reasons and bases for this document, nothing more. So I
16 don't see any particular problem.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: No, Mr. Pantelic. The problem is that he is talking
18 about the intentions of the people who wrote that document, and that's
19 what the Prosecution is objecting to.
20 MR. PANTELIC: I will clarify that with -- it's hearsay. I mean,
21 that's a standard here. But I will clarify gladly with the witness,
22 then. It might be hearsay.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Weiner.
24 MR. WEINER: I'm not sure what he wants to do. I'll have to wait
25 and see and determine the relevance then.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
2 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Popovic, according to your personal knowledge, tell me: Were
4 there any attempts at setting -- at convening a meeting of the Municipal
5 Assembly in late 1992 and 1993; and if there were, who initiated that?
6 A. Well, exactly, precisely, those people --
7 Q. Which people?
8 A. The signatories of this document, of this information, requesting
9 the municipal assembly to be convened, where many issues could be
10 clarified. Whether that was true what was contained in this information
11 or not, but nevertheless, the assembly was convened.
12 Q. What conclusions were made at the assembly?
13 A. The conclusions were that everything remained much the same as it
14 were, because many things were not contained in the information, for
15 instance, that the War Presidency was not the initiator of the events
16 mentioned there.
17 Q. Did the Municipal Assembly accept this information or reject it?
18 A. They rejected it.
19 Q. Did any of the signatories or any other military personnel want to
20 have a place in civilian authorities? But briefly, please.
21 A. I tried to give you specific answers, but it turned out that I
22 wanted to --
23 MR. WEINER: Once again, I'd object, and he said the same thing.
24 He's talking about the intention of military authorities to have a place,
25 whatever that means, in civilian authorities.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Perhaps the witness can say if he heard anything
2 like that. And also, Mr. Pantelic, in order for the record to make sense,
3 I wanted to find out the exhibit number of this document in which this
4 information was contained, because it's been discussed at length. It's an
5 exhibit, isn't it, I think.
6 Mr. Weiner.
7 MR. WEINER: I could help. P127, Your Honour.
8 MR. PANTELIC: P127, yes.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
10 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. So, Mr. Popovic, very briefly, tell me: What do you personally
12 know about the motives and intents of the signatories of this document?
13 What was their specific desire?
14 A. Their wish was to change the civilian authorities in Samac.
15 Q. Since you cooperated with Dr. Blagoje Simic, tell me: Was
16 Dr. Blagoje Simic in any manner involved in military operations on the
17 night between the 16th and 17th of April, 1992, as far as you know?
18 A. As far as I know, he could not have been involved in these
19 operations, because I --
20 MR. WEINER: I'd object at this point. He's saying as far as he
21 knows; he's speculating at this point. There's no indication he was with
22 Dr. Simic. He indicated he was home sleeping in Crkvina. He wasn't even
23 in Bosanski Samac. And now he starts off: "As far as I know," which
24 means he's speculating.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
1 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Popovic, did Blagoje Simic, while you worked together on the
3 Crisis Staff and other organs, tell you that he had played a role in
4 bringing in the volunteers from Serbia?
5 MR. WEINER: Now Mr. Pantelic is testifying.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That is a leading question, Mr. Pantelic.
7 Maybe you are through with this witness. That's why you're having a
9 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I have just a couple of questions with
10 regard to the -- I'll finish with him.
11 Q. [Interpretation] Tell me, Mr. Popovic: As a member of the Crisis
12 Staff and the War Presidency, did you, or did these bodies, take any
13 discriminatory decisions against non-Serbs in Samac?
14 A. No. We have never adopted such decisions.
15 Q. Tell me: Did the Crisis Staff of Samac municipality pass a
16 decision to isolate Croats or to place them on vital facilities in the
18 A. No, never.
19 Q. Did Dr. Blagoje Simic ever display discriminatory attitude towards
20 non-Serbs in Samac?
21 A. No, he didn't. If I can give you an example.
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. In the early days, Mr. Blagoje Simic told me, when we were in
24 Uniglas, that I should go and fetch Esap Zaimbegovic, because he was a
25 former manager of that company, and I did go and bring Mr. Zaimbegovic,
1 and he started working in his company and started organising the work.
2 Later, Mr. Todorovic made up the document and he detained -- imprisoned
3 that man and mistreated him.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: [Previous translation continues]...
5 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: I said we didn't need the extra details.
7 MR. PANTELIC: I just got it, yes.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: The answer was sufficient.
9 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Tell me, Mr. Popovic: Did Mr. Blagoje Simic, in any way
11 whatsoever, take part in military operations in the area of Samac
12 municipality, according to your knowledge?
13 A. No, he didn't.
14 MR. WEINER: Once again, it's leading. There's no basis of
15 knowledge. He's not indicating any time period. It's not relevant.
16 MR. PANTELIC: The time frame I established -- obviously, it's
17 mid-April 1992 until the end of 1993. That was the line of questioning.
18 But I will clarify that gladly with the witness.
19 Q. [Interpretation] So, Mr. Popovic, tell me: Since you were in
20 touch with Blagoje Simic, you spent quite some time with him, you worked
21 together on this organ, so you have certain personal knowledge, tell me
22 everything that you know about that. Did Mr. Blagoje Simic make any
23 connections with military structures or volunteers from Serbia? What is
24 your personal knowledge about that? Because you were present there.
25 MR. WEINER: I'd object. Once again, this witness has testified
1 he was in Crkvina -- I'm sorry. Not Crkvina. Odzak, from July of 1992 to
2 March of 1993. He's saying: Since you were there, tell us about this.
3 He wasn't with Blagoje Simic. How can he answer whether or not he made
4 any contact? They weren't together. How can he answer whether or not
5 they had any connections?
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. There seems to be a period before July, before
7 he went to Odzak. I think it's up to you, Mr. Pantelic, to specify which
8 period you are dealing with.
9 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely.
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Popovic, I'm referring to the period of
11 mid-April 1992 until July, when you joined the military administration in
12 Odzak. I'm also speaking about your personal knowledge about the period
13 until the end of 1993, because occasionally you met Mr. Blagoje Simic. So
14 I'm covering this precise period.
15 A. Precisely saying Blagoje did not have any possibility to give
16 orders or to cooperate or to command military forces because they didn't
17 want that, they didn't request that. The only communication line with
18 them was if they needed something, those needs were to be need [sic].
19 From late July until the end of 1993, in addition to what I
20 mentioned, that this gentleman came two or three times, I also went to
21 Samac, at least two or three times a week, to the municipality of Samac,
22 and I also dropped by to the premises where Blagoje was. Therefore, I had
23 contacts with Mr. Blagoje Simic relating to the operation of the War
24 Presidency. So I was in a position to know if something happened or did
25 not happen. How could anyone do something on my behalf or on behalf of
1 the War Presidency without my knowing that?
2 Q. According to what you know, did Mr. Blagoje Simic ever issue an
3 order to arrest non-Serbs from Samac and to be subjected to maltreatment
4 and other --
5 A. No. No, he didn't give such orders.
6 Q. Tell me: While you were a member of the Crisis Staff between
7 April and between the time it ceased to operate, how would you describe
8 it? Was that a single-party concept? Were you all members of the same
9 political party or was it established in a different shape politically,
10 and how you worked together?
11 A. It was not a single-party establishment. I was not a member of
12 either the SDS or any other political party. And yesterday I said that I
13 left --
14 Q. Will you be precise, please, and just speak about the Crisis
15 Staff. Time is precious.
16 A. No, it wasn't a single-party establishment.
17 Q. Which party were on the Crisis Staff?
18 A. I was not a member of any political party, and Mr. Blagoje Simic
19 was a liberal.
20 Q. We had some difficulties, technical difficulties, and we'll go
21 back to the beginning.
22 According to what you know, can you give us full names? Because
23 there were two Simic.
24 A. Mr. Blagoje Simic was member of the SDS. Savo Popovic was not a
25 member of any party. Simic was member of the liberal league. He was
1 not --
2 Q. You are referring to Simeon Simic?
3 A. Yes, Simeon Simic, and Bozo Ninkovic were liberals. Mr. Tadic, as
4 far as I know, was not a member of any party. Therefore, for instance,
5 this Fadil Topcagic also, as far as I know, was not a member of any
6 political party. Therefore, those were the people, and also Mr. Mirko
7 Jovanovic, who was a member of the SDS, and Mitar, as a technical
8 secretary, was a member of the SDS. So that was everything concerning
9 these political party affiliations.
10 Q. What do you personally know about whether an instruction arrived
11 from some higher SDS organs at the level of the Republika Srpska about the
12 creation of the Crisis Staff in Samac?
13 A. As far as I know, and I -- and you'll ask me again as far as I
15 Q. Just tell me what you know.
16 A. I don't know about anything about this information.
17 Q. Did the Crisis Staff draft any plan with the 17th Tactical Group
18 and Colonel Nikolic? Do you know anything about such plan?
19 A. Nobody made any plans with the Crisis Staff, because practically,
20 by entering the town and the fighting, we started to gather together and
21 to form this body called Crisis Staff. Therefore, neither I nor other
22 people were able to participate in drawing up any plans. That was
23 exclusively a military matter.
24 Q. What was a military matter?
25 A. In relation to the attack on Samac.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you. I have finished with this witness.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Lukic.
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Lukic:
4 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Popovic.
5 A. Good afternoon.
6 Q. I'm Branko Lukic. I'm defending Mr. Miroslav Tadic. I have
7 merely two questions for you. One is a question proper and another is
8 just a clarification following from your answers to my colleague
9 Mr. Pantelic. We found out from your testimony today that Mr. Milos
10 Bogdanovic was a blood relation of yours, a brother-in-law. I found out
12 A. Djurdjevic, yes, yes.
13 Q. My question is related to Milos Bogdanovic, because you said he
14 had provided a lot of your information, that you socialised with him.
15 Mr. Milos Bogdanovic, did he ever tell you that there had been a list
16 where his arrest was being planned, his arrest and other persons to be
17 arrested, by Stevan Todorovic, specifically?
18 A. Mr. Bogdanovic said - and I had occasion to hear this from Debeli
19 also, because he didn't know my last name - that Mr. Bogdanovic, Simo
20 Zaric, Fadil Topcagic, Savo Popovic, Milos Bogdanovic, there was a
21 possibility for them, as they were among the leftists, the communists,
22 there was a possibility, a likelihood, for them to be killed. And I asked
23 Debeli: Do you know my name? And he said: I know your name is Savo.
24 And I said: I'm Savo Popovic. And he blushed, and he went pale, and he
25 said: Forget all I told you.
1 Q. I'm talking about liquidations, killings. I said: Do you know,
2 were you familiar with the fact or did he tell you about a list of names
3 written up by Stevan Todorovic, including Miroslav Tadic, that he too was
4 to be arrested? Do you know anything about that?
5 A. Yes, yes. He told me. Milos told me. And this is just to
6 corroborate. I just want to describe how exactly it was done.
7 Q. Very well. Thank you. Just an additional clarification. During
8 your testimony, you referred to -- after your arrival in Odzak several
9 days later, you said that Miroslav Tadic came, in connection with civilian
10 protection affairs. And after that, you told us about the council and you
11 told us about who the members of the council were. I just want that
12 clarification. Miroslav Tadic, did he have anything to do with that
13 council, or was he only there in connection with civilian protection?
14 A. He came to Odzak in relation to civilian protection affairs. He
15 was there to arrange and help with the arrangements surrounding the return
16 of civilians who were returning from camps, wherever they were. And from
17 time to time, he would come with those people. We would welcome them
18 there. They would be received and accommodated. He wasn't based there --
19 [Technical difficulty]
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation].
21 Q. We've lost part of the answer again due to technical problems.
22 You said he didn't go there all the time. Can you just repeat the last
23 part of your answer?
24 A. He would come at the time when people who had been detained in
25 camps would arrive. He came when bus loads of them arrived. He made sure
1 they could go to their homes or that accommodation was provided for them,
2 because some of their houses had been burnt. So that was his task.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I have no further
4 questions, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lazarevic.
6 Cross-examined by Mr. Lazarevic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Popovic. My name is
8 Aleksandar Lazarevic. I'm defending Mr. Simo Zaric before this Tribunal.
9 I only have several questions to ask you in relation to what you testified
11 One question is related to what Mr. Lukic has already asked you.
12 Another question is related to a session, to a meeting of the Crisis
13 Staff. You already spoke about Simo Zaric, that he was supposed to be in
14 charge of what you called national security. Let me ask you the
15 following: There was a certain meeting of the Crisis Staff after that,
16 attended also by Stevan Todorovic. Mr. Zaric's appointment was debated at
17 that meeting. First of all, let me ask you: Were you there? Were you
18 present at that meeting?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. On that occasion, did Stevan Todorovic say anything in connection
21 with Simo Zaric being a traitor of the Serbian people, that he had been
22 arresting Serbs and that it would have been completely inadequate to name
23 him as chief of national security? Did you attend anything like this?
24 A. Mr. Todorovic knew full well that Mr. Zaric had been nominated for
25 national security, and there was no way for him to come to terms with
1 that. He just couldn't come to terms with that. National security or
2 chief of police, that these posts would be filled by Simo Zaric. He was
3 only looking for a way all the time to prevent Mr. Zaric from doing the
4 job, and he employed all kinds of methods. He was exerting pressure for
5 Mr. Zaric to be removed from that position, from that duty.
6 Q. Thank you very much. Let me now just ask you something with
7 respect to the information that Mr. Pantelic had asked you about. This is
8 Exhibit Number 527 [as interpreted]. I will not go into details of that
9 particular paper, but if you could please just remember: There is also
10 mention of Colonel Djurdjevic's, your relative's, removal or dismissal in
11 that information; is that correct?
12 A. Yes, that's correct.
13 Q. In that paper, in that information, the issue of volunteers or
14 special troops, depending on the term being used, their crimes in Crkvina,
15 the murders, that's also something that's referred to or mentioned in the
16 information; isn't that correct?
17 A. Yes, that's correct.
18 Q. We could say that the information, the paper, condemns the crimes?
19 A. Precisely. But the crimes are being attributed to the Crisis
20 Staff, to the civilian sector, that is, to the Executive Board, that many
21 things, that means, went through those channels or those bodies.
22 Q. After that, the information also speaks about robberies, which you
23 have also referred to as a concomitant of the war in Bosanski Samac, a
24 side effect, and this is also condemned, not merely the fact that the
25 robberies were committed by civilians, but rather also the army is being
1 condemned, because even among its ranks there were robberies; is that
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Furthermore, in this paper, frequent changes, frequent removals of
5 commanders in the army are also condemned, by saying that it has very
6 detrimental effect on the soldiers' morale.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. We could go on to say that all these were negative or detrimental
9 phenomena that were only to be condemned, weren't they?
10 A. Yes, you could certainly say that. Some people who had arrived
11 from somewhere else and drawn up that paper and stated all that. But
12 those people who drew up the paper were people who were there from the
13 beginning, and now you could ask which of them took any measures, the
14 signatories and the participants, while they were in their respective
16 [Technical difficulty]
17 MR. LAZAREVIC:
18 Q. Apologies. Due to technical problems, I think we didn't get -- or
19 I think we actually did receive your specific reply. I certainly agree
20 with what you said.
21 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Lazarevic. Just for the clarity
22 of the record, I think the exhibit you're talking about should be --
23 MR. LAZAREVIC: D127.
24 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes, because on page 67, line 2, it says Exhibit
1 MR. LAZAREVIC: No. It's P127, just for clarity of the record.
2 Q. [Interpretation] Just another question related to this information
3 paper. After this information paper was in some way made public, a
4 meeting was held at the command of the 2nd Posavina Brigade. Did you
5 attend that particular meeting?
6 A. As far as I know, I did, but maybe that was in Pelagicevo.
7 Q. Yes, precisely. That's where the brigade command was based, in
8 Pelagicevo. Can you please tell me now: How did the meeting go? How did
9 it develop? What happened during that meeting? What subjects were
11 A. It was only about the information paper and about the data
12 contained therein, whether it was true or not, specifically in relation to
13 certain documents and who did it and why something was done, and which
14 measures could be taken and who would have had to take these measures.
15 Q. Can you just tell me briefly about the atmosphere at that meeting?
16 A. It was quite tense.
17 MR. LAZAREVIC: Thank you very much. I have no further questions.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Cross-examination by the Prosecution.
19 Cross-examined by Mr. Weiner:
20 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Popovic. My name is Phillip Weiner. I'm with
21 the Office of the Prosecutor. I'm going to be asking you some questions.
22 A. Good afternoon.
23 Q. Thank you. Now, sir, you testified yesterday that in -- that you
24 had been a member of the League of Communists for approximately 25 years.
25 Is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And you testified that approximately in 1988, 1989, you had quit
3 or left the League of Communists. Is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And that during that period you had been involved -- you had been
6 politically active with the League of Communists, not just a common or
7 run-of-the-mill member; is that correct?
8 A. My convictions have remained the same, but I no longer wanted to
9 work in the League of Communists. I was a member of the municipal
10 committee and I stopped going to its sessions. But I was still associated
11 with my local organisation, local branch of the League of Communists in
12 Crkvina, and I was in charge of a number of duties. I was a member of the
13 council of the local commune. I was president of the local football
14 club. So I was interested in how life was going on in the local commune.
15 There was no other party there, to all intents and purposes. That was the
16 only organised form of political activity there. But the meetings were
17 not frequent. There would be several meetings in a year, perhaps.
18 Q. So you stayed active, at least politically, locally, in Crkvina,
19 for a while, after you left the League of Communists; isn't that true?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And then, in 1993, you joined the SDS party; isn't that correct?
22 A. Yes, 1993, or 1994. I'm not sure. I'm not sure about the time
23 period, but I know that I did join, yes.
24 Q. And at that time, there were other parties that you had the option
25 of joining, but you joined the SDS; isn't that correct?
1 A. Well, the socialist party, the SDP, was still in existence, but I
2 had no reason to associate myself or to work with people who then became
3 the leaders of the SDP. So my choice, in view of certain convictions and
4 views that were included or embodied, rather, in the platform of the SDS,
5 and I believe that leftists could feel at home in that party, that's why I
6 chose to join the SDS.
7 Now that you're asking me about this, a number of former members
8 or associates started working with the SDS, and then when they saw that
9 they couldn't, they went back to the SDP or to another political party.
10 However, I stayed, and I can't say that I am an active member of the SDS.
11 I'm simply more present there. I didn't hold any office within the SDS.
12 Q. Now, when you joined the SDS, apparently you agreed with their
13 policies, you were comfortable with them. Did you agree with their
15 A. Well, that doesn't necessarily mean -- if I joined the SDS, that I
16 had to accept everything. You know, there was a difference of opinions
17 there. So I was in a position to express my agreement or disagreement. I
18 didn't necessarily accept everything that was being said within the SDS.
19 Q. I agree that you probably didn't accept everything, but did you
20 overall agree with their policies?
21 A. I accepted the platform, the party programme, the original one.
22 But certain documents were then changed, and those who did it, those who
23 took part in that, didn't consult me or ask me for my acceptance. I could
24 either choose to agree or to disagree as a human being.
25 Q. And you also know who their leaders are, who their national
1 leaders are. Did you respect and agree with their leaders?
2 A. The national leaders in 1992 and 1993, the national leader was
3 Mr. Karadzic for the SDS, Alija Izetbegovic, and Boban. All three of them
4 led their own parties, led their own peoples, practically. And at that
5 moment, until it was clear who was what kind of person and where they were
6 leading us, it was very difficult for a politician to assess the true
7 worth of a politician, whether he was good or not.
8 Q. Sir, I'm not asking you about the other leaders.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
10 MR. WEINER:
11 Q. I'm asking you about the SDS. Did you agree or respect the SDS
12 leaders when you joined in 1993 and 1994? That's the question.
13 A. In principle, yes, I respected them, but I did have a number of
14 disagreements with the way they worked and with their policies within
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
16 Q. Thank you, sir. And you have remained in that party, after
17 joining in 1993, 1994, even though its three main leaders have been
18 charged with war crimes and genocide; isn't that true? You've remained in
19 that party, those leaders who you indicated you respected?
20 A. Yes, yes, I did remain. It doesn't mean that if the leaders were
21 that the whole people for that and those who were members of the SDS would
22 come into a situation -- that I would leave the SDS because of that.
23 Progressive people, you have progressive people in every political party.
24 I had and I saw a number of people who remained.
25 Q. Sir, you've remained in the party even though one of its leaders,
1 Biljana Plavsic, has recently admitted to the persecution of the non-Serb
2 population in Bosnia-Herzegovina, including murders, unlawful detentions,
3 forced expulsions, cruel and inhumane treatment. You've remained in that
4 party even after she has admitted that the SDS formulated a campaign of
5 persecution against the non-Serb population. You've still remained in
6 that party.
7 A. Well, well, this is a leading question, I believe, in connection
8 with Mrs. Biljana Plavsic. What she admitted to, I saw this on TV and I
9 read this in the papers, her statements and what happened with her. I
10 cannot speak about Biljana Plavsic, simply because down the chain of
11 command -- or up the chain of command, I had absolutely no contact
12 whatsoever with her. I was not any part of the SDS bodies, so I can't
13 judge this. If she admitted to whatever she has admitted to, that was her
14 own personal thing, and I'm in no position to judge what she did.
15 Q. Sir, she has admitted that she committed these crimes with the
16 other SDS leaders and the Bosnian Serb leaders, and even though she has
17 admitted that they all have orchestrated a campaign of persecution against
18 the non-Serbs of Bosnia-Herzegovina, you have remained in that same SDS
19 party; isn't that correct?
20 A. That's her own individual. We can't speak collectively about a
21 people or a party, that we're all genocidal, if Mrs. Plavsic was or if a
22 circle of people was like that.
23 Q. Sir, she was the president of the party while you were a member.
24 A. President, yes, the president of that party, but then she changed
25 and she set up a new party altogether, and that's where she was president
1 too. Therefore, she was president of the entity. These political issues,
2 I wouldn't like to be involved, I wouldn't like to start guessing whether
3 she was or not. I had no contact with Biljana. I can't judge her in any
5 Q. Well, let's move on, then. You've remained in that party even
6 after the massacre of over 7.000 Muslims in Srebrenica. You've still
7 remained in that party; isn't that correct?
8 MR. PANTELIC: Objection, Your Honour. I really don't know where
9 my learned friend found that the massacre in Srebrenica is related to the
10 policy of SDS or each particular -- maybe in order not to confuse this
11 witness, my learned friend can be more specific, saying what are the
12 charges. That's one issue.
13 And the other issue: I don't know why we're wasting so much time
14 here about all these issues, because the presumption of innocence is one
15 of the most important fundamental issues in all legal systems, and all
16 these peoples are only charged. There is no conviction. There is no
17 judgement. So I don't know why we are going through all these issues by
18 this way.
19 So the bottom line is that my learned friend should be more
20 specific when he's putting a question to this witness. And I believe that
21 there is not any single word in all indictments within the Office of the
22 Prosecutor where the SDS, as the institution, is charged. And it is
23 furthermore underlined in the report of Secretary-General of the UN in
24 this Court is not to established to establish the responsibility of
25 institutions but only individual criminal responsibility.
1 So I really don't know why he's building up, you know -- or maybe
2 he has intention to make some bans on political life, ban on the SDS in
3 Bosnia. Thank you.
4 MR. WEINER: May I respond, Your Honour?
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Briefly.
6 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, the issue of SDS goes to this witness's
7 credibility. In the Plavsic factual basis, which is an exhibit, I believe
8 Exhibit 164 of this Court, it says in paragraph 16:
9 "The main staff of the VRS was responsible to the presidency of
10 the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina." And it indicates who that
11 was composed by. "In addition to its authority over the VRS, the
12 collective presidency -- expanded collective presidencies with supreme
13 authority or the Bosnian police Territorial Defence and civilian
14 authorities. The members of the SDS leadership and the expanded
15 collective presidency made contributions to the objective of ethnic
16 separation by force. Karadzic and Krajisnik, the two pre-eminent and
17 controlling figures in the SDS and the Bosnian government exercised
18 primary power and control over the Bosnian Serb structures."
19 Also, in the Krstic judgement, they indicate, they go right up the
20 line. They indicate who the military was, who the military leader was,
21 and again --
22 THE INTERPRETER: May the counsel slow down, please, for the
23 benefit of the interpreters.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: You are too fast, Mr. Weiner.
25 MR. WEINER: I'm sorry about that. In view of the military, the
1 military leadership, and on top of them is the collective presidency, the
2 Serb SDS mixture presidency. They're one and the same. Karadzic,
3 Krajisnik, Plavsic.
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner. You are through?
6 MR. WEINER: Yes.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Oh, I see. Yes. The Trial Chamber is of the view
8 that the Prosecution is entitled to put these questions, for purposes of
9 testing the credibility of the witness.
10 MR. WEINER:
11 Q. You have joined the party of the SDS and remained a member, even
12 after the 12th of May of 1992, when the presidents of the National
13 Assembly, Momcilo Krajisnik, also an SDS leader, issued a decision of the
14 strategic objectives of the Serbian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
15 Objective number 1 is establish state borders --
16 [Technical difficulty]
17 MR. WEINER:
18 Q. Establish state borders separating the Serbian people from the
19 other two ethnic communities. You have remained in that party even after
20 the policy of your party has been to separate ethnic communities?
21 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, objection. This witness said that he
22 joined the party in 1993 or 1994, so I don't know what is the relation
23 with this date of 12th of May, 1992. It's out of the scope of membership
24 of this witness. It's not related. It's irrelevant.
25 MR. WEINER: It's not irrelevant because, Your Honour, that's the
1 policy, and Biljana Plavsic has pled guilty to being part of that policy.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, and it came before the witness decided to join,
3 so he was joining with full knowledge of all these things that were going
4 on within the SDS party.
5 MR. PANTELIC: Maybe, Your Honour, it would be better for this
6 witness -- or to ask whether he was informed about the strategies to lay a
7 foundation, and then he can clarify that. Because otherwise it's too
8 vague. It's too abstract, to my opinion.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: No, Mr. Pantelic. There's no basis for your
10 objection. The witness knows what he was doing. He's an adult. He
11 decided to join a party, and he can answer these questions.
12 MR. PANTELIC: Okay.
13 MR. WEINER:
14 Q. Sir, my question was: You've joined the party, the SDS party,
15 even after one of its major leaders, Momcilo Krajisnik, as president of
16 the National Assembly, issued a decision of the strategic objectives of
17 the Serbian people, where he stated that the strategic objectives or
18 priorities of the Serbian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina are to establish
19 state borders separating the Serbian people from the other two ethnic
21 MR. PANTELIC: Objection, Your Honour. It was not the order of
22 Mr. Momcilo Krajisnik. He was a speaker of the national parliament. And
23 we have in this particular case, in this particular hearings, proof. It's
24 a Prosecution Exhibit. It was published in the Official Gazette. It was
25 the decision of the National Assembly of Republika Srpska, where at that
1 time Mr. Krajisnik only was a speaker.
2 So I think it's not fair what my learned friend just did, to input
3 and to confuse this witness with this assumption that Mr. Krajisnik issued
4 order. It was not true. It's not true, and he can clarify in his own
5 exhibits that it is not the case, simply. Thank you.
6 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, it's well clarified in Exhibit P5, which
7 has been an exhibit in this case since really the beginning of this case,
8 in September of 2001, where Momcilo Krajisnik has signed that decision as
10 MR. PANTELIC: Of the National Assembly, as a speaker, he's not
11 issued that order. That is the basis of my objection. And it is not a
12 party document. We have to be clear with that.
13 MR. WEINER: He was the president of the Main Board of the SDS
14 from the 12th of July, 1991, onwards.
15 MR. PANTELIC: I will make a quote, Your Honour. Page 77, line
16 5. Sir, my question was: You joined the party, the SDS party, even after
17 one of its major leaders Momcilo as the president issued a decision,
18 issued a decision.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yeah.
20 MR. PANTELIC: He was not a subject to issue --
21 MR. WEINER: Signed the decision.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well, Mr. Pantelic. I hope Mr. Weiner will
23 look into that and explain it after our break.
24 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: In what capacity the decision was signed.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: We'll resume our proceedings at 12.50.
2 --- Recess taken at 12.31 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 12.51 p.m.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
5 MR. WEINER: Okay.
6 Q. All right, sir. Let us continue again.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: I think you begin with explaining the status of the
9 MR. WEINER:
10 Q. It's a decision -- it's -- it's Exhibit P5. It's a decision on
11 the strategic objectives of the Serbian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 Those were the six strategic objectives. It's signed by Momcilo
13 Krajisnik, who is president of the National Assembly.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. You can proceed.
15 MR. WEINER: Okay.
16 MR. PANTELIC: And Your Honour, just for the clarity of the
17 transcript, I believe it is not in dispute that this order was adopted by
18 the National Assembly of Republika Srpska. Am I right, Mr. --
19 MR. WEINER: Absolutely. Absolutely.
20 Q. Sir, and you joined the party, isn't it true, after SDS leader and
21 president of the National Assembly, Momcilo Krajisnik, signed an order of
22 the National Assembly of the Serbian people, and this was an order or a
23 decision on strategic objectives of the Serbian people in
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the first objective was "to establish state
25 borders or priorities in the Serbian people" -- I'm sorry - of the Serbian
1 people -- I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I misread that. "To establish state
2 borders separating the Serbian people from the other two ethnic
4 MR. PANTELIC: Just to object, Your Honour. It's of significant
5 importance whether it is order or decision. So my learned friend, in his
6 question, tried to mix these two -- these two terms, and I believe that he
7 should be more specific. And maybe to put this document, this Exhibit P5
8 in front of witness and then he can finally familiarise himself, and then
9 we shall know what is that, order or decision --
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic.
11 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, thank you.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Would you please sit down. The Prosecution will
14 MR. WEINER:
15 Q. "Decision on the strategic objectives of the Serbian people in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina." And number 1 "strategic objective is to establish
17 state borders separating the Serbian people from the other two ethnic
18 communities," and it was signed by Momcilo Krajisnik, who was the
19 president of the National Assembly and who, as you also know, was a
20 national SDS leader. Are you aware of that?
21 A. This order or, better to say, the decision, I have never heard of
22 it, because I joined the SDS in late 1993. Nobody informed me of that.
23 And I think that the work was sort of frozen, so I didn't know any
24 details. So people who joined the SDS just had paper, but there were no
25 meetings. By the end of 1993, nobody ever showed me or presented this
1 document to me on the presidency. If it did exist, it had -- it was with
2 somebody on the -- with the Executive Board or it was published in the
3 Official Gazette. However, I did not have an opportunity to read this
4 Official Gazette.
5 Q. Sir, did you agree with that policy, to establish state borders
6 separating the Serb people from the other two ethnic communities? Did you
7 agree with that policy?
8 [Technical difficulty]
9 A. Since I did not have an opportunity to read this decision, or
10 whether that policy pursued the idea of having only Serbian population in
11 one area, I wouldn't accept this kind of decision. Why would we have only
12 Serbs living in a specific territory? I don't know.
13 Q. That was the strategic objective. And are you further aware, sir,
14 that Radovan Karadzic stated, at the Bosnian Serb assembly on the 25th of
15 February, 1992, once the party has adopted a policy, anything else is
16 treason. Anything outside the adopted policy is treason.
17 Were you aware that Radovan Karadzic, Serb leader and SDS leader,
18 issued that order, or actually issued that statement? If you disagree
19 with those policies, it's treason.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Objection, Your Honour. Maybe, in order to clarify
21 this issue -- Is it a statement? Is it a newspaper article? Is it -- if
22 something of this what my learned friend just stated is a part of certain
23 statement, we should know that, because out of context we cannot discuss
24 that. And it's absolutely confusing to our witness. So maybe we could be
25 more specific with that: Where and when and how.
1 MR. WEINER: Your Honours --
2 JUDGE MUMBA: I don't think there is anything confusing the
3 witness here. The questions is quite clear. Stop disrupting the
5 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, maybe -- I don't know, maybe for you
6 it's clear, but for me it's unclear. Because he said 25th of February,
7 1992. He made a precise date. My learned friend made a precise date. But
8 what do we know? We don't know whether it's a statement in newspaper, in
9 news conference, on television, et cetera. So that's why. It's page 81,
10 line 8.
11 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me. Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic.
12 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, thank you.
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Mr. Weiner did say that this was on line 8 that
14 Mr. Karadzic stated this at the Bosnian Serb Assembly on the 25th of
15 February, 1992.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. And now I'm asking: Is it a transcript of
17 what he said exactly? Because everyone can interpret what -- this is
18 serious issues, Your Honour. It's criminal proceedings. We have to be
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, will you please sit down.
21 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour --
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Your objection doesn't make sense. Just sit down.
23 And stop interrupting the proceedings unnecessarily.
24 Mr. Weiner, will you continue.
25 MR. WEINER:
1 Q. Sir, as I told you previously, Radovan Karadzic stated or said in
2 a speech at the Bosnian Serb Assembly of the 25th of February, 1992:
3 "Once the party has adopted a policy, anything else is treason. Anything
4 outside the adopted policy is treason."
5 Are you aware of that statement or policy by Radovan Karadzic?
6 A. Since I -- at that period, I wasn't a member of the SDS and this
7 statement of his, if it did take place, was not in any way binding for me,
8 as it was binding perhaps for their members, it didn't apply to me. So it
9 couldn't affect me in any way. My convictions were of an entirely
10 different nature of what he perhaps stated or demanded. As I said
11 yesterday and I said today, I am a leftist by conviction, and therefore
12 that cannot be connected with me in any way.
13 Q. Sir, I want to make sure that I understand your answer. Are you
14 saying that if you had been a member of the SDS, that statement or policy
15 of Radovan Karadzic would have been binding on you? Is that what you just
17 A. During the period that you mention, I wasn't a member of the SDS.
18 Therefore, that wasn't binding for me. But it does not mean that if I
19 agree to join the SDS, that I had to follow blindly everything that
20 everyone ordered. So there were some progressive things in that party,
21 but it was up to me personally to decide whether I would agree with such
22 statements made by certain officials or not. In addition, I was not a
23 member of any SDS bodies for me to be able to know everything that they
24 spoke at the sessions of these bodies and what they agreed.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we move on, Mr. Weiner?
1 MR. WEINER: Yes.
2 [Prosecution counsel confer]
3 MR. WEINER:
4 Q. Sir, you testified today concerning the creation of the Crisis
5 Staff, and you indicated that it all was -- or basically I'm summarising
6 your testimony: It was all somewhat accidental. You accidentally showed
7 up. While there, Mirko Jovanovic came up with the idea to establish a
8 Crisis Staff. Is that your testimony, sir?
9 A. I said that I came with Mr. Milos Bogdanovic to Pik and that
10 certain discussions took place there, to the effect that a body should be
11 established to coordinate the economic life, the cultural life, all
12 spheres of life, so that we can serve the people. Among other things,
13 they offered me to become one of those people. And I said: If that's
14 what you mean, and if there are no other solutions, and if I can be of any
15 help, I will accept to be at the service.
16 Q. Sir, you weren't invited to that meeting. You didn't receive any
17 notice or invitation to attend a meeting concerning the establishment of a
18 Crisis Staff. Did that happen, sir?
19 A. Yes. Other people know that I mainly spent time with Mr. Milos
20 Bogdanovic. We were family friends. I knew that he was not a member of
21 the SDS, and I had information -- he often invited me: Come with me to
22 hear what is going to be discussed at this or that meeting. So among
23 other things, all was done through his work, and that is how I came about
24 or learned about certain things, and that is how it happened that I went
25 together with him to Pik and established these contacts. I did not
1 receive any invitation to come there.
2 Q. Did Milos Bogdanovic receive an invitation to come to a meeting
3 for the establishment of a Crisis Staff?
4 A. As far as I know, he had a different role, as a man, as the head
5 of the department for ministry, and there was no need for him to be
6 invited or not invited. I know that at that time, there were no
7 invitations sent out to anyone. This is the first time that I hear of any
9 Q. Sir, so is it your testimony it was only a group of people sitting
10 around talking, and the idea of a Crisis Staff arose? That's basically
11 what you testified to. There was no plan on that date to establish a
12 Crisis Staff. A group of people all just happened upon the Pik company,
13 wound up in a conversation, and a Crisis Staff was established; is that
14 the gist of your testimony?
15 A. Yes. Yes. A group of people got together. I was among them.
16 And we discussed how to organise ourselves. And since others did the
17 same, it was suggested that it be done within a certain body to be called
18 Crisis Staff, and that is why I said that the first four men, the
19 already-mentioned gentlemen, and others later were included in this Crisis
21 Q. Sir, before we get back to the -- I'm sorry. Sir, before we get
22 back to the Crisis Staff, I just want to make it clear: You had attended
23 some meetings prior to this meeting at the Pik. You attended the meeting
24 in February concerning the establishment of a Serbian municipality of
25 Bosanski Samac, and you also attended the meeting and election in
1 Obudovac, on March 28th; isn't that correct, sir?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. And were you there throughout both of those meetings?
4 A. Yes, I was, because I was interested to hear what was going on.
5 Q. Now, sir, do you agree, sir, that you have not been truthful with
6 this Court today concerning the information relating to the Crisis Staff?
7 Your testimony has not been truthful; isn't that correct, sir?
8 A. I don't know which parts you refer to.
9 Q. Isn't it true that at the March meeting, there was discussion
10 concerning the establishment of a Crisis Staff in Bosanski Samac?
11 A. I said yesterday that I was present at the memorial centre when
12 the Samac assembly was established, and I also said that in late March an
13 assembly session was held again in Obudovac, where I also was present, and
14 I started describing how certain organs were elected by the assembly and
15 the Executive Board, but I was interrupted and I didn't say anything else.
16 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, could we place on the ELMO so the
17 witness could see Exhibit P124, please.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
19 MR. WEINER:
20 Q. Turn to page 14, which is a decision, and it's a March 28, 1992,
21 Article 1.
22 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Microphone.
23 MR. WEINER: Could he please turn to page 14 in the English, or on
24 the B/C/S it's Article 1 of March -- decision March 28th, 1992.
25 Q. Sir, I invite your attention to Article 1 of that decision of
1 March 28th, 1992. Can you see it in front of you on the monitor? Can you
2 see it?
3 A. Yes, I can.
4 Q. It says: "Because of the beginning of war operations against the
5 Serbian people, the Samac Municipal Assembly charges the president of the
6 municipal board of the Serbian Democratic Party in Samac and the president
7 of the Executive Council of the Municipal Assembly of Samac and Pelagicevo
8 under formation to form the municipal Crisis Staff immediately. The
9 municipal Crisis Staff shall be composed of representatives of political,
10 military, and other institutions of the Serbian people."
11 Do you see that, sir?
12 A. Yes, I see it, I see it, I see it.
13 Q. And did I read that correctly, sir?
14 A. Yes, you did.
15 Q. Let us read Article 2.
16 A. When was this decision written?
17 Q. At that meeting, March 28th, it was decided, the meeting that you
18 attended, sir.
19 Let us move on to Article 2: "The municipal assembly hereby
20 authorises the Crisis Staff to exercise the functions of the highest organ
21 of authority of the Serbian people --"
22 [Technical difficulty]
23 MR. WEINER:
24 Q. Can you hear me, sir? We've had some technical difficulties.
25 A. Yes, I can.
1 Q. Sorry. I'll continue on: "To exercise the functions of the
2 highest organs of the authority of the Serbian people within the scope of
3 the rights and duties of the municipality and to pass decisions and other
4 regulations within the jurisdiction of the Municipal Assembly if
5 conditions do not permit it to convene."
6 Do you see that, sir? Did I read that correctly?
7 A. Yes, I see it.
8 Q. Sir, I'd like to go to the first page, which has a preamble, as we
9 would call it, a summary prior to the decisions being listed, and it's
10 just one sentence I'd like to read. The fourth paragraph, which is just
11 one sentence, and it says -- thank you, Mr. Usher: "The Crisis Staff was
12 formed in the St. Sava hall of the Church of the Holy Mother in Obudovac
13 on the 15th of April, 1992."
14 Do you see that, sir?
15 A. Yes, I see the Crisis Staff was established on the 15th.
16 Q. Okay. And sir, could you look at the cover page of this. This is
17 the Official Gazette, municipality of Samac, year 1, number 1, Friday, 3
18 June, 1994, Samac; is that correct?
19 A. Yes. I see the date, 1st of June, 1994.
20 Q. Thank you. Now, sir, let's move on. You talked about the
21 appointment of individuals at that meeting. Could we please move to page
22 12 in the English, and let me see the B/C/S, please.
23 Sir, you testified about certain people being appointed, certain
24 names coming up, being appointed to various positions. I'd like you to
25 look at Article 1 of the -- from that same meeting that you attended on
1 the 28th of March, 1992. Were you present for the elections of those
2 persons listed there to the Executive Council of the Municipal Assembly of
3 Samac? Were you present for those elections?
4 A. I was in the audience. I was not actively involved. I know that
5 they were elected, members of the Executive Council of the Serbian
6 municipality of Samac.
7 Q. And you'll notice that Mirko Jovanovic was elected president of
8 the Executive Council at that meeting --
9 [Technical difficulty]
10 MR. WEINER:
11 Q. Sir, I don't know if you heard the question because of technical
12 difficulties. You'll notice that Mirko Jovanovic was elected president of
13 the Executive Council at that meeting. Isn't that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And in addition, you'll notice that Milos Bogdanovic was elected
16 secretary of the municipal secretariat of National Defence; isn't that
18 A. Yes, that's correct, but they were from the previous authority
19 bodies. Both Mr. Mirko Jovanovic and Milos Bogdanovic, and they were
20 active on the previous authority bodies.
21 Q. They were elected to the Executive Council of the Serbian
22 municipality of Bosanski Samac and Pelagicevo under formation; isn't that
23 true? Isn't that correct, according to this document?
24 A. Yes, yes. But as I've said before, they were on the former
25 government. They headed the Executive Board or the department,
2 Q. And you'll further notice that Lazar Mirkic was not named head of
3 economic affairs at the Pik factory --
4 A. Mirkic.
5 Q. -- Mirkic. But in fact had been elected secretary of municipal
6 secretariat for the economy back in March 28th of 1992, weeks before,
7 three weeks before the -- or almost three weeks before the Pik meeting;
8 isn't that correct?
9 A. Yes, that's correct. He was elected at the meeting. But the
10 Assembly was not functioning, nor was it meeting.
11 Q. And that's because it was some sort of shadow or parallel
12 government, isn't that correct, sir, because there was an elected
13 government currently in office?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And further, we notice that Mico Ivanovic was elected commander of
16 the Territorial Defence, municipal staff, and Stevan Todorovic was named
17 chief of the public security station, both in Bosanski Samac; isn't that
19 A. Yes. That's -- if I may just add, was the choice of
20 Mr. Todorovic. I watched scenes. At first, he was not foreseen. It was
21 Stevo Peric. However, he exerted enormous pressure on Mr. Ilija Ristic
22 and the others, and he lobbied for himself as the only possible candidate
23 for the president, that is, the chief of the MUP. I think they tried to
24 harmonise the whole thing, but there was pressure, and then he was finally
1 Q. So 11 members of the Executive Council of that assembly were
2 elected at that meeting; isn't that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And in addition to that, if you continue on, the assembly charges
5 the new Executive Council president and senior officials to organise the
6 work of the organs of administration and to carry out preparations,
7 transition to work under wartime. Do you see that in Article 2?
8 A. Yes, yes, I see that.
9 Q. So they were establishing the administrative bodies of a
10 government. They were giving orders to start the establishment of the
11 administrative bodies of a government which was developing; isn't that
12 correct, sir?
13 A. These are decisions by the assembly, as far as I know, and I was
14 not an active member, nor did I speak at that meeting. I was merely a
15 spectator, and I couldn't know. This is actually the first time I get to
16 see the wording of that particular decision.
17 These organs, as far as I know, never met, and it's obvious that
18 what you've just shown me, that the Crisis Staff, including those
19 officials, or rather, officials -- but you can see who was elected to the
20 Crisis Staff, and that is not consistent with the previous decision. I
21 was not familiarised with that particular decision. I said what I know,
22 and I told you about what I actually participated in.
23 Q. Sir, do you agree that Blagoje Simic, the president of the
24 municipal chapter of the SDS party, was appointed president of the Crisis
25 Staff of the Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac, and that was done at
1 the initiative of the SDS party? Do you agree with that?
2 A. I can't speak about an SDS initiative, because I was not a member
3 of the SDS and I didn't take part in the work of their organs. Whether
4 they proposed Blagoje as the president of the SDS to also be the
5 president, if you look at the wording of the decision on the setting up of
6 crisis staffs, the document you've shown me, there's something I don't
7 seem to understand. Who were supposed to be the members? This man or
8 that man. So this comment, as for myself, I'm not sure I can give a
9 comment on that, because I was not a member of the party. Whether someone
10 else was supposed to be appointed president of the assembly, perhaps, and
11 then yet another person the president of the Crisis Staff.
12 I do have the feeling as for what was going on, that all those who
13 were named in the different sectors were sort of avoiding becoming members
14 of that body, and I told you already that one of those people asked me
15 what I was doing in the Crisis Staff, and then you interrupted me, which
16 means -- well, you see what it was like, how it went, and how the body was
17 set up. You see that the people who were eventually nominated and who
18 became members -- later, Miroslav Tadic, because he was the head of
19 civilian protection, was pushed into the Crisis Staff, not of his own free
20 will, but someone made him, someone told him: Come on, Miro. And then
21 another person who was elected a member of the Crisis Staff and wasn't
22 present was Simeon Simic.
23 Q. Simeon Simic, the defendant Blagoje Simic's cousin we're talking
24 about, correct?
25 A. Yes. I've mentioned his name. He was also made to become a
1 member of the Crisis Staff.
2 Q. And the defendant Blagoje Simic's other cousin was Milan Simic,
3 who was president of the Executive Board; isn't that correct, sir?
4 A. Yes, but in yesterday's testimony, or perhaps it was this morning,
5 the president of the Executive Board, the president at that time,
6 Mr. Jovanovic, who, by this decision of the Serbian municipality of Samac,
7 was re-elected, the president was removed, with the assistance of
8 Mr. Todorovic, because he didn't like him. Then Mr. Milan Simic became
9 the head of the Executive Council, because he was Mr. Todorovic's friend.
10 They socialised. And he simply imposed his nomination on us, him as the
11 head of that body.
12 Q. Sir, Milan Simic was related to Blagoje Simic and he was also
13 related to Stevan Todorovic, isn't that correct, four people related?
14 A. I don't know about that. I don't know about Stevan Todorovic. I
15 know that he was married to his relative, but I didn't know that they were
17 Q. All right, sir. Let's continue on with Blagoje Simic. If you
18 could look at the 14th of April, 1992, the conclusions of the Executive
19 Council, please.
20 In P124, this is page 21. There are six conclusions. Conclusion
21 number 1, sir -- actually, can you see that, sir? Can you see it
22 clearly? Sir, can you see that on your monitor in Belgrade?
23 A. Yes, yes, I can.
24 Q. Thank you. If you look at number 1, we'll start off with, and
25 these are the conclusions: "To take immediate steps to form the municipal
1 Crisis Staff in accordance with the relevant assembly decision." And
2 we've already gone through assembly decision. Do you see that? Did I
3 read that correctly?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And let's look at number 5: "The Executive Council" --
6 A. Yes, yes, I can see that. Yes.
7 Q. -- "considers that the conditions are not propitious for convening
8 a session of the Municipal Assembly. The Executive Council supports the
9 initiative of the Samac municipal board of the Serbian Democratic Party
10 for Dr. Blagoje Simic to be elected president of the Municipal Assembly at
11 the first session of that assembly."
12 Did I read that correctly?
13 A. Yes, yes, yes, perfectly correct.
14 Q. And since that assembly did not meet until 1993, he was named
15 president of the Crisis Staff; isn't that correct?
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. And I'd also like you to look at Article 3. The assign -- or it
18 says: "To assign to the chief of the public security station the task of
19 immediately forming a special-purpose unit of MUP, Ministry of Internal
20 Affairs, attached to the SJB, public security station, in collaboration
21 with the responsible bodies of the military and civilian authorities."
22 Did I read that correctly?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. So that conclusion or that assignment that's been given to Stevan
25 Todorovic, the police chief, is to establish a special-purpose unit, a
1 police unit, isn't that correct, that's going to collaborate with the
2 bodies of the -- the responsible bodies of the military and civilian
4 A. Yes, yes, that's what the conclusion says, but that's not how it
5 actually was.
6 Q. And I want to just continue on to the next set of conclusions,
7 which are the last. From the 15th of April, 1992. And would you look at
8 conclusion number 3, dated April 15th, 1992:
9 "The special-purpose unit attached to the SJB, the public security
10 station, in collaboration with the Serbian Territorial Defence, shall
11 immediately take steps and measures, with a view to protecting the Serbian
12 people in Bosanski Samac and other parts of the Posavina against another
14 Do you see that, sir?
15 A. Yes, yes, I can.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. WEINER: Could the witness be shown 164 ter, P164 ter.
18 Q. Sir, the document in front of you is the factual basis for plea of
19 guilt of Biljana Plavsic, who we were talking about, the former president
20 of the SDA and the former member of the presidency of the Republic of
21 Srpska. In paragraph 12, can you see it in front of you on the monitor,
23 A. I'll try and read it.
24 Q. Why don't I read it and you just follow along, sir:
25 " In addition, the SDS prepared and distributed written
1 instructions to SDS municipal leaders to form crisis staffs, proclaim
2 Serbian municipal assemblies, carry out the preparations for the formation
3 of municipal government bodies, and to mobilise the Serb police and
4 Territorial Defence forces and subordinate them to the JNA command. The
5 municipal crisis staffs implemented these objectives and directives in the
6 field, including ultimately the objective of ethnic separation by force."
7 MR. PANTELIC: Maybe -- it's not objection; it's just a
8 suggestion. Maybe it's a slip of the tongue of my learned friend. In
9 fact, when he made a citation, he said "Serb police." But in paragraph 12
10 of plea agreement, which is not a judgement, just a plea agreement, said:
11 "Bosnian Serb police." So we have to be cautious about that, to be
12 precise. Thank you.
13 MR. WEINER: I'll read it again. That's no problem.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
15 MR. WEINER:
16 Q. "In addition, the SDS prepared and distributed written instructions
17 to SDS municipal leaders to form crisis staffs, proclaim Serbian
18 assemblies, and carry out preparations for the formation of municipal
19 government bodies and to mobilise Bosnian Serb police and Territorial
20 Defence forces and to subordinate them to the JNA command. The municipal
21 crisis staffs implemented these objectives and directives in the field,
22 including ultimately the objective of ethnic separation by force."
23 Did I read that correctly, sir?
24 A. Yes, correct. But the second part, the conclusion, this was
25 implemented. We know that. But I don't think it was included in the
1 original [indiscernible], because this is merely a comment.
2 Q. But you agree with me, sir, that the -- what we've been just
3 talking about, the establishment of the Crisis Staff, the Serbian
4 municipality, the Serb police, Territorial Defence leader, all of those
5 things, just as Mrs. Plavsic indicated, all occurred in Bosanski Samac?
6 You agree with that, don't you?
7 A. Yesterday, and today, I said that while I was following what was
8 going on in politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Samac, I attended
9 both sessions of the both assemblies, and now the conclusions of the
10 Executive Council that you've shown me and the meeting, I don't know
11 whether it was held or not. I can't say that there was indeed such a
12 meeting of the Executive Council and that any such directive was issued
13 and that the chief of the MUP which should do this or that specifically.
14 As for Biljana Plavsic, this was going down the SDS line. I was
15 not a member, and I was not a member of any of the organs of the SDS. I
16 simply didn't have access to that kind of information. I was not in a
17 position to know what the president of the SDS had been ordered to do.
18 But I know that even in the SDS, as far as Samac municipality was
19 concerned, the situation was not really particularly favourable. There
20 were three factions inside the party itself, as far as I knew.
21 Q. Sir, that's not my question. These things which Biljana Plavsic
22 says that the SDS instructed the municipal leaders to do, didn't these
23 things happen in Samac? Let's take them one by one. You've already
24 testified to them. A Crisis Staff was formed or established; isn't that
25 true, sir?
1 A. Yes, yes, it was established, but at the beginning it wasn't
2 functioning according to these instructions --
3 Q. Sir, the question, please --
4 A. -- Nor was it set up the way it had been ordered to be set up.
5 Q. The question -- it says here that they are to form a Crisis Staff,
6 and my question to you is: Was a Crisis Staff formed? Yes or no.
7 A. Well, yes, it was set up.
8 Q. Number 2: "Proclaim Serbian municipal assemblies. The Serbian
9 municipal assembly of Samac and Pelagicevo under formation was established
10 and proclaimed."
11 A. That's indisputable.
12 Q. Thank you. Next, number 3: "Carry out preparations for the
13 formation of municipal government bodies." You testified that you were
14 present when 11 members of the Executive Council were elected and that
15 they were ordered, as the rest of that directive, to start establishing
16 and putting together their government. So weren't preparations for the
17 formation of municipal bodies, where the SDS instructed to carry out
18 preparation ares for the formation of muncipal government bodies, that
19 occurred. You were there for that.
20 A. Yes, I was there, but these documents -- I see them now for the
21 first time.
22 Q. It further says: "To mobilise Bosnian Serb police." You saw --
23 or you were present for the election of Stevan Todorovic, and you saw
24 those orders for him to establish a police unit. You saw that in the
25 documents that we just went through, document P124, the Official Gazette
1 of the municipality of Samac.
2 Do you agree that there was an order to mobilise the Bosnian Serb
3 police and, in addition, Stevan Todorovic was named police chief of this
4 so-called shadow or parallel Serb government?
5 A. Stevan Todorovic had manipulated people; and yes, he was appointed
6 chief. But this is the first time I actually see this decision, the way
7 it was worded. And as far as I can see, it dates back to July, but the
8 documents themselves were actually drafted later. So at the time when the
9 assembly session and the Executive Board meeting were held, no one will be
10 able to convince me that this was written at that time. Probably when
11 lawyers were appointed, the wording itself came later. I see these
12 documents now for the first time in my life, and no one ever informed me
13 of the existence of any such documents, nor did the Crisis Staff ever
14 discuss these decisions or documents.
15 Q. Sir, my question to you is: Was Stevan Todorovic elected police
16 chief, and was he also ordered by the assembly to start to put together a
17 special police unit? You've read that. Do you agree that that happened?
18 A. Yes, he was appointed. But at the session, no one explicitly
19 ordered him what to do, nor were there any conclusions like that. I had
20 no occasion to judge that.
21 Q. Those were at two later sessions in April, which you weren't
22 present for the April 14th and 15th sessions, were you, sir?
23 MR. PANTELIC: Objection, Your Honour, because there is a
24 confusing question from the part of my learned friend. He's speaking
25 about two later sessions in April, namely, on April 14th and 15th, and
1 does that relate to Executive Board session or assembly session? Because
2 in previous question, he asked him -- my learned friend asked the witness,
3 in page 99, line 6: And he was also ordered by the assembly to start to
4 put together special police unit. So it's a bit confusing issue here.
5 Which session do you mean: Executive Board or assembly? Simple as that.
6 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, the witness isn't confused. He's read
7 and he's followed along right from the Official Gazette. He knows which
8 sessions we're talking about. Was he present or was he not present. If
9 the Court would like to break now and we can go on with this tomorrow, we
10 can happily do that.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We've come to the end of our session today.
12 MR. LAZAREVIC: Your Honours, may I just have one brief moment to
13 raise one issue with the Trial Chamber before we break. It is related to
14 our witness, Mr. Mirko Pavic. I spoke to Mr. Pistoljevic yesterday in the
15 afternoon and I would like to inform the Trial Chamber that Mr. Pavic
16 won't be able to attend videolink testimony. His health condition is not
17 good enough to come to Belgrade and testify, if such a decision would be
18 made by the Trial Chamber, not at this point.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: All right. But we have another witness,
20 Mustafa Pistoljevic, isn't it.
21 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes. This is the statement of this witness that I
22 already tendered into evidence. I already offered it. We have a number
23 for it, so Your Honours could make a decision about this.
24 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, also before we break, this witness
25 indicated that he had some sort of problem for being here tomorrow. Has
1 that been taken care of? Has that been resolved? Is he available for all
2 day tomorrow? Because apparently they're going to have to move
3 Mr. Pistoljevic in between to get him on and off quickly. His wife is
4 very ill.
5 MR. PANTELIC: It depends on your schedule, my learned friend, how
6 long you're going to keep this witness in cross-examination.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: He can --
8 MR. PANTELIC: What's your estimation?
9 JUDGE MUMBA: He can appear tomorrow?
10 MR. PANTELIC: Maybe he can answer -- he can answer himself. I do
11 believe that there is a session at noon in Republika Srpska, so I don't
12 know if --
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. -- let me ask him.
14 MR. PANTELIC: If one hour and a half would be enough.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Popovic, you are required -- yes. You are
16 required to appear tomorrow morning to continue cross-examination, so that
17 we can complete your evidence.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I could, but I must attend at 12.00
19 in Bijeljina, because the meeting of the Executive Board of the football
20 association cannot go ahead without me, because I am the administrator for
21 several key issues. And I may make it in one hour, perhaps one hour and a
22 half. I need at least that amount of time to reach Bijeljina. I've
23 informed the Defence team that I had the meeting on another day, but then
24 the meeting was rescheduled for Friday so that I could make it.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Weiner.
1 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, it's going very slowly. I thought we
2 would be a little bit farther ahead. I'll probably need him at least
3 another few hours, at least. He was, as the Court knows, a member of the
4 Crisis Staff, the War Presidency, he was the head of the military civilian
5 council in Odzak.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: So we should continue with him on Monday?
7 MR. WEINER: That would be fine.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Savo Popovic, so we'll be able to continue with
9 you on Monday.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours --
11 JUDGE MUMBA: I haven't got an answer from the witness. I'm
12 waiting for an answer.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's acceptable. Monday sounds
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well, then.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I could come back on Monday.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well, then. Monday, 9.00, we'll start with
18 you, so tomorrow you can go and attend your meeting.
19 Thank you. So we'll see you on Monday, Mr. Popovic.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just a brief remark
23 about my witness, but can we go into private session, please, for this?
24 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, do I understand well that tomorrow
25 Mr. Popovic will be one hour and a half --
1 JUDGE MUMBA: No, no, no, no. He won't come tomorrow. He's
2 coming on Monday.
3 MR. PANTELIC: I see. Thank you.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I merely wanted to say
5 the following -- are we in private session?
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Are we in private session? Yes.
7 [Private session]
12 Page 16347 – redacted – private session
12 Page 16348 – redacted – private session
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
16 1.57 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
17 the 7th day of March 2003, at 10.30 a.m.