1 Thursday, 10 April 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Good morning. Please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. Case number IT-95-9-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic and Simo Zaric.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Before we proceed with the witness, the Trial
10 Chamber would like to hand down a ruling regarding the oral motion by the
11 Defence on the use of the guilty plea by Mrs. Plavsic by the Prosecution.
12 The oral motion was made on the 8th of April. The Trial Chamber is of the
13 view that it does not require the documents sought by the Defence in their
14 oral motion for them to challenge any evidence adduced by the Prosecution
15 when using the guilty plea by Mrs. Plavsic. The Defence can examine their
16 witnesses just as they do -- can re-examine their witnesses, just as they
17 do with every other piece of evidence or exhibit produced by the
19 The production of documents enumerated by the Defence in this
20 regard is unnecessary, as it is not our role to inquire into or evaluate
21 the merits of the plea and the sentencing judgement.
22 The oral motion is therefore denied. We can now proceed.
23 WITNESS: MIHAJLO TOPOLOVAC [Resumed]
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 MR. LAZAREVIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
1 Examined by Mr. Lazarevic: [Continued]
2 Q. Good morning, Mr. Topolovac.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be brought closer to
4 the microphones?
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Can the witness move closer to the microphone so the
6 interpreters can pick every word?
7 MR. LAZAREVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Topolovac, three days ago, we broke off your testimony because
9 of the time was up. The last thing that we talked about just to remind
10 you was that you said that apart from Mr. Stevan Todorovic, who was the
11 only one authorised and who was the only one who took decisions as to who
12 would be arrested and released from the police station and also that none
13 other of the members of the police, be it commander or inspectors, had
14 such powers. Do you remember that, saying that, when we adjourned?
15 A. Yes, I do.
16 Q. In relation to these topics, there were only a couple of things
17 more that I wanted to ask you about, and that is what I will do now.
18 Were there any instances when the so-called specials or those
19 many-coloured as many people called them, did they also arrest people,
20 bring them to the police station, to the TO building?
21 A. Yes. There were instances where specials from Serbia brought and
22 detained people.
23 Q. Just one more question on the same subject. Did anyone from the
24 4th Detachment ever arrest and detain people?
25 A. No, nobody, because I was there and I know the members of the 4th
1 Detachment because they come from the town. I never observed any one of
2 them -- any of the members of the 4th Detachment bring people to the
3 police station.
4 Q. Thank you very much. Now I'd like to move on to a specific event
5 and I'd like to hear from you what you know about it. So far, before this
6 Chamber, it has mostly not been contested that that happened on the 26th
7 of April, and that that day in the yard of the building housing the TO,
8 one of those specials from Serbia, nicknamed Lugar, whose full name was
9 Slobodan Miljkovic, killed a man whose nickname was Dikan. Can you tell
10 me now what do you know about that?
11 A. Yes. I was in the police station at the time but I did not see
12 how that happened. I heard, and Simo Zaric was also in the police station
13 and he said, as far as I can interpret it in my words, that lunatic killed
14 a man in front of everybody. Simo was very upset and very angry because
15 of what had happened, and said something needs to be done, meaning so as
16 to remove people from that place.
17 Q. Tell me now this: You say that Simo Zaric was upset. Could you
18 personally see what he looked like or is it what you concluded from his --
19 from the tone of his voice?
20 A. Both. The way he looked, attested to that, and also the tone that
21 he used when he said that.
22 Q. Tell me: Did you perhaps see where Simo Zaric went?
23 A. I did. He went upstairs to the upper floor and stayed there a
24 short while, and I assume that he was making some phone calls. After
25 that, he returned, he went out of the room and the police station, and
1 then came back after about an hour and a half or two maybe.
2 Q. Thank you very much. I now only -- now tell me, but answer
3 please only with yes or no, if you can. When is it that you saw him
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And now tell me, was there anyone else at the time when you met
7 Zaric there?
8 A. Savo Cancarevic was there and I was there and the inspectors were
9 right next to us.
10 Q. Let me just ask you one thing to make the transcript quite clear.
11 What office did Savo Cancarevic hold in the police station at that time,
12 at that time, that is the 26th of April, 1992?
13 A. Prior to the 26th and then Savo Cancarevic was the commander of
14 the police station, so he held the office of the station commander.
15 Q. Now, tell me this: Did you and Mr. Savo Cancarevic talk about
16 something with Zaric? What did he tell you?
17 A. We did, but before that I heard Simo turn to Savo Cancarevic as
18 the commander, as the chief of the police station, and tell him not to put
19 any spanners in the wheels and that he and I should help him in organising
20 the transfer of people from the Territorial Defence building to the
21 barracks in Brcko. Both of us accepted that and understood that in the TO
22 building, some ugly things were happening, apart from physical harassment,
23 that is there was even a murder.
24 Q. Thank you very much. When that was said, that the prisoners
25 should be transferred to the barracks in Brcko, can you tell me if Simo
1 Zaric perhaps mentioned the names of the military who were to organise
2 this and who were behind it?
3 A. Yes. Before that, he said that he had talked with the superior
4 officers, that is his superior officers, and at that moment, he mentioned
5 the name of Momcilo Petrovic, nicknamed Pejo [phoen], and Paja [phoen]
7 Q. Excuse me, I didn't want to interrupt you but tell me, do you
8 perhaps know what duties did Momcilo Petrovic and Paja Meljenkovic
9 discharge in the Brcko barracks, what offices did they hold?
10 A. No, I don't know that, I remember that he mentioned that he had
11 talked with them because they were his superiors and that the transfer of
12 those people could be -- could take place.
13 Q. Now I will ask you some very specific questions, some questions
14 very much to the point with regard to what you and Mr. Cancarevic did in
15 the police station concerning the transfer of the prisoners to Brcko.
16 First tell me if a list of prisoners was made?
17 A. Detainees.
18 Q. Detainees, thank you. And if so, who did that list?
19 A. I received the list from the chief of the police station, Savo
20 Cancarevic. Who made the list and when, I do not know.
21 Q. Thank you very much. So Mr. Cancarevic gave you the list of
22 prisoners and now tell me what did you do with that list?
23 A. I took the list and with Simo Zaric we went to the Territorial
24 Defence building where the detainees were, and I took the list with me.
25 Q. Thank you very much. Tell me: When -- while you still were in
1 the police building, in the SUP building, did you see any of the arrested
3 A. I did. I saw Sulejman Tihic in passing. He was on the upper
4 floor in the police station building.
5 Q. Thank you very much. Tell me now, as far as you can remember, how
6 many people were there on that list that Savo Cancarevic gave you?
7 A. Well, I don't know the exact number but around 50 detainees.
8 There were about 50 of them on that list.
9 Q. Now tell me, did at some point arrive the military police and some
10 JNA officers and some military vehicles and did they fetch up in front of
11 the TO building and the police station? Because they face one another,
12 don't they?
13 A. What happened before that, and I remember when we came with the
14 list to the room where the detainees were in the TO building, then Simo
15 told everybody standing in the doorway that they would leave that place
16 and go to a safer place. Those present, to those present he said, "We
17 must hurry," but that they should rest assured that they were going to a
18 safer place because the building of the Territorial Defence itself did not
19 really have the wherewithal for the stay of these people. I mean, the
20 sanitary equipment was deficient, the building was pretty fragile and so
21 on and so forth, and it could have been dangerous for them if they stayed
23 Q. Yes. Thank you. But my question was whether military vehicles
24 and the military police and some JNA officers come to the TO.
25 A. Yes. In the meantime, a truck arrived and it parked at the
1 entrance into the yard of the Territorial Defence building and naturally
2 the military police were there.
3 Q. Tell me now: Did you perhaps know any of those soldiers who
4 arrived then?
5 A. No, I didn't. No.
6 Q. So the truck arrived and it was parked at the entrance to the TO
7 with Mr. Zaric, you've already told us what he had said to the detainees.
8 Now tell me what happened next?
9 A. When everybody was out in the yard, that is after they had left
10 the room and come out into the yard, I held the list and called out --
11 called out the names and those called out then boarded the truck.
12 Q. Tell me: As you were calling out those names and as those people
13 boarded the truck, could you see any marks of physical harassment on them?
14 A. Yes. There were some who could barely make it on to the truck or
15 just couldn't, and I also saw my neighbour, Suad Grga [as interpreted],
16 who looked beaten up, and who barely made it on to the truck and I don't
17 think he realised where he was or where he was going.
18 Q. Tell me: How did this procedure go, at a normal pace, or was
19 there any haste or how?
20 A. Well, everything was in a rush. Zaric would say now and then,
21 "Hurry up, hurry up, move on, move on."
22 Q. Tell me why was that, as far as you know?
23 A. Because when Savo Zaric spoke to Cancarevic and me, he said that
24 we have to carry out this action very quickly because the specials, that
25 is the many-coloured might turn up and because that might spell trouble.
1 Q. And just one more question in relation to this: When this action
2 was carried out, I mean when the transfer took place, when the truck
3 arrived or people were called out and boarded the truck, tell me, were
4 there any specials in the police station at that time?
5 A. No, not at that time. At that time none were there. I didn't
6 see any.
7 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Lazarevic, I would just like to
8 clarify one thing with Mr. Topolovac. On page 7, line 14, you're talking
9 about your neighbour who you saw, who looked beaten up and who barely made
10 it on to the truck. Was that Mr. Grga Zubak, because in the transcript it
11 says Suad Grga.
12 MR. LAZAREVIC: Your Honour I will clarify this with the witness.
13 I apologise I cannot follow at the same time what the witness is talking
14 and the transcript.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Topolovac, in the transcript, it says Suad
16 Grga. That's what is in the transcript, so can you please repeat the
18 A. His name is Grga Zubak.
19 Q. Grga Zubak was a member -- was in the TO, wasn't he?
20 A. Yes. He was in the building of the TO, in a room in that
22 MR. LAZAREVIC: I have to clarify because my question was not
23 properly recorded because here it says Grga Zubak was a member, was in the
24 TO because this could possibly imply that he was a member of the TO and we
25 know already that -- so I would just like that my question that I posed to
1 the witness, if it could be recorded properly.
2 Q. [Interpretation] So you don't have -- you've already answered but
3 I just want my question to be recorded. Was Grga Zubak in the building of
4 the TO, detained there?
5 A. He was detained in the TO building. He wasn't a member of the
7 Q. Thank you very much. Now tell me, after people called out from
8 the list got on to the truck, did this truck leave?
9 A. Yes, it did, yes.
10 Q. And you were not one of the escorts of the truck?
11 A. No. I stayed at the police station.
12 Q. And did Savo Cancarevic perhaps leave with this truck to escort
14 A. No, he didn't.
15 Q. And neither Mr. Zaric, isn't it?
16 A. That's right.
17 Q. Now I'd like us to move on to the next day, that is the day after
18 the transfer of prisoners to Brcko. Tell me, did you see Stevan
19 Todorovic, and if you did, tell us what happened when you met him?
20 A. I did, and I remember that around 11.00 that day, when he came to
21 the police station, he was angry and he was on edge. He raised his voice,
22 and saying, "Who is Simo Zaric to transfer people from the TO building?
23 Who is that Simo? Who is that 4th Detachment of his?" And he also rudely
24 addressed me, said, "What are you, who do you think you are?" And he also
25 spoke to the inspectors, "Who do you think you are to make something like
1 that possible?" I mean the words that he used were brutal, he said you've
2 only helped balijas and Ustasha and the like.
3 Q. You've already told us what were the relations between Mr. Zaric
4 and Mr. Todorovic before that but now just tell me whether this event, the
5 transfer of the detainees from TO to the barracks in Brcko, did that in
6 any way affect the relations between Mr. Zaric and Mr. Todorovic?
7 A. It did. Their relations deteriorated, they became worse, that
8 is. That is, between Stevan Todorovic and Simo Zaric, the relations
9 became worse, in terms of intolerance on the part of Mr. Zaric with regard
10 to Mr. Todorovic, because Todorovic always -- was always sorry that Simo
11 Zaric would not be subjected to his control and so on and so forth because
12 Simo Zaric never really worked in the police station except that he came
13 on a couple of occasions, otherwise he was in the 4th Detachment.
14 Q. Thank you very much. We are now coming to the end of this area of
15 examination. In your statement of mid -- you said that in mid-June, 1992,
16 you said that you left the police; is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And you joined the military unit?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Tell me what your personal attitude was to this event, your
21 leaving the police and joining the army?
22 A. How do you mean my personal attitude?
23 Q. I apologise. I may not have phrased my question well. How did
24 you experience this transfer from the police to the army as a human
25 being? Was it a relief? Did you regret leaving the police?
1 A. Well, the way the police worked was something I would never regret
2 leaving. I hoped that they would work as I had worked in the police
3 always in accordance with the law and with regulations, but unfortunately,
4 this wasn't so, because Stevan Todorovic was a man who had no experience
5 and who didn't care perhaps about police work. He was always surrounded
6 by these specials. He spoke in a disjointed way. On the following day,
7 he called me, not to the office but to the communications centre in the
8 police station building, and he said, "Either you will work the way I tell
9 you to or you will leave here." And by what he said, he simply threw me
10 out. When I saw Vlado Sarkanovic who had already left two days
11 previously, I asked him to transfer me back to the 4th Detachment. He
12 helped me, and that's when I parted ways with Stevan Todorovic. I don't
13 know how clear this is.
14 Q. Thank you. It's quite clear but, sir, because we are talking
15 about June, there is no doubt that this is no longer the 4th Detachment
16 but the Army of Republika Srpska?
17 A. Yes, yes. There was a transformation and you are right. It was
18 the Army of Republika Srpska.
19 Q. Thank you very much, sir.
20 MR. LAZAREVIC: No further questions for the witness.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Cross-examination by the Prosecution?
22 Cross-examined by Mr. Re:
23 Q. Mr. Topolovac, David Re is my name. I'm going to ask you some
24 questions from the Prosecution. I just want you to listen very carefully
25 to the questions I ask and please answer them as briefly as you possibly
1 can. You understand all those things?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Mr. Topolovac, a moment ago you said you were transferred from
4 the -- you were transferred back into the 4th Detachment, it was clarified
5 you actually went into the Army of the Republika Srpska, the VRS. Just
6 very briefly, on this issue, when you went into the army of the VRS, did
7 you retain the 4th Detachment uniform and weapons and all equipment that
8 had been issued to you?
9 A. I wasn't transferred. I simply was expelled by Stevan Todorovic,
10 and then I asked Vlado Sarkanovic to help me and he did help me join the
11 ranks of the Army of Republika Srpska but the rest is correct. I did have
12 a uniform of the Army of Republika Srpska and my personal weapons. I had
13 nothing to do with the police station any more.
14 Q. What I'm asking you is simply this: You were in the 4th
15 Detachment before you went to work at the police station, had a JNA 4th
16 Detachment uniform and a weapon issued to you and some equipment, didn't
17 you? Just yes or no.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. When you were working at the police station, did you keep your
20 uniform, weapons and equipment at home and when you were expelled from the
21 police station, did you put your uniform back on, keep your weapon and
22 join the VRS unit?
23 A. I returned my weapons and my uniform, my 4th Detachment uniform,
24 and when I arrived in the police station, I was wearing civilian clothes.
25 I remember this well.
1 Q. Can I stop you? I'm only asking you about what happened when you
2 left the police station. It's just quite brief, quite simple. You said a
3 moment ago, you kept your -- I think there is confusion as to what I'm
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lazarevic?
6 MR. LAZAREVIC: Maybe my colleague would just divide his question
7 in three questions and this would probably simplify, when you came to the
8 police did you turn back your weapons and your uniform, after you went out
9 from the police did you receive new uniform, it's as simple as that.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Re?
11 MR. RE: I will do that.
12 Q. Mr. Topolovac I don't want to spend too long on this I just want
13 to find out about when you went into the VRS. When you went into the VRS
14 from the police station, did you still have the uniform of the JNA?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. You still had it at home and your weapon at home and the equipment
17 at home while you were working at the police station? That's all I want
18 to know. Or did you return them before you went to work at the police
20 A. I returned them before I went to work at the police station.
21 Q. Thank you. Now, sir, your evidence was of your working at the
22 police station from April -- from -- in April 1992, several days after the
23 takeover of Bosanski Samac. I just want to ask you some questions about
24 your duties at the police station. In your statement at paragraph 19, you
25 referred to your duties as being record-keeping. And you described these
1 records as --
2 MR. RE: Mr. Lazarevic is on his feet.
3 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes, maybe he could have his statement before
5 MR. RE: Of course, I'm sorry. I thought he had it there. I'm
6 sorry. Do we have a copy?
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. What's the problem? The statement dated
9 MR. RE: I'm sorry, Your Honour, I missed that. I haven't got
10 written down in front of me, the exhibit number. Mr. Leese is looking for
11 it. The exhibit number of the 92 bis statement.
12 THE REGISTRAR: It is D39/4. If you're referring to the witness's
13 92 bis statement. Thank you.
14 MR. RE:
15 Q. Mr. Topolovac, can you just please turn to paragraph 19, just so
16 you've got it in front of you. There is nothing controversial about what
17 I'm going to ask you. I'm not trying to trick you any way. I'm just
18 referring to what you said there to cast your mind to the evidence which
19 is contained there. In your statement you referred to the keeping of
20 records that you were asked to do, that is records of people who were
21 brought in, work sheets, records of newly admitted members of the police
22 and other regular SJB records. That's what's in your statement. Where --
23 were those in fact your duties, once you started work in the police
24 station, the record keeping?
25 A. Well, when I arrived in the police station, Cancarevic, Savo,
1 spoke to me and told me I would stay at the police station, bearing in
2 mind that I was familiar with this kind of work, and that I would be in
3 charge of the records you have mentioned in the police station. He said I
4 would not be sent out on the ground and I spent my time keeping records.
5 Q. Thank you. When I asked you before to be as brief as possible,
6 it's already in your statement that that's what you did. All I'm asking
7 you is if in fact that is what you did. So please -- I know it's
8 difficult but please concentrate on the exact question I'm asking you, if
9 possible. You did the record duty. Was that your job for the two months
10 or so that you worked in the police station, record keeping?
11 A. Yes, yes.
12 Q. All right. Now, did you have -- did you work from an office?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Where was your office, Mr. Topolovac?
15 A. Downstairs on the ground floor, when you go from the duty room,
16 you pass through an office facing or looking on to the River Sava, if you
17 know where that is. It was the second office to the left from the duty
18 room, downstairs.
19 Q. It was downstairs and was it in a place that enabled you to see
20 everyone who was coming and going into the police station?
21 A. No, no. It was in the depth of the building.
22 Q. Your job was record keeping and you said it was to keep records --
23 your evidence in the statement is to keep records of newly admitted
24 members of the police and people who were brought in. Were you keeping
25 records of prisoners as they were brought into the police station?
1 A. In the beginning, yes, but later on, it was the duty service that
2 did that, because I had to have a break, I had to go home to sleep and so
3 on, and people were brought in at different times.
4 Q. It was your responsibility, is that what you're saying, to keep
5 the records of the prisoners who were detained in Mr. Todorovic's custody,
6 although of course you couldn't do it when you physically weren't at the
7 station. Are you saying it was your responsibility to keep the records
8 but when you weren't there because you were at home, someone else did your
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did you work every day in the police station between when you
12 started in April and when you were expelled in mid-June?
13 A. Yes. But sometimes I was absent because I was on leave. Mostly
15 Q. When you say leave you're talking about Sundays or Saturdays or
16 what? Were you able to say how many days you weren't there over that two
17 month period, doing as best as you can?
18 A. Mostly one day in the week I was off.
19 Q. Were you the only person designated to maintain the records, that
20 is were you the person in charge of maintaining the records of the
21 Bosanski Samac SUP for those two months?
22 A. No. There was also Milan Jekic.
23 Q. Did you share the duties of record maintenance or responsibility
24 for record maintenance?
25 A. No.
1 Q. You said Milan Jekic was also in charge of maintaining the
2 records. Who was the person primarily responsible for maintaining the
3 records, that is the records officer of the station? Was it you?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Records recorded prisoners brought in. Did they also record
6 prisoners leaving the station?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did they --
9 A. But --
10 Q. Did they record deaths of prisoners in custody?
11 A. Yes. The first and the second records were kept by the duty
12 service, because it was they who were able to monitor this, so that was
13 their task.
14 Q. Could you just clarify what you mean by first and second records
15 and duty service, just those three things, please?
16 A. Release. When a person was brought in, if Stevan Todorovic
17 decided he was to be released, the duty service had to make a record of
18 this. Also, if a detainee fell ill or died, it was the duty service who
19 was in charge of that.
20 Q. What is the duty service? Could you also please clarify that for
22 A. The duty service was in charge of surveillance of the detainees,
23 reports by citizens, keeping records of people detained also, and other
24 tasks they were charged with by Stevan Todorovic.
25 Q. What about the records of interrogations of prisoners, the files
1 relating to the interrogations of the prisoners who were interrogated
2 there? Did you keep those records or did someone else keep those
4 A. No, it wasn't accessible to me.
5 Q. I want to ask you about records of people visiting or entering the
6 police station. When you worked there before the war, were records kept
7 of visitors, that is visitors to prisoners, military people, or perhaps
8 police or SJB people from other districts? Were records kept of them
9 coming to the police station and who they saw?
10 A. I'm not aware that such records were kept.
11 Q. When you were in charge of record keeping for those two months in
12 1992, were records kept of people in those categories, such as military
13 personnel, other police from other districts, civilian officials who
14 weren't police officers coming to the police station to see prisoners or
15 for any other business?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Did you ever see the defendant or the sorry the accused,
18 Dr. Blagoje Simic, at the Bosanski Samac police station in the two months
19 that you worked there?
20 A. No.
21 Q. What about Mr. Miroslav Tadic? Did you see him there?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Did you keep records of the prisoners who were removed or
24 transferred to Brcko in April, 1992?
25 A. No. That list was given back to the commander, Savo Cancarevic.
1 There was a list, as I said, it had already been made. It was handed to
2 me by Savo Cancarevic and after reading out the names, I returned it to
3 the station chief.
4 Q. Where did -- where were you when Savo Cancarevic handed you this
5 list, Mr. Topolovac?
6 A. Upstairs on the upper floor, at the place where his office is.
7 Q. And that was near to where Mr. Tihic was being detained, wasn't
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Mr. Cancarevic, he was present -- was he present when the
11 prisoners were actually transferred, the physical putting them on to the
12 trucks and so on?
13 A. I don't remember, but I think he was upstairs, Zaric and I were
14 there. I can't remember. He may have been standing behind my back, but a
15 lot of time has elapsed. It's possible that he may have been there.
16 Q. Is there any reason you know of for him to give you the list, and
17 say, "Mr. Topolovac," or whatever he called you, "I want you to read the
18 list out"? Is there any reason he couldn't have done it himself if it
19 was his list?
20 A. I don't know.
21 Q. You've known Mr. Zaric for a long time, haven't you, sir?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. He's a long-term friend of yours, isn't he?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Both of you were unhappy about what was happening in the SUP, in
1 the period you worked there, weren't you?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And both of you talked about it during that period, that is April
4 to June, 1992, when you were working there?
5 MR. LAZAREVIC: I object. I object. I mean that the evidence of
6 the witness was very clear as what the period was where he saw Mr. Zaric
7 in the police station and June was not mentioned.
8 MR. RE:
9 Q. My question was both of you talked about it during that period.
10 You don't have to talk about it in the police station. I don't understand
11 the objection. The witness must be able to answer whether he spoke to
12 Mr. Zaric during that period.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: You mentioned that the period --
14 MR. LAZAREVIC: If this is the question, I have no objection, just
15 to divide some period.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: All right, then.
17 MR. RE:
18 Q. Do you understand the question, Mr. Topolovac, in the period you
19 worked in the police station you talked to Mr. Zaric about your concerns,
20 your mutual concerns about what was happening there, that's over that two
21 month period, didn't you?
22 A. No. Not that two month period. It refers to the period when that
23 person was killed. That's when there was talk of this, and in early May,
24 Simo Zaric left the police station and after that I didn't see him very
1 Q. All right. Did Mr. Zaric speak to you, as far as you know, or say
2 hello to you, as far as you know, every time he came to the police
3 station, in the period you worked there? I mean as far as you know did he
4 drop in and say, "Hello, I'm here"? Talk to you about anything?
5 A. No, but Simo is someone who was always polite, who always said
6 hello, but I was in the back part of the building, so I didn't see him
7 every time.
8 Q. So it's entirely possible that he came to the police station every
9 day for two to three hours between the period when you first started
10 working there and the 1st of May without your knowing that he was there?
11 Is that what you --
12 MR. LAZAREVIC: Well, it's -- the way that the question is posed.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. It is not possible.
14 MR. LAZAREVIC: The question was posed, I don't know how the
15 witness could answer, yes of course there is such possibility. He already
16 said that. But I don't know why he's insisting on this every day because,
17 all right, maybe the witness can answer that.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: The witness can answer according to the way he
19 understood the question. You don't have to interrupt.
20 MR. RE:
21 Q. Your answer to the question was it's not possible. What you're
22 saying is you would have known if Mr. Zaric was in the police station
23 because he was a polite person you would have expected him to have greeted
24 you as a courtesy?
25 A. Yes, every time, if, that is, he saw me, but his every visit
1 during that period of time that you tell us, he could spend there three
2 hours without me being able to see him and greet him. Simo could have
3 come several times during that period, perhaps five or six times, and
4 later on, in early May, I did not see him come.
5 Q. So your evidence this morning was you saw him a couple of times,
6 your evidence on Monday was that you saw him in the police station five or
7 six times. All I'm something you've given two different, two different
8 numbers, figures, for the number of times you saw him during that period.
9 A. I said several times, and in my book, it means five or six times.
10 Q. The translation we got a little bit earlier this morning was a
11 couple of times, a couple, as far as I understand in English, means two.
12 Are you saying that you said something different, several, meaning -- five
13 or six?
14 MR. LAZAREVIC: It is just a problem of interpretation in our
15 language there isn't much difference between several and couple. There is
16 what we receive in translation, it's words "nekoliko" and it could mean
17 couple and several.
18 MR. RE: I just want to ask the witness what he meant by couple,
19 or several, was it five or six or how many times, because we have had two
20 distinct, in the English translation, at least, figures given.
21 Q. Sir, do you understand what I am saying, I am just trying to --
22 there seems to be difference, it might be translation, we got a couple
23 meaning two and you said on Monday five or six. When you said a couple or
24 several, did you in fact mean five or six or did you mean something else?
25 A. I meant five or six times.
1 Q. All right. Now, Mr. Zaric gave an interview to the Office of the
2 Prosecution in June -- sorry, the 2nd of April, 1998, which is in
3 evidence. It's P141 ter, for the record. And at page 32, he said that in
4 that period, that is from the takeover to the 1st of May, 1992, I was
5 going to the SUP for about two or three hours of the day, sorry, two or
6 three hours a day, I'm sorry, the rest of the time I was in the field and
7 visiting units and carrying out the tasks that I had to do.
8 Knowing Simo Zaric as you do, long term friend, do you have any
9 reason to disbelieve his own version in evidence that he was there for two
10 or three hours every day in that period?
11 MR. LAZAREVIC: Your Honours, for -- to be fair to the witness,
12 maybe he could take a look at this portion of Mr. Zaric's interview,
13 because it is not that well translated, as we receive now the translation
14 of this portion of his interview. It's actually page 33 and I already
15 underlined this part of his interview and I can show it to the witness, if
16 the Trial Chamber finds it's appropriate, because there are a couple of
17 words before this quotation that the Prosecution made and we believe that
18 it's a bit changes the meaning of the words in a way.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, can you -- since you have the page, can you say
20 what the words are?
21 MR. LAZAREVIC: First of all, when quoting Mr. Zaric, and I will
22 read it in B/C/S, [Interpretation] "I approximately, perhaps, dropped to
23 -- in the SUP for two or three hours [Realtime transcript read in error
24 "days"] a day but only in daytime." [In English] Actually it's two or
25 three hours. Here I see in the translation, for two or three days. And
1 it said, and in our language, when it says [Interpretation] a day, [In
2 English] it doesn't mean necessarily every day. So it means that if he
3 comes on one day he would stay two or three hours.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: May I ask Mr. Re, we are spending so much time on
5 this, because the point is Mr. Simo Zaric from the interview does say he
6 used to go to the police station, whatever number of times a day. The
7 witness has said how many times he saw him at the police station, and he
8 has explained that because his office was in a certain place in the
9 building, he might not have seen him every time that the witness -- that
10 Mr. Simo Zaric went to the police, to the SUP, so I don't understand the
11 point of pursuing this.
12 MR. RE: I won't pursue it. I will just note for the record that
13 the objection taken has never been made. We have asked witnesses before
14 in relation to that particular passage. It's been in evidence since I
15 think September last year, that objection has never been taken to the
16 translation until this point. We could easily have had it retranslated if
17 there was a problem had it been brought to our attention on the other
18 occasions we have raised this with witnesses but I won't take it any
20 Q. In your statement at paragraph 18, sir, you said when you first
21 came to the police station there were -- there was a man in -- in
22 camouflage uniform who spoke to me, raising his voice, said, who are you,
23 man, what are you play acting here while another one said put your uniform
24 on quickly or else. That's in your statement. What uniform were they
25 referring to?
1 A. Which paragraph?
2 Q. 18, sir.
3 A. It is the camouflage uniform.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 A. The special one.
6 Q. Thank you. And did you in fact --
7 MR. LAZAREVIC: I apologise, maybe -- I just want to -- I can ask
8 that in redirect but are you referring to the uniform that this gentleman
9 was wearing or the uniform that he should have worn?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Which he had on. That's what he
12 MR. RE:
13 Q. I think that's fairly apparent. Now, Mr. Topolovac, you said he
14 was referring to the camouflage uniform. Did you in fact wear a uniform
15 or put one on when you were working in the police station, as a result of
16 that conversation? That's all I'm asking you.
17 A. No. I was in civilian --
18 Q. Mr. Todorovic was in charge of the station. That's in your
19 statement and in your evidence. And I think you're saying that he was the
20 person who governed access to the station; is that correct? Just yes or
22 A. It is.
23 Q. Which means of course that he was the person who allowed military
24 people like Simo Zaric to come in to interrogate prisoners? Did you
25 understand the question?
1 A. Yes. I did. Well, yes, that is what one can conclude.
2 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, you know Mr. Zaric conducted some
3 interviews in the police station. Were you present when he conducted any
4 of these interviews?
5 A. No. If I may go back to your previous question.
6 Q. Certainly, sir. The question was Todorovic -- just hang on,
7 Todorovic was in charge of the police station, he was the one who governed
8 access, that is anyone, including the military, and Mr. Zaric, to come in
9 and go -- and interrogate prisoners. That was the question and you said
10 yes, that would be the conclusion. Do you wish to add something to it?
11 A. I wanted to add that I am not aware of that but Stevan Todorovic
12 himself decided whom he would let in and whom he wouldn't let in.
13 Q. Well, from your working there in those two months, Mr. Zaric would
14 not have been able to come in and interrogate prisoners in Todorovic's
15 custody without Todorovic allowing him to do so or giving orders to others
16 to allow him to do so, could he?
17 A. I do not know. I do not know what the understanding regarding
18 that was.
19 Q. Sir, people just couldn't walk in off the street, could they, and
20 go and start interrogating prisoners? They had to have permission of the
21 person running the station, didn't they? It couldn't have happened
22 otherwise, could it, sir?
23 A. True, but I never saw such a permit. Perhaps it existed, perhaps
24 it was verbal or in writing, I don't know.
25 Q. All I'm saying to you is from your experience, the evidence you
1 gave, of Todorovic being in charge giving orders as to who was arrested,
2 who was detained, who was released, it was his police station, and from
3 your experience of working there and what you saw, Mr. Zaric could not
4 have come in and interrogated prisoners without Mr. Todorovic allowing him
5 access to do so, could he?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. The "yes" is a little bit ambiguous. When you say "yes," do you
8 mean no, Mr. Zaric could not have come in without Mr. Todorovic's
10 A. I do not really know it.
11 Q. Are you aware of anyone who was able to come in and interrogate
12 prisoners or had access to prisoners without the express permission of
13 Todorovic or people acting under his orders during the two months that you
14 were there?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Who was giving -- you said Todorovic was in charge. He gave
17 orders in relation to arrests and imprisonment. Did he give orders to a
18 duty officer to assemble squads of mixed paramilitary or special
19 volunteers and local police to go out and search for particular people?
20 A. Yes. Stevan Todorovic did give such orders.
21 Q. There is some evidence before the Court, Mr. Topolovac, that it
22 was in fact you who compiled the list or you with Mr. Cancarevic who
23 compiled the list of prisoners to be transferred to Brcko. In fact,
24 Mr. Zaric in his record of interview at -- that's P141, could the witness
25 please be shown P141, that's ter, at page 44?
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
2 MR. RE:
3 Q. I'll just tell you what it says and then you'll have a chance to
4 read it for yourself to save some time. The question was, of the
5 Prosecutor to Mr. Zaric --
6 JUDGE MUMBA: I think let the witness have the document first.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Could the document be put on the ELMO, please?
8 MR. RE:
9 Q. If you go to page 45, please, sir, can you see at the top of the
10 page where it says, I'm sorry if you could just go over the page before,
11 please just go back over the page before, that's my mistake, to page 44,
12 please go back a page?
13 A. Just a moment, just a moment.
14 Q. Just go back a page.
15 A. I was given the document in English.
16 Q. I'm sorry.
17 A. Not in Yugoslav.
18 MR. RE: I apologise for that, Your Honours.
19 Q. You have it in B/C/S now. Can you please go to page 44? You'll
20 see there is English and Yugoslav there. The bottom of the page, the
21 question is Nancy --
22 A. Yes, right.
23 Q. [Previous interpretation continues] ...
24 A. Yes, yes.
25 Q. [Previous interpretation continues] ... TO and SUP were
1 transferred to Brcko, how was it decided who got transferred to Brcko and
2 who stayed behind? Now, the answer is over the page, and it's Mr. Zaric,
3 Mr. -- it was Savo Cancarevic who was the police commander at that time,
4 and Mr. Topolovac, who was his deputy. They had compiled the list and I
5 didn't have anything to do with it. They decided who should go and
6 Mr. Topolovac read out the list after it was done and the prisoners were
7 put in the vehicles, then I left the building of the TO, I'm only talking
8 about the people in that one room in the TO building.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Could we have the document on the ELMO, please?
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The interpreters would like to have the
11 document on the ELMO.
12 MR. RE:
13 Q. You see the questions and answers the question of the Prosecutor,
14 Nancy, and Mr. Zaric's answer saying it was you and Mr. Cancarevic who
15 compiled the list. I'm just going to ask you do you know of any reason
16 why Mr. Zaric would say that if it wasn't correct?
17 THE INTERPRETER: Could the text be moved up, please?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't know. Perhaps that's
19 what he thought but I remember well that Savo gave me the list that he had
20 made. Now, how -- I didn't have a hand in making the list. I got the
21 list from Savo Cancarevic, the chief of the station.
22 MR. RE:
23 Q. Sir, there is also evidence before the Court that the list was
24 compiled upstairs opposite where Mr. Tihic was and Mr. Zaric was there at
25 the time, as was Captain Petrovic. There was you, Mr. Zaric and Captain
1 Petrovic and that you dictated the list for the benefit of the Trial
2 Chamber that's at T 1446. I just want to suggest that that's in fact what
3 happened. That you were -- it was either you or someone else who
4 dictated -- sorry, that you were the person that dictated the list in the
5 presence of Mr. Zaric and Captain Petrovic.
6 A. No.
7 MR. RE: Thank you. That can be removed, thank you.
8 Q. There is also evidence before the Court, Mr. Cancarevic [sic],
9 that Mr. Todorovic was in fact there on the night of the transfer,
10 possibly for about ten minutes or so. I want to suggest to you that he
11 was in fact there for a short period of time when the transfer was going
12 on, and he didn't interfere.
13 A. No.
14 Q. Now, Mr. Zaric has written a book called, "On The Hague cross."
15 Have you read his book, Mr. Topolovac?
16 A. I have.
17 Q. In his book, this is at page 176 of the English, he said that "We
18 heard from Savo Cancarevic, who was then police chief in Samac and
19 Topolovac, his deputy, that `the head honchos' had approved the entire
20 list. They had accepted it obviously with no suspicions and commented let
21 them have all the assholes they have asked for and throw in three
22 labourers too but no more than three." They themselves decided which
23 three. That's what Mr. Zaric said in the book you read about your role in
24 compiling the list and putting names on it.
25 Do you have any reason to doubt the accuracy of that?
1 A. It is not true that Savo Cancarevic was the chief of the police
2 station, no never. And me as his deputy, so it is either a misprint or an
3 error made during writing.
4 Q. Mr. Zaric in the book, page 176, the book that you read, said "The
5 list he -- he had some part in this with Mr. Maksimovic, meaning Makso
6 Simeunovic, about some reports he'd written and he said the next day,
7 Maksimovic phoned me and said he had told `the boss' everything. He too
8 agrees that something has to be done. Especially since the army needs
9 some of those men for additional clarification of some matters, especially
10 in connection with the illegal arming and instances of sabotage against
11 the JNA as in Brcko, for example. I, that's Simo Zaric, was not able to
12 tie up all `loose ends' on the basis of the material I had been given and
13 the suspects I had interrogated, nor was I able to figure out things
14 related to Sijekovac, Bosanski Brod and Derventa. I did not know what
15 else they had especially as regards cases in which some JNA members were
16 involved or suspected. They would not tell me whether the mysterious
17 major whom I met in Todorovic's office while I was interrogating Tihic was
18 working on that. He could have been from counterintelligence, something
19 that Maksimovic and Nikolic may after all have known. The boss, he said,
20 would talk to the people in the town and see if at least the men we needed
21 could be pulled out and kept in more decent conditions. Are the others
22 not human beings, I asked, that's Zaric, I asked, we should do something
23 for them too."
24 A few paragraphs down, "Two days later, it was already arranged
25 for the army to take over the men `it needed.' Thanks in the
1 first place to Maksimovic's understanding we had extended the list as much
2 as we could. And included in it many names apart from the men whom I had
3 interrogated and a few more cases were being investigated by others. We
4 added those whom we knew to be in detention and in a bad state as well as
5 a few men we trusted knowing them to be honest." And so on.
6 That's when he gets to the bit about Petrovic and the comment that
7 "Let them have all the assholes they have asked for and throw in three
8 labourers too." Now my question is that's a book you've read, your name
9 appears in it, it's a description -- I'll just finish the question.
10 MR. LAZAREVIC: I apologise. I found it very hard to follow what
11 you were quoting. First of all, we didn't have the accurate translation
12 and I believe that the interpreters already addressed to us and us saying
13 that they don't have the text of this book before them so they can make an
14 accurate translation. Second, it was a very long quotation. I would
15 really like to see what was -- what would be the result of this quotation
16 and the question finally posed to the witness because there are so many
17 things in this quotation. There are literally at least 20 topics raised
18 in this.
19 MR. RE: Your Honour, of course I'm quite happy to show the
20 witness the passage from the book which isn't in evidence yet but I intend
21 to tender it. I was just reading it to him to allow him to know what
22 Mr. Zaric, the book he's read, said about the account the witness has
23 given and ask him to comment on it. I'm finished the quotation. I'm of
24 course quite happy to give him a copy of the relevant page to look at but
25 my question was going to be having heard that, do you have any reason to
1 disbelieve Mr. Zaric's account in his book, the accuracy of it? It's
2 simply that.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, the witness can tell the Trial Chamber whether
4 or not he followed the quotation and whether or not he understood it. And
5 then he can answer the question posed by the Prosecution. Because as the
6 Prosecution says, this is a book that the witness has read.
7 MR. RE: It's actually 10.30, Your Honour. It's 10.32 actually.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Oh, yes, we have gone past our break. We shall
9 continue our proceedings at 1100 hours. Judge Lindholm was just
10 suggesting that perhaps the pages could be handed over to the witness and
11 then he can peruse them during the break.
12 MR. RE: We'll do that, Your Honour.
13 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Re?
16 MR. RE: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Mr. Topolovac, the Court -- I'm sorry, just before I do that,
18 during the break, the interpreters approached me and in relation to those
19 two translation issues they said that the word "couple" -- the witness
20 used the word "couple." It has a specific meaning in B/C/S, meaning two,
21 as in English, and then used the word later "several" and the word
22 "several" means two or three, it doesn't mean five or six and they said
23 in relation to the translation of the word a day, P141 at page 32, as
24 appears translated is the day, it's not in daytime, it means very strictly
25 each day. That was the translation the interpreters approached me and
1 told me about it during the break. So I've placed those matters on the
3 Q. Mr. Topolovac, the Court -- the Court actually gave you a copy of
4 the relevant pages from Mr. Zaric's book. You've had a chance to read
5 them over the last 15 or 20 minutes, I take it? Have you read it? That's
6 all I'm asking you.
7 A. Yes, I have.
8 Q. All right. You've read the book before and you've got no reason
9 to disbelieve Mr. Zaric's account in his published book of the reason for
10 the removal being for -- of some of the people being for further
11 interrogation, for military purposes, at Brcko, have you?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Sorry, when you say yes, do you mean no, you have no reason to
14 disbelieve or yes, you do have a reason to disbelieve?
15 A. I have no reason to disbelieve.
16 Q. And you have no reason to disbelieve Mr. Zaric's account there of
17 the way it was organised or what actually happened, do you?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Nor do you have any reason to disbelieve his version of the
20 comment which he says you made or you and Cancarevic made about "let them
21 have all the assholes they have asked for and throw in the three labourers
22 too but no more than three." They themselves decided the three. You have
23 got no reason to disbelieve that version in his published book, which
24 you've read do you?
25 A. I don't know about that.
1 Q. And also on this, on the last page which you have in front of you,
2 that's page 178 in the English, and page 245 in the Yugoslav, as you
3 called it, where Mr. Zaric said in relation to their transfer from Brcko
4 to Bijeljina, "and so it was they were transferred from Brcko to
5 Bijeljina, why some of them were later moved to Batajnica and others to
6 Sremska Mitrovica and what had prompted all these wanderings, I can only
7 guess. They could have done something against the JNA which could have
8 necessitated further investigation, a follow-up to what had been initiated
9 in Samac. I do not think there was time to wrap up any such thing in
10 Brcko. I'm willing to believe and indeed I am sure that it was better for
11 them to be as far away from Samac as possible." I just note I have
12 provided the interpreters with copies, French, B/C/S and English of the
13 passages that I'm reading from in English and in B/C/S.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lazarevic?
15 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes, Your Honours, first of all, this witness
16 accordingly to his statement and what he stated here before this Tribunal,
17 has absolutely no knowledge that these were transferred somewhere to
18 Bijeljina or after Brcko. And even in this quotation that Mr. Re made,
19 there is also one sentence here that says that even Mr. Zaric's assuming
20 something, speculates on something, and I really don't know how could this
21 witness answer and give any comment regarding this part of the book.
22 MR. RE: It's really in relation to the words, a follow-up to what
23 had been initiated in Samac. I was only reading the rest of the paragraph
24 to put it in context. It's only in relation to those. The initiation of
25 what happened in Samac, the question is simply, you have no reason to
1 disbelieve what Mr. Zaric said there about what was initiated in Samac and
2 what happened afterwards, do you sir,? That's as far as I wish to take
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Before the witness answers, regarding
5 Mr. Lazarevic's intervention, all I can say is that this witness was
6 there, he knows what happened, and then he has read this book, and the
7 questions are clear from the Prosecution, so he can answer the best way he
8 understands the questions.
9 MR. RE:
10 Q. Mr. Topolovac, you understand my question, you've read the
11 passage, my question is simply having read it, having read the book,
12 you've got no reason to disbelieve what Mr. Zaric said in that paragraph
13 in relation to what was initiated in Samac and he says should have been
14 followed up elsewhere, do you?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. I'm sorry, again, that's slightly ambiguous. It's not your
17 fault. When you said "yes" you mean you've got no reason to disbelieve
18 him. Could you just say I've got no reason to disbelieve him if that's
19 what you mean?
20 A. Well, you see, when I say that I have no reason to disbelieve, I
21 don't know whether I said this, but it is my opinion that the transfer of
22 the detainees was done by Simo for their own good, and that in this way,
23 he saved the lives of many detainees in the TO building.
24 Q. Sir, I'm not asking you that. I'm just trying clarify an
25 ambiguity. When I said you I had no reason to disbelief, it said yes.
1 I'll put it the other way around. Do you have any reason to disbelieve
2 what he said in that paragraph? Yes, you do have a reason to disbelief or
3 no, you have no reason to disbelieve? That's all I'm trying to clarify.
4 A. I have no reason to disbelieve.
5 MR. RE: I have no further questions, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Re-examination?
7 MR. RE: I'm sorry, the tender of the book. I move to tender the
8 book or that portion into evidence, should it be given an ID number at the
9 moment or can we wait until after the witness is gone? It's a matter for
10 Your Honours.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: What I want to know is it's the whole book.
12 MR. RE: It's the whole book. The whole book has been translated
13 and provided to us of course by the Defence, I believe. The passages we
14 were relying upon were pages 175 through to 178 in the English and pages
15 242 to 245 in the B/C/S. I'm sorry, that's right, 242, 3, 4, 5, in the
17 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Mr. Re, before we do anything on that, could you
18 just give the title of the book? Because I seem to remember this morning
19 that the title you gave was slightly different to the title that was given
20 before which I think was "Crucifixion in The Hague." And this morning you
21 said something different so I would just like to be certain we are talking
22 about the same book.
23 MR. RE: The English translation, the title is "Crucified in The
24 Hague." That's the official translation, first edition 1999. If I could
25 just read the word in B/C/S sometimes it's translated as on "The Hague
1 cross" meaning I suppose the Christian cross. Sometimes there is a slight
2 difference, different people call it different things. The official
3 translation says crucified. Perhaps if I just read the B/C/S or perhaps
4 if this is put on the ELMO for the interpreters to see they could give --
5 JUDGE MUMBA: No. I think Mr. Lazarevic can assist us with that.
6 What is the official title in B/C/S?
7 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes. I will gladly do that. The official --
8 JUDGE MUMBA: I mean what's the book called, that's all?
9 MR. LAZAREVIC: Official title is [Interpretation] "On The Hague
10 crucifixion." [In English] Crucifixion.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Fine is there any objection?
12 MR. LAZAREVIC: Your Honours I have no problem with this but in
13 this proceedings, we already have a couple of times some issues regarding
14 books of witnesses. We are all aware that we had one situation with the
15 book of Mr. Sulejman Tihic and then after that, there were other books by
16 Mr. Dragan Lukac and Dragan Delic who were all witnesses before this
17 Tribunal. And the ruling of the Trial Chamber, if I remember correctly,
18 was that books written by people who will testify and give their testimony
19 here viva voce are not acceptable into evidence since we already have
20 people here who will testify about their own experience. They can be used
21 for the purposes of -- well, I don't know, challenging some parts of the
22 statement, and I believe that Mr. Zaric will give his testimony before
23 this Tribunal. So I'm just concerned about the previous ruling of the
24 Trial Chamber in the same situations. We have -- we face that situation
25 at least three times.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, the Trial Chamber will deal with the ruling
4 MR. RE: Could I be heard? Not at the moment but on that
5 particular issue at some point, not while the witness is here obviously.
6 Before Your Honours rule I'll just ask that the Prosecution be heard. We
7 haven't argued our case for its tender into at mission, not now I'm
9 JUDGE MUMBA: All right. So we will give you an opportunity.
10 MR. RE: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, re-examination?
12 MR. LAZAREVIC: Very briefly, Your Honour.
13 Re-examined by Mr. Lazarevic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Topolovac, I have only a couple of points to
15 clarify that follow from the Prosecution questions and your replies. The
16 Prosecutor asked you whether Stevan Todorovic had to approve the arrival
17 of Simo Zaric to the police station and if I understood your reply
18 correctly you said that you had not seen either written approval or heard
19 oral approval by Stevan Todorovic and then the Prosecutor suggested that
20 as Todorovic approved everything and was asked about everything, he
21 probably had to have approved this as well, and then you agreed.
22 I will now ask you whether you have any information and you
23 already said this during the examination-in-chief, that is that Simo Zaric
24 came there on orders from the commander, Commander Nikolic, and Radovan
25 Antic. You know that, don't you?
1 A. Yes. And that's what I said.
2 Q. Yes. So if somebody discussed this with Stevan Todorovic and
3 agreed with him, it didn't necessarily have to be Simo Zaric, is this
5 A. Yes, it is. Yes, it could have been one of his superiors possibly
6 with whom he had discussed this and agreed on it.
7 Q. Thank you very much. Mr. Re, the Prosecutor, now quoted certain
8 parts of Mr. Zaric's book. And in one of your responses, you said that
9 this had to be a mistake. Maybe a typing error or an error in the text,
10 because Savo Cancarevic was never the chief of police. Do you remember
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Then you were given a part to read, and you noticed the name of an
14 officer who is mentioned, and in the book it says his name is Maksimovic.
15 Is this correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. In this part of the book, it says Maksimovic. That's what you
18 read; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you know a man called Makso Simeunovic, have you ever
21 heard of such a man?
22 A. Yes, I have heard of him but I've never seen him and I don't know
24 Q. Sir, there has been testimony before this Tribunal, and there are
25 indications that it was Maksim Simeunovic who was the man who came on that
1 occasion and took away the detainees from the TO. Do you have any reason
2 to doubt this?
3 MR. RE: I object to this. This is cross-examination of the
5 JUDGE MUMBA: I'll allow the question, Mr. Re. The witness can
7 MR. LAZAREVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Let me repeat. Do you have any reason to doubt that it was Makso
9 Simeunovic, who came to collect the detainees from the TO? Tell us.
10 A. You're asking me? Oh, I apologise. I thought you were speaking
11 to the Prosecutor. No.
12 Q. So you have no reason to doubt this?
13 A. No, no reason.
14 Q. In the book, however, it says Maksimovic, is this correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. So we will agree on the basis of these two examples, that there
17 are certain errors in the book which you yourself have just mentioned, is
18 this correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And there is imprecision in the book, either as a result --
21 MR. RE: I do object. This is a series of leading cross-examining
22 questions to the witness. He can certainly be asked about any of these --
23 MR. LAZAREVIC: I withdraw, I withdraw, I withdraw, I withdraw.
24 I have no further questions.
25 Questioned by the Court:
1 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes, Mr. Topolovac, I just have a few questions
2 for you. The first question is in order for any detained person to be
3 released from the SUP, was the approval of Dr. Blagoje Simic also
4 necessary, as well as that of the chief of police, Mr. Stevan Todorovic?
5 A. I don't know that.
6 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you. Second question is do you know
7 whether two detained persons, a Mr. Jusufovic and a Mr. Fadil Sabanovic,
8 who were interrogated on the same day as Mr. Sulejman Tihic in the SUP, do
9 you know whether Mr. Simo Zaric released these two gentlemen,
10 Mr. Jusufovic and Mr. Sabanovic, if I'm pronouncing them correctly?
11 A. I don't know. I don't know that.
12 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you. The third question is, in the records
13 in the police station, in the SUP, did these records show not only the
14 name of the person who had been arrested and detained, but also the name
15 or names of those persons who had made the arrest and brought them into
16 the SUP?
17 A. In the form, in the book of records, it said which patrol had
18 brought the person in.
19 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay. And last question is: Do you know, do you
20 recall, the names of the people on the patrol that arrested Mr. Kemal
22 A. I don't know. I don't remember that.
23 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay. Thank you very much.
24 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Mr. Topolovac, at the time when some or part of
25 the detainees were transferred to Brcko, do you have any picture of how
1 many detainees there were at that time?
2 A. I couldn't say with any precision, but it was approximately that
3 number, the number on the list.
4 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Which means that all the detainees were
5 transferred to Brcko?
6 A. Yes.
7 JUDGE LINDHOLM: In that case, if all the detainees were
8 transferred, why was it necessary to have them listed and called out from
9 the list instead of just taking them down and put them on the truck?
10 A. I think it's so that it would be known who was on the way there,
11 who was sent there, so that if anything should happen during the
12 transport, there would be a list of people who were being transported.
13 JUDGE LINDHOLM: But if the list contained the names of all the
14 detainees, why was it necessary to call them out by name, if nobody
15 remained in custody?
16 A. Well, that's what police work is like. You have to identify a
17 person. You have to call out their name and then see whether that person
18 actually boarded the bus or not. If a list was made, I see no reason not
19 to call out the names.
20 JUDGE LINDHOLM: So to be quite sure on my point, your testimony
21 is that all the detainees were transferred to Brcko and not just certain
22 persons picked out and put on the list? Because you -- you gave testimony
23 and one could also understand from the book written by Mr. Zaric that the
24 list was compiled, which so to say is -- I understand it, I understood it
25 the way that not all detainees were transferred but only certain picked
1 out and put on the list.
2 A. It is possible that someone stayed behind, that not all of them
3 got on the bus, but I didn't see that. It was night-time or late evening
4 and we were working quite fast.
5 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Well, I have no further questions. Thank you.
6 Thank you so much.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, thank four giving evidence to the Tribunal. We
8 are finished with you. You may leave the courtroom.
9 [The witness withdrew]
10 JUDGE MUMBA: While the witness is being brought in,
11 Mr. Lazarevic, the Trial Chamber has been informed that you haven't taken
12 any steps to have the Rule 92 bis statement of Mr. Ramusovic completed
13 with formalities.
14 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes, Your Honour, I have to apologise for that. I
15 was informed by the officer of the court and during the break I will make
16 all necessary applications to the Registry, because I'm kindly asking for
17 understanding, we are in the middle of our Defence case and I was mainly
18 focused on witnesses and all the problems that we have with witnesses
19 about their arrival and everything, and I will do the necessary
20 application during next break.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: I want to say that the reason the Tribunal pays for
22 two lawyers on each case is precisely that they share the duties.
23 Can we have the next witness, please?
24 MR. RE: Your Honours, while the witness is on his way in, I had a
25 brief discussion with chambers legal officer and the Registry about the
1 Rule 71 deposition witnesses.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
3 MR. RE: I -- Mr. Leese our case manager tells us that we only
4 received the copies yesterday of the Rule 71 deposition transcripts. They
5 came to the Prosecutor's Office yesterday, we haven't looked at them. I
6 understand that the Registry has had them for sometime but our latest
7 information and we have not seen them so I haven't been able to make the
8 application I was going to make in relation to two witnesses but I will
9 certainly go back to my office very soon, start reading them and file
10 something very quickly. That's the reason for any perceived delay.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Because the Trial Chamber have had these transcripts
12 for a long time now.
13 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
14 [The witness entered court]
15 JUDGE MUMBA: The Trial Chamber has been informed by the Registry
16 assistant that in fact these transcripts were given to all the parties
17 sometime back, more than three weeks ago. We will proceed with the
18 witness. Can the witness make the solemn declaration, please?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
20 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 WITNESS: FADIL TOPCAGIC
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Please sit down.
24 Yes, Mr. Pisarevic?
25 Examined by Mr. Pisarevic:
1 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
2 Q. Good morning, Mr. Topcagic. I believe that the redacted version
3 has already been handed to the members of the Chamber. And other
4 participants in these proceedings.
5 Mr. Topcagic, will you please state for the record your full name?
6 A. My name is Fadil Topcagic.
7 Q. Thank you. Your other particulars are in this statement which you
8 made and certified in December in Bosanski Samac. So that now we shall
9 talk about parts of your statement which were struck out from your
10 statement as ruled by the Trial Chamber. During the preparation of your
11 testimony, during your proofing, we talked about how it will be best
12 technically to conduct this testimony and those instructions which I gave
13 you on that occasion remain in force, which means listen to my question,
14 wait a couple of seconds, then answer, try to -- try not to speak too fast
15 so that the interpreters could interpret what you say, because the purpose
16 of this is to have your testimony on record, the testimony that you will
17 give to the best of your knowledge and recollection. If you find a
18 question unclear, feel free to tell me so and I shall repeat it.
19 In your statement, in passage in paragraph 39, and in some
20 preceding paragraphs, you testified about what had gone on in Bosanski
21 Samac, and about things that happened in the police station in Bosanski
22 Samac on the -- in the morning of the 17th, and on which occasion a member
23 of the many-coloured, as you put it, was wounded, the man whose nickname
24 was or rather whom you knew only by his nickname, and that was Debeli,
25 fatso, you took him to Crkvina to the cultural club. So tell us what
1 happened after you arrived there, to the cultural centre in the village of
2 Crkvina, whom did you find in that centre and what else happened there?
3 A. When I arrived in Crkvina, I had not known this man before until
4 that morning, but people called him Debeli, fatso. In the cultural
5 centre in Crkvina, I came across Blagoje Simic, physician, former deputy
6 mayor of the municipality of Samac, and the president of the SDS. Before
7 that, I helped that Debeli to enter the building and Dr. Simic helped him
8 with the wound that he had in -- around his shoulder.
9 Q. So Dr. Simic extended medical aid to him in relation to that wound
10 that he had sustained?
11 A. That's right.
12 Q. Were you present during that intervention?
13 A. Yes, I was.
14 Q. And did you at some point address Debeli with a question?
15 A. Yes. I asked where do I go now? And he said that I was free to
16 leave the car in which we had arrived and to go to Samac.
17 Q. And that car was that a police car that you had brought him to
19 A. It was a police car, it was a Zastava 11, white, but it did not
20 have any markings, it did not say, "Police" for instance.
21 Q. Did you learn the name of that man whom you only knew as Debeli at
22 the time later on?
23 A. Yes. I did. His name was Srecko Radovanovic.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please it's unclear the evidence on
25 this witness's knowledge of the name. Mr. Pisarevic has suggested that
1 the witness knew the man as Debeli at the time he arrived at the cultural
2 centre. However, it may not be the case. It may be that the witness is
3 saying that he learnt of the name subsequently, after, in the following
4 weeks and months. So if Mr. Pisarevic could clarify when it was that the
5 witness knew the name of this paramilitary -- of Debeli, that would assist
6 you, certainly assist the Prosecution.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I think counsel can deal with that.
8 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, by all means, Your Honour.
9 Q. In your testimony, Mr. Topcagic, you said that that morning, on
10 the 17th, you knew that person only by his nickname, Debeli.
11 A. That's right.
12 Q. And how much later did you find out his full name?
13 A. Well, it must have been not less than ten days later.
14 Q. And after that, you set off towards Samac and tell us where did
15 you fetch up, which location, when you left Crkvina and arrived in Samac?
16 A. I started on foot from Crkvina and a man came up in a car, and I
17 hitched a ride, and he left me off at the -- at the brickyard, at the
18 entrance into Samac, or the so-called mouth of the Bosna, and then I
19 continued on foot to SIT, where the 4th Detachment had its offices.
20 Q. You mean that the command of the 4th Detachment was in the SIT?
21 A. Yes. The offices of the SIT housed the command of the 4th
23 Q. And at about what time did you get to the command of the 4th
24 Detachment on the SIT premises?
25 A. It was around 5.00 in the morning.
1 Q. And when you got to the command of the 4th Detachment, around 5.00
2 in the morning, in the SIT building, did you see anyone there? And if you
3 did, who was that?
4 A. At the very exit from SIT, I met the commander of the 4th
5 Detachment, Radovan Antic, and Simo Zaric.
6 Q. Will you please describe your encounter? Did you talk about
8 A. I told them briefly what had happened to me this morning -- that
9 morning. They looked worried, and asked me why had I not reported that
10 night when I went to where I had been, why had I not called by telephone,
11 and I said that I couldn't do it, that I was unable to do it.
12 Q. So you told them what you had lived through that night, where
13 you'd been and what you'd done, and when you saw them there at the exit,
14 did you know, did they tell you where they were headed?
15 A. They said that they were off to see Lieutenant Colonel Stevan
16 Nikolic, for a briefing to see what was to be done under the
18 Q. And that conversation, was it short?
19 A. It was very short, because they were in a hurry.
20 Q. Did they tell you that you'd tell them all in detail after they
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. After Mr. Zaric and Mr. Antic left to Pelagicevo, what was there
24 in Pelagicevo?
25 A. In Pelagicevo, were JNA troops or rather the technical, tactical
1 group 17. Pelagicevo is 40 kilometres from Samac and was in the
2 municipality of Gradacac.
3 Q. Very well. Thank you. And who commanded the 17th Tactical Group
4 of the Yugoslav People's Army?
5 A. The commander of that 17th Tactical Group was Stevan Nikolic.
6 Q. Thank you. Now, when you arrived there and those two left, who
7 else was there in the command? Whom did you see there?
8 A. By that time, 50 or thereabouts people had gathered there, members
9 of the 4th Detachment, who did not know themselves what to do under the
11 Q. Were they all armed?
12 A. No. By and large --
13 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I'm just wondering if the
14 witness has a statement before him. I just notice he has an open
15 document, and if he's testifying on these issues that have been redacted
16 from his or taken out from his original statement, then he should be
17 giving his evidence viva voce not by reference to or with the assistance
18 of his statement.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. He shouldn't have his statement --
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Shouldn't have it there.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Unless it's the redacted one. Is it the redacted
22 one? I mean the one where the paragraphs were struck out?
23 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, indeed, the usher
24 has given the gentleman, Mr. Topcagic, a redacted version, which we handed
25 to the Chamber and the Prosecutor.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: That is fine, then.
2 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Fine, thank you.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I say something? What I'm
4 telling you is not that page at all.
5 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Nor is it in that statement.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Nor is it in that statement.
7 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Was Captain Jovo Savic the deputy commander there?
9 A. Yes, he was.
10 Q. And what about members of the detachment? Were they wearing the
11 military uniforms of the Yugoslav People's Army?
12 A. Yes, they were.
13 Q. Did you talk with members of the 4th Detachment who were in the
14 command that morning about what was going on in Bosanski Samac?
15 A. Those who had arrived in the command of the 4th Detachment had
16 come across largish groups of armed Muslims around the mosque and the
17 department store, the hotel, the marketplace.
18 Q. You were not armed?
19 A. I wasn't armed, nor was I wearing any army clothes.
20 Q. And why didn't you go home to get your weapons, the weapons that
21 you had been issued with by the 4th Detachment and put on the uniform also
22 issued by the 4th Detachment?
23 A. I did not go because for my safety, because that area was held by
24 Muslim armed formations.
25 Q. If I get your meaning properly, your house, where your weapons
1 were and where your uniform was, was in a part of the town where there
2 were also armed groups of Muslim formations, is that it?
3 A. Yes, it is.
4 Q. Do you recall when Mr. Zaric and Mr. Antic returned from
5 Pelagicevo? When was that?
6 A. They returned sometime between 8.00 and 9.00, thereabouts.
7 Q. And the rest of the members of the 4th Detachment, you included,
8 were they informed about the orders issued by the commander of the 17th
9 Tactical Group, Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And what were you told then?
12 A. They told us that the messengers should go off and bring together
13 as many soldiers of the 4th Detachment as possible, as quickly as
15 Q. Right. So that was sometime between 8.00 and 9.00, and during
16 that time, when -- during that time that they were in Pelagicevo, did
17 members of the 4th Detachment come to the command post to -- just wait,
18 please. Wait.
19 A. Members of the 4th Detachment did come to that command post.
20 Q. Can you remember roughly how many of them had got there by 9.00?
21 A. Well, I'd say between 80 and 100 members.
22 Q. Did commander Antic, Radovan Antic, issue any order to the members
23 of the 4th Detachment that morning?
24 A. Sometime around 11.00 we were ordered to get hold of the boundary
25 areas around Samac, next to the rivers Bosna and Sava.
1 Q. And tell us, did you set off to carry out that combat assignment?
2 Who led you and what did it look like? I mean taking the possession of
3 those boundary areas in the town of Samac or rather the right banks of the
4 rivers Bosna and Sava.
5 A. We started cautiously and slowly, because houses were only about 2
6 or 3 metres away from the embankment and it was very likely that fire
7 would be opened on us at our backs, that is, by members of Muslim
9 Q. Fine. And those boundary areas of the town of Samac, are these
10 defence dikes to prevent against flooding by the Bosna and the Sava?
11 A. Yes, that's right. These are dikes which were put in place to
12 defend against flooding by the Sava and the Bosna.
13 Q. And when you got there, were you deployed along those dikes on the
14 side of the town with the view of the Sava and the Bosna and that is
15 Croatia across these two rivers?
16 A. Yes, we were deployed.
17 Q. How long did taking possession of these positions, how long did
18 this assignment take?
19 A. Well, it took until about, well, maybe two hours, three hours.
20 Q. As you took positions on those dikes, or rather on that line,
21 where did you stay, in which part, next to the Bosna or next to the Sava?
22 A. I stayed on the dike running along the Bosna River.
23 Q. That day, was artillery, mortar fire, opened on the town of Samac?
24 A. Fire was opened from the Republic of Croatia.
25 Q. Was fire opened by members of the Croat Defence Council who were
1 on the left bank of the Bosna River?
2 A. That's right, but that was around or after 1700, in late
3 afternoon, at dusk.
4 Q. And then, around 1700, did the unfettered crossing of civilians
5 across the bridge on the River Bosna to the village of Brod [as
6 interpreted] stop?
7 A. Until that gunfire, one could cross normally, whoever wanted to
8 could cross, be it in a vehicle or on foot or by bicycle but when this
9 fire started, then we would not let people go through because we were
10 concerned about their safety.
11 Q. Were you there nearby, near the bridge across the Bosna?
12 A. Well, yes, I was.
13 Q. And where did you spend that night, then?
14 A. We spent that whole night on the dikes.
15 Q. What did you do the next day, on the 18th of April, 1992? That is
16 now we'll talk about things, about developments that took place on the
17 18th of April, 1992. What happened to you? Where did you go? Where were
18 you invited to go?
19 A. On the 18th of April, the command of the 4th Detachment was
20 relocated and put up in the house of Ljubo [as interpreted] Dusanovic, who
21 lived in Australia.
22 Q. Was that house in the locality?
23 A. That house was in the locality of sljivak, the plum orchard.
24 Q. Just please don't hurry. Wait for me to finish my question, pause
25 and then start your answer.
1 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Could I ask you a question, just for the
2 transcript? On page 53, lines 18 and 19, especially line 19 you say
3 across the bridge on the River Bosna, to the village of Brod. Shouldn't
4 it be Prud?
5 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Certainly.
6 Q. Let us just correct something. The crossing from Bosanski Samac
7 across the River Bosna to the village of Prud, is it the village of Prud?
8 A. Yes, the village of Prud.
9 Q. And we have another problem because the interpreters didn't hear
10 you very well. What was the name of the man to whose house the command of
11 the 4th Detachment moved?
12 A. His name was Jovo Dusanovic.
13 Q. And is Jovo Dusanovic's house in a neighbourhood called in the
14 Bosnian language sljivak?
15 A. Yes. This house is in the neighbourhood called sljivak which
16 means plum orchard.
17 Q. Thank you. And when you arrived in the 4th Detachment command,
18 what time was it?
19 A. We arrived there at about 10.00 in the morning.
20 Q. What did Commander Antic tell you on that occasion and what orders
21 did he give?
22 A. Commander Antic ordered us to go and collect weapons in the town.
23 Q. How many groups were there ordered by Commander Antic to go and
24 collect weapons in the town of Samac?
25 A. There were two groups.
1 Q. Can you tell us how many men were in each group?
2 A. In my group, there were about ten of us, and probably in the other
3 group too.
4 Q. Did each group have a person who was designated as the leader or
5 the commander?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. After all these years, can you remember who was designated the
8 commander of your group or the leader of your group, which went to collect
10 A. Our leader was Ljubo Simic.
11 Q. Was Ljubomir Simic a member of the 4th Detachment?
12 A. Yes, he was.
13 Q. Did the other members of your group, were they also members of the
14 4th Detachment?
15 A. Yes. Everyone in the group was a member of the 4th Detachment.
16 Q. Can you remember some persons who were together with you in this
17 group, collecting those weapons?
18 A. Ljubo Simic. Then there was Goran Buzakovic. There was Nenad
19 Tomasevic. Then myself.
20 Q. Very well. If you can't remember any more, that's enough.
21 What did Mr. Antic order you to do then? Did he explain to you
22 the procedure you were supposed to follow when collecting weapons? What
23 orders did he give?
24 A. Commander Antic ordered us to act in a proper manner, to treat
25 everyone politely, to avoid conflicts, quarrels, and anything that would
1 not be decent or proper. He said we should go to each house, ring the
2 door bell or knock on the door, and if people had weapons and if they
3 wanted to hand them over voluntarily, they should hand them over. We were
4 strictly prohibited from searching houses or yards or anything in the
5 yards. And we abided by that.
6 Q. Did he prohibit you from using force or threats toward the
7 citizens from whom you were collecting weapons?
8 A. There was no mention of violence at all. In fact, we were told we
9 would be personally held responsible to him if a single incident of that
10 kind occurred.
11 Q. Do you remember that he then introduced you to persons who would
12 monitor the performance of this order? Did he tell you who they were?
13 A. He said we would be monitored by Mr. Simo Zaric, and Mr. Miroslav
15 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, did he designate the area or the part
16 of town in which you were to collect weapons?
17 A. It was the 4th quarter of Samac or the 4th district. This is the
18 area from the brick works along the dikes by the River Sava, Edvard
19 Kardelja Street, in the direction of Djure Djakovica Street.
20 Q. In your knowledge, is this the largest quarter or district of the
21 town of Samac and does it run from the dike along the bank of the River
22 Bosna on the right hand side?
23 A. Yes. It's the largest area in the town of Samac and it runs
24 parallel to the river.
25 Q. You said the river. What river?
1 A. Djure Djakovica Street is opposite the River Bosna.
2 Q. After you were given these orders, you went into action. While
3 conducting this action, and collecting weapons, were you escorted by an
4 armoured combat vehicle?
5 A. Yes. We were escorted by a combat vehicle.
6 Q. Please describe this vehicle. What kind of vehicle was it? What
7 did it look like? How did it behave while providing security for you?
8 A. This vehicle had rubber tires. It did not have caterpillar
9 tracks. It had three barrels and these were pointed upwards, toward the
10 sky. And it followed some 10 or 15 metres behind us.
11 Q. Did this vehicle halt from time to time while it followed you?
12 A. Of course it did, because while we were collecting weapons, the
13 vehicle would have to halt behind us.
14 Q. Did you observe at any moment that the barrels of this vehicle
15 were pointed at apartments, people's houses, or other buildings?
16 A. Not for a single moment were the barrels pointed either at houses
17 or homes. They were simply pointed upwards, toward the sky, at an angle
18 of perhaps some 50 degrees.
19 Q. Very well, thank you. Carrying out this order, did you, at a
20 certain point in time, find yourself in Pero Bosic Street?
21 A. Yes, I did.
22 Q. Can you remember whether Pero Bosic Street crosses the street that
23 was then called Edvard Kardelja Street and is now called Czar Dusan
25 A. Yes, from Edvard Kardelja Street, you enter Pero Bosic Street.
1 Q. And did you enter that street in that way?
2 A. Yes, we did.
3 Q. Thank you. Do you remember when you were in Pero Bosic Street,
4 that you entered a yard belonging to Sabrija Dagovic and his brother
5 Sulejman Dagovic? Please recount this event slowly. What did you do
6 then, who went to the yard, what you did.
7 A. When we turned off into Pero Bosic Street, on the right-hand side
8 there was a house belonging to some elderly people, and there, some of the
9 men collecting weapons wanted to enter the yard. I said that these were
10 elderly people and that they shouldn't go there. Across the road from
11 that house was a house belonging to Sulejman Dagovic. We knocked on the
12 door of that house and there was no one inside. The first person to enter
13 the yard was Goran Buzakovic, and he was followed at a distance of several
14 metres by me and Nenad Tomasevic. Goran approached the door, the door of
15 Esad Dagovic, also known as Ekac and he knocked on the door.
16 Q. Just a moment, stop there for a moment so we can clarify some
17 points and then we'll continue. The house where the members of the 4th
18 Detachment went wanting to enter the yard, did it belong to Jusuf
19 Arnautovic and his wife Jara?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You know Jusuf Arnautovic [Realtime transcript read in error "and
23 A. Yes, I do.
24 Q. You know that he has no children, that he and Madam Jara live on
25 their own?
1 A. Yes, they live on their own.
2 Q. When you mentioned the house of Sulejman Dagovic, can you tell us
3 whether Sulejman Dagovic's house and Sabrija Dagovic's house are in the
4 same yard?
5 A. Yes. They are in the same yard but Esad Dagovic's house is behind
6 Sulejman's house.
7 Q. If I understood you properly, Sulejman Dagovic's house is right
8 next to the street?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And behind Sulejman Dagovic's house, in the back of the yard, is
11 Sabrija Dagovic's house?
12 A. Yes, Sabrija Dagovic's house.
13 Q. Does Sabrija Dagovic's house have a veranda?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Thank you. So Goran Buzakovic knocked on the door of Sabrija
16 Dagovic's house. Tell us what you saw after that?
17 A. Esad Dagovic exchanged some words with him but I didn't hear
18 exactly what they said. He took Goran Buzakovic into the basement of that
20 Q. Very well.
21 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Excuse me, looking at the transcript, page 59,
22 line 8, reads "You know Jusuf and autovic," it should be corrected the
23 name of the person in question according to my recollection, and the list
24 of witnesses here should be Arnautovic, Jusuf.
25 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, we will clarify
1 this right away.
2 Q. Was this person called Jusuf Arnautovic?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. We are saying this simply for the sake of the transcript, to
5 correct it.
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, Your Honours.
8 Q. How far away were you when Goran Buzakovic was at the door of
9 Sabrija Dagovic's house, when Esad Dagovic came out?
10 A. Seven or eight metres approximately.
11 Q. Could you hear what they were saying?
12 A. No, I couldn't hear what they were saying.
13 Q. And you saw Esad Dagovic and Goran Buzakovic going toward the
14 basement. Did they enter the basement?
15 A. The first to enter was Esad, followed by Goran Buzakovic.
16 Q. How long did they stay there?
17 A. A very brief time.
18 Q. And what did you see when they came back, when they left the
20 A. Goran Buzakovic was carrying a Kalashnikov with -- and two hand
21 grenades, and with a frame, two hand grenades and a pistol.
22 Q. Was anything shown on this occasion? Did they inspect the
24 A. The rifle was opened. I came a little bit nearer then, and Esad
25 Dagovic, known as Ekac said, "Look, Goran, I didn't fire any shots from
1 this rifle."
2 Q. So the barrel was inspected? Something did not enter the
3 transcript. You said that Esad Dagovic said, "Goran, I swear by my mother
4 no shots were fired." When we say, "By my mother," is that some sort of
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. So he took an oath on his mother that he did not fire shots. Was
8 the pistol inspected?
9 A. Yes, the pistol was inspected as well, the barrel.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, the witness a few questions
11 ago described Goran Buzakovic coming out of the house with some items
12 including hand grenades, a Kalashnikov, and in the transcript, it says
13 with a frame. That's line 7. Now, I know what a frame is but in the
14 context of this evidence, it's meaningless so some sort of explanation of
15 what a frame is, it might -- I assume it's some sort of weaponry and you
16 should know precisely what sort of weaponry it is.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Counsel can clarify that.
18 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Certainly, Your Honour.
19 Q. Could you please explain what military weapon was brought out of
20 the basement?
21 A. An automatic rifle, 762, produced in Russia, with a frame or
22 rather a frame containing a round of 35 bullets, a clip, with a clip. We
23 don't know how many bullets were inside.
24 Q. A frame or clip is?
25 A. It's part of the equipment with a rifle.
1 Q. Containing?
2 A. Bullets.
3 Q. So you got out of the basement, set out across the yard, and did
4 Goran Buzakovic say anything to you after this?
5 A. Goran said, "See here, he really didn't fire any shots either from
6 the pistol or from the rifle."
7 Q. Did you issue any sort of receipt to Esad Dagovic saying that he
8 had handed over these weapons?
9 A. We didn't, because those were not our orders and we had not been
10 given any receipt forms.
11 Q. Very well. What did Goran Buzakovic do with these weapons when
12 you got out into the street?
13 A. He put them in the military vehicle, the combat vehicle.
14 Q. Was that the place where in other instances, when you found
15 weapons that had been left around, was that a place where you stored the
16 weapons, where you put them?
17 A. Yes, but -- yes, because the amount of weapons were so large, we
18 were unable to carry them all.
19 Q. Did you find weapons in the yards by the road side, left at
20 entrances to buildings, on staircases, did such things happen?
21 A. There were weapons everywhere, all over the place, thrown into the
22 gutters, thrown from somebody's yard into somebody else's yard, left in
23 corridors, in apartment houses, left next to garbage cans, by yard fences.
24 Q. And when you found those weapons, I assume you collected them and
25 put them in that vehicle?
1 A. Yes, of course. We put that in the vehicle.
2 Q. You didn't conduct any investigation to discover who had left or
3 thrown away those weapons?
4 A. No, and we didn't even write down the names of the people who did
5 hand over weapons to us. We didn't write down who we had taken weapons
7 Q. While you were conducting this operation, did this military
8 vehicle fire any shots at any moment?
9 A. No, no. The vehicle never fired any shots, not for a single
10 moment, nor could it have done.
11 Q. Very well. During this operation, did anybody fire shots at you,
12 as members of the 4th Detachment, going down the street?
13 A. Nobody fired at us while we were collecting the weapons, nor were
14 there any conflicts or even quarrels or any kind of fight.
15 Q. When you said nor could it have done, what did you mean by that?
16 That it had no reason to fire or that it was not in good working order?
17 A. I don't know whether it was in good working order or not but it
18 had no reason to fire and it couldn't have fired in such a small area.
19 Q. Very well. Did you, as members of the 4th Detachment, use any
20 kind of threat or force against anyone?
21 A. Not for a single moment. There was nothing remotely like that.
22 Q. As you were walking down these streets and entering other people's
23 yards, did you and the members of the detachment feel any kind of fear?
24 A. Well, of course we did. We were out in the open. Anyone could
25 have fired shots at us, either from the top of a building or behind a
1 fence or from a window.
2 Q. Very well, thank you.
3 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think this is a
4 good moment now for our break.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We will take our break and continue at 12.50.
6 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 12.53 p.m.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, we proceed.
9 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
10 Q. Can you recall, Mr. Topcagic, until when did the action of weapons
11 collection last?
12 A. It lasted until afternoon.
13 Q. Very well. And now let's talk a little about Mr. Simo Zaric and
14 Miroslav Tadic and about the assignment they received from the commander
15 to control the collection of those weapons. Can you remember whether
16 Mr. Tadic and Mr. Zaric, as this operation went on, that is seven or eight
17 hours, came to see it and communicated with Mr. Simic as the leader of the
18 group to see if there were any problems or whatever?
19 A. Yes. They did come.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, it's clear but just in addition to
21 clarification of which Simic we are speaking here. Just for the record.
22 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, by all means. We shall clear
23 it up.
24 Q. Mr. Simic whom we mention, what was his first name?
25 A. Ljubo Simic.
1 Q. Ah, I see, thank you. But that is not Blagoje Simic definitely?
2 A. No, it isn't.
3 Q. When you were in Pero Bosic Street next to Sabrija Dagovic's house
4 or rather at his son's, were Mr. Tadic and Mr. Zaric present there?
5 A. Neither Mr. Tadic nor Mr. Zaric were present at the time when we
6 were at Dagovic's house. I have no doubt about that.
7 Q. All right. And one other element to clear up, this armoured
8 combat vehicle that is mentioned and which escorted you, it wasn't a tank,
9 was it?
10 A. No, it wasn't a tank. It was a vehicle with rubber wheels.
11 Q. Are you sufficiently knowledgeable to tell a tank apart from that
12 armoured combat vehicle?
13 A. Sure I do. A tank is a caterpillar, that is it has caterpillars
14 and it has a barrel which is about three times as long as the other one
15 has and it has a dome, a cupola over it.
16 Q. Fine. Can you only tell us approximately do you know how many
17 weapons -- pieces of weapons were collected during that operation led and
18 conducted by the 4th Detachment? Altogether how many pieces, roughly?
19 A. Well, I think that these two groups roughly collected as many as
20 300 barrels.
21 Q. Thank you. Would that include, in addition to those barrels, that
22 is military automatic weapons, other weapons such as hand grenades, bombs,
23 ammunition, frames, clips and so on and so forth?
24 A. There was a lot of ammunition, about 50 or so hand grenades
25 because they were easier to hide so they discarded them, throwing them
1 into septic pits or sewers or whatever. Zoljas, I think we found about 20
2 of those.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, could it be clarified if
4 the witness is talking about 50 or so hand grenades found in septic pits
5 or sewers or whether they are 50 or so hand grenades found elsewhere?
6 Because the way it reads, it may be that the witness is saying they were
7 found in septic pits and sewers and it would be interesting to know if the
8 4th Detachment was looking in such places.
9 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I'll try to clear this up. I
10 don't know what the interpretation is, but the answers in B/C/S are quite
12 Q. Mr. Topcagic, you heard what the Prosecutor wants us to clarify.
13 Tell us: How many hand grenades did you collect in that operation? How
14 many hand grenades were handed over to you?
15 A. About 50.
16 Q. Did you search the gutters, the sewers, septic pits and other
17 places where they could be concealed?
18 A. No, we did not search those but they were found later on, because
19 the sewers would get clogged and when people came to unclog them, to clear
20 them, that is when they found those zoljas and the clips and grenades and
21 what not.
22 Q. So it was much later, it was much later, when clogging would
23 occur, the people who were there, the men who came to repair, they would
24 find hand grenades, zoljas, ammunition discarded there?
25 A. Yes, and you can still find them there, just recently in a septic
1 pit a zolja was found.
2 Q. Thank you. Since you used a term which we use, that is zolja,
3 what actual is a zolja, what kind of weapon is it?
4 A. It is a hand held launch used to destroy armoured vehicles,
5 buildings and bunkers.
6 Q. Thank you?
7 JUDGE MUMBA: We've heard this explanation before with another
9 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] My apologies, Your Honours, I just
10 thought that it wouldn't be bad if Mr. Topcagic explained it too.
11 Q. After that, after the 18th, are you aware whether the 4th
12 Detachment engaged in any other operation concerning the seizure of
14 A. Could you repeat the question, please?
15 Q. When you finished this operation on the 18th, did the 4th
16 Detachment again engage in the collection of weapons?
17 A. They did it on the 19th, too, they went out to collect weapons,
18 but in a smaller number of places.
19 Q. Fine. Thank you. Now we shall close this subject. Did you have
20 an opportunity to meet Mr. Zaric towards the end of April, 1992?
21 A. Yes. I did.
22 Q. And when you met, what did Mr. Zaric tell you on that occasion?
23 A. He told me that with the assistance of Momcilo Petrovic, a
24 captain, a Lieutenant Colonel Stevan Nikolic, and Makso Simeunovic, he
25 managed to transfer imprisoned Muslims who were kept in SUP, TO in Samac.
1 Q. To transfer them where?
2 A. To Brcko.
3 Q. Where in Brcko?
4 A. The barracks in Brcko, the army barracks.
5 Q. When you say the barracks, do you mean the garrison of the
6 Yugoslav People's Army?
7 A. I do, yes.
8 Q. Did he tell you what was the reason for the transfer of the
9 detainees held in the TO and the police station?
10 A. The reason was the ill treatment of people, people were beaten
11 every night, forced to fornicate, teeth were pulled out, they lived in
12 very poor -- poorly equipped rooms, with very little room.
13 Q. Very well. And did he also tell you on that occasion that
14 killings had also started at the TO headquarters?
15 A. He did. He told me that he eyewitnessed, and that Sulejman Tihic
16 was also an eyewitness when Lugar killed a man in the SUP building.
17 Q. And this -- these things that Mr. Zaric told you, did you also
18 have an opportunity to see for yourself the conditions under which people
19 in the TO were detained?
20 A. I had no access to the TO building, to those rooms in the TO
21 building, except on one occasion when Grga Zubak was in the yard. He was
22 sitting on a chair in the sun, and a curb of the pavement had been put on
23 his foot, and a bottle of water in front of him but so that it was
24 without -- it would be beyond his reach. And when I saw that, I entered
25 and it was on my own, the yard, and he addressed me by my name and said,
1 "Fadil, please give me some water" and I tried to give him water and at
2 that moment, a maniacal special jumped on me, his name is Laki, and he
3 stopped me, he wouldn't allow me to give water to Grga Zubak.
4 Q. Were you aware of the conditions under which those people were
5 there? Did anyone talk about that?
6 A. Well, many talked. There was hardly any food. They were sitting
7 on the concrete there. There was very little room and they were very
9 Q. Did you ever try to send them something?
10 A. I tried it often and I succeeded in doing that through some
11 officials whom I knew personally, to send them some food, some cigarettes,
12 and medicines.
13 Q. Thank you. After that meeting with Mr. Zaric, where did Mr. Zaric
14 go, if that is you know that?
15 A. Mr. Zaric went to Brcko with Toso Tutnjevic.
16 Q. Who is Toso Tutnjevic?
17 A. Toso Tutnjevic was his driver, also a member of the 4th
19 Q. Did you go to Brcko that day?
20 A. That day with Lazar Stanisic, called Ziga, went there.
21 Q. How did you go?
22 A. We went in a private car.
23 Q. And why did you and Mr. Stanisic go to Brcko?
24 A. We got some cigarettes, some food, got some undershirts, and
25 slips, and pants, a man in Brcko called Mirkic gave it all to us, and we
1 handed it over to the military policemen on duty who then distributed it
2 among them.
3 Q. Thank you. Did you and Mr. Stanisic ever meet Mr. Zaric in the
4 garrison in Brcko?
5 A. No, we didn't.
6 Q. Whom did you see? Just take it easy, please. Take it easy.
7 A. Of all those prisoners, I saw Osman Jasarevic, who is a distant
8 relative of mine, and a friend.
9 Q. This Osman Jasarevic, who is your relative, does he have a
10 nickname, Roma?
11 A. He does, Roma yes, his nickname is Roma.
12 Q. Where did you see him and under what circumstances?
13 A. He was with a military policeman outside.
14 Q. And did you talk with Mr. Jasarevic, Osman Jasarevic, called Roma?
15 A. We did but very little, he said, "Fadil, get me out of here." And
16 I said, "Osman, all I can do is help you, to help you is to -- if you join
17 the 4th Detachment. And then we'll see what else we can do. But the most
18 important thing for you is to get out of detention."
19 Q. Very well. And after you expounded it all to him and made these
20 proposals to him, just take it easy, what did Mr. Jasarevic, Osman
21 Jasarevic tell you then?
22 A. He did not accept my proposal. Or perhaps he was afraid of going
23 back to Samac again. I don't know the reason.
24 Q. Tell me, do you know anything about exchanges in the municipality
25 of Bosanski Samac?
1 A. I do.
2 Q. Well, tell us what it is you know.
3 A. The first exchange took place sometime in May. The detained Serb
4 population in Odzak was exchanged for prisoners in Samac.
5 Q. Do you know where did this exchange take place?
6 A. That exchange took place with the mediation of the Red Cross in
7 Zasavica at the Bosna River.
8 Q. Zasavica is a village in the Bosanski Samac municipality isn't it?
9 A. That's right.
10 Q. Were you present at the exchange?
11 A. No, I wasn't.
12 Q. Were you ever present at any exchange in 1992?
13 A. Yes, I was present at one exchange. It was either late June or
14 early July near Sid in the village of Lipovac.
15 Q. Thank you. Why did you happen to be present at that exchange?
16 A. Everybody had friends in those exchanges -- groups that were
17 exchanged so I had some friends. Namko [phoen] -- starting with Namko
18 Suljic, my best friend before the war, who had already fled to Orasje and
19 who was already commanding a company or something in the HVO, well, his
20 wife had stayed behind, his wife Zlata had stayed behind and his two
21 children who were under age, and I felt it was my duty to help his wife
22 and his children.
23 Q. And how -- how did you think you could help them?
24 A. Well, to begin with, that nothing happens to them on the way to
25 see that they do not run into any trouble, to see them off with dignity,
2 Q. Fine, thank you. And your friend's name is?
3 A. Namik Suljic.
4 Q. Namik Suljic, thank you. And did you -- were you there in some
5 official capacity during that exchange or was it only on your own
6 privately that you went there?
7 A. No. I had no official capacity there, but nevertheless, I was
8 there just in case.
9 Q. Do you know or -- whether Simo Zaric was also present at that
11 A. Yes. Simo Zaric was also present at that exchange.
12 Q. Do you know why Simo Zaric was present at that exchange?
13 A. He was seeing off his -- the father-in-law of his daughter, his
14 daughter and his son-in-law.
15 Q. Let's just clear this up. You are saying that Simo Zaric was
16 seeing off the father of his son-in-law, his wife?
17 A. Yes, his wife.
18 Q. You mean the mother of his son-in-law and the sister of his
19 son-in-law, so Djuro Prgomet's -- so this is the family of Djuro Prgomet,
20 isn't it?
21 A. Yes, that's right, Djuro Prgomet's family.
22 Q. How did Simo Zaric go to that exchange? I mean what means of
23 transport did he use?
24 A. He used his own private car.
25 Q. Did you see whether there was anyone else in the car with
1 Mr. Zaric?
2 A. I don't remember that.
3 Q. How did this exchange proceed?
4 A. The exchange was not carried out on that day. We stayed there the
5 whole night and the exchange was carried out only on the following
7 Q. Did Mr. Zaric ask you also to stay in the vicinity of his friend
8 with his family, Djuro Prgomet to protect them from any possible
9 mistreatment or insults?
10 A. Yes, he did, and I did this.
11 Q. Did Mr. Zaric have any official duty during this exchange?
12 A. No, he didn't.
13 Q. Who did you see of official representatives at this exchange?
14 A. There was Miroslav Tadic.
15 Q. Anybody else? Were there any other people taking part in the
17 A. I don't know whether they went with us but Velimir Maslic was
18 there when we set out, and so was Svetozar Maslic.
19 Q. And was this exchange completed successfully?
20 A. Yes, it was. I can mention also that there was a woman there with
21 a disabled child and Miroslav Tadic managed to get from her the number of
22 her sister and he even paid for a taxi and this woman with a disabled
23 child was taken by taxi to her sister's.
24 Q. And after this exchange, you returned to Bosanski Samac?
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. LAZAREVIC: Thank you, Your Honours, I have completed my
3 JUDGE MUMBA: The Prosecution cross-examination?
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Cross-examined by Mr. Di Fazio:
6 Q. Mr. Topcagic, my name is Di Fazio, I'll ask you some questions on
7 behalf of the Prosecution. You were in charge, I think of reconnaissance
8 duties in the 4th Detachment, weren't you?
9 MR. DI FAZIO: Are Your Honours getting...?
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, we can hear.
11 MR. DI FAZIO:
12 Q. Witness I just asked you, you were in charge of reconnaissance
13 duties in the 4th Detachment, weren't you? Could you tell us if you --
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Can the usher help with the --
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can the sound be turned up a little,
17 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment, Your Honours,
18 please, if I may be of assistance -- Mr. Topcagic, please put your head
19 set on properly. Put it on top of your head like this so they don't slip
20 off. Can you hear better now?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
22 MR. DI FAZIO:
23 Q. Did you hear my -- let me withdraw that. I'll start again. Mr.
24 Topcagic, my name is Di Fazio, I'll ask you some questions now on behalf
25 of the Prosecution, okay? My first question is this: I believe that you
1 were in charge of reconnaissance duties in the 4th Detachment. Am I
3 A. Yes, you are.
4 Q. And is Denis Topcagic related to you?
5 A. Yes, he is.
6 Q. What relationship does he hold to you?
7 A. He is my sister's son.
8 Q. Your nephew. And he was also in the 4th Detachment, I believe?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, can you tell us whether you were officially titled commander
11 of reconnaissance duties or whether you held some other position or
12 whether it was called some other position?
13 A. Only the leader of the reconnaissance squad.
14 Q. Thank you. How many --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Platoon, the interpreter corrects herself.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
17 Q. How many members of this squad, please?
18 A. Ten.
19 Q. And what were the duties of this reconnaissance platoon or squad?
20 A. Until the war broke out, we had no duties at all, until the
21 fateful 6th [as interpreted] of April. After that, our tasks were to
22 reconnoitre enemy positions, to reconnoitre artillery and where it was
23 firing from, as well as enemy movements.
24 MR. LAZAREVIC: I believe that the answer was misrecorded. He
25 said the 16th of April, not the 6th of April.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, that's an obvious.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: I just assumed that was a typo, I didn't even
4 bother with that. If Your Honours please I think we can assume that the
5 witness meant the 16th.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
7 MR. DI FAZIO:
8 Q. Did the 4th Detachment conduct patrols in and around the town of
9 Bosanski Samac in the period of time leading up to the 16th of April?
10 A. No.
11 Q. So you were placed in charge of reconnaissance. You were given a
12 platoon. Members of the platoon were nominated but no reconnaissance
13 duties were ever carried out until the 16th?
14 A. No, no reconnaissance activities or duties were carried out.
15 Q. Did you have any discussions as to what your duties were to be,
16 how they would be carried out and in what circumstances they would be
17 carried out with the command of the 4th Detachment?
18 A. Of course. In any war, reconnaissance is the same sort of duty.
19 So they didn't need to explain to me at great length what I was to do. It
20 was my duty to observe the enemy, enemy positions, enemy movements, and
21 firing from enemy artillery.
22 Q. When you left the League of Communists in 1990, did you join any
23 other political party?
24 A. I joined the SDP party of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the party of
25 democratic changes.
1 Q. And when was that?
2 A. In 1990.
3 Q. Thank you. I want to turn to the events of the night of the 16th
4 and 17th of April, please. You say in your statement that at about
5 midnight, the telephone rang and Savo Savic said he was on the other end.
6 Savo Savic was a man who was well known to you, wasn't he?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. He was a policeman?
9 A. Yes, he was.
10 Q. He was at that time an active-duty policeman?
11 A. I think he was, yes.
12 Q. Was he a member of a political party?
13 A. That I don't know. But he was a leftist.
14 Q. How long had you known him?
15 A. For some 15 years, maybe even 20.
16 Q. And he was a man who you trusted and considered to be reliable?
17 A. He was a very decent, honest man, a family man, and he was
18 well-liked in the town. He didn't behave like a nationalist. He did his
19 job well, and he was well-liked as a policeman.
20 Q. Are you saying that as far as you were aware, he held no ultra
21 nationalist or extreme nationalist views?
22 A. That's my opinion, yes.
23 Q. Thank you. When he rang you at midnight and said that he wanted
24 to come and visit you, he initially did not tell you the purpose of the
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. And therefore, you were extremely keen to know exactly what the
3 purpose of the visit was going to do, because it was unusual, late at
4 night, he was a policeman. Am I correct?
5 A. Could you repeat your question, please?
6 Q. As it was an unusual situation, it being close to midnight, and as
7 he had not told you over the telephone the purpose of the visit, as you
8 waited for him to arrive, you were extremely keen, extremely curious, to
9 know precisely what the reason was for his visit. You were anxious to
10 find out, correct?
11 A. No. That's not correct. Nobody likes having a policeman arriving
12 at midnight and neither did I, but I assumed it was something important.
13 The fact that he was coming made me feel afraid, although we were good
15 Q. Thank you. And when he arrived, he was in the presence of the man
16 you later found out was Lugar?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Were they armed?
19 A. I didn't see any weapons. Maybe they had something in the car.
20 Q. How long did they remain in the house before you left in the car
21 to head towards Crkvina?
22 A. They didn't stay long. I can't recall exactly but the
23 conversation was brief. When they entered the house, he introduced Lugar
24 as a member of some sort of special unit of the MUP of Serbia, I think,
25 I'm not sure, but some sort of special purpose policeman, and he was
1 wearing a multi-coloured uniform. Savo was in the standard police
2 uniform. They said to me that I was to go to Crkvina, that I was to
3 report to some sort of Crisis Staff.
4 Q. We will get to that in just a minute. Most of the talking was --
5 you say in your statement that most of the talking was done by Savo, Savo
6 Savic. That is so, isn't it?
7 A. Savic. It was Savo Savic who did most of the talking.
8 Q. What did he say to you?
9 A. I didn't hear your question.
10 Q. What did he say to you?
11 A. Savo Savic told me -- well, first I asked him why they were coming
12 to my house at that time of night. I asked if I had done something wrong,
13 whether they were going to arrest me, and he just laughed and then
14 introduced Lugar to me, saying he was from the special purpose forces of
15 the MUP of Serbia, and that I was to go with them to some kind of Crisis
16 Staff in Crkvina.
17 Q. Can you recall anything else that he said while you were still in
18 the house? Or is that it?
19 A. I asked if I could make a phone call to Simo so that I could find
20 out where I was going and why. And then Lugar said, there is no time for
21 that. He almost pushed me away from the telephone. He said, "Everything
22 will become clear to you when you arrive in Crkvina."
23 Q. What made you think that Simo would be able to tell you where you
24 were going and why you were going there?
25 A. There was pressure on my house from all sides, neighbours,
1 children in school, me at my work, in the street, in cafes, and I was fed
2 up. I couldn't trust everyone. I even was a bit suspicious because I
3 didn't know who this Lugar was. I suspected that perhaps their intentions
4 were not good, and that's why I wanted to call Simo, to see if he knew
5 anything about this.
6 Q. Thank you for all of that but my question was this: What made you
7 think that Simo would be able to tell you where you were going and why you
8 were going there? What did you know or think or believe that Simo Zaric
9 would be able to enlighten you?
10 A. I was at home alone. I had to tell someone that an unknown man
11 had come to collect me and take me somewhere. And who would I call if not
12 him? Because he was my -- he was related to me.
13 Q. The answer that was translated to me, Mr. Topcagic, is this: I
14 asked if I could make a phone call to Simo so that I could find out where
15 I was going and why. That's your answer. My question is: Why did you
16 want to contact Simo Zaric in order to find out where you were going and
17 why? Why Mr. Zaric?
18 A. If I could have called anyone else at that moment, a neighbour or
19 someone, just to let them know that I was going off somewhere in an
20 unknown direction, because they didn't tell me -- well, they did say we
21 were going to Crkvina but whether they were going to take me to Crkvina or
22 somewhere else, I didn't know.
23 Q. I'll try again, if I can, Mr. Topcagic. You've told us that you
24 made -- you wanted to make the phone calls to Zaric so that you could find
25 out where you were going and why. What did you think Mr. Zaric would be
1 able to tell you about where you were going and why?
2 MR. LAZAREVIC: Your Honours, maybe just to assist my learned
3 colleague, this part of the statement is already in his statement, as
4 paragraph 32. Perhaps this could be shown to the witness.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: That's a completely different matter in paragraph
6 32 in the statement, it's a different explanation. Perhaps I'll -- I'm
7 grateful to Mr. Lazarevic, I'll put that portion of the statement to the
9 Q. Paragraph 32 of your statement, Mr. Topcagic, you say, "I wanted
10 to call Simo Zaric who is my brother-in-law and tell him, tell him, that I
11 was going to Crkvina." Can you just tell the Trial Chamber what the
12 reasons were for ringing Simo Zaric? Firstly, was it that you wanted to
13 tell him where you were going or is it, as you have told us today, that
14 you wanted to find out where you were going and why?
15 A. I wanted to tell him where I was going, because how could I know
16 whether he knew why I was going there and where I was going?
17 Q. You've told the Chamber that this fellow Savo Savic was a
18 policeman, he was a straightforward, honest man, he'd been your friend for
19 some 15 years. Why not turn to the very man who had brought this person
20 to your house and seek an explanation instead of going to Simo Zaric? Can
21 you tell the Chamber that?
22 A. First I should say we were not friends. We were just
23 acquaintances. I had known him for 15 or 20 years but we weren't friends.
24 And for me to go with an unknown man off somewhere, without being sure
25 that's where they were taking me, I had to tell someone and let them know
1 where I was.
2 Q. You've told the Chamber that you trusted this fellow Savic.
3 A. I did trust Savo Savic but I didn't know this other man.
4 Q. Well, wasn't it a golden opportunity for you to seek information
5 from the very man who had brought this other man to your house? It was a
6 golden opportunity for you to ask Savo Savic, who is this fellow? Why is
7 he here? Why have you come to my house? That's -- that would have been
8 the logical place to start, wouldn't it?
9 A. Do you think that a man who has killed 20 people allowed me to say
10 what I want and do what I want, even in my own house?
11 Q. You didn't know Lugar, you'd never met him in your life. You
12 didn't know that at the time, did you? You claim that he's a complete
13 stranger. You had no idea as to his character.
14 A. He often used the word "bre." And whenever I tried to put a
15 question to Savo, he would interrupt me and say, bre or brother, that's
16 none of your business. You have to go with us and even had Savo wanted to
17 say something to me, and I think Savo himself was not sure what was going
18 to happen in the night.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, thank you, Mr. Topcagic, perhaps we can pick
20 up on this topic tomorrow, if Your Honours please.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, but before we rise, the Trial Chamber has been
22 informed by the victims and witnesses unit that only particulars of two
23 witnesses for Blagoje Simic were given to them, and late yesterday, so
24 that they are unable to make sure that the witnesses travel and are able
25 to be here by Monday.
1 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic?
3 MR. PANTELIC: Shall I give you information now, Your Honour, or
4 to your legal officer after the -- today's hearing? What would you like?
5 JUDGE MUMBA: What the Trial Chamber has observed is that there is
6 some delay in processing these witnesses for them to be able to come
7 because their particulars are already on the statements which have been
8 admitted, and there appears to be no reason whatsoever why there is this
9 delay in getting these witnesses here. As concerns their travel
10 documents, each time counsel puts up witnesses, obviously he knows that
11 they may come to give evidence to the Tribunal. Therefore travel
12 documents ought to be processed long before even the orders are made. So
13 Mr. Pantelic, make sure that your witnesses are here.
14 We will rise now and continue our proceedings tomorrow.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
16 1.48 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
17 the 11th day of April, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.