1 Friday, 11 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: 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: Yes. The Prosecution is cross-examining.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Your Honours. Thank you, Your Honours.
11 WITNESS: FADIL TOPCAGIC [Resumed]
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Di Fazio: [Continued]
14 Q. Mr. Topcagic, yesterday I was asking you some questions about the
15 arrival of Mr. Savic and Lugar at your home. Is it fair to say that by
16 the time you left your house and got into the car to head off to Crkvina,
17 you were most reluctant to go out on this venture?
18 A. Well, it wasn't a pleasant experience because I was going off into
19 the unknown.
20 Q. Precisely, so you were reluctant to go. You were anxious about
21 going and you were worried about going and you did not wish to go?
22 A. I had no choice at that point in time, because this was the first
23 time I had heard that I was supposed to go to some sort of Crisis Staff.
24 The two men had arrived, I knew one of them, I didn't know the other one.
25 And when I tried to make a phone call, as I explained yesterday, he almost
1 pushed me away from the phone and said there is no time for that. When
2 you get there, everything will be made clear to you.
3 Q. So I take it from that that you really didn't want to go and were
4 worried about it, correct?
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. You say that you had no choice. Is it the fact that Lugar pushed
7 you away from the phone that leads you to believe that you -- makes you
8 say that you had no choice?
9 A. Well, I think he would have done worse things to me, at least to
10 my way of thinking, had I refused to go with him.
11 Q. What --
12 A. I was simply taken away. I won't say that there was a lot of
13 pressure but they tricked me into going there.
14 Q. What was the trick?
15 A. Well, the trick was in that they didn't tell me why I was going
16 there. They didn't tell me the reason.
17 Q. You say Lugar and Savic were both unarmed, you'd known Savic, so
18 you say, for 20 years. He was in your words a decent, honest family man
19 and performed his job well as a policeman. In those circumstances, if you
20 did not wish to go, it would have been simplicity itself, it would have
21 been really easy, to just say to Savic, "Look, my friend, I don't wish to
22 go out in the middle of the night, I don't want to get involved in this."
23 A. Well, I didn't know what there would be when I came there, and
24 Savic wasn't really asked for his opinion. It was Lugar who was in charge
25 of things.
1 Q. You told -- well, I'll withdraw that. You said in your statement,
2 I believe --
3 MR. LAZAREVIC: I apologise to my colleague but while he is
4 checking his records maybe the witness could have his statement before
6 MR. DI FAZIO:
7 Q. You say there was Lugar in charge of things but in your statement,
8 at paragraph 31, you say, that it was Savo who introduced the man and that
9 the man did not talk much on this occasion, it was mostly Savo and I who
10 talked. So how did you conclude that it was Lugar who was in charge, if
11 Savo was the one who brought the man there and Savo was the one who did
12 all the talking?
13 A. Well, Lugar kept interrupting Savo Savic and finishing his
14 sentences for him. The way he wanted them to end.
15 Q. If I suggested to you that you knew very well what the purpose of
16 your trip was to Crkvina and that you went willingly with a view to
17 eventually guiding paramilitaries into the town, would you agree with
19 A. Could you please repeat your question.
20 Q. If I suggest to you that you knew very well the reason that they
21 had come to your house, you knew that it was to take you to Crkvina and
22 you knew that ultimately your purpose was to guide in the paramilitaries
23 and that you did all of that willingly and happily, would you agree with
25 A. Sir, you're saying if I had known, but I didn't know. Had I
1 known, I certainly wouldn't have gone there because I know what I went
2 through that night.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. They would have had to take me by force, had I known.
5 Q. Okay. Now, one of the matters mentioned at your house by Savo
6 Savic was that you were a member of a Crisis Staff or the Crisis Staff,
8 A. Yes. That I was to go to some kind of meeting of a Crisis Staff
9 but I had no idea why or what the purpose and meaning of this Crisis Staff
11 Q. Yes. Not only that you had to go to a meeting of the Crisis Staff
12 but that you were a member, a member, of the Crisis Staff?
13 A. I didn't know that, that I was a member of the Crisis Staff --
14 Q. Look at paragraph --
15 A. -- until that moment.
16 Q. Look at paragraph 32 of your statement, please. Do you see -- do
17 you have it?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Third sentence, can you read it out, please, slowly?
20 A. "Savo told me that he had been told that I was a member of the
21 Crisis Staff and that I was to go to a meeting."
22 Q. First question, you said in your own statement that Savo told you
23 that you were a member of the Crisis Staff. In court you have just told
24 us that you didn't know that you were a member of the Crisis Staff. Which
25 of those two versions is --
1 MR. LAZAREVIC: I object to this. I object to this. He said I
2 didn't know that, that I was the member of the Crisis Staff and the
3 witness haven't completed his answer and here on line 15, said, until that
4 moment, so there is no inconsistency in his statement before the Tribunal.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Very well, I'm grateful to my learned friend for
6 pointing that out. I don't want to mislead the witness.
7 Q. Okay, one thing is for sure. Savo Savic made it clear to you when
8 he came to your house that you were a member of a -- of the Crisis Staff.
9 Am I correct?
10 A. He did tell me I was a member of the Crisis Staff but I had no
11 idea what the purpose of this was, who the members of the Crisis Staff
12 were, nor did I know anything about it. Why. And who. Nobody asked me
13 if I wanted to be there. So how come I was suddenly in the Crisis Staff?
14 What was the Crisis Staff in Crkvina doing?
15 Q. That's a good question, isn't it, Mr. Topcagic? Sorry, I didn't
16 wish to interrupt you. If you wanted to say something further, please go
18 A. And why would the Crisis Staff be meeting at midnight? It was all
19 so odd. If I was a member of this Crisis Staff. I did not receive any
20 document telling me about this. I heard about it for the first time that
21 night in my house. I suppose somebody else should have informed me about
22 this, not Savo Savic and Lugar who came to my house.
23 Q. Thank you. So you've just said that this was all perplexing and
24 bewildering to you so therefore you must have made strenuous inquiries
25 to find out what this membership of this Crisis Staff meant before you got
1 into the car?
2 A. Yes, I wanted to know this.
3 Q. Right. So what inquiries did you make?
4 A. I didn't get any answer from them except what I've just told you,
5 Lugar often used the word "bre," meaning brother, and said, "You have to
6 come now. Everything will be explained to you there. You'll find out
7 everything when you get there. You have to go."
8 Q. So I take it from your answer that you sought some explanation of
9 what this Crisis Staff was but you weren't given one?
10 A. Well, the whole conversation led me to believe that I had to go
11 there, whether I wanted to or not, whether I was a member of this Crisis
12 Staff or not. I would have to go, willy-nilly. Perhaps I should say some
13 people know that that night Lugar slapped me, if that means anything to
14 you. I didn't say this before.
15 Q. You certainly didn't. You certainly didn't mention it in your
16 statement, did you?
17 A. I didn't mention it because I was ashamed. I was 32 or 33 years
18 old and somebody slapped me in my own house.
19 Q. I see. And this is before, before you're taken off to Crkvina, to
20 this mystery --
21 A. Yes, before.
22 Q. And the reason that you didn't mention it in your statement was
23 because of the shame of being slapped by another man, is that -- as I
24 understand what you say.
25 A. Yes. I was ashamed but there was a man who knew about this. It
1 doesn't matter who he was.
2 Q. Yes. But in your statement, in paragraph 33, you do address the
3 issue of your choice, the choice of whether or not you were to go,
4 whether -- the choice of whether you could go to Crkvina or not. You make
5 no mention of this assault, this slap, from Lugar. You were there dealing
6 with this very point?
7 A. Could you please repeat your question? I didn't understand it.
8 Q. In paragraph 33, you talk about how you realised that you had no
9 choice but to go so in your statement you talk about whether or not you
10 had a choice. You're now telling us that the slap by Lugar was one thing
11 that made it clear you had no choice. Why not mention this slap in your
12 statement at that point?
13 MR. LAZAREVIC: I believe we already have the answer to that.
14 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Mr. Di Fazio, Mr. Topcagic has said that he told
15 somebody about this but he didn't mention his name. Maybe we should find
16 out and that would corroborate what the witness has just said.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm grateful, Your Honour.
18 Q. Very well. Can you tell us whom you mentioned the slap to?
19 A. I mentioned it to Simo Zaric, my brother-in-law.
20 Q. Did you consider mentioning it in your statement when you were
21 being asked about the events of that night? Or was it shame that
22 prevented you from putting it in?
23 A. Sir, in the war, I suffered humiliation many times, before the
24 war, I was humiliated by Muslims, during the war by individual Serbs.
25 After the war, by Serbs, Muslims and Croats. Although I helped all these
1 people, and I tried to abide by the ethics of war, to be realistic, I have
2 experienced a lot of things I could tell you about from Stevan Todorovic
3 and others.
4 Q. Thank you Mr. Topcagic but if I want to know about general
5 overview of the war I'll ask you. My question is very simple. At the
6 time that you were writing this statement and talking about the issue of
7 choice, was it shame that prevented you from mentioning the slap? That's
8 all. Just answer that question.
9 A. Yes, it was shame. I was ashamed, because I didn't want someone
10 to gloat over what had happened to me. I remained in the Republika Srpska
11 to fight there and many people gloated over everything I went through, all
12 my misfortunes after that.
13 MR. LAZAREVIC: I would just like one small clarification, he said
14 to fight there, to leave there, this is what the witness said. He
15 remained in Republika Srpska to live there.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: I accept what Mr. Lazarevic says. I'm sure he's
18 Q. Can we turn now to the events at Crkvina? When you got there,
19 Savo Savic was still with you? Just tell us yes or no.
20 A. No. Savo Savic was not still with me, and I don't know where he
22 Q. He drove in the car with you to Crkvina, didn't he?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Okay. Well, other familiar faces at Crkvina, you knew Todorovic
25 because you recognised him, didn't you?
1 A. I knew Todorovic from before the war, because he worked in the
2 Korpara and he was the only one I knew. There were the sareni, the
3 multi-coloured with their faces blackened and there were men with blue
5 Q. Thanks. So there were men milling about, gathered at the cultural
6 centre in Crkvina and you knew only one of them and that was Todorovic.
7 You didn't recognise a single other person?
8 A. I didn't recognise a single other person. I didn't go in to the
9 cultural centre. There were probably people inside whom I did know but
10 Stevan Todorovic came out several times and talked to the multi-coloured
12 Q. You must have been bewildered and confused and puzzled as to what
13 was going on, having been dragged out of your house at midnight, taken off
14 to Crkvina and surrounded by all these people, none of whom you recognised
15 except for Todorovic?
16 A. It was dark there. When Todorovic came out, light streamed
17 through the door. I recognised him but I didn't recognise the others. I
18 wasn't so much surprised as afraid, because I didn't know what was going
19 to happen.
20 Q. Did you seek an explanation? Perhaps go up to one of these sareni
21 and say, excuse me can you tell me what I'm doing here or what's going
23 A. I didn't have the courage to do that, because I saw what had
24 happened to me in my own house.
25 Q. All right. Okay. What about Todorovic? Did you go to Todorovic
1 and say, "Hey, Stiv, can you tell me what's going on? Why am I here?"
2 A. I said that Stevan was an acquaintance of mine, that I had known
3 him when he was working in the Korpara but that we had never spoken until
4 that point.
5 Q. He was the only person you recognised there and you were -- at
6 that moment, you were in a -- let me rephrase that. He was the only
7 person that you knew there who could explain to you what was going on,
9 A. How could I approach him and ask him, Stevo, what's going on,
10 when we hadn't spoken to each other in all our lives. I was fearing that
11 I would experience something even worse than what I had experienced at
12 home, as I said I was afraid. So I didn't ask anything. I didn't dare
13 ask anything.
14 Q. He was -- I'll withdraw that. Were you under guard? Did someone
15 have a pistol held to your head or a rifle pointed at you?
16 A. No. I was not under guard. They left me in one spot and said I
17 should wait there and not go anywhere.
18 Q. Did you consider slipping away, perhaps going to the lavatory or
19 wandering off down the road?
20 A. Even had I done that, what would have happened to me later on?
21 Q. Did you consider doing that?
22 A. I did consider it but that would have been very dangerous for me
23 and for my family.
24 Q. Why?
25 A. I didn't hear your question.
1 Q. Why would it have been dangerous?
2 A. Because if I had run away, if I fled, my family would not be able
3 to flee. If I went to stay with my family, they would have been able to
4 find me and do whatever they wanted with us.
5 Q. How did you know that? You didn't even know who these men were,
6 what the purpose -- what purpose they had. You didn't know why you were
7 there. You didn't know what the Crisis Staff was. You knew nothing,
8 according to what you have told us. So where does this supposed fear come
9 from? How can you conclude that if you know absolutely nothing about why
10 you're there or who they are or why they are there?
11 A. There had been rumours going around Samac for days that the army
12 from Croatia was to come in and take Samac and Posavina. It was Serbs who
13 talked about this. But Croats and Muslims said that the Serbs were going
14 to invade. There was fear everywhere so I was afraid too, because there
15 had already been an incident in Brod where Croatian forces had entered,
16 killed people, taken Brod, Sijekovac and, well, all sorts of things
18 Q. You knew these weren't Croats, didn't you?
19 A. Well, yes. I knew that because they spoke like people from
20 Serbia. They used the word "bre" a lot. They swore a lot.
21 Q. All right. Thank you. Okay, let's move to another topic. At
22 Crkvina, the man you later came to know was Crni divided up the assembled
23 men, the 50 or so assembled paramilitaries into groups, correct?
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. I'm sorry, I've just forgotten how many groups. Was it about five
1 or six groups?
2 A. I think there were five groups, I think.
3 Q. Okay. And your allotted task was to guide in one of these groups,
4 guide them into town? Correct?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. Tell the Chamber who the guides were for the other four groups.
7 A. I didn't see those people.
8 Q. Do you mean that you couldn't see them or that there were no such
9 guides for the remaining four groups of paramilitaries?
10 A. I didn't see any people and I don't know whether there were guides
11 or not for the other groups.
12 Q. In the days and weeks following the events of the night of the
13 16th and 17th, did you ever ascertain if there had been local men guiding
14 in the groups, the other groups, as you did?
15 A. Well, I wasn't interested in that.
16 Q. I didn't ask you if you were interested. I just asked you if you
17 ever ascertained subsequently if the remaining four groups had used local
19 A. I didn't see who guided them and I don't know who guided them.
20 Q. You knew of course their targets, didn't you, the targets of the
21 remaining groups?
22 MR. LAZAREVIC: I object to this question. I believe that through
23 the answer that the witness gave that he didn't even know people, whether
24 they were guiding or anything like that, there is no basis for such
1 MR. DI FAZIO: There would be --
2 JUDGE MUMBA: No, Mr. Lazarevic, the Prosecutor is within his
3 right to ask that question. He's asking about their targets. The witness
4 can answer that.
5 MR. DI FAZIO:
6 Q. So, you knew the targets of the remaining groups?
7 A. Yes, I did.
8 Q. You knew that they included facilities like the radio station, the
9 post office, yours was the police station, and various other targets
10 including the bridge on the Sava?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And it would -- it was apparent to you then that these men were
13 embarking upon an attack upon the town?
14 A. I realised at that point that the town would be attacked.
15 Q. Did you consider saying to Crni, look, please, can you find
16 someone else to do this? For example, Mr. Savic?
17 A. I couldn't see Mr. Savic around any more and I didn't even know
18 Crni. I only found out several days afterwards who Crni was.
19 Q. Very well. You then went into town, in the back of this truck,
20 with these paramilitaries, and you took them to the police station through
21 backyards and unlit streets. Am I correct?
22 A. Yes, you're correct. If I may add something?
23 Q. Yes, please do.
24 A. We arrived by truck -- a TAM, T-A-M, they put me in the back of
25 the truck, under the canvas. There were five or six of us sitting there.
1 I was the only one wearing civilian clothes. If someone who knew me saw
2 me there in Crkvina, I was wearing jeans and a jacket.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. We arrived by truck to the school. Lugar got off the truck and
5 ordered us to get off.
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Topcagic, but I think I'd like to take you to some
7 other areas, if we can. The -- you did your best, didn't you, to take
8 them along the darkest route to the police station? It involved crossing
9 through backyards and going over fences.
10 A. Sir, when we set out, they let me walk on my own for about 20 or
11 30 metres wearing civilian clothes without any weapons because I hadn't
12 taken any weapons, actually I didn't even wear a proper outfit. I didn't
13 know what would happen. I was going there -- I was going as a moving
14 target. I could not dare look behind. Had I done anything, they probably
15 would have killed me, and I mean the Muslim guards, patrols, that were all
16 over town.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. LAZAREVIC: I apologise. Maybe this is not what the witness
19 said actually on page 14, line 12. He didn't say had I done anything. He
20 said, had I met anyone. And then I mean the Muslim guards. This gives a
21 sense to this sentence.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, thank you. I'm sure Mr. Lazarevic is right.
23 Q. But my question was: That you did your best to take them through
24 the most dark and circuitous route to the police station, through
25 backyards, over fences?
1 A. I had to do it for my own sake as well, not only for them, because
2 I was the one there who was in the greatest peril.
3 Q. Thank you. And then as you arrived at the police station, your
4 choice of vantage point was the flat of Ilija Tolic; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And you climbed up on to the balcony and you had a good view of
7 the SUP; is that correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And there was also a wall on the balcony, a good solid wall?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Who was up on the balcony with you? Was it just Crni or were all
12 of the other paramilitaries up on the balcony with you?
13 A. When we came to the fence, which we were supposed to jump over in
14 order to enter the yard where the building was, where the TO was, between
15 the TO and the building is a passage way leading to the SUP.
16 Q. Yes. I've read about that.
17 A. I --
18 Q. If I may interrupt you, Mr. Topcagic, I've read about that in your
19 statement. I know that. You went down the corridor --
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You climbed over a fence and you climbed up on to the balcony,
22 the first floor, of Ilija Tolic's flat and stood on his balcony from which
23 you could see the SUP, correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Right. Now, Crni -- you say in your statement that Crni was up
1 there on the balcony with you. All I want to know is was it just you
2 and Crni or were the other paramilitaries also there on the balcony?
3 MR. LAZAREVIC: I object to this. If my colleague could indicate
4 which paragraph of the statement the witness said that Crni was with him?
5 He haven't mentioned Crni at all.
6 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Actually, I have a similar question,
7 Mr. Di Fazio. In paragraph 35, it seems that the commanding man was Crni
8 and he told Mr. Topcagic that he was to take away a group whose leader was
9 Lugar. So we don't seem -- so I was going to ask Mr. Topcagic if I could,
10 Mr. Topcagic, was Lugar the leader of the patrol that you escorted to the
11 SUP? Question one. And question two: Was Crni also with you? So was
12 Lugar the one who was assigned to command the patrol that you led into
13 town, first?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Crni and Lugar and Srecko
15 Radovanovic, Debeli, were going to the SUP. I didn't know it then but I
16 found out later, as sometime went by, I found out what their names were
17 and that's why I'm putting it this way now.
18 JUDGE WILLIAMS: The second question, Crni was also with you, is
19 answered in the affirmative now?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you, because that certainly doesn't appear
22 in the statement.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: No it doesn't. And I also think Mr. Lazarevic was
24 correct when he made his objection. I had been confused between Crni and
25 Lugar. Thank you I'm grateful to Your Honour for pointing those matters
2 Q. Anyway, up on the balcony, who was with you? Was it just one of
3 these paramilitaries or was the whole group there?
4 A. On the balcony, I mean I had to be the first one to climb up so I
5 did climb up to the balcony and I stayed on the balcony. He walked into
6 the apartment. I don't know who it was. Again one of the many-coloured
7 ones. I can't remember which one of the many-coloured ones it was. And
8 now this passageway between the TO and the building, that's where there
9 were a few more people, that's where Srecko Radovanovic was wounded too.
10 Q. I see. And was he wounded from the blast that struck the police
12 A. No, no. He was not. As a matter of fact, I know who wounded him,
13 if necessary I can mention the name, because I found out about that when I
14 entered the police station. He was wounded by a neighbour of mine.
15 Q. Who was that?
16 A. He was wounded by Salko Hurtic who had threatened me before the
17 war too. He rang my door bell and my wife went out and he said that he
18 would kill me and my children.
19 Q. Fine. Thank you very much for that. And was he -- he was wounded
20 just outside the police station?
21 A. He was wounded in the passageway between the TO and that building.
22 Q. You took them to quite a good position, didn't you, they were up
23 off the ground, they had a good view of the SUP, and they had a balcony
24 wall to protect them from the blast of the explosion that hit the police
1 MR. LAZAREVIC: I object to this question because the witness
2 already said that he was on the balcony and only one paramilitary was
3 together there with him.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Very well.
5 MR. LAZAREVIC: Others were on the ground floor in this corridor.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: Very well.
7 Q. You took them to a good position, didn't you? There were -- you
8 and one paramilitary were off the ground, you had a good view of the SUP,
9 the remainder were sheltered in the passageway and that protected them
10 from the blast of the explosion?
11 A. The explosion came from the completely opposite side, right to --
12 to the right from the SUP, from the direction of the memorial [Realtime
13 transcript read in error "policemen orial"] centre. As for this
14 explosion, no one was really endangered by it.
15 Q. Okay. Thank you. Let's go to the police station now.
16 MR. LAZAREVIC: If I can just have one small correction for the
17 transcript, on page 18, the direction of the police memorial centre. It
18 was a memorial centre.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
20 Q. Can we take you to the police station? You're task was complete
21 once you had guided these men to the SUP, correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Why did you go into the SUP?
24 A. Because the shooting came from the direction of Donja Mahala. It
25 came from the Muslim formations towards the SUP. And after that, gunfire
1 started from Croatia and this gunfire was aimed at the police station.
2 Q. Thank you. My question was why did you go into the SUP?
3 A. Well, I went in because I mean because they ordered me to go in.
4 Q. Did you seek an explanation as to why you were now being ordered
5 to go into the SUP when you had done your job, you had guided them in?
6 A. When we entered the SUP, then all hell broke loose there. They
7 immediately started beating the people who were there, people who happened
8 to be at the SUP and people who were arriving then, who did not know that
9 the SUP had been taken.
10 Q. Did you make any attempt to get out of there? To leave? To get
11 away from this entire scene?
12 A. How could I leave? They would have killed me if I had passed less
13 than 100 metres, either one side or the other side, the many coloured ones
14 they didn't know me for the Muslim formations with which I had so many
15 problems before the war. They would have been after me. Fortunately I
16 did not move about very much and that is how I managed to survive.
17 Q. So you stayed there for your own protection?
18 A. Where could I go? At 3.00 at night? What time was it? 2.30
19 a.m., 3.00 a.m., where could I go in the middle of the night.
20 Q. Well, where you could go in the middle of the night was to take
21 one of the wounded paramilitaries back to Crkvina in an unmarked police
22 car. You felt safe enough to do that, didn't you?
23 A. I had to do that. It was safer for me to go to drive to Crkvina,
24 that is, than to remain at the SUP.
25 Q. Why? Why, Mr. Topcagic, why was it safer for you to go in a car
1 away from the SUP building with a paramilitary in your car past these
2 so-called Muslim armed men, to Crkvina? A car can be shot at as well as a
3 person walking down the street, that's elementary. So why was it safer?
4 A. Mr. Prosecutor, they sent me to sit on some steps facing the
5 Republic of Croatia. There is a big rock there. It goes all the way up
6 like the building does and the shooting started from Croatia straight
7 away. The Croats were targeting the police station and they wouldn't
8 allow me to move from there where bullets were already flying all around
10 Q. Mr. Topcagic, I hadn't realised this. You were made into some
11 sort of human shield or placed in this position of extreme danger; is that
13 A. Well, certainly. From the very beginning of that action that I
14 was taken into, and I was cheated into it actually.
15 Q. I'm asking you -- I'm not asking you about the whole overview of
16 the situation I'm asking you about the police station. Am I correct that
17 you were taken out the back of the police station --
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. -- facing Croatia and told to stay there as a target?
20 MR. LAZAREVIC: I believe that it was some misunderstanding about
21 what the witness said. I believe that the Trial Chamber and my learned
22 colleague watched carefully the videotape containing records on police
23 station. He didn't say he was taken out of the police station and placed
24 there but he said that there is some window or something like that in the
25 police station that can -- so he was inside not outside, nothing more than
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Fine, fine.
3 Q. You were taken to some point in the police station and
4 deliberately exposed to danger, deliberately exposed to Croatian fire?
5 A. Well, whether it was deliberate or not, I had to be there.
6 Q. Mr. Topcagic, just tell the Trial Chamber what happened to you in
7 the SUP as regards this incident. Were you taken by paramilitaries to
8 some point in the police station from which you were vulnerable to
9 Croatian fire and as far as you can tell, was that done deliberately?
10 Simple question, just tell the Chamber what the situation is.
11 A. I'll tell you about what happened at the police station. When I
12 entered the police station, I found that neighbour of mine there, the one
13 I remembered, Salko Hurtic, and he himself said to me that he had fired
14 his weapon, and that he had wounded a person then. He did not know
15 exactly then who it was. And I didn't know at that time either. I told
16 him not to say anything to anyone.
17 They took his rifle away from him. He also had a hand grenade,
18 and he threw it behind the sofa at the duty officers office. When they
19 got in, there were two or three policemen there and they started hitting
20 people straight away. I was frightened. I was upset. I addressed, I
21 don't know who, somebody over there, and I asked what I was supposed to do
22 then, and then Lugar said to me, sit there on the stairs and don't move
23 anywhere. If somebody comes up or something, then I was supposed to
24 inform them. I don't know who he meant who it was who could come up, so I
25 huddled there on the stairs and there is this big glass pane that goes
1 down these steps, and it faces the Republic of Croatia, and that's where
2 bullets started coming from, and I saw -- I heard this conversation over
3 the radio. I don't know who was speaking because the duty officers room
4 is right by these stairs and they were talking to these people from
5 Croatia immediately. They were cursing their Chetnik mothers and these
6 were cursing their Ustasha mothers, and we would be coming, whatever, the
7 entire conversation could be heard.
8 Q. From that, can I conclude, can the Chamber conclude, that you were
9 not placed deliberately in the face -- deliberately in the line of
10 Croatian fire? It was just accidental?
11 A. I really don't know whether it was deliberate or whether it was
12 accidental but I was there and there were some expressions --
13 Q. Thank you. You drove Debeli, the wounded Debeli back to Crkvina.
14 How badly wounded was he?
15 A. He was wounded in the shoulder, in the shoulder area. I'm not
16 very knowledgeable as far as wounds go but I just saw that it was
18 Q. Yes. Was he able to walk? Did he have to be placed in the car?
19 Was he able to talk? Was he sitting upright?
20 A. He could talk. He was sitting sort of on the side and when we
21 arrived in Crkvina, then I helped him a bit. I helped him get out of the
23 Q. From what you had seen that night, you knew that the town was
24 under attack and that these armed paramilitaries were taking over the
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 Q. And you knew that the 4th Detachment was duty-bound to protect the
3 property and the lives of the citizens of Bosanski Samac? That was one of
4 its objectives?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. As a member of the 4th Detachment, during this trip back to
7 Crkvina, did you consider trying somehow to raise the alarm with the 4th
8 Detachment? To inform them of numbers of men which you knew? To inform
9 them of the targets of these men which you knew? To inform them of the
10 fact that they came from Serbia, which you knew? To inform them of all of
11 that sort of intelligence so that they could deal with this attack?
12 A. First of all, I thought about my own survival. I kept thinking
13 about my children all the time.
14 Q. Thank you. I have no doubt you did but did you think of informing
15 the 4th Detachment and passing on this vital intelligence that you had?
16 Numbers, armaments, intentions of this group of thugs who were attacking
17 the town.
18 A. I didn't know what would happen to me when I arrive, what he'd do
19 with me after that. Lugar said already at the SUP, when these bullets
20 were flying all around me, and when I started going down, I wanted to lie
21 down so that nothing would hit me. He said, why are you afraid, Turk?
22 One Turk more, one Turk less.
23 Q. All right. Thank you. When you got to Crkvina the second time
24 that night, this is at the cultural hall, you saw Dr. Blagoje Simic and he
25 attended to Debeli, correct?
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. This was inside the cultural centre?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And Dr. Simic was prepared, apparently, as doctors are, with
5 medical equipment, bandages, whatever was necessary to treat Debeli?
6 A. I don't know whether he had all of that but the doctor did help
8 Q. Was there a field hospital, a small field hospital, not
9 necessarily a full hospital but were there medical facilities set up
10 plainly to treat wounded men?
11 A. I didn't see that.
12 Q. So who else was in the cultural centre? Apart from Debeli and
13 Blagoje Simic?
14 A. I can't remember exactly.
15 Q. Were there a lot of men or were they just a few in number?
16 A. There weren't a lot of men.
17 Q. Now, you knew Blagoje Simic, didn't you?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Tell the Chamber, did you make any inquiries of Dr. Blagoje Simic
20 so that he might explain some of the mysteries that you had seen that
21 night? For example, did you ask him about the Crisis Staff, what it was,
22 why you were a member? You won't find the answer --
23 A. Didn't ask.
24 Q. Did you consider asking?
25 A. I didn't consider that either.
1 Q. Did you ask Dr. Blagoje Simic, "Can you please tell me what's
2 going on?"
3 A. I didn't ask.
4 Q. You were surely curious to know what was going on, what you'd --
5 the meaning of everything that you had seen?
6 A. I've already said I was frightened.
7 Q. Well --
8 A. The only thing I thought of was my family at that moment.
9 Q. Yes but this was a far different situation, wasn't it? Number
10 1, the paramilitary, Debeli, was a wounded man; number 2, you're in the
11 company of a doctor, Dr. Blagoje Simic, a familiar face; number 3, you
12 were outside of Bosanski Samac, away from all of this action. This was a
13 completely different scenario, a completely different scene, relatively
14 speaking unthreatening compared to what you had been through. Wasn't that
15 the perfect time to seek some answers to these questions?
16 A. Mr. Prosecutor, had I perhaps been in another war too, perhaps I
17 would have put that question, but this was something quite new to me. It
18 was something terrible. It was the first time I saw a wounded person.
19 The first time I saw people in camouflage uniforms with paint on their
20 faces, who were beating other people up without asking them anything, who
21 they were, or whatever. People who treated me as if I were a worthless
22 object. I didn't think that they meant anything good. I mean it was my
23 impression that they did not mean any good, did not have good intentions
24 vis-a-vis the Serbs, too, not only the Muslims and Croats, judging by
25 everything that I had seen at that time that was my conclusion.
1 Q. Thank you. When you left and started to hitchhike back to
2 Bosanski Samac, just prior to leaving, did you receive any further
3 instructions from Debeli?
4 A. He just said to me that I was free to go, to Samac.
5 Q. Did he say anything to you about not passing on information about
6 numbers of paramilitaries, of armament, of any sort of intelligence as to
7 their targets, as to who they were?
8 A. He didn't say any of the things you've mentioned.
9 Q. Now, armed with this very, very good firsthand intelligence
10 regarding the attack that was under way, did you make every effort to get
11 back and report to the 4th Detachment and provide them with this
12 intelligence so that they might perform their duty and protect the
13 citizens and the property in the town?
14 A. When I arrived at Ciglana which is at the entrance to Samac, I
15 went on on foot, as far as the SIT where the command of the 4th Detachment
16 was. There, at the entrance to the command of the 4th Detachment, I met
17 the commander of the 4th Detachment, Radovan Antic.
18 Q. Thank you. Now, as far as you can tell, you were the only member
19 of the 4th Detachment to have seen part of these takeover events
21 A. It's correct that I was the only person from the 4th Detachment
22 who had been at the SUP. I didn't see anyone else.
23 Q. Thank you. And you told Antic and Mr. Zaric very briefly what you
24 had been through, what you had seen?
25 A. Yes, I did tell them.
1 Q. Did you provide them with information as to numbers of men,
2 armaments that they were carrying, the intended targets that they had --
3 just a minute. Just a minute, Mr. Topcagic. Intended targets, armaments,
4 who their leaders were, where they were from? Did you provide them with
5 that information in the very brief conversation that you had with them?
6 A. I told them what had happened to me that night, where I had been,
7 how we set out, where we set out, what happened. I said that I assumed
8 these sareni came from Serbia, judging by their dialect and the curses
9 they used, the swear words they used. I told them that and they were
10 surprised and concerned.
11 Q. But apart from telling them about being from Serbia and swearing
12 and their dialect, did you tell them as to the weaponry they carried, the
13 targets that they carried, the numbers of men that there were, the sort of
14 matters that might interest someone like Radovan Antic and Simo Zaric and
15 other members of the 4th Detachment, the sort of matters that are
16 necessary to deal with an attack?
17 A. I said there were some 50 men there, and as for weapons, they had
18 automatic rifles.
19 Q. All right. Thank you. Okay. So you made it clear to Mr. Zaric
20 and Mr. Antic that you had good intelligence. Did they or did you suggest
21 that you also go along to the command of the 17th Tactical Group so that
22 you could brief them in good detail as to precisely what was going on, you
23 being the only eyewitness from the 4th Detachment?
24 A. I did not suggest this. They went on their own.
25 Q. And they didn't suggest it either, Mr. Zaric or Mr. Antic?
1 A. No. They didn't suggest it either. I was not in a fit state to
2 go in a car because I was frightened, exhausted and I was not in very good
3 health then, and nor am I in good health now. So I couldn't face driving
4 40 kilometres to Pelagicevo and then coming back and any way, who was I to
5 go there?
6 Q. What were your health problems in 1992?
7 A. I have high blood pressure, I have angina pectoris. I have -- my
8 aorta in my heart is enlarged.
9 Q. Thank you, that's quite enough. You had these conditions in 1992,
10 yes or no?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Well, tell the Chamber how you went leading this group of
13 paramilitaries jumping over fences, in this stressful situation? Did any
14 of your -- suffer any health problems?
15 A. I am ill but I live with this disease. I don't let it burden me
16 too much. When I jumped over the fence, and that too is something that is
17 not in this record, Lugar hit me on the back with the barrel of his rifle,
18 because they wanted me to jump over the fence and there was a dog tied up
19 on the other side and the dog was barking and jumping up against the
20 fence. As I didn't want to jump over, he hit me with the gun barrel, with
21 a rifle barrel on my back, and then they helped me to jump over the
22 fence. I could have jumped it myself but I was scared of the dog, and of
23 what was awaiting me further on, because then I would have to go forward
24 again some 10, 20 metres ahead of them.
25 Q. Mr. Topcagic, have you ever found out in all these years who it
1 was who made the choice of you to guide in a group of paramilitaries in
2 the middle of the night? Do you know who it was?
3 A. No, I don't know. Because simply had anything happened to me,
4 they wouldn't have been very sorry. Many people would not have regretted
5 it. I'm speaking of Serbs and especially of Muslims who represent a
6 special story in my life, and the Croats least of all.
7 Q. Yes. Okay. Let's jump a few topics to the situation on the
8 morning of the 17th. Men started -- men from the 4th Detachment started
9 to arrive at the headquarters at the SIT factory, correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Some in uniform, some not?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Some armed?
14 A. Maybe some of them.
15 Q. And they all arrived there presumably with different methods, some
16 walked, some took their bicycles, some may have taken cars?
17 A. Those who had already gathered there, I didn't see how they
18 arrived. The ones who lived closest to the command of the 4th Detachment
19 were there.
20 Q. Okay. Did any of the un-uniformed, men not in uniform, from the
21 4th Detachment engage in any fire with the Serbian paramilitaries that
23 A. I state with full responsibility that no one from the 4th
24 Detachment fired a single bullet. I assert this because those were the
25 orders before the detachment commander, the commander of the 4th
1 Detachment, Radovan Antic came back and nothing was to be done, except to
2 gather as many men as possible and wait for further orders.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. There was shooting by the Muslim side, and the first shots hit
5 perhaps the house of Miroslav Tadic. We could see that from the yard of
6 the SIT.
7 Q. All right. And they were Muslims who shot at the house of
8 Miroslav Tadic?
9 A. This is correct, yes.
10 Q. And were they in camouflage uniforms?
11 A. They had some sort of green uniforms.
12 Q. Not camouflage uniforms? You know what a green uniform is and you
13 know what a camouflage uniform is. Were they in camouflage or green
15 A. Well, green uniforms and some of them also had camouflage uniforms
16 but later they got rid of them.
17 Q. Right. And you recognised --
18 A. For the most part, the camouflage uniforms came from the HVO and
19 they were worn by Muslims.
20 Q. And you saw these men shooting at Mr. Tadic's house and you
21 recognised them as being local Muslims?
22 A. No. I didn't see but I know where the shots came from, from the
23 stadium, from the stands.
24 Q. Mr. Topcagic, three or four questions ago I asked you they were
25 Muslims who shot at the house of Miroslav Tadic. You said correct.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Now you say that you didn't see -- you didn't see but you know
3 where the shots came from. Tell the Chamber, these -- take it step by
4 step. There were Muslims who shot at the house of Miroslav Tadic, correct
5 or not?
6 A. We assume that this is correct, and I am sure. I can guarantee
7 that they shot. I can even give you the names of the people who fired
8 shots. One among them was Dervis Halilovic.
9 Q. And you're absolutely certain that it was local Muslims who shot
10 at the house of Mr. Tadic?
11 A. Absolutely.
12 Q. Okay.
13 A. Because there was no one else who could have done it.
14 Q. Thank you. And this was known to Mr. Tadic, as far as you could
16 A. He probably knew, yes.
17 Q. You didn't -- it wasn't just you who knew that local Muslims had
18 shot at Mr. Tadic's house? It was many other men in the 4th Detachment
19 who knew that local Muslims had shot at Mr. Tadic's house?
20 A. They probably knew.
21 Q. But you didn't actually see the men who shot at Mr. Tadic's
22 house? Didn't lay eyes upon them?
23 A. No, I didn't see them, but that morning, nobody from the 4th
24 Detachment fired a single bullet. The Muslim formations were roaming
25 around the town holding certain parts of the town, and the stadium is a
1 very suitable place to fire from with artillery weapons. On the entire
2 surrounding area. Because --
3 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter corrects herself, infantry
5 A. Because it's closer to the headquarters of the 4th Detachment.
6 MR. LAZAREVIC: [Previous interpretation continues] ... transcript
7 on page 31, line 24, fire from infantry weapon and not artillery weapon.
8 MR. DI FAZIO:
9 Q. These light weapons or are we talking heavier weapons that the
10 Muslims had?
11 A. Light weapons, infantry weapons.
12 Q. Okay. And so let me get this straight. These Muslims are going
13 around town, we know that they fire at Miroslav Tadic's house and that
14 they are firing from the stadium. What were they firing at? I mean apart
15 from Mr. Tadic's house, of course.
16 A. On that morning, the first shooting started from Donja Mahala,
17 which is at the exit from Samac. That part of the town is called Donja
19 Q. Okay. And they actually controlled part of the town, actually
20 took control, the Muslims took control of Donja Mahala?
21 A. They did offer resistance in Donja Mahala.
22 Q. Resistance to whom?
23 A. The sareni.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: Is this time, if Your Honours please?
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We will take our break and continue at 11.00.
1 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio?
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Q. Mr. Topcagic, essentially your position is that Muslim forces
6 carried out battles or street -- small fire fights with the paramilitaries
7 and for some period of time, actually controlled parts of the town?
8 A. This happened in the morning hours.
9 Q. Thanks. And how long would you say that went on for, a few hours
10 at least?
11 A. Well, I think that shooting could be heard until about 10.00 a.m.
12 that morning, the 17th of April.
13 Q. And no doubt about it, that was fighting between Muslim forces on
14 the one hand and the Serbian police and paramilitaries on the other hand?
15 A. No doubt.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness be shown Exhibit P138 ter? Thank
18 you, Mr. Usher and may I ask you, please, Mr. Usher to open the exhibit to
19 page 34? Thank you.
20 Q. Now, Mr. Topcagic, that's an interview conducted with Mr. Miroslav
21 Tadic in March of 1998. You will see that it provides his interrogators
22 questions with a B/C/S translation and his answers followed by the B/C/S.
23 At the very top of the page, you will see the top third of the page, that
24 Mr. Tadic is describing the takeover. He says, it was not a problem to
25 take over Bosanski Samac. Do you see that paragraph?
1 MR. DI FAZIO: May I approach the witness to indicate so we don't
2 waste too much time on this?
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
5 Q. All right.
6 A. I've read this.
7 Q. Thank you. Now, that's Mr. Tadic, Mr. Miroslav Tadic, commenting
8 on the takeover of Bosanski Samac. He says it took half an hour, no --
9 without shots being fired, without shelling, without bombarding, and then
10 when he's asked by his interrogator if there was no resistance, there was
11 no resistance offered by the non-Serbs --
12 A. No, no.
13 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters cannot hear what the witness is
15 MR. LAZAREVIC: According to what I read in transcript, maybe he
16 could say again what he has just said about what he understood.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: The wrong page is being shown, the wrong page. 35
18 was being shown. 34. I'm sorry if I said 35.
19 Q. Don't mark the exhibit, if you don't mind, Mr. Topcagic,. It's a
20 court exhibit. All right, now do you see the passage that I'm talking
22 A. I've read it.
23 Q. Okay. Now, Mr. Miroslav Tadic, who was there in April of 1992,
24 takes the view that the takeover was not a problem, done in half an hour,
25 no shots fired, no shelling, and then when asked about resistance offered
1 by non-Serbs, comments, "Mostly no resistance, perhaps partly some, but
2 not significant." That contrasts with your evidence. Now, having seen
3 what Mr. Miroslav Tadic said about the takeover, do you now think that in
4 fact the takeover was conducted swiftly, with minimal resistance, and
5 little exchange of fire?
6 A. There was no major resistance, but I can guarantee that shooting
7 could be heard around 10.00 too. I don't know who was doing the shooting
8 then though.
9 Q. Very well. Thank you for that. I'm finished with that exhibit.
10 Thank you. I'm going to have to jump to another topic later in time. You
11 describe in your statement -- I withdraw that.
12 Do you know a fellow named Stevo Milicic [phoen]?
13 A. Stevo?
14 Q. Yes, Stevo Milicic. M-i-l-i --
15 A. Stevo Milicic? I don't know that man. Perhaps you mean another
17 Q. Okay. Fine. I just want to know. Do you know a fellow named
18 Milan Milicic?
19 A. That name doesn't mean a thing to me.
20 Q. You're not aware of either of those two men ever -- well, you're
21 not aware of a man surnamed Milicic being a member of the Crisis Staff at
22 any point?
23 A. This Milicic is probably from the village of Pelagicevo. Except
24 that I don't know whether his name is Milan or Stevo. I think the name is
25 Milan Milicic.
1 Q. Okay. Now, this fellow was a member of the Crisis Staff, wasn't
3 A. Yes, but I didn't see him at the Crisis Staff. I've just
4 remembered now that he was on the Crisis Staff too. I remember now his
5 name and surname.
6 Q. Thank you. Can the witness be shown P127, please? Now, as far as
7 this document -- as far as this document is concerned, as far as -- all I
8 need to do is ask you to go to the back of the document and you'll see
9 that it's signed by 13 people. The one I'm interested is number 13,
10 Corporal Milan Milicic, assistant commander for civilian -- for civilian
11 affairs, do you see that?
12 A. I see that.
13 Q. All right. Now, being a military man and being in charge for
14 civilian affairs, am I right that it's probably this fellow who was on the
15 Crisis Staff?
16 A. I don't know whether that's the man. I know that there was some
17 Milicic from Pelagicevo who was on the Crisis Staff.
18 Q. Okay. And the fellow that you knew from Pelagicevo who was on the
19 Crisis Staff was a military man, was in the JNA?
20 A. I don't know.
21 Q. All right. Thank you. I've done with that document. And can the
22 witness now be shown Exhibit P124?
23 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Topcagic, just while the document
24 is being brought before you, in terms of a person with the surname
25 Milicevic, did you know whether a man called Cedo Milicevic was on the
1 Crisis Staff as a person concerned with security matters? So the first
2 name Cedo.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know Cedo Milicevic. But he was
4 born in Gornja Slatina.
5 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Do you know whether he was on the Crisis Staff?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I don't think so. I
7 know that he was in Odzak.
8 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay. Thank you.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
10 Q. Now, this is the gazette, the Official Gazette of the municipality
11 of Samac dated June of 1994, and contains a record of a number of
12 decisions. I'd like you to look at a decision dated the 28th of March,
13 1992, the usher I believe has the document open at the correct page.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, it's page 14 of the English
15 translation and I believe page 8 of the B/C/S.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Do you just want me to read Article
17 1 of the decision?
18 MR. DI FAZIO:
19 Q. No, no.
20 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise, sorry, could we have it on the ELMO
21 for the benefit of our clients?
22 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, it's only one very minor aspect of this
23 document that I'm interested in and, yes, please place it on the ELMO.
24 Thank you.
25 Q. Now, Article 1, in the right-hand column --
1 A. I can't see.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Let the witness have the document before him.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: And then thereafter you can put it on the ELMO
5 because there are such small letters.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: I realise that, if Your Honours please.
7 Q. Now, Article 1, the last sentence of Article 1 says that "The
8 municipal crisis staffs shall be composed of representatives of political,
9 military and other institutions of the Serbian people." Were you aware of
11 A. May I just read this, please?
12 Q. Of course, I'm sorry if I jumped the gun.
13 A. Never heard of this.
14 Q. All right. Thank you. I've finished with the document. So it's
15 your position that you are not aware of any requirement that military --
16 that the military have a representative on the Crisis Staff? Am I
17 correct? You don't know about that?
18 A. I didn't know that.
19 Q. Thank you. Very well. Now let's go to the occasion that you
20 attended at the Crisis Staff meeting. The men that you saw there, these
21 men, Simeon Simic, Todorovic, Blagoje Simic, Milos Bogdanovic, and Bozo
22 Ninkovic, all of them were not --
23 A. Savo Popovic was there too.
24 Q. Thank you. Thank you. Savo Popovic. All of them were not
25 members of the 4th Detachment; is that correct or not?
1 A. Nobody was there except for me.
2 Q. Yeah, fair enough. It's just the way it was translated there is a
3 little bit of uncertainty. What you meant to say was that you were the
4 only 4th Detachment person at the meeting?
5 A. I was the only person. I don't know how come I was there in the
6 first place, how come I was elected, how come I was actually nominated,
7 because this was the only meeting I attended, and never again after that.
8 I was never invited. I never received any compensation for it.
9 Q. All right. Okay. Fine, fair enough. I hear what you say. But
10 my question is this: You were the only 4th Detachment person present?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And this was very soon after the 16th and the 17th of April?
13 A. Well, it was perhaps after three or four days.
14 Q. You were the military representative on the Crisis Staff, weren't
16 A. I was not a representative of the military. I'm telling you now.
17 I don't know who put me there. I don't know what I was doing there. And
18 I was no important person. I did not decide anything. I did not take
19 part in the discussion. I stayed briefly. I didn't even stay until the
20 end of the meeting. It was Crni and Stevan Todorovic who were doing most
21 of the talking at that meeting.
22 Q. Well, I put to you that you were the --
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Will Your Honours just bear with me?
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
25 [Prosecution counsel confer]
1 MR. DI FAZIO:
2 Q. What was Crni doing there?
3 A. When I came, he was there at the meeting. All the discussion that
4 was there, if anybody would start taking part in the discussion, he would
5 interrupt and he would make decisions on his own. He would do the
6 deciding. What was discussed was the situation at that moment in Samac,
7 the shelling, there was no water, there was no electricity in town, how to
8 resolve these problems and then also food supplies.
9 Q. All right. I just want to suggest to you that in fact you were
10 the military representative, the 4th Detachment representative, or JNA
11 representative, on the Crisis Staff.
12 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes, it was already suggested to the witness and
13 he gave the answer.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can answer again. I was --
15 MR. DI FAZIO: All right, fair enough as long as there is no
16 problem with my not putting my case to the witness, I'll withdraw the
18 Q. Now, who told you to go to this meeting?
19 A. Policemen came, a policeman came to fetch me, and told me to go to
20 Uniglas to attend this meeting.
21 Q. Did you tell your superiors, Mr. Antic, perhaps Mr. Tadic,
22 Mr. Zaric, that you were going to a meeting of the new civilian
23 administration? Did you inform them of that?
24 A. I did not tell them about that when this policeman came he came by
25 car and I got into the car with him and I went to this meeting. I didn't
1 even know what the point of this Crisis Staff was, what it was for.
2 Q. It was that -- this was the second time that the mystery of the
3 Crisis Staff had come before you, wasn't it? The first occasion was when
4 you were informed that you were a member of the Crisis Staff on the night
5 of the 16th and 17th and now for a second time this issue of the Crisis
6 Staff had arisen, correct?
7 A. No. The first time they told me that I was going there to some
8 Crisis Staff, and there was no Crisis Staff there.
9 Q. Yes, all right. Did you ask the policeman why you were going or
10 why you were required?
11 A. Well, he just told me that I was supposed to go, that they were
12 calling me to come there to the Crisis Staff and he didn't do any other
13 explaining. And then when I asked him who was there and he said, I have
14 no idea I was just instructed to bring you there, I was instructed by
15 Stevan Todorovic.
16 Q. Okay. When you got to the Crisis Staff and you saw these
17 assembled men, did you ask any of them, "What am I doing here? Why am I
19 A. That was too big a bite for me. I couldn't wait to leave. There
20 were other people there who were more important than me, and who did not
21 really feel very comfortable in the presence of Crni, let alone Stevan
23 Q. I see. When you say it was too big a bite for you, do you mean
24 that you felt intimidated? Is that what you're saying?
25 A. Well, at that time, to encounter Stevan Todorovic meant pure
1 evil. It didn't matter whether it was me or anybody else. He did a lot
2 of evil to a lot of people regardless of whether they were Muslims or
3 Croats, honest Serbs, too, everybody had a problem with him so as soon as
4 I saw him, everything became black to me.
5 Q. I see. But I mean, at that stage of events, Mr. Todorovic had not
6 yet got into full swing, had he? It was still too early for you to know
7 that that he was the sort of person he later turned out to be?
8 A. Well, right away, he locked up some 50 Muslims in the TO, and when
9 beating began and forcing people to sing Chetnik songs and many other
10 things that nobody likes to mention, and the things he did in the SUP, in
11 front of the policemen and those people, to show them what things should
12 be like, what a real Serb should be like, evil news spreads quickly.
13 Q. Yes. I see, so the evil of Mr. Todorovic was a factor -- was a
14 fact that was already well known in Bosanski Samac to someone like you,
15 who was not even associated with the civilian authorities?
16 A. I was not at all associated with the civilian authorities. When I
17 went to the Crisis Staff meeting, I was surprised by that, and I never
18 wanted to go there again, and they never actually invited me again, but
19 even had they done so, I would not have gone.
20 Q. Mr. Topcagic, I suggest to you that there couldn't have been too
21 much fear and intimidation on your part because firstly, you had assisted
22 these paramilitaries, you'd performed this dangerous job of guiding them
23 in to the city, successfully, taking them to the police station, and
24 secondly, here they were inviting you to this meeting. So there couldn't
25 have been too much of an atmosphere of menace for you, do you agree?
1 A. No. I do not agree with what you said, because first I was
2 slapped, then I was hit on the back with a rifle barrel, then I was made
3 to sit on the steps with bullets whizzing around me. You can draw your
4 own conclusions from that. Whether I was privileged in any way.
5 Q. Were you introduced to the assembled people, the assembled men?
6 A. I can't remember that.
7 Q. How long were you in the meeting altogether?
8 A. I was there for about an hour and a half and then I left because I
9 had to go to the front line, about an hour and a half, maybe a little
10 less, maybe a little more.
11 Q. And did you participate in the meeting? I mean apart from your
12 presence, did you engage in discussion?
13 A. No. I did not participate in the discussion. I just told them I
14 had to go to the front line. As I said, it was Crni and Stevan Todorovic
15 who did most of the talking, at least while I was there.
16 Q. And you've told the Chamber that what was being discussed were
17 domestic problems, correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So what sort of contribution did Crni and Mr. Todorovic provide to
20 the domestic problems that faced the municipality? Did they discuss the
21 water supply for instance or medical aid or anything like that?
22 A. They didn't talk about those topics, those were the least
23 discussed topics. Djordjevic spoke about the military. Crni about his --
24 what were they called, sareni. Todorovic talked about arrests.
25 Q. Following this meeting, did you report to your commanders,
1 Mr. Antic and Mr. Tadic and Mr. Zaric of the events at the Crisis Staff?
2 Did you debrief them?
3 A. I told Radovan Antic what had been discussed there. And I said to
4 him I didn't want to attend any more meetings of the Crisis Staff, and I
5 said that something should be done in a way so that I wouldn't have to go
6 there again, because I saw that I wasn't really wanted there and I felt
7 humiliated, not by everyone but I heard expressions such as Turks, balija,
8 and that hurt me, and Crni and Stiv always said those words, and then the
9 detention of people just because they bore a different name or had a
10 different religion.
11 Q. So you -- you had to make moves, did you, to make sure that you
12 didn't remain on the Crisis Staff? Namely by speaking to Mr. Antic?
13 A. I don't believe it was Antic who helped me. What helped me was
14 simply the fact that I was a Muslim and that I wasn't wanted there, but I
15 say again it wasn't everyone who found me undesirable.
16 Q. In the years since April of 1992, have you ever found out why it
17 was that the Crisis Staff invited you there if they didn't want you there?
18 A. I repeat, I don't know who nominated me. Perhaps -- I say
19 perhaps -- Blagoje Simic didn't mind my presence. He knew me well. But
20 Stiv, Bozo Ninkovic, Simeon Simic.
21 Q. Okay.
22 A. They did not want me there.
23 Q. Thank you. Let's just move to another topic, if we can. The
24 transfer of the prisoners to Brcko. All of those men who were held in the
25 TO and who were transferred to Brcko were men who had been arrested by
1 these paramilitaries and Todorovic's Serbian police, correct?
2 A. Arrests were mostly carried out by Stevan Todorovic's police.
3 Q. Okay. But -- fine, but all of them, all of them, had been
4 arrested either by Todorovic's police or by the paramilitaries, the
5 Serbian paramilitaries? Not one of them was arrested by the 4th
7 A. I guarantee that the members of the 4th Detachment, and I can
8 swear to this on my children, that not a single member of the 4th
9 Detachment arrested a single Muslim or Croat.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 A. Nor were they authorised to do so.
12 Q. Thank you. And so therefore you must agree that they were not
13 prisoners who had been captured in fighting with the JNA?
14 A. Could you please repeat your question?
15 Q. And so therefore you must agree with me that they were not
16 prisoners who had been captured in fighting with the JNA?
17 A. The JNA didn't fight that morning at all, nor did the 4th
18 Detachment engage in combat on that morning.
19 Q. Did Mr. Zaric ever explain to you why the JNA was taking these men
20 into its custody?
21 MR. LAZAREVIC: I object to this.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The JNA didn't --
23 MR. LAZAREVIC: He just said JNA never arrested anyone and now the
24 question was did Mr. Zaric explain why the JNA was make taking these men
25 into custody?
1 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll provide the foundation. I'll go on and do
3 Q. The men were transferred from Brcko, sorry, from Bosanski Samac,
4 to Brcko, and it was Mr. Zaric and the JNA that brought about the
5 transfer, correct?
6 A. The conditions in which these imprisoned Muslims were living were
7 impossible. There were murders, beatings.
8 Q. No, sorry, Mr. Topcagic, but we must move on. I know all about
9 the bad conditions. It's a really simple question, okay? It was
10 Mr. Zaric and the JNA that carried out the transfer from Bosanski Samac to
11 Brcko, that is plain as day, correct?
12 A. They wanted to help these people and they did that, yes.
13 Q. I'm not asking you about their motives, I'm just asking you a very
14 simple question. It was the JNA, officers of the JNA, who brought about
15 the transfer from Bosanski Samac to Brcko, wasn't it? It was a fellow
16 called Commander Nikolic and Momcilo Petrovic and Mr. Zaric himself, of
18 A. Yes. They organised the transfer.
19 Q. Fine. And then when they arrived at Brcko, they were put into a
20 JNA garrison, into a JNA prison?
21 A. They weren't in prison. They were in rooms used by the army
22 before. It was not a prison. And the conditions were normal. They had
23 water, toilets, beds, everything.
24 Q. But they couldn't leave, could they? They couldn't go home, take
25 a walk down the street could they? They were in custody and you know
1 that, don't you?
2 A. Yes, yes. They were detained, but in far better conditions.
3 Q. Fine.
4 A. And in greater security n Brcko, in comparison with Samac. Nobody
5 beat them, mistreated them, they had everything that they were supposed to
7 Q. I hear what you say, thank you. So can you tell the Trial Chamber
8 why it is that the JNA took these men into its custody?
9 A. They managed to get these people out of the TO, which was a place
10 of death, of sexual assault, a dungeon, a black dungeon.
11 Q. Mr. Topcagic, I understand and I hear what you've got to say. I
12 understand that you're trying to convey the meaning that this was a
13 humanitarian gesture conducted by Mr. Zaric [Realtime transcript read in
14 error "Czar"] and his associates. I understand that. And if I want to
15 ask you about that, I'll ask you about that. Okay? But I'm not asking
16 you about that. Please, listen to the question, we will finish this
17 quickly, okay?
18 All I'm asking you is this: These men were not captured in JNA --
19 in fighting with the JNA. These men were prisoners of the Serbian police
20 and the paramilitaries. Yet they were placed in the custody of the JNA.
21 Now, do you know why the JNA took custody of these men?
22 A. For humane reasons.
23 Q. I see.
24 MR. LAZAREVIC: May we have just one small correction for the
25 transcript? Again, this appeared for the second time, on page 47, line
1 10, when referring to Mr. Zaric it says Mr. Czar, so just that small
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. It will be corrected.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, I'm grateful to Mr. Lazarevic for that.
5 MR. LAZAREVIC: And maybe I'll just like to ask what will be the
6 time limit for the cross-examination because we had allotted two and a
7 half hours and now it's been more than two hours and 50 minutes.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you for reminding me actually because the
9 cross-examination started yesterday.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: I know that. Your Honours, according to my case
11 manager who is watching I'm just past the end of my allotted time. I
12 really only got two areas left. I think I could probably wrap it up in
13 about 15 minutes, if you allow me. There is just two topics really.
14 Might I say that I've already skipped a lot of what I had intended. Just
15 two areas.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, because two and a half hours was sufficient
17 Mr. Di Fazio.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: I appreciate that.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: All right. No more than 15 minutes.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, I appreciate it. Thank you.
21 Q. Just one other, two other topics, first of all at Brcko, you -- at
22 Brcko, you spoke to Osman Jasarevic, didn't you?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. You proposed to him that he join the 4th Detachment?
25 A. He asked me for assistance and I said to him, because we were
1 related, I said, "Osman, I can only help you if you -- when you join the
2 4th Detachment. What matters is that you get out of here. And then we'll
3 find a solution and see what we can do further."
4 Q. You were being honest with him? Just answer me yes or no.
5 A. Yes, very honest.
6 Q. So tell the Trial Chamber how it is, and why it is, that Osman
7 Jasarevic could leave the custody of the JNA if he joined the 4th
9 A. Well, it was a very small possibility. Perhaps in that way, I
10 could get him out of prison. Nobody imposed those conditions on them.
11 But through some people, I could perhaps ask for this to be settled.
12 Maybe he wouldn't even have taken up a weapon, although he's related to me
13 I have to say he was one of the most extreme Muslims in Samac. He was an
15 Q. It was more than -- your position is, isn't it, that it was more
16 than a small chance? Isn't your position that you were sure that if you
17 did so, he would be released from detention?
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lazarevic?
19 MR. LAZAREVIC: I believe that we have the answer to this he said,
20 the witness, on page 49, line 5, he said yes, well it was a very small
21 possibility and now the Prosecution is trying to put him that it was more
22 than a small chance. This is not what the witness stated.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: All right, perhaps the way my question was framed
24 didn't come across -- my meaning didn't come across.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, and also, if the Prosecution wants to challenge
1 the witness, they can do so.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
3 Q. Isn't it the case, Mr. Topcagic, that your position is that you
4 told him that you could help him if he joined the 4th Detachment and that
5 you were sure that if he did so, he would be released from detention?
6 A. I said to him that he should say he was going to join the 4th
7 Detachment and whether he would actually take up a rifle or not we would
8 see that later but that's what I said to him, that we could try to solve
9 the problem in that way.
10 Q. Have you ever informed anyone, when talking of this topic, that
11 you were sure that he could be released from detention if he joined the
12 4th Detachment?
13 A. Well, I said that to him, although I myself wasn't sure of that.
14 Q. Have you told anyone else in recent times, in discussing this
15 topic of Jasarevic, that you said to Mr. Jasarevic that you were sure that
16 if he joined the 4th Detachment, he would be released from detention?
17 A. I think you've asked me this three or four times and I always gave
18 you the same answer.
19 Q. All right. We'll move on.
20 What made you think that there was some chance that he would be
21 released if he joined the 4th Detachment?
22 A. Sir, I have to be quite sincere now. I helped his whole family,
23 his mother, his three sisters, his cousins, his mother and his sister
24 asked me to help him. His brother was also in prison. His mother and his
25 sister begged me to help him if I could, in any way, and I looked for a
1 way to help him, and this whole family left for Serbia. They stayed with
2 me for a month [as interpreted], and from there they went on to Germany.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Topcagic. And I'm sure that the Prosecution agrees
4 with you that he was --
5 MR. LAZAREVIC: I apologise, one clarification for the
6 transcript. This is not actually what the witness said they stay with me
7 for a month, because what he actually said is they stayed with my family
8 for a time because he wasn't obviously in Serbia.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. Of course, I'm sure Mr. Lazarevic is
10 correct and I accept what he says.
11 Q. Mr. Topcagic, all I'm asking you is this: Not about how the
12 Jasarevic family felt, I think we all know. What I'm asking you is this:
13 What made you think that there was some chance that he would be released
14 if he joined the 4th Detachment? How did you think it might work? How
15 did you think that might spring him from jail or from custody?
16 A. I was looking for any way out, for any chance to get him out. I
17 wasn't sure it would succeed. I didn't discuss it with anyone. I didn't
18 consult anyone. I simply wanted to make the situation easier for him. I
19 wanted to try to help him.
20 Q. All right. On this occasion at Brcko, was Colonel Nikolic
21 present? Colonel Nikolic of the 17th Tactical Group?
22 A. I don't remember Nikolic being there, because his headquarters was
23 in Pelagicevo.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 A. I didn't see him.
1 Q. Thank you. Just answer yes or no and we'll finish quickly. Do
2 you know if there was a gentleman named Lazo Trojan who was present?
3 A. Yes, yes. Lazo and I arrived at Brcko together.
4 Q. Okay. When you spoke to Jasarevic, was that in an interview room
5 in which you, Mr. Zaric and Trojan and Colonel Nikolic were present?
6 MR. LAZAREVIC: I object.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No one was present.
8 MR. LAZAREVIC: The witness has just said that Mr. Nikolic wasn't
10 MR. DI FAZIO: Fair enough, okay.
11 Q. Were you in a room when all of those people except for Mr. Nikolic
12 was present?
13 A. No, I wasn't. I didn't see Simo Zaric until he set out for Brcko,
14 so I didn't see Simo Zaric or his driver. It was Lazar Stanisic called
15 Ziga and I, and Jasarevic happened to be outside with a policeman, I don't
16 know why, whether he had gone to bring some water or something but I saw
18 Q. Now, Mr. Topcagic, just please if you can answer me yes or no to
19 the following questions. Were you present at the exchange in Sid in early
20 July, 1992? Yes or no?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Okay. You were held there for about two days, held up for about
23 two days because of some problem, so you arrived on the 4th, the exchange
24 happened on the 5th, correct, yes or no?
25 A. I don't remember the exact date.
1 Q. Okay. But over two days --
2 A. I know we spent the night there.
3 Q. All right. Thanks. During that time, Zaric, Mr. Zaric was
4 present and Mr. Miroslav Tadic were present, correct, yes or no?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. The man -- one of the people organising the exchange was
7 Mr. Tadic, correct? Yes or no.
8 A. Velimir Maslic and Svetozar Vasovic worked on the exchanges. As
9 far as I know, the decisions were all made by Stiv, as to who could be
11 Q. Oh, is that Todorovic?
12 A. Yes, Stevan Todorovic.
13 Q. Okay, so he -- correct, yes or no, tell me, Todorovic was the man
14 mainly responsible for picking who was going on exchanges and who wasn't?
15 A. It was he who decided who would be exchanged and who would remain.
16 Q. Okay. Thanks for that. Now, you and Mr. Zaric and Mr. Tadic all
17 saw the people being exchanged on the 5th, the day that they actually went
18 across the line?
19 A. Well, as I said, I can't remember the date but I did see that
21 Q. Would you agree that the people who were being exchanged out of
22 Bosanski Samac, that is the people who were leaving Bosanski Samac to
23 cross the Croatian lines into Croatian-held territory, had no choice but
24 to leave Samac? In other words, it wasn't voluntary?
25 A. They volunteered at the Red Cross, in terms of who wanted to go
1 and be exchanged, and when people would come to the line, then they would
2 be asked, over there, the line, do you want to go back? Or do you want to
3 go across? If you want to go back, you can return to Bosanski Samac
5 Q. So you're saying they had a choice?
6 A. They did have a choice. And there were cases of people going
8 Q. Thank you. And in your view, would you describe what you saw on
9 the 5th of July as a great human tragedy, this exchange?
10 A. I think there were two buses. Well, there were men, women,
12 Q. Okay. Just casting your mind back, thinking about the whole event
13 in its entirety, what you saw, not a detailed analysis, just thinking back
14 about it, in your view, is what you saw a great -- would you describe it
15 as a great human tragedy?
16 A. For me, that was a tragedy. Everybody who has to leave their
18 Q. Thank you.
19 A. For several reasons why these people left their homes. Would you
20 let me finish? Would you let me finish what I started to say.
21 Q. I'm sorry, Defence counsel will clarify anything that needs to be
22 clarified, and they will have that opportunity after I finish?
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, the extra time is over, Mr. Di Fazio.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please I've just got --
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please I've got about six or seven
2 more questions on another topic that I really need to put. It's a matter
3 of minutes, not even.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Di Fazio, it will be impossible to control the
5 time because you should have timed yourself when you were preparing your
7 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. I realise that, if Your Honours please. I
8 just seek this indulgence on this occasion.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Ten minutes.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you and I probably won't even need that, if
12 Your Honours please.
13 Q. I just want to move now to a completely different topic,
14 Mr. Topcagic. Have you ever contacted any witnesses in this case, Defence
15 or Prosecution, in relation to their proposed testimony?
16 A. Could you repeat that question? I just want to ask you one more
17 thing. When I am responding, please don't interrupt me. And repeat this
19 Q. Thank you. Rest assured, Defence counsel will clarify anything
20 that I left obscure. Now, my question is: Have you ever contacted any
21 witnesses in this case, Defence or Prosecution, in relation to their
22 proposed testimony?
23 A. I don't understand this question. Could you put it a bit slower?
24 I don't know which witnesses this refers to. Does it refer to witnesses
25 who are testifying against Mr. Zaric, Blagoje Simic and Miroslav Tadic?
1 Or --
2 Q. That's right. It refers to all -- any witnesses for any defendant
3 or any Prosecution witnesses. Have you ever contacted any witnesses of
4 whatever description, witnesses for this case, in relation to their
5 proposed testimony?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Who?
8 A. After the testimony of Salkic, Ibrahim Salkic, nicknamed Ibela.
9 Q. What was the contact?
10 A. He came to my home, with his wife, with his daughter, and he
11 started crying, and he said, Fadil, I had to lie over there in court,
12 because the AID service of Bosnia-Herzegovina worked on me. I didn't even
13 want him to enter my house because I knew of the lies that he had told
14 here in this courtroom. I went with him, with him, to a joint friend and
15 that is where we continued this conversation. When we talked about all of
16 this, he took the telephone and he even called up this man who works in
17 this service, the AID, he wanted me to talk to him, and I refused. Until
18 the present day, he's been coming to my home and we are good pals.
19 Another encounter that I had with a witness was with [redacted]is
20 his nickname. Now, what's his name? His nickname is [redacted].
21 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, that I think Mr. Lazarevic
22 is warning us that these -- this portion of evidence should be redacted,
23 and kept out of the transcript because these are protected witnesses so
24 I'd ask that that immediately be done.
25 MR. LAZAREVIC: Only the second one.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, only the second one, yes.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I proceed?
5 MR. DI FAZIO:
6 Q. Yes, please.
7 A. Before the testimony of [redacted], I don't know his --
8 Q. Just hold it there. If Your Honours please it might be wise if we
9 move into closed session at this point?
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we go into private session?
11 [Private session]
13 Page 18417 – redacted – private session
13 Page 18418 – redacted – private session
9 [Open session]
10 MR. DI FAZIO:
11 Q. When you say that he resorted to blatant lies?
12 THE REGISTRAR: We are now no open session.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Sorry.
14 Q. When you say he resorted to blatant lies you're talking about
15 blatant lies told her in this Chamber, to this Court.
16 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise Your Honour and to my friend in
17 order to avoid misunderstanding because we were partly in private session
18 and now we are in open, when you said he, could you make a reference of
19 who you are thinking? Please.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Oh, yes, okay. I'll do that.
21 Q. When you say that Alija Fitozovic resorted to blatant lies, you're
22 talking about blatant lies told here in this Court, in this Tribunal,
23 aren't you?
24 A. I know what he said.
25 Q. Did you follow the testimony of the witnesses in this case?
1 A. Sometimes.
2 Q. How?
3 A. Well, sometimes it would be on television, and also it would be on
4 the BH programme.
5 Q. Thank you. When this trial started, well over a year and a half
6 ago, you expected to be a witness in this case, didn't you?
7 A. I didn't expect it.
8 Q. When did you first find out that you might be a witness in the
10 A. Well, I wished to be a witness, that's what I wished, because when
11 I heard all the things that were being said and what was going on, I
12 wanted to come here and to look everyone straight in the eye and to say
13 what I had to say. Especially I wanted to face some of my Muslims because
14 I am ashamed of some of them.
15 Q. I see. And did you then volunteer your services as a witness?
16 A. I did.
17 Q. And when, having done that, did it become clear to you that you
18 would be indeed a witness in this case?
19 A. Well, I didn't know until a few days ago, a few days before I came
20 here. I gave a statement but I didn't know that I would be a witness. I
21 gave a statement that I would respond to any summons by this Court. This
22 was in December, I think. I can't remember exactly, when your people
23 came, when your investigators came. I gave my word that I would appear in
24 court and I'm glad that I came.
25 Q. Thanks, and since December at least have you been following the
2 A. Well, I was interested in this, all the time. Not only from our
3 parts. I was also interested in what's going on in Croatia.
4 Q. Okay. Now, have you ever offered any witnesses any reward or
5 advantage, financial or otherwise, in order for them to testify or in
6 order for them not to testify?
7 A. I don't have any financial resources for my own living. I don't
8 work. My wife doesn't work. I don't have any money. I live in my
9 mother's house. I have my own house which I never managed to finish. I
10 started building it before the war.
11 Q. Okay. So I take it your answer is no, you've never made such
13 A. I'm offering something for the truth.
14 Q. Okay. Thank you.
15 A. I would not offer --
16 Q. Okay. I understand your position, Mr. Topcagic. You're saying
17 no, no, you've never done it and you would never do it. I understand your
18 position. Now I just want to ask you this: Are you aware of any Defence
19 witnesses being offered payment or given payment in addition to the sort
20 of -- the legitimate expenses that are paid by the Tribunal to witnesses?
21 A. I don't know about that. I don't believe that. Certainly, at
22 least as far as our lawyers are concerned, at least what I know.
23 Q. Have you ever told or informed any Defence witnesses that when
24 they come to the Tribunal, they should blame everything on Stevan
1 A. I never said that to anyone, but I wish -- I wish you'd give me
2 sometime, a bit of time, if you can, so that I could say something,
3 because many people here did not say what they were supposed to say, as
4 far as he's concerned. Could you please allow me to say that?
5 Q. Thank you, if Your Honours please I have no further questions.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic? You want to ask some questions?
7 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
8 Cross-examined by Mr. Pantelic:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Topcagic, good afternoon. I am Igor
10 Pantelic, attorney at law, Defence counsel for Mr. Blagoje Simic. Since
11 the Prosecutor put some questions to you during the cross-examination,
12 some questions that have to do with my client and your answers also had to
13 did with my client at last partly so I'm going to put a few questions to
14 you by way of clarification, nothing more than that. A short while ago,
15 you were saying to the Prosecutor things about some witnesses who had
16 certain experiences and who told you about certain things and you
17 mentioned the AID service. Is this a news agency? Is this a cultural and
18 arts society? What is this, for the sake of the transcript. Let's know
19 what it is.
20 A. It is a secret intelligence service of the SDA and Alija
22 Q. Thank you. In response to the Prosecutor's questions, that had to
23 do with that first meeting where this alleged Crisis Staff was, you
24 mentioned my client, Dr. Blagoje Simic, in the context of him having known
25 you well and you having known him well. Please tell me, what is the
1 attitude of Blagoje Simic to you? Is it an attitude of respect, or is his
2 manner to you very cold? Could you just explain this for the Trial
4 A. As far as the Trial Chamber -- as far as Blagoje Simic is
5 concerned, I have to say that he was correct to me and I have to tell you
6 about one more thing. He probably remembers this particular event. When
7 I came to complain about Stevan Todorovic, that's when --
8 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not understand what was
9 falling on Samac.
10 A. Dr. Simic I'm sure you remember this, you offered me a drink. You
11 listened to me, because I had terrible problems with Stevan Todorovic.
12 You said to me quite literally and that's the way I can put it, "Fadil,
13 avoid him. He's out of control. I can't handle him any more either. He
14 has strong people in Serbia. Quite simply stay out of his way."
15 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, could we know the timing of this?
16 Because the interpreter didn't catch part of it on line 2 and 3, the
17 interpreter mentions that but also it would be good I think to know when
18 the witness went to see Dr. Simic.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think it was the end of 1992.
20 MR. PANTELIC:
21 Q. My colleague is telling me, what was this that was falling on
22 Samac? You said something.
23 A. It was a multiple rocket launcher firing from Croatia, that's what
24 I meant by an abbreviation. It depends but it can fire 32 rockets, 16
25 rockets, 8 rockets, at the same time, as many as they want to.
1 Q. Please, during this first meeting of the Crisis Staff, when you
2 came there, how would you explain this situation to the Trial Chamber? On
3 the basis of your personal experience. You were talking about Crni and
4 Stiv. At that moment, when you were present, could anybody influence them
5 in any way? How would you describe this to the Trial Chamber? Were they
6 under somebody's control or what was the situation?
7 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I object to this. I mean,
8 the evidence of the witness is that he turned up and that there was simply
9 discussion. How this particular witness could know who was influencing
10 whom, since he didn't even know the reason he was there and had not -- or
11 he just couldn't tell who was -- who was influencing whom.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: No, Mr. Di Fazio, he was there for quite sometime so
13 for the period he was present he made observations so he can answer.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: All right.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Stiv, Stevan Todorovic, was the man
16 who was doing most of the talking.
17 MR. PANTELIC:
18 Q. Mr. Topcagic was this an official meeting or were there many more
19 people there, how would you describe this? What is your personal
20 knowledge in this regard?
21 A. I mentioned the people who I could remember as being there. I
22 don't even know whether all of them were members of the Crisis Staff. I
23 just know that Miroslav Tadic wasn't then. That's what I know for sure.
24 Q. All right.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have now have Exhibit D55/1, please? Or
1 maybe -- it's time for our break. Maybe, Your Honour, we could deal with
2 this exhibit after the break.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, we will take our break.
4 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
5 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
6 --- On resuming at 12.53 p.m.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic?
8 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, thank you. Thank you, Your Honours. Could we
9 have please, Ms. Registrar, D55/1 please?
10 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Topcagic, do you see the name of Dragan
11 Djordjevic, known as Crni, on this list?
12 A. No, I don't.
13 Q. Do you see the name of Stevan Todorovic?
14 A. No, I don't.
15 Q. Do you see the name of Milan Milicic?
16 A. No, I don't.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, just before the document goes away, do
19 you see your own name on this payroll list of the Crisis Staff for May,
20 1992, dated 17th of June, 1992?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know who drew up this list
22 but I never received any money. It says here, I don't know, it's written
23 in hand, added on later.
24 JUDGE WILLIAMS: But whose signature is that? Do you recognise
25 the signature, bottom right-hand corner?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No I don't.
2 JUDGE WILLIAMS: There is a name there, in typing is there not?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Oh, here, oh, down here Mitar
4 Mitrovic, is that it?
5 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay, thank you very much.
6 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Topcagic, in your 92 bis statement, in paragraph 39, on page
8 10, it says as follows: "I brought him to Crkvina straight to the
9 cultural club and helped him go in." Have you found it, Mr. Topcagic, 39?
10 A. 39, yes.
11 Q. But on page 10?
12 A. This is page 9.
13 Q. Please turn to page 10. It's the same paragraph and it
14 continues. And you see this sentence which begins, "There was a room
15 there in which there were some medicines, some bandages and the first aid
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You abide by the statement you signed; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, we've finished with this topic,
21 Mr. Topcagic. We'll move on now. Tell me, please, since you were in
22 Samac during the war, in connection with the role and behaviour of Blagoje
23 Simic, do you have any personal knowledge of him discriminating against
24 the non-Serb population of Samac?
25 A. I have never seen anything like that.
1 MR. PANTELIC: I have no further questions, thank you,
2 Mr. Topcagic.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Krgovic?
4 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have a few questions
5 in connection with the responses this witness made to the Prosecutor.
6 Cross-examined by Mr. Krgovic:
7 Q. Good day, my name is Dragan Krgovic on behalf of Mr. Tadic I will
8 put some questions to you on his behalf. Answering to questions put to
9 you by the Prosecutor, you mentioned the shooting at the house of Miroslav
10 Tadic in the early morning hours of the 17th of April. Do you remember
12 A. Yes, I did mention that, and I abide by that. Shots were fired in
13 the morning on his house from the stadium.
14 Q. Are you aware that a little later, shots were also fired at
15 Miroslav Tadic's house by masked men?
16 A. Yes. Masked men shot at the balcony of his house.
17 Q. When you say masked men, were these the special purpose unit
18 members from Serbia?
19 A. Yes, the specials from Serbia.
20 Q. So we are speaking of two instances of shooting at his house,
21 early in the morning when it was the Muslims who fired shots?
22 A. Yes. And the other one a little later when it was the sareni who
23 fired shots.
24 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Topcagic, I have no
25 further questions for this witness.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pisarevic?
2 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have no additional
3 questions for Mr. Topcagic.
4 Questioned by the Court:
5 JUDGE WILLIAMS: [Microphone not activated] I just have a few
6 questions for you, Mr. Topcagic. One thing in your statement, in
7 paragraph 11 --
8 Sorry, my microphone wasn't on, I apologise. I just have a few
9 questions for you, Mr. Topcagic. The first is in your statement in
10 paragraph 11 the first few words, you say the 4th Detachment never existed
11 officially. And I would just like to know what you meant by that.
12 A. There is a typing error here. It never lined up officially.
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Meaning? It never lined up officially? What
14 does that mean? Do you think you could explain?
15 A. Never in Samac did this 4th Detachment line up in a public place
16 when everyone gathers together and stands in a line with their rifles, I
17 don't know how to explain this.
18 MR. LAZAREVIC: Maybe I can assist, Your Honour, in our language,
19 there are words "postojati" meaning "existing," and "postrojiti" meaning
20 "lining up." They are very similar and perhaps this is what the
21 witness -- line up.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, might I respectfully
23 suggest that Your Honour invite the witness to read out the transcript of
24 paragraph 11? I've looked at the matter myself and it may assist Your
25 Honour's inquiry to have it read out. If I may respectfully suggest that,
1 to assist Your Honour's line of questioning.
2 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. Please, Mr. Topcagic, if you could read
3 paragraph 11 out, it's a fairly short paragraph. Oh, yes, and please if
4 you could read it slowly.
5 A. I will read it slowly but with this correction, because I am sure
6 that this, what it says here existed, I'm sure that's not what was meant
7 but lined up.
8 "The 4th Detachment never officially lined up but I know
9 that in it there were companies, platoons and squads. I know that the
10 company squad and platoon leaders were not only Serbs but also Muslims and
11 Croats. I was the leader of the reconnaissance squad. In my squad there
12 were Serbs, Croats and Muslims. The squad numbered 10 men in peace time,
13 or rather in peace time it had no tasks. The reconnaissance squad was
14 under the direct command of the commander, Radovan Antic."
15 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you for doing that.
16 My second question concerns what you were asked yesterday
17 concerning the collection of weapons by the 4th Detachment and in fact I
18 believe LiveNote yesterday it was page 65, line 17, you answered that
19 Mr. Miroslav Tadic and Mr. Simo Zaric were not present at the time when
20 you were with the other members of the 4th Detachment at the house of Esad
21 Dagovic. I'm sure you recall that from yesterday.
22 A. At Sabrija Dagovic's house, and Sulejman Dagovic's house and the
23 house of Jusuf Arnautovic, I guarantee that neither Miroslav Tadic nor
24 Simo Zaric were there.
25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: So my -- that was just setting my question, just
1 to remind you of what you said yesterday. So my question to you is:
2 You've said they were not there at -- in the yard or the houses of those
3 three families but were they in the vicinity? Were they across the
4 street? Were they perhaps on the corner of Edvard Kardelja Street and
5 Pero Bosic Street?
6 A. Where we were at that time, they were not there, nor did I see
7 them. They might have been on another part of the street where I couldn't
8 see them, but at that point in time, they were not there at all. I assert
9 that and I guarantee it.
10 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
11 Third question is: Do you know why Dr. Blagoje Simic was in a
12 room with medical equipment, bandages and so on in Crkvina rather than
13 being in Bosanski Samac? Do you know why there was a small medical
14 facility already set up in Crkvina at the time that you took the wounded
15 man, Debeli, by car there? If you know. If you don't know, just say you
16 don't know.
17 A. Well, what I saw was the usual first aid kit that every nurse
18 has. As for Mr. Blagoje Simic's presence there, I don't know what his job
19 was there at that moment or his function.
20 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you very much. That's all from me.
21 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Mr. Topcagic, I have a couple of questions.
22 Yesterday you told us that the group collecting weapons on the 18th of
23 April consisted of members of the 4th Detachment only. That's correct?
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 JUDGE LINDHOLM: And the one where you was a member or -- yes, a
1 member of that group, yes. There was -- and you told us yesterday also
2 that there was another group also collecting weapons. You spoke about two
3 groups. Do you by chance remember the composition of that other group?
4 A. I don't remember.
5 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Do you know a person by name Naser Sejdic?
6 A. Yes. I know him personally.
7 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Was he taking part in the collection of weapons?
8 A. I guarantee that he didn't.
9 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Neither in your group or in the other group?
10 A. No. He was a policeman in the Samac police station under Stevan
12 JUDGE LINDHOLM: On the 19th, the following day, did you
13 participate in the collecting of weapons about which you told us
15 A. On the 19th, a lot of people brought their weapons on their own
16 initiative, or asked me to come to their houses to take the weapons so
17 that it would not become known that they had had them, because before
18 that, I could not have dreamed that there were so many illegal weapons
19 that the Muslims had them.
20 JUDGE LINDHOLM: No further questions. Thank you so much.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you, Mr. Topcagic for giving evidence. We are
22 now finished. You may leave the courtroom.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too.
24 [The witness withdrew]
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Please make your solemn declaration.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
3 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
4 WITNESS: PETAR KARLOVIC
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Please sit down.
7 Yes, Mr. Lazarevic?
8 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes, Your Honour, maybe I should first give the
9 redacted version with the assistance of Mr. Usher, of the witness's
10 statement. According to the ruling of the Trial Chamber from March 11,
11 page 16479, there is no examination-in-chief of the witness. There is
12 only -- well, first that was one hour allowed for cross-examination of the
13 Prosecution but after that, the Prosecution actually switched the time for
14 witness -- another witness that was allotted one hour and they have
15 actually 20 minutes.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
17 MR. LAZAREVIC: Maybe I could just introduce the witness, give his
18 name and --
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
20 Examined by Mr. Lazarevic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Karlovic?
22 A. Good afternoon.
23 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Karlovic, and could you please tell us for the
24 transcript what your name and surname is?
25 A. My name is Petar Karlovic and my nickname is Kico.
1 Q. Thank you very much.
2 A. Thank you, too.
3 Q. Sir, your statement has been admitted into evidence and it is the
4 ruling of the Trial Chamber that as such, along with certain amendments or
5 rather redacting certain paragraphs, should become part of the evidence in
6 this case. So I am not going to lead you through any kind of examination.
7 So you will just be examined by the Prosecutor in relation to what
8 happened on the 16th and 17th of April, until the end of the 17th
9 of end in accordance with the decision of the Trial Chamber. Did you
10 understand that?
11 A. I have understood it fully.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, thank you, Mr. Lazarevic.
13 MR. WEINER: On a point of information or just an issue, this
14 witness has barely given any information on the 16th and 17th. He was
15 home on the 16th. And the 17th he goes off to the SIT factory and then
16 goes to the banks of the river. There are several issues I'd like to
17 raise with him. We only have 20 minutes relating to other days.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, you can cross-examine him according to the
19 areas you wish to.
20 MR. WEINER: Okay. Thank you.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Provided you stick to your time.
22 MR. WEINER: 20 minutes.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
24 MR. WEINER: Thank you very much.
25 Cross-examined by Mr. Weiner:
1 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Karlovic.
2 A. Good afternoon.
3 Q. My name is Phillip Weiner and I'm going to be asking you some
4 questions this afternoon for a very short period concerning the statement
5 which you provided to this Court. Okay? Do you understand that?
6 A. I have fully understood you.
7 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, sir, you indicated in your statement, in
8 your 92 bis statement that you lived in a part of town called Donji
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And sir, now I'd like to go back to the early morning hours of the
12 17th of April in 1992 and you stated that about 2.00, 3.00 in the morning,
13 you heard some shooting, correct?
14 A. That is correct.
15 Q. And that some Serbian paramilitaries or volunteers came to your
16 home, they asked who you were, you showed them your identification and
17 that you were a 4th Detachment member, correct?
18 A. That is correct.
19 Q. And they told you to stay home, you remained in the house, and
20 eventually, or after a short while, the firing stopped or the sound of the
21 firing stops, and it's quiet.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Now, in the morning hours, you go outside and you see your
24 neighbours and you're talking to them, early morning. You didn't indicate
25 the time but I'm assuming around day break, maybe about 6, 7, 8.00, you
1 see your neighbours you're talking to them, it's quiet outside, you're
2 trying to figure out what is happening, what had occurred during the
4 A. That's exactly the way it was. However I would like to say a few
5 words, if possible. That morning, when these paramilitary formations
6 arrived in my part of town, in my street, and sometime around 3.00
7 exactly, shooting was heard, and I got up and I immediately told my family
8 members that something bad was going on. From the living-room, I went to
9 the sitting room and I saw these people who were in uniform, in
10 many-colour uniforms, they had some kind of caps, black caps, and hats.
11 They were -- they all -- they all had some kind of cream on too. So I
12 could not see anyone properly. I immediately told my son, who was lying
13 in his bedroom, I asked him to come to get up, to see these people and see
14 if he can recognise any of them. He got up, he looked and he said, "Dad,
15 it's not only one man, these are several people who are there, and they
16 are towards the Sava River on the railroad." And this railroad was used
17 for bringing goods to our port, Prestenice.
18 And after a while, these people stayed there for a while, I mean,
19 and it is only natural that they returned to this street, they came to my
20 house, they followed a bullet, they walked up to my door, I felt this. I
21 felt this in the hall of my apartment and at that moment one of them hit
22 my door with a rifle butt. I automatically opened the door. I put my
23 right-hand out and I said that I was surrendering. He told me to go out.
24 I did go out.
25 And then he asked me the following: "Sir, who are you?" I kept
1 silent for a while and then I said that I was a Croat. He used a vulgar
2 expression, he said that he cursed my Croat mother, and he assaulted me
3 but I moved back a step or two. I locked the door but my wife was more
4 aware of what was going on than me. She said open the door because you
5 don't know what can happen. I did, and at that moment my neighbour,
6 Ziko Mlinarevic and Simo also a neighbour of mine, they were all watching
7 this through their doors and their doors were facing my door and they
8 opened the door and they said do not touch him, he is our man. And it is
9 only then that they started reacting. They asked me whether I had any
10 weapons, and who I got them from. I said that I got the weapon from the
11 Yugoslav People's Army and that I'm a member of the 4th Detachment. And I
12 showed them certificates and they told me to go into my house and not to
13 go out for 24 hours. However --
14 Q. Okay. You have a lot of detail in your statement. I'm just
15 trying to touch upon certain areas of your statement. You don't have to
16 repeat everything that's in your statement, sir. The question I have is:
17 Once again, it's quiet in the morning, you talk to your neighbours, is
18 that about 7, 8.00 in the morning and you're all trying to figure out
19 what's happening?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. About 10.00 in the morning, a fewer hours later I assume it's
22 still quiet and you're at home and one of the neighbours comes by with
23 a report -- with a notice that everyone is to report to the SIT building
24 to the 4th Detachment? Isn't that correct?
25 A. Well, this is the way it was. It is correct that we received
1 information, that we were supposed to report at a particular place. But
2 on that day, on the 17th, we were not in that kind of situation. How
3 should I put this? We were not brave enough. We were not brave enough to
4 leave, to travel to the SIT, because in town, there was still a lot of
5 commotion. That was caused by these people who had come to our town. And
6 on that day I and my friends did not go but we went on the 18th. And when
7 we came to the SIT there was no one at the SIT so then we went to the
8 command which had been transferred to sljivak, to the house of Jovo, now
9 Jovo Dusanovic, yes, when I got there, I found a great many of my friends
10 and comrades there and --
11 Q. Okay before we get to that, let's take it a step at a time. So
12 you didn't go out on the 17th but in Donja Mahala it was --
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. It was still quiet?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. However, inside the town you had those Serb volunteers in the
17 camouflage uniforms, the one that had come to your house that were in the
18 town part that were scaring people, correct, isn't that?
19 A. That is correct.
20 Q. So there was no battling going on street to street in Donja Mahala
21 that morning, it was quiet in Donja Mahala on the 17th?
22 A. There was no battling.
23 Q. Thank you. Now, let's move on to another portion of your
24 statement. Now, you indicated that in May, there was a large -- I'm
25 sorry, I just want to ask you go this first. In May of 1992, were you
1 aware that a large number of Serbs had been detained or held in Odzak?
2 A. A large number of Serbs, it was said correctly over radio and
3 television that they were detained in Odzak about 3700 people, I heard
4 that personally with my very own ears from Belgrade television.
5 Q. And then you also heard over radio Samac, which upset you, that
6 approximately 3700 were killed at the stadium in Odzak, and you were
7 worried about that, isn't that correct?
8 A. That is correct, too. And may I just make another contribution in
9 that respect? May I add something?
10 Q. Just briefly, because we have very little time, sir.
11 A. When I heard that on that day, I was totally taken aback,
12 disappointed, as a man who did not want all of these things to happen, and
13 on that day, Mr. Simo Zaric came to the command at the memorial centre. I
14 met him there.
15 Q. I'm going to ask you that very quickly so we can move through
16 that. You asked Simo about the 3700 Serbs being killed and he told you
17 not to worry, that it's propaganda, isn't that correct? Correct?
18 A. That is correct. And I wouldn't make any further comments in this
20 Q. And you also know that there was no 3700 people killed in Odzak,
21 in fact a lot of those people came to Samac as refugees, isn't that
23 A. That's correct too.
24 Q. Now, let's move on a little bit later that month, just shortly
25 after these Serbs get arrested or held in Odzak, a large number of Croats
1 are then arrested or held at the high school. You said approximately 150
2 or so.
3 A. Since I was close to the secondary school and the elementary
4 school at the memorial centre Mitar Trifunovic, Uco, at the command I was
5 providing security for the facility and I was watching this. People were
6 indeed being brought in all the time. That's true. And it was my
7 assessment that it was about 150 or 200 people that were moving, how
8 should I put this now, towards this prison or detention centre, yes,
9 detention would be a better word.
10 Q. Okay. And this high school which became a prison or detention
11 centre was holding approximately 200 Croats?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And you also know and you've indicated that entire families were
14 transferred to Zasavica at the same time. That's what you had heard,
15 entire families were also being transferred to Zasavica?
16 A. I heard that. I didn't see it, but I heard that families from the
17 town and most probably from the villages too were taken to the camp in
18 Zasavica where they stayed for a while, and there were a lot of refugees
19 who had fled from other places and who were there together with these
21 Q. Now, the people who were transported to Zasavica, these entire
22 families that were taken and placed, those were Croats and Muslims,
23 weren't they?
24 A. Yes, yes, yes.
25 Q. Now, the people who were being held at the high school in [as
1 said] Zasavica, did you hear at the time the word in relation to those
2 people being held was they were being isolated or it was some sort of
4 MR. LAZAREVIC: I apologise, maybe just for the -- to have a clear
5 transcript, here it says people who were being held at the high school in
6 Zasavica, this is how it say in the transcript. High school and Zasavica
7 probably because there is no high school in the village.
8 MR. WEINER: The high school and in Zasavica, those people were
9 being isolated. Did you hear that term, isolation, or isolated or being
10 isolated, that term or phrase?
11 A. I heard that word isolation.
12 Q. And sir, you knew that these people were being isolated because
13 they were Croats and Muslims?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, sir, let's move on to September, 1992. You have a discussion
16 with Simo Zaric and you talk about the madness that was going on in Samac.
17 That's your term, the madness, you wanted an end to this madness going on
18 in Samac?
19 A. Madness, madness.
20 Q. And when you refer to madness you were referring to the arrest of
21 the Muslims and Croats?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You were referring to the murder of Muslims and Croats at Crkvina?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. You were referring to the detention and isolation of Muslims and
1 Croats at various facilities in Samac?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You were referring to the mistreatment of Muslims and Croats in
4 these detention facilities?
5 A. Yes, that's what I was referring to.
6 Q. And finally you were also referring to the mass looting that was
7 going on in Samac in many homes and businesses especially those of Muslims
8 and Croats?
9 A. Not only Croats and Muslims. After 24 hours, when you went out
10 into town, there was not a single shop that was intact. Everything had
11 been looted.
12 Q. So you were referring to the mass looting too. Now, this madness
13 that you were referring to all started after April 17th, 1992?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And it began with the takeover of the town?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And it began with the establishment of a Serbian municipality
18 which was controlled by a Crisis Staff?
19 A. I think that's how it was.
20 Q. But sir, let's go to the summer, actually the spring of 1992 and
21 the summer of 1992. And let's talk about, let's get a little bit more
22 detail about the government. The civilian government. You knew that the
23 police, the Crisis Staff, or later the War Presidency, and the military,
24 during those months, the spring and summer, took no action to have Lugar
25 arrested for the Crkvina massacre?
1 MR. LAZAREVIC: Unless there is a basis for this question, whether
2 he knew or not, and then ask him --
3 MR. WEINER: Your Honour --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As for --
5 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, would you like me to respond on the
6 basis or just ask the question?
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Just continue.
8 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
9 Q. Sir, you knew that the civilian authorities, meaning the police,
10 the Crisis Staff, as well as the military, took no action to arrest Lugar
11 and those other paramilitaries for the massacre of Muslims and Croat
12 civilians at Crkvina, you were aware of that?
13 A. I was not aware of that but I heard two or three days later that
14 what had been done with these 16 people was done and they were killed by
15 Lugar but who issued the order, I can't say anything about that.
16 Q. No. My question is you new that no one took any action to arrest
17 Lugar and arrest the others for committing those crimes?
18 A. In the memorial centre, I heard that a young soldier had been
19 killed who had been in the fighting and he had been there with Lugar. So
20 Lugar was very upset by this and wanted revenge and then he went to
21 Crkvina and did what he did.
22 Q. Now, you indicated that you -- everyone in town was talking about
23 this incident, the massacre of civilians at Crkvina. However, no one ever
24 said Lugar was arrested, you knew that Lugar was walking around town and
25 that the police, the Crisis Staff and the military never took any action
1 to see that Lugar was arrested for this terrible act. No one did
2 anything, correct?
3 A. It's correct that nobody did anything but as far as I heard what
4 this man was like, believe it or not, everybody was afraid of him, the
5 military, civilians, all of us who were there, if we came close to him, we
6 would move away because we didn't want to run into such a man.
7 Q. Okay. Now, you never heard the Crisis Staff call for a day of
8 mourning or even make a public statement indicating how sad it was about
9 what had happened at Crkvina. They didn't do that either, did they? Not
10 even issue a public statement.
11 A. No. Nothing was announced in public, there was no public
12 statement, and there was no mourning.
13 Q. Okay. And you also knew that the police, the Crisis Staff, the
14 military, took no action to end the isolation of those non-Serbs that were
15 being held, other than exchanging them outside of Bosanski Samac?
16 A. There were exchanges and people were exchanged on both sides.
17 Q. But the Crisis Staff, the police, the military, did not take any
18 action to end the isolation of prisoners. You knew that?
19 A. I'm not aware of this. I don't know whether they did anything or
20 not. I only know that exchanges were carried out.
21 Q. But you did not hear of any action being taken by the police, the
22 Crisis Staff or the military to end the isolation of non-Serb civilians?
23 A. I didn't hear anything. I didn't know anything about it myself.
24 Q. And nor did you hear anything about the Crisis Staff, the police
25 or the military doing anything to end the looting in the town. That's why
1 you and Simo Zaric were discussing it in September. They didn't do
2 anything through the spring or summer of 1992. Isn't that correct?
3 A. As regards the Army of Republika Srpska and the 4th Detachment,
4 these men were on the front lines and they didn't have the time or
5 whatever to take any action. There was the police to create order or
6 disorder in the town.
7 Q. But sir you didn't hear any group doing anything to end the
8 looting, the Crisis Staff, the police, nor the army, no one took any
9 action, isn't that correct?
10 A. I don't know anything about that.
11 Q. Finally, sir, you mentioned that -- you mentioned that there was
12 an exchange process in the town. Now, you've --
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. You've known Simo Zaric for a very long time, haven't you?
15 A. I've known Simo Zaric for more than 30 years.
16 Q. Do you trust his word, sir?
17 A. I trusted everything and everything was true that I said in my
18 statements and all the people who have come here and sat at this desk to
19 say what they think about Mr. Simo Zaric, I think these are real men who
20 came here to say that he was one of the people who did not want all the
21 things that were happening.
22 Q. Okay. Now, sir, Simo Zaric gave a statement to the Office of the
23 Prosecutor on April 2nd, 1998. We refer to it as P141 which is our
24 exhibit number. And he said as part of this exchange process, the
25 non-Serbs had no choice but to leave Samac. Basically they were forced to
1 leave. Do you agree with Simo Zaric's statement? That's what he said
2 about the exchange system, the non-Serbs of Bosanski Samac had no choice
3 but to leave. Do you agree with Simo Zaric?
4 A. I do apologise. I didn't understand your question quite well.
5 Could you please repeat it?
6 Q. When being interviewed by investigators, Simo Zaric said about the
7 exchange system in Samac that the non-Serbs, basically the Muslims and the
8 Croats, had no choice but to leave?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you agree with Simo Zaric's statement that the non-Serbs had no
11 choice or were forced to leave Samac? Do you agree with Simo Zaric?
12 A. I fully agree with this statement made by Mr. Simo Zaric and I can
13 support it with arguments.
14 Q. Thank you very much. No further questions.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Any other counsel wish to ask?
16 MR. PANTELIC: I have a couple of questions to ask about the issue
17 of madness.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: You can go ahead with your questions.
19 Cross-examined by Mr. Pantelic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Karlovic, I am Mr. Pantelic, Defence counsel
21 for Mr. Blagoje Simic. I have only a few questions for you.
22 A. Go ahead.
23 Q. The Prosecutor asked about the competences of the civilian
24 authorities, the army and the police in connection with the events in
25 Samac so please tell me briefly, Mr. Karlovic, what are you by profession?
1 A. I am a machinist. I'm a highly skilled mechanic -- mechanist,
3 Q. That's a secondary education?
4 A. Yes, that's a secondary education but as I'm highly skilled, I'm a
5 little bit higher up than that.
6 Q. But of course you are not a military expert?
7 A. No.
8 Q. You're not a legal expert?
9 A. No, but I'm quite familiar with those areas.
10 Q. You're also not a police expert?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Well, how come that you're familiar with these areas?
13 A. Well, to tell you, I spent my entire childhood trying to do
14 something for the common good and I was appointed to all kinds of
15 positions in the former Yugoslavia. I was even a member of the central
16 committee of the League of Communists of Bosnia and Herzegovina and
17 vice-president of the assembly in the municipal assembly in Bosanski
19 Q. You're also a member of the Socialist Party of Republika Srpska?
20 A. I'm a member of the League of Social Democrats led by Mr. Dodik.
21 Q. In April 1992, you were a member of what party?
22 A. In 1992, I did not belong to any party, because my party at that
23 time was in the opposition.
24 Q. What party was that?
25 A. The Socialist Party.
1 Q. The Prosecutor asked you about some sort of madness.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Have you heard of the massacre of Serbs in Sijekovac in March
5 MR. WEINER: I object. It's the madness we are talking about in
6 Bosanski Samac and that's exactly what he said in his statement, Bosanski
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic?
9 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, it's related to the issue of madness.
10 I just want to clarify what is the meaning of madness for this witness,
11 nothing more.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: No, no, no, no. Mr. Pantelic, you know very well
13 you've read the statement of this witness. So you're question is not
15 MR. PANTELIC:
16 Q. The Prosecutor asked you whether it was your understanding that
17 the establishment of the Serbian Municipality of Samac and the Crisis
18 Staff led to madness in Samac. You remember the question and your answer,
19 is this correct?
20 A. Well, the madness started.
21 Q. Please answer the question. Please, we don't have much time. So
22 stick to the question.
23 A. I know that the madness started on the 16th and 17th of April.
24 Q. Please wait a little. On the basis of your personal experience
25 and knowledge, how would you describe the political events in Samac and
1 the relationship between the SDA and the HDZ against the SDS? Do you know
2 anything about this in person? Would you describe this as madness?
3 MR. WEINER: [Previous interpretation continues] ... has to
4 concern issues prior to April 17th. I only discussed from April 17th on.
5 That's outside the scope. He's trying to get into the whole history from
6 January through April of the disagreements between the HDZ, the SDA and
7 the SDS. And that's totally outside the scope of any cross-examination
8 that I did.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic, Mr. Weiner is right.
10 MR. PANTELIC:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Karlovic, please, are you aware of the fact
12 that Lugar was arrested twice, once in July and once in December, 1992,
13 when he was also tried before the military court in Banja Luka? Are you
14 aware of that?
15 A. I'm not aware of that.
16 Q. Are you aware of the following, that in autumn, 1992, in Samac,
17 there were no more detainees or prisoners?
18 A. I'm aware of that.
19 Q. Are you aware that during 1992, and 1993, about 10.000 Serb
20 refugees came to Samac?
21 A. That is correct.
22 MR. PANTELIC: No further questions, Your Honour, for this
23 witness. Thank you.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Lazarevic?
25 MR. LAZAREVIC: It will not take more than a couple of minutes.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm asking for the patience of the interpreters.
2 Maybe we can conclude this witness.
3 MR. LAZAREVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Re-examined by Mr. Lazarevic:
5 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Karlovic, due to the fact that time has been
6 very limited, some things got into the transcript in great haste but I
7 wanted to save time and clarify this at the very end. When you said that
8 you were on guard in front of the command of the 4th Detachment --
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Since it wasn't very clear in the transcript, I mean the way it
11 turned out, you stood guard in front of the 4th Detachment, not in front
12 of the elementary and secondary school?
13 A. Yes, in front of the 4th Detachment.
14 Q. Thank you very much. In response to the Prosecutor's questions,
15 you said what the situation was like in Donja Mahala in your neighbourhood
16 where you lived and where you still live. From the 17th in the morning?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You said that you did not experience any combat there. I remember
19 that that's what you said?
20 A. Yes, that's what we said.
21 Q. Let me just ask you one more thing, sir. In relation to certain
22 events. Do you know, do you know about the fact that on the 17th of
23 April, 1992, two of your fellow citizens were killed, Dzebic, Ivica and
24 Lukic, Ilija, who worked in the SSNO?
25 A. I know that. That was the morning when it happened.
1 Q. Do you know that at the checkpoint by the public security station,
2 a certain Ilija Vuckovic was killed?
3 A. I'm aware of that too.
4 Q. So what is your conclusion in respect of this? Was there any
5 fighting or was there not any fighting since these people got killed?
6 A. I think that these people killed without any fighting. This
7 Ilija, he was going from work, he was a bit deaf, and they shouted stop
8 and he did not stop and it's only natural that they did what they did. As
9 far as this little Dzebic was concerned, he was at a hotel, he was a
10 waiter, he came home about 4.00. He went into his house, he undressed, he
11 went to bed, and then a raid began and he had quite a bit of this money,
12 this Croatian money, that's probably what they saw, that's what I heard
13 about it at any rate, he resisted a bit, and they killed him on the spot
14 in his own kitchen.
15 MR. LAZAREVIC: No further questions, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you, Mr. Karlovic, you are finished with your
17 evidence. You may now leave the courtroom.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 [The witness withdrew]
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you for your patience, the interpreters and
21 supporting staff. We have now reached the end of our session. We will
22 continue our proceedings on Monday.
23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
24 1.54 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
25 the 14th day of April, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.