1 Monday, 28 April 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Good afternoon. Please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon. Case number IT-95-9-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and Simo Zaric.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Before we call the witness, the Trial Chamber has
10 some rulings to make.
11 The first one is concerning the witness Simo Jovanovic, who had a
12 Rule 92 statement. The Trial Chamber has reviewed the evidence on record
13 for all three accused persons, and especially the evidence regarding
14 persons trained in Ilok. The Trial Chamber has decided to revise its
15 ruling concerning Simo Jovanovic because it finds that it's no longer
16 necessary to hear him orally as his statement has covered the relevant
17 aspects of the evidence touching the charges against the accused. So he
18 will come for cross-examination, and thereafter be re-examined, as ruled
20 The second ruling is concerning the motion, the oral motion by the
21 Defence to submit the expert opinion of General Richard W. Wilmot,
22 rendered in the -- tendered in the Stakic case. The Trial Chamber has
23 noted that the Prosecution filed their response out of time. It was
24 supposed to be filed on the 22nd of April. But has considered it in the
25 interests of justice and has decided to allow the Defence motion to have
1 the expert opinion report submitted in this case. The Trial Chamber has
2 also decided to admit the transcript of the testimony of General Wilmot
3 recorded in the Stakic case, so that all the relevant matters will be on
4 record for consideration by the Trial Chamber.
5 On Friday, we shall be sitting in the morning as of tomorrow.
6 Today we allowed the afternoon session to allow the counsel who were
7 travelling to travel this morning. On Friday, at 0900 hours, the Trial
8 Chamber would like to hear submissions from the Defence and the
9 Prosecution regarding the exhibits touching on the agreements of the
10 International Red Cross. This is Exhibit D190/3, D192/3, and D193/3,
11 submitted by the Defence. We just want to know, briefly, what the
12 relevance of these agreements are to the defence of the accused. We would
13 also like to know, briefly, in the same vein, on the Prosecution
14 agreements also Exhibit P176, 177, 178, and 179. We would also like to
15 hear the Prosecution briefly as to the relevance of these agreements, or
16 otherwise to the case of the Prosecution.
17 We shall now proceed and call the witness.
18 MR. RE: Your Honours, before the witness is brought in, there are
19 several documents. I notified Chamber's legal officer of this today.
20 While reviewing the Prosecution's search material last week in relation to
21 this witness Mr. Mitrovic, the Prosecution found six documents, Crisis
22 Staff documents, bearing the signature of Mitar Mitrovic, which we have
23 had translated and served on the Defence Thursday by fax last week. That
24 was the B/C/S version. The translated versions are here. The Prosecution
25 would intend -- they're not particularly controversial documents at all.
1 They just relate to matters which he appeared to be involved in in the
2 running of the affairs in Bosanski Samac in the relevant period. The
3 Prosecution would intend to put these documents to Mr. Mitrovic in the
4 course of its cross-examination.
5 We note that Your Honours provided, through the Chamber's legal
6 officer, on Wednesday a list of some 34 exhibits which the Trial Chamber
7 wishes to use in its examination of Mr. Mitrovic. The Prosecution is
8 wondering if it would be appropriate for the Prosecution to tender these
9 six documents or show them to the Trial Chamber first to see whether they
10 would assist the Trial Chamber in its examination of Mr. Mitrovic. The
11 documents just range from an authorisation to secure all necessary
12 assistance in the country and abroad on behalf of the municipality, to
13 authorisation to systematically collect boat motors for the VRS, signed by
14 the Crisis Staff, lending Mr. Vaso Antic a video camera for use in filming
15 war operations in Posavina, adding two workers to the War Presidency
16 payroll, that's Biljana Raulic and Ana Mitrovic, and the record on the
17 keeping and using of the Crisis Staff stamps. The two stamps of the
18 Bosanski Samac -- sorry the Samac Crisis Staff, 14 September 1992. Those
19 are the sixth documents. I'm in Your Honours' hands as to this.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: How long has the Prosecution has had these
22 MR. RE: The documents, I think, were submitted by Mr. Mirko Lukic
23 through Mr. Pisarevic [Realtime transcript read in error missing word
24 "Pisarevic"] I think in 1998, I think. They only came to attention last
25 week and the reason is this, because they actually had Mr. Mitar
1 Mitrovic's name on them. The search of the system was specifically
2 designed to pick up documents with Mr. Mitar Mitrovic's name on them and
3 that's why the Trial Chamber only discovered them during course of last
4 week. If they had been absolutely vital documents, I'm sure they would
5 have been discovered in the Prosecution case a long time ago.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic. On the same matter. Yes.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] If Your Honours will allow me, on the
8 same matter, on the same motion of the Prosecution, I would like to put
9 forward the position of the Defence.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. You can go ahead.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to say a
12 few words, but I don't think it is the time for me to repeat myself. We
13 have already gone over the same ground several times. A few months ago,
14 or a month ago, the Prosecution appeared with a similar document during
15 the cross-examination of one of the witnesses of the Defence, and then the
16 documents were submitted. But this is something that happens very often.
17 I have a very high professional opinion of my learned friends, but I
18 cannot accept, if there is something that they have in their hands, and if
19 there is an obligation for the documents to be disclosed to my colleagues,
20 and if this is not disclosed until two or five days before the witness
21 actually arrives. We have pointed this out several times when we had
22 Witness Dragovic. The Rules before this Tribunal say that the Prosecution
23 and the Defence are required to disclose documents immediately, those
24 documents which may be of some relevance for the other side.
25 It is indisputable with regard to what the Prosecution has just
1 said, it is indisputable that these documents have been in their
2 possession since 1997 and we only received them on Thursday, when they
3 were faxed to us. We didn't see them before. What is very worrying and
4 what is very important with regard to the decision that has already been
5 made by the Trial Chamber with regard to two witnesses who testified here,
6 who were members of the Crisis Staff. Now, after my witness has
7 testified, we have received documents relevant and with regard to the
8 Crisis Staff. There is no way for me to dispute these documents. The
9 only thing I can do is to put questions about this document to this
10 witness. My case with regard to this witness is over and there's no way I
11 can do anything, and I cannot agree with the Prosecution using these
12 documents at this moment. I believe that it is indisputable and that the
13 Trial Chamber should apply the Rule from Article 89, when the Defence case
14 is already over, this should have a higher force and priority over any
15 document that is being introduced now, and the Defence has been deprived
16 of any possibility to dispute these documents by any other legal means.
17 I could ask the witness about -- questions about these documents,
18 but what is disputable is whether the Defence can offer anything with
19 regard to these seven or eight documents that could dispute these
20 documents. From the very beginning of this trial, the Prosecution has
21 been aware of that and as regards the defence of Miroslav Tadic, all the
22 documents and all the exhibits that have been introduced have been
23 provided to the Prosecution in due time. The only thing that was
24 disclosed late was the minutes regarding Mr. Lukac, so the Prosecution, if
25 they want to introduce these documents, they have to make us aware, they
1 have to let us know why are they doing it only now, five years later.
2 They are putting the Defence in a very -- in a bad position by doing
3 that. I mentioned Mr. Lukac. I would like to correct myself, and I would
4 like to say that this is the only time that the Defence introduce a new
5 document which was only seven days old. Because during the testimony of
6 Mr. Marko Kuresevic, when the Prosecution, in their examination, have come
7 across the decisions of the Crisis Staff, the Trial Chamber was of the
8 position, because the two defence cases were already over, that it
9 wouldn't be fair for these documents to be presented, and they didn't
10 allow the Prosecution to cross-examine Mr. Marko Kuresevic on the basis of
11 these documents.
12 I would like to point out that it is very important that this
13 introduction and this kind of tendering of the documents is not allowed.
14 MR. RE: Your Honours, could I very briefly respond to that?
15 There seems to be some misunderstanding here. Firstly, these documents
16 were never part of the Prosecution case. There was no obligation to
17 disclose them to the Defence during the Prosecution case. The Prosecution
18 wasn't relying upon them. The Trial Chamber has decided to call
19 Mitar Mitrovic, who was originally on Dr. Simic's list. As a result of
20 that, the Prosecutor searched through its collection for any documents
21 specific to this particular witness. It's as a result of that that these
22 witnesses -- or these documents have come to light. So there's been no
23 failure of a disclosure obligation, because the Prosecution basically had
24 none in relation to these documents. We never intended to use them as
25 part of our case.
1 Secondly, none of these documents directly impact upon Mr. Tadic
2 at all. They're just normal documents in the day-to-day running of the
3 municipality. Documents we would put to a witness who is called in the
4 course of his evidence. And we disclosed them when we found them, as soon
5 as we found them. So there's been no breach of our obligation, in my
7 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Mr. Re, there seems to be something missing on
8 the transcript which might be relevant. If you could look to page 3, line
9 23, you had said the documents I think were submitted by Mr. Mirko Lukic
10 through Mr., and we have a gap. I think in 1998, you said.
11 MR. RE: Pisarevic is what you said.
12 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes, I thought you said that too, but it's
13 missing right now. So that is Mr. Borislav Pisarevic, counsel for
14 Mr. Simo Zaric.
15 MR. RE: That's my understanding. I have to check on that, but
16 all the documents which came through Mr. Lukic came through Mr. Pisarevic.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, just for the record as a matter of
18 principle, I have to object to the submission and motion of my learned
19 friend from Prosecution on the following basis: Assuming that
20 Mr. Mitrovic, since he was on the previous list on Dr. Simic defence
21 witness list, the question here is: The Prosecution was informed about
22 the possible appearance of Mr. Mitrovic on our list. So the same
23 situation could arise when he was here, if it was arranged, and then the
24 obligation of Prosecution was established. So my learned friend cannot
25 claim that it was a surprise for him that Mr. Mitrovic will come. He is
1 informed of possible appearance of Mr. Mitrovic well in advance. So the
2 question is: Why they did not disclose these documents at that stage?
3 My objection is on the basis of principle, actually. Allowing
4 this approach of my learned friend from Prosecution will open, will enter
5 an area of legal insecurity, because in that case, everything -- every
6 document could be introduced after the -- as a result of research engines
7 and machines, et cetera, et cetera. We know very well that the permanent
8 obligation of the Prosecution related to Rule 68, I believe, is
9 permanent. But on the other aspect of procedural issues here, it's not
10 allowed. Thank you.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours --
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pisarevic.
14 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I would like to say the
15 following: I would like to support my colleagues, but I would also like
16 to draw your attention to the following fact. When Mr. Re says that I was
17 the one who delivered these documents, this is not correct. I saw them
18 for the first time when I arrived here this morning. It is very possible
19 that there was power of attorney who appeared in the defence of
20 Mr. Simic. His name was Spasoje Pisarevic. It is possible that he
21 delivered these documents. I never saw these documents before. So just
22 for the transcript, I would like to correct that in the transcript, it was
23 not me who did that. And as far as this situation is concerned, recently
24 we've had Witness Vaso Antic, and one document of those which are
25 tendered, which are tendered to be admitted through Mr. Mitrovic is also a
1 document that is -- that concerned Mr. Vaso Antic.
2 I believe that it would be fair, it would have been fair, for the
3 Prosecution to have disclosed this document before Mr. Antic appeared as a
4 witness here. Then we would have been in the position to cross-examine
5 Mr. Antic about the circumstances described in this document. Thank you
6 very much.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE MUMBA: The Trial Chamber has considered the motion by
9 the -- the oral motion by the Prosecution regarding the documents which
10 they intend to produce and has also considered the submissions by the
11 Defence. The Trial Chamber finds nothing convincing on the part of the
12 Prosecution as to why these documents were not disclosed earlier, because
13 the point is, it's not a question of any witness being called to give
14 evidence. It's a question of what evidence the Prosecution requires to
15 support their case. So the motion is denied.
16 Can we have the witness, please.
17 [The witness entered court]
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can the witness please make the solemn
20 WITNESS: MITAR MITROVIC
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
23 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Please sit down.
25 Questioned by the Court:
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have your full name on record, please.
2 A. My name is Mitar Mitrovic.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Your date of birth and place of birth?
4 A. 27th of May, 1964.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Where were you born?
6 A. Slavonski Brod, in Croatia.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: What are your qualifications?
8 A. I am a lawyer. I have a B.A. in law.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: What is your current residence?
10 A. Currently I reside in Samac.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Are you married?
12 A. Yes.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Do you have children?
14 A. Yes, one child.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: In October 1991 -- between October 1991 and December
16 1993, where were you residing?
17 A. I was residing in Obudovac.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: When did you move to Samac?
19 A. I moved to Samac -- I can't remember the exact date. Was it 1994,
20 the beginning of 1994? I'm not sure. But I think that's when I moved to
22 JUDGE MUMBA: The Trial Chamber has evidence that you were
23 appointed to work on the Crisis Staff sometime in 1992. The Trial Chamber
24 would like to find out when exactly you were appointed, to serve on the
25 Crisis Staff of the Bosanski municipality.
1 A. I was not nominated or appointed as a member of the Samac
2 municipality Crisis Staff. First of all, I should explain. This will
3 take a longer explanation, I'm afraid, than merely one sentence.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, you can go ahead.
5 A. When war operations began in Samac, if I may actually call them
6 that, I came, I think, on the 18th of April, 1992. I had been called in
7 by the secretariat for National Defence of Samac municipality. In fact,
8 representatives of the secretariat came for me and told me to report
9 immediately to Samac, as someone who had been appointed the secretary of
10 the Municipal Assembly of Samac. As on the 15th of April, the state of
11 imminent danger of war had been proclaimed in the territory of the then
12 Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I was given a war assignment, an
13 obligation, by the secretariat, as an appointee for the secretary of the
14 Municipal Assembly, and I was told to report to Samac immediately.
15 I arrived in Samac and went to a building. I think it was a
16 company. I'm not sure what the company was actually doing. I think it
17 was something about agriculture. When I arrived, I found a group of
18 persons there. I was told, and I had seen that with my own eyes, that
19 combat operations were being conducted at the bridge in Samac by the Sava
20 River. I was also told that the organs, that the municipal organs, were
21 not functioning properly and that I should carry out my duty until further
22 notice, or rather, perform my duty until further notice.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Who told you to carry out your duties until further
25 A. The secretary for National Defence of the municipality. I think
1 his last name was Bogdanovic. And this was written down in my military
2 record book, the one that I had to keep on me all the time. This was
3 written down in it. My war assignment within the organs of Samac
5 JUDGE MUMBA: So what exactly were your duties from then onwards?
6 A. As secretary of the Municipal Assembly, I performed this duty,
7 until 1997. The duties and authorities of the secretary of the Municipal
8 Assembly were regulated by the law and statute of the municipality.
9 According to the regulations then in force and pursuant to the regulations
10 in force now, the secretary of the Municipal Assembly has the following
11 duty, to --
12 JUDGE MUMBA: No. The Trial Chamber is not interested in the
13 current situation. The Trial Chamber is interested in the situation
14 during and 1993, what were your duties then. You said that this was your
15 war assignment, so we're interested in what your duties were. What did
16 you do?
17 A. Very well. When I arrived in Samac, at that building - that was
18 not the building of the Municipal Assembly - there were several people
19 there. As I am not a native of Samac, there were quite many people I
20 didn't know there, but I did know Mr. Blagoje Simic. I did know Mr. Milos
21 Bogdanovic, Mr. Milan Simic, and some other people too. Well, can I
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. What transpired?
24 A. I was told on that occasion, Mr. Blagoje Simic told me, among
25 other people there, that in view of the situation, the Municipal Assembly
1 could not be convened, due to war operations. One would try to organise
2 at least the minimum functioning of the municipal authorities, until
3 conditions are created for the Municipal Assembly to be reconvened.
4 Furthermore, there were -- I'm not sure if all of them exactly, but
5 members of the Executive Board were there too. The Executive Board also
6 had duties regulated by regulations and laws.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: No. We just -- the Trial Chamber just wants to know
8 about yourself and your duties. So you were informed by Blagoje Simic.
9 How long did you perform these duties?
10 A. Yes, that's right. I'm not sure if on the same day or the next
11 day, I was informed, the same place, the same building, that provisional,
12 temporary Crisis Staff would need to be organised, or rather, established,
13 as an ad hoc body to function on a temporary basis.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Who informed you?
15 A. I believe it was Dr. Blagoje. And those people who were there,
16 Milan Simic was there, I think, Jovanovic.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: What's the first name of Jovanovic?
18 A. Mirko Jovanovic.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: So what transpired on the following days after that?
20 A. Over the following that days, because the operations in Samac and
21 in the surroundings of Samac did go on for a couple of days, we were in
22 that building. Then we moved to the municipality building. And over
23 those several days, we moved a number of times, because of armed
25 JUDGE MUMBA: So you keep saying "we moved." Whom do you mean?
1 Yourself and the members you found at the beginning, or were other people
2 also attending?
3 A. Yes, those people who then, and in the meantime, some other people
4 came along the joined the group. Dr. Blagoje said that a Crisis Staff
5 should function and that this was going to continue for -- to last for a
6 certain brief period of time.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. So now this -- the Crisis Staff was
8 established. So what exactly were your functions in the Crisis Staff?
9 A. Well, as I had already been appointed as secretary of the
10 Municipal Assembly, my duty was to be there alongside with those people
11 and to assist with the typing of certain documents which had been drafted.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Who was drafting the documents?
13 A. I was mostly typing these documents, and the acts, the documents,
14 from the very beginning of the functioning of the Crisis Staff until the
15 very end, were mostly proposed by the Executive Board or by members of the
16 Executive Board.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Was this done during the meetings of the Crisis
19 A. Well, I must explain this in the following way: For the first
20 three months - May, June, and July - I was mostly staying in the village
21 of Obudovac. I am a native of Obudovac and I resided there. I would go
22 to Samac as necessary, and if called in, in order to type certain
23 documents. Therefore, from the very beginning, there were people there
24 from the Executive Board too, who, to a greater or lesser extent, made
25 proposals for certain decisions to be passed and documents to be drafted.
1 What actually happened? This Crisis Staff organises an ad hoc body. I'm
2 telling you this as a lawyer. I'm telling you this as a witness to
3 certain events from the period.
4 The Crisis Staff, to a certain degree, in terms of its authority,
5 stood in for the Municipal Assembly of Samac, replaced the Municipal
6 Assembly. On the other hand, the Executive Board was fully appointed, or
7 rather, elected, so it functioned -- it kept on functioning from the very
8 beginning, to the best of my knowledge. The composition of the Crisis
9 Staff, well, I must say that even now I can't think of all the members
10 exactly with any degree of certainty, but I do know that certain people,
11 also from the Executive Board, as an executive body, as an operative body,
12 attended meetings, or rather, sessions.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Of the Crisis Staff?
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Besides the Executive Board, what other institution
16 attended the meetings of the Crisis Staff?
17 A. The few meetings at the beginning, May, late April and May 1992,
18 were attended also by representatives of certain institutions,
19 institutions of vital importance for the proper functioning of the town of
20 Samac. Some had been appointed. Some came for what they were.
21 I know that I do remember that some had even been appointed,
22 because I myself typed those decisions on the typewriter, the decisions on
23 their appointments. I remember some persons who were there.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We want the names of these people and the
25 institution they represented.
1 A. To the best of my recollection, I typed up decisions for the
2 following appointments for the directors, or rather, managers of certain
3 crucial, essential institutions: The health centre of Samac, I believe it
4 was Dr. Nogic, if memory serves me, Dr. Mesud Nogic, because I had typed
5 that particular decision, and I remember that Dr. Mesud Nogic came
6 personally to receive this decision from Dr. Simic. Then there was, I
7 believe, the manager or director of a company, Utva or Uniglas. His last
8 name was Zaimbegovic. He also came and received the decision on his
10 Then the post office, the communications office, the water supply
11 system, I believe, that kind of thing.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: So would you say that all the heads of institutions
13 which provided essential services or which were considered important in
14 the running of the municipality of Samac area were members of the Crisis
15 Staff or were appointed to the membership of the Crisis Staff?
16 A. These people that I have just mentioned a little while ago as
17 having been appointed, I believe that they only received decisions, but
18 they were not members of the Crisis Staff. I was talking about some
19 companies and institutions.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: What I'm asking is: These heads of these
21 institutions, were they attending meetings of the Crisis Staff?
22 A. I remember that at some of the sessions that I attended in that
23 building, or rather, in the offices occupied by the Crisis Staff, where
24 the Crisis Staff held its meetings, that these people also came there. I
25 assume that they came to deal with some issues relative to the functioning
1 of those institutions, given the conditions that were in place at the
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Was it the case that -- then that each head of
4 an institution would attend the meeting of the Crisis Staff, report on the
5 activities of the institution, and then the Crisis Staff or the members
6 would discuss that and take decisions?
7 A. I don't know whether it would be appropriate to draw that as a
8 general conclusion, because I did not attend all the sessions or meetings
9 of the Crisis Staff. The fact is that these people did come, and probably
10 they came to deal with the problems they experienced in their respective
11 institutions at the time.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, but of the sessions that you attended, wasn't
13 that the procedure, that they would discuss the problems in their
14 institutions and then the Crisis Staff collectively would make a decision
15 as to what should be done?
16 A. At the few sessions that I attended, there were discussions about
17 certain issues in the presence of those people, so they were there when
18 problems were discussed. I believe that not only people from institutions
19 came. There were also people from local communes, the Red Cross, and so
20 on and so forth.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Since you are saying that you weren't attending all
22 the sessions of the meetings of the Crisis Staff, was there somebody else
23 who was performing similar functions to yours on the days when you were
24 not attending the meetings?
25 A. When I was there, my task was to type the enactment, or the
1 decision, which was passed at that particular meeting of the Crisis
2 Staff. When I wasn't there, I really don't know how many sessions there
3 were all together and what was discussed at all those sessions.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We are not asking about the sessions which you
5 didn't attend. I'm asking you about the sessions which you attended. And
6 let's stick to that, okay. Was there a voting procedure? Were decisions
7 carried by a majority or was there a quorum for decisions of the Crisis
8 Staff to be passed?
9 A. I remember that there was no particular procedure in place. I
10 assume that this was the case, because there were no conditions for the
11 proper procedure to exist like it can in the peacetime. The voting that
12 took place only took place at a few sessions, but you wouldn't call that a
13 procedure like you would call it in peaceful situations, in normal
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well, then. Whoever attended that particular
16 session, they would discuss and come to a decision and then you would type
17 the decisions?
18 A. That's correct.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Of all the decisions that you typed, who would sign
20 on behalf of the Crisis Staff?
21 A. These decisions were signed by Dr. Blagoje Simic.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Were there any decisions of the Crisis Staff which
23 were typed by yourself and signed by yourself at any time at all?
24 A. I don't know exactly what decisions those were, but there were
25 cases when I typed a decision and I forwarded it to somebody and I had to
1 sign it, to certify it, by my signature, before I forwarded it to somebody
2 else, because I had -- in certain cases I was authorised by Dr. Simic to
3 forward certain documents, certain enactments to other people, as a typed
4 version of that document.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Did such documents on which you were authorised by
6 Dr. Simic carry your own signature or his signature?
7 A. I really don't remember how many such documents there were. It is
8 possible that there were such documents, but I'm sure I did it based on
9 the authority given to me by Dr. Simic.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: The evidence before the Trial Chamber is that the
11 Crisis Staff functioned up to about July, or thereabouts, then it changed
12 its title to the War Presidency.
13 A. Yes.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: How long did the War Presidency function?
15 A. For the first three months that I mostly spent outside of the seat
16 of the Crisis Staff, the Crisis Staff functioned, as far as I remember, in
17 that particular form. I also remember that an enactment was published in
18 the Official Gazette of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
19 By that enactment, it was decided that in some municipalities in which
20 there were no conditions in place for the functioning of the Municipal
21 Assembly, as a body, that War Presidencies should be established in such
22 municipalities. The Crisis Staff was, pursuant to that decision, renamed
23 into War Presidency. I personally typed that decision, pursuant to the
24 order that I received from Dr. Blagoje Simic.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Essentially, would you say that the membership
1 remained the same?
2 A. If my memory serves me right, I was not told that the composition
3 of the Crisis Staff would be changed and that some persons would no longer
4 be members of this body and some new persons would become its members. So
5 I can't tell you whether there were any officially appointed new members
6 of the Crisis Staff or whether the old members of the Crisis Staff
7 continued serving as members of the War Presidency.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: But you did attend sessions of the War Presidency?
9 A. Yes, I did. As of the end of July, or maybe early August 1992, I
10 attended several sessions of the War Presidency.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: For how long did the War Presidency function?
12 A. The War Presidency functioned, I believe, up to December 1992. I
13 don't remember the date. The War Presidency, I believe, passed a
14 decision, or maybe it was Dr. Blagoje Simic - I can't remember this for a
15 fact - for the Municipal Assembly to be reconvened. In any case, the
16 Executive Board was also involved in that, because the volume of the
17 duties and tasks that the legislative body would have increased, so that
18 the first session of the Municipal Assembly was convened in December. I
19 can't remember the date.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: What year?
21 A. 1992. And I believe that the War Presidency functioned up to the
22 next session of the Municipal Assembly, which took place either in January
23 or in February of 1993.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: And throughout this period, Dr. Blagoje Simic was
25 the president?
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Were members of the Crisis Staff and later War
3 Presidency paid a salary?
4 A. All the duties that had to do with salaries, all the executive
5 duties, finances, were under the authority of the Executive Board, which
6 probably in keeping with the conditions that were in place at that time,
7 organised these things. Therefore, I wouldn't be able to tell you whether
8 there are any records on the salaries of the members of the Crisis Staff
9 exist as a separate set of document, separate from the documents about the
10 salaries of the Executive Board. Those are municipal organs, after all.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Were you yourself paid a salary?
12 A. I received a salary, but I don't know when this started, when I
13 started being paid. In any case, all the employees of the municipal
14 organs did receive their salaries. I don't know when this started. I
15 don't remember the date when we started being paid salaries.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: When the War Presidency ceased to exist, did you
17 continue your duties with the Assembly?
18 A. Yes. The Municipal Assembly ratified the decisions of the War
19 Presidency, and I could then work as secretary of the Municipal Assembly,
20 as a full-time employee, and that means that I assisted the president of
21 the Municipal Assembly with the preparation of sessions, and I also
22 performed other technical duties and tasks. The Executive Board could,
23 after that, have better conditions to create a better procedure for
24 proposing various decisions, and so on and so forth.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Did you remain with the Municipal Assembly
1 throughout 1993?
2 A. Yes.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well. The Judges will continue asking you
4 further questions, especially regarding some of the decisions of the
5 Crisis Staff and the War Presidency.
6 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. Good afternoon, Mr. Mitrovic. We only have
7 a couple of minutes before our break, or so. Let me just begin, before
8 asking you some of the questions on various documents, just based on some
9 of your answers to the Presiding Judge, Judge Mumba, I'm just wondering:
10 You say you were not a native of Samac; you were from Obudovac. Is that
12 A. Yes. Yes.
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay. And you had your B.A., your law degree,
14 and you were born in 1964, which would mean, if I'm correct in my
15 arithmetic, you were about age 27 at the time you were appointed as
16 secretary to the Crisis Staff. You've told us that all you did was to
17 type documents, and I'm just wondering, as a matter of interest, interest
18 to what is before us, what was somebody brought in from Obudovac with a
19 law degree simply to type documents? Could you help me with that?
20 A. Of course. I was appointed the secretary of the Municipal
21 Assembly on the 28th of March. That's why I was called. This was simply
22 my duty, my task. And if you were talking about proposals for various
23 decisions, then I can tell you that this was neither my duty nor my
24 authority. It was not within my purview, and that is simply something I
25 couldn't do. I couldn't propose any decisions. In the Executive Board
1 there were more experienced lawyers who participated in the drafting of
2 those decisions.
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you for that answer. And also referring to
4 one of your answers to our Presiding Judge, you mentioned, and for the
5 sake of counsel, this was page 14, lines 6 to 9, you mentioned that
6 decisions and so on were proposed by the Executive Board or members of the
7 Executive Board. But I don't think we got a clear response as to who
8 actually drafted the wording of these decisions, conclusions, whatever the
9 title of the particular document was. Who actually listened to the
10 proposals and wrote them down and so on? Could you tell us that?
11 A. I can certainly tell you, and I will repeat once again. I will
12 tell you very openly. I was not the one who was creating the decisions
13 and the enactments. During the sessions of the Crisis Staff and the War
14 Presidency, sessions that I attended, there were always the
15 representatives of the Executive Board.
16 JUDGE WILLIAMS: No. I understand that. But if you could just,
17 you know, give me sort of a simple answer, if you could. There's a
18 discussion, proposals are put on the table, so to speak. Somebody has to
19 take those verbal proposals and put them onto paper. And I'd like to know
20 who -- it could be several people at different times, but who did that.
21 That would be the first question. And secondly, was then a draft
22 circulated to all of the people who had been present to make sure that
23 what was on paper reflected the sense of the discussion and the proposal.
24 A. Of course. Of course. This is how it had to be done. I was not
25 the one who was to decide anything, and I was not the one handing the
1 document to Dr. Blagoje Simic for his signature. It could not have been
2 that way. So therefore --
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: You're not really answering my question. My
4 question is: There's a discussion, a proposal is put on the table by one
5 of the persons present. There's a discussion, somebody puts that now into
6 written form. Is that you? Is that somebody else? Could you just answer
7 me directly, if you could.
8 A. Yes, of course. All the decisions and enactments were typed by
9 myself on the typewriter. Those enactments that I typed on the
10 typewriter, thanks to -- or through the notes. I used my notes to type
11 them. Or I was making notes following the oral debate that took place
12 during the sessions by members of the War Presidency. I was then hand
13 them the notes. Then they would look at the notes. They would correct,
14 if they wanted to correct something. And if something had to be changed,
15 it was changed. And then it was finally put in a written form and then it
16 was signed.
17 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you for that. Now I'll just move on to
18 some other questions that I'd be interested in hearing your response to.
19 I wonder whether you know, and if you don't know, please just say
20 you don't know: Did the Crisis Staff in Bosanski Samac declare itself the
21 municipal government of Bosanski Samac on the orders of the SDS party at
22 the national level? If you know.
23 A. The answer to this question cannot be given to you precisely. I
24 do not have the details to answer correctly. I do not know if Dr. Blagoje
25 Simic received all the orders stemming from the SDS in order to create the
1 Crisis Staff. I do not have those details at my disposal.
2 JUDGE WILLIAMS: That's just fine, and that -- if you don't know,
3 you don't know.
4 A. But however, I know that Dr. Blagoje told me, when the Official
5 Gazette of the municipality of Samac was created, he then told me that
6 it's important to clarify and to put in writing that the SDS, or rather,
7 its bodies, have created the municipality of Samac. That was the gist of
8 what he told me. That is true. This is what I put down in writing. I
9 changed it and I wrote it down. But it is a fact that the members,
10 deputies of the Municipal Assembly of Samac were all appointed in 1990,
11 during the local elections, and I believe that those were members of the
12 SDS, aside from one person, if I'm not mistaken.
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay. What, in your view, based on your personal
14 knowledge, was the actual role of the Crisis Staff in Bosanski Samac? And
15 I'll just mention two things that I have in mind that I'd like to have
16 your view on, based on your personal knowledge. First of all, did the
17 Crisis Staff in Bosanski Samac have to act in accordance with policies and
18 positions of the national SDS party? Maybe I'll stop there and let you
19 deal with that one first.
20 A. To answer, I have to tell you that the SDS got the majority of
21 votes during the elections of 1990. Of all the Serb electors, all the
22 deputies belonged to the SDS. The Crisis Staff, if you want me to talk to
23 you about its role, I think from a legal perspective maybe some jurists
24 could give you a broader explanation of the concept of the Crisis Staff.
25 I must tell you that up until then, I never encountered such body. But
1 the situation was such that it was slightly strange. I, however, know,
2 and I can tell you, that in 1992 political parties were forbidden to
3 function at the level of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
4 for a certain period of time. I cannot recall the exact time frame, but I
5 can tell you that it was -- the work of these political bodies was
6 forbidden. I do not know if all the members of the Crisis Staff were also
7 members of the SDS. The deputies of the municipalities, yes, almost all
8 of them were members, but in terms of the Crisis Staff, I couldn't tell
9 you with more precision.
10 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Again, I'm wondering whether you know personally
11 whether the -- before the setting up of the Crisis Staff in Bosanski
12 Samac, I'm wondering whether you have any knowledge as to whether the SDS
13 party in Bosanski Samac received any message from Radovan Karadzic
14 ordering a state of emergency situation for all SDS bodies, members, or
15 officials. Are you aware of any such message?
16 A. Regarding such a message coming from Radovan Karadzic, or anybody
17 from the top, who was at the top of the then SDS or Serbian Republic of
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina, I do not know if such a thing existed. I was not
19 a member of the SDS. I was not involved in politics. But I know that on
20 the 15th of April, 1992, a war -- imminent threat of war was proclaimed on
21 that date.
22 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you for that. Now, I wonder whether you
23 could take a look at a document. It's P3 ID. If the registry assistant
24 could put the B/C/S version in front of you. This is the document
25 entitled in the short form "variant A and variant B."
1 Mr. Mitrovic, have you had a chance to look at this before this
2 moment in time?
3 MR. RE: Your Honours, before the witness answers, Your Honour
4 said P3 ID. Our records show that it is actually in evidence.
5 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay.
6 MR. RE: And we're looking for the other ones. There were other
7 ones that were admitted. My case manager is looking for it at the moment.
8 JUDGE WILLIAMS: In that case, it's P3. It's my mistake if I said
10 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I have an official list that it's ID.
11 It was discussed with Dr. Robert Donia, 11th of September, 2001. It's ID.
12 [Trial Chamber confers with registrar]
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay. Mr. Pantelic, I've been informed, P3 is
14 admitted. P3A is the one that's the -- the piece out of the magazine that
15 Dr. Donia referred to that he got from the archives in Sarajevo.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, you're right.
17 JUDGE WILLIAMS: But the document that I'm looking at is actually
18 the one which is copy number 100. So it's my mistake in mentioning ID.
19 So, Mr. Mitrovic, you've had a chance to look at this particular
20 document before this moment in time, right now in the court?
21 A. First time. No. This is the first time I see this document, this
22 text, if you will.
23 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay. Well, I just have one question, which
24 you've now answered, which was going to be: Are you familiar with the
25 content of this document?
1 A. I just read the first page in one part, second page, where I can
2 see there is talk about the creation of the Crisis Staff and who would be
3 its commander, so on and so forth. Yes, I can see that it's written here
4 variant A, variant B. I can see that there is mention of the creation of
5 the Crisis Staff. But to answer your question, no.
6 JUDGE WILLIAMS: So you haven't seen it before. Have you -- did
7 you ever hear, in 1992, while you were in your position as secretary to
8 the Crisis Staff and so on, did you ever hear about variant A and variant
9 B from any other person?
10 A. No.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: We shall take our break now.
12 --- Recess taken at 3.47 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 4.16 p.m.
14 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Mr. Mitrovic, I've got a few more questions that
15 I'd like to put to you. I'm wondering whether you have any knowledge,
16 maybe you were even present at the 14th session of the Bosnian Serb
17 Assembly, which took place, I believe, on either the 27th or the 28th of
18 March, 1992, when Mr. Radovan Karadzic appears to have told the delegates
19 who were present that the moment that they arrived home in their
20 municipalities, that they were to urgently establish crisis staffs. I
21 wonder whether you're aware of it or whether you were present and you
22 heard it.
23 A. Which year are you talking about?
24 JUDGE WILLIAMS: 1992. It's either the 27th or the 28th of March,
25 1992, and that was the 14th session of the Bosnian Serb Assembly. I think
1 it was actually maybe even in your hometown of Obudovac.
2 MR. RE: It was the 27th, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: The 27th. Thank you very much, Mr. Re.
4 MR. RE: It was in Sarajevo.
5 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Oh, okay. It shows my sources are incorrect.
6 In any event, the Assembly meeting on the 27th of March, 1992, and
7 Mr. Karadzic seems to have told the delegates then, in March 1992, that
8 the moment that they arrive back in their municipalities, that they must
9 urgently establish crisis staffs. Are you aware of that?
10 A. No, but I do know that Radovan Karadzic, as president of the
11 Republic, was indeed in Samac in 1994. I can't remember which session of
12 the peoples' assembly of Republika Srpska was held.
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you. I wonder whether you could take a
14 look at an exhibit which is numbered P124, in the ter version for
15 Mr. Mitrovic, please.
16 You're familiar with this document, Mr. Mitrovic?
17 A. Yes.
18 JUDGE WILLIAMS: And if you'd turn to -- I only have the English
19 version in front of me, but if you'd turn to the second page of the
20 preamble, it's signed -- or it has the name of a person. Is that
21 yourself, Mr. Mitrovic?
22 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise, Your Honour. Could we have maybe
23 for the benefit of our clients on the ELMO this particular part, and then
24 maybe the witness can turn around.
25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: This is the Official Gazette of the municipality
1 of Samac, year 1, number 1, 3rd June 1994.
2 A. Yes.
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay. So is this your name on page 2 of the
5 A. Yes, yes.
6 JUDGE WILLIAMS: And it says on the first page of the preamble,
7 amongst other things, in the third paragraph, the last sentence, that:
8 "The Crisis Staff was assigned the task and vested with the authority to
9 exercise the functions of the highest organ of authority of the Serbian
10 municipality and to coordinate cooperation and activities with Serbian
11 Territorial Defence units."
12 Is that correct in terms of what you're reading in the B/C/S
13 version? And my question is simply: Was that the case? Is this correct,
14 what that sentence says, which you appended your name to on the second
16 A. Yes, that's correct. This is the first issue, the first number of
17 the Official Gazette, published when conditions were created to publish
18 it, when there was enough money to publish the Official Gazette.
19 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Sorry to interrupt you, Mr. Mitrovic. I
20 understand, yes, in most countries of the world, gazettes or official
21 publications come out sometimes long after the actual meetings they're
22 recording. But my question is specific. If you turn to the preamble,
23 which you have signed, I might maybe ask you directly: Did you actually
24 draft the preamble yourself, as well as append your name to it?
25 A. Yes, I did write it, and I took part in the drafting of this
1 preamble. It was proofread and certain details were verified on the basis
2 of interventions made by Dr. Blagoje Simic.
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Fine. And that sentence that I read out, which
4 is the last sentence of the third paragraph, concerning the Crisis Staff's
5 task being to exercise the functions of the highest organ of authority, et
6 cetera, that, in your view, having written this, is correct? Am I right
7 in understanding that?
8 A. As I said, the final proofreading of this text before it was
9 printed had been done by Dr. Blagoje Simic, which means that he made a
10 number of interventions into the text itself, and this section in
11 particular also. I knew some of the information chronologically here, as
12 it says, certain numbers of the Official Gazette of Republika Srpska. But
13 the section that you have pointed out, it has been included on the basis
14 of a proposal and suggestion by Dr. Blagoje Simic, because this text had
15 to be checked by Dr. Blagoje Simic before it was published.
16 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you. And I'll leave this particular
17 document, but we might come back to it a little bit later on in a
18 different context. But I would simply ask you, before doing so, just to
19 turn to, in the body of the text itself, the page after the preamble,
20 Article 4, which states: "The highest organ of authority of the Serbian
21 people in terms of the rights and duties of the municipality shall be the
22 Assembly of the Serbian people of Bosanski Samac and Pelagicevo," et
23 cetera. And then Article 5, if you could maybe just have a read of
24 Article 5 yourself. And I just have one small question.
25 A. Very well.
1 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Does Article 5 mean that only persons of Serbian
2 ethnicity could be members of the Assembly of the Serbian people of
3 Bosanski Samac and Pelagicevo?
4 A. This is a decision -- excuse me, this is an enactment which I
5 received after it had been drafted already and completed, and that's how
6 it was published, in that very form. And what it says is true.
7 JUDGE WILLIAMS: And so in response to my question, as a lawyer
8 yourself, your reading, does it mean only persons of Serbian ethnicity, or
9 can it be interpreted in a different way?
10 A. Probably, but I can't give you an accurate answer, because I did
11 not take part in the drafting or in the preparation of this decision. But
12 that's how it seems, yes.
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: And lastly, at least for the moment, I wonder
14 whether, to your knowledge, whether the Crisis Staff, while you were
15 secretary to it - excuse me. I've moved away from this document now, so
16 the usher can maybe sit down.
17 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Leave it there.
18 JUDGE WILLIAMS: I'm wondering whether, during your term of office
19 as secretary to the Crisis Staff, whether, to your knowledge, the Crisis
20 Staff issued orders, decisions, or conclusions concerning the securing of
21 control of the municipality, securing control of the municipality.
22 A. Could you please clarify? What sort of control exactly are we
23 talking about? I'm not familiar of any specific decision. If I
24 understand you correctly, that is, your question, you're asking me whether
25 the Crisis Staff adopted a decision to place under its control the whole
1 of Bosanski Samac. Is that what you were asking me?
2 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes, that and also whether the Crisis Staff
3 discussed coordination of civilian administration and military
4 administration to secure Bosanski Samac from perhaps outside forces and
5 perhaps from elements within the municipality itself.
6 A. I do not know of any specific decision by the Crisis Staff on
7 control over Bosanski Samac or any order to carry out combat operations by
8 military units. I'm not familiar with anything like that, or at least I
9 can't remember anything like that. But I do believe that a member of the
10 Executive Board - I'm not sure of the Crisis Staff as well - was the chief
11 of the police. Now, whether that implied that he was also a member of the
12 Crisis Staff in this sense or not, I really can't tell you.
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: And lastly, and really just following up on that
14 response: Was there a military person, or shall we say a military
15 presence, on the Crisis Staff?
16 A. As far as I remember, when a military operation, which I think was
17 named Operation Corridor, was carried out, where military units of
18 Republika Srpska linked up in Modrica, and when the units from Krajina
19 came to the area of Posavina, I believe that a commander of one of those
20 units once came to the Crisis Staff, the commander of a unit which had
21 certain tasks probably in our area. He came to see Dr. Blagoje Simic. I
22 didn't know his name. Was it the 2nd Krajina Brigade, the name of the
23 unit or not, I really can't remember right now. But I thought that this
24 was a ceremonial visit, not really an official visit. I'm not sure
25 whether any specific decision was adopted there in terms of who was in
1 charge of the units.
2 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you very much. I'll have a few questions a
3 little bit later on, but thank you for those responses.
4 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Good afternoon, Mr. Mitrovic. I'll take my
5 starting point in the document you have in front of you. It has been
6 tendered into evidence and bears the number P124. And if you turn to page
7 2, at least in the English version, paragraph 4, it is said that the
8 Crisis Staff was formed in the Sava hall of the church of the Holy Mother
9 in Obudovac on the 15th of April, 1992. In other words, at the same place
10 where you were residing, as you have told us. Were you perhaps present at
11 that meeting?
12 A. No.
13 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Did you have any information of that meeting,
14 that it would take place?
15 A. No. The 15th of April, I remember very clearly. On that day I
16 was on my way to Brcko, because my wife was having a baby in Brcko. So I
17 was on my way to Brcko to pick them up. As far as this information
18 concerning the 15th of April is concerned, I obtained it from Dr. Blagoje,
19 when, in the preamble, as Judge Williams called it, when we published the
20 Official Gazette, that was when Dr. Blagoje mentioned the 15th of April,
21 in reference probably to the imminent threat of war. And yes.
22 Furthermore, these decisions that were published here, this
23 decision on the establishment of an assembly of the Serbian people
24 referred to by Judge Williams, and two or three other enactments, those
25 were enactments or decisions that had been adopted, and I found them in a
1 file when the Official Gazette was being prepared for publication.
2 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you. You already told us that you were
3 appointed secretary of the Samac Municipal Assembly on the 28th of March,
4 1992, didn't you? That's correct? Yes. But in addition, you performed
5 certain tasks as a secretary within the Crisis Staff; is that correct?
6 A. Yes, but those were no official positions or appointments. Those
7 were purely technical activities: Typing, proofreading, harmonising
8 different versions of a text and then sending documents to be signed by
9 Dr. Simic.
10 JUDGE LINDHOLM: But a while ago you told us that during the
11 meetings you took notes of what happened during the meeting and then you
12 drafted some kind of text to be sent forward to, as I understood it, first
13 and foremost to Dr. Blagoje Simic.
14 A. Yes. At those meetings that I attended, no standard minutes were
15 being kept, not the usual way. Most often, at the end of a meeting, I
16 would just take down a number of basic things and features that were
17 discussed and decided. And then after that, these notes would be typed
18 out, or rather, the enactment would be typed out.
19 JUDGE LINDHOLM: But aren't those tasks -- you performed typical
20 tasks of a secretary? Aren't they?
21 A. Well, I'm not sure what you mean by -- or rather, how you see
22 these duties and activities, but these were the activities, what I've just
23 described. That's what my tasks were. I did not attend all the
24 meetings. I did attend a few of them, and that was that.
25 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Okay. Thank you. So if I understand you
1 correctly, you were never formally appointed secretary of the Crisis
3 A. I believe Dr. Simic did order once. I think there was a decision
4 typed out, an enactment, a formal decision appointing me as secretary of
5 the Crisis Staff.
6 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Do you remember when?
7 A. I can't remember exactly. I can't remember the date, not the
9 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Could the witness be shown Exhibit D55/1. I
10 assume that you have seen this document before, because it's signed by you
12 A. Yes. These are data sent over for salaries to be paid, sent over
13 to the Executive Board. But I am not positive that this document is
14 accurate, because what I see here is a name which I don't remember as a
15 member of the Crisis Staff. I don't remember that this person ever came
16 there or received a salary.
17 JUDGE LINDHOLM: In this document you are listed as a member of
18 the Crisis Staff.
19 A. No.
20 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Do you see that?
21 A. Yes. This document is related to the Crisis Staff, but this is
22 not the composition of the Crisis Staff. These are not its members.
23 These are persons who were present on the premises where the Crisis Staff
24 held its meetings. You see, Dr. Blagoje Simic, Mitar Mitrovic, Savo
25 Popovic, et cetera, these are not all the members of the Crisis Staff.
1 Saja Tesic, Milos Ilic, Jovan Ostojic. I don't know about the rest of
2 them, but I know about my personal name, which is not here because I was a
3 member of the Crisis Staff, and I'm sure Simo can confirm this. That was
4 a generally known fact, namely, that I was not a member of the Crisis
6 JUDGE LINDHOLM: For what reason are you listed here as a member
7 of the Crisis Staff, with your signature?
8 A. Right here. Yes, it's my signature, but the signature does not
9 mean that I was a member of the Crisis Staff.
10 JUDGE LINDHOLM: But if you take a look at what is under number
11 3 -- no. Excuse me. Under number 2, Mitar Mitrovic, and the next column,
12 member. You have signed this document.
13 A. I don't know about the authenticity of this document, but one
14 thing I know for sure that is that I was not a member of the Crisis
15 Staff. I have no possibility of verifying the authenticity of this
17 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Okay. Let's leave that. As answer to a question
18 put to you by Presiding Judge Mumba, you gave as an answer to who were the
19 members of the Crisis Staff, you talked about Dr. Nogic from the health
20 centre, director of Uniglas; Begovic, representatives of the post office,
21 the water supply. But according to an answer you gave somewhat later, I
22 understood that these were people coming to the Crisis Staff and not
23 members of the Crisis Staff. But could you be so kind and to the best of
24 your recollection list the members, the real members of the Crisis Staff.
25 A. I don't think you understood me. I never said that those people
1 were members of the Crisis Staff. Meetings of the Crisis Staff, the
2 meetings I attended, several meetings, were attended by Mr. Blagoje Simic,
3 I believe Savo Popovic, Simeun Simic, Bozo Ninkovic, I believe Mr. Tadic,
4 and some sessions were also attended by other persons who came every now
5 and then. The composition of the Crisis Staff, I don't know what the
6 permanent line-up, in a manner of speaking, was. Mr. Simic should know
8 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Yes, but I'm asking you now. What about the
9 chief of the police, Mr. Stevan Todorovic?
10 A. He came too.
11 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Came, but was he a member?
12 A. I don't know exactly. I simply can't tell you, because I did not
13 see a single decision on the appointments to the Crisis Staff.
14 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you. During the meetings you attended,
15 there were certainly certain members of the Crisis Staff who were present
16 more frequently than the others. Can you please tell us who those members
17 were most frequently attending, except Dr. Blagoje Simic. I understand he
18 was the president. But the other members, like Miroslav Tadic and
19 Todorovic, and so on.
20 A. What I can tell you is that those were mostly Tadic, Popovic,
21 Simic, Simeun Simic, Milan Simic, Mirko Lukic also came, Bozo Ninkovic
22 would also be there. If I'm not mistaken, Mr. Zaric came once too.
23 JUDGE LINDHOLM: But not in the capacity of a member of the Crisis
25 A. I really don't know whether he was a member of the Crisis Staff.
1 JUDGE LINDHOLM: I'm going to turn away from the membership of the
2 Crisis Staff and ask you about a quite different subject. Are you aware
3 of -- or were you aware of the arrival of Serbian paramilitaries or
4 so-called volunteers in Batkusa around mid-April 1992?
5 A. No, I was not aware of that.
6 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Did you become aware of that? Anybody told you?
7 A. I learned about that quite a bit later, when I'm not sure whether
8 the indictments had already been published, but I learned a lot later.
9 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Did you have any personal experience of the
10 behaviour of these paramilitaries or volunteers on the 17th of April or
12 A. No.
13 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Did you hear anything about it?
14 A. I heard about arrests being made at the police station, and I
15 remember one event in May or June 1992. In this period, I was mostly
16 staying in Obudovac, and a woman from Obudovac found me. I was at the
17 civilian staff building in Obudovac. Dr. Simic sent me there immediately
18 after late April 1992, but I may come back to this later. Anyway, this
19 lady came to the civilian staff building for protection, in Obudovac, and
20 she complained that her husband had been locked up.
21 JUDGE LINDHOLM: By whom?
22 A. In Samac. By the police.
23 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Regular police or those coming from Serbia?
24 A. I don't know exactly which members of the police. But as I knew
25 the man and the lady - he was a Muslim. His name is Kemal Kohnic -
1 together with the head of this staff for protection in Obudovac - his name
2 is Novak Tanasic - I asked to be received by the chief of police. We went
3 there, the two of us. We explained the reasons for our being there,
4 because we knew the man, and we asked whether there was really any legal
5 basis for his arrest.
6 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you. Okay. Was the behaviour of the
7 volunteers or the paramilitaries, whatever you want, on the 17th of April
8 and thereafter ever reported to the Crisis Staff and discussed at any of
9 its meetings, to the best of your recollection?
10 A. I don't know. I'm not aware of these problems and whether they
11 were discussed at any of the meetings of the Crisis Staff, especially not
12 during the period of May, June, and July.
13 JUDGE LINDHOLM: But in April?
14 A. I don't know, or maybe I don't remember.
15 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Where did you spend the night between the 16th
16 and the 17th of April, 1992, if you remember?
17 A. In Obudovac.
18 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Did you become aware of an explicit decision by
19 the Crisis Staff to take over the town of Bosanski Samac?
20 A. No.
21 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Could the witness be shown Exhibit P71.
22 Do you recall this document? Please read the preamble and the
23 first paragraph of the decision.
24 A. Do you want me to read this aloud?
25 JUDGE LINDHOLM: No. Just to yourself.
1 A. No.
2 JUDGE LINDHOLM: You don't recall that such a decision was taken
3 by the Crisis Staff?
4 A. No, I don't recall that, absolutely not; at least, as far as I
5 know, and especially this date here, the 15th of May. During that period,
6 that is, May, June, and July, I was mostly in Obudovac.
7 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Could the witness be shown Exhibit P99. Just
8 cast a glance on it and familiarise yourself with the document. Are you
9 familiar with this document?
10 A. I'm not familiar with this document either, but I'm familiar with
11 the situation which was to be found in Odzak at that time. I heard about
12 these problems.
13 JUDGE LINDHOLM: So you didn't draft this document?
14 A. No, I didn't.
15 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Okay. You said -- you told us earlier that the
16 activities of all the political parties was prohibited in
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Was the activities of the SDS also prohibited or
19 A. As far as I can remember, the activities of all the political
20 parties were forbidden, that is, in Republika Srpska, in the Serbian
21 Republic, and that also includes the SDS. And that lasted during a
22 certain period of time in 1992, but I cannot tell you the exact period
23 when that ban was in place. I can't remember the period when that was in
25 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you. Could document P113, 113, be placed
1 before the witness.
2 Do you recognise this document?
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE LINDHOLM: It is signed by you, yourself.
5 A. Yes. Yes. I had the authority to do that by Dr. Simic.
6 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Wasn't there a deputy president within the Crisis
8 A. I don't know whether a deputy was appointed or who that was, but I
9 do remember this document, and I remember that Dr. Simic ordered me to
10 sign it. I believe that he at the time was absent, or was supposed to go
11 somewhere. In any case, he ordered me to forward this urgently to
12 Mr. Todorovic [phoen].
13 JUDGE LINDHOLM: I would like to have Exhibit P83 shown to the
15 As you can see, this is a document or a decision issued by the War
16 Presidency of Samac municipality. Have you seen this document before?
17 Are you familiar with it?
18 A. Yes, I'm familiar with this document, and I remember when
19 approximately was the session at which this document was drafted and when
20 a vote was given in favour of appointing this commission. Let me just say
21 to you that I believe I did not attend that particular session, but I
22 received an instruction from that session to type up this decision.
23 JUDGE LINDHOLM: It's dated on the 2nd of October, 1992, as you
24 can see. Exchanges were carried out before that date. Who were in charge
25 of those earlier exchanges? Can you -- do you have any recollection of
2 A. I remember this period of May, June, and July. Once during that
3 period I was in that building where the Crisis Staff had its offices,
4 there was a meeting in progress, and Mr. Tadic was one of the people who
5 attended that meeting. I believe that one of the topics was exchange. I
6 heard that that was one of the issues discussed at that meeting, or the
7 issue discussed at that meeting.
8 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Did you ever discuss this document with anybody
10 A. This document?
11 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Yes.
12 A. Me?
13 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Did you discuss the content of this document with
14 somebody else?
15 A. I don't know how to answer that. What do you mean when you say
16 "did you discuss this document"? This was an instruction I received after
17 the meeting for me to type up this document. This means that at the
18 meeting, a decision was made that this commission was appointed, just like
19 it says in the document.
20 JUDGE LINDHOLM: If you didn't discuss this document with anybody
21 else, did you have any personal reflections about the content of Article
23 A. No. The document was typed as per instructions.
24 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Okay. Could document P98 be shown to the
1 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Your Honour --
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Just intervention, Your Honour. I do
4 apologise. If the document could accordingly be put on the ELMO for the
5 benefit of our client, because we have the instructions that they would
6 like to view such material. Thank you.
7 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Are you familiar with this document?
8 A. No.
9 JUDGE LINDHOLM: You've never seen it before?
10 A. No.
11 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you. Just one final question. If I
12 understood you correctly, you -- based on your notes which you took during
13 the meetings you attended of the Crisis Staff, you took notes, and on the
14 basis of your notes, you drafted the text, the draft text of any decision,
15 order, or conclusion; and then you handed it over to the president of the
16 Crisis Staff, Dr. Blagoje Simic. My question is the following: Did
17 Dr. Blagoje Simic go through, read through your drafts thoroughly and
18 carefully before he signed it, or perhaps ask for amendments in the text?
19 A. Dr. Simic read every enactment that was passed either at the
20 Crisis Staff or at the War Presidency, that is, those enactments that I
21 typed up. I'm talking about those documents that were -- the results of
22 those sessions that I attended. Many enactments were drafted based on the
23 proposals put forward by the Executive Board, because it was the members
24 of the Executive Board who attended the sessions of both the Crisis Staff
25 and the War Presidency.
1 JUDGE LINDHOLM: And one final short question. Were the drafts
2 you prepared, before they were signed, circulated between the other
3 members of -- or the members of the Crisis Staff before Dr. Blagoje Simic
4 signed the text?
5 A. As far as I remember, yes.
6 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Okay. Thank you. No further questions. Thank
7 you so much.
8 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Mr. Mitrovic, just a few other points I'd just
9 like to raise with you. To your knowledge, did the Crisis Staff report
10 to, shall we say, central state organs of Republika Srpska concerning the
11 activities of the Crisis Staff and later the War Presidency in Bosanski
13 A. I can't remember any specific case, because obviously I can't talk
14 about the sessions at which there were discussions about the things that
15 would be forwarded to the organs of Republika Srpska. But I do remember
16 that the minister for agriculture came. That was Mr. Nadezdin. And he
17 was together with Mr. Milan Simic, the president of the Executive Board.
18 The topic of their conversation, I don't know. I can only assume what
19 that was.
20 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you. Next: At the meetings of the Crisis
21 Staff that you attended, were police issues or military issues ever
23 A. I don't remember specifically that the work of the police, at
24 least at the meetings that I attended, was ever discussed. There was an
25 episode or an event, if I may continue.
1 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. Please continue.
2 A. I have just remembered. That there was a second episode involving
3 Mr. Todorovic, this second one that I remember. That was a case when a
4 priest was arrested. I believe he was a priest.
5 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. On that note, Mr. Mitrovic, maybe it's,
6 being that you have raised this, it was an issue that I myself was going
7 to ask you a question on.
8 I wonder whether the witness could be shown Exhibit P82, please,
9 in the ter version, and if it could also be put on the ELMO for the
10 accused persons.
11 MR. RE: Maybe we should be in private session for this, Your
12 Honours. There's a name in that particular exhibit.
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. I think that's correct. Thank you, Mr. Re.
14 [Private session]
12 Page 18731 – redacted – private session.
12 Page 18732 – redacted – private session.
15 [Open session]
16 THE REGISTRAR: We are now in open session.
17 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Maybe I should therefore just repeat the
18 question. Are you aware, and if you're not, simply say so, of a
19 recommendation by the government of Republika Srpska, in its conclusion of
20 21st of May, 1992, that crisis staffs be abolished so that the army can
21 take over defence?
22 A. As far as I remember, a decision was adopted by the government of
23 Republika Srpska, or the presidency of Republika Srpska. I'm not sure on
24 that one - a decision envisaging the possibility to appoint War
25 Commissions. The Official Gazette, our copies of the Official Gazette,
1 would arrive a bit late - excuse me - in view of our communication with
2 Pale, because the Official Gazette was published in Pale. And I remember
3 those problems too. We would receive our copies with a certain delay. I
4 know that I went to see Mr. Veljko Kostovic, the manager, or rather, the
5 editor of the Official Gazette.
6 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Sorry to interrupt you, Mr. Mitrovic. I mean, I
7 understand delays and so on and so forth, but if you could just tell me
8 whether you're aware of this conclusion of May 21st, 1992, that I mention,
9 and if you're not, simply say you're not.
10 A. Yes, I am, but the Official Gazette, this particular copy arrived
11 late, in July perhaps. I'm not sure. So yes, I did find out about that,
12 but at a later stage.
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you. The next question is: Are you aware
14 of any personal contacts between Dr. Blagoje Simic, in his capacity as
15 president of the Crisis Staff, any personal contacts between himself and
16 General Mladic regarding military operations and command problems?
17 A. No. I have no such information, no information that General
18 Mladic ever came to Samac.
19 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Not necessarily that he came, but any contact.
20 It could be on the telephone or fax or some other means of communication,
21 personal contact in any shape or form. Are you aware?
22 A. No. No, I'm not aware of anything like that.
23 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you. Did the members of the Crisis Staff
24 in Bosanski Samac wear uniforms or carry weapons, as far as you're aware?
25 A. As far as I remember, no, they didn't. But at the beginning of
1 war operations, which means in late April, everyone had been mobilised,
2 and everyone was wearing uniforms. Very soon, however, those who attended
3 sessions of the Crisis Staff, they were not -- they did not attend wearing
4 uniforms or carrying weapons. There were one or two persons there who
5 were providing security.
6 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you. I wonder whether the witness could be
7 shown Exhibit P108. This is the decision on renaming the town of Bosanski
9 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I do apologise. Is it time for a
10 break or shall we continue to work? I don't know what is the -- I do
11 apologise. It's my mistake. I thought it's 5.30. Sorry.
12 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. So do you have the document in front of you
13 there, Mr. Mitrovic? This is the decision on renaming the town of
14 Bosanski Samac. I'm wondering whether you would be able to tell us who
15 drafted this.
16 A. This document was drafted following a proposal by the Executive
17 Board at the session at which this decision was adopted, and as this was a
18 very important thing, renaming the town of Bosanski Samac, it was an
19 important decision to take. This decision was adopted on the initiative
20 of the Executive Board, I believe, and it was drafted at that session, the
21 wording of the decision. I think both Milan Simic and Mirko Lukic
22 attended this session, as well as the remaining members of the Crisis
24 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Who actually put pen to paper or fingers to
25 typewriters and actually gave hard copy to the discussion and the
2 A. This enactment, or rather, its very wording, was drafted, the
3 proposal of the Executive Board, and finally it was typed up following the
4 session during which it was discussed. It was then taken, or rather,
5 brought to the members of those who had attended the session, to read it,
6 to have a look, to insert corrections, if necessary. If I'm not mistaken,
7 I think it was also sent to the government.
8 JUDGE WILLIAMS: And do you recognise the signature on the bottom
9 right hand?
10 A. Well, Dr. Simic's signature looks very much like this, as far as I
11 know, this should be his signature.
12 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you, and I just have two final questions.
13 One concerns an issue that you've already addressed in a couple of
14 contexts this afternoon, and that is the relationship between the
15 Executive Board and the Crisis Staff in Bosanski Samac. And what I would
16 like to know, based on your personal knowledge and experience as the
17 secretary of the Crisis Staff and so on: Did the Executive Board report
18 to the Crisis Staff? Did the Crisis Staff decide on issues presented to
19 it by the Executive Board or was the Executive Board autonomous and could
20 make decisions in its own right?
21 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
23 MR. PANTELIC: Just a short intervention. What we heard in B/C/S
24 version, that the word "report" is -- word "report" in English was
25 translated in terms of inform, which I don't believe that this sense was
1 in Her Honour Judge Williams'. So maybe if I well understand, maybe we
2 could speak about the subordination or in terms of the constitution, et
3 cetera, and the de jure, de facto issues, because otherwise it might be
4 imprecise issue.
5 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. I thank you Mr. Pantelic. Maybe
6 Mr. Mitrovic has understood your intervention. Maybe I can put it in
7 another way. Was the chairman or chairperson of the Executive Board
8 responsible, or shall we say subordinate to the municipal Crisis Staff?
9 A. At the very beginning of my testimony today, I said that the
10 Crisis Staff, the way I understood the functioning of the Crisis Staff,
11 replaced in part the authorities of the Municipal Assembly, and by virtue
12 of that, it had a relationship with the Executive Board, the same kind of
13 relationship that the Municipal Assembly before it had. And precisely
14 because of that, and in order to clarify this situation, a decision was
15 adopted, as far as I remember, on the Executive Board. This decision
16 contained a list of duties or tasks to be carried out by the Executive
17 Board. Its relationship to the Municipal Assembly or the War Presidency
18 was also defined. This, after all, was regulated by the then existing law
19 on the state administration of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina, which said this, and this decision on the Executive Board
21 merely repeats this.
22 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. I wonder whether -- excuse me --
23 A. That the Executive Board.
24 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Sorry. I think just for the sake of clarity,
25 maybe if the witness could just be shown briefly P42, which is the
1 decision on the Executive Board and administrative bodies, and maybe you
2 could have a quick look at it and tell us whether it is the decision which
3 you've been giving us this explanation on.
4 [Trial Chamber confers with registrar]
5 JUDGE WILLIAMS: There's a correction here. It's actually P1 --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
7 JUDGE WILLIAMS: It's P112, not Exhibit P42. That's Exhibit P112.
8 So, Mr. Mitrovic, is this the document that you were referring to,
9 the decision that you were referring to?
10 A. Yes.
11 JUDGE WILLIAMS: So it does say in Article 1 that the board,
12 Executive Board shall report to the Assembly. In Article 3, it says that
13 the Crisis Staff shall decide in the selection of the chairman and
14 members, and then as you say Article 7 gives a list of duties. And then I
15 wonder whether you could look at Article 10, and you can see that states
16 that the Crisis Staff shall cancel or annul any decision of the Executive
17 Board. In your view, based on your experience in the Crisis Staff, what
18 would your interpretation of that be, in terms of subordination of the
19 Executive Board to the Crisis Staff?
20 A. Yes. Article 8 [as interpreted] contains the tasks and duties and
21 authorities of the Executive Board -- Article 7. These are also legal
23 JUDGE WILLIAMS: It's actually Article 10, though, I think, is the
24 one I'm most interested in.
25 A. Yes. The Executive Board performed its duties. I don't know
1 whether any decisions of the Executive Board were discussed at Crisis
2 Staff meetings, as decisions to be annulled or disputed or cancelled. The
3 Executive Board did not send all its documents to the Crisis Staff.
4 JUDGE WILLIAMS: As a lawyer and a secretary to the Crisis Staff,
5 would Article 10, a fair reading of Article 10, suggest that the Crisis
6 Staff had that capacity, in the right circumstances, to cancel or annul
7 decisions of the Executive Board, not in conformity with the constitution,
8 and so on?
9 A. Yes. That's what the decision says and that's how it was.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE WILLIAMS: I just have one last question. It does, however,
12 refer to four documents, but it's the same question related to all four.
13 So I'll just give the numbers. Perhaps if you could see them all at the
14 same time. They're all very short, just one-page documents. P74, P76,
15 P96, and P97. So that's 74, 76, 96, and 97, all Prosecution exhibits.
16 So, Mr. Mitrovic, you've taken a look at these four documents? So
17 just one question.
18 A. Yes, yes, yes.
19 JUDGE WILLIAMS: And the question is simply this: Did the Crisis
20 Staff in Bosanski Samac provide, number one, recruits, soldiers, men of
21 military age; number 2, supplies, whether it be food, uniforms, weapons;
22 and 3, any other type of logistical support for military units operating
23 in the territory of the municipality of Bosanski Samac?
24 A. As far as these enactments are concerned, I'm not familiar with
25 these. This is dated May and June. I'm not aware that anything related
1 to the use of military or security was discussed at the Crisis Staff, at
2 least while I was there. But pursuant to the law on defence of Republika
3 Srpska then in force, when there is an imminent threat of war or a state
4 of emergency, the municipal bodies and the Executive Board and the
5 municipality itself have the obligation to get involved and assist in
6 defence. That's what the law says, the law on defence of Republika
7 Srpska, and that's that. Now, as for these --
8 JUDGE WILLIAMS: So if I understand your answer correctly, you
9 have not seen these documents before. Thank you very much.
10 A. No.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: We shall take our break, and since we are a little
12 late, I think we shall continue at about a quarter past, 1815 hours
13 --- Recess taken at 5.52 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 6.16 p.m.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Any questions for the witness?
18 MR. PANTELIC: I thought maybe -- I was following the list of
19 exhibits, so I thought maybe some other questions will arise.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: No, no, no. No. We simply listed these exhibits in
21 case we needed to use them all. But otherwise it hasn't become necessary.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Okay. Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Pantelic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Mitrovic. Tell me: Do you know if
25 at the end of 1991/beginning of 1992, was there a Croatian community of
1 Bosanska Posavina created?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Do you know which area this Croatian community covered? I would
4 like to know if within the boundaries of that area was situated the
5 municipality of Samac.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Further, I would like to know if you can tell us: After the
8 plebiscite of the Serbian people in November of 1991, was there a creation
9 of the Peoples Assembly of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
10 A. Yes. Those are facts that are very well known by all.
11 Q. Since we all come from the -- both of us, we come from the same
12 legal system, I would like us to try to explain to the Chamber the Peoples
13 Assembly was the actual legislative body; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And the executive power was within the government; is that
17 A. Yes, it is.
18 Q. Within the government, there were various ministries, such as the
19 Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Agriculture, and so
20 on and so forth; is that correct?
21 A. Yes. Yes. And in the Official Gazette of the Republika Srpska,
22 this was published as well.
23 Q. The lowest form of the local government was the Municipal
24 Assembly; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Just a moment. Could we have Exhibit P124, please.
2 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Mitrovic, could you please take page 4. I
3 believe that that is the page that was put before you. For the Trial
4 Chamber and our learned friends, it is a document, it talks about a
5 decision about the creation of Pelagicevo, and I would like us to talk
6 about Article 6 of this decision.
7 Mr. Mitrovic, we know that Serb deputies in the parliament of BH
8 were overpowered in terms of voting by the Croatians and the Muslims. If
9 I tell you that Article 6 of this decision foresees the creation and the
10 functioning of the Municipal Assembly only if the interests of the Serb
11 people are infringed --
12 A. Yes, but if you allow me: In two or three sentences, I would like
13 to explain, if the Trial Chamber allows me to do so.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
15 A. I shall try to explain. A decision that the defendant is talking
16 about, the decision about the creation of municipality of Bosanski Samac
17 and Pelagicevo was rendered on the 29th of November -- 29th of February,
18 1992, and it was the deputies of Serb nationality that were present. I
19 did not attend that session. This decision was handed and shown to me.
20 It was already passed. But this decision, if I believe, was adopted when
21 the Assembly of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina passed a decision
22 regarding the referendum for the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
23 At the same time, the Serb deputies were outvoted. And that is the
24 situation in the statute of the Republika Srpska. If, for instance, the
25 Assembly of the Republika Srpska of today was to render a decision that it
1 should be rejoined to Serbia, it would constitute an infringement of vital
2 rights of the Bosnians in Republika Srpska, and it is for sure that such a
3 decision could not be adopted today and could not be passed as a decision.
4 And with regards to this, I consider that even then, this is
5 precisely what happened at the time, the infringement of the rights of one
6 people, and such a decision on behalf of Serb deputies were conditionally
7 adopted. The Article 6 which you are mentioning talks about the fact that
8 Serb municipality of Bosanski Samac is adopting the regulation at the
9 federal level and of Bosnia-Herzegovina if it does not infringe the
10 interests of the Serb population. And because it was an outvoting and the
11 referendum -- the decision about the referendum with regards to the
12 independence, this is exactly what happened. So this is how this article
13 can be interpreted.
14 However, regarding Article 5, when Judge Williams asked me about
15 this, it does say that the Serb deputies make up that Assembly. But
16 Article 6 can perhaps explain why this is so.
17 MR. PANTELIC:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Very well. I would like you to go to the next
19 page, page 5. It is a decision about the functioning of municipality of
20 Samac. It says the secretary of the Assembly has to help the president of
21 the Assembly with regards to the organisation and so on and so forth. We
22 talked about this, Professor Nikolic talked to us about the law. But I
23 would like to know what is your personal opinion as a legal person. Could
24 you tell us exactly what this is?
25 MR. RE: So the transcript is completely clear, perhaps
1 Mr. Pantelic could tell us which article he's referring to, the decision
2 number and the article of it.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Maybe it's a problem of transcript. I will repeat
4 it. It's Article 8 of the Decision of the Temporary Rules of Municipality
5 of Samac.
6 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Actually, just to be clear, in our translation is
7 says, Decision on Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Samac Municipal
9 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Your Honour. That's correct.
10 Q. [Interpretation] We have jurists that come from various legal
11 systems, but let's talk about our legal system from which we both come
12 from. Could you please describe to us, Mr. Mitrovic, what is the role
13 that plays the president of the Municipal Assembly? We know in Bosnia
14 right now there is a mayor. It is a function that resembles the one that
15 exists in the west. But at the time we did not have a mayor but we had
16 the president of the Municipal Assembly. What was the role of that person
17 with respect to other deputies? Did that person, the president, have more
18 rights, more rights of votes, et cetera, et cetera? How was that applied
19 in practice?
20 A. If we talk about the president of the Municipal Assembly, as far
21 as I know, and I believe that I can explain this, since even today I deal
22 with these things. Now I have much more experience, I'm more a
23 professional right now. But the president of the Municipal Assembly is
24 the first person amongst equals, and he presides the sessions of the
25 Municipal Assembly. He is a deputy of that same Assembly. He calls the
1 sessions of the Municipal Assembly. He is the one who proposes the points
2 to be discussed, and he is the one who proposes the points of the agenda,
3 the items on the agenda that will be discussed, and he is also the one who
4 raises other enactments, raises discussions about other enactments which
5 are proposed to him by the Executive Board, and all this is then discussed
6 at the Municipal Assembly. The secretary is the person who will help and
7 assist during the preparation of this Assembly, the secretary sends the
8 material to various deputies, convenes the session, and takes care of
9 other technical aspects.
10 Now, today, within the Republika Srpska, we have a mayor, and at
11 the time there was the Executive Board. But it is the same body, the same
12 executive body, which has operative, executory duties, that is the body
13 that is a representative of the policies of the municipality and the
14 president of the Assembly does not have all that many rights, if I may say
16 So I'm trying to explain to you what the Municipal Assembly is
17 like and the president of the Assembly, of the Municipal Assembly, what
18 that person would do. And just one more sentence. When the War
19 Presidency stopped or ceased to exist, the Municipal Assembly had its
20 full -- or started working in its full capacity. The president of the
21 Assembly and the secretary were also there, and the procedure was
22 established enabling this body to exist and to function. So the president
23 of the Assembly, if this is what you're thinking of, did not have any more
24 rights than the Executive Board.
25 Q. During war, and you will certainly agree with me that it is
1 necessary to make decisions in a quick manner, and so the government of
2 Republika Srpska had to adopt decisions and the ministries had to make
3 decrees at the time to issue decrees very quickly; is that correct?
4 A. Yes, that is correct.
5 Q. Those decrees stemming from the government were necessary for the
6 ministries to function at the level of the municipalities?
7 A. Yes, and with regards to the Executive Board as a whole.
8 Q. As a person who has experience in this field, as a lawyer, could
9 you please explain the Trial Chamber who was at the level of the Municipal
10 Assembly, or who at the level of the Municipal Assembly had a greater
11 power in terms of budget, organisation? Was it the Executive Board or was
12 it the Municipal Assembly or if such a body could not convene, was it the
13 Crisis Staff?
14 A. Up until that time -- at the time, actually, I had just
15 graduated. So in 1992 I had some experience, but not that much, with
16 regards to the functioning of municipal bodies. Now I have much more
17 experience, of course. I can say it openly. But the fact is the
18 following: The Executive Board, since this is what you're asking me to
19 explain, had the power to dispose of the budget, so they are the ones who
20 had to deal with the pay, payment of salaries for the people who were
21 working, they could dispose of the money that was going to be spent for
22 everything they needed, and for other outlays.
23 Q. With regards to a question that was posed to you by the Honourable
24 Judge Williams, you've answered that during the war, in times of war, the
25 local municipality, as a body of the Municipal Assembly, had to help with
1 regards to food and to distribute food and other important staples, and
2 that was its duty, if I do not -- if I'm not mistaken.
3 A. Yes. At the time, the law of the National Defence stipulated
4 this. This is how it was called.
5 Q. But the process of recruiting -- and who was recruiting members?
6 Who was filling out the ranks of the military?
7 A. This process of recruiting members and deploying those members of
8 the reserve army members, at the time it was the Ministry of Defence, and
9 it went down the ladder, all the way down to the level of the
11 Q. Bearing in mind the specific structure of the police force, that
12 is, the ministry of the exterior [as interpreted] and the army and bearing
13 in mind that subordination, tell me, according to the regulations that
14 were in force at the time, in 1992 and 1993 was the Municipal Assembly in
15 a position to issue orders either to the police or the military? Can you
16 tell me that?
17 A. I believe that the use, the combat use of the army units and the
18 police units was not within the purview of any of the municipal organs,
19 even if they had wanted to do so. There was the law on the Ministry of
20 the Interior and the internal affairs which regulated the tasks, duties,
21 and the use of police, and there was also the law on National Defence,
22 which regulated the issues pertaining to mobilisation, the use of army
23 units, Territorial Defence, and so on and so forth.
24 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have now Exhibit P112, please.
25 Q. [Interpretation] The question was about this decision. You
1 provided us with a lot of details. However, in order to clarify things,
2 when we look at Article 7 of this decision, we can see a rather wide
3 spectrum of duties and obligations of the Executive Board. You have
4 talked in great detail about that. Will you agree with me when I say that
5 at the local level, effectively the Municipal Assembly was a legislative
6 body and that the Executive Board had a number of operational functions
7 which are envisaged by Article 7 of this decision?
8 A. One could say that the Municipal Assembly was some sort of a
9 legislative body and had legislative functions at the local level.
10 Obviously, it could not pass decisions in the form of a law. It could
11 only adopt other more general enactments. As for the authorities and
12 competencies of the Executive Board which are given in Article 7 of this
13 decision, those are also given in the law on state administration which
14 was in force at that time.
15 Q. And now if we look at Article 8, it's paragraph 2, will you agree
16 with me if I say that effectively the Executive Board was in charge of the
17 organisation of the totality of the life in the municipality and that it
18 was duty-bound to inform the Municipal Assembly of -- on its activities
19 and results? In other words, isn't it true that the Executive Board was
20 independent in what it did?
21 A. I can say that the Executive Board was at that time a body which
22 performed its legal tasks and duties, including the ones that you've
23 mentioned. For that matter, at the few sessions of the Crisis Staff that
24 I attended, and based on the knowledge that I have on that matter,
25 representatives of the crisis -- of the Executive Board --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
2 A. -- did come to those meetings. The president of the Executive
3 Board and its vice-president, and others as well, if that was necessary.
4 MR. PANTELIC:
5 Q. [Interpretation] All right. Thank you. Let me just look at an
6 enactment that I have here, briefly.
7 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have Exhibit P113, please.
8 Q. [Interpretation] This happened a long time ago, but I would like
9 to refresh your memory. The last sentence, i.e., the paragraph 2 of this
10 decision, reads: "The presence of the War President, for objective
11 reasons, has been prevented from coming because he was injured and
12 therefore in treatment."
13 Do you remember that at that time Dr. Simic was absent because he
14 had been wounded and had to be treated for that wound? Do you remember
16 A. I remember, as far as I can, but I know for a fact that he ordered
17 me to type this urgently and hand it over to Todorovic. He was absent
18 indeed, because he had to go for this treatment that you've mentioned.
19 And that is why, at the place of the signature, it says "on behalf of the
20 War Presidency." It doesn't say "the War Presidency or the secretary of
21 the War Presidency or president of the War Presidency." It says "signed
22 on behalf or for the War Presidency."
23 Q. Will you agree with me when I say that among the members of the
24 Crisis Staff, there were members of various political parties, that there
25 were members of the reformists, of liberals? We're talking about the year
1 1992, and that there were also people that did not belong to any of the
2 parties. Are you aware of that? Can you tell us if you are aware of that
4 A. I must say that at that time, I didn't know almost anybody among
5 those people who featured as members of the Crisis Staff. I had never met
6 them before. I didn't know them at the time.
7 Q. Did you get to know them later on?
8 A. Yes, I did. Later on I also learned that some of them were not
9 members of the SDS or had not been its members.
10 Q. Tell me, please: As regards the implementation of certain state
11 regulations at the local level, did these regulations ever come from the
12 SDS as a party, or did they come from the competent organs of the
13 government, for example, ministries?
14 A. I must repeat, and I've already said that the Official Gazette of
15 Republika Srpska, during that period of time, that is, in 1992, arrived
16 with a delay.
17 Q. I'm sorry. I have to interrupt you. You've already explained
18 that. Was the SDS the body that adopted regulations?
19 A. No, no. It was not the SDS. It was the government Republika
20 Srpska or its competent bodies, ministries and other bodies.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, remember not to interrupt the witness.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. I was -- well, Your Honour, of course that
23 was not my intention, since the witness already explained that in response
24 to the Chamber's question, I just wanted to wind up, since I'm limited
25 with time. But I will of course take care about it. Thank you, Your
2 Could we have Exhibit P88, please.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Mitrovic, have you ever seen this decision?
4 Did you maybe participate in its drafting? Can you please put it on the
5 ELMO so that our defendants can also see it. Maybe you can have a look at
6 it first, a closer look at it first, and then return it on the ELMO. But
7 please take your time. I don't want to rush you. Just take your time
8 reading this decision.
9 My question is as follows: Since this decision is in the Latinic
10 script and it was typed on a computer, is that what you used in the Crisis
11 Staff, or did you use a typewriter with a Cyrillic script? What was the
12 situation like at the time? Can you tell us?
13 A. I must admit that I do not remember this order. I really don't.
14 But I do know that a government's decision was published and that it read
15 something along these lines. You can check that in the Official Gazette
16 of Republika Srpska. And it is also a decision regarding the confiscated
17 goods or something like that. As for the typewriter, this is not a
18 typewriter, actually.
19 Q. Did you yourself use this type of a typewriter or a computer in
20 the Crisis Staff?
21 A. No. No, it wasn't a computer; it was a mechanical typewriter. At
22 that time we did not have a computer, no.
23 Q. Was that a typewriter with a Cyrillic script or a Latinic script?
24 A. I believe that it was a typewriter with a Latinic script, as far
25 as I can remember.
1 Q. Very well, then. Tell me, please, Mr. Mitrovic: The decisions
2 adopted by the Crisis Staff and the War Presidency, were they discussed by
3 the Municipal Assembly which was reconvened for the first time when
4 conditions for the beginning of the work of the Municipal Assembly were in
5 place? Do you remember that? Do you remember if these decisions were
6 ever discussed by the Municipal Assembly?
7 A. I remember that the Municipal Assembly, at that session which was
8 called in December 1992, established a committee or a commission which was
9 to gather all the decisions passed by the Crisis Staff, to sort them out,
10 to look at them, to analyse them, and to report to the Municipal Assembly
11 at the next session and propose them for the ratification by the Municipal
12 Assembly, and this is exactly what was done.
13 Q. Tell me, please: Do you have any personal knowledge about the
14 work of Stevan Todorovic at a certain period of time being controlled by
15 the commission of the Ministry of the Interior? Do you remember that?
16 A. You're talking about the chief of police?
17 Q. Yes.
18 A. No, I can't recall any such thing.
19 Q. And just one more question about the seat of the Crisis Staff.
20 Immediately upon the outbreak of the conflict, was the seat of the Crisis
21 Staff on the premises of the city heating plant?
22 A. I believe that the organs of the municipality, that is, both the
23 Crisis Staff and the Executive Board, had its premises in the building of
24 the municipality. That is the first days they spent in that company that
25 mentioned. After that, they moved to the municipal building, but soon
1 after that, I don't know after how much time, due to the war operations,
2 the building of the municipality is very close to the Sava River, and
3 there were war operations from the opposite bank, from the side of
4 Croatia, and there was shooting at Samac and on the municipal building.
5 One building close to the municipal building got a flame, and that is when
6 these two bodies had to move again, and I believe that they moved to the
7 building of the heating plant of the town's heating plant.
8 Q. And the Executive Board and its services, did they continue to
9 occupy the municipal building?
10 A. Yes. Mostly the Executive Board operated from the municipal
11 building, save for some short period of time when there were intense war
12 operations. So the Executive Board was continuously there in the
13 municipal building.
14 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge or do you remember whether
15 Dr. Blagoje Simic ever participated in the appointment of military
16 commanders? Did he have that possibility? Were there such situations in
17 which he would appoint a commander in the territory of Samac
18 municipality? If you know that, can you share that information with us.
19 A. I don't know of any such cases. I don't have any knowledge about
20 such cases. But I remember that Mr. Zaric was appointed by him, that is,
21 proposed by him, for the post -- for a certain post in the Ministry of the
22 Interior. I believe that he did that on behalf of the Crisis Staff and
23 the Executive Board, but I -- as I say, I believe that this is the
24 appointment that did take place, as far as I know.
25 MR. PANTELIC: I've finished with my examination. Thank you, Your
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Since we have only about three minutes, we'll
4 adjourn and continue our proceedings tomorrow. Tomorrow our session will
5 be in the morning.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.57 p.m.,
7 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 29th day of
8 April 2003, at 9.00 a.m.