1 Thursday, 1 May 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Good morning. Please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. Case number IT-95-9-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and Simo Zaric.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can the witness make the solemn declaration,
11 WITNESS: CEDOMIR SIMIC
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
14 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Please sit down.
16 Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
18 Examined by Mr. Pantelic:
19 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, sir. Mr. Simic, can you please
20 adjust your headphones. You'll hear better. Thank you very much.
21 Will you please introduce yourself for the record.
22 A. My name is Cedomir Simic, from Bosanski Samac.
23 Q. You are Dr. Blagoje Simic's brother, aren't you?
24 A. Yes, I am.
25 Q. Mr. Simic, today we shall be talking about the statement 92 bis,
1 as per the instructions of the Trial Chamber, certain paragraphs and
2 certain topics have to be discussed during your testimony before this
3 Trial Chamber. Since we're speaking the same language, for the benefit of
4 the interpreters, can you please make a short break after my question. In
5 that way, we shall have an accurate record of your statement.
6 Mr. Simic, you have given your detailed statement. You have
7 signed it in the presence of the representatives of the Tribunal.
8 However, for this case and for providing better information for this Trial
9 Chamber, could you please answer the following questions that I'm going to
10 put to you.
11 In 1992, you were a member of a political party. What party was
13 A. I was a member of the socialist party. That was the SDP. The
14 president of that party was Nijaz Durakovic.
15 Q. That was at the level of Bosnian Herzegovina, and those were the
16 successors of the League of Communists; isn't that correct?
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 Q. Later on, in 1996, did you join another party?
19 A. Since this first party was frozen during 1992, I was not a member
20 of any party up to 1996 or early 1997, and then I joined the Serbian
21 Democratic Party.
22 Q. After that period, after 1997, generally speaking, did you join
23 any other party? If so, what party was that?
24 A. In 1998, I joined the ranks of Biljana Plavsic's party, i.e., the
25 party of the Serbian democratic alliance. A fraction of that party became
1 the democratic peoples alliance, and that is the party that I am a member
2 of to this very day.
3 Q. For a number of years, you were the CEO of the trading company
4 called Samcanka, and you held that same position in mid-April 1992; is
5 that correct?
6 A. I was the CEO from 1988, and the name of the company was Bosanka,
7 the Bosanka company. During 1992, the Bosanka company became the Samcanka
8 trading company. I continued serving as the CEO of that company.
9 Q. Currently you --
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, do not repeat what is in the
12 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Because you are only taking up your time, and you
14 have one hour.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Your Honour, for your instructions.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: This witness would have been very brief if you stuck
17 to what was required to testify on.
18 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. I'll take care about that.
19 Thank you.
20 Q. [Interpretation] Currently you are a member of the municipal
21 administration of Samac municipality?
22 A. Yes. I am the chief of the department for economy of the
23 municipality of Bosanski Samac.
24 Q. Mr. Simic, were you a member of the 4th Detachment in 1992?
25 A. Yes, I was.
1 Q. When were you mobilised?
2 A. I don't remember exactly, but I received my call-up papers
3 sometime in March 1992.
4 Q. Tell me: Where were you on the night between the 16th and the
5 17th of April, 1992?
6 A. During that night, I was at home.
7 Q. In the morning, in the early morning hours of that night, on the
8 17th of April, around 3.00 in the morning, there was an armed conflict in
9 Samac, and that is not disputable. What did you do at that moment? Did
10 you do anything?
11 A. As I said, I was at home that night, and it was only in the
12 morning, since the telephones didn't work, did I find out from the courier
13 that the forces of the 17th Tactical Group occupied certain points in the
14 town of Samac. That was a preventive measure on their part.
15 Q. When you say the 17th Tactical Group, who do you mean? How many
16 detachments were there in that Tactical Group, if you know?
17 A. I don't know how many troops were there, how many detachments were
18 there, but I know that this was a regular army and that there were also
19 volunteers from Serbia there.
20 Q. When the courier from the 4th Detachment came, what did you do?
21 A. I was told to stay at home. And since my area is densely
22 populated, other neighbours, other members of the detachment, were also
23 told to stay at home.
24 Q. Tell me: What happened next, over the next few days? Did
25 somebody come to fetch you? Were you told what you were supposed to do?
1 Can you tell us briefly what happened?
2 A. On the 18th of April, 1992, a police vehicle came with one
3 policeman in it. He came to fetch me, and the explanation was that I was
4 needed by the president of the Executive Board, Mr. Mirko Jovanovic, and
5 that I was to report to the agricultural combine. Together with this
6 policeman, I went to the agricultural combine and I found a large group of
7 deputies and businessmen there. And after a short conversation, the then
8 president of the Executive Board, Mirko Jovanovic, invited a number of
9 business people to follow him to the Municipal Assembly building. There
10 we discussed the ways to provide for the normalisation of life in the area
11 of the municipality as far as the institutions and the companies were
12 concerned, and the supply of the population with staple foods. This was
13 also discussed in the Municipal Assembly building.
14 Q. If you remember, can you please tell us: During that meeting with
15 the president of the Executive Board, Mr. Mirko Jovanovic, who else was
16 there? Who were the other business people, CEOs of various companies who
17 were there at that time?
18 A. I remember that in the office of the president of the Executive
19 Board, there was Milan Simic, Mirko Lukic. There were directors Juro
20 Krajinovic, the director of Velopromet; then Pero Vasiljevic, the CEO of
21 the department store; and I believe there was Stefan Tutnjevic from the
22 agricultural combine.
23 Q. Could you please slow down for the record. Let's just correct
24 some things in the record. Tell me. Juro Krajinovic was the CEO of what
1 A. Velopromet. Of the three trading companies, Velopromet was a
2 wholesale company which supplied the other two trading companies with
4 Q. Mr. Juro Krajinovic is of what ethnic background?
5 A. He is a Croat and he had been the director of that company for two
6 or three years before the beginning of war operations.
7 Q. And another correction in the transcript, please. What was the
8 name of the director of the department store? Can you please pronounce
9 his name slowly for the record.
10 A. The director of the department store was Pero Vasiljevic [Realtime
11 transcript read in error missing word "Vasiljevic"].
12 Q. Although we have had a lot of testimonies speaking about the
13 atmosphere in Samac during those days, could you please tell us something
14 about the situation in your company that prevailed at that time. As far
15 as I understood, your company -- I apologise. My colleague has drawn my
16 attention to the fact that in your answer --
17 MR. PANTELIC: It's just for the record. It's page 6, line 11.
18 After the name Pero, it should be his family name Vasiljevic.
19 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE WILLIAMS: I wonder, Mr. Simic, could you tell us what the
22 name of the agricultural combine was that you were asked to go to the
23 meeting at.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The agricultural combine was the
25 industrial and agricultural combine of Bosanski Samac. That was its name
1 then and that is still its name.
2 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
3 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. So follow up on this question of the Honourable Judge Williams, in
5 the popular jargon, wasn't the abbreviation for that company PIK?
6 A. Yes. It was the industrial and agricultural combine.
7 Q. But in the every day conversations, people do not use the long
8 name. They call this company PIK, don't they, P-I-K?
9 A. Yes, that is correct.
10 Q. We've heard a lot of testimonies talking about the situation
11 during those days in Samac, fighting started, and we will not go over that
12 ground, because that is not the topic of your testimony. However, your
13 company was very specific. You had a number of retail shops in town. How
14 did the situation reflect on the activities of your company? What did you
15 do in order to bring the situation in your company to some sort of a
16 normal situation?
17 A. On the 18th and 19th of April, 1992, I had some conversation with
18 the president of the Executive Board, and we agreed that we should try our
19 utmost to provide the population with staple foods in order to provide for
20 the normal life in town. So all of our retail shops had to be open and
21 accessible to the population. They had to serve their needs.
22 We also agreed that certain measures should be taken in respect of
23 the state companies and institutions which operated in Samac, this with a
24 view to provide for the normal operation of these companies. The
25 Hranaprodukt company was given the most attention. This company is the
1 processing company for the processing of food and vegetables. And during
2 power cuts, all of their stocks were -- could perish. Also we agreed to
3 take certain measures in the industrial and agricultural combine, because
4 there was a certain number of head of cattle for which we had to provide
5 water and fodder. There were over 400 bulls which had to be fed. We also
6 talked about the Uniglas company, the factory for the processing of glass
7 panels for cars. The shelling had already started, and we saw that the
8 complete stock of that company came under threat. Therefore, we had to
9 take measures for these glass panels to be secured.
10 Q. Very well, then, Mr. Simic. Mr. Simic, you're an experienced
11 businessman. Let us try to draw a conclusion. A number of CEOs and
12 members of the Executive Boards took all the measures they could to
13 prevent possible damage from occurring and to save the property of all
14 those companies?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Next question, vital to our case, is the following: How many
17 retail shops were there within the framework of your company, in the Samac
19 A. Prior to the outbreak of war operations --
20 Q. Excuse me. I must interrupt you here. I'm talking about the
21 period after the war had broken out. How many of your retail shops were
22 still in operation? That's what I want to know.
23 A. In the territory of Samac municipality, after the outbreak of war
24 operations, I don't know the exact number, but about 45 retail shops in
25 that area.
1 Q. Immediately after the 17th of April, those retail shops, can you
2 please tell the Trial Chamber: What was the predominant nationality of
3 the employees in those retail shops, both the managers and the common
5 A. The entire company of Bosanka, and this includes the retail shops,
6 all three ethnic groups were represented: Serbs, Croats, and Muslims.
7 Q. Can you please tell me: What was the role of putting -- of
8 keeping the companies as efficient as possible, with a view to supplying
9 the civilian population of Samac municipality with staple goods? What was
10 the situation? What were the needs of the civilian population and how did
11 that function on a day-to-day basis?
12 A. After the outbreak of war operations, and after we talked to the
13 president of the Executive Board, we took all the measures available to us
14 to keep the shops open and to provide the citizens with staple goods.
15 There was a commission, an appointed commission, which went door to door,
16 activating workers and managers who were materially responsible for the
17 goods, for keeping the shops open, for providing citizens with the
18 necessary goods.
19 Q. Were citizens of all three ethnic backgrounds in the same position
20 in as far as their access to those shops? Were all three ethnic
21 backgrounds or nationalities allowed to use your shops, the shops owned by
22 your company?
23 A. I state this with full responsibility. As far as our retail shops
24 were concerned, our workers, our managers, no distinction was ever made
25 with respect to people's ethnic backgrounds. At that time, we really
1 cared about keeping our shops open and providing citizens with goods,
2 throughout the municipal territory.
3 Q. In your company, who was the chief of finances?
4 A. The chief of the financial sector in my company, throughout the
5 war and even now, is Jusufovic [as interpreted], B.A. in economics. He is
6 a Muslim by nationality.
7 MR. PANTELIC: Just for the record, Your Honour, it's page 10,
8 line 4. The complete name of the person mentioned by this witness is
9 Jusuf Jusufovic. Jusuf is the name and Jusufovic is the family name.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
11 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
12 Q. [Interpretation] Can you please tell me: In your company, you
13 mentioned that there were all the different nationalities, but Mr. Sego
14 was also one of the managers. Can you please tell us which official
15 position he held?
16 A. Drago Sego, throughout the whole period under observation here,
17 was our cashier in the Bosanka company. Since 1988. Today he is a
18 retired employee of the same company.
19 Q. During 1992 and 1993, these closest colleagues of yours, closest
20 collaborators who had a lot of authority, one of them was a Croat and one
21 of them was a Muslim, kept working for your company without any difficulty
22 at all?
23 A. Yes, that's correct.
24 Q. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber: In 1991, 1992, and 1993,
25 the employees of your company, were they paid salaries in return for their
2 A. All those employed by our company had work obligations or
3 assignments. I was the head of that company and the same applied to me
4 and to all the other employees. We had our book of rules concerning
5 awards given to employees. All employees were paid their regular salary,
6 their meals, and we provided all the other incentives that we could
7 throughout that period to our employees. No distinction was made on the
8 basis of someone's nationality.
9 Q. Throughout that period, were the contributions for the pension
10 fund and for the social insurance also paid to your workers?
11 A. Pursuant to the laws, all the contributions were being paid, the
12 supplements for the health insurance and for the pension fund of those
14 Q. You talked about the war assignment or the war obligation -- the
15 work assignment or the work obligation. Did you also have a work
16 obligation as the head of that company?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. The decision on the work assignment, did that go through the
19 office [as interpreted] of the Ministry of Defence in Samac, the local
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Just for the record, instead of word "office" in
23 page 11, line 18, should be "detachment" of -- municipal detachment of
24 Ministry of Defence. Just for the clarification. Otherwise everything is
1 Q. [Interpretation] So all the employees, all the remaining
2 employees, had received decisions from the Ministry of Defence for their
3 work, the continuation of their activities?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You personally, throughout 1992 and 1993 - and that's what we're
6 looking at now for the needs of this case - did you only have a work
7 obligation or did your daily activity cover something else too?
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours --
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We have a problem because the channel
11 we're using to listen to the B/C/S translation, we are now receiving
12 French translation. I'm not sure about the witness, but we here do have a
13 technical problem and we're listening to the French translation on channel
14 6. So if you could please check this with the witness.
15 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. I'll repeat my question, and you, Mr. Simic, please tell me if
17 there is a problem in terms of the translation you're receiving.
18 A. Everything is perfectly fine.
19 Q. Very well. I'll go back to my previous question. In 1992 and
20 1993, aside from having been assigned your work obligation as the head of
21 the company, what were your other duties?
22 A. I had a military obligation too. I had a military obligation as a
23 soldier, and my assignment was to go to the line of defence, around
25 Q. As far as I understand, that was the front line.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. This strikes me as slightly strange, if I may say, but I have to
3 explain this to the Trial Chamber. You were the manager, the head of this
4 very important company. You had a work obligation, but at the same time
5 you had received a war assignment, and you had to risk your life on the
6 front line. Please, can you explain this?
7 MR. WEINER: I'd object, Your Honour. Who is testifying here?
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. The question -- the objection is
9 that the question was leading.
10 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. I do apologise.
11 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Simic, can you please tell the Trial
12 Chamber: How did this come about, you having both a work obligation and a
13 war, or rather, military assignment? Briefly, please.
14 A. No exceptions were made. All those who were of military age and
15 able-bodied had to go to the line of defence, and those who could keep
16 working in the companies kept on working. I had a work obligation in my
17 company, but I also had a war assignment, a military assignment.
18 Q. Tell us, please: What do you know about the fact that with the
19 hyperinflation galloping in 1992 and 1993, how were salaries paid to
20 people? How did that happen under those difficult circumstances in 1992
21 and 1993?
22 A. With hyperinflation, with war economy, while the existing
23 infrastructure was being destroyed and, on the other hand, with the
24 growing needs of the population throughout the period for staple foods,
25 for communal services, for medicines - we're talking about the health
1 centre and the hospital - pursuant to a request of the Executive Board, a
2 solution had to be found how to provide and supply the goods with
3 galloping hyperinflation by the hour, so to speak.
4 Q. We'll come to that later, but now I want to know about the
5 following: In view of the hyperinflation and the devaluation of salaries,
6 how did you compensate the workers for their salaries? Can you tell us
7 about that? What sort of remuneration did they get?
8 A. As far as I can remember, in view of their salary, the employees
9 were given the equivalent value in goods, goods that were necessary to
10 live on in those circumstances, and the same applied to myself.
11 Q. Another topic which is relevant for this case, at least the
12 Defence believe so, the concept of state-owned companies, or state-run
13 companies. In 1992 and 1993, what was the structure of the large
14 companies that you have spoken about and other companies in the Samac
15 area? I'm talking about the companies of considerable size.
16 A. The whole of the local economy, before the war, was based on
17 state-owned companies. Actually, socially owned enterprises and later
18 they became state-owned companies. So I repeat: All the local economy in
19 the Samac area was based on the socially owned enterprises.
20 Q. What was the role of Samac municipality in terms of appointing
21 managers and CEOs to these socially owned enterprises? Was there any kind
22 of relationship at work there?
23 A. Based on the war laws and on instructions by the relevant
24 ministries, the Executive Board appointed coordinators to these companies,
25 so that all the socially owned enterprises and companies had their own
1 coordinator or war manager.
2 Q. The next question following up, a follow-up question: Did the
3 Executive Board also appoint coordinators to privately owned companies, or
4 did this only apply to the socially owned enterprises and companies?
5 A. This only applied to the socially owned ones, as far as I
7 Q. Tell me briefly, please: The Ministry of Defence of Republika
8 Srpska, did they have provisions regulating the functioning of the economy
9 in terms of the needs of the Ministry of Defence in wartime? Can you tell
10 us anything about that?
11 A. As far as I remember, we had very strict war laws, wartime laws
12 and regulations, which applied to the economy, to production, to the
13 placement of goods, and to securing the needs of the population.
14 Q. Tell us about the activities of your own company pursuant to
15 requests of the military administration in Odzak. Were there any
16 obligations you had to meet there?
17 A. Based on the information that we had in the area of Odzak
18 municipality, people were returning there, and the Executive Board made a
19 request for us to open three shops, to open up three shops in the area,
20 general goods, to meet the needs of the population returning there and
21 supplying goods for the population only in the area of Odzak municipality
22 in that particular period.
23 Q. Please tell us: On the territory of the municipality of Samac -
24 and I'm speaking about the area which belonged to the Serb part - was
25 there a production? What was being produced in various companies and
1 firms, according to you?
2 A. After the normalisation of life in wartime, with regards to the
3 supplying of hospitals, with medicine and food staples for various
4 companies, we had to accomplish springtime sowing, and this usually
5 happens in April and in May. So we had to make sure that the sowing was
6 not postponed, because in that time, it means that when we talk about
7 various foods, we would not be able to produce it.
8 Q. Very well. Thank you. Is there a company which produces boilers
9 in Samac?
10 A. Let me tell you --
11 Q. No. Let us get to the point. Is there a company which produces
13 A. Yes. The company is called Mebos and it produces boilers in
15 Q. During the year of 1992 and 1993, was the production of boilers
16 made -- repeated in that company?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Were these products being sold?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Who was the intermediary? Who was making sure that the products
21 of that company were placed on the marketplace?
22 A. Well, the exchanges were necessary at the time, and the Executive
23 Board created a company in Stara Pazova, and Radul Smiljkovic became the
24 CEO of that company. He was from Serbia. That company was the
25 intermediary with regards to the placement of boilers on the marketplace
1 and other products.
2 Q. Stara Pazova is in Serbia; is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Please tell me: When products stemming from the municipality of
5 Samac, and when they were placed on the marketplace through that
6 intermediary, what did you need for the needs of the population? For
7 instance, if you sell boilers, what do you get in exchange?
8 A. When we were selling boilers in that particular case, the priority
9 was given to staple foods and consumer goods, as well as the medication
10 for pharmaceutical purposes, and other material needed for the production
11 of boilers.
12 Q. Aside from the production of boilers, in 1992, in 1993, in Samac,
13 was there any other type of production made?
14 A. Yes. The industry of furniture existed, and still exists today.
15 Buducnost is a company which produced upholstered furniture and various
16 different types of furniture, and that company was opened during the war,
17 and it is still open today.
18 Q. Since Samac was in an area which was predominantly an agricultural
19 area, can you tell us if those products were also being sold and exchanged
20 on the marketplace?
21 A. I would like to say that the fattened bulls were particularly
22 interesting, and they came from the combine of Samac. And Hranaprodukt,
23 there was a deep-freeze programme for various foods, and that was the
24 exchange that existed in Stara Pazova.
25 Q. Can you tell us: What kind of pharmaceutical products were made,
1 or what is that the hospitals needed and what did that company provide to
2 supply various hospitals for the needs of your area and of foreign
4 A. Our area is a risky area for a disease with -- in terms of --
5 Q. I'm sorry. I have to interrupt you because I will have to repeat
6 my question. I'm not satisfied with the translation of my question.
7 Please tell the court: What kind of medical supplies did that
8 company produce in Stara Pazova for the needs of Serbia, the area of
9 Serbia, and also for the needs of foreign countries.
10 MR. PANTELIC: I'll repeat my question in English, please.
11 Q. Could you tell the Chamber, please, for the hospital needs, which
12 kind of products, medical products, this company from Stara Pazova that
13 you mentioned import from Serbia and from foreign countries? Thank you.
14 A. We have a dialysis centre in Samac. We had made a particular
15 attention for the providing of haemodialysis for the life support of
16 people who needed dialysis. We were able to get various products in
17 medication from haemofarm Vrsac and they were producing dialysis
18 material. And we were able to get also various pharmaceutical products
19 which we were able to distribute to the medical centre.
20 Q. [Interpretation] Since the Executive Board gave you certain
21 instructions with regards to the war economy, could you please tell us if
22 Blagoje Simic was able to influence in a certain way the work of the
23 executive committee? Was he able, for instance, to give certain orders or
24 to make a difference in terms of the decisions that would be brought by
25 the Executive Board?
1 A. It was practically impossible that Dr. Blagoje Simic takes part in
2 the distribution of the needs of the municipality in terms of staple foods
3 to the distribution of the municipality, with regards to the medication
4 and other material. According to the laws of war, the Executive Board was
5 an institution --
6 MR. WEINER: I'd object at this point.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
8 MR. WEINER: He's going to start discussing the laws of war?
9 There is no -- there's no indication of any background that he has as a
10 lawyer, that he's received any legal training. It's outside the scope of
11 his testimony.
12 MR. PANTELIC: No, no, no, Your Honour. It is not discussion of
13 the laws of war. It is simply a personal knowledge of a well-experienced
14 manager and a member of some Executive Board institutions, with his
15 personal knowledge what was the relation between the relevant ministries
16 on the governmental level and local level with Executive Board. His
17 personal knowledge as a well-experienced manager on that field.
18 Nothing -- we are not speaking about laws of war, we are not speaking
19 about legal issues. We are just speaking about his personal knowledge of
20 what and how this relation was actually -- and we hear that from many
21 witnesses here, from the same area.
22 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, I have no objection if he's going to
23 speak from his experience. You know, he can say based on my experience in
24 Samac, this usually happened. However, he stated, on line 19, 1,
25 "according to the laws of war." If he's going to give a legal opinion,
1 we would object.
2 MR. PANTELIC: No, no, no. That's a matter of translation. I do
3 apologise to my learned friend. I never said -- and that's a nonsense,
4 absolute nonsense. Why should I use --
5 MR. WEINER: No. The witness said that.
6 MR. PANTELIC: That's a problem of translation. He said that in
7 fact it was economical regulation during the state of war. That's the
8 proper translation.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we --
10 MR. PANTELIC: We shall clarify that, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: So he will stick to his experience; he will stick to
12 the facts.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely.
14 Q. [Interpretation] We are talking about laws, regulations, which
15 were linked to the economy, which prevailed during the war, and I asked
16 you if Dr. Blagoje Simic was able to have any type of influence on the
17 work of the Executive Board and on the coordination, given his role as
18 president of the Crisis Staff. And please tell us from your own
19 experience, what do you know during 1992 and 1993? Would you please
20 briefly explain this to the Trial Chamber.
21 A. According to my own knowledge, the Executive Board was the organ
22 which was able to have -- they had at its disposal all the material needs,
23 and they were able to distribute that to the municipality.
24 Q. Thank you. How often did you used to see your brother during
25 those wartime years in 1992 and 1993?
1 A. Blagoje and myself, we are brothers. I am his older brother. I'm
2 11 years older than him. I have my own profession. I'm an agronomist.
3 He has his own profession. And we would see each other during family
4 meetings. More rarely in Samac, but more frequently in Kruskovo Polje,
5 which was our family house.
6 Q. As a brother, did Dr. Blagoje Simic ever complain to you about
7 some problems? Because, of course, you remember living in difficult
8 times. As brothers, would you exchange your points of view? Was he
9 complaining about something to you?
10 A. Well, we had our family discussions whenever we would meet, and we
11 would always meet with the rest of our family.
12 Q. Please tell us: Do you know if Dr. Blagoje Simic, as a president
13 of the Crisis Staff, did he order the arrest of some people or the
14 mistreatment of certain individuals on the territory of Samac, the
15 municipality of Samac?
16 A. I can confirm to you that my brother, Blagoje Simic, never ordered
17 that somebody gets killed. He never killed anyone. And he never carried
18 out any type of discrimination on the municipality of Bosanski Samac.
19 Q. And please tell us if during those first days after the outbreak
20 of the conflict, in the month of April of 1992, did you get a phone call
21 from the brother of Sulejman Tihic? And if he did call you, tell us why
22 did he call you. What did he want from you, and what transpired from that
24 A. After the outbreak of the conflict, war conflict, Bato, the
25 brother of Sulejman Tihic, called me. I don't know his name. That's only
1 his nickname. And he asked me something about Blagoje Simic. I said that
2 I didn't know where Blagoje was, and that was really the fact. I didn't
3 know where Blagoje was.
4 Q. Did you suggest something to the brother of Sulejman Tihic at that
6 A. He then asked me if Sulejman Tihic could come to my house, because
7 we were neighbours. I told him that I have nothing against that, but the
8 front line from the village of Prud was nearby, and the army would often
9 come there. He then changed his mind, and Sulejman and himself changed
10 their minds, so they did not come to my house.
11 MR. PANTELIC: I've finished my examination-in-chief for this
12 witness. Thank you.
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Before you actually sit down, I just have one
14 point of clarification.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE WILLIAMS: On page 20, your question, Mr. Pantelic,
17 beginning on line 11 through to line 17, I don't believe you got an answer
18 to it. You had a couple of questions all linked together, and I don't
19 believe you got an answer to the question, which is as follows: You were
20 asking Mr. Simic if Dr. Blagoje Simic was able to have any type of
21 influence on the work of the Executive Board and the coordination, given
22 his role as president of the Crisis Staff? As far as I'm concerned, the
23 answer did not address that. Mr. Simic only addressed the second question
24 that you posed. So perhaps if Mr. Simic could answer that question, it
25 would be helpful.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely. I'm very grateful for your
2 intervention, Your Honour.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Simic, so the question was to the effect
4 whether Dr. Blagoje Simic had any type of influence through his position,
5 and was he able to coordinate the work of the Executive Board?
6 A. As far as I know, the Executive Board worked according to the
7 order that was given from the government at the time, and it was an
8 independent institution. It had at its disposal needs, supplies. And
9 when it comes to the economy, Blagoje Simic could not have had any direct
10 nor any indirect influence on the economy of the municipality of Samac.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Microphone.
13 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise. Just a last question with regard
14 to this issue.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Do you know if at the time the Executive Board
16 was reporting to the Crisis Staff, was it informing them what was going on
17 with regards to the humanitarian aspect, social aspects, and the economy?
18 A. As the coordinator, the president of the Executive Board was
19 calling us for meetings, and he would give us concrete tasks. So I do not
20 know if -- or rather, I don't know what was the link between the Executive
21 Board and the Crisis Staff, what was the relationship between the two.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I've finished with
23 examination-in-chief of this witness. Thank you.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The Prosecution?
25 MR. WEINER: I was going to wait and see if Defence counsel were
1 going to question. Mr. Lukic stood up.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I merely wanted to inform the Trial
3 Chamber that we, for our part, have no questions for Mr. Simic. Thank
5 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
6 Cross-examined by Mr. Pisarevic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Simic. I will ask you a few
8 brief questions, referring mostly to your membership in the 4th
9 Detachment, or rather, the events on the 17th of April, 1992.
10 You said yourself that your house is in a densely populated area
11 of the town of Bosanski Samac. This district, this neighbourhood where
12 your house is, is it generally known as Sljivik?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Thank you. Did you know that among your neighbours, regardless of
15 their ethnic background, there was a number of members of the 4th
16 Detachment of the JNA?
17 A. Yes, I did know that.
18 Q. Did you know whether any of those members of the 4th Detachment in
19 any way whatsoever, on the 17th of April, took part in any kind of
20 military operation in the town of Samac, or did you see all of them in the
21 morning when you were there?
22 A. On the 17th of April, 1992, in the morning, about 5.00, a
23 messenger came and told us not to leave our homes for the time being.
24 Q. He told you, as in you or the others too?
25 A. He conveyed instructions and orders to me, because I was at home,
1 and I assume also to other neighbours, those, at least, who were members
2 of the 4th Detachment.
3 Q. Those neighbours of yours, were they at home too?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did you know, because your house was near the front line, the line
6 of defence of the town of Samac, near the embankment, the members of the
7 4th Detachment, in the afternoon, did they deploy along the line of
8 defence, along the embankment on the Bosna River, the right bank?
9 A. There was a certain amount of commotion there. Some of them left
10 of their own volition for the embankment, because it was only 10 or 15
11 metres away from their homes. I didn't leave home before I received
12 orders telling me to do otherwise.
13 Q. If I understand you correctly, you did not leave your home on the
14 17th until, on the 18th, a police vehicle came to pick you up and it took
15 you to the PIK.
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. Thank you. You have testified that you heard from the messenger
18 that military forces of the 17th Tactical Group had taken vital buildings
19 and facilities in the town of Bosanski Samac?
20 A. Yes.
21 MR. PANTELIC: The witness said that.
22 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I think the witness just confirmed
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can you please repeat the question?
25 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. If I heard you correctly, you said that on the 17th, in the
2 morning, a messenger or courier came and told you that forces of the 17th
3 Tactical Group had taken a number of facilities or buildings in the town
4 of Samac as some kind of pre-emptive action, together with the
5 volunteers. Is that what you said?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did you actually hear this afterwards, the same thing, from the
8 commander of the 4th Detachment, from the deputy of the 4th Detachment or
9 from the commander of the 17th Tactical Group?
10 A. I had no occasion to hear this from any of the persons you have
11 just enumerated.
12 Q. Very well. Thank you. I have no further questions for this
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The Prosecution.
15 Cross-examined by Mr. Weiner:
16 Q. Good morning, Mr. Simic. My name is Phillip Weiner. I'm with the
17 Office of the Prosecutor. I'm going to be asking you some questions for
18 the next hour. Do you understand that?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Okay. Now, in your statement and in your testimony this morning,
21 sir, you didn't indicate that you had been involved in politics as early
22 as 1990. In 1990, you were a candidate for the Municipal Assembly; isn't
23 that true?
24 A. No.
25 MR. WEINER: May the witness please be shown Exhibit P8 ter. The
1 section in the back with all the candidates for the political office,
3 Q. Sir, you testified that after the Communist Party, you joined the
4 Socialist Party. Would you please look at that list from the Official
5 Gazette, and you'll notice under number 16, it says "Cedomir Simic, Serb,
6 Bosanski Samac." Is that you?
7 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise. I don't have any objection for
8 this line of questioning, but for the sake of clarity, we would like to
9 have a B/C/S version of this Official Gazette, because otherwise it's
10 nothing. I mean, it's just a list. I don't know from where it comes.
11 Maybe I can check Official Gazette. Yes, thank you.
12 MR. WEINER: Actually, you could use mine.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: This is -- I thought this is a page -- part of
14 Exhibit P8, or what is it, Mr. Weiner?
15 MR. WEINER: Excuse me, Your Honour?
16 JUDGE MUMBA: I thought this was one of the pages of Exhibit P8.
17 MR. WEINER: Yes, it's one of the pages of Exhibit P8. It's just
18 a list of names.
19 MR. PANTELIC: Could I have a copy of my learned friend in B/C/S?
20 MR. WEINER: Why don't you take mine.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, you don't have Exhibit P8? Because
22 it's one of the documents already admitted into evidence and you're
23 supposed to have that.
24 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, but I cannot locate the exact page in B/C/S
25 language, so that's a problem. Thank you. But thanks to my learned
1 friend, we have our B/C/S version. Thank you.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner. You can proceed.
3 MR. WEINER: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. Sir, is that your name, Cedomir Simic, Serb, Bosanski Samac?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. So you were a candidate in 1990 for the Municipal Assembly, under
7 the Socialist Party?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And at that same time, your brother, the defendant Blagoje Simic,
10 ran on the SDS ticket; isn't that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And he ran -- actually, his name was the first candidate listed on
13 the SDS ticket. He was given that honour, the first candidate listed;
14 isn't that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And he was elected, and as you know, he later became a member of
17 the Crisis Staff, in fact its president.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And you also know that your cousin Simeon Simic was a candidate in
20 that election in 1990; isn't that correct?
21 A. I don't know about that.
22 Q. Let me refresh your recollection. One moment, please. I ask you
23 to look at the list of candidates, also in Exhibit P8, under the SSO
24 party, and you'll see the first name on that ballot, and the SSO party is
25 Simeon Simic and he's also listed like you and your brother as a Serb from
1 Bosanski Samac. Isn't that correct, sir?
2 A. I'm looking at this document now, but there's a lot that I still
3 haven't seen, so I can't say that I'm particularly updated.
4 Q. But do you see his name there as the number one candidate in the
5 SSO party, Simeon Simic, a Serb from Bosanski Samac?
6 A. Yes, I can see that now.
7 Q. And you're also aware, sir, that he was elected to the Assembly?
8 Do you recall that?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Well, sir, do you recall that he later became a member of the
11 Crisis Staff and served with your brother, the defendant Blagoje Simic?
12 A. I saw him on the premises of the Municipal Assembly, but as to
13 what he was doing there, I actually don't know.
14 Q. Well, after the Municipal Assembly was established in 1991, were
15 you aware that in 1992 he became a member of the Crisis Staff and served
16 with your brother, the defendant Blagoje Simic?
17 A. I repeat: I did see him in the Municipal Assembly building, but I
18 do not know what he was doing there.
19 Q. And when you say you saw him, do you mean 1992, in the spring or
20 early summer of 1992?
21 A. The beginning of summer 1992.
22 Q. Thank you. Now, sir, your cousin Milan Simic was not a candidate
23 in 1990, but you are aware that he became the president of the Executive
25 A. I'm aware of that, yes.
1 Q. And he also attended Crisis Staff meetings with your cousin Simeon
2 and your brother Blagoje; isn't that correct?
3 A. I don't know that.
4 Q. And your brother, the defendant Simic, has testified that Milan
5 Simic, your cousin, was related to Stevan Todorovic, the police chief?
6 Are you aware of that, sir?
7 MR. PANTELIC: Objection, Your Honour. We have a clear ruling
8 with regard to the previous witness statement, including the defendant,
9 with regard to the questioning of the witness. So maybe we could follow
10 that rule. I mean, if my learned friend has some idea or line of
11 questioning, he can be very directly, what is the personal knowledge of
12 this witness with regard to such-and-such meetings and this or that
13 occasion. Otherwise it's not in accordance with the practice, Your
15 MR. WEINER: I'm not confronting him. I'm just asking him about
16 his family tree.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. That's what I was -- I was
18 looking at the formation of the question itself. It wasn't a form of
20 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. I agree with you absolutely.
21 But on -- it's page 30, line 1, just the word "has testified" that Milan
22 Simic, et cetera, et cetera. So maybe we could be focused just on the
23 event or the particular isolated fact.
24 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, to keep things moving, I'll just
25 rephrase the question so we can just move along.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
2 MR. WEINER:
3 Q. Sir, Stevan Todorovic married Milan Simic's family, into the Simic
4 family; isn't that correct?
5 A. No.
6 Q. They were not in-laws? Your brother indicated that they were
7 in-laws. Do you recall any sort of wedding?
8 A. It's the other way around. Milan Simic married into Stevan
9 Todorovic's family, because he is his brother-in-law. Stevan Todorovic is
10 single, so he could not have married into anyone's family. So it's the
11 other way around, actually.
12 Q. So Milan Simic married -- based on Milan Simic's marriage, he and
13 Stevan Todorovic are now related; correct? Okay. And are you aware that
14 Stevan Todorovic, who is now related to the Simic family, also was
15 attending Crisis Staff meetings?
16 A. I did see Stevan Todorovic likewise in the town of Samac and on
17 the premises of the Municipal Assembly, but I do not know why he was
18 there, and I do not know that he attended any meetings of the Crisis
20 Q. Now, do you know a man from Batkusa named Aco Jankovic? Aco?
21 A. Aco Jankovic.
22 Q. And he was also a relative of Milan Simic, your cousin Milan
24 A. I do know Aco Jankovic, yes.
25 Q. And you also know that he was a cousin or a relative of Milan
1 Simic too, some sort of relative?
2 A. Well, yes, I know that he is some kind of relative of Milan
3 Simic's wife.
4 Q. And were you aware that Aco Jankovic was also present at one or
5 more Crisis Staff meetings and was assisting the Crisis Staff in some
7 A. I don't know that.
8 Q. Now, sir, we've discussed your brother; yourself; your cousins
9 Simeon, Milan, Stevan Todorovic, Aco Jankovic. Were there any other
10 members of your family involved in municipal government in Bosanski Samac?
11 A. No.
12 Q. So just those?
13 MR. PANTELIC: Objection, Your Honour. I mean, it's not fair to
14 this witness. I can find how this witness is related to Aco Jankovic or
15 Stevan Todorovic. And by the way, just to help my --
16 JUDGE MUMBA: The witness has already explained, so -- the witness
17 has already explained, so there is no basis for your objection.
18 MR. WEINER: All right.
19 Q. Let's move on, sir. You testified that you were not a member of
20 the SDS party; isn't that correct?
21 A. I was not a member of the SDS until 1997.
22 Q. And back in 1991, 1992, you didn't attend any SDS meetings; isn't
23 that correct?
24 A. No, I didn't.
25 Q. And you never attended any SDS board meetings back at that same
1 time, municipal board meetings?
2 A. No.
3 Q. And you were never present with your brother, the defendant
4 Blagoje Simic, when he met or spoke with any SDS leaders, were you?
5 A. No.
6 Q. And you were never with your brother, you were never present with
7 your brother, when he met with other SDS members and they had certain
8 types of meetings or planning or strategy sessions?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Now, sir, were you aware that the SDS party was involved in the
11 establishment of the Serbian municipality of Samac?
12 A. Yes. My employees told me about it, my employees who were working
13 in the field, but I did not hear about this from Blagoje Simic.
14 Q. And you also knew, sir, that the SDS party was involved in the
15 establishment of the Crisis Staff in Bosanski Samac?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Were you aware that your brother, as SDS president, was involved
18 in the establishment of the Crisis Staff for the Serbian municipality of
19 Bosanski Samac?
20 A. No.
21 Q. And were you aware that your brother was elected Municipal
22 Assembly president on April 14th, at the initiative of the SDS party
23 municipal board?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Thank you. Now, you've testified today, and in your 92 bis
1 statement you've described the powers of the executive committee, or you
2 used the phrase executive committee, but we've been using Executive Board
3 here. And in fact, in paragraph 16 to 21, you describe the powers of the
4 executive committee.
5 MR. WEINER: If the witness would like to see his statement, it's
6 163/1 ter.
7 Q. Sir, could you look at that, and in paragraph 16 to 21, we've
8 redacted, which is they have removed paragraph 20 from your statement and
9 they have taken your testimony instead of paragraph 20. So paragraphs
10 basically 16 to 21 you describe the powers of the Executive Board, the
11 powers and functions of the Executive Board. Correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And you also mention the Executive Board in paragraphs 1, 10, and
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Approximately 40 per cent of the paragraphs contained in your
17 statement you mention the Executive Board. That's 8 of approximately 21,
18 37 per cent, 40 per cent. You mention the Executive Board. Isn't that
20 A. I have not tried to calculate the exact percentage, but I suppose
21 you must be right on that one.
22 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, sir, nowhere in that statement do you
23 mention that your brother, the defendant Blagoje Simic, served as the
24 president of the Crisis Staff and the War Presidency. Isn't that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And sir, even though you mention the Executive Board in
2 approximately 37 per cent of the paragraphs in that report, in that
3 written statement, you don't mention the Crisis Staff or the War
4 Presidency, the two boards that your brother served as president, even
5 once, you don't mention the War Presidency or the Crisis Staff. Isn't
6 that correct?
7 A. The nature of my work or my tasks during wartime was to receive my
8 tasks from the Executive Board, and that's why I tried to clarify as most
9 as I could this particular segment of the work and tasks assigned by the
10 Executive Board.
11 Q. However, sir, you never mention the Crisis Staff or the War
12 Presidency even once in that written statement. Isn't that true?
13 A. I suppose it's true.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Weiner, I'm wondering about this line of
15 questioning of the witness, because I was under the impression that he had
16 instructions on what matters to discuss in his Rule 92 bis statement, and
17 also in complying with the provisions of the Rule, to avoid the activities
18 and conduct of the accused, since he was -- he could have been acting as
19 president of those two institutions. Perhaps that's the reason why the
20 witness avoided discussing that at all.
21 MR. WEINER: I was going to ask him that next. However, Your
22 Honour, since he did discuss that and then there are other matters that
23 we're going to contest very soon, it's now time for a break, you'll see
24 why this is very relevant. We are going to contest some of the things he
25 said, indicating he's either lied or he's been mistaken in his statement
1 or his testimony.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Perhaps -- yes. The cross-examination can go
3 along those lines, but I just wanted to explain perhaps to be fair to the
5 MR. WEINER: I think it's time for the break, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: We shall take our break now.
7 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
8 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
10 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
11 Q. Good morning, sir. Good morning. Let's continue on. We were
12 talking about the Crisis Staff, the War Presidency, and the Executive
13 Board. Now, sir, were you aware that the highest organ of authority in
14 the Serbian municipality of Samac was the Assembly?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And you knew that the Crisis Staff had replaced the Assembly, so
17 it then became the highest organ of authority in the municipality. Were
18 you aware of that?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And sir, you also knew that the War Presidency, when it replaced
21 the Crisis Staff, it then became the highest organ of authority in the
22 Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And sir, were you aware that the Assembly in the Serbian
25 municipality of Samac was required to decide on the organisation and work
1 of the Executive Board? Were you aware of that? And that's according to
2 the Official Gazette of August 1994, which describes that period. Were
3 you aware of that, that the Assembly was required to decide on the
4 organisation and work of the Executive Board?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Sir, were you aware that the Crisis Staff, which replaced the
7 Serbian municipality, was required to exercise political control over the
8 work of the Executive Board, and that's also according to the Official
9 Gazette, which is P125 in this case? Were you aware of that, that the
10 Crisis Staff was required to exercise political control over the work of
11 the Executive Board?
12 A. No.
13 Q. And when you talk about the powers of the Executive Board, were
14 you aware that the Crisis Staff had the power to annul or cancel any
15 Executive Board decision if it was not in conformity with the
16 constitution, the regulations of the Republic or any Crisis Staff
17 decisions, they had the power to cancel or annul? Were you aware of those
18 powers of the Crisis Staff to annul or cancel decisions of the Executive
20 A. No.
21 Q. Sir, were you aware that the Crisis Staff appointed the president
22 and vice-president of the Executive Board?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And you knew that your cousin Milan Simic was appointed president
25 of the Executive Board by the Crisis Staff; you knew that?
1 A. I know he was appointed president of the Executive Board, but I
2 don't know by whom.
3 Q. So you weren't aware, sir, that the Crisis Staff appointed
4 Milan Simic the president of the Executive Board? In fact, your brother,
5 the defendant Blagoje Simic, signed that notice of appointment. You
6 didn't know that?
7 A. No, I did not analyse the procedure to appoint president of the
8 Executive Board.
9 Q. So when you discuss the powers of the Executive Board, you never
10 mention the powers of the Crisis Staff and War Presidency in relation to
11 the Executive Board and how the Executive Board answered to the Crisis
12 Staff and War Presidency. You never mentioned that in your 92 bis
14 A. I could not mention that in my statement because I was not
15 familiar with all that. The only contacts I had were with the president
16 of the Executive Board, when he invited coordinators to assign tasks to
18 Q. So even though you mention the powers of the Executive Board, you
19 were not aware or you didn't understand or realise that it was
20 subordinated to the Crisis Staff or War Presidency?
21 A. What I understood was that the orders given to us by the president
22 of the Executive Board were to be carried out by us, and also that the
23 Executive Board acted in accordance with law and that it issued orders
24 based on the instructions of the governmental institutions and ministries.
25 Q. But you didn't know that it carried out the orders of the Crisis
1 Staff and the War Presidency, or do you include that in the governmental
2 institutions that it implements their instructions?
3 A. The basic task of the Executive Board, according to my
4 understanding, was to implement instructions of the ministries at the
5 level of the republican government.
6 Q. So you weren't aware of the local legislation or the local
7 statutes and laws and rules in relation to the Executive Board and the
8 Crisis Staff?
9 A. I had too many obligations, so I did not concern myself with
10 political decisions.
11 Q. So my question is, once again: You were not aware of the local
12 legislation or local statutes and laws and rules in relation to the
13 Executive Board and the Crisis Staff?
14 MR. PANTELIC: Objection, Your Honour. Finally I must object,
15 because according to the legislation at that time, there was not local
16 laws. So my friend should be more specific with the questioning of this
17 witness. That's point number one.
18 Point number two: This witness is not a legal expert or
19 constitutional expert, so maybe we could go on the other topic.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: There is no basis for your objection, Mr. Pantelic.
21 The question as put by the Prosecution to the witness is perfectly all
22 right. The less interruption we have, the better.
23 MR. WEINER:
24 Q. Sir, yes or no: You were not familiar with those laws,
25 regulations, statutes of the powers or the relationship between the
1 Executive Board and the Crisis Staff?
2 A. No, I was not.
3 Q. Thank you. Now, I'd like to refer you to paragraph 10 of your
4 written statement, 163/1. And in paragraph 10, you claim that the
5 Executive Board appointed you to serve as business coordinator?
6 MR. PANTELIC: I would kindly ask one copy for the witness.
7 MR. WEINER: Sorry. I thought he had it. Sorry about that.
8 [Trial Chamber confers with registrar]
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, the registry informs the Trial Chamber
10 that you haven't provided the statement of this witness with the paragraph
11 struck out. You haven't provided that to the registry or to the Trial
13 MR. PANTELIC: In that case, Your Honour, I have to check with my
14 case manager and during the break I will provide enough copies. So just
15 for the record, only paragraph 20 was struck out.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: In the meantime, we'll use the old statement.
19 MR. WEINER: Thank you. And I won't refer to the redacted
20 paragraph or the redacted version of the -- the stricken paragraph, Your
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
23 MR. WEINER: Paragraph 20.
24 Q. Now, sir, you were appointed -- you claim that the executive
25 committee appointed you to serve as business coordinator of Bosanka
1 retail. In fact, sir, you were appointed to your position by the Crisis
2 Staff; isn't that correct?
3 A. No.
4 Q. You were made the Crisis Staff coordinator of Bosanka retail;
5 isn't that correct?
6 A. I became coordinator for the work of Bosanka, and I was appointed
7 by the Executive Board.
8 Q. It was your job to organise the work and business transactions of
9 Bosanka, and those transactions had to be approved by the Crisis Staff of
10 the municipality of Samac; isn't that correct?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Isn't it a fact that your work -- in your work, you were
13 responsible to the Crisis Staff? Isn't that correct?
14 A. No, it is not.
15 MR. WEINER: With the help of the usher, I'd like to show this
16 document appointing him to his position by the Crisis Staff.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have the reference of this document? Is
18 it exhibit? Is it a P exhibit or -- sorry?
19 MR. WEINER: You've had it for weeks. It's a new document.
20 MR. PANTELIC: For weeks?
21 MR. WEINER: Yes.
22 MR. PANTELIC: When did you find this document?
23 MR. WEINER: I found it approximately three weeks ago.
24 MR. PANTELIC: When was it disclosed to the --
25 MR. WEINER: Is he objecting to it or is he trying to --
1 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, that's an objection.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, he's objecting because --
3 MR. PANTELIC: It's objecting on the same basis as a couple of
4 days before, so I don't know what we are speaking here. Where is the
5 obligation of the disclosure on the Prosecution, where is the receipt that
6 it was disclosed years ago, from 1998 or maybe if my learned friend can
7 say from which period of time he's in possession of that. It's a matter
8 of principle. It's objection on the basis of principle, that we also
9 raised two or three days ago.
10 MR. WEINER: Your Honour --
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner. We've had this problem before.
12 MR. WEINER: Yes, Your Honour. The document which was produced a
13 few days ago was produced on the day the witness was going to testify.
14 They have had this document at least two weeks. They've had the
15 opportunity to show this document to the witness and to discuss this
16 document with the witness. This document had not been given much earlier
17 and it was not required to be given much earlier. This is not a Rule 68
18 or exculpatory evidence issue. It was not even relevant -- this document
19 was not relevant until the 92 bis statement was analysed.
20 Is there any infairness at this time? No. The defendant has had
21 this statement for approximately two weeks. He's had the opportunity, as
22 I said, to discuss it with the witness, to research the document. The
23 document comes from the Crisis Staff of Bosanski Samac. He had the
24 opportunity to show it to the witness, allow the witness to modify his
25 statement, and he had the chance to have the witness indicate that the
1 document was incorrect or question the authenticity of the document. This
2 statement should not be suppressed, for three reasons: Without this
3 document being admitted, Your Honour, false information, be it the result
4 of a mistake or a lie, will be allowed into evidence. This document also
5 raises questions as to the witness's credibility in relation to who hired
6 him and the powers of the executive committee, which he discusses -- which
7 he mentions and discusses in almost 40 per cent of the paragraphs in his
8 92 bis statement.
9 Finally, the Defence is asking for what you could discuss as
10 almost some sort of equitable relief. He is just talking about fairness.
11 Well, let's talk about fairness. Let's talk about fairness starting
12 today. In that 92 bis statement, there was no discussion of the 4th
13 Detachment. However, there was discussion, there was testimony this
14 morning about the 4th Detachment. In his 92 bis statement -- Your Honour,
15 he's gone well beyond his 92 bis statement.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: No, I don't think that is necessary. Let's deal
17 with this document. This document, as you say, merely deals with his
18 appointment by the Crisis Staff.
19 MR. WEINER: Correct. It has no -- it wouldn't have been relevant
20 but for his 92 bis statement. It is not an exculpatory document and he
21 doesn't have reciprocal discovery, even though we've treated him, the
22 Prosecution has treated the Defence of Blagoje Simic as if it has
23 reciprocal discovery, he's not entitled to reciprocal discovery. So he's
24 received the document two weeks. Once again, it wasn't relevant until his
25 92 bis statement was filed and analysed.
1 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, may I say something?
2 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, he doesn't have standing to object to
3 this issue. It doesn't concern his client. I'd object to any comment
4 from fellow defendants on this.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: No. Let's hear him. Maybe it has nothing to do
6 with this document, Mr. Lukic.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I must say that it does have to do
8 with this document. First of all, I don't know what this document is all
9 about, but what I heard from Mr. Weiner, it is about the Crisis Staff and
10 this is very relevant for the defence of my client. That's why I wanted
11 to say a few words. I'm really taken by surprise and I don't believe that
12 this does not concern my client unless the Prosecution wants to exclude
13 him from anything that has to do with the Crisis Staff.
14 My previous objections, my defence is according to the Rule 66 on
15 reciprocal disclosure and Miroslav Tadic's defence is over. We don't have
16 any new evidence. And I can't believe that new documents regarding the
17 Crisis Staff are now presented, now when Miroslav Tadic's Defence cannot
18 present any evidence that could dispute the facts that have now been
19 raised in the cross-examination. Earlier on I've already said the
20 Prosecution, if they've had such a document in their possession since 1996
21 or even earlier should have disclosed such documents to us.
22 If the Prosecution can now prove that the document is new, then I
23 think our Defence should be given the chance to say something about this
24 document, not necessarily to examine this witness but to prove the facts.
25 As far as I know, all the members of the Executive Board were heard before
1 this Tribunal, all the members of the Crisis Staff. My Defence, the
2 Defence of Miroslav Tadic, is over, and now we are confronted with a
3 document that could carry some weight, now at the end of the defence case.
4 We really cannot tolerate, Your Honours, the fact that there have
5 been several teams here in this courtroom and all of a sudden we have a
6 new document. I am the second defence counsel for Mr. Tadic, and I saw
7 all the documents before the trial, not before my case started but before
8 the trial, and I really can't allow to have a new piece of evidence now.
9 We are at the end of the Defence case and this is a relevant document and
10 we can't allow for this document to be presented now, at such a late
11 stage, unless the Prosecution can prove to us that it only arrived by that
12 document -- day or the day before yesterday.
13 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, his 92 bis statement was filed after the
14 completion of Mr. Tadic's case, so if he has any complaint, it's with
15 Mr. Pantelic, not with the Prosecution.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: No. What the Trial Chamber wishes to elicit from
17 the Prosecution is this: That is this document only going to deal with
18 the appointment of in witness?
19 MR. WEINER: Strictly dealing with the appointment of this
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE MUMBA: The Trial Chamber is of the view that the document
23 has probative value, and since it's restricted only to the appointment of
24 this witness, and nothing else, the Prosecution is allowed to have it
1 MR. WEINER: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can we have the number, please.
3 [Trial Chamber confers with registrar]
4 THE REGISTRAR: The decision dated 25th of April, 1992, will be
5 treated as Exhibit P181 for the English and P181 ter for the B/C/S.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
7 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
8 Q. Sir, let us look at the top of the document, the top of the
9 left -- top left portion. It says: "Serbian municipality of Bosanski
10 Samac Crisis Staff." Does it not say that, sir?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And it's dated the 25th of April, 1992?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And then it says, if you look at the next line: "Bearing in mind
15 the need for vital institutions and organisations to continue their work,
16 the Crisis Staff of the Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac hereby
17 adopts a decision." And it appoints you as Crisis Staff coordinator for
18 the organisation of work and business transactions in Bosanka DD,
19 Velepromet DD, and Posavka DD; isn't that correct?
20 A. This is what it says here. I see in document for the first time.
21 Q. And it's signed on the bottom and stamped by the Crisis Staff,
22 appointing you.
23 A. I claim that I was never a member of the Crisis Staff.
24 Q. No. I'm not saying you were a member of the Crisis Staff, sir.
25 I'm saying the document is signed on the bottom, and it has the seal of
1 the Crisis Staff, this letter of appointment to you; isn't that correct?
2 A. I repeat: I've never seen this document before. This is the
3 first time I see this document.
4 Q. That's not my question. It's signed on the bottom and it has the
5 stamp of the Crisis Staff, of the Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac;
6 isn't that correct?
7 A. I can see a signature, but I don't know whose signature it is. And
8 I also see the stamp of the Municipal Assembly of Samac.
9 Q. And this document appoints you to the position you described in
10 paragraph 21, doesn't it?
11 A. This is not the way I see it.
12 Q. Are you saying this isn't an appointment, sir, this document
13 doesn't appoint you as the coordinator of Bosanka DD?
14 A. I was appointed coordinator of Bosanka based on a document
15 produced by the Executive Board.
16 Q. Sir, I'd ask you to look at this document of appointment. Does it
17 say Executive Board anywhere on the document?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Is the name of the Executive Board president, Mirko Jovanovic or,
20 later, your cousin Milan Simic, on this document?
21 A. Not on this document.
22 Q. Rather, at the bottom of the document, it says "municipal Crisis
23 Staff," right above the signature.
24 A. The Crisis Staff of the Assembly, yes.
25 Q. And the decision, which is signed and stamped, of this document is
1 an appointment of you as the coordinator, the Crisis Staff coordinator of
2 the Bosanka company; isn't that correct?
3 MR. PANTELIC: Objection, Your Honour. In fairness to witness, my
4 learned friend should make a proper quotation and reference of this
5 document. It's not only Bosanka company, what it says in this document.
6 It's three companies. So this witness --
7 MR. WEINER: That's fair.
8 MR. PANTELIC: -- clearly said in his statement, 92 bis statement,
9 that he was appointed only for Bosanka company or coordinator by the
10 Executive Board. It's paragraph 10. And if my learned friend would like
11 to clarify this issue, he should follow the rules, rules of fairness. If
12 in this document we have three companies, then we have to make a proper
13 quotation. And in addition, this witness, on numerous occasions, just ten
14 minutes ago, said that's the first time he saw this document. So I really
15 don't know what is the purpose of this examination, but I leave it to my
16 learned friend.
17 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, in his paragraph 10, if you want to look
18 at his 92 bis statement, he refers to the merger of the three companies,
19 and he's referred to it today as the Bosanka company and later it becomes
20 the Samcanka company.
21 MR. PANTELIC: No, no, no. He's speaking about his position of
22 coordinator for company Bosanka by the Executive Board, which, after a
23 year became known as another company. So --
24 MR. WEINER: Your Honour.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Just be precise, please.
1 MR. WEINER: That's just what my question was. He just said his
2 position as coordinator for the Bosanka company and that's what I just
3 said to him, to the witness.
4 MR. PANTELIC: Which is not a part of this document. That was the
5 basis of my objection, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. That is noted.
7 Mr. Weiner, can you go ahead.
8 MR. WEINER:
9 Q. Sir, it indicates that you were appointed the coordinator of these
10 three companies, doesn't it, sir? It's a decision by the Crisis Staff
11 appointing you as coordinator of these three companies, which later
12 becomes the Samcanka, if I've pronounced it right, company.
13 A. I was appointed coordinator of a state-owned company called
14 Bosanka. When Samcanka was established, when that company was
15 established, I became the coordinator of the company Samcanka, and that
16 company was established --
17 Q. The question here is: This document is a decision appointing you
18 as Crisis Staff coordinator of Bosanka, Velepromet, and Posavanka, which
19 later becomes, as you've testified, Samcanka. Doesn't it appoint you as
20 Crisis Staff coordinator of those three companies, this document here?
21 A. According to the decision of the Executive Board, I was appointed
22 coordinator of the company called Bosanka.
23 Q. Sir, my question is: I want you to look at this document. This
24 document here in front of you is a decision appointing you as the Crisis
25 Staff coordinator of Bosanka, Velepromet, and Posavanka or Posavka, isn't
1 that true?
2 A. This is what it says here.
3 Q. Thank you. Let's move on. Thank you.
4 Sir, you mentioned in paragraph 21 of your statement that
5 organised and individual looting was prevented in Bosanski Samac.
6 A. According to my own personal knowledge, yes.
7 Q. Are you aware that we've had several witnesses testify in this
8 case concerning looting in this municipality and that testimony has not
9 been contested? Are you aware of that, sir?
10 MR. PANTELIC: Objection. Your Honour, number 1, we have a clear
11 ruling of this Honourable Trial Chamber with regard to the confrontment of
12 a witness with the previous testimonies of witnesses. Number 2, if my
13 learned friend can be more specific, saying on which occasion that was
14 testimony, which witness, and when it was not contested by the Defence.
15 Otherwise it's too general and it might be confusing for this witness.
16 Maybe my learned friend could be more specific. I'm not objecting to the
17 line of questioning. It's just --
18 MR. WEINER: I'd be happy to. Thank you, Counsel.
19 Q. Are you --
20 JUDGE MUMBA: There is no need for that, Mr. Pantelic. There is
21 only one point I wanted to be clear with you. Are you saying that that
22 evidence concerning looting is contested?
23 MR. PANTELIC: We, on many occasions, contested so-called
24 organised looting, which Prosecutor alleges against our clients, including
25 our witnesses, we gave the evidence that particular events during the
1 wartime, as looting by individuals.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Because here, in paragraph 21, we have to
3 separate. Because he says during the war organised and individual
4 looting, which can cause confusion. The Defence was -- Mr. Pantelic is
5 saying that the allegation on organised looting.
6 MR. WEINER: They haven't contested the fact that there was in
7 fact -- that there was looting. They've contested that their clients were
8 involved in it. And my question is strictly that we've had a lot of
9 evidence in relation to acts of looting, extensive organised acts of
10 looting occurring. On a few -- where the defendant Zaric makes a
11 statement implicating his client, I will confront the witness with that.
12 But strictly, all I'm saying is there's been extensive testimony here and
13 I can give the Court the cites.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. There is this testimony, especially from the
15 Prosecution witnesses, which is on record.
16 MR. WEINER: Yes.
17 Q. Now, my question to you, sir: Are you aware that several
18 witnesses have testified about extensive looting in the municipality of
19 Bosanski Samac, and that information was not contested by the defendants?
20 Are you aware of that, sir?
21 A. The fact that some witnesses came to testify to that effect, I
22 don't know about it. But with regards to the organised looting, I also
23 have no knowledge about it. I only know that there was the army. The
24 army went from one place to the other. And I can tell you that there was
25 an attempt to prevent individual theft and looting of some items and so on
1 and so forth.
2 Q. Are you aware that your brother, the defendant Blagoje Simic, has
3 testified of his knowledge of the theft of vehicles by Serbian volunteers
4 and paramilitaries? Were you aware of that, sir?
5 MR. WEINER: For counsel, it's at page 12.453 through 56.
6 A. I do not know.
7 Q. Were you aware that the defendant Blagoje Simic has testified
8 about the constant problem of military looting of private and socially
9 owned property, he testified about that at pages 12.327 through 331? Were
10 you aware of that, sir?
11 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, in order to be precise and fair to
12 this witness, it's a double-barrelled question, whether he's aware the
13 defendant said that or it occurred in the municipality of Samac? Let's be
14 clear, because otherwise it's not so clear in the transcript.
15 MR. WEINER: My question is clear. I'm asking him if he's aware
16 of the testimony.
17 A. No.
18 Q. Are you aware that the defendant Simo Zaric has given a statement
19 to the Office of the Prosecutor on April 2nd, 1998 - it's Exhibit 141
20 ter - describing extensive and organised looting occurring in Odzak? Were
21 you aware of that?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Are you aware that in that same interview with the Prosecutor's
24 office, the defendant Zaric implicated your brother, the defendant Blagoje
25 Simic, and Stevan Todorovic and the Crisis Staff in the looting of Odzak?
1 Were you aware of that?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Were you aware that Stevan Todorovic has admitted as part of his
4 plea of guilt of persecution to the non-Serb -- persecution of the
5 non-Serb population that he has admitted to the looting of non-Serb
6 dwellings, businesses, personal property, and livestock? Were you aware
7 of that, sir?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Finally, sir, were you aware that in a report signed by 13
10 officers of the command staff of the 2nd Posavina Brigade, it mentions
11 that in Bosanski Samac there was looting of shops and private houses, with
12 the assistance of the civilian and military authorities, and further notes
13 that the looting was organised? Were you aware of that, sir?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Now, sir, knowing that -- or now being aware of these complaints
16 about looting occurring in Bosanski Samac, these complaints by witnesses,
17 the defendant Zaric, the chief of police at the time, Stevan Todorovic,
18 who has admitted his involvement in it, by the military command of the 2nd
19 Posavina Brigade and by your brother, who describes looting of the
20 volunteers and army, do you wish to change your statement in paragraph 21
21 that looting was prevented in the municipality of Bosanski Samac?
22 A. What I know is that there was probably some theft of private
23 goods, but it was always prevented in the sense that we were always -- or
24 it was always attempted to prevent an organised looting. That was
25 prevented. What I know is when it comes to certain goods and items, those
1 were under the control, and it's the reserves that had the control over
2 it. And because I was the coordinator of the state-owned companies, and
3 since I was in charge of the goods belonging to those companies, I did not
4 get involved into this kind of theft of private goods.
5 Q. Sir, the question is: Recognising the statements of several
6 individuals concerning looting in Bosanski Samac, including the police
7 chief, who was responsible to stop looting, his admission that he was
8 involved in looting, do you wish to change your statement that looting was
9 prevented? Yes or no.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Weiner, if you look at the answer of this
11 witness, he has explained his side of the story, so I don't see why you
12 should insist.
13 MR. WEINER:
14 Q. You said that it was prevented, sir. The person who was
15 responsible for preventing looting is the police chief. However, do you
16 realise in Bosanski Samac the police chief has admitted to being involved
17 in extensive looting? Are you aware of that?
18 A. I've already stated that the looting and theft of goods was
19 prevented. Now, to what extent it was prevented, I don't know. I've put
20 this down in writing, saying that there had been some individual theft but
21 that there was always an attempt to prevent it.
22 Q. Sir, once again, the person responsible for preventing it has
23 admitted to being involved in the looting, Stevan Todorovic. Are you
24 aware of that, sir?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Let's go to one more topic, sir. You mention you're the older
2 brother to Blagoje Simic, the defendant in this case. And as his older
3 brother, did you ever advise him concerning his decisions and actions and
4 those of the Crisis Staff? Did you ever criticise to him at these family
5 gatherings actions of the Crisis Staff or War Presidency? Did you ever
6 advise him, as his older brother?
7 A. As an older brother, I did talk to my brother.
8 Q. And did you tell him, sir, that certain actions of the Crisis
9 Staff were wrong, or at least demonstrated poor judgement? Did you tell
10 him that, as his older brother?
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Weiner, I won't allow this type of questioning.
12 It isn't fair to the witness.
13 MR. WEINER:
14 Q. All right, sir. Let's finish off with this. You worked with a
15 Mr. Jusufovic; isn't that correct, Jusuf Jusufovic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And are you aware that he was related to a Lirija or a
18 Dr. Jusufovic, Lirija Jusufovic?
19 A. I don't know which Dr. Jusufovic you're talking about.
20 Q. A woman named Lirija. She worked at the medical centre. Were you
21 aware -- let's take it this way. Did you attend a wedding between -- did
22 you attend a wedding between Crni, the head of the paramilitaries, and
23 Lirija Jusufovic, or Dr. Lirija Jusufovic?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Are you aware that your brother attended that wedding, the
1 defendant Blagoje Simic, between Dr. Jusufovic and the head of the Serbian
2 paramilitaries or volunteers, named Crni, or nicknamed Crni?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Are you aware that your brother, the defendant Blagoje Simic,
5 served as Crni's best man, or kum, as you would say in your country, at
6 this wedding, the wedding of the head of the paramilitaries and Dr. Lirija
7 Jusufovic? Are you aware of that, sir?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Does that demonstrate to you poor judgement, where your brother
10 has served as best man in the wedding of the head of the paramilitaries?
11 Would you agree with me that it demonstrates poor judgement?
12 JUDGE MUMBA: No, Mr. Weiner. I will not allow that question.
13 It's not fair to the witness.
14 MR. WEINER: No further questions, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Re-examination.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, could I just for a second approach my
17 client --
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
19 MR. PANTELIC: -- to get instructions, please. Thank you.
20 Thank you, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. You can go ahead.
22 MR. PANTELIC: It's absolutely new fact for me, this episode, so I
23 just consulted my client and he said that he never was --
24 MR. WEINER: Objection to that, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: No, no, no. You re-examine the witness,
1 Mr. Pantelic, please.
2 Re-examined by Mr. Pantelic:
3 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Simic, did your brother ever tell you that he
4 never was a best man at a wedding, or a kum? Did you ever talk about
6 A. No. If I recall correctly, we never spoke about it.
7 Q. Very well. With regards to this relationship that the Prosecutor
8 attempted to establish, this family tie, let us clarify something for the
9 transcript. The municipality of Samac was composed of approximately
10 30.000 inhabitants, according to the census of 1990.
11 A. Yes. We were 33.000 inhabitants.
12 Q. Your family comes from a village called Kruskovo Polje, which is
13 part of the municipality of Samac; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. How many inhabitants live at Kruskovo Polje, approximately?
16 A. Approximately 400 to 500 people.
17 Q. How would you describe the last name Simic? Is it a name that
18 is -- is it a familiar name? Is it a name that comes often in that area,
19 in Posavina?
20 A. Almost all local communes on the municipality have that name
21 Simic, and lots of municipalities of Bosnia-Herzegovina as well, and you
22 will find that name in lots of municipalities of Yugoslavia, that is,
23 Serbia and Montenegro.
24 Q. But we're talking about Simeon Simic now. Your father and the
25 father of Simeon Simic, are they family? Are they brothers?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Your grandfather and the grandfather of Simeon Simic, are they
4 A. No.
5 Q. Your great-grandfather and the great-grandfather of Simeon Simic,
6 are they brothers?
7 A. No, but they were first cousins.
8 Q. So your great-grandfather and the great-grandfather of Simeon
9 Simic are some kind of relatives but they are not brothers?
10 A. No, they're not.
11 Q. I just wanted to clarify this for the transcript, because I wanted
12 the Prosecutor to understand these things.
13 Now let's talk about Milan Simic. Your father and the father of
14 Milan Simic, are they brothers?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Your grandfather and the grandfather of Milan Simic, are they
18 A. No.
19 Q. Your great-grandfather and the great-grandfather of Milan Simic,
20 are they brothers?
21 A. No.
22 Q. And finally, was Milan Simic married in 1992 with a cousin of
23 Stevan Todorovic?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Just a moment, please. Were they -- in 1992, were they married
1 officially? Do you know that? Do you have this knowledge?
2 A. No, I do not have knowledge of the fact that they were officially
4 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic. If I can just interject
5 with one question for clarification. You've just asked the witness
6 Mr. Simic about the ancestry, shall we say, of Mr. Milan Simic and we see
7 now that the grandfathers and great-grandfathers weren't brothers. But I
8 wonder whether Mr. Simic could tell us as to his knowledge as to whether
9 there was a familial connection between Mr. Milan Simic and Dr. Blagoje
10 Simic, and obviously also the witness himself.
11 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. I will do that.
12 Q. [Interpretation] This being said, could you please explain to
13 Judge Williams what is the family connection? Because in Serbia we're all
14 in a way cousins in some kind of way.
15 A. It's an old family. They came to that area of Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina 150 years ago. And since that family grew and all the Simic
17 come from that family, so everything I said so far is true in the sense
18 that we all have the same last name, but those families are connected, but
19 it's a family connection that is quite distant.
20 JUDGE WILLIAMS: So you can't with any, therefore, accuracy say
21 that Mr. Milan Simic and Dr. Blagoje Simic were cousins or anything of
22 that description? You simply say there's some connection, traceable way
23 back, but you can't exactly define it; is that the case?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to our own terminology in
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina, we call each other cousins. That is to say,
1 everybody who within one same family bears the same last name is a
2 cousin. Now, when you go back four to five generations, then we can see
3 that their great-grandfathers were not brothers.
4 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you for your attention to that.
5 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. To conclude: The Simic are something like the Smith family in
7 Great Britain, for instance?
8 MR. WEINER: I object.
9 MR. PANTELIC: I withdraw.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, can you get on with your examination.
11 We have other witnesses.
12 MR. PANTELIC:
13 Q. [Interpretation] Only one question pertaining to this line of
14 questioning that the Prosecutor opened with regards to the candidates.
15 Simeon Simic was the first on the list of the party called SSO. It's the
16 abbreviation for the Association of Youth, Socialist Youth; is that
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Later on, this association became the Liberal Party, headed by a
20 Muslim called Rasim Kadic; is that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you know if Milan Simic was to get married at the very
23 beginning of 1993, but he did not get married because he had an accident?
24 Do you know of that?
25 MR. WEINER: I object. It's outside the scope of
2 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Tell me, Mr. Simic: You're not a lawyer and you do not have any
4 particular knowledge about the constitution?
5 A. No.
6 Q. When you were answering a question of the Prosecutor with regards
7 to the Municipal Assembly being the highest authority or highest organ,
8 did you think of it in the legislative way?
9 A. Yes, in the legislative way, and in a more narrow meaning it is
10 the Executive Board.
11 Q. And my very last question. If you know, please tell us and tell
12 the Trial Chamber: What was the procedure when the decisions were adopted
13 within the Executive Board? Were they passing some kind of drafts and
14 then the drafts were adopted after being proposed to the Crisis Staff? If
15 you know, please tell us?
16 MR. WEINER: I'd object again. This is outside the scope of
18 MR. PANTELIC: It is within the scope, Your Honour, with all due
19 respect, because we have discussed Exhibit P181. My learned friend raised
20 the issue, relations between Executive Board and Crisis Staff. So --
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, I will allow it.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
23 Q. [Interpretation] I will reiterate my question. So according to
24 your knowledge and according to your experience, can you tell us if the
25 organs of the Executive Board prepare a draft to propose it to the
1 Executive Board and was that the case during the wartime presidency?
2 A. I told you what I knew about the Executive Board and what my
3 experience was. I was in charge of the goods and distributing the goods
4 and the needs of the municipalities, but I was not involved in whatever
5 else the Executive Board had to do.
6 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I've finished.
7 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes, Mr. Simic. I just have one question. You
8 mentioned, on page 47, lines 7 and 8, in response to a question by the
9 Prosecutor, that -- well, I'll quote. You said: "I was appointed
10 coordinator of Bosanka, based on a document produced by the Executive
11 Board." And I'm just wondering: Was this document put into your hands?
12 Do you still retain it in your personal records? Because clearly we
13 haven't got such a document in front of us. We only have the document
14 that was produced by the Prosecutor, Exhibit P181. So I'm just interested
15 in learning a little bit more about the document that you say was produced
16 by the Executive Board appointing you coordinator of Bosanka, if you have
17 some more information on that.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it's been 11 years since, and
19 I have forgotten a lot of things. However, all the documents in my
20 possession, in my private archive, are related to the Executive Board.
21 And I think I should have the document we're talking about somewhere, the
22 document on my appointment by the president of the Executive Board.
23 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you very much.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you very much, Mr. Simic. We are finished
25 with your evidence. You may leave the courtroom.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
2 [The witness withdrew]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Can the witness make the solemn declaration, please.
5 WITNESS: LAZAR MIRKIC
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
8 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Please sit down.
10 Examined by Mr. Pantelic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon. Will you please state your name
12 for the record, please.
13 A. Lazar Mirkic.
14 Q. Mr. Mirkic, good afternoon. I have a number of questions for you
15 related to the Rule 92 bis procedure and statement you gave. One section
16 of a paragraph must be gone through here in live testimony, and it is in
17 this context that I will ask you a number of questions. As we speak the
18 same language, please, after my question make a short pause, for the
19 benefit of the interpreters interpreting your testimony into the official
20 languages of the Tribunal and to keep the transcript accurate, please.
21 Mr. Mirkic, your personal information, family information,
22 information concerning your profession, are included in paragraph 1 of
23 your statement, but I must ask you the following question: In 1992, were
24 you a member of any party?
25 A. No.
1 Q. In 1992, among businessmen in the circles in which you moved,
2 because you were a manager, did you hold any official positions or posts?
3 What were your positions in those circles? What were your ratings? How
4 did your business partners work with you? Did you have any problems or
5 was it smooth for all those involved?
6 A. In the system that we had of the economy, I enjoyed some degree of
7 notable success, and I was rated as a very successful manager. I was held
8 in high esteem by both the people I worked with and with common citizens.
9 Q. Did you also work with international companies or foreign
11 A. Yes, a great deal. Mostly with Italy, Greece, what used to be
12 Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and we exported lamb meat to Kuwait.
13 Q. Tell me, please, Mr. Mirkic, are you now a member of any political
15 A. Yell.
16 Q. Which one?
17 A. The Serbian Democratic Party.
18 Q. Since when?
19 A. Since June 1996.
20 Q. In 1992, you were the manager of Agroposavina based in Donji
21 Zabar; is that correct?
22 A. Yes, and I had been in 1995 all the way to late 1997.
23 Q. Now you're the owner and manager of a private company called
25 A. I am the owner of the Agreks company. I am not the manager,
2 MR. PANTELIC: Would you just bear with me for a second to check
3 the transcript. Just a correction for the transcript. On page 64, line
4 14, the witness said in 1992 he was a manager of Agroposavina company
5 based in Donji Zabar. Thank you.
6 Q. [Interpretation] Your company, Agreks, is in international trade,
7 domestic trade, that sort of thing?
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, can we go to what is relevant for this
9 case, please, and these are the matters concerning the relationship
10 between the Executive Board, the Crisis Staff, the War Presidency --
11 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: And also the relationship with the army
13 institutions. That is what is relevant in this case and that is what the
14 focus of this witness should be.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. I'll do that. Absolutely.
16 Q. [Interpretation] Tell me, please: Where were you when war
17 conflict broke out on the 16th and 17th of April, 1992, you personally?
18 What was your location?
19 A. I was in Donji Zabar and in Pelagicevo.
20 Q. Where was your family?
21 A. In Pelagicevo.
22 Q. Where did you reside with your family prior to that period of
24 A. In Orasje.
25 Q. When did you leave Orasje?
1 A. I believe it was the 26th of September, 1991.
2 Q. What was the reason for you and your family to leave Orasje?
3 A. Just across the River Sava there was war in Croatia, and I think
4 it was on that day that the bridge over the River Sava was destroyed,
5 linking Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia. This was an unpleasant thing
6 for the citizens.
7 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt you, Mr. Mirkic. What was the reason that
8 you and your family left for Pelagicevo? Just briefly, please.
9 A. Safety, personal safety.
10 Q. Had you received any threats in Orasje, you and your family?
11 A. There had been telephone calls to our home.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, I think the Trial Chamber has given
13 you instructions as to what the focus should be of this witness.
14 Otherwise, we shall declare the witness finished, as far as you're
15 concerned, and then we'll allow cross-examination.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Because you're going completely outside what the
18 witness is to discuss.
19 MR. PANTELIC: Because I just want to go to the moment of his
20 appointment as --
21 JUDGE MUMBA: No, that's not necessary. Just deal with the
22 matters that I directed you to.
23 MR. PANTELIC: Okay.
24 Q. [Interpretation] So it's an agreed fact from your statement and
25 from the documents we have before us now that you were appointed secretary
1 for the economy, a member of the Executive Board of the Serbian
2 municipality of Samac and Pelagicevo that was on a meeting held on the
3 28th of March, 1992. My question is the following: Since when have you
4 worked in the economy of the Pelagicevo and Samac municipalities, in terms
5 of dates?
6 A. After the conflict broke out in the night between the 16th and the
7 17th of April, I remained in the Pelagicevo and Zabar area. I made
8 certain efforts for the security in our company to function properly, the
9 company of which I was manager. Because a large number of employees had
10 been mobilised, drafted into the army, and other employees, those of
11 Muslim and Croatian ethnicity, remained at their homes. So we agreed that
12 they would work in that area where we had farms, milking cows, and an
13 engine shed, we believed that the conflict would soon come to an end and
14 that we could keep on doing our daily business as usual.
15 Q. What was the basis for your appointment as secretary for the
16 economy? More specifically, had there been a decision on a work
17 assignment or had there been a different document appointing you to that
19 A. All men of military age and all able-bodied men had their war
20 assignments and there had to be military decision assigning them to a
21 certain post, a post assigned to them by their war assignments or by
22 another document.
23 Q. Specifically, what was yours? Did you receive a decision to that
25 A. No. I received no decision at that time, and I think at that time
1 there were many people like me who received no decisions in writing. From
2 the army, we did, yes.
3 Q. In the area that you were covering, the Pelagicevo municipality,
4 which was part of the newly created Samac and Pelagicevo municipalities,
5 can you please explain to the Trial Chamber, as secretary for the economy
6 of this newly created municipality, what were your tasks? Did you have
7 anyone assisting you, as secretary, and you personally, as of the 18th of
8 April, what were your tasks and duties?
9 A. My assistants were Milan Simic, for the industry. There was an
10 oral agreement for him to stay in the town of Samac and to cover our
11 activities there. Aleksa Stakic from Pelagicevo was my assistant for
12 agriculture, and I usually coordinated their work, the work of those two,
13 in those moments when we could actually communicate.
14 Q. Can you please describe for the Trial Chamber your activities
15 following the 18th of April in the area where you worked?
16 A. It is known that the conflict broke out just before the spring
17 sowing, and this had to be secured throughout the area for the season. We
18 had to secure the materials, the raw materials. We were running out of
19 those. We had to secure manpower to carry out this task. We had to
20 secure the equipment and the machines necessary for that. We had to
21 secure the sowing in those families where most members of the family had
22 been mobilised, leaving at home people who were not as physically able to
23 do such hard work. We also got the civilian protection involved on that,
24 which included people who were not military conscripts or people liable
25 for military service. We often provided the mechanical equipment so that
1 the sowing could be done in spring season.
2 Q. In the first days of war, what steps did you take as secretary for
3 the economy to secure normal supplies for the civilian population, in your
4 own area of work? Which measures did you take, if any?
5 A. One of the most important measures was to protect from -- to
6 preserve from destruction our own reserves, what we had in stock, what we
7 had across companies, co-ops and other buildings and facilities. This was
8 absolutely imperative, for us to preserve this so that we could do the
9 sowing. And on the other hand, it enabled us to supply all the necessary
10 goods, those necessary for survival of the population under those
11 difficult circumstances. When there was shelling on a daily basis, people
12 were getting killed every day, sometimes even several people a day, many
13 things had to be preserved. We had to go so far as to start the
14 production of coffins for dead bodies.
15 Q. Very well. What I want to know is about the sector of work or
16 area of work that you covered, that you were in charge of. Did you secure
17 supplies for the whole civilian population or only for some ethnic groups,
18 as opposed to others? Please tell the Trial Chamber first of all about
19 the different ethnic groups living in the area, and what was your
20 relationship to the civilian population as a whole? Was there any
21 discrimination on the basis of ethnic background?
22 A. There was no form of ethnic discrimination; quite the contrary. I
23 think it was the other ethnic groups that were quite well served, I should
24 say, and profusely supplied with staple foods and consumer goods, because
25 they were mostly based in the town of Samac itself. Serbs lived in the
1 surrounding villages also. And then it was easier to get food items for
2 personal hygiene, that kind of thing.
3 Q. In Pelagicevo, which was your area in terms of the economy, were
4 there any Muslims and Croats there?
5 A. No. That was a Serb village.
6 Q. Yes, but I mean the general area. I don't mean the village itself
7 only. I'm referring to Obudovac and the surroundings.
8 A. All of those were Serb villages.
9 Q. In your company, in Agroposavina, did you have employees of other
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did they continue to work after the conflict broke out?
13 A. Most of the Croats and Muslims working there remained in the
14 company, in a unit, a work unit that was based in Orasje, and this unit
15 was part of our company. That was an agreement that they had with me,
16 that they would remain there and carry out certain tasks, because we had a
17 farm there where we milked cows. There was an engine shed there where we
18 kept machines and a place where we kept fodder.
19 Q. Can you please clarify this: Orasje, is it in the territory of
20 Republika Srpska or is it in the Croatian Muslim Federation?
21 A. It's in the territories of the Muslim Croatian Federation.
22 Q. In 1992, was this Croatian-controlled territory?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What was your activity with the Executive Board about? Please
25 explain this to the Trial Chamber. How often did you go to meetings?
1 What was discussed at those meetings? Which steps did you take as a
2 member of the Executive Board in charge of the economy?
3 A. I didn't go to Samac very often. I didn't go to the Executive
4 Board in Samac very often, because that area was covered by another man
5 who was in charge of organising the economy there. I went when I was
6 especially called by the president of the Executive Board, Mirko
7 Jovanovic, personally, initially, and later it was Mr. Simic. Those were
8 mostly brief meetings.
9 Q. When you say "Mr. Simic," for the sake of precision, which seem
10 are you referring to? Because there are quite many of them.
11 A. Milan Simic. And the president of the Executive Board was very
12 considerate in terms of my obligations back in the company, because we had
13 bioproduction, and there were frequent power failures. We had problems
14 with power failures. We had 1.052 head of cattle, and the lack of fodder
15 had to be made good. It took superhuman efforts to deliver all our
16 products to the market in this period of hyperinflation. It required
17 superhuman efforts to preserve all of this and to preserve the real value
18 of what we had. This was absolutely imperative for me.
19 Q. Mr. Mirkic, tell me, please: During your work with the Executive
20 Board, what was the hierarchy of the Executive Board like? Which
21 regulations did they apply? Can you please explain the link between the
22 Executive Board and the government of Republika Srpska at that time, as
23 far as you're familiar with it and as far as the economy is concerned.
24 A. It was a vertical connection up to the relevant ministries, the
25 government's ministries, the government of Republika Srpska, and vice
1 versa. There was frequent coordination. Mostly it went through the
2 president or chairman of the Executive Board, who then provided us with
3 instructions on what we should do and how we should work.
4 Q. Mr. Mirkic, as far as the link to the army was concerned, what
5 were the regulations there, and what were the obligations of different
6 people in the economy or companies, and the Executive Board itself to the
8 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, this evidence is rapidly
9 becoming incomprehensible in my submission. Page 71, line 13, there are
10 three separate questions in the question. In the answer, there's
11 reference to a vertical connection up to relevant ministries, frequent
12 coordination. Vertical connection between what and whom? What
13 ministries? "Frequent coordination," what does that mean? "Mostly it
14 went through the president or chairman of the Executive Board." That
15 doesn't mean anything. The next question that you have following that is
16 a link to the army, what the regulations, what the obligations of
17 different people in the economy or companies, and the Executive Board
18 itself to the army. If the witness gives an answer to that question, you
19 won't know what he's answering, because it's just so utterly imprecise.
20 Now, you want this evidence to have meaning, you've got to have a
21 little more precision than all of that, in my submission, otherwise it's
22 just -- you don't know what he's talking about.
23 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. Maybe it's a matter of
24 translation. But I will try to clarify that as much as possible, just for
25 the information of my learned friend, he can find the very precise answer
1 that the ministries in question, that's page 71, line 18 and 19, the
2 ministries in question actually was the part of the government of
3 Republika Srpska. So it's very clear about which ministries we are
4 speaking. But I will clarify again that with the witness. No problem.
5 Q. [Interpretation] So, Mr. Mirkic, tell me, please: You spoke about
6 the vertical line connecting the Executive Board with the relevant
7 ministries. On the basis of which provisions or regulations, tell us,
8 please, if you know, did that link connecting them exist? More
9 specifically, were those informal connections or did organs of the
10 ministries adopt any enactments or anything? Tell us, if you know.
11 A. I could tell you about the ministry of the economy -- of
12 agriculture. Mr. Mlivoje Nadedin was the minister in the joint government
13 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and he was later minister with the republican
14 government of Republika Srpska. We kept in touch with him and we
15 consulted him on a number of issues. We requested his assistance in
16 certain wartime situations. I was not in charge of any other links or
17 connections, nor was I in charge of establishing contact.
18 Q. Very well. Certain ministries adopt certain enactments; is that
19 so? You are a person working in the field of the economy, a well-known
20 person, so what would these enactments be, those passed by the relevant
22 A. Provisions, decisions.
23 Q. In 1992, you at the Executive Board, did you carry out or
24 implement those provisions or decisions by the government in the field of
1 A. Yes, we did, yes.
2 Q. Further, we're talking about the army. This is wartime we're
3 talking about. So what is the role of the economy in wartime, wartime
4 economy? Can you please explain this to the Trial Chamber.
5 A. It was a simple question we businessmen were facing: How will the
6 economy survive the war? And we did the best we could. We worked to the
7 best of our ability. It was preservation work. We wanted to preserve the
8 companies, the employees, our personnel.
9 Q. And what were the obligations of the economy towards the Ministry
10 of Defence? What were the obligations of the economy and the companies
11 towards the army of Republika Srpska? Can you please explain that? And
12 what were these obligations really based on?
13 A. I don't think I can provide a specific answer to this one, save
14 for what I know. I know that the company sold some items to the army,
15 beef, and we charged them for this. This didn't come free of charge.
16 It's only to be expected in such a time that logistical supplies were set
17 up, that the army was assisted and that they were given some items
18 necessary for their proper functioning. All the more so because the army
19 was made up of volunteers, of locals who had been mobilised. All of them
20 were neighbours, friends, brothers, relatives, people we knew. It would
21 have been impossible for us not to secure sufficient food for them. We
22 did whatever we could.
23 Q. This obligation, did it comprise providing the military with
24 accommodation, with food, with supplies, supplying their uniforms even?
25 A. Mostly it was about food and some uniforms.
1 Q. What were your obligations, you as a businessman and as secretary
2 for the economy, towards the republican commodity reserves in wartime?
3 A. Later on I heard that a prescription had been published for all
4 goods found, collected, to become the property of the republican commodity
5 reserves. I myself did not work on these tasks, and I can't really tell
6 you anything very specific about this question of yours.
7 MR. PANTELIC: Appropriate time for a break.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, we'll take our break.
9 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
10 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 12.51 p.m.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Mirkic, before the break we were talking
15 about the authorities and the relationship between the Executive Board and
16 other bodies, primarily ministries. Please tell me: Do you have any
17 personal knowledge of the way decisions were drafted in the Executive
18 Board when it came to different areas that had to be covered by that
19 body? Did you have expert services, technical services? What were the
20 discussions like? Could you please explain that to the Trial Chamber.
21 A. We didn't have very big technical services. A lot of things were
22 done in a haste, day in, day out, according to the situation. So we were
23 reactive rather than proactive. There were very few things that we could
24 really plan for a longer-term period.
25 Q. Do you have any knowledge about the fact that some decisions were
1 drafted by the secretariat and then proposed to the Executive Board for
3 A. Yes. Some certainly were. Mostly those that concerned various
5 Q. You were a member of the Executive Board, that is, the secretary
6 for economics, up to the end of July 1992; isn't that correct?
7 A. Yes, that is correct.
8 Q. Who replaced you in the Executive Board of Samac municipality as
9 the secretary for economy, if you know?
10 A. Yes, I do know. It was Mr. Slobodan Simic [as interpreted].
11 Q. Could you please repeat his last name?
12 A. It is not Simic, but Sijencic.
13 Q. How often during the period while you held that post and later on,
14 in 1992, 1993, did you have contacts, personal contacts, with Dr. Blagoje
15 Simic? Can you remember?
16 A. I had very few contacts with him, save for one occasion when
17 Dr. Blagoje Simic visited the area where I resided and worked. He wanted
18 to gather information on the functioning of the civilian protection. And
19 then the two of us together visited the office in my native village, in
20 Covic Polje, which was under a big threat because it was on the line of
21 fire. It was a very poor village. And we wanted to know how people
22 managed, how they manage to survive, what they needed, what they
23 required. And then Dr. Simic asked the civilian protection to be of
24 assistance to the poorest segment of the population, primarily those who
25 had lost members of their family to the war and returnees. Later on we
1 would only come across each other on one or two occasions, but we didn't
2 have any close contacts.
3 Q. What was the situation with refugees in your area where you
4 resided? If there were refugees, how did you deal with their problems?
5 A. Refugees would come to my company. They would come from Orasje
6 and from Serbian villages in Odzak municipality, and maybe from some other
7 places from one side or another. We had a furniture store, and women and
8 children were accommodated there. They would be given tea or milk for
9 children, and other necessities, and then they would find their own way to
10 go elsewhere, where they would find more permanent accommodation and wait
11 for the war to be over, for the conflict to come to an end.
12 Q. Mr. Mirkic, in those contacts with Dr. Blagoje Simic, what were
13 his comments and what was his attitude towards other ethnic groups,
14 non-Serbs? Did he show any sort of intolerance? What were his comments?
15 A. I never heard anything that would -- that could be characterised
16 as discrimination of other ethnic groups. I really never hear Blagoje
17 advocating any sort of discrimination.
18 Q. And finally, tell me, if you know: What was the relationship
19 between the civilian authorities and the army and the police? In other
20 words, was the civilian government in the position to issue orders to the
21 military and to the police?
22 A. We had absolutely no contacts with the structures in the police
23 and in the army. There is no way we could influence the command
24 structures or any events involving the military or the police. The
25 situation was the following: The Executive Board did have no authority
1 whatsoever to control the work of the police. The police was linked to
2 the minister of the interior and his associates, and the ministry as a
3 whole. So I claim with full responsibility that we did not have any
4 control over the work of the police or any influence on their work.
5 Q. And as regards the army of Republika Srpska, the army structures,
6 what was the situation there?
7 A. My previous answer could also apply to this question. It would be
8 much the same.
9 Q. Employees working in the companies in the region where you were in
10 charge of the coordination of the economy, did the employees receive
11 salaries in 1992 and 1993?
12 A. Yes, they did.
13 Q. Were there contributions paid as well, the pension contribution
14 and the medical insurance?
15 A. Yes, they were paid, but when we couldn't do it in due time, then
16 we would pay the back contributions. That was the principle, and I
17 believe that one could check that in the files, in the municipal files,
18 and one could verify whether all these contributions were paid. But
19 generally speaking, there was the principle that we honoured, and that was
20 to pay the contributions, because for that matter, our activities were
21 funded from the funds.
22 Q. Was there a selective approach or did that apply to all the three
23 ethnic backgrounds?
24 A. There was no selective approach. All the employees enjoy the same
25 rights and had the same obligations towards their workplace. So we never
1 talked about or received any instruction to the effect of somebody being
2 privileged in any sense.
3 Q. And finally, during 1992 and 1993, was the economic situation
4 normal or was there inflation? If there was, how was the issue of
5 salaries dealt with?
6 A. I believe that it will be inconceivable for all those who come
7 from other economic systems, but let me tell you that there was such a
8 high rate of inflation that when you were clinching a certain business
9 deal, we would also negotiate the price and the terms of payments in
11 Q. Why in hours?
12 A. Because the new rate of exchange was established every half an
13 hour. So that within the matter of hours, certain goods would lose 50 per
14 cent of their value.
15 Q. So how did you deal with the issue of salaries? Did you pay them
16 in kind or did you resort to any other means?
17 A. Yes, we would give them staple foods, flour, salt, washing
18 powder. And it is correct to say that employees preferred to be paid in
19 kind than to be paid in cash, because money was losing its value very
20 fast, and everybody needed food, and food kept its constant value.
21 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues]...
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Any other counsel?
23 MR. KRGOVIC: We have no questions for this witness, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pisarevic.
25 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] No, we don't have any questions.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: The Prosecution?
2 Cross-examined by Mr. Di Fazio:
3 Q. Mr. Mirkic, my name is Mr. Di Fazio. I have a few questions for
4 you on behalf of the Prosecution. I want to ask you about your
5 appointment to the Executive Board, and you described that process in
6 paragraph 8 of your statement, and you say that in late March or early
7 April, Mirko Jovanovic called you --
8 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise to my learned friend. Could we have
9 a copy in B/C/S language, for the sake --
10 MR. DI FAZIO: I didn't realize. Yes. Could the witness be given
11 his statement.
12 MR. PANTELIC: D174/1.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll manage. Thank you.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
15 Q. You say that, in your statement, paragraph 8, that Mirko Jovanovic
16 called you and asked you to join the Executive Board. Up until that point
17 in time, had you had any idea that this request was going to be made, or
18 did it come as a surprise to you?
19 A. It came as an utter surprise.
20 Q. At the time, where were you residing?
21 A. I was residing with my in-laws in Pelagicevo. That is where my
22 child went to school.
23 Q. And you were busily engaged in carrying on your occupation as the
24 manager of a company?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You have no formal economic qualifications, do you?
2 A. I'm an engineer. I have a degree in agriculture.
3 Q. Right. Fine. That's what I understood. So you've got
4 qualifications as an engineer and you have a degree in agriculture, and
5 you have experience as a businessman running a company, but you have no
6 formal economic qualifications, do you, the study of economics?
7 A. That is correct. I managed the company since 1985, in a very
8 successful way.
9 Q. I don't doubt that, but your experience in business is confined to
10 running a company. Correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Furthermore, you didn't have any particular knowledge of the
13 situation in Bosanski Samac, in the town and in the municipality?
14 A. No, I didn't.
15 Q. Did you point out these matters to Mr. Jovanovic when he contacted
16 you and made the request that you join the Executive Board?
17 A. Yes, I did tell him that. But a compromise was reached, according
18 to which Mr. Milan Simic would be my assistant, who would be in charge of
19 industry. He has a degree in economics and he also had experience to
20 carry out those tasks.
21 Q. Was that agreement reached on the occasion that you were first
22 contacted or was that sorted out later, after your acceptance of the post?
23 A. I believe that later on, at the session of the Assembly which was
24 held on the 28th of March, I was proposed to be a member of the cabinet,
25 and then since my positions were contrary to his, he reassured me. He
1 told me everything would be okay, that everything would be covered very
2 well, that he would give me qualified assistants, and that my role was to
3 use my authority to satisfy the population that things would be run
4 smoothly, because people placed a lot of trust in me and my work.
5 Q. So the sequence was that Mirko Jovanovic contacted you first,
6 asking you to join the Executive Board; subsequently, in late March, your
7 appointment was formally adopted by the Municipal Assembly, the Serbian
8 Municipal Assembly?
9 A. No. It was a bit different. The Assembly session was first. It
10 took place on the 28th of March. Later on I was informed by Mirko what
11 had taken place at the session. He told me that I had been proposed as a
12 member of his cabinet. And then the rest of my previous answer applies to
13 this question.
14 Q. Thank you. That's what I thought from reading your statement. So
15 you were proposed and appointed as director of municipal public revenues
16 administration -- sorry. My apologies. My apologies. You were proposed
17 and appointed as secretary of the municipal secretariat for the economy,
18 without even having been spoken to about that possibility, about that
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You didn't attend the session held on the 28th of March, 1992,
22 where that appointment was made?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Were you surprised? Were you surprised when you learnt of your
1 A. Well, yes, I was. I was not very familiar with Samac and its
2 economy. The only part I was familiar with was agriculture. But I was
3 reassured by him. He said that agriculture is the core business activity
4 of our municipalities. He said I had the necessary experience to perform
5 these duties correctly.
6 Q. In addition to not being consulted about the position, in addition
7 to that, you were being asked to join a body that was being set up
8 parallel to the already existing and democratically elected organs in
9 Bosanski Samac, weren't you? Or to put it another way, you knew that
10 there was already an existing Municipal Assembly democratically collected
11 in 1990, with all its attendant bodies, its own Executive Board, and so
12 on. What you were being asked to do was to join a parallel, if you want
13 to describe it that way, Executive Board. Did they ask you if you
14 approved of that?
15 A. That particular session of the Serbian Assembly of Samac
16 municipality which was held in March 1992 carried the legitimacy of the
17 previous elections, because it was composed of the elected deputies who
18 were elected in 1990. They were all Serbs and representatives of all
19 parties. Following the same line of logic, the Executive Board also was
20 given the same legitimacy of that Assembly. The fact that it was not
21 operational at the moment when it was appointed doesn't make a
22 difference. It was said that both the Executive Board and the Assembly
23 would start working at the moment when Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
24 that is, the Serbian community, would be put into an unequal position with
25 regard to other ethnic groups.
1 Q. Is that what was going through your mind at the time, that you
2 decided to accept the position? Is that your reasoning? Was that your
3 reasoning? Did you take that into account, what you've just told us?
4 A. I have taken that into account. I had taken it into account. And
5 I believed and I was convinced that another solution would be found and
6 that we would never have to behave like an independent Serbian organ. I
7 was sure that we would find a solution, especially because the
8 international community got involved in the process of talks which took
9 place at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including all the
10 constitutive people which made or comprised the peoples of Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina. I believed in this. But unfortunately, after a few
12 attempts, it did not work out and we found ourselves precisely where we
14 Q. It goes without saying, of course, that in April -- sorry - in
15 March and April of 1992, people in -- there were three ethnic groups
16 living in Bosanski Samac, weren't there: The Croats, the Muslims, and the
17 Serbs? Correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. This new body, the Executive Board, would be taking -- for it to
20 make any sense, would be taking decisions, affecting the lives of all the
21 people living in Bosanski Samac and the municipality of Bosanski Samac.
23 A. Yes. That's the way it was.
24 Q. You would be participating in those decisions and those processes
25 if you accepted your appointment. Correct?
1 A. Yes, with the exception that my duties were strictly confined to
2 my own sector, and I believe that I was competent to behave adequately in
3 given situations [as interpreted].
4 Q. Thank you. The body in which you were a member was going to start
5 taking decisions which would affect the lives of Croats and Muslims, would
6 it not?
7 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise. Just in order to -- for the sake
8 of clarity of the transcript. In page 84, line 22, after the full stop,
9 actually, the other part which was not recorded of the statement of this
10 witness, given the situation and in order to satisfy all people, all
11 nations, and all community in Samac.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm sure that Mr. Pantelic heard correctly, and I
13 accept that, and perhaps we can proceed now.
14 Q. So the new Executive Board was going to take -- of which you were
15 a member, had accepted membership, was going to take decisions, take
16 actions that were going to affect the lives of all three -- members of all
17 three ethnic groups. That's so, isn't it?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And you accept, don't you, that the municipal -- the new Serbian
20 Municipal Assembly, and later its incarnation as the Crisis Staff and the
21 War Presidency, represented only Serbian people, don't you?
22 A. I believe not.
23 Q. You knew, didn't you, that the Municipal Assembly only had
24 appointed as deputies members of Serb -- members of the SDS and other
25 parties who were of Serbian ethnicity? You knew that, didn't you?
1 A. I did not know who was making the Assembly, who was part of it. I
2 believe that it was an open possibility for all ethnicities to
3 participate, but I believe and I suppose the majority was Serb, of Serb
4 nationality. Now, I don't know who was -- who were the members of the
5 Assembly. I do not know the exact ethnic structure.
6 Q. You knew that the formal title of this new governmental body that
7 was being announced in March and April of 1992 was the Municipal Assembly
8 of the Serbian people of Bosanski Samac and Pelagicevo Under Formation;
9 you knew that, didn't you?
10 A. No, I did not know that. At the time, I did not know this. I saw
11 it, however, later on, in some headlines.
12 Q. Before or after your acceptance of your position in the Executive
13 Board did you find out?
14 A. After the acceptance, when the executive committee began its
15 work. It may have been towards the middle of the month of May or perhaps
16 end of May.
17 Q. And you knew in March and April of 1992 that the Assembly of the
18 Serbian people of Bosanski Samac and Pelagicevo was to consist of deputies
19 of the Serbian Democratic Party of Bosanski Samac, Gradacac, Orasje, and
20 Odzak; you knew that, didn't you?
21 A. I think that this is not how it was specifically said. I believe
22 that it was deputies of all ethnic groups and others who wished to be part
23 of the Assembly. And I found that out later on because I did not take
24 part in the works.
25 Q. Before you -- if that be so, did you ever question the need of
1 this particular Serbian municipality was, given the existence of an
2 already democratically elected Municipal Assembly?
3 A. It is a known fact that there was a polarisation on the basis of
4 ethnicities, and this took place much earlier in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in
5 other municipalities, as well as other areas. I believe that the Serbs
6 were always behind other ethnic groups which lived in Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina [as interpreted].
8 Q. That was your belief in 1992, and it's your belief now?
9 A. In 1992, I did not have any precise knowledge of this, and later
10 on I found out and I was able to read in the media, and I saw that the
11 Croats also had their organisation, Croatian and Bosnian Posavina. They
12 had their organs in their areas, in their localities. They had organised
13 themselves in a similar fashion. They had their own municipal organs.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you. I do apologise to my
16 learned friend. It's page 87, line 1. This witness said exactly the
17 following: After the word "Herzegovina," he said in the sense of
18 organisation." Because otherwise if we are reading this sentence, it
19 might be somehow doubtful.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: I accept what Mr. Pantelic says. Thank you.
21 Q. You've given evidence that you joined the SDS in 1996.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. By that time, 1996, you had had a good opportunity to observe its
24 policies in action, to understand its policies, and you had no trouble or
25 difficulty in joining the party, given that background knowledge, did you?
1 A. What do you think of exactly? Could you please be more precise?
2 I'm not sure if I understood your question.
3 Q. I'm sorry. Fair enough. I think my question was somewhat
4 imprecise. I'll approach it another way.
5 By 1996, you had seen the SDS at work for a period of at least six
6 years. That is so, isn't it?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. You had seen it at work at both a national level and on a
9 municipal level, and in particular in Bosanski Samac?
10 A. Yes, aside from one period of time when the work of all the
11 parties was frozen.
12 Q. Thank you. And having seen its policies being carried into
13 operation, you were pleased with those policies, considered them proper
14 and just policies, and so you joined the party?
15 A. I was not in charge of that. I was not governed by that, rather.
16 And I believe that through the Dayton Accord through which the war in
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina ended, I had the impression that the Dayton Accord
18 proved that policy, but I did not get involved into the analysis of its
19 work. I was governed by reputation of that party and the Serbian people
20 had voted in majority for that party, and I thought that people for sure
21 could not make a mistake. And maybe I was governed by that fact mainly.
22 In terms of going more in depth with regards to the analysis of politics,
23 I didn't do that.
24 Q. Okay. But let's get back to your appointment. In March of 1992,
25 you had no formal economic qualifications, you didn't know what the
1 political and economic situation was in Bosanski Samac, you had made no
2 moves to join any of the organs or institutions of this new Serbian
3 municipality. In those circumstances, the real reason that Jovanovic
4 contacted you and asked you to accept a position in the Executive Board
5 was that you sympathised with the policies of the SDS, you sympathised
6 with the process that you could see unfolding in front of your eyes in
7 March and April of 1992; that is so, isn't it?
8 A. I believe that I already answered that question, but I will try to
9 be a little bit more clear. Mr. Jovanovic proposed my name as an expert
10 for our circumstances, and I believe that I was an expert for the economy,
11 especially when it comes to agriculture. With regards to politics, I was
12 not very much involved in politics. I was an apolitical person. I was
13 not even following whatever was going on in the world of politics. I
14 wasn't following the events which took place in the city in which I
15 lived. I was extremely busy in my company. And I really did not have
16 time to get involved in other activities.
17 Q. Why didn't you just refuse?
18 A. For the simple reason that it was not asked of me to join
19 immediately and to start working immediately, because I believed that it
20 was only a temporary situation and that it would never be necessary to
21 function, and to refuse it would have meant that I did not want to
22 cooperate with the people, with my friends with whom I had been
23 cooperating up until then. We were always good friends. So this is what
24 I thought. And my answer to your question is simply that I never thought
25 that I ever had to really do that work.
1 Q. What did you think you had to do?
2 A. I thought that I was only going to do my own job. I believed in
3 peace. I believed that in Bosnia there was going to be no war.
4 Q. All right. The Executive Board of which you became a member was
5 in fact a functioning, operational body in April, May, June, July, and
6 throughout the remainder of the year, wasn't it? When I say that, I mean
7 it carried out -- it held meetings, members participated in deliberations
8 and discussions, and so on.
9 A. There were no meetings up until, I believe, the 18th of April.
10 Afterwards, I heard that there had been one meeting, not only of the
11 Executive Board but also of other structures, people who were worried with
12 regards to the agricultural situation in the agricultural combine in
13 Samac, and I suppose that these people were also in an extraordinary
14 situation and they were trying to find a solution as to how to do
15 something intelligent and how to resolve the problem, and I think that
16 this is what they discussed.
17 Q. All I'm driving at is, it's a very simple thing: This Executive
18 Board was a functioning organ in April, May, June, July, and throughout
19 the remainder of that year, 1992. From time to time it held meetings.
20 You may not have been there, but from time to time it held meetings, it
21 took decisions, discussed policy. That's so, isn't it?
22 A. Policies were not discussed, but everything else was discussed.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 A. We were discussing our situation.
25 Q. Yes. Yes. And presumably trying to find problems -- sorry -
1 solutions to the problems that you faced.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Witness inaudible.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: I heard the witness say "da," and I assume that --
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can you repeat the answer?
5 THE WITNESS: I would like to ask Mr. Di Fazio to ask the question
6 again, because --
7 MR. DI FAZIO:
8 Q. No. All I'm saying is: The Executive Board was trying to find
9 solutions to the problems faced -- that you faced, and you answered yes.
10 That is so, isn't it?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Now, in the time that the Executive Board was up and running as a
13 functioning body, was Bozo Ninkovic participating in meetings from time to
14 time, participating in its processes? And I'm talking about April, May,
15 June, July.
16 A. I can't remember Bozo Ninkovic.
17 Q. Do you mean you don't know --
18 A. I can't remember that he actually took part.
19 Q. Other members of the Executive Board took part in its
20 deliberations, its proceedings?
21 A. Few members of the Executive Board, rather few, really, took part
22 in the work. In addition to the president or chairman of the Executive
23 Board, there was always Mirko Lukic, most often, that is, not always. If
24 I wasn't there, one of my deputies would attend, most usually Milan Simic,
25 and there was a man whose name I didn't know. He was in charge of
1 property and land surveying. He hailed from Slatina, I think.
2 Q. So individual members of the Executive Board could send their
3 deputies to meetings of the board; is that correct?
4 A. Yes, that's correct.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness be given Exhibit P124, please, I
7 suppose 124 ter, the gazette.
8 Q. This document that you have before you is the Official Gazette of
9 the Samac municipality, published in early -- sorry - mid-1994, and it
10 sets out the decisions and some of the legislation adopted by the
11 municipal -- Serbian Municipal Assembly of Bosanski Samac. Can you please
12 go to paragraph 13 of the gazette, and it's at the bottom of that
13 section. It's dated the 14th of April, 1992, and apparently it's got the
14 president of the Executive Council's name, Mirko Jovanovic, after it. Do
15 you see that section, 13? It deals with the steps to form the municipal
16 Crisis Staff. Do you see that?
17 A. Page 11?
18 Q. It's number 02/13 of 92 and it's dated 14th of April, 1992, and
19 next to it is the name Mirko Jovanovic. Do you have that?
20 A. Signed by.
21 Q. Yes, yes, signed by.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And you see it refers to a meeting taken -- that occurred on the
24 14th of April. And on the 14th of April, the Executive Council of the
25 Serbian municipality passed the following conclusions. Do you see that
1 preamble to -- and then all the six conclusions are set out. Do you see
3 A. Yes. Yes.
4 Q. Okay. All right. Now, were you at that meeting on the 14th of
5 April, when the Executive Board passed those conclusions?
6 A. No.
7 Q. Do you know about that meeting on the 14th of April, when the
8 Executive Board passed those conclusions?
9 A. No, I do not know about it, and I assume that the members of the
10 Executive Board, if such a meeting was indeed held, were the same ones who
11 were members of the multiparty Executive Board. This strikes me as
12 slightly illogical, I mean that the Executive Board should set up a body
13 superior to itself. This all strikes me as very dubious, that this might
14 have been done precisely in this manner.
15 Q. You don't accept that there was a meeting on the 14th of April at
16 which the Executive Council of the Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac,
17 at its sixth session, passed all those conclusions? You don't accept
18 that, or at least you have serious doubts about that?
19 A. I don't know that. I don't know about this meeting, so I can't
20 say anything about this meeting.
21 Q. Do you know when the Crisis Staff was formed?
22 A. I assume after the 17th of April that the Crisis Staff was
23 established, after the 17th of April, because I do know that there was an
24 intention for the Assembly to continue its work. However, that proved
25 impossible, on account of most of the deputies having been mobilised into
1 the ranks of the army and the police, or elsewhere, and they had to reach
2 some kind of solution. They reached this solution.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: It's time, I think, if Your Honours please.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We'll adjourn now.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
7 1.45 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
8 the 2nd day of May, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.