1 Tuesday, 16 April 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning, everybody. Madam Registrar, would
6 you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. Good morning. This is case
8 number IT-97-24-T, the Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Let me now turn to the main person
10 of these proceedings. Dr. Stakic, are you able to follow the proceedings
11 in a language that you understand.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I am, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you very much. I won't ask you that each
14 day, but if there's any problem that you have, please let us know
15 immediately, both concerns translation or health problems or a situation
16 in the Detention Unit. So please do it on your own initiative whenever
17 there should be a problem.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I now have the appearances of the Office of
20 the Prosecutor, Ms. Korner.
21 MS. KORNER: Joanna Korner, Nicholas Koumjian, assisted by Ruth
22 Karper, case manager.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And for the Defence, Mr. Lukic.
24 MR. LUKIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Branko Lukic and Mr. John
25 Ostojic for the Defence.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. By the way, in the Pre-Trial
2 Conference, one point was left open due to your absence, Mr. Ostojic.
3 Therefore, my question now, are you able and willing to present Dr. Stakic
4 also in the absence of Mr. Lukic and content to Mr. Lukic presenting alone
5 Dr. Stakic in your absence?
6 MR. OSTOJIC: Yes, Your Honour, we are.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this clarification.
8 Let me now introduce to you my two colleagues on the Bench
9 assigned to this case. To my right, Judge Fassi Fihri from Morocco, to my
10 left, Judge Volodymyr Vassylenko from the Ukraine.
11 We are all elected by votes of the General Assembly of the United
12 Nations in 2001. We are mandated to hear this trial as independent Judges
13 of the ICTY. This Tribunal is not only a criminal court. It is at the
14 same time a peacekeeping mission. To quote from Security Council
15 resolution 827 of 1993, "This Tribunal has to contribute to the
16 restoration and maintenance of peace. We have to do our very best to
17 break the vicious and at the same time fatal cycle of vengeance,
18 intolerance, and hate. We never should forget this additional mandate
19 during trial. This means to avoid everything that could bring additional
20 unnecessary harm to persons from the territory of the former Yugoslavia,
21 everything that could reopen wounds. This means to avoid an unnecessary
22 sharpness in courtroom, to respect the dignity, first of all, of victims
23 of the war, whoever may be responsible for their destiny, to respect the
24 dignity of victims and witnesses means also and first of all to respect
25 the protective measures granted to certain especially vulnerable
1 witnesses. I recall this duty for all of us, the Judges included, because
2 it seems to be very easy to create additional injuries to witnesses if we,
3 only by negligence, quote their names in open courtroom.
4 At the same time, we have to protect the personal dignity of the
5 alleged offender. The presumption of innocence will prevail until and in
6 case this Tribunal has come to a final decision on guilt.
7 Dr. Stakic enjoys all the fundamental rights of an accused
8 enshrined in our Statute and in global and European human rights
9 conventions. Only the protection and respect of these human rights of an
10 accused makes this Tribunal really strong. To act in this spirit should
11 encourage potential perpetrators in future to respect themselves, the
12 human rights of persons they regard as their enemies. All potential
13 perpetrators should know that they have to face international
14 jurisdiction, seeking for justice by applying the human rights.
15 We, Prosecutors, Judges, and Defence counsel, as privileged
16 outsiders to what happened in former Yugoslavia, should be aware of our
17 limited power. As human beings, we will never find the truth, but we have
18 to try to come as close as possible to truth with the tools of a fair
20 Already the Romans, the fathers of what we have in common in our
21 different legal systems, knew non est iustitia, there is no justice, but
22 this knowledge should encourage us to come as close as possible to
23 justice. This can only be done in a spirit of mutual respect and
24 recognition, bearing in mind our common peace mission, which does not
25 allow for work in terms of black and white, good and bad, only. This
1 should encourage all persons present in this courtroom to cooperate, if
2 possible, and cooperate peacefully, envisaging a fair and at the same time
3 expeditious trial.
4 The basis of this trial will indisputably be now the fourth
5 amended indictment of April 10, 2002, as it was discussed in the Pre-Trial
7 Madam Registrar, would you please read out this indictment in one
8 of the languages of this Tribunal.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. [Interpretation] Fourth amended
10 indictment. The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the
11 former Yugoslavia, pursuant to her authority under Article 18 of the
12 Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,
13 the Statute of the Tribunal, charges: Milomir Stakic with genocide,
14 crimes against humanity, and violations of the laws and customs of war
15 crimes as set forth below:
16 Background facts.
17 Prijedor municipality is located in north-western Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina. According to the 1991 census it had a total population of
19 approximately 112.443 inhabitants, 49.351, or 43.9 per cent identified
20 themselves as Muslims, 47.581, or 42.3 per cent identified themselves as
21 Serbs, 6.316, or 5.6 per cent of them identified themselves as Croats,
22 6.459, or 5.7 per cent identified themselves as Yugoslavs and 2.836 or 2.5
23 per cent were identified as other nationalities.
24 In November 1990, democratic elections were held throughout
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina including Prijedor municipality. There were three main
1 parties each of which was identified with one of the three principle
2 population groups. The Party for Democratic Action, SDA, was identified
3 in the main as the Bosnian Muslim national party. The Serbian Democratic
4 Party, SDS, was identified as the principal Serbian national party. The
5 Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, was identified as the Croatian national
6 party. The SDA won the largest number of seats in the Republic assembly
7 followed in decreasing order by the SDS, HDZ, and then the remaining
8 parties. In Prijedor municipality. Of the 90 seats of the municipal
9 assembly the SDA won 30 seats, the SDS 28 and the HDZ 2 seats, with 30
10 seats split among other parties.
11 By the time of the 1990 elections it appeared possible that
12 Slovenia and Croatia might declare their independence from the Socialist
13 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, SFRY. During the course of 1991, it came
14 to also appear possible that Bosnia-Herzegovina would also declare
15 independence against the wishes of the SDS. The 1990 election
16 results meant that the SDS would be unable through democratic means to
17 prevent the secession of Bosnia-Herzegovina from the SFRY. SDS leaders,
18 however, declared that the Serbs of Bosnia-Herzegovina could not be
19 compelled to leave Yugoslavia. Certain areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina, with a
20 relative majority of Serbian population began to organise themselves into
21 new regional structures on the basis of existing constitutional provisions
22 for regional association of municipalities. Among these was the
23 association of Bosnian Krajinian municipalities centred in Banja Luka,
24 which was established on the 25th of April 1991.
25 Following the declarations of independence of Slovenia and Croatia
1 on the 25th of June 1991, it appeared increasingly likely that
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina would also declare its independence. In the summer and
3 autumn of 1991, the Serbian dominated associations of municipalities were
4 transformed into four Serbian autonomous districts and one Serbian
5 autonomous region. On the 16th of September, 1991, the association of
6 Bosnian Krajinian municipalities was transformed into the autonomous
7 region of Krajina, ARK. Prijedor municipality did not join the ARK at
8 this time. A separate assembly of the Serbian people in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina was established on the 24th of October, 1991, dominated
10 by the SDS.
11 On the 19 of December, 1991, the SDS Main Board issued an
12 instruction for the organisation and activity of the organs of the Serbian
13 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina in extraordinary circumstances. Herein
14 after instructions, which provided a blueprint for the SDS takeovers in
15 municipals such as Prijedor. One element of this blueprint was the
16 establishment of the SDS Crisis Staffs for each municipalities. The
17 Crisis Staff was assigned the exclusive authority for organising and
18 supervising the set up of parallel state organs in the municipalities:
19 executive committee, administrative organs, magistrates, court, public
20 security station, police. The structure of a Prijedor municipality Crisis
21 Staff was set out at the meeting of the SDS municipal board on the 27th of
22 September, 1991. Another element of the 19th December, 1991 instructions
23 blueprint was to convene and proclaim an assembly of the Serbian people in
24 the municipality composed of Serbian assemblymen in the municipal assembly
25 and chairmen of local SDS boards.
1 On the 9th of January, 1992, the assembly of the Serbian people in
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina adopted a declaration on the proclamation of the
3 Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The territory of that
4 republic was declared to include the territories of the Serbian autonomous
5 regions and districts and of other Serbian ethnic entities in
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina including the regions in which the Serbian people
7 remained in the minority, due to the genocide conducted against it in
8 World War II. And it was declared to be a part of the federal Yugoslav
9 state. On the 12th of August, 1992, the name of this Serbian Republic of
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina was changed to Republika Srpska.
11 In Prijedor municipality, as with other municipalities in which
12 Serbs did not represent a relative majority of the population, a separate
13 parallel assembly of the Serbian people of Prijedor municipality was
14 established pursuant to the instructions. The first session of this
15 assembly was scheduled for the 7th of January, 1992. On January 17th,
16 1992, the assembly of the Serbian people of Prijedor municipality declared
17 that it joined the Serbian territories in Prijedor municipalities with the
19 The creation of the Republic and the securing of its borders
20 ultimately involved the permanent removal of nearly all of the Bosnian
21 Muslim and Bosnian Croat population in Prijedor municipality. Towards
22 that end, the SDS leaders in Prijedor municipality and elsewhere promoted
23 and disseminated propaganda that portrayed the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian
24 Croats as fanatics intending to genocide on the Serbian people in order to
25 gain control of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 The SDS Crisis Staffs were modelled on similar entities which had
2 existed as part of the Defence system of the
3 SFRY, which were designed to take over the functions of municipal and
4 other assemblies in time of war or emergency if they were unable to
5 function. SDS Crisis Staffs were create at both the regional and municipal
6 levels as the bodies that would be responsible for the coordination and
7 execution of most of the operational phase of the plan to remove
8 non-Serbs, principally Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats and assume
9 authority over the regions and municipality.
10 On the 4th April, 1992, Radovan Karadzic, as president of the
11 national Security Council of the Serbian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina
12 ordered the activation of Crisis Staffs in certain circumstances on the
13 26th of April, 1992, the government of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina issued an excerpt from the instructions for the work of Crisis
15 Staffs of the Serbian people in municipalities. According to these
16 instructions, the Crisis Staffs were to take over all prerogatives and
17 functions of Municipal Assemblies whenever they were not able to convene.
18 On the 27th of April, 1992, at the session of the national Security
19 Council and the government of the Serbian republic, a conclusion was
20 adopted that a more detailed instruction should be drafted for Crisis
21 Staff, which would include methods of political work in the field and the
22 organisation of the functioning of the authorities.
23 During the early morning hours of the 30th of April, 1992, police
24 and army forces seized physical control of the town of Prijedor. The
25 takeover initiated a series of events organised and directed first by the
1 Crisis Staff and later by the Serbian Municipal Assembly. By the end of
2 1992, these events would result in the death or forced departure of most
3 of the non-Serbian population of Prijedor municipality.
4 Following the forcible takeover of Prijedor, the Crisis Staff
5 imposed severe restrictions on all aspects of life for non-Serbs,
6 principally Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, including movement and
7 employment. The effect of those restrictions was the containment of
8 non-Serbs in villages and areas in the municipalities where they lived.
9 Beginning in late May 1992, those areas were then subjected to violent,
10 large-scale attacks by the army of the Serbian republic, VRS,
11 paramilitary, Territorial Defence, herein after Territorial Defence,
12 police units and civilians armed by these forces, herein after
13 Bosnian-Serb forces. Many of the Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats who
14 survived the initial artillery and infantry attacks were arrested by the
15 forces and transferred to detention facilities established and operated
16 under the direction of the Crisis Staff.
17 On the 18th of May the ARK Crisis Staff declared that the Crisis
18 Staffs were the highest organ of authority in the municipalities. On the
19 26th of May, 1992, the ARK Crisis Staff declared itself the highest organ
20 of authority in the ARK and stated that its decisions were binding for all
21 Crisis Staffs in the municipalities.
22 The Prijedor Municipal Assembly, at its session of the 20th of
23 May, 1992, adopted a decision on the organisation and work of the Prijedor
24 municipal Crisis Staff. The decision stated that the Crisis Staff was
25 established for the purpose of coordinating the functions of the
1 authorities, defence of the territory of the municipality, ensuring the
2 safety of the population and property, establishing government and
3 organising all other aspects of life and work. The decision gave the
4 Prijedor Crisis Staff the authority to decide on matters falling within
5 the province of the assembly jurisdiction should the municipal assembly be
6 unable to sit in session. Appointments to the Prijedor Crisis Staff were
7 formally announced on the same day, which designated Milomir Stakic as
8 president of the Crisis Staff.
9 The Prijedor Crisis Staff had as its official members the
10 president and vice-president of the municipal assembly, the president of
11 the municipal executive committee, the commander of the Territorial
12 Defence staff, commander of the municipal civil defence staff, chief of
13 the public security station, secretary of the municipal secretariat for
14 people's defence, secretary of the municipal secretariat for the economy
15 and social affairs, secretary of the municipal secretariat for town
16 planning, housing, utilities, and legal property affairs, the health and
17 social security officer of the municipal secretariat for the economy and
18 social affairs. Members of the VRS also attended the Prijedor Crisis Staff
19 meetings. The president signed decisions and orders.
20 Milomir Stakic, as president of the Prijedor Crisis Staff and head
21 of the Prijedor municipal council for National Defence, instigated the
22 military attacks which began in May 1992 on locations in Prijedor
23 municipality, inhabited principally by Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats.
24 The Prijedor Crisis Staff cooperated with and thereby aided and abetted
25 the VRS and police by monitoring and coordinating logistical support for
1 the measures and actions taken by the military and the police.
2 The Prijedor Crisis Staff exercised authority over the TO and
3 police force in Prijedor municipality. With this authority and the powers
4 set out in paragraph 14 above, the Prijedor Crisis Staff, over which
5 Milomir Stakic presided, carried out the following actions in Prijedor
7 (A) established and provided tasks for local Crisis Staffs within
8 Prijedor municipality in order to, inter alia, maintain effective defence
9 and secure all prerequisites essential for successful armed combat,
10 control the security of the territory, coordinate the actions of the
11 military and police, and report to the Prijedor municipality Crisis Staff
12 and keep it informed.
13 (B) to control over media in Prijedor and advanced a
14 discriminatory campaign over non-Serbs.
15 (C) ordered mobilisation of conscripts.
16 (D) ordered termination of the public sector and private sector
17 employment of the detainees.
18 (E) coordinating logistical support to the army and police for
19 their activities.
20 (F) ordered essential supplies for the army and police.
21 (G) issued orders to the TO, military police, and public security
22 station in Prijedor.
23 (H) established and operated detention facilities.
24 (I) arrested and detained non-Serbs, principally Bosnian Muslims
25 and Bosnian Croats.
1 (J) investigated, arrested, and prosecuted persons.
2 (K) prohibited the release of detainees, principally Bosnian
3 Muslims and Bosnian Croats, out of Prijedor municipality.
4 (M) prohibited the return of detainees to Prijedor.
5 On or about the 30th of May, 1992, following an attempt by a small
6 resistance group comprised primarily of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian
7 Croats, to retake Prijedor town from Bosnian Serbs, the Bosnian Serb
8 authorities then accelerated their ongoing campaign to permanently remove
9 the majority of the Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Prijedor. In
10 the hours immediately following the attack, thousands of non-Serbs,
11 including men, women, and children, were rounded up from their homes and
12 transported on buses to detention facilities around Prijedor municipality,
13 including Omarska, Keraterm, and Trnopolje camps. A number of non-Serbs
14 were killed in Prijedor in the immediate aftermath of the attack.
15 Subsequently, many houses of non-Serbs along the Sana River over which the
16 resistance group had crossed to enter Prijedor were damaged or destroyed.
17 A section of Prijedor town known as Stari Grad, or old city, which was
18 populated almost exclusively by Bosnian Muslims was largely destroyed.
19 In the detention facilities, many prisoners were killed, tortured,
20 and subjected to the other -- to other inhuman treatment by Bosnian Serb
21 forces or persons under their control, especially targeting prominent
22 individuals such as intellectual, professional, business, political, and
23 religious leaders. At a minimum, during the period from late May 1992 to
24 early August 1992, hundreds of detainees died. After the existence of the
25 detention camps became known to the international community, the Bosnian
1 Serb authorities closed the Omarska and Keraterm camps in August 1992 and
2 transferred survivors to remaining facilities in Prijedor municipality and
3 to Manjaca camp in Banja Luka municipality. From those facilities almost
4 all of the survivors were eventually forcibly transferred or deported from
5 the area.
6 On the 31st of May and 10th of June, 1992, on the order of Radovan
7 Karadzic in his capacity as president of the presidency of the Serbian
8 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Crisis Staffs were redesignated as
9 War Presidencies and then War Commissions in the municipalities. The War
10 Presidencies, War Commissions, essentially maintained the same structure
11 and authority as the Crisis Staff and were still commonly referred to by
12 the public as Crisis Staffs.
13 The accused. Milomir Stakic was born on the 19th of January, 1962
14 in Maricka, Prijedor municipality, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He's a medical
15 doctor by profession. As a prominent member of the SDS in Prijedor,
16 Milomir Stakic was elected vice-president of the Prijedor Municipal
17 Assembly on the 4th of January, 1991.
18 On the 11th of September, 1991, Milomir Stakic was elected
19 vice-president of the SDS municipal board in Prijedor. Milomir Stakic was
20 also president of a shadow parallel assembly of the Serbian people of
21 Prijedor municipality from as early as the 17th of January, 1992. On the
22 30th of April, 1992, after the SDS seized power in Prijedor, Milomir
23 Stakic became president of the Prijedor Municipal Assembly and head of the
24 Prijedor municipal council for National Defence. On or about the 30th of
25 April, 1992, Milomir Stakic became president of an SDS Crisis Staff of
1 Prijedor municipality which was also became known as the War Presidency.
2 On the 20th of May, 1992, Milomir Stakic was officially appointed
3 president of the Prijedor municipal Crisis Staff.
4 Individual criminal responsibility. The accused Milomir Stakic
5 was involved in the planning and establishment of the parallel Serbian
6 government Crisis Staff and police force in Prijedor in preparation for
7 the takeover of power by force. Milomir Stakic, in his role, set out in
8 paragraph 22 above, instigated or otherwise aided and abetted the
9 commission of the crimes committed in the Prijedor municipality. Milomir
10 Stakic organised and supported the municipal government structures that
11 led a campaign of persecution directed against the non-Serb population.
12 This campaign included imposing conditions of life that would force the
13 non-Serb population to leave the area, deportations, and forced
15 Milomir Stakic participated in the functioning of the Crisis Staff
16 and actively carried out his duties as president. He presided over Crisis
17 Staff meetings and signed the majority of orders, decisions issued by the
18 Crisis Staff. These orders, decisions included an order to establish the
19 Omarska and Keraterm detention camps, the principal purpose of which was
20 the persecution of the non-Serb population, to terminate the employment of
21 all those detained at the Omarska and Keraterm camps and to prohibit the
22 individual release of detainees. Local police and the TO forces
23 implemented these decisions and orders of the Crisis Staff and reported
24 their actions to the Crisis Staff.
25 Milomir Stakic made statements in the media which added and
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 abetted the joint criminal enterprise as set out below and instigated the
2 commission of crimes by members of the Prijedor police and the TO. As a
3 member of the Prijedor Crisis Staff, Milomir Stakic cooperated fully with
4 the VRS, the civil defence, and the public security station, through their
5 senior officers or organs of those institutions. Although the Crisis
6 Staff was not within the army's chain of command, it synchronised and
7 coordinated the measures and actions essential to the waging of armed
8 combat and provided logistical support. The attacks of towns, round-ups,
9 forced removals to camps and deportations, forced transfers were
10 instigated, directed, supported, assisted or otherwise aided and abetted
11 by the Prijedor Crisis Staff and occurred with the knowledge of the Crisis
12 Staff. Milomir Stakic played a major role in the events which took place
13 in the Prijedor municipality in the knowledge that the killings and the
14 persecutory conduct as described below would be the outcome of the
15 decisions taken by the Prijedor Crisis Staff.
16 Milomir Stakic participated in the joint criminal enterprise in
17 his role as set out in paragraph 22 above. The purpose of the joint
18 criminal enterprise was the permanent forcible removal of Bosnian Muslim
19 and Bosnian Croats inhabitants from the territory of the planned Serbian
20 state, including a campaign of persecutions through the commission of the
21 crimes alleged in counts 1 to 8 of the indictment. The accused Milomir
22 Stakic and other members of the joint criminal enterprise each shared the
23 state of mind required for the commission of each of these offences, more
24 particularly, each was aware that his or her conduct occurred in the
25 context of an armed conflict and was part of a widespread or systematic
1 attack directed against a civilian population.
2 This joint criminal enterprise came into existence no later than
3 the establishment of the assembly of the Serbian people in Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina on the 24th of October, 1991, and continued throughout the
5 period of the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina until the signing of the
6 Dayton Accords in 1995. The campaign included or escalated to include
7 conduct committed with the intent to destroy in part the Bosnian Muslims
8 and Bosnian Croats in Prijedor as such. Numerous individuals participated
9 in this joint criminal enterprise, including Milomir Stakic, Milan
10 Kovacevic, Simo Drljaca, other members of the Prijedor Crisis Staff,
11 members of the assembly of the Serbian people in Prijedor municipality and
12 the assembly's executive committee, Radoslav Brdjanin, General Momir Talic
13 and Stojan Zupljanin, other members of the ARK Crisis Staff, the
14 leadership of the Serbian Republic and the SDS, including Radovan
15 Karadzic, Momcilo Krajisnik, and Biljana Plavsic, members of the assembly
16 of the ARK and the assembly's executive committee, the Serb Crisis Staffs
17 of the ARK municipalities, members of the VRS, Serb and Bosnian Serb
18 paramilitary forces and others.
19 Alternatively, the accused is individually responsible for the
20 crimes enumerated in counts 1 to 8 on the basis that these crimes were
21 natural and foreseeable consequences of the execution of the common
22 purpose of the joint criminal enterprise, and Milomir Stakic was aware
23 that these crimes were the possible consequence of the execution of the
24 joint criminal enterprise.
25 Despite his awareness of the possible consequences, Milomir
1 Stakic, knowingly and wilfully participated in the joint criminal
2 enterprise. On this basis, he bears individual criminal responsibility
3 for these crimes under Article 7(1), in addition to his responsibility
4 under the same article for having planned, instigated, ordered or
5 otherwise aided and abetted in the planning, preparation, or execution of
6 these crimes.
7 Milomir Stakic, while holding positions of superior authority was
8 also individually criminally responsibility for the acts or omissions of
9 his subordinates pursuant to Article 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
10 Milomir Stakic, by virtue of his role as president of the Prijedor Crisis
11 Staff and head of the National Defence Council in Prijedor municipality
12 had control and authority over the Territorial Defence and police forces
13 that participated in the crimes alleged in this indictment.
14 Milomir Stakic knew or had reason to know that all crimes alleged
15 in this indictment were about to be committed or had been committed by his
16 subordinates and he failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures
17 to prevent such acts or punish the perpetrators thereof. The accused is
18 therefore individually criminally responsible under Article 7(3) of the
19 Statute of the Tribunal.
20 General allegations. All acts or omissions charged as genocide or
21 complicity and genocide were committed with intent to destroy in whole or
22 in part Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, a national, ethnic or racial
23 or religious group as such.
24 All acts and omissions charged as crimes against humanity were
25 part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against the non-Serb,
1 principally Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat civilian population of
2 Prijedor municipality.
3 At all times relevant to this indictment, a state of armed
4 conflict existed in Prijedor municipality.
5 Milomir Stakic was required to abide by the laws and customs
6 governing the conduct of armed conflicts, including the Geneva Conventions
7 of 1949 and the additional protocols thereto.
8 Non-combatants, as used in this indictment, means a person taking
9 no active part in the hostilities, including members of the armed forces
10 who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness,
11 wounds, detention, or any cause.
12 Milomir Stakic is individually responsible for the crimes alleged
13 against him in this indictment pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Tribunal's
14 Statute. Individual criminal responsibility includes planning,
15 instigating, ordering, committing, or otherwise aiding and abetting in the
16 planning, preparation or execution of any crimes referred to in Article 2,
17 3, 4, and 5 of the Tribunal's Statute. By using the word "committed" in
18 this indictment, the Prosecution does not intend to suggest that the
19 accused physically perpetrated any of the crimes charged personally.
20 Milomir Stakic, while holding the positions of superior authority
21 as set out in the foregoing paragraphs is also criminally responsible for
22 the acts of his subordinates pursuant to Article 7(3) of the Tribunal
23 Statute. A superior is responsible for the acts of his subordinates if he
24 knew or had reason to know that his subordinates were about to commit such
25 acts or had done so and the superior failed to take the necessary and
1 reasonable measures to prevent such acts or to punish the perpetrators
3 Charges. Counts 1 to 5. Genocide, complicity in genocide,
4 murder, extermination.
5 The Prosecutor re-alleges and reincorporates by reference
6 paragraphs 23 to 38 supra in counts 1 to 5.
7 Between or about 30th April 1992 and 30th September 1992, Milomir
8 Stakic, acting individually or in concert with others in the Bosnian Serb
9 leadership, planned, instigated, ordered, committed, or otherwise aided
10 and abetted the planning, preparation, or execution of a campaign designed
11 to destroy Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, in whole or in part, as
12 national, ethnic, racial, or religious groups as such in Prijedor
14 Following the takeover of the municipality, the execution of the
15 above campaign included:
16 (1) The killing of Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat non-combatants
17 by Bosnian Serb forces, including units of the 5th Corps, 1st Krajina
18 Corps, in villages and non-Serb areas, in camps and other detention
19 facilities, and during the deportation or forcible transfer of the Bosnian
20 Muslims and Bosnian Croats.
21 (2) causing serious bodily or mental harm to Bosnian Muslim and
22 Bosnian Croat non-combatants during their confinement in camps, other
23 detention facilities and during their interrogations at police stations
24 and military barracks when detainees were continuously subjected to or
25 forced to witness inhumane acts, including murder, rape, sexual assault,
1 torture, and beatings.
2 (3) detaining Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat non-combatants
3 under conditions calculated to bring about the physical destruction of a
4 part of those groups, namely, through beatings or other physical
5 maltreatment as described above, inadequate food, polluted water,
6 insufficient or non-existent medical care and unhygienic and cramped
8 Between about 30th of April, 1992, and 30th September, 1992,
9 Milomir Stakic, acting individually or in concert with others, planned,
10 instigated, ordered, committed, or otherwise aided and abetted in the
11 planning, preparation, or execution of a campaign designed to exterminate
12 members of the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat population in the Prijedor
14 As part of the above campaign, a significant number of the Bosnian
15 Muslims and Bosnian Croats were killed by Bosnian Serb forces in villages
16 and non-Serb areas in camps and other detention facilities and during the
17 deportations or forcible transfers.
18 Killings. The killings by Bosnian Serb forces of Bosnian Muslim
19 and Bosnian Croat non-combatants included:
20 (1) the killing of a number of people in Kozara and the
21 surrounding areas between May and June 1992.
22 (2) the killing of a number of people in Mehmet Sahoric's house in
23 Kamicani on or about 26 May, 1992.
24 (3) the killing of a number of people in Hambarine and surrounding
25 areas between May and July, 1992.
1 (4) the killing of a number of men in the village of Jaskici on or
2 about 14 June, 1992.
3 (5) the killing of a number of people in the village of Biscani
4 and surrounding areas during July 1992.
5 (6) the killing of a number of people in the village of Carakovo
6 and surrounding areas during July 1992.
7 (7) the killing of a number of people in the village of Brisevo on
8 or about 24 July, 1992.
9 (8) the killing of a number of men at the Ljubija football stadium
10 on or about 25 July, 1992.
11 (9) the killing of a number of men in the Ljubija iron ore mine
12 area (otherwise known as "Redak" or "Kipe"), on or about 25th July 1992.
13 Camps. Military and civilian camps and detention facilities were
14 established in Prijedor municipality by the Bosnian Serb authorities.
15 Following the attacks in the municipality, Bosnian Serb forces rounded up
16 hundreds of Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat non-combatants and forced
17 them to march to assembly points for transfer to the camps and detention
18 facilities where they were interned. The conditions in these camps and
19 detention facilities were often brutal and inhumane.
20 These camps and detention facilities staffed and operated by
21 military and police personnel under the direction of Crisis Staff and the
22 VRS included:
23 (1) Prijedor JNA barracks
24 (2) Keraterm camp
25 (3) Miska Glava Community Centre
1 (4) Omarska camp
2 (5) SUP building, Prijedor
3 (6) Trnopolje camp.
4 The killing by Bosnian Serb forces of Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian
5 Croat non-combatants in the camps and detention facilities or subsequent
6 to their removal there from included:
7 (1) The killing of a number of people at military barracks at
8 Benkovac in late May 1992.
9 (2) The killing by machine-gun fire of between 100 and 150 men
10 from the Brdo region detained in "Room 3" of the Keraterm camp on or
11 about the 24th of July, 1992.
12 (3) On or about a day after the "Room 3" killing, the killing of
13 approximately 20 men at Keraterm camp.
14 (4) The killing of approximately 100 prisoners in late July 1992
15 at Omarska camp following cleansing of the Brdo area.
16 (5) The killing of approximately 50 men and women taken on a bus
17 from Omarska camp in late July 1992, at least some of whose remains were
18 exhumed from Jama Lisac (Bosanska Krupa municipality).
19 (6) The killing of approximately 120 men taken on two buses from
20 the Keraterm and Omarska camps on or about the 5th of August 1992, at
21 least some of whose remains were exhumed from Hrastova Glavica (Sanski
22 Most municipality).
23 (7) The killing of a number of men immediately outside Manjaca
24 camp after their transport from Omarska camp on or about the 6th of
25 August, 1992.
1 (8) The killing, near the Koricanske Stijene in the Vlasic
2 mountain area of approximately 200 men travelling on a convoy which
3 originated in part from Trnopolje camp on or about the 21st of August
5 (9) The killing of a number of people at Omarska camp between
6 approximately the 27th of May and approximately the 21st of August, 1992.
7 (10) The killing of a number of people at Keraterm camp between 24
8 May and the 5 of August, 1992.
9 (11) The killing of a number of people in Trnopolje camp between
10 approximately 25 May and approximately 30 September 1992.
11 Causing serious bodily or mental harm.
12 In the camps and detention facilities Bosnian Serbs forces and
13 others who were given access to the camps subjected non-combatants Bosnian
14 Muslim and Bosnian Croat detainees from the municipalities to physical and
15 mental abuse, including torture, beatings with weapons, sexual assaults,
16 and the witnessing of inhumane acts, including murder causing them serious
17 bodily or mental harm. As a result of these inhumane acts during the
18 period from the 30 April 1992 to 30 September 1992, a large number of
19 Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats died in these detention facilities.
20 The infliction of serious bodily or mental harm on numerous
21 Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats included:
22 (1) Between May 1992 and September 1992, thousands of Bosnian
23 Muslim and Bosnian Croat common combatants were detained by the police and
24 military forces, both regular and irregular, at Omarska camp, Keraterm
25 camp, Trnopolje camp, the Miska Glava Community Centre, the Ljubija
1 football stadium, the Prijedor SUP and the Prijedor JNA barracks.
2 (2) At the Omarska camp, detainees were beaten on arrival at the
3 camp and beaten and tortured both routinely and during interrogation with
4 electric cables, rifle butts, police batons and wooden clubs. Beatings
5 occurred during the day and at night. Detainees were humiliated and
6 tortured. Prominent and educated Bosnian Muslims were subjected to severe
7 beatings and humiliation. In some cases, the beatings were so severe as
8 to result in serious injury, permanent disfigurement and death. Beatings
9 and humiliation were often administered in front of other detainees.
10 Female detainees were raped and sexually assaulted.
11 (3) At the Keraterm camp detainees were beaten on arrival at the
12 camp and during interrogations and while they waited to receive food.
13 Beatings were carried out with wooden clubs, baseball bats, electric
14 cables, police batons and rifle butts. Beatings occurred during the day
15 and at night. Detainees were humiliated and tortured. Certain detainees
16 were singled out for particularly harsh treatment. In some cases the
17 beatings were so severe as to result in serious injury, permanent
18 disfigurement and death. Beatings and humiliation were often administered
19 in front of other detainees. Female detainees were raped.
20 (4) At the Trnopolje camp detainees were predominantly women,
21 children, and the elderly. However, younger men were also detained. Male
22 detainees were interrogated and beaten. Detainees beaten in front of
23 other detainees. Female detainees were raped.
24 (5) In Omarska, Keraterm, and Trnopolje detention camps, non-camp
25 personnel were given access to the camp. These non-camp personnel also
1 beat and humiliated the detainees.
2 (6) At Miska Glava Community Centre and the Ljubija football
3 stadium over a hundred Bosnian Muslim men were beat with axes, knives,
4 police batons and rifle butts. Many detainees died as a result of
5 the beatings and the detainees remaining alive were forced to load the
6 dead on to transport.
7 (7) At the Prijedor SUP and the JNA barracks, predominantly
8 prominent members of the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat communities were
9 interrogated and beaten and tortured.
10 Conditions calculated to bring about physical destruction.
11 The brutal and inhumane conditions in the camps and detention
12 facilities included inadequate food, polluted water, insufficient or
13 non-existent medical care and unhygienic and cramped conditions.
14 By his involvement in these acts or omissions, Milomir Stakic
16 Count 1. Genocide, punishable under Article 4(3)(a) and 7(1) and
17 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal;
18 Or, alternatively,
19 Count 2. Complicity in genocide, punishable under Article 4(3)(e)
20 and 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal;
21 And or,
22 Count 3. Murder, a crime against humanity, punishable under
23 Articles 5(A), and 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal;.
24 Count 4. Extermination, a crime against humanity, punishable
25 under Articles 5(B) and 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal; and
1 Count 5. Murder, a violation of the laws or customs of war, as
2 recognised by Article 3(1)(A) of the Geneva Conventions of 1949,
3 punishable under Articles 3, and 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the
5 Count 6, persecutions. The Prosecutor re-alleges and incorporates
6 by paragraphs 23 to 50 supra and paragraphs 57 to 58 infra in count 6.
7 Between about the 30th of April, 1992 and the 30th of September,
8 1992, Milomir Stakic, acting individually or in concert with others in the
9 Bosnian Serb leadership, planned, instigated, ordered, committed, or
10 otherwise aided and abetted the planning, preparation, or execution of
11 persecution on political, racial, or religious grounds of the Bosnian
12 Muslim and Bosnian Croat population in Prijedor municipality.
13 The above planning, preparation, or execution of persecutions
15 (1) The killing of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats by
16 Bosnian-Serb forces, including units of the 5th Corps, the 1st Krajina
17 Corps, in villages and non-Serb areas, in detention camps and other
18 detention facilities.
19 (2) Torture, physical violence, rapes, and sexual assaults,
20 constant humiliation and degradation of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian
22 (3)(a) Destruction, wilful damage, and looting of residential and
23 commercial properties in the parts of towns, villages, and other areas in
24 Prijedor municipalities inhabited predominantly by Bosnian Muslim and
25 Bosnian Croat population including:
1 (1) town of Prijedor
2 (2) Brisevo
3 (3) Kamicani
4 (4) Carakovo
5 (5) Kozarac
6 (6) Kozarusa
7 (7) Biscani
8 (8) Hambarine
9 (9) Rakovcani
10 (10) Rizvanovici
11 (11) Donja and Gornja Ravska
12 (12) Kevljani, 13, other Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat hamlets
13 and areas attached to these villages.
14 (B) The destruction of or wilful damage to Bosnian Muslim and
15 Bosnian Croat religious and cultural buildings including:
16 (1) the mosque in Donja in May 1992;
17 (2) the mosque in Hambarine on or about the 24th of
18 May, 1992;
19 (3) the mosque in Kozarusa in late May 1992;
20 (4), the "Carsijska", or town mosque in Prijedor on or about the
21 30th of May, 1992;
22 (5) the "Mutnik" mosque in Kozarac in late May or early June,
24 (6) the mosque in the Stari Grad section of Prijedor between May
25 30th and June 20th, 1992;
1 (7) the mosque in Kamicani in June 1992;
2 (8) the mosque in Biscani on or around the 20th of July, 1992;
3 (9) the Catholic church in Brisevo on or about the 29th of July,
5 (10) the Catholic church in Prijedor on or about the 28th of
6 August, 1992; and
7 (11) the mosque in Puharska section of Prijedor on or about the
8 28th of August, 1992.
9 During and after the attacks in these municipalities, Bosnian Serb
10 forces systematically destroyed or damaged Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian
11 Croat towns, villages, and other non-Serb areas and property, including
12 homes, businesses, and Roman Catholic sacred sites listed above. Buildings
13 were shelled, torched, or dynamited. Residential and commercial property
14 was looted before the damage or destruction.
15 (4) The deportation or forcible transfer of Bosnian Muslims and
16 Bosnian Croats from Prijedor municipality to areas under the control of
17 the legitimate government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Travnik) and to
18 Croatia (Karlovac). From late May 1992, the organised forcible transfer
19 of the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat population began. The forced
20 transfers and deportations were organised by the Bosnian Serb police
21 forces and other Bosnian Serb municipal organs acting at the direction of
22 the Crisis Staffs. In many cases, non-Serbs were required to sign
23 documents stating that they were relinquishing all of their property to
24 the Bosnian Serb republic in order for the Bosnian Serb authorities to
25 allow them to leave or to release them from detention facilities.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 (5) The denial of fundamental rights to Bosnian Muslims and
2 Bosnian Croats, including the right to employment, freedom of movement,
3 right to property, judicial process or right to proper medical care.
4 By his involvement in these acts or omissions, Milomir Stakic
6 Count 6: Persecutions, a crime against humanity punishable
7 under Articles 5(H), 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
8 Counts 7 and 8: Deportation and inhumane acts. The Prosecutor
9 re-alleges and reincorporates by reference paragraph 23 to 38 and 53 to 54
10 supra in counts 7 and 8.
11 Between about 30th of April, 1992, and 30th of September, 1992,
12 Milomir Stakic, acting individually or with others, in the Bosnian Serb
13 leadership, planned, instigated, ordered, committed, or otherwise aided
14 and abetted the planning, preparation, or execution of a campaign designed
15 to eliminate the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat population from the
16 Prijedor municipality.
17 The execution of the above campaign included deportation or
18 forcible transfer of a large proportion of the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian
19 Croat population from areas within the Prijedor municipality to areas
20 under the control of the legitimate government of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
21 Travnik, and to Croatia, Karlovac. From late May, the organised forcible
22 transfer of the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat population began. The
23 forced transfers and deportations were organised by the Bosnian Serb
24 police forces and other Bosnian Serb municipal organs acting at the
25 direction of the Crisis Staffs. In many cases, non-Serbs were required to
1 sign documents stating that they were relinquishing all of their property
2 to the Bosnian Serb republic in order to obtain permission to leave or to
3 obtain their release from detention facilities. By his involvement in
4 these action or omissions, Milomir Stakic committed, count 7, deportation,
5 a crime against humanity punishable under Articles 5 (d), 7 (1), and 7 (3)
6 of the Statute of the Tribunal, count 8, inhumane acts, forcible transfer,
7 a crime against humanity punishable under Articles 5 (i) 7 (1) and 7(3) of
8 the Statute of the Tribunal.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Madam
10 Registrar. [In English] May I ask Mr. Stakic to enter a plea vis-a-vis
11 this indictment, further appearance in the sense of Rule 62. As you know,
12 Dr. Stakic, from earlier occasions, it is your right to remain silent.
13 Your silence cannot be held against you. On the other hand, I have to
14 warn you that whatever you may say now or later in this courtroom may be
15 taken as evidence, even against you. This information would be not
16 complete if I wouldn't inform you at the same time about the other side of
17 the coin.
18 Any kind of real cooperation, not only in the framework of
19 pleadings, may be in your favour, be it in speeding up the trial or as an
20 important element if this trial should ever arrive at a sentencing stage.
21 Did you understand this information and warning?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, I did.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Dr. Stakic, what is your answer as regards count
24 1, genocide, punishable under Articles 4(3)(a) and 7(1) and 7(3) of the
25 Statute of the Tribunal?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Or, alternatively, count 2, complicity in
3 genocide, punishable under Articles 4(3)(e) and 7(1) and 7(3) of the
4 Statute of the Tribunal?
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And on count 3, murder, a crime against
7 humanity, punishable under Articles 5(a) and 7(1) and 7(3) of the
8 Statute of the Tribunal.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Count 4, extermination, punishable under
11 Articles 5(b) and 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Count 5, murder, a violation of the laws or
14 customs of war, as recognised by Articles 3(1)(a) of the Geneva
15 Conventions of 1949, punishable under Articles 3 and 7(1) and 7(3) of the
16 Statute of the Tribunal.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Count 6, persecution, a crime against humanity,
19 punishable under Articles 5(h), 7(1), and 7(3) of the Statute of the
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Count 7, deportation, a crime against humanity,
23 punishable under Articles 5(d), 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Finally, count 8, inhumane acts, forcible
2 transfer, a crime against humanity, punishable under Articles 5(i) and
3 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not guilty, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you, Dr. Stakic. You may be seated.
6 I can see time allows before we start and turn to Rule 84 that we
7 in brief discuss three remaining points. Let me recall that we did not
8 finalise our deliberations during the Pre-Trial Conference on the number
9 of witnesses, the way to tender this evidence, and especially whether or
10 not to make use of Article 71 on depositions. The Trial Chamber has
11 discussed this issue witness by witness and I want to invite the parties
12 to be prepared to discuss this issue finally tomorrow, the beginning of
13 the hearing. Is this correct for you?
14 MS. KORNER: Yes. Your Honour, I find it quite difficult to
15 estimate how long the opening is going to take. The only problem tomorrow
16 is -- are we sitting in the morning or the afternoon?
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In the morning.
18 MS. KORNER: Then, Your Honour, it should be possible, yes.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. The Defence is also prepared
20 tomorrow to discuss the ten witnesses on the list where we have the
21 request for deposition?
22 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour. We are ready.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Second, we received the Prosecution's notice for
24 admission of transcript pursuant to Rule 92 bis. We expect objections and
25 substantiated objections, until 23 April. That's the day where there is
1 the plenary. The outcome and the decision should be taken not later than
2 April 24.
3 There is only one point remaining. The Trial Chamber has
4 discussed several issues, and one of major importance is the following:
5 We are mandated and requested to decide on personal individual
6 responsibility, and therefore we invite, under Rule 98, the parties to
7 give contributions on the individual personality of Dr. Stakic, his
8 environment, his youth, his growing up, his socialisation, and we would
9 appreciate if both parties could give contribution to this. But I believe
10 it's more than appropriate to make a break right now. But later on, if
11 there is nothing else administrative matter, to start then with Article
12 84, the opening statement, Ms. Korner.
13 MS. KORNER: Can I just mention in relation to the transcript of
14 Dr. Donia's evidence in the Brdjanin and Talic trial. If it is not
15 accepted Dr. Donia is going to testify tomorrow, and at the moment is only
16 going to testify on the basis of his supplementary report relating to
17 Prijedor. However, if the Defence say that they don't accept the
18 transcript at all, and I imagine that it won't take them very long to
19 decide, we may have to go into some aspects of that testimony in his
20 testimony in this case tomorrow.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If I have understand the Defence until now
22 correctly, we all agree that the contribution of Mr. Donia tomorrow should
23 be restricted to this special part discussing the situation in Prijedor.
24 I can see no objection, and therefore I believe you have already advised
25 Dr. Donia to show this kind of self-restriction to this area, and the
1 transcripts, I believe, are otherwise accepted.
2 MS. KORNER: Yes. The transcript that was officially -- sorry-
3 filed under the auspices of Rule 92 in fact deals with the more general
4 application of the background in Bosnia, in particular, with the build-up
5 of events which led to the declaration of the Serbian Republic in Bosnia.
6 That's not specifically covered by the report that Dr. Donia produced for
7 Prijedor, but it is of relevance and importance, and indeed I'm going to
8 be referring to some of the background in opening. And so if the
9 transcript is not accepted under the provisions of Rule 92 either tomorrow
10 or the following Wednesday, we decided that we would be kind to Mr. Lukic
11 and Mr. Ostojic and give him until Wednesday for cross-examination. Then
12 we would wish to lead some evidence about that. But that's the only
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Then we should have a break now for
15 the next 20 minutes. That will say we meet at 10.35. Thank you.
16 --- Recess taken at 10.13 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 10.39 a.m.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Resuming, we now turn to Rule 84, the opening
19 statements. Please let me recall that we always should have a break after
20 one hour, 20, or one hour, 30. Of course, it's to your discretion when
21 you want to have this break.
22 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, thank you. May I just return, before I
23 begin, to the question of the admission of the transcript. I should, of
24 course, make it clear, as I have indeed to my learned friends during the
25 break, that they, of course, will have the perfect right to cross-examine
1 on any matters. We're just asking for the admission, to get the general
2 evidence in.
3 Your Honour, before I begin, can I hand, having had a request from
4 one of Your Honour's legal officers yesterday, can we hand to Your Honours
5 copies of the documents that I'm going to be referring to in opening,
6 although I will put them up on the ELMO. Your Honour, they are all
7 documents that have been disclosed and given numbers, and those numbers
8 have been written across the top so that Your Honours know where they are
9 in the files.
10 In addition, there are some maps which Your Honours may wish to
11 have at this stage, and I'll refer to them. The interpreters, I think,
12 have been given copies of the documents already, and the Defence.
13 Yes. Your Honours, may I begin my address to Your Honours by
14 dealing in general terms with the allegations that the Prosecution make
15 against the accused Milomir Stakic in this case.
16 [Prosecution Opening Statement]
17 Those allegations arise out of the events which took place in the
18 municipality of Prijedor, which is in north-west Bosnia, between April and
19 September of 1992. In the ten years since the conflict in Bosnia started,
20 Prijedor has already become notorious for reflecting at the highest and
21 most concentrated level, all the crimes that were committed under the, as
22 it's now become known, the term "ethnic cleansing." And I say again,
23 there is no such crime as "ethnic cleansing." What it describes is a
24 course of criminal conduct.
25 The events have in part already been the subject of earlier
1 cases. The first case ever heard before this Tribunal, that of Tadic,
2 Kvocka and others, known generally as the Omarska case. Sikirica and
3 others, concerning the camp at Keraterm. And the trial of Kovacevic,
4 which would have, had it continued to its final conclusion, dealt with the
5 same type of events and the same type of authority, but because Kovacevic
6 died, the trial was never concluded. He was, as Your Honours will hear,
7 intimately connected with this accused.
8 The crimes involved at their lowest the denial to non-Serbs of
9 their rights to employment, to freedom of movement, to medical care, and
10 to proper judicial process. The denial of those rights was just the
11 beginning of a process. That process escalated into attacks on villages
12 and areas occupied by non-Serbs, with the consequent loss of civilian
13 life, the destruction of property, and in particular, the deliberate
14 targeting of institutions dedicated to religion.
15 Those not killed during the course of the attacks were rounded up
16 and incarcerated in what were called, in yet another euphemism, "detention
17 facilities" or reception centres or collection centres. In those camps -
18 because that is what they were - mass murder was committed. Individuals
19 were beaten, resulting sometimes in death. Torture was commonplace, and
20 sexual assaults took place on a regular basis.
21 Conditions in those camps, that is to say, the provision of food,
22 water, medical care, were inadequate, to say the least.
23 Those released from the camps, and others, were deported in the
24 thousands, forcibly deported from areas in which their families had lived
25 for decades, if not generations. And this, say the Prosecution, was the
1 ultimate goal of all of these crimes, in other words, to remove, through
2 the commission of these crimes, the non-Serb population from the
3 municipality of Prijedor.
4 The actual physical perpetration of the crimes was carried out by
5 members of the Bosnian Serb army, which includes the territorial forces;
6 the police forces; and effectively, ordinary Bosnian Serbs, who put on
7 uniform, formed themselves into paramilitary groups, whether on a small or
8 a larger scale, and turned upon their non-Serb neighbours with whom they
9 had lived in harmony and indeed had intermarried between the various
10 ethnicities. They did so with a ferocity which is only explicable within
11 the climate of fear and hatred, which was deliberately created by those
12 who were in a position to incite or instigate and thereafter control the
13 course of events.
14 Who were those people? In the municipality of Prijedor itself,
15 the Prosecution say that they were the political and military leaders in
16 positions of authority within that municipality. People such as this
17 accused, Milomir Stakic. The original co-defendants on this indictment
18 which he now faces alone: Milan Kovacevic, with whom I have already dealt,
19 who was president of the Executive Board of the municipal assembly
20 when it existed, and also a member of the Prijedor Crisis Staff; a man
21 called Simo Drljaca, another name that lives in infamy who was at the time
22 chief of the police in Prijedor. As is well known, he was killed when
23 resisting the lawful arrest of himself some years ago. Men like
24 Lieutenant Colonel, later Colonel Arsic, and his second in command, Major
25 Zeljaja, both of whom represented the military presence in the Prijedor
2 The military and political wings of the Bosnian Serbs were
3 inextricably linked. The political wing provided the goal, the military
4 and the police, who straddled the divide between the two arms, played
5 their part in the achievement of these goals through the attacks, through
6 the staffing which was provided for the camps already mentioned.
7 The police's role encompassed both civilian action, carrying out
8 the political orders that non-Serbs should be disarmed, the arrests of
9 what were called undesirable personnel, the interrogations of those who
10 were detained, but they also played a part in the military, because they
11 raised battalions of fighting men.
12 However, the accused and the others already mentioned in the
13 municipality of Prijedor who had authority there did not act in
14 isolation. The Prijedor Crisis Staff, which was headed by the accused,
15 had close links with the regional Crisis Staff of the autonomous region of
16 Krajina, headed by Radoslav Brdjanin, who also stands trial in this
17 court. Major Zeljaja and Lieutenant Colonel Arsic were reporting to
18 General Talic, the commander of the 1st Krajina Corps, based in Banja
19 Luka, which was the military corps covering the area. General Talic
20 stands trial together with Radoslav Brdjanin. Simo Drljaca was reporting
21 to the chief of the CSB, the acronym for the Bosnian language but which is
22 effectively the regional police headquarters. That was in Banja Luka, and
23 the head of the CSB was Stojan Zupljanin, also indicted, not yet arrested.
24 Both Momir Talic and Zupljanin were on the Crisis Staff that was covering
25 the regional area of the autonomous region of Krajina.
1 Moreover, the events in Prijedor were not unique to that
2 municipality. In some form or other, the same features, the same crimes,
3 occurred in other municipalities, particularly those that had no overall
4 Serb majority of the inhabitants but contained a substantial proportion of
5 Serbs. The Prosecution say that this is no coincidence but happened as a
6 matter of design.
7 The evidence will show that the Bosnian Serb leadership, ranging
8 from the very top, at the republic level, Karadzic, Krajisnik, Plavsic
9 through the leaders of what became known as the Serb autonomous regions,
10 one of which was the autonomous region of Krajina, and down at the very
11 least, the level of the municipality leaders. All of these people were
12 acting together in furtherance of a common design or enterprise or plan,
13 whichever expression one wishes to use.
14 What was that design? The Prosecution say, on the evidence of
15 what was said, what was written, and what was done, the design was the
16 intention to permanently remove the non-Serb population from areas which
17 had been designated as part of a Serbian state within Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina, and that permanent removal was to be effected by the
19 commission of the crimes set out in this indictment.
20 We stress: It is important not to confuse motive, which was the
21 creation of this Serbian state, with the intention, which I have just
22 referred to, namely, that that Serbian state was to be created by the
23 commission of crimes.
24 The Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats were the object of these
25 crimes for no other reason than their ethnicity. In Prijedor, there was a
1 higher proportion of Muslims than Croats, and therefore the majority of
2 the evidence in this case will concern the crimes that were committed
3 against the Muslims. They formed the larger proportion of the victims in
4 this case.
5 It was clear as far back as October of 1991 what was intended by
6 the Serbs, the Bosnian Serbs. Karadzic made it crystal clear in a speech
7 that he made to the SDS, and I'm going to ask that at this stage a clip
8 from that speech is played to Your Honours.
9 [Videotape played]
10 MS. KORNER: "You Muslims are not ready for war. You could face
11 extinction." That was said by Karadzic in 1991, October, and in the
12 course of 1992, that is what the Bosnian Serbs set out to achieve.
13 The Prosecution suggest that once the evidence has been heard, the
14 Court can and will be satisfied that the crime of persecutions, as set out
15 in count 6, was committed by the accused acting in concert with others.
16 However, the Prosecution goes further.
17 On the evidence, the ferocity of the methods we used in Prijedor,
18 the non-Serb populations, the scale of killings which took place, the
19 targeting, selection for imprisonment and killing of persons thought to be
20 leaders, the attacks upon and destruction of villages, homes, and
21 religious institutions, the level of violence inside and outside the
22 camps. The Prosecution say that all of this demonstrates an intention to
23 destroy, at least in part, the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat population
24 in Prijedor, in other words, the most serious crime of all, genocide.
25 The Prosecution alleges that Milomir Stakic is criminally liable
1 for genocide because either he intended the destruction of the non-Serb
2 population in order to fulfil the aims and objectives of the criminal
3 enterprise, where persecutions would be insufficient to achieve the
4 desired result. Alternatively, on the basis that the natural and
5 foreseeable consequence of the criminal enterprise, if you come to the
6 conclusion that such an enterprise did exist, was that genocidal conduct,
7 with the requisite intent, would be committed.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think there's a problem with the translation
9 in the French booth.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Yes. Can you make a test, please, the French
12 THE INTERPRETER: It's working now.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Sorry for the interruption.
14 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, what I was doing was setting out the
15 alternative basis on which, if Your Honours were satisfied that an
16 enterprise, a criminal enterprise existed, and that it was a foreseeable
17 and natural consequence of that enterprise that genocidal conduct, with
18 the requisite intent, would be committed, and Stakic was aware that such a
19 result might ensue but nonetheless continued, deliberately and in full
20 knowledge, with his part in that enterprise, then again, he would be
21 guilty of the crime of genocide. Or finally, as a superior, within the
22 meaning of Article 7(3), Stakic knew or had reason to know that genocidal
23 conduct was about to be committed with genocidal intent and failed to take
24 any steps to prevent or punish. I said finally. There is one final
25 possibility, and that is as an aider and abetter, he knew that his
1 principals were committing genocidal conduct with the requisite intent.
2 But in effect, the Prosecution suggests that the first two are the real
3 bases on which Stakic is guilty of genocide.
4 Your Honour, those are the allegations in the most general of
5 terms. Before turning to some detail, can I just quickly outline, so that
6 it's clear, what the purpose of this opening is, and can I start with a
7 negative. It's not going to be a complete rehearsal of the evidence.
8 Your Honours have all seen the pre-trial brief which sets out that
9 evidence. Your decision, of course, will be arrived at on the evidence
10 and not what we say about it in advance or even at the end of the day, or
11 indeed, in their turn, what the Defence have to say. It's upon the
12 evidence that you reach your decisions. And above all, other than what I
13 have already said in terms of genocide, because it is only right that the
14 accused should hear how we put the case, it is not going to be a
15 submission of law on all the elements of the various offences charged.
16 What we intend to do at this stage is to present an overview of
17 the evidence it is anticipated will be given, and I emphasise the word
18 "anticipated." It may be known to Your Honours that whatever witnesses
19 may have said in statements, very often the witness will give an account
20 which differs. Your Honours will no doubt bear in mind that for each and
21 every one of the witnesses, the victims, these events occurred ten years
22 ago. These were events, on any showing, of a traumatic nature, and
23 memories fade, or in other words, things -- another example is things
24 become magnified in a way that they might not at the time.
25 There will also be evidence from what can generally be described
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 as people coming into an expert category, and some from outsiders who
2 visited the area at the time.
3 The description that I'm going to deal with now of the evidence
4 ultimately involves a selection. In the massive documentation that goes
5 with this case and in the massive witness statements, we have to make a
6 selection. Because I omit at this stage a particular aspect of the
7 evidence does not mean that it is not considered to be important. In the
8 end, what is important, what is not important, will, in any event, be a
9 matter for Your Honours. This opening is intended as a guide to the
10 evidence that will be called.
11 I propose to deal with the background to these events, then the
12 chronology, which will include various, as it were, themes or aspects, the
13 killings and the camps, the attacks; and finally, the role of Stakic
14 himself in all of these events.
15 Your Honours, can I start with the background. The Prijedor
16 municipality, as I've already said, is situated in north-west Bosnia. If
17 Your Honours could take the map, one of the small ones. I need to ask
18 that it be put up on the ELMO as well. Yes. Thank you. If you could
19 zoom in on it.
20 Your Honours can see Prijedor marked in green and then the rest of
21 the surrounding municipalities. Banja Luka, which is one of the bigger
22 municipalities bordering Prijedor, was in effect the seat of the Serbian
23 government in north-west Bosnia. Sanski Most, moving round, which you can
24 see, again had a substantial proportion of Muslims within that
25 municipality, and like Prijedor, was the subject of extreme violence,
1 killings, and camps. Bosanski Novi bordered with Croatia, as did Bosanska
2 Dubica and Bosanska Gradiska, all of those being municipalities which
3 bordered with Prijedor. And Prijedor was of some importance because of
4 its position. As Your Honours will hear, particularly during the conflict
5 in Croatia it was the route by which troops went through from Banja Luka
6 and other places towards the areas of Croatia in which fighting was taking
8 The census which was taken in 1991 recorded -- and perhaps if Your
9 Honours look at document 7, which is the first of the documents that we
10 provided you with. It's not translated because it's fairly clear.
11 Prijedor is shown at the bottom. The first column is the total number of
12 inhabitants in each municipality that's shown. The next column shows the
13 Croats. The next column shows the Muslims, the Serbs, people who
14 described themselves then as Yugoslav, and finally, others, apparently
15 including Hungarians and other east European nationalities.
16 One goes down to Prijedor, one can see that the total number of
17 inhabitants in 1991, we have the census 1971, 1981, and 1991, was just
18 over 112.000 people. Of that total, 6.300-odd were Croat, 49.300-odd were
19 Muslims, or I should say declared themselves for the purposes of the
20 census. 47.500-odd declared themselves to be Serb, and then 6.000-odd --
21 six-and-a-half-thousand-odd Yugoslav and just over 3.000, others.
22 So the Muslims had a slight majority over the Serbs, and if added
23 together with the Croats, had a much greater majority. The Serbs were
24 clearly not in a majority in Prijedor.
25 Can I ask Your Honours then to look at the map that's headed
1 "Prijedor ethnic composition." That has been produced by the. You will
2 see the composition -- yes. Maybe it better be put on the ELMO, although
3 it won't fit entirely, but we can try.
4 If we can just -- I'm sorry, usher. If you can just go to the
5 side. Yes. It shows the ethnic composition in 1991. The figures shown
6 from 1995 are taken from a Serb-produced document. One can see the
7 distribution -- if we could move the map, sorry, on the ELMO slightly.
8 Thank you.
9 The distribution of the Muslim villages Hambarine, Biscani, and
10 the like; the Serb areas around Omarska and up towards the north of
11 the municipality; and the Croat area bordering the area with Croatia.
12 Your Honours, we'll come back -- those names may already be
13 familiar from the indictment, but we'll come back to them as we deal with
14 the events.
15 Yes, thank you very much.
16 Now, in November of 1990, the first multiparty elections were
17 held, and they were held across Yugoslavia. In Bosnia, three main parties
18 emerged: The SDS, which was the Serb party; the SDA, which was the Muslim
19 party; and the HDZ, which was the Croat. There were also other smaller
20 parties that won seats.
21 In Prijedor, the SDA won the largest number of seats in the
22 municipal assembly. The municipal assembly was the highest governmental
23 organ within the municipality. However, already at this early stage of
24 events, the SDS resisted the allocation of positions, which was consistent
25 with the election results.
1 1991 saw the beginning of the break-up of Yugoslavia. On the 25th
2 of June of 1991, Slovenia and Croatia, following a referendum in each of
3 their respective republics, declared their independence. In Slovenia, the
4 JNA left the Yugoslav People's Army after a ten-day war. But in Croatia,
5 the conflict between the JNA, assisted by various paramilitary
6 organisations, and the Croatian forces lasted until January of 1992. And
7 then as a result of international pressure, the JNA largely withdrew into
9 The war in Croatia had a significant impact in Prijedor. In
10 September of 1991, the Prijedor territorial organisation, then called the
11 5th Kozara Partizan Brigade which later became absorbed into the Bosnian
12 Serb army, the VRS, was mobilised and it was deployed to western Slavonia,
13 the area of Croatia close to the border. In addition, as I've already
14 stated, troops going to and from Croatia would pass through the
16 The SDA throughout Bosnia did not generally support the
17 mobilisation which took place, but nonetheless, within Prijedor, a certain
18 number of Muslims did respond to mobilisation and did join the army. The
19 clearly inevitable break-up of the Federal Republic o Yugoslavia was
20 anthema to the Serbs, particularly those in Bosnia, and in 1991, if not
21 earlier, they planned to establish Serb-controlled territories within
22 Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the area of north-west Bosnia, later to become
23 the Autonomous Region of Krajina, which as I've said also included
24 Prijedor, in April of 1991, an organisation calling itself the Association
25 of the Municipalities of the Bosnian Krajina was formed.
1 On the face of it, it was an association designed for economic
2 cooperation. It had its own assembly. But the municipalities which
3 joined that association were those with a predominantly Serb population.
4 The decision to join had to be made by each municipal assembly. Prijedor
5 did not have a majority of Serbs in the assembly, and so it did not join
6 at that stage in 1991.
7 By September of 1991, the aims and the purpose of this association
8 had become much clearer because it transformed itself into the Autonomous
9 Region of Krajina Assembly.
10 On the 24th of October, 1991, the Bosnian Serb leadership
11 established the Assembly of the Serb people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
12 One of the first actions of that assembly was to call for a plebiscite of
13 Serbs in Bosnia on the question of whether they wished to remain in the
14 Yugoslav federal state. That plebiscite took place on the 9th and 10th of
15 November of 1991, with the results, as reported by the SDS, in any event,
16 being overwhelmingly in favour of so remaining. And on the 21st of
17 November of 1991, the assembly passed a resolution declaring that all
18 territories where Serbs had voted in favour of remaining in Yugoslavia
19 were part of the Yugoslav Federation, and at that stage it also verified
20 the five Serb Autonomous Regions, the SAOs, again a title in the Bosnian
21 language, which had been declared and which included the Krajina. I
22 should add that Krajina means no more in the Bosnian language than border,
23 and one of the things to be aware of as the evidence progresses is that
24 there was the Krajina in Bosnia and there was also the Croatian Krajina,
25 known generally as the RSK.
1 On the 9th of January, 1992, the assembly proclaimed the Serbian
2 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This entity was said to consist of
3 the autonomous regions and, as it was put, other Serb ethnic areas. How
4 were those Serb ethnic areas defined? They were defined as those in which
5 Serbs had voted to remain in Yugoslavia and those in which the Serbs were
6 a minority as a result of the genocide committed against them in World War
7 II, and this seems to have some bearing on the municipality in Prijedor,
8 which was the subject of atrocities during the course of a war that had
9 finished some nearly 50 years before that.
10 In Prijedor, following the multiparty elections of 1990, a Muslim,
11 a member of the SDA named Muhamed Cehajic - I hope that's the right
12 pronunciation - was elected president of the assembly. The accused was
13 elected the vice-president, and Milan Kovacevic became the president of
14 the Executive Committee of the assembly, which had considerable powers.
15 Other appointments, particularly those connected with the police, were an
16 ongoing source of friction between mainly the SDA and SDS.
17 In September of 1991, a man named Simo Miskovic had been elected
18 president of the SDS in Prijedor, and Stakic vice-president. And on the
19 20th of September, the SDS issued a statement accusing the SDA of
20 colluding with the MUP, the Ministry of the Interior in Sarajevo to
21 smuggle arms into Kozarac whilst the SDA had interim control of all the
22 police positions while the arguments continued, Kozarac being a particular
23 Muslim area. And Stakic himself then claimed that there was a Serb
24 majority if Prijedor and three neighbouring municipalities were taken
25 together. The Prosecution will say on the evidence that Stakic was fully
1 committed to the Serb, the SDS, ideology and plan.
2 On the 19th of December of 1991, the SDS issued a document which
3 was headed "Instructions for the organisation and activity of the organs
4 of the Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina." It has become known as
5 the Variant A and Variant B document, and it is worth having a look at
6 that. It's document 201 -- no. What's happened to it? I don't know
7 whether Your Honours -- no. Your Honours, I'm sorry. It's the one
8 document that I seem to have left behind. Can I tell Your Honours, and I
9 will come back to it if I may after the break whenever we take, because
10 it's important and I think Your Honours should look at it and I see I've
11 left it out of the pile although I needed it.
12 Your Honours, there are a number of different versions of this
13 particular -- do Your Honours have document 39? I think it must have just
14 gone from my bundle.
15 Your Honours, there are a number of different versions of this
16 document which have been acquired by the Office of the Prosecutor. It's
17 just been drawn to my attention that I attached another document to it.
18 The one that in fact I think has been disclosed and in fact is contained
19 by Dr. Donia's report is number 96, but copy 100 has a marginally better
20 translation. The reason there are a number of copies is they were clearly
21 distributed and I'm going to show why we can say that in a moment, to the
22 various local boards of the SDS.
23 Your Honours, if one looks at the first page of the document, Your
24 Honours will see that in paragraph 2: "The tasks, measures, and other
25 activities described in these instructions will be undertaken in order to
1 enhance the preparedness of the Serbian people and its readiness to defend
2 its interests."
3 The tasks, measures, and other activities described in these
4 Instructions shall be implemented on the entire territory of the socialist
5 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina i.e., in all the municipalities
6 inhabited by the Serbian people, to wit:
7 In their entirety, in municipality where the Serbs are a majority
8 (Variant "A") and partially in municipalities where the Serbs are not
9 a majority (Variant "B")." And Prijedor was a Variant B municipality.
10 Paragraph 4:
11 "In order to ensure uniform and timely implementation, the tasks,
12 measures, and other activities shall be implemented in Variants A and B,
13 each consisting of two stages."
14 Your Honours, if one goes to Variant B, which begins on the fifth
15 page, it sets out the first stage of the activities. Round-the-clock
16 staffing in all SDS municipal boards, creating conditions for daily
17 meetings of the secretariats of SDS municipal boards. "(3) The SDS
18 municipal board shall immediately form a Crisis Staff of the Serbian
19 people in the municipality to be composed of --" and it then sets out the
20 composition of the Crisis Staff and says "that the president of the
21 municipal board of the SDS will be the commander of the Crisis Staff."
22 It goes on to say:
23 "The commander shall appoint a member of the Crisis Staff to
24 coordinate relations with the municipal leaderships of the SDA and the
1 Well, that never seems to have happened.
2 Paragraph 4 of the instructions:
3 "Convene and proclaim an assembly of the Serbian people in the
4 municipality, composed of Serbian assemblymen in the municipal assembly
5 and chairmen of the local SDS boards."
6 Then it goes on to deal with the setting up of the state organs in
7 the municipality, "prepare," in the second part of paragraph 5:
8 "Prepare the takeover of staff and selected equipment of Security
9 Services centres."
10 Item 6, "setting up secret storage places and depots for the
11 storage of foodstuffs and other articles in short supply." That, we
12 suggest on the evidence, was interpreted to mean weaponry.
13 And then again in the second part of paragraph 6:
14 "The Crisis Staff shall have exclusive authority over the
15 organisation and supervision of these tasks."
16 If one then goes to the second stage, and there we see, other than
17 convening a session of the Serbian Municipal Assembly, paragraph 2:
18 "Mobilise all Serbian members of the police forces and, in
19 cooperation with JNA commands and staffs, ensure their gradual
20 resubordination." The implementation of the order to mobilise, protection
21 of buildings and facilities, and then, later on, in paragraph 6:
22 "At the approaches to places inhabited by Serbs, organise covert
23 surveillance and set up a system for reporting all possible threats to the
24 Serbian population. In this connection, plan appropriate protection
25 measures and prepare for a possible transfer of people and material goods
1 to safer regions and areas."
2 And finally, 7:
3 "Special defence measures to be implemented in the municipalities
4 where Serbs are not in a majority shall be the responsibility of the
5 Crisis Staff, which shall constantly monitor the situation in the
6 municipality, while also following broader political, military, and
7 security developments. The Crisis Staff shall also initiate and carry out
8 activities appropriate to any given situation and its possible
10 How was that interpreted in Prijedor? As Your Honours will see,
11 it was interpreted to mean the takeover by the SDS of all the organs of
12 authority within the municipality.
13 Now, I said, Your Honours, it was clear this was distributed, this
14 document, to the various municipal SDS boards, and one can see that quite
15 clearly from the next document, document 40, which is taken from the book
16 of minutes of the meeting of the Prijedor municipal board of the SDS held
17 on the 27th of December, 1991. There we can see that the agenda consisted
18 of the implementation of the decision and enactment of the positions
19 adopted by the assembly of the Serbian people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
20 And then under the item small 1, president of the Prijedor SDS municipal
21 board, one can see President Miskovic then read out the instruction
22 delivered to the Prijedor municipal board of the SDS by the Serbian
23 assembly. And one can see under there the various factors that I've just
24 gone through listed: The establishment of an assembly of the Serbian
25 people in Prijedor; mobilising the police, the TO; security for important
1 facilities; and just so there be no doubt about this, and I say this, Your
2 Honour, because this has been the subject of some considerable argument in
3 various other trials in this building, Variant II, B crossed out, and then
4 the first variant. And then:
5 "After the presentation of the instruction, Miskovic gave a
6 briefing on what has been done."
7 And then over the page, one sees the meaning and purpose of
8 forming municipal crisis staffs and local crisis staffs in the
9 municipality was explained. Further down the page, effectively the
10 composition of the Crisis Staff, again repeating the instructions, because
11 item 3 says:
12 "The president of the Prijedor municipal board of the SDA is the
13 Crisis Staff commander."
14 And finally, there was a scheduling, the date for the assembly of
15 the Serbian people, and Stakic, so it was quite clear that he was present,
16 suggesting the 3rd of January, and there was some argument about the
17 date. And then at the bottom of the page, the persons who were to set
18 committees, and the committee for social affairs, Milomir Stakic.
19 Now, Your Honour, the discussion of the date on which it took
20 place, that seems to have comes closest to Mr. Dusac's suggestion although
21 later on proclamation on the 7th of January, because indeed the first
22 meeting of the Serbian assembly of Prijedor met on the 7th of January,
23 1992. It is necessary to emphasise this was not an elected assembly. It
24 set itself up parallel to and in opposition to the elected municipal
1 The Serbian assembly elected Stakic as its first president, not
2 all together clear why it wasn't Miskovic, however. And one of the first
3 things that the assembly did, on the 17th of January - and this is
4 document number 69 - was to make a decision to unite with the Autonomous
5 Region of Bosanska Krajina. The Serbian people assembly of the Prijedor
6 municipality unanimously passes a decision on uniting the Serbian
7 territories in the Prijedor municipality with the Autonomous Region of
8 Bosanska Krajina, and it was signed on the original and had a stamp by the
10 Now, from then on, that is, January of 1992, ethnic tensions in
11 Prijedor began to rise. Those tensions were fueled by speeches made by
12 SDS politicians, including Stakic, and propaganda being broadcast on the
13 TV and radio. As far back as August of 1991, the TV transmitter on Mount
14 Kozara had been seized by Bosnian Serb extremists, including a rather
15 well-known paramilitary criminal group called the Wolves of Vucak headed
16 by a man called Milenkovic. As a result of that seizure, no broadcasts
17 could be received in the Prijedor area, or indeed many other areas,
18 including Banja Luka, from Sarajevo or anywhere other than Serb-controlled
19 areas, such as Belgrade, Banja Luka itself, and Novi Sad. And what was
20 pumped out from television and radio was propaganda designed to make the
21 ordinary Serbs believe that they were under threat of genocide, of
22 murders, of killings from their non-Serb neighbours.
23 Witnesses will tell Your Honours about a steady build-up of
24 military activity in the area. Arms and weapons were -- arms and weapons
25 were supplied to Serbian villages and areas in the municipality. A
1 referendum was held in February of 1992 seeking assent for the declaration
2 of an independent Bosnian state. The SDS instructed Serbs to boycott that
3 referendum, and for the most part they did, and the result of the
4 referendum was a vote in favour of that declaration of independence, and
5 that added further fuel to the fires that were being stoked up in the
6 Prijedor area.
7 In March and April of 1992, Serb checkpoints began to be set up in
8 the municipality, and the final spark which ignited the conflict came with
9 the recognition of that independence of Bosnia on the 6th of April, 1992.
10 It did not take long for that ignition to lead to full-scale activity.
11 On the 30th of April, 1992, the Serbs seized power in Prijedor.
12 Non-Serb policemen were forced to hand over their weapons to their Serb
13 colleagues. Serb flags flew from the official buildings and Radio
14 Prijedor broadcast the news that the Serbs had taken over the
15 municipality, rather like the lunatics taking over the asylum.
16 Stakic, accompanied by men in uniform, went to the radio station
17 to explain that the SDS had seized power. That same day, it was announced
18 that a Crisis Staff had been formed in Prijedor and would be in charge of
19 all activities. That was merely a formal announcement of an event which
20 had already taken place earlier but had been confined at that stage within
21 the SDS.
22 Your Honours, because the fact of a Crisis Staff is of such
23 importance, I should take a few minutes to explain what a Crisis Staff
24 is. I don't know whether Your Honours would want to take a break at this
25 stage or at a later stage.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. I think we should now have a break
2 of 20 minutes.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We can resume five minutes past 12.00. Thank
6 --- Recess taken at 11.45 a.m.
7 --- On resuming at 12.06 p.m.
8 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, I was about to deal with the topic of
9 Crisis Staffs and what they were or appear to be. Your Honours, we saw
10 that the Variant A and B document instructed the SDS boards to set up
11 crisis staffs, and we saw the implementation in Prijedor. In fact, those
12 instructions were followed by the SDS leaders in all ARK municipalities
13 and also at the regional level of the Autonomous Region of Krajina.
14 Now, at various stages, these crisis staffs were called or renamed
15 war staffs or war presidencies, but the essence of the body remained the
16 same, and throughout this case it will be referred to as the Prijedor
17 Crisis Staff.
18 The concept of a Crisis Staff appears to have been derived from
19 the laws of National Defence enacted in both the Federal Republic of
20 Yugoslavia and within Bosnia itself, and that allowed such a body or the
21 presidency to perform all the functions which an assembly could perform
22 during, and I quote, "a state of war or in the event of immediate danger
23 of war."
24 Now, once the state of emergency or the war was over, and an
25 example known to witnesses was there was an earthquake in the Banja Luka
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 area in 1969. That was a national emergency and the Crisis Staff was set
2 up to deal with that. But once the state of emergency or the war
3 situation was over, any decrees made by this War Presidency or Crisis
4 Staff would have to be submitted when the assembly first met again for
5 ratification, and that indeed, for what it was worth, was what happened in
6 this case at the conclusion of the Crisis Staff, the decisions it had made
7 were submitted to the Serb Municipal Assembly for verification, and
8 likewise, at the regional level, the assembly of the Autonomous Region of
9 Krajina was asked to ratify decisions taken by the Krajina Crisis Staff.
10 Now, the Crisis Staffs which were formed consisted of members
11 drawn from the assembly and other leading figures. If one looks at
12 document 168, and I think I'm going to ask for it to be put up on the
13 ELMO, so that the accused can see. Yes.
14 This was published in the Official Gazette of the Prijedor
15 municipality and it relates to a meeting of the 22nd of May of 1992, the
16 decision on appointment to the Prijedor municipal Crisis Staff. The
17 following are hereby appointed to the posts of President, Vice-president,
18 and members. To the post of President, Dr. Stakic, President of the
19 Prijedor Municipal Assembly, that is to say, the Serb assembly.
20 Vice-president, Mr. Savanovic who was vice-president of the Municipal
21 Assembly. Dr. Milan Kovacevic, president of the executive committee of
22 the Prijedor municipality. To the post of member, Slobodan Kuruzovic
23 commander of the municipal Territorial Defence staff, a name that will
24 come up again in connection with the camps. Bosko Mandic, commander of
25 the Prijedor civil defence staff, to the post of member, Drljaca, Simo,
1 chief of the Prijedor public security station. Slavko Budimir, secretary
2 of the Prijedor municipal secretariat for People's Defence, and so on and
3 so forth.
4 And on the second page, one can see the decision was signed by
5 Dr. Stakic.
6 Yes, thank you.
7 The military, if not actually officially members of the ARK --
8 sorry -- the Prijedor Crisis Staff played a part in the meetings. The
9 Crisis Staff of the Autonomous Region, and all the municipal Crisis
10 Staffs, were inextricably linked in a symbiotic relationship. On the 18th
11 of May of 1992, and that is document 166, and I don't think we need bother
12 to put it up, if Your Honours have it - you will see what's headed
13 "conclusions," and there, under item 2, it is declared that the Crisis
14 Staffs are now the highest organs of authority in the municipalities, and
15 that decisions was signed by the president of the Crisis Staff, Radoslav
16 Brdjanin. He was the exception to the rule that the head of the Serbian
17 assemblies that were set up became president of the Crisis Staffs because
18 he in fact had become the vice-president of the assembly of the Autonomous
20 So on the 18th of May, the Crisis Staffs were declared to be the
21 highest organs of authority in the municipalities, and if one looks at the
22 next document, 176, which is a conclusion reached on the 26th of May, 1992
23 by the Crisis Staff of the Autonomous Region, item 1, or conclusion 1:
24 "The work of the Crisis Staff of the Autonomous Region has
25 absolute support, since it is now the highest organ of authority in the
1 Autonomous Region, as the Assembly of the Autonomous Region cannot
2 function due to objective and subjective circumstances, unspecified.
3 Decisions of the Crisis Staff are binding for all Crisis Staffs
4 in the municipalities. These decisions of the Crisis Staff shall be
5 submitted for verification to the Assembly of the Autonomous Region of
6 Krajina as soon as it is able to convene."
7 The ARK Crisis Staff issued instructions to the municipal Crisis
8 Staffs and in its turn, the municipal Crisis Staff issued its
9 instructions. The nature of the relationship between the Crisis Staff and
10 the other organs of government - for example, the police - can be seen in
11 yet another example, a document this time marked 169, which was a dispatch
12 from the Banja Luka Security Services Centre, the CSB, sent to all chiefs
13 of departments of the security centres and all public security stations in
14 the region except Jajce, the reason being that Jajce was
15 Muslim-controlled. It dealt with conclusions reached at a meeting held on
16 the 6th of May and attended, if one looks at the first page, by the chiefs
17 of -- and there's a list of places, and on the -- about the eighth line
18 you will see Prijedor attending the meeting.
19 In this document, which was signed by Stojan Zupljanin, the chief
20 of the CSB, there was a paragraph, number 23 -- if we go to page 6 of the
22 "In all our activities, we must observe all measures and apply all
23 procedures ordered by the Crisis Staff of the Autonomous Region.
24 With regard to disarmament, when the time set as the deadline for
25 weapon surrender expires on the 11th of May, 1992, we must refrain from
1 doing anything about it until the Crisis Staff passes relevant
3 It is part of the Prosecution's case that that order to disarm,
4 couched in non-specific terms in the sense of who it was aimed at, was
5 aimed only at the non-Serb population, and it was that ultimatum which
6 directly gave the excuse to the Serbs to start attacks on the non-Serb
7 villages and areas.
8 The hierarchy of authority, effectively republic to regional to
9 municipal, wasn't as rigid as all of that. At times clearly directives
10 would go directly from the republic level to the municipal level. There
11 was still the chain of command within the Ministry of the Interior and the
12 police and the like. But something of the nature of the Crisis Staff and
13 its powers can be seen from the instructions that the Prijedor municipal
14 Crisis Staff issued in June of 1992 for the establishment and workings of
15 the local Crisis Staffs, to which reference had been made in the original
16 Variant A and B document. The Prosecution suggest that they clearly
17 demonstrate the extent of the control that was exercised by the body known
18 as the local Crisis Staff.
19 The first page is the general provisions and says where these
20 local crisis staffs are to be set up, the various areas and villages. And
21 then on page 3, one can see the rights and duties, which by implication,
22 we suggest, were the same duties carried out at a higher level at the
23 municipal level to exercise and coordinate authority, maintain effective
24 protection and defence of the local territory, to control the security of
25 the territory, to maintain constant synchronisation and coordination of
1 the measures of the action of the military and the police in the local
2 area, to develop the most varied forms and methods of information and
3 political propaganda activities, to organise and revive the economy, and
4 so on and so forth.
5 At paragraph 8, over the page, the local Crisis Staffs are to
6 report to the Prijedor Crisis Staff and keep it regularly informed on the
7 situation and the problems in the field and in their work, and again, by
8 extension, the Prijedor municipality reported to the ARK Crisis Staff.
9 Then paragraph 11, the local crisis staffs are to carry out other
10 work in accordance with the decisions and other documents passed by the
11 Assembly, the Presidency, government of the Serbian Republic, competent
12 organs of the Autonomous Region of Krajina and the Prijedor municipality
13 Crisis Staff. And then the composition of the local Crisis Staff.
14 And then, over the page, the duties of the local Crisis Staff
15 members. And it sets out the Crisis Staff president managing the work of
16 staff, responsible for the following: Implementation and coordination of
17 staff decisions and conclusions; establishment and maintenance of contacts
18 with the municipal Crisis Staff; provision of information to the
19 municipality; implementation of its decisions, conclusions, and orders,
20 and so on and so forth.
21 Any suggestion that may be made that the head of the Crisis Staff
22 was without power, the Prosecution suggest is a nonsense.
23 Your Honours, can I now turn to the events, in brief, that took
24 place in the municipality of Prijedor. During the weeks which followed
25 the takeover on the 30th of April, Radio Prijedor repeatedly broadcast
1 demands that non-Serbs identify their homes by marking their exteriors
2 with something white. Non-Serbs, as a result of the orders issued by the
3 Crisis Staff in the Autonomous Region, and repeated and reinforced by the
4 Prijedor Crisis Staff, were ordered to surrender all their weapons, even
5 those for which a licence was held. This order was not implemented in
6 respect of Serbs. They were able to retain their weapons, and even more
7 so, were being supplied with new weapons. Movement for non-Serbs became
8 increasingly restricted. Dismissals of non-Serbs from employment took
9 place on an increasing basis. In particular, there was what appeared to
10 be a targeting of those in professional or managerial posts. Their Serb
11 replacements were specifically instructed by the Prijedor authorities to
12 submit information on what was called the levelling of cadres. If Your
13 Honours look very briefly at document 167. This in fact was a conclusion
14 signed this time by the chairman of the executive committee, Milan
15 Kovacevic. It appears that certain powers were delegated to the executive
16 committee, and there one sees "Newly appointed acting directors of
17 companies, factories, and institutions must inform the executive committee
18 as to the changes, in particular, production and finance, and the
19 levelling of cadres." That, we suggest, was another euphemism. What it
20 actually meant was the dismissal of non-Serb employees.
21 It became clear to the non-Serb population that they were, to say
22 the least, at risk. In the Kozarac area, which Your Honours can look
23 again at the map, was predominantly Muslim, there was a refusal to hand
24 over weapons because they feared, as it turned out, with justification,
25 that they were, as it were, ripe to be attacked.
1 On the 22nd of May, there was a short and small but violent
2 incident. The Muslims, in response to the Serb checkpoints and because of
3 their fear that they were going to be attacked, had set up themselves a
4 checkpoint at one of the entrances to the villages of Hambarine. During
5 this incident, two Serbs were killed and some others were injured. As a
6 result, an ultimatum was issued by Serb officials including Stakic, that
7 all weapons must be surrendered by Hambarine and in surrounding villages.
8 Failure would mean that the Serb forces would open fire, as was stated,
9 with all available means.
10 The decision was taken by those in Hambarine not to comply with
11 the ultimatum, and accordingly, on the 23rd of May of 1992, the series of
12 attacks began. Hambarine was shelled by artillery. Civilian houses were
13 fired upon by tanks and there was targeting of the mosques.
14 After the artillery shelling, troops, consisting of the military,
15 the police, and paramilitary units, moved into the area the following
16 day. They then systematically looted houses and set them on fire.
17 Occupants were robbed. Many were killed. And those who fled were pursued
18 and killed or captured. This attack, as I said, was just the first of
19 many which took place in the municipality.
20 Kozarac was given, the village, the town of Kozarac, was given the
21 same type of ultimatum: Render your weapons. On the 24th of May, it was
22 shelled for almost two days. The shelling was followed again by the entry
23 of troops with the subsequent looting, killing, and rounding up of the
24 population. The medical centre in Kozarac was itself apparently
25 targeted. What happened in Kozarac came to exemplify to the outside
1 world, the nature of those attacks in Prijedor as Omarska and Trnopolje
2 were to exemplify the camps that were to be set up. In November of 1992,
3 an American news organisation, ABC news, carried a programme called
4 "Bosnia, the Hidden Horrors," and it sent a reporter to the Kozarac area
5 in November of that year. And if we can just have a look at a short clip
6 from that programme.
7 [Videotape played]
8 ... a village in Northern Bosnia, an area dominated by ... (inaudible) in
9 Prijedor and Banja Luka and a once thriving Muslim town called Kozarac.
10 We visited the ethically cleansed Kozarac in northern Bosnia last week.
11 We were closely supervised by the local Serb militia ... (inaudible) once
12 home to about 15.000 Muslim men, women, and children. Today there are no
13 Muslims there ... (inaudible) other homes in Kozarac have been marked to
14 survive. This one with the colours of the Serbian flag. This one says:
15 This is Serbian. They stand undamaged like the remaining Serb residents
16 of Kozarac, surrounded in silence, deadly silence.
17 MS. KORNER: The Prosecution say that what that reporter had to
18 say was correct that houses that were marked as Serb survived. Those that
19 were not were destroyed, either through the shelling or what took place
20 after that.
21 At that same time, around the 24th of May, another predominantly
22 Muslim village called Kamicani was also attacked. Houses were burnt and
23 at least eight unarmed Muslim men and women were killed. Some resistance
24 was put up to these attacks, but it was negligible. The Muslims and
25 Croats had limited weaponry, and the force used against these villages was
1 out of all proportion to the level of resistance which was or could have
2 been offered.
3 Presumably as a result of these attacks, on the 31st of May, a
4 small resistance group consisting of roughly - and this comes from figures
5 from interrogations carried out by the Serbs - roughly a hundred or so
6 people attempted to retake the town of Prijedor. It was doomed to
7 failure. The attack was easily repulsed by the Serb military and police
8 units, but it provided the perfect excuse for the Serb authorities to
9 accelerate the campaign to rid the area, the area of Prijedor town, of the
10 non-Serb population.
11 That area was a place called Stari Grad. I'm going to ask -- I
12 don't think Your Honours have had yet a copy of the town plan of Prijedor
13 which was got some photographs with it. Perhaps Your Honours can be
14 handed that.
15 Your Honours will see -- I'm sorry. I'm just trying to check
16 where exactly on the town plan. I think, but I'm open to correction. Oh,
17 yes, I'm sorry. We can see it marked. If Your Honours look at the plan,
18 you'll see it's along the river that went through Prijedor, near the
19 sports hall, and there's an aerial photograph. It was -- Stari Grad means
20 "old town."
21 And immediately following the attack on Prijedor, non-Serb men,
22 women, and children were arrested and taken to detention facilities.
23 Buildings were looted and burned again. Mosques were attacked. And most
24 of that part of Stari Grad was effectively destroyed. Every single mosque
25 in Prijedor was destroyed.
1 The attacks - and I'm sorry, I should tell Your Honour that with
2 the exception of the photograph of Stari Grad, most of these photographs
3 that you see there were taken over the last 18 months or so, so they're
4 not photographs of the place at the time.
5 The attacks continued through the summer of 1992. A large number
6 of those attacks took place in July of 1992 against both Muslim and Croat
7 areas. The pattern of those attacks was the same as those which had taken
8 place in May and June, the shelling, followed by the entry of troops,
9 burning, looting, arrests, killings.
10 The attacks were physically carried out by members of the
11 military, the police, paramilitary formations, and to a certain extent
12 people who were simply Serbs and had attached themselves to these
13 formations. The actual orders to send the troops in within the system
14 that existed at that time could only have been given within the military
15 chain of command, and from the 22nd of May of 1992, Prijedor came within
16 the command of General Talic and the 1st Krajina Corps. However, it is
17 clear from the evidence that the military and political authorities were
18 acting together. They shared the same objectives. The actual orders to
19 go in came through the military chain of command, but the initiative, we
20 suggest, in many cases, if not all, came from the political. And the aim,
21 as I say, the objective, was shared by both or all police, military,
22 political, whatever. It was to eradicate, to remove the non-Serb
23 population from the municipality.
24 Those who were not killed were detained, and so let me turn now to
25 the camps.
1 During the course of the spring and summer of 1992 up until the
2 end of August, thousands of non-Serbs - men, women, and children, those
3 under the age of 18, who were driven from their homes before and after
4 attacks - were taken to, as I said earlier, one of these detention,
5 collection, whatever, centres, in other words, camps. Of these camps, the
6 most notorious were, of course, Omarska, which was established in a mining
7 complex just outside Prijedor, of which you can see an overhead view on
8 the map which you've just been handed; Keraterm, established in an old
9 ceramics factory in Prijedor itself, and again, you can see an old
10 photograph of that camp, photograph 7; and Trnopolje, a village that was
11 close to Kozarac. You can see that in photograph 5.
12 The camps were set up as a result of the direct orders issued by
13 the Prijedor Crisis Staff. If you look at document 200, this is the
14 official order dated the 31st of May, 1992. It's, in actual fact, on this
15 occasion signed by the chief of public security, Simo Drljaca, and it
16 says, in item 1, that:
17 "The industrial compound of the Omarska mines strip shall serve as
18 a provisional collection centre for persons captured in combat or detained
19 on the grounds of the security services' operational information."
20 Unlike the recordings that were made during the Second World War
21 of what was to happen, the documents produced by the Serbs in the course
22 of this operation are much more anodyne. They don't actually set out in
23 terms what is intended. And where it's stated that a provisional
24 collection centre for persons captured in combat or detained on the
25 grounds of security services operational information, the suggestion
1 presumably being those who were actually fighting or those whom the police
2 had reason to believe were in some way aiding and abetting resistance or
3 combatants. In actual fact, the majority of people who ended up in
4 Omarska were civilians, including women, and the rest of the document
5 deals with what is to happen.
6 In paragraph 9:
7 "Authorised representatives of the army of the Serbian Republic of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovinia shall without delay, lay a mine field in accordance
9 with the mining regulations," et cetera.
10 And at paragraph 15:
11 "I most strictly prohibit giving any information whatsoever
12 concerning the functioning of this collection centre. All official
13 documents shall be kept at the collection centre and may be taken out or
14 destroyed only with the permission of the Chief of the Prijedor public
15 security station."
16 It's not surprising that there was prohibition on giving out
17 information of the functioning.
18 Now, that order is dated the 31st of May. In fact, the Omarska
19 camp went into operation some days earlier. And from its first days, it
20 housed many of what were considered to be the leaders of the Muslim and
21 Croat populations: Lawyers, engineers, teachers, a judge. The Muslim
22 president of the Assembly, sometimes known as the mayor, Muhamed Cehajic
23 was arrested by the police on the 23rd of May. He was detained for a few
24 days at the police station, of which you can also see a photograph in
25 photograph 2 on the map, and then taken to Omarska. At Omarska, he was
1 deliberately, it would appear, targeted for severe beatings. Other
2 witnesses saw him being called out by the guards. Eventually he was taken
3 from Omarska, in late July, together with other people considered to be
4 leaders of the communities. He has never been seen since that day.
5 In Omarska there was savage beatings during and -- out with
6 interrogations. These were commonplace. Murders took place on a virtual
7 daily basis, either through execution, by shooting, or deaths as a result
8 of the beatings. And from about mid-July, the number of killings
9 increased. Bodies were seen in the morning prior to being loaded onto
10 trucks and then removed. Women who were at the camp were raped or
11 otherwise sexually assaulted. The general conditions of life in that camp
12 were atrocious. Persons detained were given starvation rations, polluted
13 water. They were kept in severely overcrowded conditions, with no
14 bedding, no change of clothes, and wholly inadequate medical care.
15 Records kept by the Serbs themselves show that between the 27th of
16 May and the 16th of August, 1992, a total of some 3.334 persons were taken
17 to Omarska, and those included 37 women, 28 persons under the age of 18,
18 and 68 over the age of 60. None of those could even remotely be regarded
19 as combatants or people capable of combat. Many of those people who
20 passed through Omarska remain unaccounted for. Many bodies have been
21 subsequently exhumed from mass grave sites. And Omarska was only finally
22 disbanded on the 21st of August, really as a result of the furore caused by
23 the film taken by the international journalists who were allowed, no doubt
24 later regretted, by Karadzic, to visit. Those prisoners were then
25 transferred, were transferred to Manjaca, a military-run camp outside
1 Banja Luka.
2 Keraterm. That began operating on or about the 23rd of May, and
3 conditions therein were similar to those that pertained in Omarska: Wholly
4 inadequate facilities, water, food, hygiene. On arrival at the camp, any
5 property which the prisoners had, was removed and they were beaten before
6 being forced into four storage rooms which had metal doors, and this was
7 the summer months in Bosnia. The majority of the prisoners in Keraterm
8 were called for interrogation at some time during their incarceration, and
9 again, interrogations carried out by the police included beatings and
10 torture at a regular feature. Again, outside the interrogations, there
11 were beatings and sexual assaults carried out not only by camp guards but
12 also by outsiders who were allowed in to the premises of Keraterm. And
13 again, as with Omarska, particular attention was paid to persons
14 considered to be political or civic leaders, intellectuals, or just plain
15 richer than anybody else.
16 Keraterm, as is now well known, was the site of one of the largest
17 mass killings in the municipality. On about the 20th of July, a
18 substantial number, something in the region of a hundred Muslims, were
19 transported from the Brdo region. And again, if you look at the map, you
20 can see where that is. It includes Biscani, Hambarine, and the like - to
21 Keraterm. They were confined in one of the rooms, room 3, and during the
22 evening of the 24th of July, a number of armed and uniformed Serbs opened
23 fire on the occupants with machine-guns. Somewhere between 150 and 200
24 civilians died. That killing spree was repeated the following night. On
25 this occasion, about 40 people died. And like Omarska, Keraterm was
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 disbanded, although earlier than Omarska, sometime at the beginning of
3 About Keraterm, there can be no doubt, no dispute as to what the
4 regime was, because the camp commander, a man called Sikirica, and various
5 people who were tried earlier at this court, pleaded guilty at the 11th
6 hour, as it were, to conduct that was persecutory in nature and which
7 included killings outside that of Room 3.
8 About the third major camp, Trnopolje. It fell into a slightly
9 different category in that there was a certain freedom for the inmates to
10 enter and leave. However, again, conditions at the camp were inhumane.
11 They were cramped, there was no electricity, and little available food.
12 And again, there were beatings, sexual assaults, and killings committed
13 both by guards and by people who were allowed in from the outside.
14 The camp commander was a Major Kuruzovic, who Your Honours saw his
15 name as an original member of the Prijedor Crisis Staff, head of the
16 municipal territorial organisation before it was absorbed into the Bosnian
17 Serb army. And Trnopolje, as it were, saw the starting point for events
18 that led perhaps to the worst of all the massacres in the area. On or
19 about the 21st of August, a number of the male detainees were told that
20 they would be sent to a Muslim-held territory for exchange. These men
21 were placed on buses. As the buses drove over an area known as Mount
22 Vlasic, they stopped. The men were taken off, and something like 200 men
23 were massacred. Only a handful survived. Some were killed by shooting,
24 some as they were pushed or fell over the cliffs, the ravine that is
25 typical of that part of the world. Responsible for that massacre were
1 members of the police.
2 In July of 1992, some Muslim men from Biscani had been brought to
3 Trnopolje. Some were left on the bus that was transporting them there.
4 That bus drove off, and later those men were killed.
5 At its peak, the camp held thousands of non-Serb civilians, and in
6 August of 1992, hundreds were loaded onto buses and trucks and removed to
7 other parts of Bosnia or out of the country, to places like Croatia, and
8 from then on to other European countries.
9 It was these camps that brought the attention to the outside world
10 as to what was happening in Prijedor and really made it infamous, and it
11 is worth having a look at a short clip from the news item that was
12 broadcast by ITN in August of 1992.
13 [Videotape played]
14 These are the Muslim prisoners of Omarska. In small groups under heavy
15 Serbian guard they are ushered into the canteen for their single meal of
16 the day. Most have been here for two months ... (inaudible) rounded up
17 from their homes. They were too frightened to talk about the way they
18 have been treated and the conditions in which they have been kept,
19 conditions which have been hidden from the world as the Serbs have denied
20 access here to the United Nations and to the International Red Cross.
21 Their prison is an old mining complex outside Banja Luka in northern
22 Bosnia. In an office above the canteen, the camp commandant and the --
23 MS. KORNER: Pause the video for just one moment. The man
24 standing there talking through the interpreter was the chief of police,
25 Simo Drljaca.
1 Yes, if we could go on, please.
2 [Videotape played]
3 They had two and a half thousand of what they called internees who were
4 being interrogated as possible Muslim fighters.
5 No, this is not a camp. This is a centre, a private centre ...
7 The prisoners were being brought to the canteen from the large
8 industrial building in the centre of the mining complex. It too was under
9 heavy guard and we asked to be allowed to look inside. But in spite of
10 promises of openness from the Serb Bosnian leader, Dr. Karadzic, we were
11 told we could see no more.
12 Why are you not considering ... (inaudible)
13 We can do this and this and that and not that.
14 Our armed escort made it clear our visit was over.
15 We are now being asked to leave this camp having seen nothing more
16 than the canteen. We are being told that Dr. Karadzic's promise, while
17 good to us, does not carry any weight here.
18 As we were moved on, soldiers told us the army did not control the
19 camp which they said was run by the local authorities and militia. We had
20 asked to be taken to a second camp, but Trnopolje, in the same area, to
21 which several hundred prisoners from Omarska had that day been transferred
22 and which has also been at the centre of allegation of atrocities.
23 Conditions at this camp were appalling. In 100-degree heat, hundreds of
24 men were forced to eat and sleep outside in a field behind barbed wire.
25 Their meager rations consist of a small hunk of bread and a bowl of soup
1 every day. Here too they simply have been rounded up, whole villages
2 emptied of their men and they were afraid.
3 Can you tell me anything about the conditions in which you are
4 being kept?
5 I'm not sure that I'm allowed about that, you know. Can you
6 understand me?
7 People here have been beaten?
8 Here? No. Here, no. Here.
10 I rather wouldn't talk about that.
11 Can you tell us anything about the conditions that you were being
12 kept in and the treatment of the people you were with?
13 Well, that was (inaudible).
14 We heard stories of people being beaten and (inaudible). Did that
16 You just came here from another camp.
17 From another camp. We accept a little bit more better, like.
18 What was it like before?
19 Oh, it was terrible.
20 One of the prisoners asked us to check on him in several days'
21 time to see that he hadn't been punished for speaking to us, and away from
22 the camera, there were allegations of routine beatings and executions.
23 Several prisoners told us of retaliatory killings. One instance in which
24 they claimed 150 of their fellow prisoners had been killed following the
25 death of ten Serbian soldiers in a Muslim village. We were told people
1 had been beaten to death and we were asked to smuggle a film out of the
2 camp. The pictures show severe injuries, apparently as a result of
4 In the makeshift medical centre, there were cases of scabies,
5 malnutrition and diarrhoea. Local doctors said they were chronically short
6 of medicines and drugs. Among them was a Muslim doctor. We asked him
7 whether there had been any cases of beatings. (Inaudible).
8 On one side of the camp were refugees who were here simply because
9 they have nowhere else to go, their homes having been destroyed. They
10 have been told they can go as soon as they have a guarantee of a home
11 outside Serb-controlled Bosnia.
12 In Banja Luka, prisoners' wives have been queueing for days for
13 news of their men and to register as refugees, because they too have
14 nowhere to go. Muslim villages lie empty and deserted, homes destroyed.
15 If there is eventually freedom for the men in the detention centres, it's
16 unlikely to be in Serb-controlled Bosnia.
17 Ian Williams, ITN, Northern Bosnia.
18 MS. KORNER: There's a second clip taken at a later stage which
19 I'd asked to be played now.
20 [Videotape played]
21 The men responsible for running this camp and the others now admit
22 mistakes were made.
23 MS. KORNER: Pause for a minute. This was the ITN crew went back
24 again and the man that you can see here is in fact Kovacevic. Yes. If we
25 could go on.
1 [Videotape played]
2 (inaudible) ... mistakes and now the ... (inaudible) situation but they
3 are going to clear up the situation.
4 What did they discover? What were their mistakes? How many
5 people were involved?
6 (inaudible)... some people they lose control and then they ...
8 MS. KORNER: Thank you. What you may have missed, what
9 Kovacevic -- I'm sorry. What you may have missed, what Kovacevic was
10 saying, member of the Crisis Staff, was that people had lost control, as
11 he put it.
12 Those camps were the worst, the most notorious, but there were
13 others. In the village of Ljubija, a football stadium in which Bosnian
14 Muslims and Bosnian Croats were detained, beaten, and killed.
15 On the 26th of July, over a hundred Muslim men were captured near
16 Ravska. Some who tried to escape were killed. Those detained were taken
17 to the Serb headquarters at Miska Glava, interrogated, and beaten, and the
18 next day a number were killed. The survivors were taken to the football
19 stadium. There they were beaten and more were murdered. And there were
20 people detained at the Prijedor police station, which you can see, the
21 SUP, the S-U-P, in photograph 2, and the JNA military barracks which you
22 can see in photographs 8, and in particular, 9. And again, in all these
23 places, the same cycle, the same pattern was repeated of beatings during
24 and outside interrogations.
25 So what were the results of the policies pursued? The attacks and
1 killings resulted in the deaths of thousands. Over 1.000 bodies have been
2 recovered through exhumations which were carried out and are still being
3 carried out today. Over a thousand declarations of death have been issued
4 by the Bosnian courts in respect of people who were missing, believed
5 killed in the Prijedor region.
6 The Serbs' own documentation shows that between about April 1992
7 and the 16th of August, when the report was prepared, something in the
8 region of 20.000 non-Serbs left the municipality of Prijedor, either
9 driven out by fear, but in the main, forcibly expelled by the Serbs.
10 By June of 1993, when the Serbs were making an estimate - none of
11 these were perfect, because there wasn't a census - the Muslim population
12 of 49.000 people-odd had been reduced to just over 6.000, and the Croat
13 population, which was much smaller, had effectively halved. The Serb
14 authorities achieved in Prijedor more than in almost any other
15 municipality, particularly in the area, exactly what they intended,
16 namely, the almost complete eradication of the non-Serb population. The
17 Prijedor Serb authorities, headed by the accused, desired this result, but
18 effectively on their own terms. It wasn't enough to create conditions of
19 life that would make it impossible for non-Serbs to remain. In one sense,
20 the authorities made it as difficult as possible for non-Serbs to leave
21 voluntarily, if that's the right word. They were made to pay to leave.
22 They were made to sign over their property. Their property was in fact
23 confiscated after they left. Transportation was limited. And it could be
24 said that the authorities turned Prijedor into one giant concentration
25 camp from which persons were only able to escape if they avoided death or
1 serious injury at the will of the authorities and on their terms deported
2 in buses and trucks used for exchanges and the like.
3 The concentration of the deliberate killings was on what were
4 considered to be the leaders of the Muslims and the Croats. Really, the
5 old saying, "Cut off the head and the body withers" was applied to what
6 happened in Prijedor. Prijedor wasn't Srebrenica, but effectively, what
7 was achieved by a series of attacks, by mass executions, by deaths from
8 beatings and torture, was to destroy, at least in part, the Muslim and
9 Croat population of Prijedor.
10 Finally, what was the role and responsibility of Stakic for the
11 events that I've just described? Milomir Stakic was born in 1962. By the
12 time of these events, he had qualified as a medical doctor. His age and
13 profession could be said to make his role in these events even more
14 disgraceful than most. The positions held by him, as President of the
15 Crisis Staff, head of the Municipal Council for National defence, gave him
16 a very real and not illusory authority. Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Prijedor
17 still operated under the apparatus and to a certain extent the ideology of
18 a rigid communist system, whereby the state controlled all aspects of life
19 and all who participated in these events in 1992, either as victim or
20 perpetrator, had grown up under this system.
21 Stakic was intimately involved in the events immediately prior to
22 the seizure of power by the SDS in Prijedor. It would seem from the
23 documentation that is available that within the Prijedor SDS, there was
24 something of a power struggle before the takeover occurred, and it was
25 Stakic who played a major role in the removal of the then leader of the
1 local SDS, a man named Srdic. He was involved in an attempt to set up a
2 Serb municipality surrounding the Omarska area, and the Prosecution say
3 that his activities prior to the takeover show that this was a man
4 committed to, as I say, Serb ideology, to the policies of the SDS. This
5 was no mere fellow traveller or figurehead.
6 His role in the takeover itself, his visit to Prijedor Radio, the
7 announcement that was made of the takeover of power, and the reasons, or
8 one of the reasons he gave was that Muslims should not be allowed to take
9 part in the government of the municipality because Prijedor was Serbian
11 Stakic exerted his authority immediately after the takeover. The
12 Muslim leader of the legally elected Municipal Assembly was officially
13 removed in a letter signed by Stakic. His subsequent arrest and
14 incarceration, which I've already dealt with, could not have taken place
15 given the position of this man without the authority of the head of the
16 Crisis Staff in Prijedor.
17 We've looked at the list of persons who composed the Crisis
18 Staff. They were those who, by virtue of their jobs, were able to exert
19 the necessary authority, the president of the assembly and the like, and
20 to put into effect the decisions taken. Now, although there were no
21 military representatives shown as former members, records show a regular
22 attendance by Colonel Arsic and Major Zeljaja, at meetings either of the
23 Crisis Staff or the Council for National Defence, which was also presided
24 over by the accused. The Office of the Prosecutor has acquired a short
25 video clip. I have to say it's not all together clear when it was taken,
1 but it would appear sometime in 1992, and would appear to be showing a
2 meeting of the Crisis Staff.
3 Now, the commentary is in the Bosnian language, and I hope that
4 Your Honours have been given the transcript of what's being said. And I
5 wonder if that could now be played.
6 [Videotape played]
7 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] The public security station and the
8 Municipal Assembly takeover operation was supposed to happen on the 1st
9 and 2nd of June, but having received the information about these
10 operations, the government of the Serbian municipality of Prijedor --
11 MS. KORNER: Pause the video for just one moment. Pause. One can
12 see Stakic sitting at the end of the table, and just leaning forward
13 slightly on the left as one looks at it, is Kovacevic. And if we could go
14 on for a moment.
15 [Videotape played]
16 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Representatives of the authorities --
17 MS. KORNER: -- For a moment. Go back. Pause there. Pause
19 Okay. I'm sorry. Could we just keep going, then. I'm sorry.
20 Can we keep going, pausing there, please. Sorry. The man in the military
21 camouflage uniform leaning forward is in fact Kuruzovic. We can see him
22 in the middle, next to Kovacevic. Continue. If we could continue,
23 please. Sorry.
24 [Videotape played]
25 MS. KORNER: I'm sorry. Can we go back for one moment, just
1 slightly. Yes. Pause. Thank you. There in the white shirt closest to
2 the camera is Simo Drljaca again. Yes. Finish.
3 [Videotape played]
4 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] The so-called moderate civic option
5 of the SDA insisted that gaining time through extended preparations,
6 [indiscernible] resistance and assistance of the international --
7 MS. KORNER: Pausing there. Not altogether and on this I stand to
8 be contradicted, but it is thought that one of the two men in military
9 uniform sitting there is Colonel Arsic. But as I say, I'm open -- we had
10 some difficulty in making the identification. Yes, go on.
11 [Videotape played]
12 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] While the --
13 MS. KORNER: Yes. Pause. We'll come to the final ... What is
14 being said there by the journalist, of course, is that power was taken
15 over in Prijedor, and the joining of the municipality with the Autonomous
16 Region of Krajina.
17 What sort of decisions were being taken and signed off upon by the
18 Prijedor Crisis Staff and Stakic? Just about as one saw from the list of
19 tasks and duties that was shown on the instructions to the local Crisis
20 Staff, every aspect of life. Decisions leading to the dismissal of
21 non-Serbs. Somebody was watching and says sorry, it wasn't Arsic, it was
22 Zeljaja, the gentleman in the military uniform.
23 Decisions in respect of the police, in respect of the dealings
24 with prisoners, the setting up of camps, establishment of the local crisis
25 staffs, declarations that property which was "abandoned" should become
1 state property, in other words, authorised theft.
2 The Prijedor Crisis Staff ruled the lives of the area -- of the
3 persons in the area during this period. And what did Stakic himself have
4 to say about this matter? He gave an interview to a newspaper in 1994,
5 and it's document 423 - in which the headline -- the allegation making
6 that the SDA, the Muslim nationalist party had a detailed plan for the
7 liquidation of Serbs. They were secretly arming themselves, making up
8 uniforms with the "lily" symbols and building strongholds in Kozara and
9 neighbouring districts. This was part of the propaganda that was put out
10 at the time and continued throughout. And the interviewer quotes Stakic
11 as about halfway down the page, one sees the words, he said, "This is what
12 he said at the start of our interview, 'What happened on the 30th of
13 April, 1992 was only the final act of a long-standing but for the Serbs
14 perilous plan. I often talked in private with the leaders of the SDA and
15 the HDZ, and this is what convinced me that they were concocting a
16 terrible plan regarding the Serbs, secretly arming themselves, making
17 uniforms with the symbol of the "lily", building strongholds in Kozara.
18 But we were not just sitting there with our hands in our laps.
19 When we saw what we were doing, we began to arm ourselves and to tell
20 party members that what they were planning to do to us and what has to be
21 done to prevent 1941 happening all over again. On the direction of the
22 central office of the SDS, we formed the Serbian assembly of Prijedor and
23 I became chairman.'"
24 And then at the bottom of the page:
25 "In April, things started to happen in Sarajevo, Bosanska Krupa
1 and other places, and this convinced us that we have to speed up the
2 process of arming ourselves."
3 Then it talks about an all-party conference and then this at the
4 bottom of the page:
5 "I was informed through my own channels that a decision had also
6 been reached to take over power by force, and we were lucky that Colonel
7 Arsic was the commander of our garrison, a good soldier and a man with a
8 lot of experience, and we decided to speed up the process of arming
10 He then deals with the Serb version of what caused the attack on
11 Kozarac, and says this:
12 "When we took into custody the most hardened of extremists,
13 continued Mr. Stakic, we gathered enough information to conclude that the
14 Muslims were well organised and determined to liquidate their fellow
15 citizens, the Serbs."
16 And it goes on repeating this plan that it was said that the
17 Muslims had for the liquidation of the Serbian population, and then at the
18 last sentence of that paragraph:
19 "But we stopped them, and in doing so, prevented the repeat of the
20 massacre of the Second World War."
21 Finally, we would invite Your Honours to look at a clip of an
22 interview with Stakic that was conducted, it would appear, in 1992. If
23 they could play the final part of the video.
24 [Videotape played]
25 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] The head of Prijedor Serb leadership,
1 the man who took over as mayor of Prijedor when Serbs ousted Cehajic, is
2 Milomir Stakic.
3 Mr. Stakic [No interpretation]
4 We questioned the mayor about meetings in Omarska. There have
5 also been reports that people were killed at Omarska.
6 Mr. Stakic: [No interpretation] ... with the medical
7 documentation. Of death, not murder.
8 At Omarska.
9 Mr. Stakic: Yes.
10 Do you have any idea how many people.
11 I have no idea.
12 Not many people. No.
13 MS. KORNER: There can be no greater travesty of the truth of what
14 happened in Omarska than what Stakic had to say about it.
15 Your Honours, at the end of the day, as I say, you will decide on
16 the evidence you've heard from the witnesses and from the documents, where
17 the truth, as you are enjoined in this case, lies, but the Prosecution
18 suggests to you, in the strongest possible terms, that having examined
19 that evidence, you can be satisfied so that you are sure that this
20 accused, Milomir Stakic, was directly responsible for the events that took
21 place in Prijedor between April and September of 1992.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Even though we still have 20 minutes, I believe
23 it's only appropriate to adjourn now, and we resume tomorrow at 9.00.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.24 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 17th day of April
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 2002, at 9.00 a.m.