1 Wednesday, 12 June 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning, everybody. Please be seated. And
6 may we hear the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. This is Case Number IT-97-24-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And the appearances, please.
10 MS. KORNER: Joanna Korner, Ann Sutherland, assisted by Ruth
11 Karper. Good morning, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning. Thank you.
13 MR. LUKIC: Good morning. Branko Lukic assisted by Mr. John
14 Ostojic for the Defence.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And before we start today first a
16 remark, a special gratitude has to be expressed in the direction of the
17 booth because I'm aware of the problem it causes when we come with
18 numerous documents and ask them to be not translated, I wouldn't put it
19 this way, but have an interpretation that grants access to all the Judges
20 at the same time. And I can only assure all participants here that it
21 will be a limited number of times where we need such an exercise. But we
22 have to live with three languages, and sometimes it's important to have
23 access for all the parties at the same time. Once again, thank you all
24 for this special effort.
25 I heard that there would be a motion by the Defence.
1 MR. OSTOJIC: Yes, good morning, Your Honours. At this time the
2 Defence would like to make an application and a motion which is similar to
3 the motion that was raised orally last Thursday at the end of the
4 testimony of the witness, which in essence seeks to bar, prohibit, and to
5 limit the testimony particularly of this next individual witness who I
6 believe is not -- does not have a pseudonym, so I think we can identify
7 his name, Mr. Mevludin Sejmenovic. Specifically we raise this issue out
8 of grave concern because yesterday we were given a statement purportedly
9 signed by the witness on June 11th, 2002, yesterday. That statement in
10 and of itself is inconsistent with the four prior statements offered by
11 this witness in three specific trials and one written statement offered
12 previously to us in the year 2000. Our motion in essence seeks to have
13 the Court limit the OTP from utilising fact witnesses as opinion
14 witnesses. We believe that this is a violation of the Rules of Procedure
15 and Disclosure. We believe it's a violation of the current decisional
16 authority here before the ICTY. It's certainly as violation of the rights
17 offered to protect the accused in this case, and it's a violation of the
18 equality of arms as previously identified by this Chamber as well as other
20 Specifically, for the record to note, that on May 28th, 2001, when
21 this witness testified in a separate proceeding identified as OTP versus
22 Sikirica, he was asked questions about Dr. Stakic, what posts he held, and
23 what were the position of those posts. He answer ad page 3982,
24 specifically lines 9 through 11, that he had no knowledge of what post
25 Dr. Stakic held at the time or what his involvement was at the time as of
1 May 25th, and then he corrects himself and says May 24th, 1992. If we
2 compare that testimony with what the Prosecutor has done while
3 interviewing this witness and preparing him to testify, we can see that
4 the witness now has reviewed a significant number of documents, has
5 prepared himself to give opinion testimony, not fact testimony, but
6 opinion testimony as it relates to this particular accused and defendant
7 Dr. Stakic.
8 Specifically Rule 94 bis states and mandates, doesn't just offer
9 it as a professional, but mandates that if the OTP is required or wants to
10 call a witness as an opinion witness, they must give us 21 days' notice of
11 what that opinion testimony will be, not less than 24 hours as is the case
12 yesterday by offering us that statement. Secondly, it mandates that they
13 tell us what is the basis of that opinion, i.e., specifically what are the
14 documents that that witness relied upon, what are the documents that that
15 witness reviewed, and what videotapes he reviewed which he sets forth in
16 his statement that he reviewed videotapes. This, Your Honour, in our
17 opinion is a gross breach of the rules before this Tribunal and it is an
18 attempt to not allow a fair trial to proceed here before the Court. We
19 believe that the Court should bar and limit the testimony of
20 Mr. Sejmenovic to that on his four prior offers of proof and testimony
21 that he has provided. Simply stating we expect him and expected him to
22 give fact testimony as it relates to his involvement in Prijedor through
23 Trnopolje as well as perhaps the conversation that he had subsequent in
24 late August, early September, 1992, where he purports that he saw
25 Dr. Stakic at a certain event.
1 We don't have an objection to that. We do have an objection to
2 his opinion testimony as is outlined and as is specifically set forth in
3 his June 11th 2000 witness statement.
4 We have also prepared, if I may or if the Court would allow the
5 Registrar, an application in written form generally allowing or generally
6 asking this Court to stop the practice by the Prosecutor of asking fact
7 witnesses opinion testimony which is beyond that which they have
8 previously disclosed to us. We have not filed it with the Registrar. We
9 expect to do so at the first break or soon thereafter, Your Honour. Thank
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. May it for clarification
12 nevertheless be distributed immediately that we know what you are aiming
13 at directly.
14 MR. OSTOJIC: Yes, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please, could the usher please distribute the
16 document. I have the impression before accepting the observations by the
17 OTP it's the first time ever that I had the chance to hear a
18 pre-examination before the examination-in-chief and the cross-examination,
19 but of course no doubt we've got your point. But please, the OTP.
20 MS. KORNER: The next witness, Mr. Sejmenovic, first of all, can I
21 deal with what's called "late disclosure" of the extra statement. In
22 fact, like all witnesses, as Mr. Ostojic is aware, the witness was what's
23 called proofed, and I know Your Honours are all aware of that, that is to
24 say because it's a long time since he has reviewed his testimony. He was
25 shown a number of documents during the course of the proofing, and he was
1 asked a number of further questions with specific reference to the case
2 against Stakic. Before that, the other cases in which he has testified
3 with that one exception that Mr. Ostojic has referred to, because Stakic
4 was not the subject of the proceedings, he wasn't asked any particular
5 questions. On this occasion, because the information that he was giving
6 was new in normal circumstances the Defence would merely be provided with
7 an outline of anything else he was going to testify to. But on this
8 occasion, because it was new or could be described as new information, it
9 was thought right that he should put this into the form of a signed
10 statement. That was only given to the Defence yesterday. However, the
11 note that was taken during the proofing by the investigator was actually
12 supplied to the Defence, I think, on Friday, at least I hope it was. There
13 was a rough note, or it should have been.
14 Your Honour, however, that's not the point. Mr. Sejmenovic is
15 without a shadow of a doubt the most best -- I'm sorry, that's not good
16 English. The best-placed witness to assist this Tribunal on some of the
17 documents that Your Honours are going to be asked to consider because he
18 was, first of all, a member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina assembly until 1992,
19 was in the area throughout most of the events up until July of 1992, and
20 therefore can assist Your Honours not as an expert, but as someone through
21 his role in the political life, both in Prijedor itself and at the higher
22 levels, with a possible interpretation of those documents. Your Honour,
23 as far as the difference between what he said in his testimony in the
24 Sikirica case and what he said in this statement, Your Honours, of course
25 the first question that I should be asking about is is this information
1 you knew at the time or is it information that you've gleaned from your
2 examination of the documents and the evidence that he gives, if the answer
3 is through examination of the documents, well then, Your Honours, we will
4 treat it with -- we'll give it the weight that it deserves. If there is
5 an answer that he knew it at the time, then he of course can be
6 cross-examined on what he said on an earlier occasion.
7 The idea is that Your Honour should look at the evidence in this
8 case with the best assistance you can receive from any witness whose in a
9 position to do so. Your Honours are here to ascertain, as far as is
10 possible, what is the truth of what happened in 1992 in Prijedor. And so
11 we submit we're not putting forward this man as an expert in the sense of
12 Rule 94; we're putting him forward as someone who has knowledge, empirical
13 knowledge of the events and can assist Your Honours in how to deal with
14 the documents. May I say I was taken a bit by surprise this morning
15 because I wasn't aware that was going to be raised, and if Your Honour
16 wants a fuller submission and possibly authority quoted, then I'd have to
17 ask for time.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No doubt as regards the witness before us,
19 notwithstanding the need to decide on this more general submission we just
20 got, wouldn't it be fair if we accept vice versa a mutual presumption of
21 fairness, saying that in this case the OTP will act, taking into account
22 your comments, and of course it is for you to object on a case-by-case
23 basis. I wonder whether it's possible to have a general rule, especially
24 to have a general rule when we -- especially also the Judges overstepped
25 on purpose sometimes asking questions on opinion, knowing very well about
1 the limited probative value of this, and sometimes the outcome of such
2 questions were, put it this way, not always to the disadvantage of the
3 Defence. So therefore, I think the threshold is a little bit different
4 one to an ordinary criminal court. When it, in our case before us, we
5 come to the point and to the question, for example, I didn't -- I'm not
6 aware of this, what you said, the witness has changed or suddenly has
7 enhanced knowledge, then it's, of course, for the cross-examination to
8 find out, or in the meantime, when it's a real question of an opinion, and
9 here it's not to find out as it was with other witnesses appearing for the
10 first time, you give them a chance to express their feelings, so there is
11 a slight difference. When there's a question you regard in more or less
12 opinion and not fact based, then please feel free to object. But I don't
13 want to conclude without saying that the working method indeed has to be
14 changed a little bit. We were confronted yesterday by a deluge of first
15 of all exhibit lists with two entire files, and normally I'm, as a judge,
16 as a presiding judge, I want to read everything, and it was not possible
17 for me to read everything in advance. And then in addition, receiving the
18 transcripts of some hundred pages of three former cases. It is
19 impossible. We all have to take care, and I mentioned it several times,
20 that we do not die in too much information.
21 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, may I say first of all, I'm sorry about
22 the, as you put it, the deluge of documents. I understand that the list
23 was provided to Your Honours' staff on Monday. Your Honour, I appreciate
24 that, that it is a deluge, and the fault is entirely mine because of the
25 other commitments I've had, and I think Your Honour -- I want to come back
1 to the problem I have later on.
2 I was unable to too far in advance to prepare a list for Your
3 Honours. Equally, the witness himself, because of the expense of bringing
4 witnesses over, was not able to go through the documents until quite
5 recently. But Your Honour, I do apologise.
6 As for the transcripts, again, Your Honour, I understand that the
7 list was available. I wasn't aware -- the practice is that the
8 transcripts would be given -- are really only provided for the Defence for
9 the purposes of inconsistent testimony. But I understand that Your
10 Honours are anxious to have them in advance. So what I can say, Your
11 Honours, I'm sorry about that. I'm afraid it is my fault.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Thank you for these comments
13 MR. OSTOJIC: If I may briefly, Your Honour, respond to the
14 Court's comments and reply to the response earlier, previously given by
15 the OTP and Ms. Joanna Korner, what's critical we believe is that it's not
16 just the testimony that this witness gave in the Sikirica case. This
17 witness was identified as a fact witness in an identical indictment which
18 involved a co-accused in 1998, Dr. Kovacevic, the late Dr. Kovacevic. His
19 testimony, and those counts in that indictment against Dr. Kovacevic
20 parallel and are similar to those against our client here today
21 Dr. Stakic. At that point, this witness was not asked to give and
22 refused, in fact - and Ms. Korner can verify that - to give opinion
23 testimony and merely was called as a fact witness. Now he's being offered
24 late in the case, and we suggest that this is clearly trial by ambush,
25 that they are bringing a witness in, although three weeks before he was
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 sitting here with the Office of the Prosecutor, then sent home, then
2 returned, and on the eve of his testimony, we get his written statement
3 which purports now to have opinions of certain relationships between
4 either the Crisis Staff and the military and the police, et cetera. We
5 think it's vital, and we again do not object to his testimony from a fact
6 witness perspective or to share with us his experience at the republic
7 level which he may or may not have had during that time period. But we
8 object to him giving specific opinion testimony relating to counts in the
9 complaint as it relates to Dr. Stakic. That's a clear violation of the
10 Rules, both the spirit and the letter of all the Rules within this
11 Tribunal, and all the decisional authority here. So again, we must
12 reiterate that it's not something that is new to the Office of the
13 Prosecutor since it is a witness that they had offered as a witness on
14 three prior occasions, taken his statement on this fourth occasion, and
15 now are calling him for a fifth time s it relates to Dr. Stakic. So I
16 just wanted to make the record clear as to specify with respect to this
17 witness. Thank you, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for these comments. And before I give
19 the floor to the OTP, just one additional remark: We should refrain from
20 pleading before hearing the case, and we would -- we should refrain from
21 commenting on a witness statement before the Judges had the chance to hear
22 the statement. Of course, including all the Rules, all the possibilities
23 for the Defence to point out if they so believe that it's more or less a
24 cut and paste from another interview. We had these problems already in
25 the past with another witness, and I believe it was impressive for the
1 Judges the way it was pointed out by the Defence that some sentences were
2 found nearly identical in a statement "against" Dr. Kovacevic. And now,
3 in the case before us. Therefore, I think we shouldn't go into further
4 details. Please don't hesitate to object if you regard it necessary, and
5 we will make our rulings.
6 I think we should start immediately with the witness and not to
7 waste -- sorry, the word waste is to that extent wrong, because it's
8 indeed helpful that the Defence pointed out before what is at stake with
9 the witness before us.
10 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, may I very briefly, just before the
11 witness comes in, deal with a problem that is entirely mine, but is a
12 result of what happened last week in the Brdjanin/Talic case. We were
13 delayed for a number of reasons, and therefore the witness that I was due
14 to call did not begin testifying until the middle of Friday afternoon. As
15 a result, he has not finished his evidence in chief. Now, although I can
16 get another counsel to take over when cross-examination starts, and indeed
17 for re-examination, I cannot ask another counsel to take over with the
18 witness in chief. Your Honour, it's likely, particularly if there's going
19 to be objections raised which Your Honours will have to rule on that
20 Mr. Sejmenovic will not complete his testimony in chief by Friday. I will
21 therefore be in the position that on Monday afternoon because both cases
22 at the moment are sitting on Monday afternoon where I am part heard with a
23 witness in this Chamber and part heard with a witness in the other
24 Chamber. Your Honour, I would make the application, if I could to Judge
25 Agius's court to sit in the morning instead, to try and do a swap, but no
1 counsel from that case are in this country and I know that Mr. Ackerman is
2 not returning from the States until Monday lunchtime. I understand Mr.
3 Koumjian raised this yesterday with Your Honours. I know that it's
4 possible with the agreement of the other case to do an alternate for, say,
5 one morning. But if Your Honours feel that's not possible, then all I can
6 ask Your Honours to do is perhaps -- I understand that you're all in the
7 process of reading various documents into the record for the purposes of
8 translation. It is for that to happen on Monday afternoon whilst I
9 complete the evidence in chief of the witness in the Brdjanin/Talic case,
10 which I estimate will be finished by the first break in the afternoon.
11 And then for me to return to that court to pick up examination-in-chief.
12 Your Honour, the most desirable would be if Your Honours could sit
13 on the morning on Monday, but I understand that's maybe not possible.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, but you were absent yesterday, and
15 probably not sufficiently informed by Mr. Koumjian. It was quite clear
16 what I said. For unfortunate reasons, since weeks, I tried to have a
17 courtroom for this Friday in exchange to Monday because it's impossible
18 for me to be here on Monday morning. So therefore, there is no place,
19 there's no room for hearing on Monday morning. We have to continue on
20 Monday morning, and we have to continue as scheduled. Hopefully, we can
21 finalise the witness until tomorrow in the evening. Otherwise, we should
22 find a way with the help of the Registry. Nevertheless -- I don't know if
23 the other participants are available on Friday.
24 MR. OSTOJIC: No, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then also this attempt doesn't work. Then we
1 have to proceed. And in principle, please understand, but in principle,
2 we have to accept the OTP as one OTP. And the internal organisation is,
3 first of all, not a problem of the Bench. As of courtesy, of course, we
4 will try our best. Please, let's start. Probably we'll come through
5 until tomorrow in the evening.
6 MS. KORNER: Well, Your Honour, I've made the position clear. Can
7 I say this: Of course, the OTP acts as one institution. It's unusual,
8 may I say, for two cases to be conducted like this, and it's most unusual
9 for this position to arise because normally there are sufficient lawyers.
10 But it has unfortunately arisen so all I can do, and I understand Your
11 Honour, we can review the position tomorrow and, if necessary, that Your
12 Honours may take something else early on in the afternoon on Monday.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. So let us please hear the witness right
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
16 [The witness entered court]
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you hear me in a language you understand?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not receiving any
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you hear me in a language you understand?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Now I can hear the
22 interpretation from English into Bosnian.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning. Could you please make the solemn
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I solemnly declare
1 that I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. And may we immediately turn
3 to the examination-in-chief, please.
4 WITNESS: MEVLUDIN SEJMENOVIC
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 Examined by Ms. Korner:
7 MS. KORNER: I wonder if the usher could lower the ELMO for the
8 moment because it's actually interrupting the line of sight.
9 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, is your name Mevludin Sejmenovic?
10 A. Yes, that's my name.
11 Q. Were you born on the 15th of October, 1962?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. And are you a Bosniak by ethnicity?
14 A. Yes, I'm a Bosniak by ethnicity.
15 Q. Now, I think that you've spent most of your life, or spent up
16 until 1992 most of your life in Prijedor, on the Prijedor municipality.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And by 1992, were you living in Trnopolje?
19 A. Yes, I was living in Trnopolje at the time.
20 Q. And in 1992, were you a married man?
21 A. No. In 1992, I was not married.
22 Q. I want to deal briefly, please, with your background until 1990. I
23 think you completed primary education in Kozarac, and then secondary
24 education in Prijedor.
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. And after that, did you do your military service?
2 A. Yes, I did.
3 Q. When you did your military service, did you serve in an artillery
5 A. Yes, I served in an artillery unit.
6 Q. And after doing that, did you go to university, and then go to
7 study mining in Tuzla?
8 A. Yes, in Tuzla.
9 Q. Now, I want to come next to the 1990 elections, the first
10 multiparty elections. Did you join one of the parties?
11 A. I participated in one of the initiatives to establish a political
12 parties. Before political parties were established, I decided to take
13 part in the organising of the SDA. And I was a member of the steering or
14 initiative committee of the SDA which was later registered as a normal
15 political party.
16 Q. During the election campaign in 1990, were you elected the first
17 president of the SDA in the municipality of Prijedor?
18 A. I was elected the first vice-president.
19 Q. Sorry. My fault. And during the elections, did you win a seat in
20 the assembly of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
21 A. Yes, I did.
22 Q. Was that in the Chamber of municipalities?
23 A. Yes, the chamber of municipalities at the assembly of Bosnia and
25 Q. I would like you to have a look, please --
1 MS. KORNER: And Your Honour, this was an exhibit that was not
2 part of the Rule 65 ter ones. It is a copy of the gazette showing the
3 results of the 1990 elections. And I think Your Honours already have been
4 given that, or should have been. I think all the witness needs is the
5 copy in the Bosnian language. If Your Honours go first of all to page 4
6 of the English translation, and if the witness could look at I think it's
7 on the second -- it's the page in the original is 1243.
8 Now, it's the third section of this document, Mr. Sejmenovic,
9 which is headed "Deputies elected in the constituencies by lists of
10 candidates." And we see "the Banja Luka constituency."
11 I think the witness may not have the right document. Just a
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think I have been given a
14 different document.
15 MS. KORNER: I'm sorry, Your Honours. We'll just check. It
16 should be the -- the Bosnian version should look like this. All right.
17 Can I hand mine in. Yes, we'll hand one in for the witness.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could the registry please help out. I'm not
19 aware of this document.
20 MS. KORNER: It's the last document in the bundle.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We got numerous bundles of in preparation of
22 today. Probably there are some over there. I can't see anything looking
23 like that what you just indicated.
24 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, that's the -- at least my copy of the
25 Bosnian version looks like. The English version looks like that.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No. Not available.
2 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, we're handing up some more copies.
3 MR. OSTOJIC: Your Honour, we also, although it's within the
4 Witness Number 45 potential exhibits, we see what seems to be a reference
5 to it, but we don't seem to have it in our documents.
6 MS. KORNER: You do. I'm told you do have them. It's the last
7 document in a bundle provided by Ms. Karper, put in your lockers last
9 MR. OSTOJIC: We went through it. We looked at that, and the
10 minutes are the last -- minutes of a meeting are the last bundle within
11 that. But we'll look again.
12 MS. KORNER: Well, Your Honour, I'm only going to refer to two
13 pages. Perhaps we put the English translation on the ELMO. That will
14 assist everyone.
15 Usher, could we put on to the ELMO out of the English version,
16 please, page 4.
17 The bottom portion under --
18 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
19 MS. KORNER: Bottom portion, Roman numeral III.
20 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, I'm sorry about that. Now, if we look at that, we
21 can see it's headed "Deputies elected in the constituencies by lists of
22 candidates, Banja Luka constituency." And we can see that under the list
23 of the SDA from Sarajevo there is a Dr. Mujadzic. There's a misspelling,
24 I think, in the English translation of his name. Were these deputies
25 elected to the chamber of -- it was different from the chamber -- I've
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 forgotten what it's called now I'm afraid. They were elected to which?
2 Citizens chamber, I think.
3 A. These deputies, yes, were elected to the chamber of citizens in
4 the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina in one of the two existing
5 chambers within the parliament.
6 Q. Right. And now I'm going to ask you, please, Mr. Sejmenovic, if
7 you can turn in your document to page 1257, and we'll put up on the ELMO
8 page 39 of the translation. And do we see there the record of the
9 constituency of the municipality of Prijedor, and do we see in that that
10 you were elected with just over 50 per cent of the vote?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. The Marko Pavic was a another candidate who seemed to be a
13 candidate for a number of people. There was no candidate there for the
14 SDS party.
15 A. The SDS party did not have a candidate for this Chamber, at least,
16 in the Prijedor municipality, and they decided to support Marko Pavic, who
17 was a candidate of the coalition of left-wing parties which were
18 descendants of the former League of Communists. This was never made
19 public as a formal position of the party. However, the fact remains that
20 the party did not offer its candidate for this seat. And the fact that
21 Marko Pavic received this number of votes proves that the SDS had chosen
22 him as their candidate. And in the first round, nobody won the necessary
23 51 per cent. That was the reason why we had a second round. And I won a
24 sufficient number of votes during that second round and received a seat in
25 the republic parliament.
1 Q. Right. Now, looking at that -- at this document, we can see that
2 for the chamber of citizens, there were a list of a number of people who
3 were elected. For the chamber of municipalities, does it appear there was
4 only one representative per municipality?
5 A. Yes. That was the election system in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
6 Wider constituency existed for the chamber of citizens. They were
7 organised on a regional principle. There were lists of candidates, party
8 lists of candidates, and each party offered a number of their candidates
9 on each list by circling the name of one of the candidates. Regardless of
10 the order on the list, the first several candidates according to the
11 number of votes were made members of this chamber, unlike the chamber of
12 citizens, the chamber of municipalities adopted the immediate system of
13 voting, the direct system of voting. Candidates were chosen according to
14 that system. The chamber of municipalities was supposed to represent
15 equally the interests of all municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and
16 that's why each municipality offered one deputy to that chamber.
17 Q. Yes. Thank you. You can put the document away now, and we can
18 take it off the ELMO.
19 Now, in Prijedor itself, in the municipal elections to the
20 assembly, was it the SDA who took the highest number of votes?
21 A. Yes, it was the SDA who received the highest number of seats.
22 Q. And I think the SDS followed close behind. Is that correct?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. You had been elected a member of the republican-level assembly.
25 Did that give you any rights to attend the Municipal Assembly?
1 A. Yes. I had that right, and I fully exercised it. I attended the
2 sessions of the Municipal Assembly, and I also had the right to attend the
3 sessions of the municipal government and some of the municipal bodies. My
4 main function was to observe problems at the local level and receive any
5 complaints and comments to that effect, and to convey that to the
6 republican-level assembly. So by virtue of my mandate, I had the
7 obligation to follow the events taking place at the level of the
9 Q. All right. Now, I want to deal first --
10 A. And at the level of the republic.
11 Q. I want to deal first in your testimony with the events at the
12 republic level of the assemblies you attended and what was happening.
13 Just briefly, after the 1990 elections, was there any kind of change in
14 the atmosphere of the -- at the level of the republic assembly.
15 A. Major changes occurred. Compared to the atmosphere which reigned
16 before the elections and at the time of the agreements on the possible
17 coalitions, prior to the elections, the main focus of our party, and this
18 is something that we heard from other political parties as well, was to
19 defeat the communists. That was the main objective of our political
20 party, and we had full support to that effect. And we endeavoured to take
21 part in the process that had already started in eastern Europe. However,
22 immediately after the elections we were faced with the situation in which
23 the SDS had completely different plans. They were not satisfied with
24 simply defeating the communists. They started expressing certain
25 aspirations which threatened to disrupt the relations with other political
2 Q. And what were those aspirations that they were expressing in
4 A. Publicly, they expressed full and absolute support for the
5 Yugoslav People's Army, which had already violated federal laws. Also,
6 publicly, they spoke about the fact that the Serb population was
7 threatened, so regardless of the results of the elections and regardless
8 of the fact that they had adequate number of representatives within the
9 parliament, they were trying to further this argument that they had at the
10 time at various political meetings and sessions. They made comparisons
11 with the situation in Croatia with what was happening to the Serb
12 population in that republic. And finally their only mission, at least
13 that's how it seemed to be in the parliament, was to represent the
14 interests of Yugoslavia and not Bosnia-Herzegovina.
15 Q. In June of 1991, the war with Croatia broke out. Did that have an
16 effect on the, as it was, the governing structures?
17 A. When the war actually broke out in Croatia, when the former JNA
18 started military activities in the territory of the Republic of Croatia, a
19 rift occurred between the SDA and SDS and between the SDS and all other
20 political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The SDA expressed absolute
21 support for the war in Croatia. They appealed to the volunteers to go and
22 fight in the Republic of Croatia, and that was made public. However, the
23 official position of the relevant institutions and authorities of the
24 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was opposite.
25 Q. When you say it was opposite, what do you mean?
1 A. All political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the
2 exception of the SDS and the Serb radical party were against the JNA
3 killing people in the Republic of Croatia. Up until that time, this was
4 an army in whose establishment and functioning, all republics of the
5 former Yugoslavia participated. However at one point in time, the former
6 JNA started making moves which fell outside its legal framework. They
7 attacked Slovenia, and then continued with an open war against Croatia.
8 This war was preceded by certain political actions in which Serb
9 population in the Republic of Croatia was mobilised.
10 The Yugoslav People's Army formally appeared on the scene as a
11 savior of the Serb population in the Republic of Croatia. Obviously
12 they -- at that time, they started taking actions in the territories which
13 had nothing to do with the Serb population in Croatia. They set up a
14 number of blockades and various forms of obstructions. At the same time,
15 there were quite a few soldiers, quite a few volunteers from the Republic
16 of Bosnia and Herzegovina who went to Croatia and took part in these
17 military operations. So there was a major disagreement concerning a very
18 important political issue. We had reasonable explanations and arguments
19 to support our position. We had law on our side. But on the other side,
20 the other side was mighty. This situation made it impossible to reach an
21 agreement within the parliament.
22 Q. Now, in respect of mobilisation for the purposes of fighting in
23 Croatia, what was the attitude expressed by the government of Bosnia and
25 A. The attitude of the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina was as
1 follows: Their position was that they could not prevent people to
2 volunteer into the JNA and to respond to their mobilisation orders.
3 However, they also made it clear that they were against that war. They
4 considered it to be illegal, and they did not recommend that. So the
5 government of Bosnia and Herzegovina did not explicitly prohibit
6 individuals from exercising that right. Those who received callup papers
7 were free to join because had they forbidden this, they would have entered
8 into an open conflict with the JNA and they would have made it possible
9 for the JNA to start attacking certain parts and areas of Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina. It was like walking on a razor's edge. You could fall on
11 both sides at any moment. So that was a kind of compromise at the
12 moment. The JNA constituted a force which could not be prevented. We had
13 our official position, but it also included the possibility of letting the
14 volunteers, mainly Serb volunteers, to join. We simply felt that we were
15 not able to openly confront those people who had already been
16 indoctrinated to that effect. So it was left up to them.
17 Q. Now, I want to deal with you with the events of --
18 MS. KORNER: Sorry.
19 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter apologise.
20 MS. KORNER: Sorry, Your Honour. I just heard somebody speaking.
21 Q. I'm sorry. I want to deal with the events that took place within
22 the assembly itself in September, October 1991 in the republic. But
23 before that, was there a policy that was discussed by the SDS of what was
24 called "regionalisation"?
25 A. Yes, indeed, there was such a thing. And long before the bloody
1 events that were to follow. In mid-1991, even in the first half of 1991,
2 the SDS came forward with proposals to carry out regionalisation of Bosnia
3 and Herzegovina, allegedly for economic reasons and solely for economic
4 reasons, new regions were to be established.
5 Q. Was -- I'm going to ask you the reasoning behind it. But was one
6 of those regions what became known as the Autonomous Region of Krajina?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And did that include within its geographical boundaries the
9 Municipality of Prijedor?
10 A. Yes, it did. However, I must provide an additional explanation.
11 Even before the elections, four decades before the elections, this
12 economic regionalisation had already been in place. There was a community
13 formally called the "Association of Municipalities of Banja Luka." And
14 the "Association of Municipalities of Bihac." These communities were set
15 up, were put together, based on mutual interests, traffic interests,
16 transport interests, economic interests. This was always there. And
17 after the SDS started the initiative in the parliament, we tried to
18 explain this to them and we requested from them an explanation. We wanted
19 them to explain why the existing regional division was not good enough,
20 but they failed to provide one. Perhaps two or three months later, they
21 started to speak openly about were they actually employed by economic
22 regionalisation which is how they had referred to it earlier. Of course,
23 we knew very well what they were talking about because we had the same
24 sort of process in Croatia, which had taken very much the same course.
25 And independent regions had been established which practically seceded
1 from Croatia, according to the same plan, the same model. In Croatia, it
2 was also done by the Serbian Democratic Party founded by Jovan Raskovic
3 the psychologist. First, they demanded economic regionalisation, then
4 they established regions, then they cut off communications with other
5 areas of Croatia, then they proclaimed autonomy, and then at last the JNA
6 arrived and secured so to speak these regions.
7 We saw this on TV. We saw this through the media and learned from
8 people who knew what was going on. We realised that the same plan was
9 about to be implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The only thing we had
10 to our advantage against this idea is the existent regional -- economic
11 regionalisation, and we were ready to embark on a new model, but we wanted
12 it to be rational, done according to real economic standards. Very soon,
13 however, it turned out that all that was really at stake was the SDS's
14 ambition to set up new regions, but such regions as were sometimes not
15 even inhabited by Serbs, including municipalities or parts of municipal
16 areas that were mixed in terms of population. We realised immediately
17 that this could lead to the same consequences as it did in Croatia, and we
18 opposed this for as long as we could by political means. Once we were no
19 longer able to oppose, the SDS just simply independently proclaimed the
20 Autonomous Region in Herzegovina and in Banja Luka and started to
21 establish organs of state.
22 Q. In the discussions that took place at the republic level assembly,
23 who were the most vocal in favour of this plan of regionalisation from the
25 A. Mr. Brdjanin, who comes from Banja Luka. The idea was to round
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Banja Luka off as an economic region. He discussed this idea several
2 times, so there were discussions in parliament. He used to bring maps and
3 explain the demographic and economic arguments and applied other criteria,
4 too. But it was his task to get this idea implemented in the parliament.
5 Q. Now, come September of 1991, what happened as far as -- later SDS
6 participation in the assembly was concerned?
7 A. In late 1991, the SDS started with increasing frequency to give
8 ultimatums in the parliament. So they said: "Either you'll go along with
9 this, or this assembly will cease to be legitimate and legal." So this
10 culminated in late 1991 and early 1992 when the Serb delegates, that's the
11 SDS, and radical party delegates, walked out of the parliament. They
12 occupied a room in the parliament that was free and proclaimed this to be
13 the Serbian Assembly. In the opposition, there were other ethnic groups.
14 Other ethnic groups were represented, and those who remained in the
15 parliament continued to function. But from that moment on, they were the
16 only legitimate assembly of the Serbian people. And what remained of the
17 former parliament as they said was maybe an assembly of the Croat and
18 Muslim people, but certainly not fully representing Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina. That was their view. What they did was not based in any way
20 on law, on -- it had no constitutional basis. But they still went through
21 with it. So the situation was as it was.
22 Regardless of that, the parliament could still function according
23 to the constitution because it had the sufficient number of
24 representatives of all ethnic groups.
25 Q. Now, in September of 1991, did you become aware of the, as it
1 were, declaration of the Autonomous Region of Krajina?
2 A. Yes. We did hear about the proclamation of the Autonomous Region
3 of Krajina. It was public. It was publicly proclaimed. And it was clear
4 to all those would followed parliamentary sessions that what was taking
5 place now is what we had warned about.
6 Q. I want you to have a look, please, at the statute of the so-called
7 Autonomous Region of Krajina which was 65 ter number 26, Your Honours.
8 It's in the binder, second document. And I'd like the witness to be given
9 the Bosnian version.
10 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, I'm sorry I forgot to ask for the last
11 document to be made a court exhibit. Could that be made S131, that is,
12 the gazette for the elections.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Objections from the Defence?
14 MR. OSTOJIC: No objections, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Then admitted as under this number
16 as usual A in English, B, B/C/S.
17 MS. KORNER:
18 Q. Now, if everybody has got a copy, we needn't put it up on the
20 First of all, had there been before this so-called declaration,
21 ever been a regional assembly like this?
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. We can't proceed this way. We are
23 confronted with a deluge as I said, four or five binders of documents, and
24 we can't find them immediately. Please proceed in a way that we can see
25 it on the video. It's not a guessing game, and we don't want to go into
1 this exercise and run through our binders here and there. Please present
2 it in another way.
3 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I'm sorry. I had understood that Your
4 Honours had all got the documents given to you --
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We have it, but we don't have a finding tool
6 where in which binder it is. It's five binders you present for this
8 MS. KORNER: I'm sorry, Your Honour. At the break we'll see what
9 else we can do for finding this for you.
10 Can we put up, please, on the ELMO the first page of the English
11 translation. And we can see at the top, if you just put it down slightly,
12 usher, so we can see, it's the Autonomous Region of Krajina, and then
13 statute of the Autonomous Region of Krajina. And could you pull up the
14 bottom so we can see the date on it.
15 Banja Luka, September 1991.
16 Now, could we put up the second page. Can we look at Article 1.
17 Q. "The Autonomous Region of Krajina is the association of the
18 following municipalities," and there follows a list of municipalities
19 which "have united on the basis of voluntariness, solidarity and equality
20 and for the purpose of effecting long-term cooperation, coordination of
21 development plans and realising of other common interests.'
22 The municipalities there, Mr. Sejmenovic, do not include Prijedor,
23 as we can see. Was there a common characteristic between the ones that
24 are listed?
25 A. Yes, indeed. They shared the same communications, roads. They
1 are in the Una/Sana River valley, between Vrbas Banja Luka all the way to
2 Bosanska Dubica and Bosanski Novi. This is the same area, one and the
3 same area, including Sanski Most. Of course, neither Sanski Most nor
4 Prijedor have been included, as far as I can tell from this list.
5 Excuse me. Earlier, both Prijedor and Sanski Most used to belong
6 to the same association of municipalities. That was before the war, so to
7 the same economic region. But they are not on this list. Why? Well,
8 that's perhaps a question to be asked of those who set up this economic
9 region. Prijedor and Sanski Most were later made to join the region by
11 Q. In Prijedor and Sanski Most, was there a majority of Serbs
12 contained within the populous there?
13 A. No. It was not predominantly Serb. In Prijedor and Sanski Most,
14 Muslim, Bosniak, and Croat people were the predominant population. And
15 other ethnic groups also.
16 Q. Can we look, please, next at Article 3 which states that "The
17 peoples of the Autonomous Region of Krajina shall decide on matters within
18 the jurisdiction of the ARK through their elected representatives in the
19 assembly of the Autonomous Region, the assembly of the republic, and the
20 assembly of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, or through a
22 First, I go back to the question I started to ask you. Had there
23 been such a regional assembly before the establishment of this one?
24 A. Yes. Its name was different, but it did exist.
25 Q. And what was it called?
1 A. Association of municipalities of Banja Luka.
2 Q. And was that the -- before that association which you say was the
3 forerunner of this assembly, had there been such an assembly, whatever
4 you'd like to call it, in place at a regional level?
5 A. Are you referring to the period before this statute and this
7 Q. Before the association of the municipalities of Banja Luka came
8 into existence, which was we know in April of 1991, had there been any
9 such assembly with representatives of the various municipalities appearing
10 at a regional assembly?
11 A. Not in this shape.
12 Q. Then if we just briefly have a look at a couple more of the
13 articles. Could we look at Article 10, please, which states that "other
14 municipalities may join the Autonomous Region of Krajina. A municipality
15 wishing to join shall submit a request to do so to the assembly of the
16 Autonomous Region..." And then various other regulations.
17 Now, you've told us a moment ago that Prijedor and Sanski Most
18 were forced into joining this region. Did Prijedor ever, until after
19 April 1992, send representatives -- or the Prijedor Municipal Assembly, I
20 should say, to this assembly?
21 A. No, never. Prijedor was annexed by force by -- through the use of
22 weapons. Representatives of the legal government were killed. There was
23 a coup, and following that, Prijedor was annexed by the Autonomous Region
24 of Krajina and its already-existing institutions. As far as concerns the
25 Prijedor Municipal Assembly and the municipal government, as long as it
1 was functioning properly, a request like that was never sent to Banja
2 Luka. There could be no consensus because it was clear what sort of a
3 region was coming into existence.
4 Q. And finally, can we look just at Article 16 which states that "the
5 Autonomous Region of Krajina shall monitor the situation and coordinate
6 activities for the organisation and implementation of preparations for all
7 people's defence in accordance with the law, municipal defence plans, and
8 the republic defence plan."
9 Now, who legally in Prijedor, under the Bosnia-Herzegovina
10 constitution was responsible for the defence of each -- in each
12 A. In the municipalities, if a need should arise, the Territorial
13 Defence was in charge of defending the municipality, as well as the
14 existing police forces. Also, the reserve police forces. The military,
15 if any, the reserve component in the area. In a socialist system, this
16 was really well organised and well regulated. All the different levels of
17 national defence were fully elaborated and detailed in the former system.
18 Q. As far as you were concerned, was there any provision for a body
19 such as this one to coordinate activities for the organisation and
20 implementation of preparations?
21 A. No, never. Not this sort of body, and not organised in this way.
22 It never had anything to do with defence. So regional level had nothing
23 to do with national defence level. This was at the republic level, at the
24 municipal level, and at the local self-government level, or from the army
25 point of view, according to parameters the army used to organise their
1 territories. But as far as the regional centres are concerned, this sort
2 of thing had never been organised through associations of municipalities.
3 Q. What effect did this particular body, the assembly of the
4 Autonomous Region have practically on what happened in the Prijedor region
5 after it was set up?
6 A. We can talk about the period preceding the coup in Prijedor, that
7 is, before the takeover. And then the period after the takeover. Which
8 period do you want me to speak about?
9 Q. For the moment, very briefly, just the period before the
10 takeover. Did this assembly have any practical authority over events or
11 bodies in the Prijedor region?
12 A. Not in the Prijedor region. Whatever authority it could exercise
13 was through SDS people who took part in the work of the municipal
14 government and municipal organs. But not in any other legal way, as
15 Prijedor was still a legal and legitimate community which means that the
16 legally elected government was in place with all its functions. There
17 were obstacles to its work, but it did continue to function. As far as
18 the effect on the population was concerned, that was a major issue. The
19 Autonomous Region of Krajina at the moment of its founding took over the
20 military and television repeaters and installations on Mount Kozara. And
21 they interrupted the radio and TV programmes. They started to show TV
22 Belgrade programmes for the whole day. It made it possible for the
23 military to show military programmes all the time about the sufferings of
24 Serbs in Croatia, history programmes about the sufferings of Serbs in
25 World War II. So this had a huge effect on the Serbian population, a
1 mobilising effect so to speak. And at the same time, it intimidated the
2 other ethnic groups because they were not represented in these programmes,
3 especially not in any affirmative sense.
4 So this was a stage of intense propaganda which continued until
5 the takeover.
6 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, I'm not sure whether this document has
7 already been exhibited, the ARK statute. We're just checking. I don't
8 think it has.
9 Your Honours, may I ask for the admission of this as S132.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Objections.
11 MR. OSTOJIC: We do object, Your Honour, based on relevance and
12 also based on the testimony provided by the witness who clearly states
13 that as of September 1991, Prijedor was not, at least pursuant to the
14 article that he referenced, was not a party of the ARK. So we object to
15 that. In addition, the witness clearly testified that no members of the
16 Prijedor Municipal Assembly were invited or asked to participate in any
17 assembly meetings from the Autonomous Region of Krajina. So on those
18 three grounds, we object, Your Honour.
19 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, do I have a right to reply to that
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
22 [Trial Chamber deliberates]
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The document is admitted into evidence under the
24 given number, A in English; B in B/C/S.
25 MS. KORNER: Thank you, Your Honour. I'm told Your Honour
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stands adjourned until 11.00 sharp.
3 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
4 --- On resuming at 11.07 a.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. First of all, my apologies
6 for the delay. The rule says that justicia should act blindfolded, but
7 what is a judge without glasses. So therefore, please understand.
8 In addition, coming back to the documents, is it correct that some
9 of the documents you're presenting today are available both in English and
10 in French?
11 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I can't do anything about it this week
12 because the counsel in the Brdjanin/Talic case are not here. But it may
13 well be that they themselves had it translated in the Brdjanin/Talic case,
14 counsel for General Talic, had some of these documents translated into
15 French. I'm going to make an inquiry on Monday and ask if they can be
16 supplied to this Chamber where there are common documents.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This would indeed assist our work enormously,
18 and therefore I'm grateful. And I'm looking forward to the end of the
19 examination of this witness. Nevertheless, if there are, as you did
20 already in the beginning, if there are any crucial points in a document
21 you believe are especially valid, please let the witness read it out. And
22 please understand, Witness, that we have to work in this way that we have
23 access to the content of all documents for all participants at the same
24 time. Thank you.
25 MS. KORNER: Just so that I understand, if there's a document
1 where a section is important, Mr. Sejmenovic should read it in the
2 original, and it will then be translated, rather than me reading the
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Right.
5 MS. KORNER: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
6 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, I want to move to a different but allied point.
7 You were the vice-president of the SDA board in Prijedor, you told us
9 A. [No Interpretation]
10 Q. Was there a main board of the SDA situated in Sarajevo?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And from time to time, would you receive instructions from the
13 main board?
14 A. Of course.
15 Q. Was it your obligation as a municipal board to put those
16 instructions into effect?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did the SDA ever issue instructions, the main board, I'm sorry, to
19 you in the municipal board in Prijedor in respect of matters to do with
20 defence or the ordering of matters which lay within the competence of the
21 Municipal Assembly?
22 A. As far as the orders or instructions concerning the defence are
23 concerned, the SDA was active in preparing such decisions at the level of
24 the party. These decisions were then implemented through the state
25 institutions. Practically speaking, it meant that at the local level, we
1 would spot a problem, or at the level of the republic. Then the party
2 bodies at the level of the republic would discuss the issue, would discuss
3 the problem, clubs of MPs at the parliament would discuss, then we would
4 adopt a common position problem which we would then expose to the
5 parliament or -- and make an adequate request to the government to
6 implement such conclusions. We never received any specific orders or
7 instructions which we would be required to implement outside this
8 framework, outside the adequate government bodies.
9 We participated at all levels of the government. One thing is
10 sure, we could never violate party instructions concerning the overall
11 policy of the party, nor could we change the decisions which had been
12 adopted by the parliament and other state organs. As far as the field
13 work is concerned, we merely assisted in the implementation of the
14 decisions that had been reached at the level of the relevant institution.
15 Q. All right. Just before we broke, we were having a look at the
16 statute of the Autonomous Region of Krajina and the article which dealt
17 with defence. I would like you now, please, to have a look --
18 MS. KORNER: And if Your Honours could look in the bundles which I
19 hope you have for a document which is marked with the number Rule 65 ter,
20 number 24 and it is a document dated the 11th of September, 1991. It
21 should be the very first one in the... just so that we can all see it, if
22 we could put the English version on the ELMO.
23 Q. This is headed "The Serbian Democratic Party of Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina, president." Dated "Sarajevo, the 11th of September, 1991."
25 And then "Instructions for all municipal boards of the Serbian democratic
1 party of BiH." And it's signed at the bottom and stamped Radovan
2 Karadzic, president of the SDS.
3 Mr. Sejmenovic, could you just read, please, in the original
4 language the first paragraph.
5 A. "President of the Serb democratic party is issuing the following
6 instruction to its municipal boards." I quote: "In view of information
7 which we have become aware and which concerns the planning of commando
8 actions in order to incapacitate the roads in Bosnia-Herzegovina, please
9 make sure to provide round-the-clock guards at all bridges located in your
11 Q. And then could you read the third paragraph, please.
12 A. "This task is of utmost importance and must be considered a
13 priority matter and carried out in full and unconditionally. It should be
14 implemented in cooperation with organs of the authorities in such a manner
15 that you improve the safety of travel and do not create chaos by setting
16 up roadblocks or intercepting traffic."
17 Q. Thank you. Now had you received any instruction like this ever
18 from the main board of the SDA?
19 A. No, never.
20 Q. This appears to be an instruction to the municipal boards of the
21 SDS to set up guards at various roads. Was this, in your view, a matter
22 that ought to be dealt with on a political party level?
23 A. No. It was not. This is an issue which cannot be dealt by
24 political parties, if they are functioning appropriately. These matters
25 concern the police. They are within the exclusive competence of the
1 police. If such a problem is spotted at the level of the Republic of
2 Bosnia and Herzegovina, then it is the Minister of the Interior who should
3 issue an order to this effect to the local police stations so that they
4 mobilise their personnel and comply with the request. This is dated the
5 11th of September, 1991, when the overall state system was functioning
6 adequately, including the police and other relevant structures. So it is
7 unclear why such orders or instructions had to be put into effect in a
8 parallel way.
9 In this document, the president of a political party is taking up
10 the position and the capacity of the Minister of the Interior.
11 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, may I ask that this be admitted as
12 S133. I should tell Your Honours it was a document recovered from the
13 municipal building in Prijedor during the search.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Objections?
15 MR. OSTOJIC: Same objection as previously outlined for the last
16 exhibit, Your Honour, relevance.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Following the general policy, admitted into
18 evidence as S133 A and B.
19 MS. KORNER: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Now, we've seen the establishment of the assembly of the
21 Autonomous Region of Krajina. In October of 1991, did the Serbs leave the
22 republic assembly and set up their own assembly of the Serbian people?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. In November of 1991, was a so-called referendum held of the
25 Serbian people?
1 A. A plebiscite of the Serbian people was held, which is a form of
2 expressing public opinion.
3 Q. And as a result, was there a declaration of the Serbian republic
4 in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And did that, then -- was there then an assembly of the Serbian
7 people that dealt with the setting up of Serbian municipalities?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. I would like you to have a look at, please, the records of the
10 assembly of the 11th of December, 1991, which is document with the 65 ter
11 number 37.
12 THE REGISTRAR: It's the third document on the list, so it should
13 be on the top of the bundle, for the interpreters.
14 THE INTERPRETER: Thank you.
15 MS. KORNER:
16 Q. Now, Mr. Sejmenovic, obviously you didn't attend this assembly --
17 I see Mr. Ostojic on his feet.
18 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you. Your Honour, this is the example. And
19 I'm glad that counsel started by asking whether or not he attended. I
20 think before the document is given to the witness and I think for him to
21 evaluate or opine as to what may have occurred, perhaps some foundation
22 questions such as whether he was in attendance, where he was during that
23 time, before he is given an opportunity -- I'm sure other experts that
24 they have already identified can give us testimony in connection with this
25 document, but this the example that we previously -- or this is an example
1 as to our previous motion on allowing a fact witness to give testimony on
2 matters that are outside his scope and, respectfully for the witness,
3 outside his competence since he was not present and has not been
4 identified as an expert in this case or any others for that matter. So I
5 would ask and insist that the Prosecutor lay some foundation before the
6 witness as he is doing now obviously reading the document.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We look forward to the first introductory
8 questions by the OTP, and then we'll come back to this probably.
9 MS. KORNER:
10 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, as I was saying, obviously you didn't attend this
11 assembly. Do you agree?
12 A. Correct. I was not present.
13 Q. But as we're going to see, did you personally know many of the
14 people who spoke at this assembly; for example, Mr. Krajisnik, the
16 A. Of course, because we spent a lot of time together in the
17 parliament of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 Q. And did you see the direct results in Prijedor of what was
19 discussed and voted upon in this assembly, namely, the establishment of
20 separate Serb municipal assemblies?
21 A. What happened in Prijedor is almost an accurate reflection of what
22 happened at the level of the republic. A Serbian assembly was
23 in Prijedor as well outside the legal institutions of the local
25 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, those are the foundational questions I
1 wish to ask. May I ask the witness to refer to the document?
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It is the understanding that the witness shall
3 give testimony whether or not a decision, he didn't participate in the
4 meeting, was echoed by the facts the witness was aware at that time in
5 Prijedor and other areas. Is this the understanding?
6 MS. KORNER: And Your Honour further, it deals with the issue of
7 regionalisation with which the witness has already told us he is very
8 familiar because it had been raised during the time that the assembly was
9 a multiethnic one.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Of course, for the Defence, the Defence may
11 understand that it's not a jury here. It's professional Judges, and we
12 know very well how to distinguish what is fact and what is opinion. I
13 don't think it's unfair to introduce this document through the witness.
14 We have to draw our own conclusions, as we did in the past. Thank you.
15 Please continue.
16 MS. KORNER: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, we can see that this is the transcript of the
18 third session of the assembly of the Serbian people dated the 11th of
19 December, 1991. It was opened by Krajisnik, who was the president of
20 the assembly. And if we look at the agenda, Item Number 1 is the proposed
21 recommendation to the armed forces on the preservation on the territorial
22 integrity of Yugoslavia. And if you could read, please, for the purposes
23 of reading it into the transcript for the interpretation, rather, Item
24 Number 2.
25 A. Item Number 2 reads as follows: "Proposed recommendation
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 (Decision) on the establishment of Municipal Assemblies of the Serbian
2 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina."
3 Q. Then could you go, and I'm afraid I can't help you with the B/C/S,
4 to page 9 -- I'm sorry, it's on page 9 of the translation at the bottom.
5 And it's Item Number 2. There was a discussion about the army. Item
6 Number 2, which reads "Proposed recommendation on the establishment of
7 Municipal Assemblies."
8 Have you found that, Mr. Sejmenovic?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. "Proposed recommendation (Decision) on the establishment of
11 municipal assemblies of the Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina."
12 And then it says: "Dr. Milanovic, please read the proposed
13 recommendation." Did you know who Dr. Milanovic was?
14 A. I don't know who Dr. Milanovic is, but I assume, if he's the one
15 reading the recommendation, then he must be one of the officials there.
16 But it is also possible that he's one of the deputies. But I don't
17 recognise the family name.
18 Q. All right. I just want you, please, to read out what
19 Dr. Milanovic said, the recommendation on the establishment of Municipal
20 Assemblies of the Serbian people.
21 A. The recommendation reads as follows: "Groups of deputies of the
22 Serbian democratic party in Municipal Assemblies in Bosnia and Herzegovina
23 in which the Serbian democratic party does not have the majority of the
24 seats are recommended to pass decisions on the establishment of Municipal
25 Assemblies of the Serbian people."
1 Q. If we, then, move on, please, to the next -- it's our page 11 in
2 the translation, to Dr. Karadzic's speech. And I don't think I need
3 trouble to ask you whether you knew Mr. Karadzic.
4 If we look, please, at page 12 of the translation, it's the
5 paragraph I'd like you to read, Mr. Sejmenovic, of Dr. Karadzic's speech.
6 It begins in English "In connection with these municipalities..."
7 A. I've just found it.
8 Q. Could you just read, please, that paragraph until the words "their
9 national economic and other rights."
10 A. It reads as follows: "In connection with these municipalities,
11 the fact is that the Serbs are nevertheless maintaining a balance in some
12 municipalities even though they are a minority and sometimes just about
13 there and managing to protect primarily the human and civil rights as well
14 as their national, economic, and other rights."
15 Q. And then could you go to the paragraph --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
17 MS. KORNER:
18 Q. And then could you go to the paragraph "In some municipalities, it
19 is really necessary..." and then I want to ask you a question about this.
20 Just read that paragraph.
21 A. All right. "In some municipalities, it really is necessary to
22 create separate municipalities. I do not mean like Jewish ones which
23 would be in charge of some affairs only, but it will be truly necessary
24 for some cities to be border cities, that is, for some cities to have dual
25 municipal authority."
1 Q. All right. Now, had you heard Dr. Karadzic or other members of
2 the SDS expressing sentiments like this before?
3 A. Yes, indeed. They tried to put forward such opinions in a milder
4 form admittedly while we discussed these issues together in the Bosnia and
5 Herzegovina parliament. Later on, they started to put forward the
6 division of Bosnia and Herzegovina according to the ethnic principle in
7 interparty negotiations, not only the territorial division, but also the
8 division of its institutions.
9 Q. It talks about municipalities where Serbs were a minority. Were
10 there municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina where the Muslim population
11 were a minority?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Had the SDA ever suggested that there should be, as it were, dual
14 assemblies where they were in a minority?
15 A. No, never. We continually fought this.
16 Q. I'd like to move from Dr. Karadzic's speech to a speech made by
17 Nenad Veselinovic.
18 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, it's at page 13 of the translation.
19 Q. Can I ask whether you knew this gentleman?
20 A. Yes, I knew him by sight.
21 Q. Perhaps I can read the first couple of sentences, and if you could
22 then read the next paragraph. He said: "I'm in favour, and some perhaps
23 remember that I insisted on Serb municipalities. But we have not finished
24 the process we started, that of regionalisation."
25 Now, could you read the next paragraph, please, so it can be
2 A. The following paragraph reads as follows: "I think, I think that
3 the order of moves should be planned. Plainly speaking, to break up the
4 existing municipalities where the Serbs are not a majority for there are
5 situations of some adjacent local communities of settlements belonging to
6 two municipalities where Serbs are not a majority. This means that from
7 two or three neighbouring municipalities, we have space to form a large,
8 nice Serb municipality."
9 Q. Had you heard this type of expression of sentiment said before?
10 In other words, the breakup of municipalities?
11 A. No. At least, not in as many words as here. The need was
12 discussed to introduce changes, to introduce borders, but no one was
13 talking about such rough methods as breaking up, at least not openly.
14 Q. Now, I want to look finally at the decision that was actually
15 taken. Could you go, please --
16 MS. KORNER: For Your Honours, it's page 18 of the translation.
17 And I'm not sure where it is in the Bosnian version, but it's headed
18 "decision on the establishment of the assembly of the Serbian people in
19 the municipality of..."
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: 26. 26 in the B/C/S version.
21 MS. KORNER: Thank you, Your Honours.
22 Q. And there we see the -- it was really the draft that was drawn up,
23 I think. And can you just read, please, the first paragraph.
24 A. The first paragraph reads as follows: "The assembly of the
25 Serbian people in the municipality of blank is hereby established as the
1 highest representative organ and organ of power of the Serbian people in
2 blank municipality".
3 Q. And then thereafter, we see --
4 A. Thereafter the text reads as follows: "The assembly of the
5 Serbian people in the municipality shall be composed of representatives of
6 the Serbian democratic party" --
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please do it in a way that we can read it from
8 the transcript, after the municipality of, there is a blank space.
9 MS. KORNER:
10 Q. Yes, I think we can summarise that Mr. Sejmenovic, because I want
11 you to look at something said later by Mr. Kupresanin. Article 2 said
12 that "The assembly would be composed representatives of the SDS who were
13 in the municipal assembly as well as other representatives of Serb
14 nationality." Then 3, "The Serbian people shall consider and decide
15 issues related to the equality of the Serbian people." And I think we can
16 leave out the remaining ones.
17 Now, there was some further speeches on this draft. And could you
18 look, please, now, at page 25.
19 MS. KORNER: For Your Honours.
20 Q. The speech made by Vojo Kupresanin.
21 A. Is this after the form?
22 Q. It's after the form. If you go on, you will see there's a
23 speech --
24 MR. LUKIC: Page number 39.
25 MS. KORNER: Thank you very much, Mr. Lukic.
1 Q. You have that speech, thank you. Can you just tell us, who was
2 Mr. Kupresanin?
3 A. He was a delegate to the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4 And that is how we met. Afterwards, he was, of course, a member of the
5 Serbian assembly. And later, the president of the Autonomous Region of
7 Q. Now, he had quite a lot to say. The first paragraph in which he
8 said that he absolutely agreed that the Serb assembly should proceed with
9 separating Serb territories. And then could you read, please, the next
10 paragraph which begins in Bosanska Krajina..."
11 A. "In Bosanska Krajina, we have the following situation: We have
12 vast territories, specifically in Prijedor, where over 70 per cent, even
13 up to 80 per cent, is Serb territory. The plebiscite has shown us
14 accurately which territory is ours, and in accordance with the plebiscite,
15 we have to annex this territory. The situation is similar in Bosanska
16 Krupa also where there are few Serb inhabitants, but about 80 per cent of
17 the territories belong to the Serbs. We must include that territory too
18 and form a Serb municipality."
19 Q. And please, the next very short paragraph, the next two
20 paragraphs, short ones.
21 A. "We have the same situation in Sanski Most where to my knowledge
22 we have an enormous territory which should be annexed to Bosanska
23 Krajina. It is similar in Bihac. There are more Muslim inhabitants
24 there, less Serbs, but a large part of the territory is Serbian".
25 Q. And then finally one last paragraph, and then I want to ask you a
1 question. It's the one that begins: "I personally think that our living
3 A. The paragraph reads as follows: "I personally think that our
4 living space in the territory in which we live in work is endangered and
5 we have to avert that danger. Actually, we have to prevent Muslims from
6 moving into our territories and regions."
7 Q. All right. Now Mr. Kupresanin's assertion that, specifically in
8 Prijedor, that over 70 per cent even up to 80 per cent is Serb territory.
9 What do you have to say about that, Mr. Sejmenovic?
10 A. This absolutely a lie. The SDS arrived at their statistics in the
11 following way: Privately-owned Serb land, plus the state-owned land, the
12 mountains, the forests, state-owned agricultural goods and industrial
13 zones, were marked on their map as Serbian. And the remaining privately
14 owned land owned by non-Serbs, according to them, amounted to about 20 per
15 cent. In reality, the amount of land owned by Serbs and non-Serbs were
16 equal, and the socially owned property was shared. So what they did is
17 they took the state property and defined it as "Serbian property" and then
18 based their further plans on this fact.
19 This explains what happened in the Bosnian Krajina in Bihac. They
20 say there are a lot of Muslims there and hardly any Serbs, but most of the
21 property there is owned by Serbs, which means the Grmace area, all he
22 forests, all the agricultural land was defined, proclaimed as Serbian, and
23 on that basis claimed their right on that territory which actually
24 belonged to everyone in equal measure.
25 Q. Now, can you just read also, before I ask you a question about the
1 last paragraph you read, the next paragraph, in Cazinska Krajina..."
2 A. The paragraph reads as follows: "In Cazinska Krajina, there are
3 between 250.000 and 300.000 Muslims in a very small space. We can simply
4 shut them off in that ring, and it does not suit us at all for them to
5 join us. It is even suitable for us that they are a separate Krajina, the
6 Cazinska Krajina which will absolutely depend on us in economic terms.
7 Every square metre of Serb land will reach astronomical prices in a short
8 time and our policy must absolutely be such as to put them in such a
10 Q. Can you just tell us, first of all, what was Cazinska Krajina?
11 A. Cazinska Krajina is the geographic region around the town of
12 Cazin. Cazin is an ancient town, and this is an ancient historic name. So
13 this is the area between Bihac and Bosanska Krupa, predominantly a
14 non-Serb area, nearly a hundred per cent inhabited by Bosniaks, that is,
16 Q. Now, in this speech, Kupresanin states that "Muslims have to be
17 prevented from moving into our territories and regions," and then talks
18 about "shutting them off, the Muslims, in Cazinska Krajina, in a ring."
19 Was there any way that this could be achieved in your view being there
20 without the use of force?
21 A. There was no way to do it without the use of force. That would
22 have been an artificial closure such as had never existed in living
23 memory. These areas are simply connected. The Banja Luka region, the
24 Bihac and Cazin region, they are connected by roads, traffic connections.
25 They are connected to the Republic of Croatia. The flow of goods and the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 movement of people occurs there. This is a pointless idea. It makes no
2 sense and was only to be achieved through a bloodshed. And I don't know
3 what all this closing off was all about. It is a fact that a large number
4 of Serbs also remained within this ring they are talking about Bosanska
5 Krupa, Bosanski Novi, Prijedor, Banja Luka, by closing off a ring for the
6 people in Cazinska Krajina, that means here in a very important document
7 and at that very high level of this structure. They are publicly speaking
8 about closing it off.
9 Q. And finally just to complete this document, if we look at the
10 translation at page 28, it will be about two or three pages further on in
11 your copy, Mr. Sejmenovic.
12 MS. KORNER: And if Mr. Lukic may be able to help, it's the
13 unanimous adoption. The assembly unanimously adopted the proposed
15 Q. We can summarise this again, Mr. Sejmenovic, "the assembly
16 unanimously with the two mentioned supplements adopted the proposed
17 recommendation on the establishment of Municipal Assemblies of the Serbian
18 people of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
19 And then I say finally on this document, can we look at the
20 request to the Yugoslav People's Army, which is on page 29 of the
21 translation. And if you could just read the terms of that request,
22 Mr. Sejmenovic.
23 A. Just a moment, please.
24 Q. It should be on the next page after the assembly unanimously
25 adopting. I don't know if Mr. Lukic can assist.
1 MR. LUKIC: 47.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Please, just give me a moment.
3 MS. KORNER:
4 Q. 47.
5 A. All right. Thank you.
6 Q. If you could just read that request into the record.
7 A. The request reads as follows: "Request to the Yugoslav People's
8 Army to defend, with all the means at its disposal, the territories of
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina as integral parts of the state of Yugoslavia in
10 which a plebiscite was conducted of the Serbian people and other citizens
11 regarding their remaining in the joint state of Yugoslavia and a decision
12 brought of the assembly of the Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina on
13 the territories of municipalities, local communities, and settlements in
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina which are considered the territory of the federal
15 state of Yugoslavia."
16 Q. Now we can see that was unanimously adopted. But Mr. Sejmenovic,
17 what was actually being requested here?
18 A. The request here is for the JNA, Yugoslav People's Army, as it
19 reads, with all the means at its disposal and what it has are guns and
20 weapons, nothing more. Therefore, with these means, to defend the
21 territories in which the plebiscite had been conducted from the republic
22 level all the way down to the level of the local communes.
23 Q. Yes. That's all that I want to ask you about this document.
24 MS. KORNER: Your Honours --
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could the witness please be so kind and turn to
1 page 127 B/C/S version and read out the two second-last lines.
2 MS. KORNER: I'm sorry, on what page is that in the translation?
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The end.
4 MS. KORNER: The end.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The very end of the document.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The passage by Dr. Radovan Karadzic?
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No, only the last two lines beginning with a
8 line in brackets, and then... Just the end of the document, the very end
9 of the document. [B/S/C/ spoken] and so on.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "The assembly authorises --" this is
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The next line where you can see the bracket.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "The assembly authorises some group,
14 because this part is illegible, to discharge the tasks that Dr. Karadzic
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: That's the part I wanted you to read out.
17 Please continue.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Session ended at 2200 hours,
19 Sarajevo, the 11th of December, 1991." This is the end of the document.
20 Or perhaps I'm confused and maybe you're referring to some other earlier
21 part of this document.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous translation continues] ...
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Lower right corner, there is a name,
24 Ilija Dokic, journalist, signed.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you know this person?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I don't.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
3 MS. KORNER: Just on the topic.
4 Q. When transcripts were made of sessions of the assembly, how were
5 they made? Let's deal with the assembly when it was still multiethnic.
6 A. In different ways. The first thing is that sessions had to be
7 taped, and then minutes had to be kept, minutes were kept by a number of
8 services, and then distributed to journalists and to institutions that
9 were interested in the minutes. But the official thing that had to be
10 there, the minutes recorded and the tape recording that was then sent to
11 the files. Sometimes minutes were taken on the spot. Someone qualified
12 for compiling the record was taking notes, and then had the minutes
14 Q. Did the same happen in respect of Municipal Assembly sessions?
15 Was it the same system?
16 A. The same system was applied. It was a rule, regardless of what
17 level of the assembly was in question.
18 Q. All right.
19 And one final question: Were these proceedings, as far as you
20 know, of the Serbian assembly televised?
21 A. Some were, some were not. A portion of a session, as far as I can
22 remember, was broadcast from Sarajevo when they were in session in
23 Sarajevo, but not after that. I'm talking about TV Sarajevo broadcasts.
24 Later, there were broadcasts from time to time by the Serb television
25 which had previously been established, but not on a regular basis.
1 Q. All right.
2 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, could that be moved into evidence as
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Observations by the Defence, please.
5 MR. OSTOJIC: Although we have the same objection, Your Honour,
6 just to be brief with respect to this document, and if the individuals
7 that my learned counsel was referring to were here as defendants, we
8 wouldn't have the objection to relevance obviously. But there are
9 statements made and obviously not read in full which will highlight
10 hopefully during our cross-examination next Monday afternoon which will
11 point out these things. But I think it's highly improper, and
12 specifically the question that was raised on page 50, line 1, and the
13 answer given subsequent to that on lines 3 through 4 is an interpretation
14 of what exactly the document speaks for itself. And we think it's highly
15 improper, and we think that the document should not be admitted. It's
16 outside the indictment -- or the fourth amended indictment against Dr.
17 Stakic. There's no nexus that they have alleged which has to proceed with
18 either the Brdjanin/Talic case which Ms. Korner is obviously involved in,
19 or with any of the actors who have given speeches here. Particularly one
20 speech by an individual has to be shown to be adopted by a defendant in
21 order for him to be accused of having incorporated such activity. It
22 doesn't indicate anywhere here that Dr. Stakic was present during this
23 meeting, participated, at any time adopted or incorporated the thoughts of
24 any of the one or more of those individuals. We can, in part, take items
25 out of context, and I'm not suggesting that there isn't a theory that the
1 Prosecutor is trying to develop. However it's not set forth particularly
2 in their indictment. I think it's unfair for this 30 -- I'm sorry 74-page
3 document, 65 ter number 37, to be taken out of context as it has been and
4 utilised in this case outside of the indictment and then asking this
5 witness to explain one paragraph and give his opinion on that as it may
6 relate to Dr. Stakic. So for these reasons including relevance we object
7 to it.
8 Finally, I'd like to add that I think, and this is just from
9 information that I have learned, is that the television broadcast that
10 they were just referring to, it should enlighten the Court -- I'm not
11 going to testify. I think it's important that this witness shares with us
12 when allegedly these Serbian assemblies were televised and over the --
13 both through Sarajevo TV or through the Serbian television stations that
14 were running. Was it in 1991 and 1992? This witness perhaps can help us
15 with that. If it was in 1993 or at any time subsequent to that, what is
16 the relevance of that based on our indictment? And I dare say that I'm
17 suspect as to why the specific dates aren't being asked of this witness
18 because it's my understanding that they do not fall within the parameters
19 of the indictment. Thank you, Your Honour.
20 MS. KORNER: Does Your Honour want me to respond.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please.
22 MS. KORNER: Yes. Your Honour, the Prosecution case has made
23 exceedingly clear in the indictment in paragraph 26 is that Milomir Stakic
24 participated in a joint criminal enterprise, which came into existence no
25 later than the establishment of the 24th of October, 1991, when the first
1 Serbian assembly. It is alleged that he participated with others in this
2 joint enterprise, which include - and if Your Honours look at the top of
3 page 9 of the indictment -- not only --
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I interrupt you. I think it's from a point
5 of fairness not adequate to discuss an indictment in the presence of a
7 MS. KORNER: Well, Your Honour -- Mr. Ostojic raised it, so I'm
8 responding. If Your Honour wants the witness to go out --
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think --
10 MS. KORNER: The point I make --
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes.
12 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, it is the Prosecution's case that this
13 is not Mr. Stakic acting on his own in a vacuum in Prijedor, that this was
14 a plan being developed from the top through to Prijedor. And that is why
15 we say these minutes are relevant and admissible. Of course, I've omitted
16 various parts, and of course it's open to the Defence to raise other parts
17 of the document if they think that's relevant. To go through every page
18 would take, if we go through every document and every page, that would
19 take a week.
20 As to television, I will certainly check as to when it was on
21 television. I take the point as to the year. But Your Honours, I do
22 submit that this is an admissible and relevant document.
23 [Trial Chamber deliberates]
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The Trial Chamber decides that only those parts
25 read out today from the former document 65 ter number 37 are admitted into
1 evidence as S134 A and B. We have to restrict this document to those
2 parts the OTP regarded as necessary, and it is, of course, free for the
3 Defence to come back with other parts of this document later on during the
4 cross-examination. But it would be unfair to have this entire document as
5 evidence, and then for the one or the other party, the Judges coming back
6 on the other parts later in the one or other decision without having
7 discussed the other issues here in Court. And therefore, this limitation.
8 MS. KORNER:
9 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, can I just come back to the question of
10 televising, although you've heard the discussions. Was the -- was it
11 actually televised at the time or later, let's take just this particular
13 A. Part of the first session of the assembly was televised by the BH
14 TV. When the deputies of the SDS and the radical party walked out and
15 established their own assembly, parts of the proceedings of this
16 particular assembly was broadcast by the Sarajevo TV, not everything, just
17 the part when they read out what their intentions were. Later on, for
18 those who were able to watch TV, it was possible to see that the Serb TV
19 broadcast from time to time parts of these sessions. But what is
20 interesting to note is the fact that in the period after they walked out
21 of the BH assembly, up until the month of March 1992, the proceedings of
22 the Serbian assembly were public but not all that transparent. They were
23 in the process of establishing the Serbian Bosnia and Herzegovina and so
24 on and so forth. After this whole process was completed, then all of the
25 broadcasts were made public through the use of their TV installations and
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the equipment where they had it. I remember this first session. We saw
2 parts of it in the relevant programmes and on the news. It was very
3 interesting for me to watch this because after all, those were my
4 colleagues with whom I had been sitting together in the assembly.
5 Q. I want then finally perhaps before the break when we'll move to the
6 actual events in Prijedor itself to look at one final document connected
7 with the establishment of these Serbian municipalities.
8 MS. KORNER: If Your Honours would be kind enough -- I'm not sure,
9 I think it was a late edition. So we ay have to give it to you. That is,
10 it's 65 ter number 39. I'm told it is in the binders. Sorry, it's former
11 SK39. It's the fourth one on the list of documents.
12 Q. This document, which I know the Court has looked at before, but
13 I've -- is headed "The Serbian Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina
14 main committee." It's also headed "strictly confidential."
15 MS. KORNER: And Your Honours, in fact the copy that the witness
16 has is 96, but we've got the translation for 100. It's identical, but
17 it's just a better translation.
18 Q. "Instructions for the organisation and activities of the organs of
19 the Serb people in Bosnia and Herzegovina in a state of emergency" and
20 it's dated "Sarajevo, the 19th of December, 1991."
21 Could you just turn to the next page and read, please, into the
22 record the first paragraph.
23 A. One portion of the first sentence of the first paragraph is
24 illegible, but as far as I can tell, the text reads as follows: "Because
25 of a justifiable suspicion that the certain forces are operating in a
1 persistent, thorough, and organised manner toward the forcible removal of
2 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and thereby, the Serbian people from Yugoslavia.
3 These instructions elaborate uniform tasks, measures, and activities which
4 will be carried out within the national community of the Serbian people in
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina for the purpose of carrying out the results of the
6 plebiscite at which the Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina decided
7 to live in a single state --
8 Q. Can you slow down slightly. There's a request you're reading
9 quite fast.
10 A. By all means. I apologise. Let me repeat the last portion.
11 "These instructions have been prepared because of a justifiable
12 suspicion that certain forces are operating in a persistent, thorough, and
13 organised manner toward the forcible removal of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
14 and thereby, the Serbian people from Yugoslavia. The instructions
15 elaborate uniform tasks, measures, and activities and other activities
16 which will be carried out within the national community of the Serbian
17 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the purpose of carrying out the
18 results of the plebiscite at which the Serbian people in Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina decided to live in a single state, both under the existing
20 conditions and circumstances and all such conditions that may arise given
21 the current political and security developments."
22 Q. All right. You can leave out paragraph 2, and if you just deal
23 with paragraph 3, then.
24 A. Paragraph 3 reads as follows: "The tasks, measures, and other
25 activities in these instructions shall be carried out on the entire
1 territory of the socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is, in
2 all the municipalities where the Serbian people live; namely, in their
3 entirety, in municipalities where the Serbian people form a majority
4 (Variant A); and second, partially in municipalities where the Serbian
5 people are not in the majority (Variant B)".
6 Q. Thank you. Now, as far as Prijedor was concerned, was that a
7 municipality where the Serb people were not in a majority?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. So they came under, on this document, Variant B. Could we turn,
10 please, just briefly to look at some of the items that are set out in
11 Variant B, which in the translation, is page 4.
12 A. What is the beginning?
13 Q. It says -- there's a Roman numeral II --
14 MR. LUKIC: It's page 5.
15 THE WITNESS: [In English] Thank you.
16 MS. KORNER:
17 Q. It says: "First level." Can you leave out, please, 1 and 2, and
18 just read the first sentence of paragraph -- the first part of paragraph 3
19 beginning "the municipal committee..."
20 A. That sentence reads as follows: "The municipal board of the
21 Serbian democratic party shall immediately establish a Crisis Staff of the
22 Serbian people. In those municipalities, which comprise..." And then
23 there's a list, the composition of the Crisis Staff.
24 Q. There's a list, yes. Don't bother about the list of people who
25 were supposed to be there. But I want now to look at in Prijedor, was
1 such a Crisis Staff formed?
2 A. We only heard that it had been formed. We didn't learn it
3 officially through the SDS. But we heard that a Crisis Staff of some sort
4 had been established in Prijedor, as had been the case with some other
5 municipalities. I believe that the issue was raised at various meetings,
6 and that the people, members of the SDA who asked the question, were given
7 the answer that no such Crisis Staff had been established in the area.
8 We're talking about the period of time when this document came into
9 existence. Later on, Crisis Staffs became public and functioned publicly.
10 Q. Right. Then can we look, please, at Item Number 4 --
11 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, I know Your Honour is keen to have the
12 witness read it. But would it be quicker, so that I can complete the
13 document before lunch, before the break, if I read it out.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If there are no objections by the Defence.
15 MR. OSTOJIC: No objection, Your Honour. We think actually the
16 interpreters are reading from the English text as well, as opposed to
17 interpreting the testimony of the witness with respect to those documents.
18 So in light of that, we do not have an objection.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Please proceed.
20 MS. KORNER: Thank you.
21 Q. Item Number 4: "An assembly of the Serb people in the
22 municipality is to be summoned and proclaimed which will consist of
23 committee members of Serb nationality in the Municipal Assembly and
24 presidents of local SDS committees."
25 Did that -- I'm jumping ahead, Mr. Sejmenovic, because I just want
1 to deal with this document. Is that what happened in Prijedor? There was
2 a Serbian assembly formed in the Prijedor municipality?
3 A. Yes, that's what happened in Prijedor as well.
4 Q. Item number 5: "Preparations are to be made for setting up
5 municipal government bodies...", and so on and so forth, "...executive
6 board, administrative organs, public security station." Again, is that
7 what happened in Prijedor?
8 A. Practically speaking, not, because all of these institutions did
9 function at the time, and they consisted of the legally elected
10 representatives, those who had been elected by the Municipal Assembly. So
11 it was not possible to establish such parallel organs there as well.
12 However, it was observed that some of these matters were discussed and
13 taking place parallelly, legally but not publicly, as I said. At that
14 period of time, all of these institutions still functioned normally.
15 Q. Okay. If we leave out, then, Item Number 6 about warehouses; Item
16 Number 7, "Information: Propaganda activities are to be intensified in
17 order to inform the Serb people promptly and completely about the
18 political and security situation in the municipality and further afield."
19 Did you notice from the beginning of 1992 an intensification of
20 propaganda activities in Prijedor?
21 A. Of course we noticed that. It was obvious even to the persons who
22 were not involved with politics. Articles to that effect appeared in
23 papers. They said that the SDS could not normally function in such
24 institutions. They also discussed the need to divide the town in several
25 zones. The attitude of the SDA and the republican leadership towards the
1 JNA was also used and abused to that effect, and this division along
2 ethnic lines was being encouraged.
3 They also set about drafting ethnic maps of the town. At the time
4 they appeared, we all realised how terrible it was, and the consequences
5 were terrible. Maybe this is not the place and time to discuss this, but
6 some people all of a sudden realised that they were living in a Serb
7 neighbourhood, in a Serb area. And up to that period of time, they had
8 had a perfectly normal life there. All of a sudden, somebody found it
9 appropriate to draft -- to draw a map along ethnic lines.
10 At the same time, similar things were happening at a higher level,
11 at the level of Yugoslavia and its republics. So we could all observe
12 things taking place at several such levels, which, of course, provoked
13 fear amongst the population.
14 Q. I'm going to come on to the consequences later, if we can just try
15 and complete the document. Item Number 8: "Estimates are to be made of
16 the necessary number of members of an active and reserve police structure,
17 TO units, and civil protection units. In keeping with that, these
18 structures are to be reinforced, and all other necessary steps are to be
19 taken for their activation according to how the situation develops. And
20 the crisis headquarters in the municipality is to issue the order for the
21 activation of these structures."
22 I think if you can deal with this really very quickly,
23 Mr. Sejmenovic, through yes or no, essentially, were the police, TO, and
24 civil protection units which were Serb activated into action?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Thank you. And then -- I'm leaving out the rest. If we can go to
2 the second level, which is on the next page in the translation, which
3 shows exactly how it was to be brought into operation, meeting of the Serb
4 Municipal Assembly to be called, members of the police force of Serb
5 nationality be mobilised, and in cooperation with the commands and
6 headquarters of the JNA, their gradual subordination is to be ensured.
7 Order for mobilisation of reserve JNA forces and TO units, protection,
8 then food.
9 6: "At approaches to places inhabited by Serbs, a secret
10 observing and information system about all possible dangers for the Serb
11 population to be organised. In this connection, appropriate protection
12 measures are to be planned, and the transfer of population and material
13 goods into safer regions and areas is to be envisioned." And then
14 effectively, "The crisis headquarters responsible for special forms of
15 defence organisation in the areas where Serbs are not in a majority, it is
16 obliged to continually monitor the situation in the municipality, as well
17 as the development of political, military, and security situation in the
18 broader sense." And finally this: "The crisis headquarters is
19 responsible for initiating and implementing activities that are suitable
20 for every specific situation; That is to say, for an assessment of the
21 possible development of the situation."
22 Come April of 1992, Mr. Sejmenovic, as far as you were aware from
23 the events that took place, were these instructions followed?
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think we have to turn to the answer of this
25 question after the break. It includes numerous different facts and
1 numerous different parts. And I think it's adequate to have a concrete
2 answer on the different facts included here.
3 The trial stands adjourned until 2.00 sharp.
4 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.03 p.m.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
3 May we continue. And as I indicated yesterday, time allows no
4 longer to proceed than 4.15 and in the meantime with a very short break.
5 May we proceed immediately with the examination-in-chief and the
6 witness may be brought in. I know there is still one question open,
7 including an entire bunch of single questions. Please proceed.
8 [The witness entered the court]
9 MS. KORNER: It was one question, but I agree it involved a number
10 of different concepts, Your Honour.
11 Q. I wonder, Mr. Sejmenovic, could you have back again, please, the
12 document that you were looking at before the break. Mr. Sejmenovic, I
13 read to you the various aspects of the second level, and then asked you if
14 these instructions were put into effect in Prijedor. We'll just take each
15 individually, then, please. First of all, that there was a meeting of the
16 Serb Municipal Assembly with an Executive Board and so on and so forth.
17 Was that eventually put into effect in Prijedor after, or possibly before,
18 April of 1992?
19 A. We have noticed that some of the activities from these
20 instructions were indeed implemented before the 30th of April, and after
21 the 30th of April, they were implemented publicly with the use of armed
23 Q. So is the answer in respect of Item Number 1 of the second level,
24 did that happen?
25 A. Yes, the answer is yes.
1 Q. Then Item 2, "all members of the police force of Serb nationality
2 to be mobilised and in cooperation with the commands and headquarters of
3 the JNA, their gradually subordination is to be ensured." Did that happen
4 in Prijedor?
5 A. It was obvious after the 30th of April, so yes, it did happen.
6 Q. Forgive me. I know the answer may seem obvious to you, but we
7 still have to have it for the purposes of the record.
8 Item 3, the order of the mobilisation for the reserve JNA forces
9 and TO units to be carried out through the competent organs. Did that
11 A. This happened after the takeover by the SDS. Here, I would like
12 to provide an additional explanation. While the Municipal Assembly still
13 functioned normally, we had an order from the Bosnia and Herzegovina TO
14 staff to mobilise the TO. But in Prijedor, we could not mobilise the TO
15 because we did not have the consensus of the SDS. When the SDS took over,
16 then they mobilised all Serb members of the TO. And as we see here, they
17 resubordinated them to the army units located in Prijedor.
18 Q. Thank you. And I'm going to come back to the various topics when
19 we deal with the actual events themselves.
20 Then the constant protection of all essential facilities,
21 communication lines, and production capacities in inhabited places with a
22 majority Serb population is to be organised. Maybe I just better ask
23 you: Was there this protection of communication lines, production
24 capacities, et cetera?
25 A. Yes, there was, since the takeover. We noticed a number of
1 activities, even prior to that, but when the takeover occurred, the
2 security was already in place and intensely so, according to the military
3 provisions, with bunkers dugouts, and so on.
4 Q. I will ignore Item 5, because I don't think reserves of food it is
5 particularly -- it may be important, but not for these purposes. Item 6,
6 now, I don't know whether you can answer this one. At approaches to
7 places inhabited by Serbs, a secret observing and information system is to
8 be organised. Were you aware, and I suppose if you were, it wasn't
9 particularly secret, of any kind of secret types of information being
11 A. If we have a document to this effect in mind, we did not have a
12 document, nor did we know the SDS position in any clear terms. Our
13 officials in the municipal organs noticed that some of the SDS people were
14 carrying out certain activities without their consensus. They were absent
15 from their work, and they spent part of their time in other places. That
16 was quite conspicuous. And bearing in mind the overall circumstances, it
17 was clear that they were carrying out certain tasks outside their
19 Q. Then finally, Item Number 7, which makes the crisis headquarters
20 responsible effectively for initiating and implementing activities and
21 monitoring -- sorry -- the situation in the municipality. When was the
22 first time you became aware that the SDS had set up what was called then
23 a" Crisis Staff"?
24 A. On the 30th of April, 1992.
25 Q. Can I, however, on that topic, had you before this ever heard the
1 expression "Crisis Staff" or committee?
2 A. I had heard of the expression "Crisis Staff" because Crisis Staffs
3 had been established earlier in some parts of Croatia. So while the
4 Serbian autonomous regions were being set up. But even before this
5 period, as we've heard, Crisis Staffs had been established in Herzegovina,
6 part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in some other places, too. So we were
7 familiar with the concept from newspapers and from television. This had
8 occurred in parts that had been established as Serbian Autonomous Regions,
9 in Banja Luka, there was a fully fledged and organised Crisis Staff prior
10 to the 30th of April.
11 Q. And how did you find out about that, from the press or television?
12 Or from information from other people?
13 A. From radio and TV. I think in the press also, there were some
14 headlines to the effect.
15 Q. Right. And actually, there is one more paragraph that perhaps I
16 ought to read. If you go to the last section, which has got 3, and then
17 paragraph in that section on page 7. The tasks, measures, and other
18 activities in these instructions can be applied only on the order of the
19 president of the SDS in Bosnia-Herzegovina according to a secret procedure
20 especially established for that purpose.
21 Can I just ask you this, Mr. Sejmenovic: Did you ever become
22 aware of this particular document? For example, its publication in
23 Sloboda Bosna in March of 1992?
24 A. No, I was not aware of this.
25 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, if I haven't already done so, and if it
1 isn't already an exhibit --
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it's an SK.
3 MS. KORNER: It is, thank you.
4 Thank you. You can take the document from the witness. Thank you
5 very much.
6 MR. OSTOJIC: Sorry, Your Honour, if I may, and I recognise that
7 the document that we're referring to here. However, in keeping with the
8 practice of this Chamber and specifically in keeping with consistent with
9 the Court's comments earlier today whereas the Court in part accepted some
10 of the testimony -- strike that. In part, accepted some of the contents
11 of the document as exhibits. We would ask that at least from this Variant
12 I, Variant A first stage, paragraph number 3 be read in its entirety
13 indicating that the SDS municipal board will immediately form a Crisis
14 Staff only because I think there's some confusion or there might be as to
15 which Crisis Staff we're referring to, because the questions did not
16 specifically state that it was an SDS Crisis Staff versus the Crisis Staff
17 from the Municipal Assembly. I do have other comments but I'm hesitant to
18 raise them with the witness respectfully being before us and don't want to
19 necessarily add more to than highlight that area if I may.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Indeed, we shouldn't go into further details now
21 in the presence of the witness. But only to give you one comment, please
22 remember, we discussed this document already beforehand with Dr. Donia,
23 and especially when it came to the questions of Variant A, Variant B,
24 there were some problems. And therefore, admittedly, at present, I'm
25 hesitant as regards this document to -- also to concentrate only on
1 parts. And in addition, I would think it's more appropriate to have this
2 what you want to have read out during the cross-examination. Thank you
3 for your comments.
4 May the OTP please proceed.
5 MS. KORNER:
6 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, I now want, please, to look at Prijedor itself at
7 the beginning of --
8 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
9 MS. KORNER:
10 Q. I now want with you to examine the question of Prijedor in early
11 1992. You told us about the political parties. In the Prijedor SDA, who
12 were the main leaders?
13 A. The main leaders were Dr. Mirza Mujadzic, Nijaz Kapetanovic, Becir
14 Medunjanin, Camil Pezo, Rufat Suljanovic, Velida Mahmuljin, Ilijaz Memic,
15 Ilijaz Popovac, Denijil Dzafic, and a number of other people. I can keep
16 on enumerating.
17 Q. As the SDA won the elections, who became the president of the
18 municipality, of the Municipal Assembly?
19 A. Professor Muhamed Cehajic.
20 Q. Of the people you've named, how many of those people survived the
22 A. Of the people I've named, only two. The overall number of
23 survivors out of 23 SDA officials, only 3 survived. I'm talking about the
24 municipal board and the Executive Board of the party.
25 Q. And obviously as we can see, you yourself. I next want to ask
1 about the SDS. The SDS leadership in Prijedor, who were the main people?
2 A. There were two stages in the establishing of the SDS. First,
3 there was the stage of setting up the steering committee. There was Mr.
4 Mr. Milakovic and Mr. Curdzija. They were the founding members and those
5 were their last names. Soon afterwards, other people took over.
6 Officially Dr. Srdo Srdic founded the SDS alongside Dr. Kovacevic,
7 Dr. Stakic, Mr. Miskovic, and other people. Dusan Kurnoga, Dragan Sidjak,
8 and a number of other people were also there.
9 Q. Can you just tell us, in the SDS itself, what position, first of
10 all, did Srdo Srdic hold?
11 A. Srdo Srdic was a founding member. And for a while, he was also
12 the president of the SDS.
13 Q. The next person that you named after that, Dr. Kovacevic.
14 A. Dr. Kovacevic became a public figure as an SDS official only at
15 the moment when the new government was constituted. He was not
16 particularly familiar to us people from the SDA until the moment that he
17 was nominated by the SDS to become the head of the municipal government,
18 although he was not an economist by profession. He was probably very
19 prominent in the SDS, because he was appointed the head of government,
20 prime minister, as a doctor, which is not the usual practice.
21 Q. Then I'm going to come back obviously to Dr. Stakic.
22 Mr. Miskovic, what about him? What position did he hold or when did he
23 come to prominence?
24 A. Later on, after the elections, Miskovic became the president of
25 the SDS, and he appeared as the president of the SDS in contacts with the
1 SDA and in different tasks on constituting the government in the
2 municipality. He was also the leader of the negotiation team of the SDS,
3 in negotiations over the distribution. I don't know when exactly it was
4 that he replaced Srdo Srdic, but when the new government started to
5 function, for all effects and purposes, Miskovic was already the
7 Q. Now let's come back to Dr. Stakic. When did you first become
8 aware of him as an SDS player?
9 A. When he was appointed vice-president of the Municipal Assembly,
10 deputising the president, Muhamed Cehajic.
11 Q. You already told us that because you were an elected member to the
12 republic assembly, you were entitled to and did attend meetings of the
13 Municipal Assembly. What sort of part did Dr. Stakic play in the
14 Municipal Assembly as the vice-president?
15 A. As the vice-president of the Municipal Assembly, his role was to
16 assist, to distribute tasks, to help or stand in for the president if the
17 president was unable to finish certain tasks, or otherwise absent. His
18 task was to take over and preside over the sessions in the president's
19 absence or if the president, for example, resigns, then Stakic was
20 supposed to replace him. That's in keeping with the statute of the
22 Q. So those were -- or that was his role. How much part did he
23 actually play in assembly meetings? How often did he speak, that kind of
25 A. I attended a number of meetings, not all of them. So I will only
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 limit myself to talking about the meetings I attended. Stakic did not
2 speak very often; on the contrary, I can only remember two or three times
3 that he spoke. So I can't say and I could not notice that his activity in
4 the assembly was very big. Sometimes he represented the president;
5 sometimes he discussed and countered other people's opinions. So there
6 was a certain amount of activity, but it wasn't much.
7 Q. Did you have conversations with him outside the actual formal
8 assembly meetings?
9 A. Not as far as I can remember. Perhaps just those usual
10 conversations during breaks, but no special conversations, apart from
11 meeting once later on in Banja Luka, and that was a brief meeting, too.
12 Q. We'll deal with that in the chronology.
13 In the speeches that he made that you heard, did his views seem to
14 differ in any way from other members of his party, the SDS?
15 A. No. Mainly, all discussions by SDS members were headed in the
16 same direction. It would have been easy to note, had there been any
17 discrepancies among them, but this never happened.
18 Q. Let's deal with the events. Before I do that, sorry, I should ask
19 you this: What was the importance, strategic importance, if any, of
20 Prijedor as a municipality?
21 A. The strategic importance, we can speak about the position of
22 Prijedor from the point of view of the economy, communications, perhaps
23 even in a military sense. But I'm not qualified to judge these matters.
24 However, as far as I'm competent to speak about this, Prijedor is the
25 centrepoint of this area of the Cazinska Krajina between Krupa and
1 Bosanski Novi and up all the way to Banja Luka. Prijedor is plumb in the
2 middle, and it is on a very important main road, Banja Luka/Prijedor.
3 Also, the mining complexes, the iron ore mining complex are in Prijedor.
4 So the military, too, was concentrated around Prijedor. So it appeared to
5 be very important from all these different points of view.
6 Q. You dealt with communications. You said economic. Was that
7 because of the mines that it contained, or were there other aspects that
8 made it important economically?
9 A. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Prijedor was considered one of the
10 major mining centres with good quality iron ore, and the iron factory in
11 Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, there was some in Smerdija [phoen],
12 too. There was the iron factory Ljubija and the iron factory of Omarska.
13 I am certain about this because it's part of my profession. I studied
14 mining, and I was supposed to work as a mining engineer in Omarska. I did
15 an internship there, so I do know the area.
16 Another important economic factor is its forests and wood, lumber.
17 The forests are also important in that respect. Speaking about natural
18 resources, another conspicuous thing in the Prijedor area is that it was
19 rich in iron ore and in forests, that is, woods.
20 Q. Can we just look briefly at the military, was there any particular
21 military unit stationed in the Prijedor area?
22 A. There had been one even before the war. There was a minor
23 military garrison in the area. However, during the war in Croatia, the
24 presence of the JNA increased at several locations in the Prijedor area.
25 At the beginning of the war in Croatia, a large brigade was established in
1 Prijedor consisting mainly of local Serbs, several thousands of them, and
2 who were mainly sent to the battlefield in Croatia, the 5th Kozara
3 Brigade. They were mainly conscripts who agreed to be mobilised in the
4 JNA, but they conducted military operations mostly in Croatia. And they
5 would come back to their garrison.
6 Q. All right. Do you know who the military leaders in the Prijedor
7 region were; that is to say, the local military?
8 A. The garrison commander was Radimir or Radomir Zeljaja. He was the
9 commander of this small garrison which existed even before the war. With
10 the formation of the 5th Kozara Brigade, which was the first major
11 military formation in the area, Colonel Arsic appeared. He was the
12 commander of this brigade which was a wartime brigade and was engaged in
13 combat operations. So these would be the two most important military
14 activities as far as the JNA in Prijedor is concerned.
15 Q. And I don't think you've told us: What rank was Radomir Zeljaja?
16 A. Zeljaja was a major, so not a very high-ranking officer. But he
17 was the commander of the garrison.
18 Q. Did these two officers take part in any of the assembly meetings?
19 A. Yes they did. Either of the two, or sometimes even both of them.
20 Q. And can you just tell us briefly, what was the purpose of having
21 the military attend assembly meetings?
22 A. According to their words, the purpose of their attendance was for
23 them to explain to us the meaning of "war" and what consequences and
24 destruction can be the result of the war. And also, how we should respond
25 and comply with their requests, that we should also respond to the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 mobilisation because Prijedor was not -- could not be defended in
2 Prijedor, but is being defended in Croatia, in places such as Pakrac,
3 Novska and some other.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Just for clarification, please, what kind of
5 assembly meetings are we discussing?
6 MS. KORNER: I'm sorry, Municipal Assembly, Your Honour. I should
7 have made that clear. And I think that's what the answer referred to.
8 Q. Is that right?
9 A. Yes, the municipal parliament.
10 Q. Before the conflict broke out in Croatia, had military officers
11 attended and spoken -- first of all, it's two questions - attended
12 Municipal Assembly meetings?
13 A. No. No, never. Not at all. There was no reason whatsoever for
14 such attendance, nor was it provided for in the relevant statutory
15 provisions. It was possible for them to be invited to attend as guests
16 when a relevant subject was discussed and when their opinion was needed.
17 But a normal, regular attendance was not practice.
18 Q. I don't know what it was that was given to the witness.
19 THE REGISTRAR: It's just to ask the witness to slow down a little
20 bit for the interpreters.
21 MS. KORNER: All right. Thank you.
22 THE WITNESS: [In English] Okay.
23 MS. KORNER:
24 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, you told us that there was Colonel Arsic who was
25 in charge of the 5th Kozara Brigade. Was there somebody called --
1 somebody called Colic? I'm not sure what rank. I haven't been given that
2 information. Lieutenant-Colonel Colic?
3 A. There was a person by the name of Pero Colic as well. He later
4 became more prominent and better known when he engaged in combat
5 operations and took the 5th Kozarac Brigade to various battlefields. When
6 they became active in Prijedor, he also actively participated in these
8 Q. Right. Now, the military attended the assembly meetings to tell
9 you about the war. In the speeches they made, or the addresses they gave
10 to the assembly, did there appear to be any kind of leaning or bias
11 towards any particular party or side?
12 A. In their discussions, they expressed attitudes and positions which
13 were identical with the attitudes and positions of the SDS. Both with
14 respect to Yugoslavia generally speaking, and the war in Croatia. And
15 also, in respect to the current local affairs and the need to send
16 Prijedor residents to the battlefield in Croatia for the purpose of
17 defending or protecting the town of Prijedor.
18 Q. Before the outbreak of the conflict and after the formation of the
19 nationalist parties and the 1990 elections, had members of the JNA
20 displayed any particular bias towards any particular party?
21 A. One could not observe the bias of the JNA towards any particular
22 party before the elections. By and large, they complied with the relevant
23 legal regulations, and we did not notice any major interference of the
24 army in the politics. This occurred only after the attack on Slovenia and
25 during the preparations for and the beginning of the war in Croatia. It
1 was at that time that a major rift occurred, and we could plainly see that
2 the JNA had different opinions and different attitudes, and they acted
4 Q. In the period up until April 1992, how much time were you spending
5 in Prijedor as opposed to the time in Sarajevo when you were attending the
6 assembly there? What was the division of time roughly?
7 A. From December 1991 until April, or rather, March 1992, it was
8 50/50. Half of my time I spent in Sarajevo, and the other in Prijedor.
9 Q. Now, the Court has heard from other witnesses about the problems
10 there were after the elections in the allocation of posts within the
11 assembly, so I don't propose to take you through that evidence again. In
12 case anybody else wants to ask you about them, were you aware of the
13 problems there were in the allocation of the posts within the assembly?
14 A. Yes, I was aware of that.
15 Q. Now, was it decided that there was to be in early 1992, that a
16 referendum was to be held about the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina
17 from the Yugoslav federation?
18 A. After the decisions reached by Slovenia and Croatia, we also voted
19 in favour of the same decision concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina.
20 Q. Right. And what was the attitude taken by the SDS towards this
22 A. It was the position of the SDS that the Serbian people did not
23 participate in the referendum, that there were no representatives of the
24 Serb population amongst the voters, although in practice this was not
25 true. They claimed that it was not a Serb referendum and that they would
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 express their opinion separately. So they did not recognise the decisions
2 reached; instead, they expressed threats, even before the referendum was
3 called in the assembly, threats to the fact of what would happen if such
4 and such decision was reached. They were strongly opposed to this.
5 Q. I would like you, please, now to be shown, please, the document
6 with the 64 ter number 71.
7 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, it's in the first bundle, quite far
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think we can remember this document.
10 MS. KORNER: Perhaps we can put the English up on the ELMO just to
11 be sure.
12 Q. Now, this is the conclusions in the original, apparently with a
13 stamp and a signature signed by the president of what's called the
14 assembly of the republic of the Serbian people of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
15 Momcilo Krajisnik. And it says that "the decision to hold a referendum
16 for the citizens which would be a basis for transforming Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina in an independent state was adopted in an irregular manner and
18 without the presence of the Serbian deputies. As an act by the legal
19 representatives of the Muslim and Croat peoples, it can be binding only on
20 members of those two peoples; and for the Serbian people of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina, this decision is invalid and directed against their
22 existential interests." And then it deals with decisions forbidding
23 further work of BH representatives in all federal organs and institutions.
24 Did you become aware at the time, Mr. Sejmenovic, of this
25 particular conclusion passed by the Serbian assembly?
1 A. Not at that time. I was not aware of these conclusions.
2 Q. At what stage did you become aware that the Serbian assembly had
3 stated that this was effectively an illegal decision by the
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina assembly?
5 A. I think it was the next day, after the session of the parliament
6 when this declaration was adopted.
7 Q. Right.
8 A. That is, the decision to hold a referendum.
9 Q. So you became aware of it the day after this decision. Is that
10 what you're saying?
11 A. Yes, it was shortly after that.
12 Q. It goes on to state that, in paragraph 2, that "the assembly of
13 the Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina will endeavour to achieve
14 agreement on the already initiated democratic transformation of Bosnia and
15 Herzegovina in the direction of finding the best state solution for each
17 As far as you were aware, were there negotiations going on between
18 the Serbian population or leadership and those of the Muslim and Croat
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to interrupt you. But nobody can say it
21 was quoted out of context, I would appreciate very much if the witness
22 could read the entire text of this document, first of all, and then we
23 return to your question.
24 MS. KORNER: The whole of the document, Your Honour?
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MS. KORNER: All right.
2 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, if you could be so kind to read in your language
3 the whole document.
4 A. "At its session held on the 26th of January, 1992, the assembly of
5 the republic of the Serbian people of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted the
6 following conclusions:
7 "Item 1: The decision to hold a referendum for the citizens of
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina, which would constitute a basis for transforming
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina into an independent state, was adopted in an
10 irregular manner and without the presence of the Serbian deputies. As an
11 act by the legal representatives of the Muslim and Croat peoples in Bosnia
12 and Herzegovina, it can be binding only on members of those two peoples.
13 For the Serbian people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, this decision is invalid
14 and directed against their existential interests.
15 "The decisions forbidding further work of BH representatives in
16 all federal organs and institutions and the decision on the replacing of
17 the government of the BH National Bank are also considered null and void.
18 "Item Number 2: At the conference of the legitimate
19 representatives of the three state-forming peoples of Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina, the assembly of the Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina
21 will endeavour to achieve agreement on the already initiated democratic
22 transformation of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the purpose of finding the
23 best possible state solution for each of these peoples. If this solution
24 were to be common to all three peoples, then the democratic participation
25 of the citizens and nations of Bosnia and Herzegovina in a referendum at
1 which the achieved agreement would be confirmed could be acceptable to the
2 assembly of the Serbian people.
3 "Item Number 3: The assembly of the Serbian people of Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina hereby charges the ministerial council, working bodies, and
5 other authorised representatives of the Serbian people of Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina to prepare a constitution and the appropriate decisions and
7 enactments whereby further state organisation of the Serbian people of
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina will as soon as possible be regulated so that the
9 republic of the Serbian people of Bosnia and Herzegovina could function as
10 an actual state entity.
11 "Item Number 4: The place of the Republic of the Serbian people
12 of Bosnia and Herzegovina is in a common state of the Serbian people. The
13 democratic transformation of Yugoslavia must be carried out in parallel
14 with the state organisation of the entire Serbian people in a Serbian
15 Federation or an association of Serbian states.
16 "Item Number 5: It is necessary that our relations with the
17 Yugoslav federal institutions, in particular, with the Yugoslav People's
18 Army, be immediately redefined on the basis of mutual, political, and
19 existential interests.
20 "Sarajevo, 26th of January, 1992, president of the assembly of the
21 republic of the Serbian people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Momcilo
23 MS. KORNER:
24 Q. The document, in fact, was written in Cyrillic. Can I just ask,
25 Mr. Sejmenovic, do you have difficulty in reading Cyrillic or not?
1 A. No, no, I'm equally able to read Cyrillic and Latin. I had both
2 scripts in school, according to the then regulations in Bosnia and
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you very much for reading out. And first
5 of all, thank you very much for the interpreters to do this very specific
6 and difficult work. But please be aware, it really helps to access -- to
7 have access to the entire for all the three Judges at the same time, and
8 thereby understanding a document in its entirety. Thank you.
9 MS. KORNER:
10 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, there are just two questions after this that I
11 want to ask you. First, were you aware of negotiations going on between
12 the Bosnian Serbs and the other, effectively, two ethnicities in Bosnia
13 over separation of the Serbs from the rest of Bosnia?
14 A. It was common knowledge.
15 Q. Paragraph 5, "it is indispensable" -- it is stated: "It is
16 indispensable that our relations with the Yugoslav federal institutions,
17 and above all, the JNA be immediately redefined on the basis of mutual
18 political and existential interests."
19 From your knowledge of the political scene and events, what was it
20 that the Serbs were seeking to achieve by this redefinition?
21 A. I can only give you my assumption based on this wording.
22 Q. Sorry, can I stop you. What I want to know is, what did you
23 understand, from your knowledge of the political scene, your readings at
24 that time, did the Serbs want to do in respect of the JNA, not your
25 assumption in reading the document?
1 A. The Serbs wanted to secure absolute support by the Yugoslav
2 People's Army and to mobilise them for the purposes of implementing their
3 political objectives, which at the moment -- at the time this document
4 came into existence, late 1991, beginning of 1992, was not very easy to
5 carry out.
6 Q. And why was that?
7 A. Because nominally, the JNA was supposed to be the army of all the
8 citizens of Yugoslavia, equally favouring all of the citizens and all of
9 the parties. However, the JNA placed itself in the service of the SDS
10 policy. Whether at the time it had any plans to carry out these policies,
11 well, only the JNA knows. But later on, the plan seemed to be perfectly
12 synchronised and coordinated. Also, in the army itself, at that time,
13 there was still some officers who were not Serbs. It was still called the
14 "Yugoslav People's Army." And it also was located in territories of
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina. These may have been the reasons why the SDS
16 wanted to clarify these relationships and to perhaps have them changed.
17 Q. Yes. Thank you, Mr. Sejmenovic.
18 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, may that be document be admitted as
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you want to tender both Cyrillic copies,
21 or --
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry.
24 Do you want to tender both copies in Cyrillic or only one?
25 MS. KORNER: Only one, Your Honour. I think that's an error. It
1 has just been copied twice.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Which number do you want to withdraw?
3 MS. KORNER: Could we withdraw 00633837.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Objections?
5 MR. OSTOJIC: Just with respect to the signature, Your Honour.
6 Otherwise, we have no objection.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Admitted into evidence S135A, B
9 And then let's please have a short break until 3.20. Thank you.
10 --- Recess taken at 3.03 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 3.24 p.m.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. And please, continue.
13 MS. KORNER:
14 Q. Now, Mr. Sejmenovic, the referendum was held in February of 1992.
15 Did the Serbs in Prijedor take any part in the voting for the referendum?
16 A. Some of the Serbs did, although the SDS was officially against
17 it. And it instructed Serbs not to vote.
18 Q. And we know that the overall result was that independence from the
19 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia should be declared. Now what effect did
20 that have --
21 MR. LUKIC: Excuse me, Your Honour. Is my learned colleague
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I also already thought it would end with a
24 question. And indeed, it's more favourable not to make statements in the
25 beginning of --
1 MS. KORNER: I hadn't the faintest idea that there was the
2 slightest dispute that the result of the referendum was in favour of
4 MR. LUKIC: First of all, it's not the point. Secondly, it in
5 dispute according to the constitution.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think the message is clear.
7 MS. KORNER: I'm so sorry. It's my fault for not having followed
8 the proceeding closely enough to know that.
9 Q. Once the result of the referendum had been declared, what was the
10 effect in Prijedor?
11 A. The referendum was held in a regular way in Prijedor. We noticed
12 some Serbs voting, even some prominent Serbs. A majority of the people
13 who did vote circled --
14 Q. I'm sorry, I'm going to stop you. It's my fault. It was
15 obviously a bad question. Not the actual conduct of the referendum in
16 Prijedor I'm interested in, but once the declaration of the results had
17 been made for the whole referendum in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina, what
18 effect did that have on the events in Prijedor?
19 A. The events that followed in Prijedor had already started happening
20 at the republic level, that is, in Sarajevo. The assembly could no longer
21 continue its work. The Prijedor Municipal Assembly, the SDS deputies came
22 forward publicly with a newly established Serb assembly. And from that
23 moment on in practical terms, it was no longer possible to hold sessions
24 of the assembly. So a blockade ensued.
25 Q. Now, can I deal with the position at this stage between February
1 and April 1992 of the, as it were, the troops, the military, in Prijedor.
2 Was anything happening in respect, first of all, of weapons?
3 A. Military troops were being amassed in the Prijedor municipal area,
4 and the military units as well as Serb civilians were being additionally
6 Q. And where were the arms coming from, did you know, the ones that
7 were being given to, first of all, the military units?
8 A. It was the army that did this.
9 Q. I'm sorry, it was the army that -- I'm sorry, that's slightly.
10 Maybe I've... You say that the military units were being additionally
11 armed. Do you know where they were getting those additional armaments
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. Where was that?
15 A. When I say "additional arming of military units," I mean the
16 following, the 5th Kozara Brigade returned to the Prijedor municipal
17 area. It was stationed in several locations. After that, in the
18 locations where military camps were set up, artillery weapons were brought
19 there. Warehouses full of ammunition and combat materiel were set up in
20 several places in the Prijedor municipal area, so all these were elements
21 of what I referred to as additional arming by the 5th Kozara Brigade and
22 other new elements coming in. At the same time, we noticed that weapons
23 were being distributed to Serb civilians in certain villages. We were
24 often receiving reports from people on the ground in these villages who
25 brought reports to our municipal officials or to the party. There were
1 witnesses who saw weapons being distributed to Serb civilians. One such
2 eyewitness account was very clear in Cirkin Polje. Automatic rifles were
3 being distributed to civilians and around the houses in the village.
4 Helicopters came down and left crates in certain places, crates carrying,
5 as we assumed, weapons. This was in Petrov Gaj bordering on the Omarska
6 area. It also occurred in the hamlet Sajaci, near Trnopolje.
7 I'm only referring to examples that have been confirmed by
8 eyewitnesses. This latter occurrence -- I witnessed the latter occurrence
10 Q. I was just about to ask you. Sir, you saw the arms being
11 delivered to -- I've forgotten the name of the hamlet. You said Sajaci?
12 A. Yes, the hamlet of Sajaci, about 500 metres from my house. A
13 helicopter landed during the morning hours. This hamlet has mixed
14 population. So there are houses belonging to two other ethnic groups
15 there, too. We communicated a lot at that time, and we organised
16 meetings. We consulted the competent officials from the hamlet to tell us
17 what was going on. The explanation was that there was a soldier on the
18 helicopter who was from the hamlet, and it only landed outside his house
19 in order to share a cup of coffee with people there. Obviously, that
20 didn't make any sense, this explanation, because even if it had been a
21 soldier, he was a common soldier, and you don't land a helicopter for just
22 a common soldier or to have a cup of coffee. But in the village of Petrov
23 Gaj bordering on Omarska, the agricultural workers in the fields saw with
24 their own eyes huge crates landed by a helicopter and taken then in the
25 direction of Omarska.
1 Q. You told us about the additional arms being delivered to the
2 military. Did you have any contacts in the military at that stage?
3 A. At the party level, yes, there were contacts. We still had our
4 officials in the municipality at that time who occupied a number of posts
5 alongside with Serb officials. A number of issues were raised. People
6 saw what was happening, at least, we tried to have a decent explanation.
7 But there was no quality communication. It was quite obvious that there
8 existed a parallel system, and all our remarks were denied as near
9 appearances or our impressions. But actually there was a process that
10 later began to yield results. At the same time, our own officials were
11 always accused of not wanting peace in Prijedor, of being against the
13 At that moment, those were the two options that were quite
14 mutually exclusive.
15 Q. How did you discover that the military were acquiring more
16 equipment and arms? Were you told about it, or could you see what was
18 A. I've told you about what I saw. That was one aspect. Another was
19 the example from Cirkin Polje that I've referred to now.
20 Q. Forgive me. Not the army of Serb civilians, the military itself.
21 You've described how there was a bigger buildup of weaponry. How did you
22 find out about that?
23 A. Okay. During the period when weapons were being amassed, there
24 was a number of Croat and Bosniak soldiers symbolic, however, in the JNA.
25 They were just beginning to desert. Many of them did. It was from
1 conversations with these people who had arrived from the war in Croatia,
2 they came to Prijedor and were posted 10 or 15 kilometres from their own
3 houses. It was from these conversations that I found out what was
4 happening. The best interpretation was provided by one of my neighbours,
5 Sali Resovic who was a Lieutenant in the army. He was in the war in
6 Croatia, and then when the 5th Brigade withdraw, he spent some time
7 between Prijedor and Sanski Most where military camps had been set up
8 allegedly only to provide accommodation there. But after only one or two
9 days, he saw that huge amounts of ammunition were being brought there,
10 that training camps were being set up for shooting practice. And as a
11 Lieutenant, he realised that operations were being prepared, although the
12 war against Croatia had already by that time finished. The only
13 conclusion he could draw from this, and we agreed with his conclusion is
14 that this ammunition and these weapons posed a real threat to us.
15 Q. I want to move to that aspect of events. You decided or you
16 agreed with the conclusion that the ammunition and the weaponry was a
17 threat to you. You yourself described how weapons were being delivered to
18 ordinary civilians of Serb ethnicity. Did you, the Muslim population, and
19 the Croat if you knew about that, do anything about arming yourselves?
20 A. We tried to organise our only security through the Territorial
21 Defence in Prijedor. We also tried to do it through the existing organs
22 of government through the Territorial Defence, through the municipal
23 government. We tried to plead for an agreement at the republic level, for
24 instructions to be given since the population there was mixed. We tried
25 to get the army to be instructed not to behave in that way, but to no
1 avail. In practical terms, the only thing we were in a position to do is
2 to organise ourselves around the TO. At the same time, we asked also
3 Arsic, the commander of the 5th Brigade, and Zeljaja, the commander of the
4 garrison, as well as Simo Miskovic, the president of the SDS, to set up
5 joint patrols consisting of all the different ethnic groups in all
6 endangered areas where people felt fear. These patrols were to be -- were
7 to consist of neighbours or some mixed units, units the composition of
8 which would inspire confidence and eliminate fear. But no such proposal
9 ever came to anything.
10 At the local level, at one point we did succeed in reaching an
11 agreement because we put forward some arguments that could not be
12 contested. We did not impose any conditions, but we just said that fear
13 was felt on both sides and that people should join forces in defending
14 their own households. In a number of places, we managed to put together
15 neighbourhood guards, but then the SDS practically instructed the Serbs to
16 pull out of these guards. And one day, they just pulled out without any
17 explanation. They said that there was no need for those, that everyone
18 should look after themselves, so this effectively put an end to our
20 Q. So by the local level, you mean what?
21 A. I mean the local government units, the villages, the hamlets,
22 places with mixed population, or where Muslim villages and Serb villages
23 border on one another. So we asked for people to reach an agreement as
24 those were people who had known each other for their whole lives to spend
25 part of a particular night on guard duty together.
1 Q. Two other matters on this: First of all, you said that you asked
2 Arsic, Zeljaja, and Miskovic about these joint patrols. Why was it
3 necessary to go to Miskovic as well as the army?
4 A. It was necessary to see him, too, because they, in a manner of
5 speaking, worked as one team. They wielded force in their hands, and the
6 others supported them. And in their turn, threatened with their own
8 Q. It may be obvious, but I'd still like you to spell it out. Who is
9 "they" in this context who were working as one team?
10 A. One of the teams was the head of the SDS, the commander of the 5th
11 Kozara Brigade, and the commander of the garrison, so the military
12 leadership and the political leadership, that is, the SDS leadership,
13 working in unison.
14 Q. The second thing is, I want to ask about this, you said you wanted
15 to organise through the TO. What weaponry was available to the non-Serb
16 TO units, or the TO units generally first of all?
17 A. The TO only had part of the weapons that rightfully belonged to
18 it. Because the JNA had seized most of the weapons prior to the events we
19 are now speaking about. What remained consisted mainly of old weapons,
20 outdated weapons, mostly M-48 rifles or semi-automatic rifles, maybe a
21 rifle or two that was sort of up to date.
22 Q. Before we come to the actual events directly leading to the
23 takeover, what was the propaganda like, or the news that was coming out
24 over radio and television in the period between February and April 1992?
25 A. The news were formulated in such a way that they had to be
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 perceived as warmongering. They spoke about renewed threats to the Serbs
2 and how there was a genocide underway against the Serbs for yet another
3 time after 1941. They said the Serbs were to be prepared to defend
4 themselves, that paramilitary units had to be set up -- were being set up
5 to attack the Serbian people and the JNA. So typical war vocabulary that
6 had been heard in the months preceding these events in a number of
7 different areas. There was no way to avoid this. We could not use the TV
8 repeater. And the local newspapers were staffed mostly by SDS members, at
9 least in all the leading positions. So there was no way to counter this
10 propaganda effectively and it certainly did have a major effect on the
11 entire population.
12 Q. First of all, let's deal with the Bosnian Serbs. What effect was
13 all of this having on them from your contacts with ordinary Bosnian Serbs?
14 A. On the basis of my personal contacts, so I'm talking about my
15 friends, acquaintances, and people whom I was in touch with, I could
16 monitor the spreading of these influences and effects through occasional
17 conversations. I remember, for example, that when the army issued the
18 mobilisation callup, a major number of Serbs were against it. And now I'm
19 referring to the people that I talked to. As time passed by, an
20 increasingly small number of Serbs was against the mobilisation.
21 Eventually, there was a unanimous consensus that it was a patriotic thing
22 to do to go to Croatia and defend Serbs. It was the same with threats to
23 the Serbian people. It all became irrational at a certain point, so
24 arguments were superfluous. The Serbian population was ready to fight,
25 ready to take up arms. They did not really need an excuse to come from
1 the neighbouring villages because propaganda had done its work by then.
2 And a very important aspect of this propaganda was to show to the
3 Serbian population that the greatest part of Prijedor was actually
4 Serbian, and that Prijedor was a Serbian town. The census and the
5 referendum, all the results, had been falsified to show that Prijedor was
6 predominantly Serb in the past, who then became Yugoslavs. So there was
7 constant propaganda to raise, in a manner of speaking, the awareness of
8 the Serbian people, and eventually it did yield results. Most of them
9 supported these activities, and then became passive onlookers as the
10 atrocities began to take place.
11 Q. What effect was this type of propaganda having on the non-Serb
12 populous in the Prijedor region?
13 A. It virtually paralysed the non-Serb population. We saw no way out
14 of the situation. On one hand, there were the events taking place in
15 Croatia, the Croatian border was there behind which a new Serb state had
16 been established. Then we had the region of Banja Luka which had
17 practically become independent, and they had its own military there in the
18 town itself we had the 5th Kozara Brigade which already started referring
19 to us as "the enemy." We could only rely on the news that we listened
20 coming from the outside world, and the institutions that still existed, or
21 parts thereof.
22 We were trying to find the best possible solution, the most
23 intelligent solution to get out of that situation, not to give them any
24 pretext for any actions for the attack.
25 Q. Did people leave the Prijedor region as a result of what was
1 happening before the takeover in April 1992?
2 A. There were no major departures of population from Prijedor before
3 the takeover.
4 Q. And finally this: On the propaganda, who were the most vocal in
5 Prijedor about the genocide being planned against the Serbs and the like?
6 A. The local newspaper, Kozarski Vjesnik, wrote a lot about it.
7 Sometimes, at the meetings that we held, the issue was discussed a lot by
8 late Mr. Kovacevic, by Mr. Slobodan Kuruzovic. They appeared at these
9 meetings as peacemakers. They were telling us how they had remained
10 orphans after the Second World War, and that they knew what the war is and
11 that they had seen concentration camps in the past, that they knew what it
12 all meant.
13 I remember two such discussions taking place at one of -- at some
14 of the meetings. I was not quite clear about the reasons why Kovacevic
15 and Kuruzovic were mentioning Jasenovac to us, as if we were the enemy
16 threatening them. There was absolutely no reason whatsoever for such
17 arguments. On several occasions, they appealed to us. They said that the
18 entire leadership of the SDA should come with them to the battlefield in
19 Croatia, that we should board a bus for Croatia with them so that they
20 could show us on the spot what kind of destruction is engendered by war.
21 Q. So that's what Kovacevic and Kuruzovic were saying. Who was the
22 most virulently, the strongest in speaking about the non-Serbs and what
23 they had planned for the Serbs?
24 A. It's difficult for me to single out individual cases. I know that
25 several articles were published to that effect by Kozarski Vjesnik where
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 it was said explicitly that a genocide was being prepared for the Serb
3 Q. Were you aware of any links between the SDS and Kozarski Vjesnik?
4 A. Yes, we were. There were journalists there who openly supported
5 the SDS.
6 Q. All right. I want to come now to the events of the 29th, 30th of
7 April of 1992. Before the takeover, did you notice anything about what
8 your Serb neighbours were doing, particularly at night?
9 A. This was observed at several locations, not on the 29th or the
10 30th. It had already been observed ten days earlier on at least two
11 occasions. What happened was that some of the residents left their homes,
12 together with their wives and children. They even took property in their
13 vehicles as they were leaving in several of these villages. Mostly, in
14 villages bordering on non-Serb villages. One such case happened in my
15 neighbourhood on two occasions. We never received any explanation for
16 that. It was a kind of taboo. Nobody wanted to speak about it. They
17 simply denied that it was happening, despite the fact that it was obvious
18 to all of us in the town of Prijedor. If I remember correctly, this
19 happened in the neighbourhood of Pecani and in some other areas, but I'm
20 not sure about that. As for these other cases that I mentioned, I am
21 quite certain, because I could personally observe that.
22 Q. Now, when did you -- I'm sorry. How did you become aware of the
23 takeover of Prijedor?
24 A. The takeover of power occurred during the night, on the 30th of
25 April. The next day, unaware of what had happened, I went to Prijedor by
1 bus, as I had been doing every day. I went to the seat of my political
2 party and the municipal building where I was supposed to carry out my
3 daily duties and responsibilities. Some 200 metres away from the entrance
4 to a Serb village, I noticed a police checkpoint. 1 kilometre after that,
5 I noticed a military bus, and a military vehicle, and all passengers on
6 the bus were required to show their ID. There were several such
7 checkpoints manned by the military. And at all major locations inside the
8 town itself, there were machine-gun nests, and one could observe that the
9 presence of the police was increased. So when I got off the bus, I
10 realised that the town was under occupation, but I did not have any
11 specific information to that effect.
12 I went to the premises of my party to see what it was all about,
13 and after that I went to the town hall to, the municipality building,
14 outside which I saw our officials, our deputies, who were denied access to
15 the building. I also saw a Serbian flag hoisted at the flag pole outside
16 the municipality building, and it was clear to me what had happened.
17 Q. Now, how did you find out the exact details of what had happened?
18 A. When I went to the seat of my party, I found a number of officials
19 there from the municipality and the police who had been denied access to
20 their workplaces. So they came to the seat of the party to explain what
21 was happening at their work and to see what should be done next. So it
22 was at the party headquarters that we could obtain most of the
23 information. At the same time, we listened to various jingles being
24 played over the radio. There was talk about the liberation of the Serbian
25 people, many nationalistic songs were being played.
1 Q. Now, did you ever hear Dr. Stakic on the radio at this period?
2 A. I don't remember hearing him. I did listen to the radio on
3 several occasions and heard a number of announcements, but I couldn't
4 specifically state whether this was Stakic or someone else, or when Stakic
5 was speaking and when it was someone else. I was listening to the
6 contents of what was being said, not to the actual speaker because I knew
7 what was at stake.
8 Q. Even if you can't remember who, did members of the SDS appear on
9 the radio to explain what they were doing?
10 A. The announcements that we heard over the radio were made by the
11 Crisis Staff. They said that they had finally lifted the blockade on the
12 work of the government in Prijedor, that the institutions were finally
13 functioning normally, that the population should go on as living and
14 working as usual, as normal, that the extremists would be punished and
15 sanctioned, and that they were -- and that they would ensure lasting peace
16 in Prijedor. That was the essence of their announcements.
17 Q. You've told us earlier that there was a formal announcement of the
18 Crisis Staff's existence. Was that the first time you heard formally of
19 the Crisis Staff existence?
20 A. That was the first time that I heard a public announcement of the
21 Crisis Staff, a public recognition of the fact that the Crisis Staff had
22 taken over power in Prijedor.
23 Q. Can we deal with, then, the various institutions after this
24 takeover. What happened in respect of the police?
25 A. At the party headquarters, we found out from the police officers
1 who were not allowed to come to work, and from Mr. Talundzic, who was the
2 chief of police at the time, that during the night, non-Serb police
3 officers had been disarmed, that they were sent home from work, and that
4 the next day, they were denied access to the police building. So it was
5 no longer possible for them to enter the police premises, but were not
6 given any specific explanation as to why they were being sent home.
7 One of them was told that it was a very brief action which was
8 supposed to finish within the next few days, that everything would return
9 to normal after that. However, after 10 or 15 days, things turned out to
10 be quite different.
11 Q. So thereafter, was the police force composed of anything -- of any
12 other ethnicity than Serbs?
13 A. No. The police force was composed of Serbs. There were publicly
14 made appeals that all officials who were prepared to sign the pledge of
15 loyalty to the Serbian Bosnia-Herzegovina would not lose their jobs. But
16 this was done only nominally. This was not actually true. Practically
17 speaking, there were no such cases. None of them were able to -- was able
18 to keep their jobs.
19 Q. What happened to the Municipal Assembly, as it were, the members
20 who were not Serbian, or the assembly itself really? Did that function at
22 A. They could no longer enter the building, the municipal building.
23 The president of the municipality, Muhamed Cehajic, was banned from the
24 municipal building and was sent home. So he no longer appeared in this
25 building. He never came back. Some lower-ranking officials were also
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 sent home, and within the next few days, we learned that their employment
2 in several cases had been officially terminated for reasons of absence
3 from work or some alleged violations. So formal dismissals in respect of
4 these people soon followed.
5 Q. You've told us that that morning, you had gone into Prijedor to go
6 to work. Was that right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And what job were you actually doing at that stage?
9 A. I was an SDA official. I was the vice-president of the SDA. And
10 by virtue of that capacity, I was often present in the municipality. I
11 was also a member of the republican parliament, and I was often present --
12 I often went to some municipal bodies in order to be debriefed. So it was
13 my obligation to go to these two addresses.
14 Q. Were you ever able after the 30th of April, 1st of May really, to
15 get back into the municipal building to carry out your job there?
16 A. No. Only Serbs could enter the municipal building after that.
17 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, it's slightly early. I know
18 Your Honour said 4.15, but may I stop here. I'm going to go on to what
19 happened after the coup.
20 May I ask Your Honour whether Your Honour could perhaps consider
21 overnight whether the first session on Monday afternoon could be taken up
22 with reading documents. If it's not possible, I will have to try and make
23 alternative arrangements with the other Court.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's come back to this issue tomorrow. And
25 also, we all expect the reaction of the -- from the side of the OTP as
1 regards a meeting of the parties, to put it neutral.
2 MS. KORNER: Yes, Your Honour. I've taken instructions, and I'm
3 awaiting -- the Prosecutor asked for time to consider the matter. So I'm
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Will it be possible until tomorrow evening?
6 MS. KORNER: Yes, that should be possible, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Any observations by the Defence?
8 MR. OSTOJIC: No, Your Honour. Not at this time. Thank you.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Then, then we have to call it a day
10 for today and resume tomorrow, 9.00.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
12 4.10 p.m., to be reconvened on
13 Thursday, the 13th day of June, 2002,
14 at 9.00 a.m.