1 Tuesday, 18 June 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. Good afternoon, everybody.
7 Apologise for the good weather outside and we having to work in here.
8 Without any delay, could we please hear the case.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon. This is Case Number IT-97-24-T,
10 the Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And for the OTP, the appearances, please.
12 MS. KORNER: Joanna Korner, Ann Sutherland, assisted by Ruth
13 Karper, case manager.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. The Defence.
15 MR. LUKIC: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Branko Lukic and
16 Mr. John Ostojic for the Defence.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. May we continue immediately with the
18 examination-in-chief, hopefully to be concluded today. Is there a
19 realistic chance?
20 MS. KORNER: It depends on Your Honours rulings over documents,
21 basically speaking. But Your Honour I want to come back to the document
22 yesterday that Your Honour raised some questions about. We obtained from
23 the evidence vault the original. The document has the 65 ter number 239.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May it be presented to the Defence first.
25 MS. KORNER: Perhaps I may explain and then hand it over. Your
1 Honour queried what these documents were. In fact, they are two copies,
2 if that's the right word, of the same telex it would appear. The first
3 one that appears in the bundle with the number 00478710 was, in fact,
4 recovered from Sanski Most. It was attached to this exhibit because it
5 was the same. But the one that was recovered from the Prijedor Police
6 Station, Your Honour, is the second document in the bundle which, in fact,
7 is one long telex. It's one document that has been put on to two pages.
8 So Your Honour, I'll hand that out for the Defence and Your Honours to
9 look at.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please understand that in the future, it would
11 really facilitate the proceedings if we have this most original document
12 before us, and it facilitates the understanding. But I think it's
13 necessary because the translation never can serve as a document admitted
14 into evidence. It's only the document, and then the copies for the
15 purpose of our case only.
16 MS. KORNER: Yes. In fact, it was my error on not checking. I'm
17 afraid I tend to look at the English translation only, and I hadn't
18 checked the B/C/S version of this.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So that we don't lose time, I think it's
20 necessary to give provisional numbers. I state that yesterday we came to
21 149, so this would be, then, provisionally 150B, 150B, the long exhibit
22 with the number 00633169.
23 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I wouldn't ask for the other document to
24 be exhibited because the only relevance is that the first one was found in
25 the Prijedor Police Station.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Right. And once again, this would facilitate
2 our work because of this long document, even if to a certain extent
3 confusing, we have the translation into English before us.
4 MS. KORNER: We do.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Any objections by the Defence?
6 MR. OSTOJIC: Yes, Your Honour. Similarly to those that we raised
7 previously, this concerns a Crisis Staff of the Autonomous Region of
8 Krajina, not the purported Crisis Staff in Prijedor. This is a facsimile
9 which doesn't indicate that it received or sent to anyone in the Prijedor
10 area, specifically the accused here, Dr. Stakic. And we'll also
11 incorporate our prior objections as to relevancy, Your Honour, and
13 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I want to, in fact, go back, ask the
14 witness to look at it because I want to ask him a question as to what's
15 stated there. And as to it being shown that there's any connection with
16 the accused or where it comes from, if it is found at the Prijedor Police
17 Station, Your Honour, we would suggest that that is sufficient foundation.
18 MR. OSTOJIC: Your Honour -- I apologise. And that's our specific
19 point. Your Honour, they had a gentleman by the name of Mr. Inayat here,
20 who testified only in part. If counsel's going to give testimony, we
21 would also like to be given the opportunity to testify. We're not
22 attacking the veracity of what counsel says, but the foundation has to be
23 laid properly, legally, and formally, not merely by lawyers suggesting
24 that it was found in Prijedor because there is a specific stamp or a
25 specific what we call the little mini yellow sheet placed on the document
1 identifying it as being the document found in Prijedor Police Station by
2 one of the OTP prosecutors himself, Michael Keegan. That was an issue
3 raised in some of the questions but not completed, because the testimony
4 by Mr. Inayat was not complete. By virtue of the comments made now by the
5 OTP, it is quite clear that the foundation has not been properly laid for
6 this as well as other documents. We can accept it provisionally, but I
7 certainly would want an indication from the Court if we can resist or have
8 both parties resist from giving factual or legal conclusions on documents
9 that are required by law for them to prove through witnesses.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think here we have to come down to earth. I
11 can't see the big problem in this question, admittedly. I think the
12 parties agreed that we, of course, have to come back to Mr. Inayat once
13 again, and then it's for the parties, the OTP has the burden of proof, no
14 doubt, to identify where a document has been found. And I think it's in
15 agreement that we postponed this -- the completion of the hearing of
16 Mr. Inayat, and we have to come back to this. But from the point of view
17 of a son where the father has worked on the development of the European
18 telex system, I would warn the parties to go into details where this
19 document comes from and where it was sent to. It's very easy to identify
20 this by a witness within one hour, expert witness.
21 So may we please proceed on this basis knowing that we have to
22 come back to the origins of this document with the assistance of
23 Mr. Inayat. This document is admitted into evidence as S150A in the
24 English version, S150B, only the long piece of paper, the telex we have
25 just seen in B/C/S.
1 So please proceed with the examination-in-chief.
2 MS. KORNER: In that case, I was going to give Mr. Sejmenovic the
3 original. But it's probably easier -- I don't want the registry to swipe
4 it -- so could he be given, please, the B/C/S copy of the number 239, now
6 WITNESS: MEVLUDIN SEJMENOVIC [Resumed]
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 Examined by Ms. Korner: [Continued]
9 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, we started to look at this document yesterday.
10 This is apparently a decision of the Crisis Staff of the autonomous
11 region, which has been forwarded to an SJB, to put it neutrally,
12 apparently by Stojan Zupljanin. It states that "only women, children, and
13 the elderly may be moved from the territory of the Autonomous Region of
14 Krajina if they so wish. Two, the above-mentioned activities shall be
15 carried out in cooperation with humanitarian organisations; three, this
16 decision comes into effect on the day it is passed."
17 And then it states: "For the purposes of implementing the above
18 decision, it is necessary that the staff of your SJB be informed of the
19 contents of the decision and realise the necessary cooperation with
20 humanitarian organisations in your territory."
21 Now, can I just ask, from what you saw of -- and you described to
22 us the movement of women and children -- was this being done, first of
23 all, in cooperation with humanitarian organisations?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Those who were not children, women, and the elderly, what were the
1 police doing as far as they were concerned?
2 A. As far as they are concerned, they -- it was the police who took
3 them to the camp, the Trnopolje camp. Initially, only women and children
4 were evacuated or transported, escorted exclusively by the military, with
5 no intervention whatsoever by the police or any humanitarian organisation.
6 They did not have any freedom of will, these women and children, as far as
7 that is concerned. They were simply taken to Trnopolje, and sometimes
8 from Trnopolje, they would be taken further on by the train from the local
9 railway station. They also transported these women and children by buses
10 and trucks.
11 Later on, they started trading with people, men, those who had
12 enough money could pay to be taken out. Later on, there was a lot of talk
13 about the Red Cross in Trnopolje, that they would come to Trnopolje, and
14 they would organise the evacuation of all the people who happened to be in
15 the Trnopolje camp at the time. I have to emphasise that this was
16 preceded by a number of transports of women and children from various
17 areas of the Prijedor Municipality to Trnopolje. There were such
18 transports coming from Rizvanovici, Hambarine, Puharska. Part of the
19 population, who temporarily took shelter into the houses of either their
20 children or relatives, were evicted from these houses and sent to
22 Q. All right. Yes, thank you, Mr. Sejmenovic. You can hand the
23 document back, and I want to go back to where we left off yesterday.
24 You were telling us yesterday, Mr. Sejmenovic, how you were at the
25 Prijedor Police Station, the SUP, and you were beaten whilst you were
1 being -- in an office, and then beaten again outside your cell. You told
2 us yesterday that outside your prison cell, "they really beat me black and
3 blue. I could not even stand up for a while afterwards, and then they
4 threw my body into the cell."
5 Can I ask, first of all, how many people were beating you?
6 A. First, I was able to see, apart from Dragan Saponja whom I
7 mentioned, that three or four other soldiers were approaching. They had
8 come out from an adjacent room, a very large room, from which I could see
9 some military bunkbeds. Several soldiers ran out of this room, and as far
10 as I can recall, there were three or four of them. I know that they were
11 later joined by several more, and it was a very cramped space. I remember
12 that at one point in time, one soldier accidentally hit another soldier.
13 But at one point I lost consciousness, so I don't know what was going on
14 all the time. I don't know whether other soldiers came later on. All I
15 remember was that I was thrown into the cell afterwards. So apart from
16 Saponja, there were three or four other soldiers. I'm sure about five of
18 Q. And were they -- what were they using to beat you?
19 A. Outside the cell, they hit me and kicked me, and they stomped over
20 my body later on. I remember also one soldier putting the blade of his
21 knife against my neck. He did not cut me, he moved it away. But they
22 continued beating me and kicking me while I was down on the floor. It
23 lasted approximately five or six minutes, not more than that.
24 Q. And then you were placed in the cell. And were you left there
1 A. I was not returned to the cell on that occasion. I was thrown
2 into the cell for the first time. After I had been interrogated in one of
3 the offices, I received these blows outside the cell. And after the
4 beating, they threw me into the cell. And this was the first time that I
5 was in this cell. I spent the night, the following night in the cell, and
6 the following morning until noon.
7 Q. So I think there must have been an error in the translation,
8 Mr. Sejmenovic, because I didn't say returned. However, okay. So you
9 were there until noon the next day. And then were you taken out of the
11 A. Yes, I was. I was taken out of the cell through a corridor in the
12 SUP building and taken outside the building into a yard where there was a
13 bus waiting. And they -- I was driven on that bus. I later on realised
14 that we were on the way to Omarska.
15 Q. Okay. Now, before you got on to the bus, did you see anybody that
16 you knew?
17 A. There were several police officers whom I had known before the war
18 and who happened to be in the yard and further on outside the building.
19 But apart from them, I saw Mr. Simo Miskovic outside the building. He was
20 wearing a military camouflage uniform, and he passed by me. I hoped
21 that -- I was hoping that he would see me. I looked him straight in the
22 eye, and I hoped -- I was hoping that I would have an opportunity to
23 explain myself, that he would ask me something, and that I would be able
24 to tell him that I had -- that I hadn't done anything wrong. But he
25 simply turned his head away and continued on his way to the building.
1 Q. All right. So then were you taken to Omarska?
2 A. Yes, I was.
3 Q. And once at Omarska, were you taken into what appeared to be an
4 administration building?
5 A. After we got off the bus, I was escorted alongside a group of men
6 who were kneeling down and taken to the administration building where a
7 soldier asked me my personal data, my place and date of birth and some
8 other basic information. This didn't take very long. When he finished
9 taking down my data, two soldiers took me out of the administration
10 building and then took me to a small house and we crossed the asphalt
11 pista on the way to the house. Later on, I learned that this house was
12 commonly referred to by the detainees by the "white house."
13 Q. I'm going to ask you in a moment to look at some photographs. But
14 first I should have asked you this: The bus that took you from the SUP to
15 Omarska, can you remember what type of bus it was? Did it have any name
16 or anything?
17 A. It was a regular civilian bus which we used to ride before the
18 war. What I was able to see inside the bus, however, was quite strange to
19 me. Half of the passengers were women and -- young women who were
20 prettily made up, and four or five soldiers who were sitting on various
21 seats on the bus, and an elderly gentleman who kept turning around and
22 looking at me. So at first, I thought that it was a local bus belonging
23 to a company, that it was taking the employees of that company to work.
24 But when we turned to Omarska, when we left the Banja Luka/Prijedor Road,
25 I realised that these people were members of the camp personnel, that they
1 were working in the camp and that the men were investigators and soldiers.
2 Q. And do you know -- all I want to know, Mr. Sejmenovic, do you know
3 the name of the company to which the bus belonged?
4 A. I believe its name was Autotransport Prijedor. Actually, there
5 was only one bus company in Prijedor. We referred to it as public
6 transport, public transportation company.
7 Q. All right. I want you, please, to have a look at a couple of
8 photographs, or maybe just one for the moment.
9 MS. KORNER: I understand, Your Honours, this one has already been
10 admitted as S15-16. It has got the number 0100-2444. And if that could
11 be put on the ELMO.
12 Q. Can you just indicate to us, can you see there the building that
13 you first went into, what you call the administration building?
14 A. Excuse me. I think this building here is the administration
16 Q. All right. And then you said you were taken from there, after
17 you'd been booked in, as it were, to what was called the white house. Can
18 we see that? Maybe you need to look at another photograph to see it more
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. It's quite clear there.
22 A. [Indicates]
23 Q. Okay. Yes. I don't need any others. Thank you.
24 MS. KORNER: Yes, thank you very much.
25 Q. Okay. Once you were in the white house, where were you taken?
1 A. After being beaten again, I was taken from the white house back to
2 the administration building.
3 Q. I'm sorry. You say after you were beaten again -- once you got
4 into the white house, you were beaten?
5 A. Yes, that's correct.
6 Q. By whom?
7 A. First a civilian came in, a person who was not wearing a military
8 uniform. He abused me verbally. I was alone for about five minutes in
9 the room, and no one came in. But after about five minutes, this civilian
10 came in, and after abusing me verbally, started to beat me. This lasted
11 for a short while. Then this person left the white house and a soldier
12 came in. After that soldier, after the soldier had finished, another
13 soldier came in, and then this exchange of soldiers lasted for some time.
14 The fifth soldier and last who came in also beat me. I was bleeding, and
15 they called an old man over from somewhere to wipe my face. The old man
16 did so, and then two soldiers took me out of the white house and back to
17 the administration building.
18 Q. Just two further questions about that: The first man that came
19 in, a civilian, had you ever seen him before?
20 A. Never before. But I did see him immediately after that, late in
21 that day and over the following days, I did see him several times. We
22 slept there. He was also a camp inmate. And he slept next to me, next to
23 where I slept. His name was -- his nickname was Besa, and his last name
24 was Besic. He was one of the camp inmates who had special arrangements
25 with the guards.
1 Q. Did you understand -- did you later come to understand why
2 it was this man had suddenly come in attacked you, a fellow -- somebody
3 who was a prisoner?
4 A. Yes, I did. In an indirect way, Inspector Radakovic, who
5 interrogated me, told me right at the beginning of the questioning.
6 Q. What did he tell you?
7 A. His first question after I had been brought in was whether they
8 had beaten me. I said I wasn't sure what was the best thing to say, that
9 they did or that they didn't. And he looked at me and he said: "Of
10 course they did. It's obvious. You're bleeding." And then I said:
11 "What can I say? They did." And then he stated: "Your own man beat
12 you, didn't he?" I said I didn't remember because I was unconscious, so I
13 couldn't remember who it was that had beaten me. Later on, when he
14 ordered for me to be taken to the building referred to as the "glass
15 house," at some point in the afternoon, this civilian who had beaten me in
16 the white house came in. I noticed that he was trying to sit down next to
17 me. I thought he would start beating me again. However, he just asked me
18 whether they had beaten me. And I said they did. And he asked me: "Do
19 you know who it was?" And I said: "Well, I'm not sure. There were many
20 of them." Thereupon he said: "It's all right." The whole thing began to
21 dawn on me at that point, but I knew it was his task to do what he had
22 done, and it was clear he was checking whether I could remember that he
23 had beaten me and whether I would later at some point blame him for that.
24 I answered by letting him know, by making him believe that I could not
25 remember whether he was the man who took part in the beating.
1 Q. All right. Now, the only other thing, then, is this: Whilst this
2 beating was going on, that is, by the soldiers, the military, was anybody
3 saying anything to you?
4 A. They kept saying things, abusive remarks. Saying that I had
5 spoken out against the Serb army, the Serb assembly, that I was an extreme
6 extremist, fundamentalist, that I ended up exactly where I was meant to
7 end up. And a number of other abusive remarks concerning also my looks,
8 and I know that when I was taken out of the white house, several soldiers
9 came running my way with the intention of hitting me. But the policemen
10 who were escorting me told them not to touch me while the questioning was
11 still underway and later each and "every one of us would take our turn."
12 I heard this, and that's literally what they said.
13 Q. Right. Now, you've told us that you were interrogated by somebody
14 called Radakovic. Had you come across him before?
15 A. Yes, I had. Even before the war. He was the director of the
16 national park of Kozara. He had an MA in psychology, and he was also a
17 painter. He had graduated from an art academy. He was an elderly
18 gentleman. I heard from the camp inmates that those who had been
19 questioned by Mr. Radakovic were those who were the worst off, and that
20 most people succumbed in the cell where he interrogated.
21 Q. All right. What was he -- briefly, if you can, in summary, what
22 was he interrogating you about?
23 A. The questioning took off in the following way: The first thing he
24 said: "Look, Sejmenovic, we're not into weapons. We're not interested in
25 weapons. We know that you didn't have any weapons. There was a very
1 small amount of weapons, peanuts," as he said, "but that doesn't matter.
2 What we're really after is Sarajevo. The functioning of the government,
3 the relationships within the government," and then these sessions of
4 questioning went on for several days. What he most insisted on was for me
5 to tell him about Miomir Simovic and Vitomir Zepinic the two Serbs who had
6 remained loyal to Bosnia-Herzegovina and who had agreed to become members
7 of the Bosnia-Herzegovina government during that period, or immediately
8 following the Serb separation. They wanted me to tell them all the
9 details about seeing Simovic and Zepinic whether anyone had said anyone.
10 They asked questions about Fikret Abdic also, and to a lesser extent about
11 the SDA officials in Sarajevo.
12 Q. Now, you said this interrogation went on for several days. Where
13 were you kept in between interrogations?
14 A. In a room that was referred to as the "glass house." Soldiers
15 would not come into this room to beat the camp inmates, at least not
16 during the period that I stayed there.
17 Q. I want to just ask you again to look, if you can see the building
18 which the glass house was in that photograph you've already looked at. If
19 not, we'll show you another photograph.
20 MS. KORNER: That's S15-16.
21 A. Excuse me. The glass house was a building here. It was at the
22 junction point between these two buildings, and there is a space in
23 between that is built in glass and not roofed over. So this is the area
24 we used to refer to as the "glass house." I'm pointing at it.
25 Q. Thank you. And I think when we look at the video, we'll be able
1 to see what you mean by that.
2 MS. KORNER: Yes, you can take the photograph away. Thank you
3 very much, usher.
4 Q. Now, you were kept in the glass house, and you said soldiers would
5 not come into this room to beat the camp inmates while you were in there.
6 Was there a special class of inmate in that glass house area?
7 A. I only know that staying in the glass house meant that you would
8 not be beaten during the day or at night. Many times, guards would come
9 over to the door of the glass house and abuse me verbally, said things
10 about my mother, about my relatives, about the state, and they said that
11 someday I'd be out of the glass house at last, which was a sign for me
12 that actually they were forbidden to enter the glass house. In the glass
13 house, I saw a number of people, some of whom were members of the 5th
14 Kozarac Brigade, who had responded to the mobilisation and who had fought
15 against the Serbs in Croatia, who had fought with the Serbs in Croatia.
16 They were also arrested regardless of their loyalty and taken to Omarska,
17 but some of them, as a token of gratitude from the Serbs for having taken
18 part in their struggle, were placed in the glass house in order to be
19 spared the beatings.
20 I also saw a number of people there who had been very badly
21 beaten, in the period just preceding their transfer to the glass house. I
22 saw a man there who had worked for the SUP station in Prijedor, the public
23 security station. He had been beaten black and blue, head to waist. It
24 was as though he had been tattooed in bruises, and he spent several days
25 in one of the hangars there before someone managed to get him transferred
1 to the glass house. And he arrived there in the shape which I have just
3 Q. Did anybody ever explain why it was that you, who were in the
4 glass house, were not being beaten despite attempts for soldiers to enter,
5 or guards, I'm sorry?
6 A. No. Not during the questioning, nor when Mr. Radakovic ordered
7 them to put me in the glass house. He never told me why. Excuse me, it's
8 important to add another thing. I also heard that some people had paid a
9 lot of money to be put in the glass house and to be transferred there from
10 the other hangars. What I saw with my own eyes was Mr. Hilmija Nukic who
11 lived on the border line between Trnopolje and the village of Hrnici. I
12 had known him before the war and he had served in the Serb army until
13 August 1992. I saw him in the glass house, and I saw him take out of his
14 pocket the last golden chain he had on him and he saw him give it to a
15 Serb soldier or guard.
16 Q. Now, did there some a time when some foreign journalists and
17 indeed Serb journalists came to Omarska?
18 A. At first, Serb soldiers began to arrive. Mr. Mutic came on the
19 fifth day of the questioning, and then soldiers came to take me again to
20 Mr. Radakovic's office, but they didn't come.
21 Q. I'm sorry. Can you just pause. Did you hear the question,
22 Mr. Sejmenovic? Because I'm not sure it was translated. I asked you
23 about foreign journalists and Serb journalists.
24 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter apologises. The witness did say
25 journalists. I'm sorry, it was a mistake.
1 MS. KORNER:
2 Q. I'm sorry, it was a mistake in the interpretation. Right.
3 All right. Should the answer have been - perhaps it should be
4 translated back - that at first Serb journalists began to arrive.
5 Mr. Mutic came on the fifth day of the questioning and then soldiers or --
6 MS. KORNER: I'm sorry. Your Honour, the best thing is I'll start
7 the whole questioning again.
8 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, I'm sorry. Mr. Sejmenovic, Serb journalists came
9 to the camp, did they?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Was that after you had been there for some five days?
12 A. Yes. The first time was on the fifth day, approximately, and the
13 second time was, I think, on the seventh day. So Mutic came and then
14 reappeared after two days.
15 Q. Okay. Who was Mr. Mutic?
16 A. He was a local journalist for Kozarski Vjesnik. He also
17 collaborated on Radio Prijedor, and he showed up with a camera and with a
18 text that I was supposed to read into the camera. I had known him and he
19 had known me before the war.
20 Q. I'm going to ask you to watch a film in a moment. But how many
21 times altogether were you interviewed by journalists?
22 A. Three times. After Mutic, foreign journalists arrived in
23 Omarska. And the same day after they had refused to talk to me, I was
24 taken to a room to which Dragan Bozanic came, a journalist from the
25 Serbian television, and asked me several questions to which I replied.
1 Q. That's what we're going to look at in a moment, but before we do
2 that, you say that Mr. Mutic came armed with a camera and a text that you
3 were supposed to read into the camera. What was the text that he wanted
4 you to read?
5 A. It was a text stating who was to blame for the war. Names of
6 extremists were given in the text who had prepared the attack on the
7 Serbian people. There were several sentences about the Muslim priests
8 arming their believers, and that everything happened under the aegis of
9 the SDA through which Alija Izetbegovic was planning to establish a Muslim
10 state. I know that several local names were dropped there. He told me
11 that my fate, whether I would remain alive, would very much depend on what
12 I did. He told me to read the text and that he would then ask me
13 questions on the basis of that text. And that, he said, would save my
14 life because it was being reported -- recorded, and the Red Cross would
15 see that I was alive in Omarska, so they would then not kill me.
16 That was when he first came. He said he would return. And the
17 second time, when he returned, he brought the text I'm talking about. It
18 was then he came with a camera and recorded me reading the text and then
19 retelling it. It was only two days after that that I noticed some sort of
20 a strange atmosphere in the camp. After two, it was clear that something
21 was happening. And then a huge number of foreign journalists thronged
22 into the camp. And while they were still there at the administration
23 building, I was taken to a floor and asked those questions. Mr. Bozanic
24 told me that he would be back to make a special programme with me.
25 Q. All right. This is what I want to have a look at.
1 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, before we play the video, there is a
2 transcript available. Your Honour, the transcript is in English. There
3 is, however, a Bosnian version. I'm wondering what the best way of
4 dealing with this is for the interpreters using the Bosnian transcript to
5 interpret. I don't know whether Your Honours' colleague would be able to
6 follow that.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: First of all, was the English and the B/C/S
8 version disclosed to the Defence?
9 MS. KORNER: Yes.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And it's available for us in English?
11 MS. KORNER: There's a transcript, yes, in English. I don't think
12 a B/C/S version is available.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We'll hear, of course, the text in B/C/S.
15 MS. KORNER: Yes, you'll hear -- no, it will all be in B/C/S,
16 although you can hear, because it's the Serb television crew following the
17 ITN television crew for the first bit.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it's the most adequate solution to give
19 us the English version and then it's, of course, for the Defence to
20 contest whether or not it's correct on the basis of the entire video, if
21 necessary. Right? Proceed this way.
22 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, can I hand out ...
23 And if somebody could turn Mr. Sejmenovic's screen on to the
24 video. He can probably do it himself.
25 Yes, if we could play the video, then, please.
1 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Prijedor looks rather gloomy after
2 the fierce clashes between the Muslim and the Serbian units. Many
3 villages are almost completely burned down, the houses demolished. At the
4 time of the census, Muslims and Serbs lived in this municipality in
5 roughly even numbers, and in this war, after days of bloody battles,
6 Serbian units control almost the entire area of the municipality.
7 A press briefing was held first thing today in Prijedor at which
8 the Minister of Information in the government of the Serbian Republic of
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Velibor Ostojic, briefly stated: "In Prijedor, as
10 is the case on the entire territory of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina, nobody's concealing anything." And then he asked
12 the reporters to visit the territory controlled by the Muslim and Croatian
13 units all over Bosnia and Herzegovina. The mayor of Prijedor,
14 Milomir Stakic, in the mine or, rather, in the administration building of
15 this mine Omarska, there is an investigation centre, and in the village of
16 Trnopolje, there is a reception centre where 4.500 people have found
17 shelter. Most of them want to move out of this area, the majority of
18 those to the north-west, that is to Croatia, Slovenia, and Western
19 European countries. "The Serbs here are willing to live together with
20 everyone who does not have blood on their hands," said Mayor Stakic."
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could we please have for the interpretation a
22 break, if possible, after one paragraph. Otherwise, the French booth, I'm
23 afraid, can't follow this pace.
24 MS. KORNER: Yes. It's -- of course, it's the commentator on
25 the --
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If the person responsible for the video has one
2 copy of the English version available, and then stop immediately after one
3 paragraph, it would be excellent and facilitate the work of the
4 interpreters. Thank you.
5 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Next comes to a visit to Omarska.
6 Here there are 175 people, rather malnourished, and their guards. They
7 agreed to talk to journalists, and asked for cigarettes. We have rather
8 extensive audio recordings of all this and we shall broadcast it in the
9 days to come. More than 3.000 people have gone through this investigation
10 centre, the investigators say. They produce lists and evidence that most
11 of them were organised on a military basis. There are 175 of them here at
12 the moment.
13 We go to Trnopolje next. In the local school and its yard there
14 are roughly 4.500 people who are free to leave the area but are reluctant
15 to do so. Only one older man has died in this collection centre since 28
16 May, they say. The Red Cross department complains that there is not
17 enough food. The majority, and we talked with them without any hindrance,
18 want to emigrate to the northwest. They do not want to go towards
20 Finally, we should say that military sources, or more precisely
21 Colonel Vladimir Arsic expressly told the press that the army had nothing
22 to do with this collection centre in Trnopolje and the investigation
23 centre in Omarska. These are under the sole jurisdiction of the
24 municipality civilian authorities, and it is our impression that these
25 authorities are not up to dealing with the turmoil of war and in this
1 particular case, the regional authorities of the Bosnian Krajina have also
2 failed to act."
3 MS. KORNER: Could we continue.
4 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "the first group of reporters that
5 was given such a permission by the presidency of Republika Srpska included
6 reporters of the two channels of the British independent TV network ITN
7 and The Guardian journalist. They were accompanied by our TV crew. All
8 the material we have filmed was taped in the same places where our
9 foreign colleagues turned on their cameras. We must remark that our
10 camera also recorded in those same places things that might shed more
11 light on the alleged harassment of civilians in the camps as they say, or
12 investigative centres, as representatives of Serb authorities stress."
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Stop, please. Our English translation starts
14 earlier, one paragraph.
15 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I was just saying the same thing to
16 Ms. Sutherland. I wondered what happened to the first paragraph. It was
17 the voiceover.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could we please restart clip 2 from the
20 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "The first group of reporters that
21 was given such a permission by the presidency of the Republika--"
22 MS. KORNER: Can we pause for a moment. Your Honour, I don't
23 know. Can I say that this transcript was provided so long ago at the
24 Tadic trial -- What? Oh sorry. I'm corrected by Ms. Sutherland, who is
25 the historian -- the Kovacevic trial, and it may well be that there are a
1 number of different copies of the same version. And it may well be that
2 this is another one. I think it may be better just to exclude that
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: All right.
5 MS. KORNER: Yes, if we could carry on.
6 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "ITN and The Guardian journalist,
7 they were accompanied by our TV crew. All the material that we have
8 filmed was taped in the same places where our foreign colleagues turned on
9 their cameras. We must remark that our camera also recorded, in those
10 same places, things that might shed more light, on the alleged harassment
11 of civilians in the camps, as they say, or investigative centres, as the
12 representatives of Serb authorities stress."
13 "We need to stress right away that we immediately realised that
14 our British colleagues came with orders to film concentration camps in
15 Serb territory. One can call a certain institution a concentration camp
16 only in the respect of the definition given by international law. Foreign
17 reporters showed no interest for facts, for example, that they would be
18 travelling along the recently established corridor that --
19 MS. KORNER: Sorry. Pause and go back for a moment, please. Yes.
20 Yes. And then just forward slightly until we see that house which I think
21 we've now lost. Yes.
22 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, it's not terribly clear, but can you tell us what
23 road were the reporters travelling along?
24 A. They were moving from the direction of Prijedor towards Omarska.
25 This portion here is the area of Kamicani or Jakupovici. It was on that
1 section of the road. One can see that the houses there had been
2 destroyed. It was then that the majority of the houses were destroyed.
3 Actually, most of the houses had already been destroyed, those located
4 alongside the road. Some of them were destroyed then, and some later on,
5 when tanks were used to raze them to the ground.
6 Q. And can you just tell us the villages that you mentioned, that is,
7 Kamicani and Jakupovici --
8 A. Yes, this looks like Donja Jakupovici, or perhaps a portion of the
9 village of Zecovi or the village of Hadzici. But most probably it is the
10 village of Donja Jakupovici which is next to the road in question. Gornji
11 Jakupovici is situated on the other side of the road.
12 Q. Can you just confirm, what ethnicity composed the population of
13 these villages? Terrible sentence.
14 A. All non-Serbs. If I may add one further point, generally speaking
15 as regards this footage, an identical footage would be if they took the
16 road from Kozarac to Prijedor, the area of Mujkanovici for example, and
17 further on towards Trnopolje. These scenes could be seen everywhere in
18 all of the non-Serbs areas, except for a small portion of the Trnopolje
19 area where there was a number of houses which were not burned down or
21 Q. Yes. Thank you. Mr. Sejmenovic.
22 MS. KORNER: We can go on with the film.
23 [Videotape played]
24 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] Along the recently established
25 corridor that has vital importance for the Republika Srpska. Even though
1 during our trip it was shelled from Croatia by ZNG troops. They also did
2 not ask who destroyed and set fire to villages and towns we passed
3 through, who attacked the very centre of Prijedor just a few days earlier,
4 who had built and equipped with arms underground bunkers on Mount Kozara,
5 nor did they wonder why Muslim women are allowed to visit freely their
6 husbands and sons in the localities we were taking them to, the
7 investigative, that is, reception centre, in Omarska and Trnopolje near
9 After the almost completely normal situation in and around
10 Prijedor and Banja Luka, the shooting in the vicinity of the management
11 building of the Omarska mine reminded of the presence of a number of
12 Muslim extremists and terrorists groups in the area around Ljubija."
13 MS. KORNER: Can we pause for a moment there.
14 Q. Can you just tell us, Mr. Sejmenovic, what the camera is showing
15 us now.
16 A. A moment ago we saw the building where the restaurant was, that
17 is, where people from time to time took meals and where they sometimes
18 slept during the night.
19 Q. And the building that we're looking at now, that's the building
20 with the restaurant in it.
21 A. Yes, it's all one entire area, that is, the restaurant, the
22 offices, and the administration building.
23 Q. All right. I think maybe the best thing to do Mr. Sejmenovic if
24 there's anything you want to say, if you can just say "stop" and they will
25 stop the video.
1 MS. KORNER: Yes, we can carry on, please.
2 [Videotape played].
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Stop. Now, here we can see Dragan
4 Bozanic, a journalist from the Srna television, a Serb television who did
5 the interview that I mentioned.
6 MS. KORNER:
7 Q. And he's the one closest to the camera with the short-sleeved
8 shirt, is he?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 A. I mean, I think that that's him. The image is not very good, but
12 a moment ago, as we were watching the film, I think I recognise -- I was
13 able to recognise Dragan Bozanic. We can move on.
14 [Videotape played].
15 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "We arrived in Omarska" --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We can stop here. Here we see the
17 detainees in the restaurant taking their meal. What is perhaps -- what
18 might be useful for the purposes of having a better insight into the
19 overall situation, maybe I should give some further explanation regarding
20 the atmosphere at that time.
21 Unlike several previous days, during which the soldiers and guards
22 in the mine were wearing soiled clothes, dirty clothes, dirty uniforms,
23 and carrying their weapons cocked, on that day, they arrived in perfectly
24 clean uniforms. Some of them were even wearing new uniforms. And we
25 noticed that they were carrying their rifles like this. But we heard very
1 loud shooting in the immediate vicinity of the camp. We didn't know what
2 was going on. But when the first groups of detainees were taken in to
3 have their meal, they were told to eat very slowly. Otherwise, normally
4 they were always told to finish as quickly as possible. We only had 30 or
5 60 seconds to sit down and eat the meal. And we had to run back
6 regardless of whether we had finished or not.
7 When this group of detainees entered the restaurant, the guards
8 ordered that everyone should eat slowly, and this is what you can see on
9 this footage. You can see people eating at an almost normal speed.
10 MS. KORNER: Yes. Thank you. We can carry on.
11 [Videotape played]
12 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "The mine has not been operational
13 for quite some time, but the restaurant is normally functional. No aid
14 and food and other items needed in this investigative centre managed by
15 the civilian authorities in Prijedor arrived from any foreign party,
16 including the Red Cross, even though large sums are needed for food only.
17 "The Omarska centre holds mostly those individuals who took active
18 part in military operations. In Trnopolje, several kilometres away, the
19 premises are used for others, a total of about 3400 men.
20 "Mr. Simo Drljaca, superintendent of the Prijedor public security
21 department in Prijedor, is explaining -- is providing explanation to the
22 foreign journalists."
23 MS. KORNER: Could we just pause for a moment, please.
24 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, Simo Drljaca that we see there talking to the
25 foreign journalists, had you seen him at the camp before that?
1 A. No, I had not, not before that.
2 Q. Did you actually know Simo Drljaca?
3 A. I knew that he was with the police. I saw him several times on
4 various occasions, but I didn't have any direct contact with him.
5 Q. Okay.
6 MS. KORNER: We can go on. Can we go on, sorry.
7 [Videotape played]
8 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "The third category are those who
9 threw away their weapons and now it is difficult to prove they actually
10 had one. You understand. They got rid of the rifle, and now it's
11 difficult to prove that he was ever armed.
12 "Would you be so kind and tell us what's happening. While we're
13 speaking, we heard shots.
14 "Look here, this is not safe territory. Part of the extremists
15 are spread along there. Those are all Muslim villages back there."
16 "You haven't answered my question.
17 "A few kilometres in that direction are Muslim villages. There are
18 still some extremists there active. They operate in groups of about a
19 dozen. They come out from their dugouts and attack. Here we have a large
20 number of men.
21 "British reporters did not want to visit the infirmary in the
22 centre, nor were they interested to meet prisoner Mevludin Sejmenovic,
23 member of the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina and SDA activist in the
25 "We have heard that you are one of nine rare inhabitants of this
1 reception centre who came to Omarska on his own.
2 "Yes, that's correct.
3 "Can you explain to us why you did that, why did you come here?
4 "I spent some time waiting and hiding. I waited for all the prime
5 actors in these horrendous events to be captured, for the truth to be
6 established about what has happened, about the people that have done all
7 the evil so that my efforts and my work, as well as the statements that I
8 am going to give, can be appreciated.
9 "When you say "captured", who exactly do you have in mind? Who do
10 you think responsible for the atrocities that have taken place here?
11 "Well, I'm referring first of all to the party leader of Bosanska
12 Krajina, Mirza Mujadzic, and the chairman of the Prijedor party branch,
13 and a member of the party executive council for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
14 I'm also referring to the men working in -- for the party and those who
15 have organised these military activities.
16 "Your fellow colleagues in this centre, do they know about your
17 opinion? Do they share your views about the evil that struck the Muslim
19 "I have spoken about that on two occasions: When we had
20 discussions here, in an interview for the Krajina TV as well. I have made
21 a statement and addressed a message to my people concerning the whole
22 situation which I am now able to witness directly here in Bosnian Krajina
23 and in Prijedor, which is not -- which is not theoretically like those who
24 are watching it from a distance and who are the masterminds of this evil.
25 "I don't know whether you're aware of the fact that some foreign
1 journalists, mostly Great Britian, have also come to visit this centre.
2 The reason for this visit is the fact that over the past few days,
3 international media have been affirming that in the Republika Srpska, that
4 is the territory where you are now, there are concentration camps for
5 Muslims and Croats. You are in this particular centre, and you have come
6 on your own. Could you tell these foreign reporters what the truth is.
7 Do you know what is actually a concentration camp? What is your -- what
8 would be your message to them?
9 "I would like them to know that the military operations have
10 caused -- have brought about such effects that it became necessary for
11 people to group up, both for reasons of safety and for mere survival.
12 This centre is not a concentration camp in the sense affirmed by political
13 propaganda, and I think that today they were able to see it for
15 "One last question: Before the flames of war started here, were
16 there any Muslims living in the area who were actually getting ready for
18 "Over the past few months, there was a lot of talk about these
19 arms and weapons, even amongst the ordinary people, but also amongst the
20 members of political parties, including the SDA. There was a lot of fear
21 and insecurity, and people were searching for some form of stronghold, at
22 least, by talking about personal safety. However, it is now perfectly
23 clear that political oligarchies were involved in shady deals operating
24 behind the back of the party members and the ordinary people. Their
25 objective was to have people fight for their private or individual
1 interests, without taking into account the real consequences that will
2 inevitably follow such actions.
3 "Even foreigners are now able to to conclude that this war has all
4 the characteristics of a religious war. Have you heard of any Muslim
5 priests, hodzas, and imams having any special American hunting rifles
6 which they had prepared before the war?
7 "I know very little about weapons and the ways to procure them.
8 There were lots of talks about that. There is ample evidence to this
9 effect. Still, bearing in mind talks with ordinary people, there is
10 evidence that a certain number of priests were involved in arms smuggling
11 or some other form of procurement of weapons. I only know that by doing
12 so, they have breached both the norms and rules of the religions. They
13 preach, and human moral norms [as interpreted]. They, too, have merits
14 for all this evil that has fallen upon all the peoples living here.
15 "The centre in Trnopolje, as we have indicated, is only a few
16 kilometres away from Omarska. Security is far more relaxed than in
17 Omarska, and the centre has been set up for those in respect of whom it
18 could not be established that they opposed the Serb authorities. With the
19 help of UNPROFOR, or through the all for all prisoner exchange
20 arrangements, they are able to leave the centre. However, until now
21 neither Sarajevo nor UNPROFOR reacted to this option.
22 I think that we can and we must go on living as we did before, so
23 there is no other solution. We are innocent. We are civilians. We are
24 not guilty of anything. Those over there want some sort of Eastern
25 Bosnia. Here they are talking about a Western Bosnia. I don't know all
1 this talk about independent states. It's impossible. Look at my
2 neighbour here. I've known him for 25 years. And today he is on one side
3 and I am on the other.
4 "A lot of blood has been shed between two peoples can life in
5 common, coexistence be re-established?
6 "Here in Prijedor yes it can. Nothing too bad happened."
7 "What government are you talking about?
8 THE INTERPRETER: But even with the transcript it is impossible to
9 interpret because the speakers are constantly overlapping. I'm sorry, I
10 cannot hear anything.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May we break. Apparently, there is a problem
12 with the booth. It's totally understandable that it's impossible. We can
13 only read out this and follow it by reading it ourselves. But it's
14 necessary to have a break here and there. And possibly on the basis of
15 the English version, we may have access to the French as well, if it is
17 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, it may help. I've let it run on because
18 the transcript's there and it's showing Trnopolje. But the major part
19 that I played this for was obviously for Mr. Sejmenovic to watch himself.
20 I'm perfectly happy to continue or stop. If the Defence want the whole
21 video played through, then we'll do it. Otherwise I'll stop it here,
22 which may make it easier.
23 MR. OSTOJIC: We do. But if they want to wait, we can bring it in
24 during our cross, whichever --
25 MS. KORNER: Then, Your Honour, we will finish.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then it's better to proceed, but I think it's
2 appropriate that we have a break now. And in the meantime, it may be
3 discussed amongst the interpreters themselves how it's the best way to
4 proceed. I think it would be fine if we have the English text before us.
5 We make a break here and there in between in order to have a French
6 translation as well.
7 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, there's one other option, which is what
8 I thought might be simpler, which is I think there must be somewhere, and
9 we can make inquiries in the break, a transcript that was -- because in
10 order to translate, somebody had to write out what was heard. And it may
11 be easier from the point of the French if the translator has a B/C/S
12 transcript in front of them.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's find out during the break how we can
14 proceed in the most appropriate way to give access to all participants
15 here in the courtroom at the same time.
16 MS. KORNER: Certainly.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stands adjourned until 4.10.
18 --- Recess taken at 3.39 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 4.17 p.m.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
21 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I'm sorry. We made inquiries, but it
22 appears that no transcript in B/C/S was made. It was direct listening to
23 the tape. We're going to resubmit the tape because it has been pointed
24 out to us there are some errors in the translation. But I think -- I
25 regret to say the only way is just to play to the end of the tape now and
1 hope that the interpreters will manage.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. If we can do it once again portion by
3 portion, and the interpreters please may indicate if it's too fast and a
4 break is needed. So please start.
5 [Videotape played]
6 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Who is to blame for it? The blue
7 collars and farmers are not responsible for this state of things.
8 "We have a house, a wife children, we certainly do not want to go
9 to war. This has been forced upon us.
10 "We also filmed the interview conducted by the British reporters,
11 the man was prompted by his fellows and he responded in English.
12 "I think it is very quiet. Nothing wrong.
13 "Mehmed says that everything here is quiet. That nothing bad is
15 "You sleep outside?
16 "No, no, inside.
17 "He says that it is hot, but that they sleep in the school
18 building, not in the open. The British reporter then asks whether they
19 have been maltreated.
20 "No, they have been very kind.
21 "Are you a fighter?
22 "Mehmed says he was not a fighter.
23 "You feel safe here?
24 "He also tells her that he feels quite safe and that except for the
25 heat, everything is all right.
1 "This man is very thin.
2 "The female reporter insisted that one of the men was very thin.
3 And Mehmed explained, not all the people are the same.
4 "Not all the people are the same. He then added that this is not
5 a prison.
6 "If you wanted to get on a bus to Banja Luka, could you do that
7 this afternoon?
8 "I think it depends on the civil government.
9 "We have no idea what was the report presented to the British
10 viewers and the viewers in the rest of the world like. We do know that
11 the foreign crew did not visit the kitchen where food was prepared for
12 them, nor the Red Cross offices, nor the other group of inmates that
13 should not even be called that because they came here seeking shelter and
14 food which they were given.
15 "I think it's not a prison. It's a refugee camp. Simple.
16 "You are a doctor in this reception centre. What is it officially
18 "Trnopolje reception centre.
19 "And are you a Muslim?
20 "Yes, and I'm an inmate like the others.
21 "Can you tell us how you feel in the centre, what is lifelike
23 "How can a man feel in a camp? It's not very pleasant.
24 "You have a chance of doing a job you have been trained for. Do
25 you have the necessary conditions for it?
2 "There is a shortage of medicines.
3 "We have what we managed to bring along. We have received nothing
5 "Is it enough to treat the inmates?
6 "No. Basic medicines, antibiotics for diarrhea are needed, but
7 very scarce.
8 "What about the other medicines?
9 "We have those.
10 We see a long queue of people waiting to see you. Do you have any
11 doubt on the number of individuals medically treated?
12 "Since we've been here, May the 26th, that is, well, since that
13 date, we have registered 5169 persons. Not all have been registered,
15 "This entire part of the Republic of Srpska was in a blockade.
16 Economic blockade and shortage of food. Do you think that you have
17 equally shouldered the lack of food, or were you discriminated?
18 "No, it was quite the same. As far as the blockade is concerned,
19 everyone suffers the same.
20 "Did you have any deaths?
22 "What was the cause, disease?
23 "Well, we did have one case at the very beginning. It was an old
24 man. He was quite old, and he died of sickness.
25 "He did not die for lack of medicines.
1 "No, he didn't.
2 "I'm asking you this because a large part of Europe did not want
3 to hear about the problem of babies in the Banja Luka maternity hospital
4 when one of them died due to the shortage of oxygen.
5 "There's a health centre here and a hospital and they have major
6 problems due to shortage of antibiotics and diarrhea drugs. It's a
7 problem in the entire area, not only for us here.
8 "Not only in the reception centre?
9 "No, it's not only a problem we face.
10 "Could you tell us your name?
11 "Merscanic Ipriz or Mersalic Idriz.
12 "You have not been long here and you work for the Red Cross. Can
13 you tell us what the situation is? Do you have sufficient supplies to
14 cover your basic activity: Helping those that came to you or that need
16 Lamentably, with the aid we have available, we can do very little.
17 We are here from the first day. People from the surrounding area came
18 here, most of them of their own free will. Partial already for lack of
19 food and very often it was because they planned to evacuate or hope to, to
20 central Bosnia.
21 "Practically to escape from the zone where the fighting raged?
22 "Right. To escape the war. There were several evacuations. The
23 first were more sensitive, both on our end and on their side, but as the
24 situation developed, they became voluntary and much less sad.
25 "Since you are with a major international organisation, can you
1 tell us whether you received any aid from the central headquarters or
2 branches in former Yugoslavia or Europe?
3 "No, we did not receiving anything on these grounds. We received
4 only aid for refugees from Croatia. As far as this situation here is
5 concerned, aid that came arrived mostly from Serbia. I really cannot say
6 that international aid helped us here.
7 "So what might be called aid provided by the international Red
8 Cross in war zones did not arrive here?
9 "No. Only Banja Luka granted some aid to Prijedor from what was
10 sent by international organisations, but that was generally intended for
11 refugees of another type.
12 "As far as the refugees in this area are concerned, ever since
13 Prijedor became a combat zone, they do not enjoy the status of refugees,
14 but rather the status of displaced persons. That's the treatment they
16 "We can say that broader aid would be welcome?
17 "Certainly, we need it. At the present moment, we have absolutely
18 no possibility of intervening. None at all. We have extremely modest
19 resources. The secretary of the Red Cross organisation in Prijedor left
20 for Belgrade today to ask for aid.
21 "So help is expected from Serbia, from Yugoslavia?
22 "Mostly from Yugoslavia.
23 "Can anyone tell me something about your status here? Do you
24 enjoy freedom of movement? Can you go away if you want?
25 "They do let us go around the village. We bring back whatever we
2 "You mean that this fence is not separating you from the village?
3 "No, they let us go out. We leave our ID card and we can go
4 around a couple of kilometres to the village.
5 "You did not explain. There is no one in the village now. We go
6 around the gardens and pick vegetables and such.
7 "So you freely take a hoe and dig up whatever you find in a
8 vegetable patch?
9 "Yes, we dig up potatoes or whatever.
10 "However, there's little left around to pick now.
11 "Yes, food is getting scarce in the village as well.
12 "When did you come here?
13 "May 27th.
14 "Why did you come here?
15 "I came when the shelling started up there. I had to. Where else
16 could I have gone?
17 "Did you take part in military operations?
18 "No, I didn't.
19 "You came here looking for shelter?
20 "Right. You can see for yourself, it isn't that bad.
21 "Were there any problems, did anyone maltreat you?
22 "No, no one did.
23 "Was anyone here maltreated? In the camp we visited a little
24 while ago there were people that arrived from another reception centre.
25 Is this reception centre a camp where people are harassed?
1 "This is a reception centre. It can't be anything else but a
2 reception centre. Here all those came who did not take part in the
3 fighting. What would they be fighting for then? Those that saw shelling
4 had to come here.
5 "What are you hoping for now?
6 "If someone could line up those bigwigs before a firing squad, we
7 would be living together again. That's what should be done.
8 "I'm from a village nearby. From Kamicani.
9 "Why did you come here?
10 "There was shooting. A war broke out.
11 "Did anyone chase you away from your home, under the threat of
13 "Well, I was lucky, and I came here with little kids, small
14 children. I came from the fields. No one harassed us. They did not harm
15 us. I stayed in the village for two weeks. Then they were sent on. They
16 said, I don't know where. Some of my people reached Zagreb already. Went
17 to Sisak. However, some who had relatives went there, mostly to Croatia.
18 "It's the politics that brought people to this situation. Maybe
19 they had far too good a life, nothing else.
20 "This was a rich zone, fertile lands?
21 "It's not that fertile, but people worked hard. Richness is where
22 you make it.
23 "But one could live a good life here?
24 "You sure could. You could.
25 "As far as you know, would they join Alija Izetbegovic's troops
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts. Pages 4786 to 4793.
1 again, if you were to release them?
2 "I am certain that all those belonging to the first and second
3 category would immediately join Alija Izetbegovic's troops. However, I'm
4 also certain that those from the third category would not join Alija's
6 In any case, they will be given the possibility of finding a place
7 to live, either here or somewhere abroad?
8 To be honest, I would like those belonging to the third category
9 to stay and live together with us.
10 "This was a review of the prisoner camps in Serbian-controlled
11 Bosnian Krajina, filmed by our crew. Foreign reporters are still rushing
12 to Omarska and Trnopolje. Will they also visit the prisons run by
13 Izetbegovic's democratic authorities? Will they be given permission, like
14 they have been in the Republika Srpska? Lamentably, this is a question
15 that the Republika Srpska television cannot answer. Along the main road
16 representing the vital artery of the Bosnian and Knin Krajina, there are
17 many house in ruins. Were they owned by Muslims, Croats, or maybe Serbs?"
18 MS. KORNER: Can we --
19 Let's just finish the clip, then. Sorry.
20 [Videotape played]
21 MS. KORNER: Yes, thank you. Thank you very much. You can stop
22 it. Well, Your Honour, I say that. This video contains a number of
23 clips, but they are later and they are not relevant as far as I'm aware.
24 But again, if I could ask my learned friends of the Defence whether they
25 want the remainder of the video played.
1 MR. OSTOJIC: Not at this time, Your Honour, no.
2 MS. KORNER: Yes.
3 Q. Now, Mr. Sejmenovic, first of all, when the cameras panned around
4 during the time that you were actually being interviewed, we were able to
5 see you sitting in what appeared to be a glass-type of corridor. Is that
6 what you're calling the glass house area?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Now, I want to go back and ask you, in a little more detail, about
9 this particular interview. You've told us that Mr. Bozanic came and said
10 that you would be interviewed.
11 A. I will tell you the chronology of the events on that day. So
12 immediately before the interview and the course of the interview itself.
13 When foreign journalists recorded this footage in the restaurant, they
14 left the restaurant. About half an hour later, two guards came over to
15 the glass house and called me to stand up and come with them immediately.
16 One of the guards said to the other persons who were in the glass house:
17 "Give him a white shirt" and he ordered an older gentleman who was
18 wearing a white shirt to take it off and give it to me. I found out that
19 the shirt was too big for me, and I was hesitant to take off the shirt I
20 was wearing. The guard told me: "Hurry up. We don't have much time."
21 Eventually he told me to come with them, and I went in wearing the shirt
22 that I was wearing before.
23 They took me out of the glass house, through the corridor, and up
24 to the first floor of the administration building. In the corridor, on
25 the first floor, as I climbed up, I saw there a group of foreign
1 journalists, Serb officers, and a blond woman I recognised in this
2 footage. She was an interpreter. We stopped in front of them, and one of
3 the foreign journalists asked her, and she translated it for me. They
4 refused to talk to me. After that, the guards took me further down the
5 corridor to a large room where they put me up, and I was let there alone
6 for several minutes. After a couple of minutes, Dragan Bozanic entered
7 the room with the cameraman and several guards at the same time. He said:
8 "Mr. Sejmenovic, we shall now do the interview. Light a cigarette if you
9 like, before we begin." I refused, but they said that I should feel free
10 to light one and that they wouldn't start recording yet, as I was in no
11 position to refuse, I lit a cigarette. He took the microphone, the camera
12 was turned on, and then he started asking me questions as we have just
14 Q. Were you given, before the interview, any kind of text or given
15 any instructions as to what you should say?
16 A. Prior to this interview, immediately before the interview, no.
17 But I had been prepared in the days preceding the interview when I talked
18 to Mutic, the other journalist, and I gathered that the same sort of
19 principle would be applied again for the other interview, that my own
20 behaviour decreased or increased my chances of survival.
21 In essence, I knew what it was they wanted to hear.
22 Q. All right. Now I want to ask you about some of the things that
23 you said. You were asked by the journalist --
24 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, this is the third page of the
25 transcript, fourth page, I'm sorry. The question where it says it's from
1 the journalist off camera, and then "man."
2 Q. It was put to you by the journalist that you had come to Omarska
3 on your own, and you said: "Yes, that's correct." "Can you explain why
4 you did that, why did you come here?" "I came here after waiting and
5 hiding around for some time" et cetera. You told us that, in fact, you
6 had been taken to Omarska from the police station. Why did you say that
7 to the reporter?
8 A. I had to say it like that, under those circumstances because that
9 was a matter of life and death.
10 Q. Did you feel that you were able to say to the Serb -- Bosnian Serb
11 reporter that you had, in fact, been arrested and beaten up at the police
13 A. No. I was by no means in a position to say that.
14 Q. Then the reporter asked you: "Who is responsible for the horrors
15 that have taken place in this zone?" And you replied: "First of all, I
16 have in mind the party leader for Bosnian Krajina, Mirza Mujadzic, and
17 chairman of the party branch in Prijedor, also Mirza Mujadzic."
18 Why were you blaming Mr. Mujadzic for the horrors that had taken
19 place in the Prijedor area?
20 A. I had to do it. Bozanic and the journalists before him wanted to
21 have just that kind of statement. What I tried to avoid, by all means,
22 was to mention the names of people who were in the camp or might be in the
23 camp or might have been in the camp. In answering their questions, I
24 was, in a manner of speaking, buying time, so I started talking about the
25 functions and positions that Mr. Mujadzic was holding in order to just
1 prolong my answer and avoid mentioning a number of other names. I dropped
2 his name first because I had learned that he was alive and that he had
3 already reached the free territory in the Bihac zone.
4 Q. Did you, in fact, blame Mr. Mujadzic for what had happened in the
5 Prijedor region?
6 A. No, by no means. That was never my opinion, and the facts show
7 quite the opposite. But it is very important that Bozanic came to
8 Omarska, made an interview with me, and wanted to produce a piece of
9 propaganda to defend their policy. This was actually military or
10 political propaganda, a piece of military or political propaganda, this
11 footage that was recorded. I was quite aware of that, and I tried to
12 behave in such a way so as to put no one's life at risk because of my
13 answer, but also, as far as I could, to satisfy the expectations of Mr.
14 Bozanic and to buy myself some time, too, a day or two. It was very
15 difficult in such a short time to find an appropriate answer to reconcile
16 all these demands and save my own life.
17 I tried to provide abstract answers, to the extent that I could,
18 without specifying anything. And in part, at least I believe, I
20 Q. Can you just look at a couple of other things that you said. The
21 reporter -- you explained that you had already been interviewed before,
22 but the reporter then asked you whether this was a concentration camp or a
23 reception centre. And you talked about military operations, meaning that
24 people had to group for reasons of safety and survival. And then said:
25 "This centre is not a concentration camp in the sense affirmed by
1 political propaganda."
2 Would you, from your admittedly limited stay in Omarska, have
3 described it as a reception centre?
4 A. No, it was definitely a concentration camp with no rules, with no
5 due course of justice. People were killed for no reason at all. People
6 were accused and tried sometimes for things they had nothing to do with.
7 There were minors. I myself saw a child, 16 years of age, whose both arms
8 were broken above the elbows. They forced him to sing Serbian songs for
9 two days. He was tortured in an office which was opposite the office in
10 which I was being questioned. I later watched this child. He couldn't
11 eat, and two elderly men took him out of the room holding him by his arms
12 in the air, tried to feed him with spoons. And this went on for a while.
13 I'm not sure whether he survived. There was absolutely no element there
14 involved, resembling anything remotely like a reception centre there.
15 People who were there knew this clearly. The interview, I tried to
16 provide abstract answers, as I said. But foreign journalists could see
17 everything for themselves.
18 My line of thinking was: "If I survive, that is clear, the
19 eyewitnesses were there. And then my position was also quite clear. I
20 was one of the inmates. They wanted to use me politically for their own
21 propaganda. I knew that my life depended on my actions. It had been
22 suggested to me, this possibility, by a soldier a couple of days before
23 who escorted me in a car to the police station in Prijedor. His name was
24 Banovic. And at one point, as I've said earlier in my testimony, he asked
25 me an intimate question. I saw my chance there, because he was asking me
1 about something that had nothing to do with the war, to ask him a question
2 about my own fate. And I did. And then he answered in a way that was
3 later -- that later proved very helpful. I asked him whether they would
4 kill me immediately or later, what the procedure was. And he told me:
5 "It doesn't necessarily mean that they will kill you." I'm quoting
6 Mr. Banovic here. "It all depends on what sort of answers you provide."
7 I kept asking: "What would be the best thing for me to tell
8 them?" He said: "I have no idea. May God be with you." That's how our
9 conversation ended. And the sentence remained with me in the back of my
10 mind for days afterwards, that sentence and what Mutic, the journalist,
11 had told me, that my life, whether I live or die, depended on what I would
13 Your Honours, I have recounted this to you now in order to help
14 you to understand the context in which I was made to answer those
15 questions. That was why I confirmed that I had been come to Omarska of my
16 own free will, that's why I was introduced by Bozanic as someone who was
17 just there for a visit. Of course, I wasn't. It would have been mad for
18 me at that point to say that I was actually not there for just a visit.
19 Q. Can I just ask you, then, about one final thing that you were
20 asked about. You said -- you were asked, rather, were there any among
21 the Muslims who had prepared for war. And you said: "It is now
22 definitively clear that political oligarchies were involved in turbid
23 affairs operating behind the back of the party members and the ordinary
24 people. Their goal was to make the people fight for their private and
25 individual interests, without taking into account the real effects that
1 inevitably follow such actions."
2 Did you genuinely believe that there were people, political
3 oligarchies operating behind the party members and ordinary people,
4 effectively inciting people to fight, the Muslims to fight?
5 A. No. I used the expression "political oligarchies" in plural, not
6 a political oligarchy, which would mean the SDA, but oligarchies. The
7 reason I said that was because I was also counting on the possibility for
8 this interview to be viewed elsewhere in the world, and also in the free
9 territory. I did not wish to pronounce the sentences which would have
10 branded me as a Serb collaborator. And that was the reason why I
11 endeavoured to the extent it was possible to use these abstract sentences,
12 and I remember using the expression "political oligarchies," though it is
13 a pure abstraction. Had he asked me about my arguments for that, I don't
14 think I would be able to give him an answer.
15 Q. All right. And finally, and this is the next page of the
16 transcript, Mr. Sejmenovic, you were asked whether you had heard that some
17 Muslim priest, hodzas, and imams had special American hunting rifles. And
18 you said that there is evidence that a certain number of priests were
19 involved in arms smuggling or some other form of procurement of weapons.
20 Had you heard about hodzas or imams being involved in arms smuggling?
21 A. No. No, I had not heard about that. I did not have any evidence
22 for that. But I know that one of the elements of the Serb propaganda even
23 before the war was the argument that Muslim priests had taken part in the
24 arming of the population, that they had been preparing for a Muslim war
25 against Serbs and so on and so forth. There were many similar arguments
1 made. In this interview, and even in the previous one to Mr. Mutic, it
2 was clear to me that they wanted to hear something about the priests from
3 the detainees themselves. They wanted to elicit this type of statements.
4 I was forced to provide an answer to the question that had been asked.
5 And once again, I tried not to be specific, and I believe that that
6 satisfied Mr. Bozanic.
7 Q. Yes. Thank you, Mr. Sejmenovic. That's all I want to ask you
8 about that interview.
9 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, may I ask for the admission of the
10 video and transcript into evidence.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I first of all ask, is there any 65 ter
13 MS. KORNER: No, there isn't.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Is it available for the Chamber, a copy of this
16 MS. KORNER: Your own copy? I'm not sure. We can get a copy
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The Defence has a copy?
19 MR. OSTOJIC: We do, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Then it's your intention, if I
21 understand correctly, to tender the video itself and the English
22 translation as regards Clip 1, Clip 2, without the first paragraph on page
24 MS. KORNER: Yes.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Objections?
1 MR. OSTOJIC: Just perhaps a point of clarification, Your Honour,
2 it was my understanding that we'll add the English translation of these
3 respective clips as a draft translations because I think the counsel
4 suggested that they were going to resend it for better or for clearer
5 translation because there were some, respectfully, errors or mistakes that
6 were seen on the face of it from the interpretation provided this
7 afternoon by our interpreters here and that which is contained in the
8 text. So with that provision, we have no other objection.
9 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I do confirm that we will -- what we do
10 is replace what is what we will call this draft translation with a new
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then, the video as such is admitted into
13 evidence as S151. The draft translation of Clip 1 and Clip 2, without the
14 first paragraph to be read on page 2, is admitted into evidence as S151A.
15 And it should be added to the list of exhibits that a draft and rough
16 interpretation of this video can be found on today's transcripts. Thank
18 MS. KORNER: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. Now, Mr. Sejmenovic, I want to come to how you were able to leave
20 Omarska. The following day, did another television crew arrive?
21 A. Not the following day, no television crew arrived the next day, at
22 least I didn't see them.
23 Q. All right. Well, that will teach me to lead on the transcript.
24 Mr. Sejmenovic, can you tell us -- can you remember how long after
25 this interview that we've just watched that you were able to leave
2 A. 12 hours later -- no, 24. The next morning, officials of the
3 Autonomous Region of Krajina arrived. And after an interview that was
4 conducted, I was ordered to leave for Banja Luka with Mr. Kupresanin.
5 Q. Right. Well, let's take this in stages. You say: "officials
6 from the Autonomous Region of Krajina arrived." How many officials, first
7 of all? One or more than one?
8 A. I saw two cars and some police escort. They parked outside the
9 restaurant that we were able to see on the photographs. So there were
10 several people, and some police escort, as I said, in two vehicles. I was
11 not able to see them from the distance. It was only later when the guards
12 came to fetch me to take me to the administration building, I saw only one
13 person directly, Mr. Kupresanin. When we set out for Banja Luka, only
14 Mr. Kupresanin's vehicle went. The other one remained. I don't know who
15 was in this other vehicle.
16 Q. All right. Now, you were taken to the administration building,
17 and you saw Mr. Kupresanin. Had you met him before?
18 A. Yes, I had. That is, he was a member of the BH parliament, as
19 myself. So we sometimes talked or had a cup of coffee during the breaks
20 in parliamentary sessions. But let me add, when he entered the room in
21 which I was waiting, I thought he was someone else. He asked me whether I
22 remembered him, and I said: "Yes, from the Municipal Assembly" because it
23 was -- I couldn't believe that someone else could be there apart from
24 officials from Prijedor. But he introduced himself. He said who he was,
25 Vojo Kupresanin, the president of the Autonomous Region of Krajina, and he
1 said: "I remember you very well from the BH assembly."
2 Q. Did he explain to you why he was there?
3 A. He didn't say anything specific about the reasons for his being
4 there. When he got in, and when he started talking to me, he proceeded
5 with some political arguments and political theories. I just listened to
6 him. I didn't say anything. But at one point, he was called out. A
7 soldier came, and he said that the president wanted to talk to him over
8 the telephone. So he left the room, and I was able to hear parts of the
9 conversation. He said on two occasions that they needed 300 beds, a lot
10 of soap and detergent, and I realised that he had come to see what the
11 situation was because obviously, they were preparing something, because he
12 had requested for this number of beds to be brought to the camp.
13 But I didn't ask anything. It was only later on the way to Banja
14 Luka that I was able to glean some further information from our
15 conversation in the car. But it was only at the end when he took me to
16 their government building in Banja Luka that I realised what it was all
17 about. He had talked to Mr. Karadzic --
18 Q. Can you pause there. Right. This is what I want to come back to.
19 You told us that a soldier came whilst he was in the room with you in
20 Omarska and said that the president wanted to talk to him. Did he use the
21 word "president" or did he use the name of the man?
22 A. I'm not sure at this point. I don't know whether he said
23 "President Karadzic" or "president" only. I really cannot tell you this.
24 I know that he said one interesting thing. He said I found only one.
25 This is what I clearly remember having heard.
1 Q. Who said "I found only one"?
2 A. Kupresanin said, while talking on the telephone to the president
3 with whom he was speaking. He mentioned beds, soap, bedsheets and so on
4 and so forth. And he said: "I've found only one." I thought that he
5 meant me, but I wasn't sure at that moment. Later, I was convinced that
6 he was referring to myself.
7 Q. All right. Now, so he talked to the president on the telephone.
8 Then he came back to the room. At what stage did you realise you were
9 going to be taken out of Omarska?
10 A. When this telephone conversation was over, he came back to the
11 room in which I sat, and he said: "You have to come with me." I didn't
12 know where. He didn't say where. And since at that moment I thought that
13 that was my end, the end of my life, I wanted at least to go to the glass
14 house and tell the people there that I was being taken away. I found some
15 pretext for that, and I asked Mr. Kupresanin: "Can I go and fetch my
16 clothes?" He said: "You will no longer need it." And then added: "At
17 any rate, they are dirty, and you don't need them."
18 I asked him once again, and then he said: "Well, go and get it."
19 As we were going down the stairs of the administration building, he said:
20 "You better hurry up, because we're leaving for Banja Luka now." I went
21 to the glass house. Quickly I took my jacket, and I told the people there
22 that they were taking me to Banja Luka. I was convinced at that time that
23 they would take me to the Tunjica prison in the area of Banja Luka, but as
24 soon as I got into the car, he explained to me that -- not mentioning the
25 prison -- that I would be able to get some rest now.
1 Q. Did he explain where he was going to take you?
2 A. He said the following: "Now, we have to find Mirza Mujadzic,
3 Rasema Cero, and he asked me whether I knew where they were. I said that
4 Mrs. Cero was in Sarajevo and that Mujadzic was in Bihac. He said:
5 "Well, in that case, we have to find your family. Until that time, you
6 will be in a Serb village in perfect safety, where you will be able to get
7 some rest, gain some weight. And then, after that, we will try to organise
8 some round tables which I will then attend on behalf of the Muslim
9 people." That's the way he put it.
10 Q. Pause a minute there. He asked you where Mirza Mujadzic was, and
11 also where Rasim Cero. Who was the second? Who was that lady?
12 A. This lady was an MP in the BH parliament. She comes from Sanski
14 Q. All right.
15 Q. He told you that you were going to be placed into a Serb village.
16 Did you actually go to Banja Luka itself, however, first?
17 A. Yes. He took me to the building -- either the municipality
18 building, the assembly building, or the government building. I don't know
19 exactly which. But it was the seat of the authorities of the autonomous
20 region, and perhaps some other institutions.
21 Q. Once you were there, in whatever this building was, did you hear
22 another conversation between Mr. Kupresanin and someone else?
23 A. Yes, I did. It was the conversation between President Karadzic
24 and Mr. Kupresanin. He repeated similar things that he had already said
25 in Omarska over the telephone. He said he had brought me, that I was the
1 only one he had been able to find. He said that he would get me a suit,
2 find me a job, give me some money.
3 Q. First of all, how did you know that the person at the other end of
4 the phone was Mr. Karadzic?
5 A. It was Kupresanin who said that he was talking to Karadzic, and
6 one could hear his voice, a high-pitched voice that one could hear over
7 this very old telephone. And he said: "Well, I'm talking to the
8 president now." And the president said that I should be enabled to have
9 some rest and put on some weight. But he didn't tell me the reason they
10 were doing this in specific. He did not say anything in detail. He only
11 mentioned this round table, and nothing else.
12 Q. What did you understand from the conversation you overheard, for
13 example, that he had only found one, and that you would participate in a
14 round table? What did you understand was the purpose of you being taken
15 out of Omarska?
16 A. It was obvious to me that after the arrival, after the visit of
17 the foreign journalists, Kupresanin went to Omarska. I don't know what he
18 discussed with the camp authorities. But he found only me, although it
19 was obvious that he had been looking for other people as well. He asked
20 about Mujadzic and Rasema Cero, that is, the MPs in the BH assembly from
21 this area. It seemed logical to me that they had some kind of political
22 plan to use the politicians who had survived, the people who had had some
23 kind of political function before.
24 It was from the driver of the car who had been ordered to take me
25 to Vrbanja, to the house of my sister, who -- that I got some additional
1 information. This driver, totally unprompted, turned around and told me:
2 "I think it's very wise of you to have decided to become an MP in the
3 Serbian assembly. But it is also very dangerous for you because Muslim
4 extremists might kill you." So he confirmed my suspicions. I concluded
5 that Kupresanin had probably received orders to find political officials,
6 politicians, and to use them and to present them as members of the Serbian
7 assembly, members who were of non-Serb ethnicity.
8 Q. All right. And were you, in fact, then, taken to Vrbanja and
9 found accommodation there?
10 A. Yes. They put me in the house of my brother-in-law and my sister.
11 Q. And just before we leave that, was Vrbanja -- was kind of a place
12 was Vrbanja? Was it ethnically mixed?
13 A. Almost entire Vrbanja is actually an area which used to be
14 inhabited by Muslim and, to a smaller extent, Croat population. It was
15 only the surrounding areas, the approaches to the town, that were
16 inhabited by Serb population. It is located on the outskirts of Banja
17 Luka, on the eastern side of Banja Luka. It was actually a suburb of
18 Banja Luka.
19 Q. In the light of the evidence that you've given to this Court about
20 Trnopolje and Omarska, I'd like you to have a look, please, at a document.
21 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, it bears the 65 ter number 322. Your
22 Honour, it was a late addition to the bundle, so it will probably be at
23 the back. I'm told by Ms. Karper that it would have been in a separate
24 bundle from the main bundle that was handed in.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If it please could be presented on the ELMO as
2 MS. KORNER: Certainly. We can hand the witness the copy in
3 B/C/S, and we've got an English copy to go on the ELMO, if the usher takes
4 it from us to save time. Thanks.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Defence has a copy? We are all in the same
6 problem. Please understand we received here four or five bundles, and we
7 can't bring it along always. So is the Defence prepared to proceed
8 without the document?
9 MR. OSTOJIC: We would prefer to have it, obviously, Your Honour,
10 but whatever way the Court and the witness.
11 MS. KORNER: Is Your Honour intending -- I'm not sure what time
12 Your Honour takes the second break.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We may have the break now, and then --
14 MS. KORNER: I'll arrange for further copies.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this. And then the trial stands
16 adjourned until 5.40.
17 --- Recess taken at 5.15 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 5.44 p.m.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. I know that it is a point of
20 concern of the OTP that a special file will never be lost, and therefore
21 let's turn immediately to this file. I'm sure that the Defence had the
22 possibility to look into this document called "originals for Court" and
23 it's on some documents bearing a signature, to put it very neutral. The
24 Bench would ask the OTP to provide for colour copies of these documents on
25 the -- of the front and back side, that we can come back to these
1 documents later on. The Judges have decided not to go into details of
2 this document before July 1st, for obvious reasons. Therefore, it doesn't
3 mean that the Judges do not insist on having expert witness, graphologist,
4 especially on the following documents: 64, 66, 68, 69, 71, 72, 75, 77,
5 78, 46, 81, 82, 85. We expect if any observations -- additional
6 observations by the parties as said in the beginning of July, if there is
7 no clarification in addition until then, it seems indispensable for the
8 Judges to have an expert witness on these signatures we have available.
9 But please provide colour copies for all parties. Thank you.
10 MS. KORNER: Yes. Can I just mention, Your Honour, I don't think
11 we need to go into --
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May the usher please give this back to the OTP.
13 MS. KORNER: -- In the event that Your Honours, that it does come
14 to a stage that expert evidence is required, we will be requesting Your
15 Honours or we will be asking the Defence first for samples of handwriting.
16 We can't conduct a comparison without samples. But Your Honour, I'm
17 mentioning that.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think let's discuss this later. Thank you.
19 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I'm sorry, very quickly before we go
20 back to what's a lengthy document in fact, raise one matter, and it's just
21 for clarification. In respect of the witness, the videolink, we have a
22 joint recollection. Your Honours had fixed a date which was the --
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No, no, no. Not to be misunderstood, it was not
24 fixing a date. It was just saying it would be excellent if it would be
25 possible at that date, but it's not any kind of an order. Of course, we
1 should wait until July 4.
2 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, yes, but the only reason I'm asking is
3 because it takes I'm told something in the region of three weeks to set
4 this up, so we need to aim for a date. And that is, in fact -- Your
5 Honour I'm not going to pre-empt matters, we're going to have to discuss
6 how this witness can be fitted into the Brdjanin/Talic case as well. But
7 we will aim for that date.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for the clarification. Observations
9 on this from the Defence.
10 MR. OSTOJIC: Not on this point, but on others the Court has made,
11 we will reserve those for a later time.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It is necessary for today immediately, with
13 regard to the witness before us?
14 MR. OSTOJIC: No, Your Honour, it's not.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then please, let's proceed with the
16 examination-in-chief. Thank you.
17 MS. KORNER: Yes, I think Your Honours have now all got copies of
18 the document. But perhaps we had better just have the English version on
19 the ELMO. Your Honours, because it's a very lengthy document, I am again
20 going to select parts to read out. But Your Honour, it is a document that
21 we would want to get it in full at some stage as opposed to Your Honour
22 maybe admitting.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. But in this case, please take into account
24 that we have two official languages in this Tribunal, and provide a French
25 translation as well, probably it will be necessary for another case as
2 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, we will. We will submit this for as
3 quick a French translation as we can get. And in addition to that, Your
4 Honour, I have spoken to counsel for General Talic, who are going to
5 see -- they did get some documents translated, and they are going to check
6 which ones they did.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: That's really mutual cooperation in criminal
8 matters. Thank you.
9 MS. KORNER:
10 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, I want you to look at this document, because then
11 I want to ask you some questions about it based on your experiences. It
12 is from the Security Services Centre in Banja Luka, or rather -- I beg
13 your pardon. It's at the request of the Banja Luka Security Services
14 Centre. The Prijedor public security station made a report on reception
15 centres in the Prijedor Municipality. The request from the chief or the
16 decision was dated the 14th of August, 1992. The report begins with some
17 background information. It states that "we consider it necessary to point
18 out that on the 29th, 30th of April, 1992, the SDS and its forces assumed
19 power in all organs and throughout the municipality. In this manner,
20 Prijedor Municipality has formally joined the Krajina region, that is to
21 say, the Serbian Republic."
22 And it then set out the areas within the Prijedor Municipality
23 which were inhabited by Muslims and those populated by Muslims and Croats.
24 It then goes on to set out the decisions -- this is in paragraph
25 2 -- that "the government of the Autonomous Region of Krajina and the
1 Ministry of Defence of the Serbian Republic adopted a decision to disarm
2 all paramilitary units, groups, and individuals" whilst urging citizens to
3 conduct those actions in a peaceful and civilised way without any
4 consequences for those possessing weapons.
5 Again, I'm going to omit this for the time being. It talked about
6 the negotiations that went on. And then in the middle of the second
7 paragraph, gives their version or its version of the attack, the incident
8 in Hambarine. "At the beginning of May," the sentence begins, "the
9 extremists provoked the first incident in the village of Hambarine when
10 they stopped a group of soldiers without any reason. On that occasion
11 they resorted to using their weapons, killing three and seriously injuring
12 two soldiers. After the brutal attack, the extremists fled their houses
13 with their weapons. The residents of Hambarine rejected any sort of
14 cooperation with the civilian and military authorities in connection with
15 their arrest and taken into custody."
16 And then it goes on to say: "Since the residents of the village
17 of Hambarine did not abide by the decision of the Ministry of the People's
18 Defence of the Serbian Republic and did not surrender their weapons,
19 refused to cooperate with legal authorities regarding the attack against
20 the soldiers, and rejected the demands set by the army, the Crisis Staff
21 of the Prijedor Municipality decided to intervene militarily in the
22 village, in order to disarm and apprehend those known to have perpetrated
23 the crime against the soldiers. The army intervened, but did not find the
24 attackers. Instead, it only established the Prijedor/Ljubija Road
25 communication and placed the village of Hambarine under its control. The
1 Muslim extremists resisted, but this time the army suffered no losses."
2 "However, on the 24th of May, 1992, Muslim extremists in the
3 village of Jakupovici used their weapons to attack a military patrol,
4 wounding a soldier. Troops from Prijedor set out to assist the patrol,
5 but the armed Muslim extremists attempted to stop them at the first Muslim
6 houses at the edge of Prijedor. On that occasion, a fierce armed clash
7 broke out between the army and the Muslim extremists in the broader
8 Kozarac area. The Muslims refused to surrender their weapons, and
9 subsequently it was established that they had extensively prepared for the
10 armed conflict over a long period of time."
11 "During the fighting, the army left a free corridor for all
12 citizens who wanted to take shelter and flee from the zone of armed
13 conflict, that is to say, for all those who did not want to take part in
14 an armed struggle against the army of the Serbian Republic. The army
15 organised shelter for such citizens in the village of Trnopolje, in the
16 elementary school, the social centre, warehouse, and neighbouring houses,
17 to ensure their safety. This is how the open reception centre of
18 Trnopolje was established, and it continues to operate to this day. The
19 name itself equates the nature of the centre in which, as the conflict
20 broke out, citizens of all ages, both male and female, took shelter. The
21 centre has no barbed wire fence. No investigations are conducted in it.
22 The army secures the centre from attacks by extremists."
23 Now can we stop there for a moment, Mr. Sejmenovic. First of all,
24 "the centre has no barbed wire fence." True or not true?
25 A. The centre was partly surrounded by barbed wire. A part of the
1 fence was made of metal, and there was a part where there was no fence, no
2 metal fence and no barbed wire fence. I have already given a detailed
3 account of this in my previous testimony.
4 Q. Right. The fence that we saw in the film against which the people
5 were standing, was that the part that you say was partly surrounded by
6 barbed wire?
7 A. Yes. That is the part which did have the barbed wire before.
8 Whether it had been there in the same length before the war, I can't say.
9 But I know that a part of the agricultural community warehouse was
10 surrounded by barbed wire. It's possible that it was connected with this
11 other fence later on during these events. But I can't say this for sure
12 because I never stayed very close to that fence, not during the period I'm
13 now talking about.
14 Q. All right. "No investigations are conducted in it." True or not
15 true, as far as you know, while you were there?
16 A. As far as I can tell, it's not true because I was questioned
17 myself. There was a small room there within the local commune building
18 where men were regularly questioned, many of them were beaten, and some of
19 them succumbed to the consequences of these beatings there. This
20 information I obtained from people who were in the camp.
21 Q. And you obtained from people who were in the camp whilst you
22 yourself were there?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Then: "The army secures the centre from attacks by extremists."
25 What was your understanding of the role of the army there? You've told us
1 about the machine-gun nests.
2 A. The army set up guards around the camp and the machine-gun nests.
3 The camp was also run, governed, by the military. Occasionally, as I've
4 already said, I did see a couple of policemen coming to the camp in their
5 blue uniforms, but only very seldom. Concerning those who were there on a
6 permanent basis, who were taking people away, questioning people, and who
7 were securing the camp, all of them were soldiers.
8 Q. What this report appears to say is the army was protecting the
9 inmates of Trnopolje from attacks by what's described as "extremists".
10 Was that the impression that you got, that the army was there to protect
11 the inmates?
12 MR. OSTOJIC: Your Honour I'll object to the form of the question.
13 If counsel is testifying what it appears to her, perhaps she can do it at
14 a later time in the proceedings, but this witness has already testified to
15 what he believes it is and answered a question which is both compound and
16 improper in its form.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sustained. Already previously I indicated that
18 such kind of questions can't be really answered by the witness because the
19 witness can't know what is in the heads of persons who laid down these
21 MS. KORNER: No, but can I -- I mean, I'll simply ask this, Your
23 Q. May I ask the question, did you get the impression, forgetting
24 about what the report says, did you get the impression that the army was
25 there to protect the inmates.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Right. This is fair enough.
2 MR. OSTOJIC: I respect the Court's ruling on it, but just for the
3 record, if I may comment, it's a little too late once the horse has left
4 the barn, to ask this witness to review a document which he has never
5 testified before, and then to come back to it and say, well, let's try it
6 in a different fashion now, by saying let's forget about this document and
7 what it says in front of you, what do you think the impression is? I know
8 what the answer is, I think everyone who's going to hear the testimony --
9 he will say exactly what the document says. It's a complete farce to ask
10 a question like that. Counsel had an opportunity to inquire of his
11 thoughts throughout the entire Trnopolje camp, and now we've passed that.
12 We're in a new document now, having read the document, how can we or how
13 can this panel of judges now distinguish between what he thought at the
14 time, what he thought after reviewing the document, or now what he thought
15 ten years later having reviewed the document, whether or not the army
16 secured it for purposes of the extremists or for whatever reason it may
17 be. I object, Your Honour.
18 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I don't want to waste time. I'll move
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No, no. Let me just state. To avoid this
21 discussion in the future, once again, both parties please be aware, you
22 don't have a jury in front of you; you have three Judges. And I wonder if
23 you wouldn't be interested to hear what is our summary of what we obtain
24 as evidence, and I think you can rely that we know to distinguish in
25 detail. And therefore, as it was done in the past, everybody should have
1 a second chance, and it was granted. Also in the past, to the Defence.
2 Please, may the Prosecutor continue.
3 MS. KORNER: Yes, I'll move on, Your Honour. I don't want to
4 waste more time.
5 Q. Can we just look at the next sentence: "The number of citizens
6 staying there varies because those who wish to can leave the centre at any
7 time since there is a railway station located right by it."
8 Mr. Sejmenovic, whilst you were there, were people leaving
9 the -- leaving Trnopolje, using the railway station?
10 A. Not by their own desire, because that's what is stated here, and
11 that's not true. There was a very precise procedure for the setting up of
12 convoys. It was known whom the Serb authorities had allowed to leave at
13 the beginning it was only women and children. But sometimes, freight cars
14 would be sent to the railway station, and sometimes later on empty buses
15 and lorries arrived. At any rate, men could not cross the fence of the
16 camp of their own free will, or to suit their own needs. That was only at
17 a later date, based on approvals that they would then obtain from the camp
18 command or from the guards.
19 Q. Then, moving on, he says -- the report says in August, there are
20 about 1500 Muslim citizens. "They have organised themselves with respect
21 to accommodation and food, and they are assisted by the army and the Red
23 Again, whilst you were there and from what you understood, what
24 was the organisation, with respect to accommodation and food?
25 A. There was no organisation of accommodation and food. People were
1 allowed to sleep inside the school building, the gym, the old cinema hall,
2 and on the meadow surrounding the complex. That was allowed. Later on,
3 people were allowed to organise their food themselves. Fires were lit and
4 used to cook food, and we had common cauldrons. But this food was not
5 provided by the Serbian authorities, but by individual inmates who had
6 been granted approval to leave the camp in order to forage for runaway
7 cattle or to find flour in the houses surrounding the camp and bring it
8 back to the camp, to organise the provisions of food. So nothing
9 organised at the camp level except for provisional authorisations to go to
10 the surrounding houses and search for food there.
11 As far as medical care is concerned, while I was at the camp, I
12 never went to the medical unit because it was dangerous for me to go to
13 that side of the camp. But I did hear that the doctor we saw on the -- we
14 saw in the footage, and another veterinary, a lady veterinary, and another
15 doctor called Jusuf Pasic were trying to provide basic medical assistance
16 to people. In what measure, in what way exactly, I had no opportunity to
17 see. But I know that this sort of thing did exist.
18 Later on, the Serbian Red Cross started coming to the camp from
19 Prijedor. I did not know at that time that the Red Cross provided food
20 for the camp. While I was there, people were still receiving permits to
21 go to their own houses, not half a kilometre from the camp, to fetch some
22 flour and bring it back to the camp. I saw some of that with my own eyes,
23 people who were allowed to go to their gardens, which were a couple of
24 hundred yards from the camp, get the vegetables from the garden, and then
25 prepare the vegetables inside the camp.
1 Q. Just very --
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I just kindly interrupt. The witness has
3 given already a very detailed and long description of his own experiences,
4 and the Judges do not believe that it's added value to have once again an
5 echo on the basis of that what can be read in this document. And
6 therefore, it seems not to be necessary. It is from our perspective for
7 the Judges to compare that what we can read here opposed to what we heard
8 already by the witness.
9 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I take the point. I was going to ask
10 the witness to move. I just want to ask one question.
11 Q. We saw in that video what appeared to be a Red Cross person, a
12 nurse, being interviewed. Was that a member of the Serbian Red Cross, are
13 you able to say, or of the International Red Cross?
14 A. I believe she belonged to the Serbian Red Cross from Prijedor, and
15 that she was a Serb by nationality.
16 Q. Right. Let's just move on. And there are a couple of other
17 questions I want to ask you on that, but we'll just look at what else it
19 It goes on to talk about, as you've already mentioned, the clinic
20 with a medical team on duty round the clock, equipped to extend basic
21 medical care, and that patients with more serious ailments are transported
22 to the medical centre in Prijedor or Banja Luka. And then states that
23 "The open reception centre will probably have to remain open for some
24 time to come." It then moves on to deal, this report, with the conflict
25 as it's called in Kozarac. "Since armed conflict broke out in the broader
1 Kozarac area between armed Muslim extremists who, according to information
2 received subsequently, numbered around 4.000 men..."
3 Pausing there, you've already told us there was some arming of the
4 TO. Was there in your estimation anything -- well, 4.000 men is the
5 figure given. What do you say was closest?
6 A. I think 4.000 people, the figure makes no sense because we are
7 talking about 4.000 armed persons here. Militarily speaking, there may
8 have been a couple of hundreds of people who were armed. If we take into
9 account improvised weapons, handmade pistols, hunting rifles. Even so, I
10 think it was at the very most a quarter of the number mentioned here. I
11 can't really tell because I didn't count those weapons. But I can speak
12 about the area in which I was staying, so there were very few armed
13 persons there. The inspector at the Omarska camp told me himself that we
14 had very few weapons and that that really wasn't what he was interested
15 in. (redacted)
18 Q. All right. Then let's look at what else is said. "Numbered
19 around 4.000 men, and the army of the Serbian Republic, a large number of
20 persons were captured in combat; that is to say, on the territory in which
21 combat operations took place. Despite the fact that the Muslim extremists
22 extended fierce armed resistance and ruthlessly settled accounts with
23 those members of their own ethnic group who refused to fight the Serbian
25 Now, do you know anything about apparently Muslims ruthlessly
1 settling accounts with other Muslims who refused to fight?
2 A. Quite the contrary, Your Honours. As I have explained before, we
3 offered every person of military age to join the Territorial Defence of
4 their own free will, or not to do so. People did it on a voluntary basis,
5 and signed their names on a voluntary basis. Those who didn't sign were
6 not considered part of the TO, nor am I familiar with anyone exercising
7 any sort of pressure for other people to join the TO or anything like
9 Q. Okay.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I just interrupt. The Judges have decided
11 that on page 68, line 20, beginning with the word "I" until line 23 has to
12 be struck out from the transcript.
13 MS. KORNER: Sorry, Your Honour. I don't understand that.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It's the position it's an opinion not in the
15 sphere of the witness.
16 MS. KORNER: I'm sorry, yes. I'm sorry. I was looking at
17 something else.
18 MR. OSTOJIC: Pardon me, Your Honour. I'd like to heard on this
19 matter, but it would take some time, so I'd like, before the Court
20 directs -- and I know you already have -- perhaps we can revisit this at
21 the start of the proceedings tomorrow at 2.15 because we do have a
22 position on it and it will take some time to explain to the Court. And I
23 think it would be better left outside the presence of the witness, with
24 your permission obviously.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Recalling your previous submissions, we regard
1 it necessary to intervene at this point in time.
2 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And therefore, it may be redacted, please.
4 MS. KORNER: I'm just interested to know, Your Honour, whether
5 Your Honour can do the same in Your Honours' own jurisdiction. I know the
6 Americans can, but we can't. I'm quite interested by that.
7 Q. However, right. I'm sorry, Mr. Sejmenovic. Yes, you dealt with
8 that. Oh yes, sorry, yes, "refused to fight the Serbian forces. The
9 local authorities, the army and even the police were not prepared for such
10 developments, believing to the very end in a peaceful and civilised
11 agreement between ethnic communities, so that the problem of providing
12 shelter and safety for employed persons emerged. In such a situation, the
13 Crisis Staff of Prijedor Municipality decided to utilize the facilities of
14 the Keraterm work organisation in Prijedor to accommodate those captured
15 under the supervision of the employees of the Prijedor public security
16 station and the Prijedor military police. The Prijedor public security
17 station, aware of its personnel possibilities and the seriousness of the
18 newly emerged problem, informed the Banja Luka Security Services Centre,
19 and the command of the Banja Luka Corps and asked for help and specialised
20 personnel to operatively process those captured. The Banja Luka services
21 centre and the command of the Banja Luka Corps became actively in
22 resolving the situation. They sent a large number of experienced
23 professionals to Prijedor whereupon mixed teams consisting of a members of
24 national, public and military security were established, with the task of
25 carrying out the operative processing of captured persons and determining,
1 for each individual, the degree of personal responsibility in the armed
2 rebellion. Operative processing was initiated in the Keraterm facility in
3 Prijedor to which the army brought around 600 persons at the beginning of
4 the conflict.
5 "However, armed conflicts spread to other areas of the
6 municipality, and the number of captured persons increased unexpectedly.
7 It was obvious that given the limited capacities of this facility, as well
8 as for security reasons, it was not opportune to continue keeping
9 detainees in this facility. For this reason, the Crisis Staff of the
10 Prijedor Municipality decided that all detainees from Keraterm in Prijedor
11 be transferred to the premises of the administration building and workshop
12 of the iron ore mine in Omarska where mixed teams of operative personnel
13 would continue the initiated processing, which is why this facility was
14 given the working title "Omarska Investigative Centre for Prisoners of
15 War." On the basis of the same decision, the facility was placed under
16 the supervision of the police and army."
17 Mr. Sejmenovic, pausing there for a moment, in your stay in
18 Omarska, whilst you were in the glass house and elsewhere, did you meet
19 people who had been captured in combat, fighting, in other words?
20 A. No.
21 Q. "On the basis of the same decision, the facility was placed under
22 the supervision of the police and army. The police were thus entrusted
23 with the task of providing direct physical security, while the army
24 provided in-depth security in the form of two circles, and by laying mines
25 along the potential routes of escape by prisoners. Certain facilities in
1 Omarska were supplied with water and had the necessary number of toilet
2 facilities and washrooms, a mess hall, and large rooms in which the
3 detainees were to sleep, as well as a sufficient number of offices in
4 which processing was performed."
5 Mr. Sejmenovic, pausing again, was the glass house supplied with
7 A. No, the glass house wasn't. The so-called "water centre" at the
8 juncture between the restaurant, the glass house, and the administration
9 was. There were improvised water taps on the ground floor which had
10 previously been used for the workers to wash their hands and to drink
11 water. It was situated adjacent to the restaurant, and that's how it had
12 been before the war. As far as the neighbouring facilities are concerned,
13 there was no such thing there, that they only had hangars there for
14 repairing dumpers, big lorries. There were several cisterns there with
15 industrial water which was not drinking water.
16 Q. It then goes on to talk about the mess hall and large rooms in
17 which the detainee where is to sleep. "With the exception of posting
18 guards and organising sleeping facilities to the detainees, no other
19 modifications were performed at the facility, so there was no barbed wire
20 around it, while the existing rooms were used for work with the detainees.
21 Basic medical care was organised, food was prepared in the kitchen at the
22 Omarska iron ore mine and distributed in the restaurant via a self-service
23 system to the detainees, personnel, and some of the iron ore mine workers
24 who stayed on to maintain the facility.
25 "The same decision of the Crisis Staff decrees the Keraterm
1 facility in Prijedor shall be used exclusively as a transit camp and only
2 the first selection of those taken into custody shall be carried out
3 there, since this cannot be done in the Prijedor public security station
4 as a result of limited facilities."
5 Now, on the basis of the decision referred to above, on the 27th
6 of May, 1992, all prisoners of war were transferred to Omarska, and then
7 new ones were brought in, whether they were captured in combat or taken
8 into custody on the basis of the results of operative processing. After
9 criminal investigation processing --
10 THE REGISTRAR: I'm sorry. Could you pause a minute for the
12 MS. KORNER: Sorry.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you.
14 MS. KORNER: Normally, it comes up on the screen when I'm going
15 too fast.
16 Q. "After criminal investigation processing, the operatives separated
17 all persons brought to Omarska into three categories, depending on the
18 degree of personal responsibility in the armed rebellion. The first
19 category included persons suspected of the most serious crimes and those
20 who directly organised and took part in the armed rebellion. The second
21 category included persons suspected of organising, assisting, and
22 financing armed rebellion. The third category included persons who were
23 not interesting from a security point of view, but who were captured
24 because they found themselves in combat zones, although in the course of
25 investigation, it was established that they were forced to stay in the
1 area by extremists. Likewise, this category included those for whom there
2 was no substantial proof that they had participated in the armed rebellion
3 in any manner whatsoever."
4 Mr. Sejmenovic, the people that you met, which category did they
5 fall into?
6 A. You mean the people in the glass house? Or anywhere in the camp?
7 Q. Yes. Let's deal with the people in the glass house first.
8 A. I don't know who belonged to which category, nor did I learn from
9 my partial contacts with those people whether they knew which group they
10 belonged to. Only the camp authorities really knew that, the inspectors
11 who questioned those people and who determined where to put a certain
12 person in as far as they had any such categories at all.
13 Q. It's my fault. The question was not clear enough. Did the people
14 that you met, did anybody admit or tell you that they had organised or had
15 anything to do with an armed rebellion?
16 A. No, no.
17 Q. Did you meet anyone who admitted to organising or assisting or
18 financing any arming of non-Serbs?
19 A. I did see some individuals who were members of the Territorial
20 Defence for whom I know that fact and whom I knew by sight. I saw several
21 such people.
22 Q. The third category, as the Serbs categorized them, were those who
23 were captured because they found themselves in what is called "combat
24 zones." How many people that you met fell into that category?
25 A. I can just say once again that we could not identify the
1 categories. We didn't know who belonged to which category, but I did
2 recognise a number of people there from various parts of the municipality,
3 including young people and elderly people. I'm referring to the area of
4 Kozarac and Hambarine. There were no people left there. They were all
5 either in Omarska or Trnopolje or Keraterm camp. So the overall male
6 population was in one of these three locations.
7 Q. Was anybody forced, in the Kozarac area, while you were there, to
8 remain in the area although they wanted to leave, by Muslims?
9 A. No, no. There was no one there who could have forced them to
10 leave, even if they had wanted to. It was the Serb military who entered
11 the area, arrested people, or told the population that they had to go to
12 Trnopolje, else they would be killed. Others were taken to --
13 Q. I'm sorry. Pause there a second. It's my fault again. What I'm
14 asking you is not whether people wanted to leave, but were people forced
15 to remain, for example, in the area of Kozarac by members of the Muslim
16 TO? In other words, ordinary citizens, at the time of the attack?
17 A. No. No. Absolutely not. The people were forced by the Serb
18 military to leave the area.
19 Q. Just finishing the document off, then: "According to the
20 available documents and files kept in Omarska, from the 27th of May, to
21 the 16th of August, a total of 3.334 persons were brought to the
22 investigative centre of which 3.197 were Muslim, 125 were Croat, 11 were
23 Serbs, 1 was an other, there were 28 people under the age of 18, 68 over
24 60, 2.920 between 18 and 60, 3.297 males, and 37 women. During their stay
25 in the investigations centre, two persons, both Muslim, died of natural
1 causes. In the period from the 27th of May to the 16th of August, 1992, a
2 total of 49 persons left the centre in an unknown manner and in an unknown
4 "From 27 May to the 16th of August, 3.334 persons underwent
5 criminal investigation processing in the centre. Of this number, 1.773
6 were transferred to Trnopolje, and 1.331 to the military camp at Manjaca,
7 along with the collected documentation on the degree of responsibility in
8 participating in the armed rebellion. And currently 179 persons are being
9 processed in the Omarska reception centre."
10 And then it deals with the continuing investigation. And finally,
11 on citizens moving out from the Prijedor Municipality: "According to
12 intelligence obtained by the Prijedor Public Security Station, and on the
13 basis of public rumours, there are grounds to believe that 4.000 to 5.000
14 persons, primarily Muslims, had moved away from the Prijedor Municipality
15 before armed conflict broke out."
16 Yes. "This public security station has no official data
17 concerning the matter since these persons gave no official notice of
18 departure from their residences in keeping with the regulations.
19 Furthermore, according to information which has not been adequately
20 verified, it is suspected that this group primarily included members of
21 the immediate families of the most extreme advocates of armed conflicts
22 with the Serbs, and that by removing their families, that is to say,
23 having them to move to other areas, they were able to devote themselves to
24 the fullest extent to preparations for war."
25 Pausing there, Mr. Sejmenovic, were you aware of people in your
1 area sending their families away so that they could devote themselves to
2 preparation for war? That is, non-Serb families.
3 A. No. No.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 Then it says: "From the onset of the armed conflict in the
6 municipality to this day, according to insufficiently verified data,
7 around 20.000 citizens of all ages, both male and female, primarily Muslim
8 and Croat, but also Serb, have moved away from the municipality." And
9 then it deals with -- well, perhaps I better read the rest. "The public
10 security station does not have at its disposal official documents on this
11 group either, since they left the municipality without giving official
12 notice of departure from their place of residence. They mostly used
13 trains as transport to Doboj, private vehicles to drive off in all
14 directions, or other means of transport.
15 "At present, on the 16th of August, 1992, at the request of
16 residents, the Prijedor Public Security Station has issued notice of
17 termination of residence to 13.180 residents who issued requests in
18 keeping with the legal regulations. This group has still not moved away
19 from the municipality but has only given notice of departure from their
20 residences. With the assistance of religious and humanitarian
21 organisations, they are currently seeking ways to move away, exclusively
22 to Slovenia or other western countries. The Prijedor Public Security
23 Station does not have at its disposal data indicating what these persons
24 have done with their real estate or what they have done or intend to do
25 with their moveable property. In this respect, the public security
1 station employees will carry out every request issued by the authorised
2 organs of the Serbian Republic in conformity with the rights and
3 obligations deriving from the scope of the work of internal affairs
4 organs. 280 Serbian families were the area of the Cazin Krajina have
5 settled in Prijedor Municipality in the area of the village of Trnopolje.
6 Discussions are currently underway that 400 Serbian families from the
7 broader Zenica area also be settled in the same village." I want to come
8 back a little later to what happened in Trnopolje.
9 And then finally, the activities of the Prijedor station. "The
10 Serbian employees of the public security station, both active and in
11 reserve, have jointly participated in a systematic manner in assuming
12 authority which was successfully executed on the 29th/30th of April, and
13 subsequently most of the time was devoted to ensuring the physical
14 security of vital facilities in the municipality."
15 And then they deal with the police -- "after the outbreak of armed
16 conflict, at the army's request and as a result of the situation which
17 they confronted, public security station employees directly participated
18 in armed conflicts. So far, 11 persons on active-duty or reservists have
19 lost their lives, while a total of 38 have been wounded.
20 "Together with members of military units, police employees are
21 participating in combing and mopping up terrain with respect to enemy
22 groups and individuals who have remained behind or have concealed
23 themselves. Through intelligence field work, they are obtaining useful
24 information on the enemy's activity in the municipality."
25 And I think I don't need to read anything else. And it is signed
1 by Simo Drljaca.
2 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I would ask that document be admitted
3 into evidence.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Objections?
5 MR. OSTOJIC: Yes, Your Honour. But quite frankly, I find, based
6 on what the witness testified, which was redacted why the OTP would want a
7 self-serving, distorted, inaccurate document, as this witness has called
8 it to be introduced in as evidence. I think that it's irrelevant, and I
9 do not think it should be accepted, based on this witness's testimony,
10 into evidence.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: At any rate, it's necessary to have this
12 document, for a better understanding of the transcript, and in the
13 understanding that the Office of the Prosecutor will provide the original
14 and colour copy of page 9 of the B/C/S version. This document is admitted
15 into evidence as S152A in the English version, and B in the B/C/S version.
16 MS. KORNER: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 If Your Honour could give me one minute, I just want to check...
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
20 MS. KORNER: Could you now be shown the document with the 65 ter
21 number 365.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In which bundle can we find this document,
24 MS. KORNER: The big bundle, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: 365. 363, 367.
1 MS. KORNER: All right. Your Honour, I can deal with other
2 matters. Your Honour, I'm told it's already been gone through. It's S90.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then it's from list 2 and the other. S90.
4 Please proceed.
5 MS. KORNER: Thank you.
6 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, just looking at this document which was the
7 minutes of the session of the national Defence council of the Prijedor
8 Municipal Assembly held at 1200 on the 29th of September and presided over
9 by Dr. Milomir Stakic, it has already been read, so I just want to look at
10 Item 2 on the agenda. "The National Defence Council will take on all the
11 essential obligations regarding the unhindered arrival of all persons from
12 the Open Trnopolje Reception Centre according to a list agreed by the
13 municipal Red Cross and International Red Cross. The public security
14 station would provide escort, vehicles, and fuel via the secretariat for
15 fuel and economy -- via the secretariat for economy and social services,
16 and three, the municipal Red Cross will be advised to close down the Open
17 Trnopolje Reception Centre as the departure of all registered persons from
18 this reception centre effectively makes it unnecessary."
19 By this stage, Mr. Sejmenovic, you were out of Omarska. Did you
20 hear about the closure of the Trnopolje camp?
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, just to interrupt once again. It's not
22 correct what you stated that it's already gone through and read out. We
23 haven't come to this point yet.
24 MS. KORNER: I see. I'm so sorry, Your Honour. I thought it had
25 been read out. Does Your Honour want me to do that?
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Just for clarification, and if it's necessary
2 from your point of view, you may add additional parts or portions from
3 this document.
4 MS. KORNER: All right. Can I just go back, then, to establish
5 that it shows that the session was, as I said, was presided over by
6 Dr. Stakic and was attended by him, Mr. Savanovic, Dr. Kovacevic, Radmilo
7 Zeljaja, Bosko Mandic, Slavko Budimir, Ranko Travar, Simo Drljaca, and
8 Milenko Rajlic. And the agenda included a report on the forthcoming
9 activities regarding the open Trnopolje reception centre, and then the
10 bits that I have just read out were dealt with, were the conclusions.
11 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, I'm sorry. Did you become aware of the closure of
12 Trnopolje? Rather, I should say again, I'll rephrase that question. That
13 a large number of people were leaving?
14 A. As regards the period indicated above, that is, when these minutes
15 were taken on the 29th of September, 1992, I did not have this
16 information. While we were there in Trnopolje, from time to time, we were
17 told that the whole camp would be evacuated in this way. When I departed
18 from this area and arrived in Banja Luka, I no longer had any information
19 on what was going on in Trnopolje.
20 Q. All right. In that case, I'll leave that.
21 I want now to deal -- I may ask you about some more documents
22 tomorrow, but I want now to deal with what happened to you after you had
23 been released from Omarska. You said that you went to Vrbanja and stayed
24 in a house, I think you said, with -- was it your sister? Yeah.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. After you had been there a couple of days, did you see
2 Mr. Kupresanin again?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. I was taken to Vrbanja by Mr. Kupresanin, an officer, and the
5 driver. I was in this car. They wanted to talk to my sister and my
6 brother-in-law first, and then to leave me in their house. They arrived
7 in Vrbanja. They had this talk with them. I stayed behind, and they went
8 back to Banja Luka. After that, they visited Vrbanja on several
9 occasions. Before that, they had taken me to Banja Luka on three
10 occasions, if remember it correctly.
11 Q. All right. Yes. I want to come to when you saw Mr. Kupresanin
13 A. Again, I mean, several days after my arrival in Vrbanja, soldiers
14 came and took me to Mr. Kupresanin once again, to the government building
15 in Banja Luka. Again, I had a conversation with Kupresanin and a similar
16 thing occurred on several more occasions.
17 Q. All right. I want to ask you about one particular occasion
18 when -- I'm sorry. Before I do that, what was the purpose of taking you
19 to see Mr. Kupresanin on this -- the number of occasions at the municipal
21 A. On the first occasion, Kupresanin wanted me to establish a
22 telephone contact with the BH Army, that is, with the authorities in
23 Sarajevo. And then in particular, with the authorities in Tuzla. He
24 tried to talk me into that. I must say that he did not exert any physical
25 pressure on me, but he wanted me to talk to the authorities there because
1 he said whenever they made such an attempt, they would cut off. And he
2 said that he needed me to establish this contact in Tuzla as well. On the
3 second occasion, when I was taken there, he said that it was only to give
4 me some food by way of assistance. And on the third occasion, I was taken
5 there for the purpose of meeting Dr. Radovan Karadzic who visited Banja
6 Luka on that day, and also for the purposes of meeting Cyrus Vance and
7 Lord Carrington.
8 Q. On that occasion, you were taken there. Was that said to you in
9 advance, for the purpose of meeting Karadzic, Vance, and Carrington?
10 A. Kupresanin and a couple of other officers came to Bosanska
11 Vrbanja, Kupresanin told me that I had very little time to get ready.
12 That I had to shave and change the clothes that I was wearing at the
13 moment. He added: "You're now going to see President Karadzic. You will
14 have a talk with him. And afterwards, you will probably meet with some
15 other people." I don't remember him saying that I would meet with Cyrus
16 Vance and Lord Carrington. But I heard it over the radio that this
17 high-ranking international delegation had already arrived in Banja Luka.
18 Q. When you arrived at the Municipal Assembly building, were there
19 members -- first of all, were there a number of people at the building?
20 A. There were many people there. We spent some time in the corridor
21 on the second or the first floor. I'm not sure. We stood there for a
22 while. And more and more people were coming in. Some 20 minutes later,
23 or less, a very great number of people had gathered, civilians, officers.
24 I recognised a number of politicians amongst them, the people I knew from
25 the parliament. I saw a number of MPs. I stood there next to Kupresanin
1 and waited.
2 Q. Now, you said that there were a number of politicians, people you
3 knew from parliament. Did you see any politicians from the Prijedor area
4 in particular?
5 A. Yes, I did. I first saw Mr. Srdjo Srdic, an MP in the Bosnian
6 parliament while it was still functioning. After that, I saw Dr. Stakic,
7 who came some 10 minutes after Mr. Srdic.
8 Q. Where did you see Dr. Stakic?
9 A. He came up the stairs to the corridor where we were, and he came
10 up to me and greeted me. He saw Mr. Srdic. I believe he greeted him,
11 too, without exchanging too many words. And afterwards, he went in the
12 direction of the offices. He stood there, down there, for a while, and
13 then he left.
14 Q. Now, you say he saw Mr. Srdic. Was there any conversation at that
15 stage that you heard between Stakic and Srdic?
16 A. No. There was no conversation between Stakic and Srdic. They
17 just briefly greeted each other, and then Mr. Stakic went away. Mr. Srdic
18 stayed behind. From time to time, he would approach a group of people,
19 and then come back. At one point, he left. I must say that there was a
20 big argument going on amongst these people who had gathered in the
21 corridor. They were criticising Mr. Karadzic, and Srdic criticised him
22 most, for having delegated power, for having -- he said that not all of
23 the agreements had been implemented. He spoke about some buses. And he
24 denied his responsibility in respect of these buses. At one moment, he
25 came up to me. He took me by my hand, and he took me to this other group
1 of people. And he said: "Mevludin, please tell them, please confirm that
2 I never set foot in Omarska or Keraterm. I don't want to be held
3 responsible for anything. I had nothing to do with those buses."
4 Q. Right. Let's pause there for a moment. Do you know what buses he
5 was talking about?
6 A. No, not at that time. I think that he mentioned Vlasic on that
7 occasion, but I simply didn't know. But since they were talking about
8 Prijedor and since I had been able to see evacuations, such evacuations
9 from time to time, I sensed that there was something wrong with this
10 deportation. When I came back several days later, the international media
11 had already published the fact that massacres had occurred in the area of
12 Mount Vlasic. So I made a connection between these two things, and I
13 realised why Srdic had reacted the way he had.
14 Q. Now, was Srdic -- you say that he was criticising, or they were,
15 Mr. Karadzic, and Srdic criticised him most for having delegated power.
16 Was he saying anything about the municipalities and Mr. Karadzic?
17 A. Srdic was cursing Karadzic. He was saying something to the effect
18 that Karadzic had given all the power to the presidents of the
19 municipalities and that they were acting on their own. This is what he
20 was saying. He said that he had disbanded the regions, the autonomous
21 regions. And as a result of that, the sole authority lied in the hands of
22 the municipal presidents. He further spoke about the burning of the
23 houses in Cela and Gomjenica, something that had not been agreed upon
24 earlier on. He mentioned cases of arson in Ljubija. I believe that he
25 spoke about some Croatian houses that had been burned down in Zune, I
1 think, and he complained about Stakic and Stakic's men, as he said.
2 Privately, he also complained about the fact that Stakic's men had
3 or had intended to burn down his house, which was located in the vicinity
4 of the municipal building.
5 Q. All right.
6 MS. KORNER: Yes. Your Honour, I note the time.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But we can't conclude without announcing a
8 decision of the Bench. We have before us a witness now concluding the
9 fourth day of the testimony. In advance, the Judges were told that the
10 estimated time would be four hours. We have really to concentrate on the
11 main issues of the case; and therefore, time limit is necessary. The
12 Chamber regards it as adequate to finalise the testimony of this witness
13 no later than 90 minutes after the start of tomorrow's hearing. Thank
15 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, Mr. Ostojic asked Your Honour for time
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We start tomorrow immediately without any
18 further discussions, and then we have 90 minutes to go with this witness.
19 It's also, from the point of the witness, impossible to continue to
20 continue. And a possible way is not to introduce too many documents
21 through a witness, but to come to the concrete facts and to that what the
22 witness has experienced. And this is what the Judges really want to know.
23 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I sent a message to Your Honour asking
24 if I could discuss this, as Mr. Ostojic did earlier, before this witness
25 came in the reason why I'm doing this. And there really is a good
1 reason. Your Honour, I don't know if we can have five minutes out of the
2 interpreters, and perhaps the witness can leave because I really want to
3 explain the reason why I'm doing this. I'd like the opportunity to do
4 that before Your Honour makes a final ruling.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We have made our ruling, and we proceed this way
6 tomorrow without any further discussion. We have to conclude this
8 The trial stays adjourned until tomorrow, 2.15.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
10 7.00 p.m., to be reconvened on
11 Wednesday, the 19th day of June, 2002,
12 at 2.15 p.m.