1 Thursday, 20 June 2002
2 [Closed session]
12 Pages 4928 to 4938 – redacted – closed session.
22 [Open session]
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Confirmed. Please proceed.
24 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, I'd like to go back briefly, and very briefly if I
1 may, to your 2002 written statement that was given to the ICTY. In that
2 statement, as we yesterday discussed, and I'd be happy to give it to you
3 if you'd like, that again on the issue of reviewing numerous documents
4 relevant to the trial of Dr. Stakic, it says "numerous documents" we
5 talked about that yesterday. And I appreciate your answers on that.
6 What I want to know is what the word "relevant" means, and who
7 determined what documents, whether they were numerous or not, who
8 determined that the documents were relevant for Dr. Stakic and his case?
9 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I think I --
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Excuse me --
11 MS. KORNER: If necessary, I'll call the investigator who dealt
12 with it, but I can say straight away that the documents were given by the
13 investigator to the witness.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it's the testimony of the witness now,
15 and not the one of the OTP. The witness may answer the question, please.
16 MS. KORNER: All right.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I was shown a number
18 of documents during the interview preceding this trial. Everything that
19 was shown me then put in front of me from my own position it seemed
20 relevant. I wasn't the one to select the documents from the file. The
21 team of investigators approached me and told me: "Can you please look
22 through these documents." I did not select them as I saw fit. These
23 documents were just there. Why these documents are legally relevant,
24 perhaps you and Your Honours could say. At this moment, I really don't
25 know the legal relevance of what you've just asked me, but I respect your
1 profession and I tried to answer your question.
2 As far as the legal formulation and the legal relevance is
3 concerned, I think it's quite pointless to ask me about that. I agreed to
4 cooperate, and whatever was shown me, both here and there, is something
5 that I can form my opinion on the basis of and in terms of my own
6 experience, and that's all I can answer.
7 MR. OSTOJIC:
8 Q. Thank you for that. But my question doesn't relate to the
9 definition legally of the word "relevant." And I recognise you're not a
10 lawyer. Correct?
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. You've never studied law, in any capacity. Correct?
13 A. No.
14 Q. It's not right or it's correct that you never studied law in any
16 A. I didn't study law.
17 Q. So I'm not asking for a legal definition of relevance. My point
18 is as follows, if I may, sir, you don't know, since you did not select the
19 documents, what is or is not relevant to the case of Dr. Milomir Stakic.
20 Would that be fair?
21 A. I looked through the documents that were shown me. If anyone
22 asked me if there was a link, a connecting thread, between those
23 documents, being an engineer and not a lawyer, what I could say is that
24 the connection is the SDS, the Crisis Staff, the area, and part of that
25 area. That's all I could say. But I don't think my own view is very
1 helpful in this matter. Documents did relate to the problems dealt with
2 by this Tribunal. That, I think, is obvious enough. What the relevance
3 is in this particular case, don't ask me to be a judge.
4 Q. Fair enough. We'll move on on the issue of relevance. I take it
5 from the statement that you signed, Miss Joanna Korner was present at that
6 interview as well. Correct?
7 A. I think so.
8 Q. You don't remember, or you're not sure?
9 A. I'm not sure. I signed the statement after the interview and
10 after I had looked through those documents. It's possible that she was
11 there, but I'm not sure really. It was a formal issue. I just had a
12 quick look, and I signed.
13 Q. Briefly, how long did your process of reviewing these documents
14 that were not selected by you, how long did it take?
15 A. How long? Two or three days on several separate occasions because
16 at a later stage, we did discuss a number of those documents. I asked
17 questions about some of the documents, some of the documents I had no
18 opinion on. Some I had held a view about in the earlier trials, and it's
19 possible I said something to the effect because some of the documents had
20 been used in the earlier trials. But I didn't see any relevance within
21 that procedure in taking up the pen and then numbering which in a
22 different situation I would have done, of course, the exact hours I spent
23 working on those documents. So in the future, I may be well advised to do
24 so, so we spare ourselves the effort and the time.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Sejmenovic. If I may now turn to another issue,
1 please, briefly we discussed yesterday -- I'm going to try to walk through
2 the entire period from the elections of November 1990 up and through, and
3 obviously there's a relevant time period subsequent to that, but up and
4 until and through September of 1992 based on the testimony that you've
5 provided four or so sessions here. So my first issue, or I'm going to
6 cover two issues related to the pre-election period which is immediately
7 prior to 1990. Sir, I don't need and necessarily want you to go back too
8 far in history so we're limited to that period when the SDA, HDZ, and SDS
9 formed their parties. So closer to the period of November. Is that fair?
11 A. Yes. I will try to help and answer all the questions that I can.
12 Q. Thank you. There was an interparty agreement between the three
13 majority parties: SDA, HDZ, and SDS, prior to the November 1990
14 elections. Correct?
15 A. Generally speaking at the Republic level, several talks were held
16 between the three parties; the presidents of the parties and the top-level
17 leaders. That was a generally known fact. There was also a general
18 agreement that if the elections were won, a coalition government would be
20 Q. And the agreement actually, to the best of your knowledge, was a
21 coalition between which parties?
22 A. We're talking now about the pre-election period, and several talks
23 were held between the leaders of the three parties. The so-called
24 national parties, the SDS, the SDA, and the HDZ. That was a generally
25 known fact, also published in the media and the newspapers as well as the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 electronic media.
2 Q. Was this agreement, the interparty agreement between those three
3 parties that you mentioned, was it ever reduced to writing or was it
4 simply an oral agreement?
5 A. I can't really remember whether there was anything in writing.
6 But I know that the agreement was very firm and that principles were set
7 down if the elections were won, how power would be distributed. I'm sure
8 you can check this in Sarajevo. I think that's a very simple thing to
9 check, whether there was anything in writing.
10 Q. Thank you. Can you share with us the sum and substance of that
11 firm agreement and those firm principles that you just described?
12 A. I can only speak now in a very general way about the essential
13 point of those negotiations, so the essence was once we succeeded in
14 toppling the communists or the left-wing bloc, power would be distributed
15 according to a very simple principle. All the national parties would
16 partake in power, equal representation in government bodies, and then the
17 rest depending on results at the local level. The party taking the
18 majority of votes would get the most representatives, and then the second
19 biggest party would get the second biggest number of representatives, and
20 that's how these positions were to be filled. At the republic level, and
21 also at the local level as we were instructed, to also include the
22 opposition wherever possible and to assign to the opposition parties the
23 lower-ranking positions wherever possible. In some places, they did
24 manage to implement this, and in some they didn't. In Prijedor, we tried
25 to have something like that, but we couldn't reach a more general
1 agreement with the other parties, specifically the SDS, maybe even the HDZ
2 but I can't remember now. That was the general platform that was later to
3 be put in place, at least initially during the first stage.
4 Q. Is it your position, sir, that the SDS violated this interparty
5 agreement prior to the November 1990 elections?
6 A. Which part of the agreement are you referring to? I have
7 enumerated several elements of this agreement.
8 Q. As to any elements that you've described for us, I would simply
9 like to know your position whether prior to the November 1990 elections,
10 whether or not the SDS violated any of those terms of the interparty
11 agreement, and then if you could share with us which ones.
12 A. At the republic level or at the municipal level?
13 Q. At both.
14 A. Prior to the elections, neither at the republic level nor at the
15 municipal level was it possible to violate the agreement because the
16 elections had not taken place yet, and there was no power to distribute.
17 So, confusion arose after the elections. There were negotiations between
18 the parties at the republic level about the distribution of the leading
19 positions, but this didn't last for a very long time, because they were
20 distributed quite quickly. In most of the municipalities, the process was
21 completed without any major complications. In some of the municipalities,
22 problems did occur later on, related to the distribution of power.
23 Speaking of this latest stage, we can say that yes, the SDS did indeed
24 violate the agreement. That is my view speaking from my position at that
25 time, my position as an SDA official. And also based on what I remember
1 we had offered the local branch of the SDS. So that's when they began to
2 disregard this joint agreement.
3 Q. Is it your testimony that you participated in the formation of the
4 municipal authority or government in the Prijedor Municipality after the
5 elections of November 1990?
6 A. The SDA did take part, yes.
7 Q. Did you, sir, participate?
8 A. I was not part of the executive power. I was physically present,
9 but I was not myself a candidate for executive power, nor did I devise any
10 new scheme for the division of power. There was an agreement, and all the
11 leading top positions were distributed quite quickly, but then the
12 remaining offices -- the distribution of the remaining offices became a
13 moot point.
14 Q. So you were present but you did not participate, correct, in the
15 participation with respect to the Prijedor government authority in the
16 municipality. Is that a fair way to say it?
17 A. There was the party, sir, and there were the party organs. On the
18 other hand, you had another party, and a third party which took part in
19 the negotiations. Before every negotiation, proposals were to be agreed
20 on, and after each and every one of the talks, regardless of the results,
21 favourable or less favourable, conclusions were presented at the -- to the
22 executive board. So, if someone was a member of the Executive Board of
23 the party, not necessarily the president or the vice-president but this
24 person was very well informed about what was going on, and what is
25 participation exactly? What does that mean? Sometimes you just raise
1 your hand. Sometimes you draw a proposal on behalf of others, and then
2 the others may have to determine it. It's a very relative concept. If I
3 was in the leadership of the party, there was not only one man there.
4 There was the presidency, the Executive Board, and the municipal board. I
5 did partake in the work of these organs, which means that I was kept well
6 informed. But not in the sense in which you could say that I was a member
7 of the negotiating team. And you may be right on this point because I
8 never went to the meeting of the three officials of the SDA and the SDS
9 where we would sit down and negotiate. I took part in no such meetings.
10 During the negotiations about this situation, how it really was on
11 the level of what was said, I couldn't tell. But those leaving a session
12 of the Executive Board, I know what their duty was and what they had to
13 come back with to the board and what they had to present. We had very
14 simple solutions, very simple, not much philosophy is needed to understand
15 that solution. "Gentlemen, no division of power has been implemented yet.
16 Please, let's carve it up in two halves, if you please. We'll have the
17 half we like or we'll just carve it up, so please have either of the two
18 halves." It was a very simple matter.
19 Q. Thank you. Thank you.
20 A. Please.
21 Q. So am I correct that you participated not directly, but
22 indirectly, as a member of the republic of the Chamber of Municipalities
23 of Prijedor and as the first vice-president of the SDA? Correct? Would
24 that be a fair generalization?
25 A. Yes, if you like. You can indeed define it in that way.
1 Q. Is it true, sir, that based on this interparty agreement, that the
2 SDA in Prijedor selected the foremost post in the municipality, that being
3 the president of the municipality assembly of Prijedor, Mr. Cehajic?
5 A. On the basis of a pre-electoral agreement, the SDA received the
6 post of the president of municipality, so that was based on a
7 pre-electoral agreement. That was something agreed with the SDS, and that
8 was no request. It was a normal result of the -- a normal consequence of
9 the election result for the SDA to have the president of municipality, for
10 the SDS to have the president of the municipal government. That was never
11 disputed because it had been agreed in the pre-election period. Should
12 the SDS win the elections, they will have the president of the assembly.
13 If the SDA came second, the president of the government would be an SDA
14 member. The elections took place, and the transition occurred. The place
15 of Marko Pavic was taken over by Muhamed Cehajic from the SDA, the
16 president of the municipal government was Marko Kovacevic. At that stage,
17 there were no problems really. There was a preelectoral agreement
18 concerning this issue, and after the elections, this agreement was simply
19 carried out.
20 The problems arose when the remaining positions of power had to be
22 Q. And I think that's why my question said "based on the interparty
23 agreement" and that's what I'm basing it on essentially. In connection
24 with that, you mentioned a gentleman by the name of Marko Kovacevic. Is
25 it Milan Kovacevic or is it Marko Kovacevic who became the president of
1 the municipal government. Just so the record is clear, sir.
2 A. I never mentioned Marko Kovacevic. I only said the late
3 Dr. Kovacevic. And as far as Mr. Muhamed Cehajic from the SDA is
4 concerned, he took over the position of president of municipality from
5 Marko Pavic. The former president from the socialist system. It is quite
6 possible that this has been misinterpreted.
7 Q. It is quite possible, and that's why on the transcript it revealed
8 that, and that's why I just wanted to correct it so there would be no
10 The primary post for the municipality of Prijedor in 1990 after
11 the elections was to select and the SDA selected its member. The second
12 most influential post was actually, as you just said, the president of the
13 government, and that was given to the SDS, and that was to Mr. -- the late
14 Dr. Milan Kovacevic. Correct?
15 A. That's correct. That's correct.
16 Q. There is no doubt that those two posts were the post influential
17 posts in the entirety of the Prijedor Municipality from the elections of
18 1990. Correct?
19 A. Yes, you could say that these were the two most prominent
20 positions in the municipality.
21 Q. And as this highest function or the most prominent positions in
22 the municipality, can you tell us, if you know, what the duties and
23 obligations were of the president of the Municipal Assembly, and then the
24 president, as you call it, of the government, namely Dr. Kovacevic?
25 A. I can't interpret these issues legally. Of course you will
1 understand that. But I know the essence of both of these positions. The
2 Municipal Assembly is the highest legislative body at all. It is chaired
3 by the president of the assembly. He also proposes the agenda and
4 convenes the session. People used to refer to him as the president of the
5 municipality. So that was the foremost function and the highest
6 legislative position in a municipality.
7 Are you ready? Because I haven't completed my answer. In
8 addition to the legislative power and the assembly as its highest body,
9 there was also executive power, so this is a general principle applying to
10 all levels and to most countries in the world. The head of the executive
11 power or municipal government, as we refer to it, was Mr. Kovacevic. His
12 position was the president of the Executive Board. His competence was to
13 convene sessions of the government, and the government consisted of the
14 most prominent men from all the different sections of society, culture,
15 economy, and so on. He was supposed to convene sessions of the government
16 to preside over these sessions, to work towards solutions, and, in a
17 practical sense, to virtually govern, or to propose laws or amendments to
18 laws to the assembly after which the assembly would convene and adopt a
19 decision, make amendments, or choose not to do so. So that was the
20 essence of these two positions.
21 Q. So when you say that the late Dr. Milan Kovacevic was the
22 president of the government, he was in actuality of the president of the
23 Executive Board of the Prijedor Municipality. Correct?
24 A. Yes. I tried to emphasise nominally it's called the president of
25 the Executive Board, but popularly referred to as the president of the
2 Q. In that short period after the elections, can you tell us, the
3 late Mr. Cehajic as president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, what
4 influence, if any, did he have on the republic level with respect to
5 republic institutions?
6 A. Concerning the communication between the different -- between the
7 local level and the republic institutions, occasionally at times, heads of
8 municipality were called to meetings, to attend meetings at the republic
9 level. I don't know which institutions called them, but I know that there
10 were a number of such cases. I would not know about the details, but I
11 know that, formally, heads of municipality did not compose any specific
12 body that regularly met at the republic level, but there were invitations
13 to meetings, so probably that came from the government level of the
14 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, from some sectors of the government.
15 But I'm not qualified to speak about that because I simply do not know a
16 sufficient number of facts.
17 Q. Let me ask you this: You, being the republic representative for
18 the municipality of Prijedor in the Chamber of Municipalities after 1990,
19 to whom would the republic assemblymen turn to to discuss issues which may
20 or may not concern the Prijedor Municipality? Would they turn to the late
21 Dr. Cehajic, or would they turn to you?
22 A. I did not quite understand the question, I believe. Whom the
23 delegates from the republic level would go to speak to at the local
24 level? Was that your question?
25 Q. Not quite, but that's not a bad question. But my question is
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 this: If there was an issue that the late Dr. Cehajic wanted to discuss
2 that involved a republic institution, let's take the military, for
3 instance, would he go to you first, or would he go directly to the
4 republic assembly to have that issue resolved?
5 A. Sir, he didn't need to address the republic assembly. If the
6 issue on the agenda involved the military at the level of the
7 municipality, there was the secretariat for the national defence. Its
8 command was located in Sarajevo. There could have been some intermediate
9 stages, but the final one was in Sarajevo. If public security was the
10 issue, then there was the ministry of the interior. If necessary, he was
11 able to address the minister of the interior. I'm now talking to you
12 about the normal way of proceeding.
13 In reality, I can tell you only about how I, as a deputy,
14 functioned within this municipality. It was my duty, my obligation, and I
15 made it clear to everyone, publicly, at the assembly sessions and on
16 various other occasions that if they had any problems or any initiatives,
17 any solutions for problems, in terms of passing new legislation, then I
18 would be conveying those to the level of the republic. And in that
19 capacity, I sometimes had contacts to that effect with Muharem [as
20 interpreted] Cehajic, even with the people from the SDS. So I was a
21 deputy who was obliged to convey certain problems, but only those which
22 required the application of the parliamentary procedure. I would have to
23 rely on some people who would prepare that for me, and then I would bring
24 it up at the session of the assembly, or wait for the opportune moment to
25 do that. And that is the way that I proceeded and worked.
1 As for the problems related to specific departments within the
2 municipal authority, such as the police, financial affairs, the economy,
3 the military, there was a regular structure in place. And it would have
4 been logical for a relevant chief or the head of the department or the
5 president of the municipality, depending on the level of the problem, to
6 use this avenue to solve these problems. He was able to contact the
7 minister of defence, the minister of the economy or whoever he needed to
8 speak to, depending on the issue. That was the practice that was applied.
9 I cannot really say that this was always followed in Prijedor. I wasn't
10 able to observe everything. But I had a general insight into how the
11 communication worked. And I always entertained this type of contacts, and
12 I still do, and I believe this would have been the normal procedure in
13 other countries as well.
14 Q. The position or organ that you mentioned, secretariat for the
15 national defence, was that a local, meaning Prijedor municipality, and I
16 know you mentioned it was Sarajevo, was it at the republic level or was it
17 at the federal level, this institution, the secretariat for national
19 A. The secretariat for the national defence operated at the local
20 level, but it existed also at the level of the republic. Before the
21 elections, it had existed at the federal level as well. So what you had
22 was the so-called SSNO, the federal secretariat for the national defence,
23 RSNO, that is, the republic secretariat for national defence, and locally
24 speaking, you had OSSNO, the municipal secretariat for the national
25 defence. They are part of one and the same hierarchy.
1 Q. So if the late Dr. Cehajic had a problem in 1990, with respect to
2 either a financial or economic issue or a military issue, since we talked
3 about that specifically, would he contact the local, republic, federal, or
4 which secretariat for the national defence would he be able to contact?
5 A. Well, he was able to contact the local level institution. And it
6 was his duty. He was the head of the local community, generally speaking.
7 It was his obligation to deal with the problems at the local level. If
8 the problems were of such nature that they exceeded the local
9 significance, then it was also possible for him to contact a higher level,
10 that is, the level of the republic. I say that it was possible for him to
11 contact, whether he did or didn't, I don't know unfortunately.
12 Q. And let me ask you: Did he have any powers, other than the power
13 and ability to make contact with the various hierarchial divisions of the
14 secretariat of the national defence that you described, other than to
15 contact them and to perhaps complain about an issue that is before him?
16 Did he have any powers whatsoever with respect to that issue?
17 A. Sir, I'm afraid that we do not understand each other. I wish to
18 reiterate certain things. The most important function of the president of
19 the Municipal Assembly was to govern the municipality. And all the
20 spheres of public life within the municipality. He was in charge of
21 nominating and appointing the cabinet. You asked me whether he had any
22 connections, any contacts with the higher level of authority, and I told
23 you, as far as I know, again, I'm not a lawyer, there was not a regular
24 channel of communication, that is, it was not an obligation of Cehajic to
25 submit his reports to a republic-level institution. That was not provided
1 for. But as a head of the municipality, he had the right to present
2 certain personal views at the assembly in Sarajevo. Whether he did that
3 or not, I don't know, but he definitely had the right to do so. However,
4 most often, if the problem was of a legislative nature, then he would
5 convey that problem to the deputies, who would then have the obligation to
6 present it to the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo,
7 because it would be unnatural and improper for him to travel to Sarajevo
8 and to argue a problem in front of the assembly on his own. That was our
10 If a problem involved a specific department, and if the head of
11 the department was not willing to implement a decision that had come out
12 from the level of the republic, then it was also possible for the
13 president of the municipality to contact both instances to see what it was
14 all about. That was the most logical way of proceeding.
15 Q. Let me ask you this: If the president of the municipality of
16 Prijedor, hypothetical question, after 1990, wanted to remove a military
17 unit who was perhaps performing military exercises in the area of
18 Prijedor, did the late Mr. Cehajic have any powers whatsoever to go to the
19 military and to tell them to: "Please leave the territory of which I am
20 president, namely the municipality of Prijedor?" Did he have any such
21 powers to do that?
22 A. I don't know that, sir. I would need to have a look at the rules
23 of procedure and the relevant statutes and to see what the relevant
24 competencies were to tell you whether he had that right or not. I don't
1 Q. Help me with this: You were the deputy selected as the only
2 member on the republic level from the Chamber of Municipalities for the
3 municipality of Prijedor. Did you, sir, have that right?
4 A. The authority to order a military unit to relocate? There was a
5 legislative system in place which was very precise and clear, and which
6 provided for specific competencies and rights and duties. Please, allow
7 me, if you yourself are not able to do that, to try and obtain for you the
8 relevant statutory regulations. I'm sure that they exist in various
9 archives, and you will be able to see what it was all about. You're
10 asking me, who is by no means an expert in these issues, to tell you what
11 the procedure was. But as I said, I really don't know. I do not wish to
12 make any serious mistakes.
13 Q. I accept your offer, by the way, and look forward to that. But my
14 question is this to you, sir, yourself: Did you have an competencies that
15 you, yourself, were able to remove, order the removal and ask that a
16 military unit, after 1990, move out of the area where you were the
17 republic deputy representative in the Chamber of Municipalities for the
18 municipality of Prijedor? Did you have any of those competencies?
19 A. Sir, I was a deputy at the assembly of the republic, which means
20 that I was part of a legislative body. I was not a member of any
21 government, neither at the local nor at the republic level. I have
22 nothing -- that is, I had nothing to do with the executive power, the one
23 that is in charge of issuing orders and decisions. I, as a member of the
24 legislative power, do not have any such competencies. I am now talking
25 about my competencies as a deputy in the republic parliament.
1 Q. Can you identify any individual post-1990 who had competencies,
2 whether at the legislative or the executive branch of the local level who
3 had the right and the power to ask that a federal institution remove
4 itself from the territory in which that local representative may have been
5 appointed or elected? Do you know of anyone?
6 A. As far as federal institutions are concerned, the only level
7 which, according to law, had authority to discuss the issues of a federal
8 nature was the republic level of Bosnia and Herzegovina, not any municipal
9 level. It's perfectly logical. There was the government of Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina, and if certain issues were not clear concerning the links
11 between the municipal and the republic government, republic and federal
12 level, they would discuss those issues. But you are now asking me about
13 people who were sitting at the local level in the municipality. The level
14 which we turned to was the level of the republic. A totally different
15 issue is the fact that some of the federal institutions had very
16 articulated departments at various lower levels, but the level of the
17 republic was the same as the level of a federal state. While it still
18 functioned, while there were links to that effect.
19 Q. Thank you. I'm going to move to a slightly different topic before
20 we break, and I understand that the break is in about approximately 15 or
21 so minutes.
22 And that issue involves weapons and armaments in part. We're
23 going to discuss it at length. I just have a couple issues regarding
24 pre-election weapons and armaments. So is it true, sir, that prior to the
25 election, meaning prior to November 1990, that it was decided to take
1 almost all, indeed, to withdraw almost all of the weapons and armaments
2 from the Territorial Defence, that is, the territorial units and to store
3 them in a central depot in Prijedor?
4 A. This problem didn't concern Prijedor exclusively. Prijedor was by
5 no means an exception. What I know was that prior to the elections, there
6 had been a major reorganisation of the Yugoslav army, the federal army,
7 and I know that the boundaries of the so-called military districts had
8 been changed. I know that it was from the federal level that an order had
9 been issued, the order that the weapons of the Territorial Defence should
10 be withdrawn from the relevant areas and handed over to the JNA, who would
11 then store it in their warehouses and take care of it.
12 It was a publicly discussed issue that we could learn about from
13 the media. Later, a large number of requests were made to that effect.
14 Some of the were complied with. As for the time when this decision to
15 withdraw the weapons was made, I don't know, I don't know the exact dates.
16 But I know that the issue was topical at the time.
17 Q. And you mentioned that this was a decision made at the federal
18 level pertaining to a federal institution, namely, the JNA. Correct?
19 A. The decision concerned the Territorial Defence. You asked me
20 about the Territorial Defence. So it was a federal decision which
21 concerned Territorial Defence departments in republics, in the republics.
22 And pursuant to this decision, the JNA was tasked with taking over the
23 weapons which belonged to the Territorial Defence. That decision was
24 implemented on the ground.
25 Q. And while the reorganisation of the Yugoslav People's Army was
1 underway, and that occurred when the Sarajevo army district was abolished.
3 A. No, no. I'm trying to find the most simple way of explaining
4 this. The army was being reorganised, and this was written about by the
5 media. Before that, there had been a so-called Sarajevo military
6 district, I think, which covered the most -- the largest part of Bosnia
7 and Herzegovina and the command was located in Sarajevo. After this
8 reorganisation of the Yugoslav People's Army, the Sarajevo military
9 district was abolished, and this -- the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina was
10 divided between two different military districts, the Sarajevo -- two or
11 three different military districts. The Sarajevo military district no
12 longer existed, which does not mean that the military was no longer
13 present in Sarajevo. They were still there, as it was the case with all
14 other areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina, even to a greater extent than
15 before. However, command was no longer exerted from Sarajevo. I'm
16 talking about the units deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These units
17 were now being commanded from the command which was located in Podgorica
18 in Montenegro, which was part of the new plan. This was a very
19 contentious issue and a former generals from the partisan era were
20 involved in this. So this particular military district was divided in
21 several parts. One part thereof went to the Uzice Corps, I think, and the
22 Sarajevo military district no longer existed. But the presence of the
23 military in Sarajevo was even increased after this reorganisation. I
24 wanted to explain this because I wanted to avoid any confusion. It is
25 true that the military district was abolished, but the military was still
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 strongly present there. And some argued that this reorganisation actually
2 went to the detriment of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and they later on proved
3 to be right, arguably.
4 Q. I'm not going to argue with you about that. All I want to know,
5 sir, and if you can answer this question, and I truly appreciate your
6 explanations, was it decided to take almost all, to withdraw almost all
7 the weapons and armaments from the Territorial Defence, that is, the
8 territorial units, and to store them in a central depot in Prijedor? Yes
9 or no?
10 A. A decision was made to that effect, a decision which was later
11 implemented. But I don't know exactly when. I don't want to speculate,
12 but I know that it was implemented. Later, when tensions mounted, people
13 from the relevant areas, from the ground, made such requests, that is,
14 that the weapons be returned to the Territorial Defence which entailed a
15 number of discussions.
16 Q. Where was the central depot in Prijedor located? Was it in the
17 town of Prijedor, or in the general municipality also called Prijedor?
18 A. I don't know where it was. I assume it was located in one of the
19 barracks under the control of the army, but I don't know. I've never been
21 Q. If I can just read from your 1996 transcript, May 23rd, 1996,
22 specifically page 903, line 31 through 33, and then the passage
23 immediately following on page 904 of the May 23rd, 1996 passage, because I
24 have a couple questions on that that I'd like to cover if I can before our
25 next break.
1 It states on line 31: "Question: Was the TO in Prijedor armed in
2 1990 at the time of the elections?" "Answer: No." "Question: Where had
3 the arms gone?"
4 Following page, page 904: "Answer: The arms were withdrawn from
5 territorial units, that is, from neighbourhood communities before the
6 elections while the reorganisation of the Yugoslav People's Army was
7 underway, when the Sarajevo army district was abolished, it was used to
8 cover the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was decided then to take
9 almost all the -- to withdraw almost all the weaponry and armaments from
10 the Territorial Defence, that is, territorial units, and to store them in
11 a central depot in Prijedor."
12 On line 16, you do, sir, state also as you have today, that a
13 symbolic number of pieces were returned, and we will get to that issue
14 later. All I want to know with respect to that statement that I read now,
15 is it correct and accurate?
16 A. It is correct. The barracks was located in Prijedor, and the
17 weapons were the local communes were transported to the Prijedor barracks.
18 Where they were stored, in what depots or warehouses, the question should
19 not be addressed to me.
20 Q. Fair enough. Can you tell us, since you know about the
21 territorial units to some extent, how many territorial units had the
22 weapons been withdrawn from and placed in the central depot in Prijedor
23 prior to 1990, November 1990?
24 A. Prior to November 1990. Prior to that time, I did not have any
25 insight into the workings of the army, the Territorial Defence, the
1 municipality, or any other state organ. I was only informed on that
2 through the media. But one thing is sure: During that period of time the
3 Yugoslav army and the orders -- did implement the orders on the disarming
4 of the Territorial Defence. But I cannot speak about the details of this
5 order. I've never read it. I don't have it in front of me. But the fact
6 remains that the weapons were transported from the local communities where
7 they had been stored prior to that, elsewhere. Only a small number of
8 these -- of this weapon remained.
9 Later on, with the change of power, when we were able to inform
10 ourselves on the work of the local communes and the Territorial Defence
11 organisations, we were able to see, to realise, that the order had been
12 carried out, and that the majority of these weapons had been transported.
13 I can talk about the functioning of these organs after the elections, but
14 not before. If I had taken part in power before the elections, maybe I
15 wouldn't have participated in the elections, or maybe I would have been on
16 a different side.
17 Q. Sir, all I want to know is with respect to the arms, weapons and
18 armaments that you mention, both here today and in 1996, can you describe
19 for us what types of weapons and armaments from the various territorial
20 units were stored in the central depot in Prijedor?
21 A. No, sir, I cannot. I believe that I've already stated clearly
22 that I was not a member of the Territorial Defence, nor was I any kind of
23 commander at any level. How many pieces of weapons the Territorial
24 Defence had and in which local commune these weapons were, I don't know.
25 I know about the people who were members of the Territorial Defence who
1 told me that the weapons had been relocated, and they also told me what
2 kind of weapons remained. Later, when the weapons were returned, they
3 also spoke about the kinds of weapons -- the types of weapons that were
4 returned. So this is something that I can tell you about.
5 However, regarding the type of weapons that the Territorial
6 Defence had before, while the federal organs were still in place, I don't
7 know. But I believe that it should be possible to obtain documents to
8 that effect.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Sejmenovic, for that answer.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Before we break, may I ask the
11 Defence, is there a consent, you heard before, that during the break, I
12 will be contacted by representative of the Office of the Prosecutor? Any
14 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, no, she is coming to Court, so the
15 Defence can hear what she is going to say.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In closed session.
17 MS. KORNER: At 4.30.
18 MR. OSTOJIC: At 4.30.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: 4.30, okay. Then we can -- then let's have the
20 break until 4.30.
21 --- Recess taken at 4.00 p.m.
22 [Closed session]
23 --- On resuming at 4.48 p.m.
12 Page 4967 – redacted – closed session.
12 Page 4968 – redacted – closed session.
1 [Open session]
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May we, as time is of essence, restart with the
3 cross-examination, please.
4 MR. OSTOJIC: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
5 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, just to finish a couple more questions with
6 respect to this central depot or barracks, as it has been identified, in
7 the Prijedor area, can you tell us- and again, I understand you don't know
8 prior to November 1990, but how about after November 1990, up until March
9 of 1992, if you will, who secured the central depot in Prijedor where
10 those weapons and armaments were held?
11 A. I know that there was a garrison of the JNA in Prijedor. It was
12 in the Urije area. It was a building, small barracks, and a number of
13 facilities around this. Any other military installations and where they
14 were inside that complex, any warehouse or hangars, I don't know. But
15 when you say the JNA, they are referring to the Zarko Zgonjanin barracks,
16 as far as their facilities and installations, especially military
17 installations are concerned, those were not public issues, and I do not
18 know the exact location of the warehouse.
19 It certainly was in Prijedor but whether in the Zarko Zgonjanin
20 barracks or in the adjacent facilities or in Urije, or in a different
21 place, I do not know that, nor was I particularly interested in that. It
22 was publicly said that weapons had been withdrawn and transferred to the
23 central warehouse and that it was under the supervision of the JNA. That
24 was also a generally known fact.
25 Q. Thank you. With respect to that, is it fair to state, sir, that
1 indeed the civilians, either the local, at the republic level or at the
2 federal level had no authority or responsibility in respect to securing
3 those barracks and military central depot in Prijedor. Would that be
5 A. That was a JNA facility run by the army, commanded by the army.
6 Only civilians were mobilised into the TO for the purpose of army drill,
7 military drills, only in such situations could they be within the
8 barracks. With which authorities exactly and with which duties, that was
9 completely up to the army.
10 Q. And similarly, sir, the police whether at the republic level, the
11 regional level, or the local level had absolutely no control and did not
12 secure any of the premises involving the central depot or barracks in
13 Prijedor from 1990, November, through approximately March of 1992.
15 A. You're asking me whether the police secured these military
16 facilities. I don't know. I do know, however, that there was some form
17 of cooperation after the takeover between the military and the police.
18 But specifically, I'm not familiar with the form this cooperation took
19 because I did not witness this.
20 Q. So is it fair to say that not having witnessed it and telling us
21 that you don't know what form this cooperation, if any, took, you are
22 unable to share with us any information or any knowledge that you may have
23 with respect to any interlinkage between the military or the police. Is
24 that correct?
25 A. Which period are you referring to, sir? Please, if you could just
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 Q. The exact period you gave me in your answer.
3 A. Are you talking about the period in 1992, from April on?
4 Q. I think that's the period you were referring to, sir, although my
5 questions were confined to a period prior to that, your answer, and I
6 think you shared with us, if I'm not correct, a period after that. So I'm
7 just following up on your answer.
8 A. No. I remember exactly you asked me about those relationships in
9 the period prior to the elections where the warehouses were, what was
10 returned, when whatever was returned was returned, so there was a
11 procedure. There were certain authorities. And then after the takeover,
12 at a later stage, after the takeover by the SDS, things began to change
13 thoroughly and began to look very different. If your question is whether
14 I entered the Zarko Zgonjanin barracks and whether I saw anything there, I
15 never entered those facilities, and I do not know who was there.
16 Q. Thank you. Now, it's clear now to me, I think.
17 Did you, as a member of the Chamber of Municipalities at the
18 republic level, representing Prijedor, were you under any mandate to
19 follow the instructions and policy of the SDA party of which you were a
20 member of?
21 A. Yes, sir. Parties established their policy before they enter
22 parliament, and then through the legal parliamentary procedure, they
23 implement this policy. And then once the party has established the
24 vectors of activity, we carry out the decisions of this parliament, that
25 is, of the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And that's exactly what
1 we did.
2 There is another set of questions. If talking about problems of
3 the local government, related to the municipal parliament, the
4 distribution of power, or other regulations to be harmonised at the
5 Municipal Assembly level, at the local level, then these local issues must
6 be discussed at the local assembly and must be implemented by the local
8 Q. Earlier this afternoon, we discussed Mr. Cehajic a little bit.
9 And you shared with us what his duties and obligations, if you will, were,
10 subsequent to the election of November 1990. And I understand that as
11 president of the Municipal Assembly of the Prijedor municipality. Isn't
12 it true, sir, that in fact any power, if any, that Mr. Cehajic had can
13 only come through passage of legislation by the actual Municipal Assembly?
14 He did not have any power separate from that which can be derived or given
15 to him through passage of legislation within that Municipal Assembly. Is
16 that correct?
17 A. The position of the president of municipality and his competencies
18 are determined by the existing regulations down to the very last detail.
19 So there was no need to invent what he could do and what he couldn't. His
20 position, his function, was very clear. As well as that of the head of
21 the municipal government and of other municipal departments.
22 Q. So is it fair to say that if the late Mr. Cehajic wanted to remove
23 the military units that we were discussing as the hypothetical was, in the
24 Prijedor municipality, he could not and had absolutely no power whatsoever
25 to even attempt to remove that military unit without, first, placing it on
1 the agenda of the Municipal Assembly of the Prijedor Municipality; second,
2 having a vote, and he could only act upon whatever decision, either
3 consistent with his view as to whether the military unit can stay, or
4 adverse to his view, all he can do was implement that decision from the
5 Municipal Assembly. Correct?
6 A. Dear sir, I'm afraid I find myself compelled to repeat a number of
7 things. The position of the JNA is not -- was not a municipal local
8 issue. The position of the JNA, or parts of the JNA, is an issue dealt
9 with at the republic level, through the existing institutions. Should
10 there be a refusal to implement the authorities of the republic at the
11 local level, then it is the obligation of the president of the municipal
12 government or the president of the municipality to intervene with those
13 departments refusing to implement the decisions that had been adopted at
14 the republic level. Therefore, in no case was the issue of the JNA at the
15 local level a local issue. According to the then-existing legislation,
16 views were taken at the republic level regarding these issues. And then
17 through the ministries, orders were implemented, and views were adopted,
18 as concerned the local level. The violation of those decisions implied or
19 entailed a violation of the laws of the republic. Failure to comply with
20 these orders was failure to comply with the laws of the republic.
21 At the same time, the implementation of some other decisions not
22 adopted at the republic level meant for the local level to assume the
23 competencies of the state, which is also against the law.
24 MR. OSTOJIC: Just one moment, Your Honour.
25 Q. Was the military a republic institution or a federal institution?
1 A. The military was a federal institution, but the authorities to
2 command the army were evenly distributed throughout the republics,
3 according to the existing law, the influence on the JNA was diametrically
4 opposite. All the institutions in the republics had to be in a position
5 to effect the work and the activities of the JNA because that was the army
6 of all the republics, so it was a two-way street.
7 Q. And let's, if we may, or if we can, the other day you discussed
8 the atmosphere of change that occurred as a result of the SDA policy after
9 the November 1990 elections. Again, I'm generally summarising that issue,
10 so we want to discuss that to keep it in context.
11 A. Yes, I'm listening.
12 Q. With respect to that issue, do you have a position, sir, as to
13 whether or not the party of the SDA contributed, in any way whatsoever, to
14 this atmosphere of change after the November 1990 elections?
15 A. Which changes are you referring to, if you could just please
16 specify. You said the atmosphere of change, which atmosphere exactly are
17 you referring to?
18 Q. I'm referring, sir, to the same atmosphere of change that you
19 mentioned that resulted from purported SDS policy after November 1990
21 A. I understand. You mean the atmosphere between the SDA and the
22 SDS. So your question was whether we, in any way, contributed to that
23 atmosphere. As far as your question is concerned, a question you deal
24 with directly or indirectly, the SDA, in no way, complicated the
25 relationships in a wider context, that is, in Yugoslavia. We monitored
1 the events. And at first, we advocated the preservation of Yugoslavia.
2 It was a very delicate issue. Speaking of the pre-electoral period, we
3 also talked about Yugoslavia. I think I said something to the effect
5 But there was a general change in atmosphere when two of the
6 republics decided to secede. So that was one element contributing to this
7 change in atmosphere. And another very important element was the
8 propaganda in terms of media and in terms of military propaganda coming
9 from Serbia, and then later on the war in Croatia. What I'm talking about
10 here are very important facts, and it is in view of these facts that there
11 was the SDA in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the SDS. The situation
12 developed in such a way that, in a manner of speaking, the SDS forgot all
13 about Bosnia and Herzegovina and decided to take sides, which meant to
14 establish a state of their own that would remain within Yugoslavia. The
15 wider context, the more general context, clearly demonstrated that this
16 was not the best solution for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Negotiations were
17 held, discussions were held, different initiatives were offered, but to no
19 Q. You state on page 19 of your June 12th, 2002, transcript -- I'd be
20 happy to read the entire -- well, I will read it, from page 7 , your
21 answer, if I may. And I have a couple questions on that answer. Again,
22 line 7, page 19: "Answer: Many changes occurred. Compared to the
23 atmosphere which reigned before the elections and at the time of the
24 agreements on the possible coalitions prior to the elections, the main
25 focus of our party, and this is something that we have heard from other
1 political parties as well, was to defeat the communists. That was the
2 main objective of our political party, and we had full support to that
3 effect. And we endeavoured to take part in the process that had already
4 started in eastern Europe. However, immediately after the elections, we
5 were faced with the situation in which the SDS had completely different
6 plans. They were not satisfied with simply defeating the communists; they
7 started expressing certain aspirations which threatened to disrupt the
8 relations with other political parties."
9 My question to you, sir, is did the SDA, after the elections of
10 1990, have completely different plans than those that were announced in
11 the pre-election platform? The SDA.
12 A. Part of the elements of the pre-electoral campaign changed, which
13 was dictated by the circumstances, the war in Croatia, the transgression
14 of their constitutional competencies and authorities by the JNA, and the
15 departure from Yugoslavia of two of its republics. So the SDA no longer
16 thought this was Yugoslavia, but rather, that we were facing a situation
17 where the arrangement on Yugoslavia needed to be renegotiated. And as far
18 as I can remember, the SDA was ready to embark on that.
19 However, even at that point, in certain situations, it became
20 clear that the SDS had quite different ambitions. If you like, I can
21 provide a very specific example.
22 Q. I'm sure we're going to get to that. But again, it's the pleasure
23 of the Court and you. I don't want to interrupt you. I'll let you answer
24 it, I guess. Sorry, if you'd like to answer, you may, or if you'd like to
1 A. Do you want to have a specific example?
2 Q. I'd love it, but perhaps if it's okay with you, we could wait
3 until we come to that point. Is that all right?
4 A. That's all right. I agree. Do as you see fit.
5 Q. Sir, I'm going to try to do what -- I've tried to establish a time
6 line or a timetable with the events following the election of November
7 1990. So hopefully, we're done with pre-election discussions here. And
8 just so that we have these timetables, I'm going to ask you, having been a
9 member of the republic assembly and the chamber of municipalities, I want
10 to know if you can help me understand and appreciate some of these dates..
11 We're going to come back to each section hopefully. All I want to do is
12 establish this timetable for the moment. But if necessary, and if you
13 would like, you can obviously answer the question in any manner that you
14 see fit.
15 You mentioned the change or circumstances dictating change
16 following the elections. Do you know, sir, if the circumstances one month
17 following the elections, namely, on December 22nd, 1990, that the Croatian
18 Assembly passed a new coalition or a new constitution for the Republic of
19 Croatia, which was the so-called Bozicni Ustav when the Croatians declared
20 themselves as the National State of Croatian People and set forth within
21 their constitution that the Serbs were to be considered not equal, as they
22 were prior, but simply as a minority class. My question to you, sir, is
23 were you aware that this event transpired on or about December 22nd, 1990?
24 A. Was I aware that this event transpired? Yes, the media covered
25 this, and that was after Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia. That was quite
1 evident. What exactly the constitution or its provisions said, I did not
2 look into that at that time. What I was interested in was Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina, as well as of course the local situation.
4 Q. Thank you. Just so the date's approximately correct, right,
5 December 22nd, 1990, to the best of your recollection? Right?
6 A. I'm not sure about the date. But as far as the wording is
7 concerned, I can't say anything for sure. I can't confirm or deny. The
8 fact is that Croatia did secede. First the League of Communists broke --
9 disintegrated, and Slovenia decided to secede and was followed by Croatia.
10 And the general standpoint of both Slovenia and Croatia and perhaps this
11 might be a useful piece of information for this Court, the general
12 standpoint regardless of the internal legislation was that both of these
13 republics were, at that point, prepared to discuss a new solution. And as
14 we all remember, no doubt, and perhaps you had come across materials to
15 this effect, both the president of Croatia and that of Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina and the president of Macedonia met on several occasions during
17 that period regardless of the developments in internal politics. So it
18 was a stage at which negotiations were underway, on a general level.
19 Q. My next date for this timetable that I'm trying to establish, and
20 to keep the atmosphere that we discussed prior to this line of questioning
21 into a clearer context for myself, December 23rd, 1990, the Republic of
22 Slovenia held a plebiscite. Did you hear about that?
23 A. I know that the procedure in Slovenia was very much like that in
24 Croatia. I can't remember the chronology, but what I've said before, and
25 if you keep on asking me this, I will just repeat what I know. Both
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Slovenia and Croatia changed their internal legislation and became
2 separate republics. That's separate from Yugoslavia. They participated
3 in negotiations on a new solution for Yugoslavia. At times, it seemed as
4 though the negotiations were to be successful, but the negotiations went
5 on. They continued, and these were the most important news reported by
6 all the media.
7 Q. December 26th, 1990. The Republic of Slovenia holds a referendum.
8 Are you familiar with whether or not that date, December 26th, 1990, is
10 A. I don't know when exactly Slovenia was to hold a referendum. But
11 I know that it did secede from Yugoslavia. That's what I know.
12 Q. Do you know if it seceded from Yugoslavia in 1990 or in 1991, or
13 any other time that you may think?
14 A. I know that it was the first to secede, and then was followed by
15 Croatia. I think that was the chronology. Whether they continued to
16 participate in the federal institutions, they still tolerated the
17 existence and activities of the JNA in their territory and those were the
18 facts. I repeat, the negotiations continued as to the future and the new
19 solutions for Yugoslavia and to find a way out of the crisis.
20 Q. Can you tell me this, sir, when was the war in Slovenia?
21 A. When the war in Slovenia broke out, you mean?
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. I can't say for sure. I can't remember.
24 Q. Do you know, sir, when the war broke out in Croatia?
25 A. War in Croatia broke out about mid-1991. I'm not sure really, but
1 I think it was about that time.
2 Q. Now we're moving into 1991. So let's focus on that. On February
3 27th, 1991, as a member of the Chamber of Municipalities at the republic
4 level, do you recall, sir, whether the SDA party, in that month on that
5 day during that year, for the first time attempted to place an item on the
6 agenda which was to seek a discussion on the independence and sovereignty
7 and secession of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
8 A. What I can tell you is that I don't remember the exact dates of
9 these sessions, and I'm speaking quite sincerely now. But I know that
10 there was a whole number of questions connected to the breakup of
11 Yugoslavia which had to be placed on the parliament's agenda. There were
12 attempts to harmonise these different agendas. The SDS tried to dodge
13 these problems or tried to impose certain issues to be placed on the
14 agenda that were not acceptable for the other parties, the SDA, the HDZ,
15 and the socialists, the communists, the reformists, and so on.
16 The most serious problems occurred in the period I am talking
17 about. There was no consensus regarding the intervention by the JNA in
18 Slovenia. And there was no consensus about the use of force, about the
19 changes in the federal organs. I can't remember exactly, but I know that
20 there were changes in the federal organs at that time that were not
21 interpreted as constitutional in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is a legal
22 issue. And there were clear differences between the SDS, the viewpoints
23 of the SDS, and the viewpoints of the other parties. So when these issues
24 were concerned, mostly on one the side you had the SDS and the Serbian
25 Radical Party, and all the other parties in the parliament on the opposite
1 side. I remember that there were discussions concerning the federal
2 budget, the competencies of the army. I can't remember the details, but
3 it should be possible to find transcripts of these sessions and see what
4 exactly was discussed.
5 Q. Based upon your recollection, sir, isn't it true that less than
6 three months from the November 1990 election, that the SDA party proposed
7 that the item on the agenda at the republic assembly be added in order to
8 have a discussion of the secession, sovereignty, and independence of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina? Within three months, do you remember that occurring?
10 A. Yes, but I can't remember exactly when. I repeat, because you've
11 asked me before. And another thing, how to define exactly what happened,
12 some said it was an attempt at secession. That was the SDS and Serbian
13 Radical Party view. That's not how the other parties in the
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina parliament perceived it. They tried to accept the
15 state of facts and see in its true light the -- what was going on.
16 Q. As you sit here, can you give us your best estimate of
17 approximately how soon after the November 1990 elections did the SDA party
18 make that proposition to seek the independence, sovereignty, and secession
19 of Bosnia-Herzegovina from the former Republic of Yugoslavia?
20 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I'm, but can I at this stage intervene.
21 Giving of evidence is not supposed to be a test of memory for the witness.
22 If counsel has documents he wants to put to the witness, showing the
23 dates, then he ought to do that.
24 MR. OSTOJIC: If I may reply.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please.
1 MR. OSTOJIC: All I'm asking his witness for is his best
2 recollection of the events. When the Defence case proceeds, we will
3 present that evidence as concrete. I don't want to have the witness
4 testify on documents that we necessarily have at this time. If he doesn't
5 remember the date, and he can't give us an approximate date, then that's
6 all the witness has to tell me. I truly just wanted to go through the
7 timeline in a quicker order. But I'm reluctant to interrupt,
8 respectfully, the witness if he has something to add on this point,
9 although I plan to cover each point in some detail, not as exhaustive as
10 perhaps others would like. All I'm asking for is an approximate date to
11 the best of his recollection.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. If, in principle, the witness could answer
13 a little bit shorter, probably just yes or no when the questions of this
14 kind arise. On the other hand, it has to be understood that it's fair to
15 try to put all the developments in the former Yugoslavia in context, and
16 then, as I understood correctly, in the context of Prijedor. I think this
17 line of questioning, therefore, the submission -- the objection is
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For the third time, I can tell you
20 the following: I don't remember on which date which decision was proposed
21 because there was a huge number of sessions. Sometimes we were sitting
22 for 10 or 15 days in a row, and it lasted for several months, and now
23 you're asking me to remember whether a specific decision was adopted on a
24 specific date. I would be really happy to be able to give you an answer,
25 but I was not in a position to follow the proceedings that closely. The
1 parliament was very often in session, and a huge number of issues were on
2 the agenda. So once again, if you want a simple answer, no, I don't
3 remember the date.
4 MR. OSTOJIC:
5 Q. Sir, do you know if, in September of 1991, there was a
6 mobilisation of men issued by the SFRY for the area and territory of
7 Bosnia and Herzegovina?
8 A. Are you referring to the Yugoslav People's Army? I don't remember
10 Q. Do you recall, sir, whether or not there was a second mobilisation
11 call in November of 1991?
12 A. Sir, federal organs, therefore, including the JNA, whenever they
13 issued a mobilisation call, the federal command would address this call or
14 order to the leadership in the -- of the republic. The republic
15 leadership would then adopt a position on that and transmit the order to
16 lower levels of authority. When the BH leadership received an order from
17 a federal institution -- when the BH leadership received such an order
18 from a federal institution, I don't know.
19 Q. Do you remember if, at any time in November or thereabouts of
20 1991, a new coalition was formed between the party of the SDA and the
21 party of the HDZ?
22 A. No. No coalition between the SDA and HDZ was ever formed. If
23 that had been the case, I would have been aware of that.
24 Q. Did, sir, in fact, in November of 1991, the HDZ and the SDA vote
25 together to put the issue of sovereignty, independence, and secession of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina on the agenda in the assembly?
2 A. That decision was voted by seven or eight political parties.
3 Therefore, by all parties with the exception of the SDS and the Serb
4 Radical Party. So the entire opposition, all of the left-wing parties
5 which included members of all ethnicities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, HDZ
6 and SDA, that is, without the SDS and the Serb Radical Party, which means
7 the rest of the parliament which had a sufficient number of deputies to
8 have a quorum to do that, and involved members, deputies, of all
9 ethnicities including Serbs. You limited your question only to the SDA
10 and the HDZ, but for the purposes of clarity, I'm telling you that other
11 political parties also participated in the adoption of this decision.
12 This decision was voted with the majority of votes with very few -- with
13 very few abstentions. It was almost a unanimous decision.
14 Q. And this happened around November of 1991, sir?
15 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
16 MR. OSTOJIC: Pardon me.
17 Q. And this happened, sir, in approximately November of 1991?
18 A. It is possible that it was in that period.
19 Q. Do you remember, sir, when the assembly in the republic level
20 passed a memorandum on the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
21 A. I believe it was in early 1992. I'm not sure, either in late
22 February or early March 1992, but I'm not sure. I do not remember clearly
23 the date. But at any rate, it was in early 1992.
24 Q. A couple months before the incidents that occurred in April of
25 1992. Would that be a fair way to summarise it?
1 A. Chronologically speaking, yes.
2 Q. And that's all I'm trying to do is chronologically get these
3 dates. We'll discuss them hopefully at some length. Also in November
4 1991, sir, was an entity called a Conference on European Security and
5 Cooperation, namely the CESC present in the area of Bosnia-Herzegovina at
6 that time, November of 1991?
7 A. Yes. That is, European monitors were present at the parliament.
8 They attended the parliament session, mostly in twos, sometimes only one
9 would attend. But there would always be someone. I don't know what kind
10 of presence they had elsewhere on the ground, but I remember clearly that
11 they were present at the parliament sessions. We used to call them
13 Q. And sir, I think during your direct examination, you were provided
14 a document which reflected a minutes of meetings from the Prijedor
15 Municipal Assembly from February 14th, 1992. And you were at that
16 meeting. Correct?
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you have please the document? I think it's
18 not possible for the witness to recollect the exact date of this document.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I didn't produce that
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It's quite right. But on the basis of this
22 document, you shall answer a question. It's better to have the document
23 present for you.
24 MR. OSTOJIC: At this moment --
25 THE WITNESS: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, he wasn't present at the 14th of
2 February assembly. It was one of the documents he was going to look at
3 but it wasn't actually shown to him.
4 MR. OSTOJIC: Your Honour, if I misspoke that it was shown, I know
5 at great length we discussed it. In any event I'll move on from that.
6 And if I may finish just this chronology, and -- I want to thank the
7 usher, I apologize. We'll get back to that, because it's -- I have some
8 questions on that meeting, sir.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Five more minutes, please.
10 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Sir, do you know if on February 29th, 1992, and March 1st, 1992,
12 approximately two months before the events that unfolded in the Prijedor
13 Municipality, that, in fact, a referendum on the independence of Bosnia
14 and Herzegovina was held?
15 A. The referendum was called before that -- I'm trying to remember
16 the date, but it escapes me. But you are right, it was called prior to
17 these events.
18 Q. On April 8th, 1992, sir, do you know if there was an order from
19 the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding mobilisation which came
20 directly from the republic level, indicating the callup of mobilisation of
21 the Territorial Defence?
22 A. Yes, I do know that a callup of mobilisation of the Territorial
23 Defence took place.
24 Q. Yes, but do you know if it occurred on or about April 8th, 1992,
25 less than three weeks from the events that unfolded in Prijedor on April
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 30th of 1992?
2 A. I know it did occur, and I know that in Prijedor, we talked to the
3 SDS and tried to implement the decision which was adopted at the republic
4 level. But I also know that at that time, it was already almost
5 impossible to talk to the SDS. They had already established the Serb
6 Municipality of Prijedor, as early as January.
7 Q. When, sir, did you find it difficult to address any issues with
8 the SDS? When was the time period at which you felt that the
9 communications between the SDA, and specifically yourself, had completely
10 broken down vis-a-vis the SDS?
11 A. There was a certain level of communication up until the end of
12 April, 1992, that is, until the takeover. There was communication on
13 several occasions even after that. Now, if you're asking me about the
14 time period when the communications became difficult, I think we have to
15 go back to the period of time when the power was being divided and when
16 first disagreements occurred.
17 Later, the attitude of the SDS towards the republic institutions
18 became very complicated because the SDS did not take over some of the
19 municipal -- did not manage to take over some of the municipal departments
20 and was accusing the SDA because of that.
21 Q. Just one last question before the break: What time did this
22 happen that you felt it was impossible for the communications to proceed?
23 What time period? 1991, 1992? And if you can tell us -- if you don't
24 recall, please share that with us as well -- when in 1992?
25 A. I told you, immediately after the elections, the communication was
1 good. The top positions were divided in a regular fashion. However, in
2 the following period, when other positions were being distributed, the
3 situation became exacerbated. When orders came from the republic level,
4 the SDS officials obstructed the implementation of these orders. That,
5 too, created difficulties. A rift occurred, and when the federal army
6 attempted to mobilise the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while the
7 leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina had a different attitude -- they were
8 against the war in Croatia, whereas the SDS was in favour of the war in
9 Croatia -- that added further to the disagreements. I'm talking about
11 When aspirations became apparent for the regionalisation, the
12 problems got worse. When the SDS proclaimed 70 per cent of the territory
13 of the Prijedor Municipality as Serb, then the communication became
14 virtually impossible. In view of the circumstances, it was clear that
15 attempts were being made to implement something that had already been
16 implemented and carried out in certain other areas. It all culminated in
17 the takeover by the SDS through military means which rendered all the
18 communications impossible. The SDS adopted a peremptory position towards
19 all others and towards us.
20 Q. Thank you, sir.
21 A. Thank you, too.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stands adjourned until 5 minutes past
24 --- Recess taken at 5.47 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 6.09 p.m.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
2 Please continue.
3 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, if I may continue with some more questions on this
5 time line, April 30th, 1992, the takeover of Prijedor occurred. Correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. May 1st, 1992, the day after the takeover, you came to Prijedor
8 and actually you met with fellow members of the SDA party in your party
9 headquarters or offices. Correct?
10 A. With some of the members of the party.
11 Q. Right. May 15th through the 16th -- strike that. Mid-May 1992,
12 approximately, according to your testimony that you provided, you and
13 representatives of the SDA had a meeting with the SDS party. Correct?
14 A. Correct. Sometime in mid-May. I cannot be more precise. Several
15 days before that or after, but it was at that time that we had this
17 Q. And sometime in May 1992, you also had a meeting with various
18 members of the SDA in Kozarac. Correct?
19 A. At the beginning of May.
20 Q. Thank you for that clarification.
21 May --
22 A. Excuse me. And the last -- after the last meeting with the SDS in
23 Prijedor, we had one more meeting in Kozarac.
24 Q. So a few meetings in the month of May 1992, correct, or several?
25 It's not important really.
1 A. Well, there was a party meeting in early May in Kozarac, and the
2 meeting that you're asking me about, after the ultimatum that was issued
3 in Prijedor, was not a party meeting. It was a meeting of all local
4 communes from that area, including the police, the Territorial Defence,
5 representatives of the party, the local government office, and the
6 citizens who wished to attend the meeting.
7 Q. Thank you. Just for purposes of the timeline again, May 22nd,
8 1992, there was an incident at Hambarine, approximately. Correct?
9 A. Thereabouts.
10 Q. May 23rd, 1992, there was an announcement from the military
11 regarding a military convoy passing through Banja Luka, through Kozarac,
12 to Prijedor, an announcement that requested that the checkpoints which
13 were established there by the various citizens of those communities be set
14 back or removed 100 metres. Do you know anything approximately about that
15 date, May 23rd, 1992, and this announcement that was made by the military?
16 A. There was an announcement immediately before the attack. I heard
17 about it, but I'm not familiar with the text of the announcement. But I
18 know that it was to that effect that you described, that the military
19 would pass, that no obstructions should be made.
20 Q. And May 24th, 1992, there was this incident in Kozarac that we're
21 going to get back to, just trying to establish the timeline, correct, the
22 attack, if you will, on the convoy, and then the attack on the town itself
23 of Kozarac or the area?
24 A. That was the information which was provided by the military over
25 the radio. Whether that was really the case, I don't know. All I know
1 was that the army officially said that there had been attempts to prevent
2 the military from passing, and that fire was opened on the soldiers. That
3 was announced on the Serbian radio.
4 Q. And on May 30th, 1992, sir, there was an attack on the town of
5 Prijedor. Correct? Are you aware of that?
6 A. I am aware of the attack, but I don't know the exact date. I
7 assume it was on the 30th. You know this better than I do. At any rate,
8 it occurred several days after Kozarac had been burned down.
9 Q. And one of the reasons is that in fact you, sir, from May 24th,
10 1992, up until the end of August or early September 1992 were actually on
11 the run, in hiding, trying to save your own life as a result of the
12 incident that occurred at Kozarac on or about May 24th, 1992. Correct?
13 A. Sir, you're talking about an incident. Which incident? Excuse
14 me, let me finish. It was not an incident. Everything was burnt down and
15 torched. Thousands of people were detained, and you're talking about an
16 "incident." Are you referring to the incident which was -- which
17 involved the military who were stopped at the checkpoint, or the attack
18 which involved a large number of forces, of troops? Maybe we do not
19 understand each other. Maybe there has been misinterpretation or...
20 Q. I think we do understand each other. I may have used an
21 inappropriate word, and I didn't expect you to read into that word. Let
22 me just try to restate the question, please. I'm not minimising what
23 occurred by calling it an incident, I'm just trying to neutralise or use a
24 neutral word so that we wouldn't exchange in a debate as to what had
25 occurred. We'll have time for that. Approximately from May 24th, 1992
1 through end of August, early September, 1992, as you described, you were
2 essentially a man on the run; you were going in to Trnopolje, you left
3 Trnopolje, you went back into Trnopolje, then you were moved to Omarska,
4 and then everything else that you described after that. Essentially,
5 that's why you don't know what specifically had occurred vis-a-vis the
6 attack on Prijedor on May 30th, 1992. Correct? Would that be a fair
8 A. As regards the attack which, as you said, occurred on the 30th of
9 May, the attack on Prijedor, I know about this attack from what I heard
10 over the Serb radio and the local commune radio, which functioned for a
11 while. From Trnopolje, we could observe the fire. We could hear
12 detonation, and we could see house in the village of Hambarine on fire.
13 We could also see the smoke coming from the direction of the Prijedor town
14 for several days after. All of the information that I have concerning
15 this was what -- is what I was able to hear from the radio, from the
16 reports of the Crisis Staff, or from what I was able to observe from my
17 vantage point. As for my stay in that area, I said that I spent two
18 months there, from approximately 24th of May up until the end of July, not
20 At the end of July, I surrendered. I have explained the
21 circumstances of that surrender, and was taken to the prison in Prijedor.
22 Thereafter, I was taken to the prison in Omarska. I did not go to
23 Omarska. I was taken to Omarska. There's a difference between the two.
24 Q. And I agree with you, and I think my question said that you were
25 taken to Omarska. But I agree.
1 All I'm trying to do is establish dates. And the next date that
2 comes to mined for me, at least, is this meeting that you had with
3 Mr. Kupresanin in Banja Luka which was approximately, according to your
4 testimony, sometime in September of 1992. Correct?
5 A. Yes, I believe it occurred sometime in September. Whether it was
6 in the first half of the month or in the second, I don't know. But I
7 believe that it was in September.
8 Q. Now, sir, is it fair to state that from May 24th or thereabouts,
9 1992, until about September 1992, during that entire period, you simply
10 did not know what position Dr. Milomir Stakic held, if any, and in fact
11 you knew nothing about it and simply had no knowledge of that? Is that
13 A. What I knew for sure was that Mr. Stakic was a very important
14 figure in the SDS. He had been appointed to a high-ranking position in
15 the municipality as a prominent member of the SDS. I also knew that he
16 held some function in the Serbian assembly, which was established sometime
17 in January, I think. That is, in a parallel, ethnically pure, assembly of
18 Prijedor. This is what I heard. I also heard his name being mentioned in
19 the radio announcements which were broadcast at the beginning of the
20 attack and during the days that followed. Of course, it is true that
21 there were no longer any contacts with the SDS. It is also true that I
22 could see certain things happening on the ground. I also talked to people
23 who had heard things over the radio. But I did not have any direct
24 insight as to the work of the government in Prijedor. However, I was
25 familiar with the consequences of the orders issued by this government and
1 the consequences of the work of this government and this authority on the
2 ground. As for Mr. Stakic's function in, say, August or beginning of
3 September, I didn't know that. When I saw him in Banja Luka, he was, for
4 sure, occupying an important function. Otherwise, he could not have been
5 there. This meeting was attended by high-ranking civilian politicians,
6 military commanders, and I knew that he was an important figure in
8 As I have already indicated, I had the opportunity to hear
9 criticism by Mr. Srdic, who was not addressing me but other people, and
10 who made mention of Mr. Stakic at that time.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
12 MR. OSTOJIC:
13 Q. Thank you. We'll have an opportunity to discuss that at length
14 hopefully. Sir, on May 28th, 2001, during your testimony in the Sikirica
15 trial, page 3982, line 1, you were asked the following question: "Can you
16 help me about this: There was an occasion when you saw together two
17 politicians from Prijedor, a Mr. Srdic and a Mr. Stakic. Do you recall
18 that?" Answer: "Yes, I recall that, true." Question: Line 5, "and can
19 you tell us what, as far as you know, posts did those two men hold at the
20 time when you heard this conversation," September of 1992, as you've
21 described, answer by you, sir, at line 7: "I don't know that. No. I
22 didn't know that. How the positions, how the posts were assigned in the
23 Serb Democratic Party, or the structure of the Serb municipality
24 established in the way that it was established, and knew nothing about it
25 as of the 25th -- rather, the 24th May, 1992. I simply had no knowledge
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 of that. But the fact itself that they turned up there when at the same
2 time when Karadzic came to Banja Luka and when the foreign negotiator came
3 there, that very fact speaks -- tells us that they did hold some posts,
4 but what posts, what offices, I don't know."
5 The period I'm interested in is from May 24th up until the time
6 this meeting in Banja Luka that you were brought to, September 1992, you
7 had absolutely no knowledge of what post Dr. Milomir Stakic held, not only
8 for September and August, but you had no knowledge of what posts he held,
9 if any, from May, end of May, June, July, August, and September. Isn't
10 that correct?
11 A. Sir, I have already answered this question, and I have used the
12 same -- I have answered in the same way as you have just read. I said
13 that I had heard about these names, I knew that Mr. Stakic was an official
14 with the Serbian assembly, and I know that he was with the Crisis Staff at
15 the time of the takeover. What happened afterwards, whether there were
16 any changes within these bodies, I don't know. I first heard about him as
17 the president in Banja Luka on that occasion at that place, when Mr. Srdic
18 said those words, when he accused him. And once again, I abide by what I
19 said. These are facts.
20 Q. Thank you. Going back now, and thank you for that chronology. For
21 my purposes, I'd like to end the chronology there, although there's other
22 events obviously that transpired that are very important and indeed
23 critical for both yourself and others. But for my purposes, I'm going to
24 move on to different area. Okay?
25 A. Please.
1 Q. Thank you. Sir, you were shown a document that -- during your
2 direct examination which was three pages, on the last page, it was Number
3 106, which was for the Territorial Defence of the area of Kozarac in which
4 your name appeared. Correct? Do you remember that?
5 A. Yes I do. I remember parts of this document.
6 Q. If I got your testimony correctly, you were also shown that by the
7 investigator during or prior to the time in which you signed your written
8 statement, that three-page document. That was one of the things that the
9 investigator shared with you. Correct?
10 A. Yes, correct. I saw the document.
11 Q. Did the investigator or whomever was there, did they show you the
12 complete list or any additional lists of the people who were mobilised in
13 the area of Kozarac in 1992, or is it your testimony that you were only
14 shown this three-page document in connection with that particular issue?
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I beg your pardon. May I interrupt. We
16 discussed Document S106, or what other document?
17 MR. OSTOJIC: From my recollection, I believe it's 106, Your
18 Honour. I don't have it --
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Because I have 106 before me. It's only two
21 MR. OSTOJIC: Then it's not 106, Your Honour. It's a three-page
22 document. We'll get to it. I'm just trying to put a context in. I
23 apologise. It's a three-page document which we'll address in short order,
25 MS. KORNER: S143.
1 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, counsel.
2 May we have, Your Honour, the usher show that document to the
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please.
5 MR. OSTOJIC:
6 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, just indicate to me when you've had an opportunity
7 to sufficiently review the document. Thank you.
8 A. I was shown this document in the Tadic case, as far as I can
9 recall. But also in the Kovacevic case, and several days before this
10 testimony, during the proofing. I think that there were more pages, but I
11 didn't pay much attention to that because this document had already been
12 produced in some other cases before the Tribunal. I didn't have any
13 specific questions.
14 Q. Well, how many more pages do you think there were?
15 A. I don't know. I didn't look at it for a long time. There were
16 other papers there as well. I just recognise the document, and that was
17 that. I think I said that the document had already been produced in other
18 cases. There were some other documents stacked on the same pile.
19 Q. Do you know, sir, how many citizens from the area of Kozarac were
20 actually members of the Territorial Defence in March or April of 1992?
21 A. No, I don't know that.
22 Q. Do you know if it was more or less than a thousand?
23 A. Are you referring to the Territorial Defence before the war, or
24 the extended Territorial Defence as it was in May 1992?
25 Q. The period that involves Exhibit S143, which your name appears on,
1 what period was that?
2 A. So that would be sometime in May, May 1992. This is a portion of
3 the list of the expanded Territorial Defence. What the total of the names
4 on the list was, including all of the villages and all of the relevant
5 local communes, if that record is made or was made for the entire area of
6 Kozarac, I don't know. The portion which concerns my village is correct.
7 Q. All I'm interested to know is do you know how many people were
8 members of the Territorial Defence from the area of Kozarac, on or about
9 the time period of May 1992?
10 A. I don't know how many people made themselves available to the
11 Territorial Defence, nor what kind of weapons they had. But the fact is
12 that people were called up if they wanted to join the Territorial Defence
13 or not, and to state what kind of weapons they had, if any. So one should
14 compile this type of list for every village, and it would be easy to
15 calculate the total.
16 Q. And I've just done that actually, so thank you. Bear with me,
18 MR. OSTOJIC: If I can have the Court instruct the usher to pass a
19 document which was previously disclosed to the Defence under I believe 65
20 ter Number 629.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I don't believe we have it with us.
22 MR. OSTOJIC: I have extra copies, if the Court wants.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
24 MR. OSTOJIC:
25 Q. Mr. Sejmenovic, can you just let me know when you've had an
1 opportunity to review that document, and then I'll proceed with my
3 A. You can ask straight away.
4 Q. Do you recognise the document, sir?
5 A. Yes, I do. This is a list of persons who placed themselves at the
6 disposal of the TO with weapons, if any.
7 Q. Was this a list --
8 A. Signed personally. I am familiar with the part of the list that I
9 signed. The other parts, I didn't have an opportunity to look through the
10 other parts of this document. It's possible, though, that I've seen a
11 page or two, but not -- I have not looked through the document in its
13 Q. Do you know, sir, if that's a complete list of the list of
14 mobilisation, as it's identified as being?
15 A. This is a list of persons who placed themselves at the disposal of
16 the TO. How many of these persons were mobilised, I really couldn't say.
17 I can't provide an accurate answer. I can only provide a partial answer.
18 As far as my own local area is concerned, half of the persons from the
19 Trnopolje Cesta list, which is also the section of the document that I
20 myself signed did not receive the callup, nor was there time for the
21 mobilisation to take place. And it was not possible to set up a unit with
22 these men in the time given. I'm speaking about a large number of people
23 from this list called "Trnopolje Locality Cesta".
24 Q. So it's not complete. Is that fair?
25 A. I don't think we've understood each other. Concerning my local
1 commune or my part of the local commune, yes, the list is complete. But
2 this is not a list of all mobilised persons. That's what I'm trying to
3 say. This is a list of persons who said: "Okay, we'll defend. I place
4 myself at the disposal of the TO. I have no weapon or I have a weapon."
5 Then they added which sort of weapon exactly. And then they signed.
6 These lists were to be used by the TO as a foundation, as some sort of
7 basis for setting up TO units. There are people in this list who signed
8 up and said they had weapons, but these people are aged 60 or 65. So
9 these lists are not identical to TO units, but only contain persons who
10 registered and expressed their willingness, if necessary, to join the TO
11 and defend their own villages.
12 This is not a list of the TO units. That's one thing I can say
13 for sure. And also, I can ascertain, at least as far as my area is
14 concerned, that these people were never organised as units. Perhaps they
15 could have been, but there wasn't enough time and it just wasn't possible.
16 I'm talking about the people on the Trnopolje Cesta list. Part of them
17 were organised and functioned during the first day of attack but then
18 broke down.
19 Q. Thank you. Explain to me if you can or describe for me what the
20 formal list of the territorial units looked like, what did that list look
22 A. I don't know, sir, as I've already said. I was not part of the
23 structures commanding the TO or organising the TO. As any other citizen
24 in the situation that occurred, I placed myself -- I declared myself
25 available, and that's all I know. I also know, and you have asked me,
1 I'll provide you with a specific example. Trnopolje Cesta.
2 Q. Can you direct us to the page, please, that you're looking at.
3 A. [No Interpretation]
4 Q. Thank you.
5 A. Just a moment, please. Trnopolje Cesta, page 2, page A5 [as
7 Q. May we have the page again, sir.
8 A. A15, in the upper right corner. Here, for example, you have a
9 gentleman called Duracak, Redzep. He's an elderly gentleman. He's not a
10 man of military age. He's liable for mobilisation.
11 Q. If I can just -- and sir, I apologise for interrupting. All I
12 want to do is ask you a couple of questions about the document, and then
13 we'll discuss you at length, if you don't mind.
14 A. Please, go ahead.
15 Q. On the 3rd page of this document, A/1/2, there seems to be a stamp
16 on the right-hand side of that document. Correct?
17 A. Yes, that's correct. Kozarac TO staff, TO Bosnia and Herzegovina,
18 TO staff Kozarac. And then handwritten a list of 28 persons.
19 Q. Just for the record, if you could read the first line that starts
20 with the word "stab" and then interpret that line slowly for us, and then
21 the second sentence and then the third line, please, on that document
22 you're looking at, A/1/2.
23 A. "TO staff Kozarac." This is on most of the pages.
24 Q. And then the next line after that, TOBH, what is that?
25 A. That's a stamp. "Bosnia and Herzegovina TO,"" TO staff Kozarac".
1 Q. And then "STOKozara" what does that stand for?
2 A. That's S-T-O, that's "TO staff Kozarac".
3 Q. I can direct your attention to page A/1/29, please, which I
4 believe is the 29th page, if you just follow chronologically.
5 A. I found the page. A/1/29.
6 Q. Thank you. On the right side of that, there seems to be a word
7 "Stanicki Vod." Do you know what that means?
8 A. Not Stanicki. Sanitetski, it's medical. Sanitetski Vod,
9 Medicinski Vod, which is medical platoon or medical unit. It's a unit
10 providing medical assistance.
11 Q. Is this list that we have here also one that included a
12 military -- I'm sorry, a medical unit as reflected on A/1/29? A medical
13 platoon, if you will?
14 A. We've just established that. According to what is written here,
15 and I can't see the TO staff Kozarac stamp here. So, on this page, there
16 is no stamp. As far as I can see, it's all the same handwriting. Someone
17 listed 13 people here and added "medical platoon." So this may have been
18 added to this list from a different list where people were ordered
19 according to numbers.
20 Q. And this, as far as you can see, sir, from the pages that are
21 reflected there, up through and including page A/1/101 is for the
22 Territorial Defence of the area of Kozarac. Correct?
23 A. You said A/1/101.
24 Q. Everything including up to the last page, which is A/1/101.
25 A. Sir, according to the structure of the TO, it was organised on the
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13 English transcripts.
1 basis of parts of local communes, then the next level were local communes,
2 and the headquarters were in the biggest local communes or in a town
3 commune where there was a local office. In this case, in Kozarac. So all
4 structures of the TO in this area, throughout the local communes in this
5 area, had their files and their superior authority first in Kozarac and
6 then in Prijedor. Accordingly, this is the TO staff Kozarac, but with
7 competencies for the TO also in Kozarusa, Trnopolje, Jakupovici, and all
8 other villages and local communes in that area.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. OSTOJIC: Your Honour, if I may ask that this exhibit be
11 introduced into evidence as the next Defence exhibit. I apologise. I
12 don't recall the number.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Objections?
14 MS. KORNER: No, Your Honour. We provided it.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This had, as I was informed a previous 65 ter
16 number. It was only disclosed under this number. Then it is admitted
17 into evidence as D11B. And please, on the list of exhibits may be marked
18 that the pages A/1/5 to A/1/6 are identical, and following A/1/7 are
19 identical with S143.
20 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you for that clarification, Your Honour.
21 Thank you.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please proceed.
23 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you.
24 Q. Sir, do you know who -- and we can spend a few minutes now since
25 we have approximately 10 or so minutes left, if you can tell me who Halil
1 Seferovic is?
2 A. Halid Seferovic. I can't remember who he is.
3 Q. Do you know, sir, to the best of your recollection if Mr. Halid
4 Seferovic was ever a member of the Territorial Defence in Bosnia and
6 A. I can't remember that name. I can't remember the person by that
8 Q. How about the name of Sefer Halilovic, do you know anyone by that
10 A. Not that close after all. Maybe about 180 degrees at best. Yes,
11 I had heard of Sefer Halilovic. I know he was the first commander of the
12 BH Army.
13 Q. When did he become the first commander of the BH Army?
14 A. Immediately after the BH Army was first established. I can't
15 remember the exact month when that occurred.
16 Q. Can you tell us approximately what month and what year that
17 occurred, sir? Was it in April of 1992, if I may be of assistance?
18 A. April 1992, no. The BH Army, as far as I can remember, was not
19 established in April of 1992.
20 Q. Then tell me when was it established.
21 A. I think a couple of months later. We're talking about the BH
22 Army. There was the BH TO.
23 Q. And when did that commence to exist?
24 A. The BH TO, I think 40 or 50 years ago when Tito won the war with
25 his partisans, he established the republics of Yugoslavia. He established
1 the army, the TO. So the TO had always been there, and it had commands at
2 the level of all republics.
3 Q. Thank you. When did the Patriotic League become formed, sir?
4 A. The Patriotic League, as a movement, I believe that the need to
5 establish a patriotic movement was discussed in 1991. I can't remember
6 the exact month, but I know that the BH Presidency provided an initiative
7 for patriotic elements to join forces on the intellectual level. And with
8 all their powers and capacities to advocate Bosnia and Herzegovina. I
9 think formally there was an attempt to found the Patriotic League later
10 on, but it was never really established as a full-fledged player. The
11 situation just took a different turn. So the existing TO grew to such an
12 extent that it could easily be transformed into a BH army. This was
13 indeed done at a later date. I can't remember exactly when, but I suppose
14 it was in the second half of 1992.
15 Q. After June of --
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
17 MR. OSTOJIC:
18 Q. After June of 1992, would that be your best estimate? Sometime
19 after June of 1992?
20 A. I can't say really. About mid-1992, maybe it was even in the
21 first half of 1992. I'm really not sure. But probably you should be able
22 to find out about this.
23 Q. Just going back to Sefer Halilovic, was he the head of the
24 Territorial Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992?
25 A. I don't know. As far as I know, Mr. -- Just a minute. Let me
1 recall his name. Karkin was the head of the TO. I think his name was
2 Karkin. Whether there had been someone else in that position before, or
3 after, I really don't know, but I know the TO was there. And I think
4 Karkin was its head, but I'm not entirely concern about this. It's quite
5 possible that at some point before the BH Army was established, Sefer had
6 indeed taken part in the TO, but I never considered these issues very
7 deeply, so I can't say anything much about that.
8 Q. Did you ever have an opportunity to read a book or papers written
9 by Mr. Sefer Halilovic?
10 A. After he retired, he's a general who decided to enter politics, to
11 go into politics. And as a politician, he had a party, and he published a
12 book in which he provided his own interpretations of the war. I did not
13 read this book, and I don't know about the theories in that book. I heard
14 comments. Some people approved of the book, and some people criticised of
15 it, but it very much depended on which of the sides involved was providing
16 its opinion on the book.
17 Q. As you sit here, sir, do you have any information or knowledge as
18 to how many weapons or armaments Mr. Sefer Halilovic was in control of as
19 the head of the Territorial Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina? In 1992,
20 specifically April of 1992?
21 A. I've answered this, sir, and in quite some detail as far as
22 concerns the TO. But I can't go into that because I simply don't know,
23 especially not the level you're asking me about.
24 Q. Let me ask you this, if I may: Do you know if in March of 1992,
25 the SDA party had established its own Crisis Staff? Do you know if it
1 existed at that time?
2 A. March 1992?
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. In Prijedor.
5 Q. Correct.
6 A. March 1992. There wasn't a Crisis Staff. There were some ideas
7 about one being set up, but these ideas never came to fruition, at least
8 as far as I know. If there was anything happening at the local level, I
9 really don't know. But in March 1992, we were functioning within legal
10 institutions and officials were just simply doing their job.
11 Q. With respect to this Crisis Staff, is it fair to say, then, that
12 you heard of the term "Crisis Staff" not just through what you testified
13 to, but also in connection with the SDA party? They were either thinking
14 about forming it or actually had formed it in some of the local communes.
16 A. Sir, had a Crisis Staff of the SDA been founded in Prijedor, I
17 would have been the second person to become a member of that Crisis Staff.
18 There was no possibility of setting up such a Crisis Staff without me
19 learning about it. The thing is very simple really.
20 Q. Just quickly on a couple of other issues if I can just try to
21 squeeze them in, with respect to the armaments and weapons in Prijedor in
22 1992, do you know if there was a group of men from the SDA leadership who
23 were actively soliciting funds, locally and abroad, in order to purchase
24 arms and weapons?
25 A. Was there an organised group soliciting funds, and please, can you
1 just specify which period you are referring to? Because this is very
2 important. It's a very broad subject, much discussed. So please, if you
3 can specify the period whenever you're asking a question, please do so.
4 Q. In April and May of 1992, sir, did a group of men from the SDA
5 party actively solicit funds, locally and abroad, for the purchase of --
6 for the purpose of purchasing arms and armaments?
7 A. I'm not familiar with the existence of any such formal group by
8 party orders. Please, if you would just --
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. -- Let me finish. There was discussion about finding solutions to
11 the situation. The area was blocked. There were no medicines. There was
12 nothing available. A large number of people placed themselves at the
13 disposal of the TO. There was a large number of Serbs who offered to sell
14 weapons, Serbs from Omarska and from Prijedor. As I heard, even some
15 Serbs from the barracks. There were proposals to borrow money so that
16 people could buy weapons. It was only natural under the circumstances,
17 which I'm sure you're quite familiar with. If there was any formal
18 obligation concerning whatever persons to put together a fund for
19 buying -- for purchasing weapons, I think the word "fund" is really
20 ridiculous in this context because we had no institutions to use, nor was
21 the money flow open at the time. We asked for assistance, or aid, not
22 only from abroad, but we also appealled for political assistance in order
23 to lift the blockade, both at the republic level as well as at the
24 international level and wherever else we could. There is a human
25 dimension to this entire situation. Take my example. I placed myself at
1 the disposal of the TO. I had no weapon. I was terrified by the very
2 idea that the military could just dash into my house in the middle of the
3 night and kill my mother in front of me without me having a weapon to
4 defend her. I wanted to defend my country, my mother, my sisters. It was
5 the most natural need in a situation where we were just simply
6 hermetically closed off and compelled to defend ourselves. People
7 considered different models, different scenarios, but we never managed to
8 organise what we had begun or to convince the SDS that they had no reason
9 really to treat us the way they did.
10 Today you spoke about an incident committed against the army on
11 the 23rd in Kozarac, when the army fired their weapons, or -- excuse me --
12 on the 24th. There was no incident on the 23rd. But at least 300
13 soldiers had been inserted from the Ribnjak direction into Trnopolje and
14 into the Serb villages surrounding in the process half of Trnopolje. But
15 there was no incident really. So there was a process underway which, in
16 essence, we could only observe, we could pray to God and pray to the Serbs
17 to have mercy and not to kill people for no reason at all. And again, I
18 must be sincere with you. We really hoped that all that was happening at
19 the political level, at the federal level, and at the international level
20 would help to turn the events around.
21 There was the decision by the federal army eventually that they
22 would withdraw from Bosnia and Herzegovina. We hoped that this would
23 eventually come true, this news was encouraging for us. But no changes
24 took place, and the JNA just continued to do what it had been doing up to
25 that point. And in this sort of situation, you asked me about people
1 putting together funds. If people had been able to give birth physically
2 to weapons, they would have. We had blacksmiths, who shod horses, make
3 weapons for the first time in their lives. We had all these people
4 involved to try to look for barrels, to try to forge, literally make
5 weapons, to get gun powder from the hunters and to improvise some sort of
6 weaponry. We just sat by and waited.
7 I must return to this now. I had, I think, a need and a moral
8 obligation, if I'm abusing your patience, please forgive me. Can we just
9 return to the previous question. There was a number of ideas, people
10 said: "Come on, let's link up somehow. We must see what's happening. We
11 must see what's in the making. We're not being treated any differently
12 from how the other towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina were being treated.
13 There's bound to be a massacre." People were searching for a solution,
14 but they couldn't find one, and there was nothing to be done. We were
15 just left to our own devices.
16 Let me tell you another thing: If there was any serious form of
17 organisation, of structure, or any considerable amount of weapons
18 available, what kind of army would have been able to just wipe off the
19 whole area within 24 hours? It was celebrated as a great historic
20 achievement. We triumphed over tens of thousands of extremists in such a
21 short time. Your Honour, please forgive me. I know that it's not
22 desirable in Court. I did get slightly emotional. But also in the light
23 of what we were speaking about, I just want today clarify a couple of my
24 own answers. And after all, naturally, regardless of all that has
25 happened, I do not want in the least for anyone to be convicted more than
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13 English transcripts.
1 is their just share, not a single bit more, and I stand behind these
2 words. They are a principle for me in my life. But please don't ask me
3 to judge matters I'm not qualified to judge or events that I did not
4 witness. Then please, ask me "what's your opinion, why did this happen"
5 but ask no further than that. Please. Thank you for your understanding.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. I think you made quite clear what
7 you wanted to express. And unfortunately, we have to break for today,
8 until Monday, 10.00. And may we please hear what is now to be expected on
9 Monday morning.
10 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I was going to ask if Mr. Sejmenovic
11 could be given an indication of how many longer cross-examination will be.
12 Because he was expecting to leave today. He wasn't aware that the Court
13 wasn't sitting on Friday, I don't think, because nobody has been able to
14 speak to him.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was the information available one month ago.
16 MS. KORNER: I know, Your Honour. But clearly we thought it would
17 be finished. Otherwise, Your Honour, what is intended on Monday is that
18 Mr. Sejmenovic will continue. The other witness will be testifying in the
19 other case still. So at the moment, things are up in the air. The only
20 problem will arise is if that witness cannot give his evidence in here on
21 Tuesday and be finished on Tuesday. That's the problem that will arise.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So it's the understanding, we commence on Monday
23 morning with the continuing cross-examination, and then I understand that
24 the Defence is prepared to have a break in order to facilitate proceedings
25 to allow the other witness to come in immediately, and then have this
1 witness Tuesday.
2 MS. KORNER: Yes.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And from my perspective, I think it will be
4 necessary to continue with the cross-examination Wednesday. Right?
5 MR. OSTOJIC: I believe so, Your Honour. We'll try our best, but
6 I believe so.
7 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I know part of this is the difficulty of
8 the other witness. But really I think, maybe we ought to ask
9 Mr. Sejmenovic, I think it would be very unfair to keep Mr. Sejmenovic
10 here until Wednesday. I really would hope that, as Your Honours indicated
11 on a number of occasions to me, the Defence could get to the point and
12 they could finish Mr. Sejmenovic on Monday.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But I think we have to balance. Four days and
14 90 minutes, and on the other hand, there were several points, several very
15 important points, and I think the witness knows about his own importance
16 for the case. And therefore, I would ask for your understanding that it
17 may be necessary that you stay here until Wednesday. And I appreciate
18 that you do so. And let's proceed this way, anticipating that it may be,
19 emphasise, may be necessary, that we continue with the cross-examination
20 on Wednesday.
21 So let's call it a day now. And on Monday, 10.00, we resume.
22 Thank you.
23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
24 7.10 p.m., to be reconvened on
25 Monday, the 24th day of June, 2002,
1 at 9.00 a.m.