1 Tuesday, 30 July 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.19 p.m.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Very good afternoon to everybody. Could we
7 please hear the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is Case Number
9 IT-97-24-T, the Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And the appearances.
11 MR. KOUMJIAN: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Nicholas Koumjian
12 supervised by Ann Sutherland, with Ruth Karper, case manager.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I didn't know that there was supervision in the
14 OTP. But good to know. For the Defence, please.
15 MR. LUKIC: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Branko Lukic and
16 John Ostojic for the Defence.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Can we immediately continue. I
18 can't identify any --
19 MR. KOUMJIAN: We can. But there is an issue at an appropriate
20 time, Your Honour, that I would like to bring up regarding the documents,
21 the 81 pages that I would request the Court's assistance on.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's do it immediately after the break. Then
23 we can restart with the examination-in-chief.
24 WITNESS: NUSRET SIVAC [Resumed]
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 Examined by Mr. Koumjian: [Continued]
2 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Sivac.
3 A. Good afternoon.
4 Q. When we finished yesterday, you talked about the blind gentleman
5 who was led by the arm to the restaurant by his friend Becir who was an
6 engineer. You told us what happened --
7 A. Ibrahim Paunovic, his friend. Engineer by profession, Ibrahim
8 Paunovic is the name of the friend.
9 Q. Thank you. Do you know what was the fate of Mr. Ibrahim Paunovic
10 in the camp?
11 A. Unfortunately, he, too, was killed in the last days of July, when
12 mass executions of prisoners began to take place in the Omarska camp.
13 Q. Mr. Sivac, were you yourself in the camp ever taken for
15 A. Yes, about seven days after I was first put into the garage, one
16 of the guards called out my name and took me for an interrogation, to the
17 so-called interrogation room in the administration building.
18 Q. Can you tell us briefly the nature of the questions you were
20 A. Well, I worked in the security service for a long time, and the
21 sort of questions they asked were the run-of-the-mill questions they used
22 to ask everyone. Did I have any weapons? But the most important question
23 for them although they knew me well was what my financial situation was
24 like and how rich I was. That's what they wanted to know.
25 Q. Were you yourself physically mistreated during the interrogation?
1 A. No, unfortunately [as interpreted]. I was lucky not to be
2 maltreated during the interrogation. The interrogators names were Neso
3 Tomcic and Neso Babic, old acquaintances of mine who used to work with me
4 in the Prijedor security service.
5 Q. Did you see other prisoners taken for interrogation and return
6 looking different than they had before they went for the interrogation?
7 A. Well, let me tell you this: After my interrogation, my
8 interrogators decided that I shall not return to the garage but instead
9 should be taken back to the pista. According to my own estimate, there
10 must have been between 500 and 700 prisoners already at the pista. And
11 the pista was the best platform to actually see all the things that were
12 happening in the Omarska camp. Every day, except on Saturdays and
13 Sundays, people were called out and taken for interrogation. Many of
14 those would come back bearing obvious marks of torture, beating, and all
15 the other things that had been done to them. Many came back wrapped in
16 blankets. When the guard, who was in the administration building and was
17 in charge of coordination between the interrogators and the guards who
18 were bringing people up there, said: "I need four strong prisoners." And
19 we knew immediately why he was saying that. And then one of our friends,
20 fellow prisoners, who had been taken up for interrogation up there, he was
21 killed during his interrogation. And they needed four physically strong
22 prisoners to take the body out. And they usually dumped the bodies on a
23 lawn, a meadow, to the left of the white house.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Koumjian, may I direct your attention to
25 page 3, line 1. I'm afraid, possibly, there is a mistake, but it should
1 be clarified whether it was really translated into the proper way.
2 MR. KOUMJIAN:
3 Q. Mr. Sivac, I'm just going to read back the beginning of your
4 answer to one of my previous answers when I asked whether you were
5 physically maltreated. The answer on the transcript reads: "No,
6 unfortunately. I was lucky not to be maltreated during the
7 interrogation." Is that what you meant to say, that you felt it was
8 unfortunately that you were not beaten?
9 A. Yes, yes, no. I was not beaten during the interrogation.
10 Q. And when you say "unfortunately," do you mean it was -- you were
11 lucky or do you mean that that had some negative consequence?
12 A. Yes, yes. I was lucky. Perhaps I -- yes, I was lucky not to have
13 been beaten.
14 Q. Can you tell us, Mr. Sivac, something about -- we haven't gone
15 into all the conditions of food and hygiene, et cetera, at the camp. But
16 can you tell us what the physical appearance of the majority of prisoners
17 were? If someone were to come from the outside and look at them, did you
18 and your fellow prisoners appear as you normally would prior to being in
19 the Omarska camp?
20 A. Well, let me tell you this: The prisoners were all in bad shape,
21 and they looked miserable. Having to undergo torture and beating on a
22 daily basis, not having enough to eat and to drink, all this affected the
23 prisoners. And in a short while, they would lose dozens of kilograms.
24 And they would usually get intestinal sickness, and very often it would
25 happen that these prisoners would become incontinent, and all the rooms
1 stank. And many of the older prisoners just couldn't put up physically
2 with all the torture and the beatings and they just died there on the
3 spot. I'll never forget once, in the room, Safet Ramadanovic, a neighbour
4 of mine, died there in the room from all the torture that he had been
5 forced to undergo, and also Meho Habibovic, also died, and all these were
6 elderly prisoners who could not physically tolerate what was happening to
7 them in the camp.
8 And Omer --
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter corrects himself. Not Omer.
10 A. They died due to the results of beatings and difficult conditions
11 in the camp.
12 MR. KOUMJIAN:
13 Q. Sir, I want to ask you now whether you recall any politicians that
14 you recognised visiting the Omarska camp while you were a prisoner?
15 A. Let me tell you: At some point in the second half of July, in the
16 early morning hours, they took all the prisoners out of their rooms and
17 out of the hangar, Burho's room, Mujo's room, from the white house. And
18 they had us lined up usually outside the rooms where they were staying,
19 lined up in several rows. We had our backs turned to the buildings, the
20 rooms, and then Milorad Tadic, Brk, who was some sort of a grey eminence
21 in the camp, was the assistant of Zeljko Meakic, the commander of the
22 camp. But he had a special task to call out the names of the wealthy and
23 distinguished people from Prijedor, take them somewhere, and press them to
24 give him money. And then with a group of guards, he would take them
25 somewhere to collect the money or to find it. And such people who had
1 been called out in such a manner would usually never return to the camp.
2 On that particular day, he was in charge of a ceremony. We did
3 not quite understand what was happening in the camp. From the early
4 morning hours on, we were made to sing their Chetnik songs, as loud and as
5 best we could. And we had to shout their slogans, "this is Serbia, this
6 is Serbia," and they wanted us to lift three fingers. Sometime around
7 noon, from that plateau, we could see a long column, a convoy of vehicles
8 arriving in the camp. At the head of the convoy was the armoured
9 intervention vehicle from Prijedor, and it was followed by another vehicle
10 from which Simo Drljaca and Milorad Vokic emerged. A very comprehensive
11 delegation of politicians came out of the other cars from the convoy. At
12 first, I saw Radislav Brdjanin with a group of collaborators who were in
13 power, and they were the most powerful people in the so-called autonomous
14 region of Bosanska Krajina. There was a group of journalists from Banja
15 Luka, too, people I knew, they were just doing their job. A group of
16 journalists from Prijedor also, and a group of politicians from Prijedor,
17 too, among whom there were Mico Kovacevic, Milomir Stakic, Srdjo Srdic,
18 the inevitable one, was there, too, Simo Miskovic, president of the SDS;
19 Milan Andzic, I'm not sure if I mentioned him. A person from Omarska, he
20 was a very influential man. Radmilo Zeljaja was there, the commander of I
21 think it was the 43rd or 343rd Serbian Brigade which razed Lipik and
22 Pakrac in Slavonija to the ground and then in 1992, Prijedor and Kozarac,
23 and all the rest.
24 During my career, I often attended arrivals of high-state
25 dignitaries, and, for a while, I was in charge of organising Tito's
1 arrivals in Bosnia. Radislav Brdjanin came and was paid the honours and
2 respect that only the top dignitaries ever get. There was the Serbian
3 flag there, and next to it the new Yugoslav flag. Zeljko Meakic saluted
4 in the military way and welcomed those who arrived. And according to
5 military custom, he reported to the president of the autonomous region of
6 Bosanska Krajina, Radislav Brdjanin. For the whole of this time, we had
7 to keep shouting, "this is Serbia, this is Serbia, from Topola to Topola,
8 all the way to Ravna Gora." We were made to sing these songs all the
10 And then they started walking. Radislav Brdjanin paused in the
11 middle of the pista and he tried to say something. Amid all the din and
12 shouting, I couldn't hear what he was trying to say. And then they
13 entered the offices above us on the floor where the interrogations were
14 taking place and where the camp administration was.
15 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I'd like the witness to be shown, from
16 Exhibit 15, photographs 2, 3, and 18. And if 18 can first be put on the
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please do so.
19 MR. KOUMJIAN:
20 Q. While that's being prepared, sir, where were the prisoners at the
21 time that the delegation arrived?
22 A. All the prisoners had been expelled from the hangar and from the
23 white house and from Burho's and Mujo's room and from the garage, and we
24 were taken to the asphalt plateau outside the rooms in which we were
1 Q. You talked a bit earlier about the physical appearance of the
2 prisoners. During your stay in Omarska, were prisoners allowed to bathe?
3 Were you given the opportunity to bathe?
4 A. No. Prisoners were not allowed to bathe, and where could they
5 have bathed? Should any of the prisoners have used the lapse of attention
6 on the part of the guards just outside Mujo's and Burho's room, where I
7 spent most of my time, there was a fountain there with running water, but
8 the water was dirty. And for all I know, it was only used for washing the
9 construction machines. And it was not drinking water. And camp inmates
10 could just wash quickly there or drink some of that water, and that was
11 the water we used for drinking. And that's why all of the prisoners had
12 colitis and intestinal diseases and diarrhea and looked miserable.
13 Q. We're putting on the ELMO Exhibit 15-18. It will be on your
14 screen. Perhaps you could turn, though, to the photograph on your right,
15 and tell us. We have some other angles of the model we could use if this
16 is not satisfactory. Could you tell us -- can you show us on this
17 photograph where the delegation arrived and where the prisoners were.
18 A. Well, let me tell you, I would first like ask you please to have
19 this photograph. Well, I will try to point it on here. This is going to
20 be a bit unusual. The inmates were outside this room. The garage, the
21 rooms in which Burho and Mujo were --
22 Q. Perhaps it might be better if you looked at 15-2. Would this
23 photograph be better for you?
24 A. Yes, yes, yes. I think that -- I think this is the photograph
25 taken from the right angle, the angle I like. So all the prisoners were
1 taken out, outside the hangar. They were lined up here at the pista. And
2 also outside Burho and Mujo's room and the garage. As far as I could see,
3 prisoners were lined up from the white house. When the delegation arrived
4 here at the gate to the Omarska camp, there were two masts flying always a
5 Serbian flag and the flag of the new Yugoslavia. The same flag as before,
6 but without the five-pointed star. So, the main gate to the camp and to
7 the iron ore mines, and then somewhere in this area just in front of us,
8 an APC of the intervention platoon that was escorting the delegation
9 pulled over, and then the car with Simo Drljaca followed by Dusan
10 Jankovic, and they stopped here alongside with Zeljko Meakic, the camp
11 commander. And then in front of Zeljko Meakic, the delegation of
12 politicians led by Brdjanin came out of the car, and then Zeljko Meakic
13 reported to him.
14 Q. If I could stop you for a moment so we can describe for the record
15 where you were pointing, in describing where the intervention squad and
16 the delegation first arrived, the witness was pointing on photograph 15-2
17 to the area below the building in the lower right of the photograph.
18 Can you show us where on this diagram you yourself were standing?
19 A. I was here somewhere, just in front of the gate to the room in
20 which I was staying, somewhere in the middle. In front of me, there were
21 several rows. I can't remember how many, perhaps three or four, rows of
23 Q. For the record --
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May the witness be asked to mark these points on
25 this picture, and then have it as a new exhibit, please.
1 MR. KOUMJIAN: My supervisor has handed me the copy. Thank you.
2 Q. We have another photograph.
3 MR. KOUMJIAN: Does Your Honour want to call this 15-2B or
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: 15-2, it should be a new one, -2I.
6 MR. KOUMJIAN:
7 Q. Sir, why don't you first take the photograph into the desk in
8 front of you, and mark with your initials where you were, and mark with a
9 square where the delegation arrived. I think that is probably too thick
10 to put initials.
11 A. The delegation. I'm not sure if this is enough.
12 Q. The X is where the delegation was. Is that what you're saying?
13 That's the general area?
14 A. Where Radislav Brdjanin was here, and here behind him were the
15 other politicians. Here, just here on this very spot, Zeljko Meakic
16 reported to Radislav Brdjanin on their way in. And behind Radislav
17 Brdjanin, there were the remaining politicians from Prijedor and
18 Banja Luka.
19 Q. What happened after they arrived?
20 A. We kept singing for the whole time, and yelling "this is Serbia,
21 this is Serbia." And then after Zeljko Meakic reported to Radislav
22 Brdjanin, he walked up to here, I think here somewhere, and then as far as
23 I can remember, for all of them to hear, both the ones and the others,
24 because there was much tumult, and then he said something, part of the
25 delegation going this way passed the prisoners who were here on this
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 tarmac, and here, there were prisoners here also, those who were staying
2 in the glass house. All the way up to here. They went into the
3 administration building, as far as I knew, and part of the delegation went
4 this way.
5 Q. Perhaps, you can mark with one of the coloured pens that are just
6 in front of you the line of the prisoners. Why don't you take the red
7 pen, and you've traced a line just so it's clear for the record with a red
8 pen mark how the prisoners were lined up.
9 A. They were standing here. The prisoners were the garage were here.
10 And the prisoners from Mujo's room were here, and there was a row of
11 prisoners from the glass house here. Here were the prisoners from the
12 hangar and those rooms over there, and here was a group of those who had
13 survived and who were staying in the white house.
14 Q. Forgive me if I'm incorrect, but I thought when you first talked
15 about the ones in front of the white house, are you sure you saw them or
16 are you indicating some uncertainty about whether the prisoners were
17 outside the white house?
18 A. No. I'm sure about that, that there were prisoners outside the
19 white house.
20 Q. Okay, thank you. You mentioned that you saw Mr. Stakic there.
21 How far away from you was Mr. Stakic when he was the closest to you? How
22 close to you did he get during the time you saw him at the Omarska camp?
23 A. Well, I can't say for sure what the distance was, perhaps about 50
24 metres, between 50 and 70. He was standing to the right. He was in the
25 company of Milan Andzic, as far as I remember. In front of him, Srdjo
1 Srdic and Simo Miskovic headed for the garage. And probably they wanted
2 to take this path to the administration building in order to avoid passing
3 through the rows of prisoners. Perhaps they were afraid that someone
4 would recognise them. And then here, where the prisoners from the garage
5 were standing, the prisoners from this row, Dedo Crnalic walked up to them
6 and asked for something for them to stand somewhere. And then they stood
7 there for a while with Simo Miskovic and Srdjo Srdic. They had a very
8 brief talk, and then they left in a hurry and went behind this garage
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MR. KOUMJIAN: I'd now like the witness to be given a newspaper
12 article. It is 65 ter number 291. And I hope the booths also have that.
13 If not, I think we have copies. It was distributed yesterday.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would the Registrar tell me the next S number,
16 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour, that would be S238.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So, provisionally 238.
18 MR. KOUMJIAN: Perhaps we could mark also at this time the 65 ter
19 number -- apparently this was not on the 65 ter list. It was given to the
20 Chambers yesterday and to the Defence on the 11th of July. It is an
21 article entitled -- from Kozarski Vjesnik entitled "Visits, Krajina
22 representatives in Prijedor."
23 Could that be marked 239, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, provisionally 239. And just find out, we
25 got three documents yesterday, no doubt, that I have the correct one in
1 front of me.
2 MR. KOUMJIAN: We do have a couple extras if anyone needs a copy.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We have only one.
4 MR. KOUMJIAN:
5 Q. Before we begin with the article, Mr. Sivac, are you sure you saw
6 Milomir Stakic at the camp that day?
7 A. Yes, I am.
8 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, in reading yesterday's transcript, I
9 noticed that -- it's my fault -- it was not clear from the transcript who
10 number 5 was in the lineup, the person that Mr. Sivac identified. May the
11 record reflect that was the accused, Milomir Stakic.
12 Q. Sir, you have been handed a Kozarski Vjesnik article, S238. And I
13 hope the booths have copies. I'd like you to read this slowly, so it can
14 be translated.
15 A. You want me to read all of it, all the titles and captions?
16 Q. If you can start --
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, please, just for your understanding, it's
18 easier for the Judges to have access to these articles in both English and
19 French at the same time. Therefore, we are grateful if you could read it.
20 Thank you.
21 MR. KOUMJIAN:
22 Q. Just to direct you, sir, I'm only referring to the article
23 entitled: "It's Difficult for Everyone." So if you could read it out
24 loud, please.
25 A. Yes. "It's Difficult for Everyone. 'We fully understand all your
1 problems and admire you for your determination and persistence you have
2 shown in the fight against Muslim and Croatian extremists. But at the
3 same time, we would like you to understand us for not being able to offer
4 you adequate help because of the problems and concerns with which we have
5 to deal.' This was stated during the talks between representatives of the
6 Prijedor and Banja Luka authorities.
7 "For a very long time, almost a month, the Prijedor Municipality
8 was a scene of war clashes and a place kept in isolation of all kinds.
9 For almost two months, the people of Prijedor and their neighbours in
10 Bosanski Novi and Sanski Most fought heavily on a day-to-day basis against
11 Muslim extremists supported by members of the HDZ and HOS. During that
12 time, the Prijedor war unit and the police force lost 43 soldiers,
13 including members of the Serbian Republic of BH, killed in Hambarinsko
14 Polje on the 22nd of May this year when Muslim extremists and members of
15 the Green Berets decided to respond to Alija Izetbegovic's call for a war
16 to the death. The events that followed are more or less known to the
17 public in Prijedor, and even in Banja Luka. Yet, a great deal remains
18 unknown. Yesterday, this should have become obvious to the Krajina
19 representatives, Radislav Brdjanin, president of the AR Krajina War Staff;
20 Radislav Vukic, president of the Banja Luka SDS; Predrag Radic, president
21 of the Banja Luka Municipal Assembly; and Stojan Zupljanin, chief of the
22 Banja Luka CSB, for whom some time ago, 500 Muslim extremists led by Hamed
23 Ergelic, Asef Kapetanovic, Elvedin Rizvan, Mirza Mujadzic, and other
24 Prijedor extremists prepared a fiery welcome when the takeover of the
25 Prijedor Public Security Service was to be negotiated.
1 "Having visited the area of war operations and the collection
2 centres, the guests from Krajina thanked their hosts for their hospitality
3 and their ongoing efforts to establish a new Serbian state in this area,
4 especially at this crucial moment when Alija Izetbegovic thinks he has
5 already created a new Alcatraz in Prijedor.
6 "'This is an example of a job well done in Prijedor, and it is a
7 real shame that there are many people in Banja Luka who were still
8 oblivious to this fact, as well as other things that might happen in Banja
9 Luka any moment now. Due to the circumstances in Banja Luka, there is a
10 permanent surplus of Muslims who have fled to Banja Luka from the
11 surrounding municipalities and who have already begun planning how to
12 respond to the jihad. They have been expressing their loyalty only
13 because they are still a minority. As a result of our delusion that they
14 have accepted the Serbian state and the Autonomous Region of Krajina, we
15 have lost 55 men in Kotor Varos, and the Green Berets from Vecici are
16 proud of themselves for killing Stevilovic,' said Radislav Brdjanin.
17 Colonel Vladimir Arsic, commander of the Prijedorska Brigada, Milomir
18 Stakic, president of the Prijedor Municipal Assembly; Mico Kovacevic,
19 chairman of the executive committee and Simo Drljaca, head of the Prijedor
20 Public Security Service, acquainted the guests with the general situation
21 and efforts that have been made to normalise living and working
22 conditions, Predrag Radic spoke about the significance of the events in
23 Prijedor and his views concerning Banja Luka.
24 "At present, we all need Banja Luka as a logistics centre. We
25 will continue doing whatever it takes to preserve peace in Banja Luka
1 despite various threats and attempts to cause disturbance. For days now,
2 the Croatian, Austrian, and German media keep accusing Banja Luka of
3 persecution of the Muslims and Croats. Our enemies," -- this is not very
4 clear," -- are resorting to all possible means to malign us, but
5 nevertheless, we are sticking it out. Unfortunately, we have many
6 unresolved problems, one of which is the refugees in the collection
7 centres. The International Red Cross has been trying for days to reach
8 Prijedor, but as we have already stated, we will make it possible for them
9 only after they personally acknowledge the situation of Serbian refugees
10 and captives in Odjak, Rascani, Travnik, Zenica, Sarajevo, Konjic, and in
11 many other places."
12 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you. If you could have a seat, because I'm
13 going to ask several questions about this article, before I go on to the
15 Q. Sir, a couple questions about the article you just read. First of
16 all, you were 45 years old in 1992, I believe. You were a former
17 policeman. You were a Muslim. You had left the police because of
18 conflicts with what you felt were Serb nationalists. Were you ever
19 recruited by Mirza Mujadzic or anyone else to take over the Prijedor
20 police station or to engage in any other act of violence?
21 A. No, never. Mirza Mujadzic despised intellectuals and broad-minded
22 people from the area. He never wanted to have such people around him.
23 For his entourage and for his associates, he chose only people who would
24 listen to him, who would obey him. What I'm trying to say is that he
25 avoided taking professionals, experienced people. He only took members of
1 the Party of Democratic Action. But let me add something to this answer:
2 Whereas at the opposite side, at the Serbian side, this didn't seem to be
3 very important. It was not important for someone to have a membership
4 card, an SDS membership card. They all worked on the same -- with the
5 same agenda. They all espoused the same cause. Their common objective
6 was to ethnically cleanse the Prijedor Municipality and have it inhabited
7 only by Serbs. So for instance, Serbs who were members of the SDP and the
8 reformist forces and all other left-wing parties sided with them.
9 Q. In this text, in the last paragraph, it talks about the
10 International Red Cross "has been trying for days to reach Prijedor. But
11 we will make it possible for them only after they personally acknowledge
12 the situation of Serbian refugees and captives in various cities." Prior
13 to the visit of this delegation to the Omarska camp, had the International
14 Red Cross visited the camp?
15 A. No, never. They were not allowed access to the camp.
16 Q. In that last paragraph, it talks -- refers to collection centres,
17 and also in the third paragraph, it indicates that the guests from Banja
18 Luka "having visited the area of war operations and the collection
19 centres." What did you understand in the summer of 1992 the word
20 "collection centres" to mean when used by the press of the SDS
21 authorities in Prijedor?
22 A. Well, for us, it was ridiculous, the fact that they refer to it as
23 a "collection centre" or "camp" as they called it. It sounded like a
24 summer camp. They obviously wanted to avoid any harsh words that might
25 identify the true character of the Omarska camp. This was all part of the
1 propaganda that even Goebbels wouldn't be ashamed of. Everything that
2 they were trying to do on the territory of the Prijedor area, they were
3 blaming the other side for the same thing. They tried to ascribe this to
4 the members of the opposing party in their propaganda, and we all know
5 that the reality was different.
6 MR. KOUMJIAN: Perhaps the witness can now be shown S239. While
7 that's being prepared, Your Honours, I'm trying to figure out the day of
8 the week the 17th of July would be. I believe the 31st of May would be a
9 Sunday. The 30th of June would be Tuesday, then.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And indeed, it would be appropriate if we,
11 during this session, could have access to the Kozarski Vjesnik in a way
12 that we can read that it actually was the 17th of July. It can't be
13 identified from the copies before us.
14 MR. KOUMJIAN: I think we've calculated independently,
15 Ms. Sutherland and I, that the day was a Friday. But we'll double-check
16 and if the Court or anyone has access to a 1992 calendar, we'll
17 double-check that.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If possible, provide us with the original that
19 we can present also the original to the witness before us.
20 MR. KOUMJIAN: We've sent a message asking for that to be
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
23 MR. KOUMJIAN:
24 Q. Sir, I'd ask you just to read the short article entitled:
25 "Visits, Krajina representatives in Prijedor." And first, do you
1 recognise from the headline that this is Kozarski Vjesnik from the 17th of
2 July, 1992?
3 A. Yes, I do, clearly.
4 "Krajina representatives in Prijedor. On Wednesday,
5 representatives from the Autonomous Region of Krajina bodies visited
6 Prijedor, that is, the president of the War Staff Radislav Brdjanin, the
7 president of the regional SDS, Radislav Vukic, the chief of the public
8 security centre, Stojan Zupljanin, and the president of the Banja Luka
9 Municipal Assembly, Predrag Radic. During the talks with Crisis Staff
10 members and representatives of the public security station, several
11 topics were discussed. From the functioning of the economy--
12 Q. If you could slow down.
13 A. Yes. "to the situation of public security in the area of the
14 municipality. Before these talks, the guests from Banja Luka had made a
15 tour of the municipality where combat actions had taken place and could
16 see for themselves the severity of the clashes with the Muslim
17 paramilitary formations. It has been highlighted in these talks that
18 energetic steps were taken to subdue the activity of the paramilitary
19 formations as in this area, it was realised in time to what an extent --
20 to what an --
21 Q. Sir.
22 A. "Victims and destruction tolerance of those who had been preparing
23 themselves to settle accounts with the Serbian people for years may lead.
24 In the course of the talks, the representatives of the bodies of the
25 Autonomous Region of Krajina informed the hosts about the steps which the
1 regional government is taking, with the purpose of normalising the
2 situation in this area." To be continued on page 4. I think we've
3 already read that part.
4 Q. Yes, thank you. Mr. Sivac, obviously in July of 1992, you were
5 detained. Have you ever seen these articles before this afternoon when
6 you read them?
7 A. No, I see this for the first time. And I have some difficulty, I
8 must admit, reading the Cyrillic alphabet.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 Sir, did you bring with you to The Hague on this trip a videotape?
11 A. Yes. And incidentally, so I must be frank, when travelling to
12 The Hague, I was actually coming back from a holiday in Bosnia, I took
13 with me a video which had been sent to me from a colleague in Sweden. But
14 let me try to make this clear: I am preparing a documentary feature
15 currently in Sarajevo -- for the Sarajevo TV. I'm working on this
16 documentary, and many of my colleagues are helping me with the footages
17 that they have. So, one such tape was sent to me by Dzevad Krlebegovic
18 [phoen], a colleague of mine who was now living in Sweden. He remained in
19 Prijedor until 1995, that is, until the time when the ethnic cleansing was
20 finalised in Prijedor, when the last group of Muslims were evicted and
21 expelled through Teslic and Vlasic, and from Bosnia.
22 Q. Sir, when did you first view the tape that you brought from your
23 friend -- you obtained from your friend in Sweden, and how many times did
24 you look at it, do you think?
25 A. I received it a year ago, but I have only seen it once. I realise
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 that the quality was very poor, and that I would not be able to use it for
2 my documentary on Prijedor.
3 Q. Do you recall that on the videotape is a short interview with
4 Dr. Stakic?
5 A. Yes, I do. Initially, I wanted to use this tape for a different
6 footage, that is, I wanted to use a different portion of the tape showing
7 a group of Prijedor residents voluntarily surrendering weapons in the
8 Prijedor barracks because I wanted to show that Muslims and other
9 non-Serbs living in the area of Prijedor Municipality were not in favour
10 of any kind of conflict.
11 Q. Okay, thank you. Yesterday, when the six persons in the lineup
12 walked into the court, did you have any difficulty in recognising
13 Dr. Stakic?
14 A. No, I did not. It is a bit of an occupational disease. I'm a
15 professional cameraman, and I need only a fraction of time to remember an
16 image, a face as well. And I can keep it in my mind for a very long time.
17 Q. During the lineup procedure, the individuals in the lineup were
18 given instructions to turn at three different angles, but were you looking
19 at them at that time?
20 A. I wasn't really. I didn't pay much interest to the lineup in
21 general because I immediately recognised Dr. Stakic. And I didn't need
22 any more time. I was just waiting for everybody to leave the courtroom so
23 that the identification process can be over.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 Sir, did you recognise Dr. Stakic from your dealings with him
1 before the delegation came to the Omarska camp or from seeing him in the
2 media or in person, if that occurred, after that visit of the delegation?
3 A. Well, no, even earlier when he was the vice-president of the
4 municipality, I met him, and that stuck with me, stuck in my memory. But
5 when in 1992 he came over, he looked very different. He was a lot
6 thinner. He didn't wear this beard that he has now. And he was younger,
7 too, like everyone else.
8 Q. Thank you. The first article that you read today includes
9 information about the Muslims planning a fiery welcome and answering
10 Izetbegovic's call for a war to the death. Was this kind of language
11 typical of the language in the media and used by political leaders at that
13 A. Well, yes, like I said, Kozarski Vjesnik, the newspaper, and Radio
14 Prijedor were, so to speak, the mouthpiece of the policies implemented at
15 that point by the Crisis Staff. And for a while, articles were not
16 signed, so that the real names of the authors could hide behind the
17 anonymity of those articles. In all of their articles, they actively
18 called on the Serb people to settle their accounts with Muslims and
19 Croats. All Muslims were viewed as Green Berets, and all Croats were
20 viewed as Ustashas. And all the journalists publishing their articles
21 then called on Serb people to finally settle their accounts because the
22 time, they claimed, had come. There was no time to do it during the
23 Second World War, and then during Tito's era, and the time of the
24 communist party it was forbidden, but that now was the time to continue,
25 and enact, in a manner of speaking, the ideology espoused by Draze
1 Mihajlovic and the other Serb leaders, even those from Yugoslavia, I'm
2 here referring to Slobodan Milosevic, as well as in Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina. And I'm referring to Karadzic and his collaborators. For
4 all Serb territories to be unified in a single state, to establish the
5 famous territorial axis, Karlovac, Virovitica, and that wherever a single
6 Serb lived had to be Serb soil and Serb state. As an ordinary citizen, I
7 must tell you the following, all these pamphlets were written at the
8 expense and to the detriment of all the other ethnic groups.
9 And I know full well that the Muslim people or the other peoples,
10 non-Serb peoples for that matter, were not in favour of any kind of
11 conflict. Because had they been in favour of clashing, they would have
12 put up some resistance to the police and military coup when there was
13 still a chance of stopping the Serbs from taking over all positions of
14 authority and power.
15 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honours, could the videotape, it's only about
16 one minute and 5 seconds, I believe, could the videotape now be played.
17 Q. Mr. Sivac, I'd ask you to watch the screen in front of you.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please proceed in the way.
19 [Videotape played]
20 "Reporter [on tape]: [Interpretation] Please describe the
21 situation in the territory that is under your control.
22 "Mr. Stakic [on tape]: [Interpretation] Well, I can tell you and
23 the viewers that the whole territory of Prijedor municipality is under our
24 control which I can confirm following the liberation of Kozarac. The
25 town, Serbian settlements, and smaller enclaves with Muslim population
1 have been under our control since the takeover of power on the 30th of
2 April, and now after the fall of Kozarac, the entire municipality is under
3 our control.
4 "In Kozarac itself, the operation of mopping up, as the military
5 call it, is still ongoing because those who are still left there are the
6 most extreme ones and the professionals."
7 MR. KOUMJIAN:
8 Q. Mr. Sivac, by the way, could you help us, the body of water that
9 was shown on that video, did you recognise it?
10 A. Water, no, I didn't -- I didn't well notice any water. There must
11 be a creek over there somewhere close to the rail line in the Prijedor
12 area. The rail line passing through Prijedor area and connecting Prijedor
13 with Banja Luka. As far as I could see the location, the Serbs under the
14 bridge there, that was probably in the Trnopolje area or thereabouts.
15 MR. KOUMJIAN: Perhaps if the video could be rewound. It's a
16 minor point. And the translation is not necessary; we can just play that.
17 [Videotape played]
18 MR. KOUMJIAN:
19 Q. Sir, on that occasion, did you recognise the water that was in the
20 foreground and some slight hill in the background?
21 A. Well, let me tell you, the quality of the recording is very poor,
22 and I really didn't see any water or anything. I think that must be a
23 field, taken from a wide angle of sorts, so it's not a very clear image.
24 In the background, I can see burning houses.
25 Q. If you were looking from Trnopolje towards Kozarac, is there a
1 fish farm in between?
2 A. Oh, yes, right, there is, there is the Sanicani fish farm. It's a
3 very big one, so it's possible that it was there in the recording. But
4 believe me, I just couldn't identify it because the quality of the image
5 was just so poor.
6 Q. And in his statement, do you recall if Dr. Stakic, in talking
7 about in Kozarac itself, the operation of, did he use the word in B/C/S
9 A. No, he said "we liberated Kozarac." But earlier, he said that
10 they had liberated the remaining areas of Prijedor Municipality, those
11 under control.
12 Q. I'd ask, if Your Honours have the patience, that we just replay
13 the tape. And Mr. Sivac, I'm interested in the last sentence that
14 Dr. Stakic says where he states.. "In Kozarac itself, the operations
15 of..." And then a word, "as the military call it." Can you listen to that
17 [Videotape played]
18 "Mr. Stakic [on tape]: [Interpretation] Well, I can tell you and
19 the viewers that the Prijedor Municipality is under our control which I
20 can confirm following the liberation of Kozarac. The town, Serbian
21 settlements and smaller enclaves with Muslim population have been under
22 our control since the takeover of power on the 30th of April, and now,
23 after the fall of Kozarac, the entire municipality is under our control.
24 In Kozarac itself, the operation of cleaning, as the military call it, is
25 still ongoing because those who are still left there are the most extreme
1 ones and the professionals."
2 MR. KOUMJIAN:
3 Q. Mr. Sivac, did you hear the word "ciscenje" in Dr. Stakic's
5 A. Yes, he did. The military he said started mopping up the area of
6 Kozarac, and only the most dangerous professionals were left there. And
7 they said that only the most extreme elements were left there, and that
8 the army would soon cleanse the remaining areas of Kozarac.
9 Q. And yesterday, you described for us the effects of that cleaning
10 that you saw on the ride back from Keraterm to Omarska. Is that correct?
11 A. Yes. You're absolutely right. That's the classic term they used,
12 Serb soldiers and Serb officers, well Serb politicians, too. The first
13 time I encountered this expression was when I was covering the war in
14 Croatia. I believed that it would be a fair war, hand-to-hand, but when
15 they started talking about "cleansing" and "mopping up" that was the first
16 time I really saw it for what it was. It was a scorched-earth policy,
17 loot first, then burn, and then demolish. And never again would there be
18 any traces of other civilisations in those areas but the Serb
20 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you, Your Honour. This is an appropriate
21 time for the break.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: There are still remaining 20 minutes. Could we
23 use this for the documents. You have already Kozarski Vjesnik with you?
24 MR. KOUMJIAN: No, it has not yet arrived yet. But also the
25 videotape and transcript need to be marked. I forgot to do that.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. The video would be S240. What are the
2 observations by the Defence as regards this video? Do you have any
3 objections? Do you want to see the entire video?
4 MR. OSTOJIC: With respect to provisional S240, Your Honour, we
5 would like to view the video in its entirety, but also see if we can
6 obtain from either the OTP or from the video itself, the date of the
7 interview to keep it in perspective, if at all possible, if that's
8 available. With those two provisional, I suppose, objections, we would
9 have no other comments on it at this time.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I would ask the parties to answer the question
11 now. Do you -- is it necessary to see the entire video? Because it may
12 be necessary to see the entire document, maybe also from that it can be
13 identified the date you just requested.
14 MR. OSTOJIC: Regretfully, Your Honour, we were provided the video
15 in the limited fashion that was submitted to the Court, not in its
16 entirety. So we only have access to that 1-minute and 5-second clip, I
17 believe, although we tried several times yesterday evening to play it we
18 were only able to see this portion that was played here today for the
19 Court this afternoon.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How long does it take to see the entire video?
21 MR. KOUMJIAN: I'm not sure I've seen the entire video, but I
22 think it's about an hour. Just to explain, we obtained the video Sunday.
23 It appears to me to have several different recordings on it. I noticed
24 one long section of someone singing, at a wedding or something, it appears
25 to be some kind of social gathering. This video appears to me to be part
1 of a longer news clip, but I did not have the entire news clip translated.
2 I planned to do that, and of course give you a copy of the entire video,
3 and I've asked for the entire tape to be translated, but I put a rush on
4 that one minute of Dr. Stakic's video.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The interview started at that moment when we saw
6 the video right now?
7 MR. KOUMJIAN: The interview with Dr. Stakic, yes. Before that,
8 there's a -- there is tape showing weapons, as I think Mr. Sivac was
9 referring to, weapons that had been surrendered, from what I gathered from
10 my limited understanding from the language.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you have the video available that we can see
12 the portions immediately before and immediately after?
13 MR. KOUMJIAN: Certainly. I notice that on the counter, this was
14 at the 37 and a half minute mark, just to give you an idea.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it would be helpful to see the portions
16 immediately before and immediately after this clip. But it's difficult
17 now what to admit into evidence. Apparently, you and we have only one
18 minute. There is, we don't know what the remaining is. So we have to
19 leave it open because we can't admit into evidence which might be subject
20 to privacy of the witness before us when it's, indeed, personal.
21 MR. KOUMJIAN: I believe it's not anything recorded by the
22 witness. Mr. Sivac could correct me.
23 Q. Sir, is it correct that all of the tape was recorded by your
24 friend? You received the tape as it was? You did not put anything on the
25 tape. Is that correct?
1 A. No, I couldn't have recorded this myself. And all the footage on
2 that tape was shot in Prijedor in 1992 by Serb television. So when I
3 received this tape, that was the first time I laid eyes on it.
4 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I would also just indicate for the
5 Court that I think I have about another 30 or 40 minutes of direct
6 examination on other subjects.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. We leave open the S240. I don't know
8 whether the videodirector is prepared to play in once again, say, two
9 minutes before or two minutes after the clip we saw right now?
10 MR. KOUMJIAN: No, because they only have the copied tape. We
11 have not yet copied the tape. I'm not even sure if it's available.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then let's continue with this video after the
13 break. I learned from the registry that the 17th of July, 1992, should be
14 a Friday. This could be checked. And may I ask the usher to present
15 document provisionally 239 to the witness, please. Do you have it before
16 you in B/C/S, Kozarski Vjesnik, 239?
17 MR. KOUMJIAN: B/C/S.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Just a moment, please. I only have
19 this. I don't have that one. I don't.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you please have a look on Kozarski
21 Vjesnik. Is something written over the word "Koz", and what does it read?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it reads that this is the war
23 edition. Let me clarify, Your Honour. Exactly at that time in the
24 evening, the ethnic cleansing of the town of Prijedor, Kozarski Vjesnik
25 started being published in this new format. They called it the war
1 edition. And the author of these -- these articles were not signed,
2 probably to conceal their identity. Kozarski Vjesnik very often published
3 public announcements that they would receive from the Crisis Staff of
4 Prijedor Municipality. Announcements on the political and security
5 situation and all the rest in the area of Prijedor Municipality.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. The Defence has objections as
7 regards the admittance into evidence of S239A and B, respectively.
8 MR. OSTOJIC: Same objection, Your Honour, as those previously
9 outlined, in connection with these articles and publications.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you specify in this case.
11 MR. OSTOJIC: Specifically with respect to S239, Your Honour, our
12 objection would be there's no author identified in the document. We have
13 not seen the complete set of Kozarski Vjesnik to verify, as the witness
14 has just previously described, the additional stamp that seems to appear
15 on the cover of the article. In addition to that, though limited just to
16 239, but unfortunately having to compare it to 238, there seems to be some
17 distinction between one certain articles from Kozarski Vjesnik are dated
18 and some that are not. We think it's imperative in order to get all the
19 articles in order to make an assessment, so for both foundational purposes
20 and completeness, we would maintain our objection as we have held to
21 these articles in the past.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Step by step, hopefully we can overcome this
23 when we have the Kozarski Vjesnik edition of 17th July before us
24 immediately after the break. And the same applies for the video.
25 Finally, it has to emphasise to the record that this document, the
12 Page blanche insérée aux fins d’assurer la correspondance entre la
13 pagination anglaise et la pagination française.
1 former S15-2 with additional Roman I with the marks painted on this
2 document, or drawn on this document by the witness, is now S15-2I, and I
3 would ask the registry to provide the parties and the Judges with copies
4 of this document.
5 Then the trial stays adjourned until 4.15. And we start with a
6 short discussion on the 81 documents, and then immediately after this
7 Kozarski Vjesnik and video. Thank you.
8 --- Recess taken at 3.40 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 4.19 p.m.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. The OTP wanted first of all
11 to address the issue of the 81 pages.
12 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you, Your Honour. But that has been solved
13 in the meantime, so I don't need to address that now. And in the
14 interests of the time, I want to make absolutely sure we finish with
15 Mr. Sivac so he doesn't have to come back after the break, I'd rather
16 proceed with his examination.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Surprise, surprise. You have withdrawn your
18 objections, or...?
19 MR. OSTOJIC: Your Honour, it all depends how you look at it. If
20 the OTP would withdraw their request, then certainly our objection would
21 then be moot. But we just had a very brief conversation about this. I'm
22 not sure if the OTP -- I think they decided this amongst themselves and
23 reached some conclusion that they are going to ultimately share with us
24 with respect to, I believe, the chain of custody issue, but we really
25 haven't in great detail either discussed it, and it was not elaborated to
1 us. So for the record, in all seriousness, we are not withdrawing our
2 objection to those issues, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then I have to ask the OTP to proceed on this
4 issue because time is of the essence, and we have to decide before the
5 Court recess on this issue.
6 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, the matter that I was going to raise
7 concerned the originals as we've called them, the documents that
8 Mr. O'Donnell seized from the black bag, photocopied, and then turned over
9 to Mr. Inayat who gave them to the OLAD unit. In trying to track down
10 where they went exactly from there, we've discovered since we started this
11 afternoon that actually within one of the documents that we received from
12 Judge Lindholm on the following -- following the seizure, and I believe it
13 has been marked J8, that entire bundle of documents with Dr. Stakic's
14 signature was marked J8 is a document dated the 5th of April which is a
15 receipt from -- signed by Dr. Stakic. It's in B/C/S. It indicates that
16 all items other than, and then it enumerates, I believe, passports, two
17 passports, a driver's license, and one other document, were returned to
18 him. So I don't know -- apparently that document exists already in the
19 Court exhibits as part of J8.
20 There's another receipt which we haven't yet produced in court,
21 but it indicates that car keys and insurance paper and one document which
22 has a title of I'm going to try to pronounce it, but -- I'll spell it --
23 car documents, And then in front it's indicated "S-A-O-B-R-A-C-A-J-N-A
24 Prometna Dozvola," two other words, an international motor insurance card,
25 a set of house keys, and a set of car keys. We have given to Mr. Lukic to
1 pass on to those who could, in his -- in Dr. Stakic's family who needed
2 those items.
3 And just as I stated before, that particular document -- There is
4 one document in those 81 pages that's labelled "Saobracajna prometna
5 dozvola" is not one of the eight pages that has the disputed signatures.
6 But just to complete the picture of where all those 81 pages went to, at
7 least one of those documents, it's several of the 81 pages because I think
8 there were four pages of those documents copied were given to Mr. Lukic,
9 apparently to give to the defendant's family, I presume.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Any observation to this? Is Defence contesting
11 the report of Judge Per Lindholm?
12 MR. OSTOJIC: Certainly, not, Your Honour. We would not at this
13 time do that. And we don't anticipate, in any way, taking any exception
14 with the report by the Court or Your Honour who submitted that report.
15 However, I want just want the record to be clear that our objections do
16 not merely just go to the issue that the OTP is now on today's date raised
17 in essence, they have still failed to address the critical issues that we
18 thought we raised in our objection, namely, the illegal search and
19 confiscation of the personal effects of Dr. Stakic, although we can
20 debate, and I don't have it before me, the issue of Dr. Stakic signing a
21 simple form which says all items were returned to him. However, once we
22 commence that debate, it only highlights our prior commentary which
23 clearly we felt, based on the testimony by Mr. Bernard O'Donnell, were the
24 policy in every criminal and investigatory jurisdiction requires there to
25 be a specific detailed inventory. Simply put, it's that inventory prior
1 to this return of documents as the OTP has asserted that only makes it
2 more critical and crucial, I think, which would in our opinion have our
3 objection sustained on those issues.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But these observations we heard already
5 yesterday, and we exchanged the opinion. And I think there is now nothing
6 new on the issue of the alleged illegal seizure. So it's only where are
7 the documents, and this is -- seems to be a different issue.
8 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, perhaps to complete the picture, this
9 receipt signed by Mr. Lukic which the Defence was honourable enough to
10 submit to us should be marked as an exhibit also. It was a filing, so I
11 believe the Court has it. I believe it was also filed with the Court. In
12 any event, you can mark this one.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Until now, I haven't seen it, but this is
14 another question. So it should... It's up for the parties to decide, S
15 or D?
16 MR. OSTOJIC: We have no objection to it, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then it should be S241. And admitted into
18 evidence as S241. And indeed, apparently one picture of what happened
19 later to the documents. The other issue, no doubt, remains.
20 Then what about Kozarski Vjesnik?
21 MR. KOUMJIAN: I have the original, and Your Honour --
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May the usher please present it first to the
23 Defence and then to us.
24 MR. KOUMJIAN: And the articles in question are on page 1 and page
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think in the meantime, the usher can bring in
2 the witness, to save time. In the meantime also, in order to save time,
3 may the video director please play once again, as requested, the video.
4 And additional two minutes.
5 [Videotape played]
6 "Reporter [on tape]: [Interpretation] We're talking now with
7 Milomir Stakic, the president of the Prijedor municipal Crisis Staff. Mr.
8 Stakic, describe to us please the situation in the territory that is under
9 your control.
10 "Milomir Stakic: I can tell you and the viewers now that the
11 whole territory of Prijedor Municipality is under our control following
12 the liberation of -- which I can confirm following the liberation of
13 Kozarac. The town, Serb settlements, and smaller enclaves with Muslim
14 population have been under our control ever since the takeover of power on
15 the 30th of April. And now, after the fall of Kozarac, the entire
16 municipality is under our control. In Kozarac itself, the operation of
17 cleaning, as the military call it, is still ongoing because those who have
18 stayed behind are the most extreme ones and the professionals."
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you, it may be stopped for now. Maybe
20 it's necessary to come back to the one or other clip in this video.
21 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, could I ask that be rewound about one
22 minute to the point where there's a house that's shown and I believe it
23 has a blue flag on the corner. I couldn't tell what that was. I was
24 going to ask the witness if he could recognise it.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For clarification, I think we had already a
1 discussion on this. If the interpretation could be quite clear whether
2 the word used has to be translated as "cleaning" or "cleansing" because
3 now it reads on the transcript "cleaning." It was, of course --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Your Honour, one could translate it with
5 cleaning, cleansing, or mopping up.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this clarification.
7 MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay, we could go forward from there.
8 [Videotape played]
9 Q. Mr. Sivac, there's a house in the photo coming up. I'm going to
10 ask that the picture be stopped. And I just saw something hanging and I
11 want to see. If we could stop the picture now.
12 Do you see on the upper left of the screen, there's a -- something
13 hanging from the roof, it appears to be blue and white?
14 A. As far as I can tell, it's a white flag or a white sheet that the
15 person living in this house must have hung out as a sign of loyalty.
16 Q. Okay. Thank you.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can the witness please explain the -- in the
18 clip just before the interview with Dr. Stakic, which area has been shown
19 there when we saw fire, places.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Mr. President, the
21 footage that we saw a moment ago is a recording devised by one of the most
22 extreme journalists, Rade Mutic. He himself read out the text, he makes
23 mention of jihad warriors in his comment and foreign mercenaries,
24 something which we did not see in this footage. All we were able to see
25 was a large number of Muslim villages, such as Jakupovici, Kamicani, and
1 other areas inhabited of -- by Muslims in the greater area of Kozarac, and
2 a large number of Serb military and police officers supervising the area.
3 They were probably waiting for all the property to burn down.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it's necessary. We can't continue with
5 the video only in portions, in small portions. Therefore, I believe it's
6 necessary that the OTP is prepared to have an in-depth look into the
7 entire video and to present those portions they regard as necessary for
8 their case tomorrow in the presence of the witness because without
9 additional comments given by the witness before us, it may have less
10 probative value and something is not self-explanatory for us. Therefore,
11 I would ask the OTP to proceed this way, as indicated, and only then we
12 have a reasonable basis and now know what we really admit into evidence.
13 So today, a decision on S240 is not yet ripe.
14 We have to come back to this video for evident reasons. What
15 about Kozarski Vjesnik? May the usher please bring the newspaper to us.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the OTP, the document immediately over
18 the article read out today, did we already admit this article into
19 evidence? Because in the context of what the witness has told us
20 immediately before the break, the article immediately above would
21 enlighten the context of what the witness has told us.
22 MR. KOUMJIAN: I'm not sure. Is Your Honour referring to page 1
23 or page 4?
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Page 1. If the usher could please present this
25 article to the witness, and may I kindly ask the witness once again to
1 read this additional article.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I proceed?
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, please, slowly, if possible.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Regional staffs appointed. The
5 Crisis Staff has appointed members of the regional staffs in ten areas."
6 This is illegible. "Of territorial units of the Prijedor Municipality," I
7 guess. "Due to the war, the regional -- as a result of war events, the
8 regional staffs should be vested with authority in the upcoming period of
9 time with the main task being taking care of the security issues on the
10 territory they are in charge of. The president of the regional staff
11 Ljubija is Slobodan Taranjac, and his deputy is Milenko Jelisavac. The
12 president of the regional staff Prijedor I is Srdjo Srdic with Mr. Djordje
13 Kostic as his deputy. Mr. Marinko Colic has been appointed president of
14 the regional staff Prijedor 2, and Dusko Vejnovic as his deputy. As for
15 the regional staff of Lamovita, Mr. Vinko Kos has been appointed
16 president, and Mr. Borislav Grahovac as his deputy. Whereas the president
17 of the Omarska regional staff will be Mr. Bozo Mandic with Mr. Sveto
18 Kremenovic as his deputy. Tukovi regional staff, president Slavko
19 Antonic, with Mr. Radovan Cetic as his deputy.
20 "Orlovaca regional staff, Mr. Ranko Nikic has been appointed
21 president, and Mr. Radanko Goronjic his deputy. Mr. Milorad Raus has been
22 appointed president of the regional staff, Brezicani, and Mr. Milan Babic
23 has been appointed as his deputy. Mr. Zdravko Jovic has been appointed
24 president of the regional staff, Rakelici and Mr. Dusan Kurnoga has been
25 appointed his deputy. The Crisis Staff is of the opinion that the work
1 concerning the establishment of these staffs has been delayed which has an
2 impact on certain actions of the new government in the Prijedor
3 Municipality. That's why the Crisis Staff is going to insist for certain
4 measures to be undertaken as soon as possible, so that the organs of the
5 government can start functioning in a satisfactory manner.
6 "The above-mentioned staffs will soon receive a decision
7 containing sanctions in cases -- the relevant decisions of the new
8 authorities are not adequately and timely carried out." [As read]
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this. Now, in the order, 238,
10 objections by the Defence? 238.
11 MR. OSTOJIC: Your Honour, previously we raised two specific items
12 as a bases for our objection. One, namely, the date of the article, since
13 on page 4 it's rather clear from reviewing the original, on the left-hand
14 side, one can ascertain the date that's cited. So we would withdraw our
15 objection to that. However, we must maintain our objection and continue
16 to object, with respect to the article that the OTP is suggesting be
17 introduced into as evidence, as to its authorship. Interestingly enough,
18 though, when we've had our first opportunity to review an original
19 document from Kozarski Vjesnik, we note that within page 2 at the bottom,
20 there is an editorial staff mentioned as well as, perhaps, from other
21 articles, we would be able to glean the bases or the premises upon which
22 some of these articles are written, which we think would then maybe
23 overcome our objection as to relevancy, foundation, and authenticity.
24 However, until we review all those original documents in their complete
25 form, we must maintain our objection on those grounds.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then, Document S238A and B respectively admitted
2 into evidence. The same is true for 239?
3 MR. OSTOJIC: Yes, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Admitted into evidence, S239A and B
6 And to continue, because this seems to be a very special edition
7 of this, of Kozarski Vjesnik, I should like to ask the OTP to provide us
8 with colour copies of pages 1 to 4 of this edition of Kozarski Vjesnik.
9 And if I understand correctly, these documents are tendered by the OTP?
10 MR. KOUMJIAN: Yes.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then these four pages could be S241, page 1 is
12 -1, page 2, -2; page 3, -3; page 4 -4.
13 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I believe you had previously indicated
14 that S241 would be the receipt signed by Mr. Lukic.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. Thank you. Then 242. Sorry for my
16 mistake. Then we have only to come back to the video tomorrow, and now,
17 please, proceed with the examination-in-chief.
18 MR. KOUMJIAN:
19 Q. Mr. Sivac, on the interview tape of Mr. Stakic, did you recognise
20 the journalist who was interviewing him?
21 A. I did. His name is Predrag Laketa. He worked for the Serb
22 television in Banja Luka, and I think he still works for the Banja Luka
24 Q. Thank you. I want to go back now to some of the events in the
25 Omarska camp. You had mentioned at one time your sister being taken to
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the camp. Did you see her in the camp?
2 A. I saw her very often. My sister was in a group of 36 women who
3 would often sit in one of the corners of the restaurant when we went there
4 to have our meal.
5 Q. Do you have any information about how the women in the Omarska
6 camp were treated?
7 A. Well, I do, although, although all of the women who were with us
8 in the Omarska camp, including my sister, are reluctant to talk about
9 these events.
10 Q. Did you or the other prisoners ever hear anything coming from the
11 rooms where the women were at night?
12 A. Well, it was at night next to Buhro's and Mujo's room, that is,
13 above our two rooms, there are offices where interrogations were carried
14 out and where women were kept at night. Horrible things happened at
15 night. Almost throughout the night we were able to hear furniture
16 breaking accompanied by the screams and moans of women. They were crying
17 for help. And at night, when the camp became quiet, upstairs, above our
18 heads, things would be going on that were beyond our comprehension. I
19 mean, we could only assume what was happening to those women upstairs.
20 During the day, when we went for lunch, which was the only meal that we
21 had, we saw these women in the restaurant. They were distributing food
22 there. And we could tell, that is, we would observe on their faces marks
23 and traces of abuse, torture, and beatings. There was a large number of
24 women who had bruises on their faces, bruises that were the result of
25 torture and assaults.
1 Their faces and their arms were black and blue. So it was
2 perfectly clear to us what was going on during the night in those offices.
3 Q. You told us earlier that your sister was a judge. Did you see any
4 other judges in the camp detained as inmates?
5 A. Yes. There were many people in the Omarska camp who had
6 previously worked for the judiciary. Nedzad Seric, the president of the
7 Prijedor court, was in my room, for instance. Eso Mehmedagic was there as
8 well. He worked for the attorney's office in Prijedor. Omer Kerenovic
9 was there, as well, a judge. Ahmet Atarovic, a defence lawyer from
10 Prijedor was also there. Defence attorney Trozic [phoen] from Prijedor,
11 Silvije Saric, a lawyer from the PTT. There were quite a few of them.
12 Ismail Burazovic also, who worked as a lawyer in the public construction
13 and utility company. There were many people who were lawyers by
15 Q. You mentioned Judge Omer Kerenovic. Did Judge Kerenovic have any
16 physical disability?
17 A. Yes, he did. He was disabled. He had an invalid arm, the right
18 arm, I think.
19 Q. What was the fate of Judge Kerenovic?
20 A. All of the individuals that I have mentioned were killed in
21 Omarska, in 1992. A long time ago now.
22 Q. You told us that you yourself were not beaten during the
23 interrogation. Do you recall one day, a particular bad day, when you were
24 taken or going to the restaurant and you were beaten?
25 A. Everybody was beaten in the camp on that day. The shift which was
1 on duty, and which was led by Mlado Radic, Krkan, organised or set up a
2 gauntlet of guards when we went to the restaurant to have our lunch there.
3 They were assisted by the guards from other shifts. And on that day,
4 almost the entire day, from the early morning hours until late in the
5 afternoon, they beat the detainees in a most brutal fashion. Of course, I
6 had to go to lunch in one of the groups, and I was among the first members
7 of the group who entered the restaurant. The actual entering to the
8 restaurant was very harsh. We received a lot of blows, but we somehow
9 managed to get in.
10 The guards had thrown various objects on the floor, pieces of
11 furniture, pieces of glassware, shattered glass, and they poured oil on to
12 the floor so that the surface would become slippery. But -- and when we
13 finally got in the restaurant, we didn't care much about food. All we
14 could think of was how to get out in the safest way possible. Mlado Radic
15 was standing there and at one point he motioned to us to start moving
16 towards this row of guards, being large and stocky, I stood at the head of
17 the column. I was trying to protect others who were running behind me.
18 Marjan Zec who used to work at the local bank in Prijedor was behind me.
19 And as we were passing by the pista, we could see people screaming,
20 falling down all over the place. I remember that on that occasion, the
21 guards had special objects, specially designed for beating for that
22 occasion. They had baseball bats, pieces of metal chains with balls
23 attached to them. And when I thought that that was the end of it, that I
24 had managed to get through, I received a terrible blow in my head. All of
25 a sudden, everything became dark. And after a while, I don't know how
1 much time elapsed, maybe 20 minutes or half an hour, I came to, and I
2 heard voices of the people I knew. I had been carried out on to the
3 pista. And Mustafa Muhic was actually holding me. Said Baric his
4 colleague was next to him. And there was Dr. Esad Sadikovic standing
5 above me trying to help me and he was wiping my head with some cloth.
6 I heard that -- I remember that a guard --
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters didn't get the name of the
9 A. -- Hit me with this piece of metal chain that had a metal ball
10 attached to it on my head. And I have a scar that I know I will bear as a
11 souvenir for as long as I live.
12 MR. KOUMJIAN:
13 Q. Do you recall a young man by the name of Smail Duratovic being
14 brought into your room one day?
15 A. Smail Duratovic, he was a well-known athlete from Prijedor. He
16 played football. He stayed with his father in Buhro's and Mujo's room, in
17 our room. One day, it was Petrovdan, St. Peter's Day, it's a very
18 important saint for the Serbs, guards came for him, took him away, out of
19 the room, and he was sitting with them outside. We saw them as we were
20 going to the restaurant to get our meals. And also on the way back to our
21 room. In the evening hours, they took him towards the white house, and
22 somewhere on the tarmac outside the white house, they set fire to a tyre,
23 a rubber tyre. And Smail Duratovic was thrown into that burning tyre.
24 Again, I must emphasise that it was a holiday for the Serbs and
25 the guards were drunk, heavily. They sang and shouted and somehow they
1 behaved in a special way on that day. But in the evening hours,
2 fortunately for Duratovic, it began to rain. He took advantage of the
3 absence of the guards who left and headed for the place where food was
4 distributed. There was some sort of a room there in which they kept
5 liquor. So he managed to sneak in the direction of the white house and to
6 get in there somehow. The day after, the camp inmates who came from the
7 white house through their wives, he sent word to his father that he was
8 alive and that he was in the white house. And his father tried to
9 organise for him to be transferred to Buhro's and Mujo's room, otherwise
10 he would be killed the same night. And through Buhro's and Mujo's
11 assistance, and Dr. Esad Sadikovic's assistance, too, his father managed
12 with the help of a guard whose last name I think was Krivaja to bring
13 Smail Duratovic over. And he looked horrible. Most of his clothes had
14 been burned. He was all black, as though he had fallen through a chimney.
15 On his arms and legs, you could see burns. He couldn't speak. He
16 just babbled. We all assembled there in that room, and then Dr. Eso
17 chased us away, told us to go away. And then he tried to help him,
18 applying some pomade, some cream from the women -- he had obtained from
19 the women in the camp. And then there was a litre of brandy that the
20 lawyer Ahmet Atarovic had obtained through a guard. So using this brandy,
21 he tried to treat his wounds, so Duratovic made it. He survived the
22 Omarska camp, and he was taken to Manjaca with a group of sick people and
23 people who needed medical assistance, and then with the assistance of the
24 Red Cross, he was transferred somewhere abroad.
25 Q. You talked about the types of people, the types of occupational
1 groups, that were targeted in the camp. Were those who were wealthy and
2 those that were successful entrepreneurs targeted?
3 A. Well, there were no rules really. It all depended on what the
4 guards' mood was and what their orders were, who was to be executed, who
5 was to be abused and tortured and so on. Mainly, however, they didn't
6 really care whether anyone was a member of the SDA or the HDZ or any of
7 the nationalist parties. They treated us all the same mostly. They would
8 tell us: "You'll all be executed. We will execute the lot of you." They
9 told us openly. And as my sister told me later, she had known Zeljko
10 Meakic, the camp commander, from her experiences as a judge. And she told
11 him: "Zeljko, please, if my brother Nusret is on your list, please rather
12 kill me, because I'm alone, I have no family. And my brother has two
14 Q. Do you recall a businessman by the name of Zlatan Besirevic?
15 A. Zlatan Besirevic, an engineer, he was one of the best businessmen
16 in Prijedor, entrepreneur. He was very young when he set up this factory
17 which was very successful and they were exporting their products abroad.
18 He was in the room together with us in Buhro's and Mujo's room, and
19 please, Your Honours, let me point this out to you, his father Kemo was a
20 Muslim, and his mother, Draginja, a Serb woman. But he too, was brought
21 to the camp. And then through some family connection his mother had, he
22 managed to have his name added to a list of elderly and sick people who
23 were supposed to be transferred to the Trnopolje camp. So he managed
24 somehow to have his name included on that list. The names of those people
25 were called out, and then these people were separated from the rest and
1 left in a corner of the pista to wait for a bus to take them away. We all
2 envied them because leaving for Trnopolje meant salvation for all of us
3 who were in Omarska.
4 However, they stayed at the pista for several days. And
5 apparently, the guards who organised the transfer told them that the bus
6 could not make it to the camp because they had no fuel. When eventually,
7 after four or five days, the bus arrived to take away the people who were
8 meant to be transferred to Trnopolje, Zeljko Meakic personally read out
9 the list. And once he had called out all the names, he just added:
10 "Zlatan Besirevic must stay in the Omarska camp until further notice."
11 We were all taken aback. We were listening to this. We were at the pista
12 because we had just come back from our meal. And engineer Zlatan
13 Besirevic was the most surprised of us all. He stayed back and talked to
14 Zeljko Meakic about something, and the lot of us, he went back to Buhro's
15 and Mujo's room, and after a while, he returned too. And he was
16 desperate. When we asked him why he wasn't being transferred to
17 Trnopolje, he said: "My name was taken off the list, removed from the
18 list, in the Crisis Staff."
19 A day later, late in the afternoon, which was quite unusual,
20 they -- around 4.00 or 5.00 in the afternoon, they came to take away
21 Zlatan Besirevic, and the guards were really brutal. He had to put his
22 hands behind his head and run, and he was led towards the red house whence
23 he never returned.
24 Q. You mentioned at the end of the day yesterday the names -- you
25 began to name doctors who had been at the camp and had not survived.
1 A. Well, yes, the greatest tragedy for Prijedor, for my town, for my
2 municipality, is that in that tragic year of 1992, a doctor, a medical
3 man, was at the head of the municipality who had taken the oath of
4 Hippocrates, and he was supposed to be some sort of a humanist. But in an
5 indirect way, by whose orders I don't know, most of the doctors who were
6 at the Omarska camp, Muslims or Croats, were killed. Their only fault is
7 that they had a different last name and they belonged to the wrong ethnic
8 group. Out of respect and piety, I will mention their names, Dr. Jusuf
9 Pasic, Dr. Osman Mahmuljin. I will not list their professional
10 credentials now. Dr. Zeljko Sikora, Dr. Enes Begic, Dr. Rufat Suljanovic,
11 and I'll mention Islam Bahonjic also. He was a person who was an x-ray
12 technician at the Prijedor hospital. He had worked there for a long time.
13 Q. You've mentioned a couple times in your testimony Dr. Esad
14 Sadikovic, who treated you and treated Mr. Smail Duratovic. Do you recall
15 the last time you saw Dr. Sadikovic? First, can you tell us what kind of
16 person was Dr. Sadikovic?
17 A. To talk about Prijedor, the town, to talk about these camps, the
18 tragedy, and to omit the name of Dr. Eso Sadikovic would be a sin. He was
19 a deeply humane person. And he helped everyone, whatever their religious
20 background or colour of skin. He was a UNHCR expert, and he had spent a
21 long time working somewhere in the Pacific, in Libya, in a number of
22 African countries helping people. He was a charismatic person in the town
23 of Prijedor. He knew it, and he was proud of it. In the Omarska camp, he
24 did his best to help whoever he could. And where no one was willing to go
25 and to help, he was always there to do it. He was even helping Serb
1 guards there, who come to take up their shift. They were dead drunk and
2 times they were wounded and they had skirmishes among themselves, and they
3 quarrelled over money and how to distribute the money they had looted.
4 And he helped them, too.
5 And after most of the Prijedor doctors, or at least those who were
6 in the camp had been killed, the authorities in Prijedor knew very well
7 that a finishing touch was to be added. I'll never forget that night,
8 because that was the last night in the Omarska camp. It seemed a quiet
9 night at first, but just before dawn broke, a guard appeared at the door,
10 and he said: "Dr. Eso Sadikovic, come out and take your stuff with you."
11 We were surprised because we knew that his name had been called out very
12 often, but this time they told him to bring his stuff. So we knew where
13 they were taking him.
14 Dr. Eso stood up. He took his nylon bag in which he had a handful
15 of cigarettes that the other prisoners had collected for him. He brought
16 his dirty shirt, and he headed for the door. We all stood up. We stood
17 quietly. And then all of us started -- all of us spoke out loud, and he
18 said -- and we said: "Dr. Eso, thank you, thank you so much for
19 everything." He just turned back and he said: "Thank you, friends. And
20 goodbye." We did not believe that there was such a criminal person in
21 this world who would be able to kill a man like Dr. Eso.
22 Q. What was the date that you left the Omarska camp?
23 A. I left on the 7th of August. I was in a group that was
24 transferred to Trnopolje.
25 MR. KOUMJIAN: Are we going to 5.30, Your Honour?
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If you so want, until 5.50.
2 MR. KOUMJIAN:
3 Q. When you arrived at the Trnopolje camp -- I'm not going to ask you
4 in detail about that camp, but can you tell me, first of all, in the camp
5 were you free to leave?
6 MR. KOUMJIAN: Perhaps we should take a break now, Your Honour, if
7 you don't mind.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stays adjourned until 5.40.
9 --- Recess taken at 5.16 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 5.45 p.m.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
12 MR. KOUMJIAN:
13 Q. Mr. Sivac, when you arrived in the --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
15 MR. KOUMJIAN:
16 Q. Mr. Sivac, after you arrived in the Trnopolje camp on the 7th of
17 August, were you free in that camp to leave at any time you wanted?
18 A. When we arrived in the Trnopolje camp, it was surrounded with wire
19 fencing. It was fenced off with wire, and there were guards standing by
20 the fence. But as opposed to the guards at the Omarska camp, these guards
21 we knew because they were people from Prijedor. My long-time
22 collaborator, newspaper journalist, Boro Grubic was manning one of the
23 command posts. Ten years ago, we worked together. I was the cameraman
24 and he was the journalist. The third member of our team, Burho
25 Kapetanovic, who was an audio technician, he was no longer around because
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 he had been killed in Omarska on the 27th of July, 1992. The people we
2 found upon our arrival in the Trnopolje camp were also acquaintances from
3 Prijedor, from Kozarac, people we knew. The day before, people from the
4 Keraterm camp had been brought to the Trnopolje camp. And yes, the
5 conditions in the Trnopolje camp were much better than those in the
6 Omarska camp. But those who had been there in the Trnopolje camp for a
7 longer time advised us to really watch out for ourselves because even in
8 this camp, they did still kill people.
9 One of the groups that had arrived in Trnopolje before our own
10 transfer, a group that had been there before we arrived, Anto Murega and
11 his son Zoran, as well as Laus, Remet [phoen], a well-known butcher from
12 Prijedor, were singled out, taken off, and then killed.
13 Q. How long did you remain in the Trnopolje camp?
14 A. Until the end of August, I'd say.
15 Q. While you were at the camp, did you hear from others who were
16 detained there anything regarding sexual assaults of women who were in the
17 Trnopolje camp?
18 A. Yes, when we came there, we found people, mostly from the Kozarac
19 area, who had been brought to Trnopolje on the 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th
20 of May, when the ethnic cleansing of Kozarac began. And they told us that
21 even here, dreadful things were happening. Very often, when returning
22 from the front line, Serb soldiers and among them soldiers who had been
23 manning tanks, would arrive just outside the camp, and then pick for
24 themselves women and girls, take them away at night, and then return some
25 of them in the morning, but some were never returned to the camp.
1 Q. In order to be released from the camp, what did you do? Whose
2 signature -- whose approval did you have to get?
3 A. In order to leave Trnopolje, there were several conditions to be
4 met. One of the main conditions was to give money or other valuables.
5 Release papers, the release papers from the Trnopolje camp were signed by
6 Slobodan Kuruzovic, the commander of the camp, and Pero Curguz, who was
7 there on behalf of the Serbian Red Cross. Let me also mention this, Your
8 Honours: Despite all, after several days of our stay in Trnopolje, we
9 were ordered to remove all the wire from the fencing around the camp. And
10 then Serb guards brought a big board with a writing on it "collection
11 centre." This was all happening around the 10th of August, 1992. We did
12 not exactly understand why this was happening. But in the afternoon
13 hours, Zeljko Meakic, the camp commander of Omarska, brought several TV
14 crews, there, foreigners. And among them was a TV crew from Pale, my
15 erstwhile friends who used to work for Sarajevo television. They brought
16 them there to show: "Look, here you are. There are no more camps in the
17 Prijedor area. These are only collection centres." That people were not
18 fenced off from the rest of the world in these collection centres and that
19 the treatment we were being given was almost humane.
20 Q. Did you get a permission slip, a release slip, signed by Kuruzovic
21 and Curguz and released from the camp?
22 A. Yes. In the last days of August, at the Trnopolje camp, or
23 collection centre as it came to be called, a TV crew from Prijedor
24 arrived. Rade Mutic, who was the author of one of the reports that we
25 have seen, and Zivko Ecimovic, his collaborator, they were putting
1 together some programme on the Trnopolje camp. And then they looked at
2 me, and they said: "Well, Omarska could not be helped." The release
3 papers for someone to leave Omarska would have had to be signed by someone
4 from the Crisis Staff directly, or by Radmilo Zeljaja, the commander of
5 the 43rd Motorised Brigade. And then they asked me whether I was willing
6 to leave Trnopolje and to go home. And as anyone else would have said, I
7 said: "Of course, yes. I would like to leave." I didn't know where my
8 family was. And they went to some offices there, the administrative
9 offices in Trnopolje, and there they drew up a paper, some sort of release
10 papers for me, which I used to leave the camp and go back to Prijedor.
11 Q. Did you go back to the apartment you had been living in before the
13 A. No, I was not supposed to because my wife and my family had fled
14 to stay with our friends in the Puharska settlement. And there was a sign
15 on my door saying "occupied by a Serb soldier" apparently, and I'm not
16 sure what unit that particular soldier belonged to.
17 Q. Did you stay in Prijedor until December of 1992?
18 A. Yes, I did.
19 Q. During the time you were in Prijedor, you talked earlier about
20 before your arrest some of the parts of the town being targeted or
21 destroyed. Did you see neighbourhoods of Prijedor that had been
23 A. Well, yes, it was there for all to see. And without those areas
24 which had been destroyed, Prijedor, the town, looked mutilated. Stari
25 Grad, the old town, was wiped off the face of the earth completely. Parts
1 of the Partizanska Street, almost the whole Muharem Suljanovic Street, and
2 all the houses in that street close to the Bereg creek, and all mosques
3 and all monuments to Islam had been destroyed, as well as the Catholic
4 church in Prijedor.
5 Q. These areas that you talked about like the streets that you named,
6 Partizanska Street and others, did they tend to be areas populated by a
7 particular ethnic group?
8 A. Yes, those areas were mostly inhabited by Muslims or Croats.
9 Q. You mentioned before that you had spoken once to an architect, I
10 believe, who had taken part in some of the demolitions. Is that correct?
11 A. When I was released from the camp, and during my stay in Prijedor,
12 I saw a committee led by Dule Miljus, civil engineer from the Ljubija iron
13 ore mines, Veljko Hrgar, an architect, and some other people I didn't
14 know, they were visiting the areas that were mostly populated by Muslims
15 and Croats. And they marked off those houses which were still in good
16 shape, houses that had not been torn down. And then at night, you would
17 hear powerful explosions. They used explosives to demolish these houses,
18 and then the next day, cranes and construction vehicles were brought over
19 to collect the rubble and take it somewhere else.
20 Q. In your conversations with -- did you speak to one of these two
21 individuals, either Dule, the civil engineer, or the architect regarding
22 who had ordered this action?
23 A. One of the people on that team went abroad after a while. And I
24 met him there. He was married to a Muslim woman. And after I published
25 my articles in the Oslobodjenje newspapers, in which I described the
1 events in Prijedor, he apologized to me, he told me "we had to do it, and
2 the orders were given by the Crisis Staff. Certain parts of the town and
3 the Muslim quarters, which did not exactly fit our new urban planning
4 scheme, simply had to be torn down."
5 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I would ask that Exhibit 294 be shown
6 to the witness. 65 ter number 294. It does not yet have an S number.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please do so. That be provisional S243.
8 MR. KOUMJIAN:
9 Q. Just to summarise the document for the record, is it correct,
10 Mr. Sivac, that the document in front of you indicates that it's a
11 decision of the executive committee from a meeting on the 21st of July,
12 adopted the following decision on the demolition of structures damaged
13 beyond repair in the course of combat activities. It then lists addresses
14 of many structures. Many of these I see on the first and second page of
15 the English translation, it's on the first page, I believe, on the B/C/S
16 copy, are a street called Babica Street. Do you recognise the street
18 A. Let me tell you: Generally speaking, this entire list, I mean,
19 all of these buildings were located in the old part of town such as Ahmet
20 Babic Street and so on and so forth. All of these locations were in the
21 old town in Prijedor.
22 Q. Okay, thank you. In order -- in order to leave Prijedor, did you
23 ever have to sign any documents or obtain any documents from the municipal
24 authorities, and if so, what were those documents?
25 A. Well, it's my wife who dealt with these things, mostly. I tried
1 to avoid public appearances of all sorts. I had to obtain a number of
2 certificates and take care of the paperwork. There were things that we
3 had to pay if we wanted to leave the area. There was also the transit
4 visa that we had to obtain. Then the Red Cross would transfer these
5 people to Novska, and then from there, wherever people managed to go to.
6 Sometime in November 1992, I had another unpleasant experience. I was
7 again arrested. My detention was ordered by Milutin Cado, a deputy to
8 Simo Drljaca. The reason for it was a banal one. Allegedly, it was about
9 my apartment. But he was interested in other things as well. He inquired
10 about my sister, for instance, who had managed to flee to Croatia, thanks
11 to some connections that she had at the time. And one of the things that
12 he wanted to charge me with was the allegation that I had recorded the
13 destruction of the Catholic church and the mosque in the area, and that I
14 had sent this footage to foreign companies, foreign TV companies.
15 And I said to him: "Well, you arrested me months ago. And you
16 forced me to turn over all the technical equipment that I had. So you
17 know that I didn't have adequate equipment to do it." And he said:
18 "Don't play with me. I know that there are things -- that there were
19 still things that are hidden." Then he took me to the police station in
20 Prijedor, and he ordered that the Sivac family should remain in Prijedor
21 until further notice, despite the fact that we had already collected all
22 of the necessary papers. I realised that I was again being targeted, not
23 only myself but my family as well. And it was clear to me that he would
24 kill me. If not him, then one of the groups led by Zoran Zigic or other
25 local thugs who were supposed to take care of the remaining Muslims in
1 Prijedor. But I managed to organise my secret departure from Prijedor
2 through a private agency in Gradiska. The chief of this agency was
3 Jankovic, a local lawyer, and his wife Ljiljana. We managed to collect
4 the little property that we had or the things that we could take with us,
5 and I finally managed to leave for Croatia.
6 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't get the date.
7 MR. KOUMJIAN:
8 Q. When did you leave for Croatia? Was that in December 1992?
9 A. Yes, it was on the 17th of December, 1992.
10 Q. Prior to leaving, did you have to renounce any property that you
11 had in Prijedor?
12 A. Yes, I did. I had to renounce all the property that I had in
13 favour of Republika Srpska.
14 Q. Mr. Sivac, I want to thank you. I have one final question. You
15 had testified previously, am I correct, and you've indicated a willingness
16 to come and testify in other trials. Is that true?
17 A. I consider it to be my moral obligation and my obligation as a
18 human being to assist this Tribunal in trying all of those who are
19 suspected of having committed crimes in my homeland, in Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina, regardless of their ethnic background.
21 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you. I don't have any further questions.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
23 I think it's appropriate and fair to ask the following two
24 questions before we start the cross-examination, allowing by doing so the
25 Defence to include the answers in the cross-examination already. My first
1 question is the following: Did you -- do you know something about the
2 question whether or not Dr. Stakic retired from his office?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't. While I was still in
4 Prijedor, that is, before my departure, I think he was still in office. I
5 don't know what happened later.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This would mean -- you said you left to Croatia
7 mid-December, 17th of December, 1992. In your opinion, Dr. Stakic was
8 still in office at that time?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Frankly, I don't know. I don't know
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. That's quite clear when you don't
12 know, please say so.
13 The second question: No doubt you are aware of the importance of
14 your testimony. And as you correctly stated just before, you wanted to
15 assist us, the Judges, this Tribunal, to come as close as possible to the
16 truth to find justice. Justice can't be found on the basis of possible
17 unfounded judgements. The basis for our judgement can only be documents
18 and the statements of witnesses. One part of your testimony of today
19 might have a crucial impact on the outcome of this case. And therefore,
20 please don't misunderstand when I recall that you give your testimony
21 under solemn declaration. And therefore, I want to ask you once more:
22 Are you quite sure, is there no doubt for you, that you in fact saw Dr.
23 Stakic in the camp?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. I am.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You have it before your eyes?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I still do.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
3 I think it's appropriate to give some time in preparation for the
4 Defence. And we start the cross-examination tomorrow only, is it?
5 MR. OSTOJIC: That would be acceptable, Your Honour, but I'm not
6 sure if the Court would like to address the admission of S243. We do have
7 a preliminary observation and comment on that. However, if the Court
8 could indulge me, I would prefer to argue that or share with the Court our
9 bases without the presence of the witness being here, if we're going to
10 break and commence tomorrow, it might be more appropriate and polite to do
11 so outside of his presence.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think the witness has had a difficult day.
13 And we understand how difficult it must be for the witness to give this
14 statement. And therefore, I would ask the usher to escort the witness out
15 of the courtroom.
16 MR. KOUMJIAN: Before the witness leaves, can I just ask, does the
17 Defence believe that we can complete the cross-examination tomorrow?
18 Because I just want to remind everyone that otherwise it would not be
19 until after the break, the witness would have to come back after the
20 summer break.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The maximum would be 50 minutes in addition on
22 Thursday in the morning.
23 MR. OSTOJIC: In part, yes, Your Honour. Quite frankly it was my
24 understanding that we would proceed on Thursday from 10.15 until
25 approximately 2.15 which would, based on the schedule provided by the
1 Court, we would have an additional hour and a half following the
2 videolink. It's my understanding that the witness through the videolink
3 is confined to that timeframe. And that was shared with us, I believe,
4 yesterday. So we would have additional --
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What I learned was 10 to 12.15. But Madam
6 Registrar possibly can correct me. Please, give it to the transcript.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, I just received an updated calendar.
8 However, the system isn't allowing me to open the document. So if you can
9 just give me a few minutes, but that is what I was informed yesterday
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We come back to this, but first I think it's
12 appropriate that we excuse the witness for today. And we thank you for
13 your testimony of today. And the usher, please, escort now the witness
14 out of the courtroom. Thank you.
15 [The witness stands down]
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So then, before we get the information from the
17 registry, the admission into evidence, S243. Your objections?
18 MR. OSTOJIC: Yes, Your Honour, just briefly, the observation that
19 I would like to make in connection with this exhibit 243A and B is as
20 follows: First of all, obviously we're going to continue to maintain our
21 objection on authenticity and signature which has not been established by
22 the OTP. Secondly, and quite frankly, critically, the OTP started and
23 elicited testimony from the witness there were orders given by members of
24 the Crisis Staff on or about the events that transpired and purportedly
25 are reflected within this Exhibit S243A and B. Nowhere within that
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 exhibit does it mention the Crisis Staff. I think that it is -- if it's
2 an attempt to impeach the witness and to suggest to the witness, since he
3 testified on page 53, lines 23 through 25, and then proceeding also on
4 page 54, lines 1 through 3, that it was the orders of the Crisis Staff, we
5 would not object to this document being presented. If it was an attempt
6 to try to refresh the witness's recollection as to who may have given the
7 orders, not the Crisis Staff as the witness initially testified to, then
8 again, we would not have an objection to the document.
9 To allow the document, based on the testimony by the witness, we
10 believe will cause undue confusion and will not, given the Defence's
11 standpoint, will not bring any clarity to the issues that are necessary
12 for resolution before the Chamber. For those reasons, Your Honour,
13 since -- although I won't speculate, do not believe the intent was to
14 impeach the witness or to refresh his recollection, since there were no
15 follow-up questions, we would object to the submission at this time of
16 S1243A and B.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Comments in response, please.
18 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you. Your Honour, I think our position
19 throughout has been clear, that the executive committee is a subordinate
20 body, subordinate in normal times to the Municipal Assembly and the
21 president of the Municipal Assembly. That has been the evidence from the
22 witnesses. And the evidence has further shown that in these abnormal
23 times, the Crisis Staff was the preeminent body, had authority over the
24 executive committee. Mr. Kovacevic, who I believe is the signatory of
25 this document, was on the Crisis Staff and it's our position he's under
1 the influence and authority of Dr. Stakic.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think in this case, the parties can rely on
3 the Judges' ability to read and to evaluate the documents later. I
4 understand your objections in a system where we are working with a jury,
5 which is not the case here. The documents are admitted into evidence ads
6 S243A and B respectively.
7 As regards the cross-examination, indeed, we have tomorrow, and on
8 Thursday, I just learned that it is anticipated that it might take the
9 entire time. We have the hearing in the morning and in the afternoon, but
10 under these exceptional circumstances, first it might be possible, and we
11 have to contact the responsible persons in this premises beforehand, to
12 proceed a little bit longer, if necessary. And second, what I learned
13 until now from Ms. Dahuron is that, in fact, the videoconference will
14 bring us from 10.00 to 12.15. So therefore, the remaining time would be
16 So I think if we all concentrate on the core issues, then it can
17 be possible that we finalise the cross-examination by the end of Thursday
18 afternoon. I can't see any objections. And I think it would be not fair
19 to expect the Defence to start the cross-examination after this difficult
20 day already now.
21 Therefore, the trial stays adjourned until tomorrow, 2.15.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
23 6.21 p.m., to be reconvened on
24 Wednesday, the 31st day of July, 2002,
25 at 2.15 p.m.