1 Thursday, 19 September 2002
2 [Depositions Hearing]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.33 a.m.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning to everybody. Please be seated.
7 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, may I just very briefly apologise for my
8 disappearance yesterday afternoon, but in the break, something came up in
9 the Talic case, and that's why I had to leave.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think how to proceed in the let's say next
11 90 minutes, and let's discuss whether or not we really can conclude
12 today. We have to have a fair trial no doubt. And therefore, if
13 necessary, we have to take the necessary time. May I ask, Document 25 --
14 Exhibit 259, is it prepared? Thank you.
15 Do we have the best possible original available? As I can see no
16 answer, I take it --
17 MR. KOUMJIAN: Sorry, we're looking for it. You're asking for the
18 evidence copy, the best original that we have.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. So please let me know when it has
21 May the usher, then, please escort witness Baltic into the
23 In the meantime, we can ask the registry to call the case.
24 [The witness entered court]
25 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, this is Case Number IT-97-24-T, the
1 Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Also, for the purpose of the transcript of this
3 deposition, appearances of the OTP, please.
4 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, Joanna Korner, Nicholas Koumjian,
5 assisted by Ruth Karper, case manager.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For the Defence.
7 MR. LUKIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Branko Lukic,
8 John Ostojic, and Danilo Cirkovic for the Defence.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Baltic. May I ask
10 the usher immediately to put Document 259 on the ELMO.
11 Questioned by the Court: [Continued]
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Before we start today, Mr. Baltic, I reviewed
13 yesterday's transcript. And no doubt, you are a lawyer. You are
14 effective in your rhetoric attempts, to put it very concrete, in order to
15 avoid concrete answers. I think we shouldn't proceed this way. We don't
16 have the time. Therefore, I would ask you to answer with a clear
17 "yes" and"no" only if possible. And if not, concentrate, please, on the
18 question. And if you didn't understand the question, please let me know.
19 In addition, I have at this point in time only, once again, to
20 recall that you are under a solemn declaration. And any kind of false
21 testimony under solemn declaration would have severe consequences in this
22 Tribunal as it is true in all jurisdictions in the world, as you know.
23 You had some time to sleep over some of your answers. At the end
24 of the day, I will come back to these issues where I have the impression
25 that we might have got an incomplete or misleading answer from you. There
1 are possibilities if you regard it as necessary to correct the one or
2 other answer.
3 We have Document 259 before us. And please, once again, the
4 question: Did you sign this document on page 8? Yes or no.
5 A. These are the minutes that I looked at yesterday. And I told you
6 that I couldn't see my signature on this document. It's not visible.
7 Initially, I said that I was somewhat surprised to see that this was a
8 copy because the number of the minutes should correspond to the number of
9 the deputies. This was prepared for the session, and each deputy should
10 have been given a copy of these minutes to see if there are any mistakes,
11 any omissions, any objections, which are then corrected at the next
12 session. So in addition to the minutes of the deputies, that the deputies
13 have, the rest would go to the archives, to the files. That is why I'm
14 not quite clear why --
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I have to interrupt you. The rules today are
16 when I ask you a concrete question and ask you to answer with a clear yes
17 or no, please do so. I asked: Did you sign this document on page 8? Yes
18 or no.
19 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, we find that "I don't know" is also a
20 legitimate answer. Maybe you should tell the witness --
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It's not for the Defence counsel to assist a
23 Please answer with a clear yes or no.
24 A. I don't know whether I did or not, because I cannot see my real
25 signature here. But it is possible.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So we come back later on with other possible
2 better readable copy or original of this document. The purpose of this
3 exercise is, of course, not to trap you, only for your understanding. The
4 original of this document is not available because it's in a laboratory
5 and it will be here during the day. And therefore we will come back with
6 this document.
7 But as you mentioned, as you said, in principal, it's possible.
8 Therefore, once again, could you now please explain why it was necessary
9 that you under the words "Dr. Milomir Stakic, S. R," in addition you gave
10 your maybe signature, and we can read in any event "sekretar, skupstine
11 opstine, Dusan Baltic." Why this procedure?
12 A. I said yesterday that I found it a bit strange when I saw
13 underneath that this was a copy. It would seem funny to have a copy of
14 the minutes made. If this is a document, then it is officially signed and
15 published by the relevant body. That is, the organ that is in charge of
16 copying and signing the document. And then it can be considered as an
17 official document. I don't know why it was necessary to make an
18 additional copy because it must have been done in a large number of
19 copies. It had been done already and distributed to the deputies, and not
20 only the deputies, but everybody else who attended the session.
21 This is just a piece of paper which is used by the deputies. It
22 should enable the deputies to make sure that what they had discussed or
23 proposed was indeed eventually adopted. If there were any omissions, then
24 an objection to that effect would be made, and the appropriate correction
25 done at the following session. So after each session, the minutes are
1 distributed from the previous session for the following session. And it
2 was in this manner that the accuracy of the copy was checked.
3 And I failed to explain why --
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this explanation. Let's proceed
5 immediately. One document, whether this document or other documents, I
6 understand from your answer in principle that it was a given possibility
7 that you took -- by signing this document, or copies of this document,
8 that to a certain degree, relying on assistants, other staff members, you
9 mentioned legal officers, you took the responsibility for the correctness
10 of this document. Correct?
11 A. Yes, that should be the case.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
13 In general, not with special respect to the document before us,
14 when you took this responsibility, did you take care that the document was
15 indeed signed as it is written here "Dr. Milomir Stakic, S. R."?
16 A. I indicated that when publishing individual decisions in the
17 Official Gazette, it was our practice that at the end of each decision,
18 each individual decision, the name, that is, first of all, the title, the
19 president of the Municipal Assembly, and the name of the president should
20 be placed together with an abbreviation "S. R." which means "svojerucno,"
21 "in his own hand." However, this copy, this decision, was not signed. So
22 a copy of the minutes of this kind would normally not be published in the
23 Official Gazette. I think I addressed the issue yesterday.
24 When you publish a decision of this kind in the Official Gazette,
25 then you would have the same block as the one you can see here. And
1 underneath, you also have the title of the secretary to the Municipal
2 Assembly because he's a member of the technical services, technical
3 personnel, who is acting as some sort of an editor.
4 But when copying all of these decisions, and they constitute
5 official documents, they have to be authentically reproduced in the
6 Official Gazette, the way they are copied. And you are right; there is a
7 responsibility for accuracy, but in order to fulfill this task completely,
8 one would have to spend a huge amount of time and to check every --
9 everything, every single publication against the original and against the
10 copy. And this was not the practice that we had. This is not what I did.
11 Usually, whenever there was a mistake or an omission, there would
12 be an immediate reaction by the deputies, and then in the next issue of
13 the Official Gazette, a corrigendum would be published in a separate
14 document. This is what I'm trying to emphasise. When I signed a document
15 of this kind, I must say that I signed it with full confidence in the work
16 of my associates because I never had any reason to think that they would
17 put in something that was not actually said or should not have been there.
18 In particular, when dealing with the minutes, the minutes constitute a
19 separate -- a special kind of document.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. These kinds of documents, and I
21 want -- don't want to refer only to Document 259, but in general, these
22 kinds of documents, when it was under the rules or under the law necessary
23 that a document be published, was this kind of document then sent to the
24 Official Gazette, to Kozarski Vjesnik, to Glas?
25 A. As far as I can recall, this was not the usual practice. I mean,
1 it was not done on a regular basis. However, if sometimes we did
2 proceed -- if sometimes this was indeed done, then -- I'm sorry, but I
3 cannot remember any specific instance. Every session of the Municipal
4 Assembly is a public event. Perhaps during the period of time when the
5 Crisis Staff was operational, it was not public. I mean, the session was
6 not broadcast over the radio. The citizens were not able to follow the
7 work of the -- this body over the radio. But I really cannot remember any
8 instance when we actually sent any decision to be published in the papers.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We'll come back to this procedure of the
10 publishing of decisions on the basis of other documents.
11 Before we leave Document 259, no doubt the huge number doesn't
12 allow -- or maybe didn't allow you to go into each and every detail of the
13 document. But is it true that you participated in the meeting as such
14 mentioned here? If you have, please, a look on page 1. If you please --
15 if I may draw your attention to the fifth paragraph, can you see your name
16 there following the sentence "...took part in the decision preceding the
17 adoption of the corrigendum..."?
18 A. Just a moment, please.
19 Yes, I can see my name in the penultimate sentence, penultimate
20 line. Yes, as a participant in the discussion. This session took place
21 in the month of August. We can see the date, the 27th of August. As I
22 told you, the secretary normally attended the session of the assembly,
23 together with the president and the vice-president. His presence was more
24 formal in nature. If it was necessary, for instance, to provide an
25 explanation on an issue or to point out if something was not in order.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Look, please, on page 2. There's I,
2 the third paragraph, was there another person in among the assemblymen
3 called Dusan Baltic, a person who is not identical with your person, or is
4 it a mistake?
5 A. I or II?
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I, third paragraph, you can --
7 A. I see, I. If I can have a moment, please, I cannot see very well.
8 Yes, I've just read it. It says here: "The following took part
9 in the debate, in the discussion." I don't know what it was that I
10 discussed. I may have addressed the issue of the minutes. Actually, that
11 was the only thing that I could have discussed because this is the portion
12 where the minutes are discussed, that is, whether the minutes do entirely
13 cover the work of the session. Maybe there was an objection to the effect
14 that there had been an omission of some sort and attention was drawn to
15 that fact. That could have been my intervention.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So it wasn't a mistake that it reads
17 "Dusan Baltic"? There was not such a --
18 A. No, this is not -- like I said, I indicated that it was my duty to
19 attend the assembly sessions when it met in its regular, normal,
20 composition. And whenever someone raised an issue regarding the minutes,
21 then usually the debate -- a debate would follow as to whether there had
22 been an omission or not. Those were the only contents that could have
23 been discussed at this point at the meeting. But I can see that people
24 here are deputies or persons in charge of individual municipal
25 departments, in this paragraph, at least, I, paragraph 3.
1 I already explained to you who these individuals are.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And finally as regards this document
3 from my side, may we turn to page 6, XIV, please.
4 Can you please read it out that we can follow and we are on the
5 safe side as regards the translation.
6 A. "Draft decision on the election of lay Judges in the municipal
7 court in Prijedor, in the basic court in Prijedor. Introductory remarks
8 were given by Dusan Baltic, secretary to the Municipal Assembly, and the
9 following took part in the discussion: Milomir Stakic and
10 Dragan Savanovic. The deputies reached the following conclusion
11 unanimously: Area staffs should provide the list of person who could be
12 elected as lay judges in the -- to the commission for election and
13 appointments, if that has not been done so far, so that the commission
14 could draft the proposal for the next session of the Municipal Assembly."
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. So it's fair to conclude that also
16 during the meeting as such, following these abridged minutes, you were
17 present all the time and participated in your capacity as secretary in the
18 meeting. Correct? Yes or no.
19 A. This was a debate concerning the appointments of lay judges to the
20 lower court, which is within the competence of the Municipal Assembly. As
21 far as I could tell from this --
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. Once again, the question was: Did you
23 participate all the time in this meeting in your capacity as secretary, in
24 the meeting? Yes or no.
25 A. I'm afraid I cannot remember that, but of course I was supposed to
1 be present throughout the session. It is obvious that in this case,
2 adequate preparations concerning these appointments had not been done. So
3 probably it was necessary to explain why it was still not possible to go
4 on with the appointments of lay judges. And that's why it was requested
5 that the deputies, through the area staffs, which covered the areas of
6 local communes, offered nominations of the people who could be appointed
7 as lay judges.
8 So a deadline was probably given for the written nominations to be
9 submitted so that the issue can be decided upon on the following session.
10 So that was the only explanation that I was able to provide at the time,
11 that is, these steps had to be taken. There was a problem with the formal
12 adoption of the decision, of the relevant decision, at this particular
13 assembly because again, these are purely formal issues.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. We may leave now Document S259. And
15 may I ask the usher to present -- I'll give it to you -- Exhibit
16 Number 180. And Official Gazette 2 of 1992, decision number 48. If both
17 documents are please put on the ELMO.
18 MR. KOUMJIAN: If Your Honour would prefer the evidence copy, the
19 actual Gazette is available.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So, yes. If the usher could take, once again,
21 the best possible evidence.
22 May we first, please, see the document, the other one.
23 You can see this document, and you can see the header of this
24 page. It reads there -- yes. Once again, Cyrillic, if you can help us
1 A. I can see in the upper corner the words "Serbian Republic of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina the Autonomous Region of Krajina, Prijedor
3 Municipality, Crisis Staff. 17th of June, 1992."
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. And may we now turn to the signature we
5 find on this document. Please, down at the end. Yes.
6 A. In the right corner, we read: "President of the Crisis Staff,
7 Dr. Milomir Stakic." There is a signature as well, but I don't remember
8 his signature, so I cannot identify it. It's probably his. I mean, it is
9 my assumption that it is his signature.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you see the words "S. R." or "Za" in front
11 of the words Milomir Stakic? It maybe -- I have the impression covered by
12 the stamp.
13 A. Yes, there is something here. It's either Za, Z-A, or "doctor"
14 because as we could observe, his name is always preceded with the R,
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Only for the record, we had numerous stamps
17 yesterday. What can we read in the stamp here?
18 A. Yes, I can see the stamp. The stamp reads as follows: "Socialist
19 Republic" -- at least I think it reads "Socialist Republic of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Municipal Assembly of the Prijedor Municipality,
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And if you can now compare this
23 document with the Official Gazette, is this document then published in the
24 Official Gazette? Is it the same document?
25 A. As far as I can see, there is a difference because in this
1 document, under the word "order," we can see four items, whereas on the
2 screen, the document on the screen has five items. The original was
3 published in the Official Gazette, and it bears the number and the date
4 which cannot be seen -- which I cannot see, at least I cannot see the date
5 on the document which is on the screen, nor can I see the number.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So please --
7 A. On the right side.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please, show to the witness the number of both
9 documents, and the witness may compare the numbers of both documents.
10 A. Yes. Here we can see better that the order which is on the screen
11 contains four items. I don't want to read all of them. As is the case
12 with this other document in the Official Gazette.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Is it the same number of decision?
14 A. Well, now I have -- in the document on the screen is the one that
15 was published in the Official Gazette, and the number and the date
16 correspond. As I indicated a moment ago, it was customary to place on the
17 right side underneath "President of the Municipal Assembly" or "President
18 of the Crisis Staff," in this case "Dr. Milomir Stakic," it is customary
19 to put the abbreviation "SR" because normally, there was no signature.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Right. So could you now, on this basis, explain
21 the way for a decision or order to be published in the Official Gazette
22 from the building of the Municipal Assembly to, first of all, the Official
24 A. Well, the usual procedure in all cases was at the end of the
25 session to process the minutes of the session which meant that individual
1 documents had to be prepared. These documents, as we have already
2 mentioned, were delivered to the relevant organs. Following that, when
3 there was a sufficient number of documents, that means the Official
4 Gazette is not published after every single session; but rather, once
5 there was a sufficient number of documents to be published. And then
6 individual documents would be copied, typed, and were supposed to
7 correspond with the original.
8 Then all these documents were gathered, typed, and then from these
9 typewritten versions would be used to produce a large number of Official
10 Gazettes, a large number of copies of Official Gazettes. It was common
11 practice to give this type of job to a company qualified to do this kind
12 of job.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And who was in charge of -- yes, in modern words
14 we would call this outsourcing, to ask another agency or company to
15 prepare the Official Gazette or print the Official Gazette? Was it done
16 in the building of the Municipal Assembly or in another building?
17 A. Earlier, at an earlier stage, as far as I can remember, this sort
18 of job would be given to a company in Gradiska.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The name of this company?
20 A. The company's Grad, Gradiska. They had a printing shop, and this
21 was the sort of work they did, so they were quite capable of doing this
22 kind of job, too. It was possible to do this also in -- with the
23 administrative bodies in the building itself at the municipality. There
24 were employees who performed the tasks of copying documents for the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Also, it was possible to do this with one of the book binders or
2 the printworks of the iron ore mining company, Ljubija, in Prijedor.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. We have already heard there are
4 several possibilities. But who ordered that? In a concrete case, it was
5 done by this company or within the framework or in Ljubija? Who was
6 responsible for this?
7 A. Verifying the cheapest possibilities and the most convenient
8 possibilities for doing this, whether it was cheaper and more convenient
9 to have this done by the company in Gradiska or the mines, mainly we used
10 the phone to obtain this sort of information. And that's when we decided
11 to send this material - that was later the way they did it - to be copied,
12 preprinted, and bound.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I interrupt you. Who is "we"? You said
14 "we." Who is "we"?
15 A. I'm referring to my collaborators.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Baltic, is it true that you were head of the
17 Municipal Assembly technical service?
18 A. Of course.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's proceed to another document. May I ask
20 the usher to bring these documents back to those providing you with the
21 documents. And turn to Exhibit S76 and Official Gazette 299, Number 44.
22 Can you please have a special look on the number of the decision
23 and the first two lines?
24 A. You mean decision number in the upper left corner?
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Right.
1 A. The number is 02-111-180/92. The 11th of June, 1992.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And then in the first line, it reads, and it
3 appears to be that there is a handwritten addendum.
4 A. I can't see any handwritten addendum.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Following the third word, something is added.
6 A. Oh, that. That's in the line above the word "decision pursuant to
7 Article 7" and then something was added, a mark was added in handwriting.
8 I think it reads "3," decision on the organisation and work of the Crisis
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And may we now immediately turn --
11 A. Maybe something was added.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: -- to the Official Gazette, and if you could
13 compare the number and the first line. Is it the same number of the
15 A. In the upper corner, following the word "decision," it says:
16 "Pursuant to Article" -- I can't see clearly. I think it's 3 and 7.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Does it correspond with what we just saw before,
18 that before the number 7, it was added in handwriting as 3.I. Correct?
19 A. If you compare these two, what I'm looking at now, that's an
20 individual decision. This was not extracted from the Official Gazette.
21 If I compare, I see that this text here contains no corrections, the one
22 on the screen. And the one I'm looking at, the one I'm holding in my
23 hand, I can see that there's a handwritten addition, item 3. Maybe it was
24 omitted at first, and then someone reinserted Article 3 here.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Baltic, is it correct that what we can see
1 in the Official Gazette reflects the start of the sentence as we can read
2 it from the other document including the inserted 3.I. Is it correct? Yes
3 or no.
4 A. There are differences here. I see that here, there are three
5 lines in this decision on the screen, if that's what was published in the
6 Official Gazette. While in the other decision, you only have two lines.
7 And --
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, sorry. Sorry to interrupt. We are not
9 interested whether it's here three and there are two lines. We are
10 interested in the content and nothing else. If you could read it word by
11 word, is it the same wording including this added 3.I or not?
12 A. I see that the text itself is the same. Aside from the omitted
13 number 3, which was then added in handwriting. The other words correspond
14 with -- are the same in both copies.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. May we then turn to other documents,
16 please, which is Exhibit 70, 7-0, and Official Gazette 2 of 1992. And,
17 yes, leave it with this first. If you can only compare this document,
18 please show us the signature on this document. Once again, for the
19 purpose, we have several stamps. Which stamp is it? What can we read in
20 the stamp?
21 A. I see that this stamp is identical to the one before, the one I
22 have also read out. It reads: "Socialist Republic of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina, Prijedor Municipal Assembly, Prijedor." So this I think
24 would be the stamp that had been used up to, and then later there appeared
25 the stamp saying "Crisis Staff." So this was the previous stamp.
1 I don't know how, if in the same period of time, two different
2 stamps appear.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So then, please compare just the document you
4 have before you in the Official Gazette and the other document. Does the
5 Official Gazette reflect this document, the 6th of June, 1992?
6 A. You mean the one displayed on the screen or the one I'm looking
7 at? I didn't quite understand you. This is a conclusion.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: On the ELMO, or the apparatus is not big enough
9 to have both on them. If you would be so kind and compare both documents,
10 the Official Gazette, and the one which is now on the apparatus.
11 May the usher please give the document from the ELMO to the
13 A. Yes. I see that the two texts are identical, as well as the
14 number and date.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So just for the record, could you please repeat
16 the number and date you read.
17 A. Number and date of the decision published in the Official Gazette
18 is the 6th of June, 1992, and the number is 02-111-146/92.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the usher to present the colour copy
20 of this document, S70, to the witness.
21 Mr. Baltic, have you seen these kinds of decisions or order
22 beforehand in the way you can see it now in the colour version?
23 A. No, never.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You have never seen a decision with a stamp and
25 a signature of Dr. Stakic?
1 A. I'm not sure I've understood you well. I thought you'd asked
2 whether I've seen a decision in colour, in colour print. That's what I
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous translation continues]... Whether you
5 have seen this document reflected in this and copied here in colour in
6 original version. These documents of this kind in your capacity as
7 secretary and head of technical service.
8 A. I have stated earlier that minutes of meetings of the Crisis Staff
9 were kept in handwriting by a recording clerk who wrote the minutes down
10 in the book of minutes. And then --
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I have to override once again. The question
12 was: Have you seen original documents with original stamp, original
13 signature, of that kind of document you have before you? Yes or no.
14 A. No.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You have never seen a document with a stamp and
16 signature of Dr. Stakic? Yes or no.
17 A. Perhaps earlier, but during the work of the Crisis Staff, the
18 decisions that were typewritten, the same recording clerk's typist who
19 compiled the minutes and the assistants as before, drafting of
20 individual -- the preparing of individual decisions.
21 When they were prepared, they were handed in for signature by the
22 same people, and they were forwarded by the people I worked with. There
23 were no questions for me -- no one raised issues of anyone failing in
24 their duties in my service so that I would have been in a position to take
25 measures against these people. So this was -- the same thing was done
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So one can conclude from your testimony that
3 there's no reasonable doubt that these documents were authentic?
4 A. Again, I say that was the procedure. And these should be --
5 because the procedure earlier and during the operation of the Crisis Staff
6 was the same, so these documents should be original documents. And they
7 were supposed to be published in the Official Gazette.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Now, to a more general question: By
9 the example, two examples, three examples, we came to the conclusion these
10 decisions, orders, were printed in the Official Gazette. We have in our
11 documents Official Gazettes starting with number 1, 2, 3 of 1992.
12 Were there any kind of change in the Official Gazette after the
13 30th of April in 1992?
14 A. Not for a while. That is, as I've said before, decisions were
15 published in the Official Gazette also in the preceding period. But also
16 during the period of the operation of the Crisis Staff. And whenever
17 there was a sufficient number of decisions to warrant publication of the
18 Official Gazette, it would not be logical for the Official Gazette to be
19 prepared and published after every single session because that would not
20 have been economical.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Is there any special reason that the -- that
22 number 1 of the Official Gazette - this is Exhibit 276 - dates the 20th of
23 May, 1992? Were there no publications between 1st of January and the 20th
24 of May, 1992? Maybe it helps if I can show you the cover page of the
25 Official Gazette of 20 May, Number 1, 1992. As said before, Exhibit 276.
1 Would you please be so kind and have a look on this document. Was
2 this the beginning of a new era because it reads in the beginning:
3 "Pursuant to Article 12 of the constitutional law on the implementation of
4 the constitution of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina the
5 Prijedor Municipal Assembly at its session held on 20th May, 1992, adopted
6 the following decision on implementation of decisions and other
7 regulations of Prijedor Municipality."
8 A. Could you brighten it up a little bit.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You may have a look on the apparatus beside
10 you. It's better for you. You can read it better.
11 A. I've read the decision, and I can see that the introductory part
12 before the actual decision, reference is made to Article 12 of the
13 constitutional law for the implementation of the constitution of the
14 Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was pursuant to that
15 particular article that the Prijedor Municipal Assembly adopted the
16 decision on the implementation of decisions and other regulations of the
17 Prijedor Municipality. This is some sort of instruction destined to the
18 administrative organs so that they would know what regulations they are
19 supposed to apply. The decision concerned all employees of the municipal
20 administrative bodies.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry once again to override. The question was
22 and still is: Does the fact that we have a new Number 1 of the Official
23 Gazette as of May and starting with these remarkable words reflect a new
24 start, a new era, in Prijedor or not?
25 A. From this decision, we can see that the Prijedor Municipal
1 Assembly was still working, and not the Crisis Staff. But if you have a
2 look at the upper portion of the document, you will see that the legal
3 basis for the adoption of this decision was the constitutional law on the
4 implementation of the constitution of the Serbian Republic. This had
5 all -- this was already mentioned, I think, when you made reference to the
6 region, the region of Krajina. This was in May. I cannot remember at
7 this point the specific decisions where reference was made to AR Krajina,
8 to their regulations. Here, reference is made to the constitution of the
9 Serbian Republic and not to the Krajina. This is the period of time
10 preceding the disagreement, that is, the conflict.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You recall a document you saw yesterday as of
12 August 1992 stating that you and others were employed as from 7 January,
13 1992. Do you recall this?
14 A. You should like to have a look at it again in order to be able to
15 provide a precise explanation.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This would be Exhibit Number 262. And to have
17 it in the context, because there is reflected what the attachments are,
18 the cover page in Cyrillic and - please wait - one list mentioned there.
19 To be very concrete, does this mean that as of 7 January, 1992,
20 you worked for a period up to four years, as we can read it there, as the
21 secretary, Municipal Assembly of Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina Serbia Assembly of Prijedor Municipality? Correct or not
24 A. I have stated on previous occasions, that I, as the secretary of
25 the Municipal Assembly, as a member of the technical services, worked from
1 the January 1991 -- the 1st of January, 1991, until early March 1993,
2 which means that I was the head of this particular technical service
3 throughout that period of time.
4 Here, in this list of officials, the one that I have in front of
5 me, the list of the officials of the assembly contains the names of these
6 officials, and we can see who the secretaries were. The directors are
7 also mentioned here. For example, the director of the tax administration,
8 the municipal tax administration. All these people are people who were in
9 charge of specific municipal organs.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: My question was only related to your person.
11 You are the witness here. And the cover sheet of this document, in its
12 heading reads: "Serbian Republic Krajina, Autonomous Region, Prijedor
13 Municipal Assembly, Election and Appointments Commission, date, 8
14 September 1999." And then, in the final paragraph: "We have enclosed a
15 list of officials appointed by the assembly." And this list, you have in
16 your hands.
17 A. Yes, I see that. The date is the 8th of September, 1992. But as
18 far as I can recall, the Crisis Staff did not exist at the time, that is,
19 on the 8th of September, 1992. We have seen the minutes on the
20 confirmation of the decisions adopted by the Crisis Staff. This happened
21 in July, and here, we see that this was in September, that is, at the time
22 when the regular assembly was able to convene.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, sorry. Sorry to override once again. The
24 question is not Crisis Staff or not Crisis Staff. We are discussing now
25 the issue of Serbian Republic, Krajina Autonomous Region, Prijedor
1 Municipal Assembly. Enclosed are a list of officials appointed by the
2 assembly in January 1992.
3 Is it true that you were appointed in this capacity specially for
4 these purposes in January 1992? Yes or no.
5 A. In January 1992, I was still the secretary of the assembly, that
6 is, the multiethnic assembly if I might call it that way. The president
7 of the assembly was Cehajic, and the vice-president was Savanovic --
8 sorry, Stakic.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So it's your testimony --
10 A. And this document --
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, please. Please.
12 A. And this document is a list of officers in charge, that is, the
13 officials, who had been appointed by the Municipal Assembly. I don't see
14 the date when this review, this list, was made. If it was the -- part of
15 this document dated on the 8th of September, I don't know. Then only the
16 information as to who these officials are is given.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think all participants can draw their own
18 conclusions from your line of answers.
19 Let me turn to another issue, and may I once again ask the usher,
20 please, to be so kind and remove this document and to put this document on
21 the ELMO, please, which is S208, Kozarski Vjesnik.
22 You see the Kozarski Vjesnik. I think it's better to have it --
23 to read it on the apparatus beside you. It's easier to read. Can you
24 please read out the entire title of this newspaper, including the stamp
25 printed on it.
1 A. I can see here that this is an issue of Kozarski Vjesnik, and the
2 title is "A Lesson For Future." And then an information to the readers,
3 "A Ban on Entry and Leaving the Town, and an Appointment for the
4 Commission for Assessment of Damage."
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In the word Kozarski Vjesnik, above the word --
6 A. Yes, I can see.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What can you read there?
8 A. Oh, yes, I see highlighted in green, we read the words "war
9 edition." Are you asking me whether I know anything about this?
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No. Now you may turn a little bit lower to the
11 right-hand side, there you can see a marked announcement on the time
12 schedule of buses leaving Prijedor. Apparently a decision by, yes, in the
13 framework of your work, taken by the Municipal Assembly or Crisis Staff,
14 whatever. But the way -- I'm only interested in the way how was -- were
15 decisions transferred or proceeded to Kozarski Vjesnik? Was it also in
16 your office, in your capacity of secretary or head of technical services?
17 A. I never had -- I haven't had an opportunity of seeing an edition
18 of this kind of Kozarski Vjesnik so far. But it is possible that pursuant
19 to a request issued by the president of the assembly, the decisions
20 adopted by the assembly were published by the papers. It was up to him
21 and up to his assessment of the situation. As to which particular
22 decisions should be sent out, this was done through the employees of
23 technical services, that is, my coworkers.
24 These decisions usually went out without prior consultations with
25 me because that was the prerogative of the president. He was able to ask
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 any of the employees of the technical services to provide him with a
2 document or to have a document sent out. The vice-president, the deputy
3 president, had the same right as well.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
5 Did I see it correctly that 259 is available now in the best
6 possible original? Could the last page please be put on the ELMO.
7 Once again, only one final question once more: On the basis of
8 this document, your signature? Yes or no.
9 A. The signature is not clearly visible. I'm not saying that the
10 document was not signed, but I cannot see my signature on this document.
11 I would also like to see the preceding portion of the text because
12 I said that I did attend some of the sessions. Whether I attended this
13 particular one, I don't know. I don't know which session here we're
14 talking about.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous translation continues]... Discussed
16 already earlier, we went through portions, so we shouldn't come back to
18 Now how to proceed. Mr. Baltic, you saw that unfortunately I took
19 longer than expected, and unfortunately even after the break -- maybe it
20 also serves your interest -- I have to have -- to put eight or nine
21 questions to you. But no doubt, the parties have the right to put -- also
22 to put questions to you. And I'm afraid it will not be possible to do
23 this by the end of the day. Tomorrow, there's no courtroom available. So
24 this would mean that we would kindly ask you to stay here until Monday.
25 Would you be prepared to do so? Of course, all the expenses as
1 regards accommodation and so on are covered by the Victim and Witness
2 Section of this Tribunal.
3 A. I thought that I would be able to travel back today. I accepted
4 your invitation. But it would be more suitable for me if it could be
5 arranged so that we work longer today so that my testimony could be
6 completed by the close of the day so I could travel back tomorrow because
7 I have a number of commitments and a lot of work to do, the kind of work
8 that cannot be postponed, that also entails certain expenses.
9 So once again, it would be preferable if we could work longer
10 today so that the testimony could be completed because staying until
11 Monday would be too long for me. So if there is a possibility of
12 preceding in that manner, I would kindly ask the Court to...
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We should --
14 A. Because as you also indicated, you are not sitting -- I myself
15 don't need any breaks to carry on. Maybe we can work longer, the way we
16 did yesterday, so that we can try and complete the testimony today. Once
17 again, I kindly ask the Court to understand me, to understand my position.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I understand quite well that it would be
19 preferable, and we will try to do our best. But please understand that
20 not only for the Prosecutor, but first of all, I think in this case, for
21 the Defence, it's absolutely mandatory to have a fair procedure and have a
22 fair trial, that the time is not too limited. And therefore, take it we
23 try our very best, but in case, be prepared that it may be necessary that
24 we continue on Monday.
25 Let's have a break now until 11.35.
1 --- Recess taken at 11.08 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 11.36 a.m.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
4 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, if I may, before the witness is in --
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you please take care the witness is not
6 brought in.
7 MR. LUKIC: We can come in. That's okay. There's nothing to be
9 You should meet three people, potential witnesses, coming from
10 Canada for Monday and Tuesday, and it has been prearranged because we
11 don't have time to go to Canada in between our cases, and my co-counsel is
12 preparing military experts, so he does not have time to prepare this
13 witness. So we would like to have this witness finished today as well if
14 possible. We are ready to stay longer, and we think that our 90 minutes
15 is enough for us to finish. So we would like and ask you kindly to
16 consider if possible to finish with this witness today, please.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What about the Prosecution? What is the
18 estimated time you think is necessary for your questions?
19 MS. KORNER: Mr. Koumjian is going to cross-examine, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's not -- I had a discussion with our
21 president on this issue. I don't -- let's call it not
22 examination-in-chief or cross-examination, to put questions to the witness
23 in addition. So what will be the necessary time?
24 MR. KOUMJIAN: We estimate two hours.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So indeed, it could be possible that we all take
1 care, on the basis of what we did yesterday, one additional hour we could
2 proceed. If all the participants, yes, in the light of enabling us to
3 have no court tomorrow and let the witness go back to his home country,
4 that we try to have one additional hour today.
5 I can see already that Ms. Dahuron preparing the necessary.
6 Thank you, may the witness be brought in now.
7 In the meantime, Mr. Baltic, we have discussed the possibilities
8 how to enable that we can conclude today. And the best contribution by
9 your side can be to answer as short and as precise as possible. Before
10 starting with my final line of questions, once again to draw your
11 attention to the indication that as it is usual under international law,
12 we have granted safe conduct to you. This means that you do not have to
13 be afraid that anything, any initiative, would be taken against you on the
14 basis whatever may have happened prior to your arrival to The Hague. This
15 is covered by the letter of safe conduct, and it's granted also by the
16 Netherlands. So there, you shouldn't be afraid.
17 But on the other hand, you have to be aware that this safe conduct
18 doesn't cover a possible procedure if one party or the Bench or one of the
19 Judges could come to the conclusion that there might be in part false
20 testimony. Therefore, please be aware of this and try to give detailed,
21 short but truthful answers.
22 When looking back to this period of time, who, in your assessment,
23 was at that time your boss, to put it this way?
24 A. The secretary of the assembly is elected by the assembly. And the
25 assembly can dismiss me or relieve me of my duty. It is from the assembly
1 that I receive the decision on my appointment. If I fail in my duties, if
2 I fail to perform my duties, in the opinion of the deputies, there would
3 be an initiative to relieve me of my duties. In that sense, my superior
4 is the assembly.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And the assembly represented by whom? I think
6 it's, as it is always, there were day-to-day questions arising, and no
7 doubt you can't ask the entire assembly. In this sense, who was your
9 A. The way I understood your question, the president of the assembly
10 is a deputy, just like the vice-president. If I failed in organising in a
11 proper way the work of the technical services, it would be the president,
12 as the deputy, or the vice-president -- the vice-president or any other
13 deputy, not necessarily in a decision-making position, could start the
14 initiative to relieve me of my duty and to dismiss me from my position.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So whenever you had a day-to-day question, you
16 approached whom and asked, "How shall I proceed?"
17 A. If I understand you correctly, concerning certain issues, legal
18 issues, concerning with the procedure of the assembly's operation were
19 reviewed and discussed with my colleagues. Those were procedural
20 matters. If someone resigns, for example, and it needs to be discussed at
21 the assembly, I usually consulted my colleagues how this can be dealt
22 with. I hope you understand me.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to override once again. You mentioned
24 your colleagues. Can you please attach names to your colleagues, what you
25 regard as your colleagues?
1 A. My colleagues were Zdravka Vranic, and Radmila Majkic, both
2 lawyers, and a political scientist.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Baltic, we shouldn't play around. To be
4 concrete, was Dr. Stakic your boss? Whenever you had some questions you
5 couldn't resolve amongst your colleagues, did you ask for the advice or
6 directions of Dr. Stakic?
7 A. Advice and instructions, he couldn't give me advice or
8 instructions because he is a doctor by profession. There were no such
9 matters --
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. Isn't it true that Dr. Stakic was
11 president of the Municipal Assembly and not acting there as a physician?
12 Please don't try to escape.
13 A. There is nothing I'm trying to escape from. He is the president
14 of the municipality, and he has the right to summon me if he feels that
15 there is a need to talk to me about something concerning the operation of
16 the assembly. What was at stake was the schedule of the sessions and the
17 possibility to use certain rooms, certain halls, to hold the sessions.
18 And whatever else was connected with the assembly would previously have
19 been discussed at a meeting of the executive committee.
20 Whenever there was an issue - I can't think of any specific issues
21 now - I would be obliged to respond to the call and to see what the issue
22 was. And if I was not myself qualified to deal with the issue, I was
23 supposed to bring it up with my colleagues and analyse the issue.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Baltic, what would be your assessment? Was
25 there, following the 7th or maybe the 9th of January, 1992, only one
1 Municipal Assembly, or something one could call a shadow Municipal
2 Assembly, the assembly of the Serbian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
3 Municipality of Bosnia-Herzegovina [sic]?
4 A. That is a question that I have never been asked, but you can tell
5 from the documents that the assembly was regulated but did not function.
6 Up until -- I can't say precisely when, whether it was late May or if it
7 was envisaged, regulated somewhere, at some point in the period you
8 referred to, in January, it did not operate. It began to operate in late
9 May and early June. If you look at the decision on the establishment of
10 the Crisis Staff, you can see that it was established on the 20-something
11 of May, in the second half of May. At any rate, around the 25th, I think,
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Once again, we shouldn't confuse two notions,
14 Crisis Staff and Serbian Municipal Assembly of Prijedor. Was a Serbian
15 Municipal Assembly of Prijedor created in January 1992, to the best of
16 your recollection and as indicated in this document that you, acting as
17 from this point in time as secretary to this Serbian Municipal Assembly of
19 A. Well, let me clarify this point. This assembly presided over by
20 the president of the assembly, such as Stakic, it dated back to the period
21 around late April or May, roughly speaking. And up to that point, there
22 had been a multiethnic assembly.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Are you aware of the fact that there was such a
24 Serbian Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, having held a session in the
25 public utilities company hall at 17 hours, the 16th of April, 1992,
1 ERN Number 03024253, included in Exhibit S262? Are you aware of this
2 meeting of the Serbian Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, 16th of April,
4 A. Well, I can't say I recall that particular meeting precisely. But
5 as I've said, if you look at that document, you can see who the new
6 president of the assembly was and who the vice-president was. If we talk
7 about the Serbian Municipal Assembly, when the assembly members were being
8 elected and I was referred to as the secretary, I was not invited to that
9 particular meeting. But I remained to perform my duties as the head of
10 the technical services, merely the administrative part connected with the
11 work of the assembly.
12 This may have been about, well, January, if that date, the dates
13 don't quite seem to make sense to me. I see that some things were
14 published later on, but that's that.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's leave it with this.
16 You worked for about two years and three months in the Municipal
17 Assembly. Who played de facto the leading role in the Municipal Assembly?
18 A. The word itself, the president of the Municipal Assembly, speaks
19 for itself because he was the one who presided over the assembly and made
20 decisions to the effect whether the assembly would be convened and also
21 decisions concerning the agenda. From -- what was required from that
22 position, the technical services completed their technical part of the
23 work. There was also a possibility --
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
25 To be once again quite concrete, we know very well that in some
1 countries, municipalities, towns, you have a president but de facto the
2 deputy, or in, yes, some former Soviet Union countries, even the secretary
3 played a major role than the president itself. How was it in Prijedor?
4 Was it as it was laid down in the rules and in the law that, indeed, the
5 president of the Municipal Assembly was the one who had the say, or was
6 there any other person who directed within Prijedor this president?
7 A. The president of the assembly, the chairman of the assembly,
8 worked together with the chairman of the executive board. And the
9 executive board would previously have discussed all the issues and sent
10 their proposals to the president with the recommendation to have these
11 issues discussed at the assembly. The statute of the assembly envisages
12 of the respective fields' areas of competence of the president, the
13 secretary, the vice-president, the chairman of the executive board, and
14 the members of the executive board. You can see in the statute that in
15 Prijedor, and the situation was much the same in all the other
16 municipalities --
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous translation continues]... We want to
18 conclude today. Was there any stronger person in the Municipal Assembly
19 than Dr. Stakic, de facto? One thing is what we call de jure, and the
20 other is de facto. Was there such any stronger person who had maybe the
21 say in the Municipal Assembly?
22 A. Well, perhaps this is not the best way to put it, but as the
23 deputies and the president of the assembly was also a deputy, after all,
24 they were proposed, nominated, by their respective parties in case they
25 were politicians to begin with. And then at the party level, there must
1 have been debates as to who would be nominated for a specific range of
2 positions --
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, once again to override, I don't want to
4 discuss party issues. I want to discuss that what you experienced in the
5 Municipal Assembly being seated beside the president when there was an
6 ordinary Municipal Assembly meeting. Who was the leading person? Was it
7 the president, as seen in the rules, or was it everybody else? Was it the
8 president? Yes or no.
9 A. The president, yes.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
11 The following three questions are -- have the purpose to give the
12 possibility to correct maybe misleading answers or answers that were not
13 understood correctly. Yesterday, on transcript page 76, line 10 to 16, it
14 reads: "I'm not a member of the SDS." Mr. Baltic, have you been a member
15 of the SDS?
16 A. No, never. Nor did I attend the sessions. As I have already
17 indicated, when my name was proposed for the position of the secretary, an
18 acquaintance of mine called me on the telephone asked me whether I was
19 willing to take the job. And I told you the reasons why I accepted the
20 job; I was unemployed at the time. No one had the grace to ask me whether
21 I was willing to do it or not. I mean, I am referring to the people who
22 were proposing the candidates. And as you know, the SDS and SDA
23 participated with their delegates in the assembly.
24 Had I been a member of the SDS, the issue would have been
25 discussed beforehand, and I would have been in a position to be informed
1 of that possibility by the members of the party. Somebody would have
2 asked me if I was willing to do it or not, but in this way --
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous translation continues]... You maybe
4 go one step too far. Would documents lie? If, for example, the document
5 I have before me on 7 May, 1991, Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee
6 for Adopting the Annual Budget of the SDS Municipal Board, it reads,
7 "Committee Members: One, Milan Dragojevic; two, Ranko Radanovic; three,
8 Dusan Kurnoga; four, Dusko Baltic."
9 Would the book of minutes lie when in the meeting of the Prijedor
10 SDS municipal board as of 20 March, 1991, page 3 of the minutes, page 5 of
11 the minutes one can read, Contributions Assigned -- evidently to your
12 person. Are all these documents untrue? There's nothing wrong to be a
13 member of the SDS and it's not punishable. It's only to give you the
14 possibility to correct that what you stated yesterday in order to avoid
15 any consequences for you. And it's mandatory for a presiding officer,
16 judge in this case, to alert you.
17 A. I understand you. But so that you can understand me, I have to
18 add that the parties who participated in the government had distributed
19 the functions, not only of the Municipal Assembly but other functions as
20 well. There were talks between the parties as to these positions and
21 offices where political parties did not have their people, these positions
22 would be offered to nonmembers. And it was the municipality that financed
23 the political parties who participated in the government. But they
24 also -- the municipality also financed the parties in general. And it was
25 possible for them to call me up and to discuss the issue. I was, after
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 all, the secretary of the Municipal Assembly, and it was my duty to work
2 equally with everybody. So I would from time to time be invited for that
4 As for the appointments to certain positions, then I as a
5 technical person, a technical member of the assembly was often called to
6 attend and to provide opinion as to the procedural aspect of the
7 appointment, to see, for example, whether the adequate requirements are
8 fulfilled by the candidate and so on and so forth. And I was the one who
9 gave the opinion as to the statutory regulations regarding these
10 appointments. So I would attend such meetings of all the three parties if
11 invited. That was one of my duties.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So it's your testimony you participated -- I
13 don't know whether also in meetings of other parties, but you participated
14 in SDS meetings but you never were a member of the SDS. The final
15 question, yes or no?
16 A. Yes, I believe I've just confirmed it, but only in respect of
17 these issues, the one that I described concerning the appointments and the
18 financing of the parties and appointments to a number of positions
19 including the position of school directors and company directors because
20 there was an interparty agreement which provided --
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous translation continues]... With a view
22 to the watch. Once again, the question to be answered with a clear yes or
23 no, have you been a member of the SDS? Yes or no.
24 A. No, I was not a member of any party. I was not involved in
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
2 Then you said yesterday that you never saw Dr. Stakic in uniform
3 in the municipal building. We have before us the testimony of at least
4 one witness telling us that this person saw Dr. Stakic in camouflage
5 uniform in his office. We have seen yesterday, the day before, and the
6 day before on video Dr. Stakic wearing uniform. Is it possible that
7 during the night you recall, in looking back, that indeed you saw
8 Dr. Stakic wearing a uniform, or is it still your testimony that opposed
9 to this witness and video we saw, you never saw Dr. Stakic in uniform?
10 Did you see him in uniform ever? Yes or no.
11 A. I must say that last time, the way I understood you was whether
12 Dr. Stakic came to work in uniform. However, now I must say that the
13 Crisis Staff which functioned at that time, which used to be called the
14 war presidency, they did have uniforms that they wore when they visited
15 the soldiers because from time to time, such visits were organised for the
16 purpose of taking food or parcels to the soldiers. So if such a visit was
17 organised on that particular day, it is possible that he showed up to the
18 municipal building in uniform.
19 But that I saw him coming to work dressed that way, that it was
20 his working uniform, no. I mean, it was not an obligation for them to
21 wear the uniform that they possessed at the time. They did not have to
22 wear it to work; but if they went to visit the troops, then they would go
23 dressed in uniforms. But that was not only the case with Dr. Stakic but
24 with other members of the Crisis Staff as well.
25 As I've already explained, the body was initially called the war
1 presidency, and then it was renamed Crisis Staff. But it's one and the
2 same thing. So I'm not excluding the possibility that the witness in
3 question could have seen him dressed that way. It is possible that it
4 happened on the day when such a visit was organised. I went to the office
5 of the president only when and if necessary. He had a different set of
6 coworkers and colleagues, people he worked with. He contacted me only
7 when an issue concerning the work of the assembly was discussed. As I
8 told you, it was not a uniform that was typically worn every day, and the
9 same applied to everyone else.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
11 Yesterday, you stated that by chance, at the same time, you left
12 the office in maybe February or March - you left it open - 1993, and at
13 the same time Dr. Stakic was substituted by another person. We have
14 witness statement on transcript page 4169, starting but then concrete
15 question on the following page, which is 4170.
16 The question was: "Do you know that Dr. Stakic was fired from the
17 position of the president of the municipality in October 1992?" Answer:
18 "I know that he was fired, but I don't know the reason. I know that he
19 was replaced by a man called Kurnoga."
20 Could you please concentrate on this question once again. Are you
21 sure that it was indeed in February, March, or may it even have happened
22 that he was "fired" already in autumn 1992?
23 A. As far as I remember, I was present at this session when
24 Mr. Stakic resigned. Whether he resigned under pressure -- but you can
25 perhaps draw your conclusions from the following. It was very difficult
1 to convene the session for several months as a result of interpersonal
2 problems, and I am referring to the new set of people who had --
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. The question is: Was it in February or
4 March 1993, or in autumn 1992?
5 A. It was in 1992. I began working for my old company on the 1st of
6 March, thereabouts. So it must have been a matter of several days. I
7 remember that it was not possible to continue with the work of the
8 session. There was a break at one point in time. We waited to see what
9 would happen, and then he showed up and it was a surprise --
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous translation continues]... At this
11 moment but not in order to stop you, but it reads on the transcript: "It
12 was in 1992." Did you want to say "it was in 1992" or did you want to say
13 "in 1993"?
14 A. My apologies. It was in 1993. My apologies, Your Honour. It was
15 in 1993, in late February or early March. That is what I had in mind. If
16 I said in 1992, I misspoke. That could not have been the case.
17 I indicated earlier that the issue was the use of resources and
18 the humanitarian aid, and Mr. Drljaca, Mr. Miskovic, Mr. Kurnoga, Dusan,
19 who would later become the president of the assembly, insisted that he be
20 replaced. However, the deputies did not vote his relief of duty. It was
21 his written request, his written resignation which the deputies then
22 used --
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. But I take it your testimony is what we
24 have heard yesterday, and you make reference to your testimony of
25 yesterday. And there, you went already into details.
1 I think this has been clarified. And just to round up, the final
2 question: In the beginning of your testimony, you stated: "I received an
3 offer from an acquaintance to be assigned as secretary." Could you please
4 name this acquaintance.
5 A. He was a member of the party, Topic, Gojko Topic was his name,
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. This concludes my line of
8 questions. And the floor is now for the Prosecution, please.
9 Questioned by Mr. Koumjian:
10 Q. Good morning, sir, you told us that you were appointed as the
11 secretary to the multiethnic Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, and began in
12 January 1991 and continued until the 1st of March, 1993. Is that correct?
13 A. It is correct that I was elected to the position of the secretary
14 of the multiethnic assembly and that I worked for that multiethnic
15 assembly. Once it ceased working, I remained as a member of technical
16 services, to continue with my work. I couldn't abandon my position. All
17 of the clerks who were employed there, 200 or 300 of them, also stayed.
18 And I worked until March 1993 as such whereupon I started working for my
19 original company, the flat council -- construction council.
20 As to this particular session, the one that happened in late
21 February or early March, that was the session when Stakic resigned,
22 although it was requested that the deputies relieve him of duty because of
23 the distribution of resources and the humanitarian aid which was abundant
24 at the time. Because according to some rumours, every citizen of Prijedor
25 should have received five tonnes of humanitarian aid. And then of course
1 the question was asked who took those funds? Who took that aid? And
2 then Garaca, Srdo [sic], the representative of the Red Cross, the local
3 Red Cross who I believe distributed this aid on his own was in conflict
4 with these other people who were dissatisfied with the situation. So a
5 disagreement occurred, a rift occurred, and they wanted a new set of
6 individuals to come to the assembly. And this is what happened in 1993.
7 Q. Sir, I believe earlier this morning, you indicated you wanted to
8 go home this week. If you want to do that, please try to confine your
9 answer to the question that I ask. I appreciate the information you've
10 volunteered, but you won't go home if you continue to volunteer
12 A. Very well.
13 Q. In your position, did anyone ever complain about the work that you
15 A. Yes. There were complaints. It was Srdo Garaca who complained.
16 But the reasons were of personal nature. He wanted to secure a lot for
17 the construction of a building. And I said: "Why didn't you do it before
18 when the lots were distributed?" And he said: "You can no longer stay at
19 this position." And I said: "Well, I don't have to remain at this
20 position." He probably didn't like me. There were two other occasions
21 when more or less the same thing happened. He threatened me. He said
22 that I will ask for your removal. Everything was, as I said, very
24 Q. By the way, the person that you're calling Srdo -- I believe you
25 used a name like Garaca, is that Srdo Srdic, a deputy to the parliament in
2 A. Srdo Srdic, yes. Yes, that's correct. He was a deputy. I
3 apologise. I confused the family name. Srdo Srdic, whom we all called
4 "dentist" though he was just a dental assistant. There should not be any
5 mistake about his identity, that was Srdo Srdic who was a deputy in the
6 assembly. Whether he was the president of the SDS at the time, I don't
7 know. But he was for a while.
8 Q. So you resigned following a conflict with Mr. Srdic, the same as
9 Dr. Stakic resigned following a conflict with Mr. Srdic. Is that correct?
10 A. The reason why I left was not of the same kind. People were
11 dissatisfied with my work. And then, things being as they were, it all
12 culminated, and I realised that I couldn't work with any of these people,
13 nor with the deputies who were actually the ones who made decisions as to
14 who would work. But let me explain: The new people even apologized to
15 me --
16 Q. If -- again, if you want to finish today, please confine your
17 answer to the question.
18 Did the presidents of the municipality whom you worked with, that
19 is, Muhamed Cehajic, Milomir Stakic, did they ever complain about the
20 quality or quantity of your work?
21 A. No, Mr. Cehajic didn't complain about my work while he was the
22 president, nor did Mr. Stakic.
23 Q. Now, sir, I believe you indicated a moment ago to His Honour,
24 Mr. President, that the technical services sector had about 200 or 300
25 employees. Is that correct?
1 A. Not the technical services. I was referring to the entire
2 municipal administration.
3 Q. How many employees worked for the technical service under your
5 A. I cannot remember the exact number, but it was around seven, I
7 Q. And you had an office, you indicated, approximately 10 metres from
8 that of the president of the municipality. Is that correct?
9 A. The offices were located at the same location where they used to
10 be. Before I came after Radmila Vrankic, who was the former secretary,
11 she handed over the keys to the office and the desk, and I also took over
12 everything that was -- all the material that was in this office. I
13 trusted Mrs. Vrankic because she remained to work for the services as a
14 legal assistant.
15 Q. My question again is: Your office was approximately 10 metres
16 from that of the president of the municipality? In other words, you --
17 your door, was as close to that of the president of the municipality as
18 perhaps you are now from where I am. Is that correct?
19 A. There was a corridor between us. I entered my office from the
20 right, and the entrance to his office was from the lobby. The distance
21 between our two doors was 10 to 15 metres approximately.
22 Q. Now, in January of 1992, approximately one year after you began to
23 work for the assembly, a new assembly was formed of solely SDS deputies.
24 Isn't that correct?
25 A. Correct. I believe I've already said that. I personally did not
2 Q. This --
3 A. I didn't attend the session when this was decided. As I told you,
4 I was not a member of any party. I was just filling in the position of
5 the secretary which office belonged to the SDS.
6 Q. You were appointed by the SDS to a position that was one of the
7 more important positions in the municipality of Prijedor. Correct?
8 A. That's precisely what I said. That is, that the political parties
9 had distributed the offices of the assembly. So the office of the
10 secretary of the assembly went to the SDS. The HDZ had a number of
11 positions as well, but they were fewer in numbers. This policy also
12 applied to the directors of local companies. Offices of company directors
13 were also distributed amongst the parties. So the SDS was in a position
14 to propose me or someone else for this position if they wanted to have the
15 job done properly.
16 Q. I'm afraid we won't finish with you until Monday if you give long
17 answers to questions that you can give short answers to.
18 A. Very well.
19 Q. So you had no experience prior to being appointed working with an
20 assembly. You told us you were not a politician. And yet, you were
21 appointed to this position which was allotted solely to the SDS party.
22 And you don't know why. Is that your testimony?
23 A. Well, I was appointed because I'm a Serb by ethnicity.
24 Q. You told us that you did attend some of the meetings of the
25 Serbian assembly in Prijedor -- or excuse me. I take that -- let me begin
2 You told us that you did attend -- you told Your Honour that you
3 did attend meetings of the SDS party, but you did that because it was your
4 job to help all parties and all factions. Is that correct?
5 A. I attended the sessions of the commission, not the meetings of the
6 party. I'm referring to the commission for personnel matters. Whenever
7 they had a problem, a legal problem, which they couldn't resolve, if they
8 needed a legal explanation, then they would call me and I would attend.
9 Q. Did you attend any meetings of the SDA, the HDZ, or any of the
10 left parties in Prijedor?
11 A. No, I was not invited. But I did attend the meetings of deputies'
12 clubs. There were a number of issues to be resolved. So in order to deal
13 with it quickly, it was said that all deputies' clubs should assemble and
14 reach an agreement, and that in this they should be assisted by the
15 secretary of the assembly. There was an issue concerning urban planning,
16 and I was in the club of the SDA deputies because they had the greatest
17 number of deputies. And I provided an explanation to their questions.
18 Q. Was that after the formation of the Serbian assembly of Prijedor
19 in January of 1991 [sic] or before?
20 A. What I've just told you about, the urban planning regulation and
21 plan, that was in the period before, earlier. I think it was in 1991,
22 whether in late 1991 I think so, but I can't tell you exactly.
23 Q. When the SDS party began to boycott the assembly, did you also
24 stop going to meetings of the assembly of Prijedor?
25 A. No, I remained.
1 Q. So when the Serb deputies walked out, you remained and worked with
2 President Cehajic?
3 A. Yes, that's correct. You had to see to it that the assembly
4 formally -- well, an assembly is an assembly. If there is a quorum, it
5 must continue to operate no matter if one of the parties walk out. But if
6 there is no quorum, I would be there to warn them that there was not a
7 sufficient number of members present and that the session could not be
8 held. So then they would stop, too, if there was no quorum. So I stayed
9 until the end.
10 Q. Did you have any idea or any discussions with Mr. Topic about the
11 position that you were offered or getting a job from the SDS prior to the
12 phone call when he told you you were already appointed to that position?
13 A. He phoned me after a session of the main board of the SDS where
14 the issue of nominations for the position of the secretary was debated. In
15 their party, they did not have any lawyers, so they came up with people
16 who were not members of the party --
17 Q. Let me stop you. My question related only to whether you spoke to
18 Mr. Topic or anyone else from the SDS about getting a job from them prior
19 to receiving the phone call from Mr. Topic. Did you or did you not speak
20 to anyone from the SDS before they told you you were selected as the
22 A. No, I didn't. But I was told over the phone that I would be
23 nominated, and that's exactly what happened.
24 Q. Your job as the secretary of the assembly and in charge of the
25 technical service was -- the most important part was helping to prepare
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the agenda for the deputies of the assembly. Is that correct?
2 A. Yes, that's correct.
3 Q. And you didn't actually decide on the agenda; that was under the
4 law, the municipal statute, and that was the function of the president of
5 the municipality. Correct?
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 Q. So you would have to coordinate with him and follow his
8 instructions as to the agenda that he wanted for the upcoming meetings.
9 Is that correct?
10 A. I received a proposal for the agenda because it had been agreed in
11 cooperation with the executive committee who worked on the proposal. And
12 he, too, attended the sessions whenever he could. They told him about it,
13 they informed him. And I already had the agenda.
14 Q. And then when the assembly reached decisions or conclusions or
15 orders, it was part of your duties to see that they were distributed and
16 published. Is that correct?
17 A. Once the work of the assembly was finished, then typists would use
18 the tape recordings to typewrite minutes. And then decisions would be
19 prepared individually, and the staff of the technical services enjoyed our
20 full trust. And then afterwards, they would be stamped and signed by the
21 president of the assembly.
22 Q. And in fact, in addition to your job as the secretary of the
23 assembly, you also held the position of the editor of the Official Gazette
24 of Prijedor. Correct?
25 A. Well, according to the statute, the secretary is also the editor.
1 Formally, what that meant is that underneath the decisions published in
2 the Official Gazette, it reads who the president was and you also had the
3 name of the editor.
4 Q. Throughout 1992, did you continue to work? Did you go to your
5 office Monday through Friday and keep regular hours?
6 A. Which period?
7 Q. The year 1992.
8 A. Yes. As I've said before, up until March 1993.
9 Q. Did you work with the Crisis Staff? Was it part of your duties to
10 assist the Crisis Staff?
11 A. As I've already said, I was not a member of the Crisis Staff,
12 although earlier in the statute, where it says "war presidency," the
13 secretary was a member of the war presidency. But when the Crisis Staff
14 was established, I asked not to be included as a member of that sort of
15 staff. I didn't think there was a need to be included. You can look at
16 the decision and clearly see for yourself the secretary is simply not one
17 of the members of the Crisis Staff.
18 Q. Why is it that you did not want to be a member of the Crisis
20 A. I believed that as the head of the technical services of the
21 assembly, I should see to my own tasks. And in the statute, it said
22 before that the secretary was not to be a member of the Crisis Staff
23 because the secretary was not a political appointment itself but merely
24 technical assistance. Prior to the assembly meetings and following the
25 assembly meetings, the secretary was not a decision-maker. He was
1 technical support. So that was the reason.
2 Q. Sir, did you ever do any military service?
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. When did you do military service?
5 A. 1969.
6 Q. During the conflict in Bosnia, from 1992 through 1995, did you
7 perform any military service?
8 A. No. No military service. I did not even have a uniform or a
9 weapon, for that matter.
10 Q. I believe you told us you were born in 1941. Is that correct?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. Sir, can you tell us why when almost all Serbs who were able to
13 work were mobilised you were not mobilised in 1992? Was it because of the
14 position that you held?
15 A. All higher officials and directors of companies were supposed to
16 be in their -- to remain in their positions in order to preserve the
17 organisation and the work of companies. So they could not go anywhere
18 unless they wanted to themselves of their own accord.
19 Q. Help me with this, sir: You told us that you weren't a member of
20 the Crisis Staff, that they didn't include you in their meetings normally,
21 that you didn't publish their decisions until the Municipal Assembly
22 reconvened. But you told us that you went to work every day and conducted
23 normal hours.
24 What were you doing from the takeover, on the 30th of April, 1992,
25 until the Municipal Assembly began to reconvene?
1 A. Perhaps you did not understand me clearly. I said I was not a
2 member of the Crisis Staff but whenever I was called upon to attend as
3 someone providing technical support, yes, I may have been present. But
4 only when invited. Decisions that were made were very brief. At the
5 early stage, they were not delivered in writing to members of the Crisis
6 Staff. They were just put forward orally, proposals, and they would be
7 recorded into a minute book, handwritten by a recording clerk. And then
8 this recording clerk later on would help the people -- the typists who
9 compiled the minutes.
10 Individual decisions were then prepared the way that they were
11 recorded in the minutes. Or if that wasn't possible, so if that was from
12 an organ of administration, if an expert opinion was needed for that
13 particular area of competence, for that field, to correct perhaps the
14 wording of the decision, then that decision would be stamped and delivered
15 to wherever it was necessary. And later on --
16 Q. What you're saying is interesting, but we'll come back to that.
17 So if I understand your answer, you're telling us that your assistance and
18 invitation to the Crisis Staff to attend their meetings kept you busy,
19 that it was the equivalent of a full-time job. Is that correct?
20 What did you do when you attended the meetings?
21 A. I simply sat there. And if there were any legal matters to be
22 clarified when drafting decisions, my duty was to assist and explain
23 whether it was possible pursuant to the existing laws to pass a certain
24 decision. And I did everything else, too, except I didn't pick up the
25 agenda myself.
1 Q. So as a lawyer attending and giving legal advice to the Crisis
2 Staff, did you discuss the detention of citizens of Prijedor such as the
3 former mayor, Cehajic?
4 A. Can you please just repeat the question for me.
5 Q. Sure. You've told us that the Crisis Staff asked you for legal
6 advice. Did you discuss in the meetings that you went to detaining and
7 placing into camps citizens of Prijedor?
8 A. This issue was not a legal issue and did not concern any
9 regulations. If there was such a meeting where this was discussed, I did
10 not attend that particular meeting.
11 Q. Did you discuss your former boss, or the person you collaborated
12 with, the president of the municipality, Muhamed Cehajic, did you discuss
13 where he was in May and June of 1992?
14 A. I don't think I understand. Whether I talked to Cehajic to see
15 where he was in 1992? I don't understand the question.
16 Q. You attended meetings of the Crisis Staff. This was the power
17 that took over the Municipal Assembly headed by Muhamed Cehajic. You had
18 worked with Muhamed Cehajic and had an office 10 metres from him.
19 Dr. Stakic was now sitting in his office. Did you discuss the fate of
20 Muhamed Cehajic in 1992 in your meetings with the Crisis Staff and
21 Dr. Stakic?
22 A. No. These issues, I'm not familiar with the fact whether these
23 issues were, in fact, discussed. But when the takeover took place, that
24 meant that Mr. Cehajic was out of office. The information I had, I knew
25 that he was at home for a while. Later on, I heard that he had been in
1 Omarska. I heard this from his wife who asked me what I knew about it.
2 And I told her that I didn't know much really. And I was not in a
3 position to know. It was outside the scope of my activity.
4 Q. As a lawyer, did you discuss the legality of the takeover of power
5 with the members of the Crisis Staff?
6 A. No. Nor was I consulted concerning this matter.
7 Q. As a lawyer, did you discuss setting up camps in Prijedor, in
8 particular, the Keraterm and Omarska camps with members of the Crisis
9 Staff, and particularly Dr. Stakic?
10 A. My answer will be the following: I was never able to find out,
11 even if as just an ordinary citizen, I did try to find out how this all
12 came about. I was never able to obtain any information as to how this had
13 come about and who had taken the decision to set up these camps. The
14 other citizens in Prijedor -- no one really knows this.
15 Q. Well, I think there has been testimony from people that know this
16 in this trial. But sir, can you tell us, did you discuss with
17 Simo Drljaca the orders of the Crisis Staff or communicate with him in any
18 way regarding the orders of the Crisis Staff?
19 A. Perhaps on one occasion when he was charged with assisting the tax
20 collection organs to carry out their task and collect the taxes. It was
21 not possible to do this without members of the police assisting the tax
23 Q. My question dealt with the camps and detention of citizens. Did
24 you discuss with Simo Drljaca or communicate with him in any way orders of
25 the Crisis Staff regarding the camps? And I'm talking about the
1 facilities. I don't want to play any language games. I'm talking about
2 the facilities in Omarska and Keraterm.
3 A. How he received his instructions, I don't know. I never spoke to
4 him about it except once, I intervened with him for an acquaintance of
5 mine, a judge, Omer Kerenovic. I asked Mr. Drljaca to have this person
6 released from the camp. That was the first and last time I went to his
7 office, to ask for this.
8 I never returned to see him afterwards.
9 Q. Did you see an order or were you -- did you have knowledge of an
10 order from the Crisis Staff that no one could be released from the camps
11 without the approval of the Crisis Staff?
12 A. I'm not familiar with this. The way -- what was done was probably
13 not accessible to people like me or other simple officials. If there were
14 any such, I don't know whether it was published anywhere, but yes, it's
15 possible that there were. I really don't know.
16 Q. I want to ask you some very concrete questions about the meetings
17 of the Crisis Staff. If you could confine your answers to the questions,
18 we could move more quickly. Who took the minutes of the meetings of the
19 Crisis Staff?
20 A. Spiro Marmat.
21 Q. Where were those minutes kept, and do you have any knowledge of
22 where they are today?
23 A. Well, the rule was for the minutes to be placed in the files, the
24 files used to keep Municipal Assembly documents, just like in the period
1 Q. So is your answer you don't know where they are today? Is that
3 A. I can't know, because I left in 1993, where these files were taken
4 later. I really couldn't say what their later fate was. This was mostly
5 done by typists and another employee.
6 Q. Who presided over -- let me start again. Is it correct that
7 Dr. Stakic presided over the meetings of the Crisis Staff?
8 A. Well, according to the decision that had been made, he was the
9 president of the Crisis Staff, yes. He had a deputy, too.
10 Q. Who was present at the meetings of the Crisis Staff that you
12 A. Well, the decision lists members of the Crisis Staff, those were
13 all municipal officials, including those who were present.
14 Q. Stop. I'm going to stop you because that's not my question. My
15 question is: Who was present in the room when you were there that you
16 recall now? Name those people.
17 A. It's difficult now for me to recall. I didn't give it much
18 thought to memorise this or to burden myself with that.
19 Q. Okay. Let me give you some names and see if they remind you of
20 people you saw in the Crisis Staff. Did you see Simo Drljaca at these
22 A. He was supposed to attend regularly.
23 Q. So is that answer yes, you recall seeing him?
24 A. Well, yes, just like I said a minute ago, when he was requested to
25 provide a car and technical support for the tax collectors, yes, he was
1 there. But whether anything else was discussed but it was nothing related
2 to Omarska or -- that probably was not discussed in my presence. If it
3 ever was discussed indeed, I don't know. I can't provide an answer.
4 Q. Please, just answer the question.
5 Was Radmilo Zeljaja present at the meetings that you attended?
6 A. Well, he was a member of the Crisis Staff. And from time to time,
7 whenever he could, I guess, yes, he was there. But there were cases when
8 if I attended the meeting, he was there, too, while he was there in that
9 position. While he was still occupying his position, the position he had,
10 he was supposed to be there, yes. And I said there was a representative
11 of the military who was a member of the Crisis Staff, too.
12 Q. Did you ever see Colonel Vladimir Arsic at those meetings?
13 A. I can't remember seeing him there except a very problematic
14 meeting of the Crisis Staff before, before the Crisis Staff. That's
15 before the Crisis Staff was established, when certain problematic issues
16 were discussed among the deputies.
17 Q. Now, am I correct you're talking about before the takeover on the
18 30th of April or are you discussing after --
19 A. Yes, yes. Precisely, prior to the takeover. That's when I saw
20 him at one of the meetings. It was more a question of providing
21 information on some issues discussed by the assembly. Security situation,
22 that sort of thing. That's when he gave his assessment of the situation.
23 Q. And you're talking about 1992. Correct?
24 A. Before the Crisis Staff was established, yes.
25 Q. And you're talking about the period after the formation on January
1 the 7th of 1992 of the Serbian Municipal Assembly?
2 A. That's the decision that was taken. The Crisis Staff began to
3 operate at a later point as a Crisis Staff. The assembly, the assembly of
4 the Serbian people, did operate, but the Crisis Staff only began to
5 operate later on when difficulties arose concerning the continuation of
6 the assembly's meetings.
7 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, this would be an appropriate time.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For mandatory reasons, the trial stays adjourned
9 until 2.30.
10 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 2.32 p.m.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good afternoon. Please be seated.
13 May the usher please bring in the witness immediately. For the
14 record, we can identify Ms. Sutherland supervising Mr. Koumjian this
15 afternoon, once again. And as I heard it, it will be possible to proceed
16 longer today, but prerequisite would be, of course, that the OTP doesn't
17 make use of the entire 90 minutes we have available now. I would say it
18 would be fair just to envisage 45 minutes, and then the remaining time for
19 the Defence.
20 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If it's possible.
22 MR. KOUMJIAN: I'll only use 45 minutes. I'm not sure about the
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, proceed in the way you started.
25 Mr. Baltic, thank you for coming in. The same rules apply now.
1 If you manage really to concentrate on short answers, we will be able to
2 conclude today. Everything depends on your short answers, short but
3 precise. Thank you.
4 Please, Mr. Koumjian.
5 MR. KOUMJIAN:
6 Q. Sir, when did you first become aware that power in Prijedor had
7 been taken from the government headed by Professor Cehajic?
8 A. I cannot remember the exact date, but I think it was sometime in
9 April. I remember that it was towards the end of April that I -- that
10 when I went to work, I saw at the entrance to the municipal building a
11 colleague of mine who could not enter, who could not come to work. He was
12 a Muslim, a Bosniak by ethnicity, and he asked me what this was all
13 about. And I said, I don't know. Go home, and I'll give you a call. So
14 called him the next day, and he came to work.
15 I had two more Muslims working with me. They all worked until
16 they, themselves, decided to leave. I didn't have anything to do with it,
17 nor was I criticised by anyone for taking that position.
18 Q. Without adding any more information, can you give me those three
19 names. First the man you spoke to out in front of the building, and then
20 the other two.
21 A. Smail Kuruzovic, Munevra Nezic, a man by the family name of
22 Dracic. I cannot remember his first name, but he was chief of
23 Mr. Cehajic's cabinet. I think that those were the three individuals.
24 Q. Thank you for that short answer.
25 Now, you were allowed into the building that day. Correct?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes, I was. I got in.
2 Q. Who was in power that day? What was the authority that was
3 governing Prijedor on that day? And if you allow me, the date that you're
4 talking about we believe in this courtroom is the 1st of May, 1992.
5 A. If you're referring to the assembly, the Municipal Assembly, you
6 mean that it was at that time that the Serbian Municipality started to
8 Q. That is part of my question. Was the Crisis Staff in power on
9 that day?
10 A. The Crisis Staff appeared later on, after the problems arose.
11 There was an attack on Prijedor, you see.
12 Q. Who was in power in May -- well, let me ask you another question.
13 When did the assembly that you're talking about, the Serbian Assembly --
14 isn't it true that it did not meet in May of 1992?
15 A. I don't remember that at the moment. But if it was in April,
16 President Cehajic was no longer -- I mean, if President Cehajic was no
17 longer at the municipality, then instead of that assembly, there must have
18 been already the Serbian Assembly. Whether it was in session -- I believe
19 it was because now I remember the decision reached in the month of May.
20 It was in late May that the decision on the Crisis Staff was reached.
21 Q. Now, you're speaking about the decision about the formation of the
22 Crisis Staff. Correct?
23 A. Yes, at least I think that it was at that period of time. I've
24 already looked at it here, but perhaps we can refresh our memory.
25 Q. Did -- who formed, who authorised, the formation of a Crisis Staff
1 or war presidency?
2 A. If the assembly of the Serbian Municipality of Prijedor was in
3 power, then Mr. Stakic was the president of the Municipal Assembly. But I
4 don't know how the proposal and the initiative came about, how it was
5 decided that the Crisis Staff should be established because, according to
6 the statute, it was the war presidency that was supposed to function in
7 the situation of imminent danger of war or extraordinary circumstances.
8 Of course, the old title could have been kept, but for formal reasons, I
9 assume the name was changed into Crisis Staff. The composition remained
10 more or less the same as the composition of what was before the Crisis
11 Staff, that is, the presidents and the heads of various departments and so
12 on and so forth. I think that the decision makes mention of who the
13 members are.
14 Q. Okay, please keep your answers short. Sir, going back to the
15 Crisis Staff meetings, where did they take place?
16 A. In the small conference room of the assembly, that is, next to the
17 president's office.
18 Q. How often would the Crisis Staff meet?
19 A. I cannot give you a precise answer, but I believe it was according
20 to the needs. It is possible that they met twice a week, but I think that
21 in the subsequent period of time, it was not that often. It all depended,
22 of course, on the situation in the field.
23 Q. Now, isn't it correct that there were times, from what you said,
24 when the assembly could not meet, and even times when the Crisis Staff was
25 not meeting, but decisions had to be made. Isn't that true? Daily
1 decisions would have to be made?
2 A. It was possible for the Crisis Staff to meet because all of the
3 officers in charge at the municipality were there. Apart from them, there
4 was only the representative of the military, that is, the representative
5 of the local barracks. He would show up representing the army. And the
6 others were as I said. Yes, there was also a deputy. He was a member of
7 the Crisis Staff. I mean, others were there. They could meet if
8 necessary on a daily basis, but I don't think that they met every day.
9 Maybe every other day or -- at least at the beginning.
10 Q. When the assembly could not meet, you indicated there was a time,
11 you say, that the Crisis Staff -- there was a lag between the takeover and
12 the formation of the Crisis Staff, if I understand you. They didn't
13 happen at the same time.
14 During that period of time, when decisions had to be made, who
15 made those decisions?
16 A. During that period of time, as I told you, at least that was the
17 period of time that you asked me about, after April, after that, in May,
18 we have the decision on the Crisis Staff. So after that, all formal
19 conditions were fulfilled for the Crisis Staff to meet. But it did not
20 start working immediately as a Crisis Staff. I think that it started
21 working as a Crisis Staff after the attack on Prijedor which took place
22 sometime in late May. After this attack, it was already difficult for the
23 assembly to meet, so the Crisis Staff began to function.
24 MR. KOUMJIAN: If the witness could be shown S180B.
25 Q. Sir, I'm about to show you a decision, you looked at it earlier,
1 S180B. You looked at it earlier today. That's a decision I think you'll
2 recognise in which they are talking about the assembly of the Serb
3 Municipality, according to the Gazette that you edited, met on the 20th of
4 May and passed a decision on the organisation and work of the Prijedor
5 municipal Crisis Staff. So isn't it correct that that decision -- I'll
6 wait for you to have the document. According to the --
7 MR. KOUMJIAN: Does he have the B/C/S?
8 Q. According to the first decision, Number 18, I believe it appears
9 on the first page, it indicates that that decision on the organisation and
10 work of the Prijedor municipal Crisis Staff was made on the 20th of May.
11 A. What am I supposed to say?
12 Q. Isn't that correct, the Gazette indicates that a decision was
13 passed on the 20th of May? Correct?
14 A. I know I was not able to give you the precise date, but I said I
15 believed that it was around the 20th or the 25th. Now, I can see that it
16 took place on the 25th -- I'm sorry, on the 20th. But as I told you, the
17 decision was reached, was adopted, in the second half of May.
18 Q. Thank you. If I told you --
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, we are speaking on the basis of
20 Exhibit 276B. Correct?
21 MR. KOUMJIAN: What I have -- mine is labelled 180. It's the
22 actual Gazette. Perhaps you have the copy of a decision. I showed the
23 witness the Gazette.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We can agree that we are discussing volume
25 Number 1 of 20 May, 1992?
1 MR. KOUMJIAN: Correct.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
3 MR. KOUMJIAN:
4 Q. You mentioned some of the people attending the Crisis Staff. Did
5 Slobodan Kuruzovic attend the meetings of the Crisis Staff?
6 A. I don't know which session you have -- which meeting you have in
7 mind. This document concerns the work of the staff, but there is another
8 decision which specifies who the members were. So his name must be
9 amongst those names as well.
10 Q. Thank you. But I'm not asking you what the decision says. But at
11 the meetings you attended, did you see -- did you see Slobodan Kuruzovic?
12 A. I don't remember whether he attended every meeting that I
13 attended, but I remember seeing him from time to time. I don't know
14 exactly whether he was present at all of them because I didn't attend all
15 of the meetings.
16 Q. In the decision that is in front of you, it indicates that the
17 session of the assembly is the 20th of May. Would that have been the
18 first time that the Prijedor, the Serb Municipality of Prijedor Assembly
19 met following the takeover?
20 A. According to this decision, according to the introductory parts,
21 underneath Number 18, pursuant to Article --
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't get the number.
23 A. And so on and so forth. Because here we see the phrase "the
24 Municipality of Prijedor." We don't read the Serbian Municipality of
25 Prijedor. But of course it is logical that this decision was adopted by
1 the Serbian Municipal Assembly of Prijedor.
2 Q. My question is just this, if you can answer it: Was this the
3 first time that the assembly met following the takeover?
4 A. Let me just see the date, the 20th of May. No, I don't know
5 whether there was another one, whether this was possible. But the
6 takeover, as I said, took place in late April. It is possible that there
7 was one more but I cannot remember.
8 Q. The Municipal Assembly building that you were in, what was the
9 name of the street that it was on?
10 A. Mosa Pijada.
11 Q. Where was the SUP building, the police station, in relation to the
12 Municipal Assembly?
13 A. Across the street, opposite the municipality building. These are
14 actually very similar buildings, and there's only this one street between
15 the two of them.
16 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I have a map. It's actually a blowup
17 of the map Your Honour -- or actually, I think the map Your Honour used
18 this morning is a reduction of this map. And may this be marked --
19 perhaps you want to use the same number with a dash?
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour, please.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you please -- this is S2?
22 THE REGISTRAR: S2.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: S2-1.
24 MR. KOUMJIAN: There is labelling in English. I should indicate
25 that before I show it to the witness.
1 Q. Sir --
2 MR. KOUMJIAN: I ask that the usher put this on the ELMO.
3 Q. If you could look at it. If you could look at the buildings
4 marked 10 and 11. And first, I have a yellow marker. If you could take
5 that, and if you can recognise it, mark, highlight, the Municipal Assembly
6 building, if you recognise it.
7 If you could turn, sir, to your left. Do you recognise the
8 buildings -- and they are off screen right now, but marked 10 and 11.
9 A. Number 10, as far as I can tell, is the building of the
10 municipality and the Ljubija iron ore mine. Across the street, we see
11 Number 11. So there must be something there as well. The position of the
12 building is not very clear. I don't know how old this plan is. But the
13 building was right across the street, and the street was Mosa Pijada.
14 Behind that building was the building of the local court.
15 Let me see. Just a second. Yes, yes. I apologise. It's
16 possible that Number 11 is the municipal building, and Number 10 is maybe
17 the building of the MUP and the Court.
18 Q. Okay. Thank you.
19 MR. KOUMJIAN: I don't think it's necessary to mark it because
20 they have numbers. Thank you.
21 Q. Sir, you said you continued to go to work throughout 1992. Do you
22 recall seeing lines of citizens in front of the police station during the
23 summer of 1992?
24 A. Yes, I do. But not in front of the police station, but in front
25 of the building where the national defence secretariat was. People went
1 there to get a permission to leave, and such permissions were issued to
2 them upon their own request. And it was based on this permission that
3 they were able to leave Prijedor in their private cars and take with them
4 whatever belongings they wanted to.
5 Q. Could you see those lines of people from the entrance to the
6 Municipal Assembly building?
7 A. Yes, I'm sure one could see that because it was right next to the
9 Q. By the summer of 1992, those were almost all women that were in
10 the line. Correct?
11 A. Well, I don't think I can say that there were only women there.
12 It was mixed. It is possible that sometimes they were the majority. But
13 during the day, mostly men went there. The people who were looking for
14 this paper. Anyone could request such a permission on behalf of their
15 family, and the permission was not only issued in respect of individuals,
16 but in respect of entire families, depending on who was there, who was
17 applying for the permission.
18 Q. Did you see lines of women in front of the police station looking
19 for information about their husbands and sons?
20 A. I don't know the reason why people were there, because the
21 building had two entrances. One could enter the building through both of
22 these doors and get to the premises of the national defence secretariat or
23 somewhere else. I don't know what the reason was why they went there. I
24 just know that it was there that the permission to leave the area --
25 permissions to leave the area were issued. It is possible that the
1 majority of them were women because if men didn't want to show up for some
2 reason, then their wives went. I couldn't think of any other reason, I
3 mean, I wasn't ...
4 Q. Sir, in your job that you did in 1992 as the secretary of the
5 municipality of Prijedor and as the editor of the Prijedor Official
6 Gazette, did you falsify any documents?
7 A. I didn't falsify anything. It is possible that such a thing
8 happened with my colleagues. I trusted them. I didn't check what they
9 wrote and published in the Official Gazette. I had confidence in them.
10 So I must say that there was a possibility that such a thing was published
11 in the Official Gazette, but everything that was adopted at the sessions
12 of the Municipal Assembly or, later, the Crisis Staff, had to be
13 published. And the minutes were always checked and verified at the next
14 session. And the deputies would always react in cases of problems if
15 their intervention, for example, had been omitted. And then appropriate
16 corrections would be done.
17 Q. Did anyone accuse you, as the person for the service, accuse you
18 of falsifying documents or publishing documents that were false?
19 A. No, never.
20 Q. Sir, you talked -- we talked a little bit this morning about the
21 Autonomous Region of Krajina. You're aware that Prijedor was part of the
22 Autonomous Region of Krajina in 1992. Correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did you know an individual by the name of Radoslav Brdjanin?
25 A. I heard of him, yes. I think he was a deputy even as far back as
1 1991. I think that's how I heard his name.
2 Q. Do you recall Mr. Brdjanin visiting Prijedor in the summer of
4 A. It is possible, but I do not know of any such visit. It could
5 have been announced to certain people only, the people in power. And I
6 was not a person in power.
7 Q. Do you recall individuals from the municipality of Prijedor, the
8 top leadership, going to Banja Luka for meetings?
9 A. There is no way for me to know this. I know that earlier, in
10 1991, and in 1992, people did go because we always requested assistance
11 from the larger towns. And that was the same in the period preceding
12 this. We did not know how they went about a number of things, so we went
13 there to find out about that, too. They had better-qualified personnel,
14 so it was only logical for us to appeal to them for assistance.
15 Q. Do you recall Dr. Stakic going to Banja Luka following the
16 takeover in 1992?
17 A. I was never told anything about that. I was not familiar with his
18 whereabouts or where he was going, especially concerning these things that
19 I was not really familiar with. He -- it may have been necessary for him
20 to go, but even in the earlier period. But with what intention exactly, I
21 really don't know.
22 Q. Sir, prior to testifying, after you received your summons here,
23 did you discuss with anyone the fact that you were coming and questions
24 you might have to address in your testimony?
25 A. No, I was not even sure that I would come. Because I requested --
1 I accepted to come and testify, but I tried to do this via a videolink. I
2 was summoned, and I expected that my request would be granted. But then
3 they handed me a summons. I spoke to your representatives from the
4 section in charge of witnesses.
5 Q. Sir, would it be correct that when you came to court, you greeted
6 Dr. Stakic as someone that you knew? You smiled and nodded at him?
7 A. I greeted everyone. He's a living creature, too, for me now.
8 Whether he is guilty or not, that's up to the Court to decide. Even if I
9 knew he was, I would still -- I had a photograph taken last night down at
10 the beach with a security guard, just for the sake of my son and daughter
11 getting some fun. I greeted you, too, the first day before the hearing
12 began just like I greeted everyone else. I like all the people in this
14 Q. And is it correct that you haven't had any conflicts with any of
15 the people in this room? I hope I've treated you correctly. But other
16 than just answering questions, you have not had any conflicts with
17 Dr. Stakic, in particular, I'm talking about. Correct?
18 A. Not as far as I remember. But we didn't meet very often, and he
19 may not have had a favourable opinion of me. But he'd sometimes tell me
20 that I was a rather good man, not a bad man. The first time I saw him was
21 in 1991. I had no idea. He was younger, and I heard where he was from
22 and that he was a physician. And he had his own job. I had my own job.
23 So I really had no interest in that.
24 Q. Did you observe the relationship between Dr. Stakic and
25 Mr. Drljaca and Mr. Kovacevic?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Well, those were mostly people who were the top-ranking people.
2 If you look at it that way, the police back then and now, for us, was a
3 force we had to respect. The president of the assembly, the
4 vice-president -- the president of the executive committee, we know that
5 this is the -- that these are the people in power in the municipality.
6 And even if you don't like them, you had to cooperate with them. You had
7 to work together.
8 Q. Would you see them -- in order to do their work, would you see
9 them meeting together and conferring in the Municipal Assembly building?
10 A. Well, if the executive board was reviewing material for the
11 session -- for a session of the assembly, even the president himself could
12 request an issue to be put on the agenda because before that was done, you
13 could not convene a session. So they had to work together. That was true
14 at an earlier stage as well as now. These were -- these are the two
15 people who worked together the most. And if it weren't for that, there
16 would be no executive board and there would be no assembly. That would
17 probably provide a reason for replacements.
18 Q. Thank you. And was it the responsibility of the chief of police
19 to keep the president of the municipality informed of his activities, and
20 during 1992, to comply with the orders of the Crisis Staff?
21 A. Well, I can give you a short answer. Every organ had its own
22 field of competence, and the police had to do its work according to their
23 regulations. But they did have a line -- a chain of responsibility. And
24 this didn't mean that the president of the Crisis Staff could not do their
25 job more efficiently with the chief of police. There were cases where
1 people fired shots in cafes and out in the street. So that had to be
2 stopped by the police. So that was not done efficiently, well, then --
3 and there were other such cases, too.
4 Q. Sir, weren't you tasked, weren't you given the responsibility by
5 the Crisis Staff to contact Mr. Drljaca and to obtain a report from him on
6 the implementation by the police of the conclusions, that is, the orders,
7 decisions, rulings, and conclusions of the Crisis Staff? Isn't it true
8 you wrote him letters in the summer of 1992 asking him to forward that
9 report to you, and you were acting on behalf of the Crisis Staff?
10 A. I'll give you the following answer: The work of the assembly --
11 during the work of the assembly, we always asked questions about how
12 certain decisions were implemented, and they were implemented by organs --
13 administrative organs. Technical services could not obtain this
14 information, whether certain decisions were implemented or not. If there
15 was a request to get an opinion concerning that, and if it was up to the
16 technical services to do that, in order for us to learn whether there were
17 any such conclusions, we could have requested this information. But my
18 only request could have been to the effect whether a certain organ
19 received certain conclusions or not.
20 If we got ours, we considered our job done. But if we wanted to
21 obtain reliable information on how someone was implementing their
22 conclusions, then we would have had to go to those persons directly to see
23 whether they implemented certain decisions and obtain our information on
24 the basis of that.
25 Q. Thank you. Thank you for that general explanation. But I'm
1 asking you concretely about Mr. Drljaca and the decisions of the Crisis
2 Staff. So, sir, perhaps to refresh your recollection, to be fairer to
3 you, I would like to show you some documents.
4 MR. KOUMJIAN: And I believe it's 65 ter number 271. And I'd like
5 the ELMO to first have the document put on the ELMO 00633804. Apparently
6 Ms. Karper informs me that this is not part of the 65 ter, but there are
7 two consecutive ERNs, and it appears that it's one document. I'll hand
8 both pages to the usher.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For technical reasons, I want to emphasise that
10 the document earlier - you can proceed - mentioned as S2-1. For today, it
11 has to have DP, the next available DP number, and also this new document,
12 the second-next DP number. And in addition, this brings me to the fact
13 that 65 ter Number 271 was not yet discussed. We had it on the ELMO, and
14 we have it on the transcript. But for the purposes of the deposition, it
15 has the number DP/J-1.
16 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I don't know if Your Honour had the
17 complete document or was missing the second page because apparently our
18 original 65 ter was missing the second page. But we have them to hand
20 Q. Sir, on the ELMO, I hope, now is 00633804. It's a letter, and it
21 correct that you are the person who signed this letter?
22 A. The letter dated 23rd of June, 1992. Is that correct?
23 Q. Yes, sir.
24 A. Delivered directly to Simo Drljaca.
25 MR. KOUMJIAN: Just for the booth, we have a technical problem and
1 don't have anything on our video screens.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Same here.
3 MR. KOUMJIAN: I'll proceed -- should I proceed to question the
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes.
6 MR. KOUMJIAN:
7 Q. Sir, there's handwriting on that letter. Do you recognise the
8 handwriting on that letter?
9 A. Of course I do. This is clearly visible. That's my signature.
10 Q. And the handwriting next to the decisions, do you recognise that
11 writing? Is that yours also?
12 A. No, this is not my handwriting.
13 Q. Is it correct that this letter you sent on behalf of the Crisis
14 Staff to Mr. Drljaca?
15 A. Well, I wouldn't know really, but probably. I was requested to
16 request something like this from Mr. Drljaca. And this letter was
17 written, but that's just what I'm trying to explain, what I said
18 earlier, we don't know whether something was implemented or not. So we
19 wanted him to write down all the conclusions by date and number whether
20 those conclusions were implemented or not. But what specifically is
21 written here, I really don't know. And then after that job of his, this
22 was supposed to be reviewed by the Crisis Staff. But no matter whether it
23 was sent there or not, every second or third day when they had meetings,
24 they orally informed about the conclusions that had been adopted being
25 implemented or not, so there was no need to do this in writing. Whether
1 later on at some point someone did, in fact, do it in writing, it's
2 impossible to say but just looking at this letter because this is only a
3 request for Simo Drljaca to speak out on these conclusions.
4 One thing is for sure: This was sent by the technical services,
5 but it's not because I wanted it. Someone requested me to prepare this
6 for one of the next meetings of the Crisis Staff, to have this in
7 writing. Although at every meeting, people would refer to these
8 conclusions and say whether any of those conclusions had indeed been
9 implemented or not.
10 Q. So my question, then, and correct me if I'm wrong: You didn't
11 decide yourself that you were going to make Simo Drljaca give this
12 report? Somebody told you to get this information from Mr. Drljaca.
14 A. That was the only way, because I was not interested in this. If
15 someone made a request for me to do this, I can't tell you now who this
16 was specifically. But it would only have been logical for someone in a
17 leading position within the staff, or maybe a deputy. That seems a
18 logical assumption to make. We can't know for sure now whether it was the
19 one or the other, but I believe it was the first man.
20 Q. And if you could just look at the previous page and just confirm
21 that -- I believe His Honour showed that to you earlier -- that is, again,
22 a letter that you sent on behalf of the Crisis Staff for the same purpose.
23 MR. KOUMJIAN: And that, for the record, is ERN Number 00633803.
24 A. I must connect these two documents because both are about
25 providing information on the implementation of conclusions.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For the record, this is DP/J --
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There's only several days between
3 these two documents.
4 MR. KOUMJIAN: Correct.
5 Q. Does it appear that -- please read it over and tell me, am I
6 correct that the letter, the smaller letter, was sent after you did not
7 receive a response to the longer letter listing the decisions?
8 A. That's my conclusion, too, because this smaller one appears to be
9 urgent because there was no answer to -- received to the first letter.
10 Q. Tell me something, if you can, sir: Were all the decisions of the
11 Crisis Staff written down? Do you know?
12 A. I don't know, but it doesn't mean that they necessarily were.
13 Those that were recorded in the minutes were then copied, and then those
14 minutes were forwarded - I'm not sure if they were, but I suppose so - and
15 then they got the minutes for the next session and they could have looked
16 to see whether there were any omissions. And aside from that, I can't
17 know what else was happening.
18 Q. Thank you. Because you weren't present at all the meetings, and
19 if it wasn't written down and given to you, you wouldn't know? You can
20 just answer if that's correct or not correct --
21 A. Yes, of course. I think you're right. If I wasn't there, I can't
22 know. Aside from these decisions, whether it was possible for any other
23 decisions to be there that were never recorded in writing, only those
24 persons who decided on these issues can know that.
25 Q. Sir, did you publish all of the written decisions that you
1 received from the Crisis Staff? Were they published in the Official
3 A. Well, what was done after a meeting by the Crisis Staff, when the
4 record had been compiled, that was -- it was necessary to put together a
5 sufficient number of such decisions for them to be published in the
6 Official Gazette. If any of the decisions were omitted, well, yes, quite
7 possible something like that may have happened. I don't know whether
8 there were any such omissions or not.
9 Q. Sir, if you look at the --
10 A. I did not receive any objections to this effect myself from any of
11 the sides.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 If you look at the longer letter that ends in the Numbers 3804,
14 the second decision, 02-111-127/92, which apparently was dated the 4th of
15 June, 1992, and as indicated in the handwriting, this decision concerns
16 the forbidding of the release of prisoners, would you have any
17 explanation, sir, for why this decision may not have ever been published
18 in the Official Gazette of Prijedor? And yet, you were required to ask
19 Mr. Drljaca if he had complied with it?
20 A. Well, judging by this longer letter, I can see those conclusions
21 enumerating -- enumerated. And there was someone who took notes and
22 recorded what happened. But if it happened indeed like you said, that
23 this was related to the ban on the release of prisoners, but if there was
24 any trace of this in the minutes, we should go to the minutes and look
25 there. If not, there may have been something outside the minutes. That's
1 the most probable thing. I can't think of any other possibility. The
2 minutes from that particular meeting itself should show which decisions
3 were taken. And if this is one of the conclusions included, then it
4 would, indeed, be from that meeting officially.
5 Q. Okay. Thank you. Sir, I'm trying to finish in the next five
6 minutes. But let me tell you: If you find those minutes, please, let me
8 You indicated you were a lawyer and were asked at times by the
9 Crisis Staff for legal advice. Did they ask you questions about legality
10 of the appropriation of property of the citizens of Prijedor?
11 A. No, I was never consulted. But I was familiar with certain
12 interventions to stop requisition or plundering, as they said, of property
13 that had been abandoned. I think we saw a document here requesting
14 measures to be stepped up to provide better security and for all of that
15 to be brought and put into one place if that was mobile property, to be
16 kept in one place and guarded in that one place. Because of course, if
17 people had an opportunity, they would seize it and just grab those things,
18 and we refer to those people as profiteers. Of course, some sort of --
19 what should I call it -- platoon was established quite aside from official
20 security because even within the police, you know that they could take
21 part in this, so this was all to be stopped.
22 Q. I'm sorry, but you raised a question.
23 In fact, you looked this morning at two copies of a decision
24 setting up an intervention platoon. And the only difference between what
25 was signed and what was published was the sentence saying that the members
1 would be selected by the Crises -- approved by the Crisis Staff. Isn't
2 that correct?
3 A. Well, it was possible, for example, that someone had a certain
4 vested interest in having his people appointed there. That's a different
5 thing. But if I was in a position to have my people appointed, then I
6 could have an agreement with these people for things to be done my way and
7 in my own interests. So that's also the explanation why certain people
8 wanted it to be not really -- well, on the one hand, for more people to be
9 involved and for people to be appointed who wanted to do an honest job.
10 There may have been problems -- there could have been problems there about
11 who was to set up such bodies.
12 Q. Sir, did the Crisis Staff consult you on the legality of requiring
13 citizens of Muslim and Croat nationality, citizens of Prijedor, to
14 renounce all of their property before being allowed to leave the opstina?
15 A. This is the first time I hear this. The question was never
16 regulated specifically. The constitution guaranteed the freedom of
17 movement and the right to own property. I'm not excluding the possibility
18 that someone may have requested a thing like that, but I don't think that
19 I was the one to whom such a question could be addressed. I mean, I
20 didn't have any interests of the kind. I mean, I didn't try to make any
21 profit out of that.
22 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I would -- I had only one question,
23 but Ms. Sutherland reminded me, I did have a video queued -- excuse me, I
24 have two more questions. A video queued, which has been previously
25 played. I believe it's S7. And I was going to ask if I could get five
1 more minutes, ask the witness to identify the persons sitting around the
2 table. Could that be played, please.
3 [Videotape played]
4 MR. KOUMJIAN: Stop.
5 Q. Mr. Baltic, would you identify on the screen starting from the
6 right-hand side of the screen the participants that you recognised in that
7 photograph -- in that still of the video.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It's not really still, I would say.
9 MR. KOUMJIAN:
10 Q. Well, can you identify anyone right now from looking at the
11 screen, sir?
12 MR. KOUMJIAN: Sorry, he did not have it on his screen.
13 A. On this image, which was not really still, as far as I can see,
14 there's Karadzic, at least this person looks like Karadzic. If the image
15 should really become still, maybe these other people -- but I don't know.
16 I don't see them. I don't think I could recognise them. I don't know
17 these people from what I can see on the screen.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the video unit to try to have a real
19 still. Maybe move a little bit forward and backward.
20 MR. KOUMJIAN: If we can perhaps, then, play the video, and then
21 we will go back to it, sir. We're going to play a minute or so of this
23 [Videotape played]
24 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you.
25 Q. Sir, did you recognise anyone on that video?
1 A. I did, yes. The people with whom I worked ever since 1991. I saw
2 Kovacevic, the president of the executive board; Dragan Savanovic, the
3 vice-president of the Municipal Assembly, later Crisis Staff; the
4 secretary for the national defence, Mr. Slavko Budimir. I also saw, but
5 the image is no longer here, either Zeljaja or Arsic, because for a period
6 of time one of them occupied this function, and then the other one took
7 over. I'm not sure, but this should have been during that period of
8 time. This is so far as I could tell. But again, I no longer have image
9 on the screen.
10 I recognised the people that I told you about, and according to
11 the statute, they were members of the Crisis Staff -- and yes, I forgot,
12 Simo Drljaca, and Stakic was there as well. I don't see others. Pursuant
13 to the decision on the Crisis Staff, there should be other people as well,
14 I mean, the number specified. I see Slavko Budimir facing me on the left
15 side of the image. Then Stakic to my left. And Drljaca or Bosko Mandic,
16 I'm not sure. But he was the vice-president of the executive board. I
17 don't know these other people whose profiles we can see on the image.
18 Those were the municipality officials who were present there pursuant to
19 the decision of the Crisis Staff.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For the record, we have now before us
22 MR. KOUMJIAN: If you could back up about 5 seconds, please,
23 before we play it again. Could the booth back up the tape about 5 seconds
24 or so.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Sir, we're going to play the tape again, and if you recognise
2 people and want to identify them, please say "stop."
3 [Videotape played]
4 MR. KOUMJIAN: You can stop now.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here are the people I told you about
6 a moment ago. Right in front of me, we can see the president of the
7 assembly, that is, the Crisis Staff, Mr. Stakic. Next to him is
8 Slavko Budimir. As far as I can see, the others are not really visible.
9 I cannot recognise them. Maybe you have another picture.
10 MR. KOUMJIAN: We'll continue to play.
11 [Videotape played]
12 MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay, stop.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can see the first person from
14 the right, again, the image is flickering, but I think that this is -- can
15 the -- can this flickering be stopped, please?
16 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry. We didn't get the name.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Karadzic, although he looks a bit
18 younger. I don't know the person sitting next to him, the one wearing
19 glasses. And the one after, no, I don't know who they are.
20 MR. KOUMJIAN: Play it again.
21 [Videotape played]
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No, no, no. I apologise. I
23 said Karadzic, but actually the person looks like Zeljaja, yes. I'm
25 MR. KOUMJIAN: Stop.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I can see Simo Drljaca,
2 Kovacevic, Vojo Pavicic.
3 MR. KOUMJIAN:
4 Q. Who is the person on the right now wearing civilian clothes? Just
5 on the very right of the screen next to Kovacevic?
6 A. Wearing civilian clothes, I think this is Pavicic, Vojo Pavicic,
7 who was in charge of town planning, the secretary of that department.
8 Sitting to the right of Kovacevic is the person whom I cannot see clearly,
9 these two individuals. I don't think I'm able to identify them. You have
10 the same image from a different angle maybe.
11 Q. Perhaps you can watch when we play it. Is the first one in
12 uniform Slobodan Kuruzovic?
13 MR. KOUMJIAN: You can play the video.
14 A. Well, he reminds me of him a little. But the beard is somewhat
15 long -- the chin is a bit longer. And he has got more hair. Here I can
16 see Arsic next to the person talking. This is Dragan Savanovic.
17 MR. KOUMJIAN:
18 Q. Was Savanovic the one with the beard that was writing?
19 A. The image is no longer there. I think he has a beard.
20 MR. KOUMJIAN: If you could reverse, please.
21 THE WITNESS: We just saw a moment ago.
22 [Videotape played]
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is Dragan Savanovic, yes.
24 MR. KOUMJIAN:
25 Q. With the civilian clothes on?
1 A. I don't know. I wasn't paying attention to the clothes -- yes,
2 yes, in civilian clothes.
3 MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay. Thank you.
4 Q. Now, I want to move on very quickly. Did you know someone by the
5 name of Vinko Kondic?
6 A. Kondic.
7 Q. Kondic.
8 A. Kondic. No. Maybe by sight, but I don't know who he was or what
9 he did.
10 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I have a document I'd like to have
11 marked as an exhibit. It's not on the 65 ter list, but since it came up
12 in the last -- the name came up in the witness's testimony.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think a final document from the OTP. May we
14 have the -- during the time the documents are distributed, the DP numbers,
16 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. The map initially numbered S2-1
17 is DP-9. The next document with the ERN ending 804 is DP-10. And this
18 document will be DP-11.
19 MR. KOUMJIAN:
20 Q. Sir, did you know a Vinko Kondic who in 1992 was the head of the
21 police following the takeover in Kljuc Municipality and later became a
22 member -- let me just leave it at that. And also a member of the Kljuc
23 Crisis Staff.
24 A. No, I didn't. This is the first time I hear about such person.
25 But maybe if I were to see him, I would recognise him. Maybe I know the
1 man by sight.
2 Q. Sir, during all of the time that you worked in Prijedor in 1992,
3 attended meetings of the Municipal Assembly, if you can -- I'm not going
4 to ask you any questions about that document, so you don't need to refer
5 to it.
6 MR. OSTOJIC: Can we have a copy of the document as well?
7 MR. KOUMJIAN: I'm sorry, it was just handed to you yesterday, but
8 you can have my copy.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please proceed in the meantime.
10 MR. KOUMJIAN:
11 Q. Sir, this is the last question. In 1992, you told us that you
12 went to your office every day in the Municipal Assembly building, that on
13 occasions you attended meetings of the Crisis Staff, You attended
14 meetings of the Municipal Assembly, that your office was on the same floor
15 as that of the president of the municipality and the president of the
16 executive board.
17 During all of the meetings that you had with these individuals,
18 did you ever discuss the killings of hundreds of citizens of non-Serbian
19 ethnicity in Prijedor and the destruction, the burning and arson, of
20 thousands of homes of non-Serbian citizens in Prijedor? Did you discuss
21 those crimes in your meetings?
22 A. While I was there, no. But as a private citizen outside the work,
23 I was in a position to hear of such things as having happened in
24 Keraterm. They concerned certain individuals. But that such an issue was
25 discussed, no, at least not in my presence. Not in front of me. I'm not
1 excluding the possibility that in certain circles, there were such
2 discussions. But I never had the opportunity of being present at any such
3 conversation in the municipality or outside the municipal building.
4 Prijedor is a small town, and news travels fast. And I must say, I must
5 admit, that I did hear things. But it was not published in the media.
6 But I did hear such stories. I heard of one such case, for instance, in
8 Q. Is it correct that the agenda of these meetings which you
9 indicated to us was set by the president of the municipality discussed
10 such problems as the distribution of fuel, but never discussed problems
11 such as the killings of hundreds or thousands of your fellow citizens?
12 A. No, there was never any discussion about this last issue, whether
13 he on his own decided on the agenda of the Crisis Staff, I don't know.
14 All I know was that we never received draft agendas in advance. It was
15 never requested that the technical services, for instance, prepare the
16 relevant material or that the members of the Crisis Staff would receive
17 such an agenda in advance.
18 Only very few people worked there, only those who were necessary,
19 because I can see from the minutes, for instance, that there was a meeting
20 on this particular date, then on the following day. But then meetings
21 were not held as often in the later period of time. I suppose that the
22 president consulted with someone as to what should be on the agenda. I
23 don't know who it could have been. But at any rate, later on, the agenda
24 would be recorded. This would be part of the minutes, and this is how
25 they worked.
1 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I cannot say I don't have more
2 questions. But I can say that given the time limitations, I've completed
3 my examination.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I, therefore, give immediately the floor to
5 the Defence. And please, take into account that the first portion should
6 not be longer than about 20 minutes, and then after a break, you will have
7 90 minutes.
8 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
9 Questioned by Mr. Lukic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Baltic. My name is
11 Branko Lukic, and together with Mr. John Ostojic and Mr Danilo Cirkovic,
12 I'm defending Mr. Stakic before this Tribunal.
13 I also have time restrictions; that is, I only have a given period
14 of time, amount of time, during which I can questions of you. I know that
15 you are -- you must be tired, and I will try to finish with these
16 questions as quickly as possible.
17 I should first like to try and clear up certain issues that were
18 brought up during these proceedings. Just one remark: We speak the same
19 language, so I should kindly ask you to pause after I have finished my
20 question before you proceed with your answer so that the interpreters have
21 enough time to interpret.
22 It is possible that you will find some of the questions common
23 knowledge, but we have to show to this Tribunal, we have to demonstrate,
24 how the system that we are talking about functioned because the way it
25 worked is not familiar to all of the participants in these proceedings.
1 Mr. Baltic, who did you answer to for your work as the secretary
2 of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor?
3 A. The president is the most senior official. Then comes the
4 vice-president. They chair the sessions. They lead the assembly, and
5 they represent the assembly. I was also one of the officials appointed by
6 the same assembly as they were, and as such, I was responsible, first of
7 all, to the assembly itself. And of course, should -- if I failed to
8 appear, to attend, a session of the Municipal Assembly, I don't think that
9 the president could actually relieve me of my duty on its own. But I'm
10 sure -- I mean, he could not appoint me or relieve me of my duty. He
11 could only make comments or criticism of my work. But I was responsible
12 to the assembly.
13 Q. The record doesn't reflect what you said a moment ago. Who was
14 your superior?
15 A. The body that elected me, that is, the Municipal Assembly. It was
16 the Municipal Assembly that appointed me to my position, and it was the
17 Municipal Assembly that could relieve me of my duty for appropriate
19 MR. LUKIC: [In English] I would like the usher to give the witness
20 Exhibit Number D3, please. It's a statute of the Prijedor Municipality,
21 draft version, because we don't have the final version.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Baltic, will you please turn to Article 51 so
23 that we can read in the statute what you just said a moment ago. Would
24 you be so kind and read out Article 51.
25 A. The Article 51 reads as follows: "The assembly secretary shall be
1 accountable to the assembly for his work and for the work of the assembly
2 services," as I just indicated a moment ago.
3 Q. Will you now please turn to Article 40. Can you please read
4 Article 40 for us.
5 A. "The president of the Municipal Assembly shall represent the
6 assembly." Item Number 2: "The president of the assembly shall convene
7 and organise assembly sessions and preside over them or chair them. The
8 president of the assembly may initiate debates on matters within the
9 competence of the assembly. The president of the assembly shall submit
10 proposals for general enactments and reports, information, analysis, and
11 other documents addressed to the assembly, to the working bodies of the
13 There's more: "The president shall hear the solemn declarations
14 by the officials elected or appointed by the assembly unless otherwise
15 prescribed by the statute. The president of the assembly shall perform
16 other tasks as defined by the statute."
17 Q. We have the working material here in front of us because we were
18 never able to obtain the final version. Does this correspond to the
19 statute in accordance with which you worked at the time you were the
20 secretary of the Prijedor Municipal Assembly?
21 A. I believe it does because the previous statute was used before
22 July 1991.
23 Q. The president of the Municipal Assembly, in this case, the
24 Prijedor Municipal Assembly, could he have and perform functions which are
25 not prescribed by this statute, or is it the case that he could only
1 perform those functions provided for in respect of him by the statute of
2 the Prijedor Municipal Assembly?
3 A. The president of the municipality -- the president of the assembly
4 had to work in accordance with the law, and the statute provided for his
5 duties and obligations. If he worked in a different manner, if he acted
6 differently, and if this became known to the deputies of the assembly,
7 they could ask for his removal if the violations in question were of a
8 more serious nature.
9 Q. Obviously the statute of the Prijedor Municipal Assembly - at
10 least I wasn't able to find such a provision - did not provide for the
11 president of the Municipal Assembly to command the police. In the course
12 of your work, did you at any point in time see Mr. Cehajic issue any order
13 to the head of the police, to Mr. Talundzic, which he was obliged to carry
15 A. I cannot remember any such case.
16 Q. Did you ever see Mr. Stakic issue such an order?
17 A. Well, not an example like this. But here yesterday was the first
18 time I ever got to see that order requesting from the Ministry of the
19 Interior to perform their security duties to citizens and property in a
20 more efficient manner.
21 Q. The president of the municipality, could he -- could he send an
22 appeal without going into the exact form, wording, of this enactment we
23 have in front of us here? For example, if there were races in town, for
24 example, in peacetime, could he ask for -- could he ask the chief of the
25 police to provide security for this?
1 A. I don't think it was implicit for the president to do this because
2 everyone worked within their own framework and regulations. The MUP, the
3 police, worked according to their own regulations within their own
4 framework. If there was a festivity or some sort of a party in the
5 municipality, of course the police were there to provide security, to
6 close certain streets down to traffic and to make sure that everything
7 went smoothly.
8 Q. Can we then conclude that the police had its own chain of command
9 and responsibility which did not depend on the municipal organ's seat and
10 the chain of command of the police? Did it actually not go through the
11 channels, the command channels, of the Ministry of the Interior?
12 A. In the earlier period, because there were no laws, laws cannot be
13 changed, amended, and passed in a quick fashion, especially as regards the
14 police and the military. The command, it comes from the top down. The
15 local representatives of the government, according to law and according to
16 their moral obligation, if anything was malfunctioning and if there is
17 general agreement that something was done in an improper way, they were
18 then supposed to ask people to follow laws and prescriptions. And if a
19 certain person refused to do this, he could not take an order except if it
20 was his own will to accept something and work accordingly.
21 Q. Should that person not accept to do something requested from him
22 by someone who was not his superior, that person would not be penalised,
23 would he?
24 A. No such request could be made, but he could ask the assembly to
25 debate the work of that official. And if sufficient grounds were there to
1 initiate the removal, that is, dismissal, of this person but only by the
2 municipal body whose responsibility it was to nominate this official.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you believe it's appropriate to have a break
5 MR. LUKIC: [In English] Thank you for helping me.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then let's have a break in this deposition
7 taking until 4.30.
8 --- Recess taken at 4.05 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 4.32 p.m.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
11 Even though it's not the appropriate time during such deposition
12 taking, is it correct that the OTP wants to withdraw a motion?
13 MR. KOUMJIAN: Yes, the Rule 94 -- I think it's 94 bis motion.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Accepted.
15 MR. LUKIC: No objections, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No objections. Also, not that we do it not in
17 this framework, we all agree that it's withdrawn.
18 MR. LUKIC: We all -- actually our side agrees.
19 MR. KOUMJIAN: At the same time that we're withdrawing this
20 motion, we'll provide copies today and file tomorrow our motion regarding
21 the journalist Gras who we obtained a short statement from on Monday and
22 had previously obtained a short video including an interview with the
23 accused. We believe her testimony would take about one and a half hours
24 on direct examination. That's a real estimate.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Objections?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. OSTOJIC: Unfortunately, we do, Your Honour. We haven't read
2 the motion --
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We have to back this --
4 MR. OSTOJIC: Fair enough.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So please, we don't want to steal your time.
6 Please proceed immediately.
7 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
8 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Baltic, the Prosecution asked you the
9 following question: How come you were not mobilised? At that time,
10 meaning 1992 and 1993, did you have a work obligation, and can you please
11 tell us what that entailed?
12 A. Yes. During my work in the period you refer to, just like other
13 high officials and directors of companies, and the other personnel in the
14 assembly, we did have a work obligation which meant that we were not
15 allowed to leave our work. Even if we, perhaps, wished to go somewhere
16 and wear uniform. Only if someone decided of their own accord to leave
17 their position and to no longer hold that particular office, then they
18 could apply to go wherever they wanted to go.
19 Q. Let us, please, be accurate about this. They could not go
20 wherever they wanted to go; they could either go to the front or hold
21 their position, the position they had, on the basis of their work
23 A. The work obligation, what that meant is for you to stay in your
24 job. If you left your position, you would no longer have a job, and it
25 was your legal obligation to go wherever the relevant organs saw fit to
1 send you.
2 Q. The relevant organs, at that time in that area, were the military
3 bodies. Right?
4 A. Yes, I think so.
5 Q. Prior to your testimony, the Honourable Chamber did not show you
6 any of the documents, did they?
7 A. No.
8 Q. That means that you are now testifying without any preparation and
9 only on the basis of what you remember was happening ten years ago?
10 A. Yes, that's correct.
11 Q. I will show you a document now, and we'll try to clarify a point
13 MR. LUKIC: [In English] I would like the usher to show the witness
14 Exhibit S112, please.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Now, you will be shown this document. I know
16 that it's a bit difficult for you to read this. What we want to know is
17 about this Number 19, the bottom of the page.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. This is a decision on the appointment of the Crisis Staff of
20 Prijedor Municipality. On page 58 of today's transcript, line 20, you
21 stated that there was an accurate list contained in this decision as to
22 who the members of the Crisis Staff were.
23 A. Yes, that's indeed what I believed.
24 Q. Under Number 1, we see the name Milomir Stakic as the president of
25 the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, appointed president. Number 2,
1 Dragan Savanovic, vice-president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor as
2 vice-president. Number 3, Dr. Milan Kovacevic, president of the executive
3 board of Prijedor Municipality as a member. Slobodan Kuruzovic, commander
4 of the municipal TO staff for Prijedor appointed as member. Bosko Mandic,
5 commander of the municipal staff of civilian protection for Prijedor
6 appointed as a member. Simo Drljaca, chief of the public security station
7 in Prijedor appointed as member. Slavko Budimir, secretary of the
8 municipal secretariat for national defence, Prijedor, member.
9 Ranko Travar, secretary for the secretariat for the economy and social
10 activities of Prijedor, member. Vojo Pavicic, secretary of the municipal
11 secretariat for urban planning, housing, and communal services as well as
12 ownership matters, member. And under Number 10, Dr. Zeljko Matsura
13 [phoen], officer in charge of health and social protection and social
14 activities, Prijedor, as member.
15 What you told us, you said it did happen a number of times that
16 other people attended the meetings of the Crisis Staff, as you yourself
17 did at times. Is that correct?
18 A. Yes, that's correct.
19 Q. That means that some other people who were not members of the
20 Crisis Staff could, at times, attend meetings of the Crisis Staff?
21 A. Yes, that's correct.
22 Q. Did that perhaps give rise to an amount of confusion, you saying
23 that you saw Mr. Zeljaja, and it's quite obvious that his name is not
24 listed as him being one of the members of the Prijedor Crisis Staff?
25 A. Yes, I understand you.
1 Q. When you said that there is an accurate list according to the
2 respective duties and individually who the members of the Crisis Staff
3 were, is it possible that you made a mistake when you included Mr. Radmilo
4 Zeljaja as one of these members?
5 A. Yes, that's possible. Because when I spoke about the decision on
6 the establishment of the Crisis Staff, I did not read through it, so I
7 thought that by that very -- in that decision, names of the members of the
8 Crisis Staff were listed analogous to the members of the war presidency
9 because there you had the list of names of the members of war presidency
10 according that their functions, president and vice-president of the
11 assembly and other officials of the assembly. And then in addition to
12 that, there were some other deputies there.
13 So I may have said something about that, and -- however now, you
14 can see clearly who the members were. They were displayed on the screen
15 here when the video was shown. I named some of those people and here you
16 have them again, their names. But maybe, perhaps, I said that someone was
17 representing the military. I was referring to the commander of the
18 barracks, but I see that his name is not included.
19 It was possible for everyone else to attend, not only members. If
20 for some reason those other people, the nonmembers, were invited to these
21 meetings. So that's exactly what I -- well, now, as I read through this
22 decision on the appointment of the Crisis Staff, I can see clearly that
23 the decision is made pursuant to the decision on the establishment of the
24 Crisis Staff where the respective functions and duties are listed. I had
25 opportunity to look at this decision and here I can see this one now,
1 too, the decision on the nomination of the members of the Crisis Staff.
2 Q. You also said on page, was it 15 or 59 -- page 59, line 15, that
3 there was a deputy who was a member of the Crisis Staff?
4 A. Yes, precisely. I was referring to Srdo Srdic. He was a deputy
5 representative. So that may be my mistake. I thought he was a member of
6 the Crisis Staff, and you can see here that he wasn't. But as a deputy of
7 the assembly, automatically, he was also a deputy of the Municipal
8 Assembly. That's -- I have remembered this just now. Please excuse me
9 for causing this bit of confusion.
10 It was all a long time ago, so I'm trying to recall everything.
11 Q. We both accept and understand the reasons for this confusion. So
12 there is no need for you to worry about this. It's quite obvious that you
13 did not prepare for this testimony.
14 Also, on page 61, line 25, the Prosecution asked you the following
15 question -- actually, whether it was true that the Municipal Assembly did
16 not meet in May, and you provided an explanation. We saw the document.
17 It met on the 20th of May. Do you remember that there was a solemn
18 meeting of the Municipal Assembly on the 16th of May, on the occasion of
19 the liberation of Prijedor?
20 A. No, I can't remember that particular meeting but I know that it
21 was a tradition every year, ever since my childhood, that was the day of
22 the commune, and we always had a ceremonial meeting on that day. But I
23 can't remember whether such a meeting took place in that particular year,
24 too. I suppose so, yes.
25 Q. Page 63, line 12, please do not be confused by this. This is only
1 for the sake of the transcript that I'm giving the page number and the
2 line. We said that the SUP building was across the way from the Municipal
3 Assembly building. Do they directly face one another, or is the municipal
4 building turned sideways somehow to the Ministry of the Interior building?
5 A. When I tried to explain the map that was displayed on the screen,
6 that's exactly what I said. The municipality building faces south by its
7 main entrance, which means that it is turned sideways, in a manner of
8 speaking, to the MUP building, and then directly to the west facing the
9 street there, the Mosa Pijada Street.
10 Q. From the offices in the Municipal Assembly building, as you sit at
11 your table and work, without actually looking through the window, are you
12 able to see the Ministry of the Interior building?
13 A. No. You're not able to do that unless you come out on to the
14 terrace on the south side of the building, looking sideways.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 You contend that during the period in which the Crisis Staff
17 operated, you did not attend the meetings of the Crisis Staff, is that
18 correct, or at least not the majority of the meetings?
19 A. I did attend a number of the meetings, but not all of them.
20 Q. Were any of the members of the Crisis Staff lawyers by profession?
21 A. Yes. Vojo Pavicic was a lawyer. He was the secretary for urban
23 Q. Prior to his becoming secretary for urban planning, which tasks
24 was he in charge of? Do you know that?
25 A. As far as I can remember, he was the head of a service in charge
1 of legal -- legal property relations. We call it legal property relations
2 or affairs.
3 Q. No other members of the Crisis Staff were lawyers by profession,
4 to the best of your knowledge and recollection?
5 A. No. There was also the chief, Simo Drljaca, he was a lawyer by
6 profession, too.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 At the time of these events, Dr. Stakic was about 29. Did you
9 know him prior to 1991? I think you already said you didn't.
10 A. That was the first time that I saw him or heard of him.
11 Q. He is not from Prijedor town by origin, is he?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Any citizen of Prijedor didn't know him [as interpreted]?
14 A. I think so. I'm not sure. At least I didn't know him.
15 Q. How old was Dr. Kovacevic at that time?
16 A. I think he's older than me. So if I was born in 1941, I think he
17 was two or three years my senior, but I'm not sure.
18 Q. At the time he was probably over 50?
19 A. Yes. If we are in 2002 now, yes, you're right.
20 Q. How about Mr. Drljaca?
21 A. Mr. Drljaca is younger. He could have been born in 1947 or 1948.
22 He's much younger.
23 Q. If we set aside the legal aspect of the matter, I'm careful about
24 phrasing my -- I'm just being careful about phrasing my question. If we
25 set aside the legal aspect of this document, according to the document,
1 the president of the Crisis Staff was Dr. Milomir Stakic.
2 Milomir Stakic, according to you, was he the person to whom all of
3 the questions were addressed, or only some of them, or was it the case
4 that nobody asked him anything? Can you tell us who was the de facto
5 person in charge of this Crisis Staff and what was the position of
6 Dr. Stakic?
7 A. De facto, I don't know who was the person in charge. But in view
8 of the competencies, the work of the Crisis Staff and the work of the
9 Municipal Assembly was presided over by the president of the Crisis Staff
10 and the Municipal Assembly. And the president of the executive board was
11 at the head of the executive board, which consisted of all of the
12 secretaries of various municipal organs, those who had been appointed by
13 the municipality -- by the assembly to various departments. And they
14 formed the executive organ.
15 As I indicated before, during the early period of time, it was the
16 executive board that debated the proposals that came from various
17 departments. If the executive board gave a green light to such a
18 document, then it would be forwarded to the assembly for further
20 I don't think I can answer your question as to who was the
21 person -- the person in charge because relations were strictly regulated.
22 Q. I'm not going to insist because as His Honour Judge Schomburg
23 indicated, you have the right to say that you don't know the answer to the
24 question. And this would conclude my cross-examination, Mr. Baltic. Thank
25 you very much for coming to testify here. I think that -- I hope that it
1 was our side that gave you the least trouble.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I don't hope that you have had any trouble at
3 all. But I have to ask if there are any questions in return by the Office
4 of the Prosecutor, based on these line of questions by the Defence.
5 MR. KOUMJIAN: No, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
7 Further questioned by The Court:
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In this extremely difficult case, and we are
9 faced with a charge of genocide, one could think that the fate of an
10 individual wouldn't count. But I can't conclude this hearing without
11 coming back to a question asked by the Prosecution. This morning, you
12 mentioned that an acquaintance of yours, a judge, Omer Kerenovic, if the
13 transcript is correct, and you stated: "I asked Mr. Drljaca to have this
14 person released from the camp."
15 Can you tell us: What was the fate of Omer Kerenovic? Was he
16 released from the camp and which camp was it?
17 A. Yes. However, during that period of time, I didn't know what his
18 fate was. Later on, I learned about what had happened to him and to a
19 number of other acquaintances of mine, people I met in the street. I
20 tried to find out what their fate was, and it all took a while. I tried
21 to find out from the people I thought would know, from members of the
22 family, from relatives. And the first thing I heard about him was that he
23 had left for Turkey.
24 Later, much later, I'm not quite sure, but I think that somehow I
25 learned that he had been in Omarska, but there was no information -- at
1 least, I wasn't aware of that. But his brother was released shortly after
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Does this mean that also the brother of
4 Omer Kerenovic was detained in Omarska camp?
5 A. Yes, yes, you're quite right.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And once again, the concrete question was: Did
7 you ever see later Mr. Omer Kerenovic? You just told us that you learned
8 that he would be in Turkey. Was it at any point in time confirmed that
9 indeed he survived Omarska camp?
10 A. All I can say is that I did not see him after that. But I don't
11 know from what date, from what day. I don't know when it was that I
12 stopped seeing him. But after all these events were over, I no longer saw
13 him. I don't remember whether someone told me that he had had a rough
14 time or that he had gone to Turkey. I used to know his family. We used
15 to see each other on weekends, and we were on very good terms.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But I understand from this, you have never seen
17 him again?
18 A. No.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you tell us, what was the ethnicity of
20 Mr. Omer Kerenovic?
21 A. Well, I assume that he was a Muslim, if Turks are Muslims,
22 citizens of Turkey, I mean. But that is from before. I don't know who
23 had come from where, but I think that he is from Turkey by origin. I
24 don't know whether it was his parents who had come from Turkey.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And I take it from this that you had
1 acquaintances from all ethnic groups, and whether or not you were a good
2 friend with a person at that point in time, that was not relevant whether
3 this person was a Muslim, a Serb, or Croatian person. Is it correct?
4 A. It is correct, not only me but others as well. Many of them went
5 to school with me. I have a brother-in-law who is a Muslim. I know
6 people who are acquaintances of mine who are dentists or lawyers, and we
7 never asked who was what. There are approximately 16 different
8 ethnicities in Prijedor, and the participation in the government reflected
9 the composition of the population, which was perfectly normal. These
10 people had various functions, and they socialised together. After this
11 other war, the Second World War, this was forgotten, and the relations
12 were again very good.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask you, in addition, why did you address
14 Mr. Drljaca to have this person released from the camp? Why just
15 Mr. Drljaca?
16 A. Why, because Mr. Kerenovic asked me personally to address
17 Mr. Drljaca. Why he had picked him, I don't know. I met him in the
18 street when this happened, and I told him immediately that that was the
19 first time that someone was asking me for help. I realised what it was
20 all about, and I went to see Simo Drljaca because Kerenovic specifically
21 asked me to go and see Drljaca and to ask if he can arrange for his
22 brother to be interrogated as soon as possible, the assumption being that
23 his innocence would be established, that is, that they would conclude that
24 he had not taken part in the conflict and that he would subsequently be
25 released, which is what happened, I think.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask, did you address any other person on
2 this issue, on the release of Mr. Kerenovic?
3 A. No, no one else.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. I think it's important not to forget
5 individuals when we are discussing these charges of crimes against
6 humanity, genocide. We are discussing individuals, the fate of numerous
7 individuals, and we have to find out who is responsible -- who is
8 individually responsible for this. And I think you have assisted us --
9 MR. KOUMJIAN: May I follow up on your Your Honour's last
10 questions a bit. Specifically, I'd like the witness to look at the book
11 of missing persons, page 231.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think we shouldn't ask the witness any further
13 questions. But if there's no objections by the Defence, please do so.
14 MR. KOUMJIAN: May we have S232 shown to the witness, page 231.
15 If that could be put on the ELMO, please.
16 Further questioned by Mr. Koumjian:
17 MR. KOUMJIAN: If we could focus on number 2024. That's 2021.
18 2024, please. It's below it. 2024. If you move the book up, I think --
19 you have to zoom out. I'm sorry.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Here we are.
21 MR. KOUMJIAN:
22 Q. Sir, was Judge Kerenovic, was his name Omer, son of Hamdija, was
23 he born in about 1934, and did he live on Marsal Tita Number 33 in
25 Is that your friend?
1 A. I don't understand.
2 Q. Omer Kerenovic, the judge, was he born in about 1934? Was he
3 about seven years older than you and did he live on Marsal Tita Street in
5 A. Can I have the interpretation, please. I don't understand the
7 MR. KOUMJIAN: Does he have the right channel?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it's not working. Yes, yes I
9 can hear you now.
10 MR. KOUMJIAN:
11 Q. Sir, was your friend Omer Kerenovic, was he the son of Hamdija,
12 was he born about seven years before you in 1934, and did he live on
13 Marsal Tita Street in Prijedor town?
14 A. He is not my friend, but I knew him as a friend of my
15 father-in-law. I knew he was a judge. And I know that he used to live at
16 this address, Marsal Tita. I didn't know the name of his father. I can
17 see that it's Hamdija, so it must be the name of his father. So I believe
18 that this is him. I've never seen this book. This is the first time that
19 I'm looking at it. But I think that this is it.
20 Q. Sir, isn't it a fact that Mr. Kerenovic was not of Turkish
21 ethnicity, but was a Slav, as you are?
22 A. I don't know that. But the reason I said that is because I knew
23 that they went there to visit, and that they have family in Turkey. And
24 that is why I said that it is possible that -- but okay, I'm prepared to
25 correct myself. I cannot claim that that's the fact with certainty. I
1 know that he lived in Prijedor and that he was a Muslim. As far as I'm
2 concerned, this was never very important.
3 Q. Sir, did you speak to Simo Drljaca about Judge Kerenovic before or
4 after June the 8th of 1992, if you know?
5 A. No, never. That was the first time -- I mean the first time I
6 talked to him was during those first days. The people who were initially
7 placed in Omarska, so it must have been during those first days, maybe on
8 the second day. We met in the street accidentally. He works at the
9 court, and we just saw each other in the street. And he asked me that,
10 and I went to see Mr. Drljaca about that. But I never went to the MUP
11 building after that. I never went back, nor did I check whether he had
12 done anything about it, the reason being, I can tell it now, was because
13 it was the first time that I went to see him. I'm sure that there must
14 have been a number of such interventions at the time, and he said it was
15 very difficult for him to work, to act on each such intervention, but I
16 saw that he had made a note of that. So it was my assumption that he
17 would do it. Later, I met --
18 THE INTERPRETER: We're not sure about the name.
19 A. Omer, and he didn't tell me anything, whether he was released or
20 not. But I think that he is still alive -- I mean, Omer's brother. I
21 think that he's still alive. I'm not sure but I think he is.
22 MR. KOUMJIAN:
23 Q. Would you be surprised to learn that Omer Kerenovic, the judge
24 from Prijedor, disappeared from the Omarska camp on June the 8th, 1992,
25 and has never been seen?
1 A. I don't know. It's possible. It's possible that that happened as
2 well. But I don't have any such information.
3 MR. KOUMJIAN: I have no further questions, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And I don't see any other questions
5 from the Defence.
6 So therefore, it's for me to express my extreme gratitude that
7 first, on short notice, second without any preparation, you were prepared
8 to come to The Hague and to testify here. There is always a saying that
9 this Tribunal would work in a selective way and work on the basis of
10 witnesses of one ethnicity and the other ethnicity, one for the Defence,
11 one for the Prosecutor. I think your appearance here is an extremely good
12 example that this is not true. And bringing people together from all
13 groups is the only way really to come closer to the truth.
14 I mentioned it earlier. You were not present. We all know that
15 we will never find out the real truth, but we have to come closer. And
16 you assisted us in coming here and giving your testimony, and we all are
17 aware how difficult it is for you to testify in a case when your former
18 president of the Municipal Assembly where you worked as a secretary is an
19 accused person.
20 But nevertheless, we all got the impression that you provided us
21 with so many important additional evidence, facts, and informations that
22 you helped us a lot. And I hope -- you mentioned earlier this afternoon
23 that yesterday, in the evening at the beach, you took a photograph of a
24 guard together with you as a souvenir. And I hope that will be not the
25 only souvenir you are bringing back to Prijedor, but also you can bring
1 the message to the people, all groups in Prijedor, what's going on here
2 and in which way the trials are conducted, and also to encourage other
3 persons to appear here as witnesses. Thank you very, very much for coming
4 and for testifying.
5 This concludes this taking of deposition. And may I ask the
6 usher, please, to escort Mr. Baltic out of the courtroom.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I may, Your Honour, say just one
8 sentence. I'm very pleased I helped you, with the fact that I helped
9 you. But I must say that it was quite difficult. I don't like conflicts,
10 be it with ordinary police officers. I was never held responsible for
11 anything, not even a minor traffic violation. I'm very sorry when things
12 of this kind happen.
13 As for Stakic, he was the president of the assembly as far as I'm
14 concerned; he was not my president. I went about doing my job, and he did
15 his. He is here before you. You will see. Let me just thank you once
16 again for giving me the opportunity of saying something. And I think that
17 I will go home in peace. Thank you very much.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Have a good trip home.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 [The witness withdrew]
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
22 at 5.20 p.m., followed immediately by
23 a Status Conference