1 Tuesday, 10 December 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.24 p.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good afternoon to everybody. Please be seated.
6 May we hear the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon. Case number IT-97-24-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And the appearances, please, for the
11 MR. KOUMJIAN: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Nicholas Koumjian,
12 assisted by Ruth Karper for the Office of the Prosecutor.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And for the Defence, please.
14 MR. OSTOJIC: Good afternoon, Your Honours. John Ostojic, along
15 with Danilo Cirkovic on behalf of Dr. Milomir Stakic.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good afternoon as well.
17 And any procedural matters to be discussed before we hear the
18 witness first.
19 MR. OSTOJIC: There is one from the Defence, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please.
21 MR. OSTOJIC: It relates to an issue that occurred yesterday in
22 the closed session, so I would just seek some guidance if before I address
23 it, because it relates to that issue, we should go into closed or private
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Closed session, please. And if there is a
1 person in the gallery who wants to attend the hearing and is allowed due
2 to his capacity, he or she may enter the courtroom. Put it this way. So
3 please, closed session.
4 [Closed session]
13 Pages 9537-9541 – redacted – closed session
12 [Open session]
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask in the meantime to the representative
14 of the registry, did this witness have the possibility to review the
16 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. He had access to the tapes in
17 B/C/S of the whole hearing -- yesterday's hearing this morning.
18 [The witness entered court]
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good afternoon, Witness DD.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I have to recall that you are still under the
22 same obligations as yesterday, your solemn declaration. You had following
23 my remarks at the end of the hearing of yesterday the opportunity to
24 review your statement. Is there anything you want to correct or to add,
25 then please do so right now.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Firstly, I would like to thank Your
2 Honours for having enabled me to review the tape of yesterday's session,
3 in which I stated clearly that I would speak the truth and nothing but the
4 truth. But you also told me that I am entitled to correct some things or
5 add some things to what I said previously.
6 I listened to the entire audiotape, and I must admit that in two
7 or three places - although, I don't have any changes to make - I would
8 like to add something to the things that I previously stated.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please do so.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First of all, as regards the
11 Prosecutor's question whether the army was the Yugoslav People's Army or
12 the Army of Republika Srpska up to the 30th of May, 1992, I am still
13 convinced that it was the Yugoslav People's Army and that sometime in
14 mid-June or in the later part of June the name was changed into the Army
15 of Republika Srpska. If I'm not right in thinking that, please don't hold
16 that against me.
17 My second addition again regards one of the Prosecutor's
18 questions -- the Defence counsel's questions.
19 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter corrects herself.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And this refers to the period
21 between the 30th of May, 1992, and 21st or the 22nd day of July of that
22 same year. The question was about the circumstances and life of all the
23 people in the area during that period of time and particularly of those
24 belonging to Croat or Muslim ethnic groups.
25 As far as I can remember, what I said was the following: There
1 were no major problems. All that what I meant was: There was no ethnic
2 cleansing, houses were not burnt, they were not destroyed, and property
3 wasn't seized or destroyed. And when I say that, I have in mind the lives
4 of Muslims and Croats. However, I wish to add something to this. Already
5 at that time Muslim and Croats started being taken away, or better say,
6 they started being brought in for interviews and interrogations and
7 already people started being taken away to the already-mentioned
8 facilities called Keraterm and Omarska.
9 Also, there were sporadic, rather than organised, cases of
10 violence targeted at Croats and Muslims during the relevant period of
11 time, that is, summer 1992.
12 My third addition regards a question put to me by the Prosecutor
13 in connection with the 22nd of July, 1992. I said that it was only the
14 military that participated in the incident involving people from the
15 so-called Brdo. However, the police also participated in that incident.
16 Although, the police participated in the capacity -- how shall I put it?
17 They were just making a presence there.
18 All the additions that I've just made, I kindly ask the Honourable
19 Court not to deem as perjury but, rather, to consider them mere
20 corrections of my statement given yesterday.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. This was the intention of giving you
22 the possibility to correct or to add in part portions of your testimony
23 you gave us yesterday. Thank you for this additional work.
24 May I now ask the Office of the Prosecutor to proceed with the
1 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 I believe I can begin in open session. I will have to change
3 later. I would also remind the witness that if his answer, he would
4 prefer it to be in closed session -- in private session, we can switch to
5 private session. And I will -- I'm going to read back -- remind the
6 witness a little bit of his testimony. There's one phrase I'll take out
7 in order to protect the witness's identity. I think counsel and the Court
8 can read along. I don't think that will prejudice. But we can begin if
9 Your Honour agrees in open session.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's stay in open session.
11 MR. KOUMJIAN: In open session. Okay.
12 WITNESS: WITNESS DD [Resumed]
13 [Witness answered through interpretation]
14 Cross-examined by Mr. Koumjian: [Continued]
15 Q. Sir, I want to go back to your testimony of yesterday for just a
16 moment and remind you of a few things that you were asked in your answers.
17 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I have the official transcript, which
18 I -- I have both the -- I've now marked the official transcript, but I
19 also have the LiveNote. I don't know which versions Your Honours and
20 Defence counsel have. But on the official transcript, page 9.514,
21 beginning at line 1.
22 Q. Sir, you were asked: "Can you tell the Court your knowledge of
23 crimes committed by Serbian police against Muslim and Croat civilians and
24 detained persons in Prijedor in 1992. What crimes are you aware of by the
1 You answered: "As far as I know, there were no particular crimes
2 by the Prijedor police at that particular time, because the police was
3 under control. At that time they were just going about their regular
4 daily duties, which means they were upholding public law and order for all
5 citizens equally."
6 On page 9.516, line 10, you were asked: "Sir, are you aware of
7 crimes committed by the army -- whether you call it the JNA or VRS -- in
8 Prijedor in 1992?"
9 Before I read your answer, Mr. Witness, I'd just like to tell you
10 that I'm not at all concerned with whether you call the army that was in
11 Prijedor the JNA or VRS. I just want to make sure we're talking about the
12 same army commanded by Colonel Arsic and Pero Colic for the Kozarac
13 Brigade. Is that correct? We're talking about those forces.
14 A. Yes, absolutely correct.
15 Q. When you were asked about crimes committed by the army, you
16 answered on line 12: "I don't know what exactly you're calling crimes.
17 All the incidents that occurred happened for a reason."
19 The question you were then asked: "I'm talking about,
20 specifically -- thank you -- killings of civilians and detained persons.
21 Are you aware of killings of civilians and detained persons committed by
22 the army in the Prijedor municipality in 1992?"
23 You answered: "As far as the Prijedor municipality is concerned
24 or my place of residence, Ljubija, there were at least as I know, no such
1 However, sir, on the next page, page 9.517, beginning at line 2,
2 you were asked the following question. And I'm just going to take out a
3 couple of words in your interest to protect your identity. "And sir, you
4 are aware, aren't, you as a resident of Prijedor and a person familiar
5 with the events of Prijedor that happened in 1992 that those persons from
6 Brdo were tortured and many killed in Omarska and that more than 100 of
7 them were killed in Keraterm a few days later in the room 3 massacre."
8 And you answered: "I heard about this later, about what happened
9 in room 3. But personally, I did not witness any of this."
10 I asked you: "Who committed the room 3 massacre?" And you
11 answered: "I can't possibly answer that because I don't know. Probably
12 members of the army or renegade groups who had remised from their
14 Question: "Sir, if a group of people comes into the camp that has
15 police officers in it, those police would know who was in the camp? That
16 was their duty. Isn't that correct?"
17 And you answered: "That's correct."
18 So, sir, you indicated in answering questions about crimes
19 committed by the army your answer was: "I don't know exactly what you're
20 calming crimes. All the incidents that is occurred happened for a
22 Did you consider the massacre of the detainees in room 3 in
23 Keraterm a crime?
24 A. Yes, I believe that this was a crime, but I was not very precise
25 in giving my answer yesterday, because every murder, every torture, every
1 massacre is a crime. So I apologise. However, in my statement I said
2 that I don't know who committed the room 3 massacre, and later on I learnt
3 that it was army members and that the police could not prevent them from
4 committing the crime, that is, the guards in the camp couldn't do that,
5 because there were a lot more military than the police, and I can't give
6 you the exact numbers, exact figures. And most certainly, they were more
7 heavily armed.
8 Q. So, sir, when you answered my initial question about crimes
9 committed by the army in Prijedor in 1992, you knew that the army had
10 massacred the detainees in room 3 Keraterm, correct?
11 A. I already said that I learnt about that later on. At the time of
12 the crime, I didn't know about it. I didn't hear anything about it,
13 because I suppose that on and around those days -- that day it was kept a
15 Q. You knew about it when you answered my questions yesterday,
17 A. I said yesterday I had a bit of a stage fright and I already made
18 several corrections today, and I said that I would today correct
19 everything that I believe I didn't answer correctly yesterday, which
20 doesn't mean that I did not want to tell the truth yesterday.
21 Q. Okay. Sir, I'm going to move on to another area. You were
22 asked -- it was on page 24 of the LiveNote, and I believe on the official
23 transcript --
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. If I may interrupt. Unfortunately, we
25 have before us the LiveNote. When you take --
1 MR. KOUMJIAN: Sure.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The LiveNote, it would be --
3 MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I don't know --
5 MR. KOUMJIAN: I moved my stickies so --
6 MR. OSTOJIC: The LiveNote, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. If we can agree for the future to work on
8 the basis of LiveNote, that would --
9 MR. KOUMJIAN: That would be great. I spent some frantic moments
10 changing my yellow stickies to the official transcript.
11 On the LiveNote, I don't know whether it was page -- the version I
12 got last night, page 24 beginning at line 18. I think I have that
14 Q. Sir, you were asked several questions, in fact, you were asked, I
15 believe, this question three times, beginning on page 24, line 18 and then
16 page 24, line 23, and then page 25, line 14.
17 MR. KOUMJIAN: And if Your Honour would like, I'd read the exact
18 questions and answers.
19 Q. But they are all questions about whether you heard Dr. Stakic make
20 any speeches discriminatory against non-Serbs. Do you recall being asked
21 those questions?
22 A. Yes, I remember those questions. Can you please specify the
23 period that you have in mind.
24 Q. Okay. Perhaps then I should read the exact questions and answers.
25 Beginning on line 18, page 24, you were asked: "Prior to April
1 1992 -- excuse me, line 18: "Prior to April 1992, did you hear
2 Dr. Milomir Stakic give a speech or an interview which would be deemed
3 discriminatory against any ethnic group?"
4 Answer: "No, I didn't and later on I learnt that Dr. Stakic was
5 not engaged in any propaganda in any type of the media."
6 Question: "And let me clarify just so that the question comes out
7 proper. So prior to April 1992, you're not aware or didn't hear of any
8 propaganda that would be attributed to Dr. Stakic which can be deemed in
9 some manner as being discriminatory. Subsequent or after April of 1992
10 through the period of the spring and summer of 1992, did you personally,
11 sir, hear or were you ever told that Dr. Stakic at any time issued any
12 speeches or statements which would in any manner even remotely be
13 considered to be discriminatory against any ethnic group within the
14 Prijedor municipality?"
15 You answered: "Personally, I didn't hear anything. And in
16 subsequent conversations with the -- with people in my village, I did not
17 hear anything that would tie Dr. Stakic with any form of propaganda, that
18 would be discriminatory against the Serbian population or would call for
19 the ethnic cleansing of the non-Serb population or any other form of
21 You were then asked: "Did you hear -- and you likewise didn't
22 hear any discriminatory speeches made by Dr. Stakic, correct? In other
23 words, to the best of my recollection, to the best of you're observations
24 during that time, having lived in the Prijedor municipality" --
25 THE INTERPRETER: Would the Prosecution please slow down. Thank
2 MR. KOUMJIAN:
3 Q. I'm sorry. I'll just finish.
4 Continuing with the question: "You did not observe or hear that
5 Dr. Stakic gave or issued any discriminatory remarks against, for example,
6 the Bosniak Muslims or the Croats or any other non-Serbs, correct?"
7 And you answered: "That is absolutely correct."
8 So my question to you now, sir, is: Having given a very
9 unequivocal answer to all of those questions, is it correct then that you
10 did hear speeches by Dr. Stakic and were aware of interviews that he gave
11 in the media and that in none of these you heard any discriminatory
12 remarks? Is that correct?
13 A. I will repeat the answer that I gave yesterday. I didn't hear of
14 any interview given by Dr. Stakic on the radio, on TV, in the printed
15 media. Personally I didn't hear and I would like to uphold my statement,
16 and I also said that I knew Dr. Stakic only through the media prior to
17 April of 1992. I said that he was in the position of the vice-president
18 of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor and that after the 30th of April, he
19 was appointed the president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor. That
20 is as much as I knew about Dr. Stakic at the time.
21 Q. Sir, I'm a little confused by your answer, and correct me. I did
22 understand yesterday that you did hear interviews by Dr. Stakic on the
23 radio and in the media but that they were not discriminatory. Is that
24 correct, or are you saying that you never heard him give an interview or
25 make a speech?
1 A. I believe that I said yesterday that I did not hear of him giving
2 or having given any interviews.
3 Q. So you don't know if in the interviews Dr. Stakic gave, his
4 interviews promoted crimes against non-Serbs or were discriminatory
5 against the non-Serb population, because you never heard his interviews;
6 is that right?
7 A. That is correct. I never heard any of his interviews, and
8 needless to say, if such interviews had been given, I didn't know what
9 Dr. Stakic stated in those interviews.
10 Q. As a resident of Prijedor, did you ever hear Dr. Stakic or other
11 civilian leaders, but particularly Dr. Stakic, ever make any statement
12 condemning crimes against non-Serbs?
13 A. I didn't hear of any such thing because it was the time of war,
14 and I didn't really have much opportunity to follow the media for various
16 Q. Sir, you said that Dr. Stakic was appointed the president of
17 Prijedor Municipality on the 30th of April. Who appointed him president
18 of Prijedor Municipality?
19 A. Probably those who had taken over power on the previous night.
20 THE WITNESS: Your Honours, I hope you won't hold it against me
21 that I didn't know much of the political situation and the policies which
22 were in place at the time.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You are addressing the Chamber, and I apologise,
24 vis-a-vis the Prosecution. But in order not to come back to this issue,
25 let me just ask one question. I couldn't understand from your statement
1 yesterday. It was on page 24, LiveNote line 21. You said that: "Later
2 on I learned that Mr. Stakic was not engaged in any propaganda in any type
3 of the media."
4 How is it possible that you learned that a person was not engaged
5 in something, and who learned you this?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To be honest, I only learnt this a
7 year or maybe two years ago, when Dr. Stakic was taken to The Hague. I
8 heard that in my conversations with people. I didn't read it in any of
9 the newspapers, or I didn't find it in the media. I just quoted the
10 statements of some people with whom I had had conversations.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. The Prosecution may proceed.
12 MR. KOUMJIAN:
13 Q. Thank you, sir. And is one of those individuals with which you
14 had conversations about Dr. Stakic, Vinko Kondic?
15 A. I don't know this gentleman.
16 Q. Okay. We'll come back to him in a moment.
17 Sir, are you aware of anything that Dr. Stakic or the civilian
18 authorities in Prijedor did to prevent crimes or to punish the
19 perpetrators of crimes that occurred against civilians and detained
20 persons in Prijedor in 1992?
21 A. Personally, I'm not aware of that. It is my guess, which doesn't
22 necessarily have to be correct, that Dr. Stakic and his colleagues at the
23 time did not have a possibility to put up any resistance to the army.
24 Q. Sir, I'm going to ask you with the next question -- if you can,
25 please answer it yes or no. Did you hear of the Crisis Staff of the
1 Prijedor municipality?
2 A. Yes, I did hear the name.
3 Q. Was it your understanding that on the 30th of April, the leaders
4 of the civilian government was Dr. Stakic as president and the Crisis
5 Staff appointed by the SDS party?
6 A. I don't know who appointed him. I only know that on that
7 particular day he was appointed to the position which he continued holding
8 after that time. I must say that I know more or less what the tasks and
9 duties of the Crisis Staff were at the time.
10 Q. Okay. And let me make it clear that I'm not ever asking you to
11 guess. If you do not know an answer, you can say so.
12 On the 30th of April, and in the time following that, all through
13 1992, isn't it correct that there was a civilian government in Prijedor?
14 Martial law was never declared in the Republika Srpska, correct?
15 A. I am aware of the existence of the civilian authorities. And as
16 for the martial law, I'm afraid I don't know anything. Anything I may say
17 about the martial law may be incorrect.
18 Q. Sir, you described the events of the 30th of April and how not a
19 single bullet was fired, that power changed overnight. From your
20 description, would it be correct for us to conclude that the operation was
21 a well-coordinated one between the military and the civilian authorities
22 that took power?
23 A. The mere fact that no bullet was fired, as far as I know, as far
24 as I heard and a lot of Muslims and Croats will also recognise that. I
25 assume that that was a well-coordinated operation. I suppose it was very
1 important to prevent any bloodshed, that nobody was persecuted or
2 harassed, and this is exactly how things stayed until the critical 22nd
4 Q. What happened to the elected president of the municipality,
5 Muhamed Cehajic?
6 A. All I know is that Mr. Cehajic was removed from his position as
7 president of the municipal assembly, because until the 30th of April, he
8 remained in that position.
9 Q. Did you learn that he was taken to the Omarska camp, beaten, taken
10 away, and has disappeared?
11 A. I learned this much, much later. I learnt that he had been taken
12 there. I can't say whether he had been beaten. I never met him
13 personally, nor have I ever seen him personally. I can't exclude
14 anything, because he was in the Omarska camp.
15 Q. Sir, yesterday you briefly discussed with us - I don't need to
16 repeat it now in open session - but your living arrangements, who you were
17 living with. Is it typical in Prijedor -- let's particularly go to the
18 year 1992 -- that people, multiple generations, would live in one home?
19 Particularly out of the town, in the villages and in the hamlets, that
20 you'd have parents, children, grandparents, and sometimes even
21 great-grandparents living together in one home?
22 A. I fully understand the question. Until the war, yes, that was the
23 case. But you even have this today, especially in the peripheral outlying
24 areas of urban centres, and that is my own case even today.
25 Q. And were the Bosnian Muslims in particular known for large
1 families? Was there a lot of talk about the high birthrate of the
3 A. Yes, mostly. But I think that is a fact.
4 Q. Okay. Thank you. I want to briefly discuss mobilisation. You
5 said in your testimony - and I could find the LiveNote quote - but
6 basically you said that mobilisations were the responsibility of the
7 army. Sir, are you aware of an office of the civilian government known as
8 the Secretariat for National Defence?
9 A. Yes, I remember that office. But I think that was also under the
10 control of the army.
11 Q. Sir, are you aware that the head of the Secretariat for National
12 Defence following the takeover, that the SDS or the authorities that took
13 over installed Slavko Budimir, who was also a member of the Crisis Staff
14 along with Dr. Stakic?
15 A. Believe me, I don't know this.
16 Q. Okay. Thank you. I want to move on to Hambarine and what you
17 discussed. First, briefly to discuss with you the incident that you
18 talked about in quite some detail about what happened at the 22nd of May
19 at a checkpoint. Sir, were you present at that checkpoint?
20 A. No, never.
21 Q. Did you ever investigate that at -- let me withdraw that question.
22 Can you tell the Court what the source of your information is as
23 to what happened at that checkpoint. All that you told us about
24 yesterday, did you learn that -- isn't it correct you did not -- you were
25 not there. This is information that was relayed publicly on the radio and
1 in the newspapers, correct?
2 A. I think this information was only publicly relayed, as you say, on
3 the radio.
4 Q. And that was Radio Prijedor, correct?
5 A. I suppose so.
6 Q. In the reports from Radio Prijedor, did they mention, did they
7 tell you that a Muslim was also wounded at that checkpoint?
8 A. I can't tell you that because I don't have any clear information.
9 I only know that a lot of stress was laid on the fact that members of the
10 army had been injured or two of them even killed. Two of them were
11 wounded. And the military authorities demanded that the perpetrators
12 behind this incident be -- surrender of their own free will, or perhaps
13 not of their own free will but that they be surrendered to bodies of the
15 Q. Sir, thank you. But I want to stick right new to the incident and
16 not the aftermath. We'll come to that in a moment. You told us that
17 these were members of the army coming from the Manjaca training ground.
18 Isn't it correct that in April of 1992 in Manjaca there were
19 paramilitaries being trained by the army?
20 A. I can't answer that, because I simply don't know. I know that
21 in -- at Manjaca there was a large military training camp and that at that
22 time a lot of military were stationed there.
23 Q. Sir, in your experiences living in Prijedor through the war in
24 Croatia and the time leading up to the war in Bosnia, was it common for
25 soldiers, particularly during the time of the war in Croatia, to come back
1 through Prijedor often drunk, firing their guns in the air? Soldiers on
3 A. That's possible. But this was not under the military command.
4 Those were exceptional cases, things done of one's own initiative.
5 Although, I do know that for some period of time when people returned from
6 the front line in Western Slavonia no one was allowed to bring weapons
7 across the river Sava.
8 Q. Sir, you would agree with me that if someone points a loaded
9 firearm at you, you have a right to self-defence or certainly if someone
10 fires a gun at you, you have a right to shoot back at them? You'd agree
11 with that, wouldn't you?
12 A. Absolutely, I would.
13 Q. Now, this incident at the checkpoint, are you aware of which judge
14 or which investigative body conducted an investigation? Or isn't it a
15 fact that no investigation was conducted and the army reacted the very
16 next day without interviewing people on the Muslim side of that incident?
17 A. As far as the investigation is concerned of which court conducted
18 an investigation, I can't say, because I simply don't have the
19 information. As far as the reaction by the military on the following day
20 is concerned, I have personal knowledge of this and I witnessed this.
21 Q. Yes. Let's go to that. You indicated that there was an ultimatum
22 asking for the surrender of Mr. Aliskovic and those persons responsible.
23 Do you know how many persons fired their guns at that car that resulted in
24 the death of the two Serb soldiers and the wounding of two or perhaps even
25 all four of the remainder -- remaining members of that car, occupants of
1 that car?
2 A. I can't say precisely how many people were firing at the soldiers,
3 but I suppose that at the checkpoint there were three or four men, because
4 I passed by that very checkpoint for the last time before the incident.
5 It was about three or four days earlier -- on my way from my father's
6 native village, through Prijedor and then on to Ljubija.
7 Q. Thank you. Now, you testified that as a result of the anger at
8 the killing of the two Serb soldiers, that there was an ultimatum. And
9 when these perpetrators did not surrender, Hambarine was shelled. Did you
10 see what it was being shelled with? Was it artillery, Howitzers, tanks,
11 mortars, anti-tank weapons, or all of these?
12 A. Well, first of all, houses were destroyed, as I said yesterday.
13 From about the midpoint in the Prijedor field on to the highest peak in
14 Hambarine, mostly to the left and to the right of the road, as I said
15 yesterday, about 40 -- between 40 and 50 houses.
16 After several days, I learned that those houses had been shelled
17 by a tank.
18 Q. Okay. Thank you. And the 40 or 50 houses or what you saw passing
19 by the road, you didn't check every house in Hambarine, let alone the
20 whole Brdo region. You didn't check the five or seven hundred homes you
21 said in Hambarine for damage. But driving by you saw 40 to 50 houses that
22 had been damaged or destroyed in the shelling, correct?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. Sir, can you tell me, how many elderly people, how many
25 grandparents, great-grandparents, how many women, and how many children do
1 you think were living in those 40 to 50 houses you saw that were destroyed
2 by the army because of the shooting at the checkpoint?
3 A. I can't tell you precisely. I did not know how many members were
4 in those families living in those houses, but I did say that the Bosniak
5 people living there, that there was a higher density of the Bosniak
6 population there, which you can see if you go there, especially in the
7 Brdo area, because there is one house next to the other. But that is not
8 necessarily the case with the Serbian and Croat villages.
9 Q. Sir, the people that were living in those houses, the children,
10 the women, the elderly, even the men that were living in those houses, do
11 you know if they had committed any crime?
12 A. I suppose they didn't, because the first crime that occurred was
13 the day before that, regardless of who committed that crime.
14 Q. Now, that attack occurred on the 23rd, which I believe was a
15 Saturday. And on the 24th of May, Kozarac was attacked, correct?
16 A. Yes, Kozarac was attacked. I don't know so much about that,
17 although I heard later from other people's accounts what had happened.
18 Q. And you talked about an incident at Jakupovici, you weren't there
19 for that incident. In fact, you don't even know where Jakupovici is,
20 really, do you?
21 A. I pointed out roughly the location of Jakupovici yesterday. I may
22 have been wrong, but I know that it's in the immediate vicinity of
23 Kozarac, within a perimeter of perhaps 1 kilometre of the petrol station
24 in Kozarac. That's if I'm not mistaken.
25 Q. I believe that you pointed to a point between Kozarac and Kozarusa
1 yesterday, correct?
2 A. I remember the exact spot I pointed out, but I can't say with any
3 great degree of certainty where the place is located. I know that it's on
4 the Prijedor-Banja Luka road and that it's not far from the centre of
5 Kozarac. I actually believe that Jakupovici are a hamlet belonging to
7 Q. I don't think it's -- I don't think it's necessary to go through
8 it with the witness, but just for the sake of the Court, if the Court
9 wants to refer at some point, I believe Exhibit S146 would show the
10 location of Jakupovici.
11 Sir, following the incident where you said one driver was killed
12 in Jakupovici, from what you heard - again, this is something you heard on
13 the radio, Prijedor Radio, correct?
14 A. I think I didn't really hear it on the Prijedor Radio. I heard
15 from conversations with locals there. I can't tell you precisely. I
16 can't give you a precise answer at this moment.
17 Q. Following the death of that individual, the whole area of Kozarac
18 was attacked and shelled; is that correct?
19 A. I think this happened the following day, and that, yes, there was
21 Q. You've driven through Kozarac. You drove through Kozarac after
22 that attack, didn't you, in 1992?
23 A. I don't think so. That is the road to Banja Luka. And the first
24 time I went to Banja Luka, in late autumn 1992, I was taking a sick person
25 from Ljubija to Banja Luka.
1 Q. On that trip, did it shock you to see the destruction of Kozarac,
2 the severity of the destruction?
3 A. I saw that there was a lot of material damage, but I'd seen the
4 same thing in Hambarine before.
5 Q. And when you say that material damage from shelling and other
6 crimes, did you think that there probably also was a lot of human damage
7 that occurred along with it?
8 A. I think that's only logical. Now, the extent of the damage, I
9 can't talk about that, but certainly someone did get hurt. There were
10 people that had nowhere to run to and nowhere to take shelter.
11 Q. The president of the municipality of Prijedor was in theory the
12 president, the leader of the people of both Hambarine and Kozarac,
14 A. Which president are you referring to? Are you referring to
15 Mr. Cehajic?
16 Q. I'm referring to Dr. Stakic, when he took the title of president.
17 When he took the title of president of the municipality, did you
18 understand that it was his duty to protect all the citizens of Prijedor
19 municipality, including Muslims and Croats?
20 A. That was his responsibility, I assume. But to what extent he was
21 successful in this or how much power he was allowed by other players, now,
22 that's another question to ponder and an important one.
23 Q. I agree, it's important. The people of Kozarac were sent to
24 camps; isn't that correct? Omarska, Keraterm, Trnopolje, correct?
25 A. I think some were sent to the camps, yes. And the remaining
1 part - and I'm talking here about the elderly, women, children - fled to
2 their relatives in Prijedor, and those who had nowhere left to run to went
3 to the Trnopolje centre because their safety was guaranteed there.
4 Q. And it's your understanding, am I correct, that all of these camps
5 were organised? There was transportation provided by Autotransport
6 Prijedor in the case of the bus you escorted; that the authorities
7 provided food, electricity, the police guarded the camps, the army
8 provided security, correct?
9 A. The duty of the civilian authorities was very complex at that
10 time. Their duty was to make sure people had enough food, flour, to give
11 them sufficient medical assistance.
12 Q. Did they have a duty to keep people from being killed, tortured,
13 having their homes burnt down?
14 A. Perhaps they did have that responsibility. But as I've pointed
15 out before, there was no way for them to stand up to the strong and
16 organised military. That's the way I see it.
17 Q. Now, these camps were a very important part of what happened to
18 the people of Hambarine and Kozarac; is that correct? They were part of
19 the programme that was inflicted upon that population, that those after
20 their homes were destroyed, if they did not constitute a physical threat,
21 were taken to Trnopolje; and if it was thought that they could be of more
22 of an interest to the authorities, they were taken to Keraterm or Omarska,
23 or if they could end up being soldiers for the Muslim army, they were
24 taken to Keraterm and Omarska. Correct?
25 A. I can't answer this question in an adequate way, but I must admit
1 that military-aged men were being sent to those camps, which means that
2 there were no children or elderly people.
3 Q. Now, I understand being a young man you never saw the order to set
4 up those camps. Is that correct? Would that be a correct assumption?
5 A. I was not aware of any such orders. As you said, I was quite
6 young at the time, and I wasn't so much into politics really. The war
7 broke out, and my priority task was to try to save my own life and watch
8 out for myself and for my family.
9 Q. So you don't know of your own knowledge whether it was military
10 authorities, police authorities, or the civilian authorities that set up
11 the camp. Would that be correct?
12 A. I don't think that the camps were set up by the civilian
13 authorities, because we were talking about military-aged men after all
14 being taken to these camps, as you have pointed out yourself a minute ago,
15 so as to keep those same men from joining the Muslim armed forces or the
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina Army, as it was called.
17 Q. Sir, just so we're clear, when I say "civilian authorities," who
18 in your mind is the highest civilian authority in 1992 in Prijedor
19 following the April 30th takeover? That would be the president of the
20 municipality; isn't that correct?
21 A. Speaking of the position, yes, the position would indeed be the
22 highest form of authority, of civilian authority.
23 Q. Now, would you expect that the president of the municipality would
24 himself know who had set up the camps?
25 A. I would assume so. Although, as I have said before in my
1 testimony, the president of the assembly himself at that time, regardless
2 of the fact whether we're talking about Dr. Stakic or another person, did
3 not have any significant amount of influence on the setting up of the
5 Q. Sir, thank you. You've told us you did not yourself take part in
6 that decision and didn't see the order for the setting up of the camps.
7 Let me ask you, then: If you knew -- if you heard Dr. Stakic - and for
8 counsel and the Court I'm referring to S187-1A, ERN page 03058480, in the
9 middle of the page - stated in an interview, "These places, such as
10 Omarska, Keraterm, and Trnopolje were a necessity in a given moment and
11 were formed according to a decision of the civilian authorities in
13 Would that change your opinion as to whether Dr. Stakic and the
14 civilian authorities in Prijedor ordered the establishment of these camps?
15 A. I don't believe that they were the ones who ordered the setting up
16 of those camps.
17 Q. Do you know of any reason why Dr. Stakic would say in an interview
18 that the civilian authorities ordered the establishment of the camps if
19 that was not true?
20 A. I am not aware of the fact that Dr. Stakic said it in the first
21 place. I can't be sure of that. I never heard such a statement.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you want to hear the statement?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean Dr. Stakic's statement?
25 MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay. Following the break, Your Honour, we can set
1 that up.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stands adjourned until 4.15.
3 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 4.16 p.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
6 The Prosecution may proceed.
7 MR. KOUMJIAN:
8 Q. Sir, just a few questions while I'm waiting for my colleague to
9 return. Do you know who the commander of the Omarska camp was in 1992?
10 A. I can't recall the name.
11 Q. Does the name Zeljko Mejakic? Does that remind you who the
12 commander of the Omarska camp was?
13 A. I am aware of the name Zeljko Mejakic, but I do not remember what
14 he was the commander of the camp at the time.
15 Q. Do you know who the commander of the Keraterm camp was or who they
16 were during 1992?
17 A. Believe me, I don't know their names. I may know the names of the
18 people, but I'm not aware of the fact that they discharged those duties.
19 Q. Are you aware of the fact that the commanders of both the Omarska
20 and Keraterm camp were police officers, regular police officers from
22 A. Later on I heard an example regarding Miroslav Kvocka and a
23 position he held in Omarska. Miroslav Kvocka was indeed an active
24 policeman at the time, so this is just one example.
25 Q. So is the answer that you are aware that the guards at the Omarska
1 and Keraterm camps were commanded by regular police officers? Is that
3 A. I don't know if they were active policemen, but I do know that
4 there were policemen providing guard duty in Omarska and also in
5 Keraterm. But I really don't know whether they were active policemen or
6 reserve policemen, but I assume that there were both kinds.
7 Q. Can you tell us the name of the commander of the Trnopolje camp?
8 A. I really don't know.
9 Q. Are you aware that Slobodan Kuruzovic, a member of the Prijedor
10 Crisis Staff, was the commander of the Trnopolje camp?
11 A. I heard of Slobodan Kuruzovic. I heard that he was a member of
12 the Crisis Staff, but I don't know what his position was in Trnopolje or
13 how he was involved in Trnopolje.
14 Q. Okay. Thank you. We're now going to play the video that you
15 requested to see, and that's S187. I hope that we have it -- we tried to
16 have the video prepared so that it will begin on the English translation
17 about one-third of the way down on page 03058480, page 2 of the English
18 translation, with the reporter's question that talks about reports in the
19 British press.
20 And sir, I'd like you to pay attention to Dr. Stakic's answers to
21 this question, first his answers to the questions about who set up the
22 three camps and then his -- briefly his answers to -- his description of
23 the Trnopolje camp.
24 If you can look at your monitor in front of you.
25 [Videotape played]
1 [Please refer to Exhibit S187-1
2 for video transcript]
3 MR. KOUMJIAN: Stop, please. Stop for a moment.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
5 MR. KOUMJIAN: And if the tape could be rewound just a moment.
6 I'll come back to the discussion of Trnopolje in just a moment. But
7 finishing first with this.
8 Q. Sir, having listened to Dr. Stakic's response to the question of
9 the interviewer and his statement that the camps, Omarska, Keraterm, and
10 Trnopolje, were formed according to a decision of the civilian authorities
11 in Prijedor, would you now change your opinion and state that these camps
12 were indeed set up in your opinion by the civilian authorities?
13 A. If this is what Dr. Stakic has stated, and obviously he did -- but
14 as far as I understand things, and it is only logical to believe that
15 Dr. Stakic did not act on his own, that he was not the only one with
16 influence. Maybe he had more influence than him despite the fact that he
17 held the highest position in the civilian authorities. Maybe there were
18 other colleagues of his who had more experience, more authority, more
19 connections in all the spheres of social and political life.
20 Q. Thank you, sir.
21 Now, let's go on to the Trnopolje camp, which you visited on
22 several occasions. Perhaps --
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to interrupt.
24 I'm deeply surprised by your answer. Do you feel yourself under
25 any obligation to protect anybody when answering this way?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not give my answer in order to
2 protect Dr. Stakic. I just presented a realistic fact, and that is that
3 Dr. Stakic did not act independently. He was not alone, most probably.
4 He must have had other people with him, people with more work experience,
5 with more knowledge, with more connections, because the doctor was rather
6 young at the time, despite -- regardless of the fact that he held such a
7 high position. Does this clarify my answer? Because this is exactly what
8 I wanted to say.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I just wanted, as I normally do, express my
10 surprise that when answered in a concrete way, you immediately answered in
11 a way trying to protect a person that you yourself called the president at
12 that time. And what is the factual basis that brings you to the
13 conclusion that there were others more responsible?
14 We, in fact, would be highly interested to know -- you might know
15 that in the beginning of this case, there were three accused, and it's now
16 for us it's really important to know some facts what brings you to the
17 conclusion that the one acting as the president might not be the most --
18 the person with the highest influence. And whom would you regard from
19 your position at that time - not what you have learnt later, but at that
20 time - who was really the responsible actor in the political, military,
21 and police area at that time?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let me tell you, as far as the
23 civilian authorities are concerned, it was already the time of war. In
24 more normal times, it is only logical to expect that the president of the
25 municipal assembly would have the highest responsibility for everything
1 that happens within the sphere of everyday life. However, we are talking
2 about extraordinary circumstances, exceptional conditions. The military
3 regime was already in place.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But to be concrete, what brings you to your
5 conclusion and what at that time -- you must have got your own conclusion,
6 your own impression, and you no doubt had been aware at that time what
7 happened around you. You saw the destruction. You mentioned it
8 yourself. And as a young person, you'll ask yourself the question: Who
9 is responsible for all this? And what was from your opinion at that time
10 the answer to the question: Who is responsible, that we can't live any
11 longer in peace as we did before?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's a very difficult question for
13 me to answer and to tell you who is responsible for the war that broke out
14 in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the former Yugoslavia in the region of
15 Prijedor. To my mind -- and I may be off the topic when I say that I
16 believe that all the three parties are equally responsible for everything
17 that happened in that area, the area of the war-struck Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina. Obviously it was the Serbs who held power in Prijedor, and
19 it is logical, therefore, that the Serbs are responsible for what happened
20 in Prijedor region. But we cannot blame the entire Serbian people.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Absolutely correct. I thank you for this
22 sensitive answer.
23 The floor is for the Prosecution.
24 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you. If we could just go back now to the
25 video. I don't know if it's possible to rewind about five seconds from
1 where we stopped it and get the next question and answer regarding the
2 Trnopolje camp.
3 [Videotape played]
4 [Please refer to Exhibit S187-1
5 for video transcript]
6 MR. KOUMJIAN: Stop. If we can go back about 15 seconds. We just
7 missed the start of the answer.
8 [Videotape played]
9 [Please refer to Exhibit S187-1
10 for video transcript]
11 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you.
12 Q. Sir, Mr. Witness, do you believe Dr. Stakic's answer was an
13 accurate and fair description of the people that yesterday you called
14 detainees at the Trnopolje camp?
15 A. This is the first time I see this videotape, and it seems to me
16 that Dr. Stakic -- actually, I provided the Honourable Court with very
17 similar information, similar to the one that Dr. Stakic presented in this
19 Q. I think, to be safe, we should go into private session.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Private session, please.
21 [Private session]
13 Page 9572 – redacted – private session
13 Page 9573 – redacted – private session
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts. Pages 9574 to 9581.
13 Page 9582 – redacted – private session
17 [Closed session]
13 Pages 9584-9621 – redacted – closed session
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
15 at 7.02 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday,
16 the 11th day of December, 2002, at 2.15 p.m.