1 Friday, 13 December 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning, everybody. Please be seated. May
6 we hear the case number, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is Case Number
8 IT-97-24-T, the Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And for the Prosecution.
10 MR. KOUMJIAN: Good morning, Your Honours. Nicholas Koumjian with
11 Lise-Lotte Karlsson for the Office of the Prosecutor.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And for the Defence.
13 MR. OSTOJIC: Good morning, Your Honours. John Ostojic on behalf
14 of Dr. Milomir Stakic.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. I take it that we can start
16 immediately with today's one and only witness, number 45. And if I recall
17 correctly, you stated that no protective measures would be necessary.
18 MR. OSTOJIC: That is correct, Your Honour. The Defence does have
19 a request of the Court, if we may, or we can apply for it at the end of
20 his testimony. It involves three specific issues.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We should try to resolve all the remaining
22 issues after we have heard the witness, also from the side of the Judges,
23 there are some issues to be discussed. And --
24 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
1 May I ask the usher, please, to escort the witness into the
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning, Mr. Kos. Can you hear in a
5 language you understand?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May we please hear your solemn declaration.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
9 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Please be seated.
11 WITNESS: MICO KOS
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You are now here as a witness of the Court. You
15 are called by the Defence, and therefore the first line of questions will
16 come from the side of the Defence. Please.
17 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
18 Examined by Mr. Ostojic:
19 Q. Good morning.
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. Sir, my name is John Ostojic, and I represent Dr. Stakic, as you
22 know. I'll be asking you a series of questions today, this morning, in
23 connection with items and facts which you observed and those that were
24 known to you in the spring and summer of 1992.
25 If at any time you do not understand my question, please ask me to
1 clarify the question, and I will attempt to do so. Let us begin. Please
2 state your name for the record.
3 A. My name is Mico Kos. I was born on the 6th of September, in 1952
4 in Lamovita, Prijedor Municipality.
5 Q. Can you tell us your father's name, please.
6 A. Dragoljub.
7 Q. Can you tell us your place of residence.
8 A. Omladinski Put, 51 Street, Prijedor town, Prijedor Municipality.
9 Q. Can you, sir, share with us your marital status.
10 A. I'm married, father of two daughters, one of them is a student and
11 the other is an elementary school pupil.
12 Q. Forgive me for asking, but can you share with us your ethnic
14 A. I'm a Serb.
15 Q. In the spring and summer of 1992, where did you reside?
16 A. In Prijedor, the same address that I've just provided.
17 Q. And how long have you lived at that address, sir?
18 A. For 20 years.
19 Q. Share with us, if you will, your educational background. What is
20 the highest level of education that you attained?
21 A. The highest level of education is completion of a university
22 degree. I graduated from the economics faculty in Sarajevo in 1976. And
23 I have been filling official -- high official positions ever since.
24 Q. Give us a little background of your employment history, sir, if
25 you can, starting with where you were employed in the spring and summer of
1 1992 and in what capacity.
2 A. In 1992, or more specifically, ever since 1987, I have been
3 manager of the Sana catering facility in the Prijedor Hotel in Prijedor.
4 And then through to mid-1993.
5 Q. So is it fair to say that in the spring and summer of 1992, you
6 were the manager or director of the Hotel Prijedor in the very city of
7 Prijedor, Prijedor Municipality? Correct?
8 A. That's correct. The hotel is on the right bank of the River Sana.
9 MR. OSTOJIC: With the Court's permission, we can have the usher
10 show the witness Exhibit S2, please. Perhaps S2-1 would also be helpful.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We would prefer S2-1, and focus, please, on the
12 centre of the town and immediately on the ELMO.
13 MR. OSTOJIC: May I proceed, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please.
15 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you.
16 Q. Mr. Kos, you have a map that has been provided as an exhibit and
17 admitted into evidence. I'm going to ask you, please, to look at this map
18 and share with us, if you can, where the hotel is in which you were the
19 director in the spring and summer of 1992. There's a pointer on the desk
20 in front of you.
21 A. Yes. This is the Prijedor Hotel. This dark patch here.
22 MR. OSTOJIC: Your Honours, if we can ask -- thank you.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you please fix it. That's the building
24 close to the -- is it a bridge? I don't know.
25 MR. OSTOJIC: Perhaps I can ask the witness to point again, Your
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes.
3 MR. OSTOJIC:
4 Q. Mr. Kos, would you be kind enough to again show us where the Hotel
5 Prijedor is.
6 A. Here, on the corner of -- I mean, the Sana River bank. And this
7 street leading from the direction of Tukovi towards Ljubija and Sanski
8 Most entering the town. Not the light part here, but the darker patch,
9 the dark spot here. And it says clearly, it's marked "Hotel Prijedor."
10 It has the letter P to it.
11 Q. Thank you. Just leave the map there, and we'll come back to it in
12 are a minute. I have some other preliminary questions.
13 Mr. Kos, can you tell me prior to April of 1992, were you
14 affiliated with any political party at any time?
15 A. Yes, I was a member of the communist league of Yugoslavia.
16 Q. And can you share with us the period of time in which you were a
17 member of the communist league of Yugoslavia roughly, to the extent that
18 you can recall.
19 A. I became a member when I was doing my regular military service in
20 the JNA. That was back in 1977. And then I stayed in the party until
21 late in 1993. But as soon as war broke out, there were no more party
22 meetings being held. So until the war broke out, you could say I was
23 effectively a member of the communist league.
24 Q. During the period 1991 through 1993, were you, sir, at all a
25 member of the political party the SDS?
1 A. No, I never was. I was, so to speak, neutral during that period.
2 Q. Immediately prior to April of 1992, namely, January through April
3 of 1992, did you have an opportunity to travel through the town of
4 Prijedor for both personal and employment reasons?
5 A. Yes, I was in Prijedor every day at that time. I would go to
6 work. I would pass through the centre of the town, and I often took my
7 wife out to the centre in the evening to do some shopping, to walk around
8 a bit, that sort of thing.
9 MR. OSTOJIC: Your Honour, at this time we will not need the map
10 for another few moments, so not to inconvenience the usher, if we can
11 remove the map and then we'll come back to it, with your permission.
12 Q. Mr. Kos, I'd like to ask you things which you observed during that
13 time period of approximately January through April of 1992. And
14 specifically, before we address that issue, share with us what your duties
15 and obligations were as the director of the Hotel Prijedor at that time
17 A. Well, my duties and responsibilities as the manager were to
18 organise the work of the company from the top level down, down to security
19 issues and representation of the hotel to clients, to external clients,
20 and to the hotel's caterers.
21 Q. And when you say clients and hotel's caterers, you actually mean
22 guests of the hotel. Correct?
23 A. Yes, precisely.
24 Q. Sir, can you share with us from the period January through April
25 1992 whether or not Hotel Prijedor under your direction and management had
1 employees who were of diverse ethnic backgrounds, meaning were there
2 Serbs, Muslims, Croats, and otherwise as we have called here other
3 non-Serbs who were employed at the hotel?
4 A. Throughout that period, all the employees, until the 31st of
5 December, 1991, stayed in their positions, and they kept on working,
6 business as usual, true enough. There was less work to be dealt with at
7 that time. We had the least number of Croats, but Serbs and Muslims were
8 equally represented in the hotel.
9 Q. I'm only focussing for my purposes now the period prior to the
10 30th of April, 1992, if I can. So that period, there were both Serbs and
11 Bosniak Muslims, predominantly, at the hotel, correct, as employees?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. Now, during this time period, let me ask you, were you able to
15 observe or did you learn first-hand from your employees that people,
16 families, were leaving the Prijedor Municipality because of tensions or
17 the atmosphere of fear that was starting to develop in the municipality?
18 Again, sir, I'm only asking you for that period of time.
19 A. As I told you at the beginning, I spent quite some time in the
20 centre. And you did feel a certain atmosphere, the migration of the
21 population, the bus terminal was often full of people as well as the
22 railway station. Usually there were bussing running from Prijedor to
23 other places, and those buses were always packed. It was difficult to get
24 a ticket if you were going to Zagreb or Belgrade or any place like that.
25 A case I can remember right now, a waiter who used to work at the hotel
1 asked for unpaid leave. And he told me openly that he had sent his wife
2 and children away out of Bosnia to a safer place, he said. I granted his
3 leave, and at a later stage he reported back to work.
4 Q. As you sit here, do you recall that gentleman's name?
5 A. I do, of course.
6 Q. Can you share it with us, please.
7 A. His name was -- he was the chief waiter, Senad Kurtovic.
8 Q. What is his ethnic background?
9 A. I think he's a Muslim. Mind you, I never drew up any lists with
10 people's ethnic backgrounds.
11 Q. In addition to observing people leaving or having the buses, I
12 should say, full, did you also have an opportunity to discuss or did you
13 learn from Mr. Mujadzic whether he had his family leave the Prijedor
14 Municipality during this time period January through April 30th, 1992?
15 A. Yes, I was personally present and talked to Mr. Mujadzic at the
16 hotel once. And there were other people, there, too. And he said it
17 himself, I sent my wife and two sons away to the Federal Republic of
18 Germany. I think he said it back in March sometime. But it was spring
20 Q. And can you tell us, sir, to the best of your recollection,
21 whether that was a voluntarily exodus by his family, or was it
22 involuntary, forced?
23 A. I think it was perfectly voluntary. There was no coercion, no use
24 of force, by anyone there, any of the different ethnic groups, I think, at
25 least not that I noticed any.
1 Q. Also, did you notice, sir, while the buses were filled with people
2 that were departing the Prijedor Municipality, did you notice any coercion
3 or forced exodus or transfer of these people?
4 A. As far as I know, there was no coercion whatsoever. I knew of
5 Serbs leaving, migrations, on a day-to-day basis. They would send their
6 children away. Most usually people were sending their wives and children
7 away. People there knew from experience that there had been the war in
8 Croatia in 1991, so many people became afraid and they wanted to save the
9 lives of their closest kin. There was nothing organised about it in that
10 period; life went on as normal. Work went on as normal. The economy, the
11 political life.
12 Q. Let me ask you, if I may, during that period of time, was there an
13 influx in the Prijedor Municipality of people who were coming from Croatia
14 as a result of the war in 1991?
15 A. Yes, there was a certain influx, but I wouldn't exactly call it
16 significant. Plenty of our own people who worked in Zagreb and Ljubija in
17 Croatia and in Slovenia came back, but not too many, I would say. They
18 were running from the war in Slovenia and Croatia so they returned to
19 their homes so to speak, because that was very often where their parents
20 lived, their brothers and sisters perhaps. So they had their own place to
21 stay when they came back.
22 Q. If I can direct your attention, sir, now, to the period of April
23 30th, 1992, if you can just briefly identify for me if you know what the
24 significance, if any, of that date is.
25 A. The 30th of April is usually taken as the date of the takeover by
1 the Serbs.
2 Q. Let me also ask you for purposes of a time line, are you familiar
3 or did you become familiar with the date of May 22nd, 1992? Did something
4 happen that may be considered significant on that date?
5 A. I remember that date. You said the 22nd of May, and that's
6 correct. There was an incident near -- just below Hambarine.
7 Q. I apologise for interrupting. I just want to establish that you
8 are familiar with those time lines, and then I'm going to ask you some
9 questions of things that you may have personally observed and experienced
10 within that time line. We'll get to the 22nd of May and that which you
11 learned and observed personally. Right now, I'm concentrating, with the
12 Court's permission, on that specific approximate three-week period. Okay?
13 A. Fine.
14 Q. From April 30th, 1992, through May 22nd, 1992, did Muslims,
15 Croatians, and other non-Serbs continue to be gainfully employed at the
16 Hotel Prijedor in the Prijedor Municipality?
17 A. Yes. It was business as usual for everyone. The first day,
18 things started happening, and the next 20 days, they reported for work.
19 There was a certain amount of fear in the air. People were saying
20 things. People were asking me for advice. And whenever I was approached,
21 I would always tell them "I don't think you'll be running into any
22 problems. Everything goes on as usual." So people came to work. And I
23 wouldn't say that tensions were particularly high or that fear was
24 extreme. There was a certain amount of fear with the non-Serb population,
25 but everyone turned up for work regularly.
1 Q. Did you, sir, in your capacity as the director of the Hotel
2 Prijedor have the ability to discharge and fire employees who worked under
3 you at the hotel?
4 A. I was not in a position. I was not legally authorised to do
5 that. My employees came to work on a regular basis. I had no desire,
6 intention, or plans to fire anyone regardless of their ethnic background.
7 Q. I'll ask you that in a moment. My question to you, sir, is
8 whether you could have been able to, during that time period, the 30th of
9 April through May 22nd, 1992, fire or dismiss an employee who may have
10 been derelict in his duties in any way? Were you the man who would
11 discharge them?
12 A. I'm not sure what you're referring to. But there was the labour
13 law. I was there to apply it, but I had no other instructions, no
14 instructions other than that, from any of the official structures to fire
15 non-Serbs from work, no matter which point in time we're speaking about.
16 People did get sick occasionally, and they would give us a ring to tell
17 them they were on sick leave. Obviously such cases were tolerated, but
18 there were no repercussions in such cases.
19 Q. If I may ask you directly, did you during this time period
20 discharge, dismiss, or fire any employees who were of an ethnic background
21 different than yours, namely, Muslims, Croats, or other non-Serbs?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Did you, sir --
24 A. Once, not once, I never fired a single employee at my hotel.
25 Q. Did you, sir, during that time period at any time harass or
1 intimidate any of your non-Serb employees?
2 A. I believe that I didn't. There were never any complaints to that
3 effect. We had a system of internal monitoring whereby employees could
4 complain about their manager's behaviour. But no complaints were ever
5 filed against me, not in my company.
6 Q. We briefly discussed the date of May 22nd, 1992. I'm not going to
7 ask you to tell us what you heard about necessarily the incident, the
8 number of the military men who were attacked and killed, but I'd like to
9 have you share with us whether or not you were at the hotel on May 22nd,
10 1992, when you heard about the incident at Hambarine.
11 A. This event took place in the evening hours, while I was at home. I
12 got a phone call from the chief waiter who wanted to inform me. It must
13 have been around 22, 23 hours, to inform me that he couldn't, since he
14 lived in Ljubija, 12 kilometres from Prijedor, that he couldn't go through
15 Hambarine, that the buses were not driving, that there was a crowd of
16 people, that something had happened. And he wanted me to give him my
17 approval to stay there, to spend the night there, which is what I did.
18 And it was on the next morning that we heard what had happened.
19 Q. As you sit here, sir, do you recall the ethnic background of this
20 employee who asked you for permission to stay overnight at the hotel as a
21 result of the incident on May 22nd, 1992?
22 A. Mr. Milan Anusic, nicknamed Nono, who was the chief waiter at the
23 hotel, a Croat by ethnicity. And his friend Misa and myself, we
24 celebrated Christmas together in 1991. He was a good friend of mine, like
25 many other people.
1 Q. These other friends of yours, were they also, sir, non-Serbs?
2 A. Like I just told you, one was a Muslim, one was a Croat, and one
3 was a Serb, and we celebrated the Catholic Christmas together in 1991.
4 Mr. Kosar [as interpreted] who is now living in Rijeka can confirm that.
5 Misa was also there, but I'm not sure where he is at the moment, whether
6 he's in Europe or somewhere else.
7 Q. Another time line, sir, we had established I believe in this case
8 is the date of May 24th, 1992, which was an incident that occurred at
9 Kozarac, and I'm sharing, with the Court's permission, just some
10 background on this. I'm taking you through the period of May 24th, 1992,
11 through May 30th, 1992. But before I ask you a series of questions for
12 that time period, I would like to know if you know the significance of the
13 date of May 30th, 1992. What if anything occurred?
14 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I think we previously stipulated to
15 that date during one of the cross-examinations a long time -- I remember
16 it was Mr. Lukic who was asking the witness that question. But just to
17 shorten things, all these dates, the takeover, the 30th of April, the
18 Hambarine incident, the 22nd of May, the attack on Prijedor on the 30th of
19 May, the Prosecution offers to stipulate.
20 MR. OSTOJIC: Yes, Your Honour, but for purposes of credibility of
21 the witness, I think it's important to know, and the Defence's position is
22 if we examine those incidents and those dates, it would assist us when
23 comparing the fourth amended indictment as to truly what transpired. If
24 this witness had no knowledge of that time period, the Court would weigh,
25 perhaps, his testimony slightly differently and if he did have knowledge
1 of it, the Defence has specific questions, and I can share with the Court
2 what it is, of movement of people from the Kozara area in the city of
3 Prijedor itself where he was the director of the hotel.
4 So we would like to establish that fact, and it's necessary for us
5 in order that it's not vague or broad that specifically within that time
6 period, Mr. Kos was the hotel director; specifically within that time
7 period, he personally observed that families from the Kozara area were
8 seeking shelter and came to the city of Prijedor. And then hopefully
9 there's going to be an explanation as to what some of these people did who
10 resided within the city of Prijedor on or about May 30th, 1992. I think
11 we have a right to establish that. We're not disputing the dates. In
12 fact, it was the Defence who insisted that these dates be clarified. If
13 the Court examines the fourth amended indictment, the 22nd of May, 1992,
14 although enormously significant as stipulated to is not mentioned by the
15 OTP. The 24th of May, 1992, a very significant date is not mentioned.
16 How the provocation occurred, all they do is mention a period of May
17 through June --
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please, no argument. We are not with the
19 closing argument now. And we have not the slightest doubt as to the
20 credibility of the witness as he sits here. And therefore, this should be
21 not disputed. It's not necessary to establish. And since we received the
22 fourth amended indictment, we have heard now 93 days of testimony, all in
23 all, more than 9.000 pages. And I think even though the parties
24 unfortunately did not succeed to come to agreed facts, these facts seem to
25 be -- we have to be cautious -- seem to be undisputed. And therefore, it
1 seems to be absolutely not necessary. And I think it's also established
2 that all people living in Prijedor at that time are aware of these
3 important days, be it the 30th of April, be it the 22nd of May. So
4 therefore, please proceed.
5 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I was just trying to avoid
6 an objection on foundation, so I was trying to establish that the witness
7 is aware of those time lines. So if I may, I will proceed. Thank you,
8 Your Honour.
9 Q. Sir, from the 24th of May, 1992, through the 30th of May, 1992,
10 did you have an opportunity on a continuous and daily basis go to the city
11 of Prijedor?
12 A. I only went to work during that time period because the tension
13 after all had mounted. But I went to work normally, and I went back home
14 normally. But it is true that not many people really walked around a lot
15 or ventured out.
16 Q. During that --
17 A. -- shopping.
18 Q. I apologise. During that time period, sir, May 24th through the
19 30th of May, 1992, did you personally observe and learn that people from
20 the area identified as Kozarac were coming into the town to live with
21 family, friends, and, in fact, also stayed at your hotel?
22 A. Yes, yes, I remember one particular night when a large group of
23 people had arrived. I don't remember exactly the gentleman who was the
24 leader of the group and who wanted the accommodation for only one night,
25 which is what I accepted. We never charged them for that. They spent the
1 night there and then left the next day. I don't remember the exact date,
2 but you can find it in the records of the hotel. But I know it was during
3 that time period after the 24th, when a large group of people arrived to
4 stay with their relatives and those who couldn't find accommodation with
5 their relatives, they came to the hotel. And we organised the
6 accommodation for them. It is possible that some of them stayed two
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kos.
9 Specifically, now, I would like to ask you about the 30th of May,
10 1992. Although stipulated, can you tell us, if you recall, on that date
11 what you remember occurred.
12 A. I do recall that day very well. I'll never forget it. I was
13 fortunate to have survived, although it was my baptism in fire. It was a
14 Saturday. And I went to work and ran into an ambush. I don't know what
15 to call it. It was some sort of clash between the extremists who had come
16 to Prijedor town to recapture it. I don't know if you want to hear the
18 Anyway, I got to the JNA Street, which is leading to the hotel,
19 and I got to the street in front of the hotel which is called Partizanska
20 Street. And as I was getting closer to the hotel, I could hear shooting.
21 I heard it from my car, and I could even sense that there was something
22 bumping against my car. I crossed the street. I got to the junction.
23 And when I was about to leave -- to turn left towards the hotel, I saw
24 fire and smoke near the hotel.
25 It was 7.00 in the morning, and it was drizzling. And at that
1 point, I heard really loud shooting. I turned right towards the orthodox
2 church and went in the direction of Jereza, which is a local commune
3 there. I didn't have any problems at that point as I was driving, and I
4 thought perhaps I should go back to JNA street where I had come from. But
5 I turned right nevertheless towards the Jereza neighbourhood, and I
6 heard -- I realised that my car was being shot at with a burst of gunfire.
7 I fell down, and I was then closer to the hotel. This was now the
8 right side of the hotel. And I was really exposed to the fire. There was
9 a civilian car there, a Zastava 101 car, and I saw that it had crashed
10 against a lamppost, and there was a man lying next to the car. And when I
11 looked up, I realised that the shooting was coming from the park. There
12 was this person, as I said, lying down, a body of a citizen lying next to
13 the car. I couldn't see what was inside the car. But at any rate, it had
14 crashed against the lamppost with the front part. I continued driving my
15 car. I ducked, but I could still see a little. I was able to follow the
16 road, and then I passed by the local museum of Prijedor. And I saw that
17 there was a truck parked there. I glanced in the direction of Suporek,
18 and I thought that I might be safer there, but I realised that there were
19 some people in uniform there in vicinity of the museum. They were facing
20 the SUP building and pointing their rifles towards the SUP building.
21 I turned a bit to the right with my car and passed by this group
22 of people and this truck without problems at that point. But when I
23 reached the crossing of Karadzic Street and Vojvoda Put Street, I saw a
24 delivery truck that was delivering bread to the local shops. There was
25 another group of people consisting of two or three soldiers maybe. One of
1 whom was standing next to this vehicle, and I passed by this vehicle on
2 the left side. I couldn't tell that bullets were being fired at me. They
3 were probably surprised. They didn't expect anyone coming their way. And
4 the first thing that occurred to me that I should do -- I reversed into
5 neutral, and I continued towards another junction there where I left the
6 car, and I ran out of the car and ran towards my home. This took place
7 between 7.15, at around 7.15 or 7.20. I don't know if this means anything
8 to you.
9 Two or three days later, I fetched the car. But I was able to --
10 I was able to count 20 or 30 bullets later on when I fetched the car. I
11 was lucky because one of the bullets hit the filter. One hit the
12 carburetor. So -- well, I was really lucky. This was just my personal
13 experience. As I said, it was a Saturday and since the hotel is after all
14 a catering facility, I also worked on Saturday, and I had normally gone to
15 work that day.
16 Q. Permit me to ask you a couple questions if I may in connection to
17 that, sir. You identified initially that this group that were attacking
18 the town were extremists. Can you identify for me, sir, how is it first
19 of all that you know that this group were extremists?
20 A. Who else but extremists if it was by force that they wanted to
21 impose their version of justice with weapons?
22 Q. Was this group, sir, resisting anything, or were they attacking
23 the city of Prijedor?
24 A. They were attacking. They were trying to capture the city of
25 Prijedor from several directions. This is what I learned later. My
1 people in the hotel who had spent the night at the hotel told me about
2 it. A man got killed, and this driver, the Zitopromet driver, was also
3 killed, the civilian who was driving this truck.
4 One of the groups was attacking the Prijedor Hotel. There was a
5 bakery shop which we called Kanape, a privately owned bakery shop located
6 in the street leading to Tukovi. And this is where they came from, this
7 group of extremists, who were attacking the hotel. When I finally got
8 home on that day, around 12.00, I wasn't -- in those days, I didn't listen
9 to the Prijedor radio, but the Zagreb radio. And I heard that the hotel
10 had been captured, that it was on fire and so on and so forth. I didn't
11 believe everything that I heard, of course, and then in the afternoon I
12 heard that the hotel had not actually been captured by the extremists.
13 One other group was at the local secondary school. They were also
14 firing towards the Prijedor Hotel. I think that that was the strongest
15 group of all. I have a couple of friends who told me they had been
16 captured. One of them passed away in the meantime. One was a bank clerk,
17 Brane, then Marijan Nisic. There was quite a few of them, but I know
18 these two men who were captured while going to work wearing civilian
19 clothes like myself. They were taken prisoners by them and detained in a
20 classroom of the secondary technical school. They interrogated them
21 there. I don't know whether they had tied them up or not, whether they
22 had been tortured or not. But...
23 Q. If I may, let me just ask a couple questions still with respect to
24 the 30th of May and this attack by extremists. Did you learn and come to
25 know what the ethnic background of these extremists who attacked the city
1 of Prijedor on May 30th, 1992, was?
2 A. What I learned later and what I'm sure about, they were Muslims
3 and Croats. I was very good friends with Slavko Ecim actually, and he was
4 one of them who had organised the whole thing. He was pretty outspoken.
5 He had even spoken publicly about it. And he would say publicly that
6 things would be different, that they would not turn out according to what
7 Serbs had planned and so on and so forth. So there were quite of few of
9 Q. Do you recall, sir, approximately the number of people that were
10 involved in this attack, as you call it, by the extremists on the 30th of
11 May, on the town of Prijedor?
12 A. Well, no one was able to establish that. I can only tell you how
13 many checkpoints there were that were manned by these extremists. I told
14 you about two of them. Then there was a third one where a large group of
15 people was near the Kozarski Vjesnik office and the Prijedor radio.
16 That's where one group went. And there was another one that came from the
17 direction of the Balkan Hotel; that's four. The fifth one was at the
18 overfly, the one that had come from Puharska. I think that it was the
19 largest one actually according to what people said. A very good friend of
20 mine was severely wounded there. A friend who was an ambulance driver.
21 He was seriously ill later on. He had a heart attack. I don't know
22 whether this was related with what had happened or not.
23 But anyway, this group was able to control one of the access roads
24 to Prijedor, the area which we call Prijedor 2 where some of the military
25 and the police were located. So everyone who went underneath this overfly
1 was shot dead. And that is what Dragovic told me. They were shooting
2 from heavy weapons, and this was the -- the group that people feared
3 most. And then the group that went -- that attacked the hotel and set it
4 on fire, they were able to set on fire the area which consists of -- which
5 was made of inflammable substance. I mean, the furniture there was made
6 of inflammable substance. So there were quite a few such groups, one of
7 them very well armed even with machine-guns.
8 Q. Within those groups that you've mentioned, approximately how many
9 people were in each group, sir, to the best of your recollection?
10 A. No, I don't think I can say how many. I saw only a couple of
11 people in front of the museum, and then groups of five or six people in
12 front of the local grammar school. As for the other secondary school
13 building near the park, that was further away, so I couldn't see. But
14 this is where I heard the shooting was coming from, from the park near the
15 secondary school. And they shot at my car.
16 Q. The extremists who attacked the town of Prijedor on the 30th of
17 May, 1992, were they shooting, sir, at the military -- or first, I should
18 ask you, was there a military presence within that town? And if so, to
19 what extent?
20 A. There was almost no military inside the town. There were two
21 checkpoints which they attacked. They attacked one near the Hotel
22 Prijedor from the direction of Tukovi, and they killed one or two people
23 there. I know that there was a checkpoint there which came under attack.
24 It was manned by a mixed group consisting of both military and civilian
25 police. There was no actual -- any military strictly speaking inside the
1 town. There was a group, again, a mixed group, near the officers' club in
2 the town, both civilian and military policemen. So that's all. The
3 soldiers were not located inside the town. They were quartered further
4 away, in the barracks, in the garrison.
5 Q. Well, share with us, if you know, from your personal observations,
6 who were these as you call them extremists on the 30th of May, 1992, who
7 attacked the city of Prijedor? Who were they attacking?
8 A. They were attacking vital points inside the town such as the Radio
9 Prijedor station which they wanted to take possession of, and the office
10 of the local newspaper Kozarski Vjesnik, the town hall, that is the
11 municipality building, in order to take over. They had attacked the
12 official authorities of the Prijedor Municipality.
13 Q. Having lived in the Prijedor Municipality and working specifically
14 in the city of Prijedor, were you, sir, able to make an assessment as to
15 where these extremists were coming from who attacked the town on the 30th
16 of May, 1992, from which direction or which part?
17 A. Well, I described the direction they had come from. A group came
18 from the direction of Puharska and Cerek, and the other one from the area
19 of Hambarine, the hilly part of the municipality. They must have crossed
20 the Sana River. And one group came from the side. I don't know exactly
21 which areas they had come from, Kozarac, Jakupovici, Cela, thereabouts.
22 But I'm not sure. I don't know exactly from where.
23 Q. Do you know, sir, exactly which area of the town these extremists
24 who attacked the town of Prijedor retreated to?
25 A. I wasn't present, but I know according to what people told me
1 one -- a friend of mine told me that the majority of them had withdrawn
2 towards the area of Stari Grad, and then further on across the Sana River
3 and the area of the Hambarine hill. The largest part of the extremists
4 went in the direction of Stari Grad, and then they crossed the Sana River
5 in boats and were withdrawing further on into the fields and the woods.
6 Q. Were you able to see, sir, whether there was battles that were
7 raging from house to house?
8 A. No, I was not. I didn't see that.
9 Q. Did you, sir, at any time see or observe or come to the conclusion
10 that there were snipers in town who were also attacking the city?
11 A. I noticed that there were snipers on that morning when I was
12 driving to work. I noticed something strange, and I was later on told
13 that those had been snipers because there is a difference between normal
14 shooting and between -- and the shots which are fired from sniping
15 rifles. And then there would be a lull in shooting, and then they would
16 start again opening fire from these rifles.
17 Q. Briefly, you informed us of a conversation that you had with a
18 gentleman by the name of Slavko Ecim in connection with him being one of
19 the leaders of this extremist group who attacked the city of Prijedor.
20 And you mentioned, I believe, that he was a good friend of yours, or a
21 friend of yours. Can you tell us when that conversation happened between
22 you and Mr. Ecim?
23 A. That was earlier. That was long before the attack. It may have
24 been in 1991, I think. Afterwards, I didn't meet Ecim any more. We were
25 friends, but through another friend that we shared, Vojo Topic. There's
1 nothing secretive about it. He was a friend of mine. He was into private
2 business before the war, so he constructed fish ponds.
3 Q. Following the attack on Prijedor, up until and including September
4 30th, 1992, can you describe for us what, if anything, was happening in
5 the city of Prijedor, specifically as you personally observed it while you
6 were gainfully employed at the Hotel Prijedor.
7 A. Well, yes, a lot happened. You mean since the 30th of May, 1992?
8 Q. From the 30th, through September of 1992, was there some normalcy
9 that was attempting to be returned to the city of Prijedor?
10 A. Well, gradually, yes, life was back to normal and work was back to
11 normal. You could feel that the economy had been affected, but it
12 continued operating, although there were cutbacks everywhere. In the
13 catering business, not to speak of the Celpak and the iron ore mines, the
14 really big companies. They practically halved their production, because
15 the roads were unsafe, and traffic was often impossible, and the supply of
16 goods was cut off. But people did move about. The Mlado sports hall,
17 there were buses there, and some people were leaving.
18 I wasn't really interested. I wasn't there myself when these
19 things were happening.
20 Q. And sir, tell us if you personally know Dr. Milomir Stakic.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And share with us how is it that you first met Dr. Stakic.
23 A. First, I had heard of him. I heard that he was a doctor who was
24 from Omarska. That's where he completed elementary school, and he worked
25 there later on. He had finished med school, and then he came to Omarska
1 to work. I got to know him a bit better. There was a promotional meeting
2 for Veljko Guberina's party. Veljko Guberina is a lawyer from Belgrade.
3 The name of the party is I think was the National Radical Party. That was
4 in the village of Nisevici. And that's where my wife comes from.
5 So I decided just to go and see my relatives there, and I saw that
6 the meeting was taking place. So I stopped by to have a word with the
7 people at that meeting. And Mr. Stakic was one of the prominent founding
8 members of that party in the Omarska area. From that time to the time
9 when he was appointed vice-president, I didn't see them. But then I sort
10 of met him again when he was the vice-president of the Prijedor Municipal
11 Assembly. That was I think in 1990, after the first democratic elections.
12 Q. Did you also, sir, have an opportunity to know Mr. Cehajic, who
13 was the president of the Municipal Assembly, prior to April of 1992?
14 A. Yes, Cehajic. I had met him in my early days. I was working at a
15 secondary school as an economics teacher, and Mr. Cehajic worked at the
16 grammar school. He was teaching Serbo-Croatian. There was a restaurant
17 nearby where we often had breakfast together, so I think I'm entitled to
18 say that I knew him quite well, ever since 1979 when I returned from the
19 army. I knew most of the grammar school teachers, especially the grammar
20 teachers because that was the adjacent building to the building where I
21 worked. So we had this restaurant that we often went to together.
22 Q. The period immediately prior to the 30th of April, 1992, did you
23 have an opportunity to visit personally with Mr. Cehajic to sit and have a
24 cup of coffee perhaps at your hotel or to visit with him in other places?
25 A. Mr. Cehajic really left a very favourable impression. He never
1 passed by the Prijedor Hotel without seeing me, without having coffee with
2 me. I mean, as a person, but when he became the president of the
3 Municipal Assembly, he no longer came very often, but he did come once or
4 twice. So we would exchange some remarks over a cup of coffee. So if
5 there's anything that should be said about him, I think he was one of the
6 more moderate people in our town and in our area. There was nothing
7 extremist about him, and he never said anything against any of the ethnic
8 groups. He always wanted peace. But I think I should say this: He once
9 told me, Were it not for the hawks, for the extremists, we would be able
10 to organise life in a much better way and turn Prijedor into perhaps the
11 most beautiful place in Bosnia and Herzegovina, because we did have
12 opportunities to organise normal life, both in terms of the economy and in
13 terms of the local politics.
14 Q. Did you learn or become familiar with who these hawks or
15 extremists were, sir? And if so, who were they?
16 A. No, no, not really. Other than what I've told you. Prior to
17 that -- I'm not sure, so I don't want to be guessing.
18 Q. Did Mr. Cehajic at any time criticise, complain, or render any
19 negative opinions to you about Dr. Milomir Stakic?
20 A. Well, truth to tell, we never discussed this very much. He never
21 said any bad things about Dr. Stakic, but he never said any particularly
22 good things about him either. I certainly would remember if he had ever
23 made any comments about him or if he had criticised him. I don't usually
24 go around asking people, Well, what do you think about this man or about
25 that man? I just know that in our conversations he never told me anything
1 bad about him. He never called him an extremist. He never said that he
2 was an impossible man to work with. He told me on the contrary that they
3 worked well together.
4 Q. Can you share with me, sir, with respect to Dr. Stakic if you
5 heard him ever give a speech, a statement, or comment that would be in any
6 fashion interpreted as being discriminatory against Muslims, Croats, or
8 A. No. I never read anything in the printed media to that effect,
9 not that I really read the local papers. And I don't listen to the radio
10 much either. But in conversation, I never heard any open criticism of
11 Dr. Stakic. I never heard anyone call him a hawk or an extremist. I
12 never heard anyone say that he treated anyone from the SDA or the HDZ
14 Q. That's all the questions we have, Your Honour.
15 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Mr. Kos.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Prosecution wants to start immediately, or
17 should we have the break now?
18 MR. KOUMJIAN: It's up to Your Honours.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then, yes, it's better to have the break now.
20 The trial stays adjourned until 10.45.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.12 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 10.51 a.m.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Koumjian, you may start, please.
24 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you, Your Honour. If the usher could move
25 the ELMO to the side. If you could move it back, it's actually now right
1 in his face.
2 Cross-examined by Mr. Koumjian:
3 Q. Sir, you mentioned your good friend Slavko Ecim. Is Mr. Ecim also
4 known as Slavko Ecimovic?
5 A. Ecimovic, Ecimovic. Without an "H" at the beginning.
6 Q. Thank you. Mr. Ecimovic was a very educated and principled man,
7 your friend. Is that correct?
8 A. He was my friend's friend actually. I was more of an acquaintance
9 really, not a close friend. We had a friend in common who was sort of the
10 link between the two of us.
11 Q. Thank you. And when you meet someone even for short time, you can
12 tell the difference between an uncultured person and a person who is very
13 cultured and displays an obvious dignity. And Mr. Ecimovic had that,
14 didn't he?
15 A. Yes, to quite a high extent I would say.
16 Q. And sir, when Mr. Ecimovic told you prior to the events you talked
17 about, prior to the Serb takeover of Prijedor, that things would not turn
18 out as the Serbs had planned, he was very, very wrong, wasn't he?
19 A. That's the way it turned out.
20 Q. Sir, you talked about extremists and your definition, which I
21 understand. And just to repeat it, you said that extremists would be
22 someone who would have to be -- if by force, they wanted to impose their
23 own version of justice, that these would be extremists.
24 Sir, the people that took power on the 30th of April, 1992, were
25 those people in your view extremists?
1 A. Well, I beg to differ on this, because the takeover happened
2 without a single bullet being fired. No one got killed. No one was
3 injured. So there's a difference between the use of force and a
4 nonviolent takeover. So that's my opinion.
5 Q. Well, sir, why was the takeover successful without a bullet being
6 fired? Why is it that people who had -- were elected and had positions
7 such as the gentleman you mentioned, Mr. Cehajic, forced out of office so
8 easily without a bullet being fired? Wasn't it -- I put it to you, sir,
9 wasn't it because there was overwhelming force in favour of the side that
10 was taking power?
11 A. This is a political issue really. I wasn't moving in those
12 circles exactly, so I don't think I can answer this question.
13 Q. When you talked about the period after the takeover and said there
14 was very little army presence. There were checkpoints, and there were
15 guards stationed outside of key facilities such as the Municipal Assembly
16 building following the takeover. Isn't that correct? Guards of some
17 type, of some --
18 A. Yes, yes, that's correct.
19 Q. Is it correct that most of these from -- do I understand you
20 correctly that most of these were actually police, reserve police, and
21 were not regular army soldiers?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You talked in quite some detail about witnessing the attack on
24 Prijedor. By the way, have you ever told any representatives of the
25 Defence before today about your experiences during that attack and what
1 you witnessed?
2 A. Which period before are you referring to? Yes, I did talk to
3 representatives of the Defence, yes.
4 Q. Sorry. My question could be clearer. Let me try to start making
5 clearer questions. When were you first approached by the Defence for
6 Dr. Stakic about being a witness?
7 A. Perhaps a year ago.
8 Q. And do you recall, sir --
9 A. I can't remember the exact date. I think roughly a year ago.
10 Q. Thank you. That's fine. Can you tell us who it was that first
11 approached you and just briefly describe the contact you had.
12 A. Mr. Lukic, the lawyer, approached me, Branko Lukic. He obtained
13 certain information about me as a civilian in Prijedor having survived,
14 because many people could have been killed or injured during the attack on
15 Prijedor. So I took up his offer to tell my story the way I saw things,
16 so that's why I took up the offer.
17 Q. Thank you. We appreciate that, and we appreciate you coming.
18 When you spoke to -- have you had other contacts or other
19 interviews about your experiences in 1992 in Prijedor with the Defence
20 besides this initial contact with Mr. Lukic?
21 A. No.
22 Q. So you spoke to Mr. Lukic a year ago, and that was the only
23 contact you had prior to coming to The Hague?
24 A. We had other contacts. The first time and other two interviews,
25 one was a kind of preparation, and then last Monday, just before I left.
1 Q. Thank you. During those interviews, did you tell the -- whoever
2 it was you were speaking to, Mr. Lukic or whoever, about your experiences
3 during the attack on Prijedor, on the 30th of May, just to be clear?
4 A. Yes, yes. Yes, yes.
5 Q. Thank you. Is it correct that the hotel that you were the manager
6 of -- I believe it's called the Prijedor Hotel. Correct? Hotel Prijedor?
7 A. Yes, yes, that's correct.
8 Q. It sits more or less right on the banks of the Sana River, next to
9 the bridge that connects the Tukovi neighbourhood to the main centre of
10 Prijedor. Correct?
11 A. Yes, that's correct.
12 Q. And you mentioned that there was a checkpoint there that was
13 guarding the entrance to the town?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Across -- from the hotel, you have a view also of Stari Grad. Is
16 that correct?
17 A. From the hotel, on the upper floors, yes. From the upper floors
18 you do have a view of Stari Grad. There is a seafood restaurant there,
19 and then there is the Berek, and then some sort of a canal and a
20 restaurant. But Stari Grad, you can't really see Stari Grad from the
21 ground floor of the hotel.
22 Q. Okay, thank you. I haven't had the pleasure of staying in your
23 hotel yet. Can you tell us how many floors --
24 A. Perhaps you'll have an opportunity, I hope.
25 Q. I hope so.
1 How many storeys is your hotel?
2 A. Nine.
3 Q. Is the restaurant -- you mentioned a restaurant. Is that on the
4 top floor?
5 A. No. The restaurant is on the first floor. And on the ground
6 floor, you have the reception and some other hotel services.
7 Q. From the -- you mentioned the upper storeys, it's possible to have
8 a view of all of Stari Grad. Is that correct? It's simply the canal in
9 between your hotel and Stari Grad. Correct?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. I just want to be clear. When you were witnessing the attack,
12 were you staying on the ground floor? Were you outside the hotel or
13 inside the hotel?
14 A. No, I was on my way to work. It was 7.00 in the morning. I was
15 outside the hotel. I watched the hotel in flames, so I couldn't come any
16 closer. So I turned back and went home.
17 Q. And you mentioned that you saw the attackers at one point crossing
18 by boat, crossing the Sana River. That would be going from the side --
19 A. No, no. I didn't say that. There must have been a translation
21 Q. I don't have the transcript, so perhaps I didn't understand you.
22 Did you say you saw that the attackers withdrawing to the fields and
23 woods? And I thought you said they crossed the river.
24 A. What I said was that I knew they were going in that direction. I
25 didn't say that I saw them, but they were retreating through Stari Grad
1 across the Sana River, to the fields, and then on to the forest. That's
2 what eyewitnesses told me, but I didn't personally witness this.
3 Q. Okay. And that would also make sense because if you were
4 retreating and outnumbered, the woods would give cover to those persons
5 who were trying to make an escape. Correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, approximately what time of day was that that this group of
8 attackers withdrew across the river?
9 A. According to the news I was listening to, and I was listening to
10 Radio Zagreb, the hotel was not captured until 3.00 in the afternoon. So
11 I assume they retreated from the centre after 3.00.
12 Q. When did you re-enter the hotel?
13 A. Four days later, three or four days. That was the next Tuesday.
14 Q. On that -- how long did you stay in the area on the 30th -- and
15 witness the attack on Stari Grad or the fighting in Stari Grad?
16 A. This lasted for about -- no, it wasn't in Stari Grad. It was in
17 the town centre in general. 20 or 30 minutes, half an hour perhaps, as
18 long as it took me to sort of circle that particular neighbourhood.
19 Q. Thank you. So the fighting was not in Stari Grad, but closer to
20 the centre around the hotel and on your side, the centre side of the
22 A. No, no. I saw those fights. But later on, there were other
23 fights before they crossed the River Sana. That's what I heard from
24 eyewitness accounts.
25 Q. Now, the individuals that you saw, that you actually saw, were
1 armed with rifles of some sort. Is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did you see what happened to Stari Grad before and after that
5 A. Before Stari Grad, Stari Grad was -- well, what should I say? But
6 after the attack, there was a lot of destruction. Seven to ten days later
7 perhaps; I can't quite remember the date when I ...
8 Q. I'm sorry, I wasn't clear in my question. I meant during and
9 after the attack. Did you see that there was the -- Stari Grad the day
10 after the attack? The 31st of May, did you see Stari Grad?
11 A. No, I didn't. That was later, on Thursday or Friday the following
12 week because for two or three days, I didn't go to the centre at all. I
13 stayed at home with my wife and children.
14 Q. Were you aware that -- isn't it true that after that day, in the
15 next couple days, people were told to go to your hotel, non-Serbs, where
16 they were transported from there to camps such as Omarska?
17 A. No, I don't think that's true.
18 Q. Stari Grad, I understand, means the "old town." And is it true
19 that that was a somewhat unique section of Prijedor, that it had
20 architecture and buildings from the Ottoman period, time?
21 A. Well, that's not my opinion. Stari Grad was surrounded,
22 encircled, by a canal, which separates it from the rest of the town. It's
23 a canal, and we refer to that neighbourhood as Stari Grad. There were old
24 Bosnian houses, but not from the Ottoman period. That's far from the
25 Ottoman empire, I would say. I could even tell you that in the former
1 system, Stari Grad was supposed to be transformed into a recreation
2 centre. And many of the houses had been bought off for that purpose, and
3 their purpose was to become strictly tourism and cultural, tourism.
4 That's what I knew. It was supposed to be a monument of culture, a
5 certain number of houses. But then -- a number of houses had been bought
6 off to be converted into a recreation -- into recreational and sports
8 Q. Actually, these were houses that people were living in up until
9 the 30th of May, 1992. Isn't that correct?
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. And it was an almost completely Muslim neighbourhood. Correct?
12 A. Yes. Yes, yes, you're right.
13 Q. There was a very -- there was a mosque there, an old mosque.
15 A. Well, I'm not sure. On the island itself, a mosque, I'm not sure.
16 Q. Sir, you could see that mosque from your hotel. You could see the
17 minaret of that mosque from your hotel. There was a mosque in Stari Grad.
18 A. The old mosque was in the centre of the town only. But I mean,
19 I'm not sure. What I remember was it was located in the centre. If there
20 was a mosque there, then, well, there must have been. But I'm not sure.
21 Q. How was Stari Grad destroyed? How was it destroyed?
22 A. The day when the extremists were withdrawing, and then when the
23 military arrived to chase them away, on that day. That's when it
25 Q. Was it destroyed by tank fire, or were fires set? How was it
1 destroyed? You don't destroy a house with a --
2 A. No, no. A tank was used on that day.
3 Q. Did you see Stari Grad burning that day and the next few days?
4 A. No, I didn't. I was not in the area for about four days, from
5 that morning until Saturday, so I didn't see anything.
6 Q. So if I go to Stari Grad today, will I see it rebuilt, or will I
7 still see the damaged buildings from the tank fire? What will I see if I
8 go to Stari Grad today?
9 A. You will not see damaged buildings; you will see an old house
10 which is called Stari Loric, that has remained untouched, and a number of
11 completely new houses that have been built in the meantime. And then an
12 open area which was used as a flea market, but the population has moved
13 out from the area, and new houses are being built.
14 Q. In --
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I interrupt. Sorry. I think it's time now
16 to ask you, Mr. Witness, Mr. Kos, to concentrate on the answers. This is
17 not the place just to say this and that word. We want to have concrete
18 and truthful answers. You have given a solemn declaration. And I will
19 not tolerate that when asked you, for example, describe the way Stari Grad
20 was destroyed, and then later on when asked, you tell just "I was not
22 So please, tell us what you have seen yourself and refrain from
23 speculations. And if you don't know, tell the representative of the
24 Prosecution what you saw, what you did not see, what you maybe have heard
25 from others. But don't leave this open in this way as if this would be
1 just a conversation in your coffee shop of your hotel.
2 MR. KOUMJIAN:
3 Q. Sir, what happened to the people that lived in Stari Grad after
4 the attack?
5 A. I don't know.
6 Q. What happened to your friend Slavko Ecimovic?
7 A. I don't know that either.
8 Q. Did you ever ask your brother what happened to Slavko Ecimovic?
9 A. My brother? No, I didn't.
10 Q. Your brother was a commander at the Omarska camp. Correct?
11 A. He's not my brother. He's a cousin of mine, but a distant cousin
12 of mine. His grandfather and my grandfather are brothers, and we are
13 cousins three times removed.
14 Q. Thank you for that correction. And just, for the record, can you
15 say his first name, because I'll mispronounce it.
16 A. Yes. Milojica Kos, also known as Krle.
17 Q. Was your cousin, did you ever speak to him about the fate of
18 Mr. Ecimovic?
19 A. No, I never talked to him about the Omarska camp at all, not even
20 since he has come back home.
21 Q. Did you ever speak to him about the fate of Muhamed Cehajic?
22 A. No, I didn't.
23 Q. Sir, you mentioned attending a -- running across some type of
24 political rally for Mr. Guberina's party. That was in 1990. Is that
1 A. Pre-electoral activities in 1989 or 1990, I'm not sure. The
2 elections took place in 1990, so this could have been in 1989. But I'm
3 not sure.
4 Q. Yes, it wasn't immediately before the election, but sometime after
5 the beginning of the multi-party system. Correct?
6 A. Yes, yes.
7 Q. Are you familiar with the platform of that radical party?
8 A. No.
9 Q. As an educated resident of Prijedor, were you aware of the general
10 view of political parties as far as their political views as far as which
11 were considered -- for example, there were the reformists of Markovic, and
12 then there were the nationalist parties. Correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And it was known that the reformists were more pro-Yugoslav, and
15 the nationalist parties had advanced their own agendas. Correct?
16 Anti-communists and their own nationalist agendas also. Correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. In relation to the SDS party, was the radical party of
19 Mr. Guberina seen as more nationalistic than the SDS?
20 A. I don't know.
21 Q. You said that Mr. Stakic, Dr. Stakic, when you met him, he was,
22 your understanding, one of the founding members. Do you know that he
23 was -- if he was actually -- that he was actually the first president of
24 that party in the Prijedor Municipality?
25 A. I don't know.
1 Q. Were you familiar, can you give us any insight, on how it was that
2 Dr. Stakic became a member or became the SDS candidate for advice
3 president of the Prijedor Municipality?
4 A. Well, in order to stick to the caution given by His Honour, I only
5 heard that the area of Omarska, within the structure of the government,
6 wanted one office. And that office was the office of the vice-president
7 of the municipality. And that is how they probably ended up with the --
8 with an adequate individual. I know that this distribution is done at the
9 local level, for local communes, and the relevant areas, Ljubija,
10 Omarska. Those were the former municipalities which were made part of the
11 Prijedor Municipality, and he they probably requested each one office in
12 one relatively important office within the local government.
13 Q. Thank you. And we do appreciate you making the distinction
14 between things you know from your own observations and those you heard.
15 That's important. Thank you. You talked about --
16 You talked about - in answer to one of Mr. Ostojic's questions -
17 that you hadn't heard Dr. Stakic make any remarks that you thought were
18 extremist or discriminatory against non-Serbs. Did you hear Dr. Stakic,
19 when he was the president of the municipality, in the media, did you hear
20 him on the radio, television, or in the newspapers?
21 A. No, I didn't.
22 Q. So when you answered that question about not hearing him make any
23 discriminatory remarks, what you meant is that you didn't hear him make
24 any speeches at all. Is that correct?
25 A. I never heard or read anything about him. As I said, when I have
1 time to read, I read the Belgrade-based Politika, and I watch the Zagreb
2 TV. These are the sources of information that I mostly use. I don't
3 listen to any local news agencies.
4 Q. Do you recall -- thank you for telling us that. But do you recall
5 when it was that Dr. Stakic returned to Prijedor and, once again, became
6 the president of the municipality?
7 A. No, no, I don't recall the exact date.
8 Q. Do you know if it was 1995 or 1996 or somewhere in that time
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you know who it was that put Dr. Stakic forward as the
12 president of the municipality, or how it was that he came back to once
13 again become the president of the Serb municipality of Prijedor?
14 A. I know that human resources policy was not conducted by the party
15 that was in power, the SDS. I never attended any meetings or sessions of
16 the close circles of the SDS leadership. I don't know the exact answer.
17 But I assume it was them.
18 Q. When Dr. Stakic returned as the president of the Prijedor
19 Municipality, do you know who was the chief of police in Prijedor at the
20 same time?
21 A. I do. The late Mr. Simo Drljaca.
22 Q. And you recall, I'm sure, that Mr. Drljaca was -- attempted to be
23 arrested. There was shooting. He shot an officer, and he was shot and
24 killed in 1997. Correct?
25 MR. OSTOJIC: Let me object to the form of the question, Your
1 Honour. There has been no testimony regarding the specific events
2 relating to Mr. Drljaca's attempted arrest and ultimate shooting. I'm not
3 sure if he shot an officer or what. I just don't want it to go in the
4 record. If counsel wants to categorise that, he should establish if those
5 were facts that were undisputed or not.
6 I personally don't have any view on it, but I would hate to have
7 any incorrections be placed on the record or any impressions to be
8 suggested that there was a shooting of an officer. I truly don't know if
9 there was or not. But counsel should substantiate that if he has it, and
10 put it to the witness in that specific form as opposed to in a question.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you please rephrase your --
12 MR. KOUMJIAN: Questions are how I put things, information to,
13 witnesses. But I believe this is --
14 Q. Sir, isn't it a widely known fact that when Mr. Drljaca was
15 attempted -- excuse me. When the SFOR - and I'm not sure if it was called
16 SFOR at that time, it might have been IFOR - attempted to arrest
17 Mr. Drljaca, that he shot a British officer, and that he was shot and
18 killed. It was widely reported and it was a well-known fact in Prijedor.
20 A. I don't know that.
21 Q. What is it that you don't know? You don't know that Mr. Drljaca
22 was killed?
23 A. Well, I know that he was killed, but I don't know who did what. I
24 was not present there. I didn't see it happening.
25 Q. After Mr. Drljaca -- after the attempted arrest of Mr. Drljaca,
1 what happened to Dr. Stakic? Did he continue to make public appearances
2 in Prijedor?
3 A. I don't know.
4 Q. Well, sir, don't you know that Dr. Stakic disappeared, even though
5 he was the president of the municipality? Isn't that a fact?
6 A. I don't know that he disappeared, no.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I draw the attention to the fact that also
8 answering a question with "I don't know," even though you know it would be
9 a false answer. So please try to concentrate and try to answer a
10 question. And we have a long line of questions you're answering just by
11 "I don't know." And there are good reasons to believe that from the
12 perspective of a neutral spectator of the events, you must have known.
13 Please continue, Mr. Koumjian.
14 MR. KOUMJIAN:
15 Q. Sir, would you consider a person calling Bosnian Muslims an
16 artificial race to be a discriminatory statement?
17 A. Yes, if that's true, then yes. Then it would be a discriminatory
19 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you. I have no further questions, Your
21 Questioned by the Court:
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How did you learn about the takeover the 30th of
23 April, 1992?
24 A. When I came to work at the Prijedor Hotel, they told me that there
25 had been a takeover last night. And I noticed a Serbian flag outside the
1 hotel hoisted up.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you know who hoisted up this flag?
3 A. I don't know. I can only make assumptions. I don't know whether
4 you want to hear that answer. I heard that it was the soldiers who had
5 been on security duty in front of the hotel, this mixed group of military
6 and civilian police officers. This is what they told me at the reception
7 desk, the receptionist on duty told me that.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You speak about a mixed group of military and
9 civilian police officers. Can you go in some more detail? Did you, when
10 coming to the hotel, see such a group, mixed group of military and
11 civilian police officers?
12 A. Only military police and civilian police, they were there. Yes, I
13 saw that.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Will you please tell me, what are [inaudible] if
15 so, did they wear uniforms?
16 A. Yes.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Which kind of uniform, please?
18 A. These police officers had normal police uniforms, and these other
19 had military police uniforms with white belts. And they had the old
20 police insignia. Nothing else.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Were there also people in camouflage uniforms?
22 A. Not to my knowledge.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's come back to the flag hoisted up outside
24 your hotel. Was it also the following days, weeks, and months hoisted up
25 outside your hotel?
1 A. There had been a Yugoslav flag before, and then this one came. It
2 remained there until the attack on Prijedor when it was burnt.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was this hoisted up daily?
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And was there anybody who ordered you or anybody
6 else in the hotel to do so, instead of having the old flag?
7 A. The flag was hoisted on a mast, on a flag pole there, and I didn't
8 touch it. It just remained there. It was normal for flags to be hoisted
9 outside buildings.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So there's no such custom that you never should
11 have a flag hoisted up during nighttime?
12 A. No, no.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So you agreed, and you didn't object, to this
14 fact that there was a flag?
15 A. Not that I didn't inquire. I was told, well, this is -- that's
16 the way things are. Just keep quiet.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We all understand that the 30th of May was a
18 very important day in your life, and no doubt it's only by nature that you
19 concentrate on these remarkable days in our lives. You mentioned that you
20 recall that you heard at that date Zagreb Radio, opposed to Prijedor
21 Radio. Did you listen the 13th --
22 A. No, no, no. I don't think that Prijedor radio was working on that
23 day. I don't think it was. No.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What about the 13th of April? Did you listen
25 that day, or by chance anybody else in your hotel had the radio on? Did
1 you listen to Radio Prijedor the 13th of April?
2 A. No, I didn't. I couldn't tell you anything about others. There
3 are no loud speakers for the Prijedor radio. There is no direct coverage
4 of events.
5 MR. KOUMJIAN: I believe, Your Honour --
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: On the transcript, the 13th has to be exchanged
7 against 30th April. 3-0.
8 MR. OSTOJIC: Your Honour, if I may, perhaps the witness perhaps
9 had the translation the 13th as well, as opposed the 30th.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I want to come back to this. Maybe there was a
11 mistake from my side that I wasn't clear enough in my English. So we
12 discuss the day of the takeover. Did you listen to Radio Prijedor?
13 Weren't you interested what was said officially what happened that night?
14 A. I don't know if you will believe me, but I didn't. I wasn't
16 MR. OSTOJIC: Your Honour, for the --
17 A. An interested member of the party.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please continue. I only read from the
19 transcript "an interested member of the party." Could you please be so
20 kind to restate the entire sentence you wanted to present.
21 Once again, wouldn't you yourself find it surprising that when in
22 your hometown, a takeover takes place, that you don't try to go to find
23 out what has happened, who is responsible, who took over, for what
25 A. Again, I think it's a politician's business. They should take
1 care of that, the party that is in power. I don't know what that was, if
2 it was a putsch or a coup or something else. I really don't know. I
3 really wasn't interested in all that.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But wouldn't this event have an impact on your
5 own business? Isn't this reason enough to be interested in the events?
6 A. Initially, no. It did not affect the structure of the companies
7 in terms of personnel and members of the SDS and so on and so forth. It
8 only affected the overall situation later on, in August, September, after
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When asked by Mr. Ostojic, you gave us on page
11 24, lines 19 following -- a short description on how you learned
12 Dr. Stakic to know. And how was it possible for you to learn that he was
13 a doctor from Omarska and that it was there where he completed elementary
14 school? Did you have already at that time in the youth contact with
15 Dr. Stakic, or did you discuss this with Dr. Stakic?
16 A. Well, not in my youth, I didn't have any contacts with him in my
17 youth. The first real contact came when he was appointed vice-president
18 of the Prijedor Municipal Assembly.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For this, I thought you were not interested in
21 A. No.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was it just coincident that at that time when he
23 was appointed vice-president that you had the first real contact with him
24 in your capacity as businessman or ...?
25 A. In my capacity as a businessman, and he, in his capacity as the
1 vice-president of the municipality.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you briefly tell us what you discussed
3 during this meeting?
4 A. It was a meeting of businessmen and the authorities. We usually
5 discussed the economy, employment, the employment rate of the Prijedor
6 Hotel, how many employees we had, and what needed to be enhanced and how
7 we can satisfy as many clients as possible when they came to our hotel.
8 That sort of thing.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You told us earlier this morning that you
10 learned that he was a physician in Omarska and he went to school there.
11 Did you discuss with him the reason why he entered into the political area
12 and, yes, became vice-president?
13 A. No, never.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But at what point in time did you discuss with
15 him his education and his development as a physician as you told us this
17 A. Your Honour, I'm afraid I don't understand your question.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This morning, you told us, and I just quoted
19 from this, that when asked "you're aware that Dr. Stakic went to school in
20 Omarska, became a physician in Omarska," when did you learn about this?
21 A. I learned when he came to work there as a doctor, when the young
22 Dr. Stakic, a man from our town, came to work at the health station in
23 Omarska. I learned this from my wife, because she was born the same year
24 as he was.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Have you ever been in Omarska and in the health
1 station in Omarska?
2 A. I just wasn't there when he was there. But other than that, I
3 have been there countless times because I was born in that same place.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was Dr. Stakic your physician as well?
5 A. No.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's try to continue a little bit. After this
7 first meeting, when did you meet him again?
8 A. In the period before the 30th of April, maybe two or three times,
9 if I remember right.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And after the 30th of April?
11 A. Then, there came a period until September during which we didn't
12 meet. Until September 1992, I'm talking about the period between April
13 and September 1992.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How come that just during this period you didn't
15 have this contact apparently necessary for your business?
16 A. I don't think it was really necessary, had it been necessary, we
17 would have been meeting. The hotel had been damaged, so we tried to
18 repair the damage to our catering establishment, and Mr. Stakic must have
19 been busy with other duties and responsibilities. Throughout that period,
20 the hotel was not receiving guests. There may have been another meeting;
21 I'm not sure if in September or some other month, when Dr. Stakic called
22 me to ask me if we could host a session of the assembly of the Serbian
23 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I think that's what it was called at that
24 moment. So that was my first meeting with him after the period that I
25 talked about, since the 30th of May.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And did your hotel host this session?
2 A. Yes, yes, we did. Our hotel was the venue for that meeting, I
3 think in October that year.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Who was the leader of this meeting? Who chaired
5 the meeting?
6 A. It was the assembly of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina presided over by Mr. Momcilo Krajisnik.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you participate in this meeting?
9 A. No, I didn't. I was the organiser. I was the manager of the
10 hotel. I was in charge of the technical aspects.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you recall other persons by name
12 participating in this meeting?
13 A. I remember all the politicians from the Serbian Republic of Bosnia
14 and Herzegovina. At that time everyone attended the assembly. A
15 colleague of mine, Branko Djeric, had just resigned. He was my
16 generation, and he was the vice-president of the government but then he
17 resigned. I know that a group, there was a group who tried to push for
18 the removal of the government in Prijedor. There was Radovan Karadzic.
19 I'm talking about the big name now. And there was Velibor Ostojic. I
20 recognised these people, but I didn't really talk to them or have any
21 contacts with them.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You told us that you were contacted by
23 Dr. Stakic, that Dr. Stakic called you and asked if you could host a
24 session of the assembly of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 Did Dr. Stakic himself participate in this meeting?
1 A. That he convened a meeting, and then there was the meeting, and I
2 was in charge of the organisation. And then there was a meeting including
3 a bigger group of people, and I couldn't organise this on my own, nor
4 could he have organised this on his own. There were lots of things to be
5 done. The glass surfaces that had been shattered had to be mended.
6 Everything had to be prepared. There were lots of things to be sorted
7 out. The big hall to hold the assembly, with no water, no electricity.
8 That's what it was like back then.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you during this phone call already confirm
10 this meeting that your hotel would be ready to host this group, or did you
11 have a follow-up meeting with Dr. Stakic to discuss details of the
13 A. Mr. Stakic told me then that I should give it some thought, and
14 then there was another meeting during which we discussed the details of
15 the whole thing. But not only the two of us, there was a group of people
16 involved. And then tasks were handed out. There was a second meeting,
17 and then a third meeting. There were a number of meetings concerning the
18 organising of this assembly.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And when concretely took this meeting place in
20 your hotel?
21 A. The exact date, I think it was on the 23rd of October, 1992, the
22 22nd or the 23rd. It lasted for three days. I'm not sure if it was
23 October or November. It was late in 1992. I know that an electricity
24 aggregate had to be supplied because we had no water, electricity, or
25 heating. And it was very cold in the rooms.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And then later on, you told us that Dr. Stakic
2 came several times to your hotel. This is correct?
3 A. Dr. Stakic, the vice-president of the municipality, the president
4 of the Executive Board, the secretary for the economy, everyone came. It
5 lasted for about a month, the preparations of the assembly. Day in, day
6 out. The late Simo Drljaca, he practically spent most of his time at the
7 hotel because he was in charge of security, sabotage work, that sort of
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But must have had in-depth discussion with
10 Dr. Stakic that you are able to come to the assessment that Dr. Stakic
11 was, as it was the assessment of a number of witnesses we heard here, a
12 moderate person. What brought you to this conclusion, on what basis was
13 this? Did you have special good contacts with Dr. Stakic? Did you
14 discuss, and I still try to find out, how did you learn -- this was the
15 beginning of the line of questions. How did you learn about issues? Did
16 you discuss this with him, and did you discuss with him the question
17 whether or why he entered into the political area and then later no
18 longer, for a period of time, acted as president of the Municipal
19 Assembly, all these issues, what one would normally discuss when being in
20 a closer contact?
21 A. Well, yes. But this is the sort of conversation that you usually
22 leave for more peaceful times. Those times in Prijedor were terrible, not
23 only for Prijedor but also for the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina. We had no
24 time and no room left for intimate conversations, debating all these
25 issues. Whenever I talked to him, I always got the impression that first
1 and foremost, he was a doctor to begin with. And then after that, perhaps
2 also a politician. His role in organising the assembly was also to
3 organise, to hand out specific tasks to the different members of the
4 committee so these tasks could be carried out. I did not have much direct
5 personal contact with him. I was handed out my task, and then another
6 person was handed out theirs, you know, that's how it went.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I understand. But may I ask you, to the best of
8 your recollection, what were the functions of Dr. Stakic? You mentioned
9 already his role as vice-president. And then were there, in addition,
10 other functions?
11 A. As the vice-president of the Municipal Assembly, I'm not sure if
12 he headed any committee or any of the bodies. I don't know that. But I
13 know that after he was removed, he returned to work as the chief of the
14 health centre, the head of the health centre.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Where was he removed? I quote from your answer:
16 "After he was removed ..."
17 A. Yes, yes. I understand you perfectly. From the position of the
18 president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, that was -- the removal
19 was in January 1993 as far as I can remember. But I know that from
20 September 1992, the SDS people wanted already to remove Dr. Stakic from
21 his position, and then finally they succeeded. Their president at that
22 time, Dr. Radovan Karadzic, I knew they had a meeting of the main board at
23 the Prijedor Hotel. And at that meeting they said that things would
24 remain as they were until the beginning of 1993. And then at what I
25 thought was the first meeting of the main board of the SDS in January
1 1993, Mr. Stakic was removed. And then Dusan Kurnoga became the
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What were the reasons, to the best of your
4 recollection, that from "from September 1992, the SDS people wanted
5 already to remove Dr. Stakic from his position"?
6 A. I realised, and it was my conviction, that he was not sufficiently
7 radical. He was not sufficiently, if I may say, aggressive. He was no
8 hawk. He belonged to the moderate faction inside the party. He believed
9 in reason, in understanding, in tolerance. And then people came along
10 who, you know, had different ideas about how to go about certain things.
11 They wanted things done differently. That was my understanding because I
12 can't possibly see what the reason would have been for them otherwise to
13 request his removal.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was Dr. Stakic a member of the Crisis Staff in
16 A. Yes.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And what was his function in the Crisis Staff?
18 A. I never attended any of their meetings. And I never read their
19 book of rules or their programme, so I'm not familiar with that. I can't
20 answer the question. The only thing I can say is I don't know. Simple as
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Have you ever been in the building of the
23 Municipal Assembly?
24 A. Yes, yes.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you visit Dr. Stakic in this building?
1 A. Yes, I did.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Where was his office located?
3 A. His office was on the second floor. The vice-president's office
4 was to the right, and the president's office was to the left as you walked
5 past the secretaries' room. That's the first floor, excuse me. First
6 comes the ground floor, and then you climb on to the first floor. That's
7 where the office was.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What did you discuss with him in this building?
9 A. Again, it was a meeting of a number of businessmen. I may have
10 been a bit early, so I came in, I greeted him, hello, how are you doing.
11 We used to have this everyday kind of conversation. We talked about the
12 hotel. We needed money to repair the remaining damage, the entrance hall,
13 the first floor, the reception and a number of rooms on the upper floored
14 that been destroyed completely.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was it only once or several times you visited
16 him there?
17 A. During that period, I can only remember this single case. That's
18 while he was ...
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was what? Your sentence was not complete.
20 "That's while he was..."?
21 A. President, during his first term of office, the president of the
22 Municipal Assembly, during the first term of office. And after this
23 assembly was held, during that period.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So, to be more concrete, which month
1 A. Well, let's say the end of December, when data was gathered and
2 presented, data about companies and how successful the companies were.
3 The annual budget is drawn up, and then plans are made for the following
4 year, that sort of thing.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's go back to the end of May. On page 34,
6 line 11, you were asked by the Prosecution: "Were you aware that -- isn't
7 it true that after that day, and the next couple of days, people were told
8 to go to your hotel, non-Serbs, where they were transported from there to
9 camps such as Omarska?" And then you answer: "No, I don't think that's
11 Only to avoid any kind of ambiguity, because in fact there were
12 two questions in one, is it true that people were brought or persons were
13 brought to your hotel?
14 A. I've referred to this in my testimony, yes. People did come, but
15 only to spend a single night. This gentleman, I can't remember his name,
16 I didn't exactly know him very well. He had brought a large group of
17 people from Kozarac, Kozarusa, and the other villages, to put them up at
18 the Prijedor Hotel for the night. And that was done. And what happened
19 later, where they were taken, I really don't know. I've said this already
20 to the Prosecution.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And what about the ethnicity of these persons?
22 A. I suppose Muslims. I assume most of them were Muslims, because
23 they were the population in that region. The population in that area was
24 mostly Muslim, and there were some Croats living there, too.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How did they leave your hotel?
1 A. Well, they had breakfast at the hotel, and then they just simply
2 left. They had a man who was in charge, who organised everything. It was
3 not like the Red Cross, you know. Someone just came up as a
4 self-appointed leader of the group who took charge of the group. He was
5 middle-aged, quite lean. I can't really remember the man well. There was
6 another such case in the autumn of 1991 when Kostujnica in Croatia had
7 fallen, and the same thing happened. A large group of people came from
8 Bosanska Kostujnica, reached the Prijedor Hotel, spent the night there,
9 and then on the following day they all went back to their houses.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's come back to the end of May, beginning the
11 June. These people in your hotel, when they left, they left together?
12 They left by bus? Correct?
13 A. No, certainly not by bus. They left individually, or in groups.
14 Friends and relatives would come from the town, so there were certainly no
15 buses outside the hotel waiting to take them away.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So I take it from your testimony, they -- all of
17 them entered voluntarily your hotel and left the hotel voluntarily?
18 A. Voluntary. I don't know why they would left their homes in the
19 first place. But they weren't escorted by the police or the army to my
20 hotel. And that was also how they left. They left unescorted. I'm not
21 sure, maybe there was something else, too. There was a group of Muslims
22 in the stadium; those were bussed there. But that had nothing to do with
23 the hotel. That was completely unrelated, and that's on the other bank of
24 the River Sana, too.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask, which stadium do you refer to when
1 saying "there was a group of Muslims in the stadium"?
2 A. The stadium, we call it Suhi Prijedor. It's a football pitch
3 that's being constructed for the Rudar football club. There are sports
4 grounds being constructed there. It's on the left bank of the River Sana,
5 general direction of Hambarine and Tukovi.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: They were just Muslims, and who do you believe
7 is responsible for this, call it, "special treatment" of Muslims?
8 A. I believe the national parties were responsible, the SDA, the SDS,
9 and the HDZ.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I leave you with this answer.
11 Before the break, just one short question. You mentioned a
12 checkpoint at the bridge. This checkpoint, or maybe there were even
13 several checkpoints, were manned by whom?
14 A. Police. Civilian police, the reserve forces, and the active-duty
15 forces. Policemen.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: From Prijedor, or from outside?
17 A. Yes, yes, from Prijedor. As far as I could tell, they were from
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And what was the period in time you had to cross
20 these checkpoints? When were they established, and when were they
22 A. Well -- well, they were set up in mid-May, I think, and then they
23 were dismantled sometime probably before the assembly I talked about. But
24 I'm not sure about the time period. I really can't specify.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I understand it's ten years ago. But only to
1 conclude this, probably before the assembly? What do you mean by "before
2 the assembly"?
3 A. I mean, they were abolished prior to the assembly of the Serbian
4 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the one we've already talked about.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
6 We'll come back to this later after the break. The trial stays
7 adjourned until 12.45.
8 --- Recess taken at 12.15 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 12.46 p.m.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
11 Mr. Kos, we briefly touched upon the issue of persons you called
12 extremists. Did they wear any kind of uniform?
13 A. Sorry, I don't understand your question. In which time period?
14 What uniforms? No.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Following the attack on Prijedor or during the
16 attack on Prijedor, the 30th of May, 1992.
17 A. Yes, yes, they wore uniforms. The JNA uniforms.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: That there is no misunderstanding, the
19 persons -- I asked whether or not the persons you called extremists, did
20 they wear any kind of uniform at that time, end of May 1992?
21 A. Yes, they wore military uniforms during the attack. But I
22 couldn't see what kind of insignia they had. But the colour of the
23 uniform was olive grey.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Which army took part in this fighting?
25 A. In this fighting? Well, at the beginning, it was the police.
1 Afterwards, the regular and mobilised soldiers joined in. I don't know
2 whose army it was, the JNA of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 I don't know how it was called at the time.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So you don't have anything more about details?
5 A. No.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you know Mr. Srdjo Srdic?
7 A. Yes.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In which capacity did you know him? He acted --
9 to be more concrete, he acted in which capacity in Prijedor at that time?
10 A. At that time, Mr. Srdic was the president of the SDS party and a
11 deputy in the assembly of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you recall anything related to, first, 30th
13 of May, 1992; and second, Mr. Srdjo Srdic? Was there anything special
14 that happened to this person?
15 A. I don't remember. I remember that his apartment was broken in,
16 but I don't know when that happened. Maybe you are referring to his
17 house, which was built -- which was, sorry, destroyed on that day. There
18 was a cafe which was part of this house called MD. That's what I saw when
19 I came back to Prijedor on the first day. I don't know when it was
20 destroyed, whether in the actual fighting or later. I don't know.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was destroyed the entire house or the cafe?
22 A. The cafe. There were other buildings that were destroyed there as
23 well. The cafe was destroyed. I know about that. But you know, it's a
24 row of houses. I don't know exactly where his house begins and where it
25 ends. I didn't observe that.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you know Mr. Zoran Karlica?
2 A. Yes. I knew him personally. While I was a manager with the
3 Namteks company, he used to work there as a maintenance worker. He
4 repaired refrigerators.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: To the best of your recollection, was there
6 something special happening to Mr. Zoran Karlica on or about the 30th of
7 May, 1992?
8 A. According to what I know, it happened on the 30th of May. He was
9 severely wounded near a house where there was a cafe called Obala, from
10 where they shot at the Prijedor Hotel and JNA Street and Partizanska
11 Street as well, these two streets. I think he tried to climb the stairs
12 and was severely wounded on that occasion. He was transferred first to
13 Banja Luka and from there to Belgrade where he succumbed to his injuries
14 which were caused, I believe, by a hand grenade.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you know personally or from that what you
16 learned from Mr. Karlica who threw this hand grenade?
17 A. I don't know that personally. It's -- this is just what I heard.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What did you hear? Who was --
19 A. Well, I'm not sure whether it was Slavko Ecimovic or someone else.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's leave it with this, in the light of the
21 proffer we got from the Defence.
22 A. Again, this is something that I heard.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What did you hear about camps in the
24 municipality of Prijedor?
25 A. What I heard, I heard -- well, according to the information I got,
1 those were more like collection centres, so to speak, for purposes of
2 moving the population to their desired destinations. There were people
3 who wanted to go to Zagreb, others who wanted to go to Sarajevo. And it
4 was for that purpose that they were established. But I couldn't tell you
5 when exactly they were opened up.
6 The Keraterm camp is the one that is closest to my house. I
7 noticed that one, not others, until this group of international
8 journalists arrived and made it all public.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You just stated that the Keraterm camp, that is
10 the one closest to your house. What did you observe there? What changed
11 before the takeover and after the takeover?
12 A. Initially, during the first month, nothing really changed so far
13 as I could observe. I didn't actually go passed this building because it
14 is located on the Prijedor/Banja Luka/Novi Grad communication, because at
15 the time, I didn't have a car so I couldn't travel along that road. I
16 went to work by bicycle along a less busy road.
17 But yes, to be frank, I did pass by a couple of occasions, and I
18 noticed some people there. The building is located some 300 metres away
19 from the road. And before the war, I used to go to this factory. It was
20 a small factory of -- which produced fire-proof material. It was part of
21 a larger combine.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And then, when it was no longer used for this
23 purpose at that time, what happened? What was changed?
24 A. Well, what happened was -- I don't know the exact date, but I
25 know, for instance, that the manager of the factory lived in the hotel
1 until the breakout of the conflict on the 30th of May. He was from Zenica
2 by origin, and this factory was part of a larger factory there. So they
3 had common human resources policy. Some of the people were appointed from
4 Zenica and some others from Prijedor by the Zenica municipal authorities,
5 that is. Then these journalists came, and this is when I heard that there
6 was a camp, as you say, what we used to call it a collection centre.
7 There were guards there, and I heard that there had been a major
8 incident one night. It was on the following day that I learned that
9 this -- I don't know what to call it, rebellion, disorder, had occurred.
10 A number of people got killed. Fire was opened, and there were stories
11 according to which apparently a group of drunken youths had caused it.
12 Apparently a group of people -- now, I'm telling you only what I heard
13 from others. Some sort of extremists apparently got there. They
14 rebelled. They attacked the guard post, wanted to go home. This is all I
15 know about it.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You told us that the manager of this factory was
17 accommodated in your hotel for a certain period of time. Did he tell you
18 why he couldn't continue with the production of the goods as it was
20 A. No, we never talked about that during that time period. But then
21 again, we didn't talk very often to each other. He only stayed there
22 overnight. He slept there, and we didn't meet very frequently. As for
23 that period of time, 30th of April onwards, I really saw him very rarely.
24 People didn't meet often in those days, businessmen, politicians. And I
25 didn't see him during that time period, so I was not able to learn
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you see, yourself, persons in this area
4 A. I did. Once or maybe two times, when somebody would give me a
5 lift, I saw it. During the day, either going to work or coming home from
6 work, I saw that there was a large group of people outside the factory,
7 outside the buildings which were part of the factory. I couldn't see
8 clearly because the distance after all is 300, 350 metres. I couldn't see
9 much of them. I couldn't recognise any of them.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you know the reason why these persons were
11 detained there?
12 A. I think, from what I know, and I don't know whether this is the
13 truth or -- not, there had apparently been some lists of members of the
14 party, lists of persons who wanted a different outcome of the war, and
15 were somehow related with events that took place in Prijedor town.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And who do you think is responsible for this
18 A. Who's responsible. You know, what was characteristic about
19 Prijedor was that there were three parties. Then there was the
20 civilian -- there were civilian authorities, military authorities, police
21 authorities. They all wanted to be autonomous, independent. And it was
22 really hard to tell for anyone who was issuing orders, who was taking
23 orders, who was subordinate to whom. And at that time, as far as the
24 camps were concerned, mostly the military would take people to the camp,
25 and then the whole thing would be taken over by the police. But who
1 issued orders to whom, I don't know. I know that the security of the
2 camps was provided by the police, or more precisely, if you want me to
3 say, Mr. Simo Drljaca. And I'm very sorry that I have to say bad things
4 about a dead person. But I think that that's as close to the truth as it
5 gets. But again, I don't know.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you give us other names of camps or, you
7 call it, collection centres in Prijedor Municipality you are aware of in
9 A. I became aware of that in late August. I learned about the
10 Omarska and Trnopolje camps.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And in comparison to this, what about the
12 football stadium?
13 A. I don't understand which football stadium you're referring to. The
14 only one was located in Trnopolje, next to the school building. I am
15 familiar with the area relatively well. I don't know Omarska. I mean, I
16 was -- I've never actually been to Trnopolje itself, but I know the area.
17 I even visited the school once with my friends. But before the war, not
18 during this period of time. But if you're referring to the stadium in
19 Tukovi, that was before. There was a small group of people. Apparently
20 something was going on in the area of Brdo, in this hilly area. And I got
21 a call from a friend, from a waiter - I don't remember what his name was -
22 that children should be put up there.
23 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, we didn't get the last part of the
24 witness's answer.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And then the next day, everybody
1 left the stadium. This is what I know.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The interpretation didn't get the last part of
3 your answer. You started, "and I got a call from a friend, from a
4 waiter - I don't remember what his name was - that children should be put
5 up there."
6 This I can read from the transcript. Apparently there seems to be
7 a mistake.
8 A. Okay, I will repeat. There was a large group of men, women, and
9 children at that stadium, including a waiter who worked in my
10 establishment. He called me that some of us should come to where he was
11 take the children to the town to stay with some of their friends. Since I
12 did not have a car, I asked Slavko Davidovic, the then manager of the
13 hotel, who then took me there. And he took the children to these
14 friends. But I don't know who they are. But this waiter is from
15 Hambarine. I know that the next day, he called. He was somewhere where
16 the buses were, and apparently he was leaving. I don't know exactly where
17 he left, but he left with his wife and children. I'm not sure where.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Which buses, may I ask?
19 A. It was on the following day, I believe all of the buses belonged
20 to the Autotransport bus company. I never saw those buses. This is just
21 what I heard from other people. But it is possible that some also
22 belonged to the mine company, because they had their own pool of buses.
23 But I didn't see that. That's what people told. I know that there were
24 buses there.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Finally, did you see ever paramilitary groups in
1 Prijedor? And if yes, on what occasion?
2 A. I did see groups of people. I don't know if they were
3 paramilitary or not. There was this Janjceva group, Milica group. Well,
4 Zoran Karlica's group was somewhat different than the rest. Then there
5 was a group apparently that had arrived from Serbia and from another town
6 such as Bjeljina, for instance. But I personally never saw them. I saw
7 Janjceva group, the one that was led by the late Janic whom I used to
8 know. But it was not a paramilitary group. It was under the command of
9 our guys.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry if I ask, when you say "our guys," what do
11 you mean by this? "It was under the" --
12 A. Well, when I said "our," I was referring to the regular army which
13 was part of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and which was
14 under their command. It was a slip when I said that they were "our guys."
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Judge Vassylenko, please.
16 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Kos, you told us that at the end of 1991,
17 beginning 1992, Muslims started to leave Prijedor while Serbs were sending
18 away their children and wives. Why it happened?
19 A. I didn't say Serbs. I said some Serbs, a number of Serbs. I'm
20 not sure how it was translated. But it was due to the tension which had
21 arisen because of the war in Croatia, because the borders were there.
22 Those were two neighbouring republics. And someone seemed to have wanted
23 this war in that area. Someone seemed to see it coming. And some people
24 didn't believe. I stayed behind with my family. I have two daughters. I
25 never thought of going away. I just told myself, just wait and see what
1 happens. Fear of a new war or of some people's ambitions, I'm not sure if
2 those ambitions could actually come to fruition ever. I don't know, but
3 that's how I felt. That's what I thought.
4 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: You also said at page 10 of the transcript,
5 line 25: "There was a certain amount of fear with non-Serb population."
6 Again, what kind of fear?
7 A. It wasn't only the non-Serb population. Everyone felt fear, the
8 whole population. It's only that the non-Serb population wanted more
9 badly to leave that area so that they could -- well, I don't know, perhaps
10 return. I know that men mostly did return later on. I know this from
11 places in my own company, and they would send their children away, abroad,
12 most often. They were waiting, biding their time, to see what would
14 No one really spoke out loud in favour of the war, but you could
15 feel it in the air because you had those nationalistic parties, they were
16 stoking up the fire with their public statements. They said "war is
17 better than a rotten peace." And then the war in Croatia was inevitable.
18 There had been a truce signed already at that point, but there were a lot
19 of soldiers involved, JNA soldiers, blameless soldiers, who simply got
20 killed there. In Slovenia or in Croatia, they were just doing their
21 regular military service there, and they were just caught up in the middle
22 of this, were killed, and never returned home. That's about it. That's
23 as far as I can go.
24 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: You told us that the attackers of Prijedor on
25 30th of May, 1992, retreated through Stari Grad. Correct?
1 A. I believe that to be correct. I didn't see them myself. But by
2 all accounts, yes, that's where they passed through, because that's where
3 they had come from. One group came from there, and there was another
4 group which had arrived from Puharska. I never said that I personally
5 witnessed this.
6 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And how much time it took for them to retreat
7 through Stari Grad?
8 A. Well, the centre itself does not cover a very large area. It all
9 depends on where exactly they were passing through. I can't say. Half an
10 hour perhaps, an hour, two hours. It's impossible for me to tell. I know
11 that my present friend was seriously wounded on the bridge, and he hid in
12 the shrubbery there, Mr. Marijan Nisic. And he was captured later on, and
13 he was the one who told me the story at a later stage. But I didn't
14 personally witness this, I'm just bringing you the eyewitness accounts of
15 what I heard.
16 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Do you think that it was possible to destroy
17 Stari Grad in half an hour?
18 A. No, no. By no means. Can't be done. I'm not sure what I mean by
19 "destroy." No, I don't think it's possible.
20 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Well, you mentioned that by chance, you
21 observed a meeting or a rally of supporters of national radical party
22 headed by lawyer Guberina. Correct? When it was happened?
23 A. Well, it wasn't by accident. The only coincidence was that I was
24 on my way to see my relatives there, and once there I found that this
25 pre-election meeting was taking place. But it was simply something I
1 found along the way. I'm not sure what sort of coincidence that is. But
2 that's the village of Nisevici. Kanovic is the maiden name of my wife, so
3 I was going there to see my relatives. So call it a coincidence if you
5 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: When it happened, approximately?
6 A. The elections were taking place from summer to autumn. I really
7 can't remember now. Milica Gaj, I know the forest there, I know all of
8 that but --
9 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: In autumn of 1990. Yes?
10 A. Yes, yes, or perhaps 1989. I'm not sure.
11 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Before that time, have you heard about lawyer
12 Guberina and about his party?
13 A. Yes, yes, I had heard of him. But I don't think I'd ever heard of
14 his party or that he was about to found a party. I told you I read the
15 Politika newspapers, and I read about Guberina and about those lawyers
16 over there.
17 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And at this meeting or rally, what was the
18 purpose of this meeting?
19 A. Well, first of all, I didn't really stay for too long. It was a
20 promotional campaign for the foundation of the party.
21 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And who participated in this meeting?
22 A. I know that Mr. Veljko Guberina spoke on and on for hours, so I
23 just got bored stiff and I left at a certain point. He can talk the hind
24 legs off a donkey. He's really that kind of man. Once he starts
25 speaking, there's no stopping him. There were many people on the stage
1 there, so you know I couldn't tell them apart. I was just bored to
2 death. That's the truth of it. You know, there were five or six of them
3 up there on the stage lined up, and he was also standing there.
4 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And what was the role of Dr. Stakic at this
6 A. Not that I could provide any details. I don't know. He was just
7 standing there, and Mr. Stakic took part, was a member of the
8 organisational committee for the setting up of the party in the Prijedor
9 area. But I don't know. I didn't stay there for long. I know that he
10 was there. I know that Veljko was there. And I know that the party
11 operated for a while, but then I heard -- but when exactly this was, I
12 really don't know. I couldn't tell you.
13 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And before that meeting, did you know
14 Dr. Stakic?
15 A. No. I'd only heard of him. I heard that he started working in
17 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: I have no more questions.
18 A. After university.
19 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Thank you.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I just add before passing the floor, how
21 come that you identified Mr. Stakic at that meeting when you haven't met
22 him before?
23 A. Well, my brother-in-law, my wife's brother, he said: "There, you
24 see Stakic is over there." He pointed his finger at him. So he was to
25 have one of the leading positions, he said. But his hair was sort of
1 thinning like mine, so that's when I saw him. That's when he was pointed
2 out to me. Usually when people are standing over there on that stage, you
3 ask yourself questions about who's going to be what.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But Dr. Stakic did not take the floor and
5 addressed people at the time?
6 A. I really don't know. I told you my story. Guberina talked on for
7 hours and hours on end. I just got bored and I left; I split at one
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I understood.
10 Judge Argibay, please.
11 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Thank you. Sir, I have something like a
12 curiosity. On page 66, line 2 of the transcript, you were talking about
13 paramilitary groups. You said that there were groups coming from other
14 parts of the country, and you talk about the Janic or something like
15 that. And please, I apologise for the pronunciation.
16 A. That's all right.
17 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Thank you. And you said that Zoran Karlica's
18 group, that's the translation, was somewhat different than the rest. May
19 I ask you how was this group different?
20 A. Well, it was not a paramilitary unit to begin with. It was part
21 of the army, and it was subordinate to the military command. That's what
22 I meant.
23 JUDGE ARGIBAY: I thought you meant that for the other group.
24 A. No, no. I was only referring to this group. They were called the
25 reconnoitering group of Major Zoran Karlica, and there were other
1 paramilitary groups. There were usually groups, paramilitary groups,
2 military units set up with a number of people that someone would be
3 appointed their leader, and then that person would say, okay, I'm the head
4 of this group. But no one had any idea of who was in control or in
5 command. The police or the army. You couldn't know for certain. Someone
6 had to be in charge but I couldn't really tell you who.
7 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Is this Mr. Karlica the same man who sustained
8 injuries on the 30th of May in the attack to Prijedor?
9 A. Yes, yes, that's the very same man.
10 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Thank you. I have a different question. I'm
11 moving to another side. You've done your military service. Correct?
12 A. That's correct. In the JNA in 1977 in Novi Sad.
13 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay. Then you know something about the
14 structures of the army, because I have not made military service because I
15 am a woman and in my country women are not supposed to do those sort of
17 May I ask you, how many men composed a battalion?
18 A. A battalion should normally have a 1.500 up to 2.000 men, but that
19 really depends on the structure. Two, three squads I think, or more --
20 correction companies two or three companies or more. I may have been
21 wrong. Excuse me, I was talking about the brigade. This is smaller.
22 This is up to 500 people. So a correction there. A battalion should
23 normally comprise three companies, and the brigade should number between
24 1.500 and 2.000 men.
25 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay. And did you know that there were army
1 barracks in Prijedor in May 1992?
2 A. Yes, yes, I'm aware of that.
3 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Did you know which brigade was set there?
4 A. It was the Yugoslav, I think, 143rd, now called the 43rd. I can't
5 tell you the date exactly, but there was a brigade stationed there.
6 343rd, 43rd, 143rd, I'm not sure what it's called today, but there was a
7 brigade that was set up there.
8 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay. And was it a motorised brigade?
9 A. Yes, yes, motorised, infantry and motorised. I think that's also
10 what it was called, infantry motorised brigade.
11 JUDGE ARGIBAY: And this brigade had tanks?
12 A. Yes, yes, they did. A battalion of tanks, and the military, the
13 artillery, all sorts of things. I think it was part of -- I can't give
14 you the precise structure.
15 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay, thank you very much.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Defence has any further -- do you want to add
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please feel free. It's your testimony, if you
20 want to add something spontaneously, please do so.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, thank you, Your Honours.
22 This has been a very pleasant experience for me. I tried to give you my
23 truth. Now how much that truth is worth, it is up to you to judge.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Absolutely correct. There's no one truth, and
25 we --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is what I think, too.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: -- From all sides, and therefore we have to hear
3 all the sides and all participants and this indeed enlightens us.
4 May I ask the Defence, do you have any additional questions?
5 MR. OSTOJIC: No, Your Honour, we do not.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The Prosecution?
7 MR. KOUMJIAN: Just a few points I'd like you to clarify, sir.
8 Further cross-examined by Mr. Koumjian:
9 Q. Can you tell us, did you ever discuss politics with Dr. Stakic?
10 A. No, no. I'm saying this expressly and unequivocally, no.
11 Q. Did you ever discuss with him issues like the camps in Prijedor or
12 the removal of the non-Serb population from Prijedor?
13 A. Same answer, unequivocally, no. These were, these were thorny
14 issues, so I didn't really discuss them with anyone, including Dr. Stakic.
15 Q. So, sir, when you told us that Dr. Stakic was not a hawk, you've
16 already told us you never heard any of his speeches, and you told us you
17 never privately discussed politics with him. So really, you don't know
18 what his position was on the issues of the policies in Prijedor in 1992.
19 Isn't that correct?
20 MR. OSTOJIC: I object to the form of the question, Your Honour,
21 and it's obviously in my opinion taken out of context. When the Court
22 asked the question, I believe it was relating to the meeting that occurred
23 subsequent to the time period of the indictment and the reasons why people
24 were seeking to remove Dr. Stakic, and the witness answered the Court
25 directly on that. And I think quite frankly, with all due respect to my
1 learned friend, it is a bit out of context to put the question to him like
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: After deliberation, dismissed for that that is
4 evident, that the question summarises that what was said by the witness.
5 And it's just a follow-up question.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What I said, the opinion of the SDS
7 members was that there should be a hawk in Dr. Stakic's place. I'm not
8 sure how this was translated. But that what they meant to say was someone
9 more extremist.
10 MR. KOUMJIAN:
11 Q. And you were not present during this meeting. Is that correct?
12 A. No, no. I wasn't. I wasn't sitting with them, but they did have
13 these meetings quite frequently in my hotel. And on their way into the
14 hall, they would have conversations, you know, we'll remove this man,
15 we'll put another one in his place. He's not hard line enough for us. He
16 doesn't have the penetrating force.
17 Q. Sir, did you ever hear that there were allegations that
18 humanitarian aid in Prijedor was being misused or that there was
19 corruption in humanitarian aid during the presidency of Dr. Stakic, and
20 that's why he was removed?
21 A. The first part of your question, yes, I heard that. But whether
22 that was the reason, I don't think that could have been the reason because
23 the Red Cross was undisputed there, as well as Mr. Srdjo Srdic. They had
24 people coming and checking on them, and no misuse of funds was ever
25 established. So I don't think that was the reason because the Red Cross
1 was in charge and fully in charge of humanitarian aid, and you know that
2 the Red Cross was headed by Srdjo Srdic. He was totally in charge; that's
4 Q. Sir, another quick question: You were talking about people
5 leaving Prijedor prior to the takeover of the municipality. Is it also
6 true that often young men left Prijedor for Belgrade in order to avoid
7 military service? Was that a phenomenon that was well known?
8 A. In order to avoid military service, or mobilisation callup, can
9 you please clarify a little. Did you mean the regular military service,
10 or did you mean just them being mobilised? I'm not sure which one you
11 were referring to.
12 Q. What I'm referring to is people, and particularly in this case,
13 I'm asking you about Serb young men. I understand it took place among
14 other nationalities also. That young Serbian men --
15 A. Yes, yes.
16 Q. -- in order to -- okay. I think we understand each other. Thank
18 A. Yes, I understand. Yes, that's right. There were Serbs, not only
19 non-Serbs, but also Serbs who were fit for military service but dodged
20 military service and left for Serbia or for another country. And less
21 probably than in other places, but now, even, they are returning. They
22 are coming back.
23 Q. At the meeting that you attended in Dr. Stakic's office, just,
24 first, I just want to clarify something about the physical layout of the
1 Is it correct that when you first enter, you enter into the area
2 that the secretary sits? And on one side is the office of the president
3 of the municipality; and on the other side is the office of the
4 vice-president, that both of them you enter, first going through the
5 secretarial area?
6 A. One of the secretaries, yes, yes, that's correct. The
7 vice-president and the president have their own secretaries each.
8 Q. At that meeting, how many --
9 A. Correction, the same secretary does work for both the president
10 and the vice-president.
11 Q. At that meeting, how many businessmen were attendance, to the best
12 of your recollection?
13 A. Well, five or six. Not too many.
14 Q. Were any of those businessmen Croat or Muslim?
15 A. No.
16 Q. How far was your house from the Keraterm facility?
17 A. About 3 kilometres, I would say. It's still there.
18 Q. Yes. Do you recall one night late in July hearing gunfire for a
19 very long time that evening, sustained gunfire?
20 A. Well, there was a lot of gunfire, but that was not unusual. The
21 military would come back from the front line, and they would just start
22 shooting. You didn't know who was shooting, those returning from their
23 shift, because every 45 days, you had new soldiers being sent to the front
24 and old soldiers coming back. Whether the shooting, the gunfire, was
25 coming from Keraterm, I can't know that for sure because I couldn't tell.
1 Q. You told us that you heard about what you called the incident at
2 Keraterm, and if you do not object, I'm going to use the word "massacre."
3 You heard about the massacre at Keraterm the day after it happened. Isn't
4 it true that a lot of people were talking about that in Prijedor, and that
5 many people had heard the gunfire during the night?
6 A. That's true, but no one really knew what was actually happening.
7 The truth has a habit of emerging usually quite late. And compared to
8 those standards, this was quite fast. Sometimes it takes years and
9 decades. Serbs were afraid, too. There was fear among the Serbian
10 population. People were concerned. They had genuine concern for their
11 women, for their elderly, for the children. No one was exactly excited
12 about what was happening or what happened on that day. You heard about
13 people getting killed on the front or even members of different informal
14 groups coming in and out of the camps, innocent people, blameless people.
15 But that was the reality of war.
16 Q. You said that what you had heard is that it was committed by a
17 group of young drunks, and I think you also at one time used the word
18 "extremists" who the police guards were unable to control. None of those
19 individuals were ever arrested as far as you know. Isn't that correct?
20 A. I don't know about those. I know about the guards, the guards
21 were all arrested and they were all brought to justice, to answer for
22 their omissions and what their omissions were exactly, I'd best just leave
23 it to up to the Judges.
24 Q. Thank you. But just to be clear that we understand what you're
25 talking about, you're talking about the guards being arrested by the
1 Tribunal. Is that correct? By this Tribunal?
2 A. Yes, yes, that's what I'm talking about.
3 Q. You never --
4 A. And they answered for not having prevented those hoards, drunken
5 hoards, or whoever they were, from doing whatever they did.
6 Q. I think as you said, history will judge that.
7 Sir, are you aware of any investigation or any arrests in
8 Prijedor, by the Prijedor authorities, of the persons that perpetrated
9 that massacre?
10 A. No, not that I know of.
11 Q. And finally, sir, are you aware of any actions or attempts at
12 action by Dr. Stakic to prevent or punish crimes that happened in Prijedor
13 in 1992?
14 A. Not that I know of, any attempts. That period, 1992, you know,
15 the second period, it just came like that. No, not that I know.
16 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you. No further questions.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The Defence.
18 MR. OSTOJIC: No, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No further questions. And it remains for me to
20 thank you, not only for coming but also for testifying before this
21 Tribunal. As you yourself stated, it's important to hear both sides and
22 all sides of the truth. And it assisted us in this attempt. We wish you
23 good and safe trip home. Thank you. You are excused for today. And may
24 the usher please escort you out of the courtroom.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you again, Your Honours.
1 [The witness withdrew]
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The Defence wanted to raise three issues.
3 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you, Your Honour. We had a couple issues, if
4 we may discuss. The first one is that I was able to visit with
5 Mr. Makovski last night briefly, and he informed me that he was not given
6 access and was not given the opportunity to visit with Dr. Stakic. And he
7 wanted me to raise it with the Court if I may. And Dr. Stakic has
8 informed me of the same. So I just wanted the record to reflect that
9 although we requested and felt that the Court granted our request, it has
10 been denied and it has not occurred, much to our disappointment.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I'm taken by surprise on this, and my apologies
12 to Dr. Stakic, because we indeed agreed and granted this visit. I don't
13 know what the reason is. We have to come back to this.
14 Please, next issue.
15 MR. OSTOJIC: The second issue relates to certain disclosures that
16 we received a while back that has been the subject of some discussion here
17 this week. The OTP provided us with transcripts of initially five, and I
18 believe six, statements taken from various individuals. We subsequent to
19 that had requested, because they were transcripts which were done in
20 English, we requested that the tapes being provided to us.
21 It's my understanding that the position of the OTP is that they
22 agreed to that. Ms. Joanna Korner last Friday when I met with her provided
23 me with six tapes. Upon reviewing and copying the tapes, so that we could
24 share it and give it to your client, we find that the tapes that were
25 given to us were of only one individual. And that individual did, indeed,
1 through his interview, I think there were six changes in his tape. So we
2 would like to formally to request, with the Court's assistance, the
3 remaining tapes of those individuals so that our client with participate
4 and assist us on issues that we believe have been raised from those
5 transcripts and that production.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The Prosecution, please.
7 MR. KOUMJIAN: Well, perhaps we could work this out between
8 ourselves and counsel. That was my understanding of the original
9 immediate request was for the tapes of that one individual, because we
10 thought that was what was necessary at the time. The remaining ones we
11 can review. There is just one issue, and that is these individuals who
12 were summoned and were interviewed did not give their consent. They were
13 asked information, for example, about their home address and families and
14 they did not consent to that to be disclosed. So I don't know how we're
15 going to deal with that as far as Dr. Stakic. But I'm sure we can work it
17 MR. OSTOJIC: I can inform the OTP that the transcripts clearly
18 reflect their home address and telephone number. To the extent there's
19 any concern, and I don't believe that there should be, if we can redact
20 it, there would be no objection from the Defence on that. But just to
21 remember, we do have the transcripts with that information fully disclosed
23 MR. KOUMJIAN: Right. And that's provided to the Defence counsel.
24 MR. OSTOJIC: Right. I understand.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think this matter can be resolved, no doubt,
1 that Dr. Stakic has a right to listen to these tapes in a language he
2 understands. Otherwise, the statements would have to be translated. But
3 I've no doubt that this will be cured immediately.
4 MR. KOUMJIAN: I think I have a suggestion. We can discuss it
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I hope this will be resolved.
7 Next issue, please.
8 MR. OSTOJIC: Just final issue also involves Rule 68 disclosure.
9 We were given on I believe two separate filings initially nine witness
10 statement summaries, and subsequent to that, 21 witness summaries. We had
11 requested in our motion which was respectfully denied, that in the
12 alternative, those witness statements in their whole be produced to us.
13 And I understood that they would be, but we have not received them to
14 date. What we did receive on those disclosures was specifically a one- to
15 three-line summation of the testimony within those witness statements.
16 The Defence would like the opportunity to view the witness
17 statements in its entirety. And obviously don't object to having any
18 redaction done on any sensitive information. The purpose for this is
19 because we would like to compare those witness statements with the
20 testimony that was proffered during the Prosecutor's case in chief, and to
21 determine what, for example, the inconsistencies may have been and how any
22 of the statements as a whole can be viewed as being exculpatory to the
24 MR. KOUMJIAN: We would be happy to provide those. There may be a
25 mix up. I didn't understand that the Defence wanted those. But -- and
1 there is just a procedure where we do have to go through and redact them.
2 It is also possible that someone else did understand and that process is
3 under way. But it does take a little bit of time and I'll make sure that
4 it's done.
5 MR. OSTOJIC: Thank you. Thank you, Your Honour. That's all we
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: From the side of the Prosecution?
8 MR. KOUMJIAN: Not at this time, and I don't think I need to tell
9 the Court that we still have an issue with the summaries, and particularly
10 this witness's Rule 65 ter summary.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In fact, no doubt, we have to come back to this
12 issue immediately after the Court recess. But I want for the transcript
13 to emphasise that apparently, at least the Judges - I don't know what
14 about the Prosecution - do not have proffers for the following witness:
15 First, I give you the number defined by the registry; second, the 65 ter
16 number. This would be the following witnesses: 6/12, 10/17, 15/26,
17 21/38, 35/56, 45/74, 50/82, 53/85, 56/91.
18 What I can say already today is that these proffers have to be
19 provided carefully and thoroughly, and I was absolutely taken by surprise
20 to hear today's witness statement. This had nothing to do with that we
21 could find in the summary of the testimony, and the same is true when we
22 discussed the question whether it is really necessary or relevant to hear
23 this witness on transcript pages 9.280 to 9.282. I think the Defence will
24 understand when comparing, for example, the second paragraph of the
25 summary of this testimony. It is far from that what we heard today.
1 MR. OSTOJIC: Your Honour --
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We have to go into far more details. We
3 mentioned already that the date of birth, today it was correct, has to be
4 correct, and we have to provide it to be provided with the exact
5 coordinates of the witness because the Trial Chamber feels obliged in the
6 one or other case to find out ourselves what we have available on these
8 We mentioned already yesterday the proffer related to Witness 65
9 ter number 44, which, in fact, once again was far from that what we heard
10 from this young witness. And if we would have known what the witness can
11 testify, we would never have allowed this witness to be called.
13 MR. OSTOJIC: The Defence most certainly, with all due respect,
14 needs clarification on the issue if the witness that we just had before
15 us, that his testimony was not consistent with the proffer submitted under
16 his Defence witness number 45 summation.
17 The Defence submits, for the record, that we identified in the
18 summary of our testimony that this witness was going to talk and to give
19 testimony pertinent to May 30th, 1992. The Defence genuinely believes
20 that this witness did provide testimony in connection with that date.
21 Similarly, the Defence stated that the witness's -- the witness would
22 testify, among other things, about people coming from the Kozara area to
23 Prijedor for a period of time. The translation from someone who is an
24 "izbjeglica" or someone called "bjezi" from Kozarac may have been lost by
25 identifying these individuals as refugees from Kozarac. I think the
1 witness clarified that issue when he testified. The witness also
2 explained who in his view, upon his personal observation, took part in the
4 Although the Defence doesn't think that it's pertinent which
5 specific house was damaged in this particular time, information was
6 provided to us that Mr. Srdjo Srdic's house was destroyed, and the witness
7 testified consistent with that. Similarly, the Defence was provided with
8 information that Zoran Karlica was wounded inside a house. The Defence
9 likewise is of the position that the witness testified consistent with
11 The Defence is confused. If that doesn't meet the standards, we
12 would need to specifically, with all due respect, know what else is it
13 other than a deposition that we should supply to the Court and to counsel
14 on these witnesses?
15 Just by way of brief background, I recognise that there have been
16 some errors, and I truly believe that they were typographical errors with
17 respect to dates on the date of birth. The sum and substance of the
18 testimony of the witnesses that we have proffered to date I genuinely
19 believe were consistent with that which was in the summary. The OTP has
20 never raised the issue of surprise or prejudice, and yet called us on a
21 couple, I believe, a couple -- at least one occasion to make verification
22 of certain data to confirm that they have the right person despite of
23 these typographical errors.
24 With respect to the witness that testified, I believe, number 44,
25 as DE, that witness, with all due respect to the Court, the Defence feels
1 was relevant despite the fact, although the year of his birth was correct,
2 he was 16 years old. The OTP confronted the witness because they were
3 somewhat suspicious that his name was misspelled, despite the fact that
4 the Defence wrote the name down and it was introduced as an exhibit. The
5 OTP asked for his identification card. The OTP has not raised an issue
6 that there was any inconsistency with that identification card because it
7 is they who had it wrong and thought it was a different individual with a
8 similar spelling. The identification card was consistent with the way we
9 identified the individual.
10 The Defence also believes that it is our duty, since the OTP
11 raises issues, whether this Court ultimately deems them to be relevant or
12 not, it is our duty to confront those issues and to bring the truth before
13 this Tribunal. If the Defence says that it was raining and it was not, it
14 is our obligation to bring witnesses to say that it was not.
15 If the Defence says that children were expelled and prevented from
16 going to schools, we felt and feel that a witness such as DF should at the
17 time being a student, despite the fact that his town and that area was
18 summarily dismissed pursuant to 98 bis, that he has relevant data as an
19 eyewitness to tell us who was in the school and for what period of time.
20 We apologise if the date of birth or the city that he came -- was
21 from would have struck this witness, the Defence would have certainly
22 applied to the Court to provide what I thought, quite candidly, with all
23 due respect, was relevant data to refute and contradict some of the
24 allegations that were raised by the OTP relating to issues starting even
25 with the joint criminal enterprise, a plan to expel children and teachers,
1 that everyone was discharged. Those were their statements in their
2 opening argument. Those were their statements from their witnesses.
3 The Defence truly believes we have an unequivocal right to rebut,
4 contradict, and establish any inconsistencies with the evidence that they
5 have presented.
6 The Defence also finally would like to add for the Court, we will
7 most certainly endeavour to provide the most accurate data to both the
8 Court and the OTP with respect to the background information of these
9 witnesses. We were somewhat hurried when we provided these. There were
10 some changes when they were provided. We certainly apologise if it has
11 caused any inconvenience to the Court, its staff, or the OTP and its
12 staff. We will endeavour to confirm on at least two separate occasions
13 that all that information is consistent by personally examining the
14 identification cards of these individuals for that verification as opposed
15 to relying on notes from what an investigator or an attorney would hear
16 from a witness.
17 But I would like, with the Court's permission, to be given some
18 more guidance as to the extent of the summary. And I underscore the word
19 pursuant to Rule 65 ter, the summary of the witness's testimony that the
20 Court would like us to provide, and we will endeavour to do that. Thank
21 you, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We didn't want to have a closing argument.
23 Maybe it's your closing argument for this year. We have to come back, no
24 doubt, to this issue in the presence of both Defence counsel, and then we
25 may clarify this. And I also believe when you compare the transcript of
1 today with the transcript of the day when we admitted the evidence and
2 tried to find out which witness to strike from the list or not, there are
3 some discrepancies. But we all have time enough for the next period in
4 time to read all this.
5 I take it that for the first eight days of the working days in
6 January, starting with the 8th of January, we have the eight witnesses on
7 the list the Defence provided us with; and in addition, number 43, that is
8 65 ter number 71 on the list. And I take it that this will suffice to
9 fill the entire time given for these eight days.
10 In case there should be an absence or a witness should fall ill,
11 please take it that the Trial Chamber is prepared to hear another
12 substituting witness in this case, because we have to work due to our
13 schedule, and we can't afford any day without hearing witnesses.
14 This concludes not only today's hearing; this concludes also this
15 year's hearing. This 93rd day of this case. I hope that we will be able
16 to come as soon as possible in the framework, no doubt, of a fair trial to
17 conclusions, conclusions based on that what you can identify on the basis
18 of the 98 bis decision as the opinion of the Chamber, opposed to that what
19 is referred to as, and this is no doubt the test, the conclusion to what
20 may come a reasonable trial of fact. Both parties should be aware of the
21 difference that makes. And the Trial Chamber will not hesitate, as soon
22 as possible, to continue with judicial hints in order to streamline
23 already during the first months of the upcoming year this case to the
24 necessary and to the remaining charges and incidents. We come back to
25 this step by step as soon as we have come to a conclusion on legal issues.
1 Finally, and deep heartedly, I have to thank all the participants
2 in this case for the work, for the sometimes difficult but in criminal-law
3 cases, this is normal, sometimes difficult cooperation. But in most
4 cases, good cooperation as far as this was possible. And I thank, first
5 of all, the interpreters. Without your assistance, we would not be able
6 to understand each other. And I think in a broader sense, this is the
7 first mandate of this Tribunal, to make people understand each other. I
8 wish you all good holidays and a good Christmas whenever it's your
9 religion, and let's hope that we all together have a peaceful new year.
10 Thank you.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
12 at 2.05 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday,
13 the 8th day of January, 2002