1 Wednesday, 15 January 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning. Please be seated.
6 May we hear the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. This is Case Number IT-97-24-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And the appearances, please.
10 MR. KOUMJIAN: Good morning, Your Honours. Nicholas Koumjian, Ann
11 Sutherland, with Ruth Karper for the Prosecution.
12 MR. LUKIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Branko Lukic, John
13 Ostojic, and Danilo Cirkovic for the Defence.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Before we start with today's
15 witness, I wanted to announce that we will have a 65 ter (i) meeting today
16 at 3.00 in my office.
17 May I ask, then, the usher, please, to escort the witness into the
19 [The witness entered court].
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning, Ms. Dakic. Please be seated.
21 WITNESS: BORISLAVA DAKIC [Resumed]
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: All the participants, and also you, Ms. Dakic,
25 had time to think over that what was said yesterday under your testimony.
1 And before I ask you, as I did on several occasions in the past, whether
2 when rethinking that what you have said yourself, whether or not there
3 should be some clarification and maybe some correction, I have to give you
4 a two-fold admonition. One thing is that whatever might have been wrong
5 in the past in this case, this could never amount to a case where this
6 Tribunal has jurisdiction. However, even though there might be an answer
7 which tends to incriminate you yourself, you have the right not to answer
8 this concrete question. And by doing so, and sticking to the truth, you
9 do not run any risk to be subject to any kind of investigation here in The
10 Hague. However, if the Prosecution should have good cause to believe that
11 in part your witness may be not the truth or proprio motu, this Chamber
12 may act under Rule 91.
13 What is Rule 91? It's the consequences which may result from a
14 failure to tell the truth as you yesterday solemnly declared. And you
15 should only be aware - at this moment I don't want to go into procedural
16 details - that the maximum penalty for false declaration under solemn
17 declaration shall be a fine of 100.000 euros, or a term of imprisonment of
18 seven years, or both. This is Rule 91 paragraph (g), sentence 1.
19 So when we continue the line of questions, please be aware of
20 this. May I ask you, as a learned lawyer, did you understand this
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
24 May I then ask you, when reflecting about that what was discussed
25 yesterday, do you believe that you have to add something, to correct
1 something from that what was your testimony of yesterday?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have nothing to add. I have
3 nothing to correct either.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. Thank you.
5 Then let me go into some detail again.
6 Questioned by the Court: [ Continued]
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: To repeat again, you told that us you were not
8 present when the request by the Defence arrived to provide the Defence
9 with a documentation on the health condition of one of our witnesses.
11 A. As far as that request is concerned, first somebody from the
12 Defence team came and inquired as to how he could make a request to obtain
13 something for the purpose of a trial before this Tribunal. I told that
14 representative that everything that needs to be sent to somebody has to be
15 decided first by the chief administrative officer of the health centre.
16 Then the Defence addressed the CEO, and at that moment, there was no
17 longer a need for somebody to ask me anything. And I've already told you
18 - I told you yesterday - that this was not the first request of such
19 nature sent to the health centre.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you tell us who was this person who, in the
21 beginning, approached you, as you just mentioned?
22 A. It was Mr. Predrag Radulovic.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And to the best of my recollection, you told us
24 when the actual request arrived, you were not present. But it was
25 discussed with you, or at least shown to you, this request. Can you
1 please tell us who signed this request?
2 A. This request had a stamp of the lawyer's office, and I did not
3 read the request carefully because what was in the request or in the
4 letter was that Mr. Stakic's Defence wanted to obtain documents regarding
5 the health condition of a certain person. And my job consisted of the
6 following: That request was later on forwarded to the department that has
7 all these documents at their disposal. Those documents are not at my
8 disposal; those documents are at the disposal of the department that deals
9 with the health protection of the employees. And when that documentation
10 was located, I never inspected the medical file of that person because the
11 file is all in codes, codes are entered by the doctors. When they do
12 that, they follow a certain nomenclature prescribed by the Minister of
13 Health, and that is something I really do not understand, so that's why I
14 didn't inspect those documents carefully.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And later on, those documents were sent to the
16 Defence. Correct?
17 A. Correct.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was it accompanied by a letter?
19 A. I personally didn't draft any letter, nor did anybody tell me to
20 draft one. Whether there was somebody else, a secretary or somebody else,
21 who wrote a letter to accompany that documentation, I really can't tell
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If we would try to find these documents, where
24 could we find them? Is it in one of your files?
25 A. Yes; everything that we receive or send should be filed, should be
1 in the archive or on the files of the health centre.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: My question was concrete: Is it in one of your
3 files, in responsible --
4 A. Yes, unless somebody has destroyed it. It does happen sometimes
5 that things go missing from the files; however, any destruction of
6 documents from the files is punishable by law and subject to a certain
7 procedure, investigative procedure.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Unfortunately, I have never been in Prijedor,
9 but please tell me, is it correct that when this request arrived, it
10 arrived -- or did it arrive in Prijedor or did it arrive in the unit in
12 A. No, nothing arrives in Omarska. Whatever bears the address of the
13 health centre stays in the post office until the moment the person that is
14 in charge of collecting the mail goes to the post office and picks up
15 everything that bears the address of the health centre and brings it to
16 the health centre.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And who did the search within the health centre
18 on this documentation?
19 A. A paramedic in the occupational medicine department. Who was it
20 who was put in charge of locating this particular file amongst several
21 thousands of other files in the -- amongst the documentation, I wouldn't
22 be able to tell you.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So it is and it stays your testimony that you in
24 person, being responsible for legal aid in this health facility, that you,
25 before sending this documentation to the Defence, were never asked whether
1 or not this would be in line with the law.
2 A. No, not in that sense, not in the sense whether this is in line
3 with the law. I've already explained to you why was it that we thought
4 when we were approached by the Defence team for Dr. Stakic that it was our
5 duty to deliver such documentation to this Tribunal. A year or so before
6 that, SFOR came to our institution and told us that they needed some
7 documents that would serve the purpose of this Tribunal. I was not
8 present at that time. The person who was present was Zdravko Salabalija,
9 the head technician. SFOR then took some documents from the health
10 centre. Along those lines, I thought, and so did my superior, when the
11 Defence team approached us, we thought that to serve the truth and to
12 serve justice, we were supposed to deliver the requested documents. We
13 have never denied such a request if we had one.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But you are aware that when there is a request
15 implemented by SFOR, this request is always accompanied by a search and
16 seizure order edited or issued by a judge. Correct?
17 A. I didn't see any such document because I wasn't there on that day,
18 but I suppose that SFOR did have a court order for the seizure of those
19 particular documents.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Then let -- before we conclude this
21 part, yesterday the Prosecution tendered two articles, 13 and 14, of the
22 law on protection of health of Republika Srpska. I understand that it's
24 MS. SUTHERLAND: May I have a moment, Your Honour.
25 [Prosecution counsel confer]
1 MR. KOUMJIAN: We're not tendering it, for reasons I'd rather
2 explain in the 65 ter conference.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then may I hear submissions by the Defence.
4 MR. LUKIC: If we talk about this issue, I think that we should
5 have in front of us the law on cooperation with the Tribunal of Republika
6 Srpska from which actually we got the power to ask for such a document.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This is a different issue, and we don't want to
8 discuss it here because there is actually no case about this. But it's
9 just a question to admit into evidence Article 13 and Section 14, Article
10 98, paragraph 5 - that's the part that is translated - into evidence.
11 MR. LUKIC: We would like to discuss this in the 65 ter meeting,
12 as the Prosecution proposed.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. The admittance into evidence can only
14 happen in open Court. Therefore, admitted into evidence as J -- what
15 would be the next number?
16 THE REGISTRAR: J25.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: J25.
18 Then late in the evening yesterday, you were confronted with a
19 number of documents, a number of lists containing names. Leaving aside
20 for a moment the formal question whether these lists have to be signed or
21 not signed, for the persons where we can read the names and where we know
22 that they are either on the list of missing persons or we know that they
23 have been killed or we only know about their fate on the basis of a maybe
24 DNA analysis, isn't it true that when you worked at that time in the
25 health centre, you were aware that one after the other, the Muslim doctors
1 - you said not only, but most of them Muslim doctors - disappeared?
2 A. I didn't know that they were disappearing. Actually, I never knew
3 what was going on with them, whether they had gone away or whether they
4 had been brought in to the investigation centre. One could never obtain
5 any information. I was not the one who could obtain that information.
6 The only thing I knew at the time was that people stopped coming to work,
7 or I stopped seeing people in town. Where those people were at the time,
8 I was not in the position to know.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And yesterday you told us, and it's easy to
10 follow your line of thoughts, that everybody knew everybody in Prijedor,
11 in this relatively small town. And is it really true that you want to
12 tell us that you didn't know about the fate of these persons, about the
13 doctors you knew extremely well in your own health centre?
14 A. Your Honour, I didn't know all the doctors in the medical centre.
15 There were over 1200 people working in the medical centre at the time and
16 it was impossible to know them. There were rumours circulating about
17 people being arrested. I heard around those days that somebody called
18 Kiki was killed. When the Dayton accords were signed and when everything
19 was over in the territory of Prijedor Municipality, some two or three
20 years ago, again, I learned that the same gentleman called Kiki was alive.
21 As for the information that somebody was either arrested or killed
22 or moved away, that information could never be a hundred per cent correct
23 or true. I was not in a position to be able to know with a hundred per
24 cent certainty the names of the people who were taken to this place or to
25 another place or who went this way or another way. It was impossible for
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 me to know. There were all sorts of rumours, but one couldn't believe
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So to be, once again, quite concrete, you were
4 never involved in the concrete dismissal of personnel of the health centre
5 Dr. Mladen Stojanovic in Prijedor in one, all, or some of the units
6 connected with this health centre?
7 A. During 1992 and 1993, the answer is no.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And once again, you never saw these lists?
9 A. Not in detail. I never looked through those lists. But they were
10 available for you to look at in the personnel services. That particular
11 section did have insight into those lists, but it wouldn't have been fair
12 for me to go there, use my access there, and look through those lists. It
13 would have been inconceivable for me to go and see the head of the health
14 centre and ask him to see the lists. I did not have the authority to do
15 so. I may have seen them if they were just on someone's -- lying on
16 someone's table.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In this period of time, there was no doubt a
18 shortage, as we learned from several witnesses, related to the necessary
19 medicine and, in addition, medical assistance, because it was wartime and
20 there was an extreme pressure. We know that a number of people returned
21 back from the war, from Croatia, they came to Prijedor. We had a number
22 of incidents causing extreme harm to persons from all sides involved in
23 these incidents. Wasn't it necessary immediately to find replacement for
24 these doctors no longer available for the health centre?
25 A. Replacements, no, no replacements were requested at that time.
1 During -- in the course of 1992, 1993, and 1994, very few doctors arrived.
2 In 1993 and 1994, when the municipalities of Petrovac, Kljuc, Drvar,
3 Grahovo, Livno, and all those municipalities of Western Krajina fell, the
4 population kept withdrawing, and the doctors who were working in those
5 institutions came with them. And when they came to Prijedor Municipality,
6 to Banja Luka, to Gradiska or any other town in Republika Srpska, they
7 would report medical institutions. And wherever they decided to settle
8 eventually, managers of those health institutions would usually allow them
9 to join. Some of them are still working at those institutions. Where
10 exactly, well, that very much depended on where they settled themselves or
11 where their family went. Some of them later went to other places; and in
12 the meantime, we have young doctors straight from med school who came to
13 work at the health centre or in the hospital.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Were you, in 1992, involved in at least the
15 attempt to fill those gaps when doctors left, were dismissed, or
17 A. No, no, not me.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: A final issue: Yesterday, you expressed
19 yourself that from the view of today and the retrospective, it is also for
20 you extremely difficult to understand why all this happened in Prijedor.
21 From your point of view as a citizen of Prijedor, and as you stated,
22 everybody knew everything about the other one, you knew a number of
23 persons - you mentioned concrete names - who do you think yourself is
24 responsible for that what happened in 1992 in Prijedor?
25 A. It is very difficult for me, with my knowledge and my information,
1 to say who was responsible. However, everything that had gone on before
2 the end of April and May 1992, and here I'm referring to the struggle of
3 the Muslim and Croatian peoples for Bosnia and Herzegovina and to secede
4 from the former Yugoslavia, as well as the desire of the Serbian
5 population to remain in the former Yugoslavia, a state in which in
6 addition to Serbs, you also had Macedonians, Montenegrins, Hungarians, the
7 Albanians in Kosovo, and many other ethnic groups. So probably this
8 striving of the Muslim and Croatian peoples to secede is probably what
9 caused everything that later happened. This one person or the persons who
10 would have been responsible for what happened, I don't think I could name
11 a single person or any specific persons. For me to point my finger at
12 someone in particular and say he or she is responsible, I would need to
13 have a lot more information than I do.
14 The way I see things, though, everything began when my Croat and
15 Muslim neighbours expressed their desire to -- for Bosnia and Herzegovina
16 to secede from the former Yugoslavia. The way I see things, that is where
17 it all started.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No doubt it's your right to see this from this
19 angle. But to be more concrete on that what happened in Prijedor, when
20 did you for the first time learn that camps or investigation centres were
21 set up?
22 A. I heard, perhaps in late May, immediately after the combat
23 operations that took place in Prijedor Municipality after the 22nd of May.
24 I would pass by Keraterm and I saw people standing outside, within the
25 perimeter. At the gate, I saw members of their families who would bring
1 them clothing or something else perhaps. I never came close enough to
2 have a proper look. I never approached the gate. There was a war, so it
3 wasn't usual or normal for you to just walk around asking questions
4 whatever you wanted to know about.
5 I heard, and I knew when I came to the Omarska health station,
6 that at the iron ore mine at Omarska, there was a hall in which people
7 were being kept, people who, as I understood at that time, had been
8 arrested either during combat operations or while they were in the areas
9 where -- when all the areas where combat operations were ongoing were
10 taking place, and that was all I could learn at that time. As I told you
11 before, the police officers providing security for the people being kept
12 in those facilities spoke to us and came to us when they needed medical
13 assistance to be provided to whoever needed medical assistance. So both
14 doctors and paramedics did go there. Sometimes some of those seeking
15 medical assistance would be brought directly to the Omarska health
16 station, usually escorted by the police, but I was never myself in any of
17 those rooms when this happened.
18 Now, whether this also happened on those days when I wasn't there,
19 I should suppose that it did.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you know Madam Minka Cehajic?
21 A. Yes.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you speak with her about the fate of her
24 A. Specifically, I did not talk to her about her husband's fate. But
25 I did talk to her about her children's fate. I sat -- I was sitting in
1 this room when Dr. Minka Cehajic, I think it was the end of August or
2 perhaps September, came to see us. And we all said hello. We all greeted
3 each other, and we asked her about her children. And she said that she
4 used the assistance of her colleagues and workmates to evacuate her
5 daughter, her daughter's child, and her brother to Zagreb. And she
6 expressed an enormous debt of gratitude to the particular friend who
7 helped her to do this. Whatever she said about her husband -- all she
8 said about her husband on that occasion is that she wasn't sure what his
9 fate had been.
10 The situation was somewhat unpleasant because we were not close
11 enough for me to ask her about such personal issues. Whether Dr. Cehajic
12 ever told anyone else, perhaps someone that she was much closer to,
13 anything about her husband's fate that she didn't tell us, I really
14 couldn't know. What our conversation was about was How are you doing? and
15 How are your children doing?
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Now, Judge Vassylenko, please.
17 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mrs. Dakic, can you tell us, what is the name
18 of the place where you lived and where Veljko Guberina's radical party was
20 A. Omarska.
21 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Have you been present at the meeting of the
23 A. No.
24 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And how did you know that --
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
1 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: -- was elected as president of the board of the
2 party? For Omarska, I presume.
3 A. It was easy to find out. The meeting at which the party was
4 founded, I could watch the whole thing from the window of my house. Many
5 people from Omarska attended this meeting. And it's only natural that the
6 next day, everyone knew that Mr. Stakic had been appointed president of
7 the party's board for Omarska. Now, whether there was anything else
8 involved, I didn't know. But all I knew was that this referred to the
9 area of Omarska.
10 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: [Previous interpretation continues]... party
11 was closer to you. What did you mean by saying so?
12 A. No. There may have been a misunderstanding due to an error in the
13 interpretation. I was not a member of any party. When I spoke about this
14 meeting, what I meant was the physical proximity, the meeting taking place
15 near where I lived, that's what I meant. But I have never been a member
16 of any political party, which includes the radical party.
17 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: [Previous interpretation continues]... of this
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
20 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Excuse me. Have you seen Dr. Stakic among the
21 participants of this meeting?
22 A. No, I couldn't really see that clearly, because there were a lot
23 of people there. I was perhaps a hundred or a hundred and fifty metres
24 away from where the meeting was taking place. That's my window. I was
25 watching from my window. I didn't really look at people's faces because
1 you know, at that kind of distance all people tend to look alike. But two
2 or three days earlier, we knew already that Mr. Guberina would come to
3 Omarska and that they would have a meeting where this party would be
4 founded. And any of us, had we chosen to do so, could have attended this
6 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: [Previous interpretation continues]... in 1992,
7 Muslims started to leave Prijedor. Can you explain us why Muslims started
8 to leave Prijedor?
9 A. There is no way for me to tell you how someone was feeling and why
10 someone decided to leave. But there is one thing I know for a fact: Many
11 families from the Prijedor area, even before the war, used to work in the
12 countries of the west, starting from 1970 and then up until 1990. Why
13 certain families, wives or children, decided to leave, I never asked them.
14 But there was another reason. As you know, as early as 1991, there were
15 mobilisations underway all the time of military-aged men who were supposed
16 to go to the army. They were mobilised into the JNA forces. So they had
17 military drills up to that point. So maybe it was also for that reason.
18 Anyone's son or husband could have been mobilised, drafted by the JNA. So
19 maybe that was also one of the reasons why certain citizens who were not
20 supportive of the JNA wanted to have their relatives away, at least for a
21 while, perhaps. So if a woman's husband worked in Germany, for example,
22 maybe that was the reason why she wanted herself and her son to travel to
24 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: [Previous interpretation continues]... a Serb
25 soldier was killed in Hambarine, and then the war started. Did you
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13 English transcripts.
1 believe that the killing of one Serb soldier was reasonable and just cause
2 for wide-scale use of military force against Muslim civilian population?
3 A. I do not know about that attack, but I know that we received word
4 that a soldier had been killed. I'm not sure if it was there in that
5 particular place that only this one soldier got killed, or maybe there
6 were other soldiers there, too. I really don't know. The decisions and
7 evaluations of the military officers and the army, or what they thought
8 was enough for them to start retaliating, I really can't talk about this
9 because these people know. They are professionals in that particular
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Judge Argibay, please.
12 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Yes, good morning. I have two or three questions.
13 And I'll ask the questions, just taking into consideration your quality as
14 a lawyer, and a civilian one. I'm not going to ask you about military
16 Just tell me, in April 1992, there was a takeover of the
17 government in Prijedor. Isn't that correct?
18 A. Yes. I think this happened on the 30th of April, 1992.
19 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Do you think a takeover was allowed by the
20 democratic system that was in place in Prijedor at that time?
21 A. According to the norms of the system that was in place then and
22 which was valid throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, we were all supposed to
23 live together in harmony, free and safe. Now, why the takeover took
24 place, I really can't tell you because I was not a decision-maker. I did
25 not make those particular decisions nor did I participate in the making of
1 those decisions, and I was never really familiar with the decisions being
2 made. So I can't tell you anything about what caused such a decision to
3 be made.
4 JUDGE ARGIBAY: I didn't ask about the cause. I asked about the
5 system. If you have democratically elected authorities, do you think a
6 takeover is something legal in the system?
7 A. No. I believe that an elected government must stay in place and
8 operate until there is an extraordinary round of elections and this
9 government is changed and removed, and I'm referring here to the will of
10 the citizens of that particular area.
11 JUDGE ARGIBAY: So you would agree that the government that came
12 into power after the takeover was an illegal government?
13 A. Well, you know, it's difficult for me to speak about this, both as
14 a citizen and as a lawyer. You know that as early as the beginning of
15 1992, Serb deputies were taken out from the Assembly of Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina, and the Assembly of Republika Srpska was founded. In the
17 light of that, certain laws were passed and decisions were made also
18 concerning the legality and the legitimacy. But right now, I don't think
19 I could comment on that.
20 JUDGE ARGIBAY: I'm not sure I have understood you correctly. You
21 said that Serb deputies were taken out from the Assembly of Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina. Who took them out?
23 A. They left themselves. As far as I could follow the work of the
24 Assembly, it was quite obvious at one point that both the Muslim and the
25 Croatian deputies, every time an important decision would be made, kept
1 outvoting the Serb deputies. In that situation, the Serb deputies could
2 not secure any kind of majority when decisions were being made. And for
3 that very reason, they could not protect the interests of the people they
4 were representing. Bosnia and Herzegovina was a state with three
5 constituent peoples. And you've always had Serbs, Croats, and Muslims
6 living in Bosnia and Herzegovina, plus a number of other ethnic groups,
7 ethnic minorities, so it was perfectly normal for the three major ethnic
8 groups to negotiate and to pass decisions by consensus.
9 If, on the other hand, we have a situation where the
10 representatives of one ethnic group simply cannot find a way of reaching
11 an agreement with the representatives of the two other ethnic groups, then
12 probably they will start feeling threatened. And in this particular case,
13 the Serbs were outnumbered by the representatives of the remaining two
14 ethnic groups.
15 JUDGE ARGIBAY: If you're outnumbered in a democratic system,
16 doesn't it mean that you are a minority?
17 A. Well, if I'm being outvoted constantly, that probably means that I
18 represent a minority and probably also that I am not in the right. But
19 during the Assembly's work in 1992, it was quite obvious that what we were
20 dealing with was something quite different. Of course, it's perfectly
21 reasonable and normal for the decision of the majority to be accepted.
22 But if there is a law which has not received a single vote of support from
23 any of the Serb deputies, and if there are amendments to be made, if there
24 are further clarifications to be made, and then none of this is accepted,
25 the same thing would have applied to also Muslim and Croat deputies. It
1 could have been the case that a majority in the Assembly could have been
2 constituted by the Muslim and the Serb deputies. So if that had been the
3 case, the Croats would have been in the same situation as Serbs were in
5 For a multiethnic country like ours, this is never a good
7 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Some moments ago, you said at page 18, line, I
8 think, 13 or 14, that they will start feeling threatened. What kind of
9 threats do you think they were?
10 A. I don't understand. I don't understand what you're asking me to
11 tell you. Are you referring to the Muslim ethnic group in Prijedor
12 Municipality maybe?
13 JUDGE ARGIBAY: No, I think you were talking about the deputies of
14 Serb ethnicity.
15 A. Yes. They were not threatened personally. What was threatened
16 was the interest of the population that elected them to the Assembly, and
17 it is the deputies' duty to look after the interests of the people that
18 they represent. I didn't mean that they were threatened personally, as
19 individuals, but that under those circumstances, the interests of the
20 people whom they represented was -- were threatened.
21 JUDGE ARGIBAY: And those interests you think were best served by
22 leaving the Assembly and forming, say, a parallel government?
23 A. Given the fact that Croats and Muslims, and especially Muslims,
24 wanted Bosnia and Herzegovina to become an independent sovereign state,
25 and given the fact that the Serbian people wanted the Republic of Bosnia
1 and Herzegovina to remain within the former Yugoslavia, obviously these
2 two interests clashed. They could never be the same and identical.
3 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Well, you haven't answered my question, but never
4 mind. Can you tell me, when was it that Bosnia and Herzegovina was
5 admitted as an independent country by the United Nations? Do you remember
6 that date?
7 A. No, I don't remember the exact date.
8 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Thank you.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When answering the questions by Judge Vassylenko
10 whether and why it was just the Muslims leaving the territory even before
11 April 1992, how is it possible that you, only one or some moments before -
12 page 11, line 8 to 10 - you told us that probably this striving of the
13 Muslim and Croatian peoples to secede is probably what caused everything
14 that later happened. Is it really your testimony that those people
15 fleeing from the territory, having caused the threat?
16 A. No, it was not just the Muslims and Croats who fled the territory.
17 There were a number of Serbs who were leaving, a certain number of Serbs
18 also left the territory. But I told you that I do not have enough
19 information and knowledge --
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But you can't change your testimony. Yesterday
21 at 8:13 to 14, you especially stated spontaneously that it was Muslims
22 leaving the country. As a follow-up to this answer, Judge Vassylenko put
23 another question to you and you answered in the same direction. And may I
24 add the following: You discussed also Trnopolje, and you told us
25 yesterday - I have to refer to the time because my LiveNote has the wrong
1 pagination, at 3.08.20, there was a person saying, "If you go to Trnopolje
2 and if you are registered there, then it will be easier for us to leave
3 the territory of Republika Srpska."
4 Does it mean that it's your testimony that people in Trnopolje
5 were there on their own will, that they even volunteered to go to
7 A. Not all of them. Some people whom I knew.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Have you ever heard about --
9 A. I didn't --
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Have you ever heard about the incidents happened
11 to a bus leaving from Trnopolje in the direction of Mount Vlasic?
12 A. No. Where was that incidents -- what are you saying? Where was
13 that incident?
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If you don't know about this incident, if you
15 want to tell us that you don't know --
16 A. No.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: -- don't know about these incidents, then we
18 have to evaluate ourselves your entire testimony, going into the details
19 of your own words.
20 It's now for the Defence to add their questions.
21 MR. LUKIC: We don't have any questions, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: From the side of the Prosecution, please.
23 MS. SUTHERLAND: Your Honour, if I may just have a moment.
24 [Prosecution counsel confer]
25 MS. SUTHERLAND: Just one question, Your Honour.
1 Further cross-examined by Ms. Sutherland:
2 Q. Mrs. Dakic, do you think Muslims would have been leaving the
3 Prijedor area because they were fearful for their lives?
4 A. Yes, probably they did, because we were all fearful for our lives
5 and the lives of our families. In the territory of Prijedor Municipality,
6 there were a lot of armed people at the time. Wherever there are arms
7 around, you are never safe.
8 Q. Did you hear about an incident of a person by the name of Zoran
9 Zigic who came to the Prijedor hospital and stabbed a patient in the
11 A. I did.
12 Q. And that patient was of Muslim ethnicity?
13 A. Yes, I did.
14 Q. And he simply walked out of the hospital, and he was never
15 arrested in 1992 for committing this act?
16 A. As far as I know, he wasn't -- maybe he was brought in and kept
17 for several days, but as far as I know, he wasn't. But I also know that
18 Mr. Zigic repeated a similar act later on.
19 MS. SUTHERLAND: I have no further questions, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: There are no other questions. The witness is
21 excused. May I ask the usher to escort the witness out of the courtroom.
22 [The witness withdrew]
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the Defence, the next witness would
25 MR. LUKIC: The next witness will be here at 10.30, Your Honour.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 So maybe it's a good time to make a pause.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did we already discuss the issue of protective
4 MR. LUKIC: No protective measures for this witness.
5 MR. KOUMJIAN: Perhaps to use the time --
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Anything you want to introduce with the
7 assistance or during the examination as an exhibit or as evidence?
8 MR. LUKIC: We'll be maybe using one of the maps, which is already
9 in evidence.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But nothing new, no surprise today?
11 MR. LUKIC: Nothing new, Your Honour.
12 MR. KOUMJIAN: Perhaps, Your Honour, we just might use the time to
13 ask if the Defence has the list of the witnesses for next week. And I
14 know I'm a little confused by which witness will testify tomorrow because
15 at one point I had asked for a switch, but at this point, the Prosecution
16 is prepared for either one. It's up to the Defence.
17 MR. LUKIC: We follow the Prosecution request, so we switched the
18 order, so as they asked.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The next one would be?
20 MR. LUKIC: Dragic -- number 020 is Dragic Milovan.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And then followed by 040. Correct? And did I
22 understand it correctly that number 58 we can strike from the list?
23 MR. LUKIC: No, Your Honour, he is coming for the next week.
24 Something was wrong -- his house was damaged in this harsh weather
25 conditions in Bosnia, so he had to stay. He is coming the next week.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When can we expect to receive the list for next
3 MR. LUKIC: We'll try to provide it tomorrow.
4 MR. KOUMJIAN: If we could just ask, if it's convenient, if that
5 witness that was going to testify this week and testifies next week could
6 be the first, because we already have the search completed on that
7 witness, we've prepared it, if that's convenient.
8 And just so it's not confused, what I understood from Mr. Lukic is
9 now the order for the last two witnesses this week will be 47 and 40. We
10 had asked that number 40 go last, and he indicated that he would comply
11 with that. Thank you.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What is your estimate about the time you need
13 for the upcoming witness, number 30 [sic]?
14 MR. LUKIC: As we estimated it in our proffer, two to two and a
15 half hours.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So we take it that Witness Number 20 may be on a
17 standby basis already for today, to start if need may be. So in the
18 moment, the trial stays adjourned until 10.50.
19 --- Recess taken at 10.19 a.m.
20 --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
22 May I ask the usher to immediately escort the witness into the
24 [The witness entered court]
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning. Thank you for coming. May I ask,
1 can you understand me in a language you understand?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And may we please hear your solemn
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
6 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Please take your seat. And the
8 witness for the Defence, please.
9 WITNESS: MILOVAN DRAGIC
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 Examined by Mr. Lukic:
12 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Dragic.
13 A. Good morning.
14 Q. For the record, can you please state your name.
15 A. Milovan Dragic.
16 Q. When were you born, Mr. Dragic?
17 A. 19 March 1953.
18 Q. Where were you born?
19 A. In Orahovac in Gradiska Municipality.
20 Q. Where do you reside?
21 A. Currently, I reside in Prijedor.
22 Q. What are you by profession?
23 A. I have a degree in economics.
24 Q. After the personal data that we've just heard, I would like to ask
25 you something about the events prior to April 1992. Did you observe
1 something unusual already in 1991? What was the situation in Bosnia and
2 Herzegovina at the time? What I meant was whether the war in Slovenia and
3 Croatia and mobilisation calls had any effect on Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4 A. Obviously, the events in the environment of Prijedor Municipality
5 had an impact on the thinking of the common people and the overall
6 situation in Prijedor Municipality. It is well-known that at the
7 beginning of 1991, the JNA forces in Slovenia clashed with the Territorial
8 Defence of Slovenia, and as a result of that, Slovenia seceded from the
9 former federation of Yugoslavia. The situation in Slovenia, obviously,
10 had an impact on all of the republics, including Bosnia and Herzegovina,
11 and in turn, including Prijedor Municipality.
12 The developments of the situation in Slovenia continued in
13 Croatia. In the Republic of Croatia, there was an armed conflict in the
14 immediate vicinity of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is, of
15 Prijedor Municipality. Already in 1991, we had a number of refugees
16 coming from the republics of Slovenia and Croatia into the Republic of
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina, including Prijedor Municipality.
18 As far as Prijedor Municipality is concerned and the attitude of
19 its population towards the events in Croatia, the people started moving
20 out on a large scale from Prijedor Municipality. Those were people of
21 Croat and Muslim ethnicities. And this process intensified after the
22 departure of the -- of JNA members to the western Slavonia theatre of war
23 in the Republic of Croatia. The departure of the population and of --
24 that is, of Muslims and Croats, was by buses. There were daily departure
25 of these people by buses. And depending on the day, there were two or
1 three or even more buses departing Prijedor Municipality on a daily basis.
2 If we put that into a time context, and if we bear in mind that all of
3 that lasted for five months, between July and December 1991, we can reach
4 a total figure of those who moved out from Prijedor Municipality. Those,
5 again, were members of the Muslim and Croat peoples.
6 As far as the political situation in Prijedor Municipality was
7 concerned, one has to bear in mind that Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the end
8 of 1990, saw the first multiparty elections. As a result of these
9 elections, we had a new government in Prijedor Municipality which
10 consisted of the Serb and Muslim ethnicities in the ratio of -- in the
11 50/50 ratio. This structure of power reflected the composition of the
12 population according to the 1991 census.
13 Let me briefly go back to the last three months of 1991 when the
14 federation of Yugoslavia was still in place, and when the official army
15 was still the JNA. The JNA started mobilising people, and men who
16 received mobilisation papers from the JNA were sent to the front lines in
17 Western Slavonia, in the Republic of Croatia. Serb men responded to the
18 mobilisation calls to a larger extent, and Muslims and Croats responded in
19 smaller numbers. However, the majority of Muslims failed to respond to
20 mobilisation calls. The reason why they failed to respond is known only
21 to them, but at the time, it was considered disobedience or disregard of
22 the law of the state in which we all lived. Those people who were sent to
23 Western Slavonia were those who responded to the mobilisation calls.
24 Muslims, on the other hand, organised protests. Once it was in
25 front of the municipal building. And they urged people not to respond to
1 mobilisation calls. Obviously, this was not widely accepted by the people
2 because any failure to respond to a mobilisation call by an official state
3 organ constituted violation of the prevailing law as a result of which
4 such a person who failed to respond to the call could be prosecuted by the
5 military court.
6 For political reasons and for the purpose of secession and
7 creating an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina, the majority of Muslims
8 and some Croats did not respond to mobilisation calls and didn't go to the
9 front lines in Western Slavonia.
10 Talking about 1992 and the political situation in Prijedor
11 Municipality, I'm referring to the first three months of the year, between
12 the 1st of January and the 31st of March, 1992, briefly, the political
13 situation was quite stable. As during that period, I was a member of the
14 Executive Board of Prijedor Municipality and occupied the position of the
15 secretary for the economy and social activities, I was very familiar with
16 the political situation across the municipality.
17 Q. If you would just excuse me for a moment, I would just like to
18 clarify something. Are you saying that the political situation was stable
19 or unstable? And if you could then, please, continue.
20 A. As I said, the political situation during the first three months
21 of 1992 was unstable. And an example I can provide is Muslims who were
22 members of the Executive Board, there was a boycott. And on a number of
23 occasions, they openly boycotted the passing of decisions concerning the
24 construction of an elementary school building in the Urije neighbourhood
25 in Prijedor Municipality. The construction of this elementary school
1 building had begun already prior to 1991. In order to continue building
2 the school, it was necessary to -- for the Executive Board to adopt a
3 decision. According to the ethnic makeup of the Executive Board, it had
4 four Serb members and four Muslim members. On many occasions - I would
5 say at least three or four times - the board failed to adopt this
6 decision; and due to this, the elementary school building could not be
7 finished. As for children from that particular area, they had no school
8 to go to. They used premises in the town itself was that were rented,
9 that were rented out to them by the secondary school for electrical
11 This is one example I can give you of how the government failed to
12 operate and how Muslims could not accept, or refused to accept, reality;
13 in this case, the need for the Executive Board to pass this particular
14 decision, and yet, it couldn't be.
15 Nevertheless, in the beginning of April 1992, the Executive Board
16 did adopt such a decision simply because one of the Muslim members --
17 following guarantees and pleas on our part, there was a vote, and the
18 Muslim member voted in favour of the Serb proposal. So the result was
19 five against three in favour of the decision, and the decision could
20 finally be adopted. However, what seemed noteworthy was that the same
21 man, the Muslim member of the board, was suspended from work the very next
22 morning. The reason was precisely that he voted the same as the Serb
23 members of the board.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to interrupt you. No doubt in 1992, this
25 was interesting for you and your special work. But could Defence please
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 explain what is the relevance for our case.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The relevance we found in the fourth
3 amended indictment, all through the indictment.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You have before you the testimony of the witness
5 related to school buildings, one party not understanding, the other
6 understanding. And what has this to do with the allegations in the fourth
7 amended indictment?
8 MR. LUKIC: [In English] Even you, Your Honour, asked today about
9 the takeover of power. We think that we should explain why the power has
10 been taken over. This gentleman was a member of the Executive Board of
11 Prijedor Municipality. He took part in political affairs, political
12 happenings in the Prijedor Municipality prior to the takeover, so we think
13 that he can explain what the political situation was in Prijedor
14 Municipality at that time.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: General, of course, but I think we shouldn't go
16 into details of problems of the secondary school and problems related to
17 this but concentrate on the questions on the relationship as indicated in
18 the proffer between the -- as you stated, the executive and the powers of
19 the Municipal Assembly. I think we can't go into any details of that what
20 happened in Prijedor at that time with each and every building.
21 MR. LUKIC: This gentleman - your earphones were off at that time
22 - explained what happened to the member of the SDA who tried to
23 cooperate. That member was replaced tomorrow by the SDA; suspended. So
24 we think that it is very relevant in which way SDA was acting at that
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I follow the transcript carefully. Please
2 concentrate on the relevant questions. Thank you.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Bodies of the executive power, do you think they functioned well
5 or badly at that time? The secretariats which were held by members of the
6 SDA, did they operate willfully and in disregard of decisions adopted by
7 the Executive Board?
8 A. Throughout that period - to specify, I mean the period starting
9 with the 1st of January, 1992, until the end of April 1992 - to put it
10 briefly, executive power did not function. What I said in my previous
11 answer, the executive power was divided between members of the Serb ethnic
12 group and the Muslim ethnic group, and the division was roughly 50/50, or
13 four against four in terms of numbers. I can give you a good number of
14 examples where certain secretariats were not functioning, were not
15 implementing the decisions of the Executive Board. And I'm talking about
16 secretariats led by Muslims. Obviously, they had received instructions
17 from somewhere else, probably from their political patrons or, more
18 specifically, from the leaders of their political party, the SDA. So it
19 seemed that political decisions were more binding for them than the
20 decisions adopted by their own institution, the institution for which they
21 worked. And I am referring to decisions taken by the Executive Board. So
22 there was a lot of willful activity and behaviour, and even violations of
23 the existing laws in their work.
24 If needed, I can also specify.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, indeed, I would be interested whether it's
1 just speculation or you have any kind of evidence that there was a
2 systematical obstruction from the side of the Muslims, as you just wanted
3 to state.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Just to name an example, there was a
5 decision by the Executive Board that no new people should be recruited and
6 employed by certain secretariats because this was not envisaged by the
7 internal organisation of work and tasks for administrative organs. The
8 municipal administration for social income, or as they call it today, the
9 tax revenue office, led at that time by Meho Tursic, a Muslim, he was
10 hiring new employees on behalf of his office, which means that he was
11 acting in disregard of conclusions adopted by the Executive Board. To add
12 insult to injury, the very people they hired were not adequately qualified
13 for the tasks that they were hired to carry out. Neither did their -- nor
14 did their qualifications respond to the requirements set out in the
15 documents envisaging the internal organisation of those services.
16 Furthermore, the secretariat for urban planning, housing, and
17 communal services and property matters, there were also violations of the
18 existing laws. There was also refusal to comply with decisions taken by
19 the Executive Board. These violations and this disregard were reflected
20 in the fact that land owned by the town was given to Muslims, that
21 decisions were made for certain pieces of land owned by the town itself to
22 be given to Muslims, despite the fact that the relevant laws, laws which
23 were also valid before the war and that are again valid today after the
24 Dayton accords, when land owned by the town is awarded to natural or legal
25 persons, such land can only be allocated by the Municipal Assembly, and
1 not by any single individual or a member of any of the institutions.
2 These two examples can be documented, provided that the documents
3 have been preserved in Prijedor Municipality. These two examples
4 demonstrate that some members of the Executive Board and some government
5 organs led by Muslims violated the provisions of the then relevant laws
6 and acted in blatant disregard of the decisions adopted by the Executive
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. After the takeover on the 30th of April, 1992, which position did
10 you occupy at that time?
11 A. Following the takeover, after the 30th of April, 1992, I held the
12 post of head of communal services, which was a body of municipal
13 administration. The main activity of that particular office is the
14 construction of housing facilities and business premises in -- across
15 Prijedor Municipality. Another task was the maintenance of local roads,
16 the implementation of a programme of shared expenditure pertaining to the
17 urban sector of the municipality, the management of state-owned
18 apartments, and all apartments were state-owned.
19 Prijedor, as a municipality, had about 5.600 flats at that time,
20 or apartment units. And the organisation, the institution, which I led
21 was in charge of investing into the maintenance of these facilities.
22 Q. After the takeover on the 30th of April, 1992, what was the
23 situation like and what happened at the end of May or in the second half
24 of May?
25 A. If we look at the political situation in Prijedor Municipality, or
1 if you look at the political party in power, I told you before already
2 that the organs of government were not exactly functioning, and I backed
3 my statement with a number of valid arguments. The chief reason for
4 another government to be set up which would start functioning was that the
5 republican organs of Bosnia-Herzegovina at that time had sent an order
6 through their own organs, more specifically, through the Ministry of the
7 Interior, to attack the military facilities and barracks in Prijedor, to
8 confiscate the military equipment, and to block the roads around Prijedor.
9 That order was sent through the Prijedor branch of the Ministry of
10 the Interior, and the order was signed by the then Minister of the
11 Interior personally, Mr. Alija Delimustafic. The summary of this decision
12 would be an attack against Serbs. After the takeover, and it was a
13 nonviolent takeover, without a single bullet being fired, without anyone
14 getting injured or even killed - and I'm here referring to non-Serbs - a
15 new government was set up in Prijedor including Serbs. The main organ of
16 that government was still the Executive Board with its administrative
17 organs and with its secretariats which had been established by the law on
18 state administration which was then in place.
19 In May, there were open attacks against Serbs. What form did
20 these attacks take? There was an armed attack on the military barracks in
21 Prijedor. There were murders of Serbs. If I remember correctly, the
22 first murder occurred at the very beginning of May. I think the victim's
23 name was Dzapa, and he was shot from the back. Likewise, in the village
24 of Hambarine, an armed attack was carried out on a car carrying members of
25 both the Serb and the Croat ethnic groups. And it was on that occasion,
1 if I remember correctly, that two persons were killed and two persons were
2 seriously wounded.
3 In the town of Prijedor itself, the situation was rather tense.
4 The tension culminated in late May when there was an organised, armed
5 attack on Prijedor. The attack came from various directions. During the
6 attack, some 15 army members were killed. Likewise, there were a number
7 of wounded army members. Some houses were destroyed and fire was set to
8 others, all of which resulted in considerable damage. So much about that.
9 Q. Do you know how and for how long did Kozarac prepare for these
10 conflicts? What can you tell us about that? And also, what was happening
11 in Kozarac before the takeover, when military convoys were passing through
13 A. A very interesting piece of information about the local community
14 of Kozarac in Prijedor Municipality would be this: This local community
15 had between 18.000 and 20.000 inhabitants in the community itself and the
16 neighbouring villages which belonged to that local community. In late
17 1991, journalists and representatives of the foreign media came to
18 Prijedor. The president of the Executive Board organised a press
19 conference, which I attended. After that, we saw a videoclip featuring
20 the population of Kozarac local commune preparing themselves for an armed
21 rebellion. I don't know who the author of that videoclip is, but it is
22 interesting because it lasts for about three hours and it features all the
23 details of the preparations for an armed rebellion.
24 Obviously, having watched that videoclip, all those who attended
25 the press conference and who saw this for the first time were struck by
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 panic. They simply couldn't believe that something like that was
2 happening in the immediate vicinity of the place where they found
3 themselves at the time.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I interrupt at this point in time. We have
5 to take the break now. We, the three of us, we reviewed both the proffer
6 and the transcript where the Defence indicate the reason why to call this
7 witness, and now we're discussing issues not foreseen there. And we
8 regard it necessary to be prepared in order to follow the testimony of the
9 witness. The trial, therefore, stays adjourned until 12.30.
10 --- Break taken at 11.56 a.m.
11 --- On resuming at 12.36 p.m.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The witness may be brought in immediately.
13 MR. LUKIC: [In English] Maybe, Your Honour, before the witness
14 comes in, you asked me where in our proffer you can find my last question,
15 and I asked about military convoys which were passing through the Kozarac.
16 And it's the last sentence of the proffer, stating that: "The armed
17 Muslims with automatic rifles, machine-guns, and other armaments blocked
18 the JNA convoy and threatened the same." So the fact is the witness gave
19 a lengthy answer, but we should be a little bit patient and let him
20 explain the whole situation.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We come back to this this afternoon. Please
23 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
24 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Dragic, I asked you about a military convoy,
25 one or more of them, that passed through Kozarac before the war and the
1 situation in Kozarac before the takeover and the outbreak of the armed
2 conflict. You told us that you had seen a videoclip featuring all that.
3 Can you please explain what you saw on the videoclip and can you also tell
4 us about your experience with the passing of military convoys through
5 Kozarac before the armed conflict started.
6 A. I have told you that all those who had the opportunity to see this
7 videoclip, lasting for about 180 minutes, that all those who saw this
8 videoclip were astonished when they saw how many Green Beret members there
9 were, and the arms they had in their possession. They were also
10 astonished with the organisation of their work. It was clear to everybody
11 that what they saw was an organised unit which had military discipline,
12 implying that members of that military formation would line up every
13 morning. All of us who were watching this were immediately reminded of
14 the times when we had to serve military service, the compulsory military
15 service in the JNA.
16 Obviously, one could also see a number of familiar faces in that
17 videoclip, which the participants of the press conference found very
18 surprising. We couldn't believe that those people that we all knew and
19 associated with changed sides overnight, so to say, and became members of
20 the Green Berets, and that their objective was to prepare an armed
21 rebellion against the Serbian population.
22 I had an opportunity to see such formations personally from a
23 close distance. Once, when I was returning from Banja Luka, I was riding
24 in an official car. There was a roadblock on the road between Banja Luka
25 and Prijedor in Kozarac. I saw a convoy of military vehicles carrying
1 military equipment that was pulled over at the crossroads where the road
2 forks off towards Kozarac. That was the main road between Prijedor and
3 Banja Luka. So we couldn't proceed towards Banja Luka via that section,
4 and we could only take a bypass through Kozarac in order to reach
5 Prijedor. As we were driving on this bypass road, we passed by the Muslim
6 cemetery there. I saw a number of Green Beret members lying on the ground
7 with automatic weapons in their hands. That was in the cemetery. As we
8 were passing by the cemetery, we were stopped by some of the Green Berets,
9 and there were three or four cars in front of the car that I was driving
10 in. The column of cars was stopped, and it was pulled over. But shortly
11 after that, we were able to continue travelling on that bypass road.
12 When I finally arrived in Prijedor, and when I got to my office, I
13 told my colleagues the story of my journey from Banja Luka, and what I had
14 seen. I could see that they were quite surprised to hear all that, and
15 that they were also scared. They simply couldn't believe that such armed
16 formations with such weapons really existed.
17 Q. Can you please tell us, when did you come across this roadblock in
18 Kozarac? Can you be more specific about the time when this happened?
19 A. Are you referring to the time of in the day?
20 Q. No; when was it in terms of the calendar time?
21 Can you please stop just for a ...
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask, you are fine? Otherwise we could
23 have a break, if you need a replacement. Okay. Thank you.
24 We can continue.
25 MR. LUKIC: [In English] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. [Interpretation] Sir, can you specify the time frame for that
3 A. I can't give you the exact date, but it was in the month of April
5 Q. Thank you. You were a member of the Executive Board of Prijedor
6 Municipality prior to the takeover, which means while the president of the
7 Municipal Assembly of Prijedor was Mr. Cehajic. Did you ever see
8 Mr. Cehajic give any orders to the army? Did he have the authority to
9 issue orders to the army?
10 A. Of course, as a member of the Executive Board of Prijedor
11 Municipality, I knew the president of the Assembly of Prijedor
12 Municipality, Mr. Muhamed Cehajic. I am not aware that Muhamed Cehajic
13 gave any orders to the army, because he had no legal authority to do so.
14 But in connection with your question, I do remember one event that was
15 much debated in the town at that time. Mr. Cehajic, together with the
16 president of his party, Mirza Mujadzic, and there was a third gentleman
17 with them, Medunjanin - I forgot his first name - the three of them went
18 to meet the officials in charge of the Zarko Zgonjanin barracks in
19 Prijedor, the military officials in charge of the barracks. During that
20 meeting, or at least that's what people said, they demanded that
21 mobilisation papers not be sent to Muslims, and they told the military
22 officials that unless their demand was complied with, they would organise
23 mass rallies of Muslims outside the municipal building in Prijedor, as
24 well as outside the barracks, the Zarko Zgonjanin barracks in Prijedor.
25 It's easy to conclude that the demand made by the delegation at the
1 barracks was illegal and unconstitutional, if you look at the laws and the
2 constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina at that point, the law on national
3 defence. And yet, they considered themselves entitled to make such a
5 Q. Do you know whether the president of the Executive Board during
6 the time that you were a member of the Executive Board of Prijedor
7 Municipality, do you know whether the president ever gave any orders to
8 the army?
9 A. While I was working as the secretary for the economy and social
10 activities as part of the Executive Board of Prijedor Municipality, had
11 any such order or decision ever been sent to members of the army, I would
12 have known of it. But during my service as the secretary, no such
13 request, no such demand was made by the president.
14 Q. Have you ever heard or seen the president of the Municipal
15 Assembly of Prijedor give any orders to the police?
16 A. During the time I was occupying the position, my position in the
17 Executive Board of Prijedor Municipality, I was not aware of the president
18 of the Executive Board ever sending any orders to members of the police.
19 And I am sure that no such orders were ever given because that would have
20 been illegal and unconstitutional. He would not have the authority over
21 the work of the police, whereas other bodies did.
22 Q. The president of the Municipal Assembly, according to the laws in
23 place at that time, could he give any orders -- was he in position to give
24 any orders to the police, and were you ever aware -- did you ever hear of
25 Mr. Cehajic giving any orders to the police?
1 A. The president of the Assembly, Mr. Cehajic, Muhamed Cehajic, while
2 I was working as the secretary, to my knowledge he never ordered the
3 police to do anything because, again, as we've already said, he was not
4 legally entitled to do so. He did not have the authority. And anyway,
5 the police would not have carried out his orders simply because the
6 president of the Assembly did not have the legal authority to issue orders
7 to the police. More specifically, speaking of the public security
8 station, the police station in Prijedor, the police were given their
9 orders by the security centre in Banja Luka or the Ministry of the
10 Interior based in Banja Luka.
11 Q. Mr. Dragic, in 1992 [sic], you were mobilised yourself.
12 Excuse me, I said 1991.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 1991.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. So in 1991, you were mobilised and sent to Western Slavonia.
16 During your stay on the front lines, did it ever happen that a municipal
17 civilian organ of authority gave you any orders?
18 A. In 1991, sometime in late August and early September, I was still
19 working as the secretary for the economy and social activities in Prijedor
20 Municipality. And in this period, I received a military call-up from the
21 Yugoslav People's Army. Naturally, at that time, the JNA was the only
22 legal and constitutional armed force of the state I was living in. I
23 responded to the call-up. I went to the front in Western Slavonia, and I
24 worked there as a communications officer at the command of the 43rd
25 Brigade of the JNA. We were far from the front line itself. I spent
1 about 45 days there.
2 Q. Let me just ask you the following: During those 45 days in
3 Western Slavonia, did it ever happen that a municipal organ of civilian
4 authority or a municipal politician, for that matter, ever came to your
5 command, to your headquarters, and give you any orders, or did any written
6 order ever arrive there?
7 A. As I've said a moment ago, I was in Western Slavonia, or more
8 specifically, at Bijele Stijene, for about 45 days. During my time there,
9 no oral or written order from the civilian authorities in Prijedor was
10 received. Had I ever received one, I would have considered it ridiculous
11 due, simply, to the fact that I was a member of the JNA units there.
12 According to the former Yugoslavia's constitution, and according to the
13 relevant laws, including the law on national defence, the JNA was
14 independent in making its decisions and no orders or decisions could have
15 been handed down to the JNA by any level of civilian authority, and
16 nothing like that ever happened.
17 Q. Thank you. The civilian authorities in Prijedor, after fighting
18 broke out, did the civilian authorities complain that too many people were
19 in the army and that, therefore, it was not possible to go about the daily
20 civilian tasks in the proper way? Could the civilian authorities issue an
21 order to have a number of civilians released from the army?
22 A. Certainly. When someone went to the JNA to join one of the units,
23 it was the civilian sector, or the civilian authority, that was at a loss.
24 They were losing people to the army who were in certain civilian
25 positions, doing civilian jobs prior to being drafted by the JNA.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Regardless of that, regardless of the fact that when people left from the
2 civilian authorities to join one of the JNA units, the civilian
3 authorities were facing a shortage of work force, and regardless of this,
4 the civilian authorities could not do anything about it. The civilian
5 authorities could not do anything to bring those civilians back from the
6 front line or from the JNA units.
7 Q. In addition to having the right to mobilise people, did the army
8 also have the right to mobilise equipment or materiels without receiving
9 approval from the civilian authorities? And which were the bodies through
10 which the army mobilised both people and equipment? Can you tell us that.
11 A. The organs of military authority, according to the law on national
12 defence, if there was a mobilisation, if men were being mobilised, or if
13 manpower was being mobilised, as the military usually call it, the
14 national -- the law on national defence entitled them to carry out this
15 mobilisation. And they were also entitled to commandeer equipment. When
16 I say "equipment" or "materiel," I am referring to means of
17 transportation, equipment and technical equipment, even animals used to
18 draw the equipment. I mean horses in particular.
19 Q. Do you know through which organ, through which body exactly, the
20 army mobilised people and equipment?
21 A. The army, or the different bodies of the army, mobilised people
22 and equipment at municipal level through the secretariat for national
23 defence. Those were municipal organs for one period of time; and during a
24 different period of time, they were republican organs.
25 Q. When the secretariat for national defence was a municipal body,
1 did it receive its orders from the municipal authorities or from the
2 republican secretariat for national defence?
3 A. This secretariat, as I've said, was, for a certain amount of time,
4 a municipal body. And then in different period, it was a republican body.
5 In both cases, this body did not receive orders from civilian authorities.
6 They could only receive orders from the military authorities.
7 Q. During this trial, we have heard that sometimes police units were
8 being sent to the front. The Minister of the Interior, did he have the
9 authority to send his people to the front, or was this also done by the
10 military authorities?
11 A. Talking about the police, if you look at the way the police is
12 organised, they had their regular forces and their reserve forces.
13 According to the law, the reserve police forces are only used under
14 exceptional circumstances, in exceptional situations. As far as the
15 specific question is concerned, if you look at the reserve forces of the
16 police, the decision to send reserve forces into war-torn areas could only
17 be made by the army.
18 Q. Following the takeover on the 30th of April, 1992, you have told
19 us already which post you held. Can you please be so kind as to tell us
20 which body of the municipal authority did you report to and who did you
21 report to? Who did you go to between the 30th of April and the 30th of
22 September, 1992?
23 A. At the beginning of my testimony, I said that the institution of
24 which I was the head was a municipal administrative organisation. As
25 such, it answered to the Executive Board of Prijedor Municipality; or more
1 specifically, to the president of the Executive Board. According to the
2 book of rules governing the work of the Executive Board, administrative
3 bodies and municipal administrative organisations sent reports on their
4 work to the president of the Executive Board of the municipality. This
5 report on their activities would be sent twice during a year, a calendar
6 year, for two distinct periods of time. The first period was from the 1st
7 of January to the 30th of June, and the second period was from the 1st of
8 July to the 31st of December.
9 Q. Did you ever submit a report to the Crisis Staff, or did you
10 receive any order from the Crisis Staff?
11 A. As I've already told you --
12 Q. I apologise. Were you aware of the existence of the Crisis Staff,
13 and how did you perceive that body?
14 A. As for the first part of your question, I've already told you that
15 the institution that I headed had its own book of rules and reported twice
16 a year to the Executive Board and to the Executive Board only. When I was
17 discharging these duties during the given period of time, I heard of the
18 establishment of a Crisis Staff in Prijedor Municipality but I didn't know
19 who its members were or where it was physically located, where it was
20 physically headquartered. Throughout the entire 1992, because of the
21 nature of my duties, I was in the building of Prijedor Municipality every
22 day. I attended consultations with the president of the Executive Board
23 as well as with the secretaries of the respective administrative bodies.
24 The need for daily consultations and cooperation with members of
25 the Executive Board reflected in the fact that the institution that I was
1 the head of had, at the time, one of the most important duties that the
2 civilian authorities in any municipality usually discharge. Because of
3 the nature of the activities of my institution, I had to have daily
4 contacts with the president of the Executive Board and its members. As I
5 said at the beginning of my testimony, I heard of the existence of the
6 Crisis Staff, but while I was discharging these duties - and that was up
7 to January 1993 - I didn't notice anything that would reveal to me the
8 existence of that body, of that Crisis Staff.
9 Q. Kindly give us the names of the members of the Executive Board
10 with whom you had frequent contacts.
11 A. While I was the director of the communal services in Prijedor,
12 which, as I said, was a body of municipal administration, my daily
13 contacts, during the working hours, obviously, were with the president of
14 the Executive Board. At that time, it was the late Mr. Milan Kovacevic, a
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask for a break, please.
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Witness, based on your testimony, especially
19 page 46, from the beginning on and later on when you told us that you
20 "didn't notice anything that would reveal to me the existence of that
21 body, of that Crisis Staff," and other statements which from our
22 perspective may be - may be - not true, the Trial Chamber decided proprio
23 motu to warn you that you are still under the duty to tell the truth. And
24 I have to tell you the consequences that may result from a failure to do
1 I have to inform you, leaving out now the procedural
2 prerequisites, that the maximum penalty for false testimony on a solemn
3 declaration shall be a fine of 100.000 euros, or a term of imprisonment of
4 seven years, or both. You should know and you should reflect about these
5 possible consequences. Until now, nobody has started any investigations
6 against you, but that what was your testimony until now may serve for the
7 Prosecution as an initial suspicion for starting such investigations, this
8 time based on the suspicion of false testimony. It is your right also to
9 correct your testimony, if you so want. But please be aware of the maybe
10 consequences. Thank you.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can I now answer, please? May I be
12 allowed to answer, please?
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If the question can be repeated, yes, please.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I wasn't referring to the
15 question put to me by the Defence; I wanted to respond to your warning,
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, it's your right. Please.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before I started my testimony, I
19 gave the solemn declaration, and I have told only the truth in my
20 testimony. You and the other members of the Honourable Chamber have
21 implied that you maybe thought I was not being truthful in my testimony.
22 I don't know in which part you thought I was not telling the truth.
23 Whatever I said, I can prove that it was the truth.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You will have the possibility - as we did it in
25 the past, because we can't conclude your testimony today - to revisit the
1 transcript of today, and then it is for you later on, if you so wish, to
2 correct the one or other answer in context. Thank you.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Dragic, correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that you said
5 that you can corroborate all your allegations by documents.
6 A. What I meant when I said that concerns the work, my work, in the
7 institution, which was under the authority of the Executive Board. I
8 meant the reports on the work of the department for communal services,
9 which were sent to the president of the Executive Board, and these
10 documents should have been filed by the recipient body.
11 Secondly, the department for communal services has its own files.
12 And all the documents that need to be filed under the law will show the
13 activities of a physical body during a given period of time, what
14 activities it had carried out, with whom it had contacts, or who it
15 reported to.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: A legal person.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. You started, before the interruption of the Honourable Chamber,
19 giving us the names of the people who were members of the Executive Board
20 with whom you had contacts during the period between April and September
22 A. Yes, I started giving you their names. I told you who the
23 president of the Executive Board was. Other members of the Executive
24 Board were as follows: They were all secretaries of respective municipal
25 bodies. There was the secretary of economic affairs. His name was Ranko
1 Travar, who had a degree in economics.
2 The next one was the secretary for urban planning and urban
3 affairs, housing affairs, and property affairs, Mr. Vojo Pavicic. He had
4 a degree in law. The secretary of the secretariat for cadastre and
5 geodesic affairs was Mr. Radenko Banovic, who had a degree in land
6 surveying. These were the three most important secretariats. There was a
7 another one, the secretariat for general administrative affairs. I am not
8 sure, but I believe that the head of that secretariat was, at the time,
9 Mrs. Vera Stojic, who had a degree in law.
10 Q. Did all these people sit in the offices allocated to the heads of
11 the respective secretariats?
12 A. My contacts with the heads of the secretariats took place in the
13 offices of the Executive Board of Prijedor Municipality. That is, in the
14 offices occupied by the heads of the aforementioned secretariats. Those
15 offices were occupied by the heads of the aforementioned administrative
16 bodies before the war, during the war, and after the war. Even to this
17 very day, these offices are still occupied by the heads of these
18 departments. It is not, obviously, the same people, but the offices and
19 the positions of their occupants are the same. The current heads of the
20 administrative bodies, or as they are now called, according to the current
21 law on local administration, heads of departments still sit in those
22 rooms. Before the year 1992, they used to be known as the secretaries of
23 secretariats, and now they are called "heads of departments," according to
24 the new on local self-government and administration.
25 Q. Was curfew -- a curfew introduced in Prijedor Municipality? Who
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 was it applied to, and how could one move about while curfew was in place?
2 A. Yes, a curfew was introduced in Prijedor for all the citizens of
3 Prijedor Municipality. And I believe that the curfew, as far as I can
4 remember, was between 2200 hours and 0600 hours on the following morning.
5 During the curfew, one was not allowed to move about. That is, civilians
6 were not allowed to move about, regardless of their ethnicity. Civilians
7 could only move about if they had a permit or an authorisation issued by
8 the police.
9 MR. LUKIC: [In English] It is a convenient time for today.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The time is ripe for a break for today.
11 Let me take the opportunity to kindly ask you not to contact
12 anybody who may be a witness in this case or in other cases or other
13 persons you know from former Yugoslavia, and especially not one
14 representative of the one or the other parties when you are staying here
15 until tomorrow morning at 9.00.
16 In addition, I have to ask you to rethink your testimony on the
17 existence of the Crisis Staff, all your knowledge about the setting up of
18 a Crisis Staff, and the composition of a Crisis Staff, and your maybe
19 working together with the Crisis Staff. This will be one of the decisive
20 points whether or not to take measures as mentioned before, because these
21 are the points where the Trial Chamber has reasons to believe that it
22 can't be your full testimony, what you gave us today. And promising to
23 tell the truth means also to add spontaneously all that what you know and
24 not to hide knowledge.
25 You should get in contact, please, with the representative of the
1 Registry if you so wish to revisit today's transcript. In any event, you
2 should have the possibility to do so, if need may be, with the assistance
3 of an interpreter. But I believe you know very well what you testified on
4 the existence of a Crisis Staff and what should be your reaction tomorrow.
5 The trial stays adjourned until tomorrow, 9.00, in Courtroom
6 Number I.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
8 at 1.47 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday
9 the 16th day of January, 2003, at 2.15 p.m.