1 Thursday, 16 January 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.22 p.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. A special warm welcome today
6 to everybody when we start now this 100th day of the trial, Prosecutor
7 versus Dr. Stakic. And I would give up my job in case we would ever read
8 on the LiveNote Day 200. So please, let's take care that we speed up a
9 little bit.
10 This case is a very problematic day. Yesterday, I announced that
11 we would sit in the morning. Later on, we heard it was not possible. And
12 you know even better than the Judges did, we only learned at 6.00 in the
13 evening that we would sit today in the afternoon. A number of changes
14 have occurred. This is one reason that Judge Vassylenko is not present in
15 the moment, for personal reasons. May I ask before starting the parties
16 and the accused, Dr. Stakic, in person, whether they agree that for the
17 first portion, that means the first 90 minutes, we sit under Rule 15 bis
18 in the composition of the two of us.
19 Prosecution, please.
20 MR. KOUMJIAN: Yes, Your Honour, we have no objection. Thank
22 MR. LUKIC: We don't have any objections, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. This was the first step. Second
24 step: The bureau meeting scheduled, rescheduled, now scheduled again will
25 definitely take place as from 6.00 today. So therefore, we have to stop
1 on or about 6.00 this evening.
2 As regards tomorrow, it was my intention, and I emphasize
3 "intention" that we could enable that all the witnesses waiting this week
4 could be heard, and therefore it would be possible to start in the morning
5 and we would have Courtroom I during the entire day. I know that there
6 could be a conflict with the interests of the parties, especially the
7 Defence having to discuss issues sometimes with the client and with
8 upcoming witnesses. Therefore, could you please give me a hint what is
9 absolutely mandatory for you, what is the framework in which we can hear
10 the case tomorrow?
11 MR. OSTOJIC: Good afternoon, Your Honour. We would like to if at
12 all possible keep the framework consistent with that which was outlined to
13 us previously, that is that we proceed tomorrow afternoon at 2.15, and
14 conclude with the witness that we expect to call either starting this
15 afternoon and/or tomorrow, and then we'll proceed next week as outlined
16 and scheduled by the Court. We cannot and would not like to proceed
17 tomorrow the entire day from 9.00 to 6.00 or whatever it was envisioned
18 for a number of reasons; namely, because we would like to meet with
19 Dr. Stakic to go over some issues with the witness that's upcoming for
20 next week, who is here. Also, based upon information and belief, and
21 personal knowledge, the witness that is upcoming has some documents that
22 we are photocopying that we would use as evidence, and in all fairness to
23 the OTP, we would like to give them a couple of days so that they could
24 review those documents and have them translated so that they could have a
25 better understanding as opposed to spring it on them during his
2 Likewise, we're going to offer those documents to the Court in
3 advance, as well as prepare a more detailed proffer as we have, in my
4 opinion, with the witness that is following the present one who is on the
6 Next, if I may, with the Court's --
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I can understand. Only to be on the safe side,
8 it is your submission it would be impossible, for example, to start
9 tomorrow at 1.00?
10 MR. OSTOJIC: And work until when Your Honour, if I may inquire?
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: From 1.00 until 7.00.
12 MR. OSTOJIC: Based upon my conversations with our client, it
13 would be not impossible, but it would certainly be taxing on him as well
14 as on the attorneys. We do believe that it would not be practical because
15 we think we could finish the witness that will be starting following this
16 witness this afternoon, and it may take, based upon what the Prosecution
17 has told me, that we may be able to finish that one particular witness by
18 tomorrow. We will endeavour to do that. So just so that we're clear:
19 There are two remaining witnesses, one that is on the stand, and it's my
20 understanding from the Prosecution, as he informed me yesterday, that he
21 may take a couple of hours with him. And then the following witness,
22 based on our proffer and the amended proffer that we submitted to the
23 Court, we have approximately three hours with that witness, and we can
24 only envision and speculate that the OTP would likewise have a couple of
25 hours at the least. So keeping that in mind, we would hope, and we will
1 work towards completing that witness. But the final witness, we will
2 commence next week, who is here, depending again on the schedule as we
3 discussed, of Mrs. Balaban, who is coming, as well as Dr. Mujadzic, who is
4 also coming on Monday. So we will work around that and prepare the
5 appropriate proffer for that witness.
6 So if the Court insists and feels there is a necessity, we can
7 meet at 1.00, and we will proceed as long as it takes to conclude that one
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So I then want to ask Madam Registrar to find
10 out whether it's possible in order to, in a way of compromise, to start at
11 1.30 up until 7.00, aiming at concluding the next witness tomorrow.
12 You had another issue.
13 MR. OSTOJIC: If I may, Your Honour. I'm not sure if it's the
14 appropriate time, yesterday in our 65 ter (i) conference, we did discuss
15 numerous things such as the plea agreement and the factual backdrop of the
16 plea agreement involving Biljana Plavsic --
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I just interrupt. This was really a
18 preliminary discussion. Before we really go into details, I would like
19 that the case be called when we know now that we can proceed under 15
21 May I ask you, please, to call the case.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon. This is Case Number IT-97-24-T,
23 the Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And the appearances, for the
25 Prosecution, please.
1 MR. KOUMJIAN: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Nicholas Koumjian,
2 Mike McVicker, and Ruth Karper for the Office of the Prosecutor.
3 MR. LUKIC: Good afternoon. Branko Lukic and John Ostojic for the
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
6 Mr. Ostojic, you may proceed now please.
7 MR. OSTOJIC: It's a minor point. I would just once again in
8 connection with the issue of Biljana Plavsic, we would like as we
9 suggested yesterday that we be given the tapes so that our client can also
10 review them in the language in which he understands, as prescribed in the
11 Rules before this Tribunal. Secondly, on the disclosure of the
12 typewritten notes from the transcripts, specifically disclosure 1268, it
13 states on the very first page, and quite honestly, we haven't completed
14 our review of those transcripts, but on the very first page of that
15 disclosure, which is the first tape of Biljana Plavsic's interview of June
16 22nd, 2001, that she in fact had another interview --
17 MR. KOUMJIAN: I think we did agree that these -- that the Defence
18 was bound by nondisclosure on the tapes. And I don't know that anything
19 secret is going to be stated. But perhaps -- or is that there is anything
20 secret. But perhaps we should go into private session just for a moment.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Closed session, please.
22 [Closed session]
10 Page 10456 – redacted – closed session
10 Page 10457 – redacted – closed session
12 Page 10458 – redacted – closed session
25 [Open session]
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good afternoon. We are continuing your
3 testimony of yesterday. Today you are still under solemn declaration, as
4 you know. Yesterday I asked you to rethink and maybe even to review
5 yesterday's statement, and I told you that I would ask you in the
6 beginning whether or not you have to make some changes or amendments.
7 WITNESS: MILOVAN DRAGIC [Resumed]
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. In
10 connection with my testimony yesterday, and my answers to the questions
11 asked by the Defence, everything that I said corresponds with the events
12 as they happened in the municipality and the town of Prijedor within the
13 time frame the questions refer to. As I pointed out yesterday, I am able
14 to corroborate the testimony I offered with documents. Furthermore, I am
15 fully aware that when one speaks about documents, most of the documents
16 were taken away from the municipal files in Prijedor and are currently
17 here in the possession of the Tribunal. I also know that in view of the
18 fact that in my opinion, due to the peculiar nature of my tasks in 1992,
19 the documents are many, and the list of documents is very comprehensive.
20 If needed, I should be willing to offer assistance to the Honourable
21 Chamber in tracking these documents down. In my opinion, this is an
22 activity that may be defined in a way as lex specialis. On the other
23 hand, we are talking about documents that must be placed within their
24 historical context; namely, during the implementation of tasks on which I
25 worked as a member of the institution where I worked, there were a number
1 of documents that had been adopted one year before 1992. The
2 implementation of the decisions contained in those documents ensued in
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, might I interrupt you at this point in
5 time. But this will be subject to the upcoming questions both by the
6 Defence and the OTP. My question was only whether or not you wanted to
7 correct, amend, or change in whole or in part yesterday's testimony and
8 from you have stated now, I think your answer is no, there is nothing to
9 change or nothing to amend and nothing to correct. Is this correct?
10 We're not speaking about any anonymous documents; we are speaking about
11 your concrete testimony.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, probably, there might have
13 to be additions, but I was trying to be as succinct, as precise as
14 possible in my testimony yesterday, and I think I have succeeded. So I
15 think in answer to your question about my testimony yesterday, I have no
16 further changes to make.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. We will come back to this during the
18 question and answers. The only thing I want to ask you, if it would be
19 possible for you to speak a little bit faster, it would help us all.
20 Thank you.
21 The floor is yours for the Defence, please.
22 Examined by Mr. Lukic: [Continued]
23 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Dragic, again.
24 A. Good afternoon.
25 Q. I don't have many questions to ask you today. I would like to
1 start with the following. The question I'm about to ask you is related to
2 your position at work. Did you ever dismiss anyone, and did people stop
3 reporting for work in your organisation? So we are talking about the
4 period after the takeover on the 30th of April, 1992.
5 A. As concerns the organisation where I worked during the specified
6 period, there were 22 persons, 22 employees working there. The ethnic
7 makeup of those employees was that there were both Croats -- there were
8 Croats, Serbs, and Muslims, all three ethnic groups. The section of the
9 organisation of which I was the head, not a single employee, regardless of
10 his or her nationality, was fired or anything like that. All the more; I
11 tried to be as understanding towards employees of the other nationalities,
12 and I tried to grant their individual requests to be replaced.
13 Correction, to exchange property. And I'm talking about exchange of
14 property between property situated in Croatia and property situated in
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We are talking about Prijedor Municipality and the
16 Municipality of Rijeka in the Republic of Croatia.
17 At this time, people started not showing up for work. But all of
18 my employees, the employees of the section in which I was the head, would
19 call me on the phone and tell me that they were carrying out preparations
20 to leave Prijedor Municipality and asked to have their documents ready for
21 them, their personal documents which were kept in their personal file so
22 that they could come and pick their documents up. The departure of
23 non-Serbian employees was happening successively within a single period;
24 it didn't happen all at once. Not all non-Serbs left the institution.
25 They worked the same way in 1992 as they still work today. So by way of
1 conclusion, as head of that particular organisation, I never blackmailed,
2 threatened, or fired anyone. And all of the employees can confirm this,
3 even those who no longer work there, and also those who still work there.
4 So much for that.
5 Q. Thank you. Do you know anything about the attempt to remove
6 Dr. Stakic from his position as the president of the Municipal Assembly?
7 Do you know when this started? Do you know who took part in it, and what
8 the reasons were for this attempt to remove him? Do you know anything
9 related to that?
10 A. Yes, I do know that - I think it was during the last three months
11 of 1992 - there were certain activities aimed at an attempt to remove
12 Dr. Stakic from his position as the president of the Municipal Assembly,
13 and this was prepared among the ranks of the SDS, the Serbian Democratic
14 Party. The rumour had it, and we all heard it through the grapevine,
15 because it was a much talked about thing in the town at that time, that
16 within the party itself, there were younger people making their way up
17 who, to put it in simple terms, only cared about power, obtaining power.
18 The arguments that were offered at this time to have Dr. Stakic removed
19 from his position as the president of the Municipal Assembly were that
20 Dr. Stakic was first and foremost not even a member of that party. As far
21 as I can remember, those were the intentions of a particular faction
22 within the SDS, and they were successful in achieving their aim.
23 Dr. Stakic was indeed removed from his position. And I also
24 believe - we are talking about the beginning of 1993 - that Dr. Stakic
25 then resigned formally in writing, before he was finally relieved of his
1 duty at the next session of the assembly.
2 Q. Now I would like to address a different event. Do you know
3 anything about the circumstances surrounding the signing of the Lisbon
4 agreement, and do you know anything Mr. Alija Izetbegovic's role in that
5 at the time the agreement was signed, and for several days after that, and
6 do you know what exactly the Lisbon agreement entailed?
7 A. I remember the agreement, superficially, perhaps I should add. I
8 know that there was talk of mediation by the international community to
9 help bring an end to the crisis in the Yugoslav Federation. The
10 international community had an active role in this. I know there was a
11 conference in Lisbon, and as a result of the conference and the agreement
12 reached in Lisbon, a conference attended also by Mr. Alija Izetbegovic,
13 the then president of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Alija
14 Izetbegovic signed the document and thereby gave his consent for
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina to remain within Yugoslavia. After this information
16 was published by the media, within the municipality itself, the Serbs
17 rejoiced. Serbs in the municipality were happy that a political agreement
18 was reached. However, their joy was shortlived. Very soon, a day or two
19 later, Mr. Izetbegovic said, and this also appeared in the media, that his
20 signature in Lisbon was null and void. The media also said that Mr. Alija
21 Izetbegovic had given up on the Lisbon agreement because he had come under
22 pressure from the American administration.
23 Q. Thank you very much for this elucidation. I only have one further
24 question, and we are shifting again to a totally different area. I will
25 ask you about the clash in Kozarac. Did any of the -- did any of the
1 people who were not locals get killed in Kozarac during that particular
2 incident because of, for example, their skin colour?
3 A. Yes, in connection with the events in Kozarac in 1992, people did
4 talk about it in the town. It was said that the soldiers who were in that
5 area, in the immediate vicinity at the junction of the Prijedor/Banja Luka
6 main road where you turn off to go to Kozarac, a uniformed person was
7 noticed; the body of a uniformed person lying dead on the ground. The
8 skin colour was black, as the Bosnians would say, it was the a black man.
9 So you could assume that in addition to the local people, the Green Berets
10 were also aided by foreign mercenaries during the operation in Kozarac.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Dragic. This concludes the examination-in-chief by
12 the Defence. Now I'll hand you over to the OTP and finally to the
13 Honourable Chamber. Once again, thank you very much.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Koumjian, please.
15 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Cross-examined by Mr. Koumjian:
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Dragic, for coming and offering us your insights
18 into the events preceding and following the takeover of Prijedor on the
19 30th of April.
20 MR. KOUMJIAN: Could the usher please move the ELMO back so I
21 could have a direct line of sight.
22 Q. Sir, have you ever seen a dead body that has been lying in the
23 sun, in warm weather, for a few days?
24 A. No.
25 Q. You're not aware of any changes in skin colour following death and
1 decomposition of human remains, are you?
2 A. No, not familiar with that, but what I have just said was that
3 the -- some soldiers who got there immediately after the killing, some 10
4 minutes after the killing, that's what they said, and they said that the
5 colour of the skin of that body was black. But not only the skin colour,
6 but also the physiognomy and the way the person looked. The person looked
7 like somebody whose skin colour is black and not white.
8 Q. Thank you for adding that information. I want to move on from
9 that to another subject. Just the facts that you've talked about, the
10 information that you provided, I just want to go over with you how you
11 obtained that information, the basis for this testimony. First I want to
12 start with media. Can you tell the Court, during the period of 1992, did
13 you follow media concerning events in Prijedor specifically, that is, were
14 you able to watch any television, listen to any radio, or read any
15 newspapers that reported on events in Prijedor during that time period?
16 A. Yes, the access to the media was free. The area of Prijedor could
17 receive television programmes from Croatia, from Bosnia, and for a certain
18 period of time, we could also receive programmes from Belgrade. As far as
19 the radio programmes were concerned, we could even hear broader broadcasts
20 than that.
21 Q. Okay, thank you. I wasn't very precise in my question. Let me
22 just ask you. Thank you for that information. Specifically, what
23 information did you have? Did you watch Croatian television, for
24 example? Did you read any newspapers regarding events in Prijedor and
25 what newspapers, media, were you exposed to that helped you gather
1 information about political events and other events taking place in the
3 A. I have already told you that I personally, as we could do it
4 before the war, we could also do it during the war, that it was one's
5 personal choice what TV station would one watch. One could watch
6 Television Zagreb 1, 2, and 3, and for a short period of time we could
7 also --
8 Q. I understand we're trying. But my question is not what one could
9 watch; it's what you watched and what you read. Let me be very specific.
10 Did you read Glas newspaper during this time period?
11 A. No, I didn't read Glas. I didn't read it before the war, during
12 the war, or after the war. And I watched all the television programmes.
13 I watched them before the war, I watched them during the war, and I still
14 watch them to this very day.
15 Q. Thank you. Did you read Kozarski Vjesnik newspaper during 1992?
16 A. Yes, not very often, but yes, I did.
17 Q. Did you listen to Radio Prijedor during that time period?
18 A. Very rarely.
19 Q. Okay, thank you, sir.
20 Also, can you tell the Judges what positions you held in the
21 government or in political life in Prijedor that gave you insight into
22 events such as the takeover of the Serbian -- of the municipality of
23 Prijedor on the 30th of April?
24 A. I said that yesterday. Before the 30th of April, I was the
25 secretary for economics and social affairs in Prijedor Municipality, or to
1 be more precise, I was a member of the Executive Board of the municipality
2 of Prijedor. According to the internal organisation of work, of state
3 organs, or administrative organs, the secretariat that I headed belonged
4 to the Executive Board.
5 Q. Sir, who exactly took power on the 30th of April, 1992?
6 A. The army and the reserve police force participated in the
7 takeover. However, during the period of time when this was happening, the
8 orders came from the army.
9 Q. So you're telling us that it was the army that planned and
10 prepared and carried out the takeover. Is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Sir, isn't it true that the SDS party planned, prepared, and
13 carried out the takeover of Prijedor with the help of the army and police?
14 A. No. It was rather the other way around. The army was the one who
15 conducted consultations, and the SDS as a political party did not have any
16 influence on that. And I speak very frankly when I say that.
17 Q. Yes. And explain to the Judges how you know about what the SDS
18 knew about and their activities during that time period. Explain how you
19 know what was going on within the SDS.
20 A. I was a member of the municipal board of the SDS. So whatever was
21 happening in that party during that period of time, I had to know.
22 Q. And in fact, in 1991, you had been appointed one of the assistants
23 to the then SDS president, Mr. Srdic. Isn't that correct?
24 A. No, I was not one of his assistants. I was a member of the
25 municipal board of the SDS, and the SDS president did not have
1 assistants. And I believe that the municipal board had 15 members or so.
2 I can't say that with any precision. However, members of the municipal
3 board of the SDS were the presidents of the local SDS boards, and certain
4 other people, together with presidents of the local SDS boards.
5 Q. Sir, the vice-president of the SDS at the time of the takeover was
7 A. During the period when the power was taken over, the
8 vice-president was Dragan Savanovic. But they changed very often. I'm
9 not sure. There were very frequent shake-ups among the top ranks of the
10 SDS, within a very short period of time, to be very precise, within one
11 year, there were three different presidents of the SDS.
12 Q. Well, in fact, the vice-president -- perhaps you're confused about
13 the time period. But aren't you aware that Milomir Stakic was in 1992 the
14 vice-president of the municipality in the Serbian democratic party, the
15 SDS, in Prijedor?
16 A. Excuse me, what period are you referring to?
17 Q. Well, do you know that Milomir Stakic was the vice-president of
18 the SDS? Are you aware of the fact that he was at one time the
19 vice-president of the SDS?
20 A. No, I'm not aware of that. If he was, then that must have been
21 later when I was no longer active in the SDS.
22 Q. Can you tell the Judges, going back to your knowledge of the
23 events, you were also appointed to a position as a negotiator for the SDS
24 on interparty relations. Isn't that correct?
25 A. No, it isn't correct. I did not participate in the interparty
1 relations agreements. There were other people appointed on behalf of the
2 SDS who were in charge of political talks and the talks among the parties
3 that existed at the time and that had seats in the assembly of Prijedor
5 Q. In fact, sir, do you know someone named Mr. Tursic? I believe you
6 mentioned him during your direct examination as the head of the revenue
8 A. Yes, I know the name Tursic.
9 Q. In fact, weren't you responsible to negotiate on behalf of the SDS
10 and Mr. Tursic on behalf of the SDA? Wasn't he your counterpart?
11 A. No, we didn't negotiate. I never negotiated with Mr. Tursic on
12 behalf of the SDS. However, because of the nature of Mr. Tursic's work
13 and because of the nature of my work, we had meetings, contacts. We had
14 to talk.
15 Q. Can you tell us, do you know the fate of Mr. Tursic?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Just for the record, I refer Your Honours to page 3102 of the book
18 of missing persons.
19 Sir, were you appointed at one time to a commission regarding
20 gymnasiums with a Dr. Rufat Suljanovic?
21 A. Can you please repeat your question. I did not quite understand
22 one word in your question.
23 Q. Sir, were you appointed to participate in a committee with
24 Dr. Rufat Suljanovic? Do you know that gentleman?
25 A. I was never a member of any committee or commission, and I do not
1 know the name of this gentleman.
2 Q. Did the assembly ever appoint you to do anything -- to any
3 commission regarding the schools?
4 A. As far as I know, this was not within the authority of the
5 assembly. The work with schools was not within its scope. My secretariat
6 was the secretariat for economy and social affairs, and one of the -- the
7 part of the social affairs were also schools. So the Municipal Assembly
8 of Prijedor did not need to issue any particular conclusions or orders
9 with regard to schools because it was under the authority of the
10 secretariat of economy and social affairs under the law.
11 MR. KOUMJIAN: I would like the usher to hand the witness, first
12 the Court and Defence, a document, it's an article from Glas dated the
13 17th of January, 1991.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The article in Glas would be marked
15 provisionally S391.
16 MR. KOUMJIAN: And for the record, it is, of course, the article
17 on the left-hand side with the -- indicating the date line Prijedor, 16th
19 Q. Sir, if you could take a look at the B/C/S, at the actual article,
20 on the left-hand side, not the top one, but the one farther down,
21 beginning about the middle of the page.
22 MR. OSTOJIC: Excuse me, Your Honour. We have an article
23 translated on the 17th of January, so I just want to make sure we have the
24 same article, because counsel referenced the 16th of January.
25 MR. KOUMJIAN: The date for the newspaper is the 17th, and the
1 date line of the article is the 16th. Thank you.
2 Q. Just tell me when you've read the article, sir.
3 Sir, is the information in that article regarding your appointment
5 A. The article is a bit ambiguous. After the multiparty elections in
6 Prijedor, I was proposed as a candidate for the post of the secretary for
7 economy and social affairs. And here, the journalist speaks in very
8 general terms. On the other hand, I started working in the municipality
9 in the month of March 1991, and this article was written in January. At
10 the time when this article was written, I worked in a private company
11 whose name was Mont Commerz, the company was based in Split in the
12 Republic of Croatia.
13 Q. Sir, I believe the article is referring to your political
14 appointment within the SDS, and not your professional position. Were you
15 appointed by the SDS along with Mr. Vujinovic, Branko Koncar, Dragan
16 Mikanovic to assist Mr. Srdic at that time?
17 MR. LUKIC: [In English] Excuse me, maybe we should clarify first
18 which article the witness read.
19 Interpretation [Interpretation] Which article did you read, sir?
20 Could you perhaps read the title.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "The press made them smart." That's
22 the article that I read.
23 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you.
24 Q. Sir, were you appointed along with the following individuals that
25 I just named: Mr. Dusko Vujinovic, Branko Koncar, and Dragan Mikanovic,
1 to assist Mr. Srdic by the SDS when he was the president of the SDS?
2 A. The information carried by the media, or this particular
3 journalists, and I don't know who the journalist is, this has been
4 misinterpreted by the media. This information is wrong, and it was
5 carried wrongly by the media. I never assisted Mr. Srdic, nor was I ever
6 appointed a member of any commission. What the journalist wrote here is
7 simply a misinterpretation of the information that he may have received
8 from the SDS.
9 MR. KOUMJIAN: Actually, Your Honour, I see that we have under a
10 different ERN a better copy of the article in which the name of the
11 journalist is quite clear. Perhaps that could be substituted. I believe
12 this article may already be marked, Ms. Karper informs me, as SK15.
13 Perhaps someone could check. But I'll move on to another subject in the
14 interest of time. And we can have the ELMO moved away for now. Thank
16 The usher can take the article.
17 Q. Sir, would it be correct that you were a candidate for the SDS for
18 the Municipal Assembly in the 1990 elections?
19 A. No, not during the elections, but after the elections.
20 Q. No, my question is, were you on the list of candidates for the
21 assembly, the SDS list of candidates, for the assembly for the 1990
22 elections, for the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor?
23 A. Believe me, I'm not familiar with that. I'm not familiar with
24 having been on the list for a deputy for the Municipal Assembly. I don't
25 know that I was on any list. It would be contrary to the rules which say
1 that a head of a secretary cannot be a deputy in the Municipal Assembly.
2 I repeat once again: Under the law, officials on the Executive Board
3 cannot at the same time be either candidates or deputies in the Municipal
4 Assembly. Therefore, I don't believe I was on any such list.
5 Q. Thank you. I'll move on, and perhaps come back to this later.
6 Who was the candidate for the SDS party? Who did the SDS party nominate
7 following the results of the elections for the position of vice-president
8 of the municipality of Prijedor?
9 A. After the elections, the multiparty elections, that is, after the
10 interparty agreements, the SDS and the people's radical party proposed
11 Dr. Stakic as the president of the Municipal Assembly. He was a member of
12 the radical party.
13 Q. Can you tell us the difference between the platforms of the SDS
14 party and the radical party of Dr. Stakic?
15 A. Frankly speaking, I was not much into politics; therefore, I was
16 not familiar with the platform of the radical party.
17 Q. Okay, thank you. When Dr. Stakic came back as the president of
18 Prijedor, do you recall when that was when he came back into office at the
19 end of the war as the president?
20 A. I cannot give you a precise answer, but I believe that it was in
21 early 1995.
22 Q. Who nominated Dr. Stakic as the candidate or as the new president
23 of Prijedor at that time?
24 A. I don't know that because I left the SDS in January 1993. I was
25 not politically active as a member of any party after January 1993.
1 Q. Okay. Thank you. That's fair.
2 Sir, can you tell us why you were -- first, when you were removed
3 from your position as a member of the Executive Board in Prijedor?
4 A. I think it was somewhere around mid-April 1992.
5 Q. Well, following the takeover -- perhaps I'm a little confused.
6 Did you have the same position at the time that the government of Prijedor
7 was headed by President Cehajic as you did after the takeover of the
8 municipality and Dr. Stakic became the president of the Serbian
10 A. I believe that the nature of my own position was a bit peculiar,
11 and it's a bit difficult to understand perhaps. I'll try to keep this as
12 concise and clear as possible in order to explain to you my situation,
13 position, and my role in the Executive Board. In March 1991, as I told
14 you, I was appointed the secretary for the economy and social affairs.
15 However, there was an interparty agreement. There was no interparty
16 agreement about the head of the communal services because a consensus
17 could not be reached. There was a conclusion by the Executive Board in
18 April 1992 appointing me to two different positions at the same time. So
19 I kept my position as the secretary for the economy and social affairs and
20 member of the Executive Board, and the Executive Board also appointed me
21 the acting head of the communal services in Prijedor. After the takeover,
22 as both these positions were very demanding, I opted for the latter. I
23 opted to remain the head of the communal services. And Mr. Ranko Travar,
24 who had a degree in economics was appointed to the position of the
25 secretary of the economy and social affairs.
1 Q. Thank you, sir, that clarifies things. Can you tell us, sir, from
2 your position as head of the communal services, is it correct that you
3 were removed from that position in September of 1992?
4 A. No. I remained in that position until January 1993.
5 Q. So you left that position the same time that Dr. Stakic left his
6 position as president. Is that correct?
7 A. Well, it was in January. Municipal administration organisation,
8 my secretariat as an organ of the municipal administration was within the
9 purview of the Executive Board. And in that month, the president of the
10 Executive Board resigned in writing, which meant that the whole of his
11 team followed suit.
12 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us, sir, a little bit about the SDS
13 party. You mentioned you were a member of the main board in Prijedor.
14 First, do you know Dusan Baltic? Was he a member of the SDS?
15 A. I do know Dusan Baltic. He worked as the secretary of the
16 municipality for a period of time. And then for some time, he was the
17 head of the communal services. And frankly, I do not know that he was a
18 member of the SDS. During the time that I was a member of the municipal
19 board of the SDS, Mr. Baltic certainly was not a member of the SDS. I
20 remained in that position for a very short time, and it may have been the
21 case that Mr. Baltic did become a member of the SDS after that, but I do
22 not know that.
23 Q. Okay. Thank you. As a member of the main board in Prijedor, did
24 you receive instructions, that is, the main board in Prijedor, from the
25 republic level and regional levels of the party? In other words, did you
1 ever receive instructions from Banja Luka or from Sarajevo or Pale and the
2 higher leadership regarding the policies that should be followed in
4 A. As I've said, I was a member of the SDS, and for a short while, I
5 was a member of the municipal board of the SDS, not, as you say, of the
6 main board, because that is the republican level. In a municipality, you
7 have municipal boards. All the correspondence down the vertical line
8 between the municipal boards, across the municipalities, and the main
9 board at the level of the republic, was within the purview of the party
10 president. Therefore, I can't tell you anything more specific about such
11 documents because I never laid eyes on it, nor was I aware of its
12 contents; only the presidents knew about this.
13 Q. Is it correct that in January of 1992, the party, the SDS party,
14 formed a parallel government in Prijedor to which you were appointed?
15 A. I don't think one could call this a parallel government. Even
16 after that appointment or - what should I call it? Due to the failure of
17 the government at that time to operate properly, this was a second option
18 in a manner of speaking. But I still remained a member of the Executive
19 Board, and I remained in all the positions that I had been discharging up
20 to this point in time, up to the establishing of what you referred to as
21 the parallel government. The one in place was not operating properly. I
22 think this happened in January 1992; and after that particular date, the
23 Executive Board continued to operate as before.
24 Q. Okay. I would be happy to use your terminology. This option 2
25 that you talk about, was this something that was under the -- according to
1 the instructions received from the main board of the party that in
2 Prijedor, there would be a separate Serbian government formed?
3 A. I must go back to previous parts of my testimony, and I have
4 repeated this a number of times. During the period that you refer to in
5 your question, January 1992, I was not a member of the municipal board. I
6 told you that I was member of that board for a very short time, at the
7 beginning of 1992. If I may be allowed to continue, so I'm not familiar
8 with who the instructions came from, whether from Banja Luka or from Pale,
9 as you said. But I was not in a position to obtain this sort of
10 information not being a member of the Executive Board.
11 MR. LUKIC: I really apologise, but I think that we should clarify
12 the year the witness just mentioned, because the interpreters entered it
14 MR. KOUMJIAN: I don't believe so. We were talking about the
15 creation of the second option in January 1992.
16 Q. Is that correct? I think that's what I was talking, and that's
17 what the transcript reflects that you answered concerning the creation of
18 the second government in January 1992.
19 MR. LUKIC: But when he was the member of the municipal board,
20 because I believe that the witness mentioned 1991. But you can clarify
22 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you, Mr. Lukic. But I understand the witness
23 saying he was not a member of the main board in January 1992.
24 Q. Mr. Witness, sir, Mr. Dragic, you can correct me if I am wrong.
25 You told us you were not a member --
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We shouldn't confuse main board and municipal
3 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. You were not a member of the SDS municipal board in Prijedor in
5 January 1992, but you were appointed to this second government, this
6 option 2 government, in January 1992. Correct?
7 A. That's correct. I was not a member of the municipal board, but I
8 was appointed member of the Executive Board, not a member of the
9 government. But yes, that is some sort of municipal government.
10 Q. And after being appointed to this position on the Executive Board,
11 you never asked whose instructions it was or no one ever told you under
12 whose instructions this option 2 government was formed. Is that correct?
13 A. At this time, it was not really an interesting issue, because the
14 government did not do anything much. The government which was officially
15 appointed to the assembly after the multiparty elections was in place. So
16 this was not anything particularly interesting for us, and none of us were
17 interested -- none of the members of the the new government were
18 interested in this because the government was appointed, but it never
20 Q. Okay. Thank you. I'm going to try to keep moving on. The
21 position that you did have as the head of communal services, I
22 believe - correct me if I have the title wrong - as part of that position,
23 did you supervise the 4th of July company?
24 A. I know that you may find the internal organisation of organs and
25 administration and communal services difficult to understand, because
1 here, in the western world, this kind of organisation is not used, is not
2 widely used. What you asked me about, the 4th of July, it's a public,
3 state-owned enterprise for providing communal services, or to provide
4 further explanation, we are talking about garbage collection and garbage
5 dumping and sewer maintenance. So that's what the 4th of July provided,
6 this sort of service. And the -- as an organ of municipal administration,
7 my own section had different competencies, so there were no points of
8 contact between these two legal persons. The only thing that was the case
9 is that the communal institutions sometimes commissioned certain tasks to
10 be carried out by the 4th of July.
11 Q. Thank you. Are you finished with your answer? I didn't mean to
12 cut you off. Thank you.
13 Among the tasks that the 4th of July was given, did you give them
14 the task of collecting dead bodies during 1992?
15 A. No, the communal institution or myself, as the head, we never
16 even -- it never even occurred to us, nor were any of us in a position to
17 issue such orders. The commissions that were handed out to the 4th of
18 July was the maintenance of public areas and parks. So we are talking
19 about general utility services. If there was a lot of rain, for example,
20 the 4th of July would be put in charge of cleaning the streets. But this
21 was the only thing we needed them for, and these were the only tasks that
22 were given to them.
23 Q. Sir, you indicated that you served for a while with the then JNA,
24 and you have some familiarity with that army. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Can you tell us, did you hear at that time if the JNA was the
2 fourth largest army in Europe?
3 A. That's what people said, but personally I did not quite believe
5 Q. Did you believe based upon your experience that the JNA was a
6 professional and well-organised army?
7 A. My experience before the war, long before the war, ten years
8 before the war, there would be military drills under the law of national
9 defence, and military-aged men were to respond to callups for these
10 military drills. And this was an opportunity for each military-aged man
11 to get acquainted with the equipment and the -- that the JNA had at that
12 time and the way things worked.
13 Q. Let me be more specific. In Prijedor in 1992, was there a
14 professional, well-armed -- were there elements of a professional,
15 well-armed army in the municipality, specifically the 343rd Motorised
16 Brigade manned by Colonel Arsic, and the Kozarac light Brigade commanded
17 by Colonel Colic?
18 A. Yes. Before the war, across the former republics, every
19 municipality had military garrisons or military barracks. Prijedor
20 municipality had a barracks too, and the name of that barracks was Zarko
21 Zgonjanin. Now, according to a certain structure that they had, it had
22 the name, the 343rd Brigade. I know that before the war, before the war
23 broke out, the commander of the barracks was Mr. Arsic.
24 Q. Was that brigade well organised, well armed, and commanded by
25 professional soldiers, professional officers?
1 A. I'm not exactly a military expert, you know. When I look at a
2 structure within the military or a weapon or a equipment, I'm not
3 qualified to say whether they were well organised or not and run in a
4 competent way. Only military experts can provide you with an answer to
5 this. I can only say that once I had completed my military service, my
6 specialisation was still as a communications officer. But I was not -- I
7 was never in a position to look at their equipment, the equipment they had
8 within the barracks, so that I could be well placed to tell you about the
9 quality or quantity of their equipment.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it's an appropriate time for a break
11 now. The trial stays adjourned until quarter past 4.00.
12 --- Recess taken at 3.52 p.m.
13 --- Upon commencing at 4.19 p.m.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. For the transcript, we are
15 proceeding with the full composition of the Bench, with three Judges.
16 Mr. Koumjian, please continue. Before we forget, we have still this
17 document S391.
18 Objections related to this document?
19 MR. LUKIC: First, did the registry have time to check, is it
20 SK15? Is it the same?
21 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, indeed, it is SK15. But the English version
22 may be tendered now as SK15B and SK15A.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: As usual. May I just have a look at it,
25 In fact, it was admitted into evidence as SK15, and from that copy
1 you can read that the author of the article admitted into evidence at that
2 time is Rade Mutic. And as proposed, we take the English translation as
4 I can see no objections. Admitted into evidence. So please
6 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, for the registry and also so
7 Ms. Karper can perhaps prepare, I would also like in a moment to show the
8 witness a document that's SK12. It's a very long document, and the
9 particular page would be page 00916417 in English. I haven't yet
10 located -- excuse me, Ms. Karper did locate the B/C/S page. And we will
11 be able to tell you that. While she is preparing that -- here it is. I'm
13 The B/C/S page is 01021618.
14 Before I show the witness that document, though, perhaps I can
15 avoid it by asking the witness to look at SK11. If that article can be
16 shown to the witness. That's SK11. If there are not enough copies for
17 the Defence, they can have mine. If the Defence needs a copy, they can
18 have mine if no others are available. For the record, the witness appears
19 to be reading the article, SK11.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could Prosecution please switch off microphone.
21 MR. KOUMJIAN:
22 Q. Sir, just let me know when you're ready. Thank you, sir.
23 Have you read the article and do you recognise it as an article by
24 Zivko Ecim in Kozarski Vjesnik?
25 A. This is the first time I've laid eyes on this article, and I've
1 read through most of its content.
2 Q. First, the person named in the article as the president of the SDA
3 commission for negotiations, Mehmed Tursic, is that the individual that
4 you talked about in your direct examination as the head of the tax
6 A. Yes, precisely.
7 Q. And this article indicates that Mr. Tursic was told that you were
8 the president of the commission on negotiations for the SDS party. And
9 then you are quoted in the article as saying: "Although you didn't know
10 about the decision referred to in the article as a member of the party,
11 you respect all of its conclusions."
12 Sir, I have another document that's rather long. Let me just
13 describe it, and if necessary I can show it to you. But it appears to be
14 handwritten minutes of a meeting of the SDA party. I'm referring to SK12,
15 the English page 00916417. And on the B/C/S, 01021618.
16 MR. KOUMJIAN: If counsel would like a copy, they don't have it,
17 we have a copy we can hand out.
18 Q. Sir, in these minutes, it indicates that an interparty cooperation
19 committee was proposed. The Chamber, the first name listed is Milovan
20 Dragic. Does the article and what it just told you, would that remind you
21 that you were asked by the SDS to negotiate with the SDA party?
22 A. As I said at the beginning, I was not a member of that
23 commission. It's easy to realise if you look at this article in which
24 this is also confirmed by Mr. Meho Tursic. He says: "In the meantime, I
25 found out that Milovan Dragic was the president of the commission, and
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts. Pages 10484 to 10489.
1 when he wanted to verify this information, he found out that I was on
2 vacation." But later on he found out that I was not what he had been told
3 I was. I'm not sure if the translation is correct.
4 And if I may add, it's clear from Mr. Tursic's statement that he
5 had been under the wrong impression. He had obviously been given
6 information that I was president of some sort of a commission, but that
7 also later he found out that I, in fact, wasn't.
8 Q. Okay. I'm going to move to different subject matter. Thank you.
9 Can you tell us, sir, you indicated you were appointed to the
10 Executive Board. Can you tell us at that same time, was Mr. Drljaca
11 appointed as the chief of police? I'm talking now about your by
12 appointment by the SDS to the option 2 government, as you called it.
13 A. While I was in the SDS, Mr. Drljaca was not on the Executive
14 Board. While I was a member of the Executive Board, Mr. Drljaca was not
15 the chief of the police.
16 Q. I believe -- I'll come back to that in just a moment.
17 Sir, let's move on to a different topic for a moment. You talked
18 about Muslims and Croats leaving Prijedor, and I believe you indicated
19 that many of these -- much of this was in response to the mobilisation.
20 Is that correct?
21 A. If we are talking about the year 1991, Muslims were leaving on a
22 large scale by buses from various locations in Prijedor Municipality, and
23 it was an organised thing. The real truth about their departure is hard
24 to know. At the sessions of the Executive Board at the time, it was a
25 very frequent item on the agenda. And the question was asked: "How come
1 that Muslims were leaving the municipality, and they were leaving -- those
2 who were leaving were women, children, and elderly people. In other
3 words, those who were not military-aged and fit for military service.
4 Since Mr. Mehmed Cehajic [as interpreted], the president of the
5 municipality, was present at every session, Mr. Kovacevic would ask him
6 that. He was the president of the Executive Board, and he would ask him
7 that, and he would ask for the reasons for which these people were leaving
9 MR. LUKIC: Your Honours, if I may interrupt, we have to clarify
10 it now. It's very important. The witness said the president of the
11 Municipal Assembly. It's translated the president of the municipality.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I hear comments from the booth, please.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction. What the counsel said
14 is correct. The interpreter apologises.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for the intervention, Mr. Lukic.
16 Please continue.
17 MR. KOUMJIAN:
18 Q. You said, sir, that there were daily departures, and I am
19 referring to page 26 of the LiveNote of yesterday, of these people by
20 buses. And depending on the day, there were two or three or even more
21 buses departing Prijedor Municipality on a daily basis. That's at the end
22 of page 26 and the start of page 27. You told us this continued during
23 the period from July through December 1991. Were these buses, just to
24 give us an idea, did they appear to be buses that carried about 50
25 people? Would that be accurate?
1 A. I don't know exactly what types of buses were those. But it is a
2 well-known fact that bigger buses have up to 50 seats. And let me
3 continue what I started a minute ago. The departure from Prijedor --
4 Q. Well, I'll just ask you to answer the questions. If you feel it's
5 necessary to complete the answer to the question I asked, you may, but I
6 think you answered my question.
7 Can you tell us, then, would it be accurate that there
8 were -- based on your estimates, I understand this is an estimate -- about
9 a hundred people leaving per day?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. So in your estimate, if we say for that six-month period, 180
12 days, that would be 18.000 people leaving the municipality? You asked us
13 to do the math. It's pretty simple. Is it correct that the population of
14 Muslims in the municipality according to the census 1991 would have been
15 just over 49.000?
16 A. Yes, it is correct that up to the end of 1991, over 20.000
17 non-Serbs left Prijedor. And this information could be given to you in a
18 more accurate form by those who were in charge of the transportation.
19 When I say over 20.000 people, this is based on the daily departure of
20 non-Serbs. What everybody was confused about, including the civilian
21 authorities in the Executive Board, is the fact that Prijedor was being
22 left only by those people who were not fit for military service, that is,
23 women, children, and the elderly people. There were suspicions that
24 something was being prepared, and those suspicions later on proved to be
1 Members of the non-Serbian ethnicity were leaving Prijedor during
2 the time when there were no armed conflict anywhere in Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina. There were no rebellions or any similar incidents.
4 Non-Serbs were leaving Prijedor after the beginning of conflicts in
5 Slovenia and especially after the beginning of war in Croatia. Prijedor
6 is geographally very close to the Republic of Croatia. It is only about
7 30 kilometres away from the border of Croatia. In late 1991, there were a
8 lot of refugees, Serb refugees, who came to Prijedor from the Republic of
9 Croatia, and people were telling stories about what had happened in their
10 places back in Croatia. And this instilled fear among the population of
11 Prijedor. People were afraid that the situation that had prevailed in the
12 neighbouring Republic of Croatia would somehow reach Prijedor.
13 Unfortunately, it did happen in that way, and the conflict spread on to
14 Bosnia as we know.
15 Q. Thank you. My question actually dealt with the census, and you
16 went beyond that. If you can confine your answers to the questions, we
17 can finish a bit quicker.
18 You also explained yesterday that part of the fear that you had
19 and the surprise that you had regarding these preparations for a conflict
20 by the non-Serbs was due to a video that you saw. And the transcript
21 indicates that you said that in 1991, foreign journalists came to
22 Prijedor. Mr. Kovacevic organised a press conference in which this was
23 shown. Is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. So this was part of the atmosphere of fear among the Serbian
1 people prior to the takeover of Prijedor by the Serbian authorities in
2 April of 1992. Is that correct?
3 A. Fear was always present before the takeover as well as after it.
4 Q. But you indicated that this video was a shock to you and other
5 Serbs, and you indicated that this was shown following a visit of foreign
6 journalists in 1991. Is that correct?
7 A. It is correct. It is correct that the president of the Executive
8 Board organised a press conference at which this video was shown showing
9 the way Green Berets in Kozarac were preparing themselves for an armed
10 conflict. I remember very well the two journalists from London turned
11 their backs towards the screen when the video was -- started playing. I
12 was surprised to see that. I was surprised to see that, but the president
13 of the Executive Board reacted to that, to this reaction by the foreign
14 journalists. They were two ladies who said "we are not going to watch
15 this. We know that this has been edited, that it's just a fabrication."
16 The other journalists who were present there watched the entire video.
17 Q. Now, in response to this fear that you're talking about, did you
18 participate in the plans for the takeover of Prijedor?
19 A. No, I didn't participate. Even if somebody from the civilian
20 authorities had wanted to participate, they couldn't, because it was not
21 under their authority to do that. It was under the authority of the
22 military bodies, the military bodies were the ones who were in charge of
23 that. So even if somebody from the civilian side had wanted to
24 participate, they couldn't. And let me add something else. I only
25 learned on the 30th of April in the morning that Prijedor had been taken
2 Q. Were you in Cirkin Polje very early in that morning with the --
3 with other persons who were planning the takeover?
4 A. No, no, I wasn't in Cirkin Polje.
5 Q. So if any civilian leader gave a statement indicating that they
6 had participated and coordinated with the army and the police in the
7 takeover, that would be false?
8 A. Could you please repeat the question. I'm afraid I didn't
9 understand you.
10 MR. LUKIC: We are not allowed to ask this line of questions, so I
11 don't think that the Prosecution should be allowed to ask it.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Maybe there is an absolute misunderstanding.
13 There was an intervention by one representative of the Prosecution saying
14 that the parties would not be allowed to put these questions. But there
15 was no ruling from the side of the Chamber in this way. So therefore,
17 Please continue.
18 MR. KOUMJIAN:
19 Q. Sir, you indicated you didn't understand, so I'll restate the
21 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, you didn't allow me to ask Mr. Sivac
22 these kind of questions. You ruled on that.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In fact, I did, after a restatement. Please.
24 MR. KOUMJIAN:
25 Q. Sir, from what you've told us, you didn't know anything. You
1 didn't participate with the army. You weren't in any meetings - correct
2 me if I am wrong - with Mr. Arsic; you weren't in meetings with
3 Mr. Drljaca. Is that correct? Or were you part or party to any meetings
4 in which the army or police planned the takeover of Prijedor?
5 A. What I have just told you, I stand behind that. On the 29th of
6 April, 1992, I was sitting with Mr. Mirza Mujadzic in the Prijedor Hotel.
7 We dined together. We had dinner together. And after dinner in the Hotel
8 Prijedor, together with Mr. Mirza Mujadzic and Mr. Sivo Saric, we went to
9 the Europa restaurant in Prijedor, and we stayed there until very late in
10 the night. On that occasion, I talked to these gentlemen about the
11 situation in Prijedor which means that the question that you have just put
12 to me, whether I was in Cirkin Polje, you can maybe call Mr. Mujadzic.
13 And he can maybe tell you whether what I'm telling you is indeed true.
14 Q. My question is after you left the dinner with Mr. Mujadzic, did
15 you go to Cirkin Polje and see Slobodan Kuruzovic, Milomir Stakic, and
16 other leaders?
17 A. No, I didn't go. That is what I have just told you in response to
18 your previous question.
19 Q. At that dinner with Mr. Mujadzic, was Colonel Arsic there?
20 A. At the beginning for a very short time, for not more than half an
21 hour all together.
22 Q. So on the night before you say the army took over power in
23 Prijedor, Colonel Arsic dined with Mr. Mujadzic?
24 A. Yes, it was in the evening hours in the Prijedor Hotel on the 29th
25 of April.
1 Q. Was Simo Miskovic, at that time president of the SDS, present at
2 that dinner?
3 A. Yes, also for a very short period of time he was there.
4 Q. Was Milomir Stakic there?
5 A. No, he wasn't.
6 Q. Now, this takeover, how were you informed of it?
7 A. I learned about that on -- in the morning, on the 30th of April.
8 Q. Just in regards to your knowledge of events both before and after
9 the takeover, did you --
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to interrupt. Before you -- we missed the
11 thread. How did you learn it in the morning of the 30th of April? Who
12 informed you?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I simply went to work in the
14 morning. Actually, I went downtown, and I heard it when I got there that
15 there had been a takeover.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You heard it from whom?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was the talk of the town already
18 when I got there. So I can't really remember who was it who told me first
19 that it had happened.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Please continue.
21 MR. KOUMJIAN:
22 Q. Did you see any posters regarding the takeover?
23 A. No, I didn't see any posters.
24 Q. Did you hear any announcements on the radio as to who was taking
1 A. I didn't listen to the radio on that morning. I only listened to
2 the media, watched television, when I got home after work in the evening.
3 That's when I listened to the news.
4 Q. At that time, on this very important day in Prijedor, who do you
5 recall -- what announcements do you recall regarding who was taking power
6 in Prijedor?
7 A. I don't remember. There were no announcements. If there were
8 any, I don't remember them. I believe that the population was informed by
9 the media. I believe it was announced on the Radio Prijedor maybe, but I
10 didn't listen to the radio on the morning hours of that day.
11 Q. Did you hear Dr. Stakic speaking after the takeover? And I'm not
12 just talking about that morning, but in the following days and weeks, did
13 you hear Dr. Stakic speaking on the radio?
14 A. I listened to the radio only rarely. I watched television
15 mostly. But I can't remember that I heard Dr. Stakic.
16 Q. So when the military took over, did Mr. Arsic become the president
17 of the municipality or how did you see that the army had taken over
19 A. Well, there was nobody else to do it but the army.
20 Q. To your knowledge, did the SDS play any role in the planning,
21 preparation, and the carrying out of the takeover of Prijedor?
22 A. You've already asked me that, and I've told you that as far as I
23 know, the SDS did not plan anything with regard to the takeover of
25 Q. Thank you. I want to move on now for a moment to Mr. Drljaca.
1 When did you first meet Mr. Drljaca?
2 A. I knew Mr. Drljaca before the war. Mr. Drljaca liked to play
3 indoor football in his free time, so we would meet when we played
4 tournaments. My acquaintance with Mr. Drljaca is quite long. We go way
5 back before the war.
6 Q. Was Mr. Drljaca -- would it be accurate that before becoming the
7 chief of police in Prijedor was an administrator for the schools? He was
8 an individual with a law degree who worked as an administrator for the
9 schools in Prijedor?
10 A. Yes, I know that Mr. Drljaca had a degree in law and that he
11 worked in the centre for primary education in Prijedor. Yes, he
12 discharged some administrative duties, but I don't know exactly what
13 duties those were.
14 Q. I have a document I'd like distributed. I do not believe it's in
16 MR. KOUMJIAN: If I could continue questioning the witness, it may
17 not be necessary to use the document. We could cut down on the paper. It
18 could be given to the counsel and the Court right now, and just hold off
19 with the witness.
20 Q. Sir, who appointed Simo Drljaca as the chief of police in
21 Prijedor? Sorry, maybe you didn't hear the question. Sir, Mr. Witness --
22 A. Yes, I heard your question. But I'm not in the position to know
23 who appointed whom. I can only tell you what the then prevailing law on
24 state administration provided for. And when it comes for the police, what
25 was provided for by the law was that the chief of the police or the chiefs
1 of the public security stations and centre for security were appointed by
2 the Ministry of the Interior at the republican level. And as I already
3 told you this yesterday, what I did had nothing whatsoever to do with the
4 police, so I really don't know who appointed Mr. Drljaca to the position
5 of the chief of the public security station in Prijedor.
6 However, according to the provisions of the law, this is done by
7 the Ministry of the Interior, its competent bodies.
8 Q. Yes, perhaps I was confused. So is it correct, then, that you
9 don't know how the police functioned in fact in Prijedor in 1992? You
10 have no information about that. All you can tell us is what's written in
11 the law.
12 A. I believe that the police functioned according to the law, like it
13 did before the armed conflicts in the 1980s. It continued to function in
14 the same way in the 1990s.
15 Q. Sir, let me have you take a look, then, in this document which is
16 marked in English as 03024765, and in your language, our number is
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This would be provisionally S391.
19 MR. KOUMJIAN:
20 Q. Sir, do you recognise this document as a ballot paper for members
21 of the executive committee in which both your name as the candidate for
22 the director of the public utilities company and the name of Simo Drljaca
23 as the candidate for chief of the public security station appear?
24 A. I'm not familiar with this document. According to this paper, the
25 deputies of the Municipal Assembly would have had the right to vote. But
1 I was not a deputy. This is a list for members of the executive committee
2 of Prijedor municipality. And the only ones who had the right to vote
3 were the deputies in the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor. And as I've
4 already told you, I was not a deputy.
5 Q. All right. Is it correct that you were appointed by this assembly
6 to the position of director of public utilities company as shown on this
7 ballot paper?
8 A. I don't know exactly. Here it doesn't specify which assembly
9 we're talking about, from which period.
10 Q. Sir, I want to go back to the fear you talked about that motivated
11 the takeover. I believe you testified last -- on your direct examination
12 that there was fear of a Muslim plan to take over Prijedor and to commit
13 again what had happened in World War II. Is that correct?
14 A. I didn't say that there was a fear of the takeover in Prijedor by
15 non-Serbs. What I said was that there was fear among the population, fear
16 of an armed rebellion and of an armed attack. This was -- the fear was
17 not about who would be in power; it was fear of armed rebellion. The
18 political leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina ordered the local bodies
19 across the municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to attack the
20 barracks. And it was a well-known fact that 95 per cent of the people
21 there were Serbs. So that was an open order, you could say, that was
22 issued to attack Serbs in the municipalities.
23 Q. Sir, who was this order issued to? Who was going to attack the
24 JNA at that time in Prijedor?
25 A. This order came from the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and
1 the president at this time was Mr. Alija Izetbegovic. The order in
2 writing came from the Ministry of the Interior of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
3 Q. My question is who it was directed to --
4 A. And the minister --
5 Q. Let me repeat the question. Who was the order directed to? Who
6 was supposed to attack the JNA in Prijedor?
7 A. The order was addressed to the political leadership of the SDA in
8 Prijedor. And the order was signed by Mr. Alija Delimustafic. I can tell
9 you exactly what the order said if you would like me to.
10 Q. I would like you to first tell us this, sir: Did you really take
11 seriously that there was a possibility that someone would order the Muslim
12 forces, whatever they were in Prijedor, to attack the JNA and the 343rd
13 Motorised Brigade, a professional armoured unit in Prijedor?
14 A. Well, I took the order very seriously. And those who made the
15 decision or gave the order must have taken it even more seriously in
16 Prijedor. If you say the 343rd Brigade, the name itself suggests that it
17 includes a great number of people, of manpower. But you must know that
18 those people were not in Prijedor. According to the law, people responded
19 to the mobilisation callup, which means that they were outside Prijedor
20 Municipality. In the Zarko Zgonjanin barracks itself in Prijedor, the
21 only people remaining there were security officers and a small number of
22 the reserve forces.
23 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, Ms. Karper has informed me that the
24 document I've just shown the witness is already marked as S262.
25 Q. Sir, were the Serbian people, and particularly the SDS, arming
1 themselves prior to the takeover? Were arms being distributed by the
2 party or by the army to Serbs in Prijedor Municipality?
3 A. No one gave Serbs in Prijedor weapons. Serbs responded to the
4 mobilisation callup, and there was no need for anyone to give them
5 weapons. Only those people who responded to the mobilisation got the
7 Q. Sir, did you ever attend any meetings of the Crisis Staff in
8 Prijedor? I'm not asking if you were a member; did you attend any
9 meetings of the Crisis Staff?
10 A. No, I didn't.
11 Q. Did you attend any meetings of the Prijedor National Defence
12 Council? Just so we're clear about the translation, I'll read the title
13 in your language: Narodnu Obranu Skupstine Opstine Prijedor. Did you
14 attend any meetings of that organisation?
15 A. I understood your question. You asked me about the National
16 Defence council, but I was not a member of that council. So there was no
17 need or possibility for me to attend its meetings.
18 Q. Just so we're clear, I'm not asking whether there was a need or
19 possibility. Your answer, as I understand it, is you did not attend any
20 meetings of that body. Is that correct?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. So, sir, can you tell us based upon your limited knowledge, who
23 ordered the attack by the army on villages and the cleansing of villages
24 in Prijedor Municipality? Under whose orders and in coordination with
25 what bodies did those attacks take place?
1 A. Attacks on villages. Can you specify? There are lots of villages
2 surrounding Prijedor.
3 Q. Thank you, that's a fair question. Let's start with the 24th of
4 May and the attack on Kozarac, the surrounding villages, Kamicani,
5 Kozarusa, Jakupovici. Those villages were attacked on the 24th of May.
6 If you disagree, you may tell me so. Can you tell me who ordered those
7 attacks and with what bodies they coordinated?
8 A. The attack was carried out by the army. And naturally, the army
9 had its own commander.
10 Q. And was anyone in the municipal government, to your knowledge,
11 informed about these attacks before they occurred?
12 A. I did not know that anyone from the municipal government was
13 informed about that. Not as a person, not in my capacity. The army never
14 notified the bodies of civilian authority about the actions it was about
15 to take, and the law on national defence did not envisage that they should
17 MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay. If we could now distribute S110. We have
18 extra copies for those who do not have it.
19 Q. Sir, I'd like you to just look at the headings, and then direct
20 yourself to Article 6. You told us yesterday that the civilian
21 authorities had no influence on mobilisation. Having read over this
22 Article 6, can you see that in the third paragraph, the Municipal Assembly
23 of Prijedor clearly authorises the Crisis Staff to consider issues of
24 mobilisation, development, and reinforcement of the armed forces.
25 A. Yes, I know what you're saying. This is the Official Gazette of
1 Prijedor Municipality. What was published in it is that at its session of
2 the 25th, the Assembly adopted a decision on the organisation and work of
3 the Crisis Staff. What is written here is true. This must have been said
4 at the assembly, and that's why it was then carried by the Gazette.
5 However, in practice, on the ground, none of these things could be applied
6 for the simple reason that the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, looking at
7 the whole thing from a legal point of view, how legal something was, the
8 Municipal Assembly was at a lower level than the law itself.
9 Q. Okay, I understand you're not a lawyer, so I don't want to debate
10 the law with you. But is it correct that your position, then, is that the
11 Crisis Staff was illegally given power?
12 A. I haven't read this thoroughly, so it's impossible for me to
13 conclude that the Crisis Staff was actually empowered. I worked in the
14 Executive Board at this time, and I did not notice the Crisis Staff being
15 there at all. Because the executive power was still in the hands of the
16 Executive Board. I should go through this more thoroughly and be given
17 more time to read it, and then perhaps I'd be able to comment on it.
18 Q. Sir, did you attend the session of the assembly on the 20th of
19 May, 1992, in which this was adopted?
20 A. I was not a deputy, and it was not my obligation to attend any of
21 the sessions, which in fact includes this particular one. Sessions are
22 attended by deputies, or persons specifically invited by the president of
23 the assembly. This included in the agenda a decision would be adopted
24 by the assembly concerning a particular legal person or legal institution,
25 and then such persons as affected by these decisions would be specially
1 invited, but aside from these cases, no other persons attended the
2 sessions of the assembly.
3 Q. So who was this person -- you said that the president had the
4 authority to invite persons to the sessions. Who was that person in May
6 A. The president of the assembly. That was Mr. Stakic.
7 Q. The article indicates, Article 6, indicates that among the duties
8 of the Crisis Staff, second to last, is keeping abreast of all aspects of
9 the situation in the municipality essential for the waging of armed combat
10 and take appropriate measures. Do you have any information that this was
11 not done?
12 A. This article, what you've just read, I think there may have been a
13 small error in the interpretation, or perhaps the lady interpreter. The
14 text of the Serbian original is keeping abreast of all aspects of the
15 situation in the municipality and all elements essential, and this means
16 keeping abreast with the elements essential for the waging of armed
17 combat. It just says "keeping abreast," keeping informed. And that's how
18 the translation should read. So the Crisis Staff is familiarized with the
19 essential elements but does not order or coordinate anything.
20 Q. Sir, do you know who set up the detention camps in Omarska and
21 Keraterm in the Prijedor Municipality?
22 A. The first reception centre was set up in Trnopolje, and
23 immediately after the war events in Kozarac, that's when it was set up.
24 Q. [Previous interpretation continues]... because I didn't ask you
25 about Trnopolje. I asked you about Omarska and Keraterm. Please try to
1 limit your answer to the question. Do you know, if you don't know, say
2 so, who set up these detention camps?
3 A. The army did because persons were being interrogated in those
4 premises, and the interrogations were done by the army.
5 Q. Did you ever see any orders to arrest any individuals or to refuse
6 the release of any individuals from these camps?
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, I have once again to interrupt.
8 Mr. Dakic, in case you don't know, please tell us. From the
9 transcript, it reads now that "the persons were being interrogated in
10 those premises, and the interrogations were done by the army." How can
11 you come to this testimony? How do you know that it was the army? You
12 are under solemn declaration.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll answer your question in the
14 following way: I know that it was done by the army because my closest
15 colleague in my institution, the one I worked in at that time, the public
16 works, he was working there as a lawyer, Pero Tadic, a very close
17 colleague. He had been mobilised by the army, and he received orders as a
18 lawyer to carry out interrogations of persons in the camp.
19 MR. KOUMJIAN:
20 Q. Do you know who saw the interrogations, the results of those
21 interrogations, the statements that resulted?
22 A. No, I'm not familiar with that. The results of interrogations are
23 not known to me, the number, not the results, after the interrogations.
24 Q. So, sir, correct me if I am wrong, but if you were to discover
25 information that a civilian leader had known about the takeover prior to
1 it happening, had participated in arming Serbs in preparation
2 for -- arming Serbian civilians in preparation for a conflict, had set up
3 camps in Omarska and Keraterm, and had given demands to many of these
4 villages to surrender weapons before they were attacked and warnings that
5 they would be attacked, then your whole impression as to the power of this
6 civilian and his role in controlling events in Prijedor would change. Is
7 that right?
8 A. Well, to my knowledge, the calls to surrender weapons were sent by
9 the army to the civilian population of those villages. And those who
10 complied with this demand, and those were many, turned over their weapons
11 at the Zarko Zgonjanin barracks.
12 The fact itself that those civilians who were in possession of
13 weapons decided to go to the barracks and turn over their weapons there
14 implies and leads you immediately to the conclusion that they were
15 responding to a demand made by the army.
16 Q. But if you saw an article that was signed by the Crisis Staff
17 demanding that those weapons be surrendered that appeared in Kozarski
18 Vjesnik, you would change your opinion. Is that right?
19 A. I didn't read that particular article. I was not familiar with
20 that. What I've just told you about the army being the only one to call
21 upon people to hand over their weapons was also due to the fact that those
22 who did have weapons had nowhere else to turn them over but at the
24 Q. On the 30th of April, 1992, the army in Prijedor was the JNA. The
25 VRS, army of Republika Srpska, the VRS, had not been formed. Correct?
1 A. I can't remember the exact date. However, the JNA was present in
2 Prijedor Municipality until, I think, mid-May 1992.
3 Q. Do you recall the reaction of President Cehajic when this option 2
4 government was formed that you're talking about?
5 A. This government was only formed on paper. It was a paper tiger.
6 It never actually operated.
7 Q. But do you recall the reaction of President Cehajic to the
8 announcement of this government?
9 A. I don't think I can remember his reaction or what he stated. I
10 know that they kept opposing, or in other words, they failed to implement
11 the law on national defence which was punishable under the law. But none
12 of the politicians, including Mr. Cehajic, were ever made to answer for
13 that. If the law had been more strictly complied with, they would have
14 been made to answer for their actions before a military court.
15 Q. Well, what happened to Mr. Cehajic? You said he did not answer
16 for this. What did happen to him?
17 A. I don't know.
18 Q. On the executive committee, you worked with Becir Medunjanin. Do
19 you know what happened to him?
20 A. Mr. Medunjanin for a while, he was a member of the Executive
21 Board, and we used to meet at meetings. We all had -- we both had our own
22 area of activity, and the only contacts we had were during the meetings.
23 Q. That wasn't my question --
24 A. I don't know what became of that gentleman, whether he's somewhere
25 abroad or wherever.
1 Q. Sir, I'd like to show you a --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
3 MR. KOUMJIAN:
4 Q. Sir, I'd like to now show you an issue of Kozarski Vjesnik from
5 the 28th of April, 1994.
6 MR. KOUMJIAN: It's S47.
7 Q. In the interests of time, I'm going to read portions of this to
8 you, and ask you to comment. If you feel it necessary to read the whole
9 article, say so.
10 In the second paragraph, the second sentence: "By nature, an
11 unobtrusive but determined and tenacious man, Stakic, still deputy
12 chairman of joint municipal assembly in Prijedor, came to realise that
13 the SDA and HDZ are contriving a plot to get rid of Serbs, and he used
14 every opportunity to counteract them." Did you observe Dr. Stakic using
15 every opportunity to counteract the SDA and HDZ prior to the takeover?
16 A. I didn't find this sentence, but regardless of that, I will answer
17 your question. I know Dr. Stakic, and what the journalist says here is
18 not something that one would regard the way his personality was. On the
19 contrary. I don't know who the author of this text is, and which paper
20 that is from. But I believe that I know Dr. Stakic better than the
21 journalist who wrote this article, and that for that reason, my opinion of
22 Dr. Stakic is more credible. And my opinion is just the contrary of what
23 the opinion of the journalist is.
24 Q. Well, what do you disagree with? Do you believe Dr. Stakic
25 was -- the description is unobtrusive, but determined and tenacious. What
1 do you disagree with?
2 A. It is very generalised. What does it mean, determined? What does
3 it mean tenacious, in what?
4 Q. You indicated that you have the opposite view. So I'm asking you,
5 why do you disagree with this?
6 A. I don't agree because I know Dr. Stakic better than any
7 journalist, regardless of who it is. But in any case, these atributes
8 that this journalist attributed to Dr. Stakic, these are not the
9 characteristics of his personality.
10 Q. Sir, you know Dr. Stakic better than any journalist. You know him
11 very well. You don't know that he was president of the Crisis Staff in
12 Prijedor in 1992?
13 A. I believe that this is -- this is beyond comparison. I don't
14 think these two pieces of information cannot be compared. I didn't say
15 journalist, but the journalists who have signed this article, and the
16 signature of this article is Mr. Rajcevic, and I think, it is my claim,
17 that Mr. Rajcevic doesn't know Mr. Stakic very well. He knows him just as
18 an acquaintance.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. I'm absolutely tired of you trying to
20 circumvent the questions. The question was you don't know that Dr. Stakic
21 was the president of the Crisis Staff in 1992. Yes or no?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I didn't know that.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This is your final testimony, that you did not
24 know that Dr. Milomir Stakic was president of the Crisis Staff in the town
25 where you worked.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We will discuss the consequences of this
4 MR. KOUMJIAN:
5 Q. Sir, I'm going to go on to a few paragraphs, the paragraph
6 beginning with a dash. It's on the left-hand side, left column, the last
7 paragraph. I will read slowly. You can read along with me.
8 It indicates that this is the words of Dr. Stakic, what he said at
9 the start of the interview. "What happened on the 30th of April, 1992,
10 was only the final act of a long-standing, but for the Serbs, perilous
11 plan. I often talked in private with the leaders of the SDA and HDZ, and
12 this is what convinced me that they were concocting a terrible plan
13 regarding the Serbs. They were secretly arming themselves, making
14 uniforms with the symbol of the lily, building strongholds in Kozara and
15 the neighbouring districts. But we were not just sitting there with our
16 hands in our laps. When we saw what they were doing, we began to arm
17 ourselves and to tell the party members what they were planning to do to
18 us, and what has to be done to prevent 1941 from happening all over
19 again. On the direction of the central office of the SDS, we formed the
20 Serbian Assembly of Prijedor, and I became chairman. When I arrived to
21 work the next day, the then chairman of the joint assembly, Muhamed
22 Cehajic, greeted me with the following words: "Hello, colleague. Now we
23 are both chairmen, and I congratulate you from all my heart and wish you
24 success." But in spite of his smile, I knew what was behind those words
25 and what they were planning to do to us."
1 Is this consistent with statements you heard Dr. Stakic make in
2 1992 and afterwards?
3 A. I cannot confirm whether this was said to the journalist by
4 Dr. Stakic. I am not familiar with this interview. I don't know of this
6 Q. That wasn't my question. You said you knew Dr. Stakic. You also
7 were a member of the SDS party. Is this consistent with what you heard
8 Dr. Stakic saying in 1992 and afterwards?
9 A. As far as I know Dr. Stakic, I can say about one part of this text
10 that may have been said by Dr. Stakic. I cannot claim that for a fact,
11 but I can assume that some of that may have been said by Dr. Stakic.
12 Q. If Dr. Stakic indicated that the Serbs were arming themselves and
13 preparing, would you change your opinion now and -- about whether or not
14 Serbs were being armed by the SDS party prior to the takeover?
15 A. I already said in my answer to one of the previous questions that
16 the Serbs did not need to arm themselves because they responded to the
17 mobilisation call by the army, and they got the weapons from the army.
18 Q. Well, then, if I now understand your answer, you're telling us
19 that the army gave weapons to Serb civilians. Is that correct?
20 A. I never said civilians. I said that Serbs did not need to arm
21 themselves because they responded to the mobilisation calls, and they were
22 given weapons by the army.
23 Q. Well, men in the army were given weapons. Were men outside of the
24 army given weapons? Were men allowed to take their weapons after they
25 left the army?
1 A. Army members until mid-May 1992 were members of the Yugoslav
2 People's Army. And they were allowed to, in case they went home for a
3 short rest or break, they were allowed to take weapons with them because
4 in order to get to their houses from the front line, they had to move
5 through unfamiliar areas and war-struck areas.
6 Q. So I gather from the beginning of your answer that you now
7 remember that on the 30th of April, the army was still the JNA. You
8 indicated earlier you didn't know when the transformation took place.
9 A. I believe that I said that I did not know the date of that
10 transformation, but that that transformation took place in the beginning
11 of May of 1992.
12 Q. So you now know that on the 30th of April, 1992, the army in
13 Prijedor was the JNA. Correct?
14 A. As far as I can remember, judging by the date, it was still the
15 JNA, and the difference between the JNA and the army is not big. The same
16 people stayed in the same places. Only the insignia on the uniforms
17 changed, so it was very difficult to be very precise about the date of the
18 change because there were no major changes as such. People were the same,
19 but the only thing that changed were the insignia.
20 Q. In May of 1992, where did Dr. Stakic live?
21 A. In Prijedor.
22 Q. Well, in fact, didn't Dr. Stakic live in Omarska and have an
23 apartment in Prijedor and travel between the two?
24 A. When you asked me where he lived, I said in Prijedor. In
25 Prijedor, there are local communes, there are streets. You have to put me
1 a precise question. You should have asked me in which local commune he
2 lived. I told you he lived in Prijedor.
3 Q. You got me there. I'm sorry. I apologise. Did he live in
4 Omarska or in the town of Prijedor in May of 1992?
5 A. I can't give you a precise answer on the time frame. It has been
6 ten years, but I know that he lived in Prijedor. I don't know in which
7 month that was. I can't give you a precise answer on the month where he
8 lived there.
9 Q. In May 1992, did you travel through Kozarac after the attack on
10 Kozarac, in May or June of 1992?
11 A. What I told you yesterday was that my journey from Banja Luka was
12 via Kozarac, but the road was blocked by military equipment.
13 Q. Thank you. But I'm asking after the 24th of May. I think on
14 direct, you made it clear that was before the 24th of May, but correct me
15 if I am wrong. After the attack on Kozarac on the 24th of May, did you
16 travel through Kozarac?
17 A. Through Kozarac, can you be please more precise. When you say
18 "through Kozarac," when you travel from Banja Luka to Prijedor, you have
19 to pass through the local commune of Kozarac, but you stay on the road.
20 If you want to enter Kozarac, you have to get off the road in order to
21 enter Kozarac. Can you please be more precise. Can you please ask me if
22 you want whether I travelled on the road via Kozarac, or did I actually
23 enter the local commune of Kozarac.
24 Q. Thank you. I was referring to the main road. Did you see the
25 destruction of Kozarac after the 24th of May from the main road?
1 A. From the main road, obviously you could see the degree of damage
2 because the houses there are in the immediate vicinity of the road, so one
3 could clearly see that.
4 Q. And can you briefly describe what Kozarac looked like from the
5 main road.
6 A. There was damage on the family houses there, on the -- on other
7 buildings. There is a mill. There is a community house which was
8 damaged. Some family houses were damaged. And then a part of the mill
9 which is very close to the road itself was also damaged.
10 Q. By the way, you mentioned some international issues. Are you
11 aware that on the 22nd of May, 1992, Bosnia was admitted into the
12 United Nations?
13 A. I know that Bosnia was admitted, but I'm not sure about the date.
14 Q. I want to continue with the article, and you may read along with
16 "In April, things started to happen in Sarajevo, Bosanska Krupa,
17 and other places. This convinced us that we have to speed up the process
18 of arming ourselves. All the more so, as on the 6th of May of that same
19 year, Muslims and Croats called an all-party conference inviting managers
20 of various firms and prominent people, formed their government, appointed
21 heads of SUP as well as heads of army and other institutions. I was
22 informed through my own channels that a decision had also been reached
23 to take over power by force. We were lucky that Colonel Arsic was the
24 commander of our garrison, a soldier and a man with a lot of experience.
25 And we decided that we must speed up the process of arming ourselves."
1 Sir, who do you understand Dr. Stakic to mean when he says "we
2 decided that we must speed up the process of arming ourselves"?
3 A. It is hard to draw any conclusions based on this paragraph that
4 you have just read. It's hard to conclude what Dr. Stakic actually
5 meant. It's hard for me to say what he meant.
6 Q. Okay, thank you. Continuing: "An interesting thing happened on
7 the 20th of May, Stakic continued. When travelling to work from Omarska,
8 I saw in Prijedor, in Kozarac, armed Muslims with lilies on their sleeves.
9 I noticed the same in Kozarusa, and I knew that the time for action had
10 come." Sir, what do you believe Dr. Stakic means in this article when
11 he says, "I knew that the time for action has come?"
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I interrupt. I think the time has to be
13 balanced between the parties. And we can't see the priority that is given
14 by the Prosecution putting an article and ask for the opinion on an
15 article to the witness. Therefore, may we ask the OTP also to come to an
16 end of their questions. And I don't know what is -- what is the area,
17 other areas? We should try to end the line of questions put to the
18 witness by the Prosecution about 6.00.
19 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you. I'll try to do it sooner than that.
20 I have no further questions, Your Honour.
21 Questioned by the Court:
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: During your statement just recently, you
23 said, "I knew Dr. Stakic better than any journalists." Later you
24 [indiscernible] this a little bit. But could you please tell us since
25 when you knew Dr. Stakic and what was your relationship with Dr. Stakic?
1 A. I met Dr. Stakic in the first part of 1991, during the first three
2 months of 1991 when I came to the municipality. And when I took my office
3 of the secretary for economy and public affairs. At that time, Dr. Stakic
4 was the vice-president of the Municipal Assembly. Mr. Stakic is some ten
5 years younger than me, so we are not the same generation. We are not as
6 close as we otherwise could be if there was no generation gap between us.
7 And not only that, there is a generation gap between us, but also my job
8 and things that I did, job, and things that Dr. Stakic did were two
9 different things. I have a degree in economics; Dr. Stakic is a
10 physician. So we could not get together through work. We first got
11 acquainted in the month of March 1991, during the first three months of
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So your testimony is you didn't meet him
14 in -- earlier in 1991. It was March, actually March 1991. Correct?
15 A. Correct. I knew him by sight from the time of the multiparty
16 elections which took place during the last three months of 1990. So to be
17 more precise, I saw him for the first time in the year 1990, during the
18 last three months of 1990. I didn't know him before that.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When you discussed on pages 27, 28 of today's
20 transcript that what you called "option 2," as from January 1992, one
21 question was left open: Was this option 2 a plan caused by the
22 disagreement with the work conducted in Prijedor itself so that one could
23 argue it was a specific solution for Prijedor, or was it based on the
24 recommendation, order, whatsoever, from a higher level?
25 A. When I said in my testimony that it was like a reserve option or
1 option 2, I had in mind the functioning of the civilian authorities in
2 case that this functioning was the way -- or the nonfunctioning was the
3 way it was in -- under the circumstances of division between the Serb
4 ethnicity and the Muslim ethnicity. I told you there was a 50/50 ratio
5 in the executive branch of the government based on ethnicity. In a
6 certain way, the decision on setting up this second option government was
7 more like a warning that the Serbian population of Prijedor Municipality,
8 in case the nonfunctioning of the executive branch of the government
9 continued, would be forced to have its own parallel form of government.
10 And that is what I meant when I spoke about this second option or reserve
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But still the question is: Was a specific
13 Prijedor solution emanating from the needs as you may have seen them for
14 Prijedor, or was it part of a more general solution in former Yugoslavia?
15 Specifically, did people, others than representatives of Prijedor,
16 participate in the meeting in January 1992?
17 A. I understood your question. It was a local issue. And it was an
18 issue very specific to Prijedor, as you have put it. There were no people
19 from other municipalities present at that meeting.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When you went to work the 30th of April, 1992,
21 which office did you enter, the same as the day before or another one?
22 A. I didn't go to my office. As usual, every morning before we went
23 to work, we would have a coffee in a nearby coffee place, and this is
24 where I learned of the events of the previous day.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Is it correct that the 29th of April, you worked
1 in the secretariat for economic and social affairs?
2 A. Yes, I did.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In which capacity did you work the 30th of
4 April, 1992?
5 A. On the 30th of April, I worked in the same capacity. I was
6 waiting for the newly appointed person, Mr. Ranko Travar, to take over
7 from me.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How did you know that there was a newly
9 appointed person?
10 A. Prior to the 29th, I believe that there was a decision - I can't
11 remember exactly whether that was a decision of the Executive Board or a
12 decision by the Assembly. I can't remember. I don't remember which body
13 issued that decision, whether it was the Municipal Assembly or the
14 Executive Board. There was a decision.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When did you start acting in your new
16 capacity - forgive me if I quote it in the wrong way. I think the correct
17 name was director of public utilities company.
18 A. I can't remember the exact date. Nothing much changed in my work
19 for all intents and purposes. It was only about how my work was
20 described, the title. Instead of acting director, I said director of the
21 public utilities. As I told you at the beginning, I was working on two
22 different things at the same time.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We have an extremely short break now just for
24 the exchange of the tapes. For technical reasons, we will continue and
25 try to finalise the testimony today.
1 --- Recess taken at 6.05 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 6.07 p.m.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May it be part-time work or the entire work,
4 when, for the first time, one could read at your door or you got the
5 document that you were now appointed director of the public utilities
7 A. I can't remember the date. But I think it was in May 1992.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Previously, you were shown Document S262, a
9 ballot paper for members of the executive committee and secretaries of the
10 departments of the Serbian Assembly of Prijedor Municipality. The
11 candidates appearing on this list, and one of them, number 9, was you.
12 Were they asked beforehand whether or not they were prepared to exercise
13 this function if elected?
14 A. Well, before a person would finally be appointed, certainly those
15 who had proposed the nomination would have talked to that person and asked
16 them if they were ready in case they were elected by the assembly to
17 assume the position. I believe this was common practice. And that's how
18 the president of the Executive Board would always go about it. Because
19 after all, it was the president of the Executive Board who choose his own
20 colleagues and people he worked with.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This brings me to the next question: Could you
22 please tell us in terms of hierarchy who were your superiors following the
23 30th of April, 1992, in the hierarchy, please?
24 A. As far as my superiors were concerned, there was only one person
25 who was my superior, and that was the president of the Executive Board,
1 Mr. Milan Kovacevic.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would it be a wrong assessment that the takeover
3 in January 1992 was more or less an implementation of that what was
4 planned in January 1992 because some persons came to the assessment that
5 it was necessary to have a functioning -- to have functioning organs in
7 A. Well, it is my personal conviction, and I think I'm not mistaken,
8 the events that occurred in January 1992 did not indicate that what it was
9 about was so to speak the first phase of a takeover. What happened that
10 at least was my conviction was aimed at warning the partners in
11 government, or more specifically, the Muslims, about the degree of
12 seriousness requested for discharging civilian affairs. In practice,
13 there was a lot of negligence --
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think we have understood this.
15 Can you tell us the reason why you left SDS in January 1993
16 apparently in a close timely connection with your resignation, the
17 resignation of Dr. Stakic, the resignation of Dr. Kovacevic?
18 A. My reason for leaving the SDS was of a personal nature. When I
19 say personal nature, I mean that I was not in agreement with how the party
20 ran affairs related to personnel issues. And when I say "affairs related
21 to personnel issues," I'm convinced that mistakes were being made in that
22 sense and that certain positions in certain companies or institutions were
23 in my opinion filled by the wrong people. When I say "the wrong people",
24 I'm only referring to their professional qualifications and their
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Would you agree that you worked in
2 the fields of the economy and social affairs between 1992, 1993?
3 A. Secretary for the economy and public works, I worked in that
4 capacity until the first days of the month of May 1992.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Right.
6 A. And that's when I became the director of public utilities. And I
7 left that position in January 1993.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. You had the opportunity to have a
9 glance through the Official Gazette of Prijedor Municipality dated the
10 25th of June, 1992 where we can read the decisions of 20 May 1992. In
11 Article 7 it reads: "In exercising its functions from the fields of the
12 economy and social affairs, the Crisis Staff shall in particular adopt
13 decisions relevant to the organisation and functioning of the economy in
14 the public, private, and mixed ownership sectors, the organisation and
15 functioning of social affairs, the organisation and management of finance
16 sector, and the care of refugees and the destitute."
17 As a civil servant, you had to obey the law. You had to obey the
18 rules. When were you confronted the first time with Article 7 of this
19 decision on the organisation and work of Prijedor municipal Crisis Staff?
20 A. Honestly, I've seen it here for the first time. And I am
21 surprised when I look at the text that I have read here today for the
22 first time, because I still remember the time, the period of time we are
23 discussing. I'm talking about May and the end of 1992. The public
24 utilities worked from May 1992 on just like it had functioned before.
25 Nothing changed about the way it operated. And really, I understand this
1 may strike the Honourable Chamber as strange that in that particular
2 capacity, I did not have a chance to read the Official Gazette. But
3 believe me, those who were in charge of delivering copies of the Official
4 Gazette to all public companies were quite negligent in their job
5 sometimes. And I'm here referring to the secretariat of the municipality
6 because they were the ones who were in charge of furthering copies of
7 these important documents to other people and other institutions.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous interpretation continues]... Mr. Dusan
10 A. Dusan Baltic. Dusan Baltic was the secretary of the municipality.
11 I can't remember when he stopped being the secretary, but the things I
12 told you about, forwarding copies of the Official Gazette and that sort of
13 thing, definitely the secretary and his own administration would have been
14 in charge of these chores.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So it is your testimony that you never received
16 any kind of orders, recommendations, under Article 7 of these rules on
17 Crisis Staff as I just read out?
18 A. I never received any written documents from the Crisis Staff, such
19 as orders, decisions, or conclusions.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What about oral orders, decisions?
21 A. Not oral either.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Is it your testimony that you never read
23 Kozarski Vjesnik or an Official Gazette where articles or decisions were
24 signed by Crisis Staff?
25 A. As I've already said, I did occasionally read Kozarski Vjesnik,
1 but when these particular decisions you're referring to were published,
2 no, I did not read those particular issues. I hardly ever bought Kozarski
3 Vjesnik. Those were local papers also during the war. And when you do
4 buy your own copy, you look at the announcements and ads.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So it remains your testimony finally that you
6 never heard about the existence of a Crisis Staff in Prijedor. Correct?
7 A. No, that's not what I said. I didn't say I never heard of its
8 existence. I said I had heard of its existence, but in my work, I did not
9 feel it operate, nor did I know where its seat was, where its offices
10 were. I worked with those people in the Executive Board with whom I had
11 also worked before the decision on the establishment of the Crisis Staff.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you ever visit Dr. Stakic in his office in
14 A. There were visits. I can't give you the exact date, but yes,
15 there were visits.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was Dr. Stakic or another person you saw at the
17 corridor in uniform or armed?
18 MR. LUKIC: Excuse me, Your Honour. It was translated in
19 Serbian: "Dr. Stakic or somebody else."
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: That was the question. Or somebody else on the
21 same corridor. This was the question.
22 Was Dr. Stakic or any other person you saw on the corridor in
23 uniform or armed?
24 A. On the corridor or in the office, in the municipal building. For
25 a while --
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: First, on the first question, did you see
2 Dr. Stakic in his office in uniform?
3 A. I did see Dr. Stakic in uniform, but if you want me to specify in
4 answer to your question whether that was in his office or maybe outside
5 the building itself, I can't specify because I can't remember. But I did
6 see Dr. Stakic wearing a uniform. It's just that I can't tell you whether
7 it was the corridor, the office, or the office. I can't recall exactly,
8 but yes, I did see him.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Finally, what was the reason you had to visit
10 Dr. Stakic in his office?
11 A. I visited the president of the Municipal Assembly when Dr. Cehajic
12 was the president, and also when Dr. Stakic was the president. It was
13 just something I did in my spare time. They would have me over for a cup
14 of coffee, for tea. We would share a drink. The nature of my work was
15 not really related to their work, the work done by the different
16 presidents of the assembly.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When you were there for a cup of coffee or tea,
18 did you discuss politics, problems related to the SDS?
19 A. Well, as we were sitting there, we were not silent. That's for
20 sure. We were talking. But our conversation did not focus on politics.
21 Dr. Stakic as the president of the assembly was more interested in
22 potential problems of my institution, the institution that I headed.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you ever ask him why suddenly he wore a
25 A. No, I didn't ask him that. Members of the Executive Board wore
1 uniforms too, but only for a very brief while. I think not -- for no
2 longer than a week, seven days. There was no need to ask them
3 individually because other members wore uniforms too, other members of
4 the executive power. That's what I'm saying.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But not you yourself.
6 A. I did. I did too, for a short while. When I was the director --
7 as the director of a municipal -- as an organisation of municipal
8 administration, we had to act in the general spirit and not on the basis
9 of our individual decisions.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And what was this general spirit?
11 A. Your Honour, I think you have misunderstood. I was referring to
12 the uniforms. If the other members of the Executive Board were wearing
13 uniforms, I did not wish to be an exception to this rule. I did not want
14 to stick out as an individual. I just wanted to play along with the
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think I have understood your answers.
17 Judge Vassylenko.
18 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: I would like to ask you the following
19 question: You knew very well Milan Kovacevic. He was your superior. You
20 knew Ranko Travar and Vojo Pavicic. They were members of the Executive
21 Board, as you testified before. How often have you met those people
22 before the takeover and after the takeover?
23 A. Prior to the takeover, Mr. Ranko Travar did not work in any bodies
24 of administration, and he was not a member of the Executive Board of
25 Prijedor Municipality. He came later, after the 30th of April.
1 Mr. Vojo Pavicic had indeed worked as a member of the Executive
2 Board prior to the 30th of April. And the remaining members of the
3 Executive Board, Radenko Banovic and all the others, after the 30th of
4 April, my contacts -- after the 30th of April, my contacts to other
5 members of the Executive Board were the same as before. The nature of my
6 work in the public works required frequent visits to the building of the
7 Municipal Assembly just to take care of the current affairs there.
8 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And those people, they never told you that they
9 are members of the Crisis Staff?
10 A. No, we didn't talk about it. Those were younger people, and we
11 didn't talk about it, and they didn't tell me anything about that specific
13 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And they never acted in capacity of member of
14 Crisis Staff while talking with you, while answering your question,
15 advising you something, et cetera?
16 A. They were in no position to advise me. I was their senior, and I
17 had more experience in exchanging such duties. So if anything, it would
18 have been the opposite.
19 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Thank you. I have no more questions.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Judge Argibay.
21 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Yes, please, I want to focus on two or three
22 points that I'm a little bit confused about. And I am not wrong, and I am
23 quoting from the top of my head, yesterday you told us that you never were
24 a part of a commission or a committee or some sort of working group, let's
25 say, in your capacity as a member of the Executive Board or prior to that
1 as a member of the SDS. Is that correct?
2 A. As a member of a working group of some coordination body, on
3 behalf of the Executive Board, yes, I was. But I was never a member of
4 any commission on behalf of the SDS or any body of the SDS. So that means
5 operatively, yes, but no political appointments in that sense.
6 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay. Now, this is clear. Can you tell me which
7 working group were you part of as a coordinating body on behalf of the
8 Executive Board? What was the fundamental subject of this working group?
9 A. Due to the nature of my work and my position as the director of
10 the institution, one of the activities of the institution was drafting
11 plans for -- drafting urban -- drafting plans for urban planning in the
12 town. A five-year platform would be drafted, and then this platform
13 consisted of yearly plans within this period of five years. When drafting
14 such plans, by virtue of my position, and not only by virtue of my
15 position, I did work together with other members of the Executive Board on
16 drafting those plans. Not all the members of the Executive Board were
17 included, only those whose activity was related to the nature of the plan
18 being drafted. And I'm talking about two specific secretariats, the
19 secretariat for urban planning, housing affairs, and property affairs, and
20 the land surveys office and cadastre office.
21 JUDGE ARGIBAY: In that capacity, in that working group, you had
22 the secretariat for urban planning, housing affairs, property affairs,
23 land surveying affairs, and all that. Did you take care of the housing
24 and allocation of refugees that came into Prijedor as far as we know since
25 1991 onwards?
1 A. Among other things, part of my institution's work was to run
2 state-owned flats and administer state-owned flats, but I didn't have any
3 specific obligation to do anything about refugees. When I say managing
4 state-owned flats, I mean maintenance and investment related to housing
5 facilities and shared housing facilities.
6 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay. I'll change the subject, please. You were
7 telling us that the 343 or 43 Brigade of the JNA in Prijedor, in the
8 barracks in Prijedor, was a very small brigade because all the people were
9 out fighting in the war or something. How could this brigade of the JNA
10 take over Prijedor if they had such a small amount of people at their
12 A. You didn't need a huge manpower to take over power in Prijedor, as
13 in addition to members of the army, members of the reserve force of the
14 police also participated in that. The takeover occurred in a completely
15 nonviolent way, not a single person was shot or wounded. So it didn't
16 really take that many people. There are only several buildings holding
17 the civilian bodies. In Prijedor, as in any other town, you had the
18 municipal building, the police headquarters, and the distance between all
19 these buildings was not that great. They were usually up to a hundred
20 metres away from each other.
21 JUDGE ARGIBAY: But then there's the thing I can't understand.
22 You told us also that before the takeover, you knew about a -- I think you
23 called it the Green Beret army being formed in Kozarac if I'm not wrong,
24 and then that it was a very big army with a lot of arms and things you
25 seen from your car, and then in a video. And then these people didn't
1 appear at all against a small portion of soldiers of the JNA on the
2 takeover of Prijedor? Is that what you're saying?
3 A. The Green Berets and Kozarac is some 12 kilometres from the town
4 of Prijedor, so the Green Berets were not in the town, and they didn't
5 prepare themselves in town, but in their local commune.
6 JUDGE ARGIBAY: I think this would be the last question. You said
7 something about this group preparing rebellion against the Serbian
8 population. Would you say that the takeover by the army against elected
9 civilian authority was an act of rebellion? And please answer yes or no.
10 A. No.
11 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay, thank you.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Any further questions by the parties?
13 MR. LUKIC: We don't have any questions, Your Honour.
14 MR. KOUMJIAN: None due to the time, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
16 This concludes your testimony. You're excused.
17 [The witness withdrew]
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stays adjourned until tomorrow. And
19 in this case please rely on this information: 1.30 to 15.00, 15.30 to
20 17.00, 17.20 to 19.00 in Courtroom I.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.42 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Friday, the 17th day of Janaury,
23 2003, at 1.30 p.m.