1 Tuesday, 28 January 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good afternoon to everybody. Please be seated.
6 Before we start, briefly for the record due to the change of the
7 schedule of the bureau meeting, this case will be heard tomorrow not in
8 the afternoon but in the morning, as usual from 9.00 to 1.45.
9 Anything else for the moment?
10 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I just wanted to inform the Court and
11 parties that I have met and the Stakic team have met with those who are
12 prosecuting the Plavsic and Krajisnik case. And after that, we have
13 determined that if Mrs. Plavsic is a witness, as she is now scheduled to
14 be, there is material that could be seen as falling under Rule 68 for
15 Dr. Stakic and for that reason we have begun the process of making that
16 available to the Defence. We will do that as quickly as possible. There
17 are some logistical problems and I will also ask to confer with the
18 Defence about some of the material to make sure they get what they need.
19 But the process has begun and some of that material will begin shortly,
20 and we will be working with the Defence to see if they can identify other
21 documents that they believe will be helpful that are among the exhibits
22 the Prosecution had listed for its case in the Plavsic and Krajisnik
24 There are literally thousands of documents - not pages, but
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. But before we continue. May I ask
2 for the appearances. Sorry. I forgot it in the beginning.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon. This is case number IT-97-24-T,
4 the Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And for the Prosecution, please.
6 MR. KOUMJIAN: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Nicholas Koumjian,
7 Ann Sutherland, and Ruth Karper.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And for the Defence.
9 MR. LUKIC: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Branko Lukic and
10 John Ostojic for the Defence.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Any comments on that what has been said by
12 Mr. Koumjian?
13 MR. LUKIC: We don't have any comments, Your Honour.
14 MR. KOUMJIAN: I would just add this for the Court's information I
15 do anticipate there may be a written response still forthcoming from the
16 OTP once the full parameters of this search are completed. So we do
17 anticipate still responding in writing to the motion.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And one final question of the basis of the
19 Defence witness list updated as of 23 January. We find Witness number
20 38 -- I'm wrong in my recollection, but I believe this witness was
21 withdrawn in the past. It would be your number 63. I want to avoid the
22 name. I don't know whether ...
23 [Defence counsel confer]
24 MR. LUKIC: Your Honours, can we come back to this question after
25 the break?
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Of course. Of course. Only I wanted to mention
3 From the same witness list, I take it that for the upcoming
4 witness no protective measures are requested? Correct?
5 MR. LUKIC: No protective measures for this witness. You're
6 right, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. May I then ask the usher to escort
8 the witness into the courtroom. Thank you.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good afternoon, sir. Can you hear me in a
11 language you understand?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would you then be so kind and give us your
14 solemn declaration.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
16 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
17 WITNESS: CEDOMIR VILA
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Please be seated.
20 And as to the fact that you are called as a Defence witness, the
21 floor is for the Defence.
22 Mr. Lukic, please.
23 Examined by Mr. Lukic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Vila.
25 A. Good afternoon.
1 Q. My name is Branko Lukic, and together with Mr. John Ostojic I
2 represent Dr. Stakic before this Tribunal. For the transcript, would you
3 please state your name.
4 A. My name is Cedomir Vila, C-e-d-o-m-i-r, first name; V-i-l-a, last
6 Q. When were you born, Mr. Vila?
7 A. On the 10th of July, 1950.
8 Q. Where were you born?
9 A. Gornja Dragotina, Prijedor municipality.
10 Q. Where do you reside today?
11 A. I reside in Prijedor.
12 Q. Where did you reside in 1991 and 1992?
13 A. Since 1975 to this very day, I have resided in Prijedor.
14 Q. Where do you work today?
15 A. I work in a shareholding company as a -- in Prijedor as a director
16 of the company.
17 Q. Will you please just restate the name of the company.
18 A. Shareholding company VelePromet based in Prijedor.
19 Q. What is your occupation, Mr. Vila?
20 A. I have a BA in economic agriculture.
21 Q. Where were you before the conflict broke out in 1992?
22 A. Since 1975 -- from 1975 to 1992, I worked for the municipal
23 assembly in Prijedor as a qualified worker for planning and analysing. I
24 took -- I took an exam to work in the municipal administration at that
1 From 1982 to 1987, I worked as the institute for the economy and
2 development established by Prijedor Municipality. I worked on economic
3 analysis and economic projects.
4 At the 1990 elections, I was appointed a deputy in the Municipal
5 Assembly of Prijedor. At that time I worked as a director at the Sana
6 Elegant company in Donja Ljubija, Prijedor municipality.
7 From 1993 I worked in Impro, meat industry in Prijedor.
8 Q. Did you for a period of time also work at the president of the
9 executive board of the Prijedor Municipal Assembly?
10 A. Yes, that was after the multi-party elections. Since 1997, in
11 November I think, until the last elections when the switch was made to
12 local government and self-government, I was the president of the executive
13 board in the municipal assembly, Prijedor.
14 Q. In 1990, when you were appointed as deputy to the Municipal
15 Assembly of Prijedor, which party did you represent in the municipal
17 A. I obtained my appointment from the SDP, Social Democratic Party,
18 led by Nijaz Durakovic.
19 Q. Is that a leftist party or a right-wing party?
20 A. That's a leftist party. They're followers of the League of
21 Communists at the republic level after the split of political parties
22 within the republic.
23 Q. Usually when examining our witnesses, we begin with the year 1990
24 or 1991. I would like to ask you to tell us something about the result
25 and insights that you had since 1987 when you worked in the institute for
1 the economy and development.
2 A. That was between 1982 and 1987.
3 Q. Precisely. Will you please tell us about the economic situation
4 in the country and in Prijedor municipality.
5 A. At that time our state was the Socialist Federal Republic of
6 Yugoslavia with all its republics and ethnic groups. The economic
7 situation since 1970 -- between 1970 and 1985 has been improving on all
8 levels. Prijedor municipality during this time had very important
9 resources in mining, with the Ljubija iron ore mine as an important asset.
10 There was the paper industry. There was construction. There was
11 agriculture. There was forestry. So the Prijedor municipality was among
12 those municipalities which had a medium level of development within Bosnia
13 and Herzegovina. About 25.000 people were gainfully employed out of
14 115.000, which means that every fourth person in the municipality was
15 gainfully employed. And the living standards at that time were quite
17 In 1986 and 1987, a certain amount of economic recession could be
18 observed. It was difficult to get new markets and employment steadily
19 decreased. Unemployment was on the rise. However, citizens were still
20 able to live off their work and retired people could still live off their
22 Q. Even as early as that period, were prices beginning to soar and
23 was there inflation?
24 A. Yes, industrial production grew and production grew in general.
25 So prices were beginning to go up, and the living standard began to fall.
1 Nominally it was on the rise, but as you said, due to inflation trends the
2 actual living standard of the population was sinking, and part of the
3 population already had trouble finding jobs, finding work, finding markets
4 to sell their goods and there was a disparity between the prices and --
5 between the prices and the market and the prices of the raw material, so
6 the situation kept becoming more and more difficult every year.
7 Q. At a later stage you were a director of a company in Donja
9 A. Yes. It was the Sana Bosanski Novi branch in Donja Ljubija. They
10 had between six and seven production lines. They were manufacturing
11 clothes, mainly for foreign sales. Most of the persons employed there
12 were women, and their ethnic background was decidedly mixed.
13 Q. Until when did this company continue to operate, and what then
15 A. The company worked according to a plan and a programme and on the
16 basis of agreed deals. The last jobs were finished on the 18th and 19th
17 of May, 1992, and then on the 20th of May, 1992, vacations started, so the
18 whole company took collective leave for all employees. Only the security
19 remained in place after everyone else had left for their vacation.
20 Q. When did people come back from their vacation, and did they come
21 back at all to work in the same company?
22 A. Unfortunately the company never continued to operate because, as
23 you know, in our area a war broke out and foreign investors were no longer
24 prepared to continue working together with us, and for that very reason
25 the company ceased to operate. Immediately after the 20th of May - I
1 think it was on the 22nd of May - there was a conflict in the Hambarine
2 area which straddles the road -- the Ljubija-Prijedor road. This is 12
3 kilometres to the south of Prijedor. And for these reasons, the company
4 ceased to operate. As the head of the company, I was trying to make sure
5 that security and the janitors remained in place so that the production
6 lines and the equipment there would be protected.
7 Q. Since the 20th of May in your company none of the workers were
8 left aside from you as the director and the security. None of the workers
9 came back, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds.
10 A. There was our secretary who was a Croat lady, and she would
11 occasionally come to do her job. And the security was in place too, and
12 the janitors, I think, were Serbs.
13 Q. Before April 1992, did you notice that people were leaving, that
14 some new people were coming, refugees from Croatia, Slovenia? Can you
15 please explain the changes in the structure of the population in Prijedor.
16 A. One may say that throughout all that year, starting with the
17 events in May, that is, from May 1991 to May 1992 there was an intensive
18 departure of the population from Prijedor. Those who were leaving were
19 mostly elderly men and women and also children. Since we all knew each
20 other, we found it surprising that so many people were leaving, why so
21 many people wanted to leave. And when we asked them why they were
22 leaving, their answer was that they had relatives abroad and that that's
23 why they're leaving, to go to them.
24 And there -- when I said that we knew each other, we could
25 identify them as being Muslims because we could recognise them by their
1 clothes. Women wore typical skirts and scarves on their heads, and men
2 wore blue so-called French hats with a pointed top. That's how we knew
3 that they were predominantly Muslims.
4 Q. What did one of your acquaintances tell you when you asked them
5 why he was sending his family from Prijedor and what was his ethnic
7 A. On one occasion I spoke to a Muslim friend, who told me that it
8 would be good for my wife, who is a native of Serbia, and my son to leave
9 the area. He told me that sometime at the beginning of April 1992, when
10 my son was in the eighth grade of primary school, I told him I will wait
11 until the end of the school year. Maybe then I will send him on holiday.
12 And then he told me that he can finish school later on and that it was his
13 strong suggestion in the best of his intentions for my family to leave,
14 which was a sign for me that he may have had some direct or indirect
15 information about the conflict that might occur in the area of Prijedor
17 Q. These buses, where did they go when they left Prijedor? What was
18 the general direction where they went?
19 A. They mostly were headed towards Croatia. I suppose that then they
20 would go via Slovenia and on to the countries in Western Europe.
21 Q. Before the conflicts broke out in Prijedor municipality, you were
22 a deputy in the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor. Do you know what the role
23 of the president of the municipal assembly is? What are his main tasks?
24 A. His main tasks are regulated by the general authority and the
25 statute of the municipality. According to this statute, the authority of
1 the president of the municipal assembly - and I emphasise, the president
2 of the municipal assembly - is to call the sessions of the assembly at the
3 proposal of the executive board or the groups of deputies when this
4 proposal is tabled by ten deputies.
5 So in agreement with the aforementioned persons, the president of
6 the municipal assembly establishes the date and time for the holding of
7 the session of the assembly and he also establishes the agenda. At the
8 very session itself, the president of the municipal assembly chairs the
9 session, tables the proposal for the agenda after the debate on every
10 particular item of the agenda. He then proposes the final agenda, the
11 assembly in session, and the president chairs over that session.
12 His other authorities outside the of sessions is to represent the
13 assembly; however, he is not the superior or the boss to either the
14 executive board or its president. He also does not have the authority
15 over the secretary-general of the assembly nor its technical services.
16 The secretary-general of the municipality is the person who has
17 responsibility for the signing of everything that has to do with the
18 technical services of the municipality, and he also proposes the allocated
19 funds for the functioning of the technical services and the deputies of
20 the municipal assembly. That is done once a year by the secretary-general
21 of the municipal assembly.
22 Q. A correction needs to be done in the transcript. I would like to
23 ask you one question once again. Is it the president of the municipal
24 assembly who proposes the agenda, or does he pass the agenda?
25 A. There are different people who propose the agenda, and the
1 president tables or conveys that agenda to the deputies. Then the
2 deputies after a discussion and possible additions to the proposed agenda
3 finally adopt that agenda at the beginning of every session of the
4 municipal assembly.
5 Q. When people were leaving Prijedor in the way you have just
6 described it, were some other people arriving in Prijedor from Croatia and
7 other areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
8 A. Due to the war operations in Croatia, a significant number of
9 population from Croatia, mostly of Serbian ethnic background, arrived in
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina to stay there or just use Bosnia and Herzegovina in
11 transit towards other places, such as Serbia and Montenegro. According to
12 the records kept by the administrative bodies, about 37.000 people arrived
13 in Prijedor at the time. They were mostly Serbs who arrived from Croatia.
14 Q. Do you know if refugees also went to other towns in Bosanska
16 A. Yes, refugees settled in all the places of Bosnia and Herzegovina
17 and further on, in Bosanski Novi, Dubica, Gradiska, Banja Luka. There
18 were refugees all over the place, and it is very difficult to propose a
19 figure as to how many people actually went through Prijedor to go on to
20 other places, but it would be my rough estimate that it was about 200.000
21 to 250.000 people altogether who at one point in time passed through
23 Q. You are now talking about the entire period starting in 1991 to
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. On the 30th of April, 1992, there was a takeover in Prijedor. You
2 were not a member of the SDS at the time?
3 A. No, I was never an SDS member, nor at that time -- neither at that
4 time nor at any other time.
5 Q. Did you continue being a deputy in the Municipal Assembly of
7 A. I continued, together with a number of other deputies from the SDP
8 party, that was my party, and also a number of deputies from the reformist
9 party. We were all representatives of the left wing. I believe that
10 there were 12 or 13 deputies belonging to the leftist parties who
11 continued working in the local parliament of Prijedor after that time.
12 Q. Was there a subsequent appointment of deputies to the Municipal
13 Assembly of Prijedor and why did that happen?
14 A. Yes, it did happen. And that is due to the fact that the statute
15 prescribes that the local parliament should have 90 deputies, and there
16 was no way we could hold new elections and we had to have 90 deputies.
17 That's why new deputies had to be appointed, and they were mostly
18 appointed by the SDS, which is the Serbian democratic party. And I
19 believe that people who were appointed were from the local boards of
20 various villages, but there were also nine or ten other deputies who were
21 appointed who were not members of the SDS. But I really don't know
22 according to which criteria and based on which method were these people
23 proposed and appointed to be new deputies in the municipal assembly.
24 MR. LUKIC: [In English] Your Honour, we didn't have time, because
25 we were brought to this courtroom only a few moments before the trial
1 started, so we have one list we received from the Prosecution and this
2 list is the list about the events this witness is telling us right now,
3 about the deputies who were from the SDS and from the other parties at
4 that time and some were co-opted. So if the usher could help me and
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I can see no objections from the OTP.
7 MR. KOUMJIAN: Well, if I could look at the documents before, Your
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please, first to the OTP.
10 MR. LUKIC: It's not translated because we didn't receive the
12 MR. KOUMJIAN: I don't have any objection.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So please proceed.
14 MR. KOUMJIAN: We will check. It's possible that a translation
15 has been done in the meantime. We'll check the computer now.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Maybe it's not necessary if we get some guidance
17 on the headlines. The names need not be translated, because I believe we
18 are able to read the Cyrillic names.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Vila, since the Honourable Judges and other participants in
21 this trial do not understand our language and cannot read the Cyrillic
22 script, we will go through this document very quickly.
23 Can you please read the title on the top of that page.
24 A. That is a question to me?
25 Q. Yes.
1 A. It says "Deputies of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor." And
2 above that is either a "P" or an "R," and the number "0038366."
3 Q. And underneath the title, how many names can you see?
4 A. If I may take my glasses, please. Underneath the title, there are
5 28 names. Those are the deputies of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor
6 whose mandate was verified in the elections, and then the next number 1
7 through number 41, those are the new names --
8 Q. What is the second title?
9 A. The title is "Presidents of the local boards of the SDS." And
10 their names are listed under numbers 1 to 41. On the following page are
11 the deputies belonging to the DSS. There's two of them altogether.
12 Q. Just a moment. I apologise. Just a moment, sir.
13 DSS, do you know what the abbreviation stands for?
14 A. The Democratic Socialist Alliance.
15 Q. Is that a rightist, a leftist party?
16 A. It is a leftist party.
17 Q. The next title.
18 A. The next title, "The deputies of the SRSJ." I believe that this
19 is the alliance of reformist forces of Yugoslavia. There are six of them
20 under that title.
21 Q. Who was the head of that party before the war?
22 A. In Prijedor or at the general level?
23 Q. At the general level.
24 A. It was Ante Markovic.
25 Then the deputies of my party, the SDP, the socialist democratic
1 Party. There are five of them altogether, and under number "5" I can see
2 my name.
3 The next deputy is the deputy belonging to the alliance of
4 socialist youth or the party of private initiative. There is just one
5 deputy there, and then other deputies, ten of them altogether who belonged
6 to other groups or parties. I don't know what criteria was applied when
7 they were co-opted, but as I've already said, they did not belong to the
9 Q. Under number "4," under "Others," what name can you read?
10 A. I can read the name of Mr. Radovan Krejic under number "4," in the
11 group of other deputies.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. LUKIC: [In English] Your Honour, we would like to tender this
14 document as an exhibit.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Maybe just before I have some -- I'll get some
17 May I ask you, Mr. Vila, have you ever seen this list, this list,
18 a similar list? I didn't understand in the beginning. Was it provided by
19 the witness or by the OTP?
20 MR. LUKIC: By the OTP.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: By the OTP.
22 Okay. Have you ever seen such a list as you have it before you
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember ever having seen a
25 list like that, but I remember the faces of the deputies as they were
1 sitting in the sessions of the assembly.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: To the best of your recollection, could you tell
3 us at which point in time this was issued or what's reflected here?
4 Because on page 3, unfortunately the final line, it can't be read. It
5 seems to be something like "93."
6 Do you have any better copy? Maybe the question is in the
7 direction of the OTP, providing this material.
8 MR. LUKIC: From -- actually, it says "in total 93."
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So you have maybe a better copy than -- page 3
10 at the end.
11 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, we'll have that document and the
12 translation brought down. Both -- there is a translation of the document.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay.
14 MR. KOUMJIAN: At least by the break we'll have the document.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And just for another explanation, on number 1
16 you can read "Stakic Milomir, Omarska," and then followed by a column of
17 figures. Do you know what these figures stand for?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Is that a question for me, Your
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The number in front of the name is
22 the ordinal number. Deputy listed under number 1. So 1 through 28 are, I
23 think, SDS deputies who had already been deputies prior to the drawing up
24 of this list and they were appointed at the elections.
25 The remaining part of the list, which says "Presidents of local
1 boards," I think these members were co-opted from the SDS to become
2 deputies, from number 1 to number 41 inclusive.
3 And then the next page the deputies from the DSS, SRSJ, SDP, and
4 SSO, DCSPI are also deputies who were elected at the regular elections,
5 and then the part of the list which says the other deputies were also
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. But -- and to have a neutral name on the
8 first page, it reads, for example, under "27," deputy Kos," and then we
9 continue and at the end of this line we see, as far as I can read, the
10 figure 15295. Do you know what the meaning of this figure?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I assume these are phone numbers.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I don't have any further questions. Can we
13 proceed as we did in the past. When we get the best possible -- the
14 document, that we wait for the admission into evidence. Thank you.
15 But not to be forgotten, provisional marked as D54B.
16 MR. LUKIC: And would the usher be so kind and show the witness
17 Exhibit number S191, please.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Vila, this document has already been tendered
19 by the Prosecution and given an exhibit number. This is about the
20 verification commission verifying the mandates of certain deputies. So
21 can you please turn to page 3. At the top of the page, number 2, it
22 reads: "In the Prijedor II electoral district." Can you please read what
23 it says under "B," the name of your party. And can you see your own name
25 A. Yes. It reads: "B, assemblymen of the League of Communists of
1 BH/Socialist Democratic Party verified." And the fourth name listed is my
2 own name, Cedomir Vila. My mandate is hereby verified.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 MR. LUKIC: We will not be needing this document any longer.
5 Q. So we're talking about the period following the 30th of April.
6 Immediately after the takeover, did a murder of a reserve police officer
8 A. Yes. That was, I think, in the city district. At the entrance to
9 the neighbourhood called Urije a murder occurred of a policeman whose name
10 was Dzapa. I can't remember his first name. I think he was born in the
11 village of Jelovac.
12 Q. Do you know that between the takeover and after the attack on
13 Hambarine a Muslim -- any Muslims were killed in the town of Prijedor?
14 A. I can't remember that event.
15 Q. What I'm trying to say is have you heard of any murder of any
16 Muslims or Croats in Prijedor during that period?
17 A. To the best of my recollection, I can't say that there were any
18 such murders.
19 Q. Apart from officials being removed following the takeover, could
20 people continue to go to work regularly?
21 A. Yes. All employees who were not appointed to official positions
22 at the elections could go to work regularly, and those who received
23 appointments at the elections were free to go back to their former jobs.
24 Q. You say your company continued to operate until the 20th of May,
25 that is, the 18th of May when you finished your last work. Was anyone
1 removed from their positions in the company between the takeover and the
2 18th of May?
3 A. No, no one was dismissed, nor did I as the director of that
4 company receive any documents that would indicate any such dismissals.
5 Q. Even before the takeover, were certain blocks of housing
6 facilities and buildings beginning to organise themselves, that's the
7 tenants living in those blocks?
8 A. Yes. There were a feeling of insecurity in the town because part
9 of the soldiers coming back from the front would carry weapons. Later on
10 that was forbidden and they were no longer allowed to bring weapons home
11 when on leave, but there were certain groups who were prone to looting and
12 other such acts, so people were afraid that that would happen in their own
13 buildings too.
14 So in my own building, which has 16 floors and 24 flats, we
15 organised ourselves according to certain schedules. We'd keep the front
16 door locked in the evening and keep the front door locked until the next
17 morning, and we had guards in our building. And if anyone forgot their
18 own key to the front door of the building, we'd identify the person as
19 being -- as living in the building, as residing in the building, owning a
20 flat in the building, and then we'd let the person in.
21 Q. Did you yourself take part in these guards?
22 A. Yes, I guarded my own building too, and all the people living in
23 the building, whoever could took part in these guards. We usually did it
24 in pairs, two by two, and no distinction was made along ethnic lines as to
25 who would be included in this roster of people standing guard in the
2 Q. Did anyone force you to do this?
3 A. No. That was our own initiative, the people who lived in the
4 building. We had a council, a tenants' council in the building - I think
5 that was the name - and we decided to have these guards of our own accord.
6 Q. Was this common practice in Prijedor during that period?
7 A. I think there were a number of buildings where similar measures
8 were being taken. Some people locked their front doors and some people
9 had night duties, but during night hours there was a lot of insecurity
10 perceived and felt by everyone, and that was the reason why such measures
11 were being taken.
12 Q. Can you give us any names or ethnicity of people who took part
13 together with you in guarding the building?
14 A. On the ground floor of the building there is a room for general
15 purposes, which is shared and used by all tenants. We would sit in that
16 room, which contained over 100 chairs, and there was a chess board, so we
17 played chess at night. I'd often share my shift with Mustafa Selman and a
18 person who worked in urban planning as a project leader, Muranovic, I
19 think that was his last name, Muranovic. I can't remember the first
20 name. But that was the duty roster, and very often I would be together
21 with these two persons.
22 Q. At that time you and these other two persons you've mentioned, did
23 you have a work assignment?
24 A. Yes. We all had a work assignment, and in our spare time or
25 during the night we would guard the members of our own families and all
1 the other people living in the building. So that was the whole -- the
2 basic purpose of these night guards.
3 Q. Does the name Gojko Bojanic ring a bell? What do you associate
4 with this name in the period immediately before or just after the takeover
5 in Prijedor?
6 A. I think this happened before the takeover, in the first four
7 months of 1992. I can't specify the month, I'm afraid. Mr. Gojko Bojanic
8 and other two uniformed persons who were members of the army, they had
9 been in Gradiska and came home, on home leave, and they were driving
10 around in a personal passenger vehicle on their way back.
11 As there was a shortage of fuel in that period, they took a
12 shortcut down the Prijedor-Kozarac road and their intention was to go
13 through Mrakovica and Gradac and reach Gradiska, that was supposed to be a
14 shortcut because they were running out of fuel. In Kozarac, they were
15 intercepted by a group of locals -- local Muslims who wore uniforms, and
16 they were arrested and brought to the local commune building. Bojanic
17 told me that some of those people yelled and shouted to have them
18 liquidated, but a Muslim he used to know who did administer accountancy
19 for him stood up against that proposal and he said, "These are just normal
20 people, you know, common soldiers like everyone else." And then after an
21 hour or two, they were released and free to go via Mrakovica and Podgrajci
22 to Gradiska.
23 Q. Before the conflict in Kozarac, did you travel to Banja Luka, and
24 which route did you take?
25 A. You can go from Prijedor to Banja Luka by train or by car, so the
1 regular lines go by rail or by road. That was the most common way to go
2 to Banja Luka.
3 Q. Between seven and ten days before the outbreak of the conflict in
4 Kozarac, was it possible to travel down the main road from Prijedor to
5 Banja Luka?
6 A. No, it wasn't possible for the simple reason that roadblocks had
7 been set up along the road in and near Kozarac. They had checkpoints, and
8 no one was allowed to pass through, no vehicles were allowed through these
9 checkpoints. And those who did need to go from Prijedor to Banja Luka on
10 business or because there was an urgent matter to be dealt with had to
11 take a detour through Tomasica and then onto the surfaced road, has fault
12 road in Omarska, and from there on continue to Banja Luka.
13 Q. Was it possible to move about freely throughout Prijedor
14 municipality, or did one need to have -- obtain certain documents?
15 A. Throughout that period there was regular control, and if you
16 walked about during the day you had to have some documents with you. So
17 if you were a soldier, you had to have a certificate that you were on home
18 leave from the army, justified leave. If you were just a common citizen,
19 not mobilised as a member of the army at that moment, you had to have some
20 sort of document showing that you had a work assignment. And it was
21 common practice for people to be ID'd outside, about the town, or at the
22 railway station, such places.
23 Q. Did you have a pass, and based on what?
24 A. Yes. The administrative body, that is, the CEO of any company,
25 based on the number of people who were employed at the -- in the company
1 or were at the work obligation would issue such a certificate containing
2 the name of that person, the number of the -- that person's ID, and the
3 job that that person performed. And anybody who had such a document would
4 also need to carry an ID on their body all the time so that they could be
5 identified based on these two documents.
6 Q. When the curfew was introduced in Prijedor municipality, could you
7 move about if you were in possession of such documents during the curfew?
8 A. During the curfew, only soldiers wearing uniform and policemen on
9 duty could move about. Citizens, despite having the document on work
10 obligation, were not allowed and were not able to move about during the
12 Q. That means you also couldn't move during the curfew.
13 A. No. That would have been at my own risk. There was a lot of
14 insecurity, and it was also forbidden, so no, I couldn't move.
15 Q. If you were to go outside Prijedor -- for example, if you had to
16 go to Belgrade -- first let me ask you: Did you ever travel during the
17 war operations to Belgrade or to Novi Sad?
18 A. Yes. After March 1993, I was the head of sales in the Impro meat
19 industry of Prijedor. And because of the nature of my job, I did have to
20 go from time to time to Novi Sad and to Belgrade. I had business to tend
21 to there.
22 Q. What kind of documents did you have to obtain in order to travel
23 to these two places?
24 A. Whenever I had to go to one of these two places, I would have to
25 have a document from my company signed by the CEO of my company which
1 allowed me to travel on behalf of the company. And if I was taking any
2 means of public transportation, which was the most common case due to the
3 fact that there was no -- there was a shortage of petrol. I also had to
4 have my personal ID, and I had to have a certificate from the military
5 authorities that I was allowed to travel. If I had not had such a
6 certificate from the military authorities, there were a number of
7 checkpoints before the border with Yugoslavia where people were stopped,
8 and those who were not in the possession of such a document were handed
9 over to the police. For that reason one had to have a permit from the
10 military authorities to be able to leave the country.
11 In that pass, there was an indication of time until which the pass
12 was valid, which meant that it was indicated exactly when the person was
13 leaving and when the person was supposed to come back to the place where
14 he resides.
15 Q. I'm -- if I'm waiting, that doesn't mean I'm not satisfied with
16 your answer. I'm just waiting for the interpreter to finish interpreting
17 your words, which takes a little bit longer.
18 If you had to travel, where would you go to obtain such a permit
19 from the military authorities?
20 A. The procedure to obtain such a permit was as follows: One would
21 have to go to the 1st Corps in Banja Luka -- actually, one would have to
22 send an application together with all the accompanying documents. And
23 once that was approved, one would receive such a permit with the signature
24 of the authorised person on behalf of the 1st Corps in Banja Luka. Things
25 changed a bit later on, and later on this document was received from
1 Bijeljina and the paper contained the signature of General Mladic. But
2 that was not his original signature but a facsimile that was stamped onto
3 the document by the authorised official who was in charge of receiving
4 applications and issuing permits based on the approved applications.
5 MR. LUKIC: Would this be an appropriate time, Your Honour, for a
6 break, or do we have to go for an extra 15 minutes?
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Microphone not activated]
8 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Presiding Judge, please.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I couldn't take it from -- let me just read.
10 Yes. If it would be possible for you, then I would ask you to
11 proceed as usual until quarter to 3.00.
12 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: To 4.00. Sorry.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Vila, can you please tell us, what was the time of the curfew?
16 When was the curfew in place?
17 A. I don't know for sure whether it was from 2200 hours to 6.00 in
18 the morning or between 2300 hours and 6.00, but one of the two.
19 MR. KOUMJIAN: I would ask that perhaps counsel could specify the
20 time in the next question. I believe the last answer - not this
21 one - dealt with 1993, and I'm not sure now when we're talking about the
22 curfew if we're again talking about 1993 or 1992.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The first line of question was on the procedure
24 to obtain a permit.
25 MR. KOUMJIAN: And I believe the witness had said that it was
1 during 1993 that he travelled to Belgrade and Novi Sad.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yeah. But this should be, I think, clarified.
3 It only reads that this was necessary but not in -- at what point in time.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Vila, the procedure that you have just described, to obtain
6 the permit to travel, was it the same in 1992, after the takeover in
7 Prijedor, or was one free to travel as they wished in 1992?
8 A. As far as I can remember, as of May 1992 onwards, this procedure
9 was in place for all those who had work obligation and who were obliged to
11 Q. One couldn't even travel to Yugoslavia for the first few months.
12 A. Yes. There was a lot of problems. The road was not passable for
13 some time. There was no possibility to go there. Once the road was
14 passable again, then one could start travelling there after the procedure
15 that I have just described.
16 Q. Do you remember when the corridor was set up between the western
17 part of Republika Srpska and Yugoslavia?
18 A. I can't remember exactly, but I remember that it was a huge
19 problem that Banja Luka was struck by disaster of the death of 12 babies
20 in the incubator, who didn't have oxygen that could not have been
21 transported from Serbia or in any way. It couldn't come by plane or
22 through the Red Cross. But having said that, I really can't remember the
23 time when the corridor was eventually set up.
24 Q. You have explained what the curfew looked like every day, but can
25 you set the time frame of how long the curfew was in place.
1 A. I believe that the curfew was in place during the functioning of
2 the Crisis Staff, when the municipal assembly was re-established and
3 started functioning again and when the situation was stabilised in
4 Prijedor and around Prijedor, then the curfew was discontinued. But I
5 can't give you the time frame of the curfew with any degree of
6 reliability. I don't know when it was set up and when it was abolished,
7 but I'm sure that you have the means to find that out from some official
9 Q. As far as the curfew is concerned, I need to ask you something
10 else: Did it apply only to non-Serbs, or did it apply to all the citizens
11 of Prijedor across the board?
12 A. It was applied to everybody, and it was not possible to identify a
13 passer-by who violated the curfew and such a person would be treated in
14 the same way, regardless who that person was.
15 Q. Did you hear of the attack at the checkpoint in Hambarine? And if
16 you did, what did you hear about that incident?
17 A. I've already told you that on the 20th of May, 1992 I went on
18 holiday together with the other employees of my company and together with
19 my wife and son I went to my native village, Gornja Dragotina, which is 12
20 kilometres away from Prijedor towards Bosanski Novi and Novi Grad. In
21 that village I have my family house. I wanted to spend some time there to
22 rest and to do some work in the field, which was my additional source of
23 income. At that time the situation was very bad in town. There was a
24 scarcity of food, and that's why I wanted to do some agricultural works in
25 the field.
1 While I was staying in the village, I heard on the local radio,
2 which was Radio Prijedor that an incident had taken place in Hambarine.
3 According to the report, an armed military structure killed one or more
4 persons of Serbian ethnicity who were soldiers either coming back from the
5 front line or leaving for the front line. This group of attackers was
6 illegitimate group of attackers. I believe that one of those who were
7 attacked managed to save himself. I'm not sure.
8 Also on the local radio I heard a proclamation issued by the
9 command of the army according to which a deadline was given to those who
10 were involved in that incident should be handed over to the army or to the
11 police. It was also said that if this was not honoured and if this was
12 not done, there would be a military intervention. So this is what I heard
13 on Radio Prijedor as something that was issued as the military command.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous interpretation continues] ... page 28,
15 line 3 it reads "armed military structure." Wasn't it correct that the
16 witness stated paramilitary structure?
17 MR. LUKIC: He said "illegal."
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Illegal, but not as it's reflected here, "armed
19 military structure." Could we correct this in this way. Thank you.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was paramilitary.
21 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. [Interpretation] When citizens of Prijedor were leaving the
23 territory of the municipality, did they have to settle their debt in
24 respect of the utilities for the previous period of time?
25 A. Public companies such as the electrical -- the electricity
1 distribution, postal services, water management did ask from the tenants
2 to pay their dues. And those who intended to leave had to report to the
3 Ministry of the Interior and had to report their intention to leave, and
4 they also had to show the Ministry of the Interior the documents that they
5 had paid all of their utilities for the previous period.
6 Q. Were all the citizens of Prijedor subject to this obligation?
7 A. Yes, all the citizens of Prijedor were subject to this obligation,
8 but at that time the departure of the Serbian population from Prijedor was
9 rather limited, that is, able-bodied men were not allowed to leave, those
10 who were fit for military service. And there was also a period of time
11 when their wives could also not leave because they were on work
12 obligation. So the procedure was in place and it was identical for all
13 the citizens.
14 Q. You worked in the Impro company, meat industry; is that correct?
15 A. Yes. Since the 1st of March, 1993 I worked in the Impro meat
16 industry company in Prijedor. We'd slaughter cattle and produce fresh
17 meat and cured meat, and I was the director of sales in that company. So
18 they required that I take up that job as my work assignment. Otherwise,
19 they would have sent me to the regular army.
20 Q. By looking at their documentation, at the documents of that
21 company and talking to your workmates there, what did you learn as to how
22 abandoned mobile property was treated? And I'm referring here to
23 agricultural equipment, machines and cattle.
24 A. I talked to people from the commercial and technical section of
25 the Impro company and to other colleagues who worked in the agricultural
1 field in the municipality. I'm talking about the agriculture and vet
2 station. I found out that during the combat operations in Prijedor and
3 around Prijedor, a large number of cattle had been abandoned. There was
4 stray cattle walking the meadows and all over the place. And the Prijedor
5 Municipality ordered the above said institutions to start bringing in all
6 this cattle, and the cattle that could still reproduce was then further
7 distributed with certain obligations to agricultural workers. Equipment
8 and abandoned machines were collected in a special depot where machines
9 were then kept, machines and technical equipment.
10 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, this would be a good time to break.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stands adjourned until quarter past
13 --- Recess taken at 3.43 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 4.16 p.m.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Lukic, you may continue.
16 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Can we now continue, Mr. Vila?
18 A. Yes, please.
19 Q. You said that agricultural machinery was collected in a number of
20 depots and that abandoned cattle was being brought in and collected too,
21 rounded up and collected. Was anyone allowed to use these machines or the
22 cattle? Can you please describe that.
23 A. Well, first of all, the Municipal Secretariat for the economy and
24 social affairs was in charge and part of the responsibility of the
25 secretariat was also the agricultural section. They rent out certain
1 machines and a number of cattle to a number of agricultural workers.
2 There would always be a certificate listing the goods provided and
3 obliging the person who received this equipment or this cattle to take
4 good care of it. And then as soon as the actual owners turned up, both
5 the equipment and the cattle would be returned to their rightful owners.
6 Q. What was the fundamental difference between something being lent
7 out on the basis of a certificate and something being misaappropriated or
9 A. Well, the difference between these two is very significant.
10 Whoever just took something or stole something, that would have gone
11 unregistered. And it was very difficult to trace such goods and it was a
12 big question if those goods would ever be returned. Whereas, with the
13 issuance of certificates, it was all regulated, especially when talking
14 about machines and mechanical equipment, when people returned to their
15 place of residence, part of the machinery used for processing that had
16 been lent out to the Autotransport Prijedor company, once the owner
17 returned, the equipment was given back to the original owner. There were
18 a number of other examples of this, but sometimes the period had been too
19 long, so some of the equipment was no longer usable or functioning. Some
20 of the equipment would be out of order or the cattle would have died, so
21 it was pointless to give these goods or the equipment back to the owner.
22 There were such cases too.
23 Q. I know you're not a lawyer, but do you know that on the basis of
24 these certificates that were issued in such cases where the material goods
25 could not be returned to the rightful owner, was there a basis to initiate
1 proceedings before a court for indemnity, to claim indemnity?
2 A. I'm not a lawyer by profession, but it seems logical to me that if
3 something was documented with a municipal administration organ, then the
4 relevant body of administration would be under the obligation to pay the
5 indemnities from their own resources. We did have such cases when I was
6 president of the executive board later on, there were such cases of
7 indemnity being paid out to people who had claimed money. Those were
8 never particularly large sums of money, but still a certain number of
9 cases were resolved in such a way that the money was paid out to the
11 Q. A while ago you mentioned that you had had a work assignment. Can
12 you please tell us, what is work assignment and what is war assignment or
13 military assignment? What's the difference, and who is in charge of
14 mobilising people?
15 A. The Ministry for the Army or I think that's what the name was.
16 The Prijedor unit, and then across the local units throughout the
17 territory, they would receive from their own Ministry for the Army a
18 certain document to commence mobilisation, and the grade, degree of
19 mobilisation would also be announced whereby military-aged men within the
20 age limits prescribed by the law would be issued call-ups, mobilisation
21 call-ups. Their duty was to respond to the call-ups and report to their
22 unit, the unit they belonged to and the unit would be specified in the
23 mobilisation papers. This was specified in the call-up papers, the duty
24 of a military-aged person to report to a certain unit at a certain time in
25 a certain place. Everything else was done by the military command. That's
1 in terms of disposition, strategy, and control and command of these units.
2 Those military-aged men who had not been mobilised would be placed at the
3 disposition of work collectives so that in accordance with the work
4 schedule under the imminent threat of war or if there was a war, there
5 would be a plan to which they would be assigned certain work tasks or
7 Q. Let me ask you the following: Was it possible -- is it possible
8 to simply refuse and say, "No, I refuse to be mobilised and no, I don't
9 want any work assignments"?
10 A. In practice it would have been possible, but this was also
11 punishable and would have been punished, because according to the
12 then-existing laws, a military-aged person had the duty to respond to the
13 mobilisation call-up. And if this person failed to do so, the military
14 police would be sent out to get him and bring him in. If this person
15 fails to respond to the call-up or if the person flees from his place of
16 assignment, this is considered as desertion and a punishment is envisaged
17 by the law.
18 Q. You said that you had been a deputy to the Municipal Assembly of
19 Prijedor. What are your obligations, assignments, rights -- what were
20 they as a deputy?
21 A. Within the framework of local self-government, we used the word
22 "board member," and then "deputies" is for the republican assembly. But
23 yes, I think we understand each other.
24 After the elections and after the appointments were verified, the
25 board member would become a full-fledged board member with rights and
1 duties. The duties would be to participate in the work of the local
2 parliament or in the work of the different commissions, boards, and bodies
3 of the municipal assembly, and there was a symbolic fee, a symbolic salary
4 for that type of work.
5 As far as rights are concerned, the deputy would have -- would
6 enjoy immunity while holding the position, immunity from persecution [as
7 interpreted]. The deputy cannot be arrested while in office unless caught
8 while committing a criminal act for which the envisaged punishment is
9 above five years of prison. In such cases, the assembly could take away
10 the immunity of the deputy. That's according to the statute and according
11 to the local legislation that was in place.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry once again that the transcript reflects
13 that what you have said -- on page 34, line 7, it reads, "Immunity from
14 persecution." I think you said, "Immunity from prosecution."
15 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, interpreter's correction: Prosecution.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. As a board member in the municipal assembly, you're not an
18 employee of the municipal assembly, are you?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Board members would usually be employed in a different place.
21 A. Yes. It would either be one of the companies or they'd be private
22 entrepreneurs or they were just agricultural workers, which means that
23 they would come from among the citizens, the population. But they would
24 be given a legitimacy -- their appointment would be given legitimacy by
25 the election lists.
1 Q. As opposed to board members, the president of the municipal
2 assembly and the vice-president of the municipal assembly are employees of
3 the municipal assembly, aren't they?
4 A. Yes. The president and the vice-president of the assembly are
5 board members, and they have the same rights and duties as the
6 remaining -- as the other board members, and their vote is worth the same.
7 The practice in some municipalities was to have the president of the
8 municipality as a gainfully, professionally employed person, and the
9 vice-president would volunteer. But there were such cases that both the
10 president and the vice-president would volunteer and they would go about
11 their regular work in their respective companies but would be there for
12 the assembly meetings and would preside over the assembly meetings and
13 during the preparation of these assembly meetings. I can't specify now
14 the towns and the places where this was the case, but had I known that
15 this question would be put to me, I would have double-checked.
16 Q. Let us assume because that was the case in Prijedor that the
17 president of the municipal assembly was an employee of the municipal
18 assembly. Besides receiving his salary as a professional and besides
19 calling the sessions of the assembly and besides presiding over the
20 sessions of the municipal assembly and besides proposing the agenda, does
21 the president of the municipal assembly have any other right that doesn't
22 belong to every other deputy in the municipal assembly?
23 A. No, he doesn't have any special other rights, only when a
24 delegation comes to visit the municipality, somebody from a higher
25 authority. Then he has the role of a host together with the president of
1 the executive board and others from the municipal administration who
2 co-host such a delegation. So this is a representative duty. The
3 president represents the municipality but not in terms of being able to
4 sign contracts or engage in some financial obligations on behalf of the
5 municipality and things like that.
6 Q. So the role of the president, as far as I could follow you - and
7 please correct me if I'm wrong - is mostly of the so-called representative
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You've also told us that you were the president of the executive
11 board of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor. Can you please explain your
12 role as the president of the executive board and your relationship towards
13 the president of the municipal assembly, towards the municipal assembly,
14 towards the head of the various services who were also members of the
15 municipal board?
16 A. Yes. It is typical --
17 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I believe this is -- the witness will
18 be discussing a time period far after the indictment when there is no
19 evidence that the same procedures would be in place during the time. I'm
20 looking for the dates that he was the president of the executive board. I
21 can't find them in my notes.
22 I believe as Judge Argibay pointed out, it's 1997, which would be
23 after the Dayton Agreement. And as counsel has continually pointed out,
24 the statutes and the roles of various members of the municipality changed
25 following that agreement.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it can be clarified immediately,
2 Mr. Lukic.
3 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. [Interpretation] We will take into consideration the objection put
5 forth by my learned friend. Since you were a deputy between the years
6 1990 and 1994 and in 1997 and 1998 you were the president of the executive
7 board and there is -- that is a long time from the time period relevant to
8 the indictment against Dr. Stakic, let me first ask you whether the
9 legislation has changed and to what extent between the time when you were
10 a deputy - and that was between the years 1990 and 1994 - and the years
11 1997 and 1998.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Were the same laws in place? Was the same statute in place? Was
14 maybe a new statute passed?
15 A. There were no major changes in the legislation in terms of the
16 organisation of the local administration. It was only after the elections
17 which took place in the year 2000 that the law on local self-government
18 and administration was passed and that law brought some changes to the
19 role of the president of the executive board. So in the period between
20 the 1990, 1994, 1997, up to 2000, there were no major changes in the
21 legislation that would have a bearing on the local authorities, local
22 administration, and municipalities.
23 Q. In any case, even if there were changes, I believe that our
24 learned friends from the Prosecution would point to those changes. But as
25 we have you as a witness here, can you please explain in your -- during
1 your mandate in 1997-1998 what were your duties, what was your
2 relationship with the president of the municipal assembly, with the
3 municipality, and with the heads of the various secretariats who were
4 members of the executive board?
5 A. When I was elected president of the executive board, the procedure
6 was as follows: At an assembly session based on the interparty agreement
7 on the distribution of functions and positions in the local parliament,
8 there was a secret ballot for the members of the executive board, that is,
9 of the president of the executive board, two vice-presidents - one of whom
10 was a Serb and the other one a Muslim - and of the five
11 secretaries -- various secretariats of the municipal administration. So
12 one vice-president, two vice-presidents, and five secretaries of the
13 secretariats make up the executive board as a collective body. The
14 executive board in a regular procedure under -- which fall under the scope
15 of local authority prepares certain proposals, decisions, resolutions,
16 plans, and other enactments which are then given to the assembly for
17 consideration. The officials of the municipal administration, that is,
18 the secretaries of various secretariats, in keeping with the law, are in
19 charge of the general administrative procedure and issue autonomous
20 decisions. I can give you an example.
21 For example, if somebody files a request to open a store or a
22 shop, then the competent bodies of that secretariat will examine whether
23 all the conditions for the engagement in such an activity have been
24 complied with and if indeed all the conditions have been complied with,
25 then the body will issue a licence for the performance of a certain
1 economic activity; in the case, the activity of a store. So in their
2 activities, they're independent when it comes to issuing certain
3 decisions. The situation is the same in the construction where the
4 secretary of the Secretariat for Urban Planning also takes into
5 consideration various application, decides on the compliance with
6 technical conditions, and signs licences and permits for the construction
7 of various buildings and facilities. So the situation is the same in
8 different secretariats, so the president of the executive board issues
9 orders for the budget of the municipality, and it is only him and other
10 authorised persons assigned and appointed by him who can subscribe to some
11 financial obligations on behalf of the municipality, including loans. But
12 when the budget is being considered and adopted, there are very precise
13 criteria which have to be applied for various purposes. I don't know
14 whether -- if I have to provide you with any more details on this.
15 Q. Can you now tell us, please, who did you report to in your
16 capacity as the president of the executive board of the Municipal Assembly
17 of Prijedor?
18 A. I reported to the municipal assembly. The deputies then take the
19 report into consideration and they either approve it or reject it or
20 something else. The executive board, therefore, reports to the municipal
22 Q. Did you ever submit a report to the president of the municipal
24 A. There's no need or prescribed obligation to report to the
25 president of the municipal assembly. The cooperation between the
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts. Pages 11298 to 11306.
1 president of the municipal assembly and the executive board is cooperation
2 in terms of preparing documents for the assembly. But this is not a
3 binding obligation. If the two do not want to discuss this, there is no
4 relationship of subordination, and the president of the executive board
5 does not report to the president of the municipal assembly. Those two
6 functions, those two positions are independent.
7 Q. Is the personal assistant of the president of the municipal
8 assembly subordinated to the president of the municipal assembly or to
9 somebody else?
10 A. I believe that I have already told you that the technical services
11 of the municipal assembly are under the authority of the
12 secretary-general. That means that all the employees, including typists,
13 personal assistants, and all the other administrative staff which prepares
14 the work of the assembly is under the authority of the secretary-general
15 of the assembly, and the secretary-general reports on the work of the
16 technical services of the municipal assembly, of all the personnel that is
17 under him.
18 Q. You used a very unusual term in B/C/S. When you used the word
19 that he accounts for and that he issues -- and he is in charge of the
20 payment, what did you mean by that?
21 A. I meant that the payment of all the stationery, things that are
22 used in the work, disciplinary procedure, employment, dismissal for those
23 who violate discipline in work. So this is all under the authority of the
24 secretary-general when it comes to the employees of the municipal
25 assembly. That means that every payment that is made on -- in respect of
1 the salaries, remunerations, or any material expenses -- whenever such a
2 payment is made, it is done through the bank and such a payment order can
3 be signed only by the secretary-general of the assembly and nobody else.
4 That is what I meant when I said that he was the one signing the payment
6 Q. I would like to move you back from your position as the president
7 of the executive board to the times when you were a deputy in the
8 Municipal Assembly of Prijedor. You were a deputy as the time when
9 Dr. Stakic resigned as the president of the municipal assembly.
10 MR. KOUMJIAN: Objection. There's been no evidence that he
11 resigned as president -- I'm sorry, I withdraw the objection. Excuse me.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please continue.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. What was it that preceded that written resignation by Dr. Stakic?
15 Do you know? While you were sitting in the assembly sessions, were you
16 aware of any efforts to have him removed?
17 A. At one of the sessions, there was a discussion of the resignation
18 of Dr. Stakic as the president of the assembly and the election of a new
19 person. Personally I believe that this was initiated by the party, by the
20 Serbian Democratic Party, and that a number of influential people in that
21 party asked for that.
22 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, we would liking to go to the private
23 session so the witness might mention some -- not the closed session.
24 Private session would be enough.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I can see no objection.
1 MR. KOUMJIAN: Although my last objection was an error, perhaps it
2 would be clearer if we indicate that we're talking now about 1993, because
3 there were two times that Dr. Stakic left office, and I presume that
4 that's what's the question was directed to.
5 MR. LUKIC: Yes. I apologise to my colleague, and maybe he still
6 thinks that he is in Brdjanin case.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Should we redact the name from the transcript?
8 To be serious, let's go into private session.
9 [Private session]
16 [Open session]
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Confirmed. You may continue.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. I will repeat my question. We're back in public session, so I'll
20 repeat the question: During your time as a deputy in the Municipal
21 Assembly of Prijedor, did you ever obtain information to the effect that
22 the president of the municipal assembly had ever given any orders to
23 anyone from the army?
24 A. The army is a separate segment of the entire organisation, and I
25 am not particularly well acquainted with how the army works exactly, but
1 as far as I know the level of command and the level of organisation, the
2 level of running the army, all of these things are done as the republic
3 level, be it the Ministry of Defence or even superior military structures
4 of command. So I don't know if there were any contacts or any requests,
5 but even if there had been any contacts, they would not have been binding.
6 And frankly, I don't believe the army would have listened to anyone in
7 that position, because they are an independent autonomous structure and
8 their superiors are at the ministry, and that's where their orders come
10 Q. Have you ever heard of the president of the municipal assembly
11 ordering anything to anyone among the members of the Ministry of the
13 A. The Ministry of the Interior is a civilian form of government, of
14 authority. But then again, they're organised at the republic level.
15 Chief of the Public Security Station in local community, at the local
16 level, is proposed and nominated by the party, the party which has the
17 right to appoint someone to that particular position. The Minister of the
18 Interior appoints the chief of police at the local level directly.
19 Q. Does the minister merely appoint the chief or does the minister
20 also decide who can or cannot become the chief? I will give you the
21 example of Mr. Miskovic. So if you could please explain what happened.
22 A. Well, it was exactly the SDS that sent a nomination to the
23 minister for the nomination, an appointment of the chief of police at the
24 local level, and the person named was Simo Miskovic. However, the
25 minister rejected this and then there had to be a new procedure and a new
1 candidate was to be nominated.
2 Q. Therefore, the role of the minister is no mere formality. It's
3 not a formal role. It's a role of actual power. He's the actual
4 decision-maker. He decides who will be nominated and he appoints the
5 candidate at the same time.
6 A. Yes, that's correct.
7 Q. Apart from filing statistical reports to the municipal assembly,
8 the Ministry of the Interior, did they have any other obligations to the
9 municipal assembly?
10 A. The Ministry of the Interior and the local police are in charge of
11 keeping, maintaining law and order throughout the local community in their
12 relationship to the civilian population and as regards traffic safety, as
13 well as state safety. The public relations of the police and traffic
14 safety are -- belong to a different section and state security is a
15 different unit. So they brief the assembly. They send reports concerning
16 the situation, the security situation at the local level. And you were
17 right when you said that this is reflected in statistical data concerning
18 events throughout a certain period of time. But aside from this, the
19 chief of the local police could not have received any other orders or
20 requests from the municipal assembly because the Minister of the Interior
21 was his direct superior, or the Minister of the Interior's deputies.
22 Q. You as the president of the executive board, did you ever have the
23 authority to order anything to the army?
24 A. No, never. Except on the anniversary of a certain unit. Then I
25 would go there to greet the unit. There'd be a cocktail party, a
1 ceremony, that sort of thing, but nothing else aside from that.
2 Q. You as the president of the executive board, did you ever give any
3 orders to anyone from the Ministry of the Interior?
4 A. I did request some reports on the political and security situation
5 and on the security of the citizens. I never requested anything else, any
6 other reports, and there were no other contacts.
7 Q. This possibility of requesting a report from them, is that
8 envisaged by legal enactments and under the law?
9 A. I am not a lawyer by profession, so I am not positive that this is
10 regulated under the law. I think perhaps even not. I think this is more
11 about the relationship between the local community and the republic organs
12 covering the area, in charge of the area of police work, but I think
13 that's the only thing that it can be.
14 Q. In the period between April and September 1992, did you ever hear
15 of the existence of a body named Crisis Staff?
16 A. Yes. During a session of the assembly - I think that was in late
17 May, towards the end of May 1992 - during a session of the assembly, a
18 so-called Crisis Staff was set up. The statute of the municipality
19 contains an article governing the case of war or imminent danger of war,
20 when the assembly isn't able to meet as usual and as necessary. The
21 article says that the presidency of the assembly can be set up. I'm not
22 sure why they changed the name from "presidency of the assembly" to
23 "Crisis Staff." But according to its assembly mandate, according to the
24 assembly rules what it's entitled to do is the same as prescribed in this
25 particular article.
1 Q. So the Crisis Staff took over the authority of the municipal
2 assembly because the assembly was not able to meet. The assembly was a
3 massive and inert body.
4 A. Yes. As we said, the assembly had 90 deputies, consisted of 90
5 deputies. Many of those deputies were away in their units due to -- on
6 account of having been mobilised. So it would have been next to
7 impossible to convene a meeting of the assembly. So there was this legal
8 possibility to set up a body -- an assembly body envisaged in the statute
9 which had the name Crisis Staff. So the Crisis Staff was in charge of the
10 usual assembly work and had the same authority. Any authority that the
11 municipal assembly had, the Crisis Staff had too.
12 Q. Did you ever attend any of the meetings of the Crisis Staff?
13 A. No, I didn't. There was an assembly decision specifying which
14 fields of activity would be within the purview of the Crisis Staff and
15 which people would represent certain fields of activity in the Crisis
16 Staff. But aside from these people, no one else was allowed to
17 participate in the work of the Crisis Staff. So I had no opportunity nor
18 did I need to attend any of these meetings and take part in their work.
19 Q. That is also the reason you don't know if there were any guests at
20 any of these meetings, taking part in any of the meetings.
21 A. No, I really can't talk about that. I don't know.
22 Q. During that period, were Crisis Staffs organised also in companies
23 or work organisations?
24 A. In a certain number of companies and work organisations, Crisis
25 Staffs were indeed organised. But those were arbitrary decisions by the
1 directors of those companies. This was not something that was prescribed.
2 You know, we had a war and people put on uniforms and they in a manner of
3 speaking played out Crisis Staffs, even if we know that the company itself
4 and the institution itself is in charge of these jobs and these affairs,
5 both in wartime and in peacetime. So in certain periods, yes. But as far
6 as I know, at some later stage this ceased to be the case.
7 Q. We discussed a subject that you found rather surprising. You
8 didn't expect me to ask this. Why would someone want to say and what
9 would someone mean by saying that Muslims were an artificial creation?
10 Can you please tell us the history of how this ethnic group came about.
11 That's as far as you know.
12 A. I'll try to keep it brief in view of the time and space at our
13 disposal. I'll try to provide a brief explanation. In the Balkan
14 peninsula, the influence of Turkey had lasted for over or about 500 years.
15 Throughout that period, a number of Catholics or a number of Orthodox
16 people converted to Islam in order to obtain certain privileges that were
17 available upon conversion. In more recent times, since 1945, under the
18 Communist system in the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, this
19 question was not brought up very often, and according to certain systems
20 of distribution of power and positions, according to the so-called
21 national key, these issues were kept at bay. However, the status of
22 Muslims over the last 40 years was different. And I will try to show this
23 by quoting the fact that they -- by the way they declared themselves at
24 regular censuses every ten years.
25 In 1961, in the 1961 census, Muslims could either declare
1 themselves as Serbs or as Croats. There was no third option available to
2 them. In the 1971 census, a term "non-applicable" was invented, but it
3 was still open to Muslims to declare themselves as Serbs or as Croats.
4 In 1971 and 1991, they declared themselves as Muslims -- in 1981
5 and 1991. Most recently, we've seen the term "Bosniak" used, widely used.
6 So all of this was imposed in order to establish certain distinctions
7 among people, although there were no actual distinctions on the ground
8 because Serbs, Croats, and Muslims speak the same language. So this issue
9 was more imposed from outside. It was not an actual problem on the
11 This statement about the artificial creation of Muslims as a
12 nation I think might be based on some of these elements that I've just
13 referred to or perhaps on some others.
14 Q. Thank you. [No interpretation]
15 A. [No interpretation]
16 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, we're not getting the interpretation.
17 There's a technical problem. I see the interpreter speaking, but ...
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you please try again.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Can you hear me now?
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. Okay. We can proceed. Thank you.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. This didn't go down on the transcript, so I'll repeat my question.
23 Did you know the late Mr. Simo Drljaca? How well did you know him and for
24 how long? What can you tell us about him?
25 A. I had known Mr. Simo Drljaca since 1980, when he worked as a
1 lawyer in the centre for elementary education. I knew him later too. He
2 was a rather brusque abrupt man. His nature was abrupt. He wanted to
3 always be in the foreground of things, and he wanted to always be the
4 first, to gain as much prominence as possible. I shouldn't speak ill of a
5 dead person, but I think it must be said that he was an abrupt, brusque,
6 even arrogant person and that he was a domineering person too, with a
7 tendency to dominate.
8 Q. Can you please tell us, what is the meaning and how we in Bosnia
9 interpret it and how was it prescribed by the constitution -- what is the
10 meaning of the term "constitutionality of the people"?
11 A. This is -- this belongs to the area of constitutional law. But
12 for people to be a constitutive people, that people has to be -- when
13 changes in the constitution are made, there should be a majority of the
14 positively expressed opinion of that people and other peoples as well. In
15 the concrete situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, this principle was not
17 MR. LUKIC: I apologise, Your Honour, for this. We had to contact
18 our investigators during the break, so ...
19 Q. [Interpretation] Are you aware of the fact that in order to change
20 the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina a majority had to be in favour
21 of each of the peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina that are known and that exist
22 as constitutive people of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
23 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, first the form of the question makes
24 it sound like Mr. Lukic is testifying. I'm sure he doesn't want to. And
25 this witness is not a constitutional law expert nor is that issue relevant
1 to this case.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Following deliberations, sustained for the same
4 reasons given when witnesses were asked similar questions.
5 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. [Interpretation] A very specific question: Do you know how many
7 representatives of the Serbian people remained as deputies in the
8 parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina after the parliament of Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina was abandoned by the representatives of the SDS?
10 A. Except for the information that I obtained from the media, I don't
11 have any other information. I believe that very few Serbian
12 representatives remained in the BH parliament after that. I can't tell
13 you with any degree of reliability whether the number was three or four
14 representatives altogether.
15 Q. Did you know that Dr. Stakic was not a member of the SDS but of
16 another party? And if you did, did you also know what party that was?
17 I'm talking about the time before the elections which took place in 1990.
18 A. I met Dr. Stakic as a fellow deputy. And when candidates were
19 proposed, I know that he was proposed on behalf of the SDS. I learnt
20 later on from others that he was a representative of the Radical Party but
21 not of the Serbian Radical Party but of the party headed by lawyer
22 Guberina, who was on the list of candidates for the constituency of
23 Omarska, and Omarska gave the majority of its votes to that party and to
24 that particular candidate of theirs.
25 Q. Although you were not an SDS member, did you know at the time of
1 the conflict between Simo Miskovic and Milomir Stakic and of the conflict
2 between Srdjo Srdic and Milomir Stakic?
3 A. I never attended any official SDS meetings, so I don't know the
4 origins of certain conflicts. But I know that during assembly sessions
5 when certain issues were discussed, that the most criticisms and most
6 attacks on Dr. Stakic came from these two people that you have just
8 Q. You didn't know Dr. Stakic before 1990; is that correct?
9 A. That is correct. I met him at the first assembly session, and
10 later on I saw him at the subsequent assembly sessions.
11 Q. When you first met Dr. Stakic, did you have an opinion -- did you
12 make an opinion of him?
13 A. Yes. When he was presiding over the parliament and when he was
14 deciding the positions of the municipal assembly, he took into account all
15 the individual opinions. The impression I had of him was of a peaceful
16 person and a correct person. I don't know him privately as a family man,
17 but I believe that his life is focussed on two things: One is his life of
18 his profession, that is, his medical profession; and the other is his love
19 of his family. You couldn't notice any kinds of extreme behaviour or
20 arrogance in any field of his work or anything that he did.
21 Q. Did you ever hear Dr. Stakic speaking on TV or on radio?
22 A. At that time there was no local television in Prijedor, so such an
23 appearance would have been impossible. We have a local radio and a local
24 paper, Kozarski Vjesnik. As far as I followed these two media, I didn't
25 notice Dr. Stakic appearing in the media that would result in bad
1 relationships or that would discriminate against any particular people or
2 ethnic group.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Vila. This is the end of my examination-in-chief.
4 And now my learned friends from the Prosecution will have questions to ask
5 you, and after them the Honourable Judges. Thank you once again.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stands adjourned until quarter to
8 --- Recess taken at 5.23 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 5.50 p.m.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
11 Before we start cross-examination, the Judge parties and the
12 Judges were provided with D54. Any objections as regards the admission
13 into evidence?
14 MR. KOUMJIAN: No, Your Honour. That's the one -- no, Your
15 Honour. That was the 65 ter number 454, yes? That was the Defence
16 exhibit today.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. So 65 ter number 454, which is now D54 A
18 and B respectively, admitted into evidence.
19 Mr. Koumjian, you may start.
20 Cross-examined by Mr. Koumjian:
21 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
22 A. Good afternoon.
23 Q. Sir, are you offended yourself by the remark of referring to
24 Muslims as an artificial nation or artificially created?
25 A. I think that if one says that Muslims are an artificial creation,
1 that this was not meant to offend an ethnic group as a whole. It was just
2 to put them in perspective as regards other people, their origins, as the
3 people were not similar, as people who have a religion, that is, Muslim
4 religion. They have the chronology of their origin. But in terms of
5 their ethnicity, they don't have a long tradition or deep roots.
6 Personally, I would never offend any member of any ethnic group, and my
7 attempt to provide you with a brief origin of that ethnic group was just
8 my attempt to give you the history within a time perspective of the
9 origins of the people who share the same language and share the same
10 territory where they live, without having a long history or deep roots of
11 their origin.
12 Q. So would you use the same expression in speaking publicly? Would
13 you refer to Muslims as being artificially created?
14 A. In the philosophical or theoretical circles, this would call for a
15 long discussion. But in more specific terms, my attempt to elaborate this
16 thing is my attempt to explain what Dr. Stakic meant when he said that on
17 one occasion. I believe that it wasn't my -- his intention or my
18 elaboration to offend anybody but just to put things in the time
19 perspective. How could one call these people? Are they the people who do
20 not declare themselves as any ethnic group? Are they Muslims? Are they
21 Bosniaks? I believe it is for somebody else to decide that. But I as a
22 person have nothing against this ethnic group, against their customs,
23 their religion, their right to organise themselves, and I am trying to
24 just explain things and I would kindly ask you to understand that in the
25 way I have meant it and I have said it.
1 Q. Okay. Sir, and I'd kindly ask you to try to limit your answers to
2 the exact question that I -- that you answer the question that I ask.
3 Sir, you indicated in the answer that you did give that Dr. Stakic
4 said this on one occasion. Did you hear him say this?
5 A. No, I didn't. I believe that it appeared in an article, in a
6 newspaper, in the local newspaper, as far as I know.
7 Q. Do you recall reading that?
8 A. This does ring a bell. I don't know whether I have personally
9 read it or somebody who has read it told me about it. I don't know.
10 Q. Okay. Sir, and would I be correct in assuming that you are not a
11 Bosniak, you are not a Muslim yourself?
12 A. No, I am not. But this is not something that is predetermined for
13 anybody in advance. This is what you are given at birth. And a person,
14 an individual, is not either guilty or doesn't take any credits for being
15 a member of a certain ethnic group.
16 Q. Sir, what is your ethnicity? How do you identify yourself?
17 A. I am a Serb, and that's how I identify myself.
18 Q. Sir, having lived in Bosnia for your entire life and for most of
19 it in Prijedor, have you ever met a Muslim who would describe Muslims as
20 being -- or Bosniaks as being artificially created?
21 A. I have known a number of Muslims. I met them in primary school,
22 in secondary school, at the university. A lot of them have been my
23 colleagues in the workplace. And let me tell you, I've never discussed
24 that with any of them, nor did we ever think that that might become a
25 problem. However, the frequent changes that they have been given to them
1 by way of the way they declare themselves obviously reflect those
2 dilemmas. I have already told you what possibilities they have been given
3 in various censuses, and they have not been given a continuity when
4 declaring themselves as members of a certain ethnic group.
5 Q. So your answer to my question, which was: Have you ever heard a
6 Muslim describe or a Bosniak describe their race as being artificially
7 created, the answer, the truth is, you've never heard them describe
8 themselves in that way. Correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Okay. Thank you. Sir, on the 30th -- excuse me. In the 1990
11 elections, you were elected to the Prijedor Municipal Assembly. Is that
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And you told us that was from the -- I believe it's the social
15 democratic Party - correct me if I'm giving the name of the party wrong,
16 but the former -- the successor more or less to the Communist party in the
17 former Yugoslavia. Is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And this was a multi-ethnic party. You had individuals from
20 different ethnicities within a multi-ethnic assembly. Correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. In those elections in 1990, who was allowed to vote? Was a
23 particular group vote allowed to vote or were all ethnicities allowed to
24 vote if they met the age qualifications?
25 A. All those who had the right to vote.
1 Q. In those elections, 90 members of the assembly were elected, of
2 which 28 belonged to the SDS party. Is that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And there was 30 deputies for the SDA and, I believe, 2 deputies
5 for the HDZ. Is that correct?
6 A. Two -- two from the HDZ, yes.
7 Q. Thank you. Now, you told us that after the 30th of April, 1992,
8 you continued - and I could find the exact page of the transcript - you
9 were asked by Mr. Lukic at 14.42.06. It's page 4 of -- well, I don't have
10 the correct pagination because I have it from an e-mail. You were asked:
11 "Did you continue --" this is after the 30th of April. "Did you continue
12 being a deputy in the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor?" And you answered,
13 "I continued together with a number of other deputies from the SDP party,
14 that was my party, and also a number of deputies from the reformist
16 Sir, the municipal that was elected never met again after the
17 takeover. Isn't that correct?
18 A. I don't think I understood your question.
19 Q. Okay. I'll try to make it more clear. The body that you were
20 elected to was a multi-ethnic assembly representing all the voters in
21 Prijedor. The assembly that you continued in after the 30th of April was
22 only an assembly put together by the SDS party and excluding the
23 representatives of the Muslim and Croat communities. Correct?
24 A. I am not sure whether the possibility was given to the elected
25 deputies of the SDA and the HDZ to continue as deputies. I think the
1 reason is that their choice was to no longer participate in the work of
2 the assembly. However, according to the election rules and the duties of
3 the deputies, it says that a deputy is supposed to respect the rights of
4 people who gave him votes, and I followed this instruction. I was
5 appointed for a term of four years, and I stayed in the assembly for a
6 full four years.
7 Q. Sir, that takeover that we've talked about, that was a coup by
8 force against the elected government. Is that correct?
9 A. I don't think I could respond precisely to your chronology [as
10 interpreted], the chronology [as interpreted] as offered by you. It's
11 obvious that there was a takeover. But when the assembly was supposed to
12 continue its work, there was a session and all of the deputies who chose
13 to remain and to continue to work for the local parliament, we were told
14 that the dispatch from the Minister of the Interior of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina -- I'm not sure, but I think his name was
16 Delimustafic -- suggested that roadblocks be set up and that an evacuation
17 be started of the former JNA from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina
18 in order, so it said, to avoid war. This attempt to engage me and other
19 deputies in the assembly was aimed exactly at this, to ensure -- to secure
20 continuity of work for the assembly without jeopardising anyone's rights
21 and in keeping with the rules.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to interrupt. On page 58, line 12 and 13,
23 it reads "chronology." But I think the witness said "terminology."
25 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you for the
1 correction. The witness said "terminology."
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please proceed.
3 MR. KOUMJIAN:
4 Q. Well, sir, what was it in my terminology that you disagreed with?
5 I used the word "coup." Did you explain to us why you don't agree with
6 that term.
7 A. I spoke about my own participation and about the participation of
8 others in the parliament. Personally, myself as well as a number of other
9 deputies had nothing to do with this action or this activity. Our work
10 was only about participating in the work of the parliament, the local
11 assembly of Prijedor. The circumstances that arose, there was no way for
12 us to influence them.
13 Q. Okay. Thank you. I'll come to your role in just a moment. But
14 now I'm talk about the takeover. That was -- do you have any problem with
15 the terminology coup? Do you disagree with that in any way?
16 A. Well, as far as I'm familiar with the term "coup," the term would
17 imply a violent takeover. And when I say "violent takeover," that means
18 victims, casualties, damage, destruction, which was not the case in
19 Prijedor. Yes, there was a takeover, but there was not a single victim or
20 casualty. So I think "coup" is too extreme a term for what happened in
22 Q. Sir, in that takeover, was it accomplished by the use of arms and
23 by the use of overwhelming force? I'm not asking if anyone was shot, but
24 was it accomplished by the deployment of armed men at all the strategic
25 points in Prijedor?
1 A. As far as I know, the municipal assembly building was taken. And
2 aside from the appointed officials, all of the others who worked in the
3 other services and units in the assembly could continue their work. The
4 only exception to this were Muslim appointed officials. But the
5 explanation provided was that this had been done in order to avoid
6 conflict related to the document that I have referred to.
7 Q. Sir, the armed takeover, if I may use that terminology, installed
8 a new government and new assembly and replaced, evicted, the elected
9 assembly of Prijedor. Correct?
10 A. I'm not sure if you could say "evicted." I'd say, rather, that
11 part of the elected assembly and deputies refused to work on, under the
13 Q. Well, let's take, for example, Professor Cehajic. You know that
14 by the time you were working in the assembly, he was in the Omarska -- he
15 was either in the Omarska camp or had disappeared from the camp, correct,
16 by the summer of 1992?
17 A. As far as I know, Mr. Cehajic was a teacher of Serbo-Croatian at a
18 local secondary school, and then he was appointed as the president of the
19 municipal assembly on behalf of the SDA. Once he was no longer to perform
20 his position as the president, as far as I know he was free to return to
21 the secondary school as a teacher. Now, as to whether, where, and how he
22 went missing, or if anything bad happened to him, I really don't have any
23 information on that.
24 Q. Sir, how many members of the left bloc cooperated with the SDS in
25 the government that took over Prijedor?
1 A. I wouldn't call it cooperation with the SDS. I think that was
2 just the continuation of the work of a certain number of deputies in a
3 changed make-up of the assembly. The document that one received at the
4 first session of the assembly, of the new assembly with the new make-up,
5 the first session, as far as I can remember, was attended by 13 deputies
6 from all those parties which were not national parties or did not identify
7 themselves as national parties.
8 Q. So that would be 13 out of 30 deputies attended. Is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And how many of those were not of Serbian ethnicity?
11 A. The document provides an accurate list with first and last names.
12 You can use this to identify the ethnic background of each of the deputies
13 attending. I can't be sure now when I speak about it whether among the
14 remaining parties from the left bloc there were any non-Serb deputies.
15 Q. So you cannot recall now the name of any non-Serb who participated
16 in the post-takeover government.
17 A. No.
18 Q. What was the position of Risto Banovic in your party?
19 A. Risto Banovic was a member of the party. He was an elected
20 deputy. He had the status of a deputy. He didn't have any other special
22 Q. Dr. Banovic did not participate in the assembly after the
23 takeover. Is that correct?
24 A. Banovic is a psychologist by profession, and I cannot claim with
25 any certainty whether he continued to work after the takeover or not.
1 Q. Okay. Sir, and if I could just ask you not to add information
2 that's not relevant to the question, just in the interests of time.
3 Among the people that were not members of the nationalist parties
4 was Mr. Murselovic of the Party of Private Initiative. Was he invited to
5 attend the meetings of your post-takeover assembly?
6 A. My status was as a deputy at the assembly, and after I received my
7 invitation, I responded to it. Now, whether the organisers of the
8 assembly session sent out an invitation to the people you refer to, I
9 really can't say. I don't know.
10 Q. Thank you. And I understand from your testimony on direct
11 examination that the responsibility for convening these meetings was the
12 responsibility of the president of the assembly. Correct?
13 A. The president of the assembly, upon the proposal of the proposer,
14 sets a date for the meeting and prepares the meeting. But then the
15 technical part of the preparation is carried out by the secretary-general
16 of the municipal assembly.
17 Q. Do you understand it as part of the responsibilities of the
18 president to make sure that the members are invited to a meeting that he
20 A. At a session of the assembly, the secretary of the assembly would
21 inform the deputies -- the board members, correction, whether all the
22 documents related to the assembly meeting have been sent out to all the
23 participants, to all the deputies, and he informs also the president and
24 all the participants about the attendance at the session.
25 Q. Do you know if Dr. Stakic or any member of the technical service
1 made any attempt to invite the deputies who were being held in the Omarska
2 camp to come to the assembly meetings?
3 A. I don't know whether the deputies were in any of the camps or
4 collection centres, depending on how you use the terminology. But it is
5 quite obvious that the deputies had their own private addresses, places of
6 residence, and I do assume that invitations were sent out to them.
7 However, I am a deputy but I'm not professionally involved with this
8 particular service. I just don't have the information you're asking me
9 about, whether this was done or not.
10 Q. Thank you. As a deputy of the assembly, did you view it as part
11 of your duties to be informed about the most important events happening to
12 the people of Prijedor?
13 A. During the work of the assembly, during the sessions, I was a
14 deputy belonging to one of the opposition parties and I did raise issues
15 quite often and I demanded answers. Very often I found myself in
16 disagreement with the general tone of the discussion or the matters
17 brought up. But specifically when the assembly resumed work, it was said
18 and the reasons were given that I have already described, that in order to
19 secure the continuation of the assembly's work, that's what was done, and
20 what they told us is that a certain dispatch from the minister indicated
21 the possibility of roadblocks being set up or a forced evacuation of the
22 JNA, perhaps even laying siege to the JNA barracks. It was for these
23 reasons, to prevent war from breaking out. Myself and part of other
24 deputies from the left bloc agreed to continue working in the municipal
25 assembly, firstly; and secondly, as I've already stated, out of regard and
1 respect for the voters who voted us in.
2 Q. Okay. I was going to come to that later, but let me talk about
3 the -- let me talk about some other matters right now. Sorry. Sir, at
4 that time, the 30th of April, 1992, was the JNA viewed by the Serbian
5 residents of Prijedor as being sympathetic to their cause?
6 A. Well, in my opinion, the JNA had a constitutional duty to defend
7 the territorial integrity of the borders of the Socialist Federative
8 Republic of Yugoslavia, especially due to the newly arisen circumstances
9 and to the fact that the JNA commanders agreed to pull out of a number of
10 Yugoslav territories, Slovenia, Croatia, and later also Bosnia-Herzegovina
11 at a later stage. But there were a number of grave violations and a
12 number of young recruits who were doing their regular military service got
13 killed in the process.
14 Q. Did the SDA party view the JNA as being sympathetic to their
16 A. I can't say. Perhaps you should ask one of the SDA people.
17 Q. Okay. Just to remind ourselves of what was happening 10 years
18 ago, 11 years ago, on -- by the 30th of April, Bosnia had already declared
19 its independence and had been recognised by the European Union and the
20 United States. When you say it was the role of the JNA to defend the
21 territory of Yugoslavia, are you saying it was their duty to prevent the
22 secession of Bosnia?
23 A. Now, this is a predominantly political issue, and it's a very
24 important issue. Part of the former Socialist Federative Republic of
25 Yugoslavia was in favour of saying in one state, and some other republics
1 advocated the possibility of secession.
2 Q. Let me just stop you. Please try to limit your answer to the
3 question. My question was: When you say it was the role of the JNA to
4 defend the territory of Yugoslavia, are you saying it was their duty to
5 prevent the secession of Bosnia? Did you view the JNA's role as stopping
6 Bosnia from seceding under the borders that were declared -- with the
7 borders that were declared?
8 A. The military leaders of the JNA, the part of the JNA that was in
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina - I think it was General Kukanjac - they accepted
10 the withdrawal of the army, and they never disputed the right of Bosnia
11 and Herzegovina to be recognised as a state, although the constituent role
12 of the Serb people in Bosnia-Herzegovina had not been sufficiently
13 determined. However, as the army was pulling its troops out and on their
14 way to the territory that was still JNA controlled, these army convoys
15 were often intercepted. Even the dispatch by Delimustafic was saying the
16 same thing; it was stating the fact that this was indeed being done.
17 Q. Sir, you haven't answered my question, and I'm going to move on
18 and try to ask another one. Given what you knew about the political
19 situation at that time, did the Muslims want the JNA to remain in Bosnia,
20 the Muslim nationalists?
21 A. The Muslim nationalists, I'm sure they wanted the JNA to leave
22 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
23 Q. Okay. Thank you. And this telegram that you're talking about was
24 from Delimustafic -- Minister Delimustafic instructing the police and
25 interior minister forces -- ministry forces to stop the JNA from
1 withdrawing. Is that correct?
2 A. Precisely -- yes. Yes, that's correct.
3 Q. Okay. Sir, that telegram was denied -- the authenticity of that
4 telegram was denied the next day by the presidency of Bosnia. Correct?
5 A. I don't know that.
6 Q. I want to go back to the Crisis Staff. Can you tell us under what
7 legal authority the Crisis Staff was established. I'm not asking you as a
8 lawyer, but to the best of your knowledge as a resident of Prijedor and
9 the member of the assembly, what legal authority was cited in the
10 establishment of that body?
11 A. At a regular session of the assembly, the article of the assembly
12 statute was discussed. And what this article envisaged was that when and
13 if the assembly is unable to meet and continue work, a presidency of the
14 assembly can be set up to continue work under a different set of
16 Q. Thank you. So when was the Crisis Staff established? Would I be
17 correct in understanding that after the takeover, there no longer could be
18 expected to be the Muslim and -- let me try to say this again. I'm
20 Would I be correct that after the takeover, no one expected
21 deputies of the assembly of Muslim and Croat nationality to come to the
22 assembly meetings, so the assembly was no longer allowed to meet or was no
23 longer -- it was no longer possible for the assembly to meet?
24 A. I must say this again. I don't know whether they were invited. I
25 don't know whether they refused to continue to take part in the work of
1 the assembly, and I don't know that perhaps they were not invited.
2 Q. Okay. Let me try to get at this another way. Sir, on the 30th of
3 April, you were living in Prijedor and you were in Prijedor town that
4 day. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Who was in charge of Prijedor on that day after the takeover? Who
7 took over power?
8 A. I don't think the question is specific enough.
9 Q. Okay. On the 30th of April, President Cehajic, the president of
10 the municipal assembly, was prevented from entering his office. We've
11 been talking about a takeover of power on that day. Who took power?
12 A. I only learnt that something was going on when I was on my way to
13 work. I could see the Serbian flag outside the municipal assembly
14 building. And later I heard in the media, the local radio station, that
15 there had been a takeover, and that with the exception of appointed
16 officials -- elected officials, everyone else was free to go to work as
17 usual. I remember President Cehajic's statement on the radio that he
18 would put up Gandhi-like resistance, meaning that he would not take part
19 in this whole thing.
20 Q. Okay. You said you heard an announcement in the radio about the
21 takeover. Who did the announcement indicate was now the authority? What
22 body replaced the previous government of Prijedor?
23 A. The assembly met after that, and the document that you have been
24 shown indicates who the new deputies were and that again -- once again,
25 there were 90 deputies in the assembly. The assembly continued to work
1 because the statute envisages that there have to be 90 deputies, and there
2 could have been no interim elections in the sense of interim elections.
3 Q. Do you recall when that -- when the assembly first met after the
4 takeover? Was it the next day, the next week? Do you remember how long
5 it took before this new assembly met?
6 A. I believe about 15 days.
7 Q. Who was in control of Prijedor during those 15 days? Was the
8 Crisis Staff already established and operating?
9 A. The assembly does not meet that often. Usually it's enough for a
10 parliament to meet -- to be convened once a month. The executive board
11 and the executive authorities were perfectly free to go about their daily
12 work until the next meeting of the assembly.
13 Q. Was it announced on the radio on the 30th of April that Dr. Stakic
14 was the new president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor?
15 A. I don't think this was announced. I think 15 or 17 days later,
16 like I said, it was announced at a session of the assembly.
17 Q. Sir, Dr. Stakic had already been elected by the SDS as the
18 president of the Serbian Municipality of Prijedor prior to the takeover.
19 They had separated and created their own shadow government, if you accept
20 that term. Isn't that correct?
21 A. I don't know whether the SDS had a shadow government before that
22 meeting of the assembly and whether Stakic was appointed the president of
23 the municipal assembly, but I am sure that 15 or 17 days after the
24 takeover such a decision was verified by the majority of the deputies at
25 that particular session of the assembly.
1 Q. And this was an assembly that included 60 members -- or excuse me,
2 62 members -- let me take it back. This included the SDS members of
3 the -- that were elected in the 1990 elections, 13 members of the left
4 bloc, I believe you said, and the rest, which I believe leaves 49, 49
5 newly-appointed deputies.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Appointed by the SDS, correct?
8 A. I don't know if all of them were appointed, because there was this
9 group of ten others, and I believe that not all of them were SDS members.
10 Q. Sir, do you remember the posters that were around town that day
11 after the takeover explaining the reasons for the takeover?
12 A. On that day I was in my company in Ljubija and during that day I
13 was not in the town anywhere.
14 Q. In subsequent days, did you see posters in the town of Prijedor
15 talking about the takeover and explaining the reasons for it?
16 A. I believe that there were posters, but I don't remember what they
17 said. I don't remember the contents of those posters.
18 Q. Did you live in Ljubija or did you live in Prijedor?
19 A. I lived in Prijedor and I would commute to work in Ljubija. I
20 would leave Prijedor in the morning, and I would come back in the evening.
21 Q. Isn't it correct that those posters indicated that power had been
22 taken by the Crisis Staff?
23 A. I really don't remember the contents of those posters.
24 Q. Sir, you told us that Simo Drljaca was appointed by the interior
25 minister --
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, Mr. Koumjian, that I interrupt, but I
2 want to have a clarification. May I ask the witness once more: The 30th
3 of April, you were in Prijedor town on that day. Is that correct?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's where I lived, yes.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: On page 67 of today's transcript, you
6 answered -- line 3: "Okay. Let me try to get at this another way. Sir,
7 the question was: Sir, on the 30th of April, you were living in Prijedor
8 and you were in Prijedor town that day. Is that correct?" Your answer
9 was, "Yes."
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 30th of April, I lived in
11 Prijedor. At 7.00 in the morning I went to Ljubija to work, and I
12 returned around 3.00 in the afternoon from Ljubija. So I was in Prijedor
13 on that particular day up to 7.00 in the morning and after 3.00 in the
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this clarification.
16 MR. KOUMJIAN:
17 Q. Sir, what was the name of the interior minister that you indicated
18 appointed Simo Drljaca as the chief of police in 1992?
19 A. I don't know the name of the minister, but I know for a fact that
20 the minister was in charge of that appointment.
21 Q. Where was that minister physically located? Was he in Banja
22 Luka? Was he in Pale? Sarajevo?
23 A. I don't know where his -- he was physically located.
24 Q. Have you seen the order whereby the Minister of the Interior
25 appointed Simo Drljaca?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Sir, isn't it a fact that the SDS elected Simo Drljaca to be the
3 chief of police and this was published in Kozarski Vjesnik before the
4 takeover -- the Prijedor SDS?
5 A. What is certain is that the parties propose to the minister who
6 should be appointed and it is the minister who nominates and appoints. It
7 is not the local assembly that does it. It is the party that sends
8 proposals to the minister, and the minister is the one who then appoints.
9 Q. Thank you. So the nomination comes from the parties, correct,
10 which is sent to the minister?
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. You cited one example in your direct examination of when a
13 minister rejected the candidate proposed by the party, and that was Simo
14 Miskovic. Correct?
15 A. Correct.
16 Q. Can you cite any other example in Bosnia that you know of where
17 the candidate of the party was rejected by the interior minister?
18 A. As a deputy in the local assembly, I was not in the position to
19 have the insight into the way candidates were nominated and appointed by
20 the various ministers.
21 Q. Okay. Thank you. The example that you cited, Simo Miskovic,
22 Mr. Miskovic did not have a university degree, and that was a requirement
23 for the position to which he was the proposed chief of the traffic
24 police. Correct?
25 A. As far as I know, Miskovic used to work in the police and he also
1 continued his education while he worked there. Whether at that particular
2 time he had already graduated from the university or not, I don't know,
3 and I don't know whether the reason for the rejection was the fact that he
4 did not have the necessary qualification or something else.
5 Q. So you don't know -- the answer would be you don't know whether or
6 not he met the minimal qualifications for the position?
7 A. Yes, I don't know.
8 Q. Okay. Thank you.
9 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, I do have a document -- I do have one
10 document I would like to have distributed. It has not yet been marked,
11 and it does not have a 65 ter number, but it does have this witness's name
12 on it. It was previously disclosed to the Defence, and it has the ERN
13 number of P0021922.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This would be provisionally as S394.
15 MR. KOUMJIAN: Just for all parties' benefit, it's the third
16 signature which I'm really interested in. I think the Court and counsel
17 will recognise it.
18 MR. OSTOJIC: If I may, Your Honour, before my learned friend
19 continues: I'm not sure if I heard him correctly or if the transcript was
20 properly cited. Is the OTP saying they did give this document to us even
21 though it didn't have a 65 ter number? And if so, just if you can share
22 with us when it was that it was given to us. Thank you.
23 MR. KOUMJIAN: We're checking on the date.
24 [Prosecution counsel confer]
25 MR. KOUMJIAN: 28 May 2002. I think Mr. Ostojic was in Chicago
1 that day.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask, do we have a translation or ...?
3 MR. KOUMJIAN: We're checking on that. I do not believe this has
4 ever been translated.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So therefore, it --
6 MR. KOUMJIAN: We'll request one.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: An additional "B" should be added. It will be
8 S394B [Realtime transcript read in error "P294B"].
9 MR. KOUMJIAN: Could it be put on the ELMO, please, and shown to
10 the witness.
11 Q. Sir, I believe you now have in front of you the document which
12 we've marked -- I believe it should be S394B.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Right.
14 MR. KOUMJIAN: Yes.
15 Q. Sir, do you recognise, first of all -- under the eighth signature,
16 do you recognise your signature on this document?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And can you tell us what this document is briefly.
19 A. In the preamble of this document, it says that the presidents of
20 political parties and presidents of the groups of deputies at their
21 meeting held on this date, in order to carry out the conclusions of the
22 municipal assembly, at the 22nd January 1992 and with regard to the
23 distribution of power, they have passed the following conclusion.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I --
25 MR. KOUMJIAN: There is a --
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Hmm?
2 MR. KOUMJIAN: There is a translation, so we will have English by
3 tomorrow morning, at least.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay.
5 MR. KOUMJIAN: We'll try to get it now, but I think we are running
6 out of time.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. Thank you.
8 MR. KOUMJIAN:
9 Q. Sir, do you recognise the other signatures that appear on this
11 A. I recognise my signature and as for the others, I don't recognise
13 Q. Okay. Have you ever seen Dr. Stakic's signature before?
14 A. No. The documents were stamped, and in the Official Gazettes
15 there was no signature either.
16 Q. Okay. Thank you. And in the Official Gazette, if next to the
17 name the letters "SR" appear, can you explain what that means.
18 A. It means that this is as if it was indeed signed by the person
19 himself or herself.
20 Q. Okay. The third signature, I'd ask you to just take a second and
21 look at that. First of all, do you know Dragan Savanovic?
22 A. Dragan Savanovic was the president of the group of SDS deputies.
23 And once the assembly was inaugurated, then he was the vice-president of
24 the assembly.
25 Q. Okay. Thank you. Just so we're clear on the time period, after
1 the takeover, following the 30th of April, Dragan Savanovic took the
2 position of vice-president of the Serbian Municipal Assembly of Prijedor.
3 Is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, if the president of the assembly is absent when a document
6 needs to be signed, does the vice-president have the authority to sign on
7 his behalf?
8 A. Yes. According to the statute, in the absence of the president,
9 it is the vice-president who can sign a document, and this is in keeping
10 with the laws and with the authorities of the president.
11 Q. Okay. Thank you. I want to switch to another topic now. You
12 indicated that in 1993, Dr. Stakic resigned following pressure at the end
13 of the previous year, 1992, from what you called the extreme wing of the
14 SDS. Now, first, I understand that you never yourself participated in SDS
15 meetings or discussions. Is that correct?
16 A. I didn't participate in any of them.
17 Q. Can you tell me why you call this group "the extreme wing"? What
18 was the difference in the policies advocated by those who forced
19 Dr. Stakic or requested him to resign from Dr. Stakic's policies?
20 A. During the session of the assembly before the SDA and HDZ deputies
21 left the assembly, that wing of the SDS during the debates at the local
22 parliament voiced harsher opinions that would make the relationships more
23 acute in the parliament and elsewhere. This continued in the work of the
24 new assembly. I don't know what were the reasons for that, but in any
25 case the president, Stakic, was strongly attacked. They asked for more
1 radical actions and more efficient work in that part of the work of the
3 Q. What do you mean by "more radical actions"? Can you be more
5 A. I believe that they were not happy with the efficiency of work,
6 and I believe that there were some party pressures. I don't know what the
7 conclusions and pressures were all about, but at the sessions of the
8 assembly one could notice that things had been discussed elsewhere and
9 that the showdown time was at the sessions of the assembly and that the
10 aim was to force Dr. Stakic to resign.
11 Q. Were there allegations at that time that humanitarian aid had been
12 misused, that it wasn't used for the correct purpose?
13 A. The work of the humanitarian organisations, such as the Red Cross,
14 Merhamet, Kolo Srpskih Sestara, and Dobrotvor, were under the authority of
15 the representatives of the respective humanitarian organisations, and they
16 did not report at -- to the local parliament on their work, neither did --
17 nor did the local parliament discuss their work.
18 Q. Sir, at the municipal assembly sessions, did you attend all the
19 meetings that you were summoned to?
20 A. I believe that I did not attend all of them, but most of them I
21 did attend. I can't give you the precise information as to which of them
22 I didn't attend, but in any case I was present at over 80 per cent of the
23 assembly sessions that were held.
24 Q. During those assembly sessions, did you discuss the detention of
25 citizens of Prijedor in the Omarska and Keraterm camps? Let me just use a
1 different word, because I don't want -- whatever word you want to call
2 them, "camps," "collection centres," I just want to make sure we're
3 talking about the same places. Did you discuss the detention of citizens
4 of Prijedor at these places?
5 A. This was not on the agenda of the assembly session, save for the
6 report of the Crisis Staff that was presented to the assembly some two
7 months into its work. Then they reported on the decisions made by the
8 Crisis Staff. This was not an issue that was discussed, nor was it
9 something that would be under the authority of the local assembly.
10 Q. Well, what did Dr. Stakic tell you about the Omarska and Keraterm
12 A. I was never in Dr. Stakic's company and at the sessions of the
13 assembly this issue was not discussed.
14 Q. So just so I'm clear -- I believe I understand your answer. My
15 question was not so specific. At the assembly sessions, you never heard
16 Dr. Stakic discuss the Omarska or Keraterm camps. Is that correct?
17 A. Dr. Stakic never talked about that at any of the sessions of the
19 Q. Now, you told us, if I recall correctly, during your direct
20 examination that you were present when the decisions of the Crisis Staff
21 were later ratified by the municipal assembly in order to make them
22 legal. Is that correct?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. Sir, have you ever heard the expression "the number one man in
1 A. No.
2 Q. Would it be correct to describe the president of the municipal
3 assembly as the number one man in Prijedor in political terms?
4 A. No, not at all.
5 Q. So if the journalist described him as "the number one man," that
6 journalist would be misinformed?
7 A. If a journalist had said that, I believe that he must have known
8 why he said that.
9 Q. Would the person in charge of the municipal -- I'm sorry, I don't
10 recall the name of the secretariat -- the municipal services, the
11 secretary for the municipal services. Would that individual --
12 A. The Secretariat for the General Administrative Affairs.
13 Q. That person, would he be in a position to have a good idea of the
14 powers and prestige of the office of president of the municipality -- of
15 the municipal assembly?
16 A. That person would sooner be able to say something about the work
17 of the president of the executive board and the vice-president of the
18 executive board because their work -- their respective jobs are
19 interrelated. And as for the president of the municipal assembly, their
20 contacts are very few, and whatever the secretary of that particular
21 secretariat has to offer to the municipal, he does it through the
22 executive board. So I don't see how they would get closely connected, the
23 two of them through their work.
24 Q. Thank you. Sir, what is the top position in the municipality --
25 let's be more specific. In 1992, what was the top political position in
1 the Prijedor municipality?
2 A. The building of the former League of Communists; in other words,
3 the building of the social and political organisations lent its offices to
4 a number of parties. Some of the parties had their headquarters
6 Q. I'm sorry. I don't believe I stated my question clear enough.
7 Which position was the most powerful political position in Prijedor in
9 A. The most powerful executive position was of the president of the
10 executive board. Now, as to the political power of a specific party or
11 its leader, is reflected in the representation of that party in the
12 government or in the authorities.
13 Q. Sir, just one final question before the end of the night: In the
14 agreement between the parties, the party that got the most votes, the most
15 seats in the assembly, which position was allocated to them? Was it
16 president of the executive board or was it the president of the municipal
18 A. The SDA was given the position of the president of the municipal
19 assembly according to their interparty agreement.
20 MR. KOUMJIAN: I could finish for the night, Your Honour. I have
21 more questions for tomorrow.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it will take a lot of time. Let me just
23 finish -- we should mark the English translation we just received as
24 document S394A. But before I'm prepared to decide on the admission into
25 evidence, on the one hand side I want to ask the Defence whether they can
1 confirm that they received this document at the concrete point in time.
2 On the other hand, I want to ask the Prosecution, please, as usual
3 on these occasions, to provide us with the best possible original of S394B
4 by tomorrow morning.
5 This concludes your -- today's testimony. We will continue
6 tomorrow at 9.00, but I have to ask you please do not contact any of the
7 parties, be it the Prosecution or be it any member of this Defence team or
8 another Defence team or any other person you identify as a may-be witness
9 until we proceed here tomorrow at 9.00. Did you understand this?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
12 The trial stays adjourned until tomorrow, 9.00, in this courtroom.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
14 at 7.00 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday,
15 the 29th day of January, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.