1 Monday, 3 March 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.10 a.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning to everybody. Please be seated.
6 May we hear the case number by Madam Registrar, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. This is Case Number IT-97-24-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And the appearances, please.
10 MR. KOUMJIAN: Good morning, Your Honours. Nicholas Koumjian, Ann
11 Sutherland, and Ruth Karper for the Prosecution.
12 MR. LUKIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Branko Lukic for the
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask, before we start with today's witness,
15 is there anything to be discussed beforehand? A number of deadlines are
16 set for today.
17 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour. That's why Mr. Ostojic will not be
18 in the courtroom with us today. He is trying with the case manager to
19 meet all the deadlines, and we hope that we will fulfill all the Chamber's
20 requirements for today.
21 Also, I would like to state that we withdraw Witness 055 and
22 Witness 083 from the list of the witnesses. Those witnesses are scheduled
23 for this week. And during the day, we'll ask the Chamber to approve two
24 new witnesses which would probably --
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Microphone not activated] Let me start step by
2 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. Thank you for the hint.
4 Witness 055, Witness 083, you mentioned scheduled for this week,
5 this would mean that Defence has no witnesses this week?
6 MR. LUKIC: Defence has Witness 006 and 043.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So this is -- may be misleading on the
8 transcript. Therefore, my question on line 22.
9 MR. LUKIC: I have to answer something?
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No, because it should only be transpired from
11 the transcript that you did not withdraw a witness scheduled for this
13 MR. LUKIC: No, no, not all of them.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. So this is the final decision related to
15 these two witnesses. What about the I would say already famous 058,
16 trying already twice?
17 MR. LUKIC: This witness is scheduled for the last week, so I have
18 to admit that we didn't contact him yesterday. And we can instruct our
19 investigator to contact him, but not during this day because he is already
20 overburdened with the task we gave him.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think in the moment, we are all overburdened
22 with the tasks. And I really can understand your point.
23 Additional remarks from your side?
24 MR. LUKIC: No, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For the moment.
1 MR. LUKIC: During the day, we'll submit the list of the witnesses
2 for the next week.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
4 What about Prosecution, anything special for today?
5 MR. KOUMJIAN: No, Your Honour. We do have the English-language
6 copy of the constitution to distribute today, but are still looking for a
7 B/C/S copy.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And please, let's try to settle as soon as
9 possible the problem with the different copies of the statute.
10 Then before the witness arrived related to the admonition in this
11 concrete case, a special question to the Prosecution, in another context,
12 we discussed this previously. I have to admonish this witness under Rule
13 90, no doubt.
14 This would mean that the Chamber has under the rules or seem to
15 have the power to compel a witness to answer a question which might tend
16 to incriminate the witness. I think as to the fact that this person, in
17 fact, appears as a witness but let's call it, it's a borderline case to
18 being an accused, and this Tribunal doesn't have the power to stop any,
19 say, national court to make use of the statements given in this Tribunal.
20 I think the general principle applies that a person cannot be compelled to
21 give any kind of self-incriminatory testimony.
22 Do you accept this, or do you have a different view?
23 MR. KOUMJIAN: I do have a slightly different view. If Your
24 Honour prefers, I'd rather wait and see if this theoretical question
25 actually arises. I'm not sure the witness is going to invoke any right
1 against self-incrimination.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. Then may I ask the usher, please, to
3 escort the witness into the courtroom.
4 MR. KOUMJIAN: Just on that point, Your Honour, at that point, I
5 would ask that we go into closed session if that arises, and then we can
6 address the issues.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think the admonition has to be in open
8 session. And as for the moment, I have no request by the witness to start
9 in closed session.
10 MR. LUKIC: We don't have such a request, of course, Your Honour.
11 [The witness entered court]
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning, Mr. Budimir. Can you hear me in a
13 language you understand?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can hear you, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated for a moment.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 WITNESS: SLAVKO BUDIMIR
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You are called as a witness of the Chamber. And
20 therefore, opposed to a witness called by any party, we didn't have any
21 possibility of contacting you beforehand. So therefore, my first
22 question, from your point of view, do you have reasons that your testimony
23 is taken not in public session or under certain to-be-defined protective
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Then it is my duty to give you a
2 general information on your rights. In this Tribunal, as it is true in
3 all the courtrooms of the world, a witness is expected to tell the truth
4 and nothing but the truth, and the entire truth. This means also an
5 omission to tell something one would expect you to testify in a concrete
6 context could be seen as a false testimony.
7 On the other hand, we have to act based on that what we have in
8 evidence until now. And as to the fact that this is already Day 126 of
9 the case, you will believe that we have heard a lot, and we maybe know
10 already a lot. But until the end of the case, we have to listen carefully
11 and to try to come closer to the truth. This means we are, to a certain
12 end, dependent on the truthfulness of your testimony. On the other hand,
13 there's a general principle of nonself-incrimination. In our Rules of
14 Procedure and Evidence, Rule 90, paragraph (E), it reads: "The witness
15 may object to making any statement which might tend to incriminate the
16 witness. The Chamber, may however, compel the witness to answer the
17 question. Testimony compelled in this way shall not be used as evidence
18 in a subsequent prosecution against the witness for any offence other than
19 false testimony." To be quite clear, you are here not as an accused but
20 as a witness. But it might be that there are such questions, and in this
21 case, the Trial Chamber takes a slightly different approach one could
22 summarise as follows: Any witness may refuse to answer any questions, the
23 reply to which would subject him or one of the relatives to the risk of
24 being prosecuted for a criminal offence. And it's my duty to inform you
25 on your right to refuse those answers.
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13 English transcripts.
1 On the other hand, in addition, once again, due to the fact that
2 prior to reaching this courtroom, none of the parties had had the
3 possibility to give you the advice and the admonition under Rule 91.
4 Before we start, and not for a concrete reason based on your testimony, I
5 have to advise you that any false testimony under solemn declaration in
6 this Tribunal is punishable, and the maximum penalty for false testimony
7 under solemn declaration shall be a fine of 100.000 Euros or a term of
8 imprisonment or seven years or both. Did you understand this information?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I understood everything.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Then it's time to take your solemn
11 declaration. Would you please stand up and give us your solemn
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
14 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Please be seated again.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 Questioned by the Court:
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then let us start immediately with your personal
19 data. May we hear your name, your first names, if more than one, and in
20 case there is such a nickname, also your nickname.
21 A. My name is Slavko Budimir, last name is Budimir. And my nickname
22 is Budo.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And your father's and mother's name,
25 A. My father's name is Rade and my mother's name is Bosiljka.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And you were born when and where?
2 A. I was born on the 20th of August 1953 in Prijedor.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You are married, and do you have a child or
5 A. Yes, I am married. My wife's name is Gordana, and I have two
6 children. My son's name is Dragan, and my daughter's name is Sanja.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask you, what is your current address?
8 A. My current address is Kralj Aleksandra Street number 13 in
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Your occupation today?
11 A. I am employed in a public state enterprise, the Serbian post
12 office in Banja Luka -- the post office of Banja Luka, and I am working as
13 the director of the work unit in Prijedor.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For a better understanding, can you tell me what
15 is a work unit, or the work unit, how many people are working there, and
16 what is the objective of your work?
17 A. The public state company of the Serbian post office is organised
18 as a centralised state company at the level of Republika Srpska. The work
19 unit of Prijedor, where I am the director, employs about 202 workers, and
20 it covers the region of the municipalities of Prijedor, Dubica, Nov Grad,
21 Kostajnica, Srpski Sanski Most, and Krupa Na Uni. The main purpose or
22 function of the company is to provide postal services in the region that I
23 have just mentioned.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this detailed answer.
25 The next question is already a kind of borderline question. May I
1 ask, when asked in the 1991 census, what did you declare as your
3 A. A Serb. I want to add that during that census, I worked as an
4 instructor for the people conducting the census at the municipality level
5 of Prijedor because I was a professional in this area.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: From this I understand that you were also
7 involved in the preparation of this census. Correct?
8 A. Yes, in the preparation and the implementation of the regulations
9 as a technical expert associate of the committee for the census.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Tell me, you recall the ballot paper. What was
11 it? Was there -- were there some alternatives, say, Serb, Bosniak, Croat,
12 or also maybe related to the religion of people where they just had to
13 crossmark one answer, or was it to the liberty to fill in whatever citizen
14 in Prijedor Municipality wanted to fill in?
15 A. I don't remember this ballot paper very well now. But as far as I
16 can remember, it provided a number of possibilities for the people to
17 declare themselves as Muslims, Serbs, Croats, or Yugoslavs. And there was
18 also the possibility in this questionnaire for people to say which faith
19 they belonged to.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Maybe we have to come back later to
21 this census. This was only a first question on this issue.
22 Mr. Budimir, did you hear during the last week or even the last
23 month about the guilty plea of Ms. Plavsic?
24 A. Yes, I've heard about it.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you also hear about the outcome of the case,
1 the sentencing of Ms. Plavsic, 11 years' imprisonment?
2 A. Yes, I did.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Tell me, what is your personal opinion on this
4 outcome of the case and the mere fact that Ms. Plavsic decided to plead
6 A. If you allow me, I graduated from the school of political sciences
7 at the university in Zagreb. And in the times when these events took
8 place, in view of my personal world view, I refrained from getting
9 involved in politics, and I would now like to refrain from answering this
10 question because it would require me to enlarge on certain issues in order
11 to give an answer that would be satisfactory to the Trial Chamber, as an
12 expression of my personal view.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to insist, but do you regard in principle
14 such kind of guilty plea a way to come to reconciliation in former
16 A. If you allow me, I will insist on refraining from answering this
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Nevertheless, I want, please -- I want you to
19 give me an answer, if it's only a yes or no. Do you believe this approach
20 is assisting that what is our mandate, to bring and maintain peace in the
21 area that when later on, a person arrives to that point saying "that what
22 I did in the past was actually wrong, and I have to accept the foreseeable
24 A. Conditionally speaking, yes, but with the proviso that I mentioned
25 before; namely, that it would require me enlarge on the events in
1 which -- in the times concerned and provided that it applies to all the
2 parties involved in the conflict. Then I believe it could have favourable
3 impact in the context of the work of this Tribunal and in the context of
4 the developments in the area in question.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Maybe when answering the now-following questions
6 today, it could be helpful to bear this in mind. And no doubt, this
7 Tribunal and this Trial Chamber doesn't see the events in 1992 and the
8 years immediately before and afterwards in a black and white way. There
9 is not the good and there is not the evil; we have to find out, and this
10 is our mandate, who is individually criminally responsible for certain
11 acts. And therefore, now, the following line of questions: For a better
12 understanding of your personality, let's go through in a context your
13 professional career. And by leading questions, we can go through as soon
14 as possible this career. But before I start this line of questions, could
15 you please tell us, have you ever been approached by one or the other
16 party in this case? That is, on the one hand side, the Office of the
17 Prosecutor by one or more persons, investigators, counsel, or, on the
18 other hand, Defence counsel, Mr. Lukic, Defence counsel, Mr. Ostojic, who
19 is absent in the moment, or one of the members of the Defence team?
20 A. Yes. I had interviews with the team of OTP investigators. I
21 think it was about a year ago in Banja Luka at the Intercontinental
22 Hotel. These interviews lasted from about 8.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. After,
23 that I had no more contact with the OTP, nor am I aware of the contents of
24 that statement or the way in which it was later used by the Office of the
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13 English transcripts.
1 In addition to that, I had a brief contact with Mr. Ostojic, a
2 short interview, on which occasion the Defence counsel asked me and my
3 colleague, who is supposed to come in the days that follow, Mr. Travar, to
4 testify as Defence witnesses. But we refused because we had these earlier
5 contacts with the OTP. Further to that, I had no more contact with either
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So in conclusion, there would be one
8 meeting is it correct, the 23rd March, 2002, from 9.00 until 5.00 in
9 the Intercontinental Hotel in Banja Luka with the OTP. No other contact
10 with the Prosecution. Any contact with domestic --
11 A. No, no I didn't --
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: -- Domestic judges?
13 A. No, I have never been in a courtroom, nor have I ever been held
14 responsible for a misdemeanour or a crime.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And to be -- are you sure that you met
16 Mr. Ostojic and not Mr. Lukic who is present here in the courtroom?
17 A. I apologise if I said Mr. Ostojic. I wanted to say Mr. Lukic. I
18 don't know Mr. Ostojic. This is the man whom I met with.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you go into some details during the
20 discussion, into details of the case with -- when speaking with the
22 A. No.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then, please, let's come to your professional
24 career. Is it correct you completed the secondary technical school in
25 Zagreb as well as the political sciences within the university of Zagreb?
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You graduated from the university of Zagreb, be
3 it in 1984 or 1986, it doesn't matter for the purposes of this case. You
4 did your military service in 1974 and 1975.
5 A. Yes, also in Zagreb.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And then please tell us in context, what was
7 then your professional development since 1986 until 1990?
8 A. Well, if you'll allow me to say this much, I started my career
9 much before that, before I graduated from the university. After I
10 completed the secondary technical school --
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please understand, for the purposes of this
12 case, we are interested only in this period of time, and especially the
13 then-following period. So therefore, if you could concentrate first on
14 the period between 1986-1990, and then continue telling us what you did
15 since 1990.
16 A. From 1986, after I graduated from the university, I found a job in
17 the municipality of Prijedor in the municipal committee for the economy
18 and social planning as an independent expert assistant for planning and
19 development. Within its purview, this committee, as a municipal organ,
20 covered the area of the economy, transport, communications and services,
21 public services such as education, health care, information. And I was
22 working on the development of long-term and medium-term plans.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Were you subordinate to the president of the
24 Executive Board, Mr. Vujic?
25 A. No, the president of the executive council was then Mr. Vujicic,
1 and I was subordinate to an official who was in charge of that committee,
2 Mr. Ilija Ecim. Mr. Ilija Ecim as the public servant in charge of that
3 commission was subordinate to Mr. Vujicic.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: At the beginning of today's testimony, you
5 mentioned that you were involved in taking the 1991 census. Could you
6 very briefly -- we have known a lot about this, the outcome of this
8 A. I was not a member of the elections committee that had the task of
9 consolidating all the data collected during the census. And as an expert,
10 I covered only one part of the municipal territory.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In general terms only, the outcome was what?
12 What was the majority in Prijedor Municipality in 1991?
13 A. The outcome of the census in 1992 in the Prijedor Municipality was
14 as follows: There was an approximately equal number of Serbs and
15 Muslims. I estimate that the Muslims were -- that the Muslims outnumbered
16 Serbs by one or two hundred perhaps. There were much fewer Croats, and
17 those people who declared themselves as Yugoslavs. And the number of
18 those who declared themselves as Yugoslavs was much lower in 1991 compared
19 to 1981.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Microphone not activated] Do you regard the
21 outcome of this census --
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. Do you regard the outcome of this census
24 as a legal or legitimate one?
25 A. From my point of view as an expert and from the point of view of
1 other technical and expert assistants who were involved in the census, I
2 believe there were many irregularities in the work and method used.
3 Primarily because the national parties engaged people to conduct the
4 census who did not meet the basic professional standards for this job. As
5 a result, there were many irregularities that occurred due to lack of
6 knowledge, lack of competence, qualification as well as conscious
7 manipulations committed by certain members of the committee with regard to
8 the way the census was conducted.
9 However, since the committee was established by the municipality
10 as a legal and legitimate one, I, as a law-abiding citizen, regarded the
11 outcome of this census as a legitimate one despite my reservations as an
12 expert who noticed the irregularities and deficiencies I have mentioned.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Have you ever been a member of a political
15 A. I was a member of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia from the
16 time I was in high school until 1989. And after that, until 1994, I was
17 not a member of any political party.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sometimes we heard in this courtroom a witness
19 saying he would be a passive member of a party. Would you regard yourself
20 as a passive member of any party, or what would be your first political
21 choice and what was your first political choice in 1991, 1992?
22 A. I was not a member of any party, and I don't think we can divide
23 people or members into passive or active. If somebody's not involved in a
24 political party at all, as is my case, then we cannot make these
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And the second part of the question, your first
2 political choice in 1991, 1992?
3 A. If I had a choice, I would have made it. But since I didn't, I
4 would not like to talk about it.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Just try to understand your answer. Did you
6 participate in the elections prior to April 1992?
7 A. I did take part in the elections in 1990 as a voter.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Because I don't want to go into details that's
9 a secret vote, and therefore you have the right not to answer.
10 Did you feel closer affiliated to one of the parties, to put it
11 this way?
12 A. Well, if you really insist, considering the way the nominations
13 were formed for elections at various levels, my votes depended on the
14 ballots. And I can't say that I had strictly one political choice, that I
15 opted clearly for one party in favour of another. It depended on the
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Were there people in Prijedor in the beginning
18 of 1992, or even at the end of the 1991, not accepting the outcome of the
19 census and to a certain extent, then also not accepting the outcome of the
20 elections in 1990?
21 A. I can't talk on behalf of other people. I accepted the legality
22 of the elections of 1990 and the status that resulted. All of the other
23 estimations on my part and judgements would be purely arbitrary.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: To be quite concrete, did you ever know that
25 some persons try to establish a so-called second option, or others would
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13 English transcripts.
1 call it "shadow government" in the beginning of 1992 because they were not
2 satisfied with the actual political situation in Prijedor Municipality?
3 A. I wasn't involved in politics in that period. And I wasn't close
4 to the source of information that you are referring to so that I cannot
5 clearly respond to your questions so as for my answers to really reflect
6 the truth. But this would be more of citing information from some
7 unreliable sources rather than providing evidence.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the usher to show the witness
9 Document S394B. And always, please, put on the ELMO at the same time the
10 English version.
11 Have you ever seen this document before or heard about the
12 contents of this document?
13 A. No.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then tell us, please, briefly, what was your
15 concrete occupation in the beginning of 1992, from January to April 1992?
16 A. From January to April 1992, I was employed at the municipal
17 secretariat for national defence as an expert for planning, and then later
18 I was the assistant secretary for the civilian affairs, for civilian
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you please explain, what were the
21 functions of this secretariat for national defence or secretariat for
22 people's defence?
23 A. The municipal secretariat for national defence based on the law of
24 national defence forms -- is formed by the municipality so that it could
25 carry out all the tasks relating to the administration of all issues
1 relating to defence. It is an organ which is -- has its powers over the
2 territory of the municipality for all issues relating to national defence.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Such as? Could you please give us some
5 A. Yes. In accordance with the competencies and the powers
6 prescribed by law, this organ carried out the following tasks: Placing
7 military conscripts into the records so registering the military
8 conscripts as of the age of 16 and maintaining these records of military
9 conscripts up until the age of 60 for each individual military conscript
10 or up to the age of 65 for the military conscripts who had the rank of
11 officer. The organ also conducted medical examinations and the
12 recruitment of military conscripts. Also assessed their ability to serve
13 the regular military term.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: To whom had you to report until the 1st of April
15 1992? What was the chain of command?
16 A. The municipal secretariat for national defence was a municipal
17 organ for defence. And it was subordinated to the Executive Board of the
18 Municipal Assembly. But in view of the fact that this organ operated
19 exclusively under the regulations adopted at the republican level and at
20 the federal state level, our second-ranking organ regarding the
21 decision-making actually was the republican secretariat for national
23 De facto, we were a municipal organ, but we operated according to
24 regulations of the republican organ. And they were our monitoring body in
25 terms of our implementation of those regulations.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Were you a member of the Executive Board in
3 A. I was a member of the Executive Board in the period from the 30th
4 of April until the 1st of August formally, although a change of
5 regulations in this area, according to which we were to act, took place on
6 the 1st of June 1992 so that formally, according to the regulations, I was
7 a member of the Executive Board until the 1st of June, 1992. But in terms
8 of the restructuring of this organ, from the municipal level to the
9 republican level at the level of the defence ministry, we completed these
10 tasks within two months, so by the 1st of August 1992.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In this courtroom, it is an agreed fact that the
12 30th of April 1992 is the day of the takeover in Prijedor. You just a
13 minute before told us that you were a member of the Executive Board as
14 from the 30th of April 1992. Can you tell us, when did you learn for the
15 first time that you would get this post and by whom did you learn it?
16 A. I heard that two days before the Executive Board was elected. And
17 Mr. Mico Kovacevic informed me about this during a conversation we had.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When was the Executive Board elected?
19 A. I cannot remember the specific date, but I think that it was
20 sometime in mid-April or in the first half of April, in that period
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was it a conversation on the four eyes you had
23 with Mr. Kovacevic, or were others present?
24 A. Only Mr. Kovacevic was present.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did he tell you when it was decided and why it
1 was decided to elect a new Executive Board?
2 A. No. Mico Kovacevic was a simple man. And our conversation didn't
3 last that long. He told me that there were no choices or proposals for
4 the secretariat -- secretary of the municipal secretariat for national
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And what about the reason --
7 A. May I finish, please. But he asked me to accept this post in any
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Why was it necessary to have a new Executive
10 Board as from the 30th of April?
11 A. I don't understand the formulation of the question in terms of the
12 word "necessary."
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When you obtain a new function in the Executive
14 Board, it would be to replace another person in this position. Why was it
15 necessary to replace another person, and whom did you replace?
16 A. About why this was necessary, I think that the people who formed
17 the Executive Board should give their reasons for that. As far as I'm
18 concerned, I replaced the to then secretary of the secretariat for
19 national defence Mr. Medunjanin.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was Mr. Becir Medunjanin not good enough to
21 exercise these functions, and wasn't it the result of previous elections
22 and the decisions taken by the three main parties about the distribution
23 of power in Prijedor Municipality?
24 A. Yes, that was the result of the division of power in the territory
25 of Prijedor amongst the parties which won a certain amount of votes in the
1 elections and formed the government at the municipal level. So as not to
2 use the word "good" or "not good," in terms of carrying out the function
3 and acting in accordance with the law, but I can responsibly state that
4 Mr. Medunjanin never worked in the organs of the state administration
5 before that time. He did not know what the state administration was, what
6 laws and regulations were, and what they mean for the functioning of a
7 state of the rule of law and equal regulations for all citizens. And he,
8 for a year before that, since these events began to unfold in the
9 territory of the former Yugoslavia did not implement the regulations which
10 were in force by law which regulated the work of the municipal secretariat
11 for national defence.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think we shouldn't waste too much time with
13 these kind of answers. Do you know what was the fate of Becir Medunjanin?
14 A. I think that he was a casualty of the events during the war, but I
15 do not have specific information about what happened to him. This is all
16 I know.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you read Kozarski Vjesnik?
18 A. Very little, in view of the job that I was performing, which was
19 very dynamic with lots of duties. So that I devoted very little time to
20 reading Kozarski Vjesnik as well as to contacts with people from the
21 Kozarski Vjesnik, the journalists.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Didn't you, in fact, read in Kozarski Vjesnik
23 that Becir Medunjanin was arrested alive together with other members of
24 his family?
25 A. No, I didn't read that.
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13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Didn't you know that he had been taken to
2 Omarska, was tortured, and then killed?
3 A. No, I didn't have that information, nor did I know anything about
4 the movements of Mr. Medunjanin.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you hear later of the -- about the fate of
6 Mr. Medunjanin?
7 A. I've already said that, that I found out that he was a casualty of
8 the events during the war. But under which circumstances and when, I
9 really have no information about that.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Where did you spend the evening of the 29th of
11 April 1992?
12 A. The evening of the 29th of April 1992, I spent in my family house
13 in the village of Mrakovica which is about 6 kilometres away from the town
14 of Prijedor.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Is it your testimony here that you haven't been
16 at Cirkin Polje on that evening, that night?
17 A. You used the word "evening," so I responded precisely to that word
18 "evening" which implies the time period until midnight. After midnight,
19 around 4.00 a.m. or 4.25 a.m. that night, I was collected by a police
20 patrol, two young men, one of whom I knew, and they told me to go with
21 them to town. And on the way they explained to me that there was a
22 takeover of power and that I should report to Cirkin Polje. I arrived
23 Cirkin Polje at about 20 to 5.00 a.m., and I saw a large number of people
24 there, most of whom I didn't know. I only knew a small number of people
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Will you please be so kind and give us the names
2 of those persons you knew.
3 A. The people whom I knew were the following: Mr. Srdic,
4 Mr. Miskovic, and if I remember well, Mr. Kuruzovic, as well as this young
5 man from the police, Mr. Jovic, the one who brought me.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You are aware that there are a number of Jovics
7 in Prijedor. Could you please give us the first name of this Mr. Jovic.
8 A. Zika Jovic. He worked at the SUP.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you know Dr. Stakic beforehand?
10 A. No, I didn't know Dr. Stakic from before.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Until the 30th of April, where did you have your
13 A. My office was in a building where the municipal secretariat for
14 national defence was, and the ministry for internal affairs. This is
15 immediately across the street from the municipal building.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Have you at least ever seen the vice-president
17 at that time, before the 1st of May, the vice-president of the Municipal
18 Assembly of Prijedor Municipality Dr. Stakic?
19 A. Yes, I saw him. I understood the previous questions as contacts
20 and my acquaintance with him. But I did see Mr. Stakic. Of course, I
21 would see him on the street, over the media. I don't know. I did see
22 him. It's not that I didn't know his face, but we didn't have any
23 contacts before that.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I appreciate your precise answers. But let me
25 come back to Cirkin Polje. Did you see Dr. Stakic as well at Cirkin
2 A. No, I didn't notice him in the crowd. I spent a very brief amount
3 of time there. I think that I was the last person to arrive there. I was
4 the farthest away also, so I was there for about 20 to 40 minutes. And
5 then in the crowd created in this way, I didn't know the majority of the
6 people. So in these milling about -- in this milling about, I didn't
7 notice Mr. Stakic.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you learn later by chance and through others
9 whether or whether not Dr. Stakic was present at Cirkin Polje that night?
10 A. No, I didn't hear of it, nor did I discuss this topic specifically
11 with anyone. I didn't feel that this was necessary for me for the
12 carrying out of the duties that I was carrying out.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would you tell us in some detail what happened
14 at Cirkin Polje when people were assembled there? Did anybody take the
15 floor, give a speech, and give an address what should happen on the next
16 day, or actually, the same day, the 30th of April 1992?
17 A. No. The previous question relating to this date and about what
18 was going on up there, I don't have any information because I told you I
19 arrived there the last. It was about 20 to 5.00, and already at 5.30, we
20 set out for our jobs. And the time that I spent there, from 20 to 5.00 to
21 5.30, there were no talks or contacts. I believe that all the things had
22 been clarified previously so that I did not take part in any of these
23 conversations. There were no speeches, instructions, specific content or
24 anything to that effect.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you please explain the meaning of your
1 sentence "I believe that all the things had been clarified previously."
2 A. This is what I meant, what you were talking about, whether there
3 were any meetings, speeches, or such things.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What had to be clarified previously?
5 A. I don't know. I didn't participate in the preparation or the
6 working out, so I don't know what it was that needed to be clarified.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I just had quoted your own answer. And it is
8 not self-understanding or it's easy to get access to any kind of
9 understanding when you immediately out of the blue tell us that you
10 believe any of these things have been clarified previously. And then I
11 have to insist to ask you, what were the things that had been clarified
12 previously? To be quite concrete, the takeover?
13 A. If you allow me, in your question, you asked me the question were
14 there any meetings, agreements, talks about any issues. And I said I
15 arrived at 20 to 5.00. And then after that, from the moment I arrived,
16 there were no meetings, agreements, or conversations. And my answer
17 wholly was directed in -- directed to replying to your question whether
18 there were any meetings, agreements, or conversations.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think the transcript speaks for itself.
20 What happened with you, then? You told us you were there 20 to 40
21 minutes. Did you leave at your own or accompanied by others?
22 A. The people who brought me, since this was in the same building,
23 these people worked in the same building as I did, also took me back to my
24 workplace. So I got there at about a quarter to 6.00 or 20 to 6.00, I got
25 to the place where I was working.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was it the same place as before?
2 A. I was the assistant secretary of the secretariat for national
3 defence for civilian questions previously. And at the meeting, I was
4 elected as secretary of the municipal secretariat for national defence.
5 So I came to the workplace for the secretary of national defence.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So when arriving at about 6.00 or 20 to 6.00,
7 you immediately took over the chair of and the office of this secretary
8 for people's defence. Correct?
9 A. Yes, I went to the premises of the municipal secretariat for
10 national defence, and -- but I didn't go to that office immediately. But
11 I went to the office where I used to be up until that time. I moved to
12 the other office maybe two or three days later. It didn't mean anything
13 much to me. The job could be conducted from either office, so it wasn't
14 important to me which office I was in, and it didn't have anything to do
15 with the actual performing of my work duties. So that time, I didn't
16 actually go directly to that office.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When taking over the work of a predecessor, one
18 normally has a discussion, files are handed over, and there is some kind
19 of introduction. Did you discuss these issues with Becir Medunjanin?
20 A. No, I didn't discuss those issues with Becir Medunjanin because
21 that day, he didn't come to work. But I talked to those people who did
22 report to the work, with the deputy, Josip Gotvald and with the other
23 assistants for military affairs as well as other expert staff.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you ever see Mr. Becir Medunjanin once
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. No.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stays adjourned until 5 minutes past
4 --- Recess taken at 10.35 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 11.06 a.m.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
7 Mr. Budimir, to repeat: Based on your previous testimony, you are
8 invited by the late Mico Kovacevic to take over the new position. At the
9 same time, you mentioned later that there was a previous meeting. Was
10 this the meeting of the Serbian Assembly of Prijedor Municipality?
11 A. My talk with Mr. Kovacevic was two days before the meeting of the
12 Serbian Municipal Assembly of Prijedor where the Executive Board was
13 elected in that composition headed by Mr. Kovacevic where I had the post
15 acting municipal secretary for national defence.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And you were invited by Mr. Kovacevic to attend
17 this meeting of the Serbian Municipal Assembly of Prijedor. Correct?
18 A. Yes. Mr. Kovacevic invited me to attend the session which was
19 supposed to elect the Executive Board.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And where was this meeting held and who
22 A. That session was held on the premises of the public utilities
23 institute in Prijedor, and it was attended by the deputies of the
24 Municipal Assembly plus the nominees for the Executive Board. I attended
25 that session together with Mr. Mico Kreco, president of the court in
1 Prijedor, because most of the people there were unknown to me. And Mico
2 Kreco was the only one I knew from before.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You mentioned the deputies of the Municipal
4 Assembly were there, plus other nominees. Was among these persons
5 Dr. Milomir Stakic?
6 A. If I remember well, I think he did, but I can't say exactly. I
7 know Mr. Kovacevic was there who told us about the nominees from the
8 roster. I think Mr. Stakic was there, but I can't claim it with any
9 certainty because there were many people there and they were not seated in
10 any particular order. So I didn't really remark upon it.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When you state "the deputies of the Municipal
12 Assembly" were there in fact all the members of the Municipal Assembly, or
13 wasn't it true that there were only the members of the SDS?
14 A. I think this session was attended by all the deputies to the
15 Municipal Assembly of Serb ethnicity, regardless of their party
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Previously you mentioned that there were, in
18 addition to these deputies being of Serb ethnicities the nominees.
19 Nominees for what? Only nominees for posts like yours, or also nominees
20 for other functions be it in the area of your own job or in a broader
21 area, maybe including the Executive Board, the president of the Municipal
22 Assembly, and so on?
23 A. Well, there were nominees who already held certain posts and who
24 made up the Executive Board, the secretary for defence, secretary for the
25 economy, secretary for town planning, secretary for property-related and
1 legal affairs. Vice-president of the Executive Board, vice chairman of
2 the assembly, et cetera.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How come that you are with a surprising
4 precision know about these persons, but being hesitant whether one of the
5 higher ranking persons in Prijedor, the at that time vice-president of
6 Prijedor Municipality, attended this meeting?
7 A. Since the Executive Board was already established, I don't
8 remember the people. I remember their posts. And I remember the holders
9 of those posts were present. And ex officio, they were required to
10 attend, and I wasn't. I knew only a part of those people. So I'm not
11 speaking here about specific individualities or faces. I'm talking about
12 the offices that had to be represented on the Executive Board and were
13 required to attend.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Since when was it planned that this Serbian
15 Assembly should be established?
16 A. I don't know. This question does not sound very specific to me,
17 and I can't answer it. I didn't take part in any planning.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When exactly it took place?
19 A. Well, I can't tell you in the sense in which you used the term
20 "plan." I'm talking about the day when the session was held in the first
21 half of April. And when exactly plans were made and how, I really can't
22 know because I have no first-hand information about it, having had nothing
23 to do with it myself.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How long were you present during this meeting?
25 A. For the duration of the session.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And it took how long in hours?
2 A. I can't be very precise. I don't think, however, that it was a
3 long one. Don't remember simply.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But, sir, can't you understand that I have to
5 ask you that it -- wouldn't it be quite natural to discuss with other
6 persons being present there, what about this Serbian Assembly? What's the
7 reason for creating this assembly? What is the history or the
8 background? Because such a huge meeting can't come out of the blue.
9 A. I agree with what you say, but I have already told you that at
10 that time, I had already made my decision to stay away from politics. I
11 had no information about the background, and I concentrated simply on
12 doing my job in keeping with the regulations and the law believing that
13 adhering to the current legislation is the best I can do.
14 As far as politics were concerned, since I had decided to keep
15 away from them, I can't make any comments or draw conclusions. I believe
16 the effort was focussed at the time on preserving the status quo. But I
17 can't tell you any more than that because I was not an active participant
18 at any level of political decision-making at the time.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So to conclude this question, because you
20 mentioned that the late Mico Kovacevic two days prior to the session
21 offered you this new job, and apparently you accepted, that this meeting
22 with the late Mr. Kovacevic would be in the beginning of April, correct?
23 A. Yes. As I have already said, it happened two days before the
24 session. I was offered to do that part of the job, and I had very little
25 time to decide whether to take it or not. That was difficult. I think
1 that in the party of which Mr. Kovacevic was a member, they had no other
2 candidate for this post. I'm talking now about the municipal secretary
3 for national defence. Since in that period and in the period that
4 followed, this particular office wasn't very popular. Therefore, it had
5 to be.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: During this meeting, did Mr. Savanovic also
8 A. If you mean my meeting with Kovacevic, he wasn't there. But I
9 believe he attended the session of the assembly, the session held in the
10 public utilities institute.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When and by whom did you learn that you would
12 have to take over the new position as of 30th of April, by Mr. Kovacevic
13 or only two days later during this meeting of the Serbian Assembly?
14 A. Mr. Kovacevic told me two days in advance that I would have to
15 take over that office, but I learned officially about it at the session of
16 the assembly which elected me.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And was already a date fixed for the new working
18 period during this meeting?
19 A. No, there was no mention of the term of office at that meeting,
20 and I believe the ballot papers said that people would be elected for a
21 provisional period of six months. But there was no particular reference
22 to it at the session.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For a period of six months as of?
24 A. Well, the ballot papers did not indicate the starting date. It
25 was probably implied that time began to run as of the date of election,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 but that was an inference. There was no specific date indicated.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But let's now go to the 29th of April. At that
3 date, in the afternoon, say, you knew already that as from the next day,
4 you would be in a different position?
5 A. On that day, the 29th, I did not know that I would be taking on
6 that job. I learned about it on the 30th at 4.30 when I arrived in town
7 together with the police patrol that gave me a lift.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So it's your testimony that you were absolutely
9 surprised that not at midnight, but during the night police arrived at
10 your home?
11 A. Let me tell you one thing: I had been previously elected, as we
12 discussed just now, by the provisional composition of this assembly. But
13 I can't say that I was absolutely surprised because due to this prior
14 election, I wasn't completely taken aback. But the first
15 information -- the first real information I received was when these people
16 came to pick me up on the 30th at 4.30 in the morning.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But then, please understand the following
18 question: Why was it necessary to bring you first to Cirkin Polje and not
19 immediately to your office the next day?
20 A. I don't know about that. The person who organised all that
21 probably had their reasons. As far as I'm concerned, they could have
22 easily taken me straight to my new office. It made no difference to me.
23 I would have been as happy if they had driven me to my new job at 5.30.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Isn't it true that you received at Cirkin Polje
25 a new ID?
1 A. I did not receive any ID.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We have to come back to this later.
3 Did you receive - I know you are very precise with your answers -
4 did you receive any other, say, permit or document allowing you
5 to enter the premises of your office?
6 A. I don't remember clearly now if there had been any permits or,
7 let's say per se, handed out at the moment. But in view of the situation
8 at the time, I do not rule out the possibility. But since I already had
9 been an employee there, I don't think I needed anything extra to go to my
10 new job. I really can't remember precisely whether I was issued a new
11 document. But looking back, I don't think I needed anything of the sort
12 because as an employee, I had already been able to go in and out of the
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sir, if I would ask you about what happened the
15 24th of April, say, 1997, I'm quite sure you couldn't answer this. So
16 would I. But this was a very special moment. I think it didn't happen
17 that often that you were taken during night hours by police to such an
18 assembly and telling us now that you are not quite sure, that you don't
19 remember precisely whether you received a new document. Can't you
20 understand that we can't understand this?
21 A. You know, the circumstances and the times were different. In your
22 situation and from your position, you may well believe what you believe.
23 But if you are wakened up at 4.30 in the morning and taken to a strange
24 room and you know only two or three people, and you don't really
25 understand what's going on, commotion reigns, and at a certain point they
1 tell you go to your new jobs and start working, I don't know whether you
2 can appreciate my answer and accept it, but I can't change anything about
3 it. I really can't remember, and I would hate to say one way or another
4 about something I'm not certain of.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: That's just what I was trying to say. These 20
6 to 40 minutes were extremely special event during your life. So please,
7 try to tell us, to the best of your recollection, first, did you receive a
8 new document?
9 A. I have to go back again to the events in my life. Since this, I
10 had at least ten more serious events in my life than this one, more
11 serious situations as well. But let's come back to this. I don't
12 remember specifically whether I received any document because when I look
13 back from today, I don't think that I was given any document, but it's
14 possible that I was if such a document was given to others. If other
15 people as secretaries of some other organs received such a document, then
16 I probably received it, too. But I at the moment cannot remember whether
17 I received any kind of document, a decision, any kind of pass or anything
18 like that. Really, I don't remember.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Were there guards in front of the premises of
20 the building where you had your office?
21 A. In the morning when I came to the office, to my place of work,
22 there was only one police officer at the entrance because the entrance was
23 the same as the entrance to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. So at the
24 entrance, there was only one police officer sitting there. From the
25 moment that I entered the building, the police officer went back to his
1 own place of work. There was no need for the people to be there because
2 the situation was such that there was no need for such people.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did the guard grant you immediately entrance, or
4 did you have to present any kind of ID when entering the building?
5 A. Nothing, as far as I can remember. I didn't show anything to the
6 guard. There was just one room where all the people of the Ministry for
7 Internal Affairs worked. They all worked together in the same room.
8 There was no need for me as I was coming in to show them any kind of
9 document because those people knew me.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. A more general question: This 30th of
11 April 1992, who else was replaced in the Municipality of Prijedor by
12 whom? Let us start with your own office, and then go to other areas.
13 A. In the organ that I worked in, only Mr. Medunjanin was replaced.
14 And I came to the post of the municipal -- to the post of secretary of the
15 municipal secretariat for national defence. In the rest of the hierarchy,
16 nobody else was replaced from the post that they were performing. If
17 we're thinking about the municipal secretariat for national defence, which
18 is where I worked.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What about the Municipal Assembly?
20 A. As far as the Municipal Assembly is concerned, I think all of the
21 officials of Muslim or Croat ethnicity were replaced. I'm not quite sure.
22 I'm only talking about the officials now. But the deputies of those
23 officials, I think, were not all replaced. I don't have the specific
24 information, but I don't believe that all of the deputies were replaced at
25 that point.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What about the presidency of the Municipal
3 A. There was no presidency of the Municipal Assembly. There was just
4 the president and the vice-president. I think the vice-president took
5 over the functions of the president.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And why this? Why was this necessary?
7 A. I don't know why. I don't know why this was necessary. Probably
8 those people who organised that should be asked.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you know Professor Cehajic as a resident in
10 that area?
11 A. Yes, I knew him. I knew Professor Cehajic as a professor from the
12 high school, even though I didn't go to that high school. I knew him; I
13 knew his face; I knew what he looked like. But nothing more than that. I
14 didn't have any other contacts with Mr. Cehajic.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sir, do you want to tell us as you sit here
16 today that you didn't know at that day Professor Cehajic was replaced by
17 Dr. Stakic?
18 A. I didn't say that. Perhaps the translation was wrong. I said
19 that the vice-president of the Municipal Assembly took over the post of
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you ever see Professor Cehajic after the
22 30th of April again?
23 A. No, I did not.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you hear about his fate?
25 A. I heard that he came to a tragic end in those events, but I don't
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 have information as to the circumstances, when and where and so on.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Just a moment ago, you emphasised that you
3 discussed the replacement of officials in the Municipal Assembly only.
4 What about officials in other areas in the Municipality of Prijedor? What
5 about replacement in these other areas?
6 A. I didn't say that I talked about the replacement, but I just noted
7 which replacements had been made. I didn't have any discussions or
8 conversations about that. I don't know which other replacements do you
9 mean? Could you please be more specific. And if I have any knowledge
10 about that, if I know anything about that, then I can answer.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So it's the best way to put to you your own
12 answer, you said: "But I just noted which replacements had been made."
13 So please, tell us which replacements had been made? What did you note?
14 A. I noted that all officials from the municipality, at the
15 municipality level, had been conducted, and I said that I was not sure
16 whether any of the deputies of those officials at that point were
17 replaced or all of them.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Once again, what was the reason that these
19 replacements happened, based apparently on a night meeting immediately
20 after that the next morning and prepared on the meeting you participated
21 of the so-called Serbian Assembly of Prijedor Municipality? Why was this
23 A. In that context, I can answer with some general and generally
24 accepted reasons. But I would like to refrain as far as any of my own
25 personal qualifications and political assessments are concerned. As far
1 as the general matters are concerned, probably the Serbs wanted to
2 maintain the status quo of the existing situation. They believed it was
3 legal and legitimate for them to apply the existing legal regulations.
4 And in that context, they held the referendum about remaining in the
5 existing state, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. While on the other
6 hand, members of the other two ethnic groups held a referendum on the
7 independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and later in that context, the
8 Lisbon talks were held where the generally accepted position was about
9 some type of cantonisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina which would imply the
10 satisfaction of the interests of all of the three peoples.
11 This agreement was signed by all the participants. And then
12 later, the representatives of the Muslim people withdrew their signature
13 which in a way, in the light of all the previous events from 1991, was an
14 introduction into the way things would go in the territory of Bosnia and
15 Herzegovina. And in that context, also the events that were talked about.
16 But once again, let me say I am a politologist by profession, but at that
17 time I did not wish to be active in politics and I would kindly request
18 this Chamber not to -- to allow me to abstain from answering questions or
19 providing answers on political matters. Thank you.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You're here not as an political expert; you're
21 here as a witness on concrete facts.
22 To come to other concrete questions, what was the function of the
23 Council for National Defence and who were the members?
24 A. In accordance with the law on general people's defence, which was
25 adopted in 1983, the Council for National Defence is an advisory body of
1 the Municipal Assembly. And therefore, in accordance with the law, it
2 deals with the relevant questions pertaining to national defence. And in
3 that sense, provides its positions and its recommendations to the
4 Municipal Assembly.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Who were the members?
6 A. Members, in accordance with the regulations of the law, members of
7 the executive council were the president of the Executive Board; and in
8 accordance with that law, because there were no amendments which regulated
9 the body of -- the work of this body, the members were the members of the
10 municipal council of the League of Communists, the president of the
11 socialist council -- alliance, also the president of the veterans'
12 association, the president of the youth association, the commander of the
13 Territorial Defence, and other members appointed by the Municipal
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Were you --
16 A. The secretary --
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: -- A member?
18 A. The secretary of the municipal secretariat by his function is the
19 secretary of that body in accordance with this law that I'm referring to.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you participate in a meeting of the Council
21 for National Defence, any of them or several of them?
22 A. I did participate in the body -- in the work of this body. I
23 think I participated in the work -- several meetings. I cannot specify
24 how many, but in some way by my function I was a member of that body.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May the witness please be shown Exhibit S60,
2 Can we please see this document in a way that we can start from
3 the top of the entire document. Could you please comment on this
4 document. Is it correct that there was the 4th meeting of the Council for
5 National Defence of the Prijedor Municipal Assembly held on 15 may 1992
6 starting at 1000 hours? Do you recall this meeting?
7 A. I think that this is a meeting of the 15th of May, according to
8 the minutes that I have in front of me. Whether this was the fourth
9 meeting or not, I don't know. I don't know when you would count this body
10 as starting its operation, but the minutes do state that it is the fourth
11 meeting of the Council for National Defence of the Municipal Assembly.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous translation continues] ... my
13 question. Because this is our minutes of the fourth meeting. When was
14 the first meeting of this Council for National Defence, to the best of
15 your recollection only, of course?
16 A. This question requires a slightly longer answer. When I told you
17 something about the constituting of this body and what it states in the
18 law about this body, I cannot specifically tell you when the first meeting
19 was held of the Council for National Defence because this body, I don't
20 remember this body being formed at a meeting of the municipal council
21 after the multiparty elections. I even think that it was not formed at
22 that point, but by analogy and the order of events, it was multiparty
23 Municipal Assembly and the previous president, Mr. Cehajic, held some
24 meetings of the council which I did not attend at the time because I was
25 not a member of that body then. So that I cannot specifically tell you
1 when which meeting was held. And I cannot talk about the chronology of
2 the events, whether it was the fourth meeting, when the previous meetings
3 were held, and what exactly was discussed at those meetings.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And please, in the next line, you can read:
5 "Dr. Milomir Stakic, president of the council, chaired the meeting." Why
6 was it that Dr. Milomir Stakic was the president of this Council for
7 National Defence?
8 A. In view of the law that I have referred to and which was not
9 changed in the meantime, the president of the Council for National
10 Defence, by his position, was the president of the assembly. So probably
11 that is why he chaired the meetings of the Council for National Defence.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So let's go through the persons who attended
13 this meeting. Dr. Milomir Stakic, Dr. Milan Kovacevic. What was his
15 A. President of the Executive Board.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Simo Miskovic.
17 A. Yes.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please always help us with the function of these
19 persons. Simo Miskovic.
20 A. Simo Miskovic was the president of the executive council of the
21 Prijedor SDS.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Vladimir Arsic.
23 A. He was the commander of the 43rd Motorised Brigade which had its
24 headquarters at the Prijedor garrison.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Pero Colic.
1 A. Colic was the commander of the 5th Brigade which was also based in
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Slobodan Kuruzovic.
4 A. I think that at the time, Mr. Kuruzovic was the commander of the
5 municipal staff of the Territorial Defence.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Radmilo Zeljaja.
7 A. Radmilo Zeljaja I think had the rank of captain at that point, but
8 I don't know whether -- what function he was performing at the 43rd
9 Motorised Brigade in the Prijedor garrison. He was an assistant of Arsic,
10 so I'm not sure what function he was performing at the time.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Rade Javoric.
12 A. Rade Javoric was also the commander of the Territorial Defence.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then your name follows. After this, Simo
15 A. He was the chief of the public security station in Prijedor.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Cedo Sipovac.
17 A. He was the chief of the military territorial organ for
18 mobilisation at the Prijedor garrison.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Vojo Pavicic.
20 A. He was the secretary of the municipal secretariat for housing and
21 urban affairs.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Bosko Mandic.
23 A. Bosko Mandic was the vice-president of the Executive Board and
24 commander of the municipal staff of the TO, as a member of the staff. He
25 was the commander of the municipal staff for civilian defence. Mr. Bosko
1 Mandic was the commander of the municipal staff for civilian defence.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Ranko Travar.
3 A. He was the secretary of the secretariat for economy and social
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Milenko Rajlic.
6 A. He was the secretary for information in the Executive Board.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Dragan Savanovic.
8 A. He was the vice-president of the Municipal Assembly.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Spiro Marmat.
10 A. He was an expert in the secretariat for national defence.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you meet one of these persons we can see
12 starting with Dr. Stakic, concluding with the name of Spiro Marmat, during
13 the last four weeks, see or meet, that there's no misunderstanding?
14 A. Over the past four weeks, I met Mr. Ranko Travar, Bosko Mandic,
15 and Dragan Savanovic. And allow me once again just to check. I see
16 Mr. Pavicic, but I'm not sure whether in the time period that you are
17 talking about that I had been with him. But I do have contacts with him,
18 and over the past month or two, I did meet him. But in the relevant
19 period, I don't remember that I had any business or any other contacts
20 with him.
21 As far as the other people are concerned, I did meet them
22 frequently. Mr. Savanovic and Mr. Travar, I do have contacts with them.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you discuss with them your testimony here in
24 The Hague?
25 A. No, except with Mr. Travar.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you prepare your testimony together with
2 Mr. Travar?
3 A. No, we did not particularly prepare for testifying. But we did
4 exchange information.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What kind of information, please?
6 A. Well, we contacted each other when we received this paper. We
7 received it together. We went together to the police station. We
8 prepared the records together with the girl who was the interpreter. We
9 filled in the questionnaires together. And the text is identical,
10 both -- almost identical for both of us.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: On page 42, line 8, you mentioned that Mr. Spiro
12 Marmat was an expert in the secretariat for national defence. He
13 participated in this meeting in this capacity?
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And at the same time, he kept the minutes.
17 A. I believe so, because that's what it says in the -- on the paper.
18 I don't see why it would be written there otherwise.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When did you see or meet Mr. Spiro Marmat the
20 last time?
21 A. Well, in the last three or four or even five months, I didn't see
22 him. He worked until recently in the ministry in Prijedor. He's now
23 retired, and his family lives in Belgrade. So he commutes between
24 Prijedor and Belgrade. In the past six months, I had no contact with him
25 in particular, apart from perhaps seeing him in passing in the street. We
1 had no contact in the period in question. While we worked together, of
2 course, we saw each other every day. I stopped working in 1997, 1998.
3 Since then, we haven't seen much of each other.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We have to come back to this later.
5 May I ask the usher, please, to forward the document a little bit
6 that we can read the lower part. You can see the agenda, that due to this
7 paper, was confirmed. First, decision on the organisation and functioning
8 of the Crisis Staff. Could you please explain what was the reason to
9 organise and function the Crisis Staff. Apparently, it was Dr. Milomir
10 Stakic and you yourself participating in the debate as the only
12 A. I think this is about a draft decision which came from upstairs,
13 probably from the level of the president or the presidency to form Crisis
14 Staffs on the municipal level. This decision said what exactly a Crisis
15 Staff is supposed to do and indicated recommended members. I think it was
16 a document which came down from higher up. I had nothing to do with it,
17 and I, as a secretary, had to accept this and forward this decision in
18 that form to the assembly without giving my own opinion on it. The
19 assembly was supposed to consider and deliberate on it.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So you received this order to establish a Crisis
21 Staff and forwarded it to this group meeting there, the 15th of May.
23 A. No, I did not receive the decision on the organisation and
24 functioning of the Crisis Staff. It's the president who receives such
25 decisions from higher organs. I mean, the president of the Municipal
1 Assembly. We were only supposed to forward it to the assembly for review
2 and adoption.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So it would be Dr. Stakic receiving this order,
4 and it would then for you and the other participants to forward this
5 order. Correct?
6 A. Dr. Stakic received instructions in the form of that decision.
7 The board reviewed the decision and decided that there was nothing to
8 change in it, but rather that it should be forwarded to the assembly for
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You vaguely mentioned that apparently this came
11 from persons in higher places. Wasn't it the president of the state who
12 gave this order?
13 A. I already said it was the head of the state or president of the
14 presidency. I can't say exactly, but it is my estimate that it must have
15 come from that level because as far as I know, there was the president of
16 the state and a presidency consisting of three members. Who the head of
17 the presidency was at that time, I can't remember.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When you were asked by the Prosecution during
19 the interview the 23rd of March 2002, on page 11, you stated, line 15:
20 "After the Executive Board was disbanded, the Crisis Staff of the
21 Municipal Assembly was formed by the decision of the president of the
22 state, and I was a member due by virtue of my position of secretary of the
24 At that point in time, you spontaneously answered that "It was the
25 decision of the president of the state." Does this refresh your
2 A. Well, I have to tell you that even if I said so at the time, I'm
3 still not sure whether it was the head of state or the presidency. I
4 cannot recollect that with any certainty, but I don't see what it changes
5 anyway, whether it was the president or the presidency. I only meant that
6 it came from the highest -- from the supreme body and that we, as lower
7 organs, had to abide by it and put it into practice.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you yourself see this order establishing the
9 Crisis Staff?
10 A. I believe the president of the municipality held it in his hands
11 and read it out to us. I never held the paper myself. I can't remember
12 now exactly who was it who read the decision and signed it. I believe the
13 president read it out to us. There were no comments, and there were no
14 proposed amendments before adoption.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And then how did you achieve the goal to forward
16 this order to other persons, as you mentioned just beforehand? Wasn't
17 this document copied, and isn't it true that this document was signed by
18 Mr. Karadzic?
19 A. I don't rule out the possibility that Dr. Karadzic signed it. I
20 said it was either Dr. Karadzic or the presidency, but even if it came
21 from the presidency, it had to be signed by Dr. Karadzic, either in his
22 capacity as head of state or in his capacity of president of the
23 presidency. It was forwarded, in any case, to the municipal level, to the
24 president of the Municipal Assembly and the secretary, and the technical
25 bodies involved because it was their job to review it and forward it for
2 I did not have anything with the review of this decision because
3 that was in the competence of the appropriate bodies of the Municipal
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: On the document, it reads, after the name
6 participating in the discussion, Dr. Stakic and you, Mr. Budimir, "The
7 following conclusion was adopted: First, the draft on the organisation
8 and functioning of the Crisis Staff is approved under the proviso that a
9 representative of the garrison in Prijedor be added to the proposed lists
10 of members of the Crisis Staff."
11 Why this? Why was it necessary to go even beyond this order and
12 to add a representative of the garrison in Prijedor?
13 A. I don't know. It was probably not my proposal as an expert. It
14 was probably the proposal of an official who thought that it was important
15 to do so. But in view of the instructions that came from upstairs, this
16 proposal was not accepted, and these people were not appointed to the
17 Crisis Staff. I don't know for what reasons, and I don't know whether
18 there had been any additional consultations. This proposal may have been
19 made, but the Executive Board was not allowed -- was not authorised to
20 change the composition of the Crisis Staff as proposed by the presidency
21 or the president.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Wouldn't it be logic -- then when you state that
23 it was not your proposal and only two persons participated in the
24 discussion, that this proposal was one of Dr. Milomir Stakic?
25 A. Well, it turns out to be logical, but I can't claim that with any
1 certainty. I don't know with what accuracy the records were made. I'm
2 not sure that only two persons participated in this discussion. There may
3 have been more. And only on the basis of the record, I can't draw the
4 conclusion that it was Mr. Stakic's proposal if it wasn't mine.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you ever have reasons to believe that
6 Mr. Spiro Marmat kept the minutes not in the most appropriate and
7 conscientious way?
8 A. That's not what I meant. But I believe that every person who is
9 making notes or taking a record of a meeting is writing down only the most
10 important things and not covering absolutely all the details of a
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then let's go to the second point of the agenda,
13 please. "Mobilisation in the municipality."
14 You can see from this document that apparently you participated,
15 and you were the first one taking the floor during the meeting. And then
16 we see the conclusions noting that also Dr. Milomir Stakic participated in
17 the discussion.
18 So here, it reads: "No Crisis Staff can be formed in companies or
19 other legal entities." Was this decision enforced?
20 A. To be quite honest, many decisions of the Crisis Staff were never
21 enforced. The Crisis Staff made its decisions in the form of conclusions
22 and recommendations and all the other forms taken over from the Municipal
23 Assembly. But it had no instruments to ensure the implementation of its
24 decision, even as regards companies. I certainly took part in these
25 discussions because that was part of my job, and it falls within the
1 competencies of the secretariat for national defence. But all issues that
2 had to do with mobilisation are very specific to that time when the
3 mobilisation took place. Mobilisation was carried out within the JNA much
4 earlier, in 1991, in September. The way they were mobilised, through
5 callups, through military territorial bodies, and sent to Slavonia where
6 they spent from September 1991 to March or April 1992. Also there was
7 mobilisation of the Territorial Defence that was carried out from
8 September 1991 to April 1992, plus the mobilisation of the reserve force
9 of the police.
10 So practically mobilisation covered all the structures and
11 included all the people employed in companies who had wartime
12 assignments. So mobilisation was completed within that period. And at
13 this point we are talking about, it was only a matter of reviewing the
14 strength of units that came back from Slavonia, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th
15 unit, and units were not complete for the reasons you are already aware
16 of, because Muslims and members of other ethnic communities did not
17 respond to mobilisation callups. And also because these units had
18 suffered losses. So the actual strength was only 50 per cent of what it
19 should have been, according to establishment. And these units had to be
20 reinforced and supplied with military conscripts and materiel and
21 equipment. That's what we were talking about at this session.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would Muslims and members of other ethnic
23 communities be welcomed in JNA or TO in 1992? We are speaking now about
24 the 15th of May 1992.
25 A. Well, as for being welcome or not, I worked in a body that worked
1 strictly in keeping with the law. The law said that all the people in the
2 territory covered by that organ were required to respond to the callup,
3 and that applied in 1991 during the first mobilisation and during the
4 entire period when conscripts were mobilised. Upon the return of these
5 units from Slavonia, the units still included members of other ethnic
6 communities, Muslims and Croats, although in smaller numbers. As far as
7 the Territorial Defence and the police are concerned, we did not resolve
8 the matters completely at all because until the outbreak of the conflict,
9 these units included a half of Muslims and the rest were Serbs and Croats.
10 At the moment when the conflict broke out, the composition of the units
11 changed. These units were in charge of taking control of the territory
12 and were maintained in the new percentage.
13 But there were, again, rifts along ethnic lines.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Tell me, coming to point 3 of the agenda, what
15 was the reason to start the transformation of both TO staffs and form a
16 unified command for control and command of all the units formed in the
17 territory of the municipality?
18 A. Well, to explain the reason in detail would take time. It is my
19 opinion that sometime around that time, the system of the Territorial
20 Defence in Bosnia and Herzegovina broke up. According to the law, these
21 units were formed on the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina and were
22 commanded by the commander of TO along the principles of single command
23 and absolute obedience from lower levels. However, when this general rift
24 occurred in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was reflected also
25 on command and control. And the units of the Territorial Defence which
1 remained in the territory held by Muslims were used to form the BH army,
2 and the TO units remaining in Serb territory were resubordinated to the
3 JNA, later the VRS. And that is the subject of that discussion at the
4 session of the assembly which discussed the need to resubordinate these
5 units because it is a well-known fact that you cannot have two or more
6 armies operating in the same area. That is one of the basic principles.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So in conclusion, you regard it as the
8 responsibility to decide on this issue on the level of the municipality of
9 Prijedor. Correct?
10 A. No, that is not what I thought, nor is it true. For this level of
11 command and control, it was within the purview of the higher organs such
12 the assembly. The assembly through the competent body, the national
13 defence secretariat, dealt with it, and conducted reorganisation,
14 transformation, and resubordination of these units, whereas the municipal
15 level had nothing to do with it. It was too low for this sort of
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How was it, then, possible that you during this
18 discussion on Prijedor level took the conclusion to start the unification
19 of both TO staffs?
20 A. Well, we were just reviewing events in our area. And in view of
21 the decisions from higher organs, we issued decisions to implement
22 instructions from higher bodies. We could not be separate from the
23 overall system of organisation and we couldn't review in Prijedor and
24 Banja Luka and other municipalities different issues. We all reviewed
25 mainly one and the same thing. We are the body who -- we were the body
1 who had the right to make proposals to the assembly and come up with
2 initiatives about the implementation of conclusions and decisions from
3 above in the most efficient manner.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's please turn to the next issues on the
5 agenda, briefly. May I ask the usher to change the document.
6 You can see on agenda point 4, it is disarmament of paramilitary
7 formations. These were paramilitary formations of all ethnicities?
8 A. As regards the disarmament of all paramilitary formations, this is
9 what I can tell you: With the return of units from Slavonia, namely, the
10 43rd and the 5th Brigade, there appeared a large concentration of armed
11 men of all ethnicities in our area. There were about 1.950 people,
12 according to establishment, half Muslims, half Serbs approximately. And
13 if you add to that the police which had a force of about 1400 people,
14 again, according to establishment, it was considered that we had a large
15 number of armed men in our territory counting only those who were legally
16 mobilised. And our desire was that these people, who were mobilised as
17 the reserve force, should be downsized. In addition to that, again, there
18 were uncontrolled groups that could not be controlled by either the army
19 or the police. And our wish was to disarm these people and to have only
20 the army in the barracks with a strength envisaged by the establishment,
21 the regular members of the Territorial Defence staff, and reserve
22 policemen as envisaged by the establishment which was significantly
23 increased from 1991 to 1992, from 700 to 800 hundred to 1500, and we
24 also wanted to downsize the number of the reserve policemen because we
25 thought it was enough for law enforcement in the municipality. And we
1 thought the large number of armed men could cause problems and was an
2 accident waiting to happen.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's finally turn to the last point of the
4 agenda. "Taking over the duties of the military department. Slavko
5 Budimir and Dr. Milomir Stakic participated in the discussion. After the
6 discussion, the following conclusion was adopted: The municipal
7 secretariat for national defence is requested to prepare for the Municipal
8 Assembly executive committee a draft staffing table for the secretariat
9 which shall include the tasks taken over from the military department."
10 And then signed by the president of the National Defence Council.
11 A. Regarding the terminology here, the military department is
12 actually a military territorial organ formed by the former JNA sometime in
13 1991 while the mobilisation was being carried out, when members of other
14 ethnic groups did not respond to the callup and when the authorised body
15 of the municipal secretariat headed by Mr. Medunjanin at that time did not
16 act in accordance with the regulations which were then in force. So they
17 did not carry out the mobilisation, even though they were supposed to do
18 that under the law. And they didn't do it for reasons known only to them.
19 So in order to staff the units, the army formed military territorial
20 organs whose tasks were the same as those of the municipal secretariat for
21 national defence. Actually, they took over those duties and conducted the
22 callup independently with the documents that they had at their disposal,
23 with the appeals of the Crisis Staff and the Municipal Assemblies,
24 appealing to the conscripts to report to their places of assembly. Since
25 this was not enough, the secretariats also conducted the tasks of
1 mobilisation and resupply. Since the municipal secretariat for national
2 defence continued to act in accordance with the existing laws in that
3 territory because the other organs were not acting in accordance with the
4 regulations, there was no need for two bodies to be carrying out the same
5 work. So the documents and -- which were at the military body were
6 transferred to the secretariat which continued to carry out all the
7 mobilisation duties until the systematisation draft proposal was made
8 which would then be submitted to the Municipal Assembly for adoption to
9 the Executive Board.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Finally, nobody objected to this part of the
11 agenda and the conclusions adopted. Correct?
12 A. Are you thinking about this last topic that I talked about? No.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then it is necessary to take a short break now.
14 The trial stays adjourned until 10 minutes to 1.00.
15 --- Recess taken at 12.34 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 12.52 p.m.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
18 We're still with the same document where the agenda, point 1,
19 decision on the organisation and functioning of the Crisis Staff. Could
20 you please tell us, was this the first point in time when it was discussed
21 to establish a Crisis Staff in Prijedor Municipality?
22 A. I think that they are. I don't have any other information. It's
23 true I don't remember, but I don't think so.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you at this meeting already take conclusions
25 about the final composition of this Crisis Staff, not only in terms of
1 functions but also with concrete names?
2 A. I don't remember whether at that point, along with the decision,
3 there was also the list of the functions comprising the Crisis Staff. But
4 I know that one of the documents, whether in the follow-up regulations
5 or -- I don't know if that came together with the decision. But there was
6 a document there which specified the posts comprising the Crisis Staff.
7 And of course, the people who carry out those functions by the very nature
8 of that are part of the Crisis Staff.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May the witness then be shown, please,
10 Document S180B. A to be put on the ELMO. And may I at the same time ask
11 the audio-video unit, is the video to be played - this would be Exhibit
12 S7 - prepared?
13 Please start the video.
14 [Videotape played]
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Stop. Could you please try to fix the video a
16 little bit that we can identify -- yes.
17 Who is sitting around this table, please? Starting from the
18 right-hand side, the person wearing glasses. We are now at 11:36:30:23.
19 A. I cannot identify the first person or the second. The third
20 person I think is Mr. Macura. Next to Mr. Macura, I think, is the
21 vice-president of the assembly, Mr. Savanovic. Next to him, I am sitting.
22 And then next to me is Mr. Stakic.
23 On the left side, it's unclear, so I'm unable to identify the
24 persons. The first person on the right side, it looks like Mr. Pavic, the
25 chief of the civilian defence, but I'm not sure. He's my colleague, and
1 he's like me, and he wears glasses. But I cannot say with certainty
2 whether that is him.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could the video please be winded forward a
4 little bit.
5 [Videotape played]
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Stop. It's now easier to identify the three
7 persons to the right-hand side.
8 A. Yes. Yes. Mr. Bosko Mandic, vice-president of the Executive
9 Board. The first person next to me is Mr. Zeljaja. Behind him, I think,
10 leaning on his hand is journalist Mutic. The person with the glasses is a
11 person who was up at the command of the brigade, and he came together with
12 Mr. Zeljaja. And to tell you the truth, I cannot remember the last name
13 of that man. I think he was a lieutenant-colonel or a colonel. I know
14 him, but I cannot remember his surname.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please wind forward, the video.
16 [Videotape played]
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Stop. And we are now with 11:36:38:03. You can
18 identify the three persons to the left-hand side.
19 A. Yes. Mr. Miskovic, Mr. Kuruzovic, and I think that the last
20 person is Mr. Kovacevic.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
22 Please wind forward.
23 [Videotape played]
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Stop. These two persons would be? 11:36:48:04.
25 A. From left to right, Mr. Kovacevic, Mr. Pavicic, and Mr. Drljaca.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please continue.
2 [Videotape played]
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Stop. And now, we can see the other end of the
4 same table. From left to right, you mentioned already that you don't
5 recall the name of the person wearing uniform and glasses at the same
6 time. The next person from the left-hand side? At 11:36:56:22. Who
7 would be this person also wearing a uniform?
8 A. Mr. Zeljaja. Next to him is Mr. Travar. And next to Mr. Travar
9 is Mr. Marmat.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would the assumption be correct that this is a
11 meeting of the Crisis Staff of Prijedor?
12 A. I cannot draw such a conclusion about what meeting this is. But I
13 think that it is not a meeting of the Crisis Staff in view of the presence
14 of Mr. Miskovic. And the military member, I think that they did not
15 attend so frequently. Mr. Zeljaja or Mr. Arsic were there more often. I
16 don't remember this other man being there a lot. And I think that I could
17 not really say. I think that this is probably more the council, all the
18 more so because the minutes are done by Mr. Marmat while the meetings of
19 the Crisis Staff were taken down by Mr. Baltic.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. Please forward the video.
21 [Videotape played]
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Stop. Thank you. This concludes this video.
23 You still have before you the document S180. If you could please be so
24 kind and open page number 36, item number 19. That's the decision on
25 appointments to Prijedor municipal Crisis Staff at its meeting 22nd May
1 1992 by the Prijedor Municipal Assembly. Does this document, after your
2 perusal, correctly reflect the composition of Prijedor Municipal Crisis
4 A. Yes, except under number 10, Zeljko Macura. I don't know who
5 compiled the decision later and to what extent this was, but I feel that
6 this man was not in the document setting out the members of the Crisis
7 Staff, nor was he so by his function. He was a doctor in the 43rd
8 Prijedor Motorised Brigade. So I don't know how he ended up here. I
9 believe that he was not a member of the staff, unless this was something
10 along the lines of Dr. Kovacevic or Dr. Stakic with Dr. Macura. I don't
11 know how he ended up on this list, in what capacity.
12 These other names above correspond to the posts and the people
13 appointed as members of the Crisis Staff.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And these documents would be to sign -- to be
15 signed by the president of the Municipal Assembly. Correct?
16 A. Probably, if that's what's indicated.
17 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, if I could just note that on the
18 document, the decision number 19 Your Honour has read, I believe we
19 brought this to your attention before, but the translation is clearly
20 wrong as to the date. The B/C/S has the date May 20th, for some reason
21 the translation says May 22nd.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I'm aware of this problem. I just wanted to
23 come back to this with the follow-up question: When, in fact, was the
24 first meeting of the Crisis Staff in Prijedor Municipality? When you have
25 a glance, please, on the cover page of this Official Gazette of 25 June
1 1992, issue number 18, there it reads that "At the session of 20 May,
2 1992, the decision was adopted on the organisation and work of Prijedor
3 Municipal Crisis Staff," which would be the implementation of the previous
4 decision of 15th of May. Correct?
5 A. This is a decision about the organisation and the work of the
6 Crisis Staff adopted by the Municipal Assembly whereby the Crisis Staff is
7 appointed of the 20th. The previous issue that we talked about was the
8 draft proposal from the council of national defence of the 15th of May.
9 And then this proposal was passed on to the assembly for adoption. I
10 don't know whether the Crisis Staff meeting was held on the same day that
11 it was formed or whether it was held on the next day or so. It's
12 something that I really cannot tell you specifically.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It was very close to this decision of 20 May
14 1992. Correct?
15 A. I believe that the staff meeting was after this decision because
16 the meeting could not have been held until it was appointed by the
17 Municipal Assembly. So whether the meeting was on the first, second, or
18 third day after the adoption is something I really don't know.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How often did the Crisis Staff meet?
20 A. It's difficult to be specific about that, especially if we're
21 talking about the term "frequently." The staff met as necessary, simply
22 in the -- according to the decision of the person who headed the staff.
23 If he felt that such a meeting was necessary, he would consult with the
24 other people, and then a staff meeting would be scheduled. I don't know
25 whether this was every seven or ten or fifteen days, but generally that
1 was the time period that they were held.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So the president would be responsible for
3 conferring the Crisis Staff and the agenda of the Crisis Staff. Correct?
4 A. The president of the municipality convened the Crisis Staff
5 meetings according to his assessment and after consulting with the other
6 members, particularly members of the Executive Board and members of the
7 secretariat. And that is also how the agenda was prepared, with
8 consultations with those other people, depending on the problems or issues
9 that those people felt should be reviewed by the staff.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Budimir, on the top page of this Official
11 Gazette, it reads, "Year I" even though we have seen Official Gazettes of
12 Prijedor Municipality in the previous years. Why was this, that in 1992
13 started with "Year I"?
14 A. I don't explain it at all. In view of the competencies and duties
15 of the organ that I was, we didn't have any Official Gazettes, so I didn't
16 have any insight into what certain markings meant nor how these were given
17 to the Gazette. I can talk specifically about what was in the
18 jurisdiction of the -- of my organ. But this is really outside of that
19 area, so I cannot really tell you anything specific about that.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Where did you meet?
21 A. Are you thinking of the Crisis Staff or...?
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Right, Crisis Staff meeting.
23 A. The staff usually met on the premises -- it met in the small
24 conference hall next to the hall and the office where the president of the
25 assembly was carrying out his functions.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Where else did the Crisis Staff meet, please?
2 A. The Crisis Staff mostly met in that room. And if you permit me, I
3 would just like to say, besides the fact that the Crisis Staff met and
4 worked in meetings, the Crisis Staff had 24-hour duty call. So there was
5 a reporting centre that was formed in the basement of the Municipal
6 Assembly building where this centre for alerting was situated before. And
7 this centre operated under my jurisdiction. It was part of my job.
8 Information was received there from the civilian aspects of life in the
9 municipality, and those pieces of information that were relevant for the
10 work of the Crisis Staff were passed on to the Crisis Staff.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So would it be correct that there was a night
12 shift and a day shift?
13 A. Duty service in the municipal centre for alerting was permanent,
14 24 hours a day.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And who met there? Only members of the Crisis
16 Staff as such, as we see it from the document, from the Official Gazette,
17 or also other individuals?
18 A. No. They -- the members of the Crisis Staff did not attend in
19 this form, as it is indicated there. The centre for alerting was manned
20 by technical and expert people, employees of the secretariat for national
21 defence, and they did their duties, taking shifts 24 hours a day. I spent
22 the most time there of all the members of the Crisis Staff because it was
23 in the jurisdiction of the municipal secretariat for national defence, and
24 Mr. Ranko Travar was often there. Considering the fact that the
25 information gathered there fell mostly within the province of the organ
1 headed by Mr. Travar, namely, the economy and social services.
2 Information about these aspects of life flowed into this centre, and we
3 together sorted out and selected information trying to remove and redress
4 the problems that we could as soon as possible, whereas other information
5 was processed and forwarded to the Crisis Staff for further action.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did the Crisis Staff have other special
7 buildings in Prijedor dedicated to the execution of the necessary work of
8 the Crisis Staff?
9 A. The Crisis Staff worked in meetings. It had no special premises
10 of its own, apart from this room where they met. All other municipal
11 organs and agencies served the Crisis Staff doing the job that was legally
12 prescribed to them, and everyone had their offices in the municipal
13 building where they carried out their jobs as prescribed by the
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What about the building in Cirkin Polje?
16 A. I don't know. After I left my office in that building, I never
17 again visited Cirkin Polje, and not a single session that I attended was
18 held in that building. What happened to that building, who received it
19 for use later, I have no idea.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you know about the issuing of certificates or
21 vouchers for fuel?
22 A. You have to know the volume of the work I handled, which was very
23 complex and difficult, and I can easily say, very unpopular, so I had lots
24 of trouble doing my job, having a lot of contacts with war profiteers and
25 other abusers. So all these other things such as abuses of vouchers of
1 fuel were not handled by me. It was in the competence of the secretary
2 for the economy and other people. So I don't have enough information to
3 tell you how it was done upstairs and how it was handled. I did not
4 actively take part in it.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In Article 2 on the decision of the organisation
6 and work of the Prijedor municipal Crisis Staff, it reads: "Prijedor
7 municipal Crisis Staff has been established to coordinate the functions of
8 the authorities, the defence of the municipal territory, the protection of
9 safety of people and property, the establishment of government, and the
10 organisation of all other fields of life and work."
11 What about the influence of the Crisis Staff on the military
13 A. The Crisis Staff was set up to coordinate all the functions of the
14 government and defence of the territory, as it says here. From the
15 viewpoint of organisation, we all know exactly what government means and
16 which organs are involved. This organ performed the combined functions of
17 the government, and there were laws and bylaws regulating other aspects of
18 life which remained in force. That means that this staff had no
19 competencies over the army, the police, or other defence structures
20 because they acted in keeping with other laws that continued to be in
21 force and to govern their functioning, that is, the law on national
22 defence and the law on internal affairs. They were required to implement
23 these laws. This decision does not render these laws null and void.
24 Therefore, the Crisis Staff had no opportunity to rule these structures.
25 It could only exchange information with the army, not influence it. The
1 same goes for the police.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the usher, please, on the same
3 document, S180, to open page 51, issue 48.
4 How can you bring in conformity your previous answer with this
5 order of the Crisis Staff?
6 A. I'm sorry, I don't have the order in front of me. The monitor is
7 showing the English version.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The B/C/S should be the same pagination.
9 A. Can I start answering now, or do you have any more questions?
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, please.
11 A. I still stand by my view that the Crisis Staff had no authority to
12 take decisions, issue orders, or resolve any matters regarding the army or
13 the police because these structures were governed very precisely by other
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I interrupt you. The question is -- may I
16 interrupt you. The question is not what under the law is possible, but
17 what actually happened. And you recall this order of the 17th of June
19 A. I remember it. It was one of the rare occasions of the sort, and
20 I remember the deliberations on this issue. But I don't remember this
21 order, and I'm seeing it for the first time in this form. That's what I
22 wanted to comment upon. From the formal and legal point of view, I
23 explained what was possible and what was not. As for this issue and this
24 issue order, the Crisis Staff, in view of the situation and the problems
25 encountered, and this was one of the rare occasions where we discussed
1 these matters, simply because the problems in town were so bad that this
2 situation could not be tolerated any longer. And we asked from -- people
3 from the army and the police to re-establish law and order and to prevent
4 the looting, the robberies, the disorder, and unrest that was going on in
5 town. Normally, the army and the police should have done so of their own
6 accord. But the practice was different. So we asked the representatives
7 of the army and the police to form teams made up of the existing members,
8 the existing force, who were supposed to enforce law anyway but were not
9 doing it. And we simply urged them to put a stop to it. I don't know why
10 somebody formulated this request in the form of an order. As far as I
11 know, there was no discussion to that effect and nobody had instructions
12 to write such an order, and I don't see how anybody could have taken it
13 upon themselves to do something that they were not required to do by law.
14 We were simply making a request of the army and the police. I
15 don't know why this was written in the form of an order. This question
16 should better be put to the secretary of the municipality whose job it was
17 to take care of the legality of municipal orders -- municipal organs and
18 their work and follow the decisions of the Municipal Assembly in keeping
19 with the law.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When I ask you now the same question related to
21 other documents - may I ask the usher to turn to page 69, issue number
22 97 - would you please be so kind and with a view to the remaining time,
23 please, a brief answer only.
24 How is it possible that by a decision taken in Prijedor, the
25 Serbian TO shall be incorporated into the structure of the region and
1 placed under its command?
2 A. That is not possible either. According to the law and in view of
3 the discussion about this, such a conclusion was not formulated because it
4 was impossible to formulate it in such language. It could only have been
5 done according to a decision of the assembly on the reorganisation of
6 staffs of Territorial Defence. By decision of higher organs to issue a
7 recommendation --
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to interrupt, but once again, I don't want
9 to hear what is possible under the law that we can find out ourselves.
10 The problem is do you recall this -- the discussion on this conclusion?
11 A. There was discussion on the resubordination of TO units to army
12 units, but there was no order or conclusion adopted by us. But we could
13 only make a recommendation to the assembly for this to be put into
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You're aware that we are reading from the
16 Official Gazette. May we turn now to page number 54, issue 55, please.
17 Please, also brief comments on this.
18 A. I don't remember whether this happened at a session of the Crisis
19 Staff, but from what the law said about that previously, I really can't
20 answer this briefly. I would have to elaborate my explanation which the
21 time does not allow. But if you want a brief answer, I don't remember
22 that this was said at the session of the Crisis Staff, and I don't
23 remember that such a decision was made. But the whole system worked in
24 such a way that approval had to be obtained from upstairs, including
25 approval of the republican Territorial Defence staff. So it couldn't be
1 forwarded to the assembly without the approval of the competent commander.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So who would be in charge of getting this
4 A. That would be the commander of the republican Territorial Defence,
5 but in this particular case, there was no republican TO commander on the
6 BH level. So the person in question was the Territorial Defence commander
7 in Republika Srpska.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. We don't need S180 any longer.
9 May we please have S173. Please in B/C/S, always the best
10 possible copy, that is, a colour copy.
11 May it please be moved a little bit upwards.
12 You see two signatures on this document.
13 A. Yes.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You are acquainted with the signature of
15 Dr. Kovacevic?
16 A. I can't say. I have seen his signature before, but I can't
17 identify it here. I believe Mr. Kovacevic's signature was a bit longer on
18 certain documents I've seen. So I'm not quite certain.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What about the signature of Dr. Stakic?
20 A. I don't know. I can't identify Dr. Stakic's signature here.
21 There is a variety of signatures by Dr. Stakic that I've seen. This
22 doesn't look to me like his signature. I can't identify it.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Who would be the one who would have to sign a
24 document in the absence of Dr. Stakic?
25 A. Ex officio, it would be vice-president of the municipality,
1 Mr. Savanovic.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May the witness please be shown the other
3 document, please, remaining there, S267.
4 Do you recognise this signature "za"? Then followed by a very
5 special signature.
6 A. Yes.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This would be the signature of whom?
8 A. I think, because it is rather idiosyncratic with this half circle,
9 it is Dragan Savanovic's signature. Anyway, I had more to do with
10 documents signed by Savanovic than by Dr. Stakic. And judging by this
11 little circle, I think it is his signature. I think he still signs
12 himself this way.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May the witness then be shown, and the others be
14 left there, S70, 7-0.
15 For Madam Registrar, the next one would be S174-1B.
16 Can you please explain the signature and stamp you can see there.
17 A. The stamp is that of the Municipal Assembly, but I cannot identify
18 the signature or explain to whom it could belong. This is, I believe, the
19 old stamp of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor before all these events.
20 But when I compare these two signatures, I am not sure of anything any
21 more. I don't know who -- which one belongs to whom.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you recall the conclusion measures to
23 blockade the town shall continue to be in force? Do you recall this?
24 A. To be quite frank, I really don't know. In what sense do you
25 mean, the blockade?
1 A. I don't remember it. Blockade is a very broad sense. That would
2 mean closing off the entire territory. The way it is formulated here it
3 would have to be more specific.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous interpretation continues] ... my
5 question was did you participate in the meeting when it was discussed
6 that the blockade of the town should continue to be in force? Do you
7 recall this conclusion?
8 A. I don't remember this conclusion.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did at any point in time Dr. Stakic not
10 participate in a meeting of the Crisis Staff?
11 A. I can't say that with any accuracy. Maybe he failed to attend a
12 session or two, but if he wasn't there, then Mr. Savanovic took over as
13 vice-president of the assembly and deputy chairman of the Crisis Staff.
14 It may have happened, since it was also regulated by a decision who was
15 his stand-in, and that was Mr. Savanovic as vice-president.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I asked you a concrete question, how often it
17 was that Dr. Stakic did not preside over the Crisis Staff when there was a
18 meeting of the Crisis Staff? Please don't try to circumvent the answers.
19 A. Well, I really can't tell you precisely whether it happened two,
20 three, or five times, if he was away on a business trip or something, he
21 could have missed a session of the Crisis Staff. But how often it
22 happened, two, three, or five times, I don't know, because I didn't keep
23 records about that. It was not my job to keep records of who attended the
24 sessions, who didn't.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The other way around: Dr. Stakic in principle,
1 save the exceptions you just mentioned, presided over the Crisis Staff and
2 was present during the meeting of Crisis Staffs?
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was there any separate group within the Crisis
5 Staff holding separate meetings, maybe as it often happens in political
6 circles, inner circles?
7 A. As regards informal meetings and that internal side of its work, I
8 can't remember that Mr. Stakic socialised with Mr. Drljaca. He socialised
9 with Mr. Travar and me, but he socialised more with Mr. Arsic, Simo, and
10 especially with Mr. Kovacevic, because they used to work together at the
11 hospital. Whereas I had no prior contacts, nothing in common with
12 Dr. Stakic before. Regarding this period you are talking about, we only
13 had working contacts about meetings and agreements. Outside of that, I
14 did not meet with Mr. Stakic, with Mr. Simo or the people from the army
15 because our job did not require us to meet in the afternoons or in any
16 nonworking way. I spent my time in the centre for alerting, collecting,
17 and processing information, and I spent most of my time working with
18 Mr. Travar. However, I do not deny that Mr. Stakic spent a lot more time
19 with those other people than with me.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you please have a short glance on S174,
21 then be followed by S72 that we can conclude this line today. Please,
22 always the signature. - 1B, S74-1B. You can identify the paraph one can
23 see there?
24 A. No, I can't identify this. I'm completely at a loss about
25 signatures. No.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So you mentioned previously that you were able
2 to identify with a certain degree of likelihood the signature as it was
3 under the law necessary of Mr. Savanovic. May we please have a look on
4 S80, 8-0. This seems not to be the signature of Dr. Stakic, but can you
5 identify the signature as such? You can see the "za."
6 A. Yes, and I have already told you that I spent time with
7 Mr. Travar, both at work and outside work. And we were close and we had
8 similar viewpoints. I believe that this is the signature of Mr. Travar.
9 It is also quite special, with a little curve on top. And it's as close
10 as I can come to being certain.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And then S74, please. Whose
12 signature would this be?
13 A. From what I see here, it seems there is a DR. You can conclude
14 from this perhaps that this is Kovacevic's signature because I said
15 before, I didn't often contact this person, and I can't remember his
16 signature precisely. But I believe his signature is a bit longer than the
17 one I'm looking at now. That, at least, is my feeling. I can't confirm
18 one way or another. It is not remarkable in any way. I'm much more
19 certain with regard to the other two persons.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And then finally for today, because we have to
21 conclude now, S81. Do you recognise this signature? If please the B/C/S
22 version, in this case, could be put on the ELMO.
23 A. I can't identify the signature. If you want me to draw
24 conclusions, Bosko associates in my mind with Dr. Mandic. But I'm not at
25 all certain of this. And I didn't see his signature very often, nor did I
1 spend time with this man. I can't be sure. But I don't know any other
2 Bosko than Mandic.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this clear answer.
4 Then this concludes today's testimony. I kindly have to ask you
5 not to contact any of the parties during the afternoon, evening, and
6 night. One has to be quite concrete. This would be counsel of
7 Prosecution or counsel of Defence, and not discuss with any person you by
8 chance would meet here in The Hague, be it in the hotel or elsewhere, and
9 discuss issues related to your testimony.
10 This concludes today's hearing. We are looking forward to --
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I just ask one question.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would like to know the procedure
14 for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, what am I supposed to do?
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I hope that the line of questions by the Judges
16 can be concluded after the first period of time. This is the first 90
17 minutes. And then it would be for the parties to put additional questions
18 to you. I don't know. I can't foresee what period of time this will
19 take. So I can't exclude definitely that it might be your testimony will
20 only be concluded Wednesday.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stays adjourned until tomorrow, 9.00.
23 [The witness stands down]
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
25 at 1.56 p.m., to be reconvened on Tuesday,
1 the 4th day of March, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.