1 Wednesday, 26 March 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.08 a.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning. Please be seated.
6 Madam Registrar, may I ask you to call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. This is case number IT-97-24-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And the appearances, please, for the
11 MR. KOUMJIAN: Good morning, Your Honours. For the Prosecution,
12 Joanna Korner, Nicholas Koumjian, Ann Sutherland, and Lise-Lotte Karlsson.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning, and for the Defence, please.
14 MR. LUKIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Branko Lukic for the
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Any special administrative matters
17 to be discussed before we start? I can see none.
18 May I then ask the usher to escort the witness into the courtroom,
20 [The witness entered court]
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning, Mr. Kuruzovic. Can you hear me in
22 a language you understand?
23 THE INTERPRETER: The witness nods.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We have a transcript here, and could you please
25 answer in a way that it's reflected in the transcript. I understand by
1 your nodding that you said yes. Correct?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is, yes. I understand.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Before I ask you to give the solemn declaration,
4 would you please be seated because I have to give you some information
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Kuruzovic, you recall that you have nearly
8 one year ago, the 21st of March, 2002, been interviewed or interrogated by
9 representatives of the Office of the Prosecution? At that time you
10 learned that from the side of the Prosecution you are regarded as a
11 suspect, a suspect but not indicted. We learned that since then nothing
12 has changed in your role. Our Rules of Procedure and Evidence don't have
13 any specific regulations on the rights of a suspect during trial in a case
14 against another person, in this case the case Prosecutor versus
15 Dr. Stakic. No doubt, however, that a fortiori, even more so Rule 42 has
16 to be applied in analogy also during this hearing. Therefore, I have to
17 read out the following:
18 Rule 42 - and that's the same that was read out to you about one
19 year ago - that reads: "That a suspect has the right to be assisted by
20 counsel of the suspect's choice or to be assigned legal assistance without
21 payment if the suspect does not have sufficient means to pay for it."
22 (ii) "The right to have the assistance of a free interpreter if
23 the suspect cannot understand or speak the language to be used for
25 Here you can see already we have the assistance of an interpreter.
1 You can listen to the proceedings in a language you understand.
2 (iii) "There's the right to remain silent." And I have to caution
3 you that any statement you would make will be recorded and maybe used in
4 evidence even against you. This means in concreto that there is an
5 absolute right to remain silent or you may refuse to answer any questions
6 the reply to which would subject you to the risk of being prosecuted for a
7 criminal offence either here in this Tribunal or elsewhere.
8 Furthermore, Rule 42 provides that the questioning of a suspect
9 shall not proceed without the presence of counsel unless the suspect has
10 voluntarily waived the right to counsel. In case of waiver, if you
11 subsequently would express a desire to have counsel, questioning shall
12 thereupon cease and shall only resume when you have obtained or have been
13 assigned counsel.
14 This was a long information. Did you understand this information,
15 or do you have any questions on these issues?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've understood it, yes.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So may I ask you: Are you prepared to proceed
18 without the presence of counsel and do you specifically waive your right
19 to counsel?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I wasn't really aware that I
21 had come here in that capacity, but I'm quite ready to continue the
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
24 And I have to repeat: In case you believe that you should change
25 your opinion, please tell us immediately because then under Rule 42(B),
1 second sentence, if you would express your desire to have counsel, the
2 questioning should thereupon cease immediately and only resume when
3 counsel would arrive.
4 So may I then ask the usher to take the solemn declaration,
5 Mr. Kuruzovic. Mr. Kuruzovic, would you please be so kind and stand up
6 and give us your solemn declaration.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
8 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 WITNESS: SLOBODAN KURUZOVIC
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. The first part of questioning is
12 dedicated to your personal data only.
13 Questioned by the Court:
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you please give us for the transcript your
15 name, forename, and nickname.
16 A. Slobodan Kuruzovic. I have no nicknames.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The date and place of birth, please.
18 A. 20th of February, 1942, Arandjelovac.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you tell us in which part of your home
20 country Arandjelovac is situated?
21 A. It's in Serbia.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Your actual residence, please, the concrete
24 A. In Prijedor, the 4th of July Street, 22.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And what about your marital status? Do you have
2 A. Yes, I do. I'm married and have a son. My wife, my son, my
3 daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you have another child?
5 A. Yes, I did. I had a daughter. She died in 1992. It was an
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you want to give us some details? It's up to
8 you. And it's of course your own decision -- of the death of your
9 daughter, about the death of your daughter, the special circumstances and
10 when exactly it was in 1992.
11 A. She was in Sarajevo with her boyfriend who was studying in
12 Sarajevo at the time, and in the evening she fell in the bathtub because
13 she fainted. She was taken to the hospital, and they established that she
14 had a brain haemorrhage. It is a natural anomaly, that is, the widening
15 of the artery which carries blood to the brain. She spent a month in a
16 Sarajevo hospital, and I was with my family there, and my wife was there
17 and we visited her all the time. After the first surgery, it was
18 established that the case was very complicated because it was very
19 difficult to drain the brain of the blood, so that after a month she
20 underwent another operation, but my daughter never woke up after the coma,
21 and that's it.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would you please tell us when exactly it was in
24 A. The 3rd of March. The 3rd of March, 1992. I was there staying
25 with my wife's relatives because she is a Sarajevan, so that I was staying
1 with her mother and her sister, and we were all together there.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for giving us these details.
3 Could you then, please, in context tell us briefly your education
4 and your professional career until, say, 1991.
5 A. I graduated from mathematics and physics. I worked in Mladen
6 Stojanovic's school in 1981 teaching mathematics and physics. In 1981 I
7 was appointed the principal of a school out of town, and I spent three
8 years there as a principal. After that, I was appointed the principal of
9 the 16th of May School in the centre of town, and I continued there until
10 the 5th of May, 1994. After that, I spent four years as the director of
11 Radio Prijedor and Kozarski Vjesnik. And as of 1998, I've been working in
12 the school in which I was a principal prior to 1994, and I am now
13 assistant principal.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let us concentrate on the period following the
15 census 1990 -- or better, 1991, of course, the election in 1990 and census
16 1991. In that census, what did you indicate as your ethnicity?
17 A. I am a Serb by origin.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask you: Did you accept the outcome of
19 this census or did you believe this was an illegal, illegitimate census?
20 A. Well, seeing that it was organised by the authorities, it was
21 lawful and legitimate. In the papers, there were comments that the
22 elections were not really conducted properly, and the same went for the
23 census, that is, that there were more people in the town of other origins
24 than it was realistic. But that was irrelevant. I respect things that
25 are organised by official bodies. Could the microphones please be brought
1 closer to the witness
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And for the first --
3 THE INTERPRETER: Could the microphones please be brought closer
4 to the witness.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When was it that you for the first time engaged
6 in politics?
7 A. One could say in -- that it was in 1960, when I became a member of
8 the League of Communists, as the majority of young people in that country
9 at the time.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But then, what about - and let's focus the
11 following questions and answers on the period starting with January 1992.
12 Please try to tell us in a context to the best of your recollection what
13 happened, where did you participate in the events in January -- starting
14 January 1992 and then resulting in this heinous crimes that are part of
15 our hearing. We have to find out the -- whether or not there is an
16 individual responsibility of Dr. Stakic, but we have called you to come to
17 The Hague in order to come closer to the truth and to find out what
18 actually happened since January 1992 in Prijedor in preparation of the
19 Serbian Municipal Assembly, in preparation of the Crisis Staff and so on.
20 I have to give you the possibility to discuss this in context, and please
21 the floor is yours now and we are listening to all that what you have to
22 tell us about the events from January 1992 through, say, October 1992.
23 A. Well, on the Orthodox Christmas, that is, the 7th of January,
24 1992, the Serb people formed the Assembly of the municipality, a Serb one,
25 and at that Assembly the president of the Assembly, vice-president of the
1 Assembly, members of the executive board were elected by voting.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to interrupt. Whenever you mention
3 titles, president, vice-president, could you please be so kind and at the
4 same time add the names of these persons. Thank you.
5 A. Dr. Milomir Stakic was elected the president of the Assembly;
6 Dragan Savanovic was elected the vice-president; late Dr. Mico Kovacevic
7 was elected the president of the executive board; the vice-president of
8 the executive board, Bosko Mandic, was elected to that post; Slobodan
9 Kuruzovic was elected the commander of the Territorial Defence; late Simo
10 Drljaca was elected the head of the police, or rather, the Chief of the
11 Public Security Station; the Secretary for Economy and Service
12 Industries - I believe that is what it was called - Mr. Ranko Travar was
13 elected to that post; and the secretary for general administrative affairs
14 became now -- what's his name? If I may look up his name. Oh, yes, here
15 it is. Svetozar Petrovic. And the head for the People's Defence, for the
16 All People's Defence was Mr. Slavko Budimir. So those elections were
17 carried out and these people didn't do anything in particular until the
18 29th, or rather, the 30th of April, except that Mr. Stakic was the
19 vice-president of the municipality at the time, so he went to work, he
20 worked there. I mean, that would be about it as regards that period of
22 On the eve of the 29th of November -- no, before that. I think it
23 was the 28th when dispatch arrived in the town from the Ministry of
24 Defence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I believe that the
25 man's name was Jerko Doko he was a minister and he was issuing the order
1 and deciding on how the prisoners should be exchanged between the Army of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina and some other side which shows that there was a war in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time. There was one in Slavonia. I suppose you
4 know there were brigades which had been formed there. And also in the
5 municipality of Prijedor to go to the front up there, that a number of
6 people had got killed by the time, but I guess you already know that.
7 Before that, sometime in early April power was taken over in, that
8 is, Sanski Most, and on the 29th of April, 1992 - but I wouldn't know
9 exactly whether it was in the morning or the afternoon - another dispatch
10 came from the Ministry of Defence with the instruction to take over the
11 Zarko Zgonjanin's barracks in Prijedor, to disarm the army, and I think
12 there was some order to do with the Secretariat of the Interior, but I'm
13 not quite sure whether it applied to all or only. So but before that, the
14 Council for National Defence, dating back to 1991 -- July or August
15 1991 -- had ordered the mobilisation of the whole Territorial Defence
16 across the municipality so that all the Territorial Defence units, that
17 is, the reserve force, were called up and issued arms in all the
18 neighbourhood communities, so that on that 29th, because of that order,
19 Dr. Stakic invited those people that I listed before to the Zarko
20 Zgonjanin's Barracks, to its commander's office, Commander Arsic's office.
21 I think that Dr. Kovacevic came, Simo Drljaca too, Dule Jankovic. I think
22 that this -- what's his name? Javoric was also there. But I wasn't quite
23 sure. Cadjo and Simo Miskovic and I also arrived and we learned that that
24 dispatch had order to disarm the troops in the barracks and assumed
25 control over the barracks and the SUP.
1 After the discussion, it was decided that after the night fell the
2 power should be taken over. I suppose you already know that the chief
3 reason, the main reason for it was that there were very many difficulties
4 involved in the early implementation of the results of the elections. It
5 was impossible to set up the government in the municipality and it hardly
6 functioned until that particular date.
7 From the papers, we knew that there were some ongoing negotiations
8 and talks, interparty communications, but I think that one of the leaders,
9 Mirzo Mujadzic was obstructing those negotiations so that the government
10 was never put in place and the result of it was that there were many
11 problems involving the enforcement of laws, the permits issued to people
12 to build on various lots, the opening of new shops, and so on and so
13 forth. There were also settlings of accounts between various people,
14 nothing to do with the ethnic composition. Simply, there were many
15 burglaries and robberies in shops and stores and places. Well, there was
16 a lot of disarray, I could say, so that this dispatch which came from the
17 ministry with regard to the barracks only added fuel to the fire and it
18 was decided to put an end to this state of affairs. There was -- an
19 agreement was reached to do that.
20 Simo Drljaca, with the Dule Jankovic undertook to organise the
21 takeover during the night by using the services of the reserve police.
22 And as far as I know, Simo Drljaca, Dule Jankovic and Marko Dzenadija, did
23 that in Cirkin Polje, and sometime around 4.00 in the morning they went to
24 certain places - I can't remember exactly where, but I think they went to
25 the municipal hall, to the police station, to the court -- when I say
1 "SUP," I mean to the police station -- to the court building, and some
2 other institutions such as the post office, the public auditing service,
3 and so on and so forth. So those police went there, they took over the
4 security and control in all those places, and as far as I know it was all
5 over in about 25 minutes. Not a single bullet was fired. Nothing
6 happened. There were no incidents or anything. I think that that was
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to interrupt at this point in time. Could
9 you please go in some more details on what happened in Cirkin Polje,
10 especially who was present and who gave the orders or advice, everything
11 you recall from this event in Cirkin Polje. Could you please tell us also
12 this in context.
13 A. I assume that you're asking about the orders as to how that was to
14 be carried out by the police. The entire operation was under the command
15 of Simo Drljaca, Dule Jankovic, and Marko Dzenadija. That lasted until
16 about 5.00, and then the people who were elected at the assembly arrived
17 in Cirkin Polje and then at 6.00 in the morning or perhaps a little before
18 6.00 they were taken by mini-bus to the centre of the town. They assumed
19 that post, as one might say. So the president of the municipality, the
20 vice-president, and the president of the executive committee and the chief
21 of the SUP did this, and all those who were employed in those institutions
22 regardless of their nationality were at their posts. Only these people
23 mentioned were replaced.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did this meeting start and who participated in
25 the meeting in Cirkin Polje?
1 A. There wasn't a meeting of any kind in Cirkin Polje. It was just a
2 matter of organisation. Simo Drljaca organised at that meeting, at that
3 discussion in the barracks, the takeover of power. There was no meeting
4 of any other kind there. In the course of the night, they called the
5 reserve police. The reserve police arrived in Cirkin Polje and from
6 Cirkin Polje went to these places that I mentioned a minute ago.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You yourself had been present at Cirkin Polje at
8 that night; correct?
9 A. Yes, I was. That was in a particular building. From that point
10 in time the staff of the Territorial Defence started functioning up until
11 then, from 7th of January, it hadn't done anything, it didn't have any
12 particular function. And together with the people I mentioned, I was
13 sitting there. A mini-bus came for them and took them to the town. And
14 then after that -- as I was the commander of the staff - that in fact
15 wasn't a real military staff; I didn't have any soldiers or officers
16 around me - I was alone. There was some specific tasks. The first task
17 was when the reserve police was called and the Territorial Defence, from
18 1991 there were checkpoints at which checks were carried out, vehicles,
19 people, goods passing through were checked in order to maintain peace and
20 order, and this staff organised the supply of food, taking food to the
21 police and to the soldiers at those checkpoints. That was one of the
23 Another task was --
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to interrupt once more. Let us go step by
25 step and day by day, especially now the meeting at Cirkin Polje. You
1 mentioned a few persons being there. You mentioned that Simo Drljaca was
2 the one organising that meeting. Who else was present? For example,
3 Mr. Budimir, Mr. Travar, Dr. Stakic, Mr. Savanovic?
4 A. You haven't understood me -- I apologise. There were two houses.
5 One was the hall in Cirkin Polje, and 50 metres before that there was the
6 building of a Slovenian company. I can't remember the name. And as we
7 had agreed in the barracks, this Territorial Defence staff, this Serbian
8 Territorial Defence staff was supposed to be formed there. And in the
9 course of the night that staff was supposed to be formed. It was to
10 include myself and two or three other members of the Territorial Defence,
11 armed civilians, and I think that there were two or three women.
12 Dr. Stakic came to that building where I was, Savanovic, Budimir as well,
13 Dr. Kovacevic, Travar, and so on, Svetozar Petrovic, and they were waiting
14 there. And when power was taken over, then I think before 6.00 in the
15 morning they were taken to their posts. And as I said, all the other
16 people who were working in the municipality, in the court, and in the SUP,
17 they all remained at their posts.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Who was the one who announced that that what was
19 planned since the 7th of April be now implemented, based on your previous
20 meeting you had in the barracks?
21 A. I don't understand. The date, the 7th of April, you --
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, 7th of January. Of course.
23 A. Yes. On the 7th of January, the Serbian Municipal Assembly was
24 formed, and in the barracks -- on the basis of Dr. Stakic's invitation,
25 all these people came, and there was a discussion, an agreement was
1 reached according to which a takeover of power should be carried out in
2 order to prevent all the incidents, all the things I mentioned in the
3 town. And the order from the Ministry of Defence was to take over the
4 barracks and to disarm the troops, et cetera.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And then later on in Cirkin Polje who announced
6 to the other persons being not present in the meeting in the barracks on
7 Dr. Stakic's invitation, who announced to the others that the point has
8 come now to take over power in Prijedor? Who informed them?
9 A. I don't know who either. If you're referring to when power was
10 taken over, I think that was done via the radio. But the others that I
11 mentioned weren't here. They were there together between 4.00 and 6.00 in
12 the morning. Dr. Stakic informed the others that in the course of the
13 night power would be taken over, that -- I assume that this had been
14 discussed before and that the vice-president and the president of the
15 executive board were aware of this.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And when this decision was taken, what should
17 happen with those persons being an office? For example, the at that time
18 president of the municipal assembly, should he be informed that he
19 shouldn't arrive the next day in his office? Should he be prohibited from
20 coming to the office, or what should happen in this case in concreto with
21 Professor Cehajic?
22 A. As far as I know, nothing in particular was agreed on. When power
23 was taken over, there were the controls of the police forces in front of
24 the municipality and the court and the SUP and the post office as well,
25 and as far as I can remember on the base of what I was told the president
1 of the municipality and the vice-president, they came to work. Before
2 that the Serbian flag had been displayed in front of the municipality
3 building, and they were told that power had been taken over and that as
4 president and vice-president of the municipality and of the executive
5 committee there were new people. They returned home, and all the others
6 remained at their posts, and all the institutions.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I tried to understand this development. So in
8 the morning these persons replacing the other persons in their offices
9 would arrive at about - and this we learned also from others - about 5.00,
10 6.00, before the other staff members arrived. But what now -- for
11 example, Professor Cehajic tried to enter the building of the municipal
12 assembly. What was planned during the meeting in the barracks, how to
13 hinder Professor Cehajic to stay in office as elected?
14 A. Well, nothing in particular had been planned. The police was at
15 the entrance and quite simply Professor Cehajic and other officials
16 weren't allowed to enter the building and they returned home.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And this was true for all the others being
18 replaced that day; correct?
19 A. Yes. Yes.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Before we continue, may I ask you the question:
21 You mentioned on page 8 of today's transcript that on the 7th of January
22 there was an initiative taken for having a Serbian Assembly. This was an
23 initiative of authorities or persons living in Prijedor, or was it based
24 on an order from higher places?
25 A. Well, a Serbian Assembly was formed, or rather, the Serbian
1 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And this is not the only municipality
2 where Serbian assemblies were elected and formed. I'm not sure of this,
3 but I assume that it was done via SDS parties or perhaps other organs. I
4 assume that this was also done in Prijedor and that the Serbian Assembly
5 of the Municipality of Prijedor was formed on the 7th of January. There
6 was the Autonomous Region of Krajina, there was the SAO Krajina. These
7 were all Serbian forms of organising the people.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And just as a follow-up: Who in fact was the
9 person inviting and what were the criteria for inviting the others meeting
10 at this date, the 7th of January, 1992?
11 A. Well, I think that it went through the Serbian Democratic Party
12 and other Serbian parties, the Radical Party, et cetera.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I know this is no more than ten years ago, so
14 it's maybe difficult to recall. But I think it's a very -- it was a very
15 impressive situation for you being invited for such a meeting.
16 A. [No interpretation]
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It's not reflected on the transcript. You said
18 "da." Correct?
19 A. Yes. Yes. That meeting, it was the assembly session. It was
20 held in a theatre, in a big hall that has 300 seats, a capacity of 300,
21 and all the organs of the Serbian Democratic Party delegated people in
22 municipalities, in local communes who would be attending, who would attend
23 the assembly, and then the organs, or rather, people would be elected.
24 And as far as I know, nothing functioned until the 29th of April, 1992. It
25 only existed in theory.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you recall who it was who invited you to
2 attend this meeting, the 7th of April -- the 7th of January, sorry once
4 A. Well, as far as I know, it was up in -- it was held up in Urije.
5 There was a local committee of the Serbian Democratic Party. The people
6 met. That part of the organisation of the Serbian Democratic Party met
7 there, and they delegated members of the assembly. I wasn't there on my
8 own from that part of the town. There were other people there, I can't
9 remember who exactly. And that's what took place in all the parts of the
10 towns in the local communes, in the neighbourhoods. People were delegated
11 who were to attend that session of the assembly. Then there were
12 elections, and the assembly was formed.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But once again, did you get an invitation in
14 writing or an oral invitation and then by whom?
15 A. Well, really, as far as the assembly is concerned, I can't
16 remember. I know that I was elected as a representative of the assembly
17 and the local commune, and we were informed when the assembly session
18 would be held. I can't remember whether this was done orally or whether
19 it was in written form and then it was an invitation for the 7th of
20 January and so on.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Which had this session, the 7th of January?
22 A. I think some working Presidency was elected. But it's a day that
23 I can't really remember. I think at the time the president of the party
24 in Prijedor was Simo Miskovic and the vice-president was Dragan Savanovic.
25 I think there was some sort of chair which organised the work of the
1 assembly. Elections were held, ballots were distributed, democratic
2 elections were held, and the assembly was formed.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Why was it that a non-member of the SDS was
4 elected president for this Serbian Assembly?
5 A. Well, if that has to do with Dr. Milomir Stakic, I don't know
6 whether he was or wasn't. I think he was but I really don't know because
7 I wasn't in a position to check whether he was an SDS member or not. I
8 don't think that someone who wasn't a member of the SDS would have become
9 the president of the municipality.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So to the best of your recollection, the
11 conclusion would be correct that the question of the membership in the
12 party of the SDS was not discussed publicly during this meeting; correct?
13 A. That's correct.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: During this meeting, were there given any
15 speeches by other persons, be it from Banja Luka or higher representatives
16 of the SDS?
17 A. I really don't remember. I assume that. Perhaps the president of
18 the municipal assembly gave a speech, Miskovic, but I don't remember
19 exactly. I really couldn't say.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Just to have an impression on what really
21 happened, were persons -- just to give you a few names, persons like
22 Mr. Karadzic, Ms. Plavsic, or Mr. Krajisnik, were they present during this
23 meeting as representatives from a higher level?
24 A. I don't think so, not on a single occasion. I don't remember
25 exactly, but I don't think they were ever there on a single occasion.
1 These names are too important for me to forget, unless my memory fails me.
2 I'm 61. Perhaps I'm too old. So maybe I've forgotten, but I don't think
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's go one step further. Was there any
5 meeting in between 7th of January and then you mentioned the 29th of
6 April, isn't it true that there was a meeting sometime mid-April when some
7 persons were elected, for example, Mr. Budimir and Mr. Travar and others?
8 Do you recall this meeting in the utilities factory, I think it was?
9 A. No, I can't remember. If there was such a meeting, I probably
10 didn't attend it. I don't know. Between the 7th of January and the 29th
11 of April, attended by Budimir and Travar? I assume you want to say that
12 some sort of decisions were taken or something like that, but I really
13 don't remember.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. Then let's concentrate now on the
15 development following the takeover as of the 30th of April. Could you
16 please tell us in some detail what especially was your work when you
17 started this day.
18 A. Well, I've already told you about that, because I continued as the
19 school principal at the same time, so that it wasn't the conventional
20 military staff. There were very few men there. There was I as a
21 commander and two or three men who were the security and a few women, and
22 we had taken on an auxiliary building for our use but there were no
23 facilities to prepare food there, so that we brought our food from a
24 canteen and our bread from Zitopromet. However, later on we started
25 preparing our meals there and then distributing it to the checkpoints
1 where they were together -- I mean, the Territorial Defence, or rather,
2 military and civilians, that is, policemen. So that was the chief task of
3 that staff, one of its main duties, and that was done at the urging, that
4 is, I and everybody else. It was the executive board -- the executive
5 board which urged us to move out of the municipal hall and to undertake to
6 issue -- I mean, the Territorial Defence staff to issue vouchers, to issue
7 fuel, petrol vouchers, petrol coupons there, so that companies and
8 self-employed entrepreneurs and physical persons, those who needed fuels
9 had to go there to be issued with some kind of vouchers so they could get
10 fuel. It was simply for reasons of austerity because there were not
11 enough oil derivatives, that is, petrol, so that we tried to avoid any
12 excesses and we avoided giving people vouchers for larger quantities.
13 But meanwhile, with other members of the executive board, talked
14 with many people in neighbourhood communities, with Muslims and people in
15 the SDA and Croats in the HDZ, inviting them to help, to maintain peace
16 and order because all the way up to the 29th or the 30th of May there was
17 law and order in the town in the true sense of the word. And I also
18 participated in these discussions in the neighbourhood community in the
19 area with the majority Muslim population. That was helped by Dedo Crnalic
20 and Dr. Sadikovic, so we talked there and decided that it would be
21 advisable to keep the weapons there, because in the neighbourhood
22 community, that was the Territorial Defence to -- some hodza, I don't
23 remember what his name was, had taken it and they panicked because there
24 was some slight shootings, but then it was agreed and I also talked with
25 Kapetanovic from Puharska that I and other people, that there also should
1 be maintained order because there was also the premises of the
2 neighbourhood community and there were troops there, but we managed to
3 reach an understanding and there were problems and then we talked with
4 Imam, with hodza from Cela. I believe his name was Solo, and he also
5 helped to prevent any problems in Cela, that is, to maintain peace and
6 order there so that -- and we also talked with representatives of the
7 party regarding the organisation of life in Kozarac, because there were
8 some difficulties there. The police there wouldn't put on the insignia of
9 one ethnicity, that is, the insignia of the Republic of Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina, and I think discussions there failed, the talks there failed
11 because we were resisting, that the weapons that people had in Kozarac,
12 because it was quite populous, so we thought that this -- these weapons
13 and the Territorial Defence should put all these weapons in one place and
14 to have the police guard it. We wanted to take it up there, but they
15 refused to do that, and that was that as far as I know. So that went on
16 until -- I'm talking about the law and order and respect for law and all
17 that. It lasted until about the end -- the latter half of May, on the
18 22nd of May a military patrol was attacked while on its way to Hambarine.
19 Namely, in all those neighbourhood communities, Hambarine and
20 others - I won't go into them - where there were some checkpoints of the
21 Territorial Defence, and it was formed depending on the structure of the
22 population in those neighbourhood communities, and they were the ones who
23 were controlling the traffic, either in the direction of Kozarac or
24 Hambarine or Tukovi or other places. It was all -- that is, one could go
25 through, but one had to pass through the control and one -- and no weapons
1 were allowed.
2 And then a patrol came up but fire was opened on them. I've
3 forgotten whether his name was Aziz Saliskovic or whatever. I think there
4 were six of them, and two were killed. And that is how problems started.
5 And over there in Kozarac the Territorial Defence had set up a checkpoint,
6 and I think they stopped the traffic there completely. One had to take a
7 round-about road to get to the town. And there there was an attack too.
8 I don't remember exactly how many people were involved or how many people
9 died, but I think that the military command had issued an ultimatum to
10 remove it. Now, I don't remember whether it was 24 hours or 48 hours. I
11 think it was not done, and then the army went there to remove that
12 checkpoint and that is how problems started there.
13 In Kozarac there was gunfire, there were losses amongst the army
14 troops and the other side, and that's how it went on.
15 Then - and I don't remember whether it was on the 18th or the 19th
16 of May - when I asked Commander Arsic to allow me to take a group of
17 people to Nova Varos which is across the Sava as you pass Gradiska in the
18 direction of Okucani. I mean I knew that combat operations had been
19 taking place there since the autumn of 1991 and I therefore asked and
20 took, this Dedo Crnalic, Dr. Sadikovic, Rizo Beglerbegovic, who was a big
21 director of Markovic. Ostoja Marjanovic who was the director of the iron
22 ore mine, and there were two -- no, through Sadikovic I also managed to
23 get to people in Carakovo to invite them. Three guys, I think they were,
24 with a camera, to record it. There were also two or three from Kozarac,
25 Blagoje Gajic, the president of the war veterans unit, and so on. I don't
1 remember how many people, but we used a minivan and I took them over there
2 and going come coming back didn't last longer than two or three hours.
3 That is, I took them there to show them what it looks like when there is
4 combat, that there were houses that had been burnt down, houses that had
5 been destroyed, that it was gone, that all the livestock was gone, that
6 people were gone. I took them there to show it. We were allowed to cross
7 over and allowed us to come back. And when we came back, I begged them, I
8 asked them to talk to people, to try to show people that all this would
9 serve no good end whatsoever. There were people from Carakovo, Hambarine
10 and other places who were with them because I wanted us all to help to
11 prevent, to forestall a conflict. But you know what outcome of that all.
12 That is why I'm here today. So that's as far as that goes.
13 The staff was then disbanded on the 16th or the 17th of May. The
14 order came from Colonel Arsic to attach -- to resubordinate the command.
15 Now, I don't remember whether it was the 43rd or the 343rd, but it also
16 applied to the Territorial Defence staff. I mean, the official one, which
17 existed there and which was under the command of Rade Javoric. That one
18 was never disbanded, but this shows as a matter of fact all these
19 Territorial Defence units in the town and across the municipality were
20 under the command of that staff, and these other staff existed more or
21 less only formally and helped with food and supplies and things like that.
22 So that on the 17th it ceased to exist officially and -- and it was an
23 order or a decision, whether it was the 29th or the 30th, when the
24 official staff of the municipality was also disbanded. And so that my
25 office also ended there. I mean, as the commander of that staff.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you please be so kind and then continue
2 telling us what happened from your own perspective in the following days.
3 A. You mean in the Prijedor municipality? Is that it?
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Correct.
5 A. Well, these operations started -- I mean, there was an attack
6 launched on the town. A large group of people crossed the Sana from
7 Hambarine -- or rather, Brdo, as we call it, and with weapons attacked all
8 the checkpoints round the bridge, La Pont, which is a fisherman's society
9 around the church, towards Tenis [phoen], as said, along a very broad
10 front they breached the town and reached the municipal hall, and I can't
11 remember exactly but I think that 16 men died -- I mean, 16 Serbs. Well,
12 perhaps it is not for me to say, but when the power was taken over from
13 the 29th and the 30th not a bullet was fired, nobody was hurt. Now, when
14 they tried, when they made this incursion into the town, lots of people
15 died. There were many losses.
16 And at about the same time problems arose over there. I mean, the
17 fighting in Kozarac. And as far as I know, the army returned the fire,
18 and I think that in Stari Grad towards Hambarine some tanks were sent in
19 that direction from some -- towards some sheds or buildings from which the
20 fire came, so the army used tanks to return that fire. And up there in
21 Kozarac they started -- there were those people there. And as far as I
22 can remember, there is a video, there is a tape showing how in Kozarac
23 they had done something else, that they had set up a barracks of sorts or
24 something there. And from what I heard afterwards, there was some
25 terrorisation of their own people. They were requesting that everybody
1 get weapons or to requisition livestock and other property. Many people
2 refused to do that because -- I mean, Muslims, because some Muslims did
3 want to go to war and others didn't. But whatever the case, the army went
4 to respond to those operations of those soldiers in Kozarac, and that is
5 when the conflict ensued, and the pursuits were organised of those who had
6 fired but then led to other problems. People panicked, started leaving
7 Kozarac, and, well, I don't know whether that was in the morning or in the
8 afternoon or sometime during the day and I don't know on which date
9 exactly - was it the 25th or the 26th or the 27th of May - the late Simo
10 Drljaca and the late Mico Kovacevic called me, and I was at school or
11 perhaps I was at home, so I just don't know -- I don't remember the
12 date -- and asked know organise the reception of these people and those
13 who came from Hambarine, but those were very few, and those who had
14 started leaving Kozarac. They even asked me to organise that in the
15 school building I was even angry with them, "Why are you involving me in
16 this? There is the army. It has its command." But they were asking me
17 to do it and both were also using the interphone [As interpreted] and I
18 was using my own phone so that I could hear them talking with other people
19 and because other people know me too, I am an old Prijedoran, and I knew
20 lots of people, I was a teacher there, I grew up there, the whole town
21 knew me, so that perhaps that is why it will be good if I try to organise
22 it. And they asked me to accommodate those people in my school, but I
23 refused that. Naturally. How can we put up those people who are sorts of
24 refugees? How can we put them up in the school? So that many of them
25 went to the Mladost gym. And meanwhile, people from the Red Cross came,
1 and they were all ethnic origins, and they looked after those people.
2 But then the report came that a large number of people were living
3 Kozarac in their vehicles, trucks, cars, tractors, horse carts, trailers,
4 and even on foot or with wheelbarrows or what do I know, and they asked me
5 to go there to see them and try somehow to receive those people. Well, I
6 was angry, but what can you do? That fell to my lot. So I went to see
7 what was happening. And after all, it wasn't far from the town, and then
8 I could indeed see that there were large numbers of people, women, small
9 children, and so on, arriving in all those means of transportation, and I
10 took along with me people from the Prijedor Red Cross, and there were
11 women and men of all ethnic origins. And I remember, for instance, Rifit
12 Kurtovic was my colleague. We worked in the school together. And then
13 there was this Mrs. Jogic. I can't remember her first name. And we
14 started helping those people to somehow get accommodated in the houses
15 around the school. But the wave of people grew larger by the time, and
16 then I asked the school caretaker, the man who looked after the school, to
17 open the school so that we could put those people in the school, and they
18 were put in the school and I think the next day or the day later people
19 from the UNHCR and the International Red Cross arrived and brought
20 powdered milk and whatever they could for children. I can't really
21 remember what that person's name was from the Red Cross, but I think they
22 came the next day or the day after.
23 And two or three days later they asked that more care be taken of
24 those people, more than hitherto, that some certificates be issued to them
25 to show that those people were there, because that would be in accordance
1 with the Geneva Conventions, that none of these people could be taken away
2 somewhere, that nobody could take them away, and that is what we did every
3 day. One could, of course, ask what was my role in that, because I wasn't
4 a soldier, I wasn't an army officer, I wasn't the Red Cross, and I was all
5 that at one and the same time. That is, I asked the commander in the
6 barracks to send some troops to guard those people to avoid any attacks on
7 them from Serb villages, that is, Petrov Gaj, which are right next door,
8 and the first or the second day a policeman was killed there while those
9 people were still trying to organise their -- to put up there, because
10 fire had been opened from a railway carriage, from the railway station,
11 which is some 50 metres or so away from the school. So my request was
12 really justified. Somebody had to guard it, because people came there
13 from individual units with their commanders and they organised those
14 guards, and I looked after the food for those people and they also talked
15 it between themselves and they would slaughter an ox or a cow to feed
16 those people and they also asked the army to take two big soup kitchen
17 facilities so that they could prepare their meals themselves there. And
18 that was done and a number of lunch parcels were brought by the
19 International Red Cross and the UNHCR and two large water tankers came for
20 1.000 or, I don't know, 2.000 litres of water with the hoses that could be
21 turned into faucets, and there was a pump in the school yard and in houses
22 nearby so that those people, those Muslims who were put up in houses
23 nearby, they were living there, and towards Trnopolje they were living in
24 all those houses rather far away.
25 And since people needed also some green stuff, that is, cabbages,
1 or people would call it, that is, carrots and parsley and kale and
2 whatnot, those people could go around kitchen gardens in neighbouring
3 houses and pick that, and nobody stopped them from doing that, except that
4 people had to guard them, because the fighting was still going on. Later
5 on it came to be known as cleansing. But by and large nothing special was
6 happening and those people could move about freely and do all that. I
7 don't know. Perhaps something is not quite clear, because I gave my
8 statement in Banja Luka once, but there were no fences there except the
9 hedge, that is, the common school fence, and there was also one which
10 separated the cultural centre from the farmers cooperative, and that was 8
11 or 9 metres long, and that was a metal fence which I think had two lines
12 of barbed wire on top. And then it turned out to be a camp or something.
13 That was no camp at all. It was simply a necessity. And fortunately it
14 was a place where people in predicament got together and the International
15 Red Cross or the UNHCR brought a plaque which said "open centre." Nobody
16 ever called it a camp, and I personally never saw it as a camp. Not that
17 it wasn't a camp. It was one of the safest places in Prijedor and around
18 because nobody could get into it and attack them.
19 On one occasion some villagers, some local people, entered, and I
20 think some women - I believe four of them were raped - otherwise, in that
21 centre there were physicians all the time. I think two physicians, two
22 Muslims, and there were also nurses there. And in daytime a doctor and a
23 male nurse would come whenever it was necessary for them to do something.
24 From what I know, people were taken to the hospital in Prijedor, those
25 rapes, to try to establish, and I think only one of them was actually
1 raped. And after that there was nothing, unless of course those who were
2 there, perhaps there were some problems between them, but nobody was
3 killed there. Perhaps some were around Kozarac, but that was some 7 or 8
4 kilometres away from there, and that was not my job because I had too many
5 other problems to solve, to feed all those people, to look after them. It
6 was very hot, and fortunately because there were two physicians from
7 amongst the Muslim people and those others, we had no outbreaks of any
8 epidemics, the water was not contaminated, but there wasn't enough room
9 there. I mean, in the school and houses around it there were simply not
10 enough room. So I asked those people from the building company gave me --
11 well, we call it the -- those steel rods that one uses for reinforced
12 steel, and we used them to pitch some tents there so that people could be
13 put up there too, seeing that it was so hot.
14 I don't know what else to tell you. Simply -- well, anyway,
15 people asked to leave and they left. They would organise themselves
16 because at that time across Bosnia-Herzegovina there was fighting and many
17 combat operations, and it simply turned out that every people aspired to
18 join their own flock, as we say it, so that there were a number of people
19 who wanted to go to Zenica, and on two or three occasions we organised the
20 transport from there by train, so people left, a vast number of those who
21 wanted to go went. And there were also those who didn't want to go
22 because -- in other directions because their relatives or their friends or
23 their neighbours had gone somewhere and they wanted to join them. But
24 otherwise, they wouldn't have left. And then there were people from
25 Travnik, from Zenica, from Doboj, because in Trnopolje there was a
1 telephone -- I mean, those of the Red Cross had the telephone and of
2 course the UNHCR, I mean, when they come they would have one with them.
3 So they called up to say that they had got safe and sound wherever they
4 were going and that those who were working there from the Red Cross said
5 that they would enable families to get back together again. And once -- I
6 don't remember whether it was June or July -- the UNHCR organised that the
7 departure of some, I believe, 1400 -- 1.450 men to Karlovac.
8 Now, was it -- with some ideas that not the UNHCR or the
9 International Red Cross happy? I don't know. But there was the promise
10 that the remainder, their families, those who were staying behind in
11 Trnopolje at that time would have actually joined them.
12 Later on one could hear in the town that the Red Cross and the
13 UNHCR were organising without any problems and it would be easy for people
14 to go either to neighbouring countries and further on abroad and then huge
15 pressure ensued there in Trnopolje of people who wanted to leave, who
16 wanted to leave Prijedor, until they understood that it would all come to
17 nothing, and several other convoys went via Travnik. I asked the
18 president of the executive community to provide transport, and the chief
19 of the SUP to provide security for that transport. Some people took
20 buses, some large lorries, they were escorted by the police.
21 Unfortunately on one occasion - I can't remember exactly when - the
22 police -- well, I don't know how to call that, but what they did was
23 disgraceful for my people. Because of base instincts for the sake of
24 looting - and this is something that I found out two or three days later -
25 for these reasons they killed a number of people. I don't know how many,
1 but they forced them to get off the buses before they crossed over into
2 Travnik. I later found out about what had happened. But before that, and
3 after that, it never happened. But on that one occasion, it did happen
4 for the sake of looting, for the base instincts, that some people of my
5 people had.
6 After that, they went perhaps once or, what, twice again. Not
7 many people remained, but people started coming from the town who hoped
8 that through the UNHCR and the International Red Cross they'd be able to
9 reach foreign countries in Europe. These hopes came to nothing. One of
10 the presidents of the international office in Banja Luka, someone called
11 Midjon [phoen], I think, one day he said that it would come to nothing,
12 they were coming to Trnopolje, and then requesting that they be taken all
13 over Europe and so on. I don't remember whether it was in mid-September
14 or the first half of October. I don't know exactly, but it wasn't
15 possible to do this. It was autumn already. It had started raining. I
16 didn't consult anyone or ask for anyone's opinion, but I quite simply made
17 those people leave Trnopolje. I said it was enough. And the people from
18 the International Red Cross said that there was no longer reason -- any
19 reason for them to be fed, they should return home. So I don't know how
20 this should be put. This was never a camp. These were just the
21 circumstances that prevailed, the unfortunate circumstances that were all
22 -- that we all found ourselves in. There were some problems after all,
23 but perhaps the late Simo and Mico did right. Perhaps it was good for
24 someone like me to be there. Someone had to do this, and perhaps my
25 authority, my respectability was used, and this finished in a humane way
1 after all because there were quite a few pupils of mine, friends,
2 acquaintances, et cetera.
3 So perhaps there are a lot of things that I haven't mentioned and
4 I don't know, but that's how this came to an end.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this. We, of course, have to come
6 back to some details later. For technical reasons, we have to have a
7 break now. The trial, therefore, stays adjourned until five minutes past
9 --- Recess taken at 10.35 a.m.
10 --- On resuming at 11.09 a.m.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
12 Mr. Kuruzovic, we are grateful that you gave us this overview from
13 the beginning of 1992 until October 1992, but we have to go into some
14 details now.
15 First, may I ask you, what was the role of Kozarski Vjesnik after
16 the takeover? Was it the official organ of the SDS, the official organ of
17 the municipality, the official organ of the Crisis Staff, or how would you
18 describe the role of Kozarski Vjesnik at that point in time, not before
19 and not later. We learned that you worked with Kozarski Vjesnik later.
20 But if you could describe, especially the role of the leading persons of
21 Kozarski Vjesnik, Mr. Mutic and others.
22 A. As far as I know, Kozarski Vjesnik wasn't the official organ of
23 the municipality or of the Crisis Staff. I think it was a limited
24 company. I think it was an independent newspaper. But at the meetings of
25 the executive committee and other bodies, as far as I know, they were
1 attended by a journalist from Kozarski Vjesnik, by Mile Mutic, who was the
2 director of Kozarski Vjesnik at the time, Rade Mutic, a journalist, Zivko
3 Ecim, Milanko Rajlic, both journalists. So I don't know. I don't think
4 it was - how should I put it - it wasn't an extension of a party or of
5 organs of power or of the power structure at the time. Since there was a
6 war in Western Slavonia, I know that they reported from there, being
7 journalists, and there was a regular presence at the meetings of the
8 organs of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did Mr. Mutic also attend meetings of the Crisis
11 A. As far as I know, Mile Mutic did. I was at those sessions of the
12 Crisis Staff very rarely because of the duties I had which regarded
13 feeding, providing the police and soldiers with food, and issuing
14 certificates for fuel. I had to be present there all the time. But I
15 know that Mile Mutic did attend sessions and Milenko Rajlic, but how this
16 proceeded exactly, I don't know. There must be some sort of records.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Were there any other journalists present during
18 the meetings of the Crisis Staff?
19 A. As I said, as far as I can remember, I was there very seldom, but
20 I think that Rade Mutic and Zivko Ecim were there. But how, to what
21 extent, I don't know exactly.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's turn now to the role of the Official
23 Gazette of Prijedor Municipality. Why was it that since the takeover the
24 Official Gazette of Prijedor Municipality was edited as a gazette of year
25 1, even though we know that the Official Gazette of Prijedor Municipality
1 existed for years already?
2 A. Well, you're asking me a lot. I never saw that gazette, but I
3 assume that it is because the Serbian Municipal Assembly was formed, and
4 from that time onwards, from the time of its establishment, they decided
5 to start by using number 1. I'm not sure of this though.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May the witness please be shown the cover page
7 of document S180. Please put it on the ELMO.
8 You can -- or maybe it's better we make use -- you get the B/C/S
9 version and the -- the other one is on the ELMO. So you can see at the
10 left-hand side "year 1." Correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. We'll come back to this document a little
13 bit later.
14 Mr. Kuruzovic, when to the best of your recollection you heard
15 about the first plans of implementing a Crisis Staff in Prijedor
17 A. Well, I think that was, I don't know, two or three days after the
18 takeover of power. It's hard to talk about that Crisis Staff in terms of
19 it being a special body because all the members of the executive committee
20 were members of it, all those who were part of an executive power, apart
21 from the president of the municipality and the vice-president of the
22 municipality. So there was the president of the municipality and the
23 vice-president. If you need the names, Stakic was the president,
24 Kovacevic --
25 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please slow down and repeat
1 the names.
2 A. The chief of the SUP was Simo Drljaca; the Chief of Defence and so
3 on. That was the executive committee. The executive authority and the
4 municipal assembly, and then there was the president and the
5 vice-president of the municipalities, as far as I can remember. That was
6 two or three days after the takeover of power, on the 29th, that is to
7 say, on the 30th. I don't know who ordered this formation. I assume it
8 followed the chain of subordination from the Assembly of the Republic of
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina or from the staff, from Banja Luka. I don't know
10 exactly. I think that a statute of the municipal assembly was adopted.
11 Maybe it was on the basis of the statute. I don't know exactly. As I
12 said, I was present at those meetings very seldom and I didn't really pay
13 attention to these official matters.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You yourself were a member of the Crisis Staff;
16 A. Yes. By virtue of my office as commander of the staff of
17 Territorial Defence. But as I said, that wasn't a military formation
18 really. It was more care for feeding the people, et cetera.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And who told you that from now on the Crisis
20 Staff was established and invited you for the first meeting of the Crisis
22 A. I don't know exactly. I can't remember exactly, but assume it was
23 the president, Stakic, or one of his associates, the Secretary of the
24 Municipality. What was his name? Dusko, I think, Baltic or one of the
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And when did you attend for the first time a
2 meeting of the Crisis Staff?
3 A. I don't know. A few days after the 30th of April. I can't
4 remember exactly.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: One, two, three days, five days?
6 A. Perhaps. Perhaps three days. I don't know exactly.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Kuruzovic, wasn't the word "Crisis Staff"
8 already used some days before, already during takeover?
9 A. I don't know for sure, but I don't think so. But the Crisis
10 Staff, as I said, there was the one in the ARK Krajina and even in local
11 communes, because the time was such, it was a crisis. Of course not only
12 in parts of the town or the parts of local communes, not only -- this
13 didn't only concern the Serbian population but the other population too.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How often would the Crisis Staff meet as you
15 said, two or three days after the takeover in the following period?
16 A. Well, I think that in the municipal assembly, I think there was a
17 meeting of the executive committee every day and at the same time that was
18 a Crisis Staff, because vital problems were being dealt with every day.
19 Although, I would usually just say that I was there and then I would go to
20 the command where I performed the duties that I mentioned, or I would be
21 present for a very short period of time, because by virtue of my offices I
22 didn't work in the municipality on a report of any kind. I couldn't
23 influence decisions of any kind. This had to do with vital questions that
24 related to organising life in the municipality, that is to say, in the
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So it would be your testimony that only in the
2 first days of May the Crisis Staff met and more or less, nearly every day,
3 as it was with the executive committee; correct?
4 A. Yes. But after a very short period of time I think that was it
5 was renamed the Presidency. I don't remember when that happened exactly.
6 Maybe 10 or 15 days later. I don't know exactly. I can't remember. And
7 the meetings of that body, well, I can't remember. I was present perhaps
8 on one or two occasions very briefly, because on the 17th of May there was
9 an order stating that I should become attached to the brigade, so I didn't
10 have any particular links to the Crisis Staff, that is to say, to the War
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You testified that you participated only on
13 limited occasions when you were present at a meeting of a Crisis Staff,
14 who chaired the Crisis Staff?
15 A. The president of the municipal assembly, Dr. Milomir Stakic.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Who invited and where were these meetings held?
17 A. As far as I know, there were no particular kinds of invitations.
18 It was a sort of working meeting, so to speak. Colleagues would meet in
19 the morning because that was the purpose of the executive committee and
20 meetings were held in the Municipal Assembly in Prijedor, in the building
21 of the municipal assembly.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was it in a special room or one of the offices
23 of the vice-president or what do you recall?
24 A. I think it was down below. What's it called? In the basement of
25 the municipal assembly where the canteen was, where they make coffee and
1 tea. Because everyone when they -- when all the people turned up for
2 work, they were down there, and there was an area next to that part and at
3 the beginning they held several meetings. I can't remember how many
4 exactly. And later on they were held -- well, there is an area next to
5 the office of the president of the municipal assembly. It's still there,
6 and meetings are still held there, meetings which were attended by a
7 relatively low number of people. The current president of the municipal
8 assembly, Murharem Murselovic, still holds meetings there.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was there, as it is often in political circles,
10 an inner circle within the Crisis Staff, or were all members of the Crisis
11 Staff on an equal footing?
12 A. Well, it's difficult to say. As far as I know, everyone was equal
13 when discussions were held. But I assume that there were certain -- there
14 was advice or agreements which were reached between the president of the
15 municipality, the vice-president of the municipality, the president of the
16 executive committee, the vice-president of the executive committee, so
17 between the main people and perhaps those who were involved in the
18 security for the town. That would be natural as a sort of preparation.
19 But when this took place, how this took place, et cetera, I don't know,
20 because I didn't attend such meetings.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Who would be those people, as you call it,
22 involved in the security for the town?
23 A. Well, it was the Secretariat of the Interior that was involved in
24 security for the town, and the chief, Simo Drljaca, was in charge.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was there also a representative from the
1 military present during those meetings of the Crisis Staff?
2 A. As far as I know, very seldom. Although, I was there seldom too.
3 As far as I know, that was -- on one or two occasions when I was there,
4 that related to supplying food for the army. It related to vital issues,
5 as far as I know, military subjects weren't discussed. I don't think that
6 there was any particular kind of cooperation between the Crisis Staff and
7 the military with regard to that matter. I don't think that they did
8 anything together, apart from tackle vital issues, because there were
9 problems relating to the electricity supply, the food supply, and so on.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And who would be the representative of the
11 military when participating?
12 A. Well, as far as I know, on the two or three occasions that I was
13 there, it was either Colonel Arsic or I don't remember what his rank was,
14 Major Zeljaja or Ranko Rajlic, one of them, because they would come to
15 request aid, fuel aid, aid with regard to electricity, et cetera.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This is a fact that we were not present. Of
17 course, we are interested to know how was the procedure within the Crisis
18 Staff, who prepared the agenda, who took notes, was there a voting or --
19 could you please tell us a little bit about this procedure. When you came
20 together, how did it work?
21 A. I've just told you. It's a kind of daily work of this executive
22 board. They were all together there, and I suppose that meetings were
23 prepared by people in charge of individual areas of work. So they could
24 work. The meetings were chaired and moderated by the president of the
25 assembly, or that is, the Crisis Staff, Dr. Stakic. And what was the last
1 part of your question? Oh, yes, I remember. Yes. I believe that notes
2 were taken and the note taker was Spiro Marmat. He worked for the
3 municipal authorities, and I believe he was the one who took notes, or at
4 times Bosko -- excuse me, Dusko Baltic, who was the Secretary of the
5 Municipality. I think he did at times.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was there a formal voting procedure?
7 A. Well, I can't remember that. It was mostly discussions about
8 various things that had to be done. If I was there, I'd ask Travar or the
9 president of the executive board to provide fuel, to provide the vouchers,
10 to procure food for the checkpoints, for people who were there on duty
11 every day and every night, and such like.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was there ever a strong dispute on certain
13 issues that you had to vote, or was it more or less unanimously?
14 A. Well, I -- now I can't remember that. I don't remember any
15 particular voting because there were people who were -- understood the
16 problems of the town, and I think the decisions were the product of their
17 mutual agreement.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Page 39, line 18 you said today when we asked
19 about the Crisis Staff, "It's a kind of daily work of this executive
20 board." Would this mean that the executive board was -- could be equaled
21 with the Crisis Staff?
22 A. Well, technically I think yes, except that alongside these members
23 of the executive board there were also the president of the municipality
24 and the vice-president of the municipality also participated in the work
25 of the Crisis Staff. As far as I know, that was ex officio. Whether that
1 office would be called the office of the commander of the Crisis Staff or
2 the head of the Crisis Staff or the president, I can't recall exactly.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the usher to present once again
4 document S180 to the witness, and the English version on the ELMO, please.
5 Mr. Kuruzovic, you can see this decision taken, as it reads here,
6 the 20th of May, 1992 on the organisation and work of Prijedor Municipal
7 Crisis Staff. Was this now a new Crisis Staff or was this only a
8 declaration on the already existing Crisis Staff you mentioned beforehand?
9 A. Well, I don't know. I guess it's this letter thing, that it was,
10 I suppose, pursuant to some legal regulations emerging from the
11 constitution of the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That is why it
12 was declared official.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But for you as a member of the Crisis Staff we
14 learned that you -- to your other obligations you didn't participate very
15 often. But was there any change on or about the 20th of May or, say, the
16 17th of May - you mentioned this day beforehand - in the work of the
17 Crisis Staff, or was it the same procedure as beforehand?
18 A. I don't know that. The decision ordered me to resubordinate
19 myself to the barracks, that is, the brigade commander. After that, I
20 don't remember if I was ever present at the Crisis Staff. But at one --
21 after one of the meetings of the Crisis Staff the official decision of the
22 Crisis Staff was taken to disband the Territorial Defence staff to relieve
23 me of my duty as its commander and that this whole command should be
24 placed under the army command, and I think that it was decided - I don't
25 remember exactly - but I think it was on the 29th of May or thereabouts,
1 that decision. But when was it actually adopted, that I do not know.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: My question was: Did you see any new
3 development within the work of the Crisis Staff during that period you
4 attended meetings of the Crisis Staff? Was there something special? Was
5 there a change? Was there an exchange of participants or whatsoever?
6 A. I don't think so. I think that work continued as it was before.
7 I don't remember any particular changes. Perhaps there were some, but I
8 was very seldom present there, so it wouldn't be honest to say something
9 that I don't know. I don't recall exactly. I think that while I was
10 present there that the system of work did not change.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: One additional question: Was there any special
12 building of the -- of or for the Crisis Staff in Cirkin Polje?
13 A. No. There was no building there. There was a building which
14 until that time, that is, until the 17th, housed the Territorial Defence
15 headquarters when I did my job. But later on, when the decision was
16 taken, when the order was issued for resubordination, it was then said
17 that it was being transformed into the -- into a logistics base. That is
18 what it was called. But it continued doing what it did before, that is,
19 providing food and all the rest that those checkpoints needed.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was it also the place where petrol vouchers were
22 A. Yes.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Who issued these petrol vouchers? Was it the
24 municipal assembly or was it the Crisis Staff?
25 A. It was the municipal assembly, but its name -- that is, that the
1 name of the president of the executive board in order to avoid crowding in
2 the municipal hall, because that building houses many other services and
3 that is why I was asked to do it, because it would be less crowded there.
4 And I did it very honestly. I mean, people who had their companies,
5 Muslims, and every other ethnicity, came, took those certificates, except
6 that they really couldn't get as much fuel as they wanted, that is, I
7 mean, they could not buy all the quantities they wanted, but as much as
8 was available there. But no discrimination -- there was no
9 discrimination. The municipal drivers and from all the other institutions
10 came there to get those certificates and be issued vouchers to be able to
11 buy fuel. There were two young women there who kept books, and I talked
12 with those people and naturally they always asked for more fuel than we
13 could realistically provide, so that we cut it down, and with that they
14 went to the petrol station and paid for the fuel with their own money and
15 that is how it went on.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could one read at the entrance door of the
17 building that this was a building where also the Crisis Staff was located?
18 A. Well, you know, I don't remember that it had a name. People
19 simply knew that. That's where it was. And they came and it was down the
20 grapevine how people learnt it. Now, you've really caught me by surprise
21 because I think that everybody knew the Crisis Staff was in the
22 municipality, unless they thought this Crisis Staff was in this
23 neighbourhood community. Otherwise, I don't remember. I don't remember
24 there was anything saying that.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did the Crisis Staff continue to exist later on
1 in Urije? For the parties I make reference to transcript page 7537
2 through 7537 -- 7535 through 7537. The Crisis Staff in Urije. That was
3 the question.
4 A. Well, I mean, Urije is part of the town of Prijedor, a locality in
5 it, a neighbourhood in it, and Cirkin Polje, this neighbourhood community
6 from which the police started, this centre from which the police set out
7 to take over the power, well, I don't know, it's two or 300 metres away
8 from this building and this building is also about two or 300 metres away
9 from the office of the neighbourhood community in Urije, and this area is
10 called Cirkin Polje because there's the neighbourhood community there,
11 some office some two or 300 metres away, but it's the same area. And over
12 here, where the neighbourhood -- where the official neighbourhood
13 community of Urije is, that is -- that was part of the Territorial
14 Defence. I mean, the official, the state one, of the Republic of Bosnia
15 and Herzegovina, and the police -- police station.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would it be correct that you regularly could be
17 found in this location as well?
18 A. Yes. In those earlier -- in morning hours, I'd always be there at
19 7.00 because there was a lot of work, very many people came to ask for
20 those fuel vouchers, so that is where I was as a rule.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So to be quite clear - because unfortunately, we
22 had never a chance to go to Prijedor ourselves - what is the distinction
23 between the building in Cirkin Polje and the building in Urije?
24 A. Well, I'm not sure I fully understand your question, but I'll try
25 to do that. Cirkin Polje is the neighbourhood community, and there is a
1 club there, a centre which holds cultural events and so on and so forth,
2 where people get together, and that is from where the police set out to
3 take over power.
4 Now, from that -- from the neighbourhood community building in
5 Urije to that building there is a privately owned building where there was
6 a private company which had to do with Slovenia, as far as I know, and
7 that is a building where I was in and issued those certificates. And the
8 office of the neighbourhood community in Urije is to the left or before
9 that building, and it was in this cultural club and everything else in
10 Urije. But the distances are very short, so that is it. So that there
11 wasn't anything. So this is the difference. One was the office of the
12 neighbourhood community in Urije. That is called Prijedor II. And
13 everything is under that neighbourhood community, that one in Cirkin
14 Polje, in Palanciste [phoen] and Puharska and these are all parts of that
15 large neighbourhood or local community.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the usher to put on the ELMO the next
17 decision in the Official Gazette Prijedor.
18 And if you, Mr. Kuruzovic, could be so kind and have a look on the
19 next document.
20 This is now the printed version. We could also provide you with
21 the original of this document. But if Madam Registrar could prepare the
22 original version if needed or if need may be. But based on this we can
23 read -- we have, I think, altogether established that there's a printing
24 error as it's meeting of -- it should read: "20 May 1992 there was a
25 decision taken on appointment to Prijedor Municipal Crisis Staff." And
1 you can read number 1, as you mentioned, the president, Dr. Milomir
2 Stakic, Mr. Savanovic, Mr. Kovacevic, and then for the post of member
3 Slobodan Kuruzovic, commander of Municipal Territorial Defence Staff.
4 Is it correct that in conclusion of your previous testimony this
5 was more or less of a declaration of that what already existed since some
6 days after the takeover? Would this be correct?
7 A. Yes. Yes.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So to be -- to have no doubt at all, there was
9 no change the 20th or the 22nd of May as regards your own duties as the
10 commander of the Municipal Territorial Defence Staff; correct?
11 A. Well, at that time the disposition was signed on the 17th that I
12 was being relieved of my duty as the commander of the staff and was to
13 attach myself to the brigade, to the army. So I think this simply
14 confirms something that was already in existence and that it was simply
15 legalised in this way, because you know how it is with documents, they're
16 always late. But this composition properly reflects what is there.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How long did you attend meetings of the Crisis
19 A. Well, I don't remember exactly. I know that it was seldom.
20 Whether I ever came after the 20th, I don't know. Perhaps I did. Because
21 that Territorial Defence staff became something else and because of this
22 care, procurement of food, and those checkpoints and all that was
23 necessary, I probably did come after that but not as a member any longer.
24 But after this 20th or the 29th - I don't know exactly - there was an
25 order to abolish the Territorial Defence staff and to relieve me of duty.
1 I mean, that was decided earlier. But the document in writing I think was
2 on the 29th but I'm not sure.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you participate in the meeting of the
4 municipal assembly on the 20th or the 17th - we don't know - of the
5 Prijedor Municipal Assembly?
6 A. During one of the terms of duty I was a councilman in the
7 municipal assembly representing my neighbourhood community, but as regards
8 the date, I don't remember really and I don't know whether it was then or
9 perhaps later. I don't remember. I mean, was it that year or one of the
10 subsequent years? I don't remember any more.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Kuruzovic, do you recall having given an
12 interview on the takeover as it happened the night from the 29th of April
13 to the 30th of April, a radio interview do you recall this?
14 A. Radio Prijedor?
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: A radio interview.
16 A. No. I never gave any such interview.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May we hear, please, the audiotape of Exhibit
19 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, we have copies if the booth would like
20 copies of that transcript.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. Then let's wait a second, let the booth
22 have copies of this.
23 THE REGISTRAR: They were provided with copies during the break.
24 Can they confirm they have it.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Can we know the number of the page, please. Can
1 we know the number of the -- the ERN number or something. We have a
2 document, but we are unable to identify it.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It should be on the last page. It should read
5 Madam Registrar, may I have a copy, please, of the English
7 MR. KOUMJIAN: I believe the interview, if the tape is queued,
8 with Mr. Kuruzovic begins on the page with the ERN number ending 723 in
10 THE INTERPRETER: Thank you very much. Yes.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I don't know. We'll hear immediately. Maybe it
12 starts already on 3721, where it reads, "Reporter."
13 You've got it?
14 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May the tape, please, be played.
16 [Audiotape played]
17 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] In the iron ore mine of Ljubija. Of
18 course this is the programme we're talking about, the end of April 1992,
19 that is the time when between the 29th and the 30th of April the Serb
20 Democratic Party or, rather, the people from the Serb Democratic Party
21 should take over all the most important offices in the territory of the
22 Prijedor municipality, all the vital functions. One of the people who
23 participated in all these activities from the beginning and in all the
24 events between the 29th and the 30th of April, 1992 was Mr. Slobodan
25 Kuruzovic, at that time the former commander of the TO in the town of
1 Prijedor. And we'd like to greet him.
2 Mr. Kuruzovic, this is the right moment to remember once again
3 after Mr. Simo Miskovic that night between the 29th and the 30th and also
4 to stretch our memory a little bit further into the past and recall some
5 of the times.
6 Slobodan Kuruzovic, as regards the political assessment and the
7 situation Simo and Kurnoga, the current president of the municipality,
8 have already said whatever there was to be said. I'd like to concentrate
9 on the military aspect and to list things as they happened. Sometime
10 around noon the notorious Jerko Doko from Sarajevo sent this official
11 dispatch and with the Serbs should perhaps be grateful to him because of
12 that, otherwise, we would have hesitated even more to do something that
13 was extremely difficult to do since as Dusan Kurnoga correctly pointed
14 out, each and every one of us placed our families in jeopardy since we had
15 to do something which had never been done before and that was to seize
16 power. And the situation was pretty clear, as plain as a pikestaff. As
17 our people say, it was clear what they were up to and where they were
18 going to do to us. We knew exactly their location, how they were armed,
19 where and how they were trained in Kozarac, up there in Benkovac,
20 Hambarine, and Puharska, we knew who bought the weapons and how they were
21 organised, we knew it all. It was in the air. And Simo said earlier,
22 this Jerko Doko helped us by sending this dispatch and they thought that
23 the Serbs would never get hold of that dispatch and the Muslims were in
24 power, but they were wrong. In 15 minutes this dispatch was in front of
25 me. I read it and then we sat down and agreed on how we should proceed,
1 as Simo said. At 5.00 we went to the barracks up there to discuss
2 military tactics and decide what and when to -- what had to be done and
3 when to do it. Dr. Stakic was there, the former president of the
4 municipality, myself, Drljaca, Jankovic, and Cadjo, Miskovic as the
5 president of the SDS and Lieutenant Colonel Arsic. Arsic was then the
6 lieutenant colonel by the rank and he was the commander of the barracks
7 and the commander of the 43rd Brigade. This group of people discussed
8 this until nearly 7.00, and Arso then insisted and they decided that the
9 moment was right. It had to be done right away with no special
10 preparations since we had enough men at our disposal to prevent the
11 massacre in the town. In that case, the consequences would be
13 Reporter: Before the 29th and the 30th of April, 1992 the Serb
14 people tried in every possible way to prevent -- to preserve peace not
15 only in the municipality of Prijedor but wider in the territory of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina by offering to the SDA various proposals for an
17 agreement. What we are interested here and what our listeners would like
18 to hear is if you can depict the atmosphere in that room where you were
19 making this important decision between, let's say, 1400 or 1500 and 1700
21 Kuruzovic: It is rather difficult to describe it. A moment ago I
22 was about to say something in this regard. It was a difficult situation
23 to do something like that. It was obvious that we did not hold any power
24 either in Prijedor or in the republican level. It was such a large town
25 and so many people who were not in agreement with us and the political
1 problems concerning the division of power and all the other issues were
2 dragging on for a year and a half and the situation was very complicated.
3 However, the decision was taken and we agreed that the police should take
4 over the power because together with Croats and Muslims they wore those
5 blue uniforms and tried to maintain peace and order in the town and we
6 decided that they should do it down here in the town, whereas the military
7 aspect, that was under my command, should take care of that. In other
8 words, that this takeover should be secured by the armed Serbs. Allow me
9 to put things in chronological perspective.
10 After that -- after we had agreed about that, sometime around
11 1900, Captain Bojic, Captain Savic, myself, and late Major Karlica we sat
12 down and drew up a plan. We had everything in front of us, the whole town
13 and the disposition -- and combat deployment of forces. It was no secret
14 any more. We knew exactly where they had their men and their units. They
15 even had arms, et cetera. At 2100 of course it was on the 29th. I
16 summoned all the commanders of the regional staffs in our town, both from
17 urban, suburban area, settlements, and villages. They went to that
18 building of the Slovenian company in the field in Cirkin Polje where later
19 the HQ of the Serbian TO staff was established and whose commander I was.
20 I had been officially appointed by the Serb Municipal Assembly and we
21 agreed on how to proceed and the mobilisation was ordered for 2.00 a.m.
22 All armed Serbs in the localities, suburban areas, and villages were
23 supposed to take their positions at a given moment. We agreed on the
24 matter how it should be done. They had to be ready to enter the town
25 strictly upon my order at 4.00 in the morning if need be and that's how it
2 In the meantime, Simo, Dule Jankovic, Cadjo, of course there were
3 many more of them, Marko Dzenadija, Jankovljevic, Pop Mudrinic, and let me
4 not list all of them, but there were all those people from the police who
5 did a lot of work. This reserve police force came to the community centre
6 in Cirkin Polje. We -- some 260 men were called up but many more
7 appeared, and the hall was packed. People talked and smoked. Nobody made
8 any noise or shouted. I have no words to describe this atmosphere that
9 reigned in that room. People were aware of the seriousness of the task
10 ahead of us and they acted according to the situation.
11 At 4.00 in the morning, the first convoys, so to speak, of men who
12 were organised and tasked with taking over all the vital buildings and
13 functions in the municipality set off this small mini-bus at Mico
14 Janjetovic from Dragusko [phoen] locality, used to take the Rudar players
15 to the soccer matches in, was used and the -- and that they went to the
16 SUP, the court, the municipal building, Kozarski Vjesnik. This perhaps
17 all sounds funny, but the last building to be taken was the public
18 auditing service because the guard there who was a Serb had fallen asleep
19 and I vividly remember how we sat in that room, Simo, Dule Jankovic,
20 Cadjo, myself listening to the men talking on the Motorola, whether they
21 should break into the door or not. And someone said, "Why bother breaking
22 in. He'll wake up eventually." And that's what happened. So there were
23 no incidents, nothing. And at 4.25 the last report came through. The
24 procedure was quite simple. One could just say "over," and that was a
25 sign that the task had been completed, that is, that a certain office that
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts. Pages 14479 to 14487.
1 is, that its function had been taken.
2 At 5.00 the representatives of our Serbian authorities came to me
3 to the headquarters, the president of the municipality, the vice-president
4 of the municipality, the chairman of the executive committee, secretary
5 for economy, Defence Minister, and all the others according to their
6 respected departments and municipality and then we began dispatching them.
7 There were also a few prominent general managers there. There's no need
8 for me to name them all. They went to their respective offices. Where
9 armed our policemen waited for them with the lists of people who would not
10 be allowed to enter the municipal buildings. The court, the police, and
11 so on and so forth, that is, Simo just mentioned it and I think it was
12 good -- it was really fortunate that it occurred to us, for instance, the
13 president of the municipality could not go in, the chairman of the party
14 could not go in, and some other top officials and supporters of the SDA
15 could not enter, when all the others, that is, Muslims or Croats,
16 regardless of nationality and regular employees, clerks, and all the rest,
17 they went to work as usual. The only difference being that the Serb flag
18 and the Yugoslav flag were hoisted up on the municipal building to mark
19 that the takeover had been carried out.
20 By 6.00 it was all over. We informed Vojo Kupresanin in Banja
21 Luka. At that time it was still the AR Krajina since everything had been
22 not been done yet. He did would not believe when we told him that it was
23 over and that we have seized the power in the municipality since it was
24 much more difficult to do it here than in those small towns like Novi,
25 Dubica, Sana. Because it was well known we were a large regional centre
1 and the chief of this regional centre was Mirza Mujadzic, since Simo had
2 already said everything about him. There is no need for me to repeat it.
3 Reporter: Since this action to seize power in the municipality
4 had been meticulously planned or carried out without a single incident or
5 shot being fired, we would like to know what the assessments were that
6 afternoon on the 29th. Did you expect an immediate reaction on the part
7 of the SDA and what would have been your course of action in such a case?
8 Kuruzovic: It is very difficult to answer the first part of the
9 question with regard to their possible reaction. I do not know if the
10 time is right to discuss all that. But we knew that that they had been
11 armed we knew where they were, we knew where their strongest units were
12 locate. But there was something else about which they did not pay
13 attention all that time. As Simo said, as we were trying to democratic
14 option and trying to draw their attention to the fact that they shouldn't
15 proceed in that way, later that month -- maybe it's not okay that I say
16 that as a general manager of our company, but we will talk about what
17 happened during that month in Prijedor. We were fighting in Western
18 Slavonia. We'd been fighting in Western Slavonia for a year: They
19 hadn't. And that was our enormous advantage since we knew that they did
20 not stand a ghost of a chance to do something so drastic and eventually it
21 proved right when 120 of them carried out that attack thinking that they
22 could do something using their rifles, and you know how this attempt
24 Our assumption was that -- well, we predicted that nothing silly
25 would happen, in other words, that they might cause an incident because in
1 each and every Serbian village, in every part of the town of Prijedor, in
2 every suburban settlement where the Serbs lived everything had been
4 Reporter: Were you much surprised by the attacks which ensued on
5 the 29 or 30 May when the Muslims, the Muslim fanatics of the SDA,
6 attacked the town of Prijedor?
7 Kuruzovic: We expected something like that any day because we
8 knew that they could not get over that, our people will proudly remember
9 that and theirs as well, although they will judge it different. We simply
10 outsmarted them and seized power in 25 minutes without firing a single
11 shot because we did not want it to happen in any other way.
12 Let me take this opportunity to say and remind you that even
13 before that there were many problems. There were burglaries, robberies,
14 et cetera, in the town, and that was one of the compelling reasons for us
15 to attempt to prevent that. They did not surprise us because we knew they
16 did not have respectable forces, but I was personally surprised a little
17 bit because this Slavko Acimovic was my pupil. I could not believe it.
18 He was something of an enigma. We knew he had been plotting something and
19 that he was a member of the HDZ, but that he was capable of something like
20 that was something that was beyond my expectations.
21 I know why that happened. We talked a lot about that later on.
22 They did not want that much to seize power. Their intention was to excuse
23 themselves before their own people. Alija is doing something similar at
24 the moment. He constantly attacks and reports casualties. Let me not
25 mention all of it now. But for instance, the Markale incident or the
1 French being killed, et cetera, et cetera, merely proves that something is
2 being done. Maybe it's not fair to talk like this, but I know that they
3 took a hell of a lot of money from their people in order to procure
4 weapons to attack the Serbs, slaughter them and eventually cause an
5 exodus. We struggled for a month to persuade them to disarm and hand in
6 those weapons, to resolve all the problems, preserve peace, and schedule
7 elections. We don't care who wins. To preserve peace and order in the
8 town, but to no avail. Of course, in the case they would have to return
9 the money to the people.
10 Reporter: This is a good occasion to make a parallel at the end
11 of our conversation and to compare the SDS then in April 1992 and now in
12 April 1995.
13 Kuruzovic: I don't know if I should be the one to comment on
14 this, but I can say that at the time the party was highly organised, aware
15 of everything, and prepared for anything. As a member of the SDS, myself
16 and the others, our president, Simo, we all had to, as our folk would say,
17 muster courage and every one of us was ready for that. And now we are
18 facing difficulties and the reasons for this are many, pressures from the
19 outside world, the fact that we are misunderstood by our brothers on the
20 other side of the Drina River, and then there are a lot of problems here
21 among us, so I would say that the reason for some of the problems, the
22 existential problems that exist, I hope that everything might be solved,
23 God willing, once this state of ours is stabilised and I hope that
24 everything will eventually be all right.
25 Reporter: This is Prijedor Radio, live broadcast from the Red
1 Auditorium, the Crvena Sala.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please let's have a short break, let the
3 French -- no, no. We'll stay here, only that the French booth can catch
5 [Interpretation] Thank you very much. That's all.
6 [In English] Do you recall now this interview with Radio Prijedor?
7 A. Yes, I do. At the time I was the director of Radio Prijedor, and
8 this interview was conducted by Zoran Baros. When you asked me, I thought
9 you were asking me about an interview from 1991, 1992, 1993. I know that
10 I didn't give any interviews at the time.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So the reporter mentioned here would -- on this
12 would be Zoran Baros. And you recall the exact date when you gave this
14 A. No. No, I don't remember. I assume it was in 1995, perhaps, when
15 power was taken over, but I'm not sure. This is on the basis of the
16 subject or the subjects discussed.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Does this interview, your interventions, reflect
18 that what happened in 1992 correctly?
19 A. Well, at the beginning - I think I said something to this effect -
20 I took this to be a serious matter, and I know that I couldn't just say
21 anything. The situation was quite problematic. The Muslim and the
22 Croatian people were divided and prepared for everything. The Serbs were
23 afraid of the consequences, afraid of what might happen, afraid that
24 things might happen similar to what happened in 1942, so it is similar to
25 what I have been discussing here since this morning.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: On the page ERN number ending with 722, last
2 line, you start saying, "As Simo said, 5.00 we went up there to the
3 barracks to discuss military tactics and decide when and what had to be
4 done. Dr. Stakic, former president of the municipality, myself, Drljaca,
5 Jankovic, and Cadjo, Miskovic as the chairman of the SDS, and Lieutenant
6 Colonel Arsic were there." What was it when you discussed "military
8 A. Well, that was on the 29th at about 1700 hours. We discussed the
9 possibility of problems arising when taking over power and said that armed
10 Serbs from the Territorial Defence should become involved from the entire
11 municipality. But this didn't happen. There weren't any interventions.
12 There weren't any incidents. Nothing happened. It was just a matter of
13 providing security in case fighting broke out, to prevent anything
14 unfortunate from happening.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So would the conclusion be correct that at that
16 period of time you discussed the maybe event that Muslim forces would
17 react and resist the takeover by military means? Did you discuss how to
18 react by military means?
19 A. Well, we didn't discuss it in that way. These people were there
20 in their local communes, in the neighbourhood communities, and they were
21 on guard, they were on duty, they were there over the night in case
22 something happened. And then I assume it would have been necessary to
23 intervene. But as far as the question as to whether we planned anything
24 in this respect, no. There were just certain discussions that were held,
25 if something unfortunate happened, discussions about how we were going to
1 react. I don't know what this would have turned into. But there were no
2 problems in the end.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: That's undisputed that no bullet was shot at
4 all. But in preparing this takeover, you yourself mentioned the words "we
5 discussed military tactics." Did you prepare some military platoons or
6 other groups in case there would be military action taken by the other
7 side how to react with military means? Would this be correct? Because I
8 think it would be quite natural to -- when preparing a takeover also to
9 take into account that there would be a reaction from the other side. So
10 what does it mean "discuss military tactics"?
11 A. Well, I agree with you, but perhaps you have forgotten the fact
12 that there were over 400 policemen there and it was agreed that they
13 should be called up and as a result there was not a great risk. If there
14 was some sort of reaction, I suppose that the police would be the first --
15 would have been the first to intervene. This was certainly taken into
16 account. If people armed, people in the Territorial Defence, that is to
17 say, Muslim units, Muslims and Croats who were armed on a private basis in
18 case something happened, in such a case one would probably have reacted.
19 But as far as a plan is concerned, there was no particular plan. We
20 simply discussed this subject. In such a case I assume it would have been
21 necessary to ask for help from the command, from the army, from the
22 brigades. But there weren't that many soldiers there either. There were
23 few soldiers in the barracks.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So I take it that you came to the conclusion
25 that your power, especially police power, was that overwhelming that there
1 was in your assessment no major risk of any response by the other side.
3 A. Well, I think so, because there was no other objectives. The only
4 objective was to take over the functions of the president of the
5 municipality, the vice-president of the municipality, the director of the
6 post office, the chief of the SUP, et cetera. Nothing else had been
7 planned. We hadn't planned to exert pressure on the people. No such
8 things had been considered. As I said, all the others who worked in any
9 of these other institutions, they appeared at work and worked as they had
10 previously done.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's now turn to page ERN number 72492. There
12 it reads, "We decided that they should do it down here in the town,
13 whereas the military aspect, which was under my authority, should be taken
14 care by us." Could you please explain this sentence given in the
15 interview by you that the military aspect was under your authority.
16 A. Well, it's because I was the commander of the Territorial Defence
17 staff. But otherwise, everything was organised in such a way that there
18 were defence units in local communes. And if something happened, they
19 were there. But how should I say it? It wasn't really a military
20 organisation in the strict sense of the term. It was just Serbians, the
21 people, civilians who were armed. They were in the reserve forces because
22 they had served in the JNA. We had all served in the army. They had
23 uniforms. They had their duties. But these were forces from the
24 Territorial Defence, the town's Territorial Defence, which existed at the
25 same time as the Territorial Defence staff, the Serbian one.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Apropos uniform, did you wear a uniform at that
2 period of time?
3 A. Yes. Yes, we wore uniforms, but many people didn't have uniforms.
4 But usually, yes, that Territorial Defence had been mobilised and most of
5 the men had uniforms and they were all positioned in those local communes
6 throughout the municipality.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When was the first day you wore a uniform?
8 A. I think it was in June or August 1991. That's when the
9 mobilisation was carried out on the basis of the advice of the defence for
10 the municipality of Prijedor. These instructions concerned duty -- tours
11 of duty. There were units in all the inhabited local communes, and it was
12 under the command of the official staff of the Territorial Defence and it
13 was under the command of Rade Javoric. All the units and all the local
14 communes and in the town of Prijedor, Prijedor I, Prijedor II, and
15 Prijedor III, as we call these area, Gomjenica, Tukovi, Dragotina, et
16 cetera, in all these places these Territorial Defence forces were
17 mobilised. And now I can't remember exactly whether it was in July or
18 August. On one day there was a decision to distribute weapons. A few
19 days before that there were instructions for duty, and then weapons and
20 ammunition was distributed in all the local communes.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How many persons were under your command in the
22 Territorial Defence as of the 30th of April, 1992?
23 A. Well, it's difficult to say. Quite a few people and no one,
24 because, as I said, that Territorial Defence staff wasn't really
25 functioning in the military sense. I never issued any military orders,
1 and no one ever carried out military orders, apart from the ones I have
2 mentioned, because at the same time that Territorial Defence staff existed
3 and officially functioned in the municipality. Rade Javoric was in
4 command. This was the regular body, and they were under his command. But
5 if something happened I assume that I, cooperating with Javoric from the
6 brigade command, would have tried to save the situation, prevent incidents
7 and problems from occurring. But because there were so many policemen who
8 participated in the takeover of power, this was not very probable.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But once again, how many persons would you
10 command at that time, together with your colleague, within the Territorial
11 Defence, at a maximum?
12 A. Well, I don't know. That's difficult to say. In the Territorial
13 Defence command at the time -- well, there must have been records. I
14 don't know. Perhaps 1.000. Perhaps there were 2.000. I don't know. But
15 these are people of all nationalities in the field, in the entire
16 municipality. But this was just a formal matter, my command of the
17 Territorial Defence, because I was involved in other matters. This just
18 sounded nice. Because at the same time I worked as the head of the school
19 and I went to work every day and so on.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In which way were these members of the
21 Territorial Defence armed?
22 A. The Territorial Defence had its own weapons according to
23 establishment. The weapons were in the barracks. And the commander,
24 Javoric, organised the way in which this should be done, and I know that
25 they used lorries to take away weapons into certain areas, to certain
1 local communes, to units of the Territorial Defence, to all -- to Prijedor
2 I, II, and III, to Kozarac, to Hambarine, to Omarska - weapons were taken
3 there by these lorries - to Brezicani, to Puharska, et cetera. The
4 population there is mixed. In some places the Muslims are the majority
5 and in others are the Serbs. In Ljubija, et cetera, these places were all
6 under the command of that staff. I can't remember now exactly whether it
7 was in July or August 1991 when these weapons were distributed to all the
8 Territorial Defence units.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What kind of weapons? Ranging from pistols
10 to --
11 A. Infantry weapons, up to light machine-guns. Infantry weapons.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I'll turn now to another issue. On the same
13 page you're speaking about the meeting at Cirkin Polje. Do you recall
14 whether or not new IDs were issued at this meeting in Cirkin Polje?
15 A. IDs?
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes.
17 A. What do you mean IDs? For purpose of identification or -- I don't
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For the purpose of identification, that these
20 persons were allowed to enter these buildings, the municipal building and
21 so on, the SUP building.
22 A. No, I don't remember any such IDs. And in my opinion it wasn't
23 necessary, because everyone knew these people, regardless of what their
24 nationality was. They knew everyone in the town. And the police or,
25 rather, those people involved in providing security for those buildings,
1 after the takeover of power, they were also familiar with these people. I
2 don't think that there were IDs of any particular kind.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So was it then the other way around, turning now
4 to page 725, where I can read, "They went to their respective offices
5 where our armed policemen waited for them with a list of the people who
6 were not allowed to enter municipal buildings." When did you compile
7 these lists of people who were not allowed to enter the municipal
8 buildings, the court, the SUP buildings, et cetera?
9 A. That -- I mean, it's not so important whether it was me or not. I
10 didn't participate in that. But it was the policemen who did it, those
11 who headed -- those who want to take over the power and then seek to guard
12 those buildings. And it was all prepared by the late Simo, with Dule
13 Jankovic, and Marko Dzenadija. And they said that the president of the
14 municipality may not go in and those other officials - I can't remember
15 now what their names are - and the same applied to the police station, to
16 the court building, the president of the court, then the director of the
17 post office, of the auditing office, and I don't know who else. I don't
18 remember the names of those people who were directors or managers before
19 that. But these people, say, for instance, the one who was the director
20 of the auditing service, he could not get in, but all the others -- I
21 mean, all the other employees could get in. Now, I don't know exactly how
22 many of those officials there were - perhaps 10 or 12 - so this referred
23 to some dozen people. All the others normally came and did the jobs that
24 they had done before.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So these lists of people who were not allowed to
1 enter the buildings, they were already compiled or were they composed
2 during the meeting?
3 A. They were compiled there, in the organisation when the power was
4 taken over by the police. I wasn't present there. I was sitting over
5 here. And it was only after 5.00 that those officials came and they were
6 taken away from there in buses. So I know it from stories, what happened
7 later on when it was over, that those policemen had the names of those
8 individuals who should not be allowed access into those buildings, and
9 that is how it all ended.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You continue then stating, "I think it is good
11 that we luckily came to the smart idea that the president of the
12 municipality, the chairman of the party, and some top officials,
13 supporters of the SDA, were not granted access."
14 A. Yes. I think -- I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Yes.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This would include Professor Cehajic, that he
16 wouldn't be allowed to enter the building of the municipality; correct?
17 A. It is, yes. They made those lists, and that was good. At least,
18 that is what I think. Now, it's another matter whether that is how it
19 should have been done at that time, whether it was according to law and
20 everything else. But that is how it happened, and fortunately there were
21 no excesses.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: On the next page you state - line 4 - "We
23 informed Vojo Kupresanin in Banja Luka." Who's we?
24 A. Well, I don't remember exactly who it was that informed him, but
25 one of those in that group who were sitting there. I think it was a
1 deputy. He was a senator, Srdjo Srdic. I think he was the one who
2 notified him. But I'm not too sure. I know they called Banja Luka to say
3 that power had been taken over in Prijedor and that there were no
4 excesses, gunfire, or anything.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Why was it necessary to inform Banja Luka
6 immediately at 6.00, early in the morning?
7 A. Well, it's hard for me to say. Mr. Srdjo -- but I think that he
8 did it. He was a high-ranking official of the SDS. He was a member of
9 parliament. And that is why he let them know that there were no problems
10 in the municipality -- that there were problems in the municipality, that
11 there were reasons to take over the power. And I suppose they were happy
12 to hear that because no untoward things happened.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
14 We have now to make another break. And the Trial Chamber stays
15 adjourned until 2.00 sharp.
16 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.35 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.06 p.m.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
3 Mr. Kuruzovic, let's turn back immediately to your radio interview
4 you gave. We discussed the question of the information of Mr. Vojo
5 Kupresanin in Banja Luka. Wouldn't you agree that when you report to a
6 person prior to this you got or people got a request from this person to
8 A. Possibly.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So to be more concrete, was the takeover a
10 decision taken on the level of Prijedor or was it a decision ordered from
11 Banja Luka?
12 A. I think it was decided in Prijedor or -- maybe, but I don't know.
13 But I've already said what was the chief reason and the day and why was
14 that particular day selected. As for the rest, I really do not know
15 whether there was something like that, whether there were some discussions
16 to that effect. I don't know that.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The same page, next line, you continue saying,
18 "At that time that was still AR Krajina, the Autonomous Region of
19 Krajina, since everything had not been done yet." What does it mean
20 "everything had not been done yet"?
21 A. Well, I spoke about that within the context of a different time,
22 1995, that is, when there was Republika Srpska in place, because before
23 that it was called the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was an
24 integral part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and now it's some kind of a special
25 part set up as a republic of the Serb people, and I assume -- or rather,
1 later on it transpired that that was the goal. But many things happened
2 during the war, and I know that the Dayton Accords put in place a state
3 with two entities, Republika Srpska, and the Federation of
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would this be in line with that what we could
6 hear later, the same occasion by -- in Radio Prijedor as it was expressed
7 by the late Dr. Kovacevic when he stated -- if you want, you could -- we
8 could listen to this, but I'll try to read out this. On page 729, the
9 eighth line from the bottom, "Serbs must remain in a single state, not in
10 this Serbian Krajina, Krajina, Serbia, Montenegro, and whatnot. It's all
11 the same to me. That's a course that we had taken then, and I believe
12 that the majority still adheres to the same principles. Otherwise, it
13 wouldn't be good. I would not like to comment on the preparations any
14 more. We had earlier formed the so-called shadow government."
15 A shadow government, would this be the Serbian Assembly
16 established the 7th of January, 1992?
17 A. Well, one could put it that way. Officially there was the
18 Municipal Assembly of Prijedor in Bosnia, and the Serb people elected its
19 delegates and set up the Serb Assembly of the municipality.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So the expression "shadow government" is not a
21 strange expression for you and was not in 1992; correct?
22 A. Well, one cannot call it a shadow government. The municipal
23 assembly is the legislating body, and the term "shadow government" is used
24 when there is the opposition to those who are in power and they set up
25 another government, a counterpart government with its ministers, and so on
1 and so forth, and that is called the shadow government. I learnt it about
2 two or three years ago when the municipal authorities in Republika Srpska
3 were elected. There was this thing, the shadow government, formed by the
4 opposition, and it was spoken about publicly on television and so on. In
5 Prijedor one cannot really speak about a government because there was the
6 municipal authority which existed and then the Assembly of the Serb People
7 was formed, and the assembly is not the executive branch of power, as far
8 as I know. It is the legislative branch.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So what was it that brought Mr. Kovacevic to
10 saying in the same interview only a few minutes later, "We had earlier
11 formed the so-called shadow government"? And he continues, "That is a
12 political expression, although for us it was a government which had
13 already been in function at that time. When we decided to do it, we did
14 it the way we did it. We set up a staff."
15 A. Well, I don't know. This is the first time I hear that this is
16 what the late Mr. Kovacevic said. Perhaps that is what he meant. Perhaps
17 there were some discussions conducted about it. But officially, no. To
18 my knowledge, until that 29th of April there was never any talk about the
19 takeover of power. It was simply that we, the people, were unhappy about
20 the situation in the town, the establishment of the executive board of
21 that power, and that is, the government, and many things were not really
22 going smoothly, and as our people said, it was just one drop too many.
23 When the army was ordered to be disarmed and that the barracks be taken
24 over. And that was why the decision was taken to do it overnight, to
25 reach that agreement and to take over the power.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But what was the reason to establish the Serbian
2 Assembly already the 7th of April -- the 7th of January, 1992?
3 A. Well, I guess that it was because of all those well-known
4 developments, that the Serb people refused to be over voted as a minority
5 in the former Bosnia-Herzegovina, the pre-Dayton one. From what I
6 remember seeing on television, the discussions led nowhere. There was --
7 they were constantly over voted. And I know that in the territory of this
8 former Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Assembly of the Serb People in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina was set up and it was called the Serb Republic of
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Why does Mr. Kovacevic mention this connection
12 also, not only Serbian Krajina, but also Serbia and Montenegro? Isn't it
13 true, sir, that at that point in time the persons in office already aimed
14 at forming a Serbian state, a one-and-only Serbian state?
15 A. Yes, that I do understand. Whether some preparations were being
16 conducted, I do not know. But there was an aspiration and it was talked
17 about for a long time as a solution of the Serb ethnic question. Perhaps
18 it originated in Serbia, perhaps in these lands. Whether it was when the
19 late Vuk Draskovic -- no, not Vuk Draskovic, sorry, Raskovic emerged -- so
20 it's not Vuk Draskovic but Raskovic, and I forget his name -- yes, Jovan
21 Raskovic. It was also the position of a number of parties in Serbia, and
22 this need to solve the Serb ethnic question throughout was discussed. And
23 perhaps then this was used and some started talking about the creation of
24 a greater Serbia, but I do not agree with that, but however these -- this
25 is my personal opinion. As far as I know, such policy did not exist.
1 What was at stake was cooperation, agreement, economic cooperation, and
2 after all it is respected today the cooperation between Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina and Yugoslavia, that is, Republika Srpska and former
4 Yugoslavia, now Serbia and Montenegro.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Finally aiming at the Greater Serbia; correct?
6 A. Well, I can't say that that is indeed so, but many people did
7 aspire to that, and those people were listened to. Their thoughts were
8 listened to. Yes, that is true.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When exacting participation in this meeting and
10 being elected in this meeting of the 7th of January, 1992, what was the
11 reason justifying the attempt to replace the freely elected persons in the
12 Municipality of Prijedor?
13 A. Well, one of the reasons must have been what I have been talking
14 about, that is, the situation. And perhaps it was also the aspiration and
15 the policy that the Serb people should acquire its state in the territory
16 of the former Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: To continue on the same page ending 726, you
18 discussed the events in Prijedor and you stated, "We fought in the Western
19 Slavonia for a year and they did not and that was enormous advantage since
20 we knew that they did not stand a ghost of a chance to do something so
21 drastic and eventually proved right when 120 of them carried that attack
22 thinking that they could do something using rifles, and you know how this
23 attempt ended." By this 120 of them attacking you allude to the attack on
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So was it at that time your opinion that these
2 120 had not the slightest chance with their attack because of the
3 overwhelming power of the Serbian side? Correct?
4 A. Yes, it is correct, because Serbs held the power in the town and
5 it's true that a large number of Serb citizens in those brigades had been
6 on the front in Western Slavonia, had gone through it, and presumably did
7 not find those attacks too difficult to resist and so prevented it, so
8 they couldn't cause more misfortune around the town, and that is how it
9 ended, that only 16 Serbs were killed in the town and around it, as far as
10 I can remember.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous interpretation continues] ... Muslims
12 and Croats were killed?
13 A. Well, that I don't know. I don't know that. I really don't.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then one final question related to your own
15 interview: You mentioned that you had been a member of the SDS. Can you
16 please tell us from which date on you were a member of the SDS.
17 A. Well, I don't know exactly, but sometime as of spring 1991 or
18 perhaps February or March. And it was no surprise, because there were
19 already many problems in Krajina and West Slavonia, so that especially
20 later almost all the Serbs belonged to that movement. Because it was not
21 a political party, it was a movement which showed and said that they took
22 great care of the Serb people.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Coming back to the Crisis Staff. When would you
24 say were the first enactments passed by the Crisis Staff? Do you recall
25 that later on they were endorsed or accepted by the Municipal Assembly of
1 Prijedor, the confirmation of decisions within the competence of the
2 municipal assembly adopted by the Crisis Staff? When would you believe
3 that these decisions started? Immediately after the takeover in the
4 beginning of May; correct?
5 A. I suppose so, except that I don't remember those decisions. I saw
6 it as part of the daily chores. Whether -- well, I suppose those -- that
7 these decisions which were important for the Serb people were confirmed,
8 were ratified by the assembly, but I do not know the dates when the
9 assembly met.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you receive the enactments or decisions
11 of -- adopted by the Crisis Staff immediately after the decision, were
12 they distributed by the staff members of Mr. Baltic to the members of the
13 Crisis Staff?
14 A. I don't really remember that. Believe me. All I have is the
15 decision on the relief of duty and resubordination to the brigade, the
16 43rd one, and that was done in writing. The rest, I know that notes were
17 kept, but I had no opportunity to see the decisions in writing. It was
18 usually kept in the archives of the municipal assembly.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Microphone not activated]
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Presiding Judge, please.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. May I ask the usher to present in B/C/S
22 document S250 to the witness and then please stay there with the English
23 copy and the English copy be put on the ELMO.
24 You can see this is one of -- confirmation of decisions, the 24th
25 of July, 1992 and the enactments passed --
1 If we could see the bottom of the page, please.
2 So just go through some -- go through some of the decisions.
3 Enactment passed on the 29th of May, 1992. I'll ask you - and the same
4 question is true for all the coming decisions - do you recall the
5 discussion on these issues. Number 3, "Decision dismissing the Serbian
6 Territorial Defence commander."
7 A. No. I wasn't present. At that meeting I only heard that it had
8 been decided to dismiss it and then I received the decision. But I wasn't
9 present. If the notes were taken, I suppose the minutes would show that I
10 was not present there.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And you said you heard about this decision. Did
12 you also hear about the reasons why this decision was taken?
13 A. Why, I didn't. All I have is the decision on the dismissal of the
14 commander, or rather, the relief of duty, and I received it on the 29th of
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Number 4, "Determining that the Serbian
17 Territorial Defence is no longer required." Do you recall this?
18 A. No. I didn't see the decision, but that's what it also says in
19 that decision, I think, that I received, that there was no need any more
20 for the Serb Territorial Defence, that is, staff was being disbanded and
21 that I was being relieved of that duty. It was all written down in that
22 decision, I think. I mean, in the decision of the 29th of May.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Coming now to the enactments passed on the 31st
24 of May, 1992. Number 2, "Conclusion related to people fleeing in
25 Trnopolje." Do you recall this? Because this would be in the area of
1 your competence; correct?
2 A. Yes, I can see what it says, "Conclusion related to people fleeing
3 in Trnopolje prohibiting the return of POWs to Trnopolje and Prijedor."
4 No, I never received a single one of these conclusions. I don't know what
5 they refer to.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the usher to turn to the next page,
8 Was there any decision taken to hinder persons from fleeing from
10 A. I am not aware of such a decision, and I don't know whether it was
11 necessary for those who were there to flee. They were taken care of.
12 Their health and their safety was taken care of. Perhaps some people did
13 leave because there was no fences and there was no great need to prevent
14 them from doing so.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But why was it then that the Crisis Staff had to
16 discuss the issue of fleeing people from Trnopolje?
17 A. Well, "to flee" means people -- it means the people who have
18 problems go elsewhere for safety reasons. That's what the word means in
19 our language. It means trying to avoid problems that have to do with the
20 war. In Kozarac, there were such problems that appeared in Trnopolje too.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We'll come back to this later.
22 Then enactments passed on 3 June, 1992, "Conclusions for approving
23 funds for the purchase of uniforms." Why was it for the Crisis Staff to
24 purchase uniforms? Do you recall this decision or the conclusion?
25 A. No, I don't recall it. I can't see it here. I don't know when it
1 was. What did you say, the 3rd of June?
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: 3rd of June, conclusion number 1.
3 A. I see. I see. "Approving funds for the purchase of uniforms."
4 I'm not aware of that conclusion, but I do know that all the members of
5 the Crisis Staff received uniforms, and I know that they even sent one to
6 me, a uniform that was intended for the deputy Srdjo Srdic. It was
7 enormous. He didn't want to wear it because he was also a senator, so I
8 was given this uniform. It was a summer uniform made of thin material.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was it the same kind of uniform you wore in your
10 other capacity previously?
11 A. No, it wasn't. This uniform was the so-called olive-grey uniform,
12 the earlier one, and this one was a camouflage uniform, dark brown. It
13 was a camouflage one. It wasn't green; it wasn't really a military one.
14 It was more like a sports uniform. But it amounted to a uniform, in fact.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And did you at the same time receive a pistol?
16 A. No.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you ever see Dr. Stakic in uniform wearing a
19 A. I saw him in uniform, but I can't remember him carrying a pistol.
20 But what's it called -- I wasn't present at the time, but what is it, a
21 Heckler, something like that, a pistol which I had very briefly, and then
22 I was requested to return it, which I did. But it was practical. It was
23 easy to carry, but I never really needed it. I kept it in my car. I
24 never took it out of the car.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And let's go down on the same page. May I ask
1 the usher, please, to stay with the ELMO and that we can change the --
2 first to the bottom of the page.
3 Whenever you see a decision, conclusion you recall, please tell
4 us. But in order to save time --
5 Could the usher now, please, turn to the next page.
6 The enactments passed the 5th of June, 1992. Do you recall the
7 order requesting the Serbian Territorial Defence to return its remaining
9 A. Well, I don't remember this order, that this was done. The
10 Secretary for Economy was called and all those certificates were returned
11 to the municipality, to the Secretariat for the Economy, and lists he took
12 before, how many certificates he got to buy fuel, it all went to the
13 municipality and they provided this in the municipality. It went to the
14 Secretariat for Economy.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So the conclusion would be correct that you
16 don't recall this order but its implementation; right?
17 A. Yes, that's correct.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then number 8, "Order requesting the organs of
19 Cirkin Polje local commune to vacate the premises of the former Crisis
21 A. I don't understand what -- that's what the people called it, the
22 Crisis Staff. It only lasted for one night in those premises. But in the
23 local commune of Cirkin Polje, the reserve police was present there. But
24 when that was - I can see the date, the 5th of June - but that had all
25 been vacated. Everyone had left those premises. And there were only
1 people remaining in that house next to the local commune in Cirkin Polje.
2 Some sort of logistics base had been formed there and they were involved
3 in providing food for the police and for the troops, et cetera.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So once again, you don't recall the order but
5 its implementation; correct?
6 A. That's correct.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then let's turn to the next page, please -- or
8 first, let's have a view on -- you should have the chance to see the
9 entire document, also on the bottom. And please in the English version
10 the next page.
11 You can see the conclusion number 20 -- under number 7,
12 "20-111-153/92 on the duty to compile lists of soldiers for the purpose
13 of procuring cigarettes." Why was it for the Crisis Staff to compile
14 lists of soldiers?
15 A. Well, I don't know. I haven't seen this -- I haven't seen this
16 conclusion either. But I suppose it was to avoid trafficking with
17 cigarettes. There were to be a certain number -- there was to be a
18 certain number of soldiers in the barracks, and they were to have
19 cigarettes distributed to them, and they probably were thinking of
20 soldiers, policemen at the checkpoints so that they could all get
21 cigarettes because this was an item of value. People smoked a lot. There
22 weren't any cigarettes available, so they probably made an effort for the
23 soldiers, for the members of the Territorial Defence, and for the police
24 to be provided with cigarettes. I assume that that is only because of the
25 number of cigarettes. It only concerns the number of cigarettes, not the
1 compiling of some kind of lists.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Now, let's turn to the next page in the English
3 version. Enactments passed the 10th of June, 1992. Conclusion assigning
4 the duty of providing security for the Trnopolje camp to the regional
5 command." Do you recall this decision or conclusion and its
7 A. I don't remember the conclusion but its implementation, yes. With
8 the assistance of the regional command, as I said, I was everything and
9 nothing. I wasn't just a soldier or someone who had -- who was involved
10 with the Red Cross. I was all things at the same time. I tried to
11 provide security for the people in Trnopolje. I managed to do this by
12 requesting that the command allow military units to be used, the size of
13 one platoon, and they should rotate on a daily basis and protect the
14 people. So this conclusion probably makes sense because it's demanding
15 the command to provide security. When they would turn up, they all had
16 unit commanders and they would be in charge of security. This was not my
17 job. I was only an intermediary. And this was done well because the
18 people were protected, in spite of the fact that there were certain
19 incidents. But on the whole, everything was all right and the people were
20 protected throughout this period, this lengthy period.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How could it be that it was for the Crisis Staff
22 assigning this duty to the regional command?
23 A. Well, to tell you the truth, I'm also a bit surprised, because
24 this is a conclusion on assigning a duty. Because in my opinion, the
25 Crisis Staff was not in a position to issue orders to the army. That was
1 not the structure of subordination. But perhaps the person who compiled
2 this -- well, perhaps some other word could have been used, but I can see
3 that it mentions assigning duty, and I don't think that the Crisis Staff
4 was in a position to issue orders to the army. They could have requested
5 assistance. They could have requested that this be done, and it was done.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can we have a look down to the bottom of the
7 page, please.
8 Please feel free if you want to comment on the one or other
9 enactment. I would now turn to the enactment passed the 12th of June,
10 1992. Coming back to a previous question, "Reducing working hours at
11 Kozarski Vjesnik in Prijedor." How is it possible that the Crisis Staff
12 had the power to reduce working hours at Kozarski Vjesnik?
13 A. I don't know. Perhaps the people from Kozarski Vjesnik requested
14 that the hours be reduced. I don't know. Because as you know, in the
15 organisation of the municipal assembly everyone had certain working hours.
16 Working hours were allocated for theatres, for shops, for catering
17 establishments, companies. One would have to work for eight hours, so
18 you'd start at 7.00 or 8.00, I don't know. But why it mentions reducing
19 hours here, I don't know. Reducing the working hours at Kozarski Vjesnik
20 in Prijedor, I don't know. Perhaps it was at their request. That's all I
21 can think of. I apologise.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Wouldn't that mean in conclusion that Kozarski
23 Vjesnik at that point in time was subordinate to the Crisis Staff?
24 A. I don't believe so. I don't know. I don't remember that there
25 were orders of any kind as to how one should work, who should work and
1 when, unless there were certain communiques that were important for the
2 people, that is to say, for the citizens in the town. Then any media
3 establishment would be obliged to provide such information. But about the
4 working hours, no, I don't believe so and I don't think it was under the
5 patronage of the Kozarski Vjesnik. I think it was -- as far as I know,
6 the Kozarski Vjesnik was a limited company. And later on a decision was
7 taken that Kozarski Vjesnik was a public company, that is to say, that the
8 municipal assembly had to be concerned with its finances, the legislative
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When did this happen, the change?
11 A. I don't know exactly. I know that this change occurred, but I
12 don't know when exactly. Perhaps it was in 1993 or in 1994 in the spring,
13 something like that, because when I became the director of Kozarski
14 Vjesnik it was on the 5th of May, I think, the first days of May in 1995.
15 And at the time Kozarski Vjesnik was a public company. But the employees
16 in Kozarski Vjesnik never really accepted this, so this matter has still
17 not been fully solved to this day, the matter as to whether it's a public
18 company or a limited company.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then let's turn, please --
20 A. A shareholders company, a limited company.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: -- to the next page in the English version,
22 starting with the stop.
23 In case you would see an enactment you want to comment on -- stop.
24 I want to draw your attention to the enactment passed on the 16th of June,
25 1992. Number 1, "Conclusion assigning members of the Crisis Staff. The
1 duty of preparing a system of supplying food to the army and police
2 troops." Do you recall this conclusion?
3 A. I don't recall this conclusion, but I understand what is at stake.
4 The person who wrote this probably made an error when he said "assigning
5 members of the Crisis Staff." This can only relate to the Secretary for
6 Economy or the Secretary of Finance or to both of them, so that they could
7 help to provide food, to help supply this, to help with preparing the food
8 for the army or the police. It can't be an assignment to all the members
9 of the Crisis Staff. This hasn't been correctly put. But I think that I
10 am right and what I have said is correct. I think it refers to the
11 president of the executive committee or, rather, to the Secretary for the
12 Economy and the Secretary for the Finance of the municipal assembly, that
13 is to say, of the executive committee.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was this conclusion implemented or were the army
15 and the police troops supplied --
16 A. For sure.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. Then let's turn to the next page, please,
18 the enactment of 17 of June, 1992. Number 1, "Order concerning the
19 formation of a single intervention platoon." Do you recall this?
20 A. I don't remember this. I wasn't in the municipality at the time.
21 I don't remember this order. But I think I know what it's about. It's a
22 police unit which is part of the Secretariat of the Interior in Prijedor,
23 or rather, the centre of public security. That must have gone from the
24 Ministry of the Interior at the republican level and then down the chain
25 of subordination, and then turned up as an order for the formation of an
1 intervention platoon. This is what I assume.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What was the purpose of such an intervention
4 A. I don't know. I know what the general purpose would be, but I
5 don't know about this specific case. As far as I know, nothing ugly
6 happened in the town and there was no need to engage such units, unless it
7 was to provide security for buildings, perhaps the municipality building
8 or schools. I know that they provided security for my school in the
9 course of the night in order to prevent anything unfortunate for
10 happening. But as far as I know, there were no particular excessive
11 events, no particular excesses.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Beforehand you mentioned that there were on a
13 rotation principle some military persons protecting Trnopolje, and now it
14 would be your testimony that in addition to this there was a intervention
15 platoon formed by police forces; correct?
16 A. Well, if it says "order" here, that must be the case. But this
17 police force has nothing to do with Trnopolje. In Trnopolje, for perhaps,
18 I don't know, ten days or maybe more, when members of the Territorial
19 Defence went to the battlefield, the military police was present there,
20 not the civilian police. This relates to the formation of civilian police
21 intervention platoon, not to a military one. This was a group of about
22 ten policemen and they protected the people for a certain period of time
23 over there, and they imprisoned quite a few Serbs who were stealing other
24 people's property there, not really in the camp, that is to say, in the
25 centre, but in the surroundings. I don't know. The people would take all
1 sorts of things from the battlefield. I can't remember what his name was.
2 Cavic. He would take bicycles away. He would take bicycles from people
3 who came to provide their relatives with food. Because every day in
4 Trnopolje at 12.00 a train from Prijedor would arrive and transport
5 friends, relatives of people who had decided to remain in Trnopolje. They
6 would bring them coffee, sugar, things like that.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you then turn to the next page, please.
8 Enactment passed on the 23rd of June, 1992. A little bit more downwards,
9 please, that we can read number 11. "Conclusion to reject the request
10 submitted by Muharem Dauti to return to Stari Grad." Do you recall this
12 A. I have no idea what this is about. Stari Grad is part of the town
13 where the majority of the population was Muslim, and I don't know what
14 this is about. Perhaps someone seized his property, that is to say, his
15 house. This happened often later on. But at the time it didn't happen
16 very much. But although some people from a town and from around the town
17 decided to come to Trnopolje and to check to see if it was possible for
18 them to go abroad, and perhaps they gave some people their flats or other
19 forms of property. Maybe this person decided not to leave and then
20 decided to request that he be permitted to return to Stari Grad, to his
21 property in Stari Grad. But I don't know what this is about, not exactly.
22 Well, there. I've tried to assist you.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would the conclusion be correct that for a
24 Muslim it was necessary to request from the Crisis Staff a decision to
25 return to Stari Grad, as we all know, a destroyed part of the town, most
1 inhabitants Muslims?
2 A. I don't know. I don't think that such a request -- that it would
3 be necessary to make such request, and I really don't know. It might
4 appear as if I'm talking off the top of my head, but I don't believe that
5 such decisions were taken by the Crisis Staff. But the members of the
6 executive board were there; that's true. But I really don't know what
7 this is about. It would be reasonable to expect that since you have all
8 these conclusions listed here, there should be conclusions in which
9 someone is being allowed to do this, either here or somewhere else. I
10 can't see any such example here, so I really don't know what it is about.
11 I can't assist you.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In the moment we're just trying to find out what
13 the Official Gazette of Prijedor is reflecting.
14 Coming now to another enactment of the Crisis Staff passed 22nd
15 June, 1992. Conclusion number 3, "On responsibility for collecting
16 refugees from Cela, Donja Puharska, and Trnopolje." Why this collecting
17 refugees from inter alia Trnopolje?
18 A. Well, I don't know which refugees are concerned because there were
19 refugees in Cela, Puharska, and Trnopolje, but these were Serbian refugees
20 who had come from Zenica, Visoko, Donji Vakuf, or rather from the western
21 side, from Bihac, Krupa, Cazin, from Kladusa, et cetera. So perhaps that
22 is what is concerned. But responsibility for collecting refugees from
23 Cela, Donji Puharska, and Trnopolje, I don't know. These other refugees
24 didn't go anywhere. But there weren't any such refugees.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then let's, please, turn to the next page.
1 Just to give you a possibility. For example, enactment passed the
2 2nd of July, 1992, "Conclusion coordinating the wartime disposition of the
3 military and police." Why was it for the Crisis Staff to coordinate the
4 wartime disposition of the military and police?
5 A. I don't know. The Secretary for All National Defence, that is,
6 the head of the secretariat, Slavko Budimir, should know the answer to
7 that, because not all people who had different duties to perform could be
8 in the police and the military at one and the same time because this is
9 that time when there was a lot of fighting not in the town and around it
10 but further away. And if a large number of people went with those
11 brigades to the front, then I guess it will be impossible to maintain
12 peace and order in the town, to avoid -- to prevent that from happening, I
13 suppose that there was either request from either the police or the army
14 because the army and is made of people who are citizens, that is, clerks
15 and other people. The army are not soldiers who are getting pay for that.
16 They're ordinary people who have their combat assignment in wartimes. So
17 to prevent that they all go to join some military units, this was to
18 assign them to some police units in order to look after the safety in the
19 town. I suppose that is what it was all about.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's turn to conclusion number 5,
21 "Recognising -- conclusion recognising time served in the Serbian
22 Territorial Defence and the police as time spent in military training."
23 How was it possible that the Crisis Staff of Prijedor decided or concluded
24 on this issue?
25 A. I don't know. But once again, I can make assumptions. Again,
1 this has to do with part of people who are within the Crisis Staff, and
2 this has to do with the staff, or rather, the Secretariat for People's
3 Defence. I know that there was a decision to that effect and that in
4 every town, that is, in every secretariat there is an army unit which --
5 and then they know where it is, what it does. But this is not that one
6 does not have to serve the army by being in the barracks or units. That
7 was not the case then. And now they are preparing a law which will allow
8 people to do their military service at home or doing some public service,
9 community service, or something. But at that time everybody who was under
10 military obligation had a combat assignment in wartime and in peacetime,
11 and this decision recognises in times of the -- in times spent in military
12 training. I suppose it was for that time and that is what these people
13 have in their army cards, in their army booklets.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Kuruzovic, as to the fact that this is very
15 close to your previous occupation, do you recall this concrete conclusion?
16 A. What we've just been talking about?
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes.
18 A. I don't remember this particular conclusion, but I know that it
19 was enforced and that it was recorded in the army booklets of the
20 soldiers, that if people had spent some time at a military exercise, at a
21 military drill, then again this does not mean that they've lost their
22 jobs. No, they were -- they are attending their military exercises and
23 that is a kind of a paid leave. They do not lose their jobs and they
24 don't use any of their years of their time in the regular service.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: To number 7, "Conclusion concerning the
1 recruitment of persons born in 1974." What has the Crisis Staff of
2 Prijedor to do with the recruitment of persons?
3 A. Once again, I must start by replying in the same way. This has to
4 do with the Secretary for All National Defence, which was part of the
5 Crisis Staff at the time. These are children -- or rather, young men who
6 were born in 1974 and were to do their military service. And since there
7 is the same Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina -- or rather, I do not know
8 whether it had already become Republika Srpska by the time and they were
9 its nationals, that is, young men of that age are by law bound to serve
10 the army. Hence, we have this.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Number 8, "The conclusion concerning the
12 formation of a committee to receive captured goods." What does that mean
13 "captured goods"?
14 A. I don't know, but I assume what it could be about. If, for
15 instance, there was a convoy of food or something or some other
16 necessities or if during the combat the owners in some enterprises or
17 somewhere in some companies left something behind, that then that was
18 stolen, if I may put it in those terms, then I suppose the commission took
19 it over officially. As far as I can remember, such things existed and
20 were sent to the Velepromet warehouse and a track record was kept of them.
21 But what kind of records were kept, I do not know. Who handed it over,
22 who took it over, I do not know. But I know that such things were taken
23 to this large commercial enterprise because they had a large warehouse and
24 they kept record of this. Now, where did all these things end up, I do
25 not know.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Kuruzovic, do you recall whether or whether
2 or not you attended this meeting of the Crisis Staff in July 1992?
3 A. No. No, I didn't. I don't think so. I don't remember being at
4 any of them. I don't know whether it had already been renamed as the War
5 Presidency. I don't know. But --
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous interpretation continues] ... the 14th
7 of July, 1992 when it was renamed War Presidency? Wasn't it correct?
8 A. I don't know. I don't know the date. I don't know exactly what
9 was the date. Possibly.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let us go a little bit back on the same page, a
11 little bit higher to the top, please.
12 Conclusion number 4, "Prohibiting the individual releases of
13 persons from Trnopolje, Omarska, and Keraterm." Could you please explain
14 why it was necessary to have a conclusion prohibiting individual releases
15 of persons from Trnopolje, Omarska, and Keraterm, and based on which power
16 could the Crisis Staff come to this conclusion.
17 A. I don't know what this is about, and especially with regard to
18 Trnopolje because anyone could go, could leave. For instance, when the
19 train -- everybody could board that train on it way back and leave. I'm
20 not talking about going back to Kozarac, because it wasn't safe there, but
21 perhaps there were some -- perhaps somebody interceded on somebody's
22 behalf or from some institutions outside Prijedor and perhaps some people
23 from Omarska or Keraterm left. But I don't know. I've never been to
24 Keraterm or Omarska, never. I've never crossed the threshold of either.
25 So that as far as I know, in Omarska it was some kind of an investigating
1 prison or centre or whatever. I know that people were interrogated there
2 and those who were not held responsible were let -- were allowed to go,
3 and some of them came to Trnopolje and we fed them there because they had
4 lost some weight, but nobody was ill or anything. But I never talked with
5 those people, and I think a day later after they had had a bath and a
6 decent meal, they just left. They went home or relatives came to fetch
7 them or perhaps they boarded the train and left, so that these individual
8 releases, I know nothing about it. I don't know what kind of a decision
9 was that.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous interpretation continues] ... we were
11 just discussing this question. You received, as it was your testimony,
12 inmates of Omarska coming to Trnopolje. Why weren't they released when
13 the interrogation was finalised? Why were they brought to Trnopolje?
14 A. Well, that I don't know. Believe me. But when they came to
15 Trnopolje it was the same as if they'd been -- become free, because there
16 were no prison rules or rules of conduct or orders. I don't know.
17 Perhaps people did not get proper food up there. Perhaps nobody looked
18 after them properly. I know that a number of them hadn't had their hair
19 cut for quite some time and they had beards and whatnot, so they were
20 allowed to have baths and then their relations came and took them to
21 freedom. But otherwise, I never stopped them from leaving and it wasn't
22 prohibited to leave. I mean, that was not my duty. It wasn't up to me to
23 decide whether somebody could leave or if somebody couldn't leave. My job
24 was to see that those people there were safe.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you yourself decide spontaneously to release
1 the one or other person on request?
2 A. Well, not to -- not freedom. I wouldn't perhaps use that word.
3 But I remember that there were even some military who came to get their
4 relatives from Trnopolje to Banja Luka or Prijedor -- or somewhere -- to
5 Zenica or somewhere else, because they wanted to be together, not because
6 they had been incarcerated there. And I insisted on it being said, and I
7 am saying it in the very best of faith - and I really do not think -- deep
8 in my heart I do not think it was like Omarska or -- that is, I don't
9 think it was anything like a prison.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So you would say Omarska was a prison?
11 A. I don't know. I mean, I know that officially it was an
12 investigation centre. Now, what, how -- like everybody else on
13 television, I heard, and from those who were there that -- part of the
14 Muslim people and those who, I mean, guarded there, the police and all the
15 others, that there were some problems there. But believe me, personally I
16 know nothing about that because I never put my foot there, in any of them.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Didn't you speak with previous inmates of
18 Omarska or Keraterm about the conditions they were subjected to when
19 detained in Omarska and Keraterm, when they came later to Trnopolje?
20 A. No. With those from Keraterm, I never talked with them nor did
21 they ever come from Keraterm -- at least, I don't remember that. And
22 those over there in Omarska, from what I remember that conversation, there
23 were people -- I think they had some three groups, A, B, and C, those who
24 had attacked Prijedor or participated in this and then group C who had
25 nothing to do with anything and they were allowed to come over here and go
1 home, except that once at some point a group of women arrived. I don't
2 remember how many. I think there were about 30, perhaps 31 or 32, who
3 came from Omarska. I don't know how long they were kept. I know some of
4 them by sight, but I don't really remember their names because they were
5 much younger than I. And this Jadranka Cigelg was with them, who then
6 later on wrote all sorts of things. Whether it's all like what she wrote
7 or perhaps her friends, I don't know. One should talk with people who
8 were there, but I never talked with them and I didn't talk with those
9 either. But I did my best when they arrived to provide them with decent
10 documentation, to get warm water, to be able to have a bath, a change of
11 clothes, and then people from town came and took them away. And what
12 happened after that, I don't know.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Those 30 to 32 women, they arrived from Omarska;
15 A. Yes.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous interpretation continues] ... any
17 special rooms for the women in Trnopolje?
18 A. Well, no, no special rooms. I think there was one house or
19 perhaps two adjacent, and those neighbours there, those people there, we
20 asked them to prepare some hot water from wells or from pumps. I mean,
21 Muslim women who lived there. Some were there in the neighbourhood and
22 they all prepared that and they had their baths and washed themselves.
23 Whether they spent one night or one evening there, I can't remember
24 exactly. And then they left.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Previously you talked about alleged rapes in
1 Trnopolje. Once again, I have to recall that it's your right to remain
2 silent on this issue if you feel that a true answer could tend to a kind
3 of self-incrimination. Have you ever been seen or such a rape have you,
4 to come to the point, participated in such a rape?
5 A. No. I never saw that. I never participated in it. I think there
6 was this one case one night and then in the morning when I arrived there
7 with representatives of the Red Cross we came together as every day to
8 organise the meals and everything else. Then we heard that that had
9 happened, and the police came and took them over and then interrogated
10 them, who had done it, why had he done it, and then the doctors examined
11 them and they returned, and after that I didn't interfere. I didn't
12 really talk with those women what had happened and how it had happened.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Where did you actually live during this period
14 of time?
15 A. I was living at home, in Prijedor. Every day before nightfall I
16 would go back home, because -- I mean, guards stayed there to look after
17 people there. I never spent a night in Trnopolje.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please be asked to remove his
19 fingers from his mouth.
20 A. And I suppose some of the people lived in the neighbourhood and
21 some of them returned.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The interpreter booths ask that could you please
23 kindly withdraw your fingers from your lips; otherwise, it's difficult for
24 them to understand.
25 A. I'm sorry.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Isn't it true, Mr. Kuruzovic, that there was a
2 private house close to Trnopolje centre you had for your own purposes?
3 A. Well, I wouldn't call it that. By and large the houses all around
4 were inhabited. And there was one house where at times we had lunch
5 together. Those from the Red Cross or I would be with them and there were
6 also two guys who were often with me, who looked after me, protected me.
7 But we'd only have a meal there. I was often among the people in the
8 school or outside in the camp because I was there to organise, to lend a
9 hand, to prepare food, to see that the bread was brought, to look after
10 children. And whenever there would be a problem, they'd call me because
11 they knew that I would intercede with the Red Cross and to do something
12 about that, about whatever had happened to make the situation tolerable as
13 possible because it was summertime and it was hot.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We'll come back to this when we have a look on
15 the map and a video later on.
16 You told us about people arriving. Would it be true that they
17 arrived in buses from Omarska?
18 A. Well, this group that I talked about, yes, they arrived by bus.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And what would be your overall assessment how
20 many people left Trnopolje in the direction of Travnik?
21 A. Well, I don't know exactly. 2.000 maybe, 3.000. I don't know. I
22 never paid any particular attention, nor did we count them or take down
23 their names. They left. Nor the Red Cross didn't count them, nor those
24 who were with the security, but they were issued certificates that they'd
25 been there and they left, except when there was the UNHCR, they took them
1 away. So I suppose they made some lists, but then they left with them.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Who issued these certificates and why was it
3 necessary to have a certificate to leave?
4 A. No. No, it wasn't a certificate allowing one to leave. It's a
5 certificate to show that that person, a man, a woman, the whole family,
6 that they were there, in Trnopolje. That was a kind of certificate.
7 Because that is what the International Red Cross and the UNHCR requested
8 of us to do, and the members of the Red Cross from Prijedor who were there
9 day in, day out, they issued those certificates.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How many of them left voluntarily?
11 A. Well, an overwhelming majority left because they wanted to go to
12 get out of the region which was Republika Srpska. They wanted to join
13 their own people. Some didn't leave of their own volition because they
14 wanted to but because their relations, their friends, their neighbours had
15 gone, that is, those who lived next to them. So those had left and these
16 perhaps didn't want to but then they left -- they followed.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did they leave on buses of Autotransport
18 Prijedor? Correct?
19 A. Yes, buses of the Autotransport came to Trnopolje and took them
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You already mentioned this heinous crime
22 committed at Mount Vlasic. Could you please testify in context about what
23 you learned at that time and what you know now about that what happened
24 finally resulting in the deaths of about 228 persons at Mount Vlasic.
25 A. Well, I've already said that I learned about it two or three days
1 later. I don't remember exactly. And as I was there as a member of the
2 brigade of the army and the Commander Arsic even asked me to write a
3 report about what had happened. That day when I learnt about that, I
4 wrote it, but I had no idea that it had happened or anything like it, but
5 it seems that a group of those escorts from the police had got together
6 and it seems that they had decided amongst themselves to do something as
7 horrific as that. Later on I heard that they singled out a group of men,
8 took money and jewellery and I don't know what else from everybody, from
9 men and women. I don't know whether it is true or not because I have no
10 information about that. But I know that the majority of those people were
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you know names of these persons being
13 personally responsible for these heinous crimes?
14 A. No, I don't so help me. Once last year at about this time in
15 Banja Luka, when I was there making my statement, I was asked about that,
16 but you shouldn't be surprised that I do not know that. At that time I
17 was already 50, and I had nothing to do for the past ten years or so with
18 those who are 20 or 25 years old, so I don't know them. But I remember
19 that those were by and large young men who on various occasions escorted
20 those buses. And every time everything was all right I remember them
21 calling by telephone. And then on that particular occasion something
22 completely different happened, something that is -- that our people does
23 not do. But I guess it was because of some material gain that it was
24 done. That is not a trait of our people. I don't know those names. I
25 think that one of them was called Babin. Perhaps I remember it because I
1 know that he was wounded later on in combat, that he's in a wheelchair.
2 Otherwise, who those others were, I don't remember because they are much
3 younger than that I, so that I don't even know their names.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you know Mr. Mrdja?
5 A. Mrdja? I know Dado Mrdja, yes. He was a pupil of mine. But I
6 can't remember whether he was in that group when this incident occurred,
7 related to the escort -- the bus being escorted. But I know him
8 personally. Later I was told that when this happened that they had taken
9 him from Prijedor and that that was one of the reasons for which he had
10 been brought to The Hague, but that's something I found out later. Like
11 many other people, I did not remember -- I did not like to recall these
12 events, the wartime events.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the usher to show the last pages of
14 document S250, please. It's very close to the end already. It's just --
15 The purpose, do you recall that you were present when one of these
16 enactments were passed in July 1992? For example, number 14, a "Decision
17 to rename the Crisis Staff the War Presidency"?
18 A. I can't remember whether I was there. I know that it was renamed.
19 Perhaps I was present, but I can't be sure. As I said, since I no longer
20 had the duties of commander, I can't remember whether I was present at
21 that meeting. Since I was no longer the commander, I no longer had the
22 duty of attending the sessions of the Crisis Staff or of the working
23 president -- of the War Presidency.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But from time to time, you attended; correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But, in fact, the Crisis Staff was then renamed
2 War Presidency; correct?
3 A. Yes, that's a well-known fact. But I don't know what the date
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous interpretation continues] ... So then
6 finally, to conclude before the break, a decision, "All the enactments are
7 hereby confirmed," and then president of the municipal assembly,
8 Dr. Milomir Stakic.
9 Did you participate in this meeting of the municipal assembly when
10 all these enactments were confirmed?
11 A. I don't know. I was -- I had a mandate as a deputy for the
12 assembly. But whether that happened during that period, I can't remember.
13 If that's the case, then the official assembly confirmed this, a decision
14 was taken, and the president of the assembly had the duty of signing the
15 assembly decision. There are a lot of dates, so I can't remember exactly.
16 Believe me, I can't even remember when I was a deputy, whether it was in
17 1992 or 1993 or 1994. I really can't remember. I think it was later on,
18 but I don't know. When I was a deputy in the assembly, perhaps it was in
19 1993 or 1994, but I don't know exactly.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for that.
21 The trial stays adjourned until ten minutes to 4.00.
22 --- Recess taken at 3.34 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 3.54 p.m.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
25 Madam Registrar, for the transcript, the video that is prepared
1 has Exhibit number ...?
2 THE REGISTRAR: J22, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could the video please be started.
4 And Mr. Kuruzovic, whenever you want to comment on what you're
5 seeing on the screen, the usher has provided it in a way that the video is
6 shown -- please say "stop" when you want to comment on this, what you can
7 see on the screen.
8 Please start the video.
9 [Videotape played]
10 We had asked to be taken to a second camp --
11 THE WITNESS:
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You can stop right here. On the
13 other side, where you can see these people, there is a yard. It's the
14 yard of the centre in Trnopolje. And on this side of the fence, towards
15 us, there is the warehouse of the agricultural association. The fence --
16 the wire fence you can see here is about 8 metres long. I don't know
17 exactly. You've got this barbed wire and this mesh wire, but at no other
18 location can you come across -- could you come across a wire fence, apart
19 from the school's fence behind which there was a hedge, et cetera. But
20 this young man here -- later on I heard that he had medical problems, so
21 he didn't have this appearance because he had been starved by someone but
22 simply because he was that kind of a man.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please continue.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's fine. Thank you.
25 [Videotape played]
1 THE SPEAKER: And which has also been at the centre of allegations
2 of atrocities. Conditions at this camp were appalling. In 100-degree
3 heat, hundreds of men were forced to eat and sleep outside in a field,
4 behind barbed wire. Their meagre rations consist of a small hunk of bread
5 and a bowl of soup every day. Here, too, they said they had been rounded
6 up, whole villages emptied of their men, and they were afraid.
7 Can you tell me anything about the conditions that --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was some other fence, the
9 sequence before this one. That's the one, here.
10 [Videotape played]
11 THE SPEAKER: They said they had been rounded up, whole villages
12 emptied of their men, and they were afraid.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That one there. That wasn't the
14 fence in Trnopolje. That one had a different shape. I don't know where
15 this one was.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you please rewind. Stop. Continue a little
18 [Videotape played]
19 THE SPEAKER: And they were afraid. Can you tell me anything --
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Stop. This is in Trnopolje; correct?
21 A. I think so. If I viewed this a little longer, maybe I could say.
22 I can remember this film. I saw it on television. It was on television.
23 But I would like to repeat: Behind them, there were no fences of any
24 kind. There was an asphalt road. And to the right there was a low fence,
25 perhaps between 80 centimetres and a metre high from the yard of the
1 centre and then from the yard of the school, so there were no fences
2 really. Or it would be better to say that it didn't resemble a prison of
3 any kind.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please continue.
5 [Videotape played]
6 THE SPEAKER: I am not sure that I am allowed about that. Can you
7 understand me?
8 SPEAKER 1: Are people here being beaten?
9 THE SPEAKER: Here? Here, no. Here? I rather wouldn't talk
10 about that. I'm not sure.
11 SPEAKER 1: Can you tell us anything about the conditions that you
12 were being kept in and the treatment of the people you were with?
13 THE SPEAKER: Well, that was hard time, hard to say.
14 SPEAKER 1: We heard -- we heard stories of people being beaten
15 and people disappearing. Did that happen?
16 THE SPEAKER: Well, I can't say much about that.
17 THE SPEAKER: We just came here.
18 SPEAKER 1: From another camp.
19 THE SPEAKER: From another camp. And we didn't know the condition
20 here. We accept a little more better, like --
21 SPEAKER 1: What was it like before?
22 THE SPEAKER: It was terrible.
23 SPEAKER 1: One of the prisoners asked us to check on him in
24 several days time to see that he hadn't been punished for speaking to us.
25 And away from the camera there were allegations of routine beatings and
1 executions. Several prisoners told us of retaliatory killings. One
2 instance in which they claimed 150 of their fellow prisoners had been
3 killed following the death of 10 Serbian soldiers in a Muslim village. We
4 were told people had been beaten to death and we were asked to smuggle a
5 film out of the camp. The pictures show severe injuries, apparently as a
6 result of beatings.
7 In the make-shift medical centre there were cases of scabies,
8 malnutrition, and diarrhoea. Local doctors said they were chronically
9 short of medicine and drugs. Among them was a Muslim doctor. We asked
10 him whether there had been any cases of beatings. On one side of the camp
11 were refugees who were here simply because they have nowhere else to go.
12 Their homes having been destroyed. They have been told they can go as
13 soon as they have a guarantee of a home outside Serb-controlled Bosnia.
14 In Banja Luka, prisoners' wives have been queuing for days for
15 news of their men and to register as refugees because they, too, have
16 nowhere to go. On the roads to Banja Luka, Muslim villages lie empty and
17 deserted, homes destroyed. If there is eventually freedom for the men in
18 the detention centres, it's not likely to be in Serb-controlled Bosnia.
19 Ian Williams, ITN, Northern Bosnia.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Do you want to comment on this video
22 A. Well, you can see that there are people here, and to the extent
23 that I understand English, you could see that some of them had come from
24 other places and that in those other places they had been physically
25 beaten. I know that in Trnopolje this was never done, and this Pilovac
1 Amata [phoen], this young doctor, I think there was another doctor whose
2 name was Pasic with him and there were two nurses and a medical orderly, a
3 medical orderly without an arm also came very often and another doctor
4 from the town. So to the extent that this was possible, good care was
5 taken of the health of those people. But how some people ended up in
6 Trnopolje, these are questions that I cannot answer directly because I
7 didn't question anyone in Trnopolje and there were never investigations of
8 any kind, no one was ever examined. These people were there as a result
9 of the problems caused by the fighting. They came there to take shelter.
10 But we did speak about this matter before the break. We said that there
11 was a group of people who came there. There were people who didn't do
12 anything bad. They'd come to Trnopolje from Omarska. But as you can see,
13 a large number of them were naked above the waist not because they were
14 forced not to wear anything above the waist but it was hot. It was very
15 sunny weather. And I'm not saying this to mock anyone. This was the
16 truth. It was easier for people when they took some of their clothes off.
17 It's not as if I wanted to say something ugly here.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was there place enough for all of them to sleep
19 inside the building?
20 A. No, there wasn't enough room in the building. I apologise.
21 Perhaps I started too soon. No, there wasn't enough room in the school.
22 We made an effort for women and children and the elderly to go there, but
23 the men -- well, we didn't force anyone to stay outside. In the beginning
24 the people used their freight vehicles, the tarpaulins of those vehicles,
25 the tractors, cars, et cetera, and then they put blankets under them. The
1 weather was good. It was summer weather. And then I asked the director
2 Diko Mrakovica, a friend from school, and then there was an assistant
3 there too. I can't remember his name. I think his name was Stijepic.
4 They gave us parts of nets that were used for placing concrete for the
5 foundations of houses. These were sort of meshes. We brought that over
6 and then people from the UNHCR brought a lot of nylon, blue nylon, and
7 then people made tents of a certain kind and closed it on two sides, and
8 the third side was free, it was open, and then they would put blankets
9 down on the ground. But most people had some form of shelter. They were
10 covered. They weren't out in the open. Some of those young -- some of
11 those children, the small children, found accommodation in the houses of
12 those Muslims who were living there in their houses, and that's because
13 the children were young and there were some elderly people there. That
14 was right next to the school. There were quite a few houses there.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May the witness please be shown Exhibit number
17 Starting with the school building, could you please tell us what
18 are these other buildings.
19 A. Here -- the houses here surrounding this area are private houses.
20 Here you have the club and then the local commune building, the clinic and
21 the post office. Here behind, that's an old club, an old centre. There's
22 a big hall there and there is one room. And here you have the
23 agricultural association. On this side of the road there's a standard
24 metal fence, and there was a small fence, wire fence here. Here we have
25 the road, and this is the fence that was shown in the clip a minute ago.
1 This has been knocked down. You don't have a fence that joins up with the
2 other fence. There's only something here. Here you have the fence that
3 wasn't joined up. Across the road you have a house that had a telephone.
4 I can't remember now, but I think that this house belonged to a man who
5 worked in the school, at the reception, and the Red Cross was there on a
6 daily basis and all services that had to do with writing out certificates
7 and that had to do with telephone conversations with some of their
8 relatives took place here.
9 I spent most of my time here with them, every day. I tried to
10 deal with various problems. I heard about whether there were any problems
11 here in the school. And here on this side of the school there was a water
12 pump. It was possible to get water from there, and there was water
13 inside, the school. Here in front, in front of the clinic there was a
14 shop which was open for a long time and it was possible to buy food there.
15 It was possible to get food there. Here in front of the school there was
16 some kind of a fence, about a metre high, a standard fence, and behind it
17 there was a hedge and there was a small wooden fence here and here too, a
18 small wooden fence here too. And here on the other side in front of the
19 school there was a school fence and there's a school fence here too. And
20 on this side here you had one kitchen and here you had another kitchen
21 where food was prepared, but I think that in one of these houses here
22 there were people, local people who lived in their houses and they would
23 slaughter their cattle and then they would bring food over here. That's
24 how they fed themselves.
25 Here at the back you have a football pitch. This is the road to
1 Prijedor. And then as there was no longer enough room here -- and Your
2 Honour, you asked me about this a while ago. As there was not enough room
3 in the school, they used this area here behind the school and the football
4 pitch and over here on this side in the yard. People put up the wire that
5 we brought and covered it with the nylon provided by the UNHCR and the
6 International Red Cross from Banja Luka and they made tents here and
7 people took shelter there, the people who couldn't find accommodation, who
8 couldn't be accommodated in the school and in this school -- in this club
10 That would be it.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Where would be the house one could call your
13 A. Well, they weren't my premises. I spent most of the time here.
14 As there were a lot of people here very often, they were queuing up and so
15 on. And now I can't remember whether it was this house here, because
16 there was another smaller one here.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would you please raise that part.
18 Would it be correct at the right-hand side, the house at the
19 right-hand side, on the top?
20 A. Well, I don't know exactly. Just a minute. This is the fence in
21 front of the club, the centre. We have the school here. Somewhere around
22 here, that's where the house was, and this is where we would usually eat.
23 The people from the Red Cross would come here and we would eat together.
24 We also received those lunch packets because there was a problem as far as
25 food is concerned in the town, and this is where we would eat together.
1 On several occasions there were a number of families in this house. At
2 the beginning I think there were four families, some women with children,
3 and there was one woman with a child. I think she had two children, two
4 girls. I can't remember. And then later on a large family came to these
5 houses. They all waited there together. They wanted to link up with
6 their families. They wanted to go abroad. And in these other houses
7 there were also a lot of people. They were there as guests in the houses
8 of the hosts because these Muslim citizens were in their houses.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the usher to present this in part
10 redacted document - because this part is confidential - S12B. And please
11 put it on the ELMO.
12 Do you recall this?
13 A. I can see that there's something there, but I don't know what it
14 is. Perhaps someone came -- from one of their own, from far away, from
15 Banja Luka, and wanted to take that person away without any problems. And
16 it was necessary if this person left to provide a justification, to show
17 that he was there and that he wasn't taken away for some ugly reasons, for
18 example, because someone had killed him or something like that. Pero
19 Curguz was a representative of the Red Cross. And they probably took this
20 decision that this person - man or woman, I don't know - should leave. And
21 I confirmed that this person had been brought here, had been brought to
22 the Red Cross and had left to avoid ugly consequences of any kind so that
23 it couldn't be said that one didn't know what had happened to the person.
24 So it would be known that someone had taken him away. This is what I
25 assume. I don't know if it's correct.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So --
2 A. There's my signature here.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: On the left-hand side is your signature. You
4 recognise this as your signature?
5 A. Yes. Yes, I do.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And what was the purpose to issue this, as it
7 reads, "receipt"?
8 A. This one here and all the other receipts, I said that they were
9 all issued so that one could be sure that the people were there and so
10 that no one could take them away if they did not desire this. I don't
11 know what this is about, but I assume -- I can see what it says here. It
12 says "discharged on the basis of the decision," and then what does it say?
13 "Leaving the Autonomous Region of Krajina," and then there's a certain
14 number. Someone must have issued this decision on leaving the Autonomous
15 Region of Krajina from Banja Luka. I don't know who it was. I don't know
16 who came. They wanted to take that person away. And I never allowed
17 anyone to leave Trnopolje just like that. But if someone wanted to do so,
18 he could do so but it was necessary to inform the Red Cross. Without such
19 an official record, these are things that would not be known. One would
20 not know why he had been taken away.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Mr. Usher, this can be brought back
22 to the Registry.
23 Mr. Kuruzovic, you know Mr. Slavko Puhalic?
24 A. Yes. He was in Trnopolje very often. And as far as I know, he's
25 a member of the military police. He helped the people from the Red Cross
1 and he helped me when Serbs living in the surrounding villages, the
2 surrounding houses, when they came and took things from houses. There
3 were even situations when the people who were further away from
4 Trnopolje - I think it's Suvi Brod - I don't know exactly. It's in the
5 direction of Kozarac. Well, they would seize their property. They would
6 loot. They would engage in looting. They would take their stove,
7 firewood, corn, et cetera. I don't know when these people came to see me
8 and asked me to help them and they said that people from Petrov Gaj would
9 come and take their things. So sometimes I would send Slavko to control
10 this, to check this, and then to return and then they would bring these
11 things and very often I sent the military police and had Serbs imprisoned.
12 There was a certain Cavic who caused problems, who stole bicycles, did all
13 sorts of things. Naturally, there were people among my people who were
14 not respectful, who were not worthy of respect, and they took advantage of
15 this opportunity to loot and to steal.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would it be correct, then that, Slavko Puhalic
17 is also known as Ture Mesar?
18 A. I've never heard that that was his nickname Ture Mesar? Never
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Who was your deputy as commander of the
21 Trnopolje open reception centre?
22 A. To begin with, I've already told you. I wasn't the commander. I
23 was some kind of an organiser, an intermediary between the police, the Red
24 Cross, the municipal authorities. So I had to have somebody whose job it
25 would be to look after that place. And secondly, I didn't have any
1 deputy. Whatever I need by way of food or intervention of the police or
2 anything, I would ask for that through the commander of the Red Cross or
3 the executive board, or if we needed buses, if people had expressed the
4 wish to go, then again I'd do that. I'd contact Mr. Mico Kovacevic and
5 send buses and the buses would come and that was that. Unless, perhaps,
6 he - I'm not quite sure - but as our people say, put on airs, and perhaps
7 introduce himself as a kind of a deputy. But I didn't have a deputy in
8 that sense of the word.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Didn't you claim that your deputy was the
10 commander of the security unit on duty, page 72 of your statement last
12 A. No. Perhaps you didn't understand me correctly. The army -- or
13 rather, those who guarded those people, who provided security, they were
14 under the command of their unit's commander. For instance, there were
15 several battalions in that one brigade, and from one battalion say a unit
16 comes a platoon strong, so 20, 30 men, and they then guard the whole
17 street and they have their commander who is the commander based on
18 military rules. I would just go there to see that they are deployed
19 properly, to take over the shift. But that was the man who commanded
20 them. I merely organised things.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When asked in March last year, page 72, you were
22 asked, "Who was your deputy if you're not there? Who would take care of
23 any problems which might arise in the reception centre?" Your answer was
24 at that time, "It would always be the one who is the commander of the
25 security unit, of the unit for the security."
1 A. Yes, that's right. Yes. The soldiers who came, and their
2 commander, he was responsible for the safety of those people there.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And then you continued, "Well, nobody officially
4 actually replaced me while I was not there, but it usually happened that a
5 bit later than myself Slavko Puhalic would stay. But as much as I know,
6 he never spent overnight either. So practically officially the deputies
7 were the commanders of the units." Would you stick to your testimony at
8 that time?
9 A. Yes. Slavko Puhalic never did anything like that. I don't know
10 what was the context in which I said it, but officially he had no duty
11 there except as far as I know that he was a member of the military police
12 and at times would turn up there. But that's all. But I was never there
13 at night. Whether Slavko came at night, I do not know that. I suppose he
14 was not, but perhaps he did. And if something happened there at that
15 time, then it should be the commander of the unit who was guarding the
16 place at the time who should know that.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You were appointed to you duty - let's call it
18 this way - and for which period of time?
19 A. Well, it just happens so. I told you who called me. That was the
20 late Simo and the late Dr. Kovacevic. And I told you already that I was
21 angry. Why had they decided I should go there? And I went there to see
22 if that was true, what was being said, that those people were getting
23 there, and I went there, and I saw it and I helped those people to be
24 accommodated there and that is how it set off, spontaneously, if that's
25 the word. Because I am that kind of man. By nature I am very
1 sentimental, I am very sensitive, and it was difficult for me to see
2 people, as our people would say, how day after day after day it went on
3 and nobody said how long was it supposed to last. And when I was there
4 together with all those people inside, I could see that all these
5 promises, that someday people would be united together, families be
6 joined, and they would go abroad, get their families there, and then -- or
7 either there and leave abroad together or meet other members of their
8 family abroad. Then I just talked to those people inside, that it had to
9 be disbanded, that it was really not all right to go on because the autumn
10 was coming, there would be problems with food and safety and then -- and
11 fuel, and then the centre simply ceased to exist.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous interpretation continues] ... discuss
13 the problems emanating from this centre in the framework of the Crisis
14 Staff or with other members of the Crisis Staff or bilaterally with
15 Dr. Stakic?
16 A. Well, I don't think that any one of them was unaware of its
17 existence or of its operation. I think that once Dr. Stakic helped
18 because Dr. Mico -- I mean, the late Dr. Mico to ensure the
19 transportation. I don't know how many. They asked for two buses or
20 perhaps three buses for people; otherwise, any other subject I don't know.
21 But I don't think that there was anyone who was not aware of the
22 existence, of its existence. But then one -- that's not really the right
23 way, the correct way to speak about that. But the late Professor
24 Koljevic - and I know that - frequently called Simo Drljaca, the deceased,
25 and said to look after all those people properly so that no -- there
1 shouldn't be any killing or anything. Whether it was with his
2 authorisation or somebody else's, with documents in writing almost daily,
3 news agencies came, BBC, Reuters, or even journalists from Yugoslavia,
4 from Novi Sad and so forth. Mr. Mazowiecki was there, and also
5 Mr. Kouchner. Also later I heard on television how they had objected to
6 the living conditions there, but I didn't hear -- at least, none of them
7 told me anything. But I am not saying that it was easy, because it
8 wasn't. But it wasn't all that unbearable because we tried to help people
9 to survive and the proof of that is in the fact that nobody died there,
10 there were no outbreaks of epidemics, children were born there, and I even
11 helped them to roast lambs on Bajram, because that's their custom. I've
12 forgotten to say that, but now I'm saying it because I had nothing against
13 that, of course. One had to respect it. That was their religion and
14 those others who created problems, that's another matter.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You mentioned just a minute before that once
16 Dr. Stakic helped to ensure the transportation. Could you please tell us,
17 what did you mean by this helping to ensure the transportation? Of whom
18 and transportation from where to where?
19 A. Well, in that regard, I always provided it whenever people asked,
20 and then one goes through Travnik to Central Bosnia, that is, through the
21 area where the majority of the population are Muslims. And I saw this
22 through Mr. Mico Kovacevic because he's the president of the executive
23 board and then he'd call Autotransport and the manager there would provide
24 the buses because also the fuel had to be provided for those buses, for
25 the departure, and I think that the late Dr. Mico Kovacevic wasn't there
1 and that Mr. Stakic did it. When was that exactly? I don't know.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. You mentioned during your testimony
3 today that sometimes it happened that military personnel asked for the
4 release of relatives or other persons. Who would have the final say on
5 the release requested? Would it be you, the police, or the military?
6 A. Oh, come on. It was the Red Cross who decided. But those were
7 people who came, who had their godfathers, friends, relatives. But as a
8 rule, it was the other way around: Serbs and some military personnel
9 brought some of their relatives or neighbours, their best men, and asked
10 us to be -- to receive them in Trnopolje because they wanted to leave
11 Prijedor and establish communication with their families. And I would get
12 angry at times because I was afraid that something would happen to those
13 people and nobody would be wise to that. I didn't think that someday they
14 would come, that I would be sitting there and answer those problems. But
15 those are the problems that occurred in the life of those people who lived
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous interpretation continues] ... if a
18 witness would testify that when approaching Trnopolje he was directed to
19 you and asked you in person whether he could leave together with relatives
20 and you granted and said, "No problem, you can leave with your relatives"?
21 A. Well, possibly there were such instances when I said that yes,
22 that person could go, and that they should be issued with those
23 certificates to show that they'd been there, and that they then left. I
24 don't see why should there be any problem. Why couldn't they leave? As
25 I've said, I would have been the happiest if there were much fewer of them
1 there or if nobody was there because there was always this danger hanging
2 there that one of those irresponsible people or those who, although they
3 are Serbs, but still are nevertheless brigands at heart and looters and
4 then problems arise and it's difficult to steer clear of them.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. This concludes your today's
6 testimony. It will be only a short period of time we will continue to the
7 Judges, with the line of Judges' questions tomorrow morning.
8 And then only that the parties know as to the fact that
9 Mr. Kuruzovic appeared on the list of the requested Defence witnesses. It
10 would be for the first time to put questions to the witness for the
11 Defence and then later for the Prosecution.
12 The trial stays adjourned until tomorrow, 9.00, in this same
13 courtroom, number I.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
15 at 4.36 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
16 the 27th day of March, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.