1 Thursday, 27 March 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning. Please be seated. And may I ask
6 the usher to escort the witness in the courtroom.
7 Madam Registrar, may I ask you to call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. This is Case Number IT-97-24-T, the
9 Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And the appearances, please, for the
12 MR. KOUMJIAN: Good morning, Your Honours. For the Prosecution,
13 Nicholas Koumjian, Ann Sutherland, and Ruth Karper.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And the Defence.
15 MR. LUKIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Branko Lukic for the
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning. Thank you.
18 As mentioned yesterday, we hope - you know how relative the word
19 "hope" is here - to conclude as soon as possible, and then the floor
20 would be for the Defence, just so the Defence is prepared.
21 [The witness entered court]
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning.
23 WITNESS: SLOBODAN KURUZOVIC [Resumed]
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 Questioned by the Court: [Continued]
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Kuruzovic, you are prepared to continue with
2 your testimony?
3 A. I did not understand. There was no interpretation.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Kuruzovic, you are prepared to continue with
5 your testimony?
6 A. Yes.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The same information I gave you yesterday
8 applies also today. Only one thing I didn't touch upon yesterday, may I
9 ask you, did you contact before coming here one of the parties? We know
10 that you gave a statement to a representative of the Prosecution the 24th
11 of March last year. Were you ever contacted once again by the Prosecution
12 or by a member of the Defence team in this case?
13 A. The Prosecution has not contacted me. The Defence has contacted
14 me and asked me whether I would wish to give a statement as a Defence
15 witness, and I declined that.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
17 Then let us continue where we stopped yesterday. You recall that
18 you were shown a document signed by a witness, a pseudonym was assigned to
19 this witness, and therefore we can't discuss the name. A certificate
20 issued by the Serbian Red Cross signed inter alia by you. The following
21 question would be, was there a necessity before issuing such a certificate
22 to relinquish the property in order to be able to leave Prijedor
24 A. I don't know of any such thing. Where I was in Trnopolje, these
25 things did not happen. I heard that people who had been leaving the
1 territory of Prijedor had the obligation to pay for the utilities,
2 electricity, water, and the similar things. And as far as the
3 relinquishing the rights to property, I didn't hear that. I don't know of
4 such a thing.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So for the parties, the testimony of witnesses
6 Q, Y, Z, and others would be wrong when they state here that they had to
7 relinquish their property before being able to leave the Prijedor
8 Municipality and before receiving such a receipt?
9 A. I don't know of any such thing.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May the witness please be shown Exhibit 292 and
11 293. We will have now a very fast track going through a number of
12 documents, please always the way that the English version is on the ELMO,
13 and the B/C/S version be handed to our witness.
14 Maybe in the meantime, you can briefly tell us the role of
15 Mr. Curguz. You recall the second signature. You signed at the left-hand
16 side of this document of this certificate, on the right side was Pero
17 Curguz. What was his role?
18 A. First, let me tell you that I don't know what document this is all
19 about. I saw it yesterday actually. Mr. Curguz was a member of the team
20 of the municipal Red Cross from Prijedor. He was not on his own. There
21 were other people, four or five women were there with him, and Mr. Curguz
22 was one of the team.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The name is redacted, because it's a protected
25 A. I've read this decision. I understand what it says here, but I
1 didn't see here that it says the shop ceases to operate and private
2 property. I've never done any such thing in my whole life. But let me
3 help you, if somebody wanted to have a private shop or a private business,
4 they had to apply for that stating the place where the business would be
5 operating from and what activity would it be engaged in. Once is ceases
6 to operate, obviously one also has to report that the business ceases to
7 operate, and thus that the obligations of that company towards the state
8 ceased to exist.
9 As for relinquishing the right to property, I've never heard of
10 any such thing, nor have I heard that any such decisions were issued. I
11 can see that this was signed by Ranko Travar, the secretary for the
12 economy. I don't know based on which he is quoting some articles of the
13 law. But I don't think this was confiscating of property. It was just
14 the announcement on the part of the owner that his business would cease to
15 operate after a certain date. This is how I understand this. And it says
16 here that the person applies for the business to cease operating. I
17 believe that that person, as it says here, this was submitted to the -- to
18 various institutions, so I suppose that this person was under the
19 obligation to meet his obligations towards the various funds. I don't
20 understand everything about this thing. These are some obligations and
21 some commitments that a business owner had towards the state.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And then, please, Exhibit S293. For the
23 parties, this has to be read in conjunction with transcript 7606 through
25 This means that I have understood this decision well. This is a
1 certificate in which it says that the person who had obligations have
2 met -- has met obligations towards pension funds, health fund, and so on
3 and so forth. I can't see anywhere here that the taxes have been paid,
4 and I don't see here that the property has been confiscated. I can see
5 here that this business, this company, this shop or kiosk is going to
6 cease to operate as of a certain date. I am not familiar with all this,
7 but my logic tells me, and I assume that this is the case based on what I
8 can read in this document.
9 These are municipal affairs, the affairs within the purview of the
10 municipal secretariat.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If you for a moment can come back to Exhibit
12 S12. I hope it's still in this redacted version. Exhibit S12. May I
13 first see it before it is put on the ELMO, please.
14 Would it be please placed on the ELMO that we can see it together.
15 We have only one version. And immediately to the signature block, please.
16 The bottom line.
17 Yesterday, you already tried to read this what we can see under
18 the signature of Pero Curguz. And I omitted yesterday to go in some more
19 details on what we can read there. I think it reads, based on the
20 certificate of departure of the Autonomous Region of Krajina, 8 August
21 1992. What was this, the certificate of departure of the Autonomous
22 Region of Krajina?
23 A. I really don't know what this is all about. I don't know why Pero
24 Curguz was supposed to sign this. I never sign any other documents but
25 those that constitute the certificate requested by the Red Cross about
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 people being there. I don't think this is a forgery. This is my
2 signature. That's how I sign documents. But I don't know what this is.
3 I don't know. I may have been told that the person was leaving the centre
4 in Trnopolje, that maybe a member of his family came to take him, and that
5 this certificate is supposed to be signed indicating that that person
6 indeed had been here. I'm -- I didn't read the contents of this document,
7 and the Red Cross has nothing whatsoever to do with the municipal
8 authorities. This is an international organisation, so I believe that I
9 was under the impression that I did not have to read the contents. I can
10 see in the heading "Red Cross", and this is also the seal of the Red Cross
11 of Prijedor. Maybe it is not nice of me to say that maybe this has been
12 planted on me to sign. I don't know whether anybody had any ill
13 intentions. But I really don't know why I signed this.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please don't misunderstand it. You're not in
15 any way the accused in this case. We want just to hear from you, as you
16 sit here as a witness, to know why was it necessary that there was a
17 certificate as we can read it of departure issued by the Autonomous Region
18 of Krajina? What had the Autonomous Region of Krajina to do with this
20 A. I really don't know. I know that according to the logic of
21 subordination, a Krajina should have been superior to the Municipal
22 Assembly of Prijedor. I don't know whether one was supposed to ask the
23 Autonomous Region of Krajina permission to leave either Municipality of
24 Prijedor or some other city. This doesn't make sense to me. A number of
25 people were asked to pay their bills, their rent, their utilities before
1 they left town. A number of people - I don't know how many - but starting
2 with autumn 1991 up to spring 1992 left Prijedor in an organised manner.
3 Muslim and Croat families, mostly women and children, were leaving,
4 whereas able-bodied men remained in the city. I don't want to guess. I
5 know that these things happened. Whether this is correct or not, but I
6 don't know that the number that is mentioned is rather large. Some say
7 that between ten and 15.000 people left Prijedor at that time by buses in
8 an organised manner.
9 I would like to thank you for having said that -- what you've said
10 when you asked me this question. Yesterday all day, you act in a very
11 fair manner and with a lot of -- I was treated by you with a lot of
12 respect, and I would like to thank you for that.
13 So if I need to repeat my answer, I really don't know why the
14 autonomous province of Krajina was in the position to order anything to
15 the municipality or ask the municipality to issue any certificates or why
16 would a Krajina issue a certificate for somebody to leave a certain
17 municipality? I really don't know why this was the case.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Let's now turn to a totally
19 different issue, and this is the work of the Prijedor Crisis Staff.
20 May the witness please be shown Exhibit S60. Do you recall this
21 meeting, the 15th of May? You appear --
22 A. Yes, I remember this meeting, and I can see here that I attended
23 this session.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The meeting was chaired by Dr. Milomir Stakic,
25 president of the council.
1 A. Yes, the National Defence Council of Prijedor Municipality. I
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. Then we have the agenda. We don't want to
4 waste time with the agenda, but let's go to the conclusions. First
5 conclusion: If you could go a little bit more down, yes. Still on the
6 first page, only at the end of the page. It was on the organisation and
7 the functioning of the Crisis Staff. And here it reads: "The draft of
8 the decision on the organisation and function of the Crisis Staff is
9 approved under the proviso that a representative of the Garrison in
10 Prijedor be added to the proposed list of members of the Crisis Staff."
11 First, who proposed the list of members of the Crisis Staff, to the best
12 of your recollection?
13 A. I can see here that these are members of the Executive Board,
14 president and the vice-president, and I can see that Vladimir Arsic was
15 also proposed, and the person who proposed it was the president of the
16 Municipal Assembly, Dr. Stakic. And I can see here all the persons, Rade
17 Javoric, the commander of the staff, Cedo Sipovac was the representative
18 of the army, Travar, Zeljaja, Kovacevic and so on and so forth. Probably
19 it was based either on the statute of the Municipal Assembly or the
20 provisions of the laws of the Krajina or the Serbian Republic of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was stipulated what the composition of these
22 bodies should be, and I believe that it was based on that that Mr. Stakic
23 put forth this proposal.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Correct. The only question is why in addition
25 to that what is in fact foreseen elsewhere a representative of the
1 Garrison in Prijedor should be added to the proposed list of members of
2 the Crisis Staff?
3 A. Probably because of cooperation between the police, the army, and
4 security organs. Slavko Budimir is here, and he is the secretary for
5 people's defence. And he was the one to coordinate the behaviour of both
6 the police and the army and the engagement of people, mobilisation of
7 people. And I suppose that it had to be put in writing that a military
8 representative should be there to participate in the discussions on
9 dealing with these issues. As far as I remember, I attended several of
10 these meetings, and in any of them the people -- the National Defence
11 Council or the Crisis Staff ever issued any orders to the army, at least I
12 don't remember. That may have happened in some other meetings that I
13 didn't attend. But in any case, this was not possible because there was a
14 different chain of subordination applied to the army. There was the
15 garrison in Prijedor, and Vladimir Arsic was under the command of the
16 Banja Luka corps on the 1st Krajina Corps. In any case, that is the same
17 corps. Maybe the names were changed later on.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What about the implementation of this
19 conclusion? Did, in fact, a representative of the garrison in Prijedor
20 participate in meetings of the Crisis Staff of Prijedor?
21 A. Yes, I attended several sessions. I don't remember that he
22 attended every time, but sometimes Mr. Arsic was present, or Cedo Sipovac
23 or Rajlic was there. As representatives probably, if they were supposed
24 to resolve certain problems related to the life and work of the army.
25 That's what I remember. I don't remember any discussion taking place
1 about military actions because there were no military actions in town or
2 around the town. I am certain that this is the reason because the state
3 of war prevailed, troops went to the front line. It needed to be decided
4 how many people should be assigned to the police to maintain law and order
5 in town.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Let's now turn to the next page, and
7 this would be agenda points 2 and 3. "Mobilisation in the municipality
8 and the issue of the status of deployed forces." Apparently following
9 these minutes, you participated you in the discussion, and then the
10 following conclusions were adopted. I'm especially interested in the
11 following, the second: "All persons who have failed to respond to the
12 mobilisation callups starting from 17 September 1991 may not participate
13 in decision-making on organisation of work and security matters in
14 companies and other legal entities. The directors of companies and other
15 executive organs are responsible for the immediate implementation of this
17 Then start the transformation of both TO staffs and former unified
18 command for control and command of all the units formed in the territory
19 of the Municipality.
20 Do you recall these two conclusions?
21 A. Not particularly, but I understand what they are all about, the
22 people who failed to respond to their mobilisation callups should under
23 the law be held liable. That was so however you viewed it. From the
24 inside or from the outside. It was the official state organisation called
25 the Serbian Republic Bosnia-Herzegovina, and those who failed to respond
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 to mobilisation had to be subjected to certain measures. They certainly
2 couldn't be engaged in work related to safeguarding facilities and
3 installations and any works related to security. And I see that directors
4 and managers are made responsible to make sure of that. And about the
5 second conclusion, the headquarters of the Territorial Defence should be
6 included in the single command. As far as I remember, it was later called
7 the Command of the Region to avoid having several military organisations.
8 Therefore, the staff of the Territorial Defence commanded by Rade Javoric,
9 and the staff in which I was, which was not really a military
10 organisation, were formally united and resubordinated to the command of
11 the region. That is, Commander Arsic. And everything was from then on
12 under the command of military post box 4777. Yes, here it is written. A
13 part of the remaining conscripts should be assigned to units, blah, blah,
14 priority to be given to the reinforcement. So this must have been a
15 preliminary decision. I remember telling you that.
16 And I also said that on the 16th or the 17th, I received an order
17 to the effect that I and what was referred to as my staff and the staff of
18 Mr. Javoric without any exceptions should be attached to the command of
19 the region, that is, of the brigade, military postbox 4777.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So in conclusion, this would mean -- you
21 mentioned yesterday the number of one to two thousand persons maximum.
22 They would be from now on under the command of Mr. Arsic. Correct?
23 A. Yes. I don't know for sure actually, but I think those were the
24 numbers within the Territorial Defence units. They were brought under the
25 command of the brigade. And that included all the men who are military
1 conscripts or who volunteered to serve in the army and who were not in the
2 ranks of civilian police. So all of them were either within the
3 composition of one or the other brigade included in this military postbox.
4 All military conscripts from the territory of the municipality.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And it would be correct that war units 4777 and
6 8316 would be part of the 43rd or 343rd Brigade. Correct?
7 A. Well, the 43rd Brigade and the 343rd Brigade are one and the same
8 thing. When they were -- when this brigade was restructured, it was also
9 renamed into the 343rd Brigade. When that happened exactly, I don't
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This is one and the same brigade, no doubt. But
12 these war units, 4777 and 8316 would be within this brigade. Correct?
13 A. Well, I don't know about this second one, 8316. I don't know
14 which unit that is. But it's possible. If this 8316 was within the
15 Kozara Brigade which was part of the Territorial Defence, then it would
16 not be the case. As for the command of the region, the command of this
17 brigade was ex officio commander of the region. The region was a broader
18 area. Therefore, all the other brigades in that territory were under the
19 command of the region, that is, under the command of Arsic.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But then also in the context of the next
21 following, the fifth conclusion, that all conscripts who have been issued
22 uniforms and other military equipment and who have not joined up to return
23 their equipment as soon as possible. This is only a natural decision.
24 But the question, please help us understand this, how is it possible that
25 the Prijedor Municipality Crisis Staff decided in this way on issues
1 normally being in the area of the military, and in part, the police
3 A. I will try to assist you on this issue. I hope you will
4 understand. It is not the army that engaged civilians into its units.
5 This was done through the Ministry of Defence, or rather in Prijedor,
6 through the Secretariat of National Defence headed by Slavko Budimir. And
7 if somebody needed to be called up, to be mobilised, then when the army
8 saw fit to do that, it was done by the Secretariat for National Defence.
9 They handled all affairs related to appointment, relief of duty,
10 engagement, distribution of men, et cetera. This was done by the
11 Secretariat for National Defence and the Crisis Staff. I don't know
12 whether we mentioned yesterday, all men in that state who at one point had
13 completed their military service had their military equipment at home, not
14 including weapons, of course, unless the Territorial Defence was mobilised
15 and people were issued with weapons.
16 So this was a way to call upon people to return the equipment they
17 had been given.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Right. But in the centre of our interest is, no
19 doubt, number 3. And this is not about conscripts but it's on the
20 formation of a unit, here "form a unified command for control and command
21 of all the units formed in the territory or municipality." And then
22 wouldn't it be alone for the military to decide what priority is given?
23 And here, the Crisis Staff indeed decides priority is to be given to the
24 reinforcement of war unit, first of all, 4777. How could the Crisis Staff
25 decide on these military issues?
1 A. I don't know how else to answer this question. This could have
2 been done only through the Ministry of Defence and the Secretariat for
3 National Defence as part of the Municipal Assembly. And all reassignments
4 could have been handled only that way. Applications could have been made,
5 plans could have been formulated, requests made. But only through the
6 Secretariat for National Defence. And since this Secretariat was part of
7 this National Defence Council and part of the Crisis Staff, it is logical
8 that this should be discussed here. And I suppose it was formulated as a
9 task to the Secretariat to execute this assignment. It was not something
10 for the National Defence Council. At least, that is what I know. Maybe
11 there could have been other provisions in the law allowing for this. I'm
12 not a professional military person.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then let's briefly touch upon point 4, if we
14 could see the bottom part of this page, please. It reads: "The public
15 security station in concert with the army command should draft the plan of
16 disarmament, after which the actual process should be set in motion and
17 with the assistance of the media."
18 First, public security station in concert with the army command.
19 How could the Crisis Staff decide on these issues?
20 A. It says here "conclusion." A conclusion is not an order, and it's
21 not a decision either. This was concluded, drawn as a conclusion probably
22 for the sake of securing the Municipality of Prijedor, namely, the
23 disarmament of all those illegally armed paramilitary formations. I don't
24 know how else this could have been done except by having them disarmed by
25 the police in cooperation with the army. The weapons were supposed to be
1 collected and taken away, with appeals made to the public to carry out
2 this conclusion, to implement it. This is my understanding.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And then let's turn to the next page, taking
4 over of the duties of the military department, and then the conclusion:
5 "The municipal Secretariat for National Defence is requested to prepare
6 for the Municipal Assembly executive committee a draft staffing table for
7 the Secretariat which shall include the tasks taken over from the military
9 Which were these tasks taken over from the military department and
10 how could the Crisis Staff or the National Defence Council better, in this
11 case, how could the National Defence Council "take over" duties from the
12 military department?
13 A. I don't remember exactly, but it's possible that some superior
14 order resulted in a restructuring and something that was called earlier
15 military section became part of the Secretariat for National Defence.
16 This must have been an obligation given to the Secretariat for National
17 Defence by the National Defence Council to formulate a categorisation of
18 vacancies and jobs, because I told you before, calling up people to be
19 mobilised and engaging civilians in any way into the army must have been
20 done through a summons from the Secretariat for National Defence or as it
21 was earlier called, the military section. The military section employed
22 civilians, not military persons. They were tasked with issuing callups,
23 forming and reforming units, and it is through them that the army made its
24 applications and requests reflecting its needs.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So what finally in conclusion, this conclusion
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 would mean that part of the duties of the military department were now
2 taken over by the National Defence Council. Correct?
3 A. No, it was the municipal Secretariat for National Defence. I'm
4 sorry, I hastened a little. The municipal Secretariat for National
5 Defence was given the task of preparing a categorisation of jobs and
6 vacancies because they had taken over the purview of the former military
7 section. And it all became part of the Secretariat for National Defence
8 headed by Slavko Budimir.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. This concludes the discussion of
10 this document. Let us now turn briefly to Documents S130 and 203.
11 Can we please see the entire document.
12 Do you recall having seen this document before?
13 A. No, never.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then it's not of assistance to go in some
15 details. 203.
16 Can you confirm this decision? Was this decision implemented as
17 it reads here: "Relieved of duties as of 29 May, 1992 ..."?
18 In your interview, maybe you hadn't this document before you, of
19 24 March last year, on page 11, you state: "It would be the 17th of May,
20 1992." To the best of your recollection, what would be the correct date?
21 A. You mean the issuing of this decision?
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Not the issuing, but as it reads here: "... is
23 relieved of duties as of 29 May, 1992..."
24 Is this date correct?
25 A. I received this decision, and it corresponds to this date, that's
1 the day when I received it. And before that, the commander of the region,
2 in other words, the 43rd Brigade, issued an order resubordinating me to
3 the command of the brigade, and from that moment on, I ceased to be the
4 commander of the staff of the Serbian Territorial Defence, and I was under
5 the command of the 43rd Brigade. What it says in this decision probably
6 reflects the fact that when it was impossible for the staff to meet, the
7 staff decided to relieve me of the duties of commander of Territorial
8 Defence, and I received this decision precisely on this date, the 29th of
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. Then it continues: "... placed under the
11 command of the command of the region." What would this mean in terms of
12 names, who were from now on your superiors in the hierarchy?
13 A. Commander Arsic, commander of the region and commander of the 43rd
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And who would be the superior to Mr. Arsic?
16 A. Well, I don't remember exactly at that time who was commander of
17 the Banja Luka Corps. I forgot the name. At the time it was the --
18 General Talic was chief of staff of the corps, and I forget whether the
19 corps was called Banja Luka Corps at the time or not, or the Corps of
20 Republika Srpska. It could have been General Vukovic. I've forgot. Or
21 maybe General Talic was already corps commander. I really can't remember.
22 It could easily be that General Talic was already corps commander.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No doubt, your immediate superior from now on
24 was Mr. Arsic. Did you have to change your office?
25 A. Well, one could say that since the staff did not really exist, the
1 commander of the other staff, the TO staff, moved into the barracks
2 together with all the staff, and all the staff. So I spent my time in
3 that barracks all the time. And the former TO staff offices were
4 transformed into a logistics base. And I had my ways and means of taking
5 from there to Trnopolje cigarettes and some other supplies that I couldn't
6 get through the Red Cross. However, I was subordinated to the command of
7 the brigade, and I wasn't able to do anything without their approval.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: As it would be always in wartime.
9 You mentioned the barracks. Which barracks do you mean?
10 A. That is the Zarko Zgonjanin barracks, military postbox 4777. I
11 believe some other military postbox numbers were also there because the
12 military have within their organisation the so-called development command.
13 I believe some units were under its command. The barracks held the
14 command of the region, Commander Arsic, with all his subordinates.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Kuruzovic, did you ever see in this Zarko
16 Zgonjanin barracks arrested or detained persons or persons being there for
17 the purpose of interrogation?
18 A. I don't remember that. I didn't see that. You mean some
19 detainees under interrogation or something? I never saw anything of the
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
22 May we then turn to Exhibit Number S21, please. May it be please
23 put on the ELMO in a way that we can see the entire document. What does
24 it mean "the Territorial Defence of the Serbian Republic shall be
25 established as an armed force of SBiH. Command and control of the
1 Territorial Defence shall be exercised, municipal district, and regional
2 staffs, and the republic staff of the SBiH TO"?
3 A. The Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and we discussed that
4 yesterday, was established. The Ministry of Defence Bogdan Subotic was
5 appointed pursuant to the provisions of the constitution and the decision
6 of the Presidency at a session which was held on the 15th of April, 1992,
7 took the decision on the establishment of the Territorial Defence of the
8 Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina as an armed force of the Serbian
9 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The state was established, the
10 authorities were established, and the Minister of Defence therefore
11 ordered mobilisation. Before that, the immediate threat of war was
12 proclaimed. As far as I know, the mobilisation call was published in the
13 media and conscripts were supposed to respond to this mobilisation call.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This decision was, in fact, implemented?
15 A. Yes, because this applied to the tasks of the Territorial Defence
16 staff which existed and which was under the command of Mr. Rade Javoric.
17 And this mobilisation was indeed carried out.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
19 Then the following documents immediately one after the other: 175,
20 68, 70, 69, 72, and 79. Starting, please, with 175.
21 This is an order apparently issued by the Crisis Staff, and it
22 reads: "Commands and members of the military and regular police forces
23 are hereby ordered to immediately seize all materials ..." We shouldn't
24 go into formal details. But how can the Crisis Staff of Prijedor order
25 commands and members of the military and regular police forces to do
2 A. Well, I don't know. The -- probably because at that time, there
3 was still an order, that is, a decision, of the Presidency in place which
4 dealt with the immediate threat of war. I suppose that the Crisis Staff
5 did have a possibility to ask that of the police and the army in order to
6 prevent plunder and theft. You know, such things did happen, and the way
7 I understand it, it was asked for these illegally acquired materiel and
8 equipment to be seized. I can see that this concerns the prevention of
9 further plunder of private property and state property, and I can see that
10 this also concerns the control of the exit and entry of all persons from
11 buildings, the control of all the telephone calls. The military police
12 did its own job, and the civilian did its own job. The times were weird,
13 and the philosophy and the mind set of people was different. There were
14 members of my people who carried arms, and for that reason, they thought
15 they could do whatever they wanted to do under the guise of the military
16 uniform or the uniform of a civilian or a military policeman. And because
17 they wore uniforms, they thought they could seize people's property, and
18 because there were such things, there was a need to introduce some order
19 into town and prevent looting and threat because as I've already said, the
20 truth is that there were such things happening at the time.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You mentioned this, and it's quite
22 understandable. But let's now turn to 3: "Residents and residents'
23 councils are ordered to monitor around the clock the comings and goings of
24 all people at the entrances to their apartment buildings. Any misconduct
25 should be reported to the competent police or military organs in person or
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13 English transcripts.
1 by telephone ..." And then we can read two telephone numbers. "Any
2 misconduct should be reported ..."
3 Yesterday, we briefly touched upon some heinous crimes in Omarska,
4 Mount Vlasic. Wouldn't it have been the obligation of everybody, each
5 resident, be it now an ordinary civilian or be it a member of the Crisis
6 Staff, to report any misconduct to the competent police or military
8 A. Yes. That was the case. For example, people organised their
9 tenants' councils in building in order to deal with some minor issues, and
10 it was asked from them to participate in all this to control the coming
11 and going of people in their building in order to prevent the looting of
12 property and other such misconduct.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Once again, to come back in case of the killing
14 of a huge number of persons, wouldn't it be the obligation under the rules
15 and the law of former Yugoslavia to report these killings to the competent
16 police or military organs?
17 A. Probably yes, unless this happened during war operations. It was
18 provided for by the law, and this is the case in every country, and the
19 Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was no exception to that rule.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You mentioned yesterday that related to the mass
21 killing at Mount Vlasic, you were asked to report to -- to write a report
22 to Mr. Arsic. Did you write that report and what happened with the
23 report, to the best of your recollection?
24 A. I wrote the report in the brigade command. I said what I knew.
25 Up to that time, I never heard of any such thing having happened, and I
1 don't know who the escorts were. I know that the civilian police served
2 as escorts. I heard that only two or three days later. They asked me to
3 write a report on when this happened. I wrote a report to that effect,
4 and that report remained in the brigade command. I wrote what I knew. I
5 probably stated when this happened, when the group had left. I don't
6 remember whether they left in two or three buses. I also stated that the
7 transportation was organised, that the Executive Board supplied the fuel,
8 and that the public security station provided escort for this convoy, and
9 these escorts were tasked with providing for the security of these people
10 until their arrival in the territory of Travnik and further on in either
11 Bosnia and Herzegovina or abroad, depending on where people wanted to go
12 from there.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you still have a copy of this report in your
15 A. The statement that I wrote there? No, no, I only remember what I
16 said, and that was that regardless of when such a departure was organised,
17 the president of the Executive Board was aware of that. He helped the
18 organisation of this departure. Commander Arsic was also aware of this
19 departure. Either he or somebody else from the military was supposed to
20 inform the military structures in that part of Mount Vlasic to allow for a
21 safe passage of these people. I believe that I wrote something to that
22 effect. I also wrote in that statement that I didn't know about the
23 incident and that I was not officially informed about it. I believe that
24 I heard of the incident in the Red Cross. And after that, I was asked to
25 draft my report or statement about what had happened.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you discuss these killings in the Crisis
2 Staff or bilaterally together with Dr. Stakic?
3 A. To be honest, I really don't remember. I don't remember when this
4 happened exactly. After the order issued by the Commander Arsic and the
5 decision of the Crisis Staff, I stopped attending Crisis Staff meetings or
6 any other meetings for that matter, and I really don't remember ever
7 having discussed that with him. I probably talked about that with my
8 acquaintances, people that I knew who were surrounding me because it was
9 something terrible. It was an atrocious thing that happened. I may have
10 talked about it with Dr. Stakic as well, but it was not in any formal
11 manner, if you know what I mean.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then let us please turn to S68. Once again, we
13 shouldn't go into the details. The question is how it's possible that the
14 president of the Crisis Staff, Dr. Milomir Stakic, orders that it is
15 hereby -- "An order is hereby issued to the military police organs and the
16 organs of the Prijedor State Security Service"? It's not a request; it's
17 an order.
18 A. I can see that it says "order" here. Maybe the army and military
19 police were requested to take possession of all illegally seized property
20 from other members of the military and the military police. However,
21 other people had done that as well, and maybe that's why it was asked from
22 the army and the police to prevent that and that for all illegal property
23 to be taken hold of. I heard that one of the companies in question was
24 Velepromet. I'm not sure. I can only say that at that time there were
25 very few people actually within that brigade, and under that command of
1 that brigade, there were a lot of people on the strength of the civilian
2 police. So maybe this applies more to those who wore uniforms. But it
3 also applied to everybody.
4 Now, what is the logic behind this order being issued by the
5 Crisis Staff, and here it quotes Article 7 on the decision on the
6 organisation and activities of the Crisis Staff. But I believe that this
7 decision on the work of the Crisis Staff was passed pursuant to the
8 constitution and laws of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And
9 I believe that pursuant to such a decision, the Crisis Staff was in the
10 position to issue an order like this.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Exhibit 70, 7-0.
12 Here we can see "Crisis Staff president" illegible, Stakic, maybe,
13 signed and stamped. It reads: "The blockade of the town shall remain in
14 force." Why this?
15 A. I assume, and I know that you know, that on the 30th of May, there
16 was a military attack on the town of Prijedor. There were a number of
17 organised people who participated in that attack, and 16 people killed
18 during that attack in front of the municipal building and all over the
19 town. And I assume that the Crisis Staff expected that something like
20 that would happen again, and that's why it asked for the blockade of the
21 town to remain in force. The blockade was carried out by units -- or
22 actually units under of the command of the region, together with members
23 of the police. They set up checkpoints to control those people who were
24 entering and leaving town. So everybody who was moving around was checked
25 by those units.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So the addressee, in fact, would be the public
2 security station or, as you mentioned, the command of the region.
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Exhibit S69. Once again, issued by
6 the Municipality of Prijedor Crisis Staff, an order to supply for the
7 troops -- supplies for the troops shall be provided by the Zarko Zgonjanin
8 barracks pursuant to the order issued by the commander.
9 Could you please comment on this document. Once again, an order
10 into the direction of the army.
11 A. The -- what we can see here are vehicles. For a short period of
12 time, I issued everybody with fuel certificates, but this only lasted for
13 a few days, and then it was the Executive Board who did that via its
14 services, the fuel. As we know, there is a petrol station in the
15 barracks, and fuel was issued on the order of the commander. And fuel had
16 to be brought from somewhere.
17 I apologise. This had to be taken from -- this had to be taken
18 from the storage, fuel storage, in town, the so-called Energopetrol. So
19 the fuel had first to be transported to the barracks, to petrol stations,
20 and then it was issued in the way that is stated herein.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But one point of special interest for me is it
22 reads, close to the end: "For Crisis Staff vehicles." What does it mean,
23 "Crisis Staff vehicles"? Did you have special cars provided for the
24 members of the Crisis Staff?
25 A. I don't know. But if the Crisis Staff is mentioned, then this is
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13 English transcripts.
1 the body that in the peacetime was the Municipal Assembly and the
2 Executive Board, secretariats, president of the Executive Board,
3 vice-president of the Executive Board, various secretaries for the
4 economy, for People's Defence. As far as I know, there were two or three
5 vehicles used by the municipality officials when they went on business,
6 when they travelled on business. So I suppose that what is meant here are
7 these vehicles.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you yourself have your own car and driver?
9 A. Before I was issued the order to resubordinate myself to the
10 region command, I had a car that I got from a company. I had my own car
11 which was an old Peugeot 305, very old. And this first car mentioned, I
12 used it for 15 days, and then I returned it to the company that had given
13 it to me. It was sometime around 16, 17, 18 or 20 May. I can't remember
14 exactly. The car was given to me by the company called -- the textile
15 company. I returned that car in good order, the way I got it.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you know which kind of -- which car was
17 driven by the president of the municipality as of the 30th of April, 1992,
18 we'll say which car was driven by Dr. Stakic and who was the driver at
19 that time?
20 A. I don't remember the name, but it wasn't Dr. Stakic himself who
21 drove that car. And I also forgot what car was that. I remember that
22 there was a blue Lada. As far as I remember, this was used by inspectors,
23 by officials. And there was also another blue -- white car, a white Lada.
24 The president of the municipality must have been driven in a better car,
25 but I don't remember what car was that. It seems to me that earlier on,
1 before all these incidents happened, the president of the municipality was
2 driven in a black Mercedes. Now whether Dr. Stakic also used the same
3 car, I can't remember.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then let's skip S72 and go immediately and
5 finally before the break to Exhibit S79.
6 Once again, an order issued by the president of the Crisis Staff,
7 Dr. Milomir Stakic. An order to the Prijedor Public Security Station and
8 the Prijedor regional command. "... are ordered to form a joint
9 intervention platoon to be made up of 20 members from each with the basic
10 task of preventing looting and other criminal activities in the area of
11 the municipality and movement of all unregistered vehicles and vehicles
12 driven by members of the army and police without regularly approved travel
14 So we already touched upon this, on an intervention platoon,
15 yesterday. So apparently this intervention platoon was made up by members
16 of the security station and the military. Correct?
17 A. Yes, this transpires from this order.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And it reads in number 2: "That the members of
19 the platoon shall be chosen from among the existing members of the army
20 and the police."
21 A. Yes.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How could the Crisis Staff give such an order to
23 army and police?
24 A. I can see that the Article 3 and 7 on the decision of the
25 organisation are quoted here. I don't know anything about these articles
1 and what the contents of these articles are. But it seems that the order
2 was based on these articles. In any case, it is well known what this is
3 all about. I've told you already that a number of people wore uniforms,
4 and some of them were not even on the strength of either the police or the
5 army and still they wore uniforms because at that time, almost everyone
6 wore a uniform. Some of them were not authorised to carry either a
7 uniform or arms, and these people would seize other people's cars, and
8 they would use those cars - I'm talking about both members of the police
9 and the army - and this had to be stopped. And they -- these vehicles, if
10 they were driven by people who were not authorised to travel, who did not
11 have a document - I'm talking again about the military or the police
12 members who when travelled had to have an authorisation, an official
13 document. So if these people did not have the authorisation to drive
14 vehicles, then it was ordered to the police and the military to take those
15 vehicles over -- away from them. I don't know whether the Crisis Staff
16 could issue such an order, but in any case this was ordered in order to
17 prevent looting and to preserve the property of people. This was the
18 justification for this order.
19 Now, whether this order was at all possible or not, I cannot go
20 into that.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But did I understand you yesterday correctly
22 that this platoon, in fact, was implemented and this order was implemented
23 and this intervention platoon was established; correct?
24 A. I don't believe that this order was not carried out. I don't know
25 who members of this platoon were and who its commander was. But I don't
1 believe that this order was not carried out.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. For this part, for technical reasons
3 we have to make a break now once again, and therefore the trial stays
4 adjourned until 11.00 sharp.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 11.05 p.m.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May we now turn to a totally different issue.
8 May I ask you, was there ever a discussion in the Crisis Staff or in other
9 groups, national defence or whatsoever, on the incident in Hambarine?
10 A. I can't say that I remember it. I suppose I know what happened,
11 but it happened before, before that second attack took place. I think it
12 was on the 22nd or somewhere around that time.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In your statement, it reads on page 45, when
14 asked by Mr. Koumjian: "Did the Crisis Staff discuss the situation at its
15 meetings after the killing of the men at the checkpoint?" Your answer
16 was: "Yes, it was discussed, but the army had already `came with an
17 ultimatum to surrender the weapons within 48 hours.' As much as I
18 remember, that was accepted, and then it was radio broadcasted."
19 Question: "And the radio person who actually announced the ultimatum was
20 Dr. Stakic. Is that correct?" Answer: "Well, I don't know exactly.
21 Maybe he was the one who signed, but I don't know if he was the one at the
22 radio announcing it or it was, you know, radio worker, speaker."
23 Question, "was the ultimatum given in the name of the Crisis Staff of
24 Prijedor"? Answer: "I think. I'm not sure. It was in the name of the
1 To the best of your recollection, what would be your testimony
2 today on the events immediately before Hambarine and immediately after
3 Hambarine, especially the involvement of the Crisis Staff?
4 A. Maybe I hadn't understood the question well last year, or maybe I
5 was confused by the whole procedure, the questions, the translations, et
6 cetera. I don't think Dr. Stakic was the one who presented this request.
7 It was done through the radio at somebody else's request. As far as I
8 know, on the 22nd, an army patrol was attacked on its way to Hambarine.
9 They were shot at from a light machine-gun. I think the person involved
10 was Aziz Aliskovic. And throughout that time, there were problems at the
11 checkpoint in Kozarac where passage was denied. This checkpoint was
12 manned by Muslims from the Territorial Defence so that people had to take
13 alternative roads to arrive in the town. I don't know whether it was on
14 the 26th or 29th of May, but I know it was a couple of days after this
15 incident in Hambarine, that this column was also attacked. Some of the
16 soldiers were killed. And there followed an order or a command from the
17 command of the region to eliminate this checkpoint and to allow free
18 passage from Banja Luka to Prijedor. I think that was the sequence of
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: To come back to the first part of the question,
21 at that time, you were asked: "Did the Crisis Staff discuss the situation
22 at its meeting after the killing of the men at the checkpoint?" And you
23 answered: "Yes, it was discussed."
24 To the best of your recollection, was this issue discussed in the
25 Crisis Staff?
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13 English transcripts.
1 A. That is possible, but I'm not completely certain. It would have
2 been logical to discuss it, but whether the discussion was official and to
3 what extent the army was involved, I cannot claim with any certainty.
4 Maybe the Crisis Staff discussed it at a meeting which I did not
5 attend, but I don't remember it. Because this was at a time when I had
6 ceased to be officially the commander of the TO staff and was attached to
7 a unit of the 343rd Brigade.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This was as of, as we just established a moment
9 before, the 29th of May. Correct?
10 A. Well, I don't know exactly. I can't remember the exact date, but
11 it was somewhere between the 26th and the 29th of May that this incident
12 took place on the road from Banja Luka to Prijedor, around the Kozarac
13 intersection. It might have been on the 26th, but I can't say for sure.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you yourself read out the ultimatum in the
16 A. No, no, I didn't. I had nothing to do with the radio station at
17 the time. It was only in May 1994 that according to the decision of the
18 Executive Board, I was nominated to become manager of the radio station,
19 and indeed, became the director.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For the parties, I'm making reference to
21 transcript page 2864 and 6808.
22 The events in Kozarac, were they discussed in the Crisis Staff?
23 A. Well, I don't know. I didn't attend any such discussion. I
24 suppose it was discussed. It's impossible that it shouldn't have been
25 discussed, at least informally among people. But whether any official
1 discussion had taken place, I don't know. As far as I'm concerned, I told
2 you already who summoned me, in which way, and how I became involved in
3 this general misfortune suffered by the people.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When you mention this "misfortune suffered by
5 the people," I think one conclusion of these orders we saw in the past,
6 especially based on Exhibit Number S250, was that it was for the Crisis
7 Staff to take care that the order in town was maintained or
8 re-established. What about now these crimes committed indisputably in the
9 camps of Omarska and Keraterm, especially the so-called Room 3 massacre?
10 Did you committed to maintain or re-establish the order in town discuss
11 these crimes in the Crisis Staff?
12 A. That happened during times when I had no direct link with the
13 Crisis Staff. And I suppose this, too, must have been discussed. It was
14 a terrible event that occurred for I don't know exactly what reason. I do
15 know that people were detained in this Keraterm camp. I don't know what
16 grounds and how. Rumour had it that those were people who had been
17 involved in actions against the town. I forget now whether it was before
18 these actions or after. I didn't know at the time who was in charge over
19 there. I heard about it later, over the radio. I know that some sort of
20 military attack was carried out against those people. I heard many people
21 were killed. But I don't know the real reason why this ugly incident
23 Although you could hardly call something like that an "incident";
24 it is a crime committed by men.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would it be your testimony that the fact that
1 these crimes were committed, both in Keraterm and Omarska, were public
2 knowledge in town?
3 A. I don't think they were. They could have become later. People
4 knew about the crime in Keraterm. And what I said before, I said in
5 reference to Omarska, because that camp was not far from the town, and the
6 shooting must have been heard. I don't know where I was at the time. The
7 event took place in the evening.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For the transcript, it reads "Omarska, it was
9 not far from town." Did you really want to say Omarska, or did you want
10 to say Keraterm?
11 A. People knew about what happened in Keraterm. And as far as
12 Omarska was concerned, it was some sort of investigative prison. And I
13 don't think people knew what was going on in there. It fell within the
14 competence of the Secretariat for Internal Affairs, the public security
15 station. And it was the late Simo Drljaca who was chief of the police
16 station. I don't know on whose orders this centre was established and
17 those investigations were carried out. The rest of it, I know about from
18 what I saw on television, just like other people, and I listened to
19 statements made by people who had been detained there and realised then
20 that lots of things had been going on in there. I don't think those
21 things should have happened. I don't think that is in our spirit and
22 culture as a nation. I don't know how to explain it. I don't think it
23 should have happened at all.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did anybody in the Crisis Staff try to take
25 action to prevent that something like this would happen again in the
1 future? Were there any investigations? Were there any reports to the
2 responsible authorities, be it in the military area or be it in the police
3 or public prosecutor or area of the investigating judge?
4 A. I don't know whether this was discussed by the Crisis Staff. I
5 didn't hear or witness any such discussion. But I suppose it couldn't
6 have gone unnoticed. If the Crisis Staff made decisions regarding water,
7 food, mobilisation, traffic control, requisition of vehicles, et cetera, I
8 don't think they would have omitted to require reports about all these
9 events, and they probably required an investigation by the courts, because
10 from what I know, the incident in Keraterm involved civilians. And
11 civilians are in charge of -- civilians are the responsibility of civilian
12 authorities, and I suppose something of that kind must have been requested
13 or even demanded.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did anybody of you ever go to Keraterm or
15 Omarska and to find out what are the real facts behind that what happened?
16 A. I have said already I had never been to Omarska or Keraterm. I
17 know that Mr. Simo Drljaca and others used to go there, and I know that
18 every day, one doctor and one male nurse would go there to visit, and it
19 is from them that I heard that people from the police went there,
20 including Mr. Simo Drljaca. Whether he had taken some measures to prevent
21 unwarranted action by the police, I don't know. I never read any reports
22 to that effect and never heard anything about it.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You just stated that "Mr. Simo Drljaca and
24 others used to go there." Who were these others?
25 A. Well, I suppose his associates or his subordinates in the chain of
1 command of the public security centre, that is, the Secretariat of the
2 Interior in Prijedor. Later, I saw some footage on television depicting
3 those men, which means that television crews and journalists also visited
4 the camps. I don't know exactly what this footage shows. I don't
5 remember any more, but I know that television crews must have been there.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In 1992, and I really ask you this question
7 related to 1992 and from your perspective, if possible, of 1992, starting
8 with the 7th of January, 1992, who was the most important politician in
9 the municipality of Prijedor?
10 A. It's difficult to say. The government that was established in the
11 night of the 29th and 30th of April consisted of the top leaders of the
12 party and municipality. From January that year until the 30th of April,
13 we had the government that was elected at the elections. It was only
14 formal and had no practical power. From the 29th of April onwards,
15 however, the supreme body in the municipality was the assembly, and later
16 the Crisis Staff, and later the War Presidency. When things calmed down a
17 little, I don't remember when this was exactly, the Municipal Assembly
18 started to operate again as an official body, and Mr. Stakic was the
19 speaker of the assembly, the chairman who carried out the decisions of
20 that body.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What was the real function of Dr. Stakic, a more
22 representing function or the real leader at that time, in 1992, especially
23 after the 30th of April, 1992?
24 A. Until the 30th of April, 1992, Dr. Stakic discharged the functions
25 of the vice-president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor. From that
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13 English transcripts.
1 time on, depending on the period in question, he was president of the
2 Serbian Municipal Assembly of Prijedor. And as we noted before, depending
3 on the decisions of the Presidency of Republika Srpska, he was president
4 of the Crisis Staff or the president of the War Presidency, and later
5 president of the Municipal Assembly. After that, new elections were held,
6 and he was replaced by another man as president of the municipality. And
7 Mr. Stakic was later again elected president of the Municipal Assembly of
8 Prijedor for another four-year term.
9 This, as I said, is the supreme legislative body in the
10 municipality which passes laws, enactments, conclusions by voting in
11 accordance with democratic principles. And he is the president. The
12 president is required to obey the decisions of the assembly, and if the
13 decisions of the assembly are promulgated in Official Gazettes, for
14 instance, he signs them.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you regard Dr. Stakic as a strong politician
16 or, as it is sometimes in politics, compromise candidate? What was your
17 impression when you saw first Dr. Stakic the 7th of January, and then
18 later in his acting capacity, especially at this meeting you mentioned the
19 29th of April when you were called together, and you found out together
20 the time is ripe now for the takeover? Was Dr. Stakic a figure of
21 leadership or puppet on the string of somebody else?
22 A. I didn't know Dr. Stakic very well. He's much younger than me, so
23 I did not have any contacts with him prior to that. He was a physician.
24 As a person, I believe that he does have integrity, that he is firm, he's
25 educated, he's smart. As far as politics are concerned, I believe that he
1 was both at the same time, that he was firm in his decisions and in the
2 implementation of the decisions of the Municipal Assembly, and I also
3 assume that as a humanitarian, that is, as a person who belonged to the
4 medical profession, he encounter situations in which he had to listen to
5 people's problems and show leniency at times in order to help towards
6 solving certain problems. I don't know whether he was a puppet. I
7 wouldn't say that, but I would say that he was under the influence of the
8 late Kovacevic and Simo Drljaca.
9 However, even if there had been influences or pressures, I never
10 heard of them or I never witnessed them in any of the official meetings
11 that I rarely attended. I repeat that. So these influences and these
12 pressures were never visible or officially exerted.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I confront you with a quote from an
14 interview given by Dr. Milomir Stakic later on when looking back to these
15 events, he stated, page 2 of the transcript of Document S187-1C: "These
16 places, such as Omarska, Keraterm, and Trnopolje, were a necessity in a
17 given moment and were formed according to a decision of the civilian
18 authorities in Prijedor."
19 Please comment this sentence.
20 A. Personally, I did not attend a single meeting at which such a
21 decision would have been passed. Maybe Dr. Stakic had in mind major
22 problems that had occurred, and the situation of war that prevailed in
23 town and the things that happened on the 22nd and the 29th, and the army
24 went into a mopping-up operation around Hambarine and Kozarac. And this
25 was a necessary evil. A number of Muslims did create problems and
1 committed crimes, shot at people. On the 16th and during the mopping-up
2 operations in Kozarac and Hambarine and later on. So I assume there was a
3 need for these people to be brought in and interviewed. Maybe there were
4 justified reasons for the existence of Omarska and Keraterm.
5 As far as Trnopolje is concerned, I've already told you when the
6 combat activities started, people of their own will sought shelter from
7 the fighting and went there. Two men were there who were carrying out
8 orders in Prijedor, the late Kovacevic and late Drljaca called me on the
9 phone. And we were on a conference call, so I could hear both of them
10 talking at the same time, and they pressurised me into assuming that role.
11 I was already 50 at the time. I enjoyed certain reputation. People liked
12 me. I am a native of Prijedor. Actually, I've lived in Prijedor since
13 the age of 3. I was born in Serbia, but I was born to a family of
14 refugees from Prijedor who went to Serbia during the Second World War. So
15 they asked me, they ordered me to go there to receive these people. I
16 went up there, and I saw for myself that this was a huge misfortune that
17 up to then, I could only see on television and in films, similar to things
18 that are now happening in Iraq where people are fleeing in huge numbers in
19 order to save their hide.
20 People were coming there in huge numbers on foot, and I tried to
21 help them, to find accommodation. So it didn't take me long to decide,
22 because that's the kind of person I am. I decided to take that role to
23 help these people, to receive them. And in conclusion, let me say that
24 maybe Dr. Stakic -- maybe this is what Dr. Stakic thought, but I
25 personally never attended a meeting at which it was decided to set up any
1 of the three forms or three places where people would gather. But let me
2 tell you, Trnopolje is something completely different because it was never
3 a prison or a camp. It was never an investigation centre or interrogation
4 centre or anything like that.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let me quote once again and little bit longer:
6 "These places such as Omarska, Keraterm, and Trnopolje were a necessity
7 in a given moment and were formed according to a decision of the civilian
8 authorities in Prijedor.
9 Reporter: So those three camps or how are they?
10 Stakic: Reception centres.
11 Reporter: Reception centres were formed according to your
12 civilian authorities.
13 Stakic: Yes. Yes. As I have said, this was a necessity in the
14 given moment when there was no longer any possibility to resolve the
15 question of relations and the division of power through agreement by
16 peaceful means and to an extremist from the ranks of the SDA, Party of
17 Democratic Action and the HDZ, the Croatian Democratic Union Party, but
18 mostly the SDA which won here and which at one point lost control and
19 started using force, murdering members the army and the police. We had to
20 set up such centres."
21 A. I accept this as an explanation, however, I don't know. I never
22 heard of any formal civilian body taking a decision to set up these
23 centres. At least, not Keraterm and Omarska. And as far as Trnopolje is
24 concerned, I have already told you how this decision was taken and how
25 this was established.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You told us how it was established. I would ask
2 you, who ran Trnopolje centre, what would be your answer?
3 A. It's very difficult to say because this was not either a classical
4 camp or any firm organisation. It was an open centre, and it would be the
5 most logical thing to say that it was run by the Red Cross from Prijedor
6 with huge assistance by the Red Cross from Banja Luka and UNHCR. I was
7 the one who organised and provided for the security of these people
8 through the military command. And as for the supplies and food, this was
9 done via the Red Cross, via the Municipal Assembly, and with the
10 assistance of the institutions that I mentioned earlier on. That is, the
11 Red Cross and the UNHCR. So there was no classical command, nor was there
12 any need for such a command. When people came there, I could not prevent
13 anybody from entering, nor could I prevent anybody from leaving. There
14 were cases when people came and wanted to take people away. I wanted this
15 to be recorded, because I wanted to prevent situations where an accident
16 would happen to these people, and later on nobody would know what had
17 happened to these people, who had taken them away. That's why I wanted
18 all these instances recorded.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Finally, how would you describe your
20 relationship with Dr. Stakic in 1992?
21 A. Dr. Stakic was the president of the Municipal Assembly i.e., the
22 bodies that I've already mentioned. In our private life, we didn't
23 socialise because he is much younger than me. He has his own friends,
24 people he socialised with. I personally did not socialise with him.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did he exercise his duties in a professional
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13 English transcripts.
2 A. Well, I assume that he did. He exercised duties for which he was
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What about the reasons that led to the fact that
5 the first representatives in Prijedor at the same time left their posts in
6 the beginning of 1993?
7 A. I don't know. I don't know what this is all about and what
8 representatives you're talking about. I don't remember. I can't place
9 that in time. I don't know who left their posts. But I believe that
10 there were elections, weren't there? And that a new assembly was
11 established. Now whether that was in 1993 or 1994, I don't know exactly.
12 I only know that there were new multiparty elections, that is, the
13 elections for the representatives to the Municipal Assembly, and the new
14 president of the Municipal Assembly was elected. I don't know whether
15 this was in 1993 or 1994. I don't remember. I can't recall that.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Quite concrete: Why had Dr. Stakic to leave his
17 office or his post as president of the Municipal Assembly without any
18 elections beforehand in January 1993?
19 A. I really don't know. You've taken me by surprise. Maybe he
20 resigned or something like that. I really honest to God do not remember.
21 I believe that Dr. Stakic had a vice-president. He was Dragan Savanovic,
22 and I believe that he was succeeded by a dark-haired, tall guy. I can't
23 remember his name. Oh, it was Dusan Kurnoga. I believe that was his
24 name, Dusan Kurnoga. But whether he replaced Dr. Stakic or whether he was
25 elected and appointed when the new assembly was elected, I don't know. I
1 don't think he would just replace him just like that. And my logic tells
2 me that if Dr. Stakic had resigned for some other reasons, then he should
3 have been replaced by his vice-president. And that was Mr. Dragan
4 Savanovic. Whether this happened or not, honest to God, I can't remember
5 at this moment.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: One final question: Already yesterday we
7 discussed the replacement of Professor Cehajic during the takeover. And
8 apparently he was on a list prohibiting him to enter his office as a
9 freely elected president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor. Did you
10 follow what happened to Professor Cehajic? What about the fate of
11 Professor Cehajic?
12 A. What you have just stated is correct. It was a fact that he was
13 not allowed entrance. What happened to him later on, I don't -- I didn't
14 know at that time. After a few days, I believe he was taken first to
15 Keraterm and then to Omarska, but I don't know after how many days that
16 was. I don't know whether something happened to him that would be
17 relative to the risk of his life. There were rumours all over town that
18 somebody got killed, somebody didn't. And later on, those people who were
19 rumoured to have been killed would return -- would appear in Prijedor.
20 Many people of Muslim and Croat ethnicities returned to Prijedor in 1994,
21 1995, 1996. These same people had been rumoured to have been killed, so I
22 really don't know what happened with Professor Cehajic. I don't know.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Have you ever seen Professor Cehajic after the
24 30th of April 1992 again?
25 A. I don't know for a fact. I believe that I saw him once somewhere
1 in town, but I'm not sure. I can't remember. I believe that I saw him,
2 but I can't remember where and why. At the time when he was incarcerated
3 or taken for interrogation, and after that time, I never saw him again. I
4 didn't even see him on the 30th of April when he turned up for work. I
5 only heard that the policemen stopped him and others who to be replaced by
6 new members of the Executive Board, and they had to return to their homes.
7 And when that happened, when Professor Cehajic was either arrested or
8 taken for interrogation, I don't know. I only know that the person who
9 talked to him was Simo Miskovic, or maybe representative Srdic. I believe
10 that one of them talked to him on that day, either on the 30th of April or
11 the 1st of May. They talked to him on the telephone from the private
12 house that had been rented by this Slovenian company. And I believe that
13 they said that Professor Cehajic was in Ljubija staying with his sister or
14 somebody. And I believe that Mr. Senator -- a senator talked to him. I
15 don't know what they talked about. I assume that Mr. Cehajic had said
16 that what had been done was not okay, and then the gentleman who spoke to
17 him explained, then gave the justification for that. And he explained
18 that by the thing that had been taking place before the takeover. But in
19 any case I really -- I cannot remember exactly what this was all about.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would you know about any crime Professor Cehajic
21 allegedly had committed justifying his incarceration?
22 A. I cannot answer your question because I'm not a lawyer by
23 profession, and I've never been engaged in a job similar to yours, Your
24 Honour. I can only say that he was a member of the SDA, that together
25 with Mr. Mirza Mujadzic, he organised the armament of the Muslim people,
1 especially in the area around Hambarine. He helped in the arming of
2 paramilitary formations together with him, based on what I could read in
3 the newspapers and hear on the radio, and based on the statements of other
4 people from other parties, he was the one who obstructed the establishment
5 of the legal authorities in the executive branches of power. So maybe
6 somebody decided that this was a good enough reason to incarcerate him.
7 But personally, I would not find that a justifiable reason. The only
8 thing that I would find a justifiable reason would be the armament of
9 illegal paramilitary formations. That was a different matter.
10 Mr. Cehajic was the president of the Municipal Assembly, and most
11 of the power was in the hands of the SDA. So there was no need to -- for
12 them to arm themselves. Maybe the leaders of the party spoke differently
13 and ordered people differently. I know that Muslim people sold their
14 property in order to obtain arms, but that's a different story. This is
15 something you didn't ask me, did you?
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you please, once again, try to concentrate
17 on the question and answer to the best of your recollection. How many
18 days was it from the 30th of April, 1992, until the day of his
19 incarceration? One day, two days?
20 A. I'm sorry. I really can't assist you with that. But I don't
21 believe that he -- that it happened so quickly. I don't remember.
22 Immediately after the 30th of April, these things didn't happen. All
23 these problems and incarceration of people took place after the 22nd or
24 the 26th of May. I don't know whether I'm right in saying that. I really
25 can't remember, and it wouldn't be fair of me to say things that I don't
1 know for a fact.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Absolutely correct. You should only tell us
3 what you know for sure. But Mr. Kuruzovic, isn't it true that you know
4 that Professor Cehajic, in fact, died in Omarska camp?
5 A. I don't know that for a fact. I heard it like I heard of some
6 other citizens of Prijedor, unfortunately. I heard it in conversations
7 with people, because nothing has ever been said officially by any of the
8 bodies. We've never read about it in any of the newspapers. We never
9 heard it on any of the media.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. This, in principle, concludes my
11 line of questions. And out of order, because I don't know what it's
12 about, may I ask the usher to present a document that has not yet an
13 exhibit number. Please put it on the ELMO.
14 Would you please be so kind and tell us what kind of document this
16 A. This is not a document. This is what we call an accompanying
17 letter which accompanies a different document which is either an order or
18 a decision. This is a piece of paper which confirms the delivery of the
19 decision of me being relieved of my duties of the commander of the
20 territorial staff of Prijedor. I don't see a signature here. Probably I
21 did sign this document, because it confirmed the fact that I received the
22 decision on my relief of duties. This was a decision that must have been
23 taken earlier on, but administratively, it was delivered on the 30th. I
24 believe it was taken on the 29th or thereabouts. I don't know.
25 Here, I can actually see the date, 29th is the date. And it was
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13 English transcripts.
1 delivered to me on the 31st.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Judge Vassylenko, please.
3 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Kuruzovic, isn't it true that principal
4 political decisions on the most important issues were initially taken by
5 had the SDS leadership, and later on these decisions were implemented by
6 the civilian, police, military bodies?
7 A. I could agree with you. At that time, when the power was taken
8 over and Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina was officially
9 established, this was a so-called monoparty system. There was the Serbian
10 Democratic Party, and all the people who were appointed to various
11 positions were members of the Serbian Democratic Party. Like everywhere
12 else in the world, they were supposed to implement the policies of the
13 Serbian Democratic Party, and I hope I have answered your question, sir.
14 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: So is it true that a person couldn't be
15 appointed to an important post without prior recommendation of SDS?
16 A. Well, now, the highest positions in the republic and in the larger
17 towns and towns like ours, I really don't believe that anybody could have
18 been appointed if they were not members of the Serbian Democratic Party.
19 Maybe members of the Executive Board or managers or CEOs or directors of
20 institutions could have been appointed without even being Serbs, let alone
21 members of the SDS. At the beginning, it was a widespread thing. But
22 later on, as things moved on, it was only Serbs that were appointed, and
23 that is, members of the SDS. In the meantime, things have again changed.
24 A lot of people have returned. The president of our municipality again is
25 a Muslim, and there are a lot of other posts in the municipality and other
1 institutions taken by both Muslims and Croats who are not members of any
2 party. For example, the president of the Municipal Assembly is a member
3 of the party for Bosnia-Herzegovina, but others are not. But still,
4 things do follow party lines. In the past, there was just one party. Now,
5 there are several parties. But people are appointed from parties, from
6 various parties.
7 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Kuruzovic, who did belong to the SDS
8 leadership in Prijedor Municipality in 1991, 1992? Please do name the
9 most influential political figures in the Prijedor Municipality.
10 A. Well, those were president of the municipal board of the SDS,
11 Mr. Simo Miskovic; vice-president of the party, Dragan Savanovic; and
12 other members of this municipal board who had more or less influence.
13 Since we are talking here about something that has to do with Mr. Stakic,
14 he as a humane person and as a doctor had a certain renown. And even
15 before he was elected president of the municipality, I don't think he had
16 much influence along party lines.
17 Our municipality consists of a large number of local communes.
18 Dr. Stakic did work in Prijedor, but originally he comes from a local
19 commune that used to be a municipality in its own right before the war.
20 And it was necessary for that part of the municipality to be represented
21 in the government because other offices were filled by people from other
22 parts of the municipality. So he was elected as a representative of the
23 Omarska local commune, which used to be a municipality.
24 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: [Previous interpretation continues] ... to my
25 question, but you didn't explain why Dr. Stakic, being -- having no much
1 influence as you said, was elected president of Serbian Assembly in
2 January of 1992.
3 A. Well, I hoped I had explained because he was from an area of the
4 municipality with a large population, and where I come from, we take great
5 care to ensure equal representation. And this large population had to be
6 represented in the municipal, legislative body. He was elected because he
7 was a well-respected man, a doctor, well-known, and this population
8 elected him and made him their deputy. There was a voting ballot listing
9 the names of nominees for various functions, such as president,
10 vice-president of the municipality, and other posts. And he was voted --
11 he got the most votes. That's how he was elected president.
12 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Kuruzovic, whom Dr. Stakic was subordinated
13 to before the takeover and after the takeover? As I understand, before
14 the takeover, Dr. Stakic has dual status. On the one hand, he was the
15 vice-president of the Municipal Assembly; and on the other hand, he was
16 president of Serbian Assembly.
17 A. Correct.
18 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: But as a president of Serbian Assembly, whom he
19 was subordinated to?
20 A. Well, in terms of subordination, you could say he was subordinated
21 to the Assembly of Krajina. But this was just form. I don't know how to
22 explain it to you better. It wasn't the practice in real life. You know
23 that he could have been regarded as vice-president of some sort of shadow
24 government, but it wasn't a real shadow government. The assembly's
25 legislative body and the government is an executive body. It was pure
1 form. Serbian people said that they were establishing their own Serbian
2 Republic. They wanted their own Serbian government, their own president,
3 their own assembly, their own Executive Boards and so on and so forth. So
4 that on the 29th and the 30th of May, none of that actually functioned.
5 It was just an expression, a formal expression of the will of the Serbian
7 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Can you name the persons, the politicians, whom
8 Dr. Stakic contacted and who were among the leadership of Serbian Krajina?
9 A. The Serbian Krajina? I don't know that. If you're talking about
10 Serbian Krajina, you mean Knin? I don't know which time you are referring
11 to. I don't know whether he had --
12 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Referring to before the takeover, the period
13 before the takeover when Dr. Stakic was president of Serbian Municipal
15 A. Vice-president.
16 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: [Previous interpretation continues] ... he was
17 president of Serbian Municipal Assembly since 7th of January, 1992.
18 A. Right. I don't know in which way and what was the formal and real
19 reason that he contacted somebody from the Serbian Krajina, if he did. I
20 told you it was just a formal expression of the will of the Serbian
21 people. Throughout that time, I was the headmaster of a school. I didn't
22 have any particular contact with Mr. Stakic from my job. If something
23 needed to be resolved at the school, I would contact somebody in the
24 Executive Board who was in charge of education matters. I didn't contact
25 Stakic, so I don't know who he contacted in the Serbian Krajina. Maybe he
1 did have a contact person there, but I neither heard about it nor
2 witnessed it.
3 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: After the takeover, the Crisis Staff of
4 Prijedor Municipality became the only official body in Prijedor
5 Municipality. Who -- whom was Dr. Stakic subordinated to?
6 A. I don't remember exactly. There was the Crisis Staff of the
7 Autonomous Region of Krajina. That is distinct from the Serbian Krajina.
8 As far as I can remember, I think the president of the Crisis Staff of
9 that Autonomous Region of Krajina was Mr. Brdjanin. He was either
10 president of the assembly or president of the Crisis Staff, or maybe Vojo
11 Kupresanin was president of the assembly. In any case, it was one of the
13 And according to the principles of subordination, I believe that
14 person was above Dr. Stakic.
15 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And what about Biljana Plavsic?
16 A. Well, Mrs. Biljana Plavsic was president of the republic, and
17 regardless of the fact that this ministate of ours was really small, she
18 was far away, far removed from Dr. Stakic. As far as I remember,
19 Mrs. Plavsic visited Prijedor only once, and I remember on that occasion
20 she did speak to Dr. Stakic because he, as the holder of his office, had
21 the duty of receiving her and talking to her. I don't know whether they
22 had known each other before that. I don't think so. Mrs. Plavsic was a
23 personality that far surpassed our municipal level.
24 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Kuruzovic, in 1992, you were principal of
25 the school. Yes?
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13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: What was the normal duration of the academic
3 year at that time?
4 A. That is prescribed by law. The school year begins on the first
5 Monday in September and lasts for 37 weeks. One term is 18 weeks, and the
6 other term is 19 weeks. So it ends on the -- between the 1st and the 10th
7 of June the following year.
8 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Do you recall that the Crisis Staff decided to
9 shorten academic year in May 1992?
10 A. I had forgotten about that, but I think that's true. That
11 happened, I think, when the military action, or rather the incident in
12 Hambarine happened, when this attack was mounted on Prijedor. I think
13 classes were interrupted and did not continue that year. Normally, they
14 should have lasted until June. I think the decision was made then to
15 discontinue the school year. I'm not quite certain, but I think you're
17 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: It was on 20th of May. The Crisis Staff took
18 this decision on the 20th of May. And why? Hostilities started on 22nd
19 of May.
20 A. I don't remember the date, but I believe it's the date you quoted.
21 I don't see what the reason could have been. I don't think it was linked
22 with anything else. I don't know exactly what you're driving at. A lot
23 of the teachers were on the front line, but they were substituted by their
24 female colleagues. I really don't remember the reason why this decision
25 was made. But if the Municipal Assembly or the Crisis Staff made that
1 decision, the schools were required to comply without any comment. That's
2 all I can remember. I'm sorry.
3 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Did you know that at that time, the work
4 obligations were introduced in Prijedor Municipality?
5 A. I can't say one way or another, but I suppose that yes, if that
6 was introduced, it must have been governed by the decisions of the
7 Secretariat for National Defence. Because they were in charge of men, and
8 since there had been the takeover of power, movement was restricted for
9 several days. There was a curfew from 10.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m., and that
10 helped preserve peace and quiet in town. Nothing much happened. Yes, I
11 think you're right. I think the work obligation was indeed introduced
13 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Do you remember when the work obligations were
15 A. I'm sorry. I don't remember. I can't give you a date.
16 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: June?
17 A. I don't know. If the Crisis Staff made that decision, then it
18 could only have been in May or in June. But if it was made earlier, then
19 it was made by a different body. But I don't think it was earlier. I
20 think we worked normal hours before. There was no state of emergency,
21 because a Crisis Staff is formed, for instance, in case of a climactic
22 natural disaster. For instance, a Crisis Staff was recently established
23 in Prijedor because there was a danger of flood. It may sound nasty to
24 you as a term "Crisis Staff," but that was a body that was supposed to
25 deal with emergencies, and that's the term we used. So I am sorry, but I
1 can't really tell you when the decision was adopted.
2 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Thank you, Mr. Kuruzovic. I have no more
4 A. You are welcome, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: One follow-up question that we have it in the
6 time coordinates, you just mentioned the visit of Ms. Biljana Plavsic to
7 Prijedor. When was this, to the best of your recollection? Was it in
8 summer or fall 1992?
9 A. I think it was in autumn, but I can't remember exactly. I don't
10 even know whether it was in 1992, but I suppose it was, sometime in
11 autumn. Maybe even winter. I'm not sure really.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was it together with the visit of Mr. Karadzic
13 and Mr. Krajisnik?
14 A. No, no. I remember that Mrs. Plavsic, as vice-president of
15 Republika Srpska, came alone.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you recall visits paid to Prijedor by
17 Mr. Karadzic and/or Mr. Krajisnik in 1992?
18 A. I don't know whether they visited in 1992. At least, I don't know
19 about Mr. Karadzic. But I know that he did come once, either in 1992 or
20 1993. He attended the ceremony of baptism of the church in Marini. I
21 think that was the immediate reason why he visited Prijedor. I suppose
22 that he also spoke with municipal leaders, the representatives of
23 legislative and executive bodies and party leaders, but I didn't attend a
24 single meeting together with Mr. Karadzic.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Wasn't there such a meeting in September/October
2 A. Possibly. But I'm not certain. It seems to me it was in autumn,
3 and I think the foundations of that church were then christened. As far
4 as I know, that church was never completed to this day. There is no place
5 for people to worship.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Wasn't there a political meeting in a hotel
7 Prijedor in September/October 1992 that was attended by in any event
8 Mr. Karadzic?
9 A. That's possible, but I don't know. I didn't attend any such
10 meeting. If Mr. Karadzic was there, I don't think such an occasion would
11 have been missed. He, as head of Republika Srpska, must have addressed
12 the people who gathered.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
14 Judge Argibay, please.
15 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Thank you. Good morning, sir.
16 A. Good morning.
17 JUDGE ARGIBAY: I have a little confusion with the dates. Just
18 correct me if I got something wrong, but you were elected the 7th January,
19 1992, as the head of the Serbian Territorial Defence unit, and you said
20 that was at the time a sort of wish of the Serbian people, the Serbian
21 citizens of Prijedor, but that body didn't work at that moment. And so
22 you stayed as a principal to a school until the takeover in Prijedor. Is
23 that correct?
24 A. Yes, correct. And after the takeover, when I was -- before I was
25 a headmaster.
1 JUDGE ARGIBAY: I'm coming to that. After the takeover, then this
2 office, as the head of the Serbian Territorial Defence unit, was put into
3 practice, that was real enough. You have these offices in Cirkin Polje or
4 Urije and some staff under you until at least officially the 29th of May,
5 that the decision was made to disband this territorial office and, you
6 said, resubordinate you to the brigade. Is that correct?
7 A. Correct, I was subordinated to the brigade as early as the 16th or
8 17th of May, and that was confirmed in writing by a decision that was
9 delivered to me on the 31st and was dated the 29th. You are right.
10 JUDGE ARGIBAY: So your office as the head of this Serbian
11 Territorial Defence was practically functioning, let's say, from the 30th
12 of April until the 16th of May, that is, 16 days. Isn't that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay. And that was the time when you were, for
15 instance, issuing the vouchers for the petrol delivering, or were you
16 doing another kind of task? And if so, which one?
17 A. Yes, I did issue those petrol coupons, but I don't know how long
18 that lasted, when that ended. A few days early -- one day, they came from
19 the municipal Secretariat for the Economy and took over this job for me.
20 Before that, I had a number of discussions of some renowned people,
21 representatives of the Muslim and Croatian communities trying to reach an
22 agreement with them to jointly preserve peace, law, and order in our town.
23 JUDGE ARGIBAY: So after the 16th, 17th of May, you were
24 resubordinated to the brigade, and you just leave the offices in -- I
25 don't remember, it was Cirkin Polje or Urije, and I'm sorry for the
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13 English transcripts.
2 A. Your pronunciation is very good. And in any case, I'm listening
3 to the interpreter. You are right, Your Honour. From that moment on, I
4 was no longer officially the commander of that staff. And then when the
5 written decision came, the Territorial Defence or its staff also ceased to
6 exist. Everything became subordinated to the brigade command. I don't
7 know whether it happened on the 16th or the 18th or the 19th. The staff
8 was restructured into some sort of logistics base, and they continue to
9 discharge those parts of their functions which had to do with supplying
10 army troops and the police manning checkpoints. As far as I remember, it
11 was Mirko Mudrinic who was appointed commander of that logistics base.
12 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Okay. Then I come to the next appointment you
13 had, and I'm not very clear when was that. I seem to recall, and I don't
14 have the transcript in front of me, that you said that Mr. Kovacevic and
15 someone else were the ones who asked you to be sort of in charge of the
16 Trnopolje camp. Correct?
17 A. It is all correct, apart from the -- well, that is your opinion.
18 I, for instance, would not subscribe to calling it a camp. As for the
19 rest, you are right. This discussion I had with --
20 JUDGE ARGIBAY: With?
21 A. This particular interview was held with me by late Mr. Drljaca and
22 Dr. Kovacevic.
23 JUDGE ARGIBAY: And what was the date of that particular
24 interview, as you call it?
25 A. I don't remember exactly, but it must have between the 20th --
1 sorry, 22nd and the 26th or the 27th perhaps. Because that attack in
2 Hambarine happened on the 26th, and because of the counterattack of the
3 army, people were fleeing their homes. And as far as I remember, they
4 fled to the Mladost sports hall. I received a telephone call. Somebody
5 from the municipality asked me to accommodate these people in the school
6 building, and I declined. So these people spent a couple of days there
7 because I didn't want to let them stay at the school. So that is about
8 this school business. So the first call must have come between the 22nd
9 and the 26th, and the second came on the 26th or the 27th when there was
10 combat in Kozarac. It was a showdown between the people manning the
11 checkpoint, some Muslims with the army. The Muslims were asked to
12 surrender their weapons, and when they didn't, there ensued a clash.
13 It is always the innocent people who are caught in the crossfire.
14 And that is how it came about that people started fleeing their homes, and
15 then I received this telephone call asking me to provide premises for
16 them. I hope I answered your question.
17 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Yes. But I have a clarification to ask. How was
18 it possible that Mr. Kovacevic was at that time a member of the Crisis
19 Staff because he was the president of the Executive Board, and Mr. Drljaca
20 was the chief of the security station in Prijedor, and you were
21 subordinated to the brigade? How is it possible that those two persons
22 were able to, sort of, send you to the Trnopolje camp?
23 A. I assume that before that, they had a conversation with Mr. Arsic.
24 And I don't know. I didn't check it -- check that subsequently. It never
25 occurred to me to ask. They called me as a person, as a citizen. But I
1 was an officer at the time, but everybody over the age of 22 was a
2 soldier. So there was no strict military subordination at the time. I
3 assume that they got -- they did it in agreement with the army, but they
4 didn't tell me that. They just asked me to do it, and when I went to
5 Trnopolje, first I didn't accept that. But just as a private individual,
6 I went there to see whether people were really coming there. And when I
7 saw that, to my great regret, I accepted the position. But maybe it was
8 God's will for me to go there because I'm a very sensitive person, and
9 maybe this helped those people because nothing that happened there can be
10 considered a disgrace for my people.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry I have to interrupt you. But I learned
12 just in this moment, the tape ran out. And we have to exchange the tapes.
13 And therefore, we need a short break. Sorry that -- I know it's not a
14 convenient moment. For technical reasons, the trial stays adjourned until
15 a quarter to 1.00.
16 --- Recess taken at 12.35 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 12.51 p.m.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. Once again, sorry for having
19 interrupted you for technical reasons. If you want to add something to
20 that what you stated previously, please feel free to do so.
21 A. No, I have nothing to add. I hope that the Honourable Judge was
22 satisfied with my answer.
23 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Yes. Thank you. But I have, I hope, only one
24 following up. That's you said that you suppose that Mr. Kovacevic,
25 Dr. Kovacevic and Mr. Drljaca had spoken with -- I don't know if he was a
1 colonel by that time or what, Mr. Arsic, beforehand, because you were
2 subordinate to him. Does this mean that there was a constant coordination
3 of conversations between the members of the Crisis Staff or the chief of
4 the security station in Prijedor with the commander of the brigade?
5 A. I don't think that there was a constant coordination. This was an
6 exceptional situation. Somebody had to be sent over there to receive all
7 these people. I shared with you my assumption and why I believe that they
8 insisted on me going there. As far as the army is concerned, at that
9 particular moment, I did not have any military duties in the barracks or
10 in the brigade. I don't know how all this happened, whether that was the
11 commander's recommendation or whether it initially came as a request. But
12 I believe it was a mutual agreement that a person like me - I feel
13 embarrassed talking on my own behalf - but a person like me whom everybody
14 knew and the two or three of them expected that I would look after these
15 people well. And I suppose that they believed that I would not be a
16 disgrace for my own people.
17 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Thank you. I don't have any further questions, no
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So finally, if need may be, to whom would you
20 report in 1992 in this capacity in Trnopolje?
21 A. I was in almost daily contact with the army command. This was
22 customary in the units, to come for briefing every morning. And every
23 morning, I would inform the commander about the unit which provided
24 security on the previous day, and I would ask for a different unit to
25 provide the security on that particular day. As far as the accommodation
1 of these people was concerned and provisions for them, the provisions of
2 food and water, the army had nothing whatsoever to do with that. If there
3 was any need for any such of intervention there, I would contact
4 Mr. Travar, who was the secretary for the economy with the Executive
5 Board. And if I needed food or any such thing, I would turn to him. But
6 there were not many such requests because we had permanent assistance from
7 the Red Cross and the UNHCR who brought a lot of flour and milk for the
8 children, and other types of food. Sometimes even fruit. Very often, we
9 would get packed lunches from the local Red Cross. So there was no
10 starvation, there were no outbreaks of illnesses. I've already said that.
11 So the army had nothing whatsoever to do with anything else but
12 provide for the security for this centre, for the people who would guard
13 the centre from the possible attacks of Serbs. There were attacks, people
14 who arrived from Prijedor would be attacked. Their bicycles and money
15 would be taken away from them. And after that, a majority of people would
16 arrive by train. That was safer. Every day, there were families coming
17 from Prijedor and would stay there for a couple of hours. They would
18 bring these people food. But I believe that I have already said all that.
19 I don't want to waste your precious time in repeating myself.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You stated "I would inform the commander."
21 Could you please also add a name.
22 A. The commander of that unit was Arsic. I don't know whether he was
23 colonel or lieutenant-colonel at that time. I believe that he was
24 colonel. I would inform him about the unit who had performed the security
25 duty on the previous day, and I would ask him for a new unit that would
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 perform security duty on the following day. So there was always one duty,
2 one unit on duty, and they would be there for 24 hours to safeguard these
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So would the final conclusion be correct that
5 you felt yourself in two hierarchies?
6 A. I don't know how other peoples felt, but I did, because I was
7 charged with the care for these people. I had to be in constant contact
8 with both the military authorities and the civilian authorities because
9 there were problems. There were attacks. People got their property
10 stolen from them, and that's why I had to turn to the military police.
11 And I had to ask them to arrest some people, not only the people who came
12 as far as Trnopolje and the people there, but also people in Kozarac and
13 around Kozarac who looted property there. There are a lot of people up
14 there. This is closer to Trnopolje, not across the Prijedor/Banja Luka
15 Road towards Kozarac. People lived in their houses, and they heard and
16 they knew I was looking after these people and that I made a lot of
17 interventions to prevent such things from happening. So these people came
18 straight to me to complain, and then I would turn to either the military
19 or the civilian and ask them to regulate things over there. On one
20 occasion, a delegation came into my centre. It was headed by the deputy
21 Minister of Health, Mr. Cedo Aleksic. He brought a delegation and among
22 those people was a congressman from the United States of America who after
23 having visited the centre and the school, he asked to be introduced to the
24 person called Kuruzovic.
25 He was introduced to me, and he thanked me. He told me that he
1 had heard from the people that I looked after them and after their
2 security as much as I could, that I looked after their food and the -- and
3 now, as to the conditions, whether these conditions were good or not is
4 hard to say. One is obviously most comfortable at his own home, needless
5 to say.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask finally, you were paid by whom at that
7 point in time?
8 A. I was paid by the army at the time.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
10 A. I apologise. There was a difference between the salary of a
11 military officer and the salary of a school principal, which was my
12 original job. I've already said that I would leave that place in -- late
13 in the afternoon because there was security there. But every morning
14 around 8.00, I would be at school, and I would be paid for that as well.
15 But at that time, the salary of an officer was higher than the salary of a
16 principal, so I would receive not the whole salary but the difference
17 between the salary of a principal and the salary of a military officer. I
18 would receive that difference from the army.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. This concludes the line of questions
20 by the Judges. It's only for us now to decide on this accompanying
21 letter. It was given to us by the Defence. Is it tendered by the
23 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour, I think that it explains when the
24 actual decision was delivered to Mr. Kuruzovic.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Objections?
1 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, there's no objection. So the record
2 is clear, I believe Your Honour was referring to the document shown to the
3 witness, the last document shown to the witness, which had the ERN number
4 stamp of 01119285. Also, Your Honour, we have a translation available.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: There is no ERN number on this document, sorry
6 to say this.
7 MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay. I see. Apparently we've added it since
8 then. But we do have a translation of the document, if Your Honour would
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. As to the fact that there is no objection,
11 and if it's in fact the same document, this would be then D124A and B
12 respectively. And now, as mentioned beforehand, as to the fact that
13 Mr. Kuruzovic appeared on the list of the Defence witness, it would be for
14 the Defence to continue with the line of questions.
15 Mr. Lukic, please.
16 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Questioned by Mr. Lukic:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Kuruzovic.
19 A. Good afternoon.
20 Q. We already know each other, but just for the record, my name is
21 Branko Lukic, and together with John Ostojic who is not here today, and
22 Mr. Cirkovic, I represent Dr. Stakic's Defence team before this Tribunal.
23 Also, to avoid any confusion, yesterday, it was mentioned that you were on
24 the list of Defence witnesses. However, after this conversation with me,
25 when you declined the possibility of being a Defence witness, as from that
1 moment on, you are no longer on the list as a Defence witness, and that's
2 why you were invited to give your testimony by the Chamber.
3 Mr. Kuruzovic, I would like to clarify something with regard to a
4 document that was shown to you earlier today, and I believe that we will
5 have more opportunity to discuss documents tomorrow.
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask the usher to give
7 you the document S276.
8 Q. Mr. Kuruzovic, can you tell from this decision which body passed
9 the decision itself, that is, the decision on the closure of work of
10 schools in Prijedor?
11 A. It was at the session of the 20th of May, 1992, by the Municipal
12 Assembly of Prijedor. And this was the decision for the interruption of
13 work of elementary and secondary schools in Prijedor Municipality.
14 Q. Judge Vassylenko asked you how was it that the Crisis Staff issued
15 the decision on the termination of work of schools in the territory of
16 Prijedor? Does this decision mention the Crisis Staff?
17 A. It does not.
18 Q. Thank you. We will no longer need this document for the time
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: To be correct, it mentions the president of the
21 municipal, Dr. Milomir Stakic, as the signator. Correct?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you're asking me, then the answer
23 is yes, it does say Dr. Milomir Stakic, president of the Municipal
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Kuruzovic, when you left the army, you were?
3 A. That is from the JNA?
4 Q. Yes, from the JNA, after the regular military service.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. After that, you were promoted, and what was the highest rank that
7 you were awarded?
8 A. In the JNA army, it was captain first-class.
9 Q. After the regular military service, can you tell us what functions
10 in the former JNA did you discharge as a noncommissioned officer?
11 A. I was from the commander of a platoon to the commander of a
12 battalion. In the 11th Brigade, I was a company commander, and before
13 that I was also a company commander in a battalion, and also in the 6th
14 Sana Brigade, I was a battalion commander up to the year 1986 or
15 thereabouts. I can't remember exactly.
16 Q. During your service in the army and later on when you were a
17 member of the JNA as a noncommissioned officer, was it possible, did you
18 ever witness that a lieutenant could issue an order or command somebody
19 who had the rank of a major or a captain first-class?
20 A. Yes, it is possible through the method of subordination. The army
21 could resolve its own problems in different ways. For example, it could
22 happen that a battalion or a company had a number of officers, and that
23 one of the officers would be a higher ranking officer, but the other --
24 but he was also elderly, and he could not exercise his duties properly.
25 And in that case, he could receive orders from somebody with a lower rank,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 but younger. There were such instances. I'm speaking from experience.
2 Q. You're talking about relationship between two officers. But is
3 there a possibility that for a noncommissioned officer could issue orders
4 to a captain?
5 A. No, that could not happen. Only if a captain was a member of a
6 unit and if he was a commander of a company or of a platoon, in that case,
7 the commander of a brigade or region or a corps could convey the order of
8 a higher instance. But to issue a direct order, that was absolutely
10 Q. Was there a possibility for a foot soldier to order something to
11 an officer? I know that this may sound silly to you.
12 A. Yes, it does sound silly. But I suppose you know what you're
13 doing, and therefore I won't object to your question. In life, everything
14 is possible, but for a foot soldier to issue orders to an officer, that
15 would be a very difficult thing.
16 Q. Difficult or impossible?
17 A. Impossible. In the Second World War, we know who it was that
18 issued orders to the entire German army, but since these units were
19 composed of the ones that we're talking about, the units that existed in
20 1992, if you're talking about the JNA, then no, this is not possible. But
21 if we're talking about some other units, then it would be possible because
22 these units were composed of armed Serbian people, neighbours, friends,
23 acquaintances, and maybe it was possible that somebody with a lower rank
24 or without a rank would -- could be in a commanding position. For
25 example, a commander of a platoon or a company. But that would not be a
1 large unit. Maybe that would be only because he enjoyed respect. But in
2 the proper military subordination, for a foot soldier to issue order to an
3 officer, that would be unheard of.
4 Q. In the territory of Prijedor Municipality, did you ever witness a
5 situation in which somebody who would -- who was a foot soldier,
6 regardless of his reputation, would issue an order to Arsic or Zeljaja?
7 A. No, I've never witnessed anything like that.
8 Q. Did you ever witness a situation in which somebody who was not
9 even a foot soldier, that is, a civilian, would issue a command to either
10 Arsic or Zeljaja in the territory of Prijedor Municipality?
11 A. Based on all the documents that I have had the opportunity to see
12 today, because they were presented to me by the Honourable Chamber, I saw
13 decisions. But a civilian in any position or in any post, to have a
14 possibility to issue an order to the commander of the region or the
15 commander of a brigade, and for such an order to be implemented, I just
16 don't believe that. The only orders that could be implemented by the
17 commander of a brigade could come from the superior commander, that is,
18 the corps commander. I'm talking about the orders and commands that deal
19 with military issues.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 You were asked about the mobilisation that took place in 1991.
22 Did all the men who responded to their callup receive weapons regardless
23 of their ethnicity?
24 A. The organisation of the Territorial Defence and its staff in the
25 town of Prijedor at that time, in 1991, was such that there were regional
1 staffs, regional staff in Urije, regional staff in Kozarac, which had
2 under its command the company from Omarska. Then a regional staff in
3 Prijedor I, Prijedor III, Celinci. In terms of territory, that's how it
4 was divided. And the National Defence Council made a decision that
5 members of the Territorial Defence should be mobilised by their respective
6 staffs, and several days later, another decision was issued to arm them
7 with infantry weapons.
8 As for the question of Honourable Judge, the weaponry ranged from
9 light rifles to light machine-guns.
10 Q. You probably know the ethnic composition of various places in the
12 A. I can answer that question. I have to rewind this film a little
13 bit. For instance, the ethnic composition of Puharska and Donja Puharska
14 was mostly Muslim. Of course, there were some Serbs. It was a
15 multiethnic community with a majority Muslim population. Both communities
16 were armed. In Hambarine --
17 Q. There is no need for us to go into that much detail. Just tell
18 me, did all the men who responded to the callup receive weapons regardless
19 of their ethnicity?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you know whether in the municipal staff of the Territorial
22 Defence, the staff headed by Mr. Javoric included some Muslim and Croatian
24 A. Yes, there were several Croats and several Muslims.
25 Q. After the takeover on the 30th of April, 1992, did these people
1 continue to come to work?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Along with the staff headed by Mr. Javoric, did they, too, join
4 the 43rd Motorised Brigade?
5 A. Since the staff was annexed to the brigade, I suppose they were,
6 too. I know that some of them were there, Iso Bucan, Drago Motl. Drago
7 Motl is a Croat. All this staff was attached to the command of the
9 Q. I would like to show you a document now, F4. And I would like to
10 ask you something about the time when you were actually appointed
11 commander of the Serbian Territorial Defence.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Document S4.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Since it's written in very short script, I'll read out a part of
15 the text to you. The subject is: "Kozarski Vjesnik, issue dated the 24th
16 of April, 1992." Subheading: "The political scene in Prijedor." And the
17 heading is: "The elected government of the Serbian Assembly. The
18 Municipal Assembly of Prijedor made a decision last week to merge the
19 public auditing service of the Prijedor Serbian Municipality with the SDK
20 of the Bosnian Krajina Autonomous Region in Banja Luka. At the 5th
21 session of the Assembly of Prijedor, several important decisions were
22 made. This primarily refers to the election of the government of the
23 Prijedor Serbian Municipality and the decision to merge the SDK (the
24 public auditing service of the Prijedor Serbian Municipality) with the SDK
25 of the Bosnian Krajina autonomous region in Banja Luka."
1 I made a break so that the interpretation can catch up. We
2 continue: "In addition to the previously elected president of the
3 Prijedor Serbian Municipality --"
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The document that is shown on the screen starts
5 with: "Several important decisions were made at the fifth session of the
6 Assembly ..."
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I am reading from the original text.
8 It's possible that interpreters are interpreting as opposed to reading
9 from the text on the screen.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This can't be true because as you're making
11 reference to an article of the 24th of April, and then doesn't it read
12 also in your text that this fifth session of the Assembly of the Prijedor
13 Serbian Municipality, last Thursday, the 16th of April ..? We can't see
14 it in the transcript. Therefore my question. Because I believe there's
15 some importance about the fact --
16 MR. LUKIC: Page 69, line 19 says: "At the fifth session of the
17 assembly of Prijedor ..."
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But here it continues: "Last Thursday, the 16th
19 of April" and I think this is of utmost importance, that the Assembly of
20 the Prijedor Serbian Municipality already assembled the fifth time the
21 16th of April.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We omitted the date
23 accidentally before we found the text on the screen.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If you could please restart, we just heard that
25 the interpreters didn't have the screen before them, and therefore omitted
1 this "Thursday the 16th of April." Sorry. So please continue.
2 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
3 Q. [Interpretation] I will start again, Mr. Kuruzovic.
4 "Last Thursday (the 16th of April), at the fifth session of the
5 Assembly of the Prijedor Serbian Municipality, several important decisions
6 were made. This primarily refers to the election of the government of the
7 Prijedor Serbian Municipality and the decision to merge the SDK (public
8 auditing service of the Prijedor Serbian Municipality with the SDK of the
9 Bosnian Krajina Autonomous Region in Banja Luka. In addition to the
10 previously elected president of the Prijedor Serbian Municipality and
11 chairman of the executive committee of the Prijedor Serbian Municipality,
12 Milomir Stakic and Mico Kovacevic, the following persons were elected to
13 the first government of this municipality: Bosko Mandic, to the post of
14 deputy chairman of the executive committee;" and then the names go on
15 until we reach line 10 of the second paragraph in this text where it says:
16 Slobodan Kuruzovic as commander of the TO municipal staff.
17 From this text, do you see that you were, in fact, not elected
18 commander of the municipal staff of the Territorial Defence on the 7th of
19 January, 1991, but on the 16th of April, 1992?
20 A. Anything is possible. I was not a deputy to the assembly, but I
21 was convinced that it was all done by the 7th of January. However, I see
22 from this text that it was on the 16th of April. I've already told you my
23 opinion, and this journalist here writes "government" and the executive
24 committee is not a government. And it did not make decisions that related
25 to the actual life of the entire municipality. Since I worked as
1 headmaster at the time, it's possible that I confused the dates.
2 Q. Well, the difference between the two dates is more than three
3 months, isn't it?
4 A. Yes, it is.
5 Q. How come that you don't remember exactly?
6 A. Well, I tried to explain. I was involved and busy with my own
7 job, and until the middle of April, none of these bodies really functioned
8 in the municipality of Prijedor. Not until the 29th, the 30th of April.
9 Q. There is a document about this on record with this Tribunal, and
10 the number is 262, which testifies to the fact that these elections into
11 the executive committee, or rather nominations for certain other posts,
12 such as yours, took place on the 16th of April, 1992.
13 A. It's possible that I confuse the dates. I was convinced that this
14 had been done at the other session of the assembly. But here you are. I
16 Q. Can we now consider it as established that when you were giving
17 your statement to this Court, you made a mistake, and the real date is, in
18 fact, the 16th of April, 1992?
19 A. I can accept that, and I can say that it was a genuine mistake.
20 It was simply an oversight. I sincerely believe that this decision had
21 been made on the 7th of January. What really mattered to me is it was a
22 decision of the assembly. The assembly was formally established on the
23 7th of January, and I thought they voted on these issues on the same day.
24 But there you are.
25 Q. Thank you. I don't think there was any ill intention, but we need
1 to clarify the dates.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So just that we need not come back to this
3 point, it is still your testimony that the first meeting of this Serbian
4 Assembly was held on orthodox Christmas, the 7th of January. Correct?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: As we can read on this document, S4, speaking
7 about the fifth session held the 16th of April, may I then ask, did you
8 attend the meetings number 2, 3, and 4 of this Serbian Assembly?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not that I remember. I don't
10 remember whether I was a deputy of that assembly or not. I was at one
11 point a member of the assembly, but I don't know in which period. So many
12 things happened at the time, and I don't recall assembly sessions by
14 As for this session of the assembly that I attended, it was the
15 one held on the 7th. And I must have attended this one, too, when I was
16 nominated and put up for voting. It was the one on the 16th.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this clarification.
18 Mr. Lukic, please proceed.
19 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Kuruzovic, we heard testimony here about one
21 man being elected on the 16th of April session without attending it.
22 A. You mean some other man?
23 Q. Yes, not you. Do you remember actually attending this session, or
24 do you just suppose that you attended?
25 A. I think I attended. I can't remember quite clearly. But when you
1 said this a moment ago, I think you mean Slobodan Goronjic who was later
2 appointed director of the SDK. I don't know whether it happened then or
3 at some other time. I don't remember.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 Were you and other citizens of Prijedor aware that before the
6 takeover, military barracks and military convoys had been under attack in
7 Croatia for a long time and weaponry was being seized from JNA troops?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did you know at the time from the media that there were attacks on
10 JNA columns in the Dobrovolacka Street in Sarajevo and in Tuzla?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. At that time, in Prijedor, was it commonly believed that what was
13 written in the communications from commanders of the Territorial Defence
14 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hasan Efendic, and the Minister of the
15 Interior, Delimustafic, was a serious threat, the thing that you
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. We established, and you told us yesterday, that your TO staff did
19 not exist before the 29th of April, 1992. In fact, was not in operation.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Did this staff cease to operate, in fact, on the 17th of May,
23 A. Yes, officially.
24 Q. I want to correct myself. 1992.
25 A. It was transformed into a logistics base. I don't know whether it
1 was a couple of days or less after the decision made by the Secretariat
2 for the Economy. It was turned into the logistics base which had the job
3 of meeting the needs of the army and the police and the crews manning
4 checkpoints. I think it was Mirko Mudrinic who was at the head of this
6 Q. Do you know, or did you know at the time, that the Serbian
7 Territorial Defence was abolished already on the 12th of May, 1992?
8 A. I was not officially aware of that, but I know that it was
9 abolished and the that army of Republika Srpska was established. And the
10 information that I received from the commander arrived either on the 16th
11 or the 17th. Actually, it was the order to go there and to become a
12 member of that army. Maybe it was -- the decision was taken earlier on,
13 maybe in the ministry that the Territorial Defence would be established.
14 And pursuant to that, the commander gave me my order to resubordinate
15 myself to that army.
16 Q. That is exactly what happened.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Lukic, please don't testify.
18 MR. LUKIC: I just wanted to save some time.
19 Could the witness please be shown the document S141, please, page
20 44 in B/C/S or 59 in English.
21 Q. [Interpretation] On the top of page 44, you will find the name of
22 Momcilo Krajisnik.
23 MR. LUKIC: It's page 59, the last paragraph, English version, the
24 last paragraph.
25 Q. [Interpretation] This is the minutes of the 16th session of the
1 Assembly of the Serbian People, Bosnia-Herzegovina, held on 12 May, 1992,
2 in Banja Luka. If you turn to the following page, it's going to be page
3 45 -- are you now on page 44?
4 A. Yes, I'm on 44.
5 Q. It says: "Participated in the discussion at the session held on
6 12 May, 1992, a law was passed on the amendments of the Law of National
7 Defence. Article 1 in the National Defence Act, Official Gazette number
8 4/92 of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in all provisions of
9 the act, the terms `Territorial Defence' and `armed forces' shall be
10 replaced by the following words: `The Serbian Republic of BH army.'
11 "Article 2, subsection 2 of Article 10 is hereby expunged: It is
12 an article in a subsection which regulated something concerning
13 Territorial Defence. Article 3, articles 37 to 53 also all have to do
14 with Territorial Defence and are hereby expunged. Article 4, this act
15 shall enter into effect eight days from its publication in the Official
16 Gazette of the Serbian People of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
17 Mr. Kuruzovic, can you tell from this document that the Serbian
18 Territorial Defence was abolished on the 12th of May, 1992?
19 A. Yes, I can see that. It was published in the Official Gazette
20 which has to be done within eight days, and then I received my order to
21 resubordinate myself to the regional command, and I received that on
22 either the 16th or on the 17th of May.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We'll no longer need this document.
25 [In English] But I would like the usher to show the witness Document
1 Number S113, please, if we have time.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: One more document, and then please conclude.
3 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
4 Q. [Interpretation] This document, page 66 from the Official Gazette
5 issue 2/92, this is a conclusion dated 29 May, 1992. At its meeting of 29
6 May, 1992, Prijedor municipal Crisis Staff reached the following
8 "Because of the formation of the army of the Serbian Republic of
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina, the need for the Serbian Territorial Defence has
10 ceased. The Serbian Territorial Defence shall be incorporated into the
11 structure of the region and placed under its command."
12 Mr. Kuruzovic, is this the decision of the Crisis Staff after
13 which you no longer attended the Crisis Staff sessions?
14 A. Yes, this is the decision of the Crisis Staff. I stopped coming
15 to its session after the 16th of May. And pursuant to this conclusion of
16 the Crisis Staff, I received my decision on being dissolved from my
17 duties. And as for the other decisions, the Territorial Defence stopped
18 existing, and I had to resubordinate myself to the region commander.
19 Q. One more question, because we are through for the day --
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, just a slight correction. We have before
21 us page 69, and not 66 as reflected on the transcript. Issue number 97.
22 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I have the B/C/S version in
23 front of me, and it's slightly nonreadable. So thanks.
24 Q. [Interpretation] At that moment, Mr. Kuruzovic, on the 29th of
25 May, 1992, the Territorial Defence of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina, was it already abolished at that moment as we have seen in
2 the document produced at the session of the Assembly of the Serbian
3 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
4 A. It was abolished by the decision of the Assembly of the Serbian
5 Republic, and it came into effect, as it says there, eight days upon its
6 publication in the Official Gazette of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina. And then this was a consequence of that decision. The
8 Crisis Staff issued its conclusion, and based on that, I received my
9 decision. On the 29th May, in Prijedor, there was officially neither the
10 staff of the Territorial Defence nor its commander. Pursuant to the
11 decision of the Assembly of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina, the Territorial Defence stopped existing eight days upon the
13 publication of that decision in the Official Gazette. And that was
14 applicable not only to Prijedor, but to the entire territory of the
15 Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
16 Q. Thank you very much.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] We will continue today -- tomorrow.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Tomorrow, once again in Courtroom I from 9.00 to
19 12.30, and then from 2.00 to 4.30.
20 The trial stays adjourned until tomorrow, 9.00.
21 [The witness stands down]
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.39 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Friday, the 28th day of
24 March, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.