1 Friday, 28 March 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. May I ask the usher to escort
6 the witness into the courtroom, and meanwhile we can hear the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. This is Case Number IT-97-24-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And the appearances, please.
10 MR. KOUMJIAN: Good morning, Your Honours. Nicholas Koumjian,
11 Ann Sutherland, and Ruth Karper for the Prosecution.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And for the Defence, please.
13 MR. LUKIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Branko Lukic and
14 Danilo Cirkovic for the Defence.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. May I ask, do you have a gist what
16 period of time you would need today?
17 MR. LUKIC: I'm afraid that I cannot give you the exact hours, but
18 I'll try to make it as short as possible.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. You're aware we are sitting until 12.30,
20 and then from 2.00 to 4.30 today. And the same will be true hopefully on
21 Monday, if it can be arranged by Madam Registrar.
22 [The witness entered court]
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May we please go for a moment in private
25 [Private session]
12 Page 14643 – redacted – private session
3 [Open session]
4 WITNESS: SLOBODAN KURUZOVIC [Resumed]
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 Further questioned by the Court:
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Before I give once again the floor to the
8 Defence, after having reviewed the transcript of yesterday and the day
9 before, there's one point that needs to be clarified. Without any
10 hesitation and repeatedly, you testified on the meeting held the 7th of
11 January, 1992, Orthodox Christmas in 1992. And in the beginning of the
12 case, you testified that it was already at that point in time that you
13 were elected for the position you after the takeover in fact took in the
14 municipality of Prijedor. This was a question related to the Municipality
15 of Prijedor only. And then yesterday, confronted by documents from first
16 Banja Luka that the names have to be replaced and the word "Serbian" has
17 to be added, and then on a document dating 16, 17 April, 1992, asked by
18 Mr. Lukic, you said maybe I committed an error. And it was only then that
19 I was elected.
20 So there is this remaining discrepancy. I recall very well that
21 when we discussed the establishment of the Crisis Staff in Prijedor, you
22 mentioned that all this paperwork and, no doubt, it appears only later,
23 it's only made public in the Official Gazette later. But in fact the
24 Crisis Staff was established beforehand.
25 Mr. Kuruzovic, because this is a very important question for our
1 case, may I once again to ask you to try to do the very best and to answer
2 to the best of your recollection what happened, in fact, during the
3 meeting the 7th of January, 1992?
4 A. I must have made a mistake. There must have been a discrepancy in
5 my memory. Years have gone by, and you have to understand all these
6 things happened a long time ago. On the 7th of January, 1992, there was
7 the so-called founding assembly of the Serbian Municipality of Prijedor.
8 It was the constitutional assembly, and I assume that all the people who
9 would then be the Executive Board were elected. I believe that the
10 president and the vice-president of the municipality were elected at that
11 time and that others were elected later on, as I could see in the
12 documents. So I must have been mistaken on the dates when things
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Once again, did all those persons later, as you
15 say now, elected, did they participate already at that meeting the 7th of
16 January, especially did Dr. Stakic participate in the meeting the 7th of
17 January, and did he chair the meeting the 7th of January?
18 A. I don't remember. I don't remember whether Stakic was there, and
19 I don't believe that all the others were there. As for Dr. Stakic, I
20 assume that he attended that meeting. And when the municipality was set
21 up, I don't know who was -- who opened that session of the assembly. And
22 if Stakic was then elected as the president of the municipality, I believe
23 that he took over the chairing of that meeting. And as far as I can
24 remember, that session didn't last long, maybe an hour or an hour and a
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And once again for clarification, where was this
2 meeting held?
3 A. It was held in the amateur theatre downtown.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And approximately how many persons participated
5 in this meeting?
6 A. I really can't remember exactly, but I believe there were more
7 than 200 because it was attended by the representative of the Serbian
8 people from the entire territory of Prijedor. I know that there were a
9 total of 270 seats in the theatre. Now whether all the seats were taken, I
10 can't remember exactly.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This was the constituting session, so it would
12 be the first meeting of the Serbian Assembly. We learned yesterday on the
13 basis of the document that that what happened in the middle of April 1992
14 was the fifth meeting of the Serbian Assembly. What now about the second,
15 the third, and the fourth meeting of the Serbian Assembly? Did you attend
16 these meetings as well?
17 A. I don't remember these meetings, and I don't remember having
18 attended these meetings of the assembly. I know that for one period of
19 time, I was a deputy in the Serbian Assembly of the Municipality of
20 Prijedor, but I don't remember exactly when that was. I'm sorry.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Now let's continue, Mr. Lukic,
23 Questioned by Mr. Lukic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Kuruzovic.
25 A. Good morning.
1 Q. I'll help you remember exactly the things that Judge Schomburg
2 asked you about, so I would kindly ask the usher to show you
3 Document S262.
4 MR. LUKIC: In English, the page number is 0302476.
5 Q. [Interpretation] For you, Mr. Kuruzovic, could you please open
6 page on the bottom of which there is a seal bearing numbers 8605. These
7 are the last four digits on that page. These are the minutes of the
8 constituent session of the Serbian Municipality of Prijedor. And it says
9 here: "The session was opened by Prijedor SDS chairman, Simo Miskovic,
10 who greeted all those present." He then read the opening speech. "The
11 following agenda was then proposed and adopted." Under number 3 at the
12 bottom of that page, it reads who the persons were elected, to what post
13 at this founding session. "Election of the president, vice-president, and
14 secretary of the assembly, and chairman of the Executive Board of the
15 assembly." It continues: "The election and appointment commission
16 withdrew to prepare recommendations of candidates for posts. The
17 commission is composed of Dragan Savanovic, Dusan Kurnoga, and
18 Ranko Radanovic. The SDS chairman Miskovic explained the method according
19 to which positions not held by Serbs are filled."
20 Again, it says, "Miskovic explained other organs are going to be
21 established as well. At the commission's proposal, the following were
22 elected. President of the assembly, Milomir Stakic, vice-president of the
23 assembly, Dragan Savanovic, secretary of the assembly Dusko Baltic.
24 President of the Executive Board, Milan Kovacevic. The closing speech was
25 given by the newly elected president of the Prijedor Municipality Serbian
1 People's Assembly, Milomir Stakic."
2 Is this a summary of what happened at that founding session?
3 A. Yes, most probably it is. That's exactly what I understood in the
4 question who chaired over that meeting, and that's what I said. And I
5 said when the new president of the Municipal Assembly was elected, he
6 thanked everybody, and he took over the chairing of the meeting.
7 Q. Does it also transpire from these minutes that this session of the
8 Serbian Municipality of Prijedor did not elect members of the Executive
9 Board of the Serbian Municipality of Prijedor?
10 A. If this is the end of the minutes after the closing word by the
11 president, nobody said anything, so obviously this is the end of the
12 session which took place on the 7th of January.
13 Q. Can you please turn to page bearing the last four digits 8607,
14 that is the next page of this document. This is minutes from the fifth
15 session of the Serbian Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, and it reads that
16 the session was held on the 16th of April, 1992. Under number 5,
17 "nomination of the Executive Board members." Under (d), "election of the
18 TO commander (municipal staff)." Does this refer to your election?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Thank you. We shall no longer need this document for the time
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The only question emanating from this document
23 would be there's -- in the beginning of this document, if you could put it
24 a little bit more to the top, there it reads: "The session was attended
25 by 63 of 87 board members." When were these 87 board members elected, and
1 had you been one of these board members? Directly on the first page.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Are you referring to 38607 where it
3 says "the session was attended by 63 out of 87 deputies"?
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Right.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really don't know. I don't know
6 whether I attended the session. Most probably I did, but it was a long
7 time ago. And others did not attend for various reasons. Some of them
8 had military duty. Who were the others who did not attend, I don't know.
9 This is not just an SDS session. There were representatives of other
10 parties as well. But I'm not sure.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The question was when were these 87 board
12 members elected?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The confirmation of the number of
14 deputies took place on the 7th of January when the assembly was founded.
15 I don't know whether everybody attended that founding assembly, but local
16 communes sent their delegates, and they were supposed to attend the
17 founding session. And I know how things are done. The first session has
18 to make official the presence of the deputies and confirm their number. I
19 believe that the total number of the deputies in the assembly should have
20 been 87. Now whether they all a attended this particular session, I don't
21 know. I can see here 24 of them were not present, that is, deputies in
22 the assembly.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this clarification. Please,
24 Mr. Lukic, continue.
25 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 I would like the usher now to show the witness the Exhibit Number
2 D6B, please. And also our 65 ter number -- actually, it's D48 now. D48,
4 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Kuruzovic, in front of you, you see two
5 dispatches. One from the minister of the interior, Alija Delimustafic,
6 and the other sent by the commander Colonel Hasan Efendic from the
7 Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both
8 dispatches were sent on the 24th of -- 29th of April, 1992. On the 29th
9 of April, 1992, did you have the opportunity to see any of these two
11 A. No, I did not see them. But I heard about the contents of these
12 dispatches. So on the 29th of April, around 1700, in the barracks where
13 we had been invited to come, and I was told what the dispatch said. This
14 is the first time that I see what is in it and to realise what it is
16 Q. Are these dispatches the ones on the basis of which it was decided
17 to take over the power in the Municipality of Prijedor?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Thank you. We won't be needing these exhibits any more.
20 MR. LUKIC: Now I would like the usher to show the witness our 65
21 ter number 575, please.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Kuruzovic, you have before you a document
23 dated 17th of May, 1992. I think that at this point in time, we don't
24 have the translation of this document, and therefore I'd like to ask you
25 to read it out to us slowly so that the interpreters could interpret it,
1 and then I will ask you some questions.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Your Honour, could the document please be put on
3 the ELMO.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You want me to read this document
6 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a moment.
7 A. "The command of the 343rd Motorised Brigade, printing number 36,"
8 I'm not quite sure, but I do see that it says the 17th of May, 1992,
10 "Replenishment and joinder of combat units orders," as one can
11 see, this order was submitted to the Territorial Defence staff of the Serb
12 Municipality of Prijedor. "Pursuant to the order of the commander of the
13 5th Corps, reference number strictly confidential, 434-4, of the 12th of
14 May, 1992, and conclusions adopted by the session of the Council for the
15 People's Defence of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor held on the 15th of
16 May, 1992, in relation to the provision of the singleness of
17 command -- unity of command of all the units and the armed people loyal to
18 the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I hereby order:
19 "1, the commander -- the chief of staff of the Serb Municipality
20 of Prijedor with the strict command and existing documentation will move
21 to the Zarko Zgonjanin barracks and place himself under the command of the
22 343rd Motorised Brigade. The deadline, 18th of May, 1992, by 1400.
23 "2, in relation to the further organisation, formation, and the
24 performance of tasks of all the former formations, TO units established so
25 far, volunteer units, and the armed Serb people, will be taken care of and
1 regulated by the orders of the command of the region of Prijedor which
2 shall encompass the senior officers of the above-mentioned units who will
3 also be placed under their command.
4 "3 --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Could the document please be moved up. And
6 could we have the whole page on the ELMO, please.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Yes, you can continue.
9 A. So I have said: "3, all individuals, groups, units which pursuant
10 to the above-indicated orders do not place themselves under this command
11 will be considered as paramilitary individuals and units, and appropriate
12 legal measures will be applied to them as envisaged by the orders of the
13 Presidency of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
14 "Commander, Colonel Vladimir Arsic." There's a seal here, too, of
15 the garrison, and I can see that it says that it was signed "for," so I
16 guess it was Radmilo Zeljaja, but I'm not sure because I don't recognise
17 this signature.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This would be Exhibit D125. Objections?
19 MR. KOUMJIAN: No objection.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Admitted into evidence as D125B. The English
21 translation can be found on today's, the 28th of March, 2003, transcript,
22 page 10, line 5 through page 11, line 11. And may I kindly ask you,
23 Mr. Lukic, to disalert the translation unit that all the documents we have
24 now in English, and they have been read out, that they don't continue
1 MR. LUKIC: We'll do so, Your Honour. Thank you.
2 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Kuruzovic, is that the order that you talked
3 about when you explained how the Territorial Defence, that is, your staff,
4 was placed under the unity, under one command?
5 A. Yes, and it does not apply only to us, but all the volunteer
6 units, all the other units, everybody.
7 Q. Did this decision terminate your staff, the Territorial Defence?
8 A. Yes, because I was a military conscript, and this order is clearly
9 the follow-up on the decisions of the presidency of the Serb Republic of
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I therefore had to act as ordered. After
11 that, as a confirmation of that, that is what had to be done by the
12 administration of the Municipal Assembly, in other words, I received a
13 document relieving me of my office.
14 Q. You said it wasn't only your staff, but also other units of the
15 Territorial Defence which were resubordinated to the military command.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Will you please explain, what is the difference between the
18 manoeuvring and area units of the Territorial Defence?
19 A. The manoeuvring units of the Territorial Defence are the ones
20 which engage in combat operations, and the area units are those which were
21 set up in the Prijedor Municipality, that is, in all neighbourhood
22 community and all area staffs. So these are the TO units that are
23 mentioned here, and they are not the Serb units but the TO units. That is
24 all units which by the -- which the Council for National Defence had
25 ordered to be mobilised in 1991. All of those units.
1 Q. And what about the 5th Kozara Brigade, was it a manoeuvring unit,
2 in point of fact?
3 A. Yes, it was, as far as I know. These are the TO units. Those
4 which were in the town, they were not a part of it.
5 Q. Were the manoeuvring units armed by the republic? Do you know
6 anything about that?
7 A. Well, I suppose so, I suppose that the government took care of
8 that, to supply them. But how, I wasn't really such a high-ranking
9 officer to know that. But yes, that is my assumption.
10 Q. And in contrast with that, are you aware that the area units were
11 armed, supplied, and deployed by the municipality?
12 A. Well, municipality in the broader sense of the word. It was done
13 by the command of that particular staff of Territorial Defence. And since
14 the commander of that Territorial Defence was a member of the Executive
15 Board, then everybody that had to be settled had to be settled through the
16 Executive Board. In other words, the municipality.
17 Q. Now I will ask you something about the negotiations which preceded
18 the outbreak of armed conflicts in the Municipality of Prijedor. Prior to
19 the 22nd of May, 1992, that is, before the conflict at Hambarine, did you
20 go to Hambarine to conduct some negotiations?
21 A. Yes, I did, although I perhaps wouldn't call it negotiations.
22 Those were talks between men, talks between heads of families. And I was
23 taken along with the president of the SDA and the president of the
24 neighbourhood community, and the imam, the religious official of the
25 Muslim people there. I went there to talk with them, and I went with that
1 gentleman, and they welcomed us and we talked nicely. Since problems had
2 already started emerging in the town by that time and some had already
3 started using arms without authorisation and stealing weapons from the
4 staffs of the Territorial Defence, and it happened in Stari Grad so that
5 those were the reasons why we went and tried to reach some understanding,
6 that those people who were people of -- who were people of -- prominent
7 people in Hambarine, that they should talk to them. Because these were
8 younger people who were perhaps not fully aware of the consequences of
10 And I remember that this was a very nice conversation, and they
11 also shared our view that something was necessary -- something along those
12 lines was necessary because that was the way to preserve the
13 security -- to maintain the security and safety of their own people, and
14 that is how we talked.
15 Q. Did you also talk in Puharska about these things?
16 A. Yes, we did. Now, I forgot the name, but his last name is
17 Kapetanovic, a prominent father of a family from Puharska, Puharska which
18 is, as it is called in our language, an enclave, with a large number of
19 Muslims living there, but there were a number of Serbs, and there was a TO
20 unit stationed there. It was multiethnic unit, but had a much larger
21 number of Muslims in it. And since they themselves, I mean they suggested
22 that we talk about this, they were afraid there might be some excesses,
23 and they asked that I go and visit them and I accepted it, not because I
24 was chief or something, but because they knew me and I lived nearby and
25 there were a number of my students there and friends. And we had a
1 similar conversation as in Hambarine, and they promised and we promised
2 that we would all do our best to maintain the order.
3 Q. Did you also have similar talks about this, how to calm the
4 situation and bring the tension down in Cela?
5 A. Yes, we did. In Cela once, and the second time, and I can't
6 remember, some small problem let had cropped up. So a gentleman, I think
7 his last name is Solo, he was a religious official, he came with SDA
8 representatives and representatives of the neighbourhood community and
9 said in the same vein that they are expressing their loyalty to the
10 government, and that they would also do their best to maintain law and
11 order there. And that they had heard that there were talks with other
12 parts of the town and that they would do their -- everything within their
13 power to avoid any excesses.
14 Q. A few days before the incident on Hambarine -- at Hambarine, did
15 you also talk with people in Kozarac?
16 A. No, I didn't do it in Kozarac. We did it in Prijedor. It was a
17 largish group of people, also prominent representatives of the Muslim
18 people. And we had this conversation for one - what shall I call
19 it - official reason only. And there was no need for me to be present
20 there because I had nothing to do, but they had asked for it because the
21 school principal from there should have turned up. I don't know why.
22 Perhaps because as a member of the SDA. There was an engineer, and a man
23 who used to be the chief of police earlier on, and I believe he was a
24 deputy in the former parliament of the -- in the parliament in the former
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I believe his last name was Sejmenovic. And we talked
1 about how law and order should be ensured in Kozarac. And that members of
2 the police which should have been, or rather, not should have been, but
3 was part of the public security centre in Prijedor, that they should do
4 their job. That is, to maintain the order, look after the safety of
5 people in Kozarac, and a request was also made because the insignia had
6 changed to put on the insignia that were at the time in use in the Serb
7 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. And it turned out that everything -- that
8 nothing was a problem but those insignia.
9 And I've remembered just now, since there was a large number
10 of -- large group of people in the staff or in this Territorial Defence
11 unit, in its staff, the possibility that somebody might abuse the weapons
12 also existed, and also that some people who had nothing to do with the TO
13 staff might come by weapons so that all of us together asked that weapons
14 be seized from all the unauthorised persons and to keep those weapons in
15 the police station in Kozarac to avoid -- to avoid that somebody who is
16 not authorised do something stupid. And it was agreed, but they said that
17 some people in Kozarac were not listening to them, that they were not
18 heeding -- they would not accept it. And then we insisted, "right, if
19 they refused to have those insignia, those patches, then let us have them
20 at least say that they will perform their duty." I mean, those policemen
21 not to do something else and not to say that this had to do something with
22 the public security centre in Prijedor. And they said that they tried to
23 talk to them, but they thought it wouldn't be of much avail. And I
24 thought that the reputation that this man enjoyed would help to put it
25 through, but you know how it all ended. And they would not allow people
1 to go through the checkpoint, and there was gunfire on the 26th or I don't
2 know. Some people, I guess, got killed, and the order came from the
3 command, from the army command. I don't know whether that -- within 24 or
4 48 hours, that they should be disarmed, that this checkpoint be dismantled
5 to allow the movement, but this was not complied with and after that the
6 army responded.
7 Q. Was this meeting attended by Mr. Srdjo Srdic?
8 A. Yes. As far as I know. I do not know who convened it, but it
9 must have been either Mr. Srdjo or somebody from the public security
10 centre, but I suppose they brought together eminent citizens so that we
11 could talk naturally and to have people representing the Muslim people who
12 could be trusted, hoping that an agreement would be reached.
13 Q. At that meeting, was it agreed that people from the Kozarac police
14 station, or rather the department of the police station in Kozarac would
15 not be bound to wear those patches, but they should continue working?
16 A. Well, that's what I said. When they realised that it would be
17 difficult to reach an understanding, then we said, "right, they don't have
18 to have those patches, but let us have them say that they will perform
19 their duties and continue to cooperate, the public security centre in
20 Prijedor," because that is how the chain of command prescribed.
21 Q. I will now mention the numbers of pages and lines that I will be
22 referring to, but let it not confuse you because that will be only for
23 Their Honours and for our learned friends, so that they can follow whether
24 I'm correctly quoting the text that I'll be quoting.
25 Page 6, line 18, His Honour Judge Schomburg asked you if you
1 accepted the results of the 1992 census. And you said: "Yes, since it
2 was organised by the authorities, by official bodies." Mr. Kuruzovic,
3 were you involved in the census of 1992 in any way?
4 A. No, I wasn't.
5 Q. Are you familiar with the details about possible deficiencies,
6 shortcomings and objections to the methods applied and the outcome of the
8 A. No, not officially, but like all the other citizens, I heard
9 that - and I'm trying not to use any ugly words, any bad words - but I've
10 heard that there were some tricks, that there were some machinations, that
11 is, the Serb people in that town assessed, that is, considered, that is
12 thought, that the number of the Muslim population was blown up.
13 Q. Are you aware in relation to the question on page 18 whether
14 somebody who was not a member of the SDS could become a member of the Serb
15 Assembly of the Municipality? You explained to us yesterday why you
16 thought that Mr. Stakic had become the vice-president, that it was because
17 of a large number of voters in Omarska. But are you aware that Dr. Stakic
18 was a member of the People's Radical Party Veljko Guberina -- no, sorry,
19 Nikola Pasic. The founder of the party is Veljko Guberina.
20 A. No, I know nothing about that.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 Page 21 refers to the attack on Hambarine, line 14 onward. You
23 explained that it was a TO checkpoint. You are also aware that
24 Aziz Aliskovic was at this checkpoint, aren't you?
25 A. Well, when I spoke about that, I mentioned it. But I wasn't quite
1 sure --
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to override. Could you please be so kind
3 and quote in context the entire sentence, because there's not --
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Page 21, line 14.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, you mentioned one checkpoint. And the
7 text, in fact, reads: "There were some checkpoints of the Territorial
8 Defence." May I therefore ask you that part of the transcript you feel
9 necessary to be read out.
10 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Namely, line 16. "In all these localities nearby, Hambarine and
12 others, I won't mention others, there were checkpoints of the Territorial
13 Defence. And the ethnic composition of the population determined the
14 composition." And in relation to this, I wanted to ask you whether you
15 are aware that Mr. Aziz Aliskovic was a professional policeman?
16 A. I didn't know him personally, but later on, yes, I heard that he
17 was a professional policeman.
18 Q. So he wasn't a member of the TO? He wasn't a home guard? I mean,
19 he was not supposed to be there at the checkpoint manned by the
20 Territorial Defence, isn't it?
21 A. Yes, that's right, except perhaps if he refused to obey and
22 decided to stop working as a policeman and joined the Territorial Defence.
23 But then they should have taken away his police uniform because it is
24 then -- because it represents the civilian police.
25 Q. It is for that reason that I'm asking you this: People who were
1 passing by could have the impression that they were stopped by the police
2 for regular police control.
3 A. Yes, and then they could trust that control, because the police
4 was mostly respected because the police managed to protect peace and order
5 in town.
6 Q. Page 31, line 11, you say: "I did not consult anybody, nor did I
7 ask for anybody's opinion. I simply let these people go from Trnopolje."
8 And you are referring to the period when you decided that the conditions
9 were no longer in place for you to keep people in Trnopolje. You
10 continue: "And people from the International Red Cross told me that there
11 was no reason whatsoever to feed these people here, and that they should
12 return to their homes."
13 I would like to ask you this: Up to that point, did the people
14 from the International Committee of the Red Cross were of the position
15 that there was a need to keep these people in Trnopolje and protect them
17 A. It's very difficult for me to say what they were thinking. I only
18 know how they behaved. They were there in Trnopolje all the time. They
19 paid us frequent visits, and they assisted us to help these people in
20 Trnopolje in every possible way. And before the centre was dismantled,
21 there were some 200 or 300 people there who didn't want to leave. They
22 were waiting for the organised resettlement into other countries. But
23 when these people said that there were no longer conditions for them to be
24 there, and people thought that it was a promise and that this promise
25 would not come through. And those who were from town, I asked them to go
1 back to their families because a large number of people had already left
2 and returned to their apartments in town. And those who still expected
3 that they would be able to go abroad had remained. There were other
4 people from other places. I don't know where from. And finally, they
5 left, and the exit from Prijedor on the road towards Novi Grad, towards
6 Bosanski Novi, I went to a house that belonged to my acquaintance, my
7 friend, from the Muslim people, Suhad Kalender, and I asked him and his
8 family and his neighbours to help these people, to give them accommodation
9 before they made a final decision as to where they wanted to go. They
10 wanted to go towards Zagreb, but in the meantime, I learned that at that
11 checkpoint there were threats that they would be shot so I couldn't allow
12 them to go. Fortunately, my friend Kalender, his family and some other
13 families were of assistance, and they stopped those people for a while in
14 their homes. I don't know what happened to those people later on, where
15 they went and when.
16 Q. Mr. Kuruzovic, did you ever work in the municipal administrative
18 A. In Prijedor? No, never. I never did anything else but work in
19 the school. I was a principal.
20 Q. Can we then conclude that you are not familiar with the structure
21 of the administrative municipal bodies?
22 A. I am old enough to know, but unfortunately I don't. And I was
23 never in a position to ask for anything from the municipality. In my
24 career as an educator, I did not have to go to the municipality, and I
25 didn't have any contacts with the municipality.
1 Q. Can we then conclude that you don't know what the authorities and
2 competencies of the municipal administrative bodies are?
3 A. No, not officially. I just know them as a citizen. I know what
4 they should be doing, but not officially and not to the tiniest detail.
5 Q. Do you know what municipal body replaced the Crisis Staff?
6 A. I don't understand your question. What body preceded the Crisis
7 Staff or what body replaced the Crisis Staff? I don't know what you were
8 referring to.
9 Q. What body existed before the existence of the Crisis Staff?
10 A. I don't know whether I am going to give you a wrong answer, but I
11 believe it was the Municipal Assembly, which is a legislative body, and
12 there was also the Executive Board, which implemented the decisions of the
13 Municipal Assembly. When the threat of war, the imminent threat of war
14 was proclaimed, I believe that the Municipal Assembly was replaced by the
15 Crisis Staff. But this obviously was not a body which did not have a clue
16 about what they were doing because its members were members of the
17 Executive Board plus the president of the Municipal Assembly and the
18 vice-president of the Municipal Assembly. So it was like a joint body
19 consisting of representatives of the legislative authorities and the
20 executive branch of the government.
21 Q. I will now explain what the position of this Defence is, and I
22 will use some documents to show you that you have misunderstood the date
23 when the Crisis Staff started operating.
24 A. It is possible.
25 Q. The Honourable Judges asked you and showed you Document Number
1 180, so I would kindly ask the usher to show you these documents first.
2 On page 1, under Number 18, we can see the decision on the
3 establishment and organisation of the Crisis Staff of Prijedor
4 Municipality. And it says that the Municipal Assembly of the Municipality
5 of Prijedor at its session on the 20th of May, 1992, took this decision.
6 I would like to ask you in this regard, could the Municipal Assembly
7 coexist parallelly with the Crisis Staff, or are they mutually exclusive?
8 Do you know that?
9 A. I believe that they were mutually exclusive. I don't think that
10 they can coexist, and I believe I'm right in saying that.
11 Q. Do you know that on the 16 May, 1992, there was a session of the
12 Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, a ceremonial session, which was attended
13 by Muslims and Croats, although not all of them?
14 A. I don't know whether I attended that session, but I suppose that
15 it may have taken place because it is the day of the liberation of
16 Prijedor during the Second World War, and it was a bank holiday which was
17 observed by everybody in town across the board.
18 Q. We will keep this document for a while. Can I please ask the
19 usher to show you Document Number S60 at the same time.
20 This document was also shown by -- to you by the Honourable
21 Judge Schomburg. This is the minutes of the fourth meeting of the Council
22 for National Defence of the Prijedor Municipal Assembly held on 15 May,
23 1992. And we can see among the people who attended this meeting, your name
24 is also here. The agenda under 1 reads: "Decision on the organisation
25 and functioning of the Crisis Staff."
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. The first conclusion reads: "The draft of the decision on the
3 organisation and functioning of the Crisis Staff is approved." Therefore,
4 on the 15th of May, you were at this meeting, and you discussed the draft
5 or the proposition of the decision. So you discussed the draft decision
6 or preliminary decision. Was it really a preliminary decision? We see
7 that this was just a proposal, and the proposal was that a member -- a
8 representative of the garrison should also be incorporated into the
9 proposed composition of the Crisis Staff.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please, no arguments, it reads "conclusion."
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Can we conclude that before this date, the Crisis Staff did not
13 exist? It certainly didn't exist?
14 A. Are you asking me based on this document? It is very clear.
15 Maybe, in my head, I created my own confusion because I was appointed as
16 the commander of the TO staff, and as such I attended meetings. But I can
17 see now this was the Executive Board presided by Mico Kovacevic. But
18 since it was a long time ago, I'm confused. I believe that at first it
19 was the Crisis Staff, and it never occurred to me to give a second thought
20 to the dates. But when the President of the Chamber asked me, I didn't
21 talk to anybody. I didn't check any of the documents. I just checked the
22 document that applies directly to me, and that was that decision. If I
23 had gone through the documents, maybe I would have been given -- maybe I
24 would have been able to give you better answers about the dates. But I
25 just gave you my honest answers the way I saw things, and I apologise if
1 I've made a mistake or I've -- or if I have confused you regarding the
2 dates when things happened.
3 Q. That is why I asked you whether you ever worked in administrative
4 organs, the goal being to explain that you actually do not understand the
5 functioning of administrative bodies and their organisation.
6 A. Yes, I quite agree.
7 Q. Which can be seen or which transpires from your answers given to
8 the Honourable Chamber, and I'm going to quote them. And that's why I'm
9 putting to you the position of our Defence, and I'm putting it to you that
10 you have confused the sessions of the Executive Board and the
11 Crisis Staff.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, I have to comment on this. I will no
13 longer allow your arguments and at the same time putting answers to the
14 witness. It is not for you to criticise the witness by telling that the
15 witness would not understand the functioning of administrative bodies and
16 their organisation and so on.
17 Please, leave it for the Judges to come to an evaluation of the
18 testimony of the witness. Thank you.
19 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
20 Q. [Interpretation] Page 36, line 10, His Honour Schomburg asked
21 you - I am going to read in English to avoid any discrepancy between what
22 it says in the transcript and what I say - [In English] "How often would
23 the Crisis Staff meet, as you said, two or three days after the takeover
24 in the following period?"
25 [Interpretation] Your answer to that question was, line 12:
1 "Well, I thought that in the Municipal Assembly, I think there was a
2 meeting of the executive committee every day, and at the same time, that
3 was a Crisis Staff."
4 [Interpretation] May we conclude, then, that you have confused
5 these two bodies like you've said it yourself?
6 A. Yes, I apologise. It is obvious that I have made a mistake here
7 and that since I never worked in such positions, I was a principal of the
8 school, and these meetings were in the morning, they were very short. I
9 attended them for a very short time and only seldom. I know that these
10 meetings were chaired by the president of the Executive Board. But as I
11 say, I got confused on things. I'm sorry. I apologise.
12 All I had in mind all the time was the Crisis Staff, the Crisis
13 Staff, and always the Crisis Staff. So I never -- I never gave a second
14 thought to any of the dates when things happened.
15 Q. No need for you to apologise. I'm going to quote another question
16 put to you by His Honour Judge Schomburg, page 37, line 8.
17 [In English] "You testified that you participated only on limited
18 occasions when you were present at a meeting of a Crisis Staff. Who
19 chaired the Crisis Staff?" "The president of the Municipal Assembly,
20 Dr. Milomir Stakic." "Who invited and where were these meetings held?"
21 "As far as I know, there were no particular kinds of invitations. It was
22 a sort of working meeting, so to speak. Colleagues would meet in the
23 morning because that was the purpose of the executive committee. And
24 meetings were held in the Municipal Assembly in Prijedor, in the building
25 of the Municipal Assembly."
1 [Interpretation] Was your confusion compounded by the fact that
2 the meetings of these two bodies mostly took place in the same place?
3 A. Yes, it is quite possible.
4 Q. Page 40, line 15, His Honour Judge Schomburg asked you the
5 following: [In English] "Page 38, line 18, you said today when asked about
6 the Crisis Staff, it's a kind of daily work of this Executive Board. Would
7 this mean that the Executive Board was -- could be equaled with the Crisis
9 "Well, technically, I think yes, except that alongside the members
10 of the Executive Board, there were also the president of the municipality
11 and the vice-president of the municipality."
12 [Interpretation] Therefore, may we conclude that in this reply to
13 the Honourable Judge, did you think that these two bodies were technically
14 the same body?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Thank you. I will move on.
17 You also mentioned on page 37 that the Crisis Staff got a
18 different name and was renominated into the war presidency, and that 15
19 days -- that this happened 15 days after its foundation. Can the usher
20 please show you Document S206 [Realtime transcript read in error "S26"].
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In the transcript, it reads S26.
22 MR. LUKIC: Sorry, S206.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Mr. Kuruzovic, you talked about a decision on the establishment of
1 a war presidency some 10 or 15 days after the foundation of the Crisis
2 Staff. We can see here that the decision on the formation of war
3 presidencies in municipalities in times of war or the immediate threat of
4 war was taken on the 31st of May, 1992, that is, 12 days after the
5 foundation of the Crisis Staff which was established on the 20th of May,
6 1992. Is this what you had in mind when you gave your answer?
7 A. Yes. Obviously I made some disproportions in the dates because I
8 had the impression that things developed really quickly. I had other
9 things to do at the time. When I apologise, I apologized to the Chamber
10 because it has turned out that I have created some sort of a confusion,
11 but I should assume that these problems with the dates will not be -- but
12 I don't want to interfere with what is the job of the Chamber.
13 Q. The rules do not allow for the Chamber witnesses to be prepared
14 and go through the documents, unlike the Defence witnesses who are shown
15 exhibits prior to their testifying, so we all understand you and all of us
16 in the courtroom understand that Chamber witnesses are more uncertain
17 about dates. Thank you very much. We shall no longer need this document.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Koumjian, you wanted to take the floor.
19 MR. KOUMJIAN: I was just waiting for a question. It sounded like
20 an argument.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
22 If you feel that's an appropriate time to take a break, then the
23 trial stays adjourned now until 11.00 sharp.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.27 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.07 a.m.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
2 Mr. Lukic, please continue.
3 MR. LUKIC: I need a witness, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Of course, when the witness is here. Only that
5 you know about the plans for next week, it's not foreseeable when the
6 testimony of this witness can be finalised. I don't believe that it will
7 be possible today. Therefore, we'll sit on Monday, and also planned for
8 Tuesday during the same sitting hours as of today. Immediately after the
9 break, we have to come back to the question of a 65 ter (i) conference
10 scheduled for Monday, 1.00. But please be prepared for this immediately
11 after the break, this is at 2.00.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I sit down.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes. Mr. Kuruzovic, can we continue.
14 THE WITNESS: [No Interpretation]
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Mr. Lukic, please.
16 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. [Interpretation] On page 69, line 23, that is, it starts at line
18 20, His Honour Judge Schomburg asked you whether at the time the Serbs had
19 intended to put in place one Serb state. And my question to you would be
20 whether in 1991 and 1992, the SDS policy if, that is, you know it, was in
21 fact to preserve the already existing state Yugoslavia?
22 A. Yes. What scientists said is another matter, but as regards
23 Republika Srpska, that is, Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the SDS
24 policy was to preserve Yugoslavia, the state that had existed before. And
25 as far as I know, the people in the referendum voted to stay in
2 Q. Once again, I'll have to correct you. I suppose you mean the
4 A. Yes, that's right, the plebiscite.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please, put your questions in the form of a real
6 question and not in the form of an answer.
7 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, I'm in cross-examination. I can suggest
8 the answers.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This is not a cross-examination. It's a line of
10 questions. The witness before us is a Chamber witness, please be aware of
12 MR. LUKIC: I will read the question you put to the witness
13 regarding this matter. "Isn't that true, sir, that at that point in time,
14 the persons in office already aimed at forming a Serbian state, a one and
15 only Serbian state?" So I think that I can at least put the questions in
16 the same manner, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, but then, please, in context, it reads in
18 its entirety: Why does Mr. Kovacevic mention this connection, also not
19 only Serbian Krajina, but also Serbia and Montenegro. Isn't it true, sir,
20 that at that point in time, the persons in office already aimed at forming
21 a Serbian state, a one and only Serbian state?
22 MR. LUKIC: I assume that I can use "isn't that true, sir," in
23 future. Thank you.
24 Q. [Interpretation] Is it true, sir, that other peoples, Muslims and
25 Croats, at that time wanted to solve their national question?
1 A. It is.
2 Q. Is it true, sir, that the Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina wanted a
3 whole Bosnia-Herzegovina to stay in Yugoslavia and to keep their Muslims
4 and Croats?
5 A. Yes, it is.
6 Q. Is it true, sir, that the Serbs wanted to live in -- to share the
7 state with Muslims in Sandzak, which is part of Serbia?
8 A. Well, I don't know. I can't answer that question. I don't know
10 Q. Did the Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina ask that Sandzak be separated
11 from Serbia so that they could live in Yugoslavia?
12 A. I've never heard anything like that, and I don't think they would
13 want that. But that is my opinion. I haven't heard about it. I don't
15 Q. That's why I'm asking you. Is it true that they wanted to live
16 together with Muslims in Sandzak and by the very fact that they wanted to
17 stay in Yugoslavia?
18 A. Well, I suppose it goes without saying. If it says Yugoslavia,
19 then all the people that live there, and if the Serb people in
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina wanted to live in Yugoslavia and together with Muslims
21 and Croats in our country, and that presumed living with all the other
22 peoples living in Yugoslavia regardless of the territory.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 Are you aware whether the armed forces stationed in Sarajevo and
25 Tuzla were much stronger than the armed forces stationed in Prijedor?
1 A. That, I do not know. I can make an assumption because both those
2 towns are larger than Prijedor, and there were many barracks, and there
3 were lots of troops there, in Sarajevo, and I suppose that would also go
4 for Tuzla.
5 MR. LUKIC: I will like the usher now to show the witness number
6 S250, please.
7 Q. [Interpretation] Will you please turn to page 12. These are
8 documents of the 24th of July, 1992. XIX.
9 I'm sorry, will you please turn to page 1. On page 73 of the
10 transcript, line 11, this item was discussed. And as we have established,
11 the decision of the Crisis Staff to relieve of duty the commander of the
12 Serb Territorial Defence was handed to you two days later, that is, after
13 the 20th of May, 1992, when this particular decision was taken. Going
14 through Document S141 yesterday, we established that the Serb Territorial
15 Defence was abolished on the 12th of May, 1992. Likewise, today we saw
16 the order of the commander of the 43rd Brigade dated 17th of May, 1992
17 subordinating you, that is your staff, to the 43rd Brigade. Is it true,
18 sir, that on the 29th of May, 1992, your staff of the Territorial Defence
19 no longer existed?
20 A. Yes, it is.
21 Q. Is it also true that the Crisis Staff, as at that time, it was
22 standing in for the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, was due to notify you
23 about this, that is, that you were being relieved of the duty of the
24 commander of the Serb TO?
25 A. Yes, I think it was within their competence.
1 Q. Will you now turn to the page with decisions taken on the 5th of
2 June. Page 77, line 4 says: "Order that the neighbourhood community
3 agency in Cirkin Polje should vacate the premises of the former Crisis
4 Staff." It is the former Crisis Staff that is mentioned here. Do you
5 know which Crisis Staff is in question?
6 A. Well, I'm not sure, but I know that in large part of the
7 territory, in many neighbourhood communities Crisis Staffs had been
8 formed, and those had nothing to do with this one, with the municipal
9 Crisis Staff. I believe it was set up earlier. I'm not quite sure, but I
10 think it was in other neighbourhood communities, too, not in Cirkin Polje
11 alone. I assume that is how it was.
12 Q. Thank you. And now, will you please turn to decisions of the 10th
13 of July, 1992, which is page 78, line 13. Item 2: "The conclusion that
14 the regional command should secure the camp at Trnopolje." You said that
15 you could not remember in line 18 of that decision -- that you could not
16 remember the decision. Do you know if it was enforced?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. In this regard, therefore securing the camp at Trnopolje, was any
19 military order ever issued in this regard? Do you remember that?
20 A. I don't remember. I never received any orders in writing that
21 would be referring to this conclusion. And on the basis of what I
22 learned, I requested that they come -- that is, the platoons come every
23 day, I mean platoons of the brigade. I wanted them to come every day and
25 Q. Is it then that every morning, the commander of the 43rd Brigade,
1 or one of his officers, ordered to send a platoon or whatever unit to
2 serve as guards in Trnopolje?
3 A. Yes, as security.
4 Q. In that case, therefore, in relation to the security at the
5 collection centre in Trnopolje, does it mean that the orders of military
6 commanders were being executed?
7 A. Yes. Yes, the order concerning the security, that is, guarding of
8 this open centre of -- guarding people in that centre, that was obeyed.
9 Q. Then I'd like you to turn page with conclusions of 12th of June,
10 page 7 of the B/C/S version, and that is page 79 of the transcript, line
12 His Honour Judge Schomburg asked you in relation to item 2 about
13 the decision concerning shorter working hours at the Kozarski Vjesnik in
14 Prijedor. In relation to this, will you please look at another document
15 which the usher will give you, that is, number 180, and turn to page 43.
16 At the top of the page, we see number 31, and it's a decision of the
17 Crisis Staff which under 1 says: "The work of all restaurants, coffee
18 shops, and other catering facilities in the territory of the Municipality
19 of Prijedor is prohibited."
20 Then, I'd like you to turn to page 47 in the same document under
21 40, we have another decision of the Crisis Staff stated 10th of June,
22 1992, which under 1 and 2 says: "The earlier decision on the prohibition
23 work of catering outlets is vacated, and the working hours are
24 established. The working hours may be from 8.00 to 2000 hours."
25 Under 2: "All food shops and stores which have the necessary
1 working conditions can work from 8.00 to 1700 hours." "May work from 8.00
2 to 17.00."
3 Mr. Kuruzovic, is it true that the Municipal Assembly in peacetime
4 was responsible for laying down the working hours of public and private
6 A. Yes, that's how it's done today, too.
7 Q. So do you think that the Crisis Staff replacing the
8 Municipal Assembly at the time was entitled to set down the working hours
9 for Kozarski Vjesnik, even though it did not run the same?
10 A. I think so, if Kozarski Vjesnik, as far as I know, was a
11 shareholding society or a public company, but it was a shareholding
12 company, and it was mostly privately owned, so whatever it applies to
13 private grocers, why shouldn't it also apply to Kozarski Vjesnik? And
14 since the Crisis Staff was replacing the Municipal Assembly, of course,
15 they could take such a decision.
16 Q. This same document, could you please turn to the decisions taken
17 on the 17th of June. In B/C/S, this is page 8, the very bottom of that
18 page under number 1.
19 A. I can see the 16th here, not the 17th.
20 Q. Go to the bottom of the page, please. Under 1, this is an order
21 on the establishment of a unified intervention platoon. I would kindly
22 ask the usher to show you Document Number S79.
23 Under 3 of this order, it reads: "The Crisis Staff shall give its
24 consent to the members proposed for the platoon by the regional command
25 and the public security station."
1 Do you know whether this order was ever enforced, whether the
2 Crisis Staff was ever given the opportunity to select people for this
3 intervention platoon?
4 A. I didn't see any such documents, especially in view of the fact
5 that I was there very seldom. I was asked yesterday about this. I shared
6 my opinion with you, and I told you that this may have been necessary.
7 Now, whether it could have been done only by the military police and the
8 civilian police in order to prevent the looting in the town and stealing
9 of property, I believe that that was their job. But I don't know whether
10 this intervention platoon really was ever established and whether it was
11 really ever operational.
12 Q. The intervention platoon of the public security station of
13 Prijedor, did it have soldiers or only policemen on its strength? Do you
15 A. I don't know. But I don't believe that there were any soldiers on
16 the strength of that platoon because that would have been a totally
17 different thing. The public security station is under the Ministry of the
18 Interior, and the army is under the Ministry of Defence. So I don't think
19 that there were any soldiers in that intervention platoon.
20 Q. Were there intervention platoons as parts of military units as
22 A. That may have been the case, but I believe that those were
23 platoons for special tasks in the military sense, but not in the town but
24 on the front lines where combat was taking place. As for such things
25 existing in the town, I never heard of any such thing.
1 Q. Did you ever hear that there was either a police or a military or
2 a mixed unit under the command of the Crisis Staff?
3 A. Never. I don't know why any such thing would be necessary in the
4 first place, given the fact that there is the military and the police.
5 Q. Thank you. Now let's go to the decisions taken on the 2nd of July,
6 1992. Page 10, the bottom of that page in the B/C/S version of the
8 A. Just give me a minute to find this. I don't know what page I'm
9 supposed to be looking at.
10 Q. Page 11, we're looking at number 7 there.
11 A. You said 2nd July and in the Official Gazette here I'm looking at
12 pages 42, 43.
13 Q. I apologise. We need the document number 250. Can you please
14 turn to page 11, item number 7.
15 This is a conclusion on the recruitment of the year or age group
16 born in 1974. I would like to ask you this. The recruitment of this
17 intake, was it carried out based on this conclusion or was it carried out
18 based on legal provisions.
19 A. I believe that it was providing for by the law and that this was
20 carried out according to the law. But the times were rather strange, to
21 put it that way and the Crisis Staff replacing the Municipal Assembly took
22 the conclusion and in order for this to be carried out. But in our state
23 whoever was of the military age had to be, had to go to the army and this
24 was under the competency of the Ministry of Defence, so these people who
25 were born -- these men who were born in 1974 were due to go to the army
1 and this was something that was prescribed by the law.
2 Q. Can you please turn to page -- actually it is on the same page.
3 We are looking at the next -- at enactments passed on 14 July 1992.
4 Conclusion number -- it cannot be seen in the transcript, but in any case
5 this is page 78, line 24, in connection with enactments taken on 12 July.
6 So the conclusion on the prohibition on the individual release of persons
7 from Omarska, Trnopolje and Keraterm. Did you ever receive this
9 A. No, I never saw it. But there were individual releases of those
10 people who wanted to go home or to Prijedor, and there were also organised
11 transportations of people. I don't know whether people went home or not
12 and why they did that, whether they left the centre because they didn't
13 want to be there any longer or whether they joined an organised transport
14 to go somewhere else. But in any case, I've never seen this conclusion.
15 Q. Item number 8 of the same date, this is the conclusion on the
16 appointment of the commission for the receipt of confiscated property and
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could the usher please be so kind and provide
19 this on the ELMO.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Page 11 of this enactment --
22 A. Just give me a minute, please. We're talking about the 2nd of
24 Q. No, we're talking about the 2nd of July. We were already there.
25 We're talking about page 11.
1 A. Here I can see 14 of July -- oh, well then, yes, I can see it now,
2 2nd of July.
3 Q. The item above 14th of July, 1992, item number 8, "Conclusion
4 concerning the formation of a commission to receive captured goods." You
5 don't have to know the answer to my following question, and you can say
6 so. But, Mr. Kuruzovic, do you know that under the prevailing regulation,
7 the municipality is the owner of public assets and the abandoned moveable
8 and immoveable property, and that was the case in the former Yugoslavia
9 and that it is still the case in today's Bosnia-Herzegovina?
10 A. I don't know that.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 We will no longer need this document for the time being. Thank
14 I would like to ask you something about the killings on
15 Mount Vlasic. You've told us that you were asked by the command of the
16 43rd Brigade to write a written report about that event. Is that correct?
17 A. Yes, that is correct.
18 Q. This was on page 95 of the transcript, starting with line 13
19 onwards. This written report, did you give it to somebody else or only to
20 the 43rd Brigade?
21 A. Only to the 43rd Brigade. I believe the man in charge was
23 Q. And now something about your membership in the Crisis Staff. Is
24 it correct, Mr. Kuruzovic, that after the 29th of May, 1992, you were no
25 longer a member of the Crisis Staff?
1 A. Yes, that is correct.
2 Q. Is it also correct, Mr. Kuruzovic, that you occasionally attended
3 sessions of the Crisis Staff?
4 A. Yes, I don't know to what extent, but I did whenever I needed to
5 discuss the provisions of food and other things. But I would be there for
6 a very short period of time. I would arrive before the session was called
7 to order. I asked for assistance, and I would leave.
8 Q. Is it then correct, sir, that after the 29th of May, 1992, you did
9 not participate in the decisions taken by the Crisis Staff of Prijedor
11 A. Yes, that is correct.
12 Q. I have now finished with my questions relative to Day 143 of this
13 procedure, but I would like to ask you something about the things that
14 were put to you yesterday, on the 144th day of this trial.
15 Yesterday, we saw a document signed by Pero Curguz and yourself.
16 This was Exhibit Number S12. His Honour Judge Schomburg asked you, why
17 was it necessary for somebody to have a certificate issued by the
18 Autonomous Region of Krajina if they wanted to leave the territory of
19 Prijedor? I would like to ask you in this regard, Serbs who were leaving
20 Republika Srpska, did they also have to have an approval from the Ministry
21 of Defence allowing them to leave the territory Republika Srpska?
22 A. I believe so, especially those who were of military age, who were
23 conscripts. As far as I know, and this I based on the stories that I
24 heard, that regardless of the ethnic -- their ethnic background, they all
25 had to do the same thing. They had to pay their bills, they had to settle
1 their debts towards the companies whose products they had used.
2 Q. And in addition to that, conscripts or able-bodied men, men fit
3 for military service had to have an approval from the Ministry of Defence.
4 Isn't that correct?
5 A. Yes, otherwise they could not have been demobilised. The Ministry
6 of Defence had to consult the army or the organisation where they served
7 because all these things went through the Ministry of Defence.
8 Q. Did one have to have a certificate or an approval even if one
9 wanted to temporarily leave the territory, without being mobilised, for
10 example, if one went on business to Yugoslavia?
11 A. The duration of the journey did not matter and did not make a
12 difference. One had to have an approval from the Ministry of Defence
13 regardless of whether the person was demobilised or whether they were
14 leaving the area temporarily. I cannot be absolutely sure of that, but
15 that is my assumption. I believe that that was the case, that everybody
16 had to have an approval from the Ministry of Defence, which was obtained
17 in consultation with the superior command.
18 Q. I would kindly ask the usher again to show you Document S180.
19 Please turn to page 37 -- actually, turn to page 36 first. On the
20 bottom of that page -- just a moment. Let's wait for the English version
21 to be put on the ELMO.
22 Under number 19, we can see the decision on the appointment of the
23 Crisis Staff of Prijedor Municipality. And it says here: "The president,
24 the vice-president, and members of the Crisis Staff of the Municipality of
25 Prijedor will be the following persons or the following persons are
1 appointed..." After that follows a list containing ten names and their
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I ask the usher, please, to present the
4 English version on the ELMO. It's page 36, I think. That should be
6 Please continue.
7 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
8 Q. [Interpretation] At the meeting of the Council for National
9 Defence that was already discussed today, we saw that somebody proposed
10 for a representative of the garrison to be appointed a member of the
11 Crisis Staff. Does it transpire from this list that was adopted four days
12 after that particular meeting that a representative of the garrison was
13 indeed appointed a member of the Crisis Staff?
14 A. No, it doesn't transpire from that list that he was appointed. He
15 was not appointed.
16 Q. Can we then conclude that the proposal put forth at the meeting of
17 the National Defence Council which was held on the 15th of May, 1992, was
18 not accepted?
19 A. Yes.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Before we leave this document, to the best of
21 your recollection, following this decision dated the 20th of May, 1992,
22 would it be correct in conjunction with your previous testimony that you
23 had been only a member of the Crisis Staff for nine days?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really don't know. I can't tell
25 you in days, but that may have been the case. Because the decision that I
1 received on the 29th of May, the Territorial Defence was abolished, and I,
2 as its commander, was no longer the commander of the Territorial Defence.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: To the best of your own recollection as you sit
4 here today, was it one week, two weeks, three weeks you were a member of
5 the Crisis Staff? Because we still have some discrepancies in your
6 testimony yesterday, the day before, and today.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I don't remember what
8 I said yesterday about the relevant dates. I was in contact with members
9 of the Crisis Staff or the Executive Board whenever I needed something,
10 but I would give them my verbal request when I had problems. But I didn't
11 attend any official meetings. There was no need for me to attend any of
12 those meetings because I stopped being a member of any of these bodies
13 after the 29th of May when the Territorial Defence stopped existing. And
14 that's when I got my decision that I was no longer its commander. I may
15 have been confused on the dates, and I apologise about that.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Lukic, please continue.
17 MR. LUKIC: Would it be a convenient time, Your Honour, for a
18 break? Or we proceed until 12.30?
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Until 12.30.
20 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please speak more clearly and
22 speak up, please. Thank you.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. The interpretation service -- the interpreters are asking you to
25 speak up if possible.
1 A. All right. My apologies.
2 Q. Although you were a member of the Crisis Staff for a short term
3 only, could you tell us nevertheless whether it is true that the Crisis
4 Staff could not issue -- could not adopt decisions to be executed by the
5 army and the police?
6 A. No, I do not think they could do it, except with regard to matters
7 concerning life, that is, electricity, food, and so on and so forth.
8 Things needed by the town, but otherwise directly, no.
9 Q. Are you aware -- do you know if anyone ever was brought to
10 military court, somebody who was a member of the army of Republika Srpska,
11 because he had failed to obey the -- a decision of the Crisis Staff?
12 A. You are asking me too much. I have no idea. I never heard
13 anything like it.
14 Q. Well, I have to ask you about the police, too. Do you know, have
15 you ever heard of anyone being brought to court whilst being a member of
16 the Ministry of the Interior of the Republika Srpska in the spring and
17 summer of 1992 because he had failed to obey an order or carry out an
18 order, decision, or whatever, of the Crisis Staff?
19 A. No, I know nothing about that.
20 MR. LUKIC: Would the usher be so kind and show the witness the
21 Exhibit Number S60. Sorry.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Yesterday, you were asked about this, and you
23 explained it, but I'll try to clear up some further things in this regard.
24 This is the minutes of the fourth meeting of the Council for National
25 Defence. Item 5 of the agenda, taking over the duties of the military
2 Mr. Kuruzovic, is it true that the military territorial body
3 carried out the mobilisation in 1991 because the secretariat for the
4 national defence had failed to comply with the law and did not mobilise
6 A. Possibly. I know there were problems with assignment of people
7 and the change of power. Whether it was all completed and where people
8 went, I don't know. But I know there were some problems, and possibly
9 something along these lines happened.
10 Q. Is it true that at this meeting of the Council for National
11 Defence, there was discussion about the need of returning the mobilisation
12 issues to a legal framework, or rather that the secretariat for national
13 defence should once again be charged with these matters?
14 A. Yes, I'm quite sure that was that.
15 THE INTERPRETER: We believe the witness said because he mumbled
16 over the counsel.
17 MR. KOUMJIAN: Perhaps the witness should be asked to repeat the
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. The interpretation service is not quite sure whether it heard you
21 correctly. So could you please repeat it.
22 A. I said that there was no doubt that a meeting must have discussed
23 in this manner, to comply with laws and to mobilise the military
24 conscripts regardless of which unit that that was the job for the
25 secretariat for national defence.
1 Q. Can we then conclude that the Council for National Defence did not
2 want to assume the responsibility for those matters? The Council for
3 National Defence.
4 A. Well, the Council for National Defence is not that kind of body.
5 It is a kind of legislative body. And these are matters which are within
6 the field of operation of the Ministry of Defence.
7 Q. Is it also true that the Council for National Defence had neither
8 the staff nor the necessary equipment for that job?
9 A. That is also true.
10 Q. And now, let me ask you about something on page 17. Not that
11 document, the transcript; I'm sorry.
12 Since the staff is mentioned twice in a single sentence, would you
13 tell us which staff did you have in mind? And I'll read out the sentence
14 in English so that you can get a correct interpretation.
15 [In English] "What it says in the decision probably reflect the
16 fact that when it was impossible for the staff to meet, the staff decided
17 to relieve me the duties of commander of Territorial Defence. And I
18 received this decision precisely on this date, the 29th of May."
19 [Interpretation] So will you tell us which staff could no longer
21 A. Not that it couldn't, but perhaps a meeting of the Crisis Staff
22 had taken place meanwhile, and the decision was taken already on the 12th
23 and later on about the abolition of the Territorial Defence and all these
24 resubordinations and I received the decision on 15th, and I thought it was
25 late because I received it on the 29th. I thought it was simply the
1 administration which was late, but then I realised that the decisions were
2 being taken at the time. And I said I thought that it was a long period
3 of time, between the 12th and the 15th of May, I mean the order of the
4 commander, and so it would have been logical for me to have received it
5 then. So that is how I interpreted it. But I perhaps got the dates
6 wrong. My apologies to the Court.
7 Q. Is it also true that your staff, either the staff of the
8 Territorial Defence after the 17th of May, 1992, could not meet since it
9 no longer existed?
10 A. Well, it didn't meet much before that because there were only a
11 few people there who issued certificates and drivers who took food and so
12 on. But right. Well, it existed officially as a staff. And after that,
13 it had no further role because simply became a logistics base which took
14 care of distribution of food and all the rest.
15 Q. On page 20 of yesterday's transcript, line 25, His Honour
16 Judge Schomburg asks you whether every crime should have been reported to
17 the police or investigating bodies in person or by telephone. And I'm
18 asking you if it is everybody's duty, every citizen's duty, be he a plain
19 civilian or a member of the Crisis Staff, to report a crime? And your
20 answer was yes. And that is - I'm sorry I'm testifying, but - in line
21 with positive regulations of the former Yugoslavia and the present
23 I will ask you, is it necessary to report facts that are common
24 knowledge? And I'll give you an example. For instance, there is a flood
25 in the town of Prijedor. Is it your duty to take a boat to go to the
1 police and report to them about the flood?
2 A. Well, right. For such a serious man, this question is not
3 serious, but you must have some reason for it. Sorry that I'm talking
4 like this; I'm not criticising you really. But there is a service that
5 take cares of that, and they measure the level of water and so on and so
6 forth. This is not something that happens in 10 minutes' time. It
7 happens over a day or a night.
8 Q. Precisely. That the -- that is the direction that I wanted to go
9 in. Does one have to inform the police about crimes committed by the
11 A. Right, that is another curious question, I think. But the police
12 know what they do, I suppose there would inform each other mutually or
13 rather report to each other. Brief, they make some sort of official
14 record and so on and so forth.
15 Q. Are you aware whether in the spring and summer of 1992, there were
16 attempts to conceal crimes by the police?
17 A. Possibly yes. I can't really say anything specific. I can't
18 remember such instances, but it happened perhaps. I can't affirm that,
20 Q. Did the military report about their activities to civilian
22 A. If you mean the combat operations and if you mean Prijedor, I
23 don't think that the military submitted reports or inform about their
24 military, about their military business, the civilian authorities. I
25 don't think so.
1 Q. Mr. Kuruzovic, is it also true that the civilians were not even
2 allowed to be in the theatres of operations?
3 A. Combat operations, wartime operations were far away from Prijedor,
4 and the civilians didn't go there. And at the time when there was
5 fighting there, civilians were on one side, and the military were on the
6 other. Whether there was some mixing, I cannot really say, but I know the
7 civilians were here, and the military were there.
8 Q. The crime on Mount Vlasic, or to be more accurate, at
9 Koricanske Stijene happened around the 21st of August, 1992. You were
10 asked if you knew whether this was discussed by the Crisis Staff, and I
11 will ask you whether you know that the Crisis Staff stopped its operation
12 on the 27th of July, 1992 when its decisions, taken between the 29th of
13 May and the 24th of July, 1992, were forwarded to the -- were submitted to
14 the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor for adoption?
15 Are you aware that the Crisis Staff stopped its work on the 27th
16 of July? If you don't know, tell us.
17 A. No. What I do know is that the war presidency came into being,
18 but I don't know the date.
19 Q. Very well. Now I'd like to ask the usher to show you
20 Exhibit S68.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In the meantime I take the opportunity to ask
22 you the following question: Wasn't it true, Mr. Kuruzovic, that under the
23 rules and the manual for Yugoslavia, any person serving in the army had
24 the obligation to report any kind of crimes committed in the army to the
25 responsible authorities, especially the military court?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I don't know those military
2 laws. But it stands to logic that there was such a decision. And in the
3 army, there were also -- there were also services responsible for security
4 matters. That is what they are called. They are controlling the work of
5 all sorts of things, so it is quite possible, but I am not really familiar
6 with those regulations.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Please proceed, Mr. Lukic.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Kuruzovic, on page 23 of yesterday's transcript, line 13, His
10 Honour Judge Schomburg asks you: "How is it possible that the president
11 of the Crisis Staff, Dr. Milomir Stakic, should order, and then comes the
12 quote "it is ordered the military police and the agencies of the public
13 security station Prijedor are ordered" as we can see 91 of this
15 To begin with, in relation to the question of His Honour
16 Judge Schomburg whether Dr. Stakic in the Crisis Staff -- took decisions
17 alone in the Crisis Staff or whether the Crisis Staff took decisions as a
19 A. As a body, yeah.
20 Q. Since we talked yesterday about the type of document that this
21 document is, I'd like to ask you, what is it the unity of command in the
22 army and the police and does this unity of command allow anyone to
23 interfere into the issue of orders outside of the chains of command in the
24 police or the army?
25 A. No, I do not think so, except unless we are dealing with some
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts. Pages 14692 to 14707.
1 civilian matters, seized property or something. So somebody has to ask
2 that his property be protected, and the police have to do it. And if it
3 is not done, then somebody has to ask or request or order that it be done.
4 But it has nothing to do with the safety of people or anything, especially
5 if this was done by members of the police or army.
6 Q. Let us assume that this order was -- not this particular order,
7 that it was not executed. Would a member of the police for failing to
8 comply with this order be charged by the military prosecutor and brought
9 before the military court? What do you think?
10 A. Well, I don't think so. I do not -- I think that he might be
11 charged, and then tried if he failed to comply with the military order.
12 But not this one.
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, we won't be needing this
14 document any more. But could the usher please now show the witness
15 Document S70.
16 Q. This is a conclusion of the Crisis Staff of the 6th of June, 1992
17 which specifies that the blockade of the town remains in force. And you
18 explained to us who was the one who had the -- who controlled -- who
19 carried out the control at the checkpoints, that it was done under the
20 regional command together with the police.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you know that the army had to issue an order to its units and
23 the police likewise had to issue an order to its units which factually
24 carried out that control?
25 A. I mean, I didn't see those orders, but I'm sure that such orders
1 arrived, seeing that there is this conclusion. That is, those who are
2 doing this are requested to do that. And at some point, it stops because
3 the army cannot block the town until cows come home or whatever.
4 Q. Does the Crisis Staff in this way address the citizenry, the
5 civilian population of Prijedor, and did it also address the citizenry
6 with proclamations?
7 A. Well, yes, I suppose so. I can't remember it any longer, because
8 it was a long time ago. But it was to the either Kozarski Vjesnik,
9 because it never stopped coming out, or the radio. I can't remember
11 Q. We won't be needing this document any more.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] And I believe it is time for a break.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Can you tell us, Mr. Lukic, how long you will
14 need for the completion of your line of questions?
15 MR. LUKIC: I hope less than an hour. Maybe not more than half an
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Only that the Prosecution is
18 prepared to start their line of questions already this afternoon.
19 We'll start after the break immediately in closed session, and
20 only five minutes later, we'll ask the witness to enter the courtroom.
21 The trial stays adjourned until 2.00 sharp.
22 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
23 [Private session]
12 Page 14710 – redacted – private session
12 Page 14711 – redacted – private session
12 Page 14712 – redacted – private session
6 [Open session]
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And may I ask the usher to escort the witness
8 into the courtroom.
9 Mr. Kuruzovic, may I ask, are you prepared to continue?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I am.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please.
12 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
13 I would like the usher to show the witness the Exhibit Number S69.
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Kuruzovic, this document was also discussed,
15 and the Honourable Chamber put some questions to you about this document.
16 This is an order on supplies for the troops of the army and the police
17 with oil. Is it correct that at that time, there was a shortage of oil
18 and oil derivatives?
19 A. Yes, this is correct.
20 Q. Is it also true that neither a natural or a legal person was in a
21 position to obtain ample quantities of oil or sufficient quantities of oil
22 for that matter?
23 A. Yes, that is correct.
24 Q. In such conditions which are worse than usual conditions, was it
25 necessary to order anybody to get oil? In other words, is it correct that
1 everybody wanted to have more oil and oil derivatives than could be
2 provided to them?
3 A. Yes, everybody wanted more than they could have.
4 Q. We will be moving on to another topic. I have some questions
5 regarding the functioning of the Municipal Assembly.
6 On page 45, line 25, the Honourable Judge Vassylenko asked you:
7 "Is it correct that the main political decisions on most important things
8 were made by the leadership of the SDS, and that these decisions were
9 later on implemented by the civilian authorities, by the police and the
10 army?" Were you a member of the SDS leadership at any level?
11 A. No, I was not.
12 Q. Is it then correct that you wouldn't know what decisions were made
13 by the SDS leadership?
14 A. No, I wouldn't know precisely.
15 Q. You can just assume. Isn't that correct?
16 A. Yes, that is correct.
17 Q. Do you know that the majority of professional officers in the
18 spring and summer of 1992 were actually members of the League of
19 Communists movement for Yugoslavia?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Can we then conclude that decisions in the army were made aside
22 from the decisions made by the SDS, or at least they were not coming their
23 way from the SDS? You can also say that you don't know.
24 A. I assume that it was not the party that was in a position to issue
25 any orders to the army.
1 Q. On page 46, a monoparty system is mentioned in line 6. Are you
2 aware of the fact that some members of the Executive Board of the
3 Municipal Assembly of Prijedor were not members of the SDS? For example,
4 Slavko Budimir, Ranko Travar, Vojo Pavicic?
5 A. As for Pavicic and Travar, I can accept that, although I
6 personally don't know. For Slavko Budimir, I don't know. No, I don't
7 know about the first two.
8 Q. Also, managers of the largest companies such as the iron ore mine
9 Ljubija, there was Mr. Ostoja Marjanovic who was not a member of the SDS.
10 Are you aware of that?
11 A. Yes, I'm aware of that.
12 Q. These are just some of the names that I managed to collect during
13 the break. So can we then conclude that it was possible to have people as
14 officials in the municipality and people in the managerial positions of
15 various companies who were not members of the SDS?
16 A. Yes, that was possible.
17 Q. Likewise, His Honour Judge Vassylenko on page 49, line 25, asked
18 you whether it was true that the Crisis Staff of the Municipality of
19 Prijedor had become the only official body of Prijedor Municipality. Were
20 the bodies such as the secretariat for people's defence, the police, the
21 army, the courts, the prosecutor's office, the Executive Board were they
22 also official bodies?
23 A. Yes, they were. I said what I meant, and that is that the
24 majority of the Executive Board members were also members of the Crisis
25 Staff. The only thing that I was confused about were the dates when
1 things happened.
2 Q. I'll ask you something about the open centre Trnopolje. When you
3 arrived in the open centre Trnopolje on the request of Simo Drljaca and
4 Mico Kovacevic as you have explained to us, were there already people
6 A. Yes, I found a group of women, children, and elderly there. They
7 had arrived by lorries and tractors.
8 Q. Is it correct that you went there together with ten more people
9 from the Territorial Defence?
10 A. No. No. There were maybe two or three of us. Actually, I don't
11 remember who was with me. I took my car and went there to check whether
12 things were as they were represented to me. When I saw how things were, I
13 don't know whether I sent for somebody or maybe the following morning, we
14 brought some ten people who would provide security for the people. Or
15 maybe people arrived during that night. I can't remember. At that time,
16 when I arrived, with me was one of my colleagues from school, Mr. Rifat
17 Kurtovic who was helping me with these vehicles and people who were
18 accommodated in the neighbouring houses, and there was no need at the time
19 to take anybody to the school.
20 Q. Is it correct that only for the first few days, the security was
21 provided by people from the Territorial Defence?
22 A. Yes, that is correct.
23 Q. After a few days, the security was provided by the 43rd Brigade?
24 A. Yes, I don't know when this happened, whether it was after two or
25 three days, but very quickly after that, there were already a number of
1 people. The security had to be stepped up. I've already said that one of
2 the members of the police from the local police unit was shot from a wagon
3 that was standing in the railway station. I realised then that things
4 would get serious and that I had to step up security and that I had to
5 provide more guards.
6 Q. Are you talking about the policeman Banovic?
7 A. I can't remember his name. I know that he was a Serbian member of
8 the police who was killed. I don't know whether it was on the following
9 day or when it was. I know it was during the daytime, but I can't
10 remember exactly when that happened.
11 Q. You asked for the Red Cross to arrive in Trnopolje immediately.
12 A. Yes, the men who arrived with me was a member of the Red Cross
13 anyway. But on the following day, the president or the secretary of the
14 Red Cross, Mladen Zoric arrived, and a few more volunteers. There were
15 four or five women among them and some doctors, so people were received by
16 them. On the following day or one day after that, or maybe on the same
17 day, a doctor came from Kozarac with a nurse, one nurse or two nurses, and
18 a male nurse. I can't remember exactly.
19 Q. At the very beginning, did the Red Cross bring food and baby food?
20 A. Yes. Yes, at the very beginning, they brought food and powdered
21 milk. There was a surgery over there that worked normally and the doctors
22 opened their office in that surgery, and they started seeing people and
23 administering medical care.
24 Q. When people -- when did the people from the Red Cross of Banja
25 Luka arrive?
1 A. I've already told you that I don't know the exact date, but very
2 soon after the establishment of this open centre. At that time, it was
3 not an open centre, it was just a place where people took refuge. And a
4 few days after we opened the centre, the representatives of the UNHCR and
5 the Red Cross came together. And from then on, they would visit the
6 centre every morning. And they provided a lot of assistance to us.
7 Q. Did the people from the International Red Cross also bring a table
8 which read in both English and Serbian "the open centre Trnopolje"?
9 A. Yes, I've already said that they would come together in the
10 morning, and some people who were from the UNHCR had interpreters with
11 them, and there were also one or two people from the Red Cross. And they
12 brought this table together. Now, who it was who wrote that inscription
13 on the table, I don't know. I believe that it was the Red Cross. It was
14 written in two languages. It was a white table with blue -- with the blue
15 inscription, blue letters that we put up in one place.
16 Q. Did the representatives of these international organisations
17 immediately explain to you that according to the Geneva Convention, you
18 were under the obligation to make a list of people in that centre?
19 A. Yes, on the very first day, they told us that. And immediately,
20 they asked us to do that. And they asked us to urgently bring
21 certificates that these people were there. And they provided us with
22 certificates which were, I believe, in our own language, and we -- they
23 made a lot of copies of all sorts of certificates, and these were filled
24 in there. And then the whole families would fill out these forms so that
25 it was well known who was there. And they explained to us that it was
1 according to the Geneva Conventions, and they asked me to sign my name as
2 the person who was providing for the security of the people who were
4 Q. People from the local Red Cross, did they immediately proceed to
5 take record of the people who were there?
6 A. They did.
7 Q. In the beginning, where did people who were accommodated there get
8 the food from?
9 A. The first day, the food was provided by the Red Cross in the
10 morning already. But I returned, and when during the day more people
11 came, a hundred or more, I don't know, I immediately went to the
12 Executive Board and requested their assistance that they ask bread from
13 Zitopromet. It's a bakery. And I think that Ranko Travar was the man who
14 was in charge of those things. He had ordered that from the mine canteen,
15 food be brought so that cooked food was brought from the mine canteen
17 Q. And as the number of people increased, were some kitchens
18 organised there in the yard?
19 A. Yes, I requested from the brigade commander to turn over two army
20 kitchens where it is easy to make fire and prepare large quantities of
21 food. And people volunteered. There wasn't enough meat there. And one
22 man there, I can't remember what his name was, I think his name was
23 Hilmija, Hilmija Lokic from Suvi Brod, he volunteered to slaughter a cow
24 or an ox at his home in order to provide -- to supply meat. And people
25 were ordered to go home and bring in livestock which had remained alone
1 there and nobody was feeding that livestock there at home, to bring them
2 there so that we had some milk. And every day, one of the heads of this
3 cattle was slaughtered, and that is how people were fed. And the other
4 vitamins, that is the green vegetables and all that, they picked that in
5 the neighbourhood, later on, they went home, they'd take a wheelbarrow, go
6 get it, bring it and cook it.
7 Q. Was there a shortage of water or was it -- was the water supply
8 satisfactory and how was that done?
9 A. There was water. All the houses had water. Most of them had
10 outdoor pumps, so that those could be used. And there was also water in
11 the school. I mean, it was switched on to the water mains. But it was
12 hot. It was summer. So that people needed to wash themselves more often
13 for reasons of hygiene. And therefore, we asked representatives of the
14 International Red Cross, if they could, to bring over a water tanker or
15 something so that more water would be there and to take more water from
16 those pumps so that people wouldn't have to stay at those pumps all the
17 time. And they were happy to do that. And immediately I think brought a
18 2 tonne or 1 tonne plastic cisterns which were filled up and they put them
19 on a balcony, and they also brought hoses. And this is a curious fact.
20 There are faucets, about ten of them could be screwed on, and one could
21 draw water from ten faucets at a time, and people then had plastic
22 canisters, something, and that is how they took water. That is that.
23 Q. And who filled this water container?
24 A. A water tanker came from Prijedor, from the fire brigade, with
25 water which comes from the town water supply. And that water was used.
1 And I forgot to say, the very next day, well, perhaps it wasn't the next
2 day, but it was on the third or the fourth day because it was very hot,
3 before those water containers arrived, nevertheless, those water tankers
4 arrived in case of a shortage. And later on, it also continued to come
5 because it was very hot and people had to wash themselves and do the
6 dishes and such like.
7 Q. Those people who were in the centre, non-Serbs, could they go out
8 to fetch water or collect food?
9 A. Well, they were not in a prison. They could go wherever they
10 liked. And especially of evening, it was interesting to see because
11 people walked around and sang and made their national dishes, fluff pastry
12 and what else. They made their coffee. They could leave the school or
13 those buildings they were in and would go towards their homes where they
14 used to live before or to visit their neighbours or friends further away
15 from the centre. And they would get vegetables from there and bring them
16 back to use for food. And nobody else could get there because the army
17 was guarding them there, so they didn't stay at home, in their proper
18 homes. And of course, the International Red Cross, it was important to
19 know that the International Red Cross and the UNHCR came there every day.
20 Q. So after they would collect food and the necessary -- and the
21 requisite water, did they come back on their own?
22 A. Yes, nobody escorted them, so they would go on their own and come
23 back on their own. In the beginning, they did not venture further afield,
24 not further than 100, 200 metres. But since the number of people
25 increased, of course, one needed to procure food that was of high quality.
1 Potatoes and carrots and cabbage and parsley and whatnot. So they went
2 three or four kilometres out into the field with a wheelbarrow to get that
3 food, and they would get it and come back.
4 Q. And after the attack on Prijedor, did the number of people
6 A. It did, but perhaps a day or two later, during the attack itself,
7 as far as I know, the army had ordered, they went to look for those who
8 had perpetrated the attack around Stari Grad because it is across the
9 Sana. And part of the populace from there came. Some came by train. And
10 later on, as those had fled across the Sana towards Hambarine, and then
11 the army went out to mop up the ground, and I believe there were about 2
12 or 3 busloads of people. They came with their families, with their
13 children, and that is how they got away safely from combat operations.
14 Q. Did you speak to people to tell them not to come to the centre any
15 more because there was no room for more?
16 A. There were cases when they would come right there to the centre,
17 and I wasn't very happy to see them come there, but I had no say in that
18 because those from the Red Cross were deciding about it even. And we were
19 quite clear that there were already enough people, that the weather was
20 hot. And a few days later, we didn't have any requests from people to
21 leave. But some seven or eight days later, people already started coming
22 to ask to go to Zenica, or rather to the areas of the former
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina with the majority Muslim population. And I think that
24 on two occasions, they thus left by train to Zenica and then those would
25 not allow to enter, and that's it.
1 Q. Do you remember who is Mr. Mignon and whether he spoke to people
2 in the centre?
3 A. Yes, I guess so. I thought his name was Migon, but obviously I
4 mispronounced him. Perhaps he was a Mignon. I think he was the head of
5 the International Red Cross office in Banja Luka, and those visits
6 became -- those requests to leave were too frequent because very many of
7 them were not interested in going to Central Bosnia, they wanted to go
8 abroad. And at our -- and then we asked him and the Red Cross asked him
9 to come, and he went to Trnopolje and spoke with those people. And at
10 some point he got angry and he said: "Well, you have come here on your
11 own, most of you on your own volition, and now you are asking me that I
12 ship you all over Europe. We can't do it. We are here to help you as
13 much as we can." I can't remember him really verbatim, but it was
14 something along those lines that he said.
15 Q. Were there perhaps instances when people who were in the centre in
16 Trnopolje had visits from the relatives in Prijedor who brought them food?
17 A. Well, it wasn't instances. It happened on a daily basis. The
18 train would come from Prijedor, and this is the Kozarac station some
19 hundred metres fifty away from school. Perhaps 200 metres away. So that
20 people came from the town, those who had stayed in their homes and flats
21 because some had left their homes and flats. I don't know whether there
22 were some family understandings. Some people would come over here and
23 some people would stay there. And so perhaps when it became possible for
24 them to leave, they would get together and leave. But they brought lots
25 of food and fruit, and as I've already said, those ethnic dishes, and they
1 often invited us to join them and those from the Red Cross, too.
2 Q. Did you move freely among those people without any
3 personal -- without any bodyguards?
4 A. During the day, I'd go often to the cultural centre, or perhaps to
5 the cooperative, and I frequently did that, and especially to the school,
6 just to make sure that there were no problems with the hygiene or anything
7 because after all there were many people and although the school was built
8 as it was built nevertheless there were many people and I always went
9 there alone. And nobody even said an ugly word to me, let alone attacked
10 me, so that I never had any clash, any argument with them or anything.
11 Q. And people who brought food for the relatives in the centre, were
12 they free? Could they go back home?
13 A. Yes, they were free to return home, but there were also those who
14 came on bicycles, and I've already told you there was a group of people
15 from Petrov Gaj, and perhaps Gornji Garevci or I don't know which place
16 exactly. But they often came on bicycles to bring food and then I had to
17 ask the commanders of the security to send a few soldiers there. And once
18 I requested the commander of the military police, and they found that man
19 and found several bicycles there. And they detained him and took him to
20 Prijedor. How he ended up later, I don't know how long he spent in prison
21 but I know he was in prison because of that. And that was one such man.
22 Now, what was his name? Something beginning with c, Cavic or something,
23 yes. Later on I heard that he also committed a murder, I think. After
24 when the centre had ceased to exist, he killed, I think, one or two
25 official policemen because the neighbourhood community centre was there
1 and a couple of people worked there or perhaps they even had their
2 families there.
3 Q. Were people from the UNHCR present there every time a convoy left
4 Trnopolje regardless of whether it had been organised by them or not?
5 A. I don't remember if they were there every time, but they were
6 there very often, both they and the Red Cross, and the UNHCR.
7 Q. In the testimony of another witness, an etymological moot point
8 emerged in the interpretation from our language into English. Does -- is
9 there any similarity in our language between the term "reception centre"
10 and the reception desk in a hotel, say?
11 A. Why, of course they are different. They have nothing in common
13 Q. I'm asking you because when it is translated into English, it
14 almost sounds identical.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Kuruzovic, thank you. For the
16 time being, I have no further questions.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stays adjourned until 5 minutes past
19 --- Recess taken at 2.49 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 3.07 p.m.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
22 Mr. Kuruzovic, now we'll follow the line of questions put to you
23 by the Prosecution, as it's already now the third day of your testimony, I
24 want to recall all the informations I gave you in the beginning,
25 especially that it's your right, if you so want, to remain silent, also to
1 remain silent in those cases where you believe that a question -- that an
2 answer to a question would tend to self-incriminate you. And if there
3 should be any problem, don't hesitate to contact us. If you need any
4 assistance, you will get it.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Koumjian, please.
7 Questioned by Mr. Koumjian:
8 Q. Sir, towards the end of his examination today, Mr. Lukic asked you
9 whether you had any bodyguards in the Trnopolje camp. You answered that
10 no one attacked or insulted you among the Muslims. But you did not answer
11 his question. Did you have any bodyguards?
12 A. Yes, I did. I mean yes, I understood what he asked me. I had two
13 men who were with me there often. But when I moved among the people there
14 in the school, in the cultural centre, I had no need for any guards.
15 Q. Your bodyguards were the twin brothers Balaban. Correct?
16 A. Yes, it is.
17 Q. Sir, at what period of time were you a member of the SDS?
18 A. Well, I don't remember exactly. I think as of spring 1991,
19 perhaps March is when I became a member of the SDS.
20 Q. Do you remain a member of the SDS?
21 A. I do.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 You mentioned that you were in Croatia. At that time, were you
24 in -- can you explain what you were doing. Were you part of the JNA?
25 A. I don't know when I mentioned that. I don't know which period of
1 time do you have in mind. Oh, you mean when I took those people along so
2 that they could see how those houses in that village were destroyed. Is
3 that what you meant?
4 Q. Okay. Thank you. Let me go back before that. Were you a member
5 of the JNA? In the 1990s, were you ever a member of the JNA since 1990?
6 A. Until -- until 15th or the 16th when the order was issued for me
7 to join the regional command, until then, I was a member of the
8 Territorial Defence. And before that, five or six years before that, I
9 was part of the JNA officially.
10 Q. As a member of the Territorial Defence, or as a member of any
11 other military or paramilitary unit, did you take part in fighting in
12 Croatia, or were you at the front in Croatia in 1991?
13 A. Yes, I was, with the 343rd Brigade.
14 Q. At that time, the brigade was part of the 5th Krajina Corps as it
15 was called at that time commanded by various people including at the end
16 General Talic. Is that correct?
17 A. It is.
18 Q. Now, sir, Mr. Lukic asked you about political parties having
19 influence on the army. Can you tell me, in 1991 as a member of the JNA,
20 what political body controlled or what institution, civilian institution,
21 controlled the JNA?
22 A. Well, I suppose the Assembly of the Republic of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina, that is, Bosnia and Herzegovina, because that is the Serb
24 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina did not exist. That is, the Ministry
25 of Defence.
1 Q. Okay, sir, just for an example, I'm now talking about 1991 when
2 the JNA fought Croatian forces in the Krajina -- the Croatian Krajina,
3 Serb Krajina in Croatia. At that time, the president of Yugoslavia was de
4 facto the commander in chief of the JNA. Correct? Excuse me, he was de
5 jure, he was according to the law, the commander in chief of the JNA.
7 A. Well, I presume so. I don't really know the constitution of the
8 former Yugoslavia by heart, but I think that that was the case.
9 Q. And at that time, the president of Yugoslavia at the time the
10 conflict broke out was Stipe Mesic, a representative of Croatian
11 ethnicity. Correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So, sir, wasn't it obvious to everyone in 1991 and 1992 that the
14 JNA and later the VRS was taking the sides of certain nationalist parties
15 and was not controlled by the president of Yugoslavia, in the case of
17 A. That is a major political issue. I cannot answer those questions
18 in the way that you'd like to hear me answer them.
19 Q. Sir, in Prijedor, let's go down to Prijedor --
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Lukic, please.
21 MR. LUKIC: Only one correction, although the witness has already
22 answered, Mr. --
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please, no correction. Only objections are
24 allowed. You are not testifying.
25 MR. LUKIC: The question put by my learned friend is not based on
1 facts. Mr. Mesic was not president of Yugoslavia.
2 MR. KOUMJIAN: President of the presidency. I'll enter a
3 stipulation that he was president of the presidency of the federal
4 Yugoslavia in 1991.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
6 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
7 Q. Sir, in Prijedor, was there close cooperation between the SDS and
8 the 343rd, later the 43rd, Motorised Brigade?
9 A. Well, yes and no. I don't know about the official bodies. I was
10 not a member of any leading bodies. I was not a leader of the Serbian
11 Democratic Party. So what the real relationship between the SDS and the
12 brigade was, I wouldn't be able to tell you.
13 Q. Okay, sir. We'll come back to that in a moment. First I want to
14 step back. You were asked a few questions about the census in Prijedor.
15 And recognising you're not an expert, I'm not asking for your opinion
16 about the results, but I want to ask you what was the popular perception
17 among Serbs about the results? Were they upset, the Serbian population,
18 and particularly other members of the SDS, with the results of the census
19 showing for the first time that Muslims had a plurality in Prijedor?
20 A. I assume that one could say that they were upset, but I also don't
21 believe that they believed the figures and that they believed there was
22 such a prevalence of Muslims over the Serbs. And there were talks around
23 the town that something was wrong with that census and that the figures
24 had been tampered with. I did not have any possibility to check any of
25 those figures.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to interrupt once again. Maybe it was
2 mispronounced by you, Mr. Koumjian. On page 71, line 25, it reads
3 "plurality." Didn't you want to say "majority"?
4 MR. KOUMJIAN: No, I believe I meant plurality. They had the
5 highest percentage but less than 50 per cent, as I recall, of the
6 population. Plurality.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So the relative majority.
8 MR. KOUMJIAN: Yes.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay, thank you.
10 MR. KOUMJIAN:
11 Q. Sir, going to the 1990 elections, is it correct - there's evidence
12 in this case - that the SDA party won a majority -- excuse me, again, a
13 plurality of the seats in the assembly, they won 30 seats, the SDS, 28;
14 the HDZ, 2; and the other parties, mainly leftist parties, 30 seats, in
15 Prijedor. A few questions about those results. First, sir, given the
16 results nationwide or public wide in Bosnia-Herzegovina, would it be
17 correct that the left bloc, the nonnationalists won many more seats in
18 Prijedor than they did in the rest of the republic where in the parliament
19 of Bosnia-Herzegovina they only held about 10 per cent of the seats after
20 the election?
21 A. I'm listening to you, but I don't know what you're asking me. I
22 am not aware of these figures. I don't know them off my head. But I know
23 that the Muslim population had the relative majority, and the others had
24 fewer seats. And I agree with you that this is what the situation was and
25 that this was the balance of political forces in the elections.
1 Q. Thank you. And is it also correct, as I stated, that the
2 nonnationalist parties had a much stronger showing in Prijedor, where they
3 won one-third of the seats, than they did republicwide where they won only
4 about 10 per cent of the seats?
5 A. I'm sorry, but I don't like you using the word "nationalist
6 parties." Maybe you could say national parties because all of these
7 parties, the SDS, SDA, and HDZ, were national parties. And probably meant
8 the national parties, the SDS and HDZ, got fewer votes, and you're right
9 in saying that.
10 Q. Thank you. And I'll definitely adopt your terminology. Thank you
11 for that correction.
12 Sir, following these results, apparently at some time, there was a
13 decision to form a Serbian government separate from the government that
14 was elected by the multiethnic assembly, on the 7th of January, 1991. Is
15 it correct, sir, that even before that time, members of the SDS were
16 making preparations for conflict, armed conflict, with the other ethnic
17 groups in Prijedor?
18 A. Again, this is a very difficult question. I have told you that
19 people were arming themselves in huge numbers, Croats, and especially
20 Muslims did that. And faced with such a situation, I know that the Serbs
21 also armed themselves. But there is also the fact that they all had arms
22 from the Territorial Defence, across the board. But as far as I could
23 understand you, you're talking about the entire state, and you allege that
24 the Serbs were getting ready for an armed conflict. I don't know what you
25 can base this statement on. I don't know why you can say that.
1 Q. Sir, I'm going to try for the rest of my questions to confine
2 myself to Prijedor, and that question was confined to Prijedor. Unless I
3 say otherwise, I mean only Prijedor. And I'll try to be even more
4 specific. Sir, isn't it true that Simo Drljaca was forming a separate
5 Serb police as early as the fall of 1991 in preparation for conflict with
6 the other ethnic groups?
7 A. Honest to God, I didn't know that.
8 Q. You testified on your -- well, in your radio interview that was
9 played during the first day of your testimony, you talked about the Serbs
10 being organised in every village, on S91. What did you mean when you said
11 that the Serbs were organised in every village?
12 A. You know how things are. When there are wolves, people get
13 organised to protect their families from wolves. I've told you that when
14 people learned that in the suburbs of the town and in the neighbouring
15 villages, in those enclaves, either through the SDA, the Muslims and
16 Croats were arming themselves, then the Serbs also did the same, to
17 protect their families. But as far as I know, there were no activities
18 involving fire weapons. I took the oath here to tell the truth, and I can
19 say under the solemn declaration that nobody used firearms against
20 anybody, either the Serbs against the Muslims or vice versa. Such things
21 did not happen in our town.
22 MR. KOUMJIAN: I'd like the usher to hand out a newspaper article
23 from Kozarski Vjesnik entitled: "Memories on April's events in 1992."
24 And I believe it's dated the 28th of April, 1995.
25 Q. While that's being handed out, sir, who was Dusan Jankovic?
1 A. Dusan Jankovic, I don't know exactly, but I believe that he was
2 the commander of a police station in the Security Services Centre. I
3 believe that they are -- they have different duties. Some are in charge
4 of traffic. Some are in charge of general crimes. But I believe that he
5 was the commander of a public security station.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous interpretation continues]... S430A and
7 B respectively.
8 THE REGISTRAR: S430.
9 MR. KOUMJIAN:
10 Q. And, sir, Miroslav Paras is a name familiar to you. He was a
11 police officer that you saw at the Trnopolje camp when you were there,
12 correct? And excuse me, just so that there's no arguments, I will call it
13 the Trnopolje centre.
14 At the Trnopolje centre, sir, you saw Mr. Paras, Miroslav Paras.
16 A. Where? [Realtime transcript read in error "Yes"]
17 Q. And he was a commander of the intervention squad or one of its
18 members. Correct?
19 A. It is quite possible. I don't know the structure, and I don't
20 know who the commander was because I had nothing whatsoever to do with the
21 police, except when I asked for escorts for those people who were leaving
22 towards Central Bosnia.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's intervention, the answer appears
24 as "yes," and the answer by the witness was "where". That is 22.,
1 MR. KOUMJIAN:
2 Q. Sir, just to be clear for the record, because there appears to be
3 an error in the transcript, when I asked you whether you saw Miroslav
4 Paras the policeman at the Trnopolje centre, what is your answer?
5 A. I don't remember what he looks like. I may have seen him, but I
6 don't remember him. I'm sorry. Give me a minute to try and remember. I
7 believe that he was one of the policemen who got killed, a fair-haired
8 one. They are much younger people than me. I do have a vague
9 recollection of his face, and the name does ring a very distant bell, but
10 I can't be sure.
11 Q. Thank you. Sir, at the time that this article was published in
12 Kozarski Vjesnik, did you have a position with that newspaper in 1995?
13 A. Yes, I was the director of that newspaper.
14 Q. Looking at the article entitled "memories on April's events in
15 1992," I'd like to read out, and you can read along with me, the first two
16 sentences under the paragraph that appears in bold "establishment of SJB
18 "The idea to form a Serb public security station that will work
19 and act illegally appeared in the beginning of November and had been
20 realised on 10 November, 1991. Checked group of men led by Dusan Jankovic
21 formed 11 illegal war police stations soon. Right in the beginning, the
22 hardest tasks were performed successfully. Cooperation with the army was
23 great, what accomplished better work of Prijedor's police." As
25 Sir, do you have any comment upon -- were you aware that
1 Mr. Jankovic formed 11 illegal Serb police stations beginning in November
3 A. Honest to God, I didn't know that. I don't know why this would be
4 necessary. I believe that he was a member of the police at the time in
5 the public security centre in Prijedor. I don't know.
6 Q. Sir, in 1995 when you were the director of Kozarski Vjesnik, was
7 it your habit to read the newspaper?
8 A. Well, yes and no. Sometimes I did, but sometimes I did not. If
9 you had in mind this particular paper, it was the editor in chief who was
10 supposed to read this paper. They had a meeting in the morning, an
11 editorial meeting, and they would discuss the contents of the paper.
12 Q. Sir, talking a bit more about the takeover, you talked about a
13 telegram that had been intercepted and that a decision was made to do the
14 takeover on the night, that was in the early morning of the 30th of April,
15 1992, so between the 29th and 30th.
16 Isn't it correct, Mr. Kuruzovic, that actually earlier you had
17 planned to do the takeover on the 1st of May?
18 A. I don't remember the discussions about the date, but I remember
19 that we were talking about a situation, that there was anarchy, and that
20 that situation called for the takeover of power. And this was the talk in
21 the entire town among all the citizens because the situation was really
22 bad. In addition to that, war raged all over the place already, and it
23 may sound bad for me to say that, but the Serbs grazed grass in the
24 stadium of Sarajevo and Prijedor was full of refugees from western
25 Slavonia, from Krajina, from Central Bosnia, from Travnik, from Zenica,
1 Bugojno, Visoko, from the western part of Bosnia, from Bihac, Cazin, and
2 Kljuc. And people had members of family already killed, and the overall
3 situation instilled fear among the people.
4 Q. Sir, going to the section of the article entitled "takeover of the
5 authorities," that would be the fourth bolded section, I'm going to read
6 the first paragraph of that section.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would you please be so kind and read both
8 paragraphs. That would be helpful, that we need not come back.
9 MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay.
10 Q. "Seriousness of the situation improved fast, so the realisation of
11 takeover the authorities had been agreed for the night between 30 April
12 and 1 May. However, on 29 April, at 1400 hours, a letter arrived in
13 Prijedor by which Delimustafic and Jerko Doko explicitly ordered blockade
14 of the barracks, military convoys, and transports. Due to that reason,
15 date for takeover by the authorities was moved 24 hours, on 29/30 April,
16 at 4.00 a.m."
17 I have to apologise, Your Honour. Apparently this is a rough
18 translation. I will try to get a better translation as soon as possible.
19 "The public security station was taken as the first one in which a
20 group of the policemen led by deceased Miroslav Paras entered without a
21 fired bullet and by the same way all more important structure in town have
22 been taken. A code message "taxi bar works" meant that the action of
23 taking over the authorities in Prijedor was performed without any mistake.
24 The day after, the Serb tricolour flag fluttered at the masts in front of
25 the municipal building and the SJB. Congratulations from the CSB, and
1 many SJBs of the Republic of Srpska arrived for well-done conducted task.
2 In this way, Prijedor has become a Serb town."
3 And sir, I'm going to ask you to read, because of the poor quality
4 of this translation, if you look at the next section entitled "fiery
5 action was imposed by political circumstances," could you read that
6 section out loud beginning with Simo Drljaca's quote, then Dusan Jankovic,
7 then Milutin Cadzo.
8 A. I can't seem to find it. It says here: "The MUP of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina calls for the disarmament of Serbs," but I don't know
10 what you're talking about.
11 MR. KOUMJIAN: I'm sorry. Perhaps --
12 A. Is it maybe here where it says the takeover of power?
13 Q. It is the section just after what I just read. The title is
14 something like "fiery action was imposed by political circumstances" and
15 it begins with a quote from Simo Drljaca.
16 A. Okay, I understand now. Do you want me to read what Simo Drljaca
18 Q. Please.
19 A. "The action to take over power was done impeccably, and this is
20 corroborated by the fact that only 460 policemen participated in the
21 execution of this operation. The operation was successful without any
22 casualties. Together with my colleagues, Dusan Jankovic and
23 Milutin Cadzo, I started to organise the public security centre in
24 Prijedor. At that time, we had already had 11 Serbian police stations,
25 and after the takeover, the stations in Kozarac and Ljubija were also
2 Q. And now if you could read Mr. Jankovic's remarks.
3 A. Jankovic, you're saying?
4 Q. Please, if you could read the next two paragraphs.
5 A. I believe that what it says here is that "the activity of the army
6 during the April events had been coordinated in advance with the
7 activities of the Serbian Democratic Party and the Serbian police. As the
8 first chief of the Serbian war police stations, I had been informed about
9 my men, about everything. Already during the first meetings held in late
10 1991, we embarked on a decisive implementation of all the planned tasks
11 because we were aware that there was no going back. There could not be
12 going back. After all, every people was given to make their own decisions
13 and choose their own way. But when it came to the Serbian staff, there
14 could be no hesitation."
15 Do you also want me to read what Milutin Cadzo said in the next
17 Q. Perhaps in the interests of time, I'd like you to move on, please.
18 There then is a section that appears to be an interview with you. And
19 then the third bolded section entitled "MUP of Bosnia-Herzegovina asks for
20 disarmament of Serbs." If you could read that section, that entire
21 section to us, please.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Before that, another interpreter's intervention
23 if we may, the title of this passage is not "Fiery action," but a "blitz
24 action" or a "lightning action".
25 A. I can't find this. Oh, I see. The attack on "BH MUP calls for
1 the disarmament of Serbs". Is that what you had in mind?
2 MR. KOUMJIAN: Yes, sir.
3 Q. If you could read from that section there to the end of the
5 A. "At one of the meetings in late April where representatives of the
6 Serb police, the army, and the Territorial Defence were present, as well
7 as the representatives of the Serbian Democratic Party, the principle
8 dilemma was as to when would be the most appropriate moment to carry out
9 the takeover of power in Prijedor Municipality. The organisers of the
10 Serb resistance were in two minds, whether to start -- embark on that
11 action on the last day of holiday or on the first working day in the month
12 of May.
13 Slobodan Kuruzovic had to say this about that. So this text is
14 the journalist's opinion and introduction of what I allegedly said: "All
15 our fears and dilemmas were resolved by the former minister of the
16 interior, Jerko Doko by his fax message dated 29 April, 1992, in which,
17 amongst other things, there is an order to disarm Serb policemen, from the
18 active and reserve forces. That should have been done by taking the SUP
19 building and it was also envisaged that the Zarko Zgonjanin barracks would
20 be taken. Although Jerko Doko could not even dream that this would
21 happen, the fax was received not only by the Muslim authority in Prijedor,
22 but also by us."
23 Q. Sir, if you could continue reading, and at the end, I'll ask you
24 for your comments or any -- if you want to indicate whether or not you
25 believe you said this or not. But please, continue to read.
1 A. "Well, then, we immediately went to Lieutenant-Colonel
2 Vladimir Arsic, to the barracks, to ask for his advice as to what we
3 should do. We had an opportunity to take over the power by force, but we
4 needed a certain time to charge certain groups of people and men with
5 certain tasks. Despite our indecisiveness, Commander Arsic managed to
6 persuade us not to wait because that job was best done immediately. On
7 that same night, he reminded me of many actions that had to be organised
8 in a haste in Lipik, and successes were achieved in that way. Because in
9 such situation, decisiveness, speed, and surprise were crucial. And that
10 is exactly what happened. All the preparations were carried out on the
11 same evening. We were divided into two groups, the police group and the
12 military group. The police group was organised by Drljaca, Cadzo, and
13 Jankovic, and the military group was organised by Captains Bojic ^, Savic
14 ^, Karlica, Agent Nadja ^ and also by Major Rajlic and myself. This was a
15 statement," and again these are journalist's words. "It was a statement
16 by Slobodan Kuruzovic, the former commander of the Serbian Territorial
17 Defence regarding some less-known detail on the organisation and takeover
18 of power in Prijedor."
19 Q. Sir, this article as you can see appeared in Kozarski Vjesnik of
20 which you were the director in 1995. Is there anything in the article
21 that you dispute?
22 A. Why, I haven't read the whole article, I just read this part. But
23 no, I'm not disputing any of this. As it says, when His Honour the
24 Presiding Judge asked me, and later, and the Defence, too, they asked me
25 the day the dispatch arrived, we read it this morning, which was ordering
1 the disarmament of the barracks and the order to launch combat operations,
2 and I can't remember exactly the contents of that whole order. But I saw
3 it now in point of fact it was an order to destroy both the barracks and
4 the troops and to take SUP.
5 So as our people say, that was just one drop too many, and at the
6 meeting which I attended, as you know, it was agreed that power should be
7 taken over that night. And the police organised that. And as regards the
8 military part, people were -- people in villages around the town were
9 simply informed that the power would be taken over that night. And in
10 case something happened, that they would be let know about it to take care
11 and to guard people there, to look after the people, to avoid any
12 casualties. But otherwise, there was no military action.
13 Q. First, sir, I recognise this is a long article, and in fairness to
14 you, I would ask -- tell you that we will give you an extra copy to keep
15 with you over the weekend and to read. And on Monday, you can tell us if
16 there are any other matters that you dispute. If there are any matters
17 you dispute in the article.
18 Is it correct, sir, as stated in the article that the decision
19 about the takeover, the timing of it, was moved up 24 hours and had
20 originally been planned for the next day?
21 A. I don't know. I wouldn't say "planned." There was discussion
22 about it. There was no major decision because, of course, the fear was
23 involved. After all, it's not easy to take it over. There is the state.
24 There is the police, this is the army. But when this dispatch arrived, it
25 was really just too much. Concerning the attitude that this power had
1 towards the army or the police, and they do not exist in a vacuum. There
2 are also citizens there, people who live there. So they read that the
3 barracks should be attacked, that everybody should be disarmed, both the
4 military and the police, can you imagine how the Serb people received this
5 news, I mean, the representatives of that people?
6 Q. By the way, the telegram you're talking about is the one that
7 Milos Jankovic brought to someone's attention. Is that correct? Do you
8 know where it came from?
9 A. Well, from the Ministry of Defence, from Sarajevo, and the
10 commander of the Territorial Defence in Sarajevo. But it arrived
11 officially because in the municipal hall, there is an official telephone.
12 I think it's 985. And that is used for some extraordinary news, and then
13 it is -- and then such texts are only given to the institutions indicated.
14 So I don't know, or rather I can guess. Since Mr. Stakic was the
15 vice-president of the Municipal Assembly, he was also one of those who
16 received this dispatch, not only the president or the chief of police.
17 And that is how the meeting was called, and people attended this meeting.
18 Now I see that it is made of two parts, and it is much more serious. I
19 was told about that in haste, because Simo Miskovic and I were amongst the
20 last to arrive.
21 Q. So what you learned about the telegram on the 29th of April was
22 just what you were told by Mr. Stakic. You didn't actually see the
23 telegram yourself on the 29th. Would that be correct?
24 A. Not only --
25 Q. Please.
1 A. Yes, I didn't see it personally. I didn't hear it from him only,
2 but also from those other present who had arrived there before me. And
3 that meeting was a very short one. People were commenting on that.
4 Q. Sir, the takeover, though, had been planned before the telegram
5 arrived, correct? It's clear from this article that the takeover had been
6 planned for the 30th, and was moved up because of the telegram. Correct?
7 A. Well, it is, and it isn't. I said that yes, it was discussed.
8 People said it was necessary, and people were suggesting to do it during
9 the holiday when the offices are empty, when people are not there, when to
10 avoid any silly thing from happening. There wasn't an agreement to do it.
11 And then two or three days before the holiday, when it arrived, then I
12 said that, and others also think that all the dilemmas are resolved as
13 said. That is, Jerko Doko with his cable forced us to do it, whether we
14 liked it or not.
15 Q. Sir, on the 29th of April, if you could just describe for us a
16 little bit about the conditions of the town of Prijedor. At that
17 time - please just answer my questions briefly right now, if you can - at
18 that time, was there water and electricity in Prijedor, on the 29th of
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. On the 29th of April, at that time, why was it necessary in the
22 view of you and the others planning a takeover to remove the president of
23 the Municipal Assembly?
24 A. I mean, well, water and electricity are not the only things
25 determining living conditions. There was a notion of problems in the town
1 which were not being solved properly. For the town to live and work, one
2 needed to have shops open, to ensure the exchange of goods between people,
3 to buy and sell land and plots of land where facilities would be built and
4 so on and so forth. I don't know -- that is, I know, but perhaps it
5 wouldn't be all right for me to say. I cannot say personally. But this
6 was obstructed. It couldn't simply work because the authorities, the
7 government, was not fully formed, not all the offices were distributed.
8 That is why it was done at the Serb expense, that is, that the commercial
9 outlets or plots were all either let or sold to members of the Party for
10 Democratic Action, that is, Muslims, not Serbs. Perhaps one cannot say
11 that there were pressures, but there were major requests to buy land from
12 Serbs around town or purchase of business outlets, and people were
13 talking. That was a constant topic in the town.
14 I know that more prominent, eminent people were trying to calm
15 people down, "well, don't sell, take it easy." But you know how people
16 react when there is constant pressure and so on and so forth. Well,
17 perhaps I didn't list it all. You told me to be brief, but I hope it's
18 all clear.
19 Q. Sir, what were your plans? Let me first go back a minute. When
20 you did the takeover in Prijedor on the 30th of April, you took over the
21 institutions within the town of Prijedor. And there was no attempt to go
22 into those areas that were dominated by other ethnic groups, particularly
23 the Kozarac area and the Brdo area, Stari Grad. Correct?
24 A. Stari Grad isn't an integral part of the town. There was no
25 problem there so I don't know how to tell you. It's practically in the
1 centre of the town, except that a long time ago, that is where Prijedor
2 started to grow, so there was no problem about that. And over here, I
3 mean at Hambarine, and that other side, people went normally until those
4 checkpoints grew up there, which didn't allow people to get through. I
5 hope that I've answered that, too.
6 Q. When you took over authority in the town, did you set up
7 checkpoints in the town of Prijedor? Did the Serb police, and whatever
8 other forces were assisting them, set up checkpoints, set up things like
9 machine-guns in front of the Municipal Assembly, guard posts, checkpoints
10 leading into the town, for example at Tukovi?
11 A. Yes, I mean it's next to the bridge. You cross the Sana, and
12 that's where Tukovi is. There were checkpoints. The checkpoints were
13 mostly at the exits to the town, not all over the town because otherwise
14 it would look like a state of war. But I don't remember that there was a
15 machine-gun in front of the municipal hall. No, I think there was one,
16 but it was only after the attack. That is, a few days later. They were
17 afraid that another attack might ensue. But I don't remember whether
18 there was something before the attack on the 30th or after that. I think
19 it was after that.
20 Q. In fact, you know about the checkpoints because part of your
21 duties was to supply the checkpoints with food. Correct?
22 A. Yes. Yes.
23 Q. And after the elected authorities were removed in Prijedor, at
24 that time, Muslims still remained in control of Kozarac and the Brdo
25 region, Hambarine and the Brdo region. Correct? And they did, as you
1 said, set up checkpoints to prevent armed individuals from going -- well,
2 let's not talk about the purpose. They did set up checkpoints in Kozarac
3 and Hambarine, the Muslims set up their own. Correct?
4 A. Yes, set up checkpoints and armed men, well that could apply to
6 Q. Now, sir, when you had this plan to take over Prijedor, what was
7 your plan about what you were going to do with the Muslims that were so
8 concentrated in areas like Kozarac and Brdo?
9 A. What was being planned? Well, there was no such plan. I don't
10 know why you're talking about this in this way. As far as I know, there
11 was no such conversations. There were talks. It wasn't plans. People
12 were talking, saying that the problems in the town and municipality have
13 reached such proportions that something had to be done, that such a
14 situation couldn't really go on, and during the half hour, that is how
15 long the meeting lasted, I don't know whether there was even a theoretical
16 chance to prepare such plans. But as far as I know, nobody ever adopted
17 such plans.
18 What happened what happened because there was an attack on the
19 town, because people were killed at Hambarine, and because the army had
20 responded to that attack there.
21 Q. So, sir, there was no plan to change the demographics of Prijedor,
22 and the SDS, those of you involved in the takeover, had no problem with
23 holding a fair election where the majority would be allowed to speak and
24 perhaps another Muslim government would be elected?
25 A. I don't think that there was this problem. If you managed to come
1 by some information during the talks that I had in Puharska, in
2 Stari Grad, with those people in Kozarac, with that Mr. Solo from Cela, it
3 was always said as I said it, and I heard others say it, once I believe
4 Mr. Stakic was present at such a meeting when Mr. Solo came with his
5 covillagers, with the imam and people from the neighbourhood community
6 office. And we asked them -- at all our meetings, we asked them to
7 maintain law and order in all those localities and have the political
8 matters settled later on. Let's organise new elections, if they want the
9 government, then let them have it. But we're saying that while the
10 situation was such as it is, it was simply guard localities and people and
11 everybody, and I remember that is what these talks and conversations were
12 about. Now, if need be, you can ask those people, too. Mr. Solo is in
13 Prijedor. I saw him several times, and we greeted one another, and we're
14 glad to see one another. And he thanked me. But it doesn't really matter
15 how I helped. Mr. Rifat Kurtovic who was in Stari Grad and he is in
16 Prijedor, too. He is now in his house. Muhedin Saric, he is the
17 principal of the school in Kozarac right now, and he can also, I mean,
18 confirm this. And my neighbours over there, I'm told they still live.
19 Bego Celic's family, Mina Alijagic's family, they are there. And the
20 Kapetanovic family, and the Ivica Vidikovic's family, they are there.
21 They can confirm what were those conversations like, and they were pretty
23 Now, what somebody from other parties said -- and I won't call
24 them nationalistic. They were national parties, the SDA and such. Now
25 what they wanted, what their plans were, that is another matter. People
1 sold lots of their property, and thus they got money to buy arms, for the
2 Muslims and for the Croats. For Serbs, then, yes, because there was fear
3 around. But we were always the last one, just as when the party was
4 formed. That is not the party, but the movement. Everybody did it before
5 us, and we still believed in Yugoslavia, and we believed that Yugoslavia
6 would survive and that we would preserve it and that we would be its path.
7 But you see, it failed, not the Yugoslavia has remained in part, and now
8 also this one has fallen apart.
9 Q. Did the Crisis Staff issue a poster that was put around the town
10 after the takeover explaining the reasons for the takeover and that in the
11 future, there would be elections after peace was established?
12 A. I know that this was discussed. Some elders, those not -- those
13 who had more experience said that perhaps it would be a wise thing to do.
14 But I do not know where and in how many places those posters were. Quite
15 possibly, yes.
16 Q. Sir, you talked about the negotiations that you took part in. Is
17 it correct that then you were negotiating for the disarmament of those
18 people in places like Brdo, Kozarac, and Cela, to have them turn their
19 weapons in to the Serb authorities?
20 A. No, no, not within that context. It was discussed to disarm some
21 paramilitary forms, and those who were in the field, that they should
22 control the situation because there were also parts of the police force,
23 and that those who for all sorts of their personal reasons had somehow
24 procured personal weapons should not be allowed to do anything on their
25 own, to avoid any misfortune because, you know, if somebody resorts to
1 arms -- well, you know the situation was tense anyway, so that all sorts
2 of stupid things could have happened. And as you heard, yes, it did
3 happen. Aliskovic, and I don't know whether somebody ordered him to do it
4 or not, that is also possible, but he did it. And then those in Kozarac,
5 and then, well, you see that's how it started. The Serbs, they didn't
6 kill anyone, nor did they start anything. They didn't attack anyone in
7 their convoys, in their patrols or anything, or at their checkpoints.
8 Q. Sir, let's talk about the negotiations. You mentioned Mr. Solo.
9 Is that someone from Cela? I'm sorry, do you know his full name?
10 A. Not exactly. But he's an imam. He's a hodza. That's what he was
11 in Cela. That's what I know. A man, a nice man, and he worked for the
12 humanitarian organisation Merhamet in Prijedor.
13 Q. You also negotiated with several other people of Muslim ethnicity
14 or non-Serb ethnicity. Dr. Esad Sadikovic was one of them. Can you tell
15 us who he is.
16 A. Well, right, I don't mind. Those were not negotiations. Those
17 were talks, they weren't negotiations. But never mind. He's a well-known
18 doctor in Prijedor, a physician, whose children attended the school of
19 which I was the principal. That man respected me, and I knew that he was
20 a nice gentleman, and I think he was a member of the reformist forces or
21 something of that sort. At his initiative, the meeting took place, and I
22 asked that this meeting be organised, and the two of us went up to Brdo
23 near Carakovo and talked there with people. The imam was there, and the
24 SDA president, and the president of the neighbourhood community there, and
25 some other people, I don't remember. And we had agreed that they would
1 look after that area, and they would keep an eye on those young people who
2 have hot blood to prevent them from doing something silly. And there was
3 the Territorial Defence who also had their arms pursuant to a decision of
4 the Council for people's defence of 1991.
5 Q. Sir, when you say the president of the SDA, do you mean for
6 Prijedor or for Kozarac? Are you referring to Mr. Becir Medunjanin?
7 A. No. No, I'm not talking about any of them. I mean the president
8 of that part of the SDA which had to do with that neighbourhood community.
9 It is a branch of the SDA, whoever it was, when I spoke about Brdo.
10 Q. Sir, did you speak to Becir Medunjanin in your talks?
11 A. Yes, once. There was a meeting. It was the president of the SDS
12 party, Mr. Miskovic, and senator, Mr. Srdja insisted on that. And a man
13 from Kozarac came, Mr. Medunjanin was one of them, and there was an MP, a
14 young one, what's his name? Sejmenovic. And a fair-haired engineer, I
15 forget what he did in the municipality, but he taught physics. Before
16 that, he was also my pupil. I can't remember what his name was because it
17 was a long time ago. They were young people, and we discussed the
18 situation with them in Kozarac and at the checkpoint and with the weapons
19 carried by those who were outside the Territorial Defence. And as far as
20 I can remember, in that part which belonged to the Territorial Defence of
21 Kozarac, in Kozarusa, that is, it has already been transformed into a
22 large barracks with many armed men who were under the guise of Territorial
23 Defence. But that Territorial Defence wasn't all that numerous. However,
24 there was a large number of people who were armed there. But, right. The
25 chief reason was the behaviour at the checkpoint and the request that the
1 policemen who, in the organisational sense of the word, were under the
2 public security station in Prijedor should perform their work within that
3 public security centre, that is, to look after the peace and order, to
4 enforce law, and to be loyal adherents of that power. Well, there was a
5 problem of the patches they would have. When they said that they would
6 never manage to prevail upon those policemen, to put the patches of the
7 said police, because the distribution of colours was different on the
8 flags, then we agreed that it should be so. But we said that those who
9 would arm themselves paramilitarily outside the Territorial Defence, we
10 asked them to take the weapons from them and to keep them in the
11 Territorial Defence and that they should enforce the order in Kozarac, in
12 that neighbourhood community. And they promised to talk, but as we could
13 see, that talk bore no fruit because the military, the army column was
14 attacked. People were killed, and then the army's ultimatum ensued. And
15 so --
16 Q. Sir, in the interests of time and an orderly examination, please
17 limit your answer to the question. The question I asked, much of what you
18 just said you've told us before. The question I asked was did you speak
19 to Mr. Medunjanin. And you began your answer with yes. Now I want to ask
20 you, sir, is it correct that you knew Mr. Medunjanin as a colleague from
21 the schools? He was a teacher like you. Is that correct?
22 A. No, I didn't know him. I'd only heard about him. I think he was
23 chief of the police at that time. Otherwise, yes, he was a teacher. I've
24 heard about that. But I didn't know him, and I didn't talk with him
25 directly. We all talked together.
1 Q. Okay. Thank you. Dedo Crnalic, you knew him. He was a
2 well-known figure, owned a restaurant in Prijedor. And he participated in
3 those talks. Correct?
4 A. Yes, I mean, these talks in Stari Grad were, up to a point, the
5 result of the initiative Dr. Sadikovic or Dr. Crnalic, the two of them
6 went with me to Stari Grad. There was a large number of people there.
7 And now I've forgotten who else was there. I think that Miskovic was
8 there, but I'm not quite sure. I don't know. I know that I wasn't alone.
9 And the folk there know me well, the Muslims who had grown up with me
10 because that is practically the centre of the town and they trusted me.
11 And Mr. Dedo, he had known me all my life. He knew what kind of a person
12 I was, so that they trusted us. They received us there, and we talked.
13 And then whatever the case, I think another one turned up, I think his
14 name was Hadzja, and another man called Beganovic who had taken weapons
15 from the depot of the Territorial Defence, which was there and fired and
16 threatened some girls, but as far as I know, nobody got killed. And they
17 were also seized by fear and they did not say anything about the
18 government even though they disagreed with them and the promise, because
19 there were a large number of people, 2 or 300 people who were present at
20 those talks, many of my acquaintances and pupils, and we agreed that they
21 would do their utmost to prevent any excesses, and that was the end of
22 those talks.
23 Q. So, sir, when the Muslim representatives refused to put on the
24 patch of the Serbian Republic -- the police refused to put on the patch of
25 the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and they refused to turn in
1 their weapons, who did you report that to?
2 A. Well, I simply participated, I said. Perhaps I've said it already
3 two or three times. Perhaps it is funny to talk in this way about it. It
4 is immodest. I participated because I was invited. Otherwise it wasn't
5 my duty to do it. It was up to the public security station, that is,
6 Mr. Simo Drljaca who was the head of the centre. The weapons -- the
7 police wasn't asked to hand over the weapons. What we asked was he asked
8 from the official police in Kozarac was to take the weapons from those who
9 represented some kind of paramilitary formations and were firing shots
10 around Kozarac. There are even photographs of them doing that. And they
11 refused to do it.
12 And under the pretext that they were not wearing that sign, at
13 least that is what I understood them to say. Now, who it was -- who is it
14 that the chief of the police sent his report to, I don't know. I guess it
15 was to his superior.
16 Q. Sir, did you speak in the Crisis Staff about these talks or in the
17 National Defence Council, did you speak - and I don't mean you personally,
18 but in the group - was there discussion about these talks with the Muslims
19 from Kozarac and Hambarine?
20 A. Probably we did. I don't remember exactly. There must have been
21 a discussion. It was impossible for these things to be happening without
22 anybody talking about them. It seems to me that people were glad there
23 were such discussions and such talks.
24 Q. Sir, are you aware of a Howitzer battery and anti-aircraft weapons
25 being moved to Prijedor in early May following the takeover?
1 A. I don't know, but I can assume, if you want me to guess and if you
2 want to hear my guesses, I can share them with you. The Howitzers and the
3 anti-aircraft guns, they're all weapons belonging to the army. And if the
4 corps command issued an order for part of the army to return to Prijedor,
5 to the barracks, from wherever they had been, it is possible that the
6 Howitzers and other artillery pieces arrived on the order of the region
7 command or Colonel Arsic, that is, or anybody else that was authorised by
8 him to issue such an order.
9 Q. Just so that we have the context, at that time, part of the
10 343rd Brigade was deployed along the front in Croatia where there was a
11 cease-fire, but no peace. Correct?
12 A. I don't know. I don't remember. It certainly was not peace. It
13 was a cease-fire. Peace arrived only later. I suppose you're right. It
14 must have been a cease-fire, and I know that one part of the brigade was
15 up there. Or maybe even the whole brigade. I'm just tying this question
16 to your earlier question. Probably one part of the brigade was up there,
17 and the other part of the brigade was ordered to return back to the
18 barracks in Prijedor.
19 Q. Sir, were you present at any discussions that would give you an
20 insight into why these heavy weapons were moved into the Prijedor
21 Municipality after the takeover and who they were anticipated to be used
23 A. No, I did not attend such talks. Can you imagine such weapons
24 arriving and talks involving such weapons? It was the garrison command
25 that had all the authority, and the orders are just not discussed. If the
1 corps commander issued an order, then the troops were there to carry out
2 those orders, not to ask any questions, either them or anybody else.
3 Q. Okay, thank you. Sir, you're aware that among the people that you
4 had these talks with, Esad Sadikovic, Dedo Crnalic, Becir Medunjanin, that
5 they are all were killed -- were all sent to the Omarska camp and killed.
6 You're aware of that, is that correct?
7 A. I have not been officially informed about that. But I heard it on
8 the grapevine. I heard it from other people, that they had been
9 incarcerated in Omarska. Now as to whether they were killed there or not,
10 I don't know. I know that they are not in Prijedor. I also haven't heard
11 stories about them being anywhere else. What has happened to them, I
12 don't know. Whether they were still alive, whether they joined with their
13 families or not, I don't know. And I can't give you any official answer
14 to this question. They're just -- they're rumours and what people are
15 guessing. So I can't give either a yes or a no answer to this question of
17 Q. Sir, would it be correct that among members of the SDS in
18 Prijedor, and other persons sympathetic to that party, one of the most
19 infamous figures in the history of Prijedor would have been
20 Slavko Ecimovic who led the attack on Prijedor on the 30th of May?
21 A. You have used a strong -- very, very powerful attribute. This
22 Slavko Ecimovic was one of my students. He was his maths and physics
23 teacher. He was a wonderful guy. He spent a lot of time working in
24 Zagreb as a taxi driver. I did not see him nor was I anywhere close to
25 him when these operation were taking place. I was surprised to hear that
1 he was the leader of those 125 or 150 men who were involved in the attack
2 on Prijedor.
3 Q. Sir, it was also well-known that when this attack by 120 or men
4 with rifles, that you were quoted in one of the articles earlier saying
5 did not have a ghost of a chance, that Slavko Ecimovic was arrested, he
6 was captured during that operation when it was defeated. Correct?
7 A. Yes, I did comment upon that. And I said that there was not a
8 slight chance because there were checkpoints. There was the army along
9 the Sana River, next to the bridge. I know that a number of people were
10 killed at that checkpoint. I don't know how many of them, towards
11 Gomjenica, they entered through the private houses, across the Stari Grad
12 some people were killed there because there was army there as well, and
13 they had headed towards the city centre. But the news travelled very
14 fast, and the army regrouped its ranks. People got very soon connected by
15 telephones, and the army neutralised that attack, although they managed to
16 arrive as far as the Municipal Assembly. I believe that 16 of them were
17 killed, and a number of them were wounded. However, that attack was
18 brought to an end. It was interrupted.
19 As for Slavko and for his lot, I don't know. I suppose that he
20 was captured, maybe taken to prison for interrogation. Because he was the
21 one who carried out this attack, this armed attack. I already said that.
22 Maybe the comparison is not very nice, but when the Serbs were taking
23 over, no lives were lost, no shot was fired. But when this attack was
24 carried out, it ended differently. But that's another story. It would
25 have been best if nothing had happened. If there were negotiations and
1 agreements at the level of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was
2 then called the Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and if
3 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic had -- I apologise. I thought maybe I should say
4 this, because it seems very important to me, but you don't want me to say
5 it, I apologise.
6 If I may continue.
7 Q. I'd request you to just answer the question. We really don't want
8 to discuss right now the politics of the entire war. We're talking about
9 Mr. Ecimovic who you described as a wonderful man, and who other witnesses
10 or at least one witness has described as a man of integrity who led the
11 attempts to retake Prijedor after the elected government was overthrown
12 was captured. Sir, such a high-profile figure, wouldn't it be well-known
13 what happened to him, his fate? Didn't you know, he, as one of your
14 former students, weren't you aware that he went to the Omarska camp and
15 was killed?
16 A. I know that he was arrested and taken away. Whether he was killed
17 or not, I don't know. Maybe the way you worded it was a bit different.
18 He was a young person, and he was handsome. He was resourceful. His life
19 was well organised. He worked in Zagreb. He started helping his family.
20 I don't know whether he was married or not. He had been my student, and I
21 knew him rather well. So I was really taken by surprise when I heard that
22 he was the leader of that attack. I did hear stories about him being
23 taken to Omarska and about his unfortunate lot. I myself was never in
24 Omarska or in Keraterm. I can't say I'm glad that I wasn't there, but if
25 what happened, what is alleged to have happened really, really happened,
1 then it is a disgrace for all of us, for my people, for all of us, for my
3 Q. Sir, let's turn now to the Trnopolje camp for a moment. You told
4 us that this was a centre set up to help those who didn't have a home or
5 who came there voluntarily. You said that buses and convoys came there,
6 trains, carrying people outside of Prijedor. How many thousands of
7 individuals do you think passed through the Trnopolje centre in 1992?
8 A. I don't know exactly. Maybe 6 or 7.000 people altogether. If
9 some of them left by trains or by buses, I believe their total number was
10 2 or 3.000. Some of them returned to Prijedor, to their homes. Some left
11 with the UNHCR. About 1.450 men altogether were taken by buses to
12 Karlovac. And between 200 and 300 who remained and left on my insisting.
13 So altogether, I believe that the grand total was between 6 and 7.000. I
14 don't know exactly. Maybe you could use the information that the
15 Red Cross could provide you with. They had the list of those they issued
16 with certificates, and they are the ones who could maybe tell you how many
17 certificates they issued to people who asked for those certificates.
18 Q. Sir, we just have a minutes left today. Using your testimony, as
19 I understand your testimony, this centre was dealing with a humanitarian
20 crisis, that there were thousands of people, they didn't have beds. You
21 acknowledged that some of them had to dig outside toilets, that there was
22 a problem they had to be fed. This was, would you agree, a huge
23 humanitarian crisis involving thousands of people from the municipality of
24 Prijedor. Correct? And these were not suspects; these were innocent
25 people according to your testimony who were there for humanitarian
1 reasons. Correct?
2 A. Simply put, because of the war operations in Hambarine, in
3 Kozarac, they fled that area to avoid getting killed. They were not
4 incarcerated. They were not expunged. I don't know whether you
5 understand the military terminology. There was a mop-up operation against
6 those who had attacked the military convoy in order to disarm them. And
7 there was shooting going on there.
8 Q. I didn't ask you how they got there. My question was, there was,
9 according to your testimony, a huge humanitarian crisis. For that reason,
10 you say, the centre was set up and that you were dealing with feeding,
11 trying to provide housing, or at least a place to sleep on the ground or
12 on the floor, for thousands of people who were citizens of Prijedor who
13 were not prisoners or suspected of crime. Correct?
14 A. Correct. They fled because of war operations.
15 Q. If you can just answer the following questions briefly: What is
16 the distance from the Trnopolje camp to the Municipal Assembly building in
18 A. Well, some 10 kilometres, maybe more. I don't know exactly.
19 Q. What is the approximate distance from the Trnopolje camp to
21 A. You promised you wouldn't use the word "camp." About the same
23 Q. Sir, during the time that Milomir Stakic was the president of the
24 Crisis Staff, the president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, did you
25 ever see him visit the Trnopolje centre?
1 A. I don't remember of such a thing happening.
2 Q. Do you know why the president of the municipality did not go to
3 the centre where thousands of people from his municipality were homeless,
4 living under, according to your testimony, very, very bleak conditions?
5 A. I don't know. Maybe you should ask him. Maybe you should have
6 asked him.
7 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you. I have no further questions for today.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This concludes your testimony of today. May I
9 ask you, what was true also for the last days, please don't contact any of
10 the parties and please don't discuss the issues of your testimony together
11 with anybody, also not with any representative of your embassy or
12 consulate or any other person that may be at the same time being here in
13 The Hague for the purpose of testimony in this or in another case.
14 We'll restart on Monday, in principle, in Courtroom II, save
15 Courtroom I would be -- until now it's not foreseeable, Courtroom I would
16 be available.
17 So may I ask now the usher escort --
18 MR. KOUMJIAN:, Your Honour, could I make a special request. We
19 have a copy of the article I'd like him to review. There's also another
20 fairly lengthy document I'd like him to have so he could be prepared for
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Any objections?
23 MR. LUKIC: No objections, if we could have a copy of the same
25 MR. KOUMJIAN: Certainly.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it would be only fair.
2 May I then ask the usher to escort the witness out of the
4 [The witness stands down]
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: As indicated some days, or -- some days before
6 or even last week, the Trial Chamber has compiled a guidance on issues to
7 be addressed in final briefs and/or closing arguments. And for a better
8 understanding of this, there's no doubt at all that as regards factual
9 issues, the burden of proof is with the Prosecution, and it's not
10 necessarily that the Defence give some comments on factual issues.
11 Nevertheless, it's the right if the Defence so want, also to address
12 factual issues mentioned here, especially addressed to the Office of the
14 However, the Trial Chamber is of the opinion that these guidelines
15 not only serve as a judicial hint, but also serve as the best possible way
16 to grant the right to be heard to the parties on issues, especially legal
17 issues, that not yet have been resolved by this Tribunal. So therefore,
18 please regard this in part as a request, in part as an invitation. And
19 for the transcript, no doubt the absence of a question in relation to
20 certain facts does not mean that those facts have already been established
21 beyond a reasonable doubt. These are only special facts where the Trial
22 Chamber, for this period of time, has concrete questions, especially in
23 the direction of the OTP.
24 May I ask the usher, please, to distribute three copies to the
25 Prosecution, three copies to the Defence. And then please, one as an
1 attachment for today's transcript.
2 Thank you. Let us mark the document just right now distributed by
3 the Prosecution with the next available exhibit number for the
4 Prosecution. That would be S, Madam Registrar?
5 THE REGISTRAR: S431, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: S431, provisionally marked under this number.
7 Any other issues to be raised before the weekend? This is not the
8 case. This concludes not only today's hearing, but also this week's
9 hearing. It was a long, hard week. And I have to thank all the
10 participants assisting us, and I wish a good weekend to everybody. The
11 trial stays adjourned until Monday, 9.00.
12 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
13 at 4.38 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
14 the 31st day of March, 2003,
15 at 9.00 a.m.