1 THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL CASE NO. IT-94-1-T
2 FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
3 IN THE TRIAL CHAMBER
4 Friday, 24th May 1996
5 (10.00 a.m.)
6 (Hearing in closed session)
13 page 1349 redacted – closed session
13 page 1350 redacted – closed session
13 page 1351 redacted – closed session
9 (Hearing in open session)
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Tieger, you were questioning Mr. Semenovic.
11 MR. TIEGER: Yes, your Honour.
12 MR. MEVLUDIN SEMENOVIC, recalled
13 Examined by MR. TIEGER, continued.
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Semenovic, you understand that you are still
15 under oath, do you not?
16 THE WITNESS [In translation]: Yes, I do.
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Tieger, you may begin.
18 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, your Honour. (To the witness): Good morning, Mr.
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. Before yesterday's adjournment, you were testifying about the
22 measures imposed against the Muslim and Croat communities in Prijedor
23 after the military takeover. Did members of the SDA attempt to meet
24 with the coup leaders?
25 A. Yes, we tried that on several occasions and at various levels. The
1 Chairman of the party tried to do that and some members of the
2 Executive Board as well, and also some party institutions in local
3 communes. The last successful attempt was an agreement to have a
4 meeting between the leaders of the SDS and the SDA parties. That
5 meeting was held around either 15th or 16th April.
6 Q. Mr. Semenovic ----
7 A. This is May, I am sorry, May. The meeting was held in the SDS
8 offices. It was difficult to go to the meeting because the
9 territories where non-Serb population lived were completely blocked,
10 but conduct was ensured through Serbian checkpoints by telephone.
11 SDS guaranteed for people to be able to go to the meeting. I was at
12 the meeting.
13 Q. Mr. Semenovic, when you say "the last successful attempt", did you
14 mean by successful the fact that you were able to arrange a meeting?
15 A. Yes, the success was to ask the SDS to talk and they accepted.
16 Q. Did the SDA officials meet together in advance of the meeting to
17 discuss things?
18 A. Part of the leadership managed to meet, but it was impossible for the
19 whole leadership to meet, because movement was impaired and in some
20 parts impossible. So only part of the leadership was at that
21 meeting, but of course after the oral acknowledgment of the Chairman
22 of the Party and other members of the Executive Board.
23 Q. Were you able to get into the SDA party headquarters before that
25 A. No, we were not able to do it. When we arrived to Prijedor, I
1 started from Kozarac where I lived, that is, from Trnopolje to
2 Kozarac, and then some of us from the leadership of the Party, we
3 managed to come to the offices of the Party. We tried to go inside,
4 but the lock was changed. It was in the early hours of the
5 afternoon, around 1400 hours.
6 The key we had could not open the door any more. After several
7 attempts in knocking at the door, a lady who used to be a cleaner
8 there, she was a cleaner of one of the municipal departments on the
9 first floor, she said it was not possible for us to go in there.
10 There was nothing else we could look for there and she was going to
11 call the police.
12 After several attempts, we abandoned the idea and then we went
13 towards the SDS offices which at that time were on the ground floor
14 of the neighbouring building. On our way from the SDA offices to the
15 SDS offices, the police came. There were four policemen. Two
16 policemen asked our identity cards.
17 Q. After showing the policemen your identity cards, were you able to get
18 into SDS headquarters and meet with SDS officials?
19 A. When they checked our papers, some leaders of the SDA were against
20 these checking of identity, because they up to recently then were
21 civil servants in the Municipal Assembly, but the police protested.
22 After some metres where we were walking altogether with the
23 policemen, we arrived in front of the SDS offices building. The
24 Chairman was there and we said there was no point for the police to
25 check us, and he answered, "We could forget about it and he said,
1 "Forget about it all".
2 Q. Which SDA officials were at the meeting?
3 A. When we arrived at the offices, Mr. Simo Miskovic was there, Mr.
4 Slobodan Kuruzovic, and then Dragan Kurnoga, a young woman that used
5 to work there as an employee, and as the SDA delegation there was
6 Professor Ilijaz Music, Mr. Meho Terzic, Mr. Becir Medunjanin, Mr.
7 Islam Bahonjic, Mr. Mustafa Tadzic and myself.
8 Q. Did the meeting begin immediately?
9 A. No. No, we wanted to start talking straightaway because we felt very
10 unpleasantly, specially because the police asked us about our
11 identity cards and we were not sure that we would be able to go back
12 from the meeting. But they insisted upon us waiting for some time.
13 Then Mr. Miskovic telephoned to the barracks. He said he talked with
14 Messrs. Arsic and Zeljaja, the Commanders, and he said those from SDA
15 had arrived and that, that, they could come. He invited them to
16 come there.
17 We were waiting and the meeting did not begin before the
18 officers came. When the officers appeared at the door and when they
19 sat down, Miskovic said, "Well, now we can start the meeting."
20 Q. Colonel Arsic and Commander Zeljaja were members of the JNA?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. When the meeting began what did SDA leaders tell the SDS delegation?
23 A. For us, it was very difficult to start the meeting in such an
24 atmosphere, because all the time they were joking from the beginning,
25 they were laughing quite a lot. They said at first we should have
1 a drink. Mr. Arsic took the stock. Then he offered it to everybody
2 and then they started joking because some of the SDA leaders did not
3 drink alcohol. Then they ordered coffee. They said, "They drink
4 Turkish coffee".
5 They said to the girl to make it and then to offer it to us, and
6 after some time Professor Music was the first one to start talking.
7 He was speaking about a difficult situation, about the fear that the
8 people felt, how people were thrown away -- thrown out of their
9 jobs, that something should be done, that SDA and the Bosniak Muslim
10 people or any other people of the non-Serb nationality did not
11 provoke such behaviour of the SDS authorities, and that we should
12 agree on how to solve that situation.
13 Q. Did any other SDA leader speak?
14 A. Yes, Mr. Medunjanin spoke as a representative from Kozarac. I also
15 spoke, but while we were speaking we were very often interrupted.
16 All the time we were told, we were told that we were trying to start
17 a war. For us, it was very difficult, almost impossible, situation
18 because at those moments you really do not know how to discuss.
19 Some of them elaborated their thesis for about 10 to 15 minutes,
20 and then they would offer and that offer was explained lastly by
21 Slobodan Kuruzovic. Then for the last time they repeated something
22 offered many times, that the SDS and SDA leaders should take a bus
23 and go to the frontline to the Republic of Croatia, because they
24 wanted to convince us what war meant, what kind of suffering and
25 destruction a war brings with it, so that afterwards we would change
1 our politics.
2 To us, it was unclear and illogical because we were in
3 absolutely different positions. They had all the military force and
4 armed people. We did not have anything, except for our political
5 opinions and fighting for our own security and for our country.
6 Q. What did Mr. Medunjanin tell the SDS leaders when he spoke?
7 A. At one moment during these long discussions Mr. Zeljaja was saying
8 that the Muslims should give back their arms, that no discussions
9 could be held without that, that they had to disarm the alleged green
10 berets because almost all the Muslims were armed. These were his
12 At one moment Mr. Medunjanin said, "Well, do you really think we
13 have got arms?" The Commander Zeljaja answered him, "Here I have
14 got my intelligence officer with me", and he pointed to a person
15 none of us knew. I do not think he was from Prijedor. He said, "We
16 have got all the information, not only that you are armed, but you
17 have got very many weapons, not 1,000 or 2,000 rifles, Kozarac has
18 got about 7,000 barrels. When you return 7,000 barrels, gentlemen,
19 then we will be able to talk."
20 Q. Did Commander Zeljaja indicate what he would do if 7,000 weapons were
21 not turned over to the SDS?
22 A. Yes, he did. After these words of his, Mr. Medunjanin asked to speak
23 and then Mr. Tadzic. They said it was impossible to surrender 7,000
24 rifles when there was not even 1,000 of them. He said, "We have got
25 information and you, gentlemen, do not try and play with us. The
1 Banja Luka corps is the strongest one in Europe. We have got tanks,
2 cannons, aviation aircraft, we have got missiles, land land. We have
3 got 30,000 soldiers. When you surrender those weapons, then we can
4 talk. Apart from that, in Kozarac there should be a Serb flag and
5 Serb police".
6 Q. Did anybody indicate that there was pressure being mounted by people
7 within the Serbian community to have a Serbian flag and Serbian
8 police in Kozarac?
9 A. At one moment Simo Miskovic, I had a feeling that he was trying to
10 explain why they had such a strong statement. At one moment he said,
11 "We will not be able to hold our extremists for a long time. They
12 cannot see that Bosnia-Herzegovina flag in Kozarac.
13 They will make something evil."
14 Q. Did the SDA propose any measures to reduce tension or moderate the
16 A. We looked for a way before that at that time to try to prevent the
17 threats come true in some way, threats coming from SDS. We failed to
18 convince them that there were not 7,000 rifles in Kozarac. They did
19 not want to talk about it any more. They said that was that. Then
20 we tried to suggest that in those places where they thought the Serb
21 population might be in a precarious situation or that the
22 installations used by the army might be endangered that we should set
23 up a joint unit so that the Territorial Defence, police and the army
24 and then that these joints forces should control the road through
25 Kozarac and the road leading out of Kozarac along the Banja
1 Luka/Prijedor exits, and in other places where they thought that the
2 Serb population was apprehensive, but they refused even to think
3 about it.
4 They refused it automatically. They said: "Give back the
5 weapons. There is no further discussion without that". In the end
6 Mr. Medunjanin said, " Gentlemen, how do you think we can return
7 7,000 rifles when there are not so many of them?" and they told us,
8 "That is your problem."
9 Q. In addition to emphasising the strength of the Serbian military
10 forces, did Zeljaja indicate specifically what he would do with those
11 forces if the ultimatum was not met?
12 A. Yes. He said that, "Unless the Serb flag is in Kozarac and the Serb
13 police in Kozarac, I shall raise Kozarac to the ground". That was
14 towards the end of the meeting and he repeated it three times, and we
15 understood everything then. At a certain point, I really felt very
16 bad and I stood up to ask for a glass of water from a former
17 colleague with whom I used to have drinks often before that, from
18 Dragan Kurnoga, and Simo Miskovic was telephoning at the time, and I
19 noticed an interesting detail which confirmed that they would not
20 renounce their intentions, only they would try to use force.
21 A telefax had just arrived and the girl who worked there was
22 showing it to Miskovic. I was about a metre away from them, and I
23 saw it was a list of medicines. They were listed one, two, three,
24 about 25 medicines, I think, with those medical expressions, and in
25 the end there was bandages. He told her to, told her to telephone
1 immediately and to send a fax because they were requesting much
2 more and what had been sent was too little. He said,"We shall need
3 much more of this; fax it".
4 I returned, sat down, and at the end, toward the very end of the
5 meeting, Mr. Medunjanin said, "Right, I shall inform of your position
6 the people in Kozarac and the people will decide whether they will
7 accept the Serb flag and the Serb police, as you said. All I can do
8 is guarantee that the Bosniak Muslims will not provoke you into any
9 action, that you have no reason to fear anything, and that we are
10 open for any kind of understanding". That was the end of the
12 Q. Mr. Semenovic, the telefax that you saw with a list of medicines and
13 bandages, were you able to see where that was from?
14 A. No. No, I was not. It was too far away, I could not see that, but
15 the lady or the young lady who operated the telefax and telephone had
16 said that, "There is a telefax from Belgrade". She repeated it, "A
17 telefax has arrived from Belgrade". During this brief discussion as
18 I was waiting for Dragan to pour water for me, waiting for it, I
19 heard that, and I was slightly surprised why medicine from Belgrade.
20 I was not quite sure, but I knew that there was a major shortage of
21 medicines throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina. It had lasted for several
22 months already because of some measures of the federal government,
23 medicines had to be paid for.
24 Q. You mentioned the rejection by Serbian officials of the proposal that
25 joint patrols be formed in order to reduce possible incidents. Do
1 you know whether or not some joint patrols were formed, nevertheless?
2 A. Joint patrols were formed before that. It was our proposal and we
3 fought for its implementation for about a month, as a matter of fact,
4 for two or three months; in some places we managed to do that, in
5 some local communes, and some Serbs, some Serbs admitted to us that
6 they had to withdraw from those joint patrols because the party
7 authorities, SDS, threatened them and were telling them that there
8 was no need for this, that everyone should defend one's own. After
9 that meeting there was no more communication between SDS and SDA. It
10 was simply impossible to form any joint patrols.
11 Q. Mr. Semenovic, about this time when Commander Zeljaja was threatening
12 to raise Kozarac to the ground unless it turned over weapons it did
13 not have, did Muslim leaders in the Muslim community begin to fear
14 that, indeed, an attack was imminent?
15 A. Yes. Yes.
16 Q. Did the Muslim community have an organised armed force at that time?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Did you make attempts to make preparations for the attack?
19 A. We had a week at our disposal. Everything was clear, crystal clear.
20 Our possibilities were very scarce and what we tried to do, the only
21 way to do it was to organise it through lawful, through legitimate
22 agencies which existed in peace time, such as Territorial Defence
23 Reserve police force, and a smaller number of policemen who were
24 expelled by the Serb authorities when they took over the power. They
25 were lawful, legitimate agencies and the only way was to try to
1 expand, to build the Territorial Defence in Kozarac, to bring in as
2 many people as possible and organise some kind of defence if the
3 Serbs really decided to use the armed force that was available to
5 Q. Was this to organise under the provisions of existing law within the
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina structure?
7 A. Yes, exclusively under the existing laws.
8 Q. Did local communes then make an attempt to prepare some list of
9 available men who could serve in such an organised force?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. How was that done?
12 A. The Territorial Defence Commander had lists of members of the
13 Territorial Defence but that was a symbolic number of people, so it
14 had to be extended. Then the local authorities met and it was agreed
15 that in the view of the extraordinary circumstances and this is how
16 it should be done by law, to expand the Territorial Defence. But
17 then the question of records arose, that is, the lists of citizens
18 who were in local communes, as the lists of voters and other lists of
19 the population censuses. Then the Territorial Defence headquarters
20 in Kozarac used those lists and then extended them, but it had to be
21 checked of course in the field, because there was no coercion, there
22 was no compulsion. The only principle was the principle of
24 Then young people, who had enough time and who could go from one
25 house to another, were sent out with those lists, and people who
1 would agree to join the Territorial Defence had to sign their name.
2 If they had any weapons, they were also requested to indicate what
3 kind of weapons they had and if they had received it from someone.
4 It was distributed on the basis of TO orders in an area, that is,
5 even those weapons they were given by somebody should also register.
6 A few days before the war in all the local communes where it was
7 possible, there were people who went from one household to another
8 and making this census and so that is how the list was made.
9 Q. So because there was no organised military force it was necessary to
10 first put a list together from census records and voter registration
12 A. Yes. Yes. Yes.
13 Q. As well as existing TO records which included some names?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Approximately when was that list prepared and sent to the TO in
17 A. I would not know exactly because I did not take part in this
18 directly, but I know when I signed my name on the list. I put my
19 signature about four or five days before the attack organised by the
21 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, may I have exhibit D6? (Exhibit D6 handed to
22 the witness). Mr. Semenovic, can you look through that document
23 quickly and browse it and then, in particular, turn to page A1/7?
24 A. A1/7. Yes.
25 Q. First of all, do you recognise what this document is?
1 A. These are the lists that our guys took around, took out from one
2 household to another and, for those accepting it, to sign it and if
3 they had weapons then also to put them on record and here is my name,
4 106, and I remember it.
5 Q. Can I ask you to turn also to page A1/92?
6 MR. KAY: To assist the court, I know this can also be seen on the
7 computer monitor, if your Honours do not actually have the exhibit in
8 front of you.
9 MR. TIEGER: We are proposing to do that right now with the assistance of
10 Miss Sutherland. Can you put A1/92, yes, thank you. (To the
11 witness): Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise these documents?
12 A. Yes, I can. Yes, I can. These are summonses prepared on the basis
13 of those lists in the Territorial Defence headquarters in Kozarac.
14 Q. Is that a summons pursuant to the existing law of the Republic of
16 A. Yes. Yes.
17 Q. Can I ask you to turn back to page A1/7 once more and is that your
18 name that appears at No. 106?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. That is the signature you referred to earlier that you made about
21 three days before the Serbian attack?
22 A. Yes, this is my signature.
23 Q. Was the intended organised defence force able to be formed?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Why not?
1 A. To begin with, there were not enough weapons for any organisation,
2 for any proper organisation, because the territory of Kozarac is very
3 large, and there were no trained qualified people who could organise
4 it properly. There were only three or four persons who did have some
5 kind of military knowledge. All the others were ordinary people,
6 civilians, and it had to be done with very, very few weapons and in a
7 matter of only a few days in order to oppose, to stand up to, the
8 force with inconceivable military potential already deployed around.
9 A large part of the weapons that appears here on the lists was done
10 manually, or there were some pistols of the Turkish times or hunting
12 For instance, I remember that in the vicinity of the house where
13 I lived in, at several sentry posts towards the railway tracks and
14 fish farms, that was the direction from which we expected the
15 infantry attack might be launched, the sentries were lads, were
16 young men, who were not armed with anything. They did not have any
17 rifles, most of them, not even those pistols, but they would have a
18 bottle of petrol with a rag in, with a piece of cloth in it, and that
19 was the only thing they had with them to spend on duty, to spend on
20 guard thought the night.
21 They did not know even how to make that, what you call it,
22 Molotov cocktail. They simply poured the petrol from the car into
23 bottles and that was how they did it. There was simply no time, no
24 weaponry, nor skilled people, professionals, army officers, who could
25 organise it, unfortunately.
1 Q. I would like to ask us to look at some of these entries. Going back
2 once again to page A1/7. The information contained here are the
3 names of the people who were approached and any weapons they might
5 A. Yes, yes. Yes, every man on this list was approached in person, that
6 is, they went to their homes and they signed this of their own will,
7 of course if they wanted to do it. We see here that two did not want
8 to sign that. Very many signed it even if they did not have any
9 weapons. All those who did have a weapon indicated it here, any kind
10 of a weapon.
11 Q. What kind of weapons are listed on the page which you signed?
12 A. Under 74, it says pistol, it is a revolver. Then there are two
13 hunting rifles, an automatic rifle, a pistol, pistol, carabine and a
14 hunting rifle, pistol, pistol 7.65 and others, nothing.
15 Q. Turning to page A1/5, looking at the top of the page and to the right
16 of the page, does that indicate your local commune?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I see that one, several of the listings, in fact, say "M48", what
19 kind of a weapon was an M48?
20 A. It is a weapon. Yesterday you also asked me a question about
21 weapons, a weapon of the Territorial Defence which had been removed
22 and then a symbolic quantity of it was returned to the local
23 communes. The majority of rifles returned to the local commune from
24 the central depot which the army allowed to return were M48 rifles.
25 They are rifles of World War II. They are not semi-automatic or
1 automatic, slightly longer barrel, they do have two charges for every
2 bullet you want to use. At present, it is a primitive and
3 obsolescent model of weapon and it is not used anywhere. That was
4 the principal kind of armament of the TO's. Most of the weaponry the
5 TO had were M48s and a few automatic rifles.
6 Q. The M48, is that an old bolt action World War II rifle?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. For example, the name that appears between 22 and 24 -- it seems to
9 be obscured on the screen -- there is an M48 listed in parenthesis,
10 it says "TO-MZ", does that mean the Territorial Defence of the Mjesna
12 A. Yes, yes. Yes. Mr. Sivac, Vasif Sivac, is a gentleman who lived
13 downstairs and he was a TO member and he had received weapons and he
14 had this M48. The same is for those under 25 and 26, and they were
15 all issued M48 in Trnopolje local commune.
16 Q. So, in your local commune, at least in this list, there appear to be
17 106 men within appropriate ages to be placed on the list?
18 A. Yes. Yes, that is where the Trnopolje local commune ends and where
19 Kala (which is a suburban settlement) begins. In Kozarac, yes, we
20 had 106.
21 Q. Looking at the list, is it fair to say that there are fewer than 30
22 weapons available to those men?
23 A. Yes. Yes, and if we add up the weapons from Turkish type pistols and
24 M48s, when we add them up all, that is then so.
25 Q. The majority of those 30 are pistols?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. The rest is primarily comprised of hunting rifles and the M48s you
3 have told us about?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Were there some communes which were even more poorly equipped? Let
6 me repeat that question. We did not hear the answer. Were there
7 some communes which were even more poorly equipped than Trnopolje?
8 A. Yes, yes. There were local communes which were even more poorly
9 equipped. I cannot tell you like this offhand because I was not
10 directly involved in that, but I know that some local communes would
11 borrow from others, because in some local communes there was
12 absolutely no weapons, or one or two rifles, and in others there
13 would be some 20 or 30 weapons of all kinds. So, it had to be
14 distributed evenly. That is what the command of the TO did. That
15 was their job.
16 Q. Can you turn to page A1/61, please, may that be displayed on the
18 JUDGE STEPHEN: Does not all this speak for itself? If you want details,
19 you should have it translated, the weapons, but that is the only
20 thing that is not completely clear, is it not? We can understand
21 "pistole". But if you really want details of all the weapons, then
22 have it translated but, surely, you do not need to take this witness
23 through it all?
24 MR. TIEGER: I agree, your Honour. I had no intention of taking him
25 through anything more than that one reference, and it appears that is
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I had a question regarding communes. What is the
3 commune, Mr. Semenovic?
4 A. A local commune is the basic territorial unit. Basic territorial
5 unit is called a local commune. Local communes, several local
6 communes form a municipality and several municipalities comprise a
7 Republic, become a republic. It is a local government unit.
8 Q. I noticed from this Exhibit Defence 6 that there appears to be more
9 than one commune in Trnopolje. You are listed as in the Cesta, is
10 it, C-E-S-T-A, Trnopolje?
11 A. Each local commune -- there is just one local commune, Trnopolje, but
12 it was made out of several villages, that is, several parts. In the
13 local commune, this is the administrative
14 way of organising it, for various purposes, elections or other
15 kinds of planning or
16 building. So that is why there are parts of a particular local
17 commune and Cesta was one part, there were also parts like Trnjani,
18 Kararici and so on.
19 Q. Were the communes composed only of persons of the Islam religion?
20 A. No, no, the local commune, Trnopolje, was comprised of 40
22 Q. So that, for example, Trnopolje Cesta, which was one of the communes
23 in Trnopolje, would be or could be, at least, composed of persons of
24 different religions, Muslim ---
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. -- orthodox? How many communes were there in Trnopolje?
2 A. Trnopolje is one local commune.
3 Q. Well, but you have Trnopolje Cesta, you have Trnopolje Elezi,
5 A. These are parts of the local commune of Trnopolje. It is always the
6 local commune Trnopolje, but one part of it is called Cesta or Elezi
7 or Hodzici or Matrici, it is parts of it. There is also a part call
8 Redzici, part of the local commune of Trnopolje, or Garibi and so
10 Q. On what basis then are these parts created?
11 A. They existed previously, since the end of the war.
12 Q. How many different parts then would you have of the commune, the
13 Trnopolje commune, at this time?
14 A. Within the local commune of Trnopolje at that moment there were just
15 as before. I have mentioned most parts just now. I can make a full
16 list of it, if necessary. It is something that is not changed.
17 It is, for example, like streets within a city.
18 JUDGE VOHRAH: Following up on the last question, are these parts of the
19 commune multi-ethnic?
20 A. Yes.
21 JUDGE VOHRAH: Thank you.
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Tieger, you may continue.
23 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, your Honour. (To the witness): Where did the
24 first military attack occur?
25 A. You mean in Kozarac or in general in the municipality of Prijedor?
1 Q. I am sorry, thank you -- in the municipality overall?
2 A. The first attack occurred in the evening hours of 22nd May somewhere
3 around Hambarine, between Prijedor and Hambarine. We learned that
4 through news on the radio and through those talky-walky machines (as
5 they call them) that existed in the local commune and in the
6 Territorial Defence.
7 Q. Did that occur after an ultimatum had been made to the people of
9 A. Yes, yes, several days after the ultimatum.
10 Q. What happened the day after the attack in Hambarine?
11 A. The following day, that part of the municipality was shelled, the
12 village of Hambarine and also a part that was going from Hambarine
13 towards Prijedor. It was a pretty heavy shelling. We could hear it,
14 some kind of like some kind of a thunder, because from Trnopolje it
15 is quite far away, some 10 or 11 kilometres from us.
16 We noticed that after that shelling all the villages on the
17 shelled part had been burned down. We could see enormous flames and
18 smoke. We could see it quite clearly. We also heard explosions when
19 they would fire the mortars and the explosion of the shelling. We
20 could, as far as it was possible from a distance of some 10
21 kilometres, we could conclude that the shelling was done from the
22 area of the Urije airfield or from the village of Cejrici, because we
23 knew from beforehand that some artillery units had been located there
24 but we could see very clearly where the shells fell.
25 Q. How long after that was it that Kozarac was attacked?
1 A. A day later.
2 Q. Had there been any reports to leaders of the Muslim community about
3 troop movements or suspicious activity before that time?
4 A. Some kind of a communication with this signalling equipment existed
5 between the local commune of Kozarac and its Territorial Defence and
6 the Reserve, militia Reservist and the Serb army in Prijedor. In
7 local communes, we would receive just oral information when somebody
8 would come and report on what was going on. I know they would
10 They gave from Prijedor to Kozarac a clear cut ultimatum of a
11 military kind, but I was not there. The talks were led by the chief
12 of the militia -- police Reservists. His name was Osman -- I cannot
13 remember his last name now -- and Becir Medunjanin, and I think they
14 sent some people even then to try to negotiate. The chief of the
15 police and other men were there and they did not come back. At the
16 same time the army started to broadcast the ultimatum to Kozarac on
17 the radio, to Kozarac and the extremists, to surrender arms.
18 Q. I am sorry, Mr. Semenovic, let me try to get the chronology straight.
19 Was the time period you were just talking about when communications
20 were occurring and there was an attempt to negotiate before or after
21 the attack began?
22 A. After the attack on Hambarine and before the attack on Kozarac. The
23 chief of the police from Prijedor was telephoning the chief of the
24 police in Kozarac. The officers were calling the local commune in
25 Kozarac also on the phone, and then they said they should return,
1 surrender, their weapons within a couple of hours. I do not know
2 exactly when because I was not there. I was at Trnopolje. From time
3 to time, I would go to Kozarac and then go back home while that was
4 still possible, only on that day.
5 Q. You mentioned in connection with the takeover that people in Serbian
6 neighbourhoods had left their homes, come back, left their homes and
7 come back a few times before the takeover actually occurred?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Was there any unusual movement by Serbian civilians prior to the
10 attack in the Kozarac area?
11 A. Yes, even a couple of days before the attack, the Serbs from parts of
12 the local commune of Trnopolje where they represented a majority,
13 they completely withdrew and sent somewhere women, children and
14 elderly people, only men remained in their homes. I cannot tell
15 you where they sent them, but I heard they were sent across the fish
16 farm towards Rakelici, a Serb village, and towards Omarska. I cannot
17 tell you exactly where, but I know they were not in their homes any
19 I am sorry, but I have to say to the Trial Chamber in order to
20 clarify things, we were speaking about the multi-ethnicity of the
21 local commune. In all parts the population was -- there were 14
22 nationalities exactly in the local commune. Most of them were
23 Bosniak Muslims in the parts where these lists were made, but there
24 were also Croats there, Russians, Germans, Ukrainians, Ruthenians,
25 Czechs, Byelo Russians, Albanians, Romes, Turks.
1 Q. When did the attack actually begin?
2 A. On 24th, I think, in the early hours of the afternoon, somewhere
3 towards noon.
4 Q. Where were you when it started?
5 A. In Trnopolje.
6 Q. What did you do after the attack began?
7 A. I tried to go to Kozarac in order to receive instructions from the
8 Territorial Defence to tell us what to do, because the Serbs were
9 broadcasting on the radio that the army was going from the -- on the
10 line Prijedor/Omarska across Trnopolje. It also received oral
11 information that the army was going from on the road Prijedor/Banja
12 Luka, going past Kozarac and that it was quite a strong military
13 force moving.
14 During the night, part of the Serb infantry entered Trnopolje
15 and they were located around some Serb houses and we could see that
16 during the night. When the shelling started, chaos started as well.
17 I tried to go to Kozarac to try to see how to co-ordinate that and
18 what we could do because we received information that we should let
19 the army go by on one road because it was impossible for us to defend
20 ourselves on both roads and, apart from that, I thought that the
21 Territorial Defence did not have enough information on what was going
22 on in Trnopolje.
23 I went there by bike because it is a distance of four-and-a-half
24 to five kilometres and I arrived to some 500 metres away from
25 Kozarac, and I could not continue because the shelling was very
1 intense and continuous. The explosions were awful, very strong
2 calibre weapons, and the shells were falling all over. They were not
3 particularly targeting. I waited there for sometime for them to
4 stop and then to try and seize the opportunity to go through there,
5 but for hours it did not stop, so I went back home.
6 Q. You served in an artillery unit when you were in the JNA. Were you
7 able to determine where the shells were coming from?
8 A. Yes, yes. They were coming from the direction of Omarska and the
9 explosions -- one could hear the explosions for a long time. It came
10 from the direction of Kozara, roughly speaking, the central part of
11 Kozara around Mrakovica. It also came from Prijedor, from the
12 direction of Urije, and the mortar fire came from the direction of
13 Orlovci. Those were not cannons but mortars. They were a short
15 MR. TIEGER: May we have Exhibit 79, please? (Exhibit 79 was handed to
16 the witness) Mr. Semenovic, using A79, if it is possible, when it
17 is pulled back or focused in, can you point out the places from where
18 the shells were being fired?
19 A. On the monitor or? From the direction of Omarska, this is this
20 direction here. This was from one side. The other direction it came
21 from was Kozara, but the distance, well, it is much longer than
22 represented on the map. Then from the direction of the Urije
23 airfield, that is, to the north west of the town, roughly speaking
24 here. And from here, from this part, we could hear mortar shells,
25 between Garevci and Orlovci, somewhere in the middle.
1 Q. How intensive was the shelling?
2 A. Well, the shelling was continuous. Very often at the same time a few
3 shells would fall because they were firing from various areas at the
4 same time. From the direction of Tomasica, there were also two
5 shells that fell on the very village of Trnopolje, but from Tomasica
6 they did not shell Kozarac. Those two shells, they were probably
7 measuring the distance in - - I suppose that the mosques served as a
8 bearing to them because the first shell fell some 500 metres in front
9 of the mosque and the other one fell behind the mosque. At that
10 occasion one person was killed and several were wounded. When the
11 shell fell behind the mosque, it was some 400 metres behind it. So I
12 think there was simply measuring the distance, as the military say.
13 That particular artillery battery did not fire any more; whereas
14 all the others were used all day long up until the next day. The
15 following day, there were some intermissions and some appeals on the
16 radio saying that the population could go towards Trnopolje in
18 Q. Was there movement by parts of the population, or some portion of the
19 population, toward Trnopolje?
20 A. Yes, the following day. On that particular day it was not possible.
21 Those who managed to go to the shelter did that. People made very
22 few shelters. They did not have time to do it. They were in the
23 basements, and when the shellings stopped for the first time the Serb
24 radio started with continued broadcasting, saying that the population
25 could go to safe areas, and that was the area of Trnopolje. So, the
1 people started from Kozarac to go to Trnopolje, and at the same time
2 the people from Trnopolje went towards Kozarac in order to go to the
3 Kozara mountain.
4 These were huge columns. People were walking or using some
5 vehicles or tractors, and those two columns met half way in between
6 Kozarac and Trnopolje. Around the village of Hrnjici, between the
7 village of Hrnjici and Gornji Sivci and Vutici. The roads were
8 completely blocked. Nobody could go either in or out of Trnopolje.
9 Various rumours were heard, so that most people in the columns spent
10 the night there where they actually found themselves because it was
11 impossible to go with the vehicles either back or forth.
12 Q. Did you see what happened to any of the villages in the area, any
13 specific villages in the area?
14 A. Yes. Already on the third night part of the people left and went to
15 Trnopolje. Some houses had already been burned down. They were put
16 on fire, and from the direction of Petrov Gaj, there was very heavy
17 firing, very heavy shooting, towards the parts where non-Serb
18 population lived.
19 They were also shooting on the people, on the refugees, with
20 some Tromblon mines, guns, that are used for short distances. When
21 the first larger group went towards Trnopolje, the Serb army appeared
22 and they put all those people into camps. That was the day when
23 that camp was opened.
24 Q. Did you see what happened to Kozarac?
25 A. On the second night when the artillery fire had stopped for the first
1 time, it was interrupted for some four hours, for some three or four
2 hours, in the evening. Then we noticed that houses were on fire,
3 houses that were at the beginning of Kozarusa and throughout the way
4 to Kozarac.
5 Around 11 o'clock in the evening, it was awful, the sight. All
6 the houses were on fire. The flames were enormous. One could not
7 really hear very much, very much the shooting, but some people who
8 managed to run away from the shelters, they told us that the Serb
9 infantry came and they were putting houses on fire one by one. They
10 were doing it with some kind of grenades which were efficient because
11 every house would burn in a couple of minutes.
12 Q. Can you show us where Kozarusa is on the map in front of you?
13 A. To the west of Kozarac. This is a suburban area of Kozarac. This is
14 called -- what I could see, this whole part was burning from the road
15 a couple of hundred metres away. There was all the houses there. It
16 was an awful sight, a very apocalyptic. In theory, one could not
17 even imagine so much fire and we could see it with our own eyes.
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I have one question or two questions, Mr. Tieger.
19 Excuse me. (To the witness): Mr. Semenovic, you said a few moments
20 ago that the Serb army appeared and they put all of those people in
21 camps. You also a few minutes ago referred to the Serb infantry. By
22 that, do you mean JNA troops or other Serbian troops?
23 A. They were not called the JNA any more. At the last meeting of which
24 I spoke sometime ago, they were called the Serb army, they said, "We
25 are the Serb army." Officially, they claim they were the Serb
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and they wanted their share.
2 I have to say something else to you. What they formed in
3 Trnopolje straightaway when they arrived, that camp, they did not
4 call it a "camp". They called that "centre", a "reception centre"
5 and they called all the population those they that said, quote,
6 unquote, which did not have "blood on their hands", they said that
7 they could come freely to Trnopolje. That centre, reception centre,
8 was formed for innocent people in Trnopolje and they would be there
9 safe up until the capturing of the extremists would have been
10 finished, and after that each and every one could go home. They kept
11 repeating that. A large number of people, unfortunately, believed in
12 those words.
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We will stand in recess for 20 minutes, please.
14 (11.30 a.m.)
15 (Adjourned for a short time)
16 (11.55 a.m.).
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Tieger?
18 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, your Honour. (To the witness): Mr. Semenovic, can
19 you show us on the map where you hid over the days following the
20 attack? Mr. Semenovic, you will have to wait until you return to
21 your chair near the microphone before you can speak.
22 A. This is the area between Trnopolje and Kozarac, the old road in the
23 area of the village Gornji Sivci. That is several hamlets I mean
24 together. This is in Gornji Sivci, Hrnjici, Gutici, Mujkanovici and
25 Kenjari or, more precisely, this is the area around the Ukrainian
1 church. It is this part here above the village of Sivci. This is
2 where I spent most of the time.
3 Q. Did you spend some portion of that time in a converted septic tank
4 and then move into the house of a woman who sheltered you?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Was her family reluctant to shelter you because of your political
8 A. Yes, it was very dangerous because the Serbs told the Muslims that
9 they had to surrender their extremists and that anyone who had any
10 connection with the alleged extremists, that is, SDA people, that any
11 such person will be shot, and it was dangerous even to meet anyone of
12 these people.
13 Q. During the time that you hid in the Sivci area, did Serbian troops
14 come into that area?
15 A. Yes, several times. To be more accurate, this woman's house, the
16 house of the woman who hid me is not in a Muslim village. There are
17 Ukrainian houses around it or galijani, as we call them. In the
18 early days they were mobilized for the Serb army, but they were
19 told to be on duty around their houses with their weapons and
20 ammunition. I was in the house which was the only Muslim house in
21 that place, and that is why it was safer than other houses.
22 On several occasions, the Serb army passed through the area. I
23 watched five operations of that kind. Every -- they, to use their
24 term, ethnically cleansed every individual village, and since this
25 part is on a triple boundary, that is, at a junction, they helped us
1 to that area, that is, when they were cleansing Hrnjici, they also
2 passed through Gornji Sivci, Mrkanovici, the same thing. The village
3 Sivci, that cleansed on two occasions. They also got to this part.
4 Sometimes I could see it very clearly, sometimes from the immediate
5 vicinity, 10 metres or so away, the soldiers passing by, taking away
6 groups of men, harassing them, firing shots and, invariably, after
7 every operation they would leave a few dead people behind them.
8 Q. How were the cleansing actions conducted? What would the troops do
9 first when they entered the area and how would they cleanse the
10 people from the area?
11 A. First, they would encircle villages and a number of soldiers would be
12 employed around the village from all sides. Then powerful fire
13 simultaneously would take place and then the infantry would enter the
14 villages. These villages had people who were completely unarmed, and
15 then they would take men out of the houses, group them at individual
16 points and if somebody would try to escape or resist them, they would
17 shoot them. Then a bus would turn up after a very short while, or
18 some other vehicle, and those groups were taken in the direction of
19 Trnopolje at times and at times in the direction of Omarska. I did
20 not know where they were taking them in the beginning; I learned that
22 It also happened that there would be more people than could be
23 accommodated in one bus or a vehicle, and then they would force some
24 of them to move on foot towards Trnopolje or Omarska. After several
25 such visits, there were no men in the villages any more, only women
1 and children remained behind, and sometimes not even women or
2 children. Every time, invariably, somebody would be killed in every
3 passage. If they would not kill somebody in their house, then they
4 would get two or three friends and kill them individually in the
6 Very often, there are old men in the village, Gutici. They found
7 a woman who was not a Muslim by origin. I think she was a teacher.
8 She is Ukrainian. She was in her garden and, presumably, did not
9 think it was dangerous for her because they were conducting their
10 operations against the Muslims, but she was shot as she was in the
12 gardening there.
13 Q. During the cleansing operations, how were the men who were taken from
14 the houses and then taken away treated after they were collected from
15 the houses?
16 A. They beat them in all the ways imaginable. They forced them to sing,
17 to sing Serb songs. Those who did not know it were beaten. Once I
18 was hidden in a boundary next to the road and I watched a whole
19 group. An elderly man would fall down under the blows. They would
20 put them up and continue to beat them, or they would stop them all
21 and order them to sing in a choir, and people would not know the
22 lyrics and then they would force somebody who did know the lyrics to
23 start and all the others had to join in.
24 Q. What nationality were the soldiers who came in to conduct these
25 cleansing operations?
1 A. Serbs exclusively, only Serbs. Some of them were people, known
2 people, that is, those who lived in Trnopolje or Prijedor, and there
3 were those who were not known. They were mostly younger. At some
4 point I could hear the conversation of a group of soldiers after the
5 completion of cleansing. They started off towards Kozarac, and from
6 time to time they would fire at a house, and they engaged in a
7 private conversation, a group of seven or eight soldiers.
8 Some of them were uniformed completely, some of them wore jeans
9 and a military shirt above it. Some were younger, some were older.
10 I recognised one of those younger ones as coming from Banja Luka
11 because I heard him say to another soldier, they
12 talked as they walked along, he said, "It pays this offer better
13 than if I worked because
14 this here is as if I had worked for a month in Banja Luka, I cannot
15 buy anything for the salary I get", and I realised they must have
16 been hard for a few days to do what they did.
17 I heard some of them, two of them, I heard talking in an accent
18 which does not come from the area of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I guess
19 these were young soldiers, that is, young recruits from Serbia
20 because that is how their pronunciation sounded like. Also, on
21 another occasion when they were cleansing the village of Mujkanovici
22 and Kenjari, I saw a group of soldiers who called themselves
23 Vukovarians. That was, presumably, a unit which had come back from
24 Vukovar and was conducting operations in the territory of Prijedor,
25 and when they finished their business they drove in an APC towards
2 There was a big Serb flag on the APC and a number of them were
3 sitting on the APC. It was moving at a moderate speed and others
4 walked behind them and they were moving towards Kozarac.
5 Q. Did you see any insignias on the uniforms of any of these soldiers or
6 paramilitary troops?
7 A. They varied. There were some without any insignias. Some had
8 insignia of the Serb
9 army, some had insignia which I do not really distinguish them.
10 Those from Vukovar
11 had insignia of the so-called Marticeva militia, that is, army.
12 There were all sorts of
14 Q. Approximately how long did you continue to hide in the area you
15 showed us earlier?
16 A. Until about 10th or 12th July -- just a moment, no, I am sorry,
17 until I think 18th July, the second half of July. After all these
18 cleansing waves, they literally cleansed everything, women, children,
19 old folk. There was no-one in the houses any more. Then they
20 systematically looted, plundered. They came for days on end. They
21 had some points where they brought together the looted things. At
22 first they did it rather calculatedly, and they piled up everything
23 as it arrived. Later on groups of soldiers were placed in charge of
24 various things. Some were collecting, amassing only the cattle;
25 others were
1 responsible for refrigerators, a third group for cooking stoves and
2 as a fourth, and the vehicles came regularly sometimes every 12 hours
3 or every 24 hours to take away all these things from those points,
4 and coming out to the road between Banja Luka Prijedor. I do not
5 know where they went on from there.
6 Q. After you left that area, where did you go?
7 A. I started off towards Trnopolje as I intended to cross the fish farm
8 and move towards Grmec. Since I was all alone, I did not want anyone
9 to suffer because he had been supporting me. It took me some 10
10 hours to reach a place above the camp at Trnopolje, that is, some
11 500 metres as the crow flies, and I could -- I was higher up so I
12 could watch all this that was below.
13 Q. Can you show us on the map, please, where that is?
14 A. Below the village of Cuskic towards the old road, this part here,
15 roughly. It is a small vantage point, a hillock from which one can
16 clearly see towards the station and this part here.
17 Q. What did you do after you arrived there?
18 A. That was the first time I saw the camp. I did not hear anything
19 because it was too far
20 away, but I could see everything clearly. So I watched the whole
21 area for two days and two nights because I had somehow to break
22 through towards the fish farm. That place where I was is about 200
23 metres from the road, and I noticed that down the road came bus loads
24 of civilians. So I came closer to the road through the maize field to
25 see what were those vans, and in those buses there were men with
1 their hands behind their heads and women and children in separate
2 vehicles. It went on for a day, as far as I could see.
3 Then the next day I saw a number of empty buses and trailers. I
4 saw some of them move towards Kozarac and I guessed that it was the
5 evacuation. The location was talked about while people were still in
6 the field and I maintained contact with them so I heard that. They
7 were saying that some individuals who were not responsible, who were
8 not to
9 blame for anything, whose hands were not bloody, would be transferred
10 to the "free territory", in inverted commas, that is, the territory
11 controlled by the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So I thought that that
12 was the beginning of that stage and that it was the evacuation.
13 But it was too far away, and watching the area I realised that I
14 could come closer to the camp to some 70 metres, that is, that I
15 could come closer unobserved. I saw the guards. I saw the sentries.
16 I knew their periods of time. I decided to approach it because there
17 are acacia trees there, acacia groves and haystacks, and I thought I
18 could approach enough to see what was happening inside, whether those
19 people were being evacuated, whether
20 they were distributed there, whether there were guards or sentries
21 on duty. I did manage to do it the next night, that is, on the third
22 night I managed to come close sometime before the dawn, sometimes
23 crawling, sometimes moving normally but I came to about 70 metres
24 from the camp.
25 Q. Did you observe the camp from there or decide to enter it?
1 A. I observed it for about an hour, and I could see that complete chaos
2 rained inside, thousands of men, women, children. I saw some of them
3 carrying bags. I saw some of them packing. I saw a number of empty
4 vehicles. I thought that I could come up to the wire. There was a
5 safe way of approaching the wire and that if possibly I could manage
6 there, because I saw some people next to the wire that I might ask
7 someone and ask what was going on there.
8 Only a deep trench, there was a channel there between me and the
9 camp. On one side was maize, on the other side was wheat and they
10 were separated. So I crawled through that ditch and blackberries
11 were growing there, blackberry bushes. So I hid in those blackberry
12 bushes, and I saw that the area in front of me people were using as a
13 toilet, and I saw some men doing it there, that is, using it and I
14 thought that I could crawl up to
15 that and I could enter. I did recognise some faces, some of my
16 friends, and I entered or, rather, took off the trousers, jumped on
17 that levy and was squatted for about five minutes and then joined the
18 others, and that was that, and that was when I met some of my friends
20 Q. Why did you want to get into Trnopolje?
21 A. I wanted to get in there to see with my own eyes whether they were
22 evacuating the camp or not, in case they were evacuating it. I
23 thought that there were greater chances of my own survival if I had
24 managed to join the convoy, that is, board the bus rather than move
25 towards Grmec because it is 50 kilometres, no food, no water on the
1 way. I also thought that if I would not be able to do that, that I
2 would also be able to leave if I failed to board one of the buses, of
3 course, at night-time.
4 Q. You indicated you met some friends shortly after you entered. What
5 were their names?
6 A. Yes. Adem Trnjanin, Asmir Trnjanin, Husein Trnjanin, they were my
7 neighbours and friends, Ajdin Zenkic -- there were very many of them.
8 Q. First of all, did you ask them how the camp operated and seek
9 information to allow you to fit in anonymously?
10 A. Yes. Yes, yes, that was my first question. I could not get out as
11 easily in day time because I saw machine gun nests in several places.
12 I had known that beforehand, but
13 they were so strong, there were so many soldiers around. But I
14 was told that there were several thousand people inside and that I
15 could hide there therefore, and there was a chance that they would
16 all be evacuated because Slobodan Kuruzovic, who was the camp
17 Commander, said that they expected to transfer all those people
18 somewhere towards Gracanica any day now. They told me to be good to
19 hide and then seize the opportunity, and they directed me to a place
20 where I could hide.
21 They also told me that they stopped calling out my name some
22 month before that, because in the beginning Serbs used to line up all
23 the men and then call out names. My name was one of those called
24 out, Semenovic, but then they allegedly recognised my
25 dead body somewhere in Kozarac and stopped calling me out. They
1 stopped looking out for me. They had written me off. And they said
2 that was another reason why I could
3 hide there, stay there for a day or two and then be evacuated
4 together with them.
5 Q. Did you stay in Trnopolje for some days?
6 A. Yes. Yes.
7 Q. At some point did you meet some friends named Foric?
8 A. Yes, that was the third or fourth night. For three days and three
9 nights I was with a group of people who did not know me, who could
10 not recognise me, and I gave a false name. I said I was from
11 Puharska and not to scare them because of my political activities.
12 On the third day some of them recognised me. On that day, that group
13 of Foric, rather, of relations Foric -- they were all families from
14 two or three brothers -- a Serb neighbour of theirs came to them and
15 greeted them. He simply approached them and I was there. I turned
16 my back on them, but I listened to the whole conversation and he told
18 "Well, what about you, lads? What is new? When shall we play
19 ball again?" because
20 they were neighbours and they played ball together on weekends
21 and after that he left.
22 The next evening the Serb police came, a policeman in a blue
23 uniform, and I observed it from some three or four metres. One of
24 these Foric's, Zilo Foric, with whom I had struck friendship with in
25 the meantime because I told him who I was, so they called this Zilo
1 Foric. They talked behind a parked tractor for some five or eight
2 minutes, and then they sent him back and he called out all his
3 relations, his brother and all the others to stand up, put on their
4 shoes and follow him.
5 Meanwhile, two soldiers, another policeman joined that first
6 policeman and the four of them took the Forics in an unknown
7 direction behind the building of the old cinema
8 and after that, I do not know. I know we heard, well, there were
9 shots all the time, but we were all afraid that they would be shot.
10 Some perhaps 10 minutes later, we could distinguish six shots, that
11 is, two long bursts preceded them, two full bursts and then six
12 individual shots.
13 We thought that, perhaps, they were shot. We, of course, hoped
14 that was not the case, but the next morning the management of the
15 camp sent some people to bury six bodies. On the basis of the
16 description, we, the friends and relations, concluded, inferred,
17 those were Foric’s because one of them had the typical workers
18 overalls, blue overalls, he was a man of some 44; one had tennis
19 shoes, sneakers; the third one had rather longish fair
21 So I thought that it was because of me. I tried to find a way
22 to get out of the camp as quickly as possible. I wanted to escape
23 that first night, but I had some qualms of conscience so I asked a
24 man who was also a neighbour of Foric's: "Was I the reason for
25 that?" He said, no, it had nothing to do with me; that the Serbs
1 were not aware of my presence there; that it had been done by their
2 neighbour probably as a tit-for-tat for some things or, perhaps,
3 because he was on those lines on the first day, because he was across
4 that line, because he was among those who had defended the Muslim
6 But, regardless of that, I decided to leave and I managed to get
7 out that night. I started about 1.30. I had about half an hour at
8 my disposal because at 2 o'clock a moon came
9 out and then it was impossible to move about. I left the camp
10 at about quarter to 2 and I followed the same path that I came to --
11 I already described it -- and I went back to that place where I was
13 Q. Did you stay there for a period of time before returning to the
15 A. Yes, yes, two days. Before I left and after the Foric's were shot, a
16 friend of mine wanted to escape too, and he told me to be the first
17 one. If I succeeded, then he would follow the next day and if that
18 planned evacuation would take place, then he would try to get out and
19 leave a message for me at a place. The next day I came to look for
20 this message, but there was nothing and I felt that something was
21 happening that was not planned.
22 I decided to leave that place immediately and to start towards
23 the fish farm and Grmec. That day I saw 12 empty buses approaching
24 the camp and six trailers, that is, trucks with two trailers. They
25 came empty and were parked around the camp. I thought that, perhaps,
1 my friend was unwilling to take the risk, and that he wanted to
2 board, perhaps, one of them. I thought that perhaps it would be a
3 good thing for me to board one of them because of if I missed the
4 chance it might become more difficult later on. In the same way in
5 which I got into the camp, the trucks were arriving towards the
6 evening in twilight and not leave, so that I tried to get in the same
7 way that I did it the first time.
8 Q. What did you discover when you entered the camp?
9 A. When I entered the camp I met Adem Trnjanin, my neighbour and friend,
10 he was beyond himself, he said: "Mevludin, it's finished. They
11 learned that you were here. They called 15 of us, interrogated.
12 Many of us were beaten and we were given 48 hours to say where you
13 are and if we don't they will shoot us and that line is 48 hours."
14 Now within 40 hours troops were supposed to come from Prijedor to
15 sweep the area where they assumed I could be hiding. I thought what
16 to do. I again had two possibilities: to try to escape once again
17 and stay where I was, knowing of course what would happen and I did
18 not think very much because on one side there was one life, on the
19 other there were 15 of them. So I opted for the second possibility.
20 I asked him to give me half an hour to think what to say, what would
21 be my best answer.
22 After those half hour I bid them goodbye. I left messages, if
23 they survived to take them to my family. I turned to this
24 lieutenant, Lieutenant Slavko, he was the head of those guards, of
25 the camp security, and he left after half an hour and this Slavko
2 Q. Were you taken to any other official in the camp?
3 A. Yes, I was. I was taken from that area between the school building
4 and the gym building.
5 I was taken across the road towards a house where I saw some 10
6 soldiers. In the house there was their commanding office and the
7 office of the commander of the camp, Slobodan Kuruzovic. When that
8 man Slavko was taking me towards there, the soldier started running
9 towards me. Two or three of them managed to hit me. At the same
10 time Kuruzovic appeared and he said: Are we going to do it
11 straightaway?" And he said, "No, there will be some information.
12 Leave it for now." After that they let go and went
13 further on and Slavko Kuruzovic took me into the room where they
15 Q. Did they ask you questions in the room? How did they treat you?
16 A. Yes, but they did not beat me there. They asked me a series of
17 questions, but it seemed
18 this was out of their personal curiosity: How did I manage to
19 survive, where did I hide; how did I manage without food. One of
20 those soldiers was rushing it all out, he said: "We have to go, we
21 have to go", that is what he was repeating. I did not know what was
22 going to happen. After about an hour, at some point I was taken out
23 and in front of that building there was a green Mercedes and they put
24 handcuffs on my arms. They put my hands behind the back first and
25 then they handcuffed me, and they took me into the car. Slavko which
1 I mentioned before was driving. Next to him was a vet technician,
2 Branko from Kozarac, and he asked me for a couple of times: "Where's
3 your friend? Where's your buddy?" and it was my friend Sead who had
4 been killed and who used to
5 be his boss at work. He was killed at Omarska. He asked me for a
6 couple of times: "Where's your buddy? Where's your buddy? Where did
7 you see him last?" He was laughing all the time.
8 Next to me a soldier entered the car. He was a twin brother of
9 that other twin brother who remained in Trnopolje. They started the
10 car and we drove towards Prijedor on the old road. When we were
11 passing by my house they were going, they were shooting: "Look over
12 at your house" and so on. They were laughing, provoking. I could
13 see on the journey burnt Muslim houses, bullets in the houses, every
14 one was raised to the first floor level.
15 Q. Where were you finally taken?
16 A. To Prijedor. First of all, we stopped near Keraterm. On the
17 opposite side there was a building that was used as a military
18 prison. That is where we stopped. The driver, Slavko, and that
19 other man, Brano, they left and went into that building. Some 15
20 minutes there was the soldier and myself who were there waiting. I
21 could see across the road the camp Keraterm and I could see awful
22 scenes. It is very difficult to describe them, skeletons. I did not
23 talk to that soldier but at some point he asked me: "Mevludin, how
24 come you were a deputy politician and you live in such a house?" I
25 said: "That is how it is when you live honestly." As his question
1 was not a provocation, that is what I thought at least, I thought
2 maybe I could ask him something I was interested in and ask him: "Can
3 you tell me whether they will kill me straightaway or later on? How
4 do you do these things now?" and he said: "It does not mean that they
5 will kill you. It all depends
6 on what you will tell them." I was silent for some time and
7 then I said: "What would be the best thing to say to them?" He said:
8 "I do not know, Mevludin. I hope that Allah
9 will help you". That is exactly what he told me. Then we
10 stopped talking and very soon the other two came, and they took me to
11 the Prijedor SUP, to the police station building.
12 Q. Once you got to the SUP where were you taken and how were you
14 A. I was taken to an office. Straight from the beginning a gentleman
15 came in. His surname is Saponja. I think his name is Dragan
16 Saponja. They started beating me right from the start. After that
17 they started provoking. There was a man, somebody I knew, I drank
18 coffee with him from time to time. He was a student of criminology.
19 He did not complete his degree but he became an inspector. I was
20 beaten in his office. I could bear that up until the moment when
21 Saponja started hitting me over my head with a police rubber baton,
22 and after the eighth blow I fell down and he made me stand up and
23 took the belt from my trousers, put it around me and said that: "This
24 is a tie for you". Then he took me to another room where there was
25 an inspector and a policeman whose name I do not know but I remember
1 him. He used to be a regular policeman before the war in Prijedor.
2 At the same time they brought a shoe box and in there was a video
3 tape, two of my diaries, an old one and a more recent one. There was
4 a magazine there and these
5 were to be the proofs against me. Then the first hearing had
7 Q. What was the magazine that was a proof against you?
8 A. It was a theological magazine. My father was a priest. He received
9 regularly a theological magazine. That was a magazine called the
10 "Islamic Thought", Islamska Misad. One could regularly obtain it at
11 news stands. The issue was four years old. They were probably not
12 looking quite carefully. They could have found some more recent
14 but that had to be the proof for the accusations made later on.
15 Q. Were you taken to a cell once they finished beating you?
16 A. Yes, I was.
17 Q. Was there anything about the condition of that cell that indicated
18 what had happened to prisoners who had been there before you?
19 A. Yes, yes. There was quite a lot of blood in the cell. On the walls
20 there were bullet holes. On the right-hand wall above a metal bed
21 some one metre above it there was an awful blood stain and a stain of
22 brain. It was a bullet hole and then there was something like as if
23 you took some mud, red in colour, and then smear it all around. It
24 was an indication that somebody was shot at very close range there.
25 They took me in and at that time there were two men and two women
1 there in the cell. I remember that. I also remember that after an
2 hour and a half there was a man who came near me, because they threw
3 me on the floor in front of the cell. They also beat me so it was
4 impossible for me to stand up. Those people tried to put me on a bed
5 and I asked where they were coming from and they said they were from
6 Cela which is a suburban area of Prijedor. They were simply taken
7 from their houses and these two women were taken from the street
8 where they were.
9 Q. Did you recognise the people who beat you in front of the cell? Were
10 they police, soldiers, local people?
11 A. Yes. Yes, part of them were locals whom I could recognise. Part of
12 these young men were unknown to me. They had slightly strange
13 accents. I suppose these were men of the special units from Serbia,
14 as they used to be called the Red Berets. I know they were some kind
15 of emergency platoon, some kind of their best type of police. There
16 was mistreatment, abuse, put a knife under your throat, beatings.
17 They wanted to take me to the dormitory, but they did not do that
18 because those from upstairs ordered not to transfer me there. But
19 they would come from time to time, hit the metal door, kicked the
20 metal door, and they said: "The MP will come to see you". At some
21 stage two policemen came. They opened the door and I thought the
22 same would be repeated again. Then the inspector asked me": "Can you
23 tell me where the evidence is?" I said: "There aren't any more". He
24 said: "This is nothing. We want real evidence." Because they
25 accused me straightaway, they said: "You're a fundamentalist. You
1 can claim that you are not, but
2 we know that you are because your father was." I did not have any
3 kind of other
4 evidence and I proposed that they could go to my house, they could
5 search everything, that I could go with them. There were dozens of
6 other magazines like that. They closed the door and left.
7 Then they took these other men and women out and I spent the
8 night in the cell. The next morning they came to fetch me. They
9 took me out of the cell, through the SUP building. I was tied with
10 a belt and that is the way they took me around and they were saying"
11 "Clear the way, we are taking the MP with us." The belt around my
12 neck was
13 very tight, they were pulling it. They took me to the bus parked
14 there. I noticed women and younger girls that were going on the bus,
15 they had makeup on them, and one or two soldiers would enter as well.
16 At that moment Mr. Simo Miskovic entered into the SUP. I caught his
17 eye and I expected him to look at me. I was hoping that maybe I
18 could ask him a question, but he turned his head away and went by.
19 Then we went on the bus and I was taken on the road Prijedor Kozarac
20 to Omarska. We came to the Omarska settlement. So that is where I
21 understood where I was going, but I could not understand why these
22 women with makeup were going there and the civilians, but when we
23 arrived there these were employees, they worked as secretaries there.
24 Q. To what part of the camp were you taken?
25 A. First of all, I was taken next to the administrative part. I was
1 taken off the bus and passed near two groups of people who were
2 sitting with their legs and arms pulled up and there were some kind
3 of squares. The squares around him had metal chains, so that is how
4 these were sort of squares. I was taken into this administrative
5 building. We went up the stairs. There was a table there and a
6 soldier was sitting there and next to him were other two soldiers.
7 They took my name and then I was taken through this central part of
8 the so-called pista towards a small white house that was at the end.
9 They took me to the so-called white house. They took me there and
10 left me there. The policemen who escorted me went out and for a
11 minute or two I was there on my own.
12 Q. Mr. Semenovic, looking at Exhibit 130 can you point out the white
14 A. Yes, I can. This way came the bus. That is where I was taken to the
15 first floor, and then here to the white house. They came in and took
16 me to the first room on the left, this window on the left and that is
17 where the soldiers came later on watching how they were beating me.
18 Q. What happened after you were placed in the first room?
19 A. Some two minutes later a civilian came in. One could see that he was
20 a camp prisoner because everything was dirty what he was wearing. He
21 came to me and said: "Were you an MP?" and I said, yes, and he
22 started to beat me. He did not have any kind of a stick or anything
23 like that. He was beating me with his hand. It lasted for some 10
24 minutes after which he went out. After that a Serb soldier came in
25 and he started to beat me and these were quite heavy blows. On that
1 occasion they fractured this bone here. Probably these first ribs
2 were broken because it was very difficult for me to breathe and very
3 painful. I could not open my mouth. After that second man a third
4 man came in. The second one had some kind of a pole, a metal kind of
5 pole, there was a yellow sort of transparent bit over it, it must
6 have been some 70 or 80 centimetres long, and he was beating me with
7 the pole. After that a third soldier came in and at the same
8 time five or six soldiers were at the window. I could see their
9 heads. They were watching it all, and they were saying: "Oh, is this
10 the MP? He arrived just where he should be, excellent."
11 After the fifth one who came in with the same mission I realised
12 they were following a certain order because they could have entered,
13 all of them, as in the prison in Prijedor
14 but, no, they came in one by one. After the fifth soldier I was
15 completely bloody because at some moment I fell and he hit me with
16 his boot in my nose and face and
17 within a couple of seconds I was completely in blood. An old man
18 was taken in to clean my face. He did it and then I was taken out
19 towards the policeman who first took me in towards the administrative
20 building. Then the soldier started to run after me to beat me, but
21 the policeman who was behind me told him: "We should not touch him
22 during the interrogation. After all, we will all have our turn."
23 This last I quoted. I realised what was going on but I was very
24 scared because I heard that people for 10 days would be beaten and
25 dying like that.
1 Q. Were you taken in for interrogation?
2 A. Yes, I was to the upper storey. Roughly speaking, somewhere in the
3 middle of the corridor on the right-hand side there was a room. In
4 every room I heard there were soldiers. I heard some screams from
5 various rooms. I was taken into a room where a gentleman
6 was whom I noticed on the bus when I was driving from Prijedor. He
7 was some three
8 seats in front of me and he was turning around. He was an
9 elderly man and his name
10 was Dragan Radakovic. He was seated at the desk and there were
11 two Serb soldiers there very heavily built, and there were three of
12 us in the room. I was told to sit down which I did. First of all,
13 he asked me: "Did they beat you?" I was silent and he repeated his
14 question once again in more severe tone. I said: "I don't know what
15 is better to say, that they did or they did not", and he answered:
16 "You can say they did because you are all in blood. It's one of
17 your's who beat you, isn't it?"
18 Q. Did you agree with him that it was a Muslim or a Croat who had beaten
20 A. Yes. I said yes.
21 Q. Did he ----
22 A. Sorry, he asked me, I said: "Yes, that's correct", and he asked me:
23 "Did anyone else beat you?" and I said I cannot remember because I
24 lost consciousness.
25 Q. Did he introduce himself to you?
1 A. After that he introduced himself. He said: "My name is Dragan
2 Radakovic. I am the manager of the National Park Kozara. We should
3 have been colleagues because you
4 are in the Managing Committee of the National Park as one of the MPs
5 because the Parliament always had two members on the Board of each
6 National Park". He said: "I
7 am a sculptor and have an MA degree in psychology." Then he
8 started to interrogate me and ask for information. When he started
9 he said exactly the following: "We are not
10 interested in Prijedor. We know that you did not have weapons.
11 There were a few weapons but it's negligible. We are interested in
12 Sarajevo. Sarajevo is our interest." He repeated that several
14 Q. What nationality was Mr. Radakovic?
15 A. Mr. Radakovic is a Serb.
16 Q. What nationality were the men who beat you in the white house?
17 A. Serbs. They were Serb soldiers except for that first man, a camp
18 prisoner who was a Muslim, his nickname was Besa. That is what I
19 remember. I think that his surname
20 must have been Besic and that he came from a village above
21 Kozarac but he used to live
22 for quite a long time, I think somewhere in the area of Gornji
23 Puharska and he was ----
24 Q. Do you know why he beat you?
25 A. No, no. I cannot remember the reason. He only did that.
1 Q. Was he a prisoner in the camp?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did he receive any special treatment or special favours from the camp
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. How long did the interrogation conducted by Mr. Radakovic continue
8 A. You mean that day or all in all?
9 Q. All in all.
10 A. For several days. I think for six days.
11 Q. At the beginning did he concentrate on the area he mentioned at
12 first, questions about Sarajevo?
13 A. Yes. Yes, and almost all the first day he was interrogating me about
14 two Serbs who remained in the Bosnian government. They refused to
15 leave the Bosnian government
16 and go to Pale. That was Mr. Zepinic and Mr. Simovic.
17 Q. Were you beaten during the interrogations?
18 A. No, no. No, I tried to find a way to prevent it. I was aware of how
19 things would go and at one moment when we remained just the two of us
20 in those rooms, I told him a couple of sentences for which I think
21 they had an impact on him. So he decided to prevent the beatings, at
22 least for the next couple of days. I said exactly what follows:
23 "Sir, we are alone now the two of us. I am 30 years old and I know
24 that my life is at its end. You do this job" -- because he would
25 constantly be saying, "I do this job, I am coming to this
1 job" -- "So you do this job and it is your objective to do it as best
2 you can." I told him: "
3 will sign whatever arranges you. You can freely write down that I
4 killed 100 Serbs,
5 that I managed to ensure two trailers of weapons, but while you and
6 I are alone do not force me to lie, to tell things that are not
7 true. While we discuss I will tell the truth, but we can have the
8 following agreement. You will have an ideal report, you can just
9 write it down and I will sign it without any problems, but I will ask
10 you for a favour. While this lasts please spare me from beatings
11 because I think they are not necessary. You will get whatever you
12 want. You will realise what you have planned and after that let me
13 die in a decent way, as a man should."
14 I also said something that might have moved him. I told him
15 that: "Somebody will
16 survive this war. I have got two sisters, a mother and at least
17 one of those three would survive and on the last day I will send you
18 a message and I will ask you that one day
19 when everything is over you give this message to one of my family,
20 and they will really know how to be grateful to you because you
21 spared their son and their brother from beatings."
22 I told him all these things for two reasons: So that they would
23 not force me to try and find that some people are guilty and give the
24 names of some people who were at the camp, and in case I would tell
25 them I did not know, so that they would believe me and, as much as I
1 could, so that I could die in the least painful way. I think I did
2 achieve some effect because he told me then he could not talk any
3 more. So after some five minutes of silence and looking through the
4 window I could not see his face then, he went to the door. He asked
5 for the guards and he said: "Take him to the glass house", and I did
6 not know what that meant before I saw it.
7 Q. Were you taken to the glass house?
8 A. Yes, I was.
9 Q. Can we run the film, please?
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: What exhibit is this, Mr. Tieger?
11 MR. TIEGER: I am sorry, your Honour, this will be Exhibit 133 ----
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Any objection to 133 or is it in? It is not in
13 yet, is it?
14 MR. TIEGER: No, it is not.
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Any objection to 133?
16 MR. WLADIMIROFF: No, your Honour.
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: OK, Exhibit 133 will be admitted.
18 MR. TIEGER: Actually, your Honour, since we should watch it I would like
19 it marked for identification first if that is possible, since we do
20 not have it in front of us.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: OK, that is fine. How long is the film?
22 MR. TIEGER: Very short your Honour.
23 (The video was played).
24 MR. TIEGER: Mr. Semenovic, did you recognise the place depicted in that
1 A. Yes, I did. The way you showed it on the right-hand side of the
2 glass house, whereas, the people who were filming were in the
3 kitchen, the canteen.
4 Q. Is that you sitting down who was in the close-up shot taken in that
6 A. Yes. I could recognise first myself. I was the first one next to
7 the glass. I remember when the foreign journalists were filming
8 that. That is the shot.
9 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, may I have this marked as Exhibit 133?
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Well, it is more appropriate to identify it first.
11 So that is Exhibit 133, a film. In which camp was that, Mr. Tieger,
12 or Mr. Semenovic? Is that Omarska?
13 A. That film was done in the Omarska camp somewhere early August, let us
14 say 5th August, the 5th or 6th August. I cannot be sure, but roughly
15 speaking around that time. These were foreign journalists. It all
16 happened suddenly. One morning we noticed a great change in the Serb
17 soldiers in the camp. They all wore very clean new uniforms. They
18 all had new rifles and the difference from the previous days when the
19 rifles were on their shoulders and that day they all had them in
20 their hands, all of them really. We did not know what that meant,
21 but sometime just before noon we noticed a larger group of
22 journalists and some camera men. They came in and were filming all
23 around. One of the cameras was near that glass, but I felt that I
24 did not turn round, it might have been dangerous.
25 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, I note that we marked 133 for identification. I
1 would now tender it for admission.
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Any objection?
3 MR. WLADIMIROFF: No, your Honour.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: 133 is admitted. It is very short. Could you play
5 it again?
6 (The video was played once more).
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. We will stand in recess until 2.30.
9 (2.30 p.m.) PRIVATE
10 MR. SEMENOVIC, recalled
11 Examined by Mr. Tieger, continued.
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Tieger, would you like to continue, please?
13 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, your Honour. (To the witness): Mr. Semenovic, you
14 indicated that you were held in the glass house in the administrative
15 building of Omarska.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did people in the glass house receive treatment different from the
18 other prisoners in Omarska camp?
19 A. Yes, their position was somewhat better.
20 Q. Did people sometimes pay guards or bribe guards to get put in the
21 glass house?
22 A. Yes. Yes, people could buy a place there. They paid in money or
23 gold. At a point I saw Mr. Helmija Nukic. He probably had no more
24 money and the last he had was, I think, a gold chain from his pocket
25 and gave it to a young man who was there as a cook. Some other
1 people I talked to, who did talk to me, they said they had arrived to
2 the nursery, to the glass house, by paying a certain amount of money.
3 In the beginning, those were considerable sums of money and then as
4 the time went on, less and less.
5 I also noticed that some people in the glass house were in a
6 decent state, unlike other people whom I could see passing through to
7 lunch running. Most of them were like skeletons. Some had their
8 arms broken, some could not even move and were led by others. Some
9 of them were transferred to the glass house. Others found a way to
10 give to the Chetniks the money, as that was that they often called
11 themselves and thus improve his condition.
12 Among the people in the glass house, I noticed a gentleman who
13 was a clerk in the SUP. He was completely blue from head to toe with
14 enormous bruises, and I thought that he had been beaten in the
15 "staklenik", and then was told that he was transferred from some
16 other room to the glass house the day before I arrived.
17 They kept there a certain number of people who participated in
18 the war on the side of JNA on the front in the Republic of Croatia,
19 that is, those who served them as soldiers for a while and when they
20 returned home they were also put in a camp in Omarska, but they were
21 treated in a somewhat better manner, that is, they were put in the
22 glass house.
23 Q. Were you protected from -----
24 JUDGE STEPHEN: Excuse me, I do not think you have pointed out where the
25 glass house is on the plan.
1 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, your Honour. (To the witness): Mr. Semenovic, can
2 you take the pointer and show us where the glass house is located,
4 A. The administrative building had two blocks. Those here were offices
5 and they were used as offices where interrogations were conducted.
6 Then there were some auxiliary buildings open on two sides. This
7 side was hollow space, that is, open space. There was no roof there,
8 and this is adjacent to the canteen, and it has glass all around.
9 That is why they called it a glass house, that is, so a roofless part
10 of the building.
11 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, if I may, I noticed that there is a relatively
12 good view of the building available on the monitor. If I might remove
13 the roof, it might assist the court?
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Regarding your request, Mr. Tieger, for a camera, I
15 spoke with the director of our video operations. He said that he is
16 going to mount a camera on the table so that it will focus down. He
17 thought that would be a better view. That will be done next week, so
18 I do not know what we will see now from the top, that is.
19 THE WITNESS: This is the glass house, this is the canteen, that is the
20 dining room, here is the door, the entrance, and the inmates used
21 this entrance. They would pass this corridor here that I am showing
22 now. Then to this line when they queued for food next to the door of
23 the glass house, and this, and the door was, the door to the glass
24 house was here, here in this part.
25 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Mr. Semenovic. During the period of time you were
1 in the glass house were you protected from being beaten?
2 A. Yes. Soldiers attempted to enter the glass house several times,
3 rather, to take me out, but they were forbidden to do that because
4 the inspectors had planned photographs to be taken, rather, some
5 footage, video footage, to be made there. For that reason, so I
6 would not appear too deformed, I was beaten only on the first day and
7 this footage that we saw today were made, I think, on the eighth day
8 of my stay in the glass house.Then an inmate was also in the glass
9 house who used to beat me, whose nickname was Besa. His cot was next
10 to mine.
11 Q. The man who was the first person to come in the white house when you
12 first came to Omarska?
13 A. Yes. Yes.
14 Q. Did Mr. Radakovic eventually prepare a statement for you to sign?
15 A. Yes, the minutes of the interrogation, as I was told, was to be
16 signed after the completion of the procedure and in his office. I
17 did not sign these minutes, but I was shown a statement a few days
18 before that which I was to read before the cameras of the local
19 television, to read it, literally looking at the camera and then
20 answer and then read answers contained in the previous statement. I
21 did that two or three days before this film was made, that is, before
22 foreign journalists entered the camp. This interview was done by Mr.
24 Q. Did Mr. Radakovic ask you about any other prisoners in the camp? Did
25 he ask you about Anes Medunjanin, for example?
1 A. Yes, yes. Since the interrogation lasted several days, he used often
2 to philosophize about life. He told me about various things
3 concerning his profession and it was not conversation, it was more
4 like a soliloquy and, of course, the position I was in I could only
6 He spoke about the very difficult position of Serbs in Tuzla and
7 I am quoting now, "This is the hotel. This is how Serbs in Tuzla
8 live. There Muslims draw water from briny wells, from brackish wells,
9 and sprinkle the water in the state of Tuzla, and there the Serbs are
10 standing in the sun for days on end and have to lick this brackish
11 water off the grass, and they are even thirstier than before; how
12 that is a terrible torture; and how one lives in Omarska where they
13 get one meal daily and where they have water and how it is a genuine
14 hotel when compared with Tuzla".
15 He also indulged in some thoughts, theories, about life and then
16 at a certain point asked me if I knew Anes Medunjanin. I said I knew
17 his father who was one of the Party Executive and Anes is a youngish
18 man. I knew him as a child but, objectively speaking, I could not
19 socialise with him. Then, but came as a surprise, he said how he was
20 a wonderful young man, how much that lad knew about the orthodox
21 faith, that "I do not know about Islam as much as he knows about the
22 orthodox faith, and perhaps he is more familiar with the orthodox
23 faith more than I do. I could not really believe how such a
24 fundamentalist, how such a Muslim extremist, could prove to be such a
25 nice, bright young man", and then he told me, "I will acquaint you
1 with Anes Medunjanin".
2 Q. Do you recall how many times you were interviewed by journalists in
4 A. Three times. The first and the second interviews followed each
5 other. They were in the same room and at the same time. So, on the
6 same day, one after the other.
7 Q. I want to ask you about how you were finally able to leave Omarska.
8 At some point were you taken from the glass house and to an office in
9 the administration building?
10 A. Yes, it was a day after the arrival of foreign journalists, the day
11 after the footage that we saw. When foreign journalists left, I was
12 taken to the upper floor, to a large room in the central part of the
13 administrative building on the left-hand side,and a television Pale
14 team came there.
15 They introduced me and they switched on their cameras and
16 introduced me as an SDA official,a former member of parliament who
17 came to Omarska of his own free will, to see how those people lived
18 there. They said that they were unfairly accused of having a
19 concentration camp and asked me to confirm that it was not a
20 concentration camp.
21 Then the next question was to ask, to tell them how the
22 religious class, how the religious people were the first, were armed
23 or, rather, how the clergy was armed first. They asked me to list
24 responsible persons. I only gave the name of the first person of
25 the party, Mirza Mujadzic, because I was certain he was in Bihac.
1 For about a month before that, we had heard on a small transistor
2 radio an interview that he gave to the local radio in Bihac. I did
3 not give any other names.
4 Then they left for Trnopolje and I was returned to the glass
5 house. The next day in the morning the police came again. They took
6 me to the same room again that I was in the day before, and some time
7 later, perhaps after five minutes, a gentleman came in whose face I
8 could remember at that time. I remembered his face but I could not
9 remember his name.
10 Q. Did he introduce himself?
11 A. Yes, he entered, offered to shake hands with me and said, "Do you
12 remember me?" I then thought he was a gentleman from the municipal
13 hall in Prijedor, a Serb. He looked like a gentleman whose name is
14 Bereta and I said, "Yes, I remember you from the Assembly", and he
15 said, "Yes, I am Vojo Kupresanin, President of the Autonomous region
16 of Banja Luka. I remember you well from Sarajevo, from the
17 Assembly", and then I realised who that was.
18 Q. What else did Mr. Kupresanin tell you that day?
19 A. He sat next to me and started a political discussion with me, the
20 discussion that I could not take part in; after all that had
21 happened, I simply was unable to. It all seemed to me, it is a
22 situation difficult to describe, death all around and at that moment
23 somebody asks you about political views.
24 I knew he dwelt at length before he asked any questions, that it
25 was rather hard on the Muslims, all that was happening, that Europe
1 has assigned to the Serbs the role of executioners of the Muslims.
2 He said that it was a Vatican conspiracy and that the time had come
3 to do something to improve the situation.
4 He spoke, he went on, for about five minutes and then a soldier
5 came in and called him and said, "Excuse me, Mr. Kupresanin, Mr.
6 Karadzic needs you." He went out to the telephone. I could see
7 that it was in the next room, the table diagonally across the room.
8 I could see it and Kupresanin began to converse with Karadzic. What
9 Karadzic asked him or told him, I do not know because I could not
10 hear that, but I heard him repeating several times, "300 beds, we
11 need 300 beds urgently. Send it, send them and send plenty of soap
12 and detergents, if possible, during the day". Then he was silent for
13 a while and then said, "I have found only one." I was not sure if he
14 meant me by that, but I assumed that it was possible that he had
15 meant me by that; who were the others, I do not know.
16 Q. Did Kupresanin take you from Omarska and take you to members of your
18 A. He took me out from Omarska. He was coming back towards the room
19 where I was in and I thought he would continue the conversation, but
20 he said, "You are coming with me." I did not know what that meant.
21 I started, I asked the permission to take my jacket from the glass
22 house and to say "goodbye" to those who were staying behind, wanted
23 to let them know that I was leaving because I guessed I would
24 probably not be coming back. So I went there. I took the jacket,
25 said "goodbye" to people.
1 I went out to the pista where two cars, two police cars, were
2 parked. Kupresanin and I and his driver took one and the other one
3 was boarded by policemen, so they put on those rotary lights and
4 started, set off towards Banja Luka.
5 Q. On the way did he ask you where your family was and then did he take
6 you there?
7 A. Yes, yes, he did. First, he asked me if I knew where other members
8 of parliament from the municipality of Prijedor and Sanski Most were.
9 He meant MPs, Bosniaks Muslims. He asked me where Mirsad Mujadzic
10 and Rasem Cero;I said that Mr. Mujadzic was in Bihac and that Rasem
11 Cero was in Sarajevo, that she had never returned. Then he told me:
12 "You are going to Banja Luka. We shall take you to a Serb village.
13 You will be in a house on your own. We shall bring you food. You
14 have to get better. You have to recover. In about a month's time,
15 we have to find your family".
16 He asked: "Where are members of your family?" and I said that
17 some of them with whom I lived, that is, my mother and my
18 sisters,that they were already up road, and I lied about that, and I
19 had heard messages on the radio, and I asked -- I was asked about the
20 other sister. I had a sister in Bosanska Vrbanja who lived there
21 before the war, and I
22 thought that Vrbanja had suffered the fate of Kozarac. I said that
23 she was up there, expecting to see his reaction, that is, his answer.
24 Then he said, "If she was there before the war, then she is still
25 there", so I asked if I could go and visit her, so that I could see
1 that she was alive, and then possibly the International Red Cross
2 should be notified about that. He said that they would take me to
3 visit my sister. Now, it all happened while we were moving towards
4 Banja Luka.
5 Q. Did you learn at some point why Mr. Kupresanin was treating you so
7 A. It became logical when we entered the building of the municipal hall.
8 The car stopped in front of the building of the municipal hall. We
9 entered, went upstairs to the left, somewhere towards the end of
10 corridor, the office to the right. We entered it and that was his
11 office. Around there there were some other offices, some had open --
12 doors open with tables in between and then again I could hear the
13 conversation between him and Karadzic.
14 Q. So Mr. Kupresanin spoke with President Karadzic again?
15 A. Yes, yes. Yes, and he insisted again on those beds, on those 300
16 beds, to be urgently sent and soap and detergents and he mentioned
17 clothing, money, but I did not get that. I realised that later on.
18 Q. How did you know that Mr. Kupresanin was speaking to President
19 Karadzic on the other end of the phone?
20 A. They talked about the same topic, and when the telephone rang the
21 person who was there in the office who responded said, "President
22 Karadzic needs you". But it is that black telephone, old model, so
23 one could hear it. It is rather loud and I could hear Mr. Karadzic.
24 Mr. Karadzic has a rather harsh voice. After all, I had listened to
25 it for a year and a half during those long sessions in the Republican
2 Q. You mentioned something about clothes and indicated you ultimately
3 realised you did not receive them. Why do you think Mr. Kupresanin
4 was interested in getting you new clothes? What was intended for
6 A. I did not know that at the time. I could infer it and I was not
7 quite sure whether it concerned me, but about some half hour later
8 some men entered the room, some army officers in uniform, some
9 civilians. They questioned me about how about was it in the camp,
10 what did you eat, were they taking people away. I mostly kept silent
11 because I felt it was dangerous to say anything.
12 At a different point in time a soldier with a long beard
13 entered the room and asked at the door, "Where is he?" Then he
14 entered the room and I was sitting in the chair like this. He went
15 around me, encircled me, looking at me and repeating, "You were
16 lucky, you were in luck, you were in luck". Then they took him away
17 and later I learned that he was from Gradica and that he had taken
18 part in those operations in Trnopolje. He was about 40 years of age,
19 slim, a low height, and they took him away.
20 Then Kupresanin said, "We shall take to Vrbanja now. We shall
21 see what the situation is there. It might be dangerous for you to
22 stay there". I may mention here that Vrbanja is ethnically
23 homogenous, in that the central part is inhabited exclusively by
24 Muslims Bosniaks. He told me that it was dangerous for me to go
25 there because Vrbanja is full of fundamentalists, extremists. He
1 asked me if my brother-in-law was an extremist. I said, "No",
2 because he was never active in politics. He simply worked in a
3 factory when he came back home and went fishing, and that was all.
4 Kupresanin said then, "Well, now you will live like a man. We shall
5 get some clothes for you. Now you must get fatter. In about a month,
6 you must recover properly. We shall give you money".
7 He asked me more seriously rather than jokingly whether I
8 preferred dark girls to fair girls or vice versa. Then he said, "We
9 will find you a girlfriend". About an hour later they said: "We will
10 be off to Vrbanja now". So we set out to Vrbanja in a car. As we
11 were approaching my sister's house, they said I was to go in first
12 and just say that Mr. Kupresanin was there and his driver and some
13 other army officers and they wanted to talk
14 to them, to my sister and brother-in-law.
15 Q. Mr. Semenovic, at some point did Mr. Kupresanin ask you to contact
16 Muslim officials outside the area?
17 A. Yes, yes, that happened a couple of days later. They came to fetch me
18 by car and they took me to Banja Luka, to the town hall. He told me
19 that they have been trying for a couple of days to contact Tuzla and
20 Zenica, and that I had to try to telephone to Zenica. They told me
21 they could not do it because whenever they telephone, Zenica puts the
22 phone down and refuses to talk, and they had to talk to Tuzla
23 something about electricity. They told me that I could and should do
25 Q. Did you attempt to do so and were you successful?
1 A. I was not, I could not. Then they told me that I could call my
2 friends in Sarajevo. All the telephone lines were cut, but they had
3 the control and they could switch any line on. They told me that I
4 could call to Sarajevo, Tuzla, Prijedor, Zenica. I was in a
5 situation when I could not refuse everything they asked me to do. So
6 I telephoned two people in
8 Q. So you refused to call Tuzla and Zenica but agreed to call Prijedor?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. At some point did Mr. Kupresanin have you taken to the Skupstina
11 opstina building, Municipal Assembly building, in Banja Luka?
12 A. Yes, they came to Vrbanja on several occasions and took me there.
13 Q. Was there one occasion on which you were taken for the purpose of
14 meeting the President?
15 A. Yes. One day they came and asked me to shave very quickly, within
16 five minutes, then to take off a t-shirt where it was written "Levis
17 America" and put something else on. They told me: "Now you are
18 going to meet President Karadzic. He needs to talk to you about
20 I supposed what it was all about because the previous day I
21 heard on the radio that Lord Carrington and Cyrus Vance were coming
22 to Banja Luka. They were on that particular day in Banja Luka, so I
23 suppose that they would tell me that I have to tell those gentlemen
24 something.I had no choice, so I went with them to Banja Luka.They
25 took me to the Municipal Assembly building.
1 Q. Were there soldiers there when you arrived?
2 A. Yes, very many. The building was full, officers, soldiers,
3 civilians, politicians, policemen.
4 Q. Did you see any politicians you knew from Prijedor?
5 A. Yes, I saw Mr. Srdjo Srdic and Mr. Stakic.
6 Q. Did either of them talk to you or did you overhear any conversations
7 they were having?
8 A. They were taking me up the stairs, I mean, Kupresanin and the police
9 escort, and then up on the first floor it was very noisy. They were
10 arguments. I could hear people swear. On the right-hand side, I saw
11 Messrs. Stakic and Mr. Srdic. They were swearing at Karadzic's
12 mother. They were mentioning some buses. Srdo Srdic was saying, "I
13 have nothing to do with the buses. I do not want to know about
14 anything on the Vlasic". At one moment he saw me with Kupresanin and
15 some metres away he shouted towards me, "Mevludin", and he came
16 towards me. He took me by my arm and took me to the group which was
17 arguing there, most loudly and he told me, "Mevludin, tell me, has my
18 foot ever been put into the reception centres at Keraterm, Trnopolje
19 and Omarska?" Then he said, he turned towards them, "I do not
20 want to be responsible for anything. I have nothing to do with the
21 buses". I was quiet. It was a terrible feeling. I felt, as we say,
22 as a sheep in front of many wolves.
23 Q. Did you hear any discussion about the removal of authority from the
24 autonomous region or from any -----
25 A. Yes. These swear words against Karadzic, it was because they were
1 trying to wash their hands of something, some buses.At that moment, I
2 did not have any idea what buses they were thinking of. I suppose
3 those might have been the buses that during the night were going from
4 Omarska to the so-called exchanges, but they were not mentioning
5 Omarska. They only mentioned the buses and Vlasic. They were
6 swearing at Karadzic because he abolished autonomous regions.
7 Mr. Srdic literally said, "He gave all the power to the
8 Presidents of the Municipal Assemblies, to the Mayors; how come he
9 has the right to do that? Now these Presidents of Municipal
10 Assemblies do what whatever they want". He gave an example,that
11 Stakic's people in the end burnt down the houses in the Muslim
12 village of Gomjanica and that that had not been previously arranged.
13 He said, "This is not the way to do our policy. What are we now
14 going to show to the foreigners if they come?"
15 Q. Did Mr. Kupresanin ever ask you to assist him with negotiations?
16 A. Yes, yes. One of the first things that he wanted to do was, they had
17 to create some kind of a round table in Banja Luka. He said as
18 follows: Bihac is going to be the part of the Serbian
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is, of the Banja Luka region. A Muslim will
20 be the President of the government, the Prime Minister. We have got
21 a very excellent man, Fikret Abdic. We have already agreed with
22 Fikret Abdic. He will be the Prime Minister and the Serb will be
23 the President, and the Muslims in Bihac will be satisfied and all
24 those Muslims that remained in Banja Luka as well.
25 He said they were planning to organise a public panel
1 transmitted on TV, and at that panel I should also take part at the
2 panel as a representative of the Muslim people. I did not answer in
3 either way, either "yes" or "no". I was, nevertheless, conscious
4 that I should not go into something like that because I knew what the
5 final issue should be. But, however, they did not tell me exactly
6 what they were planning to do.
7 I learned that from the Serb soldier who took me back to Vrbanja
8 from the Municipal Assembly. He somewhere towards a third of our
9 journey told me exactly like this: "It is very good that you had
10 decided to become a member of the Serb assembly. I appreciate that,
11 but it is very dangerous for you, and you have to be aware the Muslim
12 extremists". He said that the pass that was made for me by
13 Kupresanin and which would allow me to go through the Serb
14 checkpoints, army checkpoints. He told me not to show it, that is, to
15 make several photocopies of it, because otherwise they would make
16 many -- they would tear up all, many of these photocopies.
17 Q. At some point did Mr. Kupresanin ask you go to Kotor Varos and talk
18 the Bosnians into surrendering?
19 A. Yes. One day he sent a gentleman who was Bosniak Muslim by
20 nationality, a dentist from Banja Luka. He was more proYugoslav in
21 his political opinion and he continued to co-operate with the Serb
22 authority. He sent him to tell me that I had to go to Kotor Varos
23 and to talk the Muslims into surrender,and that they should evacuate
24 Kotor Varos. I could not accept that; I refused it. I said it would
25 be much easier if they killed me in Vrbanja than to be killed in
1 Kotor Varos and that I could not accept something of that kind, and I
2 also said it, to my mind, that was, I could not help in any way by
3 doing that.
4 Q. Did you refuse to go to Kotor Varos because you were afraid of being
5 shot while you were there?
6 A. No, no. I refused. I gave them different reasons, different from my
7 real reason. I was absolutely aware of all the positions. My
8 experience told me about what was going on in Kotor Varos, but what I
9 explained to them was that I was not refusing because of my political
10 opinions in order to make them happy. I said, "I am not refusing
11 because of my political opinion, but because I am convinced that I
12 would never return". I knew that if I refuse, I would be killed here
13 in Vrbanja,but it is better that it happens here than in Kotor Varos.
14 Q. Did you subsequently learn what happened in Kotor Varos?
15 A. Yes, in Kotor Varos part of the population surrendered. Part of the
16 armed population withdrawal towards the mountains, towards the
17 village of Vecici, that was all on Banja Luka TV, and the greatest
18 part of the population was evacuated.
19 For quite a long time they had been under blockade and they had
20 no means to defend themselves,so the majority of the population,all
21 women, children and civilians, men, they were transferred by buses,
22 as I heard on TV, towards Travnik. When that was ended, Kupresanin
23 said on TV on several occasions, "Kotor Varos is now free".
24 Q. How were you finally able to leave Vrbanja?
25 A. I left Vrbanja on 15th January 1993, that is, I tried on several
1 occasions through some people I managed to contact secretly and that
2 live in Vrbanja. I managed to send a message to the International
3 Red Cross and asked to be registered. The message was received and
4 returned, and I was told that they knew I was at Vrbanja but it would
5 be much better if they would not register me. It would be safer for
7 I then lost hope of getting out of there but then, as it turned
8 out, some people were trying to get me out of Vrbanja and transfer me
9 to Croatia. I never learned the names of some of those people. I do
10 know some other names.
11 Somewhere towards the beginning of January, in the evening, a
12 young blond woman arrived. She knocked on the door, talked to my
13 sister and she told her she had a piece of paper for me. My sister,
14 when she was sure that there was no danger, called me and on the
15 paper it was said, "Discharge from prison, pursuant to the decision
16 in the official gazette of Serb Republic of Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina,from Omarska, discharged, released the following names",
18 and there was a list. There was the No. 8 was the last name, and
19 then by hand there were on the No. 9, 10 and 11 three other names,
20 last one of those names was my name.
21 That woman said that the next morning at 7 o'clock I should go
22 to the company plant which is located in the same house where the
23 International Red Cross is. She said, "Ask for Nine. When that man
24 comes, he will explain to you what you should do next." She told me
25 that in case I did not manage to go to the town, to swallow that
1 piece of paper because the Serb policemen should in no way find out
2 how I got that piece of paper. My sister asked her, "Who are you?"
3 She said, "Well, my sister, I am your sister and his sister; we are
4 all brothers and sisters".
5 Q. Did you require co-operation or assistance from Mr. Kupresanin in
6 order to effect your release?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did he want anything in exchange for his co-operation?
9 A. Yes. I did not talk about that with him directly. Mr. Nine, whom I
10 mentioned, talked to him because they knew each other, also the
11 dentist -- I think he might still be in Banja Luka and that is why I
12 will not mention his name, but I think he talked about; if the court
13 wants me, the Tribunal wants me, I can write his name down -- and
14 some other people talked about it. That dentist came and told me
15 that we could obtain such a paper but that in exchange I should write
16 down who I was, how I was, what I did, how I was arrested, how I came
17 to Omarska and how Kupresanin had released me from Omarska, how he
18 brought me to Banja Luka and how I was normally living in Banja Luka
19 and to put in the end that I am grateful to Mr. Kupresanin and thank
20 him for saving my life.
21 Q. Did you provide that letter?
22 A. No. No, I was aware of the risk in case I would not sign that, but I
23 was also aware of the risks of signing the letter. I tried to explain
24 that it would not be good for me to write something like that in case
25 I managed to stay alive and reach Norway -- for some reason, I was
1 constantly saying I would be going to Norway -- in case I arrive
2 there that I would say publicly to the journalist who does what in
3 Banja Luka, that there are people there who save lives and not only
4 those who kill.
5 Two days later, the same gentleman, the dentist, came to me with
6 a text. I did not there sign that text either, but I said if I sign
7 it, in that case Mr. Kupresanin and this dentist could be killed in
8 case somebody finds that in Banja Luka, and that I had a moral
9 obligation to speak the truth and reveal the truth and to say who
10 helped me in what way, and they accepted that explanation and then
11 they abandoned this idea for me to sign the letter.
12 Similar letters were signed, I think, by Mr. Biscevic. I think
13 that he was No. 10 on that list. He was the second one whose name
14 was handwritten on the list and added. It is a young man from Sanski
15 Most. He was brought from Manjaca because he was the son of the
16 dentist's name -- the dentist I mentioned and whose name I did not
17 want to say.
18 Q. Did you finally obtain the necessary document from Mr. Kupresanin?
19 A. The International Red Cross received an oral permission for my
20 evacuation, but the only evacuation arrangement was rejoining of
21 families. That meant that I was a resident of Banja Luka and that
22 part of my family lived in Croatia, so that I could be evacuated to
23 join my family for the family reunion. The problem was that I did
24 not have any kind of documents either with or without photographs.
25 MR. TIEGER: May I have this marked for identification as Exhibit 134?
1 (Document handed). (To the witness): Mr. Semenovic, do you recognise
2 this document as the application obtained from Mr. Kupresanin?
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, I would tender 134 for admission.
5 MR. WLADIMIROFF: No objection.
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Exhibit 134 will be admitted.
7 MR. TIEGER (To the witness): May I ask first that the original be placed
8 on the screen so that the court can take a look at it, and can the
9 translation be placed on? Mr. Semenovic, I noticed that the date
10 listed is 12th January 1992; is that the correct date?
11 A. Yes, that is the correct date.
12 Q. Is the year correct?
13 A. Yes. Just a second -- no, no, no, the year is not correct. It is
14 1993, that should be on.
15 Q. This is the document that Mr. Kupresanin provided for you and that he
16 wanted a letter in exchange for which provided you with an identity
17 paper allowing you to begin the process of leaving Vrbanja?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Was it helpful that it identified you as a deputy in the former
20 Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
21 A. No.
22 Q. What would the likely effect be if you had found it necessary to show
23 that document at a checkpoint?
24 A. I would not pass the checkpoint, not even the first one, and there
25 were some 20 checkpoints up to Bosanski Gradica.
1 Q. During the period of time you were in Vrbanja, what was happening to
2 Muslims in the area?
3 A. Refugees were coming to Vrbanja, Muslims from Celinac where the
4 houses had been burned down. Part of the population had been killed,
5 and shortly afterwards arrests started in Bosanska Vrbanja, arrests
6 of Muslims. To start with, it happened in the evening or during the
7 night and later on it started also during the day.
8 At the same time, every time military columns or vehicles would
9 be going through Vrbanja from Celinac towards Banja Luka,there would
10 be quite a lot of shooting and lots of houses were damaged. The
11 grenades were thrown near the mosque and people started getting
12 killed in houses. People lived in fear, completely shut off.
13 They offered the possibility to people to move away, but it was
14 only possible through a private agency by a lady called Perka. She
15 was organising transport from Banja Luka to Serbia or from Banja Luka
16 across Vlasic on the territory under the control of the Bosnian Army,
17 but most of the people did not have the money for it because it cost
18 quite a lot of money.
19 JUDGE STEPHEN: I do not think we know where Vrbanja is.
20 MR. TIEGER: Mr. Semenovic, can you explain where -- I am trying to think,
21 your Honour, which Exhibit might be of -----
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: 79?
23 MR. TIEGER: No, I do not think that will be of assistance.
24 (To the witness): Mr. Semenovic, can you explain where Vrbanja is?
25 A. It is to the east of the Banja Luka. If you look at the centre of
1 the town of Banja Luka and you go towards the east, there is Bosanska
2 Vrbanja. There is just one road and this is the road Banja Luka,
3 Celinac,Kotor Varos,and Bosanska Vrbanja is a suburban part of Banja
4 Luka. It is right at the outskirts near the industrial zone where
5 Incel is. That is where Bosanska Vrbanja starts, along this road I
6 mentioned. The population, the houses, are around the river of
7 Vrbanja that goes into the River Vrbas.
8 Q. Mr. Semenovic, were you finally able to obtain your release from
9 Vrbanja in the Banja Luka region and cross the border on January 15th
11 A. Yes. Regardless of the piece of paper I received, I have to say that
12 a different kind of paper it was not possible to obtain. My sister
13 contacted Mr. Granic and the people I mentioned. They said that
14 with this piece of paper I had to go to the Banja Luka SUP, that they
15 should give me a real document.
16 She went there. She asked. She was sent there and there she
17 was told, was she aware who was she asking these documents for and
18 whether this man was still alive. That is what she was asked and
19 that was towards the end of the working day, and just before some
20 kind of a Serb holiday. I decided, regardless of the risk, to start
21 the journey with these documents in the organisation of the
22 International Red Cross, because I expected that the Serb authorities
23 could use me and send me to negotiate with Bosniak Muslims' side,
24 because previously they told me they would take me to Knin, and then
25 that from Knin we should go by the UNPROFOR armed vehicle to the
1 frontline to discuss with the two gentlemen, one of whom was Irfan
2 Ljubijankic, and I knew both of them. I started my journey on 15th
3 January in the morning towards Novska carrying this document, this
4 piece of paper.
5 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Mr. Semenovic. Nothing further, your Honour.
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Cross-examination Mr. Kay?
7 Cross-examined by MR. KAY
8 MR. KAY: Yes, your Honour. (To the witness): Mr. Semenovic, you told us
9 this morning that you were entered on that document relating to the
10 Territorial Defence of Trnpolje and that that was your signature. Do
11 you remember seeing the paper this morning? Perhaps we could look at
12 that again?
13 A. Yes, I do remember.
14 MR. KAY: Your Honour, I know we can call this up on the computer on A1/7.
15 I was told this yesterday. Perhaps the court official will be able
16 to dial that in?
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: This is Defence 6, I believe, is it not?
18 MR. KAY: Yes, your Honour.
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: A1/7. You know more than I do, Mr. Kay. I hope it
20 comes up.
21 MR. KAY: This is a test.
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: OK, we will see.
23 MR. KAY: Perhaps we can be told which button we press?
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Tieger, would you help us, please, to get A1/7
25 on the monitor?
1 MR. KAY: I tried!
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Why do you not just take Defence 6 and we will take
3 a look at the sheet?
4 MR. KAY: Let us go back to paper. If the witness can be provided with
5 Defence document 6? (To the witness): Mr. Semenovic, if you could
6 turn to page A1/7 there are numbers and letters in the top right-hand
7 corner. Can you see?
8 A. Yes, I found it.
9 Q. Perhaps a copy of that can be put underneath the light? You told us
10 this morning that you signed this document some four or five days
11 before the conflict at Kozarac?
12 A. Yes, before the first clashes, before the first shots.
13 Q. Yes, that is right. If you would like to look at the other pages
14 relating to the Trnopolje list which start at A1/5, can you see it?
15 A. A1/5?
16 A. Yes?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. A1/6?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And A1/7 where yours is the very last name on the list?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You told us this morning that organisation of the Territorial Defence
23 by the local Muslims took some seven days or a week before the
24 first shots were fired at Kozarac; is that right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. So, before that week are you telling the court that there was no
2 mobilization by the local Territorial Defence unit by the Muslim
3 people at all?
4 A. No, no. May I explain?
5 Q. Of course.
6 A. It was like this. This is the last stage of the compilation of these
7 lists, and the filing of weaponry. Before that, the TO headquarters
8 had to collect the files from other sources -- well, a decision had
9 to be taken first, a political decision, and then to collect the
10 available files, then compile lists. Then the last step was to go
11 with these lists to the field, door to door, and to offer people to
12 sign it up and to have their weapons put on record if, of course,
13 they wanted to, if there were any to do so.
14 Q. So shall we look at your answer then in relation to that and see what
15 it means? Are you saying that the lists were compiled some week
16 before the conflict started at Kozarac?
17 A. You mean these lists?
18 Q. Yes.
19 A. Yes. Yes, but first they were drawn up in the TO headquarters, and
20 then one had to reach every house and show it to people. It was
21 quite an undertaking. I remember that to my house came a young man,
22 Ajdin Zenkic. Usually, those were young people who had nothing
23 better to do and they, therefore, were asked to visit all, to see all
24 the people and show them the lists.
25 Q. So you were aware of the organisation that was taking place when this
1 young man knocked on your door; it did not come as a surprise to you?
2 A. I knew there was the Territorial Defence, and the task of the
3 Territorial Defence is to look after the security and safety of the
4 population. They were instructions issued earlier by the Republican
5 TO headquarters that the Territorial Defence should be mobilized and
6 the population protected.
7 Q. Those instructions in relation to the Territorial Defence of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, when were they issued that they should be
10 A. Before the period I am talking about, a month-and-a-half or two
11 months before that. It was possible to do it completely, to round it
12 off, for instance, in Tuzla, in Sarajevo, but in some areas SDS
13 blocked this work, and Prijedor as an example of these areas where
14 the whole process was blocked. Afterwards, it was only possible to
15 organise some parts of the TO in those areas where there still
16 existed or, rather, where the non-Serb population constituted the
18 Q. So the instruction for mobilization of the Territorial Defence by the
19 government of Bosnia and Herzegovina was some one-and-a-half to two
20 months before the conflict started at Kozarac; is that right?
21 A. I think so. I received the information through media, radio
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina and also learned it from people, from government
23 officials, who were involved in this. But at the level of the
24 municipality, before the power was taken over by SDS, it could not
25 be done because SDS blocked it, and we did not want and could not do
1 it in parallel or without SDS. It was simply not possible at the
2 time at the municipal level.
3 Q. The headquarters for the Territorial Defence that we are concerned
4 with here was at Kozarac; is that right?
5 A. Yes. The seat, the headquarters of the TO Prijedor, that was the
6 central headquarters for all the neighbourhood,for all the local
7 communes,in the municipality of Prijedor, Prijedor Kozarac, Omarska,
8 Puharska and so on and so forth. So this was the headquarters of the
9 Territorial Defence there because each one of these parts also had
10 its own headquarters.
11 Q. Yes, but your division at Trnopolje, Trnopolje Cesta, the
12 headquarters for that division was in Kozarac; is that right?
13 A. Yes, yes.
14 Q. The organisation of the Territorial Defence for these regions around
15 Kozarac came from Kozarac itself, that is where the headquarters was,
16 and that is where the organisation took place?
17 A. Yes, from the TO headquarters. That was the only way possible,
18 permissible by law.
19 Q. Yes, and the Commanding Officer of the headquarters at Kozarac, what
20 was his name?
21 A. I do not know.
22 Q. You do not know his name? But all those villages around the area of
23 Kozarac that we can see named in the pages of these documents were
24 all organised from Kozarac;is that right? Please look through the
25 pages, if you want, but we can see the villages of Menkovici, if you
1 turn to page 17?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. If you turn to page 26 Kozarusa, page 30 Jakupovici, page 36
4 Dermici, taking a great step through the bundle to 48 Kalata, page 56
5 Brdjani, again taking a leap through the pages ---
6 A. Brdjani.
7 Q. -- page 70 Garibi. That is some of the names of these places on
8 these sheets of papers. They were all villages that had as the
9 headquarters Kozarac for the Territorial Defence?
10 A. Kozarac Territorial Defence covers the area of Kozarac, several local
11 communes. The headquarters, the central headquarters, is in Kozarac
12 co-ordinating TO units in that area. So, one TO unit is in Trnopolje
13 which again has its smaller units, and the same holds true of other
14 local communes which altogether make Kozarac, that is, the
15 organisation of the Territorial Defence and it was like that for the
16 past 15 years.
17 Q. So the document that we are looking at which you have signed at page
18 7, would that document have been prepared in Kozarac or in Trnopolje?
19 A. In Trnopolje, in Kozarac, we did not have good records. Records were
20 not good anywhere, and this was the first time that the conditions
21 were extraordinary, for the first time since the establishment of the
22 Territorial Defence it was expanded to such an extent, it was the
23 first time. So that there were no lists that could be used ad hoc,
24 but registers, records, were not really good. There were voters
25 lists, there were census records and perhaps some other records.
1 Then these lists, this information, was submitted to the Territorial
2 Defence headquarters in Kozarac. This headquarters, in co-operation
3 with headquarters in Trnopolje,Kamicani and all the other places,then
4 compiled lists of all these people and then it was sent back to the
6 As regards the procedure, I really do not know because I am
7 only a member, a rank and file member of the Territorial Defence. In
8 this case, I was not one formally, but now we most of all to do it
9 because this was the only possible response, the only way to try and
10 protect ourselves. Unfortunately, we failed but that was the lawful
11 way through the Territorial Defence.
12 Q. So the document we are looking at was typed up at Kozarac, do you
14 A. I guess so, I guess it was typed in Kozarac.
15 Q. The information that is on it, which included your name, do you know
16 who in Trnopolje had compiled this list?
17 A. It was done by people in the local commune in the Territorial
18 Defence. I think that Trnopolje had five TO members altogether
19 before the war with five pieces of weaponry. In local communes, that
20 is, neighbourhood communities, there were records. Every village,
21 every hamlet, that is, every part of that community had to be
22 recorded or households had to be recorded. I think that most of
23 these lists were compiled in hand, by hand, because there was no time
24 for anything else. Then it came,I guess, it all was sent to the
25 central headquarters and that they put it in order, they put them in
1 order there and then send it back. I guess that that was the
3 Q. Before your name was typed on this sheet of paper and before it was
4 presented to you for your signature, had anyone asked you whether you
5 wanted to be a part of the Territorial Defence?
6 A. Yes, yes.
7 Q. When had you been asked that question?
8 A. All those who carried those lists around were bound, had to ask every
9 person listed whether they were ready and willing to join or not; and
10 some were ill, some simply were unable to. So that everyone who
11 agreed, who gave his free consent, they were signed to the list.
12 Q. But my question was when were you asked before this list was typed up
13 whether you wanted to be involved with the Territorial Defence?
14 A. After the Prijedor meeting that I already spoke about when ultimatum
15 was given, then a meeting of representatives of all local communes
16 was held, including authorities, local authorities, Reserve police
17 force, police and everybody else. There was only one item on the
18 agenda, what to do. Therefore, the question arose of urgent
19 organisation because there were no plans.
20 Then it was concluded that all able bodied should rally around
21 the Territorial Defence, that records should be made of all the
22 available weapons, that attempts should be made to establish Defence
23 informations of the Territorial Defence which could operate, and an
24 army officer of the former JNA was put in charge of that, including
25 the Territorial Defence, and that was what he tried to do along with
1 people who already were part of the Territorial Defence.
2 After their decision, we knew about that decision, so after that
3 decision it was decided to make records of all this so that he could
4 know how many weapons there were, how much had to be distributed and
5 so on and so forth. I am talking about this. I could see some
6 information -- so I received some information indirectly. Certain
7 things, I had the opportunity to hear, and I was not involved in it
8 personally because I did not belong to the Territorial Defence before
9 that. This was the first time. This was the first time that I
10 accepted to be a member of the Territorial Defence because, from the
11 point of view of formations, I belonged in the Yugoslav
12 People's Army.
13 Q. You had had previous army experience in the JNA?
14 A. Yes, like any other soldier who did his military service.
15 Q. I expect that other people on the lists that we have before us
16 relating to Trnopolje, some of those had had experience in the JNA?
17 A. All men of age did their military training. It was a legal obligation
18 and could not be evaded. We did not have a professional army in our
19 country. There was, therefore, this compulsory military service.
20 Every man, every boy who came of age before possible further
21 education, that is, before enrolling at university, after turning 18
22 or 19, every young man went to do his military service. Some did
23 that 30 years ago, some 10 years ago.
24 Q. So the answer was, yes?
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I think the question was when did Mr. Semenovic
1 decide to become a part of the Territorial Defence, the TO, and it is
2 my understanding, Mr. Semenovic, you decided to become a part of the
3 Territorial Defence after the Prijedor meeting; is that correct?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. When was this Prijedor meeting?
6 A. Some eight days before the war, before the attack of the Serb army.
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Does that help. Mr. Kay?
8 MR. KAY: Thank you very much, your Honour, yes. (To the witness): But
9 the organisation that had been taking place in relation to the
10 Territorial Defence for the headquarters in Kozarac, that had been
11 taking place before the Prijedor meeting some eight days before the
12 conflict started; is not that not right?
13 A. No, we knew what the instructions were but we were not able to
14 implement them, objectively speaking, because we did not single out,
15 separate, the Territorial Defence of Kozarac and Prijedor. Before
16 the Serbs took over the power, we had one only Territorial Defence.
17 Our officials were in the Territorial Defence at the municipal level.
18 We did not have two parallel systems. We did not want to have two
19 parallel systems because that would be contravention of the law.
20 So after the military coup, the power was taken over. The
21 municipal Territorial Defence was abolished. All Bosniak Muslims and
22 Croats were evicted from those parts, and parts of it, only segments
23 remained, such as Kozarac Territorial Defence. That is what I am
24 talking about. It was a completely new situation.
25 Q. So are you saying then that the research for the names to be involved
1 with the Territorial Defence, the asking of people whether they would
2 be involved, the compilation of all these names in these lists, the
3 indication of what weapons there were, the obtaining of the
4 signatures against most of the names, all took place in the eight
5 days before the conflict? Is that what you are saying?
6 A. Yes, yes. The bulk of this work was done some eight days before the
8 Q. What do you mean the "bulk" of this work?
9 A. Well, things that were related to these lists, because it is not a
10 problem. If somebody in Trnopolje was charged with visiting the
11 buildings in Cesta -- we already mentioned it -- that is not a
12 problem. It is about 30 houses on the left and right side of the
13 road. It can be done in two or three hours, and into Kozarac which
14 is four kilometres away. It does not take eight days to do it.
15 Q. Are the names within this list of Trnopolje, Cesta, just Muslim
17 A. No.
18 Q. Are there other ethnic groups? Are there any Serb names within it?
19 A. There are Serb names. There are other ethnic groups on the page that
20 you suggested we look at, that is, A1/7 and 93, Markotic Tone. He is
21 not a Muslim.
22 Q. Yes, right.
23 A. Then Sardic under 101, he is not a Muslim either because the
24 Territorial Defence was not, is not a monoethnic formation. Only
25 Serbs left the Territorial Defence in those parts, in those areas,
1 where there was a Muslim majority. I mentioned two or three
2 examples. Under 81, August Majstorovic, 82 Stipe Majstorovic.
3 Q. There are the nationalities other than Muslim, are there?
4 A. Yes. You are right.
5 Q. I will put it to you quite simply, Mr. Semenovic, which you can
6 accept or deny, that the organisation of the Territorial Defence with
7 the headquarters at Kozarac had been undertaken considerably before
8 the eight days that you suggest to this court?
9 A. No.
10 Q. You may have become involved four or five days before, and your name
11 is the last on the list, is it not, at 106?
12 A. Yes, this list was all done in one day in the village where I live
13 and where these people listed here, it was done in a matter of a few
15 Q. And typed up in few hours?
16 A. It was not typed in a few hours, perhaps it took five minutes because
17 they were simply taking the names from the list, but I am saying that
18 it was signed and the signing could take only a few hours, and the
19 compilation of records, the preparation of lists, could also take a
20 few hours. The problem was to find the records, to take down, to
21 take it to Kozarac and take it around and then bring it back to
23 Q. And to know who to put on the list?
24 A. I beg your pardon?
25 Q. And to know who to put on the list because virtually everyone had
1 signed, had they not?
2 A. Most of them signed, not all of them but most of them.
3 MR. KAY: Thank you very much.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I have a question because I am somewhat confused,
5 Mr. Semenovic. Did the process begin to mobilize the Territorial
6 Defence in Kozarac a month to a month-and-a-half before we see
7 Defence 6 being completed? That is what I understood your testimony
8 to be. I may be confused.
9 A. I will clarify it for you. We mentioned the first day the request,
10 the demands, that the Territorial Defence weapons which were removed
11 and stored in the depot be given back, be returned, to the
12 Territorial Defence staff and to various places in the field, that
13 is, local communes. It took a long time to comply with this request.
14 There was constant communication between the Territorial Defence
15 at the Republican level and the local level and then finally it was
16 done. So some weapons, some pieces of weaponry, a few of them were
17 returned to local communes. This took time. If then this we relate
18 to what we are talking about, then we can say that, yes, it took
19 more than, it took a longer time. But when I said a month-and-a-half
20 before that is related to the Territorial Defence list, but the
21 number, the strength in peace time. At a certain point of time, we
22 faced imminent danger of war and the Territorial Defence can be
23 extended, can be reinforced organisationally. We had a short time at
24 our disposal to strengthen the Territorial Defence and this is this
25 stage and it did not take long. It lasted as long as I told you.
1 Q. Which was how long? When was the decision made to strengthen the
2 Territorial Defence in Kozarac?
3 A. Some seven to 10 days before the war after the Prijedor meeting.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Are there additional questions, Mr. Tieger, in the
5 light of my questions?
6 MR. TIEGER: Just very quickly, your Honour, and then I will be ready for
7 the recess.
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I suppose we can stand in recess for 20 minutes,
9 then perhaps you will have additional questions, perhaps you will
10 have additional questions, Mr. Kay, perhaps Judge Stephen and Judge
11 Vohrah and myself. So we will stand in recess for 20 minutes.
12 (4.00 p.m.)
13 (The court adjourned for a short time)
14 (4.20 p.m.).
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Tieger?
16 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, your Honour.
17 Re-examined by MR. TIEGER
18 Q. Mr. Semenovic, if I can follow up on Judge McDonald's questions?
19 After the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina gained international
20 recognition as an independent state, did the presidency, the
21 President of the Republic then order mobilization of the TO forces?
22 A. No, I am sorry, after the recognition? He prevented mobilization by
23 the army and he ordered the TO mobilization of Territorial Defence.
24 Q. OK, and is that the order you were referring to earlier?
25 A. Yes, it is.
1 Q. After that was there an effort by the SDA in Prijedor to implement
2 that order which was blocked by the SDS?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. That was prior to the takeover in Prijedor, is that correct, while
5 there was still a lawful legitimate Assembly which was attempting to
6 function under the laws of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. On April 30th then the takeover took place?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. At approximately mid May, you and other SDA leaders had the meeting
11 with Zeljaja during which he threatened to raise Kozarac to the
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. After that the Muslims attempted to organise a defensive force by
15 adding to the TO as reflected in the exhibit you were shown?
16 A. Yes.
17 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Mr. Semenovic.
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Kay?
19 MR. KAY: No further questions, thank you, your Honour.
20 JUDGE STEPHEN: On a quite different subject matter, how was it that
21 non-Serbs were able to disregard mobilization for the conflict in
22 Croatia? I think you said that it was almost exclusively Serbs that
23 answered the mobilization call. Was there not some compulsion
25 A. No, no. The state leadership of Bosnia-Herzegovina came to the
1 conclusion that the JNA was conducting unlawful movements on
2 operations which have no basis in the law, so that they did unlawful
3 things and that it performed aggression, first, on the Republic of
4 Slovenia and then on the Republic of Croatia.
5 After that decision, after that conclusion, it forbid
6 mobilization into the JNA, that is, they had a political opinion
7 which consisted in saying to people not to go to the army because the
8 JNA was transgressing its authority, and it egressed one of the
9 republics which, according to the constitution, it had to protect.
10 The political opinion of the state leadership was not respected and
11 not realised by the SDS party which had its own political opinion and
12 it called the Serb people to respond positively to mobilization.
13 Q. Yes, I follow that. Thank you. That explains it. The second
14 question I had was that we have heard very little of the 20 or 30
15 elected members who represented former communist parties within
16 Prijedor. They, I gather, were strongly against nationalist
17 movements. What did they do when the Serbs took over Prijedor? We
18 know what the SDA did and the SDS. What about those other quite
19 large numbers of members?
20 A. Politically, it was impossible to do almost anything, and they were
21 treated by the SDS people in the same way as the members of the SDA.
22 They had exactly the same attitude towards them. Wherever they
23 could, that is, in the local commune in Kozarac, those people joined
24 the legitimate legal organs. They were supporting the attitudes of
25 the legal or legal organisation and they were against SDS and against
1 the military coup. Then and after that they were treated equally, and
2 later on after the attack and in the camps most of the political
3 leaders were liquidated during the military operations in the war.
4 Q. Generally speaking, what ethnicity were these 20 or 30 former
5 communist members?
6 A. Most of them were Bosniak Muslims and a smaller part of them were
8 Q. Thank you. The last question I wanted to ask you was you have spoken
9 of the co-operation between the SDA and the SDS at first partly
10 successful and, ultimately, quite unsuccessful. Did that happen only
11 in Prijedor or was it generally throughout areas within
13 A. Generally within the whole territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 JUDGE VOHRAH: Mr. Semenovic, I probably missed this when you started to
16 give your evidence this morning. Do you hold any political office
18 A. Yes, I do.
19 Q. What is it, please?
20 A. I am a member of the parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
21 Q. My second question: Mr. Kay pointed out that your name appeared as
22 the last name in the Territorial Defence list. Is there any
23 significance in that fact?
24 A. No, there is not. My house is the last in this row of houses.
25 JUDGE VOHRAH: Thank you.
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Any addition questions, Mr. Tieger?
2 MR. TIEGER: No, your Honour.
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Kay?
4 MR. KAY: No.
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Is there any objection to Mr. Semenovic being
6 permanently excused?
7 MR. KAY: No, your Honour.
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: You are permanently excused, Mr. Semenovic. Thank
9 you for coming.
10 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
11 (The witness withdrew)
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Will the Prosecution call their next witness,
14 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, your Honour. The Prosecution will call Mr. Mirsad
15 Mujadzic. MR. MIRSAD MUJADZIC, called.
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Mujadzic, would you please take that oath?
17 THE WITNESS [In translation]: I solemnly declare that I will speak the
18 truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
19 (The witness was sworn)
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. You may be seated.
21 Examined by MR. KEEGAN
22 Q. Mr. Mujadzic, would you please state your full name for the record?
23 A. My name is Mirsad Mujadzic, Mirsad Mujadzic.
24 Q. And your date of birth?
25 A. I was born on 7th August 1962.
1 Q. You were born in Banja Luka in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
2 A. Yes, I was.
3 Q. Where were you raised?
4 A. I was raised from Prijedor.
5 Q. Did you attend primary and secondary school in Prijedor?
6 A. Yes, I did.
7 Q. Where did you go from there?
8 A. After that I studied in Banja Luka.
9 Q. What were your studies?
10 A. I studied at the Faculty for Medicine and after the Medical School.
11 I did a post graduate course in Zagreb.
12 Q. What is your current profession?
13 A. I am a doctor.
14 Q. Where do you currently work?
15 A. I work in Sarajevo at the Kosovo Hospital.
16 Q. What is your speciality?
17 A. I am a plastic surgeon and I finished my specialisation now in
18 plastic surgery.
19 Q. Where did you begin your medical career?
20 A. I started my medical career in Prijedor in 1987, at the Institute for
21 Work Medicine where I worked with a population of workers in nine --
22 as a general practitioner in the medical offices for Occupational
24 Q. In those duties did you travel throughout the opstina to various
1 A. The system of work for the Institute of Occupational Medicine was
2 that every two to three months we would go from one surgery to the
3 other. Through my work in occupational medicine, I worked in all
4 nine surgeries for different time lengths in the whole area of the
5 municipality of Prijedor.
6 Q. Beginning in 1990 did you become involved in politics?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Which party did you become affiliated with?
9 A. I became the member of the party of Democratic Action, the SDA in
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
11 Q. What position did you hold in that party in Prijedor?
12 A. In Prijedor, I was from 17th August 1962 the President of the
13 Municipal Committee.
14 Q. In the translation it appears you said 17th August 1962 -- did you
15 mean 1990?
16 A. 17th August 1990.
17 Q. Thank you. Was that the founding of the SDA in the opstina Prijedor?
18 A. Yes, that is correct, that was the day of the Founding Assembly of
19 the Municipal Committee in Prijedor.
20 Q. Were you also elected to a position in the Republic Assembly during
21 the general elections in 1990?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. What was that position?
24 A. My office was a member of the Council of Citizens in the parliament
25 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 Q. Did you continue both your political duties and your medical practice
2 right up through May 1992?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. As a result of your political involvement in the Opstina and the
5 Republic and your position as a medical professional in the opstina
6 Prijedor, did you have the opportunity to meet with many of the
7 Bosnian-Serb political, military and government leaders?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did those meetings continue right up through May 1992?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Could you tell the court what the ethnic makeup in the opstina
12 Prijedor was prior to the war?
13 A. Before the war, according to the 1991 census, the ethnic makeup of
14 the Prijedor municipality was the following: 44 per cent Muslim, 42
15 per cent, 42. 5 per cent Serbs 5- 6 per cent Croats, 5.7 Yugoslavs,
16 and some 2 per cent others.
17 MR. KEEGAN: May I please have this document marked as the next
18 Prosecution Exhibit 135? (Document handed). (To the witness): Dr.
19 Mujadzic, do you recognise that
21 A. I do.
22 Q. What is that, please?
23 A. This is the ethnic representation of various nationalities in the
24 area of the Prijedor municipality.
25 Q. And who prepared that document?
1 A. I personally.
2 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, I would tender that document.
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Any objection?
4 MR. WLADIMIROFF: No, your Honour.
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: 135 will be admitted.
6 MR. KEEGAN: If that could be placed on the screen?
7 (To the witness): Dr. Mujadzic, could you explain the various colours on
8 the map for the court?
9 A. Here there are three different colours with which are marked the
10 three nationalities that lived and also their territorial disposition
11 in the municipality of Prijedor; in green there are parts which have
12 been settled by Muslims; in red parts inhabited by Serbs and in blue
13 parts inhabited by Croats. Here we have also got two darker parts in
14 the local commune of Trnopolje.
15 By doing this, I wanted to mark the specificity of this area
16 where very many minorities lived, some 17 different minorities,
17 Ukrainians, Italians, Germans, Russians, Hungarians and so on.
18 Q. It appears from the map, as you have created it, that the Serb
19 population had the most territory by settlement, and yet you
20 explained in the ethnic percentage that the Muslims were, in fact,
21 the majority of the population. Can you explain that?
22 A. There is a specificity which is characteristic for the whole
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina in the way people live. Muslims, in general, live
24 in urban parts, in urban areas; whereas Serbs used to live mostly
25 around towns. That means that the areas where Muslims lived are much
1 highly, more densely, populated; whereas the areas where Serbs lived
2 have got less density of population.
3 I also have to mention that this has nothing to do with private
4 ownership, because large areas inhabited by Serbs are very often
5 areas with lots of woods, forests, that belong
6 to the state. So, that there is no correlation between the
7 belonging, the actual property of the area and this colour that I
8 used. This colour means simply where some particular ethnic group
10 Q. Thank you. The areas that are denoted by the different colours, were
11 those also recognised as separate traditional areas of settlement?
12 A. These are only areas where we show how ethnic groups inhabit them,
13 but there are some specificities.
14 Q. Thank you. May I have this document marked next as Prosecution
15 Exhibit 136 and hand it to the witness? (Document handed to the
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: As an aside, Mr. Keegan, will the Judges get a copy
18 of the Exhibit 135 colour coded?
19 MR. KEEGAN: Yes.
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I understand they are expensive, but I think it
21 would be helpful.
22 MR. KEEGAN (To the witness): Dr. Mujadzic, do you recognise Prosecution
23 Exhibit 136?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What is that, please?
1 A. This is a representation of the areas traditionally inhabited in
2 Prijedor, because Prijedor is a complex of settlements and here we
3 see several parts from which Prijedor is made of.
4 Q. Could you explain those various areas? I am sorry, excuse me just
5 one moment. Your Honour, I would tender that document.
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Any objection?
7 MR. WLADIMIROFF: No, your Honour.
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: 136 will be admitted.
9 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you. (To the witness): Please continue.
10 A. On this document, this central area represents the core of the urban
11 part of Prijedor, and this broken line marks the larger area of the
12 town where some very important infrastructure facilities are located
13 that are necessary for the functioning of the town. Some companies,
14 some factories are there. So we could call this the industrial zone
15 of the town. This zone here is the area of Kozarac.
16 I have to say that Kozarac up until the 60s in this century used
17 to be an independent municipality, and it was a settlement, a town,
18 created much earlier than Prijedor. It dates from the 13th century;
19 whereas Prijedor was founded in the 17th century. So, the population
20 of this area has got very high feeling for identity. The population
21 is mostly Muslim; more than 90 per cent of the population of Kozarac
22 is Muslim.
23 The next area is the area of Omarska. This area is mostly
24 populated by rural population and of Serb areas. It has never been a
25 municipality and there is no urban centre in it. Although in the 80s,
1 between 1980 and 1990, there were some initiatives to found an
2 opstina there. More than 90 per cent of the population is Serb.
3 The next area is the area Ljubija, which before the 60s used to
4 be a municipality. Almost exclusively previously Muslims and Croats
5 used to live there, but after the 2nd World War, a large number of
6 Croats moved to Croatia and because of the iron ore mine in Ljubija
7 some Serbs were settled there. But even today in Ljubija we can
8 determine two subareas, the Donja Ljubija, lower Ljubija, before the
9 Second World War it used to be called Ljubija Islam, but throughout
10 the communist period, this name "Islam" was not used and called Donja
11 Ljubija now, and it is mostly exclusively populated by Muslims, and
12 Gornja Ljubija, upper Ljubija, which today is mostly Croat.
13 The next area is the area of Brda. There is a series of Muslim
14 villages there, except for Rasavci which is populated by Serbs, and
15 there are two other areas with predominant Serb population called
16 Potkozarje and Tomasica. Potkozarje is the part on the edges of the
17 mountain of Kozara. It used to be known as the part with the
18 partisans and resistance. Tomasica is mostly populated by Serbs,
19 there are Serb villages, except for a small part bordering Sanski
20 Most where Croats used to live.
21 Q. To aid in the rest of the discussion if I could have this overlay
22 marked as the next Prosecution Exhibit 136A. It is a plastic
23 transparency of 136. If that would be given to the witness and
24 placed on top of 135. Your Honour, I would tender 136A.
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Any objection?
1 MR. KEEGAN: The transparency ----
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Any objection to 136A?
3 MR. WLADIMIROFF: We have not seen it before, but it seems there is no
4 problem. Let me just see what the effect is before we say whether
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Do you have a copy even of the plastic
8 MR. WLADIMIROFF: No, we have no copy of that.
9 MR. KEEGAN: It should be provided. It is a copy of 135. I thought it was
10 given to you. I am sorry.
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Do you have an extra copy, Mr. Keegan?
12 MR. KEEGAN: Not of the transparency; just of the paper backing that goes
13 through the copying machine.
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Why do you not ask your assistant. Mr. Usher, would
15 you come and get a copy of 136A and you can take a look at that at
16 least, Mr. Wladimiroff.
17 MR. WLADIMIROFF: We have no problem here. We accept it.
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: OK. 136A will be admitted.
19 MR. KEEGAN: Dr. Mujadzic, these historical areas, of what social
20 significance were they?
21 A. The municipality of Kozarac used to be a municipality before the 60s,
22 but when it became part of the municipality of Prijedor then the
23 whole infrastructure that continued to be built there was transferred
24 to Prijedor, so Kozarac was economically being less advanced. It did
25 not have particular consequences because the municipality was one
2 Q. So, did these merely become points of reference for the people who
3 lived in those areas, in other words, on an area of identification,
4 "I am from Omarska" "I am from Kozarac" regardless of which of the
5 local communes in the area you came from?
6 A. Yes, normally, as it is the case in many other settlements, one knew
7 that if somebody was from Kozarac he would be normally Muslim, and if
8 somebody came from Omarska he would suppose that the person would be
9 a Serb.
10 Q. Did they have any particular relevance to the actual administration
11 of the opstina Prijedor, the government functions?
12 A. No, it was of no relevance for administrative functions.
13 Q. Can you briefly describe the history of the relations between the
14 main ethnic groups in the opstina Prijedor prior to 1990?
15 A. I should like to mention that during World War II from 1941 to 1942
16 the municipality of Prijedor made part of the so-called independent
17 state of Croatia NDH, and during that period of time an extremist
18 formation, extremist military formation known as Ustase deported a
19 large part of the Serb population from here, from the territory of
20 the municipality of Prijedor to Jasenovac. The deportation and
21 persecution of the Serb population during World War II was a
22 phenomenon noted throughout the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but
23 in those early days there was a proclamation of Muslim intellectuals
24 in eight towns of Bosnia-Herzegovina to protect the Serb population
25 against persecution. One of the places where the Muslim
1 intellectuals raised their voice to protect the Serb population
2 against persecution was Prijedor.
3 One must say that as of 1942 when Prijedor -- no, when the
4 control of Prijedor was taken over by partisans who at the time were
5 mostly Serbs, at least around Prijedor, in 1942 270 prominent Muslims
6 and Croats were killed in Prijedor and likewise in the municipality
7 of Kozarac. In 1945 when a partisan unit from Montenegro was passing
8 through Kozarac about 300 people were killed. The area of Brdo and
9 Ljubija were mostly left aside, that is neither Ustase nor partisans
10 did much harm there.
11 So this is the area which is historically called Potkozarje, it
12 is a traditional partisan territory, and during World War II there
13 were no Chetniks there. This is the famous insurgent Potkozarje.
14 Some Chetniks or some Chetnik villages could be found in the
15 historical part of Prijedor called Omarska. I am sorry, could you
16 please rectify the map? Will you please adjust the map?
17 Q. For the benefit of the interpreters could you please slow down a
18 little bit.
19 A. So this is the lower, this is the area of Donja and Gornja Marica,
20 Gradina, Jelicka, Mijevici. However, generally speaking one can say
21 that in Prijedor there were no major ethnic, local ethnic conflicts
22 amongst Serbs, Croats and Muslims, and that Prijedor is understood to
23 be a partisan town and in Potkozarje a famous partisan reel
24 originated. It is a dance when people hold each other by hand and it
25 epitomized brotherhood and unity which was the basis, the A-B-C of
1 ideology in Tito's Yugoslavia.
2 In this manner Prijedor came to symbolize the brotherhood unity
3 of the former Yugoslavia at large, because when compared with other
4 towns in Bosnia-Herzegovina there were no major inter-ethnic
5 conflicts. So that in Tito's time, that is since the 50s until the
6 late 80s or the turn of the decade, the inter-ethnic relationships in
7 Prijedor were very good indeed. There were many mixed marriages. It
8 was a normal phenomenon, a common thing, that good friendships
9 existed, were struck between Muslims, Croats Serbs. It hardly ever
10 occurred to people to think what ethnic group who belonged to. We
11 lived in a normal idyllic tranquillity. Excellent inter-ethnic and
12 religious tolerance reigned. Not without reason Ante Markovic, and
13 he was the Prime Minister in the former Yugoslavia in the early 90s
14 and he was the driving force behind very many reformist tendencies
15 and undertakings in the former Yugoslavia and was also a man who
16 tried to preserve the unity of Yugoslavia, began his electoral
17 campaign as the leader of reformist forces aspiring to preserve the
18 unity of Yugoslavia. He began this campaign in Prijedor in Mrakovica
19 as symbol of brotherhood and unity in the former Yugoslavia.
20 Q. Against this background of a non-divided lifestyle in Prijedor, did
21 you begin to see the rise of Serb nationalism in the late 1980s?
22 A. The first initial changes which struck the eye, which were visible in
23 the daily life, they began to emerge in 1986 to 1987. In 1987 an
24 event marked those changes and that was Agrokomerc scandal when the
25 Vice President of the former Yugoslavia, Hamdija Pozderac was ousted
1 from office, at the time he was also the Chairman of the Constitution
2 Commission for the change for amendments to the constitution, and a
3 number of other events followed suit which, in political terms,
4 clearly indicated the evolution of Serb nationalism. Among the
5 ordinary folk one could see it, one could guess it by hearing the
6 singing of Serb nationalistic songs from time to time, and some
7 changes in the marking of individual historical events, attacks on
8 the principles underlying Yugoslavia, and this gradually began to
9 make its way into media propaganda which was clearly directed from
11 Q. What were some of the ----
12 A. So that people began to discuss these things.
13 Q. What were some of the significant political events which indicated
14 the rise of Serb nationalism? You indicated the ousting of the Vice
15 President of Yugoslavia at the beginning of 1987. What happened at
16 the 8th Central Committee meeting in 1988?
17 A. At the 8th session of the Central Committee of the League of
18 Communists of Serbia Dragisa Pavlovic and Ivan Stambolic were removed
19 from office. They represented the moderate political and the
20 moderate political stream in Serbia, and they accepted the
21 fundamentals of the constitutional principle of 1974 which spelt out
22 the equality of the peoples in Yugoslavia. This was the basis, these
23 were the foundations of Tito's Yugoslavia throughout his rule.
24 Q. Who was the ----
25 A. This change was executed by Milosevic.
1 Q. Why did Milosevic want to oust the existing government in Serbia?
2 A. Because they accepted the constitutional principles of 1974 as
3 regards their way of principles and changes that he wanted to bring
4 about, and that was the constitution of Yugoslavia on principles that
5 would be significantly different, that is the principle of one
6 citizen one vote. In this manner Serbia would gain absolute
7 predominance in the former Yugoslavia.
8 Q. So, Slobodan Milosevic wanted to establish a constitutional
9 amendment which would give the right of one vote one person for the
10 changes to the constitution?
11 A. The former Yugoslavia was made of six republics and two provinces,
12 and irrespectively of the size every republic had an equitable number
13 of seats in the Federal Parliament. So that, for instance, a small
14 Montenegro with a population of only about 600,000 had the same
15 number of seats in the Federal Parliament as Serbia with a population
16 of over 8 million. But this was a way to preserve mutual equality of
17 the peoples of ethnic groups in the former Yugoslavia, and it was
18 this that Milosevic wanted to remove.
19 Q. After the ousting of the moderate government in Serbia and the rise
20 of Milosevic, you indicated there was then propaganda which began to
21 come out of Serbia. What was the nature of that propaganda?
22 A. The propaganda came from all media, as is usual, television to begin
23 with, Television Belgrade in this particular case, written press,
24 papers, Politika Ekspres and Politika, they were regime papers,
25 exclusively Radio Belgrade and in yet another way which became a new
1 form, a new manifestation of political propaganda in these newly
2 emerging situations, and there were the so-called rallies, mass
3 rallies, popular rallies where speeches, addresses were delivered
4 with nationalist chauvinistic content.
5 Q. Was one such speech at Gazimestan in Kosovo?
6 A. Yes, after the 8th session from which Milosevic came out as an
7 absolute victor and when he thus removed this complete moderate
8 stream in Serbia, as symbolized by Stambolic and Pavlovic, a mass
9 rally was held at Gazimestan, this is Kosovo, at a place where in
10 1389 the battle took place between the Turkish army and the Serb
11 army; in other words, the occasion was the 600th anniversary of the
13 Q. What was the most well-known part of Milosevic's speech?
14 A. During that big rally there were about 2 million Serbs from all over
15 Yugoslavia, and the driving power or rather the message of the rally
16 was: "I shall not allow anyone to beat the Serb people." Milosevic
17 thus wanted to appear as the protector, the patron of all Serbs,
18 regardless of the republic that those Serbs lived in in the former
19 Yugoslavia. The message of that whole rally and the reason why this
20 was done on Kosovo and on the 600th anniversary is twofold.
21 Milosevic wanted to point out, and the Serbia propaganda then
22 commented on it like this, that 600 years ago, as they said, the
23 valiant Serbian army stopped at that very place, the breakthrough of
24 Islam. That was the second very important message which Milosevic
25 wanted to send from that rally.
1 Q. What effect did this rally have on the image and popularity of
2 Milosevic amongst the
4 A. A long time before that meeting the territory of the former
5 Yugoslavia of the republics inhabited by Serbs were flooded by
6 Milosevic's photographs, badges, slogans, flags, stickers, and the
7 rally was attended by Serbs from Bosnia and Croatia with buses with
8 his posters plastered all over, that is recognisable iconography,
9 recognisable imagery, and indicating the evolution of the personality
10 cult, that is promotion of Milosevic into the absolute leader of the
11 Serb people wherever they might be.
12 Q. At the 14th Communist Congress in 1989 what was the major debate
14 A. For that Congress Milosevic used those mass rallies to remove from
15 office the leadership in Vojvodina in Kosovo, in Montenegro. He
16 brought in his men. So that the 14th Congress of the League of
17 Communists of the former Yugoslavia he came to this Congress already
18 holding tremendous political power. The gist of the happenings at
19 the 14th Congress of the League of Communists was the discussion
20 about the fundamentals of the constitution of 1974, that is the one
21 person one vote principle, and if that principle were adopted it
22 would have signified the end of equality of the nations in the former
23 Yugoslavia, thus abolishing the fundamental principle which governed
24 the former Yugoslavia.
25 Q. What were the reactions of some of the republic candidates at this
1 Congress to the positions put forth by Milosevic?
2 A. At the close of the 14th Congress the Slovenian leadership left the
3 League of Communists of Yugoslavia. One still remembers the face
4 incontinence of Sonja Lokar, a member of the process of League of
5 Communists of Slovenia who left the hall, the Congress crying in
6 tears, indicating that they were leaving the Congress because they
7 had been compelled because the principle of the equality of the
8 peoples was no longer accepted because Milosevic wanted to abolish
9 it. Croatia too left the 14th Congress, the Croatian delegation left
10 the 14th Congress but did not leave the League of Communists of
11 Yugoslavia. The delegation of Bosnia-Herzegovina did the same,
12 whereas other delegations from other republics and provinces attended
13 the Congress to the end, even though it adopted no final conclusions.
14 Q. As we move into 1990 then, what was the effect of all of this
15 propaganda and these political debates on everyday life in the
16 opstina Prijedor and elsewhere?
17 A. Before that, before 1990, that is ever since 1987, since the
18 Agrokomerc scandal to so-called popular happenings, that is street
19 rallies, massive street rallies, the purpose of which was in
20 Vojvodina, Kosovo and Montenegro to remove from office the lawful
21 leaderships which was Milosevic's typical proscription for the change
22 of authorities, and Milosevic attempted a similar, tried a similar
23 recipe in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Slovenia. However, the Slovenian
24 leadership said they would not allow similar rallies and
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina sent a similar answer. In Prijedor itself where
1 the ethnic composition already said 44 per cent Muslim, 42.5 per cent
2 Serbs and 5.6 Croats, there was polarization which took place but it
3 did not quite follow the ethnic principle.
4 Q. What principle did it follow?
5 A. As a matter of fact there were two blocks which were formed, two
6 blocks emerged. One was made of Serbs lending full support to
7 Milosevic's policy and embracing him, accepting him already as their
8 political leader, and the second block was made of non-Serbs, that is
9 all the others who did not espouse Milosevic's policy and could not
10 reconcile themselves and could not come to terms with the principles
11 underlying that policy. In everyday life people were already obsessed
12 with stories about pro and against, for and against Milosevic. In
13 factories, in pubs, in restaurants, in everyday life, in every walk
14 of everyday life one could feel this polarization.
15 Q. Within this atmosphere what were the driving principles in the
16 founding of the SDA?
17 A. Evidently this policy as pursued by Milosevic threatened, endangered
18 the basic principles of democracy and in 1990 in the former
19 Yugoslavia as a result of processes which were taking place
20 throughout the former East European camp bloc, people began to be
21 democratically aware and they began to be aware that democratization,
22 that democratic changes were needed. The party of the Democratic
23 Action, as it is name says, is a political organisation which emerged
24 in order to fight for democracy, like a series of other parties, and
25 among other things as one of the fronts which had to resist the
1 growing threat to democracy coming from the east from Slobodan
3 Q. What was the basic platform of the SDA?
4 A. In a nutshell, one could say democracy, that is SDA advocated and
5 continues to advocate democracy, a free market, and respect all human
6 rights, including ethnic rights, religious rights, cultural rights
7 and all other human rights based and understanding Europe and the
8 whole democratic world.
9 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, before we move into a new area this might be a
10 convenient place to stop.
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We will adjourn until Wednesday, May 29th at 2.30
13 (5.30 p.m.)
14 (The court adjourned until Wednesday, 29th May 1996).