1 Thursday, 1 April 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.10 a.m.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
6 IT-08-91-T, the Prosecutor versus Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin.
7 JUDGE HALL
9 May we have the appears, please.
10 MS. KORNER: Good morning, Your Honours. As this is April Fool's
11 Day, this is Joanna Korner and Crispian Smith for the Defence; all right,
12 the Prosecution, really.
13 MR. PANTELIC: So you missed Ms. Pidwell, I see, in that sense,
14 because it's the 1st of April.
15 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. For
16 Stanisic's Defence team, my name is Mr. Cvijetic, with my assistance.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Good morning, Your Honours, for Mr. Zupljanin
18 Defence, Igor Pantelic this morning. Maybe I have some other members of
19 my team somewhere, but they are hiding in the courtroom.
20 JUDGE HALL
21 While the witness is being brought in by the usher, could we
22 dispose of the matter that was left not completed yesterday. The ruling
23 of the -- recalling the arguments that passed yesterday, Judge Harhoff
24 dissenting, the document is admitted and Ms. Korner and Mr. O'Sullivan
25 may be familiar with the concept of admitting evidence de bene esse, so
1 we will mark it as an exhibit and the Registrar will give it an exhibit
3 MS. KORNER: I think that's what Your Honours said at the end of
4 yesterday, so that's how we took it.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Document 1D03-2306 is Exhibit 1D248, Your Honour.
6 [The witness takes the stand]
7 JUDGE HALL
8 are still under oath.
9 WITNESS: SLOBODAN SKIPINA [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, thank you.
12 JUDGE HALL
13 looking at the transcript, and for the assistance of the stenographer,
14 perhaps I should spell what I said.
15 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, we have just given him a note with
16 that, and also with a note of my name.
17 JUDGE HALL
18 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
19 Cross-examination by Mr. Cvijetic: [Continued]
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Skipina, good morning.
21 A. Good morning.
22 Q. You were witness to a long discussion about the admitting of this
23 document, Alexander the Great dealt with the Gordian Knot by cutting it
24 in half. It seems we have done something to that effect. In any case,
25 at some point in time you said that it would be good for you to read the
1 document so that you could speak on its different parts. For that
2 reason, I would kindly ask the usher to give these hard copies to you.
3 Please go to tab 25. A number was assigned to this document which,
4 unfortunately, I haven't been able to remember. It is now -- yes, it
5 seems it is now 1D248. Could we please have it on the screen.
6 Do you have tab 25? It's Memic's statement. I believe it's the
7 last one in your batch.
8 Mr. Skipina, I will go through this document and by that I wish
9 to ascertain one fact. Did the information on the arming of the Muslim
10 population and the involvement of certain members of those in charge of
11 the SDA become, at some point, of interest in your investigation and does
12 that information stem from this statement alone or did you have anymore
14 A. We had information, but as the service, given that it's already
15 time of war, we had difficulty obtaining information. This was supposed
16 to have been dealt by the State Security Service of the former Republic
17 of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 Q. Yesterday you said that you did have some information about the
19 participation of the secretary of the party of Mr. Cengic in good faith.
20 That was before I showed you the document, am I correct?
21 A. Yes, according to certain pieces of information, he was the key
22 person in charge of organising units and arming them.
23 Q. Thank you. In the statement, in the first paragraph, Mr. Memic
24 says that, save for Mr. Cengic, there were other people well acquainted
25 with his activity, starting with Alija Izetbegovic, Omer Behmen,
1 Rusmir Mahmutcehajic, and some heads of the MUP, that is particularly
2 interested. These people were Alija Delimustafic, Mirsad Srebrenikovic,
3 Jusuf Pusina, Bakir Alispahic, Kemal Sabovic [phoen], and Munir Alibabic.
4 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] I have a correction for the
5 transcript. Page 3, line 15, what I said seems not to be reflected in
6 there concerning Mr. Cengic's involvement in this process of armament and
7 the arming of Muslims.
8 Q. Mr. Skipina, I read out the names of the officials, irrespective
9 of the fact whether you had information on each and every single one of
10 them, but could such a large scale process of arming people could have
11 gone unnoticed without their knowledge?
12 A. Absolutely not. I didn't personally interview Senahid Memic.
13 There was mention made yesterday of the possibility that I interviewed
14 him, but, as a matter of fact, it was done by the operational department
15 of the National Security Service. As for Senahid Memic, I told him that
16 after there was a broadcast of an interview with him on Republika Srpska
17 TV, Bakir Alispahic gave me a call because he was interested in
18 Mr. Memic. And I asked him Bakir, what did you do? And he said, Well,
19 it's not as it seems. You know that I hold you in high regard and I
20 would like to meet you so that I have a chance to explain. That's what
21 Bakir Alispahic said. However, he also said that he used Bakir's
22 Volkswagon Golf to fetch [Realtime transcript read in error "if he was"]
23 the weapons, and the number of the registration plate is included as
24 well. It is easy to determine whether Bakir Alispahic had a vehicle
25 registered to his name which had this particular plate number.
1 Q. Very well. Then he speaks of the channels of supply mentioning
3 information on the channels of supply of weapons into Bosnia and
5 A. There was a lot of talk about that, but there was quite reliable
6 information that weapons arrived from Croatia, via Western Herzegovina
7 and via Mount Igman
8 such areas where one could have expected to encounter patrols which may
9 pose a hindrance. As far as I recall, although I am not reading the
10 statement now, I believe he said that he transported most of the weapons
11 via Igman and Bosanski Samac where the relatives of Alija Izetbegovic
12 were, since he hails from Bosanski Samac, and then via Domaljevac and
13 Gradacac in that order to reach Sarajevo
14 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Excuse me, Your Honour. The transcript, page 4,
15 line 17, in English, I heard the interpreter say that he used Bakir's
16 Volkswagon Golf to fetch the weapons. And I believe the word "fetch"
17 should be in that sentence.
18 JUDGE HALL
19 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. I won't dwell on this document much further, but I wanted to ask
21 you this: When he was arrested, you also seized a number of weapons; is
22 that correct? I believe it is also mentioned in the statement.
23 A. As far as I recall, I think he had two side-arms of different
24 calibres, one was 6.35 and the other 7.62 millimetres; however, it was
25 also interesting for me to know that we found six or seven pieces of
1 identification bearing Serbian names. Apparently, he was to use them if
2 he stumbled upon a Serb patrol or a patrol comprising members of Serb
3 ethnicity in order to produce, say, a membership card to prove that he
4 was a Serb so that he could continue on his way safely.
5 Q. Mr. Skipina, did you have any reason to doubt such a statement
6 which you must have been familiar with as the person in charge of the
8 A. There was no room for any doubt. It seems that these policemen
9 asked for these persons ID by sheer circumstance and came across weapons
10 which he had with him, and then he was handed over to the National
11 Security Service. Up to that point in time we knew nothing about this
12 person. We had zero information on him. Once he was brought in, he told
13 us all that. We had no other information otherwise.
14 Q. Thank you. Very well. This was only a part of our thesis. We
15 discussed --
16 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, I see Ms. Korner on
17 her feet.
18 MS. KORNER: Just this, Your Honour, if Mr. Cvijetic is moving to
19 another topic, I understood the admission yesterday to be partly based --
20 of this document to be partly based on what the witness appeared to say
21 yesterday was -- and it was put to him at page 8428:
22 "Q. Let me ask you, Mr. Skipina, did you use any illegal methods
23 to coarse this person and to write him the statement such as beating or
24 anything else?
25 "A. No, it was a normal interview."
1 The impression was clearly given, I think, to everybody in this
2 court, that he was the person who was taking the statement. It is now
3 absolutely parent that he didn't take the statement, has no idea of the
4 circumstances in which it was taken.
5 So, Your Honours, I only raise this as to whether -- as a
6 question as to whether that should make your ruling different. I think
7 it was made as a totally, as it turns out, erroneous basis.
8 JUDGE HALL
9 Ms. Korner just raised?
10 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] The witness tried to explain that,
11 if we could accord him an opportunity to address that, and then, perhaps,
12 I can offer my arguments.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The person in question was not
14 tortured. I can guarantee that. That's thing number one. Thing number
15 two, this person would not have been included in the first wave of
16 exchanges to Sarajevo
17 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Perhaps I can tell you now
18 something. Yesterday I spent a long time thinking about how to have this
19 document admitted. That's why I made this reference to the Gordian Knot
20 which may I have been inadvertently caused by me. I will agree with
21 Ms. Korner that this document be admitted only as a document created in
22 this service headed by the witness who was familiar with the procedure of
23 taking such statements, and only on that basis. It shouldn't go to the
24 contents of the statement, and that is why I wanted to go through the
25 statement itself in order to have the witness say what he knows, what
1 direct knowledge he has of it. Perhaps, then, I should move that the
2 document be admitted the way Madam Korner proposed yesterday.
3 JUDGE HALL
4 because the -- what we now understand from the evidence is that the
5 document is more remote from this witness than we all thought. Well, let
6 me speak for myself, than I thought yesterday, and from what Ms. Korner
7 said was almost common understanding. The -- in as much as the -- with
8 the matters that she would have raised at the time of her objection
9 yesterday and with the reservations that would have been apparent from
10 Judge Harhoff's dissent in our decision to admit the document, I am
11 wondering whether it even reaches the threshold of even being marked for
12 identification and whether we should not simply wholly recall our order
13 admitting it.
14 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, if it helps, because there has been so
15 much time spent on it, I don't, as I say, mind if it's simply admitted on
16 the basis that Mr. Cvijetic now agrees that it can be admitted, which is
17 that it is a document that emanates from this witness's service, and
18 that's the end of it. I can see Mr. Cvijetic has problems in otherwise
19 and dealing with it, and, as I say, so much has been read out already.
20 So I am happy with that.
21 JUDGE HALL
22 is the obvious course. The only comment that I would make is that it
23 serves no purpose and merely adds clutter. But so be it, let's move on.
24 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Mr. Skipina, this is just one segment that we have dealt with in
1 order to create a picture and recreate the ambience in Bosnia and
3 that you, yourself, said that the atmosphere in Sarajevo was quite heated
4 before you arrived there; am I right?
5 A. The atmosphere had been created not only in Sarajevo. I said
6 that it was especially bad in Sarajevo
7 Cutileiro's plan had been a topical issue, that attempts were being made
8 by Mr. Muhamed Filipovic and Adil Zulfikarpasic, as far as I can
9 remember, to reach a historical agreement with the Serbs in order to
10 prevent the war between the Serbs and Bosniaks, but Alija Izetbegovic
11 prevented them from doing that. And then there was the incident which
12 resulted in the first casualties in Bosanski Brod. Regular Croatian
13 units stormed into the village called Sijekovac, inhabited by Serbs, and
14 massacred dozens of Serb individuals. They took a lot of them to a camp
15 in Croatia
16 territory of Kupres. All that had happened before the war in Bosnia
18 interpretation, the interest of Croatia
19 between Bosniaks and the Serbs, because they wanted to relieve the burden
20 of the theater of war in Croatia
21 assistance coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
22 Nothing was done, there were no reactions to that. The
23 republican leadership tacitly accepted the fact. The international
24 community very quickly recognised an independent state of Bosnia
1 and Herzegovina
2 Q. Very well. Mr. Skipina, I have a request. Let's limit ourself
3 to very short answers to my question. Besides the threats that you said
4 you had received from Mr. Hilmo Selimovic, you also received some
5 unanimous telephone calls, people called you Chetniks, they wanted to see
6 you packing; is that correct?
7 A. Yes, correct. On two occasions, I received telephone calls
8 towards the end of 1991.
9 Q. Just briefly please answer.
10 A. And somebody told me, Chetnik, your turn will come soon, Chetnik,
11 you're going to be killed. And the third message that I heard was, or,
12 that I found in my letter box, it was a letter written in red ballpoint
13 pen, and it stated, Skipina, you're going to be executed. In addition to
14 that, my son was beaten in the middle of the street without any fault of
15 his own. He was my younger son who was under escort. He came under
16 attack and owing to some people, he was saved and spared any
18 Q. After the Sarajevo
20 JUDGE HALL
21 allow a gap between question and answer for the interpreters, and
22 Mr. Skipina, perhaps you should slow down a little for the sake of the
23 interpreters. Thank you.
24 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] I will repeat.
25 Q. After the Sarajevo
1 unbearable. I believe that there was a killing of a member of the
2 wedding [as interpreted] party in Sarajevo. Do you know that Muslim
3 paramilitary formations started taking hold of certain police stations?
4 A. Yes, the situation was really heated, if I may put it that way,
5 and as far as the taking of the police station goes, when I was in
6 Kalovita -- hails in Pale, Minister Stanisic, Momcilo Mandic, and
7 Dragan Kijac, continued to negotiate with the Bosniak side which means
8 that they had gone to the federal MUP to pursue the negotiations. And
9 during the negotiations during one night, Novo Sarajevo police station
10 came under attack. According to some plans, that station should have
11 been given to the Serbian MUP because of the predominant Serb population.
12 On that occasion, the Patriotic League or the green berets took all of
13 the weapons from the police station and killed a Serbian police officer
14 Petovic [phoen] who, in factual terms, became the first casualty of war
15 in Sarajevo
16 Q. Very well. You mention Mr. Stanisic's offer to help him to set
17 up the National Security Service, and you link that up with Cutileiro's
18 plan. At that moment, did you have information that although the Serbian
19 MUP was going to be established, some joint services would still remain
20 functioning in Sarajevo
21 A. During one point of our conversation, Mr. Stanisic mentioned that
22 there would be a co-ordinating body for the co-ordination of the MUP
23 activities. He did not elaborate on that. He didn't say anything about
24 the structure of that body. He only said that there would be some body
25 that would coordinate the work.
1 Q. It seems to me that you said that between the 1st and the 6th of
2 April Mr. Stanisic went to implement that part of the agreement and to
3 agree on the division of property, the division of offices; however, the
4 events that ensued interrupted any such attempts and this type of
6 A. Yes, during that period, Minister Stanisic, Mandic, and Kijac,
7 did go to continue negotiations. I am not aware of the contents of the
8 negotiations. You should ask the three of them because I am sure that
9 they know. But I do know that they went. I did not receive any feedback
10 from them.
11 Q. At one point in time you dealt with the problem of Serbian
12 nationalism, and you said that when you had received the offer from
13 Mr. Stanisic, you told them that he might have problems with engaging you
14 because you had been involved in the issues of Serb nationalism. Did I
15 manage to interpret your position well? Was that what you thought at the
17 A. Yes, that's how I felt at the time, but what was the background?
18 Just like I was in charge of the Izetbegovic case, I also worked on the
19 Seselj case. And that case was well documented. We filed a criminal
20 report against him. And he was eventually sentenced to a prison
21 sentence. In addition to that, in 1980, I conducted an interview with
22 Professor Nikola Koljevic because there were indicia that he was involved
23 in contacts with some persons who may have been charged with Serb
24 nationalism in Belgrade
25 measure of warning. That's what we called it. If people were not too
1 involved in nationalism, we could warn them to stop whatever they were
2 doing, and that's how I conducted an interview with Professor Koljevic.
3 And I warned them. That was in 1980. And, indeed, after that, he kept a
4 very low profile, at least as far as my service was concerned.
5 Q. You said that Mr. Stanisic did not pay much attention to those
6 criticisms. He kept you as his associate for a while. But let me
7 present one more thesis regarding the membership in the
8 Serbian Democratic Party. Mr. Stanisic claims that one of the objections
9 put to him was why some members of his collegium, or, why not all the
10 members of his collegium are members of the SDS, and that he conveyed
11 that message to you, although he did not pay much attention to that and
12 he just ignored it. And that was the context within which he speaks
13 about that story about the membership in the SDS. Could that be a
14 correct interpretation of what actually was at stake?
15 A. Let's understand one thing.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please come closer to the
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Minister Stanisic didn't say that
19 on that occasion. He only said that -- I apologise. He said only that
20 the leaders should be members of the party, and I was the first one to
21 react, and, as I've already told you, there were two or three -- maximum
22 three of us. And, as far I know, none of the members of collegium were
23 party members, and after that the minister never insisted on our party
24 membership. He never even mentioned that. He never said that we should
25 all be party members. So I really don't know whether there were any
1 complaints at his address. I wouldn't know that. So I would hedge my
3 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Since you knew him even before 1994, did you ever see him? Did
5 you ever notice that he was involved in a partisan activity, yes or no?
6 A. No, never. No, none of the collegium members, none of us had
7 anything to do with the party, really.
8 Q. Yesterday, you were shown a document which was the minutes of the
9 collegium's meeting held on the 11th of July, 1992, in Belgrade, which
10 you attended yourself. At that collegium meeting, for the first time you
11 and the minister learned of some things that had not reached Pale before
12 that, certain conclusions were reached after that, certain tasks were
13 distributed for the upcoming period. In your binder, under 5, and
14 further on, I -- from 5 through 11, I have included several orders issued
15 by Mr. Stanisic which followed that meeting.
16 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Just for the Court's reference,
17 1D49 is the first in the series, but all of my questions, the group of my
18 questions that follows, is in respect of all of those orders.
19 Q. The first order was issued by Mr. Stanisic in October. 1D49 is
20 the number. And by that order, Mr. Anicic put a ban on the engagement of
21 the active police formations in armed conflicts, and he said that should
22 the need arise, the reserve strength should be placed at the disposal of
23 the military.
24 You know that the problem of police engagement in the armed
25 formations was broached at that meeting; do you remember that?
1 A. Yes, correct. All chiefs of the centres highlighted that
3 Q. You will also agree with me that in keeping with the problem,
4 Mr. Stanisic reacted adequately and issued an adequate order; isn't that
6 A. Yes, it's logical.
7 Q. The following document could be 1D58, and in your binder it's
8 under tab 6. And here Mr. Stanisic issues an order to remove from the
9 police ranks all those who had been involved in crimes before joining the
10 police, or during their service in the police, and be placed at the
11 disposal of the military. And within that context, I am asking you this:
12 In order for Mr. Stanisic to create a professional MUP, and I believe
13 that that's the term that you, yourself, used yesterday, and for that MUP
14 to be capable of functioning and implementing all of the conclusions, the
15 basic requirement was to clean it from those who did not deserve to be
16 its members and who should not have been its members in the first place;
18 A. Yes, not only the MUP but all other state institutions. The same
19 would apply to all of them.
20 Q. Very well. Since we are talking about this document, I can't not
21 ask you something that you, yourself, raised as an issue. You spoke
22 about a very strong local influence and inherited problems the moment
23 when the MUP was being established. The Crisis Staffs, the Serbian
24 autonomous provinces, a multiparty system existed before the MUP of
25 Republika Srpska was established and, to large extent, influenced the
1 establishment of certain public security stations. And you, yourself,
2 said that their leaderships did not see themselves as MUP members;
4 A. Yes, correct.
5 Q. You also agree with me that the struggle with those local
6 influences could not have been overnight. I must have lasted for some
8 A. It didn't finish before 1994. That's for sure, and that's while
9 I was in service.
10 Q. Thank you very much. And now you have a series of Mr. Stanisic's
12 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] The next one is 1D176.
13 Q. In your binder it's under tab 7. This is a very complex order in
14 which Mr. Stanisic referred to his previous orders. Under 4, he orders
15 for the disbanding of special units that had been established by local
16 power wielders, wouldn't that be right? And then under item 7, as it
17 were, he orders the elimination of paramilitary formations. You will
18 agree with me, won't you, that all those were problems that had been
19 discussed at that particular collegium meeting, right?
20 A. Right. The minister's reaction was such that he kept reminding
21 everyone of their obligations in the respective CSBs and public security
23 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] 1D55, which will be the last
24 document on the issue of orders.
25 Q. It is your tab 8. In item 1, Mr. Stanisic specifies the
1 standards for detention rooms, and in item 2, he makes a distinction
2 between that and collection centres which do not fall under the remit of
3 the Ministry of the Interior. I believe your position on this is clear
4 as well. The minister of the interior was not competent in the matter of
5 any collection centres; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Mr. Skipina, I made use of these few orders by Mr. Stanisic. You
8 had an opportunity to attend a number of meetings which he attended. Did
9 Mr. Stanisic display sufficient professionalism in the way he issued
10 orders and insisted [Realtime transcript read in error "assisted"] on
11 their implementation?
12 A. I must say I didn't attend many collegium meetings. The minister
13 held such meetings at Vrace with the public security sector much more
14 frequently. I wasn't invited to such collegium meetings because I was at
15 Pale. However, as for those meetings which I did attend, one of the
16 topics was always the elimination of negative patterns and conduct within
17 the MUP in order to a bide by the existing laws and regulations. He kept
18 reminding us all the time that we were to act professionally in the
19 exercise of our duties.
20 MR. O'SULLIVAN: My apologies again, Your Honour. Page 16, line
21 21, I heard the interpreter say "insisted on implementation" not
23 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. O'Sullivan.
24 Q. Mr. Skipina, I will go back to the part of your statement or,
25 rather, to your testimony in examination-in-chief. You conducted
1 interviews with the people who were in the Vrace school after the
2 operation there, perhaps not you but your service?
3 A. Yes, my service. Not me personally.
4 Q. Thank you. You will agree with me, probably, that the school had
5 at least 500 people involved in its work, not only students but the
6 teaching staff as well. Did you know that they were taken away aboard
7 bussing the same day, and that interviews were conducted with only those
8 for whom there were reason to believe that they had fired upon the
9 special police units. Do you agree with me, are you familiar with these
11 A. The teachers and some of the students attending the basic police
12 course were interviewed because these specific people were found to have
13 carried weapons at the moment of their arrest. All the rest were
14 released the same day from Vrace. So the interviews were conducted only
15 with the teaching staff and some students of the basic police course who
16 had long-barrelled weapons on them. After those interviews, they were
17 exchanged in an exchange process involving the Bosnian side.
18 Q. That's what I wanted clarified. Did you know that in the course
19 of the attack, no teachers or students or anyone else who was there was
20 injured or hurt in any way? I understand that Mr. Karadzic [as
21 interpreted] ordered that fire should not be returned because the
22 students were young people?
23 A. I have no knowledge that any students or teaching staff were
24 injured during the operation in Vrace. I do know, however, that two
25 members of the special police of Republika Srpska were killed and that
1 six or seven were wounded.
2 Q. Thank you. In my previous question, instead of Mr. Karadzic it
3 should be Mr. Karisik.
4 Mr. Skipina, yesterday you discussed the several exchanges in
5 which you participated. I am interested in one particular exchange which
6 failed and what you know about it. I think it was in front of the police
7 hall. There seems to have been some information that about a dozen of
8 members of the former JNA were killed who were in Sarajevo. Were any
9 attempts made or requests put to you to have them exchanged?
10 A. Well, the exchange did not fall through. It was merely
11 postponed. I insisted with Grubisic, Sime Grubisic, that he send the
12 bodies of eight members of the TO who had been executed by a firing
13 squad, in the part between the police hall and the presidency of the
14 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Well, I asked of Sime Grubisic to
15 have their bodies returned. We had that information because we had
16 interviewed members of the Serb community who were in Sarajevo at that
17 time and subsequently fled. They conveyed that information to us,
18 stating that those people were killed in the park between the police hall
19 and the building of the presidency.
20 Q. Did you have any information on who executed those men?
21 A. We had no positive information of who executed them.
22 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Could we please have 1D03-2290 put
23 on the screen.
24 Q. I apologise, witness. It is your tab 3.
25 Mr. Skipina, this is a report on information and activities of
1 the Seve group. Do you know anything about that group, have you heard of
2 its existence?
3 A. I have heard of their existence. They were headed by
4 Nedzad Ugljen, former inspector. Well, not former, at that time he was
5 an inspector of the State Security Service in Sarajevo. He originates
6 from Mostar. They seem to have been a unit tasked with special tasks,
7 such as liquidations and similar actions. There seems to have been
8 problems among their ranks and they began killing each other.
9 Apparently, some of them leaked information to the public of who they had
10 liquidated. Nedzad Ugljen, himself, the person in charge of the unit,
11 was subsequently killed.
12 Q. It is stated in here that those the most responsible --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
14 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. That this unit was responsibility for certain murders by the use
16 of snipers in Sarajevo
17 A. We had information to that effect. It indicated that actually it
18 was this unit that liquidated the eight TO members, although I cannot say
19 that with absolute certainty. They were accommodated in the police hall
20 and there was indicia that they executed the men, although I cannot be
21 fully positive of that.
22 Q. I am not asking you to confirm anything with absolute certainly.
23 I did, though, come across a document and information to that effect in a
24 book published by a member of the State Security Service in Bosnia
25 seems that you are not familiar with this document, although you do have
1 some knowledge about the group?
2 A. That is correct. I am not familiar with this document.
3 Q. Nevertheless, I simply used this to introduce the topic, and my
4 information indicates that they may have been responsible for those
5 executions. I simply wanted to know what you knew about it?
6 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Cvijetic, who prepared this report?
7 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it was among the
8 other material disclosed. The current presidency of Bosnia and
10 in Sarajevo
11 referred to at the end of the document, and it is they who compiled this
12 document. This is relatively new.
13 JUDGE HARHOFF: Do we have an approximate date of the report?
14 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I should go back to
15 the material disclosed to us and try to locate it there. I am afraid I
16 cannot tell you right away. I see that the -- well, I seem to have
17 reference here to a period after 2000. So it's after 2000, that's
18 certain. It's the last page where I find that the report on the
19 activities of this group had been forwarded to The Hague Prosecution and
20 that they do have evidence on the activities of that group. However, I
21 undertake to have that information verified concerning the date. I will
22 not move to have it admitted. I merely wanted to set a background to the
24 MS. KORNER: I will see if we can get some information.
25 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Skipina, we will go back to the issue of passing information
2 in the bulletins. Mr. Krgovic asked you something about the linguistics
3 and the style used. I wanted to ask you something else. The information
4 from the duty officer was eventually passed on by fax or phone. Would
5 you agree with me that the person drafting such pieces of information
6 could be intercepted and that it is for that reason they formulated it
7 the way they did? It seems that these are no standard reports on the
8 work of the MUP, the issues and security-related information which may be
9 of interest for the other side, but, rather, these were the reports as
10 you described yesterday?
11 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] It seems I am speaking too fast
13 Q. Would you agree with me that the vocabulary used could have been
14 a consequence of the author's awareness. That this information should go
15 through the postal service in Sarajevo
17 A. I believe that one needs to bear in mind that this was in the
18 early stages of establishment of the MUP of the RS, so at the very outset
19 in the -- for someone to train duty officers in the course of the first
20 few days and weeks, to share with them the importance formulating their
21 reports in a certain way, was particularly difficult because they had
22 more serious issues to deal with. On the other hand, out of the pool of
23 junior employees, no one dared to correct or meddle with the information
24 in the time of war, and they simply conveyed such information the way
25 they had received it.
1 Q. Can we say, then, that such reports could have been intercepted
2 the way I described?
3 A. Well, everything and anything could have been intercepted and it
4 was, as a matter of fact.
5 Q. I will go back to one part of your statement where you referred
6 to Mr. Stanisic's departure for Banja Luka. What was the security day
7 observed in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and how
8 was it celebrated? Were there any rallies, sport activities organised,
9 manifestations? And I have in mind the security organs.
10 A. I can't remember when things were marked as of recently, but that
11 one I will never remember [as interpreted].
12 Q. Go on, tell us.
13 A. It was the 13th of May.
14 Q. Do you, perhaps, believe that he, Mr. Stanisic, was on his way to
15 join the festivities on that day, just yes or no? Do you allow for that
17 A. I heard from the duty operations officer that the minister had
18 gone to Banja Luka to attend the police promotion. That's what he told
19 and me and that's what I recorded in my report.
20 Q. But you didn't answer the question. Do you allow for the
21 possibility that it was the 13th of May, there were celebrations in
22 Banja Luka, the security day was marked?
23 A. Yes, because there was no other date when to mark that.
24 Q. So you allow for that possibility?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You also told us that Mr. Stanisic forbade employees and other
2 responsible people to provide information to any other bodies unbeknownst
3 to him. My question is this: If you were in his position, would you do
4 the same?
5 A. Absolutely, yes.
6 Q. Thank you. You also spoke about Radio Sarajevo, which broadcast
7 information about crimes happening in the territory of Republika Srpska
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Bearing in mind the propaganda war that was pursued, as it were,
10 you will agree with me that such information for your service was not
11 reliable enough, and you did not follow that information because you had
12 your own methodology of work, and you had other methods to obtain
13 accurate information; am I right?
14 A. You're absolutely right. You didn't have to listen to radio. If
15 you didn't, you didn't hear anything. It was not obligatory to listen to
16 radio programmes.
17 Q. You will agree with me that -- it was not just your service that
18 needed safe means of communication. All security services in the entire
19 Ministry of the Interior needed safe communications?
20 A. Everybody who uses communications means wants them to be as
21 reliable and as safe as possible.
22 Q. It was only after the secure communications system was
23 established could one talk about a more normal functioning of the
24 Ministry of the Interior; am I right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And now let me go back to the part of your statement in which you
2 speak about information that you received from Goran Zugic, if I am not
3 mistaken. And that information was about the activities of one of the
4 paramilitary groups in Zvornik. I don't know how much you know about
5 Goran Zugic. In any case, he was a member of the security services
6 centre in Sarajevo
7 have been established and it did -- and it was established through the
8 security services centre of Sarajevo
9 information should have been carried out by the public security service,
10 not the State Security Service; am I right?
11 MS. KORNER: Just a moment. Apart from the fact that there are
12 at least five separate questions in that one long question, I don't think
13 counsel should be giving evidence about Zoran Zugic. This is the witness
14 who should give evidence about what he knows, not what counsel knows.
15 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] I will split my question, unless
16 the witness is prepared to answer.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I made an explanation. When
18 you said "Sarajevo
19 am total lost. You've lost me completely.
20 MS. KORNER: Can we make sure that counsel does not give
21 evidence, he can make suggestions, simple one-line suggestions, one fact;
22 but he cannot give evidence.
23 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Okay. Let's split the question.
24 Q. Zvornik was under the authority of security services centre in
1 A. I am not sure. However, as far as I know, it was under
2 Bijeljina, was it not? I -- it was under Bijeljina. Whether there was a
3 time when it was under the authority of Sarajevo, I don't know. I am not
4 sure. So I can't even talk about any periods. I don't know when the
5 authorities were transferred between the two centres.
6 Q. Since you are not sure about that, let me put it to you that at
7 that point in time it was under the security services centre in Sarajevo
8 but then I will withdraw one part of my question and I will ask you
9 something else. As such, a complex activity is prepared from the moment
10 the initial information is received to its implementation implies a
11 certain period of time for such a activity to be carried out as
12 efficiently as possible; am I right?
13 A. In peacetime, whenever police intend to carry out an operation,
14 such an operation is planned for weeks or months, in order for that
15 operation to be carried out as efficiently and as properly as possible.
16 So the moment when you receive official information there is no way you
17 can launch an operation state away. You have to do a lot of planning as
18 to how the operation will be done, the timing, the forces at your
19 disposal, the equipment and means that will be used, and so on and so
20 forth. A lot of issues have to be dealt with, a lot of things prepared
21 for a comprehensive operation of that sort to be carried out.
22 Q. Mr. Skipina, maybe we should finish before our first break. You
23 were with Mr. Mr. Stanisic until the end of 1992; is that right?
24 A. Yes, but not all the time. There were on-and-off periods, there
25 were periods when I had more frequently contacts, and there were also
1 periods when we didn't contact at all.
2 Q. Very well. As an advisor of the Ministry of the Interior, you
3 worked in 1994 when Mr. Stanisic was reappointed as a minister; am I
5 A. Yes, you are.
6 Q. When Mr. Stanisic arrived again, did he continue the previous
7 trend that is illustrated by his orders, or did he take an even more
8 stringent position? Would you be able to tell us something about that?
9 A. Since the situation in the MUP of Republika Srpska, at least in
10 some aspects, was better. There was more organisation, things were more
11 consolidated then at the beginning of the war. In his second tour of
12 duty, Minister Stanisic was more offensive in his attempt to deal with
13 some of the negative things that had amassed during the previous period.
14 Q. And did he give you some special authorities? Did he step up
15 your authorities with that goal in mind?
16 A. In Mr. Stanisic's second term in office, for the first time,
17 after having resigned, I got my own office as advisor. My office was
18 close to Mr. Stanisic's office. During a conversation with him, he told
19 me, Slobo, now we have to strike the nail on the head because there is
20 too much crime at the very top, and I remember that I told him, Minister,
21 if my support means anything, you have my full support, I assure you.
22 The minister launched his activities, Goran Macar was a staple in his
23 office. He was the assistant minister for crime. I don't know anything
24 about the details of their conversations, which means that I was excluded
25 from one part of the conversations, but I know that there were very
1 frequent meetings with crime operatives and Mr. Stanisic.
2 Q. However, Mr. Stanisic resigned that same year. Do you know why?
3 Do you know the reason why he resigned?
4 A. I personally don't know because I never discussed that with him
5 either at the time or any time later. However, the operatives from crime
6 prevention service did talk about that, and they said that they had
7 launched an operation revolving around Mr. Krajisnik, his brother, and
8 somebody from the crime, in order to prove some major crimes that they
9 had committed. And he tackled Mr. Krajisnik, and that's how his second
10 term of office ended.
11 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Just are a correct for the
12 transcript. You said somebody from the government, did you not? The
13 witness said somebody from the government, together with Mr. Krajisnik.
14 Q. Mr. Skipina, in October you resigned as well. You left your
15 office when Mr. Stanisic was replaced by a new minister. Why? What were
16 your reasons, just briefly, really briefly?
17 A. Well, I can't be brief, I'm afraid.
18 Q. Well, in that case ...
19 A. When Mr. Stanisic resigned, he was replaced by a certain man
20 called Zivko Zikarakic [phoen]. He was the owner of a production company
21 in Bosanski Brod, a character of sorts who should not have been appointed
22 to the Ministry of the Interior, let alone the minister of the interior.
23 We had information about him that he was involved in the smuggling of oil
24 in Krajina. When he joined the minister, on the second day after his
25 arrival he met with Mr. Dragan Keca [phoen]. And on that second day, he
1 told him, I don't need Mr. Skipina as an advisor. This was conveyed to
2 me by Dragan. I was infuriated by that. I stormed into the minister's
3 office, his deputy was there, Mr. Kovac, and since I know, more or less,
4 about the person that I was dealing with, I slammed the -- I banged my
5 hand on the table, and I told him this: You don't want me as an advisor
6 and you never asked yourself whether I would accept to be advisor in the
7 first place. It would be my biggest mistake and the worst type of
8 humiliation I could suffer, that at the same time there was which --
9 against the National Security Service. They were accusing us of being
10 Mr. Milosevic's service, and that encompassed those in the MUP who were
11 prone to follow Mr. Krajisnik's line of thoughts and, again, people were
12 being fired. The idea was revived that everybody who was newly appointed
13 had to be good Serbs, and so on and so forth.
14 One night, five of us went to Mr. Krajisnik's office,
15 Dobro Planojevic was one of us, Dragisa Mihic, Zoran Vukadinovic,
16 possibly Goran Radovic, and possibly Kasimir Kusmo [phoen], and then he
17 told us, Please, hold on, wait, Milosevic will fall soon. And I then I
18 told, Mr. Krajisnik, this was never Milosevic's service, and you,
19 yourself, met with Milosevic, you negotiated with him. And now the
20 National Security Service has to be a scapegoat.
21 Q. Tell us about your resignation?
22 A. I had said another sentence and then I left. I said the
23 following: Mr. Krajisnik, I am not interested in you as Momo Krajisnik,
24 I am talking to you as the speaker of the parliament, as the president of
25 the parliament, I am telling you leave the MUP alone, let them do their
1 job professionally. Don't try to make the MUP your own backyard with
2 your stuff in it. I left that office, and two days later I received an
3 invitation from Mr. Karadzic's office. I reported to that office. There
4 was a secretary there. She handed me a decision. Mr. Karadzic was busy
5 with somebody. In the office she gave me a decision to read, and that
6 decision was issued by President Karadzic appointing me as the
7 commissioner on behalf of the president of the republic for the Doboj
8 region with full authorities to fire mayors, chiefs of the SUP offices,
9 police stations.
10 And when that guest that he had had in his office left his
11 office, Mr. Karadzic received me, he asked me whether I had read the
12 decision --
13 JUDGE HALL
14 couldn't give a brief answer, but we are at the point of the break. So
15 could you add one sentence and bring what you were saying to an end. And
16 then when we resume we will move on to another topic. One sentence.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Indeed, I have just one more
18 sentence to add, and I told Mr. Karadzic, President Karadzic, that he
19 would have to appoint somebody else because I was leaving the service for
20 good. And that's how I left.
21 JUDGE HALL
22 [The witness stands down]
23 --- Recess taken at 10.28 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 10.51 a.m.
25 [The witness takes the stand]
1 JUDGE HALL
2 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will be very brief.
3 I would like to thank the witness for his co-operation and answers, and I
4 wanted to tell you that this is the close of my cross-examination.
5 JUDGE HALL
6 MS. KORNER: Oh, sorry. I haven't even put my headphones in, so
7 I didn't hear it, and, indeed, I was told that I -- [Microphone not
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please.
10 MS. KORNER: Just a moment, if I can just gather myself.
11 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] It seems that half of the building
12 is empty, and those people left behind asked me to be done as quickly as
13 I can so they can take off for the Easter vacation, although this is not
14 necessarily the reason why I finished my cross-examination.
15 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, yes, just -- Your Honours, just a
16 couple of short matters.
17 Re-examination by Ms. Korner:
18 Q. Yesterday, Mr. Skipina, you were asked about or mentioned an
19 organisation called Tajfun; do you remember that?
20 A. Yes, I think I mentioned it.
21 Q. Just very briefly, could you tell the Trial Chamber what Tajfun
23 A. I heard of Tajfun for the first time towards the end of June 1992
24 when the then Colonel Subotic, Minister of Defence, came to visit me. He
25 asked me if I knew anything about a secret service called Tajfun from
1 Banja Luka secret service, and I told him I have no idea. He asked me if
2 I knew if they worked for the Army of the RS or for the Army of
4 president of republic. I told him that this was the first I heard of it.
5 And I was not in contact with Mr. Kesic, so I couldn't check that. I
6 simply told him I didn't know what that service was or who it belonged
8 Q. Well, yes, I'm sorry, but why did you want to check that with
9 Mr. Kesic? What did Mr. Kesic have to do with it?
10 A. To ask him if he had any information about the existence of such
11 a service.
12 Q. But why Kesic? Why Banja Luka?
13 A. Because Mr. Subotic asked me if I was aware of Tajfun, a secret
14 service from Banja Luka.
15 Q. Right. But you hadn't said that -- oh, I see you had, but I
16 missed it. I'm sorry. I just -- didn't appear on the transcript.
17 Subsequently did you discover what Tajfun was?
18 A. On one occasion I was with Dragan Kijac, I believe it was
19 probably in 1993. We were on our way to Banja Luka. He said, Let's go
20 to Tajfun, because Draga, probably in the meantime, had met the person in
21 charge of it, whose name I cannot recall. We went to their premises. He
22 merely wanted to see it. Once there, I was amazed to see the equipment
23 they had. In our official National Security Service, I had no means at
24 my disposal, and yet they had computers, communications systems, and so
25 on. I don't know whose service it was though. I know that later on
1 there was something concerning Tomislav Kovac when he was deputy minister
2 of the interior, and their premises were searched, some people brought
3 in. But to date, I don't know whose service it was and who it worked
5 Q. Well, you see, the Court has seen documents, in particular,
6 relating to members of the Banja Luka special police who apparently went
7 to work for Tajfun after that, were you aware of that?
8 A. No, I was not. I was only introduced to the person in charge of
9 the service. I think his last name was Rakic or Ratic. That's all I
10 know about the service. I don't know who their members were. Kijac and
11 I simply dropped by to see their premises and equipment. They were
12 outside Banja Luka
13 Q. But it appears, even if you didn't know about it, Mr. Kijac knew
14 about, and clearly if it didn't come under the SNB, it had some kind of
15 an official statistics if he was going there; is that right?
16 A. No, we didn't go there officially. We went there privately to
17 see what they had. Officially, we were with Kesic in the National
18 Security Service. Dragan had tasks of his own, whereas I didn't. But he
19 simply brought me along.
20 Q. All right. I think that's as far as we can take that. One other
21 matter, and I just want to go back for a moment to this question of what
22 Mr. Stanisic said about leaders being members of the SDS. If you would
23 just give me one moment while I find the part in my -- in the LiveNote
24 from today. Right.
25 Now, yesterday -- sorry, yesterday -- two days ago when you were
1 asked about this at page 8294 of the transcript which is Tuesday. The
2 question you were asked by me was:
3 "Q. Was there a discussion with Mico Stanisic when others were
4 present about SDS
5 And your reply was:
6 "Yes. Sometime in the beginning perhaps around the 15th of
7 April, roughly, I can't remember exactly. There were two or three of us
8 sitting together. I think that Kusmuk was one of them and another person
9 whom I can't remember now, Mr. Stanisic, as we sat there informally, it
10 was not a formal meeting or anything of the sort, just three or four of
11 us meeting, and Mr. Stanisic said something like this, I think that all
12 officials in leading positions, members of the collegium need to be
13 members of the party. I told him that I did not want to become one, nor
14 that the operations officers who were working for the SNB would, and that
15 was the only discussion that I ever had with Mr. Stanisic concerning
16 that. He did not reply anything to what I said. He did not insist.
17 "All I know is that none of the members of the collegium, as far
18 as I know, were members of the Serbian Democratic Party."
19 Now, today, it was put to you that Stanisic claims that one of
20 the objections put to him was why some members of his collegium or why
21 not all members of his collegium are members of the SDS, and he conveyed
22 that message to you, and that was the context in which he speaks about
23 that story about the membership in the SDS. Could that be a correct
25 And your answer:
1 "Mr. Stanisic didn't say that on that occasion. He said that --
2 he said only that the leaders should be members of the party, and I was
3 the first one to react, and as I've already told you, that there were two
4 or three -- maximum, three of us. As far as --"
5 I can't read the next bit:
6 "None of the members of the collegium were party members, and
7 after that, the minister never insisted on our party membership. He
8 never even mentioned that. He never said that we should all be party
10 Now, in the face of it, in that one answer, you are contradicting
11 yourself and you are slightly contradicting what you said earlier. But,
12 what's your final word on this? On that occasion, did Mr. Stanisic say
13 that you, the members of the collegium of the MUP should be members of
14 the SDS
15 A. I believe your interpretation of my answer is not correct. I
16 said that never again did Mr. Stanisic mention that we should be. This
17 was the only instance. In the period following that, he never again
18 mentioned that we ought to be members of the party.
19 Q. All right. On that occasion, that one occasion, he did say that
20 you should be members of the party?
21 A. Yes, and I said so.
22 Q. Yes, thank you very much, Mr. Skipina. That's all I ask in
24 MS. KORNER: Sorry, would Your Honours give me just one moment.
25 No, thank you very much. That's all I ask.
1 JUDGE HALL
2 Tribunal. You are now released as a witness and we wish you a safe
3 journey back to your home.
4 Do counsel --
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I do have a couple of matters to raise
7 once Mr. ...
8 [The witness withdrew]
9 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, I am a bit nervous about asking for
10 clarification, but I have to on one matter relating to the intercepts
11 ruling. Your Honours didn't specifically, in the ruling, say that the
12 actual recordings were admitted. You referred to the transcript, but if
13 you remember, both myself and Mr. Dobbyn said that it was the recordings,
14 clearly, the transcripts are merely the written record of what's on the
15 recording but those are the important aspects, and if Your Honours could
16 perhaps just clarify that? I am not asking for immediate clarification,
17 but we are wondering whether your ruling includes admission into evidence
18 of the actual recordings?
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE HALL
21 MS. KORNER: The written -- yes, the written --
22 JUDGE HALL
24 MS. KORNER: That's all right. I just needed that to be said on
25 the record. Thank you very much. Your Honours, for the second matter
1 can we just go into private second for a moment, because I need to
2 mention a protected witness.
3 [Private session]
3 [Open session]
4 THE REGISTRAR: We are now in open session, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE HALL
6 adjournment -- we take the adjournment and would reconvene in this
7 courtroom at 2.15 on the 12th of April. I, on behalf of the
8 Trial Chamber, wish everyone a safe and refreshing break and especially
9 for those who are travelling, I wish you safe travels.
10 Counsel could expect, before the close of business today, the
11 Chamber's ruling on the outstanding motion on adjudicated facts. Thank
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
14 11.12 a.m.
15 12th day of April, 2010, at 2.15 p.m.