1 Friday, 12 November 2010
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.34 a.m.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning
6 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-08-91-T.
7 The Prosecutor versus Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin. Thank you,
8 Your Honours.
9 JUDGE HALL
10 May we have the appearances, please.
11 MS. KORNER: Morning, Your Honours, Joanna Korner and
12 Crispian Smith for the Prosecution.
13 MR. ZECEVIC: Morning, Your Honours, Slobodan Zecevic,
14 Slobodan Cvijetic and Ms. Merinda Stewart appearing for Stanisic Defence
15 this morning. Thank you.
16 MR. KRGOVIC: Morning, Your Honours. Dragan Krgovic,
17 Aleksandar Aleksic and Ms. Naya Pesoa appearing for Zupljanin Defence.
18 JUDGE HALL
19 their indulgence in allowing us time to deal with certain matters, the
20 fruits of which we trust would become apparent in the course of today.
21 One of them is that we are reminded that there is a application by the
22 Prosecution to add three witnesses and the responses, this is Witness 263
23 and 264, and the responses from the Defence are ordinarily due on the
24 17th and 19th of November. And we are wondering whether counsel are in a
25 position to respond earlier than that, especially if there is no
1 objection to the proposed motions, if we could have an indication by the
2 end of today's sitting.
3 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, if we can give you after the break an
4 indication because I'm not sure at this point because Mr. O'Sullivan is
5 dealing with that issue and I will have to consult with him. Thank you.
6 JUDGE HALL
7 which -- because we are still in open session before we revert to closed
8 session which we will do now, and again bearing in mind the possibility
9 that the interpreters might not have this, I will read slowly.
10 The Trial Chamber is seised of three motions from the Prosecution
11 filed on the 30th of August, 2010; the 22nd of September, 2010; and the
12 27th of September, 2010, seeking to admit the evidence of
13 Witnesses ST
14 ST-247, and ST-248 pursuant to Rule 92 bis. The Trial Chamber will now
15 rule on these motions and written reasons will follow.
16 First, the Trial Chamber recalls that all these witnesses were
17 added to the Prosecution's Rule 65 ter witness list for the sole purpose
18 of covering the contents of a certain number of proposed adjudicated
19 facts, of which the Trial Chamber declined to take judicial notice,
20 either wholly or partially. The Trial Chamber limits the scope of these
21 witnesses' testimony to the content of the relevant facts for which the
22 Prosecution added each witness as indicated on Annex A to its motion on
23 the 27th of May, 2010.
24 Moreover, the Trial Chamber admits only those portions of the
25 transcripts and those accompanying documents which it considers relevant
1 to the content of the facts concerned. Where appropriate, the
2 Trial Chamber has reduced the scope of the highlighted passages of the
3 transcripts. One, the Trial Chamber, therefore, admits in part the
4 evidence of Witnesses 68, 224, 240, 242, 246, and 248 pursuant to
5 Rule 92 bis(A). These witnesses are not required to appear for
7 Two, the Trial Chamber also admits in part, the evidence of 238
8 and 247. However, these witnesses are required to appear for cross
9 examination and, therefore, the provisions of Rule 92 ter shall apply.
10 The Prosecution is granted 30 minutes to conduct the examination-in-chief
11 of 238, and 45 minutes to conduct the examination-in-chief of 247.
12 Three, the Trial Chamber denies the admission of the evidence of
13 223 pursuant to Rule 92 bis. This witness shall appear to testify viva
14 voce. The Prosecution is granted 45 minutes to conduct its
15 examination-in-chief of this witness.
16 As I said, our written reasons will follow. Thank you.
17 So if there are no other housekeeping matters, could we revert to
18 closed session.
19 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, just you mentioned 240, and we are just
20 checking, but you didn't mention 240 in the original that I can see. I
21 haven't got the witness's thing with me at the moment, but ...
22 JUDGE HALL
23 MS. KORNER: It wasn't -- I don't think it was in Your Honours'
24 original list of the witnesses we had applied to add as 92 bis.
25 JUDGE HALL
1 [Closed session]
11 Pages 17329-17364 redacted. Closed session.
1 [Open session]
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, just for the record, we are back in
3 open session.
4 JUDGE HALL
5 --- Recess taken at 11.59 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 12.32 p.m.
7 JUDGE HALL
8 the accused on the other, do these time that we have before us still
9 hold, three and a half hours in chief, three hours and three and a half
10 hours in cross?
11 MR. OLMSTED: Your Honour, with regard to the
12 examination-in-chief, yes, we have, I believe, 14 adjudicated facts to
13 cover with this witness.
14 JUDGE HALL
15 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, I'm informed by Mr. Cvijetic that we
16 will take considerably less time than anticipated for the
17 cross-examination of this witness, and he believes one session would be
18 enough. Thank you.
19 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't know for the
20 time being. I suppose that we will also need less time but that will
21 largely depend on the examination-in-chief and the answers provided by
22 the witness. I expect that we will need one to one and a half sessions.
23 JUDGE HALL
24 [The witness entered court]
25 JUDGE HALL
1 declaration on the card that the usher has just handed to you.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I solemnly declare
3 that I will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
4 WITNESS: MEVLUDIN SEJMENOVIC
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 JUDGE HALL
7 declaration that you have just made imposes upon you the obligation to
8 give truthful testimony to this Tribunal which is empowered under its
9 constituent statute to impose penalties for untruthful or misleading
10 testimony. You have been called in this matter by the Prosecution,
11 counsel for the Prosecution sitting to your right, and they will begin
12 their examination-in-chief, after which counsel for each of the accused
13 has a right to cross-examine you.
14 Counsel for the Prosecution has indicated that his examination in
15 chief would take approximately three and a half hours, and counsel for
16 the accused, together, would take somewhat less than that, probably a
17 total of three hours, maybe a little more, maybe a little less.
18 The trial day ends at -- if we are in morning sittings, which we
19 will be for all of your testimony as presently advised, ends at 1.45
20 because the courtroom has to be made available for other trials. And the
21 trial day is divided into 90-minute sections in order to allow for the
22 tapes, by which the proceedings are recorded, to be changed, and this
23 also allows for the convenience and comfort of a witness such as yourself
24 and counsel and everybody else in and around the courtroom. Those breaks
25 are usually of 20 minutes, but if for any reason you need to take a break
1 before the scheduled time, if you indicate that to us, we will certainly
2 accommodate you.
3 I would -- we are beginning, as you appreciate, your testimony in
4 the third and final session for today and the court does not reconvene,
5 both for reasons there being a United Nations holiday and concern other
6 administrative reasons, until Wednesday morning, so your testimony when
7 we take the adjournment at 1.45 today, which is in a little over an hour,
8 will be continued at 9.00 on Wednesday morning.
9 I would begin by asking you to state your name, your date of
10 birth, and your occupation, sir.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, my name is
12 Mevludin Sejmenovic. I was born on the 15th of October, 1962. I have a
13 degree in mining. I am a mining engineer.
14 JUDGE HALL
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My ethnicity is Bosniak.
16 JUDGE HALL
17 appears for the Prosecution, to begin his examination-in-chief.
18 MR. OLMSTED: And, Your Honours, just to clarify, is my
19 understanding there was going to be some oral rulings at the end of the
20 day today? When should I finish?
21 JUDGE HALL
22 adjournment. Thank you, Mr. Olmsted.
23 MR. OLMSTED: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Examination by Mr. Olmsted:
25 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
1 A. Good afternoon.
2 Q. I first want to briefly go over some of your background. Prior
3 to the armed conflict in 1992, had you spent most of your life living in
4 Prijedor municipality?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And in 1992, what village were you living in?
7 A. I lived in the village of Trnopolje
8 Q. Prior to the multi-party elections in 1990, did you become
9 involved in the political process in Prijedor?
10 A. I became engaged in the preparations for the upcoming elections
11 and I was involved in the process of establishing parties and all that
12 led to democratic changes.
13 Q. And, in fact, were you one of the founding members of the
14 Party of Democratic Action, the SDA in Prijedor?
15 A. Yes, I was one of the founding members. Later on when the party
16 was indeed established, I was one of its officials.
17 Q. And during the -- or, as a result of the 1990 elections, did you
18 win a seat in the Assembly of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
19 A. Yes. Yes.
20 Q. Can you tell us which chamber you were elected to?
21 A. I was elected to the chamber of municipalities in the republican
22 parliament. I was the representative of Prijedor municipality.
23 Q. So in this particular chamber, you were the only representative
24 for all of Prijedor; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. And did you hold this position when the armed conflict began in
2 Prijedor in 1992?
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. And as the deputy for the RBiH Assembly, did you regularly attend
5 Prijedor Municipal Assembly and government meetings?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. How did you divide your time between Sarajevo and Prijedor? Was
8 it half your time or what fraction?
9 A. At that time it was probably half-half, I would say.
10 Q. Prior to the 1990 elections, was there a level of co-operation
11 between the three national parties, the SDA, the SDS, and the HDZ?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Can you tell us what happened to this co-operation after the
15 A. We had agreed certain principles of co-operation, but those were
16 abandoned by the SDS
17 Q. Was one of these areas where the SDS abandoned co-operation with
18 regard it to the allocation of government positions among the three
20 A. Are we talking about the republican level or the municipal level?
21 Q. Well, let's first just talk very briefly about the republican
22 level then I want to ask you about at the municipal level.
23 A. At the republican level, the SDS was unhappy with the
24 distribution of power. Primarily because they did not manage to
25 implement some of their requests through official structures, and as a
1 result of that, they walked out of the state parliament.
2 Q. Let's now talk about at the municipal level. What happened in
3 Prijedor with regard to this issue of distributing positions amongst the
4 three ethnicities?
5 A. The Serbian community, or rather, its representatives, without
6 any problems and within a very short period of time, adopted the
7 allocation of leading positions and functions in the municipality of
8 Prijedor. But they started blocking the distribution of power and
9 division of power at other levels. Sometime later, they established
10 their parallel bodies or shadow government, shadow assembly.
11 Q. And we'll talk about those parallel institutions in a minute, but
12 can you tell us what particular positions was the SDS particularly
13 concerned about and did not want to negotiate with the other parties
15 A. The position that the SDS
16 of the chief of police, or rather, the chief of the Ministry of the
17 Interior. Then the position of the director of the payment transaction
18 institute, the so-called SDK. And some other positions on top of those.
19 Q. Did the SDA leadership in Prijedor attempt to negotiate a
20 compromise to resolve this problem with the SDS?
21 A. Throughout all that period, the SDA leadership did offer
22 compromise and the offers that we had went even beyond the mere
23 compromise. The SDA offered the SDS
24 remaining positions of power in half-half ratio and that half-half ratio
25 could be done by anybody, either the SDA or the SDS. If it was the SDA
1 who was in charge of the distribution, it was given to the SDS to choose
2 the positions that they wanted. And vice-versa, if the SDS was in charge
3 of making the division, the SDA would be given an opportunity to choose
4 which positions they wanted.
5 Q. And what was the SDS
6 the SDA to negotiate a compromise on this issue?
7 A. The SDS
8 However, their public messages and interpretations were quite the
9 contrary. At the moment when the half-half offer by the SDA was publicly
10 announced in the media on television shows, the SDS could no longer
11 justify their attempts to block the development, and that was one of the
12 reasons why the interim session of the Municipal Assembly was called and
13 that was supposed to be one of the items on the agenda.
14 Q. And was that meeting held, and if so, did it resolve this
16 A. The meeting was held. However, the meeting did not resolve
17 anything. The SDS
18 Municipal Assembly to be dissolved and that new elections be organised.
19 At that moment, the SDS
20 they insisted on interim elections or by-elections and the dissolution of
21 the existing Municipal Assembly.
22 Q. Can you tell us approximately when this municipal meeting
24 A. That could have been sometime, as far as I can remember, in
25 February 1992.
1 Q. Despite this issue, this problem with the SDS compromising on
2 these positions, was the Prijedor Municipal Assembly and the government
3 still able to function?
4 A. Yes. Everything functioned normally. The government was in
5 session every day and the Assembly met in regular intervals, as was
7 Q. You've already mentioned that at some point the SDS in Prijedor
8 established its own government institutions. Can you tell us, were you
9 aware that the SDS
10 in the beginning of 1992?
11 A. At that point in time, we did not have any indications, no
12 unverified information about anything happening to that effect. However,
13 there was an ad hoc development. The Serbian representatives in the
14 Municipal Assembly organised a rally in the national theatre and
15 proclaimed the establishment of the Serbian Assembly. We learned about
16 that event from the media.
17 Thereafter, they continued to attend the meetings of the regular
18 Municipal Assembly.
19 Q. Were you aware that the SDS
20 Krajina in early 1992, that the SDS
21 Prijedor and then joined the ARK
22 A. We didn't know that. We knew that that was happening in the
23 neighbouring municipalities, we knew that that had happened in
24 Banja Luka, Gradiska and Dubica, in other words in those municipalities
25 where those things could be voted in favour of by municipal councils and
1 where those things could be decided by political means. In Prijedor, no
2 such thing was possible and it was not officially done. Whether they did
3 it illegally or in any other way, I don't know, and we didn't know about
4 that at the time.
5 Q. When did you learn that they had joined the ARK?
6 A. We learned after the military coup and the take-over of power.
7 That was a part of their official public announcement.
8 Q. And, finally, were you aware that the SDS created a Serb
9 Crisis Staff in Prijedor?
10 A. No, not at the time. There were speculations, but we were not
11 really aware of the fact.
12 Q. So when did you first hear about this SDS Crisis Staff?
13 A. At the same time we heard about their joining the ARK. In other
14 words, when they took over power in all the institutions after the
15 military coup.
16 Q. Prior to the take-over of Prijedor, did the SDS propose a
17 division of Prijedor municipality along ethnic lines?
18 A. The SDS
19 of the state, that some municipalities should be divided along ethnic
20 lines. In Prijedor, that could not be accepted either by the opposition
21 parties or the ruling parties, the SDA and the HDZ. Only the SDS party
22 in power advocated that proposal, but they could not implement that
23 through official institutions. They never even put that up in as a
24 proposal in the Municipal Assembly. They only mentioned such proposals
25 in informal ex-changes and what they would say was that it would be best
1 for everyone and that the best solution would be for Prijedor to be
2 divided along ethnic lines.
3 Q. Under the SDS
4 fallen within the Serb community?
5 A. Those of us who resided down there knew that Prijedor could not
6 be divided along ethnic lines because a large part of the municipality
7 was of mixed ethnic composition. The SDS made their requests public in
8 "Kozarski Vjesnik" which was our municipal newspaper. They published a
9 map of a national property in Prijedor. And in that map the Serbian
10 territory was marked in red; as far as I can remember, the Croatian part
11 was blue; and the Bosniak, or Muslim, as it was known at the time, was
13 What everybody noticed immediately, irrespective of the level of
14 education, was that almost the entire map was red. All state or common
15 property was red. For example, national parks, industrial complexes,
16 mines, industrial zones, parks. In other words, everything that was not
17 privately owned. As for the green and blue colours, they were used to
18 mark only those areas or territories which were privately owned by
19 non-Serbs in cadastral terms. It became clear very soon that such a
20 division spelled nothing but a huge hardships for everybody concerned.
21 We had already had the experience of such divisions in other
22 municipalities of Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as in municipalities in
24 Q. What was their proposal with regard to local communities that
25 were ethnically diverse, in other words, no one ethnicity had a complete
2 A. As far as I can remember, that also fell under the Serb
3 territories on that map. In practical terms, probably around 80 per cent
4 of the territory or the map was marked as the Serb-owned territory.
5 MR. OLMSTED: May we have on the screen 65 ter 10236.11.
6 Q. Now, this is a point map showing ethnic distribution within
7 Prijedor municipality as of 1991, and if we look -- if we can keep it
8 where it is right now, we see just above the map that there is -- there
9 are some figures showing that the Muslim population in Prijedor was
10 49.351; the Serb population, 47.581; and the Croat population, 6.316.
11 Are these figures accurate or roughly accurate, at least?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. It also indicates --
14 A. I believe that they are accurate.
15 Q. Thank you. It also indicates that 6.459 persons in Prijedor
16 classified themselves as Yugoslavs. At the time, was it more common for
17 Serbs or Muslims to classify themselves as Yugoslavs?
18 A. In practice, it was more common for Muslims to classify
19 themselves as Yugoslavs, but there was also a percentage of Serbs who did
20 that, as well as Croats and others.
21 MR. OLMSTED: Now, if we can scroll down to the map itself. And
22 this is fine right there.
23 Q. We see that on this map, the Muslim areas are shown in green, the
24 Serb areas in blue, and the Croat areas in red. Does this appear to be
25 an accurate depiction of the ethnic composition of Prijedor back in the
1 1991, 1992 time-period?
2 A. Yes, this would be more or less correct; however, I would like to
3 say that the map was even more colourful than this one. These are just
4 places where one ethnic group accounted for an absolute majority.
5 MR. OLMSTED: May this be tendered into evidence, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE HALL
7 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit P01714. Thank you, Your Honours.
8 MR. OLMSTED:
9 Q. You've touched on this before, but as you were working in both
10 the Republic Assembly as well as attending government meetings in
11 Prijedor, did you sense any link between the attitude of the SDS at the
12 republic level and that of the SDS
13 issues that we've talked about so far?
14 A. There were a lot of similarities. Actually, whatever happened in
15 Prijedor only reflected things that had already happened at the state
17 Q. Was another area of disagreement between the SDA and the SDS the
18 issue of the JNA mobilisation to fight in the conflict in Croatia
19 sometime around the summer of 1991?
20 A. That is right. And that was not just a bone of contention
21 between the SDS
22 any other party in Bosnia-Herzegovina either with civic parties, the HDZ,
23 the SDA. The SDS
24 for example, the reform party, the liberal party, the opposition party as
25 a whole. Only the SDS
1 supporting mobilisation -- or, rather, a very strong presence of the JNA
2 in the Croatian theatres of war.
3 Q. And if you could just slow down and when you give your answers, I
4 can hear that the translator is struggling to keep up with you.
5 The SDS
6 mobilisation; is that correct? Is that what you've specified for us?
7 A. Correct. Correct.
8 Q. And what was the position of the SDA with regard to mobilisation?
9 A. The SDA position was that the SDA was not in favour of
10 mobilisation, in general terms; however, it did not want prevent citizens
11 from responding to call-ups if they wanted to be drafted.
12 Q. And was there a JNA formation in Prijedor in 1991?
13 A. In 1991, there was a large military formation in Prijedor, the
14 5th Kozara Brigade. Even before that, there was a JNA garrison in
16 Q. Did the mobilisation which began in the summer of 1991, and I
17 believe there was probably multiple mobilisations after that, did this
18 result in a change in the ethnic composition of this 5th Kozara Brigade?
19 A. Only in the first round of mobilisation, a certain number of
20 non-Serbs responded to the call-up. Later on, their numbers dwindled and
21 there came a time when people no longer responded to mobilisation calls,
22 and the reason was that people had gained certain experiences that they
23 shared with the rest of us after they returned from their units. They
24 were telling us that the army was being transformed into something else
25 and that they no longer felt like members of that new army.
1 Q. Can you explain that a little bit further. Did they feel like
2 they were being somehow mistreated once they were mobilised into the JNA
3 at this time-period?
4 A. I will explain, Your Honours. Men of age would traditionally
5 respond to mobilisation calls, or, rather, to call-ups for military
6 manoeuvres. I, myself, participated in several military manoeuvres
7 before the developments of the 1990s. At that time, the military was a
8 national military of a mixed composition. There were no elements of
9 provocation. We were all equal in the military. There was no different
10 attitudes with respect to different ethnic groups. However, in the
11 relevant time, all those things started happening.
12 The units started removing the insignia of the JNA from their
13 uniform, from their hats, and what reappeared were some old traditional
14 Serbian -- even the cockades, the Chetnik insignia pertaining to the
15 Second World War, denoting units that fought on the side of the Germans.
16 There came a time when they started nationalist songs, which either
17 insulted or intimidated members of other ethnic groups. Men tried to
18 desert those units, but, in any case, they no longer wanted to respond to
19 mobilisation calls.
20 Obviously, I don't know whether such things happened across the
21 board in all units, but I know that people deserted several different
22 units precisely for the reasons that I've just mentioned.
23 Q. By April 1992, what percentage of the 5th Kozara Brigade was
25 A. Until early April 1992, the percentage was negligible.
1 Q. Was there also a Territorial Defence in Prijedor in 1991 and
3 A. Yes, there was a Territorial Defence as an official structure
4 with a long tradition.
5 Q. And prior to the take-over in Prijedor, who was in charge of the
7 A. The TO was in charge of Becir Medunjanin. He was Chief of Staff
8 of the Territorial Defence.
9 Q. Just to clarify, I think it is the other way around, that Becir
10 Medunjanin was in charge of the TO, is that what you said?
11 A. Yes, correct.
12 Q. I think this might help us a little bit, but if you could tell us
13 prior to the take-over, can you explain how the TO was organised at the
14 various governmental levels within Prijedor. So we have the municipal
15 level, but what about the local communes and how were they organised in
16 this pre-take-over period?
17 A. The centre of the TO was in the town of Prijedor itself. The
18 command of the TO was also there and the units of the TO could be found
19 all over the municipality of Prijedor
20 self-administration, that is the local communes. Where the local
21 communes were large, there would also be even smaller organisational
22 elements of the TO, so-called sectors. And they had -- each of these
23 elements or units had their own commanders who were subordinate to the
24 commander of the TO in Prijedor.
25 Q. Let's take, for example, the Kozarac TO, what villages did that
1 TO unit cover?
2 A. The Kozarac TO encompassed Kozarac, which include the settlements
3 of Dera, Kalata, Brdjani. And some villages in the immediate surrounding
4 of Kozarac. That was TO Kozarac. There was also TO Trnopolje, then TO
5 Kamicani, or, rather, the sector of staffs. But the main command in the
6 area for the sectors that I mentioned was at Kozarac.
7 Q. And this was in accordance with existing laws at the time?
8 A. Of course, it was all in line with the structures as laid out by
9 the law, and the constitution because the TO was actually provided for by
10 the constitution.
11 Q. Did the TO have weapons in 1991?
12 A. The TO did have a certain quantity of weapons in 1991.
13 Q. Well, did something happen in 1989 that resulted in the removal
14 of a number of their weapons?
15 A. That's correct. Most of the weapons, or rather, all of the
16 weapons of the TO were taken over by the JNA and they put it in their
17 warehouses. That wasn't done in accordance with the procedure, nor was
18 that agreed upon by the leadership of the republic. Then the situation
19 was taken care of in such a way that there were negotiations to return
20 the weapons to where they belonged. The result being that a smaller
21 quantity of bad or unusable weapons was returned to the TO.
22 Q. When the JNA confiscated the TO weapons from the Prijedor TO
23 units, where did they store them in Prijedor?
24 A. In their own facilities. They took the weapons to the garrison
25 in Prijedor. Whether or not the warehouse was there or somewhere else, I
1 don't know, but certainly they were controlled by the army. That was the
2 interpretation that was offered to the public, namely that the weapons
3 were safe.
4 Q. You mentioned that the JNA eventually returned a small quantity
5 of weapons. What kind of weapons did the JNA return to the Kozarac TO?
6 A. Most of the weapons that were returned, and it was a small
7 quantity altogether, were old rifles from the Second World War, the
8 so-called M-48 rifles. Then there would occasionally be a half-automatic
9 rifle, a certain quantity of ammunition, possibly some rifle grenades and
10 a smaller number of automatic rifles. Whether there were small calibre
11 mortars which was a weapon that was also owned by the TO, I don't know.
12 The local commune of Trnopolje did not get back a single mortar.
13 Q. Prior to the take-over in Prijedor, I want to focus mainly in the
14 1992 period leading up to the end of April 1992, were Serb civilians
15 being armed?
16 A. Before April of 1992, we noticed that Serb civilians were being
17 armed. Some party members were even present to witness it. In two
18 villages they were able to observe the process. In one case, I also
19 watched a helicopter landing from a distance and unloading something that
20 I couldn't make out because of the distance.
21 There was a second instance when people saw crates being taken
22 out of a helicopter, and there was a third instance in a local commune,
23 in the outskirts of Prijedor, in plain daylight from a truck trailer,
24 weapons were being handed out to civilians. An SDA member happened to
25 pass by, I believe his name was Irfan Cepic and he looked on, and he
1 immediately came to inform us.
2 We requested information from the authorities but everybody
3 denied that anything like that was going on.
4 Q. And who was distributing these weapons to the Serb population?
5 A. The truck I mentioned was a JNA truck, a green truck, I'm not
6 sure whether it was a Tamic or a FAP, I wasn't there to see it. Anyway,
7 the tarpaulin was taken off and at a crossroads weapons were being
8 distributed. Cepic noticed that nobody had to sign any receipts and he
9 didn't see any lists either. He just saw people assembled there and some
10 people taking weapons out of the truck and distributing them and the
11 other group taking those weapons with them.
12 Q. This method of distributing weapons, was this in accordance with
13 the laws at the time?
14 A. No, it wasn't. No laws whatsoever.
15 Q. Can you tell us in which villages the arming of the Serb
16 population was most prevalent? Were there certain areas where they were
17 most focusing on as far as arming?
18 A. Cirkin Polje, which is a suburban settlement was the place where
19 weapons were distributed from the truck. It's in the outskirts of
20 Prijedor. There is a Serbian village nearby, and further on there were
21 non-Serb territories. We noticed a helicopter landing at the village of
22 Petrov Gaj, which is a Serb village, and boxes or crates were being
23 dropped off that helicopter and the inhabitants of a non-Serb village
24 nearby, another non -- which was nearby watched on.
25 I observed a situation at Salac [phoen], which is also close to
1 the boundaries -- or the boundary that existed between the Serb and
2 non-Serb inhabited areas.
3 Q. And I think you answered my question at the very end. Were these
4 areas that were being armed the border areas between Serb villages and
5 non-Serb villages?
6 A. That is correct.
7 Q. What about the non-Serb population --
8 A. That is correct.
9 Q. What about the non-Serb population, were they attempting to
10 obtain weapons during this pre-take-over period?
11 A. An atmosphere of fear had been created and some people strove to
12 come by weapons to protect their personal safety, but this was done in an
13 uninstitutional manner. Nobody felt safe so people were striving to
14 provide some kind of safety to themselves. We tried to organise and
15 strengthen the Territorial Defence, enable it to carry out their duties
16 in order to relax the situation to the extent possible.
17 Q. Did the SDA play any role in arming the non-Serb population?
18 A. No. It was a task of the SDA to organise the people who had
19 obtained weapons in various ways as members of the TO, and that they were
20 offered to be -- to join the TO.
21 Q. Who were the leading JNA officers in Prijedor in early 1992?
22 A. Colonel Arsic was the commander. The garrison commander was
23 Major Zeljaja, and I had opportunity to meet the chief of military
24 security but I don't know his name. They were the three most important
25 personalities, or highest-ranking officers at the local level.
1 Q. Did Colonel Arsic attend Municipal Assembly meetings?
2 A. Yes, more than once and I remember his presence at one of the
3 Municipal Assembly meetings very well.
4 Q. And from what you could observe, what was the relationship like
5 between Colonel Arsic and the SDS
6 the take-over.
7 A. Arsic appeared during those talks about mobilisation, those
8 discussions. Whatever the SDS
9 positions were identical. Both Arsic and the SDS accused those unwilling
10 to respond to the call-up in the same way. These accusations were that
11 Prijedor would not be defended in Prijedor, that Prijedor must be
12 defended in Croatia
13 defend Prijedor was opposed to the defence of Prijedor.
14 Q. In the weeks leading up to the Serb take-over in Prijedor, what
15 was the atmosphere like in Prijedor?
16 A. It was horrible.
17 Q. Did the SDA make any proposals to the Serb community to try to
18 improve the situation?
19 A. All our activities in the SDA were aimed at humouring the SDS,
20 trying to calm the situation, trying to appease the population, try to
21 disperse their fears and that was the purpose of all our activity. We
22 asked the SDS
23 ethnicities in border areas and have them patrol at night which would
24 disperse fear. I must say that the Serb population in various places
25 accepted these offers with satisfaction. And even without a decision of
1 the SDS
2 The Serb population, too, was of the view that they wouldn't
3 attack anybody, but that somebody may come in from outside and do so.
4 However, these joint guards didn't stand their ground long because the
7 The people took it hard where I was, in my village. We spoke to
8 the Serbs who were members of joint patrols. They couldn't explain why
9 they were withdrawing, they were just saying we have to withdraw. We
10 have been ordered to do so. Let everybody defend their own. And they
11 didn't return. The withdrawal of Serbs from the joint patrols, to us,
12 was a signal that something was underway.
13 Q. That leads to my next question: In the days leading up to the
14 take-over in Prijedor, did you or the other members of the SDA leadership
15 notice anything that, in retrospect, signalled to you the take-over was
16 about to occur?
17 A. We noticed that the population withdrew at night from some Serb
18 territories bordering on non-Serb territories. Around about midnight
19 11.30, from some hamlets and there where I lived, women, children, and
20 elderly people were leaving. And then people were asking those who had
21 stayed behind, Why are the women leaving? And the reply was, No, that's
22 not true. And then the neighbourhood of Pecani or possibly Raskovac,
23 too, in Prijedor, a huge number of people with children left high-rise
24 apartment buildings at night and returned in the morning. This was
25 observed twice.
1 Q. Was there also a tank placed is somewhere?
2 A. The tank was brought in in late April and stayed until early May
3 at one of the entry points to Kozarac. And the barrel of its cannon
4 pointed at the nearest houses in Kozarac. When people noticed that,
5 general panic broke out, but then the people tried to contact the tank
6 crew, one man recognised a friend of his who was in the tank, and then
7 they said it wasn't their intention to shoot. And then the inhabitants
8 of Kozarac brought them food and drinks and that went on for a couple of
9 days. So they fed those soldiers because the military didn't bring them
10 any food. But the reaction to the positioning of that tank was immense
11 fear because it was expected that the tank could start firing any moment,
12 and when that tank arrived, strong forces were observed to arrive at
13 Trnopolje from the direction of Ribnjak and take positions just before
14 the houses in the periphery. That was the house of the Serb family
15 Baltic there and several dozen men took positions there.
16 All that contributed to an unbearable atmosphere spreading.
17 People started panicking.
18 Q. I want you to clarify your last answer, you said: Strong forces
19 were observed arriving at Trnopolje, were these JNA forces?
20 A. We don't know, they only came at night and they also withdrew at
21 night. In the morning, we weren't able to see them anymore, and they
22 didn't come into Trnopolje, but only to the outskirts. They would come
23 as close as 200 or 300 metres, roughly.
24 Q. Would you at least know whether they were Serb forces or non-Serb
1 A. Those were Serb forces. Occasionally they would fire at the
2 houses in Trnopolje, the houses closest to the railway line or to
4 Q. During this late April time-period, were there also announcements
5 made over the radio, the public radio, with regard to non-Serbs?
6 A. In late April, well, what kind of announcements are you referring
7 to, could you please explain?
8 Q. Well, for instance, were there any announcements that the
9 non-Serbs were going to attack Prijedor or something to that effect?
10 A. Well, not only announcements or propaganda, even in the
11 Official Gazette there was the information that the Muslims are getting
12 ready to destroy the Serbs in the area. Irrespective of the situation,
13 and although the Serbs were backed up by tanks and cannon and multiple
14 launchers, et cetera, this piece of information was published in the
15 Official Gazette, and that, of course, frightened the people.
16 Life was marked by fear and by attempts to organise a defence in
17 any manner available.
18 JUDGE HALL
19 going to be completed today, so the -- to allow time for the matters with
20 which we have to deal before we rise, if we could take the adjournment at
21 this point.
22 MR. OLMSTED: Yes, Your Honour. This is an appropriate time for
23 me to stop anyways.
24 JUDGE HALL
25 continue when we reconvene on Wednesday. Having been sworn as a witness,
1 you cannot have any communication with counsel from either side, and in
2 such conversations as you may have with persons outside of the court, you
3 cannot discuss your testimony. So you are now excused. The Court will
4 not rise immediately because it has some other matter with which it must
5 deal. The usher will escort you out and you will return on Wednesday
6 morning. We trust you have a safe weekend, sir.
7 [Witness stands down]
8 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, before you deal with your ruling, can
9 I just mention very quickly the question of next week's sitting.
10 Mr. Zecevic requested that Friday be free so we could discuss
11 exhumations. For various reasons, the technical information he wants is
12 not going to be given to him until Thursday. And, therefore, Friday is
13 not going to be a day that we can discuss the matter. Seems to us that
14 there's a real likelihood that we may need a Friday sitting to finish the
15 two witnesses who are now here for next week, if I could just put that on
16 the record.
17 JUDGE HALL
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. There is one more oral ruling.
19 Having now issued oral rulings today and yesterday on the various
20 Prosecution motions pursuant to Rule 92 bis and for the addition of one
21 further witness, the Trial Chamber turns to the question of the time
22 remaining for the presentation of the Prosecution's case.
23 The Trial Chamber has given meticulous consideration to this and
24 thanks the Prosecution for the various calculations it has presented
25 through the Chamber's Legal Officer. It is also grateful to the parties
1 for their joint submissions on stipulated facts and the resulted
2 withdrawal of witnesses, and directs the parties to file those two
3 documents as one joint submission with the Registry.
4 The Trial Chamber will address first its direction as to what it
5 has chosen to refer to as core witnesses, that is, those witnesses on the
6 reduced witness list filed on 10 September 2009, as amended during the
7 trial, but not including witnesses called to address the denied
8 adjudicated facts and those for whom motions to add are still pending.
9 The Trial Chamber confirms its written rulings of 8 June 2010
10 22 July 2010
11 minutes to the Prosecution for the presentation of its case, pursuant to
12 Rule 73 bis(C) and (F). Without going into the minutae of the
13 calculations, the Trial Chamber advises the Prosecution that the other
14 rulings which led the Prosecution to believe that a total of 255 hours
15 had been allotted, had already been included in the calculations
16 reflected in those two decisions. Therefore, the total allotted -- the
17 total time allotted for the core witnesses is 242 hours and 40 minutes.
18 The Registry has confirmed that, as on Wednesday 10 November, the
19 Prosecution had utilised 243 hours and 52 minutes for the core witnesses.
20 The time allotted pursuant to Rule 73 bis is therefore exhausted and
21 there remain four core witnesses still to be called: ST-004, Ewan Brown,
22 Charles McLeod, and ST-219.
23 The Trial Chamber has also granted the Prosecution a total of
24 40 hours in which to present the evidence of witnesses called to address
25 the denied adjudicated facts. Again, the Registry has confirmed that, as
1 on 10 November, before Witness ST-225 started to testify, just over 27
2 hours of this time remained, after hearing ten witnesses from this
3 category. Again, without going into the minutae of the calculations, it
4 is noteworthy that, thanks to the efforts of the parties, the number of
5 witnesses to be called in this category has been reduced and, therefore,
6 the time actually needed in court may be also reduced accordingly.
7 The Chamber is mindful of the fact that only two sitting days are
8 available next week, eventually three if we take the Friday as well, and
9 that thereafter four weeks, 20 sitting days, remain before the court's
10 winter recess. Having considered the various time estimates provided by
11 the parties, the Trial Chamber is of the view that it is possible, with
12 the exceptions identified herein later, to complete the presentation of
13 evidence within that time. This will require counsel on both sides to
14 exercise control and focus over their examinations and cross-examination
15 of each witness.
16 The Trial Chamber is satisfied that it is in the interests of
17 justice to allow the Prosecution additional time pursuant to Rule 73 bis
18 in order to present the evidence of the four remaining core witnesses;
19 the one witness added yesterday; the four witnesses whose evidence was
20 not admitted pursuant to Rule 92 bis; and the one witness added to the
21 list on 17 September 2010.
22 The Trial Chamber, therefore -- I've problem here. I'll have to
23 go over that again.
24 MS. KORNER: Your Honours, can we take it -- obviously you are
25 going to issue, I take it, a written decision at some stage on this. We
1 are taking it you're giving us until Christmas to complete our case.
2 JUDGE HARHOFF: [Microphone not activated] exception.
3 MS. KORNER: There is an exception is there? All right.
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: I think we better go to the end of this. So I
5 repeat: The Trial Chamber is satisfied that it is in the interest of
6 justice to allow the Prosecution additional time pursuant to Rule 73 bis
7 in order to present the evidence of the four remaining core witnesses;
8 the one witness added yesterday; and the one witness added to the list of
9 17 September -- added to the list on 17 September 2010. The
10 Trial Chamber, therefore, increases the time available by 13 hours and
11 directs the Prosecution to complete the presentation of all witnesses,
12 other than exceptions identified herein later, by Friday 17 December,
13 that is by the winter recess.
14 The two non-sitting days indicated previously, Friday, 3 December
15 and Friday, 17 December, are revoked and the Chamber will sit both days
16 if necessary.
17 While calculating the use of court time until the winter recess,
18 the Trial Chamber took into account not only the above-mentioned
19 additions, but also the time needed to complete the hearing of all the
20 denied adjudicated facts, witnesses, including those witnesses added to
21 this category by oral ruling of today on the Prosecution's Rule 92 bis
22 motion, and the time eventually needed, if any, for the
23 examination-in-chief of ST-261, ST-262, ST-263, and ST-264 in the event
24 that the motions to add these witnesses would be granted and
25 notwithstanding an eventual exception as set out herein later.
1 Therefore, whether or not the addition of ST-261, ST-262, ST-263
2 and ST-264 will be granted, the testimony of all Prosecution witnesses
3 shall be concluded before the beginning of the winter recess, except for
4 the hearing of expert witness Ewan Brown and ST-181, if Mr. Krgovic's
5 application to recall this witness is granted.
6 Should the Chamber grant the Prosecution's motion for addition of
7 ST-263 and ST-264, a possible exception remains for either or both
8 witnesses who may be called in January 2011. Thank you.
9 JUDGE HALL
10 Wednesday morning. And I trust that everyone has a safe weekend.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.50 p.m.
12 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 17th day of
13 November, 2010, at 9.00 a.m.