1 Wednesday, 16 November 2011
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 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.
8 JUDGE HALL: Thank you, Madam Registrar. Good morning to
10 May we have the appearances, please.
11 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Good morning, Your Honours. Alex Demirdjian
12 with Belinda Pidwell and Sebastiaan van Hooydonk for the Prosecution.
13 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
14 Appearing for Stanisic, Slobodan Cvijetic, Ms. Montgomery, and our intern
15 Annemarie McNulty.
16 MR. KRGOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Dragan Krgovic,
17 Aleksandar Aleksic, and Miroslav Cuskic appearing for Zupljanin Defence.
18 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
19 Before the witness is escorted back to the stand, continuing
20 where we left off yesterday with counsel's estimate of the time that
21 would be required to complete this witness's testimony and the optimistic
22 result that we would get to Witness -- the next witness on Friday, thank
23 you, Witness number 20.
24 Mr. Krgovic, your proofing notes should be supplied by close of
25 business today.
1 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation] I'll do my best, Your Honours.
2 Since he is a character witness who is arriving today in The Hague, I
3 will see him around 12.00, and after that I will be able to submit my
4 proofing notes from that interview. Thank you.
5 JUDGE HALL: Thank you.
6 And if there is nothing else to delay us, would the usher please
7 escort the witness back to the stand.
8 [The witness takes the stand]
9 JUDGE HALL: Good morning, sir. You may be seated.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning. Thank you.
11 JUDGE HALL: And before I invite Mr. Krgovic to begin, I remind
12 you of the solemn declaration that you made yesterday.
13 WITNESS: OBRAD BUBIC [Resumed]
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE HALL: Yes, Mr. Krgovic -- Mr. Aleksic. Thank you.
16 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Examination by Mr. Aleksic:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Bubic.
19 A. Good morning.
20 Q. Yesterday, at the end of the working day, you provided some basic
21 information about yourself, and now I would kindly ask you to fill in the
22 information with some detail. Tell us something about your educational
23 background. What schools did you complete, when, and where?
24 A. I completed the elementary school in the village where I was
25 born, and after that I attended school in Zagreb. In Zagreb, I completed
1 secondary military technical school. At the end of my education, I
2 became an active non-commissioned officer. After that, I spent some time
3 working for the JNA as an active-duty officer. Do you need anything
5 Q. I have to wait for the transcript. We have to make pauses
6 between your answers and my questions, and vice versa. Everything is
7 fine. We just have to be mindful of the transcript. Tell me, where did
8 you serve as an officer in the JNA and for how long?
9 A. From 1966 to 1972, for the most part in the territory of Istria
10 in Pula, Rijeka, Umag and Pazin.
11 Q. And after that, when you stopped serving in the JNA, where did
12 you live and what did you do?
13 A. I returned to Kotor Varos, and there I found employment in a
14 company in the sales department. And then in 1985 I became a
15 businessman. I had a chain of boutiques and I was involved in that up
16 until the beginning of the war.
17 Q. Just briefly - and we will come back to that in the course of
18 your testimony - after the war broke out, what happened to you? What was
19 your destiny throughout the entire war?
20 A. I was engaged in the Territorial Defence of the city of
21 Kotor Varos. On the eve of the day when the conflict broke out, I was
22 engaged. And then I was captured by the BiH army and the HVO and I spent
23 some time in prison. When I was released, unfortunately I had to undergo
24 medical treatment, and after that I continued working in the VRS.
25 Q. After you were set free until 1992, which unit did you belong to,
1 to what company?
2 A. When I received my call-up papers, I reported to the command of
3 the town defence and I worked in a local company in the territory of the
4 town of Kotor Varos. We were deployed as guards. Our task was to
5 prevent any sort of attack. And I stayed in that position until the
6 moment I was captured and I was arrested.
7 Q. We will come back to that as well. I asked you when you were
8 exchanged, when you were set free after you recovered. After that, in
9 the course of 1992, where were you?
10 A. I was still in Kotor Varos. I still stood guard. Better to say,
11 I was in the immediate vicinity of the building where I resided.
12 Q. And later, during the war in 1993, 1994, 1995, did you stay in
13 the same position? Did you change your unit?
14 A. No, I stayed with the same unit. When the Kotor Varos brigade
15 was established, its name was light assault brigade Kotor Varos. Because
16 of the trauma that I had suffered and my health status, I was transferred
17 to become a member of the logistics base with the command of the light
18 assault brigade.
19 Q. Tell me, when the war ended - you have told us what your
20 profession is now - but let me ask you what was your profession between
21 1995 to 1997?
22 A. From 1995, i.e., from the end of the war, until 2004, I was
23 unemployed. I didn't have a job. I didn't work. As -- and then I
24 started working for the NGO, the association of inmates of the VRS, and
25 I'm still the secretary-general of that association.
1 Q. And do you have contacts with some other NGOs, some other
2 organisations? Can you provide some detail?
3 A. I have contacts with a huge number of other NGOs across
4 Bosnia and Herzegovina, irrespective of the fact whether they belonged to
5 the Croatian, Serbian, or Muslim peoples. A lot of my work implies
6 working with some international organisations. I can say without any
7 false modesty that I'm very active. In the NDPCRS [as interpreted] there
8 is a Swiss NGO. It's on the tip of my tongue, but I really can't
9 remember its name. I also co-operate with the association of inmates of
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina. That is a federal organisation. And also with
11 the Muslim Federation of inmates in the territory of Western Bosnia with
12 headquarters in Kladusa. We are all involved in that work, especially
13 through UNDP. We are involved in the process leading to establishing the
14 process of transitional justice in Bosnia-Herzegovina. And this concerns
15 the entire system of justice in all of its elements, and we are
16 particularly engaged in bringing justice to the victims of the last war.
17 Q. Were you ever a member of any political party?
18 A. There was a time when I was a member of the League of Communists
19 in the former Yugoslavia. After that, I have never been engaged in any
20 party, in any political party. I'm talking about mono-ethnic parties.
21 Q. Do you know Mr. Stojan Zupljanin?
22 A. Yes, I do. I know him. We were born in the same village. We
23 even went to school together for a while. He's three years younger than
24 me so we know each other from very early childhood.
25 Q. In the course of 1992, did you have any contacts with
1 Mr. Stojan Zupljanin?
2 A. To be very specific, in 1992 I don't think I had any contacts.
3 Later on, I saw him in the village where we were born, in Maslovare. He
4 was bringing back either his mother or his father - I'm not sure,
5 actually - from hospital or from a medical examination, something of the
6 kind. I can't be very precise and provide you any more specific details.
7 Q. When Mr. -- since Mr. Stojan Zupljanin has been here in
8 The Hague, have you had any personal contacts with him?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Do you remember when the Defence team for Mr. Stojan Zupljanin
11 contacted you the first time, and who was it who got in touch with you?
12 A. I got a telephone call from Mr. Drago Vukelic from Banja Luka.
13 He told me that he was a member of the Zupljanin Defence team, and he
14 asked me if I would be willing to come and appear before the Tribunal to
15 testify what I know about Stojan and the circumstances that surrounded
16 some of the events, and I agreed without any second thoughts. Sometime
17 at the beginning --
18 Q. When was that?
19 A. That was last summer. And then during the summer of this year
20 they called me again and asked me, or rather, I agreed to testify and
21 then they called me into their office to take a statement, to take notes,
22 and to get my signed consent. And on that occasion, they told me that
23 the Prosecutor also wanted to talk to me. And I asked those people how
24 customary was that, to talk to both sides? I was interested in how
25 things were done until then and I was told that very few people talked to
1 both sides. And it was then that I refused to talk to the
2 representatives of the OTP. We were supposed to meet sometime during the
3 summer of this year and then we would have to sign an official agreement.
4 Unfortunately, I became ill and I had to spend two months in bed. And
5 then we met again sometime in early October. Then I signed my statement
6 again and I confirmed that I was willing to testify on behalf of the
7 Defence, that I was only willing to talk to the Defence team, nobody
9 Q. Besides Mr. Vukelic, have you had contacts with any other members
10 of the Stojan Zupljanin Defence team?
11 A. A few months ago, I met Mr. Krgovic and yourself.
12 Q. And did you speak to me eyeball to eyeball at any time and when?
13 A. No, actually, we never spoke the two of us alone. We spoke in
14 the presence of Mr. Vukelic.
15 Q. When you arrived here in The Hague?
16 A. I beg your pardon?
17 Q. When you arrived in The Hague?
18 A. I spent a couple of days with you and we discussed all sorts of
20 Q. Very well. And now could you please tell us how much you
21 remember. It was a long time ago. What was the political climate and
22 the security situation in Kotor Varos and the general area in the spring
23 of 1992, just briefly what you can remember?
24 A. When a multi-party system came onto the scene, that was the
25 beginning of the state of anarchy in the municipality. Mono-ethnic
1 parties were established. The first one was the Croatian party, the HDZ;
2 after that, the Muslim SDA; and finally, the Serbian Democratic Party.
3 There were huge rallies where you could hear stories about the doom and
4 gloom if the others came to the power. And people were terrified, to put
5 it simply. In the meantime, the leaders of those parties invited people
6 to slowly prepare for war. People started arming themselves. Weapons
7 arrived through God knows what channels -- from all over the place. A
8 huge number of people bought weapons. Some of them paid the last penny.
9 Some of them sold their only cow to buy weapons, but in any case weapons
10 they did buy. There came a time when they started walking around the
11 town brandishing those weapons, especially when a unit arrived.
12 Q. You said that people started walking about armed. Which people
13 were those? To which ethnicity did they belong?
14 A. Well, it was everybody, more or less. A division was -- became
15 obvious in the town. It first began in pubs. Croats went to one pub or
16 some pubs and Serbs to others, and so on. And sometimes there were
17 groups of trouble-makers who deliberately went to the meeting-places of
18 the other ethnicity to create mayhem. And the security situation was
19 very bad.
20 Q. Talking about the villages in the area, tell us about their
21 ethnic composition and their geographic position of the villages around
22 Kotor Varos.
23 A. Kotor Varos itself is in a beautiful valley of the Vrbanja river.
24 There are rolling hills and the town itself had a mixed population,
25 people from all ethnicities. But many villages around town were
1 mono-ethnic. You can call them that, I think. There were very few
2 villages that were ethnically mixed. But even so, some ethnic groups
3 would be -- would constitute a minority in such villages. And this
4 general security, it was the Muslim forces which, as soon as May 1992,
5 began to erect barricades on the roads. They prohibited people from
6 passing. In the village of Vrbanjci which is 5 or 6 kilometres from
7 Kotor Varos, some century-old trees were cut down to block the roads and
8 the situation was by no means good.
9 Q. You spoke about people arming themselves. Were the villages
10 armed, too, were there village guards?
11 A. At that time there was no difference between the town and the
12 villages. The villagers, too, began arming themselves, and in May I
13 believe there was no one village left in the municipality without armed
14 village guards.
15 Q. You mentioned a minute ago that a military unit arrived. Which
16 unit was that and what do you know about it or what did you know about
18 A. It was a unit of the JNA, the 22nd Brigade. But it wasn't a
19 whole brigade that came to Kotor Varos municipality. As far as I know,
20 only one battalion arrived. And the command of that battalion was at
21 Maslovare village and the army had its camp at Borije in the Kruscica
22 river valley. The commander of that unit was a certain Colonel Peulic.
23 And later, when the armed attacks in the municipality began, the unit,
24 including its command, was relocated to Vrbanjci which is 5 or 6
25 kilometres from the place that I mentioned as being the first one where
1 barricades were put up. As far as I knew, the task of the unit was to
2 protect the people from armed attacks and to prevent possible incidents
3 involving the use of fire-arms.
4 Q. Did those soldiers come to town occasional and how did they
5 conduct themselves? What happened when they were there?
6 A. Well, soldiers will be soldiers. They will come to town and they
7 were armed, and there was shooting sometimes in front of pubs or on the
8 streets. There will be drunken people, all sorts of folks, and clearly
9 the local population was even more afraid and insecure.
10 Q. You mentioned Colonel Peulic. Did you learn what his function
11 and role was in the area?
12 A. Initially, he was the commander of the 22nd Brigade and, as far
13 as I know, he later became -- he became the Commander-in-Chief for the
14 general area. I think it extended to the Vlasic mountain plateau. And I
15 dare say that he was the man who was the master of life and death there.
16 Q. Did you see him in Kotor Varos in June and later; that is, before
17 you were taken prisoner and after you were released?
18 A. I think I met him occasionally. I didn't know the man
19 personally, but I saw him around. He did used to come to Kotor Varos,
20 especially after my release.
21 Q. Tell us something about the events from -- that happened in early
22 June in Kotor Varos and around town.
23 A. The village guards and the surrounding villages in Kotor Varos
24 municipality were gradually evolving into armed units so that, more or
25 less, each village had its mini armed unit which was mono-ethnic. When I
1 say "mono-ethnic," well, I must add that there were villages where people
2 were on good terms and the units comprised Croats, Serbs, and Muslims.
3 But there was talk all over the place that strong forces were being
4 formed in the area around Kotor Varos, at least that was the story that
5 we Serbs heard, and that those forces were to attack Kotor Varos. I
6 believe that this will be discussed later on. There was some information
7 that a forceful military action was planned to destroy prominent Serbs.
8 Q. What did you learn about this? Can you tell us some more?
9 A. It was during my captivity that I heard most about it. A certain
10 Stipo Maric, also known as Sprzo, told me that the Croats and Muslims
11 were to unite on the 12th of May, if I'm not mistaken, to organise a
12 hunting lunch on Mount Borije, and they wanted to invite all prominent
13 Serbs and there were lists for liquidation. Whether or not that's true,
14 I don't know, because I've never seen a document. But there was public
15 talk about it in Kotor Varos. We know that groups of those mono-ethnic,
16 armies to call them that, on both banks of the Vrbanja river were gaining
17 ground and growing.
18 Q. You said on the 12th of May or that's how it was recorded. Was
19 that the date of that hunting lunch?
20 A. No, no, I'm sorry, I meant June.
21 Q. Do you know anything about the events at Vasiljevic Brdo, or
22 Vrbanjci at that time?
23 A. Those paramilitary units that were established and were not part
24 of the TO began to kill people. At Vasiljevic Brdo, around the 1st, I
25 think, but I cannot be sure of the date, a man was killed. At Vagani
1 village, an old man - I believe he was over 75 - was killed. I can't
2 recall his name now. But he was minding his sheep and some Croats and
3 Muslims came and asked him to give them some lambs. He refused and they
4 simply killed him. In the direction of Bilice village, when you go from
5 Kotor Varos, there was a killing. A man called a soldier -- he called
6 out to him, probably he wanted to say something to him or wanted him to
7 come over, and the soldier replied by -- with a burst of fire, killing
8 him. And I believe that was the first killing in Kotor Varos.
9 Q. For the clarity of the record, these victims at Vasiljevica Brdo
10 and -- just a second, and Vagani, what was the ethnicity of those
12 A. They were Serbs.
13 Q. And the first killing in town, do you know the ethnicity of the
15 A. A Serb, too. I even knew him personally. His name was
16 Nedjo Eskic. He was the director of a catering company in Kotor Varos.
17 He was a relatively young man.
18 Q. Who were the perpetrators, as far as you know?
19 A. In Nedjo's case, they were Croats. They had come from Bilice
21 Q. As far as you personally are concerned, did anything happen to
22 you in early June? What was your status?
23 A. I responded to the call-up, like the majority of the citizens of
24 Kotor Varos, not only Serbs but Croats and Muslims too. I was standing
25 guard in front of two or three buildings there, or actually, I was the
1 guard commander. But then the guards in town were abolished and moved to
2 the suburbs to prevent the extremist forces from entering town. And I
3 was at a position outside town which was on a hill called Ruji Da.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Or some such. The interpreter didn't catch the
6 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Can you repeat the name of the hill.
8 A. Rujika.
9 Q. You said you were mobilised. Who handed you the call-up document
10 and tell us more about the technical aspect?
11 A. I received a summons from the defence secretariat to join the
12 TO staff and report at the town command of Kotor Varos. It was some 300
13 or 400 metres from the place I lived. I was to report to
14 Captain Gojko Stolic. He was an acquaintance of mine. I had known him
15 long. He told me that I would be beside the buildings for a while and he
16 showed me where with a gesture of his hand. And he said that guards
17 would be deployed on Rujika hill.
18 Q. Did he have a rank?
19 A. He was a reserve captain.
20 Q. What was the establishment unit that was mobilised then as part
21 of the TO?
22 A. The unit was called the TO company, and according to my modest
23 acquaintance with the rules of military engagement, it had about 120 men.
24 The company commander was Gojko Stolic. Its headquarters was at a pub
25 which was called X.
1 Q. It was the town company of Kotor Varos TO. Do you know whether
2 in the surrounding villages there was such companies as well and if they
3 were mobilised?
4 A. I don't know whether there were any companies because I didn't go
5 to those villages, but, as far as the Serbian army is concerned, each and
6 every unit was called a company. Now, whether that was technically
7 correct, I don't know. But they had their company commanders and their
8 platoon commanders, but how strong they were in terms of manpower, I
9 don't know. But each village had its company and that includes Serb
10 villages and the villages populated by the other two peoples in
11 Kotor Varos municipality. If I may add, at Bilice village, as far as I
12 know, larger units began to rally. Bilice is on the right bank of the
13 Vrbanja, and at Hadrovci village larger groups of Croats and Muslims were
14 formed. I know that those units were commanded by a certain Sadikovic.
15 I don't know when exactly, but before the war he was appointed commander
16 of the Kotor Varos police station on ethnic grounds.
17 Q. Did you know how strong the units at Bilice and Hadrovci were?
18 A. I didn't at the time, but when I was taken prisoner I had the
19 opportunity to make an estimate. And I think that they were rather
20 strong. There were rumours that at Bilice there were over 500 men at
21 arms, and since I was a prisoner on the left bank of the Vrbanja -- there
22 were a couple hundred of men where I was being held too.
23 Q. We'll get back to that when we begin to discuss your captivity.
24 You said that members -- that people of all three ethnicities responded
25 to the call-up?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Do you know if a number of Croats and Muslims remained in the
3 units of the TO which later became the VRS?
4 A. Quite a number of both Croats and Muslims remained in those
5 units. They were peace-loving people who were not in favour of war.
6 Also, quite a number were mobilised. They wanted to do that because they
7 wanted to get hold of weapons. And then, when they got hold of weapons,
8 they would join their mono-ethnic units in their villages. There was a
9 number of people who, when the company became a brigade, remained in the
10 unit and followed the war path of that unit until the end of the war.
11 For example, a good friend of mine - who is still my
12 friend - Asim Aganbegovic, who worked in the Territorial Defence staff
13 before the war and even was our battalion commander during the war, he's
14 a Muslim. I can't remember anybody else, but I believe that
15 Adis Hadziselimovic was also one of the commanders in our brigade during
16 the war.
17 Q. We will come back to those names a bit later. I will remind you
18 of some of them. You mentioned Captain Stolic and you've told us where
19 the command of the town was. Do you know where the secretariat for
20 National Defence was before the war, in what building?
21 A. Of course. A modern building was erected quite some time before
22 the war and it has the police station on the ground floor, and then on
23 the first floor, there was the department of the Ministry of Defence,
24 i.e., the Territorial Defence staff of the town of Kotor Varos. And the
25 name of that body was secretariat, and the chief of that secretariat was
1 Manojlo Tepic.
2 Q. After the war broke out in Kotor Varos municipality, did
3 Mr. Manojlo Tepic remain in that position or did he perhaps change his
4 position afterwards? What do you know about that?
5 A. As far as I know, he spent the entire time in the secretariat.
6 When the brigade was established, he had a short stint in the brigade
7 command but I don't know at what position. After that as a brigade
8 member he was there until the end of the war.
9 Q. You mentioned a moment when the brigade was established. What
10 brigade do you have in mind when you say that?
11 A. The Kotor Varos light brigade. According to some
12 Territorial Defence rules, I suppose, before the war every village or
13 town had a war establishment of the size of a light brigade; Banja Luka
14 had several, Laktasi had one, Gradiste had one, likewise Kotor Varos also
15 established its own brigade. I believe that that was sometime in late
16 June, or thereabouts, or perhaps in early July, perhaps.
17 Q. Who were the members of that brigade? Was that a town brigade
18 and did only the companies from the town enter the composition of the
19 brigade or anybody else, for example, from the villages?
20 A. I believe that troops from the entire territory of the
21 Kotor Varos municipality became members of the brigade, leaving only a
22 minimum number of men to stand guard in the villages.
23 Q. Do you know who the commander of that brigade was, the
24 Kotor Varos light brigade?
25 A. Yes. The commander of that brigade was
1 Lieutenant-Colonel Dusan Novakovic. He is from Banja Luka. I met him
2 for the first time when I returned from the detention camp. That was
3 sometime in late July or possibly in early August. I can't remember when
4 that was for a fact.
5 Q. Was he an active-duty officer?
6 A. Yes, he was an active-duty officer. He was a lieutenant-colonel
7 of the JNA. He had arrived from the corps pursuant to an order, I
9 Q. At the time when you were mobilised and when the entire
10 composition of the Territorial Defence of Kotor Varos was mobilised, do
11 you know if any other forces were mobilised; and if that was the case,
12 what forces were those?
13 A. The police station was brought up to strength. Reserve officers
14 were mobilised to reinforce the police station. I don't know what their
15 establishment numerical strength was supposed to be, but I know that a
16 lot of people from the reserve police force were called up and that they
17 became members of the police station.
18 Q. [No interpretation]
19 A. I would also like to mention that reserve policemen who were
20 called up were not only Serbs but also non-Serbs.
21 Q. Do you know if any of those reserve police officers stayed as
22 members of the active police force?
23 A. Yes, I have a neighbour who lives in the next-door building. His
24 name is Sejdo Tatar. He was active all the time. He fought on the side
25 of our army. And also, in my neighbourhood, not far from where I live,
1 there is another person called Asim Arnautovic. He still lives at the
2 same address in Kotor Varos. There are quite a few other, but I can't
3 remember their names.
4 Q. You have told us that in the month of June the town was split,
5 that it was divided. Can you tell us more about that in geographical
6 terms. Who was it who kept what side of the town?
7 A. On the right bank of the river Vrbanja, there was strong forces
8 of the Territorial Defence involving all three ethnic groups. The
9 control was in the hand of the Serbs. And on the left bank of the
10 Vrbanja, that side was under the control of Muslims in concert with
11 Croats. But their numbers were smaller. There were fewer Croats than
12 Muslims. Apparently there was an agreement with the National Defence
13 structures, according to which one of the largest Croatian villages with
14 a majority Croatian population Zabrdje, Sibovi, Novo Selo, would not
15 participate in any combat. As a result of that, at the beginning of war,
16 they surrendered their weapons and those villages down there remained
17 unperturbed throughout the war. On the right bank of the Vrbanja river,
18 however, some 5 or 6 kilometres from Kotor Varos, Muslim and Croat units
19 started forming and the main role in that was played by a certain
20 Muhamed Sadikovic. I have already mentioned that before the war
21 he was appointed as the commander of the police station.
22 Q. As far as the old town is concerned -- or rather, the old
23 fortress in the town, were there any troops there? Were there any units
25 A. I was personally there for a couple of days. After I was
1 captured, I was taken there. This is an elevation from which you could
2 control the town with weapons. I'm not an expert in weaponry or military
3 tactics, but this is my assumption. The entire territory of the town
4 could be observed from that elevation. You're talking about a medieval
5 fortress or a fort which was built by Hrvoje Vukcic. There was quite a
6 big military unit there composed of Muslims and Croats. It was of a
7 mixed composition.
8 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Witness, just for clarification, could you
9 tell us exactly when you were captured and where you were held and for
10 how long.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was captured on the
12 5th of July, 1992, in a place called Rujevica which is some 3 or
13 4 kilometres away from Kotor Varos on the Banja Luka-Teslic road. I was
14 taken to the left bank of the Vrbanja river, where I spent 15 days.
15 During that time, I was at several places, but most of the time I spent
16 in a kiln for dry-curing meat, and the size of that kiln was 1 metre
17 by 2. Would you like to know anything else?
18 JUDGE HARHOFF: Were you held with other detainees during your
19 captivity or were you in a single cell?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All the time I was by myself.
21 JUDGE HARHOFF: And, finally, was the medical treatment that you
22 had to undergo after you were released, was that related to your
23 captivity? In other words, sir, were you mistreated during your
24 captivity to such an extent that you needed medical treatment afterwards?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. There was a lot of
1 mistreatment going on, too much.
2 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you.
3 And may I add on behalf of the Chamber that of course we wish to
4 express our empathy with the suffering that you had to go through.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was going to put a
7 few questions to the witness about the detention and what he learned
8 during the detention, but I will leave that for after the break because
9 there is something I'd like to tackle before the break.
10 Q. Mr. Bubic, you mentioned the fact that some people voluntarily
11 surrendered their weapons. Do you know anything about that activity,
12 about the negotiations leading to that result? What do you know about
14 A. A majority of the population of Kotor Varos - and I mean all
15 three ethnic groups - were against the war, and that's a fact. However,
16 there was also a number of those who, for whatever reason, were not
17 bothered by the prospect of fighting. I'm sure that the Serbian side did
18 not want a war. And when the Serbian authorities were established in
19 Kotor Varos, and that was sometime in the first decade [as interpreted]
20 of the month of June 1992, delegations started touring the surrounding
21 villages to talk with the prominent figures in those villages about the
22 surrender of weapons. Prominent Muslims were involved in those
23 negotiations, religious officials, hodzas, even Catholic priests were
24 members of those delegations, as well as representatives of the army.
25 They promised that they would absolutely protect the population if they
1 decided to return weapons. Those negotiations took place in Kotor, in
2 the village on the left bank of the Vrbanja, with the majority Muslim
3 Croat population. And negotiations also took place in Zabrdje with a
4 majority Croatian population. Negotiations were also held in Vrbanjci,
5 to be more precise in Vecici and Garici which is a place near to my
6 Maslovare, also in Siprage which is a village bordering on the
7 municipality of Travnik which was inhabited by Muslims. But people will
8 be people, as you know. The village of Zabrdje, for example, which had
9 quite a number of inhabitants, I can't tell you exactly how many, people
10 returned weapons, and during the war I believe that they had only one
11 incident when a child was killed. And that child was killed by an
12 extremist, a Croat, and that girl was taken in an ambulance, in our
13 ambulance, to Banja Luka. But she was killed on the way by a member of
14 her own people. So in that village there were no casualties. As for the
15 village of Garici near my village of Maslovare, where I was born, the
16 population there also returned weapons, and I believe that they did not
17 have a single casualty during the war. Nobody was killed there. The
18 village of Siprage, bordering on the municipality of Travnik, as I've
19 already told you, the population there voluntarily surrendered their
20 weapons. The villagers remained living there throughout the war and the
21 village still lives a life that I can't describe as normal because there
22 is no normal life anywhere in Kotor Varos or in any other surrounding
23 village. The village of Vecici was a stronghold of Muslims on the left
24 bank of the Vrbanja in the territory of the local commune of Vrbanjci.
25 I'm sure that there were five or six rounds of negotiations with that
1 village. They were hard-liners, they were stubborn, and they said: No,
2 we don't want to surrender our weapons at the expense of war, and so on
3 and so forth.
4 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Your Honours, just a small intervention for the
5 transcript. At page 20, line 15, the witness says:
6 "The Serbian authorities were established in Kotor Varos, and
7 that was sometime in the first decade of the month of June 1992 ..."
8 Can we just clarify with the witness when he says that the
9 Serbian authorities were established in Kotor Varos. Thank you.
10 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Could you please repeat for the record what you meant when you
12 spoke about the Serbs establishing the authorities in Kotor Varos.
13 A. I think that it was on the 10th or the 11th of June, 1992.
14 Q. Let me ask you one more thing before the break. Are you familiar
15 with the combat activities in Vecici from late June 1992? Do you know
16 what happened at Vecici then?
17 A. Unfortunately, I do. And it was due to that that I was taken
18 prisoner. They didn't want to surrender their weapons voluntarily. Then
19 the army began to march on Vecici. It was toward the end of June, not
20 sure about the date. They were met by well-armed Muslims, and I think
21 that about two dozen of our men were killed, soldiers and police
22 officers, because the police was in co-ordinated action with the army and
23 under military command. Due to such heavy losses, our forces withdrew to
24 their initial positions. They were unable to recover the dead and the
25 wounded, if there were any, which we didn't know. It only happened some
1 five or six days later due to talks whether people or who had some common
2 sense left and they were buried on the 5th of July, I mean those killed.
3 I was at a burial one day and that's when I was taken prisoner.
4 Q. We'll speak some more about that after the break.
5 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think that this is
6 a convenient time.
7 JUDGE HALL: So we take the break to return in 20 minutes.
8 --- Recess taken at 10.23 a.m.
9 --- On resuming at 10.51 a.m.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Mr. Bubic, let's go back to what we discussed before the break.
13 You said that a large number of soldiers and police officers was killed
14 during the combat at Vecici. Do you know whether any soldiers or police
15 officers were taken prisoner and what their fate was?
16 A. Yes, there were some who were taken prisoner, but unfortunately
17 they returned in body bags. They were killed subsequently. What's more,
18 they were monstrously mistreated. Some were scorched with welding kits
19 and some people say that they heard their screams. Maybe this added to
20 the already existing chaos, to distrust, to contemplations of revenge and
21 so on. It was madness.
22 Q. You began to describe what happened to you in early July. Could
23 you please continue in chronological order. You mentioned the
24 5th of July, so let's take it from there.
25 A. On the 4th of July, I learned that on the following day all those
1 who had fallen in battle would be buried at -- or rather, who had fallen
2 at battle in Vecici would be buried. Three lads were from the immediate
3 vicinity of my weekend cottage. I went to see the commander of the
4 company to which I belonged, Gojko Stolic, and said to him that it
5 wouldn't be a bad thing for me to go to the burial of those lads on the
6 next day. And it would also be an excellent opportunity for me to go and
7 see my wife and daughter who were staying at Maslovare, my birthplace.
8 Mr. Stolic replied that there were no problems and that I could go. I
9 set off on that same evening and he gave me a permit, because otherwise
10 you couldn't leave the unit. So I had this permit to leave the unit and
11 I went home in the evening. I prepared for my departure on the following
12 day and I left rather early because there was no public transportation
13 along the road to Teslic. Instead, we would hitch a ride with whoever
14 passed by because the distance is 18 kilometres, after all. There was a
15 truck that was transporting probably food for the soldiers, and I hitched
16 a ride on that truck. We spoke. I saw my immediate family. And then I
17 returned in the same way. I went as far as Donji Obodnik, where the
18 three killed men were to be buried. I was present at the burial which
19 just barely took place because from the left bank of the Vrbanja they
20 began shooting at us from sniping rifles. And then we would hide behind
21 tombstones at the graveyard. But then the burial did take place. A
22 couple of grenades were fired from tanks on the Serb side in the
23 direction of the place from where the sniping had come and then the
24 burial took place.
25 Q. Please hold on a moment. Mr. Bubic, I know that this is
1 difficult for you to re-live all this once more, but on the other hand I
2 understand that you feel the need to give us an account of all these
3 details. But do tell us whom you met on your way to the cemetery and
4 what happened later.
5 A. There were no more than about 50 people at the burial of these
6 three young men. I met Mr. Petrusic who is also from Maslovare and he
7 had work obligation in Kotor Varos. He's a driver by profession. When
8 we reached Vrbanjci he told me when he had to report at his unit --
9 actually, he wasn't with a unit, he had to report at his work-place, and
10 I told him when I had to report at my unit. And then we agreed that
11 since he had to leave before me and he had a free seat -- but if -- and
12 that would -- we would rather ride a vehicle -- on a vehicle which had
13 two free seats. And then a truck arrived from the neighbouring village.
14 Down there, there were quite a few people who were waiting for
15 transportation either to Maslovare or to Kotor Varos. Most people were
16 going up.
17 Q. Did you see anybody there?
18 A. I saw many people there, many people I knew. Among others, there
19 was also the then-municipal president of Kotor Varos,
20 Nedeljko Djekanovic. I met the commander of the police station of
21 Maslovare, Nedeljko Bubic, who was even a distant relative of mine. We
22 commented a bit because on that day there -- the Serbian army attacked
23 the fortifications at Vecici from the air. And you know how it is at war
24 time. We were goofing and spoofing, and I made a joke about how good it
25 would be to level the hills toward river there and I said, "I'll build a
1 catering facility there and make good money." So we were, you know,
2 fooling around. But then from the direction of Vecici, Zdravko Pejic
3 arrived, who at the time worked at the police station; he was accompanied
4 by Hamid Bajric, yes, it was him; a hodza from Kotor Varos whose name I
5 don't know; and I think that a priest was there from the Catholic church
6 at Vrbanjci. I heard from them that they were going to talks to put an
7 end to this madness, for people to disarm themselves, and normal life to
8 start again. After that we were constantly looking around, whether
9 anybody would come along. There were some vehicles going to Kotor Varos,
10 but they either didn't want to or didn't dare pick us up. They said
11 either that they weren't going down or that somebody was waiting for them
12 further down the road. And after an hour, an hour and a half, an
13 Opel Omega arrived and two uniformed persons stepped out. I approached
14 them and asked them whether they were going to Kotor Varos. They said,
15 "Yes." "Could the two of us ride with you?" He -- and they replied, "No
16 problem. We just have a meeting at the command." There was Peulic and
17 somebody else, I don't remember. We sat down and it didn't take long,
18 maybe 15 to 20 minutes, until we set off for Kotor Varos.
19 Since I had travelled the same -- along the same road before in a
20 Golf, I was shot at in a bend. Luckily I wasn't hurt. But, based on
21 that experience, I suggested to the driver - and only later did I learn
22 that it was a police colonel or a lieutenant-colonel by the name of
23 Stevilovic - to step on it and to drive faster because they sometimes
24 shoot at -- shoot at vehicles around here. And he replied, "Don't worry,
25 buddy. Not every bullet will kill you."
1 Only a minute or two after these words from both sides of the
2 road and a bend they opened fire at us. And then -- and that's where the
3 tragedy happened. The vehicle continued moving for some 50 or 70 metres.
4 The first one to take a round in the car was my witness from Maslovare,
5 Novo Petrusic. A burst of fire literally cut through his neck and he
6 only -- he fell in my lap. And there was blood spouting all over the
7 place. I also noticed that the driver was badly injured. He had also
8 been hit by a burst of fire or some special bullet, I don't know, and he
9 was hit in the lower jaw which was hanging from his face. The tires were
10 also punctured, but it's interesting that the driver, although he had
11 been badly injured, he was able to stop the car, park it as if he were in
12 the middle of his exam for a driving licence.
13 The one next to him, I say I was unaware of his identity but
14 later on I learned it was Colonel Stevilovic, he said, "Let's get out."
15 The wounded driver stood on the left of the car and I think he shot at
16 the ones who had attacked us, and Colonel Stevilovic was at the front
17 right side of the car in a semi-lying position and I was in the rear and
18 started shooting randomly. I fired two bursts from the automatic rifle I
19 had, whereas Stevilovic had a pistol. When they saw that the driver had
20 fallen on the ground, they began to run towards us, hollering, "Catch
21 them alive, tear them apart," and the like.
22 Since I had heard of the terrible experiences of the people who
23 had been taken prisoner earlier and what was being done to them, I told
24 Stevilovic, whose name I still didn't know, I told him, "Buddy, as long
25 as you have a round in your pistol, kill me so that they don't take me
1 alive." He tried to say something to me and I think that I'll remember
2 his words until I die. He wanted to say that he was wounded but he was
3 unable to say the whole word. He just said, "I'm badly wou ..." and then
4 he fell on the ground.
5 Q. I apologise. I need to interrupt you just for a brief moment.
6 Let's clarify something that was recorded. You said a police officer was
7 driving and in the transcript we read the family name Stevilovic. What
8 was the name of the driver? Did you learn subsequently?
9 A. Yes, I did. His name was Stevan Markovic, Stevan Markovic. He
10 was a police officer from the CSB in Banja Luka. And as I've told you,
11 at that moment I tried to get hold of the pistol from Stevilovic. I
12 extended my arm, but somebody stepped on my arm with a boot. I have to
13 be -- I have to tell you what I was told at that time. What I heard was,
14 "Stand up, Chetnik. Fuck your mother." I stood up and I recognised the
15 person. He was a young man of some 23 or 24 years of age. He -- his
16 name was Nermin Abdic, he was a Muslim, and he used to hang out with my
17 children. And that same moment he started kicking me and that's how it
18 was. And then I was taken to the left side of the vehicle. At first
19 five, six, or even eight of them approached the car. They were beating
20 me and kicking me in the left rib, and I simply from that moment on I
21 lost my eyesight in the right eye. My eye was immediately badly swollen
22 from hitting and I fell down on the asphalt road.
23 The ill treatment continued. They continued kicking me with
24 their legs and rifle-butts. I had to stand up. I managed to pull
25 together and stand up. And at that moment somebody shouted from the
1 cornfield that was maybe 3 or 4 metres away from the car, and they
2 started cursing their mothers and telling them, "Hurry-up. Do you want
3 all the Chetniks to appear?"
4 One group already started searching the vehicle and the pockets
5 of the uniforms that they were wearing. I heard them rejoicing at the
6 loot that they had found, and then they took me across a barbed wire
7 fence --
8 Q. I apologise, Mr. Bubic. I know that you have described every
9 detail for us. However, I had to interrupt you and ask you this: From
10 the site of the tragedy where Colonel Stevilovic and Mr. Markovic were
11 killed, where were you taken on that day? Can you describe the journey
12 and what happened at the place where you were ultimately taken?
13 A. I was passing through the cornfield black and blue from the
14 beating, and I came across a man whom I knew by sight from before the
15 war. His name was Stipo Maric and everybody knew him as Sprzo, because
16 as a small child he got burned with hot water on the face. And that left
17 him badly scarred for life. He stopped them so I stopped, and he asked
18 me, "What is happening? Where are you coming from, Chetnik?" And again
19 mentioned my mother in the same breath. And he said, "This is my unit.
20 You are my prisoner. If you obey me, you will keep your head on your
21 shoulders." And he said to his lads, "Take him. I will catch up with
23 And then they took me across a channel onto the left bank, and
24 there we were met by a group of people who were probably there all that
25 time on that side. And as for the first group, I believe that some 20 to
1 30 men were passing through the cornfield. And then I learned from Sprzo
2 himself that that was his platoon that numbered about 30 combatants.
3 They took me down the stream along the Vrbanja river and then we took a
4 left turn along the bank. My impression was that they were taking me up
5 a hill above Kotor Varos. I could not tell exactly where I was, but I
6 know now that I was on a hilltop or in a village called Srednje Brdo.
7 And there a huge unit of well-armed men awaited me. I recognised quite a
8 few of them. They were all locals. There were obviously a lot more whom
9 I didn't know.
10 Q. I apologise. Let me just interrupt you briefly. You said that
11 the unit was quite big. How many men were there?
12 A. You mean the platoon down there or the people that I found on the
13 hilltop? About up to 200 men, I would say, up to 200.
14 Q. Were they armed?
15 A. Yes, they were well armed. Very few of them had hunting rifles.
16 Most of them had automatic weapons, Kalashnikovs, and automatic rifles
17 made by Zastava. There were some Zoljas, some Osas.
18 Q. How were they dressed?
19 A. Well, they were dressed differently. There were men in civilian
20 clothes. However, they were wearing -- they were carrying weapons.
21 There were some wearing the conventional olive-drab uniforms of the
22 former JNA. There were also those who wore camouflage uniforms belonging
23 to our army and the police, olive-drab and blue. And there were also
24 uniforms of the origin unknown to me. I'd never seen such uniforms
25 before. In any case, even those who wore civilian clothes sported
1 insignia on the sleeves and on the chest; the BH army, the Patriotic
2 League, the Green Berets, the HVO, the insignia of various battalions.
3 There was no uniformity among them is what I'm saying. That's when I had
4 my first session with --
5 Q. Just a moment, let me ask you one more thing. You're saying that
6 at the site of the tragedy and then on Srednje Brdo there were some men
7 who you recognised. Can you tell us their names and can you tell us how
8 you knew them, if you remember? And then after that you can proceed and
9 tell us what happened next.
10 A. At the site of the tragedy, I recognised Mermir Avdic [phoen],
11 who was the first person to approach me. I also recognised
12 Musa Skopjek [phoen] from Kotor. He was an electrician and I knew him
13 rather well. The brain's gone, I'm afraid. I recognised some dozen of
14 them down there. There was one of two of the Fific [phoen] family, also
15 Ramo Zehir. I can't remember any more of them.
16 Q. That's quite understandable. There's no need for you to strain
17 your brain. Does the name Bogdan Markovic ring a bell? If so, can you
18 tell us something about that person?
19 A. You have just interrupted me at the moment when I was going to
20 tell you that I had the first experience of inhumane treatment up there.
21 I believe that the oldest person among them was somebody who was
22 well-known to me. He was a very pedantic man. I had never seen him
23 before the war without a suit and a tie. However, I heard way before the
24 war that he had been an Ustasha during the Second World War. His name
25 was Bogdan Markovic. He wore a very strange-looking uniform. He also
1 wore very high boots almost up to his knees, fitting close to his legs.
2 He took out a knife, quite a big knife, almost 35 to 40 centimetres long,
3 and he told me, "There we go, Chetnik. Now you will experience the
4 beauty of the Ustasha knife." And then he grabbed me by the hair. I
5 forgot to tell you that Sprzo went to a house that was close by as soon
6 as we arrived, and he told them that nobody should touch me because I was
7 a Chetnik security officer, I was "big cheese," and that I would be
8 useful for their army.
9 As soon as he left, Bogdan started ill-treating me. He grabbed
10 me by the hair. He was going to cut my head off. To be honest, the
11 others gloated. None of the others told him, "Bogdan, don't do that."
12 However, I was lucky because Sprzo returned. He started swearing,
13 cursing his mother, telling him, "You idiot, what are you doing?" I felt
14 relief. I can't remember the exact words that he uttered. I don't
15 remember what Bogdan told Sprzo. In any case, the latter hit him or
16 slapped him. At the bottom of the hill, there was the bank and then
17 Bogdan rolled down the hill-side. And then Sprzo told the others that I
18 was a Chetnik officer, that they would need me for an exchange, for this
19 or that or the other, that nobody should touch me. And then some of
20 those men set -- together with me set out towards the village of
21 Sokoline. The night already fell when we arrived there and I also came
22 across Ivica Grgic of whom I thought that he was a very nice man. He was
23 also happy that I had been caught, that I had been captured and
24 ill-treated, and so on and so forth.
25 Q. Tell me, after all those events did you have anything to do with
1 Stipo Maric, Sprzo, on that same night? Did you talk to him during that
2 evening? What did he tell you? What did he do?
3 A. I was brought to a house. Its windows were blocked. I don't
4 know with what, I can't remember. They brought me into a room and they
5 told me, "This is where you will sleep." Sprzo came to that room. Sprzo
6 is a man who was disabled, his face was disfigured, and that's why he had
7 been rejected by society. And then the poor sot tried to pretend that he
8 was an independent person. He was involved in all sorts of stupid
9 things. However, he had a soul, he had a heart. And one could actually
10 talk to him. Again, he tried to convince me that I should obey him and
11 if he [as interpreted] did everything would be fine. I would be able to
12 return to my family alive. That evening nothing else was said.
13 Q. Did he contacted [as interpreted] somebody that night --
14 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Your Honours, I have a small intervention here.
15 We don't need to get the witness to go through this whole story again.
16 As we've pointed out earlier this week, I believe Ms. Korner made it
17 clear, we don't actually dispute the fact that Mr. Bubic was captured
18 during this ambush, that he was in captivity. And in all fairness, I
19 think that there doesn't bear any relevance to this case, this whole
20 story. So this is a matter that is not in dispute. I'm not sure that we
21 need this much detail and take valuable court time to get into these
23 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Aleksic? Quite frankly, I was wondering the
24 same thing myself.
25 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'll try to control
1 the witness and speed along. However, what was in dispute between us and
2 our learned friends from the OTP was the strength of the Muslim forces,
3 where they were, and how well equipped they were, and this is something
4 that I would like to discuss with the witness. I would like to learn
5 from the witness about his personal experience from the time when he was
6 detained. I'll try to control the witness and move to the gist of the
7 matter. I'll try to avoid all the unnecessary details as much as
9 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Bubic, the -- we understand that you have not
10 previously, before your coming to the Tribunal, had the opportunity to
11 testify to your horrific experiences in a formal tribunal, but the way in
12 which a trial is conducted is that not everything that a witness would
13 wish to tell is of assistance to the Tribunal. So I would ask you to pay
14 close attention to the questions that counsel is asking you and only
15 answer the question. If elaboration is called for, then counsel will ask
16 a follow-up question, but rather than volunteering information, just
17 listen to counsel's question and only answer that question.
18 Yes, Mr. Aleksic.
19 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No problem.
21 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Mr. Bubic, during your captivity, were you taken to Gradina?
23 A. Yes. I think it was on the second day of my captivity.
24 Q. Please wait for me to ask you before you say more. Did you meet
25 anybody there? How many persons? Who? And tell us more about it.
1 A. Once we had climbed the hill from Stari Grad behind the ramparts
2 about 50, maybe up to 80 men were hiding. I needn't say much about the
3 wonderful welcome they gave me.
4 Q. Who were those men? Were they armed? What did you go through
5 then? But be brief, if you can.
6 A. Well, first they, of course, all cursed my Chetnik mother. It
7 was a unit armed with automatic weapons and sniping rifles. There were
8 very few hunting rifles. I was beaten there and what have you. Most of
9 them were wearing uniforms up there, different types of uniforms,
11 Q. To what units did those persons belong and what was their
13 A. They were Muslims and Croats.
14 Q. Where did you go after that? Did you speak to anybody? Does the
15 name Asmir Lisancic mean anything to you?
16 A. Yes. We descended to Kotor village. I suppose that there was
17 some sort of command there. There weren't many people there, a dozen or
18 so. On that evening, they gave me different clothes. I had to take off
19 my uniform which they threw away. And they gave me a pair of jeans and a
20 green shirt. I spoke to Maric, also known as Sprzo, then. Again, there
21 were promises. I also had a cup of coffee on that evening. There was
22 some discontent with the fact that I was given coffee, but never mind.
23 On the next morning, I was taken to a different place. It was
24 the house of Luca Janusic [phoen] where there were a dozen men maybe.
25 One approached me and said, "Hello." He introduced himself as a security
1 officer of the BH army and that he was in charge of the security
2 situation in Kotor Varos municipality. His name was Asmir Lisancic. I
3 hadn't met the man before but I knew his father, who was an inspector
4 with the SDK before the war. He told me that he had attended primary
5 school with my son. I checked that information later and found out that
6 it was true. He gave me a large sheet of paper and pens and wanted me to
7 draw the disposition of our forces there, and then I drew a fantasy
8 disposition in order to scare him. And who knows, maybe I did a good
9 job. He asked me about the people in the command of our TO. I started
10 from -- or rather, he started from Gojko Stolic, then he asked about Mane
11 Tepic and then Savo Tepic, who was the official chief of the MUP of
12 Kotor Varos. He asked about Nedjo Djukanovic, who was the municipality
13 president. He asked about the people who had become members of the
14 Serbian army like Asim, who was regularly mentioned, I mean
15 Asim Aganbegovic; and then one Memic, who was the greatest traitor to
16 their minds; then Mesud Imamovic, who worked for the municipality; then
17 Zahidovic, who also worked there before he joined our army. And he took
18 much interest in the quantity of combat assets that our army had. And I
19 was making up information, exaggerating the numbers, and then he said,
20 "Yeah, you're the ones who attacked us." And I tried to convince him
21 that it wasn't like that, that the first victims had been Serbs. And
22 then I got a beating --
23 Q. During that interrogation and after it, how did he and some
24 others treat you?
25 A. Well, he condemned me. He saw an enemy in me. He glorified
1 Alija Izetbegovic, the BH army, and then they allowed me a break, as it
2 were, in a storage of that house for guests of my kind. And on the floor
3 there was a thick layer of mud, and I had to sit in that mud. And I saw
4 some people whom I knew from sight who mistreated me there. Once I was
5 returned up --
6 Q. Mr. Bubic, please try to focus on what you went through. If you
7 were mistreated, tell us how. Give a description of that to the
8 Trial Chamber and leave out the other details, although I understand that
9 you want to give a detailed account of everything.
10 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Your Honours, again, I don't see how this is
11 relevant to the reasons that Mr. Aleksic gave us earlier today, namely,
12 the number of armed forces in and around Kotor Varos. We're getting,
13 again, an enormous amount of detail about facts that we say we haven't
14 disputed, and much of it, again, as I say, is not relevant to the charges
15 in the indictment. So if we continue with this amount of details, we'll
16 be here for the rest of the week.
17 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] I won't take that long,
18 Your Honours. We'll finish relatively soon.
19 Q. Tell me, after that, were you taken to another place and did you
20 meet any other leaders or commanders of units? If so, who were they and
21 what was the strength of their units and that kind of information? You
22 heard the Prosecutor's objection.
23 A. I must mention this: During the night I was taken to a pond.
24 They stripped me naked and tied me to a pole. And on the following
25 morning they took me to some small structure where I spent the rest of
1 the time until my release, that was that kiln I mentioned earlier. They
2 brought me in for interviews and they pronounced judgements on me. There
3 were a couple of death sentences. And then there were the leaders of the
4 BH army for Kotor Varos, according to them. There was Sadikovic [phoen],
5 Nisab Kovacic, known as Nisko, and Sprzo. We spoke to them one night. I
6 must be fair and admit that Sadikovic got up and shook my hand. He said,
7 "Good evening, former neighbour," whereas Kovacic really took it out on
8 me. On those days the same unfortunate -- Bogdan Markovic came and went
9 and then Salih Tabakovic, who introduced himself as the chief of the
10 court-martial of the BH army, and he also sentenced me to death, and I
11 would have been killed if it hadn't been for Sprzo, who saved me. And
12 there was a man called Cane, Ahmed Tabakovic. I don't want to go into
13 the details of torture I was subjected to. They tried all sorts of
14 things on me. They even considered castrating me and what have you.
15 Q. Mr. Bubic, during these interrogations and during your
16 conversation with Sprzo, did you learned the strength of these formations
17 and their position? Did Sprzo speak to you about his war time
19 A. Yes. Sprzo said that he had been with the ZNG in Croatia. On
20 one -- at one point he even established radio communication with some
21 forces in Croatia, and he explained to me how he happened to be where he
22 was then. And he said, "If your Serbs had given me only a hundred marks
23 more as salary, I would have been with them now; but they didn't, so now
24 I'm killing them." And then he mentioned some numbers, but I think they
25 were exaggerated to scare me.
1 Anyway, according to their stories, only on the left bank of the
2 Vrbanja there were more than a thousand of them, but I really doubt that.
3 He told me also about the composition of the unit at Bilice which was
4 commanded by Sadikovic, and Sadikovic also told me about the strength at
5 Bilice. He told me that there were over 500 of them up there. If that's
6 true or not, I don't know. But a few months ago I spoke to a woman who
7 was taken prisoner during the attack on Serdari, and he said, "Oh, he
8 didn't lie to you, there were more than 500 of them." Now, how
9 trustworthy she is, God only knows.
10 At Vecici there were a couple hundred so that in all I'm sure
11 they had 2.000, maybe 3.000 armed men. And I must admit that on the
12 Serbian side there weren't nearly as many armed men at that time.
13 Q. When you were finally exchanged, what happened to you in the days
14 and weeks to follow and what was Stipe Maric's fate?
15 A. On the 24th or 25th at hospital I learned that Stipe Maric had
16 been killed, that Ramo Zehir also got killed, and he was the one who --
17 he was the first to beat me. And I heard about some other people as
18 well, but I can't remember their names now. I also heard that at Stari
19 Grad in a battle between the Serbian army and their forces they were
21 Q. Do you know Mr. Sadikovic's fate?
22 A. Sadikovic did cross from one bank to the other. He was both at
23 Kotor and up there at Hadrovci. For a while he was also at Bilice.
24 Later, I even heard that he was at Vecici, and I read the book that he
25 authored. It's titled "Bosno Ljubija," or love towards Bosnia, love for
1 Bosnia. I heard that he was at a police station, so I wanted to go there
2 and see him, but when I heard that he had come as a negotiator to
3 negotiate to the departure of the Muslim and Croatian population, I
4 didn't. I only saw him through the window of the police station.
5 Q. Tell me, please, what was the time-frame of the negotiations?
6 When did the negotiations about the departure of Muslim and Croat
7 soldiers take place?
8 A. In late August or early September, I believe, or thereabouts.
9 Q. Do you know anything about the negotiations with combatants from
10 Vecici, those that took place in late October or early in November 1992?
11 A. I heard from other people that an army delegation led by Peulic
12 went there, that Slobodan Zupljanin was also a member of the delegation,
13 that the delegation consisted of priests and hodzas, but that the
14 negotiations fell through.
15 Q. After you returned to your unit sometime in August, did you
16 receive an order from your command, and if you did what kind of order was
18 A. To ease the burden of my life in the unit they sent me to join
19 the logistics and to look after the vehicles. When Croats and Muslims
20 started moving out from the territory of Kotor Varos, I was told by my
21 command that the corps command issued an order for me to be present
22 during the departures of Croats and Muslims. My task was to see if I
23 would recognise somebody among them who had tortured me, and if I did,
24 such people should be singled out and handed over to the military police
25 who would then take them to the command of the military police for
1 interrogation. I was there for a few days observing the masses of people
2 that were moving out. I saw quite a number of people whom I knew. I
3 wished them luck because we knew that it was our common misfortune.
4 However, I didn't recognise any of the men that had previously been armed
5 and ill-treated me. So we didn't take off anybody from any of the buses.
6 Q. Did you have any other role except for that one?
7 A. No, no other role.
8 Q. What was your health condition after the war and now? Do you
9 still suffer health problems; and if you do, what kind of health problems
10 do you have?
11 A. Unfortunately, the consequences are quite visible. After the war
12 I started, or even during the war, I started losing my sight. I'm
13 wearing glasses with -- for 0.25 dioptre. I have problems with my spine.
14 I'm very hard of hearing in one ear, I can't hear at all. I have
15 constant headaches. I'm afraid that I will also start suffering from
16 PTSD, but I'm trying to concentrate at every task at hand to thwart the
17 recurrence of those war images. I'm trying as best as I can to remain as
18 normal as possible until the end of my life.
19 Q. When you arrived here in The Hague, did you have a medical
20 examination and what kind?
21 A. Yes. Since I fell ill during the summer, I contracted
22 consumption which everybody thinks has been eradicated; however, it
23 hasn't been. That's why I had to spend two months in the hospital in
24 Banja Luka. Ever since, I've been under constant supervision by the
25 medical profession. Here I was examined by a doctor in The Hague, and I
1 must say that I was pleasantly surprised to realise that the doctors who
2 X-rayed me were able to establish that I had a lot of shrapnel in my body
3 as a result of the attack when I was captured. I had already seen my
4 doctors, dermatologists, because I thought that there was something wrong
5 with my skin and nobody actually ever thought of X-raying me. So I'm
6 very grateful to the people here who did that. I already informed my
7 doctors in Banja Luka, reproaching them for having treated me for
8 20 years without establishing anything, and these people here, it took
9 them only half an hour to establish what was wrong. So I suppose that in
10 Banja Luka I will undergo some clinical treatment to have the shrapnel
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Bubic. I have no further questions for you.
13 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, I have no
14 further questions for the witness.
15 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Cvijetic.
16 MR. CVIJETIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as I have already
17 told you, I have no questions for this witness.
18 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Demirdjian, I suppose it would be convenient to
19 take the break now?
20 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Yes, it would, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE HALL: Yes. So we return in 20 minutes.
22 --- Recess taken at 11.57 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 12.29 p.m.
24 JUDGE HALL: Yes, Mr. Demirdjian.
25 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Thank you, Your Honours.
1 Your Honours, before I begin, I would like to alert you that at
2 the end I will reserve five minutes for housekeeping matter.
3 Cross-examination by Mr. Demirdjian:
4 Q. Mr. Bubic, my name is Alex Demirdjian for the Prosecution, and
5 I'll be putting questions to you today and hopefully finish tomorrow
6 morning. I'd like to deal first with the -- your statements, your prior
7 statements. It is correct to say that shortly after your release you
8 were interviewed by the military police, you were debriefed; is that
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. But at that time you did not sign any statement, did you?
12 A. To be honest, I can't remember.
13 Q. That's fine. Now, you did provide, however, a statement in 1995,
14 a detailed statement, relating to the killing of Colonel Stevilovic?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And this statement was given in Banja Luka and you signed this
17 statement. Now, do you remember where in Banja Luka this interview took
19 A. I remember of course. That happened at the corps command.
20 Q. And the interview was conducted by a captain by the name of
21 Durad Milakovic?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. Now, this is the only official signed statement you have provided
24 about these events; is that right?
25 A. That's right, yes.
1 Q. And are you aware of any investigations or any inquiries about
2 any relation to the event you described today on the 5th of July, any
3 additional investigations?
4 A. No, I'm not aware of any such thing.
5 Q. And after this statement you provided in 1995, you published a
6 book in 2004 in Banja Luka.
7 A. Correct.
8 Q. This book is about 175 pages and mainly deals with the killing of
9 Colonel Stevilovic and your time in captivity.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, I think you made about a thousand copies of this book and it
12 is only available in your language; is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And as you expected to give evidence before this Court, you
15 provided a copy of this book to the Defence team of Mr. Zupljanin; is
16 that right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And can you tell me when you provided this book to the Defence?
19 A. A few months ago, I believe.
20 Q. Would this be during the time you met with Mr. Aleksic and
21 Mr. Krgovic during the summer?
22 A. Yes. Yes, but I don't remember whether that was during the
23 summer or in late summer. I don't know.
24 Q. Very well. And did you put any restrictions on the use of this
25 book when you provided it to the Defence team?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Would it surprise you that this book was only provided to us last
4 A. Well, I don't know how relevant for me is to say that I'm
5 surprised. I was supposed to meet with the team sometime during summer;
6 however, my health condition had deteriorated by that time so I spent
7 July and August in hospital. So I think I gave them the book in
8 September, actually.
9 Q. Very well. You also told us this morning that you were asked by
10 the investigators of Mr. Zupljanin whether you would be agreeable to meet
11 with representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor. Do you remember
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. And you told us that you inquired about whether this was usual
15 practice and you were told that very few people talked to both sides.
16 That's what you said this morning; right?
17 A. Yes, that's true. I didn't find it very logical why they were
18 asking me that. Since I volunteered to testify on the side of the
19 Defence, what would have been the purpose for me to talk with the
20 Prosecutor before that. It didn't really make much sense to me and
21 that's why I finally provided my statement on the 10th of November,
22 stating that I didn't wish to meet with the Prosecution and that whatever
23 I had to say I was willing to say in court.
24 Q. Right. But how was this presented to you? You're saying that --
25 you told us this morning that the investigator said very few people
1 talked to both sides. Now, how was this presented to you in terms of:
2 Would you like to meet the Prosecutor?
3 A. Well, I inquired whether that was customary at all and they told
4 me: It's up to you to decide. Without any intention to avoid or evade
5 things, I simply decided to contact only the Defence team and that I
6 would share my knowledge with the Prosecution once I was here in the
7 courtroom, in The Hague.
8 Q. Do you have any reasons why you wouldn't want to meet with
9 representatives of the Prosecution prior to testifying?
10 A. No. To be honest, I don't have any special reasons.
11 Q. So had the Prosecutor contacted you for an interview, would you
12 have refused?
13 A. Most probably, yes. But as I've already told you, I didn't have
14 any special reasons for that. Personally, I find it rather odd. It
15 doesn't make sense to talk to both sides at the same time.
16 Q. Well, sir, I'm not going to ask you about your knowledge of the
17 judicial system, but there's actually nothing odd about meeting counsel
18 from either side, but I'll move on.
19 Sir, you told us about your time in the army and I was curious to
20 know: Do you have your military ID card or your military booklet?
21 A. Yes, I have it.
22 Q. Do you have it here with you today?
23 A. No, no. Nobody told me to bring it, which is why I don't have
24 it. But, as soon as I return home, I can make a photocopy of the booklet
25 and I can either fax it through or e-mail the copy to you.
1 Q. Yes, I would appreciate that. I want to take you to your time in
2 Kotor Varos in early 1992. First of all, it's not entirely clear to me
3 when you joined the Kotor Varos Territorial Defence exactly.
4 A. I believe that that was on the 8th or 9th of June, 1992.
5 Q. And are you telling us that up until that time you were not part
6 of the Territorial Defence?
7 A. I did have my war assignment in the Territorial Defence. My name
8 was recorded in the Territorial Defence, but I was never called up.
9 Nobody got in touch with me. And there was no need for me to be actively
10 engaged before that time.
11 Q. And up until the 8th or the 9th of June, what were you doing --
12 what were your activities?
13 A. I was a businessman. I had my shops, a chain of boutiques. It
14 was a family business. I was a tradesman.
15 Q. Very well. So if we were to look at your military booklet,
16 this -- it would be reflected in your booklet that you were called up on
17 the --
18 A. Yes, absolutely, yes.
19 Q. Very well. And until when did you remain within the Kotor Varos
20 light brigade? I understand you were a member during 1992. Until when
21 did you remain in this unit?
22 A. I remained in the unit until the end of the war.
23 Q. And did you have a title, a role, a function?
24 A. Yes. I was the commander of a platoon that provided logistic
1 Q. And this was the case from the 8th of June?
2 A. No. At that time I was a member of the Territorial Defence among
3 those who stood guard locally. Only when the brigade was set up we were
4 all transferred to that brigade. I believe that the brigade was
5 established in late June, as far as I can remember, and from then on we
6 were all under the command of that brigade.
7 Q. Now, when you were working in the TO guarding buildings, who was
8 your immediate superior?
9 A. Captain Gojko Stolic.
10 Q. And when you resumed your activities as part of the Kotor Varos
11 light brigade, at that time who was your immediate superior?
12 A. Again, the same person. When the brigade was established,
13 Gojko Stolic became assistant commander for logistics. I continued
14 acting as a platoon commander in logistics looking after the fleet of
16 Q. Very well. Now, it is correct to say that the
17 Kotor Varos Territorial Defence was transformed into what became the
18 Kotor Varos Light Infantry Brigade; right?
19 A. Yes, that would be the logical flow of things.
20 Q. And are you aware of the strength of this brigade in terms of
22 A. I'm not aware of the numerical strength. I think that there were
23 some 300 to 400 men to start with, but, really, I'm not sure.
24 Q. And it is correct to say that the Kotor Varos light brigade was
25 made of companies not battalions; correct?
1 A. At first there were both companies and battalions.
2 Q. Very well. Sir, I understood that your eyesight has been
3 affected, but I would like to show you a document which will appear on
4 the screen before you. And if you have a hard time seeing it, please let
5 us know and we can zoom into it. It's 65 ter 1651 at tab 4, please.
6 Now, you will see the version in your language on the left side
7 of the screen, I believe. Now, this is a document dated the 27th of
8 May --
9 A. Yes, that's fine.
10 Q. Very well. This document is dated 27th of May, 1992, and it is
11 issued by the 1st Krajina Corps Command. And as you can see, this is a
12 document which was issued at the time for the purpose of establishing the
13 structure of the 1st Krajina Corps. Now, on that first page you can see
14 that there is a proposal in terms of the commander, his staff, his chief
15 and his organisational unit. I would like to take you to a page 5 in the
16 B/C/S version which is page 4 in the English version. Now, under
17 number 3 can you see the title "units of the corps"? Can you see the
18 title, number 3, "units of the corps"?
19 A. Yes, I see it.
20 Q. Now, you see that there are about a dozen combat units of that
21 brigade. And if we scroll down a little bit in the B/C/S version and --
22 I'm sorry, go to the next page, please, in the B/C/S version only. Yes.
23 You can see at numbers -- number 4 "establishment potential by
24 municipalities," and I believe you can see Kotor Varos is listed there
25 and in the English version you can see the title and we can also go to
1 the next page in the English version, please. There we are. Now, do you
2 see next to Kotor Varos:
3 "1 light infantry brigade (formed by companies)"? Do you see
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now we also see a number of other light infantry brigades related
7 to a number of municipalities. Now, if we scroll down a little bit to
8 the middle of that page -- that's in the English version, sorry, you will
9 have to go to the next page in -- hang on a second. No, bottom of the
10 page in B/C/S. That's fine. Do you see the comment:
11 "Current commanders of municipal Territorial Defence staffs would
12 become commanders of the light infantry brigades"?
13 We can see that note in the middle of the page?
14 A. Yes, I can see that.
15 Q. This is exactly what happened to Mr. Mane Tepic; correct? He was
16 the commander of the municipal TO and he became commander of the
17 light infantry brigade; right? Would you agree with that?
18 A. I'm not sure.
19 Q. During the month of June, did you know who was --
20 A. I apologise -- yes, go on?
21 Q. During the month of June, did you know who was the commander,
22 your commander, your ultimate commander?
23 A. The ultimate commander, I believe that that was Gojko Stolic. I
24 don't remember that Tepic was commander. I don't remember, personally.
25 All my contacts were with Mr. Stolic until the appointment of commander,
1 or rather, I met with the brigade commander,
2 Lieutenant-Colonel Novakovic, after I returned from detention. By then
3 he was already a brigade commander.
4 Q. Very well. In the B/C/S version could we go to the next page.
5 We could leave it in the English; it's on the same page. Do you see the
6 comment at the top of the page which says:
7 "The light infantry brigades formed by battalions could be up to
8 1500 men strong, and those formed by companies could be up to 1.000 men
10 A. Yes, I can see that.
11 Q. Now, you told us just a few minutes ago that in your estimate
12 your brigade was made up of 3- or 400 men. Would you accept that your
13 estimates are based on your knowledge only at the time and that the
14 number could have been higher?
15 A. To be honest, I believe that the brigade never had more than 500
17 Q. Do you know how many companies your brigade had?
18 A. At the beginning, as far as I know, the brigade had a company in
19 Kotor Varos, a company in Vrbanjci, the Maslovare company, and the
20 Grabovica company, four companies all together. During the war when it
21 was organised into battalions, as far as I know and remember, it had
22 three battalions with three companies each, nine all together. Following
23 certain logic, one would be inclined to agree that it may have had a
24 thousand men, but that was well into the war.
25 Q. Were you aware that by the month of July there is also a company
1 in the village of Liplje?
2 A. You're right, there was.
3 Q. And that there was also one more company, an infantry company, in
5 A. In Blagaj?
6 Q. In Vagani.
7 A. Vagani, um -- there was a unit up there but I don't think that it
8 was a company. It was a smaller unit.
9 Q. And, finally, were you aware that your brigade had an - sorry-
10 82-millimetre mortar platoon?
11 A. As far as I know, in our brigade, for a long, long time there
12 were 60-millimetre mortars. It was only after a long time we got
13 82-millimetre mortars. I'm not saying that what I know is correct, but I
14 believe that I'm right. This is at least what I know.
15 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Your Honours, I'd like to move away from this
16 document. I'd like to have it marked and admitted. I believe that it is
17 a useful document which establishes the context of the creation of the
18 VRS and the 1 KK and I believe that Your Honours would benefit from
19 having this contextual document.
20 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Aleksic.
21 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I object to the
22 admission of this document. I believe that the OTP during their case and
23 during the examination of their witnesses could have introduced this
24 document to one of their witnesses, for example, ST-179, who testified
25 here during the Prosecution case. Moreover, we can see that this is just
1 a proposal as to how things should look like. This witness does not know
2 anything about the information contained in here and the proposed
3 composition and the numerical strength of the brigade. Also, he didn't
4 agree with my learned friend from the OTP about the command composition
5 of the light assault brigades, as it should have been. I don't see that
6 enough connection was established between the document and what the
7 witness knows. He told us in the examination-in-chief what he knows and
8 what he saw on the ground. I believe that this document contains far too
9 much information and that the witness was not in a position to confirm
10 any of this nor did he know much about the establishment of the
11 1st Krajina Corps. I repeat, we heard a lot of witnesses who could have
12 testified to this effect. I repeat, the knowledge of this witness is
13 rather limited. I apologise, I believe I misspoke when I mentioned the
14 number of the witness. It was ST-197.
15 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Demirdjian, like Mr. Aleksic, whereas the
16 document appears ex facie to be of some relevance, it is, to my mind,
17 surprising that it wasn't offered as part of the Prosecution case.
18 Moreover -- as Mr. Aleksic -- do you accept what Mr. Aleksic suggests --
19 said that, in fact, it is a -- I confess I was not paying attention to
20 that detail, but it was only a proposal, it was not the final version?
21 If that was the case, why do we need it?
22 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Yes, Your Honours. I don't have any strong
23 feelings about this document. I fount that it is a useful document in
24 that the 1st Krajina Corps was able to assess the strengths that it had
25 available to it. And, in and of itself, with regards to what Mr. Aleksic
1 was saying, we do have another document to show the strength and the
2 command positions in this witness's unit. I do agree that, in and of
3 itself, this document is a proposal, and once again I don't have any
4 strong feelings about it, Your Honours. The witness actually confirmed a
5 lot of what is contained in this document. It is also correct that the
6 witness was in a platoon, per se, and may have no knowledge of the
7 document. But the document, I believe, speaks for itself.
8 JUDGE HALL: So we move on. It is not admitted.
9 MR. DEMIRDJIAN:
10 Q. Sir, I'd like to show you a document which is at tab 5; that is
11 65 ter 2340. Can you see the document on the left side of your screen?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, as you can see this document is issued by the
14 Kotor Varos Light Infantry Brigade on the 8th of June, 1992, and it is,
15 in fact, the appointment of Mr. Mane Tepic. And I believe you can
16 confirm that this document is signed by your commander, Dusan Novakovic?
17 A. I apologise, but it seems completely illogical [Realtime
18 transcript read in error "logical"] for Dusan Novakovic to sign such a
19 document because the date is the 8th of June. At that time this brigade
20 was not in existence. To my mind, this is a false document.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The word is "illogical" in
22 line 7.
23 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Right.
24 Q. Now, sir, the previous document I showed you from the
25 1st Krajina Corps was from the 27th of May, about two weeks before the
1 issuance of this document. And in that document, the 1st Krajina Corps
2 was proposing the creation of the Kotor Varos Light Infantry Brigade.
3 Why would it be illogical two weeks later to see the appointment of
4 Mr. Tepic?
5 A. You know why? Because, to my mind, the brigade still hadn't been
6 set up in Kotor Varos. It was set up later.
7 Q. When --
8 A. I'm sorry. This may be a proposal or something at a higher level
9 with which I'm not familiar.
10 Q. Now, you had never seen this document before; correct?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Looking at the document itself, do you have any reasons to
13 believe that it would be wrong?
14 A. Because of the date, the 8th of June. Because if memory serves
15 me well, this brigade was established later. Before I was taken
16 prisoner, that is, before the 5th of July I had never seen Mr. Novakovic
17 commanding that brigade. I saw him for the first time when I was
18 released. That's why it is illogical to me.
19 Q. You do agree, however, that up until the month of July or August
20 you had no contacts with Mr. Novakovic?
21 A. No.
22 Q. That signature, have you seen this signature before?
23 A. I haven't.
24 Q. Very well. I'll move on. Now, sir, we were discussing the issue
25 of the strength of your unit, and I would like to show you a document
1 issued by the Kotor Varos Light Infantry Brigade which is P1787. And
2 this document which you will see on your screen in a moment is dated the
3 23rd of July, 1992. Now, I'd like you to pay attention in a minute when
4 it comes up to the units involved. Now, you can see it on your screen
5 now. On the top left, it says "command of the LpBr." Can you see that?
6 A. The 23rd of July.
7 Q. Yes. You see that. Can we go to the last page for a moment,
8 both in English and B/C/S, please. And it is tab 17, I apologise.
9 Do you see that at the bottom right-hand side of the document it
10 says that it is signed for the commander by Captain Manojlo Tepic. Do
11 you see that?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, I would ask that we go back to page 2, please. And in
14 English that would be also page 2. In the B/C/S version I would like you
15 to -- I would ask that we zoom into the bottom part or scroll down,
16 please, yes. Section 5. Do you see the section entitled: "Tasks for
17 subordinate units"? And under 5.1 you can see "the 1st Kotor Varos
18 infantry company ..." you see that? If you like we could zoom in a
19 little bit more in the bottom part, in the B/C/S version, please.
20 A. I can't really see it so well.
21 Q. Okay. Do you see the title, number 5, "tasks for subordinate
22 units." Do you see that?
23 A. Give me a moment, please. But this is late July already, which
24 confirms what I said, that Novakovic joined the unit much later or maybe
25 not even then -- oh, but, yes, yes, he was there then.
1 Q. Very well. Can we go to the next page, please, in both English
2 and B/C/S. Now, earlier and under 5.1 we saw the Kotor Varos infantry
3 company. And here you can see under 5.2, and maybe a little bit lower,
4 5.3, a number of other --
5 A. [No interpretation]
6 Q. -- infantry companies, Pioneers Platoon under number -- yes. And
7 if you go to the next page in the B/C/S version, under 5.4 you will see
8 the Vrbanjci Infantry Company. You can see that at the bottom of the
9 page in English. And if we then go to the next page in English, please.
10 You can see under 5.5 the Maslovare Infantry Company. And then next page
11 in B/C/S, please. Under 5.6 you can see the Liplje Infantry Company, and
12 under 5.7 the Vagani Infantry Company --
13 A. I apologise. Is this the same document as the one that was
14 signed in late July?
15 Q. Absolutely. This is the 23rd of July. And under 5.8 you can
16 also see the 82-millimetre Mortar Platoon. And we can go to the next
17 page in English for that. Now, sir, I understand that in the month of
18 June you may not have been aware of the developments or how far the
19 creation of this unit was -- how far -- you weren't creating this unit.
20 But it appears already from mid- to late July, the
21 Kotor Varos Light Infantry Brigade was fully formed, and as we can see
22 there are seven or eight units fully employed in combat activities. Now,
23 would you agree with me that considering your position in the month of
24 June it is possible that you were not aware of all this?
25 A. I most certainly wasn't aware, and in July still I was unaware.
1 And upon my return from captivity, frankly speaking, I didn't really care
2 much about the units or the establishment because my mental state was
3 such that my -- my experiences from captivity were foremost on my mind
4 and that's what was discussed with me. And the rest isn't anything I
5 would have known.
6 Q. Very well. Now, sir, we can move away from this document. Now,
7 again, I do realise that you were at the level of a platoon command.
8 However, are you able to tell the Court what was the area of
9 responsibility of your brigade?
10 A. At the beginning of the war, it was the territory of Kotor Varos
11 municipality. As the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina developed, the brigade
12 was relocated several times so that it fought in the Posavina and on
13 Mount Vlasic.
14 Q. And are you aware that your brigade had a few forward command
16 A. It didn't have a few forward command posts. I only know of one
17 forward command post at Jasen beneath Mount Vlasic.
18 Q. Very well. Did you know of a -- and I don't know if you're
19 referring to the same. Did you know of a forward command post which was
20 on Mount Borije?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Well --
23 A. No, I'm sure that there was no forward command post there.
24 Q. I would like to show you a document marked Exhibit 2D133, which
25 is, again, tab 16, please. And this time this document comes from the
1 brigade group command. This is the operative group led by
2 Lieutenant-Colonel Peulic. If you look on the top left it is dated the
3 16th of July, 1992, and it is being sent to the 1st Krajina Corps. Now,
4 I'd like you to take -- to go to page 4 in the English version, and that
5 would be, I believe, page 7 in e-court. On the document it's page 4, but
6 in e-court I believe it's page 7 -- no, no, the English is page 4, sorry.
7 Yes -- no, I meant in the B/C/S it's page -- there you go. Yes. Very
8 well. Under 5.3, sir, you can see the Kotor Varos Light Infantry Brigade
9 is to organise and carry out combat operations in the territory of
10 Kotor Varos. Now, if you look a little bit lower, just before number 6
11 where it says "fire support," just above that there's a sentence which
13 "The KM," which is the command post, "is to be located in the
14 Kotor Varos SJB building ..." you told us as much earlier today "... and
15 the IKM," forward command post, "is to be prepared on Mount Borja in
16 Krusevo Brdo village ..."
17 Do you see that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You personally had no knowledge of this forward command post, did
21 A. No, no, no.
22 Q. Let's move on. Now, sir, you told us that after you were
23 released the assignments that you were given were in logistics; is that
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. We have a working sheet of the Kotor Varos Light Infantry Brigade
2 which is at tab 39; the 65 ter is 2348. That's not it. Just a second,
3 please. Can we try again, 2348. There we go. Thank you. Very well.
4 Now, you can see on the top of the document it says "working map,
5 military post 7001 Kotor Varos," and then you see the commander of the
6 brigade, Dusan Novakovic; chief of staff, Manojlo Tepic. You see the
7 assistant chief for operations and training. And then if we go to the
8 next page English, it's down the same page in B/C/S, can you see
9 assistant command for logistics, Nenad Jerkovic?
10 A. Yes, I do.
11 Q. Do you know Mr. Jerkovic?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And do you know when he was appointed to that position?
14 A. No. And what is the date of this document?
15 Q. The document is not dated, unfortunately, and that's why I was
16 going to ask you, based on your knowledge, whether you knew when
17 Mr. Jerkovic was appointed. Putting that aside, do you recognise any of
18 the other names on this document?
19 A. I know several names here.
20 Q. Now, you can see already on that first page that you have
21 assistant commanders for Mr. Novakovic and a number of assistant
22 commanders and commanders of platoons, commanders of companies, and
23 perhaps in the B/C/S version we can move to the next page. You can see
24 the continuation of that list, but in English we can go to page 3. We
25 can see platoon commanders, company commanders, and so on. Now, sir, I
1 accept that your name does not appear on this document because they don't
2 have it down to every member of this unit, but we can see quite a large
3 unit here. From your understanding of the brigade command structure,
4 would this reflect the situation in the summer of 1992?
5 A. No way the brigade could have been this size in 1992, with such a
6 large number of officers. This must be a later document.
7 Q. Do you see on this page at the top you have Gojko Stolic, who you
8 mentioned earlier before?
9 A. Yes, correct.
10 Q. It says that he is the commander -- yes --
11 A. Vagani company.
12 Q. Now --
13 A. This is a surprise because I don't remember him ever being a
14 member of the Vagani company.
15 Q. So this document itself -- you had never seen this document, and
16 is it quite possible that you're not aware of the structure of your
18 A. Well, in principle, that's correct, I was not aware. I knew the
19 people closest to me and I had very little knowledge about things out
20 there in the field. Is this the end of the document?
21 Q. There's one more page. We can move to the last page, which is
22 page 3 in the B/C/S.
23 And you can see it was signed by Mr. Novakovic. And, to your
24 knowledge, Mr. Novakovic was replaced by another commander by the name of
25 Ubiparip in 1993; is that right?
1 A. The third -- or rather --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 1993.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it's possible that he arrived
4 in 1993.
5 MR. DEMIRDJIAN:
6 Q. And would you agree that this document establishes the structure
7 of the brigade in 1992?
8 A. I don't think so.
9 Q. Seeing that --
10 A. Excuse me. This document mentions the commander of a recruit
11 platoon. Never heard of that. Commander of the logistics platoon
12 Asim Aganbegovic. I don't think he was commander of the logistics
14 Q. Do you know this person?
15 A. Of course I do.
16 Q. And two rows below him is the person you mentioned earlier
17 before, Mr. Adis Hadziselimovic?
18 A. Yes, that's right.
19 Q. And to the right of his name we cannot see his ethnic group,
20 although for all of them, we see Serb or Yugoslav?
21 A. He's a Muslim, a Muslim. But I'm surprised by him being the
22 deputy commander of the SPDV platoon. He fought together with us.
23 Unfortunately, he died a couple of months ago. He was a lawyer by
25 Q. If we scroll up on this document a little bit all the way to the
1 top --
2 A. Could you -- something caught my eye here.
3 Lieutenant-Colonel Dusan Novakovic, military police number -- can you
4 enlarge the stamp? Only the stamp. 22230. This is not our military
5 post number.
6 Q. And what was your military post number?
7 A. The first digit is a 4. Can we scroll up to the top or --
8 Q. We can go back to the top and go to the first page, actually.
9 You're saying the number is 4?
10 A. No, 7001/46. Yes, this is our military post number. I don't
11 know how one military post number can be stated up here and down there I
12 saw a different number in the stamp. Well, I doubt the authenticity of
13 this document.
14 Q. Let's move away from this document. Now, sir, you did mention
15 the presence of Colonel Peulic earlier today --
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. -- and you are aware of the presence of his unit in your area
18 since the month -- as of the month of March 1992?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And if I were to tell you that his unit had approximately a
21 thousand soldiers and officers, would that agree with your recollection?
22 A. No, nowhere close. Upon arriving at Kotor Varos municipality,
23 and that was in March 1992, I think, that brigade was only 100 to 150 men
24 strong. How it developed later, whether it was brought up to level or
25 whatever, I don't know.
1 Q. Where did his brigade come from, sir?
2 A. It was a battalion. It wasn't a brigade.
3 Q. So you're telling us that Colonel Peulic came with a battalion in
4 the middle of March 1992 in Kotor Varos?
5 A. Yes. They arrived in Maslovare or Podborje in the valley of the
6 Krusica river. Maslovare was where the command was. Maybe you meant the
7 forward command post but that was a separate unit. The name of that unit
8 was the 22nd Brigade. I know that it was established in the month of
9 March and that at that time its strength was of the size of a battalion.
10 Q. Are you making a difference between the 22nd Brigade and
11 Colonel Peulic's unit?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Are you saying it's the same unit?
14 A. The same, yes.
15 Q. Okay. Now, I'd like to show you a chart of this brigade which is
16 at tab 38, and that would be -- well, it's P1577. I see that it is under
18 [Prosecution counsel confer]
19 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: It may be one of those documents that we don't
20 really need to have under seal, Your Honours. I will refer, for the time
21 being, if you'd like, we could not broadcast it until the decision has
22 been issued.
23 JUDGE HALL: Yes, until we clarify the proper status.
24 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Yes.
25 Q. Now, this is a chart of the organisation of the
1 122nd Light Infantry Brigade between November 1991 and May 1992. You see
2 the commander of the brigade. And to the left you can see the numbers,
3 35 officers, 32 non-commissioned officers, and 905 soldiers. Were you
4 aware of this?
5 A. No. No, because it was a different unit. I never had any
6 personal contacts with that unit, so I'm not in a position to know
7 anything about the organisation of that unit.
8 Q. You are aware of the unit that was present in Maslovare; right?
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. And did you know at the time that this unit was part of the
11 brigade, of the 122nd Brigade, was it one of the units?
12 A. We called that unit the 122nd Brigade -- I apologise, the
13 22nd Brigade, although it didn't even remotely look like a brigade
14 because it did not have enough troops. However, people used to call it
15 the 22nd Brigade.
16 Q. Right. And did you know that Commander Peulic was in charge of a
17 wider region, not only Kotor Varos? Were you aware of that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Very well. And, therefore, would you allow that this is one of
20 the units of the brigade that was present in Maslovare? That what you
21 saw in Maslovare was one of the units of the 22nd Brigade?
22 A. I can't say that. Let me tell you, we called that unit the
23 22nd Brigade. I don't know whether they had one or more. I don't know.
24 Q. Very well. Before I conclude for the day, sir, I do have one
25 question in relation to a topic we discussed earlier today. Now, you
1 remember when I was asking you about your willingness to meet with
2 representatives of the Prosecution, you told us that you were informed
3 that most people didn't meet both sides. You didn't tell me, though, who
4 exactly told you that?
5 A. I spoke a number of people. I really can't tell you. Honestly,
6 I can't. I spoke to some legal professionals. Because at my work, I
7 co-operate with a number of lawyers and attorneys at law. I spoke to
8 them, and they told me that it really didn't make much sense for me to
9 talk to both sides. They told me: Either you are a Defence witness or a
10 Prosecution witness. And that made perfect sense to me and it sounded
11 perfectly acceptable, since I'm not a legal professional.
12 Q. Yes. And when the investigators of Mr. Zupljanin asked you the
13 question, did you also ask them whether it was usual to do -- to meet
14 both sides?
15 A. My position had already been formed. I had my mind set already
16 and my answer was no.
17 Q. Hang on a second. You're telling us that you had already made up
18 your mind even before the question was asked?
19 A. No. The team asked me first, and then I said I would give it a
20 thought and that either on the following day or the day after I would get
21 back to them. Then I spoke to all those people and they told me that it
22 didn't make much sense. I accepted that logic as my own and that's how I
23 responded. I don't see how all that could be a sin.
24 Q. I'm not saying that it is a sin, sir. I'm just trying to
25 establish exactly who gave you this advice. Now, let me just get back
1 here for a second. Now, you told us this morning, and I quote that when
2 you were met by the investigators "on that occasion they told me that the
3 Prosecutor also wanted to talk to me. And I asked those people how
4 customary was that" --
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. -- "to talk to both sides."
7 Now, what I'm asking you now is when the investigators or whoever
8 it is that asked you the question, you said: I asked those people how
9 customary was that. Who are those people? Did you ask immediately the
10 people asking you?
11 A. Well, look here. I may have spoken rather hastily. Mr. Vukelic
12 got in touch with me and told me what he did. When we spoke about that I
13 consulted him as well and he told me that it would be entirely up to me.
14 And then I consulted some other lawyers, and after that I made up my
15 mind. He actually called me twice on the phone to ask me what my
16 decision with this regard was.
17 Q. And when Mr. Vukelic -- when you gave your answer to Mr. Vukelic,
18 did he ask you the reasons behind your decision?
19 A. No, no, no. He said, "It's up to you. It is going to be an --
20 entirely your decision."
21 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Your Honours, I'll stop here for today, and as I
22 noted I have a small application to make.
23 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Bubic, we are about to adjourn for the day but
24 we have certain preliminary matters with which to deal. So the usher
25 would escort you from the courtroom. We are to be -- we will rise -- we
1 wouldn't rise immediately, but the usher would escort you from the
2 courtroom and we would continue with your testimony tomorrow at 9.00.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Immediately, yes.
4 JUDGE HALL: I'm sorry, I didn't understand your question.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well, very well, now I've
6 heard you.
7 [The witness stands down]
19 JUDGE HALL: Next Friday being -- when is the witness scheduled
20 to come? It would be the beginning of the next block, is it?
21 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: That's correct, yes. So if we have at least
22 that much time in advance to prepare for the witness, we are saying that,
23 at least, we will not be prejudiced by receiving a last-minute proofing
24 note. Clearly Mr. Krgovic is in a position to meet with the witness next
25 week and is in a position to provide us with a proofing note.
1 JUDGE HALL: Mr. Aleksic, is that too onerous an obligation on
2 you and your team?
3 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm afraid I can't
4 speak without Mr. Krgovic. He already spoke to you with this regard
5 earlier this morning. But can we go into private session just briefly
6 for the rest of my submission?
7 JUDGE HALL: Yes.
8 [Trial Chamber and Legal Officer confer]
9 [Private session]
3 [Open session]
4 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE HALL: Yes, Mr. Aleksic, when do you expect the witness to
6 arrive in The Hague?
7 [Defence counsel confer]
8 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if we are talking
9 about SZ-007, he's supposed to testify on the 5th of December, the next
10 time we sit. Witness SZ-022 is supposed to arrive later this afternoon.
11 This is SZ-020, I apologise, he is either arriving -- he is either on his
12 way or he has arrived already. My colleague Mr. Krgovic is proofing him,
13 and the proofing notes, as far as I understood Mr. Krgovic earlier this
14 morning, will be provided later this afternoon --
15 JUDGE HALL: You misunderstood me. We are not talking about the
16 next witness. We are talking about the one for the 5th.
17 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't believe that
18 he will be in The Hague before the 2nd or the 3rd December. I really
19 don't know. But it's not logical for the witness to arrive much sooner.
20 Witnesses normally arrive two or three days before they're supposed to
21 appear in court, in this case on the 2nd or the 3rd of December.
22 JUDGE HALL: I'll tell you what is a part of our thinking,
23 Mr. Aleksic, that the arrangements that you have in place between the
24 attorneys and the investigators that the relevant interviews can be
25 conducted before they come to The Hague so you don't have to -- so we
1 aren't faced with, for instance, what happened this week, where it's only
2 when the witness comes in, he's interviewed, and the surprises come up,
3 and we get the predictable complaints, rulings having to be made, so that
4 the -- today is Wednesday ...
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE HALL: So we would require the proofing note to be provided
7 not on the Friday that Mr. Demirdjian's asked for, but on the Wednesday
8 of the following week, that is, the week preceding the witness's
9 scheduled appearance before the Tribunal.
10 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Your Honours, we were informed by Mr. Krgovic
11 that he will see this witness next week, so he is in a position to
12 provide the proofing note by Friday.
13 JUDGE HALL: We're not unmindful of what you have said,
14 Mr. Demirdjian, but all things considered we think that Wednesday, the
15 4th -- the 30th - thank you - the 30th of November is reasonable in the
17 MR. DEMIRDJIAN: Five days before the witness testifies?
18 JUDGE HALL: Yes.
19 So if there is nothing else, we take the adjournment to reconvene
20 tomorrow morning at 9.00. Thank you.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 17th day of
23 November, 2011, at 9.00 a.m.