1 Tuesday, 4 March 2003
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.21 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, could you call the case, please?
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours, this is case number
7 IT-99-36-T, the Prosecutor versus Radoslav Brdjanin.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Brdjanin, can you hear me in a language that you
9 can understand?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good afternoon. Yes, I can.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Please be seated. Appearances for the
13 MS. RICHTEROVA: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Anna Richterova
14 assisted by Denise Gustin, case manager.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Appearances for the Defence?
16 MR. ACKERMAN: Good afternoon, Your Honours, I'm John Ackerman,
17 I'm here with Milan Trbojevic and Barbara Baruch. Marela Jevtovic is
18 taking care of an administrative matter and will be here momentarily.
19 I have handed you courtesy copies of a motion that is in the
20 process of being filed. I think right now. To sort of provide the basis
21 for our gathering at 5.00, and it provides basically the results of a
22 couple of days of consideration and a meeting that we had this morning.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you.
24 Yes. Anything else before we bring in the witness? Let's bring
25 the witness in, please. Thank you.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon to you, sir.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Can I ask you to stand up and repeat your solemn
5 declaration again, please?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
7 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
8 WITNESS: JASMIN ODOBASIC [Resumed]
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Please be seated. And Madam
11 Richterova, you may proceed with your examination-in-chief.
12 Examination by Ms. Richterova: [Continued]
13 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Odobasic. Yesterday we discussed this group
14 called Wolves of Vucjak and the activities around the elections. Now I
15 would like to discuss their activities during the year 1991 and 1992. I
16 would like to show the witness Exhibit P82, and I have a copy for the
18 And I am referring to the attachment to the letter dated 23rd of
19 September, 1991, which was signed by the chief of centre, security service
20 centre, Stojan Zupljanin so I will deal with the report itself which is
21 dated 20th September, 1991, the title is "Report on the Activity of Armed
22 Groups on the Centre's Territory."
23 It says, "In recent months, particularly since the middle of
24 August this year, on the territory covered by the Banja Luka Security
25 Services Centre, there has been increased activity by ever more numerous
1 armed groups which in the last few days has been escalating in scale in
2 the Prnjavor and Bosanska Gradiska area." And further, it says, "Due to
3 the number and diffusion of these groups, the establishment of any kind of
4 control over their activity and the prevention of such activity is
5 becoming an ever more serious security problem through the various illegal
6 actions, in particular the frequent gunfire and gross disturbances of the
7 peace and also recently the perpetration of crimes and violation that
8 seriously threaten the security of citizens and property. These groups
9 are becoming a source of widespread instability and complication of the
10 security situation."
11 And the fourth paragraph starts, "Particularly characteristic is a
12 group of about 30 armed persons in Prnjavor area. Since 11 July, when
13 they returned uniformed and well armed from training in the SAO of
14 Krajina, this group comprised initially of 25 persons mostly from the
15 Kremna, Strpci, Livopoljci and Donji Galjipovci [As interpreted] areas but
16 later joined by a few other persons."
17 And then it goes on "That the most extreme in the activities
18 manifested by this group are, among others, Veljko Milankovic, Slavisa
19 Budak, et cetera. To date the majority of them have had criminal and
20 misdemeanour proceedings brought against them."
21 And on the second page, it goes and it will be the last quotation
22 from this document, "From the very beginning, they have been operating in
23 a calculated and organised way to provoke conflicts and fighting with the
24 active and reserve police force. Shortly after returning, they go around
25 making their presence known, making threats and carrying out organised
1 preparations for an armed attack on the Prnjavor SJB, public security
2 station." And the very last, it's the last paragraph on this second page,
3 "Individually and as a group, they provoke and harass the Muslim
4 population with the aim of precipitating interethnic conflict."
5 You have already -- you have already mentioned this group
6 yesterday, and you stated that you knew Veljko Milankovic. How did you
7 know Veljko Milankovic?
8 A. My father worked his entire life in the field, particularly in the
9 village of Kremna and the villages around that area. During peace time we
10 met a lot of families there, especially the Milankovic family whom I have
11 known since my youth. I have known Veljko since the time I was city
12 inspector from 1983 to 1987, when a colleague of mine, forestry inspector,
13 submitted several criminal reports against him for cutting down the wood
14 illegally. I know that at the time, Petrovic Miroslav, a policeman, also
15 filed charges against him for an attempt to rape a girl.
16 Q. In 1991, did you see this group in Prnjavor town?
17 A. I have met that group numerous times, also parts of that group,
18 both in the town of Prnjavor and in the village of Kremna where I passed
19 through many times going to the spa called Kulasi.
20 Q. Can you tell us what kind of uniforms these people wore?
21 A. Prior to 1991, they mostly walked in grey, olive drab uniforms of
22 the former Yugoslav People's Army. Some of them wore civilian clothes.
23 When the combat started in Croatia and later on in Derventa, they started
24 also wearing camouflage uniforms. Some of them even had a typical blue
25 and white uniform worn by policemen in Knin and SAO Krajina.
1 Q. And did you see any insignias on their uniforms?
2 A. Yes. I did see the insignia which was typical also. They had an
3 emblem on one of the sleeves, either right or left one. It was a round
4 emblem with a grey head of a wolf, and there was a text there saying
5 Wolves from Vucjak.
6 Q. In this report, the villages of Kremna, Strpci, Popovici and Donji
7 Galjipovci are mentioned. What was the ethnicity of people living in
8 these villages?
9 A. In Galjipovci, there were mostly Muslims living there. They were
10 the predominant group. And this area is quite close to the town of
11 Prnjavor. The village of Popovici is a peculiar village. It's a Serbian
12 village but it bordered with a Croat village called Kulasi. And the
13 animosity that emerged at the time were probably based on that. As far as
14 the village of Smrtici is concerned, that village borders with the
15 Derventa municipality and it is well known that Croats were the most
16 numerous residents of Derventa. In that area, there are several Bosniak
17 villages around Derventa. One of them is called Omeragici and there are
18 several others.
19 Q. In this report, it says that in 1991, around September, it was a
20 group of about 30 armed persons. Is it correct number for the year 1991?
21 A. I am no military expert; however, I believe that that figure could
22 be realistic. A lot of -- I knew a lot of other people who were members
23 of that paramilitary formation because they lived in the municipality of
24 Prnjavor. Later on, I also used to see the other members of that group,
25 the ones who did not originally hail from Prnjavor. At least I didn't
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 know them as coming from Prnjavor. The unit grew with time --
2 Q. I will discuss this later. I just wanted you to make comment on
3 this particular part of the report.
4 This report also discusses the harassment of the Muslim
5 population. Did you see in 1991 or 1992 this group harassing non-Serb
6 population of the Prnjavor municipality?
7 A. I know that that group used to stop all vehicles at checkpoints.
8 They harassed people. They took money away from them also, they
9 confiscated vehicles and other items they had on them. Son of my aunt,
10 they came into his house and confiscated his car - it was a Renault make -
11 and issued him with a receipt, which he has kept until today.
12 Q. Did you learn or did you know that this group would harassing
13 people in Muslim villages?
14 A. I knew that Veljko Milankovic treated very badly some people from
15 the village of Lisinja, according to him this had to do with some pre-war
16 debts. He used to persecute two or three men from that village. Some of
17 them are living in Bihac nowadays. We couldn't hear anything going on,
18 although there was shooting directed at Muslim houses but we didn't leave
19 houses unless we had to go out and do forced labour. If we didn't have to
20 go out and work we stayed at home. We didn't used to frequent coffee bars
21 and taverns.
22 Q. This document also mentions that shortly after returning, they go
23 around making their presence known, making threats and carrying out
24 organised preparation for an armed attack on the Prnjavor Public Security
25 Station. Do you know whether this ever happened, whether this Prnjavor
1 SJB was attacked by this paramilitary formation?
2 A. Yes. That paramilitary formation did attack the SJB station in
3 Prnjavor. I was in Prnjavor at the time and I know what was going on in
5 Q. Do you know approximately when it happened?
6 A. I couldn't remember what date it was. I think it was in 1991.
7 Q. Did they succeed?
8 A. Well, they didn't. This is how it went: The police
9 administration in Prnjavor still had a number of professionals among its
10 police force, and at the top of that police station, there were three or
11 four men who were sons of the former commanders of that police station. I
12 will emphasise that those people were true professionals and they tried to
13 take some steps against this group causing trouble in town. This is why
14 the members of the group objected to that. I know that they tried to take
15 the police station. Members of the police administration in Prnjavor put
16 up resistance, as did fathers of them. They came in with hunting rifles
17 and they took positions at the windows of the police station, and it was
18 only by some miracle that there was no shooting there. Several days
19 later, Miroslav Petrovic, a true professional, confiscated two hand
20 grenades from Veljko Milankovic, whereas the other policeman, Tatar, I
21 think his nickname was, arrested several members of that paramilitary
22 formation. It was said at the time that they had been brought to the
23 police administration building.
24 Q. You mentioned now that they arrested some of the members of the --
25 of this group. After they were arrested, were they charged and convicted
1 of any crimes?
2 A. Yes. Veljko Milankovic himself was taken into custody and in a
3 way proceedings were instigated against him or rather they attempted to
4 instigate proceedings. A friend of mine from high school and from
5 college, who was a criminal judge in the Court at the time, was in charge
6 of criminal investigation in that case, and immediately after the
7 investigation started, a bomb was placed under her car. She told me that
8 she had received a death threat, threatening her if she continued the
9 investigation. As a professional she wanted to continue investigation.
10 However, she was removed, fired, from the Court and she never returned.
11 She is in private practice now. Following that, Veljko was released from
13 Q. And did they continue --
14 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, can we have her name, please? If
15 necessary we go into private session.
16 MS. RICHTEROVA: I think we should go to private session.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: We go to private session for a while.
18 [Private session]
5 [Open session]
6 MS. RICHTEROVA:
7 Q. Mr. Odobasic, this group, did they continue in their activities
8 also in 1992? And let's say in the first half of the 1992, was there any
9 attempts to stop their activities?
10 A. That group continued being active. I personally am not aware of
11 any attempts to stop their activity. Later on I had an opportunity to see
12 that for myself.
13 MS. RICHTEROVA: Can I show the witness Exhibit 1790?
14 Q. This is a document from the 1st Krajina Corps command dated 6
15 September, 1992, and it is authorisation, "Lieutenant Veljko Milankovic,
16 bearer of identity card number 609/03, Prnjavor, is hereby authorised to
17 collect from you without hindrance the necessary amount of ammunition and
18 Plamen 128 rockets, in particular, for the needs of the 1st Krajina
19 Corps," and it was signed by commander Major General Momir Talic. Did you
20 know whether the group of Veljko Milankovic joined the 1st Krajina Corps?
21 A. I don't have a document or proof to that effect but I know that it
22 actively participated in the combats that were conducted for the purpose
23 of piercing the Posavina corridor with the 1st Corps. They regularly went
24 to a battle field near Derventa, which is located 25 kilometres away from
25 Prnjavor, and I also know that very often, together with other uniformed
1 individuals from the 1st Corps, I presumed, they would bring spoils into
2 the town and transport them further on.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. I'm going to stop you because you're
4 going beyond what was the substance of the question. I mean you are a
5 lawyer and I don't need to explain this. Please try to limit yourself to
6 answering the question and don't go beyond that. Nothing else, please,
7 because otherwise we would never finish. The question was a very simple
8 one: Are you aware that at any time on or around the date of the 6th
9 September, 1992, Lieutenant Veljko Milankovic formed part of the 1st
10 Krajina Corps? He or his people, his men. Answer yes or no or I don't
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think yes.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. That's it.
14 MS. RICHTEROVA: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 I would like to show the witness Exhibit P400.
16 Q. This document is dated 28 of July, 1991. It's from SR BiH Army
17 main staff, and it is signed by Colonel Zdravko Tolimir. The title of
18 this document is, "Report on Paramilitary Formations in the Territory of
19 the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina" and it says, "Paramilitary
20 formations and groups are an important feature of the war in the former
21 Yugoslavia. The paramilitary formations on Serbian Republic of BiH
22 territory have specially identifying names such as Arkan's men, Seselj's
23 men, Captain Dragan's commandos, Captain Oliver's commandos, Charlie's
24 men, Jovic's men, White Eagles, Wolves, Smoke Ribs." My first question
25 is: You already mentioned these wolves. Were you aware of any other
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 paramilitary formations, which would operate on the territory of the
2 Prnjavor municipality?
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you referring to -- when you say other, apart
4 from the ones that are listed here or particularly the ones that are
6 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yeah. Apart from Wolves, are you aware of any
7 other which are listed in this document, that they would operate on the
8 territory of the Prnjavor?
9 A. Yes. I think that the Seselj's men were also active there. They
10 searched the houses of the residents of Prnjavor in 1992. They plundered
11 them, mistreated the population. Specially in my street they referred to
12 themselves as Seselj's White Eagles.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
14 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, the document I have is not the same as
15 the one that she is referring. To I have a draft translation that's
16 different apparently. The draft translation says the date of the document
17 is 28 July, 1992, and Ms. Richterova said the date of the document she has
18 is 28 July, 1991.
19 MS. RICHTEROVA: I said 28 July, 1992. I'm sorry, it must have
20 been my mistake. It is 28 July, 1992.
21 MR. ACKERMAN: All right. It's page 10, line 17 that says 1991,
22 Your Honour, so we've got that corrected now.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. That's no longer a problem. Let's
24 proceed. Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
25 MR. ACKERMAN: I'm wondering if it might be possible for the
1 Prosecutor to find a copy of the more updated translation for me because
2 there seems to be quite a lot of difference.
3 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yes. I will provide you with the full
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Richterova. Please proceed.
6 MS. RICHTEROVA:
7 Q. You mentioned this group, they called themselves Seselj's. Do you
8 remember what kind of uniform they wore?
9 A. They wore uniforms of the Yugoslav People's Army, the olive drab
11 Q. And did you have opportunity to observe whether this group
12 cooperated with Wolves or whether there were some disputes among --
13 between them?
14 A. Speaking of the event that I mentioned, not only that they didn't
15 cooperate but Vuk's group threw them out of the town and they left for
17 Q. The Seselj's left for Derventa or the Wolves?
18 A. Seselj's men were already at the front line in the area of
19 Derventa but they entered the town of Prnjavor, they plundered several of
20 our houses and mistreated us. The next day, the Wolves arrested them in a
21 cafe and there were stories to the effect that they had beaten them up and
22 taken them to the border near Derventa. They never returned after that.
23 Or at least I'm not aware of it.
24 Q. And to your knowledge, did Wolves arrest them because they were
25 maltreating the Muslims and non-Serb population or what was the reason for
1 their behaviour?
2 A. I remember an occasion --
3 MR. ACKERMAN: Excuse me, Your Honour, I object to that.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
5 MR. ACKERMAN: I object to that unless there is some reason that
6 he can say that he knows. I mean how could he know what was in their
7 minds when they did that. If there is a foundation, then I won't object.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Please rephrase your question, Madam Richterova.
9 MS. RICHTEROVA:
10 Q. Did you learn the reason why the Wolves arrested the Seselj's?
11 A. The next day, after the event, the Wolves' commander met my father
12 and he said that he knew that they had broken into our house. That they
13 had mistreated us --
14 MR. ACKERMAN: I'm sorry.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Let him finish, first, Mr. Ackerman.
16 MR. ACKERMAN: Please, he's not answering the question.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: He may be arriving there, Mr. Ackerman.
18 MR. ACKERMAN: The question was simple, not --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: I think he is already partly answering the question.
20 MR. ACKERMAN: The question is not what --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ackerman, please sit down. Witness, continue
22 with your answer, please. You said, "The next day after the event the
23 wolves' commander met my father and he said that he knew that they had
24 broken into our houses, that they had mistreated us." Please go ahead.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They broke into four or five houses
1 and they even mistreated one Serb family. He said that he had arrested
2 them, that he had beaten them and taken them back to Derventa. The way --
3 and he said some -- he said to my father something to the effect that
4 there could be no two chiefs in one town.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Next question.
6 MS. RICHTEROVA: Thank you.
7 Q. On the page 8 of English version, and page 5, B/C/S version, there
8 is a paragraph stating, "The detachment of Veljko Milanovic" - and it will
9 be probably a typo - "from Prnjavor has about 115 men." For the record it
10 is 150. 150.
11 "And is as of recently formally under the command of the 1st KK.
12 Members of this detachment are involved in extensive looting and recently
13 attacked the Tactical Group 3rd command post, arresting one SR BiH Army
14 Colonel in the process."
15 We already discussed your knowledge about the fact whether or not
16 this group was part of the 1st KK. Now I am interested about this
17 looting. Did you see personally that this group would loot -- would be
18 looting on the territory of the Prnjavor municipality?
19 A. As I have already indicated, their members confiscated vehicles,
20 tractors, appliances. One of their members confiscated this car that I
21 mentioned. I know what his name is. I can tell you his name. However,
22 most of these goods were transported to the town itself where they were
23 sold or distributed. I was present on an occasion when a member of the
24 Wolves, who is married to Veljko's niece, when he brought 14 cars to a
25 yard next to my house, the complete equipment for a car repair shop and a
1 number of other goods which still had plastic covers on. The same
2 behaviour was observed by many other people whose names I also know.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: So let me intervene a little bit because the
4 substance of the question basically focuses on the word "extensive"
5 looting. Would you say that they were involved in looting generally or in
6 extensive looting? Would you agree with the statement that they were
7 involved in looting in an extensive manner?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what exactly you have
9 in mind when you say looting in an extensive manner but they confiscated
10 everything they could get hold of, timber wood, tractors, trucks,
11 furniture, live stock, home appliances and so on and so forth.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: That answers the question.
13 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yes.
14 Q. In the previous document, when the report from 1991, there was
15 also mention -- the report mentioned that this group returned from SAO
16 Krajina, from a training. It was in July, approximately July, 1991. Did
17 you know whether this group, underwent any training either in some area
18 of -- some other area of the SAO Krajina or in the Prnjavor municipality?
19 A. I said yesterday that they went to the SAO Krajina for training.
20 As for Prnjavor, I personally saw huge quantities of cartridges within the
21 compound of the Vucjak agricultural company. I also saw cartridges of
22 hand-held rocket launchers on the ground that they used for training. And
23 this was confirmed to me by the local residents of Krajina.
24 Q. And when you said that they found or you personally saw these
25 cartridges, did you know who was -- who was training at that place or you
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 just found these cartridges?
2 A. At that time, in this area, in this village, the Vucjak Wolves had
3 their headquarters. The only population living there is Serb. I don't
4 know whether they did this in an organised manner but I know that huge
5 quantities of ammunition were spent there.
6 Q. And if you are saying in this village, and do I not know whether
7 we have it in the transcript, which village are you referring to? Can you
8 tell us the name of the village?
9 A. I'm referring to the village of Kremna, in the Vucjak area, there
10 is a road that turns left in the area leading to the agricultural firm.
11 The area is not inhabited. It is a wooded area and it is well sheltered
12 so they could easily have their training there. There is only a couple
13 stables in the area where they kept horses and the area is located near
14 the Doboj-Prnjavor road.
15 Q. And now we were talking about this armed group called Wolves. Do
16 you know whether either during the period of time of 1991 or 1992,
17 civilians of Serb ethnicity would be armed?
18 A. Many Serb civilians were armed at the time. At the beginning of
19 1992, in front of the hunter's lodge located some 2 to 3 kilometres
20 outside the town I personally saw a huge trailer truck from which arms
21 were being distributed to the local Serbs. My best friend, a Serb, he
22 fled Prnjavor when they tried to give him a machine-gun by force. He left
23 at that time and never came back.
24 Q. Did you non-Serbs, did you try to obtain weapons, either from
25 Serbs or from elsewhere?
1 A. I'm not aware of that. I don't know whether anyone in the town of
2 Prnjavor obtained such weapons. I was never offered any weapons but I
3 heard from others that the residents of the Visnja [As interpreted]
4 village located 20 kilometres away from Prnjavor were obtaining some
5 weapons individually. We hunters, we had hunting weapons with legally
6 issued permits, and that's it. That's all we had, as far as the town of
7 Prnjavor is concerned.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Odobasic, when you say the residents of Visnja
9 village, you mean non-Serb residents of Visnja village? Is that correct?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The village of Visnja is almost 90
11 per cent Bosniak and it is located some 12 kilometres away from the town.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
13 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I think the village is Lisinja not
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I wouldn't know.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Lisinja with a L.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: This is where there was the mosque, something like
19 MR. ACKERMAN: The witness agrees that it's Lisinja, the
20 transcript says Visnja but it's Lisinja.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 MS. RICHTEROVA:
24 Q. Did you ever heard any reasons why the Serbs armed themselves?
25 A. Yes. Serbs claimed that an attack on Prijedor from the direction
1 of Derventa is imminent. They were saying they were arming themselves in
2 order to defend themselves from the Ustashas, referring to the population
3 of Derventa.
4 Q. Now I will change subject from arming to something else.
5 Yesterday, and it is in the transcript on page 53, you stated that you
6 were general secretary of the Sloga factory and after you were removed
7 from that organisation, you opened a law firm. Why were you removed from
8 that organisation?
9 A. All Bosniaks and Croats were dismissed from work in the period
10 following first multi-party elections, in particular during 1991, if they
11 did not want to go to war in Croatia. Some were dismissed directly. I
12 was, on the other hand, first laid off. That is to say, I was temporarily
13 dismissed, and after that, a relevant decision regarding the termination
14 of employment is adopted. I tried to open a law firm, but unfortunately,
15 it lasted only three days, when it was blown up.
16 Q. You said that people were -- it happened particularly during 1991
17 when they didn't want to go to war in Croatia, and you were referring to
18 Bosniaks and Croats. Does it mean that they refused to be mobilised?
19 A. Most of them refused to be mobilised - I personally also refused
20 to be mobilised - because they didn't want to go to war against anyone.
21 Q. And after they refused to be mobilised, what happened? Were
22 they -- did they lose -- did they lose their jobs?
23 A. Almost all of them were sacked. Then their apartments, the
24 apartments that they had been given by their companies, were taken away
25 from them. Judicial proceedings were initiated against some of them,
1 including myself, and various types of sanctions were imposed on them. I
2 received -- I had to pay a fine after which I was sent to prison.
3 Q. They were sacked. Do you know whether there were any civilian
4 procedures which would be initiated by these Muslims and Croats in respect
5 to their dismissal?
6 A. There were many people who tried to initiate civil proceedings and
7 press charges. Mostly through a lawyer in Prijedor [As interpreted] whose
8 name was Branislav Maric, who was also one of such victims because he had
9 been dismissed from work at the municipal court for exactly the same
10 reasons. He was the one who represented Croats and Bosniaks in these
11 litigations but I am not aware of any such proceedings ever having been
12 terminated or completed.
13 Q. Did you say lawyer from Prijedor or from Prnjavor?
14 A. Prnjavor, I said Prnjavor.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Madam Richterova.
17 MS. RICHTEROVA:
18 Q. And in 1992, this process of dismissals, did it continue or did it
20 A. Dismissals continued, and by the end of the war, almost 90 per
21 cent of Croats and Bosniaks had been dismissed from work and thrown out of
22 their apartments.
23 Q. In 1991, these people were dismissed because they refused to be
24 mobilised. Do you know the purpose for their dismissal during the 1992?
25 A. The reasons were the same. The war was still going on. They
1 needed soldiers, and these call-ups were often repeated.
2 Q. And you also mentioned yesterday that this Dragan Djuric, he often
3 made -- "he often visited local companies to make sure that the remaining
4 Croats and Muslims had been sacked. Two managers complained to me
5 personally that he was doing this on a daily basis."
6 Was it already in 1991 when he went to these companies checking on
7 non-Serb employees? Or was it in 1992 and later?
8 A. As early as 1991, he tried to cleanse the Territorial Defence
9 staff of Bosniaks and Croats in order to establish a full control over
10 weapons and documents. Later on, it was the turn of other companies and
11 other work organisations unrelated with the military. People were being
12 dismissed on a daily basis, and even -- he intervened with that objective
13 in mind in companies where such dismissals were not yet taking place.
14 Q. When we are talking about these dismissals and before we mentioned
15 the SJB in Prnjavor and that they were these professionals who even
16 arrested Milanko Veljkovic, can you tell me at any point --
17 A. Veljko Milankovic. I don't know Milan Veljkovic.
18 Q. Sorry, my fault. Veljko Milankovic. Did you know whether at any
19 point the policemen in Prnjavor SJB were dismissed? And I am referring to
20 non-Serb policemen.
21 A. Very few remained at work. Active policemen were dismissed, as
22 were civilians working in the police administration in Prnjavor. What
23 impressed me most was that three Serb policemen were dismissed as well,
24 who refused to sign the decision on loyalty to the MUP and the new
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Yesterday, when we were talking about the release of different
2 parties, and you also mentioned some extreme speeches, you said that it
3 was the time after which incidents started to occur. Which incidents were
4 you referring?
5 A. Could you please clarify what period you have in mind?
6 Q. Now I am again in my mind period 1991 and 1992, and maybe I can
7 start with you, because you stated that your firm survived only three days
8 and it was destroyed. Did similar things happen on the territory of the
9 Prnjavor town or on the territory of the Prnjavor municipality?
10 A. I think that these things started taking place in 1991, at the
11 very beginning of that year, in March and April. I tried to record how
12 many sabotage cases there were carried out against privately owned
13 businesses of Muslims and Croats in Prnjavor, but later, it became
14 pointless because some of the facilities were mined up to three times.
15 For example, the business owned by Zenic and there was almost no Muslim or
16 Bosniak businesses remaining who had not been mined. As far as my
17 premises were concerned, they were not completely destroyed, but the
18 windows were broken and damaged and so on. There were more than a hundred
19 such cases in Prnjavor.
20 Q. And these cases of explosions, destruction of premises, did it
21 happen only in 1991 or did it continue in the year 1992?
22 A. I told you that the destruction of facilities in Prnjavor started
23 in 1992, and then continued later on. In 1991, there was shooting at
24 directed those premises because people were going to the battle fields in
25 Knin and Croatia.
1 Q. I know because we have in the transcript that these explosions
2 started in fact in 1991. So now you are stating, and just make it
3 absolutely clear, this -- these explosions and destruction of premises
4 started at the beginning of 1992? Is it correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You also mentioned that Nemanja Vasic, as far as you are
7 concerned, he prevented you from carrying out the referendum in 1992.
8 What happened around the referendum? What was the atmosphere in the
9 Prnjavor town in the time of the referendum?
10 A. He tried to prevent me from carrying out the referendum. The
11 republic committee of Bosnia-Herzegovina appointed me chairman of the
12 referendum committee in Prnjavor. What he succeeded was to limit me to
13 holding referendum in only one building in town, in the culture hall in
14 Prnjavor. However, in four or five villages, we managed to organise the
15 referendum in private homes. People who came to vote at the referendum
16 were provoked and there were threats issued against them but I'm happy
17 that over 800 Serbs participated in the referendum, and some 8.000 people
18 voted for it.
19 Q. Tell me, in the year 1992, did you notice any checkpoints in
20 either the town of Prnjavor or on the territory of the Prnjavor
22 A. I said that there had been checkpoints in several locations. I,
23 together with European Observer and Mr. Naim Kadic, was stopped on the day
24 the referendum was held. I was stopped by members of that formation at a
25 checkpoint 3 kilometres from the town, on the road leading to the village
1 of Drenova a Croatian village.
2 Q. Who manned these checkpoints?
3 A. I personally saw Veljko. I came out and explained to him that
4 there was a representative of the international community present there
5 and I told him it would look very bad if he tried to do anything. They
6 returned back to the bunker that had existed there for a year in that
8 Q. And apart from the town -- time of the referendum, did these
9 checkpoints function also later or before the referendum? Or did they set
10 up them only at the time of the referendum?
11 A. I claim with certainty that they had been placed there in 1991. I
12 know three or four such checkpoints. I know where they were located and I
13 passed through those checkpoints myself.
14 Q. And just briefly?
15 JUDGE AGIUS: But one moment because these last two questions he
16 didn't answer. The first question was: "Who manned these checkpoints?"
17 and you said "I personally saw Veljko." I suppose Veljko Milankovic
18 you're referring to. But are you not telling us exactly who manned these
19 checkpoints. Was it the Wolves? Was it someone else? Was it the army,
20 the police? Who manned these checkpoints? That was the question.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In that particular case, Veljko
22 Milankovic was there with several of his men.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. And generally, who manned these checkpoints?
24 Was it always the same groups? Or did the groups change?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very frequently, I used to see
1 policemen, members of the police station Prnjavor there, but most often I
2 used to see members of that paramilitary formation. Only on a few
3 occasions in 1991 I saw some people wearing olive drab uniforms there. I
4 assume that they were reservists from Prnjavor.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: And the last question, the second question, was
6 directed -- trying to know whether these were checkpoints specifically set
7 up for the purposes of the referendum or whether they were checkpoints
8 that existed before, already.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. They had not been placed
10 because of the referendum. They had existed there from before.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: At the time of the referendum, did you notice any
12 change or changes with regard to these checkpoints? Did they increase in
13 number? Did they remain the same? Were they manned differently?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not notice any changes. I
15 think that it remained the same.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. Madam Richterova, please proceed.
17 MS. RICHTEROVA: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Now I would like to ask you about departure of people from
19 Prnjavor. To your knowledge, in 1991 or 1992, did you see people,
20 non-Serbs, leaving the Prnjavor municipality?
21 A. In 1991, I didn't see them leaving in an organised fashion.
22 Perhaps there had been some individual departures. But as early as 1992,
23 in the second half of it, the so-called organised departures from Prnjavor
25 Q. And what do you mean by "organised departures?" Who organised
1 these departures?
2 A. They were organised by the local authorities, represented by
3 Djordje Stojicic who used to work in the local Red Cross chapter. He used
4 to take 1.000 to 1500 deutschmarks per person departing, whereas the rest
5 of the authorities used to issue certain certificates, naturally for a
6 certain compensation. A person leaving needed to acquire up to seven such
7 certificates. The authorities organised buses. People were loaded into
8 buses and taken to the Hungarian border and left there. I saw dozens of
9 such buses in 1992 and later on.
10 Q. And you say that they needed some certificates, and very briefly,
11 what were they requested to submit if they wanted to leave?
12 A. I had to do that myself as well. We had to obtain up to seven
13 various certificates, certifying that we were allowed to leave because we
14 were not fit for military service. Then we had to get a certificate that
15 we cancelled our telephone account, electricity account, that we had paid
16 our water bill and so on. Various other certificates were needed if
17 people needed -- if people had been issued with various items. My nephew,
18 who was four year old, also needed to get a certificate saying that he was
19 not fit for military service. We had to pay several hundred deutschmarks
20 in order to be issued such certificates, and upon presenting these
21 certificates, we were allowed to board the bus.
22 MS. RICHTEROVA: I would like to show the witness document called,
23 "Authorisation." This document was provided by the witness upon his
24 arrival, and I would like him to make a comment on this. I provided Your
25 Honours with the copy as well as the counsel.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have it, Mr. Ackerman?
2 MS. RICHTEROVA: I can provide you with extra copy, if you wish
3 but at least confirm that I gave you the copy yesterday.
4 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, it was given to me and I somehow left
5 it at my flat. I did have it and Ms. Richterova is perfectly rightly --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Usher, all right. Okay.
7 Yes, Madam Richterova.
8 MS. RICHTEROVA:
9 Q. This document is from 1994 but I would like to ask you whether
10 what is stated in this document, and I'm going to read it, also relates to
11 the year 1992, if you know.
12 And it says, in the middle, "I hereby authorise him" he's
13 referring to above-named lawyer, "to sell the above-mentioned property,
14 transfer it to any other individual of his choosing or exchange it within
15 six months of the attestation of this authorisation at the Prnjavor Basic
16 Court. In case he does not sell or exchange the above mentioned property
17 within six months of the attestation of this authorisation the
18 above-mentioned real estate shall become the public property and ownership
19 of the Prnjavor Municipal Assembly."
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
21 MS. RICHTEROVA:
22 Q. Mr. Odobasic, to your knowledge, was this practice in 1992 as well
23 or only in 1994?
24 A. That applied from 1992 until the end of the war.
25 Q. And was it easy to sell such a property in 1992 and it would mean
1 that you would obtain money from the lawyer or whoever bought this
3 A. Well, it was almost impossible to sell property because the Serb
4 residents were obtaining property from local authorities free of charge.
5 They used to put up many people in our houses en masse, and those who
6 considered themselves lucky managed to sell their property for a
7 ridiculously low sums. For example, for 2.000 German marks. I know some
8 people who bought such Bosniak's or Croat houses for a ridiculously low
9 price. This certificate was the mother of all certificates, and one had
10 to get this one first.
11 Q. And if you didn't have this certificate, did you have to sign
12 over -- sign over your property in some other way?
13 A. Without this certificates, we were unable to depart. There were
14 cases where individuals signed over their property to Serb residents.
15 Some have returned their property since and some have not. Those wishing
16 to depart signed over the ownership free of charge.
17 Q. Now I want to ask you whether you heard about any announcement
18 asking either non-Serbs or all the Prnjavor population to hand over
19 illegally and legally owned weapons?
20 A. Not only there were various declarations and announcements, but
21 searches had been carried out in many houses. They were looking and
22 confiscating -- looking for and confiscating weapons. They were looking
23 for hunting rifles as well, and were confiscating various equipment that
24 had been issued to military conscripts previously. There were many such
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Before you proceed, Judge Janu?
2 JUDGE JANU: Yes. I would like to go back to this authorisation.
3 Madam Richterova, could you please clarify for the Chamber if this
4 authorised lawyer, Branislav Slav Malic was a person who was chosen by the
5 witness himself or was it somebody officially appointed for this business?
6 MS. RICHTEROVA:
7 Q. Mr. Odobasic, you heard the question of the Judge Janu. Can you
8 please answer it?
9 A. We chose ourselves the attorney to whom we would give power of
10 attorney. Any attorney could have drafted a power of attorney of this
11 kind, but most of the Bosniaks gave a power of attorney to the attorney
12 they considered to be the most honest.
13 JUDGE JANU: Yes. That's what I wanted to know.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Go ahead.
15 MS. RICHTEROVA: I will take advantage of this and I would like to
16 tender this document into evidence, and it would be Exhibit P1766.
17 Q. And I would like to ask you one more question about these
18 departures. Can you just briefly tell us, if you know, what made these
19 people to leave? To leave the municipality of Prnjavor.
20 A. It was the pressure that these people were subjected to on a daily
21 basis, and also it was economically non-viable for them to remain there.
22 All of the people who had been dismissed from work lost their income,
23 medical insurance, health insurance. Following that, they would be
24 evicted from their homes into the street, and they had no other choice but
25 go where they could, and they could only go via Serbia and Hungary to the
1 western countries.
2 Q. Thank you. Before this question, I asked you about the
3 announcement to surrender weapons, and you stated there were various
4 announcements. Can you be more specific whether these announcements were
5 to surrender legally obtained weapons, illegally obtained weapons, and
6 whether these announcements were made -- were asking non-Serbs or all the
8 A. The announcements were always addressed to the non-Serb residents.
9 In my bag here, I have a certificate on confiscating of hunting rifles
10 from my father and brother, and a pistol, Bereta make, from me. These
11 certificates were written by hand and confiscation was carried out by
12 regular police from Prnjavor. No hunting weapons were confiscated from
13 Serb residents at all.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Odobasic, only the first sentence of your reply
15 answers the question. The rest was not asked from you. The question was
16 whether the announcements were made -- were directed, in other words, only
17 to non-Serbs or all the population. And you said always addressed to the
18 non-Serb residents, full stop. The rest, the certificates, we are not
19 interested in, unless you are specifically asked about them.
21 MS. RICHTEROVA:
22 Q. Now I would like to ask you about the religious buildings in the
23 territory of the Prnjavor. Were there mosques in these four villages you
24 mentioned as purely Muslim villages?
25 A. There were five mosques.
1 Q. Can you state in which places, in which villages or towns, these
2 mosques were?
3 A. One was in the town itself. It was called the City Mosque. One
4 was in the village of Lisnja, one in the village of Puraci, one in
5 Konjuhovci village and the last one was in Galjipovci village. To avoid
6 confusion, that village is sometimes called Mravica but it's one and the
7 same village, Galjipovci and Mravica.
8 Q. I would like to show the witness Exhibit P1788, and 1789. And I
9 would start with the 88. The first document is dated 22nd of June, 1992,
10 and it says, "An Islamic place of worship in Prnjavor has been
11 demolished." Do you know whether at this time the mosque in Prnjavor was
12 demolished or damaged?
13 A. I know that the mosque was targeted twice. On the first occasion,
14 it was damaged, and on the second one, it was razed to the ground. I
15 couldn't tell you the dates but at any rate, it was targeted by terrorists
17 Q. And at any of these occasions, did you see it personally when it
18 was damaged or did you learn it from someone else?
19 A. I personally saw the damage. Both times, I came to see the
20 mosque, because my ancestors are buried right next to the mosque and I
21 wanted to make sure that their graves had not been damaged. So I saw the
22 condition the mosque was in on both occasions.
23 Q. And did you -- do you know or did you know at the time who did it?
24 A. I can't make any claims but there were rumours in town to the
25 effect that the first damage was caused by Ranko Milanovic.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I object to what the rumours were in
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Objection sustained.
4 MS. RICHTEROVA: I want to show the witness the second document,
6 Q. It says, "All places of worship not belonging to the Serbian
7 Orthodox Church are being demolished in the Prnjavor areas." To your
8 knowledge, which mosques or other religious buildings, Muslim religious or
9 Catholic religious building were demolished or damaged during the year
11 A. I know which ones were destroyed but I can't give you the dates.
12 In 1992, the mosque in Puraci was blown up. The mosque in Lisnja was also
13 damaged in 1992 by shelling and torching. Mosque in Konjuhovci was blown
14 up in 1994. Whereas I could not remember the date when the mosque in
15 Galjipovci was mined. I think that in 1992, the Catholic church in Kulasi
16 was damaged and one house of worship, a chapel, in the place called
18 JUDGE AGIUS: We need to stop here. Now, Mr. Ackerman and
19 Madam Richterova, how much longer do you think you require to finish?
20 MS. RICHTEROVA: I am more or less done but I reserve to the last
21 word after the break but 99 per cent I am done, and so the witness will be
22 in Mr. Ackerman's hands.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: In other words, when we resume, do you anticipate
24 you require more time or not?
25 MS. RICHTEROVA: No, no.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: And Mr. Ackerman, if we resume in 15 minutes' time,
2 how much time do you require? I'm asking you more or less to see whether
3 we should hold the meeting at 5.00 or whether we should delay the meeting
4 until after 5.00? I would rather prefer to finish first with the witness
5 and then have the meeting rather than have the meeting and then come back
6 to the courtroom, continue with the cross-examination.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I'll finish as quickly as I can but
8 I'm guessing I have an hour and a half.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: You have an hour and a half.
10 MR. ACKERMAN: I may do it faster than that but that's a guess.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Would you agree with us that it's wiser to finish
12 the witness before we meet.
13 MR. ACKERMAN: I think Ms. Korner will be delayed a bit anyhow so
14 that probably works.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So do I take it that a break of 15
16 minutes would suffice? So we will break now for 15 minutes, resuming at 5
17 past 4.00, and then the understanding is that we proceed with the
18 cross-examination until we finish the cross-examination. And that means
19 that someone from your bench, Madam Richterova, needs to contact
20 Ms. Korner to inform her that the meeting that we have scheduled for 5.00
21 will probably start at about 5.30 instead.
22 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yes. It will be done.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Thanks.
24 --- Recess taken at 3.48 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 4.08 p.m.
1 MS. RICHTEROVA: I'm sorry, Your Honour, but I have a few more
2 questions, if you allow me.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: I was pretty sure you would have. Yes, go ahead.
4 MS. RICHTEROVA:
5 Q. Mr. Odobasic, were there any collection centres in the Prnjavor
6 municipality in 1992?
7 A. In 1992, after the events in Lisnja, a collection centre was
8 established in the town itself, within the compound of the shoe factory,
9 Sloga, and then another 1, 2 kilometres outside the town, in silos of the
10 local mill.
11 Q. And do you know who were the people who were taken to these camps?
12 A. This collection centre which was located in the town was intended
13 for the men that had been taken away from the Lisnja village. As for the
14 collection centre in the silo, SDA activists and a number of people from
15 Derventa were detained there.
16 Q. You mentioned now after the events in Lisnja. Can you very
17 briefly tell us what happened in the village of Lisnja?
18 A. The village of Lisnja came under an attack in mid-1992. The
19 attack was perpetrated by the members of the then military, I don't know
20 whether it was the JNA or the VRS, and paramilitary -- the paramilitary
21 formation, Wolves from Vucjak. I was not present during the attack but a
22 few days later I passed through the village and I saw that 54 houses had
23 been burned down, five or six people were killed in this first attack,
24 four of them from the Halilovic family, all men were detained in the
25 collection centre in Prnjavor.
1 Q. Mr. Odobasic, do you know whether, during the year of 1992, some
2 other villages on the territory of Prnjavor were also attacked by either
3 the JNA or the Serb army or whether the Lisnja was the only village?
4 A. With Their Honours' permission, I'll try to explain. There were
5 only four villages located along the road leading to Prnjavor. Two were
6 Bosniak villages and two were Croat villages. All these villages were
7 attacked and partly burned down. People, that is the residents, were
8 captured and detained in camps. Others were expelled from their homes.
9 Again, those villages were Bosniak villages and Croat villages, Kulasi and
11 Q. And Mr. Odobasic, how did you know that these villages were
12 attacked? How did you learn about that?
13 A. As for the events in Lisnja and Puraci, I personally talked to a
14 number of people because I had friends there, and as regards the villages
15 of Kulasi and Dragalovci I was later taken to perform forced labour in
16 those villages and I was able to see the damage done to the houses and the
17 church in Kulasi.
18 Q. You just mentioned forced labour or work obligation. When was
19 work obligation established in the Prnjavor municipality?
20 A. As regards me and my group, we were taken there in September and
21 October, in 1992.
22 Q. And was work obligation established before or were you the first
24 A. I don't know. I cannot answer that question. I'm not aware of
1 Q. So you -- you stated you started performing this forced labour
2 from September, 1992. Just briefly, what did you do as a part of work
4 A. My group had specific tasks. It consisted of 14 intellectuals and
5 former leaders, local leaders. We were taken to Serb villages where we
6 were made to clear ditches, repair roads, cut firewood. Later, we also
7 were taken to the fish ponds and clear the area over there. Some people
8 were made to work for a certain Bogdan Neimarevic, fire or six people went
9 to his house. They wanted to show us to the local village population.
10 They transferred us from one location to another.
11 Q. And you left the municipality of the Prnjavor in 1994; is it
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Before you left, you were arrested and detained? Just please
15 confirm whether it is correct that you were arrested and detained in 1994.
16 A. I was arrested on two occasions in 1994.
17 Q. And in which detention centre you were held?
18 A. I was not held in any of the detention centres. I was taken to
19 the local police station where I was beaten up. And would then be thrown
20 out, outside the police station, and left there to fend for myself. I
21 spent two and a half years working in fish ponds that really looked like
22 real prison camps.
23 Q. In -- I'm sorry.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
25 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, there is some confusion. Page 35,
1 starting at line 6, somewhere in that answer he said, line 35, 8, the
2 words two years later should be in there. I think where it says later, I
3 think what he said was two years later, we also were taken to the fish
4 ponds. That's what has been suggested to me by my assistant.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: What we have here is this.. We were taken to Serb
6 villages where we were made to clear ditches, repair roads, cut firewood.
7 Later, we also were taken to the fish ponds. When you said later, did you
8 say just later or did you say two years later?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After September, we were kept there
10 for about two months in the area of those roads, and until the 3rd of
11 June, 1994, my group was taken often to the fish ponds. It was only on
12 several occasions that we were taken elsewhere to clean the roads from
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. All right. Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
15 MS. RICHTEROVA:
16 Q. And in 1996, you became a member of state commission for tracing
17 the missing persons; is it correct?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. And can you tell us very briefly what was your role in this
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
22 MR. ACKERMAN: My objection is we are talking about 1996. I can't
23 see how it's relevant to anything in this indictment what his role was
24 with that commission in 1996.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: What is the reason for your question?
1 MS. RICHTEROVA: The reason for my question is because of his
2 function within this institution is relevant to exhumations and I want it.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Objection overruled. Proceed with the
4 answer, Witness, please.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From the 1st of April, 1996, I've
6 been a member of the state commission for tracing missing persons. I was
7 also the deputy president of that commission. For a while.
8 MS. RICHTEROVA:
9 Q. What is the main purpose of this institution, of this commission?
10 A. It is still its purpose to trace missing persons. The persons who
11 went missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina in -- during the war.
12 Q. Do you also collect information regarding exhumations, regarding
13 findings of graves on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
14 A. Throughout this period of time, I've been collecting information
15 on mass graves in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, most
16 of the time I spent collecting information on exhumations of mass and
17 individual graves discovered in the area of Bosnian Krajina, that is in
18 the western part of Bosnia.
19 Q. And to your knowledge, how many exhumations took place in the area
20 of the Autonomous Region of Krajina in which you participated?
21 A. My team that has been working since 1996 exhumed more than 3.000
22 victims in 15 various locations, that is in 104 mass graves. Five of them
23 were major ones. The biggest one contained 374 bodies. 35 per cent of
24 the -- 55 per cent of the bodies were identified.
25 Q. And only, if you could answer my previous question, did you
1 participate in all exhumations or in what was the percentage of
2 exhumations in which you participated?
3 A. I think I personally -- I personally participated in 80 per cent
4 of these exhumations and I was the leader in many of them and was working
5 with the local investigating judge.
6 MS. RICHTEROVA: Thank you, Mr. Odobasic, this concludes my
7 examination-in-chief of this witness.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Madam Richterova. Mr. Ackerman, before
9 you start, because I think we need to deal with this with some urgency, I
10 understand you have been served now with a copy of Prosecution's
11 interparties justification for an ex parte filing.
12 MR. ACKERMAN: Yes, I've seen it, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have -- let's go into private session, first
14 of all.
15 MR. ACKERMAN: Let me get my copy.
16 [Private session]
19 [Open session]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: And Mr. Ackerman will start with his
21 cross-examination. Now, go ahead, I don't need to tell -- to say anything
22 to the witness.
23 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour I think now that I'm not going to
24 finish by 5.30. I don't know what Your Honours pleasure is. I think we
25 probably should go ahead and break at 5.30.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: We have these options, Mr. Ackerman, because as you
2 can imagine, although we started at 2.15, we are -- the three of us have
3 had a meetings this morning and I in particular had meetings even before I
4 had meetings with the other two judges so there is a limit to which we can
5 continue. The position is as follows, however, that tomorrow morning, at
6 9.30, I have a Status Conference and then at 10.30, I have another Status
7 Conference. Now, these two Status Conferences will roughly last maximum
8 until 11.15, 11.30, I anticipate, so if you think that we could still meet
9 tomorrow at 11.15 or 11.30 instead of this evening, after we finish with
10 this -- I wouldn't like to have the cross-examination interrupted, if
12 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I don't mind that and I'd prefer that
14 JUDGE AGIUS: But we need to see whether Ms. Korner is -- can live
15 with that. I mean whether it's convenient for her.
16 MR. ACKERMAN: I would really like to meet at 5.30 if we can,
17 unless that's totally inconvenient to Your Honours
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE AGIUS: But he won't finish --
20 MR. ACKERMAN: He can come back tomorrow. He's answered questions
21 he's not been asked so it's his fault if he's still here tomorrow.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: In that case, we it actually stop at 5.00 and have
23 the meeting at 5.00 and dedicate the all the time required for the
25 MS. RICHTEROVA: I think 5.30 would be the best time which would
1 enable Ms. Korner to settle down for the meeting because she's still
2 somewhere on her way.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. 5.30 we stop for the meeting.
4 MR. ACKERMAN: All right. Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Cross-examined by Mr. Ackerman:
6 Q. Sir, I want you to look at the document that's now been marked
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Before you proceed, until when was the witness
9 scheduled or planned to remain here in The Hague?
10 MS. RICHTEROVA: I think he was scheduled to stay -- to finish
11 today but maybe we can ask the witness whether he has some other
12 commitments and I really do not know his plans.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I'm told that his planned departure is within a
14 couple of days. Within a couple of days.
15 MS. RICHTEROVA: I didn't have this information so ...
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Were you planned to stay in The Hague tomorrow
17 or were you planned to leave The Hague tomorrow?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I was told that I
19 should remain here for four days, and this expires tonight. I have been
20 given four per diems and this is what was told to me. However, this is
21 true that I also requested to stay one additional day.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: One additional day, to your own expense or at the
23 expense of the Tribunal?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the expense of the Tribunal, in
25 order to arrange certain other things and documents unrelated to this
1 particular case.
2 MS. RICHTEROVA: Your Honour, I was informed that lawyers from
3 other team want to contact Mr. Odobasic as well, and in fact they are
4 waiting for us to finish because until now, they didn't -- they haven't
5 had the opportunity to contact him.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: The reason why I'm saying this is that I'm being
7 informed by the Registrar that his departure from The Hague is planned for
9 MS. RICHTEROVA: So -- I can check this information and come to
10 you as soon as possible.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. In the meantime, please start,
12 Mr. Ackerman, sorry to have interrupted you.
13 MR. ACKERMAN: No problem, Your Honour.
14 Q. Sir, I was a little bit abrupt in starting my cross-examination of
15 you. I think the Judge told you my name is John Ackerman, I represent
16 Mr. Brdjanin. And I have a few things I want to discuss with you. And
17 the first of those is this document that you brought with you to the
18 Tribunal, this authorisation dated 13 June, 1994. It authorises a lawyer
19 by the name of Branislav Malic to deal with your real estate. What is the
20 ethnicity of Branislav Malic?
21 A. He's a Serb.
22 Q. What in fact was done with this authorisation? What happened to
23 your property?
24 A. After I left the town, I sent a letter to Mr. Malic, whereby I
25 withdrew the power of attorney that I had given to him. In the meantime,
1 he had made no attempts to sell my property.
2 Q. So you still own the property?
3 A. Of course.
4 Q. Did Branislav Malic stay there then throughout the war?
5 A. He lived -- he stayed there at the same address, and he still
6 lives there.
7 Q. Why is it that you left and he stayed? How did that happen?
8 A. Your Honours, in order to answer the question of the Defence
9 counsel, I should like to be given several photographs to show to
10 Mr. Ackerman. So if the usher could perhaps show me these photographs and
11 I will be able to answer Mr. Ackerman's question.
12 Q. You understand my question is fairly simple. Why did you leave
13 and why did he stay?
14 JUDGE AGIUS: I suppose he can tell us only why he left, because
15 what's good for the goose is good for the gander, Mr. Ackerman.
16 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I think I'll change the question. Let
17 me do that.
18 Q. It's the case, isn't it, that you left of your own accord so as to
19 sort of better your situation in life? Or to try to?
20 A. That's not true.
21 Q. So is it your position that you were forced to leave?
22 A. Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
23 Q. The fee for this document, this authorisation, was 11 dinars. Do
24 you have any idea how much that was in deutschmarks in June of 1994?
25 A. I couldn't tell you now.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: A few pennies, I would imagine a few pfennigs,
2 something insignificant.
3 MR. ACKERMAN:
4 Q. Lets than ten pfennigs, wasn't it?
5 A. I don't know. I told you I don't remember what the exchange rate
7 Q. So you have absolutely no memory of what dinars were worth in
8 terms of deutschmarks in Prnjavor in 1994; is that what you're telling us?
9 A. I don't remember, Mr. Ackerman.
10 Q. That's fine. I can't expect to you remember something you don't
11 remember. Do you know a person by the name of Goran Stokanovic?
12 A. Goran Stokanovic, no, I have no recollection of that name.
13 Q. Let me give you some more information about Goran Stokanovic. He
14 was the son of Ranko born 12 August, 1961 in Prnjavor. Does that help
15 [Realtime transcript read in error "represent"] You?
16 A. No.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: The transcript says that does that represent you? I
18 heard Mr. Ackerman say, "Does that help you?"
19 MR. ACKERMAN: That's what I said, Your Honour. Thank you.
20 Q. Did you ever visit the Gostovici detention camp?
21 A. Never.
22 Q. If Goran Stokanovic says in a statement that he saw you when you
23 visited there, that Jasmin Odobasic from Prnjavor visited that camp, he
24 would be incorrect?
25 MS. RICHTEROVA: Can you state, please, which year he was supposed
1 to visit the camp?
2 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, the question I asked was did he ever visit
3 the camp and his answer is no. Was there a year, sir, in which you did
4 visit the camp? Did you visit the camp, for instance, in 1995?
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Just put a plain, straightforward question,
6 Mr. Ackerman. Did he ever visit the camp, from 1990 onwards, 1991
8 MR. ACKERMAN: I think I did that and I think he said no.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: But I think it's the only way of bringing this to an
11 MR. ACKERMAN:
12 Q. I'll ask you again, sir: Did you ever visit that camp at
14 A. I don't know any camp near Gostovic and I never visited any such
16 Q. Do you know anything about the Zenica KPD correction centre?
17 A. That was the state prison before the war, during the war, and is
18 that today.
19 Q. Did you visit there in 1995?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you recall --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: May I ask you the relevance of your question now
23 that we are in 1995, Mr. Ackerman?
24 MR. ACKERMAN: I'll move on, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
1 MR. ACKERMAN:
2 Q. Prnjavor is located about 50 kilometres from the Croatian border,
3 is it not?
4 A. 58.
5 Q. And before the multi-party elections, before there were these
6 various parties, I think you say that life in that municipality was very
7 friendly and peaceful; correct?
8 A. Very peaceful and harmonious.
9 Q. You gave a statement to the Prosecutors which I'd ask that you
10 have to consult, dated 30 January, 1999. Before I ask you a question
11 about that, in this municipality, where there was this harmony and
12 everything was friendly and peaceful, how was it that there were villages
13 that were basically 100 per cent Muslim and villages that were basically
14 100 per cent Serb and why was it people were unwilling to live together if
15 there was this kind of harmony and friendship and peacefulness?
16 A. I don't understand your question entirely but I will answer,
17 Mr. Ackerman. These regions have been --
18 Q. Wait a minute, please don't answer a question you don't
19 understand. If you don't understand a question, ask me to clarify it
20 because then your probably not answering --
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Clarify it, I don't think it needs much
22 clarification but please do make an effort and clarify it, Mr. Ackerman,
23 make things simpler to the witness.
24 MR. ACKERMAN:
25 Q. The question I'm trying to ask you, sir, is this: You say that --
1 you tell us that before the multi-party situation developed, that life in
2 that municipality was friendly and peaceful and that there were a lot of
3 mixed marriages, things of that nature. What I want to know is why is it
4 in that climate people continued to bunch together in ethnic communities
5 so that there were communities of exclusive Muslims, communities of
6 exclusive Serbs and that sort of thing? Why was that if there was all
7 this harmony? Do you understand now?
8 A. Sir, there was no ethnically pure environment there. The
9 population was mixed, and that situation was inherited from the times
10 going back 200 to 300 years.
11 Q. So these villages that you talked about as being Serb villages and
12 Muslim villages really were mixed villages? Is that what you're saying?
13 A. It was mixed but of course the percentages varied. If I said
14 Muslim village, then I meant the village predominantly populated by
15 Muslims and the same goes for Serb or Croat villages.
16 Q. So like, for instance, this village I think it was called Kremna
17 or something like that, where Milankovic's group first started operating,
18 that would have been a village that was primarily Serb but contained a
19 large number of Muslims?
20 A. It was populated mostly by Serbs and very few Muslims. The number
21 of Muslims was minimal.
22 Q. Minimal being how many, would you think?
23 A. I couldn't give you a figure. I know that there were several
24 families living in state-owned housing. There was a Muslim family living
25 there, and there were several mixed marriages. So the number was very few
2 Q. In your statement to the Prosecutor, it's the one, two, three,
3 four, fifth paragraph of that statement, it says that you said this:
4 "Starting in 1980, all nationalities had their own schools and cultural
5 societies." True?
6 A. Most of them did have it.
7 Q. So the Muslims went to Muslim schools, the Croats went to Croat
8 schools, the Serbs went to Serb schools and each of those groups had their
9 own cultural society; is that correct?
10 A. No. That's not correct. It's not true that Muslims went to
11 Muslim schools and Serbs went to Serb groups. These three groups all
12 spoke Serbo-Croat and they went to the same schools. What I said applied
13 to Italians. Italians had their own schools. The Czechs and Ukrainians
14 had their own schools and as far as the cultural societies are concerned,
15 the Ukrainians had their own, it was called Taras Sevcenko. The Czechs
16 had their own cultural society, as did Italians. In Lisnja, in the Muslim
17 environment, there was a cultural society as well, and the one in town had
18 members coming from all ethnic backgrounds.
19 Q. I think you explained that. When you said all nationalities in
20 your statement, you didn't mean the Serbs or the Croats or the Muslims;
22 A. At that time, they were considered peoples, whereas the rest were
23 ethnic minorities.
24 Q. Yes. Thank you. I understand now. You told us yesterday that
25 the SDS didn't have much of a following in the town of Prnjavor itself but
1 found its support in various surrounding villages, correct?
2 A. Yes. I said so. It is correct and that's exactly how it was.
3 Q. You told us about a time when Karadzic came to the area to hold a
4 SDS rally, this being the rally where you say Dusan Zelenbaba spoke of
5 Serbs selling cows and buying guns. This clearly was a rally that was
6 held prior to the multi-party elections, was it not?
7 A. All of the rallies were held before the multi-party elections.
8 One day before the elections themselves there is a ban on all political
9 speeches. It is called the pre-election silence.
10 Q. What you told us about it yesterday, and this is --
11 Ms. Richterova, I'm not going to be able to give you a page number. I can
12 give you a time signature, 17.22.17. You were asked about when this ideal
13 life that you had been talking about changed, and your answer was as
14 follows, sir: "It happened with the formation of national political
15 parties. This harmonious life started to change and I remember that it
16 came as a big surprise which was followed by fear in Prnjavor, when in
17 1989, at a rally organised by the SDS, a certain Mr. Zelenbaba
18 declared, `citizens you better start selling your livestock and start
19 buying rifles and getting ready for war.' People were shocked and then
20 incidents started to occur."
21 So that's what you told us yesterday; correct?
22 A. Should I answer.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, of course.
24 MR. ACKERMAN:
25 Q. My question was, that's what you told us yesterday; correct?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Mr. Odobasic, could you please answer that
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've said yes twice.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: But it didn't show up in the transcript. Before you
5 proceed, Mr. Ackerman, just out of curiosity but isn't the family name
6 Zelenbaba a Muslim surname?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think it's a Serb originally from
8 Knin Krajina.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay.
10 MR. ACKERMAN:
11 Q. Sir, it's not possible, is it, that there could have been a SDS
12 rally anywhere in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1989, since the SDS party was not
13 even created until July of 1990, was it?
14 A. It is possible that I made a mistake. However, there were some
15 other smaller rallies in Prnjavor. Yesterday I said that I couldn't
16 remember the date of that particular meeting -- rally, but I'm sure that
17 it was held prior to multi-party elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 Q. Yes, so am I. And the only rally I'm talking to you about right
19 now, we will talk about some others in a moment, the only one I'm talking
20 about right now is the one where Karadzic was president -- was present and
21 Dusan Zelenbaba made this statement. Where was that rally held? Which of
22 these outlying villages where the SDS was able to acquire some support?
23 Which of those villages was it in which this rally was held?
24 A. The rally I spoke about was held in town at the central square in
25 front of the department store called Prima. And as far as your second
1 question is concerned, I think -- I'm not 100 per cent sure but I think
2 that there were some 30 villages predominantly populated by Serbs around
3 the Prnjavor area. I'm not sure in which villages exactly rallies were
4 held but I'm sure they were held in larger villages.
5 Q. But didn't you tell us yesterday that rallies were not held in
6 Prnjavor itself because the SDS couldn't get any support? They had to
7 hold their rallies in the various villages? Did I misunderstand you
9 A. You misunderstood me yesterday. I said that the rallies of the
10 SDS and SDP were held at the city square. The rally of the SDA was held
11 in Lisnja, and I repeated that twice yesterday.
12 Q. All right. This statement that was made by Dusan Zelenbaba, that
13 was made, wasn't it, in the context of there being a war going on in
15 A. I don't know what Zelenbaba meant and what was the context of his
16 statement. However, it sounded very dangerously.
17 Q. Well, there was a war going on in Croatia at the time, wasn't
19 A. If you say so.
20 Q. Do you know that or not? I mean you're the one that's testifying,
21 not me?
22 A. I don't know, sir.
23 Q. Now, you talked about rallies of other parties. Did you attend --
24 how many of these rallies did you actually attend? Did you attend any HDZ
25 rallies or SDA rallies?
1 A. HDZ did not have a chapter in Prnjavor, and as far as I know, it
2 did not hold any rallies. As far as attending other rallies, I only once
3 attended the SDA rally in Lisnja as an observer of my party, the SDP.
4 They sent five invitations to the SDP party and our leadership designated
5 five of us who were to attend that rally.
6 Q. Now, at that SDA rally, there were symbols displayed, were there
7 not, things like Islamic flags, things of that nature?
8 A. First of all, you have to explain what you mean when you say
9 Islamic flags.
10 Q. Well, flags with the crescents and the star, similar to the flag
11 from Iran?
12 A. No. I did not see such flags at that rally. However, I saw a
13 large number of green and white flags with the SDA written on them.
14 Q. I want to go back to your statement now. After the elections had
15 taken place, you say the SDS replaced all the general managers and
16 directors who were not Serbs, as well as all Serbs who were not members of
17 the SDS; correct?
18 A. I did not say replaced. I said removed.
19 Q. So they weren't any replacements, these were just jobs that ended?
20 A. No. There were people there who had just started working and then
21 were dismissed.
22 Q. The language of your statement, sir is this, and it could be an
23 error but what it says in your statement is this: "The SDS replaced all
24 general managers and directors who were not Serbs. As well as all Serbs
25 who were not members of the SDS." So according to this, you did use the
1 word "replaced".
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Now, when you say the SDS replaced these people, you mean the SDS
4 authorities who were elected after the first multi-party elections that
5 were won by the SDS party, don't you?
6 A. No. I will explain. I will explain, Mr. Ackerman. The SDS won
7 absolute majority, and the most important offices in town were filled by
8 their people. However, other people who in a way could have presented an
9 obstacle to their policy were removed from office. For example my school
10 friend, Esad Mesic [As interpreted] who was a plain warehouser in the TO
11 warehouse, that had weapons there, was dismissed. Vjekoslav Blazevic, a
12 chief of TO staff was dismissed because he was a Croat. Salko Corakovic
13 was removed because he was not loyal, as were others, and I can give you
14 names of people who held important offices who were dismissed as well as
15 those who held plain jobs but were dismissed as well.
16 Q. I'm not disagreeing with you about whether there were dismissals,
17 sir, maybe you misunderstood me. What I'm trying to find out from you is
18 who it was that was responsible for these people being dismissed and I
19 suggested to you that it was the elected leaders of the SDS who had been
20 elected in the election. Now, is that correct or is that not correct?
21 A. Naturally. The leader or one of the leaders of the SDS was the
22 most active one in inspecting and ensuring dismissals.
23 Q. And these persons who were replaced were persons who did not
24 adhere to the SDS platform and philosophy regardless of whether they were
25 Serb, Muslim or Croat; correct?
1 A. Sir, most of these people were apolitical, they had nothing to do
2 with politics. They didn't even know what a SDS platform meant. Their
3 misfortune was the fact that they were Croats, Bosniaks and others.
4 Q. The others were Serbs who were not members of SDS that were
5 dismissed too, weren't they?
6 A. Of course, the lawyer that I mentioned, Branko Malic who was
7 thrown out of the Court, was a Serb, and then eight police officers,
8 including Mr. Petrovic, a number of directors at the Prnjavor Radio,
9 Mr. Nedjeljko Sanco who was a Serb. I can give you the names of a few
10 other people as well.
11 Q. When did you first go to work for the shoe factory?
12 A. In late 1987.
13 Q. And when you went to work for the shoe factory, was it required
14 that you be a member of a particular party?
15 A. The new parties were not yet established in 1987.
16 Q. You were a member of the Communist Party in 1987 or you couldn't
17 have held that job; right?
18 A. I was for two years, from 1987 until the first multi-party
19 elections, two years and a half. Prior to that, I had never been a member
20 of the League of Communists.
21 Q. Yes.
22 A. I wouldn't have become one if --
23 Q. Go ahead, finish your answer. You wouldn't have become one if
25 A. My family was basically anti-communist. I never wanted to join
1 the League of Communists. In 1987, 1987, when I held a different
2 position, a different job, my position was in jeopardy and that is why I
3 joined the League of Communists, and -- but apart from that, I already
4 carried out some important functions and held some important offices
5 within the town as a result of my professional qualifications.
6 Q. And it's the case, isn't it, that for years -- I think, sir, that
7 I'm told that you said in answer to my question that you -- that you
8 joined the Communist Party because you were told that you could lose your
9 job if you didn't do that. Is that what you told us?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. That just didn't make it into the transcript and that's why I had
12 to ask you again. We have to also watch the transcript and make sure
13 things get there.
14 And that was a system that had existed in Yugoslavia for years and
15 years and years, that to hold important positions in state enterprises,
16 one needed to be a member of the League of Communists? That's true, isn't
18 A. Not in every case. Between 1981 and 1987 I was not a member of
19 the League of Communists and yet I held important positions in the town.
20 Q. How about when you -- but when you went to work for the shoe
21 factory, that was the time you were told you could lose the job if you
22 were not a member of the Communist Party?
23 A. No. You misunderstood me. It was not at that time.
24 Q. Tell me when it was.
25 A. After 1985, while I was the chief inspector in the town.
1 Q. All right. When the multi-party elections were held, instead of
2 the Communist Party being in charge, demanding that people be members of
3 the Communist Party to hold these positions, the SDS party took power and
4 they made the same demand, and it didn't have anything to do with whether
5 you were Muslim, Croat and Serb, it had to do with whether you were a
6 member of the SDS and adhered to their philosophy, didn't it?
7 A. Sir, SDS was a one-nation, one single ethnic party so you cannot
8 really compare the two.
9 Q. Is it your position that there were no non-Serbs who were members
10 of SDS?
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I think he has already answered that question,
12 Mr. Ackerman.
13 MR. ACKERMAN: I just want to make sure it's clear, Your Honour,
14 that that's his position.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: He doesn't need to answer the question, because it's
16 clear enough.
17 MR. ACKERMAN: So Your Honour's position is that when he said one,
18 single ethnic party, that that's the answer to that question?
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
20 MR. ACKERMAN: All right.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: It's not the answer. He has already stated that
22 there were Serbs who were not members of the SDS, who were given the sack.
23 So there were -- doesn't affect the SDS from being what he has described
24 it to be.
25 MR. ACKERMAN: I'm sorry.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: The fact that you have members of the same ethnicity
2 not belonging to that party doesn't mean that that party can't be
4 MR. ACKERMAN: I understand that, Your Honour. I just want to
5 find out from him if it's his position that there were no non-Serbs that
6 were members of SDS.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Answer the question, Mr. Odobasic.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Ackerman, I didn't say, and I
9 don't know, whether there were any non-Serbs in SDS. I didn't have any
10 insight. I didn't have any access to the SDS. I don't know. You can
11 check that information. But I know that most of the members, in most of
12 the cases, the membership was exclusively Serb.
13 MR. ACKERMAN:
14 Q. There was a division going on in Bosnia-Herzegovina between those
15 people who were in favour of independence and that was primarily people
16 who had voted in the referendum for independence, and those who were
17 opposed to independence and wanted to remain part of Yugoslavia, and it
18 turned out that most of those in favour of independence were non-Serb and
19 most of those against it were Serb, that's true, isn't it?
20 A. No. It isn't true, Mr. Ackerman.
21 Q. Why don't you tell us what your interpretation of the division
22 regarding independence or not was? What's untrue about what I just
23 suggested to you?
24 A. The untrue is what you said that there were no Serbs who supported
25 the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I said out of 8.000 people
1 who voted in favour, approximately 800 Serbs turned out. They had serious
2 problems. Some were turned back from the voting places, but in spite of
3 all this torture and abuse, they did vote in favour of Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina. I'm speaking of therefore not only Croats and Bosniaks but
5 also of some Serbs, and a number of other minorities.
6 Q. Yes. Your question must not have been properly interpreted to you
7 because my question contained the word "most" of the Serbs and most of the
8 non-Serbs, not all of them, and you agree with me that most of the Serbs
9 were opposed to independence and most of the non-Serbs were in favour of
10 it, but not all, in either case?
11 A. Mr. Ackerman, 66 per cent of people turned out for the referendum
12 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is a much higher percentage than the
13 percentage of Croats and Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Therefore
14 many Serbs turned out but I cannot speculate as to their exact number.
15 Q. I understand that. I'm not arguing with you about that. I think
16 you've answered my question and I appreciate it.
17 Now, I want to talk to you about mobilisation. You discussed it
18 in your statement. When the mobilisation was announced, it applied to
19 everyone, didn't it? It meant Bosniaks, Croats, as well as Serbs?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And people were dismissed from their work who refused to respond
22 to the mobilisation; correct?
23 A. Yes, in a significant number of cases.
24 Q. And again, that wasn't something that depended on whether they
25 were Muslim, Croat or Serb but whether they responded to the mobilisation.
1 So Serbs who failed to respond to the mobilisation were treated the same
2 and dismissed from their positions also, weren't they?
3 A. I don't know. You will have to check that. Except for the cases
4 that I mentioned.
5 Q. You know that the Bosniaks didn't respond because Alija
6 Izetbegovic, the President of Bosnia-Herzegovina, said that Bosniaks
7 should not respond to mobilisation. You know that, don't you?
8 A. Of course.
9 Q. And even in the face of that, some Bosniaks did in fact respond to
10 the mobilisation and became part of the army, didn't they?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And they weren't dismissed and they didn't lose their apartments,
13 were -- did -- were they?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. It's true that they weren't? They were not.
16 A. Yes, yes, that's what I said.
17 Q. And you yourself -- I think you told us earlier you refused to be
18 mobilised and were actually prosecuted for that, weren't you?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Do you know about or did you hear about any Serbs who were
21 prosecuted for failing to respond to mobilisation?
22 A. No. I didn't hear about them.
23 Q. In your statement on page 6, referring to the same statement, you
24 said that the last Bosniak was expelled from Prnjavor in 1995. Now, by
25 that time, you weren't there yourself, were you?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. You were still in Prnjavor in 1995?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Okay. You say the last Bosniak was expelled from Prnjavor in
5 1995. That's what you --
6 A. Except for those who were loyal or the representatives of the Army
7 of Republika Srpska.
8 Q. Okay. When you say expelled, what do you mean?
9 A. Sir, in a large number of cases, until this last wave of
10 persecutions in 1991, people had been brutally beaten, mistreated, maimed
11 and made to leave. I should perhaps show you a document and tell you how
12 me and my family, what we looked like at the time we were expelled. The
13 last departure took place in 1995, and it included several thousands of
14 people. It was organised by local authorities because a military action
15 was going on in the SAO Krajina and Serb refugees were coming in and they
16 were being accommodated in the houses of the people who were being
17 expelled. I met several hundred of such people in Zenica. I took care of
18 them and provided accommodation for them in 1995.
19 Q. Is it your contention before this Court that you yourself were
20 being expelled?
21 A. Once again, Your Honours, I would like to be allowed to show the
22 document which will prove that I was expelled from the town.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: You are free to show us whatever you like,
24 Mr. Odobasic, and then we decide whether it's relevant or not. But if you
25 have a document which you would like to show us in relation to the
1 question that you are being asked or the series of questions that you are
2 being asked now, you are free to do that.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I can please have the assistance
4 of the usher? If he can take the document.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Odobasic, yes, while you hand these documents to
6 the usher, if you would tell us whether these documents that you intend to
7 show us, whether you had showed them to anyone else before you came here
8 or since you have been here?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can you please explain who do you
10 have in mind when you say anyone else?
11 JUDGE AGIUS: I have in mind investigators of the Tribunal or
12 members of the team for the Prosecution of the Tribunal. Did you make
13 them aware of these documents? Did you show them these documents?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I handed them over to the
15 investigative organs of Bosnia and Herzegovina and I'm not aware of
16 whether they have been forwarded to the Office of the Prosecutor.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So let's see what documents you would like us
18 to see. First, I would like to have them brought to us so that we have a
19 look before --
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Usher, please show them to Madam Richterova
22 and to Mr. Ackerman.
23 Mr. Ackerman now.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I'd like to know if Ms. Richterova has
25 seen these before.
1 MS. RICHTEROVA: Yes, Your Honour. I saw these pictures and I was
2 informed that these are results of Mr. Odobasic's beating in 1994, and
3 because we were dealing with the events in 1992, I informed Mr. Odobasic
4 that we cannot use them.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have anything else to state, Mr. Ackerman?
8 MR. ACKERMAN: I'm concerned with his answer that he'd never shown
9 them to the Prosecution, Your Honour. That obviously is not true, and
10 even one of his statements --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Well --
12 MR. ACKERMAN: -- indicates that he showed them to the
14 JUDGE AGIUS: It's not incompatible with what he has stated
15 because if they had been given to the authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
16 and then in turn those authorities handed them over to the Prosecution,
17 that's perfectly compatible.
18 MR. ACKERMAN: But it's not compatible with his statement of 15
19 March, 1999, to the Office of the Prosecutor, where he says, "I am
20 providing copies of 17 photographs which I and my brother took of injuries
21 myself, my brother, my father and my brother's wife received." So when he
22 told us today he'd not given these to the Prosecutor before, I just think
23 that's not a correct statement.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Could you provide us with an explanation,
25 Mr. Odobasic? Because it seems that in March of 1999, when you were
1 interviewed by the Office of the Prosecutor, you handed photos. Were
2 these photos included among those?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is about these photos as well,
4 but I personally didn't hand them over at that time.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. These photos represent what?
6 First of all, is what Madam Richterova stated, that they refer to beatings
7 allegedly sustained by you and someone else in 1994; correct?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These photos are from 1994. They do
9 not represent just some persons. This is my father, my brother and
10 myself. But these photos do not represent the beatings. This is
11 something else.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Perhaps you could tell us what they represent, then.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Ackerman asked me a question
14 concerning my voluntary departure from the town and my answer was that I
15 had been expelled. I stated that I was expelled in this manner, that I
16 didn't leave voluntarily. That night, at least 20 and perhaps as many as
17 50 persons were beaten in the same manner and expelled from the town. 90
18 per cent of us sustained fractures and we did not leave the town on our
19 own voluntarily. We were brutally made to leave our home town.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: So these -- do you have anything to state about the
21 admission of these photographs in evidence, Mr. Ackerman?
22 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: At this point?
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I don't think they have anything to do
25 with an answer to my rather simple question: And that is, is it your
1 contention that were you expelled from Prnjavor. I think his answer to
2 that is yes, he doesn't have to go beyond that. I accept that answer.
3 Except I have more questions about it. I have no desire for these to be
4 part of the evidence.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: The Trial Chamber simply doesn't agree with you at
6 all, Mr. Ackerman. Those photographs are being admitted in evidence and
7 they will be marked, please, find a number for them, Madam Registrar.
8 When they are neither Prosecution witnesses or Defence witnesses, we had
9 some instances before, I think we established -- we had a particular
10 reference number that -- it's quite some time since we have had documents
11 of this nature. So Madam Chuqing, please, will you be kind enough to
12 identify sequential reference for these documents?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you will allow me, I
14 have prepared the same bunch of photographs for the Court. These are old
15 copies and have been damaged. With your permission I would like to give
16 you another set of the same photographs.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's see the copies that you have
18 available for the Court.
19 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, while we are waiting for that I would
20 like to request Your Honours to initiate an investigation as to how it is
21 that an official statement from the OTP contains a statement purportedly
22 by this witness and signed by him saying, "I am providing copies of these
23 photographs," and the witness says that that's not true, he never did
24 that. I think that deserves to be investigated. Somebody is not being
25 square with Your Honours about this. And as you said, when Ms. Bondic was
1 testifying -
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Wait a minute, because here we have more photos.
3 This was not amongst the others.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here they are.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Or at least I didn't see it. The rest seem okay.
6 See if there is -- see if there is one like this. Oh, yes, okay. All
7 right. Okay.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Could you count them, please, usher?
10 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, now we have other photos and some of
11 them are roughly the same thing.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Sixteen. I have 16 here. How many do you have,
14 THE REGISTRAR: Fifteen.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: So someone must do the tallying. I think I saw one
16 there which I don't recall seeing over there but anyway. In the meantime
17 we've taken note of your request to initiate -- 15 or 16?
18 JUDGE JANU: Seventeen.
19 MR. ACKERMAN: Seventeen?
20 JUDGE AGIUS: So let's have the others as well and Judge Taya will
21 do the tallying.
22 MR. ACKERMAN: In connection with my request that you look into
23 this, Your Honour, I just want to remind you of your statement during the
24 testimony of another witness here, that if you found that somebody was not
25 being truthful with the Trial Chamber, you would come down very hard upon
1 that person and there is some indication here that something is amiss.
2 Because the statement says one thing and the witness says another.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, we've taken note of that and we will decide at
4 a later stage what to do about it.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE AGIUS: In the meantime, what shall we do, Mr. Ackerman?
7 Shall we stop here?
8 MR. ACKERMAN: Yes, Your Honour. Maybe within the next several
9 house we can get the count right. Thank you.
10 MS. RICHTEROVA: Your Honour, I was informed that Mr. Odobasic is
11 set to go back on Thursday because one other team requested his presence,
12 but he can be postponed, his departure can be postponed until Friday so
13 there is no problem.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So we will stop here today, for today.
15 Mr. Odobasic, we will continue tomorrow. In the meantime, we are
16 keeping the originals too for the time being. We will give them back to
17 you tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon. You don't have to worry about
18 that. We just want to make sure that we have exactly the same number, the
19 same copies. Judge Taya has already discovered that there are duplicates,
20 at least of one photo. This one is duplicated. Actually, it's not. It's
21 a different photo but -- but it is not a duplicate of the other. It's a
22 different one. It's a different one.
23 Mr. Ackerman, there are these two photos which at first sight, in
24 the previous bundle, we had one of these, which one I wouldn't be able to
25 tell you unless I make a comparison. If you look carefully, the two are
1 very similar, almost identical, but they are two different, separates
3 MR. ACKERMAN: I think one or the other is sufficient but not
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. That would still bring it to 16, and we need
6 to find the other extra one.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: I assume you will have someone gather me up as
8 usual to come to chambers.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Rheinhold, please will you attend to Mr. Ackerman
10 and escort him to room 177 because otherwise --
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So we give these two back -- we give
13 these two back to the witness, together with the originals that he had
14 handed to us. The situation, Mr. Ackerman -- Mr. Ackerman?
15 MR. ACKERMAN: Yes.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: The position is as explained to you there are these
17 two which are not exactly duplicates but almost and we are only retaining
18 one because we don't need two, and then there is this document, this
19 document, which is of the same person, one with the trousers on and the
20 other one without the trousers, with the underpants, and we are only
21 retaining this because this is what was in the original bundle. So that
22 goes there. And this is returned to the witness, together with this, this
23 and that. Usher? And Madam Registrar, did you find the reference number
24 for these documents?
25 THE REGISTRAR: Before we used some MFR marked for identification
1 number but those documents actually later on were admitted into either OTP
2 exhibit or Defence exhibit. Now if you want to admit these into Court
3 exhibit perhaps we can use a "C" in the front.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: So we'll use a C in the front to make it easy. Why
5 C and not TC?
6 THE REGISTRAR: Well, it's up to you Your Honour.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Because we are not the Court, we are -- so it's TC 1
8 to 15. All right? Thank you.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Yes.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.33 p.m.,
11 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 5th day of
12 March, 2003, at 2.15 p.m.