1 Wednesday, 15th September, 1999
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.11 p.m.
4 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Please take
5 your seats. Will you have the accused brought in,
7 [The accused entered court]
8 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] First of all,
9 I'd like to say good afternoon to the interpreters and
10 the Prosecution and the Defence, and to hear the news
11 from Mr. Greaves and your computer, whether it is
12 functioning properly. Is everything in order?
13 MR. GREAVES: I'm afraid I spent part of the
14 early afternoon trying to destroy some of the equipment
15 of the Tribunal. It's my fault entirely; a momentary
16 lapse of concentration. I'm sorry I caused you any
18 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] I would just
19 like to tell you that when you find a mistake in the
20 transcript, to check your equipment as well, please.
21 Thank you.
22 Mr. Nice?
23 MR. NICE: The next witness is Mustafa
24 Ramic. I trust you have his summaries. He seeks no
25 order of protection. May he be brought in, please.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Mr. Ramic, can
3 you hear me? You can hear me. Very well. You are now
4 going to remind us of your name and surname and your
5 date and place of birth.
6 There are no protection measures. You can
7 tell us your name, your surname, your place and date of
8 birth, please, to begin with.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is
10 Mustafa Ramic. I was born on the 6th of February,
11 1942, in Brcko. At present I reside in Sarajevo. By
12 profession I am a machine engineer, graduated from
13 university, and I am employed.
14 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] That will be
15 enough for the time being. Would you take the oath,
16 please, according to the formula that the usher will
17 hand you.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly
19 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
20 and nothing but the truth.
21 WITNESS: MUSTAFA RAMIC
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you,
24 Mr. Ramic. You can sit down now. You have accepted to
25 come to the Tribunal and appear in this present hearing
1 in front of the International Tribunal, and it is the
2 Prosecutor against Mr. Goran Jelisic, who is to your
3 left, between the two U.N. guards.
4 We wanted to tell you that you were, first of
5 all, going to hear questions put to you by the
6 Prosecution, and we'll then have questions from the
7 Defence. Then, of course, the Judges will decide
8 whether or not to ask you any additional questions.
9 I should like to tell you that you can feel
10 very calm. You will sitting in front of Judges. It is
11 always difficult, I know. If you need any break or a
12 pause in the proceedings, please ask for it, and you
13 will see that everything will evolve in the best
14 possible terms.
15 Mr. Nice is the representative of the
16 Prosecution, and I give the floor to the Prosecutor.
17 Examined by Mr. Nice:
18 Q. Mr. Ramic, were you born and did you live
19 most of your life before the war in Brcko? Indeed, was
20 your brother to become the president of the Brcko SDA
21 shortly before the war, and were you heavily involved
22 in the formation of that political party, and indeed
23 did you become mayor of Brcko in the 1990 election?
24 A. Yes. Everything that you have said is
1 Q. Before we turn to matters of detail with
2 which you can assist the Tribunal, I'm going to ask you
3 to help them with three maps, if the usher would be so
5 MR. NICE: The order I'm going to present
6 them is the small one first, the green one second, and
7 the town map third. The small one, therefore, becomes
8 exhibit number --
9 THE REGISTRAR: 56.
10 MR. NICE: If a copy of that can go on the
11 ELMO, as this is a public hearing.
12 Q. Does this map show the division of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina as between the Federation of Bosnia
14 and Herzegovina and the Republic of Srpska?
15 A. Yes, it does.
16 Q. Does it show the position of Brcko at an
17 extremely narrow part of what is the Republika Srpska,
18 linking the eastern to the western parts of that body?
19 A. Yes. That's right.
20 Q. The significance of that area of land on
21 which Brcko fell being obvious, for it's the only
22 connecting point between the eastern and the western
24 A. Yes. That's right.
25 MR. NICE: The second map, please, will be
1 the green map, which, I imagine, becomes Exhibit 57.
2 MR. GREAVES: Your Honour, the Defence
3 doesn't have any copies of these items.
4 MR. NICE: I'm so sorry. I've provided
5 enough copies for the registrar to distribute them. By
6 being efficient in that way, I'd overlooked the Defence
7 interest. I apologise.
8 Q. This map shows Brcko, and it's a little hard
9 to see on the displays but -- thank you very much.
10 It's towards the right of what is on the screen.
11 First of all, we can see, can we not --
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
13 MR. NICE:
14 Q. First of all, we can see, Mr. Ramic, that
15 Brcko lies on the south of the River Sava. Is that
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. And that the River Sava itself marks the
19 border between what and what at this part of the land?
20 A. Marks the border between Bosnia-Herzegovina
21 and the neighbouring state of Croatia.
22 MR. NICE: If the technical staff would be
23 good enough to come back just a little further from the
24 part of the map that they've highlighted. Thank you.
25 Q. Can we see Bjeljina -- a bit further still,
1 please. Thank you -- now in the bottom right-hand
2 corner of the map. Above that can we see Batkovic?
3 A. Yes, you can.
4 Q. Other places that may have been referred to
5 in the evidence can always be identified later.
6 MR. NICE: May the witness have the next map,
7 please, will become Exhibit 58. It has with it a key.
8 The map is a little large for the ELMO, but
9 for the purposes of the public, if the witness could
10 have the pointer; although the Chamber may find it more
11 convenient to follow it with the key on the original
12 copies of the maps they have.
13 Q. Can we see, Mr. Ramic, on this map, towards
14 the north-west, marked number 1, the hospital, with the
15 health centre on the opposite side of the road and the
16 wooden mosque next door to it?
17 A. Yes. That's right.
18 Q. Following that road round, are there three
19 more mosques, 4 and 5, and I myself can't -- and then
20 6, the middle of the point on the west. Four and 5,
21 and then 6 down there is another mosque.
22 Going back towards the top of the map is
23 number 7, the SUP building, in the centre of town. The
24 nearness or otherwise of the SUP building from the Luka
25 warehouse facility can be seen on the map.
1 Could you just point out Luka facility to us,
2 please? The Chamber, I think, knows where it is.
3 A. [Indicates]
4 Q. That's it. It's the black buildings lining
5 the side of the River Sava.
6 Number 8 is the Partizan Sports Hall,
7 number 9 the JNA barracks. Then if we come down
8 further on the map, on the roads running south -- and
9 there are two roads running south -- if you take the
10 road that runs almost due south, it goes to a place
11 marked 10, and was that the Laser Bus Company?
12 A. Yes. That's right.
13 Q. If you take the road that runs, I suppose,
14 south/south-east, does that road come to somewhere
15 marked 12, and then beyond that to somewhere marked
16 11? Can you see the markings 12 and 11?
17 A. I pointed to them. This is 11 and that's 12
19 Q. Now, although you may not have been back
20 after the war at any time when you could see where mass
21 grave sites were found, is it your understanding -- and
22 there will be further evidence of this to assist the
23 Chamber, but is it your understanding that 12 is the
24 approximate area of the mass grave sites?
25 A. Yes, that's that.
1 Q. And Number 11 is some farms.
2 A. Farms, yes. Those are the farms there.
3 Q. Thank you. I'll now turn to the detail of
4 your evidence. Before I do so, have you seen a summary
5 of your evidence? Have you seen a summary of your
6 evidence, which is now being produced to you?
7 A. I've got it, yes, I've seen it.
8 Q. And subject to amendments that were made when
9 you were first here in The Hague, is that document
11 A. Yes, it's correct.
12 Q. In 1990, did you and your brother attend the
13 first official meeting of the SDA in Sarajevo, becoming
14 party members and campaigning strongly during that
15 period of time in the Brcko municipality?
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. Were your aims to include -- or were your
18 aims to ensure democratic representation for Bosniaks,
19 they being the majority ethnic group at that time?
20 A. That's right, yes.
21 Q. In paragraph 3 of your summary, a number of
22 statistics are set out. Were they provided by you, or
23 alternatively provided to you and checked by you some
24 time ago?
25 A. I provided these figures, and they are
1 absolutely correct and common knowledge.
2 Q. The various statistics will not help to be
3 read out, but if it comes to this, that when combining
4 the Bosniak portion of the population with Yugoslavs,
5 or people identified as Yugoslavs but also Bosniaks,
6 was the proportion of Bosniaks as defined in that way
7 something in the region of 53 per cent?
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 Q. The proportion of people simply declared as
10 Bosniaks being approximately 44 per cent?
11 A. 44? I think ,5 per cent, 44,5 per cent,
13 Q. You, with your brother, formed bodies called
14 the municipal board and the executive board of the SDA,
15 and people were elected to those bodies from local
16 boards within the municipality, but there were also
17 party members who hold no office; is that correct?
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. And to paragraph 5: There were some 20 to 23
20 local boards in and around the municipality of Brcko,
21 each having its own officers elected by local members?
22 A. That is correct, yes.
23 Q. You set out in paragraph 6 and 7 certain
24 other details of the boards, which I needn't trouble
25 you with at the moment, and we come to paragraph 8. At
1 the time of the election in 1990, did the municipal
2 parliament of Brcko consist of 90 seats, and did each
3 contesting party put forward 90 nominations?
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 MR. NICE: I now produce a compendious
6 exhibit which comes in a plastic folder and will, I
7 think, become compendiously Exhibit 59?
8 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Prosecution Exhibit 59.
9 MR. NICE: And if we keep the pages in the
10 same order, we'll be able to run through them quite
11 swiftly, and I hope efficiently.
12 Q. The first page of Exhibit 59 is marked "A" in
13 the top right-hand corner and is a list of 90 names.
14 What are these names, please, Mr. Ramic?
15 A. It is a list of 90 candidates which the SDA
16 party put forward for the general elections in 1990.
17 Q. We see that you have highlighted numbers 6,
18 16, 23, 29, and 60, the significance of the highlights
19 being ... ?
20 A. Those were individuals who, in my opinion,
21 are not living today. They were killed in the war.
22 Q. Thank you. Following that election in 1990,
23 did the SDP or Communist Party win the majority of the
24 seats; namely, 24: the SDA coming second with 23, the
25 HDZ gaining 21 seats, and the SDS winning but 14 seats?
1 A. Quite correct, yes.
2 Q. If you turn to the second document, or second
3 part of the overall document, headed "B" in the top
4 right-hand corner and running to three sheets, I think,
5 is this a list of the names with the party affiliations
6 of those elected to the municipal parliament? And we
7 can simply see the distribution of -- if we look in the
8 brackets, SDP, Bosniak, Serb, Croat, Serb, Bosniak, and
9 so on.
10 A. Yes, that is it.
11 Q. And then that list goes over for various --
12 well, it goes over for the three pages, but what I was
13 reading out on the first part was those who were under
14 the banner of the SDP, and they are of various ethnic
15 groupings. When you come to the bottom of the first
16 sheet and to the SDA, they are, of course, all
17 Bosniak. When you come to the second sheet, the HDZ,
18 they were all Croats. And when you come to the third
19 sheet, to the SDS, they are all Serbs. And you've made
20 then reference to the "Reformisti" coalition with some
21 six names, and just explain that for us, please.
22 A. That's how it was. SDP, the Communist Party,
23 won 24 seats in the election, and this is the list of
24 those persons who were elected and who represented
25 members of the municipal parliament. So this was a
1 mixed group; that is, there were Bosniaks, Serbs, and
3 Next came the Party for Democratic Action,
4 SDA, which won 23 seats, and here you have enclosed a
5 list of those people who became members, council
6 members. They were all Bosniaks.
7 Then came the Croat Democratic Community,
8 HDZ, which won 21 seats, and here is their list of
9 those who became municipal councilmen, and they are all
11 Then came the Serb Democratic Party, or SDS,
12 which won 14 seats, and these are some of the municipal
14 Then the "Reformisti" coalition of
15 reformists, who won six seats, and as you can see, they
16 include both Bosniaks and Serbs, and these are the
17 names of municipal councilmen elected then.
18 Then the Muslim Bosniak organisation, MBO,
19 which won one seat, and this is the name of that
20 person. He is a Bosniak, and he was elected a
22 And finally the Green Party, which won one
23 seat, and that man was of Serb origin. He was also a
24 municipal councilman.
25 MR. NICE: The next document, please, and it
1 may be helpful, although the witness doesn't
2 necessarily refer to it, it may be helpful to the
3 public if we provide a spare copy of these documents,
4 and then they can go on the ELMO for the public to
6 And we're now up to the document, about
7 page 4, I think, marked "C," and while we are looking
8 at that, just checking that the right one comes on the
9 ELMO. Thank you very much.
10 Q. Is this a diagrammatic representation of the
11 structure within the Brcko municipality?
12 A. Yes, that is correct.
13 Q. In fact, I think what happened was, following
14 the election, that the SDP and the SDA formed a
15 coalition with the HDZ and the SDS, and in that
16 coalition, the SDA did hold the majority; is that
18 A. I think that this is not quite correct.
19 After the election, the coalition at the level of the
20 state of Bosnia-Herzegovina was set up by the SDA, HDZ,
21 and SDS, in order to take over the power, and the same
22 happened in the municipality of Brcko. It is not
23 correct that the SDA had the majority, because all
24 three parties in the government in power shared the
25 power. It was more or less a parity, a relationship on
2 Q. If we look at the diagram, the president, who
3 had a vice-president, the president was whom? You?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You show that underneath your vice-president,
6 there was the parliament, and then below that -- I'm
7 sorry this isn't in translation -- the next body
8 immediately below that is what body?
9 A. That is the municipal government. What it
10 says here is the executive board or the executive
12 Q. And that comprised three SDA, three Croatian,
13 and three Serbian members?
14 A. Yes, correct.
15 Q. Going further up -- I'll come to the bottom
16 of the drawing in a minute, but if we go further up
17 again, apart from the secretarial support, we see on
18 the left the police; we see on the right the
19 Territorial Defence.
20 A. Yes. Yes.
21 Q. And then to the right of the Territorial
22 Defence, we see -- what's that there? SU --
23 A. This is the court. This is the court.
24 Q. And in each case you've drawn a line going
25 directly up to a minister -- to the Republic of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, or to a minister or ministry in the
2 republic. Can you just explain what that represents?
3 A. The court which I'm showing was directly
4 subordinated to the Ministry of the State of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Then the Territorial Defence,
6 which I'm pointing at now [indicates], was subordinate
7 to the republican headquarters of the State of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, so that was the republican
9 Territorial Defence headquarters. The police here was
10 directly under the ministry of the police of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, so those were autonomous structures
12 which were not accountable to me, or rather to
13 municipal authorities.
14 Q. Looking at the bottom of the picture, which
15 will need a marginal adjustment -- thank you very much
16 -- on the ELMO, have you here set out various
17 ministries; for example, education and other
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Let me turn over to the next part of your
21 exhibit, which is marked D.
22 A. This is the diagram of the graph of the
23 municipal government, with all of the municipal
25 MR. NICE: I'm just going to interrupt to say
1 this: I'm very grateful to my case manager. With her
2 usual efficiency, she draws to my attention that there
3 are French translation available for nearly all of this
4 document. One or two of the last annexes haven't yet
5 been translated into French, but the balance of the
6 document is available, if that would assist the
8 It may be that there are a sufficiently
9 limited number of words in either English or French
10 that the Chamber's happy to continue without them, but
11 they're here if required. Thank you.
12 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank
13 you. All these explanations are very clear, but we are
14 really very happy to also have the French version.
15 Thank you very much.
16 MR. NICE:
17 Q. The next document, D, is really a repetition
18 of the previous document with the parliament now -- the
19 picture of the intervening parliament cut out. What
20 you've done on this diagram is not only identify
21 certain post holders, but you've also identified their
22 ethnic origins or groupings.
23 So we see here that the president is marked
24 as -- not as you but as Pero Markovic. Can you just
25 explain that?
1 A. This graph here shows the municipal
2 government, which is made on a parity level, as I've
3 already said. That is, nine members altogether; three
4 were Bosniaks, three were Serbs, and three were
6 The president of the government -- that is,
7 the Prime Minister -- was a Serb, and I'm showing, now
8 pointing at his name, Pero Markovic [indicates]. He
9 was a Serb. His deputy was Munib Jusufovic, a
10 Bosniak. Then you have number 3, which is the Ministry
11 for Revenue, for the budget, for taxes, and the head of
12 that Ministry was a Croat. It's this box here
13 [indicates] --
14 Q. We need not go through --
15 A. -- and so on and so forth, yes.
16 Q. Again, the distribution amongst the ethnic
17 groupings is revealed. Thank you.
18 We can now go to, I think, the next document,
19 which is marked E, and there's only one sheet. Just
20 explain this for us, because it may be being looked at
21 in translation, but if you could explain it for us,
22 please, very briefly.
23 A. This here is a document showing how the
24 municipal power was distributed on a parity basis, as I
25 have just mentioned -- the significance, the ranking,
1 the character of functions -- so that here, under 1, we
2 have three posts, which are the highest-ranking posts
3 at the municipal level.
4 Q. There is your name as the president?
5 A. Yes. First comes the president, the mayor.
6 Yes. That is me, yes. Then the next name. This is
7 the Prime Minister. That is the president of the
8 government, and that is Pero Markovic, a Serb. Then
9 third ranking is the head of the local police, Stjepan
10 Filipovic, a Croat.
11 Q. Then we've just -- we needn't go beyond, I
12 think. Beside number 2, what does the title beside
13 number 2 tell us?
14 A. Number 2, it repeats the diagram which you
15 just saw; that is, the government, the composition of
16 the government.
17 Q. And number 3?
18 A. Number 3. Number 3 -- number 3 is my deputy
19 -- that is, deputy mayor -- and he is a Croat.
20 Q. Thank you. Over then to document F, which we
21 can see from the heading is the territorial -- the
22 police at the top, and the Territorial Defence
23 two-thirds of the way down, and again you've identified
24 various post holders. It can all be gone into detail
25 if required, but does it again show a distribution of
1 jobs between the various parties and indeed between the
2 various ethnic groups?
3 A. So this document shows, first, the structure
4 of the police, I mean the ethnic composition of the
5 police, and the distribution of different duties of
6 different posts in the police. So on the one -- and
7 says "Police." Then the topmost post is the head, head
8 of the police, and that was a Croat, Stjepan
10 Q. Yes.
11 A. Then comes the commander of policemen, and
12 that was a Serb, Mitar Milic. The third one is the
13 head of inspection services, and it was this one,
14 Tanjic, and he was a Bosniak.
15 Below that, here, we have an approximate
16 ethnic structure of the police; that is, there were
17 about 55 per cent of Serbs, 27 per cent were Bosniaks,
18 and Croats were about -- amounted for about 18 per
20 So this was the state of affairs that I found
21 when I came to -- when I became the mayor.
22 Q. Then the Territorial Defence has been dealt
23 with in a similar way and the distribution is
25 A. Yes. Identical.
1 Q. Over to the following page marked G. This is
2 the schools in the municipality, with their directors
3 shown and their ethnic categorisation: Serb, Bosniak,
4 and one Croat shown, I think, as the director of the
5 listed schools.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. At the bottom of the page --
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. -- the director of the schools: 9, 2, and
10 1. I think that's what I've already dealt with.
11 A. Yes. That is correct.
12 Q. Thank you. We will return to the exhibit
13 shortly, and I'll take you to the 1st of May of 1992.
14 Before the events of the 1st of May, 1992,
15 had you had warnings of things to come both from
16 individuals and from things that you could see
18 A. There were many signs and rumours that
19 something was in the offing, that something -- that a
20 bloodshed might occur. There were all sorts of events,
21 all sorts of indicators, beginning from the general
22 state of affairs in Bosnia-Herzegovina which prevailed
23 during the latest period of time, which, of course,
24 affected the municipality of Brcko. There were also
25 various signs of what was coming in the municipality
1 itself, including direct calls to me by individual
2 citizens, either by those who were trying to tell me
3 about these things openly or surreptitiously, and the
4 behaviour of the army was particularly symptomatic.
5 I think it most struck the ire. It was quite
6 evident that the army was getting ready, or, rather,
7 the army was involved in whatever was about to happen.
8 There is a great deal of evidence about that. I could
9 really spend a lot of time telling you about it.
10 Q. Summarising it as you have done in paragraph
11 16, or has been done for you in paragraph 16, did you
12 become aware of the gathering of military equipment and
13 soldiers, the distribution of weapons to Serb villages
14 in the municipality, building of roadblocks and
15 checkpoints, and also the presence of paramilitary
16 groups in and around the town?
17 A. Yes. As I have said, it lasted for several
18 months before the war broke out. The army was
19 distributing the weapons among the Serb population in
20 villages. Then the army had also involved the reserve
21 troops, and they were made up exclusively of Serbs.
22 Q. Right. As to the men you saw in and around
23 the town, were you aware of men foreign to the area;
24 and if so, what sort of numbers and what sort of ages?
25 Don't read the summary, because I think if
1 you just tell the Judges, it will be more helpful.
2 Were you aware of men foreign to the area; and if so,
3 what sort of numbers and what sort of age were they?
4 A. It was quite obvious. So for about a month
5 or two before the war, in the town of Brcko there were
6 about 300 or even 400 men, that sort of magnitude, who
7 were not from the area, whom we did not know. So they
8 were outsiders. They were mostly aged between
9 20 to, say, 35.
10 Q. Thank you. Did you inquire -- paragraph 17,
11 but you don't trouble with that yourself, Mr. Ramic --
12 but did you inquire of the JNA commander what was
13 happening and did he tell you?
14 A. I would -- I called him repeatedly in
15 relation to all these happenings, and on several
16 occasions I also went to see him and talk to him and
17 ask him why all these activities, and particularly why
18 were the tanks digging in and why were groups with
19 machine-guns deployed around the town or on the main
21 What was particularly odd was that most of
22 these weapons were aimed at the town.
23 He would not discuss it much and, as a rule,
24 would reply to all my questions that it was in line
25 with some army activities. Or when I would be very
1 direct and very blunt, then he would answer, "I don't
2 have to answer that."
3 Q. Did he in any way explain the build-up of
4 forces by reference to any threat from elsewhere?
5 A. From time to time he would answer that these
6 activities were being conducted also as a defence
7 against incursion of some foreign forces. When I would
8 ask him, "What important forces?" then he would say,
9 "From Croatia." Should I continue?
10 Q. If there's anything more to fill out that
11 answer, yes, anything else that he said to you
12 that's --
13 A. Yes. So he seemed to be concerned about the
14 safety of the citizens there, thinking that they
15 might -- that it might be imperilled by the incursion of
16 some forces from outside, and by that he meant
18 On that occasion, I told him, "Well, if this
19 is the concern for the citizenry, then why don't we
20 organise a joint unit?" That was my proposal for
21 him: 150 men strong, with 50 Serbs, 50 Croats, and 50
22 Bosniaks, and let them look after the area and be
23 placed under his command. However, he refused that.
24 Q. Did the SDS, the party of the Serbs, make a
25 claim to divide Brcko, a claim which was initially
1 unacceptable to your party, not least because of your
2 majority or comparative majority position in the town?
3 A. The SDS did not have a majority in the town,
4 by no means. The overall number of -- they accounted
5 for barely 20 per cent of the population in the town,
6 and even in the territory of the municipality of Brcko,
7 the Serb population again accounted for some 20 per
8 cent. But they wanted to divide it, to partition the
9 town, and they were saying -- they were doing it quite
10 openly, because they wanted to call it the Serb
11 Municipality of Brcko.
12 Q. Under the pressure that you were facing, was
13 there a televised parliamentary session on the 27th of
14 April, where the SDA's proposition to divide the town
15 was debated?
16 A. Well, these requests to have the town
17 divided, to have a Serb Municipality of Brcko
18 established, that was something that we could not
19 accept because it was impossible. I mean, it was
20 simply not feasible. Of course, we were not
21 particularly happy to be involved in such discussions.
22 But then they began to threaten and said,
23 "Well, if you won't do it, then we shall do it by
24 force." At that, we agreed to convene the parliament
25 -- rather, the municipal parliament -- and have a
1 decision about that. That was on the 17th of April,
3 Q. The result of the debate was what?
4 A. Well, I have to say that all the parties in
5 the town took part in it. It was very tense. In other
6 parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, people were already being
7 killed. The war was already on. Even in the
8 neighbourhood community -- in the adjacent community --
9 even in the neighbouring community of Bjeljina, for
10 instance, it had already broken out.
11 So people were sensing that, and they were
12 afraid that the same thing might happen in Brcko, and
13 then they accepted -- and then they accepted -- they
14 agreed then to have the municipality divided.
15 So the conclusion of that parliamentary
16 debate was to allow them to take out a part of the town
17 and part of the municipality and call it the Serb
18 Municipality of Brcko.
19 However, at that time, we did not
20 determine -- we did not define that particular part and
21 when it would go into force. We had decided to do that
22 at the next session, which was called for the
23 4th of May.
24 Q. Between --
25 A. I should like to adjust one more thing. So
1 it was as early as April -- I'm referring to the SDS.
2 So in early April, before all that I'm talking about
3 had happened, they had already proclaimed the Serb
4 Municipality of Brcko through some decisions that they
5 had taken, and they also had it carried by various
7 So we knew that they had already decided that
8 they would be a Serb Municipality of Brcko, and they
9 had even decided who would be the mayor of their
10 municipality, and his name was Djordje Ristanic, and he
11 was one of the SDS councilmen in our parliament.
12 Q. Between -- well, at around this time, but
13 between the date of the discussion or debate on
14 television and the 1st of May, when the bridges were
15 blown up, were people leaving Brcko for safer
17 A. Yes. This was very noticeable. Many people
18 were leaving the town, and sometimes there was a sort
19 of panic situation because many, many people were
21 Q. Indeed, did there come a time when your own
22 family left but you stayed?
23 A. Yes. Let me add that my mother, who was old,
24 was ailing. She lived with me. I had small children.
25 My son was only six years old at the time, and so I had
1 to take care of them too, but it was only five or six
2 days before the outbreak of war.
3 MR. NICE: Can we return to map Exhibit 57,
4 please, which is the green map; this one. It shows the
5 geography in some detail. It isn't in the summary, but
6 I think the witness may be able to help with this.
7 Q. By the 1st of May, when the bridges over the
8 Sava at Brcko were blown up, where was the nearest
9 effective bridge east or west of Brcko, and had any
10 other bridges by then been destroyed, please?
11 A. On the 1st of May, when the bridges in Brcko
12 were destroyed, there was not a single bridge across
13 which you could go to Croatia. All the bridges had
14 already been destroyed. Otherwise, the nearest bridge,
15 which was destroyed several months previously, was in
16 Orasje, which is about 20 kilometres away from Brcko,
17 25 kilometres.
18 Q. Are you saying that for the total length of
19 this map, all the way west past Bosanski Brod and past
20 Bosanski Gradica, there were no bridges --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Mr. Nice,
22 please. We didn't hear you.
23 MR. NICE: I'm sorry. My mistake.
24 Q. Are you saying that on this map, going west
25 past Bosanski Brod and all the way through Bosanski
1 Gradiska, there were no bridges at the time that the
2 bridge at Brcko was blown up?
3 A. That's right. There was not a single bridge
4 you could go across. There were bridges, but they had
5 all been destroyed previously.
6 Q. We know from other evidence that when the
7 bridges at Brcko were blown up, many people were killed
8 and their body parts found in and around the town. And
9 again, this is not something that's covered in your
10 summary, but I'm going to ask you to deal with it in
11 any event.
12 Two parts to the question. First, how did it
13 come about that there were people on the bridge liable
14 to be killed in that way? And the second part of the
15 question: Can you help us, from what you may now know,
16 about whether any Serbs were killed in that
17 destruction, or not; and if not, why not?
18 A. First of all, I'd like to say that we were
19 afraid that somebody might blow up the bridge, and so I
20 ordered the bridge to be protected. A group of
21 policemen was set up, a sort of control point,
22 checkpoint, at the bridge itself. This checkpoint was
23 manned by ten individuals, so that the bridge could not
24 be destroyed by anybody; it could only have been taken
25 over and destroyed by a very well-prepared group of
2 And that is in fact what happened. Later on,
3 we learnt from the survivors -- that is to say, from
4 the policemen who had protected the bridge -- that in
5 the course of the night, a group of some 20 men turned
6 up. That is what the professional policemen told us,
7 that they saw another very well-prepared group of
8 people, numbering some 20 individuals, and that most of
9 those people spoke a dialect which showed that they had
10 come from Serbia.
11 And they had taken over our checkpoint. They
12 brought in a vehicle full of dynamite. This was
13 ascertained later on, because the policemen had seen
14 that they brought a vehicle up and placed it at the end
15 of the bridge and waited to activate the explosive.
16 All this is correct, and we have the testimonies of
17 witnesses, eyewitnesses.
18 And then they waited for the morning, which
19 is to say the 30th of April, at 4.30 a.m., to activate
20 the explosive. The reason for which they waited was
21 that as there was a situation of war in Croatia,
22 Croatia did not allow free passage across the bridge.
23 However, at intervals, at a certain time, it would
24 allow people to pass across, so that an agreement had
25 been reached that they should give free passage to
1 people between 4.00 and 5.00 a.m., and that is the time
2 when they would allow people to pass across from
3 Croatia into Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 There were many men from Bosnia-Herzegovina
5 who were employed in Croatia and Slovenia, Germany,
6 Austria; that is to say, the neighbouring western
7 countries. And that is -- the German term used is the
8 gastarbeiters, the guest workers. And they would come
9 to visit their families, for two reasons. They would
10 come first because at that time, there were the 1st of
11 May celebrations, when they had their May Day holidays,
12 and so they would take the weekend off; and on the
13 other hand, their families informed them that the
14 situation was very tense, and that they did not feel
15 secure, so these people, these workers, wanted to go
16 back home to protect their families.
17 They were, for the most part, men; very
18 active men, working men, aged between, say, 20 to 40.
19 At that time, according to our later assessment, there
20 were about 150 people on the bridge, and we're quite
21 certain that there was not a single Serb amongst them.
22 From what we learned later on, and the names of the
23 people, as far as we were able to discover, all the
24 names, all the people were in fact Bosniaks.
25 Q. When the bridge was blown, were you in Brcko
2 A. Yes, I was.
3 Q. Did you make an attempt with the local JNA
4 commander not to have the town occupied by JNA troops
5 but to let the civilian police maintain law and order,
6 and did you indeed go on television seeking to calm the
7 civil population?
8 A. Yes. Let me put it this way: You didn't ask
9 me, but it is important to know that two bridges were
10 blown up in Brcko. There were in fact two bridges.
11 One was the one that we're discussing now, and that was
12 the bridge and the -- both communication for vehicles
13 and for pedestrians; and another one, a kilometre lower
14 down, and that was a railway bridge, and that bridge
15 too was blown up, within the space of three minutes,
16 one after the other.
17 The blowing-up of the bridge had the effect
18 of being an exceptional catastrophe at that point, and
19 it was very frightening, and panic reigned in town. Of
20 course the people started to flee from their houses en
21 masse, and they went towards the south, the south-lying
22 regions. In this general panic, we had to deal with
23 law and order in town, and I, myself, as the mayor,
24 immediately convened a meeting of the defence council;
25 according to my mandate, it was my duty to do so.
1 A member of that body was commander of the
2 garrison. However, he didn't wish to come to me, but
3 he asked me to go to him, to the barracks. And I did
4 this, although I knew that my safety would not be
5 guaranteed. So I went to the meeting at the barracks,
6 and I asked -- that is to say, he said that he would
7 bring the army into town to take control of all the
8 more important points in town.
9 I think he told me this because he was not
10 certain what would happen in town afterwards. He could
11 have done that without telling me, in fact, but that
12 was the reason; he wasn't sure, he didn't know what the
13 army would encounter once they entered town. And at
14 the time, I told him that I would not allow the army to
15 enter into the town, that that was the job of the
16 police force, and that it was up to the police to
17 maintain law and order in town.
18 Q. Was it following that that you went on
20 A. Yes. When I said what I did, he put an
21 ultimatum to me; that is, he laid down conditions. He
22 said that if I succeeded in calming the population, and
23 I would only be able to do so -- that was his request,
24 that I go on local television and call upon the people
25 to calm down. If I were to do this, then he would
1 agree not to bring the army into town. And I accepted
2 that. I accepted going on television and addressing
3 the people.
4 Q. In the course of your time at the television
5 station, did somebody telephone in to that television
6 station with some news?
7 A. Yes. The programme lasted for a very short
8 space of time. It lasted two or three minutes; not
9 more than that. As soon as I appealed to the civilian
10 population with instructions telling them not to panic,
11 and that we would keep things under control, and so on,
12 people called me up directly in the studio from various
13 parts of town telling me that the army was already
14 entering town. And then, at one point, people phoned
15 me up directly from the local community of the 4th of
16 July -- you have that in your documents -- and they let
17 me know, "Well, Mr. President, the army is at present
18 shooting at us."
19 After that -- and this was all live,
20 televised live -- the deputy commander of the garrison,
21 who had come to the television station with me, I told
22 him -- that is to say, I asked him, "Well, what does
23 that mean? What's the army doing? Didn't we agree
24 that the army was not to enter town?"
25 And that is where the television programme
1 was interrupted.
2 Q. Did you decide that what had been said to you
3 by the JNA commander was something you could not rely
4 on anymore; and in consequence, did you, yourself,
5 escape when you were able?
6 A. I think, and I claim that today, they didn't
7 want to let me go; they would have kept me and probably
8 killed me. And I bear this out by the fact that when
9 we set out for the television station, which is in the
10 centre of town, I was escorted by two armoured vehicles,
11 with at least 20 well-armed individuals wearing
12 different military uniforms. And they were very
13 strange; they appeared very strange at the time. I
14 didn't recognise them. And I in fact realised that I
15 was their prisoner. But I wanted to save the people
16 and the town, so I continued -- I kept my part of the
17 bargain, kept my promise.
18 And in the television station, after citizens
19 had telephoned direct to say that the shooting had
20 started, I took advantage of that interruption in the
21 broadcast, and the commander -- when the commander
22 didn't know what to do, having heard the news, what he
23 did in fact was to try to check whether this was true,
24 so I took advantage of that particular moment to leave
25 the television studio, and luckily my own car was
1 parked there, so I was able to get into my car and to
2 escape their control.
3 Q. You ultimately, as you say in your summary,
4 went to a place which I think -- is it also called Free
5 Brcko, or was it called Free Brcko, Gornji Rahic, and
6 you were there for the war?
7 Are we able to see that on the green map, or
8 would it be the town map that would be most useful?
9 A. Yes, you can see it on the green map. Gornji
10 Rahic is not marked there, but it is between these two
11 places: Brka and Moaca. Right here, where I'm
12 pointing at [indicates].
13 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... shows
14 that it was possible to survive for the duration of the
15 war, and that's where you were?
16 A. According to the law and my own mandate, in
17 case of war or the imminent danger of war, I was head
18 of the defence council; that was according to my
19 mandate. And when the shooting started and the attack
20 was launched by these units and paramilitary units, I
21 organised the defence of the rest of the town, because
22 -- we succeeded in controlling part of the town and
23 the southern reaches. So we were able, in the course
24 of the war, to do that, and I spent most of my time
25 during the war there.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MR. NICE: I'd like you now to return to the
3 documentary exhibits, and if the usher would be good
4 enough to carry on with the process of laying them on
5 the ELMO for the advantage of the public while the
6 witness looks at them on the desk in front of him,
7 we've reached Annex H, which is a document with which
8 the Chamber may already be familiar, three sheets of
9 paper with 39 names typed on them.
10 Q. Is this a list that you were asked to draw
11 up, or that you certainly did draw up?
12 A. Yes, that's right; that's the list.
13 Q. Were you asked to draw it up, or did you draw
14 it up on your own initiative?
15 A. When we discussed these matters, I cannot
16 remember whether I was asked to do so or whether I did
17 it on my own, but I compiled the list, yes.
18 Q. This is 39 names of what exactly?
19 A. Those are the names of prominent citizens
20 from Brcko, well-known citizens or prominent members of
21 the SDA party who were killed, whom I know were killed
22 on the first day of the conflict or aggression.
23 MR. NICE: If the Chamber, as it were, keep
24 its hand on Exhibit H, or Annex H, and if the witness
25 would be good enough then to turn over to the next
1 document, which is headed I, and which runs to some six
2 pages of names, a hundred in all, the Chamber will want
3 to know that it's looking at a document that is not in
4 alphabetical order; that is, document I is not in
5 alphabetical order, but it is a hundred names, and it
6 is subject to one correction. It is -- certainly at
7 least one correction.
8 It is the same hundred names as the Chamber
9 has been looking at on Exhibit 12, where the names have
10 been re-ordered into an alphabetical list, but at the
11 time that this witness saw this list, for general
12 reference only, it was in this format; that is to say,
13 it was not alphabetical.
14 Q. So, Mr. Ramic, were you shown the document
15 I've just spoken of to the Chamber; namely, the
16 document headed I, of a hundred names?
17 A. Yes, I was shown the document.
18 Q. Were you asked on that document to identify,
19 by highlighting, witnesses -- names that you knew as
20 being either prominent or, if not prominent, at least
21 associated with the SDA?
22 A. Yes. Yes, that was it, more or less. They
23 were either members of the party or sympathisers of the
24 party or people who voted for the SDA party in the
1 Q. If we stay with the first page of this Annex
2 I and look at number 4, where the name "Amer Jasarevic"
3 was written down, there was a correction. Is that your
4 correction or somebody's correction before the document
5 came to you, to "Enes"?
6 A. Yes. On the list that I was shown, it said
7 "Amer Jasarevic". However, that was not correct. His
8 real name was Enes Jasarevic. He was a man for -- whom
9 we know was killed in Brcko during that time. He has a
10 son called Amer, who is alive today.
11 Q. As the Chamber can discover, the witness has
12 highlighted, from this list of 100 names, some 57
13 associated, in the way he's described, with the SDA.
14 If we move on from Annex I to Annex J,
15 please. It's the next sheet in the bundle, please,
16 Mr. Ramic. I think it will be underneath. Here's
17 another copy coming, to save time.
18 Is this a document prepared by you that shows
19 the local SDA boards?
20 A. Yes. I did that, yes.
21 Q. Tell us about the particular areas you've
22 highlighted in blue here. One of them -- for example,
23 Kolobara -- is probably familiar to the Chamber as an
24 essentially or a Muslim-dominated area. Tell us about
25 the others and tell us what you've highlighted.
1 A. This shows a diagram of the organisation of
2 the SDA party at the level of the Brcko municipality,
3 and these rectangles here contain the names of the
4 local branches of the party, who were linked up with
5 areas in town or with villages in the Brcko
6 municipality. Down here you have the villages, and up
7 here is the town proper. Down below are the villages.
8 So part of the town -- as you can see,
9 Kolobara here, the next Gluhakovac, Mujkici, et cetera,
10 and the blue designates those sections of town which
11 were occupied on the 1st of May and where the killings
12 took place.
13 Q. The areas that you've highlighted, were some
14 or all of them areas with a Muslim majority
16 A. All the areas were majority ones, with the
17 exception of this one here, Grcica, the first one.
18 There was a majority Serb population, whereas the other
19 areas were Bosniak for the most part.
20 Q. And all occupied on that 1st of May?
21 A. Yes. That's right. They were all occupied
22 on the 1st of May.
23 Q. Next document, please, Annex K. Again, we
24 can see some familiar names now. In particular, we
25 start off with Kolobara. What can you tell us about
1 this list?
2 First of all, before we come to the
3 highlightings in two different colours, blue and
4 yellow, what are the handwritten names, area by area?
5 A. They are the composition of the local
6 councils of the SDA party. So each of these local sort
7 of cells, organisations of the SDA, consisted of a
8 Local Board with five members, and those are the names
9 of the members in the areas which were occupied
10 straightaway on the 1st of May and where the killings
11 took place.
12 So we have Kolobara first, Bijeljinska Cesta,
13 Novo Brcko.
14 Q. The highlightings in blue show what, if you
15 can remember?
16 A. Blue denotes the people who were killed.
17 Q. Is this the names that -- is this names that
18 you found on -- the hundred names on the list?
19 A. Yes. A part of it. Not all the names. Not
20 all the names are there, but most of them, yes.
21 Q. The yellow highlights, we see two on the
22 first page --
23 A. Yes. They're not on the list of 100 names,
24 but they too were killed.
25 Q. And your knowledge that they were killed
1 comes from other sources, does it?
2 A. In fact, we know that some people were killed
3 in that way because there were eyewitnesses to the
4 killings. There were witnesses who carried their dead
5 bodies as well, and we also have cases where there are
6 no witnesses, where the people have disappeared, but no
7 trace has yet been found of them.
8 Q. Finally, there is a last document. I think
9 it's the last thing I have to ask the witness to deal
10 with. It's also called I, because it's the same list
11 of a hundred names, but it's now been highlighted in
12 both blue, as original, and green.
13 The green highlights refer to what?
14 A. The green colour denotes the names of people
15 who later on -- that is to say, I saw this list on two
16 occasions. The first time I recognised the names
17 marked in blue. The second time, on the second
18 occasion, I added these two other names marked in
19 green. Today I can tell you that there are some other
20 names which I recognise from this list which I have not
21 marked in any way on the list.
22 Q. The ones that you marked in green, were those
23 names of people known to be associated with the SDA in
24 the local communities and so on, the Local Boards?
25 A. Yes. Those are the same names.
1 Q. Since there are 6 green names in addition to
2 the 57 blue, that takes us to a total of 63 the number
3 of names from the list of 100 that had a connection
4 with the SDA.
5 I don't know what you're going to tell me
6 about the other names that you say you can now
7 identify. Are you simply identifying names whose fate
8 you know, or are you identifying names whose fate you
9 know and you're able to say they're connected to the
11 A. This whole list -- and I can state my opinion
12 on that -- has a common denominator, and that is that
13 most of the names were linked up with the SDA.
14 Q. Thank you very much. The other names that
15 you wanted to tell me about, or you wanted to tell the
16 Chamber about, but you said weren't marked but that you
17 knew something about them, just take one of those names
18 and give us an example of what it was you were going to
19 tell us.
20 A. Well, I'll tell you in just a minute. For
21 example, I'm looking at the name under number 33, Rasim
22 Causevic. For example, that is the brother of a friend
23 of mine, a prominent member of the SDA party. When I
24 looked at the list the first time, I didn't recognise
25 that name.
1 Then, for example, there is number 61,
2 Muharem Ahmetovic. That is the father of a policeman
3 from Brcko; that is to say, I'm not speaking about that
4 policeman, but I'm speaking about this particular man
5 who voted for the SDA, and that was common knowledge,
6 that he had voted for the party.
7 I have other cases of this. For example, 86,
8 Andrija Kolar. He's a Croat by ethnicity but married
9 to a Muslim, and he was a policeman before the war. He
10 too was killed, together with his son, because, if I
11 can put it that way, he was, in a way -- I can't say he
12 was a member of the SDA, but he was a sympathiser of
13 the party.
14 So that's how it goes. I could give you some
15 other names as well. So I think that I could find
16 other names and other cases in point.
17 MR. NICE: With the Chamber's leave and
18 without being impertinent, it may be the time the
19 Chamber was going to have a break, and if by chance it
20 was --
21 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Do you have
22 many questions here or have you completed now?
23 MR. NICE: I've completed the questions, but
24 it looks like the witness might want one more
25 opportunity to look through this list, and he might
1 possibly come back after the break and give us details
2 of any other names, because we know the Defence wants
3 to know as much about these people as they can hear.
4 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Very well. All
5 right. We shall now adjourn and we shall resume
6 at 4.00.
7 --- Recess taken at 3.37 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 4.05 p.m.
9 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] The Tribunal is
10 in session. Will you have the accused brought in,
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE JORDA: Mr. Nice, we shall resume.
14 MR. NICE: Thank you.
15 Q. Mr. Ramic, you were looking through that last
16 list appendixed within your exhibit to see if there
17 were other names you could help us with. Using the
18 numbers on the left-hand side, if there were any other
19 names that you could help us with, tell us what you've
20 been able to find.
21 A. Please, would the Court allow me to raise an
22 objection in relation to this list? I think that quite
23 a few of these names are wrong, you see. And sometimes
24 it's very hard to tell, and then when you look at the
25 list for a longer period of time, then you think of the
1 right name. But I think that quite a few of these
2 names are wrong. At any rate, I will tell you the
3 names now.
4 33, as I mentioned, Rasim Causevic. 61,
5 Muharem Ahmetovic. 74, Ferid Ibrahimovic.
6 Q. What about him?
7 A. He and the next one, 76, Hilmija Cerimagic,
8 they are men who lived in my neighbourhood, near my
9 place. They were my neighbours. The first one,
10 Number 74, he even had a nickname, "Major."
11 And 77, Sefko Selmanovic, that is an elderly
12 gentleman, and I recognised him as the father of a
13 colleague of mine, an engineer.
14 Then number 85, it says here "Eldin
15 Salkovic," but that is incorrect. I remembered that
16 there is a person called Elvedin Salkanovic; that's a
17 young man who was also killed.
18 Then I also mention 86, Andrija Kolar. Then
19 I recognised these two, 88 and 89. They are two
20 brothers, young men, Aldin and Amir Tursic. They, just
21 like number 85, Elvedin Salkanovic, were young men,
22 members of the youth organisation of the SDA.
23 Numbers 94 and 95, Enver Residovic, and down
24 there it only says "Residovic." I think that this
25 relates to two women whose last name was Residovic.
1 One of the women was younger, and the other one was
2 older, and they were both killed at the very
4 That's what I wish to say. Perhaps there
5 could be even more of the kind, but I'm sorry, I
6 recognise the names under numbers 3, 6, and 7,
7 respectively, Omerasevic. I know their names. I know
8 their names. They are from a part of Brcko which we
9 call Ciganluk.
10 Q. The people that you've named, were they
11 Muslims, or were there other ethnicities involved?
12 You've spoken of the one Croat, number 86 --
13 A. There were other ethnic groups as well.
14 There are individuals of that kind here, too.
15 Q. Can you just point that out, so that we know
16 who they are?
17 A. There is also Number 17, Franjo Vugrincic; he
18 is a Croat. Then 21, Josip Lucic; he is another
19 Croat. Then 36, Miroslav Kljukijevic; he is also a
20 Croat. 45, Stipo Glavosevic; he is also a Croat. And
21 as far as I can see, 86, Andrija Kolar; he is another
23 Q. And as to their deaths, did you hear anything
24 that explained why they were killed?
25 A. Yes. The one under 21, Josip Lucic, he was a
1 young fellow, his nickname was Pepa, and it does say so
2 here. He was a prominent athlete, a prominent
3 sportsman in Brcko. And I know -- or rather, I have
4 been informed from reliable sources that the accused
5 had killed him, personally.
6 Then 45, Stipo Glavosevic. He is a
7 middle-aged man, and he was a butcher at the Bimeks
8 meat factory in Brcko, and I was told by witnesses that
9 he had also been killed by the accused personally.
10 86, Andrija Kolar, and here the name of his
11 son is missing, and there are witnesses who saw him
12 killed, too.
13 As for the others, I've only heard that they
14 have been killed, but about these, I know for certain
15 that they were killed.
16 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the
17 reason why Andrija Kolar and his son were killed?
18 A. Andrija Kolar and his son, they were killed
19 because -- I believe because -- it is difficult for me
20 to explain it -- because they were people that Serbs
21 did not trust much. They distrusted them because his
22 wife was a Muslim and his grandfather was a Croat. His
23 wife was a saleswoman, and she was an acquaintance of
24 my family, if I may put it that way.
25 Q. The other Croats who were killed, do you have
1 any reason -- thank you for telling us who they were,
2 but do you have any reasons for why they were killed?
3 A. I believe that the SDS policy, basically,
4 was -- and one could really see that in many things,
5 that it was -- that it was focusing on the elimination
6 of other ethnic groups so as to gain areas in which
7 they represented an absolute majority, ethnically
8 speaking, I mean. A particular reason -- that is,
9 those people had not done anything, so there was no
10 other reason for that.
11 Q. Before I turn from the list -- and there's
12 one other question I've got to get you to deal with,
13 but on this long list of the names of those who were
14 killed, is there anything about the distribution of
15 professions or jobs amongst those you've been able to
16 identify? Were they all working men, or were they all
17 professional men, or was there an even distribution of
18 occupations, or was there an emphasis on a particular
19 type of occupation or position in society? Tell us.
20 A. We have a very diverse structure on this
21 list. Some are very young and some are of fairly
22 advanced age; that is, ranging between 20 to -- close
23 to 70, I should say. And a very wide range of
24 occupations. There were a number of prominent
25 citizens, but also rank-and-file people, so there is
1 hardly anything that they would all have in common.
2 The only thing that they do have in common, I believe,
3 is that the majority of them were nothing else than
4 just the supporters of the SDA party.
5 Q. Of course, when you marked your list of 39
6 names of the prominent Muslims, I think you
7 identified -- was it some -- the list of 39 prominent
8 names, was that names of people who you believed to be
9 killed, or was it just 39 prominent names at the time?
10 A. No, this is a list of prominent persons who
11 were killed and who belonged to -- prominent Bosniaks,
13 Q. I have been asked by Defence counsel to just
14 deal with one other of the annexes. It's the one that
15 comes immediately before the last list. It's got
16 an "L" on it, and I passed over it rather quickly,
17 having looked at "K," so it might be convenient if we
18 just put "K" and "L" together.
19 You've dealt with K and told us about how
20 these people were representing the SDA in local
21 communities and how the highlightings show those who
22 have been killed.
23 Just deal now with the similar document that
24 is Annex L.
25 A. Document K originated in the course of a
1 conversation which I had about half a year ago, several
2 months ago, but at that time, I think that I didn't
3 have enough time, as we talked, and I had no time to
4 properly draw up this document, the L one. So I did
5 that subsequently, because we then decided that I
6 should provide the names of those 12 local boards which
7 had been occupied.
8 So the document L was something that I had
9 promised to supply the Tribunal subsequently, and I
10 wrote that subsequently. It shows other occupied parts
11 of the town of Brcko, where the SDA party was and where
12 those individuals were killed.
13 MR. NICE: Thank you very much. That's all I
14 ask of this witness.
15 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 Now, as you know, Mr. Ramic, it is the Defence of the
17 accused who will now take the floor and who will be
18 asking the questions, which it is their right to ask.
19 Will you tell us how long the
20 examination-in-chief lasted?
21 THE REGISTRAR: One hour and thirty minutes,
22 Mr. President.
23 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] All right.
24 Mr. Greaves, you have more or less one hour and thirty
25 minutes, perhaps a bit more than that. Do you think
1 that will be enough?
2 MR. GREAVES: Possibly up to two hours, but I
3 hope to finish today. That's what I'm aiming at.
4 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Thank you. But
5 we shall have another break because we have a long
6 afternoon today. So we shall have another break.
7 Mr. Greaves, you can begin.
8 Cross-examined by Mr. Greaves:
9 Q. Mr. Ramic, can I start by asking you to do
10 this, please: If I ask you a question which you do not
11 understand or which is confusing or badly asked, just
12 stop me straightaway, ask me to repeat, and I'll do my
13 best to make it a more sensible question. Is that all
15 Mr. Ramic, can I ask you, please --
16 A. Yes, quite all right.
17 Q. Can I ask you, please, are you still involved
18 in the political life of your country?
19 A. No, I did not.
20 Q. How long did your involvement in politics
21 continue after the war in 1992?
22 A. In the latter half of -- until October 1993,
23 I was the president of the wartime presidency of the
24 municipality of Brcko; that is, in the area of the
25 municipality of Brcko. Then I moved to Tuzla as a
1 member of the government of the Tuzla district. In
2 1994, I became the president of the assembly of the
3 parliament in the canton of Tuzla, and I was there
4 until October 1996, and after that I did not want to be
5 involved in politics any longer.
6 Q. Before you became involved in forming the SDA
7 and getting involved with that party in the Brcko area,
8 had you been involved in any other political party
9 before then, or was this something that for the first
10 time you started to become involved in politics?
11 A. No. I was not actively involved in politics
12 before that.
13 Q. In the course of the time when you were
14 involved in setting up and getting involved in things
15 like elections and so on, did you become familiar with
16 not just your own party, but the people who were
17 involved in other political parties?
18 A. You mean locally?
19 Q. Locally is what I'm principally interested
21 A. Yes, we knew one another.
22 Q. Can you confirm this for me, Mr. Ramic: that
23 prior to the war breaking out in 1992, Goran Jelisic
24 was not involved with any political party or political
25 movement in the Brcko area at all?
1 A. I wouldn't know.
2 Q. Did you hear anything of him prior to the
3 war, in any way at all, as being in the SDS or any of
4 the other political parties?
5 A. No, I haven't heard about that.
6 Q. Just to get the historical context precise,
7 can you confirm this: that the order in which the
8 various political -- new political parties emerged in
9 the early 1990s was this: Firstly the SDA; then the
10 HDZ; and finally, of the ethnically based parties, the
11 SDS? Would that be correct?
12 A. Excuse me. Do you again mean at the local
14 Q. At a republic level.
15 A. At the republic level, it is quite possible
16 that such a list existed, but there was very little
17 time because all the deadlines were very short.
18 Q. And of the former regime, what we would
19 commonly refer to as the Communist Party, that changed
20 its identity somewhat, did it, and became the Social
21 Democratic Party?
22 A. Yes, that is correct.
23 Q. Of the fellow members of the Executive Board
24 that was initially set up, of which your brother was
25 the party president, is this right: that just one of
1 those people, as far as you know, was killed, Smail
3 A. Yes, it is quite true; one of the members of
4 the Executive Board.
5 Q. Just so that I understand it correctly, the
6 system for election at which you and your party
7 participated, was that by the preparation of a list for
8 each party of 90 candidates, and the voting was done on
9 the basis of the voter voting for the party, as a
10 result of which then certain numbers of that party were
11 then elected?
12 A. Yes. You could say that, yes.
13 Q. Would that be depending on the number of
14 votes that the party got in order -- when the list is
15 submitted by the party, 1 to 90, if you get enough
16 votes for 24 members, the first 24 names on the list
17 would have been elected?
18 A. Yes, quite. One has to respect the
20 Q. Did all of the parties which contested that
21 election, did they all advance 90 names? For example,
22 as well as the principal parties who won seats, the
23 Reform Coalition as well, the MBO, did they all put 90
24 names forward?
25 A. Yes. It was by statute like that. Any party
1 which wanted to take part in the elections had to come
2 up with a list of 90 names.
3 Q. Could I ask you, please, Mr. Ramic, to look
4 at Annex B, if you'd be so kind?
5 Before we turn and I start asking you
6 specific questions about that list, can you help me
7 about this: As well as your obvious interest in what
8 the fate of your own party members and party members of
9 parliament and so on were concerned, as the former
10 mayor of Brcko, have you taken an interest over the
11 years in the fate of other political parties, and
12 members of other political parties, and members of
13 parliament belonging to other political parties from
15 A. Yes, but here I cannot -- or, rather, I could
16 not learn the fate of SDS members.
17 Q. Of course. I understand why that should be
18 so, and I'm not going to ask you anything about the
20 Let me just ask you, first of all, about the
21 first party on Annex B, Mr. Ramic. We can see there
22 that's the SDP, former Communist Party, 24 members. Of
23 those who were elected, by my count it's 11 out of the
24 24 were Bosniaks. First of all, just to make it
25 absolutely plain, is this right: that the word
1 "Bosniak" is interchangeable with "Muslim"? Is that
2 fair in this context?
3 A. Possibly so, yes.
4 Q. The figure I've just given you, 11 out of the
5 24, was that a similar proportion -- if you take the
6 list of 90 who were put forward for election, would
7 that proportion of Muslims or Bosniaks have been
8 reflected as well in the list of 90, approximately
10 A. I think that it is approximately so, but take
11 into account the proportion within the population. It
12 was more in favour of the Bosniak population than what
13 you have here.
14 Q. It may be that I'm being not very bright, but
15 can you just explain that a little more? I don't
16 understand it entirely. In what way was it more in
17 favour of the Bosnian population -- the Bosniak
19 A. Well, if you look at the population of the
20 municipality of Brcko, and I already mentioned this in
21 the introduction, there were at least 53 per cent or
22 perhaps even more. What we have here is a different
23 ratio. Out of 24 there were 11 Bosniaks. That's not
24 even 50 per cent.
25 Q. I understand that, but it's not far off 50
1 per cent, is it, Mr. Ramic? And it's a small enough
2 difference to be not very significant, I suggest.
3 A. Yes. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. Could you help us about this: Do you know of
5 the fate of or continued existence of those members of
6 that list from the SDP who are listed as Bosniak?
7 A. Yes. Yes. I know the fate of most of them.
8 Dzevdet Kurtalic, who was president of this party, is
9 somewhere abroad.
10 Number 5, Adem Ribic, spent the entirety of
11 the war in the territory of the municipality of Brcko.
12 He is from the village of Satorovici, which was not
13 occupied, so he could remain there.
14 Then 6, Ibrahim Vajzovic. He is from the
15 town of Brcko, and I think that he is now in America.
16 Seven, Hasim Muftic. He is from town. He
17 was in the camp and was severely mistreated, but since
18 he's an elderly man, we managed to exchange him. Then
19 he died during the course of the war, as a consequence
20 of the abuse in camp.
21 Number 10 is Sabahet Drpljanin. He lives in
22 Tuzla right now.
23 Then number 14, Zekerijah Osmic. He is an MP
24 in the parliament of that entity which is called
25 Republika Srpska, and he lives in Tuzla.
1 Then number 15, Jasminka Salkamovic. She is
2 somewhere abroad. I don't know where, but she is not
3 in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Sixteen, Hajrudin Ciric. He is also not in
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I think he's in Germany.
6 Number 18, Bajro Avdic. He was away
7 throughout the war. Eighteen, Bajro Avdic. He is in
8 Sarajevo right now, but during the war he was outside
10 Number 19, Nihad Mulalic. Throughout the war
11 he was out of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was not there.
12 Number 21, Mustafa Nukovic. He is in the
13 territory of the municipality of Brcko, and at present
14 he is in the multi-ethnic authorities of the future
15 district of Brcko.
16 Number 22, Ferid Bijelic; and number 23,
17 Muhamed Mujkamovic, both of them were abroad throughout
18 the war. The one under number 22 returned a year ago,
19 and 23 is still somewhere abroad.
20 Q. So with one exception, number 7, Hasim
21 Muftic, all of those are alive and well in some part of
22 the world?
23 A. Yes. That is correct. However, you should
24 bear in mind the fact that they managed to escape
25 before the aggression against the town of Brcko took
1 place; that is to say that they were not in Brcko
2 during the aggression.
3 Q. I'd like to turn now, please, to the page
4 which I think is numbered 8 in the top right-hand
5 corner, Mr. Ramic, the Reformisti Koalicija. You'll
6 forgive my poor pronunciation of your language.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Again, a political party that appears to have
9 won six seats at that election; and of those six, five
10 are listed as Bosniak. Is that a proper reflection of
11 the list of 90 that that party advanced in terms of
12 it's proportion?
13 A. I'm not competent in terms of explaining the
14 composition of other parties, but if you want to hear
15 my opinion, here it goes: This party had problems
16 because Serbs did not want to join it.
17 Q. I understand that, but nevertheless, was it
18 effectively dominated by Bosniaks?
19 A. They did not have any other composition but
20 that one. It is only logical.
21 Q. Of those names listed there, can you, as you
22 have done with the list of the SDP, assist us as to the
23 fate of those people?
24 A. Smajl Kurtalic, number 1, he was abroad. He
25 was abroad throughout the war.
1 Enes Pasalic was also abroad, but I think
2 that he returned approximately two years ago and now
3 he's in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the territory of the
4 municipality of Brcko.
5 Number 3, Amir Muminovic. He was in the
6 territory of the municipality of Brcko throughout the
8 Number 4, Goran Trupl. Throughout the war he
9 was in Brcko, and to the best of our knowledge, he was
10 one of the commanders on the Serb side. Number 5,
11 Izudin Karahmetovic, spent the entire war abroad, but
12 about a year ago he returned. And Number 6, Zlatko
13 Musanovic, was also abroad throughout the war, but he
14 returned as well.
15 Q. Can we now turn, please, to the MBO, Muslim
16 Bosnian organisation. Again, may we infer from its
17 name that that was an ethnically based political party,
18 political grouping?
19 A. Well, yes. That may be inferred.
20 Q. And the one name that we have there, Hamo
21 Jerkovic, can you say anything of what happened to him?
22 A. Throughout the war, he was in the territory
23 of the municipality of Brcko. But may I tell you
24 straightaway that that is a sick man.
25 Q. Of course, but he's alive and survived the
2 A. Yes, of course. But again, I repeat, he
3 escaped, before the aggression, from town.
4 Q. If I may say so, your knowledge of the people
5 is reasonably encyclopaedic. Would you be able to
6 repeat this exercise if you had the additional names of
7 those who were not elected, from the lists of 90, for
8 the SDP and the Reform Coalition and the MBO, as to
9 what happened to them, if we were able to obtain it for
11 A. You have to know that I was president,
12 president of the assembly, mayor of the town, and all
13 these people were my MPs. And of course I knew them
14 personally rather well, because before that, we worked
15 together a year and a half before that, and I certainly
16 know them better than those who were not members of
17 parliament. So this is what I can say. I could give
18 such answers for some other people, but not all,
20 Q. Right. Thank you. I'll return to the lists
21 in due course, if I may, Mr. Ramic. I now want to ask
22 you some questions about events in relation to the
24 The war that broke out, effectively between
25 the Serb population and the Muslim population, in May
1 1992, wasn't in fact the first, if I can call it, acts
2 of serious violence of a military kind which had taken
3 place in Brcko; there were other things that had
4 happened in the immediate past. Would that be right?
5 A. You are probably referring to the fate of the
6 Bosniaks in the history of Bosnia-Herzegovina. If that
7 is what we are talking about, then I can say to you
8 that Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina experienced
9 similar genocides -- that's what I call them -- similar
10 suffering in the past. There was no case of the
11 reverse. History knows of no such example, that is to
12 say that the Serbs ever suffered at the hands of the
13 Bosniaks, throughout history.
14 Q. I was rather thinking of an incident in 1991
15 when an ammunition train -- there was an attempt on an
16 ammunition train by Croatian elements, an attempt to
17 blow it up. That's what I was referring to. Do you
18 recall that incident?
19 A. I don't know which incident you are referring
20 to. I do not believe that that was of any
21 significance; otherwise I would have remembered it.
22 Q. Is it also right that in March or April of
23 1992, a soldier in the uniform of the HVO was killed in
24 Brcko, near to the SUP building?
25 A. Yes, that did happen, perhaps two months
1 before the war. As far as I can remember, that man was
2 not in an HVO uniform. I'm sure that he could not have
3 had HVO insignia; that's for sure. But may I say
4 immediately that he was killed by a man from the
5 then-army; that is to say from the Brcko garrison.
6 Q. Can I now ask you, please, you've given some
7 indication of the military buildup on the Serbian side,
8 but is this not also right: that there were those
9 elements on the Muslim side who were also engaged in
10 procuring weapons for a future conflict at about that
12 A. I must admit that there were some people who
13 illegally acquired weapons without official
14 permission. However, you should know that at that
15 time, there were some very difficult situations of
16 aggression and bloodshed which all stemmed from the
17 attacks by the army and the SDS; there were never any
18 incidents the other way around. And it is quite
19 understandable that some people, in fear, tried to
20 obtain weapons for self-defence.
21 Q. It was rather more than that, wasn't it,
22 Mr. Ramic? There was a significant amount of attempts
23 to procure military weapons, to arm militias, wasn't
25 A. We have to take facts into account, and the
1 fact is that I, as mayor of Brcko, received direct
2 information from the chief of police that the army was
3 caught deploying weapons in Serb villages with army
4 trucks, and we never received any such information the
5 other way around, of providing weapons the other way
6 around, never.
7 Q. What about the Croatian Community? Were they
8 arming themselves?
9 A. I think that they behaved in a similar way,
10 and that individuals probably procured weapons in order
11 to defend themselves.
12 Q. I'd like to ask you, please, about the callup
13 of reservists to the former JNA. It's right, isn't it,
14 that that callup was issued to all citizens regardless
15 of their ethnic background?
16 A. You are probably referring to the summer of
17 1991. That is correct. However, I'd like to add one
18 more thing to that, and that is that these reservists
19 were called up with the intention of sending them to
20 war in Croatia, against Croatia, and that is not what
21 the people wanted. After that, when the people
22 rebelled against this -- I have to add this -- the army
23 no longer called up reservists from other ethnic
24 groups, but Serbs exclusively, and the army turned into
25 a uni-ethnic force.
1 Q. Well, isn't it right, in fact, that the
2 principal reason why people from the Muslim community
3 didn't answer the summons was that they were encouraged
4 not to do so by the leader of your party, Alija
6 A. I did not understand this. Who did
7 Mr. Izetbegovic support?
8 Q. It may be that I'm wrong, but did he not make
9 a call for people to refuse the summons for callup?
10 Wasn't that why Muslims in general refused to obey the
12 A. I shall admit quite frankly that I do not
13 recall that call, but I know full well that Muslims and
14 Croats did not want to respond to callups as reservists
15 because these people were sent to the front line in
16 Croatia, to wage war against Croatia, and they didn't
17 want to do that. That was the reason.
18 Q. You've mentioned the existence of the
19 garrison commander with whom you had dealings. What
20 was the name of that gentleman?
21 A. His name was Pavle Milinkovic, and he was a
22 lieutenant colonel.
23 Q. And was it through his offices that you were
24 able to establish the mixed patrols?
25 A. Mixed patrols existed throughout
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Brcko was no exception.
2 Q. Yes. Perhaps you could just answer the
3 question, please, Mr. Ramic: Was it through the
4 garrison commander that you organised the patrols?
5 A. If you are referring to patrols in town,
6 patrols in town, yes. But patrols outside town he did
7 on his own. That is to say that the city was
8 surrounded by army checkpoints.
9 Q. And for how long or until what date did those
10 patrols continue to be carried out?
11 A. Well, they were carried out formally until
12 the very beginning of the war; that is to say, the 1st
13 of May. However, during the last month -- that is to
14 say, throughout April 1992 -- Serb policemen left these
15 mixed patrols. They didn't want to be on them.
16 Q. I'd like now just to turn, if we may, please,
17 to the talks which took place over the division of
18 Brcko with other political parties. Is this right,
19 that those continued, really, right up until the very
20 last minute?
21 A. Yes, one may say so. However, I must add
22 that this was exclusively at my insistence.
23 Q. That's very commendable, that you should have
24 continued to try and talk as long as possible. I don't
25 want to go into the rights and wrongs of the argument,
1 but there came a time, did there not, when the SDS was
2 proving itself intransigent as to its position, and you
3 and your colleagues decided to give in to some or all
4 of their demands? Is that right?
5 A. They presented that kind of an ultimatum to
6 us, and they threatened that they would resort to force
7 if we did not meet their demands.
8 Q. And those were essentially demands which --
9 again, I don't want to debate the rights and wrongs of
10 them, but the demands were designed to give the Serbs a
11 substantial part of Brcko, as it were, for their own?
12 A. They wanted to do something that had already
13 been witnessed in other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
14 and that is to say, to establish territories under
15 their own authority. I made an offer to them that we
16 call the entire municipality of Brcko "the Serb
17 municipality of Brcko", if that's what they wanted.
18 However, that was not what they wanted. They wanted
19 something in which they would be the only
21 Q. You, I suspect in common with a lot of your
22 colleagues, became sufficiently concerned that you sent
23 members of your family away from Brcko. Was that
24 something which was generally the case in the SDA
25 throughout its membership, or was it confined to
1 certain elements?
2 A. No, no, that could not be linked to members
3 of the SDA. This was not done as a planned exercise.
4 People feared for their families, and it turned into an
5 epidemic at the very end. One cannot say that this was
6 a planned exercise.
7 Q. Can you help me about this: What was the
8 membership, the number of the members of your party,
9 immediately before the war broke out in Brcko and the
10 surrounding area, for which it was responsible?
11 A. Well, we estimate -- of course these are
12 approximate data, but we estimate that we had
13 approximately -- that is to say, a large number of
14 members or sympathisers.
15 Q. Mr. Ramic, one politician's idea of "large"
16 can be different from another's. When you say "large,"
17 how many do you mean? In round terms; I don't want the
18 exact number. Are we talking 1.000, 10.000, 20.000?
19 A. Brcko, the town of Brcko was of mixed
20 composition; that is to say, in the town itself, we
21 had -- these are approximate figures, once again --
22 perhaps 10.000 members, these supporters and their
24 Q. And certainly in my country, political
25 parties tend to try and assess the memberships of other
1 parties. Did you carry out such an exercise in
2 relation to your -- if I may call it your political
3 opponents, and try to assess how many members they'd
5 A. Yes, we did make assessments of that kind,
6 and let me tell you at the outset that they were to the
7 advantage of other parties. And after the elections,
8 we succeeded in having a cross-section, a breakdown of
9 these. And looking at the electoral results from all
10 the electoral points, by finding the number of votes
11 for a particular party and the number of members of the
12 local population, we were able to ascertain that for
13 the SDS and for the HDZ, between 80 to 90 per cent of
14 the local ethnic population voted. We could say that
15 they were their members and supporters.
16 Q. What about the Social Democratic Party, which
17 wasn't ethnically based? What sort of membership did
18 it have? Did you assess that?
19 A. Yes. It was of a mixed composition. And
20 related to a question you asked a moment ago, let me
21 say that in our estimates, we established that for the
22 votes in favour of the Social Democratic Party, these
23 votes came predominantly from the Bosniak members; that
24 is to say, 80 per cent of their votes came from the
25 Bosniak electorate.
1 Q. And what about the Reform Coalition? From
2 where did it draw its votes, and were you able to
3 assess its membership?
4 A. They were of a similar composition to that of
5 the party mentioned a moment ago, the Socialist
6 Democratic Party. And in the same way, and that is a
7 well-established fact, that the majority of votes came
8 to them from voters from the Bosniak ethnic group.
9 Q. Mr. Ramic, thank you, I'm finished with those
10 for the moment again.
11 Is this right, that at one stage, probably in
12 the immediate run-up to the outbreak of fighting, you
13 found yourself being followed by somebody? Do you
14 recall that?
15 A. Yes, I do.
16 Q. Were you able to identify either who they
17 were or from what organisation those people were?
18 A. No, I wasn't able to determine that, but one
19 could only conclude who they were.
20 Q. Did there come a time, in due course, when
21 the town itself seemed to be deserted?
22 A. Only at the time when the bridges were blown
23 up and when general chaos reigned. Then due to the
24 population fleeing, the town was semi-deserted.
25 Q. So of the -- if we can just get an idea of
1 this: The original population in 1991 of 87.000 or so,
2 by the time war broke out, how many of those remained?
3 A. Do you mean the overall population or only
4 the Bosniaks?
5 Q. The overall population, Mr. Ramic, please.
6 A. Well, this is a rough estimate, I haven't got
7 exact figures, but I can say that in town at that time,
8 about 10.000 people remained.
9 Q. What proportion of that would have been
11 A. Well, my estimate is that there were about
12 3.000 to 4.000 Bosniaks of that number. Let's say
13 3.000, thereabouts.
14 Q. Where had most people gone? Had they gone
15 further into the central part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or
16 gone abroad, or gone to Croatia, or where did most
17 people go?
18 Q. As soon as the bridges were destroyed, let me
19 say in a few words that, as I said, there was a general
20 disturbance. The people were frightened. Most of them
21 started to flee from the town.
22 A situation of this kind lasted -- that was
23 the situation on the 30th and on the 1st of May. So
24 two days was sufficient time for people who wanted to
25 leave town to do so, and that was when the population
2 Most of them went to the south, to the area
3 where the army had not taken over power, and from there
4 the people then started leaving, for the most part,
6 Q. I'd like now just to turn briefly to the
7 incident where you were at the television station and
8 were trying to make some sort of broadcast. Is this
9 right: that you were -- in fact, there was a
10 technician there, who came to you and told that you
11 there was a telephone call for you and that you were
12 urgently required in a particular part of Brcko? Do
13 you recall that?
14 A. Yes, I remember that.
15 Q. You hadn't haven't, in fact, been detained or
16 imprisoned or anything like that immediately before the
17 television broadcast?
18 A. The aim of the garrison commander was that I
19 should prevail upon the people of Brcko to calm down so
20 that he enter the town after that, because he was, in
21 fact, afraid of the citizens' reactions. It is for
22 that reason that I was to have launched that appeal.
23 Quite obviously he had the intention, and I
24 saw this straightaway, as soon as I was given an escort
25 of two armoured vehicles, because there was no need for
1 these armoured vehicles. There had been no incidents
2 in town anywhere at this time, so this wasn't
3 necessary, and least of all did he need to protect me
4 from my own citizens. Why should he protect me with
5 two armoured vehicles?
6 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Mr. Ramic, will
7 you please look at the Judges when you give your
8 answers? You are now -- you have the right to say
9 whatever you like, but I should like you to look at the
10 Judges when you are answering the question. Thank you
11 very much.
12 A. I apologise, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Well, it's very
14 simple. I think we're going to have our second break
15 now. So we shall now make a quarter of an hour break.
16 --- Recess taken at 5.11 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 5.27 p.m.
18 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] We shall resume
19 now and work until 6.00. Will the accused be brought
20 in, please?
21 [The accused entered court]
22 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Mr. Greaves,
23 the floor is yours.
24 MR. GREAVES: Thank you very much, Your
1 Q. Mr. Ramic, could I ask you now, please, to
2 look at the plan of the town of Brcko? If you could
3 just quickly indicate to us, please, so that we
4 understand what is involved, when you refer to "free
5 Brcko", what area of Brcko to you mean and could you
6 indicated by pointing with the pointer on the map,
8 A. It's this part here, this part of Brcko
9 [indicates], the southern/south-easterly part. Could
10 you move the map a little bit? No, this area. You
11 can't see that part of town.
12 Q. So you've indicated the area which is known
13 as Klanac; is that right?
14 A. No, not Klanac. Klanac wasn't the free part
15 of town. Klanac was under the attack of the
17 Q. Thank you. Could I now ask you to look at
18 the larger map which has got -- could I ask you to
19 look, please, first of all, at Brcko, and then just a
20 little to the south of Brcko, a town called Celic.
21 Could you indicate that on the map, please?
22 A. Here it is [indicates].
23 Q. Can you help us about Celic? Was that a town
24 which had a Muslim majority before the war?
25 A. Yes. It was a 100 per cent Muslim
2 Q. Did Celic remain, so to speak, behind Muslim
3 lines throughout the conflict?
4 A. It was precisely through the Celic area that
5 the front line passed.
6 Q. Through the area, but did the town itself,
7 did it remain behind and under the control of Muslim
9 A. Most of it, yes.
10 Q. Thank you. I'm looking for it but I can't
11 see it, but can you indicate: Is Brezovo Polje shown
12 on this map?
13 A. I'll show you. Brezovo Polje is here
15 Q. Yes. Just in a little small corner of what I
16 think is Serbian, now Federal Republic of Yugoslav
17 territory; is that right?
18 A. No. No. It is the territory of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina but the area called the Republika
21 Q. Yes. What I meant is that just to the north
22 of the river there there's a small tongue of what looks
23 like territory of the neighbouring country, the FRY.
24 It's just by that, is it?
25 A. Yes, that's it.
1 Q. Was that somewhere that had a Muslim majority
2 before the war?
3 A. Yes, there was.
4 Q. What was the proportion of the majority
6 A. Well, Brezovo Polje itself has two parts to
7 it, the Brezovo Polje village and the central region.
8 The central region was inhabited by Bosniak Muslims,
9 and the Brezovo Polje village inhabited by Serbs.
10 Taken together, I would say that the ratio, that is to
11 say not broader area, but that it was a 60/40 ratio in
12 favour of the Muslim Bosniaks.
13 Q. Can you now indicate the town of Razljevo,
14 which I think is between Brcko and Bijeljlha?
15 A. Razljevo.
16 Q. You have to forgive me. My pronunciation is
17 not perfect.
18 A. Here [indicates]. Here it is [indicates].
19 Q. Thank you. What was the ethnic make-up of
20 that town before the war?
21 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Mr. Greaves,
22 could you please explain the reason behind these
23 questions, because we're -- and perhaps if you could
24 speed it up a little bit, we would be grateful.
25 MR. GREAVES: These are towns to which people
1 were sent from detention facilities in Brcko, and they
2 have been mentioned as having been so.
3 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] I didn't get
4 that during the examination-in-chief, but will you
5 please try to focus again on the examination-in-chief,
7 MR. GREAVES:
8 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Ramic. We can put
9 the map away, please.
10 If we can turn now, please, to the lists that
11 were prepared, and in the first instance to the one
12 marked H, please.
13 This is the list, which you and your brother
14 prepared, of those who had been involved in political
15 life and were killed. Is it your evidence that all of
16 them were killed on the first day of the conflict?
17 A. I don't know that for sure, but they were
18 killed on the first days of the conflict. Let's say in
19 the first ten days.
20 Q. From whom, in general, did you get the
21 information which enabled you to say, "This person is
22 dead. That person is dead"?
23 A. Here, of course, I cannot give that kind of
24 information, that is to say that I saw the killings or
25 that I saw anybody dead. All the information was
1 gained from witnesses, eyewitnesses, people who were on
2 the spot or who had seen the dead bodies; or the
3 family, quite simply, up until the present day, does
4 not know where their members are, and I can explain to
5 you if you want to go through it.
6 Q. Well, let's just take an example, if we may,
7 and look at the quality of your information. Look at
8 number 14, if you would be so kind, please: Salih
9 Hibeljic. His nickname, Djaja; would that be right?
10 A. Yes, that's right.
11 Q. What did you hear about him, and from whom
12 did you hear it?
13 A. Well, I heard that he had disappeared in the
14 first days of the war. And according to my
15 information, up until the very end of the war, I never
16 heard anything of him, as to his being alive.
17 Q. Just describe him to us. He was one of your
18 members of parliament, wasn't he?
19 A. Yes, he was, yes. He wasn't a member of
20 parliament. He was on the list of members. That is to
21 say, he was a man -- he was a butcher by profession.
22 He lived in a part of town that we referred to as
23 Ciganluk, or Djermanovica Sokak. He was a member in
24 the municipal parliament. He was an elderly man, about
25 50 years old. As far as I remember, he had a small
2 Q. You say he wasn't a member of parliament, but
3 I have the name "Salih Hibeljic" listed as Number 22 on
4 the list of SDA members, so are you entirely accurate
5 about that, Mr. Ramic?
6 A. He was on the list of those names, with those
7 names, but he did not take part in the work of the
8 parliament. He gave up his seat to the next one on the
10 MR. GREAVES: If Your Honour would just give
11 me a moment, please.
12 Q. Would it surprise you to learn that he is
13 alive and well and living in Begovaca?
14 A. It wouldn't surprise me. Why should it? He
15 was, throughout the time, listed as missing, and as you
16 can see, I believed until this day that he was missing
17 and that he had been killed. But I am, of course,
18 happy to learn that he is alive.
19 Q. You see, your list is headed "Killed." Are
20 there any other names which are in fact simply missing,
21 and you don't actually know if they have been killed,
22 on that list of 39, Mr. Ramic?
23 A. I'm looking through the list to check.
24 I think that all these people were killed.
25 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] I suppose that
1 you have an element which says that these people are
2 alive? If you have some information about that,
3 whichever the judicial system, I believe that the
4 Judges are entitled to have this. This is called the
5 list of the killed. We are very happy, of course, to
6 hear that this man is alive, and I believe that we all
7 share that. But I hope that you have a certificate, a
8 letter, a photograph, a document, or something to
9 substantiate this information. Do you?
10 MR. GREAVES: The point of the question is
11 this, Your Honour, if I may explain it to you. The
12 list is headed "Killed" --
13 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Yes. I believe
14 this merits explanation.
15 MR. GREAVES: The list is headed "Killed,"
16 and the implication of the word "Killed" is -- and of
17 his evidence is "I have information that they were
18 killed." What he has now said is, throughout, in
19 relation to Salih Hibeljic, he was listed as missing.
20 There is, with respect, a considerable difference
21 between the two, and what he has purported to say by
22 this list is that these were all killed. The question
23 I asked of him was, is there anybody else who was
24 simply listed as missing, so therefore he cannot affirm
25 that they were killed? And what I'm questioning is the
1 reliability of this list.
2 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Your previous
3 question, which caused my concern -- I did understand
4 the last question, but you have modified your
5 presentation, and of course you are bringing the
6 credibility of this witness into question, because you
7 submitted this list of the killed persons to him and
8 are trying to check it. And I congratulate you, that
9 you really have the right to question his credibility
10 if he says that all these persons were killed.
11 But we now have -- you said, "Would you be
12 surprised to hear that this person was alive?" Now, I
13 allow myself to tell you that this was practically an
14 affirmative question, not a hypothesis. It simply
15 sounded to me that, by your question, when you said,
16 "Would you be surprised to hear that this person is
17 alive," I expected you to say, "Here; I am giving you
18 the proof that that this person is alive."
19 If not, then we have one thesis which is of
20 the accused, and another one which comes from the
21 witness, and that is not enough. And in the
22 cross-examination, I'm giving you here a sample of
23 cross-examination in common law, but of course I do it
24 with all humility, but I believe that even if Judges do
25 not have the right of investigation, as in some other
1 systems, I should like, with all due respect, to ask
2 you that when you formulate such a question, you say,
3 "Would you be surprised to hear that this person is
4 alive?" I would expect you to add, "Would you be
5 surprised to learn that I," for instance, "have a
6 certificate that he is living in such-and-such a town?"
7 for instance.
8 MR. GREAVES: Well, I'm not allowed to give
9 evidence, and I'm not going to give evidence. We are
10 in a position to call evidence as to the existence and
11 continued life of this gentleman, not in the form of a
12 certificate, but in the form of somebody who has met
13 him and seen him.
14 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Yes, I
15 understand that. I understand very well, Mr. Greaves.
16 But I needed simply a more complete answer, and now
17 things become much clearer for the Judges; that is, we
18 have a witness who should have perhaps exercised much
19 more caution in saying that such-and-such persons are
20 killed and such-and-such are missing, perhaps. But we
21 also have the right to ask the Defence to produce some
22 elements to support or not, at least to give us some
23 proof, to show us how they know that a particular
24 person is still among the living.
25 Thank you very much. That is what I was
1 trying to tell you.
2 MR. GREAVES: If I could perhaps remind Your
3 Honour, we have already had evidence from a Prosecution
4 witness that he's alive.
5 If I might perhaps remind Your Honour that a
6 few days ago, we had evidence from a Prosecution
7 witness that this man was alive.
8 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] I congratulate
9 you on your good memory and your vigilance, really; and
10 that following that, we shall take note of that,
11 Mr. Greaves. You may proceed.
12 MR. GREAVES: Thank you.
13 Q. Mr. Ramic, I would like to go through the
14 lists with you very quickly and ask you some questions
15 about each of the names, so that we can just see how it
16 is that you compiled it. Confine your answers, if at
17 all possible, to one or two words, if you can explain
19 First of all, Midhat Sabanovic; from whom did
20 you hear that he had died?
21 A. I heard that from people who -- that is to
22 say that occurred in May 1992. I can't tell you the
23 exact date, but let us say that it was the second half
24 of May, and it was a person killed with three other
25 people, together with three other people, in a house in
1 a street -- I think the name is Djindic, and I can tell
2 you the names of the other three individuals who were
3 killed together with that person. And I got the
4 information from Bosniaks who were there to take out
5 the bodies of the people killed.
6 Q. And killed in their own home, or in some
7 other place?
8 A. They were killed in a house in town, in
9 Brcko, the same day that two of them were taken off to
10 the Luka camp, and so, as far as I was told, were
11 allowed to go home to fetch some things.
12 Q. Do you know who killed him?
13 A. A name was mentioned, a man by the name of
14 Kosto or Kostic. That name was mentioned as being the
15 name of the killer.
16 Q. I'm not going to ask you about the second
17 name, because we've had a lot of evidence about him.
18 Number 3, Husein Kaknjo; from whom did you hear that he
19 had been killed?
20 A. Husein Kaknjo was also killed in the
21 immediate vicinity, and people saw this, near the
22 central mosque, called the White Mosque, in the centre
23 of Brcko, together with several other people.
24 Q. Can you put a date on it?
25 A. I couldn't tell you dates, because we
1 received information -- of course this information
2 always came a little late, but it did occur in May.
3 Q. And do you know who it was who killed him?
4 A. No, I don't know who killed him. He was
5 killed by people who came from Bijeljina.
6 Q. Number 4, Smail Ribic; from whom did you hear
7 that he had been killed?
8 A. Smail Ribic was killed in the Luka camp. I
9 heard this from some people, detainees who were there,
10 camp inmates, and they watched it. I'm not sure at
11 this point whether it was the accused, the accused who
12 tortured him and took him out. As you know, as in
13 similar cases, shots were heard, and he never appeared
15 Q. I'm not going to ask you about number 5,
16 because we have evidence about him. Numbers 6 and 7,
17 two people called Kartal, both brothers; would that be
19 A. Yes. They were brothers.
20 Q. From whom did you hear that they had died?
21 A. Once again, I heard this from people who
22 later on came -- that is to say, they were either
23 exchanged or they escaped later on, so with a one-month
25 Q. And are you able to say when it was the
1 Kartal brothers were killed?
2 A. I don't have any exact information as to
3 that, but they were killed in the first -- perhaps two
4 or three months.
5 Q. And do you know who killed them?
6 A. No, I don't know that.
7 Q. Armin Dzaferovic?
8 A. Dzaferovic, yes.
9 Q. From whom did you hear that that person had
10 been killed?
11 A. I heard that from his father and his mother,
12 because he is neighbour of mine. It was a young man.
13 He was a member of the youth organisation of the SDA.
14 I didn't hear any details from them, but they do
15 believe -- his mother and father do believe that he was
17 Q. Just while we're discussing the question of
18 the Muslim youth organisation, can you just explain a
19 little to Their Honours the function that that
20 organisation played within the SDA?
21 A. Well, it was the usual kind of youth
22 organisation; that is to say, an organisation rallying
23 young people into the SDA membership. And in that
24 sense, of course it had its specific interests, the
25 interests of the young population.
1 Q. So the Muslim youth association would
2 actively canvass for votes from those -- the young
3 voters and actively canvass to get new members to join
4 up; is that right?
5 A. That organisation was developed after the
6 elections. It could not have had any great influence
7 on the elections themselves, so when we're speaking
8 about votes, they couldn't, in fact, make any
9 contribution to the voting. But by having members
10 amongst the younger population, yes, they could.
11 Q. Did you receive any information as to who had
12 killed that person?
13 A. According to the information we received, he
14 was a member of a group of young people, and the next
15 numbers, 9 and 10, were also these young people. It
16 was a group of some 30 young people, in fact, who were
17 killed, and according to our information, they were
18 killed on the 3rd of May, and the accused took part in
19 that killing.
20 Q. You weren't present at the killings of these
21 people, were you?
22 A. I wasn't present, but does it not mean enough
23 to you to have the words of the family or the friends?
24 When I'm speaking about numbers 9 and 8 along with -- 9
25 and 10 along with number 8, I have what the parents
1 said, and they are two brothers, and he received direct
2 information from the accused. He came to tell him on
3 the 4th of May that the two of them were killed in
4 Brcko, in front of the Evrope Cafe. On the 3rd of May
5 this happened, and he told the father of the victim on
6 the 4th of May.
7 Q. So the extent of your knowledge involving the
8 defendant, the accused, is that he was the bringer of
9 the news of the death of these people? That's right,
10 isn't it?
11 A. It happened quite by chance. He came to
12 Bjeljina on some business, and in addition to other
13 things, he bought some meat in a butcher's shop. I
14 have a statement from the man he took meat from, the
15 butcher's shop he took the meat from, and that he said
16 this in the presence of two witnesses. So there are
17 people who can bear those words of his out.
18 Q. That wasn't quite the question that I asked.
19 The extent of your knowledge is this, isn't it: The
20 accused's involvement in these matters was simply
21 bringing information to the family? That's right,
22 isn't it?
23 A. He gave that information not to the family,
24 but in the butcher's shop, and he said, "Convey that to
25 the father," of this person called Husnija Medinic,
1 that his dead sons are lying in such and such a place.
2 Q. If you don't want to answer the question,
3 we'll move on, Mr. Ramic. We've heard evidence about
4 Irfan Topalcevic, so I won't ask you about him. Irfan
5 Suljic, from whom did you hear that you had been
7 A. Irfan Suljic is my -- a schoolmate of mine.
8 I know him very well. And I can't, at this point,
9 remember who brought me the information, but sources as
10 to the death of these people were not only -- not only
11 from one source; there were several ways in which we
12 learnt of this. I learnt about Irfan Suljic's killing
13 from several people.
14 Q. Amongst that information, could you put a
15 date on when it is believed he was killed?
16 A. Irfan Suljic was also killed on the 3rd, 4th,
17 or 5th of May; that is to say, within the first three
18 or four days.
19 Q. Were you told who it was who killed him?
20 A. The name wasn't stated, but he was killed
21 within a larger group of people, and not one killer was
22 mentioned, but two or three of them were mentioned;
23 amongst them, the accused.
24 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Mr. Greaves, we
25 shall have to adjourn. How much more do you think you
1 will need for your cross-examination?
2 MR. GREAVES: I hope about half an hour,
3 but --
4 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] Let us hope so,
5 Mr. Greaves. It is quite true that you are conducting
6 a proper investigation, finding out names, dates,
7 places, and everything else, asking those things of the
8 witnesses. You know that we are already in possession
9 of some information, so perhaps you could really try to
10 expedite matters. I'm going to ask you to do that,
11 really. We have only two rules, as you know. You have
12 to go along the lines of the examination-in-chief, and,
13 of course, you have full right to bring into question
14 the credibility of the witness. That serves justice.
15 But we have to adjourn now and we shall then resume
16 tomorrow morning at 10.00.
17 Is that so, Mr. Registrar?
18 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Mr. President.
19 JUDGE JORDA: [Interpretation] So we shall
20 adjourn until 10.00 tomorrow. The meeting is
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
23 6.00 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
24 the 16th day of September, 1999
25 at 10.00 a.m.