1 Tuesday, 11 November 2014
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.34 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone in and around this
7 Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case
9 IT-09-92-T, The Prosecutor versus Ratko Mladic.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
11 The Prosecution has announced that it would have two preliminary
12 matters to raise.
13 MS. BIBLES: Your Honour, the first is more of a housekeeping
14 matter. That is that we received the revised English translation for
15 P2838, which was 65 ter 28735. This document was used with Witness -- it
16 was used on 22nd of September 2014. If we look at transcript page 25993,
17 and T25990, the issue was that the text within the stamp was incomplete
18 in the English translation. The revised translation has been uploaded
19 into e-court under doc ID 01063030-ET. The Defence has indicated that
20 they have no objection to the revised translation. We would request that
21 the court officer be instructed to replace the current translation with
22 the revised version and that the document be admitted. Thank you.
23 JUDGE ORIE: The document was admitted, isn't it? Yes. Then,
24 Madam Registrar, you're instructed to replace the current translation
25 with the revised one uploaded into e-court under number 01063030-ET.
1 Mr. Traldi.
2 MR. TRALDI: Good morning, Mr. President. Last week, the Chamber
3 had asked the parties to provide an update as to 65 ter 1D02733, a
4 collection of documents which the Defence had tendered as an associated
5 exhibit to the evidence of Witness Djuric.
6 Each request under the subject line each document in the
7 collection identifies the name of a candidate. The Prosecution's
8 demographics units has reviewed the names contained in those requests.
9 The Prosecution was not able to verify the ethnicity of every name on the
10 list. However, on the basis of our review, we do not contest that the
11 large majority of the names appear to be Muslim. It is our position that
12 some of the names appear to have been self-reported as Yugoslav or as
13 another ethnicity in the census. When I say "another," I mean not
14 Muslims, Serbs, or Croats.
15 Separately, some names appear to have been misspelled in the
16 list. The Prosecution has carefully reviewed those names. It is our
17 position that it is most likely that one or more are Croats while the
18 large majority are most likely to be Muslims, so -- and I -- in short, we
19 aren't able to agree that all of them are Muslims. We are able to agree
20 that the large majority appear to be Muslims.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Traldi. That's hereby on the record.
22 And thank you for the update.
23 Then could the --
24 Mr. Lukic.
25 MR. LUKIC: Good morning, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning.
2 MR. LUKIC: I just want to inform Your Honours that there is a
3 change in the schedule of the coming witnesses. One of our witnesses
4 actually felt very bad. We had to return him home. So it's protected
5 witnesses GRM 162 so the next witness after this one would be
6 Mr. Sipovac, and then after him would be Mr. Veselinovic.
7 JUDGE ORIE: And that witness will be available in time.
8 MR. LUKIC: Yes, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That we were informed about the return.
10 And -- thank you very much for informing us. And the Chamber appreciates
11 that the Defence is so organised that we can hear then the testimony of
12 the witness after the one who returned without further delays.
13 Could the witness be escorted into the courtroom.
14 Meanwhile, I use the time for a few matters.
15 The first deals with D686. The Chamber hereby puts on the record
16 that document -- the document MFI'd as D686 bears 65 ter number 1D04059
17 and not 65 ter 1D04058, as was mentioned yesterday. And, therefore, the
18 Registry, Madam Registrar, is instructed to replace 65 ter 1D04059 with
19 65 ter 1D04058a, which had been admitted into evidence yesterday as D686.
20 Then another matter. It is about informing the Chamber about
21 certain matters via e-mail.
22 The Chamber advises the parties that every clarification or
23 correction regarded tendered evidence has to be made on the record.
24 Information submitted via e-mail will not be considered by the Chamber
25 when evaluating the evidence.
1 I have another item, but I leave that for a later moment.
2 [The witness takes the stand]
3 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Komad.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Before we continue, I'd like to remind you that
6 you're still bound by the solemn declaration you've given at the
7 beginning of your testimony that you will speak the truth, the whole
8 truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 Ms. Bibles will now continue her cross-examination.
10 Please proceed.
11 MS. BIBLES: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 WITNESS: TRIFKA KOMAD [Resumed]
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Cross-examination by Ms. Bibles: [Continued]
15 Q. And good morning, sir. I'd like to --
16 A. Good morning, Madam Prosecutor.
17 Q. I'd like to start this morning by looking at D760. We're
18 referring to D760 in paragraph 26. That's your Karadzic statement.
19 Where you describe that with the breakout of clashes the Crisis Staffs
20 were left to their own devices and in a large number of cases, Serbian
21 authorities didn't have information about their work. And actually we
22 could probably most efficiently go right to P3899, please.
23 Sir, as this document comes up on the screen, you will see that
24 it is an announcement from President Karadzic acting as president of the
25 National Security Council on 4 April 1992.
1 And if we can go to page 2 in the English - and obviously stay on
2 this page in the B/C/S - and look at the last paragraph. We see Karadzic
3 ordering Crisis Staffs to be activated and the Serbian armed forces to be
4 raised anywhere where people respond to the mobilisation call of the
6 You see that, sir.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Let's look at some of the police response to this. If we could
9 have P3193.
10 And, sir, this is a report on the work of the Rogatica Crisis
11 Staff from April to June 1992. And we see at the beginning that the
12 Crisis Staff was established on 8 April 1992, some four days after the
13 announcement that we just reviewed. So this is an example of a
14 municipality implementing an order from central Bosnian Serb authorities;
16 A. What is the question to me?
17 Q. The question was whether this is an example of a municipality
18 level implementing an order from the central Bosnian Serb authorities.
19 A. I cannot give you an explicit answer to this question. All I can
20 say is that the party policy and that of the political leadership was to
21 act the way I described in my statement. Crisis Staffs were formed as
22 needed at local levels. And as for the coincidence that the dates are
23 close to each other, it's possible that there was such a suggestion, but
24 the staffs were formed depending on the needs or on the crisis
1 Q. All right. With respect to your statement and that has to do
2 with paragraph 26 in your statement where you indicated that Serb
3 authorities did not have information about the work of these Crisis
4 Staffs, I'd like to move to page 5 in both versions of this particular
5 document please. And I'd ask to you look I believe in the middle of the
6 page in the original version where there's a paragraph that starts with:
7 "Apart from numerous ..."
8 Have you located that paragraph? "Apart from numerous oral and
9 direct contacts ..."
10 I'll go ahead and read it so that we have clarity: "Apart from
11 numerous oral and direct" --
12 A. I have found it, yes, yes, I see it.
13 Q. "... the Crisis Staff also co-operated with many bodies in
14 written form such as the Presidency of Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
15 Herzegovina, the government, varies ministries of the Serbian Republic of
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina, the army, Serbian police, and some other bodies."
17 So, sir, it's true that the Rogatica Crisis Staff was both
18 responding to and communicating with the RS government, army, and police;
20 A. Yes, probably the contacts existed where this was possible. I
21 mentioned that the communications system was already impaired and
22 communications were very difficult. As you know well, there were no
23 mobile phones at that time, and phones and other ways of communication
24 were proceeding with great difficulty. Probably there were contacts
25 where it was possible. I really couldn't say. I wasn't able to be in
1 each situation and know about all of these things.
2 Q. Well, sir, the language of this paragraph is that, apart from
3 numerous oral and direct contacts, the Rogatica Crisis Staff was
4 obviously able to co-operate during this time-period with the relevant
5 central Serbian authorities; correct?
6 A. I really couldn't say. As I said before, Rogatica is some 60
7 kilometres away from Sarajevo, and probably because it was so close, it
8 is possible that there were contacts. But I really couldn't say what the
9 form of these contacts was.
10 Q. Sir, it's clear that in the Crisis Staff's very own report, they
11 reflect that they were able to both communicate and respond with the
12 central authorities; correct?
13 A. Possible. If that's what the documents say.
14 Q. And, sir, let's move now to actually a letter that you have
16 MS. BIBLES: If we can have 65 ter 16943.
17 Q. And this comes up on the screen, you'll see that it is a letter
18 from you to various SAOs around Bosnia and Herzegovina, stating that
19 Crisis Staffs are being abolished and being replaced with
20 War Presidencies. Can you confirm that this is a letter that you sent
21 out on 31st of May, 1992?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And this letter, in short, confirms that presidents of Crisis
24 Staffs are to become War Commissioners; correct?
25 A. No, no. They did not have to -- it didn't have to be the
1 presidents. It could be other people. Instead of the Crisis Staffs, the
2 commissioners would be active. It's not correct that a commissioner
3 could replace the Crisis Staff. It was possible but it wasn't a
4 rule that the commissioner would be automatically the president of the
5 Crisis Staff.
6 Q. All right. If we look at the last sentence of the first
7 paragraph, it reads: "Under the said decision, which is being sent to
8 you, instead of the Crisis Staffs, War Presidencies shall be set up in
9 the municipalities at a time of imminent threat of war or state of war."
10 Sir, is it true that a state of imminent war had already been
11 declared in the Republika Srpska on 15th of April, 1992?
12 A. I cannot remember the exact date.
13 Q. Do you agree that a declaration of imminent war had been made
14 prior to your letter going out?
15 A. It's been a long time since then, so right now, I really cannot
16 put the dates together.
17 Q. All right. If we could have D446, please.
18 MS. BIBLES: Your Honours, before I move away from this document,
19 perhaps I should tender 65 ter 16943.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Document 16943 receives number P6905,
22 Your Honours.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Admitted into evidence.
24 MS. BIBLES:
25 Q. Sir, on our screens, we see a decision which reflects that an
1 imminent threat of war is declared, and this is -- do you agree this is
2 dated 15 April 1992?
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic, I'm looking at you, is there any
4 dispute about this date, the declaration of the imminent threat of war.
5 Is there?
6 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] No, as far as the Defence is
7 concerned, Your Honour, the date and the document are not in dispute.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bibles, we're not here to teach the witness what
9 apparently he does not know or doesn't know anymore, but, rather than to
10 see whether he -- so therefore there's no dispute about this. Please
12 MS. BIBLES: Very well.
13 Q. And, sir, would you agree that after your 31 May 1992 letter
14 regarding the decisions about the War Presidencies or the
15 War Commissions, that that decision was superceded by a decision issued
16 by President Karadzic?
17 A. The decision that I signed, the decision -- I didn't understand
18 the question. Could you please repeat the question.
19 Q. Sir -- and perhaps I'll try to be less confusing.
20 Thinking back to the letter that we just saw that you signed on
21 the 31st of May --
22 A. Yes, yes.
23 Q. -- is it true that that decision was superceded by another on the
24 10th of June, 1992 to set up War Presidencies?
25 A. Presidencies are one thing, and the commissioners' offices are
1 another. It's not the same thing, presidency and the commissioners'
3 MS. BIBLES: Your Honours, simply for continuity of the record
4 without going down this alley too far, I'd place on the record that that
5 decision is P4906, without going to it.
6 Q. Sir, we'll now go to a final direction - and we can take this off
7 the screen - with respect to your statement D760, in paragraph 24, you
8 claim that the party wanted to avoid bloodshed and that Nikola Koljevic
9 went to see Tudjman and others in early 1992 to request he take all
10 measures to prevent the Croatian conflict from spreading into Bosnia.
11 If we could have P6727 on our screens.
12 Sir, this is a transcript of a meeting between Koljevic and
13 Tudjman and I'd like to ask you some questions about this in light of
14 paragraph 24 of your statement. And we'll go to initially page 13 in
15 English and page 17 in the B/C -- in the original.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bibles, we are all aware that the witness in
17 paragraph 24 says what he was told at the time. He was not present
18 during that meeting, so please keep that in mind when you ask him
19 questions. Because to again, to tell the witness what was discussed at a
20 meeting where he wasn't present and even if he has received information
21 about that meeting which is different from what you think may have been
22 said and where you have perhaps good reasons to think that is not what
23 the Chamber -- what assists the Chamber in a great deal.
24 MS. BIBLES: All right. I'll quickly try to get through this
25 area, Your Honour, and wrap this up.
1 Q. Sir in the middle of page 17 in your -- in the original, we see
2 Joseph Manolic on the Croatian side clarifying succinctly what Kojovic is
3 saying. He asked: "The aim of that reorganisation would in fact be the
4 homogeneity of certain areas."
5 Koljevic replays: "Yes, the homogeneity of certain areas."
6 Sir, Koljevic was actually in Croatia to discuss population
7 exchange in Bosnia, wasn't he?
8 A. No, no, according to my information, no. While preparing for
9 Nikola Koljevic for that visit - Nikola Koljevic is now deceased - the
10 main objective of all those who were present including him, was to do
11 everything possible to stop the bloodshed and to prevent war from
12 erupting. The war had already started. It was already raging in Croatia
13 so the wish was to stop it spilling over into Bosnia. The goal was to
14 seek all sorts of modalities to prevents that. One of those modalities
15 would be also to discuss confederation. Not ethnic cleansing but ethnic
17 Q. And in fact, sir, the ethnic homogenisation that you've just
18 described isn't that, in fact -- well, let me restate this.
19 In paragraph 26 of your Karadzic statement, D760, you say there
20 can be no deportation without war and Serbs were persistently opposed to
22 Sir, isn't it the truth that the goal was, in fact, to secure
23 political, territorial and human separation of the Serbian people from
24 others; right?
25 A. That was not the general objective. The objective was in places
1 where there were conflicts already or a potential for conflict to do
2 everything to prevent bloodshed. That was the policy in the
3 Serbian Democratic Party.
4 MS. BIBLES: And Your Honour, I have no further questions.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Ms. Bibles.
6 Mr. Stojanovic, any further questions for the witness?
7 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] I have a few, Your Honour.
8 Could we look at document P6905, please.
9 Re-examination by Mr. Stojanovic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] While we're waiting, Mr. Witness, this is a
11 letter, a circular letter. You have it in front of you. And the first
12 thing that I would like you to tell the Court is the following. This
13 letter is sent to three addresses and to files. What is this
14 abbreviation SAO?
15 A. Independent autonomous region Herzegovina and then SAO Romanija
16 and then SAO Semberija. That means independent autonomous region.
17 Q. Can you tell us what the reason is, why this letter was not sent
18 to the municipal Crisis Staffs. Rather, to the three addresses mentioned
19 here, the three autonomous regions?
20 A. Well, I already said that it was very difficult. Communication
21 already became difficult and the postal services were in a state of
22 crisis as well so it was easier to reach these three centres and then
23 through them, this could reach the municipal organs because these were
24 regional organisations, in a way, so through them, this would reach the
25 municipal organs.
1 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Mr. Stojanovic, may I put one question for
3 Mr. Komad, you were asked what the abbreviation SAO stands for.
4 Your answer was independent autonomous region.
5 Can you explain what the S stands for, the letter S?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Samustalna, independent.
7 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Not Serbian.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no.
9 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Thank you very much.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I have a follow-up.
11 What did the difference between independent and autonomous?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Are you asking me?
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, I'm asking you.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Ah, yes, yes. Well, I mean, well,
15 an autonomous region in a way is in conjunction with the central
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: It is not independent. But now what does -- what
18 does independent mean in that context then?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it is less dependant on the
20 central authority and -- and it depends more on central authority.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... if it's
22 autonomous it is somewhat dependant on the central authority. If it is
23 independent, it is independent of that central authority. Isn't this a
24 contradiction in terms in this name?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated] [Previous translation
2 continues] ...
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, there can be no contradiction
4 if that is the way it is defined. If it is defined as an independent
5 autonomous region. So that is to say, that, in a way, it is independent
6 in certain aspects, but if it is autonomous then it is partly linked to
7 the central authorities.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. We'll take it not further. That's your
10 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 Q. Mr. Witness --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic, of course, SAOs have been discussed
13 quite a number of times in this court. Is there dispute about what the
14 abbreviation, what the acronym stands for, between Prosecution and
15 Defence? I'd like to know. Do you -- is it your position that it's
16 independent or that it's the S stands for Serbian?
17 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I did not discuss
18 the topic with the Office of the Prosecutor. I think that we could agree
19 on what this abbreviation stands for.
20 JUDGE ORIE: And that -- what -- if you think you would agree
21 it's my impression, my provisional impression that the Prosecution think
22 it is stands for Serbian. So if you think you would agree with the
23 Prosecution, then that would mean that you also take the view that S --
24 the S in SAO stands for Serbian.
25 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we're just going to
1 take a look at these decisions that have to do with the time-frame in
2 May 1992, and then, together with the OTP, we're going to try to
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Although I ask you for your position, but --
5 okay. Let's -- let's -- let's move on.
6 Perhaps we ask the witness: Did the acronym SAO never stand for
7 something there in which the S represented Serbian rather than
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, on the basis of my memory, as
10 far as I can remember, it's the way I've already said.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But you have no recollection that at any point
12 in time, that SAO stood for Serbian autonomous region?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot say. I do not have that
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic, please proceed.
16 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Mr. Komad, in this letter that you signed, there's a reference to
18 War Commissioners in municipalities during an imminent threat of war or a
19 state of war. Can you tell the Trial Chamber whether War Commissioners
20 were there as appointed from the republican level, the central level?
21 A. Yes. The government of Republika Srpska appointed commissioners
22 who were in charge of particular municipalities.
23 Q. I'm going to end with another question related to this document.
24 If you know, can you tell the Trial Chamber what the reason was,
25 why in May, the end of May 1992, at the level of the Serb Democratic
1 Party and the Executive Board, a decision is made to abolish Crisis
2 Staffs and establish War Commissioners in municipalities?
3 A. I can just say that this decision was made by state organs. The
4 SDS was the initiator and I mean, the initiator of such a decision. As
5 for the reason that you're asking about, this is what it was. Precisely
6 because of communication and co-operation that was greatly impeded, the
7 assessment was that one would operate more functionally through
8 War Commissioners than through Crisis Staffs; the Crisis Staffs that had
9 existed until then. That was the reason why there was this move to this
10 mode of operation.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 Could we now have document P6901 in e-court.
13 Mr. Witness, this is one of the documents that you had the
14 opportunity to see yesterday during the cross-examination. And now I'd
15 just like to ask you to tell us when you focus on Article I of this
16 decision, it says there that the territories of the municipalities, local
17 communes and populated areas in which the plebiscite was held, when the
18 Serbian and other peoples voted on whether they wanted to remain in the
19 joint state of Yugoslavia together with the Republic of Serbia, the
20 Republic of Montenegro, Krajina, Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem, and
21 in which more than 50 per cent of the Serbian electorate voted for the
22 same joint state. And then the sentence continues as follows: "... as
23 well as those places in which other peoples and nationalities, ethnic
24 communities, voted to remain in the same joint state of Yugoslavia shall
25 be considered the Territorial Defence of the federal state of
2 Please, what was the aim of this decision in relation to the area
3 where citizens belonging to other ethnic communities voted in favour of
4 remaining in the joint state?
5 A. The aim was in terms of the 50 years at least that people spent
6 living together in the same state beforehand, the SDS had this objective
7 or aim or orientation to stay in this joint state with other ethnic
8 groups rather than have any kind of ethnic cleansing that was discussed
9 here. So the SDS wanted other people who wished to live in this common
10 state to go on living in this common state, this joint state.
11 Q. Do you know about the referendum?
12 A. You mean plebiscite?
13 Q. Plebiscite, sorry, that was carried out on the 9th and 10th of
14 November, whether there were such situations too. Namely, that areas
15 where the majority population was non-Serb voted in favour of remaining
16 in the joint state of Yugoslavia?
17 A. Yes, there were such cases; specifically in Sarajevo and in some
18 other places too.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Could you name those --
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Truth to tell, not a major
21 percentage was involved.
22 JUDGE ORIE: What do you mean by "not a major percentage was
23 involved"? What do you mean exactly by that?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I mean, that already then
25 there was this euphoria of the conflict and it was the Serb population
1 that had mostly voted for the plebiscite. That's what I meant in terms
2 of the largest percentage.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But now the question was quite clear. You
4 were asked about areas where the majority population was non-Serb voted
5 in favour of remaining in the joint state of Yugoslavia.
6 You said there were such cases. Could you name them?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Please.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've already said: Tuzla,
10 Sarajevo, Bijeljina. But not to a high degree or high percentage. I
11 cannot remember the exact percentage points involved but I'm speaking in
12 global, general terms.
13 JUDGE ORIE: If you say that you vote in favour of remaining in
14 the joint state of Yugoslavia, that means that the majority votes in
15 favour of that. That is, more than 50 per cent or if there are more
16 choices, at least --
17 Could you -- Sarajevo, the whole of Sarajevo or certain
18 municipalities of the Sarajevo area?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For example, some municipalities.
20 Not the majority. Some of them.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Which ones?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Say, Novo Sarajevo. The
23 municipality of Novo Sarajevo.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Novo Sarajevo, first of all, was there a majority of
25 non-Serbs living there?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it was half/half. I cannot
2 remember exactly. But it was half/half.
3 JUDGE ORIE: It is vital if you say that an area with a majority
4 non-Serb population, then -- then to say, I don't know exactly what the
5 number was and it was approximately half, that doesn't give a good
6 example of what you are telling us. Because you are telling us where
7 there was majority non-Serb population, that they voted in favour of
8 staying within a federal Yugoslavia.
9 Now, you say Novo Sarajevo. You don't know for sure whether
10 there was a majority non-Serb population. Any other example?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, for example, Bijeljina.
12 Bijeljina. In Bijeljina too. Although the Serb population was the
13 majority population but there were also other ethnic communities there as
14 well, specifically the Bosniak people. I mean --
15 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... witness.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Do you understand that are you contradicting
18 yourself within two or three minutes. You were talking about an area
19 with a majority non-Serb population. I ask you for an example, you say
20 Bijeljina although there was a majority Serb population. So it is not an
21 example of what you were telling us.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Specifically, Ilidza. That's where
23 the population was Bosniak, the majority population. And there was a
24 large percentage that was in favour of this decision.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Did they vote in favour of? That is, did the
1 majority vote in favour of staying within the federal Yugoslavia, or, as
2 you told us now, there was at least quite a number of non-Serbs who were
3 voting in -- to remain in the former Yugoslavia.
4 So what -- what we need is a majority non-Serb population. You
5 say that's Ilidza. And then we need them to vote in favour of staying in
6 the former Yugoslavia. Did the outcome of the Ilidza vote, or
7 plebiscite, was that by majority, they wanted to stay in the former
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, specifically, I cannot
10 remember about the exact percentage. But, I mean, well, as for this
11 question of yours, well, the majority was where the Serb population was,
12 I mean, where the majority population was Serb. That is where the
13 majority voted for such decisions.
14 JUDGE ORIE: That's not the -- the problem. That's not the issue
15 I raised with you.
16 Mr. Stojanovic, please proceed.
17 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. Sir, can you tell us - if you know - what the reason was and
19 motive for the adoption of the conclusion of the Serb -- Assembly of the
20 Serb People in Bosnia-Herzegovina in October 1991 on the need to have a
21 plebiscite and a vote for remaining in the joint state of Yugoslavia?
22 A. The Serb people in Bosnia-Herzegovina faced major test because as
23 Yugoslavia disintegrated, the Serb people in Bosnia-Herzegovina were
24 supposed to become a minority people and they were outvoted in different
25 forms of political activity and a coalition was created between -- I
1 mean, the Croat leadership and the Bosniak leadership. And in that
2 situation, the Serb people remained a minority. So all decisions that
3 were made by the organs of Bosnia-Herzegovina, there was outvoting there
4 so the Serb people and the Serb leadership I mean, saw clearly that there
5 would be this kind of outvoting, and that they would be ignored and that
6 was one of the basic reasons, I mean, for the Serb leadership to adopt
7 this kind of decision because in practice in political activity, there
8 are many examples that can be mentioned, especially in terms of how the
9 then-Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina operated as well as other organs
10 where the Serbs were being outvoted and where their voice could not be
12 Q. Thank you. And I shall conclude by dealing with just one topic.
13 Can you remember whether the ballots that were used during the
14 plebiscite was there only one form or colour that was used or were there
15 several forms, several contents, several colours?
16 A. The same form and the same question was on all the ballots,
17 however for technical reasons, I think there were two colours for sure
18 and maybe even three. The yellow and the blue, as far as I can remember.
19 So there wasn't any different content involved. The content was the same
20 and the form was the same. However, there were two colours. I think
21 there were only two. For technical reasons.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Could the witness explain what the technical reasons
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, printing presses couldn't,
25 for example, they couldn't give us enough in the same colour. And then
1 we opted for, say, sending the yellow ones out in order to check this
2 better, certain regions so that we'd see where they came from. Yellow,
3 blue, it didn't really matter. It wasn't that they were particularly
4 determined in any way. It was for technical reasons.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Isn't it true that simplest is to make them all
6 white or -- is it documented anywhere that it purely had to do with
7 technical matters rather than perhaps make a distinction between to whom
8 they were distributed?
9 Was there any way that the different colours were distributed in
10 a different way in an area where the vote took place.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I've already said, this was
12 just a technical reason. There was nothing else. I mean, I don't know
13 what you mean, what your association is. However, as far as I know, this
14 was just technical.
15 JUDGE ORIE: You earlier told us, I think, that the various
16 ethnicities voted in a similar or a different way. You said Serbs voted
17 this way; other peoples voted not the same as the Serbs?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We received the information from
19 the field, and we were informed that people were coming. We didn't have
20 the precise data so I couldn't give answers to your previous questions
21 because of that. We didn't count people along religious or ethnic lines.
22 For example, we would receive a report from Bijeljina and then the people
23 who conducted that would tell us that there were many Bosniaks or perhaps
24 a lot of Croats who had come to vote, depending on the area. We don't
25 know how people voted but we knew what the turnout was. There were
1 commissions that monitored the plebiscite and this was something that was
2 set by the assembly, not by the parties.
3 JUDGE ORIE: No. The different colours in the ballot papers
4 played no role whatsoever in either the way in which the vote took place,
5 neither in the interpretation of the results of the vote. It was just
6 ignored because it was only for technical reasons.
7 Is that how we have to understand your testimony?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
10 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, for
11 this assistance.
12 Q. Witness, on behalf of Ratko Mladic's Defence team, I would like
13 to thank you for answering the questions that we put to you.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Stojanovic.
15 Any further questions, Ms. Bibles.
16 MS. BIBLES: Yes. And in light of this last area, there will be
17 about ten minutes.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Then we have to take the break first. That's clear.
19 MS. BIBLES: Yes.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, we'll take a break and there will be a few
21 more questions for you after the break. And we'd like to see you back in
22 20 minutes.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 [The witness stands down]
25 JUDGE ORIE: We take a break, and we'll resume at five minutes to
2 --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 10.58 a.m.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Before we continue, Mr. Stojanovic, you heard the
5 evidence of the witness about the different colours, purely technical,
6 and about questions being exactly the same, no differences at all. Of
7 course, we've spent quite some time on it.
8 Is it -- does the Defence want to rely on that evidence given by
9 this witness, that it's purely technical? Because under those
10 circumstances, it makes sense, I take it, that Ms. Bibles wants to show
11 the ballot papers and that the questions are not exactly phrased the same
12 and that there is a link between a colour and the -- do you want to rely
13 on the evidence of this witness in this respect? Because then we would
14 go through the exercise again, I take it. If you say, Well, I'll not
15 rely on that because that's not the Defence's position, then we can
16 perhaps skip the matter and -- of course, there's -- it still sheds some
17 light on the reliability of the evidence of this witness but that's, of
18 course -- that will not change in this way if we go through that
19 evidence, the ballot papers. What's your position?
20 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we're not going to
21 rely on that part of the witness statement. The questions were directed
22 at a different area, so that's why I stopped. So we're not going to be
23 dealing with that part of the witness testimony.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You mean you -- you accept that there was a
25 difference and that the colours are not just for technical purposes?
1 That there were different questions?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's correct, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Then we would like to have the witness into the
5 But, Ms. Bibles, I can imagine you would not need the full ten
7 MS. BIBLES: If we could clear up one additional thing it might
8 be helpful.
9 Over the break, I spoke with Mr. Stojanovic and I believe we are
10 in a position to stipulate SAO does -- the parties concur it does mean
11 Serbian autonomous region. I just want to confirm that on the record
12 before we go forward.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, there's a stipulation that that's the meaning
14 of the word "SAO". But apart from that, do you have any further
15 questions of the witness?
16 MS. BIBLES: In light of the Defence position with respect to the
17 ballot, no, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Then we'll ask the witness to come in and -- I think
19 it would be fair to the witness to tell him that there are no further
20 questions because the parties agree that it was not of a purely technical
21 nature and that the questions were not exactly the same but since you
22 agree, there's no need to ask further questions to the witness.
23 MS. BIBLES: In the meantime we can take care of a quick
24 housekeeping matter from yesterday and that was 65 ter 20251 which was
25 MFI'd under P06902, pending provision of the audio CDs. Those CDs have
1 now been provided to the Court Officer. So P6902 can be admitted.
2 JUDGE ORIE: No objections from what I understand.
3 P6902 is admitted into evidence.
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, perhaps to your surprise there are no
6 further questions for you, and I'd like to briefly inform you about what
7 happened in your absence.
8 The Prosecution and the Defence agreed on SAO to mean Serbian
9 autonomous region. That's one.
10 Second, the Prosecution and the Defence agree that the different
11 colours in the ballot papers were not just for technical reasons.
12 And, second, that the questions as formulated on the ballot
13 papers were not exactly the same, and, therefore, since the parties agree
14 on this, there is not need to further elaborate in detail with you on
15 what exactly the questions were or what colours there were.
16 Under those circumstances, the questions -- the parties have no
17 further questions for you. Neither has the Bench. Which means that this
18 concludes your testimony in this court.
19 I'd like to thank you very much for coming to The Hague and for
20 having answered the questions that were put to you, and I wish you a safe
21 return home again. You may follow the usher.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. Good-bye.
23 [The witness withdrew]
24 JUDGE ORIE: And, Mr. Usher, could you escort the next witness
25 into the courtroom.
1 MS. BIBLES: Your Honours, Mr. MacDonald will be cross-examining
2 the next witness.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, there was ...
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, you have not responded in any way to what
6 Mr. Traldi said about the list and the ethnicity of the persons. If you
7 would wish to do so, of course, you'll always be given an opportunity but
8 you didn't stand up when Mr. Traldi spoke. Or after Mr. Traldi spoke.
9 MR. LUKIC: I think it's Mr. Stojanovic's witness.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic, do you want to add anything to what
11 Mr. Traldi said?
12 MR. STOJANOVIC: [Interpretation] Just briefly, Your Honour. I
13 would like to thank my colleague Mr. Traldi for what he has just said. I
14 don't have anything to add. I don't have any problem with that. And I
15 stand by the suggestion that the document be tendered into evidence in
16 this case.
17 MR. TRALDI: We don't object. As to the ethnicities, we stand by
18 the position I provided this morning.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stojanovic, any number with the document? I
22 think it was mainly a matter of interpreting the document, names on it.
23 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
24 JUDGE ORIE: There's no P number. Neither a D number.
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE ORIE: I think it was 1D1733. Is that correct -- 2733. So
2 it was not correct.
3 MR. TRALDI: Mr. President, I'm very reluctant to quibble about
4 punctuation in the transcript but at page 27, line 18 I -- it changes the
5 meaning of what I was saying.
6 JUDGE ORIE: I suggest that we deal with the matter not now
7 immediately because the witness is waiting and it's not very polite.
8 Mr. Sipovac, it's not very polite when you enter the courtroom
9 not to address you in the first place.
10 Before you give evidence, the Rules require that you make a
11 solemn declaration. I would like to invite you to make that solemn
12 declaration, of which the text is now handed out to you.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
14 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 WITNESS: CEDO SIPOVAC
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please be seated, Mr. Sipovac.
18 Mr. Sipovac, you will first be examined by Mr. Lukic. You find
19 him to your left. Mr. Lukic is counsel for Mr. Mladic.
20 Please proceed, Mr. Lukic.
21 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I'll first kindly ask help
22 from the usher to distribute statement summaries to the translation
23 booths and type recorder, yeah.
24 Examination by Mr. Lukic:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sipovac, please excuse me, I was just
1 dealing with some administrative matters. Good morning.
2 A. Good morning. And it could already be good day.
3 Q. Well, the Englishmen say good morning until noon.
4 A. In our part of the world, it's different. It's already good day.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Previous translation continues] ... I sent an e-mail
6 that I would kindly ask for extension of time for my direct for one hour
7 and 15 minutes. I hope I will not uses all the time I'm asking for, but
8 I have to do some corrections that are already made in Karadzic trial and
9 I have to go through all of them and one more so we will have more
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Lukic, a lot of the time allotted to you
12 are spent and all these corrections than really to have hear the
13 evidence. If we have to do it, of course, we can't have anything in
14 evidence which is not accurate. So -- but it's better done before we
15 come to court.
16 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, it's Karadzic statement and corrections
17 were made on Karadzic transcript. So we have to do the same corrections.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But you can take a new statement and then make
19 those corrections. But let's leave it to that. Please proceed.
20 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Can we have 1D2514 on our screens, please.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, it's a good habit to start to ask the
23 witness to -- to identify himself.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Sir, Mr. Sipovac, you heard His Honour. Could you please tell us
1 your first and last name slowly for the transcript.
2 A. My name is Cedo Sipovac. I was born on 19th of April, 1959 in
3 the municipality of Nevesinje. If you need any more information about
4 me, I can continue. Is -- is that sufficient?
5 Q. Yes, thank you very much. That is sufficient.
6 Did you provide a statement to the Defence team of Mr. Karadzic?
7 A. Yes, I did.
8 Q. Could we please look at the last page of the document that we're
9 seeing on the screen.
10 On the left-hand side is the B/C/S version of the document. Do
11 you see the document? Do you see the signature? Do you recognise it?
12 A. It's the 18th of January, 2014. And then, to the right, it's my
13 signature. Yes, that is my signature.
14 Q. Thank you. Could we now look at paragraph 3 of your statement.
15 In the B/C/S version, that is the first page. In the English version
16 also it's the first page.
17 In the paragraph, it says that sometime in June 1991 pursuant to
18 an order from the Secretariat of National Defence, military territorial
19 districts were formed.
20 In your testimony in the Karadzic case, you corrected this, and
21 you also drew my attention to it. You told me that these military
22 territorial districts actually were manned at the time and that they had
23 been formed before; is that correct?
24 A. The decision to form them was earlier in early 1991 and they were
25 manned in late 1991 in July, August, September. This applies
1 specifically to Prijedor. So there is a difference between forming them
2 and actually staffing or manning them.
3 MR. LUKIC: So instead of having "were formed," we should have
4 "were filled with personnel" in this part of paragraph 3.
5 Q. [Interpretation] There are two other corrections in this
6 paragraph. We need to look at the next page in both versions of the
8 The -- the numbers of military posts are wrong so that the
9 numbers in the last sentence, 3673, should correctly read 3670. And
10 number 7672 should correctly read 7362. Mr. Sipovac, do you agree with
12 A. Yes, I do.
13 Q. In paragraph 10 also there is a correction. It's the previous
14 page in the B/C/S and English -- ah, ah, now we have both pages on the
16 The first sentence states: "I cannot recall the exact date in
17 1992," it should state: "I cannot recall the exact date in 1991 ..."
18 Sir, is that correct, Mr. Sipovac?
19 A. Yes, that is correct. In paragraph 10, that is the correction.
20 Q. And now we just need to look at paragraph 1. From the time that
21 Mr. Sipovac testified in the Karadzic case, he changed jobs, and in that
22 version of the statement, it says the following. I'm going to read the
23 whole sentence in English. It's the last sentence but one in this
24 paragraph [In English] I quote: "I'm now [Realtime transcript read in
25 error "not"] an official in the veterans organisation of Republika Srpska
1 in Banja Luka."
2 And this sentence in paragraph 1 should read now: "I am now an
3 official in the Ministry of Labour, War Veterans and Disability
5 [Interpretation] Is it correct what is stated here?
6 A. The interpretation was that I'm a functionary, an official.
7 Fortunately, I am not a politician. I'm not a functionary. That word in
8 Serbian would designate an official. But I am actually just an employee.
9 And so I don't want to leave the wrong impression. And also if that is
10 of any importance here, I have four grandchildren.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Well, Mr. Lukic, I'll not comment on the last -- the
12 importance of the last part of the witness's statement, although I think
13 in view of the age of the Bench, we have some understanding for it to be
15 But it's -- looks as if on page 31, line 24, that there was a
16 Freudian mistake. I think you read I am now an official and not I am not
17 an official although that forecasts already that he is not anymore a --
18 an official.
19 Please proceed.
20 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
21 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sipovac, after making these corrections, is
22 the information in your statement accurate and truthful?
23 A. Yes, it is.
24 Q. If I were to put the same questions to you today, would you give
25 the same answers?
1 A. Yes, I would.
2 Q. We would like it tender Mr. Sipovac's statement into evidence, as
3 well as the associated exhibits.
4 MR. LUKIC: [In English] There is no associated exhibits.
5 JUDGE ORIE: So you want to tender no associated exhibits.
6 MR. LUKIC: I just want to inform you that there is no associated
8 JUDGE ORIE: Any objection against the ...?
9 MR. MacDONALD: There is no objection, Your Honours but I think
10 one more correction has to be made, a typographical error.
11 JUDGE ORIE: If it's really purely typographical and creates no
12 confusion we'll do that. You will inform the Chamber after you have
13 consulted with Mr. Lukic.
14 MR. MacDONALD: I'm obliged Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ORIE: If it is purely typographical.
16 MR. MacDONALD: It changes the meaning of the [Overlapping
17 speakers] ...
18 JUDGE ORIE: Then it's not purely a typo.
19 MR. MacDONALD: In the last page in the English, Your Honours,
20 and I believe it's the second-last page in the B/C/S, English under
21 attachment C it states: "I have described everything I know about
22 facilities of imprisonment in question number 16," and I think given the
23 renumbering of the paragraphs that should be question number 15,
24 Your Honours, on the previous page in the English.
25 Aside from that, no objection.
1 JUDGE ORIE: That's not just a typographical error. That affects
2 the content.
3 Witness, could you read what appears under attachment C. And at
4 this moment you see on your screen that there's no question 16 but there
5 is one number 15. Was it your intention to refer to your answer to
6 question 15?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you permit me to read I mean, I
8 think it's obvious that there is no question 16. But, still, I would
9 like to be permitted just to read it, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE ORIE: If you would just read your answer to question 15
11 and then tell us whether you do -- did or did not want to refer to that
13 JUDGE FLUEGGE: Then we have to go back one page.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But only in the English.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I did give that answer, that I
16 wouldn't change my statement and I stand by that even though my opinion
17 is different. It doesn't matter if it's called a camp or something else.
18 The important thing is what was going on there. But I do leave it at
19 what is written here. If that's the whole point of the question that you
20 are putting to me.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, you say the names are without importance.
22 Whether that's true or not is another matter but we leave that to the
23 parties to argue. But your reference was to your answer to question 15.
24 Madam Registrar, the number.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Document 1D2514 receives number D766,
1 Your Honours.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Admitted into evidence.
3 Please proceed, Mr. Lukic.
4 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I will first read statement
5 summary from Mr. Sipovac and I'll have several questions for this
7 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, as you suggest.
8 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Cedo Sipovac was an official in the Secretariat for
10 People's Defence in Prijedor. He will testify about the situation in his
11 municipality, before and after the first multi-party elections.
12 Cedo Sipovac will testify about the mobilisation process in the
13 municipality of Prijedor. He will testify that all members of the war
14 units were called up, and conscripts received same type of weaponry,
15 regardless of their ethnicity.
16 He will testify about the instruction that was sent from
17 Jerko Doko, then republican secretary of national Defence in B and H.
18 Mr. Sipovac learned from his colleagues that in his instruction, Mr. Doko
19 banned the secretariats from mobilising war units.
20 Mr. Sipovac testifies that he did not have any information, nor
21 did he receive any instructions or orders, ordering the permanent removal
22 of Bosnian Muslims and Croats from Prijedor municipality, nor he
23 participated in anything of that kind. Mr. Sipovac claims that if this
24 had been the policy of the authorities, the defence structures would have
25 known about it.
1 Cedo Sipovac will testify that sometime in June 1991, military
2 territorial districts were replenished and the responsibilities of the
3 secretariat were shifted, that is to say, the tasks of recruitment, the
4 mobilisation of TO war units. In accordance with this order, one such
5 organ was formed in Prijedor municipality with its centre at the
6 Zarko Zgonjanin barracks.
7 That was the short statement summary.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Please put the question you had in mind to the
10 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sipovac, you told us that you worked on
12 mobilisation tasks. After the conflict broke out in the area of
13 Prijedor, were there any military conscripts, Croats or Muslims, in the
14 Army of Republika Srpska?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. I'm specifically going to ask you about what you know about the
17 ethnic composition of the Ljubija Battalion.
18 A. The Ljubija Battalion, the 6th Motorised Battalion, was manned by
19 people from a multi-ethnic area and the makeup included Serbs, Croats,
20 Muslims, I think also ethnic minorities, Ukrainians. So it was a
21 homogenous [as interpreted] unit. I don't know what else I could say.
22 It was carrying out its assignments in line with the commands of the --
23 orders of the superior command and within the unit, as far as I know,
24 there were no interethnic disagreements or conflicts.
25 Q. How were the units manned? What was the principle involved?
1 Ethnic, territorial? Tell us what the principle was.
2 A. In view of the circumstances that affected the records and the
3 process of mobilisation, at that moment, the most efficient way of
4 manning units was the territorial principle, which would translate as
5 follows. You mentioned the Ljubija Battalion now and it was manned from
6 the territory of several local communes --
7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the witness please
8 pre-trial the names of the communes distinctly.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] You really have to speak distinctly,
10 so that people could hear you, understand what you're saying.
11 A. I'm sorry.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Especially the local communes. Could you please
13 repeat the names of those.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do apologise.
15 So the Ljubija Battalion was manned from the territory of the
16 following municipalities: Miska Glava, Donja Ljubija, Gornja Ljubija,
17 Surkevac, Ravska, Ljeskare, Cikote. Now have I forgotten someone? I
18 don't know. But that would be it. In some of these places, both Serbs
19 and Croats lived, and Muslims. The other battalion, Omarska Battalion,
20 it was called, it was manned from Omarska, Gornja Jelicka, Donja Jelicka,
21 Maricka, part of Petrov Gaj, Lamovita. If necessary, I can enumerate the
22 others, too.
23 Q. That's fine.
24 A. That was the territorial principle and it depended on the ethnic
25 structure of the population that lived in the area.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Do you have just a percentage of -- what percentage
2 was Serb, what percentage was Muslim, what percentage was Croat in that
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, now I'd have to give a free
5 estimate, Your Honour, if that's acceptable. The Ljubicki battalion, I
6 cannot give you the exact percentage but it certainly had over 100
7 persons who were of a different ethnicity and also some of the commanders
8 were ethnic Croats. I think that we can speak at the level of the entire
9 war-time unit and say that there was 10 per cent or even more. If we
10 look at the brigade in total in this battalion certainly had up to 25
11 percent. Perhaps even 30 per cent. I'm speaking about the Ljubija
12 battalion. It depends. Perhaps 80 per cent was Serb, ethnic Serbs
13 because that was the structure of the population in that area, that the
14 3rd Battalion was also multi-ethnic. It covered part of the --
15 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... witness, you've
16 answered my question about the Ljubija Battalion. You said it was -- up
17 to some 80 per cent was Serb. Thank you.
18 Please proceed.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think it would be around that
22 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Do you know roughly in this Ljubija battalion what were the
24 losses, in terms of ethnicity, provisional figures?
25 A. Well, I cannot say in terms of battalions but I know this thank
1 there were Muslims and Croats who fell victim. It's a bit difficult to
2 comment upon this but I think 37, 38 persons who were non-Serbs were
3 killed, if we look at the level of the entire brigade. The Ljubija
4 battalion, of course, it's very difficult to speak about the victims and
5 certainly one cannot speak flippantly of these figures. Persons who fell
6 victim, but I think it was about ten persons. I think that we can find
7 these statistics somewhere.
8 Q. Thank you. Did they receive different assignments, members of
9 different ethnicities, who were members of that unit?
10 A. What do you mean?
11 Q. Let's say the Ljubija battalion. Did Serbs get different tasks
12 from Muslims and Croats.
13 A. Well, the commanders of the unit were who they were but certainly
14 there were never any objections and I don't think that anyone ever gave
15 separate tasks to Muslims, separate to Serbs, separate to Croats. That
16 kind of thing did not happen.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Do you know it or do you think it? I mean, if you
19 have any knowledge. Mr. Lukic, you know how important it is for this
20 Chamber to know about facts rather than impressions or opinions.
21 Do you have any specific knowledge about it, please tell us. If
22 not, then we will be able to understand your answer.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. I don't have any
24 specific knowledge about any orders being issued on ethnic grounds in the
25 unit, any kind of tasks on such grounds. That is to say, that all were
1 given totally equal treatment.
2 JUDGE ORIE: But if you say, I have -- I don't have any specific
3 knowledge about any orders being issued on ethnic grounds, do you have
4 any knowledge on orders not to be issued on ethnic grounds or -- which
5 means that would you have to know about orders. Have you seen orders?
6 Do you -- are you familiar with orders issued within that battalion?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not take part directly in
8 commanding that unit. But I claim this because the principle of control
9 and command from the top level was never such and, I mean, I haven't seen
10 a document to that effect. I cannot say that.
11 JUDGE ORIE: So, Mr. Lukic, what, in principle, I mean, facts,
12 that's what the Chamber is trying to find out.
13 Please proceed.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Before you do, can I ask for clarification of the
15 previous answer here.
16 Mr. Sipovac, at page 38, lines 22 -- he says it's a bit difficult
17 to comment upon this, but I think 37, 38 persons who were non-Serbs were
19 And then later at line 25 or 24 you say persons who fell victim
20 but I think it was about ten persons. I'm not quite sure what the ten
21 persons represent. I know the 38 represent non-Serbs. Who are the ten
22 persons who -- who fell? And how did they -- how do you reconcile them
23 with 38?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The first figure I stated, as I did
25 all this work, as I co-operated with the veterans' organisation well, my
1 knowledge is based on the brigade level. Out of the total number of
2 casualties, persons who were members of the brigade who were killed, a
3 brigade is larger than a battalion. Thirty-seven, 38 persons who were
4 non-Serbs were killed. Within the battalion itself, the Ljubija
5 battalion, it was about ten people or ten people. But that can be
6 checked. The exact figured can be checked in the records. I mean, the
7 differences in the level, a battalion is a lower-ranking unit than a
8 brigade. Perhaps that is the best way in which I can translate this for
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. So 38 died in the brigade; ten
11 died in the battalion. Thank you so much.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Mr. Sipovac, since you manned units, do you know whether all
14 members of a single units was sent, for example, to the corridor?
15 Irrespective of ethnic background, were they given the same tasks?
16 A. The unit is an organisational unit would get tasks as a unit and
17 there weren't any special tasks or orders that were based on ethnic
18 background; Serbs, Croats, Muslims. That is to say, when an order is
19 issued the order is issued according to the principles upon which it
20 should be based. It depends on what was involved. That would not be
21 right. It would not be based on the rules. It would not be humane. It
22 would just be wrong.
23 Q. Now I'm going to ask you something about paragraph 8 of your
24 statement, and I'm going to ask you to explain something related to the
25 mobilisation problems faced.
1 In 1991, the beginning of 1992, were there problems with call-up
3 A. 1991, 1992? Did I understand you correctly. Sorry, what was
4 that that you said? End of 1991, beginning of 1992, well, there were
5 problems in carrying out mobilisation absolutely. Both in 1991 and in
6 1992. Because different instructions arrived in terms of how
7 mobilisation should be carried out.
8 Q. All right.
9 A. The signal for mobilisation goes along parallel lines, that is to
10 say, down the structures of socio-political communities, political
11 organs, down to local communes. And then there is control and command.
12 That is to say, the military chain down to the war-time units. Should I
13 repeat all of this?
14 Q. There's no need to do that. Just a minute, please. Just stop.
15 You spoke about the system in your statement. When I'm asking
16 you about problems, mobilisation problems, perhaps my question was not
17 phrased very correctly. Were there any problems on the ground? Persons
18 who were on the ground, who were distributing call-up papers, did they
19 face problems?
20 A. Yes, they did. And there was a problem involved in the
21 mobilisation procedure as such and that's what I wanted to tell you
22 about. Because the leaders, the political leaders of the Muslim Bosniak
23 people that is, or rather persons who headed the organs of the Croat
24 people too, for example, the secretariat, the Republican Secretariat for
25 National Defence, they gave instructions to ethnic Bosniaks and Croats
1 not to respond to call up or, rather, that organs should not mobilise
2 war-time units of the JNA and then this was followed by what happened on
3 the ground. The couriers faced problems, those who were carrying call-up
4 papers. I can't remember the exact name but in 1991 I remember that one
5 of these couriers was killed. This was a Bosniak in Sanski Most, and
6 then also in Prijedor, in Cejreci that is to say, the couriers who would
7 carry call-up papers they would be stopped by people, for example, I
8 remember this special case. This person who had an automatic rifle told
9 him that he would be killed if he continued distributing call-up papers
10 and there were other problems too. There were quite a few problems, yes.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Apart from the details is there any dispute between
12 the parties that mobilisation in that point in time there was problems
13 and hesitation by non-Serbs to follow the call-up? I'm not talking about
14 details. And I'm also not talking about what means.
15 [Prosecution counsel confer]
16 JUDGE ORIE: Or what consequences it may have had.
17 MR. MacDONALD: I wonder if I can check and come back to you with
18 that question, just with regard to the time-frame.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But, of course, I meant it to see whether we
20 could shorten the --
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: I have a question to the witness.
22 I hear what the whole detail that he has given which doesn't seem
23 to correspond with what he says in paragraph 8 of his statement.
24 Paragraph 8 of his statement states that both -- all ethnicities
25 responded to the call-up. And then, of course, the last sentence says:
1 The Muslim and Serbian response continued to be very poor. Doesn't seem
2 to refer to any specific ethnic group alone not responding.
3 So this is new in relation to paragraph 8. And I'd like to find
4 out which is which between the two.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Both are correct if I understood
6 the question as it was interpreted to me. Mr. Lukic asked me where were
7 some problems and I said what the problems were. I did not say that
8 there was no response but did I say that the obstruction calls were
9 public. I can give you an example if you want a specific example.
10 Although I'm not -- well, I'm going to tell you, for the sake of the
11 truth to help you, to help us all. I personally received the following
12 task: For security reasons, nobody wanted to go to Kozarac, Kozarusa,
13 Kamicani, Trnopolje, because there were incidents there at that time.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Just a minute. Could you slowly
15 repeat the names of those local communes.
16 A. Kozarac, Kozarusa, Kamicani, Trnopolje.
17 Q. Just a moment. Only Kozarac has been transcribed. You see how
18 you have been speaking.
19 A. Kozarac.
20 Q. Stop now. Next?
21 A. Kozarusa.
22 Q. Next.
23 A. Kamicani.
24 Q. Anything else?
25 A. Trnopolje.
1 Q. Go on.
2 A. Well, this was one of the routes taken by the couriers. The
3 centre was in Kozarac. Now what does this mean? That is to say, that
4 that is where one comes with the mobilisation signal and with the call-up
5 papers for that area and then the couriers take the call-up papers and
6 ask the messengers to come in and then they personally hand over these
7 call-up papers to the conscripts. In January 1992, on orders received
8 from the superior officer since no one, none of the instructors, that is,
9 none of the couriers wanted to carry out this assignment, I as the desk
10 officer, took this upon myself, and I distributed, I think about 1400
11 call-up papers, if I remember correctly. I took that to Kozarac. The
12 person that I found there that is responsible for carrying out
13 mobilisation was a person who was new to me. This was not a person who
14 had been registered with us. He did not want to accept this task or its
15 implementation and he said that he would not guarantee my safety and
16 security irrespective of what I was supposed to do. I asked him to give
17 a statement to that effect. He didn't want to. I compiled an Official
18 Note on account of that. And I returned to the command post and I
19 informed the superior officer about the contents of my Official Note. So
20 I don't want to accuse anyone, but this is a route where, it just so
21 happens it's a question of coincidence. This is where the population was
22 primarily Muslim. Muslim. Ethnic Muslims. So that is a specific case,
23 if that is what we are discussing. I'm not saying, and I cannot
24 challenge anything -- I mean, it's not that I'm challenging anything. I
25 would like to confirm that there were a number of persons of Muslim
1 ethnicity, Croat ethnicity and others that were in the Motorised Brigade.
2 Some of them came in September 1991. Others came later. Others left the
3 unit on their own. Others went on work obligation at the request of the
4 work organisations where they were employed. So there was no distinction
5 whatsoever. Their rights did not differ from the rights exercised by
6 ethnic Serbs.
7 Perhaps I've spoken a bit too extensively but I hope I've
8 explained this.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic.
10 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. [Interpretation] Well, let's just mentally return to Cejreci.
12 You said at the cross-roads in Cejreci that a person with an automatic
13 rifle threatened another man who was carrying the summonses for -- to be
14 delivered. Do you recall the names and can you tell us the ethnicity of
15 the person who was delivering the summons and the one who made the
17 A. Gredelj was the last name of the person. And the other one was
18 Amir Ramic. Gredelj was the one making the threats, whereas Amir Ramic -
19 I think that was his first name - was the person who was delivering the
20 summonses. They were both Bosniaks, I'm sure of that, because I was
21 doing that work and I had the files in front of me and all the records.
22 Then Mr. Ramic no longer wanted to take part in this whole system because
23 he was the victim of threats.
24 This was sometime in January 1992, if I'm not mistaken.
25 Q. Thank you. Once the call-up began and people started to go to
1 the Croatian front, were people leaving their units, there were any
2 problems with the units where Serbian people were members?
3 A. You mean when they started to go to the front?
4 Q. Yes. The question relates to the period when the first conflicts
5 broke out in the north of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sijekovac.
6 A. What is characteristic is that the mobilisation of units from the
7 Prijedor area, people from there were replenishing 37 different units. A
8 large number of those units were mobilised in 1991, and the response was
9 the way I described it.
10 The events in 1992, as a consequence, had the following. At one
11 point in time - I think that was in April or May, maybe even June of
12 1992 - there was a large concentration of military conscripts who had
13 returned from the front. They left the units on their own once they
14 found out what was happening in their municipality, let's say the
15 municipality of Prijedor. I'm emphasizing Prijedor, in particular,
16 because after the attack on Prijedor, after the events in
17 Dobrovoljacka Ulica, after the attack on the Tuzla column, there was a
18 large concentration of people who had come back but had not placed
19 themselves at the disposal of the war combat units. They were out of the
20 system. They had not returned their weapons. And this created a lot of
21 problems for me. I was working on the mobilisation. Their assignments,
22 war-time assignments were different, in a different place. The civilian
23 police was used to try to resolve this matter. There were also killings
24 in -- in restaurants where people from the same ethnic groups would kill
25 each other.
1 So roughly speaking about the return, there were always
2 individuals who ran away from the units. Serb, Croats, Muslims. But if
3 we're talking about something that was of significance -- influence,
4 that -- then that would be those who were returning from the war.
5 MR. LUKIC: I think it's a break time, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE ORIE: It is. Could you tell us where we are in terms of
7 time, Mr. Lukic?
8 MR. LUKIC: I'll probably need another 20 minutes.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Could you please keep in mind that the more
10 important the matter is, the more we are interested in details. The more
11 marginal the matter is, the less we need details.
12 Witness, we'll take a break, and we'd like to see you back in 20
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 [The witness stands down]
16 JUDGE ORIE: We'll resume at quarter past 12.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 11.57 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 12.18 p.m.
19 [The witness entered court]
20 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Lukic.
21 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sipovac, may we continue?
23 A. Yes, yes.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could we look at the statement of
25 Kerim Mesanovic in e-court. It's P3414 now. [In English] This is
1 attestation. We'll need probably the fourth page. And English --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, I do not know what your questions will
3 be, but usually I take it that you're familiar with the procedure that
4 you first ask the witness about the substance and only then put
5 statements of other witnesses to him. Again, I do not know what your
6 questions will be and will be covered by what you already asked him.
7 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sipovac, did you know Mr. Mesanovic, Kasim?
9 A. Kerim, not Kasim.
10 Q. Kerim. Yes, that's right.
11 A. I did.
12 Q. In 1991, was there ever a situation where orders relating to the
13 mobilisation were mostly issued by Serbs? And could you please tell us
14 who was at the head of the Secretariat of National Defence and who was
15 head of the mobilisation section?
16 A. The chief of the mobilisation sector was Dzevad Habibovic in
17 1991. And the chief or actually the secretary of the secretariat was
18 Becir Mendunjanin. As for whether the Serbs were the ones who were
19 issuing the mobilisation orders, it's not a personal thing. Anybody
20 could sign it. It could be a Serb, a Bosniak, a Croat, but the organ,
21 the actual body is the one that issues an execution order for
22 mobilisation, it could be the commander of the war unit or anybody else.
23 It goes from higher ranking to lower ranking unit. There could be the
24 secretary for national Defence. So it's not a personal thing. It's not
25 a question of whether they were Serbs. It's not something that happens
1 because a Serb or a Muslim issues an order. It's a matter for the organ.
2 Perhaps by their action or non-action --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, now you have three times told us the same.
4 Next question, please.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Did you notice at that time what was the ethnicity of
7 Mr. Mendunjanin, first of all, and Mr. Habibovic?
8 A. According to my information and in view of the facts that I was
9 keeping the records, according to my information, therefore, they were
10 Muslims. And this is also something that Mesanovic said in his
12 JUDGE ORIE: Could I ask the witness how you know what
13 Mr. Mesanovic told in his statement.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had the documents during
16 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. In that situation, when the organ was headed by a Muslim and when
19 the mobilisation section head was a Muslim, in that situation, did you
20 notice that it was the Serbs that were mostly issuing the mobilisation
22 A. No.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Previous translation continues] ... in paragraph 7 of
24 the statement of Mr. Mesanovic you can find this claim although he
25 confirmed that on -- those two names heading those two departments.
1 Q. [Interpretation] At the head of the republican organ who was the
2 person there, do you remember, and of what ethnicity?
3 A. Of the Republican Secretariat?
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. It was Jerko Doko. And he was a Croat. I didn't have his
6 dossier in my hands in order to know but according to the distribution of
7 functions, he was a member of the Croat ethnic group.
8 Q. Thank you very much. Mobilisation orders, did they began to
9 arrive from Belgrade bypassing the authorities in Banja Luka and Sarajevo
10 at any point?
11 A. The orderings were arriving from Belgrade in any event because
12 the seat of the secretariat was there. So it was normal that the orders
13 would be initiated from that place. You said bypassing Sarajevo and
14 Banja Luka? I don't think that they did, because if they were in the
15 position or I was in the position of seeing my colleagues who were
16 carrying out the mobilisation duties, say, that they received a document
17 from the Secretariat for National Defence that was headquartered in
18 Sarajevo and they were acting pursuant to that orders, it means that
19 Sarajevo was not bypassed, Banja Luka was not bypassed either, because
20 the Military District Command or the administration of the military
21 command was headquartered in Banja Luka, so we received our military
22 order through the Military District Command. So I don't believe that
23 they were bypassed.
24 Q. The assertion that they were bypassed is also something that is
25 referred to in paragraph 7 of Mr. Mesanovic's statement. Meaning
1 Banja Luka and Sarajevo were bypassed.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Previous translation continues] ... page 3, actually
3 two pages ahead from this point. This claim is on the next page, in
4 paragraph 7.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Did you head the military territorial organ in
7 A. No.
8 Q. Who was at the head of the military territorial organ in
10 A. It was Major Milivoje Stevanovic.
11 Q. Paragraph 8 of Mr. Mesanovic's statement says that Mr. Sipovac
12 headed the VTO. Were there any non-Serbs who were employed at the VTO?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Give us a name.
15 A. Semso. Right now I cannot remember his last name. Semso was his
16 first name.
17 Q. All right.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Was he the only one, or what was the number of
19 non-Serbs employed?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think he was the only one. It's
21 not that that is what I think. That's for sure, actually. He was the
22 only one.
23 JUDGE ORIE: And how many people were employed in the VTO?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At first, there were four, five --
25 eight. Eight. Eight of us all together. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I have
1 been speaking this way. But it was not more than seven or eight, but I
2 had to go through all the names. In Prijedor.
3 JUDGE ORIE: No problem. And you said at first -- yes, eight was
4 the highest number?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well I can count them, actually. I
6 would have to go through all the names, but I don't think that there's
7 more than eight.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
9 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
10 Q. [Interpretation] Do you know Mr. Muhamed Burazovic?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. You've already spoken about Dzevad Habibovic and Mr. Mesanovic.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did they also join the VTO?
15 A. No.
16 Q. The people who were transferred to the VTO, were they supposed to
17 go through a security check?
18 A. Yes. I had to get security clearance and others probably had to
19 as well.
20 Q. Who carried out these security checks for you at the time and for
21 Mr. Mesanovic; do you know?
22 A. I know who ran my check. The security organ. I don't know if
23 it's appropriate to give the name now, but if necessary, I can give the
24 name too. Kresimir.
25 Q. Do you want to us go in private session if it's easier for you to
1 say then?
2 A. I've already uttered his name.
3 Q. All right.
4 A. Mr. Habibovic recommended me and then I was interviewed. And
5 then I know that Kresimir again, I cannot remember his last name.
6 Q. Do you know Mr. Kresimir's ethnicity?
7 A. Through the records that I kept, Kresimir was a Croat name. I
8 knew that through the military records that I kept and files, so the
9 gentleman is a Croat, I assume, but I cannot say for sure.
10 Q. In paragraph 9, we have comments in this regard. Mr. Mesanovic.
11 Captain Radmilo Zeljaja, was he appointed to the department for
12 organisation and mobilisation?
13 A. No.
14 Q. In paragraph 11, there is a comment in the opposite direction.
15 That's what Mr. Mesanovic said.
16 In the Autumn of 1991, did Captain Zeljaja come to take over the
17 entire database from the mobilisation department?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Were you present when somebody came?
20 A. Yes. There was Lieutenant Zoran Ristic, the personnel officer in
21 the 343rd Infantry Regiment.
22 Q. In paragraph 12 of Mr. Mesanovic's statement, we have content
23 that is directly opposite to this.
24 Do you know what the reason was for taking this documentation
1 A. When military territorial organs were established, secretariats
2 of National Defence were duty-bound on the basis of the protocol and the
3 order of the Federal Secretariat to hand over documents that had to do
4 with recruitment and mobilisation. This was not made available to us.
5 They did not allow us to take this over, and that is why the system of
6 mobilisation was impeded as well as the system of recording military
7 transcripts. Specifically, this unit was fully manned from Prijedor
8 and -- and therefore we did not have proper records at the time.
9 Military records. That was the only reason. According to the law, they
10 were duty-bound to hand over the files.
11 Q. Thank you. Do you know Mr. Radmilo Zeljaja?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. To the best of your knowledge was Mr. Zeljaja a member of the
14 Crisis Staff of the municipality of Prijedor?
15 A. That I don't know. I found his name in certain documents that I
16 read. I really am not sure. Whether he was, whether he wasn't, I think
17 he attended some sessions, but I don't think he was a member. As far as
18 I can remember, when I testified in Dr. Karadzic's case, I found this
20 Q. Excuse me. Thank you.
21 Mr. Dzevad Habibovic. What do you know about his employment from
23 A. Dzevad was head of the Department for Mobilisation and
24 Recruitment. Now what I know about his employment is that he was chief
25 at one point in time. I think that when I was transferred to the
1 military territorial organ, I think that a Croat came to this position.
2 October 1991. Because of this political distribution of posts. I think
3 Gotvald Joze was the name of the Croat who replaced Dzevad. Because
4 according to this division of the structure of power in Prijedor, the
5 Croats were given this position.
6 Q. Thank you. So what happened to Mr. Habibovic, his work, his job?
7 A. I don't know. According to the law, he was given a job, if that
8 was possible; otherwise, he was unemployed. What else? Since he was an
9 official, a functionary. As far as I know, he did not have a particular
10 post. He was not assigned to a particular position.
11 Q. Do you remember when this status of his started in terms of not
12 being assigned to a particular post and how long that lasted?
13 A. I am not aware of the details. I think it was September 1991.
14 Now, since these are administration organs usually it was six months. It
15 was for six months that a person could enjoy such a status. So it's
16 possible that it went on for six months that he was not assigned to any
17 particular position.
18 Q. If someone is not given a particular job within those six months,
19 what happens to such a person then?
20 A. Well, it's hard to remember right now but I think that according
21 to the law, then this person becomes unemployed. If such a person meets
22 retirement requirements then such a person can retire or otherwise this
23 person is unemployed or an attempt is made to find him a job elsewhere in
24 the administration, in view of his education, personal experience, and so
1 Q. Thank you. But this job that he left when he received this
2 status of being a person without a particular assignment or position, did
3 he lose that job?
4 A. Well, of course, he lost it. If I understand your question
5 correctly, of course, he did.
6 JUDGE ORIE: What time-frame are we talking about?
7 MR. LUKIC: It's from 1st of October, 1992, until 1st of April --
8 1991 was the first one until 1st of April, 1992.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed.
10 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
11 Q. [Interpretation] Who headed this organ? Who gave him this status
12 of a person who was not assigned a particular position?
13 A. It is the secretary of the secretariat that had the right to
14 regulate the status of an employee in that way, and I think that it was
15 Becir Mendunjanin who was head of the secretariat then. He certainly
16 was. It was certainly Becir Mendunjanin in 1991.
17 Q. Where is Mr. Dzevad Habibovic today?
18 A. Well, we'd see each other in Prijedor and just recently I
19 received greetings from him indirectly. He told someone to say hello to
20 me. But otherwise I would see him in Prijedor. He is in Prijedor.
21 Q. Let me ask you this now: Did you ever hear that on the 4th of
22 May, 1992, there was an incident on the road between Prijedor and Dubica
23 in which all the Muslims who happened to be on a bus were killed?
24 A. I saw that as I was reading documents, and I think that in
25 Dr. Karadzic's case I was asked about this. I don't know. I tried to
1 ask around, but I did not hear of such an incident. I personally don't
2 know. I don't know what happened, when it happened. I have no personal
3 knowledge about any of this.
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] P3415, could we briefly take a look
5 at that now.
6 Q. This is a decision, as you can see for yourself, dated the 4th of
7 May, 1992 sent to the Secretariat for National Defence. And it says
9 "Pursuant to a decision of the Ministry of National Defence of
10 the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, dated the 16th of April,
11 1992, the government of the Autonomous Region of the Krajina hereby
12 adopts the following decision:
13 1. We hereby order general public mobilisation on the whole
14 territory of the Autonomous Region of Krajina."
15 At the time were you aware of this document? Did this document
16 reach you?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Did you have any knowledge that you were supposed to act on the
19 basis of this document?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Paragraph 1, did it actually pertain to the work that you did?
22 A. Since it's mobilisation, it does have to do with the work that I
23 did. But none of all of this that is down here.
24 Q. All right. Now let me ask you this: Did you go with
25 Mr. Kerim Mesanovic to Zitopromet with a hard disk that contained
1 mobilisation data. Can you tell us what happened and why you went there,
2 if you did?
3 A. Yes, I did go. I don't want do repeat what I've already said. I
4 stated that military department did not have any of the records that we
5 needed because the secretariat would not give us any of these files, and
6 the electronic files were kept at the Secretariat for National Defence,
7 and then I mean, it was Mr. Mesanovic, Kerim Mesanovic, who was in charge
8 of the electronic data and I did go with him and they were saying already
9 in 1991 that something was wrong with the system. I'm not very
10 knowledgeable about this. And they said that this didn't function with
11 this basic whatever it was, that this did not work, the diskette did not
12 work and everything else. And then we went there -- well, it was along
13 those lines and then all of a sudden there was this possibility, because
14 we went every day. Well, not every day but we went several times to ask
15 for these records in order to be able to carry out our tasks. We even
16 talked to Mr. Mendunjanin. That is to say, the chief went, the assistant
17 Chief, I went and a few other colleagues and they always invoked the
18 council for the national defence of the municipality of Prijedor that did
19 not allow us at the military department to use the existing military
20 records and files and that's the way it was. I don't even remember if we
21 asked for it or whether they invited us but I'm sure that I went with
22 Mr. Mesanovic and I cannot remember who else went with us. We went to
23 Zitopromet because the system did not function properly.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic, you announced another 20 minutes,
25 approximately. Well, you are far beyond that, yes.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Overlapping speakers] ...
2 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Sipovac, did you issue an order to
3 Mr. Mesanovic that he should mobilise people only of Serb ethnicity?
4 A. First of all, I was not Mr. Mesanovic's superior so I couldn't
5 issue assignments to him. He could only have received assignments from
6 his secretary or the chief. I don't know who he got this one from. To
7 issue an assignment to only ethnic Serbs, did you say? I don't remember.
8 But had I done that, perhaps I did it because in the previous period we
9 tried several times to send more summonses to all three groups. But I
10 don't recall telling him that, and in my concept of thinking, it's not
11 something that I would say to him. If I said that, I wouldn't consider
12 it a mistake because I worked for everyone, including Serbs, Croats and
13 Muslims. So perhaps if I did issue that order or tell him to do that,
14 maybe that was something that needed to be done at that particular
16 JUDGE ORIE: These are many words for a simple answer that you
17 may have, you may not have, you don't remember exactly.
18 Please proceed.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. And can you just tell me this: After the conflict broke out, did
21 the Serb authorities forcibly mobilise Croats and Muslims and did they
22 forcibly mobilise Serbs?
23 A. There was no forcible mobilisation of anyone. There were regular
24 summons, as far as circumstances permitted. There was no force applied
25 towards Serbs, Croats, or Muslims in terms of their legal duty to respond
1 to the summons. So I believe that what Mr. Mesanovic said had no
2 relation to -- or did not correspond to what was actually happening.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Sipovac. Those were all my questions for you.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Lukic.
5 Mr. Lukic, you'll understand that such a last answer that --
6 where the witness refers to what Mr. Mesanovic said, that we've got no
7 idea what he is talking about. We know we have a statement of
8 Mr. Mesanovic in evidence but what specifically he is referring to, the
9 Chamber doesn't know and you [Overlapping speakers] ...
10 MR. LUKIC: [Overlapping speakers] ... if I can draw your
11 attention to paragraph 16 of Mr. Mesanovic's statement.
12 JUDGE ORIE: That's your answer. You are now giving testimony.
13 I do understand that you think that the witness may have referred to what
14 Mr. Mesanovic said in paragraph 16. That is ...
15 Mr. MacDonald are you ready to cross-examine the witness.
16 MR. MacDONALD: Yes, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Sipovac, you'll now be cross-examined by
18 Mr. MacDonald. You find him to your right. Mr. MacDonald is counsel for
19 the Prosecution.
20 And may I urge you to answer questions in a focussed way rather
21 than very broad, going to all margins of the subject, that are perhaps
22 covered by the question.
23 Please proceed.
24 MR. MacDONALD: Thank you, Your Honours.
25 Cross-examination by Mr. MacDonald:
1 Q. Good afternoon.
2 A. And the best of fortune to you.
3 Q. Witness, you told the Court where Mr. Habibovic is just now. Can
4 you tell us the Court where Mr. Mendunjanin is just now.
5 A. I found out during the trial of President Karadzic that
6 Mendunjanin was unfortunately killed in the Omarska camp. Before that, I
7 wasn't aware of that. But we were in exceptionally good relations. But
8 since the Presiding Judge said I should not speak to -- in too much
9 detail, I will stop there.
10 Q. And did you know that Mr. Mendunjanin's wife was also held in
11 Omarska camp?
12 A. You asked me if I knew if his wife had been detained. Actually,
13 I didn't know that Mr. Mendunjanin was captured and detained and even
14 less his wife. During my testimony in the Karadzic case, I got this
15 information. I was asked if I knew that he had been exhumed. I said
16 that I would only speak the truth here, and I am speaking the truth. Up
17 until time I didn't know about it, and I'm sorry that it turned out like
18 that. This was a man whose conduct towards me was extremely correct.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The simple answer is that you don't know.
20 Please proceed.
21 MR. MacDONALD:
22 Q. Mr. Mesanovic was also arrested and taken and held in Omarska
23 camp, wasn't he?
24 A. I saw that he was there from reading his statement. I saw from
25 the statement that he had given to the Prosecution that he was in
2 Q. Perhaps I can turn to your statement now, Witness, which is
4 I'm looking for paragraph 14, which I believe is page 7 in the
5 English and page 5 in the B/C/S.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, could I seek one clarification. In your
7 statement, you said that there were no camps in Omarska, just an
8 investigation centre.
9 By confirming that Mr. Mesanovic was arrested and taken and held
10 in Omarska camp, you said: "I saw that he was there from reading the
11 statement ..."
12 Does this include that you agree there was a camp in Omarska or
13 is it still your position that there was an investigation centre?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, when the witness --
15 no, I'm sorry, when the lawyer was reading my statement and at the
16 intervention here on paragraph 18 and the answer, and so on, well, would
17 you please permit me --
18 JUDGE ORIE: No. Would you please answer my question.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In my opinion, and according to the
20 information that I had, it was an investigation centre. But the least
21 important thing is what we will call it. What is important is what was
22 going on there, and I said that already.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Well, it was important enough for you to say in your
24 statement that there was no camp but an investigation centre. So
25 apparently you yourself pay some attention to words used. But you say,
1 according to your information, still, it's an investigation centre and
2 not a camp.
3 Please proceed, Mr. MacDonald.
4 MR. MacDONALD: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. I'm going to summarise paragraph 14 of your statement, Witness.
6 You were asked whether the police at CSB or SJB level were involved in a
7 list of crimes which include murder and deportation of Bosnian Muslims or
8 Croats from the territories of Bosnia-Herzegovina to which the Serbs laid
10 Your answer is that you did not know about such an involvement
11 and had that been the policy of the authorities, the defence structures
12 would have known about it.
13 What do you mean by the phrase "defence structures"?
14 A. I was speaking this at the time all of this was happening, saying
15 that I didn't have information. Later there were, of course, stories and
16 I had to find out because I lived there. Defence structures, what I
17 meant --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, the whole introduction. Please answer the
19 question, rather than making these kind of introductions. What you did
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The question was what are the
22 defence structures, is that correct? Structures of -- of All People's
23 Defence, military and civilian structures. Civilian structures
24 socio-political, communes, all the way down to the local communes. And
25 the military structures --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please slow down.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, could you slow down as well. The
3 interpreters are unable to follow you. Could you please resume from
4 where you said: "Civilian structure, socio-political, communes, all the
5 way down to the local communes."
6 And then you continued: "And the military structures ..." and
7 could you resume from there.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The system of All People's Defence,
9 I said, we have the system of all socio-political communities from the
10 federal republican down to the local communes. All socio-political
11 organisations that function at the time made up the system. Then, the
12 units of the armed forces made up the system. The units of the civilian
13 protection. Also the units responsible for monitoring and alarm, and
14 then all the other structures.
15 MR. MacDONALD:
16 Q. That's a long list of bodies that make up the defence structures.
17 You're not claiming, are you -- and I would appreciate a short answer to
18 this. You're not claiming that you knew everything the defence
19 structures knew, are you?
20 A. In view of the job that I was doing, I had to know the basic
21 principles, of, let's say, the defence policy and --
22 Q. My question: Did you know everything the defence structures
23 knew, all knowledge. Are you saying you knew that?
24 A. No, no, no. I did not know everything.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 A. And I couldn't have known everything.
2 Q. I'd like to turn to your personal knowledge now. You're aware
3 that a massacre was committed at Koricanske Stijene by the SJB in
4 August of 1992, aren't you?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. When did you find out about that massacre?
7 A. Please believe me when I say that I don't know. I had the same
8 question. I really don't know when I learned about it.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Don't tell us what we are -- you want us to believe.
10 Tell us -- you say you don't know when you found out about that massacre.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I don't remember
12 when I found out.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Did you find out before you gave the statement?
14 That is, in 2014.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did, yes, I did. I did.
16 JUDGE ORIE: So you -- you -- why -- so you know at least a
17 little bit about when you gained knowledge about that massacre. Could
18 you tell us if you know that you knew it earlier than - what was it,
19 January 2014? - then to say I don't know anything about it is not the
20 full answer.
21 Did you know it during the war? Did you know it after the war?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After the war, definitely, 100
23 per cent. I'm really speaking this sincerely that was not part of my
24 work, so I found out about it after the war. Definitely not during the
1 JUDGE ORIE: But how could know that. If you say I don't know
2 when I learned it, how could you say it was after 1995?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know by my own reactions.
4 Because I would have to bring up some personal things here and some
5 feelings. But I know definitely that it was not during the war, and
6 since I lived in a mixed marriage, I'm speaking about personal things.
7 My wife's name was Fatima, and I know that is a kind of measure of
8 correction in my life, so I know. I definitely did not know it during
9 the war. Even the duties that I was carrying out did not require me to
10 know about that. If we can finish with this, that would be good, but if
11 it's something that needs more clarification, I can do that.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, you tell us you don't know when you learned
13 about it. But upon further questioning, it turns out that you knew it
14 before 2014 and that you did not know it until 1995, so there must be
15 more to be said about it when approximately you would have heard.
16 Because if you don't remember, you can't say that it was not during the
17 war or that it was not after 2014.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You put a question to me, if I
19 remember when. When you put the question, whether I remember whether it
20 was before or after the war, that's an answer I can give. I can tell
21 whether it was in 1997, 1998, 2000 or immediately after the war, yes, but
22 I really don't know. This is something that I didn't know. I really
23 didn't know.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. MacDonald.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And I'm telling you why that was.
1 I told you why that was.
2 MR. MacDONALD:
3 Q. Witness, you've told the Court that you found out prior to giving
4 your statement to the Karadzic team, so when you answered that question
5 and said you did not know about the involvement of the police, in
6 particular, with regard to the murder, extermination and deportation of
7 Bosnian Muslims and Croats, that wasn't entirely accurate, was it?
8 A. Well, that's my information and I said I didn't know. I don't
9 know who committed that. I didn't know then. If you established in
10 court proceedings if that this was something that was committed by
11 policemen, then let it be so. I'm not by nature such a man to ask around
12 or to talk or to find things out. So I really don't know. Now you're
13 telling me it was the police. I didn't know. I have no reason to lie.
14 Had I known who it was why wouldn't I have been of help to assist in
15 resolving the problem?
16 Q. Do you believe the defence structures, as you have laid them out,
17 would have known about this massacre?
18 MR. LUKIC: I would object here. Because my learned friend
19 already established that he didn't know what defence structures knew.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The objection is denied. There is a good
21 reason to put this question to the witness. And, Mr. MacDonald, you may
23 MR. MacDONALD:
24 Q. Mr. Sipovac, I asked you if you believed the defence structures,
25 as you have laid them out, would have known about this massacre.
1 A. I didn't know at that point in time, if we're talking about then,
2 I didn't know. And now when I'm reading, this was the last time I saw,
3 then I saw that it was the police. So now I have the information. If I
4 have understood the question. I'm not trying to evade an answer. But I
5 see it's the SJB forces, if they did that, then, of course, if that was
6 so, it's natural that they would have known about it. If I understand my
7 question correctly.
8 Q. Yes, Mr. Sipovac, you did understand. My apologies.
9 Yes, Mr. Sipovac, you did understand my question correctly. The
10 reason I asked is that in your statement and you answer to this question,
11 you state, had this been the policy of the authorities the defence
12 structures would have known about it.
13 Now do you accept that these things did happen, that the defence
14 structures did, in fact, know about them or you don't know, rather, if
15 the defence structures knew about them?
16 A. Now you are putting the question to me in relation to things that
17 I didn't know, but it's based on my statement and information that I had
18 at that time. Now it's a question of whether it was the public security
19 centre. I don't know if this was done with or without the knowledge of
20 the structures of politicians. I don't know. Somebody should have been
21 in the system who would have known that, whether they were from the
22 political or other ranks, if this was an organised or a planned thing,
23 somebody would have known about it. So now I really cannot puzzle out
24 what it is that you would like.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. MacDonald, paragraph 14 is -- and that, of
1 course, is one of the problems, gives conclusions of the witness and I
2 think you have established that he -- well, at least he says I didn't
3 know anything about it. So the conclusions are just as bad as his
5 Mr. Lukic, of course you have to consider this as well, that if
6 you present statements in which, I could say sweeping statements if you
7 see what the witness did not know about it could be, he did not know
8 anything and then to say if it would be different from what I did not
9 know, then others would have known about it. That's conclusion. That's
10 a kind of logic which doesn't assist the Chamber.
11 Mr. MacDonald, let's move on.
12 MR. MacDONALD: I will move on, Your Honour.
13 Q. Witness, you spoke today about the 6th Battalion. I'd just like
14 to ask you a couple of questions on that topic.
15 Was that part of the 43rd Brigade?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. The 43rd Brigade was part of the VRS, the Bosnian Serb army.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Who was the commander of the 6th Battalion?
20 A. His name was Rade. Rade ... my mind is blocked. We called him
21 Cica. He was later replaced by Misa Ostojic [as interpreted]. Right now
22 my mind is blank. I cannot recall his name. His nickname was Cica. His
23 first name was Rade, later he was replaced by Misa Stojnic [as
25 Q. Witness can I suggest that his name was Rade Bilbija?
1 A. Of course, yes, why not? Bilbija yes, that's right. It was
2 Bilbija, yes, nickname, Cica. Yes, I just couldn't remember right away.
3 MR. MacDONALD: Your Honour, I look to move to a new topic, but I
4 look at the time. Perhaps we should take a break.
5 JUDGE ORIE: We could take a break. Could you please try to --
6 to give a time-frame to the last answer. Because the witness said
7 initially it was and then -- so could you please seek to clarify that and
8 then we'll take the break.
9 MR. MacDONALD:
10 Q. When was Rade Bilbija commander of the 6th Battalion?
11 A. When it was just formed. I think in 1992. I cannot remember
12 exactly. And then 1994. I'm not sure about this information. I mean,
13 it's just roughly but he was there at the beginning when the battalion
14 was formed and then until 1994. I'm not sure, though I think that's how
15 it was.
16 JUDGE ORIE: That being clarified, Witness, we'll take a break
17 again. We'd like to see you back at 25 minutes to 2.00. You may follow
18 the usher.
19 [The witness stands down]
20 JUDGE ORIE: We resume at 25 minutes to 2.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 1.16 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 1.40 p.m.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. MacDonald, would you give us an indication as
24 where we are in terms of time.
25 MR. MacDONALD: I hope to finish in 25 to 30 minutes,
1 Your Honour.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, which would still mean today.
3 I don't know whether you have a lot of questions, Mr. Lukic. We
4 could try to see whether we could --
5 MR. LUKIC: Not so far. Maybe one or two.
6 JUDGE ORIE: One or two. Then there's a fair chance that if
7 everyone makes a good effort that we would be able to conclude the
8 testimony of this witness today.
9 [The witness takes the stand]
10 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. MacDonald.
11 MR. MacDONALD: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Q. Witness, I'd now like to move on to the topic of mobilisation.
13 MR. MacDONALD: Can the Prosecution please have P02871.
14 Q. While this is brought up, can I tell you these are the minutes of
15 the fourth meeting of the Council for National Defence of the Prijedor
16 municipality on 15th of May 1992?
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Could you repeat the number.
18 MR. MacDONALD: P02871, Your Honour. If I can ask for the top of
19 page 2 in the English whilst we remain on the bottom of page 1 in the
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: The transcript doesn't mention the name of the --
22 of the organisation whose meeting this is. Maybe you want to place it on
23 record. This is the National Defence Council.
24 MR. MacDONALD: Thank you, Your Honour. It is the Council for
25 National Defence of the Prijedor municipality.
1 Q. Witness, you reported to that council on the topic of
2 mobilisation; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, there couldn't have been any other reason for me to attend
4 that session.
5 Q. We see that Vladimir Arsic also contributed to that discussion.
6 He was the commander of the 343rd Motorised Brigade; is that correct?
7 A. No, no. You got that wrong.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We did not understand the
9 end of the sentence.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Is it yes, or is it no, that Vladimir Arsic was the
12 commander of the 343rd Motorised Brigade?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I heard 342nd in the
14 interpretation, and that's why I said no. And then when they said 343rd,
15 then I said yes. So it was misinterpretation and then the interpreter
16 apologised, so, yes.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it's clear.
18 Please proceed.
19 MR. MacDONALD:
20 Q. The 343rd Motorised Brigade of the JNA became the 43rd Brigade of
21 the VRS; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. We also see Vladimir Zeljaja participating in this discussion.
24 He was the deputy commander of the 343rd Motorised Brigade; is that
1 A. No, not Vladimir Zeljaja. Radmilo Zeljaja, correction. But yes,
2 he was deputy chief of staff.
3 Q. Thank you for that correction. If we could move to the second
4 page of the B/C/S but would remain on the same page in the English and
5 I'd like to draw your attention to point 4 after the words, "The
6 following conclusions were adopted."
7 It states: "In the assignment of the remaining conscripts to
8 units, priority is to be given to the reenforcement of war units 4777 and
10 Witness, 4777 was the 343rd Motorised Brigade; is that right?
11 A. Yes.
12 MR. MacDONALD: Can the Prosecution now please have P03032.
13 Q. Witness this is a one-page document in the B/C/S. It is a
14 2nd Military District order for mobilisation and it is dated the 12th of
15 May, 1992 and type signed by Ratko Mladic.
16 MR. MacDONALD: We will need the second page in the English.
17 A. I see that it's the 2nd -- I see up here command of the
18 2nd Military District, the 11th --
19 JUDGE ORIE: Wait -- wait for a question to be put.
20 MR. MacDONALD:
21 Q. I'd like to draw your attention to point 3 which is for
22 Your Honours at the top of the page which states: "When recruiting, give
23 priority to: Motorised and artillery units, armoured mechanised units,
24 military police units, reconnaissance units and units for anti-armour
1 I'd like to ask if this order from the 12th of May was discussed
2 at your discussion on mobilisation on the 15th of May, three days later?
3 A. This is the first time I see this document and this is the first
4 time I hear of this. Quite frankly, I'm telling you, so, this is the
5 first time I hear of this. I really don't know about this. So this is
6 the first time I hear of this, this is the first time I see this document
7 and this was not discussed as far as I can remember.
8 Q. Okay. Thank you, Witness. Do you recall if war unit 4777 was
9 then given priority by you and your colleagues in assignment of the
10 remaining recruits after your discussion on mobilisation?
11 A. I don't recall the actual proceedings of the session. Now why
12 priority was given to these units, they were Prijedor brigade. 4777, by
13 establishment, was one that had priority in terms of manning. However,
14 the percentage was not satisfactory. It went on in 1991, continued in
15 1992, and --
16 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, the question was whether in fact was, given
17 the decision to give priority for the assignment of the remaining
18 recruits as we saw it on this minutes, was it done or was it not done?
19 That's the simple way of asking it.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really don't know on the basis of
21 what document. I received orders from the command of the Military
22 District. I did not receive orders from the municipality or anybody else
23 or, rather, it was the military department that received this. Now what
24 was acted upon --
25 JUDGE ORIE: Again, please try to answer the questions. We saw a
1 document in which it was stated what units would receive priority in
2 recruitment. Was that done or was it not done? If you don't know, tell
3 us. If you do know, tell us whether it was or whether it was not.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I don't know.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
6 MR. MacDONALD: Can the Prosecution please have P00151.
7 Q. And, Witness, I'd like to have page 2 in the English and page 3
8 in the B/C/S. Perhaps I should say this is a 1st Krajina Corps report to
9 the Main Staff of the VRS on the 31st of May, 1992.
10 Witness, you spoke about problems in terms of mobilisation. If I
11 can take you to the bottom section the B/C/S, it's point 5, number B
12 state of morale. And a few sentences in, we see the words "after the
13 actions in Kozarac ..."
14 Can you find that sentence, sir?
15 A. The part where it says Kozarac, Sanski Most. Is that what you
16 are referring to? That some conscripts of --
17 Q. [Overlapping speakers] ... [Previous translation continues] ...
18 A. [Overlapping speakers] ... you asked me whether I see it. And I
19 was trying to ask you whether that's the sentence that you mean. So is
20 that that?
21 Q. Yes, thank you, Mr. Sipovac, that is the sentence I mean.
22 I'm right in saying it reads: "After the actions in Kozarac,
23 Kljuc and Sanski Most, some conscripts of Muslim nationality have asked
24 to be released from the units. They express their dissatisfaction with
25 the massive destruction of their towns."
1 Do you know, sir, if this negatively affected mobilisation?
2 A. Well, it certainly affected mobilisation in a negative way
3 because people were leaving the unit. However, I believe it would be
4 interesting for you to look at the whole document. If you allow me to
5 explain, I can provide an explanation. Your Honours.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Wait for the next question, please.
7 MR. MacDONALD:
8 Q. Yes, Mr. Sipovac, I'm actually going to move away from this
9 document now.
10 MR. MacDONALD: Can the Prosecution please have P03841.
11 Q. Witness, this is an interview with Radmilo Zeljaja, where he
12 discusses the 43rd Brigade. The appreciate the B/C/S is quite small. If
13 we can move to page 2 in both -- both languages. And if we can zoom in
14 on the B/C/S and the most left hand column, this is the part in bold
15 towards the bottom left. Yes, thank you.
16 Witness, you see the words in bold there in the Cyrillic. Am I
17 right saying that interviewer states --
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: What part are we looking at in the English.
19 MR. MacDONALD: My apologies, Your Honour. The middle
20 paragraph the first bold line.
21 Q. At one time, you said that such structure of the brigade suited
22 you. I'm just asking you, sir, not to read it out but do you see that
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: We cannot understand what
25 the witness is saying. Could he please be asked to speak into the
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean this part. The policy of
3 the SDA, the SDS, the HDZ. Is that the part that you want me to read? I
4 see it.
5 MR. MacDONALD:
6 Q. Thank you, sir. I'm going to read it out and then I'm going to
7 ask you a question about it.
8 In the English it states the name "Radmilo Zeljaja" and then:
9 "We soldiers think that the policy of the HDZ and SDA suited us
10 because if the Muslims and Croats had responded to the mobilisation, we
11 would have had two brigades. One would be ours and one Muslim-Croatian."
12 Now, sir, do you recall if the attitude expressed by Zeljaja in
13 this article was similar to anything he said at the discussion on
14 mobilisation in May of 1992.
15 A. I don't know which statement of mine you mean. Do you mean what
16 I said here now or something that I said earlier on? Could you explain
17 that question of yours. I did not understand what you meant. Which
18 statement of mine?
19 Q. Mr. Sipovac, we have established Radmilo Zeljaja contributed to
20 the discussion on mobilisation in May of 1992, the meeting that you were
21 at. Here we have a statement of Radmilo Zeljaja made about mobilisation
22 in late 1991. Do you recall if the sentiment he expresses here, that it
23 suits certainly him and he says soldiers that Muslims did not respond, if
24 he made any similar statement at the meeting, in May of 1992?
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Lukic.
1 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I think it would be only
2 fair to read the next sentence and then ask the question or about the
3 sentiments or facts.
4 JUDGE ORIE: You can do so in re-examination.
5 MR. LUKIC: But without that, it's -- I think, at this
6 moment [Overlapping speakers] ...
7 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ...
8 MR. LUKIC: [Overlapping speakers] ... not a correct presentation
9 of the evidence.
10 JUDGE ORIE: I'll leave it -- I'll not force you to do it,
11 Mr. MacDonald. If you think, I have no idea what Mr. MacDonald is
12 heading for, and certainly there was an opportunity to deal with the
13 matter in re-examination. But I take it the witness has read it anyhow
14 by now so, therefore, so you please, Mr. MacDonald, either repeat your
15 question or rephrase your question.
16 MR. MacDONALD: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Mr. Sipovac, I'm happy for you to read on in that -- in that
18 paragraph. But for the purposes of this question, I'm asking whether you
19 remember if Radmilo Zeljaja ever expressed a sentiment that it suited him
20 and soldiers that Muslims and Croats did not respond to this
22 A. No, no I don't remember that. Really. I don't remember that
23 being discussed at the session of the council. I really don't remember.
24 However since I know Radmilo Zeljaja, I know him personally. This really
25 has nothing to do with his sentiments. It has do with his idea to be a
1 soldier -- I mean, if this --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, you've answered the question: No, you
3 don't remember that. That's an answer to the question. All the rest was
4 something that was not asked.
5 Please proceed.
6 MR. MacDONALD: If we turn to page 3 in the English but remain on
7 the second page in the B/C/S and if we could scroll just slightly to the
8 right in the B/C/S. And the part in the English is at the top,
9 Your Honours.
10 Q. Witness, the last bold section in that second column the part
11 that is now in front of you, it concerns the SDA becoming increasingly
12 aggressive and the JNA being an obstacle in its way. In
13 Radmilo Zeljaja's answer he states the brigades command was immediately
14 linked to the SDS giving them important support, as they do for all
15 decent Serbs, to organise themselves for self-defence in case of attack
16 by the Muslim forces."
17 Were you aware of JNA units supporting the SDS at this time?
18 A. No.
19 Q. I'd like to discuss one more part of this document and the B/C/S
20 I believe it starts on page 1 and continues into page 2 and it is all on
21 page 3 of the English. I believe in the B/C/S it is the third column
22 towards the column. I think the one just underneath the picture.
23 Witness, can I ask you to look for the words - and you don't need
24 to read them out, just let me know when you find them: "We knew that
25 from that the days of mobilisation onwards ..."
1 A. Yes, we knew that part. Yes, I found it.
2 MR. MacDONALD: [Previous translation continues] ... and for
3 Your Honours, it is the second paragraph on the page towards the end of
4 Zeljaja's answer about four lines back.
5 Q. Witness, it reads: "We knew that from the day of mobilisation
6 onwards, we would lead the people we took into battle until the very end
7 and fight for the goals that are fighting for now. We have never given
8 up these goals, and this is the creation of a Serbian state in these
10 Were you aware, Witness, from the day of mobilisation onwards
11 that Radmilo Zeljaja was planning to fight for the creation of a Serbian
13 A. No.
14 Q. I'd now like to move to my final topic, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Please do so.
16 MR. MacDONALD: This is on the replacement of personnel.
17 Q. On 30th April 1992, Slavko Budimir became secretary of the
18 Secretariat of National Defence in the Prijedor municipality; is that
20 A. Are you asking me? I didn't quite understand. Is this a
21 question for me. Yes, yes, I didn't understand this comment.
22 Slavko Budimir replaced Becir Mendunjanin as secretary of the
24 Q. And Slavko Budimir is of Serb ethnicity; is that right?
25 A. Yes. Should be.
1 Q. Witness, you were in the VTO until August 1992.
2 A. Yes, yes. Yes.
3 Q. Were you aware of the dismissal of officers on the basis they
4 were Muslims and Croats at any time in the VRS?
5 A. In the Army of Republika Srpska? To the unit that I was in? I
6 don't remember anyone being dismissed on account of them being an ethnic
7 Muslim or Croat. They could have been dismissed only if they did not
8 carry out orders.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Witness, in the answer you limit the scope of the
10 question to the unit that you were in. The question was broader,
11 however, and covered the VRS in its entirety.
12 Would that change your answer?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have insight into such
14 documentation and I cannot give any comment. That means that I stand by
15 what I know. Namely, that in the 43rd Prijedor Motorised Brigade on the
16 basis of ethnic affiliations no one was dismissed, rather, only on the
17 basis of not carrying out orders and then they could have been resigned
18 to a different post or something like that. I really cannot give you any
19 comment with regard to other units.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Because you don't know or because you haven't seen
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, my answer would be unfair it
23 I were to say I don't know. That means I don't know because I have not
24 seen any documentation. I mean, I cannot give comments on something that
25 I haven't seen.
1 JUDGE ORIE: I sometimes do know things although I have not seen
2 documentation. That's my question. Are you aware of any Muslims and
3 Croats being -- being fired or in one of the other units, apart from
4 yours, on the basis of their ethnicity?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I don't have such knowledge.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
7 MR. MacDONALD:
8 Q. Perhaps can I shortcut this topic just to --
9 A. In war-time units. In war-time units. I have no such knowledge.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Whatever units. We're talking about the VRS. Does
11 that change your answer in any way?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It would not change my answer.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. MacDonald.
14 MR. MacDONALD: Can the Prosecution please have P03753.
15 Q. This document is titled: Conclusions adopted at subregional
16 meeting of political representatives. These representatives represent a
17 number of municipalities, including Prijedor. It is dated the 7th of
18 June, 1992. If we can turn to page 2 in the B/C/S but stay on page one
19 in the English and it is point 4 to which I'd like to draw your
21 Witness, here we see the first line that reads: "We demand that
22 the 1st Krajina Corps in Banja Luka, and particularly General Momir Talic
23 of the 1st Krajina Corps, purge the 1st Krajina Corps of Muslims and
25 Witness, the 43rd Brigade was part of the 1st Krajina Corps.
1 That is correct, isn't it?
2 A. Yes.
3 MR. MacDONALD: Can the Prosecution now have P03892.
4 Q. And this is a report from the 1st Krajina Corps to the VRS
5 Main Staff and the Serb Republic Presidency. It is dated 9th of June,
6 1992, two days after the document we just saw.
7 If I take you to the main paragraph, which reads: "It was
8 stated ... within the units of the 1st Krajina Corps, 14th PoB and the
9 units of the RV and PVO in Banja Luka garrison there are 67 officers of
10 Muslim or Croatian nationality. An ultimatum was issued requesting
11 removal of these persons from vital and command posts by 15 June 1992, or
12 they will take over control over the OS. We consider their demand to be
13 justified, but it is impossible to find adequate professional
14 replacements among the reserve staff, and active officers of BH origin
15 are not arriving from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."
16 Witness, were you aware that the 1st Krajina Corps command
17 considered a demand to purge these staff identified as Muslim or Croatian
18 nationality as justified?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Witness, just before we move away from this document, I'd like
21 you to note that the operational confidential number is 488-3.
22 MR. MacDONALD: Can the Prosecution now have P03893.
23 Q. And this, Witness, is an order from Ratko Mladic to the command
24 of the 1st Krajina Corps. You can see that there is a reference to
25 document strictly confidential number 488-3 of 9 June 1992. This
1 document from Ratko Mladic is also dated 9 June 1992, and the body of the
2 text reads: "Officers of Muslim or Croat [sic] nationality must be sent
3 on leave immediately."
4 So, Witness, within the 1st Krajina Corps, do you accept there
5 was an intention to remove Muslim and Croat officers on the basis of
6 their ethnicity?
7 A. When I read this report, I get a different picture, and I think
8 in the field there was a different situation. Many people refused to
9 carry out their assignments and voiced their wish to be transferred to a
10 different unit. I had a case where a Croatian officer asked to be
11 transferred and this was approved. I don't know then and if this is
12 it --
13 JUDGE ORIE: You disagree, that is clear. That apparently is
14 your answer. You have a different opinion. You have the opinion you
15 stated before. So, therefore, you've answered the question by stating
16 that you disagree.
17 MR. MacDONALD:
18 Q. This will be my final question, Mr. Sipovac. Can the Prosecution
19 please have P00217. Now, witness, you stated there may be a distinction
20 between units in the field. This is a regular combat report sent to the
21 VRS Main Staff. It is being sent on 13 June 1992. I need to move to
22 page 2 in the English and page 5 in the B/C/S, and I'm looking at point 6
23 entitled: State of combat morale.
24 Now the first line states: "The morale of the troops and units
25 is basically stable. Contributing to this are the following ..."
1 There is then a list of things but around five lines in in the
2 English, we see a line that starts: "The purging of officers ..."
3 Don't read it out, please, witness, but just let me know that
4 you've found it. A simple yes will do.
5 A. Yes, I found it where it says the purging of officers on an
6 ethnic basis.
7 Q. Thank you. And that sentence reads: "The purging of officers on
8 an ethnic basis remains a topic of discussion because of the danger that
9 it may very soon result in deficiencies in the units, but it is
10 proceeding in the spirit of the order received."
11 So my final question to you, Mr. Sipovac, is whether you now
12 change your position and accept there was an intention and an effort to
13 purge the 1st Krajina Corps of Muslim and Croat officers?
14 A. No.
15 MR. MacDONALD: Nothing further, Your Honours.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
17 Mr. Lukic, we are at 18 minutes past 2.00. I don't know whether
18 the situation changed since you gave us your last estimate of how much
19 time you would need.
20 MR. LUKIC: It did, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE ORIE: It did. And how much time would you need?
22 MR. LUKIC: 20, 25 minutes.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes so we can't do that today. That's clear.
24 Mr. Sipovac I'd like -- we adjourn for the day, and we need a
25 little bit of time tomorrow morning to conclude your testimony. Before
1 we adjourn, however, I would like do instruct that you should not speak
2 with anyone or communicate in whatever way about your testimony, whether
3 that is testimony you have given today, or whether that is testimony
4 you're about to give tomorrow. If that's clear to you, you may follow
5 the usher and we'd like to see you back tomorrow morning at 9.30,
6 although not in this same courtroom but in Courtroom III.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 [The witness stands down]
9 JUDGE ORIE: We will adjourn for the day and, again, thanks to
10 all those assisting us, even though it's only five minutes and my
11 reputation sometimes makes it even worse, but for staying with us for the
12 minutes after quarter past 2.00.
13 We adjourn for the day and resume tomorrow, Wednesday, the 12th
14 of November, at 9.30 in the morning, in Courtroom III.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.20 p.m.,
16 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 12th of
17 November, 2014, at 9.30 a.m.