Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 13144

 1                           Friday, 9 January 2009 2                           [Open session]

 3                           --- Upon commencing at 8.59 a.m.

 4                           [The accused entered court]

 5             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Kindly call the case,

 6     Mr. Registrar.

 7             THE REGISTRAR:  Good morning, everyone in and around the

 8     courtroom.

 9             This is case number IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus

10     Vojislav Seselj.

11             Thank you, Your Honours.

12             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In open session, let me greet

13     Ms. Dahl, Mr. Ferrara, Mr. Seselj.  Good morning to all the other people

14     present.

15             Let's move now into closed session.  Indeed, I see on the screen

16     that we are ready with the video conference, so let's move into closed

17     session.

18                           [Closed session]

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14                           [Open session]

15             THE REGISTRAR:  I'm sorry to interrupt you, Counsel.  Your

16     Honours, we're back in open session.

17             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So we're back in open session.

18             Mr. Prosecutor, please read out the summary.  We're not supposed

19     to see the witness on the screen.  It should not be displayed outside

20     this courtroom.  The face must be distorted.  Here, I can see the

21     picture.  Oh, I see, it is displayed on the ELMO.  No problem; fine.

22             Sir, please read out the 92 ter statement or summary in open

23     session.

24             MR. MUSSEMEYER:  Good morning to everyone in the courtroom.  I

25     will start to read out the summary.

Page 13207

 1             The witness is a Serbian inhabitant from Zvornik who, before the

 2     conflict, had different jobs.  Among others, he worked as an undertaker.

 3     After the outbreak of the conflict, the local Serbian authorities tasked

 4     the witness to transport the bodies of killed persons either to Gero's

 5     slaughterhouse or to the various mass graves in and around Zvornik.

 6             Shortly before the outbreak of the conflict in April 1992, while

 7     returning on foot from Zvornik and trying to cross the bridge between

 8     Zvornik and Mali Zvornik, the witness noticed a road-block.  Nobody was

 9     allowed to cross the bridge to Serbia.  While the witness was waiting,

10     Brano Grujic, the President of the municipality, and Dragan Spasojevic,

11     the head of the SUP driving in a police car approached him.  Grujic left

12     the car.  He hold an automatic weapon in his hands and started cursing

13     and threatening the witness.  He said, "Why don't you stay and defend the

14     Serbian people?"

15             Grujic ordered the witness to go to Alhos, a textile factory in

16     Karakaj in Zvornik, to get an assignment.  The witness did what Grujic

17     had ordered him and walked to the factory.  When he arrived, he noticed

18     about 40 to 50 people who had already gathered there.  They seemed to be

19     members of paramilitary units.  Some of them wore black uniforms, while

20     others wore various types of uniforms.  Most of them had masks over their

21     faces.

22             About 20 minutes after the witness had arrived at Alhos, Grujic

23     and Spasojevic, accompanied by Arkan, appeared in a car.  The witness and

24     about 20 other civilians were ordered to line up, and Arkan came over to

25     them.  He counted the first six men, the witness was among them, and

Page 13208

 1     explained that their task would be to collect the bodies of the killed

 2     persons who were killed during the attack.  He threatened in case anyone

 3     should try to escape, he would fire at them.

 4             The day after the attack, a member of a paramilitary unit arrived

 5     at Alhos driving a three-ton Zastava lorry.  He handed the keys over to

 6     the witness, saying, "Follow the orders."  The next days either

 7     Kosta Eric, a member of the Commission for the Clearance of the

 8     Battle-field, or Nedo Mladjenovic, the director of the Public Utilities

 9     Enterprise, ordered the witness to collect bodies from different places

10     in Zvornik.  Serbian refugees helped the witness.  Two policemen provided

11     protection escorting them.

12             This witness estimates that during the next seven to eight days,

13     he and his helpers collected the bodies of about 50 Muslim men, one

14     Muslim woman and one Serbian woman.  Around half of the killed men wore

15     uniforms.  The other half was in civilian clothes.  The witness assumes

16     that Arkan and members of the paramilitary units had killed the victims.

17     All of them had wounds from automatic weapons.  After being packed into

18     bags, the witness and his helpers deposited the bodies behind the boiler

19     of the Alhos factory.

20             There pathologists from Belgrade, led by Dr. Zoran Stankovic,

21     examined the bodies.  However, the pathologists did not perform a

22     complete autopsy.  Their examination was limited to a quick determination

23     of the cause of death.

24             During April/May 1992, the witness transported bodies of Muslim

25     victims from the Alhos factory compound to the Muslim cemetery in

Page 13209

 1     Kazambasca.  Altogether, the witness made four trips to Kazambasca.  He

 2     estimates that each time there were about 10 to 15 bodies loaded on his

 3     lorry.  Two or three other lorries participated in the transport of

 4     bodies from Alhos to Kazambasca.

 5             Two graves had already been dug when the witness arrived.  One

 6     grave was about 15 to 20 metres long, 2 to 3 metres wide, and a little

 7     more than 1 metre deep.  The bodies were laid into this grave, one next

 8     to the other, at a distance of half a metre.  Close to this grave, a

 9     second grave was prepared.  The bodies were laid into the grave in two

10     rows.  Kosta Eric, Brano Grujic and some other people from the

11     municipality were already there at Kazambasca.  Kosta Eric explained a

12     military rule would require that the bodies be put on straw at a distance

13     of half a metre between them.

14             Between the end of May/beginning of June 1992, the witness and at

15     least one other truck driver transported bodies from the Karakaj

16     Technical School to Gero's slaughterhouse.  The witness assumes that he

17     removed about 10 to 15 times bodies of deceased detainees from the

18     Karakaj School to Gero's slaughterhouse.  Each time men in uniform,

19     wearing masks, loaded between 12 to 15 bodies on his truck.  During the

20     transport, two masked policemen escorted the witness.  At Gero's

21     slaughterhouse, the same men who had loaded the bodies at Karakaj

22     unloaded them.  The witness was not allowed to leave the truck while it

23     was unloaded.

24             In the middle of 1992, a police officer stopped the witness in

25     Drinjaca.  He ordered him to transport bodies from the playground at the

Page 13210

 1     Cultural Centre in Drinjaca to Gero's slaughterhouse.  The witness

 2     noticed a huge pile of bodies, some of them wearing uniforms, and others

 3     had civilian clothes.  They all were Muslim men.  The witness could see

 4     that these victims had been killed by automatic weapons; many of them

 5     were shot in their heads.

 6             Uniformed men loaded about 15 to 20 bodies on the witness' truck.

 7     Around 15 to 20 bodies had to be left behind, because the witness' lorry

 8     was full.  Someone told him that another lorry would come to collect the

 9     remaining ones.  The witness transported these bodies to Gero's

10     slaughterhouse, where the guards unloaded his truck.

11             Also in mid-1992, the witness was called by an unknown person,

12     ordering him to drive to the Cultural Centre in Celopek and transport the

13     bodies of deceased Muslims to Gero's slaughterhouse.  The guards of this

14     detention facility ordered prisoners to load about 12 to 15 bodies on the

15     lorry.  The witness could see that the victims had been killed from

16     automatic weapons.  The lethal wounds were mostly in the chest and in

17     some cases in the head.  All the bodies were from Muslim victims.

18             One day, the witness realised two lorries driving through

19     Karakaj.  The witness, suspecting what was going on, followed the lorries

20     with his car.  The lorries stopped near an already prepared mass grave at

21     the Crni Vrh and Konjevic Polje corridor.  The witness hid at a distance

22     of about 50 metres from the grave and observed the lorries unloading

23     about 30 to 50 male bodies each into the grave.  He also saw a number of

24     arms and legs being unloaded into the grave.  He noticed some soil on the

25     bodies and suggested that these bodies had been exhumed from another

Page 13211

 1     place.  The witness does not know the people who were involved in this

 2     burial.  Close to the grave, a yellow excavator was parked.  While the

 3     witness observed the scene for about five to six minutes, he did not see

 4     the excavator covering the bodies with earth.

 5             The witness transported two to three times about 15 to 20 bodies

 6     of Muslim victims from Celopek to a grave in Sahbegovici.  Sahbegovici is

 7     a village between Karakaj and Orahovac.  The victims originated from

 8     Divic.

 9             On one occasion, the witness transported bodies from the

10     Ekonomija farm to the same graveside in Sahbegovici.  Paramilitary unit

11     members, among them men from the Zuco, Pivarski, Arkan, and Gogic groups

12     loaded the bodies on the lorry and two men escorted the witness while

13     driving to Sahbegovici.

14             From Gero's slaughterhouse, the witness transported about 10 to

15     15 times bodies to Sahbegovici.  Every time he had around 15 to 20 bodies

16     loaded on his truck.  All the victims were Muslims.

17             In the course of 1992 and 1993, the witness was tasked to collect

18     bodies from six differ villages from Zvornik to Gero's slaughterhouse.

19     He presumes that these bodies were always from Muslim victims.

20             So far my summary.

21             Your Honours, I would like the Registrar to show on the monitor

22     the document under ERN number 0643 and then 8328.  And, Ms. Usher, could

23     you please show this document, the same document, to the witness in hard

24     copy.  Just for the record, it has the 65 ter number 7433.

25                           Examination by Mr. Mussemeyer:

Page 13212

 1        Q.   Has the witness this document in front of him?  I don't hear any

 2     answer.  I'm not sure.

 3             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, did you hear the

 4     question that was put to you by the Prosecutor?

 5             THE WITNESS:  [No verbal response]

 6             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mussemeyer, please put your

 7     question again, because the witness didn't hear anything at all.

 8             MR. MUSSEMEYER:  I wanted to make sure that the document, I

 9     wanted to be shown in hard copy to the witness is in front of him and it

10     should not be broadcast, this document because this witness is protected.

11     So if somebody could confirm if the witness has this document in front of

12     him, it would be helpful.

13             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I signed it; correct.

14             MR. MUSSEMEYER:

15        Q.   Do you recognise this document?

16             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, why cannot we see

17     this document on our internal monitor?  I don't know what this is all

18     about.

19             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] On our in-house monitor, we see

20     the witness and the Registrar.  You would then have to press on the

21     e-court button, but there's nothing.  Nothing is displayed on that

22     screen.

23             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am pressing the button all the

24     time, but it says:  "No computer evidence" on the monitor.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Press on "ELMO," then.

Page 13213

 1             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now I see it, yes.  Thank you.

 2             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] All right, there it is.

 3             MR. MUSSEMEYER:

 4        Q.   Mr. Witness, could you please confirm that this is your signature

 5     on the document?

 6        A.   I signed this document.

 7        Q.   Did you have a chance to read the statement again before you came

 8     to testify?

 9        A.   Everything that the Judge read out to me is correct, and I abide

10     by it.  I signed it.

11             MR. MUSSEMEYER:  Your Honours, I would like to move this document

12     into evidence, under seal.

13             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can we have an

14     exhibit number, under seal, please.

15             THE REGISTRAR:  Yes, Your Honour.  The document shall be given

16     Exhibit P696, under seal.  Thank you, Your Honours.

17             MR. MUSSEMEYER:  Your Honours, I intend to show now four video

18     clips.  The first one I wanted to show is showing the witness, so it

19     should not go outside.  And I would like to have shown the video which

20     bears the 65 ter number 6065, clip C.  It is an excerpt from the video

21     documentary film entitled, "The Death of Yugoslavia."

22                           [Videotape played]

23             THE INTERPRETER:  [Voiceover] Everything was well organised and

24     well performed.

25             "Some 2.000 people were unaccounted for.  Nobody knows how many

Page 13214

 1     of them were executed on the spot or how many were sent to concentration

 2     camps where the murder continued.  The rest were expelled.

 3     Forty-nine thousand Muslims lived in Zvornik.  None remain.  Five

 4     centuries of Islamic life and culture there were erased.  This is ethnic

 5     cleansing.  It became routine as the Serbs took control of three-quarters

 6     of Bosnia's territory.  In time, they learnt to keep the cameras out, but

 7     ethnic cleansing continued."

 8             THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection.  First of all, these

 9     sort of documents are impermissible in any serious legal system.  This

10     has obviously been doctored.

11             Secondly, what has the witness got to do with this video?  If he

12     had been shown the loading of the bodies onto the truck and asked if he

13     remembers the situation, that would be all right; but to play the

14     commentary of the Spanish journalist, who summarises events taking place

15     over a number of years, impressing on them his personal stamp, this is

16     inadmissible.

17             What is evidence here?  If it's the footage of the bodies being

18     loaded, all right, but then it should have been limited to that and the

19     witness asked whether he remembers this, whether he was there.  But if

20     you see a column of Muslims, you have to identify the Muslims, say where

21     this took place, in what village, in what town, who these Muslims were.

22     You can't play this sort of video clip for propaganda purposes in the

23     courtroom.  This is propaganda shown by the Prosecutor, and it's

24     inadmissible.

25             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment.  First of all, I

Page 13215

 1     would like to know whether we are in open session or closed session.  I

 2     had the feeling that we had remained in open session, so let's move into

 3     closed session.

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 7                           [Open session]

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, we're back in open session.

 9             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, we're back in open

10     session.  I want to thank you for testifying at the request of the

11     Prosecution.  I wish you a good return back home.

12             Next week, we're going to start in the morning, working in the

13     morning.  We'll start at 8.30, and we have a schedule for witnesses.  Is

14     that right, Ms. Dahl?

15             MS. DAHL:  Yes, Your Honour.

16             JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.  So in theory, we

17     shouldn't have any problem for next week's witnesses.

18             I wish you all a good afternoon, and we shall reconvene at 8.30

19     on Tuesday.

20                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.48 p.m.,

21                           to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 13th of January,

22                           2009, at 8.30 a.m.