1 Tuesday, 10 December 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Case number
8 IT-95-9-T, the Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic and Simo
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We continue, Mr. Pantelic.
11 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, good morning, Your Honours. Please allow me
12 before I start, Your Honour, because yesterday there wasn't enough time,
13 just for the record, a witness Father Jovo Lakic was previously on the
14 list of defendant Miroslav Tadic and since I put him on my list for a
15 character witness I just want to have that for the record.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Because defendant Miroslav Tadic just -- I mean
18 father, he is not on the list any more --
19 JUDGE MUMBA: All right.
20 MR. PANTELIC: -- on defendant Tadic, so it was just a small
21 change within these numbers.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well. I'm sure the Prosecution have noticed
23 that and they have no objection. They would have raised it earlier.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: No. Yes, that's so.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic, you have half an hour to complete
2 your time.
3 MR. PANTELIC: All right. Thank you, Your Honour.
4 WITNESS: BOZO NINKOVIC [Resumed]
5 [Witness answered through interpreter]
6 Examined by Mr. Pantelic: [Continued]
7 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Ninkovic.
8 A. Good morning.
9 Q. You testified yesterday about activities in terms of your work in
10 the field of information. Tell me, you spoke about Odzak too, of course,
11 and the problems of the detained Serbs and the month of May. Tell me, do
12 you know about the Crisis Staff reaching a decision in the month of May
13 about isolating the Croat population and placing on vital facilities in
14 May, 1992, checkpoints in the town of Samac?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Tell me, Mr. Ninkovic, did you personally know about an incident
17 or rather a crime committed in Crkvina sometime during the first half of
18 the month of May, 1992, when within a warehouse, about 15 non-Serb
19 civilians were killed? If you know about this, could you tell us about it
20 and could you tell us who you found out from?
21 A. No, I don't know anything about this. There was no official
22 report or information about that.
23 Q. All right. Was this talked about among the population?
24 A. A bit later, there was some talk, but all of it was hearsay.
25 There was a war going on. There is a lot of misinformation going on
1 during a war, any way, so the story about this crime was something that I
2 could neither believe nor disbelieve.
3 Q. Can you tell me when, in which period, you heard these rumours?
4 A. This is considerably later.
5 Q. Give us an approximation of the time involved?
6 A. Perhaps two or three months later.
7 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Ninkovic, at that time, May of
8 1992, could you just remind me, your position then, were you working with
9 Mr. Simeon Simic with regards to information and were you at that time
10 publishing this bulletin you mentioned yesterday, where you were recording
11 news of what was going on in the municipality?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that I worked in the field of
13 information and that I worked on that job with Mr. Simeon Simic; that is
14 to say, I cooperated with him. This was the end of April, I don't know
15 exactly on which day, but that's when we started issuing that bulletin,
16 perhaps 20 something of April. I can't define the exact date. That's
17 when we started publishing this bulletin. It was not coming out all the
18 time. It came out, say, ten or 15 times at the most. These were brief
19 news flashes on one or two pages and the page format was A4.
20 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you. And this incident in Crkvina was not
21 reported by anyone who was working with you or for you and Mr. Simic --
22 Mr. Simeon Simic for that bulletin? There was no news of this incident
23 published? Or was there?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In that bulletin, this particular
25 news was not published because I said that there was no report, no
1 information from the MUP or from the military authorities, and they were
2 the ones who were in charge of reporting about that. However, we could
3 not publish anything about such an event without having some information
4 that would have been reliable.
5 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
6 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. You said, Mr. Ninkovic, that that was two or three months later.
8 Tell me, what are the details that you learned then, two or three months
10 A. I found out about this from the representative of the 1st Krajina
11 Corps. It is well known that in this area of Posavina, the units of the
12 1st Krajina Corps came sometime in the beginning of July. This was a
13 significant, large, powerful military force. They came, and they started
14 questioning people, they started bringing in volunteers from Serbia, and
15 that is when people started talking about this more. Then there was more
16 information about this, and that is when I heard more about that
17 particular event.
18 Q. You mentioned these volunteers from Serbia. Tell me, what was
19 their attitude towards the civilian population, like in Samac?
20 A. They instilled fear in people.
21 Q. Tell me, what was their attitude towards the municipal officials,
22 towards the civilian authorities?
23 A. The civilian authorities also feared these people.
24 Q. Tell me, Mr. Ninkovic, Operation Corridor, when did that happen?
25 Can you give us an approximation of the time involved?
1 A. Yes. Operation Corridor was towards the end of June, 1992, and
2 that is when the corridor was broken through by Modrica and Gajevica. I
3 think on the 26th or the 27th of June, or perhaps on the 28th, the units
4 of the Army of Republika Srpska were linked up, that is to say those from
5 the 1st Krajina Corps and the units from the East Bosnian Corps or rather
6 the 2nd Posavina Brigade.
7 Q. Do you know whether military administration then came into being
8 in Odzak?
9 A. Yes, yes.
10 Q. Tell me, in the autumn of 1992, do you have any knowledge about a
11 particular incident when the army arrested Stevan Todorovic and Milan
13 A. Yes. I went to Brcko on official business and there was a
14 military police checkpoint at the entrance into about Brcko. I was
15 stopped there. When the police stopped me, a military policeman walked up
16 to me, a man whom I knew, that was Lazar Stanisic. An assemblyman in the
17 Municipal Assembly of Samac. I knew that man well. He walked up to me
18 and said that the two of them had been arrested, and he told me how
19 miserable and small they were in prison when they were beaten up.
20 Q. What do you know about closing the corridor after this arrest?
21 A. That was in Crkvina, as far as I know. These are members of the
22 2nd Posavina Brigade. I think that they were under the leadership of that
23 group of volunteers that we talked about. Afterwards, when talking to
24 Milan Dupljanin, Commander of the 1st Tactical Group, I heard that they
25 had received information that the corridor was broken through by Samac,
1 and they set out with a significant military force, armoured vehicles,
2 combat vehicles, et cetera, in order to deal with the situation, but later
3 on, when they arrived there, it turned out that it was something different
4 that had happened.
5 Q. In respect of these occurrences, were any court proceedings
6 initiated at the time?
7 A. As far as I know, before the military Prosecutor's Office in Banja
8 Luka, there were proceedings against some persons from this group of
9 volunteers, but I don't know what the epilogue was of these court
11 Q. Tell me?
12 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have Exhibit P127, please?
13 Q. [Interpretation] Before we get the document, could you tell me
14 what you know about a certain piece of information signed by a number of
15 military personnel, sometime in late autumn, 1992? Tell me, do you know
16 anything about that?
17 A. Yes. In view of my position, I often went to the brigade command,
18 to the personnel service, where I talked about our official business.
19 Mostly concerning the mobilisation of personnel, technical equipment,
20 records. So that is the line of work in which we had cooperation. I got
21 some closer information in terms of the existence of such information and
22 later on it was confirmed that such information did exist. I'm trying to
23 say here, as a person who worked in a government agency and whose job was
24 to enforce the law, that the commander of the 2nd Posavina Brigade,
25 Mr. Mile Beronja, did not deal with his professional obligations properly.
1 I think that he should not allow questions that are outside the law on
2 defence to be placed on the agenda of the brigade command because these
3 are civilian matters. In the law on the army, there is no mention that
4 the brigade command can deal with civilian affairs. There were assistant
5 commanders at the command of the corps for contacts with civilian
6 authorities. I knew, and I do know, Mr. Novica Simic, Commander of the
7 corps. He is a general now. He always had words of praise for the
8 contribution of the civilian authorities in Samac, to the army primarily
9 material resources, that is to say fuel, food, et cetera. So in my
10 opinion, Lieutenant Colonel Mile Beronja was not supposed to allow the
11 command of the brigade to discuss matters that belong to the field of
12 civilian affairs. There is no support for this in the law anywhere. It
13 is unprofessional.
14 Q. Tell me, Mr. Ninkovic, what do you know about the background,
15 about the motives for writing this information? But please, could you
16 just give shorter answers because we still have a few subjects to deal
18 A. I think that some forces defeated at the first free elections held
19 in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1990 tried, through the authorities of the
20 military, where there was a real concentration of power, to assume power.
21 Q. Can you say something about the attempts to convene a session of
22 the Municipal Assembly at the time, and do you know who made these
24 A. I was not an assemblyman in the Municipal Assembly. I know that
25 when the first session was convened, there was a broad debate on this
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yeah. When the first Assembly was convened, can we
3 have the time period, please?
4 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Tell me, are we talking about the period -- I mean which period in
6 1992 are we talking about?
7 A. I was at that Assembly. I think it was the beginning of 1993.
8 Although preparations were being carried out as far back as November,
9 December. I think it was in January or February, but I cannot give the
10 exact date. This was in Pisari.
11 Q. A very concrete question in relation to this information: Were
12 there any requests there to convene the Assembly? Do you know anything
13 about that?
14 A. You mean in this particular information?
15 Q. No, no, no. On the occasion of this information or due to this
16 information in respect of that subject, did anybody trying to convene this
18 A. Oh, I didn't really understand what you were saying.
19 Q. So who did?
20 A. Lazar Stanisic member of the military police the one I mentioned a
21 few minutes ago he was an assemblyman and he was really the one who was
22 channelling this activity.
23 Q. And how did all this end?
24 A. In a failure because not enough signatures were collected because
25 the rules of procedure of the Municipal Assembly stipulate how an assembly
1 meeting can be convened. This Assembly meeting was convened by Blagoje
2 Simic and there was a broad discussion on this subject and I know that
3 this illegal attempt was condemned then. We can say that this was outside
4 the rules of procedure of the Municipal Assembly. Let me say to you that
5 an assemblyman has the right to initiate a meeting, but he has a gather a
6 certain number of signatures. So it is not illegal, but it went beyond
7 the rules of procedure.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner?
9 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, I object to certain portions of this
10 testimony. I let it go previously a few minutes ago. I have no objection
11 to him offering certain conclusions relating to military matters, but he
12 keeps on saying that this was, with regard to this Assembly, that this was
13 an illegal attempt, with regards to the acts of Mile Beronja, he said it
14 was an illegal action. This man is not a lawyer. There is no evidence of
15 legal training. There is no evidence of any legal expertise that he has.
16 As a result, it be the Prosecution's request that he not offer any legal
17 opinions. He is a fact witness. If he would like to offer his military
18 opinions, that's fine, but when he starts -- he's continually offered
19 legal opinions and that's outside the scope of his expertise.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
21 MR. PANTELIC: Well, I believe that this witness during his
22 education, was in contact with the laws, army laws, military laws. If he
23 is speaking about the position of Commander Beronja, who is one of the
24 authors of this letter, he surely be in a situation to know what are the
25 scope of authority is for Commander Beronja and for the others. In that
1 sense, I think that he's perfectly entitled to give his opinion, because
2 his education was related to the army legislations. And another thing
3 with regard to the illegal conclusions of the Assembly, parliament,
4 municipal parliament in Samac or the meeting, I can clarify that with the
5 witness, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, because --
7 MR. PANTELIC: That's his personal knowledge or his conclusion,
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. It's important to remember that he's a fact
10 witness and I know that with regard to some issues, there can be a very,
11 very thin line between opinion and fact evidence but please do remember
13 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour, thank you.
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, please tell me, do you know
15 anything about what was the motive and what was behind the attempt to
16 convene the Assembly? Please tell us whether you learned about this from
17 your fellow citizens, from people from civilian authorities. Give us the
18 basis for this information, where did you obtain it, so that we are sure
19 this is not some conclusion of yours about the parliamentary life?
20 A. I found this out from the assemblymen in the Municipal Assembly of
21 Samac. I knew all of them.
22 Q. Give us some names?
23 A. David Simic, Perica Hrstanovic, Simeon Simic, Lazar Lazarvic.
24 Q. All right. We can continue. Please tell us, what do you know
25 about the fact that in April, 1992, or starting from April, 1992, until
1 the summer of 1992, a number of non-Serb residents of Samac were arrested.
2 What do you know about this?
3 A. I've told you that in my contacts with Mr. Milos Savic, I learned
4 that a number of people had been arrested, that they had been detained and
5 investigated, that unlawful items had been found in their possession,
6 meaning weapons and plans of paramilitary nature and that there was a
7 police investigation instigated against them.
8 Q. Did you learn from somebody else as well that there were these
9 cases of arrests and what was the basis for them?
10 A. No. Let me tell you, I was involved in military affairs,
11 especially in April.
12 Q. Yes. I mean April and on. Did anybody else from the police tell
13 you about that?
14 A. There was the most specific information I got. I didn't have any
15 other information.
16 Q. Did you have any contacts with Savo Cancarevic?
17 A. Yes. However, he didn't say it to me explicitly.
18 Q. What do you mean he didn't say it to you explicitly? Can you
19 explain that? Did he say anything to you?
20 A. Yes, he did.
21 Q. Well, what did he say?
22 A. He said that they had orders to arrest some people. However, he
23 didn't mention names, numbers and so on.
24 Q. Mr. Ninkovic, please tell me, when was it that you learned for the
25 first time about certain incidents and criminal deeds committed by Stevan
2 A. I learned about it in 1996, when the indictment was issued.
3 Q. Starting in April, 1992, until late 1993, did you know about
4 individual crimes and individual acts committed by Stevan Todorovic in
6 A. No.
7 Q. How can you describe the relationship between Stevan Todorovic, as
8 Chief of Police in Samac, and other members of local civil authorities,
9 other local officials, that's what I mean? If you can give us, please,
10 your view of that and your personal -- and your personal information?
11 A. I will give you my opinion.
12 Q. Not opinion, Mr. Ninkovic. Give us facts. Please tell us about
13 events where you were an eyewitness in 1992 and 1993. An opinion is one
14 thing and facts are something quite different. What do you know about
16 A. Stevan Todorovic was a person with an excessive amount of energy
17 that he was unable to control always. He frequently imposed his views and
19 Q. In 1992 and 1993, did Stevan Todorovic use alcohol?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And what was his behaviour then?
22 A. That would just exacerbate his lack of control. He would become
23 aggressive at times.
24 Q. What do you personally know about his relationship with some local
25 officials? Was he on friendly terms with them? How would you explain his
1 relationship with them?
2 A. He didn't really respect anybody much. He simply was not somebody
3 who was of a cooperative nature. He never worked before the war except
4 for a year or a year and a half, when he worked in Korpora as an engineer
5 for wood processing. So he has very little experience in state
6 administration and police in state organs. So that was basically a very
7 bad appointment.
8 Q. Tell me, please, was there a camp in Zasavica for non-Serbs?
9 A. That couldn't be called a camp. That was some kind of an
10 isolation site.
11 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Ninkovic, could you explain what
12 is the difference between a camp and an isolation site, in your words?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First of all, I never visited a
14 single facility where detainees were held. In my career, up until now,
15 I've never visited a single prison, so my knowledge is strictly
16 theoretical. A camp is -- or a prison is a place where strict discipline
17 is enforced, where there is a police or military supervision, where there
18 are harsh conditions, under which people are kept, in terms of food they
19 receive, sanitary conditions and so on. Isolation, on the other hand, is
20 a different concept. People are put away due to security reasons or some
21 other reasons, and people can move free about in a certain area but cannot
22 leave that area. Zasavica, was, for example a village and these people
23 were unable to leave the village without a permit. However, within the
24 village itself, they could move about freely.
25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
1 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Was there barbed wire around Zasavica?
3 A. No, no.
4 Q. Were there any checkpoints with armed guards around Zasavica?
5 A. Let me just clarify this. As far as I know, Zasavica was a place
6 to the right of the main road, Samac-Modrica. There were frequent
7 members -- there were frequent situations where police officers or troops
8 would move on the road.
9 Q. Tell me, please, were there any Serbs in Zasavica?
10 A. Yes, yes.
11 Q. Where were these Serbs from?
12 A. They were refugees who had come from central Bosnia. I think it
13 was the village of Gostovic, Bistrica and some other places. These people
14 fled those areas and were housed in that village, in the houses there,
15 together with Croats.
16 Q. So they lived together in Zasavica?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. You also mentioned freedom of movement and passes, permits. Can
19 you tell me, please, who was in charge of issuing permits and regulating
20 movement of civilian population in Samac in 1992 and 1993? Who issued
21 such permits and passes?
22 A. In 1992, at the beginning, various organs were issuing passes and
23 permits. I think the MUP did, as did the Crisis Staff at the beginning.
24 Then in early autumn, the government of Republika Srpska realising that
25 there was a problem in the field, that this field had not been
1 regulated --
2 Q. No. Let's do this briefly. In 1992 and 1993, who issued permits
3 to civilians and who issued them to military personnel?
4 A. Pursuant to that government decree, in -- military organs were
5 issuing passes for troops. Members of the MUP were issued permits by the
6 Ministry of interior, whereas the civilian population, those who had work
7 obligation, were issued permits by the organ of the Ministry of the
8 Defence as was the case with passports.
9 Q. All right. Serbs who were refugees and who lived in Zasavica in
10 1992 and 1993, did they have to have permits in order to move about?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Did all of the residents of Samac municipality have to have
13 permits in order to move about the municipality in the times of war?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you personally have any information about the activities of
16 municipal officials in 1992 and 1993 that were aimed at ethnic
17 discrimination of non-Serb population in Samac?
18 A. I know nothing about that.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, the time is up. I actually allowed
20 ten minutes over because we started a little late.
21 MR. PANTELIC: Only, Your Honour, the last question, very last
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Finally.
24 MR. PANTELIC: Finally.
25 Q. [Interpretation] Tell me, please, briefly, you have experience in
1 journalism and so on. What can you tell me briefly about Blagoje Simic as
2 a man whom you know?
3 A. Blagoje Simic is a family man, he's family oriented. He was a
4 withdrawn, quiet person. He was cooperative and willing to solve
5 problems. He's an intellectual, a physician, a humanist, who at the time
6 was quite young and lacked experience in politics. It was a difficult
7 period of time. The war had just started. And I don't believe that he
8 always had good assistance in various matters.
9 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Ninkovic.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Cross-examination? Oh, I'm sorry, Mr. Lukic, yes.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will attempt to be as
12 brief as possible. I have a total of six documents that I would like to
13 introduce through this witness. This witness has touched upon these
14 documents already and I would like to cover this as quickly as possible.
15 I've prepared these documents for the Trial Chamber, for the Registry.
16 This has to do with some topics that had already been raised in respect to
17 questions put by Mr. Pantelic. However I will not repeat them. I will
18 just put the questions that I'm interested in.
19 Cross-examined by Mr. Lukic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, what I've heard from your testimony
21 is that you're an engineer of civilian protection. I've heard that before
22 the war, you were an expert in civilian defence and could you please
23 explain that concept to the Trial Chamber? The first thing I'd like to
24 know is how did the civilian protection function before the war, and very
25 briefly, please tell us who was in charge of establishing civilian
1 protection, who appointed officials within that institution, and then
2 please explain the term of commissioner for civilian Defence, because I
3 didn't like the interpretation -- the translation in the English language,
4 so please explain what the commissioner is, very briefly.
5 A. Shall we start from the last question?
6 Q. No. Please tell us whether civilian protection existed as a
7 concept before the war and how was it regulated?
8 A. Yes, civilian protection is a part of the defence system; that is,
9 an unarmed component of the defence which consists of civilian protection
10 staff, units, and commissioners.
11 Q. I'm interested in that term of "commissioner" for civilian
13 A. A commissioner is a citizen appointed by the civilian protection
14 staff for a segment of the street, for a hamlet, for a part of a village,
15 or for an apartment building. That person has a duty to inform other
16 residents of an imminent threat.
17 Q. Now, please tell me, what regulation, before the war, regulated
18 the area of civilian defence and who appointed officials to civilian
19 protection organs?
20 A. Pursuant to law -- or the law on defence regulated the civilian
22 Q. And at the municipal level who decided on appointments?
23 A. If you're referring to the pre-war period, civilian protection
24 staff appointed the executive council [As interpreted].
25 Q. What do you mean? Of the municipality?
1 A. Yes, of the municipality.
2 Q. Please tell me, do you know what regulations regulate civilian
3 defence in Republika Srpska? I'm especially interested in 1992 and 1993.
4 A. Once the law on defence was adopted, and it was announced on the
5 8th of June, 1992, this regulated the subject of civilian defence and at
6 the end of September --
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner?
8 MR. WEINER: Sorry to interrupt. Sorry to interrupt. I think
9 there is a mistake in the transcript. On page 17 --
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
11 MR. WEINER: It says, line 24, the question is if you're referring
12 to the pre-war period, civilian protection staff, appointed the executive
13 council, should that be was appointed by the executive council? You have
14 the civilian defence appointing members of the executive council. I think
15 that's incorrect, the interpretation. That's lines 23 and 24.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Yes, I'm sure Mr. Lukic can clear that up.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I thank my colleague from the
19 Q. So let us clarify this for the sake of language. Who appointed
20 the civilian protection staff?
21 A. The executive council of the Municipal Assembly of Samac.
22 Q. So we interrupted you. What happened in the month of September?
23 A. In September, a by-law was published, that is to say the decree on
24 civilian protection, which defined more clearly the rights and
25 responsibilities of the authorities and members of the civilian defence.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please pause before putting his
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. I would now like to you clarify another thing here before the
5 Trial Chamber. Tell us, what is the difference between Territorial
6 Defence and the civilian protection? Did both exist before the war and
7 what is their interrelationship in the system of armed forces?
8 A. The difference is a substantive one. The Territorial Defence is
9 part of the armed forces of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;
10 that is to say, that there were units and weapons. That is to say, this
11 was a real force, whereas the civilian protection is the unarmed component
12 of the defence system. Its basic objective is to protect persons and
13 property in a state of emergency. That is to say, when there are natural
14 disasters, technological disasters of large proportions, like fires, oil
15 spills, et cetera, and war, by the very nature of things, is a state of
17 Q. Does that mean that the civilian protection has a special role in
18 case of war?
19 A. Yes, yes.
20 Q. The next thing I'm interested in, now we are moving to the period
21 of 1992, when the law on defence regulated this and we go further on. Can
22 members of the civilian protection issue any kind of orders to the
23 military or to the police?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Civilian protection, as an institution, does it have any powers in
1 terms of detention?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Does civilian protection have any powers in terms of the judiciary
4 and investigation organs?
5 A. No.
6 Q. You mentioned yesterday and during the previous days those
7 coordinators of work units. Do you remember whether their premises were
8 at the retirees home in Samac for a while? Do you remember any of that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Do you perhaps remember where their premises were in this
11 building? Was it on the ground floor or the first floor?
12 A. I did not enter so I cannot testify about any details of this
14 Q. Do you remember whether they moved later to another building,
15 whether their offices went elsewhere?
16 A. Are you talking about the civilian protection headquarters?
17 Q. No, I'm talking about the coordinators of the work unit.
18 A. As far as I know, they stayed there.
19 Q. You probably know that that is where the headquarters of the
20 civilian defence were as well?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did this headquarters have its seat elsewhere, then?
23 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise. Your Honour, I have a problems
24 with the following transcript. In one part of the explanations, what we
25 have receiving as an English translation here, there is inconsistence with
1 the terms and I believe that this term is quite important for these
2 proceedings. My colleague, Mr. Lukic is always using a word, "service for
3 civilian defence." I don't know in English what is the more appropriate
4 civil defence or civil protection, but let's clarify that and let's stick
5 to one term. Up to the page 20, line 20, it was civilian protection, but
6 suddenly, it's civilian defence. It might be to some extent confusing.
7 So I kindly ask our interpreters to give us a precise term in English
8 language for term which was used in these proceedings for civilian defence
9 or protection, I don't know. It's a part of this.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm sure Mr. Lukic will pick that up.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think it would be best to use the
12 term that was already given officially by the translation service in
13 various documents, and civil protection is the word that was used in the
14 official translations of documents that we are going to analyse now. So I
15 would like to suggest to the interpreters to the -- to use that term.
16 Q. The civil protection headquarters, could it give any orders to
17 these coordinators of the work units, or could they, as every other user
18 of that unit, did it just turn with its request to them?
19 A. The civil protection headquarters could ask for the engagement of
20 members of the work obligation units, and companies and institutions, to
21 help them resolve certain problems. So it could request units from the
22 work obligation and for work obligation from companies because civil
23 protection uses material resources from the inventory, that is to say,
24 when clearing of rubble is concerned, then they use the construction
25 machinery of construction companies. They do not have any special
1 material, technical equipment. They use what is from the inventory.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Could the interpreters kindly ask counsel not to
3 speak at the same time when the witness is speaking?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They cooperate with the executive
5 council at all levels because it has control over municipal enterprises
6 and it can also order the use of machinery, tools, from enterprises for
7 the needs of civil protection.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Lukic, remember to pause and also allow the
9 answer of the witness to be completed.
10 MR. WEINER: Your Honour?
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
12 MR. WEINER: We didn't receive the last question, the interpreter
13 was speaking when the question was being read and could we just find out
14 what this question was that this witness just responded to with an answer?
15 The answer is at line 4 on page 22. No question. Mr. Lukic speaking
16 while the interpreter was speaking so question was ever issued so we are
17 trying to figure out what the answer means.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Please repeat the question.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I do apologise.
20 Q. My question was the same like in line 21, I repeated 16. So could
21 civil protection give orders to anyone? But the witness answered and
22 there is no need for any repetition.
23 You also mentioned yesterday or the other day, when speaking to
24 Pantelic, you mentioned the building of concrete bunkers for the military.
25 I would like to know whether you have any knowledge about the civil
1 protection as an institution having anything to do with these concrete
2 bunkers for the military. Did they ask for people or did they do anything
3 in this respect?
4 A. No, I don't know about that.
5 Q. Could the witness please be shown document C59? That is the law
6 on defence. This is a document that the Prosecution wanted to introduce
7 during the pre-trial stage but they obviously gave up on it.
8 Sir, it is the law on defence of Republika Srpska from the 1st of
9 June, 1992. I just handed it in. It's the first document.
10 You have already referred to this law, Mr. Ninkovic. You
11 mentioned it to me just a short while ago. I don't want to analyse it
12 very specifically now because the document speaks for itself as it were,
13 but I would like to know from your practice, that is to say from the
14 practice of your department, of the ministry, could you please give me a
15 comment with regard to two or three particular articles? Obviously, this
16 is a system based law and you yourself said that after that, probably in
17 different fields, it was regulated in different ways what is mentioned in
18 this regulation. Article 13, I am going to read it. I have given the
19 original to the interpreters as well. It is very brief.
20 "The Ministry of Defence orders carrying out certain tasks and
21 duties related to work obligation for the needs of defence in accordance
22 with the decree adopted by the government."
23 Did you mean --
24 MR. DI FAZIO: I do apologise to my learned friend, there is just
25 one matter he raised in his preamble to the question. And that is this:
1 Mr. Lukic said that this particular document is regulated in different
2 ways. Am I to understand or is the Chamber to understand that the
3 application of the laws contained in this particular gazette were applied
4 differently in different places and under different circumstances from
5 that comment made by Mr. Lukic? It just went in and it's unclear to me
6 what he meant by that, and whether the witness will in fact give an answer
7 to it. But it's a matter that's something that you should know about, if
8 indeed this is applied differently in different circumstances, it might be
9 important in this case.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic, can we have an explanation?
11 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I think that this is a
12 misinterpretation, and I didn't want to ask the witness to go into a legal
13 interpretation. When I said system-based law, I wanted to say that this
14 law regulated many fields that stem from this law and that there were
15 by-laws on this basis so I'm going to ask the witness about what he did.
16 Q. Mr. Ninkovic, after this law was passed, in different fields that
17 are mentioned in this law, were there any new regulations that were
18 adopted and who adopted these regulations, very briefly please?
19 A. Yes. In this law, you have the rights and responsibilities of the
20 government of Republika Srpska. There is a special chapter where it says
21 specifically what the duties of the government of Republika Srpska are. I
22 think that this is Article 7 or 8 of the law. Here it is. It is Article
23 8 of this law. So the government, on the basis of Article 8 of this law,
24 regulates in greater detail the field of defence by way of decrees.
25 Decrees are by-laws which do not have to be adopted by the Assembly. They
1 are adopted by the government as an executive organ. That is a well-known
2 technology in the work of state institutions.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic?
4 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, could we have that on the ELMO for the benefit
5 of our clients also. And another thing, I need the assistance of the
6 technical unit because I don't receive both on this place, I don't have
7 anything from the ELMO. So I personally cannot follow the proceedings.
8 There is no signal, neither on the left nor on the -- I am not receiving.
9 Nobody is receiving here from the Defence.
10 JUDGE WILLIAMS: We are not receiving anything from the ELMO on
11 the bench either.
12 THE REGISTRAR: I have already requested for technician
13 assistance, thank you.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I am going to read this brief article
15 once again and this way the accused are going to be aware of what I'm
16 asking you about.
17 Q. So this is Article 13. It reads as follows: "The Ministry of
18 Defence orders the discharge of tasks and duties related to work
19 obligation for defence needs in accordance with the decree that is adopted
20 by the government." And we also referred to Article 3 -- Article 8, line
21 3, and Mr. Pantelic referred to it as well?
22 A. The Article that you read, 13, is of a -- is of a general nature
23 and then the government does this on the -- specifically on the basis of
25 Q. And when did it do it?
1 A. On the 28th of September, 1992, if you're referring to civil
2 protection. That's when that decree came out.
3 Q. What about work obligation? Do you remember that?
4 A. As far as work obligation is concerned, there were several decrees
5 at different points in time.
6 Q. We are going to move on to what I'm interested in now.
7 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Lukic, before we do, just going
8 back to the term "civil protection" versus "civil defence," in the
9 document, the English translation we have in front of us, in fact the term
10 civil defence is used continually through the translation. So I just put
11 that on the record, because it's at odds with what we were saying before
12 the term "civil protection" maybe should be used for consistency. Part 5,
13 for example, which details civil defence and the various things to do with
14 it, for example.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, Judge
16 Williams. I have referred to a document that I'm going to analyse
17 subsequently with the witness, and that is the decree on the organisation
18 of civil protection, where the word civil protection is used. And
19 obviously -- but I think that the Trial Chamber, when they read the
20 regulations involved, are probably going to get an impression themselves
21 as to what this term actually denotes. I mentioned civil protection
22 because that is what was used in the decree but then obviously in the law
23 a different term was used so... Both protection and defence mean the same
24 thing as zastita does in B/C/S.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That's what we understand.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Ninkovic, the entire chapter of this law is devoted to
3 civilian protection. We are not going to analyse it or read it. Just
4 please comment briefly on Article 36. Since ELMO is not working, I will
5 read it out for the sake of the accused:
6 "In order to protect and rescue people, property, cultural
7 heritage and other assets from destruction by war, natural and other major
8 disasters, in times of peace or war, the following civil defence tasks
9 shall be carried out. One, providing shelter for and evacuating people,
10 property and cultural heritage; two, blackout; three, providing shelter
11 for those at risk and casualties; four, radiological, chemical and
12 biological protection; five, protection from collapsing structures and
13 rescue from the rubble; six, protection and rescue from floods and on
14 water; seven, protection and rescue from fire and explosions; eight, first
15 aid; nine, protection and salvage of food and animals; ten, cleanup.
16 Peace time fire fighting shall be carried out in accordance with a special
18 And the last paragraph is: "The Minister of Defence shall issue
19 detailed regulations on the implementation of civil defence tasks."
20 All of this was later regulated by various regulations. Now,
21 please tell me whether these tasks of civil defence were set out in
22 pre-war period by the law on armed forces of SFRY and did the ministry
23 pass any other detailed regulations?
24 A. Yes, that was regulated before the war and the law was called the
25 law on people's defence. It was not called the law on armed forces.
1 These are two different laws.
2 Q. Do you know that the Ministry of Defence subsequently passed
3 regulations to implement these tasks?
4 A. If we are referring to 1992, meaning after the decree that I've
5 mentioned, the decree that was passed in September of 1992, after that,
6 there followed instructions from the Ministry of Defence, and instructions
7 are a lower enactment than a decree.
8 Q. I need your comment on Article 36. I will read paragraph 3:
9 "Heads of district civil protection staffs are appointed and removed from
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please repeat.
12 MR. LAZAREVIC: It's not 36. It's actually Article 46.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. There is a mistake there. Can we start again,
14 Mr. Lukic, please, and read slowly?
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Article 46, paragraph 3: "Chiefs and members of the regional
17 civilian defence staffs are appointed and removed from office by the
18 commander of civilian protection staff of the republic." Since you told
19 us about the pre-war procedure, is this how it was based on pre-war
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And how did it look in practice after the law was adopted?
23 A. Civil protection staff had members for various sectors that you've
24 read out. Those are experts for various fields. For example, for the
25 field of protection of animals, usually a veterinarian is appointed. For
1 the first aid, a physician is appointed. For saving people out of rubble,
2 a civilian engineer. For evacuation, somebody who is familiar with the
3 social protection. So this is a team composed of experts for various
4 fields in accordance with the measures that you've read out previously.
5 However, there was no commander but rather a chief. That's how it used to
6 be. The chief is an expert, is an operative, who leads the staff.
7 However, decisions are passed by the entire body.
8 Q. Do you remember perhaps until what time Miroslav Tadic was
9 commander of civilian protection staff?
10 A. Until the fall of 1992, but I cannot give you a more precise date.
11 Q. I would like this document to be admitted into evidence unless the
12 Prosecution has any objections?
13 MR. DI FAZIO: No objection, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well. Can we have the number, please?
15 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Exhibit D79/3 and D79/3 ter for the
16 B/C/S. Thank you.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Another document that you've already mentioned before, and I would
19 like us to analyse now, is a decree on organising and functioning of
20 civilian protection dated 29 September, 1992.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Could we have the number of the -- the private
22 number that Defence and Prosecution are using between themselves?
23 MR. LUKIC: Sorry, my friend. It's PDB 54/3.
24 Q. [Interpretation] Since in your previous testimony, you've already
25 said quite a bit regarding this decree, I will now read just two
1 paragraphs of Article 29. These are the last two paragraphs in Article 29
2 of this decree, that read as follows:
3 "Civilian protection staff shall consist of Chief of Staff,
4 Assistant Chiefs of Staff, professional consultants and administrative and
5 technical staff in keeping with the personnel and material establishment.
6 Civilian protection staffs must include representatives of water and power
7 supply companies, post and telecommunications, public utilities
8 enterprises, the burial service, oil industry, traffic, and
9 transportation, health care, veterinary services, protection of plants,
10 the media, seismology, fire protection, the police, the army, and other
11 vital services."
12 I assume that this is what you've just told us.
13 A. Yes. Civilian protection staff, when members are nominated for
14 the staff, it is always done on the basis that civilian protection staff
15 should comprise experts, and you've just numbered out the fields that the
16 staff needs to have experts from.
17 Q. Could you please tell us what you know about the function of
18 representatives of police and army within the civilian protection staffs?
19 What was their role and their duty in that staff?
20 A. There are no representatives of police and army in the civilian
21 protection staffs.
22 Q. I've just read out some paragraphs from Article 29, where it says
23 that they send their representatives. Do you know whether in Samac, in
24 civilian protection staff, there were representatives of police and army?
25 A. No, not before the war and not afterwards.
1 Q. Thank you. Now I would like this document to be given a number,
2 if there are no objections.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: No, no objection, if Your Honours please.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can we have the number, please.
5 THE REGISTRAR: [Microphone not activated]
6 JUDGE MUMBA: The microphone. It's D80/3 and D80/3 ter for the
7 Serbo-Croat one.
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Since in these regulations another
9 service is mentioned, that you have mentioned as well, and it is quite
10 important for my case, could you please tell us what is the service for
11 monitoring and reporting? What is its task? Did it exist before the war
12 and what is its role? But before you tell us that, was this usually
13 referred to in Samac as communications centre?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And where were its premises?
16 A. In the building in downtown, the building was known as the SDK
17 building or rather the bank building, because on the ground floor, there
18 were offices of the bank and then upstairs was the centre for
19 communications. The official term from the legislation is report --
20 monitoring and reporting centre.
21 Q. Does it have an abbreviation?
22 A. Yes. COO.
23 Q. You told us yesterday that upon arriving to Samac, you went to
24 that centre first. Please tell us, what is the role of that service?
25 A. This centre was within the Secretariat for People's Defence. They
1 had an alarm siren there and the button to activate it, and if the button
2 was activated, the sirens would go off. There were several sirens in town
3 and there were several types of signal. One was for air raids; one was
4 for natural emergencies; one signal was for the end of threat, of toxic
5 spills and so on. So these were kinds of signals. And there were also
6 instructions for residents to be able to distinguish among these signals.
7 This centre would activate the siren for air raid and if -- this siren
8 would go on if there was a threat or after the attack began, the air raid
9 attack. That was of vital importance for civilian population because by
10 activating this signal, the residents were warned that they need to seek
11 shelter and therefore avoid casualties. This centre gave a great
12 contribution to protection of civilians from shelling.
13 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise for interruption. It's just for the
14 clarity of transcript, Your Honour. There witness said on page 31, line
15 22, he said that centre for "O" and "O," this is abbreviation. And I
16 don't see that in transcript. So I would like that my colleague,
17 Mr. Lukic clarify that. Because otherwise, it's quite confusing in line
18 18 and 19, he said yes, COO. And then he mentioned that, how the right
19 abbreviation is, but it is not in the transcript. On B/C/S, in his native
20 language, he mentioned that but I don't see that in the English version.
21 Could you clarify that, please?
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic, please clarify that.
23 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Could you please repeat the abbreviation slowly?
25 A. You said the abbreviation?
1 Q. Yes, the abbreviated name?
2 A. CO, small case i, upper case O. COiO.
3 Q. I would like now to turn to another topic that has been mentioned
4 before. I don't want to repeat, but I would like to introduce the
5 document with an internal number RH1, and this is a document of the
6 Prosecution. I would like to hear your comment on this decree on control
7 of persons, vehicles and goods. This decree is from October of 1992, the
8 2nd of October, 1992.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Could the witness be shown the
10 document, please.
11 Q. You've already testified about this so we are not going to spend
12 much time on it. The document is self-explanatory. Article 2 sets forth
13 what you said about members of police and army. Article 3 deals with
14 those people who had work obligation. And Article 4 deals with civilians
15 and the other categories of population. Could you please tell us, those
16 citizens that were not engaged in work obligation, what was the procedure
17 if they wanted it leave not just the territory of the town, but to leave
18 Republika Srpska?
19 A. The procedure was as follows: The resident would have to come to
20 the department for defence, submit a short written request on a form that
21 had already been preprinted so a citizen would just have to fill it in and
22 sign, specify the reason for travelling, destination, a number of days
23 that he or she intends to spend there, and then on the same day, he or she
24 would be issued a pass. The reason could be medical treatment, visit to
25 family members and so on. Just basically private affairs that all
1 citizens have.
2 Q. Did this pertain to all citizens regardless of their ethnic
4 A. Absolutely, to all of them, irrespective of their ethnic origin.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, it might be important for
6 you to obtain from this witness, and perhaps I'm jumping the gun here,
7 maybe Mr. Lukic is going to ask him about this, but is the witness's
8 position simply that if you wanted to get out, all you had to do is go to
9 the Ministry of Defence, get your permission and leave? If that's his
10 position, we should be clear about that because of course it's significant
11 in this case.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: The way he has explained it is that you put it in
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Okay. Put it in writing, but if you want to leave,
15 that's what you do. I think we should be absolutely crystal clear about
16 that, for obvious reasons.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: All right.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I have to admit that the -- this
19 comment of the Prosecutor is not quite clear to me, but if I made a
20 mistake that can be corrected during cross-examination.
21 Q. Citizens, irrespective of their ethnic origin could have their own
22 free will apply to leave the area and those who were not covered by the
23 work obligation, did they have to specify reasons for leaving and those
24 who had a work obligation, did other rules apply to them? We obviously
25 have different categories here.
1 A. I'm confused by the question put by the Prosecutor and your
2 question. So I am not quite sure what you need, but that was a typical
3 procedure that was used on a daily basis, and every civilian citizen,
4 meaning somebody who was not a member of MUP or of the army, and who
5 wanted to travel, had to have a pass, because at checkpoints, a pass
6 needed to be shown. Therefore, those who had a decision on work
7 obligation in their pass there was specified when they needed to return,
8 meaning that once their personal affairs were completed, they needed to
9 return to continue performing their work obligation.
10 Q. These passes, were they valid for the territory of Croatia, or the
11 Federation? If somebody wanted to travel there?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Where could these passes only be used?
14 A. On the territory of Republika Srpska, Federal Republic of
15 Yugoslavia and abroad, third countries.
16 Q. Tell me, please, if somebody wanted to go to Croatia or to the
17 Federation, what was the only way of leaving Samac?
18 A. A person couldn't travel there with this type of pass.
19 Q. Where would they have to apply to, then?
20 A. I think that they had to apply to the Red Cross.
21 Q. What did they register there for, for what type of commission?
22 Who could take them there?
23 A. I am not quite familiar with these procedures that you want me to
24 discuss here. However, I think that you are referring to the Red Cross,
25 to unification of families. You are referring to people who want to
1 travel to Croatia and the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
2 Q. Did you hear of the commission for exchange?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. I will go back to the previous topic. Do you know that in the
5 centre for communications, during the war, there was some specific events,
6 incidents. What else took place in the centre for communications during
7 the war and why did it take place there particularly?
8 A. Yes. I will explain that. Before the war, the centre for
9 communications of Samac municipality had a radio connection with several
10 neighbouring municipalities, Gracanica, Doboj, Teslic, Modrica, Odzak,
11 Derventa and Brod. So that's a region. That was connected by radio link.
12 Once the war broke out, this radio link functioned only with respect to
13 some municipalities, among others municipality of Odzak. The only place
14 where one could communicate with people who were in Odzak was through the
15 centre for communications in Odzak.
16 Q. Thank you. Could we please be given a number for this document,
17 decree on traffic checks of persons, vehicles and merchandise, if there
18 are no objections from the Prosecutor?
19 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Exhibit D81/3 and D81/3 ter.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. The following document is directly linked to the previous one.
22 Could the witness please be shown document with internal mark DBD 90/3?
23 That's a pass for travel abroad dated 2nd February, 1993.
24 Mr. Ninkovic, is this your signature? Are you familiar with this
25 document? Tell us something about it.
1 A. Yes, this is my document, meaning that this is a document issued
2 by department of defence of Samac, whose head I was. It has all elements
3 of a regular document. It has a heading, number, date, legal preamble
4 based on which this document is issued. Then you can see here the name of
5 the person petitioning for the pass to be issued, personal data of the
6 petitioner. His or her residence and so on. The period during which the
7 person would be absent. And the reason for issuance of this pass which
8 here is set forth as a visit to the family, travel abroad, and the dates
9 of the travel are mentioned, which, as you can see, is an appropriate time
10 for a travel.
11 Q. In the preamble, you referred to Article 3 of the decree, which
12 pertains to people covered by the work obligation. I am now interested in
13 those citizens who did not have a work obligation. Those that are
14 mentioned in Article 4 of the decree. Did you give them a deadline by
15 which they needed to return as well?
16 A. I don't think that that's how it was. I don't think that there
17 was a time limit.
18 Q. And before the break, please tell us what is the ethnic origin of
19 this person in this pass?
20 A. A Muslim.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. I think it's time for our
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have a number, please, for the document? Any
24 objection from the Prosecution?
25 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, probably not but I realise
1 that I've not been given the correct document. I haven't seen this
3 JUDGE MUMBA: So we will deal with it after the break. We will
4 have a break now and continue our proceedings at 1100 hours.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic?
8 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I would just like my colleague,
9 Mr. Di Fazio, to say whether he was any objections, whether he objects to
10 having this document admitted into evidence.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
12 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor, please.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Yes. I realise -- I do apologise. I have no
14 objection to the admission of that document into evidence.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: All right. Yes. Can we have the number?
16 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Exhibit D82/3 and D82/3 ter for the
17 B/C/S. Thank you.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Ninkovic, one more question related to the previous document.
20 Its date is the 2nd of February, 1993. Can you tell me until when these
21 permits were issued? All the way up to the end of the war?
22 A. All the way up to the end of the war.
23 Q. And approximately how often were they issued?
24 A. Every day.
25 Q. Irrespective of ethnic background?
1 A. Yes, irrespective of ethnic background, religion, any citizen who
2 came obtained a permit of this nature.
3 Q. The next document I would like the witness to be shown is document
4 that is internally marked PDB 61/3 [As interpreted]. That is a permit for
5 travel and movement dated the 3rd of November, 1992. I'm correcting the
6 interpreter. The document is internally marked PDB 61/2. Since the works
7 now, could you please place the document on the ELMO so that the accused
8 could see them, too, the documents, or these two documents, obviously.
9 It's one document copied twice, I'm sorry.
10 A. This is a permit issued by the Army of Republika Srpska, command
11 of Tactical Group 1. They were stationed in Odzak. The Commander was
12 Milan Dupljanin, a person I know. And in order for someone to move about
13 this area of Odzak within the area of responsibility of Tactical Group 1,
14 they would have to have this kind of permit. In my testimony so far, I
15 have said that I was personally brought in because I did not have a
17 Q. Was this permit exclusively for that area that was the area of
18 responsibility of the 1st Tactical Group?
19 A. Yes, yes.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] If there are no objections from the
22 Prosecution I would like to have this document admitted into evidence now.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: No objection, if Your Honours please.
24 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Exhibit D83/3 and D83/3 ter. Thank
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] The next document that I would like
2 the witness to be shown is document internally marked PDB 142/3. This is
3 a decree on work obligation issued by the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina
4 dated the 10th of October, 1992.
5 Q. Mr. Ninkovic, during your testimony these past few days, you said
6 that often you were in contact with your colleagues from the other entity,
7 that you know that the legal regulations in various fields were similar
8 because you all relied on the pre-war documents and legislation of the
9 former Yugoslavia; That is to say, before 1992. Do you have any knowledge
10 about this document? Just a minute, please because the Prosecutor wants
11 to ask something?
12 A. All right, you may proceed.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: I don't object to the question if it's confined to
14 "Do you have any knowledge about this document?" If he's just asking
15 that and as we understand that is simply the question, no objection.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: All right.
17 A. The contact I had after the war with persons who were involved in
18 a similar line of work as I am and they are from the other entity I heard
19 from them that then they also relied on legal strongholds from the former
20 laws of the socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, giving legal opinions on
22 the basis of what he's heard from other people is -- A, it's imprecise and
23 it's not a matter to be permitted, I submit. You need something far more
24 precise than that.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: He's -- from the answer he simply says that the
1 other people told him that they too relied on the legal strongholds,
2 that's all. There is no opinion involved.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Very well.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I clarify this?
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In a bit more detail? You see, we
7 who worked in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Ministry of Defence, in the
8 Secretariat of the Ministry of Defence, there were ethnic communities
9 there, or rather persons from the ethnic communities, all three of them,
10 as a matter of fact. When the war broke out, professionals in a way had
11 the same knowledge irrespective of their ethnic background and they drew
12 on the same experience and the same knowledge from the same regulations
13 and they built this, incorporated it either into the laws of the
14 Federation or of Republika Srpska. These are persons who went through the
15 same schools, the same courses, the same seminars and worked in the same
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well. Thank you.
18 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Furthermore, with regard to this question, did your colleagues
20 tell you, these colleagues, tell you that in the territory under the
21 Federation, was this regulated in the same way as it was in Republika
22 Srpska accept?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did you see this document before? Perhaps?
25 A. No.
1 Q. I would like to have this document admitted into evidence if the
2 Prosecution does not object?
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, quite probably not, if Your Honours please,
4 but I'm afraid we don't have a copy here. At least the case manager has
5 looked for the document, and we simply haven't -- we haven't received it.
6 So may I just briefly look at it and I can inform you, if Your Honours
7 would just give me a moment, please? Could I ask that it go in, simply be
8 marked for identification at this stage rather than consume the Court's
9 time now with us reading it? It may be that once I've had a chance to
10 look at it, and digest its contents, there will be no objection and we can
11 simply have the document admitted at that stage, but at this stage,
12 without having had a chance to look at it carefully, I can't say. May I
13 say that my initial impression is probably we won't be objecting to its
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well, we'll have it numbered for identification
17 MR. DI FAZIO: And I might ask for a copy to be provided by
18 defence of the B/C/S and the English. Thank you.
19 THE REGISTRAR: It will be marked as document D84/3 ID and D84/3
20 ter ID. Thank you.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I have concluded my
22 examination-in-chief of this witness, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Lazarevic?
24 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes, Your Honour, it will be very brief.
25 Cross-examined by Mr. Lazarevic:
1 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Ninkovic.
2 A. Good afternoon.
3 Q. I have just one question for you. From the answers you gave to
4 date it was my understanding that you know Simo Zaric, that you worked on
5 certain matters together, that you had some contacts with him during the
6 war. During 1992, did Simo Zaric ever address you as the municipal
7 Secretary for National Defence, with some request related to engaging a
8 work brigade, any workforce, for the use of the military? I'm interested
9 in Simo Zaric personally.
10 A. No.
11 MR. LAZAREVIC: Your Honours, I have documents to tender through
12 this witness and I would like the assistance of the usher. Unfortunately
13 she's not here at the moment.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: I hope you gave some to the Prosecution already.
15 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes, it was already everything discussed with the
17 JUDGE MUMBA: All right.
18 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes, for the benefit of the Prosecution the first
19 document I would like to discuss with this witness is PDB 4/4.
20 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, I'm not going to ask you anything
21 special about this document. I would just like to know, this is a letter
22 addressed to the command of the 2nd Posavina Brigade on the 3rd of
23 December, 1992; is that right?
24 A. Yes.
25 MR. LAZAREVIC: Would you please place it on the ELMO?
1 Q. [Interpretation] It says, "Chief, Bozo Ninkovic." And that is
2 what it says by the signature and tell me is this your signature?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Are you the person who wrote this letter and sent it to the
5 command of the 2nd Posavina Brigade?
6 A. Yes.
7 MR. LAZAREVIC: If there is no objection from our colleagues from
8 the OTP, I with like this document to be admitted into evidence.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: No objection at all.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can we have the number?
11 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Exhibit D31/4 and D31/4 ter. Thank
13 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes. And now I would like the witness to be shown
14 the other document that we would like to tender into evidence.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: I wonder, again, for various computer-related
16 reasons, I wonder if Mr. Lazarevic would be so kind as to mention the
17 internal numbering system that we have and so it's in the transcript? It
18 makes it easier for us later to search the transcript when researching the
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
21 MR. LAZAREVIC: Oh, yes. It is number PDB -- are you interested
22 in the document that has already been admitted or the next one? The next
23 one is 3/4.
24 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Ninkovic, the date is the 4th of December,
25 1992. Obviously it is the command of the 2nd Posavina Brigade that sent
1 this letter. Just tell me one thing: Is this a letter that you received
2 from the command of the 2nd Posavina Brigade?
3 A. Yes.
4 MR. LAZAREVIC: If there is no objection from our colleagues, I
5 would like to admit this into evidence.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: No objection at all.
7 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Exhibit D32/4 and D32/4 ter. Thank
9 MR. LAZAREVIC: I have no further questions for this witness.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well. Cross-examination by the Prosecution?
11 Yes, Mr. Di Fazio? You can start your cross-examination.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: I can, yes.
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Di Fazio:
14 Q. Mr. Ninkovic, I just want to ask you some questions regarding your
15 background. Am I correct that you have no formal training as a lawyer?
16 A. You are not quite right, because I passed the state examination,
17 which means that I had to have certain knowledge in the field of the law.
18 Q. State examination in what?
19 A. For working in the state administration. That means knowing the
20 constitution, the system of state administration, administration
21 procedure, those are legal matters.
22 Q. Yes. That was legal training directed towards enabling to you
23 carry out your duties at the Ministry of Defence, wasn't it?
24 A. No. That was not training. That was an examination with five
25 professors there.
1 Q. Are you a lawyer or not?
2 A. No, I'm not a lawyer.
3 Q. And it's fair to say, therefore, that you lack any expertise in
4 matters of constitutional law?
5 A. It is a broad-based question but I am familiar with the
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Di Fazio, I think maybe we all understand what
8 this means because he has talked about his training, the constitution of
9 his country, but your question does not pertain to comparative
10 constitutional theory or practice.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: No, it doesn't. That's as far as I need to go I
12 just wanted to establish that point because of a matter raised by
13 Mr. Weiner before the break. I just wanted to make it clear what his
14 expertise or knowledge of the law was. I'll now abandon the topic.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well.
16 MR. DI FAZIO:
17 Q. You said in your evidence in chief that you joined the SDS in 1993
18 or 1994. Can you be a little bit more precise as to when you did in fact
19 join the -- that party?
20 A. I have a membership card of the Serb Democratic Party from 1995.
21 I can show it as a document. But I cannot define the exact date. This
22 was between 1993 and 1994.
23 Q. Could it have been 1993, therefore?
24 A. Yes, possibly.
25 Q. Could it have been early 1993?
1 A. No, no. Only the end.
2 Q. Why? Why do you say that?
3 A. Well, I said that I became a member of the Serb Democratic Party
4 between 1993 and 1994, January is not a transition month in the terms of
5 the -- in terms of the following year. It's not like December. December
6 is the last month of the year. According to the calendar that I am aware
8 Q. There would be nothing to prevent you joining the SDS in January
9 of any year, would there?
10 A. I don't understand that question.
11 Q. Very well. I won't pursue it. What was your reason for leaving
12 the Liberal Party, I think it was, and joining the SDS?
13 A. This party no longer existed in Republika Srpska. Secondly, the
14 state in which I entered the Liberal Party ceased to exist. It is much
15 harder to change a state than a party. I would have liked to have
16 remained in Yugoslavia and to have remained a member of the Liberal Party.
17 Q. Was there something in the policies of the SDS that appealed to
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. What would you say that was?
21 A. The right of peoples to self-determination which was enshrined in
22 the SFRY constitution as well.
23 Q. And that right was applied to non-Serb persons as well?
24 A. The right to self-determination was one of the principles in the
25 SFRY constitution. It was used by the people of the SFRY, peoples. So
1 the Serbs and Croats and Slovenians and Macedonians and Montenegrins and
2 the Muslims enjoyed this right equally. Those were the peoples of the
4 Q. Thank you. And are you still a member of the SDS?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Thank you. You have heard, I take it, of various organisations
7 known as SAOs and in particular two, the SAO of Northern Bosnia and the
8 SAO of Semberija and Majevica. You've heard of those entities, those
9 regional organs of government?
10 A. I heard about that but then I did not have detailed information
11 because I was not in the fora where I could have heard about that in
12 greater detail, and more precisely.
13 Q. If I suggested to you that the SAO of Northern Bosnia later
14 became, in fact, the SAO of Semberija and Majevica, would you agree with
16 A. I apologise. Could you please repeat the question? I didn't
17 catch the second part of it.
18 Q. Thank you. I'll do that. The SAO of Northern Bosnia later, in
19 fact, transformed itself into the SAO of Semberija and Majevica, that is
20 correct, is it not?
21 A. I don't know about that.
22 Q. Do you know which regions they covered?
23 A. Geographically, yes. I know the geography of the former
24 Yugoslavia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is the republic where I'm living,
25 and that's a territory covering -- should I now list the names and
2 Q. No, no. I'm not asking you to did that. I'm just asking you a
3 simple question. Are you aware of the territory governed or covered by
4 the SAO of Northern Bosnia and, if you are, was that the same territory
5 covered or administered by the SAO Semberija and Majevica?
6 A. In the geographical sense I know that area. However, as for the
7 politics, I can't say the same.
8 Q. Sorry, I don't want to dwell on this topic but I still don't
9 understand what you're saying. Are you saying that geographically the SAO
10 of Northern Bosnia and the SAO of Semberija and Majevica governed the same
11 geographical area?
12 A. No. I didn't say that. I said that I know the geography. I know
13 what the Northern Bosnia is and where it is. However, I said that in the
14 political sense, I don't know if it covered the same area.
15 Q. Thank you. Would you say that the SAO of Northern Bosnia was the
16 first to come into existence, followed by the SAO of Semberija and
17 Majevica? In other words, one followed the other?
18 A. I heard of these notions. However, I told you that I was not a
19 member of fora where I could have learned about this in greater depth;
20 therefore, I don't know the dates. I don't know the decisions that were
21 passed. As a citizen, yes, I've heard about that.
22 Q. Okay. Thank you for those preliminary matters. I just turn to
23 another topic now. I want to ask you about the Crisis Staff and the War
24 Presidency and later the Municipal Assembly of -- the Serbian Municipal
25 Assembly of Bosanski Samac. Would you agree with me that the Crisis Staff
1 for the period that it operated was in fact the highest civilian authority
2 in Bosanski Samac?
3 A. If you are referring to the Crisis Staff substituting the
4 municipality -- the Municipal Assembly, then in that sense, yes.
5 Q. And would it be your position that the Crisis Staff in its
6 activities in 1992, endeavoured, as far as possible, to look after the
7 health and welfare of the population living in the municipality?
8 A. We have to make a distinction between the executive branch,
9 meaning the executive council, its powers on one hand, and the Crisis
10 Staff on the other hand. The normal procedure is to have the executive
11 council as the government of the municipality to possess a number of
12 powers in the area of economy, utilities, and everything that is needed in
13 order to create good living conditions for residents of a municipality.
14 Q. I'm not asking you about the actual mechanics of government. I'm
15 asking you a very simple question. Would you agree with me that the
16 Crisis Staff had, as one of its primary concerns, the health and safety
17 and welfare of citizens in the area it administered?
18 A. If it is looked at as an individual organ, then yes, it had the
19 responsibilities in the areas that you have mentioned. However, that is a
20 kind of -- that is a sort of a separatist point of view, because the
21 government, in principle, is a single institution. That is a principle
22 set forth in the constitution.
23 Q. I'm not asking for fine distinctions, Mr. Ninkovic. It's just a
24 very simple proposition. The Crisis Staff was concerned with the health
25 and welfare and well-being of people who lived in the area it
1 administered. Surely that was its principal -- one of its principal
2 concerns, and a principal concern of all good government everywhere.
3 A. I am president of the Municipal Assembly, and I know what the
4 responsibilities of the Municipal Assembly. If we say that the Crisis
5 Staff had certain responsibilities while the Municipal Assembly wasn't
6 functioning, then it is quite clear what those responsibilities and powers
8 Q. Yes. I understand that and I understand that the Crisis Staff
9 didn't deal with foreign policy, for example, but in the framework of its
10 responsibilities, it acted as best it could, is this your position, for
11 the safety and welfare and health and well-being of the citizens living in
12 the territory it administered?
13 A. Yes. Every government based on democracy and rule of law works on
14 the basis of those principles.
15 Q. And is it your position that that concern was extended to
16 non-Serbs as well, Croats and the Muslims, living in the town and in the
18 A. Somebody who was a member of the Crisis Staff would be better
19 positioned to answer this question. However, I know that the Crisis Staff
20 endeavoured to work along the lines described by you.
21 Q. And the same considerations applied to the civilian authorities
22 throughout the period of time following April the 16th and 17th in their
23 various incarnations, that is, as the Crisis Staff, as the War Presidency,
24 and later as the Serbian Municipal Assembly of Bosanski Samac; is that
25 your position?
1 A. This is a very broad question. Could you be more concise and
3 Q. With respect, it's not that broad. It's a very simple
4 proposition. As far as possible, the Crisis Staff, later the War
5 Presidency, and later the Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac, were
6 concerned to maintain the health, safety and welfare of all citizens, so
7 far as possible, so far as it could operate?
8 A. [No interpretation]
9 JUDGE MUMBA: We are not getting translation.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: No.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat the answer?
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Can you please start your answer all over again?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In times of war, authorities have
14 significantly fewer possibilities to do what can be done in peace time for
15 the welfare of residents of a municipality or of a region, due to the war
16 itself. Therefore, there are fewer resources, there is a greater danger
17 of getting killed, and everything else that naturally comes with war.
18 MR. DI FAZIO:
19 Q. I've got no quarrel with that. I understand your position
20 perfectly well, but that's not really my question. It's not my question.
21 You see, all I'm asking you is that those concerns for the health and
22 safety and welfare of all citizens existed all the way through the
23 municipal administration - that's your position - in the Crisis Staff, the
24 War Presidency, and later the Serbian municipality of -- Serbian Assembly
25 in the municipality of Bosanski Samac?
1 A. I've already answered that question. Every government based on
2 democracy and rule of law has these principles implemented in its work.
3 Q. Thank you. Now, particularly in these trying times of war, one of
4 the main tools that civilian authorities have in order to bring about the
5 health and safety and well-being of their citizens, as far as possible, is
6 information. So the Crisis Staff and later the War Presidency and later
7 the Municipal Assembly of Bosanski Samac needed to be told, kept informed,
8 of what was going on in the municipality, the concerns of the citizens,
9 problems of the citizens, difficulties that citizens might be
10 encountering, that sort of thing?
11 A. If I understood you well, you are saying that institutions and
12 organs of authorities have to have necessary information at their disposal
13 in order to govern in a municipality. We have to make a distinction here
14 between what is a cooperation between certain organs, which is regulated
15 by the law on state administration on one hand, and information as a
16 public matter on the other hand, such as media, informing the population
17 and so on. This is how I understood your question. Is that right?
18 Q. Let me rephrase it and perhaps I can assist you. It was
19 important, wasn't it, for the Crisis Staff and the War Presidency and the
20 municipal assembly to be kept informed of conditions on the ground in the
21 town and municipality of Bosanski Samac, particularly in times of war?
22 A. Any institution or organ in a municipality has its own sources of
23 information in their particular field. So all of that information put
24 together is a basis used for decision-making, and this is something that
25 has to do with the system of state administration.
1 Q. That's right. And various organs of administration, various
2 entities in the municipal administration had to keep the Crisis Staff
3 informed about what they were up to, what they were doing, difficulties
4 they were experiencing, conditions on the ground? They had to tell the
5 Crisis Staff what was going on. Otherwise the Crisis Staff wouldn't know
6 what to do. That's, as a general proposition, correct, is it not?
7 A. I spoke about the system-based law, and how it is to be
8 interpreted. Practice is another matter. I don't know whether
9 administrative organs and other institutions informed the Crisis Staff
10 about their work. This would best be explained by officials from those
11 organs and members of the Crisis Staff. That's logical.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness be shown Exhibit P112, please?
14 Perhaps it should be P112 ter, the B/C/S version.
15 Q. All right. Do you have that document? Thank you. Could you
16 please --
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Please have a look at Article 1, the second paragraph. It deals
19 with the executive board.
20 A. Just a minute, please. I need to read this through.
21 Q. Certainly.
22 A. I've read Article 1 of this decision.
23 Q. Thank you. And second paragraph is very simple and plain, is it
24 not? It says, "That the executive board has to report to the Crisis Staff
25 on all aspects of social life, implementation of policies, decisions and
1 other regulations." Do you see that?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. So the executive board was feeding information about life and
4 conditions in Bosanski Samac to the Crisis Staff, was it not?
5 A. This is a legal provision. This is based on the law. Now, as to
6 whether the executive council acted in accordance with this, this is a
7 question that you should put to the president of the executive council.
8 That has to do with practice.
9 Q. Were you a member of the executive board?
10 A. In 1993, pursuant to the Statute of Samac Municipal Assembly, I
11 was ex officio member, meaning not a permanent member, but when the
12 executive council discussed matters that had to do with defence -- may I
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, you may. You can complete your answer.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Therefore, in 1993, ex officio, as a
16 chief of the defence department, I was member of executive council but not
17 a permanent member. I was only invited to attend sessions when certain
18 matters that had to do with defence were on the agenda. And these matters
19 were also linked to the functioning of the economy.
20 MR. DI FAZIO:
21 Q. Thank you. On the 28th of March, 1992, didn't the Municipal
22 Assembly of Samac and Pelagicevo, under formation, pass a decision
23 electing members of the executive council, and it made Mirko Jovanovic
24 President, Milos Bogdanovic Secretary of the municipal Secretariat of
25 National Defence and it made you Deputy Secretary of the municipal
1 Secretariat of the National Defence?
2 A. That executive council did not function, and in practice, I did
3 not discharge that duty.
4 Q. I see. So they just passed a decision setting up an executive
5 board, nominating all these people, and it never functioned, never
6 operated, is that your position?
7 A. Yes. I was never invited to attend, nor did I participate in the
8 work of that organ, and as far as I know, there were no sessions
9 whatsoever. There was a very brief period of time before the beginning of
10 the war.
11 Q. So was the decision invalid or worthless? Is that your position?
12 A. If it was not implemented, then yes.
13 Q. One of the other members of this phantom body was Stevan
14 Todorovic, was it not?
15 A. The name -- the names of members of that executive council that
16 didn't function are familiar to me from the Official Gazette.
17 Q. Yes. Well, we'll return to that later. Can I ask you to turn
18 your attention back to P112, please, you see the decision on the executive
19 board and administrative bodies. That's dated the 30th of May, 1992, is
20 it not?
21 A. You are now referring to the document that's on the ELMO; is that
23 Q. Yes. The decision on the executive board and administrative
24 bodies, Exhibit P112. It's dated 30th of May, 1992.
25 A. Yes. Yes, that's the document, yes.
1 Q. So at least at the 30th of May, 1992, there was a contemplation
2 that the executive board would perform some function, that must be so,
3 otherwise what's the point of passing another phantom decision?
4 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I would like a clarification of the
5 term "phantom," because maybe this witness could be confused. What -- in
6 which sense my friend is using it.
7 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll rephrase it.
8 Q. Hollow or meaningless. Do you want me to repeat my question?
9 A. I understood what you meant. I think that this executive council,
10 which, as you say, was established on the 20 something March, I didn't
11 remember the date, didn't work. I was never invited to attend any
13 Q. I understand that. I understand what your position is. You've
14 explained yourself very clearly. Thank you very much. My question is
15 this: This document deals with the functioning of the executive board and
16 administrative bodies. It sets out clear regulations dealing with its
17 functioning and its dated the 30th of May. Can you think of any reason as
18 to why this would have been passed, this decision would have been taken,
19 if the executive board was not in fact functioning?
20 A. I will tell you what my opinion is. The title, the heading here,
21 "The Crisis Staff" indicates -- or rather the Crisis Staff realised that
22 the executive organ should be established, having the powers that normally
23 belonged to the executive organs and that has to do with the various
24 structures in the municipality.
25 Q. Okay. Go to the back of the document. It's the end of the
1 document. It's signed by Blagoje Simic, Dr. Blagoje Simic, and you see
2 the end, Article 19, and then you see, "CC." And the document is CCed or
3 sent to the files of the Crisis Staff and the files of the executive
4 board. Now, if there is no executive board functioning, why would the
5 document be sent to its files?
6 A. I don't think we understand each other. I am talking about the
7 executive council not functioning in March. In March of 1992. This
8 decision here was passed later.
9 Q. Yes. It was passed in May of 1992. We can see that on the front
10 of the document, can you not?
11 A. Yes, yes. This executive council did function.
12 Q. Let me be as simple as I possibly can. When did an executive
13 council or an executive board, call it what you will, start to operate in
14 the municipality of Bosanski Samac? Obviously I mean a Serbian executive
16 A. Sometime in June of 1992. That was June.
17 Q. But this document is dated the 30th of May. It must have been
18 operating in May, surely?
19 A. As far as I know, no. And I've told you that several times
21 Q. All right. What about --
22 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Ninkovic, Mr. Di Fazio had
23 mentioned earlier that the document was copied to the files of the
24 executive board. I'm just wondering if there wasn't a functioning
25 executive board, how come it had files? And paper was being filed away,
1 such as this particular document. I have a little bit of confusion with
2 this, frankly.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have understood your question.
4 That question pertains to the way an office functions. Office functioning
5 defines how archives are kept. So archives of the executive council are
6 kept where the archives from -- archives from 1986, 1987, 1988 are kept.
7 This is a place, this is a room, this is a shelf, where it says "executive
8 council." So regardless of which particular executive board and at which
9 point in time one is referring to, that is where these documents are kept.
10 If we need documents from the executive board in 1982 or 1981, we will
11 come to that particular room, that particular shelf, and we are going to
12 find the documents there. That is called the way an office operates. This
13 is a purely administrative matter. This is a purely technical thing.
14 Office management.
15 MR. DI FAZIO:
16 Q. Yes. But her honour's question was -- didn't require that sort of
17 answer, with respect. It's a very simple question. I want to put it to
18 you again. The document presupposes the existence of files of an
19 executive board, because it says that this document, this piece of paper,
20 this decision, this P112, has to be filed. Now if it has to be filed,
21 there must be somewhere to file it, correct? And if it describes that
22 place as the files of the executive board, there must be an executive
23 board. That's just pure logic, isn't it?
24 A. Well, it is logic, but there can be certain pauses in the
25 operation of an institution. For example, when a term of office expires
1 for one particular set of people, then for a while there is a pause and
2 then there can be another set of people.
3 Q. So the scenario is, as far as an executive board is concerned,
4 that in March of 1992, the Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac and
5 Pelagicevo in formation, held its meeting, appointed an executive board,
6 provided a whole list of members of that executive board, of which you
7 were a member, but it never existed, it didn't actually function, didn't
8 carry out any duties, conduct meetings, anything like that?
9 A. Yes, what you read, that is this executive board, that did not
10 meet, or rather, at least, I don't know of it.
11 Q. All right. Well, you agree with the -- that you were in fact
12 appointed to in March of 1992, albeit that you say it never actually
14 A. I learned about that from Mr. Milos Bogdanovic, and much later, I
15 saw it in the Official Gazette.
16 Q. You mean you were appointed and you didn't even know it? Someone
17 had to tell you?
18 A. Yes. I was not at the place where this executive board was
19 nominated. I was told about this orally by Mr. Milos Bogdanovic, who was
20 my boss. I was a professional in the field of civil protection before the
21 war. I have decisions to that effect. And I was never invited to any
22 meetings. Later, I don't know, a few months later, I saw this actual list
23 of persons that you referred to.
24 Q. Including yourself?
25 A. Yes, but I've explained. I've explained how and what.
1 Q. Well, when you were informed that you had been appointed to this
2 body without even being consulted, did you have any misgivings?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can you tell the Chamber, if you know of any reason as to why it
5 was that you were appointed to the executive board of this new Serbian
6 municipality of Bosanski Samac?
7 A. Nobody discussed the proposal with me, and when I asked Milos
8 Bogdanovic who nominated me, he said that he nominated me because I was a
9 professional and qualified for defence matters.
10 Q. Did you want to be on the -- this executive board? Did you want
11 to accept this appointment?
12 A. Mr. Milos Bogdanovic himself expressed his scepticism regarding
13 this executive board.
14 Q. Yes. That's not the question. It's very simple. Did you want to
15 be on it? Did you want to accept this appointment?
16 A. I didn't want to be a member of that board.
17 Q. Yes. I'll come back to the topic that I was dealing with before
18 we got sidetracked into this issue of membership. This document, P112,
19 even though it's a hollow document and relates to a non-functioning
20 executive board, at least shows an intention on the part of the civilian
21 authorities in Bosanski Samac to be kept informed by something called an
22 executive body, executive board, to be kept informed of conditions on the
23 ground in Bosanski Samac. Would you agree with that?
24 A. I can agree if you are referring to the executive board where
25 Mr. Milan Simic was president of the executive board.
1 Q. No. I'm just asking you this: This document, when you look at
2 it, and read the articles, shows an intention to keep the Crisis Staff,
3 the Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac, informed of conditions within
4 the municipality, because it reports -- it requires the executive board to
5 report on the situation in all aspects of social life, does it not?
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic?
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] For the second time now, the
8 Prosecutor, when putting his question, introduces the wrong term, that is
9 to say that the executive board informs the Crisis Staff, and it says
10 quite clearly that it is responsible to the Assembly and the Crisis Staff,
11 so if he is referring to this field of information, because this article
12 does not refer to information at all, only to responsibility, so could he
13 clearly state what he is drawing on, please?
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Certainly. Article 1, paragraph 2. "The executive
15 board shall report to the Assembly, that is to the Crisis Staff of the
16 Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac, on the situation in all aspects of
17 social life."
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic?
19 MR. PANTELIC: Maybe I have a solution, paragraph 2 of Article 1
20 of this decision, of this document, maybe it's something a problem with
21 the translation. Maybe Mr. Ninkovic can read slowly paragraph 2 of the
22 Article 1 of this decision and then we could clarify that, because
23 according to the word in B/C/S version, then it is not inconsistent with
24 the translation that we have in paragraph 2. So maybe in order to clarify
25 our friends from the interpreters booth can clarify it.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll ask him to read it slowly that should solve
2 the issue. I don't want to put matters to him if I've misunderstood the
3 correct text.
4 Q. Can you do that, please, Mr. Ninkovic, just read out slowly,
5 paragraph 2 of Article 1?
6 A. I shall read paragraph 2 of Article 1.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Could it please be put on the ELMO again?
8 THE WITNESS: "The executive board reports to the Assembly, is
9 accountable to the Assembly, or rather the Crisis Staff of the Serb
10 Municipality of Bosanski Samac, for the situation in all fields of social
11 life for the implementation of policies and the implementation of
12 decisions and other regulations of the Assembly, i.e., the Crisis Staff of
13 the Serb Municipality of Bosanski Samac."
14 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, because when we receive a translation of word
15 "report" when my learned friend is using word "report," also witness is
16 receiving the same word, which means is responsible or informed -- or
17 report means in terms of informing one body, informing another body. And
18 that's a confusion because the witness is not sure in which sense the
19 question is posed. And for the record, from the part of Defence, we think
20 that it is not an accurate translation of word in paragraph 2 of Article
21 1, that executive board shall report to the Assembly. We think that the
22 right pronunciation and translation should be that executive board is
23 responsible to the Assembly.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: Mr. Weiner informs me that the use of the
25 expression "shall report" is a deliberate use of the imperative, must
1 report, shall, will report, and that --
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Does that mean is responsible to the assembly, as
3 Mr. Pantelic says?
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, I don't know and I'm not -- I don't want to
5 go down that road. We've done the best that we can. It's been read out,
6 you've got it there in black and white. It says, "Shall report." In any
7 event for my purposes it really is a massive splitting of hairs and I
8 don't need to go down that route any further. If Defence counsel want to
9 clarify it, they can in re-examination.
10 Q. One thing is clear, isn't it, whatever the form of words in
11 paragraph 2 of Article 1, the point of it is that the executive board
12 passes information, tells the Crisis Staff, on the situation in all fields
13 of social life in the municipality? That's the stated intention in the
15 A. The words "to report" and the word "to be responsible" are words
16 with different meanings in the Serbian language. To be responsible means
17 to be responsible to a higher instance. The Assembly is a higher instance
18 in relation to the executive board.
19 Q. Okay. We'll leave it at that. Let's have a look at Article 7.
20 Rights and obligations of P112, please. Do you have it there? And just
21 so that there is no problem --
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. With that, just so there is no problem with language, can you just
24 read out the first paragraph of Article 7? I don't need to have all of
25 those numbers. Just read out the preamble and number 1.
1 A. Article 7?
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. "In carrying out its functions established by the constitution,
4 law and other regulations of the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the
5 executive board shall have the right and responsibility to:" You want me
6 to read it up to there, right?
7 Q. Number 1, just go on to number 1.
8 A. Point 1: "Monitor the situation in all fields of human activity
9 and take measures to resolve questions in these fields."
10 Q. Right. Okay. That means, does it not, that the executive board
11 had to be aware of conditions on the ground, the conditions existing in
12 the Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac?
13 A. Yes, in terms of the competences of the executive board and the
14 competences are specifically established by the Statute of the Municipal
15 Assembly, that is to say, the competences of the executive board. That
16 means that the executive board had to be aware of certain matters due to
17 the very nature of its work, and on the other hand, they did not have to
18 be aware of other things because that was not within the scope of their
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Ms. Usher, I've finished with the
23 Q. If there had been widespread looting of property in Bosanski Samac
24 and in the municipality, that would be a matter that would be of the
25 utmost concern to the Crisis Staff, would it not?
1 A. The public security station, the MUP that is, is supposed to be
2 the first one to be informed of such situations, and then they should
3 notify the executive board of the fact that looting had occurred. This is
4 the mechanism of information between these authorities.
5 Q. Thank you for explaining the mechanism. If there had been
6 widespread looting in the municipality of Bosanski Samac, that would be a
7 matter of the utmost concern to the Crisis Staff, would it not? I'm not
8 asking for the mechanism. I'm just asking you a very simple question. It
9 would be a matter of the utmost concern to the Crisis Staff. Would you
10 agree with that proposition?
11 A. You said "if looting had occurred, if major looting had occurred."
12 Q. That's right. You heard me correctly, you heard me absolutely
13 correctly, Mr. Ninkovic. If that had happened, that would be a matter of
14 the utmost concern to the Crisis Staff?
15 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, are we here in the area of
16 hypothetical questions and issues? Or we are trying to explore something
18 JUDGE MUMBA: No, Mr. Pantelic, please sit down. Let the
19 Prosecution continue.
20 MR. DI FAZIO:
21 Q. So, you would agree with me that if that had been the situation,
22 it would have been a matter of the utmost concern to the Crisis Staff?
23 A. If it had happened, yes.
24 Q. Certainly. If it had happened.
25 A. That is the right way to put that question.
1 Q. Thank you. And if there had been mass arrests of Croat and Muslim
2 men in the municipality of Bosanski Samac and in the town, that also would
3 be a matter of the utmost concern to the Crisis Staff?
4 A. What does mass arrests mean? Does that mean a large number of
5 persons brought into custody?
6 Q. Let's say for argument's sake that if there had been mass arrests
7 numbering in the hundreds, would that be a matter of the utmost concern to
8 the Crisis Staff?
9 A. If the Crisis Staff were to have such information, that could be
10 looked at by the Crisis Staff.
11 Q. I'm a bit concerned about your use of the expression "could." If
12 the Crisis Staff had information about mass arrests of Croat and Muslim
13 men numbering in the hundreds, that is something that the Crisis Staff
14 would be most definitely be very concerned about, would it not?
15 A. I can say that this word "could" is a word we could replace by the
16 following: That such information should be on the agenda.
17 Q. And similarly, if there had been such mass arrests and there had
18 been torture and starvation and confinement under inhumane conditions,
19 that similarly would be a matter of the utmost concern to the Crisis
21 A. I have to say that if there is knowledge of the kind you are
22 referring to, in that case, yes. If there is knowledge concerning
23 relevant information, if there are reports, if there is evidence, because
24 such organs work according to materials that are prepared along with
25 certain reports, information, relevant data.
1 Q. Yes. Thank you. Perhaps I can take you to an example of concern
2 on the part of the Crisis Staff for the welfare of people.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness be shown Exhibit P99?
4 Q. Firstly, are you familiar with that document?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. It's apparently signed by Dr. Blagoje Simic and dated the 17th of
7 May, 1992, to the Federal Executive Council in Belgrade, and it shows,
8 does it not, an awareness on the part of Dr. Blagoje Simic of the
9 importance of compliance with international agreements on humanitarian
10 issues, because he refers there to the Croatian side not complying with
11 even the Geneva Conventions on the protection of civilians and prisoners
12 of war and gives further detail, he refers to protocols 1 and 2. Do you
13 see that?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And from what you know of Dr. Blagoje Simic, is it your position
16 that he was a man who was concerned about humanitarian issues, the plight
17 of civilians and prisoners of war, regardless of their ethnicity?
18 A. If you are talking about this figure of 3 and a half to 4.000
19 Serbs, I know with certainty that the largest number among them were women
20 and children from Novi Grad, Dubica and Trnjak. Among them my father and
21 my mother.
22 Q. No. My question is -- wasn't that. My question is: I'll be more
23 precise to assist you. Did you ever see or hear anything that indicated
24 on the part of Dr. Blagoje Simic the sort of humanitarian concerns he
25 expresses in that letter?
1 A. Yes. Dr. Blagoje Simic here expressed his concern for these
3 Q. Are you aware if he shared the same concerns for non-Serbs?
4 A. With regard to that question, there is a difference. If you wish
5 to compare people who were brought into custody at the public security
6 station because of possession of weapons, or military materiel that is not
7 allowed, then there is a difference between those persons and the persons
8 referred to in this document.
9 Q. No. I'm not interested in any comparisons. Let me ask you, were
10 you aware of any activity on the part of the Crisis Staff or the War
11 Presidency or the Serbian municipality -- thank you, Ms. Usher, I've
12 finished -- the municipality -- the Serbian municipality of Bosanski
13 Samac, to detect any similar breaches of the Geneva Conventions within the
14 municipality of Bosanski Samac? Were they in effect careful to root out
15 the sort of activity that is being complained of in that letter, P99?
16 A. I think there were such activities.
17 Q. Yes. Can you tell us?
18 A. The distribution of bread, milk, I think and other food supplies.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I'm not quite certain of
20 the times. What -- I'm happy to proceed, if you wish. On the other
22 JUDGE MUMBA: No. We will take a break for 20 minutes and
23 continue at 1250 hours.
24 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 12.51 p.m.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio, continue.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, thank you, if Your Honours please.
3 Q. Just before the break I was asking you about Exhibit P99. I don't
4 need to show it to you. Just let me tell you, remind you of what
5 Dr. Blagoje Simic wrote. He complained of the civilian population exposed
6 to physical terror, maltreatment, starvation, forced labour, and other
7 methods of the most brutal execution. Now, are you aware of Dr. Blagoje
8 Simic or the Crisis Staff adopting any measures or doing anything in the
9 municipality of Bosanski Samac to stop precisely those sorts of things
10 happening in Bosanski Samac?
11 A. I know that civilian authorities tried to assist the civilian
12 population when it came to creating basic necessities for life,
13 distribution of food, potable water, and everything that we call the
14 communal system, meaning utilities and everything, in order to create
15 bearable living conditions.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness be shown P79, please?
18 Q. That's an announcement dated the 17th of April, 1992. Are you
19 familiar with that -- with that announcement?
20 A. I'm not familiar with this document.
21 Q. Okay. Let me ask you this: In the third paragraph, it says that
22 the Crisis Staff guarantees -- "Shall guarantee the complete safety of
23 life and property of citizens regardless of nationality and religion."
24 Are you of anything else or do you have any information that confirms that
25 the Crisis Staff guaranteed safety of life and property regardless
1 nationality or religion?
2 A. I see the paragraph that you read out here in this document;
3 however, I don't know what is the origin of this document because I think
4 that this document is questionable. It lacks a signature and I don't know
5 whether this heading, which is handwritten, is authentic. Every document
6 must have proper elements.
7 Q. What about the stamps? Do the stamps look familiar?
8 A. This is a very bad copy or imprint. I don't know what the
9 original is like. But somebody else could have produced this.
10 Q. Have you got any reason to disagree with the proposition that the
11 Crisis Staff guaranteed the safety of life and property to citizens
12 regardless of their nationality and religion?
13 A. We've talked about this before. I think that every kind of
14 authority is based on those principles, if it is a democratic one, and
15 upholds the rule of law.
16 Q. You were closely associated with the press, of course, in April of
17 1992, weren't you?
18 A. As an employee in the information service, I engaged in
19 journalistic activities and I had contact with various media outlets, if
20 that's what you have in mind, and information agencies.
21 Q. Are you aware of Simeon Simic ever sending this document to the
23 A. No, I'm not aware of that.
24 Q. Sorry, can you just recapitulate now about what it is about this
25 document that causes you to cast doubt on its authenticity?
1 A. In view of the fact that I'm an employee of the state
2 administration, that I've had experience with that, I can tell you right
3 away that this is a typewritten document, that the heading is handwritten,
4 that the imprint of this stamp is unclear and that there is no signature;
5 therefore, the document is questionable.
6 Q. Thank you. But other than that, you have no direct information or
7 otherwise as to whether or not this is an authentic document?
8 A. No. I cannot give evidence regarding that.
9 Q. If it was a real document, an authentic document, would Simeon
10 Simic have had cause to send it to the press?
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Di Fazio, no. In view of the answers from the
12 witness, you can't ask him that question.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Very well, I'll withdraw the question.
14 Q. Were announcements of the Crisis Staff sent to the press from time
15 to time?
16 A. As far as I remember, there was a proclamation or announcement or
17 something like that addressed to Tanug and it dealt with the status of
18 Serbs in Odzak.
19 Q. All right. Okay, thank you. Can I take you to a fresh document
20 now, please?
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness be shown Exhibit D61/1?
22 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Di Fazio, could I have a
23 clarification of what Tanug is?
24 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Line 13, please.
1 MR. DI FAZIO:
2 Q. You heard Her Honour's question, am I correct that it's some sort
3 of news agency? You nodded but for the transcript we need to have a yes
4 or a no so that we -- an audible yes or no?
5 A. I will explain. Tanug is an abbreviation, and it stands for
6 Telegraph Agency of New Yugoslavia. It is a news agency created after
7 World War II in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia immediately
8 after the Second World War. It was the most influential news agency which
9 was the source of information for other media outlets.
10 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you very much.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
12 Q. Now, D61. This was a Defence document introduced into evidence.
13 You've seen this document, I believe.
14 A. Yes. We've analysed this document.
15 Q. Right. Right. And it's essentially a complaint against soldiers
16 cutting down trees or woods and threatening workers, forestry workers or
18 A. Are you expecting an answer from me?
19 Q. Yes. You agree with that, don't you?
20 A. In order to prevent such criminal events, a military organ is
21 responsible for that because this has to do with members of the military.
22 Therefore, commander of the unit is responsible for taking measures
23 through military police and various military organs in order to prevent
24 this from happening, because the Prosecution for these cases is in the
25 hands of the military, because these are members of the military.
1 Q. Fine. That's -- I don't want to go into this chapter and verse
2 but essentially, this fellow, Stevan Tutnjevic complained about soldiers
3 cutting down trees and sent copies of this letter with its complaint to
4 the executive board, the president of the municipality, Dr. Blagoje Simic,
5 the police and so on; right?
6 A. Yes. But Mr. Stevan Tutnjevic is probably not aware of the system
7 of responsibilities and competences, so due to his ignorance, he sent this
8 letter to wrong institutions. Had Mr. Tutnjevic known that the commander
9 of the unit is in charge of investigating this, he would have sent it to
10 the commander, not to these institutions mentioned here, although I can
11 see here that he sent this to the military police as well.
12 Q. Fine. Now, did the Crisis Staff and the -- let me put it more
13 generally, the civilian authorities in Bosanski Samac act upon this? Did
14 they try and do something to help out Stevan Tutnjevic? Did they do
15 something it try to help out the cutting or prevent, rather, the cutting
16 of trees and woods, to try and do something about the problem? To lend
17 their support and help?
18 A. If you have in mind that this document was sent to the department
19 of the defence, I personally can tell you what the situation is with
20 respect to myself.
21 Q. No. I'm not interested in whether it was sent to the department
22 of defence. I'm interested in a really very simple little matter. It's
23 very simple. Not complicated. There is a complaint about soldiers
24 cutting down trees. Did the Crisis Staff try to do, and the civilian
25 authorities, try to do something to help in respect of this problem, to do
1 something to protect the forests?
2 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I do apologise, maybe in order to
3 avoid confusing matter, because this letter was made in 1993 and there is
4 not any mention of the Crisis Staff here. Maybe my learned friend can
5 specify the body, if he's speaking about this.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: I said civilian authorities. I said civilian
8 JUDGE MUMBA: All right.
9 MR. DI FAZIO:
10 Q. Now, let me repeat the question, Mr. Ninkovic. There is a
11 complaint here about soldiers cutting down woods. Did the civilian
12 authorities, whatever particular incarnation they had at the time, did the
13 civilian authorities try and do something to help this man, to help the
14 woods and forests from being cut down?
15 A. Yes, they tried to.
16 Q. Can you recall what they did?
17 A. They established contact with the commanders of the units.
18 Q. And presumably raised the issue with them, discussed the issue
19 with them, tried to find a solution? I'm sorry, I didn't hear any answer.
20 Did you say yes or no?
21 A. No. I didn't say anything because I didn't hear you.
22 Q. Oh, I'm sorry, I'll repeat my question. I asked you if you recall
23 what they did, you said they contacted the commanders of the units, and my
24 question to you is this: Presumably, the civilian authorities raised the
25 issue, this issue of the cutting down of wood, with the military
1 authorities and tried to come to some sort of solution or to deal with the
3 A. Organs of civilian authorities of Samac municipality had contacts
4 with commanders of units in that area regarding this issue and they
5 explained the problem to them.
6 Q. And presumably, therefore, if soldiers or paramilitaries are
7 slaughtering people, the Crisis Staff could do something about it by at
8 least contacting military units in much the same way as they did to
9 protect forests?
10 A. Perhaps a clarification is in order. See, we don't have to
11 predict or forecast the powers of civilian authorities here. Those who
12 had an opportunity to be in a certain area that was encircled during
13 wartime would know that all of the power during that time is concentrated
14 in the arms of the military and that the military at that time usually has
15 an arrogant attitude and manifests its powers with respect to those who
16 are weaker and in this case, it is the civilian authorities who are
17 weaker. And this is how it was with the military circles in Republika
19 Q. Yes. But with respect, just answer my question. If
20 paramilitaries are slaughtering people, for example killing 15 or 16
21 people in a wheat factory in Crkvina, there is absolutely nothing, is
22 there, to stop the Crisis Staff from at least writing a letter or
23 telephoning the military authorities, doing something, to try and find
24 some sort of solution to the problem, to deal with it?
25 A. The question is whether the Crisis Staff had that information.
1 Q. Are you saying that the Crisis Staff didn't know about the murder
2 of 15 or 16 people at Crkvina? Is that your position?
3 A. What I'm trying to say is that I don't know whether the Crisis
4 Staff had that information. I was not a member of the Crisis Staff.
5 Q. Okay. Thank you. And now let's return to my question for the
6 third time. Is there anything that you can think of that would have
7 prevented the Crisis Staff from contacting the military authorities in a
8 formal or informal manner and doing something to come to grips with this
9 problem of the slaughter of Croat and Muslim civilians?
10 A. I think I can answer that question. The situation in that area
11 was not the same in different periods of time. With the arrival of the
12 1st Krajina Corps, which is a large military power which had within itself
13 half of the members of the Army of Republika Srpska, and Mile Beronja was
14 appointed as commander of the 2nd Posavina Brigade, I think that must have
15 been in August or September, then the other commanders from within the
16 Krajina corps arrived, the second Krajina Brigade and other units that
17 existed within that corps. So with these professionals, one could have a
18 reasonable conversation. And as to the volunteers that you mentioned, any
19 contact with them was dangerous. Those were the people who were not
20 familiar with law, with regulations, customs of war and so on.
21 Q. The mass murder of 15 or 16 people, of Croat and Muslim ethnicity,
22 by a member of Serbian military forces is a matter that would cause
23 considerable unrest, fear in the non-Serb population, if it became known.
24 Would you agree with that, the non-Serb population of Bosanski Samac?
25 A. I agree with you that that was a crime and I can only express my
1 deepest condolences to the families of those who had been murdered. I
2 spoke to you about the context of relationship between the civilian
3 authorities and the volunteers. The contact between them was not always
5 Q. Mr. Ninkovic, I'm not asking you to express condolences or
6 anything like that. It's very simple -- it's a very simple question. The
7 slaughter of 15 or 16 non-Serb people by a member of the Serb military
8 forces would be a matter of the utmost concern to the non-Serb population
9 living then, back then, in 1992, in Bosanski Samac, if it became known?
10 That must inevitably be so, wouldn't you agree?
11 A. That case is in the hands of the military security, the MUP,
12 military prosecution and military judiciary.
13 Q. Yes, all right. Okay. Well, we'll leave the matter at that.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness be shown D62/1? Thank you.
15 Q. Now, you I think are familiar with this document, aren't you?
16 A. Just a minute, please.
17 Q. You looked at it yesterday but please refresh your memory.
18 A. Yes. Please go ahead.
19 Q. All right. Now, the document of course is from Blagoje Simic to
20 the President of the republic, General Mladic, Defence Minister, Commander
21 of the 1st Krajina Corps, and essentially it complains of larceny and
22 pilferage and robbery committed by members of the 1st Krajina Corps. Do
23 you see that? That's the essence of the document, isn't it?
24 A. Yes. I can see what it is about based on this document.
25 Q. It's a complaint about the behaviour of soldiers in respect of
1 larceny and pilfering and looting; right? Complaint about the behaviour
2 of Serbian soldiers. And is therefore an example of Dr. Blagoje Simic
3 doing something to alleviate the problem caused by the behaviour of
4 soldiers. That is correct, is it not?
5 A. I don't know what the consequences of this letter were. I don't
6 know what effective measures --
7 Q. I'm not asking you about the consequences --
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Can you pay attention to the question and simply
9 answer the question? Don't go ahead of the question.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. I'm grateful to Your Honours.
11 Q. I'm not asking you about the consequence. It's a very simple
12 matter. It's basically a complaint by Dr. Blagoje Simic to state organs
13 and military -- and the military about the behaviour of soldiers in
14 respect of looting and pilfering and so on. That's the essence of the
15 document, isn't it?
16 A. I see that from the document.
17 Q. Fine. Now, if Dr. Blagoje Simic can write a letter of complaint
18 to the republic president and General Mladic, the commander of the 1st
19 Krajina Corps, complaining about such matters, there is nothing, is there,
20 to prevent him writing a similar letter in respect of the slaughter of 15
21 or 16 people in Crkvina. Nothing that springs to mind, anyway.
22 A. I could not agree, because there is a rational explanation for
23 this. This is a document from 1993. 1993. The crime that you refer to
24 occurred in 1992. Mr. Blagoje Simic could have been killed by those men
25 who had committed this crime if they were to find out that he had
1 complained to someone.
2 Q. The man -- you know that the man who killed the people at Crkvina
3 was a fellow named Lugar. You know that, don't you?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. He was still wandering around at -- and at large, in 1993, wasn't
7 A. I don't know about 1993.
8 Q. All right. Okay. Well, let me ask you about 1992. Are you
9 saying that something like D62/1 could never have been sent because if
10 Lugar and his associates had discovered of such a complaint, Dr. Blagoje
11 Simic's life would have been in danger? Is that the reason?
12 A. I wish to say precisely that. Namely, if they were to find out
13 that Dr. Blagoje Simic had complained to someone who was more powerful and
14 above him, then his life would have been in danger.
15 Q. Are you aware if he considered writing a letter such as D62/1 in
16 respect of the Crkvina murders?
17 A. I don't know about that.
18 Q. D62/1 is essentially concerned about larceny and pilferage and
19 robbery of Serbian property, isn't it, property owned by Serbs?
20 A. In the middle of the first page, it says, in big, capital letters,
21 "The Serb army is looting Serb property."
22 Q. So your answer is yes; is that correct?
23 A. That can be seen from the document.
24 Q. Thank you. Are you aware of there having been any similar
25 problems in respect of property held by non-Serbs?
1 A. Criminals do not know of the origin of property. They just know
2 what the object of their looting is. That is a general characteristic of
3 criminals in any state and in any system.
4 Q. Thank you. Is it the case that the Crisis Staff and the later in
5 the year the War Presidency, was completely unable to do anything about
6 the behaviour of paramilitaries in the municipality of Bosanski Samac in
8 A. It can be put that way.
9 Q. This was a serious undermining of its power and authority, was it
11 A. It can be interpreted that way.
12 Q. And if civilian governments have their power and authority
13 undermined, they have to do something about that normally, don't they?
14 A. I want to say the following to you, and I have already spoken
15 about that. This is the period of 1992. A few months into the war. This
16 is a period that is marked by the need to develop institutions. That is
17 to say the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina had not had a developed
18 internal state structure yet. Real power was in the hands of those who
19 had weapons and military force. Those who did not have that, those who
20 had official appointments, that was controversial from the point of view
21 of power, you see.
22 Q. Doesn't that fly in the face of the evidence that you've given to
23 this Chamber in the last two or three days? You have been at pains,
24 haven't you, to point out that procedures were followed strictly, that
25 legislation was adhered to, to the letter, that there were clear
1 demarcations between government departments, for example, demarcation
2 between the Ministry of the Defence and the Crisis Staff, that people's
3 jobs were clearly defined? Now, are you saying that that wasn't the case
4 at all and it was rather a state of anarchy that existed in the
5 municipality whereby people like Lugar and his associates held real power?
6 A. You draw the wrong conclusion from my evidence here.
7 Q. Yes, but can you answer the question?
8 A. If you look at my documents, the ones I signed here, and they were
9 shown, every document was based on the law. It had clear form, clear
10 legal form, and substance.
11 Q. Yes. Can I ask you this? Were you ever a member of the Crisis
13 A. No. I've already said that.
14 Q. Were you eventually a member of a functioning, real, existent
15 executive board?
16 A. If we are talking about the executive board from 1993, which was
17 appointed on the basis of the change of the statute of the Municipal
18 Assembly, in which it says that the head of department is ex officio a
19 member when defence matters are discussed, then I can say yes.
20 Q. All right. You essentially took over the position of Milos
21 Bogdanovic in the executive board after he left; am I correct?
22 A. No. No. I did not take over the Secretary for National Defence.
23 This was a municipal organ. While the department of the Ministry of
24 Defence was a republic organ. I was appointed by Mr. Subotic, Minister of
25 Defence, to be head of the department of Ministry of Defence and there is
1 a difference in the levels of these institutions. I'll remind you that
2 the law on defence came out on the 1st of June. It was published on the
3 8th of June. And all of these things that we are discussing now are
4 derived from that law. I testified about that in great detail over these
5 past few days, with very precise notions and qualifications from this
6 particular law.
7 Q. All right.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness be shown Exhibits P86 and P87?
9 Q. Firstly, let me ask you to look at both documents and acquaint
10 yourself with the contents. Do you have that?
11 A. Yes. And I read this first item, the decision.
12 Q. Fine. Now, the decision appointing you, P86, that says that
13 you're going to be secretary for the municipal Secretariat for National
14 Defence; right?
15 A. I clearly interpreted yesterday the fact that this document should
16 be taken as a proposal. If you look at this here, I think it's the 13th
17 or 18th of June, then the Crisis Staff did not know yet, or did not have
18 the law on defence yet, the one that had just come out. While the
19 Minister of Defence asked for a proposal for a nomination to this post,
20 that is to say head of department. That is a republic organ. I have a
21 decision made by the minister in terms of this appointment and I can have
22 it and it says there that the Minister of Defence on the basis of the
23 proposals that came in appoints Bozo Ninkovic, that is yours truly, to be
24 head of department of the Ministry of Defence in Bosanski Samac and this
25 is the 16th of July, 1992. That is when the Secretariat for Defence
1 expired as such, while a new republic organ came into being. That is the
2 department of defence. And by virtue of my appointment of -- as head of
3 department, it is believed that the defence department of the municipality
4 of Samac was constituted. And there is yet another document in this
5 regard that I can show.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic?
7 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. Exactly I would like to have
8 just a small intervention to the transcript. It's page 83, line 18, this
9 witness is speaking about his appointment and then he said, "I can have
10 it." Which is not particularly in line what he just said. In fact, then
11 he said, "I can show it if it's necessary," meaning this decision of
12 appointment because again he stated that he can show it. So it's up to
13 the Prosecution or maybe this Trial Chamber if there is any need to
14 clarify that issue. My understanding is that the witness is in possession
15 of this document so he can submit it to the proceedings. Yes, thank you.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
17 Q. Now, P--
18 JUDGE MUMBA: It's up to the Prosecution to clear that up if they
19 wish to.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, thank you, if Your Honours please.
21 Q. P87, also clearly relieves Milos Bogdanovic as secretary of the
22 municipal Secretariat for National Defence. Do you see that? I'm not
23 asking you to give us another explanation of the republican laws, just
24 what the document says.
25 A. If you are talking about this document on his relieving of office,
1 it can be seen that Milos Bogdanovic is being relieved of this office
2 because he's going to another office. This is the 14th of June, 1992.
3 Q. Fine. Now, was he a member of the Crisis Staff?
4 A. As far as I know, no.
5 Q. For you to carry out your duties back then, in 1992, for you to be
6 a competent, fully functioning official in the Ministry of the Defence,
7 given the wartime conditions, it would have been essential for you to know
8 who was on the Crisis Staff, would it not? It would have been essential
9 for you to know just who headed up the civilian authorities?
10 A. I can speak about certain persons in terms of that I think that
11 they were there, but I never saw decidedly a list. I'm trying to say that
12 the notion of the Crisis Staff as for its composition and decision making,
13 that people went to this Crisis Staff depending on the circumstances
14 involved and the subject that the Crisis Staff was dealing with. So
15 different people over there discussed different subjects at different
17 Q. Might I ask for the documents just to remain with the witness, and
18 Ms. Usher can perhaps sit down?
19 One thing is for sure: One of the people best qualified to speak
20 about membership of the Crisis Staff would be a member of the Crisis Staff
21 themselves? That must be so?
22 A. Logically.
23 Q. Incidentally, do you know if Stevan Todorovic was a member of the
24 Crisis Staff at any time?
25 A. I'm not aware of that.
1 Q. Sorry, just to be absolutely clear, what you're saying is you
2 don't know, or no, he was not a member?
3 A. I said that I'm not aware of that.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Would Your Honours bear with me for a moment.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: We still need clarification because in English it's
6 not clear which way. You were not aware that Stevan Todorovic was a
7 member of the Crisis Staff?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that I was not a member of
9 the Crisis Staff, and from there, I draw a logical conclusion that only
10 who was a member of the Crisis Staff can testify to exactly who was a
11 member of the Crisis Staff. So I am not aware of Stevan Todorovic being a
12 member of the Crisis Staff.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: I apologise, Your Honour, I've just temporarily
14 mislaid a note. My I just be given a moment, please?
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
16 MR. DI FAZIO:
17 Q. Was Mr. Miroslav Tadic a member of the Crisis Staff?
18 A. I'm not quite sure. I think he was.
19 Q. He was interviewed by officers of the Office of the Prosecutor
20 back in the late 1990s, and when he was being questioned by those
21 investigators, he was asked about membership of the Crisis Staff and he
22 said that Milos Bogdanovic was a member of the Crisis Staff by virtue of
23 his being chief of the Secretariat of National Defence. Did the same
24 apply to you after you went to the Ministry of Defence?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Are you aware of being head of the Ministry of Defence in Bosanski
2 Samac entitling you to membership of the Crisis Staff, if you wished to
4 A. I explained my position, and the hierarchy in the Ministry of
5 Defence; that is to say, that my responsibility was vis-a-vis the Minister
6 of Defence of the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7 Q. Similarly, in --
8 JUDGE MUMBA: We have reached our time because the room will be
9 occupied by another trial. So we have to adjourn.
10 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, if I may on behalf of my colleagues in
11 the -- and my clients to wish Merry Christmas to all the colleagues and
12 everybody here and Happy New Year. Maybe our friends in the Prosecution
13 can drop the charges in the new year.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Mr. Ninkovic, we haven't finished with
15 your evidence. Cross-examination will continue on the 8th of January at
16 1415 hours next year.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have been here for 25
18 days now. Today is my 23rd day. I would just like to ask the following:
19 When I am asked to come here again for these proceedings, may I not stay
20 very long? I have my work. I have my family. I kindly request this
21 Court to make it possible for me to spend as short time as possible here
22 because I have been here for very long now.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: The Trial Chamber was not aware that you've been
24 here for close to a month. That is really -- anyway, we don't know why
25 you stayed for so long.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: I --
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Di Fazio, you had two hours 15 minutes.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll need more time, if Your Honours please.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: How much? You heard the witness that he wants to
6 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm mindful of that. I want to cut down what I've
7 got to an absolute minimum. If Your Honours please, the situation with
8 members -- high ranking members in the civilian administration in -- who
9 are being called as witnesses has changed as time has gone on. A lot more
10 documents have been produced into evidence than was the case, for example,
11 when Mr. Mirko Lukic first gave his evidence, and so my cross-examination
12 will have to be, I submit, of -- longer than it was in the case of those
13 two previous witnesses simply even because of the increased volume of
15 JUDGE MUMBA: No, Mr. Di Fazio, that can't be a reason because you
16 have to look at your case.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: We have a specific case here.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: And that is the case you seek to strengthen through
22 MR. DI FAZIO: Exactly.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: You don't increase the hours simply because there
24 are many documents. Some of the documents are not of any use at all.
25 MR. DI FAZIO: Precisely. Precisely. If Your Honours pleases, I
1 have no quarrel with that. I understand that, and much of it won't be of
2 concern to us. I'm not going sit here and go through each and every
4 JUDGE MUMBA: No, no, no. The Trial Chamber will give you another
5 period of three hours.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: To complete your cross-examination. And then
8 re-examination and then the witness can go. Because that way the witness
9 can only spend two days, if we start on the 8th, then on the 9th, he
10 should be finished.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, two days would be -- I would think would be
12 quite enough.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, but I'm saying you have three hours when we
14 resume next year so you better reorganise your cross-examination.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: All right. The Trial Chamber also wishes everybody
17 a safe and happy holiday. We will rise now.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.,
19 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 8th day of
20 January, 2003.