Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 15816

1 Wednesday, 26 February 2003

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [The witness entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 3.15 p.m.

6 JUDGE MUMBA: Please call the case.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon. Case number IT-95-9-T, the

8 Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and Simo Zaric.

9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pisarevic. You're continuing

10 examination-in-chief.

11 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.


13 [Witness answered through interpreter]

14 Examined by Mr. Pisarevic: [Continued]

15 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon to you all.

16 Good afternoon, Mr. Simeunovic.

17 A. Good afternoon.

18 Q. Yesterday we talked about the way the 4th Detachment was organised

19 and so on. Before we continue talking about the same subject, I will ask

20 you a question related to the area of responsibility of the 17th Tactical

21 Group. How far did the area of responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group

22 spread to the west? Where was its western boundary?

23 A. The area or zone of responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group in

24 the west was as far as the Modrica local commune boundary, the Bosna

25 River, and then all the way up to the river Sava.

Page 15817

1 Q. Can you please just tell us: Which bank of the river Bosna?

2 A. The right-hand side of the river Bosna.

3 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us: The 4th Detachment, did it

4 have in its possession any communications equipment?

5 A. The detachment only had one radio station, which was kept at the

6 command of the detachment, but it had no communications equipment other

7 than that. And this was used to establish communication with the command

8 of the 17th Tactical Group.

9 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us anything about how the materiel

10 supplies for the detachment were taken care of? Hereby I mean weapons and

11 the remaining equipment.

12 A. All the equipment necessary for any detachment, the 4th Detachment

13 or any other detachment, the commanders of companies would draw up lists

14 of necessary materiel and necessary equipment, and then this equipment

15 would be obtained from the logistics detachment, under the command of the

16 17th Tactical Group. And if the equipment was available, then it would

17 immediately be sent to the detachment.

18 Q. Did the detachments have their own warehouses where military

19 equipment and weapons were being kept?

20 A. No, they didn't have their own storages or warehouses. They

21 didn't keep any equipment in any warehouses because they had no warehouses

22 to begin with. Usually the commands -- I was speaking about the 4th

23 Detachment for example, was located at the Sit factory, and other commands

24 were located at local communes.

25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pisarevic. I'd just like to ask

Page 15818

1 the witness one question.

2 So in terms of logistics and so on, are you aware and were you

3 involved with Mr. Miroslav Tadic in connection with his task as being

4 assistant commander for logistics for the 4th Detachment?

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had no cooperation with

6 Miroslav Tadic. My job was not related to the supply of technical

7 equipment from the logistics unit.

8 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.

9 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]

10 Q. Mr. Simeunovic, do you know how, in what way, members of the 4th

11 Detachment, or other detachments, signed for military equipment or

12 weapons? If you know, please tell us.

13 A. I'm familiar with the procedure how weapons were signed for in the

14 4th Detachment or any of the other detachments, only that there were

15 problems with -- different --

16 MR. WEINER: I object.

17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner.

18 MR. WEINER: He says he's familiar with the procedure. Is he

19 talking generally that he's familiar with the military procedure or is he

20 saying that he has personal knowledge as to the method that the 4th

21 Detachment used? And it's not clear from the question or from his answer,

22 and that's why I objected at that point. Because it's not going to be

23 clear for you, if he's just going to be explaining how his knowledge from

24 his many years in the military, how the procedure works, that's one thing;

25 it's another thing to say: I know exactly how it worked within the 4th

Page 15819

1 Detachment because I was involved with their logistics procedures.

2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Perhaps the question can be more specific, to

3 also illustrate the basis of his knowledge.

4 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will try to do so,

5 but I would just like to add that my learned friend and colleague should

6 not forget that Mr. Makso, in terms of his position, was chief for

7 security in the 17th Tactical Group. Weapons are no toys. So of course

8 the chief of security would be informed about such issues. My question to

9 Mr. Simeunovic was whether he personally had any knowledge as to what the

10 procedure was for obtaining weapons for detachments of the JNA, all those

11 that were part of the 17th Tactical Group. As we have said, the

12 detachments had no warehouses, no storages, had no weapons being kept

13 there, so I think it's best to just to leave this to the witness to say

14 what knowledge he has of that, because I think he may have accurate

15 knowledge concerning that information.

16 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, I have no objection to him asking the

17 question; I'm just trying to find out if he has personal knowledge. I

18 have -- I'm not objecting to the issue being raised under the issue of

19 relevance. I just want the question clarified as to what his personal

20 knowledge is about the 4th Detachment, or at least explain whether he's

21 talking about his general military knowledge or his specific knowledge

22 relating to the situation in the 4th Detachment. That's all. So there's

23 no misunderstanding here.

24 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm sure the witness will be able to answer that,

25 now that it's been explained.

Page 15820

1 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I agree, Your Honour.

2 Q. Could you please answer the question.

3 A. I can provide an accurate answer as to how, in what way, members

4 of the 4th Detachment obtained weapons. I was there, after all. I was an

5 eyewitness to this process. Following mobilisation call-up to the JNA,

6 those who responded to the call-up, that was registered, and then shooting

7 practice using infantry weapons would be organised. And before that, the

8 men would have been trained to use those weapons. So after shooting

9 practice, which was done at the firing range belonging to the JNA in

10 Potocari, Brcko municipality, where shooting practice with infantry

11 weapons is usually performed for units belonging to the 395th Motorised

12 Brigade, so those people would already have been trained to use those

13 weapons. And upon completion of the shooting practice, they would be

14 issued with permissions signed by the commander of the 17th Tactical

15 Group, permissions to be in possession of said weapons, with serial

16 numbers, registration numbers, and so on and so forth, and then they would

17 take these weapons home. They wouldn't leave these weapons in any

18 warehouses of the 4th Detachment, because the 4th Detachment had no

19 warehouses. Only their attention was drawn to the way in which they

20 should keep these weapons at home. They were told that the weapons were

21 to be kept in a safe place outside the reach of especially children, or

22 any other persons not trained to use those weapons. They were told that

23 they could not keep the ammo in the same place as the weapons, but rather,

24 that ammunition was to be kept separately. They were provided all these

25 explanations. That's when they were also informed about sanctions that

Page 15821

1 would be imposed in case of failure to comply with these orders.

2 Q. From your personal knowledge, can you tell us: Which weapons were

3 the weapons for the 4th Detachment or other detachments? Were those

4 infantry weapons or other kinds of military equipment?

5 A. As for the 4th Detachment and the other detachments, they only had

6 infantry weapons. They didn't have any artillery. The only thing they

7 had was personal infantry weapons that each JNA soldier would be expected

8 to carry.

9 Q. Those detachment members who had responded to the mobilisation

10 call-ups, were they given salaries for being members of the detachment, or

11 any other form of reward?

12 A. No. Not a single member who responded to the mobilisation

13 call-up - and this goes for both the 4th Detachment and all the other

14 detachments - was given any compensation or salary, because they were

15 going after their regular duties in their regular jobs, companies. They

16 had agricultural tasks or they worked for private companies. But the JNA

17 certainly didn't give them any form of compensation.

18 Q. Do you have any knowledge of the ethnic structure of the 4th

19 Detachment?

20 A. I know that the 4th Detachment was of a mixed make-up. It

21 included Muslims, Serbs, and Croats. This was at its most obvious in the

22 4th Detachment, of all the infantry detachments, because most of the other

23 detachments were predominantly Serb, with the exception of the armoured

24 battalion, which was also mixed. But that was only up to the end of 1991.

25 Q. We'll get to that. Can you please tell us, if you know: What was

Page 15822

1 the area of responsibility of the 4th Detachment?

2 A. I think I could tell you. I may not be able to tell you

3 accurately what the area of responsibility was, but I know according to

4 the assignments where the 4th Detachment was based, where its command, the

5 area of responsibility was. That's the right hand bank of the river

6 Bosna, in front of the river Sava, to the left -- that's to the right, the

7 eastern section, as far as the border of Samac municipality.

8 Q. Thank you. Another question related to the same subject. These

9 detachments, did they comprise local population for each of these

10 detachments?

11 A. Yes, Yes. Beginning with the commander, the command itself, the

12 detachment command. All members of the detachment were locals, with the

13 exception of the armoured battalion, because that was a particular case.

14 Q. Now we'll switch to a different subject, which is also related to

15 established detachments. So please, if you can, answer. What was the

16 formational organisation of the -- of a detachment of the JNA? What did

17 it consist of?

18 A. All detachments that were part of the 17th Tactical Group

19 consisted of the detachment's command, they consisted of infantry

20 companies of the JNA, and then there was -- this was purely formal at the

21 beginning, because there was no warehouse to begin with. But a part of it

22 would have been a logistics company too.

23 Q. What was the command of a detachment really, in practical terms?

24 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pisarevic. I wonder, witness,

25 whether you would be able to indicate, when you say "there was no

Page 15823

1 warehouse to begin with." So where were the weapons stored for the 4th

2 Detachment and the other detachments which formed part of the 17th

3 Tactical Group?

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I tried to answer that question a

5 little bit earlier. Perhaps I wasn't understood. The weapons in the

6 possession of the members of the 4th Detachment, which we're talking

7 about, but this applies to all the other detachments too, after they were

8 issued with weapons, after training, after firing practice, they took

9 their own personal weapons home and they kept those at home. I explained

10 that they were given a warning about the way they should keep those

11 weapons at home and how they must maintain them. There were no warehouses

12 that belonged to the detachments. There wasn't any space where weapons

13 were kept.

14 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. Thank you, witness. I do recall you

15 mentioning that exactly, but it was just your answer just before my

16 question which then, shall we say, confused your first answer a little

17 bit, because on page 7, lines 18 to 22, you talk about -- well, you say

18 there: "There was no warehouse to begin with, but part of it would have

19 been a logistics company too," and that really made -- maybe it's a

20 question of translation, but it made no real sense to me, so hence my

21 question as to what this answer actually meant. But maybe Mr. Pisarevic

22 can clarify that with you.

23 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.

24 Q. Where was all the materiel, technical, and combat equipment kept

25 which was at the disposal of the 17th Tactical Group?

Page 15824

1 A. All equipment of the 17th Tactical Group, except for the armoured

2 battalion, was kept in warehouses at the command of the 17th Tactical

3 Group.

4 Q. And could you please tell us where these warehouses were and what

5 this place is called.

6 A. The warehouses were in the village of Krepsic, the municipality of

7 Brcko. This is where the equipment of the 17th Tactical Group was

8 located, and they were under guard.

9 Q. And after this training that you spoke about, when did the members

10 of the detachment receive weapons; and when that happened, where were the

11 weapons brought from to the place where the training was held and where it

12 was issued to the members?

13 A. The weapons were brought from the warehouses to the place where

14 these units reported to, and this is where the weapons were issued and

15 where training was carried out in the use of these personal infantry

16 weapons. And then firing practice was conducted. So the weapons were

17 first distributed and then they had target practice.

18 Q. I have one more question regarding that. Did the commanders of

19 the detachments and their deputies for rear -- for logistics, did they

20 have any access to the warehouses where the weapons were kept?

21 A. They did not have access whenever they wished. They would write

22 up requests stating how many weapons they needed, depending on the number

23 of persons who responded to the call-up. For example, if on a certain day

24 they needed 50 rifles, the requests would be sent to the command of the

25 17th Tactical Group, and then somebody from the logistics would go to the

Page 15825

1 warehouse, they would take the equipment, and then issue this equipment to

2 the commanders at the place where the detachment reported to, and then the

3 commanders would issue that to the conscripts.

4 Q. So nothing from those warehouses could be taken without the

5 assistant commander for the rear or for logistics of the 17th Tactical

6 Group, without his knowledge?

7 A. No, it wasn't possible. You needed to have a special pass in

8 order to enter the warehouse.

9 Q. Thank you very much. I think that now we have clarified this

10 point. Very well. You said a little earlier something about the

11 formation and the organisation of the detachment. Could you please tell

12 us: What functions were part of the detachment command? What comprised

13 this command?

14 A. In the beginning, so from the period when these people were called

15 up, the command of the detachment comprised the commander, the deputy

16 commander, there was the assistant commander for intelligence and security

17 issues, the assistant commander for logistics was there also, then a

18 communications officer, who maintained communications. These were

19 soldiers who would switch. So this was the inner command. Then later,

20 when you switched -- when you moved into the battalions, then this was a

21 little broader.

22 Q. Please, we're now talking about the detachments. We're still

23 talking about 1991 and 1992, up to April 1992. And you've already said

24 that the commander of the 4th Detachment was Reserve Captain

25 Radovan Antic.

Page 15826

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Do you know who was the deputy of the commander of the 4th

3 Detachment?

4 A. The deputy commander was also a captain. His name is Jovo Savic.

5 Q. Thank you. Do you know who was the assistant commander in the

6 logistics unit?

7 A. Yes. That was Miroslav Tadic.

8 Q. Thank you. Now we will talk about the functioning and the

9 principles of command within the Yugoslav People's Army, and my first

10 question is: Who could issue orders to the 17th Tactical Group of the

11 Yugoslav People's Army?

12 A. Orders in the 17th Tactical Group could be issued by the commander

13 and the deputy commander, in the absence of the commander.

14 Q. Did you, or the person who was the chief for intelligence and

15 security issues -- were you able to issue commands on behalf of the 17th

16 Tactical Group?

17 A. No. As assistant commander of the chief for intelligence and

18 security could not issue executive orders. I could only propose to the

19 commander certain things, and then after assessment, he would adopt them.

20 And then in his order he would take into account these suggestions of

21 mine.

22 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise, Your Honour.


24 MR. PANTELIC: Something which is a little bit ambiguous in page

25 11, line 9. The question of my learned friend Mr. Pisarevic was: "Who

Page 15827

1 could issue orders to the 17th Tactical Group?" And the answer is:

2 "Orders in this 17th Tactical Group could be issued" et cetera et cetera.

3 So I believe that it's not so clear whether it's the issue of the orders

4 of the Superior Command to the 17th Tactical Group or the question was

5 related the orders within 17th Tactical Group, where that answer could be

6 related. Maybe we could clarify that. Thank you.

7 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm sure Mr. Pisarevic will clarify that.

8 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I think that the witness and I

9 understood one another.

10 Q. Could you please tell me: On behalf of the 17th Tactical Group,

11 who could issue orders, executive orders?

12 A. To repeat again: On behalf of the 17th Tactical Group, executive

13 orders could be issued by the commander of the 17th Tactical Group; in his

14 absence, the orders could be issued by the chief of the staff, because

15 according to his function, he stood in for the commander.

16 Q. Thank you. You've clarified now your role as the chief of

17 intelligence and security issues. Could you please tell me now: Who in

18 the 4th Detachment, and in other detachments, could issue executive orders

19 on their behalf?

20 A. The Yugoslav People's Army functioned according to the principles

21 of subordination. So in the detachments, executive orders could be issued

22 by the commander and, in his absence, the deputy commander of the

23 detachment.

24 Q. Did he have any authority or the possibility -- did the assistant

25 commander for intelligence and security have the authority or the

Page 15828

1 possibility to issue orders?

2 A. No. He could not have such authority to issue executive orders.

3 Just on the basis of his information, he could make proposals or

4 suggestions to his commander. The commander was the only one who could

5 issue an executive order.

6 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes. There is just one small clarification for

7 the transcript. On page 12, line 21, instead of -- last word of the

8 sentence, the deputy of the commander instead of deputy of the detachment.

9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That will be corrected.

10 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]

11 Q. You just mentioned one principle according to which the Yugoslav

12 People's Army was structured and according to which it functioned. Could

13 you please explain whether there were any other principles according to

14 which the army functioned, except for the one of subordination? Could you

15 please explain to us what singleness of command means? Could you please

16 explain that to us?

17 A. As far as I understood the question, and if I understood it

18 properly, executive orders could be issued only by the commander.

19 However, a specific characteristic of intelligence and security organs

20 within the JNA is that they are a little different. They function along

21 two lines.

22 Q. We will discuss that later. Did the commander of the 4th

23 Detachment have the power to engage the detachment without the order of

24 the commander of the 17th Tactical Group?

25 A. No, he couldn't independently engage the detachment or a part of

Page 15829

1 the detachment, the 4th Detachment, his detachment.

2 Q. Could you please explain to the Trial Chamber: How did the

3 security and intelligence organs function? You already started to tell us

4 something about that. Could you please describe these specific

5 characteristics? What are they?

6 A. The assistant commander for intelligence and security in the

7 detachment was subordinated to the commander of the detachment, but he was

8 also subordinated to the chief of the brigade or, in this case, of the

9 17th Tactical Group, so to the chief for intelligence and security. The

10 assistant commander in the detachment was not obliged to convey to the

11 detachment commander all the information he had, and particularly not his

12 source of information. When he did have such information, he would submit

13 his proposal to the commander. The commander would assess that and, in

14 his order, would incorporate a part or all of this proposal. The

15 assistant commander for security and intelligence was obliged in this case

16 to send me all information, as the chief of intelligence and security of

17 the 17th Tactical Group. So he would send all the information to me, and

18 he was obliged -- he was not obliged to tell me his sources of information

19 either, because it was his duty to protect the confidentiality of the

20 person that he obtained the information from.

21 Q. If I understood you properly, you were just like the commander of

22 the 4th Detachment, the superior to Mr. Simo Zaric, who was carrying out

23 the function of assistant commander for security and intelligence in the

24 4th Detachment.

25 A. Yes. I was his superior officer, according to the

Page 15830

1 intelligence/security line.

2 Q. When you received a report by the assistant commander for

3 intelligence and security from the detachment, were you obliged to inform

4 the assistant commander of the detachment of what happened as a result of

5 that report? Could you please explain how this functioned.

6 A. After I would receive regular reports, daily regular reports from

7 all of the assistant commanders, it was my task to assess these reports,

8 compile my report for the Superior Command, to give suggestions to my

9 commander based on those reports, which he would then use in his duties.

10 But I did not have the obligation to inform the deputy -- the assistant

11 commanders about what I -- what steps I took as a result or based on their

12 reports. I was not obliged to convey this information to them.

13 Q. As you were a direct superior to Mr. Zaric, especially as concerns

14 security, can you tell us: What was the cooperation like? How did

15 Mr. Zaric go about his task in the 4th Detachment, in the area of

16 intelligence and security?

17 A. The cooperation with Simo Zaric, who was the assistant commander

18 for intelligence and security in the 4th Detachment, was good. I can even

19 go so far as to say that this cooperation was excellent. All the tasks

20 that I gave him, Simo Zaric carried out in a responsible and timely

21 manner. Simo was - not was, is - a Yugoslav by conviction. He advocated

22 those ideas and carried out those tasks which the JNA stood for. He was a

23 good person to work with.

24 Q. Can you please tell us: At that time, what were the fundamental

25 goals and tasks of the JNA and the 4th Detachment or the 17th Tactical

Page 15831

1 Group, which were part of the JNA?

2 A. Perhaps I would choose not to talk specifically about the tasks of

3 the JNA, generally, but the tasks of the 17th Tactical Group or the 4th

4 Detachment, or any of the other detachments. That's something I can

5 indeed tell you about. Those were primarily tasks concerning the

6 prevention -- we were in charge of preventing the war from spreading into

7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, because our area of responsibility was on the border.

8 That was our most fundamental task.

9 Our next task was, in case there were violations or interethnic

10 strife which might result in great casualties, the 4th Detachment could be

11 used for the separation of the ethnic groups in conflict, but the 4th

12 Detachment was not meant to fight on anyone's behalf. So the main task of

13 the JNA was to serve as a buffer zone, in a manner of speaking, between

14 the parties in conflict, in order to ensure the conditions for a political

15 solution at some later stage.

16 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber: Who was the

17 assistant commander for intelligence and security in the 1st Detachment of

18 the 17th Tactical Group?

19 A. In the 1st Detachment of the 17th Tactical Group, with

20 headquarters in the village of Batkusa, Bosanski Samac municipality, the

21 assistant commander for intelligence and security was Stevan Todorovic.

22 Q. Can you tell us about your cooperation with Mr. Stevan Todorovic,

23 as assistant commander for the 1st Detachment for intelligence and

24 security?

25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pisarevic. Could we find out the

Page 15832

1 dates when Mr. Todorovic held that position?

2 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]

3 Q. Can you please tell the Honourable Court during which period of

4 time Stevan Todorovic acted as the assistant commander for intelligence

5 and security of the JNA's 1st Detachment? Which period of time are we

6 referring to?

7 A. That was towards the end of 1991. That's between the time the

8 17th Tactical Group was established, between the time the 1st Detachment

9 was established, and April 1992. That is the specific time period we are

10 talking about.

11 Q. Can you please tell us about your cooperation with him, with

12 Mr. Todorovic.

13 A. Unlike what I told you about my cooperation with Simo Zaric, my

14 cooperation with Stevan Todorovic was very different when he was the

15 assistant commander for intelligence and security. He simply didn't

16 respect me in my position as the chief. But it was only -- it was not

17 only the case with me. He didn't have any respect for most of his

18 superiors. He said that they were Tito's soldiers and that they should go

19 away. All those who were Yugoslavs by conviction, he called them Tito's

20 soldiers, and he said all these people should be made to go away. As far

21 as our cooperation on security and intelligence tasks, for as long as he

22 remained assistant commander, he never forwarded a single regular report.

23 I'm talking about those reports that he was bound to forward on a daily

24 basis. To put it in simple terms, he was even hostile to certain officers

25 of the JNA. But as he was especially hostile to me, and perhaps that was

Page 15833

1 due to the position that I held during that period, but also later,

2 whenever we met during the war. Instead of greeting me whenever we met,

3 he would always invariably say: "Well, Maso, are you still alive?"

4 That's how he would greet me.

5 Due to all this lack of cooperation, and not because of the way he

6 treated me personally, but because of his lack of cooperation on

7 intelligence and security issues, I spoke to Commander Nikolic and pleaded

8 with Commander Nikolic. I filed a request for Stevan Todorovic's removal

9 from this position, from his position as assistant commander for

10 intelligence and security. However, he was not removed from that

11 position, not because someone was protecting him, but rather because

12 Stevan Todorovic walked out on the JNA, as simple as that, soon after

13 that. And all the events started in Samac municipality and in the area of

14 responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group.

15 Q. Did Mr. Todorovic leave the JNA of his own free will?

16 A. Yes, that's correct, of his own free will. He did not leave with

17 the consent of the JNA. We didn't even know that he had left. The

18 commander never approved him leaving.

19 Q. We'll speak about a different subject now. We'll speak about all

20 the illegal weapons, the obtaining of the illegal weapons. As assistant

21 commander for intelligence and security, did you have any personal

22 information or knowledge concerning the illegal obtaining of weapons in

23 the municipalities comprised by the area of responsibility of the 17th

24 Tactical Group of the JNA?

25 A. Yes, I did have this information when I was the assistant

Page 15834

1 commander for intelligence and security of the 17th Tactical Group. I had

2 information that throughout Bosnia, throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina,

3 people were being illegally armed, but especially as concerns our zone or

4 area of responsibility, I have information on the municipalities comprised

5 by the area of responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group. People were

6 being armed illegally along the ethnic and party, political lines.

7 Q. How did you obtain this information?

8 A. I obtained this information from our Superior Command, as far as

9 weapons in Bosnia and Herzegovina are concerned. And as concerned the

10 existence of illegal weapons and people being illegally armed in our own

11 area of responsibility, our people on the ground and our commanders [as

12 interpreted] for security and intelligence provided this information. But

13 we did have other sources too across the territory.

14 Q. Thank you.

15 MR. LAZAREVIC: There is just one word missing here on page 19,

16 line 10. Assistant commanders. The word "assistant" is missing.

17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pisarevic.

18 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]

19 Q. Did you have any information concerning the routes and roads down

20 which the illegal weapons were being brought into Bosnia and Herzegovina,

21 or illegal equipment, for that matter?

22 A. Yes, we did have that kind of information, and the information was

23 that weapons were brought into Bosnia and Herzegovina en masse, over the

24 bridge over the river Sava near Bosanski Samac, and these weapons would

25 usually head for Gradacac, Orasje, and Modrica.

Page 15835

1 Q. After you had obtained this information, what did the command of

2 the 17th Tactical Group do to prevent this illegal import of weapons and

3 equipment?

4 A. Following an agreement reached and signed between

5 General Vasiljevic, chief for intelligence and security of the JNA, and

6 Alija Delimustafic, minister of the interior of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an

7 agreement in which they agreed to prevent the import of illegal weapons

8 into Bosnia and Herzegovina jointly and to set up joint checkpoints and

9 patrols, jointly between the civilian police and the military police. It

10 was on the basis of this agreement that Commander Nikolic asked for a

11 meeting to be scheduled with the police representatives in Bosanski Samac.

12 Commander Nikolic and I went to the meeting. We attended the meeting. On

13 behalf the police, there was Chief Vinko Dragicevic, there was

14 Dragan Lukac. There were other people there on behalf of the police whom

15 I didn't know, and I still don't know what their names were. On behalf of

16 the JNA there was Commander Nikolic and myself.

17 Q. Was any agreement reached? Was any joint, common checkpoint set

18 up?

19 A. No, no agreement was reached. We told them that we were in

20 possession of certain information and knowledge that weapons were being

21 illegally imported over the bridge into Bosnia and Herzegovina from the

22 Republic of Croatia, and we demanded that since the police were already at

23 the bridge, the military police join them. That in itself would be a

24 checkpoint resulting from the intended agreement. However, the police

25 representatives lied to us, by saying that they had everything under

Page 15836

1 control, that there were no illegal weapons coming in, that no illegal

2 weapons were coming into Bosnia over that bridge, that the police were

3 fully in control, and that they themselves had no such information.

4 Q. Thank you. There was this failure to agree on joint checkpoints.

5 What did the command of the 17th Tactical Group do after that?

6 A. After the failure of the meeting with the police representatives

7 in Bosanski Samac, since we had reliable information that weapons were

8 indeed being brought into Bosnia over that bridge, we were advised by our

9 Superior Command and received their approval. The 17th Tactical Group set

10 up a military checkpoint, military checkpoints in the village of Crkvina

11 and the village of Kornica. Those were roads heading towards Gradacac.

12 However, it was impossible to set up checkpoints there immediately,

13 because those were predominantly Croat villages there. We tried to avoid

14 escalation of the conflict, because the interethnic situation was very bad

15 as it was at that point. So we did not set up a checkpoint on the road to

16 Orasje.

17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lazarevic.

18 MR. LAZAREVIC: It is something that I heard the witness say, and

19 here on page 21, line 10: However, it is impossible to set up checkpoints

20 there immediately because there were predominantly Croat villages there.

21 He was referring to a third checkpoint, not this first villages that he

22 mentioned, Crkvina and Kornica. He was talking about checkpoint towards

23 Orasje.

24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Perhaps that can be clarified by counsel.

25 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]

Page 15837

1 Q. You mentioned the third checkpoint towards Orasje, that that was

2 not set up. Could you please tell us why you didn't set up this third

3 checkpoint towards Orasje.

4 A. The third checkpoint was not set up, the one in the direction of

5 Orasje, so on the road Samac-Orasje, because this road from Samac was

6 already more or less populated exclusively by the Croats. So the setting

7 up of a military checkpoint would further damage the already damaged

8 interethnic relations and would cause even more hostility towards the JNA.

9 Q. Who was at these checkpoints, and who carried out the controls?

10 A. The checkpoints which were set up by the command of the 17th

11 Tactical Group were manned by the military police, from the military

12 police company, which was part of the 17th Tactical Group. Each military

13 police officer at the checkpoint had insignia of his membership of the

14 military police, and he had white belts indicating that he was a member of

15 the military police.

16 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Weiner.

17 MR. WEINER: Yes, Your Honour. Sorry to interrupt. Could we just

18 have some clarification? There's a lot of discussions on checkpoints and

19 the meeting that they held at the SUP, and I thought there was going to be

20 some sort of time period that these incidents occurred, since there's been

21 other testimony, just to see if it's corroborated or if these are

22 different situations that have occurred. So if we could have some time

23 period for the checkpoints, for these meetings and things, I think it

24 would be helpful for all concerned.

25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, I think that is clear with counsel.

Page 15838

1 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, of course. I think that I

2 already told the witness that we are still dealing with late 1991 and up

3 to April 1992, so probably we understood one another.

4 Q. Could you please tell us: When did this take place? What was the

5 time period? Which year?

6 A. The military checkpoints and the joint checkpoints which we tried

7 to organise with the police in Bosanski Samac was something that happened

8 in the spring of 1992, i.e., in late May 1992.

9 THE INTERPRETER: In late March 1992. Interpreter's correction.

10 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]

11 Q. What was the authority of the military police officers who were at

12 the checkpoints?

13 A. The military police officers who were at these two checkpoints

14 were authorised to stop all suspicious vehicles, to search the contents of

15 those vehicles, regardless of whether it was a passenger vehicle, a

16 freight vehicle, or a bus. That was their task. They were not permitted

17 to check any other documents, such as a driver's licence and whether the

18 car had all the technical equipment as required by law. They could

19 identify or ask for the identification only of suspicious persons in whose

20 possession they found illegal items.

21 Q. And what did the policemen do when, in the course of their search,

22 they found weapons and military equipment?

23 A. If military equipment was found in a vehicle, and it was

24 found - there were such cases - the military police officer was obliged to

25 issue a certificate about the temporary confiscation of such items,

Page 15839

1 whether this was a weapon or ammunition or any other military equipment

2 which should not be in the possession of a civilian. After that, he would

3 make a report, which would be sent to me, as the chief for intelligence

4 and security.

5 Q. Since you were in the position to see these reports which were

6 sent to you, could you please tell the Trial Chamber about the kinds of

7 items that were confiscated at these checkpoints, "items" meaning military

8 equipment and so on. What were the items confiscated by those police

9 officers?

10 A. After the military checkpoints were set up, we immediately

11 confirmed our information that illegal weapons were being brought in in

12 these roads, illegal military equipment and ammunition. All kinds of

13 things were found, not just artillery weapons. The items that were most

14 frequently found were automatic rifles whose origin was the Yugoslav

15 People's Army. A lot of automatic rifles of Chinese manufacture were also

16 found. They were probably obtained in the markets in the Republic of

17 Croatia. A lot of explosives were found, also a lot of hand grenades,

18 ammunition, as well as other military equipment, meaning binoculars, in

19 the colours of the Yugoslav People's Army. So it meant that this was

20 something that was not for sale. Also there were some protective masks

21 and pieces of uniforms and so on.

22 Q. What happened, if you know, after a few days, a few days after the

23 checkpoint was set up in Crkvina, where the military police were? Were

24 there any changes or anything like that?

25 A. Yes. Not right away, but perhaps seven or eight days after the

Page 15840

1 checkpoints were set up, the military checkpoints, the police from Samac

2 now asked the representatives of our command, our commander, to -- so for

3 them to be allowed to have civilian police officers man these checkpoints

4 as well. After this request, and in accordance with the agreement that

5 was reached and signed, the commander did not grant it. I don't want to

6 say that, but he accepted that, and he ordered or he informed me and the

7 military police that in future, the civilian police would also be present

8 at the checkpoint. It was now said that the civilian police will carry

9 out duties from their domain. They would stop passengers, check their

10 identification, search the vehicles, and that the military police would

11 continue to perform the duties that it was performing until that time.

12 It was said that the civilian police would be stopping the

13 vehicles, and not the military police. However, if at the request of a

14 military policeman, the civilian police officer did not wish to stop a

15 certain vehicle, the military police officer did have the right to stop

16 that suspicious vehicle and to conduct the search.

17 Q. Thank you. If I understood you properly, these were then joint

18 checkpoints, manned by the civilian and the military police.

19 A. Yes. They were then joint, or mixed checkpoints after that.

20 Q. And the checks that were conducted at the checkpoint, how long did

21 they last? I'm thinking of how long did they last during the day.

22 A. They were maintained around the clock.

23 Q. Mr. Simeunovic, do you have any information or knowledge about the

24 illegal arming and military organising of Muslims in Bosanski Samac?

25 A. Yes, we did have knowledge about that, that the Muslim population

Page 15841

1 in Samac, the town of Samac, because that's where they were in the

2 municipality, that's where they were living, that they were organising

3 themselves in a military sense, that they had military units formed, that

4 these units had their commanders with areas of responsibility, and that

5 those units were also active according to the principle of subordination,

6 just like any army in the world.

7 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, I'm sorry.


9 MR. WEINER: Could that be clarified? Number one, could he

10 indicate the source of his information? Is this just information passed

11 up or is this information that he obtained working in an undercover

12 capacity which would therefore be based on his personal knowledge? Also,

13 when he says "Muslim population," is he including every Muslim? Is he

14 including Mr. Zaric's wife? Was she part of an illegal military? Could

15 he just clarify that?

16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Mr. Pisarevic, I'm sure, will deal with that.

17 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. We will

18 clarify.

19 Q. How did you obtain this information about the forming and military

20 organising of Muslims in Bosanski Samac?

21 A. The information about the organising of Muslims in Bosanski Samac

22 was something that we obtained from our associates, from people who lived

23 in Bosanski Samac, who knew something about that. And later, it turned

24 out that this information was true.

25 Q. Thank you. Do you have information about who led this military

Page 15842

1 organisation and who led this arming of the members of the Muslim

2 population?

3 A. Yes, we had knowledge about that as well. We received information

4 about them organising militarily, and in the same way we found out that

5 they organised themselves with the help and with cooperation of the Party

6 for Democratic Action.

7 Q. Did you have information --

8 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me. Mr. Simeunovic, you mentioned that

9 you got the information about the organising of Muslims in Bosanski Samac

10 from your associates, from people who lived in Bosanski Samac. Was one of

11 these associates Mr. Zaric, and was this one of the tasks that you mention

12 that he performed?

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. His task, Simo Zaric's task as

14 assistant commander for intelligence and security, was also to gather such

15 information about illegal arming, about the forming of paramilitary

16 formations of the Yugoslav People's Army. That was his task, his main

17 task.

18 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you. And if that was his main task, what

19 were his other tasks?

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were other tasks as well. The

21 basic task was to preserve the existing order which was in force in Bosnia

22 and Herzegovina. That was the main task of all of us. He had other tasks

23 as well stemming from that, for example, about the sabotage that was being

24 carried out, and so on.

25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.

Page 15843

1 MR. LAZAREVIC: If Your Honours please, there is something here in

2 the answer of the witness that maybe -- I don't think it needs any

3 clarification. It's just -- in page 27, he was talking about gathering

4 informations about forming of paramilitary formations. Here it says of

5 Yugoslav People's Army. This is something that the witness didn't say, so

6 if it could be taken out of the transcript.

7 JUDGE MUMBA: Maybe he can be taken back to repeat what he said,

8 so we have a correct report.

9 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]

10 Q. You mentioned earlier those paramilitary units or organisations.

11 What are these paramilitary units, according to your understanding of that

12 particular category?

13 A. The term "paramilitary formations" to me means all those units

14 which are militarily structured but are not under the command of the

15 Yugoslav People's Army, but have their own tasks which are even -- not

16 even, but they are quite contrary to the tasks of the Yugoslav People's

17 Army, because if they were the same, then they would comprise one army.

18 Q. Thank you. Did you have information that armed and militarily

19 organised members of the Muslim people, under the patronage of the SDA,

20 have their own checkpoints and patrols in the town of Bosanski Samac?

21 MR. WEINER: I'd object, Your Honour. It's a very leading

22 question. His only answer is yes.

23 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I'll modify my question. No

24 problem. I'll change the question.

25 Q. Did you have any information concerning the activities of

Page 15844

1 militarily structured units of Muslims and the SDA?

2 A. Yes, we did have such information. Personally, I noticed these

3 things. Whenever I went with the commander to a meeting, or whenever we

4 came to the detachment command, the vehicle would always be followed. We

5 were being tailed by civilians patrolling the town. They always knew

6 about the route our vehicle would take.

7 Q. Thank you. Did you have any information concerning the illegal

8 arming and military organising of the Croatian population in

9 Bosanski Samac municipality?

10 A. We had that kind of information too, yes. We also had information

11 that the Croatian people -- when I say "the Croatian people," I'm

12 referring to men of military age and men who were fit for military

13 service. I'm just trying to avoid the issue that we had before, whether a

14 woman was taking part in some operations. So again, I say I'm referring

15 to men of military age. We did have such information, information that

16 the Croats too were organising themselves in the military sense, that they

17 had set up their own military units, and these units had their commanders,

18 their areas of responsibility. Like all the armies of the world, they

19 were functioning according to the principle of subordination.

20 Q. Did you have any information about the presence of military

21 instructors training soldiers, training soldiers coming from the Republic

22 of Croatia and from the Croatian army?

23 A. Yes, we knew about that too. We knew that instructors were coming

24 to train these units that had been set up, units, military units, set up

25 along the party and ethnic lines. Mostly instructors were coming for the

Page 15845

1 Croatian units that had been set up, and those instructors were mostly

2 arriving from the Republic of Croatia. Those were people from the

3 territories of municipalities in Bosnia-Herzegovina who would sometimes go

4 to Croatia to be trained and then they would return there to, in their

5 turn, train other soldiers and other units and sometimes they were in

6 command of these units. We did have such information. We also knew that

7 instructors from Sarajevo were coming to train soldiers and that the whole

8 thing had been organised by the SDA. All this information was later

9 proven correct, because during military operations in early 1992, we

10 captured a number of HVO members who had been trained in the Republic of

11 Croatia, who were carrying on them an ID saying "military instructor," a

12 military instructor fully equipped to train and command lower-ranking

13 units.

14 Q. Did you have any information concerning the presence of members of

15 Croatia's National Guard in the area of responsibility of the 17th

16 Tactical Group?

17 A. Yes, we knew about that. Members of the National Guard were

18 spending time in the Samac municipal area, and particularly in Orasje

19 municipality. When I say this, I say it because I actually saw these

20 members of the National Guard. I saw them manning a checkpoint in the

21 village of Grebnice in Bosanski Samac municipality. I was stopped at that

22 checkpoint by them. I was wearing civilian clothes. This was sometime in

23 March, in early March 1992, I believe. They were wearing uniform and

24 insignia of the National Guard, and there were armed civilians with them.

25 Q. Thank you. Who does this National Guard belong to, this military

Page 15846

1 unit?

2 A. The military unit referred to as the National Guard belongs to the

3 Republic of Croatia.

4 Q. Mr. Simeunovic, do you know anything about the arming of Serbs in

5 the area of responsibility, or the way they were organising themselves

6 militarily in the area of responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group?

7 A. Yes, we knew about that too. Serbs, much like Muslims and Croats,

8 were obtaining illegal weapons and were organising themselves militarily

9 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. If we're speaking about the area of

10 responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group, as far as the illegal arming of

11 Serbs is concerned, we knew that there were individual cases of Serbs

12 obtaining weapons illegally, but we have no information to the effect that

13 there was an organised military unit, a paramilitary unit organised by

14 Serbs. We did not have any such information, because the Serbs had

15 responded to the mobilisation call-up and they were members of units of

16 the Yugoslav People's Army, whereas the other ethnic groups followed the

17 instructions, so to speak, and requests of their own respective leaders:

18 Franjo Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic.

19 Q. We'll get to that later on. Did you have any information

20 concerning the republic-level Bosnia-Herzegovina? Were Serbs organising

21 themselves into military units? And how did you obtain such information,

22 if any?

23 A. Yes, we did have such information, and we would receive our

24 information from superior commands. We would review the information and

25 analyse this information. If you look at the area of responsibility of

Page 15847

1 the 17th Corps, part of which was also the 17th Tactical Group, Serbs

2 obtained weapons, armed themselves, in those towns, in those

3 municipalities where the army was not present, in those localities where

4 Serb communities were isolated from the JNA, wherever the JNA was not

5 around and Serbs had no mobilisation call-ups to respond to.

6 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I think this would be a convenient

7 time to break, Your Honours.

8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We shall take our break and continue our

9 proceedings at 1715 hours.

10 --- Recess taken at 4.45 p.m.

11 --- On resuming at 5.14 p.m.

12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pisarevic.

13 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.

14 Q. Mr. Makso, when you spoke about the units within the 17 Tactical

15 Group of the JNA, you referred to the armoured battalion. Can you tell

16 me, please: What was the ethnic structure of the armoured battalion when

17 the battalion was mobilised in October 1991?

18 A. The ethnic structure, make-up, of the 2nd Armoured Battalion of

19 the 395th Motorised Brigade was mixed. It included Croats, Serbs, and

20 Muslims. Commanders were also of mixed ethnicity. In addition to Serb

21 commanders, there were Croat and Muslim commanders too.

22 Q. Did the ethnic make-up of the battalion remain the same in the

23 course of 1992? I'm referring to the ethnic structure of the battalion.

24 A. No, it didn't remain the same. Immediately after the setting up,

25 after the mobilisation in October, after between 10 and 15 days, the

Page 15848

1 ethnic make-up of the battalion began to change.

2 Q. In what way did the ethnic make-up of the battalion start

3 changing? What started happening?

4 A. Following the instructions of the party leaders, Franjo Tudjman of

5 the HDZ and Alija Izetbegovic of the SDA, those members who had responded

6 to the mobilisation call-up started deserting, started abandoning JNA

7 units, so that eventually, at the end of 1991 and the beginning of 1992,

8 in the battalion there were no conscripts of any other ethnic groups apart

9 from Serb conscripts, whereas the professional soldiers, the commissioned

10 officers, remained until mid-April 1992, when they too left the armoured

11 battalion.

12 Q. Thank you. As you were the assistant commander for intelligence

13 and security, you and your own commander, did you report to your superior

14 command on these phenomena?

15 A. Yes, we did send reports. It was our obligation to send these

16 reports, to forward these reports to our superior command.

17 Q. Your superior command, was there any feedback from your superior

18 command as to how and whether they acted on your reports?

19 A. No, we did not receive any feedback from our superior command as

20 to whether and how they acted on our reports, but it wasn't their

21 obligation to inform me, because I was inferior in rank to them. But we

22 had received instructions, so to speak, because the conscripts who had

23 deserted from the JNA were under the authority of military bodies, so they

24 were under the military police, not the civilian police. The military

25 police. We had received instructions not to bring these conscripts into

Page 15849

1 the military units because they were living in towns and villages where

2 Serbs didn't live. Those were predominantly Croat and Muslims villages.

3 So such action on our part would have caused the gap to deepen between the

4 people, on the one hand, and the JNA on the other. So we followed the

5 instructions received and we didn't force anyone back into the military

6 units. But if you would please allow me, I would like to give you a

7 specific case about a conscript who I believe did not desert from the JNA.

8 This conscript was born in Gradacac, and when he was on leave and

9 when he returned from his leave, towards the end of 1991, he spoke to his

10 commander, Milorad Zivanovic, and he told him: "I'm not sure what to do,

11 Mile. There's a lot of pressure on my family. My family is being

12 mistreated because I am a member of the JNA. I don't know what to do."

13 The major then told him: "If that's what the situation is

14 like" - and he knew what the overall situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina was

15 like at that time - he simply told him: "You're free to walk." He told

16 him he was free to leave the Yugoslav People's Army. He thanked him and

17 told him that he thought the situation would quieten down soon enough for

18 him to return to his unit.

19 Q. Thank you. But just by way of clarification: You referred to

20 Gradacac and to this conscript. What was his ethnic background?

21 A. He was a Muslim. He was a Muslim.

22 Q. Gradacac, the town which the conscript hailed from, what is the

23 ethnic make-up of Gradacac predominantly?

24 A. Gradacac is predominantly Muslim.

25 Q. You said before that in the 17th Tactical Group there was a

Page 15850

1 military police company too. Can you now please tell us something about

2 this military police company and its tasks? Was that a special unit

3 within the 17th Tactical Group?

4 A. Yes, it was a military police company. They had their own

5 commander.

6 Q. Who had the authority to issue orders to this military police

7 company?

8 A. The commander of the military police company would receive orders

9 from the commander of the Tactical Group, or from the Chief of Staff in

10 the commander's absence.

11 Q. What was the procedure for the engagement of military police

12 should detachment commands require their engagement?

13 A. A request would come from any of the detachments for military

14 police to be engaged, and the commander would then order me - that was

15 actually part of my duties - to make an assessment of how many forces, how

16 many military police officers were to be engaged. I'd forward my proposal

17 back to the commander and then he would issue an order for a certain

18 section of the military police to be engaged on a specific task.

19 Q. How was the managing of weapons controlled, those weapons that

20 members of the detachment, of the 17th Tactical Group, were in charge of?

21 A. The weapons that members of the 17th Tactical Group from the

22 detachment were in charge of, those weapons were kept at their homes. So

23 no control was carried out by the police. They didn't go into people's

24 houses to see where these weapons were being kept. The police didn't do

25 this, the military police. If there was any self -- if there was any

Page 15851

1 wilful use of these weapons and were such cases occurred, people heard

2 about it, then the detachment commander would file a request for the

3 military police to step in, and then the military police would go and see

4 this person who had been accused of wilful use of weapons, or irregular

5 use of weapons. But if this person merely carried the weapons about town,

6 this would have required sanctions.

7 Q. Does that mean that the detachment commanders could not engage on

8 their own initiative the military police?

9 A. No, they couldn't just pick up the phone and say: "We need three

10 or five police officers". They had to go through the proper channels.

11 Q. Were there any examples of the command of the 4th Detachment to

12 report their members because of the inadequate use and handling of weapons

13 by members of the detachment?

14 A. Yes. Such cases did occur, and I know that the command of the 4th

15 Detachment requested that some members of the detachment who wilfully used

16 weapons, who fired them, be disarmed by the military police, and this was

17 done.

18 Q. Thank you.

19 A. But I just wish to say that this was also done in other

20 detachments.

21 Q. Thank you. Are you familiar with the case of the checkpoint at

22 Grebnice when personal weapons were taken away from active military

23 personnel? Do you know anything about that event? And if you do, could

24 you please briefly tell us about it.

25 A. I know about this event. At that time I was the chief for

Page 15852

1 intelligence and security in the 17th Tactical Group. Two active

2 officers, members of the command of the 17th Tactical Group, had their

3 weapons taken away from them at the Grebnice checkpoint, even though they

4 had regular permits signed by Commander Nikolic for those weapons. The

5 weapons were confiscated by members of the National Guard of the Republic

6 of Croatia, and this happened at the same checkpoint where I was asked for

7 my ID previously. I can't say if they were the same persons as the ones

8 who confiscated the weapons, but they also had uniforms. They were

9 wearing uniforms of the National Guard.

10 When this happened, they returned to the command of the 17th

11 Tactical Group. They informed the commander about what happened. The

12 commander was very angry because someone, and particularly it being the

13 army coming from a different state to disarm officers of the JNA, because

14 this village is in the municipality of Samac, he immediately went to the

15 police station. He also told me to go with him, so I did go with him. We

16 came to the police station. He asked to see Chief Dragicevic, who,

17 however, was not at the station at the time, and we were received by

18 Vinko.

19 We talked to him. The commander actually talked with Lukac,

20 Dragan Lukac. I said Vinko earlier, but it was Dragan Lukac. He was very

21 angry while conducting this conversation, and he told him that he will not

22 tolerate any more such acts, whereby officers of the JNA were being

23 disarmed, particularly officers and active military personnel.

24 Dragan Lukac tried to calm down the commander, and he said that he would

25 see why this happened. We were told to come back tomorrow to the police

Page 15853

1 station and that he would take steps to return these weapons to the police

2 station.

3 The next day, the commander did not go. He sent me instead. I

4 came to the station. I went to see Lukac and he returned these weapons.

5 Previously he told the commander that he will conduct an investigation,

6 establish what happened, and then the commander would be informed about

7 what was done, but the commander actually never received any report

8 indicating anything that was done in relation to this matter.

9 Q. Thank you. Are you familiar with events regarding the setting up

10 of barricades at the entrances to Bosanski Samac?

11 A. Yes, I know about that incident. This happened in early April. I

12 don't know the exact date, but approximately on the 10th or the 11th of

13 April, when the military police patrolled the area of responsibility, and

14 while doing this, they came up -- they met armed civilians. They had

15 military weapons, automatic weapons, which, according to any regulations,

16 they were not permitted to have. The military police disarmed these

17 civilians, brought the weapons to the 17th Tactical Group. They made a

18 report about this, and in the morning they informed me about what they

19 did, or actually what happened while they were out performing their tasks.

20 After that, we received information that barricades had been

21 erected in the town of Samac, that it was not possible to enter Samac or

22 to leave it.

23 Q. Did you receive information about who erected those barricades?

24 A. Yes, we did receive this information, i.e., that the barricades

25 were erected by the citizens of Samac, Muslim citizens, led by the Party

Page 15854

1 for Democratic Action, because the persons who had been disarmed the

2 previous evening were actually a patrol which was formed by the Party for

3 Democratic Action, and that was one of those separate units that I talked

4 about a little earlier when I was saying how the commander and I were

5 followed any time we entered Samac. So those were actually the patrols

6 that tailed us.

7 Q. Thank you. Did anyone call the command from Samac by telephone?

8 A. Yes. In the morning, right after the disarming and the erecting

9 of the barricades, Izet Izetbegovic called the 17th Tactical Group. He

10 asked to speak to Commander Nikolic. However, Commander Nikolic was not

11 at the command. He was in Brcko. So he talked with Major Brajkovic, the

12 chief of the tactical group, and I know that the chief told him to call

13 Commander Nikolic in Brcko to find him there.

14 Q. And what do you know about that? Did Mr. Izetbegovic speak with

15 Mr. Nikolic? Did Mr. Nikolic tell you anything about that afterwards?

16 A. Immediately after this call from Samac, this call by Izetbegovic,

17 Major Brajkovic called the commander by telephone in Brcko, informed him

18 about what happened in Samac and that he would -- and told him that

19 Izet Izetbegovic would call him. The commander ordered, or told

20 Brajkovic, that the army should not be used for this purpose, that no

21 order should be issued for the use of the army.

22 When the commander returned from Brcko - this was sometime around

23 noon - those of us who were at the command were told that he had talked

24 with Izetbegovic, that Izetbegovic had called him in Brcko, and he said

25 that he begged him not to use the army regarding these barricades, that

Page 15855

1 they would resolve that, that he would make sure that they were

2 taken -- that they were dismantled. And then the commander promised that

3 he would not use the army, that he didn't have any intention of using the

4 army, because that was not one of the purposes of the army. It was not

5 one of the army's tasks. This was something that would be done by the

6 police.

7 Q. Thank you. Do you know that at the end of 1991 and the beginning

8 of 1992, whether there were any sabotages or diversions in the territory

9 of Bosanski Samac municipality?

10 A. Yes. We were aware of that. We received information about that.

11 This was something that we were informed about by the assistant commander

12 for intelligence and security in the 4th Detachment, Simo Zaric, that

13 there had been some sabotage acts, several of them, that there were

14 casualties in the cafes. The sabotage acts involved transmission lines,

15 the chapel at the Orthodox cemetery was blown up. We were informed about

16 all of the acts of sabotage.

17 Q. Did you conduct any investigations to find out the perpetrators of

18 those sabotage acts?

19 A. No. We, as the army, as the JNA, did not take any steps regarding

20 those sabotage acts. We just passed on the reports to the Superior

21 Command, but we did not take any steps, because this was in the

22 jurisdiction of the civilian police.

23 Q. Thank you. We are going to move to another event now. What do

24 you know about the arrival of volunteers to the village of Batkusa? Could

25 you please tell the Trial Chamber about that.

Page 15856

1 A. The actual arrival is something that I know everything about. On

2 the 11th of April, sometime in the morning, an associate of mine called me

3 and he told me: "Makso, guests are coming to you, to Batkusa." When he

4 said guests are arriving, I understood him to mean that these were not

5 guests who were personally coming to visit me. Had they been such, they

6 would come directly to me, to the command post. And then he said: "If

7 you want to find out who is coming, then you should go there."

8 After this conversation with him, I called the commander. The

9 commander was in a meeting with some people. I apologised and I just

10 said: "Commander, I need to go to see the 1st Detachment." Without

11 interrupting the meeting, he indicated with his hand that I could go, so I

12 went to Batkusa.

13 I went to the command post. I don't know where else I was

14 supposed to go. I wasn't told where to go, where these guests would be

15 arriving. I went to the command of the 1st Detachment in Batkusa. It was

16 on the premises of the local community, in the centre of the village. In

17 front of it, as I was arriving, I could see in front of the command the

18 commander of the detachment, Mico Ivanovic, aka Mijak. Stevan Todorovic

19 was also with him. There was also a group of villagers there, a small

20 group of villagers from Batkusa. I think they were from Batkusa.

21 Civilians. And I arrived in an official vehicle. When I came out of the

22 vehicle and walked towards Commander Mijak, Stevan Todorovic turned, and

23 when he saw me, he was very surprised. I would like to say right away

24 that this was the first time that I saw Stevan Todorovic at the detachment

25 command. I came there many times, but I never saw him at the command.

Page 15857

1 He was very surprised when he saw me, and instead of greeting me,

2 he asked me: "What are you doing here, Makso? Why did you come?" I came

3 up to the commander. I greeted him, to Mijak. And then I responded to

4 Stevan: "I'm here. I've come to the detachment command." And we stood

5 about there for a little bit longer. I didn't speak with Stevan. I

6 talked to Mijak and I asked him: "What is happening?" I could see that

7 something was going on there. And having had this information about the

8 arrival of guests, I asked him: "What is going on?" And he just

9 shrugged. He didn't say anything.

10 As we were talking, you could hear the sound of a helicopter from

11 the direction of Brcko. At this sound, the villagers who were there, as

12 well as Stevan Todorovic, as well as Mijak and myself, went to the

13 football field which was right behind the premises of the command. As we

14 were going there, we could see the helicopter approaching, one helicopter,

15 and it landed on the football field. I could see that it had insignia of

16 the Yugoslav People's Army. And the helicopter didn't even touch the

17 ground yet. Even before it touched down, people, soldiers in camouflage

18 uniforms, jumped out. They had paint on their faces. They were carrying

19 weapons and running. They took up defensive positions around the chopper,

20 which hadn't touched down yet. They took up defensive positions, stood

21 still, and pointed the weapons towards us, even though we were standing

22 outside of the football field.

23 I was confused at first. My first thought was that it was a

24 military exercise or something. But the information about the arrival of

25 guests -- and I was quite confused about what was going on. Immediately

Page 15858

1 after they jumped out of the helicopter and took up the defensive

2 positions, the helicopter touched down. After that, you could hear the

3 sound of another helicopter. The helicopter also came and landed on the

4 field, not in the same way as this one. It touched down all the way, and

5 uniformed soldiers came out of that helicopter also. They too had paint

6 on their faces. Some of them were wearing those hats. We call them

7 cowboy hats. And some of them also had caps. They didn't take up a

8 defensive or a combat position. As they were coming out, they formed a

9 group. Three men separated off from the group. They were in uniforms

10 with painted faces, and they started walking towards us.

11 Commander Mijak and I stood a little way away from Todorovic,

12 maybe three or four metres away from him, and they actually were walking

13 straight towards Stevan Todorovic, and they greeted him, based on which I

14 concluded that they knew each other from before, that this was not the

15 first time that they met, because they greeted one another cordially.

16 After a brief conversation there - How did you travel? How was

17 your trip? Is everything all right? That was the substance of the

18 conversation - Stevan Todorovic led them towards the command building. We

19 also, Commander Mijak and myself, followed them. We followed Stevan and

20 those other three people. And then I noticed, when we started walking,

21 that those soldiers who had taken up the combat positions were not in that

22 position any more and that the villagers were approaching the soldiers.

23 We entered the command, Stevan and the three of them who arrived

24 entered first. I didn't know who those people were, but now I do. They

25 were Djordjevic -- you see how the name suddenly comes to you. I can't

Page 15859

1 remember the first time, but his nickname was Crni. There was also

2 Srecko Radovanovic, also known as Debeli, the fat one. And there was

3 Lugar, Slobodan Miljkovic, nicknamed Lugar, the wood-keeper.

4 Q. Isn't the name of this person called Djordjevic Dragan by any

5 chance?

6 A. Yes, that's correct. Dragan Djordjevic. I've just remembered.

7 They entered the command building. The commander and I followed. No one

8 was really paying any attention to us. The conversation was between

9 Stevan Todorovic and the three men who came. They sat down, talked

10 briefly. Stevan told them that everything had been taken care of, or

11 prepared, that accommodation would be provided in the village of Obudovac.

12 That's the neighbouring village. That accommodation would be provided at

13 the football stadium in Obudovac.

14 Then they set out for Obudovac. They were walking in a combat

15 disposition on their way to Obudovac. Both sides of the roads there were

16 columns marching, one by one, with their weapons pointed at villagers who

17 were in their front yards watching. It was a simple demonstration of

18 power. Those who were walking at the back of the column would

19 occasionally look over their shoulders. So this was how they went to

20 Obudovac.

21 Q. Having seen that, what steps did you take?

22 A. Having seen all of that, I waited for them to walk away, and then

23 I headed straight back to the command building. I wanted to tell the

24 commander about this situation which took place. Had this been announced,

25 I would have known myself, being a member of the command, that they would

Page 15860

1 be arriving.

2 Q. You say the commander. Can you please state his full name? Which

3 command, which place?

4 A. I went back to the command of the 17th Tactical Group, and I

5 reported about what I had seen happening in the area of responsibility of

6 the 1st Detachment in Obudovac. I told Stevan Milinkovic [as

7 interpreted], who was the commander of the 17th Tactical Group. He was

8 very surprised by what I told him. At first he couldn't believe that I

9 was telling the truth. How would that have been possible?

10 MR. LAZAREVIC: Just one short correction on page 45, line 1.

11 Stevan Nikolic, not Milinkovic.

12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can -- that's the correct name, yes?

13 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]

14 Q. Can you please continue.

15 A. Commander Nikolic, as I've said, was taken aback. He couldn't

16 believe that anything like that was possible without him knowing. He

17 immediately phoned the Superior Command to check, to see, to ask them what

18 was going on and who had arrived and what the reason was. I was in the

19 office when he made the call. I didn't hear what the feedback was from

20 the Superior Command, but what I could glean from what Commander Nikolic

21 told them and from his answers to their questions, I concluded that they

22 had no idea what was going on exactly. My impression was that he received

23 a task from the Superior Command to look into the matter to find out who

24 those people were, why they had come and what their mission was, and to

25 inform him of all these things.

Page 15861

1 Q. Thank you. Will you please just tell us what the Superior Command

2 was, the Superior Command of the 17th Tactical Group of the JNA.

3 A. The Superior Command of the 17th Tactical Group of the JNA was the

4 17th Corps, with command post in Tuzla.

5 Q. The commander was who?

6 A. General Sava Jankovic.

7 Q. Thank you. What did Commander Nikolic do after that? What steps

8 did he take after he had talked to his Superior Command?

9 A. After he talked to the Superior Command, Commander Nikolic kept on

10 making phone calls. I think he was probably putting calls through to

11 Samac. And he said that they had agreed that the next day there would be

12 a meeting with the representatives in Donji Zabar that there would be a

13 meeting in Donji Zabar with the representatives of the civilian

14 authorities, or with someone in Samac, that is, in Donji Zabar. I don't

15 know exactly who they were supposed to be meeting.

16 Q. Was the meeting eventually held in Donji Zabar?

17 A. Yes, it was. The next day, a meeting took place in Donji Zabar.

18 I did not attend this meeting. Commander Stevan Nikolic was representing

19 the command at that meeting.

20 Q. Very well. Following that meeting, did Commander Nikolic tell you

21 what had been happening at the meeting in Donji Zabar, or what had been

22 discussed at the meeting and what agreements had been reached? If so,

23 please tell us.

24 A. Upon his return from the meeting in Donji Zabar, Commander Nikolic

25 informed us at the command of the 17th Tactical Group that a

Page 15862

1 meeting -- that the meeting had been held, that the meeting had been

2 attended by the three men who had arrived by helicopter.

3 Q. Can you please tell us their first and last names?

4 A. Dragan Djordjevic, nicknamed Crni; Srecko Radovanovic, nicknamed

5 Debeli; and Slobodan Miljkovic, nicknamed Lugar. They attended the

6 meeting. That's what Commander Nikolic told us. Stevan Todorovic was

7 also there. He said that at the meeting, when he brought up the question

8 as to who the people were who had arrived by helicopter and why they had

9 arrived, he was told that those were members of the Serb militia of

10 Serbian Krajina, that they had official papers, official IDs, testifying

11 to the fact that they were members of the Serbian police force of Serbian

12 Krajina. And then he told us that in addition to the first group that had

13 arrived, another group was being sent over, a group that was part of

14 mostly the 1st Detachment, but also included people from other

15 detachments, a group including about 23, I think, young volunteers who had

16 been sent over for training. They were supposed to go to a training camp

17 in Sarengrad. The group was led by Aca Jankovic, a person born in

18 Batkusa.

19 At this meeting, Commander Nikolic was also told that the army had

20 no authority to give orders to members of the MUP, the Ministry of the

21 Interior, which was true, and Commander Nikolic was fully aware of that.

22 But since they had arrived in the area of responsibility commanded by him

23 personally, he merely wanted to know the reasons for their arrival, what

24 their intentions were, what they were about to do, that sort of thing.

25 Q. Do you know whether Commander Nikolic, commander of the 17th

Page 15863

1 Tactical Group, informed his Superior Command about this meeting, the

2 conclusions reached at the meeting, and what he learned there?

3 A. Yes, he did report to the Superior Command. He conveyed to them

4 what had been said at the meeting. He informed them that those were not

5 members of the JNA but, rather, members of the MUP, that those were

6 members of the MUP of Serbian Krajina.

7 Q. Can you tell me, please: Do you know where Sarengrad is located

8 exactly?

9 A. I do know that. Sarengrad is near Ilok. That's in the Republic

10 of Croatia.

11 Q. Which of the authorities -- who held that part of Croatia, that

12 territory where Sarengrad and Ilok are, at that point in time?

13 A. Sarengrad and Ilok, that area was under the authority of Serbian

14 Krajina.

15 Q. Thank you. Following that, the 17th Tactical Group, did they take

16 any measures concerning checks, controls, in relation to these newly

17 arrived volunteers?

18 A. Yes. That was our task. We tried to find out the reason why they

19 had arrived, the group arriving in our area of responsibility. However,

20 just like we were not able to find out in time that a group had been sent

21 over, the group of our own units, for training, to Sarengrad, we were not

22 able to find out the reasons for the arrival of this group, at least

23 initially.

24 Q. Thank you. Now we shall discuss events which started happening on

25 the 16th of April, 1992. Do you recall that night, the night between the

Page 15864

1 16th and the 17th of April, 1992? Where were you on that night?

2 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Excuse me. Before you answer that question, I

3 want to go back to your answer starting on page 48, line 12. The last

4 three words after the comma: "At least initially." What are you hinting

5 at by saying "at least initially"? You said: "We were not able to find

6 out the reasons for the arrival of this group, at least initially." What

7 are you, so to say, meaning by those words?

8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I said that, when I used the

9 word "initially," what I meant is just what I was about to include in my

10 next answer, because eventually we did find out the reasons for the

11 arrival of that group. But between the 11th and the 16th, we were trying

12 to get at the reasons behind their arrival, but we could not succeed.

13 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you.

14 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]

15 Q. Can you please tell us: Do you remember the day between the 16th

16 and the 17th of April, 1992, and where were you on that night?

17 A. That night, the night between the 16th and the 17th, I do recall

18 that night. I was at the command of the 17th Tactical Group. I was

19 sleeping. I was resting that night.

20 Q. You were in the village of Pelagicevo; is that correct?

21 A. Yes, that's correct, in Pelagicevo. The rooms we used for rest

22 were on the first floor of the command building. It was a rather large

23 private house.

24 Q. Can you tell us with any degree of accuracy: What is the distance

25 between Pelagicevo and Bosanski Samac?

Page 15865

1 A. The distance between Pelagicevo and Bosanski Samac is between 25

2 and 30 kilometres.

3 Q. What did you find out that night? What happened?

4 A. That night, about 3.00 in the morning on the 17th, the duty

5 officer from the 17th Tactical Group woke us up, myself and others, the

6 officers who were there, the officers who were sleeping at the command

7 building. He said that the commander was looking for us and wanted us to

8 go down to the command hall immediately.

9 Q. So did you?

10 A. Yes, we did, very quickly. We slept on the first floor. We just

11 put on some clothes and went straight down to see him. The commander was

12 already in the command hall at his table. Once we assembled, and we

13 didn't take that long, as I said, the commander told us that

14 Blagoje Simic, from Samac, had called him, telling him that the volunteers

15 who had arrived, the group of volunteers, had taken facilities and

16 buildings of vital importance in the town of Samac, and that the civilian

17 police forces, alongside with them, took part in the taking of those vital

18 buildings and institutions in the town of Samac.

19 Q. Did Commander Nikolic tell you anything else on that occasion

20 about what the command would do and so on?

21 A. After this brief information about the current situation in Samac,

22 Commander Nikolic ordered that all detachments raise their combat

23 readiness to a higher level. Also, he called by telephone for the

24 commander of the 4th Detachment, Radovan Antic, and the assistant

25 commander for intelligence and security, Simo Zaric, to come to the

Page 15866

1 command of the 17th Tactical Group in Pelagicevo.

2 Q. Were you present when Mr. Antic, as the commander, and Mr. Zaric,

3 came to Pelagicevo? And if you can recall, could you please tell us what

4 time it was.

5 A. Yes, I was there, but, in view of the situation, that was normal,

6 because that's where the command was all the time. Commander Antic and

7 Simo Zaric came in the morning hours. I think it was sometime between

8 5.00 and 6.00 a.m. I don't know exactly what time it was, but it was

9 between 5.00 and 6.00 a.m.

10 Q. What did Commander Nikolic tell them at that point?

11 A. When Radovan Antic and Simo Zaric arrived at the command, Nikolic

12 explained to them briefly what happened. He asked them whether they knew

13 anything about what was happening. They just said that on their way

14 there, they saw those members of the special forces. They had these

15 uniforms and their faces were painted. They were all over town, and that

16 they didn't know what was going on. When the commander briefly told them

17 what he told us in the command when we came, then he ordered that upon

18 return to the command post, the 4th Detachment should be called up, but

19 nothing should be undertaken without his order.

20 Q. Other than raising the state of alert to a high level in the

21 detachments, did the 17th Tactical Group conduct any other consultations

22 or do anything with the Superior Command? What were actually the

23 activities that were conducted that morning?

24 A. Yes. Immediately after finding out what was happening in the town

25 of Samac, Commander Nikolic informed the Superior Command, i.e., the 17th

Page 15867

1 Corps in Tuzla. He informed them about what happened in the town of Samac

2 and in the municipality of Samac, and he asked for instructions. I say

3 "instructions," even though he knew what his tasks were. But he requested

4 additional instructions about what to do in the situation as it was at

5 that time. And he said that he received orders from the Superior Command

6 that the units of the Yugoslav People's Army should not be used, that the

7 combat readiness level should be raised, but only the 4th Detachment

8 should be called, because all of this was going on in the area of

9 responsibility of the 4th Detachment.

10 Q. Did you have any information about the changes that had taken

11 place in Samac? What happened in Bosanski Samac?

12 A. We did have information that there was a takeover of power. This

13 is what Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic told us, that power in Samac and in the

14 municipality of Samac had switched hands and that now it was the Serbian

15 municipality of Samac and Pelagicevo under formation.

16 Q. Did you have any intelligence data or information about any

17 activities of other organised paramilitary units or military units?

18 A. We had information right after when Commander Nikolic and

19 Simo Zaric came, Commander Antic. They didn't stay in the command for a

20 long time. They perhaps stayed for half an hour. Immediately after that,

21 they went to the command post of the 4th Detachment in Samac. Before

22 leaving, Commander Antic telephoned the command of the 4th Detachment and

23 ordered the call-up. So he carried out the tasks that were supposed to be

24 carried out before the commander arrived.

25 After they left, after a certain period of time, already in the

Page 15868

1 morning of the 17th of April, we had some information about the events in

2 the actual town of Samac, as well as the events in the surrounding

3 villages around Samac. We had information that other than the police,

4 which had already taken the vital facilities, as well as the volunteers

5 from the Serbian Krajina, the militia of the Serbian Krajina, that also a

6 large group of armed civilians had appeared. Since everybody knows

7 everybody in the town of Samac - it's a small town - everybody knew that

8 they were Muslims. They organised themselves, let me put it that way. I

9 had already talked about those units. Those units had already been formed

10 and were already out on the streets. They were smaller groups, but if you

11 actually counted them, they numbered about 100 armed people, armed men.

12 Q. Very well. Did Commander Nikolic on that day, the 17th of April,

13 1992, issue any orders to the command of the 4th Detachment, if you know?

14 And if you know, could you please tell us what these orders were.

15 A. Yes. Commander Nikolic did issue tasks to the 4th Detachment, to

16 the commander of the 4th Detachment. Based on this information which we

17 received, and information that already on the left bank of the river Sava,

18 as well as the left bank of the river Bosna, movements were seen by some

19 units, the commander issued a task to the commander of the 4th Detachment

20 to take a number of the men and to go to the right bank of the Bosna

21 River, towards the village of Prud, in the municipality of Odzak, and also

22 to go to the right bank of the river Sava, facing the Republic of Croatia.

23 This order was issued sometime around noon or in the early afternoon.

24 Q. Thank you. Do you know that Commander Nikolic at that point also

25 issued an order about the collection of illegal weapons in the town of

Page 15869

1 Samac?

2 A. Yes, I'm aware of that. He issued that order to the commander of

3 the 4th Detachment. Having received information about illegal arming in

4 Samac, and that civilians had military weapons, automatic weapons,

5 Commander Nikolic gave the commander of the 4th Detachment, Radovan

6 Nikolic [as interpreted], the task of taking the men which were left over

7 after the detachment was deployed to the two positions, towards the

8 Republic of Croatia and the village of Prud. So that they could go and

9 collect the illegal weapons. At that point he ordered them not to enter

10 into houses or conduct searches of those houses, but to conduct this

11 collection of weapons on a voluntary basis, to call the citizens and ask

12 them to bring out their weapons and to surrender them, or if they did not

13 wish to be seen as people who were handing over the weapons, they could

14 just leave them in front of their houses, outside their houses, and that

15 the members of the 4th Detachment would collect them.

16 Q. Thank you. Are you familiar with the following event: That

17 Ibrahim Salkic, on the telephone, spoke with Commander Nikolic on the 17th

18 of April? Do you have any information about that, personal information or

19 knowledge?

20 A. I wasn't there when he talked with him, but Commander Nikolic

21 said - because I was in and out of the command building - that he had

22 received a call from Ibrahim Salkic and that he had told him on the

23 telephone that he was with a large group of armed people and that he

24 didn't know what to do. This is what Commander Nikolic said, that he was

25 simply asking the commander for advice about what to do. So he told him

Page 15870

1 that he should not use weapons in any event, that they should hand over

2 the weapons to the members of the 4th Detachment. I think that that is

3 what they did.

4 Q. Did you receive regular reports from the 4th Detachment command,

5 the Tactical Group command, and did you continue to receive reports from

6 Mr. Zaric about what was going on in Samac, whether the command orders

7 were being carried out and so on? Could you please tell us a little bit

8 about how all of this functioned.

9 A. Yes, we did receive those reports. I received reports from

10 Simo Zaric, regularly. When I say "regularly," I mean that it was

11 continuous. It wasn't: "I will report at such-and-such a point." But as

12 he received information about the events in Samac, using the means

13 available to him, he would forward these reports to the 17th Tactical

14 Group.

15 Q. Do you remember receiving any information about how these Sareni,

16 and the police who participated in the takeover, actually detained some

17 members of the 4th Detachment?

18 A. Yes, there was information to that effect. These volunteers

19 brought in members of the 4th Detachment also to the police station, the

20 4th Detachment of the JNA. They were not of Serb ethnicity. They were

21 Muslims. Simo Zaric informed us about this in the command, and I know

22 that Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic was very angry because of this. He called

23 Stevan Todorovic on the telephone, because he was already appointed chief

24 of police upon the takeover of power in Samac. So he called

25 Stevan Todorovic and told him that members of the Yugoslav People's Army

Page 15871

1 must not be arrested, that he would send Simo Zaric to the police station

2 to take these people off the hands of the police, so that these people can

3 be released.

4 Q. Did you receive any other information about events, arrests, and

5 so on, from Simo Zaric?

6 A. Yes. We received other information. Simo informed us that he

7 went to the station in relation to this event and that those people were

8 released from the police station. We received information that members of

9 other ethnic groups were being arrested in the town of Samac and that

10 people were being -- there was a kind of extortion involved, where people

11 were being asked for money for the purpose of personal enrichment of those

12 volunteers. They were taking money. That's what we had information

13 about. We also had information that the people who had been brought in

14 were being physically abused. We also received information that some

15 people were arrested about whom we had information that they took part in

16 the illegal arming of the Muslim population - these were people of Muslim

17 ethnicity - that they imported weapons illegally and that they were held

18 at the police station.

19 Q. You and Commander Nikolic, after you received this information,

20 what did you order Simo Zaric to do?

21 A. After we had received all this information, and particularly the

22 information concerning the arrests of persons who we believed had taken

23 part in the illegal arming, Commander Nikolic ordered Simo Zaric to go to

24 the police station where those persons were being kept, to look at the

25 statements that had been taken, if any, and to talk to whatever persons he

Page 15872

1 saw fit, in connection with the illegal arming. Because there was

2 suspicion that a number of military staff had taken part in the arming.

3 Weapons were also arriving from military warehouses.

4 Q. Did Mr. Zaric do that? Did he inform you about that? What

5 information did he obtain?

6 A. Yes. He kept reporting to us. And before that, the commander had

7 told Stevan Todorovic about Simo Zaric arriving there, that Simo Zaric

8 would look at the statements and, if necessary, conduct further

9 interviews, and that all those persons from whom statements had not been

10 taken would be made to make statements. As far as I know, Simo talked to

11 two or three persons from whom statements had not yet been taken, and he

12 reported back to us on this.

13 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Just a question for clarification. Which are the

14 time frames for these events you are now talking about? Is it on the 17th

15 of April or the following days? It would be useful to know what are the

16 time frames. Thank you.

17 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]

18 Q. Can you please explain the events we've just discussed, from the

19 17th on. Well, of course you may not remember the exact date, but if you

20 could just give us a rough time frame.

21 A. All these things happened between the 17th, when part of the

22 members of the 7th [as interpreted] Detachment came out. That was on the

23 17th, in the afternoon hours. The collection of weapons also took place

24 in the afternoon hours on the 17th and continued on the morning of the

25 18th. The arrests that I was talking about, the arrests being carried out

Page 15873

1 by the volunteers, that took place on the 18th, 19th, and 20th. The

2 taking of statements that I talked about, when Simo Zaric went over to the

3 police station in Samac, that was about two or three days later. It may

4 have been the 18th or the 19th, as far as I remember.

5 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you very much.

6 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]

7 Q. Simo Zaric, did he come to the command in Pelagicevo to see you

8 and Commander Nikolic? Did he complain about Stevan Todorovic's actions

9 or about the actions of the volunteers, the members of the special forces

10 or the Sareni, however you choose to refer to them, who had maltreated him

11 at the police station in Samac? Do you know anything about that?

12 A. After these events, Simo Zaric used to come quite frequently to

13 the command of the detachment; not every day, but rather often. After

14 this task he had received from Commander Nikolic to go to the police

15 station and to have the statements taken, he told us that what he

16 experienced at the station was unlike anything else he had experienced in

17 his life. He told us that members of the Special Forces, and one man in

18 particular - I can never seem to remember the man's name, but the nickname

19 was Vuk - he mistreated Simo. At one point he even drew his pistol and

20 put the pistol's barrel into Simo's mouth. Simo requested the commander

21 to do something about it, but the commander was trying to talk sense into

22 him and to tell him to calm down, and eventually succeeded, I believe, so

23 that Simo went back to his command, the 4th Detachment, and kept on

24 sending reports to us.

25 While he was at the station, he told us that persons were being

Page 15874

1 mistreated there and that he saw persons being mistreated in passing, and

2 those persons seemed as if they had been beaten black and blue.

3 Q. Upon receiving all this information, were you given any kind of

4 task by Commander Nikolic? And tell us what you know about it. Actually,

5 I'm referring to the transfer of detainees to Brcko.

6 A. I know about what happened, because I myself took part in it.

7 After we received information from Simo Zaric that some persons had even

8 been killed, some of the detainees, that is, I received a phone call from

9 Captain Momcilo Petrovic, assistant commander for intelligence and

10 security at the Brcko garrison. He told me that Simo had phoned him, both

11 now and earlier. He told me that Simo had informed him about the same

12 things he told us, in a very dramatic tone of voice, as Petrovic said,

13 Simo appealed for help, for those people to be helped in some way. He

14 could not give any suggestions as to what should be done to help those

15 people, but he did plead with Petrovic for those people to be protected,

16 and he was asking us the same thing, the 17th Tactical Group.

17 After that, Captain Petrovic had a talk with Lieutenant Colonel

18 Nikolic, and as he later told me, they reached an agreement as to what

19 precisely to do to save those people. They had reached a conclusion that

20 it was best to transfer those people who had been detained in Samac to the

21 barracks in Brcko, where they would be safe and protected. There was no

22 appropriate -- no other appropriate location in the area of responsibility

23 of the 17th Tactical Group, and besides, the policemen who were

24 maltreating them were in the area too.

25 Commander Nikolic called me and told me that he had agreed with

Page 15875

1 Captain Petrovic for us to - I think it was on the 26th. That's if I

2 remember correctly. The 26th of April, 1992 - for us -- for me to go to

3 Samac with some of the military police, with vehicles, to pick those

4 people up at the Territorial Defence staff building in Samac, where they

5 were being kept, and from the police station, which is across the road

6 from the staff, and to take those people to Brcko and to hand them over to

7 the military police there and the military garrison in Brcko.

8 Commander Nikolic told me: "Do as you see fit, how many military

9 policemen you need to carry out this task, carry out an assessment, take

10 as many people as you think you need. If you think the whole thing might

11 require more people -- if you think there are not enough people in one

12 platoon, or if the platoon was not filled," he said that I could even take

13 army members with me to carry out this task, people who weren't

14 necessarily military policemen. He also told me to avoid, by all means,

15 conflict with the volunteers, with the Serbian police, but he also did

16 emphasise that I was supposed to complete my mission. He said I should

17 take as many vehicles as I thought were necessary. He said we had between

18 50 and 60 vehicles there. He didn't know the exact --

19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction. People there, not

20 vehicles.

21 A. He didn't know the exact number, but that's what he told me. I

22 took the task very seriously, knowing what the volunteers were like and

23 that they would stop at nothing. I took off with three official vehicles.

24 There were 20 military policemen accompanying me. I thought that was as

25 many as I needed. There was a lorry, two Pinzgauers, and my official

Page 15876

1 vehicle. The commander told me, as I was about to set out, that

2 Simo Zaric would be waiting for me in Samac. I set out -- I reached Samac

3 in the late afternoon hours. It was getting dark. Outside the police

4 station and the TO staff was where we stopped. Simo Zaric was waiting for

5 us there. With him was Savo Cancarevic, a police officer; another man who

6 was there was another police officer, Topolovac. I think his name was

7 Mile. When we arrived outside the station, the first thing I did, I

8 handed out tasks to the commander of the military police to secure the

9 area surrounding the police station and the TO staff. Next thing,

10 Simo Zaric came up to me and he seem agitated. He said: "Hurry up, hurry

11 up. Let's get this over with as quick le as we can, because they will be

12 on their way already." And he was referring to the volunteers, who would

13 have posed a danger to this operation. I tried to calm him down. I said:

14 "There's no need to be afraid. I didn't come here alone, you see. I

15 brought the military police with me." But you just couldn't calm him

16 down. He was agitated.

17 And we entered the TO staff immediately.

18 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me. I think this is probably a matter of

19 translation, but three times - and we just heard it right now - in

20 English, we're saying the TO staff. Now, "staff" has a connotation of

21 people who work somewhere, but it seems that what the witness is talking

22 about is the TO building. Can we just have a clarification? Because from

23 page 60, on line 23, we have "TO staff," page 61, line 3, we have "TO

24 staff," and just now - I can't find the line, but - yes, line 11 on page

25 61, when we have the same expression.

Page 15877

1 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]

2 Q. When you talked about the TO staff, you were referring to the

3 building, the headquarters?

4 A. Yes. That was outside the TO building and the police station.

5 Q. Very well. Thank you. Can we please continue now.

6 A. After my attempt to calm Simo down, when I told him that we would

7 pull it off and that there wouldn't be any trouble, well, let me tell you,

8 I myself was pretty scared. I have no idea what I would have done had

9 those people stumbled upon us. We entered the TO building. They unlocked

10 the door to the room where those people were being kept. Simo Zaric stood

11 in the door. It was already getting dark and there was no lighting in the

12 building or in the police station, or in the TO building. There was no

13 electricity. There was a power cut, a power failure, all over the town.

14 Simo stood in the doorway and spoke to the detainees in the room. He told

15 them not to be afraid. He told them we were there, the army, and that we

16 would take them to the Brcko garrison, where they would be safe. He told

17 them that this was being done for their own safety. "Look at what they're

18 doing to you here, how they're treating you, and once we take you there,

19 you will be left well alone. No one will be mistreating you there."

20 They simply -- well, they -- I was standing behind Simo. All I

21 could see were silhouettes, and I didn't even know those people, hardly

22 anyone. I may have seen some of them before, but ... There was commotion

23 in the room. They asked no questions. When Simo explained this, all they

24 said -- someone from the group spoke up and said: "Thank you, Simo." And

25 Simo told Mile Topolovac to start gathering these people so that we could

Page 15878

1 leave as soon as possible. Topolovac called out their names. I was on my

2 way out back in the street. I was afraid that the members of special

3 forces would come. I didn't want anything bad to happen.

4 And then when I came back, Topolovac was using a lamp, a torch, to

5 call out names from a list. We didn't verify the people's identity. We

6 didn't check who was coming onto the truck. I didn't even count them.

7 There was no way for us to ID those people, but Simo knew most of those

8 people, and as they were passing, they knew who the people were. Some

9 people had been brought over from the police station, and they too boarded

10 the vehicles. Once they were in the vehicles and we were about to leave,

11 Simo spoke to them again, telling them not to do anything stupid. He told

12 them again that it was for their own safety, that we were now taking them

13 to Brcko, and he warned all of them against trying to jump off any of the

14 vehicles, because we were being escorted by military police. He warned

15 these people against putting themselves in danger, themselves or anyone

16 else, because part of the military police -- part of the task of the

17 military police was to prevent people from escaping. So people were

18 warned about this.

19 Another brief warning was given to them and then we headed off to

20 Brcko. None of the volunteers appeared, and that was good. We left the

21 town of Samac safely.

22 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Could I -- Mr. Pisarevic, could I ask a short

23 question in connection with these events?

24 You just walked into the TO building and the police station,

25 meeting no resistance from the policemen or the guards on duty? They just

Page 15879

1 let you in there?

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, nobody questioned that. Most

3 probably the person on duty was probably one of these police officers,

4 whether it was Savo Cancarevic or Topolovac, and Simo had probably made an

5 agreement with them that we would come, so they knew about it.

6 Stevan Todorovic was not in Samac at that time. Maybe Simo had such

7 information and he wanted to do it on that day. Perhaps he had the

8 information that there wasn't a larger group of these Sareni in Samac on

9 that day, and that is why we picked that day for the transfer. I don't

10 know. I don't have information about where Stevan was or anything like

11 that. But nobody from the police prevented us.

12 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you.

13 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]

14 Q. Did Simo Zaric go together with you as you were escorting these

15 people to Brcko?

16 A. No, Simo didn't come with me. Simo stayed in Samac.

17 Savo Cancarevic and Topolovac also stayed behind. Only I went along with

18 the military police, the same people that I came with. We went to Brcko.

19 Q. When you arrived at Brcko, to the barracks, could you please

20 describe to us what happened there.

21 A. I just want to say that already in the village of Loncari when I

22 left the area of responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group and we were

23 entering into the zone of responsibility of the 395th Motorised Brigade, I

24 took a part of the police officers and told them to take a vehicle and go

25 to the Pelagicevo command post. Another part of the military police went

Page 15880

1 to Brcko, because I assessed that there was no longer any danger from the

2 people that I was afraid of originally.

3 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us now what happened at the

4 Brcko barracks when you arrived there.

5 A. When I came to the Brcko barracks, we were told where to go at the

6 entrance by a military police officer. They were expecting us, and they

7 knew that we were coming. They told us to go to the premises where these

8 people that we were bringing would be accommodated. Since I had worked in

9 the Brcko barracks, I could see that they were not sending them to the

10 prison or to the detention section which existed in the barracks. It was

11 small; that is true. They sent us to a building where the company

12 warehouses were. This is where the military police officer told us to go.

13 When we came in front of those buildings, the lights were switched

14 off in front of the building, so the front of the buildings were not lit,

15 but there was light inside the buildings, and I was surprised to see masks

16 on the faces of the military policemen. This surprised me, because I

17 didn't know the reason for this, but I didn't ask any questions either why

18 they were wearing those masks. They were wearing those caps which you

19 pull over your face and which have openings only for the mouth and for the

20 eyes so that you could breathe. I guess they're used so that the persons

21 wearing them would not be recognised.

22 After that, the prisoners that we had brought were ordered to come

23 out of the vehicles, to line up, and to enter the rooms that were

24 allocated for them. Then, again, I had another surprise. As they were

25 entering, the military police was also inside. There was light now in

Page 15881

1 those rooms. And those prisoners were received in a rough manner. They

2 were searched using the police methods where they would place their hands

3 on the wall, spread their legs, and then they were searched. Before that,

4 there were also some blows administered. And particularly when I noticed

5 that the people who were searched then had their hands tied behind their

6 back. So they were tied and then they were brought into the room. I was

7 very surprised, because I know what our agreement was. We were going to

8 save these people, to spare them further abuse. And as soon as they came

9 in, the same thing began.

10 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I think we have run out of time

11 now, so I would like to ask you to stop and we will continue tomorrow.

12 JUDGE MUMBA: We shall rise and continue our proceedings on

13 Friday.

14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,

15 to be reconvened on Friday, the 28th day of

16 February 2003, at 2.15 p.m.