1 Monday, 5 May 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Good morning. Please call the case.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. Case number IT-95-9-T, the
7 Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and Simo Zaric.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pisarevic. Yes. You're going to call your
9 client, Mr. Simo Zaric.
10 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, certainly, Your Honour. But
11 I thought that before that, some questions would be raised. But if not, I
12 would like to call Mr. Simo Zaric to take the witness stand before this
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Zaric. Please make the solemn
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
17 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 WITNESS: SIMO ZARIC
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. Please sit down.
21 Yes, you can start.
22 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
23 Examined by Mr. Pisarevic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Zaric.
25 A. Yes. Good morning.
1 Q. When we were preparing you for your testimony, we were speaking
2 about the technical details of your testimony. That's why I'm not going
3 to give you any particular instructions. However, I would like to ask you
4 that if you find yourself in a situation that you don't hear something or
5 that something doesn't function, please let me know and then we will
6 repeat the question and we will resolve the issue.
7 Mr. Zaric, tell us, please, for the record, your name, your first
8 name and your last name.
9 A. My name is Simo Zaric.
10 Q. Mr. Zaric, do you have a nickname?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. What is that?
13 A. Solaja.
14 Q. What is the meaning of that nickname? Who were you nicknamed
16 A. I got this nickname -- I was nicknamed after a war hero [Realtime
17 transcript read in error "herey'] from the Second World War, Simela Solaja
18 from the area of Kozara. They called me Simela as a term of endearment.
19 And then I got this nickname, Solaja, which became an integral part of my
20 first and last name.
21 Q. Did your fellow citizens know you by that nickname?
22 A. Yes, many of my fellow citizens knew me by that nickname, and the
23 majority of my acquaintances addressed me by that nickname.
24 MR. LAZAREVIC: Just one small correction on page 2, line 16.
25 It's a war hero. Here it says "herey."
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. It will be corrected.
2 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation].
3 Q. When were you born?
4 A. I was born on 25 July, 1948.
5 Q. Where were you born?
6 A. The name of my village is Trnjak Zorice in the area of Odzak
7 municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
8 Q. Your native village is called Trnjak Zorice. Can you tell us
9 something about its ethnic composition?
10 A. It is of mixed ethnic composition, inhabited by Croats and
11 Muslims -- sorry, Serbs. And I would like to say that there is an equal
12 ratio of Croats and Serbs residing in that village.
13 Q. Where and when did you complete your elementary education?
14 A. The first four grades of the elementary school I completed in
15 Zorice, in my native village, and the second part of elementary education
16 I completed in Bosanski Samac.
17 Q. And where did you attend secondary school, and which school was
19 A. I attended the second school for economics in Bosanski Samac, and
20 it was between 1963 and 1967.
21 Q. Mr. Zaric, how long did you reside in Trnjak Zorice village? Up
22 to when?
23 A. I resided there up to 1969.
24 Q. And where did you reside from 1969?
25 A. Since 1969, up to this day, save for the five or six years that I
1 spent here in The Hague, I've resided in Bosanski Samac.
2 Q. Where did you find your first employment?
3 A. I found my first employment in a state-owned company called
4 Bosanka. It is a trading company where I started to work on the 15th of
5 May, 1969. I stayed there until 15 May, 1975.
6 Q. Thank you. What duties did you discharge in that trading company
7 called Bosanka?
8 A. I first started as an intern in the sales. I was calculating the
9 prices. And then, in 1973, I obtained my degree from the higher school of
10 economics. I became the financial director of that company and I
11 discharged the duties of the financial director of that trading company
12 for two years before I left the company and joined another company.
13 Q. Tell us, please: When was it that you graduated from the school
14 of economics, and where was that?
15 A. First, I graduated from a higher school of economics in 1973, and
16 then I obtained a full degree in economics, and that was on the 18th of
17 December, 1979, from the school of economics in Brcko.
18 Q. Thank you very much. If you could just slow down a little bit for
19 the interpreters.
20 When did you become the chief of SUP in Bosanski Samac?
21 A. I became the chief of SUP on the 15th of May, 1975.
22 Q. And how long did you stay in that post, in the post of the chief
23 of SUP in Bosanski Samac?
24 A. Up to the 1st of August, 1979. A little over four years.
25 Q. After the expiry of that mandate, after the end of your term,
1 where did you continue your professional career after that? What did you
3 A. After the job of the chief of SUP, I applied for the job of the
4 director of the Buducnost company, and I was given that job and I started
5 working on the 1st of August, 1979. Buducnost is a manufacturing company
6 which produces upholstered and other types of furniture, and it had 1.000
8 Q. That company, Buducnost, was it a part of some system in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, a system of companies, of associated companies?
10 A. Yes. Buducnost was part of -- one of the largest corporations at
11 the time in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the name of that corporation was
12 Sipad and it was based in Sarajevo. And let me just tell you that there
13 were 52 manufacturing companies, members of that corporation, and those
14 were furniture companies. Besides that, that company also had forests and
15 it had mills and timber processing companies. It was one of the major
16 companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time.
17 Q. Mr. Zaric, how long did you remain the director of the Buducnost
19 A. I stayed there in that job until 1992.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction. In 1982.
21 A. And then in 1982, I was appointed the director of the
22 representative office of that company in Belgrade for the area of Serbia
23 and two autonomous provinces, that is, Kosovo and Vojvodina. I stayed in
24 that job in Belgrade and I mostly engaged in the sale of furniture
25 produced in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the marketplace where I operated
1 was Serbia, with its two autonomous provinces, Kosovo and Vojvodina.
2 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Zaric. Again, can you please slow down
3 in giving your answers. How long did you stay in that job, in the job of
4 the representative of the Sipad corporation in Belgrade?
5 A. I stayed in that job until the 31st of January, 1985. Then I
6 returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina for family reasons, and from 31st
7 January 1985, I started working in the sector of the State Security
9 Q. Mr. Zaric, please just answer my questions and we will answer
10 other questions at a later stage.
11 While you were in Belgrade, where was your family residing at that
13 A. While I was working in Belgrade, my family resided in Bosanski
15 Q. How often did you visit your family? How often did you go home?
16 A. Every weekend I would take the business train to see my family.
17 There would hardly be a weekend when I didn't go to Bosanski Samac. And
18 sometimes I would also visit my family when business took me to Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina, when I paid visits to the furniture companies whose products
20 I sold on the marketplace in Serbia.
21 Q. A little while ago you mentioned that you left the job in Belgrade
22 for family reasons. What family reasons were those? Why did you return
23 from Belgrade to Bosnia and Herzegovina?
24 A. In January 1982, my father, Mirko, had a stroke. He became
25 severely ill, and that was the only reason for which I returned. I wanted
1 to help my mother look after him. My sisters were all married and they
2 could not dedicate so much time to my father. And I, as his only son,
3 decided to do that. I had a lot of emotional reasons to help my father.
4 Unfortunately, my father lived like that for eight years. But I never
5 regret going back home. Although, if that had not happened, my life would
6 have looked differently and I would have never ended up in The Hague.
7 Q. Where did your mother and father reside? Did they have some
8 property there?
9 A. My mother and father resided in Trnjak. We had one of the best
10 farms in that village. And when I say one of the best, then I would like
11 to say that this farm was so well known because we had one of the largest
12 orchards in that area. We had over 300 trees of different fruit. And
13 every time when I had time, I would go there to help them work on that
14 farm. So they indeed reside on a farm in Trnjak.
15 Q. Were they farmers then?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. When you returned from Belgrade, where did you find employment?
18 A. When I returned from Belgrade, my first job was in Doboj. I
19 worked in the sector of the State Security Centre for a year. I was an
20 inspector. That sector of the state security centre was linked to the
21 Security Services Centre in Doboj and its Superior Command was the
22 Ministry of the Interior of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
23 Q. Thank you. While you were working in Doboj, did you also reside
24 in Doboj?
25 A. No. While I worked in Doboj, I had a temporary residence there,
1 and every weekend I would go back to the area of Samac. I would go back
2 to my family.
3 Q. Thank you. Mr. Zaric, after a certain period of time, was a
4 detachment of the State Security Centre established in the town of
6 A. The detachment of the State Security Centre was established even
7 before I became the chief. But in February 1986, pursuant to the decision
8 of the Ministry of the Interior, Mr. Dusko Zgonjanin, I was transferred
9 and I became the chief of the detachment of the State Security Centre, and
10 this detachment at that time covered the area of three municipalities.
11 Those were the municipalities of Modrica, Bosanski Samac, and Odzak.
12 Q. Thank you. Did you move to Modrica with your family?
13 A. No. My family remained in Samac. I commuted to Modrica every day
14 because the distance between Samac and Modrica is 20 kilometres.
15 Q. Thank you. Mr. Zaric, could you explain to the Chamber the
16 structure of the state security at that time and how it functioned.
17 A. The state security service started with the Ministry of the
18 Interior in Sarajevo. There were two sectors there. One of them was the
19 sector of state security, and the other was the sector of public security.
20 The Ministry of the Interior coordinated the work of both of these
21 services. The chief of the state security was the undersecretary of the
22 state security. So that was the first person in the Ministry of the
23 Interior, reporting directly to the minister and who was in charge of the
24 organisation of that service and who managed that service.
25 The second down the hierarchy were centres for state security, and
1 they were organised in various regions. They also had a similar division.
2 They also had two sectors. One was the state security and the other was
3 the public security sector. The head of the regional centres were chiefs,
4 and each of the respective sectors had their superior.
5 And the third, or the lowest step in that organisational ladder
6 were detachments, and this is precisely where I worked. A detachment
7 would cover some microregions, and there were many more detachments than
8 state security centres. I personally was in the Modrica detachment, which
9 covered three municipalities. There was also a detachment in Derventa,
10 which covered some other municipalities, and so on and so forth.
11 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Zaric. You have explained the structure
12 to us. What were your concrete tasks as the chief of the detachment in
13 Modrica, and what were your authorities?
14 A. The state security service is a very specific service. It
15 collects intelligence along various lines of work. When I say that, then
16 I mean that one line of work was collecting intelligence relative to the
17 counter-intelligence of foreign intelligence services in the area of the
18 former Bosnia and Herzegovina and the former Yugoslavia, because the state
19 security service was linked up to the service at the federal level.
20 The second line of work was collection of information on the
21 Chetnik Ustasha, and Muslim emigration [Realtime transcript read in error
22 "immigration"] in the diaspora, abroad, not residing in the former
23 Yugoslavia. And the third line of work was collection on intelligence on
24 the activities of the internal forces which jeopardised the constitutional
25 order of the country. The fourth line of work was, for example, the
1 collection of intelligence on significant, vital facilities of particular
2 significance for the state and protection of the most important persons in
3 the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the former Yugoslavia.
4 So those were the lines of work that we carried out, and the task
5 of the state security service was to collect intelligence about all these
6 things, and people were specialised in different types of work:
7 MR. RE: Can I just clarify something for the transcript? It
8 reads, at line 20 on page 9: "Chetnik, Ustasha, and Muslim immigration in
9 the diaspora." I think it should be emigration, e-m-i-g-r-a-t-i-o-n,
10 rather than immigration. Going out rather than coming in. Perhaps that
11 could be clarified or corrected.
12 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation].
13 Q. Mr. Zaric, you said emigration, didn't you?
14 A. Correct. Emigration was the word.
15 Q. You, as the chief of the detachment in Modrica, if you received
16 some intelligence or if you collected some intelligence, what did you do
17 with that information, with that intelligence? Who did you send reports
18 to about the intelligence that you gathered or obtained?
19 A. In order to gain a clear picture on the size of the detachment, I
20 would like to say that I had five more people working with me in that
21 detachment, and our main task was to collect the so-called initial
22 information at that microregion, and to transform them into the initial
23 official records. I, as the chief of the service, would inspect all those
24 reports. I would certify and sign those reports and I would then forward
25 those reports to the sector in Doboj. As I did that, this completed our
1 operational task.
2 Q. Thank you. Mr. Zaric, do you remember, while you were the chief
3 of the detachment, do you remember who your immediate superiors were, both
4 at the regional and the republican level?
5 A. Upon arriving in the service, upon joining the service, the
6 republican secretary was Mr. Mato Andric. He was a Croat. And the head,
7 the chief of state security at the time, was Dusko Zgonjanin. In the
8 centre in Doboj, when I arrived there, the chief of the security centre
9 was Bogdan Nikolic, and the chief of the state security sector was
10 Marko Brezanic.
11 Just before I retired, and following the multiparty elections, the
12 entire leadership was changed. So my immediate officer just before I
13 retired in the state security sector in Doboj was Ilija Bilic from the
14 HDZ, the Croatian Democratic Alliance. And the chief of the centre was
15 Andrija Bilosevic from the Serbian Democratic Party. He had been
16 appointed as chief so I had, so to speak, two leadership teams. The first
17 one when I arrived there and the second one when I left.
18 Q. Mr. Zaric, can you just tell us up until which year you worked in
19 the state security service?
20 A. Up until the 1st of October, 1991.
21 Q. Mr. Zaric, why did you stop working in the SDB, in the state
22 security service?
23 A. Well, it's a long story. I'll try and summarise the basic facts.
24 After the multiparty elections, and when the national and nationalistic
25 parties assumed power, the leaders in the organs of internal affairs were
1 changed. The minister of the interior -- as minister of the interior,
2 Alija Delimustafic was appointed to this post. And as I said earlier on,
3 I've already said what sort of changes occurred in the Doboj centre, which
4 is where my -- which is -- which was my -- the institution that was above
5 me, that I was subordinated to. With a certain number of colleagues in
6 the SDB, in the state security service, I reacted very critically with
7 regard to certain negative appearances that one could notice at the time,
8 and that exerted an influence on the political gulf between the people in
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina, the peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and this
10 complicated the security and political situation. And I wasn't much loved
11 as a leader, given the positions that I held. So on the 1st of October,
12 in the course of the night, I and five of my colleagues of Serbian
13 nationality, and a colleague of Muslim nationality, were retired.
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zaric. When you retired, how old were you?
15 A. When I was retired, I was 44 years old.
16 Q. Thank you. The fact that you weren't a member of one of the
17 national parties that won the elections, did that have any influence on
18 your premature retirement?
19 A. That was the main reason.
20 Q. Thank you. Mr. Zaric, we will now turn to your family background.
21 Could you tell this Trial Chamber when you married for the first time.
22 A. Well, that part of my curriculum is not the most positive aspect
23 that I could display, but I married in 1969 for the first time, when I
24 came back from the JNA, the Yugoslav People's Army.
25 Q. What was your wife's nationality?
1 A. My first wife was called Milka. She came from a mixed marriage.
2 Her father was a Serb and her mother was a Croat. And I had a daughter,
3 whose name is Natasa, with my wife Milka.
4 Q. Thank you. After you got divorced from Milka, to whom your
5 daughter Natasa was given for education, she was appointed as her guardian
6 by the court --
7 A. Well, perhaps it's not modest to say so, but at the time, Natasa,
8 who hadn't even started walking at the time, was appointed to me, to the
9 father, as her guardian. I won't go into the reasons. This is a private
10 matter. But what I've said is sufficient.
11 Q. Thank you. Mr. Zaric, when did you get married for the second
12 time? You don't have to mention the name. Just say what nationality your
13 second wife was.
14 A. In 1972 I got married for the second time. I married a woman who
15 was of Croatian nationality.
16 Q. Did you have any children with that -- with your second wife?
17 A. No, I didn't.
18 Q. When did you get married for the third time?
19 A. It was on the 12th of January, 1974 that I got married for the
20 third time. My third wife's name is Fatima, and she testified before this
21 Tribunal quite recently.
22 Q. Her name is Topcagic, isn't that right?
23 A. Yes. And I had a son, Mirel [Realtime transcript read in error
24 "Miro"] with her, and my wife was married before. And when we got
25 married, she already had a son called Denis. So that Fatima and I fed
1 three children. We had three children to feed. I'm not joking when I say
2 that it was my child and her child, and our child. But in fact these are
3 our lovely children.
4 Q. Thank you, Zaric. Just a minute.
5 MR. LAZAREVIC: [Previous translation continues]... Page 13, line
6 22. It's Mirel, the name of Mr. Zaric's son. Nor Miro, it's Mirel,
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I think we've heard this detail before. Thank
10 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation].
11 Q. And you still live with Mrs. Fatima, with your third wife; isn't
12 that correct, Mr. Zaric?
13 A. Yes, it is.
14 Q. Mr. Zaric, tell us: Since when has your family, Zaric, lived in
15 the Trnjak Zorice village, and when did they arrive in that area?
16 A. The Zaric family, I think it's one of the oldest families in that
17 area, they arrived in Trnjak in 1870, from the area of Uzice in Serbia.
18 They arrived in the Posavina area. And from that date to this very day,
19 they live in a village. I'm the only one who is here where I am.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zaric. Could you please tell us now, could you
21 tell this Honourable Trial Chamber: What happened to your family, to the
22 Zaric family, and to other Serbian families, in the area of Trnjak Zorice
23 in December 1944?
24 A. Well, that's the most tragic part of my family's history, without
25 a doubt.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pisarevic. I don't understand why we need
2 these details, 1944. I don't think they are relevant to the case. I
3 think we've had enough personal history of Mr. Zaric. Can we proceed with
4 the current issues rather than going back to 1944.
5 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, why did I put this
6 question? Well, above all, because part of this story appears in the
7 interview that Mr. Zaric gave to OTP investigators, and it is for this
8 reason that I thought that it would be reasonable, logical, for Mr. Zaric
9 to tell this Trial Chamber what happened. And secondly, given the nature
10 of the charges levelled against Mr. Zaric, I think that it is of great
11 significance, and it should be, it should be of great significance. It
12 would be significant to know, in addition to the tragedy of the Zaric
13 family, the members of the Zaric family mustered the strength to forgive
14 and to live and to have children with members of other ethnic groups,
15 other nationalities, all the more so given that Mr. Zaric is charged with
16 having committed certain acts on the basis of discrimination. But if the
17 Trial Chamber is aware of these facts, I'm quite prepared to move on to
18 other matters. I just wanted Mr. Zaric to inform us about this briefly.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Perhaps very briefly, Mr. Zaric can go ahead.
20 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. Mr. Zaric, could you please try to provide us with the main
22 details about that event, very briefly.
23 A. As I said, that is the most tragic part of my family's story. On
24 the 7th of December, 1944, in the course of the Second World War, 601
25 Serbs - women, children, old people - they were killed in that village.
1 In the house of my father, Mirko, on that day, 242 people were killed,
2 including two of his sons and three daughters, his mother, his wife, and
3 two sisters, and other relatives, some of his other relatives. One of his
4 sons at the time, his name was Simo -- well, I'm here for biological
5 reasons. His father is -- married my mother and had four children. That
6 was his second marriage. And then he called me after one of his sons who
7 was killed on that day. As far as my mother is concerned, who married my
8 father, she suffered a similar tragic fate as my father did. She lived in
9 Donja Dubica. She got married there. Her husband and her entire family
10 from Klakar, that's a village in the area of the municipality of Brod,
11 they were taken to Jasenovac, where they were all killed. The two of them
12 who remained, who survived, they got married and they had children. And
13 again, there were five children in the Zaric family. I was the only male
14 child, and I have four lovely sisters. The oldest one is Koviljka. She
15 is my half sister. She had the status of a wartime orphan because my
16 mother lost her husband who was taken away to Jasenovac and was killed
17 there. So that would be a very brief outline of that part of my history.
18 But I would just like to say in a very few words that I very seldom -- we
19 very seldom heard about this terrible story from my parents. It was never
20 a subject that was dominant in the Zaric household. And my parents strove
21 to educate us in a new spirit, in a spirit of fraternity and unity. That
22 was a principle for me, and all it meant was that one should live normally
23 with others and be prepared to forgive, whether it's possible to forget
24 such matters, that's another issue.
25 Q. Mr. Zaric, thank you. I would now like to ask you: Who was your
1 half sister, Koviljka, married to, or rather, as you say, your sister,
2 because she grew up on her own. Who was she married to?
3 A. My eldest sister, Koviljka, she is married to Mustafa Omeranovic,
4 who is a Muslim. She has three children. She had three children with
5 him, two sons and a daughter.
6 Q. And who is your sister Mara married to?
7 A. She is my second elder sister. She is married to
8 Nenad Brocilovic, a Serb, and is currently living in Serbia. And right up
9 until the war, she lived in the area of Odzak, as my other three sisters
11 Q. Mr. Zaric, who is your sister Jelena married to?
12 A. My sister Jelena was married to a Muslim. She got divorced before
13 the war and she had one child with him, a son, with whom she lives in
14 Bosanski Samac at the time. He's married and has two children.
15 Q. And your sister Nada, Dr. Nada, who is she married to?
16 A. My younger sister is married to Marko Jakic, a Croat from the
17 village of Osicac which is part of the Odzak municipality. At the moment
18 they live in Kanjiza, in the territory of Serbia.
19 Q. A minute ago, you said that all your sisters lived in the
20 municipality of Odzak. But where did Koviljka live?
21 A. She lived in Samac, whereas Mara, Jelena and Nada all got married
22 and lived in the municipality of Odzak, or to be more precise in the town
23 of Odzak.
24 Q. And before the fighting broke out, where did your mother Mileva
25 live, your mother Mileva Zaric?
1 A. My mother, Mileva Zaric, lived in Trnjak.
2 Q. You said you had a daughter whose name was Natasa tell us who is
3 she married to and where does she live now?
4 A. My daughter Natasa is married to Mario Prgomet. He's a Croat from
5 Bosanski Samac. And up until the war, they lived in the area of
6 Bosanski Samac. But they are now living in Croatia. I have two
7 grandchildren, that is to say, they have two sons.
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zaric. Did you perform your military service in
9 the JNA, the Yugoslav People's Army? If you did, where and when?
10 A. Yes. I performed my military service in the JNA from 1967 to
11 1969. I did my service in three towns in Serbia. First of all, I was in
12 Pozarevac, then Kragujevac and then finally in Sabac. And I was a member
13 of Tito's guards.
14 Q. Was a rank conferred on you while you were performing your
15 military service, and if so, which rank?
16 A. Yes. I had a rank, the rank of what we call a "desetar" at the
17 time, nothing else, and that was the rank with which I left the JNA.
18 Q. And after that, was another rank conferred on you, that of a
19 non-commissioned officer or an officer?
20 A. Yes. First of all, I was assigned to the reserve police force in
21 the Odzak municipality, because after I had completed my military service
22 I was still living in the territory of Odzak. And in 1969 I moved to
23 Samac and I became a non-commissioned officer. I was a corporal. And
24 when the war broke out, I was a senior corporal.
25 Q. And do you have a rank at the moment?
1 A. At the moment I have the rank of first lieutenant.
2 Q. Thank you. Mr. Zaric, were you ever charged for a crime or
3 misdemeanour of any kind?
4 A. No, never. That never happened.
5 Q. Thank you. We'll now move to your political affiliation. Were
6 you a member of the Communist Party in Yugoslavia; and if so, from which
7 date and until which date?
8 A. Yes, I was a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia since
9 1966. When I joined the state security service in 1985, they started
10 depoliticising the work of the Ministry of the Interior, so I then ceased
11 with my party activities. And when I retired on the 1st of October, 1991,
12 I joined the Socialist Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which
13 was led by Nijaz Durakovic at that time.
14 Q. Thank you. What was the ethnic composition of the SDP in Bosnia
15 and Herzegovina?
16 A. Well, it was a civil party. It was recognised as such, above all
17 because members -- people from all ethnic groups were represented in this
19 Q. Thank you. You said that the president of the SDP of Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina was Nijaz Durakovic at that time. Do you remember the names
21 of any other leaders during that period of time?
22 A. I can remember Mr. Lagumdzija at that time. He was a member of
23 the Socialist Democratic Party. And I think that to this very day he is
24 the president of the BH SDP. I can remember Mr. Filipovic. I can
25 remember Dr. Stojanovic and some people -- some other people from that
1 period. But I know that there were people who were members of various
2 ethnic groups, of all the ethnic groups, and they still adhere to the SDP
4 Q. Could you tell us, do you know anything about this matter: What
5 was the position of the BH SDP with regard to the national and religious
6 rights of the peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
7 A. Their position was that they should have total national and
8 religious freedom. People should not be divided according to their
9 nationality, their religion, their race, et cetera. So these were
10 civilian principles, civil principles, which were based on the most modern
11 programmes of democratic parties in Europe.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zaric. In Bosanski Samac municipality, was there a
13 municipal committee of the SDP?
14 A. Yes, there was.
15 Q. Do you know who the members of the SDP in the Bosanski Samac
16 municipality were?
17 A. Yes. I know official that the ethnic composition of the SDP in
18 Bosanski Samac at that time -- well, the members were of -- came from
19 various ethnic groups, from all the ethnic groups. But the Serbs were
20 perhaps -- had perhaps the majority, and the Muslims and the Croats to a
21 lesser extent. But I would like to say that people from all the ethnic
22 groups were members of that party.
23 Q. Thank you. We have already heard that the first multiparty
24 elections were held in 1990. There were also elections at the same time
25 for deputies in assembly -- Municipal Assemblies. Do you remember how
1 many deputies the SDP had in the Municipal Assembly of Bosanski Samac?
2 A. If I remember well, during the first multiparty session, during
3 the first multiparty assembly, there were six deputies from the SDP, three
4 from the federation of reformist forces, and I think there were three from
5 Liberal Party, whereas the other deputies in the Municipal Assembly of
6 Bosanski Samac were from the SDS, the HDZ, and the SDA.
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zaric. Could you just tell me whether among the
8 deputies from the SDP, were there Serbs, Croats, and Muslims among their
10 A. Yes, as far as I can remember. I know that the deputies at the
11 time -- well, Rajko Kuresevic and Perica Krstanovic and Dr. Sekib, they
12 were deputies at the time. There was someone called Marko Filipovic too.
13 So I know that the ethnic composition of the deputies in the assembly was
15 Q. Thank you. Tell us, please: Are you now a member of any
16 political party?
17 A. Yes. Since 1993, I've been a member of the Socialist Party of
18 Republika Srpska, and to this very day I am its member.
19 Q. That party, the Socialist Party of Republika Srpska, is it a
20 political successor of the former SDP whose member you were in 1991 and
22 A. To a large extent.
23 Q. Thank you. You, Mr. Zaric -- let me rephrase that. I'll withdraw
24 that. Was there a municipal board of the Socialist Party in
25 Bosanski Samac municipality?
1 A. Yes, there was. There was a municipal board, and it played its
2 role in the first multiparty elections after the war, which took place in
4 Q. In that municipal board, did you have some sort of a duty in that
5 municipal board, Mr. Zaric?
6 A. Yes. I was the general secretary of the Socialist Party in Samac
7 municipality, and during the first congress of the Socialist Party, I was
8 member of the statutory commission of the Socialist Party of
9 Republika Srpska.
10 Q. So much about your political engagement. Let's now move on to
11 some activities and inclinations that you have. And therefore, I would
12 like to ask you about your sports engagement in Samac municipality and in
13 the local commune of Trnjak Zorice.
14 A. Well, that is probably the nicest page of my biography. In that
15 part, I've tried to find myself. I found satisfaction. I was an active
16 athlete. And I also was a member of the cultural society in my village,
17 because I was a good singer. I sang folk songs. I also played football
18 in a number of teams, in the team of Samac, in a number of village teams.
19 I was a good athlete. In 1968, when I served in the JNA, I was a Yugoslav
20 champion in 1500-metre race. As far as my cultural activities are
21 concerned --
22 Q. Slow down, Mr. Zaric. We will come to your cultural activities,
23 but I would like to talk about sport now. Did you have any role in the
24 sports life apart from you being an athlete?
25 A. When I was younger, I was an active athlete. Later on, when I got
1 a bit older and gained some more authority, then, together with my fellow
2 citizens, I was actively involved from the organisation of sports clubs,
3 in their maintenance. I was a member of many of the management board of
4 sports teams. I was president of a number of clubs. I was the president
5 of the intermunicipal sports alliance in Brcko. Later on, this amateur
6 involvement evolved into something more serious.
7 Q. Once you stopped playing football, did you appear as a member of a
8 veteran teams? Did you have any activities in that area?
9 A. Yes. Before the war, for eight years, I was an active veteran in
10 the Sloga football club from Prud. That is a Croatian village
11 neighbouring on my village. And that is where I spent most of my football
12 time in the later stages of my life, and that is where I have a lot of
14 Q. Let's move on to your activities within the cultural and artistic
15 life of your community. Can you tell us something about your hobbies,
16 your talents, your activities, and how did all that reflect?
17 A. In the Zaric household, we always fought tragedy with song. Both
18 of my parents were good singers, and I inherited that talent, talent for
19 singing original folk songs that existed in those rural areas. And I
20 would like to say that at that time that song was understood by over 5
21 million people in the area of the former Yugoslavia. I also recorded my
22 first videocassette of original folk songs with the Begic brothers, who
23 were the best folk singers in the former Yugoslavia. They are Croats who
24 resided in the territory of Derventa. They are still alive and they are
25 still the best singers of those original folk songs. And since I had this
1 talent, I was a member of cultural clubs, and I also appeared on TV show
2 called Knowledge is Wealth, and that show was dedicated to the problems of
3 the rural areas. Every time a singer would appear on those shows. I
4 myself appeared eight times on that particular show before the war. There
5 was a cultural association, Sloga, which at that time was called Vladimir
6 Nazor and it was active in Prud. I was their active member and, as such,
7 I participated in many international shows, some of them in Italy,
8 Switzerland, and Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia. We went everywhere. We sang
9 everywhere. In simple words, I was a very active in that part, and that
10 is where everybody knew me by my nickname, Solaja.
11 Q. When you were a member of the Vladimir Nazor cultural association
12 from the village of Prud, did you have to wear a folk -- the Croat folk
14 A. Yes. That is exactly the folk costume that I wore. It was a
15 beautiful folk costume, very rich. And wherever we went, it attracted the
16 attention of the audience, because it was really very, very rich in
17 colours. And whenever there -- at some other cultural events, I would
18 also wear the Serbian folk costume, and I sang. But whenever I went on
19 tours with the cultural society of Prud, I would always wear the Croatian
20 folk costume.
21 Q. As a performer of the original folk music, Mr. Zaric, did you
22 participate in celebrations, in religious festivities, in weddings, in
23 sending off boys to the army?
24 A. Yes. That was a regular thing. I can even say that there could
25 hardly an event be organised at which I did not participate, at which I
1 did not sing, at which I did not make my contribution. Weddings,
2 christenings. I sang several times when Catholic priests were ordained.
3 There is a very special ceremony when a Catholic priest is ordained, and
4 when he delivers his first mass. This is a huge event. And several times
5 I sang songs at those events. I would also like to say that a number of
6 times people from the party, party members, would call me to task because
7 of my hobby, because they were of the opinion that the political activity
8 and the singing of folk songs cannot go together, but I nevertheless
9 continued doing that.
10 Q. You participated in all sorts of events of all the ethnic
12 A. Yes. I was in Sehovici, in a well-known cultural event. I
13 participated together with well-known singers of Muslim folk songs,
14 together with the Begic brothers and a number of people from all ethnic
15 backgrounds who also were involved in that kind of activity.
16 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Zaric. We will move on to another topic.
17 You've already told us that you took an early retirement, that you were
18 forced to retire early, and you told us about the conditions under which
19 you were retired. Can you please tell us now what you did after you were
20 retired, and what were your activities? So what did you do from the 1st
21 of October onwards? I would like to cover the period up to the
22 establishment of the 4th Detachment, the 5th of January, 1992.
23 A. I was very young when I had to retire. I was still strong. I was
24 going strong. And at the beginning I dedicated my time to stabilise
25 myself, to recharge my batteries, and that's why I helped my family work
1 on the farm in Trnjak. And I also helped my wife, who at the time managed
2 a private grocery store. So I was helping both of the sides, my mother
3 and my wife, and that's how I spent most of my time. And then the
4 municipal secretariat for National Defence mobilised me, and I started
5 working as a reservist, gathering intelligence for the Yugoslav People's
6 Army in the same area where I had previously been the chief of detachment.
7 Q. How did you perform these duties? Who were your contacts with and
8 who gave you your orders and your tasks?
9 A. My first conversation about that was in the command of the 17th
10 Corps in Tuzla, in the presence of the commander of that corps, General
11 Savo Jankovic, and the chief of the security of that corps,
12 Colonel Musulovic also attended that meeting. Another person who attended
13 was the commander of the 17th Tactical Group, Lieutenant Colonel at that
14 time Stevan Nikolic and Captain Petrovic was also there. He was from the
15 Yugoslav People's Garrison in Brcko.
16 Q. Thank you very much. Mr. Zaric, what did you discuss at the time
17 with the people who you have just mentioned?
18 A. I forgot to say that there was also Milos Bogdanovic there at the
19 time. He was the municipal secretary for National Defence. And I have to
20 be honest with you and say that those people had heard that I had been
21 forced to retire overnight, but they also knew that I was very good at
22 what I did and that I was very professional in what I did. And then they
23 told me that I would be mobilised to work on gathering intelligence and
24 necessary for the Yugoslav People's Army in that area. They told me that
25 this intelligence was important to preserve the Yugoslav People's Army as
1 the defence component in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to
2 preserve Bosnia and Herzegovina as an administrative unit of the former
3 Yugoslavia, and to preserve Yugoslavia, which to my mind was the best
4 country in the world and my favourite country in the world ever.
5 Q. Thank you. I suppose that you have accepted those tasks. Did you
6 perform them later on?
7 A. Yes, I did carry out those tasks. I would like to say that
8 nothing was different in the method of work. I didn't apply anything new
9 with regard to what I had done before. When I was retired, I was still a
10 reserve officer for the defence preparation of the SDB of Samac
11 municipality. It's a normal procedure. Once you cease to be an active
12 officer, you become a reserve officer, and that department is the
13 department for preparation -- defence preparation of the SDB. The chief
14 of that was Boro Cvijanovic who was my previous colleague from the SDB
15 detachment in Modrica. I was using my network of associates that I had
16 established as the chief of the service. When I collected my basic
17 intelligence I used to find out how best I could preserve the component of
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Yugoslav People's Army, all in view of
19 creating the best possible relationship in order to avoid the evil that
20 had struck Slovenia and Croatia at the beginning of the war there.
21 Q. Mr. Zaric, I would kindly ask you to say something about the
22 reserve department for the defence preparations of the SDB. Is that
23 department a department that had its office in the Bosanski Samac SUP?
24 A. Yes. This department always had its separate office in the -- on
25 the premises of the public security station. That office was always
1 locked. There was a desk there and some of our technical equipment was
2 there, the equipment that we used as the state security service. And that
3 technique was somewhat different than the technique and technical means
4 used by the public security service. And obviously this department for
5 defence preparations, that was its official establishment title, it
6 belonged to the sector and it was linked up to the Ministry of the
7 Interior of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time.
8 Q. Yes, of course, but can you please explain to the Honourable
9 Chamber the intelligence that you gathered as the department. Who did you
10 forward this intelligence to? You mentioned Mr. Boro Cvijanovic. Was
11 that the link that you had?
12 A. Precisely. When we had our meetings, there were seven of us in
13 that department for defence preparations, and one of those people were
14 Mr. Petar Karlovic, who testified before this Chamber. There was also
15 Mr. Goran Kljajic, who is Mr. Dragan Lukac's brother-in-law, and
16 Dragan Lukac testified before this Chamber. There was also
17 Fikret Sejakovic. What I'm saying is we were of a mixed ethnic
18 composition, our department was. The intelligence that we gathered in the
19 field, we would brief our chief. Our chief would make note of our
20 briefing and then he would inform his superiors in the SDB sector of
22 MR. RE: Could we perhaps just clarify for the transcript when
23 this was? It's a little bit unclear as to whether it was post-retirement
24 or before.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: I thought the witness had explained that this was
1 after retirement when he joined the 4th Detachment and was assigned these
2 duties. Perhaps Mr. Pisarevic can ask the accused to explain.
3 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Before I started asking you questions along these lines, I said
5 that we were talking about the period of time from the 1st of October,
6 when he was retired, and to the 5th of January, 1992, when the 4th
7 Detachment was established.
8 Mr. Zaric, we were talking about your activities in this
9 department for defence preparations. All this refers to the period
10 between the time you were retired and --?
11 A. Between the point of my retirement up to the beginning of April
12 1992, immediately before the beginning of war.
13 Q. How did you perform your duties towards the Yugoslav
14 People's Army? Who did you report to?
15 A. I reported to the Yugoslav People's Army in drafting reports in
16 one copy, and I would report to my superior in the 17th Tactical Group,
17 Mr. Makso Simeunovic. And before Mr. Makso Simeunovic, there was
18 Mr. Zvonko Jurevic, who was the chief of the OB in the 17th Tactical
19 Group, because Mr. Simeunovic joined the 17th Tactical Group somewhat
20 later. Before he arrived, it was Mr. Zvonko Jurevic, who received the
21 intelligence data from me, those that I deemed significant. And they
22 spoke about the movement of certain forces, about some phenomenon that I
23 recorded in the area of Posavina, and to my mind, those threatened to
24 jeopardise the Yugoslav People's Army or the constitutional order of
1 [Defence counsel confer]
2 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Zaric, let's conclude by saying -- if I understood you well,
4 you had two jobs at the time. One was for the state security, and the
5 other was for the Yugoslav People's Army?
6 A. Exactly. That was precisely the case. But both institutions
7 were -- belonged to the state, because the Yugoslav People's Army was
8 something that I considered the only legitimate defence force in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the state security was obviously the state security
10 of that state of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 Q. Mr. Zaric, we're now going to talk about the meetings which
12 preceded the establishment of the 4th Detachment of the Yugoslav People's
13 Army. Before this Tribunal, we've heard testimonies about that, about the
14 secretariat for National Defence of Samac municipality having organised
15 two meetings with the officers and non-commissioned officers of the JNA in
16 order to inform them about the political and security situation in the
17 area. At those meetings, one -- and these was Colonel Nikolic. My
18 question to you is as follows: Did you also attend those meetings?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Let's start with first meeting first. Can you please tell us when
21 this first meeting took place?
22 A. If my memory serves me well, both meetings, the first one and the
23 second one, were held in late 1991. The first meeting was held in early
24 November and the second meeting was sometime towards the end of that year.
25 Both meetings were held in the Mitra Trifunovic Vucar [phoen] centre.
1 They were organised by the municipal secretariat for National Defence.
2 All the reserve officers and non-commissioned officers were invited, those
3 were the Samac municipality. Amongst others, Mr. Stevan Nikolic,
4 Lieutenant Colonel, the commander of the 17th Tactical Group, with his
5 chief of staff, Brajkovic and some other associated, attended this
6 meeting. At this moment, I can't remember all the names, but I am certain
7 about the two that I've mentioned. The subject, the topic of that meeting
8 was how to organise the defence component in the town of Samac, with a
9 view to preventing the war from the Republic of Croatia spreading in that
10 area, with a view to preventing interethnic conflicts of a large -- at a
11 large scale, if the police was unable to deal with that problem
12 themselves. And also one of the goals was for Bosnia and Herzegovina and
13 this part of the territory to remain an integral part of the former
14 Yugoslavia. These were the three main messages that could be heard at
15 that meeting. I don't want to go into any greater detail.
16 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Zaric. And the secretary of the
17 municipal secretariat for National Defence, Milos Bogdanovic, was he also
18 at that meeting?
19 A. Yes. I have already said that the meeting was organised by the
20 municipal secretariat, because they were the ones who sent out the
21 invitations. They were the ones who had the record of all the officers
22 and non-commissioned officers. And I remember well that Mr. Milos
23 Bogdanovic attended that meeting, and I have to say that Mr. Bozo Ninkovic
24 also attended the meeting. At that time, he discharged one of the
25 important duties in the secretariat of the National Defence, but I don't
1 know whether he was a deputy or maybe he had some operational duty in that
3 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I believe that we have reached the
4 time for the break, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We'll take our break now.
6 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
7 --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise for
10 interrupting the testimony, very briefly. Before Mr. Zaric started
11 testifying, I wanted to address you with regard to the submission of the
12 Prosecution with regard to Mr. Jovan Erletic, but I had to take advantage
13 of the break to confer with my colleague. Since we have been instructed
14 to express our position by today, I would just like to briefly
15 say that Mr. Miroslav Tadic's Defence counsel doesn't have the intention
16 of cross-examining Mr. Jovan Erletic. This is all I wanted to inform the
17 Trial Chamber of. I didn't want to submit anything in writing about this
18 matter. I wanted to follow the Trial Chamber's instructions about oral
19 addresses. And with regard to the Prosecution's position, we will not be
20 cross-examining Mr. Jovan Erletic, given the contents of his statement.
21 This is what I wanted to inform the Trial Chamber of.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you very much.
23 Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
24 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. On the same matter, we would
25 like to have this witness for cross-examination. Thank you.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Which one? What's the name?
2 MR. PANTELIC: Erletic, the last one. Because you already ruled
3 with regard to the presence of Witness Marko Tubakovic, I believe.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
5 MR. PANTELIC: So we are speaking about Mr. Erletic. Yes, thank
7 JUDGE MUMBA: All right. We'll proceed, Mr. Pisarevic.
8 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Mr. Zaric, just a brief instruction. I have been asked by the
10 interpreters to ask you if you could slow down slightly. It's in your
11 interest to speak a little more slowly, because that will enable them to
12 do their work properly. So could you please try to speak a little more
14 A. Very well.
15 Q. Thank you. We were speaking about the first meeting in the
16 centre, organised by the secretariat for National Defence in the
17 municipality of Samac, and I would now like to ask you if you can remember
18 anything about this: Who took the floor at that meeting? That's my first
19 question. Because at that meeting of the reserve officers and
20 non-commissioned officers, Milos Bogdanovic, as the secretary of the
21 secretariat for National Defence, he spoke at that meeting?
22 A. Yes, he did.
23 Q. Thank you. Did the commander of the 17th Tactical Group,
24 Stevan Nikolic, take the floor at that meeting?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. If you can remember, can you tell us what Colonel Stevan Nikolic,
2 as commander of the 17th Tactical Group of the JNA, can you tell us what
3 he told the reserve officers and non-commissioned officers who were there
4 at that time?
5 A. Before I answer this question, I would first of all like to inform
6 the Trial Chamber to compare the speakers. If we're talking about
7 Milos Bogdanovic, who was the secretariat of the municipal secretariat, he
8 only made introductory remarks and explained the reasons for which we were
9 gathered. Lieutenant Colonel Stevan Nikolic, the commander of the 17th
10 Tactical Group, took the floor. Igor Kobas [as interpreted], the
11 commander of the municipal staff of the Samac municipality, took the floor
12 at that time. I spoke briefly at that meeting. Mr. Esad Delic also
13 spoke, Captain first class, and there were several other people who spoke,
14 who took the floor. It wasn't just a matter of simply issuing instructions
15 and information. There was, so to speak, a more open discussion.
16 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes. One correction for the transcript. On page
17 34, line 2, the name was Ivo Kobas, and he was actually the commander of
18 the municipal staff of the TO of Samac municipality. Just to have this
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well.
21 A. To summarise what some of them said, I can point out that the main
22 message of Lieutenant Colonel Stevan Nikolic was that it was essential to
23 organise a defence within the JNA, the Yugoslav People's Army. At the
24 time he did not conceal the fact that the Territorial Defence was not
25 performing the function that it was supposed to perform, and Ivo Kobas in
1 particular addressed this matter and he pointed to the impossibility of
2 organising the Territorial Defence in the way that it was supposed to be
3 organised, according to the constitution in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
4 because many officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers, failed to
5 respond to the summons as issued by the municipal staff for legitimate
6 defence units to be formed, and according to the BH constitution and the
7 law on national defence, such units were supposed to be formed.
8 Mr. Stevan Nikolic's main message was that what the television programme
9 showed from the territory of Slovenia and Croatia was quite sufficient to
10 show the evil spread by war, and everything should be done to make sure
11 that the way the war was being presented from Croatia, it shouldn't be
12 presented in Bosnia and Herzegovina in that way. He asked for unity,
13 freedom among the officers and non-commissioned officers, and he requested
14 that they help maintain order, maintain harmony among the people, and he
15 requested that there should not be interethnic conflicts on a large scale
16 in this area of ours. He drew attention to certain very complex security
17 elements which were present in the Posavina area, from Bosanski Brod right
18 up to Brcko.
19 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Zaric, at the time, did Mr. Nikolic ask all officers and
21 non-commissioned officers, regardless of their ethnic membership, did he
22 request that they join the JNA, the Yugoslav People's Army?
23 A. Yes. In a very manifest and clear way, and I quite clearly
24 remember his words, and this is a well-known fact. It was easy to
25 organise a certain kind of defence in villages inhabited by Serbs, where
1 the Serbs were in the majority or where the Croats were in the majority.
2 It was a problem how to organise defence in a town in which people of all
3 ethnic groups lived. That was the main problem, which is why he made an
4 appeal and he requested that all officers and non-commissioned officers
5 who were prepared to defend such a conception, who were prepared to defend
6 the city, he asked them to report to the secretariat of -- for National
7 Defence. He asked them to mobilise. And then it was the responsibility
8 of the municipal secretariat for National Defence to compile certain
9 records. And on the basis of those records, to proceed to organise
10 certain units, and also to organise the 4th Detachment, of which more will
11 be said in the future.
12 Q. Yes, of course, Mr. Zaric.
13 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Excuse me for interrupting you, but there
14 is -- on page 35, line 7, there is an expression which perhaps is due to
15 the translation. It reads: "That they help maintain order, maintain
16 harmony among the people, and he" - that means Lieutenant Colonel
17 Nikolic - "requested that there should not be interethnic conflicts on a
18 large scale in this area of ours." That expression "on a large scale"
19 must -- it's very ambiguous what is meant. Is it that he accepted, so to
20 say, on a small -- on a minor scale but not on a large scale? Could you
21 clarify that with the witness. Thank you.
22 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, of course. Thank you.
23 Q. Mr. Zaric, you have heard the question. I think it has to do with
24 the translation, after all. What did Mr. Nikolic request? How did he
25 want the reserve military officers to become engaged? What sort of
1 contribution did he want them to make?
2 A. When I used the word "large scale," when I was testifying before
3 the break, I clarified this matter to a certain extent, I was referring
4 to, and I think that Mr. Nikolic was referring to the same thing, I was
5 thinking about certain ethnic conflicts not being able to be controlled by
6 the police and the army. I was thinking of serious incidents that
7 couldn't be controlled by the police. And then in such a case, the army's
8 role would be obvious. In such a case, the army would have to assume a
9 position. But the army didn't tolerate any serious incidents.
10 Mr. Nikolic was only pointing to certain details, and I'll talk about
11 these details later on, because they're part of the security problem in
12 that area. He was just drawing attention to the fact that those details,
13 events in various parts of Posavina, could make the situation more complex
14 and could make it difficult to control the political and security
15 situation. That's what I was thinking of.
16 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you.
17 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 Q. Mr. Zaric, you said that you too participated in that first
19 meeting, you also took the floor. Isn't that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Can you remember, before this Trial Chamber here today, the
22 matters you spoke about at that meeting? Could you be brief, please.
23 A. I took advantage of the opportunity, because the people who were
24 at that meeting, the officers and the non-commissioned officers who were
25 there, knew me quite well, and they knew that I had worked in the security
1 service for years. Perhaps many at the time were not aware of the fact
2 that I had been retired. I pointed to the complex security situation in
3 the Posavina area, and in particular in the area of Samac, Modrica, Orasje
4 areas, and I referred to certain events. I knew that these things were
5 happening for sure, and I said that it was necessary to organise a unified
6 defence, not only in the town of Samac. I spoke about it necessary to
7 having a unified defence in the area of the entire municipality of Samac,
8 and beyond that area too. And this was borne out by subsequent events.
9 It would have been of no significance if Samac had joint defence and other
10 rural areas had other military formations, other armies. In such a case,
11 this would not have improved the situation. This would only have made the
12 security situation deteriorate. So that is the matter that I addressed,
13 because we knew each other, and our main task was to remain unified in the
14 town of Samac, because Samac was also the administrative centre of the
15 municipality, where all the key institutions were located: The industry,
16 et cetera, in the municipality area.
17 Q. Thank you. Mr. Zaric, did you appeal to all officers and
18 non-commissioned officers to join the JNA, regardless of the ethnic groups
19 they belonged to?
20 A. Absolutely. That was the principle that I followed, and this is a
21 principle that I will adhere to at all times.
22 Q. Thank you. We will now turn to the other meeting held in
23 December. You said that at that meeting -- that that meeting was also
24 held in the memorial centre. Who was present at the meeting, and what did
25 you notice at that meeting with regard to the presence of officers and
1 non-commissioned officers?
2 A. All I can say is that the first and second meetings were
3 held -- that the first and second meeting were held in the hall, the
4 so-called red hall of the memorial centre. It's called the red hall
5 because the seats in the hall had red upholstery. I can remember very
6 well that there were between 60 and 70 officers and non-commissioned
7 officers from the town of Samac. And on the second time the meeting was
8 held in December, a third of that number was present. About 70 per cent
9 of that third were Serbian nationality. The others were Muslims and
10 Croats. I apologise -- who had responded to that appeal. And it is thus
11 possible to conclude that the appeal made at the first meeting didn't bear
12 any fruit. Many officers and non-commissioned officers, in my opinion,
13 followed national leaders rather than us from the defence unit that I have
14 spoken about.
15 Q. Thank you. What were the matters discussed at the second meeting
16 at the memorial centre?
17 A. The subject-matter was very similar at the second meeting, and it
18 was indicated that there was a mood in town, there was the will to form a
19 defence, and an agreement was reached to mobilise, to carry out the
20 voluntary mobilisation of all men liable for military service who wanted
21 to join such a defence unit. So the tasks -- the objectives would be the
22 same as the ones that I have spoken about here. There was nothing else
23 apart from the fact that the people from the secretariat for National
24 Defence made a record of those who were present at the second meeting, and
25 they counted on those officers and non-commissioned officers for
1 organising a unit which would be established as of January, as a certain
2 unit in the area of the town of Samac.
3 Q. Thank you. You said that a unit would be formed. Tell us: What
4 was the nature of the unit that was formed? What was its name and when
5 was it established?
6 A. This united was called the 4th Detachment of the JNA, the Yugoslav
7 People's Army. In territorial terms, it was linked to the Samac
8 settlement alone, and it was part of the 17th Tactical Group, under the
9 command of Lieutenant Colonel Stevan Nikolic, and its headquarters was in
10 Pelagici [phoen].
11 Q. When was the 4th Detachment established?
12 A. By order of the command of the 17th Tactical Group, Lieutenant
13 Colonel Stevan Nikolic, it was established on the 5th of January, 1992.
14 The decision was adopted on forming the 4th Detachment. Its principal
15 leadership was appointed and its leadership was assigned with the task of
16 gradually organising subordinate and other necessary military units which
17 would form the detachment, which would compose the detachment as a unit.
18 Q. Mr. Zaric, did you become a member of the 4th Detachment? How did
19 this take place and when did it take place?
20 A. When this order was issued, the one that I mentioned a minute ago,
21 Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic appointed a detachment commander, and from the
22 5th of January, 1992, I officially became a member of that detachment and
23 I had the duties of the -- as assistant commander for security and
24 information affairs and for information and morale. This additional
25 function was given this name later on.
1 Q. Can you tell us: Who was appointed as commander of the 4th
2 Detachment by Stevan Nikolic's order?
3 A. Captain first class Mr. Radovan Antic was appointed as commander
4 of the detachment.
5 Q. And who was appointed as deputy commander of the 4th Detachment?
6 A. Deputy commander of the 4th Detachment, as deputy commander of the
7 4th Detachment, Mr. Jovo Savic, who was also a Captain first class, was
8 appointed to this post.
9 Q. Was Mr. Miroslav Tadic also appointed a certain position by
10 virtue -- by this order?
11 A. Yes. He was the deputy commander of the 4th Detachment for
13 Q. Thank you. You've just told us that you were appointed as a
14 deputy commander for security and intelligence affairs, according to the
15 order issued by lieutenant colonel. Could you now tell us what your
16 duties and tasks included, as deputy commander for security and
18 A. When the decision was adopted on establishing the 4th Detachment,
19 I was given these security duties in addition to my other duties, and this
20 in fact meant that I should monitor all intelligence, that I should gather
21 all intelligence that might relate to threats, to the existence of that
22 unit. I had monitored the security situation in that area, in the area of
23 the town, where our zone of responsibility had been established. I was to
24 gather all kinds -- all sorts of information in intelligence that might be
25 of interest. And intelligence on units that were against the
1 establishment of that detachment. So it had to do with protecting
2 intelligence and also counter-intelligence. So very briefly, those would
3 be my duties.
4 Q. Thank you. And what sort of authority did you have? Did you have
5 any kind of authority as part of your duties that you had to perform?
6 A. The deputy commander of the detachment is on the lower step of the
7 hierarchy in security terms in the JNA, and in the Territorial Defence
8 too. There are no -- lower [as interpreted] units in the detachment don't
9 have that security component. So my task was to gather such intelligence
10 and to relay such intelligence to my superior, Makso Simeunovic, who was
11 the chief of the intelligence and security organ of the 17th Tactical
12 Group. So I was authorised to gather intelligence, information, and to
13 relay this intelligence. Some of the intelligence was intelligence that I
14 relayed to Mr. Simeunovic, and other parts of the information I would
15 relay to the commander of the 4th Detachment, Mr. Antic.
16 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes. The exact word that Mr. Zaric used here on
17 page 41, line 23, is the lowest step of the hierarchy, and here it says
18 "lower." The lowest. That was the word he used.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. It will be corrected.
20 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Zaric, did you have any command role in the detachment, i.e.,
22 did you have the right to issue any orders to anybody, to any of the
23 members of the 4th Detachment?
24 A. No, I did not have any command role along these lines. I did not
25 have any authorities along these lines. This is not envisaged by any
1 regulations, nor did I have such a role in reality.
2 Q. Who in the command of the 4th Detachment had the authority to
3 issue executive orders to the members of the 4th Detachment?
4 A. The authority to issue such orders belonged to the commander of
5 the 4th Detachment, Mr. Radovan Antic. In case of his absence, some of
6 the executive orders could be issued by his deputy, Captain Jovo Savic.
7 Q. Did you, Mr. Zaric, have any authority, either given to you by the
8 commander or the deputy commander of the detachment, to issue any kind of
9 executive orders?
10 A. No. I did not have any such authority.
11 Q. Very well, then. Irrespective of that, did you yourself,
12 Mr. Zaric, ever issue any executive order to any of the members of the 4th
14 A. No, never.
15 Q. Now I will ask you to answer a few questions relative to the
16 functioning of the security organs of the 4th Detachment. One of them
17 would be who was your superior? Who were you subordinated to?
18 A. I was subordinated to the commander of the detachment. That was
19 down the line of commandment and the line of subordination. My immediate
20 superior was the chief of the security in the 17th Tactical Group,
21 Mr. Makso Simeunovic, which means that one needs to bear in mind these two
22 communication components. One goes along the line or the chain of
23 command, to which I'm linked directly -- according to which I'm directly
24 linked to the commander of the detachment, and with that, the commander of
25 the 17th Tactical Group, and according to the lines of subordination and
1 the conveying of the intelligence information, my first immediate superior
2 was my -- was Mr. Makso Simeunovic, as the chief of the intelligence and
3 security at the level of the 17th Tactical Group.
4 Q. Thank you. Who did you report to, Mr. Zaric, about your work?
5 A. I sent a written report and I gave oral reports to my superior,
6 Mr. Makso Simeunovic. Some of the intelligence which I believe they were
7 of vital interest for the security of the detachment, I would give
8 directly to the commander of the detachment, Mr. Nikolic, or - sorry -
9 Mr. Antic, the commander of the detachment.
10 Q. When you submitted your report or when you conveyed certain
11 information to your superior - according to the principles of
12 subordination, that was Mr. Makso Simeunovic - was Mr. Makso Simeunovic
13 under the obligation to inform you about what happened with your report
14 and the intelligence that you gathered?
15 A. No. Once I issued my report to Mr. Makso Simeunovic, he was under
16 no obligation to give me any feedback on what the lot of my information or
17 my report was. But it did happen that some significant intelligence was
18 discussed or I would receive some new task that stemmed from that piece of
19 intelligence. However, he was under no obligation to give me any feedback
20 on what I gave him as intelligence.
21 Q. You mentioned that in addition to the security and intelligence
22 tasks in the detachment, you also performed some tasks that were relative
23 to morale and information. Tell me: Who issued the orders to you about
24 the morale and the information in the 4th Detachment?
25 A. When the command of the detachment was established, it was
1 immediately said that in addition to the intelligence and security, I
2 would also be in charge of the duties relative to the information and
3 morale in the unit. In simple words, this meant I would be the port
4 parole [phoen] [Realtime transcript read in error "corporal"] of that
5 unit. And when I received my orders in that segment, that was from the
6 commander Antic or his deputy Mr. Savic. And when I appeared on two
7 occasions in the public, that was done at the express order of Commander
9 Q. Can you now describe for the Trial Chamber what were the contents
10 of your tasks relative to the issues of morale in the 4th Detachment.
11 A. When the decision was adopted on establishing the 4th Detachment,
12 an attempt was immediately made to do a trial and see how many people
13 would respond to this mobilisation, the tasks and goals were of
14 which -- of which were as I explained a little while ago.
15 MR. LAZAREVIC: [Previous translation continues]... Clarification
16 on page 44, line 20. In simple words, this means that I would be the
17 corporal. Actually, Mr. Zaric said "port parole" [phoen]. This was the
18 word that he used, the speaker.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you. It will be corrected.
20 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. At the beginning already in January, over 200 men responded to the
22 mobilisation call. They were of all ethnic backgrounds and they wanted to
23 join this detachment. Very soon after that, we decided to stage a public
24 meeting with the first group of people who volunteered and responded to
25 the mobilisation call. And one of my tasks at that meeting, which was
1 amongst others attended by Mr. Nikolic and by Mr. Antic, so one of my
2 tasks was to exert moral influence, to exert influence and try and
3 mobilise as many people as possible to join this defence component whose
4 name was the 4th Detachment. My message was that it was the only
5 guarantee for the safety of our town of Samac.
6 Q. And your duties relative to information in the detachment, what
7 were they all about? Let's first consider the issue of providing
8 information to the members of the 4th Detachment. How did -- how was that
9 organised? Were there any regular meetings with those people?
10 A. Yes. There were meetings on a large scale, with all the members,
11 and smaller-scale meetings in units. There was three or four meetings,
12 one of them in the memorial centre, another one in the Tekstilac
13 restaurant. Tekstilac is the Samac textile industry, which also housed
14 the command of the 4th Detachment.
15 Q. Thank you. What were the topics that you discussed at those
17 A. The main topic was to point to the members of the 4th Detachment
18 how serious the political and the security situation was at that time, not
19 only in the town and municipality of Samac but also in the general area.
20 The message was also to point out the need to establish a defence
21 component in order to resist everything that looked like war.
22 Q. Tell us now: Who were the speakers at the meetings of the members
23 of the 4th Detachment?
24 A. At the meeting which was held in the memorial centre, one of the
25 speakers was Mr. Stevan Nikolic, Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic, whose speech
1 conveyed the messages that I've already mentioned. Another speaker was
2 Mr. Radovan Antic, who was the commander of the detachment, and also
3 several members of the unit, people who raised certain issues, who wanted
4 to know how the detachment would be organised and how the defence
5 component of the 4th Detachment would develop. One of the speakers was
6 also myself, and I've already spoken about that.
7 Q. Obviously you were one of the speakers, and what did you
8 emphasise? What messages did you convey to the members of the 4th
9 Detachment? Was your goal to inform the people about the situation in the
10 general area in the town of Samac?
11 A. Absolutely. Already at that time, we had at our disposal
12 information about several incidents that had happened and that had shown
13 us that the situation, both in town and in the general area of Samac
14 municipality, was getting more complex by the day. We mentioned all those
15 incidents, and we wanted to show people how complex the situation was and
16 what the final outcome of that situation might be. On the other hand, in
17 the political and public life of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a very complex
18 drama was evolving. There was an ethnic drift, and the parliamentary
19 system in Bosnia and Herzegovina was blocked. Those incidents in our area
20 deserved to be mentioned to the members of the unit. The underlying idea
21 was to tell them that there was no other possibility for us to defend
22 ourselves from the evil but to be united in our defence.
23 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Zaric. Let's move on to the question of
24 providing information to the general public in Bosanski Samac, about the
25 existence and the goals of the detachment.
1 Did any of you appear in the media or in meetings? Did any of you
2 inform the general public about that?
3 A. Yes, there were public appearances which took place in two ways.
4 Firstly, there was an official information on behalf of the general
5 secretariat for National Defence about a defence component, under the name
6 of the 4th Detachment of the JNA, having been formed in Samac. It was
7 said that this unit was organised and that it comprised of people from all
8 ethnic groups. And the second way of conveying information was a round
9 table, a public round table, in Radio Samac. I was one of the
10 participants of that round table. I participated on behalf of the 4th
11 Detachment. Another participant was Vinko Dragicevic, on behalf of the
12 public security station. Commanders Antic participated on behalf of the
13 4th Detachment. And I believe there was also Mr. Milos Bogdanovic, on
14 behalf of the secretariat for National Defence. And we, as such, answered
15 a number of people who phoned in and wanted to raise questions with that
17 Q. Slow down, Mr. Zaric. You said that there was a round table.
18 Does that mean that you participated in radio shows and you talked about
19 the existence of the 4th Detachment?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. You said who were other participants in that show. What did you
22 say on that show? What did you personally say? Did you again appeal and
23 mention the need to be united?
24 A. Yes. I did convey exactly that message. Unity was something that
25 I always fostered, and whenever I appeared in public, I could not not
1 mention unity, because that's the only way I could talk. That was my life
2 motive, unity of all peoples.
3 Q. Thank you very much. Did you -- you always said that it was a
4 live show. Does that mean that people could phone in, that listeners
5 could directly ask questions to all the participants of the show?
6 A. Yes, it could be done. There were some very delicate issues
7 raised, because there had been a number of incidents that preceded that
8 show. Some of those happened in Samac, Bosanski Brod, Orasje. And would
9 we -- we could say in very honest terms, we would answer the questions,
10 all of us, Mr. Antic, Mr. Dragicevic, and myself. We tried to answer all
11 of these questions in a very honest manner.
12 Q. Thank you very much. Mr. Zaric, did you appear at meetings of
13 citizens on various occasions on behalf of the 4th Detachment of the JNA?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Can you tell us: How many such meetings did you attend, and how
16 many times you appeared in such meetings.
17 A. The majority of these meetings took place in the area of the town
18 of Samac. Those were attended by members of the 4th Detachment. But I
19 must also say that all of our public meetings could be attended by any
20 citizen who was of military age. And listen to what we were talking
21 about. We never kept anything concealed from the general public. We
22 didn't -- we never refrained from talking about our goals. Many of the
23 people who attended those meetings, we knew that they had already been
24 members of some paramilitary units organised by their respective parties.
25 But our message was always clear, and we always pointed out the things
1 that I have just spoken about. I want to say something else. Not only as
2 a member of the 4th Detachment, but also as -- in other capacities, I
3 participated in some peace rallies in Prud, Vojskova, and Kornica, and I
4 had the opportunity to talk about that at those rallies. And my only goal
5 was to defend the unity of the Yugoslav People's Army and the unity of
6 those peoples who resided in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7 Q. Very well, then. Thank you. I'm going to ask you a question. We
8 will go back to this subject again at a later stage, but now I'd like to
9 ask you this: Were there any meetings with the representatives of the
10 Bosanski Samac local commune, and did you attend those meetings?
11 A. Yes. There were very many such meetings and very many times I
12 participated in those meetings.
13 Q. Thank you very much. We'll come back to that later. And now
14 let's move on to the political and security situation in Samac
15 municipality during the period between the 1st of October, 1991, and the
16 17th of April, 1992. We're talking about the period of time between the
17 1st of October, 1991, and the 17th of April, 1992. Can you give us a
18 short overview of that situation in Samac municipality, and then we will
19 go into details of various events that occurred during that period of
21 A. I can say that during that period between the 1st of October and
22 the outbreak of conflicts, because of various incidents that were taking
23 place from Bosanski Brod to Brcko, that part of Posavina was a little
24 Beirut, and especially Samac. When I say Beirut, I mean that there were
25 almost daily sabotage and terrorist actions of all sorts, which
1 jeopardised the political and security situation and contributed towards
2 the political polarisation in the territory of Posavina and in the general
3 area of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Q. Very well, then. As far as you can remember, which sabotage
5 actions by their force and by their consequences made the situation more
6 complex? What sabotage actions took place?
7 A. I don't know how fair it is going to be, but I would like to
8 inform the Honourable Chamber what happened before the 1st of October.
9 There were two situations which I believe were relevant. Before I was
10 retired, there was one incident in July, and the other one was in August,
11 immediately before I was retired. So I'm talking about the time when I
12 was still the active chief of the service.
13 The first incident took place in the village of Obudovac, the
14 largest Serbian village in the territory of Samac municipality. We learnt
15 about an illegal operation of smuggling of hunting rifles. The
16 intelligence was gathered together with the state security and the public
17 security services, and we arrived at the conclusion that these hunting
18 rifles were bought and resold for material gain. They were not bought to
19 serve as a deterrent against anybody or as -- in order to threaten
20 somebody. Those rifles were bought at hundred German marks and sold at
21 two or three hundred German marks. This was published in the security
22 bulletin of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and it went down with a bang, and a huge
23 security impact was given to that case. And I have just told you the way
24 I saw that incident. It was nothing but a small-scale smuggling.
25 The second security incident took place at the end of August, when
1 an illegal contingent of weapons arrived in Modrica. This was organised
2 by the HDZ, and the weapons were produced in the Djuro Djakovic company in
3 Slavonski Brod. These weapons were Zagi automatic weapon, and the Sokac
4 automatic weapon. Zagi and Sokac were their popular names.
5 Through my network of associates, I managed to break this
6 smuggling canal on the other side in Kladari, Garevac villages, in the
7 territory of Modrica municipality, these were things were supposed to be
8 given to the HOS paramilitary formation. Those were the Croatian defence
9 forces which were based in the Republic of Croatia and their commander was
10 Dobrislav Paraga. I must say that at that point in time, when we were
11 able to intercept this operation, something happened in our service and
12 this was interrupted. I was very angry. I reacted to that at our meeting
13 in Doboj. And I'm not saying that this was the only reason, but certainly
14 one of the reasons for which I was forced to retire prematurely.
15 Q. Okay. Very well, then, Mr. Zaric. Let's go back to my original
16 question, and that was about the sabotage actions that took place in Samac
17 municipality during the period between the 1st of October and the 17th
18 of -- that is, the 1st of October, 1991, and the 17th of April, 1992.
19 What sabotage operations or actions took place during that time, and what
20 happened next?
21 A. There were a number of those sabotage actions, one worse than the
22 other. The first such sabotage actions took place at the very beginning
23 of December 1991. I'm not going to draw any inferences. That should be
24 the task of somebody else. But at the beginning of December, a special
25 unit of the Ministry of the Interior of Bosnia-Herzegovina arrived in the
1 territory of Samac. Their commanders were Besirevic, Safet and Hodzic
2 Ragib and they arrived on the 2nd of December, and they had about a
3 hundred specials with them, all members of the Ministry of the Interior.
4 Their task was primarily to provide security for the bridge on the Sava
5 River. At that time, that was the only possibility to cross the Sava
6 River and that was the only connection between the Republic of Croatia and
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina. And their task was also to look after the security
8 component in the territory of the municipalities of Samac and Odzak.
11 (redacted) . Maybe if the Trial
12 Chamber will allow me, I can mention their names in a closed session.
13 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could we briefly go
14 into closed session so that the names of these people around mentioned.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: I think we can go in private session, yes.
16 [Private session]
24 [Open session]
25 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session.
1 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Zaric, were there any other privately owned buildings that
3 were blown up in the municipality of Samac?
4 A. In December, December was a month during which many incidents
5 occurred, both private and public incidents. As far as I can remember, on
6 the 9th of December, the nuclear shelter in the Hranaprodukt food factory
7 was destroyed and there were over 540 missiles, anti-hail missiles there.
8 Kapetanovic's summer house was destroyed, which was located in the
9 direction of Tursinovac. It was outside the Samac area. On the 14th of
10 February, the business premises of Muharem Bajraktarevic was destroyed.
11 He's a Muslim from Samac. It was a building that hadn't been completed.
12 Explosives were planted there and damage was inflicted on that building.
13 And on the same day, a little later, that notorious incident in the
14 Valentino Cafe occurred.
15 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Zaric. I just want to just
16 clarify one thing. It might be a matter of translation. On page 54,
17 lines 18 to 21, Mr. Zaric's answer speaks about the nuclear shelter in the
18 Hranaprodukt food factory was destroyed and there were over 540 missiles
19 there. Is that correct? It just reads a little oddly to me. Maybe you
20 could clarify with Mr. Zaric, Mr. Pisarevic.
21 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, of course.
22 Q. Mr. Zaric, you have heard Judge Williams' question. Missiles,
23 rockets were mentioned. It's obvious that -- what sort of rockets are at
24 stake, the ones that were located in the nuclear shelter in the food
1 A. These are anti-hail missiles, rockets. That is their name. These
2 are rockets that are used if there's a ferocious storm. These rockets are
3 launched from launch pads in order to disperse the clouds and to prevent
4 the storm from inflicting damage on the city. In wartime conditions, when
5 these rockets are placed on launch pads, they only perform a psychological
6 role. Their purpose is to frighten people. Because when you put them one
7 next to the other, you have the impression that what is involved is a
8 multiple rocket launcher. So this was one of the biggest and most modern
9 nuclear shelters in the municipality of Samac. It was a new factory, and
10 in that nuclear shelter, that's what it was called, there were over 540
11 anti-hail missiles, anti-hail rockets. And there is one other thing that
12 I should inform Judge Williams of. When the explosion occurred, it was
13 terrible to observe, because Samac was practically covered by cloud.
14 Those rockets don't -- aren't fired all at once, but in succession. They
15 can't all be fired at once. They are fired in succession. So you can
16 imagine when 540-odd rockets exploded, it was something that was quite
17 frightening for the people who observed the event, and this factory was
18 located on the outskirts of the town, at a certain distances from the
20 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
21 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Could we just be a little more precise about those rockets. In
23 fact, these rockets used for weather purposes, meteorological rockets; is
24 that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Very well. Were buildings damaged, bridges, power lines, and so
3 A. In December, as far as I know, several power lines were destroyed.
4 One of the biggest power lines was near the bridge, in the immediate
5 vicinity of the bridge over the Sava, and it was guarded by the special
6 police units from Sarajevo. And on that same evening, Nedic Marko's
7 disco, called Miler was destroyed. It's on the main road from Samac to
8 the village of Obudovac. The second power line that was destroyed was in
9 the direction of Lugovi. It is sort of an agricultural location and in a
10 certain sense all the Serbian villages were cut off. I don't want to go
11 into the details, but Mr. Alija Fitozovic has testified about this in very
12 clear terms.
13 Q. Very well. Were there any other events in the seriousness of
14 which contributed to a feeling of insecurity and which contributed to
15 divisions among the people, et cetera?
16 A. In February, I think - I don't know whether it was on the 4th or
17 the 5th of February, but it was one of those two days, that is
18 certain - significant damage was inflicted on the bridge over the River
19 Sava, and that was the only functioning bridge at the time that connected
20 the Republic of Croatia with Bosnia-Herzegovina. And what is very
21 indicative, in my opinion, with regard to the destruction of this bridge
22 is the fact that it was blown up at 8.45 in the morning. And before that
23 time, the chief of the police, of the public security service, stopped
24 traffic on both sides of the bridge. That is when the explosion occurred.
25 Fortunately, no significant casualties, and the media in
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina condemned the behaviour of Chief Dragicevic and those
2 who were guarding that bridge. They characterised this act in very
3 particular terms.
4 MR. LAZAREVIC: Just one small clarification to give sense to what
5 we have here as the answer of Mr. Zaric: "And before that time, at 8.00."
6 There is one part of the sentence missing here. So 45 minutes before it
7 happened, the police stopped traffic to the bridge.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Mr. Zaric, maybe you can go over that slowly
9 so that it's correctly recorded.
10 THE ACCUSED ZARIC: [Interpretation] When the explosion occurred on
11 the 5th of February, according to the information I had, the explosion
12 took place at 8.45 in the morning, and at 8.00 in the morning the chief of
13 security ordered that there should no longer be any traffic over the
14 bridge. There is a written report, a communique, about this, because a
15 commission from the Ministry of the Interior of Bosnia-Herzegovina came to
16 carry out an on-site investigation to determine how this occurred. And I
17 was in a position to see that document. And the media provided their own
18 interpretation of the event.
19 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Were there any other events which contributed to rendering the
21 situation in the municipality of Bosanski Samac more complex? Were any
22 buildings damaged at the Orthodox cemetery, were there patrols of any kind
23 in the town of Samac? What happened to the Valentino Cafe? Tell us a
24 little more about these events.
25 A. On the 27th of January, 1992, on one of the most significant
1 religious events for the Orthodox people, St. Sava, the Orthodox chapel
2 was blown up, in the Orthodox cemetery. This chapel was used when someone
3 was brought there to be buried. The people were very much embittered by
4 this event, all the more so in that this occurred on that religious day,
5 and the public didn't fail to comment on this. I mentioned Mr. Safet
6 Besirevic and Ragib Hodzic. According to reliable information that I had
7 when I was involved in these duties, I knew that they were instructors in
8 the Patriotic League of Bosnia and Herzegovina, headed by Sefer Halilovic.
9 They spent more time on the premises of the Party of Democratic Action,
10 more time there than on the premises of the Ministry of the Interior, and
11 they were very often there with Mr. Alija Fitozovic. And from February
12 onwards, they -- from February onwards, Muslim patrols started patrolling
13 the town. Their purpose was allegedly to protect buildings owned by
14 Muslims. This was an issue that was often discussed at the Crisis Staff
15 of the local commune, and I too participated in these discussions on
16 behalf of the 4th Detachment, representatives for all the political
17 parties in the town and at the municipality level also participated,
18 representatives of the police, the ministry of the defence, and I know
19 that Mr. Sulejman Tihic was in favour of the legitimacy of these SDA
20 patrols. And my opinion at these meetings was that this should be done by
21 having recourse to the reserve police force. And those were the
22 differences that we had. I didn't think that it should be done. On a
23 private basis, I thought that there should be mixed patrols of the reserve
24 police force. However --
25 Q. Mr. Zaric, we will address these issues later on, but at the
1 moment we are discussing the events that made the political and security
2 situation in the municipality of Samac more complex, from the 1st of
3 October -- from the 2nd of October until the 16th or 17th of April, 1992.
4 Were there any other events that gave some significance and contributed to
5 endangering the security and political situation and the relations between
6 ethnic groups, not only in the town of Samac but also in the municipality
8 A. Perhaps I went off on a tangent when I wanted to speak of these
9 patrols, but it is because the military police, on one occasion, in March,
10 disarmed one such patrol, one such SDA patrol, not far from the Mebos
11 factory. That was a reason allegedly to erect barricades and to prohibit
12 anyone else entering the town. The Party of Democratic Action was
13 responsible for organising the erection of these barricades and this
14 action was led by Mr. Alija Fitozovic, and he has confirmed this fact in
15 his testimony before this Trial Chamber. But the barricades themselves
16 contributed to a certain security situation which was negative in the
18 Q. Tell me: Where were these barricades erected?
19 A. At the two main entrances to the town of Samac, although there
20 was, so to speak, an additional third barricade. But as far as the first
21 two are concerned, one was placed when you enter Bosanski Samac from the
22 direction of Nedrici [phoen]. It was by the Mebos factory, at the
23 entrance to the Mebos factory, by the brick factory. And the second
24 barricade was at the crossroads near Uzarija, which you would approach
25 from Orasje and Obudovac, via the main road. So from that direction, no
1 Serbs or members of other peoples were allowed to enter the town.
2 MR. LAZAREVIC: If I can just have one small clarification. On
3 page 60, line 7, there was an additional third entrance. Mr. Zaric was
4 referring to the entrances to the town of Samac, not to the third
5 barricade. So the barricades were placed on two entrances, and a third
6 one was free.
7 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Zaric, could you tell us about the third entrance to Samac,
9 where there were no barricades.
10 A. That was an entrance that went in the direction of the village of
11 Prud, over the bridge over the River Bosna and towards my place of birth,
12 the village of Trnjak. At the time there were no barricades on the
13 bridge. But the reserve police of the HDZ was on that side and guarded
14 the bridge.
15 Q. Tell me: You said the reserve police, didn't you?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Tell me: Who were the people who manned those barricades?
18 A. As far as I know, the people manning the barricades were mainly
19 Muslims, and there was a lower number of Croats.
20 Q. The people manning those barricades, did they have automatic
21 weapons, military weapons?
22 A. Yes. They were armed. In addition to the obstructions they had
23 on the road, they used buses, passenger vehicles, and it wasn't possible
24 to pass by them. Quite a few of them were under the influence of alcohol.
25 And fortunately, there were no serious incidents after the intervention of
1 certain political bodies in the town. And Mr. Nikolic, the commander of
2 the 17th Tactical Group was spoken to about that matter by
3 Mr. Izo Izetbegovic. After these conversations, there were no significant
5 Q. Do you remember, did you ever hear anything about barricades being
6 established at the entrance to the town of Samac?
7 A. No. That was the first time. What makes this situation more
8 complex with regard to the barricades is the fact and the reliable
9 information that we had, according to which at the time
10 Mr. Alija Fitozovic had linked those barricades to the mobilisation of
11 paramilitary formations which were located in Croatian local communes
12 alone, and that fact, in my opinion, represented a far greater danger than
13 the fact that teams of alcoholised and irresponsible people claimed the
14 right to decide who could enter the town and who could not enter the town.
15 Q. Mr. Zaric, did the 4th Detachment take any action to remove these
16 barricades, and did you inform Commander Stevan Nikolic, the commander of
17 the 17th Tactical Group, of the fact that these barricades had been
19 A. Well, the role of the 4th Detachment was for me to inform
20 Commander Antic, Commander Nikolic, and I had to inform Makso Simeunovic
21 that the town had been -- was under a blockade, and we were immediately
22 informed that the 4th Detachment should not get involved in that, by no
23 means. We were told that this was a matter for the police. It was for
24 them to deal with that, for them and the political organs, and we
25 shouldn't think of doing anything. Commander Antic respected this order,
1 so that the 4th Detachment didn't play any role in removing these
2 barricades, apart from this information, this report I have mentioned.
3 Q. Thank you. Can you remember the names of some of the men who were
4 involved in these barricades?
5 A. Suljic Jadranko was involved in this, Ibrahim Salkic, also known
6 as Ibela, Mesmic Osman [phoen], known as Buca, Dragan Markovic, also known
7 as Mirin; Gibic, also known as Dasa. I'm sure about these men. Naturally,
8 Alija Fitozovic was in command. He went from one checkpoint to the other
9 and he commanded these units. There's no doubt as to the fact that he
10 participated in this.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zaric. On many occasions we have heard testimony
12 that on the 14th [Realtime transcript read in error "4th"] of February,
13 1992 - and that's the event in which two Muslim youths were killed in the
14 Valentino Cafe - we have heard testimony about these events.
15 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I think there's a mistake in the
16 transcript. It's not the 4th of February. It's the 14th of February.
17 Q. What do you know about this event, and what sort of consequences
18 arose in the town of Samac itself? Did this make the relations between
19 ethnic groups more complex? Can you tell us something about this?
20 A. I was in Obudovac when this happened. I was staying with friends.
21 I was with friends. And when I found out such a serious incident had
22 occurred, I returned to Bosanski Samac immediately. I was informed about
23 this by my wife. She said that people had been dead. Nasim Sireli [as
24 interpreted] was not far from that cafe. Nasim Mirel [as interpreted].
25 The incident occurred when a bomb exploded in the Valentino Cafe on the
1 day of St. Valentine.
2 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes. Maybe I could give some sense to this.
3 There is no Nasim or someone. Mr. Zaric, in B/C/S, "nas sin," this
4 meaning "our son," Mirel. So this is on page 63, line 10. So it's not
5 Nasim Mirel, but it's our son, Mirel.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you for that correction.
7 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Please go ahead, Mr. Zaric.
9 A. A bomb exploded on St. Valentine's Day. On that occasion, two
10 young men were killed. One of them was called Hadzialijagic and the other
11 one was called Bobic. A girl was seriously injured. Her name was
12 Pavlovic. And she was going out with that young man, Bobic. Several
13 other young people were wounded. There was panic. And on the same
14 evening there was a spontaneous protest, gathering, organised by -- well,
15 I wouldn't say extremists, but people from the SDA and the HDZ.
16 Q. Where was this gathering, Mr. Zaric?
17 A. Well, it started in front of the hotel, not far from that cafe,
18 immediately, and then the column headed towards the SJB, the public
19 security station in Samac. And I was an eyewitness of that event.
20 Q. What did you see in front of the public security station in Samac?
21 What was going on?
22 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. I've been reminded
23 it's time for the break. Maybe we could continue this after the break,
24 Your Honours.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: We shall take our break now.
1 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 12.53 p.m.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pisarevic.
4 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Mr. Zaric, the last thing that we mentioned before this break was
6 the rally of citizens in front of the public security station in Bosanski
7 Samac. You were there, as you have already told us. When did you arrive?
8 What did you see? What was going on in front of the public security
9 station in Samac?
10 A. According to my estimate, there were about 300 or 400 people
11 there. It was a respectable number, I would say. They were very loud,
12 expressing their dissatisfaction with the Yugoslav People's Army, with
13 Serbs in general, with Chetniks and so on and so forth. So it was very
14 unpleasant to listen to some of those individuals and the way they blamed
15 some people for the incident that had happened in that cafe. I went
16 through this group of people. I entered the building. It was not a
17 problem for me. My colleagues knew that I had free access, because I had
18 my office there and I had free access to that office. In my conversation
19 with Mr. Lukac there, and in my conversation with Mr. Milos Savic and
20 Zoran Jovanovic, who was a technician in the service, very soon I learnt
21 that this had been just an accident, a stupid accident, nothing else, that
22 this guy, Bobic, had a grenade in his possession and that he activated it
23 by accident. He got scared. He gave the grenade to the guy called
24 Hadzialijagic and the tragedy occurred, just like that.
25 Upstairs in Chief Dragicevic's office, there was
1 Safet Hadzialijagic also, known as Coner. He is the uncle of one of the
2 dead persons of the guy called Hadzialijagic. Based on the initial
3 information, Mr. Dragicevic told him what this has been all about, and a
4 meeting was staged between Mr. Hadzialijagic and me, before he appeared in
5 front of that large group of people. I expressed my condolences to him,
6 but since I knew that Mr. Safet Hadzialijagic, also known as Coner, had a
7 very strong authority in town, I told him that he had to muster the force
8 to appear before the people at that moment when he knew what this was all
9 about, that he had to exert his authority to calm the people and to tell
10 them to go home and leave it to the competent services to see the matter
12 Q. And what happened next?
13 A. I must say that Safet and I left the building alone and started
14 talking to the people. At the beginning, there were expressions of
15 displeasure, most of them at my address. But that is not important at
16 this moment. Safet raised his hand and this group of people quietened
17 down a bit, and he said something along these lines: There was a huge
18 tragedy, but I kindly ask you to go home. This was nothing but an
19 accident, and we have to place our trust with the competent organs, who
20 will investigate the matter and see the things through.
21 This had a calming effect on the mass. I have to say that I
22 believe that Mr. Hadzialijagic's words were decisive and contributed
23 largely to a peaceful end of the whole situation. But let me just say one
24 more thing. Before I entered the public security station building, the
25 spokesmen, among whom I recognised Jasarevic, also known as Roma, and
1 Blaz Paradzik from Roma [as interpreted], did not choose their words when
2 they were swearing the Serbs, the Chetniks, the army, the SDS. Those were
3 ugly words and very difficult to listen to. But after Mr. Hadzialijagic
4 addressed the people, the people went -- decided to go home.
5 Q. Thank you. Blaz Paradzik is from Prud, isn't he?
6 A. Blaz Paradzik is from Prud, and he's one of the witnesses who
7 testified as a Prosecution witness.
8 Q. Who else was there with you in front of the public security
9 station when you first got there? Who accompanied you?
10 A. There were a lot of people, but next to me was Mr.
11 Mlado Sarkanovic. Mr. Mihajlo Topolovac was also with me, Mr. Milos
12 Simendic. My brother-in-law Fadil Topcagic. So these were the people
13 with whom I left that rally eventually.
14 Q. Mr. Zaric, where did you go after that when people dispelled and
15 when the situation quietened down a bit? Where did you go?
16 A. First we went to Bobic's house. I don't know whether he was a
17 protected witness before this Chamber.
18 Q. Kemal Bobic. No, he's not.
19 A. First we went to Kemal Bobic's house. He is the father of this
20 guy Bobic who had been killed. Me and especially Mr. Sarkanovic were on
21 very good terms with him. It was our desire to express our condolences to
22 him, to calm him down as much as possible. It was dark. There were a lot
23 of people in his front yard. He received us in a very correct manner. He
24 accepted our condolences, as well as his wife Ediba. She also treated us
25 in a very fair manner. And then a young man turned up, in very coarse
1 words he started insulting us along the same lines of the words that were
2 heard in front of the public security station. He cursed our Serbian
3 mothers, our Chetnik mothers. He blamed Chetniks for everything that
4 happened. He blamed the JNA. And Mr. Bobic told us: Don't pay any
5 attention to him. He is a nervous, agitated type and he is the brother of
6 his wife, a native of Orasje. I replied: I understand. I appreciate
7 that. But if anybody had the strength, they should say that this man that
8 he shouldn't behave in that way. That was my reaction to that outburst.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zaric. Your visit to Mr. Kemal Bobic ended?
10 A. Yes, this visit ended and then I and the same group of people went
11 to Hadzialijagic's house, which is on the way towards the River Sava,
12 towards the River Bosna, and we also expressed our condolences to this guy
13 Hadzialijagic's father and mother.
14 Q. Were there incidents there?
15 A. There were no incidents there. Before us, Safet Hadzialijagic,
16 Coner, arrived at that house and it was my assumption that he had already
17 told the family how the accident occurred, and they were prepared and they
18 accepted our condolences in a very fair manner. I did not notice in them
19 any reservations towards our words.
20 Q. Mr. Zaric, was there any rally of citizens in the town of Bosanski
21 Samac that was provoked by that accident?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Do you know where that rally was gathered?
24 A. That rally was staged on the following day, in the afternoon, in
25 the cinema in Bosanski Samac.
1 Q. Thank you. Mr. Zaric, did you also attend that meeting or that
3 A. Yes, I was there. I participated in the discussion and in the
4 talks that were conducted at that meeting.
5 Q. Were there any other speakers at that meeting?
6 A. Yes. Hadzialijagic, also known as Coner, spoke,; then Mr. Stevo
7 Randzic from the secretariat for National Defence; Mr. Sulejman Tihic; and
8 two more young men also spoke at that meeting. One of them was a Muslim.
9 I'm sure. I don't know his last name. But he talked in rather inflamed
10 words and wanted to turn that rally into something else, but he did not
11 gain much support. But in any case, I know that a few of us participated
12 in -- actively in that meeting. And according to my estimate, the cinema
13 was full. There must have been about a thousand people in that room. The
14 room was completely packed.
15 Q. In very brief outlines, can you tell the Trial Chamber what you
16 said at that meeting, at that rally of citizens of Bosanski Samac which
17 took place in the cinema hall.
18 A. I remember well what I said. As far as I know, part of my speech
19 is also part of an exhibit, so I won't go into great length, because I'm
20 sure the Trial Chamber will have the opportunity to read it. But let me
21 paraphrase in as brief as possible outlines.
22 I referred to the programme of the Socialist Democratic Party. I
23 did not use this opportunity as a political stage. I just wanted to point
24 out the fact that its basic messages was for us to live together in
25 harmony, to respect each other, to live in fraternity and unity, and not
1 to allow anybody to put our peace that we enjoyed at stake. I said that
2 the older amongst us have to feel responsible about the grenade being
3 found on such a young person, that we had lost two lives and that one girl
4 lost an eye in the accident. I mentioned a number of incidents publicly
5 at that gathering, the incidents that had taken place already, and I said
6 that those incidents did not contribute towards the improvement of the
7 security situation and that we have to take the custody of the peace and
8 security in the town in our hands.
9 I also said that I understood various interpretations of the event
10 and that I understood that the relationship between the Serbs and the
11 Croats were slightly impaired as a result of the war that had
12 raged -- started raging in Croatia, because we bordered on Croatia. The
13 only thing between us was the River Sava, the thing that connected us or
14 separated us, whichever way you want to take it. I like to think that the
15 Sava connects us.
16 I also said that somebody in this town, at any costs, wanted to
17 impair the good relationship that existed between the Serbs and the
18 Croats, and I, in that, implied the Croatian Democratic Action
19 Party -- the Democratic Action Party. After that, Mr. Tihic asked the
20 floor. Obviously, he refused to agree to that.
21 MR. LAZAREVIC: Maybe Mr. Zaric is still talking a bit too fast.
22 On page 70 it was said that someone wanted to impair the good
23 relationships that existed between the Serbs and the Muslims, not Croats.
24 And then that he was referring to the Party of Democratic Action, the SDA.
25 And here it says Serbs and Croats and the Croatian Democratic Action
1 Party. So maybe he could give his answer again.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Maybe he can go over that slowly so that it's
3 clear and recorded properly.
4 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Zaric, you've heard. You have to slow down a little so that
6 your words can be recorded correctly. What did you say about the
7 relationship between the Croats and Serbs, and Serbs and Muslims, and when
8 you mentioned the Party of Democratic Action?
9 A. I apologise for the speed of my speech. I'm trying to discipline
10 myself, but it is very hard for me. I'll try to speak as slowly as
11 possible and help our interpreters.
12 I have stated the following: Although the relationship between
13 the Croats and the Serbs had been impaired because of the war in Croatia,
14 and that atmosphere had a bearing on the overall relationship between the
15 Croats and the Serbs. I did not see the reason why somebody in this town
16 is all the time trying to impair the good relationship between the Serbs
17 and Muslims that had lasted for a long time. I lived in that town from
18 1969 onwards and I never had any problems with either Croats or Muslims.
19 There were never any serious political or security situations of that sort
20 which all of a sudden appeared on the public scene, and for that reason I
21 pointed to that fact, because the two young men who spoke before me and
22 who took the floor before me, their idea was that as monuments should be
23 erected to the two killed people and that this should be erected next to
24 the monument of the victims of the Second World War, and so on and so
25 forth. Some very unrealistic requests were raised, and my goal was to
1 calm down the atmosphere and to end the meeting on a sober note. My
2 appeal to everybody was to fight for our unity, for all of us to find the
3 strength to overcome that situation and to mourn any young person who dies
4 for nothing, for no reason at all.
5 Q. And then you said that Mr. Tihic took the floor.
6 A. Yes. Mr. Tihic took the floor and he made me understand that the
7 Party of Democratic Action was a democratic modern party which fostered
8 plurality of views, that it didn't engage in any hitting below the belt.
9 Obviously this was a political stage and everybody wanted to gain points
10 for themselves and to portray themselves in as good light as possible. My
11 speech and my intentions, however, were very honest and I had all the good
12 intentions when I spoke.
13 Q. At that meeting or that rally, did it in any way contribute to the
14 calming down of the situation that prevailed in Samac? Did it improve the
15 relationship among the ethnic groups in the town or did the segregation
16 continue even after that?
17 A. I must say that for the first couple of days after that, the
18 situation calmed down a little and the tension subsided somewhat. The
19 burial of these two young men was attended by everybody, by members of all
20 the ethnic groups. For me it was a good sign. It was a sign that people
21 mourned for these two young people, and I thought that this was -- this
22 would contribute to the calming down of the overall situation.
23 Unfortunately, this happened over the two dead bodies. But I thought that
24 it would help. However, after two or three days, the things escalated and
25 went in a very unwanted direction.
1 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Zaric. Do you have any personal
2 knowledge about the launching of a mortar shell on a village in Samac
4 A. Yes. That happened before the Valentine's Day, before the
5 incident in the Valentino Cafe. That was on the 8th of December [as
6 interpreted], 1992, when the paramilitary formations from Hasic village
7 launched 120-millimetre grenade towards Skaric village. That mortar shell
8 fell in a field not far from the Babic and Bogdanovic family's houses.
9 Mr. Makso Simeunovic, this was in the area of responsibility of the 2nd
10 Detachment, but immediately after that, Mr. Simeunovic told me that a team
11 of experts had gone there and carried out an inspection, realised what
12 kind of a mortar shell that was, informed the security service about that,
13 and I know that Mr. Lukac has testified here before this Trial Chamber
14 that they tried to find the perpetrator and they tried fire to that piece
15 of weaponry, however without any success.
16 Q. Mr. Zaric, this incident, as far as you said, you said on the 8th
17 of February, 1992?
18 A. Yes. It was on the 8th of February, 1992.
19 Q. The transcript was not correct. It entered in the transcript that
20 this happened on the 8th of December, which was wrong.
21 Do you remember the kind of pressures that were put on members of
22 the 4th Detachment who were different ethnic group to leave the 4th
24 A. I must say that this was our daily nightmare. Although we tried
25 very hard to keep as many of us together in the 4th Detachment, and by
1 that I mean people of different ethnic groups. All the while the Party of
2 Democratic Action tried to use different methods to prevent their people
3 from joining us. However, immediately before the outbreak of the war,
4 there were 154 Muslims in the 4th Detachment. There were 44 Croats.
5 There were over 250 Serbs. This shows that we had succeeded in our
6 intentions, but not to be -- not so much as to be able to fully cover our
7 town for defence.
8 Q. We have heard testimony before this Trial Chamber about some sorts
9 of pressures. A pamphlet was mentioned before this Trial Chamber. Do you
10 know anything about that?
11 A. This was just one of the forms of pressure. We knew, we were
12 aware of that fact. Mr. Fitozovic also admitted that here. But I, as a
13 very experienced security officer, I realised that an action had been
14 taken. He sent his people to the 4th Detachment to spy on us and to
15 gather intelligence. Another type of action was a pamphlet that, on the
16 1st of April of 1992, turned up on the tree trunks and on the walls of
17 business premises all over the town. This enemy pamphlet, and that is all
18 I can call it, I can't call it anything else - was worded in such a way as
19 to convey a message to those Muslims who were members of the 4th
20 Detachment, were given a deadline by the 6th of April of 1992 to leave the
21 4th Detachment or else. They would be treated as traitors and they would
22 be judged by the Muslim people.
23 I happened to have that paper in front of me when I talked to
24 Mr. Tihic when he was arrested, and let me just say that this pamphlet
25 caused a strong embitterment, of the feeling of embitterment. It was
1 presented here as exhibit on several occasions, so I don't want to go back
2 to that exhibit but to use the words, "Chetniks, Chetnik leaders, Chetnik
3 slaughterers," this is something that can be attributed only to Serbs, as
4 something arising from the history, and this time these attributes were
5 given to them. So this pamphlet caused a great deal of dissatisfaction
6 among the members of the 4th Detachment and the general population, I
7 would say, the general population that resided in town at that time.
8 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Excuse me for interrupting you, but on page 74,
9 line -- the second line, it reads in the transcript: "He," referring to
10 Mr. Fitozovic," he sent his people to the 4th Detachment to spy on us."
11 What do you exactly mean by "us"? Is it the 4th Detachment or perhaps an
12 ethnic group? Could you clarify that? Thank you.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I said that, I'm talking about
14 the people who were given the task by Mr. Fitozovic to be members of the
15 detachment, to attend our meetings and to possibly report from that
16 meetings and to convey certain intentions of ours to Mr. Fitozovic.
17 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Excuse me. I'm only asking for your explanation
18 of the word "us." "He sent his people to the 4th Detachment to spy on
19 us." What did you mean by the word "us"? Stick to that question.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I meant the entire 4th Detachment.
21 I did not mean any particular ethnic group.
22 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you so much.
23 MR. LAZAREVIC: And there is just one small correction for the
24 transcript. Two words from the sentence are missing, just to give some
25 meaning to the words. It's on page 74, on line 15: But to use the word
1 Chetniks, Chetnik leaders, Chetnik slaughterers for the Muslims, because
2 Mr. Zaric was referring to the Muslim members of the 4th Detachment. Yes.
3 Because here we don't see that Mr. Zaric is referring to the Muslim
4 members. So when he gives an explanation, "Chetniks, Chetnik leaders,
5 Chetnik slaughterers," this is something that can be attributed only to
6 the Serbs, and he was referring to Muslims who were offended by using such
7 words for themselves.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Oh, yes. Maybe he can explain that as well.
9 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Of course, Your Honour.
10 Q. Mr. Zaric, you have heard what has given rise to confusion. Could
11 you explain to us what you were saying a minute ago.
12 A. There were perhaps 10 to 15 names on that leaflet, the names of
13 all the people on that leaflet were the names of people of Muslim
14 nationality. And by their names, for example, it would say
15 Fadil Topcagic-Chetnik Vojvoda, Chetnik leader. This is incomprehensible
16 in our Balkan area and in our former Yugoslav area, it's incomprehensible
17 to ascribe such terms to Muslims. These are terms that could only be
18 applied to Serbs or Chetnik slaughterer, butcher, et cetera. These are
19 derogatory terms which were always used to refer to the Serbs. And this
20 is why I'm saying that it is incomprehensible and unacceptable to see
21 terms used to refer to Serbs which had been placed by Muslim names on
22 those leaflets, and these are terms that were used with reference to Serbs
23 throughout history.
24 Q. Mr. Zaric, let's just clarify one other matter. You said that all
25 these people were of Muslim nationality. Were all the men, all the men on
1 this leaflet, members of the 4th Detachment?
2 A. Yes, they were. They were all members of the 4th Detachment.
3 MR. LAZAREVIC: Just two small corrections for the transcript.
4 The correct interpretation when said Chetnik Vojvoda, this means -- the
5 exact translation of Vojvoda is duke. It's a title, something like. And
6 there are -- there is also one word missing that Mr. Zaric used two times.
7 He was talking about frustrated history, and here it says on page 76, line
8 10, there is this word frustrated history. He was using this. And he has
9 very special meaning when he says frustrated history.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Because here it is recorded to Serbs throughout
11 history. Yes. I don't think we need to go into that. I think we can
12 proceed with the evidence, Mr. Pisarevic.
13 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 Q. What happened immediately after these leaflets had been
15 distributed? What happened in the town of Samac which contributed to the
16 deterioration of the relations between all the citizens there?
17 A. Well, up until that date when the leaflet appeared, we had a
18 meeting in the local commune, the Crisis Staff, and at that meeting
19 naturally we condemned such behaviour and I felt free to speculate on the
20 identity of the person who had decided that such leaflets should be
21 distributed. And on the following day, in the afternoon of the 2nd of
22 April, 1992, there was that notorious incident that has been discussed on
23 several occasions before this Trial Chamber. That was when the reserve
24 policemen of the Samac police station, the Samac public security station,
25 seriously wounded three members who were in civilian clothing at the time,
1 and they were in a vehicle. But these people, these men, were members of
2 the 4th Detachment. Their names were Danilo Vitomir, Mirsad Mesic, who
3 was a butcher, and Nisad Ramusovic, also known as Tota, one of the
4 Ramusovic brothers. And that incident showed that the security
5 situation -- the overall security situation in the town had come to a
7 Q. We will --
8 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Excuse me for interrupting you. The answer by
9 Mr. Zaric, on page 77, line 6, refers to the Crisis Staff, and the date he
10 mentioned was the 2nd of April. As far as I know, there was no Crisis
11 Staff in Bosanski Samac at that time. Could the witness perhaps clarify
12 the concepts as to dates and time. Thank you.
13 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. As far as the
14 Crisis Staff is concerned, Mr. Zaric has already mentioned it on two
15 occasions in the course of his testimony, but I didn't think it was
16 necessary to ask him about that Crisis Staff, or it was called the
17 coordination body in that local commune.
18 Q. Mr. Zaric, can you tell us what you mean by Crisis Staff in the
19 local commune of Bosanski Samac?
20 A. Well, this Crisis Staff should in fact be distinguished from the
21 Crisis Staff that is the matter of particular attention here. The Crisis
22 Staff in the local commune of Samac commenced its work in the month of
23 February and it existed only within the local commune of Samac. It was
24 represented by representatives of political parties in the town, members
25 of the council of the local commune, from the local commune, and I
1 represented the 4th Detachment. I participated at meetings of that Crisis
2 Staff on behalf of the detachment, of the 4th Detachment. In fact, that
3 was an operative body which met very frequently on the premises of the
4 local commune, in the well-known pensioners' home, and every day or every
5 few days we would discuss the current political and security situation in
6 the town, in the local commune.
7 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Okay. Thank you. So this Crisis Staff you
8 mentioned should not be mixed up with the Crisis Staff which was formed at
9 the 15th of April and headed by Dr. Blagoje Simic? There are two
10 different things.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's quite right.
12 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you.
13 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] We will turn to the subject of the
14 Crisis Staff in the local commune later on, so I won't pursue this matter
15 that Mr. Zaric has just addressed, but I will carry on with the subject
16 that we were discussing before the Trial Chamber asked this question about
17 the Crisis Staff.
18 Q. The people that the reserve policemen fired at, were they in a
19 civilian vehicle at the time?
20 A. Yes, they were in a civilian vehicle.
21 Q. Were they wearing civilian clothes?
22 A. Since when I found out about the incident I immediately went to
23 the medical centre, I was able to see the three men when the ambulance
24 managed to treat them and send them to hospital in Tuzla and Brcko. They
25 were all wearing civilian clothes.
1 Q. Mr. Zaric, were you at the site where this incident occurred? Did
2 you see that passenger vehicle in which Mesic, Ramusovic, and Vitomir were
4 A. Yes. I later went to the site and I saw that Lada car at the
5 crossroads. I don't know what the names of the streets are exactly, but
6 it wasn't far from the Molla cafe. It was perhaps 30 metres from the Sava
7 River. The vehicle had been riddled with bullets and there were people
8 who were carrying on an on-site investigation from the SJB, the public
9 security station.
10 Q. When you say the SJB in Samac, --
11 A. Yes, the public security station in Samac. Jovanovic and Lukac
12 were there. But I have to say that I only had a look at the site. I
13 asked them what the situation was. They were doing their work. I asked
14 Mr. Lukac whether they had found weapons or anything of that kind in the
15 vehicle, and I was told that they didn't find weapons or anything else in
16 that car.
17 Q. Did you find anything out about the perpetrators of that attack on
18 those people?
19 A. Yes. Very soon, because we were informed that these -- that two
20 reserve -- we were informed that two reserve policemen had opened fire on
21 these three policemen, Izetbegovic Adis is the name of one of them, he is
22 the son of Izo Izetbegovic, and the other is Safet Srna. They were both
23 members of the reserve police force and they had a tendency to destroy
24 public order before that event, and Srna --
25 MR. LAZAREVIC: One small intervention. On page 80, line 7, it
1 says two reserve policemen had opened fire on these three policemen, these
2 three persons that were shot were not actually policemen. They were
3 members of the 4th Detachment but civilians at that point. They didn't
4 wear any uniforms.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That will be corrected.
6 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. And when you found out about the perpetrators, did you later have
8 the opportunity of seeing those perpetrators in the town of Samac? Were
9 they the members of the reserve police force in Bosanski Samac?
10 A. After the incident, I immediately informed Mr. Makso Simeunovic
11 about what had happened, and the gentlemen you're talking about, these two
12 policemen, we never saw them again, since they are both active reserve
13 policemen who were members of various ethnic groups in the SJB. We found
14 out that both policemen had been taken by a police car to Croatia
15 immediately after the incident. They never returned. They more or less
16 fled from the site. And when certain measures were requested, we were
17 told that they didn't have access to them, that they weren't in the area
18 of Samac. And according to the intelligence we had, they had crossed over
19 into Croatian territory.
20 Q. The on-site investigation that was conducted, if I've understood
21 you correctly, you said that this investigation was already being carried
22 out by members of the Samac SJB. Did the security organs of the JNA of
23 the 17th Tactical Group of the JNA, or anyone else from the JNA, conduct
24 any sort of on-site investigation into this incident?
25 A. No, nothing at all. The on-site investigation was carried out by
1 members of the SJB alone. I think that was their professional duty. All
2 the people who were wounded were civilians, and there was absolutely no
3 reason for military security to get involved. And the only thing that
4 interested me when I appeared at the scene and saw the people I had
5 mentioned was what I have already mentioned. I didn't want to get
6 involved in any sort of investigation. That wasn't my task and that
7 wasn't included in my duties.
8 Q. Who carried out on-site investigations and compiled reports about
9 on-site investigations and prepared documents that concerned all incidents
10 in the municipality of Samac and sabotage in the incidents?
11 A. It was the SJB and the relevant investigations judge, who would go
12 to the site and carry out on-site investigations. I remember that Zeljko
13 Senic was one of the persons who was at the site and carried out an
14 on-site investigation with Mr. Lukac, Savic, and Zoran Jovanovic.
15 Q. Thank you. Are you aware of a single incident, act of sabotage or
16 an incident of some other kind, for which the security from the JNA
17 carried out the on-site investigation?
18 A. No, I'm not aware of any such incident. I don't know of security
19 organs from the 17th Tactical Group carrying out an on-site investigation
20 into sabotage or terrorist act that may have occurred or that occurred
21 during the period that I have been speaking about.
22 Q. Do you know whether the police or, rather, the public security
23 service in Bosanski Samac discovered a single perpetrator of an act of
24 sabotage or of some other kind of act during this period?
25 A. Well, to tell you the truth, I'm not familiar with any such
1 information, in spite of the fact that there were numerous incidents and
2 in spite of the fact that this -- these are incidents that occurred in a
3 restricted area. I have to quite simply say that -- well, Mr. Lukac, in
4 my opinion, was one of the most capable officials, as far as
5 investigations occurred in the Doboj region at that time. That was his
6 reputation, and I had a high opinion of him. However, I have to say that
7 unfortunately not a single incident was discovered or attributed to
8 someone who had committed an act of sabotage. And this is a somewhat
9 worrying fact. And until such a difficult situation developed, the
10 perpetrators of various acts and sleight acts, they were soon discovered
11 and legal measures were taken against them.
12 Q. Mr. Zaric, who was the chief of the SJB, the public security
13 station, in Bosanski Samac? In 1991 and for part of 1992?
14 A. The chief of the SJB was Mr. Vinko Dragicevic. He was there on
15 behalf of the HDZ after the multiparty elections. He had been appointed
16 to that post and he replaced Radovan Antic, who was the former chief.
17 Q. Vinko Dragicevic is of Croatian nationality?
18 A. Vinko Dragicevic is a Croat. He is a lawyer from the village of
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think it is now
22 time to adjourn.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
24 MR. LAZAREVIC: I apologise. Maybe just to assist the
25 interpreters. The question was: Mr. Zaric was the chief of SJB and the
1 answer was: In 1991 and for part of 1992, this was still a question. And
2 then comes the answer the chief of SJB was Vinko Dragicevic.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We can see that. Yes.
4 MR. LAZAREVIC: And then on line 4, that was a question.
5 "Vinko Dragicevic is of Croat nationality?" And then the answer
6 Vinko Dragicevic is a Croat. He was a lawyer from the village of Hasici.
7 And that's the correct order.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Thank you.
9 We will adjourn.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
11 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 6th day of
12 February 2003, at 2.15 p.m.