1 Wednesday, 7 May 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.16 p.m.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Good afternoon. Please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon. Case number IT-95-9-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and Simo Zaric.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pisarevic. You are continuing.
10 WITNESS: SIMO ZARIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Good day, Your Honour.
13 Examined by Mr. Pisarevic: [Continued]
14 Q. Good day, Mr. Zaric.
15 A. Good day.
16 Q. Before I put questions to you, Mr. Zaric, I wish to inform the
17 Trial Chamber of a small let's call it technical problem we have.
18 Mr. Zaric's glasses have not been brought to him and he has not received
19 his medicine for today. However, we have been assured that the security
20 guards have gone to fetch these things, so that probably during the
21 proceedings this issue will be resolved. If we have to introduce some
22 documents into evidence, we will wait for Mr. Zaric to receive his
23 glasses. That's all I wanted to inform the Trial Chamber about.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yeah. It's unfortunate that there is this lapse. I
25 hope that those concerned will make sure that this doesn't happen again.
1 We would like to support Mr. Zaric so that he can give his evidence and
2 complete it without a hitch. So we hope these matters will be received in
3 due course.
4 So you can proceed.
5 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Yesterday, before the end of the session, we mentioned the arrival
7 of volunteers to the village of Batkusa and your meeting with Mr. Nikolic,
8 Lieutenant Nikolic, and Makso Simeunovic, and what they told you.
9 Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic. Did Commander Nikolic tell you at that time
10 under whose command these units were? Were they under the command of the
11 17th Tactical Group or under some other command?
12 A. In brief, Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic told us that there had been a
13 meeting on the 12th, in Donji Zabar, and that on that occasion
14 Mr. Todorovic had told him that these policemen from Republika Srpska
15 Krajina were under his control and that they would take care of this unit,
16 that the unit would be supplied, organised, received, and accommodated by
17 him, that he would organise all these things. And he said that
18 Mr. Blagoje Simic was also present at the meeting, did not oppose this.
19 From this, I concluded that this was a unit which had not arrived in order
20 to join the 17th Tactical Group and become part of it.
21 Let me just add that on the 13th, when we were going in the
22 direction of Batkusa, at about 11.00 a.m. or 12.00 noon, Mr. Antic and I
23 stopped briefly in Batkusa and received information from some local people
24 that these special purpose units had stopped some buses, searched people,
25 and taken foreign currency from some people. When we transmitted this
1 information to Mr. Nikolic, I used a very vulgar expression. I said they
2 were a sort of gang. I said: What kind of specials are these who can
3 stop people and take their money? And he said something like this: That
4 he had been given the information he had been given to us that he would do
5 everything to keep this under a certain control and that he would monitor
6 their behaviour. He said: Stay away from them. They will be
7 accommodated in the area of the village of Obudovac. And with this
8 comment of his, all discussion of these people ended, and that's all we
9 every learned about who these people were who had arrived by helicopter.
10 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zaric?
11 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pisarevic.
12 Mr. Zaric, what would your position -- what is your knowledge on
13 the issue of whether these persons who arrived on the helicopters, whether
14 we call them volunteers, specials, paramilitaries is neither here nor
15 there, but what is your knowledge as to whether or not they were absorbed
16 into the structure of the JNA?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the beginning, to be quite
18 honest, I knew very little. I'm speaking of the first days and of the
19 13th, when I had a conversation with Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic on this
20 topic. However, soon afterwards, I received reliable information, quite
21 reliable, that these were people who had been specially trained not far
22 from the town of Ilok, in a place called Pajsos and Sarengrad, and these
23 camps had been organised to train policemen. From this, I drew the
24 conclusion that this was a team, or rather, a camp, training special
25 purpose policemen. I checked this information later on and had some
1 conversations about this, and I hope that during my testimony we will come
2 to these episodes, where I will talk about this topic in greater detail.
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you very much, Mr. Zaric, on that point for
5 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Yes, thank you. I had exactly the same question
6 as Judge Williams, but I leave it for the cross-examination and hope that
7 it will be clarified more in detail. Thank you.
8 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Zaric, have we rounded off this topic now? But could you tell
10 us, all the same, where you received certain information about who these
11 people were, who had sent them, and how they had arrived to the village of
13 A. The most precise information about the arrival of this special
14 purposes unit was given to me on the 9th of May, in Belgrade, in the
15 building of the SSNO, or rather, in the administration of the security
16 administration of the Yugoslav army, where I went on orders from my
17 commander to inform the people in charge there of the massacre that had
18 taken place on the 8th of May, 1992, in the village of Crkvina.
19 Q. What did you learn on that occasion in the SSNO, that is, the
20 security organ?
21 A. Does this mean I have to pass over the episode of Crkvina?
22 Q. We'll come to that, but now we are talking about these volunteers.
23 What did you learn about them, just about them?
24 A. Yes, I understand your question. After providing this information
25 as to what had happened in Crkvina, there was a very sharp verbal exchange
1 between Colonel Maksimovic whom I knew from before as a security officer
2 employed in the SSNO because he was born in the village of Obudovac in the
3 municipality of Samac, and the general at the time who was in charge of
4 the SSNO, Aleksandar Vasiljevic, also known as Aco. When Colonel
5 Maksimovic put a question to General Vasiljevic as to what kind of people
6 had gone there to Posavina and perpetrated such crimes, General Vasiljevic
7 responded, and General Gligorevic was also present, and at that time he
8 was the deputy head of the security administration, which means that he
9 was General Aleksandar Vasiljevic's deputy. He said something like this:
10 Colonel Maksimovic, do you think that I should go there to liquidate that
11 gang, or should the person who sent them there deal with them?
12 This response by General Vasiljevic prompted Colonel Maksimovic to
13 ask: General, I don't know who sent those people to Posavina and Bosanski
14 Samac. Then General Vasiljevic said, very briefly to Gligorevic: Please
15 bring that document -- order that document to be brought here to the
17 Very soon after that, General Gligorevic called someone up on the
18 telephone, and an officer arrived, brought in a document, and immediately
19 left that office. On that piece of paper, which I personally saw in that
20 office, was a request from the government of the municipality of Samac,
21 addressed to the command of the RV and PVO of Yugoslavia, that is, their
22 security services, asking for the use of helicopters in order to transport
23 special purpose units that had been trained together in the area of Ilok,
24 and this had been organised by the security service of the RV and PVO, the
25 aviation of the JNA.
1 Q. Mr. Zaric, let's clarify these abbreviations you have used. What
2 does RV and PVO mean?
3 A. This means military air force, and PVO means anti-aircraft
4 defence. This is a special entity or segment within the armed forces of
5 the army of -- the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and
6 it was always treated as a special entity, a separate entity, within the
7 armed forces of the socialist Republic of Yugoslavia.
8 Q. So you are saying that this was one branch of the military?
9 A. Absolutely.
10 Q. Can you slow down so that the interpreters can keep up.
11 A. Very well.
12 Q. And what did you see on this document?
13 A. This document was signed by the president of the Executive Board
14 of the Serbian municipality of Samac, Mr. Mirko Jovanovic. However,
15 Mr. Maksimovic, Colonel Maksimovic, said that he could not decipher
16 anything in that signature and that he was convinced that the document had
17 been signed for Jovanovic by Mr. Stevan Todorovic. As I also saw the
18 signature, where it says "for," in front of the name of the president of
19 the Executive Board Mirko Jovanovic, and afterwards I saw Mr. Todorovic's
20 signature on other documents. I really did think that this signature
21 resembled that of Mr. Stevan Todorovic.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zaric.
23 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pisarevic. I'd just like to ask
24 Mr. Zaric one question.
25 At that point in time, Mr. Zaric, when you saw this document with
1 the -- signed on behalf of Mr. Jovanovic, at that period in time when you
2 saw the document, had you ever seen Mr. Todorovic's signature.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Up to that moment, I had not seen
4 it. Up to that moment, I hadn't seen it. I looked at the document. I
5 know what Mirko Jovanovic means. Sometimes it's very hard to decipher
6 short signatures, by anyone. But when I remember that document and the
7 way it was signed, and then, when I bring back to my memory other
8 documents I saw that were signed by Mr. Todorovic, then it really seems to
9 me that it was Mr. Todorovic who signed it. This testimony of mine cannot
10 be taken as meaning that I'm a hundred per cent certain that it was
11 Mr. Todorovic's signature, but based on Maksimovic's comment and what I
12 saw, I drew this conclusion.
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
14 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Excuse me. Is it possible that the document in
15 question could be produced? Is it in the possession of anybody or has it
16 been destroyed or burnt or whatever?
17 MR. LAZAREVIC: Your Honours, since I was trying very, very hard
18 to find this document and used all my efforts, not only my efforts, but
19 efforts of our investigators and everyone, we couldn't reach this
20 document. This document was mentioned in Mr. Zaric's interview earlier,
21 and we knew about the existence of this document. I even tried military
22 security organs to get reach to this document, but unfortunately no luck.
23 Our information, the last information in respect to this document, was
24 that during NATO shelling of Belgrade, part of the archive of the military
25 organs was destroyed and this document -- not just this. There was
1 another very important document that Mr. Zaric made during that meeting,
2 and we -- this is the other document that I was looking for, but
3 unfortunately there was no luck and we couldn't find this document.
4 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Zaric, do you know Mirko Jovanovic?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did you ever have occasion to discuss this document with Mirko
9 A. Yes, I did.
10 Q. What did Mr. Mirko Jovanovic tell you in connection with this
12 A. Mirko Jovanovic told me, very decidedly, that he had no idea that
13 people were going from the Samac area to receive that training, nor did he
14 know of any signature or any document with the contents I have mentioned.
15 He said he never wrote or signed anything resembling that document and the
16 contents of the document about which I testified here.
17 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zaric. Do you know anything about the connections
18 between Mr. Stevan Todorovic and people in the command of the air force
19 and the anti-aircraft defence?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Will you tell us what you know and how you came by this knowledge.
22 A. My first knowledge that Mr. Todorovic had special connections with
23 the people from the air force and the anti-air defence of Yugoslavia came
24 directly from him. I heard this from him in early April, in Samac, during
25 a conversation where he found me sitting in a cafe and wanted to have a
1 brief chat with me. To paraphrase very briefly this part of our
2 conversation, he wanted me to go with him to Belgrade, to the command of
3 the Yugoslav air force and anti-air defence, to be introduced to some
4 eminent and important officers of the JNA, and he said: I hope you won't
5 mind that they have a rather pro-Chetnik orientation and they have links
6 to Mr. Seselj and the Radicals. And I said that the two of us had nothing
7 further to say about that topic. I said I wasn't interested in those kind
8 of people and that I wasn't interested in their connections with the
9 Radicals, and that's how I know -- or rather, conclude that Mr. Todorovic
10 had already established contacts with people from this important unit
11 within the JNA.
12 Q. Did you have occasion later on to find out about his close
13 connections with these people?
14 A. Yes, I did, and this was in late May, after the commander of the
15 2nd Posavina Brigade, Colonel Mico Djurdjevic, was replaced, when we went
16 together to a meeting in the air force and anti-air defence of Yugoslavia,
17 Mr. Blagoje Simic, Mr. Stevan Todorovic, Mr. Miroslav Tadic, Mr. Milos
18 Bogdanovic, and I. It was then that I saw very cordial and intimate
19 relations between Mr. Todorovic and the most responsible people in the
20 command of the air force and anti-air defence of Yugoslavia, who were
21 present at that meeting.
22 Q. We'll discuss this meeting later on. Just tell me: Who were
23 these people who were the most responsible?
24 A. The chief of the air force and anti-air defence of Yugoslavia,
25 General Bajic, Colonel Jeremic, who was in charge of security, one of the
1 most responsible people for security in the air force. The only one who
2 was not present at that meeting was General Stevanovic, who at that time
3 held the post of commander of air force and anti-air defence of
4 Yugoslavia. He did not attend that meeting.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zaric. We'll come to that meeting.
6 Just a moment, please.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pisarevic, before we leave this meeting, what
8 was the date?
9 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Mr. Zaric, can you remember the exact date? You said it was in
11 late May. Can you remember approximately what the date of that meeting in
12 Belgrade was?
13 A. I really can't. However hard I try, I can't remember the precise
14 date. But it was towards the very end of May, 1992.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 A. But Your Honours, I really cannot remember the exact date at this
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Late May is sufficient.
19 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Thank you. Mr. Zaric, we'll move on from this topic. I'll ask
21 you some questions, to which I would like you to give very brief
22 replies, about what you know about the 17th Tactical Group of the JNA.
23 What can you say about the establishment of the 17th Tactical Group,
24 whether it was a part of any unit, where the command was?
25 A. I know that the 17th Tactical Group of the JNA, in organisational
1 terms, began in the autumn of 1991. I can't be precise about the date.
2 When I say "autumn," I mean October or November 1991. According to its
3 organisation, it was linked to the 17th Corps of the JNA, whose
4 headquarters was in Tuzla and whose commander was General Savo Jankovic.
5 Q. Where was the command, or rather, this 17th Corps with the
6 headquarters in Tuzla was under whose command?
7 A. The 17th Corps of the Yugoslav People's Army was linked to the 2nd
8 military district, and its seat was in Sarajevo and its commander was
9 General Kukanjac.
10 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Excuse me for interrupting. Could you, in order
11 to have a more precise picture of the situation, could you tell us
12 something about the manpower of the 17th Tactical Group and what kind of
13 arms they were having. Thank you.
14 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, of course.
15 Q. His Honour has some questions concerning the 17th Tactical Group.
16 But before that, I'd like to ask Mr. Zaric: And who was this military
17 district responsible to?
18 A. The 2nd military district was responsible to the chief -- to the
19 Main Staff of the Yugoslav People's Army, with its seat in Belgrade.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zaric. Tell us, please: Where was the command of
21 the 17th Tactical Group of the Yugoslav People's Army?
22 A. The command of the 17th Tactical Group of the Yugoslav People's
23 Army was in the village of Pelagicevo, which was in the territorial sense
24 was part of the municipality of Gradacac.
25 Q. Thank you. Do you know who commanded the 17th Tactical Group of
1 the JNA and who were members of that command?
2 A. I know that the commander of the 17th Tactical Group was
3 Lieutenant Colonel Stevan Nikolic. I know that the chief of the staff of
4 the 17th Tactical Group was Major Brajkovic. I know that the head of
5 artillery was Mr. Sabrija, I can't remember his last name right now but he
6 was of Muslim ethnicity. He was chief of artillery at the 17th Tactical
7 Group. I know that the duty of the commander of the security and
8 intelligence service was performed by Mr. Marko Simeunovic. People who
9 worked in the rear and who was involved with personnel affairs and who
10 were in the command, I know those people by sight, but I cannot recall
11 their first and last names.
12 Q. Mr. Zaric, can you tell us, of course, if you know: Where was the
13 area of responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group, and could you tell us
14 its size, generally speaking?
15 A. The 17th Tactical Group had an area of responsibility which was
16 relatively large. It covered the area of the municipality of Bosanski
17 Samac, northward, a part of the municipality of Modrica in a westerly
18 direction, part of the municipality of Gradacac to the south, part of the
19 municipality of Orasje again in a northerly direction and part of the
20 Brcko municipality in the easterly direction. So several municipalities
21 or, rather, I'd say parts of various municipalities which I have just
23 Q. Can you tell us: Where did the area of responsibility of the 17th
24 Tactical Group and in relation to the town of Samac?
25 A. The area of responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group, if we're
1 talking about the town of Samac, was -- to do with the right bank of the
2 Bosna River, that is, from the mouth of the Bosna downstream towards the
3 village of Zasavica. So that is the so-called western area. In the
4 north, it was part of -- a part of the right bank of the Sava River, right
5 up to the bridge across the Sava, extended to the village of Tursinovac,
6 which is then linked with Grebnice, which was not in the area of
7 responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group then.
8 Q. If I'm getting your meaning, the village of Prud, which was part
9 of the municipality of Samac, was -- and which is on the left bank of the
10 Bosna River, wasn't in the area of responsibility of the 17th Tactical
12 A. That's right. It wasn't. And several villages of Croat ethnicity
13 which had more ties with the municipality of Orasje and at that time were
14 part of the municipality of Samac.
15 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Counsel, is Mr. Zaric going to answer my
16 questions or not?
17 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, of course, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE LINDHOLM: When?
19 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Now these questions -- yes, of
21 JUDGE LINDHOLM: And in addition, when Mr. Zaric spoke about the
22 area of responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group, if I understood him
23 well, that means that the 17th Tactical Group, under the command of
24 Mr. Nikolic, included, as to ethnicity, Serbs, in the centre; and Muslims,
25 in the south; and what about the western part of that area? Could you
1 also respond to those questions. Thank you.
2 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Zaric, which units made the 17th Tactical Group? What was
4 their purpose? What kind of armaments did they have? And how strong was
5 the 17th Tactical Group?
6 A. To make it quite clear, I'd rather speak about the final stages of
7 the establishment of the 17th Tactical Group, because I presume that would
8 be easier for us to understand it. So I'd rather not talk about early
9 days. I'm talking about the 17th Tactical Group on the eve of the
10 conflict. And let me answer the previous question of His Honour. The
11 17th Tactical Group at that time was six to seven thousand men strong. If
12 we are talking about the number of soldiers who were in the 17th Tactical
14 Now, as far as I know, the 17th Tactical Group embraced five
15 infantry battalions, and two artillery units. I'm not quite sure what
16 they were called, but they were also part of the 17th Tactical Group. One
17 of such units had been transferred to the area of Loncari, that is,
18 towards Brcko, and one part of that unit was stationed more to the south,
19 near the village of Slatina. So that in addition to these five infantry
20 detachments, to call them that, and these units, there were also a police
21 company, a signals company, but they were staff units of the command of
22 the 17th Tactical Group. And the overall strength, I've already said
23 it, I'd say it was between six and seven thousand men altogether.
24 Q. And tell us, Mr. Zaric, what kind of armaments did the 17th
25 Tactical Group have at its disposal, if you know that? What kind of
1 infantry weapons, what kind of artillery weapons?
2 A. All infantry battalions, that is, detachments, in the early days,
3 before the army of Republika Srpska was formed, they were called
4 detachments. They were armed only with light infantry weapons. That
5 means automatic rifles, all sorts of automated, hand-held launchers, hand
6 grenades, and the ammunition that goes with that kind of weaponry. The
7 rest, that is, the artillery units, well, one was a tank unit. There was
8 a Howitzer unit. There were also 110 unit, these are the 110-millimetre
9 guns and 100-millimetre recoilless guns, technically called Zis, Z-i-s.
10 So there were several types of artillery weapons. And as for the combat
11 armoured vehicles, apart from tanks -- apart from tanks, as combat
12 armoured vehicles, there were also the so-called Pragas and combat
13 armoured vehicles, CAV, in contrast with the tanks, they have rubber tyres
14 and are more mobile. They are more easily manoeuvreable.
15 Q. And the last question that was asked by His Honour Judge Lindholm
16 was: What was the ethnic composition in the area of responsibility of the
17 17th Tactical Group?
18 A. I'd really not try to give any exact figure as to the ethnic
19 composition at the level of the 17th Tactical Group as a whole. I could
20 give you a very precise information as to the ethnic composition of the
21 4th Detachment, where I was assistant commander and where my area of
22 responsibility and work was. But generally speaking, at the level of the
23 17th Tactical Group, there were people of all ethnic groups, no doubt, but
24 again, no doubt the majority were Serbs.
25 Q. Mr. Zaric, in the territory which was in the area of
1 responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group, were the places inhabited by
2 Serbs, Croats, and Muslims?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Mr. Zaric, we shall now go back to the 4th Detachment, and I'd
5 like to ask you, since we already heard a great deal about the 4th
6 Detachment, to try to be as brief as possible. Can you tell us how the
7 4th Detachment was replenished?
8 A. On the basis of the mobilisation call-ups through the municipal
9 secretariat for National Defence, that is how this unit called the 4th
10 Detachment of the Yugoslav People's Army was replenished. That is, from
11 the territory of the neighbourhood community of Samac, or rather, from
12 the -- to be more precise, from the territory of the town of Samac. All
13 the military conscripts which were -- who were fit for combat, who had
14 volunteered and responded to the call-up, they all went to the secretariat
15 for National Defence, would then receive the summons and then sent to the
16 command of the 4th Detachment and then assigned by our command to
17 subordinate units.
18 Q. Mr. Zaric, what can you tell us about the internal organisation of
19 the 4th Detachment?
20 A. The 4th Detachment was made of the command, comprising the
21 commander, his deputy assistant for intelligence and security, assistant
22 commander for logistics, operations officer in the command, and in terms
23 of formation, the reconnaissance unit, the signals unit, and the medical
24 unit were also attached to it. Likewise, the 4th Detachment comprised
25 four infantry companies, and every infantry company had several platoons
1 as subordinate units, and these platoons, in their turn, had groups of ten
2 soldiers as the lowest mobile unit in the 4th Detachment as a larger unit.
3 Q. Mr. Zaric, did all these organisational units that you've just
4 mentioned have their commanders or heads from the company commander to the
5 detachment commander?
6 A. All of them, all the posts were filled, and everybody knew exactly
7 who is the company commander, who is the platoon commander, who is the
8 company commander, who is the squad commander.
9 Q. These small units, these squads that you mentioned, that is, the
10 reconnaissance unit, the medical unit, when were they activated?
11 A. The medical and reconnaissance units were activated when the
12 hostilities broke out on the 17th of April, 1992.
13 Q. Can you tell us: Who commanded the reconnaissance unit?
14 A. The reconnaissance unit was commanded by Mr. Fadil Topcagic.
15 Q. And who commanded the medical unit?
16 A. The medical unit was commanded by Dr. Mirko Sisic.
17 Q. You also mentioned here the signals unit. Who commanded that?
18 A. Its commander was Radovan Djuric.
19 Q. Right. What was the ethnic composition of the 4th Detachment,
20 Mr. Zaric?
21 A. On the eve of the hostilities, I remember rather well that the 4th
22 Detachment was over 450 men strong. In that detachment, there were
23 slightly over 250 Serbs, 154 Muslims, and 44 were Croats.
24 Q. Thank you. Were members of all the ethnic groups assigned to
25 command posts, be it companies, platoons, or whatever?
1 A. Yes. Let me just corroborate it with a fact. In the detachment
2 command, a very important post was the command operations officers, and
3 that duty was conducted by Mehmed Vukovic. Mr. Celikovic commanded the
4 1st company, Andrija Jasenica commanded the 2nd company. The 3rd company
5 was commanded with Naser Ramusovic and the commander of the 4th company
6 was Mr. Vlado Sisic. Mr. Andra Jasenica and Mr. Naser Ramusovic are
7 individuals of Croat ethnicity [as interpreted]. And for instance, we had
8 a platoon commander, Hasan Ibralic, called Djuro, Tadija Brandic, who is
9 Croat, Anto Becic who is of Croat ethnicity. So that from this listed
10 roster of names, one could conclude that in the command of the 4th
11 Detachment, all three ethnic groups were represented.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Zaric. But I will ask you once again to slow
13 down. I do not know whether I heard you well, but let me just check the
15 If I heard you properly, you said Andra Jasenica. Do you mean
16 Dzemal Jasenica?
17 A. Precisely. It is Mr. Dzemal Jasenica, whose nickname is Andra.
18 And since we all call him that, I got carried away by his nickname rather
19 than by his name.
20 Q. Thank you. And there is another thing which is not correct in the
21 transcript. Perhaps you said that. Dzemal Jasenica, called Andra, is of
22 what ethnicity?
23 A. Dzemal Jasenica, called Andra, is of Muslim ethnicity.
24 Q. Mr. Zaric, how were the members of the 4th Detachment issued with
25 weapons and other gear? Do you know anything about that?
1 A. I do.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please return to his
4 A. Following the 5th of January, and the adoption of the decision to
5 form the 4th Detachment as a unit of the Yugoslav People's Army, in
6 March -- no, in February and March, we held two drills, two training
7 exercises, which took place in Potocari, which is in the territory of the
8 Brcko municipality. Otherwise, this place is known as the training
9 grounds of the Yugoslav People's Army for the -- as a shooting range where
10 infantry weapons are -- where shooting from infantry weapons is practiced.
11 After this exercise, to which we went by buses, on that occasion,
12 the logistics service of the 17th Tactical Group distributed weapons to
13 the members of the 4th Detachment, with the accompanying documentation.
14 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Thank you. And what did the members of the 4th Detachment get on
16 that occasion?
17 A. As regards personal weapons, they were issued with automatic
18 rifles, semi-automatic rifles, M-48, if I may call it that. These are
19 rather old rifles. Automatic weapon 756. These are those black German
20 automatic weapons, if I may call them that. Hand-held launchers and
21 hand-held machine-guns. This was the basic armament that was issued to
22 the 4th Detachment.
23 Q. And what kind of gear were the members of the 4th Detachment
24 issued with?
25 A. They were issued with uniforms, but not all of them, because at
1 that time there weren't enough uniforms available. But those that the
2 logistics had at its disposal was distributed amongst the men, and by and
3 large it was the conventional old uniform of the Yugoslav People's Army
4 which we in our lingo called SMB olive-green/grey uniform. So SMB.
5 Q. Were you issued with anything else?
6 A. In addition to the rifle, everybody was issued with a combat kit,
7 and this is a small cotton pouch with four frames of ammunition. Of them,
8 two were empty and two were full. And everyone of these frames contained
9 30 bullets. They were also issued with a certain number of masks. There
10 weren't enough masks for everybody, but those that they had distributed
11 and also they were issued with bandages and the basic things for the first
12 aid and then a small hose to dig trenches, I mean other kind of a tool
13 that any army will use under peacetime conditions.
14 Q. Thank you. Did the 4th Detachment keep a record of its members?
15 A. Yes, it did.
16 Q. Did it keep a record of what the members of the 4th Detachment
17 were issued with, I mean gear, ammunition, weapons, and so on and so
19 A. Yes, fully and completely.
20 Q. Was there any order or some instruction for the members of the 4th
21 Detachment about the need to look after the gear and weapons that they
22 were issued with?
23 A. Yes. The commander of -- the Chief of Staff, Brajkovic, had
24 issued such a command, and during the exercises which I mentioned, and I
25 mentioned two of them that took place in February and March, 1992, during
1 one of those exercises, Commander Lieutenant Nikolic was present too, and
2 one of those exercises was also present by the Chief of Staff,
3 Mr. Brajkovic. They, in addition to an instruction in writing, how was
4 one to look after weapons safely, how the weapons were to be handled and
5 treated, they also issued some oral instructions as to how one should
6 treat those weapons, that they should keep them away from homes, avoid any
7 possibility of some excesses, and it was prohibited to carry weapons in
8 the street or anywhere else unless very strict order to that effect had
9 been issued.
10 Q. Mr. Zaric, did it happen that members of the 4th Detachment failed
11 to comply with these instructions and the order?
12 A. Yes. There were two such instances. Professionally -- no, let me
13 not put it that way, but let's say ex officio, my task was to monitor the
14 conduct of the members of the 4th Detachment in relation to the weapons
15 they had been issued with. We had two cases when two members -- I
16 remember that one's name was Mikerevic and the other one was called Antic.
17 One, during a wedding, and another one during, I believe, one of the
18 religious holidays, came out into a yard and fired a whole round from that
19 automatic weapon. And when I was notified about this, I put together a
20 written report. I notified Mr. Makso Simeunovic, and believe me that a
21 day or two after they had received my report, the military police turned
22 up. They came from Pelagicevo, because they were attached to the command
23 of the 17th Tactical Group, and weapons were seized from both those
24 members of the 4th Detachment and disciplinary measures were applied to
25 those two members of the 4th Detachment.
1 Q. Mr. Zaric, please tell us: Where was the command of the 4th
3 A. Pursuant to the decision on mobilisation and the requisitioning of
4 the building that we received from the municipal secretariat for National
5 Defence, the 4th Detachment was stationed in the offices of the Samac
6 textile industry.
7 Q. Thank you. How many rooms were you given in the Samac textile
9 A. We were given two rooms. One was rather large and had a large
10 conference table. About ten of us could sit around the table. And there
11 was another smaller room where our operative officers were accommodated,
12 and they had the radio set in that room.
13 Q. Did this 4th Detachment have a depot or a warehouse where they
14 housed the ammunition and weapons?
15 A. No, we didn't have any depots or warehouses.
16 Q. You've just told us that you had in the small room an operative
17 officer and people who operated the communication equipment. So what kind
18 of communication equipment did you have in the command of the 4th
20 A. We were only charged with one radio set. That was a RUP 12 radio
21 set. That's what we call it. This radio set weighs 12 kilogrammes,
22 approximately, with all the accompanying accessories, and its range
23 without relay was 12 kilometres. In addition to this radio set, we also
24 had a sub-relay station, which was an integral part of this equipment, and
25 owing to that sub-relay station, we could communicate with units a hundred
1 kilometres away from Samac, if there was a need for such communication.
2 Q. What did you use the radio set for, the RUP 12 radio set that
3 you've mentioned?
4 A. That radio set was used for communication between the 4th
5 Detachment and the command of the 17th Tactical Group, i.e., their
6 communications centre that they had in Pelagicevo, and it wasn't used for
7 any other purpose.
8 Q. Did you, from the 4th Detachment, that is, the communications
9 officers of the 4th Detachment, were you in the position to have -- to
10 establish communication with other parts of the 17th Tactical Group?
11 A. No. We never established any contact with any other unit, apart
12 from the command of the 17th Tactical Group.
13 Q. Did you have a telephone line in the command?
14 A. Yes. We had a regular telephone line and we had a telephone line,
15 a direct line with the command in Pelagicevo.
16 Q. Mr. Zaric, because of your answer, something has not been
17 translated very precisely. There was a telephone line in the command of
18 the 4th Detachment?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. The regular telephone line?
21 A. Yes, it was a regular telephone line in the 4th Detachment.
22 Q. Did you have just one telephone number?
23 A. Yes, just one telephone, in the larger of the two rooms.
24 Q. The 4th Detachment, was it ever lined up, publicly and introduced
25 to the general public?
1 A. If I were to talk about what happened in Potocari during the
2 drill, then I could say that there we were the real army, that we were
3 lined up, and that we were standing still while our commanders were
4 talking to us and while we were practicing firing from the infantry
5 weapons. But, having said that, I also need to say that the 4th
6 Detachment was never lined up publicly, never paraded around the town of
7 Samac, never from its establishment to the outbreak of hostilities.
8 Q. Mr. Zaric, the 4th Detachment, as a unit, was it always together
9 as a group of people? Did it have barracks where it was accommodated?
10 A. No. The 4th Detachment did not have its barracks, nor it had a
11 barracks life, so to say. It did not have any such activities that would
12 require its special organisation. People lived normally, they led normal
13 lives, up to the outbreak of hostilities.
14 Q. When you say that people led normal lives, what do you mean by
16 A. What I mean is that the 4th Detachment was just -- existed just on
17 paper, as far as its members are concerned, they would go to their
18 companies, if they worked, or they would go to factories if they worked in
19 factories. Those who were farmers, they would work their land. Those who
20 had hobbies or were pensioners would engage in those hobbies. So this is
21 what I meant by normal, every day life, the life of civilians.
22 Q. Does that mean that they lived in their family houses and
24 A. Absolutely.
25 Q. Did members of the 4th Detachment receive any remuneration for
1 their engagement?
2 A. No, they didn't receive any remuneration, nor was there any reason
3 for that.
4 Q. And the members of the command, were they paid for their duties?
5 A. No, they were not paid. They would meet only occasionally, and
6 all of their activity boiled down to that. All of them had their normal,
7 regular, every day activities that they continued performing.
8 Q. In front of the building where the command was -- of the 4th
9 Detachment was, was there any sort of an insignia or something to mark
10 that command?
11 A. Yes. There were some insignia from before. There were flag posts
12 in front of that building, and on those flag posts, as of the 5th of
13 January, we put up the flag of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and a
14 flag of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. These were the
15 only symbols, the only parts of the iconography that we used.
16 Q. Mr. Zaric, in 1992, before the outbreak of hostilities, did the
17 4th Detachment engage in any military patrols? Were they members of
18 military patrols?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Tell us what patrols were those.
21 A. Those were patrols which were in order to observe the area. The
22 main task of those patrols was to make runs of the suburbs of the town,
23 especially the defence trenches on the right bank of the Bosna River and
24 on the right bank of the Sava River, southwards down the railway line,
25 along the silos, and then towards these, towards the Sava River, that is,
1 towards the bridge on the Sava River. So the whole borderline area was
2 patrolled and observed by the 4th Detachment members.
3 MR. LAZAREVIC: We have some small misunderstanding here. I
4 believe that the translation was not accurate. On page 25, line 22, here
5 it says: "Especially the defence trenches on the right bank of Sava," and
6 Mr. Zaric was referring to embankments on the right side of the River
7 Sava. Because there were no trenches at the time, particularly not
8 defence trenches made at the time.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I'm sure counsel can go over that with the
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise. Can I have some more
12 water, please?
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Mr. Usher will assist.
14 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Zaric, are you feeling well?
16 A. Yes, I'm feeling well, but my throat is a bit dry.
17 Q. So we may continue?
18 A. Yes, indeed.
19 Q. Let's clarify this situation here. You were talking about
20 embankments or dikes, weren't you? And what are those borderline areas
21 along the right bank of the River Bosna and the right bank of the River
22 Sava? In the translation it says you mentioned trenches, but what did you
23 actually mean?
24 A. No, I didn't mean trenches. I was talking about dikes or
25 embankments protecting the town from the waters of the River Bosna and of
1 the waters -- from the waters of the River Sava. So these are the dikes
2 that had been erected a long time ago to protect the town from the high
3 waters of the two rivers.
4 Q. Thank you very much. Can you please tell us: Who was -- who
5 appointed people to those patrols?
6 A. It was the commanders of companies or commander of squads in those
7 areas that they were in charge of.
8 Q. And who did their patrols report to after the end of the patrol?
9 A. They reported to the commander of the 4th Detachment, to the
10 deputy commander or possibly to the duty operations officer in the command
11 who was on duty at that time. But in principle, all the information
12 finally reached the commander or his deputy.
13 Q. Do you know if the patrols had the authority to use weapons in
14 certain given circumstances during those patrols?
15 A. No. It was strictly forbidden to them by the command of the 17th
16 Tactical Group and by the commander Antic. Those patrols were usually
17 during the night; during the day there was no reason whatsoever for them
18 to patrol, and they were strictly forbidden to use weapons, regardless of
19 any possible situation that they might come across.
20 Q. Just another question about these patrols. Do you know if these
21 patrols of the 4th Detachment were patrolling on the night between the
22 16th and the 17th of April, 1992?
23 A. Of course. There were such patrols.
24 Q. Thank you. I would like to go back to another topic that we have
25 already touched upon. You have already said, Mr. Zaric, that you
1 participated in a number of meetings of the coordination body of the local
2 commune of Bosanski Samac, and you've also told us that when this
3 coordination body had been set up. Can you now tell us whether you were a
4 member of this coordination body.
5 A. No, I was not its member, but I was invited to its meetings
6 regularly, and in agreement with my commander, Antic, since I was also an
7 assistant commander for morale and information, I would respond to the
8 invitation of that coordination body that invited me whenever they thought
9 that my presence was necessary.
10 Q. In what capacity did you attend those meetings of the coordination
11 body of the local commune of Bosanski Samac?
12 A. In the capacity of the assistant for morale and information.
13 Q. Who did you represent on any such occasion?
14 A. I represented the 4th Detachment.
15 Q. Did you attend all the meetings or only the meetings to which you
16 were invited?
17 A. I attended only those meetings to which I was invited by the
18 secretary of this coordination body or its president, Mr. Hadzialijagic.
19 Q. When you attended those meetings, who usually chaired those
21 A. More often than not, the chairperson of those meetings was
22 Mr. Safet Hadzialijagic, also known as Pop.
23 Q. Do you know what post did Mr. Hadzialijagic hold in the local
25 A. I believe that he was the president of the council of the local
1 commune of the town of Samac.
2 Q. What did you discuss at the meetings that you attended?
3 A. Well, the most topical issue was always security. We also touched
4 upon the political situation, but it was usually the security problems in
5 the town of Samac and its vicinity that we discussed. We discussed the
6 things that were going on and that was the major topic of our
7 discussions. The chief of the public security station was always there.
8 There was also the secretary for National Defence, the Chief of Staff, and
9 people from the political life of the town were also there.
10 Q. The patrols by the 4th Detachment, through the suburbs of the
11 town, was that ever discussed at any of the meetings of the coordination
12 body of the local commune?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you tell us: What kind of an agreement was reached about
15 those patrols?
16 A. I informed that body about the need which stemmed from our
17 security intelligence for the members of the 4th Detachment to patrol
18 these suburbs, suburban areas, in the interest of all the citizens of
19 Samac, given a number of the incidents that had taken place in town and
20 its vicinity. I would also like to say that we got the green light from
21 that coordination body, and also this coordination body agreed that
22 patrols would be organised in addition to the police patrols and the SDA
23 patrols. That is how the role of the 4th Detachment was ratified, and
24 also that's how the role of the patrols of the SDA was ratified, by this
25 coordination body.
1 Q. Mr. Zaric, did you attend the meeting of the coordination body of
2 the local commune of Bosanski Samac which was held on the 16th of April,
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Were you invited to that meeting?
6 A. Yes, absolutely.
7 Q. When did you arrive at that meeting?
8 A. I arrived at the meeting around 1830 hours, although the beginning
9 of that meeting was at 1800 hours, but I was some half an hour late, I
11 Q. Why were you late arriving at that meeting?
12 A. In the afternoon, on the 16th of April, I was in Trnjak, visiting
13 my mother, and I was helping her there with some chores. And at the
14 moment when I was ready to leave to go to Samac, at that moment a
15 delegation came in two cars. Some seven or eight people from Prud came to
16 my mother's house, to its courtyard. And these people held me in a
17 conversation, and we're talking about some security problems that had
18 arose on that part of the Bosna where Prud is and where my native village
19 is and where Mr. Cavka's paramilitaries from Croatia had come.
20 Q. Can you remember, Mr. Zaric: Who attended that meeting? Or to be
21 more precise, in addition to the members of the council of the local
22 commune, were there also representatives of some political party; and if
23 so, which parties were they?
24 A. As far as I remember, in addition to the council members, there
25 were also representatives of political parties, of the Reformists, of the
1 SDP. I believe that there was also a representative of the Radical
2 Party. And for the first time ever at any of these meetings, there were
3 also -- there was also Mr. Marko Bozanovic and Mr. Alija Fitozovic. In
4 addition to the representatives of political parties, there was also
5 Mr. Sulejman Tihic, on behalf of the SDA; there was also Mr. Dragan Lukac,
6 who already then had been appointed as the chief of the public security
7 station in Bosanski Samac. He was the acting chief at that time. There
8 was also Mr. Izet Izetbegovic.
9 Q. What about the representatives of the HDZ?
10 A. I believe that Mr. Evic was present at that meeting. I'm sure
11 that he was there.
12 Q. And what about the Serbian Democratic Party representatives? Were
13 they also there?
14 A. As far as I remember, they were not present at that meeting.
15 Q. Mr. Zaric, what did you discuss at that meeting?
16 A. Mr. Safet Hadzialijagic, in his capacity as the chairman of the
17 coordination body, or the leader of that coordination body, informed all
18 of us who were present that for the first time ever the meeting is
19 attended by the newly appointed leaders of the new Territorial Defence, or
20 to be more precise, leaders of the new staff of the Territorial Defence of
21 Samac municipality. He mentioned the names of Mr. Marko Bozanovic, as the
22 staff commander, and Alija Fitozovic as the chief of that new staff.
23 Q. Mr. Zaric, what was the reaction of other participants in the
24 meeting when they heard that information? I would primarily be interested
25 in you telling us what political parties and their representatives
1 supported the newly established Territorial Defence and the newly
2 appointed officials of the Territorial Defence or its staff.
3 A. Before the politicians voiced their comment, the floor was first
4 taken by the new command of the territorial staff, Mr. Marko Bozanovic,
5 who put us in the picture, so to say. He told us that he was officially
6 appointed by the Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the
7 commander of the Territorial Defence of Samac municipality, and that a
8 similar decision was issued to Mr. Fitozovic, as the Chief of Staff, and
9 that their nomination had been established at a meeting on the 13th of
10 April. This was a joint meeting of the HDZ and the SDA parties in
11 Grebnice, and it was pursuant to that agreement and pursuant to that
12 proposal that the decision was issued and the new staff was officially
14 When Mr. Bozanovic provided us with that explanation, the
15 representatives of the Reformists and of the SDP, of Radicals as well as,
16 and I don't know whether the Liberals were also there, I'm not sure, those
17 are the people more familiar with the parliamentarian life and the way
18 officials are appointed, they raised the question as to how it was
19 possible to issue a decision on the appointment of the leaders of the
20 Territorial Defence staff and the Chief of Staff without the approval of
21 the Assembly and in the absence of the Serbian people, because nobody was
22 present there on behalf of the Serbian Democratic Party or people who at
23 that time represented the Serbian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
24 His simple reply was as follows: Mr. Tihic said something along
25 these lines: Even if we had invited the Serbs to that meeting in
1 Grebnice, we assume that they would not have come. That's why we issued
2 this decision. Mr. Tihic said: We know that this is not really a
3 legitimate decision, but that's what we decided because you Serbs have
4 opted for the Yugoslav People's Army.
5 This was a discussion that ensued after the information we
6 received by the appointment of these people as the commander and the Chief
7 of Staff respectively.
8 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe that it is
9 time for a break.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
11 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 4.18 p.m.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We continue. Before we start, the Trial
14 Chamber has been informed that actually the doctor had said that Mr. Simo
15 Zaric no longer needs the medication. That's why it was not given to
16 him. But we understand that the glasses have been brought.
17 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as I was
18 informed by Mr. Zaric, he was to have received the medication. However,
19 this is not important now. What matters is that his glasses have been
20 brought to him, so there is no obstacle to his testifying.
21 Q. Mr. Zaric, before the break we were talking about the meeting of
22 the coordination body of the Bosanski Samac local commune which was held
23 in 1992, on the 13th of April. Can you tell us whether any proposals were
24 made by the newly elected commander of the TO staff Bosanski Samac,
25 Mr. Bozanovic?
1 A. Yes, there was a proposal. Mr. Marko Bozanovic immediately
2 provided the information that for two days they had already been carrying
3 out certain activities as new people in the TO staff. And at the
4 coordination body, he informed us that practically all local communes were
5 inhabited by Croats, or rather, all those local communes that were
6 inhabited by Croats had agreed to have their units join the new TO staff
7 and that according to his information, the new staff of the TO had about
8 1.600 men on their records and that they also had a written report from
9 the Party of Democratic Action that the self-organised detachment - that's
10 how they referred to it. It was the first time I had heard of them having
11 a detachment - and he said that they had over 800 people who had joined
12 the Territorial Defence from the town, and he sent a request, or rather,
13 he addressed me directly with the following request. He said: Mr. Zaric,
14 it would be a good thing if everything were done for the members of the
15 4th Detachment to join the new staff and the new Territorial Defence.
16 Q. Mr. Zaric, did you take part in the discussion at the meeting?
17 A. Yes, I did, and later on I made some comments with Mr. Tihic and
18 Alija Fitozovic. And to the question put to me by the new commander,
19 Marko Bozanovic, I replied that this was the first time I had heard that a
20 Territorial Defence staff had been formed in Samac. I said that I knew
21 that the 4th Detachment was part of the JNA and that I had no authority,
22 as the assistant commander for security and intelligence, or for morale
23 and information tasks, to say on behalf of the JNA that the 4th Detachment
24 could now join the new TO.
25 I told him that I would inform the commander of the 17th Tactical
1 Group of all this and that I would try very soon to give him some feedback
2 as to what the command of the JNA thought of the newly arisen situation.
3 Q. Did Mr. Alija Fitozovic say anything, and did you have any
4 exchanges with him?
5 A. Mr. Alija and Mr. Izo arrived at the meeting drunk. That's not so
6 important. But Mr. Alija Fitozovic said to me: Mr. Zaric, you may be
7 surprised that 800 people from the town of Samac have already joined the
8 Territorial Defence and that there are over 80 Serbs among them. I only
9 said: Mr. Fitozovic, I recognise this sort of negative propaganda, and I
10 know that it is now part of what's going on. But I said I had no
11 authority to express any position on this. And when I -- after I had
12 spoken to my command, I would be able to inform them of what the command
13 of the 17th Tactical Group thought about this.
14 I think that Mr. Fitozovic then came out with some data that was
15 completely unconvincing, and I answered him in the way I have just
17 Q. Very well, Mr. Zaric. How did this meeting end? Were any
18 conclusions adopted?
19 A. No conclusions were adopted at that meeting, and the meetings of
20 this organisational body were characterised by the fact that conclusions
21 were never binding upon anyone, nor were they precise enough, and they
22 were never actually implemented by anyone. I undertook to inform them,
23 and they in effect had informed the coordination body that the new TO
24 staff, under a new leadership, had been established. After this, we all
25 went home, and it was about 10.00 p.m. when the meeting ended. And there
1 were no binding conclusions that were adopted.
2 Q. Very well, Mr. Zaric.
3 [Defence counsel confer]
4 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. If I understood you correctly, you undertook to inform the command
6 of the 17th Tactical Group of the JNA of the proposals made by the
7 commander of the new Territorial Defence staff, Mr. Marko Bozanovic.
8 A. Precisely so. And I've just remembered something that Mr. Alija
9 Fitozovic said. He said: Mr. Zaric, we have received weapons. We are
10 publicly distributing weapons to our members. We are not doing anything
11 surreptitiously. We started distributing these weapons yesterday. And
12 this was the first time I had learned of this piece of information. I
13 heard it from Mr. Fitozovic at the meeting of this coordination body.
14 Q. Very well. You said that the meeting ended at about 2200 hours.
15 Where did you go after this meeting?
16 A. After the meeting, I went to the command, and there I found only
17 Mr. Antic of the members of the command. He was in charge of
18 communications. And there were some people there who were getting ready
19 to go on a patrol, and they had dropped in at the command. And very
20 briefly, I told Commander Nikolic [as interpreted], and not concealing it
21 from anyone else, what the upshot of the meeting had been. I told them
22 what was going on, and he said: Tomorrow we have to inform Commander
23 Nikolic of this and see what his position is. After this, I went to have
24 a drink in a neighbouring cafe with a neighbour of mine, Mr. Vidak
25 Prusina, and I stayed there perhaps half an hour after this conversation
1 in the command. So I stayed with Vidak and had a drink with him for about
2 half an hour.
3 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Excuse me. On page 36, line 19, it reads: "I
4 told Commander Nikolic." Shouldn't it be Antic?
5 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I was
6 just going to clarify this with Mr. Zaric.
7 Q. You said that in the command of the 4th Detachment, you said this
8 to Commander Nikolic?
9 A. No. It was Antic. He was the only one from the command whom I
10 found there. If I said Nikolic, it was a slip of the tongue. I meant
11 Commander Antic, the command of the 4th Detachment.
12 Q. All right. And when did you return home?
13 A. Well, it could have been about 11.00 p.m., about 2300 hours,
14 something like that.
15 Q. And who did you find in your flat?
16 A. I found my wife and my sons, Denis and Mirel.
17 Q. What did you do after you came home?
18 A. Well, I told them an anecdote that I had heard from my neighbour,
19 Vidak Prusina. He was a man who dabbled in astrology. So we broached the
20 topic and he said: Zaric, you will go down in history in a bad way. And
21 it seems to be coming true. But anyway, I told them about this, and then
22 my wife first served dinner for me and told me that before I came home,
23 someone had called her on the phone but didn't want to introduce himself.
24 He simply rang up, and when she picked up the receiver, the person hung
25 up. Maybe somebody wanted to check whether we were at home. I don't
1 know. But this was actually nothing unusual.
2 Q. Very well. Later on that night, did you have any phone calls?
3 A. Yes. When we went to bed, around midnight, the telephone rang,
4 and my wife said: Oh, this must be for you, or maybe it's a provocation.
5 When I picked up the receiver, it was the duty policeman in the public
6 security station, Mr. Luka Gregurevic.
7 Q. What did you talk about with Mr. Luka Gregurevic?
8 A. He told me that Mr. Lukac, the chief, was right next to him and
9 that he wanted to ask me something and say something to me. So I
10 continued the conversation with Mr. Dragan Lukac, who was in the duty
11 officer's room in the public security station.
12 Q. And what did Dragan Lukac tell you on that occasion, the chief of
13 the police station?
14 A. Dragan told me that a short while before, on his way back from
15 Hrvatska Tisina, because he was driving Marko Bozanovic home from that
16 meeting, that he saw, in Srpska Tisina, a soldier on the crossroads when
17 one comes out of Hrvatska Tisina, in the direction of Srpska Tisina, and
18 that he saw that he had a white band on his lapel. So he wanted to see
19 what this meant. He noticed a soldier with a white band standing at night
20 on a crossroads.
21 Q. And what did you reply?
22 A. I said: Dragan, this is not my area of responsibility, but I
23 could ring up some people I know to check. And if I get any information,
24 I'll let you know. He asked me to do that, and I undertook to do that,
25 and I did.
1 Q. Did you call someone after this?
2 A. Yes. I rang up Mr. Stanko Djurdjevic, who had been a schoolmate
3 of mine, and he was one of the directors of the Uniglas factory in Samac.
4 And I asked him if he could tell me anything, because a soldier had been
5 noticed at a crossroads with a white band on, and so on. And Stanko said
6 to me: Are you calling me at this time of night for that? They may be
7 having an exercise. I'll talk with you in the morning. As far as I know,
8 there's nothing special going on.
9 When Stanko told me this, I called the station right away, and
10 Luka Gregurevic replied and said that the chief had already left to go
11 home by car. I said to Luka: If you can speak to the chief, tell him
12 that I talked to Stanko Djurdjevic and that Stanko said that one should
13 not make a fuss about this, because it's possible that one of the units
14 was having an exercise. And that was the end of that story with the duty
16 Q. Thank you. Tell me --
17 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pisarevic. Just to clarify one
18 thing. It might be translation or it might not.
19 On page 38, line 16, Mr. Zaric says: "He saw that he had a white
20 band on his lapel." I just want to check that Mr. Zaric did use the word
21 "lapel." Or maybe, Mr. Zaric, you can answer me directly. Did you use
22 the word "lapel"? You were talking about -- well, you say that Dragan
23 told me that a short while before, et cetera, that he saw in Srpska Tisina
24 a soldier on the crossroads, et cetera, and he saw that he had a white
25 band on his lapel. I just want to check that "lapel" is the correct word
1 in English.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes. You understood
3 correctly. That's what I was referring to. And Dragan said that the
4 soldier was wearing some sort of military jacket. And when there was a
5 gust of wind, because it was quite windy that night, he noticed that when
6 his jacket moved, there was a white band hanging from his epaulette. So
7 yes, you observed that correctly.
8 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. That's just to clarify, then. It was an
9 epaulette, not a lapel, in English. Maybe you could just point to where
10 an epaulette would be, Mr. Zaric, if you could, just to make sure.
11 Because in English there is a difference between an epaulette and a lapel.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To me it's the same thing.
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes, in B/C/S maybe it is. But could you just
14 point to where on a soldier's uniform an epaulette would be.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It would be from this part of the
16 shoulder to the end. Practically this is what there is on a military
17 uniform, and you can put a belt under this or you can hang a band from
18 it. And when I'm referring to an epaulette, I am referring to this part
19 of the uniform which starts at the neck and finishes at the end of the
21 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you. That puts it clearly now on the
22 record in the English. Thank you.
23 MR. RE: Your Honours, could the record perhaps reflect that what
24 Mr. Zaric actually touched is not in the transcript was the part of his
25 shoulder between his neck and the top of his arm.
1 JUDGE WILLIAMS: I think Mr. Zaric actually also said that while
2 he was touching his shoulder from his neck.
3 MR. RE: I do apologise.
4 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Now that we have clarified this
5 point, we might add for the record that Mr. Zaric showed on his own
6 shoulder where the epaulette was.
7 Q. Mr. Zaric, would you please answer the following question: What
8 happened next that night, that is, on the 17th of April, 1992?
9 A. After this conversation, I went back to bed and I fell asleep.
10 Between 3.00 and 4.00 a.m., the telephone rang in my flat, and my wife
11 woke me up once more and said: The phone's ringing. I picked up the
12 receiver, and the duty officer from the command of the 4th Detachment,
13 Mr. Miljenko Ugljesic was on the line. He said that he could hear gunfire
14 at the eastern end of the town and in the direction of the public security
15 station, and that the gunfire was becoming more frequent.
16 I got up, or rather, I asked him whether he had informed Commander
17 Antic of this. He said he was having difficulty reaching him, but he was
18 trying to establish contact with him.
19 Q. The eastern part of town, is that the part of town that the
20 citizens of Samac commonly referred to as Donja Mahala?
21 A. Yes. That part of town is called Donja Mahala. That's where the
22 customs house and the port on the River Sava are located.
23 Q. After you received this information from the duty officer in the
24 command of the 4th Detachment, what did you do?
25 A. After this, I made a phone call, or two phone calls, to two people
1 from Donja Mahala, in order to try to find out whether they had any
2 information. And to be quite honest, the shooting could be heard quite
3 clearly, so that my wife and I went out onto the balcony and we could hear
4 the sound of gunfire coming from the east. And I got Dragan Lujic on the
5 phone, and Petar Karlovic, and also Joca Vukovic. So I spoke to three
6 people, hastily, in order to find out what could be heard and what was
7 happening in the part of the town where there was intense shooting.
8 Q. What did they say to you?
9 A. They told me that they had noticed, because the streets were
10 lighted up, that men in camouflage uniforms were moving along the streets,
11 with hats on and with red berets, and that they were accompanied by
12 policemen in blue uniforms and blue berets; that there was some shooting
13 and that they were going from house to house looking for weapons, asking
14 the citizens in that part of the town for weapons.
15 Q. After you got this information, what did you do?
16 A. After this, I managed to call up Commander Antic on the phone, and
17 he told me that we should meet as soon as possible in the command and that
18 he was trying to establish communication with Mr. Stevan Nikolic, the
19 commander of the 17th Tactical Group, because he had received the same
20 kind of information as I had.
21 Q. When you say "received information," you mean Mr. Antic?
22 A. Yes. I mean Mr. Antic. And as he was in the very centre of town,
23 he said he had heard a loud explosion from the direction of the Municipal
24 Assembly and the public security station and that he was concerned about
1 Q. And did you, Mr. Zaric, go to the command, and who did you find
3 A. When I arrived in the command, I found Commander Antic there. He
4 had arrived a little before me. I found Captain Savic and I found some
5 people who were already in our patrols and who had reached the Samac
6 textile industry and the command there.
7 Q. In the command, did you get any fresh information about events in
8 the town?
9 A. Our part of the patrol, which was not far from the silo and which
10 was led by Mr. Mitar Sisic, who was there at the command already, they
11 told us that some men had stopped at the crossroads. They got out of a
12 truck. They were wearing camouflage uniforms. They didn't know who they
13 were, and they set off in the direction of the Muslim cemetery and Donja
14 Mahala, which belongs to the eastern part of the town of Samac.
15 Q. Did anybody from the command establish to get in touch with the
16 commander of the 17th Tactical Group, Lieutenant Colonel Stevan Nikolic?
17 A. Yes. At one moment all the telephone lines broke up, but the
18 commander managed to establish contact with the command of the 17th
19 Tactical Group through the signals officers and the radio set that we had
20 and that we used for the communication with the 17th Tactical Group. So
21 Miljenko Ugljesic, the duty officer, established contact and Commander
22 Nikolic briefed Commander Nikolic [as interpreted] about the situation,
23 about the first pieces of information that we came by.
24 MR. RE: Mr. Pisarevic -- Your Honours, it may help if we have a
25 time for this. The information a moment ago was a phone call between 3.00
1 and 4.00. We haven't had a time yet for when Mr. Zaric went to the police
2 station, sorry, the command, or when these other things happened. It
3 would certainly help, in my respectful submission.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
5 MR. LAZAREVIC: One small clarification. Here we have, on page
6 43, it says: "Commander Nikolic briefed Commander Nikolic." It is
7 obviously that he was referring to Mr. Antic who briefed Commander
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Commander Nikolic, yes.
10 MR. LAZAREVIC: It's an obvious mistake.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. And also --
12 MR. LAZAREVIC: Also remember that Mr. Zaric referred to him going
13 to the police station. I didn't understand what was the objection of
14 my --
15 JUDGE MUMBA: No, no, no. The Prosecution was just raising -- I
16 think the Prosecution were asking that if he could estimate what time
17 these events were happening, having woken up between 3.00 and 4.00.
18 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Zaric, what was the time when you -- when the first telephone
20 call woke you up? That was when the duty officer from the 4th Detachment
21 woke you up.
22 A. It was sometime between 3.00 and 4.00, but it was closer to 4.00.
23 Between those times. I can't give you the exact minute.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: No. I think the timing after -- when he reached the
25 command, thereafter.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I arrived at the command around 5.00
2 in the morning.
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: I just have one little clarification too before
4 your next question, Mr. Pisarevic. If I could just take you back to page
5 42, line 2. This is when Mr. Zaric, you mentioned that you got three
6 people on the phone. And the first one is Dragan -- and here the surname
7 is spelled L-u-j-i-c. I just want to confirm with you whether that is
8 correct or whether it's the person you referred to earlier, the chief of
9 police, Dragan Lukac. So I just want to clarify the spelling of the
10 person's name on page 42, line 2.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was Dragan Lujic, L-u-j-i-c, not
12 Dragan Lukac, no.
13 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you very much.
14 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Zaric, when did Commander Radovan Antic manage to establish
16 radio contact with Commander Nikolic, the commander of the 17th Tactical
18 A. I believe that this was around 5.00, around the time when I came.
19 It was either a quarter to 5.00 or a quarter past 5.00, around that time.
20 Q. After this conversation with the commander of the 17th Tactical
21 Group, Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic, what did your commander tell you? What
22 did the commander of the 4th Detachment, Mr. Antic, tell you about the
23 contents of that conversation that he had just had?
24 A. Mr. Antic gave me brief outlines of that conversation. He said
25 that he informed Lieutenant Colonel that something was going on in the
1 town of Samac, that there was gunfire from the eastern part of the town of
2 Samac, and that we had received information from our members, members of
3 the 4th Detachment, that in the Donja Mahala some people were moving about
4 in camouflage uniforms and that there was also police in blue uniforms, in
5 blue berets. That was the briefing that Commander Antic conveyed by
6 telephone to Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic.
7 Q. Mr. Antic, my question was: After that conversation, what did
8 Mr. Radovan Antic tell you?
9 A. After that conversation, Commander Antic said that he had received
10 an order from Commander Nikolic for him and myself to immediately go to
11 Pelagicevo, to the command of the 17th Tactical Group, and to try and get
12 there no later than 6.00 in the morning.
13 Q. Did you go there, you and Mr. Antic, commander of the 4th
14 Detachment? Did you go to Pelagicevo, and when did you go?
15 A. Yes. Immediately after having received this information,
16 Commander Antic and I left immediately for Pelagicevo. Commander Antic
17 said to his deputy, Captain Jovo Savic, to stay in the command and to
18 continue gathering intelligence and that he would try and contact him as
19 soon as possible from Pelagicevo.
20 Q. How did you go to Pelagicevo? What means of transportation did
21 you use?
22 A. We took my car to go there.
23 Q. Thank you. Did you meet with anybody before you departed for
24 Pelagicevo in front of the command of the 4th Detachment?
25 A. Before the departure, as soon as we left our office, on the
1 stairway, on its top part where these two rooms were, we came across
2 Mr. Fadil Topcagic, who was rather upset. He wore a jacket. And when I
3 asked him: Fadil, what's up? He told us briefly what had happened to him
4 a few hours before that.
5 Q. What did Mr. Topcagic actually tell you?
6 A. He told us that in the presence of Savo Savic, a policeman, and
7 another man wearing a multicoloured uniform, he didn't know this man, but
8 these two people came to his house, woke him up, and took him to Crkvina,
9 and from there, he had to bring a group of people unknown to him to the
10 public security station, and he had to tell them that this facility had
11 now been taken [as interpreted] by these people and policemen unknown to
13 MR. LAZAREVIC: One clarification here on page 47. Here it says,
14 on line 8: "And that he had to tell them that this facility had now been
15 taken." This doesn't make much sense. He actually told to Mr. Zaric and
16 Mr. Antic that those facilities were taken by those specials.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Perhaps that can be corrected by counsel.
18 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Was Mr. Topcagic forced to tell you that or did he tell you that
20 of his own free will during that meeting?
21 A. He told us that of his own free will. He told us what had
22 happened. He told us that he had gone to Crkvina, that one person there
23 was wounded, that he came back on foot, and he came to the command. He
24 seemed lost, although he is known as a very courageous man, from what I
25 know about him.
1 Q. Which route did you take to go to Pelagicevo, you and Mr. Antic?
2 A. We drove along the right-hand side, via Crkvina and Kruskovo Polje
3 and Gornja Slatina, because of the situation, we did not want to take the
4 route on the left-hand side, via Grebnice, so we took a longer route,
5 towards Pelagicevo.
6 Q. Mr. Zaric, can you remember the time when you arrived at the
7 command of the 17th Tactical Group in Pelagicevo?
8 A. We arrived in some 50 minutes, so it could have been around 6.00
9 or 10 past 6.00.
10 Q. Who did you find there?
11 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Excuse me. Mr. Zaric said a moment ago that:
12 "We arrived in some 50 minutes." What did you talk about, you and
13 Mr. Antic, during your journey to Pelagicevo, or did you sit quite silent?
14 Can you recall?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't remember exactly.
16 Obviously, we did not keep quiet. We discussed the situation and we were
17 both very concerned. And it was in that mood that we arrived in
18 Pelagicevo. But we did not voice any opinion as to what was really going
19 on. We didn't voice any opinions about that in the car, that is. I can
20 say that when people in multicoloured uniforms were mentioned, and knowing
21 that had arrived, we knew that -- who these people were. We suspected who
22 they were. But we were not a hundred per cent sure at that moment.
23 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you so much.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise. If I may add something
25 to this, Honourable Judge Lindholm. During my conversation with people
1 from Donja Mahala, one of the members of the 4th Detachment, Mr. Petar
2 Karlovic, told me: Simo, I can see some people in multicoloured uniforms.
3 I don't know who they are. I'm afraid that it may be a sabotage group
4 from the Republic of Croatia. He did not have a clue what this group was
5 all about, who these people were.
6 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Very well, then. Thank you very much. Who did you find in the
8 command when you arrived in Pelagicevo?
9 A. I can say that almost the complete command staff was there, and
10 they were all in the room that belonged to the Commander Lieutenant
11 Colonel Nikolic. There was Chief Brajkovic, there was Mr. Makso
12 Simeunovic, there was Sabrija, the chief of artillery, Milan Milicic,
13 chief of the command office. There was a captain who was a member of the
14 logistics of the 17th Tactical Group. I would say that the complete
15 command staff of the 17th Tactical Group was there when we arrived.
16 Q. Very well, then. What were you told by Commander Nikolic in the
17 presence of all these people? What were his information -- what was his
18 information about the developments in the city -- in the town of Samac?
19 A. Commander Nikolic told us something along these lines: He was
20 informed sometime around midnight, or after midnight, rather, by
21 telephone, and it was Mr. Blagoje Simic who informed him, that the Crisis
22 Staff of the Serbian municipality had been established and they had
23 decided to take over the most important facilities in town and to take
24 over power in Samac. This was the briefest possible information that
25 Commander Nikolic could have given us at that moment and that he actually
1 gave us at that moment.
2 Q. What was yours and Mr. Radovan Antic's reaction to that
4 A. We reacted in a very loud way, I would say. We were not very
5 tactical in our reaction. But I remember that both Antic and myself asked
6 the commander: So what does that mean? What is now the role of the 4th
7 Detachment, and what kind of the Serbian government is now being
8 introduced in the town given our clear task? The 4th Detachment was
9 supposed to protect everybody who resided in this town and in this local
11 Q. And after this reaction of yours, what did Commander Nikolic tell
12 you, and did he issue any orders to you after that?
13 A. He told us that the message from him to Blagoje Simic was that he
14 did not want to get involved in that part of politics. He warned him that
15 he didn't want any bloodshed. And if some boundaries were stepped over,
16 the army would place itself on the demarcation line. That is what he told
17 us as having warned people about. But he also told us that the army would
18 not get involved in that part of politics, especially when it comes to the
19 introduction of some new form of government.
20 Q. What orders did he issue to Mr. Radovan Antic, the commander of
21 the 4th Detachment?
22 A. He said that it had already been ordered to all the units on the
23 strength of the 17th Tactical Group to be ready for combat, and he ordered
24 Commander Antic, in front of everybody, to order their units higher combat
25 readiness level and to inform his deputy from Pelagicevo that that should
1 be done with an immediate effect. Mr. Antic carried out Commander
2 Nikolic's order. He asked the duty signals officer in the 17th Tactical
3 Group in Pelagicevo to call the command of the 4th Detachment in Samac,
4 and he managed to get hold of his deputy, Jovo Savic, and he ordered him
5 to call all commanders of squads and companies, and that these people
6 should do their utmost to raise the combat readiness to the highest level
7 but not to take any measures without further orders by the command.
8 Q. When did you and Commander Antic return to the command of the 4th
9 Detachment in Samac?
10 A. It may have been around 8.00 in the morning. It may have been
11 around 8.00, and we had to do another detour on our way back in Hasici, a
12 bridge had been blown up, so we couldn't go that way, so we had to cross
13 some fields and we had to go through Milosevac and again through some
14 fields to finally reach Samac.
15 MR. LAZAREVIC: Mr. Zaric literally said that people from Hasici
16 had blown the bridge up. This is what we heard in B/C/S.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can we have that --
18 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Zaric, you've mentioned the village of Hasici and people from
20 Hasici who had blown up a bridge. Who are residents of the village of
21 Hasici? What is their ethnic background?
22 A. Those are Croats.
23 Q. Did the Croats from Hasici blow up the bridge on that road?
24 A. Yes. They had blown up the bridge. That bridge is not far from
25 the exit from the village of Hasici towards Lugovi. Lugovi is a large
1 farm or an agricultural combine.
2 Q. Because of that, because of the bridge having been blown up, you
3 couldn't take the same route from Pelagicevo to Samac?
4 A. Yes. We had to go towards Luzani and we had to take another
5 detour. And since we were familiar with the area, we managed to get the
6 command in Samac, having passed through Crkvina.
7 Q. Once you arrived in the command of the 4th Detachment in Samac,
8 what did you find there? Were there any members of the 4th Detachment
9 there? If so, how many had gathered there up to the moment when you
10 returned around 8.00 on the 17th of April, 1992?
11 A. According to my estimate, there may have been about 40 to 50
12 people in front of the command. And when we arrived, they provided us
13 with some information. They told us that there were three dead people in
14 the town, that the police station had been taken, that the municipal
15 building had been taken, that the silo had been taken, the radio station
16 of Samac, that is, the memorial centre, the post office building, that the
17 control of the bridge on the River Sava is now in the hands of the Serbs,
18 and that the only manoeuvre area was towards the village of Prud and that
19 the citizens were crossing over to that side across the bridge. And at
20 the same time, we noticed a number of passenger cars moving towards
21 Crkvina, in the depth of the territory, carrying families, towards the
22 southern part of Samac. There was a state of chaos in the city.
23 Q. Did you have any information as to what was going on in the centre
24 of the town?
25 A. Yes. We obtained information about that sometime around 10.00 or
1 11.00, a group of armed Muslims had taken some of the main points in the
2 town, not far from the department store, not far from the mosque, not far
3 from the park and the hotel, and we also heard that they were trying to
4 establish control over part of the bridge leading towards the village of
5 Prud and onwards towards Odzak.
6 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Excuse me for interrupting you, but a while ago
7 Mr. Zaric told us that -- it's on page 52, line -- well, let's start on
8 line 15, the last word: "And at the same time, we noticed a number of
9 passenger cars moving towards Crkvina, in the depth of the territory,
10 carrying families, towards the southern part of Samac." Can you be a bit
11 more precise on that point? Who were leaving, and what did they perhaps
12 meet when they crossed the southern part or the southern border of the
13 municipality of Samac?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the first day, that is, on the
15 17th of April, there was movement towards the southern part of the
16 municipality and there was also movement towards the village of Prud,
17 across the bridge.
18 JUDGE LINDHOLM: [Microphone not activated] That's in another
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE LINDHOLM: You were telling us that you saw people leaving
22 in passenger cars towards the south. And if I understand the geography
23 correctly, Prud is to the west and not to the south. So if you stick to
24 what you told us, watching people going in passenger cars towards the
25 south, crossing, I assume, the border of the municipality of Bosanski
1 Samac, who were those people, and what do you think they expected to meet
2 when crossing the border?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I did not mean that --
4 when I said that they were driving towards the south, I did not mean that
5 they were crossing the border, that you're asking me about. I only know
6 that they were moving in that direction. And when they're southbound,
7 they can enter Crkvina or Skaric, or they can take some routes to get to
8 Hasici 1 or Hasici 2. They can reach Hrvatska Tisina. So this part of
9 the southern part of the municipality had different routes, different
10 roads. I did not have the time to see who was riding in those cars, what
11 families were those. But I suppose that people wanted to move out of the
12 town in the largest possible numbers, because the stories had already
13 started circulating. And as for the western part, as for Prud, according
14 to the information that we have subsequently obtained, it was mostly
15 Croats who left in that direction, and for the most part Muslim families,
16 according to the information that we managed to obtain from the people who
17 had a better view of the situation.
18 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you very much.
19 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Zaric, people who headed south, to the southern part of the
21 municipality of Samac, you saw them, didn't you? Did you recognise in
22 those cars -- could you say what ethnic group the passengers in those cars
23 belonged? Were only Serbs leaving or was it Croats or Muslims?
24 A. They belonged to all three groups. In the beginning, there were
25 not any serious checkpoints there on the ground. So that it was obvious
1 that one could get through, especially if one took some round about roads,
2 if one avoided the main highway. And those who were familiar with the
3 area could very easily get through and get out without coming across a
4 checkpoint such as, for instance, the one in Crkvina, where Dragan Lukac
5 fetched up, where he was arrested and then turned back. There were a
6 number of other exits which could be taken to get out and move to Gradacac
7 and then Croat and Serb villages in the southern part of the municipality
8 of Samac.
9 Q. I was about to ask you this thing about Gradacac.
10 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Before you do, maybe, Mr. Pisarevic: I'm just a
11 little bit confused by the last answer, Mr. Zaric, to judge -- no. To
12 Mr. Pisarevic, where, with respect to his question, which was -- this is
13 line 16, page 54: "Did you recognise in those cars -- could you say what
14 ethnic group the passengers in those cars belonged? Were they only Serbs
15 or was it Croats or Muslims?" And your answer that we have here on line
16 19 is they belonged to all three ethnic groups. Now, my confusion is
17 because in your earlier answer to Judge Lindholm with respect to: Did you
18 know who was riding in those cars? You say, on page 54, lines 5 and 6:
19 "I did not have the time to see who was riding in those cars, what
20 families were those." So I'd just like a little bit of clarification
21 whether you did see the people or not, as the case might be, in those cars
22 travelling south towards Crkvina and so on.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, to be quite honest, Your
24 Honour, I could see some of the limos and I could see drivers in them.
25 But a vast number passed by and I only managed to register them from
1 looking from above, from an upper floor, without being able to ascertain
2 who was in those cars. But when I said that I saw people belonging to
3 other ethnic groups -- for instance, I remember a Roma, Mr. Roma. I can't
4 remember his last name -- whom I knew very well, worked for the social
5 auditing service, who is a Muslim, and who with his family went in that
6 direction, and I know that later on he went to Gradacac and had no
7 problems there at all. I remember, for instance, that Anto, who was the
8 president of the Executive Board, also went through with his family and
9 moved on towards his village, but I cannot say that I saw everybody else.
10 So when I said this, I merely assumed that there were also people
11 belonging to other ethnic groups, but I simply -- that I saw everybody, it
12 would be too pretentious on my part to say that.
13 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. And this exodus of people towards the southern part of the
15 municipality, did it take the whole of the 17th?
16 A. Almost the whole of the 17th.
17 Q. If I understood you correctly, you did not see, you merely heard,
18 that people were crossing the bridge across the Bosna.
19 A. Yes. In the beginning I heard that. Later on, I saw that,
20 because later on I went out to bordering areas, in the adjacent area, when
21 these border areas were taken, the traffic was not stopped, and there was
22 no control of the vehicles wanting to cross the bridge across the Bosna.
23 And it lasted until 1800 hours, when the exchange of fire started.
24 Q. Now tell me this: Which is the municipality adjacent to the
25 municipality of Samac on the southern -- along its southern borders?
1 A. It is the municipality of Gradacac.
2 Q. In the command of the 4th Detachment, Mr. Zaric, did you, in the
3 course of that day, receive any other orders from the command of the 17th
4 Tactical Group? Are you aware of any such orders?
5 A. Yes. I merely wish to say that when we arrived in the command,
6 Commander Antic had a conversation with Commander Nikolic, during which he
7 briefed him about the latest developments and a number of those killed. I
8 told you that we had information that three had been killed, two Croats
9 and one Serb. That certain facilities had been taken and about what had
10 been going on in the town. At that point, Commander Nikolic ordered
11 Commander Antic to raise the 4th Detachment and take the boundary areas,
12 practically, the right bank of the Bosna, from where the town begins, and
13 that is from the brick works, ending with its mouth into the Sava River,
14 and to take the right bank of the dike alongside the Sava River, on the
15 border with Republic of Croatia from the port which is not far away on the
16 Sava River.
17 Q. When was that order issued?
18 A. It could have been sometime around 9.00, straight away, almost
19 immediately on our return, because there was this conversation and it was
20 around 9.00 that this issue was carried to the 4th Detachment.
21 Q. How many men reported to the command of the 4th Detachment at
22 around 9.00? How many men were there?
23 A. Well, much less than we were expecting. However, the situation
24 simply caught almost all of us unaware. Members of the 4th Detachment, of
25 the 1st and the 2nd and the 3rd ethnicity [Realtime transcript read in
1 error "of necessity"] looked after their families first, to take them out
2 or to protect them, and a number of members turned up and responded to the
3 summons issued by the messenger.
4 MR. LAZAREVIC: We have a misunderstanding here in the transcript.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
6 MR. LAZAREVIC: Mr. Zaric has members of the 4th Detachment, of
7 the 1st and the 2nd, and the 3rd nationality, meaning of all three
8 nationalities. The way it is in the transcript would suggest numbers of
9 1st Detachment, 2nd and 3rd Detachments. He wasn't referring to other
10 detachments at all.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pisarevic, I think it's better to go over that
12 to make it clear as to what he meant.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Your Honour, interpreter's comment. The word
14 was to be "ethnicity," not "necessity."
15 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Mr. Zaric, will you tell us: When you spoke about the response of
17 the members of the 4th Detachment and whether they came to the command,
18 did you say that all three ethnic groups which were there responded or
19 will you please explain that?
20 A. I was referring to the members of the 4th Detachment, and I
21 mentioned men, that is, members of the 4th Detachment of all three
22 ethnicities, meaning Croats, Muslims, and Serbs. We did not respond all
23 that diligently, not that they didn't want to, but because the situation
24 was such that -- not respond en masse to those earlier summons carried by
25 messengers, as requested by commanders of companies and platoons. Because
1 they simply wanted to look after their families first, to take them out or
2 protect them, so that of the total number, and I told you here that the
3 4th Detachment was about 450 strong, in the beginning, when we started
4 carrying out this task, we were perhaps, when we set off into this action,
5 we were perhaps between 50 and 70. So that to my mind, it wasn't a
6 particularly encouraging figure. However, the number increased as the
7 time went by and people began to come in. And as they came in, we who
8 were responsible for establishing this defence line, we distributed,
9 together with commanders of individual units, we deployed those men as
10 specified by the orders that we had.
11 Q. Are you aware that some members of the 4th Detachment were unable
12 to reach the command of the 4th Detachment because of the situation in the
14 A. Well, that is one of the reasons, and that is why I'm talking
15 about a confusion about something that happened when the war broke out,
16 and we were all rather, how shall I say, pioneers, or rather, we came from
17 peaceful institutions when it comes to understanding to what terrible
18 things could happen to us. That is, none of us had any wartime
20 Q. Mr. Zaric, now that you used the word "pioneers," here, as
21 Mr. Lazarevic suggests to me, when that word is used, it may mean
22 something else, so will you please tell us: What did you mean by this,
23 when you said we were pioneers?
24 A. None of us had any experience in this type of war which befell
25 us. That is what I meant. When I said "pioneers," I meant children who
1 had barely started school and acquiring first basic knowledge. I tried to
2 put it slightly hypothetically, but that is what I meant.
3 THE INTERPRETER: As said by the witness.
4 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Very well. And how long did this action of taking the boundary
6 areas around the town of Samac last?
7 A. It must have lasted, I'd say, until about 1500 or 1600 hours.
8 That is, we needed several hours to take the boundary areas to mark the
9 basic positions which in our opinion would suffice to prevent any surprise
10 attack or incursion of enemy forces from Prud or the Republic of Croatia,
11 either across the bridge or perhaps some assault by using the stream, that
12 is, the River Sava.
13 Q. When the 4th Detachment was taken out to those boundary areas, to
14 those defence lines, were there any armed conflicts with the citizens?
15 A. In these boundary areas where we were, there were no excesses of
16 that type, nor was there any need for us to exchange either infantry or
17 any other fire in that area.
18 Q. And was there any action in the town of Samac, I mean artillery or
19 any other, on the 17th?
20 A. On that 17th, one could hear very frequent shots. We practically
21 did not go deep into the town, especially after we learned -- after we had
22 learned that there were groups of armed individuals in some parts of the
23 town which were ready and prepared to offer armed resistance because they
24 had been observed with armament.
25 Q. Members of the 4th Detachment who were taken out to that defence
1 line, to those dikes on the right bank of the Bosna and the right bank of
2 the Sava, did they stay on those positions that night?
3 A. Yes. They stayed there the whole night. And we insisted in
4 particular both the commander and I, and we were the ones who visited that
5 line. Most -- we insisted that the whole night had to be spent there
6 until we ensured some shifts, because those were very early hours. And I
7 must say that people carried out that part of their task very patiently
8 and very conscientiously.
9 Q. Mr. Zaric, did you do something so that the members of the 4th
10 Detachment who were on that defence line, that is, on the dikes, could
11 recognise each other? Did you do something in that regard?
12 A. Yes. We received this order from the command of the 17th Tactical
13 Group. They told army members who were along combat lines were to have a
14 uniform patch, and it was suggested to find it and to put on a white
15 ribbon, with a view to carrying out this order, I went to a shop in the
16 afternoon, which was open in the town, and the shop steward was Esad
17 Porobic. It was a textile shop. And I got from him a roll of white
18 cloth. I signed a document duly, saying that we needed it, gave him a
19 piece of paper saying that I had taken it, and I took this roll to the
20 command so that they could -- so that this cloth could be cut into ribbons
21 20 by 2 centimetres, so that in the evening people could put it on, use it
22 as markings, all the people who were -- who held combat lines or rather,
23 defence lines.
24 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours --
25 JUDGE LINDHOLM: If I understood you correctly, you yourself,
1 together with somebody else, visited the dikes along Bosna and Sava during
2 the night between the 17th and the 18th of April. Did I understand you
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, you did.
5 JUDGE LINDHOLM: And if I can recollect the geography of the town
6 of Bosanski Samac in a right way, you couldn't get there unless you went
7 either swimming along the rivers or walking along the dikes, but rather,
8 you went through the city of Bosanski Samac, didn't you? Yes or no. Yes
9 or no.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Within that context, I did not go
11 through the town in the evening of the 17th. But on the 18th, I could do
12 it, and I did it, in a car, without any problem whatsoever.
13 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Okay. My next question is: You said that your
14 soldiers, or the members of the 4th Detachment, they were wearing white
15 armbands on their left-hand shoulder, which you could recognise and see
16 during the night between the 17th and the 18th of April. Am I correct?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, you are.
18 JUDGE LINDHOLM: How did you get there?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, when those ribbons were made,
20 they were distributed to -- through a messenger. The messenger took it to
21 company and platoon commanders and company and platoon commanders then
22 distributed them amongst their shoulders.
23 JUDGE LINDHOLM: No. My question was: How did you get there, to
24 the dikes of the Bosna and the Sava River? You said you made it by car.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 18th, I could easily get
1 there by car. In the evening of the 17th, I walked right along the dike,
2 like all the other soldiers, and I moved from one soldier to the other,
3 moving quite close to the dike, because these dikes are on the outskirts
4 of the town of Samac. I didn't have to go through the residential area to
5 reach the dikes. I mean a boundary area of the town without any
6 residences, and therefore it was not difficult for me to move from one
7 soldier to the other, from one commander to the other, to see what was the
8 situation and to show them that we from the command were near them and
9 with them.
10 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Yes, but as all of us know, the distance between
11 the dike along the Sava River and the buildings in the town is something
12 between 20 and 50 metres. Am I correct?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, you are. Maybe even less than
15 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Okay. And all of us know that those people in
16 camouflage uniforms were moving around vital buildings, very close to the
17 Sava River and dike along it. Am I correct?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, except for the SUP building,
19 no other building is close enough. There is only the bridge across the
20 Sava, but we got to that bridge only after three days. And other vital
21 facilities are in the town.
22 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Yes, but the SUP building is very close to the
23 dike along the Sava River?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The SUP building is, and that's what
25 I said. That is the only vital building which is in the immediate
1 vicinity of the Sava River bank.
2 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Yes. And did you see people in those
3 multicoloured or camouflage uniforms around the SUP building between the
4 17th and the 18th of April?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I saw them on the 18th of April, in
6 the afternoon. I saw them live, because that was the first time that I
7 went to the public security station.
8 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Okay. Thank you so much.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: We'll take our break and continue at 1800 hours.
10 --- Recess taken at 5.41 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 6.04 p.m.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pisarevic.
13 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to
14 introduce a document. This is our number from pre-trial PDB 12/4. The
15 document has been disclosed to the Prosecution. I believe that the
16 members of the Chamber have it before them. And I also see that Mr. Zaric
17 has it before him. This is the records of the interrogation of the
18 witness before the military court in Orasje. This was compiled by
19 Ivo Lukac, the investigating judge, in the proceedings conducted against
20 Simo Zaric for the crime of armed rebellion and aggravated crimes against
21 civilians from Article 102 in connection with article 102, paragraph 2,
22 and Article 132 of the criminal law adopted from the Former Socialist
23 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The records is dated 21st of July, 1994.
24 The witness, in the proceedings, was Esad Dulovic [phoen].
25 Q. Mr. Zaric, could you please look at page 2 --
1 MR. RE: I'm sorry.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Re.
3 MR. RE: I understand Mr. Pisarevic is attempting to tender this
4 document, but is that what's happening at the moment?
5 JUDGE MUMBA: Well, he wants to discuss it with the witness first.
6 MR. RE: I don't object to him discussing with -- I just notify
7 the Trial Chamber now, the Prosecution will question the relevance of the
8 document. Maybe Mr. Pisarevic can make it relevant. The Prosecution has
9 certainly seen many of these types of documents in relation to a lot of
10 the witnesses who have already been called, but of course we don't attempt
11 to tender any of these into evidence. So we just raise the question
12 before he goes any further, please make this relevant to the proceedings
13 in some way.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I think the counsel can explain.
15 MR. LAZAREVIC: Your Honours, the Prosecution had a couple of
16 months, and if I may say, they have this documents in their possession for
17 a couple of years. They were informed that we will use this document in
18 the course of examination of Mr. Zaric and that we would like to present
19 this document into evidence, well, at least for a few months, and it was
20 disclosed to the Prosecution in our pre-trial brief. But the source of
21 this document is the Prosecution. They provided us with this document.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: I think what the Prosecution are asking is the
23 relevance of this document to the case.
24 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes, Your Honours. We are now at the topic of
25 white ribbons, and Mr. Zaric has just testified that he went to the shop,
1 that he took a quantity, and this is what the document is about, because
2 this witness who testified, Mr. Porobic, was actually the salesman who
3 gave the white ribbons to Mr. Zaric.
4 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Zaric, are you on page 2 of this document?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. First of all let me ask you: Do you know Mr. Esad Porobic?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Where did he reside? Where did Mr. Esad Porobic reside in 1992?
10 A. He resided in Bosanski Samac.
11 Q. This gentleman, Mr. Porobic, what was his profession? Where did
12 he work?
13 A. He was a highly qualified salesman, and I worked together with him
14 in the same company for seven years.
15 Q. Please look at the fourth paragraph, line 5. Could you please
16 read this sentence.
17 A. Kindly tell me what were the -- what are the first words of this
19 Q. "He was --"
20 A. "He was a very sociable and communicative person. He often
21 helped people whenever he had the chance to do that. Before the
22 occupation, one couldn't notice anything about his person that would point
23 to the fact that he was a negative person, in terms of his participation
24 or preparation of an armed rebellion."
25 Q. Thank you very much. Now I would kindly ask you to read the part
1 starting with the following words: "At that time I had a meeting with the
2 defendant Simo Zaric."
3 A. "At that time, I had a meeting with the defendant Simo Zaric.
4 That was when Simo Zaric came with another man to my shop. I believe that
5 this was after my working hours. He asked me to deliver a certain
6 quantity of cloth because he needed that cloth for some insignia for the
7 troops in the units. The defendant treated me with respect. Moreover, he
8 left a written document with me for the delivery of the goods."
9 Q. And can you please read the part starting with: "In his
10 behaviour," the same paragraph.
11 A. "As for his behaviour, or a violent attitude towards non-Serbian
12 population of Bosanski Samac, I wouldn't be able to state anything, given
13 the --"
14 MR. RE: I do object to this. The relevance we were told was that
15 this is somehow corroborative of Mr. Zaric's evidence that it was he who
16 purchased the ribbons. Okay. For whatever weight this document can be
17 given to support his evidence to that, fine. We're not going to worry too
18 much about that. But this seems to be trying to get character evidence in
19 through the back door, through a document that was apparently taken in a
20 Croatian type of court. We do object to that. And in any event, the
21 document speaks for itself. I don't know why it's being read onto the
22 record. It speaks for itself if it's going to be tendered.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: The Trial Chamber doesn't see any objectionable
24 reason why it can't be received into evidence except that perhaps what you
25 point out is that there is no need to read this.
1 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Certainly, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Because what --
3 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] There was just one more part.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. If you want to tender it, you go ahead with
5 that, and then you simply discuss what it shows. Because we can all read
6 the contents of the document.
7 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] There's no reason for me to go on
8 reading this document, because, as has been stated, it speaks for itself.
9 I would only like to ask Mr. Zaric the following:
10 Q. Has this document been signed by the witness, Esad Porobic?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And the signature of the investigating judge?
13 A. Yes. And I know this judge very well.
14 Q. Are you aware of the fact that proceedings were initiated before
15 the military court of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna in Orasje?
16 A. I learned that only at the moment when it appeared as an item of
17 the agenda before this Trial Chamber, when my provisional release was
18 discussed, and that was the first time when I learned that I had been
19 condemned to death.
20 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Can it please be given a number
21 for this exhibit.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
23 THE REGISTRAR: This will be Exhibit D51/4.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Let me ask the Prosecution. I thought they were not
1 MR. RE: No. It's a matter of weight. No.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. So it's D51/4.
3 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Zaric, during the day of the 17th of April, did you have a
5 telephone call? If so, who called you, and what did you discuss with that
7 A. I received a telephone call during the 17th of April, around noon,
8 and it was Mr. Ibrahim Salkic who called me. His nickname is Ibela.
9 Q. What did you talk about with Mr. Salkic when he called you?
10 A. Ibrahim Salkic called me and told me that he and other Muslims who
11 were in the centre of town, under arms, that they wanted to lay down their
12 weapons, but he wanted to talk about that before and be given the word by
13 Mr. Stevan Nikolic, the commander of the 17th Tactical Group. He asked me
14 whether I could give him the number for this person to call him.
15 Q. Did you give him the number?
16 A. Yes, I did give him the telephone number, and Mr. Salkic,
17 according to the information that I subsequently obtained, called
18 Commander Nikolic and talked to him, and all the weapons that he and his
19 group of Muslims had at their disposal at several points in town was
20 handed over to the public security station in Samac rather than to the
21 members of the 4th Detachment.
22 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Zaric. On that day, that is, the 17th of
23 April, did you receive information about the call for help that Mr. Salkic
24 and Mr. Suljic sent to the Croatian forces?
25 A. When Mr. Antic and I returned from Pelagicevo, the duty officer in
1 our communications centre, Mr. Miljenko Ugljesic, informed us that during
2 the communications means, he intercepted a conversation between Namik
3 Suljic and Ibrahim Salkic, Ibela, and certain people from the Republic of
4 Croatia and the Croatian Defence Council from Prud. Apparently they asked
5 them to deliver on their promise. That was to extend them help in order
6 to take the town of Samac.
7 Q. Did Commander Nikolic issue any other orders on that day, on the
8 17th of April, 1992?
9 A. I must say that not for a moment did we underestimate the
10 information that we had received, and that is that help was asked from the
11 Republic of Croatia and the HVO from Prud. This message was conveyed to
12 the commander, and we told him that a group of armed men were to be found
13 in the town. Commander Nikolic then said that he would issue an order
14 through the competent commander to send two BOVs and armoured vehicles to
15 the town. The abbreviation is BOV. That is the CAV or the armoured
16 combat vehicle, which has four barrels, two smaller ones and two bigger
17 ones [as interpreted]. This is basically an anti-aircraft piece of
18 equipment. He said he was going to send these pieces of weaponry to act
19 as prevention against any possible attacks on the suburban areas, and also
20 to somehow be a signal to the forces in the town that it would be
21 dangerous for them to engage in any armed conflict. So when these two
22 CAVs appeared, and at the beginning they just cruised the streets of the
23 town, Mr. Salkic called and did what I have just spoken about.
24 Q. Thank you very much. This CAV, how many barrels did it have?
25 A. This CAV has one barrel and two smaller barrels underneath, but
1 we call it a one-barrel.
2 Q. Mr. Zaric, the record is wrong. It reads: Four barrels.
3 A. No. It has three barrels. It has one bigger one and two smaller
5 Q. Can you please answer the following question: On the day of the
6 17th of April, did Commander Nikolic issue any other orders to the command
7 of the 4th Detachment?
8 A. Yes. When we received information that the weapons from the
9 centre of the town, from which there was the biggest threat to the entire
10 town, that this had been handed over, Commander Nikolic issued an order to
11 the following effect: On the suburban areas, where the members of the 4th
12 Detachment were deployed, they were to make rounds of the closest houses
13 with a group of soldiers and ask for all the illegal weapons to be handed
14 over in order to secure the protection of the unit members who were on the
15 dike on the right bank of the River Sava and on the right river bank of
16 the River Bosna.
17 Q. What was the order of Commander Antic on the way the illegal
18 weapons were to be collected?
19 A. Commander Antic issued an order to a small group that was in
20 patrol on the 17th, in the afternoon, to approach every house along the
21 dike, not to enter any of the houses, not to carry out any search, to ask
22 for weapons if the people had any illegal weapons, and they were strictly
23 forbidden from entering any house or carrying out any search. This was an
24 express order and it was also ordered that the collected weapons should be
25 delivered to a certain place.
1 Q. Mr. Zaric, this action of collecting military weapons from the
2 citizens of Samac, did it continue on the 18th of April, 1992?
3 A. I believe that the majority of this task was indeed carried out on
4 the 18th of April, because on the 17th of April, we only had two hours
5 before the night fell, so that this action of the collection of weapons,
6 especially when it comes to the 4th Detachment, and in that area, was
7 carried out on the 18th of April, 1992.
8 Q. While this action was being carried out in order to collect
9 military weapons from citizens, did you, Mr. Zaric, have any concrete
10 tasks and duties?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you please tell the Honourable Chamber: What were your
13 duties? What was your role in that action? And who assigned you that
14 role? Who gave you your orders on that day?
15 A. On the 18th of April, 1992, Commander Antic issued an order to two
16 groups, consisting of eight to ten men each. According to that order, in
17 the part of the town that we called the fourth quarter, or the fourth
18 neighbourhood, they were supposed to collect the illegal weapons from
19 citizens, and again he pointed to the fact that this had to be done in a
20 humane manner, that no searches were to be done, that this should be done
21 in a conversation with the fellow citizens, and then that finally the
22 collected weapons should be taken to the Territorial Defence staff. As
23 for me personally, I remember it well. At the meeting of the command, so
24 to me personally and to Mr. Tadic, he ordered that, in addition to the
25 tasks that we already had, I on the defence line and Mr. Tadic, already on
1 the 18th, had two tasks. One was in connection with the transfer of the
2 command to another place for security reasons, and he also had a task to
3 organise a kitchen, a field kitchen. But he told the two of us that we
4 should meet from time to time in the area where the action was under way
5 and that the two of us should make sure that his orders were obeyed to the
6 last letter.
7 MR. LAZAREVIC: There is one thing missing in the transcript.
8 Mr. Zaric had mentioned the fourth quarter of the town, and I don't see
9 this in the transcript.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: I thought he had said that, line 9, I think:
11 "According to that order, in the part of the town that we called the
12 fourth quarter, or the fourth neighbourhood." That is covered. We can go
14 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes. I apologise. I heard it twice, so maybe ...
15 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Was your role to monitor, to control the situation?
17 A. Yes, in the context that I have described.
18 Q. Mr. Zaric, tell us: How did you control the collection of weapons
19 and the manner in which this activity was carried out?
20 A. My primary task was to constantly tour the defence line. On the
21 18th, in the morning, I was given a driver, Toso Tutnjevic, also known as
22 Toso, and a car. They were put at my disposal. And in view of the route
23 we followed and my wish to reach as many places as possible in order to
24 monitor the security of the line, and in order to carry out my task, I
25 moved by vehicle with Mr. Tutnjevic. We would come to a street, stop. I
1 would look to see what was happening and then we would go to another part
2 of town or to the line, and then go back, in order to see how this part of
3 the task was being carried out.
4 Q. Very well. Thank you. Do you know whether the members of the 4th
5 Detachment entered citizens' houses and flats?
6 A. I do not know of a single case when a member of the 4th Detachment
7 entered anyone's home and carried out any sort of search or anything
8 similar that might cause dissatisfaction among citizens.
9 Q. Do you know of any cases of use of force or threats against
10 citizens by members of the 4th Detachment during the action of collecting
12 A. No. I never heard anything like that, either during the war or
14 Q. Were the soldiers who participated in collecting the weapons
15 accompanied or escorted by any kind of armoured vehicle; and if they were,
16 what kind of vehicle was it?
17 A. These were the two armoured combat vehicles I have just mentioned,
18 from the 17th, which came during the day. And on the following day, the
19 same two vehicles arrived, but this time they escorted the group that went
20 from street to street, and they put the weapons they had collected into a
21 part of this vehicle, where weapons could be left without any problems.
22 Q. Did this vehicle resemble a tank at all?
23 A. No. It's nothing like a tank.
24 Q. Did any tanks arrive in Bosanski Samac on the 17th and 18th April?
25 A. No. As far as I know, no, they didn't.
1 Q. Apart from the members of the 4th Detachment who participated in
2 collecting weapons in the fourth quarter, were there any other persons or
3 members of any other units?
4 A. In the area of the fourth quarter, there were members of no other
5 units, apart from the members of the 4th Detachment.
6 Q. Mr. Zaric, during your control of the collection of weapons, were
7 you in Pere Bosica Street, in front of the house of Sabrija Dagovic?
8 A. No, never.
9 Q. Mr. Zaric, were you in the vicinity of Sabrija Dagovic's house?
10 A. Yes, I was on Djure Djakovica Street which is not far and which
11 crosses Pere Bosica Street.
12 Q. Mr. Zaric, on that day, the 18th of April, 1992, were you at any
13 moment accompanied by Mr. Miroslav Tadic?
14 A. We were not together for a single moment, except that I saw
15 Mr. Tadic passing by in a street near the fire brigade headquarters, but
16 we never walked together, not for a single moment.
17 Q. When did this action of collecting weapons from citizens end?
18 A. It ended on the 18th, in the afternoon, the 18th of April, in the
20 Q. Mr. Zaric, what was done with these weapons that were collected?
21 A. All these weapons were taken to the building of the Territorial
22 Defence, which is opposite the public security station, and they were left
23 in a warehouse or a depot which had been used to store weapons previously,
24 except that this time the weapons were thrown in haphazardly rather than
25 being neatly stacked.
1 Q. Mr. Zaric, do you know anything as to how many weapons the members
2 of the 4th Detachment collected in the fourth quarter? Do you know the
3 number of weapons?
4 A. I didn't enter the depot, but I was told --
5 Q. The 4th Detachment.
6 A. Well, in the fourth quarter, I think the 4th Detachment found
7 between 250 and 300 barrels of various kinds.
8 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Counsel, before we go forward, I would like to
9 ask Mr. Zaric -- it's about his answer on page 74, line 21. He, according
10 to the transcript, said: "In the area of the fourth quarter there were
11 members of no other units, apart from the members of the 4th Detachment."
12 This is a very ambiguous answer, because it refers only to the fourth
13 quarter of the town of Bosanski Samac. Were there perhaps other units
14 moving around in other parts of the town collecting weapons, and how were
15 they composed? Were also those groups members of the 4th Detachment only,
16 or were there other persons involved in that collecting of weapons? Could
17 you clarify that?
18 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my next question,
19 which I was just beginning to put, was the following:
20 Q. Mr. Zaric, do you know who was collecting weapons in the remaining
21 part of town, that is, in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd quarters of Samac?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Can you tell us what you know about this?
24 A. Well, on the first evening, between the 16th and the 17th, in the
25 area of Donja Mahala, a complete search was made by the specials and the
1 Serbian police which entered, and they completed that part of the task in
2 the second and third quarters as well. So that we did not even enter
3 those areas. And the only reason we got this information that they had
4 passed through that part of the town was that a lot of unpleasant
5 situations had arisen, and for this reason it was not advisable for us to
6 go and repeat our activity in the areas where they had already been.
7 Q. And what kind of unpleasant situations had arisen? What did these
8 people do? What did you hear? When did you hear this about the specials?
9 A. Well, I heard a part of this very soon, on the 18th. They entered
10 houses, conducted searches, looked for weapons; not in every house, but in
11 most houses. They confiscated weapons, even from members of the 4th
12 Detachment who had proper documents. They took legally owned weapons,
13 including hunting rifles, from citizens who had proper licences. So that
14 their attitude when confiscating weapons was what I have just described.
15 Q. Mr. Zaric, when did you learn that the police and the Specials,
16 during the searches, arrested citizens of Samac?
17 A. Stories about that reached us on the 17th. I didn't see that
18 personally, but I got some information from some members of the 4th
19 Detachment who had succeeded in coming to our area, and we heard that
20 people were being arrested, that their weapons were being taken away, and
21 I also received information on members of the 4th Detachment who had been
22 arrested and who were already in the public security station.
23 Q. Mr. Zaric, did you tell anyone about what you learned?
24 A. Of course.
25 Q. Who did you inform?
1 A. I immediately informed Mr. Makso Simeunovic about that chaotic
2 situation, and he immediately informed the commander of the 17th Tactical
3 Group, so that what was happening in the town of Samac, without control,
4 was known by my Superior Command in the 17th Tactical Group from the very
6 Q. Did you also inform them that members of the 4th Detachment had
7 been arrested?
8 A. Yes, I did, and I spoke to the commander personally, Commander
9 Nikolic, because he happened to be there in the command. And I said to
10 him I could not comprehend the behaviour of the Serbian policemen and the
11 Specials, that they had no criteria, and that they had arrested, among
12 others, a number of members of the 4th Detachment who had proper licences,
13 legitimate documents, and who had weapons as members of the 4th Detachment
14 of the JNA.
15 JUDGE LINDHOLM: I have a question here. Mr. Zaric, you told us a
16 while ago that you had, so to say, a channel of information between you
17 yourself, your commander, Mr. Antic, and the commander of the 17th
18 Tactical Group, Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic. What about channels of
19 information between you, as representing the military part of what was
20 going on, and the municipal authorities in the town of Samac, taking into
21 account that the town of Samac is a rather small community?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My only communication which I
23 maintained with the military command in Pelagicevo was through the radio
24 equipment we had in the command of the 4th Detachment, which means that if
25 I needed to transmit anything to my superior officer, Makso Simeunovic, or
1 the commander, I had to go to the command of the 4th Detachment, and from
2 there, ask for a communications link and ask to speak to them. I had no
3 other way of establishing contact, and I did not contact with the
5 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Excuse me for interrupting you. Apparently I
6 didn't make myself clear enough. I'm not interested in by which means you
7 established contact between you yourself and the commander of the 17th
8 Tactical Group. What I'm interested in, whether any kind of channels of
9 information as between you and the municipal authorities in the town of
10 Bosanski Samac, civilian authorities. Can you please reply to that
11 question, shortly, and not going astray.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had no information and no
13 connections with the municipal authorities on the 17th and the 18th,
15 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Do you know - perhaps this is just a
16 suggestion - that anybody else had, so to say, communication with the
17 civil -- the municipal authorities in the town of Bosanski Samac about
18 what was going on?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] With respect to the command of the
20 4th Detachment, I know that no one from the command of the 4th Detachment
21 had any communication with the authorities in Samac.
22 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you.
23 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. What did Commander Nikolic say he would do for the members of the
25 4th Detachment to be released?
1 A. He told me that he would intervene right away and that he would
2 inform us about the outcome of his talks. And when he said he would
3 intervene, he was referring to Mr. Todorovic, who was the chief of the
4 public security station. After informing Commander Nikolic about an hour
5 later, I received information that he had talked with Mr. Blagoje Simic
6 and with Mr. Stevan Todorovic, that he had informed them of this fact,
7 that is, that weapons had been confiscated from members of the 4th
8 Detachment and that they had been arrested, and he asked that these people
9 be released. And he said that I, as the assistant commander for security,
10 would go to the public security station to collect these men and to see
11 that they were released.
12 Q. Mr. Zaric, did Commander Nikolic order you to go to the police
13 station in Bosanski Samac and to take over the members of the 4th
14 Detachment who were detained there?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did you go to the police station?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. How did you take over the members of the 4th Detachment at the
19 police station in Bosanski Samac?
20 A. I went to the police station in Bosanski Samac on the 18th, in the
21 early evening, and then on the following day, because during the night
22 some other members had also been arrested, I went there and I reported to
23 the duty officer, Ilija Vukojevic. I said I had arrived and that I wanted
24 to talk to the chief of the station in order to have the members of the
25 4th Detachment who were detained there released.
1 Q. And did you manage to talk to Mr. Stevan Todorovic?
2 A. Yes. Stevan Todorovic was upstairs, in one of the offices, with a
3 team I didn't know, and he said: Brother Serb, you have arrived. I
4 didn't like this very much, but I said I was there pursuant to his
5 conversation with my commander and that I was there because the members of
6 the 4th Detachment were to be released and their weapons returned to them.
7 Q. And were the members of the 4th Detachment released, and can you
8 recall some names, if you can?
9 A. Yes. I remember that on that occasion, in the public security
10 station there were several members of the 4th Detachment. One of them was
11 Tadija Brandic, who was an ethnic Croat and who was also a platoon leader
12 in the 4th Detachment, which is very characteristic. Then there was
13 Muharem Kapetanovic, also known as Sora [phoen], a Muslim. There was
14 Hajrudin Seljakovic, also known as Mrki. There was Mustafa Omeranovic,
15 Mujaga also known as Mustafa. There was Asim Avdic and there was Marko
16 Filipovic, whom they had arrested in the course of the night, and on the
17 following day, on the 19th, I had to go back to get him out. That's why I
18 said I went to collect another one on the 19th. So these five or six men
19 were released from the public security station, but Mr. Todorovic did not
20 return their weapons. Their weapons were not returned to them at that
22 Q. Mr. Zaric, where in the police station were these people detained?
23 A. I have to confess: I don't know where they were detained. When I
24 said that I had come to collect these members of the 4th Detachment, he
25 asked me who are these men from the 4th Detachment, and I said: Well, I
1 don't know who you have here in the public security station. And he sent
2 me to Vukojevic, the duty officer, who had in front of him a book, where
3 they recorded who was detained there.
4 Q. And what did the duty officer, Ilija Vukojevic, do so that these
5 members of the 4th Detachment would be released?
6 A. When in that logbook I saw 30 or 40 names, and I found the names I
7 have just mentioned, I said to Mr. Vukojevic: These are the men who
8 should be released, and I agreed on this with Chief Stevo. Then
9 Mr. Vukojevic - whose chief I had been before, he was an older
10 professional policeman - he said: Mr. Zaric, I trust you, but I have to
11 ask my chief once more whether I have to release these men. So he called
12 Stevo again, Stevo Todorovic, the chief, from the duty officer's room, and
13 when he said it was all right, then he brought these men into the corridor
14 and I apologised to these men because they had found themselves in this
15 situation, and then they went home.
16 Q. Mr. Zaric, did the members of the 4th Detachment who were there,
17 had they been beaten while they were detained in the police station? Do
18 you know anything about this?
19 A. Yes. Almost all of them were beaten.
20 Q. How did you find this out?
21 A. Because I saw them. I saw the bruises on Mr. Abdic and on
22 Mr. Mrki, that is, Hajrudin Seljakovic, also known as Mrki. I saw bruises
23 on Mr. Tadija, Mujaga Omeranovic was my brother-in-law, and a platoon
24 leader, and he was the one who had been beaten the worst and who had the
25 worst bruises.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pisarevic, can we break here? There are just
2 two matters we want to discuss. We can continue with Mr. Zaric tomorrow.
3 The Trial Chamber has been informed that Mr. Marko Tubakovic has
4 arrived today, and the Trial Chamber has decided that we shall hear him
5 tomorrow. We will begin with him, so that he can be returned. When we
6 are through with him, then we continue with Mr. Zaric. And the other
7 matter is that on Friday, the Trial Chamber intends to sit for one and a
8 half hours in the afternoon, starting at 1445 hours, to allow the
9 interpreters and the crew to move their equipment. So we shall sit in the
10 afternoon as well, from 1445 to 1615 hours, on Friday.
11 Yes, Mr. Re.
12 MR. RE: Your Honours, what Your Honours, what you've just said in
13 relation to Mr. Tubakovic may present the Prosecution with some
14 difficulty. It is this: I'm co-counsel in another case, and tomorrow
15 afternoon I have a meeting arranged with a German general who is the
16 expert witness in the other case, which I'm trying to do because it's the
17 only time he can come in the next few months between 1.30 and about a
18 quarter to 4.00, or 4.15, when we had the break, and I'm the person who
19 has been assigned to do Mr. Tubakovic. And Mr. Di Fazio and Mr. Weiner
20 were going to sit in for me for Mr. Zaric while I was interviewing the
21 general, who is a military expert. I was wondering if it would be
22 possible for Mr. Tubakovic to give his evidence in the latter part of the
23 afternoon. I only say this because I've only found this out right now,
24 and I reorganised matters with the German general this morning on the
25 basis that Mr. Zaric was coming today, or sorry, Mr. Zaric would be still
1 giving his evidence tomorrow. It just will present us with some
2 difficulty in someone else getting on top of Mr. Tubakovic's evidence,
3 which I was the person who had him before in Belgrade. But that's all.
4 If possibly he could give it after.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: No. The proceedings have priority because of the
6 problems that we face in these proceedings. So we'll begin with
7 Mr. Tubakovic and then you can readjust your meeting with the expert.
8 MR. RE: I can't, because the expert -- the expert is coming in --
9 I spoke to him this morning. He was going to come on the night train and
10 come in the morning, but I said: No, no. Because Mr. Zaric is scheduled
11 to give his evidence, Mr. Di Fazio and Mr. Weiner will do it. And he has
12 to catch a train -- a plane at 7.00 p.m. He will only be in The Hague
13 between about 1.00, if then -- he's getting here at midday and he'll be
14 leaving by about a quarter past 4.00 to catch his plane. That's the only
15 time we have been able to arrange a meeting with this general for several
16 months, because he's all over the place. It's just a clash which I
17 couldn't see coming with Mr. Tubakovic until this moment. That's the real
18 difficulty we have with that. I wouldn't ask, but it's just it's a
19 meeting that's been arranged for several months, and I've only just found
20 this out this minute. If I had known yesterday I would have asked him to
21 catch the night train, but it's too late now. He's actually -- he was
22 actually the commander of NATO forces in Bosnia. He's -- it's very
23 difficult to get him here. That's the difficulty. Mr. Withopf --
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Re. You can see the problems we all face
25 in these matters. But proceedings have priority, and we just have to hear
1 this witness so that he doesn't stay a day longer. Yes. We have to
2 finish him tomorrow.
3 Yes, Mr. Pisarevic.
4 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would only like to
5 inform you that Mr. Tubakovic set out yesterday from Bosanski Samac. He
6 arrived today. And my colleague Mr. Lazarevic and I have not seen him at
7 all. The witness was scheduled as a deposition witness, and I think that
8 we would need at least a day and that Mr. Tubakovic could testify on
9 Friday, because we need to proof him at least a little bit, prepare him in
10 a way for his testimony. So we would kindly ask you, if at all possible,
11 to allow this.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pisarevic. You've come to the rescue of
14 Mr. Re, which I'm sure Mr. Re is very grateful. In view of your
15 requirement to have a chat with Mr. Tubakovic, then we will hear him on
16 Friday, since we are sitting the whole day. We hope that we should be
17 able to complete him so that he can go back. So we'll adjourn now and
18 continue our proceedings tomorrow.
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.01 p.m.,
20 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 8th day of
21 May 2003, at 9.00 a.m.