1 Tuesday, 25 June 2002
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Madam Registrar, please call the case.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. This is the case number,
7 IT-99-36-T, the Prosecutor versus Radoslav Brdjanin and Momir Talic.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Good afternoon, Mr. Brdjanin. Can you hear me
9 in a language that you can understand?
10 THE ACCUSED BRDJANIN: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your
11 Honour. I can hear you and I understand you.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. You may sit down.
13 General Talic, good afternoon to you. Can you hear me in a
14 language that you can understand?
15 THE ACCUSED TALIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
16 I hear you in a language that I understand.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: As you see, I don't even wait for the interpretation
18 now. Thank you. You may sit down.
19 Appearances for the Prosecution.
20 MR. CAYLEY: May it please Your Honours. My name is Andrew
21 Cayley. I appear on behalf of the Office of the Prosecutor with case
22 manager Denise Gustin.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Cayley, and good afternoon to you.
24 Appearances for Radoslav Brdjanin.
25 MR. ACKERMAN: Good afternoon, Your Honours. I'm John Ackerman,
1 along with co-counsel Milan Trbojevic and Marela Jevtovic.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: And good afternoon to you.
3 And appearances for General Talic.
4 MR. ZECEVIC: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Slobodan Zecevic and
5 Natasha Ivanovic-Fauveau for General Talic.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, and good afternoon to you.
7 I understand, Mr. Ackerman, you've got some issue to raise.
8 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, these come under the category of loose
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah. But -- go ahead.
11 MR. ACKERMAN: I'll go through them as briefly as I can.
12 There were two matters that arose on the 10th of April. The first
13 one had to do with a couple of tapes, Prosecution Exhibits 509 and
14 Prosecution Exhibits 508. And you'll probably recall that the dates
15 were --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Don't be too optimistic.
17 MR. ACKERMAN: The dates were represented to you on those tapes as
18 being 1992 and 1993.
19 Then looking at the tape that was represented as 1992, it became
20 clear that there was a poster on the wall that said "1994." It was also
21 clear that Mr. Cayley only made that representation to the Court because
22 that's what he was told by someone. We had a very long discussion about
23 it, and I made a request:
24 "All I'm asking Your Honours to do" - and this is -- I'm quoting
25 from my request - "is ask Mr. Cayley to look into this matter and advise
1 us how it came to be that that tape was represented as coming from 1992.
2 And if further investigation is then required, that it be carried out and
3 that care be taken regarding representations of that kind."
4 I then said: "This, Your Honours, is the mischief of what I think
5 is a loose and reckless way that we deal with evidence in this Tribunal."
6 And I'll speak about that a little further in just a minute.
7 Mr. Cayley then said: "I will look into this myself. I will have
8 investigations done to certainly date these tapes properly and will also
9 endeavour to find out where the date of 1992 came from in respect of the
10 representation that I made."
11 And then a little further on, Your Honour, Mr. Cayley said again:
12 "I will. I will investigate. I will give Mr. Ackerman that information
13 and then I will give it to the Court."
14 And then Judge Agius: "Yes. And as soon as you have the
15 information that Mr. Ackerman suggested we request from you, please let us
16 have it."
17 Mr. Cayley: "Yes."
18 And I'm wondering with regard to that particular one - and I've
19 got others - if there has been a such follow-up and what that result was.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I also think that in either the subsequent sitting
21 or the -- anyway, a subsequent sitting, in any case, Ms. Korner came
22 forward and more or less gave a semi-explanation, promising even further
23 information later.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: You're probably right. I don't recall that.
25 You're probably right, Your Honour.
1 The next one, Your Honour, was on the same date. It happened --
2 and I think just as a matter of caution, we should go to private session
3 for just a moment.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Let's go into private session,
5 Madam Registrar, please.
6 [Private session]
13 Page 7442 – redacted – private session
13 Page 7443 – redacted – private session
13 Page 7444 – redacted – private session
4 [Open session]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Please go ahead.
6 MR. CAYLEY: In respect of the two videotapes, what I can say is
7 this: The reason that the representation was made as it was by me was in
8 reliance on what a prior witness had stated as the date of the videotape.
9 I've reread the transcripts, and that is the conclusion that I came to,
10 that that is why I -- I suggested that date because that is how a previous
11 witness apparently mistakenly had dated this particular tape.
12 What I -- what I did discover subsequently is that the Bosnian
13 government had actually given us the correct date, and that is where we
14 failed, because in putting this tape originally into evidence the ERN --
15 the IF form registering the evidence had not been consulted. Why that
16 wasn't done, I don't know. But the Bosnian government actually provided
17 us with the correct date, and then subsequently we had a witness date that
18 material in the courtroom and that was the incorrect date. So that is the
19 outcome of that inquiry.
20 As to the document that Witness BT11 was going to procure on our
21 behalf, a document was acquired from him and the reason that it is not yet
22 before the Court is because it's being translated. And as you know, there
23 is a huge translation backlog. And because of the fuss that was made
24 about that document, I didn't want to offer it to the courtroom until such
25 time as we had a CLSS translation of the document that he was referring
1 to. And as soon as I do have a translation, I will give a copy of it to
2 Mr. Ackerman, and to the Defence team for General Talic.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Presumably this is -- this is the kind of document
4 that I would expect not to exceed one page. Yes?
5 MR. CAYLEY: It's not, Your Honour. But it goes in a queue.
6 That's the problem. And to be honest with you, I knew I'd received it.
7 Mr. Ackerman mentioning -- it's reminded that it's gone into the system
8 and I will find out where it is in the system.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Please do, Mr. Cayley.
10 MR. CAYLEY: The --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Now let's go into private session please. Or you
12 can deal with the Rasula -- what arises from Rasula's diary and then we'll
13 deal with the last part in private session.
14 MR. CAYLEY: The -- the last point that Mr. Ackerman made is, I
15 think, something that Ms. Korner and I need to discuss, because if that is
16 a project that is going to be launched where we have to check every single
17 copy against every original document, that is a huge undertaking. And if
18 that is a challenge that is being made, then that is something that we may
19 have to consider doing. But I would like to discuss that. At the moment,
20 I simply don't know whether we have the resources to do that. And I don't
21 actually believe it is a prevalent problem. That is my view. I think it
22 is an occasional problem. And in the case of this size -- and I've done
23 two of these cases before -- it does arise occasionally. But the great
24 majority, the vast majority of the documents are, I believe, true copies
25 of the document that we originally received in this office. I think it
1 would be best if the Defence and the Prosecution identified those
2 documents together where there is some question about that or a particular
3 document having some mark on it about which there is a query, and then we
4 can look at those documents. But to do a complete survey of every single
5 document in this case is quite frankly a huge task to be looking at. So I
6 put that out as a suggestion, as a way of solving the problem that
7 Mr. Ackerman has identified.
8 And if we can go into private session for the last point.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's go into private session, please,
10 Madam Registrar.
11 [Private session]
11 [Open session]
12 MR. ACKERMAN: I agree with Mr. Cayley that the vast majority of
13 documents in this case are probably true and correct copies. And again, I
14 think I've been misheard. All I was asking was that those documents which
15 have unidentified writing on them that doesn't necessarily appear to have
16 been part of the original should be checked against the originals because
17 that's what happened in the -- in the Rasula thing. And I think there
18 is -- there ought to be among Your Honours a concern that there be a
19 pretty high degree of integrity in the documents that you're being asked
20 to -- to use for the purpose of finding people guilty of the most serious
21 crimes that they can possibly be charged of.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: You can rest assured, Mr. Ackerman, Mr. Cayley, that
23 if there is even the slightest doubt about the integrity of a document, we
24 will just throw the document where it belongs.
25 MR. CAYLEY: But could we at least agree a process, because -- I
1 think we're actually of one mind. I mean, I agree with Mr. Ackerman. If
2 a document has some kind of suspect mark on it, we should actually track
3 that document to the end of our road to see what the original looks like.
4 What I'm saying is at the moment I'm not sure what documents he's
5 referring to. I know the Rasula's diary. But which documents? I mean --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: I frankly think from the documents that I have seen
7 I've really come across very few documents with what seem to be
8 handwritten additions or -- or cancellations or substitutions. I don't
9 know. And I would imagine that a good number of these additions are not
10 important. However, they may be of absolutely -- of paramount importance,
11 as was the case in Rasula's diary. So I think we will have to take them
12 as we go along and -- I don't think that the -- that I can raise any
13 complaints against the Defence for having raised such objections
14 unnecessarily or capriciously, because they have only come up with
15 objections on one or two occasions. And in one of them, at least, they
16 were proved right. So I think we -- we have to be very cautious. And I
17 think it would be very stupid of -- of the Prosecution or of the Defence
18 to embark into a mammoth task of going through all the documentation to
19 check pre-emptively. I think you have to go as we go along. And if there
20 is a question raised with regard to a particular document with super-added
21 annotations or additions or whatever, then -- then we deal with that as we
22 go along.
23 I mean, I don't see any other sort of practical solution,
24 Mr. Cayley. Because otherwise to ask you to go through all the
25 documentation would be to -- to expect the impossible from you. You know,
1 I mean, not with all the work that you already are encumbered with.
2 MR. CAYLEY: So are we agreed, then, that what will happen is with
3 all future documents, if it arises again, we will take the original
4 document out of the vault and check it against the original document? For
5 all past documents, Mr. Ackerman, Ms. Fauveau will identify those that
6 they have a problem with and then we can go to the vaults for the document
8 JUDGE AGIUS: For example -- for example, I have -- I remember
9 seeing documents with a handwritten note saying just "Top Secret," or for
10 example, with the word "Prisoners of war" cancelled or obliterated or a
11 few other things. I don't know. If the matter is brought up, then I
12 think it needs to be investigated. If it's not brought up, it -- it --
13 basically we take it that it is not that substantive or that important to
14 really go into. But if it's worth going into, we'll go into.
15 But the onus is always -- I need hardly repeat that. The onus is
16 always on you. And the ultimate word of -- of the -- the last word of the
17 Chamber is that we always reserve the right when we come to the end of
18 the -- of the exercise that if we find ourselves having to rely on a
19 document, the authenticity of which we honestly doubt, then we are not
20 going to rely on it. It's as simple as that. It's not a question of
21 coming back to the trial and then inviting you to go over and restart the
22 evidence on -- on that particular document. I mean, at a certain point in
23 time the curtains will fall and we will start doing our work.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, Your Honour, it is not the agreement that we
25 will identify for the Prosecutor the documents.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Of course not. I mean, I don't expect you to.
2 MR. ACKERMAN: If at the end of this case there are documents we
3 believe have not been properly authenticated, we will make that argument
4 and ask you to exclude them from evidence. And if the Prosecutor has not
5 properly authenticated them, that's their problem, not ours.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Of course, no. That's how I see it as well.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: And the second -- the second thing: We've seen
8 another example today -- I mean, we've got three now. We talked to you --
9 we complained about --
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Usher -- one moment.
11 Usher, please go to the room where the witness is and explain to
12 him why he's being kept there and that we will soon be calling him. Thank
14 MR. ACKERMAN: We complained about the Rasula diary, that it was
15 not authentic, and it turned out we were right. We complained about the
16 date on those two tapes, the date was wrong, it turned out we were right.
17 Now we learned today that the Prosecutor had in their possession a
18 document dating those tapes properly and permitted a witness to testify to
19 a different date and didn't clarify that.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: That could be an oversight. I mean -- I mean, I
21 appeal to you to be reasonable here and concede that the Prosecution, like
22 you, is not -- and like me is not infallible. So that may have been an
23 oversight, and I am prepared to consider it, give them the benefit of the
25 MR. ACKERMAN: I am too. I am too. But how many of these must we
1 say is -- are a result of oversight and how many of them are a result of
2 just not properly -- I mean, if they were required by Your Honours to lay
3 a proper foundation --
4 JUDGE AGIUS: You are right.
5 MR. ACKERMAN: -- in which they would have to establish the date
6 of the tape, this wouldn't happen. And that's why it happens. They don't
7 have to look for the date.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: You are right.
9 Let's go into private session again, please.
10 [Private session]
13 Page 7453 – redacted – private session
24 [Open session]
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Usher, you can bring in the witness.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon, Mr. Islamcevic.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Could I ask you to repeat the -- once
5 more the solemn declaration, please, before you start your evidence
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Willingly.
8 I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
9 and nothing but the truth.
10 WITNESS: BESIM ISLAMCEVIC [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. You may sit down.
13 And before Mr. Cayley continues with his examination-in-chief, may
14 I kindly ask you to accept our apologies for keeping you waiting in that
15 room for 35 minutes. The reason is that, as it happens sometimes, we had
16 a procedural problem -- more than one procedural problem that we had to
17 attend to, and that took us some time to resolve. So my apologies. And
18 Mr. Cayley now will resume with his direct examination of you. Thank
20 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Please proceed.
22 Examined by Mr. Cayley: [Continued]
23 Q. Witness, good afternoon. Could you direct your mind to the
24 meeting --
25 A. Good afternoon.
1 Q. Could you direct your mind back to the meeting that we were
2 discussing yesterday on the 28th of July of 1992 with Mr. Vrkes and other
3 Serb leaders. And you had explained to the Court yesterday how you
4 discussed with him the fake shelling of your village that had occurred on
5 the night of the 26th and the 27th of July.
6 What I'd like you to do now is tell the Court what other
7 discussions you had with Mr. Vrkes concerning the Muslim population of
8 Pobrijezje on that day.
9 A. Well, after what I have already informed you about, we asked
10 Mr. Vrkes to examine the possibility of going to have discussions with
11 UNPROFOR in Topusko, or rather, the north sector, because there was
12 announcement over the radio that had been broadcast during those days that
13 part of the Muslim population from Bosanski Novi had managed without big
14 difficulties and problems to get to Karlovac with the help of the UN. And
15 that seemed like a very acceptable option in that period to us for the
16 following reason: Because it would be guaranteed that families wouldn't
17 be separated and that all those who wanted to leave with those convoys,
18 who would certainly reach the destination, would reach Karlovac. We asked
19 him to examine that possibility and if possible to make it possible for us
20 to go to Topusko to Dvor Na Uni to talk to official representatives who at
21 that time were staying in the sector west in the Republic of Croatia.
22 Q. Let me just show you a map --
23 MR. CAYLEY: Which, Your Honours, I'm not going to exhibit. This
24 map is actually already in evidence but it's under seal because the last
25 witness who referred to it was a special witness that I can't refer to in
1 open session. But I think you may recognise the map.
2 And I don't want the put the map into evidence again, because it
3 just simply increases the number of exhibits. But if you could place it
4 on the ELMO.
5 Q. And if, Witness, you could just show Their Honours the location --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Can we have the exhibit number at least.
7 MR. CAYLEY: I'll get Ms. Gustin to give you the exhibit number.
8 But you do have this map already.
9 If you can place that on the ELMO.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: You look at the map on the ELMO over there.
11 MR. CAYLEY: If you could move it to the right -- I'm sorry, to
12 the left. To the left.
13 Actually, can you hand it back to me. Because I think we're
14 looking at completely the wrong part.
15 It's P773, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: It's P773.
17 MR. CAYLEY:
18 Q. Now, you can see on that map, Witness, Banja Luka. Can you point
19 out Dvor and Topusko, if you can. If you can recall where they are on
20 that map.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I think if the Banja Luka map could be moved so that
22 Banja Luka is right in the centre and then you have that part of the map
23 enlarged --
24 MR. CAYLEY: I think I'm --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know where --
1 MR. CAYLEY: You need to bring the camera out, actually.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Oh, I see.
3 MR. CAYLEY: And you need to move it slightly to the right.
4 Perfect. Yeah.
5 Q. Witness, if you look at the map on the projector, I think you'll
6 be able to see it more easily. I'm sorry to put you in this position. I
7 should have marked the map in advance, but -- can you just point to
9 A. Bosanski Novi and then to the right you go towards Dvor Na Uni and
10 this is the way you go towards Topusko. It's somewhere here, just a
11 minute. Bosanski Novi, Topusko. It's right here.
12 MR. CAYLEY: Did you see that Your Honours?
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
14 MR. CAYLEY: It's just into the Republic of Croatia. I just
15 thought I'd show you the place we're talking about.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: It has been mentioned by another witness, that
18 MR. CAYLEY: Exactly, Your Honour.
19 Q. Now, Witness, thank you for that. Can you describe to Their
20 Honours what conditions were like at the end of July and beginning of
21 August in Sanski Most for you as a Muslim living there.
22 A. At that time the tension had increased. People were intimidated,
23 and the life and existence of the Muslim population during that period was
24 not certain. It was under a question mark. And for these reasons there
25 was increased activity to voluntarily move out, in inverted commas, in
1 order to save one's life and save the lives of one's family.
2 Q. Now, after your meeting with Mr. Vrkes, did you in fact go to Dvor
3 Uni to have this meeting with the UN?
4 A. Yes.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may, I'd like to
6 say a few introductory sentences to say how this trip to Topusko came
7 about. May I?
8 MR. CAYLEY: Yeah. Go ahead.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Please go ahead.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After this conversation with
11 Mr. Vrkes, I informed other citizens and I asked Vrkes at that time for
12 him to make it possible for a meeting to be held at which more
13 representatives of local communes who wanted the same would be present and
14 would be able to present their positions and their requests and say why
15 they wanted to go. I wanted this for several reasons, one of which I will
17 At that time there were various contradictory ideas about me in
18 the town. According to some I was accused of cooperating with the Serbian
19 authorities, and according to others I was trying to get people to move
20 out of the town and not from Pobrijezje. And at that joint meeting I in
21 a certain way wanted to prove that this was false and I wanted to hear the
22 opinions of other representatives of local communes.
23 Before going to Topusko, the president of the municipality,
24 Mr. Rasula, made it possible for us to have a meeting at his office. On
25 that day there were 28 representatives who were present. And they
1 expressed their opinions, put forth their positions, with regard to this
2 matter. It was clear to me that we were on the same wavelength and that
3 we had the same objective, which was to save our lives, not to have our
4 families separated, and to move on to territory which was more secure.
5 At the end of that meeting, Mr. Vrkes told me that we should write
6 something down on paper -- write down what the result of that meeting was
7 and what I should say before the gentleman in Topusko, which is what I
8 did. And a day before going to what at the time was still called
9 Topusko -- and in fact that was going to be a departure for Dvor Na Uni,
10 Vlado asked me to inform him, to tell him of the contents of the text
11 that I intended to present with regard to the reasons of the
12 non-Serbian -- or rather, Muslim population, with regard to the reasons
13 that they had for wanting to leave.
14 Your Honours, I want to emphasise in particular the circumstances
15 under which I participated in that discussion. I entered Mr. Vrkes's
16 office, which is on the square in Sanski Most. It's on the first floor.
17 And there in the office I met someone who was well known to me, a
18 well-known person, a parent of a school friend of mine; that was in fact,
19 Brajic, a man who had lost two sons on the Croatian battlefield. And
20 Vlado told me, "There's no problem. Please go ahead and read what you
21 have brought with you." And I wanted to present the truth in good faith.
22 I didn't write that text myself, but it was with the help of a -- a wider
23 circle of people. And what happened? I wanted to emphasise that
24 relations between the Muslims and the Serbs had been good up until that
25 period in Sanski Most, and I wanted to point out how diligent the Muslim
1 population were in all segments of life, beginning -- from agriculture,
2 the catering industry, industry -- geologists, lawyers, and I wanted to
3 point out that this coexistence was really at an enviable level. I
4 also pointed out that -- I pointed out what I thought I should point
5 out. I pointed out the 26 religious buildings, that is to say, mosques,
6 up until that point in time in the municipality of Sanski Most had been
8 Similarly I pointed out that certain establishments and certain
9 houses -- and I mentioned the shop of Fajdo Banovic in Gornji Kamengrad
10 where Basara Seno [phoen] had food and drink -- had enjoyed food and
11 drink. I also mentioned the last list which -- the last sentence which
12 reflects the population of Sanski Most. And at that moment it wasn't
13 important to us. But it did show that 47 per cent of the population was
14 Muslim in Sanski Most.
15 And finally, with regard to other experiences and conversations, I
16 pointed out that the Serbian authorities in Sanski Most, especially at
17 these meetings, who were -- I was following this report from Mr. Rasula.
18 I said that they weren't in a possibility -- in a position to ensure
19 security for property. They weren't in a position to provide education,
20 to ensure the right to work, to pension schemes and to medical care. In
21 such a situation, the Muslim population in Sanski Most -- the possibility
22 of them surviving, living, was put under threat.
23 After I had read out that text -- and this was ironical -- it was
24 a David and Goliath situation. I was very small and he was very
25 powerful. And I was there in the presence of a parent who was suffering.
1 And the Muslim people are certainly not to blame for this person's death.
2 Ranko, his son, was a school friend of mine, and I was under a strong
3 impression of suffering and pain. And I was asked, "Besim, what do you
4 think? You're not going to congress? Please. It doesn't make any
5 sense. And when we're talking about religious buildings, that can't
6 remain. That part can't remain in the text, cross it out." And talking
7 about Sanski Most, it was always a Serbian town. That's what they said.
8 So the gentleman corrected my text. I could do nothing else. I only had
9 -- I could only listen to him and do what he said I should do and hope
10 that perhaps some circumstances would be in our favour and then we would
11 be able to attain our objective. That was the discussion we had
12 before we left. That was the first Sunday in August, when we left for
13 Topusko. Unfortunately we went to Dvor Na Uni and we were to go to
14 Topusko later. The justification for not having a discussion in Topusko
15 was that there was no official person there who would be able to receive
16 us there -- meet us there and talk about this subject. So on that day we
17 returned without having carried out our work. That was toward the end of
18 August. And then they set another date. I heard that would be in ten
19 days' time, ten days later.
20 MR. CAYLEY:
21 Q. Now, am I right in saying that ten days later you went back to
23 A. Yes, precisely so, sir.
24 Q. Do you know what date the second meeting was or the day when you
25 went back to Topusko? Do you remember the date?
1 A. I do. I remember it very well. It was the 19th of August, 1992.
2 Can I continue?
3 Q. If you could just wait one moment. How do you know it was the
4 19th of August of 1992 that you had that meeting?
5 A. Most of those days remain imprinted in memory. An additional
6 reason is that I later met this gentleman and he offered me the United
7 Nations charter and the statute of the international court, instead of the
8 business I had come to attend to, and I wrote the date down that.
9 Gentleman was Sergio, head of sector north. And that's a sad momento
10 from that period that I have kept to this day.
11 Q. Who accompanied you to Topusko on the 19th of August of 1992?
12 A. On the trip to Topusko, in addition to myself as a representative
13 of the Muslim people on behalf of Sanski Most, there was a gentleman
14 called Eso. I need to say here that it is a person from the territory
15 of the municipality of Bosanska Krupa, the village of Arapusa. Eso and
16 his fellow citizens - there were about 600 or 620 of them - who on the 1st
17 of May, 1992 were expelled from those villages and were put up in Donji
18 Kamengrad in the municipality of Sanski Most.
19 Q. Why was Esad from Bosanski Krupa accompanying you to Topusko?
20 A. He went because a part of the conversation with Mr. Rasula had to
21 do with the fact that they don't belong to the municipality of Sanski
22 Most, that they were a burden to the people there because the locals don't
23 have enough food to survive on and that it would be logical to find a way
24 for these 600 or 620 of them to find a way to move somewhere else. And so
25 Eso went on behalf of those people who had been expelled from Arapusa
1 and Karapinja [phoen] which belonged to the municipality of Bosanski
3 Q. If you can remember the names of the other people who accompanied
4 you on that trip.
5 A. In the first car, in addition to me and Eso, there was Mr. Vrkes
6 and Mr. Majkic, the head of the security station in Sanski Most, Majkic
7 Dragan, a mechanical engineer who used to work in a factory in Sanski
8 Most. In the second car -- I didn't know at first when we left, but there
9 was a driver called Vlasto and Lieutenant Colonel Anicic. When we got
10 there, when we got to Topusko, then I learnt that they were there too.
11 I wish for a moment to describe this part of the trip. We went
12 via Prijedor. We didn't turn right next to the Prijedor municipality
13 and the police station, but we turned left and took the old road to
14 Bosanski Novi. As we entered the main highway, the Prijedor to Bosanski
15 Novi highway, there was a major checkpoint there. Why am I telling you
16 about this? I'm telling you because I was dreadfully frightened. I saw
17 people there who do not belong to the region of Sanski Most and Prijedor,
18 people with long hair, long beards, decorated -- using as a decoration a
19 big poster of Mr. Seselj, a citizen of Yugoslavia and an inhabitant of
21 At that checkpoint Mr. Vlado asked me, "What do you think, Besim,
22 if they stop us?" And I said, "What do you mean? Surely you're our
23 leader and I'm safe with you." "God only knows whether either of us are
24 safe," he said, and I was really scared. Then we as went on on the way to
25 Topusko on the 19th of August, 1992, as we crossed the bridge linking
1 the two banks of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republic of
2 Croatia he said, "Soon there will be no border here. All this will be
3 one. All this will be Serb lands." I just said that I had no influence
4 over such matters and that they knew best, and we went on to Topusko
6 Q. Who was present at the meeting in Topusko from the United
8 A. At the meeting a certain Sergio introduced himself, de Mello I
9 think he was. I can't remember the name well. And there's another
10 representative of the UN whose name I really don't remember. There was a
11 young gentleman called Dragan from Zagreb. He acted as interpreter.
12 Q. The man Sergio, was his name Sergio de Mello?
13 A. Yes. I tried to pronounce it properly. Was it de Mello,
14 de Melli? I think you're right. That was his name.
15 Q. And the other UN official who was present at this meeting whose
16 name you do not know, was he a local man? Was he from the former
17 Yugoslavia? Or was he from somewhere else in Europe as far as you could
19 A. He certainly was not from the area of Yugoslavia. He was a person
20 like Sergio from some other country.
21 Q. Can you explain to the Judges what happened at that meeting
23 A. As briefly as I possibly can. Mr. Sergio received us. An
24 introduction was made by Mr. Vlado Vrkes who briefly elaborated on the
25 question of Yugoslavia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and the interests of the
1 Serbian people. And finally he said that the Serbian authorities in
2 Sanski Most wanted to meet the wishes of the -- of the Muslim population
3 by bringing them here because we wanted to communicate under the banner of
4 the United Nations's reckoning that we would be safe there.
5 The second to take the floor was a young gentleman. I'm glad to
6 see such young, educated people. A man called Pasic, representing
7 Bosanski Novi. As soon as he started speaking, I realised that he was
8 radical in his views, and he recounted briefly -- I think he mentioned the
9 figure of 4.000 Bosniaks or Muslims that had left Bosanski Novi, and he
10 said at the end that he was pleased that that was so because it was highly
11 questionable whether many of them would have survived if they hadn't left.
12 The third to join in the discussion was a shortish man. I don't
13 know his name. But after his comments, he didn't mention Prijedor
14 specifically, I asked him to look into the situation regarding three
15 Muslims being taken out of a car who were going for dialysis in the region
16 of Carakova and he said that he was not aware of that situation and that
17 he would indeed look into it.
18 After that, it was my turn.
19 Q. If I could just interrupt you there for the moment. The man
20 Pasic, who was he representing?
21 A. He was president of Bosanski Novi municipality. I already said
23 Q. Was he a Serb or a Bosniak?
24 A. A Serb, in any event, sir. Only I and Eso were Muslims in that
1 Q. And the third man from Prijedor who you spoke about -- you spoke
2 about Carakova and I think the event with your father-in-law. Did he say
3 anything else about Muslims in Prijedor?
4 A. I cannot say anything in particular except the tensions and that
5 the intentions of the Muslim people in Prijedor were similar to ours, that
6 they too wanted to leave Prijedor.
7 Q. So after this presentation has been made, it's your turn to
8 speak. And what did you say at this meeting?
9 A. I said briefly what I -- what was left in the document after the
10 editing made by Mr. Vrkes in Sanski Most. So I highlighted
11 good-neighbourly relations that existed before these unfortunate events
12 among all the peoples in Sanski Most, including the Serbs and the
13 Muslims. I emphasised the hard-working nature of the people there and
14 noted - and this was permitted to me - that the Serb authorities could not
15 provide personal and property security, the right to work, healthcare, and
16 all the other things that I mentioned. Also in -- I mildly disagreed with
17 Mr. Vrkes and said that Sanski Most was not Serbian but that it was
18 Serbian, Muslim, and Croatian, and if we were to go back into history -
19 though it was not the time for history - I said that I thought the
20 gentleman was wrong but I realised why he was saying what he was saying.
21 Because in that period even the skies were Serbian, the mountains were
22 Serbian, the rivers were Serbian. Everything was Serbian. As if life had
23 begun with the appearance of the SDS in 1992, but that was not acceptable
24 because it was not true.
25 Q. After you had made your statement, what happened next in the
2 A. I was surprised -- and that was towards the end of this meeting --
3 when Mr. Sergio said and asked the Muslim representatives to stay behind
4 with him for a moment alone with him. To tell you the truth, I said there
5 was no need because I had said what I had intended to say, because I was
6 afraid that if I were to say something that I hadn't already said that
7 this would have repercussions for me. But Sergio insisted, so I stayed
9 In this conversation when the two UN representatives, Dragan the
10 interpreter, and myself and Eso were present I said and warned Mr. Sergio
11 with the words, "Sir, you've already said that you would not allow -- that
12 the UN would not allow resettlement from these areas. I understand from
13 the administrative point of view, but I am warning you that a convoy has
14 already left via Skender Vakuf and the Vlasic plateau, and it's highly
15 uncertain when you go on a convoy like that. You don't know whether they
16 will reach their first destination Travnik." He said, "I'm sorry, I can't
17 do anything about that now." And then he gave me this UN charter as
19 I went on to mention that in Sanski Most there was a lot of
20 disturbance. There was shooting at night, burglaries, looting. I didn't
21 mention any number, but I said that a large number of religious buildings
22 had been destroyed, everything that had been redacted from the document of
23 Mr. Vlado I told him. I said that there were two major attacks on the
24 Trnovo local commune and the Hrustovo local commune. The Hrustovo
25 incident was indeed painful. A large number of civilians had been killed,
1 women and children and babies, and I had taken with me an old map of
2 Sanski Most but you could see the local communes on it and I wanted to
3 show him where Hrustovo was situated. At that point he said, "I know."
4 And he pointed his finger at his neck. This gentleman knew that there had
5 been slaughtering in Hrustovo, in addition to the killing in the village
6 and the bridge and that people had been thrown into the Sana River. This
7 caused me even greater pain. So that was what I said. And then Eso
8 briefly told him how they had been expelled from his homes to Sanski
9 Most. And he pleaded with him, he begged him to help 600 or 620 of them
10 who are not inhabitants of Sanski Most to leave. And then we returned to
11 town alone.
12 If Your Honours allow it, may I tell you an anecdote?
13 Q. If it's relevant to what we're speaking about, yes, witness, and
15 A. It's not relevant. But in those days, talking to Vlado, there was
16 trading with the Muslims and I wanted to say that the five Serbs who came
17 with us were arrested and us two Muslims were walking around Topusko
18 freely. Colonel Anicic was a well-known name, and Vlado Vrkes too. But
19 they were reproached for not having announced their arrival in the SAO
20 Krajina, because after all that was another state. So that is what I
21 wanted to tell you, it's anecdotal that they had been arrested and we were
23 Q. When Mr. de Mello stated to you that the UN would not assist in
24 the movement of the population from Sanski Most, what did you say to him
25 would happen to the Muslim population if they were not moved?
1 A. I said that the people will find one way or another and that most
2 probably -- most of them would get killed on the way. The only way out in
3 those days was via Vlasic plateau, Sanski Most, Skender Vakuf, Travnik.
4 That was the route. And that was indeed what happened, because the next
5 convoys followed that route.
6 Q. Let's talk briefly about the convoys and -- as much as you can
7 remember. What was the first convoy to leave Sanski Most? Do you
9 A. I must say that I told Mr. Sergio that one convoy had already left
10 at the beginning of August, that had already left via Vlasic. It was a
11 convoy consisting mostly of Muslims from the left bank of the town, the
12 district known as Mahala, a part of Muhici, Otoke and the town itself. Up
13 to 1.000 or 1.500 persons.
14 Q. Did you see that convoy leave yourself?
15 A. Yes. It had to take the main road towards Prijedor, where my
16 house is, and I remember, because a good friend of mine left on that
17 convoy, Maric Rasim with his family.
18 But if you allow me, there were another two local convoys, if I
19 can call them that.
20 Q. Let's just -- let's just deal with this convoy first and then
21 we'll talk about the local convoys in a moment. Can you describe to Their
22 Honours what you saw in respect of that convoy, how many vehicles, how the
23 people were arranged on the convoy.
24 A. Let me tell you. To use the word "organisation" would be an
25 exaggeration. People did as best they could. The Serb authorities
1 allowed this convoy. I think there were more than eight buses. There
2 were some private passenger cars, and I can't remember just now whether
3 there were any trucks or not.
4 Q. How full were the buses with people?
5 A. Not full but over-crowded, sir. Packed full.
6 Q. Now, you state -- I think you stated a moment ago that there were
7 between 1.000 and 1500 people in this convoy; is that correct?
8 A. It's my personal assessment. I am trying to be as accurate as I
9 can when talking about these things. Possibly there were more, but not
10 less; that's for sure.
11 Q. In your -- and I'm quite sure the Defence will put this to you --
12 I'm not going to put your statements to you. But in your statement of
13 1999 made to the Office of the Prosecutor, you said that there were 3.500
14 people in this convoy. Now, as best as you can remember, what is the
15 figure approximately for that convoy?
16 A. If I would have to decide, I would decide for the figure of up to
17 2.000, because it's very hard. It's a crowd of people. They go by
18 quickly. One is upset any way. And later on in town people were talking
19 about it, and various figures were mentioned. So after all, the organiser
20 of the convoy knew best, exactly how many people left.
21 Q. I know you didn't count these people, but we want to try and get
22 it as accurate as we can. Who actually organised this convoy?
23 A. Well, the person with whom we discussed organised this convoy.
24 The Serbian authorities in Sanski Most -- whether this was through the
25 Crisis Staff, the main Crisis Staff, or through the president of the
1 municipality or through the party. But there was a certain number of
2 people who were present in all spheres. And I have already mentioned the
3 number. I have already referred to these people. But I could also add
4 that Mr. Banjac was involved in this movement of people and Mr. Susnica
5 [phoen]. They participated later. In addition to Mikan Davidovic who was
6 responsible for that and Vlado Vrkes and Mr. Rasula, and these close
7 assistants of theirs. But these five to seven people were involved in
8 it, and they were the people who made the decisions on the departure of
10 Q. The people on the convoys, were they mostly men or a mixture of
11 men and women? Were there any children? If you can give the Judges an
12 approximate idea of that.
13 A. Yes, I most certainly can. There were all sorts of people there
14 were children, women, old people, old women, men, elderly people.
15 Q. Were these people leaving Sanski Most voluntarily?
16 A. By no means, no. I've already given you the reason. They had to
17 sign, in inverted commas, a voluntary certificate. And please understand,
18 Your Honours, that in such a situation, in such an atmosphere the Muslims
19 could not survive. It wasn't possible for them to survive. It wasn't
20 good to have a Muslim name in Sanski Most. And as a result -- well, it's
21 just -- what an irony to say that they moved out on a voluntary basis.
22 People simply had to accept that, and they did accept it, and they signed
23 a document saying that they were leaving voluntarily in order to save
24 their lives because they could see no other solution. There was nothing
25 to be done. At that point in time no one could help. No one could
1 prevent this from happening.
2 Q. Now, you mentioned a moment ago - and I interrupted you - two
3 local convoys that preceded this convoy in 1992. Can you tell the Judges
4 briefly about those two local convoys.
5 A. The first local convoy consisted of citizens of Mahala. And after
6 Mahala had been shelled, they had been forced out and expelled to
7 Pobrijezje. On the first day of a religious festival, the Serbian army
8 came out, Mico [phoen] and others, and the chief too, the chief of police,
9 who was Majkic at the time and Tutic Adija and all these people, they
10 rounded these people up. There were 1.080 of them in Pobrijezje. I had
11 this figure. They were taken for Velika Kladusa, the 1.080 of them.
12 The second convoy -- before the one that went through Vlasic, the
13 second one consisted of citizens from Banjalucka Street, Stanicna Street,
14 Aganovica Sokak, and part of the right bank of Sanski Most. The
15 destination was Gracanica. I couldn't state this here with regard to that
16 convoy for Gracanica. The -- I couldn't state how many people were on
17 this convoy, this one that I have called a local convoy, but over a
18 thousand for sure, women, children, and mostly elderly people.
19 Q. And in respect of both of those convoys, all of the people who
20 were on them were Muslims; correct?
21 A. Yes, they were all Muslims. There's no doubt about that.
22 Q. Now, if we can move to a convoy that happened in early September.
23 I think the dates that you've referred to are the 2nd and 3rd of September
24 of 1992. Can you tell the Judges about that convoy that left Sanski
1 A. After returning from Topusko, I informed -- and Your Honours, this
2 is something I have to say -- my movements took place on the main street,
3 on the town square, the municipality building and the park. I informed
4 people, I told people, that the United Nations would not be prepared to
5 take the risk to move anyone out under the UN flag. I told them that this
6 would not be possible.
7 A meeting was very soon held in the meeting of the president of
8 the executive board of Sanski Most, Mr. Mladen Lukic, who used to be my
9 director in the communal services in Sanski Most. He met me at 8.00 in
10 the morning. I asked him to do so, and I said, "Mladen, let's see what we
11 can do, how we can deal with this matter." He said, "Well, these people
12 who are responsible about that matter are here. Let's see about it." At
13 that meeting, there were 14 representatives of the local communes. The
14 composition was mostly the same. Mikan Davidovic, Vlado Vrkes, Milenko
15 Stojinovic, Professor Banjac. I don't know whether Boro Savanovic came in
16 for a moment or two, also a member of the Crisis Staff. And we discussed
17 who in the local communes were interested -- how many people were
18 interested. We obtained certain information. We realised that without
19 15 or 20 buses it wouldn't be possible to fulfil the Muslims' wishes, in
20 inverted commas. So by the time all the necessary paperwork had been
21 done, had been -- all the necessary documents had been found, by the time
22 the tax had been paid, the electricity, the telephone, communal services,
23 public utilities, that is, tax for agriculture, by the time we had
24 received certificates from banks stating that there were no outstanding
25 debts, by the time all this had been prepared and a form had been filled
1 in and provided to the municipal services, having submitted all these
2 documents you would receive a certificate stating that you had carried out
3 everything that was necessary to do and that the person in question could
4 leave Sanski Most. On the 2nd of September -- the 1st or 2nd of September
5 and the 3rd -- but I'm more certain that it was on the 2nd of September --
6 these -- this action of ours was carried out, the organisation of the
7 convoy, Skender Vakuf, the Vecici plateau, Travnik.
8 That night was a very long night. In the morning I was in the
9 local commune in Pobrijezje and 15 buses left directly in the direction of
10 the north, towards Bosanski Krupa -- or rather, the local communes in
11 Sanski Most, Donji and Gornji Kamengrad which covered Fajtovci, Husimovci,
12 Demisovci, where the population from those places were. It -- in addition
13 to -- next to the destroyed mosque there was a trailer that had been
14 parked there. It was a long lorry. It was covered with a tarpaulin. And
15 in that confusion, no one had any lists so we had to look to see who had
16 lists -- I'd like to point out that the civilian police and the military
17 police were there. They were escorting that convoy. Someone said, "I
18 have a list from yesterday." And I said, "Okay. Well, just read it out.
19 It doesn't matter what it is." That was the most difficult thing to do
20 then. I simply -- we simply had to finish what we had started. I read out
21 120 names, the names of people who entered that trailer with a tarpaulin.
22 There were women, children, old people, men. Quite a few people remained
23 outside. That's the truth. Some of them I can't remember their names
24 now. They said, "Well, what is this? There's not enough lorries. There
25 are more people who want to leave." In half an hour or 45 minutes' time
1 another two lorries came from the mine in Kamengrad, the coal mine. These
2 were lorries with a trailer without a cover. They were -- they were for
3 coal transport. But they were acceptable and people accepted them. No
4 one called anyone out. People got on, if they were able to do so. They
5 just got on the lorry. And that convoy left. So a convoy consisting of
6 15 buses. There were lorries in Gornji Kamengrad too, seven or eight.
7 And there were these two trailers. And that was a very big convoy, one of
8 the biggest convoys. We thought that there were about three and a half
9 thousand -- three or three and a half thousand people who left in that
11 As a negotiator my work finished on that day. If we're talking
12 to negotiating with the Serbian authorities of the local communes. And I
13 would like to emphasise that on the following day I found the driver,
14 Sikman, who was one of the drivers in the lorries, someone I knew, and
15 his wife worked with my wife in a shop, in a self-service shop in Sanski
16 Most, and I asked him, "How was it?" He said, "Don't worry. Everything
17 was fine. Everyone got through." Well, thank God. One's glad to hear
18 that no one died from the list that I read out, because that would be
19 something difficult to bear. And then after a certain time we received
20 telephone calls from outside and were told about how things had developed,
21 who got through, et cetera, and that's when I stopped working as a
22 negotiator with the Serbian authorities with regard to the matter of
23 moving out.
24 Q. I have a few questions to clarify this testimony.
25 MR. CAYLEY: But we can do that after the break, Your Honour, if
1 you wish.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Cayley. We'll have a break of 15
3 minutes, resuming at 4.00. Thank you.
4 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 4.10 p.m.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
7 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I've been asked to inform you -- and
8 I -- as a result of that, I will inform you -- that there's apparently
9 some kind of a problem with transportation. And the accused in this case
10 are sometimes forced to sit in a little tiny room downstairs till as late
11 as 7.30 before they're transported back to the Detention Centre, and I've
12 been asked to bring that to your attention and ask that maybe perhaps you
13 could look into it and see.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: I will certainly look into it.
15 MR. ACKERMAN: Why there's such a delay in transportation.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: First thing tomorrow morning, please,
17 Madam Registrar.
18 I'll look into it first thing tomorrow morning, because I don't
19 think I'm in a position to do anything today in any case. But I will
20 certainly look into it.
21 Yes, Mr. Cayley, please.
22 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Witness, I just want to ask you a number of questions of
24 clarification about the convoy that left Sanski Most at the beginning of
25 September of 1992. To the best of your recollection, who escorted that
1 convoy out of Sanski Most?
2 A. The convoy was escorted by members of the civilian and military
3 police. So both police forces were present.
4 Q. Did you see civilian and military police with your own eyes at the
5 scene of the departure?
6 A. Yes. I had contact with them.
7 Q. Now, in terms of the numbers involved in this convoy -- and again,
8 I know that you did not count all of these people onto the transport -- in
9 your statement to the Bosnian authorities of the 13th of February, you
10 give a figure of 220 only, which I think is a mistake when one looks at
11 the statement. And then in the statement of the 15th of February to the
12 Bosnian authorities you give a figure that equates to 1.720 people. And
13 then in the statement you made to the Office of the Prosecutor you said
14 3.500 people. Now, bearing in mind the number of vehicles that you
15 identified as being involved in this convoy, if you had to give an
16 approximate figure for the number of people on the convoy what would you
18 A. Well, the number of 220 refers to citizens of the Pobrijezje local
19 commune who were in that convoy. And the total figure which I mentioned
20 was two and a half to three, three and a half thousand. The number 780,
21 I'm not familiar with this number.
22 Q. No. You say in one of your statements -- you say 220 people plus
23 1500 people from other villages, 1.500 people from other villages. That's
24 in your Bosnian statement of the 15th of February. And then in your
25 statement to the OTP of 1999 you say 3.500 people in that convoy. I think
1 you may well have said approximately. I don't have it in front of me.
2 Again, I know you didn't count these people onto the transport, but I
3 think this is probably a matter that you'll be questioned about in
4 cross-examination so I want to make it clear now. If you had to give an
5 estimate here today, what would you say to the Judges?
6 A. I shall try to be as realistic as possible. 220 citizens from the
7 local commune of Pobrijezje left. That's a fact. 15 buses which were
8 packed left. Seven to eight lorries left. And the two subsequent lorries
9 with trailers which came to the local commune of Pobrijezje. But my
10 statement may be closer to the truth, the statement which says that the
11 total figure was about two and a half thousand. So that's the 220, let's
12 say, and in these -- who were in these vehicles, and there were certain
13 private vehicles too. For example, Badnjevic who left with that convoy
14 stepped on a mine when he got out near Travnik and he -- he was wounded.
15 So I can't mention the number of private cars which joined the convoy on a
16 private basis. So Your Honours, it would be realistic to say that there
17 were two and a half thousand -- about two and a half thousand people.
18 That would be a realistic figure.
19 Q. Now, again I ask you the question that I asked you last time:
20 Were these people leaving Sanski Most voluntarily?
21 A. The Muslims from Sanski Most were not leaving on a voluntary
22 basis. That -- there's no doubt about that. They didn't do that. I have
23 to point this out. I don't want to be misunderstood. And I'm doing this
24 in good faith. There was no room for Muslims in Sanski Most in that
25 period. Please try to understand this. For example, in Krna [phoen] and
1 Ulica my head and his head -- the price was the same on the market. No
2 one would be to blame for him and to one to be blame for me. If you put
3 yourself into such a position, would you deliberately lie? Would you say
4 I'm going voluntarily? But I'm leaving in order to save my family, to
5 save my children. So it really wasn't voluntary. People were forced to
6 move out. Nothing was voluntary about this.
7 Q. If we can move ahead in time to the 24th of September of 1992.
8 You're still living in Sanski Most. Rasula came to your house and asked
9 you to go to a meeting in Banja Luka with him. Can you tell the Judges
10 very briefly about that meeting.
11 A. As I said, my duty as a negotiator came to an end when this
12 convoy that we have mentioned left, when it left at the beginning of
13 September. On the 24th of September, in the afternoon, in the street
14 where my street is, Mr. Rasula turned up there. When I saw him, I was
15 glad to see him to an extent and I was also slightly afraid. He was the
16 president of the municipality and he was there on his own, almost 50
17 metres up to my home I met him, I said, "Good day, president." He said,
18 "Good day Besim." "What brings you here?" I said. And he said, "Well,
19 it's nothing very serious. But you know what it's about." I said, "Well,
20 tell me. Do you want to sit down?" I asked him. He said, "No. Let's
21 talk standing up." He said, "Vance and Owen will be coming to Banja Luka
22 tomorrow. The president -- and he was referring to Karadzic -- wants
23 representatives of the Muslim people to be present so that they can say
24 why they want to move out." And my answer was, "Mr. President, well,
25 isn't there anyone else, someone who is more educated than I am? Because
1 these are high-ranking UN officials, and this is the president of the
2 republic we are talking about after all." "No," he said. "Don't worry
3 about it. All you have to say is what you already said in Topusko. You
4 have to express the positions that you put forward before the Muslims."
5 And I was incredulous again and said, "Am I the person who is to go?" And
6 he said, "Yes. It wouldn't be good if no one went." So if that's the
7 case, I said,"All right I'll go. Who's going to go with me?" He said,
8 "I'll go with you." I said, "Fine." And that afternoon we agreed that on
9 the 25th of September, in the morning, I should go out at 7.00 in the
10 morning, go out into the main road and wait for Mr. Rasula and those who
11 were going to accompany him. At the time I didn't know who those people
12 would be.
13 After a certain period of time, after he had left, I got on my
14 bike and went up to the entrance into the city, went to see friends,
15 people, in order to tell them that tomorrow it was necessary to go. And
16 what should we say? I realised that every word was important. And the
17 fact that Mr. Rasula told me that I should say what I had been saying up
18 until that point -- well, I told them about this. So I consulted a few
19 intellectuals who had remained in Sana, who hadn't left. We agreed --
20 and I agreed to go.
21 At 7.00 in the morning Mr. President arrived on time. A car from
22 the Sanski Most municipality was there driven by the municipality
23 secretary, Mr. Djukic. And at the back behind Rasula a Croat, Mile Mlinar
24 was sitting. I knew him from before because he worked in the brick
25 factory in Sanski Most. So we sat -- we got in the car. And about 10.00,
1 half past 9.00, if not a little earlier, we got into Banja Luka. And
2 security on the streets was quite obvious there, especially as we were
3 approaching the municipality building in Banja Luka. It was obvious that
4 security had been stepped up and that movement was restricted. People
5 were directed in certain directions. The president asked us to wait for a
6 little while. He was probably searching for a way for us to get in, to go
7 up there. And after a certain period of time he came and he said, "Let's
8 go." We entered the building. I think we went up to the floor. And next
9 to Mr. Radic's office, to the left, there is a hall for journalists. He
10 said, "Wait here. You can smoke. Don't go anywhere. Vance and Owen
11 haven't arrived yet. We'll tell you. We'll keep you informed." And
12 that's what happened.
13 We spent some time there. I don't know exactly when Vance and
14 Owen appeared with a lot of people who were accompanying them. And the
15 Banja Luka authorities were with them too, representatives of the Banja
16 Luka authorities. They then appeared. But before that I approached a
17 well-known person because we used to be in a football club, Podgrmec
18 Sanski Most, Mr. Simo Drljaca. That was his name. I said, "Hello.
19 What are you doing here?" He said, "I came here with the president.
20 Why? Well, I wanted to talk to him. I heard that Vance and Owen were
21 coming today." I asked Simo to check the situation for those people, the
22 situation that the people who had been taken off the convoy were in. He
23 promised and he said that he knew nothing about them. I am going to
24 return to the subject I am discussing. And maybe Mr. Brdjanin knows this
25 better than I do, because he was in that office. But about 8 or 10
1 metres from us the entire team went into the office of Chief Radic. We
2 remained where we were. There was tight security. We kept at a
3 distance. No one approached us. They stayed there for a while.
4 At about 12.30, 12.40 from Mr. Radic's office our man, so to
5 speak, Rasula came out and the president, whom I had recognised
6 immediately because I had seen him on television earlier on and on Serbian
7 Television earlier on. I knew that that was Mr. Karadzic and they headed
8 in our direction. To be quite frank, we were sweating a bit, he greeted
9 us in a quiet friendly manner and said, "Well, how are things?" And I was
10 the first address him.
11 We remained standing when we spoke to each other. We didn't enter
12 the hall and we didn't sit down. It was -- a conversation that took place
13 in the hall for journalists. And Rasula said, "Well, what's happening?
14 Let's hear about it." And I took advantage of that occasion to tell the
15 president. I told him, "Well, this is what I have to tell you and do what
16 you like." The Serbian authorities in Sanski Most were not able to
17 guarantee security for our property and for other things, which I have
18 already mentioned. They weren't able to guarantee the right to education,
19 to medical care, to pension schemes, et cetera, and that is the main
20 reason for which the Muslims in Sanski Most just don't see a future for
21 themselves. And being a professional man, a very experienced man, a
22 psychologist -- and I am telling you this quite frankly because he left a
23 strong impression on me. It is obvious that he is a professional man. He
24 said, "Look, don't leave your homes." And this is something that I
25 remember very well. He said, "Just don't leave something that -- place
1 where you've been living for ages." He said, "The Serbian police are in
2 Sanski Most. Be good neighbours, good hosts. Help the Serbian
3 authorities. Help them establish themselves. You Muslims will work and
4 we Serbs will wage war." So this is advice he gave me. And I said,
5 "Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for being so frank. But after
6 these words of yours, I don't see how the situation for the Muslims in
7 Sanski Most can improve." He turned to Rasula and said, "Well, see how
8 these people can be helped later on, how can they find work. Let them
9 work and we will wage war." He said, "Boys, this isn't going to take very
10 long. This won't last very long. Calm down. When this becomes a Serbian
11 state, those who want to remain will be able to remain and work and those
12 who don't wish to remain, they will be allowed to leave Sanski Most if
13 they so choose." And our dialogue finished and a Muslim joined in, a
14 representative from Petrovac. I can't remember his name. Whereas
15 Mr. Mile, who was with me, was not able to get a word in because that
16 conversation didn't last for more than 15 minutes at the most.
17 Mr. President -- the president Karadzic apologised but said that
18 he really had to leave. Rasula stayed on with us for a while. He said,
19 "Wait here for a while and then we'll see when we'll leave -- when we'll
20 head back." And we didn't stay on much longer. On return -- when
21 returning to Sanski Most in the car I asked Mr. Rasula -- I said, "Please
22 go to the local radio in Sanski Most. Make an announcement and let the
23 Serbs hear what the president said. Tell them what the president said,
24 that the Muslims should work that, they should have -- that their property
25 should be secure, et cetera." And I said, "Mr. President, we're like
1 Apollo 11, is this dusk for us? We get up in the morning and wonder
2 whether we're going to take off or not. And whoever wakes up in the
3 morning says 'thank God, I'm alive today too'." And I had the moral right
4 to tell him this because when Himza Hadzic won of the first elections, the
5 late Himza Hadzic for the president of the municipality of Sanski Most. I
6 approached him and I said, "Mr. President, congratulations. And I hope
7 you'll be my president too. And he said of course, Besim. So I had the
8 courage to be open towards him. Unfortunately that news was never
9 broadcast over Sanski Most radio because no one tried to transmit the
10 words of Mr. Karadzic. Even if they may not have been true at that moment
11 they were encouraging, at least a little bit. But unfortunately it
12 finished on the 25th -- my context on the 25th finished -- my context
13 finished and then it was -- all we could do was try and save -- everyone
14 was only able to try and save themselves as best they could.
15 Q. After that meeting with Karadzic, how did conditions become in
16 Sanski Most for the Muslim population? Did they get better? Did they get
18 A. At that time the situation was somewhat better. There weren't
19 that many explosions any longer. But after that there was work obligation
20 for Muslims was introduced. The first group of people were sent to clean
21 the rubble of destroyed buildings, private homes as well as religious
22 buildings. And a certain number of us were sent to cut wood in the nearby
23 local commune of Stari Majdan, some 10 or 11 kilometres from Sanski Most.
24 This wood was intended for Serb combatants because they had no time. They
25 were on the front, as we were told. So we did these jobs at that time,
1 started doing this kind of work.
2 Q. The rubble -- you said rubble of destroyed buildings was cleared
3 away by Muslims. Were you involved in that work personally?
4 A. Yes. The local religious building, the mosque in Pobrijezje,
5 other people that I knew did the same kind of work in Sanski Most; others
6 in other places, according to the local communes in which they lived. I
7 personally also went to the woods in Majdan. And I wish to tell you the
8 following, Your Honours, what I had to do at the time. I could write
9 Cyrillic very well and I still do. I wrote such a nice letter in Cyrillic
10 to a soldier who led us down there because I saw him mistreating some
11 people behind a tree. And when I went home I said I will probably have
12 some work duty in my public utility company where I worked, and I said the
13 next day I would not come; I would go to my company. And he threatened to
14 send the police to fetch me. He was a man I was afraid of. His name was
15 Milosevic. He was not quite all there. I'll remember his first name in a
16 minute. I'm telling you this because in front of three Muslims he took a
17 blue envelope with the words "Mr. Ljubo Milosevic, Stari Majdan." I was
18 explaining the situation for him so as to avoid any repercussions. He
19 found this strange and ridiculous. What I'm trying to say that any hasty
20 move by any one us could have far reaching consequences, including the
21 worst. This was my period experience with Majdan and the cutting of wood.
22 Q. Did you perform work duty throughout the rest of 1992?
23 A. That was work duty. In 1992 was of a local nature. I've just
24 been telling you about it. But I do know from reliable sources, talking
25 to these people on the market, representatives of other local communes,
1 that a certain number of people also went to work for the families of Serb
2 soldiers who were on the front, who had old parents left at home or who
3 could not do any work. So I know that they -- that some people went to
4 help them. So this was also a kind of work duty that some people did.
5 Q. When did you leave Sanski Most?
6 A. On the 9th of February, 1995, the last train that God sent us.
7 For 200 German marks to Banja Luka, 62 people in the bus, and in spite of
8 everything I have to say thank you to this man because I saved my family.
9 Banja Luka, Jajce, and near Turbe there was an exchange, there was a bus
10 that came, there were representatives of the BH army who took us over.
11 Q. Now, you've described conditions in Sanski Most. Why did you stay
12 until 1995 as a Muslim?
13 A. That's a good question, sir. In December 1994 -- no, in 1994 the
14 situation worsened in Pobrijezje too. First a body, a corpse, arrived of
15 Ado and Zena Krupic from the front, killed during work duty. Then another
16 corpse from the local commune of Pobrijezje. On the 7th of November
17 everything climaxed in Pobrijezje. Your Honours, we learnt to interpret a
18 shot and an explosion. That night there were no shots or explosions, but
19 in the morning a married couple, a man and wife, Omic Suljo and his wife
20 Fadila were mutilated. A man called Rizo counted 11 knife wounds on the
21 woman and 13 on the man. The man who bathed their bodies counted these
22 wounds. This was something quite obvious for everyone, that the eleventh
23 hour was approaching. This was the 14th to the 15th of December. And a
24 month previously - and I wish to stress this - one of the negotiators who
25 was with me, the late Kamber Teufik, he experienced a tragedy. His house
1 was blown up. He lost his life in that explosion. His wife Ismeta was
2 very badly hurt.
3 MR. ACKERMAN: [Previous translation continues] ... the question
4 was why did he stay in Sanski Most until December of 1995?
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. And the events he is relating actually also
6 refer to 1994/1995, actually.
7 MR. CAYLEY: I think -- I think he's explaining why he left, Your
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
10 MR. CAYLEY: I mean, he has the ability to sort of tell in
11 narrative form. I mean, I'm not suggesting we're going to contribute
12 these crimes to the two accused, but I think it's probably best if he
13 explains why he left.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Mr. Islamcevic, try to --
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I'll give my concrete
16 opinion. Thank you, I will heed your warning.
17 Let me tell you. I wouldn't have covered 3.000 kilometres without
18 telling you about these three cases. But to give you a specific answer
19 why I stayed behind: After these convoys, I received a fax from Osnabruk
20 that somebody was providing guarantees for me and my family to leave.
21 Since -- until the end of 1992 we hadn't learned the truth about
22 Nalic Ismet and his destiny -- in 1993 that was one reason. In 1993 there
23 was another reason. You had to go to Gradiska to renew a visa. When I
24 could go to Gradiska I had no money. When I had the money, I couldn't
25 reach Bosanska Gradiska, though I had a man there, Nijaz Smailovic from
1 Podgrmec, a friend of mine. I am still friends with him. He comes to
2 Sanski Most. This misfortune or good fortune - I don't know which - I
3 could never have both the money and the necessary documents at the same
4 time. Your Honours, that would be my specific answer to the question put
5 to me by the gentleman.
6 And I wish to add one further point: A wonderful Serb called
7 Prastalo, he was a man who followed my life ever since I was a boy and
8 he said the following, "Besim, I thought you were an intelligent man." I
9 said, "I hope I am." "You waited for this child seven years. And if for
10 no other reason, leave for his benefit and come back in five years or ten
11 years but save him." In those days I also learnt another painful truth,
12 that my late brother Islamcevic Sadmir had been killed at the Kupres
13 front as a fighter of the BH army. What did this mean for a Muslim in
14 Sanski Most? It meant a sentence the same night. A brother who had left
15 on one of the convoys. Therefore, every minute in Sanski Most -- spent in
16 Sanski Most after that event was a question of life or death. And thank
17 God the opportunity arose for me to leave this route via Banja Luka.
18 Again, I had problems in leaving because the head of the Secretariat for
19 National Defence, Boro Tadic, a comrade of mine from the party, wouldn't
20 let me. He came four months earlier from Grabez after I returned from
21 work duty where I was beaten up and left without teeth. He said, "You
22 can't leave." And I said, "But can't you see what was going on?"
23 However, thanks to a set of various circumstances and some good
24 individuals, I managed to put my name on a list. On the 9th of February
25 there were 16 or 18 of us who left via Banja Luka. Additional people
1 joined us in Prijedor and Banja Luka. And 62 of us arrived in Travnik.
2 So much about this journey.
3 MR. CAYLEY: I've finished my examination-in-chief, Your Honours.
4 Thank you.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Mr. Cayley.
6 Who is going first?
7 Yes. Now, Mr. Islamcevic, as I tried to explain to you yesterday
8 you're now going to be cross-examined. We'll take it one at a time. And
9 the first cross-examination is forthcoming from the Defence team for
10 Radoslav Brdjanin. And lead counsel Mr. Ackerman will be cross-examining
12 May I suggest to you, Mr. Islamcevic, please, to try and answer
13 the question, the whole question, and nothing but the question. If you
14 try to give us more than answering the question, you will never get out of
15 here. You will end up here day after day after day after day. Thank
17 Mr. Ackerman.
18 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Cross-examined by Mr. Ackerman:
20 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
21 A. Good afternoon to you too, sir.
22 Q. You gave a statement to the -- some representatives of the Office
23 of the Prosecutor of this Tribunal on 29 and 30 of July 1999. Do you
24 remember doing that?
25 A. Yes. In Sanski Most.
1 Q. It might be fair to you if you had a copy of that statement in
2 front of you in case you want to refer to some part of it that I'm
3 referring to, although I'm not going to spend very much time on it.
4 I'll -- just to be fair to you in that regard.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Who is taking care of that?
6 Thank you, Ms. Gustin.
7 Do you have it in the B/C/S, in the Serbo-Croat language or in the
8 English language?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I've just received it in the
10 Serbian language.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
12 MR. ACKERMAN:
13 Q. On pages 4 and 5 of the English version you're talking about your
14 actual meeting up I guess in Topusko with the UNPROFOR representative.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Ackerman if
16 one of your colleagues could direct the witness to the corresponding page
17 in the Serbo-Croat version. Unfortunately I don't -- I don't have a copy
18 myself, so I can't --
19 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, it's the same pages in the B/C/S
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
22 So you should look at page 5, Mr. Islamcevic.
23 MR. CAYLEY: Page 4.
24 MR. ACKERMAN:
25 Q. There's a paragraph, sir, in your statement where you're talking
1 about what it was you said to the UNPROFOR representative at that time.
2 And it begins with: "The guarantees they were seeking," they, being the
3 Muslim population of Sanski Most. Have you found that paragraph yet?
4 A. Not yet.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have a copy in B/C/S for me, please?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've found it. It says "Garancije"
8 MR. ACKERMAN:
9 Q. Okay. There are about two paragraphs there that I want to just
10 ask you about. You were talking about you wanted guarantees regarding a
11 right to personal safety, property safety, right to work, right to
12 education, right to medical care, and for those who wanted to leave the
13 area they wanted safe passage. That was the essence of the presentation
14 you made at that time, was it not?
15 A. Yes, more or less.
16 Q. And then Rasula, who was also there, responded, did he not, that
17 he was not opposing Muslims leaving in the area but could not guarantee
18 safe passage and said, according to you, "There are our fools that we
19 cannot control." He said, "There are people who have lost family members
20 in Croatia. He implied that they would want revenge for some of the local
21 Serb soldiers who were killed or wounded in combat." Correct?
22 A. Yes. Mr. Rasula, the president, said that to me at the time.
23 Q. Yes. The next part of your statement I want to talk about, again
24 very briefly -- and we're going to come back to both of these in a
25 minute -- and that's the meeting where you spoke with Karadzic on 25
1 September 1992 in Banja Luka. And you've already talked about that. He
2 asked you why Muslims wanted to leave Sanski Most, and you told him that
3 the Serbs in Sanski Most could not guarantee the safety of non-Serbs;
5 A. Not just that. That is correct, but not just that.
6 Q. Yeah. There's more. But that's one -- among the things that you
7 told him, that was one of them; right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. In fact, if you look at -- it's on page 8 of the English
10 statement. It starts with the language: "We continued to stand in the
11 corridor." That's how the paragraph starts.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: It's the third paragraph on page 8, [B/C/S spoken].
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've found it.
14 MR. ACKERMAN:
15 Q. What the statement that you made to the OTP says is "Karadzic
16 asked me what was the reason for Muslims to leave Sanski Most. I said
17 that the Serbs in Sanski Most could not guarantee the safety of
18 non-Serbs. I also said there were basic requests like the right to
19 personal safety and property safety." Right?
20 A. Yes, that there were no guarantees for personal and property
22 Q. Rasula was present when you told Karadzic these things, when you
23 responded to his request; correct?
24 A. Yes, sir.
25 Q. And you told the people from the Office of the Prosecutor in this
1 statement: "Karadzic told Rasula to do something about that." Right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And your understanding of what -- basically what Karadzic was
4 saying to Rasula was fix this problem. Do something about this, fix it.
6 A. Conditionally speaking, yes, sir.
7 Q. That's why you wanted Rasula to go on the radio and tell the
8 people of Sanski Most what Karadzic had ordered and what Karadzic had
10 A. Yes. I asked him that.
11 Q. All right. Now, before you gave this statement to the Prosecutor,
12 on 15 February 1995 you gave a statement to a person named Zijad Ibric,
13 didn't you?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And where was this statement taken from you?
16 A. It was taken after I arrived in Travnik in the centre of public
17 security services, Travnik, in Banja Luka. That's how it was called, this
19 Q. Yes. Who is Zijad Ibric?
20 A. I saw the man for the first time when I arrived there. I don't
21 know what his duties were at the time. But anyway, he took the statement
22 from me. I didn't know what his position was or his duties. But I
23 assumed that he was from the state security service or somebody in charge
24 of that institution.
25 Q. Did he find you, or did you find him?
1 A. After receiving all the people who had arrived in that convoy, we
2 were registered and I was invited to make a statement.
3 Q. By Ibric?
4 A. No, not by him but by the service of the secretariat, of the Banja
5 Luka centre secretariat, Travnik municipality. And the person represented
6 that service.
7 Q. Do you know who that person was?
8 A. It was the number one -- I'm sorry, the first man I saw as I got
9 off the bus at the exchange close to Turbe, the first.
10 Q. What I'm asking you though is: Do you know the name of that
12 A. At the time, no. But he introduced himself when taking the
13 statement and he gave his name, but it didn't mean anything to me at that
14 time. When I got off the bus I didn't know the name of the man. The next
15 day, when I was invited to make the statement and when I arrived at the
16 office the man introduced himself and said what he was, who he was, and
17 what he wanted.
18 Q. You're speaking of Zijad Ibric at this point; correct?
19 A. Yes. Yes, sir.
20 Q. I had understood you to tell us that someone else had asked you if
21 you wanted to make a statement and had referred you to Mr. Ibric. And my
22 question was: Who was that someone else, if there was someone else? Do
23 you know that person's name?
24 A. I am not able to remember just now. I don't really remember who
25 that person was who said "Come to this security services centre. You need
1 to give a statement because you've just arrived from Sanski Most."
2 Q. When did you last speak to Zijad Ibric?
3 A. Perhaps 15 days ago or so, but exclusively about my coming here
4 and in connection with my trip.
5 Q. And did he give you any kind of information regarding the
6 testimony you should be prepared to give here?
7 A. No. Certainly not.
8 Q. Did he give you any kind of advice about how you should testify
10 A. No. No, he did not.
11 Q. Did he tell you about the testimony of other people who had
12 testified here?
13 A. No, he didn't say anything.
14 Q. How long did you meet with him?
15 A. Less than three to five minutes.
16 Q. Are you willing to say where you met with him?
17 A. Why not?
18 Q. I don't know why not. Where did you meet with him?
19 A. How is it called? The entrance to the building where Mr. Zijad
20 has an office, where he works in Sanski Most.
21 Q. And did he call you to meet him there, or how did it happen that
22 you met him there?
23 A. I was informed first by the relevant service of the Tribunal,
24 because I was supposed to appear on the 3rd. Because I had to enrol my
25 son at school in Sarajevo I asked this to be delayed, so that the next
1 scheduled date was to be the 17th and I was ready to leave then, but then
2 I was informed - and those are these three or five minutes - when he said,
3 "Besim, you will probably receive instructions for another date." And
4 then I was informed that that date would be the 21st, when I should be
5 ready to come here.
6 Q. Informed by Mr. Ibric or by the service of the Tribunal?
7 A. Sarajevo.
8 Q. All right. So what was the purpose of your five-minute talk with
9 Mr. Ibric? What did he actually tell you?
10 MR. CAYLEY: Your Honour, I know where Mr. Ackerman is trying to
11 take this line of cross-examination. The witness has already answered
12 what it was about. It's about a change of dates. Mr. Ackerman is looking
13 for phantoms all over the place that don't --
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's rephrase the question.
15 You have already stated what more or less was exchanged in words
16 between you and Mr. Ibric. Was anything else stated during that
17 discussion, either by you or by Mr. Ibric in relation to your giving
18 testimony here, or in relation to other people having given testimony
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I can responsibly
21 claim that there was no conversation. We didn't talk about me coming here
22 and the testimony I was going to give, and very few people know when I was
23 to leave and that I'm here. And with regard to anything -- with regard to
24 this trip and the arrival here, there was no conversation. Nothing was
25 discussed about this.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
2 MR. ACKERMAN:
3 Q. Did you have any conversation --
4 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Did you have any conversations prior to coming here with any other
6 persons who have testified here within the last six months?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: That presupposes that he knows who they are. I
8 mean, let's see --
9 Try to answer that question as far as you can. And if you're not
10 happy, I will authorise you to mention names except names of protected
11 witnesses, Mr. --
12 MR. CAYLEY: That's problem. I mean, it's --
13 JUDGE AGIUS: I know. Let me direct it and ...
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll -- I'd be glad to answer that
15 question, Your Honours.
16 MR. ACKERMAN:
17 Q. And please understand do not say any names. The question is:
18 Have you talked to anyone who has testified here previously? Please
19 answer it just yes or no.
20 A. No. No, sir.
21 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... when you spoke to Mr. Ibric
22 back in February of 1995, the statement that you signed, that he asked you
23 to sign, contained a great deal of information that was supplied by
24 Mr. Ibric himself and not by you, didn't it?
25 A. In what sense? When you say the number of pieces of information,
1 what do you mean exactly?
2 Q. Well, let me have you have a copy of the statement before I ask
3 you any more questions about it. Just confirm for the record that you
4 have in front of you the statement that you gave to Mr. Zijad Ibric on 15
5 February 1995.
6 A. Yes, I have that statement in front of me.
7 Q. If you just look at the first sentence. The first sentence
8 reads: "On 21 May 1992 I was working as a foreman at the market in Sanski
9 Most." Do you see that sentence?
10 A. Yes, that's correct.
11 Q. And one --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: In the B/C/S it's 25th of May, not 21st of May.
13 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, that doesn't come as a huge surprise, Your
15 JUDGE AGIUS: No.
16 MR. ACKERMAN: It's exactly right; that's what it says.
17 Q. The point I'm trying to make with regard to that sentence, sir, is
18 this: One would get the impression that Mr. Ibric simply was writing down
19 the things you had told him. And the first thing you told him was that on
20 25 May 1992 I was working as a foreman in the market in Sanski Most;
22 A. What is stated here is correct, that on that day I was working at
23 the market in Sanski Most.
24 Q. Yes. And the point I'm trying to make - and I'll try to make it
25 as clear as I can - if one looks at this statement, it appears to be a
1 statement made by you from information known to you, but in fact it
2 contains information that was not known to you and supplied by Mr. Ibric
3 himself. So it is significantly a statement of Mr. Ibric --
4 A. Please, could you tell me -- could you be more precise and tell me
5 what you think is not my opinion here.
6 Q. Then you tell me if there are things in here that are not your
7 statement that were supplied by Mr. Ibric. Am I correct --
8 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, why doesn't Mr. Ackerman simply direct
9 the witness to the part of the statement that he thinks was provided by
10 Mr. Ibric and then we'll get there very quickly. For example, whether the
11 personnel numbers -- the personal identity number that is the witness
12 quotes in relation to various individual, whether he knew that or whether
13 Mr. Ibric knew that.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, I prefer to get there my own way, Your
15 Honour, rather than Mr. Cayley's way.
16 MR. CAYLEY: Well, if he identifies the parts that he says were
17 supplied by Mr. Ibric, then the witness can actually answer the
18 question and say, "Yes, that is something that Mr. Ibric put in or that is
19 something that I put in."
20 JUDGE AGIUS: The witness is intelligent enough to know that the
21 substance of the question is is this in reality your own statement or is
22 this Mr. Ibric's statement. And he should answer that question.
23 MR. CAYLEY: But Mr. Ackerman is suggesting parts are not but
24 he's not actually identifying the parts, then we play a guessing game.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Then it's up to Mr. Ackerman to point those out, as
1 you rightly point out. But first I think the witness needs to answer that
2 fundamental question.
3 Is this -- do you consider this to be your statement or is it in
4 reality Mr. Ibric's statement which includes also parts -- bits and pieces
5 of information that you gave?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is my statement, a statement
7 that I gave to Mr. Ibric. But the personal identification numbers are not
8 mine. How was I to know that, for that period, at that time. But
9 everything else -- we can discuss everything else. I would have liked to
10 have had this earlier on, to have been in a position to read it, and then
11 I could have provided the Defence counsel with better answers. But the
12 chronology of events, this is something that I put forward. But the
13 personal identification numbers are not mine.
14 MR. ACKERMAN:
15 Q. Didn't the Prosecutor give you an opportunity to review this prior
16 to your coming here to testify today?
17 JUDGE AGIUS: This particular statement.
18 MR. ACKERMAN:
19 Q. This particular statement, yes.
20 A. I was able to have a look at this statement.
21 Q. Weren't you given a copy of it to read?
22 A. Yes, I was.
23 Q. Isn't it the case that at various parts of the -- and we're going
24 to go into them specifically in a minute. But I just want to generally
25 suggest to you, isn't it the case that there were times during this
1 statement when Mr. Ibric would tell you things that he knew to be true,
2 that he believed to be true, and then tell you that you could then say
3 that you know those things because he told you?
4 A. Your Honours, in order to assist the Defence and everyone else
5 here, I would like to say that this statement is mine, apart from the
6 personal identification numbers. And any layman realises that at the time
7 I didn't have this information on personal identification numbers. And
8 this statement was given after four very difficult years, after many ups
9 and downs. So please don't criticise me if there are certain
10 shortcomings. But I really tried, both yesterday and today, to be as
11 truthful as possible and to portray the events in Sanski Most in this
12 period and with regard to the matters that are being discussed. So please
13 don't involve Mr. Ibric in this statement of mine. Don't mix him up with
14 this statement of mine.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: But may I ask you what form did the interview take?
16 Was it in the form of a question and an answer, or was it a plain
17 invitation to tell us -- to tell Mr. Ibric what you could remember or what
18 he was interested in -- in knowing?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Ibric asked me to try and
20 concentrate and to narrate the chronology of events, to say what happened
21 first, what happened afterwards. But as far as I can remember, there were
22 no concrete questions, because I had only just left that territory.
23 Perhaps there were a few questions, but I really couldn't say what sort of
24 questions, what they regarded. But this is the chronology of events.
25 This is the -- these are the events that I tried to describe as faithfully
1 as possible.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: So for example -- sorry, Mr. Ackerman. Just one
3 moment, and I'll return him back to you.
4 So for example, in page 2 when you mention dentist
5 Mehmed Alagic -- you mentioned dentist Mehmed Alagic because you suddenly
6 remembered the circumstances surrounding his death and not because he was
7 mentioned to you by Mr. Ibric; is that correct?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. President, precisely, because at
9 the time I was in Sanski Most I didn't see it but I heard a story from
10 people who were in the immediate vicinity and saw when the late Mehmed
11 fell --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Just stop. I'm asking you -- you mentioned Mehmed
13 Alagic in your statement because you remembered the events and you -- and
14 you wanted to mention his killing or because he was mentioned to you by
15 name by Mr. Ibric during his interview? Who brought Mr. Alagic -- dentist
16 Alagic in -- in the interview, you or Mr. Ibric?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I introduced him. I remembered at a
18 certain point in time as I was narrating the sequence of events. I
19 suddenly remembered that. So this came from me.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It has nothing to do with Mr. Ibric.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Stop. Then you mentioned Zuhdija Bahtic, son
23 of --
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: How did the mentioning of Zuhidija Bahtic come into
1 the interview? As a result of your initiative because you wanted to
2 mention that person, or because Mr. Ibric asked you a question related to
3 that particular person?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wanted to mention this person
5 because I have family relations with -- from Gornja Mahala, I have friends
6 about this. And this is the truth. But --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: But were you carrying with you this personal
8 identity --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 1996 I exhumed that person and I
10 saw him. 26 of them were buried in a mass grave, and among them were this
11 gentleman that you have been asking about.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: [Previous translation continues] ... talking about
13 the 15th of February of 1995 when you are being interviewed by Mr. Ibric.
14 Did Mr. Ibric ask you about Zuhdija Bahtic or --
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct. Mr. Ibric did not ask me
16 about Zuhdija. That's something that I remembered, as you can see, as
17 I was narrating the sequence of events. I spoke about the events that
18 happened both before and later.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: How do you explain then in the same statement
20 the moment you mention Zuhdija Bahtic you also give his personal identity
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as I said, in this
23 statement the personal identification numbers didn't come from me.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: So Mr. Ibric --
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to say that.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: So Mr. Ibric had already the personal identity
2 number of a person that he didn't know that you were going to mention.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't say that. I can't say
4 whether he had it or not. I personally don't know who put the personal
5 identification numbers in. I didn't because I wasn't aware of them.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: One last question before I return you to
7 Mr. Ackerman: So this interview started at what time and how long did it
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really can't remember that at the
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Was the --
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It lasted for perhaps -- it lasted
13 for a while, but I don't know when it began. I've forgotten about this
14 date. On the 9th I left. On the 10th I registered. I think I was there
15 for over two and a half hours or three hours, in the building of the
16 security services centre in Travnik.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: And was it produced in writing in your presence on
18 that same day? Was it typed out on that same day? Did you sign it on the
19 same day?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It wasn't written on the same day.
21 I signed the written statement that was produced.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: He's back in your hands, Mr. Ackerman.
23 MR. ACKERMAN:
24 Q. How long after your original conversation with Mr. Ibric did you
25 actually sign a written statement?
1 A. Not more than two or three days. I was called back two or three
2 days later. And I have to tell the Defence and you, Your Honours, that I
3 also noticed the personal identification numbers at that point and I said
4 that I had no knowledge of them but that I would sign my statement insofar
5 as this was the essence of what I had said, and that's what I've been
6 trying to say today and what I tried to say yesterday.
7 Q. The additional information with regard to many of these names that
8 have supplied identification numbers also have information like Gojko
9 Predojevic son of Djuro. Did you supply the, "Son of Djuro, son of
10 Dzafer, son of Mirko, son of Petar"? Did you supply that information or
11 did that also come from Mr. Ibric?
12 A. I would like to tell the Defence that I am a child from the
13 village. I was on good terms with all those people. They liked me and I
14 never insulted anyone. And I know most of those people.
15 Q. You misunderstood me.
16 A. Ibric has nothing to do with the names of the parents.
17 Q. All right. So you supplied those.
18 A. As an example, Predojevic Mladen [phoen] went to school with me.
19 He's a brother. Probably two brothers have the same father.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: You don't have to take it personally,
21 Mr. Islamcevic. The question was a very simple one. When we see here
22 Gojko Predojevic son of Djuro, are we to understand that it was you who
23 told Mr. Ibric that he was son of Djuro or is it something that Mr. Ibric
24 found himself from some document and then put it in the statement?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that's what I knew at
1 the time. That came from me.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: That came from you. Okay. And this is the simple
3 question. I mean, Hakija Islamcevic -- and it's son of Avdija. Was it
4 you or --
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the Islamcevic house
6 is 15 metres away from mine, so this is something that I must be aware of.
7 He's my cousin. And I know his family because we are related.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
9 MR. ACKERMAN:
10 Q. Sir, you misunderstand that I'm not accusing you of not having
11 this knowledge. I'm only trying to determine whether material in this
12 statement came from you or came from Ibric. I'm not challenging whether
13 or not you know things. I know you know things. So please understand
15 Now, what I'd like you to look at is the -- basically this third
16 line of the statement in English, and I think it's probably the third line
17 in your language also, where you refer to the 6th Krajina Brigade and you
18 call it "the infamous 6th Krajina Brigade." Do you see that?
19 A. I can't say it right now.
20 Q. It's the second sentence of your statement.
21 A. From the security services centre in Banja Luka, in Travnik. That
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
24 MR. ACKERMAN:
25 Q. Yes.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: It's the statement that we have been discussing.
2 The third line, "U to vrijeme zloglasna."
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] One, two, three.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Third line after --
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I haven't found it yet.
6 The third paragraph?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, no. It's first page --
8 MR. ACKERMAN:
9 Q. Second sentence. First page, second sentence.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: In the middle of the page there is "Izjava."
11 That's where your statement starts.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On that day -- I found it.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
14 MR. ACKERMAN:
15 Q. The sentence reads: "At that time the infamous 6th Krajina
16 Brigade." Do you see that? There may be a translation issue, sir. Why
17 don't you just read the second sentence of your statement, begins with
18 [B/C/S spoken], I think. No. It's the next one after that.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: It's the next one, Mr. Ackerman.
20 MR. ACKERMAN:
21 Q. At that time, [B/C/S spoken]. Just read that sentence in your
23 A. Some of my friends said that something strange was being prepared,
24 something strange was brewing in Sanski Most. Is that what you are
25 referring to?
1 Q. No. Do you see the very beginning of the statement that says:
2 "On 25 May 1992," that we talked about earlier? "Dana 25/5/1992"; do you
3 see that?
4 A. Yes, I can see that.
5 Q. Okay. The next sentence beginning with [B/C/S spoken]. The next
6 sentence begins with [B/C/S spoken]. That's the sentence I want you to
8 A. "At that time the infamous 6th Krajina Brigade or the so-called
9 army of Republika Srpska was on the Jasenovac battlefield. It was already
10 clear --"
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Stop.
12 MR. ACKERMAN:
13 Q. That's enough. The word "infamous" was not a word that you used
14 but a word supplied by Mr. Ibric, wasn't it?
15 A. I don't know how you can claim that with certainty. I don't know
16 why you are certain of this. You forget that I got out of hell, that I
17 left hell, that I lost my brother. I lost my relatives. I lost 25
18 people. So is it strange if I should use the word "infamous"?
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Your answer is no. Stop there. I mean, we don't --
20 and I think we need to stop too and we will resume in 15 minutes' time.
21 --- Recess taken at 5.26 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 5.43 p.m.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated] Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Sir, I want to -- we were talking about your 15 February 1995
1 statement to Mr. Zijad Ibric. Could you please look -- it may be on the
2 second page. And let me give a copy to my assistant here so we can get
3 some help. It's the paragraph starting at the bottom of page 2, "U
4 sportskoj hali civili." Do you see that? On page 2, near the bottom
5 there's a paragraph that starts "U sportskoj hali civili." Did you find
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Okay. Look down in that paragraph and you'll see a sentence that
9 begins: "Organizatori i izvrsioci", "the organisers and perpetrators." Do
10 you see that?
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. That sentence in the translation I have reads as follows. "The
13 organisers and perpetrators of this expulsion of Bosniaks were SOS
14 members, who had the blessing of the SDS Crisis Staff." Is that what you
15 told Mr. Ibric?
16 A. That is what I knew and what I told Mr. Ibric. If you have any
17 further questions, I will be glad to elaborate on this subject.
18 Q. What was the blessing of the SDS Crisis Staff?
19 A. The realisation that this would happen and not to try and prevent
20 the tragedy of those people in Mahala, but they were let loose, as Rasula
21 would put it. So I won't use the exact words out of respect. And the
22 late Njunja, the head of the SOS, and Boro Tadic, the secretary of the
23 Secretariat of National Defence who went from one house to the next in
24 Mahala saying what should be burnt and what should not. He was a member
25 of the 6th Krajina Brigade.
1 Q. You told us today that meeting you had with Mr. Sergio De Mello,
2 took place on 19 August 1992 and you were absolutely certain about that
3 date. Is that correct?
4 A. Yes, sir.
5 Q. And you actually pulled a book out of your pocket, a UN booklet of
6 some kind, that you said was given to you by Mr. Sergio De Mello on that
7 date, and you wrote the date in it; is that correct?
8 A. Yes. And you can look at it.
9 Q. And you've had that book with you since that day that you went to
10 meet with Mr. Sergio De Mello?
11 A. Yes. It was among my documents that I carried to Travnik. I took
12 my football literature with me, and this was amongst it.
13 Q. Yes. Now, if you will look, please, at the bottom of page 3 of
14 your statement to Ibric, the last line. It has that date, [B/C/S
15 spoken]. Do you see that? It's the bottom of page 3. There's a "3" at
16 the top -- right at the bottom.
17 A. Yes. I see it. And if necessary, I can clarify.
18 Q. Just a minute. If you continue that sentence over to page 4, it
19 says: "On 19 August 1992 we went to Dvor Na Uni together with Vrkes, a
20 man called Eso, a military policeman. But we did not find the head of
21 UNPROFOR there and had to go back. After a few days they established
22 contact and enabled us to leave for Topusko for talks with Mr. Sergio De
23 Mello. Now, according to your statement to Zihad Ibric, it was a few days
24 after 19 August that you went to see Sergio De Mello. Now, what's
25 correct, your testimony today or what you told Mr. Ibric?
1 A. What I said today is correct. And this is obviously an error.
2 The first trip was to Dvor Na Uni, and then after that a meeting was
3 scheduled with UNPROFOR and a certain Mr. Sergio. I know that it was the
4 19th of August, as it was -- as far as I know that today is Tuesday. So
5 this was just a mix-up.
6 Q. Is that your mix-up or Mr. Ibric's mix-up?
7 A. Mine. Certainly. Allow me the possibility of mixing things up at
8 the time in my memory.
9 Q. I do allow that. Please understand, I do.
10 Go please to the next page. It's actually page 4. You're on that
11 page, I guess. At the bottom of page 4 you see a paragraph -- it's the
12 first paragraph up from the bottom. It says: "On 11 October 1992."
13 A. I've found it.
14 Q. And the second sentence of that you say this: "I know that the
15 religious buildings were mostly destroyed by members of the SOS and
16 Nedeljko Rasula was the one who gave the order for it." Tell me how you
17 know that Rasula gave the order. Did you hear him give the order?
18 A. I'd be glad to answer your question. I can claim with certainty
19 that that is correct, that the mentioned members of the Serbian defence
20 forces did it. I had occasion to see those guys in the building of the
21 Sanski Most municipality. I had occasion to see their arrogant behaviour
22 in the municipality when they broke into Mr. Rasula's office and took his
23 pistol out. So it was common knowledge in Sanski Most that these guys
24 belonged to the top of the SDS that Rasula belonged to, and they addressed
25 him in the municipality as far as I was able to see. And I saw other
1 delegations coming from Banja Luka to see Mr. Rasula. So I stand by what
2 you just read out, that those guys were under the protection and
3 instructions of the president at that time, that is, Mr. Nedeljko Rasula.
4 Q. How many -- how many religious buildings did you actually see them
6 A. I can say with certainty the religious building where I live, it's
7 about 150 or 200 metres away as the crows fly from my house. The central
8 religious building in the Mahala Street in Sanski Most was also blown up.
9 I saw this with my own eyes. There was a beautiful building in Caplje
10 that could be seen from kilometres away. And as you looked from
11 Pobrijezje towards Caplje the minaret was missing. I can claim with
12 certainty about these three, but believe me I'm telling the truth when I
13 say the 26 of them were destroyed.
14 Q. So you actually saw members of SOS destroy these three that you're
15 talking about.
16 A. Sir, allow me. If I had seen it and if I was with them, I
17 wouldn't be sitting here and I wouldn't be telling you this. I told you
18 what the status of Muslims was. As soon as dusk fell, one had to rush
19 home and lock up the doors. But there were stories in town, and it is
20 common knowledge. My teacher Peda Mutic, a radical, took part in blowing
21 up the mosque in Sanski Most. Unfortunately a Muslim woman breast-fed
23 Q. So you didn't actually see -- now, the truth is you didn't
24 actually see members of SOS destroy any religious buildings, did you?
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I think he's answered that. He's answered the
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's an illusion, sir.
3 MR. ACKERMAN:
4 Q. What's an illusion?
5 A. I think you know the truth, and you're asking me, a man who is not
6 of your profession and putting me into an embarrassing situation.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: [Previous translation continues] ... to enter into an
8 argument with counsel. Just answer his questions -- this is why I gave
9 you this advice in the beginning. Just answer the question, the whole
10 question, and nothing but the question. The moment you move outside of
11 those perimeters that I have explained to you, you are in trouble.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah. But when I asked him -- when I said he has
14 already answered that question, that's it.
15 MR. ACKERMAN:
16 Q. What information do you have that Nedeljko Rasula ordered members
17 of SOS to destroy religious buildings? Specifically what information?
18 A. Specific information is the knowledge in town, and this knowledge
19 could not have come from Muslim sources. Allow for other possibilities of
20 information. And there are witnesses - I can't name them - who saw Mutic,
21 who saw the SOS, and logic tells me, knowing the attitudes, the
22 relationships, the behaviour, the announcement of Mihajlo Orlovic on Radio
23 Sana. He was a second Dzogo in Sanski Most. These men were praised and
24 had no opinions of their own unfortunately we played football and handball
25 together, but Medeni forgot who he had grown up with and what he did.
1 Q. So I take it the answer to my question is you don't have any
2 information of your own personal knowledge regarding an order given by
3 Rasula. It's just a rumour that you heard around town?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, am I allowed to give
5 an indirect answer to this question in one sentence?
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Let's hear what the indirect question is --
7 answer is.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The spot on Radio Sana was such that
9 our blood froze in our veins. Will we -- what are we waiting for? Surely
10 the president of a municipality can have influence over the radio
11 programmes. And if he can't stand the Muslim people, he could do this in
12 a proper manner. Instead of allowing such a spot to be broadcast. Shall
13 we. What are we waiting for?
14 MR. ACKERMAN:
15 Q. I'd like you to be shown a copy of the English version of your
16 statement to the OTP, please.
17 You've now been given the English version of your statement to the
18 Office of the Prosecutor. And I want to -- I want you to look at the
19 bottom of the first page. You see a signature there. Is that your
21 A. This one?
22 Q. The first -- no. The cover page.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: It's not that.
24 MR. ACKERMAN:
25 Q. Turn back one page. There. Right there. The bottom of the
2 A. Do you want me to sign my name in front of you to see? Yes,
3 that's my signature.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Just answer the question. The question is: Is
5 that your signature? Just answer yes or no. I think you have answered
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
8 MR. ACKERMAN:
9 Q. Look now, please, to your statement to Mr. Zijad Ibric. And each
10 page has a signature. I'd like to ask you if that's your signature.
11 A. I'm not so sure. I have three ways of signing my name. That's
12 true. Possibly in those days, in view of the condition that I was in,
13 that this is my signature. The same text, Your Honour, was signed by me
14 before I received this.
15 Q. Could I ask the usher to give you a blank piece of paper and a pen
16 and ask you to make your signature three or four times on this piece of
18 JUDGE AGIUS: And before you do so, Mr. Ackerman, and before he
19 signs, could the usher show the witness his other statement of 13/2/1995,
20 the statement released to Besim -- to Josip Ljubez. Do you have it in
21 front of you, sir?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Again, I refer you to the bottom of each of these
24 two pages, where it shows that there is a signature which should be your
25 signature. Is that your signature?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, for sure.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: And here it is -- do you see or do you recognise
3 that it is quite different from the other signature on the statement
4 released to Zijad Ibric two days later?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, certainly. There's a visible
6 difference. In this second one you see IB Islamcevic, and in the
7 first one just Islamcevic Besim. But this is not one statement but
8 two statements and two different dates. And I see it quite logical for me
9 to be able to sign it in one way once and in another way the second way a
10 different way. In Topusko I signed my name in Cyrillic.
11 MR. ACKERMAN:
12 Q. These statements are two days apart, sir, as His Honour has
13 pointed out. Would it make that much difference in your signature just in
14 two days?
15 A. Sir, a second means life at Grabez, not to mention two days in
16 Travnik. A second could save your life.
17 MR. ACKERMAN: Could you hand this to him and have him to sign it
18 a few times for me.
19 Q. I'd like you to put your signature on here about four times, sir.
20 Or if you want me to sign it more, you may.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Different -- yes, exactly. Because Mr. Islamcevic
22 you told us that you have three different kinds of signatures -- or I
23 don't know how many you have.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And a fourth in Cyrillic.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. So could you give us a specimen of each and
1 every one of these different signatures and perhaps with each signature
2 you repeat it once or -- repeat it twice or three times, because I
3 recognise that each signature, even if it's always the same one, always
4 comes out a little bit different each time you put it down.
5 THE WITNESS: [the witness complies]
6 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, is that signed in red or black?
7 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated]
8 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I know exactly where you are arriving --
10 MR. ACKERMAN: We have to give it back to him and have him sign
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Keep this as well, please. But do give him another
13 blank page. And please sign in black, in a dark -- not in red.
14 I have a dark -- a black pen here.
15 MR. ACKERMAN: We've got the black pen. I gave it to him before.
16 But I don't have another piece of paper. But I think --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yeah. But I'm pretty sure.
18 MR. ACKERMAN: The registry has saved us.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. We've got plenty of those. It's something
20 that is never missing here, papers.
21 THE WITNESS: [The witness complies]
22 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
23 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, I'd ask the registrar to give us two
24 exhibit numbers, have the one in red the first number, the one in black
25 the second number.
1 THE REGISTRAR: So the one in red will be DB89. The one in black
2 will be DB90.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. And the usher would be kind enough to make us
4 photocopies straight away so that --
5 MR. ACKERMAN: Yes. I would like -- I would like to have the
6 original for obvious purposes, Your Honour, and a copy be placed in the
7 record at this point.
8 Q. Sir, you told us at one point in your testimony that up until a
9 certain point in time relations between Muslims and Serbs in Sanski Most
10 had been good.
11 A. Yes, until the conflict broke out -- or rather, up until the
12 multi-party elections and the formation of national parties, relations
13 were good.
14 Q. And that was -- was that a genuinely good relationship between
15 Muslims and Serbs, or was it enforced in some way?
16 A. In my view, they were normal. They were as between human beings,
17 as they should be.
18 Q. There were friendships there was respect, things of that nature.
19 A. Certainly --
20 Q. Even --
21 A. There are some very nice examples.
22 Q. Even mixed marriages; correct?
23 A. I think 2 per cent in Sanski Most.
24 Q. This meeting that you went to in Topusko, were you told -- did
25 Vrkes or Rasula tell you or did you learn from my other way who it was
1 from the RS -- Republika Srpska government that organised that meeting?
2 A. The meeting was organised by Mr. Vrkes Vlado. I don't know who he
3 talked to for the meeting to take place.
4 Q. Do you understand that he talked to somebody at the higher level
5 of the Republika Srpska government to get that accomplished?
6 A. I'm unable to say, because I really don't know that.
7 Q. If you don't know, that's fine. I'm only asking what you know.
8 During your testimony you've been writing things on a little piece
9 of paper over there. What are you writing down?
10 A. If you don't mind, please have a look -- or I shall bring the
11 notes to you. Just notes.
12 Q. I really don't want to look at them. They're just notes of what's
13 going on here today? Is that what you're doing?
14 A. Yes, precisely. I'll be glad to let you look at them.
15 Q. I wanted to make sure you weren't drawing caricatures of us
16 lawyers or something.
17 A. No.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ackerman, please.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. If I were to make any drawings,
20 it would be patterns for a football game.
21 MR. ACKERMAN:
22 Q. Do you have any idea how many Muslims remained in Sanski Most
23 during the entire period of time that the Serbs were in charge there?
24 A. The question is not quite specific, but I assume -- I can tell you
25 up to the moment while I was there - that's, the 9th of February, 1995 -
1 will you be satisfied with such an answer?
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. According to my own rough estimate, about 3.500 in February 1995.
4 Q. All right. At one point in your testimony when you're talking
5 about this meeting that you had had in Banja Luka where you spoke with
6 Karadzic, you looked over this way and you said something like, "Perhaps
7 Mr. Brdjanin knows this better than me." Do you recall saying that?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. And you didn't actually see Mr. Brdjanin in Banja Luka that day,
10 did you?
11 A. That's the point. I think he passed along the corridor and that I
12 did see him, but I was not able - and I don't wish to claim that - but
13 intimately I feel that he was present at that meeting, because knowing who
14 came, knowing the hierarchy, it was not logical for him not to be there.
15 Q. So it's more of an assumption on your part that he would have been
16 there than anything, isn't it?
17 A. I have to be quite frank in this courtroom and say that I cannot
18 confirm that, but deep down I feel I saw him and that he was present,
19 because I knew the gentleman from before.
20 Q. You told us about your brother. And I want to express my sympathy
21 for what happened to your brother. Did your brother come from Sanski
23 A. Yes, of course.
24 Q. Were there other -- were there other people from Sanski Most
25 that -- that wound up fighting in the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
1 A. Yes. Thank God. Yes, there were.
2 Q. Do you have any idea how many?
3 A. I can answer your first question now, with regard to my late
4 brother, if you're interested. And I think you have more information for
5 other cases than I do.
6 Q. I think maybe the question was misunderstood. My question was:
7 Do you know how many men from Sanski Most fought in the Army of
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina? If you don't know, just tell me.
9 A. Don't you think you're asking me a bit too much? Aren't you
10 asking me for too much?
11 JUDGE AGIUS: If you don't know, just say I don't know. It's --
12 this is why I told you to answer the question.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know the exact number. I
14 really don't know the exact number.
15 MR. ACKERMAN:
16 Q. When you said that other people from Sanski Most -- when I asked
17 you about other people from Sanski Most that wound up fighting in the Army
18 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, you said, "Yes, thank God." What did you mean by
19 saying, "Thank God"?
20 A. I meant quite a lot by that. If not for such people, if they
21 hadn't have given their lives, most probably I wouldn't be sitting here
22 today in the courtroom, in this venerable -- before this venerable Trial
24 MR. ACKERMAN: That's all I have, Your Honour. Thank you.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
1 Mr. Zecevic, I suppose you can start today, and then if you don't
2 finish, we will continue tomorrow.
3 MR. ZECEVIC: Of course I will not finish today since we have just
4 ten more minutes.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Mr. Islamcevic, you're not going to be
6 cross-examined by Mr. Zecevic, who is lead counsel for General Talic.
7 Cross-examined by Mr. Zecevic:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Islamcevic.
9 A. Good day to you too.
10 Q. My name is Slobodan Zecevic and I will put a few questions to
12 Because of -- for the sake of the interpreters, when you answer my
13 question, could you please make a pause because we understand each other
14 but it is necessary for the interpreters to interpret what we say.
15 Mr. Islamcevic, I want you to go back to your testimony before
16 this Trial Chamber and I want to go back to the testimony that you gave
17 yesterday. At the very beginning of the testimony that you gave, when my
18 learned colleagues were examining you, you said that on the 25th of May,
19 1992 you were at the market as a foreman. Is that correct?
20 A. Yes, it is.
21 Q. And your colleague Vojo Milorad -- Vojin Save Milorad -- please
22 wait for a minute, make a pause, and then answer the question.
23 This colleague and friend of yours, Vojin Save Milorad, he warned
24 you then that something was brewing in the town and that it was necessary
25 for you to hand over the cash and that you should take shelter; is that
2 A. Yes, it is.
3 Q. Tell me, on the 25th of May, 1992 you worked as a foreman for whom
4 exactly? For a company? For an institution?
5 A. Do I have to answer that question? Yes, I was working as a
6 foreman at the market -- at the town market in Sanski Most as part of the
7 communal services, the working unit of the communal services in Sanski
8 Most. So as not to confuse you, in the future, at the beginning of April,
9 I was moved from that station in Zdena from the water pump station to a
10 new work -- working position. I don't want there to be confusion why was
11 I first in Zdena and then at the marketplace.
12 Q. Let's just proceed slowly and we shall clarify everything then.
13 In the statement that you gave to investigators for the Prosecution in
14 1999 you said that you worked in the communal services in the funeral
15 parlour department. Is that correct or not?
16 A. That department was called the working department for communal
17 services. And the work description of the foreman -- the chief of the
18 funeral services was Dragutin Petar [phoen].
19 Q. In other words it is the same work post.
20 A. Yes. Two -- two different sets of duties are involved, but it is
21 one single post.
22 Q. Tell me, a minute ago you tried to clarify this for us. Before
23 that you worked at the pump station; is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. At that pump station did you also take that post just before the
1 spring of 1992? Did you take up that post on that date or earlier on?
2 A. That's a good question, sir.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. I assumed that post by virtue of the decision of Lukic Mladen,
5 director of the company. Up until then I was involved in work protection
6 and I went to Novi Sad to obtain a certificate in a committee there.
7 That's where I got the certificate. I wasn't to the -- I didn't suit the
8 gentleman in question.
9 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, if I may ask the usher -- because I am
10 following the translation just not to -- to speed it up too much. But I
11 cannot hear what the witness is answering because the -- the microphones
12 are a bit too apart. So I don't hear the original, actually, which I am
13 listening with my ears. I'm sorry.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's not a problem, I'll -- I'll
15 approach the microphones.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated]
17 MR. ZECEVIC:
18 Q. Sir, as you said it was the director's decision - who didn't like
19 you - you were transferred to the pump station. That was the director's
20 decision; is that correct?
21 A. Yes, it is.
22 Q. Afterwards, in April, you were transferred to this other working
23 position at the market.
24 A. Six months before April I was assigned duties at the pump station
25 in Zdena. I was in charge. And through agreements reached between the
1 parties, the director's post belonged to the SDA -- Ahmet Paunovic came as
2 director. And I was a member of the SDP, as I am today.
3 Q. Mr. Islamcevic, please concentrate on the question and just answer
4 the question, because there's too much information which really isn't
5 relevant to us. I understand that you want to explain things.
6 A. I'll answer all your questions, sir. Don't worry.
7 Q. I asked you: Is it correct to say that in April 1992 you were
8 transferred from that post, the pump station in Zdena, to the market?
9 A. Yes, that's correct. And to the shop where funeral equipment,
10 funeral items were sold.
11 Q. And you were the foreman there.
12 A. Yes, I was.
13 Q. At that time this same person, Mladen Lukic, was the director of
14 the communal services.
15 A. No. Mr. Ahmet Paunovic came as director. He was an engineer, a
16 geodetics engineer.
17 Q. And then he decided to transfer you to that market; isn't that
19 A. Yes, exactly.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, would it be -- because I am moving to
22 another matter. Would it be okay if I ...
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
24 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you.
25 [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Islamcevic. I'll see you
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have any idea of how long you anticipate your
4 cross-examination to last, so that Mr. Cayley or whoever will be taking up
5 the next witness can plan ahead?
6 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours -- Your Honours it depends entirely on
7 the answers by this witness. Because I anticipated one hour to one hour
8 and a half. But it might be longer because I will have to hear the
9 answers. Thank you.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
11 MR. CAYLEY: Your Honour, we have a slight problem tomorrow
12 because the witness who is next, as you know, is very unwell. He doesn't
13 arrive in The Hague until this evening. So we need to make an assessment
14 tomorrow whether he will be ready to testify tomorrow.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: And you have only got one coming. No?
16 MR. CAYLEY: Correct. So we will be able to give you an answer at
17 the beginning of tomorrow's session or maybe somewhat before that through
18 the registry as to whether or not he will be ready to testify.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: You're talking of 7.119 or 7.59?
20 MR. CAYLEY: We're moving straight to 7.59, because 7.119 is the
21 individual who will essentially lose his job if he comes to testify here.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
23 MR. CAYLEY: So that is the position we are in.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Yes. But in any case, tomorrow we'll proceed
25 with the cross-examination -- last cross-examination of this witness. And
1 then we'll take it up from there.
2 MR. CAYLEY: Yes. I'll see where we are. I mean, I'll let you
3 know, Your Honours, as soon as I can where we are with the next witness.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: The indication is that he's still arriving in The
6 MR. CAYLEY: Yes.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: That's the indication.
8 MR. CAYLEY: Yes.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So maybe we are worrying for nothing.
10 Let's hope so.
11 Mr. Ackerman, before we adjourn, earlier on you raised something
12 with regard to the transportation which I promised to look into. I wanted
13 to know if this is something that has surfaced now or whether it's
14 something that has been happening since we've been having sittings in the
15 afternoon and finishing at 6.30 instead of 7.00.
16 MR. ACKERMAN: I think it partly relates to the fact that we are
17 finishing ahead of -- of other Chambers, and they're probably trying to do
18 their transportation all at the same time. I'm not certain of that. But
19 certainly I understand last night it was not until 7.30 -- and I'm being
20 told that's not the problem. So I think it's been going on quite a long
21 time. And I really don't know very much about it other than --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Well, I think I would rather have full information
23 before you speak out. I mean, if Mr. Brdjanin or whatever wants -- yeah,
25 MR. ACKERMAN: I'm perfectly comfortable with Mr. Brdjanin --
1 JUDGE AGIUS: If you want to go in private session, we can go in
2 private session. But it's --
3 Yes, Mr. Brdjanin. Tell me what's happening, that's all. And
4 very briefly.
5 THE ACCUSED BRDJANIN: [Interpretation] As far as the entire stay
6 here is concerned, I have nothing to object to. But we don't understand
7 why we have to wait for an hour when we are alone, and that is not a
8 recent thing. This happens every day. And if I say almost every day,
9 then maybe it doesn't happen on a day or two. Last time there was no one
10 there apart from us. We were 45 minutes -- we were there for 45 minutes
11 and then they said, "You're going down to the room downstairs?" I said,
12 "Why? We won't have time to have dinner. We won't do anything." I'll
13 tell you what the reason is. I don't think that anyone wants a -- a
14 break. We are elderly people. We'll just get ill if we wait for over an
15 hour every day, if we have to wait for over an hour every day. And there
16 is no reason for this, I think, because there are two cars -- they have
17 two cars. But I don't know how this is organised. I can't enter into
18 these matters. This happens very frequently, very frequently. That's all
19 I have to say.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. When it happens, does it affect your dinner at
21 the Detention Centre?
22 THE ACCUSED BRDJANIN: [Interpretation] How should I put it? We
23 arrive -- we barely arrive in time. We don't have time to do anything
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
1 [Microphone not activated] I think Mr. Islamcevic, you will be
2 escorted -- you will be escorted out of the courtroom now and taken to
3 your hotel and then we'll see you again tomorrow afternoon at 2.15.
4 Hopefully we won't keep you waiting half an hour like we did today.
5 Hopefully we should be in a position to start at 2.15 sharp. The usher
6 will take care of you. Thank you.
7 We are adjourned till tomorrow afternoon at 2.15.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
10 at 6.32 p.m., to be reconvened on Wednesday,
11 the 26th day of June, 2002, at 2.15 p.m.