1 Tuesday, 9 May 2000
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.40 a.m.
4 [The witness entered court]
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Good
7 morning. Please be seated. Good morning, ladies and
8 gentlemen; good morning to the interpreters. I see
9 that they're all there. Good morning to the technical
10 booth, the court reporters, everybody in the courtroom,
11 the accused. I see that the Defence counsels are all
12 there, the Prosecution, the witness.
13 Have you had a good rest, Witness?
14 THE WITNESS: Yes, I have. Thank you very
15 much, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
17 You're going to continue answering the questions that
18 Mr. Keegan is going to ask you.
19 And without further ado, I give the floor to
20 Mr. Keegan.
21 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 WITNESS: AZEDIN OKLOPCIC [Resumed]
23 [Witness answered through interpreter]
24 Examined by Mr. Keegan: [Contd.]
25 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, yesterday at the recess, you
1 were speaking generally of some of the conditions in
2 the camp. I'd like to continue along that line.
3 While you were in the camp, did you have the
4 opportunity or were you at any time placed inside the
5 large building that you identified earlier as the
7 A. Yes, I was.
8 Q. And were you placed in the area that we might
9 call the main area, the ground-floor area of the
11 A. Yes, I was.
12 Q. During the time that that facility was being
13 used as the camp, were prisoners housed on the entire
14 area of that ground floor? In other words, did they
15 use the entire area of the ground floor as an area to
16 hold prisoners?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Approximately how much of that ground-floor
19 area did they use to house prisoners?
20 A. About 60 per cent.
21 Q. And what was in the other approximately 40
22 per cent of that ground-floor area?
23 A. There were large trucks which we referred to
24 as the dumpers to convey mine and ore.
25 Q. If that equipment had been moved out of that
1 ground-floor area of the hangar, would there have been
2 sufficient room to allow the prisoners on the pista to
3 move in from the outside?
4 A. Almost, yes, they could.
5 Q. During the time that you were in the camp and
6 in the hangar building, were the materials in there
7 from which bedding for the prisoners, for example,
8 could have been fashioned?
9 A. Yes, there were.
10 Q. Was there material or equipment available
11 within the facilities, the buildings of that camp, from
12 which latrines could have been constructed on the
13 outside for the prisoners to use?
14 A. If all the parts and possibilities were used
15 of the different equipment, the machines or anything
16 else, then probably they could be used to make things
17 of that kind, latrines or something similar.
18 Q. Were there tractors, construction equipment
19 available from which trenches could have been dug?
20 A. There were.
21 Q. Was there pieces of wood, rails, and metal
22 rails available from which such things could have been
24 A. We usually used only the cartons of boxes or
25 different shapes of paper, paper in different shapes
1 that we would place on the pista, and that was a sort
2 of surface mat.
3 Q. Yes. My question was referring to material
4 available from which proper latrines could have been
5 built, such as pieces of wood or metal rails, things
6 like that.
7 A. No. No.
8 Q. So that equipment, that material was not
10 A. No.
11 Q. Could using the taps, which you identified
12 water taps outside that were available, could washing
13 of clothes and personal hygiene have been organised
14 amongst the prisoners to achieve better personal
16 A. No, except for the last week before the camp
17 was disbanded.
18 Q. My question was: Could it have been
19 organised, not was it. Could it have been organised?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Why couldn't it have been organised?
22 A. Because we weren't permitted things like that
23 and because there weren't enough taps or latrines,
24 toilets, or detergents which we could use for that
25 purpose, for all the things you enumerated, for
1 washing, for shaving, or anything of that sort, the
2 washing of clothes or cleaning in general, footwear.
3 Q. During the time that you were in the Omarska
4 camp, was some of your family members still in the town
5 of Prijedor? Were some of your family members --
6 excuse me -- still in the town of Prijedor?
7 A. Yes, they were.
8 Q. If it had been permitted, would they have
9 been in a position to send you extra clothing, soap,
10 things like that?
11 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Objection, Your Honour. I
12 object to that question. He's asking the witness to
13 speculate on something that appears to be beyond the
14 scope of this witness's knowledge. It's hard to
15 imagine how he would know what would be going on in the
16 town of Prijedor in he was in Omarska. He's asking the
17 witness to speculate, and I submit that that's an
18 inappropriate question.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Keegan,
20 what is your response to the objection?
21 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Could we ask the witness to
22 take off his headphones and perhaps determine whether
23 he understands the language?
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I beg your
25 pardon, Mr. O'Sullivan. Have you finished or not?
1 MR. O'SULLIVAN: No, I haven't.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
3 Go ahead.
4 MR. O'SULLIVAN: The procedure we've been
5 following is we ask the witness to remove his
6 headphones and, first of all, to establish whether he
7 understands English or French, because this debate
8 should not be going on in front of the witness. We're
9 going to be discussing where we're headed with this,
10 and we -- it's not fair for the witness to be
11 understanding what we're saying.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Witness,
13 could you take your headphones off, please? Do you
14 understand English?
15 THE WITNESS: I beg your pardon?
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I'll
17 repeat. Do you understand English, Witness?
18 THE WITNESS: No.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Could you
20 take your headset off, please.
21 Mr. O'Sullivan.
22 MR. O'SULLIVAN: That's the only point I
23 wanted to add to my objection was the question of
24 whether or not the witness could understand and hear
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
2 Mr. Keegan.
3 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour. I would be
4 happy to go through the foundational questions to
5 indicate that the witness met up with his family after
6 his release of the camp, was aware of their
7 circumstances while he was in Prijedor, and then could
8 testify that yes, in fact, they would have been in the
9 position to send things had it been permitted. I was
10 merely short-cutting those foundation questions based
11 on the fact that he knew they were in Prijedor and
12 presumably that obviously he'd be in a position to
13 know. I'm happy to go through those questions.
14 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes.
15 Perhaps you could reformulate your question,
16 Mr. Keegan, if you would. Thank you.
17 MR. KEEGAN:
18 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, when you were released from the
19 Omarska camp, which camp were you sent to?
20 A. Trnopolje.
21 Q. And upon your release from Trnopolje, where
22 did you go?
23 A. I returned home to Prijedor.
24 Q. And who was at your family home in Prijedor?
25 A. My father, my mother, my wife, and my child.
1 At the time I had one child, a son.
2 Q. How long had they been in the family home
3 since the 30th of May? Had they been there the entire
5 A. The entire time, until my return on the 14th
6 of August, 1992, and a month and a half to two months
7 after that.
8 Q. Were the majority of your clothes still in
9 your family home after you were arrested on 30 May
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Are you aware of whether your family had soap
13 and other hygiene materials in the family home during
14 the period you were in the camp?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did they have food, some amount of food to
17 eat during the time you were in the camp?
18 A. They did, yes.
19 Q. Now, to go back to my earlier question, in
20 your opinion, if it had been permitted, would your
21 family have been in a position to send you personal
22 hygiene material such as soap and extra clothing to you
23 in the camp?
24 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Your Honour, I must object
25 again. He's asking him to give an opinion without any
1 basis for asking that question.
2 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] No. I
3 think and I wish to say that in this case, Mr. Keegan
4 can continue with the question. It is important, from
5 the point of view of the matter we're discussing here,
6 that is to say, to know whether there were
7 possibilities of changing the conditions.
8 So we reject your objection, and we're going
9 to ask Mr. Keegan to continue.
10 A. They could have sent them had there been the
11 possibility of that.
12 MR. KEEGAN:
13 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, were prisoners beaten in the
14 Omarska camp during the time that you were there?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. How often?
17 A. Almost every day.
18 Q. In what types of situations would beatings
20 A. On several occasions. Under number 1, when
21 the prisoners were taken to the upper floor of the main
22 building or the central building for interrogation;
23 number 2, when we went to lunch; number 3, when we went
24 to the WC or to fetch water; and under number 4, during
25 the night.
1 Q. What would happen during the evenings, during
2 the night?
3 A. Terrible screams could be heard, moans,
4 beatings, from practically all the rooms which served
5 as the Omarska concentration camp. Mostly in the
6 hangar, the canteen, the pista, and so on.
7 Q. Could you see the physical indications of
8 these beatings that you've talked about? Could you see
9 injuries or marks on prisoners?
10 A. Yes, I could.
11 Q. Can you describe that, what some of those
12 injuries looked like.
13 A. During the many times that I went to lunch,
14 that is to say, once in the course of the day, every
15 day, you could see enormous differences or changes
16 amongst the detainees. Most of the differences or
17 changes occurred with the detainees in the "white
18 house," who, when they went to lunch, had injuries all
19 over their head, all over their body. They had
20 injuries to their back; they had bruises. They had
21 scabs on their ears, on their head. Their hands would
22 be bandaged in any T-shirts or whatever clothing they
23 had, makeshift bandages, and so forth.
24 When they went to be questioned, or when we
25 went to be questioned rather, the people who questioned
1 us, the interrogators, in the central building also,
2 you could see similar or so-called self-injury.
3 In the course of going to interrogation and
4 the return journey from the interrogation --
5 THE INTERPRETER: -- the guards were beaten,
6 the witness said.
7 A. I apologise. Not the guards, I meant the
8 prisoners, they were beaten.
9 MR. KEEGAN:
10 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, yesterday you spoke of the
11 problems of dysentery and other illnesses, the food,
12 the type of food that the prisoners received, the
13 problem with the toilets and access to water, and this
14 morning, the beatings.
15 As a result of all of these conditions, what
16 was the condition of the prisoners in the Omarska
17 camp? What did they look like by the time that the
18 month of July came to Omarska?
19 A. There was hardly a prisoner who had not lost
20 at least 20 kilograms or so. I personally lost 18
21 kilograms in weight.
22 As for the prisoners who were in the hangar,
23 inside the hangar, there was a terrible stench, stink.
24 I don't know how to describe this smell. The smell was
25 like that of dead animals because they didn't have many
1 opportunities to go outside; in fact, only once a day
2 when they went for lunch.
3 Q. What did the clothing of the prisoners look
4 like by July?
5 A. Some prisoners hardly had anything left on
6 them. It was torn, it was in rags, it was dirty. I
7 had high shoes, which were almost new before I went to
8 the camp. From urine, going to the toilet, and the
9 stink, and the fact that I had to relieve myself so
10 often, those shoes were virtually destroyed. This
11 applies to the prisoners' other footwear, because all
12 we had was what we came in, whether it was on the 30th
13 or the 31st of May, or in June. So those were the
14 clothes that we had on us, and the footwear as well.
15 Q. What about the prisoners' hair and their
16 facial hair?
17 A. Our hair had grown; it was dirty. Some
18 people cut their hair themselves. They managed to hide
19 so that others wouldn't see. Facial hair had grown,
20 moustaches, beards. We had lice. As we sat next to
21 one another, we could see visibly the lice crawling
22 over people's hair.
23 Q. Did any officials visit the Omarska camp from
24 the Republika Srpska?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. When was that visit?
2 A. In July. I can't tell you the exact date but
3 somewhere around then.
4 Q. Were the prisoners required to do anything
5 for that visit?
6 A. Two or three days prior to the visit, special
7 preparations were carried out so that we would be ready
8 to welcome the delegation.
9 Q. What were those special preparations?
10 A. We were all taken out to sit on the pista, in
11 front of the central building, in front of the hangar,
12 and we sang "Boze Pravde," which means God and Justice;
13 "Ko To Kaze, Ko To Laze" [Translation: Who is Saying,
14 Who is Lying]. We had to applaud Serbia. We had to
15 lift our hands, with the three fingers pointed in the
16 Serb manner, and so on.
17 Q. Those two songs that you mentioned, what kind
18 of songs are those?
19 A. Chetnik nationalist songs. Those songs were
20 sung during the Second World War, during the Chetnik
22 Q. What was the condition of the prisoners at
23 the time of this visit? What did they look like?
24 A. Exhausted, sitting there and having to do
25 what I have just said, humiliated. I have no words to
1 describe the feeling, the humiliation. It was perhaps
2 the worst thing that could have happened to me in the
3 camp. Degrading.
4 Q. Were the prisoners in the physical condition
5 that you've earlier described at the time of this
7 A. Yes. They were in a poor physical and mental
9 Q. You mentioned, among the other things the
10 prisoners were required to do when the delegation
11 visited, that you had to lift your hands, with the
12 three fingers pointed in the Serb manner. Can you
13 demonstrate for the Judges what that was and explain
14 the significance of that.
15 A. I can. First of all, I thought I shouldn't
16 show you, but in the interests of the investigation I
17 will do so probably for the last time in my life. It
18 was like this [indicates].
19 Q. What is the significance of that?
20 A. I don't understand. I wasn't interested. It
21 was a Serb sign. I really never investigated or
22 inquired what it meant.
23 Q. Did you recognise any of the people who were
24 in the delegation that visited the camp in July, those
1 A. I did. It was a mixed delegation from Banja
2 Luka and Prijedor.
3 Q. Who, among the delegation, did you recognise?
4 A. I didn't know anyone from Banja Luka
5 personally. But a day or two prior to the visit, the
6 guards were talking amongst themselves and one of them
7 was somebody called Brk Tadic, who was the right-hand
8 man of Mr. Meakic, and he prepared us for this, he said
9 that Vukic, Radic [Realtime transcript read in
10 error "Mladic"], Kupresanin, Brdjanin were coming.
11 Whether they all came, I don't know, but that was the
12 composition of the delegation, and some others whose
13 names I cannot remember from Banja Luka.
14 As from Prijedor, there was Simo Miskovic,
15 Simo Drljaca, Slobodan Kuruzovic, all the investigators
16 who interrogated people in the Omarska concentration
17 camp, the commanders and deputy commanders of the camp,
18 and others.
19 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, during the time that you were
20 in the Omarska camp, did you witness any shootings?
21 A. I did.
22 Q. Can you tell us, how many shootings did you
24 A. On a number of occasions.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Fila,
1 you have something to tell us?
2 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I'm sorry. I just
3 wish to point out that the name that is entered in the
4 transcript was "Mladic"; it should be Radic.
5 THE INTERPRETER: The witness is
7 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] It was not the
8 witness' fault. It was just an error in the
9 transcript. It should be Radic and not Mladic.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I myself
11 heard Radic. I see "Mladic" in the transcript. Thank
12 you very much, Mr. Fila, for drawing our attention to
14 Mr. Keegan, could you perhaps check with the
15 witness again so that we can correct it, please.
16 MR. KEEGAN:
17 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, you heard the point raised by
18 Mr. Fila. Can you confirm the last name of the
19 person. Was it Mladic or Radic?
20 A. Radic. Radic. I apologise if I made a slip
21 of the tongue.
22 Q. Thank you. Can you describe, please, the
23 first shooting that you witnessed.
24 A. The first shooting of which I was an
25 eyewitness occurred a week, or maybe ten days after my
1 arrival in the Omarska concentration camp.
2 Q. Where did that shooting take place?
3 A. In the central building, in the canteen.
4 Q. What time of day was it that this shooting
6 A. Dusk, nightfall.
7 Q. Why were you in the canteen at that time?
8 A. Because that is where we would spend the
9 night in the beginning, those of us who were at the
10 pista during the daytime, to make it quite clear.
11 Q. Could you please describe what happened.
12 A. In the canteen, when we went to sleep there,
13 there was always about 600 people. I will explain how
14 I know the figure. There were 20 groups of 30 men,
15 which makes a total of 600, which means that we
16 couldn't sit, never mind lie down, it was so crowded.
17 Suddenly, during that night, or early in the
18 night -- we were not allowed to get up; we had to raise
19 our hand and ask the guard if we could go to the
20 toilet, and only when given permission we could go -- a
21 man got up. I know that his surname is Nasic; I think
22 his first name was Mehmedalija. I'm not sure. And he
23 started muttering something. Obviously something was
24 wrong. He was saying, "What are you doing to us? Long
25 live brotherhood and unity. We've all lived well
1 together." He even mentioned Tito. I saw that
2 something must be wrong with his mental condition.
3 Then the closest guard to us was Milan
4 Pavlic, who warned him once and told him to sit down.
5 A second time he cautioned him. However, Nasic didn't
6 hear, or he wasn't conscious of what was going on, I
7 can't judge. And the third time, Pavlic opened fire at
8 him, and, in fact, he was aiming at all of us because
9 this burst of fire could not hit just Nasic but also
10 the people around him.
11 Q. Where was the victim Nasic at the time he was
13 A. In the canteen there is a line or a belt
14 along which we walked when we went to have lunch, and
15 only two or three metres from the large glass window,
16 so in that part of the canteen.
17 Q. Where was the guard Pavlic?
18 A. Two or three metres from the large glass
19 window of the canteen, or one of the large glass
20 windows of the canteen.
21 Q. Was he inside the canteen or outside the
23 A. Outside? You mean the guard?
24 Q. Yes.
25 A. Outside the canteen.
1 Q. The guard Pavlic was physically outside of
2 the building.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. When he fired, did he fire through the glass
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. After the shooting, did you see any of the
8 camp command staff present?
9 A. I did.
10 Q. Who was that?
11 A. It was the commander of the camp, Zeljko
12 Meakic, and his assistant Kvocka, and the whole shift,
13 led by Krkan, because Milan Pavlic belonged to Krkan's
15 Q. What happened with Nasic, and were there any
16 other people who were hit by the bullets?
17 A. Nasic passed away very quickly. He was
18 carried out to the grass, the part of the pista next to
19 the grass, and three other persons were wounded. I
20 know them very well, but I won't mention them now, who
21 were taken to Banja Luka. We didn't know at the time
22 where they were taken.
23 After about a month, they were brought back
24 from Banja Luka. They were taken to the hospital in
25 Banja Luka, and they came back, and they were not
1 allowed to have contact with anyone once they
3 Q. Now, did any of the camp command staff that
4 you've identified say anything to the prisoners that
5 evening after the shooting, that you recall?
6 A. There was first confusion amongst
7 themselves. I think they themselves didn't expect that
8 to happen, with the exception of Milan Pavlic, who was
9 drunk, I must add. A lot of confusion and disturbance
10 occurred, because they realised that a lot of people
11 had witnessed the event.
12 Later on, Zeljko Meakic, the commander of the
13 camp arrived, and angrily and arrogantly he addressed
14 all of us and said that that would happen to everyone
15 who tries to escape.
16 Q. What was the other shooting that you yourself
17 witnessed while you were in the camp?
18 A. A shooting that occurred shortly after the
19 killing of Nasic and the wounding of the other three
20 persons. I'm sorry for this sigh, because it was a
21 very moving event for all of us who witnessed it.
22 It happened in Bijela Kuca, the killing of
23 Becir Medjunjanin, and a young boy called Hankin.
24 Q. If we could move on from that shooting, and
25 we'll describe that event later. Can you describe the
1 next shooting that you witnessed in the camp?
2 A. The next shooting was a shooting that
3 occurred also after the return of prisoners from
4 lunch. On that day, a group of prisoners was coming
5 back from lunch, which was served in the largest
6 premises of the central building, which later came to
7 be known as Mujo's room.
8 We would usually, on the way back from lunch,
9 have to run, as the path from the canteen to the main
10 room in the central building is not a long one. A
11 group of some 30 prisoners, and we always ate in groups
12 of 30, was running back to this central building and
13 the main room in it.
14 Then one of those prisoners, a man in his
15 60s, a well-known fire brigade member and fisherman
16 nicknamed Hadzo -- he lived in my neighbourhood, close
17 to me -- suddenly deviated from the path. And instead
18 of entering the room where he had been staying until
19 then, he started running towards the exit of the camp,
20 towards the village of Omarska itself.
21 That very same moment, we heard a burst of
22 fire that hit Hadzo. Hadzo was wounded, but he
24 Q. Did you see who fired at Hadzo?
25 A. I did.
1 Q. And who was that?
2 A. I think it was Soskan, a guard nicknamed
3 Soskan. I don't know his real name, but I'm convinced
4 it was he. That was his nickname.
5 Q. Do you know whose shift this guard Soskan
6 worked on?
7 A. I do.
8 Q. And which shift was that?
9 A. Krkan's shift.
10 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, did you know a man named Safet
12 A. Nicknamed Cifut? Yes. Very well.
13 Q. To your knowledge, was he a prisoner in the
14 Omarska camp?
15 A. Yes, he was.
16 Q. Were you aware of any incidents in which he
17 was involved?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Would you please describe what incidents you
21 A. Safet Ramadanovic, Cifut, was a well-known
22 caterer in Prijedor. He was the owner of a cafe called
23 Rudar in the centre of town. He was married. He had
24 two children; two daughters. He was my neighbour.
25 Safet Ramadanovic, Cifut, came later to the
1 Omarska concentration camp, and I will explain what I
2 mean later, which means he didn't come when most of us
3 came on the 30th and 31st of May. Every day, five or
4 six new prisoners would be brought in in a police car
5 which we called the Marica.
6 Upon his very arrival at the concentration
7 camp, Saft Ramadanovic, Cifut, was beaten. And,
8 anyway, that was customary. The new prisoners were
9 first beaten and then assigned to various rooms.
10 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, did you see that beating that
11 Mr. Ramadanovic received on his arrival?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did you see who beat Mr. Ramadanovic?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And do you know their name?
16 A. Popovic, also known as Pop; Zeljko Savic;
17 Drazenko Predojevic; a guard called Zoka; a guard with
18 the surname Kricka; and many others.
19 Q. Do you know what shift those guards worked
21 A. Krkan's.
22 Q. What happened to Mr. Ramadanovic after that
24 A. Ramadanovic was taken to the central
25 building, the largest premises in that building, to
1 join the other prisoners.
2 Q. What happened when you saw Mr. Ramadanovic
4 A. After a week -- I'm not sure how long --
5 Mr. Ramadanovic was taken in for interrogation, because
6 everyone had to go through this procedure. Some people
7 once, other people, two, three, or four times.
8 As he was waiting for the interrogation, at
9 the very entrance to the central building, the guards
10 or, rather, the prisoners had to wait, and sometimes,
11 not always, I must admit, they were beaten. And on
12 that day, when Safet Ramadanovic, Cifut, went for
13 interrogation, he was waiting and was beaten again,
14 which means a second time.
15 Q. Did you see that beating yourself?
16 A. I did. I did.
17 Q. Did you see who was beating Ramadanovic?
18 A. The same group of guards that beat him the
19 first time, Popovic called Pop; Drazenko Predorjevic;
20 Savic; Zoka; Kricka; and so on.
21 Q. And once again, whose shift did they work
23 A. Krkan's.
24 Q. What happened after that beating outside the
25 administration building?
1 A. Safet Ramadanovic, Cifut, was taken
2 upstairs. He was interrogated and beaten. Two
3 prisoners carried him down because he couldn't come
4 down alone -- these two were with me on the pista --
5 and they lay him down on a part of the pista.
6 Q. You stated he was interrogated and beaten.
7 How do you know that he was beaten while he was
8 upstairs being interrogated?
9 A. Because he came back in a much worse
10 condition than he was when he went up.
11 Q. After he was placed on the pista, what
13 A. He was taken away again; that is to say,
14 individual prisoners secretly took him into the room
15 where he had been until then, that is, the main central
16 building, at the bottom of the main central building,
17 that is.
18 Q. Did you see him again that day?
19 A. Yes, I did.
20 Q. What happened then?
21 A. He was taken out dead and laid on the grass
22 next to the canteen.
23 Q. At the time he was taken out of the room in
24 the administration building, how can you be sure that
25 he was dead?
1 A. Before he died, he breathed with great
2 difficulty. He was almost not able to walk. He had
3 been carried by two men, and they took care of him
4 after that event. They were two brothers. And later
5 on, when they took him out, you couldn't hear a sound
6 from him, and they carried him like a bag of sand. You
7 know that a bag of sand is like a dead body. It gives
8 no signs of life. And like a bag of sand, they placed
9 him down, as I said, on the grass next to the pista,
10 near the canteen.
11 Q. Did you see the body, where they put it down
12 on the grass, from where you were sitting on the
14 A. Perfectly.
15 Q. Did Safet Ramadanovic move at all once they
16 put him on the grass?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Did he make any sound?
19 A. No.
20 Q. How long was his body out there on the
22 A. I'm not quite sure. Between two to four
23 hours. Two to three hours, approximately.
24 Q. And what happened to his body?
25 A. Later on, his son came to the camp, who was a
1 Serb, and he was married to one of -- his son-in-law,
2 actually. He was married to one of his two daughters;
3 that is to say, his son-in-law. I think I said "son" a
4 moment ago. And he was married to one of the daughters
5 of Safet, Cifut, and his name was Miso, and I knew him
6 well. And he came up to the body of Safet, Cifut.
7 Q. Did you see the body actually taken away?
8 A. No, I didn't. I just saw Miso standing by
9 the body of Safet Cifut.
10 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, did you known a man named Rizah
12 A. I beg your pardon, Rizo Hadzalic is the name,
13 because I know him well. If there is an error in the
14 writing of his name, he was Rizo Hadzalic, nicknamed
15 Rizah, and he was my neighbour in Muharem Suljanovic
16 Street, in the same street and house which carried the
17 plaque of a former hero. Later on, he got an apartment
18 at the Pecani settlement.
19 Q. Was he a prisoner in the Omarska camp?
20 A. He came later on from the Keraterm
21 concentration camp, as I already described. It was one
22 of these daily new arrivals of five or six prisoners.
23 Q. Did you see an incident that involved Rizo
25 A. Yes, I did.
1 Q. And could you describe that, please?
2 A. Rizo Hadzalic came from Keraterm, and as he
3 was a person who liked to laugh a lot, a witty whom we
4 all knew, he didn't know what was actually going on in
5 the Omarska camp.
6 On that particular day, when he was taken out
7 on to the pista, that is to say, for interrogation,
8 from that main central building, the biggest one,
9 Mujo's, known as Mujo's room, he had to wait up against
10 one of the walls at the very entrance to the main
11 central building, with his head and face turned towards
12 the wall and his hands up behind his head.
13 At that time, and it was around 11.00 a.m. or
14 12.00 a.m., and I know that because we usually had a
15 snack at that time, we referred to it as Marenda, and
16 these guards would go out for a midday snack, for a
17 sandwich, salami, ham, or whatever, and they ate. And
18 they would always have a good meal, and they always
19 showed how delicious their meal was, because they knew
20 we were hungry, so they cluck their lips and so on, and
21 they would talk to each other, the guards, amongst
23 At that moment, Rizo Hadzalic, nicknamed
24 Rizah, said a word which is very well known and which
25 was used by the Muslims and Serbs in Bosnia. The word
1 was -- and when you eat, if you want to invite someone
2 to join you, we say "bujrum," and that word means, in
3 translation,"Please go ahead. Would you like to join
4 us? Would you like something to eat?"
5 At that particular moment, when he said that
6 particular word, there was hell. All hell broke
7 loose. The guards cursed his Muslim and Turkish mother
8 and said, "You saying bujrum to us in this place," and
9 they began beating him with everything they had.
10 When I say "everything they had," let me
11 explain what that means; with their clubs and batons,
12 with their rifles, with their automatic rifles. They
13 kicked him with their legs, with their arms,
14 everything. They used everything they could to beat
16 Q. Did you see the guards who were beating Rizah
18 A. At that particular moment, we were ordered to
19 lie down on the pista with our hands bowed down facing
20 the pista. But we always used one thing,
21 nevertheless. We did peek and watch what was, in fact,
22 going on, and this is what we did in this particular
23 case as well. And I saw quite clearly what had
24 happened, and I heard very well what was going on.
25 And there were blows. We counted -- somebody
1 counted over 300 blows to Rizo Hadzalic with different
2 things, but he didn't drop a single word. He didn't
3 even say, "Don't, please don't." He didn't plead with
4 them or anything of that kind. He just breathed
5 heavily. And it was so loud and heavy that I think you
6 could hear it, not in Omarska, but as far as Prijedor.
7 Then they brought him and threw him down onto
8 the pista, and he stayed alive for perhaps 20 minutes
9 or half an hour after that.
10 Then one of the guards came up, his name was
11 Popovic, nicknamed Pop, and he hit him with his leg, I
12 think for the last time, and said, "Look. This bulk is
13 dead. This animal is dead." And that is how Rizo
15 I had his jacket, which I said to myself, "If
16 I ever survive this camp, I am going to give it to his
17 son as a present, as a token." We will call his son
19 And I took that jacket with me to Trnopolje,
20 and somebody stole it from me in Trnopolje, and I can
21 never forgive myself for allowing it to be stolen.
22 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, could you identify the guards
23 who beat Rizah Hadzalic?
24 A. As if it were today. Each of their faces.
25 Popovic, Pop; Zeljko Savic; Drazenko Predojevic;
1 Kricka; Zoka, Caja; and many, many others. Krkan's
2 shift. Krkan's shift quite certainly.
3 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, you mentioned before an
4 incident involving a prisoner named Hankin.
5 A. It wasn't just an incident with Hankin. It
6 was an incident with Becir Medjunjanin. I beg your
8 Q. Where did this incident take place?
9 A. In the "white house."
10 Q. Why were you in the "white house"?
11 A. Because on that day it was raining, and
12 usually when it was raining they would take us into the
13 canteen from the pista. But for a time they stopped
14 doing this and then they would distribute us in the
15 hangar building, and a group of 30 to 40 of us would be
16 put into the "white house."
17 Q. Which room in the "white house" were you put
19 A. The second room, as you go in, on the
20 left-hand side. When you enter the "white house," it
21 is the second room on the left.
22 Q. What occurred while you were in that room?
23 A. We were put there. In the first room there
24 were prisoners of that infamous "white house." In
25 that second room, I was there myself with a group of
1 prisoners. And in the third room, or the one straight
2 ahead when you enter the "white house," was the other
3 half, that is, prisoners from the pista. So we were in
4 fact divided into two groups.
5 In the first room on the right-hand side, as
6 you enter the house, there was a room where I
7 recognised Eso Sadikovic, who had already come. He was
8 a doctor; he is a well-known doctor and humanist. And
9 some 20 minutes later, or half an hour later, two young
10 men came into the room, Zeljko Timarac and Dusko
11 Knezevic, nicknamed Duca.
12 Q. What, if anything, did they say when they
13 came into the room?
14 A. They came up to us. First of all, Dusko
15 Knezevic spoke, nicknamed Duca, he spoke first, and he
16 asked us whether there was anybody from Kozarac there.
17 As there was nobody from there in that group, or in
18 those two groups from the pista, if you like, nobody
19 was from Kozarac, we said that there was not.
20 Q. What did Duca do at that point?
21 A. He stepped back about five metres and went
22 into the first room on the left-hand side of the "white
24 Q. After he went into that room, what, if
25 anything, could you hear?
1 A. Moans and groans and screams.
2 Q. What happened then?
3 A. After some time, crawling towards our room,
4 crawling like a dog on all fours or like a cat on all
5 fours, his legs and arms, Becir Medjunjanin came in.
6 Throughout that time, until he came to the door of our
7 room, which was always open, he was beaten all the time
8 by Dusko Knezevic, nicknamed Duca.
9 Q. What was Timarac doing during this time?
10 A. He approached a young man called Hankin and
11 he asked him the following: "Do you, Hankin, know
12 anybody or any of these people who are here in this
14 Q. What did Hankin say?
15 A. He said that he didn't know anyone and that
16 we were all people from the surrounding villages, which
17 wasn't true. He knew all of us very well.
18 Q. What did Timarac then do?
19 A. Timarac then proceeded to hit him with a
20 baton, a club. On this baton there was some leather,
21 as high as my finger [indicates] and at the top of this
22 leather there was an iron ball. An iron ball had been
23 attached to this piece of leather on this baton. And
24 he hit him here [indicates] on his forehead, just once,
25 just one blow, so that all of this was shattered. All
1 this was shattered [indicates] and blood gushed forth.
2 Timarac -- no, I apologise, Hankin fell down, and he
3 continued to beat him with his hands and legs.
4 The room is three by two metres, or three by
5 three metres, and there were 20 of us in that room and
6 we didn't have anywhere to flee. We would just retreat
7 towards the wall, back towards the wall, and had we
8 been able to, we would have broken the wall down. But
9 as we couldn't, we all huddled up, one against the
11 Then Hankin -- no, I apologise, Zeljko
12 Timarac told us that we should all go out of the room
13 running, and this is what we did. As we ran out of the
14 "white house," Timarac winked at me, and I also did
15 the same to him.
16 Q. Why do you think Timarac would have winked at
18 A. Timarac was a great friend of mine, a former
19 great friend of mine. He was a football player and we
20 used to play football together in three football teams,
21 the teams in Prijedor; in Berek, in the OFK Prijedor,
22 and Zitopromet, where Zeljko Timarac actually worked.
23 He was employed there.
24 Q. What happened once you left the "white
1 A. I already said that we were ordered to exit
2 in running step, we ran, and on the way, on the small
3 path between the "white house" and the pista, when we
4 were already on that path, we heard a shot.
5 Most of us turned round, and I did too, and I
6 saw Hankin next to the small steps, next to the
7 entrance. I think there were two steps, actually, into
8 the "white house". He was lying down on the ground,
9 covered in blood even more, and I saw Zeljko Timarac
10 holding a pistol in his hand.
11 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, after you saw Hankin laying
12 there, did you see what was done with his body?
13 A. He lay there for a time -- I don't know what
14 happened after that -- on the grass next to the "white
15 house." That's what happened.
16 Q. During the time that you saw his body on the
17 grass next to the "white house," was he making any
19 A. No.
20 Q. Was he moving in any way?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Were you at a distance from which you could
23 tell whether he was breathing?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Could you see any signs that he was
2 A. I could see, but he didn't give any signs of
4 Q. Did you ever see him in the camp after that
6 A. You mean Hankin?
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. No.
9 Q. Do you know a man named (redacted)?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And a man named Emir Beganovic?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you know whether they were prisoners in
14 Omarska camp?
15 A. I do know, and they were.
16 Q. Did you witness any incident in which they
17 were involved?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can you describe the incident that you saw.
20 A. Yes, I can. We were already in the canteen,
21 away from the pista, and we were supposed to spend the
22 night there. And this would usually happen about 6.00,
23 7.00; sometimes 5.00, sometimes 8.00, depending on the
24 mood of the guards or the mood of the group who was on
25 duty that day.
1 Suddenly, from around the corner of the big
2 hangar building, between the hangar building and the
3 "white house," actually, (redacted), Braco
4 Beganovic -- Emir Beganovic, nicknamed Braco, I mean,
5 and two or three other prisoners were walking along --
6 I think Asaf was there, Kapetanovic -- and they were
7 bloody. They had been beaten, they were covered in
8 blood, and they were dirty.
9 Q. What were the prisoners doing when you saw
11 A. They were running, fleeing. I don't know
12 where to, but I had the impression that they were
13 trying to flee.
14 Q. Could you see who was with the prisoners?
15 A. Yes, I could.
16 Q. Could you identify that person or persons?
17 A. Zigic, Dusko Knezevic, Tadic, and Janjic, a
18 young man from Omarska who used to come specially to
19 beat Emir Beganovic, nicknamed Braco.
20 Q. You mentioned a man named Zigic. Do you know
21 his first name?
22 A. I don't know.
23 Q. Did you know the man before you were in the
25 A. Yes, I did, but I didn't know him
2 Q. Do you know what he did for his occupation
3 before he was in the camp?
4 A. At one time he worked in Croatia but then
5 returned to work as a taxi driver in Prijedor.
6 Q. What was the last thing that you saw involved
7 in this event?
8 A. That Zigic made Began drink a pool of water
9 from the pista. You know what a pool, a puddle, is.
10 After it was raining, there was a puddle of water
11 there, and (redacted) had to kneel down on the
12 pista and drink that water, and wash himself with that
13 water too.
14 Q. The prisoners who were involved in these
15 beatings and the killings that you've described, do you
16 know what ethnic group all of those prisoners belonged
18 A. Practically all of them were Muslims. All of
19 the ones that I enumerated and described were Muslims.
20 There might have been a very small number of Croats who
21 were also there and beaten. There were even a few
22 Serbs who were beaten; and I must say that too, there
23 were four or five Serbs in the Omarska concentration
24 camp as well. I say that because that is the truth.
25 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, were you yourself beaten in the
2 A. Three times.
3 Q. Can you describe the first of those
4 incidents, please.
5 A. The first of those incidents was the worst.
6 It happened one day in July. The temperature was
7 exceedingly hot. And we lined up, as we always did,
8 for lunch.
9 Suddenly, the guards came up, they were
10 angry, and said that all of us must go outside and line
11 up, regardless of where they were, and that nobody must
12 remain in any of the rooms or halls that were used. So
13 this meant that all of us had to go out to lunch. This
14 was a bit strange because we thought, how come they
15 were so worried whether we were going to eat or not.
16 Q. What happened once you were lined up for
18 A. The groups were always groups of 30, and on
19 the way to the entrance of the canteen, that is to say,
20 the central building, into a short hallway, you go into
21 a short hallway first and then turn left down the
22 corridor and walk towards the canteen, there were 10 to
23 15 guards standing about in two rows, on both sides.
24 When the prisoners passed by, or ran by -- actually,
25 they ran -- towards lunch, they would beat them when
1 they came to them.
2 When they came to the canteen, they just had
3 two to three minutes to eat their meal. Sometimes we
4 were given five minutes, so this means they reduced the
5 time by half. So they didn't even manage to finish
6 their meal; they left their bread and their spoon and
7 went to regroup in these groups of 30. They ran back
8 the same way they had come, and once again the same
9 thing happened, they were beaten on the way back to the
10 pista. So those people who had lunch would be
11 separated to one side and were not allowed to contact
12 those who were waiting to have lunch so that they could
13 not secretly go to the other group.
14 So it was planned that everybody had to go to
15 lunch, and that everybody had to be beaten on the way
16 that day.
17 Q. What did the guards use to beat the prisoners
18 with that day?
19 A. First of all, they covered the tiles with
20 water; then they put trays, which were used for plates
21 and bread, they put those down; and then some 15 to 20
22 centimetres above those trays, they put a sort of wire
23 or chain -- I don't know what they used actually, wires
24 or chains -- but the object of this whole operation was
25 that when we rushed through there, we would slip on the
1 tray because the tray would slip on the water, on the
2 wet surface, and the wires and chains would do their
3 job. So most of the prisoners in that group of 30
4 would fall down, one over the other, on top of the
5 other, and then they would jump on them, stamp on them,
6 and beat them.
7 Q. What type of objects, if any, did the guards
8 use in beating the prisoners?
9 A. Everything they had. Batons, rifles, hands,
10 feet, everything. They would think up all sorts of
11 things to use to beat the people.
12 Q. Were you beaten that day on your way into
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And were you beaten on the way out from
17 A. Yes. But I was only beaten on my back when I
18 went into lunch. When I went out, I whispered to my
19 colleagues, "Keep close up, one by one, and just cover
20 your heads," because we'd already got used to being hit
21 with clubs on our backs, so that meant nothing to us,
22 nothing to the prisoners who had been beaten many
23 times. But I happened to slip, and instead of going
24 out onto the pista, I slipped and went right past,
25 towards the corridor which led upwards to the stairway
1 and to the interrogation room. I fell down and covered
2 my head with my arms because I expected to be beaten,
3 but I wasn't. And finally I exited in the normal
4 fashion. I assumed who the guard was where I had
5 slipped and who saved me, who didn't actually beat me
6 then on my way back.
7 Q. Who was that guard?
8 A. The guard was nicknamed Sajo. He would often
9 watch me play as a footballer, and he told me that I
10 got up faster than I would in a match. I was so fast
11 that he'd never seen me get up off the grass as quickly
12 as I did that day, when I fell down on those tiles,
13 quicker than I'd ever done as a football player.
14 Q. Did the guards indicate or say anything that
15 day which would indicate why, in your opinion, they
16 wanted to beat everyone?
17 A. It was punishment, they used to say, because
18 several Serb soldiers from Omarska had died up at the
19 front. I don't know where. But they were brought to
20 Omarska to be buried there, and that was their
22 Let me just add this because this is vitally
23 linked to that: At that particular moment, while they
24 were beating us, throughout that time on the stairway,
25 on the staircase, in the window of that stairway, were
1 the interrogators. They were there at the window, and
2 those who interrogated us up there, they were laughing
3 and watching it all.
4 Q. Did you recognise the guards who were
5 involved in the beating that day on the way to lunch
6 and from lunch?
7 A. Yes, I did. It was always that same group,
8 the experts for that kind of thing, Popovic, Savic,
9 Kricka, Zoka, Drazenko Predojevic, and some of the
10 guards, the special guards, whose task it was only to
11 take us up on the upper floor for interrogation.
12 Q. Whose shift did those guards that you named
13 belonged to?
14 A. Krkan's.
15 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, would that be a
16 convenient moment?
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes,
18 Mr. Keegan, it would be a good moment for a break.
19 We've been working for almost an hour and a half. I
20 should like to take advantage of the opportunity to
21 remind you that you said you would be taking two hours
22 with this witness, and you have already taken almost
24 We will now have a half-hour break.
25 --- Recess taken at 11.04 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 11.37 a.m.
2 [The accused entered court]
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Please be
5 Mr. Keegan, you may continue.
6 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Mr. Oklopcic --
8 A. [In English] I'm sorry. Not --
9 Q. Can you hear me now? Can you hear me? Can
10 you hear me now?
11 A. [In English] Yes, but not Bosanska, only
13 THE INTERPRETER: One, two, three. Can you
15 MR. KEEGAN:
16 Q. Can you hear me now?
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Perhaps
18 there's a problem with the B/C/S booth. No? No.
19 Can you hear me, Witness? No?
20 THE WITNESS: No.
21 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Do you
22 understand English, or not? So you can't hear me.
23 What can we do, Mr. Dubuisson?
24 THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] We're going
25 to deal with the problem, Your Honour.
1 MR. KEEGAN:
2 Q. Can you hear me now?
3 A. Yes.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So it's all
5 right now. You may continue, Mr. Keegan.
6 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, before the break, you
8 described --
9 A. [In English] I'm sorry, sound problem.
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Usher,
11 can you hear me? Can you hear me well? Can you hear
12 me now? Can you hear me now?
13 Is it better now? Can you hear me?
14 THE WITNESS: Yes.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So,
16 Mr. Keegan, let's see if you have the same connection
17 as I and whether we can hear each other. Please
19 MR. KEEGAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, before the break, you described
21 the first of the beatings that you received.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Would you now please describe the second
24 beating that you received.
25 A. It was when the last group from the pista
1 were moved to one of the rooms upstairs in the hangar.
2 There were only some 30 of us. The others had already
3 been assigned to other rooms. When we reached this
4 last room towards the pista, we had to climb the stairs
5 and cover the whole corridor.
6 On the way to that corridor or to that room,
7 rather, there were guards forming two lines. I was the
8 first. My brother came second, and then came the
9 others. No. Actually, my brother was number five.
10 On the way, I just managed to tell them to
11 cover their heads, because we had already grown
12 accustomed to being hit on the back. They had sticks,
13 guns, and they hit us with them.
14 I was beaten, but not as badly as my brother
15 and the others. His left eye was all swollen up and
16 closed, so he couldn't see.
17 Then the next day when we went out to the
18 pista again, he entered Mujo's room, where Dr. Eso
19 Sadikovic sewed up the injury using his hair, strands
20 of hair.
21 The night that we spent there was without a
22 WC or anything. Guards would take out, two-by-two, sit
23 two-by-two prisoners, I mean, and order them to fight
24 amongst themselves while they watched.
25 Q. Now, when you were taken into this room, and
1 you indicated you were beaten, where were you hit?
2 A. All over my body. I protected my head like
3 this [indicates]. I was hit on my hands but not my
4 head, but a lot on my back. But as I have said, our
5 backs had grown accustomed to these blows, so it wasn't
6 as dangerous as blows on the head.
7 Q. Did you see the guards who were beating you
8 and the other prisoners as you went into the room in
9 the hangar that day?
10 A. I did.
11 Q. Would you recognise them?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Can you identify any of those guards?
14 A. I only identified Soskan, because that night
15 guards were beating who would come together with
16 Popovic and the others, but they weren't the same
17 people. They were the guards who were on duty in the
18 central building, and they rarely went outside, but one
19 of them was Soskan.
20 Q. Do you know whose shift Soskan worked on?
21 A. It was Krkan's shift.
22 Q. And the guards who came that evening and
23 forced prisoners to hit each other, you identified them
24 by name?
25 A. One of them was Soskan. I know the others by
1 sight but not their names.
2 Q. Do you know whose shift they were on?
3 A. The same shift; Krkan's shift.
4 Q. Now, the third beating that you received in
5 the camp. Where were you when that occurred?
6 A. I was in the hangar but on the ground floor.
7 Q. And what happened on that occasion?
8 A. In that room, the largest room in the hangar,
9 the part of it where we where was sort of surrounded by
10 a kind of fence with pillars and a chain or wires
11 connecting them, and on one side of that room there are
12 three or four, maybe five toilets or WCs, and for one
13 to go to the toilet, we had to use those toilets. To
14 go to the toilet, you had to ask for permission, raise
15 your hand and ask for permission.
16 I was beaten on the way to the toilet, a
17 couple of blows with a baton, kicks in the back, and so
19 Q. Where were you hit with the baton?
20 A. On my back and head, but always -- I always
21 protected my head with my hands.
22 Q. Did you recognise the guards who beat you on
23 that occasion?
24 A. I did, but I don't know their names.
25 Q. Did you know which shift those guards worked
2 A. I did know which shift.
3 Q. And which shift was that?
4 A. Milojica Kos's. His nickname is Krle.
5 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, were you ever given special
6 treatment or extra food while you were in the camp?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. By who?
9 A. By pupils from Maricka. I had about eight
10 pupils who were members of the guards from Maricka, and
11 parents -- or, rather, parents of children that I
13 Q. Whose shift did those former pupils or their
14 parents work on?
15 A. Momcilo Gruban, also known as Ckalja.
16 Q. And on this occasion when you were given this
17 special treatment, what did the guard do for you?
18 A. They sometimes brought me a piece of bread,
19 and sometimes in the evening, they would take me with
20 them into the dark to give me some food.
21 Q. Where would they take you?
22 A. Once I sat on the side of the central
23 building, the lateral side, when you're come from
24 Omarska and entering the camp, from the village of
1 Q. Where did you sit while you were out there?
2 A. There was a kind of wooden table and some
3 wooden chairs, and I sat there. This was only for
4 maybe half an hour.
5 Q. While you were out there, was anybody else
6 out at those tables?
7 A. At the next table were the guards.
8 Q. And while you were out there, were you given
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. What type of food were you given?
12 A. Some kind of vegetables, but what I thought
13 was most important was a piece of bread.
14 Q. Did you receive any meat?
15 A. I did.
16 Q. Were you given something to drink?
17 A. I think I had a glass of beer or a bottle of
18 beer -- I can't remember -- but water I did receive, in
19 any case.
20 Q. Were you ever warned about danger in the camp
21 by a guard?
22 A. I was.
23 Q. And who was this guard?
24 A. I was warned first by the guards who used to
25 be my students, and I will list some of them. Zeljko
1 Cica, Zelkjo Petos, Radovan Bozicic, Radojica Piljic,
2 and others. And in another shift, the second shift, I
3 was warned by a guard whose surname was Rosic. His
4 brother went to secondary school with me and played
6 Q. What did they warn you about?
7 A. They warned me not to respond to call-outs
8 during the night, to hide if they were not around in
9 those shifts.
10 Q. Did they give you any indication of what
11 might happen if you responded to one of these
13 A. Liquidation.
14 Q. Now, you indicated earlier in your testimony
15 that there were three guard shifts. Did beatings
16 occur, beatings of prisoners occur on all three guard
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did the general conditions of living in the
20 camp that you've described, the general maltreatment,
21 did that continue the same on all three shifts?
22 A. It did.
23 Q. Was there any real difference between the way
24 the three shifts acted?
25 A. In essence, they were all the same. However,
1 as I said yesterday, if anything can be worse than the
2 worst, then it was the so-called Krkan's shift,
3 Paspalj, Zoka, Popovic, Kricka, Drazenko Predojevic,
4 Soscan, the likes of them cannot be found anywhere.
5 Q. You indicated that you knew Miroslav Kvocka
6 from before the time you were in the camp.
7 A. I did. Not personally, but I knew him.
8 Q. While you were in the camp, were you aware of
9 what position, if any, he held in the camp?
10 A. I assumed, and I thought I did know.
11 Q. What was that position?
12 A. Assistant or deputy commander of the camp to
13 Zeljko Meakic.
14 Q. What conduct or other indications did you
15 have that led you to believe that he was deputy
17 A. First of all, the guards and the shift
18 leaders showed respect towards him; number 2, he would
19 bring them and distribute among them some additional
20 food, beer, and cigarettes, especially during the
21 night; number 3, the guard leaders would go to see him
22 and Zeljko Meakic for consultations; and number 4, when
23 the Serb flag would be hoisted in the morning, we
24 usually all had to stand to attention -- believe me, we
25 stood at attention and we had to, but the Serb soldiers
1 would laugh and ridicule at the flag -- and every time
2 when guard duty was being handed over, it had to be
3 done in the presence of the shift leader or the
4 commander or the deputy commander of the Omarska
5 concentration camp, and this always happened at 7.00 in
6 the morning and at 7.00 in the evening.
7 Q. Did you ever see Miroslav Kvocka present at
8 one of these shift changeovers?
9 A. I did.
10 Q. Were you aware of what the schedule of
11 Miroslav Kvocka's shifts were, how long his shifts
13 A. He and Zeljko Meakic would take turns every
14 24 hours, or once a day, as opposed to the shift
15 commanders and the guards who had shifts of 12 hours
17 Q. You mentioned earlier in your description of
18 the shooting of Mehmedalija Nasic that you thought that
19 the guard Pavlic was drunk on that occasion.
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. Was it common for the guards to be drunk
22 while they were on duty at the camp?
23 A. It was, but not always. But in most cases.
24 Q. What was the conduct of the guards like when
25 they were drunk?
1 A. They were even worse than when they were not
2 drunk or when they were normal, if they were normal at
4 Q. Now, to your knowledge, did Miroslav Kvocka
5 remain in this position as deputy commander at the camp
6 for the entire time that you were there?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Do you recall approximately how long Miroslav
9 Kvocka was at the camp?
10 A. I think for about a month; I'm not sure.
11 Q. Would that be a month after you arrived?
12 A. Something like that.
13 Q. Did you know a man named Dragoljub Prcac
14 before you were in Omarska camp?
15 A. I did not. Not personally, only by sight.
16 Q. Did you see a man by that name while you were
17 detained in the Omarska camp?
18 A. I did. He took over Kvocka's role.
19 Q. When you say, "He took over Kvocka's role,"
20 what do you mean by that?
21 A. He was deputy commander of the camp, deputy
22 to Zeljko Meakic. He and Zeljko were the most
23 important people.
24 Q. What, if any, indications or conduct did you
25 observe that led you to believe he was the deputy
1 commander of the camp?
2 A. The same as in Kvocka's case; respect of
3 guards for him, showing off. You know, they didn't
4 hide. They were even more powerful and prouder when
5 they marched in front of us there at the pista, with
6 their sleeves rolled up. This is something very
7 important. They felt even stronger and superior to
8 us. They carried pump-action guns and weapons that
9 differed from the weapons of the guards. Therefore, it
10 was no secret, and they themselves, the guards, talked
11 about it.
12 Q. Now, when you said, "They were even more
13 powerful and prouder when they marched in front of us
14 there at the pista," who are you speaking of?
15 A. I'm referring to the camp commanders:
16 Meakic, Kvocka, Prcac. And the others too, the
17 investigators, and so on.
18 Q. You referred to them as carrying pump-action
19 guns, Pumperica. Who carried such a gun in the camp?
20 A. Kvocka.
21 Q. Did you ever see Dragoljub Prcac carrying a
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 Q. What type of weapon did he have?
25 A. A pistol and automatic weapons.
1 Q. Do you ever recall an occasion where
2 Dragoljub Prcac was calling out prisoners while you
3 were present?
4 A. No, I don't remember that.
5 Q. Mr. Oklopcic, I'd like you at this time to
6 please look around the courtroom and indicate whether
7 or not you can identify the individual that you've
8 described as Miroslav Kvocka. If you can do so, please
9 point him out and describe him.
10 A. The last row, between Radic and Milojica
12 Q. If you could please describe the colour of
13 suit and the colour of shirt that he is wearing.
14 A. His shirt is blue, and whether the suit is
15 blue or dark, in any case, I think it's blue, as far as
16 I can see from here.
17 Q. Just to make sure we can be clear, since you
18 haven't identified the other individuals you've named
19 yet, counting from the door, the entrance door there,
20 and moving to the right, counting the persons, which
21 number is he, from the door to the right?
22 A. To make myself clear, the first man is Radic,
23 called Krkan; the second is Kvocka, Miroslav; and the
24 third -- if you wish me to continue, I can give you all
25 of them, no problem there, because we know each other
1 very well, it's just our roles have changed -- but
2 Kvocka has a little -- I have a slight, slight respect
3 for him because he managed to save three Muslim lives,
4 and that means something out of these thousands of
6 Q. Who is the third individual in that back
7 row? You didn't mention his name.
8 A. Milojica Kos.
9 Q. And the individual --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Shena Milojica. "Shena
11 Milojica," the witness said.
12 MR. KEEGAN:
13 Q. Do you see the individual who you've
14 described as Dragoljub Prcac present?
15 A. On the left-hand side, yes. Left from Zigic,
16 between the policeman and Zigic, in the first row.
17 Q. And then the second individual in the first
18 row is?
19 A. Wearing a red suit?
20 Q. Yes.
21 A. That's Zigic. Zigic.
22 Q. Is that the man you indicated you saw in the
24 A. Yes, it is.
25 MR. KEEGAN: That's all I have, Your Honour.
1 I'm sorry, Your Honour. I would like to offer into
2 evidence first the map that --
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Mr. Fila,
4 do you have an objection to make?
5 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] No, only with
6 regard to the transcript. It says that the witness
7 said "Senna Milojica."
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said Milojica
10 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] No, there's the
11 word "Senna". It says "Senna" here, and I don't know
12 what "Senna" means.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, maybe
14 it's a mistake of some kind.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] We've
16 already said that the court reporters revise the
17 transcript at least three times, go through it at least
18 three times, so you're going to receive a written
19 transcript. There is always a deadline, and you can
20 make corrections. But at any rate, we can correct that
21 straight away.
22 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] I apologise. Let
23 me say that that word does not mean anything in our
24 language. "Senna" means the Seine, the river, in
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
2 Thank you. Yes, words always mean something to some of
3 us. So as you know, there is the connotation of the
4 word, or the meaning of a word. But at any rate, thank
5 you for drawing our attention to that, Mr. Fila, and I
6 think that we have regulated that matter, or it will be
8 I think that Mr. Keegan hadn't completed
10 MR. KEEGAN: Yes, Your Honour. If I could
11 just beg your indulgence a few minutes longer. I was
12 mindful of your reminder earlier about the time, but
13 there are a couple of documents that I would like to
14 offer into evidence, which should take only a couple of
15 minutes for the witness to authenticate and describe.
16 As well as the map which was used yesterday, that area
17 map of Prijedor, which was Exhibit 1/26, I'd also like
18 to offer at this time.
19 If this first document could be shown, it
20 would be marked as Exhibit 3/76. Copies have already
21 been provided, both in B/C/S and English, to the
22 Defence. I'm reminded that this would be 3/78, Your
23 Honour. Thank you.
24 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Are there
25 any objections on the part of the Defence with respect
1 to these documents being tendered? I see that somebody
2 was shaking their head.
3 Mr. Simic, would you tell us whether there
4 are any objections or not, for the purposes of the
6 MR. K. SIMIC: [Interpretation] No objections,
7 Your Honour.
8 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
9 Thank you.
10 So we admit these documents into evidence,
11 Mr. Keegan. Does that complete your
12 examination-in-chief, Mr. Keegan?
13 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, if I may, I'd like
14 to at least have the witness describe what the import
15 of the document is.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I now see
17 that Exhibit 3/78 was not presented, shown, to the
18 witness, 3/78, was it, Mr. Keegan?
19 MR. KEEGAN: No, it was not, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] So perhaps
21 we should have the witness declare himself with respect
22 to this document. I see it is a document with personal
24 A. In this document, it says that this is a
25 certificate, the first document, that I was in the
1 Trnopolje camp from the 3rd of August, 1989, and that I
2 was released -- I mean 1992, I beg your pardon, I made
3 a mistake -- it is not 1989, it is 1992 -- and that I
4 was released on the 14th of August, 1992.
5 First of all, there's a mistake there,
6 because I came from the Omarska camp on the 5th, the
7 last group of us 70 people to be singled out. And a
8 day later, as far as we heard, this camp was dismantled
9 and some of the prisoners went to Manjaca and some went
10 to Trnopolje. This document was signed by an
11 interpreter in the Red Cross, Pero Curguz, and Slobodan
12 Kuruzovic, the commander of the Trnopolje camp.
13 The second document --
14 Q. You haven't been shown that yet. The second
15 document would be 3 --
16 A. Yes, there's a mistake here.
17 Q. The second document, that would be the
18 English translation of it. It would be Exhibit 3/79.
19 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Have you
20 finished, Mr. Keegan?
21 MR. KEEGAN: As soon as the witness has had
22 an opportunity to describe the document, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
25 A. The second document, I spent 11 -- no, nine
1 days in Trnopolje, and during that time, a certain
2 number of prisoners were allowed to go home. Any
3 friend, a Serb soldier, could come to take you out, and
4 ask Slobodan Kuruzovic to let you to go home, get
5 permission for you to go home.
6 First of all, my kum, who was a Serb, came,
7 but he didn't succeed to take me out. Then the
8 director of my school, Captain First Class, he didn't
9 succeed either. After that, a policeman, my friend and
10 a regular policeman -- I don't want to name people, I'm
11 not going to name him -- he didn't succeed either.
12 Slobodan Kuruzovic was my teacher and my
13 director of the school when I worked there temporarily
14 from time to time or when I was a replacement of
15 teachers in the 16th of May School. When I asked him,
16 who was a great friend of my mother and father, former
17 great friend, "Why can everybody go home and I can't,
18 Slobodan?" I asked him, and he said, "No. You have to
19 put on a little weight so that your mother can
20 recognise you when you come home."
21 And as there were some killings in Trnopolje,
22 I was a little surprised at this. And I persuaded my
23 wife to go to the SUP in Prijedor and to ask for a
24 decision, a certificate of this kind, a decision
25 whereby permitting me -- it says, "Oklopcic, Huse
1 Mirela," and that is my wife's name, Mirela, she was
2 born on such-and-such a day, and the address is
3 Prijedor, Rade Koncar 3, and to allow her to leave the
4 autonomous Province of Krajina, and the explanation for
5 this was that she tabled a request on the 10th of
6 August. I don't want the dates to mislead you, but
7 this is the time when I was actually in the camp. And
8 the decision was issued on the 19th of August, when I
9 had left the camp.
10 However, on the 10th of August, or one or two
11 days after that date, after sending in the request and
12 paying a tax that had to be paid to the SUP in
13 Prijedor, she brought me a certificate saying that she
14 had tendered this request and that she had paid the tax
15 necessary, and on the basis of that certificate I was
16 able to leave the Trnopolje concentration camp and go
17 home. But the original -- the original document, it
18 was received by us on the 19th of August, that is to
19 say, five days after I had left the concentration camp
20 of Trnopolje, and that is all.
21 MR. KEEGAN: That concludes my examination,
22 Your Honour.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I should
24 like to repeat my question. Are there any objections
25 from the Defence with respect to these documents, these
2 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Yes. We object to the
3 admission of document 3/78. The witness informed the
4 Court that he was unable to authenticate the document.
5 It contains incorrect information. Therefore, in my
6 submission, it's inadmissible.
7 As for document 3/79 --
8 THE WITNESS: No.
9 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Perhaps the witness can --
10 we're making legal submission, Your Honour. It may be
11 inappropriate for the witness to be listening, and, I
12 submit, inappropriate for him to comment.
13 THE WITNESS: That's a mistake. I
14 apologise. I must say that that is a mistake. I
15 didn't say that. The document, could you clarify that,
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Excuse me
18 for a moment.
19 I'm going to ask you one more time.
20 Mr. O'Sullivan, have you completed what you are going
21 to say or not?
22 MR. O'SULLIVAN: No, I haven't.
23 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Not yet?
24 MR. O'SULLIVAN: No.
25 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] We still
1 have this doubt as to whether you understand English or
2 not, Witness.
3 THE WITNESS: No.
4 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Can you
5 take off your headset for a moment, please, if you
7 Mr. O'Sullivan.
8 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Thank you, Your Honour. I
9 have made my objection to the admissibility of document
11 In regards to document 3/79, again, in my
12 submission, the witness has failed to authenticate that
13 document. Therefore, it is an unreliable document
14 which should not be admitted into evidence.
15 Those are my submissions. Thank you.
16 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation]
17 Mr. Keegan?
18 MR. KEEGAN: Your Honour, I believe the
19 witness testified that the first document, 3/78, was a
20 document that he obtained in order to be -- indicate
21 his detention in the camp, and the second one was a
22 document which his wife obtained for them to be able to
23 leave the area.
24 Now, again, I'm happy to go through the basic
25 foundation questions such as to ask him does he have
1 the originals of these two documents and is that how
2 these copies were prepared, and I can continue through
3 those kind of foundational questions if the Court finds
4 it necessary.
5 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Witness, do
6 you have the original documents? Yes. Please put your
7 headset on.
8 THE WITNESS: Do you mean this document
9 here? Is this the document?
10 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes. That
11 is -- I don't know whether you have the number, but it
12 is a two-page document, yes. That's right. That's the
13 one, yes.
14 THE WITNESS: I should like to ask the
15 gentleman to repeat once again, because I now have the
16 interpretation, what he is not clear on.
17 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] No. Please
18 answer me, Witness.
19 THE WITNESS: Yes. It has my particulars
20 here, my birth, the number of my identity card, my
21 place and birth, and where I come from. And here is
22 the date of reception, the 3rd of August, 1992.
23 Gentlemen, I did not write this piece of
24 paper myself, it was written by Pero Curguz and
25 Slobodan Kuruzovic. And in Trnopolje, I arrived on the
1 5th of August, when the concentration camp in Keraterm
2 was dismantled. And we were the last group of
3 70 people to arrive on this particular day, and the
4 concentration camp from Trnopolje.
5 Later on, one day later, 1.000 prisoners from
6 Omarska came for Trnopolje on the 6th and the other
7 half went to Manjaca, which means that this document, I
8 did not sign it. For the purposes of truth, I state
9 that I came to the Trnopolje on the 5th of August and
10 not the 3rd of August.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] As you
12 know, we have here in the Tribunal a sui generis
13 proceeding, and I don't want to compare the system of
14 common law and civil law. We have our own system here
15 at the Tribunal, and you know full well that in the
16 common-law system, the question of admissibility is the
17 priority issue, because finally all the proof and
18 evidence must be reviewed by the Judges to be presented
19 to the jury.
20 We do not have -- this is not a trial by
21 jury. The Judges here are professional Judges, and it
22 is possible, in keeping with our rules and regulations,
23 to present all the proof and evidence that the Judges
24 and the Trial Chamber wish to have and to have
25 admitted, and later on, it is up to the Judges to give
1 it the probative value that they see fit.
2 So the rules and regulations allow the Trial
3 Chamber to admit documents, and this Trial Chamber will
4 be admitting these documents, and they will be a part
5 of the file.
6 Now I would like to turn to Mr. Simic,
7 Mr. Krstan Simic, to know the order of the
8 cross-examination. Who is going to start?
9 MR. K. SIMIC: [Interpretation] Mr. President,
10 we have had some problems with the Prosecution, and
11 Mr. O'Sullivan will explain the nature of the problems
12 that have cropped up, and the results of that
13 negotiation will be expounded to the members of the
14 Prosecution. Thank you, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
16 Well, following on from what Mr. Simic has just said,
17 it will be Mr. O'Sullivan who is going to take the
18 floor, and I do give the floor to Mr. O'Sullivan.
19 MR. O'SULLIVAN: This morning we've had a
20 meeting prior to the hearing, prior to the beginning of
21 the hearing, with the Prosecution, in fact, all Defence
22 counsel and the Prosecution, and my understanding, at
23 the conclusion of that meeting, is that Ms. Hollis was
24 going to address the Chamber following the
25 examination-in-chief of this witness.
1 I believe Ms. Hollis would like to speak with
2 the Chamber.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
4 Thank you, Mr. O'Sullivan.
5 Madam Hollis, would you like to have this
6 discussion in the presence of the witness, or would you
7 like the witness to go out, or is it sufficient for him
8 to remove his headset?
9 MS. HOLLIS: We would ask that the witness be
10 excused, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Very well.
12 Witness, we apologise, but we should like to ask you to
13 step outside the courtroom for a minute, and this will
14 give you an extra chance for a break and have a rest,
15 and after that we shall call you back in again. Thank
17 [The witness stands down]
18 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Madam
19 Hollis, go ahead, please.
20 MS. HOLLIS: Your Honour, as Defence counsel
21 Mr. O'Sullivan indicated, we did have a meeting with
22 the Defence this morning. That followed a written
23 notice to the Defence that was put in their lockers
24 last night.
25 The situation, to be very candid and
1 straightforward is this, Your Honours: The Prosecution
2 has failed to make timely and complete disclosure of
3 material relevant to several witnesses who are next in
4 order on the witness list submitted on the 28th of
5 April. As I indicated, we gave written notice to
6 Defence counsel last night. We gave oral notice to
7 them this morning. We have begun to make disclosure
8 but that is not complete. Previously, the Prosecution
9 had instituted a procedure to review the disclosure
10 that had been made in this case to identify materials
11 that had not been disclosed and to provide disclosure.
12 This trial team failed to provide disclosure
13 of materials which had been identified. Certainly this
14 failure was not malicious, but, nonetheless, the trial
15 team failed to discharge our obligations in a timely
16 and complete fashion.
17 As a result of this, Defence counsel has
18 indicated to us that they are not prepared to continue
19 with the cross-examination of this witness, nor are
20 they prepared to continue beyond the direct-examination
21 of this witness. They indicated they are prepared to
22 continue with witnesses beginning on Monday, the
23 15th of May.
24 Your Honours, the Prosecution certainly
25 understands the full significance of our failure to
1 make proper disclosure. We offer our apologies to the
2 Court, to the counsel, and to the accused. We do not
3 offer excuses because we have no excuse. It was a
4 failure within the team.
5 As I said, we are taking steps even now to
6 correct it, but, nonetheless, because of our failure,
7 we find ourselves in our current circumstances, and I
8 wish to give this very straightforward and candid
9 explanation to the Court before the Defence makes any
10 further submissions they may wish to make.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Madam
12 Hollis, you mentioned measures which you have in mind
13 to remedy the situation.
14 MS. HOLLIS: Your Honour. Of course, the
15 very first measure that we must take and that we're
16 undertaking at this moment is to provide the disclosure
17 that we should have provided. We have provided some of
18 that disclosure in both languages but not in a timely
20 In other instances, we have provided the
21 disclosure in English but not in B/C/S, and in some
22 instances, we are at present unable to provide the
23 disclosure in either language because it is in a third
24 language that needs translation. The material that has
25 not been disclosed because of translation has been
1 submitted for translation with an explanation of the
2 urgency of the request. Other materials which are not
3 statements have been provided so that copies can be
4 made and they can be distributed to the Defence as soon
5 as possible. Those are the measures that we have
6 undertaken to accomplish this disclosure.
7 Now, in terms of the other remedies that
8 might be available, we asked the Defence this morning
9 if they were willing to allow to us proceed, to
10 conclude this direct-examination, and they very
11 graciously indicated they were willing to allow this
12 direct-examination to conclude. They indicated, as to
13 additional witnesses, however, they would not be
14 prepared to proceed until Monday.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE RIAD: Excuse me, Ms. Hollis. You
17 mentioned that the Defence allowed you graciously to
18 continue the direct-examination only of this witness or
19 of the other witnesses too, and then they can
20 cross-examine when they have the documents? What was
21 their gracious reply?
22 MS. HOLLIS: They specifically indicated that
23 they would allow us to complete the direct-examination
24 of this witness, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE RIAD: Only this witness.
1 MS. HOLLIS: We asked if they would be
2 prepared to proceed with the other witnesses. They
3 indicated no. As to whether they would allow direct
4 examination to continue, I did not ask that specific
6 JUDGE RIAD: That is the examination with the
7 other witnesses. Did they say no?
8 MS. HOLLIS: I did not ask that specific
9 question, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.
11 JUDGE WALD: Ms. Hollis, just so I
12 understand, last week when we had our few days of
13 discussion about the procedures that would be followed
14 in the trial, was it evident then to you or to the
15 Defence counsel that this disclosure had not been
17 MS. HOLLIS: Your Honour, I am the senior
18 trial attorney who has carriage of this case, and I
19 regret to inform you that at that time it was not
20 evident to me. It was my understanding that identified
21 material had been disclosed. My understanding was in
22 error, and I accept responsibility for that.
23 I learned this weekend that information as to
24 one witness had not been disclosed. We made efforts
25 and disclosed that this weekend, but it was not timely,
1 of course. Yesterday, I learned that the other
2 material had not been disclosed, and yesterday and last
3 night and this morning we have taken steps to remedy
5 JUDGE WALD: So we could be assured that if
6 the witnesses were heard beginning next week that the
7 necessary disclosure would have been completed.
8 MS. HOLLIS: Your Honour, to the extent that
9 it is an issue of English to B/C/S, yes. We have some
10 languages -- some statements in a language not of this
11 Tribunal, not an official language. We would certainly
12 make all efforts to ensure that would happen.
13 Those are not -- let me check my list, Your
14 Honour. That would involve two statements of a witness
15 who is number 8 on the list, so that the other
16 witnesses before them, we should be prepared for that,
17 Your Honour.
18 As I said, we had previously identified
19 materials, and where the procedure went off the track
20 was then taking the least difficult of all steps, and
21 that was to provide the disclosure of the identified
22 materials, and we are taking steps at this point to
23 correct that.
24 JUDGE WALD: Last question: So until you
25 discovered the error in your own procedures, it would
1 not have been possible for the Defence to know that
2 they were not getting everything?
3 MS. HOLLIS: No, Your Honour, it would not
4 have been.
5 JUDGE WALD: Okay.
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Madam
7 Hollis, in order to be able to understand the overall
8 situation, I would like to ask you the following: In
9 relation to the disclosure, Rule 66, how can this have
10 happened? I don't know if you've quite understood my
12 MS. HOLLIS: Your Honour, I exactly
13 understand your question, and I myself do not know how
14 it happened, but I do know that it did happen. I also
15 know that when I became involved in the case, one of
16 the first things I asked for was that a comprehensive
17 search be conducted so that we could determine if we
18 had met our obligations. As that search was conducted,
19 then I asked a review be made so that items could be
20 identified that had not been disclosed, so that then we
21 could provide disclosure.
22 So this system was begun some time ago. It
23 should have been begun much earlier. I personally have
24 no understanding as to why that did not happen, but, at
25 any rate, it was begun some time ago.
1 We took it in order of witnesses to be sure
2 we would be able to provide prompt disclosure upon
3 identifying material that was not disclosed. That
4 material was, in fact, identified. The disclosures
5 that should have been made were not made because of
6 internal problems within the team.
7 Again, as senior trial attorney, I accept
8 responsibility for that. When I became aware of the
9 particular items that indeed had not been disclosed,
10 contrary to my understanding, then we began to take
11 immediate steps to correct that.
12 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Madam
13 Hollis. We understand that your personal situation is
14 that you replaced Mr. Niemann, and, therefore, we
15 understand that this can occur when there is a change
16 in the team, but there is something that the Chamber
17 regrets, and that is the Prosecutor has always said
18 that it is ready to begin trial, and we're always
19 having problems.
20 There is at least one thing, and I think I
21 speak on behalf of all my colleagues, something that
22 concerns us very much, and that is the position of
24 Last week we have five witnesses, and we had
25 the problems we had. Now we have I don't know how many
1 witnesses. Perhaps it is not a relevant question, but
2 it is relevant, the fact that these witnesses are
3 waiting. And when we think about remedies, and that
4 was the gist of my question and the question put by my
5 colleague Judge Riad, I would like at least to consider
6 the hypothesis of the examination-in-chief of the
7 witnesses who are here, because that would help us to
8 make progress with the case, if the Defence agrees.
9 The Defence will have time to prepare. We
10 could hear the testimony of witnesses who are present.
11 Otherwise, the witnesses will be waiting, without doing
12 nothing. On the other hand, we could have the
14 It's true that the witnesses could have more
15 days here, more time spent here, but I think this would
16 be a possibility of dealing with this. Because the
17 very idea of suspending the hearings and postponing
18 them, I think we have to take advantage of the
19 resources which the International Community has put at
20 our disposal, we must use them well economically, and
21 that is why I'm asking this question.
22 Madam Hollis, I'm addressing you now, and
23 afterwards the Defence: Could we hear the witnesses
24 who are here present only for their
25 examination-in-chief, and after that the witnesses
1 could come back for the cross-examination, after having
2 given the Defence the necessary time to prepare. That
3 is my question and suggestion, Madam Hollis.
4 [Prosecution counsel confer]
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Madam
8 MS. HOLLIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Certainly, Your Honour, the Prosecution is
10 prepared to go forward with direct on all these
11 witnesses. We would point out, not on behalf of the
12 Prosecution, but another consideration for Your
13 Honours, and that is, if the witnesses do testify on
14 direct and then some time passes before they are
15 cross-examined, there is the issue about whether they
16 would be, in some way, secluded, or how restrictive any
17 communications they may have would be in order to
18 prevent any type of influence or change of testimony.
19 So there is a concern that once they begin their
20 testimony, perhaps they should do it in toto.
21 We weren't able to prevent that situation
22 with Mr. Oklopcic. But with the other witnesses,
23 perhaps it would be better for the witnesses if they
24 didn't have those kinds of restraints on the contact
25 they can have. Because once they give their direct, of
1 course, they are under oath, they have given their
2 direct, but they've not yet been subjected to
3 cross-examination, so the kind of communication they
4 may have with other people, the kind of interaction
5 they may have with other people, may be very
6 restricted. Again, that is simply a concern we would
7 raise for Your Honours to consider.
8 But in terms of being prepared to go forward
9 with the direct, the Prosecution is prepared to go
10 forward with the direct examination.
11 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] I'm going
12 to give the floor now to the Defence. I don't know if
13 there is a spokesman. I see Mr. O'Sullivan rising.
14 I think we have two questions to consider:
15 First, the possibility of having the direct of
16 witnesses, and to possibly make an exception to the
17 decision of the Chamber regarding communication by
18 witnesses after the taking of the oath. Of course,
19 this would apply also to Defence witnesses should the
20 same circumstances occur.
21 Could you give us your opinion and assist us,
22 Mr. O'Sullivan.
23 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 First, on behalf of the defendants, let me
25 say that we very much appreciate the candor and
1 graciousness of Ms. Hollis, who finds herself in a very
2 difficult, if not embarrassing, situation, and we have
3 sympathy for that. We do, however, oppose calling the
4 next witness.
5 Your Honour, the disclosure provisions of the
6 Rules exist for a reason, and for one very important
7 reason, and that is so that the defendants have
8 adequate time to prepare to meet the case against
9 them. Ms. Hollis has not gone over the list of
10 shortcomings in disclosure, and I wouldn't expect her
11 to in court, but she did with us this morning, and I
12 think it's fair to say that there are a number of items
13 which have not been disclosed and which we need before
14 testimony can continue. That is our position.
15 I think Ms. Hollis has made a strong
16 submission that this is a problem, it's a problem for
17 the Defence for us to continue, and that is why we
18 joined Ms. Hollis in asking for an adjournment until
19 Monday, with the proviso, of course, that the
20 Prosecution can in fact disclose to us those materials
21 which are going to be relevant at least for the
22 witnesses next week.
23 Now, we said a reasonable delay and a
24 necessary delay was until next Monday, but that was on
25 the assumption that we get at least those documents for
1 those first few witnesses who are next.
2 So an adjournment is necessary, it's required
3 for us to be ready, with the proviso that those
4 important documents for the next witnesses are provided
5 to us.
6 If I can be of any further assistance --
7 JUDGE RIAD: Excuse me, Mr. O'Sullivan. I'm
8 fully aware of the necessity of the adjournment for the
9 cross-examination, but what is the necessity for the
11 MR. O'SULLIVAN: It's an issue of being
12 prepared for these witnesses, to see what their
13 statements say, to see what other documentation is
14 relevant to what they will testify to, which is the
15 whole basis and reason for disclosure under Rule 66, so
16 that we know what's coming. As it stands now --
17 JUDGE RIAD: Don't you have enough time to
18 know it before the cross-examination, which would be,
19 really, your role?
20 MR. O'SULLIVAN: In my submission, we must
21 know that before the witness comes into court, before
22 that witness testifies. That is the essence and the
23 heart of Rule 66 and the reason for it being there.
24 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Madam
3 MS. HOLLIS: I just wanted to make it clear
4 for the record, based on your comments that perhaps
5 because I come from a military background, but I do not
6 want any of my comments to be interpreted as an attempt
7 to excuse myself from responsibility because of my
8 involvement in the case. When I said, as the senior
9 trial attorney I take responsibility for this, that is
10 what I meant. So I wasn't trying to excuse my failure
11 to correct this situation, and I just wanted that to be
13 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Yes, Madam
14 Hollis, we understand that, but we find ourselves in a
15 very difficult situation, as you well understand.
16 There are organisational problems, which I attribute
17 mostly to the change in the team. But the Prosecution
18 has put us in a difficult situation, that is the truth,
19 and we are not here to judge you. On the contrary. We
20 appreciate very much, as has already been said by
21 Mr. O'Sullivan, your frankness and your honesty, but
22 that does not remove the problem.
23 I think the best thing to do would be to have
24 a 30-minute break, and then we are going to come here
25 with a decision as to what we are going to do.
1 --- Recess taken at 12.47 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 1.25 p.m.
3 JUDGE RODRIGUES: [Interpretation] Please be
5 The Chamber is of the opinion that, in the
6 face of this situation, the rights of the accused and
7 the Defence would be prejudiced slightly if we were to
8 order the continuation of work.
9 It should be remembered that the framework
10 for the conduct of proceedings is provided by two main
11 lines: It has to be fair and expeditious. We cannot,
12 in the interest of efficiency, fail in terms of
14 But as we have always said, the Chamber
15 conducts its work in an explanatory manner, which means
16 that this adjournment is going to cost the Prosecution
17 three days envisaged for the presentation of its case.
18 That is a decision, if one could use the
19 Latin phrase, bonus pater familias. Therefore, the
20 Chamber is going to suspend the hearing until Monday,
21 and asks the Prosecutor to do everything in its power
22 to make up for the time lost in the presentation of the
24 The Chamber also notes the good cooperation
25 between the parties, which should be maintained in the
1 future to truly speed up and conclude this trial within
2 the framework of fairness and expeditiousness.
3 We have a great deal of work to do, the
4 parties and the Judges, so we're going to meet here
5 again next Monday, at 9.30, and the Chamber hopes that
6 we will really be ready to resume the trial then.
7 That is the decision of the Chamber.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
9 1.30 p.m., to be reconvened on Monday,
10 the 15th day of May, 2000, at 9.30 a.m.