1 Thursday, 10 February 2005
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 2.21 p.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Mr. Registrar, good afternoon to you. Could
6 you call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Case number
8 IT-03-68-T, the Prosecutor versus Naser Oric.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. Mr. Oric, can you follow the
10 proceedings in a language you can understand?
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours, ladies
12 and gentlemen. Yes, I can follow the proceedings.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. I thank you and good afternoon to you.
14 Appearances, Prosecution.
15 MS. SELLERS: Good afternoon, Your Honours and good afternoon to
16 Defence counsel. I'm Patricia Sellers from the Office of the Prosecutor.
17 With me is co-counsel Mr. Gramsci Di Fazio and our case manager
18 Ms. Donnica Henry-Frijlink.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Good afternoon to you and your team.
20 Appearances for the Defence.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. My
22 name is Vasvija Vidovic. Together with Mr. John Jones, we represent
23 Mr. Naser Oric. We are accompanied by our legal assistant, Ms. Jasmina
24 Cosic, and our case manager, Mr. Geoff Roberts.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, and good afternoon to you and your
2 Any preliminaries?
3 MS. SELLERS: None from the Office of the Prosecution.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. So let's bring in the witness, please.
5 Have you come to an agreement between you? I mean, Mr. Di Fazio
6 and Mr. Roberts, or Madam Vidovic, who is going to be in charge? You.
7 Are you come to an agreement that you will limit it and finish today?
8 MR. DI FAZIO: For my part, and I understand the Defence also
9 cooperating in this, we're going to endeavour to finish this witness
10 today. I've pared my in chief down and it's going to be fairly -- fairly
11 skeleton-like, a rough outline and of a system that existed --
12 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: -- and that's it.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you.
15 [The witness entered court]
16 JUDGE AGIUS: So good afternoon to you, Mr. Eric. I want to make
17 sure, and you seem that -- it seems that there are no problems. I want to
18 make sure that you are receiving interpretation in your own language.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I also want to make sure that the sound level in
21 your headphones is correct; in other words, it's not too loud or too low.
22 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation].
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think the interpreters heard what you said.
24 Could you repeat, please?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is fine.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you. You have been a Judge in your own
2 country, so you know more or less what the procedure is. Before you start
3 giving evidence, we have -- we are bound by our Rules to administer a
4 solemn declaration to each and every witness. The solemn declaration is
5 to the effect that you will be testifying the truth and it is contained in
6 the piece of paper you've just been handed. Please read it out loud and
7 that will be your solemn undertaking with us.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
9 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, sir. Could you please take a seat.
11 WITNESS: VASO ERIC
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Di Fazio.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Your Honours.
15 Examined by Mr. Di Fazio:
16 Q. Mr. Eric, Mr. Eric, I want to put some personal details to you.
17 All I require is that you agree with me if they're correct; if not, point
18 it out. You're of Serb ethnicity. You're currently retired. You were
19 born in Zvornik in the village of Celopek in -- on the 8th of November,
20 1946. Your father's name is Vasilije. You're married. Are those details
22 A. They are.
23 Q. As far as your education is concerned, you attended at Sarajevo
24 University between 1965 and 1970 where you obtained a degree in law.
25 Between April and September of 1970, you worked as a legal clerk in the
1 Zvornik municipality where you conducted what can be broadly described as
2 legal aid-type work.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Thank you. You performed your military service between September
5 1970 and August 1971, whereupon you returned to the Zvornik municipality,
6 continued your legal work until about May of 1973. Are those details
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Thank you. Between May of 1973 and August of 1980, you were the
10 secretary at the medical centre in Zvornik. However, the work that you
11 performed there was work of a legal nature and also involved the drafting
12 of regulations. Are those details correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. During the 1970s, you completed two exams as part of your
15 continuing legal education. Firstly, you completed what's essentially a
16 bar exam, referred to as the examine for the Secretariat for
17 Administration and the Judiciary, and that qualified you to work as an
18 investigative judge; is that correct?
19 A. I passed my bar exam in 1975, not in 1970.
20 Q. Thanks very much. I'm sorry about that. But the other details
21 are correct. I take it.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Thank you. In addition, you passed another exam, referred to as a
24 "state exam," the effect of which permitted you to work within state
25 institutions, for example, postings in the municipalities that existed
1 throughout the former Bosnia. Are those details correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. In September of 1980, you were appointed as a judge of the Zvornik
4 Municipal Court where you worked for a number of years, and in October of
5 1987, you were appointed as president of the Municipal Court in Zvornik,
6 and you continued to hold that position until you -- until your retirement
7 in February 2004; correct?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. As a result of those studies, those exams, and that work
10 experience, have you become familiar with the procedures and laws applying
11 to courts in Bosnia?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did you become familiar with the operation of municipal courts in
14 particular throughout -- as they worked throughout Bosnia in the period of
15 time leading up to the war in 1992?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Thank you. I want you to tell the Trial Chamber some details of
18 the court structure, basic details of the court structure as it existed in
19 Bosnia prior -- in the period of time leading up to the outbreak of war.
20 Firstly, the Municipal Court. Did every municipality have a municipal
21 court or did it vary according to the size of the municipality?
22 A. In Bosnia and Herzegovina before the war broke out, municipal
23 courts existed for the territory of a municipality. Mostly one court for
24 one municipality. However, there were also some municipal courts which
25 were founded for several municipalities. Those were municipalities that
1 had fewer residents and smaller territory.
2 Q. Thank you. In the period of time leading up to the outbreak of
3 war in 1992, did Zvornik have a municipal court, and did Srebrenica have a
4 municipal court?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Was it common to refer to municipal courts from time to time as a
7 basic court or a court of first instance?
8 A. Yes. It was a basic court or, as we called it, municipal court.
9 Occasionally they were called basic courts and then the name would be
10 changed to municipal courts, but those are the same courts.
11 Q. And generally speaking, did the jurisdiction of basic courts or
12 courts of first instance or municipal courts in normal and usual
13 circumstances include jurisdiction over more minor and simple criminal
15 A. Yes. Before the war broke out, the jurisdiction of basic or
16 municipal courts in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina covered only
17 minor cases, whereas the district courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina dealt
18 with more complex, more serious cases within the realm of criminal law.
19 Q. Following the outbreak of war in early 1992, did the jurisdiction
20 of the Municipal Courts, at least in your area where you lived, alter in
21 any respect?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. In what respect?
24 A. In May of 1992, the jurisdiction of basic courts was changed so
25 that all cases were instituted in first instance courts, whereas the
1 district courts or second instance courts only dealt with appeals in
2 criminal cases.
3 Q. Following the end of hostilities, did matters revert to their
4 pre-war system?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Thank you. You've mentioned district courts. Is it the case that
7 they were in effect the next level up from courts -- from municipal
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. In normal circumstances, did they deal with what might be called
11 more serious and more complex crimes?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did they also act as an appeal court from decisions of the
14 Municipal Courts?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Prior to the outbreak of war in early 1992, which -- let me
17 withdraw that question.
18 The geographical area covered by district courts, did it include
19 or could it include several municipality -- several municipalities or
20 parts of municipalities?
21 A. The district courts were founded or existed for the territory
22 covered by several basic or municipal courts, which means that as a rule,
23 they covered several jurisdictions, several municipalities.
24 Q. Thank you. Prior to the war and in normal circumstances, which
25 District Court would have covered the area or included the area of the
1 municipality of Srebrenica?
2 A. That would be the district of Tuzla.
3 Q. Thank you. And beyond the district courts, was there another
4 level of court called the Supreme Court?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Where was that court based?
7 A. You mean before the war broke out?
8 Q. Yes.
9 A. In Sarajevo.
10 Q. And after the war?
11 A. After the war, in Pale, and then later on in Banja Luka.
12 Q. Did these Supreme Courts, wherever they might be based, have
13 essentially an appellate jurisdiction?
14 A. Well, yes, although they dealt with other cases in other fields,
15 and they dealt with complex cases.
16 Q. Yes. Okay. Thank you. I want to ask you now some questions --
17 move away from the court structure and ask you some questions regarding
18 criminal investigations.
19 The -- was there a role in criminal investigations for a
20 prosecutor and investigating judge and police?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And did criminal investigations from time to time result in the
23 production of an indictment and a subsequent trial?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I want to ask you -- sorry. And was that often accompanied by
1 investigations conducted by police, investigating judges and prosecutors?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Was that in the majority of cases?
4 A. Yes, in the majority of cases.
5 Q. In certain simple cases, cases that were not complex, factually
6 complex or involved any complex question of law, was there ever a
7 situation where matters proceeded to trial without an investigation?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can you briefly describe to the Trial Chamber the sort of
10 situations in which that occurred and what the procedures were? I'd like
11 to get through this -- this section of your evidence fairly swiftly,
13 A. Those were the cases which were simple, minor criminal offences in
14 which the prosecutor, without conducting an investigation, could file
15 criminal charges before a court, based on which a trial would be
17 Q. Thank you. I now want you to turn your attention to the other
18 situation where criminal matters were investigated and the procedures
19 involved in that investigation leading to the production of an indictment
20 and eventual trial. In other words, cases where they weren't simple or --
21 or -- or not -- complex, complex cases, in other words.
22 Following the commission of a crime, would the police go out and
23 gather evidence and material to assist in the investigation?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Would the evidence and material that they gather include reports
1 on interviews with suspects and witnesses?
2 A. Yes, it would include interviews with suspects and witnesses.
3 Q. Once that mass of material had been gathered, what did the police
4 do with that?
5 A. After all of that was gathered, the police would write criminal
6 complaints against certain suspects.
7 Q. What would they do with that criminal complaint?
8 A. The police would forward criminal complaints to the prosecutor who
9 would have jurisdiction for those matters.
10 Q. Once the prosecutor had received the criminal complaint, was he
11 empowered to require additional investigation -- was he empowered to
12 acquire additional investigation?
13 A. Yes. He was empowered to request additional information from the
14 police or evidence if he or she believed them to be necessary.
15 Q. Thank you. At this stage of the matter, was a prosecutor entitled
16 to disregard or dismiss the criminal complaint if the prosecutor
17 considered the evidence was insufficient to warrant a charge or warrant a
18 trial or warrant further action?
19 A. Yes, he was empowered to do that.
20 Q. Thank you. If the prosecutor considered that there was sufficient
21 evidence to carry on with the matter, would the prosecutor then create a
22 document called a request for conducting an investigation?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What would the prosecutor do with that particular document?
25 A. The prosecutor would take this request for conducting an
1 investigation and forward it to the court with jurisdiction over the
2 matter. If this was the basic public prosecutor, then it would have been
3 the same as the basic court.
4 Q. And the -- and is it the case that the matter would then go to --
5 fall into the hands of an investigating judge?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you. The -- this document that you have referred to, the
8 request for conducting investigation, did it contain information such as a
9 suspect's name, background information about a suspect, the reasons for
10 any suspicion, suggestions for types of further investigation that might
11 be conducted, suggestions for witnesses who might be interviewed,
12 suggestions for the sort of evidence that ought to be gathered, and
13 suggestions as to whether or not arrests should be made or not?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Thank you. Once the matter had reached the court and the
16 investigating judge, was a file created in the court?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And did that have a C, C for Charlie, I for igloo, CI number
19 called a "krivicni istrazni"?
20 A. Yes. I understand what you mean. That kind of a file would
21 normally be marked as "KI," which means criminal investigation.
22 Q. Was the investigating judge empowered at this stage of the matter
23 to dismiss the matter entirely if he or she thought that the evidence was
24 insufficient or did not merit further action?
25 A. After receiving a file, the investigating judge was at liberty to
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 disagree with the investigation and forward the case to a chamber. These
2 cases, however, were extremely rare.
3 Q. All right. Let's talk about the more common situation. Once
4 having received the request for conducting investigation and getting the
5 file number attached to a particular case, did the investigating judge in
6 the Municipal Court have power to summons a suspect for interrogation?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did that commonly occur?
9 A. This always occurred.
10 Q. And would -- thank you. And would the investigating judge then
11 interrogate the suspect and would a record be taken of that interrogation,
12 either minutes or transcript or some sort of record of what the suspect
14 A. Yes. Minutes would be taken of the interrogation.
15 Q. Thank you. Following the -- immediately following the
16 interrogation and the taking of minutes, what was the next step in this
18 A. The investigating judge would then pass a decision to adopt the
19 prosecutor's request and open an investigation against the accused.
20 THE INTERPRETER: "Against the suspect." Interpreter's
22 MR. DI FAZIO:
23 Q. Right. And at this stage, is this decision put in writing?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And is this commonly known as the decision to conduct an
1 investigation or "resenje"?
2 A. Decision to conduct an investigation.
3 Q. Thank you. Would you please look at this document that I produce
4 to you.
5 Okay. Now that you've got your spectacles on, could you cast your
6 eye over the document and tell us if this is an example of just such a
7 decision that you have told us about, a decision to conduct an
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And obviously it's plain, isn't it, that one of the subjects of
11 investigation is the defendant in this case? I'll return to that later,
12 but firstly I want to ask you about some features of this document.
13 Firstly, you signed the document? If you go to the back, I think
14 you'll find a signature there.
15 A. Yes, I signed this.
16 Q. Thank you. And if you go to the beginning of the document, you
17 see in the top left corner a number, Ki-81/93. Do you see that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Is this the file number that you talked about moments ago in your
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. All right.
23 A. That is indeed the number.
24 Q. And in the first one or two or three lines of the document, it
25 says -- it refers to you "deciding upon a request submitted by the
1 municipal public prosecutor in Zvornik." Do you see that? Do you see
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You've described to the Trial Chamber the procedures. The police
5 going out, getting evidence, making a criminal complaint, sending it on to
6 the prosecutor, his evaluation, and then the prosecutors forwarding it on
7 to the court. Is that what that reference to a decision on the request
8 submitted by the municipal public prosecutor is talking about? All of
9 those processes had occurred?
10 A. Yes. First of all, the police file a criminal complaint, then the
11 prosecutor files a request to conduct an investigation. And then what
12 comes next is a decision like this one.
13 Q. Thanks. And now go to the last page of the document where your
14 signature is. Your signature is preceded by a part of the document that
15 is headed "Explanation." There there is a reference to this history of
16 the prosecutor submitting to the court the request to conduct an
17 investigation against the accused Naser Oric. You've told us about that.
18 And then it refers to a proposal that the accused be taken into custody
19 due to their having committed a war crime against the civilian population
20 under Article 142 of the Republika Srpska Criminal Code. Do you see that?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber if it was normal or common or
23 whether it happened from time to time that the prosecutor would propose,
24 when he's forwarding the request to conduct an investigation, would
25 propose that a certain person and an accused be taken into custody? Would
1 that happen very often?
2 A. It would happen sometimes that the prosecutor proposed that a
3 person should be detained. In this specific case, that was precisely what
4 the prosecutor proposed. Otherwise, this option would not have been
6 Q. So it could occur that there would be a proposal to arrest or,
7 rather, take an accused into custody, or there might not be, and that
8 depended on the prosecutor. Is my understanding correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. There is a reference to an Article 142 of the Republika Srpska
11 Criminal Code. Was that, as far as you are aware, a new offence that had
12 come into being after the outbreak of war, or as far as you're aware, had
13 it existed for some time prior to the outbreak of war?
14 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Okay. Let him answer the question
15 first and then maybe I make the comment later.
16 MR. DI FAZIO:
17 Q. I'll repeat my question.
18 A. Yes. I understand your question.
19 Q. What about Article 142? Was that a fresh or recent charge, or was
20 it -- had it existed prior to the outbreak of war in early 1992?
21 A. It existed prior to the outbreak of war in early 1992.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: When was Republika Srpska created? Mr. Eric perhaps
23 knows the answer.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: I don't know the answer off the top of my head, I'm
1 JUDGE AGIUS: When was Republika Srpska proclaimed?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe in January 1992, but I'm
3 not certain.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's go ahead anyway. I'm not -- yes,
6 JUDGE ESER: I have a question with regard to the criminal code of
7 Republika Srpska. Was this a completely new code.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Exactly. I mean, this is why I asked the question.
9 JUDGE ESER: Or was it taken either from Bosnia-Herzegovina or was
10 it taken from Yugoslavia?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, it was not new in its entirety.
12 The code was adopted from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the special provisions,
13 and the general provisions from the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
14 MR. DI FAZIO:
15 Q. And this may be an element of repetition, but as far as the laws
16 relating to procedure -- criminal procedure, the gathering of evidence and
17 types of criminal charges, did the Republika Srpska adopt the body of law
18 that existed prior to the outbreak of war?
19 A. No.
20 Q. What happened? Was fresh legislation enacted, or did it adopt the
21 existing legislation? That's what I want to know, as far as criminal
22 procedure, and criminal evidence, criminal trials and jurisdictions of
23 courts and so on.
24 A. No, there was no fresh legislation. The existing criminal
25 legislation was adopted.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Would Your Honours just give me a moment.
2 [Prosecution counsel confer]
3 MR. DI FAZIO:
4 Q. Police prior to the war --
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you following up on the previous topic or not?
6 Because it's still a little bit hazy. I mean, so far we know that as far
7 as the general part of criminal law, they derived the code of Republika
8 Srpska from the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia the special -- you
9 know, in continental systems, criminal law is divided into three, the
10 general part, the special part, and procedural part. We've dealt with the
11 general. We've dealt with the special. The special came from Bosnia.
12 But we still don't have a clear answer where the procedural part of the
13 code of Republika Srpska came from. First we had an answer which is "no,
14 it did not come from anywhere," and then we had an answer that it did come
15 from somewhere because there wasn't anything new, but we still don't know
16 where it came from. I know from other cases, but basically I have to shut
17 down what I know.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. You've told us that -- you've told us that there was no fresh
20 legislation following the outbreak of war and that existing criminal
21 legislation was adopted. What I want to know is this: The body of law
22 dealing with criminal offences, the procedure for criminal offends, how to
23 deal with them, issues of jurisdiction for criminal offences, the duties
24 of judges to apply that criminal procedure, did the body of law applicable
25 to that change or alter following the outbreak of war?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: This may be confusing to the witness, because
2 questions of jurisdiction under European continental criminal law fall
3 within the general part of criminal law and not under procedure as such.
4 So -- not necessarily, but, say in Italy and France they certainly do.
5 But I'm not quite sure that it was the same in Yugoslavia. So he needs
6 to -- you need to enlighten us on this, Mr. Eric, because you are the one
7 who is best positioned to do that in this courtroom.
8 MR. DI FAZIO:
9 Q. My question is: The body of law relating to criminal procedure,
10 how to deal with crimes, did that alter in Bosnia, in the Republika
11 Srpska -- in the Republika Srpska following the outbreak of war?
12 A. After the war broke out, not a single law was changed. The
13 criminal law, the Law on Criminal Procedure of the Federal Republic of
14 Yugoslavia was applied, and the Criminal Code of the Socialist Federal
15 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the federal criminal law.
16 Therefore, the legal regulations already in existence were still applied.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Judge Brydensholt.
18 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: When you speak about jurisdiction, do you also
19 speak about the organisation of the courts? Because I understood your
20 explanation regarding jurisdiction in the way that during the war the
21 jurisdiction changed between the municipal court and the district court,
22 so that the municipal court got a wider jurisdiction than you had had
23 before the war in that it was changed again after the war.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The jurisdiction of courts in
25 general was enshrined in a special enactment called Law On Regular Courts.
1 Jurisdiction was altered in May 1992. Since that change the municipal
2 courts have jurisdiction over all criminal cases. Once the war was over,
3 this same law was again amended and jurisdiction was distributed or
4 divided between the basic courts and the municipal and district courts.
5 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Thank you.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. Sorry. Would Your Honours just bear
7 with me for a moment.
8 [Prosecution counsel confer]
9 MR. DI FAZIO:
10 Q. Were police officers obliged to enforce the laws relating to
11 criminal procedure both prior to and after the war?
12 A. Yes, they were obliged to do that.
13 Q. Did that oblige them to act upon complaints and investigate
14 criminal conduct both prior to and after the outbreak of war?
15 A. Yes, that definitely obliged them to do that.
16 Q. All right. Going back to the document that you have in front of
17 you. The subject of this particular decision to investigate is
18 Mr. Naser Oric. Apart from the particular decision to investigate that
19 you have before you, did you sign and issue other decisions to conduct
20 investigations where Mr. Oric was the -- was the subject or one of the
21 subjects of that investigation?
22 A. There were other such decisions, all of them pursuant to requests
23 by the prosecutor.
24 Q. Did you ever initiate an investigation by yourself or acting alone
25 against Mr. Oric?
1 A. No, never.
2 Q. Thank you. I seek to tender that document into evidence.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the number will be P492.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. This document is being tendered and admitted
5 and marked as Prosecutor Exhibit P492.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Judge Eser would like to put a question.
8 JUDGE ESER: It's more a question of language. At the end of the
9 English translation, the document reads: "The appeal is filed to this
10 court's trial chamber." Does this mean that an appeal has been filed, or
11 if one is filed that it has to go to the trial chamber?
12 JUDGE AGIUS: No. It has to go.
13 JUDGE ESER: It has to go.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: In other words -- this is common because I have to
15 deal with such documents in other cases. Basically it states that there
16 is a time limit for the filing of the appeal and the filing has to go
17 through the trial chamber -- it has to be filed in the registry on the
18 trial chamber.
19 JUDGE ESER: It has to be filed instead of --
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, yes.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Should I clarify that with the witness?
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, but this is basically what it says.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll ask the witness himself.
24 Q. You may have heard that exchange, Witness?
25 JUDGE AGIUS: He can look at the last line, actually.
1 MR. DI FAZIO:
2 Q. Look at the last line of P492, and tell us the significance of
3 that particular proviso.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Can you read -- can you read that last line aloud,
5 please, so that we have it translated, and then could you explain what the
6 procedure would be if one wished to lodge an appeal against such a
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Information about appeals. In
9 decision may be appealed within three days from the delivery of the
10 decision. The appeal shall be forwarded to the criminal chamber of this
12 This means that this decision may be appealed in accordance with
13 the legislation and that this appeal ought to be sent to the criminal
14 chamber of this same court, which comprises three professional judges who
15 will decide on the appeal.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. I think that satisfies Your Honours.
18 Q. Okay. I'd like to right now wrap up this issue of the broad
19 outline of criminal investigations.
20 Following the issuance of your decision to conduct an
21 investigation, is there a -- is that followed by an investigative hearing
22 which is scheduled by the investigative judge?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. At that hearing are witnesses questioned, interrogated, and
25 minutes and a record created of what's said?
1 A. Yes. At that hearing, the evidence that had been proposed would
2 be adduced. That would be done by the prosecutor. And that included the
3 examination of witnesses whose names had been previously proposed or
4 suggested, and their statements would be recorded in minutes.
5 Q. Thank you. And does the investigative judge have the power to
6 call witnesses independently, other witnesses of that not been proposed by
7 the prosecutor? In other words, to make his own decision about some
8 witnesses that should or should not be called -- should be called?
9 A. Yes. The investigative judge did have the power to call witnesses
10 who perhaps were proposed by the suspect or to call witnesses who in view
11 of the investigative judge ought to be examined or interviewed.
12 Q. Thank you. Once this mass of material has been gathered together,
13 what is done with it?
14 A. When this material has been gathered, the investigative judge
15 would make a finding declaring the investigation concluded, and in a
16 separate letter would state this finding and forward the entire file to
17 the prosecutor for him to make a decision.
18 Q. Thank you. Once the prosecutor has received this material, I want
19 to know what his options are, his or her options are. Can the prosecutor
20 return the matter to the court and the investigative judge for further
21 investigation? Is that an option?
22 A. Yes, that was also possible. He could have returned the file to
23 the investigative judge in order for the investigation to be supplemented
24 by certain measures, and those measures would be indicated in a written
25 proposal. It would be stated what else the investigative judge needs to
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 Q. Thank you. Is the -- does the prosecutor have the option of not
3 proceeding any further with the matter if he or she considers that the
4 evidence is insufficient?
5 A. Yes. The prosecutor could discontinue or decide not to conduct an
7 Q. And finally, does the prosecutor have the option of writing or
8 issuing an indictment against a suspect or suspects?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. If that last option occurs, the prosecutor decides to issue an
11 indictment and proceed, does the matter then proceed to trial?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And can you summarise the steps that are taken from that point
14 onwards to the point where trial is commenced?
15 A. The file would be sent to the office of the clerk of the court,
16 would receive an identification which would be K, meaning that it was a
17 criminal case, and then depending on what else was on the docket, the case
18 would be assigned to the judge who would then make preparations for a
19 trial, that is to say send the indictment to all the parties to see
20 whether any of them would file a motion objecting to certain aspects of
21 the indictment, and following that a trial would be scheduled.
22 Q. Thank you. I want to move from -- to another topic at this
24 MR. DI FAZIO: Can the witness be shown Exhibit P386. Sorry.
25 Perhaps before that occurs, I omitted to tender or produce to the Trial
1 Chamber the English translations of this exhibit, which are overdue and
2 now have to be put before the Court.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: We have it already, but I suppose we can use this
4 just to make sure that we are using the same document that you have or
5 that you are circulating now.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm sorry. Do Your Honours already have a
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, yes, yes.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm sorry, I didn't realise. I was informed that
10 you didn't have a translation. But if that's the case --
11 JUDGE AGIUS: We already have it marked as P386E.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm grateful to Your Honours. I'll just ask that
13 it be handed back.
14 Q. Just before I move on to this topic, Witness, there is one other
15 question I want to ask you. During the course of the war or indeed after,
16 did you ever have an opportunity to interrogate or ask questions of
17 Mr. Oric?
18 A. No, never. I never met him.
19 Q. And did you know him prior to the war?
20 A. No.
21 Q. All right. Thanks. Now, look at the statements, please. You
22 have Exhibit P386 before you, and I think I can lead you through this
23 evidence. It's uncontroversial. They consist -- the exhibit exists of a
24 number of statements by a number of different individuals. What I would
25 like you to do is to flick through them and tell the Trial Chamber if your
1 signature appears at the end of each of those statements.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you. They all appear to be, apart from the main body of the
4 text, a pro forma document, "Minutes Of The Testimony Of Witness".
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Can you tell the Trial Chamber at what point in a criminal
7 investigation such documents might be created?
8 A. A document such as this one may be drafted before an investigation
9 is initiated, before criminal proceedings are instituted.
10 Q. Thank you.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. If, as you say, such a document could
12 be drawn up before -- even before an investigation has been authorised or
13 commenced, on whose initiative would such a document be drawn? Who would
14 take the initiative?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This particular document or these
16 documents that have been presented to me have not been drawn up by me.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: So basically, because we need to understand: When
18 you say these documents could be drawn before -- drawn up before an
19 investigation has even started, is it because something -- did I read you
20 correctly? And if such a document may be drafted before an investigation
21 is initiated, would it be procedurally correct or would it be an abuse of
22 power to draft or to draw up such a statement? Who would -- who would be
23 able to authorise the drawing up -- the taking of such a statement and the
24 drawing up of such a statement if there is no investigation in place?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These are the so-called additional
1 criminal investigative steps, and it was possible to take a statement from
2 certain persons before criminal proceedings were instituted.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: But who would take them, and on which -- on which or
4 on whose authority?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This would be done by a judge. If
6 you mean this specific case, I can explain to you how this was created,
7 how this came about.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: I think we can -- we will definitely need to come to
9 that, but before we come to that, if there is no investigation yet
10 started, initiated, how does the judge come to interview or interrogate a
11 person and draw up such a statement? How does the judge fit in this
12 process if there is no investigation yet in place?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If the investigation has not been
14 initiated yet, then the judge would avail himself of this possibility to
15 take a statement from a person pertaining to an event or an act that had
16 been committed.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. Mr. Di Fazio, I'm not going to ask him the
18 other question that relates to this particular document which he seemed to
19 be offering to give us information about or to answer. That's your --
20 MR. DI FAZIO: That's what I'm going to proceed to now.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, exactly.
22 MR. DI FAZIO:
23 Q. All right. Now, if you look at the statements that are before
24 you, they obviously have on the pro forma first page a section that
25 specifies that there are criminal proceedings against, and a blank space.
1 And presumably normally the suspect's or the defendant's name would be
2 included in that particular blank space. Is that so?
3 A. No. This is a form, a pre-printed form. So that does not have to
4 be the case.
5 Q. It may not have to be the case -- I'll withdraw that.
6 In normal circumstances, would you expect the name of the person
7 to be inserted there?
8 A. Yes. If the proceedings had been initiated, then yes, the name of
9 the person would be inserted here. But in this case no proceedings had
10 been initiated before or after.
11 Q. We'll get to that in due course. I'm going to get to that in due
12 course, but I'm just asking you about what would normally happen. And
13 again there's a space obviously specifying the particular article that has
14 been breached, article whatever from the penal code. In normal
15 circumstances, would you expect the particular article to be inserted
17 A. Yes.
18 JUDGE ESER: A very specific question of verification, because it
19 may have to do with the translation. Now, when you speak of investigation
20 and criminal proceeding, is it the same or are these two different phases
21 of some sort of finding evidence, because in some countries you indeed
22 have -- you indeed distinguish between investigation, which may not be
23 called criminal proceeding. Now, is this the case or has this been the
24 case in your country? So my main question is: Investigation and criminal
25 proceeding, is it the same or is there some difference between these two
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All of that falls under criminal
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
5 Q. Let me deal with this series of documents in this way: Do you
6 know a gentleman named Pavle Jelisavcic, or have you met a gentleman named
7 Pavle Jelisavcic?
8 A. Yes, I met them.
9 Q. When did -- when did he -- when did you meet him?
10 A. That happened in 1994, in mid-1994, or perhaps a bit later. I
11 can't remember the exact date.
12 Q. And where did you meet him, and how did you come to meet him?
13 A. He came to my office.
14 Q. Where was he from?
15 A. He introduced himself and explained that he was from the committee
16 for gathering information about war crimes in Belgrade.
17 Q. And did he explain to you what his purpose was, why he wanted to
18 speak to you?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. What was -- what did he tell you?
21 A. He told me that the committee and the Ministry of Justice of
22 Republika Srpska had an arrangement whereby representatives of the
23 committee were authorised to take statements in the field from citizens
24 regarding certain events, and this is what we talked about.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours, please. It's almost time for the
2 break. It's -- this would be for my purposes a good time. Could we have
3 the adjournment.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Certainly, Mr. Di Fazio. Yes.
5 Before we break, Judge Brydensholt has got one question.
6 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: When you were told there was this arrangement
7 regarding taking explanations from witnesses in the field, were you shown
8 any documents, any authorisation or anything, or was it just oral you were
9 told that he had such an authorisation?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He just told me that verbally. Yes.
11 I only received verbal information. I did not see anything in writing.
12 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Thank you.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you, Judge Brydensholt.
14 We will have a 25-minute break starting from now. Thank you.
15 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 4.17 p.m.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, Your Honour. Thank you, Your Honours.
19 Q. You told us just prior to the -- to the break of the visit of
20 Mr. Pavle -- I forget his surname, the gentleman who came to visit you
21 from the committee in Belgrade?
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Jelisavcic.
23 MR. DI FAZIO:
24 Q. Jelisavcic. And he was informing you that there was an
25 arrangements between the Ministry of Justice of the Republika Srpska and
1 the committee whereby the committee members or representatives would go
2 and take statements in the field. You recall that evidence?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did he tell you what precisely he was going to do?
5 A. He said that he would be taking statements on the spot regarding
6 events that occurred in the villages around Srebrenica and Bratunac.
7 Q. Did he say for what purpose these statements were going to be
9 A. No, he didn't say.
10 Q. What particular assistance did he seek from you?
11 A. Once he was back from the field, he asked me to process those
12 statements, to sign them, to have them photocopied. He then took the
13 copies and left the original statements with the court.
14 Q. Did he tell you of this -- that that was his plan prior to going
15 out in the field and taking the statements or did he say that only upon
16 his return?
17 A. He said so prior to going out to take statements.
18 Q. What was your reaction to that? How did you -- what did you think
19 of that?
20 A. At the time, my reaction was to phone the Ministry of Justice of
21 Republika Srpska. I spoke to the then-deputy or assistant minister, Goran
22 Neskovic. I told him about Pavle's visit. He confirmed that there was
23 indeed such an agreement and that Pavle was authorised to take statements,
24 after which I agreed to go along with it.
25 Q. Okay. So did Pavle then go out into the field and carry out his
1 work and come back eventually with the statements?
2 A. Yes. Pavle went out with his own recording clerk and driver, in
3 his own vehicle. He was away for a while, and when he was back, he
4 brought the records or statements that I then signed.
5 Q. Did he go out and take statements on only one occasion or did he
6 go out on these field trips on -- more than once?
7 A. He went several times.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 Q. If you look at Exhibit P386 that you should have before you, the
10 B/C/S versions, look at the dates of the -- the ostensible dates of the
11 statements, and they're on the -- at the front of each statement, and they
12 cover dates such as the 27th of August, 1994, in the case of Ratko
13 Nikovic; 25th of August, 1994, in the case of Nedeljko Radic; 24th of
14 August, 1994, in the case of Slavoljub Zikic; 16th of September, 1994, in
15 the case of Ilija Ivanovic; and 25th of August, 1994, in the case of
16 Veselin Sarac. Do you see those dates?
17 A. Yes, I've seen the dates.
18 Q. What do those dates represent as far as you're aware, the date
19 that the statement was apparently taken from the person, or the date upon
20 which you signed the statement?
21 A. The date the statements were taken. I signed the statements once
22 Pavle was back in.
23 Q. There's just some features about the statements that I want to
24 draw your attention to. If you look at the bottom near your signature --
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Which page are you referring to, because there is
1 his signature allegedly on each page dated 19th of August, 2004, and he
2 can explain why it appears on these documents and why that date in
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: And then there is his signature at the end of each
7 MR. DI FAZIO: That's right. I want to cover precisely those
9 Q. An all encompassing question. It covers all of these statements.
10 You see your signature at the bottom of each page and at the end of the
11 statements, and at the bottom of the signature -- at the bottom of the
12 page where your signature appears, there's the date that appears there to
13 be 19th of August, 2004, and of course that predates the ostensible date
14 upon which the statement was taken. Why is that?
15 A. I signed these documents only on the last page when Pavle
16 Jelisavcic brought me these documents to sign. As for these signatures
17 dated the 19th of August, 2004, 1994 relate to the date when I signed the
18 statements in the presence of the investigators of this International
20 Q. Okay. So when did you in fact append your signature to these
21 documents in 1994, when Pavle brought them back or at some other time?
22 When he brought them back and they were completed?
23 A. On the 19th of August, 2004, the investigators requested me to
24 sign each page of the document. The time when I only signed the last
25 page, it was in the same form as now.
1 Q. Okay. That's what I want to know. When did you sign the last
2 page? Was it prior to Pavle going out and taking the statements or was it
3 when he brought them back to you completed?
4 A. When he brought them back to me completed.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Di Fazio. I hate to interrupt you
6 like this, but something that has been going around and around and around
7 in my head and I need some kind of an explanation from the witness in
8 order to have it click.
9 In the Zvornik Municipal Court, how many judges were you?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean at the time these
11 statements were taken?
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't remember for sure, but we
14 must have been six or seven.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: And am I correct in saying that at the time, you
16 were already appointed as president of the Zvornik Municipal Court.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: As president of the Zvornik Municipal Court, would
19 it have been your task to act as an investigating judge or would that work
20 of investigating judge be done by the other judges or by some of the other
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to regulations, when you
23 have a court with few judges, the court president, too, has the task to
24 perform different tasks and activities that are enshrined in the norms
25 governing the work of a judge. That is why I, too, performed certain
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 tasks in view of these very regulations.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you aware if any of the other judges that were
3 serving in the Zvornik Municipal Court were asked to sign similar
4 statements by this Mr. Pavle Jelisavcic, or anyone else for that matter,
5 representing the committee for collecting information on war criminals --
6 on war crimes?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. He came to see me in my
8 official capacity as the president of the court.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: But you're not aware that other judges of your court
10 or from your court had been approached by him or by anyone else?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not familiar with that.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: Didn't you find it strange to say the least that out
13 of all the judges he would pick on the most important, hierarchically, of
14 the court itself to sign statements which under normal circumstances would
15 be signed by junior judges or investigative judges?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When someone addresses a court, the
17 first person to address is usually the president, and that's why Pavle
18 picked me. He explained why he was there. He introduced himself. Then I
19 consulted with the Ministry of Justice and subsequently the statements
20 that I signed were taken.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's -- let's go on. Let's proceed,
22 Mr. Di Fazio.
23 MR. DI FAZIO:
24 Q. In the context of your work, in the pre-war years and in the war
25 years from 1992 up until late 1994, about the time these statements were
1 taken, had you ever met with such a request before?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Is what you did -- sorry, the request that you entertained and the
4 subsequent inquiries that you made with the Ministry of Justice a wholly
5 unusual matter for you?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Thank you. Look at the top of any one of these statements. Say,
8 for example, look at the top of the statement of Ratko Nikolic. That's --
9 do you have that? Yes. It's 03602046. You see that number at the top
10 right-hand corner?
11 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated].
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
13 MR. DI FAZIO:
14 Q. Fine. In fact, you may be able to see it on the screen in front
15 of you as well if you wish. No. I take it that back. It's not up on the
16 screen. Okay.
17 It's got a number there. You see? Kri 77/, what I think is 94.
18 What does that number represent?
19 A. I would like to make a correction here. It's Kry -- Kri 77/94.
20 Q. All right. But there are obviously numbers and different numbers
21 but they appear on these statements at the top in the same location. All
23 With -- perhaps I'd better do this individually. I'll withdraw my
24 question and let's start -- if I might have the assistance of the usher.
25 I'd like you to look at the statement of Ratko Nikolic, please. Now
1 that's got a number at the top right-hand corner, 77/94. Is that so?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And if you take a look at the statement of Mr. Nadeljko Radic, you
4 see the number there is Kri 73/94. Do you see that?
5 A. Yes. These are all different numbers.
6 Q. All right. I just want to take you through -- through them just
7 to be absolutely certain about all of this, okay? And if you look at the
8 statement of Slavoljub Zikic, you see that the lettering and numbering
9 there is Kri 68/94.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And if you look at the statement of Ilija Ivanovic, that has no
12 Kri and merely has 94/94. Do you see that?
13 A. Yes, but -- I see that.
14 Q. All right.
15 A. And there must be another Kri here, it's just that it's not quite
16 clear or maybe they failed to write it, but it must be. There must be
17 another Kri marked here.
18 Q. Okay. And finally for the sake of completeness, the statement of
19 Veselin Sarac, that bears the endorsement in the same place, Kri-74/94.
20 Do you see that?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, can you tell the Trial Chamber what those numbers represent?
23 A. These letters and numbers represent the case number in the file of
24 criminal offences. Therefore, these recorded interviews were processed,
25 entered into these files, and these are the file numbers attached to them.
1 Q. But why --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Whose files? Whose files? Who -- I take it that
3 you're telling us that you had absolutely nothing to do with the drawing
4 up of these statements except that you accepted to sign at the end of each
5 one of them. But I also take it, therefore, that the insertion of the
6 reference number is not your own work. Someone else inserted that. I
7 take it that this Mr. -- whatever his name is.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Pavle Jelisavcic.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Pavle Jelisavcic.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I only signed these. After I signed
11 the statements, the recording clerks entered them into their respective
12 files and assigned them numbers.
13 MR. DI FAZIO:
14 Q. But why -- why did they do that? Were they taken in relation
15 too -- let me withdraw that and let me approach it this way: These
16 different numbers -- you can tell me if I'm right or wrong. These numbers
17 that you have at the top left-hand corner, do they all represent different
18 investigations into different people, different incidents?
19 A. Yes. Each statement is processed and entered separately and given
20 a different number in order to leave some sort of a paper trail that can
21 later be traced.
22 Q. So was this Mr. Pavle Jelisavcic going out and taking statements
23 in respect of the different cases represented by these different numbers?
24 Is that what you understood or was that not your understanding?
25 A. Pavle Jelisavcic took all these statements that I have in front of
1 me now, and these statements were duly processed.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment. Look at this first statement, the one
3 of Ratko Nikolic which you have in front of you or you had in front of you
4 a couple of minutes ago. Look at the first page. It doesn't bear a
5 number. But if you look at the second page, at the very top right-hand
6 corner you see STR Strana 2. So I take it that this Pavle, when coming to
7 your office, would come with this statement of Ratko Nikolic, which would
8 include also the first page, wouldn't it? In other words, he would come
9 with the statement ready with the first page that I am showing you here.
10 The first page would not be compiled or drawn up by your clerks but by
11 Mr. Pavle himself; is that correct?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In practice, you never put a number
13 on the first page. What I see here is the first page, but it was not
14 given a number, an ordinal number, because that is not the established
15 practice. You start with page 2 and then mark the document throughout,
16 except for the first page, the cover page, which remains unmarked with the
17 exception of this number that we mentioned a moment ago.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: But the first page is signed by Ratko Nikolic as
19 well. The first page is signed by Ratko Nikolic. That's why I put it to
20 you that he -- this Mr. Pavle must have brought the entire statement
21 including page number 1. And what I am asking you, did your office then
22 insert on that page Kri 77/94, or did Pavle bring it to you with that
23 reference number?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Pavle did not bring this page with
25 the number. It was our office that marked the numbers, this number,
1 nothing else.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. What that's that VE/NB-1 at the top
3 right hand, handwritten next to the reference number? VE, I take it, Vaso
4 Eric. NB. I don't know if it's Nebojsa or not but it may be your office.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: I don't want to stand here and give evidence but I
6 suspect it's our office.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: I think so.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Because they've got -- they've got different NB 3,
9 4 and so on throughout the series. So I'll ask the witness just to be
11 JUDGE AGIUS: It's there on the document so we need to know. And
12 the others are marked similarly, 1, 2, 3, 4.
13 MR. DI FAZIO:
14 Q. Yes. The statements all bear the handwriting VE/NB and then
15 number a, 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on. Do you recognise those numbers or has
16 that been added to the document at some later stage?
17 A. No. I don't recognise these numbers. They must have been added
18 later on.
19 Q. All right. One thing I want to know, if you can offer any
20 assistance to us is this: These numbers at the top, and they relate to
21 different cases, why were they given those numbers for these different
22 cases if this guy Pavle Jelisavcic is out gathering statements on behalf
23 of this committee in Belgrade? Why those particular action numbers or
24 court numbers or file numbers? That's what I'd like to know.
25 A. These numbers have one purpose only. It is for these statements
1 to be quickly traceable in the court's archive. They have no other
3 Q. And following the return of Pavle Jelisavcic, what happened to the
4 originals of the statements?
5 A. The originals were kept by the court. Pavle Jelisavcic took
7 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, Mr. Di Fazio. Again my apologies for
8 interrupting you.
9 Did you at any time ask Mr. Pavle Jelisavcic whether there was any
10 tape recording of these interviews or did you just ask him any question at
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't ask him any questions.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
14 MR. DI FAZIO:
15 Q. And the -- there's names of clerks that appear, court clerks, that
16 appear on the statements. You'll see there's some names that appear
17 from -- quite often. Gorica Trajkovic is -- appears in Ratko Nikolic's
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Cut it short. He appears in all of them except one
20 on which Ruzica Jaic appears.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Right. Okay.
22 Q. So there you have it, those two names. Are they court clerks?
23 Were they really court clerks. Were employed by the court or were they
24 not employees of the Municipal Court?
25 A. No. They were not employees of the Municipal Court.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Would Your Honours just bear with me.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, of course.
3 [Prosecution counsel confer]
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you very much. I have no further questions.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: I have just one question before I pass you over to
6 Madam Vidovic. Did your law require when an investigating judge is taking
7 a statement, did the law require that a clerk also be present when the
8 statement was being taken?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: You have no idea who Gorica Trajkovic is? Never
11 heard the name before?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] She was a clerk who arrived with
13 Pavle Jelisavcic.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: From where?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] She came with him from Belgrade.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: And the same as regards the other, this Jaic.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] She's not an official of the
18 Municipal Court in Zvornik, but I can't really say who her employer is.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: But if you notice on this statement of Ilija
20 Ivanovic, which mentions also her name, she is mentioned as a -- at least
21 in the English text I have in the first page -- on the last page you have
22 her as recording secretary, recording secretary. What does that mean to
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That means that Pavle Jelisavcic
25 dictated the statement and she wrote it down.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. And you don't know whether she
2 was a court clerk? You don't know her? You don't know the person, do
3 you? I don't know --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't. She was not with the
5 Zvornik court.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. I thank you. Madam Vidovic, now,
7 who is lead counsel for Naser Oric will be cross-examining you.
8 Thank you, Madam.
9 Cross-examined by Ms. Vidovic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Eric. We haven't got much
11 time left, so therefore I will ask you to be as brief whenever possible
12 and give us yes or no answers whenever possible.
13 Before the war, municipal courts did not have jurisdiction over
14 serious criminal offences including murder and war crimes; is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Before the war, municipal courts in Zvornik did not have
17 jurisdiction in cases for Srebrenica, Bratunac, and Skelani municipalities
18 or cases from these municipalities; is that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. You told us that in the beginning of the war, Republika Srpska
21 adopted a decision to expand the jurisdiction of that court, the court in
22 Zvornik, to include the territory of Srebrenica, Bratunac, and Skelani
23 under their jurisdiction as well as to expand subject matter jurisdiction;
24 is that right?
25 A. Yes. That happened in May and June of that year, 1992.
1 Q. Such a decision could not have been forwarded to the Muslim
2 authorities in Srebrenica; is that right?
3 A. I don't know about that.
4 Q. At around the 8th of April, 1992, intense combat activity
5 developed in that area; is that right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Moreover, in the course of April and May 1992, Muslim population
8 residing in Zvornik and Bratunac was driven out as well as in Skelani and
9 the entire Srebrenica area?
10 A. I'm not aware of that.
11 Q. The Muslims residing in Srebrenica, Skelani, and Bratunac,
12 including those who had fled to Srebrenica, after that area once again
13 came under the Muslim rule had no further contacts with the authorities in
14 Zvornik. Isn't that right?
15 A. I really don't know about that. That fact is not known to me. I
16 couldn't tell you anything about those authorities, because I was employed
17 by the court.
18 Q. In relation to that, I will ask you the following: There was no
19 cooperation whatsoever between police, prosecutor's office, and courts in
20 the Serbian territory on the one hand, and on the other hand, in the
21 Muslim and Croat territory. Isn't that right?
22 A. What period of time are you referring to?
23 Q. I am referring to the time after the expulsion of Muslims from
24 that area, meaning starting in April and May of 1992 and throughout the
25 entire war.
1 A. Most likely. Most likely there was no cooperation, but I don't
2 know. I can't be certain about that.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: One thing I'm sure you should be certain is, since
4 you were the president of the Zvornik Municipal Court, the territorial
5 extent or boundaries of your jurisdiction or the jurisdiction of your
6 court. How could you not know it?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know about the territorial
8 jurisdiction of the court in Zvornik. It covered Zvornik, Bratunac,
9 Srebrenica, and Skelani municipalities.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: But that was before the war broke out, no?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. That was after the war broke
12 out. Before the war broke out, Zvornik -- the court in Zvornik had
13 territorial jurisdiction only over Zvornik municipality.
14 MS. RESIDOVIC: Your Honour --
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I think, Madam Vidovic, between the two of you, you
16 know the position better than we do, but I want a clarification on this.
17 Do I take it, therefore, that on paper, that is legally, the Zvornik
18 Municipal Court still maintained jurisdiction over areas like Srebrenica,
19 et cetera, but in practice it meant nothing or it couldn't be exercised
20 over those territories because those territories had passed on under
21 municipal -- under Muslim control. Is that the correct position or not?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: So what is the position?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was like this: Srebrenica
25 municipality has a court now, and the basic court does not have
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 jurisdiction any longer over that territory.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: But I'm speaking of April and May 1992, not now.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that the jurisdiction had
4 changed in May or June of 1992. Prior to that time, basic court in
5 Zvornik did not have jurisdiction over the territory of that municipality.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Let's move forward, Madam Vidovic,
7 please, and my apologies to you for interrupting you.
8 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] I understood it, and that's what is
9 reflected in the transcript, that the court in Zvornik, after the war that
10 the court in Zvornik, after the war broke out, was given jurisdiction over
11 the territory of municipalities Skelani, Bratunac, and Srebrenica. Is
12 that right?
13 A. I said that the jurisdiction of the basic court in Zvornik was
14 expanded to include the territories of Srebrenica, Bratunac, and Skelani
15 municipalities and that that was done in June of 1992.
16 Q. Therefore, are you claiming that it was expected that the Muslim
17 side would send criminal cases to the prosecutor and the court in Zvornik?
18 A. After the jurisdiction was expanded to include those
19 municipalities, the prosecutor could only send those cases to the court in
20 Zvornik, because that was the only court which had jurisdiction for that
22 Q. I will ask you the following: Mr. Eric, you as a judge of the
23 court in Zvornik, did you send any cases to the prosecutor on the Muslim
24 or Croat side? Did you have any communication with them?
25 A. No.
1 Q. Very well. I will ask you something else now. You have worked in
2 the judiciary of Bosnia and Herzegovina for many years. You are very
3 familiar with the regulations and provisions concerning regular courts.
4 Isn't it true that the jurisdiction of courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina
5 was regulated by the law on regular courts by the -- adopted by the
6 relevant state agency?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Therefore, local authorities could not have simply decided on
9 their own that from now on our municipality would come under the
10 jurisdiction of a court in Sarajevo and not a court in Zvornik?
11 A. Local authorities never made such a decision in that particular
12 case. The decision came from the top of Republika Srpska.
13 Q. Mr. Eric, that wasn't the point of my question. My question was
14 as follows: In accordance with the regulations, local municipal
15 authorities before the war or during the war were never authorised to
16 simply decide that from now on the court in Sarajevo would have
17 jurisdiction over our municipality and not, for example, the court in
18 Zvornik. Isn't that right?
19 A. Yes, that's right.
20 Q. You do not know whether and when the decision was made to change
21 the jurisdiction of the regular court in Zvornik for the territory of
22 Srebrenica, Bratunac, and Skelani municipalities by the authorities of the
23 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
24 A. I'm not aware of that. I don't know that.
25 Q. When you said that during the war Municipal Courts, including the
1 court in Zvornik, were given jurisdiction to investigate war crimes, you
2 referred to the courts in Republika Srpska, not the courts in the
3 territory under the rule of the Federation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is
4 to say not the territory under the control of Croats and Muslims?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. Actually, you do not know what regulations were applied in 1992
7 and 1993 by the courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the territory beyond
8 the control of Serb authorities.
9 A. I don't know that, no.
10 Q. Today you were shown a number of statements by the Prosecutor,
11 which belong to Exhibit P386. I think you have these documents before
12 you. Mr. Eric, would you please take a look at what ought to be the
13 statement of Veselin Sarac.
14 You told us today -- or, rather, you confirmed to us today that
15 what should be a statement of Veselin Sarac given to the court bears your
17 A. Yes, that's right.
18 Q. You also told us that you never examined this person as
19 investigating judge but, rather, that that was done by Pavle Jelisavcic,
20 called Paja.
21 A. Yes, that's what I said.
22 Q. Pavle Jelisavcic quite obviously was not a judge of the basic
23 court in Zvornik, nor was he -- nor did he work for them as a contractor.
24 A. No, he did not work for the court.
25 Q. Now, I want you once again to take a look at this statement. It
1 says here that the record of the witness examination was compiled on the
2 25th of August, 1994, before the investigating judge Vaso Eric. You have
3 already told us that this is not true.
4 A. Yes, that's right, I did say that this was not true.
5 Q. In the criminal legal system of the former Yugoslavia as well as
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina before the war and during the war and until
7 recently, such examinations were not recorded on audiotapes or videotapes
8 except in special circumstances and cases regulated by the law; is that
10 A. Yes, that's right.
11 Q. This is why the record of the witness hearing or the record from a
12 hearing were of crucial importance in our legal system?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. The Law on Criminal Procedure of the former Yugoslavia had special
15 provisions regulating in very specific terms how records should be
16 compiled and signed; is that right?
17 A. Yes, that's right.
18 Q. The recording clerk is a person compiling the record who always
19 had to verify the veracity or the accuracy of the records by their
20 signature; is that right?
21 A. That's right.
22 Q. Now, please take a look at the record of a witness examination.
23 It's page bearing the number 02113315, and the bit where it says that --
24 that has the name of Gorica Trajkovic. She, in fact, never signed this
25 record; is that right?
1 A. That's right.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, because we've lost you.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: We've lost you, Madam Vidovic. Forgive me if I'm
5 making a mistake, but going through -- browsing through the statements
6 that we have here, I see none bearing the ERN number 02113315. They all
7 start with 0260. Correct me if I am wrong, or direct me to the right
8 document anyway.
9 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I apologise. I was
10 trying to be as brief as possible, so I crossed out a lot of my questions.
11 Q. Now, please take a look at the number 0306282. Page 7 in the
12 Bosnian version. So the number is 0360282.
13 What I asked, Mr. Eric, was that regardless of who the recording
14 clerk in this instance was, he or she did not sign the record?
15 A. That's right. It wasn't signed by the recording clerk, and the
16 recording clerk ought to sign the record. You are absolutely right about
18 Q. You said that in 1994 in Republika Srpska, the Criminal Code that
19 was adopted from the former Yugoslavia was applied with some slight
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. The competence and jurisdiction of the investigating judge were
23 not in fact altered or affected by those amendments?
24 A. No, they weren't.
25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can I have the usher's assistance,
1 please? I would like to place on the ELMO the following document,
2 extract from the Law on Criminal Procedure. I will be showing some of
3 these to the witness, asking him to comment on them.
4 Q. This is an excerpt from the Law on Criminal Procedure that was
5 published in Dr. Spiro Vukovic's book in 1985. If you could please look
6 at Article 161. It was published in Belgrade, and the page number is 128.
7 I will now quote paragraph 1 of Article 161. Witness, hold on a
8 moment. I haven't found it yet.
9 Q. Mr. Eric, if you could look at this, the Law on Criminal
10 Procedure, the title page, and then if you could go page by page all the
11 way to page 128. Right there in the middle you will find Article 161. I
12 hope I've been of assistance to you?
13 A. Yes, indeed you have. Thank you.
14 Q. Mr. Eric, can you please look at Article 161. I'm quoting
15 paragraph 1 to you now. It reads: "The investigation shall be conducted
16 by the investigating judge of the competent court." Paragraphs 2 and 3
17 talk about the local jurisdiction of the -- territorial jurisdictions of
18 the courts; is that correct?
19 A. Yes, that's quite correct.
20 Q. Therefore, any investigation can only be carried out by the
21 investigating judge upon a request by the prosecutor with jurisdiction
22 over the case; is that correct?
23 A. Yes. But in this specific case there was no investigation to
24 begin with, because no further steps were taken after these statements
25 were collected.
1 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Eric. We'll come to at that later.
2 Can you now please look at Article 156. In relation to this, you
3 were asked a question by the president. Today, you have tried to explain
4 that it is quite possible for an investigating judge before the criminal
5 procedure is started to take statements. I'm now showing you Article 156.
6 This is something quite different. I will read to you what it says.
7 Paragraph 1: "The investigative judge of the competent court and
8 the investigative judge of a lower court within whose jurisdiction a crime
9 was committed may take certain investigative actions if to postpone those
10 actions would entail risks even before a decision to conduct an
11 investigation has been made, but the public prosecutor with jurisdiction
12 over the case must be informed about all the actions taken."
13 Mr. Eric, it is true, isn't it, that the investigating judge could
14 only take these steps when the case was urgent, for example, on-site
15 inspections and investigations, the risk of death and other such cases?
16 Would I be right in saying that?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Statements taken in this way would then be entered into the
19 criminal investigation file, Kri file?
20 A. Yes, that's quite correct.
21 Q. So it's true, isn't it, that you as an investigating judge, in
22 every case you handled had to inform the public prosecutor with
23 jurisdiction over the case on every step and every little thing you did in
24 relation to the case?
25 A. Yes, that's true.
1 Q. This specific investigation, number 74/94, that's how the document
2 is marked, we are speaking about what is purportedly a statement made by
3 Veselin Sarac. You never, in fact, informed the public prosecutor about
4 this; is that correct?
5 A. Yes, that's quite correct.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Can we please have a number assigned
7 to this excerpt on the Law on Criminal Procedure?
8 Q. But can you please keep the document, Mr. Eric?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: So this document being tendered by the Defence is
10 being admitted and marked as Defence Exhibit D --
11 THE REGISTRAR: 196.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: 196.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: That the entirety of -- the entirety of what has
14 been handed out, if Your Honours please, or is it purely and simply part
15 of it? I've got --
16 JUDGE AGIUS: These are only excerpts from -- I take it these are
17 part from --
18 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes, a bundle of extracts. That's the whole
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I so they. That's the way I understood it.
21 MR. DI FAZIO: I just wanted to be clear about it.
22 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours. I will require
23 this document on perhaps two further occasions.
24 Q. Mr. Eric, the public prosecutor never proposed that you should
25 entrust the -- any agencies of the Ministry of the Interior with these
1 actions pursuant to the Law on Criminal Procedure?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Nor did -- nor was Pavle Jelisavcic ever an authorised official of
4 the Ministry of the Interior, was he?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Mr. Eric, what you told us today was that Pavle Jelisavcic had had
7 an authorisation from the Ministry of Justice of Republika Srpska. I'm
8 putting it to you that even if Jelisavcic had been authorised by anyone at
9 all, including the Government of Republika Srpska, to gather information,
10 evidence, take statements, I'm putting it to you that he could not have
11 done this using a form printed by the Zvornik Municipal Court. Would I
12 not be right in claiming that?
13 A. I said that I'd phoned the Ministry of Justice of Republika Srpska
14 and spoken to someone who was either deputy or assistant minister, the
15 person named Goran Neskovic. This person told me that there was an
16 agreement to the effect that Pavle Jelisavcic was authorised to take these
17 statements. I acted accordingly.
18 Q. But, Mr. Eric, you were a sworn judge of the Zvornik court. You
19 were bound to follow the letter of the law. The government had nothing
20 whatsoever to do with this, did they?
21 A. In the case at hand, I listened to what Goran Neskovic told me.
22 Q. That much is clear. In any case, Mr. Jelisavcic, even if he took
23 those statements, could only have done it under his own authority and
24 under his own name. Do you not agree with that?
25 A. I think this actually is the case, but I at the time received
1 different information from the Ministry of Justice. At the time, as I
3 Q. Very well. I will ask you a different set of questions now. In
4 actual fact, when you signed those statements, you had no idea whether
5 those people had been cautioned to tell the truth and told about the
6 possible consequences of perjury?
7 A. I had no idea about that.
8 Q. In fact, you don't know at all whether these statements were in
9 their entirety suggested to these people?
10 A. I don't know.
11 Q. You don't know if each and every person was interviewed separately
12 and individually as provided for by the Law on Criminal Procedure?
13 A. No, I'm not aware of that either.
14 Q. Mr. Eric, it's true, isn't it, that under the law, there was no
15 way that as a judge in Zvornik you would have been allowed to sign
16 statements made by people you'd never even seen or known that they in fact
18 A. That is true. However, at the time I believed both Pavle
19 Jelisavcic and Goran Neskovic.
20 Q. Mr. Pavle Jelisavcic and his Belgrade commission did not only
21 interview witnesses in this way in the territory of Republika Srpska, did
22 they? They also gathered other kinds of evidence including different
23 kinds of documents, reports of on-site investigations, autopsy reports,
24 photographs, audio and videotapes. Would I be right in saying that?
25 A. I am not aware of that. I only know about these statements. I
1 don't know about anything else that Pavle did, because he never discussed
2 anything with me. If this is the case, it's not something that I can
3 deny, but I have no personal knowledge of this.
4 Q. Let me now remind you of something. Do you agree with me when I
5 say that exhumation and autopsy are two things that would fall under sole
6 jurisdiction of the investigating judge?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Can you now please look at the excerpt, Article 154 on the Law on
9 Criminal Procedure. Have you found it?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. I will read now what Article 2 -- paragraph 2, Article 154 says.
12 This is the Law on Criminal Procedure that was in force in Republika
13 Srpska at the time. It reads: "If the investigative judge is unable to
14 reach the scene of crime immediately, internal affairs agencies upon the
15 approval of the investigating judge may themselves conduct an inquest on
16 the spot and order necessary expert evaluations with the exception of
17 autopsy and exhumation of the corpse."
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. Therefore, we agree that these steps could only be taken by an
20 investigating judge?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. Can you please now look at Article 253 on the Law on Criminal
23 Procedure. I will quote Article 253. It's a brief one. It reads: "When
24 an expert is not carrying out his functions in a professional institution,
25 the examination of the body and the autopsy shall be conducted by one,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 two, or several doctors when necessary, preferably specialised in forensic
2 medicine. An investigating judge shall direct these activities by
3 experts' teams and the findings and opinions of the experts shall be
4 recorded in the minutes."
5 It is true, isn't it, that an autopsy report or an exhumation
6 report would -- could only have been performed or done by an investigating
8 A. Yes, that is true.
9 Q. It would have been under his jurisdiction to describe the
10 condition of the body, any items of clothing or any other objects or
11 implements found next to the body; is that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Under the law, the investigating judge would be bound to gather
14 all these items, all this evidence, which would then constitute part of
15 the criminal report, would it not?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You in fact attended the exhumation of a body that was purportedly
18 the body of Kostavin [phoen] Popovic. Do you remember that?
19 A. Yes, but person in charge of that exhumation was investigating
20 judge Zoran Dimitric, not myself. I merely accompanied them on the
21 occasion, and I did nothing, nothing.
22 Q. It's true, isn't it, that neither you nor Zoran Dimitric ever drew
23 up an exhumation report including a description of the body, items found
24 near the body, persons who identified the body, manner or method of
25 identification or anything like that?
1 A. This could only have been done by this particular judge, Zoran
2 Dimitric. I was not involved with that particular exhumation at all.
3 Q. Mr. Eric, isn't it in fact unusual for two Judges to attend an
4 exhumation, neither of them writing a report which is their jurisdiction
5 and no one else's?
6 A. There's been a misunderstanding between us. I wish to clarify
7 this. I did not attend this exhumation at all, nor was I supposed to
8 write a report. The person in charge of this exhumation was the
9 investigating judge Zoran Dimitric.
10 Q. Would you agree that he never wrote that report on exhumation?
11 A. I can't answer that. I can't claim that. If he didn't, he should
12 have written it.
13 Q. Thank you. Now I will turn to something else. You stated that it
14 was you who personally interviewed certain persons in 1994 pursuant to the
15 request of the prosecutor in relation to the criminal complaint against
16 Naser Oric. You said that these people testified about certain events
17 taking place in villages around Srebrenica and Bratunac. Is that right?
18 A. Pursuant to the requests of the basic public prosecutor in Zvornik
19 and his proposals, it is possible that I interviewed some persons, because
20 in the request to conduct an investigation, the names of these persons
21 were listed down as the names of witnesses, and I was the one who
22 scheduled the investigative hearings.
23 Q. Yes. That's precisely what I mean. In addition to the criminal
24 complaint against Naser Oric or request to conduct an investigation
25 against Naser Oric, would you say that there were other such
1 investigations? I didn't hear your answer. Was it a yes or not? What
2 did you say?
3 A. Are you referring to one case only, one criminal complaint only,
4 or to others as well?
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
6 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. I will repeat my question so that it is more clear. I think that
8 there were several criminal complaints against Muslim perpetrators,
9 including the complaint against Naser Oric. Do you agree?
10 A. Yes, I agree. There were several such complaints.
11 Q. All of these cases had to be registered in the court registration
12 books where criminal investigations were registered or recorded and which
13 is marked as Ki registry book?
14 A. Yes, that's right, and they were registered there.
15 Q. Would you agree with me that all statements that you have seen
16 here today that were shown to you by the prosecutor, including the one of
17 Veselin Sarac, are marked with Kri?
18 A. Yes, I agree.
19 Q. Now, I with like the usher to put another statement before you.
20 This is Prosecutor's Exhibit P406.
21 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] We will give another statement to
22 the usher, the statement of Slavka Matic, because I'm going to put
23 identical questions in relation to these two statements.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: May I just see D406, please? Thank you.
25 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Eric, please take a look at the statement of Stanisa
2 Stevanovic, the first page of that statement, just the first page, and
3 then please take a look at the statement of Slavka Matic, first page
4 again. Do you agree with me that both of these statements, we are now
5 referring to the Bosnian version, not the translation, so the original
6 Bosnian version, Mr. Eric. Do you have it? Do you have it before you?
7 A. I have just one statement in front of me, the statement of Stanisa
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Within the one we have is the one of Slavka Matic.
10 This is not marked as an exhibit, as yet at least. If it is already an
11 exhibit, we must be extremely careful that we don't mix one with the
12 other. What does the witness have? Because obviously the witness has a
13 statement which actually you referred, which we don't have here.
14 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if you remember the
15 testimony of Stanisa Stevanovic, we discussed it for quite a long time,
16 and at one point you asked whether that statement would be tendered as
17 either the Prosecutor's or Defence's exhibit, and the Prosecutor, I think
18 Mr. Di Fazio, asked that it be tendered as the Prosecutor's exhibit, and
19 in accordance with our records, it was assigned number P406.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: We are wasting time. You have not understood me.
21 I'm not saying that the statement of Stanisa Stevanovic does not exist or
22 that it has not been tendered. I am saying that it seems the witness has
23 been given that statement and is being asked questions upon it while we
24 were given a statement which is not yet marked, at least what I have here,
25 a statement I have here, a statement by Slavka Martic.
1 So first we must agree that we are talking about two statements.
2 Do you want to put to the witness two statements or just one statement?
3 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Both of the statements
4 simultaneously, because it's just one topic we're going to deal with.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. This second statement, that is the one of
6 Slavka Matic, has it been given a number already?
7 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours. I'm going to
8 request that.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: So we're on the same wave length. So you may ask
10 the question, and you've got five minutes before we break.
11 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
12 Q. Mr. Eric, I hope you had a chance to take a look at both of the
14 A. I saw just one.
15 Q. Please take a look at the number in the upper-right corner. So
16 please take a look at the statement of Stanisa Stevanovic. Do you agree
17 that it is marked Ki 64/93?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Would you then agree that the statement of Slavka Matic is also
20 marked 69/93?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Would you then agree that these statements were taken in a regular
23 court investigating procedure?
24 A. I couldn't state that with certainty right now because it is
25 possible that there was a mistake here and that Ki was not crossed out and
1 marked Kri. Do you understand what I'm saying?
2 Q. Yes, I do understand that. Now please turn to the last page of
3 both statements. Would you agree that the recording clerk signed both of
4 these statements?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Does that mean anything to you, Mr. Eric?
7 A. However, the recording Aleksandra Cvetkovic, was never an employee
8 of the court in Zvornik.
9 Q. Mr. Eric, is it possible that even when it comes to regular
10 legislation books in court, which are very formal documents in our system,
11 that these statements were recorded there?
12 A. No. They could not have been. If we are dealing with Ki
13 statements, then these statements are recording only in individual case
14 files, and they represent an integral part of that case file.
15 Q. Mr. Eric, is it possible -- was it possible for such mistakes to
16 occur? Is it possible that a wrong registration number was assigned?
17 A. Well, mistakes are possible.
18 Q. I put it to you that something of that nature is not possible, but
19 we will turn to something else.
20 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I think this is a good
21 time for a break.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you want to tender this document?
23 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: So there will be 197, D197.
25 MR. JONES: May I just make a quick point for the English
1 transcript. My colleague referred on a number of occasions to the -- to
2 the purported statement of Veselin Sarac and on one occasion it was
3 translated as "what ought to be the statement of Veselin Sarac," on
4 another occasion "as what should be the statement of Veselin Sarac." I'm
5 looking at page 47 of the transcript. In fact the correct interpretation
6 should be: "What is purportedly the statement of Veselin Sarac." And
7 certainly that's our position. It's not the statement of Sarac, it's only
8 purportedly his statement.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Point taken. We'll have a 25-minute break starting
10 from now.
11 --- Recess taken at 5.45 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 6.17 p.m.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's continue and finish, please, Madam Vidovic.
14 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I decided to skip
15 putting many of the questions I had initially planned, and instead of that
16 will put only one more or two questions.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: I appreciate that, Madam Vidovic. Thank you.
18 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Mr. Eric, you were shown the decision to conduct an investigation
20 against Naser Oric and a number of other people, number Ki 81/93. This is
21 OTP Exhibit P492. Do you remember seeing this decision and commenting
22 upon it?
23 A. Yes, I remember that.
24 Q. You explained that an investigation was conducted against Naser
25 Oric for a war crime against civilian population under the Criminal Code
1 of 142 of Republika Srpska, which is identical to the Article 142 of the
2 Criminal Code of the former Yugoslavia.
3 A. Yes, that's right. This law was adopted in Republika Srpska.
4 Q. Would you agree with me that that was one of the most serious
5 crimes in our criminal legislation?
6 A. Yes, you are right.
7 Q. And the law prescribed the most severe punishment for this crime.
8 A. Yes, that's right.
9 Q. Would you agree with me that in a case such as this, a suspect was
10 entitled to have Defence counsel to represent him and also other suspects
11 in this case, that this was a mandatory provision, meaning that there
12 ought to have been a Defence counsel appointed?
13 A. Yes, I agree with you. However, he was not interviewed, and
14 that's why no Defence counsel was appointed. However, you are right. In
15 such cases, this is a mandatory provision that there be a Defence counsel.
16 Q. Would you agree with me that in a case such as this one, no steps
17 should have been taken without the presence of Defence counsel?
18 A. Yes, I agree with you.
19 Q. Would you agree with me that Defence counsel was never appointed
20 to represent Naser Oric or anybody else in this case in the course of this
22 A. Yes, I agree with you. No Defence counsel was ever appointed.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MS. VIDOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Thank you, Madam Vidovic.
2 Is there re-examination?
3 MR. DI FAZIO: No, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Judge Brydensholt from Denmark would like to put a
5 question to you, sir.
6 Questioned by the Court:
7 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Regarding this decision which has just been
8 discussed, which ended up deciding that all the 27 suspects should be put
9 on pre-trial detention or arrest. Was there at all any examination of
10 witnesses or any investigation going on before that decision was taken or
11 was it just taken when the accusations were presented to you?
12 A. This decision was adopted pursuant to the request by the
13 prosecutor. There were no interviews before this decision was taken. No
14 interviews were conducted by the court.
15 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Thank you.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: I have a very simple question, and again it's -- you
17 told me earlier on -- you told us earlier on that when Pavle Jelisavcic
18 came to your office, Gorica Trajkovic was with him.
19 A. Yes.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: And Pavle gave you all these statements for you to
22 A. Yes.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: And you signed them.
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: And you knew at the time, I'm sure, that according
1 to the law, they should have also been signed by the recording clerk.
2 A. Yes, I knew that, but I didn't pay attention to that.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: If she was present there with this Pavle Jelisavcic,
4 why didn't you ask her to sign?
5 A. Believe me, I simply failed to bear that in mind at the time. The
6 established practice is not that you should remind the recording clerk to
7 sign the record of a statement. It is a recording clerk's duty to do it
8 without being prompted.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: And the last question: This Pavle, what was his
10 background? Was he a policeman? Was he a lawyer? What was his
11 experience, I mean, and occupation? Do you know? Did you inquire?
12 A. He told me that he was there on behalf of the committee, and he
13 was a lawyer by profession. That was what he told me.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Judge Eser.
15 JUDGE ESER: I have a question with regard to the timing of these
16 documents. The decision on contacting the investigation dates of January
17 19, 1994, and these investigations made by this Pavle date from August or
18 December 1994. Now, is there a relation between your decision on
19 conducting the investigation and that later on this investigation was
20 conducted by Pavle? Yes. I don't remember now, but you know whom we are
21 talking about.
22 A. No, there is no relation whatsoever.
23 JUDGE ESER: Last question: In the explanation of your decision
24 at the end it would say: "From the information contained in the document,
25 there is reasonable suspicion that the accused, and accomplices, committed
1 the criminal act..."
2 Now, if you go through this decision there are only events
3 described but it's difficult to see any evidence put forward to see these
4 allegations. Now, what is meant by "information contained in the document
5 as basis for this decision."
6 A. This is a perfectly common sentence, very common phrasing in
7 investigations. You usually say that there are reasonable grounds to
8 suspect, but this does not in itself mean that anything yet has been
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Judge Brydensholt.
11 JUDGE BRYDENSHOLT: Not that it has not been proven, but do you
12 remember, was there at all any documentation presented to you? You told
13 me earlier that you didn't hear any evidence or made any investigation
14 yourself, but were you at all presented by any documents which seemed to
15 indicate to indicate that the accused was guilty?
16 A. Aside from the criminal complaint, there were certain interviews,
17 and then there was a request to conduct an investigation, a request made
18 by the prosecutor. It was based on those documents, as was normally the
19 case, that an investigation was initiated. At a later stage during the
20 proceedings, the guilt of the accused was to be proven.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. That brings us to the end of your testimony,
22 Mr. Eric. On behalf of Judge Brydensholt from Denmark, Judge Eser from
23 Germany and myself, my name by the way is Judge Carmel Agius and I come
24 from Malta, I wish to thank you for having to accepted to come over and
25 give testimony in this case. I know it couldn't have been a pleasant
1 experience for you, but I wish to thank you. And on behalf of the
2 Tribunal, I want to assure you that you will receive all the assistance
3 you require to facilitate your return back home.
4 I would like to say that the two parties Prosecution and Defence
5 did their utmost to finish with your testimony today and not keep you here
6 for the weekend because tomorrow we will not be sitting. We have other
7 business to transact, and that would have meant you staying over the
8 entire weekend and resuming on Monday. So I wish to express my gratitude
9 to both Mr. Di Fazio and Madam Vidovic for having cooperated and made it
10 easier for the witness to return, made it possible for the witness to
11 return back home early.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: On behalf of everyone present here, I also wish you
14 a safe journey back home.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 [The witness withdrew]
17 JUDGE AGIUS: So we will -- tomorrow, as you know, no sitting. I
18 will have a long sitting tomorrow, but not you.
19 We will then reconvene on Monday. So Monday's sitting will be
20 Courtroom II in the afternoon. Thank you. Have a nice evening.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.32 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Monday, the 14th day of
23 February, 2005, at 9.00 a.m.