1 Wednesday, 3 December 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 8.32 a.m.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you please
7 call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning to
9 everyone in and around the courtroom.
10 This is case number IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus
11 Vojislav Seselj.
12 Thank you, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
14 This is Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008, and I welcome our witness,
15 first and foremost; and then I also welcome the representatives of
16 the OTP, Mr. Seselj, and everyone helping us.
17 Witness, could you please give me your name, surname, and date of
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sulejman Tihic, the 26th of
20 November, 1951.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. You are born
22 November 26th, 1951
23 Can you tell me, what is your occupation at the moment.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, now I am the deputy speaker
25 of the Chamber of Nations of the Parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
1 I'm president of the Party of Democratic Action.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you already testified in
3 this court; and if so, can you tell us which case, if you remember?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I testified several times:
5 The first time in Mr. Tadic's case; the second time in the case against
6 Blagoje Simic, or, rather, the Samac group; and the third time in the
7 case against Slobodan Milosevic.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Were you testifying for the
9 Prosecution or the Defence in these three cases?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A Prosecution witness.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Could you please
12 read the solemn declaration.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
14 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 WITNESS: SULEJMAN TIHIC
16 [The witness answered through interpreter]
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may sit down.
18 Let me give you some details. I'm sure they won't surprise you,
19 since you've already testified a number of times in this Tribunal, over
20 several days, so you know exactly how things happen here.
21 You will be asked questions by the representatives of the OTP,
22 and you must answer these questions. These questions will be put to you
23 based on the statement that you made at the OTP, and I believe that the
24 OTP will also submit some documents to you. And during your proofing
25 session yesterday with the Prosecution, you must have looked through a
1 number of documents also.
2 Then after this first phase, Mr. Seselj, the accused in these
3 proceedings, will also put questions to you, and that will be the
4 cross-examination. Mr. Seselj, being self-represented, as the
5 late-Milosevic did, he will be directly asking questions to you.
6 The three Judges on the Bench in front of you will also be asking
7 questions in order to shed light on a number of items or to bridge some
8 gaps that they may discover in some events.
9 Try to be extremely brief and very concise in your answers. But
10 given your background, I'm absolutely sure, yes, you will be very
11 concise. If you don't understand a question, just ask the person putting
12 the question to you to reformulate it, even if it's a Judge. Sometimes
13 Judges don't formulate their questions extremely well, so that can
14 happen, so just ask for reformulation.
15 We have 20-minute breaks every hour and a half; but if you feel
16 ill at ease and you want a break, just raise your hand and we'll allow
17 you a break.
18 The Prosecution has two hours for its examination-in-chief,
19 Mr. Seselj has two hours for the cross-examination, so it's almost sure
20 that we'll have to continue tomorrow. I'm sure that you made the
21 necessary arrangements so that you could stay until tomorrow.
22 So in a nutshell, that's how the hearing is going to occur, and I
23 hope it will run smoothly.
24 I welcome our representative of the OTP. He's ready, he's got
25 his lectern.
1 So now, Mr. Mussemeyer, you have the floor.
2 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Good morning to everyone in the courtroom.
3 I want to start directly with the examination-in-chief.
4 Examination by Mr. Mussemeyer:
5 Q. So, Mr. Tihic, could you describe for us your professional
6 background. Did you study; and if so, when and where? What was your
7 occupation later on?
8 A. I completed elementary and secondary school in Bosanski Samac. I
9 graduated from law school at the University of Sarajevo
10 the Bar exam, I was elected judge at the municipal court at Bosanski
11 Samac. After that, I was prosecutor for Madrica, Bosanski Samac, and
12 Odzak. After that, I worked as a lawyer for nine years.
13 After the aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina, for a while I
14 worked at the embassy in Bonn
15 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After that, I was vice-president of the
16 SDA. I won in the election of 2002, and I was elected a member of the
17 Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina. After that, I held the office of
18 deputy speaker and speaker of the Chamber of Nations of the Parliament of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I am the president of the Party of Democratic
20 Action, the SDA, the largest party in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I have been
21 that since 2001.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Tihic. Could you please explain us if you have
23 already been engaged in politics before the outbreak of the conflict; and
24 if so, in which party?
25 A. At that time -- or, rather, before the democratic changes, I was,
1 like many others, a member of the League of Communists, just an ordinary
2 member. At the same time, I was socially active by being president of
3 the Local Commune in Samac, also president of the Firefighting
4 Association of Bosanski Samac. Before the first democratic elections, I
5 joined the Party of Democratic Action. I was elected a member -- a
6 councilman of the Assembly of Municipality of Bosanski Samac. After
7 that, I elected the president of the Municipal Organisation of Bosanski
8 Samac, and a member of the main board of the SDA party for all of
10 What happened afterwards is what I've already told you about.
11 Q. Did you also have a position in the Doboj region?
12 A. I was vice-president of the Regional Board of the SDA for the
13 region of Doboj.
14 Q. Given your position and your function today, I think you are in a
15 position to tell us a bit more about the ethnic composition of Bosnia
17 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. Registrar, could you please call up Exhibit
18 number 140 on the Exhibit list.
19 Q. And, Mr. Tihic, I would like you to have a look on this document,
20 when it shows up, and comment on it. Thank you.
21 A. Well, yes. This is a well-known map. It tentatively reflects
22 the ethnic structure of the population of Bosnia-Herzegovina; although,
23 perhaps, if somebody is totally unfamiliar with the facts, it might seem
24 that Bosnia-Herzegovina is divided along national or ethnic lines.
25 However, that is not the case.
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina -- or, rather, the ethnic structure of its
2 population is such that it is mixed. Where you see the colour green
3 here, denoting the Bosniak Muslims, and the colour red, depicting the
4 Serbs, and blue, Croats, there were still representatives of many other
5 ethnic groups or other nations in those areas. There are very few
6 municipalities where one particular ethnic group dominated over the
8 If we look at this map, it is a fact that there are some small
9 deviations; for example, look at Banja Luka. Banja Luka is depicted as
10 if its population is -- or, rather, that it's population was 50 per cent
11 Serb in 1991. Serbs, Bosniaks, and Croats were there roughly in equal
12 numbers, around 30 per cent. Perhaps there could have been a bit more
13 Croats or a bit more Serbs, but I'm not sure about that. At any rate,
14 that's what it was like, and it was similar in other towns. Because in
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, for centuries in all towns in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
16 there was a coexistence between Catholic churches and mosques, and
17 Orthodox churches, and synagogues. The population looked like a leopard
18 skin, as it were. It wasn't like this, just red, just blue, just green.
19 It was all mixed, all of it was mixed, up until the aggression against
21 Q. But as this map is based on the population census of 1991, could
22 you say if the colours are correct, as they reflect the regions?
23 A. Well, roughly, yes. I mentioned Banja Luka a moment ago. I
24 don't think that colour is not exactly right. I don't think it was
25 50 per cent Serb. Possibly there was a Serb majority, but not around
1 50 per cent.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. The Prosecution had to
3 give us a survey of the population in accordance with the census of 1991,
4 not to put this map here and to have the witness speculate. The fact
5 that he's asking the witness to speculate is -- means there is no
6 probative value involved in this whatsoever. We have to look at the
7 results of the census for Banja Luka and then to see exactly what the
8 figures were.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I heard what you were
10 saying, and it seems that the chart we have on the screen reflects the
11 1991 census, but the criteria used is a 50 per cent majority. You told
12 us, and it was quite interesting, you told us that according to you, the
13 colours don't really reflect the fact that in some areas, there were
14 minorities; and as you said, it would be more accurate to see a leopard
15 skin, in your words.
16 So, according to you, don't you think that such a map should have
17 different colours that could stress the ethnic majorities?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that that should have been
19 done from the very outset. You know, in addition to having a dominant
20 colour, other colours should be represented on a particular surface,
21 other ethnic groups, other national groups, because that would reflect
22 the true situation. In this way, there was this politicization, as if
23 some areas were Serb, Croat or Bosniak, which was not a good thing.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. All
25 this is on the record.
1 Now please continue, Mr. Mussemeyer.
2 MR. MUSSEMEYER: The intention of the Prosecution is to use this
3 map to give a rough overview to assist the Judges in their findings later
4 on, so this is the reason I would ask to tender this document into
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's give it a number.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the document shall be given Exhibit
9 number P669. Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor, on this map, I
11 see that this map was drafted by the OTP, by the Demographics Unit of
12 the OTP.
13 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Yes. As far as I know, it's written in the
14 footnote, and it is based on the results of the census of 1991, as I
15 already said.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Continue.
17 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. Registrar, I would like to continue with the
18 next map. This is a map for Bosanski Samac. It has the 65 ter
19 number 2579. Could you please call it on the monitor.
20 Q. And, Mr. Tihic, I would like you to look at this map and comment
21 on this.
22 A. All right. Well, this is a map of the Posavina region; that is
23 to say, a group of municipalities, so it's not only the municipality of
24 Bosanski Samac. The municipality of Bosanski Samac is here in the middle
25 and is shown in that way.
1 Q. Would you show us if Sagrina [phoen], for example --
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. Why are some names
3 blackened out in this map? We see that names of many places have simply
4 been redacted, deleted.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor, there are black
6 lines and it looks like some names have been crossed out, probably for a
7 reason. Could you explain?
8 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I think the reason is that these municipalities
9 or towns are not important for this case. All the municipalities or
10 little villages around Bosanski Samac are mentioned here just to give a
11 rough overview to the Judges.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, what is redacted
13 here is also a town that is in Bosanski Samac, and that is why this
14 explanation provided by the Prosecutor is not a truthful one. You see
15 here, within the municipality of Bosanski Samac, a town or a village was
16 blackened. I insist that the Prosecution give us a clean map without any
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Give us the name of the
19 municipality that was crossed out. Which one was omitted, Mr. Seselj?
20 Can you help us?
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I did not say that a municipality
22 was omitted. We have the region of Posavina here on this map. That's
23 what it was called. I can't remember now exactly. We see there the
24 municipality of Bosanski Samac and surrounding municipalities, and then
25 we see two, four, six, seven names of towns and villages that were
1 blackened out by a magic marker. This is a mockery of the Prosecution
2 case. And in Bosanski Samac, one particular name was redacted, too.
3 Why? That is impermissible.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Prosecutor, would you have
5 a blank map without anything crossed out?
6 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I have a map. I must only search it. Just give
7 me a second. I think it's the map 2874 on the exhibit list, but I did
8 not check this.
9 But the reason for blackening out is that Bosanski Samac is a
10 so-called removed municipality where the Prosecution is allowed only to
11 lead pattern evidence, so we concentrated on the locations which are
12 important for the indictment to show pattern evidence. But if the Judges
13 and the accused insist, we have nothing to hide to show you the exact map
14 of this region.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Show us another map, please,
16 with unredacted cities.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]...
18 by the Prosecutor makes even less sense than the previous one.
19 Bosanski Brod is still on the map, too, the utmost west, and then Dervent
20 and so on. He did not provide an explanation as to why the names of some
21 towns and villages close to Bosanski Samac and within the municipality of
22 Bosanski Samac itself were crossed out with a magic marker. I don't
23 think that you can accept nonsensical explanations provided by the
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now we have a new map.
1 Mr. Prosecutor, we have a new map. Nothing is crossed out.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And now I observe, Mr. President,
3 that Crkvina was redacted on the previous map. I could not tell a few
4 moments ago; I could not know everything by heart. Now I see that
5 Crkvina was redacted, and Crkvina is mentioned in Mr. Tihic's statement.
6 Why did the Prosecution cross this out? Are they trying to ambush me or
7 anyone else in this way? Look, Crkvina is here in the center of this
8 map, and it was deleted in the previous map.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mussemeyer, we have a map
10 with all municipalities with red dots. Fine. Given the objections, do
11 you still want to work with the first map, or can you work with the
12 second one?
13 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I have nothing against using the second map.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. Use the
15 second, then.
16 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
17 Q. Mr. Tihic, could you have a look on this and comment on this map?
18 A. This is a map of Bosanski Samac, and we see here the contours of
19 the neighbouring municipalities. We have all the villages here that were
20 referred to. We have the village of Crkvina
21 occurred. I don't know what else you would be interested in. I can
22 explain all of this, of course. I know the territory of Samac
23 I practiced law there, and I went to all these different villages and I
24 socialised with people. I went hunting and so on.
25 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Tihic, just one little thing for
1 clarification on the map. It looks as if the area north of the river is
2 just blank, and my question to you is: Did the village of Bosanski Samac
3 stretch over to the other side of the river?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Up here is the Sava River
5 other side of the Sava River
6 another village on the other side called Slavonski Samac.
7 Administratively and politically, it was not linked to Bosanski Samac.
8 It belonged to Croatia
9 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Tihic, this map is labelled
11 "Bosanski Samac." I would like to know whether the entire green area
12 corresponds to the administrative municipality of Bosanski Samac
13 whether the Bosanski Samac municipality is only the red dot, or the
14 yellow area.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The colour yellow denotes the town
16 only; whereas, the municipality of Bosanski Samac is all the rest, and
17 these red dots are different villages and local communes in the
18 municipality of Bosanski Samac.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you.
20 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
21 Q. Mr. Tihic, now I want to come to the situation before the
22 outbreak of the war. Can you please roughly describe to us the ethnic
23 distribution and the different ethnicities living in Bosanski Samac?
24 A. In the municipality of Bosanski Samac, the ethnic composition was
25 approximately as follows: 44 per cent were Croats, 42 per cent were
1 Serbs, about 7 per cent were Bosniaks, and then the rest were Yugoslavs
2 and others. In the town of Bosanski Samac itself, the ethnic composition
3 was somewhat different because the Bosniaks were predominant there, and
4 then Serbs, and then Croats. The villages were mostly mono-ethnic, and
5 the town had a mixed population.
6 Q. Can you tell us how was the relationship between these different
7 ethnicities before the outbreak of the conflict?
8 A. In Bosanski Samac, inter-ethnic relations were always good. We
9 lived together. We visited each other when religious holidays occurred
10 in any one of the communities. I regularly went to Christmas
11 celebrations, patron saints celebrations; and then on the occasion of
12 Bajram, others would come to see me. The president of the SDS and the
13 president of the HDZ visited me on the 6th of April for the Bajram
14 holiday, and Bosanski Samac was attacked only on the 17th of April.
15 According to what people told us as to what happened during the
16 Second World War, in Bosanski Samac, the relations that prevailed were
17 rather good as opposed to other areas. We lived together, we socialised.
18 We respected one another. I'm convinced that not only in Bosanski Samac,
19 but primarily in Bosanski Samac and throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina, there
20 never would have been a conflict between the Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks
21 had there not been an intervention from the outside. That's the way it
22 was through history, as an effect of world wars, regional conflicts, or
23 direct interference from neighbouring countries.
24 Even after this war, I've been going to Bosanski Samac very
25 often. My child lives in Bosanski Samac, my grandchildren live in
1 Bosanski Samac. I see that this tolerance and coexistence is being
2 restored, and I hope that that will be the case in the future as well.
3 Q. Mr. Tihic, obviously there existed also a council of security in
4 Bosanski Samac. Can you confirm this, and who was the member, and what
5 was the goal of this council?
6 A. Well, in all the municipalities throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina,
7 and I do believe in other republics as well, there were security councils
8 and councils for defence. These were the two most important bodies of
9 every assembly, and it was made up mostly of respected citizens,
10 politicians of the day. They discussed security situations at their
11 meetings prior to the events; crime, public law and order, things like
12 that; if there was some internal enemy or external enemy as was referred
13 to at those times.
14 And, mostly, at the period that we're discussing, we dealt with
15 trying to avoid an inter-ethnic clash and conflict. We tried to solve
16 various situations of various incidents and see that rumours weren't
17 spread about or fears, to allay fears, and things like that. We tried to
18 convince people that the situation should remain calm and conflict should
19 be avoided. That was our goal. But nobody asked us much. Had people
20 asked us in Samac, I'm quite sure that no conflict would have taken
21 place. It all came from outside.
22 Q. At the beginning of the 1990s, obviously political parties have
23 been founded. Can you tell us if this is true, and which parties were
25 A. Well, that was a time of the first multi-party democratic
1 elections, as we referred to them at that time. Parties were set up as
2 branches or departments of the parties that had already been formed at a
3 republican level -- or, rather, at the level of the state. So in
4 addition to the previous League of Communists that existed, the Serbian
5 Democratic Party was set up, and the Party of Democratic Action, the
6 Croatian Democratic Union
7 on and so forth. The HDZ, SDS
8 ethnic parties, parties of those particular nations and ethnicities.
9 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I have a short question for you,
11 You are saying that everything came from outside. What do you
12 mean by that? When you say "from outside," as opposed to the former
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Externally in relation to
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mostly, it came from Belgrade, from the Serb side,
17 that is; the JNA or centres of that kind.
18 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
20 Q. What was the relationship between the parties, and did they have
21 a common goal?
22 A. At the beginning, relations were quite proper, good relations,
23 and the aim was to replace the communists, to seize power from the
24 communists, and to resolve certain ethnic questions along the way.
25 However, as time passed and as the situation throughout Yugoslavia
1 deteriorated, we began discussing general questions more and discuss
2 local questions less, and the differences at a general level between the
3 parties, and these were reflected at a local level as well.
4 We went further and further into the realm of division, and
5 differences came to the fore. The Serb side wanted to retain Yugoslavia
6 at all costs, the kind of Yugoslavia
7 character with a strong centralised power and authority. The SDA and
8 the HDZ were in favour of a different kind of Yugoslavia. The HDZ was in
9 favour of a greater degree of independence and autonomy and full
10 independence ultimately. The SDA wanted to retain Yugoslavia as a form
11 of confederation or federation or staggered confederation.
12 We were conscious of the fact that Bosniaks, as a nation and as
13 an ethnicity, did not have the strength and power to confront the other
14 side, and that they would be the biggest victims. President Izetbegovic
15 did all he could took retain Yugoslavia
16 kind from taking place. So together with the President Gregoric of the
18 to preserve Yugoslavia
19 Q. Has there also been a TO unit in Bosanski Samac?
20 A. In the former Yugoslavia
21 rather, the JNA, you have the system of territorial defence; and, for the
22 most part, that system came under the power and authority of the
23 republics. Each municipality had its own Territorial Defence Staff, and
24 then there was the Territorial Defence Staff in the republic. There was
25 one in Samac and one in Sarajevo
1 staffs had their units, they had their weapons. At sometime, I think it
2 was in 1990, that pursuant to a decision by the JNA or some state organ,
3 the weapons were taken away from the Territorial Defence and moved to JNA
4 depots and warehouses.
5 Q. Has there been founded a special unit in Bosanski Samac at that
7 A. Well, the Territorial Defence Staff was formed, but it wasn't
8 really working. Then the Republican Staff of Territorial Defence
9 appointed a new commander and a new chief, Bozanovic Marko, and I think
10 Alija Fitozovic was the second man. They started putting the documents
11 in order, bringing data and information up to date, and then Samac was on
12 the agenda. But, actually, it never -- it was never operational in the
13 proper sense.
14 Q. As far as I'm informed, there was founded a unit which got a
15 number. Do you remember this?
16 A. Yes, that's right. There was a unit that was established by the
17 JNA. I was in that unit -- or, rather, a garrison of the JNA from Brcko
18 was set up, and it was called the 4th Detachment, I think, of the
19 17th Tactical Group, something like that. That unit numbered about 400
20 men, mostly Serbs, but there were Bosniaks and Croats among them, too.
21 They were issued quite a lot of weapons, heavy weapons, well, for that
22 time, and they had automatic rifles, machine-guns, cannons, hand-held
23 launchers and so on.
24 This gave rise to a lot of unrest in the town, and they were
25 under the direct command of the JNA, that detachment, I mean; although,
1 they were made up of civilians, and civilians of Bosanski Samac. A lot
2 of those civilians had been in the army previously, or in the police
3 force, or in the security services generally. So the detachment was
4 formed of their family members, too, close relations, and so on and so
6 Q. What reason was given to found this 4th Detachment?
7 A. Well, the reason that was publicly bandied about was that the
8 detachment was there to prevent inter-ethnic clashes and to eliminate any
9 attempts that might be made on the part of the paramilitaries to attack
10 Bosanski Samac, including certain units from Croatia which could possibly
11 attack Bosanski Samac. That was what the public was told, so that some
12 people, believing that to be true, joined up, joined the detachment,
13 people who believed that Yugoslavia
14 in the Yugoslav People's Army as being a joint army of all the peoples
15 and citizens of the country.
16 However, in reality, things were quite different. That
17 detachment, and we found that to be true when the attack on
18 Bosanski Samac was launched, was to prolong the politics and policies of
20 occupation of Bosanski Samac, in actual fact.
21 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Thank you, Mr. Tihic.
22 Mr. Registrar, I would like to show to the witness now the
23 document with the number 996, 65 ter number 996. This is a decision on
24 the establishment of the Serb municipality of Bosanski Samac.
25 Q. And when it shows up, I would like, Mr. Tihic, you to read until
1 the first sentence of paragraph 2 -- of Article 2. Excuse me.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mussemeyer, there must be a
3 mistake in the transcript. The number indicated is 966 and not 996.
4 MR. MUSSEMEYER: It's true. It was vice versa; it's 996.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It depends how you read it, of
6 course. 996. Fine.
7 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
8 Q. Mr. Tihic, could you please read until the first sentence of
9 Article 2?
10 A. Yes, I can. You want the first sentence:
11 "On the basis of Article 256 of the [indiscernible] BiH and from
12 the area of Bosanski Samac, Gradacac, Orasje, and Odzak, which was
13 expressed at the referendum held on the 9th and 10th of November, 1991,
14 and pursuant to the decision on the establishment of the Serbian Republic
15 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the 29th of February, 1992
16 the Serbian People adopted the decision on the establishment of the
17 Serbian municipality of Bosanski Samac and the Serbian municipality of
18 Pelagicevo, in the process of being established.
19 "Article 1. The Serbian municipalities of Bosanski Samac and
20 Pelagicevo shall be established. The seat of the municipality shall be
21 in Bosanski Samac."
22 Q. And the first sentence of Article 2, please, also.
23 A. "The Serbian municipalities of Bosanski Samac and Pelagicevo
24 shall comprise the following settlements: Bosanski Samac ..." --
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Tihic. I wanted to stop here. Do you know this
1 decision, and what is your comment about this?
2 A. Yes. I am aware of that decision, and my comment is that the
3 decision is contrary to the Constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina; the
4 Socialist Republic
5 bypassing the regular procedure on the establishment of municipalities,
6 because as you can see here, they sat down and decided that, and it was
7 only the deputies of the Serbian Democratic Party; that is to say, one
8 party made this decision, plus some other deputies from some other
9 parties that wanted to come.
10 But we don't see any deputies from Croatia, or other Bosniaks, or
11 other ethnic group, for that matter. So a decision of that kind was not
12 legally valid. It was just a contribution to the clashes and divisions.
13 And as you can see here, they changed the names -- place names, and added
14 Serbian in front: "Serbian Gradacac," "Srpski" -- "Srpska Korenica,"
15 "Srpska Ledenica," and so on and so forth, "Srpska Slenje [phoen],"
17 None of these places existed with the word "Srpski," "Serbian,"
18 in front, so there was no -- this could not be done lawfully. They
19 encroached upon our territory, some local communities which were not
20 exclusively made up of a Serb population.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, for once, we have a
22 witness who's special insofar as you are a prominent political
23 figurehead. You were a lawyer, you were a judge, and you were a
24 prosecutor. So we have a lawyer in front of us.
25 It hasn't escaped me that in this document, some municipalities
1 were changed and the word "Serbian" was added on to them. But in looking
2 at this text, we see that there is a special mention of Article 258 of
3 the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I
4 don't have the constitutional text before me, but what does this
5 Article 258 actually state?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I assume that that was the legal
7 basis for establishing the municipalities; however, that was just a
8 general legal premise, allowing for the formation of municipalities. And
9 from those general legal conditions, you have the law on the territorial
10 organisation of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which provides for
11 the exact conditions according to which individual municipalities may be
12 set up. So this is just a general condition, and then the law goes on
13 and stipulates the conditions and procedures under which this is to be
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. I think that the
16 Prosecutor ought to show us this Article 258 of the Constitution to avoid
17 speculation and suppositions on the part of the witness, and the
18 Prosecution does possess the entire Constitution of the Republic of
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The Trial Chamber can also look
21 up Article 258, and I'm sure our legal officer is currently doing this.
22 Irrespective of this, Witness, it seems that in this text, there
23 is something unprecedented here, i.e., there is the Socialist Republic
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina which had a legal existence. But on the 29th of
25 February, the Serb Republic
1 even though the referendum had taken place, as the text states, on the
2 9th and 10th of November, 1991. There had also been the declaration of
3 independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4 Since you are a lawyer, according to you, which document should
5 prevail in this matter? From what I understood, it was the Constitution
6 of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. So please tell us, what is
7 the date?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First of all, I want to say that
9 this referendum that is referred to in the preamble of this decision was
10 an unlawful referendum which was held on the 9th and 10th of November,
11 1991, and that the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that decision,
12 that it was the Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina who declared
13 it null and void. So that decision was not in keeping with the
14 Constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina either.
15 So the whole legal premise upon which this preamble is based was
16 declared null and void by the Constitutional Court, and the decision was
17 declared null and void. Now, the referendum on Bosnia's independence was
18 on the 21st of February and the 1st of March, 1992, and that is something
19 quite different and is not mentioned in this decision.
20 Otherwise, no laws at the time or any laws now in
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina allowed for municipalities to have any ethnic
22 epithets, not Serbian, not Bosniak, not Croatian, so all these names that
23 were with the epithet Serbians, Serbian Sarajevo, Serbian et cetera,
24 et cetera, all these places, and Constitutional Court of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina overthrew and declared null and void because they were
1 deemed to be contrary to the Human Rights Declaration. And even today in
2 Bosnia and Herzegovina, you can't name a place after an ethnic group,
3 because that is contrary to the Constitution and the European Convention
4 on Human Rights and Freedoms as well.
5 So this decision is completely unlawful, completely illegal.
6 It's just a group of people gathered together, proclaiming these
7 municipalities and the Republic of the Serbian people. This was quite
8 illegal, quite unlawful, and as I said, the Constitutional Court of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina overthrew it.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
11 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
12 Q. Mr. Witness, could you please read also Article 8 of this
14 A. "The official-som [as interpreted] workers and workers with
15 special authority and workers in the organs of administration,
16 organisations, institutions and funds, shall retain ..."
17 Can you show the bottom of that?
18 "... senior officials, management, and employees with special
19 authority and employees of Serbian nationality in the administrative
20 bodies, organisations, institutions, and funds, shall retain their posts,
21 rights, and duties until the definitive distribution of assets has been
22 determined ," which means that it speaks about Serbs again.
23 Decisions like that were passed throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina,
24 and all the members of other nations, other ethnic groups, that worked as
25 employees, or in management, or whatever, remained without a job. They
1 were dismissed. The only people retained were representatives of the
2 Serbian people, and that is proof yet again of just how far this decision
3 was unlawful, because this is what they wrote.
4 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. President, I would like to move this
5 document into evidence.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's give this document an
7 exhibit number, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be given
9 Exhibit number P670. Thank you, Your Honours.
10 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
11 Q. Mr. Tihic, I would like to go now to the situation before the
12 attack on Bosanski Samac. Had there been rumours spread in the village;
13 and if so, what kind of rumours?
14 A. I'll tell you about the situation in town, and I assume it was
15 similar in the villages. But rumours did go round about an attack and
16 the fact that Bosanski Samac, as a municipality and a town, would be
17 taken over. The rumours were different, there were different rumours
18 going around. They ranged from people saying that units of the Serbian
19 Territorial Defence and JNA would come and take control of Samac; to the
20 other end, that Croatian units that were stationed in Slavonski Samac
21 would cross the river and take control of Bosanski Samac. The Serbs were
22 afraid that this might be done from units -- by units from Croatia
23 taking into account the experience of Bosanski Brod.
24 So those were their fears, and those were the information -- that
25 was the information they had. Those were those rumours. We were afraid
1 of both. We didn't want anybody to take control of Bosanski Samac, not
2 the Croatian units, or the Serb units, or the JNA. We wanted
3 Bosanski Samac to remain Bosnian and not belong to one ethnicity, neither
4 the Serb nor Croatian ethnicity.
5 But as I said, these rumours were very frequent, and we became
6 accustomed to them. There were all kinds of rumours going around, and we
7 thought nobody would be mad enough to attack and occupy Samac because
8 that would mean war, that would mean suffering and casualties. But we
9 got so used to hearing those rumours that we didn't attach the importance
10 that we ought to have attached to them. We turned a blind eye.
11 Q. Did you undertake something to organise a defence?
12 A. Well, it was like this, and I'm now speaking as a Bosniak: We
13 were in the minority there in Bosanski Samac, about 7 per cent of us; and
14 rumours kept reaching us that the Serbs were arming themselves, that the
15 JNA had distributed weapons to them, as indeed it had, and that the
16 Croatians were being armed through Croatia
17 What were we Muslim Bosniaks going to do? We'll be the victims
18 in all of this. Then we started thinking about what we could to. We
19 started organising ourselves, conscious of the fact that any organisation
20 on our part would not be on a level with what the other ethnicities were
21 doing, because they were far more numerous. I gave you the percentages
22 earlier on; 45 per cent Croats, 42 per cent Serbs, and 7 per cent of
23 Bosniaks. The Croats, in a way, relied on Croatia; the Serbs relied on
24 the JNA; and what could we Bosniaks do, faced with a situation like that?
25 But, anyway, we organised some guards that we set up at the
1 entrance to Bosanski Samac to prevent any paramilitary units entering and
2 causing mayhem, killing the population, and things like that.
3 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. Registrar, I would like to have the document
4 under 65 ter number 1117 to be shown on the monitor.
5 Q. And, Mr. Tihic, when you see this document, could you please tell
6 us what it is about?
7 A. This is a letter or a document sent to the Municipal Staff of the
8 Territorial Defence; and, along with it, there was a list of all those
9 who wished to be included into the defence of Bosanski Samac, because we,
10 as Bosniaks, thought it was a good idea for the Territorial Defence Staff
11 to function and that it should be a legal institution, without setting up
12 any party, armies, or ethnic armies, or anything like that.
13 I think you must have the list attached to this letter with the
14 names of people who were ready to join the Territorial Defence Staff and
15 act for it in Bosanski Samac. I think there might have been about 100
16 names on the list.
17 MR. MUSSEMEYER: They are on the following pages, just for the
18 information of the Judges. There you can see a list with many names.
19 Mr. President, I would like to have this document moved into
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I do believe that this list should
22 be shown. It is very important for the public, not just to be tendered
23 into evidence. Let it be shown to the public that the list contains
24 exclusively Muslim names.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, this was the question I
1 was going to put to you, if Mr. Seselj hadn't taken the floor.
2 While you were answering the Prosecutor, I was reviewing this
3 list. I note that there are 212 names on it. And unless I'm mistaken,
4 we see the allocation of these people in several units, and you're
5 number 1 on that list, and I see Brigade number 3. I took due note of
6 the fact that there were 7 per cent Muslims, so you were a small
7 minority, but you felt that you should set up an entirely Muslim TO. But
8 you might tell us that there are also some Serbs and Croats in this list;
9 I don't know.
10 But tell us exactly how it came to be that in such a situation,
11 with a 7 per cent minority, you can come up with an armed forces. So,
12 please, first tell us whether these 212 people are all Muslims; and,
13 secondly, tell us what was the purpose of the force that was to be
14 set up.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mostly, predominantly, there were
16 Muslims, but there were also members of other ethnic groups. You can see
17 and judge by their names, and people living in Bosnia can recognise
18 Muslim names, names of Orthodox Christians and Catholics.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] There are several Croats, but I
20 could not see a single Serb, judging by the names. If Mr. Tihic knows of
21 a Serb there, he can name them.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Should I continue my answer?
23 We submitted a list of Bosniaks who were ready to join the
24 Territorial Defence Staff, and the Staff comprised members of both Croat
25 and Serb ethnic groups as well. We expected, on the part of Croats and
1 Serbs, to provide lists containing thousands of people. We did not
2 pretend for the Territorial Defence Staff to comprise only Muslims,
3 because we were only 7 per cent of the population; and Serbs and Croats
4 were supposed to submit their lists numbering 1.000, 2.000 names each.
5 We could include on the list those citizens of the town of
6 Bosanski Samac, who are predominantly Muslims, who contacted us and
7 wanted to be made available; and we expected the Serbs and the Croats to
8 submit more numerous lists because they were the majority peoples in that
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Tell us whether there were any
11 Serbs on this list.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could we scroll up a bit, please,
13 so I can see the last page here. Let's go to the next page, please. Can
14 we have the next page, please. Next page, please. Next page, please.
15 Next page, please.
16 I haven't recognised a single Serb name on this list.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's give it a
18 number. I believe Mr. Mussemeyer wanted to tender this document with the
20 Mr. Registrar, could we have a number.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be given
22 Exhibit number P671. Thank you, Your Honours.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honours, just one note. I
24 believe it will be interesting and important that there are only six
25 Croats on this list, out of 212, and not a single Serb.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. It's on the record.
2 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
3 Q. Mr. Tihic, could you please let us know if you and your
4 neighbours realised a kind of strange behaviour of your Serb neighbours
5 at that time?
6 A. Strange? Well, there were divisions opening up, generally
7 speaking, concerning the preservation of Yugoslavia. Those differences
8 appeared. Strangely enough, over weekends, people would go back to their
9 villages where they hailed from, out of fear, presumably, that somebody
10 would attack the town of Samac
11 information. They followed generally the policies created by the Serb
12 leadership with respect to the future of the then and now ex-Yugoslavia.
13 There was some of them who disagreed with such policies, who were
14 concerned. One who told me, as a lawyer - he was a client - he told me
15 that in the village of Batkusa, a helicopter of the JNA landed, carrying
16 some special unit wearing red berets, and that those men were very --
17 treated the villagers of Batkusa very roughly. They beat up, allegedly,
18 the Serb guards who were guarding against the Croatian village of Luka
19 Then after that both guards, Serbs and Croats, went to a cafe, and the
20 Red Berets beat them up and cut their hair as punishment, allegedly, for
21 drinking with the Croats instead of keeping guards against them.
22 They also meted out rough treatment towards the women, and their
23 arrival there was not met with general approval.
24 Q. Could you please clarify. You mentioned that people were leaving
25 the town on Friday. Who left the town on Friday, all the ethnicities or
1 specific ethnicities?
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. I do not remember
3 Mr. Tihic saying that. I demand a the Prosecutor to cite the lines on
4 the transcript, with regard to departures over weekends.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, I don't know what
6 you say in your language, but you're not supposed to demand anything.
7 You can request but don't demand, because in my own language, I had
8 "demand," and you should only request. It might be a problem with the
9 translation of the word you used in B/C/S.
10 The interpreters are telling me that you did demand, but you're
11 not supposed to demand. You can only request.
12 Witness, regarding this weekend, the story of the weekend, maybe
13 we got a little bit mixed up and I haven't really understood what you
14 said. So please explain. Either the people working in your city were
15 leaving for the villages because it was the weekend, and would come back
16 with information; or those were people who were in the villages and, over
17 the weekend, they came to the city maybe to do some shopping, and then
18 would relate and relay rumours.
19 So could you please explain what you meant?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Usually, over the weekend,
21 inhabitants of Bosanski Samac of Croat and Serb ethnicity, who lived
22 there in the town, would go to the villages, mono-ethnic villages, Serb
23 or Croat, together with their families, out of fear that Bosanski Samac
24 would be attacked either by the Croatian side or the Serbian side.
25 Rumours would be spread before the weekend came, so-called confidential
1 information; and people, out of fear of being there when either Serb or
2 Croat units attacked, would go back to their villages, feeling more
3 secure, and then would come back to the town of Bosanski Samac on Monday
4 to go to work.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So if I understood you well, it
6 was during all this shuttling, tos and fros, that you heard that the
7 Red Berets had come with helicopters?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From a client in my office, law
9 office, I found out that the Red Berets had arrived. That man spoke
10 about that in confidence to me. I mentioned him. His name is in the
11 record. I don't know whether I should repeat his name so that he could
12 make -- have problems because of that.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] There's no need for this;
14 however, this detail is very important. If the Red Berets did come with
15 a helicopter from the JNA, this seems to demonstrate that the army does
16 control this unit. What can you say about this?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, of course. The army
18 controlled all those paramilitary units. Those were not paramilitary
19 units; they were special units either of MUP of Serbia or of the JNA.
20 They maybe were not officially labelled as such, but nobody else could
21 have arrived on a JNA helicopter and have so much weapons. So these were
22 special units operating pursuant to orders of either the police, the
23 military, or security services; and they wore military uniforms with some
24 other insignia other than that of the JNA.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] According to what you say, I
1 seem to understand that these Red Berets were special units of the army.
2 That's what you seem to be saying, and they were not paramilitaries. But
3 this is already a very important distinction. Then you also added a
4 small detail, and you said that these units might have come from the MUP.
5 The MUP is the Ministry of Interior, it's not the Ministry of
6 Defence; right?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You see, later I found out that
8 those Red Berets were part of the MUP or Serbian police, police of the
9 Republic of Serbia
10 thought they were part of the military. But after the war, I learned
11 that the Red Berets had been part of the police of Serbia; and Zvezdan
12 Jovanovic, the person who killed Prime Minister Djindjic, used to be in
13 Bosanski Samac. He was the warlord there. He was the master of life and
14 death. He mistreated people, looted whatever he could loot. At the
15 time, he was a Serbian hero. But in reality, he was a criminal, and
16 criminals do not have any nation or religious affiliation. Eventually,
17 he killed a Serbian prime minister and was in Bosanski Samac during the
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So you learned
20 later on that these Red Berets reported to the MUP. But if Green Berets
21 from the MUP are transported on board army helicopters, does this mean
22 that the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defence, regarding this
23 special operation, were working in a coordinated fashion?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] By all means, by all means; not
25 only in that situation, but throughout the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1 They worked hand in hand together.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
3 Mr. Mussemeyer.
4 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
5 Q. I would like to go a bit back in history just to follow the
6 chronology. Mr. Witness, you already mentioned that weapons were
7 distributed. To whom were they distributed, who did this, and did all
8 the ethnicities get the weapons equally?
9 A. First of all, the JNA distributed the weapons; and mostly, almost
10 exclusively, they distributed them to members of the Serb people, and
11 their mobile units were mostly located in Serb villages in
12 Bosanski Samac. And the 4th Detachment, which was in the town itself,
13 some 400 people in all, 80 per cent of the composition were Serbs,
14 20 per cent were others; and the JNA distributed weapons to them, and
15 some Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats got some of those weapons. We
16 also tried to procure weapons, the Bosniaks. I presume that the Croats
17 did so or tried to do so through Croatia
19 I remember a case where we received from Croatia 50 assault
20 rifles, automatic rifles; and I suggested that it be delivered to the
21 Territorial Defence Staff and that they should sign a receipt in a legal
22 and lawful manner and put some individuals in charge of those weapons,
23 because I feared that weapons may be used in an unofficial capacity or
24 for personal reasons, maybe in a cafe to settle an individual's cause.
25 There was always this fear, because there were some weapons, like
1 hunting rifles and automatic rifles, there was this fear for those
2 weapons to be misused or to cause an incident. That's why we wanted the
3 TO Staff to function, to be the lawful institution which would register
4 all private weapons and put people in charge of them.
5 Q. What happened to the bridge in Bosanski Samac in the middle of
7 A. I believe that it was in mid-March, one month before the attack
8 on Bosanski Samac, approximately, the bridge in Bosanski Samac was
9 damaged by explosives. It wasn't completely destroyed, but it was
10 damaged to the extent that no traffic could pass over it. It's difficult
11 to say who did it. Some thought and spread rumours that the JNA did it,
12 and the Serbs, some, said that it was done from the Croatian side. But
13 the gist of the matter is that it didn't perform its functions. It would
14 make more sense for the Serbs to have done that, because that bridge was
15 used for illegal trafficking of weapons entering Bosnia and Herzegovina
16 and it was logical for the Serb side to try to stem the flow of weapons
17 into Bosnia-Herzegovina.
18 And in other parts along the Sava, there had been some blowing up
19 of the bridges, so the overall traffic was funneled through the Samac
20 bridge and maybe another one in a different place.
21 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. Registrar, could we please have the photo of
22 65 ter number 2235 on the monitor.
23 Q. Mr. Witness, does this depict the destroyed bridge?
24 A. Yes. Yes, that's the bridge in Samac. This is the road traffic
25 segment, and there was also the railway bridge, but it can't be seen on
1 this photo.
2 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. President, I would like to move this
3 document into evidence.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could we have a
5 number for this photograph of the bridge.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be given
7 Exhibit P672. Thank you, Your Honours.
8 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
9 Q. Mr. Witness, before the outbreak of the conflict, did you realise
10 the arrival of strangers to the village?
11 A. Yes, I noticed that. It could be seen in the streets. But
12 primarily it was seen in the cafes, that people using the Ekavian dialect
13 from Serbia
14 4th Detachment, and they were in civilian clothes, of course. I heard
15 once that there were three people from the Croatian side who purported
16 and introduced them as members of the HOS, H-O-S, but I think that was a
17 single occasion.
18 Q. How did you personally experience the outbreak of the conflict?
19 Please describe this to us.
20 A. On that evening, I had some meetings. The atmosphere in the town
21 was very tense. There were rumours that Samac was about to be attacked,
22 and together with my wife from my house, and my brother with his wife, we
23 transferred to our mother's house. And at around 2.00, intensive
24 shooting started. Previously, there were instances of shooting, but this
25 time around it lasted a long time. I looked out the window at one point,
1 and I saw members of the 4th Detachment in the yard. There were some
2 other units. That was around two or three.
3 The members of my party came in a car and invited me to flee
4 Bosanski Samac. I rejected that suggestion because I thought I should
5 stay with my people to talk, to negotiate with the Serb side. I could
6 not imagine what could happen. I did not have that experience at the
7 time. Telephone communication was disrupted for a time, and phone lines
8 were reconnected later on.
9 In the morning, I called my neighbour of Serb ethnicity,
10 suggesting that I transfer to his home. Given the situation, I had
11 realised that Samac was occupied. Miso Pavlovic was that neighbour. I
12 came to his place. His father and mother were there as well. We sat
13 down, we talked. And at some other time Blagoje Simic, the president of
14 the SDS
15 to talk, to the effect that: "This all should stop. Let's sit down and
17 By that time, the paramilitaries reportedly had killed somebody
18 in Mahala. I suggested to Blagoje, "Let's sit down," but he said,
19 "There's no negotiations. We're at war. The Serbian people is at war
20 with the Bosniaks, with the Croats. Surrender your weapons." I did not
21 expect somebody who I had known to act in this way. We socialised, we
22 had many contacts through political associations.
23 Then my neighbour suggested I should go somewhere else, where I
24 would be safer. I phoned my colleague, Borislav Pisarevic. He's a
25 lawyer. We used to work at the Court together. He was the president of
1 the Court; I was a judge there. We tried to arrange for my departure
2 from Samac because I realised what a dangerous situation it was. Boro
3 came in the afternoon. I was at my place with my wife. Boro tried to
4 get into contact with Simo Zaric, who then was part of either police or
5 military structures, I'm not sure which. But he could not reach him,
6 which meant that I could not leave Samac.
7 The following day, a member of Grey Wolves or some other unit
8 from Serbia
9 commander of the Serb police, Stevan Todorovic, waited for us next to the
10 car. He was waving his gun and threatening both of us, asking Boro why
11 he had provided sanctuary for me in his house. We went to the police
12 station. They separated Boro and me, kept him black, or kept him "crni."
13 They demanded that I went to the radio station and invite the citizens to
14 surrender their weapons, to abstain from opening fire; although, nobody
15 opened fire anymore, because that morning the few Bosnian Muslims who had
16 weapons rounded up in the center of town and did not know what to do.
17 I spoke on the phone with one of them, with Ibrahim Sakic, asking
18 him what the situation was like. I said that I had been offered for the
19 JNA to enter Bosanski Samac and guarantee peace. Ibrahim later spoke to
20 Lieutenant-Colonel Nikolic, one of the JNA commanders, and they
21 surrendered their weapons. He walked in front of APCs, he knew who had
22 weapons, and they went house by house and collected weapons. Some 20
23 people with rifles could not do anything against the 20 armoured vehicles
24 that entered the town.
25 So my appeal over the radio waves over Radio Samac would not
1 serve any purpose because there was no resistance at that point in time,
2 because the Serbian Territorial Defence, Chetnik detachments, the units
3 from Serbia
4 I was beaten the first time when I was taken to the police
5 station, before I was taken to the radio station. A person, Mirkovic,
6 a.k.a. Lugar, beat me up. He came to me and asked me, "Who are you?" I
7 said, "Sulejman Tihic, president of the SDA." He pretended not to hear,
8 and as I came closer to him, he punched me in the stomach. I fell down,
9 then people standing by kicked me. The person who was supposed to escort
10 me to Radio Samac told them to stop. That person first took me to the
11 radio station, where I read out an already-typed statement to the effect
12 that I invited the citizens to surrender, to not open fire, and that it
13 would be okay for the JNA to take control, or words to that that effect.
14 I was then brought back to the police station, and there I was
15 interrogated. That person, Lugar, beat up again. Some questions made no
16 sense to the effect of "Who was in the leadership of the SDA." But that
17 was a well-know fact; it wasn't confidential. I know that he phoned a
18 friend in Valjevo over the phone and explained --
19 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. Tihic, I'm sorry to interrupt. I think it's
20 time for the break, and I will come back to this in more detail after the
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would have something to deal with
23 briefly before the break. May I?
24 Mr. President, in the Serbian legal system, the accused can put
25 forth requests and launch appeals. In the Serbian system, the accused
1 person cannot beg anyone for anything, except for a partner amnesty
2 later. I did not find anything in the Rules of The Hague Tribunal
3 stating anything different. If ever I said "please," that just meant it
4 is an ingrained part of my personality to be considerate and
5 well-mannered. But if ever I said the word "please," or words to that
6 effect, or "I beg you," I will never do that again, ever.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is not the Serbian system,
8 this is the International Tribunal, and it operates with its own special
9 rules. There are requests. You cannot demand. There are no demands.
10 We will have a 20-minute break.
11 --- Recess taken at 10.04 a.m.
12 --- On resuming at 10.26 a.m.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
14 Before we resume, Mr. Mussemeyer, I shall give the witness
15 Article 258 in B/C/S, and I will ask him to read it because we haven't
16 found an English version of this. We have this document, and I shall ask
17 the witness to read out Article 258, and the interpreters can translate
19 Usher, would you mind giving this document to the witness,
21 Witness, I'm going to ask you to work a little bit. I'll ask you
22 to read Article 258, and the interpreters will translate this for us.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Organisations of Associated
24 Labour, self-management interest communities, and other self-management
25 organisations and communities have the right and responsibility to take
1 part actively in the defence of the country; and in relation to that,
2 organise and carry out preparations, ensure resources, and carry out
3 other tasks that are of interest for national defence, in accordance with
4 the Constitution, law, plans, and decision of social-political
5 communities. These organisations and communities are responsible for
6 carrying out these tasks."
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I thank you for having read
8 this article, which seems to grant a number of entities a responsibility
9 in defence matters.
10 Do you have anything to add to this?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Obviously, the wrong paragraph was
12 referred to, in terms of this decision. It doesn't have to do with the
13 territorial organisation of the republic.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. Mr. President, you now
15 had occasion to convince yourself of what this looks like when one deals
16 with assumptions in the courtroom. On the basis of this article of the
17 Constitution, a newly-established municipality indicates its rights in
18 the sphere of national defence, and this was not used as legal grounds
19 for establishing a new municipality, by breaking up existing
20 municipalities. This was an arbitrary interpretation in the courtroom
21 that was blessed, as it were, by the Prosecutor.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So the article has been
23 translated, it's on the record, the witness has provided us with his
24 comment, and Mr. Seselj his position.
25 Let's resume now.
1 Mr. Mussemeyer, you have the floor again.
2 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
3 Q. Mr. Tihic, I want to come back to the night when the conflict
4 started. You told us that you got telephone calls. Do you remember
5 getting a telephone call from Muslim members of the 4th Detachment, and
6 what did they tell you?
7 A. I don't know exactly what you are referring to. What telephone
8 call; on the eve of the attack on Samac, or after the attack?
9 Q. During this attack, you were at a meeting, and during this
10 meeting, you got telephone calls?
11 A. Yes. Somebody phoned on the eve of the meeting that was held in
12 the evening in Bosanski Samac, the night before Samac was to be attacked;
13 and that is when someone from the ranks of my supporters from the SDA, a
14 citizen, called me and said somewhere on the outskirts of Bosanski Samac,
15 near the railway station, that there were soldiers there in military
16 uniforms. I took that as one of the series of information that we were
17 receiving every day, especially in the evening.
18 And, as time went by, I stopped attaching any particular
19 importance to this information. Sometimes, this information would prove
20 to be wrong. Sometimes, it proved to be truth that some units, indeed,
21 had entered, but then they would leave. So I did take note of that, but
22 I did not take any steps, except for providing information further on. I
23 don't know if I could have taken any steps or done anything.
24 Q. Did you get any information that people were killed at that time?
25 A. The following day when Samac was attacked, then I referred
1 information to the effect that in Donja Mahala, in that part of town,
2 these paramilitary specialists, as we called them, had already started
3 killing people. Yes, that is the information I received. That was in
4 the morning.
5 Q. Was the name of the unit or of the units these soldiers belonged
6 to mentioned?
7 A. It is a fact that they then mentioned that these were Arkan's men
8 or Grey Wolves. For us, all of these who were coming from Serbia, these
9 specials, we called them "specials," we called them "the multi-coloured
10 ones." Arkan was a big thing for all of them, so then all of these units
11 were called "Arkan's men," or "The Grey Wolves" sometimes, because people
12 knew they existed, too; that is to say, they were not regular JNA.
13 Q. Do you remember whether the expression "Seselj's men" was
15 A. Well, the term "Chetniks" was used, you know. I remember, when
16 they brought me to the police station, there were different uniforms
17 there. Then also I saw those Chetniks with those beards and fur hats, as
18 if they came out of the movies we used to watch from the Second World
19 War, and I thought, my god, is this a dream or is this really happening.
20 Q. Thank you, Mr. Tihic.
21 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, since you are present
23 today, I can ask you the following question. I believe you can answer
24 this question.
25 A while ago, you said that there were Arkan's men, paramilitary
1 units, and so on and so forth. How is it that an army like the JNA, that
2 had a well-established, worldwide reputation, did not have its own units,
3 its own special units, like some armies in the world have, and had rather
4 resort to units like Arkan's units? Do you have an explanation for this?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you know, the then-JNA had
6 lost its commander. The Presidency of the SFRY, as a collective organ,
7 could not reach consensus, agreement, with regard to many questions,
8 including defence questions. Then the JNA was led by commanders who were
9 predominantly of Serb ethnicity; and, most probably, the president of
11 had a true and real influence and power.
12 In my view, this was a combination between the military and these
13 units that were trained either within the scope of the military or the
14 police, who wore green military uniforms. And in addition to JNA
15 officers in the field, they were commanded by somebody else from
18 Now, why the JNA allowed itself that kind of thing, well, because
19 the JNA had lost its commander. Then the commanders in the military
20 started conducting the defence and saying what was allowed and what was
21 not allowed. I mean, they lost their civilian commander. That is what
22 I've been trying to say.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So, according to
24 you, this is due to the fact that the JNA was no longer headed by a
25 commander. That's why the generals, according to what you are saying,
1 that had lower ranks managed the situation in this manner, and this is
2 why these units were established. Your explanation is an interesting one
3 and, of course, requires scrutiny on the part of the Bench.
4 I have another issue in the same line I would like to put to you.
5 We have been told, and the accused Seselj told us this during one
6 of his many cross-examinations of a number of witnesses, that people
7 mistrusted the JNA. There was a degree of mistrust because JNA
8 symbolized communism. Since the JNA found it difficult to recruit
9 soldiers, the law entitled volunteers to not be incorporated in the JNA,
10 but the volunteers could, nonetheless, take part in defence operation of
11 the fatherland. This was based on a voluntary basis, and this was
12 enshrined in the law. We actually saw the text relating to that.
13 Now, you, yourself, in your municipality which you had the honour
14 of presiding at some point, did you feel that there was such a hostility
15 vis a vis the JNA, whatever the ethnicity might be, whether it be Croats,
16 Muslims, or Serbs, vis a vis these volunteers? What do you feel about
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that as far as Bosniaks and
19 Croats are concerned, that they primarily viewed the JNA as a Serb army
20 because the command was Serb; and I don't think there were problems,
21 especially as far as Serbs were concerned, to have this army manned in
22 the regular way in accordance with the law. I think that these volunteer
23 units are a consequence of the political situation in the country, and
24 that they were created by the intelligence services that were supposed to
25 do this dirty part of the job; namely, to come in before the JNA, to
1 commit crimes. Then after that, the JNA shows up as some kind of saviour
2 and then again they leave, and leave the matter to local Serb units and
3 these paramilitaries.
4 These paramilitary units, well, I don't think that they are
5 classical volunteers. I think that there were quite a few mercenaries
6 there, criminals. We see how they behaved. We see the killings, the
7 abuse, the looting. I remember that some of them came to Samac, and they
8 claimed that they had been in prison. I know that some men from Samac
9 who had been in prison, in the special units they found their old prison
10 mates. So these were not traditional volunteers who had come to fight
11 for the freedom of their country. There was lots of crime involved there
12 and a lot of criminals. Time did show that they were not patriots or
13 nationalists. They were criminals, ultimately.
14 I mentioned Zvezdan Jovanovic, who for a while could have looked
15 like some kind of a patriot or some kind of a hero, national hero, and
16 then he proved to be a criminal. We, however, in Samac knew that
17 straight away, because they were stealing vehicles, printing false
18 driving licenses and traffic licenses. They were killing, beating
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Tihic, from what you've
21 just told us, I have the feeling that there are three key moments. The
22 first one is when the intelligence services, according to what you are
23 saying, instrumentalised a number of individuals who will then, in a
24 particular area, commit crimes and abuses. That is the first key moment.
25 In the second key moment, the JNA steps in, establishes law and order,
1 and then leaves. The third key moment is when the paramilitary units
2 remain where they are and will then also commit abuses.
3 Have I summed up what you have said correctly?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, except for the third matter.
5 Along with the paramilitaries, the Serb units stayed behind of the Serb
6 Territorial Defence, so they were there together. The paramilitaries
7 remained, they were still dominant, and they were the masters of life and
8 death. They were the ones who were killing, looting, and who,
9 inter alia, had as one of their objectives a disruption of inter-ethnic
10 relations, so that they would drag other members of their ethnic group
11 into the war, too.
12 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
13 Q. Mr. Tihic, I would like to come back to the situation after you
14 gave the interview. You were brought back to the police station, and you
15 told us already that you have been heavily beaten by a certain Lugar. Do
16 you remember a beating where Lugar was making telephone calls?
17 A. Yes. He made a telephone call. I realised that he was speaking
18 to a woman, and she asked him where he was, and he said, "Well, I'm
19 working, and you see how I'm working." Then he turned the receiver
20 towards me, and then this colleague of his would hit me, then I would
21 moan, so that she would hear through the receiver how he was working.
22 Q. Have you ever been beaten by people originating from
23 Bosanski Samac?
24 A. No, never. The Serbs from Bosanski Samac never beat me. If they
25 could, they helped me, you know. When those specials, these
1 paramilitaries as you call them - I think that that is a term that is
2 completely wrong - when they would go out, then the commander of the
3 police station, who was a Serb, then he'd bring a doctor to see me. He'd
4 give me some food to eat, he'd give me lemonade, he'd let me go to the
5 toilet, which meant a lot, you know.
6 While I was there, they never beat me. The local Serbs from
7 Bosanski Samac never beat me. You know, I knew all them, they knew me,
8 they knew their father, they knew my grandfather. I also knew them.
9 Very often, they would even apologise to me when they had to take me out,
10 when these people would beat me, and they'd say, "Doctor, sorry," because
11 there was this custom in Samac that a lawyer would be called "Doctor."
12 Q. When the beatings stopped or the interrogations stopped, where
13 have you been brought?
14 A. You see, I was taken away that evening first to the Staff of the
15 Territorial Defence. This is opposite to the police station. It was
16 like a warehouse, say 15 metres by 20 metres. There were already about
17 50 persons there, and, of course, all of it started. We had to sing
18 Chetnik songs. They beat us indoors, outdoors. There were all sorts of
19 interrogations, senseless ones, just for the sake of the beatings. All
20 night, this went on.
21 There was a concrete floor, and they gave us these pieces of
22 cardboard to sort of lie down, but, I mean, you couldn't lie down because
23 somebody would walk in all the time. Someone would walk in and say, "I'm
24 one of Arkan's men, and I'm a person belonging to this or that unit." I
25 don't know whether that was true or not. Then, according to their own
1 criteria, whenever they take someone out, whether they liked this person,
2 didn't like the person, beat them, and then they'd force us to sing their
3 songs, louder, louder, and even louder. You couldn't sing any louder.
4 Later on, people of Samac said this could be heard to the center of town
5 and throughout town. We had to sing these songs so loudly.
6 Q. Could you please describe to us in detail what Lugar exactly did
7 to you and how he beat you?
8 A. Well, I saw him a few times, if I can put it that way. Before I
9 went to Radio Samac, when I came to the building - when I returned from
10 Radio Samac, that is - I told you that a moment ago, when he was talking
11 to someone out there in Serbia
12 killed. Now, was he killed by the HVO? I mean, well, then he beat me
13 up, too. I was in the police building then, and the room was, say, 2
14 metres by 1.20 metres. There were about nine of us there, and there was
15 a bench there, and we were there for about a week. You slept there, you
16 sat there on that bench. You couldn't go to the toilet. You may go to
17 urinate, but then they beat you black and blue on the way. But they
18 didn't allow us to pass a stool. That's how the days went by.
19 I remember that Lugar would come in, I remember that he had these
20 grenades, and he'd say, "I've just come from the funeral of this Serb
21 soldier, and I swore at his grave that I would take my revenge." He
22 looked at this cell. There were nine of us there, and he said,
23 "President," and I was the president of the SDA and that's how he knew
24 me, and he said, "President, you're going to be last." Then he took
25 these men out one by one and he beat them, one, two, three, five blows,
1 and then he returned that person. Then, finally, my turn came. I
2 thought that he'd kill me because he said that he'd be taking his
3 revenge, and I was the last one.
4 There was this hall in front of these cells. Perhaps it was four
5 or five metres long. Then, as he would hit me, it was like a boxer's
6 blow and I would fall down, but I'd have to get up straight away, because
7 if I wouldn't get up, then he would trample me with his feet, and then
8 again and again and again. I don't know how many times this happened.
9 And, finally, when I could no longer get up, I was lying down there, and
10 then he jumped onto my chest, and I put my hands up this way and I heard
11 something break. I tried to protect myself with my hands, and then he
12 said to me, "Get up."
13 When I got up, he looked at me, and I didn't know what was going
14 on. I took off my watch and, I don't know, I thought that perhaps this
15 might help me. He took my watch and then he hit me on the head once,
16 twice, and there was blood flowing down my face. I had the feeling that
17 he was in some kind of a dilemma, and then he said, "Get away from me,
18 get away from me. Go into the cell," as if, well, I don't know. There
19 was some force that stopped him from killing me, because -- well.
20 Then over there, I don't know, the people who were in the cell,
21 they helped me a bit because I couldn't breathe, either because I was so
22 upset, because he had jumped on my chest. Well --
23 Q. Does the name Dikan say anything to you?
24 A. Dikan, yes, it does. That was a Croat. He was also captured.
25 He was from Slavonski Samac, in the Republic of Croatia
1 taken prisoner. He happened to be in Samac in a cafe at night. And when
2 they saw that he was a Croat, well, they put him in the camp anyway, and
3 they beat him a lot. I know that once when I was interrogated myself at
4 the police station, we heard -- or, rather, I heard somebody firing in
5 the Territorial Defence Staff, firing shots. I didn't see it, but I
6 heard it, because it's just across the road, close by.
7 Then Simo Zaric, who interrogated me, called up to see who had
8 been doing the shooting, and he was told that it was Lugar, who had
9 killed Dikan. I told you who Dikan was, and I think his sons were in the
10 ZNGs, and so they took special care to beat him.
11 I know Simo Zaric called up Blagoje Simic at the time and said,
12 "That idiot," meaning Lugar, "has just killed a man." And according to
13 the flow of the conversation, Simo Zaric with Blagoje Simic, I understood
14 that Blagoje was asking him whether anybody had seen it happen. The
15 answer was that at least 50 people had seen it. I know that Simo called
16 Lieutenant-Colonel Nikolic and said, "These idiots are going to kill
17 people, and they've already killed one man, and the army has to come to
18 save the day."
19 Then I know that Simo left, whether he went to a factory in
20 Samac, or Utva, or Hrana-Produkt, where Lieutenant-Colonel Nikolic was
21 located. Anyway, the army did send trucks that day; and most of us, the
22 majority, were transported to Brcko in that truck to the barracks in
24 Q. Can I interrupt, Mr. Tihic. Sorry. I want to come to this
1 Could you please list for us the detention facilities you were
2 aware of at that time in Bosanski Samac?
3 A. When I was in Bosanski Samac, then the Territorial Defence Staff
4 was used and the police station building. That was turned into a sort of
5 camp for prisoners or, rather, for citizens. It was the citizens who
6 were incarcerated there. I know that later on, there were camps in the
7 secondary school, the technical school, the primary school, in Crkvina,
8 which is a village near Samac, in a warehouse there of a company called
9 Bosanka. I know that there's another camp in Zasavica, a whole Croatian
10 village that had been emptied of inhabitants, and they used it to put up
11 Bosniaks and Croats there.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, it seems that the
13 Prosecutor has changed topics and is now dealing with the detention
14 centres. I would like you to shed some light on a small detail, please.
15 I was listening to you when I was reading your statement, and I
16 note that this Lugar -- on paragraph 44 of your statement, you seem to be
17 saying that this Lugar is part of the Grey Wolves. Then in paragraph 52
18 of your statement, you say that he was one of Arkan's men. So does this
19 mean that Arkan's men and the Grey Wolves is one and the same thing?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't say for sure whether he was
21 in the Grey Wolves or one of Arkan's men. When we happened to meet them,
22 then if you dared look at anyone, because usually you'd have to put your
23 hands behind your back and lower your head, look down, anyway, he was a
24 man who spoke the Ekavian dialect, he was in those special units. Now,
25 which unit he actually belonged to, or some third unit, I really can't
1 say. I didn't know all those insignia. I couldn't recognise all the
2 insignia that they wore.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So in addition to
4 what you said in your statement, you are saying that you do not really
5 know which unit Lugar belonged to, whether it was the Grey Wolves,
6 Arkan's men, or Unit X. You're not 100 per cent sure which unit he
7 belonged to; is this it?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's right.
9 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. Registrar, I would like to have the document
10 65 ter number 1553 to be shown on the monitor. This is an order of
11 Public Safety Station, Bosanski Samac, signed by the witness
12 Stevan Todorovic. The witness Stevan Todorovic is deceased some years
13 ago, just for the information of the others.
14 Q. Mr. Tihic, could you read this and comment on this order?
15 A. "In keeping with the law governing internal affairs of the
16 Serbian Republic
17 rather, "In compliance with," et cetera.
18 "1. It is forbidden for three or more Muslims or Croats to
19 congregate in public places, gather together in public places.
20 "2. Any such grouping should be first warned; and if the offence
21 is repeated, the participants should be apprehended and arrested.
22 "3. For carrying out this order, the commander of the military
23 police platoon and the commander of the public safety station are
24 personally responsible.
25 "Head of the Public Safety Station, Stevan Todorovic,
2 So that was a well-known order and it was applied. When Muslims
3 were buried, for instance, you couldn't have a funeral procession. You
4 could just have two or three men attending the funeral and burying the
5 deceased. There were no send-offs or religion rites observed. They
6 didn't allow that either, let alone anything else.
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Tihic.
8 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. President, I would like to have this
9 document moved into evidence.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's give it a number, please.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be given
12 Exhibit number P673. Thank you, Your Honours.
13 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
14 Q. Mr. Tihic, I would like to come to another location. You told us
15 shortly that you have been removed from Bosanski Samac. Could you please
16 let us know where you have been brought?
17 A. They took almost all of us. Just five or six people remained.
18 They took us to the military barricades in a place called Brcko, which is
19 about 55 kilometres away from Bosanski Samac. That's where we were. We
20 arrived there and they searched us again. They took away any items we
21 had remaining. If anybody had a watch, a ring, or a wallet, they
22 confiscated that, and put us into a cell. I and Dragan Lukac and Osman
23 Isarevic [phoen] were put into a separate room because they said we were
24 extremists. They put handcuffs on us, and that's how we spent the night.
25 But, generally speaking, the treatment towards us in the barracks
1 was far better than it had been in Bosanski Samac, because they didn't
2 beat us. You were allowed to go to the toilet.
3 Q. You have not been beaten. Have you been threatened by someone?
4 A. Yes. There were cases of that kind when the Chetniks turned up.
5 I remember on one occasion, you know, the way they were dressed with the
6 fur hats and the skull-and-bone emblem and the beards. They threatened
7 to kill us, and then some other groups would turn up. Whether they were
8 Arkan's men or -- well, I don't know how this person introduced himself.
9 But, anyway, the soldiers didn't allow them to enter, and they
10 didn't allow them to beat us, either.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, one small detail. You
12 were talking about the Chetniks, notably something I'm interested in.
13 You're telling us they had very long beards. We've seen a number of
14 videos and photographs on this. But before these events, before 1992,
15 were there people with very long beards already, or did this appear with
16 the events?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, please believe me when I say,
18 I was wondering when they managed to grow all those long beards, because
19 before, there weren't people with long beards. This was linked to the
20 Chetnik movement of the day, led by Draza Mihajlovic, which was an
21 infamous movement. You might see artists wearing beards, perhaps some
22 painter or other, or perhaps a composer; but ordinary people didn't wear
23 beards, especially not the long, unkempt beards.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you're also wondering how
25 these beards grow so fast. I really wonder, myself.
1 You have the floor.
2 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
3 Q. Mr. Tihic, did you realise a kind of cooperation between the JNA
4 and paramilitary units in Brcko?
5 A. Well, I'm sure it existed in one way or another. I don't know.
6 They entered the barracks, and they would talk to us, threaten us, said
7 they'd kill us all. I think there was cooperation, generally speaking,
8 between the JNA and those various units. It couldn't have been
9 otherwise, because how else would they have been allowed to enter the
10 barracks, unless there was a tacit agreement for these paramilitary units
11 to enter and unless there was cooperation? How would they enter the
12 barracks otherwise? The barracks was a place where you weren't allowed,
13 where entry was prohibited. You weren't allowed to photograph, you had
14 to show your ID card, special security, let alone somebody being allowed
15 to enter with weapons.
16 Q. Do you remember that at that time you have been asked to give a
17 television interview?
18 A. Yes. While I was in Brcko, I was asked to give an interview for
19 television, and I was supposed to go to Bosanski Samac. Although I
20 didn't feel like going, I had to go there, to Bosanski Samac, I mean.
21 First of all, they took us to our houses so that we could have a bath,
22 put on a decent suit to look decent and clean; and then I went to see
23 Simo Zaric's office, where the interview was conducted in the presence --
24 apart from the journalists and cameramen and crewmen of TV Novi Sad, the
25 other person there was Stevan Todorovic, who was the chief of the police
1 station. Simo Zaric even conducted the interview, and Captain Crni came
2 in, and other people came in from time to time. They asked me who had
3 given the coordinates for the shelling of Samac to the Croats, and I
4 said, "I had absolutely no idea," which was true. Then he said, "Bring
5 him to me after the interview. I'll talk to him."
6 So I made a statement in the only way I could, given the
7 circumstances, in the way I had to. I know that at the end,
8 Stevan Todorovic asked me to say that nobody had beaten me, and I did
9 make that statement, I complied. I said that none of the Serb policemen
10 had beat me from Bosanski Samac, and that was taped onto the interview.
11 I said that I wasn't beaten by the Serbian police force of Samac, but by
12 the other people who came -- but it was the people from Serbia.
13 But they didn't notice the difference. They didn't notice the
14 distinction I made. And after that, they returned us to Brcko. I can
15 give you the details, if you want to hear them.
16 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I would like to show a short clip about this
17 interview. We have it in our files. It's 65 ter number 6049 [Realtime
18 transcript read in error "6449"], and please have a specific look on the
19 left eye of the witness.
20 [Videotape played]
21 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Please tell me frankly, what is
22 your impression, Mr. Tihic, of the present authorities of the territory
23 of the Serbian ..." --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Will you speak louder? The interpreters are
25 having a hard time hearing you.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, I will.
2 [Voiceover] "Mr. Tihic, let tell me frankly, what is the
3 impression of the present authorities on the territory of the Serbian
4 Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina, or rather, the Serbian police towards the
5 Muslim people, yourself, and all the other citizens? But, please, be
6 completely frank."
7 "Well, as to the attitude of the Serbian police, members of the
8 Serbian police themselves towards me personally, I didn't have any
9 problems. I can say that they treated me fairly, properly."
10 "Has the Serbian police force harmed anyone here?"
11 "To the best of my knowledge and information, not one Muslim was
12 killed. The policy of the party, especially that of President
13 Izetbegovic, was that we must not get ourselves into a situation that
14 becomes subordinated to any of the parties and that they merely execute
15 their orders. And I remember that at one meeting, the SDA president from
16 Derventa Brod said that the Croatian side provided weapons, equipment,
17 and everything, and tried to set up a sort of staff and a joint commander
18 where everybody would have to follow their orders. I know the president
19 said then, 'Well, regarding equipment and weapons, take it, but without
20 conditions. No joint commands, no joint uniforms, and so on. If someone
21 wants to give them to you, fine, but without dragging you into their
22 hierarchy.' Now, this issue was broached then in Bosanski Samac some 20
23 days ago or a month ago; I mean the idea of forming a joint Crisis Staff,
24 as I've already said. When I attended the meeting, a meeting that was
25 convened, I didn't know that that was on the agenda. But when I
1 arrived ..." --
2 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
3 Q. Mr. Tihic, do you remember, is this the interview that you gave?
4 A. Yes, that's the interview.
5 Q. Do you know if, during this interview, also other detainees have
6 been interviewed, and where were they?
7 A. Yes. They were interviewed, and I know that Izet Izetbegovic was
8 there, and Alic, Omer as well, I think Safet Mihajlovic [phoen], and so
9 on. And they were somewhere in the building, but we weren't able to
10 contact each other.
11 Q. Have detainees been hidden, giving the interview only by voice,
12 not shown on the television, because of their injuries?
13 A. Well, I don't know. I came from Brcko with Omer Alic and Safet
14 Hadzialijagic, and Izet was in Samac. They were taping us separately,
15 and I know that they would try and position the camera to hide the
16 bruises, and that they put sunglasses on Izet. They filmed Omer in
17 profile as well to avoid showing the injuries he had on his face.
18 Well, it was shameful for the journalists because, well, the
19 journalists felt ashamed because he saw what they looked like, what we
20 looked like. Then he asked me to tell him quite frankly whether anybody
21 beat us, whether anybody had suffered, and things like that. But who
22 dared speak sincerely? Everybody knew what would happen if I had been
23 sincere and frank. They would have killed us straight away.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, like everyone else, I
25 looked at this video. I noted that there was a cup of coffee in front of
1 you. So were you offered a cup of coffee or was it there just, you know,
2 to look good?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, like the suit I was wearing,
4 the cup was there to make it look as if it was a normal interview. Who
5 placed the coffee cup there, I don't know. It was already there. There
6 was the cup and there was the coffee inside the cup. It was already
8 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. President, I would like to have this video
9 moved into evidence.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's give it a number.
11 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I was informed that the transcript of this video
12 has the wrong number. Instead of having 6049, it has "6449." This is
13 not correct.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. The Prosecutor ought to
15 tell us when this interview was filmed and on what television station.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mussemeyer, was this video
18 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Just a moment. I have to search it. The
19 originator is unknown, and this video was seized on the 11th December
20 1994. It's from the Videotape "Genocide, Bosanski Samac." It has been
21 admitted into evidence in two other cases, and this is -- on the
22 Milosevic case, it had Exhibit number 608, tab 12. In the case of -- in
23 the Bosanski Samac case, which is IT-95-9/2, it was Exhibit number P16/A.
24 This is the information I can give you from our documentation.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, as far as you know,
1 was this interview broadcast? Did other people see it and talk to you
2 about it? Because the Prosecutor is not giving us much of an answer. He
3 says that it has been admitted in other cases, but we would like to know
4 whether it was broadcast. Do you know this; yes or no?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do know it was broadcast on two
6 occasions through Television Novi Sad, which has a programme in
7 Bosanski Samac. It has a good signal and can be seen loud and clear.
8 The locals told me that there was a problem with the electricity, which
9 was down once when it was first broadcast, and it was broadcast again so
10 people could see it clearly.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Could you give us
12 an approximate date, the date it was broadcast?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it was the very next day and
14 the following day. So for two days in a row was when it was broadcast.
15 I can make a guess and say that it was sometime around the 27th or 28th
16 of April, perhaps, thereabouts, when it was broadcast. I can't be
17 certain, but thereabouts.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's give it a
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be given
21 Exhibit number P674. Thank you, Your Honours.
22 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
23 Q. Mr. Tihic, after Brcko, have you been moved to another detention
24 facility; and if so, could you let us know which one?
25 A. From Brcko, we were transferred. After the attack on Brcko, that
1 same night we were awoken by the explosion, all the windows were
2 shattered, and the bridge linking Brcko to Croatia was destroyed. That
3 same day -- or, rather, the following day, we were transferred to
4 Bijeljina, to the barracks there. It was the Fadil Jahic Spana Barracks
5 in Bijeljina, and we were exposed to all the abuse and mistreatment
6 there, too, the beatings and so on. They particularly selected me.
7 I had to wash toilets full of excrement. I had to clean it up
8 with my hands, and they said wherever it was dirty and yellow, that it
9 should be white, sparkling clean. But they didn't provide me with any
10 brushes or anything, so I had to clean it with my bare hands. They would
11 beat me, ask me to clean up the mess. Then an order came, telling me to
12 go back to the room that the people from Samac were incarcerated in, the
13 prisoners. Then they called us out, several of us out by name, and they
14 ordered us about turn, to march forward, and we reached a helicopter.
15 The helicopter transported us to the Batajnica Airport
16 Q. Before we come to Batajnica, do you know if one of the guards
17 recognised you from the television interview you gave, part of which we
18 have seen a few minutes ago?
19 A. Well, one guard did recognise me, and he said, "There's the man
20 who was on television." I understood from that, that we were depicted in
21 a negative light as people who had committed crimes. The policeman who
22 recognised me took me to that toilet and asked me to clean up the mess
23 there and all the rest of it.
24 Q. When and how have you been transported to Batajnica?
25 A. From that group of people from Samac, there were 50 of us. Five
1 or six of us were selected and we were transferred there. We were
2 brought to the helicopter, and we had some blindfolds over our eyes, but
3 we could see if we looked underneath the blindfolds, and saw that there
4 was a sort of coffin in the middle and that there were some letters on
5 it. And as far as I had understood, it was a Serb soldier who had been
6 killed, and his name was Vuk or Vukmirovic, something like that.
7 Izet Izetbegovic was in the helicopter already, and Dr. Miroslav
8 Keracic, and Benko Dragicevic -- or, rather, Ante Dragicevic, Benko's
9 father, was there, the chief of the Samac police station, before the war,
10 that is. They were in the helicopter and we were handcuffed. This one,
11 well, paramilitary special had a black cap; and as the helicopter took
12 off, he wanted to throw us out of the helicopter. However, another
13 person who was there in the helicopter in civilian clothes did not allow
14 him to do that. And later on, I got to know this other person. He was
15 some security chief at the airport.
16 And when we reached Batajnica Airport
17 standard procedure; that is to say, we were thrown out of the helicopter
18 and beaten straight away, thrown into the lorry, the Pizgauer type. We
19 were brought to a room -- well, a cellar, really; no windows, just a lamp
20 hanging from the ceiling, one bulb hanging from the ceiling. Then,
21 again, we were mistreated, beaten, Chetnik songs were sung. There was a
22 picture of Draza Mihajlovic on the wall there.
23 And in the morning, when we had to go to the toilet, we had to go
24 and kiss Draza Mihajlovic's photograph and say, "Good morning, General,"
25 first. And on one occasion, a Croat turned up subsequently there, and he
1 didn't know that he had to kiss -- where he had to kiss -- that he had to
2 kiss Draza in the mouth. The policeman beat him up and said, "Draza is
3 not a homosexual. Why are you kissing him on the lips?" Anyway, we were
4 mistreated. We couldn't sleep. They kept calling us out and
5 interrogating us know beating us.
6 There are a lot of details that I could tell you. I don't know
7 how detailed you want me to testify.
8 Q. Thank you for this information. Could you please shortly let us
9 know where Batajnica is? Where can we find it?
10 A. Batajnica is a military airport close to Belgrade, probably the
11 largest such military airport in the country. We were transferred there.
12 Initially, we did not know we were at the Batajnica Airport
13 to conceal that fact from me. I believe that we were in the cellars of
14 an infirmary. Once, since we were badly beaten up, they brought a
15 doctor, I think, from Zadar, a female doctor. And from the conversation
16 we had with her, we concluded that she worked upstairs.
17 There were some good soldiers who would not allow them to beat us
18 up, who would bring us a doctor. I remember one, Aco Ilic, a good, kind
19 person. When he was in charge during that shift, nobody was supposed to
20 beat us up. There was another person from Slankamen who would also not
21 allow mistreatment, but there were some reserve military personnel of
22 advanced age. They were the worst. They would beat us most.
23 Q. Do you remember if you had to give another television interview
24 at Batajnica?
25 A. Yes, I had to. One day, they told me to conduct an interview.
1 Miroslav Lazanski, a well-known commentator, conducted that interview.
2 There were military there, there were cameras, and he asked me about us
3 driving the Serbs out of Sabac, and I answered, "No, they drove us out."
4 Then he asked me about us driving the Serb policemen from the police
5 station, and I said, "No, that's not correct. Out of the 18 policemen
6 there, 12 were Serbs." So he saw me giving opposite answers than
7 expected. He took a look at his paper and cast a glance in the direction
8 of a military policeman who was there, and he threatened, "Just you wait.
9 After this interview, you'll get your comeuppance."
10 That journalist finished the interview with me; and while I was
11 getting up, the military policeman hit me on the head, but the other
12 military policeman would not allow him to continue beating me, and they
13 brought me back to the cellar. But from that interview onwards and from
14 Izetbegovic's interview and Mr. Dragicevic's interview, who also gave a
15 statement, they edited a broadcast to the effect that we had killed Serb
17 And after the broadcast of that programme, the next day a
18 policeman came and almost killed us with beating, because they saw it on
19 TV. They brought this broadcast in the context of and connection with
20 some atrocities that had allegedly occurred in Bosanski Brod. Of course,
21 in Bosanski Samac, there was no such thing. But they edited the footage
22 in such a way to induce such an impression, and this was the cause for
23 the military policeman to beat us so much subsequently.
24 Q. Have you been brought to another detention facility after
1 A. In Batajnica, I was from the 3rd to the 27th of May, 1992, and
2 then we were transferred to the military camp Sremska Mitrovica. There,
3 we were detained with the people from Vukovar. It would be enough, in
4 terms of suffering, just to be in and received at Sremska Mitrovica, and
5 that suffering would last us a lifetime.
6 When we were admitted into the Sremska Mitrovica camp, we were
7 beaten naked from 3.00 to 6.00 in the morning. I had some surgical
8 scars, having been operated on, on my hip, and I asked them, "Don't hit
9 me there," but they especially hit me exactly there. I would pass out,
10 then they would bring me back into consciousness, then continue beating
11 me. I lost consciousness a couple of times during that period of
12 torture, until 3.00 in the morning. Suddenly, there was silence, and
13 Captain, as we called him, Blue Six - later on, I found out that he was
14 the chief of KOS
15 anybody had beaten us. I said, "No, nobody," because I was in the
16 presence of the person who had beaten me. That person demanded that I
17 strip. When I stripped, he could see redness on my skin. He asked me,
18 "What's your profession?" I answered, "I'm a lawyer," and he said,
19 "Shame on you. You're a lawyer, and you are lying." I said, "No, these
20 are bruises from Batajnica." I could not admit that they were beating me
22 I know that some other people told Captain Blue Six that we had
23 been beaten in Batajnica; but as soon as he left, they continued beating
24 those people. The Captain Blue Six brought a medical doctor with him.
25 She gave us some powders, some pills. She could not believe the blood
1 pressure reading that I had. But it was incredible. It was
2 inconceivable that anyone could survive such torture. There were five or
3 six of us.
4 Later on, I found out that a person named Simo, who beat us very
5 much, after five or six days invited us to get out of the room. Of
6 course, we had to have our hands behind our backs and with our head
7 facing downwards. He said, "We were told that you slaughtered children,
8 Serb children, and we beat you up. But now I see from the documents that
9 you did not do that. I will no longer beat you." But there were others
10 who did the beating at Sremska Mitrovica.
11 Q. Did you get enough food in Sremska Mitrovica?
12 A. There was always this problem with food. It was always
13 insufficient. In the morning, when they would bring some tea and slices
14 of bread, some were thinner, some were thicker, and sometimes people
15 would scuffle because of getting a thinner slice. And if we were to
16 argue in front of military policemen, they would take away the bread and
17 the tea. In summertime, they would bring some pasta, macaroni, some ten,
18 15 pieces of pasta for the whole day, and we were hungry all the time.
19 What was interesting, after each breakfast and after each dinner,
20 they would beat us up regularly. Of course, there were people taken out
21 individually during the day, but what was regular was the beating
22 immediately after breakfast and after dinner. Of course, we had to sing
23 Chetnik songs, and there were Chetnik songs sung all the time.
24 Q. Do you remember some titles of these Chetnik songs?
25 A. Well, the standard one was "From Topola to Ravna Gora Are The
1 Sentries of General Draza." Draza was the General Mihajlovic. Then
2 there was a song by a Croatian pop singer, Tajci, "Let's Get Crazy
3 Tonight, Pluck Some Croats Eyes." You know, they adapted the versus to
4 their purposes. There was Vila Velebita. Then a Muslim girl vowed
5 before the mosque that she loves the Serbs the best in the world. Then
6 we were made to pray Pater Noster, et cetera.
7 Then there was another song about a bird, a popular song.
8 Whenever they ordered us to sing some regular folk songs, that was heaven
9 compared to what we were made to sing otherwise.
10 Q. Was there also a song which was called "We Will Slaughter
12 A. Yes, there were. Well, the general effect of those songs were,
13 "We will slaughter, We will kill." Those were all songs that used to be
14 sung by the Chetniks during World War II and which were prohibited during
15 the communist Yugoslavia
16 would be put to jail.
17 Q. Do you remember that you gave an interview to a British
18 television station at that time?
19 A. Yes, I do remember. On one occasion, in the morning, the
20 commander of the camp and came and called out Filip Karaula's name. He
21 was the commander of the Mitnica part of the Vukovar front, and me --
22 he invited or called out the name of a German, a volunteer in the
23 Croatian Army. He brought us outside. He was in the company of
24 policemen who had electric batons, and he told us that we were supposed
25 to give a statement to a foreign TV crew.
1 He said, "What is important for me is to say that you are not
2 beaten, that you have all the hygiene conditions, food, et cetera." I
3 asked him whether I was permitted to say I had been beaten at
4 Bosanski Samac. He said, "Whatever you like, but I would advise you
5 against saying any such things. Your family is in Rijeka, in Croatia
6 but they can reach your family and take their vengeance against them."
7 Then we gave our statements, I believe, to Sky News. I'm not
8 sure. Of course, while we were giving those statements, the commander of
9 the camp and the chief of the KOS
10 our statements had to be adapted and adjusted to their requirements.
11 They gave us some clothes, they cut our hair, so that we would be
13 MR. MUSSEMEYER: We have a part of this interview, and I would
14 like to show it to you. It is 65 ter number 1059.
15 [Videotape played]
16 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "A crew from a British TV agency
17 visited the Sremska Mitrovica camp. We are broadcasting their segment in
18 its entirety.
19 "Over 450 prisoners, member of various Croatian formations, the
20 ZNG, the Ministry of the Interior, and HOS, are mostly from Vukovar
21 currently imprisoned in Sremska Mitrovica. Among them is also a group of
22 Muslims. We recorded the statement of Sulejman Tihic, now the president,
23 and formerly president of SDA of Bosanski Samac.
24 "Tihic: A group of prisoners from BH, about 60 of us, appeal to
25 the [indiscernible] of BH, urging them to take our status, our programme
1 into consideration. We suggested that they release from military prisons
2 or from whatever they are, where soldiers of the JNA are stationed, to
3 release some 25 soldiers and that the JNA should then release us from
5 personally sent a letter to Alija Izetbegovic in my capacity as party
6 president. And in this capacity as president of the BH SDA, I would like
7 to take this opportunity to appeal again for our problem and the problem
8 of those soldiers to be solved. Just like us, like all of us, those
9 soldiers have parents, children, brothers, sisters, and everybody's
10 waiting to get outside of detention. I am certain that this cannot be
11 easy for them, either, and we cannot wait for the exchange to take
13 "The only person in solitary confinement is the notorious Manda,
14 who cut the throats of Serb soldiers; and of course she is the only woman
15 here. One of the prisoners is a former member of the Yugoslav national
16 rogue team, Kresimir Dzalto. We also report recorded the statement of
17 Filip Karaula, the commander of the ZNJ forces in Nemetin in Vukovar."
18 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
19 Q. Mr. Tihic, is this the video we were talking about?
20 A. Yes, that's the footage. It was later broadcast on Croatian
21 Television as well. My mother and my wife for the first time learned
22 that I was alive. They were stationed in Rijeka, in Croatia
23 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I would like to move this video into evidence.
24 JUDGE HARHOFF: When was it taken?
25 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Give me a second. It was taken the 6th of
1 December, 1994. It was seized at that time. I can give you, if you are
2 interested, the exhibit number in the Bosanski Samac case. It is P17.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let's give it an exhibit
5 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be given
6 Exhibit number P675. Thank you, Your Honours.
7 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Could I please know how much time is left for
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Not much. Registrar, please.
10 I believe you probably have something between ten and 15 minutes left,
11 but I will let you know.
12 Please proceed, and the Registrar will let us know.
13 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I would like to have a document shown on the
14 monitor. Sorry, the Registrar has to do two things at a time. The
15 document is number 1581. This a news article from the newspaper 'Borba'
16 dated the 15th of August, 1992, and entitled "Ordinary People Remain,"
17 and the accused is mentioned.
18 Q. Mr. Tihic, do you remember this article?
19 A. Yes, I do remember this article. I gave this interview the day
20 following the day I was interviewed by the 'Vis News' from England
21 the first interview on TV was the 11th or the 12th, and then this article
22 print interview was the day afterwards for 'Borba.' Military policemen
23 showed me and brought me a copy, and I then took it with me.
24 Q. There it said that Bosanski Samac was a very comfortable prison.
25 Do you agree with this?
1 A. I do not agree. A prison cannot be comfortable. I told you,
2 there were nine of us in a cell which is 1 metre 20 by 1 metre 80, with a
3 single bench where we sat and slept.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection. The Prosecutor is
5 saying that this prison was Bosanski Samac Prison, but this is
6 Sremska Mitrovica prison.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's Sremska Mitrovica.
8 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I apologise. It was a mistake.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
10 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I want to move this document into evidence.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. We will give it an
12 exhibit number. This article will get an exhibit number.
13 Registrar, please.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, Exhibit number P676. Thank you,
15 Your Honours.
16 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
17 Q. Mr. Tihic, how long did you stay in Sremska Mitrovica?
18 A. From 27th of May to the 14th of August, when the exchange took
19 place, this is the period while I was in Sremska Mitrovica.
20 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Mr. Registrar, can you please show the document
21 1597 on the monitor.
22 Q. And, Mr. Tihic, could you please tell us what it is about?
23 A. This is a certificate that we received after the exchange at
24 Nemetin, near Osijek
1 This was an agreement between Panic and Gregoric, between Croatia
3 well. I received this certificate along with other detainees.
4 But, here, there is this mistake that I was in Mitrovica from the
5 18th of April, 1992, to 14th of August, 1992. I was captured in
6 Bosanski Samac on the 18th of April, and I was in Mitrovica from the
7 27th of May until the 14th of August.
8 Q. Thank you for letting us know.
9 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Can I have moved into evidence this document?
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A number, please.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this document shall be given
12 Exhibit number P677. Thank you, Your Honour.
13 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
14 Q. Mr. Tihic, could you please now tell us when you were exchanged,
15 how was the procedure when you left from the prison until you were
17 A. You see, at first, we lived in uncertainty as to whether the
19 the exchange, of course, we had to clean up all the premises, the rooms,
20 to fold neatly the mattresses that we slept on, to put our personal
21 effects in order. These were the preparations for the exchange.
22 On the evening of the 13th, we -- they started calling out our
23 names to emerge from those rooms into the center of the camp. They would
24 group us there. Then we -- our neighbours would be called out to go
25 somewhere else. Then they were calling our names to get us on board
1 buses. There were 15 buses, I think. At the entrance to the bus,
2 policemen were standing and would slap people boarding the bus once or
3 twice. And trying to avoid being hit with a baton, I did not see where I
4 was going and I missed the step. I grabbed his - a policeman who was
5 standing on the second step - his rifle, to stabilise myself, and they
6 construed that as an attempt to escape, to grab his weapon. I was in the
7 corner, in the last seat in the bus, and this helped me to avoid being
8 beaten as badly as the other passengers.
9 We departed late in the evening, and it took us the whole day,
10 until 6.00 p.m.
11 beaten. Whenever we would stop, local inhabitants would get on board and
12 beat us up.
13 There was a Montenegrin on board on the bus who was drinking
14 brandy. He would beat us. He would invite civilians to get on board and
15 beat us.
16 When we reached Nemetin and waiting for the exchange, the
17 question was whether the exchange would take place or not, whether the
18 Croats had brought all the people to be exchanged or not. A major, at
19 one point, entered the bus and saw that he was beating us, and he said,
20 "You stupid peasant. Can't you see that the TV is making footage of all
21 those people? We made sure that we did not beat them for the couple of
22 times previously so that there are no new scars, and now you are
23 inflicting new scars on them." That person said, "Well, they're cursing
24 my mother." The major then demanded that we raise our heads, because we
25 had to travel with our heads between our knees and it was very painful.
1 The major disembarked, and then the policeman hit the person nearest to
2 him. The major re-entered the bus, and then he cursed that policeman's
4 This journey was fraught with uncertainty. We were beaten along
5 the way, and it took very long for us to get there. Military policemen
6 would say, "The exchange has been called off. We will kill all of you,"
7 but, fortunately, the exchange did take place. I was exchanged at
8 Nemetin. The Croatian side must have brought all of their prisoners.
9 The Serbs brought all their prisoners. I was met with my wife, my son,
10 my sister. They must have probably known that the exchange would take
12 Q. Did you later have a medical examination, and what injuries did
13 they find?
14 A. Yes. I was examined in Rijeka
15 the right-hand side were broken, two ribs on the left-hand side had been
16 broken but had healed. Then the sternum, this bone between the ribs and
17 the bone below the last vertebra, was also broken, but it healed.
18 Afterwards, I had to undergo hip surgery, hip replacement surgery, maybe
19 as a consequence of the torture. Stress may have induced a colon
20 carcinoma. I had to remove that subsequently. My front teeth were
21 broken completely, and now I have caps on my teeth because all my teeth
22 were broken.
23 Q. Do you still suffer from the consequences of these injuries?
24 A. Well, I don't know. I think that I have put this behind me, and
25 I don't feel any direct effects. Perhaps these recollections take a
1 person back to those ugly times, but life does go on normally and I don't
2 really have any special problems on account of that. I still live in the
3 faith that there is and will be a Bosnia and Herzegovina where all ethnic
4 and religious groups or peoples will live together and in a spirit of
5 tolerance. After all, in all the camps that I went through, there were
6 always people who helped, who prevented evil from taking place.
7 I am not a person who could identify one people or nation or one
8 group with crimes, especially us in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We can only go
9 on living that way together, on a footing of equality. That's the way
12 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I was informed that I have a few minutes left,
13 so I would like to introduce some documents which I skipped.
14 Mr. Registrar, could you please show the exhibit -- the 65 ter
15 number 4012.
16 Q. And, Mr. Tihic, I would like for you to comment on this. What
17 does it depict?
18 A. This would roughly be the emblem of the Grey Wolves. I remember
19 one of those specials, as we called them, the multicoloured ones, as we
20 called them. He came with one of these uniforms, and he said that these
21 emblems were not right. The four letters "S" were not put right, because
22 they have their behinds, begging your pardon, turned to one another,
23 because they were all supposed to face each other. How else could the
24 Serbs be united? Then he showed the emblem of his unit, where these
25 letters were facing each other, not as if they had their backs turned to
1 one another.
2 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Can I have moved this into evidence?
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes. Can we have a number,
5 THE REGISTRAR: [Previous translation continues]... be given
6 Exhibit number P688. Thank you, Your Honour.
7 MR. MUSSEMEYER: The next document I would like to show has the
8 65 ter number 2241.
9 Q. And, Mr. Tihic, I would like you to tell us what it is -- what it
11 A. This is the building of the Territorial Defence Staff. That's
12 the one that has windows, and to the left is the warehouse of the
13 Territorial Defence where we were detained, the warehouse there and this
14 other building. On this side of the street was the police station.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can we have a
16 number, please.
17 THE REGISTRAR: This document shall be given Exhibit number P679.
18 Thank you, Your Honours.
19 MR. MUSSEMEYER: And the last document I would like to be shown
20 on the monitor has the 65 ter number 669. This is an excerpt from the
21 minutes of the founding session of the SAO Northern Bosnia Assembly.
22 Q. And, Mr. Tihic, I would like you to read only the last decision
23 which you can find on page 3.
24 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Please, could you move it a bit up, because --
25 down, down.
1 Q. There is the last decision, which I want you to read.
2 A. As far as I see, this is a different page. It's not there yet.
3 Is there one more page, because you said that it was on the third page,
4 and this is page 2.
5 Q. It has the ID number 4. I have a hard copy here.
6 A. "Decision on the proclamation of the SAO of Northern Bosnia as an
7 inseparable state of the Federal State
8 "4..." --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters note: It is too fast for
10 interpretation, and we cannot see the text.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Signed, Nikola Perisic."
12 MR. MUSSEMEYER:
13 Q. Mr. Tihic, could you please repeat this? It was too quick for
14 the interpreters. They could not see the text.
15 A. "Decision on the proclamation of the SAO, the Serb Autonomous
16 Province of the Republic of Bosnia
18 "Number 4, a large number of guests and representatives asked to
19 take the floor and made short speeches of welcome. As all the items on
20 the agenda had been dealt with, the president of the Assembly concluded
21 the session at 1815 hours.
22 "President of the Assembly, Nikola Perisic."
23 Q. Mr. Tihic, are you aware of this decision, and can you please
24 comment on it?
25 A. Yes. Yes, I am aware of it. When this decision was made, again
1 it was a one-sided act on the part of a group of MPs of some Serbs, not
2 all Serbs, those from the SDS
3 because this was against the Constitution. The constitutional procedure
4 had not been applied.
5 This is a territory of the Doboj region that is being proclaimed
6 a Serb territory, as if did it were not inhabited in equal numbers by
7 Serbs and Croats. So it's evident that there was -- there were equal
8 numbers of all three ethnic groups, all three peoples: Serbs, Muslims,
9 and Croats. But then they took it upon themselves to say that they would
10 pass this unconstitutional act. This also contributed to divisions and
11 conflicts, because if Serbs proclaimed the entire territory as their own,
12 and they constitute only one-third of the population, then, of course,
13 the other peoples cannot accept that.
14 You can see, by the name itself, and also the other provisions
15 are discriminatory ones, this is the standard form of decision that was
16 made in different parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and other parts, too,
17 where not only Serbs lived, but other peoples as well. Usually, they
18 invoked the principles that suited them. If it is a demographic
19 majority, then they say "demographic majority." Then if before the
20 Second World War, they were the majority, then they would invoke that
21 principle, that before the Second World War they were a majority. They
22 even would say things like, if there is a single Serb somewhere or a
23 single Serb grave, that would be Serb territory. Things like that.
24 Of course, they'd always take more than necessary, and it was
25 quite illegal. In a way, they were in defiance of the Constitution of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina and laws of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as if they never
2 existed. They proclaimed institutions of their own, and in that way they
3 produced conflicts.
4 Q. Thank you, Mr. Tihic.
5 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I would like to have --
6 JUDGE HARHOFF: The date.
7 MR. MUSSEMEYER: The date?
8 JUDGE HARHOFF: Yes. What is the date of this proclamation?
9 MR. MUSSEMEYER: It's not written on there.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The 14th of November.
11 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you.
12 MR. MUSSEMEYER: I would like to have this entered into evidence.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's have a
14 number, please.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this document shall be given Exhibit
16 number P680. Thank you, Your Honour.
17 MR. MUSSEMEYER: This --
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I just have a brief objection,
19 Judges, in relation to what Mr. Harhoff asked. This question makes a lot
20 of sense. It was in 1991 that this decision was passed, and this is
21 tendentious on the part of the Prosecutor that Mr. Tihic, the witness,
22 read only the last part of the decision, where it remains an inseparable
23 part of the federal state. What is meant is the SFRY, rather than the
24 FRY, which was established on the 27th of April, 1992.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you agree with the date,
1 14th of November, 1991? Do you agree with the date of this document?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I agree that's when the SFRY
3 was in existence.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
5 Mr. Mussemeyer, you have concluded your examination-in-chief; is
6 that right?
7 MR. MUSSEMEYER: Yes, Your Honours. This was my last question.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We shall now have a 20-minute
9 break, and resume at 20 past 12.00 and run on until a quarter past 1.00,
10 and Mr. Seselj will begin his cross-examination.
11 --- Recess taken at 12.03 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 12.21 p.m.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The court is back in session.
14 I give the floor to Mr. Seselj for his cross-examination.
15 Cross-examination by Mr. Seselj:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Tihic --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] First, just an advise to our
18 two speakers.
19 Witness, could you please wait for Mr. Seselj to be finished with
20 his question before answering; otherwise, there will be overlapping of
21 your two voices and interpretation will be impossible. And, Mr. Seselj,
22 please be careful also.
23 You have the floor.
24 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Mr. Tihic, as for this tragic and difficult fate that you
1 suffered during your life, and I had occasion to read about this in your
2 previous statements, did you ever come across persons who introduced
3 themselves to you as volunteers of the Serb Radical Party, or Seselj's
4 men, rather; or did other people indicate to you that they were Seselj's
5 men? I did not find any such thing in any of your statements.
6 A. I said that I came across people who introduced themselves and
7 looked like Chetniks, you see. You were the leader, the political
8 leader, of that party that promoted that. No one personally introduced
9 himself to me as a man of Seselj's, but just as a Chetnik and things like
11 Q. And to the best of your knowledge, is the Serb Radical Party the
12 only one that affirmed the Chetnik idea, either in Serbia or in
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina, on the political scene?
14 A. Well, it wasn't the only one, but you did personally to a degree.
15 Q. So you knew me as a Chetnik, that's how I interpret your answer.
16 You knew me as a prominent Chetnik, but no one from amongst the people
17 you came across introduced themselves as a man of Seselj's, and no one
18 said that they were Seselj's men?
19 A. I never had any such personal experience.
20 Q. All right. Did we know each other when we studied at the law
21 school at the University of Sarajevo
22 A. I do not remember.
23 Q. All right. You're a lawyer.
24 A. I was born in 1951, so I don't know when you were born.
25 Q. I was born in 1954. I found you there at university when I got
1 there, but never mind. You're a lawyer. You were a judge, a prosecutor,
2 an attorney, and now you're a prominent politician.
3 When you were called by The Hague OTP to testify as a Prosecution
4 witness in the proceedings against me, did you find that a bit strange?
5 Did you wonder perhaps what it was that you had to testify about against
7 A. Well, I did wonder what I was supposed to testify about, and the
8 answer I found for myself was that I could testify as to the
9 circumstances of my stay in camps because it was part of the general
10 political situation then in that town, in that municipality, in
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and in Yugoslavia
12 Q. During the cross-examination, I am going to make a small
13 inversion. First, we are going to take about your camp experiences,
14 because I must admit to you that in a way, that is what touched me the
15 most, if I can put it that way.
16 You, as a politician, know that there are a few associations of
17 former camp inmates in Bosnia-Herzegovina; right?
18 A. That's right.
19 Q. And, so far, quite a few of these former camp inmates published
20 their stories, and all of them are tragic, aren't they? Do you agree on
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. But we're going to dwell only on what happened to you, because
24 you could not be blamed for what was going on elsewhere; right?
25 Do you consider me to be responsible for everything that happened
1 to you while you were in the detention camp in Sremska Mitrovica, in the
2 military prison in Batajnica, and so on?
3 A. You, personally? Well, the responsibility is on the side of that
4 policy that you promoted, inter alia, national exclusiveness, the
5 division of Yugoslavia
6 Q. Do you know, in accordance with the regulations of the SFRY that
7 were then in force, that it was only the military police that was in
8 charge of prisoners; that they were supposed to provide conditions of
9 their detention, accommodation, et cetera, and everything else?
10 A. Probably that was the case. That would only be logical.
11 Q. Do you remember who at that time was the chief of the Security
12 Service of the JNA?
13 A. I cannot remember.
14 Q. Have you heard of General Aleksandar Vasiljevic?
15 A. Yes, I have heard of him.
16 Q. Before that, he was the chief of security of the Sarajevo
17 Military District. Do you know that?
18 A. I don't know about that.
19 Q. When you happened to be in these prisons or detention camps,
20 whatever we choose to call them, in addition to the military police,
21 there were always security officers there, too, right, or the KOS, as you
22 called them?
23 A. This was in Brcko. In Brcko, there was this one Petrovic. He
24 was chief of this security or KOS
25 that major. I mentioned that. And in Sremska Mitrovica, there was this
1 Plavi Cest, Blue Six. He said that he was from the KOS and in that camp.
2 Q. And they were practically in charge of your destiny there; right?
3 A. Well, they, together with the rest of them who were there.
4 Q. All right. Well, it's not all right, but since things happened,
5 then let us discuss how it happened. Can the policy of an opposition
6 party be blamed for that, or is somebody else more responsible? The
7 closest associates of General Vasiljevic, you remembered his name, Simeon
8 Tumanov, who was a colonel, and then later on general; then then-Colonel,
9 later on General Branko Gajic; and General Mile Babic who was chief of
10 the Military Security of the 1st Military District.
11 Have you heard of these names?
12 A. Tumanov, I did hear of. It's the fact that he came to Samac when
13 the exchanges took place. I don't know the other two.
14 Q. So he organised the exchanges in Samac, you know, Tumanov?
15 A. I think so, yes.
16 Q. Do you know that at that time, there was a separate political
17 party that had been established by the generals, and it was called the
18 League of Communists, the Movement for Yugoslavia?
19 A. Yes, I remember that.
20 Q. Do you know what the basic objectives of that party were?
21 A. I could not say now. I assume that it was the preservation of
23 Q. But under special conditions, their plans were topple, as they
24 said, the nationalist leadership in Serbia and in Croatia
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina, or, rather, Milosevic, Tudjman and Izetbegovic, to
1 restore Yugoslavia
2 main role, trying to play the role of Tito. Would that be their concept?
3 A. I could not say for sure, but --
4 Q. All right. When you don't know something and if you cannot
5 confirm something, we're going to move on straight away. I'm not going
6 to insist, and I'm not going to try to draw something out of you that
7 cannot be drawn. However, I think that you do know that they were
8 Orthodox communists, if we can put it that way, the security officers.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Were they the main communists in the army?
11 A. As a rule, they were -- well, how shall I put this? They were in
12 charge of the purity of the idea.
13 Q. The communist idea?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Isn't it astonishing now that these extreme or orthodox
16 communists, as they were keeping you in prisons, demonstrated the Chetnik
17 idea to you, and they forced you to sing Chetnik songs, and then some
18 songs that are not Chetnik songs, that are horrible, but that seemed like
19 Chetnik songs to you about the killings? That is the kind of thing
20 football fans would do, right, about slaughters, killings, things like
21 that? Would you agree on that?
22 A. Those songs were sung everywhere, in all the camps.
23 Q. I'm not denying that, but it's astounding, is it not, that before
24 the very eyes of the security officers, songs like that were sung?
25 A. Well, I couldn't believe it, either. I remember, when in
1 Mitrovica, when I was cleaning up something there and I saw Comrade
2 Tito's picture there, I was happy to see it. When I compared it to what
3 I was going through and what people were going through, they still had
4 Tito's picture on the wall.
5 Q. But they beat you all the time and forced you to sing Chetnik
6 songs and to kiss, as you yourself said, a photograph of
7 Draza Mihajlovic; right?
8 A. I think it was a picture -- a picture drawn of Draza Mihajlovic,
10 Q. Well, it doesn't matter either way.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And what was their intention when they forced you to do that?
13 You're a politician and intellectual? Was there a intention behind that?
14 Nothing is done by chance.
15 A. Well, I was surprised how this could happen at all and how it
16 could permeate the JNA. And for two or three years, we believed it to be
17 a joint army. So I was very surprised to see that the young men there
18 had this hatred and professed this hatred just because my name was
19 Sulejman, and they were beating me for just that reason.
20 We brought up our children -- our children were brought up in
21 schools. How come, suddenly, in representative prisons as the one at the
22 Batajnica Airport
23 singing songs like that?
24 Q. Well, here's my thesis, here's what I think. They beat you
25 without mercy and forced the Chetnik idea so that one day, you could
1 ascribe all that to the Chetniks; whereas, it was the KOS officers or the
2 military security services who were still hard-line communists.
3 That's my opinion, Mr. Tihic. Am I right there?
4 A. Well, there were different combinations, different things were
5 going on. I think, in the JNA, there were people who tried to protect
6 us. There were officers like that, I remember, regardless of ethnicity,
7 and I'm sure there were those who set out following the nationalist
9 Q. Mr. Tihic, those who tried to protect you did so individually, of
10 their own will, because they were good people; right?
11 A. Well, probably they were good people, but they should do that
12 even as a course of duty.
13 Q. Do you think that General Vasiljevic did not know what was being
14 done to you?
15 A. Well, they had to know, as the chiefs.
16 Q. He was the chief of the Security Service, which is a higher level
17 than intelligence. It's counter-intelligence, as it was called
18 previously. So you agree that he must have known about all of it?
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers kindly slow down and not
20 overlap. We can't hear them. Thank you.
21 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
22 Q. [Overlapping speakers] ... and he didn't lift a finger to prevent
23 it, did he?
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Speak slower, please.
25 Mr. Seselj, do not speak so loud. The interpreters are having a
1 difficult time.
2 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Mr. Tihic, you testified in the Slobodan Milosevic trial; right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Do you know that in the indictment against Slobodan Milosevic, a
6 number of persons were enumerated who, together with him, allegedly took
7 part in the joint criminal enterprise, and the media published this in
9 A. Well, just on the basis of what the media said, I couldn't
10 mention all the names, but I know they were in the media.
11 Q. Well, there are many high-sounding names above them, including
12 Aleksandar Vasiljevic; do you remember that?
13 A. I can't really remember. Possibly, but I can't remember.
14 Q. And in one of the indictments raised against me, there is no
15 mention of Aleksandar Vasiljevic, but I assume you don't know about that.
16 Anyway, don't you find it strange that The Hague Tribunal and OTP
17 never accused General Vasiljevic for taking part in war crimes?
18 A. Well, I don't know about any of that, really, to tell you the
19 truth, and what guided the Prosecution and so on and so forth. I know
20 that there are many people that perhaps might -- should have been taken
21 to task and brought to court, but --
22 Q. When we look at how the prisoners of war were treated, then he is
23 the most responsible?
24 A. Well, probably, and his superiors, too.
25 Q. There was just the minister above him. There was no superior
1 officer above him.
2 A. Wasn't there the chief of the General Staff?
3 Q. No. As far as I know, he was the chief of the Security Service
4 of the Ministry of Defence, which was above the General Staff. Isn't
5 that right?
6 A. I don't know. I can't tell you about hierarchy and structure.
7 Q. Well, you know that Kadijevic was Defence minister?
8 A. Yes, I do.
9 Q. Well, do you know that The Hague Tribunal and the OTP, on several
10 occasions, brought in Vasiljevic as a Prosecution witness in other
12 A. No, I don't know about that.
13 Q. All right. Well, the OTP knows that full well, but let's not
14 dwell there. We'll move on.
15 You said, on several occasions, that an aggression had been
16 launched against Bosnia-Herzegovina. By whom?
17 A. Well, the aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina was launched by
18 the JNA.
19 Q. Well, how can the JNA launch an aggression against
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina when at that time, BH was a component part of
22 A. Well, because the JNA was working for Greater Serbian policies
23 and politics, and it was under those instructions that they acted, that
24 they launched an aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina. The JNA corps
25 were stationed there, five of them, in fact, five corps. There were
1 units there that were withdrawing from Slovenia and the units withdrawing
2 from Croatia
3 project, and they used weapons to arm the Territorial Defence and
4 everybody else.
5 Q. Mr. Tihic, that is a political slogan, and I assume that you're
6 fully conscious of that yourself, that the JNA was working to promote
7 Greater Serbia
8 since it wasn't able to retain Slovenia
9 republics. And when it was unsuccessful in keeping the whole of Croatia
10 it wanted to preserve Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbian Montenegro, and
12 Never did anybody from the JNA ever mention Greater Serbia; am I
14 A. Not officially, but the RAM
15 that, was, in fact, a project for Greater Serbia, and that was a JNA
16 plan, an army plan.
17 Q. Mr. Tihic, nobody ever saw that plan, and the plan is a pure
18 invention, fabrication pursued by The Hague Tribunal. You've never seen
19 it either; right? They were duped.
20 A. No.
21 Q. You didn't see it subsequently, even when you became a
22 high-ranking officer in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
23 A. I never dealt in military matters at all for me to have been able
24 to see it, especially with what happened before.
25 Q. But we're serious people, so when we give statements in serious
1 places, we must be careful what we say, and the things we say must be
2 based on certain grounds. But never mind, let's move on.
3 I'm now going to go through several of the things in your
4 statements made here today, and then we'll have a chance of going through
5 all the different topics in due course.
6 But, anyway, you said that on the 17th of April, Samac was
7 attacked; right? How could Samac have been attacked, because over there
8 you had the JNA, and it had the 17th Tactical Group deployed there;
9 right? They had formed the 4th Detachment, which was supposed to be a
10 Territorial Defence unit, but under the control of the JNA; am I right
11 there? So it was officially the Territorial Defence formed by locals,
12 but under the strict jurisdiction of the JNA?
13 A. It wasn't Territorial Defence; it was a unit within the
14 composition of the JNA.
15 Q. All right. Fine. Now, you know that in case the JNA conducted
16 operations in a certain area, that all the units of the Territorial
17 Defence came under the command of the JNA, and that was according to the
18 concept of total national or all people's defence?
19 A. Yes, that's logical, when it comes to an external enemy, an
20 external foe.
21 Q. Now, tell me, why would they attack Samac if they were already in
22 Samac and had control of the situation there?
23 A. Well, first of all, they attacked the town of Bosanski Samac, the
24 town proper; and they wanted to take full control over the town, in my
25 opinion, over that area, the bridge, to replace the elected powers in
1 authority, and to hand it over to the Serb side.
2 Q. However, there was no attack?
3 A. They wanted to secure that famous corridor linking up the area
4 with Serbia
5 also because there was the bridge there and the port there and the
6 railway there, and the border in general.
7 Q. And there was the danger of the Croatian forces entering Bosnia
8 through that corridor?
9 A. Well, that's what the Serb side said, that Bosanski Brod could
10 repeat itself and that Croatian forces could cross over.
11 Q. They'd already crossed over at Bosanski Brod; right? Do you know
12 about village of Sijekovac
13 proper committed great crimes against Serb civilians, where over 100
14 civilians were killed? Have you heard of Sijekovac?
15 A. Yes, and the crimes, but I don't know who perpetrated them.
16 Q. And the information tells us that Croatian forces came across the
17 Sava River
18 at that time, as far as I know.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers kindly be asked to slow down
20 and speak one at a time. Thank you. It's impossible to translate at
21 this rate. Thank you.
22 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Tihic, may I give you a good piece of advice.
23 If you look at the screen, you will see that there is text coming in as
24 we speak. I hope that you have the screen open that shows the
25 transcript. May I suggest that you do not answer the questions until you
1 have seen the cursor stop, because that is the time when the translation
2 has been made and the text has gone through. Thank you.
3 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Tihic, as we were saying, there could be no attack because
5 there was no conflict in Sabac; right? Quite simply, the JNA had left
6 with its vehicles. With all its military equipment, it had gone out onto
7 the streets.
8 A. They entered Bosanski Samac without permission from the
9 authorities and without their knowledge, indeed. They started shooting
10 first of all up into the air and then targeting certain facilities which
11 were set fire to, and they disarmed the existing police force. They
12 entered into all the public buildings and powers and
13 authorities [indiscernible].
14 Q. But they had previous information, which was correct, that you
15 had already set up a command for the town and a Territorial Defence
16 detachment made up of 212 members which were exclusively Muslims. There
17 was just six Croats, and all the rest were Muslims; right?
18 A. That was a proposal with a list of Muslim Bosniaks who had
19 reported and wanted to be part of the Territorial Defence of
20 Bosanski Samac.
21 Q. But you had, as you said, 50 automatic rifles, you had weapons,
22 you had some hunting weapons, and about 200 kilometres of explosives;
24 A. Fifty automatic rifles, I said, and I said that we had handed
25 that over to the Territorial Defence Staff. The rifles, well, they
1 didn't manage to hand them out. They were seized when the JNA entered
2 Bosanski Samac.
3 Q. But that Territorial Defence of yours was illegal, wasn't it,
4 because you were working pursuant to instructions from the political
5 leadership from Sarajevo
6 A. No, it wasn't illegal and unlawful. The Staff of the Territorial
7 Defence was a constitutional category and therefore legal.
8 Q. You mean the Staff that you set up?
9 A. Well, not that we set up. It was the Republican Staff of the
10 Territorial Defence that appointed Marko Bozanovic, and also Alija
11 Fitozovic as the chief, and the other person was the commander.
12 Q. On what legal basis was the command for the town of
13 Bosanski Samac appointed? It wasn't a command for the town, a municipal
15 A. Well, on the document the OTP showed us, it said "Town Command."
16 Well, that's what it said, "Town Command," but, in fact, these were
17 people who were concerned about their future and, therefore, wanted to
18 see that within the legal institutions, units be established. So they
19 put their names down to become members. The Croats and Serbs were
20 supposed to give several thousand people like that?
21 Q. Do you know that the Territorial Defence units could have existed
22 and could exist only in cooperation with the JNA; they could not --
23 Territorial Defence units could not exist without the JNA?
24 A. No, I don't know that. The Territorial Defence came under the
25 authority of the republic, and the JNA was under the authority of the
2 Q. Mr. Tihic, that was the case until 1987. In 1987, that was
3 changed. That means several years before the war broke out.
4 A. I don't think that's correct.
5 Q. Mr. Tihic --
6 A. Well, I don't know all the provisions very well, but I know that
7 the Territorial Defence came under the republics, at the level of the
9 Q. When an expert like this tells you that in 1987, Mr. Tihic, the
10 General Staff of the JNA was renamed the General Staff of the
11 Armed Forces, and the Presidency of the SFRY took over the Command of the
12 Territorial Defence and not only the JNA, and it was pursuant to an order
13 from the Presidency of the SFRY that in 1999, they took over the weapons
14 from the depots and warehouses of the Territorial Defence, because the
15 SFRY Presidency concluded that at the proposal of the General Staff of
16 the JNA, that it was too dangerous, that the Republican leadership should
17 have such strong powers over the Territorial Defence and the armed forces
18 should be united. So you don't know about that?
19 A. I don't remember all these details, as you call them. I do know
20 that the JNA took over the weapons from the Territorial Defence depots.
21 I know that an order like that arrived. Now, who issued the order,
22 whether it was the Presidency or the Ministry or whoever, the Staff, I
23 don't know.
24 Q. Well, the press published articles saying that it was pursuant to
25 an SFRY Presidency decision.
1 A. I'm sure that there are documents about that.
2 Q. The OTP have all those documents, but, unfortunately, during the
3 proofing sessions, they didn't show them to you. But never mind.
4 We've just observed the way in which the JNA took over control of
5 Samac, and you said that a mass crime had been committed in Supina [as
6 interpreted]. But I think these were only rumours, because it was
7 investigated during the Samac group trial, Blagoje Simic et al, and
8 nothing was proved. No traces of a crime were found, no bodies, nothing;
9 nor was it established who the people were who could have been killed
11 A. Mr. Seselj, all that's been proved and shown. The crime was
12 committed before the eyes of hundreds of people in that camp over there,
13 in the Bosanka factory warehouse, and we do know who the people were who
14 were killed and how long the liquidation lasted. That's what I can tell
15 you. Now, the bodily remains of those people over there were buried.
16 The fact that they had been buried and cannot be uncovered is another
17 matter. But the crime did take place, and both Serbs and Bosniaks and
18 Croats and everybody can tell you about them. So there's no point in
19 denying that.
20 Q. Well, how come The Hague Tribunal wasn't able to prove that that
21 actually did happen?
22 A. Well, I think it did prove it. It did show that it happened,
23 because there were people on both sides -- on all three sides who saw it
24 take place. It was public liquidation in front of the camp inmates, 16
25 people, 18 people, or however many. There are the names and surnames of
1 the people there, so don't try and deny that. That's something that is
2 very well known.
3 Q. I'm just asking you. I'm not denying anything. I'm expecting an
4 answer, because as you know, I wasn't there and didn't see anything with
5 my own eyes. But never mind, let's move on.
6 You said that the conflict would never have arisen had there not
7 been intervention from outside, mostly from Belgrade -- or, rather, from
8 the Serb side and the JNA. However, I'm sure you know just how much the
9 Croats in your municipality arm themselves and how much weapons they
10 receive from Croatia
11 A. I said that in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the conflict would never have
12 arisen if the Bosnian Serbs and Croats and Bosniaks were asked, and that
13 the conflicts through history occurred when there was interference and
14 meddling from the surrounding parts, not only the Serbs. Conflicts
15 occurred during world wars, and regional conflicts for that matter as
17 Specifically speaking, when we're talking about this last war,
18 there was more intensive interference and meddling on the part of the
19 Serbs. I don't want to deny that there was interference on the Croatian
20 side, but Serbia
21 It had the JNA, and that's why the Serbs behaved like that. Might is
22 right. They had might behind them.
23 Q. Now, what could have been the role of the JNA, except to preserve
25 A. I think that in a way, more or less, it was included into the
1 project of the creation of a Greater Serbia.
2 Q. That's just what you think. You have no proof or evidence of
3 that. Mr. Tihic, you never heard that any of the Serbs strove and
4 advocated a Greater Serbia, except for me; right?
5 A. Well, yes, you stated your views loud and clear and advocated
6 that clearly.
7 Q. I'm doing so today, too.
8 A. Well, maybe other people didn't do it as officially and loudly as
9 you, but they did.
10 Q. I've never heard of anybody else saying things like that.
11 A. Well, you were the most consistent in that respect.
12 Q. If others ever spoke about that, I did not hear them.
13 A. Well, they were working on accomplishing this project.
14 Q. Mr. Tihic, conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina occurred when the
15 three national parties started disagreeing?
16 A. No, not after that. Those parties were the least to be asked
17 about anything, or Bosnians the least of them all. We wanted to avoid
19 Q. You declared yourselves as Muslims, and those outside wanted you
20 to change your label into "Bosniaks," somewhere in 1993?
21 A. No, that was not the way it was. "Bosniaks" is an ancient term.
22 We reinstated it. It used to exist for hundreds of years.
23 Q. Mr. Tihic, "Bosniaks" is a label for all people who lived in
25 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] The translation is lagging
1 behind by at least three questions and three answers.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] We will slow down. Hopefully, we
3 will manage.
4 Q. Do I have the equal right to call myself "Bosniak" as you do? Do
5 you know I was born in Sarajevo
6 A. I know that you were born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, maybe from
8 Q. I was born in Sarajevo
9 A. I think that you came from Herzegovina.
10 Q. I was born in the maternity ward of the Sarajevo Hospital
11 have the right to call myself a Bosniak?
12 A. Everybody has the right to call themselves what they like.
13 Q. This right does not entail ethnic affiliation.
14 A. "Bosniak" is an ethnic affiliation, but not an affinity towards a
15 certain territory.
16 Q. But the question was: This only was reinstated in 1991?
17 A. No, that's not correct. We have hundreds of years of tradition
18 of using that term.
19 Q. But people denoted by this term were not considered as a nation.
20 Your President Alija Izetbegovic, for decades, he declared himself as a
21 Serb of Muslim religious affiliation.
22 A. Well, for decades, he could not have declared himself as a
23 Muslim. This was not allowed. People either had to declare themselves
24 as Serbs, Croats, or without ethnic affiliation.
25 Q. Fine. You said that the JNA organised the 4th Detachment of the
1 17th Tactical Group, and you mentioned that there were Muslims in that
2 detachment as well. Did the JNA want all the Muslims to get involved
3 into the composition of those detachments, those who were able-bodied and
4 those who were subject to national service?
5 A. No, I don't believe that they selected people.
6 Q. Do you know that in Bosnia
7 mobilisation, and that call-up was heeded mainly by the Serbs; Croats,
8 almost none of them; and Muslims, to a certain degree?
9 A. This is known to me. We did not heed the call-up because we did
10 not want to take part in the war that was ongoing and that was
11 forthcoming. We didn't want to be part of a policy of creation of a
12 Greater Serbia
13 Q. Mr. Tihic, three national parties, the SDA, which organised the
14 Muslims, the Party of Democratic Action, then the SDS, Serbian Democratic
15 Party and the Serbian Democratic Union, at the elections towards the end
16 of 1990, worked together to overthrow the communist regime and to set up
17 a coalition government; isn't that correct?
18 A. That's correct. First of all, they wanted to topple the
19 communist regime.
20 Q. And since the election system was complicated, one had to vote
21 separately for rosters of Serbs, Croats, and Muslims; for instance, for
22 the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They supported each other. SDS
23 called on Serbs to vote for Alija Izetbegovic and Fikret Abdic, as their
24 candidates; and the SDA called on Muslims to vote for Biljana Plavsic and
25 Nikola Koljevic; isn't that correct?
1 A. When it came to the election of members of the Presidency, then
2 people voted along ethnic lines; in other words, they voted along party
3 lines. It is true that they were called on to vote for the other groups'
5 Q. This was done so that proportional votes would be counted, and
6 voting was done separately for Croatian, Serb, and Muslim candidates; is
7 that right?
8 A. Yes, and vice versa.
9 Q. So the ties between the three national parties were so strong
10 that they wiped the communists out of power; am I right in saying so?
11 A. They were working in concert to move -- remove communists from
13 Q. And then those three parties formed a coalition government?
14 A. That's correct.
15 Q. And that government functioned all throughout the time before the
16 outbreak of war in Croatia
17 A. The government functioned, approximately --
18 Q. Towards the end of 1991?
19 A. -- towards the end of 1991 and beginning of 1992, before the
20 referendum, when SDS
21 Bosnia-Herzegovinian assembly and government.
22 Q. Until the independent referendum; is that correct?
23 A. Yes, the 28th of February and the 1st of March, 1992, when the
24 referendum took place.
25 Q. Is it known to you that such a referendum, which decides on the
1 key question of status of Bosnia-Herzegovina, could be held only pursuant
2 to the consensus of political representatives of all three peoples?
3 A. The decision on the referendum was reached through parliamentary
4 procedure. Most of the Serbian representatives were against. All SDS
5 members and members of Parliament voted against the referendum, but that
6 referendum was fully legal, pursuant to the laws and Constitution, and it
7 was conducted as such. So it would have been better if support from the
9 Q. Mr. Tihic, you are a lawyer. You know the Constitution of the
10 BiH. Didn't the three peoples, the Serbs, Croats and Muslims - this is
11 how it's stated in the Constitution, then the order of listing the
12 peoples are changed intentionally to underline the equality - were those
13 peoples constituent peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
14 A. Yes, constituent peoples and equal.
15 Q. What -- how do you ascribe the quality of being a constituent
16 people? That means that each people is a constitutional factor, without
17 whose will the Constitution cannot be changed?
18 A. All international organisations, the International Community,
19 accepted that referendum as lawful. More than 64 per cent of the
20 inhabitants of Bosnia-Herzegovina voted for independence.
21 Q. Mr. Tihic, a huge number of countries of the world recognise this
22 Tribunal as legal, although it is not. So the fact that somebody from
23 outside recognised what you did doesn't mean that your deed is lawful,
24 because in the West, there are fewer people who understand the specific
25 Yugoslav theory of being a constituent people.
1 A. First of all, I think that this Tribunal is legal. It was
2 established by the UN. The question of constituent peoples in
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina and their equality was resolved in one manner in the
4 communist or socialist constitution, and in another manner following the
7 Q. Mr. Tihic, that referendum was not -- did not have legal effect,
8 because the Constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina was not changed in the way
9 that the Constitution forces.
10 A. By that time, the Constitution had not been changed.
11 Q. But it was changed afterwards?
12 A. Yes. After independence was declared, there were certain changes
13 to the Constitution.
14 Q. What I want to say is this: The status of a Constitution of
15 people is a legal formulation which preempts majorisation, which was
16 out-voting. It was a constitutionally-enshrined mechanism preventing one
17 people to be out-voted by the other two people. Muslims counted
18 42 per cent at that time in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbs were some 35,
19 17 of Croats, et cetera. But the Constitution guaranteed that two
20 peoples would team up against the third people and impose their will on
21 that third people. The Constitution demanded that each status issue in
22 question in Bosnia-Herzegovina be resolved through full consent of the
23 representatives of all three peoples; am I correct?
24 A. A referendum was not organised for the peoples to vote, but
25 citizens, and 64 per cent of citizens voted. How many of them were
1 Muslims, Croats, or Serbs, I don't know.
2 Q. This is exactly what the Constitution barred. Had it been
3 enshrining the concept of citizens, then the Constitution would not have
4 cited which peoples were constituent people and altered the order of
5 their mention, and that the Constitution did not speak about citizens.
6 It recognises the notion of constituent people to prevent
7 out-voting a certain constituent people at referendums, the same way that
8 they voted for different candidates at elections, voting for the other
9 groups' candidates for the Presidency, the same way a referendum was
10 possible if a majority of Serbs were to vote for something, a majority of
11 Muslims to vote for, and a majority of Croats to be voting for.
12 This was the only way that independence could have been voted
14 A. None of our legal instruments foresaw constituent peoples to
15 vote. That right lies with individual citizens. All legal instruments
16 to protect constituent peoples in Bosnia-Herzegovina were used, and the
17 referendum decision was adopted pursuant to the laws and Constitution.
18 Q. Mr. Tihic --
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, through his
20 question, ascertains that the referendum was illegal. This is not the
21 first time that he is saying this, and he is repeating it again here.
22 As a lawyer, what I would like to know from you is this: Did the
23 Constitution allow for a referendum, notwithstanding the issue of the
24 constituent people? Was a referendum authorised by the Constitution?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's correct, sir. It was
1 possible to hold a referendum pursuant to the Constitution if the
2 Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina were to invoke it, and the Assembly did so
3 pursuant to the effective laws, and this is how it was conducted.
4 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Tihic, the Constitution did not permit a referendum to change
6 constitutional provisions; isn't that correct? The Constitution laid
7 down a strict procedure for its amendments. A referendum could not be
8 used to amend the Constitution; am I right?
9 A. You're not.
10 Q. Which constitutional provision provided for a referendum to be
11 used to change or amend the Constitution?
12 A. Referendum did not change the Constitution. We voted at the
13 referendum on whether the inhabitants of Bosnia-Herzegovina were in
14 favour of an autonomous, independent, sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina. That
15 referendum did not vote on certain provisions of the Constitution.
16 Q. But the Constitution was being violated, because in its initial
17 provisions, the Constitution says that the Socialist Republic
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina, as a sovereign state - and, here, we see the
19 constituent people are a sovereign people - is associated into the SFRY
20 as an equal republic of the Federation. Is my interpretation good?
21 A. No, it's not.
22 Q. Can you give me a better interpretation of the Constitution?
23 A. The Assembly adopted a decision on the referendum. The
24 referendum was conducted pursuant to the effective legislation at the
25 time. It was completely legal, lawful. And if somebody thought that
1 Constitution was violated, they could have petitioned the Constitutional
2 Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina, claiming that such a decision was
4 Today, we can spend the whole day discussing whether it was
5 constitutional or unconstitutional, but I and many international legal
6 experts, including those in the Badinter Commission, thought that this
7 referendum was constitutional. You think that it wasn't.
8 If somebody wants to -- felt that this was unconstitutional, they
9 could have petitioned the Constitutional Court. Only the Constitutional
10 Court had it within its purview to rescind that.
11 Q. Do you know that all the scallywags that we've had occasion to
12 contact together with the Badinter Commission, and this, the Brcko
13 commission, et cetera, nobody entered the constitutionality of that?
14 I'm talking about the Constitution as it was written, and I'm not
15 discussing the opinions of those who never read that Constitution. When
16 Muslims and Croats said that they wanted independence, and the Serbs
17 said --
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, you referred to the
19 Badinter Commission, and you said "the foreigners who have not read our
20 Constitution." What you are saying is rather an extraordinary statement.
21 Do you believe that also, Witness, that people from the outside
22 had not read the Constitution?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Badinter Commission was an
24 expert legal commission. They read all the constitutions, the SFRY's
25 Constitution, the republic's constitution, and they concluded that
1 pursuant to all the constitutions, federal or republican, the decision on
2 getting independence could have been taken. They said this ought to be
3 done via a referendum, and this is what they said. This commission
4 comprised the top legal experts who were cognizant of the Constitution of
5 the Federation and the federal republics of the time.
6 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
7 Q. You Muslims decide that you want independence; the Croats decide
8 that they want independence; and the Serbs also decide, by way of a
9 referendum, that they want to remain in Yugoslavia. They had lived in
11 future, too; whereas you, who want independence, you can secede, you can
12 obtain independence.
13 Is it clear to you that the Serbs could not allow this kind of
14 out-voting, and that by way of out-voting the Serbs, at the referendum,
15 you caused a bloody civil war?
16 A. That's not the way it was, you know. I said that the citizens
17 voted on a referendum in accordance with the Constitution. As for all
18 the actions that took place leading to the war, as you saw the
19 proclamation of different kinds of Serb autonomous districts and
20 municipalities, and the interference of the JNA, the war had already
21 started even before this referendum, if I can put it that way. There was
22 a state of war precisely because of this policy of a Greater Serbia that
23 had, as its objective, to annex parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina in to Serbia
25 Q. However, you used to be a supporter of the Belgrade declaration,
1 and you supported the policies of Adil Zulfikarpasic and Muhamed
2 Filipovic, who wanted Yugoslavia
3 A. I never supported Adil Zulfikarpasic or Filipovic's party. This
4 was a small political party in Bosnia-Herzegovina that tried to
5 contribute to the prevention of a war in the territory of the former
7 or confederative state in which all the republics would stay on,
8 including Croatia
9 Q. All right. Tomorrow, then, we will have an opportunity to
10 discuss some questions of principle as well. Up until the end, we have
11 only a few minutes left, so we'll just deal with something very, very
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, you're quite right.
14 We shall proceed tomorrow, because we've just about reached the moment
15 when it is time to stop. Let me remind you, Mr. Seselj, that you've had
16 45 minutes so far.
17 Witness, as you know, you are a witness of the Court, since you
18 have taken the oath, and you know full well now that you cannot have any
19 contacts with the OTP. So let me recommend that you do not discuss these
20 matters with anyone, and we shall be happy to see you again tomorrow
21 morning at 8.30. Rest assured, Mr. Seselj will finish his
22 cross-examination. There might be some redirect. The Bench may also put
23 questions to you. But, normally speaking, your testimony should be over
24 by tomorrow.
25 I wish you all a pleasant afternoon, and we shall meet again, as
1 I have said, tomorrow morning at 8.30.
2 Thank you. The court stands adjourned.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.14 p.m.
4 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 4th day of
5 December, 2008, at 8.30 a.m.