1 Monday, 13 January 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.21 p.m.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon. Case number IT-95-9-T, the
8 Prosecutor versus Blagoje Simic, Miroslav Tadic, and Simo Zaric.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: The Trial Chamber was informed that there were
10 problems, technical problems with our recording system, so that's why we
11 are starting a little late.
12 Good afternoon, Doctor. Can we continue, Mr. Pantelic, please?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm ready.
14 WITNESS: OZREN STANIMIROVIC [Resumed]
15 Examined by Mr. Pantelic: [Continued]
16 Q. Good afternoon, Your Honours.
17 [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Dr. Stanimirovic.
18 A. You may begin.
19 Q. I hope you had a good rest over the weekend.
20 A. Under the circumstances, let's say that I have.
21 Q. Before we adjourned on Friday and finished our work on that day,
22 you spoke about your work in the local clinic in Donja Slatina. You
23 described how the wounded were treated. You mentioned that there were
24 killed people and generally described the atmosphere that prevailed there
25 practically at the front line.
1 In this context, I wanted to ask you, since you spoke that most of
2 the wounded and the killed were Serbs, although there were other members
3 of other ethnicities, can you tell us: The wounded and the killed at the
4 front line, were those young men, young soldiers, were from originally?
5 A. The assistance that we rendered at this clinic mainly was
6 administered to the local population of Donja Slatina, Batkusa, and maybe
7 the general area of these two villages. And there were a few people from
8 Samac as well. That accounted for the majority of my patients there.
9 Q. Among your patients in that period in Donja Slatina, were there
10 any civilians? Were they also victims of injuries and war operations?
11 A. Yes, there were. There were injured civilians and there were few
12 cases of civilians who were dead on arrival. At the clinic, mostly as a
13 result of shelling or a stray bullet.
14 Q. Since we tackled this subject, the medical service in Samac, how
15 did they establish a death? Can you explain us briefly the medical
17 A. At the time while I was in Slatina, the medical centre operated at
18 the head of --
19 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry. The interpreter didn't get the name
20 of the director of the clinic.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Can the witness repeat the name of the head of the
23 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. The interpreter failed to hear the name. Can you please go back?
25 A. Dr. Mesud Nogic. He was the head of the medical centre and he was
1 a gynaecologist by profession. The standard procedure was applied in such
2 cases, as always. When there are definite signs of death, the person is
3 proclaimed death [sic].
4 Q. All right. Dr. Stanimirovic, tell me, please: How did you get
5 medical supplies at the clinic where you worked, and generally, if you
6 know, how the medical service functioned at that period in the territory
7 of Samac municipality? Was it military service or civilian service? How
8 did it work?
9 A. Since I worked in the civilian clinic, I relied on the medical
10 centre, and that is a civilian institution. I told you that before the
11 war a huge quantity of medical supplies and medicines had arrived, so that
12 I provided these for my clinic where I worked from the medical centre.
13 Since at the time in Samac my wife and my friends lived in Samac, I very
14 frequently took the advantage of that and used to go there to collect the
15 medical supplies and to visit my family at the same time. Since I lived
16 in the village, and I also took these opportunities to take some food to
18 Q. On the occasions that you visited your family in Samac, what did
19 you notice about the town? Were there any combat operations? Was there
20 any shelling? Can you describe the atmosphere in the town?
21 A. When I went to visit, there wasn't any such things, because I
22 didn't stay longer than half an hour, because my clinic didn't have any
23 other doctor, and I usually had difficulties to get the permission to go
24 to town, because I had to claim that I was short of bandages, otherwise
25 they wouldn't let me go. So I couldn't stay for a long time, and during
1 the half hour that I usually spent in the town, there was no shelling.
2 That -- I'm talking about the first four months, and during that period,
3 whenever I went there, there was no shelling.
4 Q. Did you notice how the buildings looked like? Did you talk to the
5 members of your family? Did they report to you, perhaps, about -- on the
7 A. Yes. There were shellings, and even the apartment block where I
8 lived was hit several times. But I was fortunate enough that whenever
9 time -- whenever I went there in those first few months, this did not
11 Q. When you spoke earlier about a huge quantity of medical supplies
12 which surprised you as something unusual, before the conflicts broke out,
13 do you have any information where these supplies had come from? Do you
14 have this kind of information?
15 A. According to the stories told around the medical centre, these
16 supplies had arrived from Germany.
17 Q. Did you discuss with your family the atmosphere related to the
18 supply for the civilian population with food supplies and the activities
19 of the Red Cross? You mentioned that you were active in the Red Cross for
20 many years. Can you tell us: When you went to Samac on occasion, at
21 times, how the supply provisions of staples and basic provisions
22 functioned for the civilian population?
23 A. My wife is a diabetic, and I always had problems with her diet,
24 and a few things that I had brought with me cannot apply to the rest of
25 the population. Since the clinic where I worked was in a village, the
1 local population lives on producing vegetables for the market, I got a lot
2 of these vegetables for free, because they were not able to sell it on the
3 market, and I brought this vegetables to the building where I lived,
4 distributed it to my neighbours or to my friends who came to visit me at
5 my place. However, I cannot say what the situation was in the stores and
6 shops, because I didn't have time to go around and look, and I didn't have
7 time to discuss this with my wife, because I was always in a hurry.
8 Q. Dr. Stanimirovic, tell me: Since -- in view of your enviable
9 length of service in the medical profession, at the time, did you get any
10 information from your colleagues from the Red Cross, whether the Red Cross
11 had undertaken any measures to provide food and other necessities for the
12 population? If you know.
13 A. During the time that I spent in Donja Slatina, I cannot say, but
14 when I returned from Donja Slatina, took over the management over the
15 medical centre, of course I contacted the Red Cross, because at the time I
16 was member of the presidency of the Red Cross organisation. And we
17 organised campaigns for blood donations, and I am also myself a blood
18 donor. And naturally, I could influence, to the best of my abilities, how
19 these things were distributed.
20 Q. You mentioned that your colleague, Dr. Nogic, and you mentioned
21 that on Friday, was appointed coordinator or the director of all medical
22 services. Tell me: What was your relationship with Dr. Nogic and your
23 cooperation while you worked in Donja Slatina? How would you characterise
25 A. He was my superior, according to the hierarchy. He was a
1 director. But basically, we always had good cooperation, because we are
2 personal friends. For some time, we studied together, although he was
3 older than me. But we met at the university. So we go a long way back.
4 He's an old friend of mine.
5 Q. While you were running this local clinic in Donja Slatina, did you
6 have contacts with Dr. Nogic along the professional lines?
7 A. Of course. Whenever I went to collect some material, I always got
8 in touch with him, not only with him, but with other colleagues as well.
9 Q. Between April and August of 1992, while you worked in the place
10 that you just described, tell me: In your contacts with Dr. Nogic, did he
11 complain about he was being treated, in view of the fact that he was a
12 Muslim, did he make any statements to that effect?
13 A. No. No, he didn't complain to me.
14 Q. You already mentioned that the ethnic composition of the medical
15 service in the year 1992 was a mixed one. When you went to Samac, to the
16 headquarters of the medical service, did any of your non-Serb colleagues
17 complain to you personally about how they were treated or of the status
18 that they enjoyed?
19 A. Well, you know, they didn't to me, but even if anyone had wanted
20 to complain, they didn't have time for that. I stayed for a very short
21 time. I took what I wanted to take with me and I went back to my clinic.
22 This clinic was very busy and one could never know when a wounded man,
23 person, would be brought in, and it wouldn't be good for someone -- for a
24 patient to die in my absence. That is why I was always in such a great
1 Q. Tell me, Dr. Stanimirovic: When you took over the post of the
2 coordinator of the medical centre, after you had been working in Donja
3 Slatina, what particularly was your duty? How did you organise the
4 medical service and these kind of services in Samac? That took place
5 sometime in September, in I'm correct.
6 A. In late September or beginning of October, when I came there,
7 there were five or six colleagues of mine, and I was looking forward to
8 some good time of rest. I would be working no more than four or five
9 hours [as interpreted]. We had a lot of equipment and medical supplies,
10 so we had -- we didn't have this kind of problems. And the service was
11 organised in such a manner --
12 Q. Excuse me for interrupting you for a second, please. Maybe the
13 interpreters didn't hear well. Did you work shifts four or five hours or
15 A. I said the shifts were 24 hours.
16 Q. Please continue.
17 A. We organised it at the level of emergency service, because in the
18 morning there were always three or four of us, and over the night, one or
19 two of us were always there. However, one of our colleagues was always in
20 charge of the shift. As soon as one of the colleagues would leave Samac,
21 we had to intensify or extend our shifts, and sometime in 1993 it happened
22 that I had 20 shifts a month, whereas the remaining ten days I worked only
23 the morning shift, that is, 12 hours during the daylight. Because there
24 were no more than three doctors in the medical centre. Dr. Joka Savic,
25 a microbiologist; Dr. Ruzmir Jusufovic, a pediatrician and internal
1 medicine specialist; and myself. Since we had two locations where we had
2 to work, that is, hospital with a dialysis ward and internal medicine
3 ward, I assigned Dr. Ruzmir Jusufovic to cover that ward, and Dr. Joka
4 and I worked both in the hospital and in the medical centre.
5 Then a female colleague of ours came, so we released Dr. Ruzmir
6 his night shifts, since he was already in charge of the chemo-dialysis and
7 the internal medicine ward and the three of us divided between ourselves
8 60 shifts. Each had 20 shifts.
9 Q. Dr. Ruzmir is of what ethnicity?
10 A. He's a Muslim.
11 Q. While you managed the medical service, can you tell us, according
12 to the establishment, how did it function? What did this Samac local
13 medical service cover? What kind of institutions did you cover?
14 A. I had medical centre, hospital with chemo-dialysis and I had
15 sector clinics. In some of the sector clinics, just like the sector
16 clinic of Obudovac, I had a colleague who worked permanently there. Then
17 the sector clinic, Gornja Slatina, also one doctor on a permanent basis,
18 sector clinic Donja Slatina, which I had left before that, also had a
19 permanent doctor employed there. And the other sector clinics that we
20 covered in Odzak, Novi Grad, Dubica, Kruskovo Polje, doctors came
21 occasionally, once or twice a week, as necessary.
22 Then we set up a clinic in Lipik, a village by the name of Lipik,
23 and we went there once a week. As part of this operation, this was
24 towards the end of 1993 and early 1994, when the combat operations were
25 not as frequent as they had been, some of our colleagues had returned,
1 namely, so that we could manage better, so that already at the beginning
2 of 1993, we organised -- rather, I tried to organise us to resemble a
3 civilian service as much as possible in peacetime conditions. Now, that
4 implies that meant that I had actually set up a number of infirmaries,
5 such as the gynaecological ward, with Dr. Nogic in charge; the pediatrics
6 ward, with Dr. Rusmir in charge, the tuberculosis infirmary, with myself
7 in charge; and I also set up a vaccination service for the inoculation of
8 children. I myself actually was not quite certain that this would indeed
9 function. However, it did, and it functioned quite well, so that already
10 by 1993 we had carried out the necessary vaccinations of all the children
11 in the municipality, according to their actual need. And interestingly
12 enough, at that time we did not have the necessary vaccines, so we had to
13 purchase them in Belgrade and bring them in clandestinely, as it were, and
14 then we proceeded to vaccinate the children in the area.
15 Q. When it comes to the organising of the medical service and all
16 the necessary -- supplying all the necessary medical supplies, the
17 equipment for work to be as regular as possible of the medical service in
18 Samac, can you describe to us your relationship with the -- as the manager
19 of the clinic with the leadership of the municipality of Samac at the
21 A. Well, you know, I did not exactly knock on the municipal doors to
22 beg for help. Fortunately, Dr. Simic, when he came there to work with
23 us as a young colleague, and I was some kind of a mentor to him, I
24 explained to him what my idea was as to how this service was to be
25 organised and I was given full support for this exercise. So that
1 whenever I needed anything, I could call him, and I would be given what I
2 needed. In fact, for the first time, the first time for these vaccines,
3 when we got these vaccines, he was the one who gave me the money. It is
4 from him that I also received the monies for the dialysis, which was an
5 enormous problem at the time, because we had no electricity. We had no
6 electric power at the time. We did have a very big generator to generate
8 This was a specific tailor-made dialysis centre. It was a very
9 modern one. But unfortunately, without oil, it could not operate. So
10 that we also obtained the necessary oil in a similar fashion, as also the
11 necessary money for the equipment, various needles, intravenous equipment.
12 Let me not bore you with all that. But we needed the money and all these
13 things had to be purchased. This is where we enjoyed the absolute support
14 of the municipal authorities. The only problem was how to find these
15 things in Belgrade, how to get them there, how to buy them and bring them.
16 The money was no object.
17 Q. Will you please tell me of what nationality were the patients who
18 were treated in the medical centre in Samac while you were in charge of
20 A. Well, ours is a mixed community, so in the town of Samac itself,
21 there lived Muslims, Serbs, and Croats. The Muslims are, in principle,
22 the founders of the city of Samac, in the modern, in the more modern sense
23 of the word, and the surrounding villages are Serb and Croat villages.
24 There is not a single Muslim village. So that the patients who -- that we
25 attended to were of all these three nations. We extended assistance to
1 all patients, to all of them, irrespective of their ethnicity or their sex
2 or any other characteristic, because every doctor who was employed there
3 could actually make his own autonomous decisions and could attend to
4 whatever patient he wanted to. As for me, as the head of this service, I
5 have no information that anyone has not been given adequate treatment at
6 any time during that time. Namely, what I'm saying is that no patient
7 complained to me of any such thing.
8 Q. Has anyone from the civilian authorities during this time when you
9 were head of this clinic exerted any pressure on you or your colleague in
10 the sense that no medical assistance should be extended to any person who
11 is a non-Serb? Were there any pressures of that kind?
12 MR. WEINER: I object. Very leading. There are other ways he can
13 ask that.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. You can rephrase your question.
15 MR. PANTELIC: I will rephrase that question.
16 Q. [Interpretation] Tell me: Have the civilian authorities -- did
17 the civilian authorities have any contacts with you personally in respect
18 to certain criteria when it came to the treatment of patients, in terms of
19 their ethnicity or anything similar? Do you have any information to that
21 A. No such thing happened, for the simple reason because I mainly
22 contacted and liaised with Dr. Simic, because he himself is a physician.
23 As regards the rest of the people in the leadership of the municipality
24 then, I did not have any need to actually liaise with them, because this
25 is not a subject that they are versed in. And I enjoyed a very valuable
1 support of this colleague of mine, so that I had a free hand, as it were,
2 and could do, together with my colleague, what we thought was best.
3 Q. You mentioned that it was very difficult to organise the
4 chemo-dialysis service, which is a very, very specialised intervention, a
5 delicate one. Can you describe for us everything that you did for this
6 chemo-dialysis service to function during the war in the municipality of
7 Samac, generally speaking?
8 A. Samac is an endemic area of nephropathy, meaning that we have very
9 many, many people affected with nephropathy. So everything that could be
10 done in fact I believe that we paid more attention to dialysis than to any
11 other branches of medicine. And, you know, if this equipment and -- did
12 not operate for seven days, that would mean five to ten people would die,
13 at least. And that would indeed be a great blow to the medical service
14 there. So that we did our best for that particular ward to function,
15 which meant that we had, A, to procure the necessary oil, that we had to
16 also make available, purchase, procure, all the necessary supporting
17 supplies, the dilutions for chemo-dialysis, for instance there was the
18 shortage of heparin, heparin, which is a liquid which prevents blood from
19 clotting, coagulating, so we would be without that particular medicine.
20 We would spend money and go and get it elsewhere. So we actually made do
21 and we did not have any emergencies in that particular respect.
22 Sometimes towards the end of our work on this chemo-dialysis, when
23 the international community actually stepped in and promised to help us
24 with the dialysis, we actually contemplated the idea of confining the
25 dialysis to just once a week, whereas the standard, the normal requirement
1 is three to four a week. Fortunately, we managed to maintain the level at
2 two dialyses a week, and then the international humanitarian organisation
3 stepped in and helped us so that we could continue regular operation in
4 that sense.
5 Q. Have you any information to the effect whether the civilian
6 authorities had set up any commission to travel outside Samac in order to
7 procure the necessary medical supplies for dialysis, for this to
8 technically function?
9 A. Yes. Yes. The colleague who was in charge of dialysis, before
10 our colleague Ruzmir was Mirko Sisic. He was an internal medicine
11 specialist. And he was doing his master's thesis at that time. So it
12 actually suited him to travel quite frequently to Belgrade. And it was
13 very convenient, a convenient excuse to him to go and say, "Look, I'm
14 going to go and get the supplies necessary for dialysis, so on one of
15 those trips, actually, our car got stolen.
16 Q. You said that during the war period everything possible had been
17 done in order to secure the necessary salaries for the medical staff. Can
18 you tell me what the economic situation was like in the period between
19 1992 and 1994?
20 A. The economic situation was very difficult. People who had some
21 savings had some money. But for a while, even those who had money could
22 not purchase anything. The population of the cities had nothing to buy.
23 Q. What was the reason for that?
24 A. There were no green markets where you could buy, for instance,
25 potatoes, beans, or onions. Fortunately most of our population was of a
1 rural origin, so they somehow made do, managed to survive.
2 Q. Do you remember what the inflation rate was?
3 A. I remember it was a horrific inflation rate. I could not pay out
4 the salaries to the staff of the medical centre because the paper, the
5 explanation for that which I gave them was that the paper which the
6 accountant used to write out the pay slips actually cost me more than the
7 money that we would be actually giving people as salaries, and that salary
8 could not buy you a box of matches. And I thought that was indeed
9 offensive, so I wouldn't pay out the people's salaries. And I explained
10 it to them, and the employees actually agreed to that.
11 Q. Under these circumstances which you have just described, were
12 there any other ways of recompensing the people in any other forms in
13 lieu of their salaries?
14 A. Yes. Yes, of course there were. There were people working in the
15 medical centre who lived in the city, who had neither friends nor
16 relations in the country, in the villages, and could not obtain the
17 necessary food from the villages. So that we organised this campaign for
18 them to be given parcels of food. On other occasions we would organise
19 something like call it exactly -- I cannot call it exactly a salary, but
20 this was more in the way of relief assistance, sanitary parcels, hygienic
21 kits and the like for people who had no relations in the village who would
22 provide them with such things. And in principle I saw to it that this was
23 taken care of properly for such people.
24 Q. In the period when you started working as the head and coordinator
25 of the medical service, did you have any contacts with Stevan Todorovic?
1 A. Yes, I did, when I arrived in Samac, I had, for instance, in the
2 prison there was no medical care, if you will, or supervision. So I went
3 to see him so as to arrange for this to be organised, and I thought that
4 this was my duty and obligation as a physician. Well, this did not
5 actually go smoothly, but since I myself am not a man who gives in easily,
6 I explained to the chief of police that many people in one place devoid of
7 medical care and without proper hygienic conditions actually constituted a
8 potential source of infection and that their guards in the prison would be
9 the first ones to be infected and that eventually the chief of police
10 would himself get the infection. So I was given permission to organise,
11 set up an infirmary there, which I did, and I also supervised the
12 maintenance of hygiene there.
13 Q. Who gave you this permission?
14 A. The chief of police.
15 Q. And how did that function in practice?
16 A. Once or twice a week I would go there, report to the policeman
17 there, who would then take me into the prison, which was not a real
18 prison, but it was the prison then. And then he would take me into one of
19 the rooms, and everyone who was sick then could come and see me, to be
20 examined. I had with me a small quantity of the necessary medicines,
21 mainly painkillers and analgesics, antibiotics, and some tranquilisers
22 sometimes. So I maintained the record of the ill. And once I finished
23 that, I would then proceed to my next job. So I had such infirmaries in
24 the prison in Samac, which was across from the SUP, the secretariat of the
25 interior, and I also had a similar infirmary in the inner village, which
1 is called Zasavica.
2 There I was given a house, or rather, a room in a house, where I
3 set up this clinic, this infirmary, and I was assisted there by the people
4 who were isolated, as they put it then, because this was not a real
5 prison; it was an isolation situation. There's also an old schoolmate,
6 high schoolmate there, and he was my orderly, or nurse. And when he left,
7 different people did the job, mainly people, persons whom I already knew
8 personally and could trust and could really feel at ease doing my work.
9 If I needed dental service, the services of a dentist, I would either
10 write them a slip or I would take them in an ambulance car, and the same
11 went when it came to laboratory services. Once that was over, they would
12 then return.
13 Q. Tell me, doctor: You mentioned this infirmary which you had set
14 up in the Detention Unit, shall we call it, across the street from the
15 SUP, which building was that?
16 A. Samac, we call it the TO, Territorial Defence building.
17 Q. Tell me: What are your observations in the period when you were
18 extending such medical services? What are your observations about the
19 medical situation, status, of the patients?
20 A. I never saw anyone officially beaten. What I did see on one
21 occasion was a fractured hand or arm. It is hard to explain this
22 fractured arm which I mobilised immediately. That was no problem at all.
23 MR. LAZAREVIC: [Microphone not activated] Officially beaten.
24 I mean he said something like he was beaten recently or something like
25 that would more accurate translation than officially beaten.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. We heard in our earphones kind of freshly,
2 but I will clarify that with the witness.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Would you please repeat your answer? What were
4 your observations about the medical status of the patients when you
5 treated them there? But slowly, please, Dr. Stanimirovic, for -- because
6 I have noticed that you are sometimes unintelligible. So please slow
8 A. I never noticed any fresh traces, recent traces of violent injury
9 on any patients that reported to me, to be examined by me in that
10 infirmary. I saw fractured arm. It was a closed fracture. I did not see
11 any injuries to tissue above the fracture. And when I asked the patient
12 how the fracture had occurred, he told me that he had taken a fall, which
13 is a quite probable, a quite possible --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry. The interpreter corrects herself --
15 A. -- cause. But I did laugh because this possible cause is a
16 relative thing in prison.
17 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Will you please tell me: What was the extent of your professional
19 services concretely in this TO building? Will you explain whether you
20 needed to transfer the detainees, for instance, to hospital for some
21 surgical operations or anything of the kind. Please be so kind as to
22 explain to us the level of medical services required by the patients.
23 A. All the illnesses that occurred there were at the level of the
24 general practitioner's medical assistant. So there was no need for
25 sending them further on. For example, there was not a single case of
1 appendicitis, which is an acute surgical matter that requires an
2 operation. And such-like illnesses we did not have. And I was not forced
3 to use my personal influence to have some of the patients transferred to
4 hospital. Had it been necessary, I don't think that would have been a
5 problem. But as I said, I believe, since I didn't have a chance to test
7 Q. Tell me, Dr. Stanimirovic: For how long did this infirmary
8 operate, and what was the reason for it to stop, if it stopped operating?
9 Can you explain?
10 A. Both in the TO prison and in Zasavica, worked there to meet the
11 needs of the people who were there.
12 Q. How long?
13 A. It's difficult to say for how long. Perhaps I worked there for
14 two months. I have problems with dates, because at the time every day,
15 even every month, was all the same to me. And those people were
16 transported to other institutions and transferred to other institutions
17 and there was no need for me to run this infirmary any more. And
18 therefore, the infirmary was closed.
19 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge about where those people -- the
20 detainees from the TO building were transferred?
21 A. No.
22 Q. All right. Tell me: In connection with Zasavica, what kind of --
23 you said that was a village. Tell us: Were there any fences, wires,
24 guards, any armed force there? Can you describe the situation in
25 Zasavica? Because that is also where you rendered medical services.
1 A. At the entrance to the village that I had to pass through, there
2 were policemen, and they had their checkpoint there, in a building that
3 was in fact a tavern before the war, owned by a friend of mine and where I
4 frequently went. So whenever I came, I had to stop by, only this time to
5 report to the police and pass through, also on the way back I passed
6 through, waved my hand at them. If I wrote a recommendation that a
7 dentist services were necessary or laboratory services were necessary, my
8 patient would come there as well with this written recommendation of
9 mine. They would record this, and whenever he returned, his return was
10 recorded again. There was no wire, wired fence, but as I said, there was
11 police at the entrance of the village. I even think that there are two
12 entrance points, in fact, there's an entrance and an exit point to the
13 village. And that on the other side the police was there occasionally,
14 but I didn't go in that direction, so I cannot say for sure.
15 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge why this police checkpoint was
16 set up there?
17 A. As I had been told, because I couldn't help asking them what they
18 were doing there, they told me that they were guarding the people in the
19 village so as that no one would come from outside to maltreat them, and
20 that was all I had ever asked.
21 Q. Tell me: How would you describe the work of this infirmary in
22 Zasavica? What was the scope of your work? What kind of cases did you
23 treat? What services did you offer, in medical terms? Can you give us a
24 few details?
25 A. This was also at the level of the general practice. I knew all of
1 those people, and I knew that there were some people with low blood
2 pressure, pneumatic ailments, and things like that. And it was very
3 strange that those people came now more rarely and had less medical
4 problems, health problems, than before the war.
5 Q. How come?
6 A. Most probably, before the war we had a very comfortable medical
7 service, and if you don't have anything better to do in your life, you
8 take your social medical security card, you go to the medical centre, and
9 you can request whatever you wanted, and that was all for free. The
10 second thing which also was one of the reasons: People became serious and
11 started taking care of themselves, because at that time you couldn't eat
12 as much as you wanted: Fat food, salty food, even they were running out
13 of cigarettes. So when people started leading a healthier life, more
14 healthy life, it became obvious in their medical records.
15 Q. All right. Tell me, generally, what was the situation with the
16 food supplies in Zasavica? Were there any farms in Zasavica? Did they
17 grow any vegetables? Can you describe that, please? What kind of village
18 was that?
19 A. That was an agricultural village living on agriculture. They grew
20 and had always grown vegetables and fruit. In Posavina, where we live,
21 the soil is very good, fertile, and I noticed that people bred hogs as
22 well, a large number of hogs, and I was interested in that and asked them
23 what was that all about. They told me that that was a hog farm for human
24 nutrition, consumption.
25 Q. You mentioned that medical service was organised in various
1 villages, including Odzak. Can you tell us more about that? How was that
2 organised? Was Odzak a place where anyone can walk in freely or was there
3 another arrangement?
4 A. Odzak was, so to say, under the military government. I think that
5 the Samac Brigade was in charge there.
6 Q. Can you please repeat, because there was a misinterpretation.
7 What did you say about Samac Brigade?
8 A. When I went to Odzak, I had a special pass which I obtained in
10 Q. Can you please repeat your previous sentence when you mentioned
11 the Samac Brigade?
12 A. The Samac Brigade was not in charge of Odzak, because I had to
13 request another military pass to be issued to me, and I got it from
14 another unit. Although I had also the pass issued by the Samac Brigade,
15 which allowed me to move around Samac.
16 Q. So how did the medical service function in Odzak?
17 A. I went there once a week, and if there was not much work, I asked
18 a colleague who worked in this Krajina unit --
19 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't hear what the counsel
20 said. Sorry.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, can you remember pausing. The
22 witness's answer wasn't given completely when you started asking.
23 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, yes. I try, Your Honour, to advise him to
24 speak a little bit slower for the interpreters, because I saw that from
25 time to time it's very hard to catch what the witness has said.
1 Q. [Interpretation] So, Dr. Stanimirovic, kindly, could you please
2 speak a little bit more slowly so that we have a proper record and avoid
3 misunderstandings. So let me repeat the question.
4 How did the medical service in Odzak function? You said that you
5 went there once a week if there was not much to do, when there was not
6 much to do, that they would ask a colleague of yours to substitute for
7 you, and this colleague worked for a Krajina unit. Can you continue from
8 there, but slowly.
9 A. Since this unit was not sufficiently supplied with medicines, I
10 used to leave to this colleague of mine a certain quantity of some basic
11 medicaments to distribute them to civilians, who would come to them -- to
12 him, and I asked him to see those people. And that is how it worked in
14 In Novi Grad, in the infirmary there, which was located in the
15 veterinarian station, we had a nurse working there on a permanent basis.
16 So there were no problems with the functioning there, because she was an
17 experienced nurse. So in my absence, she was able to issue medicines
18 according to the medical -- patient's medical record or the protocol,
19 where I had put in the proper -- the necessary treatment.
20 There was another infirmary in Donja Dubica, and Lipik as well,
21 but they were infirmaries of lesser significance, so it's not necessary to
22 discuss them.
23 Q. What kind of services were rendered there, or what were the most
24 often ailments of your patients there?
25 A. Those were mainly elderly people, returnees, and one might have
1 expected to see there cases of rheumatism, high blood pressure, and heart
2 conditions. And generally speaking, all of them requested tranquilisers
3 to be prescribed to them.
4 Q. You mentioned that the patients in this area were returnees.
5 Where had they returned from? What nationality were they? And basically,
6 how did it happen that they returned to Odzak in the first place? What do
7 you know about that personally?
8 A. Before the war, some of them fled Odzak or Novi Grad or whatnot
9 but some did not manage to escape, and they got captured.
10 Q. What nationality were they?
11 A. They were Serbs. And when the situation on the ground changed,
12 they returned, and that is how they became my patients.
13 Q. All right. Now I would like to comment with you a number of
14 documents that have been admitted here as exhibits. Can you comment on
15 them briefly, if you have any personal knowledge of that?
16 MR. PANTELIC: I would like to -- Exhibit D109/1 to be shown to
17 the witness, please.
18 Mr. Usher, please, on the ELMO, please, because of the other
19 participants in the proceedings.
20 Q. [Interpretation] Would you mind, Mr. Stanimirovic, just to look at
21 this exhibit and then return it so that we can all have a look.
22 A. I can't see very well.
23 Q. Yes. Take it, look at it carefully, and then return it back so
24 that we all can see it.
25 A. Oh, this was signed by Dr. Sisic. There's no need for me to look
1 at it.
2 Q. Give us your comment what this is all about.
3 A. Properly, since Dr. Sisic was head of the dialysis ward at the
4 time, and he is a very responsible person, what he has written here must
5 be right and correct. I have confidence in the colleagues that I used to
6 work with.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 Thank you, Mr. Usher. Could we have now Exhibit D118/1, please.
9 Q. [Interpretation] You first look at it carefully. Don't be hasty.
10 Thank you. Tell me, Dr. Stanimirovic: Since we are looking at
11 the end of 1992 and later on we shall discuss this document, but before
12 that, tell me: Do you have any personal knowledge about possible number
13 of refugees in Samac municipality at that time? Approximately, do you
14 know? If you don't, just tell me you don't remember.
15 A. It's difficult to say. I can say in general terms, but I cannot
16 divide it by months.
17 Q. At the end of 1992?
18 A. It's difficult to say. I had just arrived in Samac, and I cannot
19 remember seeing this kind of paper, but I do remember that I was in - how
20 was it called - something for natural disasters. Yes, civilian
21 protection. I was a member of the civilian protection in my capacity of
22 medical doctor, and most probably this is the result of that function.
23 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher. Can we have now Exhibit
24 D103/1, please. Mr. Usher, can I just check this document? Yes. It's --
25 it's number D, so I need 103A/1. It's my mistake. Sorry. Because this
1 document consist of -- this exhibit consist of several documents. I think
2 it's pay list of the pharmacy. It should be first one. Yes. Thank you.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Will you take a look at the names,
4 Dr. Stanimirovic, please, on this list. Will you tell us whether you know
5 these people?
6 A. Of course I do.
7 Q. Please put that on the ELMO so that everyone can see. This is the
8 May 1992 payroll. It's a very clear document. Tell me about these
9 people, Mrs. Almasa Hadzialijagic. Do you know this piece?
10 A. Jusufovic, Almasa, she was a pharmacist, master of pharmacy, as we
11 say. Of course I know her.
12 Q. What is her nationality?
13 A. She is a Muslim, and she helped me a lot during the war. She was
14 in charge of our pharmacy and was so impeccable in performing her duty
15 that I could actually boast about the work of that particular pharmacy
16 when we were taken over by the International Red Cross. And when they
17 started donating us the medicines we needed. All the medicaments from
18 such donations actually went to this particular pharmacy. And Mrs. Almasa
19 kept the records in the pharmacy and she maintained records on every
20 individual pill, which means that whenever you wanted to undertake any
21 control of the medicines which you had given me, or to the medical centre,
22 conditionally speaking, I would then take you to this pharmacy and I would
23 tell you. This medicine is either on the shelf or has been issued to a
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, will you please lead the witness to
1 give us evidence which is relevant. We don't need these details. It's a
2 waste of time.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. I'll take care of it.
4 Thank you, Mr. Usher. Just leave the exhibit here and I will
5 briefly discuss the matter with the witness.
6 Q. [Interpretation] Please tell me, sir, Dr. Stanimirovic: During
7 the war, where was Mrs. Almasa?
8 A. She was the head of the pharmacy throughout that period.
9 Q. Do you have any information as to her current whereabouts?
10 A. She is still working in the pharmacy, but she is not the chief of
11 the pharmacy, the head of the pharmacy. While I was there, she always was
12 the head of the pharmacy.
13 Q. As regards the other workers on this list, can you give us any
14 information as to their ethnicity, if you know, of course?
15 A. Zorka Hadzialijagic is a Serbian lady married to a Muslim.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry. Sorry. I cannot follow. Please ask the
17 witness to slow down. The interpreter cannot follow the --
18 A. The last one, I am not sure whether she is a Serbian or a Croatian
20 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Please slow down, because the interpreters cannot manage to catch
22 up with you. Would you please repeat the names.
23 MR. WEINER: I was going to ask him to repeat, because he was
24 speaking a lot, but there was no translation. It just didn't pick up
25 whatever he was saying, they didn't pick up whatever he was saying.
1 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. So for the needs of the record and to assist our interpreters,
3 would you please slow down a bit. Of course, it is easy for us to
4 understand each other, speaking the same language as we are, but for the
5 record and for everybody else, we need a clear record. Please,
6 Dr. Stanimirovic, would you please kindly repeat, if you know, from among
7 the people on this payroll list. You have already referred to the
8 ethnicity of Mrs. Jusufovic Almasa, so please slowly repeat us, if you
9 have information about the national -- the ethnicity of the other people
10 work in the pharmacy.
11 A. Zorka Hadzialijagic, a Serbian lady married to a Muslim man;
12 Rasida Drljacic, a Muslim lady; Ruza Popovic, a Serb lady; Jovanka
13 Petrovic, I do not know.
14 Q. All right. Another question regarding this particular subject.
15 Tell me, Dr. Stanimirovic: What contacts, if any, did you have with
16 members of the International Red Cross? Would you please describe the
17 relationship which you had with them.
18 A. My contacts with International Red Cross were exceptionally good.
19 This was so especially when they witnessed for themselves how we
20 distributed the medicaments which they gave me. In fact, they even
21 commended the operation of the pharmacy, our pharmacy, because of its
22 operation and the way in which it operated.
23 MR. WEINER: Excuse me, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
25 MR. WEINER: Sorry to interrupt, but in order for this evidence to
1 make any sense, could he give us some sort of time period that he's
2 talking about? Is this 1993, 1994? When is this.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Mr. Pantelic.
4 MR. PANTELIC: It is just -- proper question. I was just about to
5 ask the witness about the time frame. I'm grateful to my learned friend.
6 Q. [Interpretation] So, Mr. Stanimirovic, would you please tell me
7 the period from the fall of 1992, when you assumed the leadership and the
8 post of coordinator of the medical services until the end of 1993, this is
9 the period that we're interested in relevant to the indictment, did you
10 have in that period any contacts with the Red Cross? What was the
11 relationship like and what were the conclusions like of your mutual
12 contacts, if any? So we're interested in that particular period only,
13 nothing later interests us.
14 A. I believe that we had such contacts also during 1993, even though
15 it is very hard for me to set a time frame to determine the actual year,
16 but the mechanism of the distribution of relief supplies was the way I've
17 described it from the very beginning.
18 Q. Can you tell us whether there have been any other subjects that
19 you discussed in the period in question with the representatives of the
20 International Red Cross, apart from the distribution of medicaments? Did
21 you talk about the quality of the medical services, medical care offered
22 to the population or any other subject in that domain?
23 A. The people who came to talk to us on behalf of the Red Cross from
24 Geneva were mainly secondary-level-education people, so that I did not
25 discuss specific treatment options with them. But we did talk about the
1 need to supply Samac with medicaments, and I always tried to obtain
2 vaccines, insulin, and also drugs for the treatment of psychiatric
4 Q. Can you tell us, Dr. Stanimirovic, from which sources did these
5 drugs come to Samac in 1992 and 1993? You referred to one source, which
6 is the International Red Cross. Were there any other lines of supply with
7 medicaments to Samac?
8 A. Yes, there were. We got considerable quantities of medicaments
9 from people who lived and who had lived and lived in our municipality and
10 worked abroad, so that they too collected medicines and sent us such
11 medicines, so that also the Red Cross of Yugoslavia and a number of other
12 humanitarian organisations, the names of which I cannot recall.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I have to -- well, I have intention to
14 tender into evidence three documents already disclosed to the -- to our
15 friends from Prosecution. Mainly these are the blood donors and the other
16 patients, non-Serb patients treated during the period covered by
17 indictment. So I wonder -- it will take some time. We shall go into
18 the -- our break. So would it be appropriate --
19 JUDGE MUMBA: We can start now, because the documents are several,
20 as you said. So you can start with the first document.
21 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Okay.
22 Please, Mr. Usher, could I have your assistance. There are five
23 copies here for the Bench and the two for the registry.
24 The first document is under our internal number R28. This is a
25 list of blood donors dated September 14th of 1992.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Any objection from the Prosecution?
2 MR. WEINER: None at all.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have the number, please.
4 THE REGISTRAR: This will be Exhibit D145/1 and ter. Thank you.
5 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Dr. Stanimirovic, take a look at this document. You can in
7 fact -- you can in fact look at it during the break, because we will
8 comment on it after the break.
9 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues] ... you want me to
10 continue or --
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We'll take our break and continue proceedings
12 at 1615 hours.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
14 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
15 --- Upon commencing at 4.16 p.m.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. Please proceed.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Before the break, Dr. Stanimirovic, we started
19 discussing this document. It was compiled on the 14th September 1992.
20 And when you look at the list of these blood donors, do you recognise some
21 of names contained therein?
22 A. Yes, I do, lots of them. Almost all of them, because I was one of
23 them. And this date helps me to determine when I arrived at Samac. That
24 means after the 14th of September, because otherwise I would have been on
25 this list as well.
1 Q. You said that you recognise a number of people on the list.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Before, let me ask you: Are these the residents of Samac?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And what is their ethnicity? Is that a single ethnicity list of
6 the inhabitants or does it contain -- but you don't have to go one by
7 one. Can you just tell me: How do you assess the ethnic composition
9 A. This is a mixed list, and in any case, the blood donors are always
10 of mixed ethnic composition.
11 Q. In 1992 and 1993, were there more campaigns of this nature or was
12 this the only one?
13 A. There were more campaigns like this, because it's common knowledge
14 that in a war, where people get wounded, blood is never in sufficient
15 quantities. So that in principle, this kind of campaigns are carried out
16 three or four times a year.
17 Q. Tell me, if you know, whether in 1992 and 1993 there were any
18 damage inflicted on the hospital; and if there was, what was the cause and
19 when did it happen? If you know.
20 A. I remember because lots of artillery missiles fell inside the
21 hospital compound. With this I refer to mortar shells. That's what I had
22 been told, because I'm no expert in this field. And one of these shells
23 hit directly the chemo-dialysis room. The good thing was that at the time
24 there were no patients in the room, because a small number of patients had
25 undergone this dialysis that were positive, as we classified them.
1 Q. Do you have personal knowledge of any possible shelling or
2 bombardment of water supply systems?
3 A. Yes. On one occasion when I was off duty, I had a free night, I
4 went home. I was sitting at my neighbour's. An agricultural plane
5 appeared, and it tried to hit the water supply system and the post
6 office. However, it missed both the water supply system and the post
7 office, but it broke our windows, because the building where I live is
8 some 150 metres far from the water supply system. Of course, we didn't
9 know immediately what had happened, because we were frightened, and the
10 following day we learned what in fact occurred.
11 Q. All right.
12 MR. PANTELIC: The next document which I would like to discuss
13 with this witness is under the internal enumeration R 34. So I believe
14 for this document we already have exhibit number, for the blood donor
15 list, Ms. Registrar --
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We were given 145.
17 MR. PANTELIC: 145, yes.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have the number for this one, internal number
20 MR. PANTELIC: Our internal number, I said is R 34. I believe I
21 said it. So the next document which I would like to discuss with the
23 Mr. Usher, please, I will provide you with one copy so that you
24 can put on the ELMO.
25 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Exhibit D146/1 and ter for the B/C/S.
1 MR. WEINER: Could we get a description of that document, please?
2 MR. PANTELIC: This is a list of new and incumbent non-Serb
3 patients of chemo-dialysis in Samac on 16 April 1992 and who were dialysed
4 during the entire war.
5 MR. WEINER: Thank you. No objection.
6 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Dr. Stanimirovic, this is a list that was made in the year 2001,
8 based on the records. Tell me: The signature on this document is
9 presumed of Dr. Nenad Petkovic. Do you know this person?
10 A. I know colleague Petkovic. He is currently the head of the
11 chemo-dialysis ward. He had taken out this information from the protocol,
12 because at the time he was not involved in the dialysis procedure.
13 Q. What I would like to know, since you have personal knowledge about
14 certain number of patients: Can you recall whether these patients that
15 are in the list and who are Muslims and Croats, were they, in 1992 and
16 1993, being treated by chemo-dialysis in Samac?
17 A. Yes, they were, and this list is authentic. I do not know that a
18 single person had been deprived for any reason the service of
19 chemo-dialysis in Samac.
20 MR. WEINER: I'd move to strike --
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
22 MR. WEINER: I'd move to strike the last part of his answer. The
23 question was whether or not these persons did in fact take chemo -- or
24 receive chemo-dialysis, and that's what we're trying to get at, whether
25 these persons were -- and then he added his own comment about who was --
1 not a single person was deprived.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: I will allow that to remain on record, because I
3 don't think the Prosecution's case is -- has anything to do with the
4 deprivation of chemo-dialysis treatment to anybody.
5 MR. WEINER: No.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. So it will remain on the record.
7 MR. WEINER: Thank you.
8 MR. PANTELIC: The next document which I would like to discuss
9 with this witness is under our internal number R 35 and the title is list
10 of non-Serb patients treated in the department for internal medicine in
11 Samac in the period 16 April 1992 to 31st December 1993. And if there is
12 no objection from the Prosecution, I hope we shall get a number.
13 MR. WEINER: No objection.
14 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Exhibit D147/1 and D147/1 ter. Thank
16 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Dr. Stanimirovic, take a look at this document. It has two
18 pages. And if you cannot see properly, take a closer look at it so that
19 you can see what it contains. Tell me -- will you please turn to page 2.
20 Is that the signature of your colleague Petkovic, who had signed the
21 previous list as well?
22 A. Yes. This was signed by Dr. Petkovic, the official head of the
23 dialysis ward. I have no objection to this list, because this list has
24 been taken and a copy made from the general record of patients.
25 Q. What is your personal knowledge about any individuals in this
1 list? Do you personally know that in the said period they received
2 medical services at the internal medicine ward in Samac?
3 A. Yes, I know many of them.
4 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues] ...
5 MR. WEINER: That's not -- he says he knows many of them. The
6 question was did they receive medical services. That was the question.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: I thought he had a "yes" at the beginning.
8 MR. PANTELIC: I will try to clarify that with the witness. No
10 Q. [Interpretation] So Dr. Stanimirovic, let us be accurate. Do you
11 personally know if any or all individuals in the list received medical
12 services in the internal medicine ward? So the question is not whether
13 you know anyone from this list. Instead, I'm asking you: Did they
14 receive medical services in the said period?
15 A. The head of the ward at that time was Dr. Sisic, Jerko. He was a
16 highly professional person. And each of these individuals in the list was
17 hospitalised and received medical assistance.
18 Q. Is that your personal knowledge?
19 A. I know colleague Sisic, and after September or October, I was his
20 superior, and I can say that that was correct. If it happens that one of
21 medical doctors wants to hide someone in the hospital, it is quite normal
22 that such person would receive medication and medical assistance.
23 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Mr. Usher.
24 Q. [Interpretation] Tell me now, in the end, Dr. Stanimirovic, how
25 would you describe Dr. Blagoje Simic as a person? How long have you known
1 him? How would you assess him?
2 A. I met Dr. Simic after he graduated from the university and came to
3 us to work.
4 Q. How many years would that be?
5 A. Many years. Ten years since 1992, and most certainly three or
6 four years before that. So let's say between 13 and 15 years. Because my
7 hobby is to be on duty in the emergency ward, which is a part of the
8 medical centre. I have frequent contacts, both with general
9 practitioners, among whom was Dr. Simic. Since I'm a senior doctor, I
10 made effort to train my younger colleagues, and that is how we became
11 friends. Before the war, we used to -- our practice was that the doctors
12 who were on duty in the emergency ward make a party in my weekend cottage
13 once a month. So we were quite a nice company.
14 Q. So how would you characterise or describe Dr. Simic?
15 A. My opinion is that he is very responsible and humane medical
16 doctor. Whenever I had a problem, I turned to Dr. Simic, and he always
17 backed me. When Dr. Simic left, I was also dismissed.
18 Q. Thank you, Dr. Stanimirovic.
19 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues] ...
20 Examination-in-chief of this witness, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Just one small point of clarification. It might
24 be to do with the translation. Page 35, the answer beginning on line 19,
25 Dr. Stanimirovic, talking about his colleague Dr. Sisic, goes on to say,
1 "If it happens that one of the medical doctors wants to hide someone in
2 the hospital, it is quite normal that such person would receive medication
3 and medical assistance." I'm just wondering whether in fact the witness
4 used the word "hide," one of the doctors hiding somebody in the hospital,
5 because your question wasn't related to such an activity. You see what
6 I'm referring to, Mr. Pantelic?
7 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, yes. I will clarify that with the -- with
8 Dr. Stanimirovic.
9 Q. [Interpretation] Would you please explain what this was about?
10 A. For instance, I have this friend and he has to go and do
11 something, do -- perform a job, and he doesn't feel like doing it. I can
12 admit him to hospital. I can say that he has pneumonia, open a case file
13 for him, also set up a therapy list for him, put him in bed.
14 JUDGE WILLIAMS: So if I understand correctly, was the hiding of
15 persons going on in the medical institution you were directing; and if so,
16 who was being hidden?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You know, all of us, we have a
18 friend -- some friends that we want to help, so that you can put it that
19 way, yes.
20 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Okay. Thank you.
21 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Stanimirovic.
23 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues] ... with this
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Any other counsel wishes to ask questions?
1 Examined by Mr. Krgovic:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Good day, Mr. Stanimirovic.
3 A. Good day.
4 Q. My name is Dragan Krgovic. I'm one of the Defence counsel of
5 Mr. Miroslav Tadic. In view of the fact that in your replies to my
6 colleague's questions, you touched upon some issues that concerned the
7 defence of my client, I will put a few questions to you on that topic.
8 When my colleague Mr. Pantelic asked you about your work and
9 showed you a document, you said that you had also been engaged in civilian
10 protection tasks. Is that correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. As I understand it, you were a member of the civilian protection
13 staff. Is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. You were in this post before, during, and after the outbreak of
16 hostilities in Bosanski Samac?
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. Can you tell us what your role was in civilian protection? Was it
19 to prepare teams according to areas of town? Was it in training or
20 something else?
21 A. My role was to look after refugees when they arrived in Samac.
22 This happened on several occasions, a hundred, two hundred, or three
23 hundred people would turn up all at once. And I also had a very serious
24 task which I myself set up, and that was to train first-aid teams. I
25 selected people from various parts of town, people who would come to the
1 health centre. They would complete the course of training, receive
2 equipment and material, and go home.
3 Q. So you trained first-aid teams by various parts of town, and this
4 was part of your work in the civilian protection?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. When you refer to refugees, I assume you mean receiving them and
7 giving them first aid, or whatever medical treatment was immediately
8 required. I presume this was your role.
9 A. It was one of our roles. We gave assistance to all refugees, not
10 just those who were exchanged --
11 MR. LAZAREVIC: There was some misunderstanding. I believe that
12 the interpreters didn't catch the question that my colleague posed. He
13 was talking about people who were coming from the exchanges.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Mr. Krgovic can repeat the question, I hope.
15 MR. KRGOVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. When you spoke of the people who arrived and received first aid,
17 you also mentioned people who had been exchanged; is that correct?
18 A. Yes. Yes.
19 Q. And you did this as part of the civilian protection; is that
21 A. I was engaged both in the civilian protection and in the civilian
22 health centre, so it's hard for me to say what role I was performing at
23 any given time. You could say, however --
24 Q. But you were doing this in cooperation with the civilian
1 A. Of course. I was a member of the civilian protection.
2 Q. Thank you, Dr. Stanimirovic. I have finished my examination?
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Lazarevic.
4 MR. LAZAREVIC: The Defence of Mr. Zaric does not wish to examine
5 the witness.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you.
7 Cross-examination, Mr. Weiner.
8 Cross-examined by Mr. Weiner:
9 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Stanimirovic. My name is Phillip Weiner and
10 I'm going to ask you some questions on behalf of the Prosecution.
11 A. Good day.
12 Q. I'm still a little confused about some testimony you gave just a
13 few moments ago and which Judge Williams asked you about hiding people.
14 Why would you be hiding people. You said to help them. Who are you hiding
15 these people from? Could you please explain that?
16 A. On the first day of the war, if we call it that, we had a
17 colleague among us who was a Muslim. In the evening, when we found out
18 that the Serbs were in town, she asked that we admit her parents to
19 hospital because she thought that in hospital they would be safer than
20 they would be if they stayed at home, and we did this.
21 Q. And did you do that at any other times during the war? When you
22 said you hid people, was that the only occasion or were there other times
23 that you hid non-Serb civilians in that hospital?
24 A. I think there were other occasions. I can't remember all the
1 Q. Now, sir, you indicated that when you needed money, oil, supplies,
2 you called your good friend Dr. Simic. Do you agree that he was in a
3 powerful position in the municipality, so he was able to help you?
4 A. I agree with what you say, that he was an influential man, because
5 he protected me and I was able to do what I did. For a time, he was the
6 chief, or the president, of the board of management of the health centre.
7 Q. And were you aware that he was also the president of both the
8 Crisis Staff and War Presidency of the Serbian municipality of Bosanski
10 A. In my view, there are the authorities, the Crisis Staff, as you
11 call it, they were the authorities, or the municipal people, as we
12 referred to them, and he was one of them.
13 Q. And he was in this -- these authorities, on this Crisis Staff, and
14 were you aware that he was actually the president of the Crisis Staff?
15 A. I knew that when he gave me his support as the president of the
16 board of management of the health centre, that I would be able to organise
17 the service in any way I wanted, and he told me to organise it properly
18 and that I would not have any problems.
19 Q. So if you wanted to get something done, you went to him; correct?
20 MR. PANTELIC: Objection, Your Honour. This question is rather
21 general. If I may. What does that mean, something done? My learned
22 friend should be more specific with this kind of questioning.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
24 MR. WEINER:
25 Q. If you wanted to get a project organised, if you needed materials,
1 you went to him and he would get it done; correct? You have to say yes or
3 JUDGE MUMBA: You mean within the medical services?
4 MR. WEINER: Yes.
5 Q. He would take care of it for you? You're nodding yes; is that
6 correct? You're nodding your head up and down. Does that mean yes or
8 A. This is quite correct. I said when I wanted to organise
9 vaccination, he gave me the funds.
10 Q. Now, you also indicated that you organised an infirmary at the TO,
11 or the Territorial Defence building. Is that correct, sir?
12 A. Outpatients clinic. An outpatients clinic. That is an
13 institution where patients come in. They finish their work and then they
14 leave. They don't stay in bed.
15 Q. No. I understand that. They weren't allowed to leave the
16 Territorial Defence building. They were prisoners. So you -- where in
17 the Territorial Defence building was this outpatient clinic?
18 A. Yes, and I said that I was fortunate enough not to have to test my
19 possibilities, because had anyone needed hospital care, I would have had
20 to take him to hospital.
21 Q. No, no. Where within the Territorial Defence building was this
22 clinic? Where was it located? In the yard, in the front office where the
23 guards slept? Where within the building?
24 A. I had a special room in which I set up the outpatients' clinic,
25 because I didn't like the guards hearing what I was talking about with my
2 Q. Now, while you were in this room, persons were brought to you.
3 You didn't go into each of the rooms where prisoners were held and examine
4 prisons. Persons -- prisoners were brought to you; correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And while you were there, approximately how many times did you go
7 to the TO, to this clinic? How many times?
8 A. Once a week. That was mandatory. But if there was a lot to do, I
9 would come in twice a week. Now you're putting me in an uncomfortable
10 situation, you know, because there were some friends of mine in that
11 prison whose wives were at liberty. And one could say that I was helping
12 them to communicate, and that was not a good thing to be known about
13 someone at the time.
14 Q. Well, you did testify that you had a duty and obligation as a
15 physician to go there and help these people, so there's no problem that
16 you went there and passed messages or food. My question to you is: How
17 long of a period? You said you started sometime in the fall and then it
18 stopped some time later because the prisoners were moved out. So did you
19 go for about two months, three months? That's what I'm looking for.
20 A. I think it was two months, but I can't be certain. It was a long
21 time ago.
22 Q. Okay. Now, during this two months, did you ever go in and inspect
23 the rooms were the prisoners were being held or did you stay in your
24 clinic area?
25 A. I stayed in my clinic area. I didn't visit the rooms.
1 Q. So basically, you're not really familiar with the sanitation
2 conditions inside those rooms where the prisons were being held.
3 A. Not personally.
4 Q. And you're not familiar with the bedding or blankets that were
5 available, if any, in those rooms; is that correct, sir?
6 A. That's quite correct.
7 Q. Now, let's go across the street to the SUP, or the police
8 station. Did you have a clinic in the police station too?
9 A. Yes, I did.
10 Q. Where within the police station or SUP did you have that clinic?
11 A. That was a room which had not been really set aside on purpose as
12 a clinic, but whenever I arrived, I was allowed to use it. And it was
13 right across two other rooms, where the prisoners were held.
14 Q. Now, did you ever go or enter the rooms which were -- the various
15 rooms in the police station, in the garage area, where prisoners were
16 being held and inspect them? Did you ever inspect any of those detention
17 rooms at the police station or in the garage area behind the police
19 A. No, I wasn't able to do that.
20 Q. Did you ever inspect any of the rooms in the basement or the
21 cellar of that police station, where prisoners had been held at various
23 A. No, I wasn't able to do that either.
24 Q. And obviously, since you hadn't been in there, you're not aware of
25 any sanitation facilities that they had within these rooms.
1 A. No, I'm not.
2 Q. You're not aware as to the number of persons that were being held
3 in any of these rooms or the garages behind the police station?
4 A. No, I'm not.
5 Q. Now, during the fall of 1992, do you remember while you were at
6 the police station treating or meeting with a prisoner Izet Ramusovic? Do
7 you remember that particular situation? I know you must have dealt with
8 thousands of patients over the past 20 years, but do you recall, is it
10 A. I should remember him, because it rings a bell. If I could see a
11 photograph, I'm sure I would remember him. I'm much better at remembering
12 faces than I am at remembering names.
13 Q. Maybe I can help you. When you were meeting with him or treating
14 him, he had a broken nose, a bruised jaw, bruises on his body. He had
15 some teeth that had been extracted against his will by some guards, pulled
16 some of his teeth. Does that refresh your recollection about meeting with
17 Izet Ramusovic, or Ramusovic?
18 A. If what you say is correct, they wouldn't have brought a patient
19 like that to me, certainly.
20 Q. So are you saying if a prisoner was beaten, the guards would have
21 hid him as opposed to bring him to you?
22 A. That's not what I said. I said that I had no patients of that
24 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, sir, are you aware that prior to your
25 setting up infirmaries at the SUP and the TO in Zasavica, the isolation
1 area which you mentioned, are you aware that other doctors from your
2 staff, such as Dr. Jusufovic, Dr. Ruza Masic, Dr. Zorka Hadzialiagic, Dr.
3 Nogic, Dr. Hasinovic [phoen], were also visiting prisoners at the various
4 prison camps throughout Bosanski Samac? Were you aware of that?
5 A. Yes, I'm aware of that, because as soon as I arrived in Samac,
6 they told me that. And then to spare them any possible unpleasantness
7 they might have had, I went.
8 Q. And did they tell you about the conditions at the Territorial
9 Defence building, the police station, the primary school, and the high
10 school, the conditions of the facilities, as well as the conditions of the
11 prisoners, that they had been visiting all spring and summer long? Did
12 you have that discussion with them?
13 A. They told me some things, and then I attempted -- or I endeavoured
14 to have the clinic set up and to have the prisoners take baths, without
15 fail, and that they be allowed to change their underwear.
16 Q. So they told you, then, I have to assume, and could you answer,
17 that the prisoners were wearing dirty clothes, they weren't able to
18 bathe? Did they describe the -- you nod your head in a position of up and
19 down, which means yes?
20 A. Yes. They told me that, and I made an effort to improve things.
21 I mentioned my role in the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions. Although
22 I know that 80 per cent of the people who were there don't even know where
23 Geneva is, let alone what the Geneva Conventions are about.
24 Q. Well, just a couple of things, sir, before we get into the Geneva
25 Conventions. For the record, everything you say and what I say is typed
1 in, so you can't nod your head up and down or sideways. You have to say
2 yes or no. But they told you about the poor sanitation conditions there,
3 and you tried to help; isn't that correct?
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. And did they also tell you about the very poor nutrition system
6 that was occurring there, the meals that these people were getting, or if
7 you want to call it how these people were being starved? Did they tell
8 you that?
9 A. No, they didn't.
10 Q. Did they tell you that the prisoners were receiving one meal a day
11 consisting of one slice of bread, a teaspoon of either lard or jam, and a
12 cup of tea, obviously not a nutritious meal for an adult male? Did they
13 tell you that, sir?
14 A. My colleagues didn't tell me about that, but examining the
15 patients in the clinic I opened there, because there were some friends of
16 mine there, they told me that themselves.
17 Q. So by the fall, you were aware of the poor sanitary conditions,
18 lack of clean clothes, and poor food, or starving, if you want to call it,
19 of the prisoners. You were aware of those three things; correct? That's
20 your testimony.
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. Now, did those doctors also tell you about their visits during the
23 spring and summer and dealt with prisoners that were beaten and bruised
24 and bloodied? Did they tell you that?
25 A. They didn't tell me that. I think they were afraid to tell me,
1 though I don't know why.
2 Q. Now, but you've since learned, either from your friends and
3 your -- people you treated in the fall, or later, that horrible things
4 happened at these camps?
5 A. I heard from my friends about some things we could call very bad.
6 Q. Such as beatings and torture and murder?
7 A. I heard about the beatings. As for the other things, I didn't
8 hear that, because it's very hard still for people to talk about it. I'll
9 probably hear about it later.
10 Q. Now, did these doctors, and it's several of them, local doctors
11 that were going to the prisoners, did they ever say that Dr. Simic, the
12 defendant here, Dr. Simic, accompanied them to any of these prison camps
13 or prisons and treated the prisoners? Did any of them tell you that?
14 A. Nobody told me that.
15 Q. Did you ever see Dr. Simic at the Territorial Defence building or
16 the police station treating prisoners?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Did Dr. Simic ever go with you to the Territorial Defence building
19 or to the police station and assist you in treating prisoners?
20 MR. LAZAREVIC: This is actually the very same question that was
21 posed at this moment. If he didn't see Mr. Simic, how could he go
22 together with him.
23 MR. WEINER: No. One is did he see him there. Another one is:
24 Did he accompany him, is the second question, whether or not he
25 accompanied him.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Mr. Lazarevic, it means that he had
2 accompanied him, he would have seen him. Anyway, ask your question. I
3 can see where you're trying to get.
4 MR. WEINER:
5 Q. Did Dr. Simic ever accompany you to the TO building or to the
6 police station to treat prisoners?
7 A. No.
8 Q. And finally, did Dr. Simic ever either accompany you or did you
9 see Dr. Simic at the -- at Zasavica, which you described as the isolation
10 camp or the isolation place? Did you see Dr. Simic there treating
11 prisoners or did he accompany you there to treat prisoners or isolated
12 persons, how you want to describe them?
13 A. I neither saw him, nor did he go with me.
14 Q. Thank you very much, Doctor.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Any re-examination?
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. Just a couple of issues.
17 Re-examined by Mr. Pantelic:
18 Q. [Interpretation] The Prosecutor has just asked you about the
19 persons in the hospital, and that was also a question of Her Honour Judge
20 Williams. Tell me: Were there any Serbs who sought shelter in the
21 hospital in order to avoid something or things like that?
22 A. Conditionally, there were.
23 Q. Let us be more precise. What does this conditionally mean? Yes
24 or no?
25 A. Yes, there were.
1 MR. WEINER: I'd object to that, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
3 MR. WEINER: His question is: Were Serbs -- were there Serbs in
4 the hospital seeking shelter. Our question concerned whether or not
5 people were being hidden. Two different things. Anyone can go to a
6 school, a police station, any local building to --
7 JUDGE MUMBA: It may mean the same thing really. Seeking shelter
8 may also mean, you know, asking to be hidden there. Maybe it's a matter
9 of language.
10 MR. PANTELIC: Language.
11 Q. [Interpretation] So let me repeat. I asked you: Were there any
12 Serbs who were hiding in the medical centre?
13 A. What I do know, those were the soldiers who didn't want to go to
14 the front line. Then they got sick, stayed in the hospital bed for five
15 or six days.
16 Q. Then the Prosecutor went on to ask you about the relationship with
17 the civilian authorities. This needs to be clarified, and I will be very
18 specific. What was the role of the municipal Executive Council, the
19 secretariat for agriculture, the secretariat for social welfare? What
20 was -- were -- was your relationship with these specific departments
21 within the municipality?
22 A. I'm not very versatile in the organisation of municipal
23 authorities. I have a general term for them: Councillors or authorities.
24 I did not know who among them did -- what specific job they did. I
25 learned about that after Mr. Simic had left Samac. After that, I saw who
1 was doing what there, but I wasn't interested any longer. That was
2 already after 1995.
3 Q. Sorry to interrupt you, Mr. Stanimirovic. Let us be precise about
4 certain things and let us help the Chamber about that. What I would like
5 to know is: Do you know who was the president of the Executive Council at
6 the time when you took the post of the director of the health centre? Do
7 you know his name?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Were you -- did you personally know Milan Simic?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did you know what his function was?
12 A. No.
13 Q. The next question that I would like to ask you relates to the line
14 of questioning of the Prosecutor. When you contacted the detainees in the
15 outpatient clinics that you described, had any among them decidedly and
16 explicitly complained to you about medical services?
17 A. Decidedly, they didn't, because one never knows when he -- one may
18 say the truth or when one must not tell the truth. What do you think how
19 it would be if somebody was listening in on the other side of the door how
20 this person would end up?
21 Q. Your engagement in setting up these clinics, how do you estimate
22 whether there was any change in the quality of services rendered?
23 A. When I came to Samac, I think that is what happened.
24 Q. You described the relationship with Stevan Todorovic, and this is
25 connected with the previous question, so let me ask you this: Did you
1 contact Stevan Todorovic and insist that these conditions that you had
2 tried to improve, that they may be maintained at the level that you had
3 set up?
4 A. Yes. I explained to him that he might also fall sick and that he
5 should allow that.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Sorry. Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic. Before you move
8 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
9 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Your question on page 51 lines 19 and 20 where
10 you say to the witness: "Your engagement in setting up these clinics, how
11 do you estimate whether there was any change in the quality of services
12 rendered?" I'm uncertain as to what you meant, if that's a fair
13 translation of your question. Change from when to when? And then the
14 answer by the witness: "When I came to Samac, I think that is what
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
17 JUDGE WILLIAMS: I don't really understand the question or the
19 MR. PANTELIC: It's not -- it's not so clear. Well, my question
20 was very simple, comparing to the situation that was prior to his
21 engagement. And then during the period when he was engaged, how he can
22 describe it in terms of quality. But I will ask again this question,
23 because obviously the answer is not so clear.
24 JUDGE WILLIAMS: So if I understand you now correctly, what you're
25 going to be asking is whether the quality in medical services was the same
1 during the war period at these two outpatient clinics, whether it was the
2 same as the quality of medical services before the war; is that --
3 MR. PANTELIC: In fact, during the war, but there are two periods:
4 When he was in charge and when he was not. That's the particular period
5 which I would like to know.
6 Q. [Interpretation] So, Dr. Stanimirovic, A: How would you describe
7 the situation in these outpatient clinics that you had established in
8 September 1992? According to your professional standards, was that an
9 acceptable situation, what you have organised? That's what we're talking
11 A. The very thought that you, as a detainee, and if you have some
12 health problems, must report this to a guard who is a completely
13 incompetent person, and he is to decide whether he was going to call a
14 doctor or not, is sufficient reason for those people to feel insecure. So
15 when I open an outpatient clinic and I say that, for example, every
16 Tuesday, I will be there at 10.00, and I stick to this, then that is a
17 real improvement, especially since I know how many people wanted to be
18 examined and asked for examination. And if you had ten such people and
19 they tell me that there were only five, among those five, somebody will
20 definitely tell me that there were another five who were not allowed to be
21 examined. Then I will ask for them to be brought for examination. This
22 did not happen, but there was a possibility for such a situation to occur.
23 Q. You answered to the Prosecutor's question, who mentioned a number
24 of your female and male colleagues who, in the period before you had set
25 up these medical services, had rendered medical services to the people in
1 detention. You remember that?
2 A. That's right.
3 Q. In September, you have raised this -- you have raised this to a
4 higher level. So what I'm interested at this point is whether these same
5 colleagues of yours, who in the previous period rendered these services at
6 times, participate in your organisation of medical services which you
7 initiated in September 1992.
8 A. They did not participate in the work concerning the outpatients
9 hospitals in the prison, because they would have found it more difficult
10 than it was for me. In that manner, I tried to facilitate the works of my
11 colleagues so that they wouldn't have to go there.
12 Q. So where were they working, then?
13 A. They worked at the health centre.
14 Q. The next line of questioning made by the Prosecutor related to the
15 presence of Dr. Simic and his involvement in these medical functions that
16 you described. Answer me, Dr. Stanimirovic: Did you ever call Dr. Simic
17 to accompany you and to come with you and render these medical services in
18 the clinics that you mentioned?
19 A. No, I didn't, because it wasn't necessary at the time. We had
20 sufficient number of staff.
21 Q. Tell me, Dr. Stanimirovic: Had Dr. Simic ever directly refused
22 any help concerning to medical project or medical services in Samac?
23 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, I've got no problem with this line of
24 questioning. These are all leading questions, one after another. He can
25 do this in another way that's not as leading.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
2 MR. PANTELIC: Okay. I'll take care about it.
3 Q. [Interpretation] So, Dr. Stanimirovic, will you tell me what
4 knowledge do you have of the involvement of Dr. Simic, with the objective
5 of the better functioning of the medical service in Samac on the whole?
6 Concretely, specifically, do you have any personal knowledge?
7 A. As I've mentioned, he was the chairman of the board of management
8 of the medical centre, of the health centre, so that he also gave me free
9 rein for me to do everything which I considered necessary, and he also
10 told me that if I were ever to be in a situation which was uncomfortable,
11 that he would help me protect myself, because health care was our joint
12 problem and it would indeed have been a disgrace for that system not to
13 have functioned properly.
14 Q. Finally, my last question: How would you describe the period from
15 1992 to 1993, which is the period covered in this particular case? How
16 would you describe the involvement of Dr. Blagoje Simic with a view to the
17 organising of the medical service there and supporting your ideas as the
18 person in charge of these medical institutions in Samac? Please be
20 A. It was sufficient for me that he had given me the money for
21 the vaccines, and he told me he would always back me and I was to proceed
22 in the best way I saw possible. I needed no other help, because the
23 colleagues who had remained with me in Samac were highly professional
24 people and people of integrity, very decent people, until the last day,
25 and I say this because some of them had left. So when I try to draw some
1 parallels in my line of work, namely, between then and, for instance,
2 today, I can really say that it has been a pleasure for me to have worked
3 with such people and under such circumstances.
4 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Dr. Stanimirovic.
5 I've finished with my examination, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Thank you, Dr. Stanimirovic, for giving evidence to
7 the Tribunal. You are now finished and you may leave.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I do hope
9 that I have been of assistance to you in your quest for the truth.
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 MR. PANTELIC: In the meantime, Your Honours -- we don't have
12 Mr. Usher here. I have this bundle of documents for the next witness.
13 Three copies for Trial Chamber and two for the Court management team.
14 [The witness entered court]
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Good afternoon, and please make the solemn
17 WITNESS: VESELIN BLAGOJEVIC
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
20 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Please sit down.
22 Mr. Pantelic, examination-in-chief.
23 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Examined by Mr. Pantelic:
25 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Witness. Will you introduce
1 yourself to the Court.
2 A. I'm Veselin Blagojevic, from Samac. I avail myself of this
3 opportunity to apologise to the Court for having appeared in this attire,
4 sports attire, and this is because my suitcase was lost, and it is still
5 at the airport, I presume.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: That's all right, Mr. Blagojevic.
7 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. This is quite understandable. This happens. Things like that
9 will happen, and no one is going to take offence because of that. I do
10 hope that you will be able to recover your baggage soon. But if you do
11 have any problem in relation to that, the basic necessities, of course you
12 can get in touch with the witness unit and they will deal with your
14 Mr. Blagojevic, will you please tell me when and where were you
16 A. I was born on the 6th of February, 1953, in the village of Gornja
17 Slatina, near Samac.
18 Q. Just a suggestion: After my question, because we are speaking the
19 same language, please make a pause of several seconds so as to allow the
20 interpreters to translate your words and mine into the official language
21 of the Tribunal. Thank you.
22 So will you please tell me where your parents were born, your
23 grandparents, grandmother, grandfather, and since when has your family
24 been living in that area?
25 A. My parents, my forefathers, my grandfathers, were born near Samac,
1 in the village of Slatina, in the village of Gornja Slatina. The
2 generations which we know were actually people who had settled there a
3 long time ago and that mainly engaged in agriculture, farmers.
4 Q. Will you describe your family situation or marital status, rather?
5 Are you married? Do you have any children?
6 A. I am married. My wife's name is Gordana. I have two children,
7 two sons. The name of the first one is Bojan. He was born in 1983 and he
8 studies electrical engineering. The second son is Ognjen. He was born in
9 1985 and he goes to secondary school.
10 Q. And you personally, do you live in the territory of -- have you
11 been living in the territory of Samac municipality since you were born or
12 have you left it at some time or other and then returned to it?
13 A. Yes. I live in Samac. I was born near Samac and now I reside at
14 Samac. I completed primary school in the village of Tisina and the town
15 of Samac. I completed secondary school in Samac. I left Samac related to
16 doing my military service, which I did from 1972 to 1974. Then I worked
17 in Samac whilst a secondary school pupil, in the factory of building
18 materials. Then in 1976 I left to study at the university in Zagreb. I
19 studied political sciences there, having graduated from the university, I
20 returned to Samac and I found employment in a school as a teacher, as a
21 professor. I taught sociology, as well as defence and protection, in the
22 secondary school. I worked in the school for a year. After that I found
23 other employment also in Samac, in a construction company, which in fact
24 was the legal successor of my previous firm, previous company, and there I
25 worked until 1989, at which time I established my own business in the same
1 line of activity, that is to say, construction.
2 Q. So we can say that you have quite an impressive experience in
3 construction and building, in this branch, since you worked in the firms
4 dealing in this particular activity and you yourself have a business and
5 still are in charge of your own private business, dealing in building; is
6 that true?
7 A. Yes. After the war, I registered my private firm, which deals in
8 trade of building material and the construction of structures, and this is
9 what I am still doing now.
10 Q. Another thing in your professional career: In the period from
11 1992, you were first mobilised, were you not, and then you were in a unit
12 for a couple of months. So how long did that last?
13 A. Yes. At the beginning of the war, in view of the fact that I had
14 a war duty station scheduled, I went to this war unit, and I'm a reserve
15 officer by rank. So I stayed in this war unit stationed in the village of
16 Batkusa, from the beginning of the war until I was wounded, and I held the
17 post of assistant commander of the battalion i.e., detachment.
18 On the 17th of August, I was wounded in the village of Batkusa. I
19 was wounded at a time when we were replacing men on the front line. After
20 I had gone to hospital and recovered and after I had spent some time on
21 sick leave, I was given the post of secretary for housing and municipal
22 affairs, which is to say I was assigned to work as part of my work
23 obligation, work duty, I was assigned to work there as part of my work
25 Q. I suppose this was the municipal administration where you acted as
1 secretary for housing and municipal affairs?
2 A. Yes. Yes.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I'm not objecting, but
4 there is a portion of the evidence where the witness refers to his being
5 in a unit and reporting to that unit. You have no idea what unit that is,
6 if it has a name, designation, anything like that. It might be useful for
7 you to have that, so that you know what the witness is talking about.
8 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. I have no problem to clarify, if --
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
10 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Blagojevic, please tell us: So you had this war duty station,
12 you were mobilised as a reserve officer into a unit. Which unit? Will
13 you give me a precise definition, description, rather, of that unit.
14 A. The unit to which I've been assigned was called the 1st
15 Detachment. It was of the rank of a battalion. And I was the assistant
16 commander of that battalion, assistant battalion commander.
17 Q. What was the Superior Command structure there? Was the detachment
18 a composite part of a wider combat unit, of a wider military unit?
19 A. The battalion, or the detachment to which I belonged, was a part
20 of the establishment structure of the 17th Tactical Group i.e., later of
21 the 2nd Posavina Brigade of the army of Republika Srpska.
22 Q. Will you tell me where the seat -- the command was of the 1st
24 A. The HQ of the 1st detachment was in the village of Batkusa, near
1 Q. Let us revert to a period in your -- to a specific period in your
2 professional life, when you worked in the construction company called
3 Gradnja, in Samac. Will you tell us what particular department you were
4 in charge of and what was your work about within that particular
5 department, from 1981 to 1985, in this civil engineer -- in construction
6 company called Gradnja?
7 A. As I said, I completed the faculty of political sciences and
8 worked as a professor of sociology, and defence and protection. In the
9 construction company in which I found employment, I was in charge of what
10 was called defensive preparation of the enterprise, namely, work related
11 to the preparation of the enterprise for operation in extraordinary war
12 conditions. That is the work I did until 1985, in other words. And after
13 that, I was appointed as a director of one sector of that enterprise, in
14 which there were about -- or rather, between 20 and 25 people, and this
15 sector did commercial accounting and financial work for the production
16 segments of the enterprise.
17 Q. What could be of interest and of relevance to this process is
18 precisely your experience in doing this work of the transition of the
19 enterprise to operation in a state of war and the defensive preparations
20 of the enterprise. So can you explain in a couple of words what that
21 implied, and on the basis of what regulations was an enterprise duty-bound
22 to prepare itself for operating in war conditions? What did this look
23 like? What did you actually do and what were the regulations relevant to
25 A. There was a series of regulations governing this particular
1 subject-matter and binding all state-owned enterprises to undertake
2 defensive preparations, i.e., to undertake detailed planning and
3 preparations of their enterprise for operation in conditions of war and in
4 situations of war. This primarily was based on the law on total National
5 Defence, the civilian protection law, and a series of other subsidiary
6 pieces of legislation, so that all state-owned enterprises were under the
7 obligation to undertake preparations to prepare their enterprises for
8 their enterprises to be able to continue operations in war conditions.
9 Q. In the period between October 1991 until the end of December 1993,
10 were you a member of any party?
11 A. No, I was not a member of any party during that period. I had
12 been a member of the League of Communists from 1975 to, say, 1988, at
13 which time the Communist Party, namely League of Communists of Yugoslavia
14 and of Bosnia-Herzegovina mainly lost its raison d'etre.
15 Q. Can you briefly describe what you personally know about the period
16 between October 1991 until mid-April 1992 in the sense of the inter-ethnic
17 atmosphere which obtained in the city in which you lived, which is in
18 Samac? What did you notice? What are your personal experiences and
19 observations in regard to that particular period?
20 A. Well, in a few words, it was very unpleasant to live in Samac, and
21 probably in Bosnia-Herzegovina, for the majority of citizens. This was
22 mainly the period when political parties were established that used such
23 symbols that they revoked memories of past -- bad past times. I remember
24 some details when the SDA party was established in Samac, when a great
25 many people, with lots of noise and shouting, came to this rally, and that
1 was practically a demonstration of crude force and the wakening up or the
2 revocation of some bad old memories. The similar situation occurred when
3 the HDZ was formed. Perhaps that is how probably Croats and Muslims
4 perceived the establishment of the SDS, which was a third nationalist
5 party in Samac.
6 Q. How would you describe that? Was that national or nationalistic?
7 A. I apologise. Those were national parties.
8 Q. Tell me: Since at the time you were not a member of any political
9 party, what were your observations as a resident, as a citizen of that
10 town, in shops, in restaurants, on the streets? Can you tell us what was
11 your personal perception of that time? Very briefly.
12 A. People were mostly, at the very beginning, when these things
13 started to happen, people tried to preserve their usual order of things.
14 However, despite that, a gradual separation and segregation set in. There
15 were cafes where Muslims would congregate where Croats would get
16 together, and mainly the culmination of fear and fright from war occurred
17 when, in the Serbian village of Sijekovac, near Brod --
18 Q. I'm sorry. I have to interrupt you.
19 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues] ... break now?
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We shall take our break and resume our
21 proceedings at 1805.
22 --- Recess taken at 5.45 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 6.05 p.m.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. You are continuing.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Blagojevic, before the break, you started to
2 explain your personal knowledge about the atmosphere that prevailed in
3 Samac itself. You mentioned that there was division along ethnic lines,
4 that members of all three ethnic communities started to separate into
5 their own communities. Tell me: Do you know of any incidents that
6 happened in late 1992 until April 1993 in Samac?
7 A. There were a few incidents that I remember. One of them I think
8 happened in winter 1991/1992, when two men who, let's say, were in favour
9 of Yugoslavia, one of them was a Muslim and the other one I think was a
10 Serb, were wounded by armed SDA extremists. And a very interesting
11 case -- or rather, an incident, I think happened somewhat earlier, when a
12 young man, a Muslim, in a cafe called Valentino, clumsily activated a hand
13 grenade. He was killed on that occasion and a Serbian girl was wounded.
14 I think that was his girlfriend. This incident, the leadership of the SDA
15 in Samac used for political purposes, and more or less they informed their
16 own public, so to say, that that was done by the Serbs, and many Muslim
17 residents of Samac were ready to carry out a pogrom of Serbs. However,
18 when they -- when some of those people learned the real truth, the
19 situation calmed down. But those were two significant and rather
20 unpleasant incidents carved in my memory.
21 Q. What is your personal knowledge, if you have any, concerning the
22 arming and the increased presence of armed civilians in the period late
23 1991 and April 1992 in Samac? Do you know anything about that?
24 A. Regardless of one's profession, and I repeat, I had my own private
25 business, it wasn't able for anyone to live in Samac and not listen to, or
1 rather, involuntarily hear some unpleasant news. Specifically, in my
2 neighbourhood, Muslims were armed in the building of the power supply
3 company, and that was organised by a certain Mr. Trnaro [phoen], who was
4 one among the top people of the indiscernible Samac and also by Mr.
5 Huskic, Mr. Izetbegovic, and some other people whose names I cannot
6 remember at this moment. The same situation was with the arming of
7 Croats. Mainly it happened that someone boasted to have given a
8 substantial amount of money for weapons to be procured.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, just to -- a clarification
10 in the transcript.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Sorry. Just bear with me, please. Yes. Line 23
13 of page 64, or thereabouts, there's a reference to a certain Mr. Trnaro,
14 who was one among the top people of the "something" Samac. I thought the
15 witness might have referred to the SDA and I just want to make sure it's
16 clear, if indeed it was a reference to the SDA.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic can clear that with the witness.
18 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Yes, I am grateful to my learned friend. I
19 will clarify that with the witness.
20 Q. [Interpretation] Since there was a mistake in the transcript, you
21 mentioned that in your neighbourhood, Muslims were being armed within the
22 waterworks or something like that and that somebody had organised this.
23 Could you repeat this portion? What did you say? Who was the organiser?
24 Who was the person and what was his role in the structure, political party
25 structure in Samac or any other structure? Can you clarify that, please?
1 A. A certain Mr. Huskic, Mr. Coner, that was in fact his nickname,
2 then Izetbegovic, and a few other people whose names I cannot remember
3 now, but I know that there were quite a few of them.
4 Q. You mentioned that this Mr. Coner was something in some
5 organisation. What did you refer to, in a Samac organisation? What did
6 you refer to?
7 A. He was, politically speaking, in the leadership of the Samac SDA,
8 and I don't know which specific position he held, but he was employed with
9 the waterworks and probably that was rather convenient circumstances for
10 this operation to be done covertly.
11 Q. In 1991 and 1992, you had your private business and probably you
12 went on business trips. Did you notice anything unusual that you recall
13 during those trips and that you can tell us now?
14 A. Well, I remember a few details during some of my trips, and those
15 were not pleasant details. Once, I think that was in late 1991, I was
16 returning from Zivinice. That is a small town near Tuzla and some 80
17 kilometres from Samac. I was travelling during the night, and I was
18 stopped by armed patrols. In most of the villages that I passed through,
19 they mainly wanted to see my documents, and as soon as they saw my name,
20 then they searched my car. On the road between Zivinice and Tuzla, there
21 are a few small Serbian villages, and nobody stopped me there.
22 The second situation that took place approximately at the same
23 time was when I was returning from Orasje, and some 20 kilometres from
24 Samac, where mostly Croats live, in the village of Domaljevac, I was
25 stopped by an armed patrol. However, I did not have problems at that
1 occasion because I was stopped by one of my students, who just bade me
2 good night as his teacher. That was a very nice epilogue to this story.
3 But it was rather unpleasant to be stopped by armed men in the middle of
4 the night.
5 Also, another situation was when I had to go on business to Novi
6 Sad. I set off in the early morning hours from my flat, and I couldn't
7 get out of Samac because the people, young people from the SDA, probably
8 members of some military structures, had blocked Samac. I knew those
9 youngsters very well. I had to leave the town very quickly because I was
10 in a hurry, but that was impossible. That is when I felt hostage in my
11 own town.
12 Q. Tell me, Mr. Blagojevic: When did you practically respond to your
13 military duty, to your war assignment?
14 A. I reported to my unit in the Serbian village of Batkusa in the
15 afternoon of the 17th of April. On the day before or, to be precise, I
16 didn't spend the night between the 16th and the 17th of April in Samac.
17 Instead, I spent the night at my parents' place in --
18 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry. I didn't hear the name of the
20 A. And my wife and children were in Belgrade, in a safe place.
21 During the night or, more precisely, around 2.00 a.m., I was woken by
22 shots and I heard that there was an armed conflict between the Serbian
23 forces, on the one side, and the Croatian and Muslim on the other.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: The name of the village, Mr. Pantelic.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
1 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Blagojevic, can you tell us, what is the name
2 of the village where you spent the night with your parents?
3 A. That is the village of Pisari, two kilometres from Samac.
4 Q. Who was the commander of your unit? I presume that you reported
5 to your war assignment.
6 A. My superior officer was Mr. Mico Ivanovic. He was a detachment
8 Q. What in particular was your role and your activity in this
9 detachment from mid-April onwards until you were wounded? What tasks did
10 you perform and what had been happening at the front line?
11 A. I was the assistant of the commander of the detachment, and it was
12 my duty to arrange the shifts on the front line, or rather, to be the
13 leader of a shift on the front line. We called it the komandir or shift
14 leader of the line.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Di Fazio.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, none of this material
17 appears in the summary of what this witness is going to say.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
19 MR. PANTELIC: It's line 2, Your Honour, on the page 5, that he
20 will testify on the following facts: As a reserve officer of the JNA, he
21 was a member of the 17th Tactical Group, which means including his duties
22 during his assignment. So very briefly --
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, it doesn't say that, and he's already given
24 evidence that he was in the 1st Detachment, which was part of the 17th
25 Tactical Group. There's nothing here about a detailed analysis of events
1 of the night of the 16th and 17th.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. It's the activities of the 16th
3 and 17th which are not included. His membership to the 17th Tactical
5 MR. PANTELIC: Including other factual allegations, Your Honour,
6 if I may, from the indictment, including the alleged takeover and events
7 on 16 or 17 of April. But I'm not going to explore this issue --
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Because, you see, when you're asked to provide
9 summaries, precisely that's what you do. You don't escape under the
10 overall phrase of other factual allegations. You should have named them
11 in the summary.
12 MR. PANTELIC: It is not of so big importance, you know, his
13 activities in his unit.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: It is. Forcible takeover is one of the main points
15 in the indictment. We're entitled to know about this beforehand so that
16 we can do our research, prepare for our cross-examination, so on. It's a
17 fundamental point.
18 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. But, Mr. Pantelic's witness is not discussing
19 that from the summaries.
20 MR. PANTELIC: That's correct.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Go ahead with the contents of the summaries.
22 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. So until the time you were wounded, I think, in August 1992, you
24 were at the front line. Where was this?
25 A. I apologise. Would you repeat your question, Mr. Pantelic? I
1 didn't hear you.
2 Q. I'm asking you up to August 1992, when you were wounded, what part
3 of the front line were you stationed at?
4 A. I was at Batkusa, Brnik [phoen], Dreznica, that part of the front
5 line. And there I was shift leader of the line and it was my task, with
6 my shift, to spend a certain time there. Most often, this was a period of
7 12 hours, in normal circumstances, that is, if there were no combat
8 operations going on actively. If there was action, then we would have to
9 stay at the front line until the operations were over, regardless of
10 whether we had been attacked, whether we had been pushed back, or whether
11 there was sporadic shooting. This happened very often in the beginning of
12 the war because both armies had no war experience, or rather, neither of
13 the armies had any war experience.
14 Q. After you were wounded, what happened?
15 A. I was wounded on the 17th of August, in the village of Batkusa,
16 and I was given first aid by Dr. Ozren, who was here before me. After
17 that, I was sent to the brigade infirmary, or clinic, and then to
18 Bijeljina, to be operated on. And my sick leave, or the time I spent in
19 hospital, amounted to about 30 days, after which I was assigned to work
20 duty, although my wounds had still not completely healed.
21 Q. And can you recollect when you were appointed municipal secretary
22 for utilities and housing?
23 A. I think it was around the 12th or 20th of September, 1992.
24 Q. And who informed you of this work obligation? Did you have to
25 report to your military unit? Were they informed of your new assignment?
1 Can you explain the mechanism to us?
2 A. I was informed that I had been reassigned to work duty while I was
3 still on sick leave, after I had been wounded. I received this
4 information from the President of the Executive Board, Milan Simic, that I
5 had been assigned to these tasks.
6 Q. Can you describe to us what your work consisted in, in these first
7 few weeks after your appointment? What did you find when you arrived at
8 work? What problems did you face in the municipality? Tell us something
9 about this period of time, and then we will pass on to discuss some
11 A. When the military operations began in Bosanski Samac, that is, in
12 our municipality, very many people came from other parts of Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina, from the neighbouring municipalities, from Croatia, and there
14 were many people in Samac who had no accommodation. Before I arrived,
15 some of this work was being done by the Red Cross, and a whole village,
16 which was called Srnice, from the municipality of Gradacac, was
17 accommodated in a single day, or rather, they were expelled in a single
18 day, and they were put in the village of Hasici, in a single day. I think
19 this was the largest collective housing of refugees, of people with
20 nowhere to live, up to the time I arrived, and this was done by the
21 secretary for utilities and housing.
22 Q. What was the ethnicity of these refugees?
23 A. These were Serbs, or rather, the whole village, from the
24 municipality of Gradacac, which was called Srnice. When I
25 took up the post of secretary, a decision was already being prepared on
1 giving housing to people with nowhere to live, on a temporary basis, and
2 all the accompanying documents had already been prepared, such as the
3 register, or rather, a record of the condition in which the building was,
4 the decision on granting these premises for temporary accommodation, the
5 municipal service received more than 500 applications for the allocation
6 of housing for people who had no housing in the area of the municipality.
7 Therefore, pursuant to the decree issued by the Serbian Republic -- the
8 government of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the decree
9 on the allocation of housing and business premises, it was possible to
10 begin the planned and organised accommodation of people, and this was my
11 main task.
12 Q. Within the scope of what municipal organ was your secretariat?
13 A. The secretariat for housing and utilities was an independent
14 organ. That is, it was the organ that implemented these tasks, and it was
15 not part of another body; it was an independent secretariat.
16 Q. Tell me, please: When you had already taken up your post, did you
17 find any documents, any administrative decisions, or did you start from
18 scratch, so to speak? Can you describe this?
19 A. The Executive Board of the municipality, not the whole board,
20 there was no secretariat, but there was a secretary who had already
21 prepared certain documents, decisions on allocating housing, accompanying
22 documents, such as records, decisions on the allocation of housing, the
23 form of the application for housing. So that certain things had already
24 been prepared, although the secretariat had not yet been set up, and this
25 had to be done, because even before my taking up the post, the problem of
1 finding housing for these people had become very acute.
2 MR. PANTELIC: Mr. Registrar, could we have Exhibit D18/2 to be
3 produced to this witness? I would like to have a discussion.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Blagojevic, until we find this document, can
5 you tell us whether you undertook any activities in order to organise the
6 secretariat in accordance with standards and principles of your own, if
7 anything, or did you simply continue the previous practice? Can you
8 explain what you did?
9 A. When I took up the post of secretary, the secretariat had not yet
10 been set up. It was I who set it up. I employed people with experience
11 in housing activities. These were mostly people who were civil engineers
12 or people who before the war had been employed in the housing department
13 or people administering socially owned housing.
14 Q. How many employees were there in total in September 1992 in the
15 secretariat, and did this number increase in time?
16 A. In September 1992 there were four of us. Afterwards there were
17 five or six. From time to time some people would arrive, others would
18 leave, but mostly we had about six people working at any given time, after
19 the secretariat had been fully set up.
20 Q. Would you please look at the document before you. I think it has
21 three pages. I assume you are familiar with it, but please have a look.
22 A. Yes, I'm familiar with this document. It was the law on the basis
23 of which we worked.
24 Q. Would you please put it on the ELMO so that the rest of us can see
25 it as well, the front page, please. When was this decree issued? The
1 document speaks for itself. I see it was published in the Official
2 Gazette in July 1992. So you actually found it and it formed the basis of
3 your work in the secretariat?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Article 2 of this decree, would you please look to the right. I
6 don't know if you can read it on the monitor. If not, you can turn to the
7 right and have a look at it. Article 2 mentions certain buildings and
8 facilities, including housing, residential buildings. Could you please
9 explain what this is about?
10 A. Pursuant to this decree and Article 2, there was a clear
11 definition of what buildings and under what conditions could be allocated
12 for temporary use to persons with no housing, or to homeless persons.
13 This contains a list, which includes catering establishments, tourism
14 establishments, residential, houses and flats, weekend houses or holiday
15 homes, auxiliary premises, and so on and so forth.
16 Q. What did this look like in practice in Samac from September 1992
17 until the end of 1993? Were there any criteria that were set up for the
18 allocation of housing? And can you comment on Article 5 of this decree,
19 which is on the second page? Would you explain what this looked like in
20 Samac in practice?
21 A. On the basis of an application they had submitted, persons who
22 needed temporary accommodation, who had to supply documents along with
23 their application, and depending on whether it was an individual, a single
24 person, or a family, and where they had lived before, they were placed in
25 a certain category. On the basis of this, they were allocated housing
1 that was available at the time. Attempts were made to give housing to
2 people who had come from towns in the town and to people who had lived in
3 villages before, we tried to accommodate them in villages. As for the
4 size of the premises, it depended on the size of the family.
5 Q. Mr. Blagojevic, tell me, please, what this looked like in
6 practice. Can you give us a few examples?
7 A. Well, let's say --
8 Q. Explain it to us. For example, a person submits an application.
9 A. When an application arrived in the secretariat, depending on how
10 urgent the case was. Let's say it was a person from Central Bosnia who
11 had no friends or people he knew there. Then we responded immediately,
12 because that family was probably staying with a host where they had
13 arrived by chance. And we would allocate temporary housing, a flat or a
14 house that was available to that family.
15 Q. Did you keep any records on available housing, and who set this
16 up, if there were such records?
17 A. The records I found there when I took up the post of secretary had
18 been drawn up in a very professional manner. I think this was done by a
19 member of the Red Cross. And this documentation, as well as the
20 documentation of the former self-management interest community for
21 housing, which was the former department of housing, and these records
22 were our starting point. In the course of our later work, the secretariat
23 collected information from the field.
24 Q. What happened if a person had more living space or had a larger
25 house, relative to some of your criteria? Did you undertake any measures
1 in that respect? What was the practice in such a situation in Samac from
2 the time you assumed the post of secretary until the end of 1993? Do you
3 have any examples there?
4 A. Although Article 2 provides for the possibility of making
5 available surplus living space to people, we never availed ourselves of
6 that particular possibility until the winter of 1992 and 1993, at which
7 time we were compelled to use that possibility because the winter was very
8 harsh. It was very cold. So that it was inhumane to accommodate people
9 in some deserted village households which mainly were without windows,
10 without fences, and without electricity, electrical power.
11 In such cases, we availed ourselves of the possibility of having
12 flats which were much larger than the family or user in question required,
13 which the family was actually using. We would accommodate other families
14 in such flats. So this winter from 1992 and 1993 was a period when we had
15 very many refugees from the area of Kakanj and Zenica and the Borak Lakes.
16 So that was the time when we mostly applied the provisions of this
17 particular article in this way.
18 Q. Tell me: Do you have any knowledge about the actual number of
19 refugees in the territory of Samac municipality towards the end of 1993 --
20 1992, sorry.
21 A. Towards the end of 1992, there were about 5.000 refugees in the
22 territory of Samac municipality, and these were mostly refugees from the
23 already mentioned village of Srnice, near Orasac, and Serbs from Gradacac
24 and other villages. Many people from Odzak municipality, several people
25 from -- several villages in the vicinity of Zavidovici, Kakanj, and
2 Q. Tell me: The front line observed to the east from Samac, how did
3 it lie? In which direction? And did the municipality of Samac in 1992
4 and 1993, was it in the same framework, in the same area? Was it of the
5 same area as prior to April 1993?
6 A. Samac municipality --
7 Q. Excuse me. So my question was: I want you to compare the
8 territory of Samac municipality from April 1992 until the end of 1993
9 relatively to its territory, the territory of the municipality of Samac,
10 before April 1992. Because it is written 1993 in the transcript. So
11 please explain that to me.
12 A. Samac municipality, from April 1992 until the end of 1993, and
13 thereafter as well, was smaller by several villages than the previous
14 municipality, and some of those villages, the largest ones in Samac
15 municipality, are the villages Domaljevac, Bazik, a part of Grebnice,
16 and the village of Prud, which is on the left bank of the River Sava. Now
17 this village belongs to Odzak municipality. So in 1992, Samac
18 municipality was considerably smaller.
19 Q. Relative to what area?
20 A. Relative to the area of the municipality in the period before the
21 17th of April, 1992.
22 Q. The next thing which I'm interested in is: When a decision was
23 brought in for accommodating refugees in a certain house or apartment,
24 regardless of whether it was deserted or according to the criteria which
25 you applied, could the surplus space could be allocated to other people,
1 was there any obligation on the part of these people to pay any
2 compensation for use of these? Was there any -- was there any obligation
3 on the part of the municipal secretariat to recompense the people living
4 in those flats originally? What was the practice there?
5 A. The decree defined the possibility for compensation for the
6 temporary use of living premises, but we never applied this in Samac,
7 irrespective of to what particular population segment this applied.
8 Actually, it was not applied to anyone, because when the war started, and
9 as the war escalated, the people became increasingly impoverished, so that
10 we assisted that. It would be very inhumane to request compensation from
11 people who are not earning anything or earning very, very little.
12 Q. And tell me: Do you know anything -- whether after the end of the
13 war this subject-matter of compensation had been dealt with in any way or
14 had there been any such procedures in place, either administrative or
15 judicial ones, if you know, if you have any knowledge of those?
16 A. I don't have any knowledge of that.
17 Q. Tell me something else: Can you estimate, can you assist on the
18 territory of the entire municipality of Samac, since the time when you
19 assumed the post of secretary of the secretariat, how many decisions and
20 how many particular cases of housing allocation were dealt with
21 successfully in the period until 1993? How many refugee problems did you
22 resolve successfully in that period? Can you recall that?
23 A. I do not remember the exact number now, but we -- this was a daily
24 routine. This was our daily work, and every day we had -- we resolved a
25 great -- problems of a great number of refugees, refugee families as well
1 as of local people. When I say locals, I mean people from Samac and from
2 the vicinity. Sometimes some of these persons were given accommodation
3 repeatedly, in fact, because their houses were repeatedly damaged. So I
4 believe that in the period 1992 and 1993, we accommodated about five and a
5 half thousand people.
6 Q. Was there any -- were there any collective refugee accommodation
7 arrangements in Samac in this period, until 1993, which is the period
8 relevant to -- covered by the indictment? That is why I'm asking.
9 A. In the period 1992 to 1993, there were no collective accommodation
10 arrangements, or at least there was no collective arrangement which was of
11 any significant duration, of many days or months, that is. Occasionally,
12 people who came aboard convoys or people from an entire village would come
13 and spend several nights and days in a building, and then they would be
14 resettled. As a rule, they would be allocated a living space in Serbian
15 houses, as a provisional measure, and then we would proceed to provide
16 some more durable accommodation arrangements for them, with flats or
17 houses for their use.
18 Q. Tell me: What was the situation like in the village of Zasavica,
19 in the period when you took up this post until the end of 1993? Who was
20 accommodated there?
21 A. The village of Zasavica was the village which had suffered the
22 least damage from war operations and from shelling, and in that village,
23 apart from the Croats who lived there, were also accommodated people from
24 the vicinity of Zavidovici, concretely speaking, the village of Gostovici.
25 I think that was towards the end of 1992 and in early 1993. This is a
1 very large village, so that the villagers were also accommodated in the
2 area of Modrica municipality. And mainly people were very happy.
3 Q. What nationality -- what ethnicity were these people of?
4 A. First of all, the native villagers were Croats. And the people
5 from Gostovici village were Serbs. So the village of Gostovici in the
6 vicinity of Zavidovici.
7 Q. And finally, what was the ethnicity of the village -- of the
8 people of the village of Zasavica in the period which you are describing,
9 which is to say autumn 1992 to the end of 1993?
10 A. Approximately half of the villagers were Croats who had lived in
11 the village before the war, and the rest were people from Gostovici, the
12 villagers of Gostovici, and several families from the territory of Odzak
14 Q. Tell me: What was the conditions in Zasavica like, in the sense
15 of the quality of the living conditions? What were the houses made of?
16 What was the environment like? Can you explain the general situation from
17 the construction standpoint?
18 A. The village of Zasavica, as I've already said, was lucky not to
19 have suffered major damage by shelling. It is a nice and wealthy village,
20 with nice, mostly newly built houses. It was a nice -- a pleasant place
21 to live in. There was this person, this man, who was the chairman of the
22 local commune there, a certain Mr. Ivo Pandurevic, who was, we can freely
23 say, a right hand in helping us to accommodate the people who had come
24 from the vicinity of Zavidovici in 1992.
25 Q. Did you visit the village of Zasavica in an official capacity to
1 inspect the conditions to see what the problems were there? Did you go to
2 see the people there?
3 A. Yes, I did. I went to Zasavica in my official capacity, on
4 official duty. As a rule, the accommodation of the families there, of any
5 refugee family, had to be organised by the secretariat and the commission
6 for the accommodation of people. We could not have this unfold in an
7 anarchic way with, for instance, a small family occupying a large house or
8 one family occupying a number of flats or housing units. So we had to be
9 there on the spot to take minutes of the actual allocation of the housing
10 unit for temporary use by occupants where we also recorded all the mobile
11 and immobile property on the premises, and thereby, in this way,
12 introduced the new user of the premise in question into -- actually gave
13 him occupancy of the premises.
14 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I think it's 1900 hours. Is it time
15 for our adjournment?
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We'll continue our proceedings tomorrow at
17 1415 hours.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
19 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 14th day of
20 January 2003, at 2.15 p.m.