1 Tuesday, 14 January 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 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: Yes. We are continuing with examination-in-chief,
10 Mr. Pantelic.
11 MR. LAZAREVIC: I apologise to Mr. Pantelic, but if we could have
12 some assistance from the technical booth. We are not receiving transcript
13 on the laptops. None of these.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I think the technical booth will be informed.
15 But since the monitors are working, we can proceed.
16 Mr. Pantelic.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Good afternoon, Your Honours.
18 WITNESS: VESELIN BLAGOJEVIC [Resumed]
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 Examined by Mr. Pantelic: [Continued]
21 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Blagojevic. What is the situation with your
22 baggage like? Have you recovered it.
23 A. It has arrived. It arrived 15 minutes ago, so everything is okay.
24 Q. Yesterday we spoke about the situation with refugees and you said
25 that -- you described how you had organised the work of your secretariat.
1 In this connection, will you please comment on an exhibit which has
2 already been tendered here.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have exhibit, please, D118/1, please.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Until this document is found, Mr. Blagojevic,
5 would you briefly describe for us whether you cooperated with any other
6 persons on the subject-matter of refugees from the fall of 1992 and on,
7 and how did this function in practice?
8 A. The secretariat for housing and utilities affairs, landscaping and
9 town planning actually cooperated with the civil defence, with the Red
10 Cross organisations, also it helped carry out repair projects on damaged
11 buildings, together with the Department of Defence sector, from which we
12 were given the necessary labour force to repair such structures. And
13 normally we also cooperated with the relevant departments, ministries,
14 that is, the ministry for housing and utilities and landscaping of
15 Republika Srpska.
16 Q. Thank you. Will you now look at this document which is to your
17 right side. If it is easier for you, you can look at the document
18 directly. You don't have to look at it on the screen, because on the
19 screen you only have a part of it. Feel free to take the document, to
20 take a closer look at the document and familiarise yourself with it. What
21 can you say about this document?
22 A. This document was adopted towards the end of 1992. This
23 commission was an operational body, in fact. Its task was to identify the
24 most acute problems, for instance, when a larger group of refugees
25 appeared, where to accommodate them, how to accommodate them, and the
1 composition of this commission was such as to enable the commission to
2 identify all the needs of this population segment.
3 Q. Did the commission in this membership function for a long time or
4 were there any changes in its membership?
5 A. We worked on an ad hoc basis, so whenever a major problem cropped
6 up, we saw to address it by sitting in an adequate composition, and
7 occasionally we would get some information, and I, as the chairman of this
8 commission, would get information from other people who were, as a rule,
9 the chairmen or the leaders of some other organs.
10 Q. All right. Can we now discuss another document?
11 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have now Exhibit D131/1, please.
12 Q. [Interpretation] You can look to your right side again, at the
13 document. You said that you had contacts with the Ministry of Defence
14 department in Samac. In respect of certain people of given specialties
15 which were supposed to help your secretariat in its work. So what is this
16 document about and what was the reason for your establishing contacts with
17 the -- this department of that ministry?
18 A. This is a period when the secretariat actually commenced its work,
19 and it was my obligation to man -- actually, to request from the ministry
20 two people, two people of the construction profession who were supposed to
21 be assigned to work to repair structures and buildings. Mr. Rado
22 Djurdjevic, a graduated architect, bachelor of architecture, worked in
23 the secretariat, and also Djoko Bosic. He also worked in the secretariat.
24 He worked on the accommodation of the needy population, population in need
25 of accommodation. And Mr. Milan Babic worked, but only occasionally, with
2 Q. I can see from this document that the people under numbers 1 and 2
3 were in a military unit, and also that they were obviously to be
4 transferred, assigned to work within the framework of work duty. Would
5 you please explain to me what this relationship was or how this
6 relationship with the military units functioned, namely, if you needed to
7 have men of specific skills, professional profile, engaged for the work of
8 your secretariat.
9 A. This was the procedure: The secretariat, my secretariat, as well
10 as others, as well as state-owned enterprises, would submit applications
11 to the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Defence would contact
12 military units, and it was within the competence of the military units to
13 decide whether this was possible or whether the possibility existed for
14 such a person to be assigned to work duty or not. If the military unit
15 elected to go then they would receive decisions to that effect, decisions
16 about the work obligation from the Ministry of Defence.
17 Q. Yes. You also spoke about certain damage to the buildings due to
18 war operations, although this is not directly associated with the period
19 relevant to you, according to its date. Perhaps you can also comment on
21 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic. I really don't quite
22 understand your question. When you're asking the witness about damaged
23 buildings, but then you say: "Although this is not directly associated
24 with the period relevant to you, according to its date." How will the
25 witness be able to tell us anything if it isn't relevant to him, according
1 to its date?
2 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. In fact, this exhibit that I have in my list
3 is D79/1, and since this witness testified yesterday that he -- when he
4 assumed his position when he was assigned for the secretary of this
5 department, he collected certain number of documents and the files in the
6 office. So maybe he's aware about the activities of his department prior
7 to his assignment, and also maybe he can give us some additional
8 information how he conducted this kind of activity during his period.
9 JUDGE WILLIAMS: As long as he knows.
10 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
11 JUDGE WILLIAMS: And also as long as this is relevant to the
12 indictment as well.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely.
14 Could we have Exhibit D79/1, please.
15 Q. [Interpretation] Tell me, in the meantime: Yesterday you said
16 that your secretariat undertook certain activities to rectify it, to
17 alleviate the consequences of the shelling in the Samac municipality. Did
18 this refer to all the nationalities, to people of all ethnicities in
20 A. Yes, it did. We repaired buildings, primarily housing units,
21 residential houses, which were damaged and in which no conditions any
22 longer existed for habitation, especially when it came to the actual town,
23 a street called Vijenac, JNA Vijenac, which was along the Sava River, was
24 very badly damaged and there lived a lot of Muslims. Once when the city
25 came under -- when it was bombed by plane from Croatia, which bombed the
1 waterworks and houses of the five severely damaged houses, three were
2 Muslim houses, and we repaired those. Perhaps I could recall the names if
3 that is essential in this case.
4 Q. Do, if you can remember.
5 A. Yes. Arapovic. I believe that his first name was Nurija.
6 Sebisic Anto, who was a Croat, and several other people whom I knew for
7 a long time, but I cannot recollect their names at this moment.
8 Q. Would you look at this document to your right. It has two pages.
9 You can turn the leaves. Tell me something about this form of application
10 for building material. Was this the practice of your secretariat? Was
11 this the form it used, used by individuals in local communes to apply for
12 such material, in practice?
13 A. We didn't have a rigidly defined application form. The regulation
14 which was issued in June, prior to the work of our secretariat, in other
15 words, by a man who worked as his work duty with the secretariat and who
16 had worked for a very long time before that with the state enterprise for
17 the management of housing, of the housing stock, he compiled the necessary
18 data from the grounds and actually told us specifically what kind of
19 material was required by what specific people in each particular case.
20 Q. Tell me: In the procedure of work of your secretariat, had you
21 ever had cases of forcibly evicting people who had no legal grounds or had
22 no proper decisions, that had occupied the houses or flats of others on
23 such a basis, without such a document?
24 A. Yes. Unfortunately, this was a very difficult but frequent job
25 that the secretariat had to do, namely, as I said yesterday, people who
1 were in a state of need would submit their applications for
2 accommodation. However, many people submitted such applications without
3 meeting the requirements for such accommodation to be allocated to them.
4 So such people would occasionally forcibly enter some of the flats, or
5 they would occupy inadequate flats for their needs, which were larger
6 than they required, or houses, so that in order to maintain order and to
7 allocate on an equitable basis what was available of the housing stock to
8 us, we had to evict such people who had unlawfully taken occupancy. These
9 were members of the army or civilians or people assigned to work duty. So
10 that as a rule these were Serbs.
11 Q. With what services did you coordinate such activities? How was
12 this procedure regulated legally and in accordance with the administrative
14 A. When we received information from citizens or ex officio, with the
15 assistance of the police, we evicted people who had unlawfully occupied
16 houses or flats, and we would then return such houses or flats to the --
17 their original tenants or would later allocate them to individuals or
18 families in need of accommodation for their use.
19 Q. Tell me, please: In your practice, did you have cases of moving
20 out unlawfully -- unlawful occupants of Serb ethnicity from apartments or
21 houses that were owned by non-Serbs? Can you recollect any such cases?
22 A. Yes. Those were the most frequent cases. I can remember the case
23 of the Mitrovic family. That family was in need of accommodation, because
24 earlier on they lived in the village of Brvnik, which was very badly
25 damaged, and their own house was totally destroyed. However, in view of
1 the fact that they lived in the countryside and that it was a typical
2 farming family, we wanted to find accommodation for them in the
3 countryside again, in an agricultural estate or farm.
4 Or the example of a certain Mr. Pisarevic, who lived close to
5 Samac, in the village of Pisari, and he unlawfully broke into an
6 apartment. The policeman on duty, true enough, was informed by the
7 citizens of this, or actually saw them, and we moved this person out
8 because he had his own house which had not been damaged.
9 Q. Let us make a correction in the transcript. [In English] Line
10 25. [Interpretation] You mentioned a location from which the Mitrovici
11 family came. Could you give us the name? Could you pronounce it clearly
12 for the transcript?
13 A. The name of the village is Brvnik. B-R-V-N-I-K.
14 Q. Thank you. Regarding the cases that you have mentioned, whose
15 apartments had they unlawfully moved into? Of what ethnicity were the
16 citizens into whose apartments these people moved into unlawfully, the
17 cases that you mentioned? Can you remember that?
18 A. Mr. Mitrovic moved into a house owned by a Croat, which was in the
19 centre of town, and Mr. Pisarevic moved into an apartment of a certain
20 Kapetanovic, therefore a Muslim.
21 Q. After the normal proceedings were carried out, did the owners or
22 the lawful tenants, the non-Serbs, did they regain control of occupancy of
23 their apartments?
24 A. Yes. I remember the name of a lady, Jadranka Kapetanovic. Her
25 apartment was restored to her, and she lived there for a while, in Samac.
1 After that, she left Samac. As for the house that the Mitrovici had moved
2 into had been abandoned, so the owners were not in is Samac.
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me. I wonder whether, Mr. Blagojevic, you
4 could give us your view of what constituted abandoned property.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Abandoned property, according to the
6 decree, was a property that the owners or occupants who had tenancy rights
7 were not occupying, were not living in. This was defined according to the
8 decree that they were not living there for more than 30 days.
9 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Did they have to have shown some type of
10 intention not to return after the 30 days, or was it just 30 days and then
11 it was abandoned?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had no information about that.
13 JUDGE LINDHOLM: I have a question here. Do you have any
14 knowledge of why there were so-called abandoned houses and apartments?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said yesterday that there were
16 many families who had left Samac even before the outbreak of the war, the
17 very beginning of the war. In view of the fact that war operations
18 throughout Bosnia, including Samac, were very intensive, many people who
19 had a chance to do so left the town and the municipality, not just Croats
20 and Muslims, but also Serbs. And it was into those premises that we moved
21 refugees into, and refugees were most numerous at least during 1992 from
22 Gradacac, Zavidovici, Zenica, Kakanj, et cetera.
23 JUDGE LINDHOLM: I have a follow-up question. Do you have any
24 knowledge of where those people leaving the town of Bosanski Samac could
25 find another accommodation somewhere in Bosnia-Herzegovina? Do you have
1 any knowledge of where they went?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I know in concrete terms about the
3 people who fled as refugees to Yugoslavia. Among the refugees that went
4 to Yugoslavia there were very many Serbs, but also quite a large number of
5 Muslims as well. I think that the Croats were relatively few in number.
6 Croats mostly went to Croatia, to stay with relatives or friends, and I
7 heard that they also went on from there to Western Europe. There were
8 also many people who were in Yugoslavia as refugees, both Serbs, Muslims,
9 and Croats, who later also went to western Europe as refugees.
10 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you.
11 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. A moment ago you referred to a case of eviction. Perhaps you
13 could comment briefly on this document that I have.
14 MR. PANTELIC: D0022 and it's my intention to tender it into the
15 evidence. By the way, there is also ERN number of the Prosecution office
16 Y 0005296. So, Mr. Usher, could you just have this document to be shown
17 to the witness.
18 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Could you, Mr. Pantelic, be so kind and repeat
19 the number of the document.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. It's D0022. It should be in the
21 bundle of -- in the title of D00.
22 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you.
23 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Will you have a look at this document, please, Mr. Blagojevic.
25 Have you any comments to make?
1 A. It is clear from this document that the policeman on duty from the
2 public security station in Samac found the people who were breaking into
3 the apartment and changing the lock of somebody else's apartment, and
4 eventually they agreed to give the key to the policeman, and then the
5 policeman, the next day, returned, or rather, brought that key to the
7 Q. Whose apartment was it?
8 A. It was Mr. Kapetanovic's apartment and his wife Jadranka's.
9 Q. Are those the people you were referring to a moment ago?
10 A. Yes.
11 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have this document as an exhibit, please.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can we have the number, please.
13 THE REGISTRAR: The official note dated 21st of April, 1993, will
14 be D148/1 and ter for the B/C/S. Thank you.
15 MR. PANTELIC: The next document which I would like to discuss
16 with this witness and to tender into evidence is RP 1. This is a decision
17 to appoint the secretary of Bosanski Samac municipality secretariat for
18 housing public utilities station, urban planning, dated 16 of September,
19 1992. Internal number is RP1.
20 Q. [Interpretation] In the heading of this document, we see the legal
21 basis for the appointment. Could you tell me what this means? Do you
22 have any knowledge about the regulations relating to the state
23 administration or, rather, the municipal administration, and how it
24 functioned in the municipality?
25 A. Yes. I see that the decision on my appointment as secretary of
1 the department is stated here, but I do not know the legal basis. But I
2 think it is the law on the state administration was the law on the basis
3 of which I was appointed as secretary of the department for housing.
4 Q. So this is the decision on your appointment, whereupon you started
5 working in the secretariat for housing and civil engineering; is that
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. But in the process of decision-making by municipal bodies, did
9 your secretariat have the duty of preparing drafts of decisions that were
10 then submitted for adoption? How did this work in practice?
11 A. Yes. As the secretary -- would offer to the Executive Board a
12 decision regarding the allocation of a particular dwelling unit or some
13 other premises to a certain person, and this would be drafted on the basis
14 of a decree issued by the republic on the assignment for temporary use of
15 housing and other premises. So that was the first document. And then on
16 the basis of that document, there were other working documents that we
17 would discuss at the Executive Board meeting, and after the discussion the
18 document would be adopted.
19 Q. During the work of your secretariat, up to the end of 1993, would
20 you in the secretariat prepare draft decisions for municipal bodies: The
21 Executive Council or the Assembly, relating to your area of
23 A. Yes. The secretariat would write a report on our work, and this
24 report would contain the following components.
25 Q. We'll come back to that later, Mr. Blagojevic, but I'm just
1 interested in regular daily decisions relating to your secretariat which
2 needed to be adopted at meetings of the Executive Council or the Municipal
3 Assembly. So did your secretariat draft decisions regarding housing,
4 planning, public utilities, and things like that? Just explain that for
5 me briefly, please.
6 A. Yes. The Executive Council was actually the body to which our
7 secretariat would submit drafts of certain documents, and through a
8 regular procedure, once those documents were adopted, they would become
9 operational and a basis for our work.
10 Q. Did anyone from your secretariat attend meetings of other
11 municipal bodies as the rapporteur, when such a highly specialised
12 document would be on the agenda for adoption, a document relating to the
13 work of your secretariat?
14 A. Yes. My associates would attend, and so would I. Among the
15 associates was Rado Djurdjevic, Djoko Bosic, Joka Vajagic.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, just reading the
17 transcript, there's a little ambiguity in it, in one of the questions of
18 Mr. Pantelic, preceding question. He asked if during meetings of other
19 municipality bodies, when such a highly specialised document would be put
20 on the agenda for adoption. Is he referring, is Mr. Pantelic referring to
21 the document that is currently before the witness, referring to documents
22 generally, or what? I get the impression that he's referring --
23 Mr. Pantelic is referring to the document that is before the witness
24 regarding his appointment, but if I'm wrong, then perhaps that should be
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I'm sure Mr. Pantelic will specify what he is
2 referring to.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. I will clarify that.
4 Q. [Interpretation] You heard the question put by the Prosecutor and
5 the Trial Chamber, so could you explain to us now, please, what type of
6 proposal, decision, so on and so forth, what type of documents were the
7 proposals set forth, or rather where the condition was the presence of
8 somebody from your own secretariat? Give us some examples, please.
9 Describe to us how this took place. Give us several examples.
10 A. The information as to the accommodation of these displaced persons
11 was a frequent document that was discussed and later adopted by the
12 Executive Board of the Samac municipality.
13 Q. Were there any other proposals or decisions?
14 A. I don't think so. For the most part, this was information about
15 the work of the secretariat. There weren't any other decisions.
16 Q. Were there any documents relating to plan, town planning,
17 municipal plans, and so on and so forth?
18 A. I don't remember.
19 MR. PANTELIC: Can we have a number for this document, Ms.
20 Registrar, please.
21 THE REGISTRAR: The decision will be Exhibit D149/1 and ter for
22 the B/C/S.
23 MR. PANTELIC: The other document that I would like to discuss
24 with this witness is under the internal number RP2, and the document in
25 question is decision on the assignment of residential and other space for
1 temporary use adopted by the War Presidency on 17th of September, 1992.
2 Q. [Interpretation] While I was just taking a look at this document,
3 and you can have a look at it too. Leaf through it. It is several pages
4 long. Turn to the last page, please, and stop there so that we can take a
5 look at it. The date there, what date is it?
6 A. It is the 17th of September.
7 Q. Now turn to the first page, please, and in the title, what is the
8 date there?
9 A. The 16th of September.
10 Q. So could you explain this to us? You are a man from the
11 municipality. Tell us what all this is about. It's not essential, but
12 let's just clarify this slight discrepancy, if you can.
13 A. Well, I assume that the meeting was one of the wartime presidency
14 that was held on the 16th of September, when the decision was adopted,
15 whereas on the following day, most probably, which is to say on the 17th,
16 the decision was actually written out, typed out.
17 Q. Very well. Thank you. Now, could you comment on this decision?
18 I think you said a moment ago -- you mentioned it a moment ago. Could you
19 explain it to us? What was the basis for this decision to be taken, how
20 it functioned, and what you consider to be essential about this document.
21 A. I said yesterday that before my arrival to the municipality,
22 before I came to it, the Executive Board or somebody from the Executive
23 Board had prepared the text or what we would call a working document
24 written down in draft form, for this decision that was later compiled on
25 the basis of a provision at republican level, which was published in the
1 Official Gazette in December 1992, which means that on the basis of this
2 decision, the secretariat itself, which elaborated the decision in greater
3 detail as to the assignment of residential and other space for temporary
4 use to displaced persons.
5 Q. May I have your comment on Article 2 of this decision, please. If
6 you find it easier, you can take a look at the document on your right-hand
7 side. What is Article 2, in fact? What is stated in Article 2? What
8 does it define? But let me ask you something before we go on to that. I
9 do apologise.
10 Did I understand you to say correctly a moment ago that this
11 decision of the 16th of September was prepared by your own secretariat as
12 a proposal for adoption?
13 A. I just studied it, together with the republican decision and
14 provision, and it was actually prepared for adoption with certain
15 corrections, just a few corrections on my part. That is to say, I aligned
16 it, dovetailed it, with the republican decision, in actual fact.
17 Q. Thank you. Now we started commenting on Article 2. May we have
18 your comments there, please.
19 A. Yes. The facilities that can be assigned for temporary use. It
20 underlines here that they are always assigned for temporary use of
21 persons -- or two persons who have need of accommodation, and for the most
22 part these were displaced persons and refugees. So individuals of that
23 category were able to be assigned accommodation on the territory of the
24 Samac municipality pertaining to that article.
25 Q. And next?
1 A. Persons who were assigned accommodation, what was the assigned,
2 the facilities assigned were houses and flats that had been abandoned,
3 that had been left empty, and where there were no other residents, as well
4 as apartments that had not been abandoned but where there was extra space,
5 extra living space, which could be occupied by these individuals. I think
6 we said a little about that yesterday. So to sum up, this extra living
7 space that the user of the apartment had, or the owner of the property
8 had, if they were living on their own or had a small family and had extra
9 space, having one or two extra rooms.
10 Q. Tell me, please: This decision, did it relate to the citizens of
11 Samac whose own homes had been destroyed during the war? How did you
12 resolve those problems, the problems of those people?
13 A. Yes, that's right. All persons who needed accommodation, who
14 needed a roof over their heads, of course most of these people were
15 displaced persons and refugees, but also the local inhabitants too who had
16 lost their own homes or whose living quarters had been damaged or
17 destroyed due to the effects of the war. So those people were eligible
18 too, and they were Samac citizens, and people from the surrounding
19 villages which had also been destroyed and were either right up by the
20 front line or houses that had been hit through artillery fire and damaged
21 in that way, seriously damaged, of course. So persons of this kind were
22 eligible for accommodation elsewhere. And there were quite a large number
23 of persons in that category, in view of the fact that in 1992 the Samac
24 municipality or, rather, the town of Samac itself, as well as the villages
25 belonging to the Samac municipality, were in a very narrow encirclement.
1 They were surrounded on all sides, in fact, because the front line was
2 right the way around them. So that in all the villages of the Samac
3 municipality, there were quite a large number of destroyed and damaged
5 Q. Tell me, please, Mr. Blagojevic: The decision itself, did it
6 favourise or did it make any difference in the ethnic sense of the people
7 who tabled requests for accommodation? Was it biased in any way?
8 A. No. If you look at the number of inhabitants that were given
9 accommodation, you would probably see that most of them were Serbs. But
10 it was they who lived in the Samac municipality in the majority, although
11 many other people who had come into the area and were non-Serbs were also
12 put up and given accommodation, first of all in the town of Samac itself,
13 and then elsewhere as well. But there was never any ethnic discrimination
14 at all in this respect, both with regard to accommodation and with respect
15 to the refurbishing of their homes.
16 Q. Tell me a little more, please, about Article 5 and the following
17 articles, the procedure that was used to assign accommodation to persons.
18 May we have your comments? You elaborate that in the decision itself. So
19 tell us more about it, please. Briefly, give us a summary of how this was
20 translated into practice when you received a request for accommodation.
21 What did you do?
22 A. When a request came in to us, we would study it in order to see
23 who the person involved was, how large the family was, where it had come
24 in from, where it was put up at the present time, whether they had any
25 movables, movable property. And when I say that, I mean livestock, cattle
1 of any kind, vehicles, tractors, et cetera. And so on the basis of all
2 those elements, sometimes we would check them out if there was any
3 indication of information being given that wasn't accurate and correct.
4 So once we had studied a request that had come in to us, we would then
5 assign accommodation in the presence of the individual being put up and we
6 would draw up an extensive minutes about the state of the premises being
7 allocated, the contents of the premises, as well as what was in the
9 Q. Could you take a look at page 5 and look at Article 11 of this
10 decision, and may we have your comments about that, please, how you
11 applied the decision, how you put it into practice, this particular
13 A. We applied this article once we had accommodated the family from
14 the territory and municipality in which the houses had been destroyed due
15 to the war, and once their houses had been reconstructed and repaired,
16 this was sometimes organised by the owner himself and sometimes by us, so
17 in cases of that kind, when there was no longer need for these people to
18 be accommodated elsewhere for temporary accommodation, we would return the
19 families to their own homes. And the premises that were temporarily
20 occupied, we would once again record the state of the premises in the
21 minutes. We would list the property and furniture that is returned. We
22 would align it with the first minutes when residency was taken up, see if
23 everything tallied.
24 Q. Point 1 of Article 11 is what I'm interested in. Could you
25 comment on that, please.
1 A. Yes. When the premises are assigned, we drew attention and
2 recorded this in the minutes to the fact that once the premises were left,
3 the secretariat should be informed that the persons that had taken up
4 temporary residence had indeed left, so that we could put up other people
5 in the same place. This happened relatively frequently, because there was
6 a lot of migration in the Samac municipality, so a lot of comings and
7 goings. Refugees would come into Samac at one point, be accommodated
8 there, and then they would move on, according to the dictates of their
9 conscience. Once the conditions were ripe and they had somewhere else to
10 go and stay, they would move on to other towns in Yugoslavia or Republika
12 Of course, sometimes when people left the premises, they would
13 fail to report to us and tell us that they were leaving, and very often we
14 didn't have -- they didn't leave any forwarding address of any kind, so we
15 didn't know their whereabouts once they'd left.
16 Q. And the damages incurred during their residence? What procedure
17 did you implement for paying for those damages?
18 A. Well, the procedure for the most part was through the courts. We
19 would take it to court. This was not something that my secretariat was in
20 charge of. We did not undertake any proceedings along those lines.
21 Q. Could we have your comments to Article 16, please. Turn over the
22 page. Look at Article 16 and give us some information about Article 16,
23 to the best of your recollections and the practice that was applied.
24 Because Article 16 was the operational article, was it not?
25 A. Yes. This particular article was very frequently activated,
1 resorted to, because there were certain individuals who would unlawfully
2 take up residence in homes. And what happened was that people who had
3 accommodation elsewhere would take up residence somewhere, and they had
4 perfectly good homes and houses that hadn't been destroyed at all. So
5 these people wanted to have larger and better apartments and houses to
6 live in, more comfortable ones. However, faced with the influx of more
7 and more refugees and the increasing damage to homes and apartments in the
8 municipality and the territory, we were forced to evict these persons who
9 had taken up unlawful residence and who already had a home of their own.
10 Q. Will you describe for us how this eviction procedure actually
11 looked in practice of people who had unlawfully taken up residency? How
12 did this function? Who did you cooperate with, and what was the practical
13 procedure and the role of your secretariat in it?
14 A. Upon learning that such a case had indeed occurred, we would
15 invite the perpetrator of such an unlawful taking up of residency and talk
16 to such people. As a rule, the result of most of such interviews was
17 their eviction of such flats and of their own volition. But there were
18 other cases when we had to also -- when we had to have workers of the
19 public security station present in order for us to be able to evict people
20 who had unlawfully taken up residency and had no right to such
22 Q. Do you have any information whether the procedure still remains
23 the same today?
24 A. I don't know what the procedure is like today.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Can we have an exhibit number, please, for this
2 THE REGISTRAR: The decision will be Exhibit D150/1, and ter for
4 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
5 The next document that I would like to discuss with this witness
6 is our internal number D0020. It's a record of establishing, identifying,
7 and assigning housing and other facilities for temporary use. This
8 particular record -- yes. I don't see a date, but it's in 1992. Maybe
9 this witness can help us with that.
10 Q. [Interpretation] Take a look, please. It is not a very good
11 copy. You can indeed take it in your hand and familiarise yourself with
12 it. Take a closer look at it, and then I'll ask you a few questions about
14 Will you please tell us what this document is. I apologise.
15 Before I ask you, before I put this question to you, there is no date in
16 the heading, but I can see that in the beginning of the text that the date
17 is actually the 1st of December, 1992, so that we can assume that the
18 minutes were drawn on the 1st of December, can we?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Will you please comment on this document for me.
21 A. This document is indeed -- in fact a minutes on the establishment,
22 identification -- and identification of houses being made available for
23 temporary use, which was drawn up on the 1st of December, on the 1st of
24 December, 1992, or 1993, rather. I apologise. At 9.30 hours. And then
25 it goes on to list the members of the commission, Mrs. Mara Petkovic,
1 civil engineering technician, Jelena --
2 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the surname. I'm
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Can we have the surname of Jelena, please. The
5 interpreters didn't hear.
6 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Yes.
7 Q. [Interpretation] What did you say the last name of Jelena, member
8 of the commission, was?
9 A. Vockic, Jelena. Vockic is the last name.
10 Q. Do you know that this happened in 1993? Because it seems to me
11 that it was in 1992.
12 A. I don't. I don't know.
13 Q. Yes. Please continue. If you find it easier, you can take it in
14 your hand and take a closer look at it.
15 A. This document was in effect an inventory of all the effects of all
16 the things in the flat. The former tenant which was Boris Mordjin. The
17 document shows that this was a two-room apartment and lists most of the
18 movables in the apartment, which were the property probably of Mr. Boris.
19 We can also see from this document that Mrs. Lamija Hadzialijagic, with
20 two members of her family, is accommodated in this flat. She otherwise
21 used to live in the Vijenac JNA Street, which is the street which runs
22 along the Sava River and which was exposed to constant shelling in 1992
23 and 1993, on the part of the Croats, from Croatia, rather. And on the 1st
24 of December, Mrs. Lamija was left without any accommodation, so that we
25 put her up in this free, abandoned flat.
1 Q. And what ethnicity is Mrs. Lamija?
2 A. Mrs. Lamija Hadzialijagic is of Muslim ethnicity.
3 Q. Tell me: On the basis of this minutes and the decision on the
4 assignment of temporary living space, could Mrs. Lamija acquire any actual
5 rights to that apartment as a tenant, in terms of the administrative and
6 judicial procedure?
7 A. Mrs. Lamija was accommodated in this apartment on a temporary
8 basis, as the title of the document says, it is a minutes of temporary
9 assignment of living space, of temporary accommodation. So that no other
10 rights would be acquired by her except the right of temporary use, which
11 she can exercise until the time when she has to leave the flat. So as
12 this was the winter period, we waited for the repair of the -- her house,
13 which then she would return to once the repairs had been carried out.
14 Q. Can you give me your professional assessment? Who was practically
15 either the tenant, the holder of the tenancy rights to this apartment, or
16 the owner of this apartment during the stay of Mrs. Lamija in it?
17 A. The holder of the tenancy right to this apartment was Mr. Boris
18 Mordjin. This apartment is on Pere Bosica Street, and the tenancy right,
19 according to the regulations then in force in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
20 i.e., also in Yugoslavia, in the socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
21 was such that practically over 98 per cent of all flats in the territory
22 of the former Yugoslavia were either state-owned or socially owned
23 property, and the tenants who occupied such flats were the users of the
24 flats in question.
25 A user of a flat was a person who was eligible, having met the
1 necessary requirements for that status, and on the basis of a number of
2 criteria which were set by the enterprise for the management of
3 state-owned flats. Such persons would then enter into contracts for the
4 use of such flats. So concretely, in this particular case, as well as in
5 quite a few other cases, as I've already said, almost 98 per cent of the
6 flats were state-owned. So in this case, Mr. Boris Mordjin was the
7 actual holder to the tenancy right, not the owner of the flat.
8 Q. Will you please tell me whether you have any personal knowledge of
9 the actual structure of the ownership of real estate and houses and flats
10 in the city of Samac, seeing that you held the post which you said.
11 Because you just spoke illustratively enough about the situation in the
12 former Yugoslavia which however is not of much relevance to this
13 particular case. We are much more interested in the situation in the city
14 of Samac. So can you tell us what the situation was in the city of Samac
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I suggest that this isn't
18 going to assist you particularly to know the situation regarding property
19 rights in Samac. The documents themselves that the Defence have produced
20 don't purport to hand over or transfer property rights from these people
21 who were supposedly occupying these houses pursuant to this decree and
22 these arrangements that the witness has been speaking of, which he's
23 already said that in this particular case, Mr. Mordjin would retain his
24 property rights. So an analysis of the law relating to ownership of flats
25 in Bosanski Samac isn't going to assist you much given that scenario, I
1 submit. And I suggest that the topic is being exhausted by Mr. Pantelic.
2 JUDGE WILLIAMS: So maybe before you move on, though, I just would
3 like to know whether the witness has any knowledge of the ethnicity of
4 Mr. Mordjin, and also whether he has any knowledge as to whether the
5 property was permanently or temporarily abandoned, and why, if he has the
7 MR. PANTELIC: And with regard to the submission of my learned
8 friend, I don't know. Should I repeat this question? Because I'm focused
9 specifically on the Samac area. It might assist this Trial Chamber, since
10 a lot of -- a great number of Prosecution witnesses testified with regard
11 to the ownership of the apartments, of the houses, and maybe we could find
12 out from this witness what the situation was in Samac.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. As Mr. Di Fazio pointed out that
14 we have the documents here which indicate how the property was being
15 allocated to the people who were present in Samac, namely, the refugees,
16 and on what basis, and how they were expected to look after that
17 property. So that to discuss the actual law on ownership of property is
18 not necessary.
19 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. I'm just referring, Your Honour, to the
20 factual situation in Samac, not with regard to the regulations, but in
21 terms of numbers of percentage of the apartments in Samac. That's what
22 I'm interested in.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: I see. Because we have got sufficient evidence on
24 how people were allocated temporary occupation.
25 MR. DI FAZIO: That appears to be a different topic. I've got no
1 objection to that.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: The numbers.
3 MR. PANTELIC: In terms of number, yes, statistically.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. And also don't forget Judge Williams's
6 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely. Sure.
7 Q. [Interpretation] So please tell me: Do you have any personal
8 knowledge about the situation in the city core of Samac? Because there
9 were -- do you have an idea in terms of percentages how many flats were
10 state owned, how many were those where people held tenancy rights? Do you
11 have any records about that or do you have any recollections about it?
12 A. Samac is a small town, and we had over 800 flats in Samac. The
13 records were maintained by the state enterprise for the management of
14 state-owned flats, which at the same time also collected the rent and the
15 other charges paid by the tenants of those flats. And the records of this
16 enterprise can actually also tell us which of these flats were in private
17 hands. In Samac, actually, there were fewer than ten private flats. Most
18 of these flats had been purchased immediately prior to the war, and they
19 were in newly built blocks. Several flats were owned by private owners
20 that had been built prior to the Second World War.
21 Q. And what about the other flats? Would you please finish your
23 A. Yes. The other remaining apartments were either state or
24 socially-owned property, and these had practically been built after the
25 Second World War, and they were constructed with money that had been
1 collected in a specific way from state enterprises, which monies accrued
2 into a fund which was administered by the enterprise, the state enterprise
3 for the management of state-owned flats. They would provide such funds to
4 people who were eligible for such construction, and this is the procedure
5 which evolved throughout the duration of the former socialist Yugoslavia.
6 Q. And will you please now answer the question of the Honourable
7 Judge Williams. Namely, do you have any personal information as to what
8 ethnic group Mr. Boris Mordjin belongs, whose name features here as a
9 titleholder to tenancy rights.
10 A. Mr. Mordjin is a Croat. During the war he went to stay with his
11 daughter in Belgrade, or actually, he went there for treatment. This is
12 an elderly man. So he was ill. And during the war he went to Belgrade.
13 And his daughter stated that he would not be returning to Samac as long as
14 the war lasted.
15 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, is that --
16 JUDGE WILLIAMS: So the property would be considered temporarily
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
20 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. And a second question that I could ask you with relation to this
22 document, on the second page of this report are personal belongings that
23 were found in the apartment. And I would like to know, with reference to
24 the previous decision, if Mrs. Lamija, upon leaving the apartment, would
25 an inventory be made of the things contained in the apartment if things
1 were damaged, whether this was recorded. Could you give us a concrete
2 example from your own practice and that of your secretariat?
3 A. Pursuant to the same rules regarding taking occupancy, the same
4 would apply when people were moving out, and our practice was, for purely
5 operational reasons, to adjust the moving in of a new family with the
6 moving out of the previous family. So that was how we acted in practice.
7 I can't remember this particular case. When Mrs. Lamija Hadzialijagic
8 returned to her apartment or house, but I do know that she didn't stay
9 there long, maybe until she moved out in 1993.
10 Q. And who would specifically be responsible if any damage was done
11 to the property contained in Mr. Mordjin's apartment?
12 A. In this case, Mrs. Lamija. She was present when the apartment was
13 assigned to her, and she would sign herself this inventory or report. We
14 see another signature here. I think this was her mother.
15 Q. You mean slightly to the right in relation to Mrs. Lamija's
17 A. Yes.
18 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Could we have a number for this document,
20 THE REGISTRAR: The record will be Exhibit D151/1, and ter for the
22 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
23 May I have now another document under the internal number D0019.
24 This is also a record, same as previous one, dated 3rd of December, 1992.
25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pantelic. Before you get the into
1 it, I just have one question for Mr. Blagojevic.
2 Earlier on this afternoon, specifically on page 20, lines 19 and
3 20, in response to an early question by Mr. Pantelic concerning damages
4 incurred during a residence, such as in the case of Mrs. Lamija
5 Hadzialijagic, you had responded, on lines 19 and 20, by saying that the
6 procedure for getting compensation was through the courts. And the quote
7 from your testimony is: "We would take it to court." And I just want to
8 be sure in my mind that what you are saying is that the administration,
9 the municipality itself, would go to court to get compensation for the
10 original tenant, that it wasn't up to the original tenant, such as
11 Mr. Mordjin in D151/1, to go to court himself to get compensation for
12 damage to either the real property or the personal, movable property. So
13 I just want clarification that what I read on lines 19 and 20 of page 20
14 is correct, where you say: "We would take it to court."
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Such complaints would be made by the
16 damaged party, and I think this applies to this day. I don't know in
17 which context I said that it was the secretariat who would take the matter
18 to court. So it's the damaged party.
19 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. In actual fact, you went on to say that it
20 was not something that your secretariat was in charge of, but the
21 translation certainly says before that: "We would take it to court," and
22 that sounds as though it was a governmental function, and that's why I'm
23 asking -- I was asking for that clarification. But now I understand that
24 you are saying it was the person himself or herself who had the tenancy
25 and what have you that had to personally go to court to get compensation.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
3 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
4 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. [Interpretation] We now have another document. It is similar in
6 format, so we won't dwell on it for long. You've already explained some
7 things in answer to -- in reference to the previous document, so please
8 will you look at the second page of that document. Could you please tell
9 me of what ethnicity was the person to whom this apartment was allocated,
10 if you remember?
11 A. Yes. It is Mrs. Kata Tkalec, and she is a Croat. Tkalec, Kata.
12 I'm afraid I don't know anything more about Mrs. Kata Tkalec.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Could we have a number for this document,
15 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Exhibit D152/1 and ter. Thank you.
16 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Excuse me.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE LINDHOLM: It's signed by temporary user Kata Ikosijac
19 [phoen], at least in the English version.
20 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. You're right. It's probably a
21 mistake, because there is a question mark. Probably interpreters were not
22 sure because of the bad copy, and the very -- the illegible writing,
23 handwriting of this person in question. So I will clarify that for the
24 record with the witness, if necessary.
25 Q. [Interpretation] Would you please spell out the name, if you're
1 quite certain of the name of this person, so that it can be part of the
3 A. So it is Mrs. T-K-A-L-A-C. Tkalac, Kata. Kata is the first name,
5 MR. PANTELIC: Just for the record, it's not Tkalac. It's
6 T-K-A-L-E-C and then K-A-T-A. Thank you. It's the time for our break, I
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Thank you.
9 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have in the meantime number maybe? Oh, we
10 already have.
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We already have. We shall continue our break
12 and continue at 1415.
13 --- Recess taken at 3.46 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 4.16 p.m.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. You continue.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Blagojevic, we left off before the break
18 while we were speaking about the procedure applied in your secretariat,
19 and you mentioned earlier on some other activities of your secretariat,
20 such as the reconstruction of facilities, houses that had been damaged and
21 destroyed during the shelling. Now, may I have your comments on the
22 following document, please, if you're able to give them. That is to say,
23 what it's about, when it came into being.
24 MR. PANTELIC: D0026. The title of this document, it's B/C/S
25 version one page and translation is three pages. The title is type and
1 extent of damage to buildings. There is no date.
2 Q. [Interpretation] Take a look at this document, please, on your
3 right. Perhaps it hasn't appeared on the screen in its entirety. Tell us
4 please, Mr. Blagojevic, what you know about the document, when it came
5 into being, if you happen to know, why it was written, and so on, anything
6 else of interest to us.
7 A. This is a document which is a component part of the information
8 given out and compiled for the assembly meeting that was held at the
9 beginning of 1993, and in fact it provides detailed information about the
10 damaged facilities in the town itself, residential buildings, industrial
11 facilities, and the like, and the destruction and damage to facilities in
12 the villages of the Samac municipality. The document includes the
13 construction material needed to restore the damages, to make them
14 habitable again, or in order to prevent further deterioration due to rain,
15 snow, the effects of cold and damp, et cetera, the weather conditions.
16 I assume that this is a document that was prepared for the
17 assembly meeting that was held at the beginning of 1993.
18 Q. The document is quite detailed, but I'm not quite clear as to the
19 last figure, where it says "under miscellaneous." Is it 3 or the total
20 number? What was the total number of facilities destroyed on the
21 territory of Samac municipality? What was the total at the bottom?
22 A. According to this, it would appear that 1.400 facilities were
24 Q. Could you repeat the figure, please?
25 A. 1.400 or 1.408, 1.408. But this information was received from the
1 president of the municipal communities and local communities in the
2 municipality, and the directors of state enterprises, as well as -- well,
3 the document was compiled on those facts and figures.
4 Q. What did you undertake in the secretariat to deal with the
6 A. For most of the facilities, before we received information about
7 their state, certain repair work was carried out, reconstruction and
8 repair work. First of all, in residential buildings and industrial
9 facilities, commercial buildings. A large number of these facilities were
10 repaired by the owners themselves. We were not able to cater to such a
11 large number of facilities that needed repair work done.
12 Q. As far as the construction material is concerned, what was the
13 role of your secretariat and the municipal organs in that respect?
14 A. Well, in order to repair the residential and other buildings and
15 facilities, the secretariat had at its disposal construction material in
16 two or three warehouses in Samac. It was mostly construction material
17 that had been found in the warehouses belonging to the socialist owned
18 enterprises when the war broke out, material that was already there.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, if it's of assistance to
20 Mr. Pantelic, the Prosecution takes no issue with the fact that there was
21 reconstruction occurring in Bosanski Samac.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: All right.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: So --
24 JUDGE MUMBA: We can have the document numbered.
25 MR. DI FAZIO: We can just have the document numbered and perhaps
1 move on.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic.
3 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you. Just one last question with
4 regard to that issue.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Was the reconstruction conducted regardless of
6 ethnic affiliation of the proprietors or was any distinction made,
7 ethnically speaking, in the Samac municipality with respect to
9 A. No, there was no distinction for residential buildings or anything
10 else in the town. Whether people were waiting for their homes to be
11 repaired to go back to them or for the others. And in Samac and the
12 surrounding villages, there was a lack of residential premises, so we were
13 forced to repair the buildings and homes as soon as possible to be able to
14 accommodate the large number of refugees and other persons needing
16 Q. Could we have a number, please.
17 THE REGISTRAR: D153/1 and ter. Thank you.
18 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Now I would like to discuss with the witness
19 document D0027. This is a report on work of the municipal secretariat for
20 housing dated -- well, there is no date, but it's obviously from September
21 1992 until the first session of the Municipal Assembly.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Blagojevic, what's this about?
23 A. This document is about -- actually, it's a report on the work of
24 my secretariat. Similar reports were compiled previously, similar reports
25 are compiled today. The problems here are much more difficult to resolve,
1 of course, and comprise not such a large period. Previously, reports of
2 this kind looked into one-year period. This is a shorter period of time.
3 The document deals with a shorter period because of the dramatic situation
4 that occurred in that period. And it enumerates what was done, it
5 itemizes what was done. And mostly we would prepare a document of this
6 kind several days before the assembly was due to meet, the Municipal
7 Assembly I'm referring to.
8 Q. All right. Fine. I can see on the basis of this report that
9 there was quite a lot of activity related to residential blocks, apartment
10 blocks, in the town itself. For example, this is contained on page 3 of
11 this document. And I'm interested in hearing about point 7 on page 3, the
12 repair of the roof on the Carrington building, as it was called. Can you
13 tell us, please, whether you know the ethnic composition of the tenants of
14 that particular building.
15 A. Well, I can't tell you the percentages, what the national
16 composition was, but I do know for sure that there were Serbs and Muslims
17 and Croats living in the building. And I knew most of those people very
18 well. For example, the president of the Court lived there. She was a
19 lady, a Muslim. And then there was a Croat living there who was president
20 of the Executive Board before the war, and so on and so forth. So I knew
21 most of those people. And we did repair the building. Actually, we
22 repaired the roof, which was badly damaged, with -- because several shells
23 fell on it, of great destructive power. And we covered the building with
24 the same sort of material that was used on the original roof, a form of
25 tin, and the tin is on the building now and is doing its work very well.
1 I should also like to mention that the secretariat, whilst
2 preparing the heating and water installations in all the private houses
3 that had been abandoned, that were not being lived in and, and in
4 enterprise that were not functioning, we engaged experts in the field to
5 let out the water from the pipes and so on, and to see that even more
6 damage was not done to the installations. I'm talking about the heating
7 plant, which wasn't operational at the time. And we tried to implement
8 the principles of good husbandry with the materials that we had at our
10 Q. Now, I'm interested in the period from September 1992 to 1993, in
11 the Carrington building, was the ethnic composition of the tenants mixed?
12 A. Yes, it was.
13 Q. Tell me what the situation was like with regard to the ethnic
14 composition that came under point 8. It was the building known as S28,
15 the S28 building mentioned in point 8 of the document.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. I'm interested in the ethnic composition.
18 A. Yes. There are -- actually, the building is right nearby the
19 building I live in, and most of the tenants who lived there before the war
20 live there today, and they were there throughout the war. There were
21 Croats and Muslims, and they're there today too.
22 Q. Now, could you tell me about the ethnic composition in the S62
23 building, which is mentioned in point 10?
24 A. This building is one of the larger buildings in Samac, and it is
25 referred to as S62, according to the classification that was applied. It
1 had 62 apartments in it. The apartment block actually has a larger number
2 of flats, I think 80. It is difficult for me to speak about the ethnic
3 composition of its tenants, but like with the S28 building, the S62
4 building, which was much larger, was also -- it was considerably damaged
5 in different parts.
6 Q. Tell me, please, Mr. Blagojevic: When the secretariat had to go
7 on-site to acquaint itself with the situation, did you go too to see what
8 the state of the buildings was like and what the apartments were like?
9 And I'm talking about 1992 and 1993.
10 A. Yes, it was my duty.
11 Q. I'm asking you about you personally. Did you personally go out to
12 have a look for yourself?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. My next question is: Were you able to see on these occasions
15 which ethnic group the tenants belonged to? When you went to size up the
16 apartments in 1992 and 1993, who the people living there? What ethnic
17 group did they belong to?
18 A. Yes, I did see people there.
19 Q. Well, who did you see?
20 A. I saw the members of all ethnicities: Serbs, Muslims, and Croats.
21 All of them were living there.
22 Q. Thank you. Now, under point 13 we see that there was some
23 construction work done on the building that was called Lepa Brena
24 building, the Lepa Brena building. What can you tell us about the ethnic
25 composition of the tenants in that particular building?
1 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, may I object to this line
2 of questioning?
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: The summary that was provided to us by the Defence,
5 as far as I can see, contains nothing that might remotely be related --
6 that might allow us to foresee this sort of evidence coming in. It's not
8 JUDGE MUMBA: About the repairs?
9 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: What about point number 1, 2, 3, 4, problems of
11 housing, reparation of houses?
12 MR. PANTELIC: That's correct.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: And apartments destroyed during the shelling.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: The shelling from the Croatian side, not the houses
16 from the -- the shelling from the Croatian side. I thought it is covered
17 by that.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. That might well be so, but this evidence
19 is -- it's regarding the ethnic composition of the inhabitants of the
20 buildings, the ethnic composition of --
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. It is relevant to their case because of the
22 persecution, inhumane treatment.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: Sure. I've got no problem. I can understand it.
24 But again, if Mr. Pantelic finishes in ten minutes and I have to stand up
25 and cross-examine, we have got absolutely no chance of being able to check
1 any of this information or examine it carefully, and so we're put at a
2 disadvantage. The purpose of providing us with this summary is to ensure
3 that that doesn't happen and that the evidence can be fully tested in
4 cross-examination. Now, I've got no problem with extensive evidence being
5 given of the damage that occurred and so on and what the witness did in
6 terms of repairs of houses destroyed during shelling, but this is
7 something else. This is the ethnic composition of people who lived in
8 those places before --
9 JUDGE MUMBA: No.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: -- and after. And so from that point of view, it
11 puts us at a disadvantage.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: No. I'm afraid, Mr. Di Fazio, I don't agree with
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Very well. Thank you.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic, you can go ahead.
16 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Yes. On page 4 of this report, you refer to the
18 repair of the house of a certain Mr. Tade Sebesic, if I'm reading
19 correctly the first line. Can you tell me what ethnicity this person was?
20 A. This was a Croat.
21 Q. Underneath it I see the name of Juka Arnautovic, and what was the
22 ethnicity of that person?
23 A. Mr. Juka Arnautovic is a Muslim.
24 Q. Tell me: Under the name of Arnautovic, there is reference to the
25 flat of Vlada Kolev. What ethnicity is Mr. Vlado Kolev.
1 A. He's a Bulgarian. Mr. Vlado Kolev is Bulgarian.
2 Q. Within the group of -- where there are a number of names also
3 features of name of Muharem Kapetanovic. Of what ethnicity is he?
4 A. Mr. Muharem Kapetanovic is a Muslim.
5 Q. Within this group of people, do you recognise any other non-Serbs?
6 A. I don't know Mr. Andjelko Lukic, about Andjelko Lukic.
7 Q. Tell me, Mr. Blagojevic: What other measures were then taken by
8 the Municipal Assembly. You told me this has been prepared for the
9 meeting of the Municipal Assembly. Do you know what happened in 1993
10 pursuant to this report and on the basis of your suggestions as the
12 A. The secretariat continued practically to work on repairs and
13 reconstructions of all these facilities which are identified in this
14 document. However, the situation on the ground kept changing, so that
15 some of the buildings were wholly destroyed by shelling which ensued, so
16 that they were no longer to be classified among the category of facilities
17 which could be repaired. So that we had a constant operation to identify
18 the state of damage of the various buildings and to carry out repairs
19 which activity of ours continued until the end of the war, although I did
20 not -- I was in the secretariat until the end of the war.
21 Q. Thank you, Mr. Blagojevic.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Could we have a number for this.
23 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Exhibit D154/1, and ter for the B/C/S.
24 MR. PANTELIC: The next document which I would like to briefly
25 discuss with the witness is our internal number D0018, dated 30th of
1 September, 1992. It's a request for work force or labour force. I don't
2 know. Sent to the municipal detachment of Ministry of Defence.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Blagojevic, please tell us briefly. This is
4 also related to a situation which you described previously regarding work
5 obligation and professionals. What can you tell us about this particular
7 A. This is a typical application that we would send to the division
8 of the Ministry of Defence, and this has to do with a person who is of --
9 a builder by profession, a civil engineer by profession, and we knew he
10 was experienced in organising of repairs and building of facilities. So
11 we applied to the secretariat for them to assign Mr. Ramusovic to us -- to
12 work with us as part of his work duty, to work within the secretariat, so
13 that we would be able to discharge our task.
14 Q. What is Mr. Ramusovic by ethnicity?
15 A. Mr. Naser Ramusovic is a Muslim.
16 Q. Can you tell us what his function was in this period while he was
17 engaged within the framework of your secretariat?
18 A. Mr. Ramusovic did not come to our secretariat. He remained with
19 the waterworks, since the water supply enterprise and the sewage and
20 drainage enterprise also had a lot of technical problems. So that he
21 remained in that enterprise and did not work with us. That is why we
22 reapplied and asked for some other people, for instance, Mr. Babic, who
23 then occasionally worked for us.
24 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you. Could we have a number for this
25 document, please, exhibit number.
1 THE REGISTRAR: It will be Exhibit D155/1, and ter for the B/C/S.
2 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Blagojevic, you said that when you come to
4 the secretariat, that you found quite a large number of applications there
5 which had been directly sent before that to the Executive Board, and that
6 of course with your people you tried to organise the operation of the
7 secretariat and to address all these questions with time, if I remember
8 correctly, this is more or less what you told us.
9 A. Yes, sir. That's the way it was.
10 Q. Now I wish to discuss a number of documents with you.
11 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues] ... are under the
12 internal number R24, divided with subsection A, B, C, and D. In fact,
13 these are four documents, applications for temporary housing for various
14 persons. Subsection 24A, R -- our internal number, the applicant
15 is Ms. Sehapovic Mirjana, and the date of this application is 21st of
16 July, 1992.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Let me ask you, Mr. Pantelic, about this document,
18 because it will be quite a lot of time going through one by one. Do they
19 have a common denominator? Are they applications by persons of various
20 ethnic groups.
21 MR. PANTELIC: Absolutely --
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Temporary accommodation? If you can classify them
23 along those lines and then maybe, since the Prosecution have looked at
24 them, we can move much faster.
25 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you, Your Honour, for your assistance. In
1 fact, that was also my idea. These particular four documents, we don't
2 need to go into particular details of each document, in order to save
3 time. We could -- if there is no objection, admit them as, let's say, one
4 exhibit, divided into four sections, whatever is practicable, according to
5 the practice of the registrar. And of course, the line -- the position
6 the Defence is to show that, for example, all these four documents are
7 submitted by the non-Serb citizens, and this is the basis why we would
8 like to discuss that with this witness. But nothing more. I'll try to be
9 very brief.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Any issue by the Prosecution regarding these four
12 MR. DI FAZIO: No, if Your Honours please.
13 MR. PANTELIC: Maybe, Mr. Usher, we could have all these four
14 documents in front of the witness, and then he will give his brief
15 explanation. Then it will be admitted, in order to expedite procedures.
16 I do apologise. Can I first have some comments from the witness?
17 Q. [Interpretation] So, Mr. Blagojevic, before you -- I assume you
18 have four documents; right? One of these documents relates to the
19 application of Mrs. Mirjana Sehapovic; is that not right?
20 A. Yes.
21 JUDGE MUMBA: [Previous translation continues] ... that's why I
22 asked you about grouping.
23 MR. PANTELIC: Not to go into details.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: We accept the documents as they are. The
25 Prosecution has no issue.
1 MR. PANTELIC: Okay.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Is not taking -- objecting issue with the contents
3 of the documents. So simply go ahead and have them numbered.
4 MR. PANTELIC:
5 Q. So, Mr. Blagojevic --
6 MR. DI FAZIO: It might be useful, so we're all clear about what
7 part of the document we're looking at, to -- for them to be clearly
8 designated with --
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Nor numbering yes.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: Either by name --
11 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. For numbering Mr. Pantelic can tell us this
12 document is so-and-so. So we have a title, a description of the document
13 by the number.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: By date, because they're four different dates.
15 That might be a quick, easy way of doing it.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. So Mr. Pantelic can go ahead with that.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you.
18 Q. [Interpretation] So, Mr. Blagojevic, to expedite matters: When
19 you look at these four applications, what can you say about the ethnicity
20 of the applicants seeking accommodation from the Executive Board?
21 A. Here we have three persons who are Muslims, the Muslim faith, and
22 one person who is a Croat, of the Croat faith.
23 Q. We're talking here about ethnicity, about their national
24 affiliation, not about their faith.
25 A. Excuse me. So these are documents which were submitted starting
1 with the 27th of January up to the 18th of January, 1993. Excuse me. The
2 21st of July to the 18th of January, 1993. They are the same forms.
3 Q. Tell me about the fate of these applications.
4 A. Yes. All these applications were granted. I know that
5 Mr. Doric [phoen] continued to live in Samac, although I didn't know him
6 from before. Sorry. I didn't know the other people from before.
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter corrects herself.
8 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues] ... adequate
9 numbers or how we shall proceed.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Okay. Can we have the number for the one dated --
11 the first one, the one dated 20th July, 1992?
12 MR. PANTELIC: It's R24B.
13 THE REGISTRAR: If I may give the exhibit number.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
15 THE REGISTRAR: And follow with the dates that they were submitted
16 as A, B, C, D. That will make matters easier.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you. This will be Exhibit D156/1, and
19 ters. The dated documented 21st of July, 1992 will be A; 20th of July,
20 1992 will be B; 18th of June, 1992 will be C; and 28th of July, 1994 will
21 be D. Thank you.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you very much.
23 All right. Next documents which I would also discuss with the
24 witness are under our internal numbering D001, and it was divided in the
25 subsequent 46, 46 documents, in fact.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I have no objection to this
2 document being tendered, but I can foresee problems, unless this is being
3 carefully sorted in sequence so they can be clearly identified for the
4 purposes of the transcript and for the exhibit. I know that registry has
5 approached me and asked if the Prosecution has any view regarding this
6 being given one exhibit number with subdivisions, and my position is no,
7 I've got no problem with that. But how you designate the subdivisions
8 within the one exhibit is -- I don't know.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
10 MR. PANTELIC: Or maybe, Your Honour, in order to speed up things,
11 maybe it could be appropriate to admit only one document. Because
12 basically we are speaking about the same issue here. These are the
13 refugees from the Odzak area, and then I can ask for the clarification and
14 additional information from this witness, saying what is his knowledge
15 about the number, et cetera, and that can be like an illustration of how
16 the procedure was.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: I wouldn't be happy with that, if Your Honours
18 please. We've got to be precise. We're not the only people who may be
19 looking at this, and we've got to be --
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. What I wanted to ask was whether it's from
21 D0011 up to D00146.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Yes.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Okay. So these are documents discussing the same
25 MR. PANTELIC: The same issue.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Okay. So you can elicit the evidence on what the
2 documents are discussing and then we will leave it to the assistant
3 registrar to advise on how to have them numbered.
4 MR. PANTELIC: All right, Your Honour. Thank you.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. And if Your Honours please, just if I
6 may add one more suggestion. Perhaps if Mr. Pantelic could read the ERN
7 number at the top of each document. It has a --
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Do they all have ERN numbers.
9 MR. DI FAZIO: I have to withdraw that suggestion. I'm sorry.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: So we leave it with the way he has numbered them,
11 D001, up to D00146. So you can elicit the evidence regarding these
12 documents and then we'll leave it to the assistant registrar to number
13 the --
14 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you. Could I have your assistance please,
15 Mr. Usher. Could we have this bundle of exhibits D001 in front of the ...
16 Just a moment, Mr. Usher.
17 Q. [Interpretation] So, Mr. Blagojevic, as you yourself can see, in
18 fact during the preparations for your taking the witness stand, we
19 discussed this matter. As you can see, this is a group of 46 applications
20 for accommodation, submitted by different persons. You can place the
21 whole batch in front of you and take a look at these documents, according
22 to the numbers. I can see that the applicants come from different places:
23 Novi Grad, Trnjak, Donja Dubica, mainly that area. And the applications
24 were submitted in May 1992. Can you generally tell us what you know about
25 these documents?
1 A. These are individuals who remained without their homes,
2 individuals from the area of the municipality of Odzak, the villages of
3 Novi Grad, Dubica, Trnjak. I assume that the date placed on these
4 documents is this very date, because that was the day when they were freed
5 from captivity in Croatian prisons. In the progress report which we saw
6 earlier, the report on work which we saw earlier, there is reference to
7 the fact that 350 buildings had been either torn down, destroyed, or burnt
8 down in Donja Dubica, so that we can say that the entire village and the
9 village of Trnjak were wholly destroyed. Only some outbuildings remained
10 undamaged in a number of cases. So that these were the people that we are
11 referring to.
12 Q. Tell me, Mr. Blagojevic: Of what ethnicity are the applicants who
13 submitted these applications?
14 A. The applications which I just looked at are by Serbs from these
16 Q. Tell me: What was the activity of your secretariat to address the
17 problems of the applicants who submitted these applications? When you
18 assumed the secretariatship in the secretariat in September, did you find
19 there already a number of applications which were then subsequently
20 repeated, and what can you tell me about that?
21 A. The majority of these applications came in the middle of the year,
22 as people -- and as people were being released from prison, they kept
23 submitting these applications throughout 1992. We then accommodated these
24 people in Samac, but after on-site inspections, if there were any
25 conditions for them to be put up in their own homes or in some outhouses
1 in their states, they would not be allocated accommodation. True enough,
2 many of these people had to be close to the town or in the town of Samac
3 itself, because they had very serious injuries inflicted during their time
4 in prison, and they also were in a great deal of fear of returning to
5 their own homes.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
7 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, a quick perusal of these
8 documents, these 46 documents, indicate a large number were dated --
9 appear to be dated May, end of May 1992.
10 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: And a few at the end I think might be June.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: They all appear to be before this witness was
14 appointed to his position.
15 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: When he's off fighting on the front line.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, yes.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: I wonder if there's any basis for his knowledge
19 regarding the contents -- his giving evidence of the contents of the
20 documents, how he knows of all of these issues, these matters, and so on.
21 If there is some basis for him saying well, look, I can tell you about
22 various matters contained in the document for various reasons, then I'll
23 withdraw my objection, but at this stage there isn't a foundation for him
24 to say: "Look, I can tell you what's in these documents for this
1 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I thought that he had found them when he
2 joined the office.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. He may have found them.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: He can explain maybe.
5 MR. PANTELIC: That was the basis for my question.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Let the witness explain.
7 MR. PANTELIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Please explain what your personal knowledge is about these
9 specific applications that you have been commenting on.
10 A. When the secretariat started working, we received about 500
11 applications that had not been resolved. Among them were these
12 applications that are before us now, most probably. I said that
13 throughout 1992 we continued receiving applications from people from the
14 area and that these applications were made at the time that they were
15 released as they were released from Croatian prisons.
16 Q. Thank you.
17 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you. Ms. Registrar, could we have the
18 numbers, or how we shall proceed, please.
19 THE REGISTRAR: This will be Exhibit D157/1, and it will be
20 subdivided from 1 to 46. Thank you.
21 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Blagojevic, tell me, please: At the end of
23 this examination, and in fact your testimony before this Trial Chamber, at
24 least the questioning by the Defence counsel --
25 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, could we have just a second to see
1 which kind of topics I will clarify with this witness? Because I have
2 some others which are not covered -- which are not of importance for the
3 Defence case. Just a few seconds, please.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
5 MR. PANTELIC: Thank you.
6 Q. [Interpretation] Thank you. Mr. Blagojevic, your secretariat was
7 accountable to whom in the hierarchy? Which was the body that you
8 belonged to as a secretariat in the administration?
9 A. The secretariat for housing and communal affairs was actually
10 accountable to the Executive Council, and my immediate superior was the
11 president of the Executive Council or Board.
12 Q. Tell me, please, Mr. Blagojevic: Did you have occasion in the
13 course of 1992, when you became appointed to that position, until the end
14 of 1993, did you have any contact with Dr. Blagoje Simic? Did you have
15 any kind of relationship with him?
16 A. Yes, we did have contacts, mostly at meetings dealing with the
17 subject-matter that my secretariat was responsible for.
18 Q. Tell me roughly, please: How frequently would you have contact
19 with him during that period of time, from your appointment until the end
20 of 1993?
21 A. I can't really be precise and give you an exact figure. We met
22 less frequently when Mr. Simic based was in the city thermal plant. Mr.
23 Blagoje Simic, I meant. I think that towards the end of 1992, Mr. Blagoje
24 Simic moved to the municipality building and the office that was occupied
25 before the war also by the president of the Municipal Assembly and from
1 then on we would see each other more frequently, on a private basis and
2 also at meetings.
3 Q. Tell me: From the beginning of 1993, you mentioned that a local
4 institution started functioning. You were preparing a report for the
5 beginning of the work of that institution. What was that institution?
6 A. Yes. As towards the end of 1992 and the beginning of 1993, it was
7 concluded that conditions were appropriate for the assembly to work
8 regularly. A Municipal Assembly meeting was prepared and held in the
9 village of Pisari, near Samac, and actually, from then on the assembly
10 resumed regular work similar to what it did before the war.
11 Q. Tell me, please: Did you have occasion to attend meetings of the
12 Municipal Assembly, as a secretary of the secretariat for housing and
13 public utilities?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In that capacity, did you prepare certain conclusions or decisions
16 or solutions for that assembly?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Tell me: Did you cooperate with the Executive Council in the
19 preparation of those proposals and decisions that were to be adopted by
20 the assembly?
21 A. Yes. That was the normal, customary procedure before the war and
22 after the war.
23 Q. Tell me, please: In the contacts, official contacts that you had
24 with Dr. Blagoje Simic, did Dr. Simic ever tell you to allocate a
25 particular apartment or space to a particular ethnicity?
1 A. President Blagoje Simic never made any such requests, and the
2 secretariat was completely independent in performing the duties for which
3 it had been established.
4 Q. Did Dr. Simic ever ask you to evict a non-Serb from his house or
6 A. No, he never made such a request.
7 Q. In contacts with you, did Dr. Simic ever demonstrate any
8 discriminatory intent towards the non-Serb population in Samac, either by
9 the words he used, by his gestures, or any statements that he may have
11 A. No, he did not make any such demonstrations.
12 Q. Finally, tell me, on the basis of your experience during that
13 period of time, what are your personal impressions of Dr. Blagoje Simic?
14 A. I have known Dr. Simic since 1991. In those days he was a young
15 physician working in Samac in the health centre there. During the first
16 multiparty elections in Samac, he was active in the election campaigns,
17 and he was elected I think to the position of vice-president of the
18 municipality at those multiparty elections. The president was a Croat.
19 We had more contact as of September 1992, and it is my opinion that
20 Dr. Blagoje Simic is a very decent person, and personally, I have a very
21 high opinion of Mr. Blagoje.
22 Q. Thank you, Mr. Blagojevic?
23 MR. PANTELIC: [Previous translation continues] ...
24 examination-in-chief of this witness. Thank you.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pantelic. Before you sit down, I'm
1 wondering whether -- actually, we are all wondering whether you have
2 decided to do away with some documents. Your internal number is R29 and
4 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. I don't think -- because R29 is
5 related to the --
6 JUDGE MUMBA: No, you don't have to explain. Just tell us whether
7 you don't wish to --
8 MR. PANTELIC: It's Doboj region and the other document we only
9 discussed with previous witness, Mr. Ninkovic. So my position is, in
10 order to save time, to speed up proceedings, not to discuss these two
11 documents with this witness.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: So there are two.
13 MR. PANTELIC: There are two. R29 and R32, in fact.
14 JUDGE MUMBA: So we can return them to you?
15 MR. PANTELIC: Yes. Thank you.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Any other counsel wishes to ask this witness
17 questions? No.
18 MR. LAZAREVIC: None, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE MUMBA: All right. Cross-examination?
20 Cross-examined by Mr. Di Fazio:
21 Q. Mr. Blagojevic, you briefly touched upon your political past. You
22 said that you had been a member of the League of Communists in earlier
23 years but that between October 1991 and December 1993 you were not a
24 member of any political party. Did you join any political party after
25 December of 1993?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What party was that?
3 A. It was the Serbian Democratic Party. I don't know whether this
4 was exactly at the end of 1993 or the beginning of 1994, but I became a
5 member of the Serbian Democratic Party.
6 Q. And by that time, you had seen its policies at work in Bosanski
7 Samac for a period of almost two years or thereabouts; would that be
9 A. Yes. Yes.
10 Q. And having seen its policies at work in Bosanski Samac, you
11 decided that it was the party for you?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you. You said that you were -- you said that you were the
14 assistant commander, I believe, of the 1st Detachment, which was
15 headquartered in Batkusa. That's a correct statement of your evidence,
16 isn't it?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And assistant commander, I -- is, I take it, a fairly high ranking
19 within the 1st Detachment?
20 MR. PANTELIC: Just -- I do apologise. With regard to 1st.
21 Because it was 18th. 18th department. I just tried to clarify. In your
22 question, for the moment mistake. Instead of 1st, it was 18th, but now
23 it's corrected. Thank you.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well, then.
25 MR. DI FAZIO:
1 Q. It's a fairly high rank that you held in the 1st Detachment,
2 wasn't it?
3 A. To be one of the assistants is one of four or five members of the
4 command staff, and for the level containing about 250 men. So that is the
5 position I had.
6 Q. And is it your position that the 1st Detachment, along with the
7 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Detachment, were local units of the JNA whose main job,
8 or brief, was protection of the local population?
9 A. Yes. And on that basis, we had defence lines going from the
10 village of Batkusa, Drvenik [phoen], and Brvnik.
11 Q. And in order to carry out that task that you were charged with
12 that you had, it would have been important for you, for you personally and
13 for the command also of the 1st Detachment, to have a good knowledge of
14 any troop movements in the area?
15 A. Yes, but the part of the war that I spent on the front line was
16 spent in position warfare. There were two separate lines on the one side
17 there were the forces of the army of Republika Srpska, and on the other
18 were the HVO forces. And only in certain parts of the front, especially
19 in view of the season and the growth and lush vegetation, we would
20 occasionally even see the opposing side.
21 Q. Certainly. I apologise. Perhaps I didn't make myself clear
22 enough. I'm really talking about the period of time before the 16th of
23 April. In the period of time leading up to that day, it would have been
24 important --
25 MR. LAZAREVIC: I do have to object to this, because if I remember
1 correctly, the witness stated that he was mobilised on 17th.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
3 MR. LAZAREVIC: In the 1st Detachment.
4 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That is the evidence of this witness, Mr. Di
6 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
7 Q. You had no active involvement in the 1st Detachment prior to that
9 A. I was a member of the command, but my duties were not -- did not
10 consist of active involvement until the outbreak of the war itself. The
11 command of the detachment didn't have an army behind it, nor weapons, and
12 it was more in the nature of a reserve force.
13 Q. Are you aware of the 4th Detachment operating in Bosanski Samac?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Would you say that the 1st Detachment, broadly speaking, carried
16 out the same sort of duties as the 4th Detachment, but in a different
18 A. The 1st Detachment held the line at the village of Batkusa,
19 Brvnik, and Grebnice, and to the left flank we had our neighbours, and
20 there were units of the 4th Detachment there.
21 Q. Thank you. I'm concentrating on the period of time before the
22 16th of April, before the 16th. Now, before the 16th, would you say that
23 your -- sorry, that the duties of the 1st Detachment were, broadly
24 speaking, the same as that of the 4th Detachment but for a different area?
25 A. I don't know what the duties of the 4th Detachment were.
1 Q. So you were the assistant commander of the 1st Detachment, but you
2 did nothing in the period of time leading up to the 16th. You did no
3 training, you met with no commanders, you didn't discuss any policy, you
4 weren't kept abreast of any developments within the military, you weren't
5 told of developments within the 17th Tactical Group. Is that your
7 MR. LAZAREVIC: [Microphone not activated] ... loaded question,
8 because there are so many questions in this one that maybe should be asked
9 one by one.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll rephrase it. I'll rephrase it. I'll rephrase
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Very well.
13 MR. DI FAZIO:
14 Q. Is it your position that in the period of time leading up to the
15 16th of April as assistant commander you did absolutely nothing, carried
16 out no duty, engaged in no activity on behalf of the 1st Detachment?
17 A. Up to the 16th and inclusive of the 16th of April, 1992, I was in
18 a private business and was engaged in regular private activities, and I
19 was engaged on the 17th of April, 1992. It is true that my wartime
20 assignment was to the command of the 1st Detachment, and this is an
21 assignment I received from the defence ministry, a legal body that
22 provided wartime assignments to military conscripts. And that same
23 principle was applied long before the beginning of the war.
24 Q. Would it have been, in your view, a matter of interest to the 1st
25 Detachment if a group of paramilitaries arrived in Batkusa on a helicopter
1 on or around the 11th of April, 1992? Would that have been of interest
2 to the soldiers of the 1st Detachment?
3 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, objection. First of all, we got the
4 evidence from this witness that he was assigned in the 1st Detachment as
5 of 17th of April, 1992. This question is related to the events allegedly
6 occurred on 11th of April, 1992. It's a pure issue of speculation of this
7 witness how would he be able to know what happened on that day? And all
8 questions are related to his membership in 1st Detachment. All this line
9 of questions. And suddenly it was shifted to the period of 11th of
10 April. So I just know what the reason for this kind of questions are.
11 Because it wasn't raised in examination-in-chief.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: That surely is no bar, could never be a bar. Of
13 course it wasn't raised in examination-in-chief. But anyway, if I may get
14 back to the other aspect of Mr. Pantelic's objection. Firstly, it's
15 stretching the bounds of reason to suggest that a man who is the assistant
16 commander of the 1st Detachment has seen active duty for a period of
17 months between April and August, I believe, wouldn't know of issues of
18 concern to that military body. That is just -- that's just -- I don't
19 want to mince my words. It's ridiculous.
20 Secondly, the summary produced by the Defence indicate that this
21 witness was a reserve officer of the JNA and a member of the 17th Tactical
22 Group. Now, reserve officer, I think, means something different from a
23 man who has been mobilised. Presumably, therefore, the only logical
24 conclusion, it must be a reference to his being a reserve officer before
25 the 16th of April. The question is highly relevant, in my submission.
1 JUDGE MUMBA: There is no valid basis for the objection. You can
2 carry on, Mr. Di Fazio.
3 MR. DI FAZIO:
4 Q. So simple question. In your view --
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Excuse me, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
7 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] In connection with this question, I
8 would like to draw attention to the fact that I think the question has
9 been worded in such a way that it is not clear which paramilitaries and
10 where they're coming from. So I think the witness should be asked whether
11 he's aware of the arrival of paramilitaries coming from where, arriving in
12 Batkusa, and then ask him whether that would be of interest to the 1st
13 Detachment. The witness hasn't said that he knows anything about that
14 event. So I think it would only be fair to ask the witness whether he has
15 any knowledge about that incident and to tell him who -- ask him who those
16 paramilitaries were.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Would you just bear with me for one moment, if Your
18 Honours please?
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
20 [Prosecution counsel confer]
21 MR. DI FAZIO: No. If Your Honours please, I'm not asking him
22 specifically about any specific incident at this stage. I may get on to
23 that. But I'm asking -- it's perfectly legitimate for me to ask if such
24 an event would be of interest to that particular military body.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. What I was about to ask -- to say was that the
1 question is perfectly legitimate. The Prosecution is entitled to elicit
2 evidence which may support their case, even if that evidence or the issues
3 regarding that evidence were not raised in examination-in-chief.
4 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Yes.
5 JUDGE MUMBA: So you can proceed.
6 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
7 Q. So, if the arrival of a group of paramilitaries by helicopter in
8 Batkusa prior to the 16th of April, would that be a matter that would be
9 of concern and interest to the command of the 1st Detachment?
10 A. I learnt that certain forces had arrived, but significantly later
11 than the 17th of April, 1992.
12 Q. Very well. I'll be frank with you so that you understand our
13 case. The Prosecution says on the 11th of April or thereabouts, a group
14 of paramilitaries arrived by helicopter in the area of Batkusa and that
15 they stayed in the Bosanski Samac area for a period of months thereafter
16 and engaged in military activities. Do you have any knowledge of any such
17 group arriving? And the group included people who called named Lugar,
18 Crni, Debeli, Pralja, other names like that.
19 A. Yes. I got to know them later on. I met Lugar and Crni, and I
20 would see -- I think his nickname was Debeli, but I didn't have any
21 contact with him, but I think I saw him around.
22 Q. All right. Now, have you got any quarrel with the assertion they
23 arrived at Batkusa by helicopter in early April, around the 11th of
24 April? If you have no knowledge of the matter, say so, but if you are
25 aware of that, please let us know.
1 MR. LAZAREVIC: I believe that the witness already answered that.
2 He said that he learned about that much later, in his previous answer.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Very well.
4 Q. When did you learn about that?
5 A. I think I learned about the arrival, their arrival, somewhere
6 around the 25th, or perhaps the 30th of April. And during those days, I
7 saw Lugar for the first time, or rather, that's when we -- that's when
8 they told me this gentleman is Lugar.
9 Q. By that stage, of course, you had taken up your duties with the
10 1st Detachment, hadn't you?
11 A. Yes, within the composition of the 1st Detachment.
12 Q. In your role as part of the command of the 1st Detachment, were
13 you told of the arrival of these paramilitaries?
14 A. I think I learnt about it in a sort of informal chat about those
16 Q. When you found out about it during this informal chat of the
17 arrival of a group of paramilitaries, was it -- did it concern you that
18 you, as part of the command of the 1st Detachment, had not known until
19 much later in the month of the arrival?
20 A. Well, quite simply, I wasn't able to know about it because I did
21 not take part in the work of the command, and so in that sense I wasn't
22 able to conclude anything in that respect.
23 Q. And of course it must go from your evidence, it must follow from
24 your evidence that the arrival of paramilitaries in Batkusa was not a
25 matter that was generally known in the community, or do you think that it
1 was perhaps just you who didn't know about it?
2 A. Well, I don't know exactly. I think that a lot of people did not
3 know about it.
4 Q. Did you become familiar with the paramilitaries over the ensuing
5 months, and their activities?
6 A. I would see Lugar -- I saw Lugar towards the end of April, or
7 perhaps the beginning of May, when the defence line in the village of
8 Grebnice was broken through by the HVO. And at that time, he arrived with
9 a unit, a certain number of men, in order, as we said, to regain the
10 defence line.
11 Q. The 17th Tactical Group underwent a change of name, did it not?
12 A. I think it became the 2nd Posava Brigade, that that was the
14 Q. Thanks. And the paramilitaries operated within that military
15 unit, they were part of the command, part of the structure of that unit,
16 the 2nd Posavina Brigade, or Posava Brigade?
17 A. Well, I don't think they were a part of the command. I think that
18 they were under the command of the 17th Tactical Group. Now, whether this
19 was after they were renamed or after the 17th Tactical Group became known
20 as the 2nd Posavina Brigade, I can't say. I don't know exactly.
21 Q. Thank you. I'll turn to another topic.
22 In the period of time between April of 1992 and extending, say,
23 halfway into 1993, did you have occasion to walk around, visit the town of
24 Bosanski Samac?
25 A. In the first months of the war, I went very rarely. I went into
1 town rarely. That is to say, my command post was at Batkusa, and I spent
2 most of my time up at the defence lines. I went into Samac -- for
3 example, I went on one occasion when my business facility, which was on
4 the banks of the River Sava, was seriously damaged by shells from mortars,
5 and I attempted to close off the windows after the glass had been
6 shattered, to prevent the building from deteriorating and to keep safe
7 what was in the building. I had a flat there, so I would stay in my own
9 Q. Thank you. How far is Obudovac from Batkusa?
10 A. It's about four to five kilometres away.
11 Q. Your command post was in Batkusa, and Obudovac is four to five
12 kilometres away. Now, would you agree with me that the paramilitaries
13 were headquartered at Obudovac?
14 A. I don't know that.
15 Q. You have no reason to disagree with that assertion, have you?
16 A. No.
17 Q. In the time that you were carrying out your duties in Batkusa at
18 your command post, did you have occasion to go to Obudovac?
19 A. I had no need to go, and for the most part I didn't go. I didn't
20 leave the seat of the command, as a general rule.
21 Q. All right. Thank you. Now, I'm sorry. I've just forgotten the
22 date of the occasion when you were wounded. Was it in August or at an
23 earlier period of time?
24 A. Yes, on the 17th of August, 1992, in Batkusa.
25 Q. Right. And you spent about a month recovering and then you were
1 appointed to your position in the department of housing?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. How did you obtain the position?
4 A. I assume that the people who appointed me to the position knew
5 that I had spent most of my years of service in civil engineering firms
6 and that I was in the managerial organs of the companies and whose
7 instruction were the socially-owned flats. And the very fact that I had
8 been wounded and that I was not able to work in any military -- on any
9 military assignment was probably the reason for that.
10 Q. Right. And Dr. Blagoje Simic essentially appointed you, didn't
12 A. Well, I don't remember whether it was the Executive Board or
13 Blagoje Simic himself.
14 Q. I don't want to waste time, but D149/1 is essentially your
15 appointment document. It's dated the 16th of September and it's signed by
16 the president of the War Presidency, Dr. Blagoje Simic.
17 A. Well, then that's how it was.
18 Q. All right. Had you known him very well before the date of your
20 A. Yes, I did know him before. I said a moment ago that I first met
21 him when he came to town as a young doctor. We didn't socialise, that's
22 true. But as Samac is a small place, we -- you get to know anybody new
23 coming in with that educational background. And otherwise, Dr. Blagoje
24 was born in a village near Samac.
25 Q. Okay. Were you given any forewarning of your appointment? Did
1 someone come and discuss it with you, ask you whether you wanted this
2 position, whether you thought yourself suitable for it, or perhaps inform
3 you who was considering you for the position, give you any information
4 about the appointment?
5 A. Well, there was the possibility of appointing me, and I learnt
6 about this while I was on sick leave. I can't remember exactly whether
7 that was the actual time that I was in hospital in Bijeljina or when I was
8 recovering, rather, convalescing at home, or in the municipality itself,
9 where, when I was free, I had my duties towards my unit and my other
10 duties, whether that was when I learnt about it. Well, I accept it
11 anyway, because I consider that I would be able to perform my duties.
12 Q. You say you learnt about it while you were on sick leave. Was it
13 Blagoje Simic who discussed it with you while you were on sick leave, or
14 someone else, or you can't remember?
15 A. I think it was someone else.
16 Q. Okay. By the time of your appointment in September, in September,
17 the situation with the influx of refugees was such that there was
18 considerable pressure on the municipality; is that your position?
19 Pressure for housing, housing needs.
20 A. Yes. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, before I get any further
23 into this topic, this might be the appropriate moment for the break.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We'll take our second break for 20 minutes and
25 resume at 1805 hours.
1 --- Recess taken at 5.45 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 6.07 p.m.
3 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio. You can proceed. We shall stop
4 ten minutes before 7.00, because there are some matters we want to raise.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you, if Your Honours please.
6 Q. Now, the -- one of the documents that counsel showed to you
7 earlier today, I believe, was D18/ter. I don't need to show it to you,
8 because I think everyone will agree that it defines the sorts of buildings
9 that can be used for temporary use of refugees and so on. And Article 2
10 of D18/2 refers to socially-owned buildings which are empty or abandoned,
11 that that sort of building could have been used by the department of
12 housing to accommodate refugees, couldn't it?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And is it your position that you were pretty well desperate to
15 find accommodation for these incoming refugees?
16 A. Yes. The situation was very difficult or desperate, as you say.
17 Q. Would the high school gym or the primary school gym would have
18 been useful for accommodating refugees who came into the town of Bosanski
20 A. Well, I don't think it was suited to that, because there weren't
21 enough toilets and washrooms, and there was no possibility for preparing
22 food, cooking food on the premises. So the refugees, the women, children,
23 elderly people, sick people, there were all sorts, and it was much more
24 feasible and more humane to accommodate people in the empty flats and
1 Q. But I thought you just said that socially-owned property could
2 have been used for accommodation and that the situation was desperate in
3 1992. Would there not have been a pressing need to use these large public
4 areas, such as the high school gym or the primary school gym?
5 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I don't want to -- I do apologise to
6 my learned friend. I don't want to object in narrow sense. In fact,
7 maybe it's a misleading question to this witness in terms of the notion
8 what the meaning of socially-owned property? Maybe the understanding of
9 my learned friend in such -- is rather different than the understanding of
10 this witness. So maybe Mr. Di Fazio should be more specific when he used
11 the word which is quite strange for the western civilisation,
12 socially-owned. It might be a factory, it might be a building, it might
13 be apartment, it might be a garage also, in our system. But therefore, I
14 think it's a little bit misleading.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: It sounds very broad to me, the description that
16 Mr. Pantelic just gave of socially-owned property, but let's get some --
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Earlier on in the evidence the witness -- even
18 apartments, some of the blocks were socially-owned, so --
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Okay. Well, can the witness be shown D18/2,
20 please. Anyway, while we're waiting for the document to be produced, one
21 thing's for sure from your evidence.
22 Q. The high school gym and the primary school gym were not fit for
23 human habitation because of the inadequacy of the facilities, such as
24 toilets, cooking facilities, and so on. That's your position, unless I
25 heard you wrong.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did you know of anyone being kept at the high school gym or the
3 primary school gym in September and October of 1992?
4 A. I think in September and October 1992 there was nobody in those
5 halls, in the gyms.
6 Q. Thank you. Have a look at D18/2. Article 2, please, if you could
7 just briefly read that into the evidence and just the first paragraph of
8 Article 2, which is -- defines the sort of buildings available for
9 temporary use. Just the first paragraph of Article 2.
10 A. "Facilities which can be assigned to temporary use of what belongs
11 to social standards, catering facilities, residential apartments, flats,
12 weekend houses, auxiliary premises, such as economic facilities, garages,
13 sheds, and offices, socially-owned or privately-owned, or mixed property
14 ownership if they are empty or abandoned."
15 Q. That's not broad enough to cover a high school gym or a primary
16 school gym?
17 A. Yes. That could have been used too. And in some places it
18 probably was, where there were no other facilities. But as a rule, we
19 used everything provided for in the provision.
20 Q. So the high school gym and the primary school gym were empty in
21 September and October of 1992, notwithstanding this pressure of refugees
22 on the municipality?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. There's been evidence in this case, uncontested evidence, that
25 there were many arrests of Serb and Croat men who were housed in the SUP
1 building and the TO building and the primary school gym and the high
2 school gym. Are you aware of that? Sorry. I'll clarify my question.
3 Muslim and Croat men. I didn't mean to say Serb and Croat men. Numbering
4 in the hundreds.
5 A. In the period ranging from September, when I was in Samac myself,
6 those prisoners, prisoners or detained Muslims and Croats, there were none
7 at that time, in fact, or at least I didn't know about anything of that
9 Q. Did you know that hundreds of Serb and -- sorry, Croat and Muslim
10 men had been arrested in the period of time leading up to September and
11 detained in those places?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Such a process would have led to a lot of abandoned homes,
14 wouldn't it?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did you avail yourself of the abandoned homes of -- sorry, the
17 homes of people who had been arrested, use them for your purposes?
18 A. According to my knowledge and information, the people who had been
19 detained and held in custody in the schools and gym halls when the
20 secretariat began to work, there were none. They were mostly disbanded,
22 Q. Accommodation had to be found for the refugees even before you
23 started taking up your duties. Did you find out, in order to be able to
24 carry out your duties, how that had been achieved? In other words, did
25 you find out what system had been in place before September?
1 A. The people were accommodated in the abandoned, empty houses and
2 apartments on the basis of a list compiled and updated by the civil
3 defence organs or the Red Cross. I don't know which exactly now.
4 Q. In which --
5 A. And --
6 [Prosecution counsel confer]
7 MR. DI FAZIO:
8 Q. I do apologise. Please continue.
9 A. And it was on the basis of those lists before I arrived that these
10 people were put up. I don't think that they were put up in the apartments
11 that were previously housed by tenants that had been detained, because
12 their families, that is to say, the women, children, parents perhaps,
13 stayed on in those apartments, so they weren't actually empty.
14 Q. Were you aware of large numbers of Muslim and Croat men and women
15 leaving the municipality by way of a system of exchanges?
16 A. I don't know in what numbers. I do know that, however, people
17 left the municipality in that way too.
18 Q. That would have led to a lot of empty houses as well, wouldn't it,
19 that process?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And did you and your department make use of houses that had been
22 emptied as a result of an exchange process?
23 A. These people who were on the lists indeed were exchanged, because
24 there were some who would come to the spot where we had agreed for an
25 exchange to take place with the Croat or the Muslim side. But people
1 returned to their homes. So for those houses or flats which were indeed
2 abandoned, the owners which did not return, we did use them for
3 accommodating displaced persons and refugees.
4 Q. So the Chamber can be satisfied that some of the houses that you
5 used for accommodating refugees were houses which had been emptied as a
6 result of the exchange process?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And as far as the prisoners were concerned, those who were in
9 detention prior to September of 1992, you say that their homes would not
10 have been emptied because their families would have remained there. A
11 number of those prisoners would have seen their families depart by way of
12 the exchange process prior to September of 1992, in which case the whole
13 house would have become empty, wouldn't it?
14 A. Yes, I guess so.
15 Q. And the Chamber can be satisfied, then, that refugees were
16 being -- some refugees were accommodated, placed, in homes whose
17 inhabitants were either in detention or who had left through the exchange
18 process, or a combination thereof?
19 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
20 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I raise an objection to
21 the question raised in this manner, in order to -- that the Chamber can be
22 satisfied. I can -- I'm saying this because the Prosecutor cannot
23 actually speculate what kind of a reply will be the kind of reply that the
24 Chamber can be satisfied with, because there's no way that the witness can
25 know this. Actually, this is not the way that this question can be
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Di Fazio. The objection is sustained.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: Sorry. My apologies. Would you just give me a
4 moment to confer and re-read the objection? Because I'm not quite sure I
5 understand it.
6 [Prosecution counsel confer]
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The point is you should rephrase your
9 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll do that.
10 Q. Is your evidence that a number of houses used for accommodating
11 refugees had been emptied as a result of the exchange process and
12 detention process?
13 A. Yes, it is.
14 Q. Thank you. Can I ask you to look at D150/1, please. This is --
15 you've seen this document this afternoon, and during the course of
16 evidence you were asked by Her Honour Judge Williams about the notion of
17 abandonment. Now, we know from D18/1 that an abandoned premises is one
18 that's been left empty for 30 days. That's correct, isn't it?
19 A. Yes, it is.
20 Q. Did your department ever make any inquiries to see if a house had
21 been left empty as a result of a person being detained in any of the
22 detention facilities in Bosanski Samac? Did you ever scour the TO or the
23 SUP or the high school gym or the primary school gym, or any other place,
24 for that matter, to see if a person had been detained? Because that would
25 affect whether or not the place was actually abandoned, wouldn't it?
1 MR. PANTELIC: Your Honour, I do object to this question. First
2 of all, it's multi-barrelled, but it's not the main problem. This witness
3 just gave very straight answer with regard to the person who allegedly had
4 been detained, and he said previous, earlier today, on a question of the
5 Prosecution, that the person who might be detained -- I mean, this case
6 cannot be ascribed to the process of the work of his department, since the
7 members of the family of such person are still in their apartment. So I
8 think it was clarified enough. I don't know where we are going with this
9 line of questions.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: He's given clear evidence that there were a number
11 of people who were occupying houses that had been emptied as a result of
12 both the detention process and the exchange process. It's very clear.
13 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That evidence is on record, Mr. Pantelic.
14 MR. DI FAZIO:
15 Q. Let me rephrase the question, approach it from a different angle.
16 Do you have any knowledge of their being a system in place prior to your
17 taking up duties in September of 1992 to ascertain whether the apparently
18 abandoned home might be the result of someone being in detention? Do you
19 know if there was any system that existed, any system that you were told
21 A. I have no knowledge of any such system.
22 Q. Was there any system after September, when you took up your
23 duties, to check whether someone was in detention?
24 A. As a rule, we collected data from the field, from the neighbours,
25 and people who knew the owners. And on the basis of such data, we could
1 conclude whether the person in question was outside Samac territory or in
2 Samac territory.
3 Q. Couldn't you have gone to Stevan Todorovic and asked him if
4 someone was in custody? He's the chief of police. He might know who is
5 in custody.
6 A. I did not go to see Stevan.
7 Q. Did it occur to you to go and see him?
8 A. No, we did not collect such data from those organs.
9 Q. Is it your position that people kept abandoning their premises
10 throughout 1992 and into 1993, and at least during the period of time that
11 you were working in the ministry -- sorry, in the housing department?
12 A. I'm sorry. I did not understand the question.
13 Q. After you took up your duties in September of 1992, did people in
14 Bosanski Samac continue to abandon, within the meaning of the decree and
15 the decision of the War Presidency, did they continue to abandon their
17 A. I do not know what decision of the presidency you're referring to,
18 but throughout the war, people, Croats and Muslims, left the war-ridden
19 areas in various ways.
20 Q. And did you take pains or did the --
21 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Pantelic.
22 MR. PANTELIC: Yes, Your Honour. I would like clarify, page 76,
23 line 16, when this witness mentioned Croats and Muslims, I think we heard
24 some -- that he mentioned also the third ethnic groups, and it is not in
25 the transcript. So I would like that to be clarified.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll clarify it.
2 Q. In your last answer you said that throughout the war Croats and
3 Muslims left the war-ridden areas. Did you mean to include Serbs in that?
4 A. Yes, sir. That is in fact what I said.
5 Q. Right. Okay. Now, let's get back to the issue that I was dealing
6 with. The fact that you -- your department was using these houses to
7 accommodate refugees was widely known in the community, in the
8 municipality of Bosanski Samac? Abandoned houses, I mean.
9 A. Yes, sir. That was widely known throughout the area, and
10 throughout the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, irrespective of under whose
11 control certain premises were, the procedure, the way of operation, was
12 more or less the same.
13 Q. Sure. So if a Croat or a Muslim wanted to leave the area of
14 Bosanski Samac after September of 1992, they would have known that if they
15 did that, someone is going to move into their house, because that's the
16 legal system that's in place; right?
17 A. The situation was such, and as I mentioned, it was more or less a
18 similar or identical principle that was followed by all the organs in
19 the -- throughout the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, all the organs in
20 charge of accommodation, that is, worked according to the same principle.
21 During 1993 I learned from a certain lady who was secretary for housing
22 and utilities in Zenica, I learned from her that they practically operated
23 in the same way and that they encountered the same problems as we did.
24 Q. Right. So essentially, all a Croat or Muslim who wanted to leave
25 Bosanski Samac had to do was not abandon their property but come and tell
1 you that they're leaving, and this process of recording of their property
2 and furniture and so on could take place in a calm and unhurried way and
3 thorough way?
4 A. [No interpretation]
5 Q. And would you agree that many Muslims and Croats continued to
6 abandon their houses throughout the rest of 1992 and well into 1993?
7 A. Yes. They abandoned -- that is to say, all the inhabitants of
8 Samac municipality and of the general area abandoned their houses and
9 flats, and I concretely know about the situation in Samac. I can name
10 quite a few names, also including of Serbs and Croats and Muslims, and
11 this is a generally known fact. They lived aware of the fact that their
12 property, whether it was a socially-owned flat or a privately-owned flat,
13 would be provisionally allocated to homeless people.
14 Perhaps I could add here that people -- Croats, Muslims, and Serbs
15 got in touch with the refugees, who had contacts with the refugees who
16 were put up near the houses, and they themselves actually made -- agreed
17 with such people for them to move into their houses. This had positive
18 effects in practice, because that meant that the house in question, the
19 property in question, would be better maintained, especially during the
20 harsh winters, when houses without inhabitants would have meant more
21 damage to the installations, et cetera. So the people who lived in those
22 houses also undertook the necessary repairs of any damage that the houses
23 had sustained, and in that way also helped maintain the house or apartment
24 in question much better than had it been empty.
25 Q. You were asked by the Bench regarding the meaning of abandonment,
1 and you said that you didn't have any information about that. In order to
2 be able to carry out this decree, to implement it, you had to know very
3 carefully, very specifically, didn't you, what exactly abandonment was?
4 A. I'm not quite sure I understood your question properly, but we did
5 know with certainty which property had been abandoned, and all the
6 property that was abandoned was not reoccupied the same day. Property
7 that -- excuse me, that may have been moved into by a refugee, this
8 didn't mean that it would always be occupied, because those refugees also
9 left Samac and went in different directions. So such properties would
10 again be allocated to other persons who needed accommodation or had an
11 interest in moving in.
12 Q. Was asking the neighbours the only system that you had in place
13 for ascertaining abandonment?
14 A. In view of the fact that Samac is a rather small town, I think
15 before the war the population was about 4.000 inhabitants, the town
16 itself, so it wasn't really difficult to find out when we needed to
17 accommodate a certain number of people, we would offer families
18 accommodation, or several possibilities. And after a couple of days we
19 would schedule a meeting so as to be able to establish whether the
20 accommodation offered was really available for occupancy or not.
21 Q. Simple question. Just tell us: Was asking the neighbours the
22 only system that you had in place to ascertain if a premises had been
23 abandoned? Yes or no. Or did you have some other system?
24 A. We would call the owner to contact us in some way or another, and
25 if he was present, then we could establish with him whether that owner or
1 tenant was present. There were apartments or houses that appeared to be
2 abandoned at first glance, but the whole family, or a part of the family,
3 were staying with relatives or friends in Samac or the surroundings. And
4 of course, such apartments were not allocated to others.
5 Q. So you would make some sort of informal inquiry; is that the
6 case? You might make a telephone call or ask the neighbours, but nothing
7 more than that?
8 A. A telephone call was not customary, because throughout the area
9 there was no electricity, or at least there was a shortage of electricity
10 for the telephone exchanges to operate normally. But we would leave
11 messages with their neighbours and acquaintances. And as I said, Samac is
12 a relatively small town, so that we could more or less rely on the
13 information we received as to whether the owner or tenant was within Samac
14 territory or not.
15 Q. Did you ever --
16 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Di Fazio. I wonder whether
17 Mr. Blagojevic, you could answer the question of the Prosecutor directly.
18 He's asked you: Did you get the information from neighbours? And it
19 seems to me that's what you're saying, but you're not saying it directly.
20 I wonder, Mr. Di Fazio, could you ask the question again, and we could get
21 a direct answer from the witness.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
23 Q. In order to ascertain if a premises was abandoned, did you first
24 ascertain from the neighbours whether or not that place had been
1 A. Yes. That was one of the ways that I've already mentioned.
2 Q. Did that usually satisfy your inquiries?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. So you didn't usually have to take recourse to other methods of
5 finding out if the place had been abandoned; just asked the neighbours?
6 A. No, we didn't just ask the neighbours, but that too was a way of
7 obtaining information.
8 Q. Who would decide to carry out follow-up inquiries, that is, if the
9 neighbours hadn't given you sufficient information?
10 A. Then we would make inquiries from family members, friends who were
11 not neighbours but who were informed, or should have been informed, as to
12 the whereabouts of certain people.
13 Q. Did you ever go to Mr. Tadic and ask to look at his exchange
14 records and see if the person had been exchanged?
15 A. I didn't go to see Mr. Tadic, but occasionally --
16 Q. Sorry.
17 A. But occasionally I would see lists or hold lists in my hands,
18 listing the names of persons who had been exchanged.
19 Q. Did Mr. Tadic, in his role in the civil defence, ever come to you,
20 try to give you lists so that you could have clear, accurate information
21 of abandoned houses or houses that had been abandoned through exchanges,
22 make it easier for accommodating the Serb refugees -- sorry, the refugees?
23 A. No.
24 Q. That would have been an excellent way of finding out if a place
25 had been abandoned, wouldn't you agree?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. It would have been a better system than simply asking the
3 neighbours, wouldn't you agree?
4 A. We would occasionally have these lists, and they were also a
5 source of information allowing us to establish the state of occupancy of
6 certain premises. But it was very rare for entire families to be
7 exchanged, so that if we would see a name on the list and we didn't know
8 whether he had tenancy rights or not, whether he had a house or not,
9 whether he had family members who had stayed behind, so that this was not
10 sufficient for our needs.
11 Q. Isn't it the case that most families would have wanted to be
12 exchanged at the same time?
13 A. I don't know that.
14 Q. Well, then, how can you say that it was rare for entire families
15 to be exchanged? Or is it the case that families were split up through
16 the exchange process?
17 A. I don't know. I do know that there was a process of uniting of
18 families, but as to the methods and procedures in that area, these are
19 something I'm not familiar with.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I'm not going to finish
21 tonight, so this might be as good a time to release the witness and deal
22 with that other issue that you wanted dealt with. I can indicate that I
23 won't be terribly much longer with the witness tomorrow morning -- well,
24 tomorrow, I should say, tomorrow afternoon.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The witness will continue to give evidence
1 tomorrow, but for now, he may be led out of the courtroom.
2 [The witness stands down]
3 JUDGE MUMBA: The Trial Chamber was informed that the Prosecution
4 wanted to raise a motion already.
5 MR. RE: Yes, Your Honours. I have an oral application to seek
6 leave to file a brief written reply to the joint Defence response to the
7 Prosecution motion to exclude the proposed Defence expert evidence of
8 Mrs. Leposava Kron, Ph.D., which we received today. The reason for the
9 application is now that the Defence has made clear in the response the
10 reasons why it wishes to lead the evidence from Dr. Kron, which were not
11 at all clear from the original motion, which merely attached her report to
12 it, there are several matters which, in my submission, require response
13 from the Prosecution. They're only brief matters. It's several pages,
14 and I'd simply ask leave to file a written reply by midday tomorrow.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE MUMBA: The Trial Chamber will grant the motion and expects
17 the Prosecution to file the reply as indicated by midday tomorrow.
18 MR. RE: Thank you, Your Honour. That was the only issue I wished
19 to raise.
20 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. The Trial Chamber was informed that courtroom
21 1 will not be used tomorrow because the proceedings there are cancelled,
22 and the Trial Chamber was desirous of our using the courtroom so that we
23 could sit in the morning and afternoon, starting at 0930 hours. But some
24 matters have been brought to the attention of the Trial Chamber by the
25 Defence, so I wonder whether that is still on, whether there is anything
1 against the sitting 0930 hours to 1300 hours and then 1430 to 1630
2 tomorrow, using courtroom 1, which will be empty.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we learnt, unofficially,
4 from the witness and victims unit that the Trial Chamber intends to sit
5 tomorrow throughout the day, and I had contact with my client, and he
6 informed me, as I had informed the Trial Chamber last week regarding his
7 leg injury, he was examined by the physician yesterday, and the doctor
8 told him that he should use crutches for another week, and for six weeks,
9 another six weeks, he shouldn't be exposed to any additional strain.
10 And when I told him that we might be sitting all day, he told me
11 that he couldn't be in the courtroom all day, and he would particularly be
12 uncomfortable during the long hour and a half lunch break. I wish to
13 underline that Miroslav Tadic would really like to attend the hearings,
14 but according to what he has just said, because of the pain he has in his
15 leg, he would not be able to sit for longer hours. I must also add that
16 our opening statement should start tomorrow, and one of our key witnesses
17 should be called, and in that case, Miroslav Tadic could not waive his
18 right to be present. Therefore, our request would be that we work for
19 half a day tomorrow again. Of course, we don't mind if it should be in
20 courtroom 1. And I understand that Defence counsel for Mr. Zaric has a
21 similar remark to make in view of their client's condition of health.
22 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lazarevic.
23 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes, Your Honours. It is similar, but actually
24 not the same situation. During this afternoon, Mr. Pisarevic and I were
25 informed by Mr. Zaric that Mr. Zaric has a scheduled medical examination
1 for tomorrow morning. It is actually something to do with his eyes, and
2 the specialist, the ophthalmologist is coming to visit him. And bearing
3 in mind that this is a kind of doctor that doesn't come very often in the
4 Detention Unit, he would like to use the opportunity to be checked,
5 because recently he has a lot of problems with his eyes. But anyway, when
6 we spoke with Mr. Zaric, he said that he will give his consent to continue
7 proceedings in his absence.
8 [Trial Chamber confers]
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. I think after looking at the problems,
10 especially the medical condition of Mr. Tadic, whose case is likely to
11 begin tomorrow, we will just revert to our previous schedule, where we
12 shall start at 1415 hours. I'm not sure whether we shall retain this
13 courtroom or go in courtroom number 1. I think that will be sorted out.
14 Yes, we will be in courtroom number 1, starting at 1415. But we will have
15 to stop at 1750 tomorrow, and then Thursday and Friday it will be the
16 normal schedule.
17 We'll adjourn now and continue our proceedings tomorrow at 1415.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.58 p.m.,
19 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 15th day of
20 January 2003, at 2.15 p.m.