1 Wednesday, 26 February 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 3.15 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, Mr. Pisarevic. You're continuing
11 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
12 WITNESS: MAKSIM SIMEUNOVIC [Resumed]
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Examined by Mr. Pisarevic: [Continued]
15 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon to you all.
16 Good afternoon, Mr. Simeunovic.
17 A. Good afternoon.
18 Q. Yesterday we talked about the way the 4th Detachment was organised
19 and so on. Before we continue talking about the same subject, I will ask
20 you a question related to the area of responsibility of the 17th Tactical
21 Group. How far did the area of responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group
22 spread to the west? Where was its western boundary?
23 A. The area or zone of responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group in
24 the west was as far as the Modrica local commune boundary, the Bosna
25 River, and then all the way up to the river Sava.
1 Q. Can you please just tell us: Which bank of the river Bosna?
2 A. The right-hand side of the river Bosna.
3 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell us: The 4th Detachment, did it
4 have in its possession any communications equipment?
5 A. The detachment only had one radio station, which was kept at the
6 command of the detachment, but it had no communications equipment other
7 than that. And this was used to establish communication with the command
8 of the 17th Tactical Group.
9 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us anything about how the materiel
10 supplies for the detachment were taken care of? Hereby I mean weapons and
11 the remaining equipment.
12 A. All the equipment necessary for any detachment, the 4th Detachment
13 or any other detachment, the commanders of companies would draw up lists
14 of necessary materiel and necessary equipment, and then this equipment
15 would be obtained from the logistics detachment, under the command of the
16 17th Tactical Group. And if the equipment was available, then it would
17 immediately be sent to the detachment.
18 Q. Did the detachments have their own warehouses where military
19 equipment and weapons were being kept?
20 A. No, they didn't have their own storages or warehouses. They
21 didn't keep any equipment in any warehouses because they had no warehouses
22 to begin with. Usually the commands -- I was speaking about the 4th
23 Detachment for example, was located at the Sit factory, and other commands
24 were located at local communes.
25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pisarevic. I'd just like to ask
1 the witness one question.
2 So in terms of logistics and so on, are you aware and were you
3 involved with Mr. Miroslav Tadic in connection with his task as being
4 assistant commander for logistics for the 4th Detachment?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had no cooperation with
6 Miroslav Tadic. My job was not related to the supply of technical
7 equipment from the logistics unit.
8 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
9 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Mr. Simeunovic, do you know how, in what way, members of the 4th
11 Detachment, or other detachments, signed for military equipment or
12 weapons? If you know, please tell us.
13 A. I'm familiar with the procedure how weapons were signed for in the
14 4th Detachment or any of the other detachments, only that there were
15 problems with -- different --
16 MR. WEINER: I object.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Weiner.
18 MR. WEINER: He says he's familiar with the procedure. Is he
19 talking generally that he's familiar with the military procedure or is he
20 saying that he has personal knowledge as to the method that the 4th
21 Detachment used? And it's not clear from the question or from his answer,
22 and that's why I objected at that point. Because it's not going to be
23 clear for you, if he's just going to be explaining how his knowledge from
24 his many years in the military, how the procedure works, that's one thing;
25 it's another thing to say: I know exactly how it worked within the 4th
1 Detachment because I was involved with their logistics procedures.
2 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Perhaps the question can be more specific, to
3 also illustrate the basis of his knowledge.
4 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will try to do so,
5 but I would just like to add that my learned friend and colleague should
6 not forget that Mr. Makso, in terms of his position, was chief for
7 security in the 17th Tactical Group. Weapons are no toys. So of course
8 the chief of security would be informed about such issues. My question to
9 Mr. Simeunovic was whether he personally had any knowledge as to what the
10 procedure was for obtaining weapons for detachments of the JNA, all those
11 that were part of the 17th Tactical Group. As we have said, the
12 detachments had no warehouses, no storages, had no weapons being kept
13 there, so I think it's best to just to leave this to the witness to say
14 what knowledge he has of that, because I think he may have accurate
15 knowledge concerning that information.
16 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, I have no objection to him asking the
17 question; I'm just trying to find out if he has personal knowledge. I
18 have -- I'm not objecting to the issue being raised under the issue of
19 relevance. I just want the question clarified as to what his personal
20 knowledge is about the 4th Detachment, or at least explain whether he's
21 talking about his general military knowledge or his specific knowledge
22 relating to the situation in the 4th Detachment. That's all. So there's
23 no misunderstanding here.
24 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm sure the witness will be able to answer that,
25 now that it's been explained.
1 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I agree, Your Honour.
2 Q. Could you please answer the question.
3 A. I can provide an accurate answer as to how, in what way, members
4 of the 4th Detachment obtained weapons. I was there, after all. I was an
5 eyewitness to this process. Following mobilisation call-up to the JNA,
6 those who responded to the call-up, that was registered, and then shooting
7 practice using infantry weapons would be organised. And before that, the
8 men would have been trained to use those weapons. So after shooting
9 practice, which was done at the firing range belonging to the JNA in
10 Potocari, Brcko municipality, where shooting practice with infantry
11 weapons is usually performed for units belonging to the 395th Motorised
12 Brigade, so those people would already have been trained to use those
13 weapons. And upon completion of the shooting practice, they would be
14 issued with permissions signed by the commander of the 17th Tactical
15 Group, permissions to be in possession of said weapons, with serial
16 numbers, registration numbers, and so on and so forth, and then they would
17 take these weapons home. They wouldn't leave these weapons in any
18 warehouses of the 4th Detachment, because the 4th Detachment had no
19 warehouses. Only their attention was drawn to the way in which they
20 should keep these weapons at home. They were told that the weapons were
21 to be kept in a safe place outside the reach of especially children, or
22 any other persons not trained to use those weapons. They were told that
23 they could not keep the ammo in the same place as the weapons, but rather,
24 that ammunition was to be kept separately. They were provided all these
25 explanations. That's when they were also informed about sanctions that
1 would be imposed in case of failure to comply with these orders.
2 Q. From your personal knowledge, can you tell us: Which weapons were
3 the weapons for the 4th Detachment or other detachments? Were those
4 infantry weapons or other kinds of military equipment?
5 A. As for the 4th Detachment and the other detachments, they only had
6 infantry weapons. They didn't have any artillery. The only thing they
7 had was personal infantry weapons that each JNA soldier would be expected
8 to carry.
9 Q. Those detachment members who had responded to the mobilisation
10 call-ups, were they given salaries for being members of the detachment, or
11 any other form of reward?
12 A. No. Not a single member who responded to the mobilisation
13 call-up - and this goes for both the 4th Detachment and all the other
14 detachments - was given any compensation or salary, because they were
15 going after their regular duties in their regular jobs, companies. They
16 had agricultural tasks or they worked for private companies. But the JNA
17 certainly didn't give them any form of compensation.
18 Q. Do you have any knowledge of the ethnic structure of the 4th
20 A. I know that the 4th Detachment was of a mixed make-up. It
21 included Muslims, Serbs, and Croats. This was at its most obvious in the
22 4th Detachment, of all the infantry detachments, because most of the other
23 detachments were predominantly Serb, with the exception of the armoured
24 battalion, which was also mixed. But that was only up to the end of 1991.
25 Q. We'll get to that. Can you please tell us, if you know: What was
1 the area of responsibility of the 4th Detachment?
2 A. I think I could tell you. I may not be able to tell you
3 accurately what the area of responsibility was, but I know according to
4 the assignments where the 4th Detachment was based, where its command, the
5 area of responsibility was. That's the right hand bank of the river
6 Bosna, in front of the river Sava, to the left -- that's to the right, the
7 eastern section, as far as the border of Samac municipality.
8 Q. Thank you. Another question related to the same subject. These
9 detachments, did they comprise local population for each of these
11 A. Yes, Yes. Beginning with the commander, the command itself, the
12 detachment command. All members of the detachment were locals, with the
13 exception of the armoured battalion, because that was a particular case.
14 Q. Now we'll switch to a different subject, which is also related to
15 established detachments. So please, if you can, answer. What was the
16 formational organisation of the -- of a detachment of the JNA? What did
17 it consist of?
18 A. All detachments that were part of the 17th Tactical Group
19 consisted of the detachment's command, they consisted of infantry
20 companies of the JNA, and then there was -- this was purely formal at the
21 beginning, because there was no warehouse to begin with. But a part of it
22 would have been a logistics company too.
23 Q. What was the command of a detachment really, in practical terms?
24 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pisarevic. I wonder, witness,
25 whether you would be able to indicate, when you say "there was no
1 warehouse to begin with." So where were the weapons stored for the 4th
2 Detachment and the other detachments which formed part of the 17th
3 Tactical Group?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I tried to answer that question a
5 little bit earlier. Perhaps I wasn't understood. The weapons in the
6 possession of the members of the 4th Detachment, which we're talking
7 about, but this applies to all the other detachments too, after they were
8 issued with weapons, after training, after firing practice, they took
9 their own personal weapons home and they kept those at home. I explained
10 that they were given a warning about the way they should keep those
11 weapons at home and how they must maintain them. There were no warehouses
12 that belonged to the detachments. There wasn't any space where weapons
13 were kept.
14 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Yes. Thank you, witness. I do recall you
15 mentioning that exactly, but it was just your answer just before my
16 question which then, shall we say, confused your first answer a little
17 bit, because on page 7, lines 18 to 22, you talk about -- well, you say
18 there: "There was no warehouse to begin with, but part of it would have
19 been a logistics company too," and that really made -- maybe it's a
20 question of translation, but it made no real sense to me, so hence my
21 question as to what this answer actually meant. But maybe Mr. Pisarevic
22 can clarify that with you.
23 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
24 Q. Where was all the materiel, technical, and combat equipment kept
25 which was at the disposal of the 17th Tactical Group?
1 A. All equipment of the 17th Tactical Group, except for the armoured
2 battalion, was kept in warehouses at the command of the 17th Tactical
4 Q. And could you please tell us where these warehouses were and what
5 this place is called.
6 A. The warehouses were in the village of Krepsic, the municipality of
7 Brcko. This is where the equipment of the 17th Tactical Group was
8 located, and they were under guard.
9 Q. And after this training that you spoke about, when did the members
10 of the detachment receive weapons; and when that happened, where were the
11 weapons brought from to the place where the training was held and where it
12 was issued to the members?
13 A. The weapons were brought from the warehouses to the place where
14 these units reported to, and this is where the weapons were issued and
15 where training was carried out in the use of these personal infantry
16 weapons. And then firing practice was conducted. So the weapons were
17 first distributed and then they had target practice.
18 Q. I have one more question regarding that. Did the commanders of
19 the detachments and their deputies for rear -- for logistics, did they
20 have any access to the warehouses where the weapons were kept?
21 A. They did not have access whenever they wished. They would write
22 up requests stating how many weapons they needed, depending on the number
23 of persons who responded to the call-up. For example, if on a certain day
24 they needed 50 rifles, the requests would be sent to the command of the
25 17th Tactical Group, and then somebody from the logistics would go to the
1 warehouse, they would take the equipment, and then issue this equipment to
2 the commanders at the place where the detachment reported to, and then the
3 commanders would issue that to the conscripts.
4 Q. So nothing from those warehouses could be taken without the
5 assistant commander for the rear or for logistics of the 17th Tactical
6 Group, without his knowledge?
7 A. No, it wasn't possible. You needed to have a special pass in
8 order to enter the warehouse.
9 Q. Thank you very much. I think that now we have clarified this
10 point. Very well. You said a little earlier something about the
11 formation and the organisation of the detachment. Could you please tell
12 us: What functions were part of the detachment command? What comprised
13 this command?
14 A. In the beginning, so from the period when these people were called
15 up, the command of the detachment comprised the commander, the deputy
16 commander, there was the assistant commander for intelligence and security
17 issues, the assistant commander for logistics was there also, then a
18 communications officer, who maintained communications. These were
19 soldiers who would switch. So this was the inner command. Then later,
20 when you switched -- when you moved into the battalions, then this was a
21 little broader.
22 Q. Please, we're now talking about the detachments. We're still
23 talking about 1991 and 1992, up to April 1992. And you've already said
24 that the commander of the 4th Detachment was Reserve Captain
25 Radovan Antic.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Do you know who was the deputy of the commander of the 4th
4 A. The deputy commander was also a captain. His name is Jovo Savic.
5 Q. Thank you. Do you know who was the assistant commander in the
6 logistics unit?
7 A. Yes. That was Miroslav Tadic.
8 Q. Thank you. Now we will talk about the functioning and the
9 principles of command within the Yugoslav People's Army, and my first
10 question is: Who could issue orders to the 17th Tactical Group of the
11 Yugoslav People's Army?
12 A. Orders in the 17th Tactical Group could be issued by the commander
13 and the deputy commander, in the absence of the commander.
14 Q. Did you, or the person who was the chief for intelligence and
15 security issues -- were you able to issue commands on behalf of the 17th
16 Tactical Group?
17 A. No. As assistant commander of the chief for intelligence and
18 security could not issue executive orders. I could only propose to the
19 commander certain things, and then after assessment, he would adopt them.
20 And then in his order he would take into account these suggestions of
22 MR. PANTELIC: I do apologise, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
24 MR. PANTELIC: Something which is a little bit ambiguous in page
25 11, line 9. The question of my learned friend Mr. Pisarevic was: "Who
1 could issue orders to the 17th Tactical Group?" And the answer is:
2 "Orders in this 17th Tactical Group could be issued" et cetera et cetera.
3 So I believe that it's not so clear whether it's the issue of the orders
4 of the Superior Command to the 17th Tactical Group or the question was
5 related the orders within 17th Tactical Group, where that answer could be
6 related. Maybe we could clarify that. Thank you.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: I'm sure Mr. Pisarevic will clarify that.
8 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I think that the witness and I
9 understood one another.
10 Q. Could you please tell me: On behalf of the 17th Tactical Group,
11 who could issue orders, executive orders?
12 A. To repeat again: On behalf of the 17th Tactical Group, executive
13 orders could be issued by the commander of the 17th Tactical Group; in his
14 absence, the orders could be issued by the chief of the staff, because
15 according to his function, he stood in for the commander.
16 Q. Thank you. You've clarified now your role as the chief of
17 intelligence and security issues. Could you please tell me now: Who in
18 the 4th Detachment, and in other detachments, could issue executive orders
19 on their behalf?
20 A. The Yugoslav People's Army functioned according to the principles
21 of subordination. So in the detachments, executive orders could be issued
22 by the commander and, in his absence, the deputy commander of the
24 Q. Did he have any authority or the possibility -- did the assistant
25 commander for intelligence and security have the authority or the
1 possibility to issue orders?
2 A. No. He could not have such authority to issue executive orders.
3 Just on the basis of his information, he could make proposals or
4 suggestions to his commander. The commander was the only one who could
5 issue an executive order.
6 MR. LAZAREVIC: Yes. There is just one small clarification for
7 the transcript. On page 12, line 21, instead of -- last word of the
8 sentence, the deputy of the commander instead of deputy of the detachment.
9 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. That will be corrected.
10 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. You just mentioned one principle according to which the Yugoslav
12 People's Army was structured and according to which it functioned. Could
13 you please explain whether there were any other principles according to
14 which the army functioned, except for the one of subordination? Could you
15 please explain to us what singleness of command means? Could you please
16 explain that to us?
17 A. As far as I understood the question, and if I understood it
18 properly, executive orders could be issued only by the commander.
19 However, a specific characteristic of intelligence and security organs
20 within the JNA is that they are a little different. They function along
21 two lines.
22 Q. We will discuss that later. Did the commander of the 4th
23 Detachment have the power to engage the detachment without the order of
24 the commander of the 17th Tactical Group?
25 A. No, he couldn't independently engage the detachment or a part of
1 the detachment, the 4th Detachment, his detachment.
2 Q. Could you please explain to the Trial Chamber: How did the
3 security and intelligence organs function? You already started to tell us
4 something about that. Could you please describe these specific
5 characteristics? What are they?
6 A. The assistant commander for intelligence and security in the
7 detachment was subordinated to the commander of the detachment, but he was
8 also subordinated to the chief of the brigade or, in this case, of the
9 17th Tactical Group, so to the chief for intelligence and security. The
10 assistant commander in the detachment was not obliged to convey to the
11 detachment commander all the information he had, and particularly not his
12 source of information. When he did have such information, he would submit
13 his proposal to the commander. The commander would assess that and, in
14 his order, would incorporate a part or all of this proposal. The
15 assistant commander for security and intelligence was obliged in this case
16 to send me all information, as the chief of intelligence and security of
17 the 17th Tactical Group. So he would send all the information to me, and
18 he was obliged -- he was not obliged to tell me his sources of information
19 either, because it was his duty to protect the confidentiality of the
20 person that he obtained the information from.
21 Q. If I understood you properly, you were just like the commander of
22 the 4th Detachment, the superior to Mr. Simo Zaric, who was carrying out
23 the function of assistant commander for security and intelligence in the
24 4th Detachment.
25 A. Yes. I was his superior officer, according to the
1 intelligence/security line.
2 Q. When you received a report by the assistant commander for
3 intelligence and security from the detachment, were you obliged to inform
4 the assistant commander of the detachment of what happened as a result of
5 that report? Could you please explain how this functioned.
6 A. After I would receive regular reports, daily regular reports from
7 all of the assistant commanders, it was my task to assess these reports,
8 compile my report for the Superior Command, to give suggestions to my
9 commander based on those reports, which he would then use in his duties.
10 But I did not have the obligation to inform the deputy -- the assistant
11 commanders about what I -- what steps I took as a result or based on their
12 reports. I was not obliged to convey this information to them.
13 Q. As you were a direct superior to Mr. Zaric, especially as concerns
14 security, can you tell us: What was the cooperation like? How did
15 Mr. Zaric go about his task in the 4th Detachment, in the area of
16 intelligence and security?
17 A. The cooperation with Simo Zaric, who was the assistant commander
18 for intelligence and security in the 4th Detachment, was good. I can even
19 go so far as to say that this cooperation was excellent. All the tasks
20 that I gave him, Simo Zaric carried out in a responsible and timely
21 manner. Simo was - not was, is - a Yugoslav by conviction. He advocated
22 those ideas and carried out those tasks which the JNA stood for. He was a
23 good person to work with.
24 Q. Can you please tell us: At that time, what were the fundamental
25 goals and tasks of the JNA and the 4th Detachment or the 17th Tactical
1 Group, which were part of the JNA?
2 A. Perhaps I would choose not to talk specifically about the tasks of
3 the JNA, generally, but the tasks of the 17th Tactical Group or the 4th
4 Detachment, or any of the other detachments. That's something I can
5 indeed tell you about. Those were primarily tasks concerning the
6 prevention -- we were in charge of preventing the war from spreading into
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina, because our area of responsibility was on the border.
8 That was our most fundamental task.
9 Our next task was, in case there were violations or interethnic
10 strife which might result in great casualties, the 4th Detachment could be
11 used for the separation of the ethnic groups in conflict, but the 4th
12 Detachment was not meant to fight on anyone's behalf. So the main task of
13 the JNA was to serve as a buffer zone, in a manner of speaking, between
14 the parties in conflict, in order to ensure the conditions for a political
15 solution at some later stage.
16 Q. Thank you. Can you please tell the Trial Chamber: Who was the
17 assistant commander for intelligence and security in the 1st Detachment of
18 the 17th Tactical Group?
19 A. In the 1st Detachment of the 17th Tactical Group, with
20 headquarters in the village of Batkusa, Bosanski Samac municipality, the
21 assistant commander for intelligence and security was Stevan Todorovic.
22 Q. Can you tell us about your cooperation with Mr. Stevan Todorovic,
23 as assistant commander for the 1st Detachment for intelligence and
25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me, Mr. Pisarevic. Could we find out the
1 dates when Mr. Todorovic held that position?
2 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Can you please tell the Honourable Court during which period of
4 time Stevan Todorovic acted as the assistant commander for intelligence
5 and security of the JNA's 1st Detachment? Which period of time are we
6 referring to?
7 A. That was towards the end of 1991. That's between the time the
8 17th Tactical Group was established, between the time the 1st Detachment
9 was established, and April 1992. That is the specific time period we are
10 talking about.
11 Q. Can you please tell us about your cooperation with him, with
12 Mr. Todorovic.
13 A. Unlike what I told you about my cooperation with Simo Zaric, my
14 cooperation with Stevan Todorovic was very different when he was the
15 assistant commander for intelligence and security. He simply didn't
16 respect me in my position as the chief. But it was only -- it was not
17 only the case with me. He didn't have any respect for most of his
18 superiors. He said that they were Tito's soldiers and that they should go
19 away. All those who were Yugoslavs by conviction, he called them Tito's
20 soldiers, and he said all these people should be made to go away. As far
21 as our cooperation on security and intelligence tasks, for as long as he
22 remained assistant commander, he never forwarded a single regular report.
23 I'm talking about those reports that he was bound to forward on a daily
24 basis. To put it in simple terms, he was even hostile to certain officers
25 of the JNA. But as he was especially hostile to me, and perhaps that was
1 due to the position that I held during that period, but also later,
2 whenever we met during the war. Instead of greeting me whenever we met,
3 he would always invariably say: "Well, Maso, are you still alive?"
4 That's how he would greet me.
5 Due to all this lack of cooperation, and not because of the way he
6 treated me personally, but because of his lack of cooperation on
7 intelligence and security issues, I spoke to Commander Nikolic and pleaded
8 with Commander Nikolic. I filed a request for Stevan Todorovic's removal
9 from this position, from his position as assistant commander for
10 intelligence and security. However, he was not removed from that
11 position, not because someone was protecting him, but rather because
12 Stevan Todorovic walked out on the JNA, as simple as that, soon after
13 that. And all the events started in Samac municipality and in the area of
14 responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group.
15 Q. Did Mr. Todorovic leave the JNA of his own free will?
16 A. Yes, that's correct, of his own free will. He did not leave with
17 the consent of the JNA. We didn't even know that he had left. The
18 commander never approved him leaving.
19 Q. We'll speak about a different subject now. We'll speak about all
20 the illegal weapons, the obtaining of the illegal weapons. As assistant
21 commander for intelligence and security, did you have any personal
22 information or knowledge concerning the illegal obtaining of weapons in
23 the municipalities comprised by the area of responsibility of the 17th
24 Tactical Group of the JNA?
25 A. Yes, I did have this information when I was the assistant
1 commander for intelligence and security of the 17th Tactical Group. I had
2 information that throughout Bosnia, throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina,
3 people were being illegally armed, but especially as concerns our zone or
4 area of responsibility, I have information on the municipalities comprised
5 by the area of responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group. People were
6 being armed illegally along the ethnic and party, political lines.
7 Q. How did you obtain this information?
8 A. I obtained this information from our Superior Command, as far as
9 weapons in Bosnia and Herzegovina are concerned. And as concerned the
10 existence of illegal weapons and people being illegally armed in our own
11 area of responsibility, our people on the ground and our commanders [as
12 interpreted] for security and intelligence provided this information. But
13 we did have other sources too across the territory.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. LAZAREVIC: There is just one word missing here on page 19,
16 line 10. Assistant commanders. The word "assistant" is missing.
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pisarevic.
18 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Did you have any information concerning the routes and roads down
20 which the illegal weapons were being brought into Bosnia and Herzegovina,
21 or illegal equipment, for that matter?
22 A. Yes, we did have that kind of information, and the information was
23 that weapons were brought into Bosnia and Herzegovina en masse, over the
24 bridge over the river Sava near Bosanski Samac, and these weapons would
25 usually head for Gradacac, Orasje, and Modrica.
1 Q. After you had obtained this information, what did the command of
2 the 17th Tactical Group do to prevent this illegal import of weapons and
4 A. Following an agreement reached and signed between
5 General Vasiljevic, chief for intelligence and security of the JNA, and
6 Alija Delimustafic, minister of the interior of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an
7 agreement in which they agreed to prevent the import of illegal weapons
8 into Bosnia and Herzegovina jointly and to set up joint checkpoints and
9 patrols, jointly between the civilian police and the military police. It
10 was on the basis of this agreement that Commander Nikolic asked for a
11 meeting to be scheduled with the police representatives in Bosanski Samac.
12 Commander Nikolic and I went to the meeting. We attended the meeting. On
13 behalf the police, there was Chief Vinko Dragicevic, there was
14 Dragan Lukac. There were other people there on behalf of the police whom
15 I didn't know, and I still don't know what their names were. On behalf of
16 the JNA there was Commander Nikolic and myself.
17 Q. Was any agreement reached? Was any joint, common checkpoint set
19 A. No, no agreement was reached. We told them that we were in
20 possession of certain information and knowledge that weapons were being
21 illegally imported over the bridge into Bosnia and Herzegovina from the
22 Republic of Croatia, and we demanded that since the police were already at
23 the bridge, the military police join them. That in itself would be a
24 checkpoint resulting from the intended agreement. However, the police
25 representatives lied to us, by saying that they had everything under
1 control, that there were no illegal weapons coming in, that no illegal
2 weapons were coming into Bosnia over that bridge, that the police were
3 fully in control, and that they themselves had no such information.
4 Q. Thank you. There was this failure to agree on joint checkpoints.
5 What did the command of the 17th Tactical Group do after that?
6 A. After the failure of the meeting with the police representatives
7 in Bosanski Samac, since we had reliable information that weapons were
8 indeed being brought into Bosnia over that bridge, we were advised by our
9 Superior Command and received their approval. The 17th Tactical Group set
10 up a military checkpoint, military checkpoints in the village of Crkvina
11 and the village of Kornica. Those were roads heading towards Gradacac.
12 However, it was impossible to set up checkpoints there immediately,
13 because those were predominantly Croat villages there. We tried to avoid
14 escalation of the conflict, because the interethnic situation was very bad
15 as it was at that point. So we did not set up a checkpoint on the road to
17 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Lazarevic.
18 MR. LAZAREVIC: It is something that I heard the witness say, and
19 here on page 21, line 10: However, it is impossible to set up checkpoints
20 there immediately because there were predominantly Croat villages there.
21 He was referring to a third checkpoint, not this first villages that he
22 mentioned, Crkvina and Kornica. He was talking about checkpoint towards
24 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Perhaps that can be clarified by counsel.
25 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. You mentioned the third checkpoint towards Orasje, that that was
2 not set up. Could you please tell us why you didn't set up this third
3 checkpoint towards Orasje.
4 A. The third checkpoint was not set up, the one in the direction of
5 Orasje, so on the road Samac-Orasje, because this road from Samac was
6 already more or less populated exclusively by the Croats. So the setting
7 up of a military checkpoint would further damage the already damaged
8 interethnic relations and would cause even more hostility towards the JNA.
9 Q. Who was at these checkpoints, and who carried out the controls?
10 A. The checkpoints which were set up by the command of the 17th
11 Tactical Group were manned by the military police, from the military
12 police company, which was part of the 17th Tactical Group. Each military
13 police officer at the checkpoint had insignia of his membership of the
14 military police, and he had white belts indicating that he was a member of
15 the military police.
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Mr. Weiner.
17 MR. WEINER: Yes, Your Honour. Sorry to interrupt. Could we just
18 have some clarification? There's a lot of discussions on checkpoints and
19 the meeting that they held at the SUP, and I thought there was going to be
20 some sort of time period that these incidents occurred, since there's been
21 other testimony, just to see if it's corroborated or if these are
22 different situations that have occurred. So if we could have some time
23 period for the checkpoints, for these meetings and things, I think it
24 would be helpful for all concerned.
25 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, I think that is clear with counsel.
1 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, of course. I think that I
2 already told the witness that we are still dealing with late 1991 and up
3 to April 1992, so probably we understood one another.
4 Q. Could you please tell us: When did this take place? What was the
5 time period? Which year?
6 A. The military checkpoints and the joint checkpoints which we tried
7 to organise with the police in Bosanski Samac was something that happened
8 in the spring of 1992, i.e., in late May 1992.
9 THE INTERPRETER: In late March 1992. Interpreter's correction.
10 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. What was the authority of the military police officers who were at
12 the checkpoints?
13 A. The military police officers who were at these two checkpoints
14 were authorised to stop all suspicious vehicles, to search the contents of
15 those vehicles, regardless of whether it was a passenger vehicle, a
16 freight vehicle, or a bus. That was their task. They were not permitted
17 to check any other documents, such as a driver's licence and whether the
18 car had all the technical equipment as required by law. They could
19 identify or ask for the identification only of suspicious persons in whose
20 possession they found illegal items.
21 Q. And what did the policemen do when, in the course of their search,
22 they found weapons and military equipment?
23 A. If military equipment was found in a vehicle, and it was
24 found - there were such cases - the military police officer was obliged to
25 issue a certificate about the temporary confiscation of such items,
1 whether this was a weapon or ammunition or any other military equipment
2 which should not be in the possession of a civilian. After that, he would
3 make a report, which would be sent to me, as the chief for intelligence
4 and security.
5 Q. Since you were in the position to see these reports which were
6 sent to you, could you please tell the Trial Chamber about the kinds of
7 items that were confiscated at these checkpoints, "items" meaning military
8 equipment and so on. What were the items confiscated by those police
10 A. After the military checkpoints were set up, we immediately
11 confirmed our information that illegal weapons were being brought in in
12 these roads, illegal military equipment and ammunition. All kinds of
13 things were found, not just artillery weapons. The items that were most
14 frequently found were automatic rifles whose origin was the Yugoslav
15 People's Army. A lot of automatic rifles of Chinese manufacture were also
16 found. They were probably obtained in the markets in the Republic of
17 Croatia. A lot of explosives were found, also a lot of hand grenades,
18 ammunition, as well as other military equipment, meaning binoculars, in
19 the colours of the Yugoslav People's Army. So it meant that this was
20 something that was not for sale. Also there were some protective masks
21 and pieces of uniforms and so on.
22 Q. What happened, if you know, after a few days, a few days after the
23 checkpoint was set up in Crkvina, where the military police were? Were
24 there any changes or anything like that?
25 A. Yes. Not right away, but perhaps seven or eight days after the
1 checkpoints were set up, the military checkpoints, the police from Samac
2 now asked the representatives of our command, our commander, to -- so for
3 them to be allowed to have civilian police officers man these checkpoints
4 as well. After this request, and in accordance with the agreement that
5 was reached and signed, the commander did not grant it. I don't want to
6 say that, but he accepted that, and he ordered or he informed me and the
7 military police that in future, the civilian police would also be present
8 at the checkpoint. It was now said that the civilian police will carry
9 out duties from their domain. They would stop passengers, check their
10 identification, search the vehicles, and that the military police would
11 continue to perform the duties that it was performing until that time.
12 It was said that the civilian police would be stopping the
13 vehicles, and not the military police. However, if at the request of a
14 military policeman, the civilian police officer did not wish to stop a
15 certain vehicle, the military police officer did have the right to stop
16 that suspicious vehicle and to conduct the search.
17 Q. Thank you. If I understood you properly, these were then joint
18 checkpoints, manned by the civilian and the military police.
19 A. Yes. They were then joint, or mixed checkpoints after that.
20 Q. And the checks that were conducted at the checkpoint, how long did
21 they last? I'm thinking of how long did they last during the day.
22 A. They were maintained around the clock.
23 Q. Mr. Simeunovic, do you have any information or knowledge about the
24 illegal arming and military organising of Muslims in Bosanski Samac?
25 A. Yes, we did have knowledge about that, that the Muslim population
1 in Samac, the town of Samac, because that's where they were in the
2 municipality, that's where they were living, that they were organising
3 themselves in a military sense, that they had military units formed, that
4 these units had their commanders with areas of responsibility, and that
5 those units were also active according to the principle of subordination,
6 just like any army in the world.
7 MR. WEINER: Your Honour, I'm sorry.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes.
9 MR. WEINER: Could that be clarified? Number one, could he
10 indicate the source of his information? Is this just information passed
11 up or is this information that he obtained working in an undercover
12 capacity which would therefore be based on his personal knowledge? Also,
13 when he says "Muslim population," is he including every Muslim? Is he
14 including Mr. Zaric's wife? Was she part of an illegal military? Could
15 he just clarify that?
16 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Mr. Pisarevic, I'm sure, will deal with that.
17 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. We will
19 Q. How did you obtain this information about the forming and military
20 organising of Muslims in Bosanski Samac?
21 A. The information about the organising of Muslims in Bosanski Samac
22 was something that we obtained from our associates, from people who lived
23 in Bosanski Samac, who knew something about that. And later, it turned
24 out that this information was true.
25 Q. Thank you. Do you have information about who led this military
1 organisation and who led this arming of the members of the Muslim
3 A. Yes, we had knowledge about that as well. We received information
4 about them organising militarily, and in the same way we found out that
5 they organised themselves with the help and with cooperation of the Party
6 for Democratic Action.
7 Q. Did you have information --
8 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me. Mr. Simeunovic, you mentioned that
9 you got the information about the organising of Muslims in Bosanski Samac
10 from your associates, from people who lived in Bosanski Samac. Was one of
11 these associates Mr. Zaric, and was this one of the tasks that you mention
12 that he performed?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. His task, Simo Zaric's task as
14 assistant commander for intelligence and security, was also to gather such
15 information about illegal arming, about the forming of paramilitary
16 formations of the Yugoslav People's Army. That was his task, his main
18 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you. And if that was his main task, what
19 were his other tasks?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were other tasks as well. The
21 basic task was to preserve the existing order which was in force in Bosnia
22 and Herzegovina. That was the main task of all of us. He had other tasks
23 as well stemming from that, for example, about the sabotage that was being
24 carried out, and so on.
25 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Thank you.
1 MR. LAZAREVIC: If Your Honours please, there is something here in
2 the answer of the witness that maybe -- I don't think it needs any
3 clarification. It's just -- in page 27, he was talking about gathering
4 informations about forming of paramilitary formations. Here it says of
5 Yugoslav People's Army. This is something that the witness didn't say, so
6 if it could be taken out of the transcript.
7 JUDGE MUMBA: Maybe he can be taken back to repeat what he said,
8 so we have a correct report.
9 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. You mentioned earlier those paramilitary units or organisations.
11 What are these paramilitary units, according to your understanding of that
12 particular category?
13 A. The term "paramilitary formations" to me means all those units
14 which are militarily structured but are not under the command of the
15 Yugoslav People's Army, but have their own tasks which are even -- not
16 even, but they are quite contrary to the tasks of the Yugoslav People's
17 Army, because if they were the same, then they would comprise one army.
18 Q. Thank you. Did you have information that armed and militarily
19 organised members of the Muslim people, under the patronage of the SDA,
20 have their own checkpoints and patrols in the town of Bosanski Samac?
21 MR. WEINER: I'd object, Your Honour. It's a very leading
22 question. His only answer is yes.
23 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I'll modify my question. No
24 problem. I'll change the question.
25 Q. Did you have any information concerning the activities of
1 militarily structured units of Muslims and the SDA?
2 A. Yes, we did have such information. Personally, I noticed these
3 things. Whenever I went with the commander to a meeting, or whenever we
4 came to the detachment command, the vehicle would always be followed. We
5 were being tailed by civilians patrolling the town. They always knew
6 about the route our vehicle would take.
7 Q. Thank you. Did you have any information concerning the illegal
8 arming and military organising of the Croatian population in
9 Bosanski Samac municipality?
10 A. We had that kind of information too, yes. We also had information
11 that the Croatian people -- when I say "the Croatian people," I'm
12 referring to men of military age and men who were fit for military
13 service. I'm just trying to avoid the issue that we had before, whether a
14 woman was taking part in some operations. So again, I say I'm referring
15 to men of military age. We did have such information, information that
16 the Croats too were organising themselves in the military sense, that they
17 had set up their own military units, and these units had their commanders,
18 their areas of responsibility. Like all the armies of the world, they
19 were functioning according to the principle of subordination.
20 Q. Did you have any information about the presence of military
21 instructors training soldiers, training soldiers coming from the Republic
22 of Croatia and from the Croatian army?
23 A. Yes, we knew about that too. We knew that instructors were coming
24 to train these units that had been set up, units, military units, set up
25 along the party and ethnic lines. Mostly instructors were coming for the
1 Croatian units that had been set up, and those instructors were mostly
2 arriving from the Republic of Croatia. Those were people from the
3 territories of municipalities in Bosnia-Herzegovina who would sometimes go
4 to Croatia to be trained and then they would return there to, in their
5 turn, train other soldiers and other units and sometimes they were in
6 command of these units. We did have such information. We also knew that
7 instructors from Sarajevo were coming to train soldiers and that the whole
8 thing had been organised by the SDA. All this information was later
9 proven correct, because during military operations in early 1992, we
10 captured a number of HVO members who had been trained in the Republic of
11 Croatia, who were carrying on them an ID saying "military instructor," a
12 military instructor fully equipped to train and command lower-ranking
14 Q. Did you have any information concerning the presence of members of
15 Croatia's National Guard in the area of responsibility of the 17th
16 Tactical Group?
17 A. Yes, we knew about that. Members of the National Guard were
18 spending time in the Samac municipal area, and particularly in Orasje
19 municipality. When I say this, I say it because I actually saw these
20 members of the National Guard. I saw them manning a checkpoint in the
21 village of Grebnice in Bosanski Samac municipality. I was stopped at that
22 checkpoint by them. I was wearing civilian clothes. This was sometime in
23 March, in early March 1992, I believe. They were wearing uniform and
24 insignia of the National Guard, and there were armed civilians with them.
25 Q. Thank you. Who does this National Guard belong to, this military
2 A. The military unit referred to as the National Guard belongs to the
3 Republic of Croatia.
4 Q. Mr. Simeunovic, do you know anything about the arming of Serbs in
5 the area of responsibility, or the way they were organising themselves
6 militarily in the area of responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group?
7 A. Yes, we knew about that too. Serbs, much like Muslims and Croats,
8 were obtaining illegal weapons and were organising themselves militarily
9 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. If we're speaking about the area of
10 responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group, as far as the illegal arming of
11 Serbs is concerned, we knew that there were individual cases of Serbs
12 obtaining weapons illegally, but we have no information to the effect that
13 there was an organised military unit, a paramilitary unit organised by
14 Serbs. We did not have any such information, because the Serbs had
15 responded to the mobilisation call-up and they were members of units of
16 the Yugoslav People's Army, whereas the other ethnic groups followed the
17 instructions, so to speak, and requests of their own respective leaders:
18 Franjo Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic.
19 Q. We'll get to that later on. Did you have any information
20 concerning the republic-level Bosnia-Herzegovina? Were Serbs organising
21 themselves into military units? And how did you obtain such information,
22 if any?
23 A. Yes, we did have such information, and we would receive our
24 information from superior commands. We would review the information and
25 analyse this information. If you look at the area of responsibility of
1 the 17th Corps, part of which was also the 17th Tactical Group, Serbs
2 obtained weapons, armed themselves, in those towns, in those
3 municipalities where the army was not present, in those localities where
4 Serb communities were isolated from the JNA, wherever the JNA was not
5 around and Serbs had no mobilisation call-ups to respond to.
6 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I think this would be a convenient
7 time to break, Your Honours.
8 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. We shall take our break and continue our
9 proceedings at 1715 hours.
10 --- Recess taken at 4.45 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 5.14 p.m.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes, Mr. Pisarevic.
13 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
14 Q. Mr. Makso, when you spoke about the units within the 17 Tactical
15 Group of the JNA, you referred to the armoured battalion. Can you tell
16 me, please: What was the ethnic structure of the armoured battalion when
17 the battalion was mobilised in October 1991?
18 A. The ethnic structure, make-up, of the 2nd Armoured Battalion of
19 the 395th Motorised Brigade was mixed. It included Croats, Serbs, and
20 Muslims. Commanders were also of mixed ethnicity. In addition to Serb
21 commanders, there were Croat and Muslim commanders too.
22 Q. Did the ethnic make-up of the battalion remain the same in the
23 course of 1992? I'm referring to the ethnic structure of the battalion.
24 A. No, it didn't remain the same. Immediately after the setting up,
25 after the mobilisation in October, after between 10 and 15 days, the
1 ethnic make-up of the battalion began to change.
2 Q. In what way did the ethnic make-up of the battalion start
3 changing? What started happening?
4 A. Following the instructions of the party leaders, Franjo Tudjman of
5 the HDZ and Alija Izetbegovic of the SDA, those members who had responded
6 to the mobilisation call-up started deserting, started abandoning JNA
7 units, so that eventually, at the end of 1991 and the beginning of 1992,
8 in the battalion there were no conscripts of any other ethnic groups apart
9 from Serb conscripts, whereas the professional soldiers, the commissioned
10 officers, remained until mid-April 1992, when they too left the armoured
12 Q. Thank you. As you were the assistant commander for intelligence
13 and security, you and your own commander, did you report to your superior
14 command on these phenomena?
15 A. Yes, we did send reports. It was our obligation to send these
16 reports, to forward these reports to our superior command.
17 Q. Your superior command, was there any feedback from your superior
18 command as to how and whether they acted on your reports?
19 A. No, we did not receive any feedback from our superior command as
20 to whether and how they acted on our reports, but it wasn't their
21 obligation to inform me, because I was inferior in rank to them. But we
22 had received instructions, so to speak, because the conscripts who had
23 deserted from the JNA were under the authority of military bodies, so they
24 were under the military police, not the civilian police. The military
25 police. We had received instructions not to bring these conscripts into
1 the military units because they were living in towns and villages where
2 Serbs didn't live. Those were predominantly Croat and Muslims villages.
3 So such action on our part would have caused the gap to deepen between the
4 people, on the one hand, and the JNA on the other. So we followed the
5 instructions received and we didn't force anyone back into the military
6 units. But if you would please allow me, I would like to give you a
7 specific case about a conscript who I believe did not desert from the JNA.
8 This conscript was born in Gradacac, and when he was on leave and
9 when he returned from his leave, towards the end of 1991, he spoke to his
10 commander, Milorad Zivanovic, and he told him: "I'm not sure what to do,
11 Mile. There's a lot of pressure on my family. My family is being
12 mistreated because I am a member of the JNA. I don't know what to do."
13 The major then told him: "If that's what the situation is
14 like" - and he knew what the overall situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina was
15 like at that time - he simply told him: "You're free to walk." He told
16 him he was free to leave the Yugoslav People's Army. He thanked him and
17 told him that he thought the situation would quieten down soon enough for
18 him to return to his unit.
19 Q. Thank you. But just by way of clarification: You referred to
20 Gradacac and to this conscript. What was his ethnic background?
21 A. He was a Muslim. He was a Muslim.
22 Q. Gradacac, the town which the conscript hailed from, what is the
23 ethnic make-up of Gradacac predominantly?
24 A. Gradacac is predominantly Muslim.
25 Q. You said before that in the 17th Tactical Group there was a
1 military police company too. Can you now please tell us something about
2 this military police company and its tasks? Was that a special unit
3 within the 17th Tactical Group?
4 A. Yes, it was a military police company. They had their own
6 Q. Who had the authority to issue orders to this military police
8 A. The commander of the military police company would receive orders
9 from the commander of the Tactical Group, or from the Chief of Staff in
10 the commander's absence.
11 Q. What was the procedure for the engagement of military police
12 should detachment commands require their engagement?
13 A. A request would come from any of the detachments for military
14 police to be engaged, and the commander would then order me - that was
15 actually part of my duties - to make an assessment of how many forces, how
16 many military police officers were to be engaged. I'd forward my proposal
17 back to the commander and then he would issue an order for a certain
18 section of the military police to be engaged on a specific task.
19 Q. How was the managing of weapons controlled, those weapons that
20 members of the detachment, of the 17th Tactical Group, were in charge of?
21 A. The weapons that members of the 17th Tactical Group from the
22 detachment were in charge of, those weapons were kept at their homes. So
23 no control was carried out by the police. They didn't go into people's
24 houses to see where these weapons were being kept. The police didn't do
25 this, the military police. If there was any self -- if there was any
1 wilful use of these weapons and were such cases occurred, people heard
2 about it, then the detachment commander would file a request for the
3 military police to step in, and then the military police would go and see
4 this person who had been accused of wilful use of weapons, or irregular
5 use of weapons. But if this person merely carried the weapons about town,
6 this would have required sanctions.
7 Q. Does that mean that the detachment commanders could not engage on
8 their own initiative the military police?
9 A. No, they couldn't just pick up the phone and say: "We need three
10 or five police officers". They had to go through the proper channels.
11 Q. Were there any examples of the command of the 4th Detachment to
12 report their members because of the inadequate use and handling of weapons
13 by members of the detachment?
14 A. Yes. Such cases did occur, and I know that the command of the 4th
15 Detachment requested that some members of the detachment who wilfully used
16 weapons, who fired them, be disarmed by the military police, and this was
18 Q. Thank you.
19 A. But I just wish to say that this was also done in other
21 Q. Thank you. Are you familiar with the case of the checkpoint at
22 Grebnice when personal weapons were taken away from active military
23 personnel? Do you know anything about that event? And if you do, could
24 you please briefly tell us about it.
25 A. I know about this event. At that time I was the chief for
1 intelligence and security in the 17th Tactical Group. Two active
2 officers, members of the command of the 17th Tactical Group, had their
3 weapons taken away from them at the Grebnice checkpoint, even though they
4 had regular permits signed by Commander Nikolic for those weapons. The
5 weapons were confiscated by members of the National Guard of the Republic
6 of Croatia, and this happened at the same checkpoint where I was asked for
7 my ID previously. I can't say if they were the same persons as the ones
8 who confiscated the weapons, but they also had uniforms. They were
9 wearing uniforms of the National Guard.
10 When this happened, they returned to the command of the 17th
11 Tactical Group. They informed the commander about what happened. The
12 commander was very angry because someone, and particularly it being the
13 army coming from a different state to disarm officers of the JNA, because
14 this village is in the municipality of Samac, he immediately went to the
15 police station. He also told me to go with him, so I did go with him. We
16 came to the police station. He asked to see Chief Dragicevic, who,
17 however, was not at the station at the time, and we were received by
19 We talked to him. The commander actually talked with Lukac,
20 Dragan Lukac. I said Vinko earlier, but it was Dragan Lukac. He was very
21 angry while conducting this conversation, and he told him that he will not
22 tolerate any more such acts, whereby officers of the JNA were being
23 disarmed, particularly officers and active military personnel.
24 Dragan Lukac tried to calm down the commander, and he said that he would
25 see why this happened. We were told to come back tomorrow to the police
1 station and that he would take steps to return these weapons to the police
3 The next day, the commander did not go. He sent me instead. I
4 came to the station. I went to see Lukac and he returned these weapons.
5 Previously he told the commander that he will conduct an investigation,
6 establish what happened, and then the commander would be informed about
7 what was done, but the commander actually never received any report
8 indicating anything that was done in relation to this matter.
9 Q. Thank you. Are you familiar with events regarding the setting up
10 of barricades at the entrances to Bosanski Samac?
11 A. Yes, I know about that incident. This happened in early April. I
12 don't know the exact date, but approximately on the 10th or the 11th of
13 April, when the military police patrolled the area of responsibility, and
14 while doing this, they came up -- they met armed civilians. They had
15 military weapons, automatic weapons, which, according to any regulations,
16 they were not permitted to have. The military police disarmed these
17 civilians, brought the weapons to the 17th Tactical Group. They made a
18 report about this, and in the morning they informed me about what they
19 did, or actually what happened while they were out performing their tasks.
20 After that, we received information that barricades had been
21 erected in the town of Samac, that it was not possible to enter Samac or
22 to leave it.
23 Q. Did you receive information about who erected those barricades?
24 A. Yes, we did receive this information, i.e., that the barricades
25 were erected by the citizens of Samac, Muslim citizens, led by the Party
1 for Democratic Action, because the persons who had been disarmed the
2 previous evening were actually a patrol which was formed by the Party for
3 Democratic Action, and that was one of those separate units that I talked
4 about a little earlier when I was saying how the commander and I were
5 followed any time we entered Samac. So those were actually the patrols
6 that tailed us.
7 Q. Thank you. Did anyone call the command from Samac by telephone?
8 A. Yes. In the morning, right after the disarming and the erecting
9 of the barricades, Izet Izetbegovic called the 17th Tactical Group. He
10 asked to speak to Commander Nikolic. However, Commander Nikolic was not
11 at the command. He was in Brcko. So he talked with Major Brajkovic, the
12 chief of the tactical group, and I know that the chief told him to call
13 Commander Nikolic in Brcko to find him there.
14 Q. And what do you know about that? Did Mr. Izetbegovic speak with
15 Mr. Nikolic? Did Mr. Nikolic tell you anything about that afterwards?
16 A. Immediately after this call from Samac, this call by Izetbegovic,
17 Major Brajkovic called the commander by telephone in Brcko, informed him
18 about what happened in Samac and that he would -- and told him that
19 Izet Izetbegovic would call him. The commander ordered, or told
20 Brajkovic, that the army should not be used for this purpose, that no
21 order should be issued for the use of the army.
22 When the commander returned from Brcko - this was sometime around
23 noon - those of us who were at the command were told that he had talked
24 with Izetbegovic, that Izetbegovic had called him in Brcko, and he said
25 that he begged him not to use the army regarding these barricades, that
1 they would resolve that, that he would make sure that they were
2 taken -- that they were dismantled. And then the commander promised that
3 he would not use the army, that he didn't have any intention of using the
4 army, because that was not one of the purposes of the army. It was not
5 one of the army's tasks. This was something that would be done by the
7 Q. Thank you. Do you know that at the end of 1991 and the beginning
8 of 1992, whether there were any sabotages or diversions in the territory
9 of Bosanski Samac municipality?
10 A. Yes. We were aware of that. We received information about that.
11 This was something that we were informed about by the assistant commander
12 for intelligence and security in the 4th Detachment, Simo Zaric, that
13 there had been some sabotage acts, several of them, that there were
14 casualties in the cafes. The sabotage acts involved transmission lines,
15 the chapel at the Orthodox cemetery was blown up. We were informed about
16 all of the acts of sabotage.
17 Q. Did you conduct any investigations to find out the perpetrators of
18 those sabotage acts?
19 A. No. We, as the army, as the JNA, did not take any steps regarding
20 those sabotage acts. We just passed on the reports to the Superior
21 Command, but we did not take any steps, because this was in the
22 jurisdiction of the civilian police.
23 Q. Thank you. We are going to move to another event now. What do
24 you know about the arrival of volunteers to the village of Batkusa? Could
25 you please tell the Trial Chamber about that.
1 A. The actual arrival is something that I know everything about. On
2 the 11th of April, sometime in the morning, an associate of mine called me
3 and he told me: "Makso, guests are coming to you, to Batkusa." When he
4 said guests are arriving, I understood him to mean that these were not
5 guests who were personally coming to visit me. Had they been such, they
6 would come directly to me, to the command post. And then he said: "If
7 you want to find out who is coming, then you should go there."
8 After this conversation with him, I called the commander. The
9 commander was in a meeting with some people. I apologised and I just
10 said: "Commander, I need to go to see the 1st Detachment." Without
11 interrupting the meeting, he indicated with his hand that I could go, so I
12 went to Batkusa.
13 I went to the command post. I don't know where else I was
14 supposed to go. I wasn't told where to go, where these guests would be
15 arriving. I went to the command of the 1st Detachment in Batkusa. It was
16 on the premises of the local community, in the centre of the village. In
17 front of it, as I was arriving, I could see in front of the command the
18 commander of the detachment, Mico Ivanovic, aka Mijak. Stevan Todorovic
19 was also with him. There was also a group of villagers there, a small
20 group of villagers from Batkusa. I think they were from Batkusa.
21 Civilians. And I arrived in an official vehicle. When I came out of the
22 vehicle and walked towards Commander Mijak, Stevan Todorovic turned, and
23 when he saw me, he was very surprised. I would like to say right away
24 that this was the first time that I saw Stevan Todorovic at the detachment
25 command. I came there many times, but I never saw him at the command.
1 He was very surprised when he saw me, and instead of greeting me,
2 he asked me: "What are you doing here, Makso? Why did you come?" I came
3 up to the commander. I greeted him, to Mijak. And then I responded to
4 Stevan: "I'm here. I've come to the detachment command." And we stood
5 about there for a little bit longer. I didn't speak with Stevan. I
6 talked to Mijak and I asked him: "What is happening?" I could see that
7 something was going on there. And having had this information about the
8 arrival of guests, I asked him: "What is going on?" And he just
9 shrugged. He didn't say anything.
10 As we were talking, you could hear the sound of a helicopter from
11 the direction of Brcko. At this sound, the villagers who were there, as
12 well as Stevan Todorovic, as well as Mijak and myself, went to the
13 football field which was right behind the premises of the command. As we
14 were going there, we could see the helicopter approaching, one helicopter,
15 and it landed on the football field. I could see that it had insignia of
16 the Yugoslav People's Army. And the helicopter didn't even touch the
17 ground yet. Even before it touched down, people, soldiers in camouflage
18 uniforms, jumped out. They had paint on their faces. They were carrying
19 weapons and running. They took up defensive positions around the chopper,
20 which hadn't touched down yet. They took up defensive positions, stood
21 still, and pointed the weapons towards us, even though we were standing
22 outside of the football field.
23 I was confused at first. My first thought was that it was a
24 military exercise or something. But the information about the arrival of
25 guests -- and I was quite confused about what was going on. Immediately
1 after they jumped out of the helicopter and took up the defensive
2 positions, the helicopter touched down. After that, you could hear the
3 sound of another helicopter. The helicopter also came and landed on the
4 field, not in the same way as this one. It touched down all the way, and
5 uniformed soldiers came out of that helicopter also. They too had paint
6 on their faces. Some of them were wearing those hats. We call them
7 cowboy hats. And some of them also had caps. They didn't take up a
8 defensive or a combat position. As they were coming out, they formed a
9 group. Three men separated off from the group. They were in uniforms
10 with painted faces, and they started walking towards us.
11 Commander Mijak and I stood a little way away from Todorovic,
12 maybe three or four metres away from him, and they actually were walking
13 straight towards Stevan Todorovic, and they greeted him, based on which I
14 concluded that they knew each other from before, that this was not the
15 first time that they met, because they greeted one another cordially.
16 After a brief conversation there - How did you travel? How was
17 your trip? Is everything all right? That was the substance of the
18 conversation - Stevan Todorovic led them towards the command building. We
19 also, Commander Mijak and myself, followed them. We followed Stevan and
20 those other three people. And then I noticed, when we started walking,
21 that those soldiers who had taken up the combat positions were not in that
22 position any more and that the villagers were approaching the soldiers.
23 We entered the command, Stevan and the three of them who arrived
24 entered first. I didn't know who those people were, but now I do. They
25 were Djordjevic -- you see how the name suddenly comes to you. I can't
1 remember the first time, but his nickname was Crni. There was also
2 Srecko Radovanovic, also known as Debeli, the fat one. And there was
3 Lugar, Slobodan Miljkovic, nicknamed Lugar, the wood-keeper.
4 Q. Isn't the name of this person called Djordjevic Dragan by any
6 A. Yes, that's correct. Dragan Djordjevic. I've just remembered.
7 They entered the command building. The commander and I followed. No one
8 was really paying any attention to us. The conversation was between
9 Stevan Todorovic and the three men who came. They sat down, talked
10 briefly. Stevan told them that everything had been taken care of, or
11 prepared, that accommodation would be provided in the village of Obudovac.
12 That's the neighbouring village. That accommodation would be provided at
13 the football stadium in Obudovac.
14 Then they set out for Obudovac. They were walking in a combat
15 disposition on their way to Obudovac. Both sides of the roads there were
16 columns marching, one by one, with their weapons pointed at villagers who
17 were in their front yards watching. It was a simple demonstration of
18 power. Those who were walking at the back of the column would
19 occasionally look over their shoulders. So this was how they went to
21 Q. Having seen that, what steps did you take?
22 A. Having seen all of that, I waited for them to walk away, and then
23 I headed straight back to the command building. I wanted to tell the
24 commander about this situation which took place. Had this been announced,
25 I would have known myself, being a member of the command, that they would
1 be arriving.
2 Q. You say the commander. Can you please state his full name? Which
3 command, which place?
4 A. I went back to the command of the 17th Tactical Group, and I
5 reported about what I had seen happening in the area of responsibility of
6 the 1st Detachment in Obudovac. I told Stevan Milinkovic [as
7 interpreted], who was the commander of the 17th Tactical Group. He was
8 very surprised by what I told him. At first he couldn't believe that I
9 was telling the truth. How would that have been possible?
10 MR. LAZAREVIC: Just one short correction on page 45, line 1.
11 Stevan Nikolic, not Milinkovic.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: Yes. Can -- that's the correct name, yes?
13 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Can you please continue.
15 A. Commander Nikolic, as I've said, was taken aback. He couldn't
16 believe that anything like that was possible without him knowing. He
17 immediately phoned the Superior Command to check, to see, to ask them what
18 was going on and who had arrived and what the reason was. I was in the
19 office when he made the call. I didn't hear what the feedback was from
20 the Superior Command, but what I could glean from what Commander Nikolic
21 told them and from his answers to their questions, I concluded that they
22 had no idea what was going on exactly. My impression was that he received
23 a task from the Superior Command to look into the matter to find out who
24 those people were, why they had come and what their mission was, and to
25 inform him of all these things.
1 Q. Thank you. Will you please just tell us what the Superior Command
2 was, the Superior Command of the 17th Tactical Group of the JNA.
3 A. The Superior Command of the 17th Tactical Group of the JNA was the
4 17th Corps, with command post in Tuzla.
5 Q. The commander was who?
6 A. General Sava Jankovic.
7 Q. Thank you. What did Commander Nikolic do after that? What steps
8 did he take after he had talked to his Superior Command?
9 A. After he talked to the Superior Command, Commander Nikolic kept on
10 making phone calls. I think he was probably putting calls through to
11 Samac. And he said that they had agreed that the next day there would be
12 a meeting with the representatives in Donji Zabar that there would be a
13 meeting in Donji Zabar with the representatives of the civilian
14 authorities, or with someone in Samac, that is, in Donji Zabar. I don't
15 know exactly who they were supposed to be meeting.
16 Q. Was the meeting eventually held in Donji Zabar?
17 A. Yes, it was. The next day, a meeting took place in Donji Zabar.
18 I did not attend this meeting. Commander Stevan Nikolic was representing
19 the command at that meeting.
20 Q. Very well. Following that meeting, did Commander Nikolic tell you
21 what had been happening at the meeting in Donji Zabar, or what had been
22 discussed at the meeting and what agreements had been reached? If so,
23 please tell us.
24 A. Upon his return from the meeting in Donji Zabar, Commander Nikolic
25 informed us at the command of the 17th Tactical Group that a
1 meeting -- that the meeting had been held, that the meeting had been
2 attended by the three men who had arrived by helicopter.
3 Q. Can you please tell us their first and last names?
4 A. Dragan Djordjevic, nicknamed Crni; Srecko Radovanovic, nicknamed
5 Debeli; and Slobodan Miljkovic, nicknamed Lugar. They attended the
6 meeting. That's what Commander Nikolic told us. Stevan Todorovic was
7 also there. He said that at the meeting, when he brought up the question
8 as to who the people were who had arrived by helicopter and why they had
9 arrived, he was told that those were members of the Serb militia of
10 Serbian Krajina, that they had official papers, official IDs, testifying
11 to the fact that they were members of the Serbian police force of Serbian
12 Krajina. And then he told us that in addition to the first group that had
13 arrived, another group was being sent over, a group that was part of
14 mostly the 1st Detachment, but also included people from other
15 detachments, a group including about 23, I think, young volunteers who had
16 been sent over for training. They were supposed to go to a training camp
17 in Sarengrad. The group was led by Aca Jankovic, a person born in
19 At this meeting, Commander Nikolic was also told that the army had
20 no authority to give orders to members of the MUP, the Ministry of the
21 Interior, which was true, and Commander Nikolic was fully aware of that.
22 But since they had arrived in the area of responsibility commanded by him
23 personally, he merely wanted to know the reasons for their arrival, what
24 their intentions were, what they were about to do, that sort of thing.
25 Q. Do you know whether Commander Nikolic, commander of the 17th
1 Tactical Group, informed his Superior Command about this meeting, the
2 conclusions reached at the meeting, and what he learned there?
3 A. Yes, he did report to the Superior Command. He conveyed to them
4 what had been said at the meeting. He informed them that those were not
5 members of the JNA but, rather, members of the MUP, that those were
6 members of the MUP of Serbian Krajina.
7 Q. Can you tell me, please: Do you know where Sarengrad is located
9 A. I do know that. Sarengrad is near Ilok. That's in the Republic
10 of Croatia.
11 Q. Which of the authorities -- who held that part of Croatia, that
12 territory where Sarengrad and Ilok are, at that point in time?
13 A. Sarengrad and Ilok, that area was under the authority of Serbian
15 Q. Thank you. Following that, the 17th Tactical Group, did they take
16 any measures concerning checks, controls, in relation to these newly
17 arrived volunteers?
18 A. Yes. That was our task. We tried to find out the reason why they
19 had arrived, the group arriving in our area of responsibility. However,
20 just like we were not able to find out in time that a group had been sent
21 over, the group of our own units, for training, to Sarengrad, we were not
22 able to find out the reasons for the arrival of this group, at least
24 Q. Thank you. Now we shall discuss events which started happening on
25 the 16th of April, 1992. Do you recall that night, the night between the
1 16th and the 17th of April, 1992? Where were you on that night?
2 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Excuse me. Before you answer that question, I
3 want to go back to your answer starting on page 48, line 12. The last
4 three words after the comma: "At least initially." What are you hinting
5 at by saying "at least initially"? You said: "We were not able to find
6 out the reasons for the arrival of this group, at least initially." What
7 are you, so to say, meaning by those words?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I said that, when I used the
9 word "initially," what I meant is just what I was about to include in my
10 next answer, because eventually we did find out the reasons for the
11 arrival of that group. But between the 11th and the 16th, we were trying
12 to get at the reasons behind their arrival, but we could not succeed.
13 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you.
14 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Can you please tell us: Do you remember the day between the 16th
16 and the 17th of April, 1992, and where were you on that night?
17 A. That night, the night between the 16th and the 17th, I do recall
18 that night. I was at the command of the 17th Tactical Group. I was
19 sleeping. I was resting that night.
20 Q. You were in the village of Pelagicevo; is that correct?
21 A. Yes, that's correct, in Pelagicevo. The rooms we used for rest
22 were on the first floor of the command building. It was a rather large
23 private house.
24 Q. Can you tell us with any degree of accuracy: What is the distance
25 between Pelagicevo and Bosanski Samac?
1 A. The distance between Pelagicevo and Bosanski Samac is between 25
2 and 30 kilometres.
3 Q. What did you find out that night? What happened?
4 A. That night, about 3.00 in the morning on the 17th, the duty
5 officer from the 17th Tactical Group woke us up, myself and others, the
6 officers who were there, the officers who were sleeping at the command
7 building. He said that the commander was looking for us and wanted us to
8 go down to the command hall immediately.
9 Q. So did you?
10 A. Yes, we did, very quickly. We slept on the first floor. We just
11 put on some clothes and went straight down to see him. The commander was
12 already in the command hall at his table. Once we assembled, and we
13 didn't take that long, as I said, the commander told us that
14 Blagoje Simic, from Samac, had called him, telling him that the volunteers
15 who had arrived, the group of volunteers, had taken facilities and
16 buildings of vital importance in the town of Samac, and that the civilian
17 police forces, alongside with them, took part in the taking of those vital
18 buildings and institutions in the town of Samac.
19 Q. Did Commander Nikolic tell you anything else on that occasion
20 about what the command would do and so on?
21 A. After this brief information about the current situation in Samac,
22 Commander Nikolic ordered that all detachments raise their combat
23 readiness to a higher level. Also, he called by telephone for the
24 commander of the 4th Detachment, Radovan Antic, and the assistant
25 commander for intelligence and security, Simo Zaric, to come to the
1 command of the 17th Tactical Group in Pelagicevo.
2 Q. Were you present when Mr. Antic, as the commander, and Mr. Zaric,
3 came to Pelagicevo? And if you can recall, could you please tell us what
4 time it was.
5 A. Yes, I was there, but, in view of the situation, that was normal,
6 because that's where the command was all the time. Commander Antic and
7 Simo Zaric came in the morning hours. I think it was sometime between
8 5.00 and 6.00 a.m. I don't know exactly what time it was, but it was
9 between 5.00 and 6.00 a.m.
10 Q. What did Commander Nikolic tell them at that point?
11 A. When Radovan Antic and Simo Zaric arrived at the command, Nikolic
12 explained to them briefly what happened. He asked them whether they knew
13 anything about what was happening. They just said that on their way
14 there, they saw those members of the special forces. They had these
15 uniforms and their faces were painted. They were all over town, and that
16 they didn't know what was going on. When the commander briefly told them
17 what he told us in the command when we came, then he ordered that upon
18 return to the command post, the 4th Detachment should be called up, but
19 nothing should be undertaken without his order.
20 Q. Other than raising the state of alert to a high level in the
21 detachments, did the 17th Tactical Group conduct any other consultations
22 or do anything with the Superior Command? What were actually the
23 activities that were conducted that morning?
24 A. Yes. Immediately after finding out what was happening in the town
25 of Samac, Commander Nikolic informed the Superior Command, i.e., the 17th
1 Corps in Tuzla. He informed them about what happened in the town of Samac
2 and in the municipality of Samac, and he asked for instructions. I say
3 "instructions," even though he knew what his tasks were. But he requested
4 additional instructions about what to do in the situation as it was at
5 that time. And he said that he received orders from the Superior Command
6 that the units of the Yugoslav People's Army should not be used, that the
7 combat readiness level should be raised, but only the 4th Detachment
8 should be called, because all of this was going on in the area of
9 responsibility of the 4th Detachment.
10 Q. Did you have any information about the changes that had taken
11 place in Samac? What happened in Bosanski Samac?
12 A. We did have information that there was a takeover of power. This
13 is what Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic told us, that power in Samac and in the
14 municipality of Samac had switched hands and that now it was the Serbian
15 municipality of Samac and Pelagicevo under formation.
16 Q. Did you have any intelligence data or information about any
17 activities of other organised paramilitary units or military units?
18 A. We had information right after when Commander Nikolic and
19 Simo Zaric came, Commander Antic. They didn't stay in the command for a
20 long time. They perhaps stayed for half an hour. Immediately after that,
21 they went to the command post of the 4th Detachment in Samac. Before
22 leaving, Commander Antic telephoned the command of the 4th Detachment and
23 ordered the call-up. So he carried out the tasks that were supposed to be
24 carried out before the commander arrived.
25 After they left, after a certain period of time, already in the
1 morning of the 17th of April, we had some information about the events in
2 the actual town of Samac, as well as the events in the surrounding
3 villages around Samac. We had information that other than the police,
4 which had already taken the vital facilities, as well as the volunteers
5 from the Serbian Krajina, the militia of the Serbian Krajina, that also a
6 large group of armed civilians had appeared. Since everybody knows
7 everybody in the town of Samac - it's a small town - everybody knew that
8 they were Muslims. They organised themselves, let me put it that way. I
9 had already talked about those units. Those units had already been formed
10 and were already out on the streets. They were smaller groups, but if you
11 actually counted them, they numbered about 100 armed people, armed men.
12 Q. Very well. Did Commander Nikolic on that day, the 17th of April,
13 1992, issue any orders to the command of the 4th Detachment, if you know?
14 And if you know, could you please tell us what these orders were.
15 A. Yes. Commander Nikolic did issue tasks to the 4th Detachment, to
16 the commander of the 4th Detachment. Based on this information which we
17 received, and information that already on the left bank of the river Sava,
18 as well as the left bank of the river Bosna, movements were seen by some
19 units, the commander issued a task to the commander of the 4th Detachment
20 to take a number of the men and to go to the right bank of the Bosna
21 River, towards the village of Prud, in the municipality of Odzak, and also
22 to go to the right bank of the river Sava, facing the Republic of Croatia.
23 This order was issued sometime around noon or in the early afternoon.
24 Q. Thank you. Do you know that Commander Nikolic at that point also
25 issued an order about the collection of illegal weapons in the town of
2 A. Yes, I'm aware of that. He issued that order to the commander of
3 the 4th Detachment. Having received information about illegal arming in
4 Samac, and that civilians had military weapons, automatic weapons,
5 Commander Nikolic gave the commander of the 4th Detachment, Radovan
6 Nikolic [as interpreted], the task of taking the men which were left over
7 after the detachment was deployed to the two positions, towards the
8 Republic of Croatia and the village of Prud. So that they could go and
9 collect the illegal weapons. At that point he ordered them not to enter
10 into houses or conduct searches of those houses, but to conduct this
11 collection of weapons on a voluntary basis, to call the citizens and ask
12 them to bring out their weapons and to surrender them, or if they did not
13 wish to be seen as people who were handing over the weapons, they could
14 just leave them in front of their houses, outside their houses, and that
15 the members of the 4th Detachment would collect them.
16 Q. Thank you. Are you familiar with the following event: That
17 Ibrahim Salkic, on the telephone, spoke with Commander Nikolic on the 17th
18 of April? Do you have any information about that, personal information or
20 A. I wasn't there when he talked with him, but Commander Nikolic
21 said - because I was in and out of the command building - that he had
22 received a call from Ibrahim Salkic and that he had told him on the
23 telephone that he was with a large group of armed people and that he
24 didn't know what to do. This is what Commander Nikolic said, that he was
25 simply asking the commander for advice about what to do. So he told him
1 that he should not use weapons in any event, that they should hand over
2 the weapons to the members of the 4th Detachment. I think that that is
3 what they did.
4 Q. Did you receive regular reports from the 4th Detachment command,
5 the Tactical Group command, and did you continue to receive reports from
6 Mr. Zaric about what was going on in Samac, whether the command orders
7 were being carried out and so on? Could you please tell us a little bit
8 about how all of this functioned.
9 A. Yes, we did receive those reports. I received reports from
10 Simo Zaric, regularly. When I say "regularly," I mean that it was
11 continuous. It wasn't: "I will report at such-and-such a point." But as
12 he received information about the events in Samac, using the means
13 available to him, he would forward these reports to the 17th Tactical
15 Q. Do you remember receiving any information about how these Sareni,
16 and the police who participated in the takeover, actually detained some
17 members of the 4th Detachment?
18 A. Yes, there was information to that effect. These volunteers
19 brought in members of the 4th Detachment also to the police station, the
20 4th Detachment of the JNA. They were not of Serb ethnicity. They were
21 Muslims. Simo Zaric informed us about this in the command, and I know
22 that Lieutenant Colonel Nikolic was very angry because of this. He called
23 Stevan Todorovic on the telephone, because he was already appointed chief
24 of police upon the takeover of power in Samac. So he called
25 Stevan Todorovic and told him that members of the Yugoslav People's Army
1 must not be arrested, that he would send Simo Zaric to the police station
2 to take these people off the hands of the police, so that these people can
3 be released.
4 Q. Did you receive any other information about events, arrests, and
5 so on, from Simo Zaric?
6 A. Yes. We received other information. Simo informed us that he
7 went to the station in relation to this event and that those people were
8 released from the police station. We received information that members of
9 other ethnic groups were being arrested in the town of Samac and that
10 people were being -- there was a kind of extortion involved, where people
11 were being asked for money for the purpose of personal enrichment of those
12 volunteers. They were taking money. That's what we had information
13 about. We also had information that the people who had been brought in
14 were being physically abused. We also received information that some
15 people were arrested about whom we had information that they took part in
16 the illegal arming of the Muslim population - these were people of Muslim
17 ethnicity - that they imported weapons illegally and that they were held
18 at the police station.
19 Q. You and Commander Nikolic, after you received this information,
20 what did you order Simo Zaric to do?
21 A. After we had received all this information, and particularly the
22 information concerning the arrests of persons who we believed had taken
23 part in the illegal arming, Commander Nikolic ordered Simo Zaric to go to
24 the police station where those persons were being kept, to look at the
25 statements that had been taken, if any, and to talk to whatever persons he
1 saw fit, in connection with the illegal arming. Because there was
2 suspicion that a number of military staff had taken part in the arming.
3 Weapons were also arriving from military warehouses.
4 Q. Did Mr. Zaric do that? Did he inform you about that? What
5 information did he obtain?
6 A. Yes. He kept reporting to us. And before that, the commander had
7 told Stevan Todorovic about Simo Zaric arriving there, that Simo Zaric
8 would look at the statements and, if necessary, conduct further
9 interviews, and that all those persons from whom statements had not been
10 taken would be made to make statements. As far as I know, Simo talked to
11 two or three persons from whom statements had not yet been taken, and he
12 reported back to us on this.
13 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Just a question for clarification. Which are the
14 time frames for these events you are now talking about? Is it on the 17th
15 of April or the following days? It would be useful to know what are the
16 time frames. Thank you.
17 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Can you please explain the events we've just discussed, from the
19 17th on. Well, of course you may not remember the exact date, but if you
20 could just give us a rough time frame.
21 A. All these things happened between the 17th, when part of the
22 members of the 7th [as interpreted] Detachment came out. That was on the
23 17th, in the afternoon hours. The collection of weapons also took place
24 in the afternoon hours on the 17th and continued on the morning of the
25 18th. The arrests that I was talking about, the arrests being carried out
1 by the volunteers, that took place on the 18th, 19th, and 20th. The
2 taking of statements that I talked about, when Simo Zaric went over to the
3 police station in Samac, that was about two or three days later. It may
4 have been the 18th or the 19th, as far as I remember.
5 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you very much.
6 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Simo Zaric, did he come to the command in Pelagicevo to see you
8 and Commander Nikolic? Did he complain about Stevan Todorovic's actions
9 or about the actions of the volunteers, the members of the special forces
10 or the Sareni, however you choose to refer to them, who had maltreated him
11 at the police station in Samac? Do you know anything about that?
12 A. After these events, Simo Zaric used to come quite frequently to
13 the command of the detachment; not every day, but rather often. After
14 this task he had received from Commander Nikolic to go to the police
15 station and to have the statements taken, he told us that what he
16 experienced at the station was unlike anything else he had experienced in
17 his life. He told us that members of the Special Forces, and one man in
18 particular - I can never seem to remember the man's name, but the nickname
19 was Vuk - he mistreated Simo. At one point he even drew his pistol and
20 put the pistol's barrel into Simo's mouth. Simo requested the commander
21 to do something about it, but the commander was trying to talk sense into
22 him and to tell him to calm down, and eventually succeeded, I believe, so
23 that Simo went back to his command, the 4th Detachment, and kept on
24 sending reports to us.
25 While he was at the station, he told us that persons were being
1 mistreated there and that he saw persons being mistreated in passing, and
2 those persons seemed as if they had been beaten black and blue.
3 Q. Upon receiving all this information, were you given any kind of
4 task by Commander Nikolic? And tell us what you know about it. Actually,
5 I'm referring to the transfer of detainees to Brcko.
6 A. I know about what happened, because I myself took part in it.
7 After we received information from Simo Zaric that some persons had even
8 been killed, some of the detainees, that is, I received a phone call from
9 Captain Momcilo Petrovic, assistant commander for intelligence and
10 security at the Brcko garrison. He told me that Simo had phoned him, both
11 now and earlier. He told me that Simo had informed him about the same
12 things he told us, in a very dramatic tone of voice, as Petrovic said,
13 Simo appealed for help, for those people to be helped in some way. He
14 could not give any suggestions as to what should be done to help those
15 people, but he did plead with Petrovic for those people to be protected,
16 and he was asking us the same thing, the 17th Tactical Group.
17 After that, Captain Petrovic had a talk with Lieutenant Colonel
18 Nikolic, and as he later told me, they reached an agreement as to what
19 precisely to do to save those people. They had reached a conclusion that
20 it was best to transfer those people who had been detained in Samac to the
21 barracks in Brcko, where they would be safe and protected. There was no
22 appropriate -- no other appropriate location in the area of responsibility
23 of the 17th Tactical Group, and besides, the policemen who were
24 maltreating them were in the area too.
25 Commander Nikolic called me and told me that he had agreed with
1 Captain Petrovic for us to - I think it was on the 26th. That's if I
2 remember correctly. The 26th of April, 1992 - for us -- for me to go to
3 Samac with some of the military police, with vehicles, to pick those
4 people up at the Territorial Defence staff building in Samac, where they
5 were being kept, and from the police station, which is across the road
6 from the staff, and to take those people to Brcko and to hand them over to
7 the military police there and the military garrison in Brcko.
8 Commander Nikolic told me: "Do as you see fit, how many military
9 policemen you need to carry out this task, carry out an assessment, take
10 as many people as you think you need. If you think the whole thing might
11 require more people -- if you think there are not enough people in one
12 platoon, or if the platoon was not filled," he said that I could even take
13 army members with me to carry out this task, people who weren't
14 necessarily military policemen. He also told me to avoid, by all means,
15 conflict with the volunteers, with the Serbian police, but he also did
16 emphasise that I was supposed to complete my mission. He said I should
17 take as many vehicles as I thought were necessary. He said we had between
18 50 and 60 vehicles there. He didn't know the exact --
19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction. People there, not
21 A. He didn't know the exact number, but that's what he told me. I
22 took the task very seriously, knowing what the volunteers were like and
23 that they would stop at nothing. I took off with three official vehicles.
24 There were 20 military policemen accompanying me. I thought that was as
25 many as I needed. There was a lorry, two Pinzgauers, and my official
1 vehicle. The commander told me, as I was about to set out, that
2 Simo Zaric would be waiting for me in Samac. I set out -- I reached Samac
3 in the late afternoon hours. It was getting dark. Outside the police
4 station and the TO staff was where we stopped. Simo Zaric was waiting for
5 us there. With him was Savo Cancarevic, a police officer; another man who
6 was there was another police officer, Topolovac. I think his name was
7 Mile. When we arrived outside the station, the first thing I did, I
8 handed out tasks to the commander of the military police to secure the
9 area surrounding the police station and the TO staff. Next thing,
10 Simo Zaric came up to me and he seem agitated. He said: "Hurry up, hurry
11 up. Let's get this over with as quick le as we can, because they will be
12 on their way already." And he was referring to the volunteers, who would
13 have posed a danger to this operation. I tried to calm him down. I said:
14 "There's no need to be afraid. I didn't come here alone, you see. I
15 brought the military police with me." But you just couldn't calm him
16 down. He was agitated.
17 And we entered the TO staff immediately.
18 JUDGE WILLIAMS: Excuse me. I think this is probably a matter of
19 translation, but three times - and we just heard it right now - in
20 English, we're saying the TO staff. Now, "staff" has a connotation of
21 people who work somewhere, but it seems that what the witness is talking
22 about is the TO building. Can we just have a clarification? Because from
23 page 60, on line 23, we have "TO staff," page 61, line 3, we have "TO
24 staff," and just now - I can't find the line, but - yes, line 11 on page
25 61, when we have the same expression.
1 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. When you talked about the TO staff, you were referring to the
3 building, the headquarters?
4 A. Yes. That was outside the TO building and the police station.
5 Q. Very well. Thank you. Can we please continue now.
6 A. After my attempt to calm Simo down, when I told him that we would
7 pull it off and that there wouldn't be any trouble, well, let me tell you,
8 I myself was pretty scared. I have no idea what I would have done had
9 those people stumbled upon us. We entered the TO building. They unlocked
10 the door to the room where those people were being kept. Simo Zaric stood
11 in the door. It was already getting dark and there was no lighting in the
12 building or in the police station, or in the TO building. There was no
13 electricity. There was a power cut, a power failure, all over the town.
14 Simo stood in the doorway and spoke to the detainees in the room. He told
15 them not to be afraid. He told them we were there, the army, and that we
16 would take them to the Brcko garrison, where they would be safe. He told
17 them that this was being done for their own safety. "Look at what they're
18 doing to you here, how they're treating you, and once we take you there,
19 you will be left well alone. No one will be mistreating you there."
20 They simply -- well, they -- I was standing behind Simo. All I
21 could see were silhouettes, and I didn't even know those people, hardly
22 anyone. I may have seen some of them before, but ... There was commotion
23 in the room. They asked no questions. When Simo explained this, all they
24 said -- someone from the group spoke up and said: "Thank you, Simo." And
25 Simo told Mile Topolovac to start gathering these people so that we could
1 leave as soon as possible. Topolovac called out their names. I was on my
2 way out back in the street. I was afraid that the members of special
3 forces would come. I didn't want anything bad to happen.
4 And then when I came back, Topolovac was using a lamp, a torch, to
5 call out names from a list. We didn't verify the people's identity. We
6 didn't check who was coming onto the truck. I didn't even count them.
7 There was no way for us to ID those people, but Simo knew most of those
8 people, and as they were passing, they knew who the people were. Some
9 people had been brought over from the police station, and they too boarded
10 the vehicles. Once they were in the vehicles and we were about to leave,
11 Simo spoke to them again, telling them not to do anything stupid. He told
12 them again that it was for their own safety, that we were now taking them
13 to Brcko, and he warned all of them against trying to jump off any of the
14 vehicles, because we were being escorted by military police. He warned
15 these people against putting themselves in danger, themselves or anyone
16 else, because part of the military police -- part of the task of the
17 military police was to prevent people from escaping. So people were
18 warned about this.
19 Another brief warning was given to them and then we headed off to
20 Brcko. None of the volunteers appeared, and that was good. We left the
21 town of Samac safely.
22 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Could I -- Mr. Pisarevic, could I ask a short
23 question in connection with these events?
24 You just walked into the TO building and the police station,
25 meeting no resistance from the policemen or the guards on duty? They just
1 let you in there?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, nobody questioned that. Most
3 probably the person on duty was probably one of these police officers,
4 whether it was Savo Cancarevic or Topolovac, and Simo had probably made an
5 agreement with them that we would come, so they knew about it.
6 Stevan Todorovic was not in Samac at that time. Maybe Simo had such
7 information and he wanted to do it on that day. Perhaps he had the
8 information that there wasn't a larger group of these Sareni in Samac on
9 that day, and that is why we picked that day for the transfer. I don't
10 know. I don't have information about where Stevan was or anything like
11 that. But nobody from the police prevented us.
12 JUDGE LINDHOLM: Thank you.
13 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Did Simo Zaric go together with you as you were escorting these
15 people to Brcko?
16 A. No, Simo didn't come with me. Simo stayed in Samac.
17 Savo Cancarevic and Topolovac also stayed behind. Only I went along with
18 the military police, the same people that I came with. We went to Brcko.
19 Q. When you arrived at Brcko, to the barracks, could you please
20 describe to us what happened there.
21 A. I just want to say that already in the village of Loncari when I
22 left the area of responsibility of the 17th Tactical Group and we were
23 entering into the zone of responsibility of the 395th Motorised Brigade, I
24 took a part of the police officers and told them to take a vehicle and go
25 to the Pelagicevo command post. Another part of the military police went
1 to Brcko, because I assessed that there was no longer any danger from the
2 people that I was afraid of originally.
3 Q. Thank you. Could you please tell us now what happened at the
4 Brcko barracks when you arrived there.
5 A. When I came to the Brcko barracks, we were told where to go at the
6 entrance by a military police officer. They were expecting us, and they
7 knew that we were coming. They told us to go to the premises where these
8 people that we were bringing would be accommodated. Since I had worked in
9 the Brcko barracks, I could see that they were not sending them to the
10 prison or to the detention section which existed in the barracks. It was
11 small; that is true. They sent us to a building where the company
12 warehouses were. This is where the military police officer told us to go.
13 When we came in front of those buildings, the lights were switched
14 off in front of the building, so the front of the buildings were not lit,
15 but there was light inside the buildings, and I was surprised to see masks
16 on the faces of the military policemen. This surprised me, because I
17 didn't know the reason for this, but I didn't ask any questions either why
18 they were wearing those masks. They were wearing those caps which you
19 pull over your face and which have openings only for the mouth and for the
20 eyes so that you could breathe. I guess they're used so that the persons
21 wearing them would not be recognised.
22 After that, the prisoners that we had brought were ordered to come
23 out of the vehicles, to line up, and to enter the rooms that were
24 allocated for them. Then, again, I had another surprise. As they were
25 entering, the military police was also inside. There was light now in
1 those rooms. And those prisoners were received in a rough manner. They
2 were searched using the police methods where they would place their hands
3 on the wall, spread their legs, and then they were searched. Before that,
4 there were also some blows administered. And particularly when I noticed
5 that the people who were searched then had their hands tied behind their
6 back. So they were tied and then they were brought into the room. I was
7 very surprised, because I know what our agreement was. We were going to
8 save these people, to spare them further abuse. And as soon as they came
9 in, the same thing began.
10 MR. PISAREVIC: [Interpretation] I think we have run out of time
11 now, so I would like to ask you to stop and we will continue tomorrow.
12 JUDGE MUMBA: We shall rise and continue our proceedings on
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Friday, the 28th day of
16 February 2003, at 2.15 p.m.