1 Wednesday, 8 May 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.19 p.m.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. May we proceed immediately
7 and please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon. This is Case Number IT-97-24-T,
9 the Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
11 And the appearances, please.
12 MR. WAIDYARATNE: Mr. Koumjian and case manager, Ruth Karper,
13 appears with me.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And the Defence, please.
15 MR. LUKIC: Good afternoon, Your Honour. Branko Lukic and Mr.
16 John Ostojic accompanied by Mr. Danilo Cirkovic for the Defence.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
18 May I ask the accused in person whether or not he is able to
19 follow the proceedings?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I should like to
21 apologise for what happened yesterday, although it was beyond my wishes,
22 this problem that arose yesterday. I feel a bit better today. It is true
23 that I still feel a little bit exhausted, but I do not feel often an
24 urgent need to go to the bathroom. Once again, my apologies to the Court
25 for yesterday, and thank you for understanding my situation yesterday.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And just in case there should arise
2 a problem, please let us know immediately. And once again, a special good
3 afternoon to you, Mr. Murselovic. And yes, the Prosecutor may start or
4 proceed with the examination-in-chief, please.
5 WITNESS: MUHAREM MURSELOVIC [Resumed]
6 [Witness answered through interpreter].
7 MR. WAIDYARATNE: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Examined by Mr. Waidyaratne: [Continued].
9 Q. Mr. Murselovic, on Monday, when we concluded, you were describing
10 the events in 1992 while you were detained in the Omarska camp.
11 A. [No Interpretation].
12 Q. You said that you were sometimes detained in the area called the
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And when you were detained in that area or any other place, for
16 instance, the Mujo's room, especially the pista, did you see a
17 yellow-coloured truck coming into the camp?
18 A. Yes. What I could see took place in the early afternoon hours.
19 Usually, it would stop by the white house, the so-called white house,
20 where bodies would lie. I was some 20 metres away from that spot, and
21 those dead bodies just lay about the lawn. Usually, they would be loaded
22 on to the truck when the truck arrived. The number varied from five, six,
23 seven, to 12 or 13. Mostly it was in the morning that we would see these
24 bodies, which would then subsequently be loaded on to this yellow small
25 truck -- small yellow truck which had a cabin, driver's cabin in the
1 front, and the back part was used to transport various cargo. And it was
2 in this back area of the truck that the bodies would be loaded. The
3 loading itself would last for about five or six minutes, after which the
4 truck would leave. It would be gone for about 30 to 45 minutes, and then
5 came back.
6 So we concluded that the bodies were taken to a place in the
7 vicinity. The truck would usually come back empty without the bodies.
8 Q. Now, Mr. Murselovic, you spoke about dead bodies. Do you know as
9 to who these people who were dead?
10 A. As I said, the area was some 20, 25, maybe even 30 metres away
11 from where I was, and it was not possible for me to recognise the bodies.
12 However, I know several people who died in my group, in the so-called
13 Mujo's room, who were taken out, whose bodies were taken out during the
14 day. They would usually die inside, in the room where we were as a result
15 of the beatings which they had undergone during the interrogation. And I
16 saw a couple of such dead bodies in the room. Several people died in the
17 room while we were there.
18 Q. So these were the bodies of the detainees?
19 A. Yes, the bodies of the detainees, the civilians. We saw this
20 truck, but we didn't see actually -- couldn't recognise the bodies, but
21 one could tell that they were detainees, civilians, wearing civilian
23 Q. Did you see the person who drove or did you come to know the
24 person who drove the truck?
25 A. No, I never learned that. There was talk about his identity, but
1 I don't remember who it was. Apparently, it was a former employee of the
2 mines who drove this truck, but I didn't know him, nor did I know his
3 name. I didn't try to learn his name, but I saw him.
4 Q. Now, Mr. Murselovic, going to another area, could you tell the
5 Court, the Chamber, as to when you left the Omarska camp.
6 A. It was sometime in early August 1992 after 60 or 65 days of
7 detention, according to my calculations. Names were suddenly called out,
8 and it was then that I was singled out together with a group of other
9 people and put into a garage, which after some time we left. We could see
10 that something was going on, but we didn't know what. The roll calls took
11 place every day. There was the first group, the second group, and the
12 third group of people. We didn't know what it all meant. And then it was
13 either on the fifth or the sixth of August that the buses arrived, and my
14 group, the one who were in the garage, was the first group to be called
15 out. Other buses followed. And according to our estimates, there were at
16 least ten or a dozen of such buses on to which we were subsequently
18 The camp guards didn't tell us anything about where we were going.
19 So we didn't know where we were off to. They all came to watch the whole
20 process of putting us on the buses. I think that we were over a hundred
21 in my bus. First, our names were read out, the names of the people from
22 the first group, from the garage, some 150, 160 of us. We were called out
23 first, and then another group of maybe 20 or 30 young men, civilians, were
24 added. So there were over a hundred of people in each bus.
25 So we set out that day on those buses. We were told to lie down
1 on the floor. No one was allowed to sit on the bus seats, but we were
2 made to lie down on the bus floor. We were not allowed to look up. We
3 couldn't raise our heads. We could not see anything through the window of
4 the bus.
5 Q. Where did the bus go to? Did you get to know as to where you all
6 were taken to?
7 A. Some people managed to take a peep outside, and they felt that we
8 were moving in the direction of Banja Luka. It lasted quite a while. I
9 think that it was 9.00 or 10.00 in the morning when all of us were finally
10 loaded on to the buses which didn't start for another hour maybe. And
11 then they moved in the direction of Banja Luka. As we were lying down, we
12 felt -- we realised that we were going towards Banja Luka. After all, we
13 know the area very well. But we were crowded, lying on top of one
14 another, lying on our stomachs, but in two -- how shall I put it --
15 layers. So as I said, we were moving along the road going towards Banja
16 Luka. But at one point, we realised we had passed Banja Luka. It wasn't
17 until later, 10.00 in the evening, that we realised that we -- where we
18 were going. We thought that we might end at Manjaca, because it used to
19 be an ex-JNA training ground. We were familiar with the spot, because
20 before the war, in peacetime, we were often called up to do military
21 exercises there. So we arrived there at about 10.00 or 11.00 in the
22 evening. It was pitch dark. Throughout that period of time, the doors of
23 the bus were tightly shut. The guards sat in the front. We were told to
24 vacate the first two rows of the seats on the bus which made quite a few
25 stops on the way.
1 The guards would leave the bus, and then come back again. We were
2 not able to look outside. We passed a number of villages, and we knew
3 that a lot of people stopped or were standing by the road as the buses
4 were passing through those villages. The people were shouting something,
5 throwing things at us. It was a bus which belonged to the public
6 transport company, and it had three doors. As we were lying down on our
7 stomachs, the guards walked on our backs, and they verbally abused us all
8 the time, telling us how we stank, how we balijas stank and various kinds
9 of verbal abuse. They also made us sing Serb songs such as the famous one
10 "Who is saying, who is lying, Serbia is small," and other Serbian
11 nationalist songs.
12 Before we left, they had given us some food which had gone bad,
13 some kind of beans, I think. And many detainees had to go to the
14 bathroom. They couldn't control themselves. They relieved themselves on
15 the bus. And it was terrible. It was disgusting. The heating was on,
16 and mind you, it was the 5th of August. So the heat was unbearable. I
17 suffer from diabetes, and I wanted to get close to the window as often as
18 I could to lick it a little bit because it was wet. I think it is, apart
19 from those days that I spent in the garage, in the camp, I think that this
20 was the worst day in my life, this transport to Manjaca.
21 When we arrived at about 10.00 or 11.00, they didn't let us go
22 out. They closed the doors of the bus. They let the heating on, and this
23 is how we spent the night.
24 The next day, at about 6.00 a.m., the situation, of course, was
25 terrible. We were all dirty, stinking. There was no water. The heating
1 was still on, and some people were taken out from the buses. For example,
2 I think I mentioned this already, a very good acquaintance of mine was
3 taken out of my bus, an elderly gentleman, Mr. Edo [as interpreted]
4 Crnalic. He was taken off the bus, and as soon as he was out, they
5 started beating him. But I believe I already told you that. After the
6 beating, he was thrown back. His body -- dead body was thrown back into
7 the bus.
8 Q. Mr. Murselovic, as the transcript states the name of the person,
9 Crnalic as Edo, is it Edo or Dedo?
10 A. Dedo, D-E-D-O. His real name is Dedo Crnalic. You see, this name
11 is often a nickname in my country, and it usually refers to an elderly
12 gentleman, but it also exists as a name.
13 Q. Now, do you recall any others who were taken out and beaten that
15 A. That night, an acquaintance of mine, Nezir Krak was taken off
16 another bus, and there were some other people who were taken off some
17 other buses. And the next morning when we got out, some people were
18 killed, including a young man whose name now escapes me, a former
19 neighbour of mine. He worked in the copying service of a local company.
20 We called him by a nickname, Djuzin. He had a sister whose name was
21 Djuza. I don't remember his family name. But anyway, we called him
22 Djuzin. And one of the guards as we were lining up -- actually, several
23 guards came up to him and started beating him and they beat him to death.
24 He never made it -- he never made it to the Manjaca camp actually.
25 Q. Was Nezir Krak also beaten and killed?
1 A. He was taken out that night just like Dedo and killed. I think
2 that there were six, seven, or eight other people who were killed in the
3 same way, the night we arrived in Manjaca.
4 Q. Is it correct if I say this was at the entrance of the Manjaca
6 A. Before the entrance to the Manjaca camp, on a clearing where the
7 buses were stationed during the night.
8 Q. How long did you stay in Manjaca? Is it correct if I say until
9 the 14th of November, 1992?
10 A. Correct, yes. It was on the 14th or the 15th that we were
11 assisted by the international Red Cross. When I say "we," I refer to the
12 oldest detainees, those who were born before 1951, that is, those who were
13 over 42, 43 years of age at the time. This first convoy carrying
14 detainees from the camp left on that day. It was escorted by the ICRC,
15 though the guards were also with us, however, the conditions were more or
16 less normal. This transport was much more humane. We sat normally on the
17 bus seats, and we went through the town of Banja Luka, and then further
18 via Gradiska, which at the time was the so-called UNPA zone. Nova
19 Gradiska is situated in Croatia. And it was then that we were taken to
20 Karlovac in Croatia. This transport took place on the 14th and the 15th
21 of November 1992.
22 Q. Mr. Murselovic, may I ask what serious injuries, if any, you
23 suffered due to the detention in the Omarska camp?
24 A. Well, I sustained injuries which I hope will not have a lasting
25 mark on my health. My ribs were fractured, and at times, I feel pain
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 there. And so far, I don't feel any other injuries. But even worse than
2 the injuries was the humiliation we had to suffer, this inhuman attitude
3 to us citizens. There were very many prominent citizens amongst us, very
4 honest entrepreneurs, intellectuals, and the wounds in our souls are
5 certainly more lasting than physical injuries.
6 Q. Mr. Murselovic, may I also ask you whether you lost any property
7 in Prijedor or any property of yours was damaged due to the conflict that
8 took place in 1992?
9 A. Like all other people from Prijedor, my property, too, was very
10 much damaged. Much of my property was, in fact, devastated, destroyed. An
11 entire building I owned, that I built, was destroyed. The damage was
12 quite considerable. But it is immoral to speak about material damage when
13 one has lost one's best friends and other people whom one knew as a child.
14 And, as I was a fairly well-to-do person, it is immoral to speak about
15 what I lost in terms of property. In the camp, I lost my very best
16 friends, dozens of very good friends, my colleagues that I worked with at
17 school, intellectuals which Prijedor was proud of. And this was a far
18 greater damage as far as I was concerned.
19 Q. Mr. Murselovic, finally, could you explain your present position
20 or the post that you hold in the Prijedor municipality and how that you
21 have come to that post?
22 A. As you know, and as I have already said in my testimony, I was
23 deputy of the Municipal Assembly as part of the multiparty system in 1990.
24 Following that, during the first elections after the war in 1997, I was
25 once again elected deputy. And I was appointed vice-president of the
1 assembly. At the third local elections held in 2000, I was once again
2 elected deputy and appointed as president of the Municipal Assembly with a
3 very large majority of the votes, of both the Bosniak and the Serb
5 Also, during the general elections in the year 2000, I was elected
6 as member of parliament of the assembly of Republika Srpska, and I am
7 there today also as representing the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor and in
8 election unit one. Now, I have been living in Prijedor for a period of
9 almost four years. I don't have any problems. Much has changed since.
10 And I have permanent residence in Prijedor. I have not had to deal with
11 provocations and unpleasant situations. We, who are engaged in having
12 people return, we are trying to create normal conditions for all people in
13 Prijedor, both for the Bosniaks, the Serbs, and the Croats. And today, I
14 can say that there are no major problems. The only problems are problems
15 of an economic nature. The economy is in a catastrophic situation, but
16 security problems no longer exist. The presence of the international
17 community is rather noticeable in Prijedor.
18 Q. And lastly, Mr. Murselovic, you're a member of the Initiative
19 Party still. Am I correct?
20 A. That small party ceased to exist. In 1996, 1997, I joined a party
21 called the "Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina." In a way, the party is a
22 fairly multiethnic one, and it is active on the whole territory of Bosnia
23 and Herzegovina. And I represent that party in the national assembly of
24 Republika Srpska.
25 MR. WAIDYARATNE: Thank you, Your Honour. That concludes the
1 direct examination. Thank you.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
3 May I ask the Defence to start immediately with the
5 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Cross-examined by Mr. Lukic:
7 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Murselovic. My name is
8 Branko Lukic, and along with Mr. Ostojic, I am representing Dr. Stakic.
9 You have given us -- the Prosecution exhaustive explanations, and
10 we ask your assistance to help us in clarifying some points.
11 A. I will do this to the best of my ability, if I am able to.
12 Q. Thank you. We will be faced with a problem, because we're
13 speaking the same language, so I kindly ask you that once I have asked my
14 question, that you make a break so that the interpreters can do their job.
15 Thank you.
16 On page 2 of your statement of January 2002, that is, of this
17 year, this current year, paragraph 1 of the B/C/S version, page 1,
18 paragraph 2 of the English version also, you said: "A few years ago, I
19 gave a statement to the ICTY. And I would like to give additional
20 information and explanations." Do you remember having said that?
21 A. Yes, I remember.
22 Q. To your mind, what was not clear in your statement made on
23 December 14th, 1997?
24 A. I really don't know what was unclear then. I believe that I was
25 asked to supplement some points because it was herein that I could be a
1 witness when the accused was Mr. Kovacevic, might have been Mr. Kovacevic,
2 and this is possibly the reason why they had me make the statement. In
3 1997, there was no special reason for this.
4 Could you perhaps be more specific in asking questions?
5 Q. Well, here is something specific. You were first arrested on May
6 23rd, 1992, Saturday evening. Were you asked about arms, weapons then?
7 A. Well, I explained this in great detail, how the arrest took place.
8 And at the time, as far as weapons were concerned, I had my service gun,
9 which I had had before. And the two policemen were discussing whether to
10 take the weapon away from me or not. And then we started walking, and I
11 said: "There were no problems." They didn't ask me to come back. I went
12 to the police station.
13 Q. On April -- on May 30th, 1992, you surrendered your arm to Ranko
15 A. Yes, he asked me to do so. I returned home. I'm not a person who
16 likes arms. I only kept arms because I was a fairly well-to-do person, so
17 I had to use it for protection. Well, they came down, waited for me, took
18 away my gun and my license, and then gave that to Ranko Vujasinovic.
19 Q. Was there any shooting on that day in Prijedor?
20 A. Yes, there was.
21 Q. Was that the day Prijedor was attacked?
22 A. I don't know what you're referring to when you say "attacked." On
23 April 30th, Prijedor was attacked. It was then that the SDS attacked
24 Prijedor with arms and took over power. To my mind, this was an attack
25 against the legal institutions, the legal authorities, and against the
1 citizens and the entire town, to set up an abnormal state of affairs. And
2 to my mind, this was the attack on Prijedor, but I must confess and say
3 that on May 30th, there had been shooting. I didn't know what was going
4 on. Later on, during subsequent events and talks, and the contacts I
5 had -- during the contacts I had at the camp, I was told that there had
6 been an attempt -- I don't know how to explain this -- of an organised --
7 organised by the Bosniaks and Croats to restore the situation in Prijedor
8 to its previous state. I must say I cannot explain this. I think it was
9 a very skillful, cunning attempt and ploy because in Prijedor at the time,
10 there were huge quantities of heavy weapons in Prijedor, tanks. People
11 were fully armed, and I don't see how a small group of people, however it
12 may seem brave and silly, how they could attack a town which has at least
13 a population of 50.000. I couldn't believe this. Truly it seemed very
14 naive to me, if that had actually happened. I found out about it only
16 Q. You said that you owned two restaurants, one restaurant, and one
17 fast-food place.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You said that Milomir Stakic occasionally visited your --
20 frequented your establishments?
21 A. Yes, from time to time. During the war events and the aftermath,
22 I actually did see him with Rajic at my snack bar. But he did not come
23 frequently. At least, I did not pay much attention to him. But I do
24 remember, it is still vivid in my mind, I know where he and Mr. Cehajic
25 stood, at the entrance on the left-hand side. They were standing and
1 having breakfast. This was in the morning hours, and it was only natural
2 because they worked together.
3 Q. Did Milomir Stakic know you were a Bosniak?
4 A. Of course he did. The names differ. One can tell by someone's
5 name what ethnic background he is. Of course he knew I was a Bosniak.
6 Q. On page 2, paragraph 4 of the B/C/S version of your statement, the
7 same page, and I believe the same paragraph in the English version of your
8 statement, you declared -- you stated the following: "I believe that
9 Cehajic was involved in the work of the Executive Board more than what was
10 the President of the assembly supposed to do, the reason being the fact
11 that Kovacevic probably did not correctly fulfill his duties." Is this
12 correct? Did you state that?
13 A. Yes, it is correct. And my opinion has not changed since. I
14 believe that in situations of various forms of obstruction, such as
15 failure to attend meetings and sessions, failure to fulfill one's duties,
16 the Executive Board, being a body in charge of preparing documents for the
17 national assembly, because it's an executive body, but we believed -- we
18 deputies believed that Dr. Kovacevic, the president of the Executive
19 Board, had a very relaxed attitude towards his work. I received some
20 reports, being a deputy to the assembly, to the effect that he failed to
21 attend meetings of the Executive Board. And then Cehajic, being the most
22 responsible official, to harmonise the work and to solve the problem, I
23 think that he maybe didn't have to do that. I think that instead of doing
24 that, instead of investing a lot of effort of his own, he should have
25 tried to make Mr. Kovacevic do his job properly. But that was their
1 business. However, it was something that we talked about.
2 Q. Can you give us some specific examples of the involvement of
3 Cehajic in the work of the Executive Board?
4 A. I was not a member of the Executive Board myself. And in my
5 capacity of an assembly deputy, although I could attend meetings of the
6 Executive Board, I did not. And I didn't have to attend these meetings.
7 So I don't know. However, it was the overall impression that Mr.
8 Kovacevic was not sufficiently interested in the work he was supposed to
9 do. This is what was talked about in the corridors of the assembly. I
10 don't know what the official position was. I know that Mr. Cehajic wanted
11 the assembly to function as best as it could. But this obstruction of the
12 work of the assembly lasted for far too long. Sessions were not being
13 held regularly, and it was Cehajic's desire, as the highly responsible
14 official, the most responsible official, to have it function properly. To
15 what extent he was able to make it happen, I don't know.
16 Q. What about the president of the Municipal Assembly? Did he have
17 the right to perform the work and fulfill the duties of the president of
18 the Executive Board?
19 A. In this type of situations, and in view of the overall structure
20 of this service, the president of the Municipal Assembly was
21 representative both of the legislative and the executive power. There is
22 the mayor of the assembly, and the president of the Municipal Assembly. He
23 was an embodiment, so to speak, of both legislative and executive power.
24 He was superior to the overall municipal administration. Municipal
25 administration was completely under his competence, so it was his, not
1 only right, but his duty and obligation to monitor the work of the
2 Executive Board because it was the Municipal Assembly that had elected the
3 Executive Board. And the Executive Board was responsible and subordinate
4 to the Municipal Assembly.
5 Q. Would you be so kind and tell the Chamber and myself what
6 particular regulation stipulates what you have just described?
7 A. This was provided for by the then legislation, the appropriate
8 provisions. There is a new law on the issue which is called the law on
9 municipal administration today. However, it was not applicable at that
10 time and the functions of the head of the municipality and the president
11 of the Municipal Assembly were not clearly divided. This new law, which
12 was promulgated in the year 2000, strictly divides the scope of duties of
13 the legislative body and the executive body. In accordance with this new
14 law, I am no longer the president of the municipality, the head of the
15 municipality; I am the president of the Municipal Assembly, and there is
16 another individual who is a head -- the head of the municipality.
17 And he is in charge of the overall municipal administration. And
18 he's in a position to employ and dismiss officials. And whatever used to
19 be the province of -- this used to be the province of the president of the
20 municipality before. Now, these two functions, these two offices, are
21 strictly divided, which did not used to be the case. By enforcing these
22 new provisions, I think we have come closer to the western model of local
24 And I should like to add one more point: As the president of the
25 municipality, I'm no longer in a superior position to anyone within the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 municipal administration. I have, as my subordinate bodies, various
2 specific bodies that I am in charge of. As for the municipal
3 administration, it has nothing to do with me. I am not in a superior
4 position to any official of the municipal administration. And that is the
5 major difference between now and then.
6 Q. Let us clear the matter further on. Was there a law on local
7 government in 1991 and 1992?
8 A. I don't know what the name of this law was. However, as it is
9 now, the law of local administration and local government, it did not
10 exist at the time. Not in this shape and form.
11 Q. The work of the Municipal Assembly, was it regulated by a statute,
12 a statute of the Prijedor municipality?
13 A. Yes, it was. Of course, there was a statute and the rules of
14 procedure of the assembly, Municipal Assembly.
15 Q. Does this statute provide for what you have just explained, that
16 the president of the municipality was superior to the municipal
18 A. Yes, I believe that that was the case. You're asking me something
19 which was effected a long time before I became a member of the local
20 government, but I know that he was superior to all of us.
21 Q. Was Mr. Cehajic president of the municipality or president of the
22 Municipal Assembly?
23 A. I shall repeat it once again for you. He was the president of the
24 municipality, the president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, and
25 also the president of the overall municipal administration, whereas today,
1 these two offices are separate. Today there is the president of the
2 assembly or parliament, local parliament. The word "assembly" usually
3 refers to a collective body.
4 Q. The official name is the Municipal Assembly?
5 A. Yes, you're right. And I am, by my function, the president of the
6 Prijedor Municipal Assembly. That is the name of the office that I hold
7 now. I am a chief of the assembly, which consist of various political
8 parties. They make decisions, and I chair their sessions.
9 Q. Can we, therefore, conclude, that Mr. Cehajic was also the
10 president of the Municipal Assembly? Was that also the official title of
11 his office, or was he the president of the municipality?
12 A. Well, he was the president of the municipality. He was the
13 president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor and the municipality of
14 Prijedor. That's what I'm trying to tell you. This was one and the same
15 office at the time.
16 Q. Will you please be so kind and tell me the name of his office?
17 A. He was the president of the municipality. No, I'm sorry,
18 president of the Municipal Assembly.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We should have it quite clear, could you please
20 repeat the answer. We have a problem with the transcript.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Cehajic was the president of the
22 municipality. That is, the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor. He was the
23 president of the Prijedor Municipal Assembly.
24 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Can we agree that his duties and authority were stipulated in the
1 statute of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor and described in the rules
2 of procedure of the Prijedor Municipal Assembly?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Was it possible for you, did it have the right to fulfill the
5 duties, which were not envisaged as such by the statute and the rules of
6 procedure of the Prijedor Municipal Assembly?
7 A. As I told you, he had the obligation of supervising the work of
8 the municipal administration and its bodies. It was his responsibility.
9 He was in charge of coordinating the work of various services within the
10 municipality. I have already stated, but I will repeat that it was our
11 opinion that Mr. Kovacevic should have engaged himself more, should have
12 invested more effort in his work. That is what we discussed amongst us.
13 But he certainly worked in accordance with the statute and the rules of
15 Q. Thank you. On the same page, page 2, paragraph 6, you stated the
16 following: "Today, 1992, [as interpreted] the Municipal Assembly of
17 Prijedor is organised in a different way than it was the case in 1992."
18 "Before the war, the assembly had both executive and legislative
19 authority. At that time, the president of the assembly was also the head
20 of the administration." Now, it means that the assembly had both
21 executive and legislative authority. Are you aware of the fact that, in
22 accordance with the laws of the former Yugoslavia, it was strictly
23 forbidden for one particular body to be vested with both types of
24 authority, the legislative and the executive authority, and that the laws
25 of the former Yugoslavia expressly envisaged the three-fold nature of
1 government, whereby it was divided in legislative, judicial, and executive
2 government, that is the typical three-fold division of power?
3 A. Let me tell you one thing: Everything was possible in the former
4 Yugoslavia, in accordance with its laws. I know that the usual division
5 of power is into legislative, executive, and judicial power in a typical
6 western democracy. That is the case in my country today. But, before the
7 relevant provisions were passed in the year 2002, before these elections
8 and before various reports were made by the international organisations
9 inside Bosnia-Herzegovina, there was the president of the municipality and
10 the president of the Municipal Assembly. But the president of the
11 municipality was responsible, both for the functioning of the municipal
12 administration and was also in charge of presiding over the Municipal
13 Assembly. That was the case before. However, today, we have the normal
14 democratic division of power into the legislative power, the executive
15 power, and the judicial power. But that, once again, was not the case
16 prior to 2002. The president of the municipality also presided over the
17 assembly and was in charge of the municipal administration. I think that
18 this is common knowledge to those who are involved in this issue. It was
19 a novelty which was introduced in 2002.
20 Today, we have the office of the president of the Municipal
21 Assembly, who is the representative of the legislative power. And we have
22 the head of municipality, who represents the executive power and is the
23 chief of the overall municipal administration. These two offices are
24 strictly apart. Of course, we have the judiciary, which is the third
25 component of the government, but that is a different matter. I believe
1 that things are clear.
2 Q. I, too, think that things are clear, Mr. Murselovic, but not --
3 but they are not as you are trying to describe them unfortunately.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Questions and not comments at this time.
5 MR. LUKIC: [In English] Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. [Interpretation] The Municipal Assembly, did it have executive
7 authority prior to 1992, and was this power embodied in the Executive
8 Board of the Municipal Assembly?
9 A. Yes, that was the case. But this Executive Board was representing
10 the executive authority. What you're saying is true, but the president of
11 the municipality was also the president of both the legislative and
12 executive authority.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please be asked to slow down.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: First, slow down, please. In the interest of
15 interpretation, we want to understand you in a language we understand. And
16 please, do not overlap, as it was the case right now. Thank you.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Would you please be so kind and tell us the name of the statutory
19 document which provides for what you're telling us today, or is it the
20 case that you don't know the title of this document?
21 A. Of course this was all provided for in the statute and the rules
22 of procedure of the municipality.
23 Q. Thank you. The Municipal Assembly was responsible to whom or to
24 which body for its work?
25 A. What do you mean?
1 Q. Was the Municipal Assembly responsible to anyone for its work?
2 A. Well, the Municipal Assembly is responsible, first of all, to the
3 electorate. Its responsibility derives from the fact that they had been
4 elected for this purpose, to pass on various laws, make amendments, and so
5 on and so forth.
6 Q. What about the Executive Board? Who was it responsible to? To
7 the president of the Municipal Assembly or to the Municipal Assembly?
8 A. It was responsible both to the president of the assembly and the
9 Municipal Assembly in general.
10 Q. Was that, according to you, also provided for in the statute of
11 the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor?
12 A. Yes, I believe that that was still the case, even today.
13 Q. I attempted to elicit an answer to that effect a moment ago. Could
14 you perhaps now tell us at least one part of the executive authority which
15 could be fulfilled by the president of the municipality?
16 A. He could, for example, dismiss employees of the municipality. He
17 could make -- he could influence the overall organisation of the
18 municipality, make changes, and he signed documents to that effect in his
19 capacity as the president of the municipality. He was also able to -- he
20 could control the overall functioning of the executive authority, because
21 it was the municipality itself that had elected this executive authority.
22 So, all these reports were submitted to the Municipal Assembly and its
24 MR. LUKIC: [In English] Could the usher give the witness Exhibit
25 Number D3, please. It's the statute of Prijedor municipality.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It's a draft statute.
2 MR. LUKIC: Draft statute. That's right.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, counsel, please.
4 MR. LUKIC: Could you show to the witness Article Number 40, 4-0.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Murselovic, could you please read Article 40
6 of the statute.
7 A. Article 40: "The president of the Municipal Assembly shall
8 represent the assembly. The president of the assembly shall convene and
9 organise assembly sessions and preside over them. The president of the
10 assembly may initiate debates on matters within the competence of the
11 assembly. The president of the assembly shall submit proposals for
12 general enactments and reports, information, analyses, and other documents
13 addressed to the assembly to the working bodies of the assembly. The
14 president shall hear the solemn declaration by the officials elected or
15 appointed by the assembly, unless otherwise prescribed by the statute.
16 The president of the assembly should perform other tasks as this defined
17 by the statute."
18 Q. Can you see here or in any other place in the statute -- can you
19 see that the president of the Municipal Assembly holds any executive
21 A. I don't know. I don't see whether this is the official statute of
22 the municipality of Prijedor. June 1991. Working document.
23 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, it would be a convenient time to have a
24 break now so we give the witness a chance to go through the document, and
25 that way he could find if there is any executive powers in the hands of
1 the president of the Municipal Assembly.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Probably you can come back later, and the
3 witness may have the right during the break to read -- I emphasise -- this
4 draft statute. And may I make this proposal also, in the light that we
5 all know that a document can be read only as a whole, and it doesn't make
6 much sense to concentrate on one article only, and therefore it would make
7 sense to go on to -- with other questions right now.
8 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I'll proceed.
9 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Murselovic, can you turn to Article 53. We
10 spoke about the responsibility of the Executive Board. Could you kindly
11 read Article 53 to the Chamber.
12 A. "The executive organ of the municipality shall be the executive
13 committee. Within the framework of the rights and duties of the
14 municipality, the executive committee shall be accountable to the
15 Municipal Assembly for the proposing and implementation of policy,
16 decisions, and other regulations and general enactments, as well as for
17 the direction and coordination of the work of the municipal administration
18 bodies and organisations. The executive committee shall exercise its
19 rights and perform its duties on the basis, and in accordance with, the
20 constitution, this statute, and the law."
21 Q. Is it said anywhere that the president of the Executive Board is
22 responsible to the president of the assembly?
23 A. It is not specified here, but it is said that within the assembly,
24 the Executive Board is formed, is formed within the assembly.
25 Q. To your mind, the president of the Municipal Assembly, could he
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 decide independently on matters pertaining to the assembly of the
3 A. Probably not. That is why he had a vice-president. And in a way,
4 that is why he was responsible to the assembly. Now, whether he could do
5 these things on his own, I don't believe he could.
6 Q. For a decision of the Municipal Assembly, would it require a
7 majority vote in the assembly for the decision to be accepted?
8 A. Yes. There are some decisions that can be adopted on the basis of
9 a two-thirds majority vote and a majority vote. All this has been
10 specified in this statute.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 You, as president of the Municipal Assembly, do you have to sign a
13 decision for which you voted against, if this is the decision of the
14 Municipal Assembly?
15 A. As a president, if the assembly adopt a decision on the basis of a
16 majority vote, regardless of the -- my views, I have to sign such a
17 document. If something is not contrary to law or contrary to the
19 Q. In other words, you have the right to refuse to sign a decision
20 adopted by the assembly?
21 A. In practice, this rarely happened. The decisions that are adopted
22 by the assembly, well, I am duty-bund to sign such decisions. This is
23 stipulated in the statute.
24 Q. Do you know who was superior to the professional services of the
1 A. I said, as far as the professional services, well, the president
2 of the assembly was the superior body, as far as they were concerned.
3 Q. Could you read Articles 50 and 51 of the statute.
4 A. "The assembly secretary shall assist the assembly president in the
5 preparations and organisations of the assembly sessions. The assembly
6 secretary shall be appointed for a period of four years and can be
7 appointed for no more than two consecutive terms." I must say that the
8 secretary is always responsible for the work of the assembly services, but
9 the president and the -- that is today, the secretary is responsible to
10 the president. The assembly services, well -- actually, the secretary
11 holds administrative responsibility, but the assembly services are
12 responsible to the president. The president signs all the decisions of
13 the assembly.
14 If you allow me -- well, you asked me about something. Can I read
15 Article 56? "On the basis of a decision of the assembly, the work and the
16 organisation of the Executive Board is set up." Which means the assembly
17 organises the work of the Executive Board.
18 Q. Can we agree that this is not a matter dealt with by the president
19 of the assembly?
20 A. The president of the assembly, in any case, he presides over the
21 assembly, and he is the most responsible person. He signs all the
22 documents relevant to organisation and the work of the Executive Board.
23 Q. How many votes does the president of the assembly have?
24 A. Only one vote.
25 Q. Can you explain this better? Well, you're not explaining it to
1 us. With one vote, does he have the right to vote once or several times?
2 A. He has the right to vote only once, the same as all the other
4 Q. Thank you.
5 How many persons are employed in the assembly services of the
6 assembly, more or less?
7 A. Approximately four to five persons.
8 Q. What is the employment figure of the assembly?
9 A. About 150.
10 Q. On page 2, paragraph 7, not of the statute, of your statement, you
11 say: "Before 1992, the assembly did have a say in who was the chief of
12 the local police."
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. "But for its day-to-day working, it was primarily responsible to
15 its own regional administration and hierarchy." Do you remember having
16 said that in your statement?
17 A. This is my opinion: The police was called a municipal secretariat
18 for internal affairs, and it was called -- it was referred to as "SUP,"
19 "interior," "internal affair," secretariat for internal affairs, which
20 means that it was a municipal body. That was the organisation then,
21 although things tended to change. At that particular point in time, it
22 was referred to as "SUP".
23 Q. In other words, SUP was part of the Municipal Assembly?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Then how do you know explain this? You said it was one of the
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: [Previous translation continues]... We want to
3 understand your comments, please.
4 Please proceed.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. To your mind, what this SUP one of the secretariats of the
7 Municipal Assembly?
8 A. At the time, it was one of the secretariats of the Municipal
10 Q. You said that the municipality had a regional administration. Is
11 the term "municipality" broader than the term "region"?
12 A. I don't know how it has been written here, but I would like to
13 clarify the point. The attitude towards the police, and between the
14 municipality and the police frequently changed. Now, this body is
15 referred to as "MUP," ministry of internal affairs of the interior. In
16 that case, the ministry is responsible for the whole organisation of the
17 police. If it is referred to as "SUP" that means that it is one of the
18 secretariats of the Municipal Assembly. At the time the Municipal
19 Assembly, in some way, appointed Mr. Hasan Talundzic as chief of the
20 police, which means that the municipality appointed him chief of police of
21 the municipality of Prijedor.
22 Q. Do you know when this SUPs, the secretariats of the interior, when
23 did they become MUPs, that is to say ministries of the interior?
24 A. I don't know exactly when this happened.
25 Q. Can we agree that this was in 1990?
1 A. I don't know exactly when this happened, when the organisation was
2 set up. I know that the head of the police was appointed in some way by
3 the municipality in early 1990, when the elections took place.
4 Q. When the designation "SUP" was changed to "MUP," did anything
5 change in terms of organisation of that service, or was it simply a matter
6 of changing names?
7 A. I believe that when the designations changed, I believe that the
8 links with the ministry of the interior became stronger in terms of
9 organisation and in terms of responsibility to the Ministry of the
10 Interior. But in any case, they were responsible for the situation in the
11 municipality, security matters, dismissing and employing workers. I don't
12 know what exactly the organisation was within the police.
13 Q. Do you know anything about the organisation of the police?
14 A. I don't know. But we use the term "MUP" then that associates --
15 it's an association of stronger links with the Ministry of the Interior.
16 Q. When the appellation "SUP" was changed to "MUP," did structural
17 changes take place within that organisation? Are you aware of that?
18 A. No, I don't know.
19 MR. LUKIC: Your Honours, would it be a convenient time now? It's
20 an hour and a half after we started.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, indeed, it would be convenient now. But
22 before we have the break, without going into any details, and of course
23 I've got your point, I should invite you to ask only questions about the
24 real knowledge of the witness and not to try to start a judicial
25 examination of this witness, because we have to find facts and not grey
2 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, this witness yesterday -- actually, the
3 day before went in a length describing the organisational MUP and SUP. So
4 I had to --
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I said I've got your point, but please insert
7 MR. LUKIC: We have to challenge his view of this organisation.
8 Thank you.
9 MR. KOUMJIAN: I was just going to ask for a time estimate from
10 the Defence. We have another witness, and I doubt we're going to get to
11 that witness this afternoon and I'd like to excuse him if counsel agrees.
12 MR. LUKIC: This witness is pretty eloquent, and good speaker. He
13 tries to describe a lot about every question, so I think if we proceed in
14 this manner, that it will take the whole day to question this witness.
15 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think in the interest of the waiting witness,
17 it would be better to excuse the witness as the Judges also have some
18 questions. Then we will meet again at 10 minutes past 4.00.
19 --- Recess taken at 3.46 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 4.14 p.m.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. Before we start again, I
22 really want to ask Mr. Murselovic and the Defence counsel first to take
23 care that we can identify the answer on the computer before you start with
24 the answer or the next question; otherwise, we can't hear your answer in
25 the appropriate way, and we are really interested in both the questions
1 and the entire answers. And to come back to the question mentioned
2 before, the Defence may really take into account the distinction between
3 an expert witness and a witness. And it's not -- there may be other
4 possibilities to demonstrate what possibly is the intention of the Defence
5 to make an expedition in the law of the municipality in theory and to
6 point out possible discrepancies, possible developments. But a witness
7 should be strictly only asked on questions on facts, but not on the law.
8 Please understand that.
9 MR. LUKIC: Your Honour, I'm trying to quote his words. And
10 afterwards, I'm -- all my questions follow from the parts -- either the
11 parts of the statement of this witness, either from parts from yesterday's
12 transcript -- of actually the day before yesterday. So I think that we
13 have to clarify a few questions regarding the law which has been discussed
14 by this witness.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Please proceed.
16 MR. LUKIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Murselovic, on page 2, paragraph 7 of the
18 B/C/S version of your statement, page 2, paragraph 7 of the English
19 version as well, of your statement given in 2002, you state as follows:
20 "The assembly did have a say in who was the chief of the local police."
21 Were you referring to the head of the public security station in
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you know that as far as the three national parties are
25 concerned, the SDS, SDA, and HDZ, that there was an interparty agreement
1 on mutual establishment of government and the division of offices at
2 various levels within the municipality? Were you aware of such an
4 A. Yes, I was.
5 Q. Let me remind you: The agreement in question envisaged that, at
6 the municipal level, the party with the majority of votes will nominate
7 its candidate for the president of the Municipal Assembly, and also, that
8 it will nominate the candidate for the head of the public security
9 station. Do you know that the SDA in Prijedor, that is, the Prijedor
10 branch of the SDA, on the basis of this agreement, nominated Mr. Hasan
11 Talundzic to the post of the chief of the public security station?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you know who eventually appointed Mr. Hasan Talundzic to the
14 position of the public security station chief?
15 A. I don't know who it was who appointed him. It was 12 years ago. I
16 am aware of such an agreement, and I know that the office in question was
17 supposed to go to the Party for Democratic Action.
18 Q. Do you know that the minister of the Ministry of the Interior was
19 the only authority who was able to appoint Mr. Hasan Talundzic to the post
20 of the chief of public security station in Prijedor and signed a decision
21 to that effect?
22 A. I am not aware of this detail. It may be true. I believe it is
23 true. However, at the local level, it was an interparty agreement that
24 the post in question should go to the SDA, which means that consultations
25 to that effect had been conducted at the municipality.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. As regards the talks and negotiations concerning the division of
2 power, were there any other participants apart from these three political
3 associations? Were any other parties also involved?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Were other political parties represented at the Prijedor Municipal
7 A. As far as I know, they were not. The three parties, the three
8 main parties, the SDS, the SDA, and the HDZ, which was a rather small
9 party in this area, the Bosnian HDZ, because it got only two posts within
10 the assembly. But it also participated to a certain degree in these
11 agreements. So these three political parties had a total of 60 deputies
12 and constituted a majority, so they were able to reach decisions to that
13 effect. The remaining deputies had no say in the matter. And that is how
14 it happened.
15 Q. On the same page, page 2, in the last paragraph of the B/C/S
16 version, you state as follows: "At one of the meetings, Cehajic -- I
17 leave something out -- proposed that no police officer of Serb nationality
18 should be dismissed but that Muslims should be appointed to their
19 positions." Is that correct? Did you state this?
20 A. With your permission, I should like to elaborate the point. Mr.
21 Cehajic, as the president of the municipality, spoke about a
22 disproportionate ratio between the number of residents and the number of
23 employees in the police service. He spoke about the statistical data
24 regarding particular ethnic groups and to what extent their members
25 participated in the police service. And he drew the attention to an
1 obvious disproportion in the surrounding municipalities. He mentioned to
2 that effect the municipality of Bosanski Novi, Bosanska Dubica, Prijedor,
3 and so on and so forth. And he said that -- he showed us the data
4 according to the last census in terms of ethnic background, and the number
5 of employees in the police service. So this ratio was disproportionate.
6 And Mr. Cehajic requested that the two should be brought closer together;
7 that is, that a balance should be struck between the ethnic groups and the
8 number of employees in the police force, which was perfectly
10 And he said at the time that they did not ask for police officers
11 of Serb nationality who constituted majority in the police service and
12 outnumbered others and did not adequately reflect the number of Serbs
13 living in the Prijedor municipality, that they should not be dismissed.
14 However, that this disproportion should be taken into account so when new
15 posts are made vacant, that the new coming police officers be Bosniaks or
16 Croats so that an appropriate balance should be struck. So that was his
17 proposal, which was opposed, and not only opposed but severely criticized,
18 in the assembly.
19 Q. Can you remember when this particular session was held?
20 A. I believe it was sometime in 1991.
21 Q. Are you aware of the fact that the Municipal Assembly is not
22 competent to discuss these matters or to reach relevant decisions?
23 A. Please, the Municipal Assembly discussed the issue. I cannot
24 agree with you when you say that Municipal Assembly cannot discuss the
25 matter. It's a political issue. The Municipal Assembly has the right to
1 discuss the position of a particular ethnic group if they believe that the
2 said ethnic group is not sufficiently represented in the government. And
3 it was perfectly normal for a Municipal Assembly, if they had nominated
4 their person to the position of the chief of police, to remain involved in
5 the matter. Because they nominated not only the chief of police, but his
6 deputy and a number of other assistants. So their interest was perfectly
7 natural. They did not want to see this disproportion that I just
8 described. This was a very important area, because the chief of police
9 was in charge of the security of the municipality, and it cooperated
10 closely with the Municipal Assembly. It provided the Municipal Assembly
11 with the information they needed and so on and so forth.
12 Q. The MUP of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the
13 time, was it an autonomous body?
14 A. What do you mean by "autonomous"?
15 Q. Was the MUP responsible to anyone outside the usual chain of
16 command and responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior? Was it
17 responsible to anyone outside this ministry?
18 A. If it was the Municipal Assembly who appointed officials to
19 leading positions, and you, yourself, pointed out that it was a political
20 agreement, an interparty agreement, as to who should have these posts, of
21 course then the Municipal Assembly had to know that an ethnic group -- the
22 Municipal Assembly had to make sure that an ethnic group is adequately
23 represented in the police force. But it is highly probable that as far as
24 a hierarchy is concerned, it was the ministry of the republic, yes, the
25 republic, the socialist republic at the time, coordinated -- and not only
1 coordinated, but was superior to the secretariat of the interior in
3 Q. I will have to go back a little. I should like to know whether it
4 was the political parties who proposed their candidates to the post of the
5 public security station chief or was it the Municipal Assembly who
6 nominated candidates?
7 A. As you said, it was the political parties that were represented at
8 the Municipal Assembly that made such proposals.
9 Q. Was this proposal submitted to the Prijedor Municipal Assembly, or
10 to the Ministry of the Interior of the Socialist Republic of
12 A. You spoke about an agreement and approval. We have to make an
13 important distinction here. An "approval" is a formal act issued by a
14 specific body. And an "agreement" is something different. The candidates
15 are proposed by the local community. And, as you yourself have indicated,
16 certain ministries today provide only their approval for a candidate. But
17 the proposal itself, the nomination of the candidate itself, is agreed
18 upon at the local level.
19 Q. I said at the local level, between the political parties. Do you
20 agree with that?
21 A. Yes, absolutely, at the local level between the parties who won
22 the majority at the elections, and that was the case with the Prijedor
23 municipality and its assembly.
24 Q. Are you making a distinction between proposals or nominations of
25 candidates and the discussions as to who should be a candidate?
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 Q. Who was able -- who could propose a candidate to a post?
3 A. The ministry gives its approval -- the assembly gives its
5 Q. Yes, but who makes nominations? Who proposes candidates?
6 A. I believe it is the Municipal Assembly, but I'm not sure. When
7 they agreed that the post should go to the Party of Democratic Action and
8 the person in question was a Bosniak from Prijedor, it was an agreement.
9 After the -- all of the candidates had been proposed, I think that we also
10 gave our opinion on the candidate in question.
11 Q. On page 3 of your statement 2002, paragraph 1, you state as
12 follows: "Talundzic couldn't do much because the majority of policemen
13 who were his subordinates were of Serbian ethnic background and would not
14 cooperate with him." Do you remember stating -- having stated this?
15 A. Yes, that is correct.
16 Q. How come you're aware of these problems?
17 A. Because it was publicly discussed. People talked about the fact
18 that Mr. Talundzic did not have any significant influence in what was
19 going on within the police force. Before that, he had never been with the
21 Q. Was this problem discussed at the Prijedor Municipal Assembly?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Did you discuss this with Mr. Talundzic himself?
24 A. Well, I used to meet with him quite often. And in these contacts
25 with him, he would often complain that some of his subordinates did not
1 obey him.
2 Q. The Ministry of the Interior of the Socialist Republic of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, do you know who they were responsible to, outside
4 their usual chain of command and their usual hierarchy?
5 A. I don't know. This was not part of my duties. They probably were
6 responsible to the president, probably to the president of the government
7 of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
8 Q. So were they responsible to the government?
9 A. Obviously. That is the case with all major systems in the world.
10 Q. Do you know who they reported to? Apart from the government, to
11 whom they were responsible?
12 A. I don't know.
13 Q. Do you know that the Ministry of the Interior had their statutory
14 provisions which stipulated their internal relationships, the rules of
15 service, and command and control within the force?
16 A. Of course I'm aware that such a document existed. The police
17 force would not have been able to function without a document of the kind.
18 Q. Did you ever have an opportunity of reading any law, any
19 regulations governing this particular issue?
20 A. No.
21 Q. On page 3, paragraph 2 of the B/C/S version, page 2, before-last
22 paragraph of the English version, you stated the following: "I do not
23 know who is responsible for appointing new police officers. And if the
24 assembly had a role in that. I think the Prijedor public security station
25 had the authority to higher junior officers."
1 Do you remember having said that?
2 A. I still maintain the same opinion. They were not imported from
3 anywhere. There was a service that dealt with employing police officers,
4 and these were all people who worked and lived in Prijedor. And they
5 probably attended schools and got training and found employment in the
6 police station.
7 Q. So you are not aware of the fact that in the Ministry of the
8 Interior of Bosnia and Herzegovina, no one but the minister could sign a
9 decision of employment, ranging from the cleaners up to the closest
10 associates of the minister?
11 A. I do not know that.
12 Q. Do you know -- are you aware of the fact that this rule is still
13 in force in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
14 A. I don't even know that, but I think they have been divided in
15 other organisational units, centres of public security. And Prijedor is
16 no longer a centre of public security, but it's just a branch office. The
17 Municipal Assembly has no jurisdiction over the police, but all this is
18 connected with the centre of public security in Banja Luka. And there are
19 five centres of this sort in the republic. So now what we have is a
20 complete centralisation of this segment of public administration.
21 Q. Are you aware that in the federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
22 even today, the principle that was valid before the war still is valid
24 A. I am not aware of that, but I suppose the minister doesn't even
25 know the people that are employed, regardless of the fact whether they are
1 policemen or cleaners. It would be strange for him to choose and select
2 these persons performing such lowly functions. The proposals usually come
3 from the bottom, as we say, from a specific town, centre, secretariat. So
4 it is not so important whether this will be signed by the minister because
5 it is the question of a person working in the town. It is only a
6 formality for the minister to sign such a notice because we have a
7 centralisation in state administration. But as far as such lowly jobs,
8 where they are concerned, local people probably made proposals and people
9 were recruited from local communities.
10 MR. WAIDYARATNE: May I, Your Honour, at this time, take up an
11 objection, although the witness has answered the question. The witness
12 has clearly said that he does not know as to how these things are signed
13 and so on. So I would place a request, Your Honour, to record my
14 objection. Thank you, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Indeed. It would be preferable for all of us if
16 the Defence would restrict themselves to those points which can be of the
17 knowledge of the witness. And we shouldn't go into guessing games.
18 MR. LUKIC: [In English] Your Honours, the Defence would be pleased
19 with the answer "yes" or "no." And if the witness is ready to answer "I
20 don't know," we would leave the field, the matter. But the witness is
21 trying to give us all the time explanations which are not in accordance
22 with the law.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In the beginning, the witness, if I remember
24 correctly -- I may be wrong -- said I don't know. And then you insisted.
25 But please, continue.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Murselovic, did you take part in negotiations about the
3 division of power?
4 A. No, I never did.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 Mr. Murselovic, you said that you were a deputy in the Municipal
7 Assembly of Prijedor, representing the Party of Private Initiative?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Can you tell us what is the programme platform of your party, if
10 you recollect them?
11 A. Well, these were, in fact -- this was a party rallying private
12 businessmen, people in the restaurant business, shop owners, and public
13 transport -- well, transport people, people who formed the party, people
14 who were self-employed, who would in the forthcoming multiparty system
15 protect the interests of its membership because we considered that we were
16 best able, through the multiparty system and through participating in the
17 work of the assembly, to protect our own interests. What does this imply,
18 in fact, when we say "protecting our own interests"? Until then, under
19 socialism, the prevailing form of ownership was state or what we called
20 "social ownership." There were many regulations, contributions. Our
21 status was, in fact, assessed, and the contributions and taxes usually
22 greater than those paid by socially owned companies. We thought that by
23 fighting for our status through the multiparty system, we would be best
24 able to protect our interests. We were familiar with our own status, and
25 we knew where we were jeopardised in the social and economic sense. And
1 this, in fact, was the programme of our party because until 1990 in
2 Prijedor, there were about 2000 self-employed entrepreneurs, and at least
3 a thousand people who were employed by the self-employed entrepreneurs,
4 and we targeted that category of people.
5 We, in fact, represented small-time capital, and we wished to
6 protect our interests because usually socially owned, state-owned,
7 companies were predominant in all respects in terms -- there was a problem
8 of taxes, that the taxes were higher. We had to pay higher taxes, and we
9 were only allowed to employ a limited number of employees. It was only
10 until after 1984 that we were able to employee more than five workers. We
11 wished to take part in decisions and in that way protect the interests of
12 private entrepreneurs.
13 Q. In your party, did you view the market? Did you have in your
14 programme a vision of a unified Yugoslav market, or did you have other
16 A. Well, the party was organised on the level of Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina. And I don't remember all the details of our programme. Are
18 you alluding to the market being a Yugoslav one? Nevertheless, I want to
19 say that if you asked me personally, I, as a businessman, am more
20 interested in a broader market. In my restaurant, I had guests coming
21 from all parts of the former Yugoslavia, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia, and
22 so on. And this is something which I believe that should exist today,
23 economic space, a broader economic space, and this is how our economy in
24 the former Yugoslavia developed.
25 Q. Are you aware, that is to say, in your programme, in the programme
1 of your party, whether there were -- there was also the struggle for a
2 unified Yugoslav market?
3 A. I don't remember whether this was included in our programme, but
4 when the party was established in 1989, before the multiparty elections,
5 no one even contemplated the possibility of Yugoslavia disappearing and
6 not having a unified economic space.
7 Q. We see that you owned two restaurants. We see, we can say quite
8 openly, that you were one of the wealthier citizens of Prijedor, that you
9 were a well-respected and prominent member of the community before the
10 war, and even today. You said that you had acquired your property through
11 work and this was something that had been acquired through generations.
12 Can you tell us whether there were other people similar to you in
13 Prijedor? Can you recall their names?
14 A. Yes, there were quite a few people who, like me, had property. And
15 I could recollect the names of many people who had property.
16 Q. Can you quote some of the names?
17 A. Senadin Ramadanovic, who owned a pastry shop. This was something
18 also which had been set up through generation. Then another person who is
19 a caterer, who had a large restaurant. His name was Niko Crnalic and
20 there were other people who were engaged in other activities. There were
21 the three brothers Kapetanovic. There was a caterer, Nedjo Delic was his
22 name from Europe. He even has a restaurant today, and he is also one of
23 the more prominent and well-to-do citizens of the town. Well, this was
24 rather relative. It was not something that is tantamount to what one
25 could term wealthy in the west. There were people who were sometimes
1 more, sometimes less successful at their work.
2 There was a caterer -- because I'm familiar with them. His name
3 was Luka from Sanicani. He was a Croat. He had a fish restaurant. And
4 there were other people of different ethnicities. Well, not very many of
5 them have remained, at least of the Bosniaks. They have built this
6 property through long years of effort. Some of them were employed abroad.
7 They were employed in Germany, Austria. They brought capital to the
8 country, and another person who came into that category was a person
9 called Nedjo Delic who had his catering establishment, too. I was
10 comparatively younger than most of these people. But my father, my late
11 father, was employed in the area for over 50 years. And I, in fact,
12 inherited this from him because I was the only son. This was my vocation,
13 and I decided to engage in that activity as soon as I finished high
14 school. This was quite unusual. I could have studied any other subject.
15 Q. Were there prominent and well-respected in Prijedor who worked in
16 state establishments like engineers and doctors?
17 A. Yes, of course. But as you know, these engineers and educated
18 people under socialism, they had socially owned apartments. They had a
19 situation of security. And at the time, it was not possible to open up a
20 private surgery.
21 Q. Can you mention some names?
22 A. I can mention some of the physicians, of the doctors. Dr. Esad
23 Sadikovic, who was a specialist, who was director of a hospital.
24 Mahmuljin, Osman was another name. I'm just mentioning the people I knew,
25 I was familiar with the educated set. There were many other people.
1 There were many, as I said, doctors, professors. But they were generally
2 employed in the social sector, and their status was reflected in the
3 former socialist system. They had comfortable apartments. They didn't
4 have much work to do. And very few, in fact, wished to engage in private
5 business. Some of the activities, as I said, were not -- were not legal.
6 A doctor could not open up a private surgery. A director could not open
7 up a factory because you could employ only five people. And obviously
8 these were people who had a much broader vision, broader horizons. These
9 were basically craft shops which were opened which employed a very small
10 number of people.
11 Q. Do you know names of well-known people who were engaged in
12 politics under socialism?
13 A. Of course. I would like to mention the name of Miro Turnusek. He
14 was president of the assembly for some time. He was also president of the
15 committee for a mandate. And he was a good engineer, a technologist, a
16 director of a large factory. And then Mira Cikota. It was a part of the
17 Kras confectionery factory from Zagreb. He was a very well-respected
18 person and he had excellent contacts with people from the former Yugoslav
19 republics. He was a regular guest of mine. And unfortunately, as a
20 Croat, he survived Manjaca and Omarska, and now he lives in Rijeka.
21 Otherwise, he is married to a Serbian woman. He was pro-Yugoslav, in the
22 true sense of word. He married a Serbian woman. He has a wonderful
23 marriage. He has two children, and he now comes to visit Prijedor from
24 time to time.
25 Well, I know all the managers of companies, of the coal mines, of
1 the other establishments there.
2 Q. In your statement given in 1997, I don't see the number of the
3 page, but it's 557, the ERN number, sixth paragraph; page 2 of the English
4 version, sixth paragraph, you stated your opinion that the most
5 influential politicians in Prijedor, the most important politicians in
6 Prijedor were Simo Miskovic, the was the president of the SDS, Dragan
7 Savanovic, who was the president of the club of SDS board members, and
8 Srdjo Srdic, a deputy to the assembly of the Socialist Republic of
10 A. Did I mention anyone else?
11 Q. Yes, you did, but you said that these three were the most
12 powerful. Is that correct?
13 A. It is difficult to say --
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could I please ask the Defence to quote the
15 entire paragraph.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. "The most important politicians were the following: Simo
18 Miskovic, president of the SDS; Dragan Savanovic, president of the club of
19 the SDS deputies; Srdjo Srdic, deputy to the BH assembly in Sarajevo;
20 Milomir Stakic, vice-president of the Municipal Assembly; Kovacevic,
21 president of the Executive Board. I consider the first three to be the
22 most powerful politicians in Prijedor."
23 A. Well, if you want to hear my comment --
24 Q. I just want to confirm that this is correct, that that is what you
1 A. Yes, this is indeed what I stated, and I still abide by m
2 statement given at the time that these three were the most important. I
3 failed to mention, for example, Mr. Timarac, who passed away in the
4 meantime. He's from Omarska by origin. So, I didn't mention all of them.
5 I didn't mention many other individuals. I spoke about those whom I saw
6 daily. For instance, I was very surprised, surprised to hear that Srdjo
7 Srdic was a very sociable person, who was a local amateur actor and
8 singer. I also mentioned Mr. Miskovic whom I see regularly in Prijedor
9 today. He was the president of this political party which means that he
10 was its leader. I mentioned the president of the Executive Board. So it
11 was in this context, that I mentioned Mr. -- Dr. Milomir Stakic. He was
12 much younger than the rest. He had been elected to the office of the
13 vice-president of the Municipal Assembly, and to be perfectly honest, I
14 did not know him prior to 1990.
15 But these are the individuals that I still consider to be very
16 important participants in the work of the SDS, and that they were very
17 responsible for whatever was going on within the SDS at the time.
18 Q. On page 580, third paragraph of the B/C/S version, or page 3,
19 paragraph 4 of the English version of your statement, you say the
20 following: "The Municipal Assembly had to decide the daily problems
21 within the municipality. Decisions regarding issues in the regional or
22 even republican level were not the assembly's competence." Is this
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, I would really ask, if there is a quote,
25 to quote in the context. And evidently, the next sentence forms part of
1 the answer.
2 MR. LUKIC: [In English] Do you want me to real the whole
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, please.
5 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Witness, I'm now going to read the entire paragraph: "Sometime
7 before the war, the Municipal Assembly was not able to function properly.
8 The SDS was obstructing its work. The Municipal Assembly had to decide on
9 daily problems in the municipality. Decisions regarding issues on the
10 regional or even republican level were not in the competence of this
11 assembly. However, the SDS requested the assembly to decide that BH
12 should remain in the Republic of Yugoslavia. When this request was
13 rejected, the entire group of the SDS assembly members left the assembly
14 session. The president Cehajic then terminated the session, although the
15 opposition parties tried to convince him to continue the meetings without
16 the SDS. The local problems, therefore, could no longer be solved."
17 Did you state this?
18 A. Yes, I did. And I still abide by this statement of mine. I would
19 again place my signature on it. It was a local Municipal Assembly. And
20 attempts were made to have this local assembly reach a very important
21 decision. The international -- the possibility of the international
22 recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina was being discussed; and when this
23 was discussed in the media, for example, together with many other issues,
24 because in the meantime, some republics expressed a desire to secede from
25 the former Yugoslavia. So when the talks at the level of the presidents
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 of the former republics were going on and were viewed by the general
2 public as an endless journey between Belgrade, Ljubljana, Zagreb, and so
3 on, so in view of the overall situation when one could see clearly that
4 the entire Yugoslavia was severely under this pressure. To ask from a
5 local assembly, to reach a decision on the Prijedor municipality and its
6 remaining within the former Yugoslavia, this was simply ridiculous for us.
7 Because of course this was not a decision that could have been reached by
8 a very small municipality such as Prijedor. And when some of the deputies
9 said that they were not willing to discuss the issue and they were not
10 willing to vote on the issue because the issue was voted on, although more
11 than half of the deputies stated that this was something that they could
12 not vote on and could not discuss, then the Serb deputies left the
14 Mr. Cehajic really did his best to have the assembly sessions
15 going on and to have the assembly function properly, then put an end to
16 this particular session, and he said: "We will close this session because
17 as you can see, the Serb democratic party has walked out." And I remember
18 that I got up, I took the floor, and I said: "Well, Mr. President, we
19 have a quorum here. We can go on with the agenda of the session. We
20 haven't started the agenda at all. We have a quorum and I think we can
21 proceed with our usual work." There were almost 60 of us in the meeting
22 called, so we were more than half. But then for reasons unknown to me,
23 Cehajic adjourned the session.
24 Q. I'm afraid we have to go back once again to what we previously
25 discussed; namely, Mr. Cehajic comparing the ratio of Bosniaks and Croats
1 and Serbs within the police force. Was it possible for him to issue any
2 orders to that effect? Could he order anything to be done?
3 A. I don't think that he could do anything. I think he acted in good
4 faith. I think he saw it necessary for this balance to be struck in the
5 near future.
6 Q. The Executive Board of the Prijedor municipality was eight members
7 strong. It had its president, vice-president, and additional six members
8 who were secretaries or heads of various departments.
9 A. Secretariats.
10 Q. The president of the Executive Board, could he issue orders to any
11 of the secretaries or heads to do something? And let me give you a
12 specific example: The president of the Executive Board, could he issue an
13 order to the head of the land survey department to issue a construction
14 permit to anyone? Or was it something that he could not interfere with?
15 Was it the case that he could not interfere with the daily work of the
16 various departments?
17 A. I believe these issues are specified in the statute. As the
18 president of the Executive Board, he was the person who was in charge of
19 coordinating the work of municipal secretariats, but that the decision
20 itself would always eventually be reached by the secretary of the relevant
21 department who would also sign a decision to that effect.
22 Q. Mr. Cehajic, as the president of the Municipal Assembly, could he
23 order secretaries or heads of various departments? Could he issue orders
24 to them?
25 A. I think I still owe you a question from before the break. You
1 refer me to this old statute, and I believe when citing specific articles,
2 you failed to mention the general context. So, with your permission, I
3 should like to read out some articles which I believe are very good
4 illustration for the type of coordination between the president of the
5 Municipal Assembly, the president of the Executive Board, and the various
6 heads of secretariats or departments.
7 Article 49: "The president of the Municipal Assembly -- the
8 president of the Municipal Assembly shall, together with the
9 vice-president of the assembly and the assembly secretary, consider issues
10 of coordination and scheduling of the work of the assembly's working
11 bodies, attend to the implementation of established policy and conclusions
12 of the assembly, ensure cooperation of the assembly with organisations and
13 communities with the assembly of the BH" and so on and so forth, "with the
14 realisation of intermunicipal cooperation." "The chairman or the deputy
15 chairman of the executive committee and other officials of the Municipal
16 Assembly may, as the need arise, take part in the consideration of all
17 issues." So this is not an issue.
18 Let us see about the secretary of the assembly. You also asked
19 about that. "The assembly secretary shall assist the assembly president
20 in the preparations and organisations of the assembly sessions and perform
21 other tasks prescribed in the statute or entrusted to him by the president
22 of the assembly." So he is in a direct relationship of superiority with
23 the assembly president.
24 "The assembly secretary" --
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please slow down. Thank you.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So this was by way of introduction,
2 as far as the municipal administration is concerned. You also asked me,
3 and you put it to me in your question, that the president of the Municipal
4 Assembly was not superior to the municipal administration, and I believe
5 there was some misunderstanding regarding this issue.
6 "And other administrative work" --
7 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please tell us which article
8 he's reading from.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it's helpful for the transcript as well
10 as for the interpreters if you quote the paragraph of the article you are
11 just reading. And the document is in the hand of the booth? Okay.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Excellent. Article 60.
13 Article 62, which provides as follows: "The assembly and the
14 executive committee shall supervise the work of the municipal organs of
15 administration and administrative organisations." Let us move on.
16 Article 61: "Municipal organs of administration and
17 administrative organisations shall perform their duties independently and
18 shall be accountable for their work to the assembly and the executive
20 Article 62, a very important point, once again: "The supervision
21 over the work of the municipal organs of administration and administrative
22 organisations, as provided for in Article 62, it is the assembly and the
23 Executive Board who supervise the work of these organs."
24 Article 63: "For the performance of administrative and other
25 tasks in the sphere of the rights and duties of the municipality, a
1 secretariat for administration shall be set up as an individual organ
2 which performs administration and specialist tasks," and so on and so
4 Second paragraph: "Alternatively, in those municipalities where
5 so required by the large amount of administrative work, municipal
6 secretariats and municipal administrations may be established as
7 individual organs of administration for the performance of administrative
8 and other specialist tasks in one or more areas of administration."
9 And there was one more thing that I wanted to tell you about, and
10 that is the fact that the Municipal Assembly supervised the work of all
11 bodies in question. And this supervision was shared with the Executive
13 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. You read out a number of articles from the statute. Have you
15 found in any of these provisions that the president of the Municipal
16 Assembly had specific duties and competences, or was it the case that it
17 was only the Municipal Assembly which was vested with these competences?
18 A. Let me tell you something about the secretary: The secretary is
19 responsible for his work to the municipal -- Article 50: "The assembly
20 secretary shall assist the assembly president in the preparations and
21 organisations of the assembly sessions and perform other tasks pursuant to
22 the statute or entrusted to him by the president. The assembly supervises
23 the work and the president is, of course, the president of the assembly."
24 Q. In respect of whom we have established --
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please don't overlap.
1 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. -- he has only one vote as is the case with other deputies?
3 A. Absolutely.
4 Q. The Municipal Assembly, does it employ individuals who are
5 directly responsible to the government - at the time, it was the
6 government of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina - such as a
7 number of inspection departments, as the administration for land survey
8 and similar bodies?
9 A. The body in question, it is true, was directly linked to the
10 municipality as a municipal secretariat for land survey and property
11 relations. We called it simply a cadastre. It was a body which was one
12 of the secretariats of the Prijedor Municipal Assembly. It was - well -
13 independent, and the head or rather the secretary of this secretariat was
14 appointed by the assembly. So he was responsible to the assembly. But
15 I'm sure that it must have been a vertical chain of responsibility which
16 made him also responsible to the relevant ministry or some other similar
17 body at the level of the republic. Now, in Republika Srpska, we have a
18 so-called direction for property relations and land survey. So a similar
19 body exists in Prijedor still today.
20 Some of its work is done for the municipality, but they do not
21 have a direct relationship with the municipality. It is a rather unusual
22 relationship, it is true, and attempts are now being made to have it back
23 within the competence of the Municipal Assembly. And if I may add, it is
24 an attempt to centralise and disempower the Municipal Assembly. I'm
25 talking about the situation as it is nowadays.
1 Q. As far as this land survey service is concerned, you think that
2 that was not the case in 1991?
3 A. No, no.
4 Q. Apart from local companies situated in the Prijedor municipality,
5 there was a number of enterprises and public institutions, such as a
6 branch of the public health fund, a branch of the public fund for
7 pensions, a branch of the public fund for employment, a local social
8 accountancy service, a PTT company, power distribution company, a company
9 which was in charge of road maintenance and public communications, a
10 branch of the Yugoslav railways company, and a number of other such
12 Are you aware of the existence of these institutions and
13 organisations in the territory of the Prijedor municipality at the time?
14 A. Yes, of course.
15 Q. Do you know whether these companies were financed by -- from the
16 municipal budget or from some other source?
17 A. The railways had their own source of financing; the PTT, also the
18 employment institutions, too. So these companies and institutions mostly
19 were not financed from the municipal budget.
20 Q. Can you tell us to whom the managers of these companies and the
21 heads of these institutions were responsible? To the Municipal Assembly?
22 To any particular secretariat? Or to any republican body? Or to their
23 founder, such as the government of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
24 A. As for this entire sector concerning both economic and public
25 institutions, they were state institutions, state entities, and they
1 closely coordinated their work with the Municipal Assembly. Whether they
2 were all financed from their budget or not is a matter of not much
3 significance. However, these organisations, such as the employment
4 bureau, were obliged to submit the relevant data, such as the number of
5 unemployed and the break up per month concerning employment, they were
6 required to submit these reports to the Executive Board. And the
7 Executive Board then informed the Municipal Assembly of that.
8 Some of these entities such as the power distribution company, in
9 terms of organisation, they were sometimes linked with the municipality.
10 There was a company called Elektrodistribucija Prijedor. It used to be
11 called Elektrodistribucija Banja Luka which had its branch in Prijedor.
12 But at any rate, the coordination or cooperation between all these public
13 or state institutions were done by the Executive Board.
14 Q. Those organisations and institutions had to submit reports to the
15 Executive Board. Did the Executive Board have any influence on the
16 election of their officials? Was it able to revoke them from office,
17 recall them from office?
18 A. Well, I don't know if they could recall them. But you must know
19 that in a one-party system, all this was, in a sense, directed by the
20 League of Communists and the highest state bodies.
21 Q. Did we have a one-party system in 1991 and 1992?
22 A. No, we didn't have a one-party system then. And you are asking me
23 about a period when nothing really functioned. You are asking me how that
24 functioned in such a set up. In 1991, I can say quite honestly that
25 nothing functioned, that there were obstructions all over the place, and
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 it was -- everything just did not function.
2 Q. I am only trying to get an answer from you about whether you are
3 aware of the laws and what the situation in practice was in respect of
4 responsibility of people who headed such bodies. Who was there to appoint
5 them? If you are not sure or if you do not know, we will move on to
6 another question.
7 A. I must add something: Some organisations like the centre for
8 social work, kindergartens, the press, well, now they are organised
9 differently. And some of them are still linked up with the municipality,
10 and appointment and agreements and reports, they are submitted to the
11 municipality, if these were founded by the municipality.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it's appropriate to have a break now. We
13 resume at 6.00 sharp.
14 --- Recess taken at 5.32 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 6.09 p.m.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. Before we restart, may I ask
17 both Defence counsel and the witness to concentrate on the core issues of
18 our case, that we at least can try to finalise the cross-examination at
19 7.00 sharp. The attempt should be there.
20 MR. LUKIC: I'll try my best, Your Honour, but I'm --
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I ask both of you to be -- to concentrate.
22 MR. LUKIC: Because right now, I've finalized only half of my
23 questions. The same line of questions I finished with the other witness
24 for less than an hour.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The Bench doesn't regard it as a real threat.
1 MR. LUKIC: Thank you.
2 Q. [Interpretation] Are you aware that the system of armed forces of
3 the SFRY made up of the JNA, the Territorial Defence, the MUP, and the
4 civil protection was regulated by a single federal law about general
5 national defence?
6 A. As far as I know, yes.
7 Q. Do you know that the Territorial Defence units in case of
8 immediate threat of war were subordinated and joined the units of the JNA,
9 that is to say, they became a component part of the JNA?
10 A. I don't know that.
11 Q. Do you know that in addition to the municipal staffs of the TO,
12 there were also regional and republic staffs of the TO?
13 A. Well, I had some knowledge about that, that there was a TO
14 comprising the municipal Territorial Defence units.
15 Q. Do you know, for example, that the commander of a civil protection
16 staff was responsible to the president of the assembly or the commander of
17 the republic headquarters of civil defence?
18 A. I didn't know that.
19 Q. The commander of the barracks in Prijedor, was he responsible to
20 the municipality for his work, or according to the command line, was he
21 responsible to the competent bodies of the JNA?
22 A. I suppose he was subordinated to the JNA, but whatever happened in
23 Prijedor in spring of 1992 showed that both the municipality, the TO, and
24 the JNA were strictly coordinating their efforts, work.
25 Q. Page 19, line 22 of the transcript of Monday, you said: "During
1 the second half of 1991, the war in Croatia was in full swing. The Serb
2 soldiers from Prijedor went to fight there. They were mobilised by the
3 municipality of Prijedor to go to Croatia and to fight there."
4 Who was president of the Municipal Assembly then?
5 A. Mr. Cehajic was president of the assembly, but he publicly
6 specified that it was not necessary for the Croats and Bosniaks to be
7 mobilised and to fight the war on the territory of Croatia.
8 Q. Did Mr. Muhamed Cehajic call the mobilisation?
9 A. Yes [as interpreted].
10 Q. I think there may be a mistake in the translation. He may have
11 said yes. I will ask the question again.
12 Was Mr. Muhamed Cehajic, was he the one to call the mobilisation?
13 A. Mr. Muhamed Cehajic didn't do that. He was exclusively against
14 fighting a war on the territory of Croatia.
15 Q. Were you aware that at a protest meeting in Prijedor, Mr.
16 Medunjanin stated that the mobilisation was called on the level of the
17 republic, and that people whistled when they heard that at the protest
19 A. I don't know about that. The only thing I know was that Mr.
20 Cehajic and Mr. Medunjanin were not in favour of neither the Bosniaks or
21 anyone else, to go to a territory and attack Croatia because there was
22 such a propaganda going on at the time, in the press. It was shown that
23 the civilians were being attacked, people rejoiced when houses were hit,
24 and films and photographs were in the same vein. And there were similar
25 reports from -- reporting from Croatia. And I, myself, and the vast
1 majority of Bosniaks, Muslims, and Croatians and all of the citizens,
2 decent citizens, were not in favour of going to Croatia and to target
3 civilian buildings and to attack civilians. This was seen in the Kozarski
4 Vjesnik and on many video films and the journalists and those who were on
5 tanks, they were discussing which home to shoot, and they said, "Well,
6 this house was, in fact, destroyed." And any normal person would be
7 against this.
8 Q. Did you know what Mr. Medunjanin's function was at the time, what
9 post he occupied? Was he in the secretariat for national defence?
10 A. Yes, he was secretary of the secretariat for national defence and
11 social self-protection.
12 Q. You mean the municipal secretariat?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did Mr. Medunjanin call the mobilisation, or was this done on the
15 level of the republic?
16 A. I don't think that he called a written mobilisation. I don't know
17 who actually did that.
18 Q. Do you know what the competence of the municipal secretariat for
19 national defence was?
20 A. The municipal secretariat, on the territory of a municipality,
21 keeps records about able-bodied young men who are able to serve the army.
22 It keeps records of them; it cooperates closely with the JNA. This is how
23 it was organised at the time. It sends people -- in coordination with the
24 army, it sends these people to serve their regular military service. It
25 has in its possession lists of persons, of soldiers, that have already
1 completed their military service. And then, after some time, and if the
2 need arises, it sends these people on exercises as part of the reserve
3 units. Exercises, we called this -- in fact, it was a question of keeping
4 these people in shape and checking up on their shape. That body, in other
5 words, keeps records about people -- young people who still have to serve
6 the army; and following that, they also keep records of those who have
7 completed their military service, and they have information as to where
8 these people -- what units they served in, and then uses these people on
9 different occasions to take part in different exercises if the need
11 Q. Thank you.
12 Do you know who is competent to call a mobilisation?
13 A. I do not know.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: It was already now the third time you asked the
15 same question, and the third time the witness answered "I don't know." I
16 think it's enough.
17 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Could the Municipal Assembly call a mobilisation or prevent this
19 from happening?
20 A. Well, may I explain that the situation at the time was rather
21 confused. And, as far as I was concerned, it was hard to imagine that
22 people should go and fight a war in the republic of Croatia. And all the
23 while, to write and speak about the horrors happening there and how
24 civilian targets are being brought down and how the civilian population
25 was being attacked.
1 The first time I heard the expression that "soldiers were going to
2 clean up the terrain," and if I were younger, I would also not like to
3 have played a part in all of this and brought harm to my former
4 neighbours. Armed people in the wings of the Yugoslav National Army on
5 behalf of Yugoslavia. And when we speak of the breakup of Yugoslavia and
6 the confused situation ensuing from that, to go to Croatia, I myself would
7 not take part in such a war.
8 Q. Was Mr. Muhamed Cehajic as president of the Municipal Assembly and
9 president of the council for national defence, was he able to order to the
10 units of the JNA to abandon the territory of the municipality of Prijedor?
11 A. I don't know. I don't think so. All I know is that he stated
12 publicly that the Bosniaks, Muslims, and Croats should not go to fight a
13 war in Croatia. And I believe that was the right attitude, that he was
14 right in saying that.
15 Q. Was Mr. Muhamed Cehajic, as president of the Municipal Assembly
16 and president of the council for national defence, was he a subordinate --
17 superior body to issue orders to Arsic about the deployment of troops?
18 A. I don't know. I don't think so.
19 Q. Was Mr. Cehajic, as president of the national defence council and
20 of the assembly, was he able to appoint anyone from the army?
21 MR. WAIDYARATNE: Your Honour, I think it's very clear from the
22 many answers of this witness that he answered very clearly that he was
23 unaware as to what Mr. Muhamed Cehajic's position was, and that he was not
24 aware of what took place. So therefore, I object to this line of
25 questioning by my learned colleague. Thank you.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sustained.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. On page 3 of your statement of 1997, you stated: "After the
4 takeover of the municipality, a curfew was introduced. It was from 10.00
5 p.m. to some time in the morning. I cannot say if it was restricted to
6 non-Serbs only, because I did not go out in the evening." Is that
8 A. Yes, it is true that as soon as power -- after the takeover, the
9 Crisis Staff declared a curfew which lasted from about -- from exactly
10 10.00 p.m. to some time in the morning, whether it was 5.00 or 6.00 -- I
11 think it was 6.00 a.m. in the morning. And during that period, I didn't
12 move around, and I'm not aware of the Bosniaks or any one of the Bosniaks
13 or Croats moving around if they had no connections with the police or the
15 Q. On page 4 of your statement of 1997, in paragraph 5, you said:
16 "After the takeover, the situation in the town was very tense. Soldiers
17 were returning from the front in Croatia. There was much propaganda on
18 the radio. I cannot say that the propaganda was directly aimed at the
19 non-Serbs, but the SDA proclaimed that Muslims did not fight against the
20 Ustasha." Is that correct?
21 A. Well, generally, yes.
22 Q. Was there only one Crisis Staff in Prijedor?
23 A. I believe that there was only one.
24 Q. You said that the Crisis Staff had issued an ultimatum about the
25 killings in Hambarine. Do you remember that text, the text of the
2 A. Well, it was stated that, following the incident that happened in
3 Hambarine, I think it was on May 21st or 22nd, the second half of May,
4 shooting occurred at the checkpoint in Hambarine. It is a Bosniak
5 village. A whole enclave in which over 10.000 Bosniaks lived before the
6 war, about 12.000 together with the Croatians. An incident took place
7 when the drunk Serb soldiers passed by the checkpoint in Hambarine; and at
8 one point, one or two soldiers were killed. They were in a vehicle. And
9 how fire was opened and how they returned fire, well, I cannot remember
10 all those details after a period of ten years and more. But what I can
11 safely say, that the Crisis Staff reacted to this as it reacted to many
12 events taking place in Prijedor. And they came up with a statement, that
13 the culprits should surrender, a name was mentioned: Aziz Aliskovic. I
14 think that was his name, who allegedly was the commander, or a Bosniak
15 commander in Hambarine. I personally do not know him.
16 And the Crisis Staff ordered, and this was reflected in the press
17 and broadcast on the radio, it was repeated on many occasions that the
18 culprits from amongst the Bosniaks should surrender.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 Are you aware of the existence of a Hambarine Crisis Staff?
21 A. I never heard of that. All I know was that there was a handful of
22 TO members there at Hambarine who were sort of guarding their houses,
23 their village. Actually, I don't know what kind of organisation they
24 belonged to, how they were organised. But it was a form of civil
25 protection, civil defence, which was self-organised; that is, organised by
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the local villagers.
2 Q. Do you know how many members were with this defence?
3 A. I don't know.
4 Q. Are you aware of the existence of a Crisis Staff which belonged to
5 the SDA?
6 A. I never heard that the SDA had a Crisis Staff of their own.
7 Q. You didn't hear about the Crisis Staffs which were organised in
8 local companies?
9 A. I don't know whether companies had their own Crisis Staffs.
10 However, every public company, state-owned company, had a segment which
11 was in charge of civil defence or civil protection, all people's
12 defence -- I don't know what it was officially called -- consisting of
13 people who were supposed to provide protection to the company itself. But
14 in those days, as this was going on, local companies no longer had any
15 Croat or Bosniak employees, so these people were not working as of the
16 30th of April; that is, as of the takeover. Bosniaks and Croats no longer
17 went to work, and they no longer participated in these type of activities.
18 So I don't know what kind of Crisis Staffs would have been organised in
19 local companies.
20 Q. Were only leaders, leading officials, dismissed from these
21 companies, or only -- or all other Bosniaks and Croats after the attack on
23 A. It was the leaders who got sacked first. Immediately after the
24 takeover by the Crisis Staff --
25 Q. What about other employees? Did they work until -- up until the
1 conflict in Hambarine?
2 A. I believe that they were sent home from work. If any of them
3 remained at work, I am sure that in the course of the month of May, they
4 were turned back from work. All of them were actually turned back. I
5 know that they were required to show their IDs and were sent home. I was
6 there until the 30th of May, and I heard a lot of people complain of the
7 fact that they were no longer denied access to their workplace. But many
8 of them still went to work. It was a period of great confusion. However,
9 a great majority was sent home and were banned from their companies.
10 Q. Are you aware of the existence of a Crisis Staff at the level of
11 the republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina as early as in the spring of 1991?
12 A. I'm not aware of that. I don't know that there was a Crisis Staff
13 of that name at the level of the republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I
14 know that there was a republic organisation of the Territorial Defence.
15 There were no organised armed forces in the territory of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time apart from the Territorial Defence and
17 civil protection.
18 Q. The principle of the so-called constitutional character of
19 people's is still -- is again topical in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Are you
20 familiar with this issue?
21 A. Very much so.
22 Q. This principle of constitutionality, was it applicable before the
23 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
24 A. In principle, yes; however, it was not referred to in those terms.
25 I remember a statement issued by the cabinet of the communist league of
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina to the effect that Bosnia and Herzegovina was not a
2 Croat, Serb, or Muslim entity, but it was all of the three at the same
3 time. The idea being to show that all ethnic groups were equal. As for
4 the idea of constitutionality, that is, of the constituent character of
5 peoples, which in part has lately been imposed by the high representative,
6 but has also been, to a certain extent, promulgated by the government, all
7 constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina are equal in their rights.
8 It means that they have the constituent character as an ethnic group
9 throughout the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina which is provided for
10 in the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, of the Republic of Bosnia
11 and Herzegovina, which was not the case previously with the entities. And
12 I consider the development to be a very positive and significant for the
13 future of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
14 Q. Do you know that as far as the 22nd of May attack on Hambarine was
15 preceded by the withdrawal of the JNA from Bosnia-Herzegovina on the 19th
16 of May, 1992?
17 A. I don't know the exact date of the withdrawal of the Yugoslav army
18 from Bosnia and Herzegovina. They simply surrendered their weapons to the
19 Serb community, to the members of the Serb ethnic group who were members
20 of the JNA. So they were given their weapons. And before the war, before
21 my detention in the camp, I identified this JNA with the Serb army. As to
22 what happened on the 19th, as you said, I don't know whether this
23 withdrawal took place on the 19th or a week later or before.
24 Q. What about the Muslims, or rather Bosniaks and Croats who
25 responded to the mobilisation, callup? Were they sent to Croatia?
1 A. I must tell you that a very small number of people responded to
2 callup papers and went to fight the war in Croatia. Really, an
3 insignificant number. I don't think it would have been more than 1 or 2
4 per cent.
5 Q. Were they given any weapons?
6 A. They probably were. I don't know what kind of status they had
7 there. But I know that quite a few of those who initially participated in
8 the Serb army under arms were soon removed so that the number decreased
9 even further. But I'm unable to tell you how many there were.
10 There is another thing that I wish to add: A great majority of
11 these people, that is Croats and Bosniaks who participated -- who were
12 members of the Serb army, were eventually evicted and ethnically cleansed,
13 both them and their families, from Prijedor, especially in 1995, when out
14 of over 60.000 Croats and Bosniaks in Prijedor prior to the war, only a
15 thousand and even less than a thousand remained.
16 Q. Do you know that Prijedor -- that people left Prijedor in Santurs
17 and Autoprevoz transport companies and went to Croatia before the outbreak
18 of the war, went to Europe via Croatia?
19 A. After the Serbs took over power on the 30th of April and when
20 people began feeling insecure because of the daily shooting incidents
21 which were becoming ever more frequent, people were afraid. They were
22 especially afraid for their women and children, so they started leaving
23 the town in bus convoys. However, it was already impossible to leave the
24 town. I think that over 90 per cent of the people left via Banja Luka,
25 and eventually reached Belgrade and found planes there to leave the
1 country. People were afraid for their future, especially those who had
2 children and wives.
3 But even before that, some people left because they were feeling
4 increasingly insecure. But I must tell you, those times were, generally
5 speaking, insecure. Throughout the night, for example, especially when
6 soldiers came back from the front in Croatia, they were constantly
7 intimidating people. They frequently opened fire, and the streets were
8 littered with empty cartridges, especially at the approaches to the town.
9 A number of incidents took place: People were taken off the local buses
10 and killed. Many of such incidents were never elucidated. So this all
11 instilled fear amongst the population. Serbs tried to justify it, and the
12 Crisis Staff often publicly spoke after such incidents. But what they
13 said was that it was necessary to protect the Serb population, that it was
14 necessary to, sort of, prevent Serbs from reacting, from responding, to
15 the attacks on them. The times, as I said, generally speaking were just
16 insecure. The Prijedor-Bosanska Dubica Road was also often prone to such
17 incidents. On one such occasion several people were taken off a bus and
18 killed. A famous entrepreneur by the name of Kuckovic was taken off his
19 vehicle and killed. So generally speaking, the Croat and Bosniak
20 population was being intimidated all the time.
21 Q. On page 16, line 4 of the transcript of your testimony, you
22 stated, when describing the president of the Municipal Assembly -- this is
23 something that you repeated today -- this person could employ and dismiss
24 officials. Could you refer us to the relevant provision? Where does it
25 say so?
1 A. Well, this was the case in practice. The president of the
2 Municipal Assembly was the person who signed decisions to that effect, who
3 employed new officials. And as you just indicated -- actually, you're
4 constantly trying to say that at that time, the president of the
5 municipality did not constitute executive authority. And now you're
6 saying that he not have the right to do what I just said, that you
7 repeated. However, a moment ago, you said that the president of the
8 municipality in these unusual circumstances also became a president of
9 some kind of body which would have been in charge of the overall situation
10 in Prijedor. I don't know exactly what you called it.
11 Would you please refresh my memory. The president of the
12 municipality, what exactly did he become before May 1992? What did you
13 say he was?
14 Q. The president of the Municipal Assembly is always the president of
15 the Municipal Assembly.
16 A. Yes, but you said that he, at that time, had taken up a function
17 of some sort.
18 Q. On the same page, you said: "He was also in charge of the budget,
19 of the budget proposals, and of approving the budget." Can you refer me
20 to the relevant provision for this particular issue?
21 A. I believe it was provided for in the relevant regulations of the
22 Municipal Assembly. What I wanted to say was that both the approval of
23 the budget and the responsibility for the implementation of the budget lay
24 with the president of the municipality, which is not the case today.
25 Q. But at any rate, this particular issue is provided for in the
1 relevant regulations?
2 A. Yes, that he approves the budget.
3 Q. On page 25, line 15 of the transcript of your testimony, you say:
4 "Once the authority had been -- once the power had been taken over, the
5 post of the president of the Crisis Staff was earmarked for Milomir
6 Stakic." On page 27, line 17, you stated: "Milomir Stakic was the
7 president of the Crisis Staff; at the same time, he was the president of
8 the municipality."
9 Did Milomir Stakic hold both of these positions at the same time?
10 A. As I already indicated during my testimony here, Mr. Milomir
11 Stakic, before the decision on the establishment of the Serb municipality
12 of Prijedor was reached sometime in February 1992, was the vice-president
13 of the assembly. On that session, which I did not attend, but I presume
14 it was the deputies of the Serb democratic party who reached a decision
15 that a parallel kind of government should be established which they
16 termed, which they called, "the Serbian Municipality of Prijedor." This
17 was done publicly and announced in the media. And, as it was said,
18 Milomir Stakic was the president of the assembly of this municipality. It
19 was also stated at the time that Dr. Kovacevic was the president of the
20 Executive Board, which he was actually, that the president of the Court
21 was so and so.
22 Anyway, all of these functions, all of these offices, which at the
23 time were held by Serbs, remained the same. Changes concerned, of course,
24 those offices which were headed by Muslims, Bosniaks, or Croats. And this
25 Serbian municipality of Prijedor, as far as I'm concerned, was a
1 ridiculous type of institution. It was really very funny to me at the
2 time. And, up until the takeover on the 30th of April, this whole idea
3 was, so to speak, dormant. But when this happened, the SDS, together with
4 the army, because all of these people were armed, took over power on the
5 30th of April. And Milomir Stakic became president of the Crisis Staff
6 and the president of the assembly. And he was physically in the office of
7 the president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor. I told you I went
8 over there to see for myself, because I found it all very unclear and
9 confusing. I know that the SDS and the SDA shared power; but they could
10 no longer bear to watch the SDS being involved in all that, and that is
11 why they took over power, which normally was shared by them.
12 Q. Could you please answer my question, now. Do you know and how is
13 it that you know that Milomir Stakic was at the same time the president of
14 the municipality and president of the Crisis Staff? How is it that you
15 know that?
16 A. He was the author of many public communiques which were broadcast
17 in the media. There are documents to that effect. I'm telling you that
18 Mr. Stakic was president of the Crisis Staff and that he was physically
19 located in the office of the president of the Municipal Assembly, and this
20 is where I saw him; this is where I talked to him.
21 Q. Do you know that the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor held a session
22 on the 16th of May and the 20th of May, 1992?
23 A. As far as I know, when Serbs took over power, the assembly no
24 longer sat. I think I would have known that, as its deputy.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The interpreters missed your last question
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 because of the overlapping. Could you please repeat it.
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Do you know that the Serbian Municipal Assembly of Prijedor met on
4 the 16th and the 20th of May?
5 A. I know that the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor did not meet in
6 session because I, as its deputy, should have known that. Whether the
7 Serbian assembly met in session, now that is something that I don't know.
8 I never expressed any interest in that.
9 MR. LUKIC: [In English] Your Honours, I need at least half an
10 hour to finish my cross-examination. I tried to speed up. I really quit
11 at least two thirds of the questions.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think then it's more favourable to proceed
13 tomorrow, because there might be some re-examination, and there are
14 numerous questions to be forwarded to our witness of today, which
15 apparently is of utmost interest for both parties. And so please
16 understand that we ask for your assistance also tomorrow.
17 There will be a deadline for the cross-examination to be announced
18 tomorrow. Therefore, I would ask you already today when preparing for the
19 rest of the cross-examination, to concentrate on the most important
20 questions and to avoid, first of all, repetitions.
21 And there was another point?
22 MR. KOUMJIAN: Just scheduling. I wanted the Trial Chamber to be
23 aware that there are two witnesses here now. I think the next witness
24 will take about -- I'm guessing -- one session, one full day, including
25 cross-examination and the questions from the Bench. Normally, we would --
1 I know that the schedule is that we would not sit on Friday. Normally we
2 would try to send the witness back to where the witness comes from, but
3 apparently that's not possible. I just want to let the Court know that.
4 So we're stacked up with -- perhaps we were overly optimistic with the
5 three witnesses this week.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Unfortunately on Friday, there's no courtroom
7 available. And then we have to proceed tomorrow. I think it will take us
8 at least one and a half hour, and then hopefully we can proceed with the
9 other witness. And I don't know whether you already succeeded or started
10 on the question of agreed facts. Having reconsidered the questions of
11 today, I would say we could have saved a good part of the time if we would
12 have some agreed facts, because we wouldn't need the one or the other
13 question from both sides. Though I wonder if it's possible to report to
14 the legal officer of the Trial Chamber in how far you came to results on
15 agreed facts.
16 So we adjourn for today and resume tomorrow as scheduled, 2.15.
17 [The witness stands down]
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
19 7.01 p.m., to be reconvened on
20 Thursday, the 9th day of May, 2002,
21 at 2.15 p.m.