1 Tuesday, 28 May 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning, everybody. Please be seated. And
6 can we hear the case immediately so we can overcome the delay caused by
7 technical problems.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. This is Case Number IT-97-24-T, the
9 Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And the appearances, please.
11 MR. KOUMJIAN: Nicholas Koumjian with Ruth Karper for the
12 Prosecution. Good morning, Your Honours.
13 MR. LUKIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Branko Lukic and Mr. John
14 Ostojic for the Defence.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning. Shall we proceed.
16 MR. KOUMJIAN: Yes.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The witness be brought in, please.
18 MR. KOUMJIAN: Perhaps while the witness is being brought in, I
19 can say for the interpreters and the Court staff, the order of the
20 documents that I plan to present. They are S95. I could also give you
21 the 65 ter number in a moment, which is 65 ter number 42; S99, which is 65
22 ter number 81; S100, which is 65 ter number 83; S110, which has the ter
23 number 261; S112, which has the ter number 263; S106, which is 158; I may
24 be a bit ambitious in all these documents, S103, which has the ter number
25 of 122; S105, which has the ter number of 140; S111, which has the ter
1 number of 262. S60.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning, please be seated.
4 MR. KOUMJIAN: I think that will take us through the break anyway.
5 I'll provide the rest later.
6 WITNESS: MIRSAD MUJADZIC [Resumed]
7 [Witness answered through interpreter].
8 MR. KOUMJIAN: May I proceed, Mr. President?
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes.
10 Examined by Mr. Koumjian: [Continued]
11 Q. Doctor, you were telling us when we broke yesterday about the
12 visit of Mr. Halilovic to Prijedor. Did you ask Mr. Halilovic if it was
13 possible to develop some plan to defend Prijedor?
14 A. This did not happen during his first visit. The first time he
15 came, we only talked about the Patriotic League. He wanted to present the
16 Patriotic League and its aims, and the only thing he wanted was to win
17 support of the implementation of this idea. The second time he came,
18 which was I can't say exactly when but I think it was about October 1991,
19 we talked about specific measures in terms of organising the Patriotic
20 League and recruiting people. We promised that we would, for our part, do
21 whatever we could to provide support because clearly it was also in our
22 interest to defend Bosnia and Herzegovina. More elaborate plans for the
23 defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina were drafted, probably by those at a
24 higher level of authority, those sitting in Sarajevo. And they also made
25 assessments as to which parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina could be defended
1 and which not.
2 The Banja Luka Krajina area was at first assessed as very
3 difficult to defend, but after the situation was more thoroughly analysed,
4 a proposal came up which I was only familiar with to a certain degree. I
5 don't have a map here now to show you what the plan was supposed to be,
6 but the essence is that the whole area of the Bosnian Krajina --
7 MR. KOUMJIAN: Sir, may I have map S16 -- it was SK48 -- put on
8 the ELMO. That would, I believe, assist the witness. It is the map of
9 Bosnia. I believe it's S16. It was SK48.
10 We're not getting an image. Is the power on for the ELMO?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as the Bosanska Krajina
12 region is concerned, which is the area between Bosanski Novi, Sanski Most,
13 Kljuc, and Sipova, across Jajce, Skender Vakuf, Kotor Varos, Prnjavor,
14 Srbac, and the north boundary coincides with the north boundary of Bosnia
15 and Herzegovina itself and the River Sava. That's a rather large area.
16 That's a large part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including 17 municipalities
17 officially called the Banja Luka region and unofficially termed the
18 Bosnian Krajina. In the west, as you can see, there is another region,
19 the Bihac region, of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is predominantly
20 Bosniak so that, for example, in the municipalities of Velika Kladusa and
21 Cazin, about 95 or more per cent of Bosniaks live, while Bosanska Krupa
22 municipality, there were a bit less Bosniaks. These elements are very
23 important because there were two proposals as to how to defend this area.
24 The first proposal was brought up by the leadership of the Territorial
25 Defence of the Bihac area. This proposal included -- it implied -- I
1 can't see the River Sana in this map which makes it difficult for me to
2 explain the situation. But can I just draw the River Sana on this map,
3 because the course of it is very important for understanding the map.
4 MR. KOUMJIAN:
5 Q. We cannot use -- don't draw at this point. We can get another map
6 perhaps. We don't have it with us.
7 MR. KOUMJIAN: It's up to Your Honours. May we draw on this map,
8 or no.
9 Q. Don't draw on the map. Just point with the pointer where the
10 river is.
11 A. All right. So I'll try to explain what I wanted to draw. The
12 River Sana would follow this direction, so about one third of the area of
13 these municipalities lies west of the River Sana, and about two thirds of
14 them lie to the east, including the town of Prijedor. So the River Sana
15 would follow approximately this course.
16 The leadership of the Territorial Defence of the Bihac region,,
17 which was predominantly Bosniak, proposed a plan to defend the left river
18 bank of the Sana River, so that's this area I'm pointing at now and to the
19 west. This did not include any of the urban areas, not Bosanski Novi, not
20 Sanski Most, and not Kljuc. So according to this plan, Prijedor
21 municipality would stay on the left river bank of the Sana River and was
22 not included in the defence plans. But rather, only the part of Prijedor
23 municipality that was on the left river bank. The situation was very
24 similar with the remaining four local communes in the Sana valley.
25 As far as the population of the remaining 13 local communes with
1 Serb majority, they were to be evacuated towards Prijedor or towards
2 Jajce, depending on where the respective local communes were located. The
3 leadership of the Patriotic League informed us that the Bosanska Krajina
4 region was impossible to defend because in Banja Luka, there was the
5 highest concentration of the JNA in the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina
6 with very powerful armoured units and battalions. And as the whole area
7 of the Prijedor plain was flat, and the situation was similar in the whole
8 river valley of the Sana River, which includes Bosanski Novi. So this is
9 difficult -- this is not such a difficult terrain. It's easy access for
10 tanks and artillery, and since we had no anti-artillery weapons,
11 anti-armour weapons, we didn't stand a chance of resisting such a powerful
12 armed force because we were not as sufficiently organised nor sufficiently
13 armed to put up resistance or strategically equipped to defend ourselves.
14 The plan for the Bihac region was to try to defend west -- to the
15 west of the left bank of the River Sana. This plan fell through the
16 moment that Bosanska Krupa, which was connected with Sanski Most across
17 the Grmec mountain and where part of the forces from the Bihac region was
18 supposed to cross in order to establish a line on the left river bank of
19 the Sana River. This plan fell through the moment that Bosanska Krupa was
20 attacked on the 23rd of April, and this practically cut off the left river
21 bank where most of the Bosniaks and the -- in this region lived, the Bihac
22 region. This move left us cut off and unable to defend ourselves.
23 Q. Given this strategic situation, did it make sense to -- for the
24 SDA party or the Bosniaks and those in the Patriotic League to put a lot
25 of weapons into Prijedor?
1 A. The Patriotic League, and I am firmly stating this, never sent a
2 single bullet, a single barrel, to the Prijedor area, nor were any weapons
3 or money for weapons sent from the SDA or from anyone else apart from
4 there being a number of individual initiatives by individuals from certain
5 villages. But there was no organised collection or sending of money or
7 Q. Can you explain that. Strategically would it have made sense for
8 the Patriotic League to put its weapons or money in Prijedor given the
9 situation you just described?
10 A. If they assessed the area to be impossible to defend, and as we
11 have seen from my explanation on the map, it was impossible to defend
12 indeed, provided the forces that were stationed in Banja Luka, Prijedor,
13 the JNA forces, once we have said that, it's quite pointless to send
14 weapons to an area that was to be occupied anyway and impossible to
15 defend. That was an assessment by the Patriotic League. And the
16 Territorial Defence at the republican level saw the situation in the same
17 terms. That was probably also the reason why no weapons were ever sent to
18 the area, to the best of my knowledge.
19 Q. You mentioned the distribution by Arsic in 1991 of some weapons to
20 the local TOs. Did those weapons or some of them remain in the hands of
21 some areas, TOs, dominated by Bosniaks?
22 A. Weapons belonging to the Territorial Defence which was
23 distributed -- I must stress this -- to the regular units of the
24 Territorial Defence that were preserved from the former system, members
25 and commanders, officers of the Territorial Defence in Prijedor
1 municipality were not people who were also members of the SDA. Those were
2 official members of the Territorial Defence also before the SDA came to
3 power, they had been official members of the TO. Those weapons were kept
4 until just before the beginning of the conflict.
5 Q. Prior to the 30th of April, the takeover in Prijedor, you
6 mentioned that Bosanska Krupa had fallen. Did other areas in the
7 surrounding municipalities in the region of Prijedor fall to SDS-led
8 forces prior to the 30th of April?
9 A. Prior to the 30th of April, the Sanski Most area was also, in the
10 true sense of the word, occupied by Colonel Basara's brigade. I think it
11 was the 6th. I can't remember the name. I'll have to remember later, but
12 it was under the command of Colonel Basara. The Bosanski Novi area was
13 occupied in a similar way, as well as the Kljuc area. Prijedor came last.
14 Of all these local communes, Bosanska Krupa was the first to be --
15 municipalities, I'm sorry, was the first to be occupied. I'm talking
16 about west of the River Una, which also divided Bosanska Krupa into two
17 parts, which means that this area was disconnected from any assistance
18 that might have come from the Bosnian Krajina. So Prijedor came last in
19 terms of being occupied.
20 Q. What about Banja Luka? Had Banja Luka been taken over or was
21 there some manifestation of a change in authority in Banja Luka?
22 A. In Banja Luka, there were only 15 per cent of Bosniaks. Serbs
23 were clearly predominant, and the concentration of military power was very
24 high. So there was nothing special happening in Banja Luka, nor were any
25 changes noticed from outside. No changes were necessary because Banja
1 Luka, as it was, was totally controlled by both military and civilian Serb
3 Q. Did you go to Sanski Most prior to the takeover in Prijedor and
4 speak to a military officer?
5 A. Yes. I did go several days before the putsch that was to take
6 place in Prijedor. I had been invited by representatives of local
7 authorities from Sanski Most as a republican delegate in the Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina parliament. As communications with Sarajevo were almost cut
9 off already at that point, they didn't know what to do and they had no one
10 to consult. So they asked me to come over in order to share the burden of
11 all the difficult decisions and talks that were to follow with them. I
12 did go to Sanski Most. I responded to their invitation. I think it was
13 around the 20-something of April. That was a short while before --
14 several days before the putsch in Prijedor. When I came to Sanski Most,
15 at the entrance to Sanski Most, we were pulled over by military patrol. I
16 told them that I was supposed to talk to General Talic, and then they let
17 me go. But the whole town was teeming with the army, and outside all the
18 important buildings and facilities, there were security patrols. When I
19 entered the municipal building where the negotiations were taking place,
20 General Talic and Colonel Hasetic, as well as representatives of the SDS
21 and the president of the municipal government, Mirzet Karabeg, the chief
22 of -- I'm sorry, deputy chief of police who was Bosniak explained to me
23 what was really going on.
24 The evening before, Serb police attacked Bosniak policemen and
25 Croat policemen; that's non-Serb policemen. They took the police station
1 in Sanski Most and expelled non-Serb policemen from the police station.
2 Then they withdrew to the municipal building of Sanski Most. I approached
3 General Talic and asked him what all of this was supposed to mean, why the
4 army virtually occupied the town. He replied that the army's aim was to
5 prevent conflict, which was an explanation used in many other situations,
6 an excuse for the army's occupation and intervention of many other parts
7 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or Croatia for that matter. It was a tried and
8 true recipe. He said it was only a temporary measure until the political
9 situation calmed down.
10 Q. Was General Talic the commander of the 5th Corps of the JNA?
11 A. He was the commander of the Banja Luka Corps. I'm not sure
12 whether that's the 5th Corps. Anyway, it was the corps for the Banja Luka
13 area and the wider region surrounding Banja Luka.
14 Q. Was he the superior officer to Colonel Arsic, or
15 Lieutenant-Colonel Arsic at that time?
16 A. Yes, he was Colonel Arsic's superior, but Major Zeljaja, although
17 he had a lower rank, he received a special order. He was put in a
18 position of what is called special command. He was put in charge of
19 cleansing the Sana River valley.
20 Q. Okay. Now, let's go back to Prijedor and the events just prior to
21 the takeover. Did you have a conversation with Colonel Arsic on the 29th
22 of April?
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 Q. Can you explain to us the circumstances and the conversations that
25 you had with Colonel Arsic and others that day.
1 A. That day, we first had a conversation in the premises of the local
2 police station. The police force was divided. Serb police officers
3 insisted that the Prijedor Police Station should join the Autonomous
4 Region of Krajina, that is the Security Services Centre in Banja Luka,
5 whereas non-Serb police officers were against it. While I was in the
6 meeting, a document arrived, a document which was sent by a Serb police
7 officer who was working in the communications department. He stated that
8 an order had come from the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the
9 fact that the police should attack the barracks. The objective of this
10 document was to demonstrate the need to severe all communications with
11 Sarajevo, since instructions and orders coming from Sarajevo were totally
12 unacceptable for citizens of Serb ethnicity.
13 At 5.00 on the same day, a telephone call came for me from Colonel
14 Arsic who wanted to see me immediately in the barracks. I told him that I
15 would prefer to talk on a neutral ground, that I was not willing to come
16 to the barracks. However, he insisted on my coming to the barracks. He
17 said that Miskovic was already with him, and that the matter was quite
18 important and quite urgent. So I left and went to the barracks where I
19 found Colonel Arsic, Mr. Miskovic, and another younger officer who was
20 sitting next to Colonel Arsic. As I sat there, Colonel Arsic showed me a
21 document, a piece of paper, and said: "Will you please read this." The
22 title of the document read "the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina" with
23 a signature of Alija Izetbegovic, allegedly, the president of the
24 Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The document purported to be an
25 instruction issued to the police stations in Bosnia and Herzegovina with
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the specific task given to the police, the task being to encircle the
2 barracks and to cut off all communications and to secure the surrender of
3 the JNA.
4 After I had read the document, Colonel Arsic asked me: "Can you
5 comment on this? Is there anything you can say in response to this?" And
6 I said that I was not exactly familiar with the document and that I did
7 not believe that the document had been sent by the Presidency of Bosnia
8 and Herzegovina, and I told him that I thought that the document was a
9 forgery. Had such a document been sent, we would have never decided to
10 act on it because we believed that it was senseless in view of the ratio
11 forces that I just described. However, I said that I would try to contact
12 the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina find out what this was all about.
13 Colonel Arsic made a comment and addressing also Simo Miskovic, he
14 said: "Whoever should try to attack the JNA we will retaliate with all
15 the forces available to us." I said once again that it was by no means
16 our intention, that we didn't have any such plans, whereupon the meeting
18 Q. After the meeting, where did you go?
19 A. After the meeting, we all went to dinner. We were joined by Major
20 Zeljaja and Zoran Karlica.
21 Q. Did you have dinner in Prijedor, in the town?
22 A. Yes, in Prijedor town in a restaurant called Evropa. Colonel
23 Arsic found a motive for this dinner. He said: "Since all seems to be
24 fine and dandy, why don't we have a dinner together and talk a little,
25 informally." And he also said something to the effect that Simo and I
1 owed him a dinner because he had distributed us some weapons. And what he
2 meant is that he distributed part of the weapons to the Territorial
3 Defence. I believe I described this yesterday in my testimony.
4 Q. Yes. I'm sorry, I need to go back for a moment to the meeting.
5 You indicated that this document came that Colonel Arsic said he had
6 received which was indicated it was from Alija Izetbegovic and the
7 Presidency. You said that you would check on it. Did more information
8 come to you and to the others in the meeting regarding that document
9 before the end of the meeting?
10 A. Not at that moment. However, the next day, I learned that the
11 document, that is, the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina denied that
12 they ever sent a document of similar contents. It was later established
13 that the document in question had probably been sent by the
14 counterintelligence service of the JNA in order to provide the army with
15 the pretext for intervention.
16 Q. So the next day, did the Presidency of Bosnia deny having authored
17 the document and indicate that they had no plans to attack the JNA?
18 A. Yes, you're quite right. The next day, the Presidency of Bosnia
19 and Herzegovina publicly denied that they had sent a document of that or
20 similar nature, and they also denied that they had any intention to enter
21 into a conflict with the JNA.
22 Q. At the dinner, did you talk politics or more normal, mundane
24 A. The dinner was rather informal. We stayed until about 11.00,
25 discussed other issues unrelated to politics. But there was one sentence
1 that was said and that I remember from that meeting. Colonel Arsic
2 jokingly asked me: "Mujadzic, so, are you going to attack us or not?"
3 And then I said: "Well, Sir, Colonel, I already told you that we had no
4 such intentions, that such a move would be completely senseless." And
5 then he said: "I'm not very sure about that. You Muslims are very
6 obedient people." He was probably alluding to the possibility that we
7 might venture such a move, regardless of its being completely senseless,
8 which tells me that he probably didn't know of the true nature of the
9 document, or maybe it was just a manner of speaking. It's very hard for
10 me to judge what exactly it was that he meant from this point in time.
11 Q. What happened when you woke up the next day, the 30th of April?
12 A. The next morning at around 6.00, Salih Sistek, the secretary of
13 the party, called me and said: "Have you heard the news?" And I said:
14 "No, what's up." And he said: "Prijedor has been occupied." It was a
15 possibility that had been in my mind for some time in view of the events
16 that had been taking place in the towns that I have indicated. But
17 despite that, I was surprised with the course the events took, in view of
18 this friendly dinner that I had had the previous night with Colonel Arsic,
19 Simo Miskovic, and others.
20 Q. Doctor, do you believe that the takeover was something that was
21 planned and authorised only on a local level, or do you believe that there
22 were higher authorities that were aware of the plan for the takeover prior
23 to its implementation?
24 A. After I had heard the news, I left the apartment. I wanted to see
25 for myself what was going on in town. And outside all major institutions,
1 I noticed presence of military patrols, that is, guards who were guarding
2 these buildings, and a number of checkpoints in various parts of the town.
3 Some of these individuals were recognised by local citizens as members of
4 the brigade of Colonel Colic or commander Arsic. However, there were a
5 certain number of individuals who were not from the territory of the
6 Prijedor municipality. Later, we were informed that members of the
7 special police force from Banja Luka had taken part in the operation
8 alongside a number of other units alien to the territory of the Prijedor
9 municipality. It was obvious from the composition of these units that the
10 operation had been planned at the regional level.
11 Later on, we got certain indications that the operation -- that it
12 was likely that the operation had been planned at a much higher level.
13 MR. KOUMJIAN: May the witness be shown S95, 99, and 100. And for
14 Your Honours, those are 65 ter numbers 42, 81, and 83.
15 Q. Doctor, first looking at S95, is it correct -- do you have that in
16 front of you?
17 A. Yes, I do.
18 MR. KOUMJIAN: And for the record again, it's headed at the top
19 "Serbian Democratic Party of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Prijedor SDS, municipal
20 board of the Serbian Democratic Party."
21 Q. Does this appear to be minutes from the 27th of December, 1991?
22 A. You're quite right. This was the meeting of the Serbian
23 Democratic Party held on the 27th of December, 1991. The meeting of the
24 municipal Prijedor board of the SDS.
25 Q. Looking at item number 1, does it indicate that Mr. Miskovic, the
1 president of the party at that time, read out instructions from the SDS --
2 from the higher levels forwarded to the SDS municipal authorities?
3 A. Correct. The first point on the agenda was the implementation of
4 the decisions and positions taken by the Assembly of the Serbian People of
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina. That is, the implementation of the decisions and
6 positions taken at the level of the republic. These decisions and
7 positions had to be implemented at the level of the municipality.
8 Q. I'd like to now go to number 99. Does S99 appear to be a document
9 dated the 23rd of March, 1992, from Radovan Karadzic, president of the
10 Serbian Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and addressed to all
11 the presidents of municipalities?
12 A. Yes. This is a very interesting document in which the president
13 of the Serbian Democratic Party directly addresses the representatives of
14 the local municipal authorities.
15 Q. Doctor, do you understand when he addresses this letter to the
16 "presidents of the municipalities" that this would have been meant for
17 Mr. Cehajic?
18 A. Of course not. The document was addressed and forwarded to the
19 Prijedor Serbian Democratic Party, and not the president of the
20 municipality, Mr. Cehajic, who was legally appointed president of the
21 municipality. So this letter concerns and is addressed to the presidents
22 of municipalities in which Serbs had the majority and in which the
23 presidents of municipalities were Serbs. In the cases of those
24 municipalities where this was not the case, such as Prijedor, Serbian
25 municipalities had been established and self-proclaimed. The presidents
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 of these Serbian municipalities had been illegally elected in these
2 municipalities. So this letter was addressed to the presidents of Serb
4 Q. I'd like to direct your attention to the fourth paragraph. I will
5 read it. "The municipalities now face an obligation to urgently connect
6 their own information centres with regional centres, if it has not been
7 done so far. And to provide for the personnel and other requirements in
8 order to monitor the situation in the field. Keeping in mind the current
9 situation in the republic, it was necessary to cooperate with the SJB by
10 providing the centre with a duty shift and ability to convey and receive
11 information 24 hours a day nonstop, Saturdays and Sundays."
12 Doctor, does this -- does this document influence your opinion as
13 to the communication of information through the presidents of the Serb
14 municipalities to higher authorities?
15 A. The document clearly demonstrates that the orders and instructions
16 in respect of all major decisions and events were coming from the
17 leadership of the Serbian Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In
18 this case, as far as I can see, the source was the president of the SDS
19 himself, Mr. Karadzic. The document indicates the need to organise local
20 communication centres who would then have links with higher levels within
21 the police. Information centres are part of the police force or the
22 Territorial Defence. There are special centres for information within the
23 Territorial Defence. Both such centres are state authorities, state
24 bodies, and it is clear that Mr. Karadzic, as the president of the Serbian
25 Democratic Party at the level of the republic, was directly addressing in
1 this letter police bodies and the relevant authorities with very specific
2 instructions and orders.
3 Q. I'd now like to move on to S100. I'll ask you to take a look at
4 that document. At the top it indicates it's from the Serbian Republic of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Assembly of the Serbian People in the Prijedor
6 municipality. It indicates it's a summary of the minutes of the fourth
7 session of that municipality, held on the 26th of March, 1992. I would
8 like to direct your attention to the bottom of the page which indicates
9 the decisions, and decision number 2, which I'll read, indicates that
10 "Milomir Stakic reported on the meeting between the main board of the SDS
11 and presidents of the SDS municipal boards." Can you comment upon that
13 A. Clearly, the document shows that Mr. Stakic was a member of the
14 main board of the SDS and that he attended the meeting in question where
15 he received certain instructions from the republic board of the SDS. He's
16 now informing the municipal Prijedor board of the contents of these
18 Q. Going to the third decision item, it indicates that "an election
19 was held for representative in the Autonomous Region of Bosnian Krajina
20 Assembly." Can you tell me who received the most votes for being in the
21 position of representative or for representatives to that body?
22 A. Please give me a moment to just have a look. It is quite obvious
23 that Dr. Milomir Stakic got the highest number of votes, 40 votes.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 Doctor, in your opinion, after the takeover, can you tell us --
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 excuse me. Strike and start again. Can you tell us after the takeover --
2 MR. KOUMJIAN: I'm done with those three documents, and they can
3 be removed, just to avoid confusion.
4 Q. After the takeover, Doctor, did you have any dealings with the
5 authorities now in power in Prijedor?
6 A. Not in a formal sense. But informal contact by phone, yes, and to
7 several people. I was in touch with Srdjo Srdic by phone and Simo
8 Miskovic, too, also by phone. He used the Prijedor radio station to speak
9 to Prijedor citizens just after the putsch, the takeover.
10 Q. I'm sorry, are you speaking now about Mr. Miskovic used the radio,
11 or Mr. Srdic?
12 A. Mr. Miskovic was the one who used the radio station, and Srdjo
13 Srdic was in a private house.
14 Q. Can you tell me, did you -- tell me the contents of the phone
15 conversation that you had with Mr. Srdic.
16 A. Just after the takeover in the village of Brezicani, three
17 civilians were killed. At the same time, following the takeover, the town
18 was flooded with posters saying that this was a measure taken to remove
19 those representatives of the SDS [as interpreted] Who had committed a
20 number of crimes, who committed theft, who stole money, from the companies
21 and that this act was necessary but that Bosniak and Croat citizens of
22 Prijedor would, after six months, have an opportunity to appoint their own
23 more adequate candidate, representatives, and that they could keep their
24 peace. The same thing was told by Mr. Miskovic on the radio station. I
25 called him then and said: "If you can really guarantee safety to all
1 citizens, Simo, how is it possible that immediately after the takeover
2 three citizens were killed? Can you explain this to the citizens?"
3 Q. Before you go on, the translation indicates that you said that
4 when the posters appeared, they said these measures were taken to remove
5 those representatives of the SDS. Is that what you intended to say?
6 A. No. Maybe it was a mistake. I meant representatives of the SDA,
7 Party of Democratic Action. All I said before was related to the SDA and
8 not the SDS.
9 Q. What did Mr. Srdic say when you asked him if he could guarantee
10 the safety of the non-Serbs?
11 A. Knowing from our previous conversations at that Mr. Srdic, of all
12 SDS leaders, also having known him as a colleague because we worked
13 door-to-door in the hospital, and as delegates, we used to know each other
14 quite well, he was a town Serb, so to speak, a man open to being talked to
15 about many things. So I called him at his home number.
16 He wasn't in, but his wife, whom I also knew, gave me another
17 phone number of the place where Srdo was at that moment. I called the
18 number and asked Srdjo to call back. He called back. And then I asked
19 him: "Srdjo, what does all of this mean?" He said: "You know full well
20 what it means, and if you don't, you're bound to find out very soon. We
21 are well prepared for the war, but are you?" I then asked him: "But why
22 war? What sort of war are you talking about?" Although I had seen these
23 things coming, I was still shocked at this moment and scared by the
24 prospect of the things to come.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. KOUMJIAN: I'd like to have the witness shown S110, S112, and
2 S106. Those are 65 ter numbers 261, 263, and 171.
3 Q. Sir, from the information you had, who was the authority after the
4 takeover? What body or persons were governing Prijedor?
5 A. After the takeover, the radio station in Prijedor broadcast news
6 all day long, news related to these events. Among other things, citizens
7 were told that power in the municipality had been taken over by the Crisis
8 Staff, the president of which was Dr. Milomir Stakic.
9 Q. I'd like you now to look at S110. It's a copy of the official
10 gazette of Prijedor municipality dated the 25th of June, 1992.
11 A. S106?
12 Q. S110.
13 A. Yes, I have it in front of me.
14 Q. Doctor, does this indicate to you that the -- some attempt was
15 made to formalise the authority of a Prijedor Municipal Crisis Staff?
16 A. Yes. The official gazette, this means that the whole thing is
17 becoming legitimate. But as an illegitimate body here passing a law, what
18 follows is that the law adopted by an illegitimate body is not really a
19 law. But this clearly shows that this body is trying to make its own
20 actions and procedure legal.
21 Q. I'd like you to now look at the last page. And just before
22 decision number 19 starts, the last part of this decision, number 18, can
23 you tell me who is the person listed as the signatory of this decision?
24 A. Dr. Milomir Stakic.
25 Q. Now, no actual handwriting appears in this gazette. I notice next
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 to the name "Dr. Milomir Stakic" are the letters SR. Can you explain what
2 that means, what its significance is?
3 A. In all official gazettes, there are never any signatures. But in
4 original documents, the person who passes a certain document act, adopts
5 it, signs. But in official gazettes, you only put SR, meaning that the
6 person whose name is given had previously signed the document.
7 Q. I'd like to direct your attention to Article 2, which I will read:
8 Prijedor municipal Crisis Staff has been established to coordinate the
9 functions of the authorities, the defence of the municipal territory, the
10 protection of safety, of people and property, the establishment of
11 government, and the organisation of all other fields of life and work. As
12 coordinator, the Crisis Staff shall create conditions enabling the
13 municipal executive committee to discharge its legal executive functions,
14 manage the economy and other areas of life."
15 And I'd like to read Article Number 6 --
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. Could you please, in order to have also
17 access for all the members of the Bench, read the Articles in between so
18 that we have the total.
19 MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay.
20 Q. Article Number 3: "Should the Municipal Assembly be unable to sit
21 in session, the Prijedor Municipal Crisis Staff shall decide on matters
22 falling within the province of the assembly jurisdiction. As soon as it
23 is possible to convene a session of the assembly, it shall be the duty of
24 the Crisis Staff to submit for endorsement all decisions which it has
25 adopted and which would formally fall within the province of the
2 Article 4: "Prijedor Municipal Crisis Staff shall have a
3 president, vice-president, and nine members. The president of the
4 Municipal Assembly shall serve, ex officio, as the president of the Crisis
5 Staff. And the vice-president of the Municipal Assembly as the
6 vice-president of the Crisis Staff. The following shall serve as members
7 of the Crisis Staff: The president of the municipal executive committee;
8 commander of the municipal Territorial Defence staff; commander of the
9 municipal people's defence staff; chief of the public security station;
10 secretary of municipal secretariat for trade, industry, and public
11 services; secretary of the municipal secretariat for town planning,
12 housing, utilities, and legal property affairs; the health and social
13 security officer at municipal secretariat for the economy and social
14 affairs; and information officer at municipal secretariat for the economy
15 and social affairs."
16 Article 5, in accordance with the assessment of the political and
17 security situation and realistic requirements, the Crisis Staff shall
18 adopt relevant decisions on the organisation and work of the Municipal
19 Assembly, its organs, and other municipal organs and local communes.
20 Article 6: "In discharging its functions in the area of defense,
21 the Crisis Staff shall, in particular, coordinate the work and activities
22 of all components of all people's defence, consider issues of
23 mobilisation, development and reinforcement of the armed forces, and other
24 organisations and foster their cooperation with other responsible
25 municipal organs. On special request of the commander of the municipal
1 TO, deal with issues of supply requirements and funding sources for the
2 TO. Keep abreast of all aspects of the situation in the municipality
3 essential for the waging of armed combat and take appropriate measures.
4 Monitor the implementation of the recruitment plan. Where necessary, take
5 measures for successful implementation thereof."
6 Doctor, based upon this document, do you have some opinion as to
7 the authority of the Crisis Staff over matters of the security situation
8 in Prijedor and the influence of the Crisis Staff over police and army?
9 A. What we have just read clearly demonstrates that the president of
10 the Crisis Staff has authority over all state organs in Prijedor
11 municipality, including the police, the Territorial Defence, and all other
12 segments, and that he is fully responsible for all elements essential for
13 armed fighting. And in that sense, he's taking all the appropriate
14 measures and has authority over all these fields, areas of activity.
15 Q. I'd like you now to look at S112. It is indicated that it's,
16 again, from the official gazette. It's actually decision 19, and
17 indicates a decision reached at the meeting of the 20th of May, 1992 of
18 the Prijedor assembly. Decision on appointments to Prijedor Municipal
19 Crisis Staff. Doctor, is it correct that this document indicates that the
20 president of the Crisis Staff was Dr. Milomir Stakic and among the members
21 was, at number 6, Simo Drljaca, chief of Prijedor public security station?
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. I'd like you to look at S106. This is a document that, on the
24 top, it indicates it's from the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
25 Autonomous Region of Krajina, Prijedor Municipality Crisis Staff. And
1 it's dated the 22nd of May, 1992. It's addressed to all commercial and
2 social enterprises, and it's signed at the bottom, president, Dr. Milomir
4 I'd like to read the second paragraph into the record: "The
5 purpose of introducing permanent operational duty by the Crisis Staff is
6 to provide continuous monitoring of the situation in the civilian sector
7 on the territory of the municipality. The giving of additional
8 instruction for the implementation of conclusions, decisions, and orders
9 of the Crisis Staff of the Prijedor municipality, and at any given moment
10 outside working hours, government agencies and commercial can be
11 activated. The permanent operational duty of the Crisis Staff shall be
12 organised on the premises of the Municipal Assembly, shall be on a 24-hour
13 basis. Any important occurrences and events shall be reported to the
14 following telephone number, 22055."
15 Doctor, do you understand this document to indicate -- to who do
16 you understand this document to be directed to?
17 A. The economic and social subjects of the municipality, meaning all
18 institutions, all enterprises, all schools, all segments, all public
20 Q. Thank you.
21 A. Which means that the Crisis Staff has authority over all aspects
22 of life in the municipality.
23 MR. KOUMJIAN: I'd like now to have these documents collected and
24 ask that the witness be shown --
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry, just for clarification. Could you please
1 draw your attention to the last page, and on the basis of other documents
2 in the past, you were asked whether or not you can identify the signature
3 to be found there. Can you identify this signature as the signature of
4 Dr. Stakic?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. That is Dr. Stakic's
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could the witness please be shown Document 101B.
8 Witness, I would like to hear your comments on the signatures you
9 have before you.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is quite obvious that they are
11 different in certain aspects. But the graphology, I think, is the same.
12 I think it is the same handwriting.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But you can see the difference?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, there is a difference there.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This was only to ask you to be careful with the
16 assessment whether or not you really can identify the one or other
17 signature from an earlier signature because you have to be aware you are
18 here under your solemn declaration. And if you are asked whether or not
19 you can identify, you shouldn't say: "Yes, I can see it here," but it
20 should be a recognition of a signature you have seen several times in the
21 past, if so.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is related to the previous
23 signature, the 26th of March, 1992. I do recognise this particular
24 signature. So I'm talking about the document dated the 27th of March,
25 1992. I do recognise the signature there.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: As you said before as regards Document S101B, to
2 be concrete.
3 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, would you like me to go on?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Should I look at these documents?
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The only question was the last one. As regards
6 Document S106, and here my question was if you still maintain your
7 declaration that you can identify this signature as the one of Dr. Milomir
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I compare the two signatures,
10 then I'm no longer sure that the other one is his. As far as the 26th of
11 March is concerned, I am certain, but the other one, although they are
12 very much alike, but the other one I'm no longer sure that it really is
13 the signature of Dr. Milomir Stakic.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this clarification.
15 The Prosecutor may proceed for another five minutes.
16 MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay. Thank you. In that case, I'd like the
17 witness shown 103, 105, and 111. See how far we go with those three.
18 Q. Starting with S103, which has a 65 ter number of 133.
19 MR. KOUMJIAN: For the record, it's from the Serbian Municipality
20 of Prijedor, Executive Committee, dated the 7th of May, 1992. The
21 indication is that it's signed at the bottom, the name below the signature
22 is president of the Executive Committee, Dr. Milan Kovacevic. The
23 decision states in item number 1: "Dzemal Sefa [phoen], director of the
24 PBS," -- that's Commercial Bank of Sarajevo -- "main branch office in
25 Prijedor, is relieved of his duty as of 7th of May, 1992."
1 Q. I'd now like you to look, Doctor, at S105, which is, again, from
2 the Prijedor -- it's now from the --
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry. Evidently, there is no French
4 translation to be heard.
5 Okay. You can continue.
6 MR. KOUMJIAN: Do I need to repeat anything?
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think the last question.
8 MR. KOUMJIAN:
9 Q. Now I'm directing you to last S105. It appears to be a document
10 from the Prijedor Municipal Assembly dated the 8th of May, 1992. It's
11 signed at the bottom, the signature above -- the name below the signature
12 is president of the assembly, Dr. Milomir Stakic. It indicates: "The
13 Municipal Assembly of Prijedor, at its session held on the 16th of April,
14 1992, adopted a proposal to elect Mico Cerka [phoen] as President of the
15 Lower Court in Prijedor and Milenko Tomic as public prosecutor." And
16 before I ask you the last question, -- the next question, Doctor, I'd also
17 like to direct your attention to 111, 65 ter number 262, which indicates
18 that at a meeting held -- it's again from the official gazette, decision
19 number 55, at its meeting convened at 16:30 on the 29th May, 1992,
20 Prijedor Municipal Crisis Staff adopted the following: Number one, Major
21 Slobodan Kuruzovic, commander of Prijedor Serbian Territorial Defence is
22 relieved of his duties as of 29 May, 1992, and placed under the command of
23 the command of the region." And it's signed, and below the signature
24 appears Dr. Milomir -- excuse me. There's no handwriting. The indication
25 at the bottom is Dr. Milomir Stakic, President of the Crisis Staff, and
1 next to the name appear the letters SR.
2 Doctor, these three decisions relating to an appointment to a
3 bank, to appointments to the judicial system, and the appointments to the
4 Territorial Defence, do they indicate to you the authority of the Crisis
6 A. This clearly shows that the Crisis Staff could both dismiss and
7 appoint persons to any position at the local level, including bank
8 managers. The other position was justice, the Territorial Defence,
9 placing the commander of the Territorial Defence under the jurisdiction of
10 the command of the region.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MR. KOUMJIAN: This would be an appropriate time to break.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. The trial stands adjourned until
14 11.00 sharp.
15 --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. You may continue.
18 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honours, I would now ask the witness to look
19 at what he has before him, S104, ter Number 139; S60, which has the ter
20 number of 158; and S109, which has the ter number, I believe, of 222.
21 Q. Sir, looking at S109 first -- excuse me, S104 first. S104. This
22 is a document dated the 8th of May, 1992. It indicates it's from the
23 Autonomous Region of Krajina War Staff, Banja Luka. The documents states
24 that: "At the meeting held on 8 May, 1992, the War Staff of the
25 Autonomous Region of Krajina adopted the following:" I'm interested in the
1 third, but I'll read the first three. "Presidents of the national defence
2 council are too submit detailed reports about conducting mobilisation in
3 their municipalities to the War Staff of the Autonomous Region of Krajina.
4 Two, the distribution of oil products and consumer goods is to be placed
5 under the control of the national defence councils. Three, presidents of
6 the national defence councils are to report to the War Staff of the
7 Autonomous Region of Krajina about any actions they may have taken in
8 order to disarm the paramilitary units and individuals possessing illegal
9 weapons and ammunition."
10 The document is signed -- excuse me, is not signed, but the name
11 printed at the bottom is "President, Radislav Brdjanin," and there is a
12 stamp. Doctor, can you tell us, are you familiar with a body known as the
13 national defence council?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Was this body also organised on the municipal level; and if so,
16 can you explain the structure of that body?
17 A. If we are talking about the legal national defence council, the
18 one that was provided for in the applicable law of the Republic of Bosnia
19 and Herzegovina, then it is the national defence council which is presided
20 by the president of the municipality, and its members are the chief of
21 police, the commander of the Territorial Defence headquarters, the
22 commander of the civilian defence, chief of the secretariat for national
23 defence, and a certain number of other individuals who are appointed if
24 necessary. But the individuals that I have indicated are, according to
25 the statutory provisions, members of that body.
1 Q. I'd now like you to look at S60, ter number 158. The document is
2 entitled: "Minutes of the 4th meeting of the council for national
3 defence," held on 15 May, 1992, starting at 10.00 hours. Dr. Milomir
4 Stakic, president of the council, chaired the meeting. The meeting was
5 attended by, and it lists Dr. Milomir Stakic, Dr. Milan Kovacevic, Simo
6 Miskovic, Vladimir Arsic, Pero Colic, Slobodan Kuruzovic, Radmilo Zeljaja,
7 Rade Javoric, Slavko Budimir, Simo Drljaca, Cedo Sipovac, Vojo Pavacic,
8 Bosko Mandic, Ranko Travar, Milenko Rajlic, Dragan Savanovic. Spiro
9 Marmat kept the minutes.
10 Doctor, are you familiar with most of the names of the individuals
11 I've just named?
12 A. Yes, I am familiar with the majority of the names here.
13 Q. The document indicates the following agenda was confirmed: "One,
14 decision on the organisation and functioning of the Crisis Staff. Two,
15 mobilisation in the municipality. Three, the issue of the status of
16 deployed forces. Four, disarmament of paramilitary formations. Five,
17 taking over the duties of the military department." It then indicates on,
18 I believe, agenda item number 1: "The decision on the organisation and
19 function of the Crisis Staff, the following participated in the
20 discussion: Dr. Milomir Stakic and Slavko Budimir. After the discussion
21 the following discussion was adopted: The draft on the decision of the
22 organisation and functioning of the Crisis Staff is approved under the
23 proviso that a representative of the garrison in Prijedor be added to the
24 proposed list of members of the Crisis Staff."
25 Agenda items 2 and 3: "Mobilisation in the municipality and the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 issue of deployed forces, the following persons participated in the
2 discussion: Slavko Butmir, Pero Colic, Radmilo Zeljaja, Simo Miskovic,
3 Slobodan Kuruzovic, Dr. Milan Kovacevic, Vladimir Arsic, Simo Drljaca,
4 Rade Javoric, Dr. Milomir Stakic, Cedo Sipovac, Bosko Mandic, and Ranko
5 Travar. After the discussion, the following conclusions were adopted. No
6 crisis staffs can be formed in companies or other legal entities. All
7 persons who have failed to respond to the mobilisation callups starting
8 from 17 September, 1991, may not participate in decision-making on
9 organisation of work and security matters in companies and other legal
10 entities. The directors of companies and other executive organs are
11 responsible for the immediate implementation of this conclusion."
12 "Three, start of the transformation of both the TO staffs and form
13 a unified command for control and command of all the units formed in the
14 territory of the municipality. Four, in the assignment of the remaining
15 conscripts to units, priority is to be given to the reinforcement of war
16 units 4777 and 8316. Five, call all conscripts who have been issued
17 uniforms and other military equipment and who have not joined up to return
18 their equipment as soon as possible."
19 "Four, disarmament of paramilitary formations, the following
20 persons participated in the discussion. Simo Drljaca, Radmilo Zeljaja,
21 Slavko Budimir, Rade Javoric, Dr. Milan Kovacevic, Bosko Mandic, and Ranko
22 Trava. After the discussion, the following conclusion was adopted, the
23 public security station, in concert with the army command, should draft
24 the plan of disarmament after which the actual process should be set in
25 motion, without predetermined deadlines and with the assistance of the
1 media. Taking over the duties of the military department, this is agenda
2 item number 5, Slavko Budimir and Dr. Milomir Stakic participated in the
3 discussion. After the discussion, the following conclusion was adopted:
4 The municipality secretariat for national defence is requested to prepare,
5 for the Municipal Assembly Executive Committee, a draft staffing table to
6 the secretariat which shall include the tasks taken over from the military
7 department. The chairman ended the meeting at 12.10 hours."
8 On the left it indicates "clerk" and then below that "Dr. Milomir
9 Stakic." Looking at B, the original, on the right, it appears "President
10 of the National Defence Council" and then printed, "Stakic, Dr. Milomir."
11 First, May 15th, the stated day of this meeting, was this before
12 or after the incident at Hambarine?
13 A. This took place before the incident at Hambarine.
14 Q. Is it correct that this meeting included representatives of the
15 police force, the chief of police, and the top two commanders in the
16 Prijedor area, top two army commanders?
17 A. Obviously, the chief of police by virtue of his office and in
18 accordance with the law and the decision reached by the Crisis Staff of
19 Prijedor is a member of the Crisis Staff. And as you can see from this
20 division, one of the members of the Crisis Staff was also the commander of
21 the garrison, that is, the local JNA unit deployed in the area. At the
22 time it was still a JNA unit, the one which was quartered in the area of
23 the Prijedor municipality. That was the segment that I referred to in my
24 previous testimony when I said that other members can also be appointed to
25 the Crisis Staff.
1 MR. KOUMJIAN: Your Honour, at this point I would like to have
2 played video S7, previously been marked and admitted into evidence. I'd
3 ask the witness to look at the screen. We're going to play a short
5 Q. And Witness, we would like you to identify persons that you
6 recognise at this scene that will be displayed. You may ask us to stop
7 the tape at any point in order to point out the individuals you recognise.
8 [Videotape played]
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can we stop the tape, please, here.
10 The image is blurred, but on the left-hand side I can recognise Dr.
11 Kovacevic in the mid portion of the image, that is in the left half of the
12 photograph. One can see Dr. Stakic at the head of the table. The image
13 is shaking. It's very difficult to make it out.
14 I think that the man on the right, in the right corner, is Mr.
15 Savanovic. As for the person next to Dr. Stakic, I'm not sure I can
16 recognise him. The gentleman on the right -- can you let it play a bit.
17 [Videotape played]
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I recognised also Mr. Zeljaja.
19 Here we see Mr. Kuruzovic.
20 MR. KOUMJIAN: Can we go back.
21 Q. And can you tell us, who is Major Zeljaja?
22 A. Just a little more, please. Yes. Stop. Major Zeljaja is, if
23 you're looking from left to right, is the last person in this row in the
24 forefront. The last one looking from left to right.
25 Q. Holding the pen in his right hand?
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. KOUMJIAN: You can play the video further.
3 [Videotape played]
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is Mr. Kuruzovic. Mr.
5 Kovacevic, Mr. Kuruzovic once again.
6 MR. KOUMJIAN: Can we go back.
7 Q. Right there, do you recognise the individual on the right of the
8 screen in the white shirt?
9 A. If I'm not mistaken, this should be Mr. Arsic.
10 MR. KOUMJIAN: Perhaps we can go back a little further.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Again, the image is not clear. Can
12 I see some more, please.
13 MR. KOUMJIAN: Back up a little bit, and then play it forward.
14 [Videotape played]
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The image is blurred and dark. The
16 last individual that you mentioned, the one wearing a white shirt, I'm
17 really not sure as to his identity.
18 This is Dragan Savanovic, the one with the beard in the middle of
19 the image.
20 MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay. Thank you.
21 Q. Did you know by sight Dr. Slavko Budimir and Simo Drljaca?
22 A. I must say that I did not know Mr. Drljaca before. I just heard
23 of him. And I knew him by sight quite superficially. I'm not sure that I
24 would be able to recognise him now.
25 Q. What about Slavko Budimir?
1 A. Likewise. I'm not sure I'm able to recognise Mr. Slavko Budimir
2 now, although I saw him a couple of times and I knew him by sight.
3 However, I'm not sure I remember him.
4 Q. You have before you S109, which is a very long document. It's
5 issue 2 of the official gazette of the Autonomous Region of Krajina, dated
6 the 5th of June, 1992. I'm going to ask you just to look at the first
7 decision which indicates at the top "pursuant to the decision of the
8 ministry of national defence of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina, number 192, dated 16 April, 1992, and an evaluation of the
10 situation on the territory with the aim of defending and protecting the
11 people and property and of maintaining peace for all who live in these
12 areas, the secretariat for national defence of the Autonomous Region of
13 Krajina has made the following decision:" I'm interested in Number 4 and
14 5. Did Your Honour want me to read all five?
15 Number 4, a curfew shall be introduced on the entire territory
16 during the period from 2200 hours until 0500 hours except for persons with
17 official police authorisation, military police, and members of the Serbian
18 Territorial Defence.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Can we please have the 65 ter number for this
21 MR. KOUMJIAN: Sorry. That's 65 ter number 222.
22 Q. Do I need to go back to 4, or can I proceed with 5? Are the
23 booths ready?
24 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, thank you.
25 MR. KOUMJIAN:
1 Q. Number 5: "All paramilitary formations and individuals who
2 illegally possess weapons and ammunition are to immediately by 1500 hours
3 on the 11 May 1992 surrender them to the municipal headquarters of the
4 Territorial Defence or to the nearest public security station. After this
5 deadline, competent bodies shall carry out a search and confiscate weapons
6 and ammunition with the application of the most rigorous sanctions." It
7 then lists reasons, and then on the next page of the English translation,
8 I'm going to read number 4. "Presidents of municipal crisis staffs shall
9 be responsible for the implementation of this decision. And for the
10 implementation for this decision, they are given all authorisation." The
11 document at the bottom indicates "secretary of the national defence,
12 secretariat of the Autonomous Region of Krajina, Lieutenant-Colonel
13 Milorad Sajic."
14 Doctor, who would you understand to be the person in item number 4
15 that I just read, president of the municipal Crisis Staff who was given
16 all authorisation to implement that decision. Who would that be for
17 Prijedor at the time of this decision?
18 A. From the contents of the document, it is clear that it refers to
19 Dr. Stakic.
20 Q. Thank you.
21 MR. KOUMJIAN: These documents may be collected, and the next
22 group of documents I'd like to show the witness are S61. I'll get the 65
23 ter number for you. That would be 65 ter number 172. S70, which has the
24 65 ter number of 225. And S102, which has the 65 ter number of 120,
1 Q. Starting with S61, it's indicated at the top: "pursuant to the
2 decision of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the general
3 public mobilisation of forces and material in the republic, the Crisis
4 Staff of Prijedor municipality, considering the current situation and
5 conditions at the meeting held on 22nd May, 1992, reached a decision on
6 mobilisation in the territory of Prijedor Municipality."
7 The document then lists six separate actions. I'll just read --
8 related to mobilisation. I'll just read the first and last. "All
9 conscripts assigned to the following war units, 477, 3507, 5456" --
10 several other numbers are listed -- "are requested to report to their war
11 units immediately." And number 6 indicates: "Failure to respond to the
12 mobilisation sham result in legal action." It's dated 22 May, 1992, and
13 on the lower right appears printed, president of the Crisis Staff of the
14 municipality, Dr. Milomir Stakic.
15 Doctor, can you remind us of the relationship in time between this
16 decision on mobilising forces and the incident in -- and the attack on
17 Hambarine, the incident and attack on Hambarine?
18 A. This decision was reached on the 22nd of May, 1992. And as far as
19 I remember, Hambarine was attacked on the 23rd of May, 1992. So one day
20 after this decision was reached.
21 Q. You talked about the incident at Hambarine. You said you were
22 home when you heard shots fired. Approximately -- remind us again,
23 approximately what time was it that you heard the shots fired?
24 A. I happened to be in my parents' house because I could no longer be
25 in my apartment for reasons of my personal safety. The spot where I was
1 sitting was some 300 metres away from the place where the shooting
2 occurred. I heard the shooting at 7.00 p.m.
3 Q. You described the scene and going to the scene and treating some
4 of the wounded. But just to continue in your testimony regarding that
5 incident, did you speak to the people that you met at the checkpoint
6 regarding what had happened before you arrived?
7 A. Yes, I did. I also talked to two people out of six who were in
8 the car. I also spoke to the members of the Territorial Defence and some
9 other eyewitnesses who happened to be at the scene who were local
10 residents, people from the nearby houses and who had seen and witnessed
11 the entire incident. It was on the basis of the stories that I was told,
12 by the persons I indicated, I reconstructed the event. I think I
13 described the event yesterday in my testimony.
14 MR. KOUMJIAN: I'm not sure -- perhaps my recollection is -- I
15 don't think he described the event.
16 Q. Doctor, can you recount at least what your impression was, after
17 speaking to go these people, regarding the sequence of events that
18 happened at that checkpoint.
19 A. I'm not sure either whether I described the incident or not. But
20 let me briefly tell you now what I was able to conclude on the basis of
21 what these people had told me. It appears that at the checkpoint located
22 near the Polje bus stop, which was manned by three or four members of the
23 Territorial Defence in the afternoon hours of that day, a car passed,
24 having come from the direction of Ljubija. It was a Lada car. And the
25 group of people manning the checkpoint noticed that the car carried a
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13 English transcripts.
1 group of individuals in uniform, which was the reason why they stopped the
2 vehicle, in order to check their identity.
3 Q. By the way, Doctor, did you see the individuals in the car?
4 A. Yes, I did. They were standing around the car.
5 Q. Did you recognise the uniforms as belonging to any particular
6 group or in any other way did you determine which group these individuals
7 belonged to which were inside the Lada car?
8 A. Four of them were members of the special paramilitary units. They
9 were not JNA members, nor members of the Territorial Defence, but much
10 rather members of the Bijeli Orlovi White Eagles paramilitary units.
11 These were Vuk Draskovic's paramilitary units. He was the president of
12 the Serbian Rebirth and Reconstruction Movement.
13 Q. Were the white eagles Vuk Draskovic's or under Seselj?
14 A. I've probably made a mistake. I was refer to Vojislav Seselj.
15 I'm sorry.
16 Q. So I'm sorry. I interrupted you. You had said that it was a Lada
17 car, and that the car was stopped because people were in uniform. What
18 happened then, according to what you were told?
19 A. The shift commander at the checkpoint, Aziz Aliskovic approached
20 the vehicle and saw that soldiers were in the vehicle carrying white
21 eagles insignia. He said that they should report to the barracks in order
22 to put on more adequate clothes. And he also said that they should turn
23 in their weapons here. One of the members then came out. They opened the
24 door. One of them came out, and then the others followed. I'm referring
25 to those four. They started firing at the crew manning the checkpoint.
1 Members of the Territorial Defence manning the checkpoint threw themselves
2 to the ground and remained lying in order to take shelter from the fire.
3 At that moment, I can't say with any precision whether he was carrying his
4 own weapons or whether he took a weapon that one of the Territorial
5 Defence members had thrown away, a man who just happened to pass by and
6 who was probably with the Territorial Defence members, talking to them.
7 He ran over and fired a machine-gun, discharged a burst of fire at the
8 group that had come out of the car.
9 This burst of fire hit and killed two of the members. One was hit
10 in the head and the other in the chest. The remaining three were wounded,
11 and I think one of them was not even injured.
12 Q. Did you attempt to get any medical help for those who were
14 A. When I reached the checkpoint, first thing I did, I approached the
15 wounded. I ascertained that two of them were obviously dead, and that
16 there was nothing I could do. The remaining three wounded were not --
17 their lives were not threatened at that moment, but any deferral of
18 medical assistance could have put their lives in danger, including the
19 wounded man from the Territorial Defence. We had no phone connection to
20 the town of Prijedor. I can't remember who it was, but I know I told
21 someone to quickly go to the local commune building where there were
22 phones with direct communication line used only in wartime, which was not
23 the same as the usual phone connection, and to report urgently to first
24 aid, the first aid unit, to come over and take these people to a hospital
25 so they could be seen to. I had no medical kit on me to give these people
1 the treatment they needed.
2 Q. What happened then? Did anyone arrive to take the wounded away?
3 A. I think it was less than 10 minutes, in a very short time, an
4 armoured vehicle appeared at the scene, a police armoured vehicle,
5 equipped with a light gun, a light cannon, and a machine-gun. No one left
6 the armoured vehicle, but I approached them, spoke loud and clear for them
7 to hear me and asked them to transfer the wounded as soon as possible to a
8 medical institution. They requested the surrender of Aziz Aliskovic
9 immediately and the whole group. It struck me as strange that they should
10 know that Aziz Aliskovic was present, because they came from the town 10
11 minutes after the event had taken place. I said that it was not within my
12 competence, and that I was not authorised to discuss this surrender. They
13 then went about 500 minutes [as interpreted] away from the spot in the
14 direction of the town of Prijedor, fired several bursts of fire with the
15 weapon that was mounted on the armoured vehicle against the checkpoint,
16 hitting no one because everyone had already escaped from the checkpoint
17 and taken shelter.
18 At that moment, in a field which was about a kilometre away from
19 that place in the direction of the town, there were two abandoned houses
20 in the field, and they began to burn.
21 Q. You mentioned that you were at your parents' house because of
22 concern for your personal safety. Can you describe what happened to you
23 between the takeover and this incident. What were you doing, and how much
24 time did you spend in the town of Prijedor?
25 A. Immediately after the takeover, the next day, I went to all the
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13 English transcripts.
1 local communes in the Prijedor municipal area, mixed local communes, with
2 mixed population. Kozarac, Brdo, and Ljubija. I talked to the locals and
3 to representatives of the local communes to see what could be done in a
4 situation like that, following the takeover in Prijedor. That was the day
5 after. Two days later, I was warned by a friend, whose name I will not
6 say now for safety reasons, who was not Bosniak, that I was running a
7 great risk to my life, and he told me not to go back to the town because I
8 was certain to be arrested.
9 So from that moment on, I no longer moved around the town of
10 Prijedor or Kozarac. I spent most of my time on the left river bank of
11 the Sana River, spending most of my time at my parents' house or in the
13 Q. Did you hear your name mentioned on the media during that period
14 of time?
15 A. Just after the takeover, in which only the very core of the town
16 was occupied by the army. All the other parts where Bosniaks and Croats
17 were a clear majority had, up to that point, been intact. Every day, on
18 Radio Prijedor, the news was broadcast at frequent intervals describing
19 the leaders of the SDA, including me personally, as criminals, extremists,
20 very bad people -- without naming all the names that both myself and the
21 other leaders of the party were called. The news also said that people
22 should give up on us so they would not be made to pay for our mistakes and
23 our transgressions. In this way, my scope of activity was restricted
24 because a significant number of people bought this propaganda because it
25 was powerful and convincing, including the stories that I had stolen some
1 money. At a later point, there were stories that I had escaped to Hawaii
2 with a lot of money, that I was in a safe place, various types of
3 propaganda aiming to destroy my reputation and remove me from active
4 contact with the population.
5 Q. Was there information on the media that you had been arming,
6 providing arms, to extremists?
7 A. Yes, indeed. The media also said that we had armed groups of
8 extremists and that we were backing them, these extremists who were
9 preparing to carry out different criminal actions over the non-Serb
10 population. So these things were said, above all, to Serbs in order to
11 justify the activities or, in other words, the crimes that were later
13 Q. Doctor, did you ever provide arms to members of any military or
14 paramilitary group in Prijedor?
15 A. I was not personally involved with weapons. And I can say, in a
16 decided way, that I did not give or distribute any weapons to anyone or
17 any units. Speaking of weapons, perhaps I should add what sort of weapons
18 the Territorial Defence or certain units had at their disposal, or maybe
19 you deem it not necessary.
20 Q. I think it's very important. I thought you had discussed that
21 earlier. You mentioned before the weapons that were distributed by Arsic
22 in 1991 and that some of those remained with the local units. In addition
23 to those weapons, can you tell us if there were any other weapons in the
24 possession of Bosniaks and Croats in Prijedor?
25 A. As a deputy in 1990, I put this question to the parliament of
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina to provide information as regards the possession of
2 legal weapons, so weapons with the relevant documents and certificates.
3 And, according to the national structure, provide information on who
4 exactly owned these weapons. After receipt of this information, the
5 structure for Prijedor municipality was as follows: Legally registered
6 rifles and other such weapons as pistols, so we're talking about legal
7 weapons used for personal safety, personal self defence or hunting
8 weapons, in Prijedor municipality, there were about 5.000 such registered
9 weapons. Around 3.300 were owned by Serbs, and about 1.700 owned by
11 Q. Did you yourself --
12 A. Excuse me, if I may just be allowed to finish. There are 33 local
13 communes, or 35 if we take into account also the Croatian local communes,
14 and about 23 weapons distributed by Arsic or the JNA to the Territorial
15 Defence. This would total to about 3.000 guns.
16 Q. So you're saying that 23 were distributed to each of the
17 settlements, each of the 35 settlements received about 23 weapons. Is
18 that correct?
19 A. Not every village got as much. Some got a bit less. But apart
20 from the Territorial Defence weapons, every -- in every local commune, the
21 reserve component of the police was also mobilised so that everyone
22 reserve policeman, there were about 7 and 10 such in each of the local
23 communes, depending on its size, which means that in every commune,
24 between 30 and 35 people were legally armed. If we multiply that by 35
25 local communes, the result is about 1.200, perhaps 1.300, legally owned
1 weapons in every local commune. And these legally owned guns, hunting
2 weapons, we're talking about 3.000 pieces. There were also pieces that
3 people obtained illegally in different ways. But according to our
4 estimate, those did not amount to more than several hundred, perhaps four
5 or five hundred pieces. We did not have any accurate information
6 regarding this, because that was out of our control, and we could not have
7 any more accurate information regarding that.
8 Q. You talked about propaganda against yourself and other political
9 leaders of the SDA. What about propaganda against other professionals,
10 perhaps doctors that you knew, who were not involved in politics? Were
11 you aware of any propaganda against these individuals?
12 A. They knew that, regardless of a person's political allegiances,
13 whether the person belonged to the SDS [as interpreted] Or not, every
14 citizen of Prijedor was a patriot. That's why they arrested and many of
15 those people were later killed in the Keraterm and Kozarac camps. They
16 arrested a number of people who were never into politics in any kind of
17 way. On the contrary, these people were sometimes very friendly with
18 Serbs from Prijedor. For example, a colleague of my, Dr. Zeljko Sikora,
19 who treated patients visiting villages and houses, he was well-loved by
20 Serbs from the village of Tomasica and the surrounding area. People loved
21 him and respected him because he was a very kind and generous man. From
22 what I learned later, he had been accused, as he was specialising in
23 gynecology, allegedly he had a hidden agenda to sterilise all Serb women
24 in Prijedor municipality, so they said. This accusation led to his
25 disappearance, as was the case also with many other intellectuals and
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13 English transcripts.
1 prominent citizens of Prijedor in the Keraterm, Omarska, and other camps
2 in the municipal area.
3 The aim of this was to disorientate the people, to destroy any
4 possibility of resistance. Another aim, as important, was to present what
5 they talked about as hidden agendas about people who appeared to be kind
6 and generous but actually behind everyone's backs cooked up plans for the
7 destruction of Serbs. They used such pretexts to destroy a large number
8 of prominent, well-respected citizens of Prijedor who had nothing
9 whatsoever to do with any military or other activities.
10 Q. What was the ethnicity and religion of Dr. Zeljko Sikora?
11 A. Dr. Sikora was Czech. He was a Catholic, although he never said
12 openly that he was a Catholic. He was not a very religious person, but he
13 was a selfless person, a noble person. He was helping everyone. As he
14 was Czech, a Czech who had lived in Prijedor for two or three generations,
15 that's his family, he spoke of himself as Bosniak -- Bosnian. So that Dr.
16 Sikora was neither a Croat nor a Bosniak. He was just simply a man from
17 Bosnia of Czech origins.
18 Q. After the takeover, did you discuss strategy with other members of
19 the SDA, such as the president of the municipality, Mr. Cehajic, and the
20 possibility of negotiating some kind of settlement with the Serbian
22 A. As I've already said before, the only possibility I could see was
23 to evacuate the population from the occupied area to the area of the
24 western Krajina, then controlled by the Territorial Defence of Bosnia and
25 Herzegovina that was later to become the BH army. That was my conviction,
1 and it was shared by a significant majority of people. Some other people,
2 quite many, believed that by talking to and negotiating with
3 representatives of the SDS, agreements could be achieved, although those
4 who shared my opinion were in the majority, I did not want to rule out the
5 possibility of negotiations. I didn't want anyone to be able to say later
6 on that by missing our opportunity to negotiate, we compromised our
7 chances of solving the situation in a peaceful way. That's why I allowed
8 a negotiating team to be set up, although I took no part in this myself
9 because I thought it was pointless. A group of seven people held
10 negotiations with representatives of the SDS several days after the
11 takeover. It was on the 3rd or 4th of May and lasted until the 16th of
12 May, 1992. I would also like to point out that a minor group of people
13 that believed that one should fight and resist, by military means, the
14 JNA, the then JNA, and the forces of the SDS.
15 Q. Who were the leaders that were among the group that went to
16 negotiate with the SDS authorities?
17 A. It was Mr. Cehajic that thought negotiations should be held with
18 the SDS. Ilijaz Music, Medunjanin, Meho Tursic, Islam Bahonjic, these
19 were some of the members of the Executive Board and some of the more
20 prominent people who eventually took part in these negotiations. I'm not
21 sure about Mr. Cehajic. He was only advocating the idea.
22 Q. Did you have any conversations with Mr. Cehajic regarding his
23 personal safety?
24 A. Even after the takeover, Mr. Cehajic moved around freely in the
25 town of Prijedor. And as I was not in a position to do so, he used to
1 come to my parents' house where I was staying. And among other things, he
2 said that it might be a good idea for us to exchange our flats, the flats
3 we had in Prijedor, for flats in Sarajevo. I'm only mentioning this as an
4 example of how unaware Mr. Cehajic was of the danger to him and to many
5 other people at that time. I told him: "Muhamed, leave the flats be
6 right now. That's not important right now. What matters more is your
7 life. You are in danger. You and your family should leave Prijedor as
8 soon as possible. Try to escape from Prijedor and find shelter in a safe
9 place." He asked me: "But why, Mirza? What could possibly happen to me?
10 What did I do wrong? Did I wrong them in any way? We never did anything
11 nor did we plan anything of which we could be accused."
12 Despite my efforts to persuade him to leave, he was still not
13 completely aware of the danger and could not see the situation coming.
14 The same applied to a number of other prominent people, public figures,
15 who had nothing to do with politics. A typical reply from them was: "Why
16 should we run? There is no reason for anything to accuse us of anything,
17 even less arrest us."
18 Q. Were you able to get your wife and children out of Prijedor?
19 A. Yes. Although I was rather concerned and worried because of the
20 events that were happening and stayed almost 24 hours a day outside my
21 apartment and had no time to think about my family, my brother, at one
22 point in time, I believe that it was as early as the 12th of April, 1992,
23 told me that his brother-in-law and his wife had a flat, a house, in
24 Zagreb that would be made available to them by a friend who is a seasonal
25 worker in Germany. And he also said that it would be perhaps wise for me
1 to send my wife and children together with them over there. I agreed, and
2 on the 13th of April, which was the last day that it was possible to cross
3 over to Croatia, because the last bridge was -- across the Sava River was
4 blown up the next day and all connections with -- between Bosnia and
5 Croatia were severed, they left.
6 Q. I'd like to go back to two documents that are before you. One is
7 Document S70, which has 65 ter number of 225. It is -- at the top it
8 indicates "Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Krajina Autonomous
9 Region, Prijedor Municipality Crisis Staff." It has a number, and it's
10 dated 6 June, 1992. It indicates that "pursuant to Article 7 of the
11 decision on the organisation work of the Prijedor Municipality Crisis
12 Staff at its session held on 6 June, 1992, in connection with free passage
13 permits and the continuation of the blockade of the town, the Prijedor
14 Municipality Crisis Staff adopted the following conclusion: One, the
15 blockade of the town shall remain in force." And the second point is:
16 "Approval is hereby given for train service on the Prijedor/Banja Luka
17 line, but travel shall be allowed only with appropriate permits issued by
18 the public security station. This conclusion shall enter into force on
19 the day of its adoption."
20 On the bottom right, it indicates a signature and a stamp:"Crisis
21 Staff president," and it appears to be Stakic, printed. To the left, it's
22 indicated that the document is sent to, number one, public security
23 station, number two, Prijedor railway station, and number 3, files.
24 Before I ask you any question, I'd also like to you to look at
25 S102, which has a 65 ter number of 120. It is dated the 5th of May, 1992.
1 "Serbian Municipality of Prijedor Executive Committee. Pursuant to
2 Article 78 of the rules of executive procedure of the Serbian Municipality
3 of Prijedor at its meeting on 5 May, 1992, the government of the Serbian
4 Municipality of Prijedor adopted the following decision: Eso Bucan is
5 hereby dismissed of the post of commander of logistics security, effective
6 as of 5 May, 1992. Number 2, this decision shall take effect on the day
7 of its adoption, and Major Radmilo Zeljaja shall see to its
8 implementation." The document is signed and stamped, and below the
9 signature, it's printed president of the executive committee, Dr. Milan
10 Kovacevic, copied to Major Radmilo Zeljaja, Eso Bucan, and files."
11 Doctor, based upon these documents and your knowledge of events do
12 you believe that the Crisis Staff in Prijedor had some influence on the
13 army units stationed in the Prijedor municipality?
14 MR. LUKIC: Objection, Your Honour. This document does not show
15 any trace of Crisis Staff. It says that it's executive committee of the
16 Prijedor Municipal Assembly. So I would ask my colleague to show the
17 foundation of his line of questions.
18 MR. KOUMJIAN: May I respond.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, please.
20 MR. KOUMJIAN: The person, Dr. Milan Kovacevic, as we have seen
21 from prior evidence is a member of the Prijedor Crisis Staff. And one of
22 the first documents we looked at today regarding the formation of the
23 Crisis Staff --
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sorry to interrupt you. We should be quite
25 clear in our language, and I agree with the objection of the Defence.
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13 English transcripts.
1 When a document is signed in the capacity as a president of the Executive
2 Committee of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbian
3 Municipality of Prijedor, Executive Committee, then it should be quoted as
4 such. And all the other insinuations are questions of the evaluation of
6 MR. KOUMJIAN: If I could just point out, complete my argument
7 regarding that -- I don't know if Your Honour wants me to. Or would you
8 rather me not go into that, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No, I think it's quite clear.
10 MR. KOUMJIAN:
11 Q. Doctor, let me ask you the following question: Earlier we looked
12 at a document regarding the Crisis Staff and its relationship to the
13 executive committee. First let me ask you about the Municipal Assembly's
14 relationship with the executive committee. What is the relationship
15 between the Municipal Assembly and the executive committee of a
16 municipality in normal peacetime?
17 A. In normal peacetime, the executive committee is a kind of local
18 government which cannot reach any significant decision without the
19 assembly or the president of the municipality having to approve, issue his
20 approval in respect of this decision.
21 Q. Is the executive committee then a subordinate body to the
22 Municipal Assembly?
23 A. Of course. The Municipal Assembly, or the president of the
24 Municipal Assembly, is superior to the president of the Executive Board.
25 Q. Earlier this morning, we looked at a document indicating the
1 establishment of the Crisis Staff. And if you recall, it indicated that
2 the Crisis Staff would exercise all authority of the Municipal Assembly
3 when it could not meet and would guide the work of the executive
4 committee. Is that consistent with the structure as you knew it and the
5 relationship between the assembly and the executive committee?
6 A. In wartime, as it is indicated here, due to the fact that the
7 session of the assembly cannot meet as frequently as necessary, the
8 assembly being a very large body, a Crisis Staff is formed. The president
9 of the Executive Board, or the Executive Board itself, according to this,
10 is merely an executive body of the Crisis Staff. That is, the Municipal
11 Assembly, which has been replaced by the Crisis Staff. By virtue of its
12 function and in accordance with law, it is required to pass decisions and
13 issue instructions and similar documents given by the Crisis Staff.
14 Q. Going back to S70, the document that bears the -- indicates under
15 the stamp that it is the Crisis Staff president -- excuse me. Let me
16 withdraw that question.
17 Do you find it, would it be normal, according to the legal
18 relationships between the army and civilian bodies, that a civilian body,
19 be it the assembly, the Crisis Staff, or the executive committee, name the
20 logistics officer, name an officer in a military unit?
21 A. In normal circumstances, it is the superior military command that
22 is in charge of appointing the subordinate officer. In this case, the
23 executive body of the Crisis Staff is the body that appoints an officer,
24 who was no longer a member of the JNA but a member of the Serbian army,
25 and actually issues an order to Radmilo Zeljaja, who was the commander of
1 the local military unit, to implement the decision made by the executive
2 body of the Crisis Staff.
3 Q. You indicated that the JNA was no longer the JNA but the Serbian
4 army. Can you discuss with us the events of the 16th of May and how that
5 affected the military force, the former JNA, that was in Bosnia.
6 A. After the JNA had withdrawn from Slovenia and Croatia, almost all
7 military forces, military troops of the former JNA concentrated in Bosnia
8 and Herzegovina. I'm referring to the units that had withdrawn from
9 Croatia and Slovenia which constituted a significant majority. In my
10 previous testimony, I stated that the JNA, up until the 16th of May, had
11 declared itself as a Yugoslav People's Army and had publicly denied any
12 relationship with the Serbian Democratic Party.
13 However, on the 16th of May, a public communique was made, to the
14 effect that the former JNA in the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina was no
15 longer Yugoslav People's Army but was being renamed into the Serbian army.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We should have a break now until 12.40.
17 --- Recess taken at 12.17 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 12.45 p.m.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please proceed.
20 MR. KOUMJIAN: May I proceed, Mr. President?
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please.
22 MR. KOUMJIAN:
23 Q. Doctor, on the 23rd of May, after the incident, the next day after
24 the incident in Hambarine, was there any ultimatum given to the citizens
25 of Hambarine?
1 A. Yes, there was. An ultimatum was given by the Crisis Staff.
2 Q. Can you tell us your best recollection of what you heard on the
3 radio. First, let me ask you, did you hear this on the radio? I'm sorry.
4 A. Yes, I did. I heard on the local radio station in Prijedor an
5 announcement given by the Crisis Staff.
6 Q. Who read the announcement? Was it a politician or an employee of
7 the radio station?
8 A. I think that the announcement was read by a presenter of the radio
9 station in Prijedor.
10 Q. What is your best recollection of what was stated in that
12 A. "Citizens of Hambarine" -- unfortunately, I can only paraphrase
13 the contents of the announcement. "Citizens of Hambarine, you are
14 required to surrender weapons and the extremists who perpetrated the
15 offence at the checkpoint, Aziz Aliskovic and others. If you fail to
16 comply with this request tomorrow by 12.00, you will suffer consequences,"
17 which implied shelling of the settlement from all available weapons.
18 Q. Was it indicated who was giving this order?
19 A. Yes, it was. At the end of the announcement, it was said that it
20 was the president of the Crisis Staff, Dr. Milomir Stakic, who was giving
21 the announcement.
22 Q. Just to be clear, a speaker, presenter, for the radio station read
23 the announcement and said that this decision or order was given the Crisis
24 Staff, Dr. Milomir Stakic as president?
25 A. The speaker read the entire document, the title, Crisis Staff of
1 the Municipality of Prijedor. Then he went on to read the contents. And
2 at the end, he said: "The president of the Crisis Staff, Milomir Stakic."
3 Q. What happened after noon on May 23rd?
4 A. At 12 minutes past 12.00, after the ultimatum had expired, the
5 area of the village of Hambarine, but not only Hambarine but the entire
6 area comprising a number of neighbouring villages located on a hill, there
7 are seven villages in that area where Bosniaks are the majority, the area
8 is called Brdo. It came under shelling from mortars and other artillery
9 pieces. The shelling lasted until 3.00 approximately.
10 Q. What happened then?
11 A. After that, two or three tanks set out from the direction of
12 Prijedor which were followed by infantry troops who were moving along the
13 Prijedor/Ljubija Road which cut the village of Hambarine in two sections,
14 and the area of Brdo in general so that the village of Carakovo, Zecovi,
15 and half of the village of Hambarine were on one side, and Rizvanovici,
16 Rakovcani, and Biscani were on the other side. At the foot of the area
17 called Brdo in Bosnian language, the word "Brdo" means hill, but it is
18 also a proper name of this geographical area, a group belonging to the
19 Territorial Defence put up resistance but to no avail because they had no
20 anti-armour weapons. And the tanks that I mentioned needed not more than
21 10 or 15 minutes to climb up the hill and take positions on the top of the
22 area. So at about 4.00 or 5.00, they were already there.
23 They positioned themselves in the middle of the village of
24 Hambarine, in the middle of the area of Brdo, thereby dividing the area in
25 two sections, which I described.
1 Q. Where were you at that time?
2 A. I found myself to the left of this road looking from the direction
3 of Prijedor, in the left half of this area, more precisely in the village
4 of Carakovo, which was some -- which was perhaps 1 kilometre away from the
5 scene of the incident.
6 Q. What happened then?
7 A. On the same day, the residents of the villages which were to the
8 right side of the road, that is, the villages of Hambarine, Rakovcani,
9 Rizvanovici, and Biscani, gathered together all the weapons they had,
10 belonging to the Territorial Defence and the police force and any other
11 weapons that they may have had, placed it on a tractor, loaded up on a
12 tractor and handed it over to the Serb military.
13 Q. What happened then?
14 A. The residents of the left part of the area, the villages of
15 Carakovo and Zecovi did not surrender weapons on that day. And the
16 following day, aware of the fact that the other villages had already
17 surrendered their weapons the previous day and frightened of what might
18 happen to them, but also knowing that I and a number of other individuals
19 were with them, asked me what they should do, whether to surrender the
20 weapons or continue with the resistance. I said that it was up to them. I
21 didn't want to -- I didn't want anyone to be left with the impression that
22 they should go on fighting just because I was there, merely because of my
23 presence in the area. They withdrew, and after several hours they came
24 back to me and told me that they had decided that they should surrender
25 the weapons.
1 Then I said: "In that case, I can no longer remain here. I have
2 to take to the woods," and I fled to a nearby forest, which is called
3 Kurevo, with a small group of people, whereas the residents of these two
4 villages then surrendered the weapons that they had on the following day.
5 And I stayed in the woods.
6 Q. Did you have a weapon with you?
7 A. Yes, I did. I had a pistol for which I had a legally valid
8 permit, a pistol that I had obtained on my own and which was legally
9 registered with the police station in Prijedor.
10 Q. Can you tell us where you stayed in these woods and for how long
11 you were there?
12 A. I stayed in a very thick area of the woods. We dug out a hole in
13 the ground. It was 1 metre and 20 centimetres wide, and perhaps 1 metre,
14 80 centimetres deep. We had to do this because the woods were being
15 shelled on several occasions, at various times, because there were a
16 number of other groups from various villages including the town of
17 Prijedor itself consisting of people who did not wish to surrender their
18 weapons and were afraid for their safety. They, too, remained in the
19 woods. Due to frequent shelling, our movement was restricted, and I was
20 no longer in communication with these other groups of people.
21 We made an attempt to establish communication with them through a
22 brother of one of the people who was with me. These people were my close
23 associates, and the brother of one of these people was captured and killed
24 on the same day.
25 Q. How many people were with you?
1 A. If we're not counting this man who was killed, then that would
2 make three of us. Before we were four.
3 Q. Were the three of you all staying in this hole?
4 A. Yes, all four of us, and later three, were in that hole until
5 about the 27th of June. Exactly between the 27th and the 28th of June.
6 So in the period between the 23rd of May and the 27th of June, we stayed
7 in that hole. The other brother, because the young man who was with us
8 had two brothers, the other brother who had survived used to bring us food
9 so that we could survive, every three or four days.
10 Q. Was one of the people with you your brother?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. The third person who was with you, do you have any concern with
13 naming that person?
14 A. It is for safety reasons that I will like to leave this for a
15 closed session or I would like to inform Your Honour without making this
16 public, because the area is now under the control of Republika Srpska. So
17 by naming him, I think I might put his life on the line, and I would not
18 like to do that.
19 MR. KOUMJIAN: Actually, I don't need his name. I don't know if
20 Your Honours or the Defence need his name.
21 May I proceed.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Yes, we can proceed without quoting the name.
23 MR. KOUMJIAN:
24 Q. Sir, this third person, did he at one point make a suggestion
25 regarding the tactic that you should adopt? Did he ever consider
2 A. Yes. We were all in a very desperate situation. We did not know
3 what to do. And then he came up with a suggestion, this man I don't want
4 to name, and my brother considered this possibility, too, that it might be
5 a good idea for us to simply surrender and to try to explain that we meant
6 no harm and that we prepared no overthrow, we prepared to commit no
7 genocide, to say that we could prove our allegations and prove our
8 innocence. We thought we had best just leave the weapons behind and dig
9 them there in the forest. This other man had a pistol, and my brother had
10 an automatic rifle that he had signed for as a member of the Territorial
11 Defence. That moment, I told both of them: "If they find you here in the
12 forest carrying weapons or outside the forest carrying weapons or without
13 weapons, if you surrender or if you're captured, in all of these
14 eventualities, you'll meet the same fate, no reasons given. Can't you see
15 that there is a fixed plan predetermining everyone's fate?" And our fate
16 is the people who, in their opinion, were the main culprits was clearly
17 predetermined in a way. It was only then that they became aware of the
18 risk we were all running, and they both broke down and cried because they
19 were very frightened.
20 I tried to calm them, and I said that all was not lost yet. We
21 could still continue to hide in the forest and escape from the Serb-held
22 territory to a free territory.
23 Q. You indicated that there were armed groups in the woods that you
24 sometimes -- or at least on occasion had contact with. Do you know if a
25 person named Slavko Ecimovic was in the woods?
1 A. I just want to make sure whether I understand your question. Your
2 question seems to imply that I maintained contact with him later on. I
3 would like to point out that after Brdo was shelled and after the attack
4 on the Hambarine, due to the fact that the forest itself was shelled, I
5 could not have any contact to any group whatsoever because we could not
6 move. We did try to make contact through this young man, the fourth man,
7 but he was captured and killed. After that, we made no further attempts
8 to make contact.
9 Prior to this event, I did have contact with representatives of
10 the Patriotic League.
11 Q. And was Slavko Ecimovic a member of the Patriotic League, to your
13 A. Yes, he was. He was the commander of the Patriotic League.
14 Q. Thank you for clarifying your contacts with these other groups in
15 the woods. Would it be correct, then, that you were not aware or had no
16 contact with any group that conducted an attack on Prijedor or attempt to
17 retake Prijedor on the 30th of May, 1992?
18 A. The information I have regarding these events dates to a period
19 almost one year after these events. I obtained my information from those
20 who survived, persons I met later on, somewhere in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
21 But at the moment the event took place, I had no contact with people who
22 tried to liberate Prijedor.
23 Q. If those people had come to you before their attempt to liberate
24 Prijedor, what would you have said to them?
25 A. Had I been able to get in touch with these people, provided
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 that --
2 MR. LUKIC: Your Honours, this is pure speculation.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Sustained.
4 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. How long did you stay in the woods?
6 A. Until the 27th of June, 1992.
7 Q. What did you do then?
8 A. I set out with this group of two people to the Sanski Most area,
9 in order to avoid the offensive announced due to take place in the forest.
10 We heard that a group of special forces, special troops, was coming from
11 Mis to mop up the forest from anyone who was still left in it. It should
12 have been, according to their announcement, around 700 green berets. We
13 had a small radio receiver, and every day, at regular intervals, we
14 followed the news on Radio Prijedor and Radio Bosnia-Herzegovina, so it
15 was in this way that we obtained a certain amount of information
16 concerning the events which I have referred to.
17 Q. When you set out for Sanski Most, can you describe what happened?
18 A. In Sanski Most, we went from village to village trying to reach
19 the Grmec hill. Some of my relatives from my mother's side lived in
20 Sanski Most. The posse after me and these other people was organised on a
21 regional level. In Sanski Most municipality, there was a group of people
22 who were in charge of trying to capture or ambush my group and myself.
23 The man who tried to capture his group was called Kudra. He offered
24 people 5.000 German marks in exchange for any information regarding me.
25 We moved from village to village but didn't stop in any of the villages
1 for longer than 24 hours because I knew that within 24 hours, there would
2 be a leak of information on us. Unfortunately, very often from Bosniak
3 sources. So the next day, in the village where we stayed, the group of
4 military policemen appeared and searched the village. By applying these
5 tactics, we used to cross through Sanski Most municipality, cross the
6 Grmec hill, swim across the River Una and reach Bihac. That is, free
7 territory controlled by the BH army.
8 Q. How many days did your journey take on foot until you got to the
10 A. We travelled for 15 days, and at this point, food was very scarce
11 among the Bosnian population. So we only had two loaves of bread, and we
12 were five people because in the meantime, we had been joined by another
13 two young men from Sanski Most. We were convinced that we could cover
14 this ground in three days, but our compass broke, and on the third day, we
15 ran out of supplies. The rest of the time, we survived by eating
16 mushrooms, fruits found in the forest, and snails.
17 Q. What happened when you got to the river?
18 A. It was raining for days, so the river, which is more of a mountain
19 torrent actually, was flooding, and it was very fast. After escaping from
20 a series of ambushes and all attempts to hunt us down, when we were only a
21 stone's throw away from our freedom, we saw this river and thought that it
22 was impossible to cross. But then we put together a sort of a raft. We
23 put all our things on this raft and tried to cross the river. But at
24 first, we failed, so we got back to the riverbank. There were water
25 eddies and a waterfall very close to where we tried to make the crossing.
1 So the second time, we were only several metres far from the other
2 riverbank, but the stream carried us off, and we fell down the waterfall.
3 My brother, who was standing on the opposite riverbank, got scared, ran,
4 and shouted my name. A young man who was with me and I managed to go
5 back, but confused as we were, we went back to the same riverbank and not
6 the other one. At that moment -- all of this is happening in the Una
7 canyon. Several tens of metres high -- sounds of barrage fire were heard,
8 and there were bullets flying all around us.
9 At that moment, I realised that there was nothing else for us to
10 do but try to swim across, hungry and weary as we were. We didn't think
11 that we could succeed. The first to set out was the oldest among us, and
12 he said: "If I make it, you'll all make it." He jumped into the river.
13 He managed to swim across. I followed him, and as soon as I jumped, there
14 was -- someone was firing at me. And then I got carried away by the
15 current. And by the time I reached the other river bank, the firing had
16 stopped. Unfortunately, one of us drowned in the river, and the other
17 crossed the bridge by putting two socks he wore on a stick and waving the
18 socks as a token of his willingness to surrender, he crossed the bridge
19 which was around a kilometre and a half from the place which I have just
20 described. So in this way, he confused both sides, the Bosniak and the
21 Serb side on the two opposite banks because they respectively thought that
22 it was Serbian delegate or someone trying to surrender. And by this ploy,
23 he managed to cross the river by taking the bridge.
24 The Bosniak side was really surprised that he made it because he
25 walked through a minefield unharmed. Both sides were mined.
1 Q. I'd now like to go back to the documents and discuss with you the
2 relationship of the Crisis Staff to the police. I'd first like you to
3 look at S107, which is 65 ter number 200.
4 This is a document at the top left it indicates "Serbian Republic
5 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ministry of the Interior, Security Services Centre,
6 Banja Luka, public security station, Prijedor, strictly confidential." It
7 lists the number and the date, 31 May, 1992. The document on the bottom,
8 on the last page is addressed to seven recipients: Crisis Staff, security
9 services coordinators, Security Services Centre, Banja Luka; police chief,
10 security chief; general manager of the Ljubija iron ore mines; and files.
11 There's a signature below which appears: "Chief of Public Security
12 Service, Drljaca" and there is a stamp.
13 The document states at the top: "With a view to the speedy and
14 effective establishment of peace on the territory of Prijedor municipality
15 and in accordance with the decision of the Crisis Staff, I hereby order
16 the following: The industrial compound of the Omarska mines stripmine
17 shall serve as a provisional correction centre for persons captured in
18 combat or detained on the grounds of the security services operational
19 information. Two, together with the appropriate documents, the persons
20 taken into custody shall be handed over to the chief of security who is
21 dutybound in collaboration with the national, public, and military
22 security coordinators to put them up in any of the five premises allocated
23 for the accommodation of detainees. Three, a mixed group consisting of
24 national, public, and military security investigators shall be responsible
25 for the work with and categorization of detainees. They shall organise
1 themselves respecting the parity principle." Mirko Jesic, Ranko Mijic,
2 and Lieutenant-Colonel Majstorovic shall be responsible for their work.
3 It goes on to list 17 points in total. I'd now like you, Witness,
4 to look at Document S114, 65 ter number 276. It has the letterhead:
5 "Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, ministry of internal affairs,
6 Sarajevo, Security Services Centre, Banja Luka, public security station,
7 Prijedor." A number and the date 1 July 1992. It states: "Crisis Staff
8 of the SO Prijedor, Municipal Assembly Prijedor, reference your documents
9 number 02111236/92 dated 23 June, 1992, and 02/111236/92, dated 30 June,
10 1992." At the bottom, it appears a signature, and below that, chief
11 public security station, Simo Drljaca.
12 The document reads in the beginning: "In reference to your
13 documents of the above numbers and dates, we hereby inform you that
14 conclusion number 02111108/92, by which the release of prisoners is
15 prohibited, is being fully observed." It lists several others, but I'm
16 going to go to the second page of the English translation, the fourth
17 paragraph from the end of the document: "Regarding order number
18 02111215/92, dated 17 June, 1992, the Prijedor SJB has established an
19 integrated intervention platoon which together with the military police is
20 actively involved in the prevention and determent of all sorts of crime.
21 It has started to produce results in controlling break-ins and robberies,
22 and in confiscating illegally acquired goods."
23 I'd like you then to look at S115, 65 ter number is 289. This
24 document on the letterhead indicates: "Serbian Republic, Autonomous
25 Region of Krajina, Prijedor Municipality, Municipal Assembly
1 administrative services." It's dated 13 July, 1992 and entitled "Report
2 on Implementation of the Conclusions of the Prijedor municipal Crisis
3 Staff." The document, at the end, there appears a name without a
4 signature. And the name and title are secretary of the Municipal
5 Assembly, Dusan Baltic. The document begins: "Number one, the
6 conclusions for which the public security station is responsible, the
7 first of these is conclusion number 02111108/29 on banning the release of
8 detainees is being fully observed." At the very bottom of that page on
9 the English translation, or the 9th separate point under number 1, it says
10 with regard to order number 02111215/92, dated 17 June, 1992, the Prijedor
11 public security station has formed a unified intervention platoon which is
12 actively engaged with members of the military police in the prevention and
13 suppression of all forms of crime. The first results can be seen in the
14 areas of cracking down on looting, robbery, and the confiscation of
15 illegally obtained property."
16 I'll ask you to direct your attention to the second to last
17 paragraph of that document which indicates: "However, not all the
18 documents of the Crisis Staff have been included in this report. The
19 reasons for this are that a certain number relate to personnel issues,
20 (dismissals, appointments, the formation of working groups and boards,
21 establishing the obligation for confirmation of proposed appointments and
22 the like) which were immediately implemented."
23 I'd now like you to look at S116, which has a 65 ter number of
24 298. It's entitled "A Summary of Conclusions Adopted by Prijedor
25 Municipality Executive Committee Relating to the Public Security Service
1 SJB and Regional Command from 29 April to 17 August, 1992." That's the
2 first title in which six points appear below that. The next title is: "A
3 Summary of Conclusions and Orders -- a Summary of Conclusions, Orders, and
4 Decisions adopted by the Crisis Staff/war Presidency relating to the SJB
5 and the Regional Command from 29 May to 24 July, 1992." At the bottom of
6 the document appears no signature, but the words "Crisis Staff, War
7 Presidency." And under the second point, on the points regarding the
8 Crisis Staff, the 2nd page of the English translation, in the number 2,
9 the seventh paragraph, it reads: "Inclusion number 02111145/92 of 6 June,
10 1992, obliging the SJB chief and Slobodan Kuruzovic to coordinate the
11 security of Prijedor hospital."
12 And then going to the third from last paragraph of that document,
13 it reads: "Conclusion Number 0102345/92 of 2nd July, 1992, forbidding the
14 individual release of persons from Trnopolje, Omarska, and Keraterm."
15 Sir, based upon these documents and upon your knowledge of the
16 relationship between government bodies and municipal authorities in
17 Bosnia, do you have a belief that the -- there's any relationship or
18 superior relationship between the Crisis Staff and the police in Prijedor
19 after the takeover on the 30th of April, 1992?
20 A. I would like to ask you to please just clarify the points in the
21 last document you referred to. I'm talking about point 2, that's in
22 Bosnian translation, item 2, or as I seem to have heard, you said 02111/92
23 by which the chief of the police and Slobodan Kuruzovic must provide
24 security for Prijedor hospital. Did you mean that, or 02111/135 about
25 confiscation of property from persons who illegally took property? I'm
1 not sure which one of these two you were referring to, the one I read
2 first or the next one?
3 Q. I was referring to the one regarding the Prijedor hospital, but so
4 the record is clear, I think I should read the one you're referring to. I
5 believe that's the top -- the first point under number 2, order number
6 02/111/135/92 of 5 June, 1992, ordering military police and SJB organs to
7 confiscated all illegally confiscated or misappropriated property from
8 persons who have confiscated and misappropriated such property and deposit
9 it to the appointed places in accordance with previous orders." Is that
10 the point that you were referring to?
11 A. Yes, that's exactly what I was referring to. Because this order
12 is mentioned in the previous documents, and I thought that was the logical
13 sequence of documents. So that's why I failed to understand your
14 question. But if that was the question, now I do understand.
15 Q. Do you have any comment, based upon your knowledge of the
16 relationship between municipal authorities and police authorities before
17 and after the takeover, regarding the relationship, subordinate or
18 otherwise, between the police in Prijedor and the Crisis Staff?
19 A. Your Honours, with your permission, I would like to just take
20 several seconds to have a look at all these documents since I am required
21 to make a statement regarding all four documents. So if I could just
22 please have a minute to look at them again in order to make an accurate
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And if you feel necessary, don't hesitate to
25 quote the one or other passage you want to refer to.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 In the first document mentioned by Mr. Prosecutor, in item 1, it
3 is stated that as a temporary collection point for persons who are
4 deprived of liberty or captured, the industrial compound of the Omarska
5 mines strip shall serve as a provisional collection centre for such
6 persons. This document talks about the fact that the chief of the public
7 security station or the chief of police of the Prijedor municipality, who
8 at the time was Mr. Drljaca, is designating the industrial compound of the
9 Omarska mine strip as a provisional collection centre which would
10 constitute a document whereby the Omarska camp was established.
11 The next document is a collated report in which the police chief
12 informs the Crisis Staff of the implementation of the orders that had been
13 given to him. In item 1, he talks about the order on the release of
14 prisoners of war, the release of prisoners which makes reference to the
15 prohibition of such release.
16 The following document, S115, is also a broad piece of information
17 regarding a number of conclusions implemented by the Crisis Staff of the
18 Prijedor Municipality. Among others, a conclusion here is made on the
19 implementation of decisions in charge of the public security station.
20 Conclusion number 02111108/92 on banning the release of detainees is being
21 fully respected. Then it goes on and mentions conclusion number 0211135
22 on securing funds to play police salaries. Another conclusion that has
23 been fully implemented, which clearly shows that the police, which had
24 previously been financed from the budget of the republic, is now being
25 financed, and thereby directly subordinate to, by the Crisis Staff.
1 The last document, S116 --
2 MR. KOUMJIAN:
3 Q. I'm sorry, before you go on to that document, perhaps there's a
4 couple others conclusions I'd like to direct your attention to. The sixth
5 and seventh conclusions on that list under number 1 reads: "Conclusion
6 number 02111183/92, dated 12th of June, 1992, related to the legalisation
7 of passes allowing citizens freedom of movement is being carried out to
8 the letter. Passes are not issued for crisis areas or to individuals who
9 are on the registrar of persons wanted for committing crimes." The next
10 point is: "In addition, work has started on issuing permits to persons
11 who are moving out of the area of the municipality."
12 I'm sorry, please continue.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For clarification, could you please indicate the
14 exhibit number, the provisional one.
15 MR. KOUMJIAN: Yes. Again this is S115, 65 ter number 289. I was
16 reading from the page with the ERN number stamp of 00969539.
17 Q. Did you want to comment on the last document?
18 A. Yes. The issue here is the registration of persons whom the
19 Crisis Staff had declared as individuals who had engaged in some form of
20 wrongdoing. I never had access to this -- to these records, but I know
21 that it was a rather lengthy list comprising several hundred or several
22 thousands of people who were wanted. This document prohibits freedom of
23 movement to all such persons by prohibiting the issuing of passes, because
24 only those individuals who had been issued by -- the relevant passes by
25 the police station were allowed freedom of movement which included
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 departure from the area of Prijedor.
2 If I may comment on the last document, please, Document 116, order
3 02111135, which is referred to -- if I may take a moment, please. The
4 order I think can be found on page 2 of the English version of the text at
5 the top of the page under Item 2. The order orders police stations to
6 seize the property from persons who have confiscated or misappropriated
7 such property and deposit it at the appointed places in accordance with
8 previous orders." What is quite telling here is the fact that it was the
9 Crisis Staff that issued an order both to the civilian police, that is,
10 the public security station, and the military police to confiscate all
11 illegally acquired or misappropriated property. But that that property
12 should not be returned to its legal owners but deposited at the appointed
13 places. It was generally known that the property belonging to the people
14 who were either evicted from the territory of the municipality of Prijedor
15 or killed in the camps was confiscated or misappropriated by the bodies
16 such the Crisis Staff.
17 Q. Sir, you mentioned that your wife and children were able to leave
18 Prijedor in April. Did you have any uncles that you were close to in
20 A. Yes, I did. Next to my parents' house, there was a house
21 belonging -- actually, two houses belonging to my two uncles, Esref
22 Crnalic and Asif Crnalic. Crnkic, if I may correct the interpretation,
23 not Crnalic.
24 Q. What happened to them after the takeover on the 30th of April?
25 A. I'm sorry, I see that the names are not correctly spelled. Esref
1 Crnkic and Husein Crnkic are the names of my two uncles. They have been
3 Q. What happened to them during the conflict?
4 A. Esref Crnkic was the manager of one of the departments of the
5 mine, or complex. He was an engineer of electronics and was one of the
6 eminent residents of Prijedor. My other uncle was a professor and, at the
7 time, was the schoolmaster of the local grammar school. He was also one
8 of the eminent and influential citizens of Prijedor.
9 Esref Crnkic was not directly involved in any events. Husein
10 Crnkic, on the other hand, was deputy of the local parliament representing
11 the Party of Democratic Action. They were both killed in the Omarska
13 Q. Sir --
14 A. If I may finish, please. Because it was believed that they were
15 responsible for the policy, whereas I, as a young man, was not considered
16 to be an author of such policy, which was not true.
17 Q. Sir, I have only one more question for you: Based upon your
18 knowledge of the context in which these events took place, the history and
19 politics, do you have any explanation for why Prijedor suffered so much
20 during the conflict and after the takeover by the SDS authorities?
21 A. What is characteristic of Prijedor in Bosnia and Herzegovina is
22 the fact that it is a city which suffered horrible crimes at the very
23 beginning of the conflict and mass deportation of non-Serbs, Croats and
24 Bosniaks. According to the currently available information, it has been
25 established that over 3.500 people had been killed in the camps of
1 Omarska, Keraterm, Trnopolje, and other camps and similar places in the
2 territory of the Prijedor municipality.
3 At the same time, if we compare this with some other localities in
4 Bosnian Krajina, such as Sipovo, which had a clear Serb majority and where
5 only -- and where there were only about 20 per cent of Bosniaks, we see
6 that there were almost no crimes committed in the area with the exception
7 of several individual killings. The similar situation can be found in
8 some other areas of the Bosnian Krajina, that is, the areas which had a
9 Bosniak minority such as the town of Bosanska Dubica and some others.
10 What happened in Prijedor can be explained with three reasons: The
11 first, and perhaps the most important one, was obviously the strategic
12 reason. From the military point of view, the Sava River valley, that is,
13 the municipalities of Sanski Most, Kljuc, Bosanski Novi, and Prijedor, is
14 situated only some 50 or 60 kilometres away from Banja Luka and
15 constitutes an area inhabited by almost 120.000 Bosniaks, which
16 constitutes a significant concentration of Bosniaks living in the
17 immediate vicinity of the town of Banja Luka. So that was one of the very
18 important military considerations and the reason why Major Zeljaja was
19 given the order to cleanse the area of the Sana River valley of non-Serbs
20 and to place the entire area under the military command.
21 The second very important reason for what happened can be found in
22 Karadzic's reaction and in what I was able to conclude from my immediate
23 contacts with him and other leaders of the SDS who were disappointed with
24 the fact that the Serb Democratic Party had not won the elections in
25 Prijedor. They blamed the Serbian population of the Potkozarje area for
1 that. They believed that it was their traditional partisan history,
2 partisan background, and the fact that they embraced the idea of
3 brotherhood and unity that was to blame. And that is why Karadzic placed
4 his confidence in Dr. Stakic, who comes from the area with a typical
5 Chetnik background. He tried to create a rift between Bosniaks and Serbs,
6 and he tried to impair the sense of tolerance and the belief that it was
7 possible for these two ethnic groups to coexist in this area. By killing
8 such a large number of people, he wanted to instill hatred amongst the
9 population which would then constitute an obstacle to the coexistence of
10 different ethnic groups who lived in the area.
11 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The trial stands adjourned until tomorrow,
14 [The witness stands down]
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
16 1.50 p.m., to be reconvened on
17 Wednesday, the 29th day of May, 2002,
18 at 9.00 a.m.