1 Wednesday, 29 January 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good morning to everybody. Please be seated.
6 May I ask the usher to escort the witness into the courtroom
7 immediately. Thank you.
8 During the time, may we hear the case number.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning. This is case number IT-97-24-T, the
10 Prosecutor versus Milomir Stakic.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And the appearances, please.
12 MR. KOUMJIAN: Good morning, Your Honours. Nicholas Koumjian, Ann
13 Sutherland, and Ruth Karper for the Prosecution.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
15 And for the Defence, please.
16 MR. LUKIC: Good morning, Your Honours. Branko Lukic and Danilo
17 Cirkovic for the Defence.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And then the witness of today
19 appeared as well.
20 [The witness entered court]
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Vila, good morning to you as well. You know
22 you gave us yesterday your solemn declaration. No doubt this is valid
23 also today.
24 So Mr. Koumjian, please.
25 MR. KOUMJIAN: Thank you.
1 WITNESS: CEDOMIR VILA [Resumed]
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 MR. KOUMJIAN: If I could ask the usher just to move the ELMO back
4 a little bit so we're not...
5 Cross-examined by Mr. Koumjian: [Continued]
6 Q. Good morning, sir.
7 A. Good morning.
8 Q. Can you tell me, sir, were you ever the most powerful politician
9 in Prijedor?
10 A. Within the political party that I belonged to - that was the SDP -
11 for a while I was the executive secretary, and I was professionally
12 employed in that party and I received a salary there. Later on I was the
13 vice-president of the municipal board of the Socialist Party of Republika
14 Srpska and the main board of the Socialist Party of Republika Srpska, but
15 that was later on.
16 Q. Did you ever hold what you considered to be the most powerful
17 political position - I'm not talking about party position - but position
18 in the civilian politics in Prijedor?
19 A. At that time in the executive government the most powerful
20 position was the president of the executive board, and today it is the
21 mayor, according to the new law on local administration.
22 Q. Okay. So your position is that in 1997 and 1998, when you were
23 president of the executive board, you were the most powerful political
24 figure in Prijedor?
25 A. I wouldn't say that I was a political figure. It was a figure
1 belonging to the executive part of the functioning of the administration
2 and the relationship with the population and with the economic subjects.
3 It belongs to the area of the application of laws and the exercise of the
4 rights of citizens.
5 Q. At that time, which political party did you belong to, in
7 A. At that time I belonged to the Socialist Party of Republika
8 Srpska. That is correct. And as its candidate, after the verification of
9 the election result, I was appointed to the aforementioned position.
10 Q. Did the Socialist Party of Republika Srpska hold the most seats in
11 the Prijedor Municipal Assembly of any party at the time of your
12 appointment to the executive board?
13 A. In that period, the Socialist Party of Republika Srpska was the
14 second ranking party in Prijedor municipality, after the SDS. And we were
15 followed by the Party for Krajina and Posavina.
16 Q. Thank you. So in 1997, when you became the president of the
17 executive board, can you remind me -- I was a little bit unclear -- when
18 did you become the president of the executive board? At what -- during
19 what month in 1997?
20 A. I believe that the implementation and my appointment to that
21 position was in November of 1997.
22 Q. Prior to being appointed the president of the executive board,
23 were you a member of the assembly or did you hold another position earlier
24 in 1997?
25 A. Yes. I was on the list of my party as a deputy, and as a deputy I
1 was given a seat in the assembly. However, one cannot be a deputy and a
2 member of the executive branch of the government. These two are
3 incompatible, and that is why I had to return my seat of a deputy, and I
4 was replaced by the second ranking after me in the municipal assembly, and
5 I went to the executive branch of the government.
6 Q. Okay. Thank you. So my understanding is that in 1997, in
7 November, when you took the position of president of the executive board,
8 the SDS party was the leading party in the Prijedor Municipal Assembly
9 in -- within the Republika Srpska Prijedor --
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Who held the position at that time of president of the municipal
13 A. At that time the president of the municipal assembly was
14 Mr. Borislav Maric, a member of the SDS.
15 Q. Sir, you've testified here in court that the president of the
16 executive board was a more powerful position than the president of the
17 municipal assembly. Is that correct?
18 A. That is correct.
19 Q. You've also told us -- we know that in 1990, after the 1990
20 elections, the SDA won the most seats in the assembly and was awarded the
21 position of president of the municipal assembly, and the second party
22 received the position of president of the executive board, that being the
23 SDS. We know from your testimony this morning that in 1997 the leading
24 party was the SDS and they received the position of president of the
25 municipal assembly, and the second party, your party, received the
1 position of president of the executive board. Can you explain, sir --
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Why is -- thank you. Can you explain, sir, why it is that the
4 leading party would not take the leading position in the municipality in
5 both 1992 and 1997?
6 A. I can't tell you about 1992 because I was not a member of the
7 interparty agreement on the implementation and the distribution of power.
8 But about 1997 I can tell you that at the time the interparty agreement
9 took quite a long time and that agreement ended up with the distribution
10 of various areas. According to the law, they could ask for certain
11 sectors, and the minority population had the right to 20 per cent of the
12 seats in the executive government. In the interparty agreement, the first
13 thing that the SDS asked for was the president of the executive board, the
14 secretary-general of the municipal assembly, and the chief of the sector
15 for economy. These are the most powerful positions, and this could not
16 reflect the total SDS result in the elections. They insisted on being
17 awarded the position of the secretary-general of the municipal assembly
18 and the chief of the sector for economy.
19 Finally, the SDS accepted for their candidate to be appointed the
20 secretary-general of the municipal assembly, the president of the
21 municipal assembly, and the secretary of the sector for economy.
22 Q. Sir, in 1997 in the assembly in Prijedor, in the beginning of that
23 year, who was the president of the assembly?
24 A. You mean before the elections?
25 Q. Well, let's talk about the -- from January through July of 1997.
1 Who was the president of the municipal assembly of Prijedor -- 1997?
2 A. I believe that it was Dusan Kurnoga.
3 Q. In fact, sir, let me try to remind you. Wasn't it Milomir Stakic
4 who was the president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor in 1997?
5 A. I really don't remember the dates when people were removed and
6 replaced and when new people came into positions. It's very difficult for
7 me to remember those dates.
8 Q. Well, you do remember that after the war in 1996 and 1997,
9 Dr. Stakic was again the president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor.
11 A. Well, you have reminded me, and yes, I can say that this is
13 Q. Thank you. And it's correct, is it not, that Dr. Stakic
14 represented -- he was the candidate of the SDS party at that time;
16 A. At that time, I believe so. I believe that he was an SDS
18 Q. And the SDS at that time controlled the -- had the most seats in
19 the Prijedor Municipal Assembly. They had the majority of seats; correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Do you know what happened to cause Dr. Stakic to no longer be the
22 president of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor in 1997?
23 A. It was Mr. Borislav Maric who was the candidate for the president
24 of the municipal assembly. He was elected on the proposal of the SDS.
25 And upon the expiry of his mandate, I believe that Dr. Stakic returned to
1 the position of the CEO in the health centre or a doctor in the health
3 Q. Okay. So if I understand your answer, you believe that Dr. Stakic
4 at the end of his mandate -- you believe it expired sometime in 1997 and
5 then he returned to work in the Prijedor health centre?
6 A. Yes. I believe that this is what happened. There were the
7 elections, that -- one set of mandates expired, and that the new set of
8 mandates was put in place and was implemented.
9 Q. Okay. Let me suggest some things to you and you tell me whether
10 these remind you of events that took place back in 1997, some five or six
11 years ago. Do you recall that in July of 1997 Dr. Stakic was the
12 president of the municipal assembly and in the middle of that month SFOR
13 arrested Mico Kovacevic -- Dr. Milan Kovacevic and attempted to arrest and
14 during that attempted arrest killed Simo Drljaca? Do you recall those
15 events taking place in Prijedor in July 1997?
16 A. I remember the arrest of Dr. Kovacevic and him being taken away.
17 I also remember the incident in which Simo Drljaca was killed, but I'm not
18 aware of the fact that it was -- that there was a failed attempt to arrest
19 Dr. Stakic. I'm not aware of that.
20 Q. Well, I hope -- I don't believe I stated that, so let me -- I
21 believe I said an attempt to arrest Mr. Drljaca.
22 Sir, did you ever see Dr. Stakic after that day when Mr. Kovacevic
23 was arrested?
24 A. On one or two occasions I saw him in the health centre in
1 Q. Do you recall the months that that took place?
2 A. No, I can't recall that.
3 Q. Did Dr. Stakic -- let me try -- suggest something to you and tell
4 you -- and you can tell me if it reminds you. Did Dr. Stakic leave the
5 position of president of the municipal assembly before the expiration of
6 his term?
7 A. I believe so, because the implementation of the results was in
8 November 1997 and from the June events to November, I don't remember that
9 Dr. Stakic was physically in the position of the president of the
10 municipal assembly and that he discharged the duties of the president of
11 the municipal assembly. I believe that acting president of the municipal
12 assembly was Mr. Radanovic, who at the time held the position of the
13 vice-president of the municipal assembly and who, when the president was
14 absent, would take the place of the president. Now, as for the real
15 reasons for the president's absence during that time, I wouldn't be able
16 to tell you what those were.
17 Q. Thank you. Sir, Mr. Radanovic, who you just mentioned, is that
18 Momcilo Radanovic, nicknamed Cigo?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Was Mr. Radanovic one of those persons you referred to -- well,
21 excuse me. Can I -- perhaps we can go into private session.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I can see no objections.
23 Private session, please.
24 [Private session]
12 [Open session]
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: One second. Thank you.
14 MR. KOUMJIAN:
15 Q. Sir, did you know Dr. Stakic outside of the municipal assembly?
16 Did you know him socially or professionally in other ways?
17 A. He was an acquaintance, and I didn't know him before I met him in
18 the assembly. He was not my physician. We never socialised outside the
19 building of the municipal assembly.
20 Q. Would you run into him around the town? Would you see him in
21 public places?
22 A. Very rarely. I saw him maybe once or twice when he was playing
23 snooker in a restaurant. He was in the company of two or three young men
24 or men of his age whom I didn't know.
25 Q. From your observations of -- excuse me. Did you ever go to his
1 office in 1992? Did you ever go to the office of the president of the
2 municipal assembly?
3 A. I can't remember. It may have been once or twice. When I
4 represented my group of deputies, when we were talking about the agenda of
5 the upcoming session. But this was not me talking to him, but I was
6 always accompanied by other people and there was always the
7 secretary-general of the municipal assembly present there.
8 Q. Would you describe Dr. Stakic and your knowledge of him
9 professionally as being an intelligent person?
10 A. It is very hard to judge somebody who is of a different
11 profession, who comes from a different walk of life. I believe that he
12 was a promising doctor, and I believe that as a young and inexperienced
13 person he was pushed into the politics and he wasn't aware of how politics
14 worked. He was politically inexperienced when he was pushed into that
15 sphere of life.
16 Q. Sir, you haven't answered my question. Do you believe Dr. Stakic
17 was an intelligent person? Can you answer that.
18 A. Of an average intelligence, I would say.
19 Q. In your dealings with Dr. Stakic, would he listen to other
21 A. I have said, and I will repeat that. Whenever I met Dr. Stakic,
22 it was in connection with the preparations for the upcoming session of the
23 assembly. We were talking about the items on the agenda. And as far as I
24 could notice, he would listen to the proposers, be it the executive board
25 or some other proposers. He would listen to their suggestions. He would
1 accept their suggestions. And together with the secretary-general of the
2 assembly, he would finalise the preparations for the session. The
3 secretary-general was in charge of preparing all the technical details of
4 the upcoming session of the assembly.
5 Q. In your contacts with Dr. Stakic when he presided over the
6 municipal assembly in 1992 and later, when -- after the war ended, of the
7 Dayton Agreements, you indicated you attended about 80 per cent of the
8 assembly sessions or more -- did he appear to be a president who was
9 informed about events that were taking place in Prijedor?
10 A. Based on what was presented to the local parliament, it is my
11 impression that he was aware of what was taking place in Prijedor. During
12 the assembly session, he would also give introductory remarks and
13 explanations on various items of the agenda. As the president of the
14 municipal assembly, he was very correct in his presiding over the session.
15 He would give the floor to everybody who asked the floor and he would give
16 everybody the opportunity to express their views.
17 Q. As the president of the executive board in 1997, your office was
18 on the same floor as the office of the president, is that correct, the
19 same floor of the municipal assembly building?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. Did the president of the municipal assembly and the president of
22 the executive board receive media - for example, Kozarski Vjesnik, Glas
23 newspapers - and official documents like the Official Gazettes of Prijedor
24 in order to keep informed of the events?
25 Q. At that time I believe that Kozarski Vjesnik, Glas, and
1 Oslobodenje were the papers that were ordered and received. And as for
2 the Official Gazette, the Official Gazette was received by the technical
3 services who had to be abreast of the new laws and their implementation.
4 So the Official Gazette was mostly received and followed by the
5 secretary-general and his staff.
6 Q. And you as the president of the executive board could request
7 reports. And in fact, you yourself testified you requested reports from
8 the security services regarding their activities, and they responded and
9 reported to you. Correct?
10 A. Very rarely at that time. Maybe once or twice throughout the
11 whole mandate we discussed the security issues at a session of the
12 assembly. For a simple relation, political relationships were stabilised,
13 the implementation was in place. We had some more urgent things to
14 discuss. And at that time the political and security situation was
15 already stable. Refugees started coming back. The situation between the
16 people and various ethnic groups, started improving. And that's why we
17 didn't discuss the security situation that much.
18 Q. On page 46 of yesterday's LiveNote, line 5, you said: "I did
19 request some reports on the political and security situation and the
20 security of the citizens. I never requested anything else, any other
21 reports, and there are no other contacts." And the question that you were
22 responding to had to do with giving orders to the Ministry of the
24 So sir, did you request from the police or Ministry of the
25 Interior reports, and did they respond and give you those reports?
1 A. I believe that there has been a misunderstanding. While I was in
2 the position of the president of the executive board and earlier on, the
3 executive board could not order anything to the Ministry of the Interior
4 or ask from them to do certain things. The only thing that we could ask
5 from them was a report on the political and security situation for the
6 assembly session. As far as I can remember, throughout all of my mandate
7 it -- such a report was considered at an assembly session once or maybe
9 Q. Let me repeat the question. Did you ask for reports from the
10 Ministry of the Interior and did you receive those reports that you asked
12 A. Repeat. Once or twice throughout my entire mandate a request was
13 filed with the Ministry of the Interior to report on the political and
14 security situation, and they sent us the report and it was discussed, but
15 I can't remember at what session of the assembly was it that we discussed
16 such a report.
17 Q. Sir, yesterday you discussed on your direct examination the duties
18 of the president of the municipal assembly, and you listed certain limited
19 duties, setting the agenda, presiding over the sessions, representing the
20 municipality when there were delegations of dignitaries or special events.
21 Is that correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did the president of the assembly also speak to the media? Did he
24 represent the assembly in the media?
25 A. Well, some of his duties concerning managing the work of the
1 assembly, yes. Concerning those subjects he did speak to the media.
2 Q. When you talk about delegations, would that be, for example, a
3 delegation from Banja Luka of regional leaders coming to Prijedor, that
4 they would be met by the president of the municipality?
5 A. Usually the president of the assembly did host such delegations
6 during my term of office as the executive board. But the president of the
7 executive board and the secretary-general of the municipality were always
8 there too. Usually there was a group of three or four representatives of
9 the local community hosting such delegations. That -- welcoming such
10 delegations. That also depended on the type of delegation that was
11 arriving. Were they from the republican organs? Was that an
12 international delegation? Usually a protocol would be drawn up and an
13 agenda would be set with subjects to be discussed so that adequate
14 preparations could be made.
15 Q. Do you recall in the summer of 1992 Radoslav Brdjanin, who was
16 then the president of the Crisis Staff for the Autonomous Region of
17 Krajina visited Prijedor?
18 A. He was not a guest of the parliament. Now, whether he was
19 welcomed at the building of the municipal assembly, I really don't know.
20 Q. Were you present during his visit at any time, to the best of your
22 A. No, never.
23 Q. You've described these rather limited duties of the president of
24 the municipal assembly. You told us that this is a professional position,
25 so it's a position that he's given a salary for, as opposed to the nominal
1 salary that normal deputies get; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Given how limited the duties are that you described, why is it
4 that this is a full-time position? What does the president do all day?
5 A. Well, in addition to problems related to the work of the assembly
6 and its sessions, as well as the amount of coordination involved in
7 setting up an assembly meeting, during his regular working hours the
8 president of the assembly must prepare all these tasks. Part of his time
9 goes to receiving parties and clients, citizens requesting to see the
10 president of the assembly, requesting to see the president of the
11 executive board too in order to exercise some of their rights which were
12 not included in the regular procedure. Or, for example, if citizens
13 wanted to lodge complaints concerning certain phenomenon or certain
14 officials, the behaviour of certain officials.
15 Q. So part of the duty of the president of the municipality -- the
16 municipal assembly is to make sure that the concerns of citizens of
17 Prijedor reach that assembly; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Sir, were you ever a member of the National Defence Council in
21 A. No. My position during the time when I was president of the
22 executive board, there was no such body at that time according to the
23 then-existing regulations.
24 Q. In 1992, did you attend any meetings after the takeover of the
25 National Defence Council?
1 A. No, I never attended any of these meetings. And I don't know who
2 the members of the council are supposed to be. At any rate, as a deputy I
3 never attended any such meetings.
4 Q. Okay. Fine. Then I won't ask you further questions about that.
5 Sir, at the municipal assembly sessions that you attended, during
6 the time period that Dr. Stakic was the president of the municipality, did
7 you discuss providing what aid the municipality could to these refugees
8 from places like Croatia, from Zagreb, from Knin, from other parts of
9 Central Bosnia that were coming to Prijedor? Did you discuss providing
10 aid to those persons?
11 A. I don't think this was discussed at any of the sessions of the
12 assembly. On one or two occasions certain reports were received from a
13 special centre recording the incoming refugees. Probably it was through
14 humanitarian organisations or in some other way that these problems were
15 being dealt with. It was not part of the decision-making process of the
16 local parliament. Information was received on several occasions about the
17 growing numbers of incoming refugees and the lack of adequate facilities
18 to put them up, but the situation at that time was a very high
19 unemployment rate and a desperate economic situation in general.
20 Q. Sir, what crimes -- you mentioned yesterday a murder that you were
21 aware of that occurred after the takeover of a reserve policeman. What
22 other crimes are you aware of that occurred after the takeover from the
23 30th of April through the end of September 1992?
24 A. I can't say for certain whether it was on the 30th of May or
25 between the 29th and 30th of May. Certain paramilitary units from the
1 direction of the old town tried to storm the local information media, the
2 Kozarski Vjesnik and the local radio station, the municipality building,
3 and the MUP building. There were casualties there. I think the attackers
4 suffered casualties too, as well as those who were defending these
5 institutions and buildings. I know where in town exactly these buildings
6 are, but I don't really remember where I was on that particular day, so I
7 was not an eyewitness to these events. I learned about these events from
8 the media and by talking to friends and colleagues. Members of the
9 families of those who had lost their lives in these incidents also told me
10 about the whole thing.
11 Q. Are you finished?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Sir, in addition to this incident that you're talking about, the
14 attempt by Muslims and Croats to reverse the takeover of the 30th of April
15 and to violently get rid of the authorities in Prijedor, are there other
16 crimes that you're aware of?
17 A. Well, there were quite many attempts. There was a war on, so
18 there were a number of murders. There were a number of murders where
19 persons of the same ethnic background killed each other or maybe there
20 were paramilitary soldiers killing people. The times were unsafe. Given
21 the nature of my job in one of the companies I worked for or as a deputy
22 to the municipal assembly, I had no need for direct contact or to monitor
23 these events. And aside from that, it has been quite a long time.
24 Q. So, sir, I gather from your answer to my last two questions that
25 aside from the murder of a reserve officer that you remember and the
1 attack that you told us about, you're not aware of any crimes committed by
2 the Army of Republika Srpska, by the police in Prijedor, and the civilian
3 authorities in Prijedor against Muslim and Croat citizens of Prijedor.
4 A. Well, there were a number of military operations and activities in
5 the area of the so-called Brdo following events in Hambarine and Kozarac.
6 However, this is between 7 and 12 kilometres outside Prijedor. And aside
7 from people who were there in the actual area witnessing these events, it
8 was very difficult to know anything for sure if you were in Prijedor or
9 somewhere even further away. I do know that part of the population was
10 killed during those military operations. But under what circumstances
11 exactly and how many, I really can't be -- I really can't tell you.
12 Q. When you drove from Prijedor to Ljubija, you passed through the
13 Brdo region; correct?
14 A. Up to the events in Hambarine and following those events, it was
15 quite risky to go there, to pass through that area. So for a month or two
16 I didn't go to Ljubija. The only way I spoke to the guards from Miska
17 Glava and Vojavi [phoen], was by telephone. I'm referring to the guards
18 from my company, the security guards. They would walk to the company
19 premises and we'd arrange things through Jakara Marina, a secretary who
20 lived in Ljubija. And our only concern that time was to keep our premises
21 from being invaded and our property from being looted. It was only after
22 a month or two, a month or two after the operations and the clashes in the
23 Brdo area - I'm talking about Hambarine, Rizvanovici, Biscani, and
24 Rakovcani - that I took the road to Donja Ljubija.
25 Q. Okay. Sir, I'm going to move on, and I'm now going to ask you
1 questions not having to do with your own personal knowledge of events but
2 with what you heard during municipal assembly meetings presided over by
3 Dr. Stakic.
4 At these meetings, did you discuss removing the non-Serb
5 population from Prijedor?
6 A. Discussions during assembly sessions or decisions of the assembly
7 or conclusions of the assembly never, at least as far as the sessions I
8 attended were concerned, included any such subjects. All the decisions
9 and conclusions of the assembly were published in the Official Gazette of
10 the municipality, so it's possible even now to verify if any such
11 decisions had ever been made.
12 Q. Well, the decisions and conclusions are published, but the
13 discussions, what people said, is not published in the gazette; isn't that
15 A. To the best of my recollection, what was reviewed during one of
16 the assembly sessions was a report by the Crisis Staff related to the
17 period of time when the assembly was not meeting. So you have this report
18 marked with the exact date and entry number, as well as its subject, so
19 such decisions were then verified. But discussions focussing on such
20 issues, no, there were no such discussions.
21 Q. Sir, were there discussions about organising convoys from
22 Trnopolje and other locations to take non-Serbs out of the Prijedor
24 A. I'm not familiar with any such conclusions by the assembly,
25 conclusions to that effect, but I know that a number of people were
1 leaving Prijedor. I know because people talked about this. And there
2 were collection centres for those who were found innocent of any crimes
3 and had expressed their desire to leave Prijedor and go to a different
5 Q. Did you vote to confirm the decisions of the Crisis Staff at the
6 meeting of the municipal assembly on the 24th of July, I believe, 1992?
7 A. The end of July, yes. I remember it was the end of July. I can't
8 remember the exact date. Most deputies agreed and ratified the
9 conclusions and decisions of the Crisis Staff.
10 MR. KOUMJIAN: Perhaps the witness could be given Exhibit 250,
12 Q. While that's being handed out -- sir, if you could take a look at
13 this document. It's number S250. Do you recognise this as the decision
14 of the municipal assembly from late July 1992 wherein the decisions of the
15 Crisis Staff were confirmed?
16 A. To the best of my recollection, this precisely was the material
17 used at the assembly and this is the way it was handed out to the
18 deputies. There were no introductory remarks. There was no discussion
19 even, I believe. I think the assembly, that is, the majority of the
20 deputies, were informed about this section and the deputies then ratified
21 the conclusions and decisions of the Crisis Staff in the interim period
22 between the two assembly sessions.
23 Q. Was there any discussion, debate, or disagreements regarding these
25 A. As I already said, I don't think there was a discussion as such
1 during that session concerning these issues. These were handed out to the
2 deputies. They were asked whether they had any objections or questions.
3 There were none, so this was ratified in its original form. I think the
4 deputies understood this more as a form of report on the enactments
5 adopted by the Crisis Staff in the meantime, which had already been
6 implemented and which received ratification, official ratification in this
8 Q. Do you recall Dr. Stakic making any negative comments or any
9 objections to these decisions?
10 A. I don't remember any objections or comments.
11 Q. Sir, did the municipal assembly appoint judges in Prijedor?
12 A. The judges of the basic court are appointed by the Ministry of
13 Justice. I think the municipality only appoints the judge for the -- the
14 misdemeanour judge. But I'm not sure exactly what sort of influence they
15 have in that particular appointment. The judiciary is independent from
16 the local, legislative, and executive authorities.
17 MR. KOUMJIAN: Okay. If the witness could be given S259, please.
18 Q. Sir, just take your time and familiarise yourself a bit with this
19 document, and then I'd ask you to turn when you're ready, to point to
20 number 8, Roman numeral VIII. Not the agenda 8 but the Roman numeral
22 Would it be correct, sir, that you were appointed, according to
23 this document, to the commission on elections -- excuse me, to the
24 elections and appointments board?
25 I'm sorry, it's --
1 A. Yes, yes.
2 Q. I'm sorry. I gave you the wrong -- 13, Roman numeral XIII. Yes.
3 So, sir, were you appointed to the elections and appointments
4 board which was headed by Mr. Savanovic?
5 A. Yes. This is a regular commission of the assembly, an assembly
6 body, the elections and appointments board. And I was appointed member.
7 You can see my name under number 9.
8 Q. Thank you. These are elections and appointments to what type of
10 A. In that period of time, personnel was quickly changing due to the
11 war circumstances, and this also concerned appointments to positions of
12 the heads of companies, administration institutions, and all those within
13 the purview of the municipal assembly. As at that time state -- social
14 property was proclaimed state property and in this particular case the
15 municipality was in charge of appointing directors to the range of
16 companies across the municipality. Most directors who were appointed were
17 members of the majority party.
18 Q. Okay. Thank you. If you can keep that document. I'll come back
19 to it in just a moment, but I want to cover one or two points I missed.
20 Sir, you talked about the murder of a reserve policeman after the
21 takeover. Did you witness that crime?
22 A. No.
23 Q. Did you speak to a person who was a witness to the crime?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Did you ever see the investigative files regarding that crime?
1 A. No. No.
2 Q. Would it be correct to say you don't know the circumstances of
3 that murder or who the perpetrator was?
4 A. Yes, that would be correct.
5 Q. Thank you. Now, you had also spoken in your direct examination
6 about property being temporarily confiscated, property that was abandoned
7 and used. Did you see Muslims and Croats leaving Prijedor on convoys over
8 Vlasic Mountain? I'm not asking if you went on a convoy, but did you see
9 those people gathering to get onto convoys in Prijedor?
10 A. On one or two occasions, as I was passing outside the building
11 that is today the Kozara museum, which is just across the way from the
12 municipality building and the MUP, I did see buses taking busloads of
13 civilians away. I saw people who were there to see those people who were
14 leaving off. I don't know, however, which company exactly or which
15 drivers were in charge of the transport or who the people boarding these
16 buses were. My assumption was that they were headed for border crossings
17 or on their way to territory controlled by whichever side they were
18 thinking about crossing over to.
19 Q. Sir, those people you saw, it appeared they were leaving with what
20 they could carry. They had a bag. They had a suitcase. And that was the
21 belongings that they were leaving Prijedor with. Correct?
22 A. Yes. Those were civilians, predominantly women and also a few
23 men, and as far as I could see they had suitcases or bags. They would
24 carry what they could physically carry with them.
25 Q. Isn't it true that in order to leave Prijedor, individuals,
1 particularly those who were held in the Trnopolje camp, had to renounce
2 all of their property to Republika Srpska?
3 A. I'm not aware of any such enactment that would have been issued
4 and implemented. I only know that for a person to be able to leave
5 Prijedor, would have to have a confirmation that they had paid all of
6 their bills, utility bills. Then they would take that to the MUP and
7 receive a permit or -- for travel, some sort of a document they would
8 receive. I'm not familiar with the whole procedure. I don't know what
9 they received from the Ministry of the Interior.
10 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, I'm going to move back to the document,
11 and I promise I'm getting towards the end. If you can look at the final
12 point on S259. And that would be Roman numeral XVIII. Would it be
13 correct that at this session of the municipal assembly of the 27th of
14 August, 1992, presided over by Dr. Stakic, that there was a discussion on
15 the security and political situation in Prijedor and that among those who
16 participated in that discussion were Colonel Vladimir Arsic, Simo Drljaca,
17 and Dr. Milomir Stakic?
18 A. Yes. It is obvious that information on the political and security
19 situation on the territory of the municipality of Prijedor was considered
20 and that after the introductory remarks, there was Colonel Vladimir Arsic
21 and the chief of the public security service, Simo Drljaca, who were
22 guests. Also here I can see the names of those who took part in the
23 debate. I remember that I participated in that particular session of the
25 Q. Sir, at this particular session or at any other session presided
1 over by Dr. Stakic that you were present at, did you discuss or did anyone
2 discuss the murder of detainees in the Omarska camp?
3 A. No. At these sessions, we talked about political and security
4 situation, about the possible reasons for this situation to get more
5 complicated on the territory of the municipality. Some statistical
6 information was presented by the centre for security services, and they
7 were relevant to the perpetrators of traffic -- violations of traffic and
8 the relationships with the population. It was never the -- on the agenda
9 of the municipality to discuss the collection centres and further actions
10 in that respect, nor did the assembly ever issue any conclusions with that
11 regard. This was simply never the subject matter of any discussions or
13 Q. Did you discuss at this session or any other the shelling and
14 arson of homes in Hambarine on the 23rd of May, 1992 in Kozarac area on
15 the 24th and 25th of May, 1992, and the casualties to civilians that
16 occurred during these operations by the army?
17 A. As far as I can remember, this was not the subject matter of the
18 parliamentary debate, nor were any data ever submitted on such incidents.
19 We were never presented any figures or any other kind of report of any
21 Q. Did you ever discuss the destruction of Catholic churches and
22 mosques throughout the opstina of Prijedor but in particular, right in the
23 city, in the town of Prijedor the destructions of the main mosque, the
24 main Catholic church?
25 A. It is true that the buildings that you have mentioned were
1 destroyed during the war. I was working at the Impro, and as I was
2 leaving for work, in the morning I saw the police who did not allow the
3 general public to enter the street where the Catholic church had been and
4 they explained that the road was not passable. I took a different road
5 towards the railway station, and then along the railway line I went to the
6 Impro building, so I did know that this had been done, that the church had
7 been destroyed. However, who the perpetrators were, who the organisers of
8 that crime were, I don't know. I was never in the position to see any
9 documents to show me any data on who the perpetrators or organisers of
10 those things were.
11 Q. Sir, my question is only whether or not these incidents or these
12 crimes were discussed in the municipal assembly during the sessions you
13 attended. And if I'm correct, I understand your answer to be no. Is that
15 A. No, never. We didn't discuss that.
16 Q. Sir, in late July of 1992, the army conducted what is listed in
17 the front page of one of the Kozarski Vjesnik articles as a Ciscenje in
18 Brdo -- that the army planned a Ciscenje in Brdo. Did you discuss that in
19 the municipal assembly, either in this particular meeting or any other
21 A. No, we didn't discuss that at any assembly sessions.
22 Q. Did you ever discuss in the municipal assembly the massacre in
23 late July of detainees in room 3 in Keraterm or the incident that was very
24 well known in Prijedor of shooting, a long night of shooting at the
25 Keraterm facility?
1 A. We didn't discuss that in the municipal assembly. And as far as I
2 can remember, the public media carried a story on an attempted attack by
3 the detainees on the guards, and that's -- that was the reason why the
4 shooting took place. However, this was never discussed in the municipal
6 Q. Did you ever discuss in the municipal assembly - I believe the
7 session we're talking about is the 27th of August - the crime that
8 occurred at Koricanske Stijene in a convoy leaving the Trnopolje camp in
9 Tukovi and escorted by police in Prijedor where hundreds of mean --
10 approximately 200 men were lined up on a cliff and shot?
11 A. The municipal assembly didn't discuss that, and I don't have any
12 knowledge or information about that event.
13 Q. Sir, can you tell us of anything that Dr. Stakic did when he was
14 president of the municipal assembly to prevent these crimes, to punish the
15 perpetrators, to let people know what was happening so that some changes
16 could be made?
17 A. According to the authority of the municipal assembly, he was not
18 in the position to order either repressive or protection measures. As to
19 whether he had any private contacts with anybody, I don't know. But in
20 any case, this was not under his authority. It was under the authority of
21 the police anything that has to do with the protection and security of
22 citizens. It is the chief of the security centre who is responsible at
23 the local level. And at the level of the republic, it is the Minister of
24 the Interior who is responsible for that.
25 Q. So I understand from your answer, you're not aware of anything
1 that Dr. Stakic did to prevent, to punish, or to deter any of these
3 A. I have no information about any such activity.
4 Q. Thank you. No further questions. Thank you, sir.
5 Questioned by the Court:
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I just want to take the occasion when you have
7 in front of you this document. It's S259, XVIII. And can you please tell
8 me why was it that Colonel Arsic and Mr. Drljaca took part in this
9 discussion in the municipal assembly, being not members of this
11 A. [Interpretation] If my memory serves me right, the aforementioned
12 persons were guests of the assembly. They didn't address the assembly on
13 that occasion. And what their real role was when they appeared in the
14 municipal assembly as guests, I don't know.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was this the only time that Mr. Arsic and
16 Mr. Drljaca participated in sessions of the municipal assembly?
17 A. [Interpretation] I believe that this was the only time when the
18 two of them attended an assembly session. If my memory serves me right,
19 there was another representative of the military who attended as a guest
20 on one or two occasions, but the assembly never discussed the military
21 issues. It was only when we discussed the political and the security
22 situation, then we would have guests. But those guests never gave any
23 proposals to the assembly or discussed any matters before the assembly.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You tell us this was a special event. Can you
25 recall where these persons, especially Mr. Arsic and Mr. Drljaca, were
1 seated in the room?
2 A. I believe that the session was in the Rudnik hall and our guests
3 were sitting in the front row on the left-hand side, the side that is
4 reserved for guests rather than for the deputies themselves.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was it the custom that guests could, as it is
6 reflected here in this document at the right, to take part in the debate
7 as all the others and it would appear in the document as a participation
8 in the debate as all the other members of the municipal assembly?
9 A. I believe that they had -- that they did say a few words about the
10 political and security situation on the territory of Prijedor
11 municipality. But I can't quantify the length of their contribution or
12 the positions that they put forth on that occasion. In any case, they
13 participated when discussing the matters regarding the military. And in
14 any case, they would say about the things that compounded the political
15 and security situation on the territory of the municipality, but that was
16 all. They didn't make any other contributions.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You would regard this document as you have it
18 before you - one example, S259 - as a reliable document, or did you ever
19 have doubts that on these minutes something was reflected what never took
21 A. At every subsequent session of the assembly, the first item on the
22 agenda was considering the minutes of the previous session and their
23 adoption. There were occasions when deputies objected to the wording of
24 the minutes, and most often it was just the wording, the technical
25 mistakes in the minutes. I can't say that this is an authentic document
1 that was presented to the deputies at this session of the assembly.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So in other words, would you have reasons to
3 believe that when we can read here that, for example, Colonel Vladimir
4 Arsic took the floor twice, Mr. Drljaca took the floor twice, this would
5 be correct?
6 A. I can't say with any degree of reliability that that indeed was
7 the case.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Once again, did you have reasonable doubts that
9 documents as such were signed by Dr. Stakic and the accuracy of the copy
10 certified by Dusan Baltic, that these were incorrect statements or
11 incorrect certifications?
12 A. According to the book of rules governing the work of the assembly,
13 any decision passed by the assembly is signed by the president of the
14 municipal assembly, and this is certified by the signature of the
15 secretary-general of the assembly and the stamp.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: One thing is theory. One thing is practice.
17 Was there any -- to the best of your recollection, was there ever a
18 serious discrepancy between this theory, what you just -- that you just
19 told us, and the practice?
20 A. As a deputy, I was not in the position to know anything about that
21 part. A deputy merely participates in the debate, votes in favour or
22 against a certain conclusion or decision or similar things. The rest of
23 the procedure lies with the municipal assembly and the committee for the
24 publication in the Official Gazette.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Only for my better understanding: Following
1 such a suggestion, you received the minutes of a session as a document?
2 A. No. On -- during a subsequent session, we received minutes of the
3 preceding session.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: That was my question. And had you ever reason
5 to believe that the content of this document you received on the next
6 session on the previous session was incorrect?
7 A. I don't remember any deliberate mistakes or any blatant mistakes
8 or any different interpretation of the discussions at the previous session
9 of the assembly. There were some minor technical mistakes that were then
10 corrected after the objections put forth by the deputies.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. We need no longer document S259.
12 Witness Vila, did you drive a car in 1992?
13 A. I do have a car. I've driven since 1978, so I did pass the
14 driving test. I have a driving licence.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: My question was not whether you have now a car
16 and whether you had a driving licence. My question was: Did you have and
17 drive a car in 1992?
18 A. No. At that time the situation was difficult. I did have a car,
19 but I didn't drive it.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Why didn't you drive your car?
21 A. The reason was simple: The price of petrol was 6 German marks,
22 and what a worker could make, as his salary was 2 German marks.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I need to understand. Did you have a car for
24 professional purposes or in your factory in 1992 did you have there any
1 A. I had a vehicle, a Zastava 101. That was my personal vehicle.
2 And I had a company car, a two-seater, and usually I drove myself to Novi
3 Grad. I would go there to fetch the designs, and then I would bring them
4 over to the production floor. So sometimes I would drive myself;
5 sometimes it would be the professional driver who would drive that company
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was there any shortage of petrol at that time in
9 A. Yes, there was a shortage of fuel. One couldn't obtain fuel
10 freely at petrol stations. The retail prices were between 5 and 6 German
11 marks, and the standard of living of the population at that time was very
12 low and the use of cars was practically impossible. Most of the cars on
13 the streets belonged to the military or to the police, and people who
14 drove them were either members of the military or the police or members of
15 the organs which were important for the functioning of the municipality.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would you need a certificate or permit to get
17 petrol at that time, in 1992; to be more concrete, after the takeover?
18 A. Do you refer to me personally or my company?
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For your company or for -- whatever purpose --
20 when a citizen or any other person needed petrol, was it necessary to have
21 a certification or permit to receive this petrol?
22 A. In most cases, like I've already told you, there were very few
23 private vehicles on the roads. And one could --
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you please answer my question. I asked
25 already twice whether when buying petrol at a petrol station you would
1 need a permit or certification.
2 A. I don't remember.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Have you ever been in Cirkin Polje?
4 A. I am familiar with that neighbourhood.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Have you ever visited the Crisis Staff building
6 in Cirkin Polje?
7 A. I am not aware of the fact that the Crisis Staff was in Cirkin
8 Polje. I was never in the Crisis Staff in Cirkin Polje.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Have you ever seen a certificate or permit
10 issued by the Crisis Staff in order to obtain petrol?
11 A. I think this was regulated. You knew how to obtain a certificate.
12 But I have never seen any of these certificates, not a single one, and I
13 don't know what it said.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So would you regard yourself as a privileged
15 person, opposed to others needing such a certificate?
16 A. I said yesterday that from the 20th of May, 1992 onwards my
17 company was not operating, so there were no privileges for me in the sense
18 of using a car or being able to obtain petrol. I was definitely not in a
19 privileged position because I didn't drive. I didn't use my car;
20 therefore, I wasn't using petrol, between April 1992 and March 1993. It
21 was only after I started working for the meat industry company called
22 Impro that I had to use a car for business purposes, but sometimes even
23 for business official purposes I was using public transportation.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. The trial stays adjourned until
1 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: One very small question based on document D54.
4 We need not present it to you.
5 If you recall, was Mr. Mile Mutic a member of the assembly?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Is it correct that he was a member of the Democratic Party of
9 A. Democratic Socialist League.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you ever meet Mr. Mutic besides the honour
11 meetings of the assembly?
12 A. Yes.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you regard this person as a reliable person?
14 A. I know him quite well.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: My question was: Do you regard him as a
16 reliable person?
17 A. Yes.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Is it correct that he was -- yeah, the other way
19 around. In which way was he connected with Kozarski Vjesnik?
20 A. For a while, he was the director of Kozarski Vjesnik. During the
21 war, he was in a military unit, and today he is again the director of
22 Kozarski Vjesnik.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When did Kozarski Vjesnik appear for the first
25 A. I think in 1973 or 1974. It has been a weekly paper since 1973 or
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Mr. Mile Mutic, did he appear frequently in the
3 sessions of the -- or attend frequently the sessions of the municipal
5 A. During the period when he was not on the front line, he was
6 present as a deputy. I don't remember exactly how many sessions he
7 attended and how many sessions he failed to attend.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's now turn to a separate issue. We have not
9 yet admitted into evidence the document tendered yesterday by the
10 Prosecution. This was the document provisionally marked S394B. May I ask
11 first, as I indicated yesterday, the Defence whether or not the Defence
12 received this document beforehand.
13 [Defence counsel confer]
14 MR. LUKIC: We received the document before, Your Honour, from the
15 Prosecution, yes.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The best possible original would be available?
17 MR. KOUMJIAN: Yes. It's been provided to the Registry.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May it please be shown, if it has not yet
19 happened, to the Defence.
20 MR. OSTOJIC: We haven't examined the document, Your Honour, thank
21 you. Would you like our comments if any?
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please.
23 MR. OSTOJIC: We have a couple of things. First we would like to
24 know the source or the origin in which the document was procured. There's
25 nothing on the back side as we've seen from other documents.
1 Secondly, we'd like if possible to get verification if the
2 forensic handwriting expert was also provided off the top of our -- or my
3 head, I can't recall if he was provided with this signature which purports
4 to bear the signature of a Stakic Milomir. If he utilised that in the
6 And if possible, the rationale why it was not provided to the
7 forensic handwriting expert at that time.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let's discuss this later, because it's not
9 related to the concrete witness statement. So I understand you object
10 against the admission into evidence of this decision?
11 MR. OSTOJIC: Right, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: For the given -- reasons given on previous --
13 similar occasions, this document is admitted into evidence as 394B-1, the
14 original; the copy is 394B, as indicated yesterday; and the English
15 version is S394A.
16 May this document please be shown to the witness.
17 MR. KOUMJIAN: Just to clarify. The general rules -- I don't know
18 who made them -- are that the original stay with the evidence unit. We
19 can provide a colour copy to the Court of the original.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then it may be substituted by a colour copy and
21 the parties be provided also, please, one colour copy to the Bench. Thank
23 Once again, the question to you, Witness Vila: You are
24 identifying your own signature?
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I then ask that the witness be shown where
2 is my stamp collection? Here it is - Exhibit S79B.
3 For a moment I don't want to go into detail of the content of this
4 document, but could you please have a look on the block of signature and
5 stamp on the right-hand side, on the bottom of the page, and could you
6 please explain for us what we can see there.
7 A. What we can see is the signature and name of Dr. Milomir Stakic.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If you will please compare. I think you have
9 still available document S394, the best possible original. If it could be
10 handed to the witness.
11 Witness Vila, to the best of my recollection - and if the parties
12 so want, I will find the page of the transcript - it was in yesterday's
13 testimony that in the case of the absence of Dr. Stakic, a document would
14 be signed by Mr. Savanovic?
15 A. Yes, according to their respective competencies. The
16 vice-president of the municipal assembly stands in the for the president
17 of the municipal assembly in all the competencies of the president of the
18 municipal assembly.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If you now could be so kind and compare the
20 signatures on document S394B, the one page where you also -- we can find
21 your own signature. Signatures 1 and 3, would this be such an example of
22 signing the document while the president of the municipal assembly was
23 absent? Would this be correct?
24 A. Yes, in the absence of the president of the municipal assembly,
25 the vice-president stands in for the president.
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts. Pages 11385 to 11396.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So comparing the signatures 1 and 3 on this
2 single piece of paper and the other document you have before you, 79B,
3 would this document be signed by Dr. Stakic or by Mr. Savanovic?
4 A. I am not an expert in graphology. I'm not a handwriting expert,
5 but as a layperson I think I can say that this is not the same signature
6 as the one under number 1, Dr. Stakic's signature under number 1. It
7 looks very much like signature number 3, though, but I can't say for sure.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You are no expert; absolutely correct, your
9 statement. We can't demand to go into details when even experts cannot --
10 cannot come to a 100 per cent clear expertise.
11 So may we now turn to -- for a moment to 79 only. You may read
12 this document, please. We did already, but that you are aware of the
13 content of the document.
14 Did you ever see or hear about this concrete order previously?
15 A. No.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: When the municipal assembly turned back to their
17 regular meetings, isn't it your testimony that the municipal assembly
18 ratified at that time all the decisions, orders, conclusions taken by the
19 Crisis Staff?
20 A. Yes, it did ratify. I can't tell for sure whether this order was
21 on the same list. But in case it had been on the same list, then this
22 decision too would have been ratified, yes.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May the witness please be shown document S181.
24 Just already page -- the first page of the Official Gazette, number 3 of
25 1992, dated Monday, 31 August 1992.
1 Do you see item 120?
2 A. I can't see it. I can't find it right now.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could we please have the English translation on
4 the ELMO.
5 MR. LUKIC: If I may be of assistance, Your Honour.
6 [Interpretation] Mr. Vila, it's the number on the first page in
7 the upper left corner.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Is that 3/92?
9 MR. LUKIC: Just below that line you see number 120.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes. I can see it.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. Is it correct that later it reads: "All
12 acts (decisions, orders, rulings and conclusions) adopted by the Crisis
13 Staff of the Municipal Assembly of Prijedor or the War Presidency between
14 29 May and 24 July 1992 are hereby ratified"?
15 A. I am not sure that the original of the text given to the deputies
16 has the same thing written, "order," or "decision." It is not quite clear
17 from this decision whether the decision order was among the enactments
18 that the deputies decided to ratify.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I'm aware of this, and I will later confront you
20 with this other document. But now is it correct that in fact on the
21 Official Gazette of the Prijedor Municipality it reads: "All acts adopted
22 between 29 May and 24 July 1992 are hereby ratified"?
23 A. Yes.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Wouldn't it be correct that then also a order of
25 17th -- 17 June 1992 would be included in this decision?
1 A. If it is on the relevant list. If included in the relevant list.
2 In that case, yes.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I don't discuss in the moment the relevant list.
4 I discuss that what is reflected in the Official Gazette. Here it reads:
5 "All acts, decisions, orders, rulings, and conclusions are hereby
7 A. Yes.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So it would be correct that also, as it's -- as
9 we can read it here from the Official Gazette, this order would be
10 ratified -- would have been ratified, the -- at its session of the -- of
11 27 August 1992; correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was it for the municipal assembly or the Crisis
14 Staff or the War Presidency to order to form a joint intervention platoon
15 and ordering the Prijedor Public Security Station and the Prijedor
16 regional command to do so?
17 A. This simply would have been unnecessary for the simple reason that
18 within the purview of police work, the police is also supposed to protect
19 the material, technical equipment, the population, and everything else.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The question was whether or not it was in the
21 framework of the -- of the mandate of the municipal assembly, the Crisis
22 Staff, or the War Presidency to give orders as reflected here in this
23 document to the Prijedor regional command to form a joint intervention
25 A. This would be outside the authority.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So it would be your testimony that this order in
2 fact would be -- not be covered by the legal mandate given to these
3 bodies; correct?
4 A. Precisely.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I take it from your testimony that you are not
6 aware of this order. If you would have been confronted the 27th of
7 August, 1992 with this order, would you have objected?
8 A. Yes, I would have objected.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. May then -- the other documents may
10 remain with the witness.
11 May we turn -- may we have in addition document S250 once more,
13 Can we please proceed this way, as we did it yesterday, that
14 always English version be put at the same time on the ELMO.
15 May I ask you now as a at that time member of the municipal
16 assembly, do you see discrepancies between the one document and the one
17 published in the Official Gazette?
18 A. I have not been able to find the relevant order in this text.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If I may guide you to the second paragraph.
20 Isn't it correct that it reads there: "In the period between 29 May and
21 24 July 1992, the Crisis Staff and the War Presidency passed
22 enactments --" and then in parentheses "(decision/orders, decisions odluke
23 rjesenja, and conclusions) which are hereby submitted to the Assembly for
24 confirmation as follows"? Isn't it correct that it reads that this
25 document may have - it's a question to you - may have formed the basis for
1 your decision adopting all previous acts between 29 May and 24 July 1992,
2 this same period of time covered by the decision published in the Official
3 Gazette and this document, where it reads "Subject, confirmation of
4 decisions within the competence of the municipal assembly adopted by the
5 Crisis Staff"?
6 Could you please try to find in this document S250 the decision we
7 just discussed. That was the decision of -- on the intervention platoon,
8 Exhibit S79 of 17 June 1992. Can you find it?
9 A. It says in my copy "16 June" and then "23rd June."
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So correct me if I'm wrong. Would it be the
11 correct conclusion that this order from 17 June 1992 was not included?
12 A. According to this list, it hasn't been included.
13 MR. LUKIC: If I may be of some assistance, because it's a bit
14 hidden in our B/C/S version.
15 [Interpretation] Page 8 at the very bottom of that page. You
16 can't even see it very well. XXX Roman and then under number "1."
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So this means that in fact you were at that time
19 seized also with this order of 17 June 1992.
20 A. No, it was not the whole order, just its title. The body of that
21 order, its contents, were not available to the deputies.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you for this clarification.
23 Leaving all the documents with you, may the witness be shown
24 Exhibit S77.
25 Without any view to the contents of this document, let's first
1 have a look on the signature and stamp block. Can you see any difference
2 opposed to the previous document S79?
3 A. There is a stamp and a signature. But whether this is indeed
4 Stakic's signature, I don't know.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But you would agree it's not the same signature
6 as we found it on 79; correct?
7 A. It doesn't look like the same signature.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Looking now on the stamp, we -- what can we read
10 A. "Socialist Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Municipal Assembly
11 of Prijedor. Prijedor" in both the Latinic and the Cyrillic scripts.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And in the middle - it's better reflected on
13 document 79, which no doubt is not signed [Realtime transcript read in
14 error "is signed"] by Dr. Stakic - there we can see in the middle some
15 insignia. What is the meaning of this -- these insignia depicted there?
16 A. In my copy, I can't see it very well. The only thing that I can
17 decipher is number 4.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could, therefore, the witness please be shown
19 the original of S79, which is available and photocopied.
20 MR. OSTOJIC: Excuse me, Your Honour. If I may just have a point
21 of clarification. On the transcript on page 43, line 13, did the Court
22 say "with respect to document 79, which no doubt is signed by Dr. Stakic"?
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Is not signed.
24 MR. OSTOJIC: That's what I thought. But the transcript reflects
25 "is signed..."
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. As we are aware yesterday, we have
2 absolutely been careful with the transcript at the moment. I don't
3 know --
4 MR. OSTOJIC: One last point. On document 77, the English
5 translation, there's clearly a typo on it because it references the date
6 of June 1993, among other mistakes in the translation that's provided.
7 Not on the top left-hand corner but in the body of the first paragraph.
8 Just so the record is noted on that. Thank you.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We are aware of this problem. And as you may
10 have seen yesterday, we try to do our very best to assist also the parties
11 having reflected that what has been said on the transcript.
12 So now, can you now see the middle of the stamp? What is depicted
13 there, in the insignia you can see there?
14 A. This is the coat of arms of the Socialist Republic of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and you can see a mountain, in front of it two
16 chimneys. And on the side there are some ornaments. So this is the coat
17 of arms of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And I would be interested to know why this
19 mountain. Which mountain is depicted? Is this a special one, maybe in
20 memorium of a special event or...?
21 A. No. I believe that the coat of arms represents the mountains of
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina and its rich forests. And the chimneys symbolise
23 factories, the processing factories. And the chimneys also represent
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. You yourself mentioned that you
1 could only identify the number 4 on this stamp. Isn't it true that on
2 both documents, 79 and 77, we can read this number 4?
3 A. Yes, it is clear, and I can read number 4.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Correct me if I'm wrong. Wasn't it there only
5 one copy of a stamp with number 4 for the purpose of not abusing stamps,
6 as it seems to be custom in most countries?
7 A. It is customary for stamps to be marked by various numbers, to
8 bear various numbers in various organisational units and that one number
9 will correspond only to one organisational unit.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. May we then now turn to the content
11 of this document. It reads that it's on quote "recommending to the Crisis
12 Staff the manner of payment to and catering for the army and the police in
13 the Prijedor municipality area." Can you say it is covered by the mandate
14 of Crisis Staff, War Presidency, or municipal assembly?
15 A. I don't know for a fact that this was under the authority of the
16 Crisis Staff and of the War Presidency. But as far as I understand it,
17 the army paid its regular units -- that is, it provided for its clothing,
18 for its footwear, and for food. Now, whether the local community raised
19 voluntary funds for the provisions, I don't know. I can't confirm that
20 for a fact.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was it for these bodies to charge Simo Drljaca
22 with making a comprehensive review, as we can read it from this
24 A. Yes, this is what it does read in the conclusion.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was it covered by the mandate of these bodies to
1 do so, charging Simo Drljaca with making a comprehensive review?
2 A. I believe that this is out of the scope of the mandate of this
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May we then turn to -- back to document S250.
5 And could you please have a look whether or not this conclusion can be
6 found in this document from August 1992.
7 A. I'm having some difficulties locating the relevant part of this
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: 16 June.
10 In case Defence counsel have identified this document already
11 on -- if you may be of assistance.
12 MR. LUKIC: Sorry, Your Honour. We are searching the documents to
13 find the various numbers of these stamps, so we are not -- we are not
14 following the document. Give us one second.
15 [Defence counsel confer]
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Could you read Roman XII, "Enactments passed on
17 16 June 1992."
18 MR. LUKIC: That is on page 8, Mr. Vila.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Here it reads: "Conclusion no. 02-111-198/92,
21 assigning members of the Crisis Staff the duty of preparing a system of
22 supplying food to the army and police troops."
23 And then wouldn't it be correct to -- that this is in fact the
24 document S77, the same number, same date?
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So in conclusion, wouldn't it be correct to
2 state that the municipal assembly adopted these conclusions, orders - I
3 don't want to go to any further - documents mentioned in this document?
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Is it correct that you yourself participated in
6 the ratification of these previous decisions, orders?
7 A. Yes. But I must say that these were just the title of these
8 orders, decisions, conclusions without their contents.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: All right. Would it be correct that also
10 Dr. Stakic was seized with this decision reflected in document S250?
11 A. As a deputy in the same way and to the same extent as all the
12 other 90 deputies.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Dr. Stakic was presiding over this session?
14 A. As far as I can remember, I believe that he was.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So can you tell us why it was that just this
16 document, S250, was not printed in total in the Official Gazette but that
17 it read only "all acts adopted by the Crisis Staff are hereby ratified,"
18 without referring to the concrete acts, orders, rulings, conclusions?
19 A. I don't know why this was done.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May a reason be that at least some of these
21 documents were previously printed in the Official Gazette no. 2 of 1992,
22 these decisions, conclusions by the Crisis Staff?
23 A. I wouldn't know.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Okay. Let's turn to another topic. Yesterday
25 transcript page LiveNote 46, line 17 for following you stated: "The
1 statute of the municipality contains an article governing the case of war
2 or imminent danger of war when the assembly isn't able to meet as usual
3 and as necessary. The article says that the Presidency of the assembly
4 can be set up. I am not sure why they changed the name from Presidency of
5 the assembly to Crisis Staff."
6 So it would be a correct conclusion that in times of war and
7 urgency or imminent danger of war, not the entire assembly would act but
8 only the Presidency of the assembly; correct?
9 A. That is correct.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And you are not aware also of maybe reflecting
11 this during the night why it was that instead of using the term
12 "Presidency of the assembly" the term "Crisis Staff" was used?
13 A. Personally, I believe that it would have been better if the
14 statute had been complied with and if the name had remained "the
15 Presidency of the assembly."
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So "Presidency of the assembly," this would be
17 in concreto the following persons. Could you please give us the name of
18 the present Presidency.
19 A. Members of the Presidency by the virtue of their positions are the
20 president of the assembly, the vice-president of the assembly, and a
21 number of others appointed by the municipal assembly from various
22 departments or secretariats.
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May the witness please be shown document S180,
24 item number 19.
25 May I first ask you: Did you participate in the meeting of 22 May
2 A. I said yesterday that I am not sure that I attended this session
3 but I said that I was at the sessions at which decisions, orders, and
4 other conclusions were ratified.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Independent from the question whether or not you
6 were present at that meeting, if you have a look on the persons appointed
7 as members of the Crisis Staff. Following your testimony. Dr. Stakic and
8 Mr. Savanovic would be borne members as you stated the Presidency of the
9 assembly now equaled with the Crisis Staff?
10 A. Yes.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: How is it possible that we find on this list
12 also the commander of the Municipal Territorial Defence staff, the Chief
13 of Prijedor Public Security Station, the Secretary of Prijedor Municipal
14 Secretariat for People's Defence? Was this covered by the statute, making
15 reference to -- that in cases of emergency, the Presidency of the assembly
16 would act instead of the entire municipal assembly?
17 A. I believe that Mr. Stakic and Mr. Savanovic were appointed as the
18 president and the vice-president of the assembly. They are supposed to be
19 members of the Presidency or in this case of the Crisis Staff. The
20 president of the executive board is a member of the executive part of
21 government and should not take part in the legislative part of the
22 assembly, and the same goes for the Territorial Defence and for the
23 security centre. If one was to look strictly at the statute and the role
24 of the Presidency, the Presidency should be made up of the president, the
25 vice-president, and some of the deputies or presidents of the standing
1 committees of the assembly.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. The same document, if you would
3 please have a look on the top page, item 18, "Decision on the organisation
4 and work of Prijedor Municipal Crisis Staff." To the best of your
5 recollection, did you attend this meeting, the 20th of May, 1992?
6 A. As I said, I'm not sure whether I attended this particular
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If you have a look on Article 6. Would it be
9 under the mandate of the Presidency of the assembly to coordinate the work
10 and activities of all components of All People's Defence, consider issues
11 of mobilisation, development, and reinforcement of the armed forces and
12 other organisations and foster their cooperation with other responsible
13 municipal organs, and so on?
14 A. This is not a legal obligation or it is not within the purview
15 according to the statute of the municipality.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And if you have a look on Article 9 of the same
17 document. "The Crisis Staff shall at all times cooperate with the army of
18 the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Civil Defence, and Public
19 Security through the senior officers or organs of these institutions."
20 A. Article 9 -- that's exactly what Article 9 says.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would this be covered by the mandate of the
22 Presidency of the assembly?
23 A. This would have been outside the scope of the Presidency's
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then only a final question related to this
1 document: On the top of this document of the Official Gazette of Prijedor
2 Municipality, it reads "year 1." Was there no Official Gazette of the
3 Prijedor Municipality in the year 1991?
4 A. I suppose that there was. Every year you had the Official
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Would it be a wrong assessment that -- stating
7 "year 1," that it's to demonstrate that a new period began for Prijedor
8 in 1992, or what was the underlying reason to add it "Official Gazette of
9 Prijedor Municipality, year 1" in 1992?
10 A. The obligation to publish the Official Gazette is prescribed by
11 the law. Now, why this reads "year 1," I really don't know.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was this a decision taken in any of the bodies
13 you were a member of?
14 A. You mean the decision to put "year 1" here?
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Right.
16 A. I don't remember any such decision being made.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
18 Another topic: Yesterday LiveNote page 67, line 18 you stated:
19 "I remember President Cehajic's statement on the radio that he would put
20 up Gandhi-like resistance, meaning that he would not take part in this
21 whole thing." To the best of your recollection, when was this that you
22 heard President Cehajic on the radio?
23 A. That was on the same day or the day after the takeover.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This would be April 30 or 1st of May; correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I know that this question was already put to
2 you, but let me try again. It was the president of your municipal
3 assembly - you were a member of this assembly - weren't you interested in
4 the fate of Mr. Cehajic?
5 A. The assembly did not discuss this, nor did we have any information
6 concerning Mr. Cehajic.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But wouldn't it be natural that you would be
8 interested as a member of this body what is the fate and what's the reason
9 why Professor Cehajic never appeared again?
10 A. I was wondering at the SDA and HDZ deputies why they didn't come
11 to the new founding sessions to raise that issue themselves, because they
12 too were legitimately elected and appointed deputies during that
13 particular term of office.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What would you understand by the notion of
15 "Gandhi-like resistance"?
16 A. In as far as I'm familiar with the term, it implies struggle by
17 silence in order to achieve a certain aim or a certain interest. This
18 probably refers to a long-term struggle.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So it would be a non-armed resistance; correct?
20 A. Yes, I should suppose so.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Finally once again, as you sit here, you don't
22 know about the fate of President Professor Cehajic?
23 A. I really don't know his fate. But after people who had previously
24 left moved back to Prijedor, I never heard that he came back, but I know
25 that his wife did. I don't know any of the other details concerning his
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The 29th of April did you participate in any
3 meeting or demonstration or conference of special nature?
4 A. No.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Did you get a new ID the 30th of April, 1992
6 allowing you to enter the building of the municipal assembly opposed to
7 Professor Cehajic?
8 A. We did have a new deputy's ID, but I'm not sure if this was done
9 for the first session or for one of the subsequent sessions of the
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Do you still have this ID?
12 A. Not on me right now, and I'm not sure if I've kept it.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: But it's your testimony that immediately after
14 the takeover, a new ID was issued for you; correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Was it a special ID for members of the municipal
18 A. Yes. It had the same shape and the same size for all deputies
19 containing personal information and a photograph of the deputy.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Isn't it true that at the same period in time,
21 immediately after or on the date of the takeover, IDs were also issued to
22 other bodies or other organs or other institutions such as the police, the
23 bank, the executive board?
24 A. I can't know for sure whether other institutions and organisations
25 changed their IDs too.
1 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Who gave you this new ID?
2 A. The technical services, the secretary of the municipal assembly.
3 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Have you been at Cirkin Polje the 29th, the 30th
4 of April?
5 A. No.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You're aware that there maybe was a meeting at
7 Cirkin Polje?
8 A. No, I'm not aware of that.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Are you aware that IDs were issued at Cirkin
10 Polje at that period of time?
11 A. I don't believe that any IDs would have been issued at Cirkin
12 Polje, because they just didn't have the technology, the equipment it took
13 to produce IDs. You usually have specialised services and units that
14 issue documents and produce these documents and the IDs, and I'm not sure
15 who was in charge of what you were talking about.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Have you ever seen one of your colleagues from
17 the SDA or HDZ with such a new ID?
18 A. I think they did not take part in the prolonged part of municipal
19 assembly sessions after the takeover, and I have no idea why they didn't.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: In yesterday's testimony, LiveNote page 48,
21 there was a broad discussion on the notion of the "artificial creation,"
22 or better, "Muslims as an artificial creation." Do you recall that you
23 testified yesterday on this issue?
24 A. Yes, I remember very well.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: On page 49, line 4 you made reference to
1 different censuses, 1961, 1971, 1991. Was it possible for a citizen in
2 Prijedor to declare himself or herself in handwriting as a Muslim, Serb,
3 or Croat, or wasn't it true that on -- let's call it on the ballot or on
4 the document that had to be filled in it was already printed the -- the
5 categories had already been printed whether a person would identify him or
6 herself as a Muslim, as a Serb, or as a Croat?
7 A. I can't remember exactly all the information that the ballot
8 contained, but there is one box which says "nationality" or "ethnic
9 group," which means that the subject of the census must identify himself
10 as belonging to one of the ethnic groups. Whether all the different
11 ethnic groups were offered so that anyone could circle what they
12 identified themselves as or whether there was a blank space left for the
13 person to add their own ethnic background, I can't really remember, since
14 there have been no censuses since 1990.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You said "1990." I think 1991 would be correct;
17 A. 1991. Correction, 1991.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Coming back to this quotation of Muslims being
19 an artificial creation. To the best of your recollection, in what
20 newspaper, as far as you know, did you read this quote?
21 A. I think it was in the local papers.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And this would be Kozarski Vjesnik?
23 A. Kozarski Vjesnik, yes.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And it is your testimony that you can now after
25 ten years recall having seen this special expression? I'll put it this
1 way: "Muslims as artificial creation."
2 A. I can't remember the text exactly, the exact wording. I can't
3 even remember if Dr. Stakic actually said this or if maybe the journalist
4 who wrote the article added this himself. I really don't know, so I can't
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Judge Vassylenko, you have additional questions.
7 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Yes, I have some.
8 Mr. Vila, you testified that after the takeover in Prijedor, a
9 person had to have ID and work assignment in order to travel through the
10 Prijedor municipality. What is it, a work assignment -- what is the
11 correlation between work assignment and duty obligations which were
12 introduced in Prijedor municipality after the takeover?
13 A. The law prescribes that the Ministry of the Army through the
14 Department for Military Issues across the towns in case there is a
15 mobilisation, that they should mobilise manpower and materiel and
16 technical equipment in the percentage and to the extent specified in an
17 order from the ministry, from the republic. The remaining military-aged
18 men receive work assignments by a special decision in their company or
19 institution -- in the same company or institution in which they had worked
20 up to that point in order to secure continuation of services for all these
21 companies and institutions.
22 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And is it the same, work assignment or duty
24 A. Yes.
25 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: It's the same.
1 And then what authority introduces this work assignment or duty
2 obligations in Prijedor municipality?
3 A. The companies or their administrative body or organ, in
4 coordination with the Ministry of Defence or one of its departments, they
5 would coordinate and agree which of the military-aged men would receive a
6 work assignment, the Ministry of Defence, one of its special departments.
7 But if the army requires a higher degree, a higher grade of mobilisation
8 at any given point in time, then part of those who had up to that point
9 held work assignments become mobilised for the army. But that's only if
10 there is -- if the degree of mobilisation increases as required by the
12 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Okay. But in Prijedor municipality, what
13 body -- what, let us say, official body adopts a decision on introduction
14 of work assignment or duty obligations?
15 A. War assignment is a legal obligation. It's prescribed by the law.
16 The Ministry of Defence is in charge of the relevant records and all the
17 other issues, the Ministry of Defence and its department in Prijedor, its
18 branch is Prijedor branch.
19 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: But again, you testified about war assignment
20 or work assignment?
21 A. Work. Work assignment.
22 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Work. And it was my understanding also that
23 you said about work assignment.
24 And in Prijedor -- why the Ministry of Defence decided about work
1 A. The Ministry of Defence in cooperation with the directors of the
2 different companies and administrative bodies within these companies
3 harmonised their respective data as to who was holding the work
4 assignment. And then the Defence department or the Ministry of Defence
5 would issue mobilisation papers, and the administrative body would issue a
6 certificate concerning the work assignment or the engagement of a
7 particular individual in a certain company or institution.
8 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: A decision on work assignment existed after or
9 before the takeover in Prijedor?
10 A. In earlier periods, we had drawn up plans on what to do and how to
11 function in case of war across the board in the companies and
12 institutions, and what it said is that according to the degree of
13 engagement, the companies and institutions should be manned by all the
14 available people who were not mobilised into the army, into the military.
15 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Your enterprise received a work assignment?
16 A. In my testimony yesterday, I said that the company where I worked
17 simply ceased to operate on the 20th of May 199 -- correction, went on
18 collective vacation, collective leave on the 20th of May and thereafter
19 never resumed work, because we were working with foreign partners and due
20 to war, the foreign partners stopped their -- stopped all their
21 commissions. It is within the competence of the executive board and the
22 director of the company to decide who is in charge of providing for the
23 minimum of activity by the company, and then this is verified or ratified
24 by the relevant ministry department.
25 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: I understand. But did you receive work
1 assignment before 20th of May; yes or no?
2 A. Now, I'm not sure about the exact date of when work assignments
3 began, but my own work assignment was signed by the director general of
4 our company and then this was ratified, this was accepted by the Prijedor
5 Department of the Army.
6 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: But who ordered your director to introduce work
8 A. The hierarchy is determined by a plan according to which the
9 company functions in wartime or under the imminent threat of war. Each
10 company has a plan of functioning.
11 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Okay. I -- next question.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think it's appropriate to have a break now.
13 The trial stays adjourned until ten minutes to 1.00.
14 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 12.51 p.m.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May sit down, please.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Of course.
19 Judge Vassylenko, I interrupted you before the break. Please
21 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Mr. Vila, have you ever been to Omarska or
22 other defence facilities in the Prijedor municipality?
23 A. I have never been even in the near vicinity of the centres that
24 you have mentioned.
25 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Have any of your friends and neighbours,
1 subordinates, or acquaintances were mistreated, arrested, or detained in
2 Omarska or other detention facilities between May 1992-September 1992 in
3 Prijedor municipality?
4 A. During those events, I couldn't know who was in those centres. It
5 was only on the return of some people in 1996 I spoke to some of my
6 acquaintances and they told me they had been there.
7 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: But in 1992, you were not aware about these
8 facilities and the detention of people in these facilities?
9 A. On the media there was information for the general public that a
10 certain number of people were in the investigation centres or in the
11 collection centres. I don't know what term exactly was used. And the
12 intention was to find out whether they organised paramilitary units and
13 whether they instigated some things on the ground that would lead up to
14 war conflicts. I didn't have any more information on that.
15 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: You told us that Dr. Stakic was elected to the
16 Prijedor Municipal Assembly as representative of the Radical Party,
17 founded by Veljko Guberina.
18 A. I said that yesterday, and I learnt that about a month or two
19 months after the first session of the assembly at the beginning of the
20 work of that assembly, I didn't have that information. I only learnt that
22 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: But can you explain us how it has happened that
23 Dr. Stakic being elected as representative of Radical Party was appointed
24 as vice-president on behalf of SDS?
25 A. I don't know exactly, but I believe that that Radical Party,
1 founded by Guberina formed some sort of a coalition with them. And Dr.
2 Stakic is a native of Omarska, where Serbs are a majority, and he received
3 support from these people. I am not sure what the real reasons were and
4 how the two parties reached this agreement on the appointment of
5 Dr. Stakic to that position.
6 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Did you know Dr. Milan Kovacevic?
7 A. I knew him from the municipal assembly at the time when he was
8 given the mandate as the president of the executive board of the municipal
9 assembly. After that, I would see him at the sessions of the municipal
10 assembly in his capacity as the president of the executive board, he would
11 introduce the motions tabled by the executive board for the adoption by
12 the municipal assembly.
13 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: And if compared with Simo Drljaca, what was --
14 your assessment, what was the intellectual level of Dr. Kovacevic?
15 A. Mr. Kovacevic was very professional in the execution of his tasks.
16 Sometimes he would appear rough in the treatment of other people.
17 However, if one talked to him for a bit longer, you would see that he was
18 a moderate person.
19 As for Simo Drljaca, one could say that he was a very
20 short-tempered person, that he had a very short fuse, and he didn't listen
21 too much to either his superiors or to his subordinates for that matter
22 and that he had a propensity to act of his own will, not to listen to the
23 advice of other people.
24 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: But what about their intellectual level? I
25 mean, Simo Drljaca and Dr. Kovacevic, how you assessed their intellectual
1 level. It is low, high, average, super high?
2 A. I believe that he was a person of an average intelligence. Both
3 of them had a university degree. In order to obtain a university degree,
4 you have to have an average level of intelligence, I suppose.
5 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Before you stated that Dr. Stakic also has an
6 average intelligence, and how can you explain that persons of average
7 intelligence were elected to the Prijedor Municipality leadership, not
8 other people with higher intelligence?
9 A. Those were difficult times. Most of the intelligentsia and
10 intellectuals sort of escaped responsibility, fled from responsibility
11 because they didn't want to take any risks, and they knew in advance that
12 they would be taking risks.
13 JUDGE VASSYLENKO: Well, I have no more questions.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you.
15 Judge Argibay, please.
16 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Good afternoon, Mr. Vila. I will try to go back
17 to one thing that I want a clarification on it. Yesterday you told us -
18 I'm not asking yet. I'm repeating -- quoting what you said yesterday -
19 that there were soldiers coming back from the front that would carry
20 weapons. Some lines under that statement you said that there were certain
21 groups who were prone to looting. Today again you mentioned looting. And
22 you told us that in your building you formed a group to guard -- to
23 protect the building and its neighbours. And a little later - I think it
24 was a question by the Defence counsel - you said that this was, or
25 something like that, a common practice in Prijedor during -- that was the
1 question. You said that you think there were a number of buildings where
2 similar measures were being taken. Do you know what happened in other
3 cities or villages or hamlets around the municipality of Prijedor? Was
4 this also a practice by civilians, as you told us, to protect the
5 buildings, the neighbours, something like that?
6 A. Yes. As far as I know the situation, there were people in the
7 villages who were afraid, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds. They
8 were afraid of the possible attacks of paramilitary groups and possible
9 slaughters and similar things. So in other villages and towns it was
10 customary for the civilians to set up night guards that were in place to
11 send certain signals if they noticed a group of unknown people coming.
12 JUDGE ARGIBAY: How would you make a difference -- I'm sorry,
13 Judge -- the Presiding Judge also told me that I have not quoted the page
14 on yesterday's transcript, and the problem is I have not a copy of it.
15 But it was -- the question was the first one at 15.13.26, just for the
16 Defence to -- and the Prosecutor to look at it.
17 Sorry. I'm coming back. Then how would you make a difference
18 between these groups self-designated to protect the other civilians as
19 night guards and what you recently said in this same page, some lines up,
20 a paramilitary group? How you would tell the difference between one and
21 the other.
22 A. Night guards in the buildings were organised by the tenant
23 councils. They would not leave the buildings. It was their task to stand
24 guard during the night and record anybody who left the building or entered
25 the building. And if those people didn't know the person who tried to
1 enter the building, they had the right to ask for their ID. These groups
2 of neighbours did not carry arms. They just had a copy of the key for the
3 front door. And if somebody turned up at the door, they would ask their
4 name and they would ask for their ID.
5 There were incidents on the territory of the municipality when
6 some rogue soldiers carrying arms would be involved in the murders of
7 people. There were Serbian girls murdered by Serbians. There were
8 murders who have in the meantime been elucidated. There are some which
9 have never been elucidated. I've just mentioned that as an example of
10 things that were happening at the time.
11 JUDGE ARGIBAY: So the question -- the problem and how you make
12 the difference between these groups of civilians and this, what you call,
13 paramilitaries was that these were unknown people to you.
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE ARGIBAY: What you called paramilitaries. They were unknown
16 people. And this was, as you stated some lines before the last page, that
17 was customary around the villages of Prijedor municipality; is that
19 A. Yes.
20 JUDGE ARGIBAY: Thank you.
21 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: The Defence, please.
22 Further examination by Mr. Lukic:
23 Q. [Interpretation] Once again, good afternoon, Mr. Vila.
24 A. Good afternoon.
25 Q. I'm going to ask you a few questions arising from the questions of
1 my learned friends from the Prosecution and the Honourable Judges.
2 MR. LUKIC: I would like the usher to show the witness Exhibit No.
3 S394, please.
4 Q. [Interpretation] Here you can see a conclusion. And above the
5 signature, you can see that this is a conclusion passed by the presidents
6 of political parties and presidents of the groups of deputies. As far as
7 the SDS is concerned, who was its president at that time?
8 A. I'm not sure. It may have been Miskovic, but I'm not sure.
9 Q. So the person under number 2.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Do you know who the president of the group of SDS deputies was?
12 A. At that time it was Mr. Savanovic.
13 Q. Can you see the presidents of other parties and presidents of
14 other party groups on this list?
15 A. Yes. Under number 6, Aiz Grabic. He represented the Socialist
16 Alliance of Youth or the Party of Private Initiative.
17 Under number 7, Dragan Svraka was from the same party, from the
18 Party of Private Initiative.
19 Under number 8, I can see my name.
20 Q. Were you the president of the party or the president of the group
21 of the deputies?
22 A. I was the president of the group.
23 Under number 9, Milena Vokic represented the group of the
24 deputies of the Reformist Party.
25 Under number 10, Nebojsa Bogunovic represented the same party, the
1 Reformist Party.
2 Under number 11 and under number 12 are representatives of the
4 Number 4 and 5 are representatives of the SDA.
5 Q. Was Mr. Mujadzic the president of the party for Prijedor, of the
7 A. I don't know whether he was the president for Prijedor or for the
8 region. One of those things.
9 Q. And what about Husein Crnkic? Was he the president of the SDA
11 A. He was a deputy. I don't know whether he was the president of the
12 group or the representative of the group of the SDA deputies. I don't
13 know for a fact.
14 Q. Can we then agree that the positions of the SDS president and the
15 president of the group of SDS deputies are here represented under number 2
16 and number 3 in the persons of Simo Miskovic and Dragan Savanovic?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Stakic Milomir, therefore, on this list does not belong to either
19 of these categories as a representative of the SDS.
20 A. It was usual for the president of the assembly and the presidents
21 of the political parties and the presidents of the groups or chair people
22 of the groups should discuss issues and host meetings or chair meetings.
23 Q. Very well. Thank you.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I don't know whether it's due to
25 misinterpretation or a wrong statement. On page 66, it reads: "The
1 president of the assembly," and we are referring now to 22 January 1992.
2 MR. LUKIC: At that time Mr. Stakic was the vice-president of the
3 municipal assembly.
4 I would now like the usher to show the witness Exhibit S79,
6 Q. [Interpretation] This document mentions the establishment of an
7 intervention platoon. Are you aware of the fact that there was an
8 intervention platoon commanded by the Crisis Staff and later on by the
9 Municipal Assembly of Prijedor?
10 A. No, I am not aware that something of that sort existed.
11 Q. Was it usual for every battalion to have an intervention platoon?
12 A. I said yesterday that I am not very familiar with the army. But
13 while doing my regular military service and in conversations with others
14 who were in operative military units, I found out that there were certain
15 groups which were sent in advance of certain military operations.
16 Q. Today we spoke of various signatures and stamps. Do you know
17 whether the stamp or stamps were in the possession of the president of the
18 municipal assembly or whether they were with the secretary of the
19 municipal assembly?
20 A. It was usual for the stamps to be with the secretary of the
21 assembly because he was the one who used the stamps when dispatching
22 documents and signing certain documents that had to do with payments.
23 Q. Later on we will come back to this, or rather, we can proceed
24 right away.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Previous interpretation continues] ... the next
1 documents. So S064, S066, S068, S069, S070, S072, S080, S081, S394.
2 MR. KOUMJIAN: Just for the registrar, S66 was admitted as J4.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. You told us, Mr. Vila, that a certain number on a stamp referred
5 to a particular service. On the stamp that we have seen, we could see the
6 number "4." Can you see number "4" on this stamp or a different number?
7 A. Well, there is a number that's clearly visible, and that's number
9 MR. LUKIC: Can you put it on the ELMO, please, the original.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please, what is the number of this document?
11 MR. LUKIC: It's S64B.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No. It should be. So, therefore, that we are
13 not confused, S64 is another document.
14 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. It's not your mistake, Mr. Vila. Can you look at the document
16 now, document S64, and tell us the number that is visible on the stamp, if
17 you can see it.
18 A. It's not quite legible. I don't know whether it's a "3" or "5."
19 Q. But it's definitely not "4"; isn't that correct?
20 A. That's correct. It's not "4."
21 MR. LUKIC: Could we now see the document no. S66 or J4.
22 Q. [Interpretation] Can you see a number on this stamp?
23 A. As far as I can see, the number is "8."
24 Q. "8" or "3"?
25 A. Yes, "8" or "3."
1 Q. When we blow it up on the computer, we can see that it's "3." But
2 it's definitely not "4"; is that so?
3 A. No, it's not "4."
4 MR. LUKIC: Thank you. Can the witness be shown document no. S68,
6 Q. [Interpretation] This is less legible. But if you could.
7 A. Well, again, it looks like either a "3" or an "8."
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. LUKIC: S69, please.
10 A. Again, there's a number here which is either "3" or "8."
11 Q. [Interpretation] When we blow it up, we can see that it's "8," so
12 you are right.
13 MR. LUKIC: S70.
14 A. I think it's "3."
15 Q. [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 MR. LUKIC: S80, please.
17 A. It looks like an "8" to me.
18 Q. [Interpretation] Would you now look at document S394 and compare
19 the signatures. The signature on document 394, under number 1, and the
20 signature on document S80.
21 A. On the second document, underneath the word "president," it says
22 "for," and then there is a signature, which means that somebody was
23 signing for him.
24 Q. So it's obviously a different signature.
25 A. Well, it's not identical under number 1.
1 Q. And the stamp is one we have seen before, number 8.
2 A. Yes.
3 [Defence counsel confer]
4 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Would you please now compare the signature under number 3 with --
6 from document S394 with this signature.
7 A. Well, these two don't look alike either.
8 Q. So this signature does not belong to the vice-president of the
9 municipal assembly, if we compare these two documents.
10 A. As far as I'm able to tell, they don't look alike.
11 MR. LUKIC: [Previous interpretation continues] ... and show the
12 witness Exhibit No. S81, please. And to put the same document, S394, to
14 Q. [Interpretation] Can you please tell us the number on the stamp.
15 A. It's visible here. It's "4." And the signatures, as far as I can
16 tell, are different.
17 Q. So this signature differs both from number 1 --
18 A. And number 3.
19 Q. From document S394 and from number 3 on document S394; is this
21 A. Yes.
22 MR. LUKIC: And would the usher please be so kind and show the
23 witness number S048, please.
24 Q. [Interpretation] Can you tell the stamp number on this stamp?
25 A. The number is not legible. I don't know whether it's "2," "3," or
2 Q. And whose name is written there, although there's no signature?
3 A. Mr. Travar Ranko, who is the Secretary for Agriculture.
4 Q. Thank you. We have now finished with this quick research into
5 various stamps and signatures.
6 On page 54, Their Honours asked you -- that is, His Honour
7 Judge Schomburg asked you whether after the takeover of power you
8 immediately received an identifying document, identity papers. And when
9 you replied that you received your identity papers on the first or second
10 session of the municipal assembly, what identifying document were you
11 referring to?
12 A. I was referring to my deputy's card.
13 Q. Is your identity card different from this card?
14 A. Yes, it is. The deputy's card has a number on one side and the
15 photograph of the deputy, his name, and on the back it states the rights
16 and the immunities of a deputy, and then it's put into a plastic cover.
17 It's plasticised.
18 Q. When you -- did you ever ask for a new identity card?
19 A. Yes, I did. I think it was in 1993 or 1994. But I can check that
20 because -- no, I've left it in my hotel.
21 Q. An identity card is a document that all citizens have; is that
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. The deputy's card is a card that only deputies in the Municipal
25 Assembly of Prijedor have; is that correct?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Thank you. As a deputy in the municipal assembly, did you have to
3 keep track of orders issued by the municipal assembly?
4 A. Our duty was when summoned to a session to acquaint ourselves with
5 the material, the amendments that we had received in writing, or to give
6 proposals orally as to certain modifications or amendments to the material
7 to be discussed. Apart from deputies elected to municipal commissions or
8 committees deputies had no other duties, and the commissions dealt with
9 certain areas, and there was a group of deputies of each party which would
10 meet before a session to take up standpoints on certain issues, and then
11 either as a group or electing one person to represent them they would do
12 that, but you were able to have your own opinion as a deputy. This was
13 not prohibited.
14 Q. As a member of a commission, did you also have to follow the
15 orders of the municipal assembly?
16 A. The election and appointment commission, of which I was a member,
17 worked according to orders by the municipal assembly. It was presided
18 over by the president of the commission based on interparty agreements on
19 the distribution of certain mandates. The personnel commission at a
20 session of the local parliament would bring proposals to the assembly
21 concerning certain appointments and nominations, but only within the
22 purview of the local assembly.
23 Q. At the same time when you were a deputy and a member of the
24 election appointment commission, you were a director of an enterprise, a
25 company, were you not?
1 A. Yes. These different duties did not collide, at least not
2 according to the then-existing legislation.
3 Q. That was not our question, but thank you for this explanation.
4 However, as the director of a company, did you follow the instructions of
5 the municipal assembly or of the director general, whoever your direct
6 superior, according to the hierarchy inside the enterprise, the company?
7 A. The overall activity within a company is run according to the
8 internal hierarchy of the company itself. Contacts with the municipality
9 were most often limited to contacts with the Secretariat for the Economy.
10 This contact was usually related to obtaining certain approvals,
11 authorities, statistics regarding production raids, business results, that
12 sort of thing.
13 Q. The Secretariat for the Economy is part of the executive bodies of
14 government, and the head of this secretariat is a member of the executive
15 board; isn't that correct?
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. If someone was a member of the Crisis Staff and at the same time
18 the director of a company, by virtue of being the director of a company or
19 in his -- in the person's position as the director of the company, would
20 that person then follow the instructions received from his direct superior
21 directors or from the Crisis Staff? What's your opinion, even if you were
22 not a member of the Crisis Staff yourself?
23 A. The director was gainfully employed in whatever company he was
24 working for, and he would answer to the board of managers and to his
25 superior director.
1 Q. If someone was, for example, a member of the Crisis Staff and at
2 the same time the chief of the Public Security Station, would that person
3 then follow the orders of the Crisis Staff or the orders of his superiors
4 in the chain of command in the Ministry of the Interior?
5 A. According to the then-existing laws, the head of the police -- the
6 chief of police would answer to the -- to his superior minister, the
7 Minister of the Interior.
8 MR. LUKIC: I would like now the usher to show the witness
9 document no. S77, please.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I use the meantime to ask the parties what's
11 your assessment about the necessary remaining time for the Defence and
12 the -- maybe the Prosecution.
13 MR. LUKIC: 10, 15 minutes.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And the Prosecution?
15 MR. KOUMJIAN: I think about the same.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: So unfortunately it's impossible to conclude
18 But please proceed for the next three minutes.
19 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Your company on the 16th of June, 1992 was not operating. That's
21 what you told us.
22 A. No. We worked until the 18th of June, which means for another two
24 Q. You mean May?
25 A. Yes, yes. Excuse me. I meant the 18th of May.
1 Q. At that time did any other companies or institutions operate? For
2 example, the bakeries, the Prijedor bakery?
3 A. Companies like Zitopromet for processing wheat and the bakery to a
4 lesser extent were operating. The Impro meat industry company was also
5 operating. The Prijedorcanka [phoen] company, the fruit company, some
6 parts of the iron ore mine in Ljubija, all the hauliers, the Autotransport
7 and the Autoservice, the transport companies also to a lesser extent, or
8 the capacity of their activity was smaller than -- the paper factory was
9 also operating.
10 Q. Thank you for this comprehensive elaboration. We did not expect
11 you to remember all the details.
12 Was it necessary to provide bread for the army at that time?
13 Because you said that the bakery was operating.
14 A. According to my information, the military commands would close
15 contracts, make contracts with certain factories or companies regarding
16 the supply of certain items. Now, whether in Prijedor the army had any
17 such contractual relations with any of the companies and what the exact
18 extent of these contracts was, I really don't know.
19 Q. When someone was mobilised -- when a person was mobilised and sent
20 off to the front line, was it common practice for that person to keep
21 receiving their salary in the company where they were employed --
22 gainfully employed?
23 A. In the first period, some people were receiving two salaries,
24 because they were receiving a symbolic salary as members of the army and
25 also back in their own company. Later on all they were left with is the
1 money, whatever money they were receiving from the army, or clothes and
2 food. At some point it was only clothes and food and no longer money.
3 However, their employment was frozen, and the only thing that was still
4 being paid was the contributions to the pension funds. And even this was
5 done only by those companies who could afford to do that. But many of the
6 companies simply couldn't afford.
7 Q. Does all of this apply to reserve policemen? Please tell us if
8 you know.
9 A. I think more or less the same thing applies to them.
10 Q. I think our time has just run out and we'll finish for today.
11 Thank you very much.
12 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Please understand that the same
13 rules are valid today as I told you yesterday, not to contact parties,
14 maybe witnesses, or the Defence counsel. We'll meet again tomorrow then
15 in the afternoon at quarter past 2.00.
16 The trial stays adjourned until tomorrow at 2.15.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45,
18 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 30th day of
19 January, 2003, at 2.15 p.m.