1 Friday, 30 November 2001
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 10.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Call the case, please.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-98-32-T, the Prosecutor versus
8 Mitar Vasiljevic.
9 JUDGE HUNT: Madam, will you please make the solemn declaration in
10 the document which the court usher is giving you.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
12 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
13 JUDGE HUNT: Sit down, please, Madam.
14 WITNESS: SNEZANA NESKOVIC
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet.
17 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
18 JUDGE HUNT: Yes, Mr. Ossogo.
19 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. President. On
20 behalf of the Prosecution, I wish to extend the excuses of Mr. Groome, who
21 has lost a family member, his father-in-law, suddenly, and he will not be
22 able to be present, and we will continue with the work of the Prosecution
23 by the other members of the team and in accordance with the rulings made
24 by this Chamber. Thank you, Your Honour.
25 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Domazet.
1 Examined by Mr. Domazet:
2 Q. [Interpretation] Madam Neskovic, good morning.
3 A. Good morning.
4 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, before we begin the examination which I will do on
5 behalf of the Defence counsel, I would like to ask you, before answering
6 my question, to wait a few moments. You will also be able to see on the
7 screen the translation, and we wish to facilitate the work of the
8 interpreters and to make sure that both questions and answers are properly
9 and accurately interpreted. I hope that we will be able to complete the
10 examination. I'm sorry that you were called this morning, though that was
11 not planned, as you only arrived last night, but because precisely of what
12 we have just learnt from Mr. Ossogo, certain changes have taken place. I
13 understand that you must be tired, but please do your best so that the
14 proceedings can move forward.
15 First of all, Mrs. Neskovic, will you please introduce yourself.
16 Tell us your first and last name, the place and date of birth, and where
17 you now reside.
18 A. My name is Snezana Neskovic. I was born on the 10th of January,
19 1962, in Sase, in Visegrad municipality. Currently I'm living in
21 JUDGE HUNT: Madam, it's not necessary for to you watch the screen
22 to see if they're keeping up with you. It's only when you have heard the
23 question, wait until the question has finished being typed before you
24 answer. The court reporters are able to keep up with you once you start
25 to speak. It's the interpreters we have a problem with, so if you look at
1 the screen and make sure the question has stopped being typed and then
2 commence your answer. I'm sorry if it wasn't made clear to you before.
3 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
4 Q. You told us, Mrs. Neskovic, when and where you were born. Are you
5 married? Do you have children, please, and where does your family live?
6 A. I do have a family. I am married. I have a husband and two
7 children, and we all live in Visegrad.
8 Q. What is your educational background? What is the highest level of
9 schooling that you have?
10 A. By occupation I am a lawyer. I have a degree in law.
11 Q. Where are you working now, Mrs. Neskovic?
12 A. I'm working in the local administration of Visegrad municipality.
13 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, will you please tell me, after the first
14 multi-party elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, were you involved in
15 political life and were you active in Visegrad municipality?
16 A. After the first multi-party elections held on the 20th of
17 November, 1990, I was elected as deputy to the Municipal Assembly of
18 Visegrad, and I participated in the work of the Visegrad Municipal
20 Q. Will you please tell us on which party's list were you a
22 A. I was on the list of the Serbian Democratic Party, and I was
23 elected deputy on behalf of that party.
24 Q. Thank you. Please check that the questions have been answered
25 before starting -- have been translated before starting your answer.
1 Will you tell us what the balance of forces was in the Municipal
2 Assembly at the time?
3 A. You mean the number of deputies in the assembly, according to the
4 parties? I didn't quite understand what you are asking me or are you
5 talking to me about the population?
6 Q. In this case, I am talking about the distribution of forces in the
7 assembly, between the parties, and how the local government was set up
8 after those multi-party elections.
9 A. After the multi-party elections, the Serbs were in the minority in
10 the Municipal Assembly. The Muslim SDA had the majority in the assembly.
11 Q. Could you tell us, please, in those days and according to the
12 statute in force at the time, what kind of majority was necessary for a
13 decision to be taken on important issues?
14 A. Decision-making on important matters in the assembly, according to
15 the statute in force, a two-thirds majority was required. However, after
16 the multi-party elections, when the SDA party won a majority of seats in
17 the assembly, it undertook to revise the statute, and in an illegal
18 manner, they amended the Municipal Assembly statute, as the Serbs,
19 according to the 1991 census and the previous census of 1981 were in the
20 minority in the Municipal Assembly. The Muslims illegally amended the
21 statute and replaced two-thirds majority into a simple majority for
22 decision-making. The Serbs protested against this amendment of the
23 statute, but this was not endorsed by the president of the assembly so
24 that the statute was voted into force and the dissatisfied Serbs walked
25 out of the second assembly meeting. I think that the statute was amended
1 sometime in 1990 during the second session of the Visegrad Municipal
3 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, you are saying that this occurred during the second
4 session of the same assembly, the first probably being the constitutive
5 assembly meeting.
6 A. Yes, that is right.
7 Q. When you said that it was amended illegally, was the same
8 two-thirds majority, according to the statute, required for any amendment
9 to the statute, and as such a majority did not exist, that is why you're
10 describing the decision as being unlawful or for some other reason? So
11 would you explain what you mean?
12 A. Because for the statute to be amended, a two-thirds majority was
13 required, and according to regulations of the same statute, a public
14 debate had to be held on the statute. However, the president of the
15 Municipal Assembly explained that this would take a lot of time and cost a
16 lot of money to have a public debate, that there hadn't been any public
17 debates before and that the statute would be amended expeditiously, at the
18 same session of the assembly.
19 Q. Who was the president of the Municipal Assembly?
20 A. Fikret Cocalic, a graduate lawyer who represented the Party of
21 Democratic Action, the SDA.
22 Q. Thank you. Please wait a couple of minutes after my question,
23 because you are answering them very quickly again.
24 Will you please tell us, Mrs. Neskovic, what were the effects of
25 what you have just told us on the continued work of the assembly and the
1 bodies of the Visegrad Municipal Assembly in which you were employed?
2 A. This had a negative impact on the work of the Municipal Assembly
3 in Visegrad. The Muslims grabbed all the power for themselves. The
4 president of the Municipal Assembly was from the SDA. The president of
5 the executive council was from the SDA, and Muslims also held other
6 important positions. The president of the court was a Muslim. The
7 president of the magistrate's court was a Muslim. The public prosecutor
8 was a Muslim. The chief of the public security station was also a
9 Muslim. Only some minor positions were left to the Serbs, which were of
10 very little significance. The Serbs got the positions of the
11 vice-president of the assembly. This was a honourary post. The person
12 was not fully employed in the Municipal Assembly.
13 To appease the Serbs, a position was more or less invented, the
14 position of the vice-president of the executive council to which a Serb
15 had been appointed, and until those elections, such a position had not
17 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, you said yourself that according to the census
18 results, the Serbs were in the minority to both of the previous censuses.
19 So I'd like to know, before this assembly session in which you were a
20 deputy, how was authority shared in Visegrad before?
21 A. Before this assembly session, the method of decision-making was
22 different. The government was formed in a different manner, because
23 election laws were written for the elections -- the first multi-party
24 elections in 1990. Before those elections, the Serbs held one-third of
25 the power according to the statute. For instance, if the president of the
1 Municipal Assembly was a Muslim, the president of the executive council or
2 government had to be a Serb and vice versa.
3 Q. Can I call this system of distribution of positions to all the
4 positions of authority in the municipality?
5 A. Yes. The same key was applied.
6 Q. During the period when this key was implemented, were there any
7 problems in the functioning of the local authorities and the government
8 and the assembly in Visegrad?
9 A. I don't remember. I don't know.
10 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, when you say you don't remember or don't know, does
11 that mean that you don't remember any problems, any particular problems,
12 and that you would remember if there had been any special problems?
13 A. There were problems after the Second World War. At the end of the
14 Second World War, the Serbs started moving out of Visegrad municipality en
15 masse because of the Chetnik movement. Many of them could not find
16 employment, so many went to Serbia and abroad. There was a local
17 community called Zabrdzje consisting of 10.000 people from Visegrad and
18 Rogatica, whereas the Muslims who mostly supported the Ustasha movement
19 and the NDH, the independent Croatian state, the border of which was the
20 Drina and extended as far as Zemun, later switched sides and joined the
21 Partizans. The Partizan movement was very slow in -- was very small in
22 the Visegrad area, whereas the Serbs supported the Chetnik movement to
23 save their lives, and that was the reason why the Serbs mostly moved out.
24 And the Zabrdzje community was set up in Serbia.
25 Q. So you're talking about the period immediately after the Second
1 World War. Does that mean to say that many Serbs from Visegrad and the
2 environs settled this area around Obrenovac that you mentioned, some
3 10.000 people? Do you mean that they lived there then or now?
4 A. They live there now.
5 Q. For those of us who may not understand, would you explain what you
6 mean by the NDH, what state you are referring to?
7 A. I'm referring to the independent State of Croatia, which was a
8 fascist entity set up on the 10th of April, 1941, the leader of which was
9 Ante Pavlevic. And the policy toward the Serbs was that a third should be
10 killed, a third converted to Catholicism, and a third expelled. And the
11 worst suffering was along the Drina River, because that state -- that
12 state's borders were along the Drina River.
13 Q. [No translation]
14 A. [No translation]
15 JUDGE HUNT: We're getting no translation of either the question
16 or the answer, I'm afraid. I think you better ask the question again,
17 Mr. Domazet.
18 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 Q. [Interpretation] I'll repeat the question because it was omitted
20 from the transcript. So please wait a moment.
21 When you mentioned the NDH government which extended as far as the
22 Drina River and the Chetnik movement, were the two opposed to one another,
23 that is, the Chetnik movement and the NDH forces, or were they allies?
24 A. They were opposed to one another. They were not allies. The
25 Chetniks took part in the struggle against the NDH because they were
1 defending the Serb people. Since with the establishment of the NDH in
2 April 1941, massive liquidation and expulsion of Serbs started, especially
3 along the left bank of the Drina, because certain families were totally
4 wiped out and exterminated. In order to protect themselves from such
5 misdeeds by the Muslims who immediately joined the Ustasha movement, the
6 Serbs formed the Chetnik movement to protect Serb villages and the Serb
8 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, I think we should move 50 years on,
9 don't you? This is well-known history. Let's get on to the 1990s.
10 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Precisely so.
11 Q. Just one more question, because talking to you, I know that you
12 studied this. So I just have one question for you regarding the
13 population structure in Visegrad. You mentioned 1991 and 1981. Could you
14 tell us very briefly how the population composition developed according to
15 the censuses that we -- that you studied. Did the share of Serbs go down
16 in relation to the Muslim population and when or, rather, do you have
17 information as to when the Serbs were in the majority in that area?
18 A. Censuses in Visegrad municipality were carried out several times
19 in the period from 1895 until 1991. According to the censuses up to 1971
20 in Visegrad municipality, the Serbs were in the majority. It is after
21 1971 that the Serbs became a minority in Visegrad municipality.
22 According to the 1991 census, there were 82.8 per cent Muslims and
23 32.3 per cent Serbs in Visegrad municipality.
24 JUDGE HUNT: There's something wrong there.
25 MR. DOMAZET: Something is wrong. I shall ask. But she said -- I
1 think that is --
2 Q. [Interpretation] There must be a mistake in the percentages,
3 because it's more than 100 per cent.
4 A. I'm sorry. 68.3. I made a mistake.
5 Q. Thank you. So according to data available to you, you said that
6 until 1971, the Serbs were in the majority. But you also said that many
7 had emigrated before that so that the majority was declining up to 1971 to
8 become a minority then.
9 A. Yes. That's what it means. The Serbs moved out because they
10 couldn't find jobs, and they went to areas where they could find
11 employment. And also because of the policies that were implemented toward
12 Serbs after the Second World War. That is why the number of Serbs
13 declined at the census of 1971.
14 Another reason was that the Muslims became a majority in 1971
15 because until 1971, Muslims were considered an ethnic group. However,
16 for the 1971 census, they became a nation in 1967. And it is only in 1971
17 that they could declare their nationality to be Muslim.
18 Q. So let us go back to 1990 or, rather, the period from 1990 to
19 1992, when you were a deputy in the Municipal Assembly of Visegrad. You
20 told us that already at the second session this amendment to the statute
21 was made and that the Serb deputies walked out of the assembly. When you
22 told us that, did they leave that session and come back the next time or
23 did they not come back at all? Could you explain that, please?
24 A. The Serbs came back to the Municipal Assembly hoping that the
25 situation would improve, and they did take part in the subsequent
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 sessions. However, the situation remained unchanged more or less. Until
2 the end of 1991, the Serbs took part in the work of the Visegrad Municipal
3 Assembly. However, at the third assembly session, in spite of the Serbs'
4 opposition, who were supposed to propose candidates to certain positions,
5 the Muslims proposed Serbs married to Muslims, and the Serbs never
6 recognised those appointments.
7 Q. When you said this, madam, would you explain why they did not
8 approve? Was it because they didn't consider them capable for those
9 positions or because they were married to Muslim women?
10 A. The Serbs felt that they should be the ones to appoint candidates
11 to those positions and not the SDA. They were not the candidates chosen
12 by the Serbs. And not because their wives were Muslim but to create the
13 impression that the Serbs were participating in government, the Muslims
14 proposed those particular Serbs to those positions.
15 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, since you were elected deputy on the list of the
16 Serbian Democratic Party, I assume that you were a member of that party,
17 and I'm asking you: Were you a member of that party?
18 A. Yes, I was a member of the Serbian Democratic Party.
19 Q. Can you remember which party was formed first prior to the
20 multi-party elections when multi-partiness was introduced into Yugoslav
22 A. The first party that was established in Visegrad was the
23 Democratic Action Party, and it was established, I think two or three
24 months before the Serbian Democratic Party, SDS. The founding meeting of
25 the SDA was held in what was then the cultural centre building, and it was
1 attended by many people including Alija Izetbegovic, the president of the
2 party at the time, and Sulejman Ugljanin was, I guess, the president of
3 the SDA for Sandzak.
4 Q. Sandzak is in Serbia; is that right, Mrs. Neskovic?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. Do you remember the first promotions that this party had and
7 meetings? Were there any incidents that took place or anything that could
8 have disturbed the rest of the population?
9 A. In view of the fact that the Muslims had organised themselves
10 first, two three months later, the Serbs set up the Serbian Democratic
11 Party, the SDS, and the founding meeting of the party was held at the
12 sports centre of Usce, and it was well frequented for the most part by the
13 rural population, whereas the SDA was supported by practically all the
14 Muslims. The newly established SDS was mostly supported by the rural
15 population, whereas the urban population did not state its views. But
16 they preferred the SDP, Nijaz Durakovic who held the SDP. However, after
17 his statement that he made to the effect that the scent of incense
18 threatened to stifle us, the Serb population voted for the SDS held on the
19 20th of November 1990.
20 Immediately after its founding provocations on the part of the
21 Muslims started. Slogans began to be written up on the facades of houses
22 and buildings. It said "Long live the SDA. The SDS will be blown away.
23 The SDS will wear a fez," that kind of thing.
24 Q. You described the two parties that were established, the SDA as a
25 Muslim party and the SDS as a Serb party, and you also mentioned one other
1 party, the SDP. Could you give us the full name of the SDP party and tell
2 us whether at the time it represented a multi-ethnic party or not.
3 A. The socialist democratic party of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the
4 president of which was Nijaz Durakovic. In fact, it was a transformation
5 of the League of Communists. The League of Communists became the SDP
6 party prior to the multi-party elections, and this pre-electoral meeting
7 for the party was held at the sports centre of Usce, and it was perhaps
8 the most people rallied to it. There were more people attending that
9 meeting than the SDN/SDS party meeting, but at the elections the party
10 fared very badly. I can't remember the precise figures, but I don't think
11 it got more than two deputies. All those who supported that party up
12 until then voted predominantly either for the SDS or for the SDA.
13 Q. You say, Mrs. Neskovic, that the party had a lot of supporters in
14 Visegrad and you would say that there were even more people at their
15 promotion meeting than at the others. Tell me, please, at the time when
16 it had supporters, were they -- and sympathisers, were they both Serbs and
17 Muslims or just one and just the other?
18 A. The founding meeting, pre-electoral founding meeting, was attended
19 by both nations, and it was the League of Communists that had become
20 transformed to the Social Democratic Party. And the rule was before the
21 multi-party elections in 1990, that if for example the president of the
22 committee was a Serb, the secretary had to be a Muslim or vice versa. Is
23 that what you meant? I'm not sure I understood your question.
24 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, I wonder how far we have to go into
25 this. It's not really an issue, is it? We've got the history. Perhaps
1 not as well expressed as this witness has put it, but we've got this
2 history in evidence pretty well. If you want her to develop something, by
3 all means, take the witness to it, but we really do have this pretty well
4 documented, I would have thought.
5 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. Thank you, Your
6 Honour. I shall try and abridge that portion and wind that up by asking
7 several more questions, if I may.
8 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, you mentioned the president of the party, probably
9 for the level of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and you said his name was Nijaz
10 Durakovic; is that right?
11 A. Yes, it is.
12 Q. Did he have any significant function in the previous League of
13 Communists of Yugoslavia, and what nationality was he?
14 A. Yes, he did. He was a Muslim by ethnicity.
15 Q. I think you mentioned him making a statement which, in your
16 opinion, led to the fact that many Serbs who were in favour of the party
17 did not actually vote for it, and you mentioned a word that he used, that
18 the smell of incense was expanding. Did I understand your answer?
19 A. Yes. At the meeting he said that the smell of incense
20 threatened to stifle us, not that it was expanding, and he was referring
21 to the Serbs.
22 Q. Is incense something that is used in the lithogies [phoen] of the
23 Serbian Orthodox Church and that that is why it is associated with the
25 A. Yes. These incense are used during religious customs of the
1 Serbs either at home or in church, and these incense are petrified
3 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, after those elections the party that represented a
4 multi-ethnic one and used to be the League of Communist of Yugoslavia at
5 the Visegrad elections fared very well -- fared very poorly.
6 Interpreter's correction -- and did the election results reflect the
7 percentage of the population, the Serbs and Muslims in Visegrad, roughly
9 A. Yes, they did. The electoral results did reflect the state of
10 affairs in the -- according to the population census in the Visegrad
11 municipality as far as I recall, but don't hold me to my word. One or two
12 deputies of the 31 deputies and 50 deputies that the Municipal Assembly of
13 Visegrad had were Muslims and 19 deputies were Serbs. So 31 and 19 of the
15 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, you took part as a deputy yourself on behalf of the
16 Serbian Democratic Party, and you said that the Serb deputies did return
17 after the third meeting. What happened next? Did the situation improve
18 in some way? And how did local government function in future, in view of
19 what you said?
20 A. The situation did not improve at all, on the contrary. It
21 deteriorated with each passing day. Excessive incidents occurred in town
22 which were a threat to peace, and particularly active in that were the
23 Sabanovic brothers, Murat and Avdija. And Avdija was a deputy in the
24 Municipal Assembly of Visegrad.
25 The Municipal Assembly very often, after the outbreak of these
1 incidents and events which threatened to upset peace discussed the matters
2 but the conclusions were never respected, and the information that was
3 pouring in from the public security stations were very scant.
4 After the establishment of the SDA and the victory at the
5 multi-party elections, there was a general euphoria on the part of the
6 Muslims led by the Sabanovic brothers. They began intercepting Serbs in
7 town, destroying the monuments, stopping the convoys of the then Yugoslav
8 People's Army and so on and so forth.
9 Q. You mentioned, among other things, the destruction of monuments.
10 Can you tell us briefly about an incident like that that occurred?
11 A. I think that sometime in mid-June - I can't remember the exact
12 date - that the monument to Ivo Andric was destroyed on the Visegrad
13 square and this was done by Murat Sabanovic and his group. That
14 everything was organised could be seen from the fact that the actual act
15 of destroying the monument was filmed. Fadil Hajdarevic, who was the
16 proprietor of a videotech at the time filmed the destruction of the
17 monument, and you could view the tapes around town. They could be found.
18 Murat had destroyed the monument, and the head of the sculpture was thrown
19 into the Drina River. All of this was followed by the statement of
20 Muhamed Filiopovic Tunjo, the president of the MDO, who said that Andric
21 did more harm to the Muslims than all the armies that passed through
22 Bosnia. That triggered off the destruction of the monument to my mind and
23 also an article which appeared in a Sarajevo daily which wrote negative
24 comments about writer Andric. And on the title page there was a picture
25 of the author himself impaled on a pen which symbolised the impaling of
1 Serbs by the Turks and this was described in Ivo Andric's novel -- famous
2 novel, the bridge on the Drina, the impaling.
3 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, you mention add moment ago some graffiti that
4 appeared in town and led to the disquiet of the population. Could you
5 tell us what the graffiti expressed and why they led to these feelings of
6 disquiet amongst the population?
7 A. They were written in oil -- green oil paint which is -- green is
8 considered to be a Muslim colour, and they were visibly written up on the
9 buildings of the forestry administration of the Visegrad municipality and
10 the Panos company. It said "SDA democracy, SDA -- SDS, you will wear a
11 fez. Serbs, get out and move to Serbia." That was written up, and it was
12 very ugly, on the facades of the buildings, and it caused the Serbs to be
13 afraid. And the director of the firm who was a Muslim had to have the
14 building repainted, a new facade to cover up the graffiti although you
15 could still see the remains of the graffiti underneath the new facade and
17 Q. You said that one of the graffiti said "Serbs, go to Serbia." And
18 did this actually happen? Did the citizens of Visegrad start to leave
19 Visegrad or did they not?
20 A. Well, people did leave because of the fear, because of the
21 provocations that were continuous. The Serbs felt jeopardised, especially
22 the women and children, and they began to take refuge by moving to
23 Serbia. And prior to the outbreak of the conflict in 1992, I think that
24 in the town there were very few Serbs left, only about a hundred, and
25 that everybody who could fled to the surrounding villages or to Serbia
1 proper, and I myself fled to Serbia.
2 Q. Do you want to say that you, too, in the face of what was
3 happening, left Visegrad and moved to Serbia?
4 A. Yes, I did. I left Visegrad, and through the village of Jelasica
5 I fled to Uzice.
6 Q. When did that happen? When was that, Mrs. Neskovic, if you can
8 A. I think it was perhaps the day before the dam was released or,
9 rather, the water on the hydroelectric power plant by Murat Sabanovic.
10 Towards evening, that is when we fled from our house to the mezzanine
11 settlement which is a part of Visegrad. And while we were fleeing, the
12 shooting had already started and we fled with these incendiary bullets and
13 the first Serb houses were set on fire. So it was a matter of saving our
14 heads. First of all, the first Serb, Mico Indic lost his life and Serb
15 houses were set afire. Zoran Pecikoza and Miso Savic's house. So
16 there was one man killed and these two houses set alight.
17 Q. Will you repeat whose houses were burnt? I don't think it was
19 A. The Serb houses. Zoran Pecikoza's house and Miso Savic's house.
20 One was in the Mahala district, and the other was in the Glavica
21 district. You could see the smoke coming out of those houses.
22 Q. If I understood you correctly, when you left Visegrad, perhaps
23 only a hundred Serbs were left in Visegrad proper, and when you spoke of
24 that hundred, is that what you meant?
25 A. Yes. A small number, a much smaller number.
1 Q. [no translation]
2 JUDGE HUNT: I'm sorry, we've lost the interpretation again. You
3 have to ask your question again, please.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Can you hear the English?
5 JUDGE HUNT: Only when you said that.
6 THE INTERPRETER: The microphone was on, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE HUNT: There's something desperately wrong with this set,
8 I'm afraid. We heard none of what Mr. Domazet said.
9 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Let me repeat.
10 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, once you left Visegrad and fled to Serbia, did you
11 ever return, and if so, when to Visegrad?
12 A. I returned at the end of the April, once the Uzice Corps had
13 entered, because the Uzice Corps, when it entered Visegrad, called upon
14 all the inhabitants of Visegrad, Muslims and Serbs alike, to return to
15 their homes.
16 Q. According to what you remember, this appeal from the Uzice Corps,
17 was it fruitful? Did most of the Serbs and Muslims in fact return to
18 Visegrad after this appeal was launched?
19 A. Most of the Serbs did return, as far as I remember, whereas a
20 smaller number of Muslims returned. But the vast majority did not.
21 Q. What can you tell us, Mrs. Neskovic, about that period while the
22 Uzice Corps was in Visegrad? Were there any significant incidents? Did
23 the factories and companies function? What was it like during that period
24 of time?
25 A. As far as I remember, there were no untoward incidents. Everybody
1 was called up for their work assignment, to respond, and the town itself,
2 as far as I remember, the shops were destroyed, the shop windows were
3 broken so that the goods were left open, but people started putting back
4 windows, restoring the glass, and people went round to see what had been
5 looted and what needed to be done.
6 Q. The appeal for the return of the Serbs to Visegrad was also an
7 appeal for everybody to go back to their work posts, their jobs?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. During that period of time, were the factories and companies
10 working, the ones which had worked up until then?
11 A. Yes, but the conditions and circumstances had changed. Some of
12 the companies had been damaged when the water was released from the
13 hydroelectric power plant. All the goods had been taken away, and so an
14 inventory had to be taken to see what was lacking so that the production
15 process could be restored and organised again.
16 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, where were you yourself working before you went to
17 Uzice and then returned? Where did you work as a legal person?
18 A. I worked in the Varda Visegrad timber industry, and I was a clerk
19 for property relations, property and legal relations.
20 Q. The fact that you were a deputy in the assembly, that was not your
21 professional -- professional paid function, it was just a political
22 function; is that right? But you worked in the Varda company. Is that
23 what I understand?
24 A. Yes, that's right.
25 Q. You mentioned damage done by the release of the dam, the water of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the dam. Can you tell us something about that dam incident? You said
2 that you yourself had left Visegrad just before that happened, so you
3 probably know something about it or heard about it anyway.
4 A. Yes. I heard about it over the media, over the radio, actually.
5 I heard that Murat Sabanovic had released the water at the hydroelectric
6 power plant of Visegrad, and afterwards, when I returned from Uzice, from
7 being a refugee there, I saw what the water done, where the water had
8 flooded. For example, in my particular district it had flowed out onto
9 the street itself so that all the trees were blocking the road. I saw
10 freight vehicles that had been overturned by the banks from the force of
11 the water. And when I went to the Varda company, my company, and in that
12 district it was in the hydroelectric power plant district, I saw that the
13 water had taken away the whole road and the little houses that were
14 inhabited by the Muslims, because Uzice is a Muslim settlement
15 predominantly. And these houses behind the factory had been damaged as
16 well and several of them swept away by the water.
17 The water had also swept away the bridge which linked this
18 settlement with the opposite bank the Drina and the Nezuci settlement.
19 Q. According to what you learnt and heard at that time, this release
20 of water from the dam, was all the water released from the dam or was it
21 just partially released?
22 A. As far as I was able to learn from the media, it was the partial
23 release of water, because Murat Sabanovic wanted to release all the water
24 from the dam, but according to his own words, someone -- a corps closed
25 off the valves. I don't understand the process, but I know that not all
1 the water from the dam was released. Had all the water flowed out of the
2 dam, I think there would be nothing left of Visegrad practically, because
3 we saw marks of the -- how high the water came on the town. So had all
4 the water from the dam been released, the whole of the town would have
5 been flooded, and there were blue marks left where the level of the water
7 Q. You mentioned that your own settlement was in jeopardy. Are you
8 now talking about the part you live in now? You have your own family. Or
9 were you referring to the part of town where you lived before you were
11 A. That the -- all the water from the dam had been released, as far
12 as I was informed, the whole town would have been destroyed. However,
13 only part of the water was released so that the water destroyed -- the
14 closest district was Dusce, which was by the hydroelectric power plant,
15 close by, Dusce.
16 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, don't you think we've had enough of this
17 already. We've got most of this evidence in and there's been no dispute
18 about it.
19 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I have concluded
20 that portion, and my next question to you, Mrs. Neskovic is: Did you know
21 Mitar Vasiljevic?
22 A. Yes, I did. I knew him.
23 Q. Since when have you known him?
24 A. I can't remember exactly. Mr. Vasiljevic has or, rather, had a
25 private house a kilometre further off from where I lived with my parents.
1 So to all intents and purposes, we lived in the same street. But he was
2 one kilometre further up, and my parents' house was further down.
3 Q. So the house he lived in was approximately one kilometre away from
4 your parents' house where you lived before you were married; is that
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Do you know how long he had been living in that house that you
9 A. Well, I can't remember exactly. Perhaps ten years or four or five
10 years before the war broke out. He had built it -- been building it. I
11 know that he worked in the Panos company as a waiter. The Panos company
12 is a catering establishment and company in Visegrad.
13 Q. Did you see him as a waiter? Did you see him when he was working
14 as a waiter?
15 A. Yes, I did.
16 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, it's just on 11.00. I am very concerned
17 that the doctor that we started off with last night be allowed to get
18 away, and as soon as Ms. Bauer is ready to take up that particular
19 witness, I think we should return to him because he did talk about some
20 patients waiting for him to return for him to operate on them.
21 So as soon as Ms. Bauer is ready to deal with him, I think we
22 should be told, and we'll get that doctor out of the way before we --
23 before the end of the day.
24 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you would like,
25 after the break, if Mrs. Bauer is ready, we can continue with the witness
1 Jovanovic. I think that we will be able to complete him, because I don't
2 have too many questions for him.
3 JUDGE HUNT: No. As I understand it, his evidence goes to only
4 two very simple or short issues, whether the accused was there and the
5 nature of his conduct at the time, and that shouldn't take very long one
6 hopes, but I just want that doctor kept here over the weekend so his
7 that patients are still waiting for their operations.
8 Perhaps you can make some inquiries of Ms. Bauer as to when she'll
9 be ready and if she is ready at 11.30, we'll go on with him then.
10 We will adjourned now until 11.30
11 [The witness stood down]
12 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
13 --- On resuming at 11.30 a.m.
14 [The witness entered court]
15 WITNESS: IVAN JOVANOVIC [Resumed]
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 JUDGE HUNT: I'm sorry, Doctor, you have been kept waiting, but I
18 am assured that you will be away from here today.
19 Yes, Mr. Domazet.
20 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Examined by Mr. Domazet: [Continued]
22 Q. [Interpretation] Dr. Jovanovic, we shall continue with what we
23 started yesterday. If you remember -- you have a problem. Can you hear
24 me now?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Thank you. I was saying, Mr. Jovanovic, that we will continue
2 what we started yesterday. You explained the situation in your hospital
3 at the time in 1992 at the Uzice hospital. I should like to ask you, in
4 view of the fact that at the time you were a young doctor in terms of
5 experience, did you have a mentor, a more experienced doctor who worked
6 with you at the time?
7 A. Yes, I did. I had a mentor. It is customary and obligatory. It
8 was the late Primarius Dr. Stanisavljevic. He was my mentor, and in a
9 sense, he was responsible for everything I did. He died on the 23rd of
10 January, 1996, just after I had sat for my specialist examination.
11 Q. Dr. Jovanovic, in view of that, did you still have your own
12 patients that you treated independently, as did the other doctors that
13 were on specialist training?
14 A. No, I did not. This is regulated not only by our own internal
15 regulations but by the law. I had no right to what one might call my own
16 patients. That expression, "personal patients," is use for practical
17 reasons. Every specialist has rooms to which patients were admitted that
18 he admitted during his shift on duty or work in the outpatient clinic.
19 On Mondays I would do the rounds in my department. And this is
20 being done still. And on other days, in the so-called small block to
21 which the room in which the patient, because of whom we are here today,
22 was hospitalised.
23 Q. Before I ask you about your rounds, let me also ask you whether at
24 the time you could be the doctor on duty at night, because there was
25 always someone on duty at night in your department, wasn't there?
1 A. Yes, there was. I would be on duty as the so-called junior duty
2 doctor, and I would cover all injuries that could be treated in the
3 operations room for minor surgeries, within the framework of the
4 admissions department of the hospital. Of course, at the same time I
5 performed my regular duties in my original department, the department I
6 belonged to, the orthopedics department, where one doctor specialist was
7 on duty.
8 Q. Talking about the rounds, could you clarify for us what this
9 weekly round meant? Was it together with other doctors, visiting the
10 patients in your departments, and what you mean when you said you visited
11 the small block, as you called it?
12 A. On Mondays we have the large morning rounds made together with the
13 head of the department. All doctors, the head nurse of the department,
14 and the other responsible nurses, we visit all the patients in the
15 orthopedics ward. On the other days, the rounds are made separately.
16 Each doctor visits his own rooms.
17 In those days, each specialist had three rooms to care for. And
18 as I was an intern in that department, I would attend the rounds being
19 made in one of the units of our department.
20 Q. Thank you. Before I go into the specifics, let me ask you
21 something about Dr. Jovicevic. What was his position in the general
22 hospital at the time?
23 A. In those days he was the deputy director of the general hospital,
24 and at the same time, he performed the duties of a specialist in the
25 department. He reduced his obligations in the outpatients clinic because
1 he simply couldn't manage to cover all those things because of his
2 obligations as the director. Occasionally he was on duty, and that's what
3 he did.
4 Q. Do you remember whether in those days he had a political function
5 of any kind in the municipality in Uzice, if you can remember?
6 A. I do remember. I'm not able to tell you exactly what the post
7 was, but in our mutual conversations, we referred to him as belonging to
8 the ruling and then only party.
9 Q. Thank you. When you were speaking about your obligations, making
10 rounds and visiting patients of a particular block and patients in
11 general, in view of the number of patients you had, what was the rough
12 figure for the whole department, if you can remember? Of course I'm
13 referring to 1992, the middle of 1992.
14 A. The department has 60 beds. When I said that we were fully
15 booked, I would say on an average, 75 per cent of the beds were occupied.
16 And in those days and the days that followed, the occupancy rate went up
17 to 100 per cent, which meant all 60 beds. And sometimes even patients,
18 whose injuries allowed, it would be transferred to the neighbouring
19 department which did -- was not so overcrowded, if I can put it that way.
20 Q. Does that mean that sometimes there was such pressure that
21 patients had to be accommodated in other rooms, in rooms of other
23 A. Yes. That is what that means.
24 Q. At the beginning of your testimony, you said that it was a large
25 hospital, a regional hospital, and that it covered patients from a rather
1 large region before the conflict and during the conflict. So in addition
2 to civilians, would it admit also people from the military?
3 A. What did you say, military men? I would see them in uniform,
4 patients in uniform and patients without uniform. What was important for
5 me and my colleagues and what was their common denominator were their
7 So to answer your question, yes, there were military men among
9 Q. Let me put the question differently. In the territory around the
10 town of Uzice, was there a military hospital of any kind, an exclusively
11 military hospital?
12 A. I thought that our hospital looked like a military hospital in
13 those days, and I am not aware that there were any other hospitals of that
14 kind, because we admitted, as part of our regular duties, all the injured
15 from that area.
16 Q. Do you perhaps know, Doctor, where in Serbia there are military
17 hospitals, in which towns there are military hospitals today and whether
18 that was the case at the time? Of course, if you know.
19 A. I did my regular military service in Nis, and for a time I was
20 hospitalised there in a military hospital. So I know there was one there
21 in Nis. And I also know of the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade. I
22 cannot remember any others. But in any case, if there are any others,
23 they're certainly not of that scale as these two.
24 Q. Yes. That is quite right. They are the two military hospitals.
25 Could we say for the record what is the rough distance between Uzice and
1 Nis, and Uzice and Belgrade? Is it the distance more or less the same?
2 What is it?
3 A. I frequently travel along that route. It is 200 kilometres to
4 Belgrade, 210, 220. I drive my own car. And to Nis it's about 10 or 20
5 kilometres more than that, than the distance to Belgrade.
6 Q. Thank you. Could you tell us, when you were a young doctor at the
7 Uzice hospital, in this department, do you remember Mitar Vasiljevic as a
9 A. What I do remember is the atmosphere that developed around patient
10 Vasiljevic, and I can also state that I remember the Vasiljevic case. If
11 I were to say anything else, it would be a misinterpretation of those
12 events. Of course I have refreshed some of those memories over the past
13 few weeks when this case aroused more interest, and I did so exclusively
14 talking to my colleagues at the department.
15 As far as the face is concerned, I'm afraid I wouldn't recognise
16 him if I were to see him in an elevator, never mind anything else.
17 Q. If I understood you correctly, Dr. Jovanovic, you said that you
18 remember something specific about that period. Tell us what it is you
19 remember. You said that it's not his face, but do you remember something
20 from those days?
21 A. What attracted my attention was a patient who disturbed the order
22 by his behaviour, the house rules. I remember the way in which he was
23 injured, by falling from a horse. I had expected all kinds of causes of
24 injury from that area but not this, because it was something quite
25 unusual, out of the ordinary, and of course, it is not customary for our
1 patient to be transferred to the psychiatric ward. For this there had to
2 be a reason, and the reason existed.
3 Q. Dr. Jovanovic, that is what you remember about that period, though
4 you told us that you wouldn't recognise the face even today; is that
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Was this behaviour of his that you have described mentioned during
8 the rounds or did you hear about it in some other way? Do you remember
10 A. As I participated in the rounds and visits to that room, I would
11 hear the briefing of the responsible nurse of that unit of our department
12 who would convey what she had to say, probably what she had heard from the
13 other patients lying in the same room with him. So in any event, I know
14 about it indirectly.
15 Q. Dr. Jovanovic, when you mentioned your duties in those days,
16 making rounds, and you said that Mondays were the days for the major
17 rounds when you visited all the patients and on other days you only
18 visited patients in one particular block to which you were assigned.
19 Was Mitar Vasiljevic a patient in that block or would you see him
20 only once a week during the big rounds?
21 A. He was in a room belonging to the part of the department which I
22 would tour every day except if I had a free day or if it was my weekend
24 Q. I should like to ask you to look at an exhibit, please, and to
25 comment on it.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Could we look at P138. Could it be
2 shown to the witness, please, in the B/C/S version.
3 Q. Will you please look carefully at this document and then I will
4 have some questions for you about it.
5 Will you please tell me, Mr. Jovanovic, do you recognise this
6 document as a document from your hospital in those days? You have the
7 case history in front of you. Is that the case history of the patient you
8 referred to a moment ago?
9 A. Yes. It is the customary document, a case history with the
10 entries made in the same way that we're doing it today.
11 Q. Is this same printed form used today for case histories?
12 A. Yes, it is in use.
13 Q. Could you please look at the first page and the top right-hand
14 corner where it says the number of the case history and the date -- below
15 that, the date of admission. My question is: Does the date of admission
16 have to reflect the date when the patient was indeed admitted?
17 A. Yes, it must. Anything else would be incorrect. That date
18 indicates the date the patient was admitted to hospital.
19 Q. Is that date entered according to the hour of arrival? Does it
20 cover that day until midnight? And if the patient arrives after 2400
21 hours, then the following date is noted down?
22 A. Yes. That was the practice as the admission service works 24
23 hours, round the clock, so this date means that on that day up to
25 Q. And the number of the case history that is indicated in the same
1 right-hand corner, could another patient be given the came number if he
2 were a patient in another hospital department?
3 A. This personal number is an identification number, and it is unique
4 for each patient.
5 Q. Is it attributed to patients in the order in which they are
6 admitted or in some other way?
7 A. I think so. That is the only logical way to do it.
8 Q. When I asked you that, I meant that at the beginning of the year,
9 the first patient is attributed number 1 and then it goes on in order
10 until the end of the year. Was that the procedure?
11 A. I think that is so.
12 Q. Will you please look at the top left-hand corner of this case
13 history and what has been typewritten there. Would you read it, please,
14 and could you tell us what that information is as it doesn't -- it isn't
15 part of the form itself but has been typed on top of the regular columns?
16 Do you know what it means?
17 A. In the top left-hand corner, in handwriting is the room number,
18 and in the right-hand corner the initials of the doctor admitting the
19 patient. For purely practical reasons, so that the nurses who actually
20 take the patient to a bed, that they should know which room they should
21 put him in. That is the room of the orthopaedist who admitted him. Then
22 it says that the SUP has been informed. That means that the admissions
23 department informed the competent authorities, in this case the police.
24 Below that it is typewritten that an injury was incurred in the theatre of
25 operations in Visegrad.
1 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, should we be told whose initials those
2 are, the orthopaedist who admitted him?
3 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Jovanovic, you mentioned that at the top of the page are the
5 initials of the doctor who admitted the patient. Could you tell us
6 exactly where those initials are and what the letters are?
7 A. Those initials are to be found in the top right-hand corner, above
8 the printed columns, and the initials are of Dr. Jovicevic. Neither then
9 nor now do we have any other doctor with the same initials. So without
10 any doubt, it was he. This does not mean to say that this has to be his
11 handwriting. I am saying this for purely practical reasons. These
12 initials may be written by the junior doctor or the doctor himself who
13 admitted him. In any event, those are his initials, the first letter of
14 his first name and then the first letter of his surname.
15 Q. The letters that you see, are they written in the Cyrillic script
16 or the Latin script, although the J is the same in both scripts, but could
17 you look at both those initials and tell us?
18 A. Well, it is "DJ".
19 Q. Thank you. And it is written in pencil, is it not, not typed out?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. In the top left-hand corner, also outside the printed columns that
22 exist on the form, would you read out -- does it say from the theatre of
23 operations or battlefield in Visegrad? Could you tell us how the term
24 "battlefield" "Ratiste" was used in sphere of your work? What did the
25 battlefield or theatre of operations mean?
1 A. At that time, the term battlefield in practice was used as a
2 concept denoting the territory, and the characteristics of that territory
3 was the war atmosphere that prevailed in it. And not as a relevant piece
4 of information indicating exclusively that the injury was inflicted
5 through weapons or combat operations and explosive device or similar
7 Looking back from this point in time, we can see, or, rather, I
8 can see that there has been some imprecision as to how we used that
9 particular term.
10 Q. Does that mean, Dr. Jovanovic, that the term in your records was
11 used to describe every case of an injured person coming from the war zone,
12 regardless of whether he -- the injury was self-inflicted by accident from
13 a firearm or whether he fell and received an injury? What was important
14 for you was that he was coming from the war zone for you to use this term
15 in this place?
16 A. Judging from my own practice, when I took down the basic
17 information upon a patient's admission, my colleagues and I did not give
18 much thought or pay attention to the circumstances in which an injury was
19 caused. What we felt was that it was -- that was up to the relevant and
20 competent authorities, and this is documented by the fact that the police
21 was informed. And I see this in the top left-hand corner.
22 So as surgeons or future surgeons, at that time weren't
23 interested -- it wasn't essential for us to look at that kind of
24 information, and just some war injuries have specific features and
25 characteristics, and it is important to know for further treatment.
1 In this particular case, it was a closed fracture of the lower
2 leg. And for me, as a future orthopaedic surgeon and today as a
3 specialist orthopaedic surgeon, is treated the same way regardless of the
4 cause, regardless of whether the injury was caused by falling off a tank
5 or a haystack.
6 Q. Thank you. May we just go back to the doctor's initials for a
7 moment? This was an internal way of establishing which doctor it was.
8 Does that mean that Dr. Jovicevic had his own patients and that Mitar
9 Vasiljevic was one of Dr. Jovicevic's patients? Does that emerge from
10 what you have said?
11 A. Yes, it does. Perhaps the term "personal patient" is not the best
12 of terms. They are all patients of the Republic of Serbia. But as I say,
13 for practical purposes, we use the term loosely to make matters easier and
14 facilitate our daily work.
15 Q. Did each of those doctors, the ones you mentioned, did they have a
16 certain number of beds and rooms allotted to his own personal patients,
17 the patients he was in charge of?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Would you take a look at that same case history that you have
20 before you and tell us, please, something about the top half and the
21 information contained there? Do you know where those facts are filled
23 A. Yes, I do. That information is filled in at the admissions
24 department of the general hospital. The administrative staff, when they
25 are on duty, fill out the form, the nurse in the admissions department.
1 Q. The hospital admission department, is it one single admissions
2 department for the whole hospital?
3 A. Yes. The admissions and receptions department is the only one and
4 caters to the whole hospital.
5 Q. So it is at the admissions department that they decide where
6 they're going to send the patient, and they fill in the form of the case
7 history. Did I read you correctly?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. We have heard that at the admissions department, doctors from
10 other departments, especially surgeons and orthopaedists, would be on
11 duty. Now, as you were a young doctor at the time, were you one of the
12 doctors who would be on duty from time to time there or did you have
13 nothing to do with the admission of patients?
14 A. Under the prevailing conditions at that time, there was a special
15 regime of organisation and work distribution at the admissions department,
16 which in practical terms meant that we organised an admissions and triage
17 team or teams. That meant that -- actually most of the injuries required
18 a multi-disciplinary approach, that is to say, observation by different
19 specialists from different branches of medicine. And for that reason, we
20 set up teams of this kind. And I myself, as a young surgeon, had a place
21 on them. I was in charge of the lesser injuries, looking after people
22 with less serious injuries, or in certain cases I would assist my senior
23 colleagues in the operations theatre.
24 Q. Dr. Jovanovic, would you take a look at that first page of the
25 case history once again, please, and after those first data we have the
1 other columns. Do you notice any columns which are there but have not
2 been filled in?
3 A. Well, if I had to find something, in the column after treatment,
4 it does not say that the patient, under number 5, was transferred to
5 another department, but let me state that to the present day, at least I
6 myself do not attach great importance to that column because in the
7 majority of cases, I skip it anyway. The discharge sheet contains
8 sufficient information, so sometimes I consider this, personally, to be
10 Q. Dr. Jovanovic, that piece of information, and you said that you
11 remember a patient that had been transferred to the psychiatric ward, is
12 that piece of information to be found anywhere in the case history? Could
13 you take a look at the rest of the pages, please?
14 A. In addition to my own memories, I see that from the document that
15 the patient was transferred to another department within our hospital, and
16 that was the psychiatric department and ward.
17 Q. Would you go back to the first page now, please, once again. I
18 think there's another column which has not been filled in which relates to
19 the date or time of injury. Am I right in saying that? Have you found
20 that column which has not been filled in?
21 A. Yes. You're quite right. And an explanation for that would be
22 the same as for the previous one. Of course, it is not a justification.
23 As we had a great deal of work to contend with during that period, I
24 think it was quite right for us to skip some administrative work, and at
25 the time, we weren't able -- we couldn't have known that they might be
1 important one day.
2 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Mr. Jovanovic. I have no further
4 JUDGE HUNT: Ms. Bauer.
5 Cross-examined by Ms. Bauer:
6 Q. Good afternoon, Dr. Jovanovic. My name is Bauer, and I'm going to
7 ask you several questions on behalf of the Prosecution today.
8 Dr. Jovanovic, am I correct in assuming that today you can't tell
9 us precisely whether you have been on duty when the patient Mitar
10 Vasiljevic was admitted to the hospital or not?
11 A. You're right, yes.
12 Q. However, you also told us that at times you were assigned to the
13 triage of people in the admissions session, and am I correct that then
14 also you filled out some of the medical information in the case history?
15 A. You are correct, but in cases when the primary injury was -- came
16 under the competencies of the orthopaedist, that means if it was an
17 injury to the extremities, to the spine, and the patient's life wasn't
18 directly threatened, patients of that kind were admitted to the
19 orthopaedic department. And their particulars, within the frameworks of
20 the case history, I sometimes took down too. That was part of the work
21 that we junior doctors on duty did in the place of the specialists, the
23 Q. Now, if you look again at the document in front of you, the case
24 history, Exhibit 138, you told us about -- that in the left upper right
25 corner the police was informed. I'm sure you know what "VP" means and
1 stands for, do you, Doctor, at those times?
2 A. "VP" is for that period -- at that period of time probably meant
3 the military police, but the piece of information that -- where it says
4 "SUP informed," is the same term we use today if the injuries require
5 that service to be notified, are such that that service should be
7 Q. But in this case it means that the military police of the SUP was
8 informed; correct?
9 A. At that time and today too, I'm not acquainted with their internal
10 organisation, whether they have a department for military conscripts,
11 civilians, or whatever. But I am certain that this piece of information -
12 and I told you who filled that in - that it is sent to a telephone number,
13 as far as I know. I can't help you any more than having said that.
14 Q. Now, at that time, Doctor, you said that you were there. Would it
15 be usual to inform anybody who came from that region, including women,
16 children, et cetera, would it be usual to inform the military police that
17 a casualty was brought into the hospital?
18 A. Every serious bodily injury exists in classification form, and
19 we're duty-bound to inform the relevant police service regardless of where
20 the patient comes from.
21 Q. So are you saying then that if a woman would have come from
22 Visegrad theatre, the theatre of battle, as you told us, that also the
23 military police in Visegrad would have been informed at that time of her
25 A. During the war, I did not go to Bosna or Visegrad at all, so I
1 really can't say. I don't know.
2 Q. Doctor, that's not what I mean. You told us that the term
3 "battlefield" was widely used for people, patients being admitted from
4 Eastern Bosnia; correct?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. So my question simply was, did this apply to all patients
7 including women?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And then if you have to inform the police station of such
10 injuries, then it would be your statement that also for women coming from
11 this area the military police would have been informed; correct?
12 A. That wasn't part of my work, to inform the police. It was the job
13 of the admissions department. I see no reason why somebody should inform
14 the police if a pregnant woman, for example, came from the battle zone,
15 battlefield. So when we said "battlefield," we had in mind the territory,
16 the war zone, in fact.
17 Q. Isn't it probably more a fact that you had a military patient in
18 front of you and this is why the military police would be informed and not
19 anybody else?
20 A. It was my job to identify the type of injury and to provide
21 secondary surgical treatment, as we call it. And another service dealt
22 with identification of that kind. It didn't come under my job. All
23 patients for me were the same, similarly important and equal.
24 Q. Thank you, Dr. Jovanovic. If you look at the second page of the
25 case history, please. Now, I'm correct that Dr. Jovicevic most likely
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 filled out the second part of this case history; right? On the top, right
2 on the top.
3 A. You're right. And this is not customary for him. He preferred to
4 have the younger doctors do it. And I'm sure that he did this, which is
5 different from the next paragraph which was filled out by the person that
6 conducted the surgical intervention.
7 Q. Now could it --
8 A. But that's not part of your question.
9 Q. No. So Dr. Jovicevic or a younger doctor, under his instruction
10 filled out these parts; correct?
11 A. He filled it out and he typed it out and signed it. I recognise
12 his style because he does it rarely, so ...
13 Q. Am I also correct that you as a trainee doctor at times also
14 filled out such type of -- type of anamnesis, I think it's called?
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Could the doctor please be asked to approach the
18 A. In most cases, yes.
19 JUDGE HUNT: Doctor, could move your seat up a little closer to
20 the table. The interpreters are having difficulty hearing you.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you.
22 At that time, most of those anamnesis were written by myself and
23 my younger colleagues, and it is an unfortunate habit of us doctors that
24 we tend to give this type of work to younger doctors. But this particular
25 anamnesis was typed out personally by Dr. Jovicevic. It's not that -- I
1 recognise his style. I wouldn't have to look at the signature or have a
2 fingerprint there, but I know his style very well because I trained under
3 him as a younger colleague, and that's why I am able to recognise his
4 particular style.
5 Q. And in your experience, if a patient comes in and he is full
6 conscious, you would ask him, "Well, how did this injury happen?"
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. And if somebody were to tell you, "Well, you know, Doctor, I fell
10 off a horse and broke my leg," you would note this down in this record,
11 wouldn't you?
12 A. Absolutely correct. And I try to this day, in my work, not to be
13 an investigator but to trust people, especially when that is not a
14 relevant piece of information for the method of treatment that I plan to
15 prescribe and administer.
16 Q. So if the patient would tell you, "I fell from a horse and broke
17 it," you would type in this anamnesis that he fell off a horse, injured or
18 broke his leg, fell off a horse?
19 A. Believe me when I say that is so, yes.
20 Q. Now, then, you would agree with me, Doctor, wouldn't you, that the
21 anamnesis written down by Dr. Jovicevic is rather imprecise if
22 Mr. Vasiljevic were to have told him he fell off a horse; correct?
23 A. I would agree that the anamnesis is not precise, but it is not in
24 contradiction with what I said, because for us, the important thing is
25 whether it is an open fracture or a closed fracture, et cetera, whether
1 the patient fell from a height of 5 metres or 1 metre. Those
2 circumstances are essential. But I do agree with you that the anamnesis
3 could have been more precise, written with greater precision.
4 Q. So then the conclusion is obvious that Mr. Vasiljevic probably did
5 not tell the doctor that he fell off a horse, correct?
6 A. I apologise. That is not an obvious conclusion for me. Perhaps
7 Dr. Jovicevic overlooked the importance of that particular piece of
8 information, and quite honestly, I don't see a great deal of importance of
9 that piece of information except if you look at the event through the
10 prism of the developments.
11 Q. Now, Dr. Jovicevic -- Jovanovic, I'm sorry, you are an orthopaedic
12 surgeon. How long usually is the diagnosis of fractura cruris would
13 require that the patient is in traction, or first, is it required that the
14 patient is in traction?
15 A. Traction is one of the methods that in Anglo-Saxon literature is
16 hard to fine. It is considered outdated and a brutal method, but in
17 countries such as mine it is frequently applied, and it has its full value
18 in practice. It implies skeletal traction whereby in a slow and safe way
19 the bone is returned to a correct position with the help of this traction
20 apparatus and weights amounting to 10 per cent of bodily weight, roughly,
21 for the duration, roughly, of up to three weeks. And that is the answer
22 to your question. Without any risk of injuring any other blood vessels or
23 nerves or any other important structures of the body.
24 The method allows daily monitoring, X-ray examinations and
25 controls. And the most important thing is to avoid surgery, which under
1 the best of circumstances, has its risks.
2 The method is applied to other parts of the body throughout the
3 world, for spinal injuries of the neck, for instance, and the like.
4 Q. And, Doctor, would that be coming a time where despite being in
5 traction a cast would be applied during the time of the traction or when
6 is the time that a plaster cast would be applied to the patient?
7 A. A plaster cast is placed when an X-ray control and a clinical
8 check-up, of course, shows that the bones -- bone elements are in a
9 correct position. That is when the second phase of the treatment is
10 applied with rigid plaster immobilisation.
11 Q. Is the patient still during traction in a plaster cast or only
12 after the traction cease to be applied or weights cease to be applied?
13 A. While the leg is being extended with the help of traction a
14 plaster bandage is placed and then a final X-ray check-up is made and only
15 then is traction removed.
16 Q. So some form of cast, as I understand you, is already applied
17 while the patient is still under traction; correct?
18 A. Just for the few minutes, until the plaster sets and we maintain
19 the correct position of the bones with the help of the plaster. So I'm
20 talking about minutes. After that, the need and importance of traction
21 ceases. There's no need for it any more.
22 Q. Now, that is a procedure. Is this procedure noted anywhere on the
23 case history, that the traction is being removed and the plaster cast is
24 put onto the patient's extremity?
25 A. There's no particular box or column envisaged for this, but it is
1 an important piece of information during treatment, and it is recorded
2 either during treatment, usually on the last page of the case history
3 form, but certainly on the discharge document in which it is indicated
4 when the procedure was administered.
5 Q. Now, Doctor, would you agree with me that there is no note of when
6 actually traction was removed and the patient Vasiljevic was -- was put in
7 a cast, in a plaster cast?
8 A. I would agree with you that it hasn't been recorded in the form.
9 I don't know whether it was recorded on the discharge document which has
10 forensic medical significance, but here in the case history, on the form
11 itself, I don't see it, that particular stage of his treatment having been
13 Q. The discharge paper, would this usually be a paper attached to the
14 case history or kept with the case history or kept separately?
15 A. It is a paper on which we enter information when the patient is
16 being discharged from hospital and in which we record the most important
17 parts or moments in his treatment. So it is not attached to this form.
18 These forms are kept in each department. And the doctor who treats the
19 patient fills in the discharge document when releasing the patient home.
20 And this document must contain the date of admission, the date of
21 discharge, the diagnosis, surgery, if any.
22 Q. Now, Doctor, if you look at the last -- I think it's the last page
23 in the case history, it states under an entry of 7th July that a discharge
24 order was made out for the patient yesterday. He, however, did not go
25 home. Does it mean now that the discharge order has still been kept in
1 your ward or is it sort of -- is it -- yes. Or is it then destroyed if it
2 has been made out but then the patient obviously didn't leave the
4 A. In those days, the discharge documents were typed in four copies.
5 Today the number has been reduced to three. Two copies were given to the
6 patient for his own records and possibly to regulate any benefits he may
7 have. And the case history remains in the archives.
8 Q. And the two other copies of the discharge paper probably are in
9 the archives, are they, would you say? Because you spoke of four copies,
10 two given to the patient, which leaves then two copies still being part of
11 the record; isn't that correct?
12 A. Quite so, yes.
13 Q. Now, Doctor, if you look at this entry further, I mean, it says
14 the doctor on duty called the Secretariat of the Interior and that the
15 patient has been physically assaulting some people, has been leaving the
16 ward, lingering in the main hall. Do you remember or do you -- were you
17 the doctor on duty at that time or you don't remember who -- I mean, it's
18 probably Dr. Stojkovic, but were you also on duty around that time? Can
19 you recall that?
20 A. I cannot recall it, or maybe it will be better to say that if I
21 had been there, I would remember. I think I wasn't on duty. And it is
22 clear from this that Dr. Stojkovic was on duty.
23 Q. The doctor that is writing, in this case, Dr. Stojkovic who is
24 writing the discharge order, he is the one who decides when a patient is
25 actually ready to leave, correct, the orthopaedic ward to go home?
1 A. It can be clearly seen from this that that was so. And what
2 cannot be seen is that this must have been done in coordination with the
3 doctor who first admitted him, that is, Dr. Jovicevic. So it couldn't
4 have been done without his knowledge. I assume that Dr. Jovicevic was
5 away on annual leave or something like that. Anyway, nothing would be
6 done contrary to our usual procedures.
7 Q. Now, Doctor, would it be normal for a doctor, for you to fill out
8 a discharge order if actually the patient is not really ready to leave the
9 hospital, meaning that he probably needs some other, further treatment,
10 not necessarily in your ward but in other ward? Would that be -- would
11 that be -- how would you characterise if a doctor would release a patient
12 who needs further treatment, or fill out a discharge order?
13 A. In my experience, I am not familiar with any such case, but I do
14 know of opposite cases from my own experience when patients were released
15 at their own request, though it was necessary for them to continue
16 treatment. But that is not what you asked me, I assume. That's not what
17 you're interested in.
18 Q. So but -- let me rephrase it more directly. If a patient is
19 clearly and obviously in need of psychiatric treatment, you would not fill
20 out a discharge order for this patient, even if his orthopaedic state is
21 as far as he could be released, would you, Doctor?
22 A. Such a situation would require a compromise. The patient would
23 have to be hospitalised in the appropriate ward where his main illness
24 would be treated. Here it says "Restlessness" or, rather, "Psychosis,"
25 coupled by observation and checkups by the doctor from the orthopaedic
2 Q. I'm sorry. It's my fault. It's probably a misunderstanding.
3 What I mean is you as a doctor, you as an orthopaedist, have visible signs
4 of somebody needing psychiatric treatment, you would not fill out a
5 discharge order? Just yes or no, if possible.
6 A. I can't give you a yes or no answer. I would first have to -- I
7 would first have to consult a psychiatrist, because he would have to
8 decide whether the patient can be treated at home as an outpatient or in
9 hospital or in some other way.
10 Q. Now, Doctor, you said that you remember the case history of
11 Mr. Vasiljevic only because of the atmosphere of disturbance he created.
12 Now, if you look on the top of the entry, it says on the 5th of
13 July that a psychiatric examination was requested in the morning and then
14 at night, in the evening hours, that no -- the requested examination
15 wasn't carried out. Does that not mean that the patient probably settled
16 down again or sort of adhered to the house rules again, that suddenly it
17 wasn't any more -- this examination wasn't performed?
18 A. Possibly what you've said, that the patient ceased behaving
19 conspicuously or responded to therapy. We as doctors in the orthopaedics
20 ward do use some medicines which have sedative effects. I was thinking of
21 the Diazepan Apaurin group of drugs in dosages which we're allowed
22 to describe.
23 Q. I think basically, would you agree with me that despite his
24 conspicuous behaviour, for whatever reason, Dr. Stojkovic decided probably
25 on the 6th of June, one day after, that he would discharge Mitar
1 Vasiljevic from the orthopaedic ward?
2 A. In those days, in fact until only a few months ago, it was
3 customary for us to type discharge papers even when patients were
4 transferred from one ward to another, and it is only recently that this
5 practice was abolished. There's only one discharge document which is
6 filled in by the doctor of the department from which the patient is
8 In those days, we were supposed to write a discharge document when
9 the patient is being moved to another department and not only when he goes
10 home. For instance, patients would frequently go from the orthopaedic
11 department to the rehabilitation department.
12 Q. But if you look then at the entry on the 7th of July, 1992,
13 wouldn't you agree with me that Dr. Stojkovic probably thought he would go
14 home because he stated he didn't go home?
15 A. I would agree with you.
16 MS. BAUER: Your Honour, I have no further questions at this time.
17 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet.
18 Re-examined by Mr. Domazet:
19 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Jovanovic, in answer to a question from
20 Ms. Bauer regarding the discharge document and the markings in the top
21 left-hand corner -- I'm sorry, in the case history, it says "VP," what it
22 could mean, and you explained that it could mean "Military police." Do
23 the letters "VP" stand only for that or could they stand for something
24 else too?
25 A. In fact, I need to correct myself. My first association would be
1 military post. I said "police," under the influence of the next
2 abbreviation, "SUP," which is the abbreviation for the police, something
3 else. So the very concept of military post - I was a soldier 20 years
4 ago - but anyway, that should be the first thing that should occur to me
5 when I see "VP".
6 Q. Is that an indication of military unit, this military post, that
7 every military unit has its military post number by which it can be
9 A. I have forgotten those things. I was a soldier a long time ago.
10 So I couldn't claim anything such thing.
11 Q. In connection with this same question, there was a question as to
12 whether there was a military police of the SUP. Will you please tell us,
13 is the military police part of the military structure and can it be a part
14 of the civilian structure, that is, of the SUP?
15 A. As a civilian, I think that these are two different things,
16 separate entities. And daily, on my way to work, I see traffic policemen,
17 rarely the military police, more frequently the civilian police. When I
18 pass some, I slow down, and when I see the others, I don't. So I think
19 they are separate.
20 Q. The number 985 which appears here after the letters "VP" and
21 before the letters SUP, S-U-P, you were unable to identify it. Is that
22 part of the military post or something else? My question is, does that
23 number 985 remind you of any telephone number if this were to be a
24 telephone number?
25 A. I have no such association. It doesn't remind me of any telephone
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 Q. In answer to a question from Ms. Bauer as to why should the police
3 be informed if a woman should be injured, you said that always and even to
4 this day more serious injuries of patients have to be reported to the
5 police. Do you personally know the reason for the police being informed
6 when serious injuries have been admitted to hospital?
7 A. The reason that I know of is the connotation given to the case
8 later in court. I'm also a medical forensic expert, I have been for
9 several years, and it is very important to qualify the seriousness of the
10 injury, how it occurred, and all the other things that the public
11 prosecutor requires from us.
12 Q. Yes. But you will agree with me that all cases, all injuries are
13 not of interest to the prosecution or the police.
14 A. Yes, I agree.
15 Q. So informing the police is the purpose for the police to know that
16 somebody is in hospital.
17 A. I think it is up to them to judge the significance of that
19 Q. Regarding the second page of this document and which you said by
20 style you recognise Dr. Jovicevic, a question was why in this case history
21 there was no specific explanation or note that injury was caused by a fall
22 from a horse. Do you remember that question?
23 A. I do.
24 Q. You gave your reasons why you believe why that may not have been
25 important for the doctor at that point in time, but because of the
1 importance of the matter, I wish to ask you whether that information was
2 important medically for future treatment or surgery or did it have no
4 A. At the time and today, it is irrelevant for the choice of method
5 of treatment.
6 Q. When you answered Ms. Bauer when the plaster cast was placed in
7 relation to the traction, I don't think I quite understood your answer.
8 At what point in time and how is the plaster cast placed, while the leg is
9 still in traction or -- is the traction suspended and only then the
10 plaster placed? Could you explain that, please?
11 A. Bone traction or extension is one of the first procedures that
12 young doctors in the orthopedics ward come across. When I say that, I
13 want to say that it becomes very soon a routine procedure, and it entails
14 placing a steel wire 1 to 2 millimetres in diameter through the heel bone.
15 Of course, prior to that, the operations field has to be prepared and made
16 sterile and a local anaesthetic is administered. With the help of certain
17 stirrups this wire is emplaced and with a weight on the axis of the lower
19 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet, your question was: Is the plaster cast
20 place the whilst the leg is still in traction. We don't really need to
21 have a description of how traction is applied, do we? The answer, I would
22 have thought, would be fairly clear. But you better get the answer to
23 your question from the doctor.
24 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Doctor, I was asking you about the point in time when the need for
1 traction ceases. Is that when a plaster cast is placed on the leg? I'm
2 just talking about that particular moment.
3 A. The plaster is placed while the leg is being extended, and it
4 remains until we are confident, through a control X-ray, that we have
5 obtained a correct, satisfactory position of the axis of the bone and the
6 bone fragments. If that position is achieved, the need for continued
7 traction ceases. So we removed the apparatus, the leg from the
8 apparatus, we remove the needle, and the patient continues to be treated
9 with a rigid plaster fixation or immobilisation.
10 Q. Doctor, when you look at the case history -- please turn to page 3
11 and there is a note, I think, dated 17th of July. Can we infer from
12 this that the plaster was placed prior to this date, as from the case
13 history we cannot see exactly when the plaster was administered and the
14 traction removed?
15 A. Yes, absolutely so. We can infer from this, because the method of
16 rigid immobilisation or plaster immobilisation permits corrections if the
17 need should arise, either because the plaster itself has changed shape or
18 for some other reason. So in answer to your question, we can infer from
19 this that the patient had worn the plaster long enough that a correction
20 was needed. And of course, naturally this also means that on this date
21 there was no traction.
22 MR. DOMAZET: We can make --
23 JUDGE HUNT: How long do you think you'll be? How long do you
24 think you'll be in re-examination?
25 MR. DOMAZET: One last question.
1 JUDGE HUNT: Okay. Well, you go ahead.
2 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
3 Q. On the same page, you were asked by Ms. Bauer to explain the
4 discharge document that Dr. Stojkovic mentions as having been written.
5 This discharge document that is mentioned, have you ever seen it and do
6 you personally know whether any such discharge document existed?
7 A. I do not remember seeing that discharge document. After all, that
8 was too long ago.
9 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Thank you, Dr. Jovanovic. I have no
10 further questions.
11 JUDGE HUNT: Doctor, I'd just like to clear up a name that you
12 used. The name of your mentor, can you give it to us again?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, with pleasure. Primarius Dr.
14 Primslav Stanisavljevic.
15 JUDGE HUNT: I'm just seeing how it's coming out in the transcript
16 to see whether they've got it correct because it's caused trouble
17 throughout the transcript.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Primslav.
19 JUDGE HUNT: Can you see the name that is being typed there? Is
20 that correct at line 7?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The word that appears on the
22 transcript is incorrect. The first letter of the name has to be
23 capitalised, and also an "I" is missing. P-r-i-m-i-s-l-a-v.
24 JUDGE HUNT: And the family name is correct, is it?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. The family name is correct.
1 JUDGE HUNT: I'm sorry. Do either counsel want to ask any
2 questions about that?
3 MS. BAUER: No thank you, Your Honour.
4 MR. DOMAZET: No thank you, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you very much, Doctor, for coming along to give
6 evidence and for the evidence that you have given. I'm sorry you were
7 kept waiting this morning, but you are now free to leave.
8 [The witness withdrew]
9 JUDGE HUNT: We will adjourn until 2.30.
10 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.05 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.32 p.m.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Domazet.
4 MR. DOMAZET: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 WITNESS: SNEZANA NESKOVIC [Resumed]
6 [Witness answered through interpreter].
7 JUDGE HUNT: Before we start, we're very grateful to you,
8 Ms. Bauer, for having taken over the reins in relation to that last
9 witness and thank you for doing it at the time you did.
10 Yes, Mr. Domazet.
11 Examined by Mr. Domazet: [Continued]
12 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mrs. Neskovic.
13 A. Good afternoon.
14 Q. We'll continue where we left off, and if you recall, we left off
15 when I asked you about Mitar Vasiljevic, whether you knew him, and you
16 said that you did know him and that he was a waiter.
17 My next question is the following: How did you come to know him?
18 Did you ever go to his house, for example?
19 A. No. I never went to his house. As I said, we lived in the same
20 street, and I would see him passing by on his way to work or back from
21 work. Anyway, when he went into town.
22 Q. So you never actually went to visit him in his house, and I assume
23 he didn't come to yours either. Was there an occasion where he came to
24 your house at all?
25 A. No. No. That -- no.
1 Q. Apart from the fact that you knew him by sight and saw him in the
2 street, did you happen to see him while he was on duty as a waiter in the
3 catering establishments he worked in?
4 A. Yes, I did see him working as a waiter.
5 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, we were talking about the period up until 1992, and
6 I focus my questions on that period, up until June or the end of May, upon
7 the arrival of the Uzice Corps.
8 After the departure of the Uzice Corps, you were in Visegrad after
9 that, were you not?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Now, I'm interested in that period. Do you remember whether in
12 that period of time you happened to see Mitar Vasiljevic on any occasion?
13 A. As far as I remember, I would see Mitar when he called upon the
14 women to clean the streets. He would call the female population to go out
15 onto the streets and clean the town. That's how I remember him from that
16 period. I don't know exactly what time that was, what period, but I do
17 remember him.
18 Q. Where were you yourself living at that time, Mrs. Neskovic?
19 A. I was living in the Mezalin quarter, and the women from my street
20 went out to clean the street. And I cleaned the street on one occasion
21 too, that is to say, in front of my own threshold.
22 Q. When you personally took part in this cleaning, was it a campaign
23 that Mitar Vasiljevic was in charge of?
24 A. Well, I remember him calling to us women to go out into the street
25 and clean, and I remember that women did that.
1 JUDGE HUNT: Please remember to pause before you start your
2 answer. You aren't giving the interpreters a fair go there.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I will. No problem.
4 A. I remember Mitar Vasiljevic appealing to us to clean the streets,
5 and I myself on one occasion took part in cleaning the town. That is to
6 say, I cleaned my street.
7 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation]
8 Q. You said that you lived in a quarter called Mezalin. Could you
9 explain to us, for those of us who don't know Visegrad very well, where
10 the Mezalin is? Is it in the centre of town? Is it a settlement further
11 off? Where is that place where your house is located to be found and the
13 A. Visegrad is a small town, and Mezalin is a suburb. I think that
14 best describes it. Visegrad has about 10.000 inhabitants. It's a very
15 small place. So I don't know what to call it. But Mezalin is a suburb.
16 Of course if you look at such a small town and you look at the centre, a
17 suburb isn't the best term, but it is a suburb before you get into the
19 Q. Could you tell us how far that suburb is from the town centre
21 A. About ten minutes on foot.
22 Q. In that part of town where you were living and where the cleaning
23 campaign took place, in addition to dwellings, were there any stores and
24 other types of buildings?
25 A. It's a typically -- it's an area with typically private houses,
1 dwellings, and it had one or two shops as well.
2 Q. Do you remember whether the people who worked in those shops took
3 part in this cleaning campaign of the streets when you did, when you were
5 A. Well, I can't remember when I took part in it, but I did see Mitar
6 both in the centre of town. He appealed to people to go out onto the
7 streets to clean them, and I remember that women stepped outside the shops
8 they were working in to clean the area in front.
9 Q. On those other occasions that you said you saw this taking place
10 in the centre of town, you say that you personally did not take part in
11 that drive or campaign?
12 A. No, I did not.
13 Q. Do you happen to know -- did you hear about it or learn about it
14 in any way, whether anybody had assigned Mitar Vasiljevic to that
15 particular job? Did anybody tell him to do that?
16 A. I don't know. I am not informed about that.
17 Q. According to what was happening at the time and how other people
18 were assigned, could it have been part of a work obligation, work
19 assignment of any kind?
20 A. I assume that that was what it was, but I have no direct knowledge
21 about that. I have no information regarding that.
22 Q. Can you explain to us, as far as you know, what is meant by the
23 term "work obligation" or "work assignment"? What did that mean?
24 A. Well, all persons employed, both men and women, were called upon
25 to perform a work obligation. At the beginning, I think the defence
1 department would issue orders for assignments to work obligations or work
2 assignments, but I'm not quite sure.
3 Q. This work assignment, did it apply to people who had not been
4 directly mobilised, that is, were not part of the mobilised population?
5 A. Yes, that's right. It applied to people who had not been
6 mobilised by the military and that is why it was called a work assignment.
7 Q. I should now like to ask you, Mrs. Neskovic, to recall the several
8 occasions that you said you saw Mr. Mitar Vasiljevic, and on one occasion
9 when you yourself took part in the cleaning campaign. Do you happen to
10 remember what he was wearing, what Mitar Vasiljevic was wearing on those
11 occasions? Was he wearing a uniform of any kind or was he wearing
12 civilian clothing?
13 A. I can't quite remember, but I think he was wearing civilian
15 Q. Can you remember anything in particular, what the civilian
16 clothing looked like? Can you be more specific or was anything on him
17 that you might have remembered?
18 A. I think he had a band round his arm. I seem to remember.
19 Q. But with respect to his clothing. Is there anything that you can
20 recall or not?
21 A. No, I can't remember.
22 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, about the band that you remember, do you happen to
23 remember what colour the band was, the armband that you noticed was?
24 A. I think it was red, but I'm not quite sure.
25 Q. Apart from that, did you happen to notice whether it said anything
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 on it, on the armband, or was there any other insignia or sign or anything
2 like that on it, if you remember?
3 A. I don't remember.
4 Q. Mrs. Neskovic, do you happen to know how long this -- how long you
5 saw Mitar Vasiljevic for? What period of time would you say?
6 A. Perhaps ten days before I heard he had fallen and broken his leg.
7 Q. When you say, Mrs. Neskovic, "About ten days before you heard he
8 had fallen," what do you mean? Do you mean ten days before you -- that he
9 had organised the campaign ten days before that, the cleaning campaign or
10 something else?
11 A. Yes, I was talking about the cleaning complain.
12 Q. Do you personally happen to know that he fell and broke a leg?
13 A. I heard that from other people.
14 Q. Can you remember what you heard exactly?
15 A. I heard that Mitar had fallen and that he had injured his leg and
16 that he had gone to the hospital in Uzice as a result.
17 Q. Do you know where he fell? Did you hear about that, where this
18 event took place? Did the people who told you about that happen to
19 mention that?
20 A. They said that he had fallen in the square.
21 Q. When you say "in the square," I'm sure you know which place that
22 was in Visegrad, what it referred to when people said "the square," but
23 would you explain to the Court what you mean when you say "in the
24 square"? Which square? Which square in Visegrad was that?
25 A. It is a plateau beside the old bridge, in that part of town.
1 Q. What else? What other buildings, well-known town buildings would
2 be found in the vicinity of the old bridge, in that general area?
3 A. There was the hotel building, the Visegrad Hotel. Then there was
4 the park with the monument to Ivo Andric, and there were some craft
5 shops. And this bordered by the Visegradska department store. Then we
6 have the building, housing a restaurant called The Grill, and the Alhos
7 shop of the time and the Panos companies, establishment. So that would be
8 what the square comprised of.
9 Q. Was the square the centre of town for general purposes of
10 orientation when you spoke about the distance from the square, or is there
11 another centre to the town of Visegrad?
12 A. When I said the centre of town, I meant the Municipal Assembly
13 building because it is in the built-up area of Visegrad. That is actually
14 the centre of Visegrad. But this square is about 300 metres away from the
15 municipality building, which is the centre proper.
16 Q. And another point: You said that you had heard that he had fallen
17 and broken a leg. Did you happen to hear how that happened? You
18 described where it happened a moment ago, but do you happen to know how?
19 A. I heard that he had fallen off a horse and broken a leg, but I
20 wasn't there at the time. I wasn't present, so I can't confirm that.
21 Q. Do you happen to remember, Mrs. Neskovic, who told you this, who
22 you heard it from, and how you came to hear of it?
23 A. I can't say. It was -- the information was passed around
24 Visegrad. I couldn't tell you exactly who I heard it from. It was the
25 story that was going around town.
1 Q. After that, and how long after that, did you happen to see Mitar
3 A. I think I saw him once with crutches. I think he was going along
4 with crutches. But I don't remember how long afterwards it was.
5 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Neskovic. I have no further questions for you.
6 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Ossogo.
7 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President.
8 Cross-examined by Mr. Ossogo:
9 Q. [Interpretation] Mrs. Neskovic, my name is Ossogo. I am from the
10 Office of the Prosecutor, and I have a few questions to ask you on your
11 testimony before the Trial Chamber so far.
12 You told us that you were a deputy of the SDS party, and I would
13 like to ask you whether you were deputy during the war period of the
14 party. Were you party deputy during the war?
15 A. Well, when the municipal assembly started functioning, yes, I
16 continued to be a deputy.
17 Q. Did you occupy a particular post in the constitutive organs or the
18 functioning of your party and the municipal assembly?
19 A. No. I was a member of the Serbian Democratic Party.
20 Q. You indicated with respect to the situation before the war that
21 there was an appeal that the Muslims and Serbs who had left the town of
22 Visegrad should return to it, and you told us that there were very few
23 Muslims who actually did return. Can you tell us, if you know, the
24 reasons why the Muslims did not come back to the town of Visegrad?
25 A. I really don't know why they didn't return. It is their own
1 private affair, the private affair of each individual whether he opts to
2 return or not, but I know that the army did appeal to the Serbs and
3 Muslims alike to return to the town.
4 Q. Would you agree with me when I say that there were tensions
5 between the two ethnic groups, the Serb and Muslim ethnic group in the
6 period we're concerned with in the town and municipality of Visegrad?
7 A. Well, I don't know. I wouldn't say. The Muslims perhaps did not
8 return -- actually, the war had broken out almost all over
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina. There was shooting, Serbs on the Muslims, and
10 probably for that reason. Actually, the Muslims shot at the Serbs, too,
11 and vice versa because there was fighting in Sarajevo and in Tuzla.
12 Soldiers were killed.
13 So probably those were the reasons, because five soldiers of the
14 Uzice Corps had been killed at Ustipraca, and they were killed by the
15 Muslims who had set up an ambush.
16 Q. Yes, but we're interested in particular in the town of Visegrad
17 itself. We know that there were tensions throughout Bosnia and
18 Herzegovina, but we are interested in the area where you were deputy and
19 the municipality there.
20 So in the locality you lived in in particular, were there Muslims
21 inhabiting that district?
22 A. No. It was a purely Serb quarter.
23 Q. You also told us that you were working and that you were a
24 counsellor in the Varda enterprise; is that right?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. Were there any Muslims in that company?
2 A. Yes, there were.
3 Q. Did it happen that at one point in time the Muslims were
4 mistreated or were in fear of their life or for their moral and physical
6 A. I don't remember that. I'm not aware of that.
7 Q. Could you describe your role and functions, the contents of your
8 job in the enterprise or company?
9 A. I was a clerk for property legal relations, and I represented my
10 firm in lawsuits which it had with other enterprises in the property and
11 legal field, or if they had lawsuits against some of the workers. So I
12 represented the Varda enterprise in a court of law and in other organs
13 when it came to property and legal relations. That was my domain.
14 Q. What authority were you responsible to within the frameworks of
15 your company?
16 A. I was a lawyer in the general cadres service. I had my superior,
17 my boss, and his superior was the department sector, and the department
18 sector was subordinate to the director of the enterprise or, rather, the
19 general manager or general director.
20 Q. And who was the general manager of the enterprise?
21 A. Obradin Simsic.
22 Q. What was his ethnicity?
23 A. He was a Serb.
24 Q. I didn't get your answer, madam.
25 A. He was a Serb, a Serb.
1 Q. Do you know a gentleman by the name of Stanko Pecikoza?
2 A. Yes, I did. He was also a deputy in the municipal assembly.
3 Q. Did he have a position in the enterprise in which you worked at
4 any time?
5 A. No. He was a private entrepreneur. He had his own company in the
6 field of timber processing and sales.
7 Q. What was his ethnicity?
8 A. He was a Serb.
9 Q. Do you know whether he is dead?
10 A. I think he was killed.
11 Q. Could you tell us who killed him? Do you know?
12 A. I don't know. I am really not informed about that.
13 Q. Could you tell us what kind of relations he had as a Serb
14 entrepreneur with the Muslims?
15 A. I really don't know. I didn't know him that well, but he lived in
16 a district in which there were many Muslims residing.
17 Q. Did you know Milan Lukic?
18 A. No.
19 Q. You never heard him being mentioned as a deputy?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Have you ever heard of the White Eagles?
22 A. No.
23 Q. You never discussed the problems of security with respect to the
24 paramilitaries in the town of Visegrad?
25 A. I have no knowledge about that. I'm a woman. For me, all the
1 armies are the same. I was unmarried in those days. At the end of my
2 working hours, I went home. I had a sick mother. My brother and father
3 had been mobilised, so that I have no knowledge about those thing. I
4 looked after the very existence of my family as we had become suddenly
6 Q. But being a deputy and representing a particular party in the
7 town, can you confirm that you defended and upheld the positions of that
9 A. I don't understand the question. What do you mean exactly?
10 Q. You are a deputy of the SDS party?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. That means that you embraced the interests of that party, which is
13 logical, the Defence of Serb interests; is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. As a member of the municipal assembly of Visegrad, you were called
16 upon to have an interest in the security of the town and the municipality
17 as a whole.
18 A. With the outbreak of the war, the municipal assembly stopped
19 functioning. I don't know exactly when it resumed work, but for a long
20 time it was not operating.
21 Q. Before it stopped functioning, you had a certain political
23 A. I was just a deputy, if that's what you're referring to. Just
24 like the remaining 49 deputies; there were 50 of us all in the assembly.
25 And the assembly works on the basis of its work programme, which is passed
1 every year for that calendar year.
2 Q. Can you confirm, madam, or deny that relations were peaceful
3 between the Muslims and Serbs and there were no security problems in the
4 town of Visegrad?
5 A. I don't remember that.
6 Q. We have heard some testimony in this Chamber several weeks ago
7 from which it follows that many people are still missing in the
8 municipality of Visegrad, and this report was drawn up by a state
9 commission of which you are one of the deputies, and about 875 people are
10 still missing. This commission is a state commission in charge of looking
11 for missing persons. Are you aware of the existence of this commission in
12 the State of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
13 A. You mean now? The commission entrusted with the search of missing
15 Q. Yes, quite.
16 A. Yes, I'm aware of that. There is a commission for missing
17 persons, be they Serbs or Muslims. This is common knowledge.
18 Q. According to you, these missing persons, did they die as a result
19 of violence?
20 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Ossogo, I don't know where we're going with this,
21 but you haven't demonstrated that had this witness would have the slightest
22 idea. She was a deputy in the municipality legislature which ceased
23 functioning during the war.
24 May I suggest that we stick to what this witness can talk about.
25 I don't see how this witness can say anything about that, until you've
1 established otherwise, anyway.
2 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. This was
3 intended to go back to what can be qualified as contradictions in relation
4 to what she already said regarding the conflict and the tensions that
5 existed in 1992, which is what interests us here, after the Uzice Corps
7 JUDGE HUNT: And you're going to ask her which of these bodies
8 that the commission investigated were found after the Uzice Corps arrived,
9 are you, and ask her whether she knows about any one of them and how they
10 died? If I may say so, that's not going to be of very much assistance to
12 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Madam Neskovic, you have been listening to the observations by the
14 President. I was referring to this commission whose task it is to search
15 for missing persons during the war, persons that went missing during the
16 war, the war we mentioned a moment ago, and my question was: Since you
17 confirmed that you are aware of the existence of that commission whether
18 you knew when it was established.
19 A. I don't know that. I know that the commission exists, and I've
20 learnt about it from the media.
21 Q. Are you aware of other bodies that were established after the war
22 to look for these people who went missing or who have disappeared?
23 A. No. This is an area that I am not familiar with.
24 Q. During the period when the Uzice Corps arrived and after it left,
25 did you notice massive departures by trucks and other vehicles of Muslims
1 out of town, to other destinations?
2 A. What do you mean by the word "transfer"? I didn't quite
3 understand the question. Could you clear it up for me, please?
4 Q. Muslims in trucks being transported to other destinations, from a
5 particular place in Visegrad to other destinations.
6 A. I am not aware of that. I have no knowledge of that.
7 Q. In your examination-in-chief, you mentioned the destruction of
8 cultural monuments, and you told us about one in particular. Are you
9 aware of the destruction of monuments of Muslim faith or cultural
10 monuments belonging to the Muslims in Visegrad municipality?
11 A. I don't know. There were monuments, and in the wartime, in the
12 conflict, they were destroyed probably. I wasn't present, so I don't
14 Q. When you said that there were monuments that were destroyed that
15 you are aware of, could you tell us what type of monuments? Were they
16 religious monuments, cultural or other times of monuments? What about
17 mosques, for instance?
18 A. I don't know. Mosques, too. There were mosques. But there was a
19 war on, and in the conflict, like all the other religious monuments,
20 probably they were destroyed too. I wasn't present when this happened, so
21 I can't tell you about it.
22 Q. You seem to be very familiar with the place that you described a
23 moment ago when Mr. Vasiljevic fell. Were there close to the place any
24 monuments of Muslim faith, that is specifically mosques, close to the
25 place where Mr. Vasiljevic fell?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. There was a mosque in the centre of town, slightly removed from
2 the square.
3 Q. And was that monument destroyed?
4 A. It no longer exists.
5 Q. Was it destroyed?
6 A. Yes, it was destroyed.
7 Q. Could you tell us who destroyed it?
8 A. I don't know. How could I know? I'm a woman. I told you that.
9 After work, I went home, and I have no idea about that.
10 Q. Do you know that they were destroyed by persons of Serb
12 A. I don't know that. I'm unable to tell. I have no knowledge about
14 JUDGE HUNT: Mr. Ossogo, I don't know whether this is playing out
15 for time, but I have already indicated through the legal officer that if
16 this witness is finished, we will not require another witness to be called
17 this afternoon. Now, if you've got something useful to ask this witness,
18 please do so, but so far, for the last ten minutes or so, you haven't even
19 come within a general area of where this witness can assist us.
20 Now, please ask relevant questions or let us finish.
21 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. President. We thought that
22 this witness was called to testify to the count of persecution and the
23 destruction of monuments and many other points come under that heading.
24 But we can skip over certain points.
25 Q. Madam Neskovic --
1 JUDGE HUNT: This witness was nominated as persecution in the
2 list, I agree. All she has been able to tell us, however, is the
3 historical background which is relevant to the issue of persecution, but
4 she wasn't there at the relevant time in order to help us in relation to
5 persecution except for a very brief period, and so far she has fielded
6 every one of your questions by saying she did not know. She was looking
7 after a sick mother, she went home after work, and then she left.
8 Now, let us get on to something that she can speak about, please.
9 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. President. We will go
10 on to one of the points which is not quite in relation to what we have
11 been discussing so far.
12 Q. Madam Neskovic, I am going to ask you a few questions about your
13 knowledge of Mr. Mitar. You told us that your parents' house in which you
14 lived was 1 kilometre from Mr. Mitar's house; is that right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. But that you never visited him?
17 A. That's right.
18 Q. Did you know his family?
19 A. I knew them by sight, as our people would say, well enough to
20 say good day as we passed each other in the street, both him and his wife.
21 Q. Which members of his family did you know?
22 A. I knew him and his wife.
23 Q. You told us that you saw him when he called on the population to
24 clean the streets. Was this a call to the population regardless of sex or
25 was it particularly addressed to the women?
1 A. Women. He called on the women, because it was mostly women who
2 came out to clean the streets. They would make jokes about it and smile
3 about it. They found this rather charming, if I can put it that way,
5 Q. How did he call on those women? Did he use any particular
6 instrument or just his voice?
7 A. I remember he would call them out. He would say, "Women, come out
8 and clean the streets. Take your brooms with you and your pails so you
9 can clean in front of your houses."
10 Q. Did he use a loudspeaker?
11 A. I don't know. I'm afraid I can't remember that. I just don't
13 Q. Could you tell us, if you remember, for how long you would see him
14 do this, calling on the women to come and clean the streets?
15 A. You mean the cleaning of the whole town or one particular street?
16 Q. For cleaning the street and the town as a whole. How many times,
17 if you remember, did you see him doing that?
18 A. I don't know. I'm afraid I can't tell you with precision because
19 one day he would pass through our street, and I remember that, and call us
20 out to clean. A second time I would see him in town making the same
21 calls. So I can't tell you how long it went on for.
22 Q. Did this go on for weeks or months?
23 A. I think it lasted about two or three weeks, but I can't remember
24 exactly. For some period of time, I'm sure of that.
25 Q. Can you remember the month?
1 A. No, I couldn't. I know it was warm, but I don't remember what
2 month it was.
3 Q. During that period, do you remember whether there was one or
4 several Serb religious festivals in that period?
5 A. I'm afraid I can't remember.
6 Q. To come to the information you received about Mr. Vasiljevic's
7 fall, you told us that you could not tell us who exactly it was that told
8 you what had happened. You can't name him.
9 A. That's right. Mitar was liked among all the women because of his
10 calling on the women to clean. And then when he had this accident, people
11 would talk about it while having a cup of coffee.
12 Q. You don't even know whether it was from your colleagues, deputies
13 who told you or somebody else?
14 A. I can't remember that.
15 Q. You also told us that you saw him with a plaster cast on his leg.
16 Did you speak to his wife or himself, and did you ask him how he was after
18 A. No. I wasn't that close to them. We would just exchange
20 Q. You never discussed this particular matter or talked about it?
21 A. No. I told you, we knew each other just enough to exchange the
22 time of day. We knew each other by sight because we lived in the same
23 street, and we had no other matters in common, no other points in common.
24 Q. Thank you, madam, for your answers.
25 MR. OSSOGO: [Interpretation] Mr. President, I have no further
2 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you. Mr. Domazet, any re-examination?
3 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour, just a few
4 questions in response to Mr. Ossogo's questions.
5 Re-examined by Mr. Domazet:
6 Q. [Interpretation] When you were answering this question by
7 Mr. Ossogo as to who responded to these calls and said that they were
8 mostly women, in the case of your own street, were they Serb and Muslim
9 women or only one of the two?
10 A. You see, I was living in a purely Serb district, and all the women
11 in the district would come out to clean the street. In the part of the
12 town I lived in, there were no Muslims living there.
13 Q. So the women who came out when you came out were either all Serb
14 women or almost all Serbs. Is that your answer?
15 A. They were all Serb women because this was an ethnically pure
16 area. But I think that women of other ethnic groups did come out and join
17 in in other parts of the town where the population was mixed?
18 Q. His calls, did that give you the impression that there was some
19 kind of coercion behind this, any threat, or was it more a call to observe
20 the work obligation?
21 A. No. There was absolutely no threat behind it, no coercion. Women
22 looked upon it with indulgence, and they made jokes about it too.
23 Q. Thank you, madam.
24 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] I have no further questions.
25 JUDGE HUNT: Thank you very much for coming to give evidence. I'm
1 sorry you were dragged on earlier than you expected. We're very grateful to
2 you for your evidence, and you are now free to leave.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, too, Your Honour.
4 [The witness withdrew]
5 JUDGE HUNT: Now, Mr. Domazet, before we leave for the week, I
6 really must ask you yet again what is happening about your psychiatrist's
8 MR. DOMAZET: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this complete report in
9 English will reach me tomorrow morning when my colleague is coming from
10 Belgrade, and I was promised that it would be ready and handed over to me
11 by him tomorrow.
12 JUDGE HUNT: I don't know what communication you do have with the
13 members of the Prosecution team, but I'm sure it would be of assistance
14 to them that if once you get it, you could somehow get a copy of it to
15 them. We are getting to the stage now where the time is becoming rather
17 I should state that notwithstanding the general announcement that
18 the Tribunal will be closed down on the day that Mr. Milosevic returns,
19 this trial will be proceeding. I'm glad to say the security has taken the
20 view that we are so hidden from public view in this little courtroom that
21 we won't cause any troubles.
22 We will adjourn now until 9.30 on Monday.
23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at, 3.32 p.m.
24 to be reconvened on Monday, the 3rd day of December,
25 2001, at 9.30 a.m.